Random Thoughts

The Letter 'A' may be on the chopping block.

San Francisco, UPI-Oh-Ki_Yay

The days may be numbered for the letter 'A'. A movement to ban the letter is underway in the United States. Those leading the rallying cry claim the letter has a nasty history and must be stricken from the alphabet.

"It's an oppressive vowel," according to linguistic expert Lotta Doboutnuttin from San Francisco. "The first vowel in the word 'slavery' is an 'A'. Want another example? Where were slaves sold? At auction. There's that letter 'A' again, leading the charge to oppression. The letter oppresses all of us: Taxes. Arrest. Assault. If you want to level the field for all of us, the letter 'A' has got to go. We want the letter 'A' stricken from all government publications, from all books, from all roadsigns. We will not rest until the letter 'A' is dead and buried."

The movement also has a plan to save the alphabet. "The letter 'A' should be immediately replaced by the asterisk, which has no known history of oppression. We further dem*nd that *ny c*ndid*te for President with the letter 'A' in their n*me dis*vow it *nd begin to use the *sterisk to show their opposition to the oppressive n*ture of this vowel." A protest is scheduled at a local *rby's in downtown S*n Fr*ncisco.

Attempts to reach Hill*ry Clinton, M*rco Rubio, and other candidates were unsuccessful. Donald Trump issued an independent statement: "You want me to change the spelling of my name? Kiss my *."

Ses*me Street producers could not be re*ched for comment on the imp*ct on their show.

In a related story, a spokesman for Webster's Dictionary announced the letter 'Y' will be recognized as a transletter. "It's a vowel. And a consonant. We believe the letter can be whatever it wants to be."

PATIENCE: Available now at Amazon!

It's here...

Patience: Available at Amazon Now...

Exploring the Amazon...

Hopefully, one of the things that makes my website unique is my willingness to share my writing process with others. It is why I post early versions of my work, instead of the polished final versions that I submit to editors. Looking at a finished piece of work can be intimidating for a fledgling writer. It certainly is for me! By sharing my process "warts and all" I hope to drive home the point that first you write, then re-write and rewrite and rewrite ...and at some point you arrive at that polished, finished piece.

My own process is constantly evolving. A new arena is self-publishing. I've just published one of my early short stories as a Kindle e-book at Amazon. Coming shortly will be a blow-by-blow of how I did it and what I learned. For now, I'll share the link to the story so you can download it. (It will cost you a whopping $1.00). No Kindle? You can also download Amazon's free Kindle-for-PC software and read July 27 on your PC.

When you're done reading the story, kindly review it at Amazon. Give it an honest rating. The story did very well in competition, but when you download it... YOU'RE THE JUDGE!

July 27: Available at Amazon Now...


(P.S. I've been watching folks "catch up" a bit on From the Sky before unleashing the next segment. That's coming soon!)

A Note on From the Sky...

It is inevitable, I suppose, that when writing a novel one needs to go back and change something.

I have made a change to Part III of From the Sky, only a few lines, but the change is significant because it involves the serenade.

I first wrote of the serenade in Part III as a bit of a teaser for a future segment. I wrote that the serenade takes place under a window. Well, I'm moving the venue. In preparing to write the serenade segment I realized that it would make a lot more sense to have Gio do his singing elsewhere.

I didn't want to confuse anyone. It is part of the process, however, and as much as anything I'm sharing my process. I like to make revisions like this after the first complete draft of the story, but in this case I had to make an exception. Again... part of the process.


The Greater Depression Chronicles...

...this feature will resume in the near future. It may ...or may not ...be what you expect. But it will draw on my experiences of the last year. What I saw. The people I talked with as I campaigned. What I read. What I followed in the media.

I never officially "ended" the GDC. I simply stopped posting to take a long, long breath.

It's time to exhale...


The Spring Blogfest in Pittston. Hope for America???

Wondering what the Blogfest was?

Wondering what you missed?

Folks... this is politics unique to Northeastern Pennsylvania. Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and others under the same roof at the same time. And every second civil, cordial and *gasp* even respectful to each other. If this spreads, there's hope for America...

Regrets Sent...

I had to pass on attending the royal wedding. There were no wings on the menu. Her Majesty (a pretty nice girl, usually not much to say) gave me a call Thursday evening.

