Guilty As Charged!

It’s rough out here in the blogging world. I tell you, it’s rough. After what happened to me this past Friday I think I might have had enough. Possibly this will be the last story I compose for quite a while. I can’t say for sure. But this I do know: My nerves are badly shaken. Yours would be too if you had been rigorously reprimanded and questioned, as I was, by the president of BAFFF (Blogging Ain’t For Fools, Fool).

Friday began quietly and propitiously before turning nasty. After breakfast I retired to the living room where, deep in dreamland on the sofa, I made the most of the next several hours. I was ridding The States of zombies and vampires when suddenly I was awakened at 11:30 AM by a series of powerful, rapid knocks on the front door. “Open up, Neil, at once! This is Mal Practiss, president of BAFFF. I’m here to give you a good talking to.”

I opened the door and let Mal in. As a card-carrying member of BAFFF I had no choice but to do so. Silently, I took his coat and led him to the dining room table. There, we took seats.

“Neil,” Mal said, looking straight into my eyes, “I’m certain you realize that, as a blogger, you are expected to meet stringent standards. One of BAFFF’s purposes is to monitor all of America’s bloggers, making sure they write when they should be writing and that they are telling the stories that cyberspace needs to be filled with.”

“Neil, it has come to my attention that twice — I say twice — in the past two weeks you failed to pen articles that would have fit your blog’s pages like the finest of gloves. Like most of your output, they would have described somewhat accurately your barely second-rate mini-adventures in life. First, you and your wife Sandy went to Philadelphia to see the movie 20th Century Women and followed it up with dinner at Panorama, an acclaimed restaurant located in a part of town that dates back to when Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson strode manfully through the streets. Wasn’t there a story in all of that?”

“And nine days later you and Sandy went to a house concert in Media, Pennsylvania to hear Ben Vaughn and his group. Ben Vaughn is a talented songwriter and musician who has been doing his offbeat thing for decades, and house concerts are intimate gatherings that the majority of your handful of readers probably don’t know a thing about. Neil, as with the first instance, it is unacceptable that you failed to commit a blog piece to that night out. Sir, and I use that term loosely, you better have good reasons for your neglect. If not, your blogging privileges are in jeopardy.”

“Humma, humma, humma,” I stammered admirably. A few moments later I finally was able to ask the obvious questions. “Mal,” I said, “how in the world do you know about all of this? Are you related to Kreskin?”

“Kreskin? Are you kidding? The evidence was there for me to see. I know you saw 20th Century Women because the photos you took at the theater are up on the iCloud, which needless to say I have full access to. And my access extends to OpenTable’s database, on which your Panorama reservation resides. As for The Ben Vaughn Quintet’s concert, luckily somebody videotaped the first number they performed that night and put it on FaceBook. The back of your goofy head, three feet away from the accordion player’s left elbow, is unmistakable in that video. Are my answers sufficient?”

I reluctantly nodded my goofy head yes.

“Good,” said Mal Practiss. “Now, explain yourself.”

I gathered my thoughts as best I could and took a deep breath. “Mal,” I then said, “I fully expected to write about the movie and dinner. But 20th Century Women disappointed me so much. I was sure I was going to like it, but uh-uh. It was slow and seemed almost like a hodgepodge of scenes sewn together. And I couldn’t have cared less about any of the five main characters. They were dull. Anyway, when the movie ended I didn’t see the point of writing about it.”

“Yeah, maybe I should have written a report about Panorama,” I went on. “It’s a real good restaurant. The food tastes and looks terrific. But it’s a given that any blog story about a restaurant should be stuffed with photos, and Panorama isn’t the kind of place where you whip out your phone and snap pictures of each dish. I’d have felt like an idiot doing that. What can I say?”

Mal nodded his head in sympathy, or so I thought. Then he said, “That’s unacceptable, Neil. A good story was there for you to mold, and you left it lying on the table. Let’s move on. Talk about Ben Vaughn.”

“Mal,” I said softly, “this is a different situation. I had no intention to write about that show. I’d have felt stupid sitting there jotting down notes on the music and taking photos. I mean, house concerts are special affairs — a small crowd pays to see a show in someone’s home, for crying out loud — and I didn’t want to disturb anyone sitting around me.”

“But, Mal, I’ll say this. The Ben Vaughn Quintet was really good. Vaughn’s songs are wry and understated. The band played maybe 25 tunes, including nearly every one from their new album, Pièce De Résistance, which is a winner. Ben’s a good singer and guitar picker. And how many rock bands include both a saxophonist and an accordion player? Hardly any, that’s for sure. The band was cool.”

There was little more I could add. Fortunately, a few seconds after my speech ended Sandy entered the room. Mal’s expression softened when he saw her. “Mal, Sandy. Sandy, Mal,” I brilliantly stated.

Mal sent a subdued but warm smile Sandy’s way. “Sandy,” he said, “as I imagine you know, your husband’s judgment leaves, shall we say, much to be desired. He doesn’t seem to understand the basics of blogging protocol. But I’m a reasonable man. I came here expecting to put a temporary or permanent stop to Neil’s blog. But I won’t. As long as he wises up in the future, that is. Neil, do you agree that you insulted the standards of the blogging community with your recent inactions?”

“Mal, I’m guilty as charged.”

