Archived Messages from December 4, 2001 to December 18, 2001

Sorry Teekay!!! Oyster tomato red now! I didn't overlook it, I couldn't find it again! My eyes are so crossed from reading and the screen d'stairs, I looked for your post twice and ... sorry. So, I found out I can print blocks and printed your bit.

Where is Mary? Thanks Mary for letting everyone (who let me) know about Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul. I did catch that part.

And, Teekay, *S* I'm just about ready to take you up on that offer of the addresses. I have to get through Christmas Celebration Concert, the last of Christmas shopping and dinner with the out-laws, first!

Viv, I really enjoyed your description of modern Japanese Weddings. Wow, fake churches you say?

Gotta go, the food I made is tabled for consumption and I'm being paged!

Where is Mark? Where is Gariess? Are they having holidays?

Oyster 12-18-2001 20:24

Morning All,

Welcome ROB and BLUE TEAR!

OYSTER: Methinks you may have missed this from my last post to you, so am replanting it as is still relevant:
Yes, they do have a 'Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul' MARY put me onto it and it is one of the books to have found a home on my bookshelf.
And if you like I can send you addresses if you want to try and sell some of your work in Australia. Just give me a run down of what they are and I'll find the appropriate source, or, if you don't have them written yet, I'll pick out a few mags and send their details and you can work the story to fit them. Just let me know.

Have included eamil addy for you.

JERRY: Great story. I'm glad it ended well.

BLUE TEAR: I liked your story too. I think I liked it all the more because the language you used gave it a rather poetic feel.

EDDIE: Can't wait to read to read Jack Dooley at Christmas. Thought you were going to tell us how you typed it all out and then the computer chewed it up. What a relief.

ROSEMARY: My email addy is for you too. I'd love to read your story. I've time as i'm not stressing about doing too much of my own writing till after Christmas.

TINA: Please tell what gifts you make. I love that sort of thing.

VIV: Thanks :-). I've decided to put it all on hold until after Christmas, at least, not stress over it too much until then.

RHODA: Paid. Now there's a lovely thought. Did you read about the guy from somewhere in America, who had his manuscript rejected by multiple publishing houses and eventually somebody decided it was wonderful and then they all started fighting over it and now he's asking heaps for it when initially anybody probably could have had it for a song.
It's stories like that that give me such hope. :-).

MEL: Hmmm, well it sounds like your muse is in for a good time. I wouldn't mind accompanying her to the ocean, or LITTER's castle. sounds good to me.

LAURA: Hi :-) I was only thinking about you the other night, and then viola, there you were.

MARY: You're quiet, what's happening?

RACHEL? HOWARD? GARIESS? LITTER? MARK?, oh wait, it's okay, MARK's arguing with his dictionary. Who else, who else?

Teekay 12-18-2001 19:05

Hi Mary! I'm stuck for an idea to write about. Could you give me a one word idea. I want to get one more story out before vacation. Trouble is, my muse is sitting on her duff. Thank you! Your one word(s) always seem to do the trick.

To Everyone: (This will make absolutely no sense at all except to mothers) MY DAUGHTER PASSED HER PHYSICS EXAM! Whew! What a relief. It feels like I did it somehow! I certainly put in the worries for her.

Jerry: That was a beautiful story. It's well written and strong. I think you'd better invest some time into looking into marketing your work. You're ready now. Did you get yourself a writer's digest for Christmas? I hope so.
Can someone advise Jerry as to how and where to do the publication routine. I can read the guidelines but I've never submitted anything. I do want to start though so I'll read the post and when I have anything worth selling that absolutely will fill the bill, I'll go for it.

Heather: Thanks so much for my laugh about laundry!

Mel: Maybe the teacher had to become a writer since she lost her job over that bold move! I'm sorry, that's a rather cynical statement, but I grew up in the 70's. People actually went to the City & County buiding which was decorated for Christmas and PROTESTED the creche. They took the creche out of the Christmas decorations. I hate political correctness when it removes the good along with the bad. A religion that encourages positive behavior and sensible thinking should not be declared politically incorrect.

Oyster: Over in Japan a white kimono is worn for the wedding. Actually, the bride changes three times:
1. White Kimono
2. American style wedding dress
3. Pretty street wear

Weddings are a big deal and they have hotels with fake churches. I have a feeling the Japanese culture is very much in transition since World War II. I can't imagine why but most people get very excited over this kind of wedding and DO want one...despite the cost. I'd be interested in how weddings went BEFORE WWII. Did the bride wear white??? A good question.

Teekay: I got a Writer's Market and got sort of scared and overwhelmed by it two years ago. I felt like a fake. You are definitely the real thing. Maybe it's just an overwhelming book. Help! My goal for this year is to get published...or to get a spike full of rejection letters. I want to put together a decopage frame for my first dollar.

Viv 12-18-2001 18:07

Hi all!

Welcome Blue Tear, and don't be shy about coming here or calling yourself a writer. Writers write ... that's what they do, and as Jerry mentioned, writers can also find at least a 1000 ways a day to procrastinate on writing. Obviously, you haven't discovered that little glitch yet, Blue Tear. Thanks for the story!

Glad you had fun with your game, Jerry! Addictive little things, aren't they? Three hours only? Spouse can spend 5 playing cyber-golf no problem!

I first read Blue Tear's story from a 'Christian Perspective' since that's what I'm focusing on right now in Bwitch's story. Then, when I read your post to Mel, Blue Tear, I realized how my world view needed a bit of a tilt. I was seeing the white, which was an evocative symbol in your story as it is in the Christian perspective, purity, weddings (LOL), etc.

I tried to remember the significance of white in other cultures, other religions and the only one I could come up with was the Asian symbol of white for death. Which would be why some Asian women refuse to be married in white, right? Or is that white?

Prayer, particularly has figured prominently in my writing lately. Since the Bwitch was brought up by an ultra-conservative mother within a loose kind of Bible Belt community, young Bwitch spent hours on her knees praying for things her mother found lack of in her as a child. I can't imagine forcing my kids to their knees pray for anything, which is why when I read Blue Tear's story, I got a jolt. The old brain is working again, thanks to Blue Tear, but I still have miles to go before I can post a bit of Bwitch's story here.

I remember insisting to Bwitch that she embraced 'Wicca' in rebellion against her mother's excessive religiosity. To be fair and give Christianity another try. She admitted it did drive her mother nuts to have a 'non-Christian' daughter ... but Bwitch's mother didn't know she practised Wicca.

And right after my argument that Bwitch was still in rebellions with all this hocus-pocus stuff (a bit of a prig, wasn't I?) she took me to meet her grandmother. 'Gran' certainly tuned me in about the natural religion she'd guided her granddaughter into, one that had been in the family for almost 7 generations. oh.

And I discovered even more through reading a rather well-written book by a fellow named Robin Skelton about the new/old focus of Wicca than I thought I already knew. And pulled the Wiccan Rede of the internet.

A spooky coincidence arose when I went to the back jacket of the book where I discovered Robin Skelton (not related to Red Skelton of Comedy fame)was an initiated witch and taught at University of Victoria, where, in my errant youth, I spent time with friends who attended the Island's U.

So I checked U Vic's faculty listing and no Robin. Hmm, I thought, he's probably retired by now. I pictured him teaching something within the Relgious Studies department then gasped when an internet search confirmed the niggling feeling I had that this man was a gifted writer.

Uh-oh, not only was Robin Skelton a witch, he was also a creative writing instructor, renowned poet AND the editor of the esteemed Malahat Review, a publication I often puruse to see who's coming up the Literary Ladder. I believe I actually met the man ... but he's now dead, so I can't really confirm that.

