ROM

A blog-friend has asked me to read a book.
Okay.  I’ve got lots of experience; in fact, I’m reading three of them, right now.

Read Our Manuscript

She wants me to read Her book, Kevin: Murder Beneath The Pines.  Our fellow-blogger, the lovely KayJai, has published her third book, and wants me to read and review it.  I am honored and willing, if somewhat under-qualified.

This will be the sixth such book that I have read.  The first was for an author in Washington.  I did a terrible job, because I thought I knew what I was doing – but didn’t.  I have read four for BrainRants, who made it a lot easier, and more logical.  You can’t put colored pencil marks on a digital copy, so he sent all of his in a Word file with numbered lines.

Don’t ever attempt to do your own proof-reading.  Get someone else – preferably three other people.  When you read your own work, you will see what your mind expects to see, and errors that might irk readers can sneak through.

This book is not yet Great Literature.  She is still on a learning curve.  For what it is, the third attempt by a busy lady, it is a delightful little murder mystery, suitable to be discussed at a book club meeting, or a knitting circle.  It begins with a Dilbert-like glimpse at office politics, but soon devolves into a look at darkness, not only in the deep, piney woods, but in the hearts and souls of men.  Small-town characters have to learn to deal with big-city-type crime, and its after-effects on the survivors.

If you are writing, or thinking of writing a book, and need/want a Beta-reader, I am usually available.  My forte is the words, and usage, and construction, and punctuation.  I am not so insightful or helpful with plot, story arc or character development, although I often have some opinions.

Well, enough about me.  Now it’s your turn – to provide emotional support by returning soon to read my next post.

Flash Fiction #253

PHOTO PROMPT © Jennifer Pendergast  

FREE BIRD

It is so comforting to Know – to know no doubts – to have all the answers, even when they are not the right ones.

People feel safe when they can identify – apply labels to others – politics, religion, gender, language, nationality.  It gives the illusion of control of their lives.

Other folks, and their related social problems, are complex, and fully-formed.  They are not easy, one-dimensional, cookie-cutter simple.

It is usually better to make decisions and form opinions based on reality, rather than preconceived notions.  More people should try it.  They might find those feared – and hated – Others…. are quite sweet.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

’20 A To Z Challenge – V

How can we miss you, if you won’t go away?

I hope, by the time I publish this, that the gunfire has died down, the fires are out, the smoke has cleared, all the Biden inauguration rioters protesters have been arrested, and Nancy Pelosi’s lectern has been returned – again.

This polar expedition into American politics is brought to you by the words

VAPID

Flavorless, tiresome, prosaic

VACUOUS

Lacking ideas or intelligence, empty, stupid, inane
– and

VAINGLORIOUS

Boastful or vain, ostentatious

I borrowed them from the Kardshians, to give to Donald (Here’s your hat – What’s your hurry) Trump, as a going away present.  Twenty years of Keeping Up With them produced less damage to the American culture than four years with him.  He didn’t even have enough class to attend his own going-away party, but snuck away to Mar-a-Lago, like the phoney Wizard of Oz behind the curtain.  He would not accept the inevitable, and step aside with grace and dignity.  How a man plays the game says a lot about his character, but how he loses says it all.

I wonder who wound him up and set him loose on the unsuspecting public.  Perhaps he is a self-made megalomaniac.  At least when George W. Bush’s lips moved, you could see Dick Cheney’s hand stuck up his ass.

Speaking of an ass…. There’s another word I’d like to pin on this donkey as hee-haw sulks off into the sunset.

VINDICTIVE

He is so full of ego – and other substances – that he really thinks that the entire American population idolizes him.  He truly believes that someone – somehow – stole the election, and the second term, from him.  He has loyalty only to himself.  Anyone of his political confederates who fails to completely and immediately agree with him, gets tossed under the bus.  In fact, he’ll drive the bus.  We couldn’t hear it, inside the White House, but he brought his trademarked phrase – You’re Fired – with him.  He ruined more political careers than compulsory lie-detector tests.

Words beginning with the letter V are not much more common than X, Y, or Z.  I’ve used so many to roast Trump with, that next year, we may have to drop in at The Stag Shop, and purchase a Vibrator.   😉

Flash Fiction #243

PHOTO PROMPT © Trish Nankivell

IT’S OVER!!

You probably wouldn’t remember
I probably couldn’t forget

The year that shouldn’t have been – but was!

Good-Goodbye 2020!  Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on your way out.  We are looking forward to the arrival of your rich, handsome replacement – 2021.

