Archives for October 2016

It’s the birthday of novelist Elmore Leonard

Born in New Orleans in 1925. Straight out of college he got a job at an advertising agency, so he would get up and write every morning at 5 a.m. before going into the office. He published some pulp Westerns, and then started writing crime fiction, and went on to write more than 40 books. Many of them have been turned into movies, including his novels Get Shorty (1990), Be Cool (1999), and Rum Punch (1992), which Quentin Tarantino made into the film Jackie Brown.

He gave 10 rules on writing, things like “Never open a book with weather,” “Never use a verb other than ‘said’ to carry dialogue,” “Avoid detailed descriptions of characters,” and “Try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip.” He wrote: “Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them. What the writer is doing, he’s writing, perpetrating hooptedoodle, perhaps taking another shot at the weather, or has gone into the character’s head, and the reader either knows what the guy’s thinking or doesn’t care. I’ll bet you don’t skip dialogue. My most important rule is one that sums up the 10. If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”

To get inside the heads of the despicable people he writes about, Leonard said: “I [try] to put myself in [a criminal’s] place. He doesn’t think he’s doing an evil thing. I try to see [him] at another time – when he sneezes, say. I see convicts sitting around talking about a baseball game. I see them as kids. All villains have mothers.”

When asked why he writes about criminals, instead of ordinary people, Leonard said, “I just feel more secure in a situation where I know a gun can go off at any time if things get boring.”

reposted from Writer’s Almanac

Worms

Charles Darwin published The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms on this date in 1881 (books by this author). It was his last scientific book, and his most successful. In it, he explains that the very ground we walk upon has passed through the bodies of worms and emerged as castings. He also estimated that there are more than 53,000 worms at work in any given acre of land, and reported that they had turned a rocky field behind his uncle’s house into smooth soil over the course of many years. He was fascinated by the work of the earthworm, which he called an “unsung creature which, in its untold millions, transformed the land as the coral polyps did the tropical sea.” On the surface, the study of earthworms seems to have little to do with the work on evolution and natural selection that made him famous. But this book, too, was about the inexorable processes of nature that, over long spans of time, can bring about dramatic changes.
The book started as a paper, which Darwin presented before the Geological Society of London in 1837. In 1842, Darwin spread a layer of chalk fragments over a pasture near his house and observed the worms’ effect on it for almost 30 years. He placed a large, flat stone – which he dubbed the worm stone-in a field and measured the movement of soil as the worms digested the earth beneath the stone. He also kept worms inside the house, examining the effects of bright light and sound. He figured out through trial and error what the worms’ favorite food was: carrots. He was fond of the worms, which were unmoved by art or music – much as Darwin himself remained unmoved by the arts.
By 1881, Darwin’s health was failing, and he remarked to a friend that he wanted to complete his book on worms before he joined them in the local cemetery. He pushed his publisher to bring the book to press as soon as possible. When it was first published, the work of 44 years, Worms was a best-seller, and Darwin received a surprising amount of fan mail. He died six months after the book was published.

Reposted from The Writer’s Almanac

Deniro wants to punch Trump. Trump wants to punch anybody.

Imagine how much money this fight would bring in. Deniro could donate his share to charity and Trump of course would donate his share to the Trump Foundation!

A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety By Jimmy Carter

“America did not invent human rights. In a very real way, human rights invented America.” That’s Jimmy Carter, born in Plains, Georgia (1924). He took over the family peanut farm after his father died in 1953, and he expanded the farm into a fertilizer business, a farm supply business, and a peanut-shelling plant. He got interested in politics after he refused to join a citizens’ group that opposed the integration of schools. He became the governor of Georgia and then, in 1977, the 39th president of the United States. Carter said he wanted to end what he called “the imperial presidency.” He walked down Pennsylvania Avenue for his inauguration, often wore informal clothes at official appearances, and sold the presidential yacht.

Jimmy Carter said: “A strong nation, like a strong person, can afford to be gentle, firm, thoughtful, and restrained. It can afford to extend a helping hand to others. It is a weak nation, like a weak person, that must behave with bluster and boasting and rashness and other signs of insecurity.”

The 39th president and Nobel Peace Prize winner reflects on his full and happy life with pride, humor, and a few second thoughts.

Crime A Day

Impulsively

Impulsively

A cautionary word is what I need when I
begin to think and see a hike I like, or a river
to kayak on, or a beautiful girl to love.

When I impulsively do things as I have during my life as
if there were no strings, I now have to pay with pain for
doing what used to gain respect with no side effects.

I’d drop the thought if I heard that therapeutic word STOP!
I’m not a kid any more I’d see, or even young enough to take a plunge,
or hurry across the street without suffering

pain from taking steps faster than I’m used to. It’s tough to
think that I’ve reached a point where my body has aged past
the point where it can’t easily recuperate.

Inside my head, I’m only 22, but my physique disagrees and acts as
though I’m 104. Which isn’t true, but looking at you looking at me
as I try to compete and show I’m still fleet, I come to believe

in your eyes I need a mojo to win your heart even though you have
ways I don’t understand. Years that separate us form notions,
emotions, and potions that flow at different speeds and we see

different things. Before I get too deep, I need to think of that
word to stop me from getting pretty girl blues over you. If I
do, I won’t suffer physical pain as I usually do for my impetuosity.

