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That’s Life!

It’s another morning at the old homestead. I spent the first half-hour trying to get dress while the younger kids took turns coming in to tell me they were hungry. That’s right. I do the cooking. The wife has other things occupying her; not the least is keeping me from doing stupid shit. It seems I do enough to keep us both busy in that respect.

In the second half-hour, I was a referee. The oldest boy and oldest girl were threatening to kill each other and coming together like they were not threats but a foreshadowing of things yet to appear, short order. Broke that up, but the peace was too much for the younger three. They complained that they couldn’t play on their electronic toys, but alas, they have had too much screen time lately. I exiled them to another room while they whined.

The last thing I had to tackle was the television. I had to set the rules again. It was a review, but they try to ignore the ones in place all the time, so I repeated them, rolled eyes, Humphs, and “Ah, Dad,” expressions and all. I started to tell a few dad jokes as punishment, but decided not to. They are all too young for my real jokes, wouldn’t understand — or worse, they would.

Does any of this sound familiar? Don’t you wish you were at my house?

Yesterday I sent off the metaphysical book’s full proposal to the first lucky publisher. It will take up to six weeks to hear anything back, so meanwhile I will dig up some more publishers and make multiple submissions. Such is the life of an author.

I almost have the first draft for the third book in the Factor series completed. That is my plan for today. I’m at the place I need to thin out the antagonists and protagonists. Although I’m afraid one or two of the major characters will have trouble making it out of the mix alive, this is the procedure.

I will not work on two books simultaneously for a long time, maybe never, especially one fiction and the other non-fiction. It takes too long to make progress on either Work In Progress. The other reason is, I found it harder to switch gears from fiction to non-fiction and back. Silly really. I find it easier to work different works one at a time. I didn’t have trouble working on a first draft while simultaneously editing another piece. But two from scratch is out.

The metaphysical book explored some tough questions — What is time, What is love, What happens after death. There is one question that has haunted me though, a real toughie, to which I don’t have the answer. Query: Why do kids work harder to get out of their chores than it would take to do them. I mean, I did it, and I’ll bet you did it too.

Yesterday, I noticed the goats were in the wrong pasture, so I had to investigate to find the hole they shinnied through. They are hilarious. Baby goats (kids) have an innate gusto about life. They will stand still, look around, and abruptly jump straight up. Then, off they go, scampering around, bouncing, and headbutting anything close.

The adults are more reserved; however, they will still headbutt anything. It doesn’t matter what it is either. At the risk of sounding like a movie — if it’s there, they will headbutt. I have yet to have the classic headbutt in the rear; however, they have gotten my legs several times. Usually, that happens when they try to sneak attack another goat, and the target goat moves just before impact.

They are fascinating animals. They can eat just about anything. Hell, when I lived in Birmingham, we would go to a petting zoo, and one of the goats there would eat people’s cigarettes, lit or not. He would snatch them right out of the smoker’s hands. The caretaker there said it didn’t harm him at all. Mine favor the thornbushes that grow around here. They chew them up and go on.

I have no idea how they don’t get perforated stomachs, but they are very healthy. Amazing animals.

Another unbelievable animal is our pet Vietnamese potbellied pig. Yesterday our pig walked to me across the yard from where she’d buried herself in straw to keep warm. Then, when she reached me, she snorted a few times until I scratched her behind the ears and patted her shoulder. She is smart, much smarter than the dogs who just run around and bark at whatever they see.

The dogs are fun, but they aren’t Einstein. They will run up to you, tongue flopping around, stand there looking like they just made the most challenging gymnastic move ever invented, and then jump up onto you to help you pet them. Dogs can be fun, but they aren’t pigs.

That’s what we have around here, pets and kids.

But enough of that. Right now, I’m working on the next thriller, and up until now I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it. Talking about fun and pets and kids and all helped. I figured it out. The problem centers about halfway through its body; the excitement level is about as electric as a marshmallow. Yep, pretty tense, huh? Yeah. That’s what I thought too.

I know what to do now — go back and rework everything. By the by, that’s way more in-depth than just editing. Don’t get me wrong. Editing is hard work, primarily if you work with one of the best editors in the business, someone like Jayne Southern www.bookaholiceditor.com. She’s fabulous.

But right now, I have a herculean task ahead of me — bend the river of my new thoughts to wash out the old barn of old crap and produce an exciting read. Everybody needs a compelling read, don’t they? Good pacing, wild suspense. Ahh, the joys of a good read, nothing better.

Well, maybe one or two things come to mind.

Don’t forget to sibscribe. It’s free, I won’t write you obnoxiously, and I won’t sell your name and email. Go to the Newsletter page and put in your name and email. Simple, right?

Talk to you later.

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Let’s Think About Things

I know there has to be an incredible number of bloggers out there hitting the keys over the happenings in DC yesterday. Many of them will be siding with one side or the other. To me, it is not about sides at all. I have been watching the national politics of our nation for years. I watched it yesterday.


Before I cracked my knuckles and dusted off my keyboard, I thought about what I would say. Nobody wants to hear an old man lecture them. Hell, they might not even want to listen to what I have to say at all.

But then I thought some more.

I need to speak. I have not been a silent watcher at living. I lived hard and got my licks for what I did. Have I done stupid shit? You bet. Right now, several people who know what kind of dumb stuff I’ve done are whooping and hollering — some laughing, some crying. Let me say I could not run for office. I did my idiot-self proud on many occasions. Dumbass was my unofficial nickname for decades.


