Saturday, April 19, 2008

Dangerous wake

While reading my bi-monthly Total Funds for Writers this morning I came across this quote: "Same goes for your writing, your writer's voice, your presence. Everyone has opinions. Some folks gun their motors anywhere, oblivious to the hurt and destruction they leave in their wake. Some flaunt that voice more loudly in chats and on blogs. Just because there's fewer people in the room, doesn't mean damage isn't done.

Whatever you write, wherever you speak, however you wish to say your piece, take heed of the setting, the attendees, the baby ducks, docks and turtles. Because after you move on, you leave an impression. You can leave the cove intact or you can leave wreckage. Better yet, you can leave it
a better place.

Because you have a point, doesn't necessarily mean you have to make it. You'd be amazed at who watches from the bushes when you rev your engine a little too much."

She was talking about a fisherman who revved his outboard motor and raced out of the little cove near her home, leaving a dangerous wake that left destruction in its path. Writers are prone to the same thing and I am not immune. I came face to face with a dangerous wake I had left without knowing. I didn't deliberately throttle the engine to high or pop the clutch and peel out across someone's prize azaleas, but what I wrote affected someone adversely. I didn't find out about what had happened for more than two weeks but when I noticed the person's absence I asked for answers. I'm still not sure what to do about the answer since I have no idea what upset the person so much, just that she was upset, and because of one of my posts. I don't expect people to always agree with me because not everyone experiences life in the same way. To me, that is a given. But I do hope that when something I write offends or upsets someone they bring the matter to my attention and tell me how they were affected. Unfortunately, that seldom happens.

The post in this instance is one I wrote about a toxic relationship between a friend and his fiancee. That particular post was helpful to someone close to me in illustrating what he couldn't see up close and moved him to make a change in his life, a big change. He ended a toxic and abusive relationship. He said I changed his perceptions of something he had taken for granted in a relationship where he had felt trapped for so long. The choice to end his relationship was not an easy one and it has caused some problems with his friends and family, and in his relationship with his church, but he says he does not regret it. And there have been responses from other people who thanked me for opening their eyes and getting them to take a good hard look at their own relationships. But to find out that same post had upset someone in any way makes me wonder if I hadn't revved the engine and left a dangerous wake.

It took me many years to be able to speak up and speak out when something was wrong and, as a journalist, I have often been faced with the decision of whether or not to write a story that would put someone's pain and despair on display. Sometimes I chose not to write the story in deference to the person's feelings, although other journalists chose differently.

After seeing what happens to authors who take on their critics and prove themselves to be spiteful, small and oblivious to anything but their own egos and needs, I think twice when I answer a critic who makes personal attacks. I have opted instead to share the facts and leave personal commentary out of the mix so people can make their own decisions. Not all writers feel or act the same way, but what kind of world would it be if everyone were the same? In essence, I endeavor to leave a small wake, always aware that even a small pebble dropped into a pond makes waves that affects everything and touches all shores eventually, as I obviously did last month. Now I wonder what I can do to make things right even as I realize that no matter what I do or say I cannot take away anyone's distress or pain so long after the fact -- if at all -- and certainly not knowing the exact nature of their distress.

I can only think before I write and accept whatever comes with grace, even if what comes is criticism. I learn something new every day and incorporate that knowledge into who I am. For better or worse, I am a work in progress and mistakes and shortfalls are inevitable. If you have come looking for an oracle or perfection, look elsewhere; you will not find it here. What you will find is an honest heart and an open mind searching for meaning and answers.

Friday, April 18, 2008

No dealing

LadyCelia asked this morning if no one deals for themselves any more. No, no one just deals any more. They expect someone else to deal.

Case in point: My mother has griped for the past two months that she didn't have a copy of either of my recent books. She can drive all over creation shopping, but she can't get in the car and drive to the north end, which is maybe ten miles away, to go the bookstore and get the book, even though there are bookstores in her area where she shops that she can get the books. After listening to all this griping I went ahead and bought the books and sent them to her. She'll have them on Tuesday.

I told her that if she didn't feel up to going out and getting the books, she could have asked my brother or one of my two sisters to pick up the book and get her to her, but, no, they are too busy because they work. I work, too, but I work at home so it doesn't count as working, despite putting in 14-hour days. When they get off work after driving in all that traffic they just want to go home. What about weekends? Well, they're tired and have other things to do, things that take them past bookstores.

