Wednesday, July 30, 2008
One year ago today I felt like the figure in the famous Edvard Munch painting “The Scream.” After returning from vacation, I was unceremoniously shown the door by a horrible PR firm in Orange County. I worked for gutless, cold, heartless fools that just discarded me with no qualms …
What’s worse is that they didn't care I worked my ass off for them and their clients for more than 13 months to secure key stories in the media. I bet the media hits I worked so hard to get still adorn the walls of their lame firm in the form of slick, beautiful wall plaques. Oh well, doesn't matter now.
My departure from their lame firm has proved a blessing in disguise. I am happier than I have been in years in my career.
Once again, I am working for myself. I have my own clients. I heed my own counsel and I have come to realize it is the best (and only) path for me. Gone is the horrible stress of working for creepy untalented, fake corporate hacks that had little or no appreciation for my PR talents and attacked everything I did and said.
However, these petty fools couldn't produce the excellent results I have secured for a number of firms and clients for more than 12 years. Not if their lives depended on it.
Now, I work for myself with no foolish middlemen who lack real knowledge of the power of media relations or PR whether it is in the new or old media. It all comes down to value. If your clients fail to value your efforts, all the slick explanations in the world will never convince them. Only results and effort will.
I hold them no grudge. I forgive them the ugly. foolish and backstabbing things they did to me, but I don't forget …
This poem is a good indication what these fools put me through.
PR HELL, Part 1
Making a living
instead of truly living.
Giving away my best ideas
in the service of fools.
as I chafe against
about accounts of the dead.
This truly is work.
Work to stay interested
One soulless gig
Running out of passion
Sometimes I feel just like
a broken down politician
that has run out of lies to spin.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
After 15 or so years as an avid reader, I cancelled my L.A. Times print subscription this week. I did this with great sadness. Sure, now I read a lot my news on the Internet, but that wasn't the only reason.
The real truth?
I could no longer stand to watch my favorite newspaper die from a thousand staff (or section) cuts.
Really, the first signs that something was wrong was a few years ago when the the LA Times great Sunday Calendar section was destroyed. No longer was it an impressive magazine like newspaper section that covered everything -- movies, TV and especially music in great detail. I couldn't wait to read it. They turned it into two unsatisfying sections that limited the coverage of everything even movies. Eventually they delegated the popular music coverage to the second section and hardly covered it all. The Sunday Calendar was an event. I couldn't wait to read it.
Now, I could hardly care less. Last week I barely read it at all. Nothing interested me except for an interview or two. I also had to suffer through snobby columns such as the "Smart List." That lame column wouldn't even rated the back section of the old Calendar section. Ridiculous. Sad.
The Times' excellent sports section also took hits. Special events such as the Super Bowl, World Series or NBA Finals no longer received such detailed and extensive coverage. In the past, whole special sections were devoted to these events as with the Olympics.
Still, the writing has remained great with columnists like Bill Plaschke and Mark Heisler (best NBA writer in the country in my opinion) but there is a lot less of it now. Strong writers like J.A. Adande left and now are writing for ESPN.
Who is next?
Even columnist Steve Lopez wrote in a recent column of his pondering taking a buyout and leaving.
The front news sections are much thinner then they used to be. So are the California and Business sections.
These sections are devoid of strong local coverage that used to be its mainstay in years past. I have also experienced this as a publicist. There was a time when the Times was open to covering local businesses and stories. Now, it is much harder, in fact nearly impossible to get southern California clients covered by the Times. Don't know why. I could get some of my local tech clients covered in the New York Times, USA Today, Business Week easier than our hometown paper. Crazy.
Although I realize the value of journalism (as a former print journalist) and the importance of supporting journalists (who will dig out the investigative stories? bloggers? don't think so), I will get my news from the Google News and the L.A. Times Web sites for now.
It is a Brave News World for me for now on.
Monday, July 28, 2008
I took this picture at the beach in Dana Point last September. It was during one of my long walks on the endless stretch of beach at Dana Point. I always go to that beach after a work crisis in my life. Not sure why it always works out that way. This was before my freelance PR business started to take off.
Someone had carved out their message on a large fallen tree trunk laying on the beach.
But it goes to show you can find signs of hope anywhere you look.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
On of my favorite places to write is on the beach...at a place called "Horny Corner" by the locals in Belmont Shore located in Long Beach, CA.
I can't explain why. I love to sit against the long concrete wall that separates the nearby street and homes and the sand and write. The official name of the area is Belmont Beach.
This area gives me such inspiration. Just gazing at the water glistening in the mid day sun or at dusk as I write in my daily journal, or write a poem, a song, a chapter in one of my books or an idea for future creative ideas. I love it and need it like breathing.
It is not always easy. People look on me with such suspicion as I write. Like I am some kind of freak or something. Also you have the beach denizens that are addicted to playing games -- horseshoes, throwing around a football, volleyball -- anything to avoid talking to their friends or enjoying the beauty around them.
