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Greg Gagliardi's 

Progressive Revelations

Greg Gagliardi is a writer, humorist, speaker and teacher.  He has been teaching and advising Eastside, a nationally recognized school newspaper, at Cherry Hill East since 2000.  His Twitter following grew as a result of his then-weekly column, "Progressive Revelations," as well as through his observations and commentary over the past 20 years.  He is NJ state director of the Journalism Education Association and president of the Garden State Scholastic Press Association.

In addition to his various writing and teaching endeavors, Greg is a social media marketer.  Contact him to discuss how he can promote your business, however large or small, at

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I wrote this about curling (so that you can read this about curling)
I wrote this four years ago about curling.  Hey, if I don't copy and paste this now, I may as well wait four years.  Here goes:


I've tried a few different times to understand curling.  I bought a bag of cheese curls.  I found a bunch of those bugs that curl up into balls and tried to teach them right from wrong.  I even did what most people do when they need information: I used Wikipedia, which told me in its first line, "Curling is a sport in which players slide stones across a sheet of ice towards a target area which is segmented into four concentric rings."  Although I understand each of those words individually, I am having trouble figuring out the connection between those words and "sport."  I mean, by these standards, shouldn't ring toss be an Olympic sport?  Or how about horeshoes?  What makes these different from curling?

Of course there are people reading this column who will claim to understand curling, but there is a nickname for those people: liars.  The world is, in fact, separated into two groups of people: 1) people who do not understand curling and 2) no one.  After watching some curling match-ups/games/events/bouts -- otherwise known as "research -- I have begun to formulate a few curling certainties:

1. One person hurls a stone across ice, just as one would throw a bowling ball.  However, the person does not let go of the stone, which I assume is an accident.  "Should I let go?" I think I heard one curler ask another.  "I'm not sure, I'm only on this Olympic team because I raised my hand," I think another replied.

2. There are different rounds to curling, similar to innings in baseball.  At some point, someone sings, "Take Me Out to the Ballgame -- Please," which is more of a cry for help to get out of the curling event than it is an actual song.

3. After a stone is hurled, there is always someone yelling in some indistinguishable manner in the background.  This is really the only thing that differentiates curling from chess.  If people start yelling out, "Checkmate that, come on.  You can do it, checkmate it," then I will have to assume that curling is literally chess on ice.

4. Brooms are a major part of curling, which is why I'm pretty sure curling is not a sport.  I mean, I swept my kitchen floor yesterday and I considered myself more of a cleaner than an athlete.  If using a broom makes someone an athlete, then I can't imagine what that means for people who rake.

5. Some countries are traditionally better than others at curling.  I'm not really sure how that happens.  I think that is like one country being better than another at penmanship or at setting a table.

From the time I have spent watching curling in the Winter Olympics, I cannot offer any information other than what I have just provided.  That's okay, though: I will move on with my uninformed self until 2018 because I just know that 2018 will be the year when I really, truly, definitely understand curling.  It is also the year I plan on interrupting chess matches with a broom...

But I digress.

Hey, you can order TWITTER SCRATCH PAPER here:

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 16:19:00 +0000

Twitter Scratch Paper: What is it and how can I get it immediately?
I was recently driving, pondering the answers to life's important questions as I normally do when I drive, when I interrupted myself with a thought about Twitter: why don't many people proofread before they tweet?   And, for that matter, why don't they pause for a little bit -- just a few seconds even -- before making that tweet available to thousands or even millions of people?

Maybe some people need to go back to their writing roots, I thought.  Maybe they need scratch paper.  And who am I to deny something to people that they need?

I created Twitter Scratch Paper as a way for people to plan out their tweets before they send them.  People can keep the book wherever they do their best thinking.  Each page consists of two sets of 280 blanks just waiting to be filled in.

Maybe you're hesitant to get started on Twitter.  Then use this book and practice before you put yourself out there.

Maybe your best friend or your mom or a politician you know needs to stop impulsively subtweeting people.  Send that person this book.  In fact, as a human being, I think it's your obligation to help these people -- and to help the rest of us in the process.

You can order the book here:

Send me a tweet @greggagliardi and let me know what you think.

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 21:12:00 +0000

'Tis the Season
People often say to me, "Greg, I need your help. Can you answer some questions about Christmas for me?"

Actually, no one has ever said that to me.


Not even sort of.

