A birthday note to me (English & Spanish)

On the eve of my birthday, I thought it would be a good time to post something like this. And I will do it annually.

This is a short note about the happiest and saddest event of my life this past year.


Michael, you learned so much in the past year thanks to the 110 students from more than 25 countries that you had the pleasure and honor of meeting through online teaching. Three have been with you since February 2020, a couple of others almost as long. You joke that they are the real teachers, but in fact, they are. They are closer than friends; they are your virtual family. I believe you’d be lost without them.

But, you know that life is not without its disappointments. And one of the saddest includes friends. You’ve lived in 5 countries and 14 cities. You’re not accustomed to long-standing friendships. Still, whether established or promising, when one takes a negative turn, you’ve learned to accept the loss as part of life and move on; to seek new and mutually beneficial alliances and friendships that allow you to continue living a fulfilling life.

Finally, the universe has blessed you with a life exponentially more amazing than you could have ever imagined. Continue to be humbled and thankful on a daily basis.

La víspera de mi cumpleaños, pensé que sería un buen momento para publicar algo como esto. Y lo haré anualmente.

Esta es una breve nota sobre el evento más feliz y triste de mi vida el año pasado.


Michael, aprendiste mucho el año pasado gracias a los 110 estudiantes de más de 25 países que tuviste el placer y el honor de conocer a través de la enseñanza en línea. Tres han estado contigo desde febrero de 2020, un par de otros casi tanto tiempo. Bromeas diciendo que son los verdaderos maestros, pero de hecho lo son. Son más cercanos que amigos; son tu familia virtual. Creo que estarías perdido sin ellos.

Pero sabes que la vida no está exenta de decepciones. Y uno de los más tristes incluye amigos. Has vivido en 5 países y 14 ciudades. No estás acostumbrado a amistades duraderas. Aún así, ya sea establecido o prometedor, cuando uno toma un giro negativo, ha aprendido a aceptar la pérdida como parte de la vida y seguir adelante; buscar nuevas alianzas y amistades mutuamente beneficiosas que le permitan seguir viviendo una vida plena.

Finalmente, el universo te ha bendecido con una vida exponencialmente más asombrosa de lo que podrías haber imaginado. Continúe siendo humilde y agradecido a diario.

Just a Minute, Please – Notification

Only five more episodes of Just a Minute, Please. Well, only five more that I will record and post here. The reason? Nobody listens to them. I’ve recorded 95 episodes and have less than 600 listens on Castbox. That’s less than six per episode. Many have zero listens.

My two most popular episodes were the ones where I said I was thinking about having a dog and then when I decided not to do so. Since, I have no episodes planned about pets, my listenership will stay close to nothing.

I’m not complaining, because as I mentioned in episode 1, I create for me. I began recording the episodes at the request of a student. I haven’t run out of ideas, just out a desire to share when (essentially) nobody cares.

I’ll continue to post short stories as I write them, short films as I make them and plays as I produce them. This means that posting going forward will happen infrequently.

Just a Minute, Please: The Book

“Just a Minute, Please.” Every day for almost two months I’ve been recording the thought that’s been foremost in my mind. There is no rhyme or reason for the order that they were recorded. Totally random. The topics could be classified as fascinating, ridiculous, personal, timely or any number of other categories.

One thing I’ve learned since the first minute is that not everyone wants to listen to a recording. I’m an online TEFL teacher and some of my students told me they would be more comfortable reading the text. So, that’s what gave me the idea to put “Just a Minute, Please” in book form. This way, they can listen and have the text to check on the parts they don’t understand.

This is not specifically a text/teaching book. It’s for anyone who prefers to read rather than listen.

As a preview I’ve printed three examples below. One is “current events,” another would be labeled “travel” and the third falls under “TEFL.”  

I’m hoping that the book will be available within a week and free of charge if the platform will allow it. If not, I’ll price it at 99 cents.

Minute 25: Airbnb

For the past several years I’ve had mostly wonderful experiences with Airbnb. Well, there was one asshole host in Slovenia, but I try not to think about him. A truly deranged individual. And a couple of other places were less than stellar. They didn’t provide what they promised in their photos or description. My present space is a perfect case in point. The photos showed an extremely well-lit studio apartment. In reality the lighting is dismal. Totally inadequate to teach online. The host brought me a lamp. In fact, she brought me two of them. What does that say? I think they’ll provide enough light. I’ll find out tonight.