Still, I write. I write in defiance to their suspicion or dare I say ignorance. Where do they think writers work? We work everywhere inspiration strikes us -- cafes, beaches, forests, a Starbucks, a restaurant, a hotel room, the back of a bus or taxi -- anywhere we can.
I write at Horny Corner almost every weekend -- spring, summer, fall or winter (unless it is raining). I walk down from my Belmont Shore apartment with such anticipation, such joy for the act of writing on my favorite beach.
I luv it when I have the beach to myself during the Fall, Winter and Spring. Just left with my thoughts and the sand and ocean.
Tomorrow afternoon I'll be back at my beach office writing down my thoughts in my journal or in some other capacity. Look for me and you may see me there struggling with my muse on the sand.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
One year ago tonight I was on a wild trip in Vegas...staying at the Palms Hotel. (By the way, I took the top two photos during my trip. The other one I got from the Internet).
I had a great time...winning at craps, visiting the Playboy Club and enjoying myself...
It was the first time I didn't want to leave this desert mirage ...after a couple days..
I loved the Palms...it is the kind of hotel made for Vegas....classy, but naughty....cool, but not snobby...I stayed in the Fantasy Suite and I am a hardly a rock star....but they made me feel like one...
Little did I know shortly after returning from vacation I would lose my job...but that is another story will deal with in the coming days on this blog...
But I must admit, through the years I have had a love and hate relationship with Vegas....
I love the fantasy...the sex, the flirting, the drinking, the gambling...the wildness....
but after a while money permeates everything in that so called desert paradise...
it is after all a city built on losers...people losing their life savings and also mob money..
Now, I like to gamble an I love playing craps, but the obsession with money in Vegas gets to me after a while..
it is a souless place...at times
the last time I was there before last summer...i was robbed and beaten in the Hard Rock Cafe parking lot...which is fitting i guess..
after a while vegas will take some part of your soul if you stay there long enough...
i wrote this poem a while back about my conflicting feelings about Vegas...baby...
A town built on losers,
beckoning the ultimate win,
the ultimate sin,
perhaps a new beginning.
Hints of the eventual reckoning
in a neon haze.
I want to live in neon.
I want to fuck in neon
in the lobby of the Hard Rock Cafe Hotel
with strains of classic rock riffs
pounding in my ears.
I live for neon lights flashing in my dreams.
I yearn to beat the odds,
beat the house,
beat the system,
but I am playing with loaded dice
and a marked deck.
Hey, I am no loser.
Just wait, I'll turn it all around.
Just one more roll.
Just one more hand.
Do you understand?
Vegas, baby, that's who I am.
I am a living, breathing embodiment
of a souless sham.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Charles Bukowski, the real bard of L.A., is my favorite poet...
It is not only his honesty in describing the private hells we each have to go through each day . . . that inspires me
But that he could find poetry anywhere and in anything...
He punctured the pompous and pretentious especially snobby poets full of themselves who could only write for other so called clever poets, turning out convoluted, turgid insular works while ignoring the world at large and essentially real life.
I share his disdain for the snobbish, academic side of poetry.
So in tribute to Bukowski freeing poetry from the snobs . . . I offer a poem of my own called "Backyard Poetry" that is about finding poetry anywhere and everywhere even in a backyard . . . barbecue.
I despise the
It's a stuffy affair
devoid of any real compassion
Because many of America's
have never picked up a pen
and composed a single word of poetry.
create stirring stanzas
lips and tender kisses,
fingers and caresses,
wild crazy loves
They compose poetry
in the tender way they
raise their children,
love their families
and reach out
to the wayward,
They are the living embodiment
with acts of loyalty
Poetry is heard everywhere
and anywhere where people talk honestly
about their lives.
Their life verses
go many times unheard
even to themselves.
Poetry burns brightly
in their eyes
not yet realized.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court finally slapped the Bush Administration down for their unconstitutional conduct in Guantanamo Bay -- their blanket approach of sweeping up suspects and leaving them locked up indefinitely with no charges (on unsubstantiated rumours)...claiming national security and the fear of terrorism. All the while subjecting many prisoners -- whether guilty or not -- to torture and horrible abuses we accuse other countries of doing.
When did we become the monsters we fear? when is torture OK? We created the Geneva Conventions after one of the most destructive wars in the history of humanity -- World War II.
Now, we've become one of the worst torturers -- all in secret, in the dark.
And we call this a democracy?
Just as in the torture chambers in Iraq....
we so casually shredded human rights, and the U.S. constitution all in the name of security and the war of terror...
But who protects us from ourselves?....Who watches the torturers?....
Can we truly lecture the rest of the world about freedom and democracy?
Fear and loathing....indeed...
I wrote this poem about my growing unease with all of this
THE GUANTANAMO BAY TOUR
Welcome to the
Guantanamo Bay Tour
in beautiful sunny Cuba.
Hope you'll be uncomfortable
during your stay.
First, we'll start with a little
light interrogation and torture.
