Blog Posting Made Easy with This Simple Blogging Formula

What do you think of the idea of spending an evening to fill up your blog for an entire year?

What about spending a weekend on and off just writing a few quick blog posts, and then schedule them far enough in the future that if you have more stuff to say later, you can fill it in between the scheduled posts but, even if you don’t, you’ll still have a blog that posts content on a regular basis for an entire year?

Blogging isn’t that difficult. It doesn’t have to be another site you maintain, it doesn’t have to be an extra task you do every single day and it doesn’t have to be an extra chore.

Here’s an overnight blogging system, to make your blog posting simple.

Use it to crank out a few blog posts, and then sit back and let it do some promoting for you.

The Point of Your Blog

A blog is like a journal where you set up a site and you can post your articles or your content and it’s organized by date.

Now if you are trying to do some marketing, it should be a lead-in to your regular products; or even if you don’t have products, it should be a lead-in to your affiliate programs.

Now here’s something to ask yourself – does your content go anywhere?

Keep this in mind anytime you’re blogging: That you’re not blogging for charity, you’re not blogging just to be a nice guy, you’re blogging because it’s supposed to lead somewhere.

Use your blog to lead in to your regular products and get some regular readers who flock to your blog every time you have something new to say. Use your blog for email opt-ins, better than just allowing people to subscribe to an RSS feed to get notified about new posts.  You’re going to want to get people on an email mailing list as well, so that when you make new blog posts you can send them a message and they can come and read it; and when you launch new products, they’ll get those messages as well.

Your goal is to fill up your blog for 12 months. One blog, which is about a year old, has 56 posts and almost 1,500 comments, and it looks like a pretty busy blog – even though when you think about it, 56 posts?  What is that?  Like, five posts a month.  But because it is marketed to my list and because I have a call to action at the bottom and because I gather opt-ins on that blog, I’ve got an average of 26.5 comments per post. And I get that because every time I make a new blog post, I type out a special message to my mailing list, not just an automatic notification, but a real reason and a teaser type hook of why they should read it and why they should post.

I do article marketing. The extra articles I write that don’t really fit on my blog I will submit to article directories and for many of them, in the resource box, instead of plugging some actual product, I will plug the specific blog post it relates to, because people were on that article site reading free information, so the perfect transition is to go to my blog to read free information and then maybe when they’re on the blog, then they can opt in to a list. And then once they’re on a list for a while and I’ve built up their trust, then I can hit them with some low-ticket stuff; then once they bought a few low-ticket products, I can start hitting them with the high-ticket products.

So I’ve got the list sending traffic to the blog, I’ve got articles going to the blog, I market on forums and I have my forum signature pointing to my blog.  And when I have a popular blog post I might sometimes change my forum signature to point directly to a specific blog post.

What do you want on your blog?

You want to put the best stuff you have to write on your blog. If you don’t write a lot, then fine you can put every single thing you write on your blog. But for me, I never really want to post more than one blog post a week. Sometimes I do it more frequently, but I don’t want to consistently post more than one blog post a week. If you remember I have had 56 posts on my blog in the past year so that’s about one post a week. That seems to be good enough that my list pays attention, then I have something to say – because I’m not mailing too often – and I also can keep their attention – because if you don’t post often enough, they’re just not going to come, no matter what.

So if you can write one article a week, post it on your blog. If you can write two articles a week, post one of those articles on the blog and submit one of the articles to the article directories to get traffic back to the blog, to get people to opt-in and to buy from you.

What do you want to post on your blog? You want to post the tame stuff – the “neutered” content – onto the article directories because you want it to be accepted by as many places as possible. But if you have an article that might be a little more on the promotional side or might be a little more on the controversial side, and you’re afraid it might not get approved by as many article directories, then you should post it on your blog, especially because this is the kind of stuff people will actually respond to.

If you write an article that’s so good that people are going to respond to it and you submit it to article directories, it ends up in other article sites, ends up on other people’s blogs and other people’s newsletters. So what? How does that benefit you if people respond to someone else posting your article?

So you want to write articles on your blog that people will respond to, that get people going, because they’re adding more content to your site, they’re making your site look more popular and then that’ll lead into more visitors and more commenters. It’s a windfall.

Blog posts can be even shorter than articles. Nobody said there is a set length on blog posts. There’s always a set length on articles but blog posts can be as long or as short as you want. I try to keep it under three pages but sometimes I’ll have blog posts that are not even half a page. And that’s totally fine.

You can ask questions on your blog. So even if you have stuff you’re not totally sure of, asking questions on the blog is great because they bring in more people responding. And with articles that aren’t exactly article-length – if you write an article and it’s just too short and you’re only making one quick point and you don’t have time to make it better, just post it on the blog.

The plan is to crank out as many blog posts as you can in a one hour period, because we don’t want to have to write a blog post, then go back to the regular marketing, then go back to the blog posts, go back to marketing, go back to the blog posts. No way. That is a guaranteed way to make sure that the blogging takes up too much of your time. So, you want to get yourself in the mood to write a bunch of blog posts, write them out, schedule them, and then not have to think about it for a very long time.

So a one hour period, alright. Make a commitment to me that for 60 minutes you will just crank out a handful of blog posts. Don’t get up, don’t answer the phone, don’t have any browser windows open, don’t check email, don’t let anybody disturb you. Just say, “For one hour, I need this time to myself to crank out a bunch of blog posts.” You can write them to be a hundred words, they can a third of a page, they can be a full page, they can be a page and a half – it doesn’t matter. A hundred word post or a five hundred word post? They both work.

All I want you to do is to knock out the first six months. So sit down for one hour and knock out the first six months of blog posts. Since we’re doing the bare minimum, let’s just say we’re going to post one blog entry per month, ok. That’s the parameters I’m going to set here. So, for one hour, you’re going to write six posts. I’m sure that if someone sat you down and grilled you for 10 minutes on one subject, you could say a heck of a lot about that subject, 10 minutes is a long time. I know you’ve had to give presentations – maybe for school, or for work, or for some kind of club or activity. 10 minutes is a long time to talk. You can get a lot of stuff down in 10 minutes. So you just do this 10 minute thing six times.

You want to knock out six posts and then we will schedule them one month apart and that gives us the first six months of content.

Once that’s completely done and maybe a day from now, or a couple weeks from now, or a month from now, if you want to write something else, you can fill in stuff in between those one-month gaps, but only four posts per month max, because there is such a thing as posting to your blog too often. I have followed many blogs where the guy posted every day. And I could keep that up for maybe a month or two, but then at some point it just became too tough.

So give people the break.  At least give them a weekend or at least post different types of content. So maybe one day you’ll do a video, maybe one day you’ll do text, but just don’t overload them.  Don’t post a bunch of entries per day. Space it out because it’ll last longer.

