Get PJ Media on your Apple

PJ Lifestyle

Kathy Shaidle

(KATHY SHAIDLE is a blogging pioneer who runs FiveFeetOfFury, now in its 14th year. She's been called "one of the great virtuoso polemicists of our time," by MARK STEYN. Her NEW book is Confessions of A Failed Slut (Thought Catalog, 2014).
Follow Kathy:

Rihanna Beaten Up Again (by NFL and… Debbie Harry?)

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

Rihanna-amazing-photos

“Singer” Rihanna is having a crap week:

There’s more fallout from the Ray Rice domestic violence incident and the turmoil it has caused for the NFL – CBS and Rihanna are splitting up.

The network said Tuesday it was permanently editing a song featuring Rihanna’s voice out of its Thursday night NFL telecasts – after the singer issued a profane Tweet about it.

CBS issued a statement saying that it was “moving in a different direction” with different theme music.

The song was one of a handful of elements CBS cut out of its inaugural Thursday night football telecast. At the time, CBS Sports president Sean McManus said Rihanna’s own history as a victim of domestic violence was one part of the decision but not the overriding one.

Had the NFL kept the song in rotation, they’d have been torn apart on Twitter and elsewhere for “bad optics.”

(There’s a “broken occipital bone” joke in there somewhere…)

The league is currently in full hair-shirting mode, pantomiming “outrage” and “concern.”

It doesn’t need another black eye these days.

But of course, some will now scream that the NFL is “punishing the victim” by “silencing a battered woman’s voice” or something. (See below.)

YouTube Preview Image

Read bullet |

If Jack the Ripper Was Jewish, Does It Matter?

Sunday, September 14th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

jack-the-ripperjpg

So the Jews did it after all.

OK, scratch out that pluralizing “s.”

Not that it will make any difference to diehard antisemitic conspiracy nuts – “the men who taste Jews in their sandwiches.”

Those types must have squirmed with glee when the Daily Mail reported that Jack the Ripper’s identity had finally been revealed thanks to DNA testing.

Author Russell Edwards (Naming Jack the Ripper) claims to have iron-clad proof that the first famous serial killer of the modern era was indeed long-time suspect Aaron Kosminski.

The mentally deranged Kosminski was 25 years old, an immigrant (likely from Russia’s Pale of Settlement), a sometime-hairdresser – and a Jew.

YouTube Preview Image

Read bullet |

A Life Based on ‘Crossing the Street’

Sunday, August 31st, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

Copyright Rocco Macauly, 1976

The adjective “iconic” is criminally overused, particularly by enthusiastic but historically illiterate youngsters.

However, for many old fogeys, the photograph above actually deserves that designation.

Just check out that badass Rasta, striding fearlessly, even casually, toward a line of (probably) white London cops.

He’s alone, but this is his neighborhood, not theirs, so why should he cower, despite the menace hovering in the air?

Surely something has exploded, gone horribly, fatally wrong — or is just about to — beyond the frozen boundaries of this picture, which seems to be holding its breath, like an enjambed line of poetry.

Although this photo was taken in 1976, it seems weirdly timeless, yet timely, especially in the wake of Ferguson.

And it is, except not for the reason one might expect.

Read bullet |

New York City: The Good, Bad and Ugly

Monday, August 25th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

A1

There were too many “good” things to squeeze into this post, while the “bad” and the “ugly” run together:

Way more homeless people than we saw in 2011, perhaps because they’d been cleared out during the 9/11 anniversary.

Speaking of which: the tourist behavior at the WTC memorial is every bit as depressing and infuriating as you’ve heard. We couldn’t wait to get out of there.

(Hint: When Vice Magazine thinks you’re out of line…)

LaGuardia still looks like a 1970s bus terminal.

Times Square is my idea of hell.

But back to the “good” stuff:

Read bullet |

Yelling at Each Other About Robin Williams, Ann Coulter, Death, and God

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

Inevitably, Robin Williams’ suicide saw the “raising awareness about mental health issues” camp fighting it out online with the “he was a selfish git” crowd.

When the latter reject the “disease model” of addiction and mental illness — people like Theodore Dalrymple — they do so prompted by a laudable instinct:

They think depressed people or addicts use the “disease” model to avoid taking responsibility for their actions.

