“Chocoholics, this one is for you”
Just looked this up to slip on my doctor’s Facebook page. The basic idea is, chocolate is a vegetable since it comes from the cacao bean, and we all know beans are vegetables: Ergo, chocolate is "very" healthy.
Cacao bean is the dried and fully fermented fatty bean of Theobroma cacao, from which cocoa solids and cocoa butter are extracted. They are the basis of chocolate, as well as many Mesoamerican foods such as mole sauce and tejate
See? You learn something every day.
Now, since we've already established the fact that chocolate is a vegetable, you can all drool over my disgustingly healthy snack for tonight--frozen chocolate Moosetracks Yogurt, covered with whole almonds (unsalted), and slathered with warmed up chocolate syrup. See, not only healthy, but practically Vegan.
“Writing really isn’t for Sissies.”
Finding Closure, book 3 in the latest trilogy, is getting close to completion. However… I have completely written or rewritten chapter one three times now.
I had the original version done when I decided I needed some more back story if the thing was going to make any sense to a new reader. So, I rewrote the thing and added a page and a half of back story.
Then, after I had my editor go through the first half of the book, I rewrote the first chapter again, changing the back story from narrative to dialogue.
Then, I took the chapter to one of my writing groups and they thought there was a bit of overkill in it. So, I redid it again, tightening things up and eliminating everything but what is absolutely necessary.
In a couple of weeks I will take the revised version to my other writer’s group to get their input. You know what’s going to happen? Chapter one will probably get rewritten again. For those of you who are not familiar with the process, the first few pages of a novel are the most important part. You only have a short window to “hook” the reader. If you can’t do that, forget it.
In the meantime, I’m on chapter two of rewriting Mat Rats, a book I wrote about a bunch of wrestlers some forty years ago and never published. Wish me luck on that chore.
I was rummaging through the archives yesterday and ran across a book I wrote probably 35 years ago back in old Portable 3 after school and during my plan period on an old manual typewriter—whiteout and all. Mat Rats is a story about one of my old wrestlers who thought he was going to be a star basketball player. Well, being the scrawny little guy that he was, it didn’t work out. Which was a good thing, because he ended up as a state champion wrestler in high school.
The main character, Jerry Thomas (Only a ‘slight’ takeoff on his real name) is told by him and his struggles with himself, his family, who were primarily basketball players, and various opponents. Jerry had been born with a dominant twin sister, and that added to his emotional stress—plus the fact that he was going through puberty when all of this was happening.
Sneakily, back in the day, I made numerous copies of this thing on the school mimeograph machine and sent it off to various publishers with the appropriate SASE (Self addressed stamped envelope) so they could send it back months later with their “Sorry, but…” letters. So, what am I going to do about this? I’m going to retype it on the computer, make Jerry the father of a couple of young wrestlers, and have him tell them the story. Then, I’ll publish it at Amazon and send “Jerry” a copy.
“Sparty, You’re Gonna be the Death of Me Yet”
Good grief! Why can’t you just win by twenty points or more and get it over with? The game last night was nerve wracking, to say the least. It’s a wonder I didn’t have a heart attack. Back and forth, back and forth the game went. When the final buzzer went off, State had beaten Duke by one. Whew!
Our guys came to play the game, and they did. Of course, that game should have been for the national championship. The dolts that set up the brackets had them all done before the final tournaments had been settled. Michigan State won both a share of the Big Ten Championship and the Big Ten Tournament. They should have been a number one seed in a different bracket from Duke.
One last blurb on the subject, I saw where one of the sports reporting agencies were bemoaning the Duke loss because that was the end of their ability to extol on the virtues of Zion. Hey, the kid is great, but he isn’t what the whole national tournament is all about. Just for the record, they were getting some big time flak for that comment last night, and it wasn’t all from just State fans. Go Green!
“Living in Fear or Looking for a Fight?”