"Well, I don't like to ask them to do things for me."

And they all have computers. "You just don't understand how busy they are." No, but I understand that if they wanted something bad enough they would have it already. Gah!!!

I guess I'm the only one who knows how many bookstores in and around Columbus there are (I checked) and there are five on the west side of town that sell the books and three on the way home for Beanie, but they won't stop for five minutes and pick it up. They don't know how to pick up a phone and call the bookstore to hold it for them so they don't have to go farther than the cashier at the front of the store, get it, pay for it and walk out the door. They don't know how to use a computer to buy it online and have it sent. They don't have the time.

Mom reminded me that they all have cars. Good, then they have the means to get what they want, despite the fact that they could carpool or run all their errands at the same time instead of everyone driving their own car and adding to the traffic and pollution problems. I live 2000 miles away and I end up doing more for my mother, other than taking her to the doctor and getting monthly transfusions, than the other three do because their lives are so busy and I work at home. Carol is retired and she chooses to work because she likes the money -- and getting out of the house so she doesn't have to listen to Mom all day. It amazes me that I can still be blamed for things not getting done when I no longer live in the state because none of my siblings will take the time out of their oh-so-busy schedules to go buy or order a couple of books since Mom doesn't want to bother them.

It's a good thing I don't live there any more or there would be a sudden rash of horrendous and bloody mutilations in a certain family and I would be an orphan.

That is all. Disperse and deal.

Unavailable space

It snowed Wednesday night and yesterday I woke to a work of falling clumps of snow as the sun rose and warmed the icy blue sky to something less anemic, blooding the horizon and warming the heavy clouds until they bushed with rising heat. It would have been my grandmother's 98th birthday and even though she is gone I still remember her as the calendar tells me the day gets closer. She was on my mind yesterday, as she has been all week, but for a very different reason. She reminded me, as I looked at houses and apartments, some less appalling than others, that she had her feet firmly on the ground and was not dazzled by wealth or possessions. It isn't that she didn't have nice things or live in a tastefully furnished home, but that she did everything with economy and a comfortable space.

I went to a small clutch of brick ground floor apartments, five to a row, to check out an inexpensive apartment. It was at the edge of Old Colorado City and near to a school. It sounded idyllic. The reality was less than ideal.

I didn't see a vacant apartment at the end of the first four rows, so I looked for an apartment where someone was home, found an open door and knocked. "Come in," a female voice called. I reached for the door handle and pushed the button. "Wait, don't let the cat out. Meathead, come here. You're not getting out." Veined and gnarled hands reached out of the shadowed dimness to pick up an orange tabby. "Okay, come in." I wrenched open the door when it stuck and walked into the only clear space in the cramped room. A huge couch was wedged against the wall to my left, flanked by a massive aquarium where huge fish lolled against the glass, hovering in watery space above a cluster of divers, coral and buildings among the floating green of plastic seaweed and sea trees, light bathing them in viscid gold and diffused blue. The door scraped a worn trough of denuded wood of the coffee table that took up a good third of the room. A big screen TV flickered with images to my left as I sidled into the room, introduced myself and asked if the woman knew which of the apartment was empty and for rent. She smiled, baring rotted and broken stumps of teeth between cracked, dried lips and tossed the cat to the frayed and dented cushions of the couch. "There's always some place open. They all look pretty much the same." She turned to me and waved me toward the rest of the apartment, crammed with knick knacks, makeshift cupboards, dishes, pots and pans. "Take a look." I thanked her and sidled towards what proved to be the bedroom.