This is a bit like the New Atheists’ concept of “God,” as “an old man in the sky.” They proudly and loudly reject that concept, seemingly unaware (despite their alleged sophistication and superior education) that so do most actual believers.

Likewise, few addicts who accept the disease model (and not all do) use it as a “get out of jail free” card.

It’s called “How It Works” not “How It Lounges on the Couch Eating Cheetos and Watching Judge Judy.”

“What an order! I can’t go through with it” is right.

“Some of us thought we could find an easier, softer way, but we could not…”

Making amends, taking inventory, doing service and even prayer and meditation are exercises in responsibility and action.

Robin Williams apparently did all those things and stayed clean and sober for 20 years.

Then he “went out” in 2006 and was never the same.

“Cunning, baffling, powerful.”

Or, as Catholics like to say when they can’t explain something: “It’s a mystery…”

(If you say it in a somber enough voice, and include the “…”, it sounds satisfyingly deep.)

Read bullet |

TV’s 3 Most Admirable Post-Modern Cartoon Characters

Saturday, August 9th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

In my previous post, I noted that I grew up getting my ideas about marriage from The Flintstones.

Hint: This was not a good thing.

However, cartoons have evolved almost beyond recognition since I sat cross-legged in front of the TV every lunchtime, more or less surgically attached to “The Uncle Bobby Show.”

That makes animation an outlier, since pretty much every other entertainment genre – especially movies and music – has been in arrested development since the late 1980s.

Of course, both classical and computer animation have advanced artistically, thanks to advances in technology.

But story quality has become more sophisticated, too.

Characters – and, dare I say it, messages – are often more realistic yet more idealistic at the same time.

That is:

Some post-modern cartoon characters are even pretty good role models.

(At least, better than Wilma and Betty scheming to get their husbands to buy them mink coats, or Fred and Barney trying to keep track of the fibs they’ve told their wives.)

Read bullet |

How to Be the Perfect Wife in 3 Easy Steps

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

candlelight-wedding-chapel-las-vegas-4810

I always said I would never get married.

Conveniently, no one ever proposed to me, either.

Then when I hit middle age, a bunch of my female friends and acquaintances tied the knot.

One (I’m sorry but… extremely unlikely) wedding in particular shoved my ego over an emotional cliff.

“SHE’s married and I’m not!” I heard myself wail in Arnie’s general direction.

He and I had been together for years and purchased a condo (and a beloved cat) together. Arnie didn’t see much point in getting married, but went along anyhow. After all, it meant a week-long trip to Las Vegas.

I definitely got the better part of this deal.

Arnie is smart, funny, hard working, honest to a fault, and only watches sports on TV every four years.

Whereas I can’t cook, still don’t quiet understand the concept of “dusting,” am a temperamental artiste, and look like the love child of Frodo and Hillary Clinton.

So why (besides inertia, and fear of a heated cat custody battle) is Arnie still around?

(At least, until he reads this.)

Read bullet |

3 Things Getting Lupus Taught Me

Saturday, July 26th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

Enjoy-Your-Lupus-house-md-4318152-450-374-300x249

When my PJ Media editor suggested that I write about having lupus, I almost said no.

I was diagnosed with SLE in 1991 and have been in remission since around 1995. My book about living with this chronic illness came out two years later. Like most writers, by the time a book comes out, I’m so sick – pun intended – of its topic that I dread having to revisit it.

Having been in remission for almost 20 years, I can honestly make the rather unusual claim that not even the perspective of hindsight has changed my ideas or feelings about what being a pain-wracked invalid was like. Not even a little bit.

I feel like I’m supposed to say the opposite: that looking back, I could have “handled” my disease differently, or learned other, “better” lessons from it, and so forth.

But then, from the very beginning, I didn’t fit the mold of the “disease of the week” TV movie heroine, or some “poster child” for lupus.

Here are some things I learned (or, perhaps more accurately, some pre-conceived ideas I had reinforced) when I was at my very sickest.

Warning: What follows is NOT inspirational. At all.

