Should I worry about my obituary? this piece on the alarming number of iconic celebrities we lost this year by the sportswriter/author Jeff Pearlman and it made me think of something I heard last week on Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.

Used to be it was, “I don’t care what you say about me as long as you get my name right.”

Don’t think that attitude works anymore.

From The New York Times:

Correction: October 28, 2016

An obituary on Wednesday about the pilot Bob Hoover referred incorrectly to his escape from a prisoner of war camp in the final days of World War II. While he escaped from the camp with a friend, only Mr. Hoover then flew a German aircraft to freedom; his friend was not with him on the plane. The obituary also misstated the name of the Ohio airfield, now part of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where Mr. Hoover was based after the war. It was Wright Field, not Wilbur Wright Field. In addition, the obituary misidentified the Bell Aircraft X-1, which Mr. Hoover trained to fly. It was a rocket plane, not a jet. The obituary also misidentified the company with which North American Aviation, for which Mr. Hoover worked as a test pilot, merged. It was Rockwell-Standard, not Rockwell International. And the obituary referred incorrectly to the P-51 fighter. It was a propeller plane, not a jet, and Mr. Hoover did not test it at Wright Field. In addition, a picture caption with the obituary misidentified the plane shown with Mr. Hoover. It is an F-100D Super Sabre, not an F-86 Sabre. And because of an editing error, the byline for the obituary misstated the surname of the reporter in some copies. He is Craig H. Mellow, not Bellow.

Maybe I should create a job site

I know this isn’t the greatest week to be looking for a job, but since the various search sites are still sending me so-called leads, I’m doing the due diligence. And it’s getting very frustrating.

Image result for job searchI guess I’m officially registered with at least four sites. I say “officially” because I know I’ve uploading all my data, including resume, to them. The others don’t seem to ask that…yet. If they do, they wait until the very end to hit you with the news that you have to pay for their service. Seems like a crap shoot. Do you get the money back if you don’t get a job?

Since I use the same search parameters — writer, editor, etc. — I find I’m getting the same job notices from multiple sources. One of the things that’s particularly irksome is the number of typos and other mistakes that make it through on these ads. (That’s one of the things I could offer, given the right circumstances: attention to detail.) Yet they are asking for people with precise experience and qualifications, and usually not for a whole lot of money, either.

In an unusual move, one of my FB friends posted that they were looking for an editor for their community newspaper. As far as I know, this wasn’t posted on a job site, just mentioned on FB. We exchanged a couple of emails, enough to know that as qualified as I believe I was for this position, the commute would be murder. So unless I was willing to relocate, as desperate as I am to find something, this wouldn’t work out. Sigh. I should investigate what it would take to set up a job site that would be mutually beneficial. The ones I’ve found seem to heavily favor the advertiser. I don’t know what the ratio is of available positions versus those looking for them, but the lookers are the ones who need some TLC and the longer they’ve been away from meaningful employment, the more they require that empathy.

What are you worried about, Jon Pessah?

Jon Pessah, a founding editor of ESPN the Magazine, has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, managed the sports departments for Newsday and the Hartford Courant, and edited, wrote, and ran the investigative team for ESPN the Magazine. He is also author of The Game: Inside the Secret World of Major League Baseball’s Power Brokers.

He posted this on Facebook today. Reprinted with permission:

I never thought I would live to feel the day when I was afraid to write and talk in America. But that day has arrived, and it is every bit a frightening as I thought it would be. Think it’s hyperbolic? Read this story (“Wielding Claims of ‘Fake News,’ Conservatives Take Aim at Mainstream Media”) about how conservatives from Trump to the right-wing media are calling anything that goes against their agenda “fake news.” How many more steps do we take before fake news becomes crimes against the state?

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Worry #5,238: Health

Of course, just about everyone is concerned about health. This is especially true after a certain age.

When you’re young, you think you’re invincible; that nothing bad will ever happen to you. But as you get older — at least in my case — you wonder when the shoe is going to drop.’ve been lucky so long — never spent a day in a hospital, just a couple of outpatient things — that now that I’m approaching (mumble mumble), the slings and arrows are catching up. When I was working, I had a health club right down the hall that I would use during lunch hour. But when the “campus” where the paper was located rented out space to a private school, they had priority over the basketball court, where I loved to just shoot around by myself.

Almost immediately after I lost my job, the problems began. Since I was finishing up the Hank Greenberg book, I was spending a lot of time in a fairly uncomfortable rolling chair so when the lower back pain started in, I just figured that was why. I think I have a fairly high tolerance, but it became too much to bear right on Yom Kippur evening. I sing in the synagogue choir and didn’t want to miss that as I consider it the most spiritual thing I do all year, but the spasms were so bad the next day that I had to skip services and seek out medical help in the person of a local chiropractor.

I had never given much truck to that area of medicine, afraid it would do more harm than good what with all the “adjusting,” but I was desperate. The doc prescribed an x-ray which showed arthritis in the spine. Terrific. (Oh, one more thing. Now that I’m on my own, I’m responsible for paying all of the health insurance bill, which adds up to more than $2,000 per month for just me and the missus. And they cut me off from the chiro after five visits. And no, in our situation, there is no shopping around.)

So, hampered by all this and coupled with the understsndable depression about being out of a job, I put on a bit of weight which turns into a vicious cycle.

Image result for out of shape

(By the way, who proofread that cartoon?)

Fortunately, I got to a point where the back pain subsided enough to let me begin some mild exercise. My wife gifted me a membership to the local Y for Hanukka and since I have all the time in the world right now, I began taking Tai Chi classes. There’s something about the slowness and deliberateness I find calming. I started to supplement that with some time on the racquetball court, as a precursor to getting back to my weekly tennis, which I greatly enjoy. One thing led to another: weights (machines only, no free weights as that aggravates the back problems), cardio machines (they have gotten a lot more sophisticated in the entertainment they provide), etc.