Posters of nubile blondes covered the walls above the massively ornate waterbed wedged between dresser, a bookcase filled with bongs, knick knacks and magazines, mirrored dresser and armoir. A open door revealed a bathroom where tub and toilet looked like a single piece next to bland cupboard above craftsman drawers with little room left to open them against the ancient sink growing from the wall. The landlord told me the apartment was about 600 square feet but it felt more like 300 and nearly ever inch was packed with a wealth of new electronics and massive furniture that would have been less conspicuous in a 2000-square-foot home. The only new thing in the apartment, other than the occupants' possessions, was a Corian counter atop a worn wooden box shaped wall that cleaved the living room from the narrow galley kitchen, barely camouflaged beneath a coat of dingy thin white paint. I touched its smooth surface. "Bud made that. He's a carpenter." She pointed to the fussy Jacobean paper border that perched beneath the water-stained ceiling and framed every cupboard door. "He did that, too. Doesn't it look nice?" I nodded and smiled. "So, the landlord lets you do what you want?" She brayed suddenly, throwing her head back until I saw every blackened and broken tooth stub in her mouth. "We did it, didn't we?"

The door opened and she looked around for the cat. "Don't let the cat out." A broken shell of what was once a biker, lumbered into the room. He smiled at me with teeth as blackened and shattered as the woman's as he drifted toward the refrigerator, opened the door and took out a beer. The woman explained why I was there and he shrugged as he tilted the open bottle into his mouth and sucked down a cold stream of Budweiser. A gold skull dangled from a creased and flabby earlobe.

I thanked the woman for showing me around, offered my hand and asked her name. "Carrie." I shook her hand limp, dry hand. "Thank you, Carrie, for your hospitality." I walked toward the door, scooped up the feather-light cat in one hand and offered him to Carrie who rushed to take him and clasp him to her sunken chest. I shook hands with Bud and thanked him, complimenting his Corian counter. His thick-fingered hand was warm and rough but firm. I shut the door behind me and mounted the new wooden stairs that squatted above a pitted cement wall to the parking lot in back. I drove down the alley and back toward home. I wouldn't call the landlord back and fill out an application. The place was too small for my meager possessions and there'd be no room for my computer and desk.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


It's a strange sound, a pained groan, from deep inside the house, rasping and grating, such a strange sound against the first chirps and bird song trickling through the open window. There's a hint of flatulence on the end of the groan as if exhaling, or exuding, something more than pain, a buzzing groan that lingers in the pipes like a nearly spent metallic fly caught in a narrow stricture unable to get free.

It started an hour ago and comes without warning, held like a submerged breath between tightly clamped lips clawing for the surface until the lungs, burning with need, force the lips open and... There it is again. A dog barks. A door scrapes and slams. Feet clomp down the stairs. The front door opens and the feet thump across the porch. The sky pales to a washed out midnight blue while cars and trucks whoosh past on the dry pavement.

Here it comes again, that buzzing, groaning cry, almost human and yet deeper, darker, more nightmarish. It's incongruous among the waking sounds of the neighborhood and the house, ominous and strange, a sinister invitation. Should I wait for the sun to investigate or check it out now? Would the sun even protect me, banish the danger or reveal something more horrifying and strange, dangerous, ravenous, ancient?

I'll go check.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

There must be an alpha dog

When I first got online many years ago, back in the infancy of the Internet, I faithfully forwarded all emails that warned of viruses and offered free money for forwarding, etc. I was a newbie. I didn't know any better . . . that is until someone blasted me for forwarding a hoax and sent me a link to Snopes and pointed to other debunking sites. (I felt like Mulder being pushed into a cold shower by Scully.) Since that time I check up any stories I receive before forwarding them. Yesterday, a dear friend sent me an email about a "cogent and powerful essay on the threat of Islam". I read it last night. I checked it out this morning. It's not quite a hoax, but there is a history behind it. If you haven't read it yet, please take the time to do so because it does make valid points and it is on the whole right.

The essay is actually a letter written by a retired lawyer to his four sons on May 19, 2004, but when Dr. Vernon Chong, USAF retired, read it he forwarded it with his own notes, which I have appended to the bottom of the letter, along with some information about Dr. Chong. Dr. Chong then became associated with the letter and the first paragraph was lost, a paragraph in my estimation that makes a difference in how you view the information. It is written from the point of view of a man who has seen and been a part of history. Dr. Vernon Chong is very real and so is the letter and the arguments contained in its words.

Before I point you to the letter I want to add a little history of my own. Many years ago I dated a man who had the true gift of sight. Everything he told me upon first meeting me has come true and I worry that if what he saw does not change the rest of his visions will also come true. According to him, this is the century when everything changes and America as we know it will cease to exist. He saw the United States become the United States of Islam. After reading this letter, I wonder if he wasn't right and we are on the path to the fall of the American empire.