Read bullet |

50 Is the New Crappy

Thursday, July 17th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

I just got back from the mammogram I don’t believe in.

In the spring, my doctor handed me an envelope decorated with a cluster of bright balloons and the words “Happy Birthday!”

Alas, this deceptively cheerful package concealed the usual tips on diet and exercise, plus requisition forms for all the annual medical tests I’d be getting from now on.

The mammogram is bad enough. I got my first one before having my doubts about the procedure confirmed, and now I’m stuck in the “Ontario Breast Screening Program” because “free” “health” “care.”

But now I also have to get blood work for cholesterol (how 1970s!), glucose and a bunch of other things, plus an ECG.

The worst part: I need to send little swabs of poo* through the mail. (Although it could be worse: it could be my job to open those envelopes. And a special shout-out to my Facebook friend for sharing her “float a Chinet dessert plate in the toilet” trick.)

It’s all part of the splendor and pageantry of turning 50.

(* As you can see from the video below, which my tax dollars helped pay for, “poo” is the actual scientific term!)

Read bullet |

10 Obscure Songs That Should Have Been Hits

Monday, July 7th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

9781483020594

So I finished reading Cowboys and Indies and I still don’t understand how the recording industry works.

Some guy gets 50 percent of another guy’s 20 percent. At least three famous, powerful music biz “suits” were literally tone deaf. And don’t even get me started on all the different varieties of “rights.”

It was like reading a Swahili textbook on algebra.

What I did learn was that there’s no mystery as to why some talented performers wallow in obscurity while their inferiors succeed. Don’t believe people who tell you they’ve cracked the “hit record formula.”

The real reason? “Independent promoters,” a.k.a, payola, plays a big part.

So that’s depressing.

What follows are my picks for ten songs that should have been bigger than they were:

Read bullet |

10 Movies Millennials Must See to Understand the 1970s

Friday, June 27th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

I knew things were bad when, a few years ago, I actually found myself missing the Seventies.

Many, many American movies made during the Seventies share one overarching theme:

America is falling apart!

Tim Dirks’ must-read, 6-part overview of the films of this era begins with this highly-concentrated, perfectly observed paragraph:

Motion picture art seemed to flourish at the same time that the defeat in the Vietnam War, the Kent State Massacre, the Watergate scandal, President Nixon’s fall, the Munich Olympics shoot-out, increasing drug use, and a growing energy crisis showed tremendous disillusion, a questioning politicized spirit among the public and a lack of faith in institutions — a comment upon the lunacy of war and the dark side of the American Dream.

Our own Ed Driscoll has done yeoman’s work chronicling that decade’s “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls” leftwing auteur boom: the death of the studio system, and the rise of hot young directors – Spielberg, Lucas, Coppola, Scorsese — whose visions still inform American film, and the culture at large.

(See also A Decade Under the Influence and Sexplosion: From Andy Warhol to A Clockwork Orange.)

Most recently, Kyle Smith proffered his “10 Best Films of the 1970s.”

My list is different than Smith’s because the “best” films of that era (and I agree with many of his selections) don’t necessarily capture the mood of the times as well as lesser movies.

What follows is a guide for millennials who are forever hearing about “the Seventies,” are living with that decade’s toxic cultural fallout, and who wonder what life during this tumultuous time (although, aren’t they all…?) was really like.

That’s why I’ve neglected to mention anachronistic or overly escapist fare: all the bloated feel-good musicals; anything by Disney, Mel Brooks or Cubby Broccoli; all but one of Woody Allen’s “early funny ones”; sweeping pseudo-period Oscar bait like Barry Lyndon, The Way We Were, New York, New York, The Sting and Funny Lady; and time-less blockbusters like Star Wars, Halloween and Rocky.

(Incidentally: most movies about the Vietnam War were made in the 1980s.)

However, I have included movies about the Seventies that were made later, if they accurately evoke the time period. Note: There are a LOT of these.

Ideally, curious readers should get hold of the ten movies I’ve chosen as exemplars of my ten different themes, then temporarily get rid of their computers and phones (because it’s 1972, and “Ma Bell” still hasn’t shown up to activate your line). Next put on some thick polyester clothing, and eat nothing but Cheesies and Orange Crush for the duration. (The Seventies were VERY orange.)