I like to think I made most things right, eventually. I hang my head in contrition.

Let’s continue. I did some good too. I served in the Army for almost a decade in some of the most barren places on earth. I froze, I sweltered, and I basked in good weather too. At one time, I was one of the nation’s top athletes. I have done my share on the home front also. My wife and I didn’t just talk about taking care of children less fortunate — we adopted several. I will be raising kids until I am in my eighties. I have been a teacher and now have a lifetime license to teach. I’ve written several music pieces, including a symphony, several books (published both traditionally and self-published), and my website and blog have over a hundred visits a day.


So, what do I want to say? I’m sick of the polarization our country now has. When I was a kid, the adults behaved well enough to build a vast economy. My parent’s generation fought and won WWII. Every generation makes mistakes, and they made their share. They put us in an impossible war in Southeast Asia. But they didn’t pick sides enough to look like a live-fire exercise at the Capitol.


Now, if I look around, everything has a faction that wants their way, and they want it now. My two five-year-olds do the same thing, but they are five. It looks like we struck the word tolerance from the English language, almost. A large group demands tolerance, except for themselves when reffering to people who disagree with them. That makes no sense. We do not need tolerance if everyone agrees with us.


When I watched the goings-on yesterday, It looked more like a third world country trying to open their parliament than The United States Federal Government. Hell, we have enough to deal with fighting COVID 19. Come to that. How come other countries can deal with it and keep it under control? Are we as a nation too damn spoiled to behave when we’re out and about? I’m talking to everyone here.

A large group had tantrums for four years, and yesterday they tried to look like they never said any harsh words. Do I need to elaborate?
If things like this had happened in my house, there would have been some on the spot bare-butt spankings. Except it did happen at my house. That was my capital building, yours too.


I have a concealed carry license. I own a firearm, but I’ll go better than that. I am an expert in both long guns and sidearms. I am also branch qualified in Artillery. I learned all about it in the Army. But that doesn’t mean I will carry or tow an artillery piece to a protest with the possibility of storming the Capitol.


Third world, right?

Whatever happened to calmness under pressure? What do we need to tell our representatives? How about everybody needs to grow up a notch, maybe two, how about three. Are we going to behave like spoiled kids? I’m talking to everyone right now. (Don’t forget the four years of tantrums.) Everyone. We need to grow up, and if they can’t be adults, they need to go away.


This kind of situation already occurred in other venues, and in some of those other countries, they didn’t get a handle on it. Some of those regions led to armed conflict. It may be that quiet heads will not be enough. It has been years in the build-up to this. We are at the point where we either must lance the boil and take control (and I don’t mean more tantrums) or let the infection go everywhere.

Our choice.

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Christmas for a Writer!

I have had a new experience in the last few months. I’vebeen writing a non-fiction book. I usually write novels, more specifically, thrillers. I write them because that’s what I like to read, the tenseness, the suspense, all of it. The creative juices that work as the story unfolds has extraordinary bliss connected with it for me. The emotional release is off the charts in a way that only a novelist can understand.


I have friends I have never met that understand what I’m saying. Some I met on the internet, others I met through my publisher, but I met most of them by reading their books. The last group I call friends only because they are friends of mine, not neccesarily their friend, other than being a reader of their stories. Some of them are dead and live only because their works continue to live. Someday, if my books are enticing enough, I will also be a friend to people I can never meet.


That would be heaven for a novelist. Hell, right now, it would be heaven if I talked with any kind of fan. I’m sure they will come. They are just a little scarce.


Now regarding this new experience, let me explain. Instead of writing to enhance the reader’s emotions by composing a story, in this book I write things that tell readers about my thoughts and let them decide if they think I’m lucid enough for them to believe me. It is non-fiction, and it is my explanation, more to myself than anyone else, of how I conceive of the way the universe works; that includes you and me.

It’s a little tricky. First, I had to sort my thoughts. I’ve been working these kinds of things out for years so it took a while. After sorting I had to open up about my thoughts. That’s not so hard. What is difficult is why I have always been interested in this subject. I realize that that particular why does not demand an explanation, but way back when my interest popped up, I had friends warn me that people judge. To put a topping on that, I spent decades living around people with no compassion at all for ideas different than theirs. This resulted in a feeling of being the lone target at a gun range.


I know the typical mental image of dread might be of me standing before everyone while clad only in my drawers.


That wouldn’t convey the correct feeling of dread. I don’t have a taboo of being lightly clad, or even without a stitch. Oh, don’t jump to the conclusion that somewhere in my dark path of jobs there includes being a Chippendale or the like. I never did that, but I don’t have a fear of public nudity.

It paid off when the Army sent me to South Korea. I stepped off the plane and the first thing I did was ease into the men’s room. As I stood using the urinal, a local woman came in and started wiping that piece of porcelain down. She asked me how my day was so far.

Later, as I related the story to a newfound friend, they explained that many of the locals still didn’t see the need for two restrooms. Anyway, the situation put me off stride a bit, but not enough to embarrass me, certainly not enough to mortify me. Such is life.


