Welcome to My Writer’s Sketchpad

Ruminations is where I share works in progress. Please follow the pointers below to learn more about me and the stories you’ll find on these pages. Thank you for visiting. Please return and tell a friend.

Who is Tom Abate and what does he write about?

Eclectic notions arising from my experiences and observations.

Stories and commentary based on research, interviews, and observations.

Satire, fiction, humor, and advice from the Dead Blogger’s Society.

Experiences and events that formed my character and inform my work and beliefs.

Dead Bloggers Society

December 4, 2022

A voice from the past who speaks to the present

Now all but forgotten, Frederick Douglass was cheered and reviled in his day.

He was the first modern black man, the most photographed face of the 19th Century, a voice for justice, and an orator who spoke for three million enslaved Americans. Frederick Douglass was born into bondage in Maryland in 1818. As a boy he worked in the house of a white mistress who taught him the rudiments of reading and writing before deciding that literacy was incompatible with slavery. But Douglass continued his studies in secret as a teen and young...
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Updated date: October 6th, 2022

The world’s most generous giver of free advice

Decades after it dawned on me that this wasn’t a compliment, I struggle to restrain the impulse to advise. Why?

One day in the early 1990s, while working in the newsroom of the San Francisco Examiner, I had a revelation that haunts me to this day. It came while I was scanning the news wire, which printed out on long, continuous rolls, like paper towels, only wider, stronger, and a yellowish tan. A story about a sociological study caught my eye. It found that people who thought themselves funny usually weren’t. Suddenly, I recalled how a college friend had dubbed...
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