WOW #9

Donald Trump

A comedian once claimed that Michael Jackson was the punch line to every joke.
“Why did the chicken cross the road?”
“Michael Jackson!”

Mikey is no longer with us, but we do have Donald Trump to replace him. Dictionary.com usually doesn’t give a reason for the inclusion of any particular Word of the Day, often making me wonder about words like, stravage, portmanteau and middlescence.

Recently though, they’ve been blaming it on Trump. They admitted that paralogize was chosen because of his tendency to draw incorrect conclusions from the facts available.  More recently they blamed him and his political team’s ALTERNATIVE FACTS for the resurrection of;

newspeak

Definitions for newspeak (sometimes initial capital letter)
an official or semi-official style of writing or saying one thing in the guise of its opposite, especially in order to serve a political or ideological cause while pretending to be objective, as in referring to “increased taxation” as “revenue enhancement.”

Origin of newspeak

Newspeak was coined by George Orwell in his novel 1984, which was published in 1949.

They gave no attribution, but Trump must be on their minds because, with paralogize there were whiffler, bonzer and juggernaut, and between paralogize and newspeak, there have been scapegrace, malfeasance, pedagogy, muckraker and troglodyte.

As Jay Leno said about the re-election of George W. Bush, with Trump at the helm of the Ship of State, we have at least four, and perhaps eight more years, of the jokes (and insults) writing themselves.

😳

 

A To Z Challenge – T

april-challenge

This will be a DIY, or interactive post, for the letter

letter-t

Back last April, when I decided to try this challenge, I also decided to cheat (a bit). Each day, I would scan a variety of other posts, to see what words their writers had chosen, to pick one that sparked some inspiration.  Sometimes it worked; sometimes it didn’t.  This is a ‘didn’t work’ letter.  I wrote down;

Tough
Tarts
Too much
Think
Treasure
Tease
Trash
Train – (noun or verb)
Torrid – or is that….
Torpid – I can’t read my own writing

I would like to make this an audience-participation, contest-y sort of post. I invite all of my readers to choose one of the above words, or provide any other T-word.  Leave a comment, giving your word, and hopefully some kind of prompt.

We can’t rely on ‘First Through The Door” kind of thing, so I will choose one at random, and use your word and prompt to attempt to compose a short post about it.

So, what do we have for our embarrassed loser lucky winner, Johnny?

Well Bob, first they will receive my undying thanks for pulling me out of a compositional blue funk. They’ll also experience the incomparable joy of seeing their name up in lights on my blog.  I’ll even try to link to their site, so that others can know what they’ve done.

C’mon folks, everyone is welcome to submit an idea. The more, the merrier – I am.  You can’t win unless you enter.  If you don’t, you’ll just get some more;

I’ve claimed that I’m tough. I’m probably not.  It’s more like overcooked, dry, and stringy.  I just finished two of my once-a-year mincemeat tarts.  I should have only eaten one, because I’ve already had too much tryptophan from too much turkey, since I’m writing this at Christmas.

I like to think that I can compose the occasional little linguistic treasure, but it’s just a tease. Too often, it’s only another example of taking out the mental trash, which I use to help me train to write better. ‘Torrid’ must have been a typo, because I’ve never had ‘that much’ passion about anything in my life.  With my rotund tummy stuffed full of Christmas goodies, I’ll just become torpid, and hibernate until New Years comes along.

Your suggestions are welcome, because my inspiration is….also hibernating.   😛

Book Review #15

robert-a-heinlein

The Book – Robert A. Heinlein

The Author – William H. Patterson Jr.

The Review –

This is the second of a two-part complete biography of one of the most important, seminal authors (not merely of Science-Fiction) of the 20th Century.  BrainRants made me aware of Part 1 last year, and recently, another blogger reminded me that book two was available.

The complete title is, Robert A. Heinlein – In Conversation With His Century.  That needs to be remembered when accessing library or bookstore web catalogs.  Enter only ‘Robert A. Heinlein,’ and you get, We have 800 listings for Robert Heinlein, which one did you want? I want the one written by Patterson.  The sub-title of Volume 1 was ‘Learning Curve.’  The sub-title of this Volume is, ‘The Man Who Learned Better.’  It covers his career from 1948 to 1988.

