Category Archives: On writing

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Carbon Paper, White Out, Long Hand, and Short Hand

Back in the day, before modern office equipment was created, secretaries, bookkeepers, and like-minded employees used words such as carbon paper, white-out, long-hand, and short-hand as part of their daily tasks.

The first jump away from the dark age use of these treasures into more enlightened times came with the abandonment of the typewriter and the birth of the word processor. One could actually type and correct mistakes without rewriting the document or making sloppy repairs with archaic materials.

 What would I have done had the aforementioned hardware been the end-all when I began to pen novels? Write a page or two as my career as an author plummeted south?

Indeed, the advent of the computer turned many would-be writers into authors of the highest caliber.

By the same token, many manuscripts were completed that should never have been started. I hope my offerings will end in the realm of the former as opposed to the latter.

Hmmmm…..Here’s one of those strange random thoughts that happen to pop into one’s head that I feel the need to share.

What if we wrote some of the letters of the alphabet as words? For instance, what if we wrote “double-you” instead of ‘w’, “jay” instead of ‘j’ or even “zee” instead of ‘z’?

Just sharing a random thought that flew through my brain.

Please have a great week, and may God bless you richly.

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Happy New Year

I sincerely hope you had a wonderful Christmas and the upcoming New Year brings you many blessings from our heavenly father. Happy New Year! I look forward to another year of posting blogs!

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A Tree in the House

Well, it is that time of year when we begin to decorate for the Christmas season. A tree in the house, decorations inside and out, kids all a buzz with the thought of presents and sugar from cane candy  running through their veins. Have you ever thought why we do what we do? Well, let’s take a look.

Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition, as we now know it, in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. (History.com)

Traditional holiday decor is all about the red and green. As it turns out, these colors are steeped in religious context. The color green is associated with the continuation of life through the winter, as well as, in the belief of the eternal life of Jesus. Meanwhile, red was traditionally used to symbolize the blood of Jesus. (christmasdecorottawa.com)

Here is one of several legends explaining the birth of candy canes. In Indiana, a candy maker wanted to make a candy that could be a reminder of Jesus Christ. Thus was born the Christmas candy cane. He started off with a stick of pure white hard candy. The white color symbolized the virgin birth and the sinless nature of Jesus. The hard candy symbolized the solid rock which was the foundation of the church and firmness of the promises of God. The candy maker made the candy in the form of a J, which represented the name of Jesus and the staff of the Good Shepherds. He then stained it with three stripes which showed the scourging Jesus received and symbolized the blood shed by Christ on the cross. When you break the cane, it reminds us that Jesus’ body was broken for us. (spanglercandy.com)

So now you have it, up ’til now, the whole story . . . kinda sorta . . . at least, I think so. The important thing being to have a wonderful Christmas and remember the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ!

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Cigarettes

Talking with a good friend last week, I learned something new about an item in which I formally indulged not so many years ago. The item is cigarettes. Before I was born, they were an accepted and almost expected part of life. When I was a kid in the seventies, they remained a full blown part of society.

Cigarettes were advertised on television with catchy slogans such as, “I’d rather fight than switch,” or jingles like, “You’ve come a long way, baby, to get where you’ve got to, today. You’ve got your own cigarette now, baby; you’ve come a long, long way.” How about, “You can’t take the country out of Salem.”? Certainly something you wouldn’t see today.

Even though I’m a former smoker, I’m not a nicotine-Nazi and believe as long as you’re a common-sense distance away from non-smokers, ‘Burn’em if you’ve got’em.’

The one thing that would make me quit if I still partook of nicotine is the price. I couldn’t believe when my friend told me a pack of cigarettes in a tobacco state like Virginia, which is where we live, is $7. Take a jaunt north to the ‘Big Apple’ and you’ll pay $14/per pack. Trek ‘Down Under’ and you’re looking at $30 bucks a pack. These are based on a pack of Marlboro Reds. If you’re looking to purchase a carton in Virginia expect to spend $70 or more, and check this out, last year, for the first time in 20 years, cigarette sells were up . . . go figure.

Talk about sticker shock and this is an item that after it’s purchased is literally set afire and burned until nothing’s left!

Have one fantastic week and may God’s blessings fall upon you and yours!

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The Constitution

In one setting or the other, the Constitution is frequently used to decide specific court cases all the way down to personal disputes. This document is the very foundation on which our constitutional republic is formed, giving us a democracy like no other.

The United States of America is the greatest country ever founded, and I am proud to be an American and reside in this amazing land.

Every once in a while, as with most things, a misnomer will appear even in such a powerful document as the Constitution. Well, not so much in the Constitution, but what is believed to appear in the Constitution.

The separation of church and state is often touted to be part of the Constitution. Actually, the phrase is never used . . . go figure.