And then Bwitch herself called and reminded me of my own family's past in certain 'non-conformist' spiritual practises. On both sides of our Heinz 57 family tree (my mother used to say we were like the ketchup, all different kinds of ingredients). Americo, I believe, referred to Vikingland in one post and I started to wonder. Bwitch's background is Germanic, mine is Scandinavian and Celtic. And family history whispers of witches on both sides.

I always thought they were probably just old solitary crones, like me, who were a bit odd. Now I'm starting to re-think that one! Bwitch thinks it's funny. I'm starting to get a bit spooked.

Skelton, the author I mentioned earlier writes of Celtic customs in Wiccan and honours (St.) Brigid and (St.) Celicia in celebration. Huh, The Spouse attended St. Ceclia's Catholic Church, run by a very tough group of priests steeped in a strict, but fairly musical Germanic Order. I never knew Cecelia was the Patron Saint of Music! Imagine that, a Witch taught me that, not the Catholic School my kids go to!

Another author talks of three kinds of 'runes' used by Witches over the years: Scandinavian, Celtic and Germanic. double uh-oh. Bwitch and I went to a psycho (oops, sorry) psychic faire one time. There was a woman there who claimed to have some ancient stone runes she was adept at reading. I picked them up to shuffle them for a reading and the woman, upon taking them back, immediately got sick. LOL, if Bwitch didn't mutter "Serves her right for not figuring you out. A real seer would have known." ???

So, when Bwitch jokingly referred to my acting-out daughter as a witch, I presumed she meant the secular kind. And if I were a cussing person, I'd substitute the first letter of the term Witch with a B, and be done with it. Then I read this:

The Practise of Witchcraft, Robin Skelton, Press Procepic (with assistance of The Canada Council), 1990.

pp. 17

"Although some writersthink the word 'Wicca' derives from teh Old English verb wittan, to know and therefore means 'wisdom', this is not the case. It derives from the Indo-European work weik, which produced, eventually the old English word wigle(sorcery), and the Old Norse word wihl (crafitness) andthence the Engliesh words guile and wile. Other related wordsare the Old High German wihen (to conscecrate) and the Middle German word wikken (to predict)."

Bwitch laughed when I read her this and admitted having met Robin Skelton. The words crafty and be-guiling certainly apply to my not-always-darling daughter. I happened to mention that it struck me only in reading the above paragraph, the Robin Skelton wrote like a writer. Bwitch laughed again and said "Of course, haven't you ever read any of his poetry?"

Did I blush red and say no? Of course I did.

In fact, Bwitch, having German as a cradle language always spells Wiccen with an 'e' rather than an 'a'. I was about to ask whether she might have 'suggested' to Mr. Skelton about the Germanic word use, when she asked me what else spooked me out.

I read The Bwitch this part:

"All human beings possess energy fields and therefore possess psychic power. Most of them use this power unconsciously or intuitively in their human relationships. A number, however, learn thow to use it consciously and develop their abilities. I am not suggesting because everyone has power, everyone can be a witch, any more than I suggest that everyone with feet can be a longdistance runner, or everyone with a larnynx can become an oper star. We all share the same faculties and obeyadn use the same laws of nature, but to each one of us, some faculties are more fully developed than others." (p.23)

I honestly believed I was a pretty tolerant person. And ready to write about Wicca as Skelton and a few others have done with a touch of history and understanding.

But I'm now facing prejudices I never even thought I had.

First being, what if my daughter decides to 'be' the other kind of Witch? *shudder*. That kid and magick? Bwitch pointed out some significant signs, including my daughter's portrait of "The Magick Land" (magick is the Wiccen spelling of the word) Daughter painted in 1st Grade. The picture is full of nature, butterflies and flowers, nature is the centerpoint in Wiccan practise.

The fact the kid does have an uncanny sixth sense and is interested in symbols over all else, Bwitch pointed out, are also signs that the 'Wiccan Gene' may have skipped a generation.

I closed my eyes and shuddered at the thought of it all, then decided to keep going with the book, anyway.

So, secular or religious little witch that she is, a daughter-like character is going in the book. Write what you know, right?

Part of my struggle in writing this story, folks is the difficulty I have in facing my own prejudices. And given the plethora of mis-information and sensationalism I've encountered lately about olden daze witch trials and what was done to women who were 'suspected' of practising anything non-Christian, my nightmare now makes sense.

The hard part is, that my nightmare came BEFORE I started researching. It was only after I began to research, looking for clues to the history of Wicca, I began to realize that it's a bloomin' miracle Bwitch's matriarchal heritage got to her at all!

Hah, have I penned my longest post ever? Probably. Back to the old grindstone, Suzy reminds me that doing the donut on the ice-slick street that leads me into our crescent does not get me off the hook for Driving Mr. and Ms. Crazy on the drier major roads. Groan. I want to stay home and write some more!

Thanks to Mel and Taylor for the answers to my questions. And belatedly to Carol for the commiseration on Mess-Piles and supportive families.

Yours in the rite of writing,

Oyster 12-18-2001 16:23

Paid to write? Did someone say "paid." That is definitely out of the realm of my experience.

Welcome, BLUE TEAR. Are you a good enough poet? I don't think the question need come up at sixteen. Judging by the way you write here on the Notebook, you seem to have plenty of talent, but at sixteen or sixty a writer still has a lot to learn. Let's put it this way: With practice and effort and sensitivity, you will probably be a better poet at 21 than you are now.

Writing endeavors are always worth the effort if you enjoy the process and are proud of your work. You know you are getting somewhere when others appreciate what you write and create.

AND, if you are really good, you might even get PAID!

Rhoda 12-18-2001 15:48


Welcome to the Notebook Blue Tear. By the way, that is a strange name to use. Do you have a real name?

I was just a little bad today. I logged onto the Notebook at work, not that I do it all of the time mind you.
You see, I was alone in the office, sitting at my PC. I have just about completed things up to the start of the Holiday so it seemed a little slack.......Well, to be honest it was really slow. I was twiddling my thumbs......making coffee.........twiddling my thumbs.....making another coffee. You know how it goes.
Suddenly, it came to me....... Jack Dooley at Christmas. I went at it with a vengence. I almost got it finished. Then I had to go pick a cheque up at the last minute and never got to put it on disk to bring home with me tonight.
I will get it tomorrow though. I'll finish it up and post it for you before Christmas.
I have missed the cheeky little bugger. Writing for him today was just like meeting an old chum. I really enjoyed going down to Mr Jollys' with him. I re-introduced myself to Father Clancy too.
Then the bloody guilt set in. I was being paid to write and I was enjoying myself. That's not supposed to happen is it? We're not supposed to get paid are we?
Ahh well...... If you all don't say anything then neither will I.

Eddie 12-18-2001 15:37


Heather 12-18-2001 14:09

Hello, everybody!

Okay, so my email still needs tweaking, or I'm stuck using outlook express again. I suppose that's no problem, since I found out a while ago (from Howard?) that I had never officially opened my emails - I was merely previewing them. Anyhow, it's just the case of getting accustomed to another email program again. Things are not in the same spot!
My email does work, just to let everyone know. :oD

Mary - I have been up too late to get up early so far this week! Sorry! Have I missed you when you were online?
I hope not, though it's so close to Christmas I don't expect to get much writing done this week at all; and I wouldn't be too surprised to hear that no one else has been up to much writing with all the holiday preparations under way. Next week looks a little on the slow side as well, but by the end of the week I should be back 'at it' with feverish renewal. I actually miss my book when I haven't been 'into it' for a few days. I'm going to take a leap and assume that's either normal, or terribly self-absorbed of me.
(((HUGS))) Hope your foot and your lungs are much improved in health! And your hands, as well!

I've got to get my rear in gear and get the dishwasher loaded! Eeek!

