Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Quarterly Report

So, gang, it's time again for the lone commercial you'll ever see 'round these parts -- the gentle reminder that these pages are brought to you by... you.

For some of us, that might be one commercial too many. But without your support, the shop would have to pull a Gourmet -- or make like another Rocky and, well, fold.

Believe me, church, this is the least pleasurable part of the greatest job in the world... even trying to fend off the bill collectors is more enjoyable. Still, with the usual monthly hole of tech-costs, taxes, college loans and insurances ($2,500, give or take) about to take the annual plunge of covering another November Meeting ($1,500 or so), I need to send word that, when it comes to keeping things humming along, you're all I've got, and just as so many of you have come to rely on the daily feed over the years, I rely on you as much, if not more, to keep it all afloat (...else there'd be no time to cobble together lists of "cradles"... among other nuggets you've come to know and, hopefully, love).

For almost five years now, this work's been a 24/7 labor of love, and -- for all its many faults, foibles and shortfalls -- it's been blessed with a degree of kindness, visibility and support that's humbling, frightening, moving and anxiety-inducing, all at once and many times over. Every day's a joy, every note's a gift, every sweet word or promise of prayers is a balm... and, in more ways than one, that's been the lone profit and treasure of this crazy ride -- as the bottom line goes, I've been lucky to eke by... and, truth be told, usually come up short. While, normally, a little more cutting of the shoestring here and there can keep things under the wire, as Charm City and all the rest doesn't come cheap -- and, work aside, dental insurance would be nice -- the back office is facing another one of those moments that've made for more grey hairs and forehead wrinkles than I'd like to admit.

Usually, these appeals would direct anyone keen on lending a hand to the "guitar case" which, as ever, keeps vigil along the right sidebar. Suffice it to say, though, such is the state of things that, this time, the case is coming to you....

For what it's worth, it's been six months since the last collection... hopefully we can make it even longer this time.

Looking forward, there's no shortage of goodies on-deck -- Plenary Preview (for not one, but two benches), Docket Review (Scranton and all...); Dolan Digest, Six-Month Edition (Chancellor and all...), (delayed) PopeTrip '79 retrospective... and, yep, even more.

As they don't write themselves, though, the pile needs a bit more buffing up before each can appear -- and with this scribe's wrist acting up -- please, please be patient.

(To be sure, that's just the pageload... outside which things these days are even more nutty.)

I'm trying to keep this mercifully short, but the bottom line is that, for all the sweet everythings of these years, it's very tough to ask for anything -- or bask in any of it -- when, day in and day out, the words atop your mind are "I owe..."

And that I do, in spades... and on this one, I'm not even talking about the bills.

Whether it's a reply to a note here, a thank you there -- multiplied by what seems to be a million, and probably, in reality, is even more -- I tend to end each day recalling less of what did get done than what didn't, or what didn't come out well, and praying for a bit more energy and discipline to do better, try harder, give more tomorrow.

Somehow, the gift of that always seems to elude me... and so to anyone and everyone who's been owed a thanks or a word back and hasn't gotten one, I can't apologize enough. Hopefully finding the page still alive and running has been thanks enough -- the way things are, compiling the feed alone makes for an 18-hour day... all I can promise is to try better tomorrow, and hope your forgiveness can cover the rest.

I could go on... but as there's news to run, it's probably better to stick with the reason we're here. It can only keep coming your way with your help... and now, back to it.

All thanks as always for everything -- God love you lot forever... and, of course, Go Phils.