Then we'll offer up some
tantalizing light and sleep deprivation
and maybe if you are lucky
some scintillating starvation and water boarding.
And if we get a little carried away
and you perish,
we are so sorry.
But let us remind you,
customer service means so much to us
and WE are here to please and
serve the U.S. Government.
You have the right to remain silent
as your complaints will not be heard.
Your indefinite visit is courtesy
and paid for by the U.S. Government
and the American taxpayer.
Hope your time with us will be
an enjoyable one
Friday, July 18, 2008
Each year the national press especially the cable and TV networks become increasingly myopic in their coverage. This is truly reflected during major news event and especially during this endless election year. They feature 24/7 coverage of one event or controversy over and over covering every angle. Sometimes that is justified as with 9/11 or the Iraq war, or JFK's assassination. Other times it is questionable as during the death of Pope John Paul. Here we are in the middle of a deadly war in Iraq and all CNN and the other channels cover is the death of the Pope. It was overkill to say the least.
One summer afternoon a while back as I sat in a Starbucks in Huntington Beach, Calif., I poured my frustration about the sorry state of the news business into an interesting and provocative poem. I was frustrated and tired of weeks of coverage of the death of JFK Jr.
This poem asks an intriguing question...
WOULD THE CRUCIFIXION HAVE BEEN TELEVISED?
I wonder if the crucifixion
took place today
would it be televised
Would the plethora of TV cable channels
cover every aspect
of the death
on the cross?
a press briefing
with Roman officials
explaining their actions.
profiles on the apostles,
with Jesus' followers
and an exclusive interview
with Judas entitled:
"Why he betrayed Christ: Judas defends himself."
Ponder the exclusive reports
with those who claim to have witnessed God's miracles,
including an exclusive profile on the blind man
who claims Christ restored his sight.
Another profile on a follower who says to have heard Jesus' last words
or another who saw Jesus walk on water
or still another who witnessed Christ's resurrection.
That would be followed by
another exclusive interview
with Mary discussing the Immaculate Conception.
This tabloid TV culture
would no doubt turn the
INTO BIG RATINGS.
All meaning ultimately
lost in the torrent of coverage
nailed relentlessly into our souls and imaginations.
Monday, July 14, 2008
With Iraq continuing to head toward civil war (or at least an uneasy, violent peace) and fighting and killing over religious and ethnic differences, it's obvious that we (and I mean everyone around the world) continue to fail to learn from our recent mistakes.
Not too long ago such differences led to mass killing and destruction in Kosovo after years of oppressed peace in the former Yugoslavia. That's when the word "Ethnic Cleansing" returned to the political lexicon for the first time since the Nazis carried out their brutal and inhuman campaign against the Jews and many others during World War II.
My rage and disgust over the same kind of genocide reoccurring in Kosovo spilled out into this poem I wrote in the late 1990s.
It is very timely considering the genocide continuing to take place in Darfur and in other hot spots around the world
Sounds like some insidious new detergent.
Imagine the ad campaign.
Bought and sold wherever intolerance is found.
This cold phrase evokes
of people being stuffed into
of any individuality,
With Ajax in one hand
a machine gun in the other,
to clean the land
of anyone different from them.
But how will they cleanse
when the bullets stop
and the peace accords are signed?
They will scrub and scrub
but can't remove the blood from their hands.
This is blood that has soaked into the muddy ground,
and into our hearts and souls.
Now, those who the soldiers tried to cleanse with bullets
are trying to rub out them out
with the same indifference and rage.
So the vicious cycle
until none of us can claim to be truly cleansed
as we feebly attempt
to understand the roots of
One thing is clear, though.
There's not enough cleanser in the world
to clean up this mess.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
I wrote this poem one late night...after staring into the bathroom mirror...and thinking about with each passing day (hour, minute, second) more of my essence, my life ebbs away....
We all take for granted the time we have. We try so hard NOT to focus on our fragile mortality....we disguise and bury our fears in bravado, violence, pleasure, sex, even art...
but in the end...there we all are in front of the mirror....our slow demise apparent....and yet ignored anyway...until too late....to recognize the joys, the opportunites lost.
A little more rot
Days fall away
like dead skin.
Cavities of the soul.
of life and regrets.
gained and lost.
Nothing is as it seems....Your eyes can deceive you.
Those are some of the ideas explored in one of my favorite movies from the 197os by the late great director Alan Pakula -- "The Parallax View." He deftly explores the paranoia, conspiracy and coverup following an assasination similar to those of JFK and RFK. The more the reporter protagonist played by Warren Beatty tries to find out about a shady organization he thinks is behind the assasination of a politcian, the less he knows. At the close of the film, Beatty's character is ultimately set up and made a patsy and fall guy for another political assassination before he is also killed.
This title of this blog -- The Pappas View -- is a homage to this film among others. I hope to also to give an interesting and different view of politics, life, art, music, books, sex through my poetry and writing.
Although, I have posted my poetry on My Space for years, this is my first actual blog. I look forward to sharing my writing life and thoughts from time to time.