Heather 12-18-2001 14:08

Mel: My native language is Arabic. I've learned French and Arabic since I was a kid. Only few years ago I started learning English.( I am only 16 )Since last year I started writing poems in English. Sometimes I fear that I am not good enough for being a writer. What if I am not talented enough? what if my writings are boring? Would my writings ever be valued?... Did you ever felt so? How long have you been writing?

Blue Tear 12-18-2001 12:54

blue Tear: I think you speak/write English VERY WELL for a second language. It's not perfect, but it's well on its way with some more practice. :-) Keep writing! What's your native language?

Mel 12-18-2001 10:21

Thanks a lot Mel for what you said. It's only that calling myself a writer is too much for me. My main problem is that I am not an English native speaker. I am fond of writing, especially in English,but still I feel I am not doing well. what do u think?

Blue Tear 12-18-2001 10:18

tired typos...sigh.

TK: "bot" meant to be "not"...even typos can rhyme. What a world of words! 8-}

Mel 12-18-2001 9:18


The clouds weep in passing, and still I dream of snow...but thankful for no ice! Good day/eve to everyone!

OYSTER: "Chicken Soup For The Writer's Soul" was published in July 2000 - should still be order-able from the bookstores or online from or

VIV: Sorry I can't send that little "Christmas Love" story anywhere; it was written by a lady named Candy Chand and already published by the "Chicken Soup For The Soul" folks. It was a nice little story, I thought! :-)

TEEKAY: Thanks. Meanwhile...That's it! My muse has now headed for the ocean (Pacific, I think; so, she'll have much farther to go and bot be able to return so quickly...). She better come back with the proper phrases or I'll have to send her over the Atlantic to LITTER's castle for some proper inspiration. :-) re: "Christmas looms, an unforeseen presence blocking my path to creativity" -- so, move the bloody weaving supplies out of your way, heh heh! :-]

HEATHER: Blinders work well. Suzy HM has no defense when you're wearing them, heh heh! Pop-in ear plugs to drown out her sighs and Presto! Writing least until the kids explode in front of you.

Hi, LAURA! :-)

JERRY: Nice little story. Make a New Year's Writing Resolution: don't let ANY story idea slip through your memory habits. Write the ideas ON THE SPOT as they come. You pick the spot but WRITE down those ideas quickly. Couldn't we all use such a great resolution? Especially procrastinators like me! :-]

blue TEAR: Even beginners are writers. I sense a deep-something you have to say in your piece. It needs more flesh, more clarity. Suggestion: turn on a spellchecker and a grammar-checker to help you learn a smoother writing format. Then, concentrate on expanding your scene setting a bit, reveal more of the characters' situations, listen to their dialogue (Speak it aloud - does it sound real?), and show more character actions...One piece at a time, your story will grow and blossom, your writer's voice will be heard. Good luck! :-)

EVERYBODY: Write a few phrases of your heart's desire today, for me who may not get to it (sigh!).

Mel 12-18-2001 9:13

Hey all, how are you all. I am not a writer, I am only a beginner. I wish you would read the following and tell me your opnion.
By the way. Jerry A.G. Ericsson I really liked "love or Lust"

I knocked at her door but no one answered. My heart sank in fear...Last time I saw her she had so much pain, and she looked very tired, what if she is dead? A voice coming from inside put an end to my questions. " God is the greatest". I opened the door and stood choqued ...She was dressed all in white, covering her hair, and praying. I watched her...She didn't notice me coming in: she wasn't conscious of anything around.Like a bourgeon sprouting in the hands of god.She was,these moments,living in a different world. As she genuflected tears streamed down her face like a fload.It was the first time I see her crying. First time, I felt her weekness in front of god's power blowing into her soul. The whole scene caught my breath. For no reason, I cried, yes...I did. Maybe there was a reason, maybe I felt the beauty of this relation between Yara and her creator, the holy thing about it. God's hands were touching the deepest parts of Yara's heart, healing it from pain and sadness. As soon as she finished her prayer, she realised I was there gazing at her.
- Since when have you been here? she asked.
- Few minutes. How often do you do that?
- Do what? you mean pray?
- yup, and why?
There was silence for few seconds. She turned her face away, as if the question I asked helped her recalling old scenes, hidden inside, as if it opened the darkest locked rooms in her memory. Then, she stood up, opened her closet, searched for something,and then came back with a notebook in her hand. She opened it and gave it to me, pointing at something written on it. " Pray when you are thankfull.Pray when you are sad.Pray When you need me, because if I weren't there, God will always be." As I read it, I looked at her soulfull face and realised, that tears were being locked inside though they were looking for freedom.Then I found myself hugging her so strong,whispering in her ear that it was okey to cry.And As if it was exactly what she needed to hear,she sobbed in my arms so tenderly so weekly that I couldn't stop myself from crying too.

blue Tear 12-18-2001 6:58

The weatherman reported that it hit FIFTY degrees today. This is unheard of, we just don't get warm weather this time of the year, but that's OK, so long as it snows again before Christmas.

My muse has been beating me about the head and shoulder region now for a couple of hours, or maybe it was just me beating myself up for not doing more writing.

At any rate, I sat down and wrote this little bit, and since I have nothing else to do with it, thought I would just post it here.

Anyhoo, here it is:

Love or Lust
By Jerry A.G. Ericsson

He could smell her. She sat next to him on the steel folding chair, much the way she sat beside him a hundred times before, as they searched the books in the law library, the way she did a hundred times before, as they sat in law classes, in the cafeteria, in his dorm room.

Those times, he never noticed her smell, he never noticed the way she lay her hands in her lap, as she listened to the speaker, the attentive look on her face, the shine in her hair, the redness of her full lips.

Suddenly he was in lust, or was it love, he could never decide but he knew he was in something. There was nothing he could do about it; after all, he was married to Samantha who waited for him back at home, keeping his house clean, feeding their two children; working so very hard in that little restaurant up town, slinging hash for the old men and farmers who gathered each day to discuss politics, religion, the price of feed, and the low price on their wares.

The feeling was overwhelming, it occupied his entire body; the speaker at the podium rambled on something about their future as lawyers, the same message the previous three speakers had given. Maybe, he considered, it wasn’t love, nor lust, maybe it was simple boredom, in the guise of emotion.

He leaned back and stretched, bringing his hand against her silken hair as he straightened out. She turned and smiled at him; a smile of friendship and nothing more. For a second he thought he saw the hint of emotion in those deep brown eyes, but it was probably wishful thinking.

The speaker was done now, all that was left was the coffee that followed then the celebration of Law Day would be over. Then just weeks away would be their graduation, and the end of their friendship. For a minute, he wondered how he could go on without her. But wait, there was nothing between them, nothing whatsoever besides friendship.

They had never kissed, touched, whispered sweet nothings in each others ears. They had been friends, study buddies that’s all. Nothing more and he knew that but that feeling that he had told his heart that there was more there; more that needed to be explored; he had to take some action, do something before she was gone forever and his chance for true happiness would be gone.

He thought about that thought again. “True happiness” wasn’t he happy with his wife and kids. Until today he was sure he was. But then the emotion of the moment took over again; he almost whispered in her lovely ear that he loved her. He thought about it, no, if she rebuked him he would be devastated.

He considered all this while the coffee was served, while he made small talk with the guests, while he shook the hand of the Attorney General of their state, a Justice of the State Supreme Court. He thought about it as he discussed the upcoming graduation with his buddy Ralph. He thought about it as he left the golf club house and made his way to his old beat up Chevy, as he drove back to the Universality.

He almost told her that next day as they were going over the Rules of Perpatuaty, but chickened out.

Then came Graduation day, as they sat side by side, listening to the same drone of the very same speakers saying the very same things they had said to them all that day at the golf clubhouse. He was excited, just today and then the bar exam, and he would be a lawyer. He envisioned his life, the home he could afford when the money began to roll in, he could see himself walking hand in hand with his lovely wife. His lovely wife? His lovely wife! Not Beth, no he recognized that feeling for what it was, lust. Yes it was lust, not love.