Okay, back to the non-fiction book. I found that once my inhibitions disappeared, it was quite exhilarating to write. The further I dove into it, the more interesting it became. I am fascinated by how the words rolled out without having the characters telling me what to put down.
After reading it, I’m convinced that what I have written is the absolute truth … for me. What remains is whether it is your truth. The only way you can find out is to read it to the end.


Don’t know how much you might enjoy a book written by me? To help all of you out, I’ll give you a book or two so you can judge for yourself. They’re e-books and free for your taking. If you like them, and if you are partial to thrillers, I’m sure you will. Then perhaps you can recommend them to someone else. After all, it’s almost Christmas. Do you have all of the presents you need? Again, these are free but only from December 18, 2020, through January 1, 2021. Or you can buy the paperbacks for a gift. What do you have to lose? Just follow the links. The top one is for The Sigma Factor, and the bottom is for The Great Zero Sum. Go to the menu and click on Published Works in for the paperbacks. Both links will enable you to see both books, so indulge yourself.

Please give them an honest review too!

Merry Christmas!

By the way, click the subscrition button, it fee too!

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/806452

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/994728

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How Deadly Is Covid-19?

I am glad to see my Newsletter works now and equally delighted to see people sign up for it. I wanted to take a moment to say welcome, and I want to invite you to my website. It is a work in progress and will change from time to time, and of course, my blog will make a regular appearance.


If you didn’t get the chance to see my last blog, yes, I think I have gotten the Newsletter feature fixed, and I deleted all of the previous names because they were not able to confirm their subscriptions. My fault, not yours. So, if you would take the time to sign up, again, it would benefit both you and me. There are subscription sites all over my website now, so it should not be too hard to drop your name and email and click subscribe. As always, your name and email will not ever get sold, and the only things I will bother you with are notifications that a new blog post and perhaps when I publish something new or I have a sale going.


Today I’m in quarantine.


Two of my children had to get tested for the dreaded COVID-19, and there are two more days until we find out what they have. They already ruled out Strep and Flu; all that’s left is a rogue stomach bug and COVID-19. So to lessen the possible spread, we have quarantined the house, two kids to a room. We don’t need the whole household to get sick.


The kids are busy working their homeschooling on various electronic devices. There are the occasional fights about shared chargers, space, etcetera. Then there is the ever said, “Daaad, I’m so bored. (Truthfully, that sentence bores me!) Why does every kid think it is the instinctual drive of parents to prevent boredom of their progeny?

My snappy repartee to their boredom statement question is usually said with a smile, “Room clean?”

That’s when the torrents of objections usually start—what a pain in the ass. But, looking back on it, I did the same things. I always wonder how I survived.


While I’m composing this, I have my hearing aids in (mementos from my Field Artillery days). Anyway, the upside of the hearing boosters is they Bluetooth right into my phone. What an incredible sound, and I am currently listening to Andrea Bocelli. Glorious music. He may not be for everyone, but I had a classical education in the arts, and his music relaxes me like a lazy day.

Back to COVID-19. Things are closing in; the disease flanked and encircled us. There have been many deaths and funerals that have affected us. One of our neighbors passed just the other day. I live in the hottest county of Arkansas. Hottest in this sense means COVID-19 is more prolific here than elsewhere in the state. The last count I heard was 26% of those tested here are positive.


I have known friends for fifty years who insist the death rate is just a little over 2.5%. I don’t think things have set in for them like it is apparent to me. The hospital death-rate is indeed 2.5%, but if you happen to beat the disease and go home, your chances of heart attack or stroke have increased exponentially because of the damage that COVID-19 did while it was tapdancing all over you in the hospital. The other thing that smacks me right in the nose is the fringe deaths. Every ICU in most of the state is full or doesn’t have the personnel. The three local hospitals have no room. So those of us, like me, who have cardiac issues and we have another “event,” there is no room. That is code for telling me that if I have another heart attack, I’m shit-out-a luck. The same is valid for stroke and any other health disaster.


I think the actual rate for COVID-19 and related death is closer to 20 to 25%. Big difference, huh.

But it doesn’t matter at all. People don’t think that way. How our human brains work is — the death rate is either 0 or 100%. It works like unemployment. If you have a job, unemployment is 0%. If you do not have a job, the rate is 100%. Ergo, If you live, the measurement is 0%, die, and the pace is 100%. The statistics tend to muddy the waters.

Now let me segue to something else.

In my upcoming book, I talk about … Eh. The book is a short one, but I loaded it with information that will stretch your belief system; at least it has mine. The good news about it is now I find myself relaxed yet alert. That is not a commercial at all. Neither am I saying it will make you calm.
You may think there are some things in there that tipped the scale of rationality. I don’t think they do, but as I said in the book, “My brain doesn’t think like everyone else’s.”

Why should I? I think like myself, as you should think like yourself.
Perhaps I should fill you in on the premise of the book. The purpose is to entice you to do some brain work. I know thinking can be difficult for some, but it is an excellent practice. I had a Drill Sergeant who made a phrase famous for us all: “Think! I know it’s hard, but you can do it.” What we are talking about here is not the same as some word problem with which you wrestled in your last math class thirty years ago. I want you to think and do it for yourself, not blindly shuffle along behind someone else even if you admire them. Make it your thought, not someone else’s.

If you haven’t already. Please sign up for my Newsletter. You can do it at the bottom of almost any page. The simplest way is to click on the newsletter page on the menu, and It takes you right to one, and then you can call this home. Welcome.

