Monthly Archives: October 2012

Leave Me Alone; It’s Just a Hangnail!

Generic regular strength enteric coated 325mg ...

Generic regular strength enteric coated 325mg aspirin tablets, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At one time or another during our lives most of us will require the services of a good barrister–for example, responsible documentation such as wills or legal papers for business start-ups.  This also includes irresponsible behavior including, but not limited to, DUIs, robbery, vandalism and other criminal activities…and we mustn’t forget the ever popular divorce proceedings.

Even I have not escaped this legal mud bog.  Although I’ve managed to remain misdemeanor and felony free all my life, I have had to retain the services of legal counsel in the past.  My will is in order.  My business was started legally and ethically.  Even though the economy sent it swirling down the toilet, we twisted and turned knowing that we had been flushed in good conscious.

I’ve started a new paragraph thinking that the next topic deserved a place of its own on this post…and that would be my divorce.  You can’t believe what you are missing, especially when you have kids… what a wonderful experience this is.  The years it takes from your life are all planned for you.  The resources it relieves you of gives you that much less financial burden to worry about.  And the friends you incur during this endearing process last a lifetime, or at least until the child support comes to an end.

I have met and worked with lawyers of integrity, moral fiber and an ethical sense of right and wrong.  Now enter the circling buzzards.  You know, the meat wagon chasing belly crawlers we frequently encounter on our electronic picture boxes they use to enter our homes.

From near as I can tell there is a lawsuit for every drug ingested by man since the advent of aspirin in the early twentieth century until whatever new drug comes out tomorrow.  There are suits against surgical implants, common analgesics and even denture cream. And please know that my heart pours out to those affected by the side effects.

This entry in my blog is a partial repeat but I believe it bears saying again.  If our pharmaceuticals are taken off the market due to lawsuits then where do we find ourselves?  Since I asked the question I suppose I should come up with some kind of answer.  Go back a hundred years to the flu pandemic of 1911 and 1912.  Aspirin at that time was a miracle drug.  Do we really want to give up oral medication for more invasive procedures?  And what about my dentures? They’ll keep falling out.

As awkward as it may seem, I can easily relate this post to writing.  And that would be, and I emphasize:  DON’T WRITE ANYTHING STUPID!  Now excuse me.  I’m having a heart attack and my doctor told me to take two aspirin and call him in the morning.

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One Man’s Trash is …Well, Another Man’s Trash

Air pressure crushing a plastic bottle p1180559

Air pressure crushing a plastic bottle p1180559 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you ever noticed that nowadays we tend to measure the amount of any particular product by placing said product end to end and speculating how far the object will reach?  For instance, a particular company packages two hundred fifty million boxes of frozen lima beans each year.  A company spokesman will then say, “We manufacture enough product that if placed end to end would reach from New York to Sarasota, Florida and back.”  Or the bubble gum company that claims it produces so many pieces that if placed end to end would reach to the moon and back seven and a half times.

These claims seem a bit outlandish but you get the general idea.  There is one more that I cannot resist verbalizing.  I’m going to say this in my best attempt to avoid a hull-a-baloo.  The United States drinks enough clear non-carbonated beverages in clear containers to stretch around the world less than one hundred ninety one times, or so we are told.

Now I’m all for being a good steward while I live on this planet.  I believe we should keep our water clean, our air pure, and take care of, in so far as we can, this beautiful planet that God has given us to live on. But I just can’t get excited about a plastic bottle being buried in dirt whether it takes thirty minutes or a half a billion years to decompose.

The formula seems rather simple to me.  We unscrew a top. We drink the substance contained within the bottle. We may choose to screw the top back on and then discard the container or discard the top separately.  This trash will soon find its way into a landfill (which by the way is put there to bury plastic bottles and other implements of indestructible plastic) where it will sit more than likely being covered with a carpet of  grass when the landfill has fulfilled its purpose.  Perhaps a housing project will be constructed in this area.  And in this housing project people will be discarding plastic bottles and other implements of indestructible plastic into new landfills.

As you can see this is the plastic cycle of life and I for one fear to trod on such an institution that has persevered for such a lengthy time span.

If we were to take a shovel and dig into one of these long dead landfills there would be much that we could learn.  First off we would find that it is still full of trash.  Secondly (and this applies to the craft of writing) we would also learn that as we cut through the garbage we create a clearing that exposes the direction in which we are trying to lead our readers without the unnecessary clutter.

So you see…. (excuse me while I open a bottle of water….glug…glug…glug) keep your story clean, keep your water pristine………………………………..can’t think of anything that rhymes with “clean” or “pristine” so I guess I’m done!

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Haul it Your Own Self, I’m Waitin’ for the Wheel.

English: Wheelbarrow at a construction site at...

English: Wheelbarrow at a construction site at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina / USA.

What could be better than laying in your back yard on a warm summer day? Your hands intertwined behind your head, legs crossed, and a piece of grass hanging out of your mouth. Your thoughts drift to the important. The profound. The world-changing.

