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Happy Independence Day!

As we celebrate our Independence Day here in the US, I think about the freedoms that are very dear to me.  My freedom of speech is something I take very seriously as a writer and author.  It is also a way for me to make money to help support my family.  

I have friends and contacts on social media from all walks of life, from all over the globe – likely one of the most diverse groups of people anyone has ever seen.  Most people I know from all of the locations I have traveled and lived have been supportive and open-minded and simply great.  If they have not been openly supportive, or do not agree with views expressed in my articles, books or posts, I wouldn’t really know it, as they themselves know enough to just scroll on by.  You see, we all used to be able to have different opinions and views yet still be friends – we could still be civil even in disagreement.  Sadly, more and more these days, this is not the case.

For those of you who have been supportive of me and my family – thank you.  Keep being you and never give up on what you believe in.  Share your opinions freely, but realize you are on social media, where most have the attention span of 250 characters and cowardice and narcissism rule. 

For those of you who have attacked me – be it by arguing incessantly with my friends and family via comments, blocking or unfriending me personally, or whatever – I have this message for you:  I’ve watched some of you change from seemingly happy-go-lucky fun-loving people to angry, outraged trolls.  You spout your self-righteous virtue signaling and I see right through it.  I have always respected all of your opinions, even if I thought they were misguided and misinformed.  I just scrolled on by.  But you don’t want to give me the same consideration.  Get over yourselves and stop with all the outrage.  You are clearly miserable in your life, and you look it too!  Get off of Facebook and make a positive change in your life.  

I get at least 3-4 messages a week from various contacts who are convinced my posts, articles or books are all about them.  It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.  If you think every post, article or book is about you, then you might be a narcissist.

I won’t be bullied or silenced.  Don’t ever try to tell me what I can or cannot say on my own personal page, blog or whatever it might be.  I am a writer, I stand for free speech and expression.  I’m not sure when cowing to tyrants became the norm, but I won’t be participating in that activity.

A word of caution: be careful of using Facebook as your way to stay in touch with people.  I have written articles about this subject.  The dangers of thinking you understand where someone is coming from based on a quick Facebook post are numerous.  Comments made at the click of the button can be easily misconstrued, by a largely ignorant herd-mentality crowd.  Just because you shriek louder does not mean you are right. 

And to those dearly departed UNfriends: over the past few years their tolerance for perceived opinions that differ from their own has waned and apparently have warranted swift unfriending! Here’s to you – Happy Independence Day!  Your bitterness and hate only leads me to more and more success.

Oh, Young Forbidden Love…

…Technically, Jarod and I were not allowed to have any relationship outside of work. [Text is redacted here] Ed knew this, but he also knew he could not stop us from hanging out if we wanted to. Over lunch at a nearby restaurant Ed and I conspired about ways that I could get Jarod alone in order to ask him to get a drink after the meeting. The best we could come up with was for me to come up to the room by myself after one of Jarod’s meetings. He would be meeting with a psychologist to assess his mental state [Text is redacted here]. Ed and I lurked around the hotel lobby waiting to spot the doctor leaving the meeting…