Had an interesting thing I observed recently. I was walking Sam’s Club as I typically do on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays—opposite of my Monday, Wednesday, Friday gym days. Anyway, being the inveterate people watcher that I am, I happened to notice this man, woman, and son, walking ahead of me. The boy was probably in the vicinity of 15-16. The first thing I noticed was that all three were burly and obese. Normally, I don’t notice those things much less make any judgments, but with all three of them appearing the same, I did. As I was looking at them, I also noticed that Dad was openly packing.
I know, I’m old and senile and don’t totally understand or care about all the modern BS and concerns regarding gun rights. I also know all about the Second Amendment—so don’t nag me about that. What, however, went through my mind at the time had nothing to do with any of that. What I was pondering was, why would a father feel the need to sport a gun while accompanying his family on a shopping trip? Does he live in fear? Does he think he’s a stud? Is he looking for a fight? Has he convinced himself that he’s “protecting” his family? Obviously, I’ll never know, and I really don’t care. I just found the observation leaving me with a number of questions.
“Betsy Bungles Again”
Well, America’s delightful Secretary of Education has done it again. She, a person who never attended a public school or allowed any of her children to, has made another bad choice when it comes to public education. She wants to ban funding to Special Olympics—a godsend to disabled children.
The decision to do that apparently is related to the administration’s desire to cut overall educational funding for the third year in a row. I know, as a retire public school teacher I’m biased. However, I really do think public education is a lot more important than a wall.
If nothing else, the proposal just might help politicians from both sides of the aisle to work together for a change. As of right now, people from both sides are saying the proposal is “unbelievable” and “outrageous.” Work together Congress and make sure this proposal dies a quick death.
“Basketball Cheers and Woes”
Michigan State shared the league championship with Purdue and won the Big Ten Tourney outright—defeating Michigan for the third time in two weeks. So, what does the NCAA tournament choosers do? They pick MI ahead of State in the tournament. Both are number two seeds, but MI was picked higher. How does that work?
And, how about Purdue? They shared the Big 10 championship with MSU, and they get a number three seed in the tourney. Just goes to show, if you don’t belong to the SEC, you’re nobody. Also shows the committee had made up it’s mind on their choices before the tournaments were even done—probably “knowing” that beating a major team three times in a year a near impossibility.
So, the next trick will be to forget the bracketologists or proctologists—whatever they are and beat the Maize and Blue for the National Championship. Go Green!
“Experiment du Jour”
I have decided to try something new along the marketing/advertising genre. Every weekend for twelve weeks I am going to give away one of the Kindle eBook versions. This weekend it’s Taming Little Ike. The time line goes from Friday through Tuesday. Next weekend it will be Damey and Grandpa Tutor.
The other thing I’m trying is to drop the price on all the eBooks from $4.99 to $2.99 just to see what happens. Sales have been pretty flat lately so maybe this will stir up a new market. I know certain people check books out in various price ranges. Let’s face it, spending a whole three bucks on a new read won’t cripple most people’s budgets.
Why am I doing this? Exposure, pure and simple. Personally, I could care less about the royalties. After spending a year or so on each book, I’d be more than happy to have people read them and maybe even enjoy them.
Of course, I’d love it if people would actually put up a review on Amazon. The more reviews, the better it is for marketing purposes. So, there you go. Grab a free book or spend your life savings of $2.99 and buy one. Read it and then review it.
I must be really getting old and senile. I seem to fight more and more with writer’s block than ever before.
Almost always, something has just popped up and given me an idea for a story. One day when I walked out of Meijers a young man was lying on the ground in handcuffs with a cop standing over him. He looked up at me and made eye contact, and Voila! I had a short story where the kid turned out to be innocent.
One day I was looking out my front window at the house across the street that was for sale, and the whole scenario for Damey and Grandpa Tutor evolved. That eventually led to the next book, Damey and the Z-Team.
Lately, nothing has happened or happened to hit me as something I could create a story out of. Nothing, that is, except for the weird poem I created for the sole reason to playfully pick on some writer friends of mine who specialize in poetry. (See below)
So, I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I have done a ton of reading this year so far. Right now I’m on book 18 for the year. Of course, maybe the fact that twelve of them are my own literary masterpieces that I wanted to re-read, it might not be a legitimate count. However, according to me, it is, and I’m sticking to it.