"Do reconsider. Perhaps some boneless wingbits," she pleaded.

"Sorry. Real men eat wings with bones. Regrets," I replied. "Besides, I'd miss the Blogfest in Pittston on Friday night."

"I tried to get them to move the date," Her Highness sighed.

"Rooney's Irish Pub wouldn't budge?" I asked.

"Silly Boy. I tried to move the wedding date. I wanted to show off my lovely yellow hat in Pittston. Couldn't be arranged. Too much bother with all the security. Enjoy the Blogfest. Send my love to Yonkstur. Toodles!"

Click went the phone.

Yup. A pretty nice girl.

They're Jerking my Chain...

Yanking my chain...

We're Messing With You, WingBoy!

No April vacation for me this year.

I was scheduled for jury duty earlier this month, but on Thursday prior to service (and just before the Federal Gubbermint nearly ground to a halt) I was notified "not to report." I still had to check in each Friday for the rest of the month to learn if I was swimming in that jury pool.

Late last week, with the end of April looming on the horizon, I checked in at the court website and found this notification:

Status: Completed
Your jury service is concluded.
The court is grateful for your participation in the administration of justice.


That was my vacation they pulled out from under me. Long days with 2-hour courthouse lunches, a chance to meet fascinating people and perhaps convict them, and, most important ...and absolutely irreproachably valid reason to not think about work at all. No piles of e-mail taunting me with things undone. No jammed printers. No desks to crawl under looking for elusive data jacks.

Just joyous impressment into government service. I secretly hoped I'd be sequestered.

Instead, I'm done. I believe they never intended to use me. I think Congress invented the whole government shutdown thing so the Scranton courthouse wouldn't stink of chicken wings after lunch each day.

Am I pee-ohed??


The 2011 Blue-Wet Game...

My brother the diehard...

My brother the diehard...

I have very few personal traditions. The one I never miss is the annual Penn State Blue-White game. If I can walk, crawl or be air-lifted in I'm attending. In 2002, feeling like crap and just a few days before ending up in emergency surgery, there I was with my son James and nephew Tyler watching the game. We park a mile and a half from the stadium, and enjoy a day of football and walking through State College

A few years ago, my brother Bill and the boys joined me in the stands for a rain-shortened game. When they pulled the team early, we screamed "Wimps! Wimps!" from the sidelines. (Yes, we knew pulling the team was the right thing to do for safety's sake ...but we were there, soaked to the skin, and they were leaving. We just wanted to beat our chests a bit.)

This year, it was just Bill and I. The boys (young married men, now) couldn't make it. The weather was horrific. We were drenched to the bone. I learned that "water resistant" means "Yer gettin' wet, buddy."

Only 7000 of my closest friends were on hand...

Only 7000 of my closest friends were on hand...

We were way up in the stands where we could see the whole field. We stood the entire time. During one massive downpour, a stadium employees gave us an odd look when Bill said (in his best 'Carl Spackler' voice): "...I don't think the heavy stuff's gonna come down for quite a while."

The Watchmaker

Albert Einstein...
Albert Einstein...

About a week before the unprecedented disasters began unfolding in Japan, I finally got around to updating the little "This and That" blurb on the right side of my webpage. I chose a quote from Albert Einstein, a personal hero of mine. While he may have been speaking primarily of atomic bombs, the message is still relevant: We are creating technology which we are not wise enough or mature enough to use wisely.

We forget that we are not that far removed from the caves.

We forget that we are not the masters of our world, we are guests and we exist here at the pleasure of the host, our Earth.

Over the course of human history, our planet has from time to time effortlessly wiped whole human cultures from its surface. Altantis. Pompeii. How many others, I wonder? How many times have humans found themselves on the wrong side of Mother Earth's temper?

But now, perhaps for the first time, we have a trump card in the deck of disasters. We have cracked the power of the atom, and we are not ready for the responsibility that comes with it. As evidence, witness the continuing folly of building reactors in fault zones. We may build reactors we think can handle anything the planet throws at them, but it's the unexpected that trips us up. In Japan, the reactors shut down as they were supposed to when the earthquake struck. But the ensuing tsunami damaged the cooling systems, and now a nuclear disaster is unfolding as well. The reactors were built in a fault zone, within the potential reach of a tsunami.

Folly, thy name is mankind.

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