For my BLOGGING FORMULA Go to:

Get a FREE Copy of “Create An E-Book Today. Publish It On Amazon.com. Profit From It for the Rest Of Your Life!” by Dr.Jeffrey Lant  Get Your FREE Copy CLICK HERE

Building your vocabulary -Your dictionary is your friend visit it frequently learning new words every day!

Building your vocabulary -Your dictionary is your friend visit it frequently learning new words every day!

Words are what give structure to our writing!

Having the words. For without words there is no story, without words there is no writing!

Here are some words for describing your pain given to us from the good people over at the Edmonton Nerve Pain Association

words_for_pain

Photo source credit: Edmonton Nerve Pain Association

For words to describe sound we have a great list from Word Object

words_for_sounds

Photo Source: Word Object

INSTEAD OF WHISPER CONSIDER

Compliments of WriteWorld.org.

words_for_whisper

 

Source: WriteWorld.org

A great resource for building your vocabular is Writer World’s word list page at: http://writeworld.org/tagged/word%20list

DESCRIBING EMOTIONS THROUGH ACTIONS

emotions_as_actions

 

See part two at the source of this posting Writing Advice

Photo Source via Tumblr

Substitute Ways of Saying Things

how_it's_said_001

See more at Life H4cks

Animal Collective Nouns

group_name_of_animals_from_deer_to_gnats

See more at the All Mighty Guru

or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English_terms_of_venery,_by_animal

ways_to_say_seems_like20 WAYS TO SAY LOOKS/SEEMS LIKE

 

 

 

 

 

 

See 30 more ways to say looks/seems like at the Source of this list: Linestorm Writing

45 WAYS TO DESCRIBE LIGHT

ways_to_describe_light

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See 150 more ways to describe light at the Source of this list: Linestorm Writing

 

Going from Telling to Showing –

Expanded version is at the source of this tip. Mrs. Swanda’s Writing Resources

showing_instead_of_telling.

 

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                    Commonly Over Used Words

1. Very / Really

Mark Twain said it best: “Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”

The words “very” or “really” (or any intensifier) are just other ways of increasing the value of a word without adding anything descriptive. You’re also using two words when one would suffice which, unless you’re getting paid by the word, is best to avoid. Instead of saying “very loud” like in our example sentence, try “deafening,” “thunderous,” or “piercing.” Not only do they roughly mean the same as “very loud” but they are much more descriptive. Here’s a great, if brief, list of words you can use in replace of “very”.

source of Chart below: Writers Write

 


2. Suddenly

“Sudden” or “Suddenly” is another practically useless word. Anton Chekhov once said “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” Let the sentence or the action itself jar the reader into feeling the suddenness of the action. “Suddenly” ironically slows down the action and delays the actual suddenness of the sentence. Let the silence speak for itself to convey your message.


3. Amazing / Awesome

Totally over used.

 

See more at the Source : Writers Circle

For descriptive writing use these words from Do you like English

Words to use instead of very:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Do you like English

Thanks to Write At Home we have numerous ways to increase our vocabulary with their charts of ways to say “Great”, “Said” “Bad”, “Went” and “Good – see more at the Source Write At Home

ways_to_say_greatways_to_say_saidways_to_say_badways_to_say_wentways_to_say_good

 

 

 

 

 

g.

 

When building your characters check out this list traits with definitions. Thanks to Character First

Character_wordsFEELING WORDS courtesy of School Transformation

feeling_words

Some Touchy Feely words courtesy of Author Zoo

touchy_feely_words_smallThe EzineArticles Editors have compiled a list of 100 words they recommend every Expert Author should know to be more concise, descriptive, and engaging.

100_words_every_author_should_knowSource of this list – Ezine Articles

Writers Write shared how strong verbs improve your writing in three ways. and this list of Strong Verbs – Source Writers Write

strong_verbs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get a year of tips and insights with internationally renowned writer, communicator, teacher, Dr. Jeffrey Lant’s Writers Secrets extraordinary online writing course at:

http://homeproitcoach.com/associates for more tips like this.

Tips that are short, sweet, and proven to improve your writing

Promotion is OXYGEN for your business. Here’s how to breathe life into yours and boost those sales.

Newbie affiliate marketers make the common mistake of underestimating just how much promotion it takes to generate sales.

To further complicate things, sometimes even when they understand the value of promoting they don’t get the results they want, and this can be for any number of reasons which I will discuss here.

Let’s tackle the first issue, promotion. How much is enough?

Think of it this way, promotion is as vital to the life of your business as BREATHING is to you keeping YOU alive.

Notice that big companies never STOP promoting? Why does Coke need to spend 5 MILLION on a Super Bowl Ad? Doesn’t everyone know what Coke is? The reason is simple. You must keep your product, your brand, your service in the eyes of the buyer. Stop, and the buyer buys something else from someone else. Each morning while watching the morning local news, the commercials I see repeatedly are for McDonald’s breakfast wraps. McDonald’s wants their brand to be what I remember as I’m heading out the door, I can just stop there on my way to grab breakfast.

Now let’s look at affiliate marketing in this same context. You can be trying to make sales from any number of affiliate products or services, business opportunities, advertising, Amazon, movies, website hosting, traffic, pet products, leads, books, toys, and so forth. You’ve got lots of competition. This means you must promote constantly, the reality that successful marketers know and embrace is, that you can’t ever stop.

This may come as a surprise to some. Often I see new marketers, go hard promoting for a week or two, then take time off, then they are back blasting off a few posts, their interest wanes and that’s it they’re done. Average business life expectancy for new marketers can be as brief as 30 days. Too many people expect instant spectacular results from a half-assed effort. You want to make more sales? Learn about effective marketing strategy and adapt a system for marketing – then stick with it. Promote more products, promote more often, promote in the places where you will get the BEST results. There is money to be made – a lot of money – from reputable online sources – not just today but for years to come if you learn how to be a smart marketer.

The good news is that once you have a system for promoting it doesn’t take you as long to do it. You can spend some time early in the morning or late in the evening on your lap top sending out your ads, doing your postings, updating your social media accounts. One of the advantages of being an affiliate marketer is that the company handles orders and customer service, this allows you to focus 100% on advertising and promotion.

Now let’s talk about the where, what and how of promotion that will bring you results.

Get accounts at:

Linked In
Instagram
Facebook
Twitter

Once you have the accounts set up don’t forget about them. Try to post at least every 48 hours. What to you post? Product reviews. Testimonials. Articles. Recommendations and so forth. Blatant ads won’t work in most places so be creative and be clever.

Get acccounts at popular Safelists and Exchanges. Safelists are free to join, you can earn advertising credits, or pay for low cost advertising targeting the home business market. Safelists are very effective for promotion of landing pages so be sure to include an offer, a lead form, and an optin.

