Tuesday, July 1, 2008

300th Post - The 300th Post (And Happy Canada Day!)

Hello, my faithful readers, and Happy Canada Day!

You'll notice the small, cosmetic change I made to this blog by looking over on the right hand side of this screen and perhaps scrolling down a bit. I hope you like it.

This was to have been the place where I would have posted another interview. There are people who read this blog primarily for the interviews I conduct with local celebrities. Well, both of them that is. I do have 3 more interviews lined up.

Got home late last night, around 11:30. The Tattoo last evening was spectacular as was the dinner beforehand at the Wooden Monkey. We apparently sat at the very same table Keith Richards sat at when he and the rest of the Stones played here in Halifax in 2006. Ate the same dessert, too.

Ellen Page has gone on record as saying that she loves the Wooden Monkey. I like it quite a bit. The food is organic and unusual and not to everyone's taste. I can't imagine my parents would like it that much.

I never thought that this blog would make it to 300 posts. I thought, maybe 100 or 150. But, here I am, and I feel I am just getting started, as I have so many more things I want to discuss here, and so many more things I want to try on this blog, like podcasting, better video, more pictures, overall better content.


I have obliquely referred to this before, but have never gone into great detail as to why I began this blog, and what set of circumstances resulted in my quitting one message board and starting something here. I think this, the 300th post, is a good place to provide more detail.

For quite a few years, I was a regular contributor to the Tony Isabella Message Board. Tony is a writer whose most popular work was in the 1970's and early 1980's, but who today, like so many writers, can't get much work. I am not sure if "bitter" is the best word to describe him. "Frustrated" is the one I will use.

Tony continues to write an online column, not really a blog, where he expresses his opinion on whatever is going on in his life, as well as review items of a genre nature. His message board is an adjunct to that, where people (for years, including your humble blogger) will comment on his columns, and pipe in with their own opinions.

Last summer, a well-known and well-liked comics artist, Mike Wieringo, died suddenly of an aortic dissection. Of course, Tony's board lit up with comments on his passing. I wrote a comment that I had not originally liked his work, but upon visiting his website, I had found that my initial assessment had been very wrong and I mentioned how I had regretted feeling this way about his work and expressed sadness at his death. Someone else had the same type of comments.

A couple of days later, Tony rips us a new one on the board, blasting us for making light of the man's death, and where did we get off saying this stuff about a dead man? His family could be reading this, he reasoned, and might become further upset!


I don't recall the exact wording of what I wrote in response to Tony. I think I still have the e-mail somewhere and will search for it and post it here. But I wrote something along the lines of I meant nothing by my words, just that I had been wrong in my assessment of his work, and that I felt saddened by his passing. I then offered to quit the board.

Tony wrote back that no such exodus was necessary.

Upon reflection, however, I was getting pretty sore at Tony. He is a pretty strident guy with opinions that, if yours don't match his pretty closely, will make you feel pretty uncomfy. If you are a Republican, I can't imagine you'll want to hang out on that board very much. In my own case, I had been kind to Tony, having given him and his daughter a board game that I could have sold on ebay for a tidy sum. I gave it away, and even paid the shipping costs, because I wanted to do something nice for him and his daughter. Evidently, that kindness meant nothing to him, not even the benefit of a doubt when he decided to tear into me in that public way.

I was also ticked with Tony because my father very nearly died of an aortic dissection in 2000. It was only through hard work, luck, and determination that the EMS guys and the doctors kept him alive. At one point, he was transported via high speed ambulance from Kentville to Halifax, a good hour's drive, where a doctor worked on him to keep him from dying. He was that close to succumbing that evening, and hovered around death for 10 days or more. I spoke to him this morning. He knows he is lucky.

Seven years later, when someone I thought a friend, almost like a brother, accused me of exulting in the death of another human being, particularly one who died of an aortic dissection, that did not sit well with me.

I knew that if I wrote something back on the board defending myself, Tony would just remove the comment and ban me from the board. He and his coterie are like that. The only thing I could do, right then and there, was to quit the board, and I did.

I consulted with Joe, the fellow who commented to one of my posts last week, after I quit the board. He had quit the board after a monstrous outrage was committed against his wife on the board. Not my place to say what it was, and the story is better to come from him and Gina anyway.

I sent an e-mail to several people who regularly contribute to the board, and a couple of them wrote me back, supporting me, but urging me to suck it up and come back, even apologize. I am still in touch with one or two of them. They said that essentially Tony runs a good board and one is free to express himself as one sees fit, but from time to time Tony will decide to hit us on the snout with a newspaper if he sees something he doesn't like.

I can't apologize when I didn't do anything wrong. And I can't stick around somewhere I am not treated well. And I cannot communicate with someone who disrespects me.

A couple of months later, after realizing that I had missed expressing myself online, I began Bevboy's Blog. And I haven't looked back, just forward.

I hope you'll come along for the ride for the next 300 posts. And 300 more after that.

Have a wonderful Canada Day!


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