I’ll be psychologically damaged and tormented inside my head instead.
There’s no escape, unless I take drugs and drink to clear thoughts of you while I
cry into my beer, but that’s only good until the next day when I hear a whisper

and a picture of you appears before my eyes. To tell the truth, I go in search of
Gypsy Tooth Ruth who’s famous for making oceans of love potion # 9. I find her
at Hollywood and Vine where she sells her potions. I ask for one to erase

pretty girl blues that I caught from you. “It’s going to cost you,” Gypsy Tooth said.
“You’re not the first to ask for love to be reversed. What I have to do isn’t in any book,
so don’t look while I whip it up.” I closed my eyes, and when I did, she poked my finger

and said, “Sign here, and don’t you dare look.” I scribbled my name on what, I didn’t know, but as my finger traced my name, I dreamed of you and wished you’d come home with me.
She cackled and said, “You’ve just sold your soul. Now you’re unable to sit at the table of love.”

I opened my eyes and saw the contract she held dripping with my blood and it was true.
I no longer loved you or anything else. This is how it feels when you’re without love and owe your soul to, Who? The urge to know became so strong I impulsively jumped in front of a bus,

because I couldn’t wait to see if I’d smile or not when I saw who’d claim my loveless soul.

Brave

When I began, I was an honest man. I admit to having faults,
but wonder If other men are like me who try not to die and
shirk from responsibility and common sense at times.

As a man I brag about all the times I showed how brave I’ve been.
The speeds I reached while driving, heights I dived from over rocks
waiting to tear my balls off. The fight’s I’ve been in.

The times I’ve been stabbed, shot at and missed too many times
to list. Threatened by a gang of guys with hate in their eyes.
Races I’ve run and long bike rides taken.

I brag about my kids and grand-kids. The wives and girlfriends I’ve had
and say I’ve never been in love or had the need to feel greed. Those are
thoughts I hold dear and they remain above the subconscious mind where
the cowardly and stupid things I’ve done go to hide.

The times I was afraid to fight, or didn’t protect
a child or girl from the evil in this world.
Thoughts of my stupidity lay alongside my cowardly
ones trying to hide from the truth in me.

From nowhere memories arise that cause me to shiver when I see what
I’d done to maybe more than one, and the steps I could have taken. I see I’m
not so smart or brave as I like to believe. Why couldn’t I have done what was
right those nights and every other time instead of letting weakness rule?

The thoughts that I wasn’t cool haunt me and lead my mind to the dark side
where I think because of showing how stupid or scared I was at times makes
it so I want to confess to the world that I’m not who they think I am and I
don’t deserve to live because of the lousy decisions I’ve made.

My hand closes around an imaginary gun. I put the barrel into my mouth
and want to go South, but bite down on cold steel and start to feel before I pull
the trigger. When I do, I’m happy I only imagined, because I know I shouldn’t, even
though it’s a purple night, but sometimes I wonder if I should shoot to make it right?

STAY ALERT! They walk among us……and they VOTE and have babies

Posted this before, but still laughed at the second reading.

I handed the teller @ my bank a withdrawal slip for $400.00
I said “May I have large bills, please”
She looked at me and said “I’m sorry sir, all the bills are the same size.”
When I got up off the floor I explained it to her…
IDIOT SIGHTING
When my husband and I arrived at an automobile dealership to pick up our car, we were told the keys had been locked in it. We went to the service department and found a mechanic working feverishly to unlock the driver side door. As I watched from the passenger side, I instinctively tried the door handle and discovered that it was unlocked. ‘Hey,’ I announced to the technician, ‘it’s open!’ His reply: ‘I know. I already got that side. ‘
This was at the Ford dealership in Canton,MS
IDIOT SIGHTING
We had to have the garage door repaired.
The Sears repairman told us that one of our problems was that we did not have a ‘large’ enough motor on the opener.
I thought for a minute, and said that we had the largest one Sears made at that time, a 1/2 horsepower.
He shook his head and said, ‘Lady, you need a 1/4 horsepower.’ I responded that 1/2 was larger than 1/4.
He said, ‘NO, it’s not.’ Four is larger than two.’
We haven’t used Sears repair since.
IDIOT SIGHTING
My daughter and I went through the McDonald’s take-out window and I gave the clerk a $5 bill.
Our total was $4.25, so I also handed her a quarter.
She said, ‘you gave me too much money.’ I said, ‘Yes I know, but this way you can just give me a dollar bill back.
She sighed and went to get the manager, who asked me to repeat my request.
I did so, and he handed me back the quarter, and said ‘We’re sorry but we could not do that kind of thing.’
The clerk then proceeded to give me back $1 and 75 cents in change.
Do not confuse the clerks at McD’s.
IDIOT SIGHTING IN FOOD SERVICE
My daughter went to a local Taco Bell and ordered a taco.
She asked the person behind the counter for ‘minimal lettuce.’
He said he was sorry, but they only had iceburg lettuce.
From Kansas City
IDIOT SIGHTING
I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an airport employee asked, ‘Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?’ To which I replied, ‘If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?’ He smiled knowingly and nodded, ‘That’s why we ask.’
Happened in Birmingham , Ala.
IDIOT SIGHTING
The stoplight on the corner buzzes when it’s safe to cross the street.
I was crossing with an intellectually challenged coworker of mine. She asked if I knew what the buzzer was for.
I explained that it signals blind people when the light is red.
Appalled, she responded, ‘What on earth are blind people doing driving?!’
She was a probation officer in Wichita , KS
IDIOT SIGHTING
At a good-bye luncheon for an old and dear coworker who was leaving the company due to ‘downsizing,’ our manager commented cheerfully, ‘This is fun. We should do this more often.’ Not another word was spoken. We all just looked at each other with that deer-in-the-headlights stare.
This was a lunch at Texas Instruments.
IDIOT SIGHTING
I work with an individual who plugged her power strip back into itself
and for the sake of her life, couldn’t understand why her system would not turn on.
A deputy with the Dallas County Sheriff’s office, no less.
IDIOT SIGHTING
How would you pronounce this child’s name?
“Le-a”
Leah?? NO
Lee – A?? NOPE
Lay – a?? NO
Lei?? Guess Again.
This child attends a school in Kansas City, Mo.
Her mother is irate because everyone is getting her name wrong.
It’s pronounced “Ledasha”.
When the Mother was asked about the pronunciation of the name, she said, “the dash don’t be silent.”
SO, if you see something come across your desk like this please remember to pronounce the dash.
If dey axe you why, tell dem de dash don’t be silent.
STAY ALERT! They walk among us……and they VOTE and have babies.
For all of us who are seniors…
The reason why baby diapers have brand names such as Luvs and Huggies, while undergarments for old people are called Depends:
When babies poop in their pants, people are still gonna Luv’em and Hug’em.
When old people poop in their pants, it Depends on who’s in the will!

