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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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Philadelphia Convention....

The very unofficial version of a columnist convention

I've been out of town at a convention this past week. I thought I would let you in on my unofficial version of the "official" version.

I was on a business trip to Philadelphia to a convention of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. We were bribed into going with promises of cheese steaks, column tips, and freebies.

We decided to drive instead of flying. All went well except for one place in Pennsylvania where the Interstate was closed and we had to take a detour. My honey saw a sign for Boiling Spring, a city with a nice duck pond in the center of town, he said. Fortunately, the detour ended before we got to duck soup pond.

After we checked in at the hotel, I remembered leaving my purse in the car, which honey was parking in a garage. He refused to bring my purse, saying he wasn't walking back down the streets of Philadelphia carrying a purse.

The next morning we decided to see the sights and asked a doorman for directions to Independence Hall. We made dozens of pictures of the old historic building. We then found out that the building was City Hall, not Independence Hall.

We met with our group and went to the historic Pen & Pencil Club for a get-acquainted meeting.
How do you get a hundred journalists into tiny bar? Tell them humorist Dave Barry is there and they will all be sucked right in.

The opening session of the conference included greetings from the Mayor, Governor and Bill O'Reilly of FOX News Channel. We were hoping the politicians would not get long-winded so we would have more time for Dave Barry's humor.

In the afternoon we toured the historic Battleship New Jersey. Who gives a flip about a ship? I made pictures of the magnificent Philadelphia skyline!

We toured the real Independence Hall and saw the Liberty Bell. We couldn't get any pictures of the crack in the bell due to all the other tourists who were doing the same thing and wouldn't get out of the way.

Before dinner, we had a tour of the National Constitution Center and the Constitution "Signer's Hall" with life-size bronze statutes. "Gee, these guys are petrified! Wonder how long they have been waiting for dinner?"

We rode back to the hotel in a double-decker bus. The tour guide said not to stick arms or feet out of the bus and not to throw anything off. I was riding on the bottom deck. I have no idea what was going on up top, but apparently they were having more fun than we were.

The next morning brought interesting panel discussions of ethics in journalism, research methods, and video columns before we left for lunch at a local sports bar and restaurant. Some of the Philly's cheerleaders were there and the male press was more interested in cheesecake than in cheese steak.

That evening the Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Clarence Page, an intellectual and Nobel Prize winner. The bigger they are, the nicer they are, it seems. He was a heck of a charming fellow with a terrific sense of humor.

After the convention sessions ended each evening, we gathered at the hospitality suite for networking and socializing. What happens in the hospitality suite, stays in the hospitality suite.

Additional funds were raised for the NSNC Education Foundation scholarship. We raffled off a terry cloth bathrobe rumored as stolen from the hotel-- a rumor we deny.

Each year the organization gives a "Sitting Duck" award to a celebrity who has made themselves an easy target for criticism by columnists. This year's award went to Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez. As the NSNC Prez said, "We gave it to him, but we can't remember why"

And there you have it, my unofficial take on the official take. If officially asked, you didn't unofficially hear it from me.

Copyright 2007 Sheila Moss


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