First sniff

Where do I begin? How about where I left off? Plenty is different from the last time I wrote, but then again, even more is probably the same. Though life is never defined by what simply refuses to morph or transform. No, my friends, life lives and dies by the idea of change and moreover the act of embracing it. I’d like to believe I am changed in more ways than one.

Seth Fein in 30 Years

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A smoker’s paradise

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I dream about long rows of perfectly rolled cigarettes arranged on a coffee table with built-in ashtrays. In the dream, I smoke those cigarettes while sipping on ginger ale and leafing through a magazine dedicated to analyzing the upcoming Field of 64, the annual brouhaha known as March Madness. My future wife brings me an over sized cauldron of matzoh ball soup, and I temporarily put down my smoke to slurp the soup’s 5000-year-old flavor, letting the broth drip down my chin and onto my vintage Purdue Boilermakers T-Shirt without worry. I ravage each matzoh ball one by one and then I pick up the cig again and take a drag. The scene is nothing short of heaven. To me.

Unfortunately, my dream will have to stay a fantasy, or at least the part where I slowly inhale my own death. For the second time in my life, I am a quitter. I quit the baseball team after Mason Minnes, the worst coach in Urbana High School history (Check the record books.), told me that I would never start for him. Now, I have quit smoking my beloved cigarettes. You should too, and you don’t need a patch or a pill to do it. Those are for suckers. All you need – like with most things – is will power.

The217.com

I quit Buzz magazine. I wasn’t fired. Some people surmised that because I made it a habit of calling people out and putting my foot in my mouth on a weekly basis, I was given the pink slip. That is not the case at all. I quit for reasons that they wouldn’t let me print. I tried, and for the first time, they edited my column and printed words that I didn’t write.

This would be the perfect place to air those grievances, but this new and improved version of “The Local Sniff” will not be the sounding board it once was. I could tell you all about it. But what would be the point?

The only thing that I really have to mention is The217.com. Have you been to the Web site? It has a great local calendar and some mildly entertaining blogs, including a very important one written by a great guy name Jon Hansen. Aside from that – it leaves a sour taste just like everything else the Illini Media Company cooks up: mediocre at best with moments of succulence overpowered by the salt of idiocy. Delish!

One question though: if it’s called the 217.com then why can’t I find out anything about what is going on in Decatur tonight? What about Danville? Or any of these cities and towns? Yeah. That’s what I thought.

Get rich; it’s actually easy

They don’t teach compound interest in grammar school. They do force you to learn Algebra problems that almost no one will use, but schools don’t teach kids about how to plan for their future in a sound and practical manner. That’s not logical. Anyway, do you know about Dollar-Cost Averaging? I am not working until I am 70 years old out of necessity and neither should you. Check out this book called The Wealthy Barber and you will see why.

All writers need good editors to beat their ass and make them cry…

Truth be told, I have only had one good editor in my life, and even she kind of sucked at the time. Fortunately, she improved too and helped found this Web site with me. That’s Marissa Monson. She lives here too. I am looking forward to having my grammar checked, but I’m excited that I might be edited in a way that will help me grow into my own voice. Even now, the sentence you are reading will probably have been edited to a degree. And if not that one, this one. That’s a fragment. As you can see, I need help, and I am getting it.

I feel like I am in a home for wayward writers addicted to their own style of prose.

“Hi, I am Seth Fein and I am a recovering prose addict with no editor.”

Final whiff

I was going to retire the Local Sniff. Then I flip flopped, again. I love it.

I won’t lie to you. I do feel a little uneasy coming back into this role again. So, while I write about Big Ten basketball and try to get some answers from local politicians, I will be thinking about my next column, due in a few weeks or maybe less, depending on my mood. I hope to draft something worth your time.

And in this publication, you can comment.

Photo by Justine Bursoni