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Why is Music so Popular?

I spent the last few days, even weeks, listening to some of the most incredible music ever composed. It’s all around us. Every generation added to the list from as far back as the dusty pages go. Indeed, even back further than written music exists. Universal music. Every culture, village, and group made their melodies, some more complicated than others. There are many times when simplicity floats majestically through the air and brings the most blessed tranquility.

At other times, the heart was enraged to fierceness by the drums’ beat, and art-felt strains inspired battle and killing. With music, things like these occur in crowds who lived through both the great happiness and most tragic portions of their lives.

Even as death attends, so does birth. Gorgeous sounds encompass all things, whether we realize it or not. 

I know this blog is different than some I’ve written, but the truth of music is so much brighter, deeper, and connected to more things than most imagine. Yes, we all dance. And we’ve cried. But those things only show the sounds that raise the world. Other sounds build, lifting and filling the empty with purpose and solidity. That music constructs everything and makes us believe time flows like a river.

Did you know that scientists posit thesmallest most essential thing happens to look like a string and not a dot? Their theories reach down beyond the microscopic to say the smallest thing possible is a minute tendril. What I find most interesting about that is the way these strands vibrate. That is entirely correct. They move back and forth, shaking. Here is what fascinates me about it — vibration creates sound. Indeed. I’m sure the noise is not even close to being within the frequencies our ears can hear, or even those that our instruments can detect, but it is there.

I suppose the background noise that radio telescopes detect may be the remnants of the sound I’m talking about. I think the current thought on that noise is it is the echo of the Big Bang. Whatever it is, there is a sound out there.

Does this make you curious? The above passage is the kind of thing I write about in my upcoming book, I’ve Been Thinking, only I really dig into things. The non-fiction book delves into metaphysical ideas about the universe. It’s not your average book, I’ll tell you. I talk about the things that fascinate me and the way I envision how the universe fits together.

Let me also tell you that I have been working like a plow horse trying to fix my Newsletter system. Many readers subscribed to it, but I wasn’t Tech savvy enough to maintain it very well. The result was no newsletters went out. I called in some professional help, and the people I buy my domain from came to the rescue. The name is JC Hosting, and the people there worked even harder than me during this last week. They are amazing people, and if you need a host for your website, get in contact with them. You can find them at: jc-hosting.net.

Anyway, thanks to hard-working people, I think I’m ready to try again. So, I have deleted the subscriptions from before, and now I have a clean slate. Let’s give it a try. If you decide you want notifications when I publish a blog and when my books are ready to hit the stands, sign up for my newsletter. Same deal as before. It is free, I will never sell your name or email to anyone else, and you will get a notification of when each blog hits. Give it a try. There is nothing to lose.

I will love letting you know about whatever I have to say.

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Is Everyone Afraid, or Paranoid

There are so many things to talk about, so I tried to keep the subjects limited. Even so, I still racked up quite a list of items with which to yammer. Some of my favorite blogs happen to center on broader areas, like recipes and some of the writing theories, while others talk about my personal life and perhaps even life in general.

Today, I chose to write about life on our homestead. Let me hasten to explain that it is not a homestead as in a traditional homestead. An example of that is the government gives so many acres to a person provided; they improve the land with a building and cultivate it somehow.  

My homestead id a knickname for where our home stands.

We have a small acreage, only twelve acres. It isn’t large by any stretch. But as little as it is, it is an enormous amount of work. Our current push is to be more self-sufficient. Yeah, I know everyone wants to do that. Most people say that, but they don’t want to do it. Let me clear something else up. Some of you may be thinking we’re Preppers, someone who thinks the world will end or some such. No. We want to get a hedge on anything that might prove a little trying. This year has opened our eyes to the need to be resourceful. To that end, we are fashioning self-reliance. Is being paranoid?

We lived through the toilet paper shortage, which was ridiculous. There was also a bread shortage here, so I became rather good at making bread, but yeast became short supply. Then it became hard to find meat. Milk became scarce after that. I’m sure all of these shortages had to do with people panicking. But I don’t care. I have ten children to feed, plus the wife and I. panic or not, those things happened, and they were uncomfortable.

So, now we have some animals — pigs, chickens, goats. We plan to add maybe a few cattle and a large garden along with everything else.

With all the silliness going on out there in the “real” world, I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to hedge their bet. How many months ago were people hoarding food and buying toilet paper like Montezuma revenged himself in every walk of life. Keep in mind; people were only panicking. They weren’t thinking straight.

Now look around and tell me that people are thinking straighter. The election process has its stressful points, even in good years. This year has a massive amount of people believing the worst possible things about Them.

It doesn’t matter who they are either. Both major parties seem to have large populations that have succumbed to nebulous paranoia and, pointing to a nefarious they or them, and they all seem willing to sacrifice the entire nation to get what they want. 

I think this is bullshit.

Do I have friends on both sides of the equation? Why, yes. Yes, I do. Do I think it is in my best interest to distance myself from my friends? Hell, no. Do you honestly believe you will always have a Vulcan Mind-meld with your friends? The year is exceptional, you say. That’s a crock too. Every year has sickness, poverty, and untrustworthy people. I will give you the fact that it is a bit different dealing with a pandemic as it looms over everything. And yes, I realize many people see a conspiracy in the epidemic.