Here’s a few to get you started

http://www.TrafficCenter.com
ListJoe.com
Referral Frenzy
http://www.DragonSurfer.com
http://www.QuantumSafelist.com
ViralInBox.com
MisterSafelist.com
Do a Bing Search for more – there are lots and lots of options for Safelist marketing.

Classified Ad sites are worth your time and so too are Online Forums.
Do a Google search to find sites that are free to join and post.

Speaking of Google, as a small affiliate marketer with limited advertising dollars, forget about buying Google Ads unless you have a bottomless pit of money to spend on advertising. It is far better value to buy low cost solo ads, classifieds, login ads, banner ads and sponsor ads at sites related to your market, such as the Safelists mentioned above.

Blogs. You can get a free blog but I don’t recommend it as you have no ownership or control. The company providing your free blog can simply remove it whenever they like if they don’t agree with something posted on the blog, or if their policies change. Better to get your own hosted blog, with an actual website address branded to you. Hosted blogs are inexpensive and using WordPress makes it very easy even for non techies to manage their own blog. For example my hosted blog is http://www.SandiHunter.com and this is a WordPress Blog that is easily managed and updated. What can you post to your blog? Everything? Why blog? To get better search engine ranking and to brand yourself, and to generate leads. If your blog is niche based, meaning the content is specific to a certain topic this is even better for search engine indexing and ranking. On your blog you can post your products for sale, your services, your reviews, your recommendations, articles, images, offers, news, and more. They key to blogging is to post new original content on a regular basis.

So now you understand that to earn consistent online income you must commit to promoting consistently. What you may not know is where to start, and exactly what to do. That’s where we can help you. Now it’s time for you to put a system in place so you can achieve the results you want. Successful marketers promote constantly to breathe LIFE into their business. They are hungry for leads because leads result in sales. They understand that a business only grows when continually watered, nurtured and fed. They learn how and where to market effectively by getting help in this process using a system that works, a proven system like the one developed over many years at Worldprofit. This is a comprehensive training system that teaches you the marketing skills required to achieve your goals for growing your successful online business. Find out more about how Worldprofit can help you grow your profitable online business at http://homeprofitcoach.com/associates

About the Author.

Sandi Hunter, is Co-Founder and President of Worldprofit Inc. Started in 1994, Worldprofit has helped people worldwide grow their own online business with comprehensive training, support and resources from newbies to more seasoned affiliate marketers.

Note: If you are reading this and not yet a Worldprofit member, you’re missing out on valuable training to help you learn how to earn at home from reputable online sources. Worldprofit provides training, resources, software and support for people who want to learn how to earn at home from reputable online sources. Find out why for over 20 years now Worldprofit has been the # 1 popular choice for online home business training. Join over two million people worldwide who trust Worldprofit for online training and support at http://homeprofitcoach.com/associates

Free Ebook: Internet Marketing Secrets

Long before he became a successful online business owner, George  Kosch was a jet pilot in the Canadian Air Force. As an Air Force Captain, he flew jets and taught students how to fly high performance aircraft. So, how did he go from flying jets,  to co-founding and operating an international online business that has paid out over 10 million in commission to affiliate marketers?

It’s all revealed in his free ebook, Internet Marketing Secrets.

Here’s a few revealing topics based on George’s experience as an affiliate marketer over the past 20+ years

– 5 absolute rules of online promotion
– Strategies for direct promotion that produce IMMEDIATE results
– What is a safelist, traffic exchange and how to use them for maximum results
– How to do swaps, joint ventures and run effective ad campaigns
– How to use blogging, ebooks, backlinks to further explode your traffic to any website

Get your free copy of George Kosch’s Internet Marketing Secrets here…

Long before he became a successful online business owner, George  Kosch was a jet pilot in the Canadian Air Force. As an Air Force Captain, he flew jets and taught students how to fly high performance aircraft. So, how did he go from flying jets,  to co-founding and operating an international online business that has paid out over 10 million in commission to affiliate marketers?

It’s all revealed in his free ebook, Internet Marketing Secrets.

Here’s a few revealing topics based on George’s experience as an affiliate marketer over the past 20+ years

– 5 absolute rules of online promotion
– Strategies for direct promotion that produce IMMEDIATE results
– What is a safelist, traffic exchange and how to use them for maximum results
– How to do swaps, joint ventures and run effective ad campaigns
– How to use blogging, ebooks, backlinks to further explode your traffic to any website

Get your free copy of George Kosch’s Internet Marketing Secrets here…

http://videopal.me/page/6xYyzeyzMEfm

‘We need a little Christmas.’ Why I’m working hard right this minute to make Christmas 2011 the best ever.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. I was young then, blessed with that overflowing feeling of high animal spirits and joy to the world. It was 1967, I was in New York City for the first time, about to sail to Europe on the SS Aurelia … The future seemed boundless, was boundless, and I had only good wishes and to spare for everyone, everywhere.

The only snare was that I couldn’t get tickets for “Mame” (music and lyrics by Jerry Herman); the hit musical based on one of my mother’s favorite books, “Auntie Mame” by Patrick Dennis (1955). Bummer. But not down hearted I somehow managed to get a program and discovered when Angela Lansbury, the star, the toast of Broadway, was likely to leave the Winter Garden Theatre. .. and just where I could stand for the best chance of getting her autograph.

I well recall the moment she came out the stage door, she was smaller than she appeared on stage… and I remember how the collar of her coat brushed against my cheek… and her scent as she bent down to autograph the program, a little crushed in my hand. It was lush, seductive, delicious… And I was happy…

I have that program still, in good condition, too, a reminder when the song I’ve chosen for today’s theme music — “We need a little Christmas” — was just a peppy, high-stepping, belt-it-out number, not an absolute need for all of us. Start, however, by going to any search engine… get the tune… then let ‘er rip… it’s going to get your blood going, your feet tapping, and maybe even bring a tear to your eye, you sentimental softie you…

“For I’ve grown a little leaner, Grown a little colder, Grown a little sadder, Grown a little older!”

These words pretty much sum up events since that magic moment at the door of the Winter Garden Theatre — and I don’t merely mean for you and me, either. I mean for America and for our deeply troubled world. And that is why I am already at work to ensure this Christmas in this year of general dismay and gloom is the best ever. We need it — for the good of home, hearth, soul, and, yes, the economy.

I began this week.

It is September 25, 2011 as I write, and my dear and valued helpers, Aime Joseph and his soothing wife Mercedes, have commenced Operation Christmas. We started with a herculean task meant to occur twice each year but often “forgotten” — polishing the silver. It is arduous, it is wearying, it is dull… and it is a necessary deed in creating the “wow factor” that is such an essential part of Christmas for me and mine.

The question is, why have we started so early… just what are we doing it for?

Over the last few years I have noticed the inception and development of an invidious trend in me and many others: scaling back, pruning, diminishing the high festival of Christmas. This is a very bad thing… and this year I decided to take constructive action before I bear an even closer approximation to Ebenezer Scrooge. This called for drastic action… and my better self answered the call.

