Unpacking The Writer ► Packing Up the Newsroom

Welcome to another exciting episode of Unpacking the Writer, the monthly column in which I pull back the curtain — Wizard of Oz-like — and expose some of the inner-workings of a low-budget innertube news room and its hardworking staff.

First up, and most importantly, we had another recent health scare with Pops. While out having dinner with the boys, he choked on a piece of treif (breaded shrimp) and had to be Heimliched by a EMT who just happened to be at the restaurant. None of Pops’ friends picked up on the warning signs that he was choking. Had it not been for the EMT, Pops would have choked to death. He was rushed to the hospital as a precaution, wanting to make sure he didn’t aspirate any food. They kept him a few nights, until all tests proved him good to go. Now he’s back home and back into his regular groove.

A scare like that makes me realize I’ve not really developed a back up plan. My original plan when I moved to Florida never came to fruition. When I arrived I figured it would be easy to find a job as a professional writer, something I had actually been for many decades in Canada. However, I was going from the small pond of Canada into the mighty ‘Merkin ocean. I couldn’t even get the sharks to look at this minnow, to torture the metaphor further. I found it impossible to get editors in Florida to even look at my previous writing, let alone consider a conversation with someone from — sniff — Canada. They all got off the phone with me as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, I wrote for Newshounds (“We watch Fox so you don’t have to”) for a couple of years under the nom de plume of Aunty Em; and also free-lanced for Stones Detroit; Curbed Miami (one day I hope to get paid the miniscule amount promised for that feature article); PolitucusUSA; and had a disastrous experience at WebVee Guide that started out looking quite lucrative, but ended in farce in just one week. That was easily the craziest experience I’ve ever had with an editor in a writing career working with crazy editors.

Long story short: I’ve simply been unable to find a self-sustaining and continuous source of writing income.

I make no bones about it. I started the Not Now Silly Newsroom (in part) with the hope that it would generate some slight income. While the Not Now Silly Newsroom has generated some money, it’s so miniscule that it would barely keep a hamster alive. I eat far more than hamsters.

The biggest problem is that I’ve not been able to attract sufficient eyeballs to light up the scoreboard. Naturally I feel my writing is so golden that I’m confused the world has not beat a path to this mousetrap. I may have misjudged my cheesy appeal. NAH! Who am I kidding? I’m great! Like finely aged brie.

I’ve managed to convince myself it’s merely because not enough people have shared these articles with their family, friends, children, neighbours, and grocer. (Hint. Hint.)

Another problem in attracting eyeballs — or so I’ve been told many times by many people — is that I am using the Blogger platform, as opposed to a a WordPress template under my own domain name. To that end I’ve hired a big deal Web Designer, with offices on two continents and clients around the World Wide Web. With this company’s guidance the Not Now Silly Newsroom is being rebuilt from the ground up. I’m excited because I’ve seen the mock-ups. I hope you are too.

However, it’s more important than ever before that the Not Now Silly Newsroom generate some income, because there are additional costs associated with this renovation. Only propriety, and the Blogger Terms of Service, prevent me from begging you to click on the adverts on this page. (Hint. Hint.)

Not all headlines are funny. Some are quite tragic.

HEADLINES DU JOUR: I can’t remember if I shared the genesis and creation of Headlines Du Jour, but it can’t hurt to repeat it. Remember: It’s only a rerun if you’ve heard it before.

Headlines Du Jour came to me in a dream. No, really, I dreamed it. 

I don’t usually remember my dreams when I wake up, other than wisps of smoke that I can’t hold onto for more than a minute or two. One morning I woke up after having worked an entire night in the Not Now Silly Newsroom in my dream state. Yannow those dreams when you wake up after you’ve been on the job all night? One of those suckers.

I woke up that morning with the idea of Headlines Du Jour almost fully-formed. I even remembered laughing in the dream over the phrase “today’s Headlines Du Jour.” I took this as an omen and created Headlines Du Jour almost immediately. It only took some minor tinkering for Headlines Du Jour to arrive at its current format.

Sadly I never dreamed how much work it would be to collect, compile, and collate the headlines, not to mention: formatting the post; adding the pics, which luckily are already on my hard drive due to my obsessive pic collecting; and thinking up those snarky little rubrics. It can take anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 hours from start to finish, depending on the breaks, to post a Headlines Du Jour. Some days, when it’s finally been put to bed (to use an old magazine term for published) I’m already exhausted.

That’s why I’ve chosen to only do it 3 days a week: Tuesday, Thursday, and on the weekends (usually Sunday). I’m trying to reserve the days between for writing smaller posts, so I can get back to posting something almost every day, and/or researching some of my larger posts. Then there’s always Farce Au Pain to work on. Most posts take a few days to write and edit. Posts as long as this can take days, and I allot 5 days for Unpacking the Writer, but this one only took 3.

Not all Fox “News” memes are funny. Some are quite tragic,
‘specially ones noting the intelligence of Fox “News” viewers.

FOX “NEWS” WATCH DU JOUR: Something else unanticipated — more like a nightmare than a dream — was just how many Fox “News” Headlines Du Jour pop up in any given week. [You can take Aunty Em out of the NewsHounds, but you can’t take the NewsHounds out of Aunty Em.] There’s so much tomfoolery and shenanigans on the Fox “News” Channel that sometimes it takes up more than half of the Headlines Du Jour.

A suggestion has been made to spin off the Fox “News” Headlines Du Jour into a stand-alone series, with guaranteed laughs a’plenty. While the Not Now Silly Newsroom is seriously considering this new way of pointing our Fox “News” mendacity, even tho’ it would mean more work for this underpaid scribe, a thought I had while typing this sentence may be a better alternate route. Details to follow.