* * * *

Dear Tom, Kevin, Kirby and Ted,

As your father, I believe I owe it to you to share some thoughts on the present world situation. We have over the years discussed a lot of important things, like going to college, jobs and so forth. But this really takes precedence over any of those discussions. I hope this might give you a longer term perspective that fewer and fewer of my generation are left to speak to. To be sure you understand that this is not politically flavored, I will tell you that since Franklin D. Roosevelt, who led us through pre and WWII (1933 - 1945) up to and including our present President, I have without exception, supported our presidents on all matters of international conflict. This would include just naming a few in addition to President Roosevelt - WWII: President Truman - Korean War 1950; President Kennedy Bay of Pigs (1961); President Kennedy - Vietnam (1961); eight presidents (5 Republican & 4 Democrat) during the cold war (1945 - 1991); President Clinton's strikes on Bosnia (1995) and on Iraq (1998). So be sure you read this as completely non-political or otherwise you will miss the point.

To get out of a difficulty, one usually must go through it. Our country is now facing the most serious threat to its existence, as we know it, that we have faced in your lifetime and mine (which includes WWII). The deadly seriousness is greatly compounded by the fact that there are very few of us who think we can possibly lose this war and even fewer who realize what losing really means. First, let's examine a few basics:

1. When did the threat to us start?

Many will say September 11, 2001. The answer, as far as the United States is concerned, is 1979, 22 years prior to September 2001, with the following attacks on us:

* Iran Embassy Hostages, 1979;
* Beirut , Lebanon Embassy 1983;
* Beirut, Lebanon Marine Barracks 1983;
* Lockerbie , Scotland Pan-Am flight to New York 1988;
* First New York World Trade Center attack 1993;
* Dhahran , Saudi Arabia Khobar Towers Military complex 1996;
* Nairobi , Kenya US Embassy 1998;
* Dares Salaam , Tanzania US Embassy 1998;
* Aden , Yemen USS Cole 2000;
* New York World Trade Center 2001;
* Pentagon 2001.

Note: during the period from 1981 to 2001 there were 7,581 terrorist attacks worldwide.)

2. Why were we attacked?

Envy, of our position, our success, and our freedoms. The attacks happened during the administrations of Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton and Bush 2. We cannot fault either the Republicans or Democrats, as there were no provocations by any of the presidents or their immediate predecessor, President Ford.

3. Who were the attackers? In each case, the attacks on the US were carried out by Muslims.

4. What is the Muslim population of the World? 25%.

5. Isn't the Muslim Religion peacefully? Hopefully, but that is
really not material. There is no doubt that the predominately Christian population of Germany was peaceful, but under the dictatorial
leadership of Hitler (who was also Christian), that made no difference. You either went along with the administration or you were eliminated. There were 5 to 6 million Christians killed by the Nazis for political reasons (including 7,000 Polish priests).

Thus, almost the same number of Christians was killed by the Nazis as the six million holocaust Jews who were killed by them, and we seldom hear of anything other than the Jewish atrocities. Although Hitler kept the world focused on the Jews, he had no hesitancy in killing anyone who got in the way of his extermination of the Jews or of taking over, the world - German, Christian, or any others.

Same with the Muslim terrorists. They focus the world on the US, but kill all in the way -- their own people or the Spanish, British, French or anyone else. The point here is that, just like the peaceful Germans were of no protection to anyone from the Nazis, no matter how many peaceful Muslims there may be, they are no protection for us from the terrorist Muslim leaders and what they are fanatically bent on doing-- by their own pronouncements killing all of us "infidels." I don’t blame the peaceful Muslims. What would you do if the choice was to remain silent or be killed?

6. So who are we at war with?

There is no way we can honestly respond that it is anyone other than the Muslim terrorists. Trying to be politically correct and avoid verbalizing this conclusion can well be fatal. There is no way to win if you don't clearly recognize and articulate who you are fighting.

So with that background, now to the two major questions:

1. Can we lose this war?

2. What does losing really mean?

If we are to win, we must clearly answer these two pivotal questions:

We can definitely lose this war and, as anomalous as it may sound, the major reason we can lose is that so many of us simply do not fathom the answer to the second question - What does walking away from Iraq and losing mean?