For someone like me, used to reading novels, with their character development and plot twists, reading this tome was a ….learning curve. Were it not for its subject, it would be as exciting as reading a telephone book.  (Remember those?)  But this was a man who met and talked to Presidents and Prime Ministers; who awed, and was adored by, astronauts who went into space and walked on the Moon, and scientists who put them there, and a probe on Mars.

I see why those with little intellect, or lives of their own, hang on every video-provided nuance of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.” The author casts a very fine net, down to what Heinlein had for breakfast on particular days. Scrambled eggs, sausage, coffee and toast on April 17, 1957.

The ‘Rich And Famous Lifestyle’ of a profoundly successful author is not all that we might imagine – or rather, it’s far more than many of us would want. Not only did Heinlein (and many like him) have to keep grinding out grist for the publishing mill, but he had to keep in constant touch with lawyers, editors, publishers and agents.

He had a New York agent, a California agent, and a European agent. There was an agent who failed to promote Heinlein’s work.  There was an over-zealous NY agent who invaded the California agent’s territory long-distance.  There were editors who revised his works without his permission, or even his knowledge in a couple of cases, completely changing the thrust of a story.

Agents sold rights to stories they were not authorized to do. Publishers printed work they had not paid for. He lost money twice in the movie industry, when projects collapsed.  One studio used creative bookkeeping to withhold payments for a successful movie, while another simply pirated his idea, and retitled it.  Which brings us back to the lawyers.

Back before the internet, he had to deal with most of this at the speed of ink. When he moved to Colorado, he was on a party-line telephone with six neighbors for over a year.  One of his later notes said that he finally had to give up helping fans with theses, term papers, and dissertations.

He corresponded with other authors, giving and receiving commendations and inspiration for story lines. Occasionally, he would pen a promo or review for another writer.  While he pumped out a stupendous amount of prose during his working life, it was far overshadowed by the mass of mundane, unpaid writing he had to do.

‘All You Zombies’ is considered one of the greatest short-stories ever written. A time-travelling hermaphrodite becomes his/her own mother, father, and child.  It was written as a submission to Playboy Magazine, who turned it down – because of the implied sex??!

As a way to give back to a country he cared very much for, Heinlein did at least two important things. He promoted and supported NASA, and the space program.  While many civilians complained about the waste of money, Heinlein knew that every dollar invested in NASA returned $14 to the economy – and that was even before the Silicon Valley bubble, powered by the newly developed micro-processors.

He had had a variety of medical afflictions over the years, and had a very rare blood type. His life had been saved at least twice by transfusions provided by the Rare Blood Association.  He established grassroots blood donor clinic organizations, and he helped make the likes of Rare Blood, and the American Red Cross stronger and more efficient, donating both expertise and money.

While the book could seem dry and tedious, the life of the man it revealed was just awe-inspiring. I am glad I spent the time and patience.  I highly recommend the pair.

ICEBREAKER

ice

Recently, it seems that there’s a lot of people, who want to know a lot, about a lot of other people. A while ago, I published a post in two parts – 31 Facts In 31 Days.  Scarcely had I put it up, than I found another, apparently compiled by the neighborhood pervert voyeur.  It contained questions like, “What do you wear to bed?” There’s not enough vodka or trained psychiatrists in the world, for me to get into that.

This one is called Icebreaker, and can also be used at large meetings and seminars where people don’t know each other. Although, by the time you fill yours out, and read everybody else’s, I don’t know how much time would be left to actually get anything productive done.  I guess that’s what big meetings are like anyway.  It’s probably better than Angry Birds, Candy Crush, or Words With Friends.

This old Iceberg broke off the parent glacier about five years ago. It has been drifting down and blocking the blog-lanes ever since – a publishing hazard to sanity and good taste.  I thought in that time that I had pretty much revealed all, perhaps not though.  If you have the guts and the stamina, read on MacDuff.

Are you named after someone?
My paternal grandfather was Howard. My father was Cyril Howard.  There was a whiny kid in my town who everyone called ‘Howie’, and I grew to hate the name, so I never admit that my second name is Howard.
When is the last time you cried?

Guys cry??  Okay, okay – the last time I heard a real feel-good, beat-the-odds story, my eyes leaked – a little.
Do you like your handwriting?
Dear Lord no! With my tremor, my writing looks like a chicken on meth walked across an ink pad.
What is your favorite lunch meat?