One word: Wheelbarrow.

Not flamboyant enough, you say? Then allow me to enlighten you on the lowly device that has, in its own way, helped to construct our very civilization.

The wheelbarrow, then referred to as a one wheel cart, was first used in China sometime in the 12th century (give or take a 1,000 years or so).  There is evidence one wheel carts were also used in ancient Rome, although this cannot be proven.

I will thrust ahead in time to what we now know as the modern wheelbarrow.  A bit of interesting information I heard (from what I believe to be a reliable source) was that a prisoner doing research found out that as old as the wheelbarrow was, it had never been patented.

He applied and received a patent for this ancient machine. Whether or not this is true, I cannot be sure. But it sure makes for a good story.

As you yourself ponder the ins and outs, ups and downs and various aspects of your life, consider where you would be without your wheelbarrow (that I’m sure you have tucked away, lovingly placed in your garage).  Now you see what I mean.

Think of the mounds of dirt, the piles of leaves and the bounty of vegetables you have hauled in this invaluable work horse. Still not enough for you? Then use it to haul those substandard manuscripts you have been writing the past few years to the dump. Or do like I do, and use them to line your birdcage.

And to answer the question “what could be better than laying in your back yard on a hot sultry day covered in sweat and insects, eating grass and thinking about something as ludicrous as a wheelbarrow?” well, just about anything, my friend. Just about anything.

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Electricity (Photo credit: elycefeliz)

Each time you plug an appliance into one of your receptacles at home, you take for granted that it’s going to work. Do you ever take the time to consider what it takes to keep the outlet at your beckoned call?

The first thing you need is an electrically conductive material…we’ll call it “wire.” This “wire” needs to be able to carry electricity with the least amount of resistance. As far as metals go, gold is the best choice. The “gold-standard,” if you will. However, the price of gold being what it is, this option is hardly cost-effective.

The next best choice would be silver. But then again, there’s that pesky problem of cost. So back to the drawing board. We need conductivity, flexibility, and affordability…

After a judicious search, we must settle upon copper. It contains the properties we require while remaining relatively cheap.

Or does it?

If the price of copper continues on its upward trend, it will soon surpass gold and we will again have to search for another material.

Or will we?

It seems that there is another metal out there with similar properties, although it does not occur naturally. It comes from our friend, the rock known as Bauxite. We know this mystery metal better as aluminum.

Hold the phones! This was tried in the 70s with substandard results. It seems the aluminum wire would shrink and expand, loosening the connection and causing a sparking problem, and we all know where that can lead.

At one point, the aluminum wire was clad (or covered) with copper…I don’t have a clue where this led, only that you no longer see this type of wire for sale, so I can only assume the worst.

To summarize, power plants send electricity to sub-stations, who drop the voltage and amperage, sending it through overhead power lines, pausing at transformers that once again drop the intensity of the power, making it usable for our homes.

This energy enters our home via the electrical meter and travels into our breaker box. This box contains buss bars (which used to be coated with silver), anchoring the wires that enter our walls, ending at light switches and outlets.

Unfortunately, this process is occasionally interrupted. Most often, the culprit is the summertime thunderstorm. My advice to you is to keep a supply of candles, pencils and paper. Computers don’t work when the power is out and you can’t write in the dark.

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Just Try it One Time, “Up” is Overrated.

At last I have discovered a single common attribute that as a nation, we can all share. Regardless of race, color, creed, or national origin. This commonality cannot be divided by

Pork chops, cooked and served.

Pork chops, cooked and served. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

physical barriers, be they rivers, mountains, or man-made borders. Having said all of this, I will now introduce this binder of man in the form of a question:

Why, when we participate in culinary ventures, do we constantly attempt to defy gravity?

When we cook meat, we “fry it up.” When we man our grills in order to perform external cooking duties, we “grill it up.” Something as simple as a hamburger or even a hotdog is allowed to take to the air and be cooked “up.”

What would be the harm (just occasionally, mind you) of “grilling down” a thick-cut pork chop? Or perhaps one special Sunday “fry down” that tantalizing standard by which all Sunday dinners are compared, fried chicken?

Just a thought.

Just another thought. What does it actually mean to “lock and load”? It seems to me that after you’ve locked it, it would be impossible to load. By my way of reckoning, it would make much more sense to load and lock.

Actually, the term is said to have originated with the flintlock rifle, where the mechanism had to be locked before it could be loaded. Whether or not this is true, I cannot say. But I have to admit, it sounds pretty good to me, and you’ve got to admit, that when screamed out in an intense battle scenario on television, it sounds even better. Proof that things don’t have to make sense to make sense.

This is not the case when writing. If it were, I could type 80 words per minute with 80 mistakes and still publish my books. So take my advice: When sitting at your writer’s desk, endeavor to make sense where no sense may have previously existed.

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