The digital information age: Boon or boondoggle?

TMI, meaning “Too Much information,” is usually used when someone shares a snippet of information that goes far beyond anything we would want to know about them.  Like when the guy behind you in the checkout line strikes up a conversation and then says, “After a couple of days I reverse my underwear to get an extra day or so of wear.”   Definitely TMI.

On the other hand TMI might be an appropriate assessment for a much greater phenomenon, the explosion of information available caused by the digital age.  It would seem that the more sources of knowledge we have, the less informed we become.

Although I lack scientific data to back it up, it would appear to the casual observer that with the increase of media sources has come a tendency to filter out much, if not all of the content that does not validate our preconceived notions.

Several years ago, while learning a difficult new system at work, a frustrated co worker questioned the need for continued technological advances and said that in her opinion, “the highest and happiest self-sustainable level of human society was the stone age.”

That statement has come back to mind many times over the years, always with the question: At what point did we stop living in complete harmony with nature and begin to alter it to fit our perceived needs?  And at what cost?

Consider the life style of the Pacific Islanders prior to the time when the voyages of Captain Cook brought them Christianity, European moral codes, modest clothing and sexually transmitted disease. Arguably being suddenly thrust into the then modern world did not increase their potential for happiness and harmonious living.

In many ways the computer age has been our Captain Cook and its promise of knowledge and edification has become, as a result of TMI, a reality of distraction and a narrowing of interests.

I don’t know if there is an acceptable answer to this conundrum, we certainly aren’t going to treat our computers and other digital devices to a modern day “Bonfire of the Vanities.”

One simple solution might be if we each adopt a new regimen when surfing the net; for every several sites visited that validate our preconceived ideas on a subject perhaps we should challenge ourselves by seeking out at least one that offers an opposing view.

There was a time, in recent history, when we all had to work to gain useful information and that effort strengthened our intellect.  We cannot afford to allow the lack of effort offered by the TMI digital age to cause our intellectual muscles to atrophy.

Thank you for your time.



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2 AM on a two lane Blacktop,
Walking into a starless night,
Not going to, running from.

Lightening to the North.
Sudden bright illumination
Revealing a hostile landscape

No glow of headlights,
Not from the east nor the west
And no star to light the path.

50 miles from Sheridan
And this damned old thimb
Just flat runs out of gas.


Another excerpt from my book, “A Mixed Bag.”
Available at Amazon and other fine book sellers.

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I enjoy the process of writing.  All of it, the initial drafts, the editing, the rewrites, the inevitable changes to fill plot holes or square away the anachronisms that will creep into the story arc.

I love writing, marketing, not so much.

Go to Amazon and put in my name, “Rick Fontes,” and you will see that my subject matter is all over the map, innocent of any genre loyalty.  This approach to writing is said to be the worst possible for someone wanting to build a steady reader base but for me it is the most interesting way to pursue the craft.  If you are channeling your inner cowboy at the moment then write a western, if you are fighting the Cold War then tell Ian Fleming to move over.

I know nothing about marketing, a fact evidenced by my sales figures.  I have also learned that many companies professing to market for you share in my lack of knowledge on the subject.  Since publishing my first book in 2011 I have donated a considerable amount of money following different marketing ploys.  I would have used the word “spent” had there been any concrete results from the outlay but “donate” seems the more proper term.

I have a friend who wrote and published a book, then set out to properly market that one book.  I won’t go into the details but in the final analysis she had spent something in the neighborhood of $10,000 in the effort.  While she gave away quite a few copies of the book, to my knowledge she sold only one, the copy that I bought from Amazon and then posted its single review.  The book is no longer available.

Although I can offer no marketing advice apart from suggesting that you ask yourself the question that is the title of this post, I would like to share another view of the subject of marketing in the form of a post I read recently:

How to Launch a Bestselling Book

And in closing, enjoy a musical take on the subject, one that shares the title of this blog post:

Thanks for visiting and keep your dream alive.


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Twelve they were, ’round Coffin’s Gate,
Heavy robed and with cowls drawn up
Against December’s icy blast.

Dead blossoms clasped to withered breasts,
Shuffling in counterclockwise motion,
Slowly they circled the pit around.

With pentagram drawn, nightshade spread,
And fairly outshouting the howling wind,
They chanted their invitation.

From out of the pit, riding a column of flame,
The thirteenth appears and joins the coven.

And now there are none.


An excerpt from “A Mixed Bag.”

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This is not an original.  I received it in an email, without attribution.  Still, it’s too good to not share.

Florida Woman Stops Gator Attack with Small Caliber Pistol

A story of self-control and marksmanship by a cool-headed woman with a small pistol, against a fierce predator. What is the smallest caliber you would trust to protect yourself?

A Beretta Jetfire testimonial in her own words:

“While out walking along the edge of a bayou in “Alligator Alley” with my soon to be ex-husband, discussing property settlement and other divorce issues, we were surprised by a huge 12-ft. alligator which emerged from the murky water, charging us with its large jaws wide open.

She must have been protecting her nest because she was extremely aggressive. If I had not had my little Beretta Jetfire .22 caliber pistol with me, I would not be here today!


Just one shot to my estranged husband’s knee cap was all it took. The gator got him easily and I was able to escape by just walking away at a brisk pace.

It’s one of the best pistols in my collection! Plus the amount I saved in lawyer fees was incredible.”

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Full disclosure:  I have been voting for a very long time, all the way back to when the Viet Nam conflict was breaking news.  Fast forward back to now and we find ourselves in the midst of the strangest presidential election cycle ever, at least in this writer’s memory.

I follow a lot of blogs, more actually than I can give full attention to.  Many of those bloggers tap the political arena for subject matter and some will have very long comment threads.

While these bloggers come from all over the political spectrum I find one disturbing similarity in them, a lack of positive input.  The trend seems to be to bash the candidate not favored rather than to list positive reasons to vote for the candidate being supported.

Admittedly many of the comments are amusing or show a flair for the dramatic but negative remarks do not advance the discussion or help to narrow the choices.  Personally, I will never vote against a candidate, only for his or her opponent.  The “lesser of two evils” argument does not fly.

If you are a blogger or a person posting a comment and truly want to support a candidate then why not help to inform your readers by listing the accomplishments and positive attributes of the person you favor for the office?

It might be fun to talk about the “orange hamster” nested on a candidate’s head or refer to the pants suited candidate as a “blue telly tubby” but unless you are employed as a sit com gag writer this sort of rhetoric is not productive.

I think that it’s time for the adults to come back into the room and have some serious discussions about the future of our nation.

This is my opinion and I welcome yours.

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Sailing from Africa to the Gulf of Mexico
A cargo of fear shackled below.

The voyage blessed with good weather, calm seas,
And not too many lost to dysentery.

Chained by iron, color and a lack of Christian faith
The wretched lay huddled, shackled, unable to move.

Six weeks for the survivors, less for the fortunate dead,
Before landfall on the Mississippi coast.

And we can now wonder, did Captain De Laudoine
Sense the irony of his endeavors,

Delivering people to a lifetime of slavery,
In the “Land of the Free?”


An excerpt from the book, “A Mixed Bag.”


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