I guess you learn something every day . . . now, that’s a phrase that may not be written but I can honestly say is used most every day, for it flies between my teeth nearly that often.

I hope your week runs as smooth as silk and God shines his countenance upon you!

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Do You Ever Look Around and Contemplate the Oddities Found in Everyday Life?

Do you ever look around and contemplate the oddities found in everyday life? Some we create and others happen naturally, but there are those odd few that play out on a television screen.

For instance, even though it was before my time, I enjoy watching the Andy Griffith show. It lacks most of what I find offensive in today’s programming, but one thing always puzzles me. Why are there no bathrooms in the cells of the Mayberry jail?

Something similar is perplexing in Jaws 4. There is a scene where Michael Caine falls off the boat and into the ocean only to emerge with a dry shirt. I don’t suppose it’s impossible, but highly unlikely to a factor of ten. By my way of thinking, there’s not enough alcohol to make this remotely possible . . . nuff said.

I guess you could call this next one a pet peeve of mine . . . nah; I don’t care for that phrase, so we’ll say oddity instead. Have you ever noticed new residential construction with a cedar shake roof? The wood is warm, beautiful, and inviting. Six months later, that same roof looks as though it is part of an eighteenth century structure, slated to be torn down in the near future. Some folks like them and there’s nothing wrong with that, they just don’t appeal to me.

I just traveled around my elbow to get to my thumb four separate times. I guess that’s a good example of taking the long way.

I hope you had a grand Thanksgiving. Christmas is just around the corner. The best to you and yours and may God bless.

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Well, Here We are Again, Right in the Middle of our Yearly Food Fest, Also, Known as Thanksgiving

Well, here we are again, right in the middle of our yearly food fest, also, known as Thanksgiving. What’s your favorite part of this holiday; the time off, the unusual amount and variety of food, or mingling with family and friends you don’t normally see?  I suppose there are as many answers, as there are different types of stuffing.

How about these little tidbits of information:

  • The first Thanksgiving was held in 1621 by the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag tribe as a fall festival.

  • President George Washington issued a proclamation naming Thursday, November 26, 1789 as a “Day of Publick Thanksgivin” – the first time Thanksgiving was celebrated under the new Constitution.

  • President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving to be an official U.S. holiday on November 26, 1863. Thereafter, Thanksgiving was regularly commemorated each year on the last Thursday of November. Lincoln did this expressing gratitude for a pivotal Union Army victory at Gettysburg. (www.History.com)

  • In 1939, the last Thursday in November fell on the last day of the month. Concerned that the shortened Christmas shopping season might dampen the economic recovery, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a Presidential Proclamation moving Thanksgiving to the second to last Thursday of November. As a result of the proclamation, 32 states issued similar proclamations while 16 states refused to accept the change and proclaimed Thanksgiving to be the last Thursday in November.

  • For two years, two days were celebrated as Thanksgiving – the President and part of the nation celebrated it on the second to last Thursday in November, while the rest of the country celebrated it the following week.

  • To end the confusion, Congress decided to set a fixed-date for the holiday. On October 6, 1941, the House passed a joint resolution declaring the last Thursday in November to be the legal Thanksgiving Day. The Senate, however, amended the resolution establishing the holiday as the fourth Thursday, which would take into account those years when November has five Thursdays. The House agreed to the amendment, and President Roosevelt signed the resolution on December 26, 1941, thus establishing the fourth Thursday in November as the Federal Thanksgiving Day holiday. (www.archives.gov)

How about that! You’ve completed your first post on, “Name that holiday.”

Have a wonderful week, and do yourself a favor . . . this Thursday don’t be afraid to eat.

Enjoy God’s blessings and have a bite for me!

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It Takes Many Types of Individuals to Make Up a World, and for the Most Part This is a Good Thing.

It takes many types of individuals to make up a world, and for the most part this is a good thing. Although I can’t wrap my brain around the varied thought patterns, I’m “a live and let live” kind of guy. As long as your goals bring no harm to yourself or anyone else, and hopefully, seek to uplift you and those around you through Jesus, I imagine I could jump aboard and share the ride.

That being said, I’ll use this as a non-related segue. Not so long ago, you could purchase a miniature television. Once you reached your destination, plug it in, fiddle with the antennae, and watch, limited to what you could receive over the airways.

Two things I could never get behind: miniature and airline televisions. I guess the reason being (especially with the mini TV) having to stare at such a small screen, and in the other case, the noise associated with air travel.

Now, I’ve found something that trumps these two dislikes and that would be trying to watch a movie on a smartphone. Please don’t take this statement the wrong way, I wish I was mentally wired to accept the fact that entertainment can be had via ultra-small media.

Alas, I wish I could accept that all good things come in small packages, but this transcends my ability to tolerate what I am unable to tolerate; however, I digress and would be remiss if I failed to wish you a stellar week to the power of 10, and may God bless and keep you.