It would appear that a great many of us think that losing the war means hanging our heads, bringing the troops home, and going on about our business, like post-Vietnam. This is as far from the truth as one can get.

What losing really means is:

We would no longer be the premier country in the world. The attacks will not subside, but, rather, will steadily increase. Remember, they want us dead, not just quiet. If they had just wanted us quiet, they would not have produced an increasing series of attacks against us over the past 18 years. The plan was, clearly, for terrorists to attack us until we were neutered and submissive to them.

We would, of course, have no future support from other nations, for
fear of reprisals and for the reason that they would see; we are impotent and cannot help them...

They will pick off the other non-Muslim nations, one at a time. It will be increasingly easier for them. They already hold Spain hostage. It doesn't matter whether it was right or wrong for Spain to withdraw its troops from Iraq. Spain did it because the Muslim terrorists bombed their train and told them to withdraw the troops. Anything else they want Spain to do will be done. Spain is finished.

The next will probably be France . Our one hope with France is that they might see the light and realize that if we don't win, they are finished, too, in that they can't resist the Muslim terrorists without us. However, it may already be too late for France. France is already20%Muslim and fading fast.
Without t our support, Great Britain will go, also. Recently, I read that there are more mosques in England than churches.

If we lose the war, our production, income, exports, and way of life will all vanish as we know it. After losing, who would trade or deal with us if they were threatened by the Muslims? If we can't stop the Muslim terrorists, how could anyone else?

The radical Muslims fully know what is riding on this war, and therefore are completely committed to winning, at any cost. We'd better know it, too, and be likewise committed to winning at any cost.

Why do I go on at such lengths about the results of losing? Simple. Until we recognize the costs of losing, we cannot unite and really put100% of our thoughts and efforts into winning. And it is going to take that 100% effort to win.

So, how can we lose the war?

Again, the answer is simple. We can lose the war by "imploding.” That is, defeating ourselves by refusing to recognize the enemy and their purpose and failing to dig in and lend full support to the war effort. If we are united, there is no way that we can lose. If we continue to be divided, there is no way that we can win.

Let me give you a few examples of how we simply don't comprehend the life and death seriousness of this situation:

President Bush selects Norman Mineta as Secretary of Transportation.
Although all of the terrorist attacks were committed by Muslim men between 17 and 40 years of age, Secretary Mineta refuses to allow profiling. Does that sound like we are taking this thing seriously? This is war! For the duration, we are going to have to give up some of the civil rights to which we have become accustomed. We had better be prepared to lose some of our civil rights temporarily or we will most certainly lose all of them permanently.

And don't worry that it is a slippery slope. We gave up plenty of civil rights during WWII, and immediately restored them after the victory... and, in fact, added many more since that time.

Do I blame President Bush or President Clinton before him?

No, I blame us for blithely assuming we can maintain all of our Political Correctness and all of our civil rights during this conflict and have a clean, lawful, honorable war. None of those words apply to war. Get them out of your head.

Some have gone so far in their criticism of the war and/or the Administration that it almost seems they would literally like to see us lose.

I think some actually do. I hasten to add that this isn't because they are disloyal. It is because they just don't recognize what losing means. Nevertheless, that conduct gives the impression to the enemy that we are divided and weakening. It concerns our friends and it does great damage to our cause.

Of more recent vintage, the uproar fueled by the politicians and media regarding the treatment of some prisoners of war perhaps exemplifies best what I am saying. We have recently had an issue involving the treatment of a few Muslim prisoners of war, by a small group of our military police... These are the type prisoners who just a few months ago were throwing their own people off buildings, cutting off their hands, cutting out their tongues, and otherwise murdering their own just for disagreeing with Saddam Hussein.

And, just a few years ago, these same type prisoners chemically killed 400,000 of their own people for the same reason. They are also the same type of enemy fighters who recently were burning Americans and dragging their charred corpses through the streets of Iraq. And, still more recently, the same type of enemy that was and is providing videos to all news sources internationally of the beheading of American prisoners they held.