You’ve had many of us looking for brain-bleach, to erase an annum which took Mister Jeopardy! – Alex Trebek from us, but gave us COVID19, and a petulant ex-president who won’t admit defeat.  We’ll see who Secret Service believes is the real President.  tRump may get some 9MM help moving out.

I forecast a warm, rosy future.

***

Click above to hear The Steve Miller Band sing about Jungle Love.
Steve wrote the song about a girl, but the sentiments could easily apply to the present social and political situation.

But lately you live in the jungle
I never see you alone
But we need some definite answers
So I thought I would write you a poem
The question to everyone’s answer
Is usually asked from within
But the patterns of the rain and the truth they contain
Have written my life on your skin
You treat me like I was your ocean
You swim in my blood when it’s warm
My cycles of circular motion
Protect you and keep you from harm
You live in a world of illusion
Where everything’s peaches and cream
We all face a scarlet conclusion
But we spend our time in a dream

***

BTW:  The whistles that you hear, like the ones in Jackson Brown’s Loadout/Stay are a language all their own, based on whistles used by shepherds to control their herd-dogs at long distances.  The roadies (and their boss) need to communicate across large arenas and amphitheaters, where voices will not carry.  One short – one long – two short, one long – one long, shrill, sustained screech – these, and a little pointing,  all convey information.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Jesus!  More One-Liners??!

I found $20 in a parking lot today, and I thought, What Would Jesus Do?….
….so I turned it into wine.

You know what borders on stupidity?….
….Canada and Mexico

My wife bought me a 2021 calendar….
….My days are numbered now.

Neutering your pets….
….makes them less nuts

Helvetica and Times New Roman walk into a bar….
….”Get Out Of Here!” shouts the bartender, “We don’t serve your type.”

Hear about the new restaurant, named Karma?….
….There’s no menu.  You get what you deserve.

How do you drown a hipster?….
….Throw him in the mainstream.

Why did the hipster burn his mouth?….
….He drank coffee before it was cool.

What kind of exercise do lazy people do?….
….Diddly-squats.

I got my wife a fridge for her birthday….
….I can’t wait to see her face light up when she opens it.

Don’t try to write with a broken pencil….
….It’s pointless.

I was gonna tell a pizza joke….
….but it’s too cheesy.

My wife complained that I didn’t buy her flowers….
….To be honest, I didn’t know she sold flowers.

I’m a social vegan….
….I avoid meet

My math teacher called me average….
….How mean!

Pilates??!….
….I thought you said pie and lattes.

I told my wife that a husband ages like wine.  We get better with age….
….Then she locked me in the cellar.

I’ll tell you what often gets overlooked….
….Garden fences

Don’t start any vast projects….
….with half-vast ideas

Ever wonder if illiterate people….
….get the full effect of alphabet soup?

How was Rome split in two?….
….With a pair of Caesars….
….Nope!  Unintended.

What happens when you play a country song backwards?….
….It gets even more annoying

Be strong….
….I whispered to my Wi-Fi signal

I ran out of toilet paper and had to use newspaper….
….Times are rough

I have a split personality….
….Said Tom, being frank

I failed Math in high school so many times….
….I can’t even count

I used to have a handle on life….
….But then it broke

Don’t you hate it when someone answers their own questions?….
….I do.

It takes a lot of balls….
….To golf the way I do

People who use selfie-sticks….
….Need to take a good, long look at themselves.

 

WOW #66

The elections are coming!  The elections are coming!  Actually, they’ve been had – and so has the electorate.  It was Donald tRump against Whatzizname.  Let’s skip past Pathology and Psychology, and go directly to

PSEPHOLOGY

ORIGIN

Psephology, “the study of elections,” comes from Greek psêphos “small stone, pebble.” (The Greeks used pebbles in counting and arithmetic functions; the ancient Athenians also used pebbles to cast votes in elections and trials.) The element –logy is the completely naturalized combining form used in the names of sciences (geology, biology) and bodies of knowledge (theologyastrology).

The 20th-century British historian R.B. McCallum wrote in a personal letter that while with C.S. Lewis and other heavy-hitting philologists, he proposed the term electionology, which so offended the sensibilities of Lewis and the others that they proposed the etymologically correct psephology, avoiding the dreadful Latin-Greek hybrid. Psephology entered English in the mid-20th century.

At first I thought that I would need to be paid – handsomely – to study elections.  Elections themselves seem to be interesting only to CPAs and statisticians.  However, the dramatis personae, the cast of characters, has evolved to make them high drama, and low comedy.  After that first Punch and Biden debate, I thought that they would have to provide the moderator for the second with a cattle prod.  It seems that a simple mute switch was sufficient, although sparks still flew.