Unmarried, no (known) children. Katie Segal made a fortune on “Married with Children”(1987) in which she played the ultimate suburban vulgarian wife, Peg. She thought the holiday was for maxing out her credit cards and causing pain to her hapless bills-paying husband. It was funny… because, of course, we weren’t like Peg, no way. But we are… and not, I hasten to add, because we enjoy the consumer aspect of the event.

I have always thought the sanctimonious folks who decry the blatant commercialism of Christmas and seek to revert to prior usages, pure and holy, misread the original text and allowed themselves to be hoodwinked by Puritans. Now, lest you think I am anti-Puritan, be aware I am of Puritan heritage myself. And it pains me to admit, the Puritans got Christmas all wrong and missed its message.

The culprit in the matter was Oliver Cromwell, a man who, saying enough is enough, helped King Charles I to eternity in 1649 through the simple expedient (as Charles told his horrified children) by separating His Majesty’s head from His Majesty’s body. The Lord Protector, more powerful than most kings, then lead an effort to root out all vestiges of the traditional high-living English Christmas. And so for 10 years (until his successor son Richard got kicked out in 1659) Cromwell and company worked to make everyone just as miserable and gloomy at Christmas as possible. That was the right and proper thing to do.

For instance, zealous Puritans, rigid, unbending, inflexible, muffed the matter of the Three Wise Men, princes of the Orient. Each, if you’ll recall, brought the Christ child very expensive gifts. These included gold (imagine if they’d held it), frankincense and myhrr. Unless these royalties just happened to have some extra gifts in their treasure trove (possible, but unlikely) each had to make a trip to the bazaar (which is what people called malls in those days) to scrutinize what was available and mull over their options.

This is exactly what the non-kingly people do nowadays at Christmas, parking their cars (easier to handle than malodorous camels which spit), returning over and over to get just the right gift, the gift that will say loudly and clearly, “I care.” So, where’s the problem? Christmas, in short, has had a pronounced commercial aspect from the first moment. People should get over it and get on with the real business of the event: love!

Whether you consider the matter from the vantage point of God to man — “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son” (John 3:16) —

… or from the vantage point of human relations, the fact is that Christmas is the prime event of every year based on, all about, and dedicated to love. And we humans after this storm-tossed year should embrace the event and enjoy it for what it is: a chance to love one another, be kind to each other, embrace our diversity, and give the embedded rancors of our deeply fissured planet a rest… even if we know, as we do, they’ll be back in the new year. Even a little solace helps. We need it, we must have it, and we deserve it.

And because I have been, shall we say, neglectful both about giving and taking love, I have a huge love deficit to make up for… and so Christmas 2011 must be done right in every nuance and detail… and this takes time, care, and thoughtfulness.

Cleaning the silver is just the beginning.

And then like the score says, “Candles in the window/Carols at the spinet.”

And gifts for all… and not merely anything grabbed at the eleventh hour Christmas Eve either… for the gift must be as special as the beloved who gets it…

All this takes time… meticulous attention to detail… and, most of all, love…

And it is this love, in short supply in years past, suppressed, which is the most important thing of all… This year will be different, for this year that love will flow without stint… as a resolute declaration to everyone, everywhere that this is a place where humanity is made welcome and where we know the true meaning of Christmas… and mean to have it! Share it! And renew it…

Knowing this, can you wonder why I am starting so early here? The wonder is that you have not commenced early, for your need is pressing, too.

The moans, groans, complaints and pontifications have begun as the Christmas marketing season of 2011 commences. Which side are you on?

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. Every year, it seems, the opening date for Christmas marketing creeps forward, adding days, not just hours, to the already lengthy selling season. This year my cadre of Christmas watchers reported seasonal catalog and store sightings as early as Labor Day, September 8 . But you can count on this: as people worldwide read this article, they will surely report even earlier sightings. This happens every year… and as it does one of the interminable debates of our times reignites: when is this much too much Christmas?

Ask this query in a crowded room and, hey presto, there will be pandemonium, mayhem, and strident calls for the public lynching of the people who so tamper with and wantonly extend the most important and revered holiday of the year. Christmas creep is here… and you have an opinion on this matter; I’m sure of that. Everybody does.

Christmas is the promised land — for merchants everywhere. That’s the problem.

Christmas purists, and their number is legion, never tire of beating up the merchants who are, they aver, at the bottom of Christmas creep. From this moment of the year forward, a large percentage of Americans will get up on any soap box to hand and excoriate, insult, belittle and besmirch people who earlier in the year they knew and attested to be good, hard-working, service-providing, tax-paying citizens. But where Christmas creep is the issue, truth and justice are early casualties.

People will creep… it’s as American as apple pie.

Know any folks from California? Or Oklahoma? I do. They are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. They are also the descendants of creepers.

Take California for instance. There a grand gentleman named John Augustus Sutter was peacefully minding his own business when James W. Marshall on January 24, 1848 discovered gold on Sutter’s land, at Sutter’s Mill, near Sacramento. The nation didn’t say, “Good for you, Mr. Sutter.” No way. Instead they took to creeping on to old man Sutter’s land, a little bit here, a little bit there… until the creepers had everything and Mr. Sutter had nothing but lawsuits and a footnote in history. A little bit of gold in them thar hills and a whole lot of creeping got us the State of California, and that’s a fact.

Or consider the folks in Oklahoma. They’re not called Sooners for nothing. In 1889, the federal government organized the great land rush, whereby folks who wanted land could get it free by racing for it against other land-hungry folks. Problem is, a good many of the wanters couldn’t be bothered to wait… and so they crept out early and grabbed the good stuff. Yup, they were creepers and some of the best families of the state started that way, and that, too, is a fact. Creeping pays, and only a Grinch would disagree.

But Grinches proliferate the closer Christmas comes and its insistent, unrelenting messages.

Although there have been plenty of Grinches in our history, lives, and culture, the actual character debued in the 1957 children’s book by Dr. Seuss, who was by all accounts a Grinch himself. It was titled “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and was adopted into a popular television special in 1966. In an instant people with anti-holiday spirit and growly disposition were indelibly tagged as partisans of that scowling hermit with green fur, red eyes, and boots who lives in an isolated cave near Whoville.

Now exuberant Christmas lovers had just what they needed to characterize and lambast the nay sayers, “Don’t be a Grinch,” causing the justly labeled Grinches to writhe and squirm. Just as they deserve. We all know it’s fun — and de rigueur — to pick on each and every Grinch we know.

It’s a question of dates.