He was so very glad he hadn’t taken action, over this infatuation, this urge to stray.

After Graduation, as they were making their way down to meet their families, she stepped beside him and whispered in his ear, “I will miss you so very much.” Then she hurried on to meet her parents.

He stopped for a second, then moved on to meet his lovely wife, his two wonderful children.

Jerry Ericsson 12-18-2001 0:46

On Dream Diaries: I include nightmares especially... But I wont share my last nightmare, seems silly.
Mine it includes, date, a made up title, any notes about the particular dream... What happended in the dream. And sometimes little sketches of things that stick out.
Though it also seemed to help improve my dream quality as well.

taylor 12-18-2001 0:23

Another warm day, way above freezing, all the snow we had has melted, and was sucked down by the ever thirsty soil. Sad the middle of December and the ground has yet to freeze hard. Dog came in this afternoon and tracked mud all through the house, what a welcome for the wife when she and my daughter came home from a shopping mission in Dickinson, (the nearest K-mart - Walmart only 98 miles away)

The only thing I don't like about our little eleven thousand dollar mansion is the fact that the little old lady who lived here before we bought it had chronically cold feet, so she had every inch of every floor covered with carpet. That done probably ten years ago, or thereabouts. We have already replaced the heavily worn carpet in the living room (last years Xmas present to ourselves). The fellow who layed the carpet told us that the carpet in the dining room, kitchen and bath were layed only a year before she went to the nursing home, so they have plenty of wear left in them. If we had the funds, I would tear them all out and put down some other hard floor covering, that wouldn't be such a problem for the dog when his feet are muddy.

I must go shopping one more time before the fellow in the big red coat comes down our steel chimney, must find one more thing for the wife.

I worked most of the day preparing the computer that I am giving our grand daughter for Christmas, have it almost ready, just tweaking the monitor.

I got a bit bored. In my little work shop in the back room sits the box containing the Sega Saturn game system that was shipped to me by mistake, and has yet to be claimed by the fellow who shipped. I wrote him several emails over the past three months since it's arrival, and he has yet to send the postage to send it back.

Sooooo, I took it down from the shelf, and unpacked it, hooked it to my television, and powered it up. Spent over three hours playing games, well one game that was packaged with the machine. I may send the fellow another email and see what he wants for the dang machine, it was fun. My last game machine was an Atari 2600, so this was a wonderful surprise, hell I haven't even played one of those arcade games in the game rooms since Pac man was a kid. This was great fun. Now I have emulators for Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, even Nintendo 64 but they just aren't the same as a real machine.

If I buy the stupid thing, then I will have to buy more games I guess, but they are going for a song now on Ebay, so that shouldn't be too much problem.

Another reason "not to write" I guess, there are millions of them, then when I go to bed, I mentally kick myself for not writing down that fantastic idea I had for a short story, and I don't know about you, but those ideas dissolve like sugar in a can of gas, never to surface the same way again.

See, I had nothing to say again, and I sure took up a bunch of space not saying it.

Write ON!

Jerry 12-17-2001 22:34

Teek! You're such a cutie. :oD

Heather 12-17-2001 21:51

I may have a little bit of (biting tongue) 'fun' getting all of my settings running smoothly - my old server doesn't seem to want to let us go just yet!
If anyone has a really important email that they would like to get to me a.s.a.p., please mail it to:
That's another email I have.

Thanks, friends!

Heather 12-17-2001 21:50

I put up my new email addy; I'll also send everyone on my email list my new email address just in case you have been delinquent in visiting the NB! Shame on you! :oD

Heather 12-17-2001 21:10

just wanted you to know I'm still alive.

Laura Writer's Lounge 12-17-2001 19:41


HEATHER: Mighty dust mite HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA of course, but who else could it have been.
Brilliant example on the concept of brainstorming :-D

Teekay 12-17-2001 19:30

Hey guys! Just got my cable modem plugged and perusin'.
And I thought my 56K was fast!
Sorry, Jerry, I'm making you jealous, so I'll only go on a little longer... :oD

Teek! I have no clue as to how Suzy extracted herself from said cupboard. Could it have been Mighty Dust Mite? He's not much of a favourite, as far as super-heroes go. He could have been sabotaging our wonderful efforts.
I'm still trying to come up with a formula for eradication of all dust and dirt particles within a specified infrastructure, but no far I've merely managed to eradicate the structures. Dang.
The premise being that if we eradicate dust and dirt, we have no need of Suzy, and Suzy has no need to nag. Guess we won't need Suzy if we don't have a house to muss up, either. :o)

Must go and see how fast I can download music from Morpheus!


Heather 12-17-2001 19:23


Hi All,

:-D well that was lot's of fun. I too love a bit of mystery and a riddle or three.

EDDIE: Good job figuring it out. It's easier to design a riddle than to figure it out. Mainly because the designer already has the answers.

I think that must be how you write a mystery, backwards. I might give it a try one day, when I've finished with the one I'm working on. Which is definitely not looking to be before Christmas.

OYSTER: Thanks for the wonderful praise. Though I tend to think you saw my words dressed up pretty and hanging about with other pretty words and mistook them for something better than they actually were :-). I should just shut up though and lap up the compliments :-D

Yes, they do have a 'Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul' MARY put me onto it and it is one of the books to have found a home on my bookshelf.
And if you like I can send you addresses if you want to try and sell some of your work in Australia. Just give me a run down of what they are and I'll find the appropriate source, or, if you don't have them written yet, I'll pick out a few mags and send their details and you can work the story to fit them. Just let me know.

HEATHER: Loved the third instalment of Suzie Homemaker. Damn well like to know how she got out of the laundry cupboard :-).
That bloody woman is capable of anything. Should be called Suzie troublemaker.

MEL: Great poem. (And I should know) (HAHAHHAHAHHAHA, only joking - about the I should know bit I mean, not about the real nice poem,) Great atmosphere and I think you did a wonderful job of portraying how elusive the words for that story you really want to write can be.

Mine are usually hidden in the breeze of salty seas, or crouched within the stillness of the air before a storm.
I sometimes glimpse them in red sandy desert track and in the silver light on a full moon night. They are every where and they are no where. Elusive as woodland nymphs. I try to catch them though, to pin them down for eternity with the nib of my pen, but I can only ever get their shadow.

DEBRA: Thanks :-D

Am feeling overwhelmed. Christmas looms, an unforseen presence blocking my path to creativity.
I'm also a bit overwhelmed with the AWMP book. it's like giving a kid a huge bag of mixed lollies. I just keep gazing at it and drooling, and not doing much else.

A Country Practise beckons

Teekay 12-17-2001 18:58

Oh Mel: What a wonderful story of courage! That little act could result in that teacher being fired. Good for her. Real wisdom in action. IE: When you are laughing at someone who made a mistake...what are you doing?
Christ was love....there aren't mistakes. Whew! Good message, great moral. Send it off to a magazine because the world's ready for it...especially if that teacher does not get fired!

And for those out there who belong to religions outside of Christianity. It's possible to represent many religions without throwing away the Christian belief! Just add a few more ideas to the mix.

Viv 12-17-2001 18:36

Rosemary, s'okay not to have read my whole post! I have to find them and then arrow-up to remember what I said and to whom.

As for The Christmas Story, I'm serious when I say I could lose your story. But I have a New Year's Resolution to 'get organized' (if not neat) in the New Year! So I warned everyone ... nothing until mid-January. LOL, I couldn't even find my glasses this morning!

Next to my desk, the messiest room in the house is Daughter's. And her room is nothing compared to the two brimming storerooms below in the basement. Huge piles of stuff from school that lurk in our store room drive Suzy to distraction. I found last year's recorder in one pile and a half-eaten fruit snack. Ick!