Close all your curtains to help mimic the sinister, suffocating atmosphere we marinated in.

And press “play.”

Read bullet |

The 11 Best Ideas in Adam Carolla’s Hilarious New Book

Thursday, June 12th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

Everywhere he goes, fans tell broadcaster, filmmaker, self-made millionaire and libertarian-moralist Adam Carolla that he should run for president.

Now Carolla’s done the next best (and much smarter) thing: His new book, President Me: The America That’s In My Head, serves up Carolla’s contrarian, politically incorrect prescriptions for fixing our broken society.

Like his previous bestsellers (and his hugely successful podcast), President Me is pure, unfiltered Carolla. He somehow combines the candid common sense of an old-fashioned Everyman with a freak savant’s audacious ingenuity.

9780062320407_p0_v2_s260x420

True, Carolla’s raw, frat-boy prose will turn some readers off. That’s a shame, because there are a lot of truly original (and non-partisan) ideas in President Me, mixed in with the crude jokes and curse words.

(By the way: If you’re a longtime “Carolla-tard” and figure you can skip this book because you’ve heard all the material already, you’re wrong. I’m a daily listener and there’s a lot of stuff in here that Carolla has kept “chambered”  — as he’d phrase it – especially for President Me.)

Each chapter is devoted to a different federal department. Here are candidate Carolla’s promised reforms for ten of them:

Read bullet |

Whoopi Goldberg Is Wrong About Canada, Justin Bieber and the N-Word

Thursday, June 5th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

nword

Maybe Whoopi Goldberg should stick to parsing the nuances of the word “rape.”

The View-er is now under fire for shrugging off Justin Bieber’s use of the “n-word” in a recently surfaced old video.:

You know, Canadian words — I’m going to say the word so get ready to beat me. N—-r doesn’t mean anything in Canada.

Goldberg knows this because she “did a movie last year, in Canada.”

That’s know-nothing celebrity smugness on the level of (bad) satire.

She played a nun once, too; I look forward to Whoopi’s exegesis on Humane Vitae.

I’m a 50-year-old Canadian. I have never uttered the N-word. I don’t think my mouth can form the letters.

When I was a kid, once in a while some boy would call Niagara Falls “N***** Falls.” He’d be rewarded with groans. It was considered a “low class” thing to say even in my “low class” environs.

The word has always been a slur in Canada, and a particularly virulent one at that.

After all, that’s the context in which Bieber was using it. He wasn’t referring to one of his “posse” in cringe-worthy “wigger” fashion. He was joking about cutting black people up with a chainsaw.

That makes Goldberg’s defense that much more idiotic.

She’s right Canada doesn’t share America’s history of slavery, but only because God made the place too cold for cotton — something I thank God for every day, as I’m forced to listen to you guys whine and fret about race relations 24/7.

Don’t get me wrong: Canada has its own smaller-scale “original sins.”

For the most part, however, they have been exaggerated and exploited by professional victims who are jealous of the mileage American “civil rights” hustlers have gotten out of playing the race card.

(These professional victims are the same people who love to boast about how much better we are than Americans — even though Canadians are the ones who, for example, invented school shootings…)

Alas, Goldberg’s comments will be used to bolster the already-toxic anti-Americanism that is the connective tissue of the moral preen-ers on the Canadian left, some of whom are congratulating themselves on their own wonderfulness in the comments at the National Post.

That our nation’s “moral superiority” is mostly an accident of climate and geography never occurs to them.

Read bullet |

Turner (Cult) Movies: Queen of Outer Space (1958) Airs Tonight

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

Queen_of_Outer_Space

It’s not all black & white “noir” and Criterion Collection classics over at TCM.

The channel also airs weird, obscure (or not) “underground” films and B-movies that are often (mis)categorized as “cult” flicks.

Tonight (and into this morning) TCM is showing movies all about space, “the final frontier.”

Along with predictable choices like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Alien, they’re playing that fondly remembered 1950s “sci-fi” quickie, Queen of Outer Space.