But if someone ever does,  I am well-prepared, as I wrote this column in December of 2012:

'Tis the Season
December 18, 2012

It's the middle of December, every radio station is now playing Christmas music and there are sales at every store. It can only be one time of the year. That's right, the four-month countdown to Arbor Day. The problem is: it's hard to even think about Arbor Day right now -- or to even begin the countdown -- with Christmas a week away. There are so many things to worry about between now and then that you might be wishing a guide existed to help you get through this. And lucky for you there is: it's called Wikipedia. But let's face it: you just don't have that kind of time. So here you have it, a simplified Q&A guide to get you through the next week...

Question: What should I do if someone buys me a gift, but I didn't buy anything for that person? 

Answer: Start with an immediate sigh, followed by a quick, "Oh, I got you something, too." Pause and then follow up with, "But wait, I don't have it with me right now. It's in my car." When the person points out that your car is right next to you, say, "Yeah, too bad I don't have my keys." Make sure your keys are not in your hand, but if they are, cover up with something slick like, "I can't open my car right now because there is an electric eel in there, and I don't want to lose the electric current I have going on." 

Question: How can I spice up the annual gift-giving routine on Christmas morning?

Answer: Consider waking up extra early and switching up the gift tags. Nothing says "holiday" like grandmom getting a new game for the Wii or Little Bill getting women's underwear. If anyone questions what happened, simply tell everyone, "This is what Santa wanted. I am sorry you are not happy about this, but there is nothing we can possibly do about it."

Question: Does Santa Claus exist? 

 Answer: Yes, I saw him at the mall yesterday. For the record, I also saw someone drop a pretzel, pick it up and eat it.

Question: How can I make sure the holiday spirit stays with me once the holiday is over?

Answer: That's the joy of planting trees.

Question: I meant the Christmas spirit, not Arbor Day.

Answer: I don't see a question mark at the end of that question, but I'll answer it anyway because it's the holiday season... To make sure that the Christmas spirit stays with you, save some Christmas presents that you can open up much later, like in June. Also consider leaving your Christmas tree out for two or three months. Real trees, in particular, are a great touch when they start to rot -- and I'm sure those trees will perk right up once Arbor Day comes around.

But I digress.

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 19:31:00 +0000

I am not actually correcting anything.  Occasionally, though, I like to cross things out.

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 19:18:00 +0000

Don't Say This On Day One
I recognize that some U.S. states began school a couple of weeks ago, but for those of us in the Northeast -- the states that follow the motto, "Yo, no school till after Labor Day" -- school has not yet begun.  I will be starting my 18th year teaching, so I know firsthand how much anticipation is involved with the first day of school: What should I wear?  Will people like me?  What if someone steals my lunch and eats it? And those are just faculty concerns; for students, the list extends even further.

I would like to help students nationwide when it comes to first day etiquette, more specifically what they should not say to their teachers on the first day of school:

1. "Can I just take a picture of everything you have on the board?"
Translation: "Can I just take the easy way out right now, as well as for the rest of the year?"

Granted, the process of putting pen to paper is a difficult one, ranking right up there with opening a bag of chips or interpreting the hands of a clock. But your phone is not intended to take a picture of notes on the board, it's intended to take selfies and to catch families of geese crossing the road. Remember that always.

2. "Can I go to the bathroom?"
Translation: "Can I walk around and stall time?"

No one wants to see an accident occur, as it could be an unwanted life-altering moment for everyone involved.  But when you ask to go to the bathroom every day at the same point into a class period, that's about as suspicious as, well, asking to go to the bathroom at the same point every class period. And, of course, the correct terminology is "May I go the bathroom?" anyway.  This is interchangeable with "Shall I go to the bathroom if it's something that I require at the given moment?"

3. "Will we be tested on this?"
Translation: "Do I need to pay attention?"

Life is not all about tests.  Well, technically, now that I think about it, it is.  There are so many tests in life.  But that doesn't mean that you should verbalize this thought, because holding in this question is, in reality, also a test.

4. "Do you offer extra credit?"
Translation: "Since I don't intend to do the assigned work, is there something I can do to compensate, like make a poster of irrelevant things?"

Here's some extra credit: "Good job with that question."  I'll give you credit for that one, except not really.  Don't worry about extra credit until you first worry about credit.  That is why there are so many commercials about checking your credit score online and how bad credit can negatively impact your life.  After graduation, bill collectors won't give you extra credit; they'll simply give you an incessant number of phone calls with automated voice mails.

If students keep these questions in mind -- and literally keep them there rather than asking them -- the start of the school year will be successful for everyone. And as far as the fear of a stolen lunch goes, just pack really bad lunches and you'll never have to worrry...