After the fall in 1815 of Napoleon and his gimcrack empire, a peace conference was convened in Vienna to divvy up the spoils. Participants included Russia, England, Prussia, Austria and — drum roll — the France now ruled again by its Bourbon dynasty and represented by the Prince de Talleyrand. One day Tsar Alexander I of Russia, who always made such a bad impression as he rattled on about God and morality, was being particularly insufferable on the matter of how to divide the Kingdom of Saxony, which had, in his imperial view, stayed loyal to Napoleon a little too long. Its king, he insisted, should be losing half his country, or more.

Talleyrand, polished, aristocratic to his manicured fingertips, the ultimate cynic and realist, scanned his colleagues, each of whom (but the English) had made deals with Bonaparte, and renigged on them, snapped out that toxic phrase, “That, sire, is a question of dates.”

And so it is with our Scrooges, our Grinches.

The person who wants no Christmas festivities at all, just strict, gloomy adherence to what they suppose has been ordained and sanctified…. are Scrooges to the people who want the Christmas season to exist for a day or two, but not more. These, in turn, get dubbed as Grinches by those who want more… and there are always those who do. And so it goes…

… merchants trying (especially nowadays) to make up for one punk month after another, delving deeper into the calendar….

… thereby fueling yelps of outrage and righteousness from folks who raise the cry of too much self-seeking commercialism too early…

… thereby forcing those who might even agree in theory, to push the adamant seasonal marketing forward and forward again, as an act of mercantile preservation and profit.

Each says, “Enough is enough”; each points fingers and mouths frantic imprecations; each postures, preens, pouts, and always acts and speaks as if truth lived in their house and only their house. So there!

Whoa! The baby at the center of Christmas has indeed been thrown out with the bath water, and this will never do. Thus some thoughts of reconciliation, offered humbly and with trepidation.

Christmas has had a significant commercial aspect since the three wise men of the Orient, who came so far and at such inconvenience, approached the manger and offered their expensive presents. Did they just happen to find such offerings — gold, frankincense, and myrrh — in their saddlebags? Doubtful. More likely, they had gone shopping at one of the great bazaars along the way; such bazaars, blazing with the riches of the rich lands of the East, were the malls of their times… even unto parking their camels, always malodorous and mean spirited. In such a place, even the most fastidious desires of the most demanding could be met, including those who shopped for the King of Kings, for whom they employed their most discriminating tastes and ample means, never rushed. Thus, commercialism and Christmas go hand in hand… as they always have.

These suggestions will help you cope with and better enjoy this best of all holidays:

1) Let every man set his own acceptable level for just the amount of Christmas he desires. A laissez faire attitude is not just useful, but mandatory. Stop worrying about whether the man next door is asking too much or too little from the holiday and instead concentrate on making yours the best ever.

2) Leave the merchants alone. They have had a bad year; even if we think they are going over board, let them get on with it without our jeremiads, lamentations and snide remarks. Where would we be at Christmas, after all, without them?

3) Remember Henry Ford II’s celebrated line, “Never complain, never explain”. Since the very inception of Christmas the Thought Police have attempted to coerce uniformity. Mr. Ford was right… you owe it to no one and nobody to adhere; simply believe in your own way and style. As the song says, “Have yourself a merry little Christmas…”

4) Select a few of your favorite Christmas carols and seasonal preferences and load them into your audio player. You’ll be a lot happier when you enter some establishment with music you detest, no matter how venerable, if you can hear the tunes you particularly like.

And one more thing, whether the Christmas you celebrate is long or short, the single day itself, or the 12 days with five gold rings and lords a-leaping, or something else altogether, remember this: the gift you should most give and be most fortunate to receive is love… it is the only true and essential element. All else pales beside it.

One of the proudest days of my life… the day I give you Internet success through a unique gift you can only get from me!

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. Today is a red-letter day for me… one of the most important days of my life. For such a day nothing short of one of our weary world’s greatest masterpieces, Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” (1824), will do . Please play it before you read this article. You cannot but feel the thrill and exultation. If a human being can do this, human beings can do anything. Find it in any search engine and turn up the volume. Then you’ll know how I am feeling now as I prepare to give you a gift only I can give and which has taken me a lifetime to perfect.

Deaf… sublime.

When great Beethoven sat down to compose his 9th Symphony, of which the “Ode to Joy” is perhaps the most celebrated part, he was stone deaf. Yet in his capacious, extraordinary brain the music rang out to thrill the world. He could have said, “a deaf person cannot compose,” everyone would have understood such a conclusion and offered the usual words of sympathy… but that is not the way of people with a mission to improve the world. They recognize no obstacle! Do not give way to defeatism! And reach deep into themselves to find what they alone can give the world and its people who rely upon such genius for relief! Instruction! And improvement! For you see those who have such a gift must give such a gift… and today I give such a gift, the greatest I have ever given, to each of you.

The struggling world… and the profound promise of the Internet.

I have now been on the Internet over 18 years, about a third of my life. During these years I have witnessed humanity’s struggle to make sense of this monumental invention which has the undoubted power and demonstrated potential to connect people everywhere and enable them to say what they want to say without shackle or inhibition.

Now think a moment: for the first time, the very first time, in the long cycles of humanity each person can, with the simple expedient of an Internet connection, present himself, in all his wonderful uniqueness, to others who have the ardent desire to do the same, without the pernicious intrusion of any of the world’s Thought Police who have intervened with impunity and malice in all previous epochs.

The Internet brooks no interference… no one telling you what you can do…when you can do it. Yes, for the first time in human history each person has a voice that can be heard… that must be heard…. and so transform the world — for good and ill.

Is it any wonder then that I have selected “Ode to Joy” and recommended that you play it now… for on our troubled planet we need all the help we can get and the Internet is here to provide it.

Commerce…

From the very first minute far sighted folk saw that such a means of connection could prove to be a superb means of commerce. But how? Most didn’t know and so, without guidance, commenced a struggle which left them frustrated, confounded, angry and, too often, embittered. How, they wondered, could this astonishing invention produce a golden outcome for them? It was a question that millions asked — and continue to ask — but which only a comparative handful have ever answered successfully. With the almost daily assistance of my cherished partners George Kosch and Sandi Hunter, I have found such success… and been given the opportunity to give it to others. Today we celebrate that opportunity and its ability to uplift! Enrich! And empower people worldwide.

It all started with a blank sheet of paper.

I am not just a writer, but a published writer, which is a very different thing. To write to connect should be every writer’s objective… and it has certainly been my objective since my first article appeared in print 59 years ago, when I was 5 years old. You may well imagine what a heady thing it must be for that child, any child to experience such excitement. Once you’ve had it, you spend the rest of your life wanting more and doing what is necessary to get it. In this regard I have been most fortunate… having written thousands of articles and 18 books, mostly on business themes. My word has been carried — and frequently, too — on radio, television and on the lecture circuit. But my connection with the Internet has radically transformed the entire matter of content and given me the means to give you substantial advantage every single day.

How?