I composed this post before the Great American Election of 2020, so, no spoilers.  Don’t tell me how it turned out.  No matter who won, the American public lost.  Now we Canadians face the inevitable march to the polls, to choose between Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dumber.  I’m gonna study my crosswords till they spend my pension on Green Energy.   😯

WOW #64

I recently ran into a neologism.  😯  A little Bondo http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bondo_(putty) and some spray paint, and all was well.

I’m talking about

MALAPHOR

malaphor – Is also called an idiom blend.  Most of us have heard one or two.  Many of us have created one.  It happens when the mind is so busy putting together a sentence that we mash together two idioms, to produce an amusing-sounding result.

Recently, a lady blogger said, “I’m slipping on my words.”  This is a mixture of, slip of the tongue and tripping over one’s words.  The cube-drone who invented, “trial by error,” was having trouble justifying his project’s expenses, and combined his two trials, trial and error, and trial by fire

The guy who was angry at a tRump apologist showed restraint, but invented, “biting my teeth” by melding biting my tongue, and baring my teeth (in anger).  Biting your teeth is as hard as biting the back of your neck, or biting your elbow – although, a recent online poll asked if I could lick my elbow – which makes me suspect that some Ubangis can do it.

An advertising executive said that he had to “pull the bullet”, because he was forced to bite the bullet and pull some strings, to get assistance from senior management.  ….Speaking of pulling some strings – a television comedian told an interviewer that he had “pulled out all the strings” on his recent special, mixing the pulling strings (to get the best production,) and pulling out all the stops on an old organ, to get the grandest performance from it.

I’m usually only confused with one thing at a time.  Have you created or heard some other malaphors??  😕

Flash Fiction #217

Identity

PHOTO PROMPT © Ulrika Undén

IDENTITY THEFT

Where are we going??

It is not wise to ask. We are going to have our identities removed.

What? Why??!

After the Holy Trump – Blessed be His Name – escaped the seditious impeachment trap set by his enemies, He appointed himself Emperor for Life and decreed that there would be no more division and dissent among his People.

His thoughts would be our thoughts. There would be no more Red States or Blues States, only Orange States, to worship his Divine Hair. Fake news was outlawed, climate change conspiracy was crushed, and He holds our Peace in His tiny manly hands.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

friday-fictioneers-badge-web

Typical Politician

Bardish

I recently met an atypical politician, or at least that’s what she claimed. She was pleased that she was introduced, not as a local politician, but rather as ‘our elected representative.’ She claims that she and her government want to do things a little differently.

Bardish Chagger PC MP is a Canadian politician who is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Waterloo. She is the current Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and the former Minister of Small Business and Tourism.

While she may want to change things, it was evident early that she has many of the earmarks of the ‘Typical Politician.’ She attended a recent brunch meeting of the local Free Thinkers group. She was to talk to them about the separation of Church and State.

She was born here in Ontario. I have heard her disparaged as a (Muslim) Paki. I thought that she was a (Hindu) Indian, until she showed up with a male Sikh aide. A member videotaped the meeting for posterity. Used to many media scrums, she quickly clipped on the mic-pack herself.

When she arrived, she went around two large tables, shaking hands and speaking to about 25 members individually. Before beginning her talk, she slyly mentioned that she would take any questions and answer any concerns that anyone had. An hour and a half later, we’d talked about everything except Church and State. The moderator had to butt in, and present her with two specific concerns, and let her get back to him about them later.

While not a ‘prepared speech,’ she probably had a good mental picture of what she wished to present. She’s quite intelligent, and well-spoken, with no hesitations in speech, or ‘ums’ or ‘ahs’. She and her aide made a good team. She stood up front, and dealt with the crowd, and their concerns. He hovered, almost unnoticed in the background with his Smart phone, making sure he noted each question, and getting people’s names, and contact information, and assuring that they had hers.

She told us that young Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau was trying to decentralize the office. She said that no-one entered his chamber, only to be told, “This is the way we’re going to do it.” Rather, she said, he was grooming people like her to be assistant PMs or perhaps the next Prime Minister. She was encouraged to approach him with a proposed plan of action. I gave her a line that a company President once gave me, “Don’t come to me with a problem. Come to me with a solution.” She said that she liked the sentiment, would use it herself, and probably pass it on the Prime Minister.

Before she began her little speech at 10:30 AM, she told us that an aunt had died, and she would have to leave by 11:30 – 11:40 at the latest – to pay her respects. At 12:10, she was still going back around the tables, shaking hands and currying favor like a typical politician. She had a dead body to deal with, but she was still glad-handing her way out of this room full of intelligent, knowledgeable, influential voters.