What makes this year what it is would make Lemony Snicket proud — a series of unfortunate events. There may be some dastardly enemy plotting destruction, and we may be in the clutches of an enemy willfully trying to dislodge us from a particular place. Have we forgotten about all of the safeguards we have in place?

In the process of all that has and is happening, there are a lot of people proving themselves untrustworthy.

What do you mean that isn’t fair? Life isn’t fair. If life were fair, I would be six feet tall, devilishly handsome with a full head of hair, and a bestselling novelist. Other things might constitute the concept of fair, but let’s say life isn’t fair. Look. I’m short and bald. And I may never have a bestselling anything while I’m still alive.

Such is the life of an artist.

 Well, it’s happened again. I started talking about how much work it takes to run our acreage, and now I’m dying before getting just sales for my books. Isn’t that strange, or should I say, unfortunately?

I will say this, though. I have no idea how farmers do the things they do. The work is herculean. For those who can’t figure out what that means, it references Hercules’ tasks. Farmers have to work as hard as Hercules to finish their work.

I know that every job I have ever done if it was worth doing, was hard. And that includes writing. I’ll further tell you that if I had any sum of money at all for every time Lana, my dance teacher, said one more time; I wouldn’t have to work now. Let’s settle on this. Every person alive has to be a perfectionist in some areas. If not, they would still be bussing tables.

I’m going to part with a snippet from a speech one instructor at the Field Artillery Officer’s Advance Course had addressing success. I’ll have to paraphrase — If you want to be a success, you need two things. Get yourself a tube of Give-a-Shit and squeeze it up your ass. Next, find a large tube of superglue, spread it liberally on your ass, and sit down. Now keep working until accomplishing more than what needs doing, and the superglue has worn off. Do it every day for years, and success might happen.

Okay, now I really have to go. I have a couple of Houdini pigs to catch and then fix their pen … again.

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My Upcoming Book

School started last week, and all but one of the kids are doing virtual school. We are in the midst of quite an adventure. While trying with herculean efforts to make the long-distance learning work, it seems the school system may be upside down on the learning curve. I cannot blame the teachers, not one little bit. Let’s face it; virtual learning has not been done well before this.

Well, that’s not entirely true; there are whole companies that do it for their primary business model. The problem is our education system doesn’t like to take advice from the great unwashed. By that, I mean someone who has not been indoctrinated or been educated by the education system itself. I faced huge problems when I received my teaching license in the non-traditional track. What the non-traditional part means is I didn’t go to college to get a teaching certificate. I attended several seminars and classes presented by the State Board of Education itself so the board could ensure we had the right information.

Even though the big dog in the state taught me what they wanted me to know, that wasn’t good enough for many educators, whether they be teachers or administrators. It was much harder for me to find a job than the traditionally licensed teachers. It worked doubly, so when I moved to Texas. There, I had to take more tests and such to license. The thing was, the new tests covered the same information as the old ones did, but they were Texas tests.

The reason I brought this up was not to disparage the way things the system does. It was merely an example of how the education system works. They want to do things their way.

That brings us back to virtual learning. Several companies do virtual learning as their main product. They teach around the world, via the internet, and have great success at what they do. It would be easy for educators to check how those companies do things, but alas, our system’s canonization to mistrust anything from the outside is a hard thing to surmount.

This situation is not a new thing, either. For decades, our system has fallen further behind each year because of the same reluctance. We continue to push our students to be scientists and mathematicians and, at the same time, will cut funding for the arts. What is so strange about that is our system readily admits there are several ways our brains work. According to Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, there are different ways our minds might function instead of dominated by science or mathematics.

That means some brains work better in music, others in spatial and visual things, still others lean toward linguistics, and yes, some are better at mathematics. These are only four mentioned in Gardner’s theory. There are more. My point is the rest of the world seems willing to guide their students into the fields they are most suited for instead of what we do, try to force all of the students to try to think with mathematics and science.

I think that is a significant reason the rest of the world has kicked our assess in education.

Okay, I have again acted as if I stood in the speaker’s corner Hyde Park, London. Hell, I don’t even know if that practice still exists. Hmm. A quick trip on the internet tells me that the British still love tradition. One can always give public speeches there.

Oh well, it doesn’t matter. I have terrific friends over the pond.

I will calm down. To facilitate, I just made some Irish coffee with a little Jameson and will be the better for it.

It is now time for me to write about what I intended to discuss when I sat down. — that being my first non-fiction book. It is now teetering on the final stages. It is out to beta readers right now and will be back when they are finished. I will look over the comments and decided what I need to do about them. Then, who knows, send it off traditionally to an agent or publisher, or perhaps self-publish.

Both possibilities have good points and bad.

What I need to discuss is the subject matter. Throughout the book, I detail how I view the universe. That is not to say, “I look up at the stars and see some twinkling over here, and some over there, etcetera.” No, it is the other kind of view, more like, “I imagine everything works like this …”

I want to tell you that I tried to write it with most people in mind. I did not target geniuses. I did not target simpletons, either. I tried to write in a way that won’t lose people with twenty-dollar words; simultaneously, I tried not to lose anyone out of sheer boredom.

Some surprising moments from the manuscript occur in my chapter discussing time, and another chapter devoted to music. Those two chapters happen to be where my theories start taking a little thought to process.