Compare this with some of our press and politicians, who for several days have thought and talked about nothing else but the "humiliating" of some Muslim prisoners -- not burning them, not dragging their charred corpses through the streets, not beheading them, but "humiliating" them.

Can they be for real?

The politicians and pundits have even talked of impeachment of the Secretary of Defense. If this doesn't show the complete lack of comprehension and understanding of the seriousness of the enemy we are fighting, the life and death struggle we are in, and the disastrous results of losing this war, nothing can.

To bring our country to a virtual political standstill over this prisoner issue makes us look like Nero playing his fiddle as Rome burned -- totally oblivious to what is going on in the real world. Neither we, nor any other country, can survive this internal strife. Again, I say, this does not mean that some of our politicians or media people are disloyal. It simply means that they are absolutely oblivious to the magnitude of the situation we are in and into which the Muslim terrorists have been pushing us for many years.

These people are a serious and dangerous liability to the war effort. We must take note of who they are and get them out of office. Remember, the Muslim terrorists stated goal is to kill all infidels. That translates into ALL non-Muslims -- not just in the United States, but throughout the world. We are the last bastion of defense.

We have been criticized for many years as being 'arrogant.' That charge is valid. We are arrogant in that we believe that we are so good, powerful, and smart that we can win the hearts and minds of all those who attack us, and that, with both hands tied behind our back, we can defeat anything bad in the world. We can't!

If we don't recognize this, our nation, as we know it, will not survive, and no other free country in the world will survive if we are defeated.

And, finally, name any Muslim countries throughout the world that allow freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, equal rights for anyone -- let alone everyone, equal status or any status for women, or that have been productive lately in one single way that contributes to the good of the world.

This has been a long way of saying that we must be united on this war or we will be equated in the history books to the self- inflicted fall of the Roman Empire. If, that is, the Muslim leaders will allow history books to be written or read.

If we don't win this war right now, keep a close eye on how the
Muslims take over France in the next 5 years or less. They will continue to increase the Muslim population of France and continue to encroach, little by little, on the established French traditions.

The French will be fighting among themselves over what should or should not be done, which will continue to weaken them and keep them from any united resolve. Doesn't that sound eerily familiar?

Democracies don't have their freedoms taken away from them by some external military force. Instead, they give their freedoms away, politically correct piece by politically correct piece.

And they are giving those freedoms away to those who have shown, worldwide, that they abhor freedom and will not apply it to you or even to themselves, once they are in power.

Muslims have universally shown that when they have taken over, they then start brutally killing each other over who the few will be controlling the masses.

What is happening in Iraq is a good example. Will we ever stop hearing from the politically correct about the "peaceful Muslims?"

I close on a hopeful note by repeating what I said before: If we are united, there is no way that we can lose. I hope now, that after the election, the factions in our country will begin to focus on the critical situation we are in, and will unite to save our country. It is your future we are talking about. Do whatever you can to preserve it. I reiterate: our national election is under way.

*** After reading the above, we all must do this, not only for ourselves, but for our children, our grandchildren, our country, and our world. Whether Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal ... and that includes the Politicians and media of our country and the free world.

Please forward this to any you feels may want, or NEED to read it. Our "leaders" in Congress ought to read it, too. There are those who find fault with our country, but it is obvious to anyone who truly thinks through this, that we must UNITED

Lastly, I wish to add: at the risk of offending, I sincerely think that anyone who rejects this as just another political rant, or doubts the seriousness of this issue, or just deletes it without sending it on, is part of the problem. Let's quit laughing at and forwarding the jokes and cartoons [that] denigrate and ridicule our leaders in this war against terror. They are trying to protect the interests and well being of the US and its citizens. Best we support them.

Dr. Vernon Chong is, without a doubt, the most articulate and convincing writer I have read regarding the War in Iraq If you have any doubts, please open your mind to his essay and give it a fair evaluation. It’s also eerily applicable to other current issues, such as Iran 'nuclear program, immigration, NAFTA's impact on American jobs, trade deficits, etc. I had no idea who Dr. Chong is, or the source of these thoughts, so when I received them, I almost deleted them, as well written as they are. But then I did a Google search on the Doctor and found him to be a retired Air Force surgeon and past commander of Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio." Dr. Vernon Chong, Major General, USAF, Retired

* * * *

While I am not an alarmist, there are several good points made in the letter, points that we should not fail to carefully examine. Someone has to be the alpha dog. In my opinion, it is better if the alpha dog cares for the rights of others and for the preservation of their lives. Right now that is the U.S. If we fail to protect ourselves and the world, we may end up living right where my friend saw us . . . in the United States of Islam.