Webcoo is the newest rage in poetry. The premise is simple—26 lines in alphabetical order starting with A and ending in Z. The syllable count goes—8,6,4,2,4,6,8 for the first three stanzas. For the fourth, it’s 8,6,4,6,8. The rhyme scheme is AABCBDD except for the fourth which is AABCC. Try it and see if you can make it work.
In “Daddy’s Decree” the storyline is simple—Alex has screwed up once too often, and Daddy has dropped the hammer. Will it last?
Alex cannot come home again
Because of all his sin!
Can he recant?
Eve hates my rant
For it makes Al bitter.
Gonna be a long, cold winter.
How will he handle ice and blight?
I hope he dresses right
Just to keep warm.
Look how we mourn,
Mom Eve smothers the lad
Nix on sympathy from dad
Only time will tell if it works.
Panic will start with jerks.
Quaint ain’t his deal.
Should I get real?
Tell me I will not cave
Until butt freeze makes him behave.
Vanity tells me, let him be
Will he live in a tree?
X-out my son?
You tell him, Eve, come back.
Zesty, Al dives into his sack
“And My Project Du Jour”
Is anyone besides me sick and tired of this winter? Like, I went south for three weeks just to avoid its wrath, and it’s still here after my return. Not only that, but the forecast for the foreseeable future is same—snow, cold, wind, freezing rain, ad nauseam.
If nothing else, I did finish my little project of reading all of my own literary masterpieces in order and as quickly as possible. It turned out to be quite an eye opening experience.
Some of it I mentioned in last week’s “Rant.” Reading them brought back a lot of memories since all of them have “Kinda” been based on real-life things I’ve experienced over the past hundred or so years—give-or-take a couple here and there.
Naturally, they weren’t all things I experienced, but maybe heard of.
During my first ten years in the middle school, we didn’t have counselors so I heard a lot from kids who wanted to talk and unload. Some of the stuff I read in journals or heard about. And, some of it—thinking of a certain pitchfork incident—happened on the home front.
One short story about a kid passing out after giving a speech and then landing head first into a trash can was completely fiction except for the fact that the incident happened.
Writing twelve books has been fun. The imagination has stayed alive.
“A New Twist to the Book Project Du Jour”
Almost done with my project of reading all of my books in order before I move on to something new. Currently I’m on book eleven.
Since I’m hanging out in FL for a couple of weeks, I’ve had a lot of reading time and no responsibilities or “jobs” that had to be done. As a result, I’ve been able to read just about one book a day.
Since I’ve been having fun reading them, I’ve decided to spread the charm—just a little. I’ve set up a Kindle Freebie for them.
The way it works is, every weekend—Friday through Tuesday one of them will be available at Amazon for free.
Today ends the freebie for Sometimes Home Ain’t “Home Sweet Home.” Tomorrow starts As Life Goes On for five days.
Hopefully a bunch of people will download the freebies and actually read them. A professional marketing manager told me one time that only ten percent of the people who download them will actually read them.
Personally, I’d rather give a book away and have someone read it than have someone buy a copy and not read it. That’s just me.
"Ooops Screwed Up"
I started this project a short time ago of reading all of my literary masterpieces in order.
Ooops! I’m finding some things out about myself while reading through the list of books. I have used some of the same scenarios more than once in different books.
For example, one of my wrestlers back-in-the day was extremely intelligent. When we were having classroom discussions, he wanted to answer every question. When I would only call on him once during some classes, he pouted. I was not being fair. After all, it was “His” class too. Naturally, when nobody else could answer a question, I would call on him
I have also used a massage situation twice that I know of at this point. That’s where the main character is taken for a massage by his parent/guardian and falls asleep on the table. I saw that happen once at my massage parlor and stole the idea. Didn’t realize I’d used it twice—in a couple of different books written maybe four years apart.
Oh well, I’ll try to remember some of this stuff in the future. Maybe I should re-read all of my literary masterpieces every couple of years.