Contrary to the film’s own publicity materials, Zsa Zsa Gabor is not the titular “queen.” Instead, that much-married Hungarian beauty queen/Paris Hilton relation leads the resistance fighters who want to overthrow Venus’s ruler. (Whose mask looks like an aborted kindergarten project.)

Not surprisingly, life on this all-woman planet gets complicated following the arrival of three very male American astronauts: Oscar-Levant-Looking-Guy, Paul Rudd’s dad, and Eisenhower-era Matthew McConaughey. (It may be “the future,” but they’re still using Brylcreme, and lots of it.)

Queen of Outer Space could have been a cute Shavian satire on male/female relationships. Instead, it’s simply a colorful, confused but ultimately painless time-waster.

Blogger Kate McMillan likes to say that “if women ran the world, we’d still be living in caves, but with really, really fancy curtains.” Alas, according to Queen of Outer Space, the women who run another planet can’t even manage that. Astonishingly cheap sets that would have looked passable in black & white are rendered nakedly, comically putrid beneath the relentless gaze of CinemaScope Color.

(And sure enough, the women’s super-duper nuclear death ray is decorated with yellow polka-dots.)

Along with the awful set design, genre fans treasure the “giant spider” that’s the size of a kiddie pool (and slightly less menacing) and, especially, the racy costumes worn by what looks to be Sylvia Plath and her fellow Mademoiselle interns.

Then there’s Zsa Zsa, throwing awkward “sexy” shapes and breathlessly warning the astronauts that the Queen possesses “weaponsh made by her schientishtshs that can deshtroy da Earthsht.”

So set your PVR and, when you’re ready to watch, wear your drinking pants.

Or purchase Queen of Outer Space on DVD and enjoy the charming audio commentary by the “Queen” herself, B-movie regular Laurie Mitchell.

YouTube Preview Image

Read bullet |

What if Fandom Is Really Just Brain Damage?

Monday, June 2nd, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

crowd-of-music-fans-waving-their-hands-axiom-photographic

So come to find out that — I hope you’re sitting down — almost everything they taught you in school about Phineas Gage (that olden days railroad worker whose personality “changed completely” after a spike flew through his brain) was agenda-driven baloney, even borderline-libelous.

Just more of that “settled science” we keep hearing so much about.

(In other news: polar bears…)

Maybe when they rewrite the textbooks, they’ll swap out Phineas Gage for Mr. B.

You see, Mr. B was “a 58 year old Dutch man who had suffered from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety since the age of 13,” and who didn’t respond to any of the usual treatments.

As a last resort, doctors hooked electrodes to Mr. B’s brain.

His symptoms noticeably improved.

So (at least in my opinion) did his taste in music.

Six months after surgery, Mr. B’s stopped listening to his old favorites, the Rolling Stones, and became a Johnny Cash fan.

A superfan, actually…

Read bullet |

10 of Kathy Shaidle’s Greatest Hits

Saturday, April 26th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

Editor’s Note: This is a collection of some of my favorite Kathy Shaidle articles. These are both some of her most popular and hardest hitting, challenging conventional wisdom and smashing pop culture idols. Please make a point to make Kathy’s Five Feet of Fury blog one of your regular reads and also check out her new e-book Confessions of a Failed Slut. I devoured it in one sitting and will write more on it soon. Over the years Kathy has become one of the people I most look to for insights into understanding all sorts of subjects from outsider culture to humor to the evolutions in New Media to the mysteries of relationships and religion. These pieces are some of the best examples of why. For more, also check out “PJ Lifestyle’s Top 50 List Articles of 2013” which features a number of additional Shaidle gems, some of which will no doubt make it into volume 2, coming soon…

 - Dave Swindle

1. February 1, 2012:

Five Reasons Star Wars Actually Sucks

2. April 16, 2012:

3. September 20, 2012:

4. May 8, 2012:

5. April 12, 2012

6. April 30, 2012

7. April 16, 2013:

Jobs Are for Suckers: How to Be the Boss of You

8. February 8, 2014:

9. July 12, 2013:

10. August 7, 2012:

If I Were Queen: My First 3 Acts Upon Becoming Your Beloved Empress For Life

Read bullet |

‘Hurricane’ Carter: Fact vs. Fiction

Monday, April 21st, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

button

Believe me: If my mother-in-law didn’t live with us, the sights and sounds of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) would never pollute my home.