Mel, I saw Chicken Soup for a Parent's Soul the other day. Anyone know if they came out with Chicken Soup for a Writer's Soul, yet?

SYL, *grin*

Oyster 12-17-2001 16:58

Sorry, that post didn't format for easy reading as I had it.

Mel 12-17-2001 15:59

Sharing a little Christmas story I received from my sister, who received it from Daily Chicken Soup for the Soul e-mail.

Christmas Love
By Candy Chand

Every year, I promised it would be different. Each
December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful
experience. But, once again, in spite of my plans, chaos
prevailed. I had cut back on what I deemed nonessential
obligations: extensive card writing, endless baking, Martha
Stewart decorating, and, yes, even the all-American
pastime, overspending. Yet still I found myself exhausted,
unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and, of
course, the true meaning of Christmas.
My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It
was an exciting season for a six-year-old, filled with
hopes, dreams and laughter. For weeks, he'd been
memorizing songs for his school's upcoming Winter Pageant.
I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be working the
night of the production. Not willing to miss his shining
moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there'd
be a dress rehearsal in the morning, and that all parents
unable to attend the evening presentation were welcome to
enjoy it then. Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the
So, just as I promised, I filed in ten minutes early,
found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. When I
looked around the room, I saw a handful of parents quietly
scampering to their seats. I began to wonder why they,
too, were attending a dress rehearsal, but chalked it up to
the chaotic schedules of modern family life.
As I waited, the students were led into the building.
Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat crossed-
legged on the floor. The children would become members of
the audience as each group, one by one, rose to perform
their song. Because the public school system had long
stopped referring to the holiday as "Christmas," I didn't
expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment.
The Winter Pageant was filled with songs of reindeer, Santa
Claus, snowflakes and good cheer. The melodies were fun,
cute and lighthearted. But nowhere to be found was even
the hint of an innocent babe, a manger, or Christ's
precious, sacred gifts of life, hope and joy.
When my son's class rose to sing "Christmas Love," I
was slightly taken aback by its bold title. However,
within moments, I settled in to watch them proudly begin
their number. Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his
classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters and
bright snowcaps upon their heads. Those in the front row,
center stage, held up large letters, one by one, to spell
out the title of the song. As the class would sing "C is
for Christmas," a child would hold up the letter C. Then,
"H is for Happy," and on and on, until each child holding
up his or her portion had presented the complete message,
"Christmas Love."
The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we
noticed her, a small, quiet girl in the front row holding
the letter M, upside-down! She was entirely unaware that
reversed, her letter M appeared as a W. She fidgeted from
side to side, until she had moved away from her mark
entirely. The audience of children snickered at this
little one's mistake. In her innocence, she had no idea
they were laughing at her and stood tall, proudly holding
her W.
You can only imagine the difficulty in calming an
audience of young, giggling children. Although many
teachers tried to shush them, the laughter continued. It
continued that is, until the moment the last letter was
raised, and we all saw it together. A hush came over the
audience and eyes began to widen. In that instant, we
finally understood the reason we were there, why we
celebrated in the first place, why even in the chaos, there
was a purpose for our festivities. For, when the last
letter was held high, the message read loud and clear,
"CHRIST WAS LOVE." And, I believe, He still is.

Mel Link 12-17-2001 15:58

Now we all know I posted without reading Oyster's whole post.

I've sent the story to a few people. Maybe I'll post a bit after they've had time to digest it.

So long for now. Again.

Rosemary again 12-17-2001 12:40

Greetings All :)

Oyster - you are most welcome. I also discovered that having something published in hard copy helped add weight to my stance. I can't get something published if I don't have the time to write -- and edit -- and edit some more. A small check helped too. :)

One thing I discovered about nightmares, a lot of times they come back. I took to writing about them in my journal. The pain and fear was there in the writing, but once completed, it no longer had me in its grip. It also helps to have these emotions recorded for future use. I get to a scene where I need that intensity and I can go back and pull back into my memory much easier.

I'm so glad you confessed to your piles of papers in your office! I don't feel so bad now. I'm not alone. "It's more common than you know dear. I promise to clean it up next week, just don't go in there now." hehehe

Jerry - we're also having a hard time keeping snow on the ground. We had twelve inches with the one storm but now its all gone. Today is above freezing again. While there is some snow in the forecast, none of it sounds like much more than a dusting.

Off to do some writing now. I have to get the rest of the Christmas shopping done today, gifts wrapped and a package ready for mailing. I'm pushing my time limits again. This lack of snow is really affecting my enthusiasm and sense of reality.

Have a great day everyone!

Carol 12-17-2001 12:34

I would love to send you Gimpy's Rebellion. I'll need your e-mail address. Also what wordprocessor you use. I have WordPerfect 8 and Word 2000. We should be able to find a common area. Or, I'll just copy it into the e-message.
My address is below if you don't want to put yours on the board.

Later all and I really appreciate the interest.

Rosemary 12-17-2001 12:33


I have to say you never cease to amaze me, for that I have to thank you!

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Debra 12-17-2001 12:13

Hi Everyone!

Rob: Hello and welcome, it helps me feel less like a neophyte when someone new comes! The Rite of Writing seems to be contagious around here.

Carol: Oppression by Jealousy. I like that one. You gave me words to describe a pheonomenon many writing friends describe. My husband, kids and friends turned various shades of green as they all realized that what Rob called the 'solitude' of writing, was turning me into a major introvert. Not only jealous of the time, but the need to write, the process of writing, my family found little ways to sabotage my writing time. And my friends clamoured to 'help' while at the same time chastising me for my need for solitude.

Finally, because I could, I submitted a piece to a Mother's Anthology and it was published. Now when they're feeling a little like Mom writes too much, the kids have this published story about them to read. And they do. And they trot out the book with my piece in it to show their friends.
This also helped dispel the fact that I hadn't published anything under my own name for them to read.

Every once in a while, I will read aloud something I'm working on. I believe it's something about feeling 'included' that helps my loved ones feel a part of the process rather than excluded from it that's given me space.

And now, in anticipation of a good story, they leave me alone to write! For the time being, anyway.

Taylor: I love the idea of a Dream Diary! I have friends who keep them and this is their journey of writing. Last night I had a frightening dream, and even thinking about it, let alone writing it down, totally terrifies me. Does a Dream Diary have to include nightmares, too?

Teekay!: Eddie Got It? That brilliant poet is you? Wow! Wow! So, are you saving those polished pearls and putting them in a chapbook called, um, something? *sigh* Teekay, I want to write poetry like you do, but ...
Thanks for the mystery. A story has been bouncing around since you started posting those anonymous pearls. Kind of a Cyrano De B. think-thing. Hmmm.

Rosemary: I would love to read your story. I'm a big kid when it comes to Christmas Stories. My kids are little adults now, Daughter put on her Christmas list: Clothes, makeup, clothes, makeup ... and she's nine!

However, my piles of mess in my downstairs office are growing, and I'm afraid I'd lose your story! Last week I lost a whole chapter I'm supposed to be 'giving a read'. I did find it, under a pile of notes and some stuff the kids wrote and drew that ended up on my desk somehow. I have to print off stuff to really read it. Could you, would you, consider putting a paragraph from the Christmas story in the Notebook here? Just a tease-taste? Teekay got me going on mysteries, can you tell?

Tina What kind of gifts do you make for Christmas? I LOVE making Suzy green. Then she goes off in a huff while I go downstairs and write! Hee hee hee, I'm discovering more ways to send Suzy away than I thought possible!

LOTR - Lord of the Rings! That book (and I'm told Tolkien originally wrote it as one book) saved my life in High School. Serious Fantasy was not all that available in the local library, but the wait between each portion of Tolkien's treasure was almost unbearable at times! Escaping to a land far away was better than dealing with the reality of school.