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I Have Mentioned Several Times That I am an Author Through Various Posts on This Blog

I have mentioned several times that I am an author through various posts on this blog. I thought I would make this weeks post an excerpt from one of my novels. Please enjoy.

Chapter One

CLAY STEPPED UP onto the raised walkway.

“I hate this place,” he mumbled, patting his sidearm. He grabbed the door handle and prepared to enter.

Clay was a bounty hunter. His latest skip (if you want to call him that since Clay had spent the better part of two years chasing empty leads) was Sal Ricky—a career criminal with a taste for refined women, as he would consume certain body parts of his victims after performing whatever atrocities piqued his fancy.

Clay stood tall, six foot five. He almost always wore black, except for his blue jeans. He felt it more intimidating.

He stepped into the brothel. A dozen pair of eyes turned his way. Clay removed his sidearm from its holster.

“I’m looking for Sal Ricky,” he announced. After a slight pause, he repeated the phrase. “I said, I’m looking for Sal Ricky.”

“If you want me, all you gotta do is ask,” came a smug response. The voice emanated from a dark corner. In it stood a six foot tall figure. Instead of legs, it sported four eight foot long appendages. These members would shoot forward landing on the ground and allow the rest of the body to move over them like treads on a tank. He could move surprisingly fast when necessary.

“So?” Sal Ricky asked. “What can I do for you?”

Clay moved closer toward the corner and cocked his weapon.

“Don’t play stupid, you ball of snot.” He raised his free hand and pointed a finger. “I’ve been looking for you for almost two years now.” Clay cocked the second hammer on his handgun. “This time you’re all mine.”

Sal Ricky was a hydrak. He lived up to his name, constantly oozing fluid and leaving a trail similar to that of a slug when he moved.

“Ya think so.” The creature lit a cigarette with two human-like hands. The hydrak inhaled deeply, burning up half the smoke in one drag.

“Better men have tried,” he said, finishing his cigarette with a second drag and dropping it into a puddle of slime; the butt hissed as the glowing ashes died.

Clay tightened his grip.

“We can do this the easy way or the hard way. I get just as much for you dead as alive.” Clay smiled out of one corner of his mouth. “It makes no difference to me.”

Sal Ricky crossed his arms which were anything but human. They were muscular with a lizard-like texture and a green color to match. His lower half was bulbous and horizontal to the ground, turning vertical at mid-thorax until it formed his head.

“Don’t you tire of the same old clichés?” Sal Ricky snickered. “Easy way, hard way, alive or dead, blah, blah, blah. After two years, you should know I do nothing the easy way.” His head was square with a round circle on each side. Sal Ricky could spin his neck three hundred and sixty degrees if need be. He had a set of eyes at the upper portion of each circle. One side contained an orifice with which he spoke and took in nourishment. One big tuft of green hair sprang from the center of his scalp, climbed vertically, about a foot, and then flopped over on all sides.

“Have it your way,” Clay said.

Just then, two dark humanoid figures appeared on either side of the slug. The first figure made a move and then slipped on his boss’ excretions, landing flat on his back.

Clay rolled to his right behind a steel column and fired one barrel, removing most of the second figure’s head. The first man, still floundering in the goo, was an easy take out.

Sal Ricky moved toward Clay knocking him to the floor as he passed by.

Clay moved to one knee and steadied himself. He would have but one shot.

Sal Ricky could easily burst through the wall, and that’s what he had a mind to do, Clay surmised. He made sure both hammers were cocked. Cocking them was one thing; firing both at the same time was something you didn’t do unless you had to.

Clay took a deep breath and pulled both triggers.

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I Was Able to Experience a Substantial Section of the Country, and Sampled a Variety of Regional Cuisine.

During sixteen years of employment with a pharmaceutical company, I was able to experience a substantial section of the country, and sampled a variety of regional cuisine. I visited the East, West, and Gulf Coasts and much of the country’s interior.

I was a foodie, and worked tirelessly improving my dishes, especially the classics, i.e., Beef Wellington, Eggs Benedict, Grilled Whole Maine Lobster, Spanakopita, and Mussels with a white wine reduction, butter, and garlic over fettuccine.

During my travels, I was able to nosh on more exotic species, such as sea urchin, alligator, ostrich, and wallaby. There is one thing I have a hard time wrapping my head around, and that one thing is, an oyster. I love these bivalves, whether fried, steamed, or raw. I just can’t understand how someone, years ago when mollusks were being considered as a food source, would pop open one of these cold snot balls and decide it looked good enough to eat raw.

Have a wonderful week, and do yourself a favor, slurp down a few raw shellfish. It’s a great pickup for the mid-week doldrums.

 

God bless!

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