But I digress.

Mon, 04 Sep 2017 21:17:00 +0000

A Conversation With My Car
I moved on from this car a year later.  Looking back, maybe this is why...

A Conversation with My Car
April 9, 2013

I really need to move on from the car that I've had for quite some time, but like a loyal friend, I refuse to let go.  In the past three months, though, my car has caused me to get major repairs to parts of the car that I didn't know existed until I brought it to a repair shop.  It is quite possible, in fact, that these parts were made up by the repairmen -- a sort of practical joke that is funny only to people who understand cars.  For example, I needed to get a new belt that connects my accelerator to my engine.  A belt, really?  Totally sounds made up...

Just recently, I had to get a new fuel pump.  There is no way that is a real thing either...

I just wish I had a way of knowing what my car really needed.  Like a good psychologist talking to a person in need of help, I have to dig beneath the surface to see what is really wrong, not what someone thinks is wrong because this so-called "belt" was burned or this fuel pump -- again, totally not a real thing -- is no longer pumping.  I would begin by telling my car that everything will be okay and that I will not judge it or look at it any differently if it shares its problems with me.  I would also apologize for not giving it a name and for referring to it as, well, "it."  Then the deep part of the discussion would begin...

Me: Seriously, car, can you knock it off and just work?

Car: Please, boy, you did not just say that to me.

Okay, so this approach probably would not work.  I would need to calm down first and gently stroke the car's ego.

Me: You are amazing, car, I just want to tell you that.  Even when something goes wrong, you are the best.

Car: Thanks.  For addressing me so nicely, I will now talk to you.

Me: I'm here to help, car.  I really do want what is best for both of us.

Car: That's all I ever wanted, too.  Well, that, and for you to maybe vacuum me every once in a while -- and maybe use the premium gas.

Me: I didn't think you were one of those snobby cars that needed premium.  I've been using regular in order to, you know, keep it real.

Car: Good call.  And that's a good reason for not vacuuming either.  Those pistachio shells give me identity and charm.

After about three hours of this small talk, I would hope that the car would be able to open up.  Maybe it will tell me that it's time to move on -- that we need to separate because it's what is best for the both of us.  Maybe the car will just need some time away from me.  Maybe I'm cramping its style.  These are diagnoses that people who work in auto shops will never give, partially because people would probably not be too happy to pay $600 to receive those words and partially because I don't think repair people really care enough to talk to cars the way that they should.  I think people who fix cars (and those who write about them) should pass psychology exams in order to receive proper certification.  In the meantime, I will search the Internet for help from complete strangers who answer questions in forums.  I'm sure it's what my car would want...

But I digress.

Sun, 27 Aug 2017 00:53:00 +0000

You Only live Once
I wrote this over five years ago, when people were saying, "YOLO" a lot.  I know some people who still say that, but those people are known as "dorks."  I don't know why they weren't dorks five years ago, too.

You Only Live Once
July 3, 2012

It's common knowledge that cats have nine lives, something that I have not been able to verify one way or the other considering how many cats look alike.  However, over the past few months, I've heard a lot that would tell me otherwise, in the form of four letters: YOLO...

YOLO could stand for a number of things.  It could, for example, stand for "Yaks originally landed offshore," which is an important way of informing people about the origin of yaks, regardless of whether that is true or not.  Or, it could stand for "Yard ornaments look outstanding," as a way of reminding everyone that one or two lawn gnomes, if placed properly, will do wonders for scaring away the local youth.  Finally, YOLO could stand for "Yawn often, laugh occasionally" to tell people that it is important to fake boredom during stand-up acts...

The more common meaning of YOLO, "You only live once," was probably said by thousands of people for thousands of years, going back to the days of stone tablets when cavemen would carve it into walls.  None of this matters, though, because it took the song "The Motto" by Canadian rapper Drake for Americans to see how wise this statement was.  In looking up the exact lyric -- "You only live once, that's the motto," followed by an expletive -- I see how eloquently stated those words are, especially when followed by the next line of wisdom: "We bout it every day, every day, every day."  Truthfully, I felt lost in life until I saw those words.  Now I want to join the rest of the world in using #YOLO at the end of every Tweet and in yelling the acronym out of my car window, especially while at red lights...