I wrote in one of the initial blogs that I studied music in college. For those who haven’t read those particular blogs, I worked as a music teacher when I taught school. During my studies of music, I ran into several theories and odd happenings that stood out. From that, I have developed an approach to how life, indeed, everything came about.

Now, before anyone drops off into the deep end and misconstrues what I just said, I was not talking about the massive debate of Creationism vs. Darwinism just now. I will say that I gave my slant on that subject in the book. I see no reason to go into it further right here.

Perhaps I should say right up front that if you want to read my book to try to trip me up or find out if I believe the same way as you, stop right now. I will save you the trouble. I am confident my belief system is not the same as yours. I will go even further; my thoughts don’t mirror any others. Everyone believes uniquely. The trick is to realize the disparity, accept it, and move on. We are all one of a kind.

But again, my brain works differently than most. Throughout my life, I have become increasingly different. That doesn’t mean I can’t function. I can and do. What it means is, my brain sometimes works in another direction. It is a big reason I am a novelist. If I present something in a slightly odd or canted way, it can be remarkably engaging.

What I want you to come away from this blog is this. Please don’t pick up the book and think my thoughts will mirror yours. Chances are, not so much. I think you will read right along, and then it might go in a completely different angle than what you anticipated.

Yes, I know that it could be pleasant; it could also be a Greek Tragedy in the making. What it should be is an intriguing change. Now, let’s see where it leads.

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Ah, Life!

Things are still sliding into a normal behavior, but that doesn’t mean we are heading back to the way things were. I think we can wave goodbye to all of that. I’m glad some things and methods of behavior, have gone on to never, never land, but we need a sense of normalcy. Don’t you agree? There is always room for improvement. Always that. However, there are some things that I’m sorry to see fade away—like respect for fundamental law and order.

There have always been indiscriminate assholes, sure. Like Voltaire, we can all imagine a perfect utopia, but there can never be a foolproof anything. The culture we had wasn’t ideal, and I suppose there needed to be a cleaning of sorts, but not an annihilation of all the procedures we used. If those things continue as they have been, we will find many more problems popping up that were brought to life because of the house cleaning.

Enough of that.

I have been working hard these last few weeks. I am close to sending my Metaphysical book off. It’s a different flavor of writing for me, non-fiction. I am partial to fiction, but a change of pace is good. Right? I think so.

In this new work, I explain how I view everything. That sounds like a lot. Doesn’t it? I suppose it is if you look at every, single, minuscule thing. It’s not, however, if you look at how those tiny things work and are connected.

I think everyone can benefit from the book. It will broaden horizons. Who knows? You may find something interesting in it. I’ll bet you will.

The closer I get to being done with it, the more excited I become. Anxious too.
I am also typing like crazy on my next thriller. It, like the one before, continues the Factor series. I’m about halfway through the rough draft.

I don’t know if I ever mentioned it, but the first draft always holds an unusual excitement for me. That’s because when I work it through, that is when I find out what happens. It’s much like the first time you read a book, and you see how the plot folds, bends, and develops. My fingers seem to control themselves when it comes to that. My subconscious must drive it. Anyway, I always find surprises at this stage.

Another thing is the way my characters behave. They control the story much more than I. It sounds I know like the page is possessed, and the little beings that I create start dancing, squirming, plotting, murdering, and everything else that non-housebroken bastards do. Like I have no control over them. Of course, I do, but It is tough to make a character do something it would not do. Its limit could be like the supposed limit of hypnotizing, and you can’t make someone do something against their nature.

Anyway, these are some of the many things that make writing fun.
Of course, the most exciting thing is when someone says, “Hey, I read your book.” Okay, let me back up from that. That sentence is scary as shit. The fun comes after the next sentence, which sounds like, “Yeah, and I loved it!”

What makes the first sentence so scary is sometimes the next utterance sounds like, “Yeah, and it sucked more than the galactic black hole that doesn’t even let light escape!” Okay, I made have exagerated that last part, but that’s what many authors hear in their mind if there is even the slightest pause after, “I read your book.” Or, if there is no pause and they say, “Yeah, it was all right. It wasn’t what I expected.”

Don’t get me wrong. We need to know if it fell short of expectations so that we can fix the next one. It’s like getting a shot in the ass. If it must happen, okay, but you know damn well it’s going to hurt like a bitch. Know what I mean? You’re still getting the shot because you need it, but it doesn’t mean you will like it.

Man, I had a shot once while I was in the Army. It took place on an Air Force base, and the injection I received hurt so bad it locked my hip up for a day. No, this isn’t a metaphor. It happened. And I can’t blame the medical worker in the least, because, believe it or not, I was an asshole that day. The little darling smiled as she stuck it to me.

Now, let’s go back to the feedback.

I have had bad reviews before, and they are necessary to grow as a writer. But again, I didn’t like it.

Hey, you know if everyone out there read my books, there might be able to be lots of people who would have a good time. I include myself. But I’m also sure there would be several people who wouldn’t like what I wrote. What do you think? Perhaps?

Oh well, let’s get back too life. I know I said I’ve been typing like crazy on my next book, but I have to tell you my latest book is at a stalemate. There is no writer’s block involved. I know exactly how to proceed, even have the action in the next few chapters firmly in mind, enough to write and let the characters slug, stab, or shoot it out anyway. What stops me from writing is my progeny. You bet. The little fun-seekers try all of the silly things that we did and were lucky enough to live through. And why shouldn’t they? Four of them have my genes, enough said there, and the other six all belong to the human race too. Do you know anyone that wasn’t lucky to live through childhood?