Niagara bridge

The problem with wanting to do things differently, is that there are some jobs that just have to be done ‘that way’. If you promise people that you will walk a tightrope over Niagara Falls, it is quicker, easier and safer to get in a car, and drive across the bridge. You have to change people’s expectations.

The makeup of Trudeau’s cabinet is 50% female, a figure which he is proud of. I was amazed that so many women would be fool enough to want to play, what is still, essentially, an Old (White) Boys game. I can only hope that the inclusion of women and minorities in Government can make Canada a kinder, gentler, fairer place to live, and we can send all our fence-builders down to the States, to work for Trump, but I cynically wait for proof. 😳

***

Shortly after I composed this, she put her shapely foot in her mouth. A member of the Opposition ambushed her as she left the Chamber, and demanded to know what she and her Government were doing about the spate of opioid deaths. His riding had had 38 such fatalities in the last year.

Apparently without thinking, she said, “Oh, that’s not bad.” Now, any deaths are to be mourned or prevented. What she meant was that, the average per riding is between 60 and 70. The Waterloo Region riding had 73 in that same period, but she had to backpedal quickly, as the political-points game was played.

***

Canada also has a too big to fail transportation company which does considerable sales overseas. Canada has laws against bribes and kickbacks, but this company operates in places where that’s the expected way to do business.

Our handsome young, trust-fund Prime Minister’s female Attorney General caught wind of these nefarious dealings, and started an investigation. He, and several of his senior staff, urged her to quietly sweep it under the rug, but she persisted. The PM had her removed from her post, and slapped with a non-disclosure writ, but it reached the media,

Rats immediately began deserting the sinking ship. Another woman resigned her post as Finance Minister in a fit of ethics, further damaging the PM’s vaunted 50% female Cabinet makeup. The PM’s senior secretary, supposedly the brains behind the throne, has also resigned. It appears that he, like the women, wants to be out of the range of shrapnel, when this thing explodes.

It seems that, the more they promise to do new things, in new ways, the more we get stuck with the same old post turtles. Typical!   😯

Smitty’s Loose Change #9

Chalice

Morality is doing what is right, regardless of what you are told.

Religion is doing what you are told, regardless of what is right.

In the past we had chalices of wood and priests of gold.

Now we have chalices of gold, and priests of wood.

It is far better to have a religion without a church, than a church without a religion.

When religion is used to pander to political whims, it must forego the high moral ground, and become debased by worldly political demands.  The thrust should not be, but often is, directed at the creation of new political institutions and establishing political arrangements.

***

I decided to reward myself with a cup of coffee after a long, hard week.
Then I realized that it’s Tuesday.  Morning!

***

I’ve found a couple of inventive ways to irritate telemarketers, who call at inopportune times (are there ever any opportune times?)  I’ve placed the phone on my stomach, while reclining in my easy chair, after a platter of nachos.  I’ve laid it, face-up, beside a cat who was loudly demanding to be fed.

The son and grandson, third and fourth generations of this weirdly delightful (and delightfully weird) family, have outpaced even me.  One day, the son was in the computer room after coming home from work.  He was standing beside the scanner/printer/fax machine, when the phone rang.  When it rings, the fax machine wakes up. Is it for me?

He said ‘Hello’ into the phone, and got that second of dead air, then it opened to a boiler-room of 50 Pakis babbling in the background.  He immediately jabbed the ‘Send Fax’ button.  SCREEEE-AWWW, SCREECH-SCREECH.  If the fax noise hadn’t drowned it out, he might have learned what the Urdu word for ‘Fuck’ was.

Even more technological, the grandson’s smart-phone shows who’s calling.  When he pulls it from his pocket and looks at the screen, it shows ‘Duct-Cleaner,’ so he answers, “Rogers’ Duct-Cleaning Services, how may we help you?”  “Uhhh….never mind.”

***

I recently found a small advertising flyer, hand-delivered to my mailbox.  It was from a new real-estate company, offering 1% commission sales.  “And you don’t pay until you sell.”  All I could think was, “Margaret, I’ve got a great idea.  Let’s not sell the house….but we’ll give these nice people several thousand dollars, just because they put a postcard in our mailbox.”

***

Clarity

Forest fire update:  Parry Sound 33 inches closer to Highway 69

I wasn’t sure just how a forest fire could move an entire small city almost a meter (yard), so I succumbed to the click bait.  It seems that, a forest fire, identified as “Parry Sound, number 33,” slowly burns (inches) closer to Highway 69.  One little # number sign, or even a comma, would have made that much clearer.

Punctuation

***

That’s about all the stuff that runs screaming through my head, that the court order allows me to tell you at this time.  Arncha glad?   😆