Over the past century or so I have written sixteen books—twelve which have been published. Actually, you might say thirteen because one I published with some fly-by-night company that didn’t follow through with any of its promises.
So, I simply un-published it and completely rewrote it and published it again under a different name. Three I never published, but did steal scenarios and scenes out of them for the other twelve.
That brings me to my latest project. I want to re-read each and every one of them. My favorite has always been Sometimes Home Ain’t ‘Home Sweet Home’ so I read that one first.
I was surprised as to how many things I’d forgotten in the book—including a couple of things at the conclusion. What I really found stupid was the fact that I kind of got choked up during the last two chapters. I mean, like, let’s face it—the darned thing is fiction and I wrote it. Oh well.
Now I’ve gone back to the ghost trilogy. I started As Life Goes On yesterday afternoon. Hummm. Found a couple of typos that shouldn’t be in there. Guess I didn’t do enough careful editing back in those days.
So, with a wind chill of -29 at one in the afternoon, can anyone think of a better project to work on?
“Radical Facebook Postings”
I see more and more people posting radical Facebook postings than ever before. I could care less if you’re liberal, conservative, in the middle, or wherever you stand. But, have you even considered who might be looking at your posts and judging you—good or bad? Are you setting yourself up?
A person whom I have known for a long, long time and consider a friend posted something this past week indicating that if the President happened to be impeached, the Civil War would look like a picnic.
My concern is that those people out there watching and listening “could” pick up on a post like that and consider him a terrorist of some kind.
Now, I’m pretty darned sure he isn’t, he just re-posted something that sounded cool to him. However, if the FBI or some radical left or right wing activist happened to pick up on that, how would they react?
Would the authorities suddenly key in on each and every one of his posts and start judging him accordingly?
Would the radical left view him as an enemy and cause him some harm? Could the radical right decide to recruit him to get involved in some kind of violence? Who knows what will happen.
I hear people say, “We don’t have any privacy anymore.” We haven’t had “privacy” in over 60 years that I know of. Back in 1958 I was stationed in Turkey when we had giant planes filled with electronics flying up and down the Black Sea 50 miles off the coast of Russia capturing and translating every message within 300 miles of the border. We also had the U-2 flying daily over Russia videotaping everything. Now we have satellites spying on everyone.
Do you think that just because you’re not a nationally known person that nobody is watching your posts? If so, ask the three wannabe ISIS recruits who were arrested in Lansing this week and are facing 50 years to life in prison. Granted, that’s an extreme example because they really did want to kill people, BUT does that mean nobody is paying any attention to your posts? Good Luck!
“MLK Day Brings Back Memories”
Growing up as a kid in Lansing, I was totally oblivious to racism. I had friends in school of all colors. My parents did as well.
I do remember one night when I was in high school walking home from a local ball park through the middle of what was considered a very “bad” section.
All of a sudden, out of nowhere, a voice screamed at me—“Larry, what the &^%$ are you doing walking down here all by yourself?” This large, well known in school, athletic, and black friend of mine then proceeded to walk with me to what was considered a “safe” area—chewing me out all the way.
Incidentally, we are still friends. I see him monthly when a group of us from Lansing Eastern get together for lunch.
In August, after graduating from HS in June, I joined the USAF. After 12 weeks of basic and another 21 weeks in weather school, I was sent to North Carolina.
On my first weekend break, three of us went to town—one from NY, one from NJ, and me from MI. They had been there for a while. After fooling around town for a bit, we needed to hit a bathroom.
That’s when the shock really hit. At the back of the store we went into, there were two men’s restrooms.
Over one read WHITE, and over the other read COLORED. Between the two doors were two drinking fountains, each displaying the same signs.
I looked at my NY friend who had been there for a year. He merely shrugged and said, “That’s the way it is. Welcome to the South.”
I think of these two incidents every MLK day. I wish I didn’t. I wish it hadn’t been.
In the very near future, I plan to head out to Florida and VA Beach for close to three weeks. I’m sure it’s one of my nerdy idiosyncrasies, but I never advertise the times when I’m out of town.