But for much of her life, there were only 13 channels, so she habitually switches to the state broadcaster when she can’t find anything else to watch.

That’s how I heard, on Easter Sunday morning, via various noises making their way from our living room television into my office, that Hurricane Carter had died.

Judging solely by the anchor’s somber tone, one would be forgiven for concluding that the deceased had been some great Canadian statesman or artist, not a notorious American boxer and ex-con.

For all their purported sophistication, the Canadian media is embarrassingly parochial. One particularly annoying manifestation of this inward-looking mindset is their habit of conveying “hono(u)rary Canadian” status to any celebrity foreigner with a friendly if tenuous connection to the country.

(Note that these same liberal media types happily mock the Mormon custom of baptizing dead “gentiles” — presuming they’re even aware of it.)

And so CBCNews duly informs us:

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the former professional boxer who became an advocate for the wrongly convicted after spending 19 years in prison for a triple murder he didn’t commit, died Sunday in Toronto. He was 76.

Carter’s struggle for freedom and exoneration was made famous in a number of books, a Bob Dylan song and a Hollywood film.

Although born in the U.S., Carter had a special connection to Canada, where he settled following his prison release, which came about with the help of a group of Canadians.

It’s a one-sided, anti-American message the CBC has been pushing for years (using my tax dollars), even on so-called “investigative” programs like The Fifth Estate, which is Canada’s answer to 60 Minutes:

YouTube Preview Image

Read bullet |

3 Pro Secrets to Double Your Freelance Writing Income in 2 Years

Saturday, April 19th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

bullion-coins-stacked_303x259

Editor’s Note: this article compiles parts 1-4 of Kathy’s “How I Doubled My Freelance Income in Two Years” series that ran this week from Tuesday through Friday.

No one needs a reminder that it’s tax time.

We Canadians don’t have to file until April 30, but that doesn’t lessen the sting for those of us who actually work for a living — especially if, like me, you run your own business.

My accountant just gave me the “good news, bad news”:

The bad news is, I owe a low five-figure amount to the taxman right now. I’ll also have to cough up quarterly payments this year on top of that — something I normally don’t have to do.

That’s because — and this is where the good news comes in — as a freelance writer, I earned more in 2013 than I ever did before, even when I was working at a “normal” cubicle job.

In fact, last year’s revenues were almost double what I earned as a freelancer in 2011.

Throughout this week, I’ll try to explain (to you and myself) how I went from making an average to an above-average income.

Believe me, none of these “lessons” will be terribly earth-shattering.

I certainly can’t promise that they’re universally applicable, either, or will even still work for me in six weeks or six years.

That said, they may still provide some food for thought at a time of year when we’re all forced to review our own individual bottom lines.

Read bullet |

How I Doubled My Freelance Income in Two Years (Part 4)

Friday, April 18th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

trust

Here’s the last post in my series.

Today’s advice sounds pretty harsh, but I prefer the word “realistic”:

3. Trust No One (Not Even Yourself)

Seconds from now, that editor who gives you all those juicy assignments will be fired, or promoted to management, or sent to rehab.

That new client who seemed so easy to work with (and so flush with cash) will turn out to be stark raving mad.

The company you’ve worked with for years will go bankrupt. Or their office will go up in flames.

Not all these things have happened to me, but enough have that I never count on people, and circumstances, to stay in stasis.

An older, wiser writer told me recently, after I finished whining about my shabby treatment at the hands of a longtime colleague:

“These people are not your friends.”

The people you work for, and with, prioritize their own financial and personal well-being — as they should.

And those are the sane ones. You will also work for, and with, individuals who are unstable and untrustworthy.

(Although, if you learn to listen to — and obey — your gut, you’ll be able to keep most of them out of your life.)

(That is: ”Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.”)

Diversify. Don’t spend money before you get it. A promise is not a contract.

Accept more work than you think you can handle, because at least one of those gigs will implode.

(And if it doesn’t, you’ll discover you were capable of working harder than you thought…)

Don’t trust yourself, either. I hate my “clown car calendar” and my copious Post-It Notes and noisy alerts.