Minute 42: Teaching English Online – My Students

This minute may be closer to two. In a quick count this morning I recalled having at least one lesson with students from twenty-three countries. And because my classes revolve around conversation, you can imagine how much I’ve learned from them. More than they learn from me, to be sure.

Students from Russia, Brazil and China dominate my requests which is why I had to implement a two student per country limit. Otherwise I’d be teaching ten Brazilians each week. That’s how many hours I teach.

My students have ranged in age from 18 to 63. It’s been a good mix of males and females. At present, I’m teaching two physicists, one from Brazil, the other from Mexico. When they want to talk about their work, I just nod and smile, like someone who doesn’t understand a language being spoken to them.

My favorite student is a Russian man, 48, who owns a coding company in Siberia. We’ve had almost 50 lessons and never lack for topics to discuss. He listens to podcasts from European countries so our conversations have an international flavor, although I know more about President Putin than I ever thought I would.

Teacher student attractions/infatuations occur. Twice in my year with italki. The first kinda spiraled out of control but since she was in Colombia and the covid prohibited travel, I finally ended it before it became too toxic.  Now, my Brazilian physicist wants me to meet her in the US this summer while she studies in Louisiana for six months. Our nearly forty year age gap doesn’t seem to bother her.

All in all I’ve never enjoyed a job so much. I intend to continue with italki for as long as I’m able. Who wouldn’t want to be paid for learning about the ways of the world?

those few disappointing cases I decided not to write a review. The reason being that I didn’t want my dashed expectations to dissuade someone else from renting the space. Especially, if most other reviews were positive. My needs are different than most guests. Who am I to say this is a bad place because I feel like I’m in a cave. Others may like it that way. And the poor lighting certainly helps hide the stains on the couch and the peeling paint on the walls.

Minute 52: Trump’s Lasting Legacy: The Exposer

I’m not saying that trump walked around in a trench coat flashing women and children, but anything is possible. No, I’m talking about what he exposed about American people.  And it’s ugly.

His words gave the racists, anarchists, the angry the permission, basically, to act on everything they had been suppressing for so many years. We all knew these types were a cancer, but quit paying attention as they had largely been benign for so long. Not any more.

Since the beginning of the Obama administration, republicans in congress have had only two objectives. To stop anything democrats want and lower taxes for the rich. Trump exposed a third. That they have no limits on what they will accept to stay in power. No behavior is too extreme, too immoral, too anything negative. And their lack of fortitude should terrify everyone.

The question that remains is, now that the evil genie is out of the bottle, can it be put back in? It won’t be easy. It might be impossible.

The first volume will contain Minutes 1-50 which means it is a short read. There will be a new volume every 50 recorded minutes.

Just a Minute, Please – Minute 18

Title: Who Is My Art For?

Recording: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1sy62n7N0Fu_1T6ww2T5Necx5GI_8FKk-/view?usp=sharing

Today’s minute is personal. Real personal. So, I decided to post the written version. Maybe more people will read it.

The requests have begun. My Spanish-speaking friends want me to add Spanish subtitles to my recently made English language movie. It’s not the requests that trouble me. It’s the reason behind it. They say the film will see more views and likes. Likes. Is that why we create? To have likes on social media? I’m too old to see the fulfillment from that. I wonder what the artists 300 years ago would have thought of likes? What was the “like” of 1721?

I don’t write for likes. I write for me. I’ve told many people that if I were the only person to see my plays performed or my movies screened or stories read, I’d be content.

Of course, it’s nice if people compliment me on something I’ve created, but it’s totally unnecessary. After all, who is my art for, but for me?

New short film: Sexual Relations: The Complication

This is the follow up to the romantic comedy “Sexual Relations.” It starts one year later. You’ll appreciate this film best if you have watched “SR.”

Although I still used native Spanish speaking actors we filmed in English. I have no doubt that this will upset some people. I knew that ahead of time. I don’t regret my decision. Taking chances is what art should be about.

I’m proud of everyone who was involved in the production of the film and look forward to making part three of the trilogy in a couple of months.

Link for “Sexual Relations: The Complication” – https://youtu.be/upKxCy7YKxU

Link for “Sexual Relations” – https://youtu.be/IvAVUVxoog8