I’m pretty sure that no one who is reading this or checking out Facebook is patiently waiting for me to leave the house unguarded so they can break in and steal all of my spare paper towels, but then, you never know.
Flipping the coin, I always enjoy seeing pictures of the travel adventures of all my FB friends as they journey all over the world. Some of the images they share are totally awesome.
Plus, it’s always fun to see shots of everyone and their kids/grandkids at places like Disneyland, Mt. Rainier, Mammoth Cave, or wherever—even if their homes are left totally unguarded and/or protected.
To me, the logical alternative is to wait until you get back, and then say, “Hey, look at what we just did.” However, that’s just me.
“Gossip of the Week”
Well, I’ve already blown my New Year’s Resolution of reading a book a week. Here it is, the 16th, and I’m only a quarter of the way through book two. Of course, the fact that the thing is a gazillion pages long doesn’t help much.
Besides, I’ve been working on two other projects that are taking some time. Let’s start with the income tax.
Been pumping the figures into my financial program that sorts everything and comes up with figures—you know, medical=$1,289,654; Book royalties=$1.29 for paperbacks and .87 for Kindle EBooks.
I guess I’m not going to get rich on last year’s royalties. (You people haven’t been reading enough of my literary masterpieces.)
The thing, however, that’s taking up the most time is my latest work in progress (WIP).
It’s book 3 of the I Can and I Will & Tell Me Why group. I don’t even have a working title for it yet. And, the only thing I’m going to tell you about it for right now is that Jayden, the main character, discovers his own death certificate.
How would you like to do that?
"A Book a Week"
Hey, I’m setting a record. So far my new year’s resolution has lasted a whole week.
I want to try to read fifty books this year. I started out with the idea of a book a week, but then figured some are longer than others, so I’ll settle for fifty. Finished up book one on the list last night.
After years of reading pretty much nothing but fiction, I’ve pretty much gravitated to non-fiction the past year.
The book I just finished is called The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis. Like most current day NF writers, I’d never heard of the guy. Someone or something recommended this book so I checked it out.
The primary emphasis of the book was the departmental transitions, or lack of, between the Obama and Trump administrations. It made a lot of comparisons between what was expected and what actually happened.
There was a great deal of discussion regarding department heads and their qualifications for their new jobs. One of the things I found particularly interesting was the discussion that the Dept. of Commerce really has very little to do with commerce. It’s a compilation of a number of other things.
The last section was of particular interest to me. It dealt with the US Weather Bureau and how much data it had preserved, and how little of it had ever been analyzed. The author talked about some of the analysis that exists regarding tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.
Since I spent four years in that field in the USAF – just a couple of years ago, I was somewhat awed about what can actually be done today compared to “back in the day.”
Two points he made I found a bit weird were terms such as “Climate Change” are verboten. Also, how much of the analyzable data has suddenly disappeared and is no longer available.
The book seems to jump back and forth a little—maybe it needed a better editor. However, I would highly recommend it if you’re looking for a little non-fiction enlightenment.
Seems to me we’ve fought long enough over the wall, and it’s time to re-open the government agencies that are closed or not getting paid.
I think there are some rather dangerous ramifications possible with people like the TSA agents not getting paid and calling in sick. Like, why should they work when they might never get any money for it?
As one of them said, what are they going to do? If they file for unemployment benefits, they’ll be recollected from them when and if this thing is ever settled peacefully.
Let's face it, what do the millionaires who are running the show really care about the common man working paycheck to paycheck to pay his or her bills?
You’ll never convince me they really give a rip one way or the other. Each side has their own “principles” that they are going to stand on, and they won’t budge.
Wonder if any of those clowns have ever considered actually sitting down together and coming up with a solution for border security that might work—like maybe more border agents, cameras, and a bunch of drones flying 24-7 keeping an eye on areas where illegals tend to sneak over.
Let’s face it, if you build a 20 foot wall, someone will build a 21 foot ladder—or tunnel under the thing. Of course, my biggest concern is that Canada will build a wall across our entire northern border to keep out the American thugs, rapists, and criminals and make the US pay for it. Now, that might really get expensive.