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” :

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.




Fathers Day

Once again, I have changed the names of the characters in this story.

I love this time of year. NBA playoffs. I’m a basketball fan and I have three basketball-loving boys – Boy1, Boy2 and Boy3.

The Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder are in the Finals. Game three was last night. The Heat are Boy2’s favourite team. Boy3 loves the Thunder, hates the Heat. This game, like the whole series, was going to be both triumph and tragedy, no matter what happened, and would result in much anger and taunting, extremely bad language and very possibly some physical violence. Boy1 doesn’t care who wins, he just wants it to be a long series.

Boy1, the oldest, works till eight thirty on Sunday nights. He always comes over after work for a bite to eat. He was very disappointed that he was going to miss the game. Sunday afternoon, through a texted negotiation, he was able to extract an agreement from Boy3, the youngest, that we would record the game and not watch it until he arrived. Boy1 extracted this agreement by promising to buy pizza. In fact, I ordered the pizza and paid for it. I’m not clear on the definition Boy1 was using for “buy”, but it did not appear to include either ordering or paying.

I’m not sure where Boy2 was. He’d stumbled out of bed sometime mid afternoon and stumbled out the back door without announcing his entry into the day or his departure from the house. I called him on his cell phone and told him we were watching the game late and that he should NOT come in and tell us the final score. It is the sort of thing he’d love to do. He told me he hadn’t been watching the game and would be home to watch it with us. And have some pizza.

A very happy family scene. Wife and Mother [not her real names] had to leave the room, however, because she was so upset by the profanity. What a girl.

Near the end of the fourth quarter [unlike the three part hockey game, a basketball game is divided into halves, then further into quarters] it appeared that the game had slipped away from the Thunder. The Heat were going to win. Out of nowhere, Boy3 offered to bet Boy2 twenty bucks that the Thunder would pull out a win. Boy2, without hesitation, took the bet.

The Thunder did not pull it out.

Boy 3 is furious. He had received a text from a friend, who told him that the Thunder had, in fact, won the game. That’s why he’d offered the bet. He was going to win himself an easy twenty bucks from his brother by cheating.

Boy2 took the bet readily because he had watched the game before he came home and knew all along how it would end. In this particular contest between cheating and lying, then, lying was the clear winner.

A lot of swearing ensued, which upset Mom.

Later, I was cleaning up and noticed a slice of pizza in the box with a bite out of it. Boy1 does this all the time – with cookies, donuts, granola bars, fudge, pizza, steak, whatever. He takes a bite and leaves it. Sometime in the container the thing came from. Sometimes just on the kitchen counter. I’ve recently begun to respond to this peculiar habit by taking his bitten left-over, whatever it is, and placing it on his Blackberry, which he always leaves on the kitchen table or the counter. He came along and found the pizza slice, oozing tomato sauce on his phone.

Fuck Dad, I was going to come back and finish that.

No. You weren’t.

Yeah, fuck, I was. and stop fucking putting greasy shit on my phone. Fuck.

And on and on he went. I maintained my cheery countenance.

The WifeMom could hear this outburst from her bed, where she’d retreated some time earlier. The anger and profanity upset her. I assured her it was all just fun. Boy1 was wishing me a happy fathers day.