Thursday, July 28, 2011

You're Fired

I am a natural born American Citizen and an American Taxpayer, and therefore, your boss.  I have just completed your annual performance review.  Based on my comprehensive study vis-a-ve your job performance and the state of our government while entrusted to your care, and after very careful consideration, I am sorry to inform you that your services are no longer required.
Please have your personal effects removed from your government offices and vacate the premises by midnight tomorrow.  I fully trust this will not become a difficult issue and security personnel will not have to become involved.
Plainly put, you are all fired effective immediately.

Yours, sincerely,

David J. Roth
American Citizen
Your employer

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

40 Years & Counting

I’m exhausted!
“Why is that, Dave,” you ask.
How profoundly astute of you to inquire.  Let me tell you.  I trust that the usual client privacy and confidentiality constraints apply. Yes?
Good.  You see, it all began last Thursday night.  Well, to be more precise, it began sometime in early March for me.    To be even more precise, and if we’re going to give a defensible record, I rather assume precision is tantamount to the effort, wouldn’t you agree?
What the Class of 71 is all about
But I digress.  After all, we’ve already worked out the technical and legal niceties, signed and witnessed, etcetera, etcetera, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.  For the eleven others I suppose it began back in September, 2010 when a group of people met at a restaurant in Davie, Florida to plan a commemoration event of when it REALLY began; a hot September Florida morning forty three years ago in 1968 when eleven hundred of us came together under the same roof for the first time.
Miami Carol City Senior High School Graduating Class of 1971. 
I was not at that first planning meeting in September, 2010.  I actually didn’t come on board until March of this year.  By then there was some division in the group.  A majority (10-1) favored a DIY reunion.  The lone holdout felt it better to have a professional Reunion company handle the details, so he broke ties with the committee and pursued that line of reasoning, which would ultimately end in failure.  While some of the individuals who had committed to that event were able to change their plans, others were left stranded, as it were, torn between two events and two versions of how the events ended up as two instead of one.
This was complicated by the desire to be certain of a unified event because the previous graduating class ended up having two events divided primarily, but not exclusively, along race lines.  Sadly, the holdout who favored the professional company approach was partially instrumental in the divided events the previous year.
Ultimately, the majority prevailed.  Politics and our democratic system aside, majority rule doesn’t always provide the best result.  This time it did.  We had a three day event filled with activities in an almost exclusively single location, and a group of people who worked not for profit, but for the benefit of their classmates.
Friday night we had a Meet and Greet.  One of our classmates provided a beautiful cake.  Another printed the name badges.  Another DJ’d the event.  Still another flew in from Germany to provide vocal entertainment.  The DJ was from the class before ours, and the singer from the one after ours.
Saturday we met at the new high school building for a tour.  As much as our school, built in 1963, was state of the art for its time, so too the new facility, a state of the art center of learning for the 21st century.  That night we met back at the hotel for a formal dinner, dance, memorial and formal portraits.  The highlight of the evening was a speech at the end by a 2006 graduate of our school, whose mother was in our graduating class.  Our night literally spanned 35 years of alumni from our school, and his tribute to his mother and to our class left few dry eyes in the room.
Sunday morning we met for the last time at the hotel for a worship service, and in the afternoon we gathered for a picnic at a local park.  There were a lot of tears, laughs, hugs, and memories sprinkled generously amidst the great food.  This rolling sea of black and white, attired boldly in orange and black, living, loving, and celebrating, much as we did forty years ago, and in many cases making the same promises to keep in touch and not forget.
This time we have an advantage.  We have tools now that were never dreamed of forty years ago.  When we left, that steamy Sunday afternoon, we did so with a charge – One More Chief!  And we have the tools to do it!  With things like Facebook, Google-+, the internet, email, our web pages, we can keep the dream alive.  If each of us can find One More Chief, and they in turn find One More Chief, and so on, when we get together the next time, the room we held the party in this past weekend will be much, much to small.
And for all that, I’m still wound up, but I gotta tell you, I’m exhausted, but it’s a good feeling.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Official Release: The Adventures of the Magnificent Seven