As I have often said and frequently written and emphasized, “the list is the business, the business is the list.” Thus each person desiring to succeed in business must spend a significant amount of time building a list, and this activity must be a part of each and every day that you desire to remain in business and increase your profit.

But maintaining your list, growing your list cannot, on the Internet, be your sole objective; that would be protecting your list and ensuring that you can use it daily to email ad copy to your subscribers. The problem is, if you only email ads day after day to these subscribers, they will quickly become disenchanted, even disgusted, with you… and manifest their displeasure by unsubscribing your list, thereby depriving them of all benefits you offer and yourself of their golden custom.

This is the exact situation in which most Web marketers find themselves… and why so many of these people are killing their lists, thereby killing their profits.

Here’s where I — and Bill Gates — enter the scene and why you need to pay attention to our message. Gates has famously and enigmatically said of the Internet, “Content is king.” What does he mean? Just that people will not put up with an unceasing avalanche of ad copy; they need more, much more. They need content… and if you create a blog and give them this content you can accompany it — every day — with the ad copy that generates the revenue. Problem is, most people cannot write engaging, meaningful copy and cannot afford the cost of hiring the people who could create such copy for them; it’s just too expensive.

That’s where I come in… I can and will produce such copy — for free. And today we recognize and celebrate the completion of the first 365 articles, one for every day of the year. These articles, all about 1500 words in length, are timely, intelligent, often provocative, always informative and, my signature and pride, beautifully written. Let me explain the importance of these articles and why you are fortunate to have them: they save your all-important lists from being destroyed by your subscribers, people who want more than a steady diet of ads and as such are invaluable.

Let us be very clear with each other: if you email nothing but ads, you will kill your list and thus obliterate your business. Thus, you have these options. Email the ads anyway and test my thesis (suicidal); try to write such copy every single day yourself (highly unlikely given your writing skills). Or you could hire the necessary talent to do the work, thereby breaking the bank. Or…

You could use the copy I have created for you… and which I give to you, thereby enabling your list and with it your business to grow and flourish while I provide the necessary (and always beautifully written) copy. And that is why we are celebrating today… not just for what I have written… or how well I have written — but because with these often lyric articles I am keeping your online business on the profit path.

“You millions I embrace you,” and give you the best of which I am capable for our mutual joy — freude! So now finish as we began… with Beethoven and his “Ode to Joy”. For we, now working together, have everything to be joyful about! Let the celestial sound soar… as we do — together! Freude!

Of polar bears. As the water rises, their prospects fall.

y Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. What music is appropriate for the undoubted decline and possible demise of one of the grandest creatures on earth — Ursus maritimus — the polar bear? I have selected Edvard Grieg’s 1867 masterpiece “From the hall of the mountain king”, for this is the story of a race of kings, sovereigns all, ruling over a land of snow and ice… a land now melting, imperiling these princes of the North… whose prospects for survival wane as the sea waters around them rise, a rise which threatens human kind, too. This is their story… and we must heed it for they are not threatened alone. You’ll find Grieg’s suite in any search engine. Find it now… and listen to its evocative, enigmatic sound. This sound will endure…. but will the polar bears whose tale I tell this day?

The seas at the top of the world are rising, rising…

While politicians argue about cause and effect, the undeniable fact of global warming and rising seas is beyond cavil and dispute. Sea level has been rising significantly over the past century, according to a newly released study that offers the most detailed look yet at the changes in ocean levels during the past 2,100 years.

Researcher Benjamin Horton, director of the Sea Level Research Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, found that since the late 19th century — as the world’s industrialization intensified — sea level has risen more than 2 millimeters per year on average. That’s a bit less than one-tenth of an inch… a small amount that signals death for polar bears… and chaos for seaside humans, drip by inexorable drip. It’s all about rising temperatures.

Rising sea levels are among the hazards that rightly concern environmentalists and progressive governments with increasing global temperatures caused by greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels like coal and oil over the last century or so.

The heat generated works to steadily melt some of the millions of tons of ice piled up on land in Greenland, Antarctica, and elsewhere. Such melting raises ocean levels and this, in turn, raises the possibility of major flooding in highly populated coastal cities and greater storm damage in oceanfront communities.

Polar bears must swim further and further for food…

Researcher Anthony Pagano, a US Geological Survey biologist, at the International Bear Association Conference, has, in his newly released study, made it clear what happens to polar bears as the snow melts and the seas rise. He identified and studied 50 long- distance swims by adult female polar bears between 2004 and 2009 in the southern Beaufort and Chukchi seas.

“Climate change is pulling the sea ice out from under polar bears’ feet, forcing some to swim longer distances to find food and habitat,” said Geoff York, a polar bear expert at the World Wildlife Fund who coauthored the study.

And the cubs simply fall off…

York said polar bears, tracked by satellite devices, routinely swim 10 miles or more for food, principally the seals they dote on and devour. But as the seas rise, these distances increase. Twenty bears in the survey swam more than 30 miles at a time. The longest-distance swim was 426 miles; the longest-lasting swim was 12.7 days, with a few brief breaks on drift ice. All this is bad enough, but here’s the tragic element: eleven of the bears that swam long distances had young cubs when researchers attached the tracking collars. Five of those mothers lost their cubs while swimming… and thus the breed and its prospects are diminished…

Facts about the threatened polar bears, majestic, now vulnerable.

The polar bear, universally admired, is the world’s largest land carnivore and also the largest bear, together with the omnivorous Kodiak bear, which is approximately the same size. An adult male weighs around 350-680 kg (770-1,500 lb), while an adult female is about half the size. Although it is closely related to the brown bear, it has evolved to occupy a narrower ecological niche, with many body characteristics adapted for cold temperatures, for moving across snow, ice, and open water, and for hunting the seals, which make up most of its diet.

The polar bear is classified as a vulnerable species, with eight of the 19 polar bear subpopulations in decline. Researchers estimate there are 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears worldwide; they are listed as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act.

“Nanook of the North.”

Over the course of uncounted centuries, the intricate, necessary symbiosis between the polar elements, the polar bear, and Inuit and other indigenous peoples of the North has slowly, carefully evolved. The Northern people revered the bear whose flesh they enjoyed… they called the polar bear “nanook”… and took the name proudly for themselves.

In 1922, Robert J. Flaherty made one of the most celebrated documentaries of the silent film era, “Nanook of the North”, calling it “A Story of Life and Love In the Actual Arctic.” In the tradition of what would later be called “salvage ethnography”, Flaherty captured (and some critics said staged) the struggles of the Inuk Nanook and his family in the Canadian arctic. In 1989, this film was one of the first 25 films selected for preservation in the United States Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

But the human Nanook, though most assuredly a predator of the ursine Nanook, was never a problem, for he took only what he needed… and was never wanton. He never forgot he needed nanook. No, he is not the problem, though human kind as a whole most assuredly is. For we as a genus are thoughtless, careless always anxious to shift the guilt, the burden, the responsibility to others for what we have done.

