The r-daub-a-blog Reader
In early 2006, writer Richard Daub was a full-time journalist looking for a way to publish his non-journalistic work without having to deal with “the freelance shuffle, writing and painstakingly revising something so that every word was precisely placed and then spending time and money finding a home for it in print only to have it shredded beyond recognition by hack editors who were only concerned with making it fit into their little blank spaces.” Thus the “r-daub-a-blog experiment” began, and for the next couple of years Mr. Daub took advantage of the freedom and power of being able to publish his work unfiltered to the world by posting a wide range of content that was all over the map. While admittedly lacking the fundamental understanding that successful blogs usually stick to a particular topic, Mr. Daub left behind a fascinating collection of writing that covers historical and personal events, as well as “many points of randomness between the major things where so much of life resides and should be appreciated as well”. The r-daub-a-blog Reader includes the entire collection of posts made on the site from April 2006 through the final post in February 2008.
Dateline: Far and Near: Collected Articles From an Unplanned Career in Journalism
Richard Daub never set out to be a journalist. As a self-described artist with high standards and lofty aspirations who spent nearly a decade writing his first novel, the thought of being a journalist never crossed his mind beyond a brief moment in 1995 just after graduating college when he played sportswriter for a night. When that novel was finally completed, he needed to take a break from writing fiction. Without giving it much thought or having any idea of what he was doing, he decided to travel to the small town of Emmitsburg, Maryland and simply write about what he found there. Thus began an unlikely career in journalism that only a little more than a year later took him to an unlikely peak for someone who was totally self-taught in the trade—a morning spent with the White House press pool covering an appearance by the president. Because he didn’t know what he was doing at first, his early work took on a style in which he made himself part of the story. He would, however, become more polished and learn the nuances of the trade as he went along, such as: how to interview sources such as politicians, small business owners, and CEOs; dealing with editors cutting your work to shreds or dropping it altogether; being criticized by (or worse, being ignored by) your readers; and learning the political and business motivations of different media publications and realizing that they often conflict with the reporting of a story. However, the most important thing he learned was how to write quickly and efficiently, which is something he struggled with mightily as a fiction writer. Dateline: Far and Near is a collection of articles that span Mr. Daub’s brief journalism career and show the evolution of someone who started with no training or experience into a respected professional. The Introduction, titled “Tales of an Unplanned Career in Journalism”, is a fascinating and humorous look at how Mr. Daub educated himself as a journalist from freelancer to staff writer to international trade reporter, but ultimately wound up as an artist trapped inside the business and politics of contemporary media. Yet, as unpleasant as this career could be at times, the experience did serve as somewhat of a writing boot camp that not only benefitted his art, but also his life. In addition to the articles themselves, Mr. Daub shares the stories behind the stories, which include: a detailed account of his morning spent with the White House press pool and irking Secret Service agents with his camera; interviewing the paranoid head of an animal pharmaceutical executive; turning a private luncheon with a golf legend into a press conference; and, while purging his frustrations into his notebook during a soul-searching night in Kansas City, ultimately realizing that he had to get out of journalism and work his way back to the kind of writing he loved. Overall, Mr. Daub credits his experiences as a journalist with not only making him a better overall writer, but also a stronger person. Time and time again, journalism brought him to situations that were well outside of his comfort zone, which helped him confront and ultimately shed his fear of trying new things and made him realize that sometimes it is best to choose a general direction rather than a specific destination so that you don’t miss anything along the way.