Spicy Tokay or Mexican, salami
How many kids do you have?
Three, one of each….no, wait, just daughter, LadyRyl, and son Shimoniac.
If you were another person, would you be friends with you?
I’d have to be a member of a select group, because of my take-no-prisoners attitude and opinions, but, yes!
Do you use sarcasm?
Are you F**king kidding??  Hell yes!
Do you still have your tonsils?
No. Back when it was all the rage (1950), a surgeon cut my throat.
Would you bungee jump?
I have to take care of an increasingly fragile old body, but I would say yes – maybe till I got to the edge.  I’d like to skydive, into my bucket list.
What is your favorite cereal?
Spoon Sized Shredded Wheat, with strawberries
Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
I wear (cowboy) boots – no laces. When I don’t, I do.
Do you think you are strong? Physically?  More so than most men my age.  Mentally?  Emotionally?  Probably the same answer
What is your favorite ice cream?
In a bowl, or cone – Black Cherry.  With cake or pie – French Vanilla
What is the first thing you notice about people?
Often, how they inter-react with others, including me
Red or pink? I am seldom understated.  Intense blue, purple or green.  If I must – red.  It makes a statement.
What is the least favorite thing you like about yourself?
My increasingly failing memory, thank (insert your favorite deity) for search engines
What color pants and shoes are you wearing right now?
In the privacy of my own computer room??  You should be reading this with your eyes closed.  Dark blue track shorts and slippers.
What was the last thing you ate?
A small slab of white cake with some 10% cream and diced peaches
What are you listening to right now?
The sounds of both my allergic cat, and dog, snoring, as they lie guarding me
If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
Plaid?  Probably Royal Blue
What are your favorite smells?
Oh, so many….wood smoke, rustling dry leaves, frying bacon
Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?

Some Paki named ‘Kevin’, who wanted to clean my ducts.  I told him to….
Favorite sport to watch?
Pretty much stopped watching TV.  Almost watch no sports.  Maybe American Pro Football
Real hair color?
I’d like to say black, but that was then, and this, is now mostly white.
Eye color?
Brown.
Do you wear contacts?

It’s all the wife can do to get me to wear my glasses.  Frightened as a child by the Three Stooges, I don’t poke my own finger in my eyes.
Favorite food to eat?
Yes please.  Probably tonight’s supper – potato pancakes
Scary movies or happy endings?
Some big explosions, car chases, gun fights, a little Punch and Judo, people hanging off tall buildings – that can be scary.  Then the bad guys are defeated, and it’s all a happy ending.
Last movie you watched?
Star Trek Into Darkness….see above
What color shirt are you wearing?
Maker claims it’s ‘Dusty Blue’.  I say it’s Steel Blue (greyish-blue), one of my more subdued shades.
Summer or winter?
Autumn!  If I must choose….Summer.  I don’t have to shovel rain.
Hugs or kisses?
Depends on the time, place and person….and if anybody’s watching
What book are you reading?
John Brunner – Wrong End of Time, Tom Clancy (actually, Mark Greaney) – Support And Defend, James Rollins – Devil Colony
What is on your mousepad?
Cat hair
What is the last TV program you watched?
Bones
What is the best sound?
One or more of my cats purring, preferably in my lap
Rolling Stones or The Beatles?
Different strokes for different folks – a bit, but not too much, of both, liberally mixed with many others.
What is the farthest you have traveled?
Since all trips have to be by car, I drove to Key West, Florida – 2765 Km = 1730 mi.
Do you have a special talent?
Yes!
Where were you born?
In the front bedroom of the family home, in Southampton, Ontario, Canada.

 

Five Long Years

calendar

That’s what Colin James says my blog has been.

FIVE LONG YEARS
(click above, to hear him say so)

Five years ago, to the day, on November 21, 2011, I first dived into the blog-pool. I had no idea what I was going to say, or how often I would say it.  I finally calmed down enough to casually mention when I reached post number 600.  This one is number 687, reaching toward number 700.  I’ve accumulated 878 followers, (Now I’ve got 879.  Do I hear 880?)(Okay!  I’ve got 880!  Anybody want to go for 900?)  and had 9400 visits, for 32,000 views.

