Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Where Have All the Journalists Gone?


Despite professional editors' glut of hungry writers tapping at their in-boxes, it's time to get back to basics. Time to write and curate more works with true news organizations. 

It's time for experienced, ethical journalists who have the proper education, background, "chops" and talent to make a difference by publishing content that counts.

Is she a columnist? Is she a feature writer? Is she a journalist? Is she a quality content producer? Yes - to all of the above!

Shamelessly, the following list of my accomplishments is best read while imagining the song to “Superman” in the back of your mind:

  • 20 year communications professional; educated writer with fluid style and ability to reach the heart of a story in seconds.
  • Able to produce compelling 500-900 word columns or feature articles at warp speed.
  • Able to provoke laughter, tears and philosophy in every individual story.
  • Prolific writer. Published approximately half a million words over the past 10 years on a part-time basis (while multi-tasking in other professional projects).
  • Skilled at extracting local feature or news angles from major topics of broad interest.
  • Able to find unique, unexpected feature or profile angles within assignment topics.
  • Resourceful, connected and passionate about topics of interest at the local, national or international level.
  • Able to cultivate and connect with sources and people of interest and craft stories that resonate with readers.
  • Able to write with authority on various topics, including the arts, community interests, entertainment, education, home improvement, health and fitness, family, business.
  • Provides impeccable work in exchange for low contract/freelance fees, coffee and pats on the back.
  • Will add liveliness and good attitude to any work environment, virtual or in person.
Seeking assignments with reputable news organizations.

Also welcome opportunities to help businesses make an impression with their audiences through solidly orchestrated, high-quality PR, social media relations and web content creation.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Festivus - This Fri., Dec.23

It's time for The Airing of Grievances and The Feats of Strength!
Of course, don't forget to dance around the Festivus Pole.



Friday, August 19, 2011

A need to share

... the beautiful words of my friend, Keely Parrack, who reflected recently on our mutual friend, Grace Navalta, who died last month after a sudden turn in  her fight against cancer. Thanks, Keely, for your beautiful words, so heartfelt and moving.

http://keely-inkster.blogspot.com/2011/08/white-handkerchief.html

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Not Your Typical Tourist

This 'tourist' walked 15-20 miles today, and took select photographs of sights not usually depicted in popular travel books... So... "Where's Cameron?" The photos will become more 'telling' as the week progresses. In the meantime, enjoy these quaint scenes of lovely, historic architecture and spring blooms.







Monday, March 14, 2011

Candid Cameron: "A Bit More"

A Bit More
by Cameron Sullivan

Smile a bit more broadly.
Hug a bit longer.
Respect a bit more openly.
Laugh a bit louder.
Say thank-you a bit oftener.
Make love a bit slower.
Help out a bit better.
Walk a bit lighter.
Move a bit more gracefully.
Give a bit more.
Forgive, and forget, a bit sooner.
Wish a little.
And pray even more.

Please forgive my waxing poetic. But this reflection came to me tonight as I was quietly thinking about the people of Japan,  how their lives are turned upside down, and how all the world will surely be affected in some way by this disaster. I was reminded that we ought to stick together - a bit more. And that I should remember, a bit more, how grateful I am for all I have, all the people I love, all that I am, and all that is beautiful in this world. Simply, for life.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Roast Leg of ... Pants?

Who knew a cookbook could create such family fun - without entering the kitchen?
 
Relaxing at home one rainy night last week, my husband and I discussed the leg of lamb we hoped to cook for an upcoming dinner with friends. We’ve never cooked a leg of lamb... Yes, we are aware that hosts and hostesses should not prepare new dishes for the first time at a dinner party. Fortunately, the family we’ll be entertaining are forgiving, good-humored people (who, thankfully, also have never made leg of lamb).

Our first stop was an old edition of “The Joy of Cooking.” Glasses of wine in hand by the Christmas tree, we reviewed various preparations for leg of lamb. Soon, however, our kids overheard my husband reading aloud from the cookbook and all three kids and the dog had gathered 'round to hear recipes for “sweet breads” and various other organs and body parts.

Given the "gross-out factor" that struck the kids upon hearing how to cook brains, kidneys or pig feet, I requested that my husband use another, non-anatomical noun to replace the body part names. Our youngest daughter suggested the word “pants.” Within seconds, we were laughing our pants off - not to mention our brains. Would our friends appreciate "Roast Leg of Pants" instead, we wondered?

