Rocky Says, “Mask Up!”

Sign at an electronics store at the Philadelphia Airport. Photo by author.

Will your travel plans be taking you to the Philadelphia International Airport soon? Here’s what can you expect when it comes to COVID awareness and precautions.

Rocky Says, “Mask Up!”

I flew from Philadelphia to San Francisco yesterday. The good news is that the airport itself is hyper-aware when it comes to COVID prevention. Signs everywhere tell passengers to mask up and social distance, including one very Philly-centric sign I spotted in the electronics store featuring Sylvester Stallone’s iconic Rocky.

Unlike my last trip through the airport a year ago, when there few signs, and I was one of the…

New Habits are Hard to Break

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I’m at the Philadelphia International Airport waiting to board a flight to San Francisco, and I’m feeling anxious. Why? There are TOO DAMN MANY PEOPLE waiting to board this flight. Sure, they’re all masked — and most of them are even wearing their masks properly.

Too Many People

But nobody is social distancing. They can’t. The boarding area is packed. There isn’t room for us to spread out.

I shouldn’t care. I’m vaccinated!

According to the CDC, fewer than 6,000 COVID cases have been reported in the 84 million fully vaccinated Americans. That’s an infection rate of 0.007. …

And I’m Grateful for That

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At 66, I am a big believer in being grateful for what I’ve got rather than dwelling on what I don’t have.

For instance? The first thing I do when I wake up each day is shout, out loud, “It’s a day! Hurrah! Yippee! I’ve got a day!”

After which I usually add, “I sure hope that I’ll get a whole day!”


So far, so good.

The fact that I live alone makes this practice easier, of course. Back when I had a partner, I couldn’t start the day by shouting. That would be rude. …


One Traveler’s Ride Share Adventures

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I was at my hotel in Lafayette California. I needed to be at my son’s house, just ten minutes away, by two.

No problem. Just call a Lyft. Right?

Not so fast.

Manny Will Be Right There. No. He Won’t.

At 1:30, I asked for a Lyft to pick me up at the Lafayette Park Hotel. The app informed me that Manny would be there at 1:45. Great! I went down to the lobby to wait.

At 1:40 I was told that Manny had bailed, but that Henry would arrive at 2:00.

Okay, so I’m going to be late. …

What would you do?

Photo by Erica Nilsson on Unsplash

Every morning at 7:00 I’m awakened by the thump thump thump of my 12-year-old neighbor dribbling a basketball.

Thump thump thump. Then a pause as Sam tries for a basket. Followed by either the clunking sound of the ball hitting the backboard or silence as it swooshes through the net.

Then thump thump thump again.

This goes on until it’s time for him to leave for school.

“You’re my alarm clock,” I told him once. “You wake me up every morning.”

“Is that okay?” he asked, looking alarmed. He clearly didn’t want to give up his morning basketball practice.


An Editor’s Guide to Reading Between the Lines

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I am a writer, but I’m also an editor. For decades, I’ve worked with writers to improve and publish their prose. (I’ve also edited over a dozen anthologies, for a number of different publishers.)

Because my own work has run in every publication you can think of, from the Funny Times to the New York Times (including 13 Chicken Soup for the Soul collections) I can offer my writing clients solid advice about not only writing but getting published.

One of my writers recently submitted an essay to a prestigious literary magazine and received a rejection letter.

“Was it a…

Thoughts on the Ken Burns Hemingway Documentary

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Like many other writers, I watched HEMINGWAY, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s three-part, six-hour documentary about the life of writer Ernest Hemingway, with interest. I’d read and admired Hemingway’s work, and read several biographies about him, and was curious to see how Burns would tell the story of this complicated man’s life.

Rather than focusing on the way Hemingway revolutionized writing, or the impact of depression over several generations of his family, or on the way the writer’s issues with and questions about gender shaped his work, the organizing principle Burns and Novick chose was Hemingway’s four marriages.

We learn…

The Ultimate Cataract Surgery Mix Tape

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With age, comes wisdom. And, frequently, cataracts. By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery. A while back, I was facing cataract surgery myself. Hoping to have a little fun with this particular rite of passage, I asked my Facebook friends: “What songs should I put on my Cataract Surgery mix Tape?”

Within seconds, I had my first response:

The First Cut Is The Deepest.

“Good one!” I responded, trying not to wince.

Then the next suggestion appeared.

Doctor, My Eyes.

“Perfect!“ I replied.

“Blinded By The Light!” suggested a…


Library Workers Do a Lot More Than Just Check Books Out

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We library workers are expected to check out your books and answer your reference questions, but we’re often called upon to perform other tasks. I recently asked my fellow librarians: “What has been your most memorable ‘other duty’ since you began your career?” The responses I got might surprise people who think that library work is quiet and humdrum:

Breaking up fights between moms in our play area.

Putting pajamas on a llama. He was part of a story time presentation.

Furnace repair.

Shutting down a couple making whoopee in the Unisex Bathroom.

Guiding the bomb squad as they slowly…


Full fiscal disclosure! In subtitles!

Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash

Medium is flooded with articles about How To Make Money on Medium. Nothing wrong with that. What brings in the bucks around here is always worth considering.

There’s just one problem. Reading along in a HTM$OM post, you begin to suspect that the author dispensing all this fabulous advice about how to make megabucks writing on Medium is actually earning next to nothing on the platform themselves. What makes you think so?

They can’t write.

They only have 12 followers.

They’ve only published 8 posts.

They’ve never been picked up by a publication.

Nobody is clapping.

It makes no sense…

Roz Warren

Writing Coach/Medium Sherpa Roz Warren( ( writes for everyone from the New York Times to the Funny Times.

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