I hate having to write down even the dumbest, most obvious idea because if I don’t I’ll forget it seconds later.

That said, I hate myself a lot more when I can’t extract that brilliant sentence from my brain when I need it.

Newsflash: We’re all human. Your clients will let you down.

And you probably aren’t the effortlessly organized dynamo with the photographic memory you pretend to be.

If you accept your own limitations, and other peoples’, you may actually find yourself enjoying more success than you ever thought possible.

YouTube Preview Image

Read bullet |

How I Doubled My Freelance Income in Two Years (Part 3)

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

images

Yesterday, as part of my series about how I doubled my freelance writing income over the course of about 24 months, I advised you to “Always Say ‘Yes’ (Except Sometimes).”

Today’s tip is also somewhat contradictory:

2. Be Prepared (But Not Too Much)

A while back, a fellow writer asked me to look over the outline/proposal/project scope thingie he’d just prepared for a client.

The client had hired my friend to write the copy for a ten page website.

My friend’s outline was… 40 pages long.

Whereas I’ve written the copy for 40 page websites, and the outline was five pages long. Maybe.

And I only create outlines (or whatever you want to call them) if a client asks me to (and I can’t talk them out of it.)

Otherwise I never write outlines. I’ve never had a business plan.

I do not make to-do lists. I avoid face to face meetings whenever possible.

Don’t get me wrong: My day, and therefore my week, is planned hour by hour, because my regular daily/weekly work routine rarely changes.

(As I said yesterday, my calendar looks like a clown car, and sounds like one too, thanks to the loud honking noises that remind menopausal me about my deadlines, even ones that have fallen on the same day of the week for years.)

However, my idea of “being prepared” involves, say, having two working computers (and mice and keyboards) at hand, at all times. And a LOT of batteries.

(And toilet paper and cat food, so I don’t have to interrupt my work day to restock those and other non-work-related necessities.)

Read bullet |

How I Doubled My Freelance Income in Two Years (Part 2)

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

Yes-Were-Open
Yesterday, I talked about making more money last year as a freelance writer than ever before.

In fact, my income doubled in about 24 months.

I promised I’d try to explain how I accomplished this over the course of this week, so here’s my first “tip”:

1.  Always Say “Yes” (Except Sometimes).

At this juncture in my freelance writing career, clients and publishers approach me, not the other way around.

(Here’s how I got to that point.)

Today, one of my biggest challenges is knowing when to accept assignments and when to turn them down.

Mostly, I say “yes,” even if I’m (secretly) afraid to squeeze one more gig into my 14-hour a day, seven day a week schedule because my calendar already looks like a clown car, and I’d love to just veg out with a Criminal Minds marathon.

(Nope, The 4-Hour Workweek this ain’t. I don’t buy that gimmicky formula and neither does Timothy Ferriss or he wouldn’t be Timothy Ferriss…)

I’m able to say “yes” as often as I do now because a few years ago, I screwed up the courage to sometimes say “no.”

That’s when I’d first noticed a strange pattern:

The less someone pays you, the more work they demand from you — usually for free.

These “I need it yesterday!” types want multiple revisions and last minute changes, but they sure freak out when you add them to their bill.

Whereas my “high end” clients who are paying full freight are easier to work with.

They’re more satisfied with my efforts, and they pay faster, too.

So two years ago, I politely “fired” some long time clients who were still enjoying my old, low “just starting out”/”I’m afraid to charge too much” rate.

I also stopped writing for publications that weren’t paying me enough. (No, I never write for free.)

This left me more time and energy to devote to newer, better paying (and more enjoyable) clients and publishers.

Yes, I still work long hours, but now those hours are now less frustrating and more lucrative.

(Stay tuned for Part 3…)

Read bullet |

How I Doubled My Freelance Income in Two Years (Part 1)

Monday, April 14th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

bullion-coins-stacked_303x259No one needs a reminder that it’s tax time.

We Canadians don’t have to file until April 30, but that doesn’t lessen the sting for those of us who actually work for a living — especially if, like me, you run your own business.