“Hey!  Lissen!  Lemme tell you all about the book my Grampa wrote starring me!”~Sabastian “Sabas” Gipson.
He said that to pretty much every teacher in his school, every adult he bumped into – sometimes literally - all of his friends, and of course, to the Librarian – at least a dozen times, according to her.
Hi.  I'm excited beyond words to announce that my book, The Adventures of the Magnificent Seven, is being ‘officially’ released in e-book format by EdinRoad Publishing today.  It’s a first for a lot of different people for a lot of different reasons.
For EdinRoad, well, they’re taking a chance with me.  Mag-7 will be their first official release.  It’s going to be available in e-book format for pretty much every e-book reader known to man, with the possible exception of the P.A.D.D.  You’ll either get that or you won’t.  I’ll leave looking it up, to you.  Initially it will be available at, but soon you’ll be able to get it at all online booksellers and in all their proprietary formats.  It’s also available now in paperback and hardcover at my bookstore, but as you know, LuLu, CreateSpace and sites like that Are POD – Print or Publish On Demand.  You could even call them ‘vanity’ publishing because they are self published, and not a few of them are purchased by the author and his/her family and no one else.
EdinRoad is the real deal, and I’m proud – and a little anxious – to be their first project.  Proud because LuLu efforts aside, I have a real imprint, as it were, on this edition of my book.  It’s a small start-up company outfitted out of Lexington, Kentucky, by a fellow author who wants the world to know that good books don’t just come from imprints like Random House, TOR, Bantam, Scholastic, and the such, and she’s willing to invest herself in helping others like herself find a breakthrough in the publishing world.  Anxious because well, not to put too fine a point on it, I’m the first.  I don’t want to screw this up for either of us, or the potential writers EdinRoad will undoubtedly contract down the road, no pun intended.  It’s both exciting and a little scary to be on the ground floor of a project like this.
Now, there is a way to make this all go very smoothly.  Write a smash best-seller, for example.  In order for that to happen, you have to write a good book, and frankly, that’s not as easy as it sounds.  It takes a lot of work, and EdinRoad Founder and President invested a lot of work in Mag-7 before EdinRoad was even a reality.  I guess that speaks for  Her confidence.  She knows how much she’s already done to help make this a good read.
There are a lot of other things as well.  We have some really fun stories which I think are well told, expertly edited, and kinda fun to read. 
So – what’s this all about?  Go back and read the first paragraph.  This is the book Sabastian’s Grampa wrote starring him.  And six others just like him except for the parts where they’re entirely different from him.
The Adventures of the Magnificent Seven started out as a challenge from another writer in an ongoing monthly word count writing competition.  I had to write about something, and she said “Why don’t you just write about those kids you’re always talking about?”  It seemed like a good idea, as well as a way to tell my grandchildren stories like my grandfather used to tell me.
So I took seven very real children and made seven fictional children based on their individual character traits.  That’s where the similarities end.  The Adventures of the Magnificent Seven is the Steve Austin version.  Remember the line?  “We can improve him.  We have the technology.  We can make him better.  Faster.  Stronger.”  Combine that approach with some fun ideas and there you have it.  Their first ten adventures.  But this is definitely a to be continued adventure.  Since it’s all about the curious and inventive, imaginative ideas of young people, the possibilities are endless.  So…stay tuned to this station.
I'm so excited about this that I'm giving away a free copy of the Adventures of the Magnificent Seven in your choice of e-book format (Kindle, Nook, Sony, Mobi, etc) to five readers who give me the best reason for why I should give them a copy of the book.  All you have to do is tell me why YOU should get a copy of the book here in a comment box, and email me the reason as well, so I'll have an email address for sending out the coupon. Hurry - the deadline is midnight, Sunday, July 31st, 2011.
Good Luck!