It will be a long slow process. You don’t get out of shape overnight, and your certainly don’t get back into it overnight.

And I thought talk was cheap

There’s no rest over the holidays when it comes to looking for a job. I found a writer slot for one of those sites that probably has a ration of 80 percent advertising material to 20 percent actual content.

This is the kind of dough they’re offering:

Our writers are expected to achieve a minimum quota with opportunities to make additional bonuses by going above and beyond the quota expectation.

Compensation structure is based on your production. We have multiple tiers that achieve up to 3X income to your page views. We offer guaranteed payment for articles based on meeting quotas:

Please see below:

  • 6-8 articles produced a week = $1.00/article
  • 9-11 articles produced a week = $1.50/article
  • 12-17 articles produced a week = $2.00/article
  • 18+ articles produced a week = $3.00/article

dammitjimThere’s nothing in the job notice that says how long the articles have to be. So just for the hell of it, let’s say I wrote five 500-word articles a day. If I only worked a normal five-day week, that would add up to 25 articles for a whopping $75. I’m sure a modicum of research is required. So let’s say at least two hours per article. So if my math is correct that $1.50 per hour: $15 for 10 hours. Of course, we’re talking math here, so I could be totally off.

But wait, there’s also the “bonus structure”

  • 50,000-99,999 total individual monthly views – $25
  • 100,000-199,999 total individual monthly views – $75
  • 200,000-299,999 total individual monthly views – $150
  • 300,000-499,999 total individual monthly views – $250
  • 500,000+ total individual monthly views – $500

Maybe a piece about Justin Bieber might garner 500,000+ views in a month, but sports is much more here today/gone tomorrow, especially if you’re basically reporting about game performances. So there’s no way in hell a regular sports piece is going to reach the lower tier, let alone the highest. So forget about that bonus.

I need a drink.

Fake news was bad enough, but fake jobs? (UPDATE]

Updated 12/20/17: I recently received an earnest email from the person from the company from whom I received the note below. He claims the original reaching out was an aberration and not the way he does business. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and have edited the note to remove any identity traces.

How cruel is this? I’m pasting a letter I received with the subject line “I tried to call you” (which in and of itself is untrue). I have no qualms about identifying the sender — who deserves no quarter for preying on the hopes of someone looking for a job — just in case any of you out there receive a similar message.

Dear Ron Kaplan,

My name is [redacted] and my boss put your resume on my desk and asked me to reach out to you in regards to a few positons we have open in our new [redacted] office here on [redacted].

Here is access to my available times for an interview [link removed]

Due to recent changes in the market we have several positions open including entry level as well as management.

We are looking for people with past experience in account management, customer service, sales, and management.

Interviews will last about 45 minutes, and please show up about 15 minutes early.

A few times are available below, just click on the link and the time slot you are able to attend. You will be sent a confirmation email just check your inbox in case it hits the spam filter.

Look forward to meeting you,

[Redacted], I didn’t click on any of those links.

I don’t know how his boss would have put my resume on his desk since I don’t have any “past experience in account management, customer service, sales, and management.”

What they could have used was a proofreader.

So thanks a lot, [redacted], but I’ll pass.

Don’t we face enough f***in’ imponderables?’s a question posed by Al Swearingen in Deadwood, one of my favorite TV shows of all time.

As a consumer of the local all-news station, I’m constantly amazed by the commercials they run. The vast majority seem to be one way or another to separate me from my money. Offers to represent me should I or a loved one have died from any number of calamities. (Calamity Jane was another Deadwood character.) Or if I’m having ED. Or, God forbid, cancer. Or if I want to take advantage of a home remodification program; if I do I have to act now because the offer won’t last forever, even though they’ve been running the same damn ad for years. And sorry, just because you’ve been advertising with the station for 15 years doesn’t mean you’re good, it just means you’ve been paying your bills.

Of course, most the them don’t actually promise results. Although how do the lawyers make any money if they only take payment if you win your case?

All this is a roundabout way for me to complain about job sites. I subscribe to several and today a posting came up for an interesting position so I clicked. That took me out of Job site A to job site B, where I had to go through a fairly rigorous process — adding my resume, stating my salary requirements, etc. A minimum salary I understand, but a maximum? Hey, pal, the sky’s the limit. Or, on the other hand, don’t you dare pay me a penny over $100,000.) course it’s only after I reach the final click that I’m informed I’m getting a special deal to have my resume posted to more than 35 job sites. Wait, what happened to the one job to which I wanted to apply??? This reminds me of Russian dolls: you go through smaller and smaller models until they just disappear.

These hucksters should be ashamed of themselves for taking advantage of desperate people who probably can’t afford these series of never-ending fees for services that probably won’t end up with the desired outcome: a real job.

Last night I attended a send-off for the managing editor of the paper from which I was recently terminated. This angel gave me the opportunity to work at the paper full-time after being out of work for almost two years. Now it was her turn to go, somewhat unwillingly, after 20 years of dedicated service. God help the paper now. It was on the slide after the bloodletting in September that saw most of the staff dismissed, only to be replaced by people already on staff of the Manhattan-based newspaper that bought us out. And to be blunt, IMO, they don’t seem to have a vested interest in putting out the same award-winning quality product. Maybe they’ll learn, but I doubt it.

In the meantime, I keep plugging away, hoping to find an “honest man” out there in employment land who is serious about hiring, and not just looking to pick up a few by by being a referral service.