That is all. Disperse.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Before the cock crows

There's something wonderfully peaceful about 4 a.m. when it's dark and the house is silent. I'm the only one awake -- or at least the only one I can hear for a change. There are no televisions blaring or loud voices just outside the windows or coming through the walls and floors. It's still and silent. It's a magical time when I'm just waking up and the thoughts are quietly creeping out of their dream state. It's a creative time for me and when I do some of my best work. It wasn't always this way. I believed mornings were best seen from a distance, preferably after 10 a.m. I still see mornings from a distance, but it's before and not behind the sun.

Beanie just asked me why I was up so early. She's at work, but she's also two hours ahead of me. I told her it was because I woke up.

It's cold right now, as it usually is in the mornings during winter, fall and early spring. The heat is off again after being on all day yesterday and the early part of the night while I sweated and felt uncomfortable. There is no happy medium when someone else is in charge of the heat. It's one thing I won't miss. I feel like diving back under the covers where it's still warm and cozy but not to sleep, rather to lie in the dark and listen for the first notes of bird song that herald the paling horizon and the sun rising from it's molten copper bed.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Free Money

I know. It sounds like a scam, but it's about time PayPal had some competition without all the fees. So, in the spirit of spreading knowledge and sharing the wealth (I already got my $25), if you use PayPal to receive payments/fees for writing or whatever or you use it to send money, why not diversify a bit, get a little extra money and spread the word by signing up with Revolution Money Exchange. It is not a scam. It is backed by a national FDIC insured bank, and you get $25 immediately deposited in your new account that is accessible from your checking or savings account. Why not give it a try? Refer your friends and make $10 for each of them, too.

Refer A Friend using Revolution Money Exchange

That is all. Disperse.

Cold and altered states

It's another frigid morning and outside it looks like there is a rime of frost and ice on everything, but the sun is just coming up and the sky is cold steel that will take a while to warm. I'm cold, but it's warm here in bed. Too bad I can't type with my hands underneath the covers where my body heat can keep my fingernails pink instead of the bluish-purple they are now.

For the first time on Facebook I had a decent opponent in Scrabble. We played three games in a little over 90 minutes, which is a new first. Most of the people say they want a fast game and then come online long enough to make one play on each of the 253 games they're currently playing. Yeah, that's my idea of fast. I won two of the games this morning, but I couldn't get decent tiles. I either got all consonants or all vowels and neither are conducive to winning when your opponent gets three bingos. I lost by 20 points, which is pretty good considering the crap I had to work with and his good luck. Scrabble is as much about luck as it is about skill and strategy, but then aren't most things?

I'm nearly finished with one of the books Authorlink sent me to review and it is surprisingly good, despite a very slow and ponderous start, and I learned something. I have heard of salvia divinorum (Diviner's Sage) and its psychoactive component, salvinorin, the only naturally occurring substance that creates a visionary state. I've not been one for drugs: tried cocaine once and indulged in a little herbal high a few times over the years. Cocaine made my nose run and I decided it was cheaper to move back to Ohio, and I did. I was late getting into the whole herbal smoking thing because I don't smoke (never did) and not a fan of being high. I prefer to be able to control my mental and physical functions and not be disconnected, which is why when I have had surgery I eschewed Percocet, Percodan and other opiates for Tylenol #3. It's also why I won't drink until I'm drunk, but rather start drinking water when my ears feel warm; I don't like that disconnected, head floating off my shoulders and having to walk like I'm made of fragile porcelain and might shatter into a million pieces if I walk too briskly -- or at all. Still, the salvia could be interesting, especially with regard to its effects on creativity and being able to tune out the white noise that short circuits, or at least diminishes, creative brain functions, like leaching off most of the energy with minutiae. Who knows? I might even visit a past life or two if the fiction isn't merely fiction, as my recent research verifies. Then again . . . maybe not. I don't want to end up in Altered States.

That is all. Disperse.