And what’s terrible about this so sad situation is this: we know what to do and when and how to do it. We don’t need more learned studies; for studies about the future of the polar bear and its irrevocably changing environment are frequent, thorough, detailed, and unanswerable. We need action… before this matter becomes, like the histories of so many other species, academic.

But, for now, let us end as we began, with Edvard Grieg, master of unsurpassed, haunting melody. A creature of the North, knowing Winter well, he cherished the fleeting glories of Spring. In this spirit, he composed something so beautiful it is painful to listen to. He called it “Last Spring”, and you must go to any search engine now to play it. Let it fill your heart with compassion for the great creatures now completely at the mercy of their greatest predators, us. Let us pray that this song of soul by Grieg remains great music only and that there is no “Last Spring” for Ursus maritimus, beloved of man, dying through the works of man.

For where shall we find your like again; You who thrilled us so?

Where shall we look when you are gone you who have been made by God?

When you are gone who will care for why when your great heart beats no more?

God will know… … but He will not say for we who were bade to cherish failed you.

So now we lament… too late Now we shall know you not and nevermore.

Never to play again under the great northern lights once your heaven.

Where then have you gone? You whom we loved, and failed…

On croquet, a game of strategy, grace, humiliation and malice. Mere football cannot compare.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. Friend, I suspect you are not up on the all-important words and necessary phrases from the world of croquet. That is scandalous, of course, and you should be ashamed of yourself for the dereliction. Fortunately it can be remedied at once by going to the always helpful Wikipedia, where you’ll find an admirable glossary. Go now… and while you’re there be sure to find the original score for the quirky film “Heathers.” (1989). Why?

Because those ever inventive jeunes femmes fatales invent a game (so clever, don’t you know) called “strip croquet”. You won’t play it in your neighborhood; your crusty neighbors would be scandalized… but I can play it in mine, because I live in Cambridge… where beautiful young people abound, glorious to look at but without the sense they were born with. They’d love the inspired innovation. Play the theme music right away. It will put you in just the right frame of mind for this scrutiny of one of the most conspiratorial and vengeful games on earth and where (on the pretext of helping another player with her grip) you can snuggle up without demur…

Lord Reggie learns the power of croquet…

Lord Reggie Pasworthy was in despair. This 7th impecunious son of the impecunious 17th marquess of Unworthington had heard, always on the very best authority, that Lady Pamela Noacres had cast sheep eyes at…… but that couldn’t possibly be… for she was… his… and had once nearly said so. She couldn’t…… she wouldn’t. But it appears she might.

What could he do?

He applied at once to Basil Uppercrust, who knew all but said nothing, so admirably discrete, so clever Basil. “Freddie, old chum, you need to do only one thing to be right as rain with the gel… ” Then he whispered just one word……

“Croquet”…. and immediately wrote his cousin the duchess to arrange a week-end where Lord Freddie might shine amongst the wickets, his admirable figure displayed to best advantage.

Though it has been many years now since that week-end at Castle Allworthy not a thing about it has been forgotten. How Lord Freddie confounded Lady Pamela’s advance with a ball-in-hand.

How Lady Pamela distracted him by proposing a double-bank with her grace. (He won that, too.)

How it all came down to the final hoop… and that unforgettable moment when Lord Freddie took control, determined, insistent, a gentleman no longer but a beast, my dear, I tell you a beast…. Lady Pamela’s temperature rose from tepid to scalding… from polite interest to… riveted… while Freddie ran the hoops until he completed that glorious sextuple peel to roquet her ball spinning down the verdant acres… and when the gallant victor offered his lavendered handkerchief, her fate was sealed…

The engagement was announced in the “Morning Post” just today.

The plight of the World Croquet Association.

Pity the situation and plight of these admirable folks and their invaluable efforts on behalf of croquet. They want us to see croquet in the benign light of demos and beer…. when most of us enjoy the game because of its unabashed elitist, aristocratic nuances played out with insouciance and fine champagne on the most perfect grass we have ever seen, the result of hundreds of years of arrogance and care.

A brief history of croquet.

Ask anyone (anyone, that is, of any intelligence and discernment whatsoever) just where croquet was invented… and, without missing a beat — they’d tell you “Why, old man, in Jolly Old England, what.” And, of course, they’d be wrong… and, such are the ways of croquet, they’d also be right.

Croquet scholars (fastidious and accurate) will tell you the rules of the modern game arrived from Ireland during the 1850s, perhaps coming from Brittany, where a similar game was played on the beaches. A game called “crookey” was played at Castlebellingham in 1834 and, in 1835 was played in the bishop’s palace garden; later that year it was played in the genteel Dublin suburb then called Kingstowne (now Dun Laoghaire) where it was first spelled as “croquet.” There is, however, no pre-1858 Irish document that describes the way the game was played… but the Irish don’t care about such details. They claim croquet and that is that…

…but, of course, that most assuredly is not that, especially if you are of the English ilk, and damn their cheeky assertion.

In the book “Queen of Games: The History of Croquet,” author Nicky Smith offers another hypothesis. Smith says that the game was introduced to Britain from France during the reign of Charles II of England, and was played under the name of paille maille or pall mall, derived ultimately from the Latin words for “ball and mallet.” This is what the “Encyclopedia Britannica” wrote in 1877. But of course the xenophobic Britannica would say so, wouldn’t they?

But at last there is documentary evidence that confirms English inventiveness and croquet paternity. Isaac Spratt is the champion. He created the oldest document known to bear the word “croquet”. He wrote a description of the modern game of croquet and the first set of rules and regulations of a game which became ever more esoteric, obscure, arcane. Just the way the players like it!

Spratt’s contribution came in November, 1856 when he filed his document with the Stationers’ Company in London. It is now in the English Public Records Office. In 1868 the first croquet all-comers’ meeting was held at Morton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire and in the same year the All England Croquet Club was formed at Wimbleton, London. There was absolutely nothing democratic about any of it, and one would have drunk beer, instead of a stirrup cup, at one’s considerable peril.

This result, however, was unacceptable to Ellery McClatchy, dead at 86, in September, 2011 at his home in Pope Valley, California.

If you live in Northern California and are even remotely with it, you will recognize at once the surname, for there (and amongst the politically sentient) it is a household name because of their substantial newspaper properties, not least the major paper in Sacramento, the Bee. As you may imagine, to have such a property, such a position in the largest state in the Great Republic is to have financial resources… and the time and ability to pursue your particular interests. In this case… croquet.

McClatchy was, and this is crucial to the case, an all-American boy; thus he disdained the exclusivities of old regimes everywhere. He had a “desire to make croquet available to people of all ages and to see croquet lawns in a great variety of places,” according to a profile on the US Croquet Association website. He pursued this inclusive objective over the many years he was a ranked croquet player and in 1995 when he was inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame.