Mel: Chocolate, Yum! Turtles (my fave, too, Jerry), Ferrari-Rockets, Moirs, Black Magic, Almond Roca, and the list goes on. My favourite part of the grocery store during Christmas is the long aisle where all the chocolates are displayed. Usually I get them for teachers at school as Christmas gifts, but this year I'm buying a box just for 'us' and hiding it! From me, even! I ate all the leftover Halloween chocolate bars this year and I'm afraid I'll turn into a big chocolate myself.

Mel, have you read "Chocolate is a Vegetable?" or any of the Dianne Mott books? I love those because there is chocolate and food in the mystery. And sometimes a few recipes I can even afford to make!

Alleycats scream ... Mel, that was a fabulous mind-picture! They do, they do! Fortunately our neighbourhood 'alleycats' stay indoors at night for the winter but I imagine with our current chinook, a few of the wandering cats of our neighbourhood will be out and screaming this evening.

In fact, Mel, those two words would inspire me to write poetry ... if I could.

Have I missed anyone?

Eddie: Congratulations on figuring out who Mysterious Poet is!

Off to write now. I will post a paragraph or two on the Bwitch after I do more research. Miles to go before I sleep, and today is two-fer day. Two kids for the price of one, and the price is I get to listen to two girls yammering excitedly on and on and on about playground politics.

But after last night's nightmare, I'm glad they're alive and well enough to yammer!

Oyster 12-17-2001 11:43

Morning people,

It's a beautiful bright day here for a change. While my nephew visited on Saturday, it rained all day. Planning is useless. We did get to go see the Harry Potter Movie. I loved it but we sat on the fifth row and everything was super big and loud!!! Now, I want an owl.

you do the greatest poems. This latest one is sad but wonderful at the same time.
My Christmas story is on its way to you.

It's flying toward you as we speak. Enjoy.

Gotta go do stuff,
Have a great day all,

Rosemary 12-17-2001 11:12

ROSEMARY: Send me your Christmas story! I'll share it with my kids and report back. :-)

Mel 12-17-2001 9:07


A dreary December day
and, still, my muse searches
for an elusive phrase.
Bundled in overcoat,
she trundles through alleyways,
upturning empty bottles with a toe.

Alleycats scream,
and the rain trickles down
lonely gutters; ramshackled
lean-to's amid garbage cans
yield priceless stories.

Yet the one phrase,
the only right words
lay hiding
in a rainbow mist
of automobile fuel
on sullen pavement.

And my muse sifts the dirt
through her fingers.

And she's taking too long!!! :-/

TEEKAY, you are such a troublemaker! Now you're inspiring strange prose. :-) (And I wonder how many more vertically-challenged muses are sipping your tea, heh heh!)

ROB: WELCOME! Pull up a pen and write us a few lines. Genre is your choice, ours to guess, if you don't want to reveal all. :-) Or just chat a bit - tell us about life with your muse.

TAYLOR: A dream diary is a good idea... I usually only make notes on the ones that immediately feel like a lurking story. Perhaps the bits and pieces of unreality might fit into a bigger story-puzzle? :-)

Here's a good one. Last night, I dreamed I was a MAN preparing to entertain a special LADY...heh heh! Whew! Was that weird! Woke up and had to check my body parts to make sure I hadn't had a sex change operation during the night!

Oh, I think I need an influx of large quantities of CHOCOLATE!

TINA & Other LOTR Fans: Rumors are there'll be sneak previews Tuesday night at select theaters...oh, to be in the right town at the right time! :-) "One ring to bring them all..." I'm coming, I'm coming! :-D

The very best of writing inspirations today to you all!!! :-]

Mel 12-17-2001 9:03

Rob, Hello and welcome! What do you write?

Rosemary, hello fellow lurker. :-D I'd love to read your story!

I wish I could say that I've been creating reams of words, oodles of sentences, a plethora of paragraphs, but alas I can not. Too much Christmas stuff to do. We make most of the gifts we give, and somehow despite the best of intentions and planning, it always comes down to the crunch.
We picked up a tree today, so tomorrow we decorate. Yay! I absolutely loving decorating the house and tree.

LOTR in 3 days! They're pre-selling the tickets, and Wednesday is already sold out at our local theatre. Guess I'm not going on Wednesday.


Tina 12-17-2001 2:42






In what could very easily be the words of the immortal Goofy:
"Gwarsh sakes Mickey are yer ears on too tight?"

12-17-2001 1:45

Jerry: I keep a dream diary now, into my second book

My dreams never seem to make sense, until it like fits into another dream or so... Or unless the dreams intertwine with whats going on in the world.
But sometimes my dreams are vivid... sometimes they are foggy.
I also use to dream in like kind of a greyish colour, but it wasnt what I would call a colour
Recently I have been dreaming in colour and much more vividness, and much more confusing.
I just love chatting about dreams

Mystery Poet, Mystery Poet... Step forth and own your own words, let not another person take your credit. Emerge from the dark shroud that cloaks the real you.

Welcome to this forum... Its always nice to set eyes on a new person... Have a look around enter our domain and sit down a spell

taylor 12-17-2001 0:51

Rob - always good to have some new blood, welcome.

The sun was bright today, cleaning all the snow from the streets yet again. There are still some white spots where the sun never reached, so if you look in the right direction, you might see a white Christmas.

Funny, up here we all curse the snow, yet if there isn't a white Christmas, it just doesn't seem right. This year has been so unseasonably warm, even today it was above freezing, unheard of in years past. The weatherman says we still may have a white Christmas, so we can hope.

Another great day of Pinochle, and family bonding. I knew there was a reason to move home.

I am so tired, I may just dash off to bed, seems I never get enough sleep anymore, probably the lack of those damn pills, but I refuse to give in, not yet anyhow.

The good thing is that my dreams are coming much more brilliant, living color again, and so realistic, yet they make little sense; I guess most dreams don't make sense, yet at times they are so linear, in fact many of my short stories are fresh from the dream world.

Spell checkers, at this site, I use an add-on program called Hot Lingo. It works with any site where there is a box like this one. It is share ware, but doesn't have a time limit, so you can use it forever, for free but it is nice to pay the folks, it is a great little program.

It works with most words, but I am having a hell of a time convincing it that Ericsson is not spelled Erickson. This has been a sore point with me for many a year.

I recall one day when I was young, still serving in the Army. My First Sergeant, who wrote the duty roster refused to spell my last name correctly, I called him on it the first time, and was told that he would spell my name any God Damn way he wanted. The next three weeks found my name on the roster much more regularly then it should have, in fact I was doing more damn guard duty then anyone in the Company.

Being young and dumb, I kept complaining, every time I complained, my name became much more regular then ever.

At long last it dawned on me that the more I complained the worse things got, so I stopped complaining, and my name became less published, the guard duty (all night after you worked the day before) became less and less, but the spelling never improved. At long last, I saw the First Sergeant in the orderly room one day, and told him that if my name appeared on the duty roster misspelled one more time, I would not show for Guard duty, at which time the First Sergeant explained in no uncertain terms what would become of me should I fail to show, the term "Permanent Arms Room Guard" was used sometime during the ass chewing, but the next time my name appeared, it was indeed spelled correctly.

Jerry 12-16-2001 23:49

Hello Rob -- pull up a chair and fill your heart with joy.

Mystery Poet - should we continue to call you a mystery? Use your real name? Or can we just call for more wonderful verse?

Carol 12-16-2001 22:57







12-16-2001 20:47

Hello Rob,
Welcome, Write.....and you shall receive!


Eddie 12-16-2001 19:46

Hello there.
I am a newbie here. I would like to join this forum. As you all know, being a writer is a solitary thing so any chance I have of communicating with like-souled people brings my heart joy.
Nice to meet you all.