Pork Chops and Subway Cars
Whether taking a leisurely sidewalk tour of his adopted hometown of Taneytown, MD or roaring through the tunnels of the New York City subway system, Richard Daub will make you feel that you are right there with him exploring the everyday America often unseen by those who travel these same paths on a daily basis. In this rambling collection of essays that never fails to see the humor in the world, Daub takes you behind the scenes of an $800 million dollar accounting scandal at a major global corporation where he is simply trying to earn an honest living; goes to his first small town “fish fry” and visits City Hall to chat with the mayor; attends a seminar hosted by a Biblical doomsday prophet who once dwelled in the caves of Palm Springs and is now warning anyone willing to listen that the apocalypse is near; follows the path of the namesake gang from a 1979 cult film classic on the New York City subways from the Bronx to Coney Island, then traces the footsteps of a fold legend’s final residence; pays a local cab driver ten dollars to give him a budget tour of Taneytown, which has only a little more than 5,000 residents and two traffic lights; and scrambles to come up with $1,000 cash minutes before his little sister’s wedding when she realizes that she has forgotten to pay the limo driver and is threatening to call off the ceremony if he isn’t paid before it is scheduled to begin.
The Adventures of HyperKid: HyperKid v BullBorg
Written by nine year old Emerson Daub and his father, kids and adults will truly enjoy this tale of Morgan Wallace, a smart fourth grade comic book kid whose hyperactivity makes it difficult for him to stay focused in school and sometimes makes him feel self-conscious about being different. Then one night during the summer before fourth grade, something happens that would cause him to find out what it is like to really be different: the rays of a meteor shower transform him into a cyborg with superpowers. When the family doctor is unable to help turn him back into a normal nine year old kid, Morgan convinces his parents to let him use his new powers as a super hero named HyperKid. During the first day of school, his primary mission immediately becomes clear: to defend the kids of West Plains Elementary from Brian Bullini, the new kid in school who also has cyborg superpowers and would become HyperKid’s arch rival, BullBorg. The two quickly commence battling each other on the playground during recess and after school, but they would soon realize that they have more in common than being cyborgs, and their rivalry eventually becomes a powerful friendship. With a cast of humorous characters and hilarious scenes, HyperKid v BullBorg is ultimately an inspiring story about rising above personal obstacles and the loneliness that often accompanies the feeling of being different. It is also a story about friendship and understanding that stems from the recognition that two individuals who come from seemingly different worlds have more in common than not.
The Adventures of HyperKid: The Cyborg at the End of the Universe
On planet Alania, Alien-Bot wants to make his home world great again by destroying the universe. In the Tiran Galaxy, planet Kidok has vanished after its star went supernova and there have been no signs of survivors because the oppressive Kidokian government employed hackers and spread fake news to fool the public into thinking that the star was healthy and there was no need to evacuate even though it was obvious to most that something was wrong. On Earth, West Plains Mayor Maria Martinez has ignored the pleas of citizens who have fallen on hard times in order to focus her full attention on securing campaign contributions from wealthy donors in order to win her next election.Welcome to the dark new age that Morgan Wallace (a.k.a. “HyperKid”) and Brian Bullini (a.k.a. “BullBorg”) suddenly find themselves living in. The super heroes, now in fifth grade, are transported through a wormhole that takes them to the Estarna Galaxy, the oldest part of the universe where intelligent life began. Alien-Bot is there waiting for them, but with the help of some tech upgrades from a thousand-year-old Viking and some unexpected allies, the heroes are able to prove their valor against a tyrant who shows no regard for anyone outside his very limited view of the universe.The Cyborg at the End of the Universe combines classic science fiction, fantasy, and comic book super hero themes, and brings the heroes into a dark new age where world leaders are willing to use any means necessary to preserve their own wealth and power without regard to the health of the universe and the people who live in it. The resistance against injustice and intolerance continues here with some contemporary real world twists, and the two young super heroes discover that it is absolutely necessary for beings from all walks of life to work together to fight those who think it is their right to destroy a universe that belongs to everyone in order to save their own little piece of it.
Spaulding and Zoom
Spaulding and Zoom is the heartwarming tale of an abandoned kitten who finds a new family. Spaulding is an older cat who has grown used to being an only pet when he meets a tiny kitten on the other side of the window. “Zoom”, as the kitten was soon named, tries to win the affection of the older cat but zooms away when people come near. After a while the kitten learns to trust the people and they decide to bring her inside. It was an adjustment for everyone, but soon even old Spaulding began to appreciate having Zoom as the newest member of the family.