My accountant just gave me the “good news, bad news”:

The bad news is, I owe a low five-figure amount to the taxman right now. I’ll also have to cough up quarterly payments this year on top of that — something I normally don’t have to do.

That’s because — and this is where the good news comes in — as a freelance writer, I earned more in 2013 than I ever did before, even when I was working at a “normal” cubicle job.

In fact, last year’s revenues were almost double what I earned as a freelancer in 2011.

Throughout this week, I’ll try to explain (to you and myself) how I went from making an average to an above-average income.

Believe me, none of these “lessons” will be terribly earth-shattering.

I certainly can’t promise that they’re universally applicable, either, or will even still work for me in six weeks or six years.

That said, they may still provide some food for thought at a time of year when we’re all forced to review our own individual bottom lines.

So stay tuned…

YouTube Preview Image

Updated: Click here for Part 2

Read bullet |

David Letterman Out, Stephen Colbert In

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

colbert

It’s official: Stephen Colbert is replacing David Letterman when the latter retires from late night television next year.

PJMedia’s Bryan Preston reacts:

I say it’s an odd choice because Colbert plays a character on his Comedy Central show. He’s parodying Bill O’Reilly. Does he bring that schtick to a full talk show at CBS, or does he leave it behind and re-invent himself?

Now, my antipathy towards David Letterman is familiar to regular PJMedia readers.

As well, I’m not a fan of Colbert’s schtick; yes, I “get” it, and no, it still wasn’t funny enough, regularly enough, to turn me into a loyal viewer.

In fact, Colbert’s character is so “ten years ago,” so Bush Administration, it’s been giving off an anachronistic odor for a while.

This new job gives Colbert a dignified and lucrative way to kill off his tired alter ego.

Because — and here’s the point — Stephen Colbert is perfectly capable of comporting himself out of character.

At least, he was when, for instance, he’d join the gang on Colin Quinn‘s Tough Crowd (speaking of “ten years ago.”)

Some will accuse me of using this post as an excuse to post a Tough Crowd clip, and while I admit that I do love myself some Nick DiPaolo, I really am trying to be, well, fair and balanced.

This isn’t a test of whether or not Colbert is really “left wing” or “right wing.” I’m just saying that the inside joke in Tough Crowd‘s title was that one’s fellow stand up comics were going to be the toughest crowd you’d faced in a long time. Participants who couldn’t keep up were crushed quickly and painfully. Colbert passed the test.

He impressed me when I found this old clip on YouTube. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but: Colbert may very well prove us all wrong.

Check out this clip and see what you think:

Read bullet |

Argh: Cat Stevens Allowed To Enter U.S. for Hall of Fame Ceremony

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

HOF2014

It’s bad enough that Cat Stevens — a.k.a. Muslim weirdo Yusuf Islam — will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Thursday night.

(Don’t blame me — I tried to stop it…)

But I was hoping he’d at least be banned from entering America, based on his habit of wishing aloud for the murder of Salman Rushdie and such.

No luck there, either. Stevens performed on Jimmy Fallon’s show last night, so we know he’s in the country.

I can only wish that fellow inductee Gene Simmons of KISS — being Jewish and all — will at least diss Stevens during the show.

Of course, KISS have already been dissing the Hall, and each other, daily in the run up to the event.

(Yesterday, Paul Stanley accused Ace Frehley and Peter Criss of anti-Semitism [!?]. Who knows what tomorrow will bring.)

Andrew Loog Oldham, who is being honored as The Rolling Stones’ original manager, says he’s not showing up because, among other things, he says the ceremony isn’t as much raunchy fun any more now that it’s televised.

Meanwhile, surviving Nirvana members seem to be hinting that, for their Hall induction performance, Joan Jett will be taking the place of their obviously absent lead singer, Kurt Cobain.

Now, I have all the time in the world for Joan Jett, despite her asinine politics, but if true, this decision is just… strange.

Joe Strummer died shortly before The Clash’s 2003 induction, and no one in the band said, “Hey, let’s just shove Patti Smith up there instead.” They stayed classy and didn’t perform.

Having said all this, will I watch this stupid show tomorrow night? Probably.

After all, sometimes something fun happens…

Read bullet |