Some of the things tried are minor irritations; when I’m concentrating and one or more of them tap dance their fingers on my shoulder with an insanely off the wall question. Something like Bugs Bunny asking, “What’s up, Doc?” If you take more than one kid (the ten I have span in age from four to sixteen) each asking an innocuous question on their own, it boils down to quite a sum of unique distractions in which I have to tear my thoughts away from what I want to do and perform a task or explain something.

One of them just ran up to me holding her finger with a river of blood running from it. Yep, they cut it really bad. They won’t loose the digit, but it’ll never look the same. Now, what was I saying? Yeah. We were all lucky to survive.

The ironic thing about being interupted by all of them is that to help them I end up doing something I love to do, at the expense of not doing what I love to do.

Crazy? Absolutely. I never said my life was sane. Now, did I?

I have read in several places that claim for a writer to be any good at what they do, they have to have a real problem to overcome, like alcohol, or severe depression, or perhaps anxiety. I don’t have those, well maybe one or two, but they don’t keep me from writing. What does stop me is my beautiful family, and that includes my older children that have my grandchildren as much as these!

I guess in the run of life it doesn’t matter. I will still put words to paper, and I will continue to send things off to editors, agents, and publishers, and I will always see something that we as humans overlook, either on purpose or by accident, which activates a compulsion to jot it down. I guess things work just right.

Ah! A kiss on the cheek from my littlest just now. Isn’t that fancy?

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How Will They Judge You?

I’m getting back into things again, at least as much as is possible. Yesterday I wrote twelve hundred words or thereabouts. I have done a lot of work on the house and grounds. Ha, ha. Grounds makes it sound like the homestead is palatial, which it is not. We have a home and a little over ten acres. Most of the land is pastureland. We have a large yard, front, and back, for use by the kids, pets, and us. That is assuming the pony is not a pet; she has most of the pasture.

We now have a spot almost ready to house the two kids, Nigerian dwarf goats. They will arrive soon after weaning. Our pet Vietnamese pot-belly pig now enjoys our side yard and a small barn for shelter. We have other pigs we raise for feeder hogs that took her old pen.

We have several dogs. The latest to join us was dumped off on the side of the road by some asshole to have a slow starve. Let me say this. If you don’t know what to do with your pets and don’t want more, neuter or spay them. Failing that, grow a pair and put them down. It is so much more humane than dumping a puppy or kitten to starve or be torn apart by a predator. Come on, folks.

I don’t know why I say that. If people haven’t matured past the point of having tantrums and burning their neighbor’s businesses, why would I expect them to grow up enough to take care of their pets?

But I digress. Like the sea, things find their natural level. That doesn’t mean a new normal has broken through the chaos. We are now in the process of learning how to survive with COVID 19 around. We will have to expect the unexpected for a long time.

An example of that is what happened just this morning. One of my children presented with a temperature and a sore throat. That scared the shit out of me. We can’t get her tested for COVID until Monday. I also realize that strep throat is moving through the area. A year ago, I would fear her getting strep because it would march through the house and make us all sick. Today, I am hoping for strep.

Oh yeah, things are still happening, both reputable and vile, just like always. And, just like always, we will keep marching along.

If there is anything exceptional about the year 2020, I will say it is the unexpected. Every time things start to settle down, something unanticipated happens. What is enthralling about that is the unforeseen! Inherent in it is a fact for which we wouldn’t expect to prepare. Now the government is supposed to have answers for each unheralded event that would influence its citizens, in practicality that doesn’t happen. They make a reasonable attempt, but they fall short because no one can be ready for all contingencies. I suppose it is very much like our own preparedness for different scenarios. If we prepared for everything, then we would not have a chance to grow.

What do you think? Don’t we need the unexpected? I think we do. Just like right now. We have a chance for staggering personal growth. It all depends on what we do with ourselves during all of the upheavals.

There are so many things popped up this year; I wouldn’t be shocked if we had the first contact with an alien species this year. Well, that’s not entirely true. Some octopuses and squids look very much like aliens to me, but they’ve been here so long everyone assumes that they are terrestrial. Although I have to say I think our search for extra-terrestrial beings is too closed-minded. How do we know they are alive as we know it? Perhaps we are the odd one out, and most life out there isn’t as we know it.

Wouldn’t it be embarrassing to find out that most life is not as we know it, but much like what we know of as rocks and pebbles? I mean, what if most life expectancy could be thousands of our years long. Indeed, so long that we could not understand a single thought of theirs because they take so long to think a viable idea.

Now wouldn’t that be special? All of us are running around to find another species but can’t find them because they move, talk, and think slowly. We could be ignorant of what they have to say because we move so fast. Now that’s a hell of a note.

Long ago, I concluded that the higher the stress resulted in greater maturity and development. Do you think it a coincidence that the Greatest Generation had to find a way to survive the most significant war in recent memory?

Right now, many people want to wipe out any memory of history that they don’t like. There have been so many people in the past, both recent and far-flung, that tried that. It didn’t work.

