Posts Tagged ‘Medium’

‘your new biz partner’s name is spike’

April 20, 2020

Sometimes the spikes point up; sometimes they point down.

Gregg Bagni, a smarty-smart and one of the legendary characters in the old velocipede-propagation game, has channeled himself a bit of alien archy over at Medium, and if you are operating a business of any sort in these dark days — and even if you aren’t — you might like to give it a squint.

Quoth the Bag-man:

sorry there will be no illustrative graphs or bad power point presentations today

instead the simple observation that this 5 min of our lives everything seems to be “spikey”

The piece reminded me a bit of an old joke, one that became part of a folklore project during my college days at the University of Northern Colorado:

• • •

Guy walks into a bar (as they often do in these tales). He is accompanied by a drop-dead gorgeous woman of the female persuasion and a surly-looking little fella ’bout a foot tall.

Guy sits down, woman sits down, little fella sits down. Guy sez to the barkeep he sez, “A round for the house, please,” and pulls a hundred-dollar bill out of his wallet.

Barkeep sez to the guy he sez, “I can’t break that, got anything smaller?”

Guy sez, “Keep the change.” Well, all righty then.

Barkeep sets ’em up for the house, but before anyone can take a sip the little fella jumps off his stool and onto the bar, and runs up and down kicking all the drinks over.

“Sorry about that,” sez the guy he sez. “Set ’em up again.” And he pulls out another hundy.

Barkeep sez, “Pally, I told you I can’t break a C.”

Guy sez, “Keep the change.” Well, all righty then.

Barkeep sets ’em up, but before anyone can wet his whistle the little fella plays footy with all the beverages again.

This goes on for a while, as these hoary old gags will, until the barkeep finally slams his rag on the bar, gets up in the guy’s grille, and sez, “Lissen, y’mutt, I’ll set ’em up at a hundy a crack all day long and nighttime too, but I gotta know what the hell is it the story here?”

“Glad you asked,” sez the guy. “Long ago I was a lost and lonely soul, alone in the world, down to my last few drachmas, rummaging through the detritus at this second-rate thrift store looking for items I might buy cheap and sell dear, when I found this old lamp. It spoke to me for some reason, so I spent my last sou on it and fetched it back to my shack.

“Well sir, I started in rubbing the dust and whatnot off of it and lo and behold! A genie appeared! And as is the custom, he granted me three wishes.”

“And these were?” grunted the barkeep.

“Well, first, I wished for the most beautiful woman in the world to be my constant companion,” our man replied, pointing at the knockout parked on the stool to his left. “And here she is.”

“So she is,” admitted the barkeep. “And?”

“Second, I wished that every time I opened my wallet, there would be a fresh crisp hundred-dollar bill inside. And as you see?” He opened the wallet and therein resided a lone Benjamin, seemingly fresh from the Mint.

“Blimey,” expostulated the barkeep. “Curiouser and curiouser. But where does the little guy come in?”

“Ah,” says the guy, gesturing to his right. “Well, my third wish was for a 12-inch prick. And there he is.”

Ass, grass or gas: Nobody rides for free

November 9, 2013

It’s that time of year again, when I start ringing up editors to inquire whether come the new year they will keep flinging good money after bad by continuing to accept contributions from Your Humble Narrator.

This process always involves a bit of give and take — the editor explains what s/he wishes to take from me, and I tell the editor where and how I plan to give it. A good old time is had by all, often at the top of our lungs, and before long the spreadsheets, knuckle-dusters and restraining orders are set aside and we all go back to earning our meager livings.

bite-meAnd meager is all I ask. My needs are simple, not unlike myself, and I retain no illusions about the freelance rumormonger’s position on our long list of must-have items in the 21st century. (Hint: It’s more than a couple of folds down from the top of the page.)

Today, there is no more writing, illustration or photography — it’s all “content,” and a smart fella can get that anywhere.

Just ask Evan Williams, Twitter co-founder and Innertubez gazillionaire. Now one of the guiding lights behind a newish venture, Medium, Williams has moved beyond the 140-character limit in search of “thoughtful, longer-form writing,” says Matt Richtel of The New York Times.

Well, not all that far, perhaps. To be sure, Williams wants more characters for his new enterprise, but he’s offering the same level of compensation — to wit, nothing. Writes Richtel, 745 words into this paean to long-form work: “A few writers are paid, with their work solicited by a small editing team, but most are not.”

Do tell.

Medium employs some 40 folks; I assume that they are taking home paychecks, though being an Innertubez gazillionaire, Williams — whose personal fortune recently ballooned by nearly $2.5 billion, thanks to his 10.5 percent share of Twitter — may not require anything so mundane as compensation for whatever it is that he does.

Well, I do, and thus you should not expect to see my byline over at Medium anytime soon.

I don’t object to writing for free. In fact, I’ve done and continue to do plenty of it.  I kept a journal for a decade or so; covered cycling for free at The New Mexican (where I was paid for editing) just to get it in the paper; and have been blogging gratis for longer than I can prove (the archives back at the old home place date to 1992).

But it seems Williams is after something a little deeper than the product of a guy who is interested primarily in keeping the old editorial muscles loose by jotting down whatever comes to mind, just for the hell of it, without interference from editors, publishers or advertisers. Though precisely what that something is, the story never quite says.

There is chin music aplenty, however. Long form. Rationality. Nourishment. Holistic. The one thing that seems certain is that whatever it is that Williams wants to sell, he is not willing to buy.

Sounds irrational to me, even assholistic. Hey, yo, Williams! I got your long-form nourishment right here, pal.