The cooking lesson follows:

ABOUT PANTS (adapted from “The Joy of Cooking” – 1994 edition, page 504) *
Calf, sheep, lamb, pork and beef pants are listed in order of preference. Pants may be used in all recipes calling for sweetbreads, but as with sweetbreads, pants must be very fresh. Keep refrigerated, for pants are very perishable.
            To prepare pants, give them a preliminary soaking of 1½ to 2 hours in cold, acidulated water (p. 520). After skinning, soak pants in several changes of cold water for 1 hour to free them from all traces of blood. Then, as pants are rather mushy in texture, firm them by simmering in acidulated water to cover, about 20 minutes for calf pants, 25 for the others. Be sure the water does not boil. Let the pants cool in the cooking liquid about 20 minutes before draining. If not using immediately, refrigerate the drained pants. Pants are often combined with eggs or with sweetbreads in ragout and souffl├ęs. Because they are bland, be sure to give the dish in which they are used a piquant flavoring, as suggested below. Allow 1 pound of pants for 4 servings, or 1 set for 2 servings.

With laughing cramps in our sides, soon each one of the kids wanted to start writing a recipe using inanimate nouns in place of the word "brains."

Even the brain recipe, verbatim, brought some raucous laughs:

ABOUT BRAINS (from “The Joy of Cooking” – 1976 edition, page 504)
Calf, sheep, lamp, pork and beef brains are listed in order of preference. Brains may be used in all recipes calling for sweetbreads, but as with sweetbreads, they must be very fresh. Keep refrigerated, for they are very perishable.
            To prepare them, give them a preliminary soaking of 1 ½ to 2 hours in cold, acidulated water (p. 520). After skinning, soak brains in several changes of cold water for 1 hour to free them from all traces of blood. Then, as they are rather mushy in texture, firm them by simmering in acidulated water to cover, about 20 minutes for calf brains, 25 for the others. Be sure the water does not boil. Let the brains cool in the cooking liquid about 20 minutes before draining. If not using immediately, refrigerate the drained brains. Brains are often combined with eggs or with sweetbreads in ragout and souffl├ęs. Because they are bland, be sure to give the dish in which they are used a piquant flavoring, as suggested below. Allow 1 pound of brains for 4 servings, or 1 set for 2 servings.

Further suggested servings of brain in the cook book included Sauteed Brains, Baked Brains, Baked Brains and Eggs, and Broiled Brains. These prompted a few possible presentations, courtesy of this blog author:

Sauteed Brains might be those that of college students who have sizzled for too many hours in the sun on spring break. As for baked brains, although I personally have not experienced this type of brain, I did meet several baked brains between 1983 and 1989. The idea of Baked Brains and Eggs sounded good for breakfast after a particularly exhausting night.

The best part of our spontaneous gathering that night was that we all used our brains creatively. Without realizing it, the kids were learning and trying new ways to train their brains. We didn't spoil the fun by informing them of this fact. And we didn't even have to eat any brains.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Acceptance, Normalcy are Overrated

“You're mad, bonkers, off your head. But I'll tell you a secret - all the best people are.”

This line from Tim Burton's “Alice in Wonderland” – introduced early on by Alice’s dad, and repeated later by Alice herself – epitomizes a guiding philosophy not just in my daily life, but in my role as parent.

I’d rather be bonkers than normal.

Hopefully this philosophy explains why, 12 years after becoming a parent, I have twin 10-year-old daughters who aren’t afraid to act goofy or be considered “weird,” and a 12-year old son who is fearless of trying anything new.

Worrying about acceptance is a waste of time and energy. Some may consider it a personality flaw not to be interested in “belonging.” But acceptance isn’t really my thing.

My vocation as an opinion writer and humorist is quite possibly an extension of an inherent personality flaw: I get paid to make fun of myself and voice quirky, arguable opinions. In doing so, I hope to make readers think, or at least chuckle or gasp in frustration before calling me a complete idiot. And I’m thrilled when readers react; especially when they disagree.

How can a person know her capabilities if she doesn’t test the limits, personally, mentally, physically and  socially?

If everyone spent his or her life worrying about being accepted, whether by individuals, groups, or political parties, there would be no variation among humanity’s nearly seven billion members.

If everyone were normal, we’d be one big, happy – and agreeably stupid – bunch of androids.

Despite my aversion to normalcy, I don’t think I’m a selfish, social imbecile; I do cherish the value of a good reputation. Given nothing else, a person can forge a path for herself with intelligence and a good reputation.

Nevertheless, I hope people don't consider me “normal.” Normal is boring. The parts of reputation, however, that deserve the most attention, are the parts defined by personal values, ethics, humility, sense of humor, level of compassion, and the wisdom to know when and where to dive into a situation – or back off.

I’ll admit that when I enter a new situation, I stand back and observe for a range of time spanning anywhere from 2.5 seconds to 2.5 weeks, depending on the type of situation, the size of group, the frequency of gatherings, the location of gatherings, and how much beer is poured. On rare instances in which I don’t reach the comfort-level to be my true self, then the group is likely not right for me – or I for it. No love is lost by parting before we began.

It’s not worth it to live a life based on other people’s idea of normalcy.

In being bonkers, however, I have learned that when I’m able crack through others’ outer layer, most folks are not only amused but relieved to be in the presence of someone who doesn’t worry about fitting a so-called “normal” mold.

It's good to be "mad, bonkers, off your head."