Rob Charron n/a 12-16-2001 19:22

Each and every
Doorway has it’s key to fit
Don’t think that you can,
Instead, use any in place of it.
Each piece of the puzzle

Graces it’s own space, and
Only when you know this will
The answer take its place

It isn’t very difficult, at least, it needn’t be,
Though ‘tis said there’s none so blind, as those who will not see.


You need to look within the words
And heed what it is they mean
You can’t take it at face value, but must

Explore the in between.
Don’t hazard guesses left and right
Don’t makes stabs in the dark
I know of one who reads within,
Elucidates this poetry lark


12-16-2001 18:00

Greetings All :)

Where to start? It's been so many days since I've posted, so many posts to comment on ... .

First, I should be thankful that I'm online at all. My computer went down. No explanation. Just no picture on the monitor and none of the troubleshooting tricks worked. Luckily, I never sold my old computer and I finally got it hooked up yesterday. What a pain though! The monitor is half the size and the mouse is so loose it scrambles from corner to corner without any help from me. I never realized before how dependent I've become on the computer. However, I did do my weekly buddy work the old-fashioned way -- pen and paper. And while I didn't get as many words written in one hour, I still had something to show.

Heather - Your oppresion story -- I had a lot of fun thinking it through. The loss of one's right hand would be oppresive (for those who are right handed at least) - especially for someone who uses their hands for a living in any way.

I sat for ten minutes, trying to make a list of the things that oppress me. I had a devil of a time. Hubby no longer oppresses me in my work. He used to be jealous of the time I spent on my writing, but a long, blunt, loving conversation finally helped.

It took a while, but I finally realized it is only myself who oppresses myself. In the past, I have allowed the expectations of others to control what I did or how I felt. One day I realized that not only was I being unfair to myself, but I was also being unfair to those who loved me. They loved me for myself but I was cheating them by not being myself. Nowadays I may be more blunt than they would like, and they may think I'm quite crazy at times. But they do still love me for who I am and they are happy knowing that I am happy.

Now, I'm going to sign off before this really gets too long.

Jerry - I wish you luck with the meds. I know how rough it can be.

Rosemary - I don't have any children living here, but if you'd like to send your Christmas story my way, I'd love to read it. I owe you. :)

Teekay - for whatever reason, you have been in the back of my mind for our mystery poet as well. :)

Carol 12-16-2001 17:58

Greetings all, (think rough scratchy croak of a voice)

We have a Cedar tree in this part of the world that polinates in the winter and half of the population of south Texas is sick for a couple of months.

I have written a Christmas story for the first time in about five years. It has Santa, elves, trolls and stuff like that. If any of you with young children would like to have it to read to them, give me a holler. Any one else interested, same. It's almost 2,000 words, too long to put on the Notebook. I would be interested in feedback, especially the ending. It seemed the moral of the story was a little off.

Hi ya, I'm always around, just don't always have anything to say.

CAROL and Mary,
Good grief, if those different types of police were real, my house would be crowded all the time. With all of them. Would probably be an improvement if Suzy would move in. Don't think she's ever been here.

The thought of all those poor old and sick people forced to watch horrible daytime and weekend programs made me really thankful for the battery charger my sister got for me.

Going to try to catch up on reading the posts now.

Rosemary 12-16-2001 12:50

Jerry: We just got another 'dusting' of snow last night, but all the little birds and golden instruments I hung from the cluster of branches in the pot out front 'hung in'. They didn't blow away in the wind!

Well, one bird was hanging upside down looking rather stupid, but Suzy fixed that. Couldn't have the bird showing it's wires, Suzy said with a sniff.

Eddie: Ha! Ha! YOUR bold took over the board, too! Teekay as our mystery poet, you say? Hmmm. Interesting. And since you made bold the words, I'm back to bolding names!

Viv: Hope you're feeling better. Oprah-session you say?

I heard a bit of a kafuffle about an author who refused to go on Oprah's Book Club. Apparently he made some sarcastic comment about Oprah's show, and Oprah's show withdrew the offer of an appearance, and ... well, I'd say that was the end of that writer's opporunity for free publicity. Apparently, though, the book doesn't need it.

I believe his book is called "Corrections" and a trio of writers on CBC went at it hammer and tong reviewing both 'author' and book. However, all three admitted the book was excellent, a page turner and touched on the subject of humanity through a veil of pharmeceutical corrections.

I heard the author himself on the CBC for about 2 minutes then my car was filled with squealing children. Now I'm dying to see what all the fuss was about. After I'm done here, I'm going to search out the book. Probably won't get it until January or February, but by then I'll need a good read.

*shudder* I can't think of anything scarier than appearing on National Television to 'sell the book', unless perhaps it's getting 'reviewed' both personally and for my work by a group of slightly Kermit-coloured writers!

Howard: Thanks for the virus scam alert. Sometimes I wonder why virus makers and hoax makers play on the ignorance of the not-quite-computer-savvy of the world.

Heather: The Procrastination Police? LOL! I coud use a warning for "stalled in the slow lane story". Suzy doesn't set standards on my writing anymore. She used to, but I told her that if she wanted to look at, she'd have to shut her face while I was writing and I'd let her oo and ahh (while I ewwwed and arghed) at all the 'good things' that we weren't going to do together any time soon.

Actually, this is where the Bwitch helped out. She, who loves spellcheck (the kind on the computer, not the Rede kind) and actually noted I tend to get "Paralyzed into Perfection" when I'm writing for my own self.

And working with Daughter and playing on-line poster did the rest. As I began to 'write spontaneously' I found it rather tedious to open the dictionary and correct my own, let alone everyone else's spelling gaffs. I began to read around the typos and unique spellings to get to the heart of the post.

I found it irritating and rude when other posters, in the heat of debate, picked on people's spelling rather than discussing or debating the point at hand.

Due to the fact that very few message boards or discussion groups (except CBC's) come with spellcheck options, people who actually do have post-secondary educations make little boo-boos in the heat of writing.

Interestingly my spelling sucks so badly lately I feel like feeding it a lollipop. Yet, the descriptions and colours flow. Bwitch likes to see my boo-boos. She says I can now put away my t-shirt that says "How do you spell Anal Retentive?"

Daughter, who has created her own unique phonetic-based language (which occasionally she cannot even read), actually writes exciting stories! I 'edited' her soon-to-be-submitted-for-marks short story for Language Arts (formerly known as English) and realized with a smile that spelling can be corrected in the 'good' draft. She's still struggling with printing out the 'good copy', and will be getting a ticket from the Procrastination Police soon.

Thanks Heather, now I have a whole image after that rather cool Grammar Police post Mary (?) made a while back.

Since we're going to dinner at a friend's who 'cooks creatively' in ways that, um fail to tantalize the palate, I promised the kids I'd make a veggie plate to go with dinner. Peppers to de-seed, carrots to peel and slice, Broccoli florettes to minimize and dip to fix. I ignored Suzy and bought dip. I took one taste and had to give Suzy credit ... it needs fixing that dip. Even low fat dip should not taste like ranch-flavoured s*it!

It's still 10 days until Christmas, isn't it? It better be, I still have some gifts to buy and wrap!

Oh, and it is officially 9:50 Cowtown-time, regardless of what the time on this post says!

Oyster 12-16-2001 11:49

I like that last typo. Definitely Oprah-ession. An afternoon sick in bed and only Oprah is on. Your remote won't work and you are too sick with a headache and flu to move. Yup, that's Oprah-ession. Worse...Judge Judy comes on after Oprah. That's enough to make me go volunteer to replace all batteries in remote controls in every nursing home in the nation!
Now bed.

Viv 12-16-2001 8:44

I am still guessing as to the name of our mystery poet. It could be Howard, but I haven't the time to pull out one of the poems and really give it a good going over with a prosedy book at my side.