Knowing that I can only live once, thanks to Drake, there are a few things I now realize I need to do:

1. Come up with an acronym considerably better than YOLO.  This should not be difficult, as any random combination of letters should do the trick here, like KRFP.  People can come up with their own meanings for what those letters stand for, or they can wait for Drake or some other Canadian rapper to enlighten us at some point in the next decade.

2. Get my name mentioned in a Drake lyric.  Imagine how much deeper and wiser I will seem if someone as wise as Drake raps something about me, especially if followed by the words, "We bout it every day, every day, every day," and then I would join in the rap by yelling, "Yeah, that's right, that's right!"

3. Convince people that YOLO is actually "Rolo" mispelled.  Since Rolo are chocolate-covered caramels, which are so, like, 1983, eventually people will get tired of the word and go back to using other words and phrases that are equally as unwise, like "It is what it is." YOLO will then be retired until fifty years from now when people say to their grandchildren, "When I was your age, we knew we only lived once.  Nowadays people don't get that."

Once I accomplish all of the goals above, I will be ready to move on to my next life -- or at least the next stage of it -- as a Canadian rapper, when I will rap about all things Canadian, like bacon and the Canadian flag and bacon-covered flags and hockey. I'll be best known by the wise acronyms I create, like HELLO: "Hey everyone, let's love others." I look forward to the fan following...

But I digress.

Sun, 27 Aug 2017 00:47:00 +0000

Warped Speed
I wrote this column around ten years ago, and you know what?  Slow drivers are still pretty annoying.

Warped Speed:
October 30, 2007

I consider myself an average driver: I drive around ten miles over the speed limit and get annoyed by senior citizens who drive ten miles under.  Occasionally I will look at my speedometer just to confirm what I believe: "Yep, that person really is old," I sometimes tell myself. "Maybe I'll get lucky and she'll get pulled over by the 'slow police.'"

Unfortunately, the "slow police" doesn't exist, at least not yet. However, the only thing stopping this unit from existing is the fact that police forces all across the country do not want to pull slow people over.  It's just not exciting. And it's particularly not brag-worthy to go home after a long day of traffic work to say, "You should have seen it, honey.  This old guy was driving 20 and I somehow caught up to him and told him how slow he was driving and he fell asleep trying to find his registration.  So I yelled at him and he woke up.  It was crazy, I could have been killed."

As it is now, without a "slow police," policemen have the thrill of a three-second high-speed chase that leads to the speedster being pulled over and then showing all relevant documents.  What makes this exciting to policemen is that the person in the car very well may be a celebrity, pregnant or both.  Even when that is not the case, there is still the chance that the driver is an idiot who will attempt to speed away when the cop walks back to his or her police car to check out the situation.  After all, if the car went ten miles over the speed limit just ten minutes prior, what is stopping the driver from going ten miles over the zero-mile-an-hour speed limit that was put into place when the car was pulled over?

Unfortunately for traffic cops, their jobs are being replaced by units on the sides of random streets that serve as giant speedometers.  I would give a more specific name for such a device, except I can not find one online and George Bush doesn't return my calls anymore.  We've all seen these things: a giant number is displaced on the board so that a driver can see his or her speed upon passing by it.  Some may think, "Well, this is a great idea.  This way those without speedometers don't need to worry.  They just have to restrict themselves to driving on these very particular streets."  And that's a fine thought, one that ranks right up there with melting pudding pops to create pudding.  The reality is that, in our action-packed, reality show-driven society, these giant speedometers are purely used for entertainment purposes.  Earlier today, upon passing one, I saw that the car in front of me was going 34 miles per hour, which led me to want to go 35. When the giant speedometer showed me the "35," I yelled out, "In your face, you car in front of me!" and now my day has been a good one...

Tomorrow I plan to pull over before I reach the giant speedometer so that I can run by it and see my speed.  This could be important if I ever get invited to go a formal event and some formal person comes up to me and says, "Any idea of your speed?"  I would be able to answer this question...

The day after tomorrow I plan to stand by this giant speedometer as cars drive by so that I can point to their speeds.  If they go over the speed limit, I will yell at them as if I am the guardian of speed.  To add to the effect, I will wear a badge with the words "Speed Guardian" on it.  If they can read my badge, that means they are driving too slowly.  However, that also means that their vision is good, so they must not be old. If such occurs, I'll have to retire as Speed Guardian until I do further research about speedometers...

But I digress.

Sun, 27 Aug 2017 00:42:00 +0000

Just Driving Thru
I originally wrote this column over a decade ago.  I'm pretty sure nothing has changed.

