• We’re creating the next generation of opinion: iPinion

    So, it all got started with an innocent little email from innocent little David Lacy. And you’re thinking… David Lacy… David Lacy… ah, yes! That “Growing Younger” guy! And maybe you’re next thinking, hey didn’t he win a first place CNPA award for his column a few years back? The year Debra came in second?

    You shuddup. You didn’t have to remember that last part, OK? That’s just rude.

    Anyway.

    Yes, David was quite the column hotshot back in the day, tastier than French toast amongst the 20-somethings, and in the midst of all that adulation, he launched off to UC Irvine to become an English professor.

    Showoff.

    Anyway, part deux.

    Professor David toiled away, teaching college students to be afraid, very afraid, of Virginia Woolf, and as each new crop of students filed in to replace the last, the drudgery of it all started eating away at his soul. (I’m totally theorizing, here. Maybe he just discovered that he looks like a total douche in a lumpy sweater with elbow patches.)

    Whatever the reason, David started having stirrings for those days when he shared his insight on life’s rigors (as only a 20 year old can), and yearned to see his name in newsprint again. Because that would be so cutting edge and all. And so, he turned to me because, for some bizarre reason, he thinks I know what I’m doing.

    He lavished this praise on me and as soon as I stopped howling myself into an exhale-only laughing spasm, he made his pitch: Would I maybe, possibly, link his website to mine if he started writing again? Dude. The fastest way NOT to get noticed is to post on my website. Trust me.

    I have a better idea, I told him. How about starting a syndicate. His invisible puppydog tail started wagging like mad. He thinks I’m a syndication expert. True, I was syndicated once, and got up to 45 newspapers. Sadly, it happened just as the print journalism world crested and started its slow, painful death slide. Within a couple years, that syndicate flatlined, and I was right back where I started. But I learned something along the way: Print journalism isn’t where it’s at. It’s the ‘net, baby. If it’s not online, it’s nothing.

    To form a syndicate, I told him, we needed more product — more than just me and my biggest fan. David suggested another Enterprise alumni, David Winchlebum. Winshelboom. Wienshilboum. Whatever.

    Back in the day, Winshulbim had a penchant for wildlife stories. If there was an endangered burrowing owl within a 50-mile radius of Davis, he was all over it. And then one fine day, he started writing columns. And they were good. Damn good. So good, in fact, that he outgrew the pages of this fine publication, and also soared away to become an English professor.

    Funny little story — I wrote columns about the blossoming careers of both Davids and they rose to bigger, brighter careers. Me, 10 years later, I’m still slinging out a newspaper once a week in some little backwater best known for being west of Davis. Pity I didn’t write about me writing my own column. Maybe I’d have my own lumpy sweater by now.

    So, David got Other David on board, and I hooked up my pal Jesse Loren, who writes a lively column for the Express whenever the mood strikes her, and sprays poetry like a Rain Bird. She already has three books under her belt. And a master’s degree. Me? I’m, uh… slinging out a newspaper once a week somewhere west of Davis.

    Jesse brought us her friend Sivan Butler-Rotholz. Don’t suffer over that mouthful of a last name much, because someday she’ll be known simply as “Sivan.” Like Madonna. Sivan is young, beautiful, educated, traveled and – get this — suddenly unemployed. Rather than cry into her mojito, however, she channeled her misfortune into creativity and started her own blog, “My Unemployed Life.” (Current, much?)

    By the way — Jesse and Sivan met at a poetry intensive one summer in Spain. Spain. Me? I spent that summer slinging out a newspaper in you know where. Did I miss a memo somewhere?

    Rounding out the team is David’s friend, Molly Harsh, who I haven’t met yet. She still hasn’t posted her first column, but with a name like Molly Harsh, if she can string a few sentences together, she’s golden.

    Yes, we have a nice little collection of talent (and me) for our syndicate. We have a product. But what to call it? The name must be fresh. Happenin.’ Totally sick, which, as any teenager will tell you, means way cool. So. What’s totally sick these days. Basically, anything that starts with a lower-case “i”. Hmmm… opinion… iPinion. Bingo.

    I pitched “iPinion” to David, and he darn near wagged that invisible tail clean off, propelling him straight to the computer. In mere days, www.ipinion.me was up and running. It’s still rough around the edges, so please be patient. David’s learning web design as fast as he can.

    So far, we’ve all got some content up. I contributed columns I wrote about David, Other David and Jesse. Wow, we go way back. Molly and I don’t have any history yet, but I could write about Sivan next, and how she can karaoke Eminem’s “Without Me” (my theme song!) like a demon. Whoo-ee. She had me at “Two trailer park girls go ‘round the outside…”

    Yes, we have something here. I don’t know where we’re going, but we’re on our way. And until we get there, if you’ll excuse me, I have a newspaper to sling out.



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