The Journalist's Tale
DISCLAIMER: (with apologies to
Mark Twain) Newspaper editors, whose highly developed empathy and exquisitely sensitive
natures render them especially vulnerable to emotional appeals, are hereby forewarned this
is a self-serving tale lacking credibility. Editors without patience for irrelevant
nonsense may go directly to credits.
I started my career in professional journalism
in January 1987, in my mid-50s. To this day I'm uncertain what moral defect has brought me to this low
circumstance at a time of life when others my age are taking afternoon naps and
chug-a-lugging Ensure by the six-pack.
Until the late 1980s I led an ordinary, stable, exemplary
existence, having already spent the first fifteen years of my adult working life as a
sales and marketing executive for various large and medium corporations, and later, for a
similar period of time, as owner of a series of small, interesting, almost successful
businesses, mostly in the Chicago area.
At that time, I went to a Caribbean island resort for a scheduled two-week
vacation. Once there, I was seduced by palm trees, balmy breezes, and cheap but superb
I loitered for months, during which time, eschewing employment as
a male escort to widowed tourists (largely for lack of demand for my services) I accepted
the only job I could find there which required neither verifiable credentials nor real
effort, joining the editorial staff of the twin newspapers, Puerto Plata News and Santo Domingo News, the Dominican
Republic's largest English-language publications.
Being one of the few native English-speakers in
the area willing to work for $100 a week greatly reduced competition for the position.
Still, time in Paradise passes as tediously as plot turns in
Henry James' novels. Civilization beckoned. And my visitor's visa expired.
The plane returning me for the purpose of resuming a normal life
landed during a late-spring Chicago blizzard that was dumping the usual 24 inches of snow. The
taxi-ramp beyond the hoar-frosted doors was a furiously writhing blur of sleet.
So, I did the only sensible thing, retrieved my bag from the
carousel, went upstairs to the check-in counter and got on the next flight back to Santo
Finally, after three more years of languid,
feet-up mornings on my trellis-shaded patio, writing a weekly
column and assorted freelance articles on a lap-top and periodically crying out for the housekeeper to
cease scrubbing the floors or folding my brightly bleached underwear and
bring me another freshly squeezed mango juice "Ħahora
mismo!", I realized I had developed the same urgent obsession as
everyone else in that island, to go to New York.
On arrival in Manhattan in mid-1990 I jumped aboard a
foundering vessel in the shape of Listin USA, a Spanish-language weekly
where my singular, blue-eyed-gringo presence on the staff served to
satisfy the occasional EEOC minority-hiring quota inspection.
During that time I was both a member of the newspaper's middle
management and the paper's sole native-born English-speaking feature writer
Editor-In-Chief could send out to cover mainstream politicians thirsty for ink and Hispanic votes. In
this role I admit "responsibility", in the same perverted sense that word is
used by international terrorists, for the paper's endorsement of Bill Clinton based on my
Two years later, when the paper's investors ran out of money,
patience and the fool-hardy courage upon which that misbegotten venture had been founded,
I became a partner in a multi-lingual custom publishing company serving The New York Times, CMP Publishing, The Times-Mirror
Planned Parenthood and others.
Over the next two years, that enterprise managed to run up an
amazing pile of unpaid bills, considering how few fungible assets it had to start. That
folly and 1993 ended almost simultaneously.
At that point, having continuously supplemented my income since 1987 with a steady
output of freelance articles in newspapers and national magazines, I made the only career
move available to a superannuated failure by becoming a full-time freelance writer. (Well,
at least I didn't style myself an Editorial Consultant like every other out-on-the-street
journalist during the recession.)
My freelance articles have been published in:
Street Journal, (bylined on editorial page)
Times, (experimental Spanish edition)
Newsday, (city life)
Travel and Life Magazine, (various destinations)
Computer Magazine, (Palm programs)
News New Jersey, (corporate news)
International News, (general aviation news)
Group (Ziff-Davis' computer newsletter subsidiary),
Magazine, (cruise travel)
of Commerce, (business profiles)
Aficionado Magazine, (various)
Listin USA, and others.
(many various in Spanish)
Want to see
samples? Visit my
I was a Contributing Editor of Honeymoon Magazine from its Premiere
Issue in early 1995 until 1998. During that time I introduced a column titled, with obvious purpose, "Romancing The
Net" which eventually evolved into the nationally syndicated weekly newspaper column
known as Travel the Net. To my knowledge, it was the very first
syndicated newspaper column about the Internet.
Travel The Net was launched in June, 1997 with
weekly self-syndication in dozens of newspapers across the United States
and continued successfully until other opportunities deserved more
attention in Y2K.
Along the way, I photographed and wrote The American
Airlines Destination Guide to the Dominican Republic, and have served a
long list of corporate clients, including The Presentations
Group at J.P. Morgan and Co., as well as the Fortune 500 clients of an
Internet web site developer with copy for their web sites and internal
I am the sole owner of BuildingHosting.Com the oldest continuously operating
web site development and hosting company in Hudson County, NJ, founded
January 4th, 1994. As of
2009, that business now has clients in every continent, even India. In recent years,
I have developed the habit of spending roughly six to eight weeks per year
visiting them across America, various Caribbean islands, Europe,
Australia, India and Malaysia.
You can read about my 2006 journey at
BTW - three of those clients are based in India,
confirming my long-held opinion that out-sourcing runs in both
I've done occasional investigative reporting and production
assistance, on-and-off camera, for CBS-TV's "Hard
Copy" and Fox-TV's "A Current Affair." I've also done investigative reporting
for the USA-based tabloids, The Globe, The Star and for the
Until 2002 I had been, for about 5 years, a
frequent contributor to Aviation
International News, the leading publication in
the field of General Aviation.
In 2003 I became an Adjunct
Professor in the Continuing Education Department of Hudson County
Community College, the largest county
community college in New Jersey. I taught a variety of applications for the
Windows operating system, including all the apps in the MS Office XP Suite, plus
FileMaker Pro, Macromedia DreamWeaver, PhotoShop and
Adobe Acrobat (with
an emphasis on its Forms capabilities.) In addition, I frequently taught
- Avoiding and/or Surviving Identity
- Building an eBay Business
- Avoiding and Removing Spyware
- Detecting and Removing Computer
Clients for those classes were usually corporate and governmental agencies supported by federal grant programs to
broaden and upgrade employee skills. The college faculty and staff were
regular attendees in my classes. Occasionally, I presented a Technical Writing
course to incoming field staff of engineering firms constructing the
Hudson Bergen Light Rail System.
That life-long ambition to teach, was destroyed in 2005
by bean-counting fools at that institution who got it into their heads
that I must begin filing a W-2 in clear violation of federal tax law
that I am an Independent Contractor paid on a 1009 and filing my own
taxes quarterly and paying my own expenses, my own Social Security and
so forth. Their absurdity was exposed when I responded that I would do
so if I was put on the faculty as a genuine W-2 employee with the
generous benefits and privileges of those positions. They never did
understand that I was teaching for the thrill of it but made twice as
much money from my own business as from their fees.
As of 2007, I live in Jersey City, NJ, virtually the only
unattached male in a 59-unit apartment building filled mostly with
unattached females of a certain age. I have no other hobbies.
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