Drive-Thru Madness:
June 25, 2002

Over the past few years, I've made numerous comments about everything being "express."  That includes express lanes, express mail, express shins -- whatever.  The point of all of these forms is to make lives faster and, therefore, easier.  However, such was not the case while I was waiting in a drive-thru at McDonald's this evening.  In fact, the experience has encouraged me to review the procedure in order to determine who should -- and should not -- be allowed to use this privilege:

First off, people need to know that the drive-thru is not the only option.  You know, there once was a time when customers actually had to park their cars and walk inside the restaurant in order to get food.  Ah, it was a novel concept (much like a book), ranking up there with trying on shoes before purchasing and using a microwave for something other than popcorn.  Nowadays, however, I think driving tests are replacing parallel parking with one's ability to use a drive-thru.  This is especially useful for those in the Midwest, where knowing how to parallel park is about as useful as knowing how to not eat corn.  Or something to that extent...

For those who refuse to walk into the actual restaurant -- perhaps due to fear of mass Grimaces -- please realize that any promises made regarding the drive-thru are false.  For example, I saw a sign this evening that read, "Help us to beat our one-hour record of 120 cars."  For those with a calculator on hand, you can verify that as two cars per minute, or perhaps three if your calculator was made in the Midwest.   My belief is that the record was established on a day when everyone just asked for complimentary napkins, because otherwise the employees can't come close to that pace.  In addition to the free napkins, it's possible that certain cars passed the window while on top of other cars, therefore doubling the number -- and providing a whole lot of laughs and memories in the process.  That reminds me, have you heard the one about the car on top of the other car?  Sure you have, a couple of sentences ago...

But let's move on.  In evaluating speed, we need to consider the customer factor as well.  I feel like every time I wait in the drive-thru, there is someone going through the process for the first time in his or her life.  This evening, the car in front of me talked to the person through the ordering receiver for three minutes.  In his hand was a menu of some sort, obviously not from McDonald's, and he was writing on it as he spoke.  This should not be allowed, not only because the process of "writing" could confuse the employee, but also because it drastically slows down the line of cars.  As it turned out, this person ended up with two Happy Meals.  I can only imagine how this long conversation resulted in this purchase:

Customer: Okay, so I am looking at a menu from a local seafood restaurant with much better food than yours.  If I were there, I would probably be ordering three lobsters, the scallops platter, and a bucket of chicken for the kids.  Do you have any of that?

Employee: We have Happy Meals.

Customer: Right, but what about the scallops?  I don't seem to see anything on your menu about those.  For future reference, let me take down some notes about what you think is similar to scallops.

Employee: We have Happy Meals.

Customer: Okay, let me write that down...  Okay, I got that.  And what about a mocha latte with whipped cream?  Can you get me one of those?  If not, let me know what you think is a suitable replacement and I will write that down.

Employee: We have Happy Meals.

Customer: Okay, thanks for all of your help.  I'll take...  ummmm...  how about two of those Happy Meals?  Those look good.  Now I just have to figure out what to buy for my son.

I'm just glad someone came out happy after all of this.  Meanwhile, I almost broke the one acceptable rule concerning drive-thru lines.  That's right -- I almost honked the horn.  Receiving a honk while ordering at a drive-thru is one of life's biggest embarrassments, almost as big as living in the Midwest...

Besides the speed of drive-thru windows, I have a problem with the location of the menu.  If you want to order effectively, you either need to have the menu memorized, or you need to have 20/20 vision.  On more than one occasion, I've found myself blurting out, "Extra Value Meal #2" simply because I couldn't take out my binoculars in time.  I'm sure the restaurants occasionally send an employee to check up on the menu, but hey -- there are a lot of words on that menu, and what fast-food employee lasts longer than three days?

Perhaps the biggest disappointment of every drive-thru is the encounter with the person behind the voice.  I think some people get their hopes up too much, thinking, "This could be the one," and meaning that it in terms of true love, not in terms of "This person will hand me my fries."  For a minute or two, there is that mystique of who the person really is behind the voice, and in most cases the results are unexpected.  Today, for example, not only did I change my mind concerning this woman, but she also dropped one of my quarters while handing me my change.  So that means I changed my mind  the same time as she forgot to mind my change.  Such is the drama of your typical drive-thru.  As for the comments about the Midwest, I am not sure where those came from…  possibly Kansas.

But I digress.

Sun, 27 Aug 2017 00:36:00 +0000

Nothing to see here.
Well, technically, there is something.

But not much.

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 21:27:00 +0000
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