Meanwhile, you’re now reading a paragraph that really contains nothing more than a blatant plug for The Johnny Dollar Depreciation Society, a cozy little blind pig I operate in an apartment above The Facebookery’s storefront. The dregs and denizens who gather there on a daily basis, because they’ve got nothing better to do, are all dedicated to the mockery of the Fox “News” Meat Puppets, as they continue to plumb the depth of journalistic malpractice.

COCONUT GROVE UPDATE: Sincere apologies to those who come here because of my Coconut Grove posts. There’s nothing to update. I’ve not been down to The Grove for several weeks. To be fair: I never created Now Now Silly to be Grove-centric. That was just a happy accident.

I have been kicking around an article that’s been percolating since I visited Detroit (‘Merka’s first throwaway city) on the 2nd Annual Sunrise to Canton Road Trip for Research and took pictures of the Birwood Wall. Naturally, the article is about walls. It’s about the 8 Mile Wall. It’s about the Coconut Grove Wall. It’s about the walls around Gated Communities. And, the overarching theme (or maybe over-reaching theme), is how these can all be attributed to Racism.

Long story short: Often what’s on each side of these walls is as different as Black and White. Walls do far more to divide us than they do to protect us.

However, in the next post about walls I’ve wanted to include some video. The
last time I was in The Grove I shot several videos, but none of them
came out the way I had hoped. [I now realize it was a stupid idea to try a
long traveling shot at that speed.] I’ve now created a little storyboard and all I need to do is find the time to get back down to Coconut Grove
to shoot the mini-documentary that’ll accompany this important story.

Stay tuned for part three of Where the Sidewalks Ends, Racism Begins.

Total readership, with my high water mark
of December 2103. I need to up my game.

FURTHER HOUSEKEEPING: I’m not so sure what analytics I will have over at the renovated Now Now Silly Newsroom, so this might be the last time to look at these stats as Blogger feeds them to me.

This post is the 639th since I launched the Not Now Silly Newsroom in April of 2012. Nearly a quarter million people (241,455, to be exact, as of right this second) have hung out for some period of time at Not Now Silly. Forty-two percent of my readers use Firefox, with Internet Explorer (26%) and Chrome (15%) rounding out the top three. Sixty-six percent use a Windows OS, with Macintosh number 2 at 21%. About 5% arrive here on various mobile devices, but my web designer says that’s going to pick up considerable. From his mouth to The Flying Spaghetti Monster’s ears.

Also behind the scenes: There are 21 drafts of articles I’ve yet to publish. Some will probably never be finished, while others will be published in the fullness of time. They either require further research or I haven’t found the right way to tell the story yet. [See above.]

The stats I always find interesting is how readers arrived at these shores. While I can see the various sites people have come from, far more interesting to me is what search terms landed people here in the first place. In descending order they are [all sic]:

Brian Jones, Josephine Baker, 3 Stooges, Detroit, Beatles Let It Be, Alan Turing, James Rosen, Bonzo Dog Band, Three Stooges, Fats Waller, Austin Cunningham wiki, Detroit 60’s, leggy newsbabes, Roger Ruskin Spear,  the color line in coconut grove, 9/11 news articles, anyone from Detroit’s black bottom, examples of newspaper headlines, Josephine Baker children, skin in the game pun, stoping cyber bullying, brian jones beatles, controversies of sarnoff, fox news spin cycle, fox news spin cycle female host, headly westerfield, in the 50’s the chicken roost in hamilton, on served chicken on a bun what is the receipe?

Who knew there were so many Chicken Roost lovers?

The most fascinating stat is what countries my readers live in. It’s no surprise that ‘Merka and Canada come in at #1 and #2 respectively. However, I’m surprised I have so many readers in Russia, Malaysia, Ukraine, and China. However, I’ll take my readers where I can find them, even in Commie Countries. Futhermore, I’m not planning to outsource Not Now Silly production to China like some other Bain Capitalists.

The Top Ten is always changing slightly. You can see the current Top Ten in the column to the upper-right. However, the Top Ten at THIS MOMENT IN TIME looks like this:

1). The Detroit Riots ► Unpacking My Detroit ► Part Five
2). Brian Jones ► A Musical Appreciation
3). The Johnny Dollar Wars ► Chapter and Verse
4). Day In History ► Josephine Baker Born
5). Aries Development Continues To Rape Charles Avenue
6). Chow Mein and Bolling 5 ► Bully Boy Lies (Again)
7). Did Roger Ailes Dupe James Rosen, Or Did Rosen Dupe ‘Merka?
8). The First Three Stooges ► Nostalgia Ain’t What It Used To Be
9). Is Marc D. Sarnoff Corrupt Or The Most Corrupt Miami Politician
10). Does Fox “News” Support Johnny Dollar? ► The Mark Koldys-Johnny Dollar Comment of the Day

Proof of concept of new logo. The final
will probably look nothing like this.

Hopefully by the time I publish Unpacking the Writer for the month of October, the BRAND NEW & IMPROVED Not Now Silly Newsroom will be up and running, fortified with Niacin and your daily adult requirement of news, history, and snark. It’s a slow process. However, I’m in no hurry to get it on the net. I would rather it be right than fast.

Ever onward and upward, dear readers.

About Headly Westerfield

Calling himself “A liberally progressive, sarcastically cynical, iconoclastic polymath,” Headly Westerfield has been a professional writer all his adult life.