While we all think highly of his years of effort, democratic (or republican) croquet is not what any of us desires. Which is why our favorite croquet match ever is the one overseen by the Queen of Hearts in Lewis Carroll’s immortal book “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865). The balls are live hedge hogs and the mallets are opinionated flamingoes. It is curious, odd, unconventional, the best way to play this marvelous game which puts dull baseball and interminable football in their places. I say “off with their heads” to any with the reckless temerity to gainsay me.

How one man — known to history as ‘Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne’ — lost his majesty’s empire and gave victory to the rebellious Americans. An astonishing tale.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne loved the pomp and circumstance of war. That is very apparent from one of the greatest “swagger” portraits ever painted. It is the masterpiece of Sir Joshua Reynolds, who captured if not the man, then the way the man wished others to see him. To Burgoyne we may guess, even if we have no record to confirm, that that pomp and circumstance include just the right martial music. That it stir the blood, quicken the step, and motivate every heart to — victory, for King and Old England.

As the tale of the Gentleman demands, only the renowned music of the celebrated “March of the British Grenadiers” would do. Burgoyne would have known it well. Once you’ve found it in any search engine, play it… more than once. Unless there is water in your tired veins, you will instantly feel its power… and you will understand the loyal soldiers of the monarch stood tall and moved so well as they marched to their fate. And so “Gentleman Johnny” marched to his…

Find the man in the myth.

On his deathbed, August 4, 1792, I suspect the expiring Gentleman would have known (and would surely have rued) the fate and reputation impressed on him. He knew he would be, thanks in large part to the unfortunate sobriquet he once found so stylish, considered a popinjay, vainglorious, interested in the trifles of war, not its often deadly essentials. In short, the classic situation of a man fatefully over his head. It is a situation common in history, often bringing about the most serious consequences and world-changing realities. The question we must ask ourselves is this: does such an evaluation do justice to the man? For history must not be merely (as Voltaire said) a pack of tricks we living play on the dead. It must strive to be just, honest, truth-telling, not truth-manipulating.

Facts about John Burgoyne, born 24 February, 1722.

Right from the start, fate seemed to be playing games with Burgoyne. He was born in Sutton, Bedfordshire, into a county family with the required Baronet at its head. His mother was Anna Maria Burgoyne, daughter of a wealthy merchant. His father… but there’s the rub. The story line might have been taken from “The History of Tom Jones, foundling,” written by Henry Fieldilng in 1749.

Burgoyne’s father was (legally) Captain John Burgoyne; in actual fact, it may have been milord Bingley, who served as his godfather. When his lordship died in 1731, his will specified that Burgoyne was to inherit his estate if his daughters had no male issue. Thus did the young Burgoyne find himself treated like a likely lad with great expectations… but no certainties. Charles Dickens wrote a classic on this predicament which wrecked havoc in many lives.

Burgoyne, like many future officers, was sent to Westminster School. There handsome, athletic, high spirited, gifted with the ability to make friends and to lead boys, he flourished. Perhaps, like many such, he peaked there; it is a common enough tragedy. But at the time things seemed very different… and he made many friends, including Thomas Gage and Lord James Strange. What he needed was money…. a career… and more money, in just that order.

With family help, in August, 1737 he purchased a commission (the usual way of getting one) in the Horse Guards, a very fashionable and very expensive regiment composed of just the kind of people he had spent his life around. His duties were light… the life congenial, not least because it enabled him to find a rich wife, absolutely necessary to maintain the ostentatious life style he loved, pressingly necessary because of his huge gambling debts, so characteristic of the 18th century, so puzzling to us.

Such a man, of course, beautiful, charming, all genteel condescension and winning plausibility was not to be denied by mere woman, no matter how well connected. Her name was Lady Charlotte Stanley, and she was one of the great catches of her day. Her brother was Burgoyne’s school friend, Lord Strange, the heir to one of England’s grandest and most historic families. Unfortunately, the head of that family, Lord Derby, demanded more than white teeth and insinuating manners. He nixed the marriage, whereupon in 1751 Burgoyne and lady eloped, to parental fury, the end to her allowance… and (unthinkable!) a possible lifetime of just making do. But that wasn’t Burgoyne. And so he used his assets to best advantage… and in due course, the Burgoyne’s produced their only child, Charlotte Elizabeth, in 1754. She was the gambler’s lucky chip he needed to reinstate happy (and remunerative) relations with Lord Derby, who in due course, succumbed to Burgoyne’s undeniable charm. It wasn’t enough, of course, and there was absolutely no glory to be delivered from living off his wife’s rich father.

He went back to the military where freedom from wives and debts was to be found and, to the lucky ones, renown and bright shining fame…

Having acquired an empire, England needed the military establishment to sustain and protect it. Wars, small, middling and international, were the order of the day, most every day. Trained officers like Burgoyne were valued… and their peccadilloes winked at. He was (in the parlance of the day), “honorable and gallant”… the more so as he was also in Parliament from 1768. He was leading the charmed life of a man who had (nearly) everything, including a string of military honors and advancements starting with the British raid on St. Malo (1758) and combating the Spanish invasion of Portugal (1762).

His tryst with America.

Like most professional soldiers of the day, Burgoyne despised the colonials and thought they’d be promptly defeated and put back in their place. Right from the start, at Concord, at Lexington, at Bunker Hill this view was challenged. But it was a prejudice that persisted and was to cost him, and his sovereign, dearly. A temper tantrum by Burgoyne in 1775, when he fulminated against the limited opportunities he felt insufficient for his genius might have saved his eternal reputation. He resigned and went home in a huff… but, fatefully, he returned. He thought he had to, since the American theatre was where glory lay… and so it was — but not for him.

And that was because of a place called Saratoga, where Burgoyne’s career of happy mobility ended in 1777 and where the United States of America as a plausible entity began.

Lord George Germain, Secretary of State for the Colonies, had a plan, a clever plan for dividing New England from the rest of the colonies. He would send Burgoyne down the Hudson, General Howe up the Hudson, to rendezvous at Albany and victory. Unfortunately his lordship forgot to tell General Howe, who sat and did nothing while Burgoyne walked into a trap he thought mere colonials could never execute. Too late he discovered American grit, learning to his chagrin that even rebellious Britons are Britons still and that “Britons never, never shall be slaves,” surrendering his entire army of 5000 and the fate of British North America. Lord George Germain, too powerful and well placed for blame, made sure Burgoyne was the culprit and never held another active command,, while his lordship got the chance to muddle again — this time at Yorktown in 1781 — where he got another, final chance to destroy the jewel in the crown.

Burgoyne spent the remainder of his life rethinking what had happened and in writing plays… but none of his dramatic endeavors were as compelling as the plot of his own life.