Last Poem

This, I swear with despair, is true, when I met her, words already in
my mind from living so many years weighed down my thoughts
until she spoke and opened my eyes to words written by an artist and
poetess like her could lift the weight from my muse and allow my simple
words to surface. When they did, I began to write again and every word I
heard or saw had a meaning I never knew before her.

Enthralled that an accomplished woman like her could or would find my long
suppressed words had meaning lifted my ego from where it hid beneath my feet
to the top of my head. Life had meaning again and when the artist within awoke,
he forgot how many years had passed and thought her mind and his had met in a
space where only artists dwell and all those years in between made no difference.

But when logic stuck its ugly crown through my dreams and showed how an old
man like me could easily be made to look like a fool. A fight began between the
artist in me and the rational part of my brain to see what I should do and together
they went over what happened to me and though I was forsaken again, I pretended
I wasn’t one of them who let little things like rejection upset my face and turn it upside down.

In a writer’s world rejection only proves one hasn’t given up hope and has the guts to
try and try again I’ve been overruled so many time before that I’ve become immune and
when I hear or read dismissive words, they pass by my ears and I hear what I want to.
Rationality doesn’t stop reminding me that no matter how many words I write, they’ll
never bring me together with a woman I want.

I begin to wonder if it’s a woman I want or is it acclaim? If that’s the case then I’d better
stop wasting my time by writing every day and use my talented hands instead, or is that
another delusion? Why do I believe I have talent only because I feel the need to create?

To say feel doesn’t explain what happens when I’m overcome with the need to make something beautiful, something no one has yet seen. My arms begin to tingle and the feeling spreads to my hands and then my brain, and then has nowhere else to go. I decide here and now not to use words, but to create with things I can feel. No more poems or novels will be written by me. Give me clay, paint, or steel I can weld instead.

Love What

I worry that at the closing of the day, I may run out and will be lost without,
so I take the shortest route to replenish my supply of the one
thing I need to color the wings of my world with shades of gold

If I go without, darkness descends and I get what I deserve if I don’t succeed
in filling my need. My fragile nerves will curve into bare electrical wires floating
in a pool of crimson blood short circuiting my heart .

The things I see and the programs I watch on TV all become
joyous events when I find what I need, but when I don’t, color
grows duller and drains from paradise and my life dries out.

I ran out and almost put my eye out when I found out, I Was without, my wallet, money, or credit cards, and then I remembered why I didn’t have any of the above. I don’t even
have a rare disease to use as an excuse to beg, borrow, or say I’d pay back tomorrow.

What am I to do, because it’s true? Suddenly, I find Life Can Be A Dream, and the Magic Minute takes me by surprise when a woman I know presses her lips to mine and they’re sweeter than wine. My search turns to love, because she’s sweeter than any brew.

When I hold her tight, I’ll never worry about running out and choose to change the hues
that are brighter than jewels. They’ll always be warm and true like my love for her sweet
lips. I worry, it’s such a hard decision to make. When she’s with me, I never thirst

for what I wanted first. When she steps away, the desert wind surrounding my heart blows through my mouth and I thirst for at least a taste of what it takes to change my world from dark, damp, and colorless, to one clothed in colors I love.

All it’ll take is a case of Bud Light.