For me, everything is still the same, and yet, everything is different. Society is different.  Politics is different.  The Internet is different.  My writing and posting are different.  Some of that is good.  Some of that, at best, is questionable.

While some of my favored blog-sites from five years ago have shut down, or atrophied, many newer ones continue to entertain, amuse and educate me. I continue to do my best to do the same in return.

The traditional gift for a five-year anniversary is wood. I already have a solid block-head, and I possess several wooden nickels, and even a wooden quarter, so I guess all that’s left for you lovely readers to do, is to commend me for not dying, and not shutting up.  Many thanx to all who visit, like and comment.   😀

A To Z Challenge – O

april-challenge

Holy moly, we’ve reached the letter

letter-o

To succeed at this elongated A to Z Challenge, I have an obligation to write about some things whose names begin with O.

Let’s start with my blog-stats. That doesn’t begin with O.  Intellectually, I know that they don’t really reflect reality, or are important in themselves. Others have told me so, but still, I have that little bit of irrepressible OCD – that little bit of an obsession to obtain warm proof that I am liked and respected.

Now while it’s true that some of you folks couldn’t care less about whether others like what you write about or not, I like to make room in my rather thick Scottish skull for people who heap abundant praise on me for my writing. I like to believe that people appreciate my wit – but I’m only half right.

When a new reader makes a comment, I’ve been known to gushingly reply, and urge said visitor to return and comment – often.  I don’t know which is worse and more embarrassing, being obsequious – or being obnoxious.

Still, I am optimistic that my writing will improve and become read by more people who say that they love me – and not just in a prison sex kind of way.  I will continue to observe my stat numbers, and keep an open mind.

Well, don’t just sit there. Click ‘like.’  Heap praise.   

Poetry In Motion

Poetry

I am a Philistine. I don’t know what great art is, but I know what I like.  The same applies to poetry.  I have been exposed to some of the ‘Great Poetry’, The Rime of The Ancient Mariner, The Twa Sisters O’ Binorrie, La Belle Dame sans Merci, William Blake’s, The Tyger, and many of Shakespeare’s sonnets.  I still like the poems that begin, “There was a young man from Kent.”

I express myself on this site though prose. When I check to ‘see what others are writing about,’ I find an interesting number of bloggers who express themselves in – poetry(?).  Some of the poems are actually quite good.  Others….are more a pretentious stream of unconsciousness.

Song lyrics, written out, should make sense. I feel the same should apply to poetry, even if it’s only published on WordPress.  Here’s an example.  See if you agree with me.  The first is how it would look/sound, if it were simply written as prose.

writing

The morning adrenaline in class essay exam detailing the ways to restore lost dynamic to man. Caffeine fumes, school bus, Drive, write your heart out!  With speed, with force, believe, you were born for this thrill of academics.

Speaking scholars and students inspired. This is my arena, my work, brain on display.  Bare, stuttering, but speaking again.  Grasping at straws, texts, engaging in every aspect.

The parkway was packed by 4:30 and given recent attacks, at night, plus rush hour fears from the kid who sped into my lane last year as evident by 3 bulging cervical discs. Thought it best, surely, safer to wait out traffic elsewhere.

***

The following is how it was actually published. Does it make any more sense?  Is it significant?  Artistic?

***

writing

The morning adrenaline
in class essay exam
detailing the ways
to restore lost dynamic to man.

Caffeine fumes, school bus,
Drive, write your heart out!
With speed, with force,
believe, you were born for this
thrill of academics.

Speaking scholars
and students inspired.
This is my arena, my work,
brain on display.
Bare, stuttering, but
speaking again.
Grasping at straws,
texts, engaging
in every aspect.

The parkway was packed by 4:30
and given recent attacks, at night,
plus rush hour fears
from the kid who sped into my lane
last year
as evident by 3 bulging cervical discs.

Thought it best, surely, safer
to wait
out
traffic elsewhere..

When ‘an artist’ throws paint-soaked sponges at a sheet of plywood, the resulting mess on the wood is not the Art.  The action, the process, is the art – performance art – like 12 clowns getting out of a tiny car at the circus.

I’m sure that many of these blog-poets are serious, and are struggling, as I do, to get their feelings out. When I come across something like the above, I just get the feeling that I’ve missed the real performance, and my only reaction is, “Huh!”  How about you?  😕