What they did back then might be reprehensible by today’s standards, but that means we have developed as a people. Do I need to say that again? Let me take a different spin. If our ancestors did not act the way they did, none of us would be alive today. They survived long enough for their line to continue.

However, if you insist on judging our ancestors by our standards and not theirs, have you thought about how your descendants will pass sentence on you? What will their standards be? The only thing we know for sure is — they won’t have your criteria. They will have their own. What if they use future standards.

Kind of gives you a chill, huh.

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What Is Going On?

I’ve talked enough bout the enormous reaction to COVID19, so I decided to get back to what I do and like best, and that is talking about writing and thrillers. I became sidetracked when the flavor of the country changed.


But, after looking at the news, I had to delete what I started to write. There isn’t anything ordinary about the happenings of today. Then, I began to write, and the further I did, I realized how much of a powder keg life is right now, so let me take a different tack.

When I did my time in the US Army, I worked as an Artilleryman. The way I phrased that makes it sound like I was in prison, inferring I hated the job. The Army confined me only with discipline, and I loved that job. It is one of the best professions around. To me, being a Combat Arms Officer was a total blessing. We had a clear-cut idea of what we were to do — kill the enemy and win any war that came along. We didn’t have to think about why, where, or even who we were to fight. The strategic thinkers always answered those questions.

We had to think about tactics and mold our soldiers into the fighting teams capable of completing whatever missions given to us. I like to think I was good at what I did. Common sense tells me that I probably wasn’t as good at it as I felt at the time, but I know I was excellent enough to win most of my battles.

Today I look around, and everything is jumbled. I rise early in the morning, and when I peruse the news, I find there are more cluster-fucks out there than there ever were in the service. We had more than our share of those too.

I have to admit that I see no earthly reason to defund the police. To me, that is insanity. I might understand police reform if a particular police force regularly overstepped their charter, such as the killing of George Floyd. But to defund and take police away? I hope they are using the wrong words.

The words they use sound like they want to kill all the cats to please the mice.
But, if a cat regularly lets mice raid the stores or eat the cheese. If the cat does not do the intended job, they should get a new cat, not kill them all. You need to know that I am not opposed to the death penalty. Civil servants should be subject to all of the rules by which everyone else has to live, plus some. There is no need to keep cats that don’t function as they are supposed to do.

As far as that is concerned, all public servants, regardless of the level they serve, should be subject to the written law, and the rules and regulations about them should be more stringent because they serve the people.

While I am talking about serving, I believe that only those that have served the people in some fashion or other should be citizens. They don’t have to serve as combat soldiers or even on a front line. They can be a clerk or supply person. They can be a mechanic or cook, medic, or doctor. There are so many non-combat jobs that serve the people; it should be easy to do. The point is, if someone can’t help the people, they don’t need to have citizenship rights. Honestly, I would make it, so everyone has to earn their citizenship. I would not count legislators, or any elected positions, as serving the people, either. Those offices should be held only by citizens and have term limits to boot.

If we did all that, I think things might be a hell-of-a-lot better.
We have been, and still are, watchdogs to ensure our armed services keep to the conventions of war. Why can’t we have watchdogs of the police, sheriff, legislators, judges? Right now, it looks as if the legislators are pissing away all the tax money while slinging mud at their rivals. It’s the biggest damn mud fight ever. And, everyone just shrugs and goes along without saying anything about them.

While I’m thinking about it, can someone explain the difference between accepting a bribe and accepting lobbyer’s money or gifts? For years we said Central America was so corrupt, but don’t our representatives collect money and gifts from lobbyists? Is the only difference that our people must tell the government they got it from a lobbyist? Does that make it alright?

If we are going to dismantle the system and let the mice play, why don’t we tell the legislators to take a hike? This November, we can do it. The only problem is what do we do if we make them go away. It’s the same problem we’ll have if we tell the police to go home.

Then what?

Then we’ll have the country descend into anarchy. It will be like the old west. We did it once. Only this time, it will be more inclusive. Who will be in charge? Who decides? If we react as France did in the French revolution, things will ultimately dissolve into a carbon copy reign of terror. Wouldn’t that be special? It was nasty enough when it happened over there. Don’t forget, Napoleon grew out of that.

I wrote when I first started my blog that I intended to steer away from politics, but now, it seems that everyone needs to be aware of what is happening and how dangerous life is during this turn of the Earth.

About all I know for sure is I don’t have enough information to make an intelligent decision. Personally, from what I’ve seen, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of smart choices made right now anyway. It looks like we are practicing rampant lunacy right now from the top to the bottom of society. Damn, I hope I am wrong. It’s possible. If I’m not, then the next most probable thing I see on the horizon is the buffoonery. Either way, someone needs to grow the hell up and quit being so damn self-centered. It has been decades since this much stupid shit has run so rampantly.

Basic history is full of times that the human-animal displays just how stupid and aggressive we can be, and that compounds when a person, or a group of people, think they will get ahead of everyone else. If someone sees a hope that they will have power over other people, their chances of making treacherous decisions multiply quantumly. If that happens, history is replete with the masses suffering at bad decisions.

Right now is the time for everyone to take a step backward and evaluate everything they control. We all need to pull our collective heads out, wipe them off, and take a good look around. If we don’t, we will run headlong over a cliff to our destruction.

I would like to get back to writing what I write best, fiction. Unfortunately, this is far scarier than anything I could dream up.