After much fanfare, my first Huffington Post blog piece has slipped down the right side of the website and is gone. A fleeting thing, a HuffPo post.
It remains permanently in my “author archive” : http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/../../ross-macnab/.
It has also been pointed out to me that googling Ross Macnab will get you to the Huffington Post Canada author archive as well. I don’t recommend this, because most of you can’t spell Macnab. Try this: turn away from your computer, take a pen and paper and print out Macnab. Now.
Done? Okay – did you spell Macnab correctly? No. You didn’t. No one does. It doesn’t matter to me, though it has led to a lifetime of being mis-filed. People can’t find me in the phone book. They can’t google me or find me on the facebook. I don’t need an alias. I have a name that everybody thinks should be spelled differently than it is.
But this isn’t about that.
My first week as a HuffPost Pro Bono Blogger has been exciting. It went up on the site on Wednesday morning. Right there under Yoko Ono’s blog. I’m looking forward to meeting her at the next staff and volunteers get-together.
I called my sister to let her know that I was a big shot now. When I got off the phone, there was a message waiting for me from a producer for the John Gormley show. She’d spotted the HuffPo piece and thought John would like to talk with me.
Gormley is on A.M. radio, for four and a half hours every day. He has a lot of energy. He’s very popular. I’ve heard that sixty percent of Saskatchewan’s radios are tuned in to him every morning – something that ought to concern Jian Ghomeshi. He has guests and he has people call in. And he talks. Gormley and I couldn’t be described as ideological soul-mates. He and his listeners and most of his guests seem quite a bit more pissed off than I ever am. And, they’re usually pissed off at people like me.
I called back and said I’d be happy to be on the Gormley show but that John would have to carry me. I predicted I would not be very good on the radio and there might be a lot of dead air while I panicked. It was arranged that I’d be on the next day.
Delores, my next door neighbour, and I went to Costco that afternoon. She doesn’t get around as well as she used to, since the stroke, and she likes the help hauling in the cat food.
When I got back, the phone rang. It was CTV in Toronto. They wanted me on their evening news show to talk about Saskatchewan, because of the HuffPo piece. I had to install Skype. It didn’t work, so I appeared by phone. Me and Mayor Pat Fiacco. He took up most of the time alloted for the segment, irrepressible as he is, and so my incoherent nattering was blessedly short. I don’t believe anyone saw the newscast.
All this was preventing me from getting the lawn mowed. And, I got the chickens in the oven late. Oh, I heard about that.
The next day, I spent the morning listening to Gormley. From ten to eleven that morning, and perhaps every morning, John hosts The Hour of Rage, where people call in to share with John and his listeners what in particular is really pissing them off that day.
By the time of my bit, eleven thirty, I suppose people had cooled off a bit. John very generously read out a large portion of the HuffPost piece and said very nice things about it and invited people to call in and say what they really liked about Saskatchewan. He spoke to me for a bit and, as I predicted, he needed to lead me along. John, whatever you may think of his politics, is extremely good on the radio. He was very gracious and kind to me. The rest of the half hour was people calling in. It was a very nice piece. I was happy to have played a role in calming down John’s angry audience, getting them to see the bright side.
After a few hours, blog posts slip down the screen on the HuffPost site and find their way into a bin called “Recent Posts”, where they can be found only by those with patience and good website navigation skills. By Friday morning, I was on page one of Recent Posts. Then page two. Three. Four. Gone.
Still, I figured I’d had at least sixteen minutes of fame, significantly exceeding my allotment.
Friday, another call from a radio show on CJME Newstalk Radio. This time, it was the Richard Brown Show, hosted on that day by Bronwyn Eyre. This is another of those angry, “us vs. them” sorts of radio programs. I guess people never tire of resentment. Again, I was a feel-good segment, though Bronwyn did try to get me to explain why it is that Saskatchewan is enjoying an economic boom of late. I assume that the correct answer was “because we defeated socialism”, but I stammered and stumbled and stuttered out a garbled bit of non-responsive nonsense which was, it seems, too embarrassing to follow up on – she moved quickly to something else.
Now, as my supportive wife reminds me, I have to write something new – even though I have nothing more to say.
I’ll let you know how it goes.