“Yes, you are. This has been an unpleasant meeting for you and me. And it’s almost time for me to leave. Before I do, though, let me remind you that your BAFFF membership is due for renewal. It’s $500 for the upcoming 12 months, as you know. And worth every penny of it. Get your checkbook. I’ll wait.”

 

Click here for Panorama’s website.

Click here to watch The Ben Vaughn Quintet perform at the house concert.

Click here for Concerts At Sixth Street’s website.

Click here for Ben Vaughn’s website.

You can listen to The Ben Vaughn Quintet’s new album by hitting the Play button below:

 

(Don’t be shy about adding your comments or about sharing this article with others)

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38 thoughts on “Guilty As Charged!

  1. Fran Johns March 15, 2017 / 12:18 am

    I just applied for membership in BAFFF, but was notified that I would probably be rejected for a long list of reasons, mostly too much of an F. Oh, me. If Mal shows up at my door I will tell him to go pick on you.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Joyce March 15, 2017 / 9:12 am

    Funny! As usual…..liked the clicks!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Almost Iowa March 15, 2017 / 5:24 pm

    Hey Neil. I loved the post, love this blog but hey, BAFFF’s got problems, man, like real control issues. I went with Mañana. It’s a great group, no pressure. Heck, we don’t even know what the acronym stansd for but we’ll figure it out……maybe tomorrow.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. circumstance227 March 15, 2017 / 5:47 pm

    This is extremely disturbing. I’ve been at this for three years now and never knew there was a “blogging protocol” and that it was policed. I’ll be looking over my shoulder from now on. Glad to hear that got through this experience with just a slap on the wrist. I’m expecting great things from you from now on.

    Liked by 2 people

      • circumstance227 March 16, 2017 / 4:00 pm

        Thanks for the tip, but somehow I doubt I will cross paths with Mal. My theory is that he is your own personal alter-ego self-troller. I don’t seem to have one of those. As long as my mom keeps loving my blog, I’m fine. My advice to you: in moments of doubt, ask Sandy.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Lucie March 15, 2017 / 5:53 pm

    You’re a silly guy…..a talented, silly guy! ;)p

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Alyson March 15, 2017 / 6:03 pm

    Very good – Yes we could all have visits from Mal from time to time but glad you got away with it, this time. Your comments about the iCloud, OpenTable and Facebook etc definitely resonated though – Our lives and what we do in them are public property nowadays!

    Liked by 2 people

    • yeahanotherblogger March 15, 2017 / 7:06 pm

      Hi, Alyson. Thanks for your thoughts. It’s true – – – keeping one’s privacy these days can be a challenge.

      Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger March 16, 2017 / 7:14 am

      I’d never seen him before. At the bottom of the story is a link to him performing at the house concert. The back of my head is in that video.

      Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger March 17, 2017 / 7:24 am

      Hi. I’m glad you got some laughs from this story.
      I’ll be seeing you —

      Like

  7. aprilswopegreene March 17, 2017 / 11:49 am

    Too bad about 20th Century Women! I’ve been wanting to see it myself.

    Liked by 2 people

    • yeahanotherblogger March 17, 2017 / 12:28 pm

      Hi, April. Per IMDB a lot of people like this movie. So, you can’t go by me.

      Like

  8. Claire 'Word by Word' March 18, 2017 / 12:27 pm

    I watched the first five minutes of 20thC women and decided it wasn’t for me, ended up seeing Queen of Katwe instead, which was fabulous from the outset, highly recommended! And the music is great too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • yeahanotherblogger March 18, 2017 / 12:42 pm

      Hello, Claire.
      I saw Queen of Katwe not long ago. Liked it a lot.

      Thanks for stopping by my humble blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. andrewcferguson March 18, 2017 / 12:28 pm

    Thank goodness Sandy came to the rescue there, Neil. We have our Scottish equivalent to Mal Practiss – by a curious coincidence called Mal McPractiss – but he’s not visited for a while. However, I did get a threatening email about the number of draft articles backed up on my blog, so I’ll take your experience as a warning…

    Liked by 3 people

    • yeahanotherblogger March 18, 2017 / 12:44 pm

      Andrew, if it weren’t for Sandy I’d have been in many a mess over the years!

      Like

  10. Elizabeth M. Soltan March 18, 2017 / 1:14 pm

    Very clever writing, as usual! I especially liked “recent inactions.” And I “thumbs up” your acknowledgement that Sandy has saved you from “many a mess over the years.”

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Lori Stratton March 22, 2017 / 9:16 pm

    He showed up a my door last night, but I was too tired to answer. Maybe next time. Hilarious post!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. aladec March 28, 2017 / 7:50 am

    Nice story. At least you didn’t get a knock on the door with a Process Server handing you a Medical Malpractice plaintiff summons.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. aladec March 28, 2017 / 1:33 pm

    I did. But should have gone into Investment Banking instead

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Martin March 31, 2017 / 7:00 pm

    Wow! It does sound rough over in the states. Fortunately, in the uk we don’t get hassled by the man. At least as long as we stay within the correct British rules of amaturism. Get too professional and we’d get shut down like a shot!
    Not a problem for me!

    Love your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger March 31, 2017 / 8:26 pm

      Hi, Martin. I haven’t had any contact with Mal Practiss since writing this article. Maybe he’ll continue to leave me alone.

      Liked by 1 person

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