If it's a newbie....WELCOME! You and Howard can astound us. Heather is a good hand at poetry as well. I'm planning to play with it if I end up not working.

Howard: Good luck with NYS schools. I've worked my kids up so they can teach me math as well. It's nice to have your own kids giving you help and support. Best wishes to your efforts. I'll be following your lead if I have the courage when I get back to the States. I have to get a teaching license as well! Never studied teaching...just fell into it by mistake and stayed. I think I really could use a lot of study but every time I teach I learn more that can help! It's fun but I'm not sure I like schools. I like the teaching but I don't think much of gradebooks and rules. They tend to drive off the creative kids. Think of the engineer they lost in your story about the car. Rebuilding a transmission is intricate and takes a lot of skill.

I'm more apt to be the type to pass, and drive a car at 40 mph into someone's bumper to get it "Jump started".

Bed. Early start tomorrow. Last week before vacation. Whew! I want to do a shortie. Oppression...Oppressive. Hummmmm. Bed. 5:30 wake up call. Opression.

Viv 12-16-2001 8:41

Virus hoax alert!
If you receive a warning from someone saying that they may have sent you a virus called SULFNBK.EXE, check here before deleting anything:

According to the Norton folks, it's a hoax, and that file is a Microsoft Utility.

howard 12-16-2001 7:45




So...Put me on the list!

This is what should have happened.


Here is how it goes.......To me anyway..

You'll find me in every city, town and country on this earth

but never find a whisper in the briny sea.


You'll find me twice in everything

and together they must be.

E x 2

You'll find a king without me

doesn't come to much at all


And if I left the angels

they would surely fall


You'll find me in yourselves, in each and every you

for our spirits are connected in the writing that we do.





Eddie 12-16-2001 5:52


Here is how it goes.......To me anyway..

You'll find me in every city, town and country on this earth

but never find a whisper in the briny sea.


You'll find me twice in everything

and together they must be.

E x 2

You'll find a king without me

doesn't come to much at all


And if I left the angels

they would surely fall


You'll find me in yourselves, in each and every you

for our spirits are connected in the writing that we do.





Eddie 12-16-2001 5:48

To the mystery poster: That was a joke used in the movie "They Still Call me Bruce"

Oh I just love writing, I really, really do... its fun
Just had to say that.
I have decided to go all out with the story... No holding back, just not using real names and that

taylor 12-16-2001 5:41

That would be 'mouldy' rye. What wonders do typos reveal.

Heather 12-16-2001 4:07

Teekay - no need to apologize, I'm just glad you've got the book. All of those new markets - hurrah! *doing the 'I just got my new writer's market' dance for you*

jig jig shucka shucka leap leap tada!

Oyster - just for 'reference', your shortie can be late! No one will send out the procrastination police. (Or the held up from writing by Suzy policy) :oD

BTW, I actually didn't think of Suzy when I wrote my shortie - I was basically thinking that it would be truly horrible for me if I ever lost my right hand. I can deal with your interpretation, though!
"How did it happen, Miss Homemaker?"
"Well, Dr. Rusenheim, first thing that morning I was over at Oyster's house, nagging in her ear again. She and Heather and Teekay must have been in cahoots, cause the minute I left Oyster's and walked into Heather's livingroom, she grabbed me, hauled me into the kitchen, and demanded I do her dishes!"
Suzy had this indignant look spread over her face, like sour jam on a piece of mouly rye. I was nonplussed just having her in my office. I already caught her eyeing the calcium deposit on the faucets when I first came into the room, and now she was holding a white glove in her teeth, trying to pull it down over her remaining hand.
"So, what happened?" I asked, not really giving a bull's bucketful what she answered. Suzy had possessed my mother, and also my wife on one too many occasions. You wouldn't say Suzy's much of a 'people person'.
"Well," Suzy says, running a white-gloved finger over the edge of the doorframe, "That wench expected me to actually DO the dishes, can you believe it? I mean, that's not MY job!"
"So?" I'm getting impatient, wishing Suzy would find it in her heart to get lost. And leave my dust intact where it lay.
"So, she does this wacko move on me, grabs me by the arm, and then WHACK!" Suzy's eyes are as narrow as the grey matter that lay pooled in the bottom of her skull.
"Whack?" Something in me was grinning, just thinking about what must have come next.
"She lopped it off with a goddamn meat cleaver!" Suzy yelled, waggling her stump in my face. "She said it was 'For Women and other people everywhere!'! That's all she said, over and over! 'For Women and other people everywhere.' And then she just shoved me out the door, and threw my poor bloody hand onto the lawn." Suzy had finished inspecting my doorframe, and was on to the windowsills.
"Oh, that's a shame. Does this hurt?" I ask, taking a good bit of the flesh at the stump and pinching...

Have a great Sunday, and a great Monday, for those of us ahead of schedule. :oD

Heather 12-16-2001 4:05

I think the mystery poet is a newbie.

Heather 12-16-2001 2:43

Greetings all!

Well it appears we will have a white Christmas. Today was warm, the snow all melted off the streets, which is a good thing. It began to snow about 7:00 PM, the wind began to blow around 7:40, and the streets were white again by 9:00. So is everything else. There will probably be some travel advisories by morning, but what the heck, it's nearly Christmas, and it can snow for Christmas; Right?

I honestly don't have a thing to say this night. But I wanted to drop in and see how everyone was anyhow.

Good night all.

Jerry 12-16-2001 0:45


I'm sorry to hear that. Maybe you can find a substitute for the substitute.

I mean it's possible. Right?

Debra 12-15-2001 21:22

A journalist had done a story on gender roles in Kuwait several years before the Gulf War, and she noted then that women customarily walked about 10 feet behind their husbands.

She returned to Kuwait recently and observed that the men now walked several yards behind their wives.

She approached one of the women for an explanation. "This is marvelous," said the journalist. "What enabled women here to achieve this reversal of roles?"

Replied the Kuwaiti woman: "Land mines"

12-15-2001 20:40

It's not a guess. It's all revealed in the last poem.

Eddie 12-15-2001 14:38

MARY -- It's a work of fiction.

Bye-the-bye, my Christmas Trivia game tells me that in Ireland only someone named Mary can put out the church candles that were lit on Christmas eve. Since I'm not in church, I guess you needn't know if my wick is burning.

Mark 12-15-2001 12:18

Mary: did I miss Shortie Night? Did I sleep through it? It's been such a busy week, I couldn't stay up to look at the Notebook, besides, Spouse was zoning out on his computer golf game while I was snoring. Drat, I was planning to 'submit' a Bwitch Story! Next Thursday? Friday? When ARE shortie nights?

Debra: I can't make that eggnogg, even with the sugar-substitute because my grocery store doesn't carry the named egg-subsistutes. Just the real thing! So, I think I'll go with low fat Cranberry/Rasperry punch this year!

Teekay: I love those big books with all the possible publishers. I get so excited when I see new opportunities to 'query and submit'. Still, optomistic, I hit the library every February with pen and pad.

We have a huge Writer's Markets tome in the library I use, since the book is so expensive and thick only the library can afford to update it every year. It's in the reference section it can't be taken off premises and only the current year of publication, too. I wondered why this was ... then I found out!

One book, boasting "35" New Canadian Publishers attracted my attention, and I happily copied down the particulars for the publishers who interested me, about 10 of them.

LOL, so I sent queries to 5 of the 10, and guess what? The most interesting new magazines were already gone bye bye. *Groan*!

So I asked friend who is much better at market research than I am and she says "Check out the Oz magazines. They stick around longer."

So, Teekay, I'm surmising that Oz has much more staying-with-it-power than Canada. I won't 'whinge' about International Postage, because most of my stuff goes 'south' anyway. I be green like Kermit, thinking of Teekay and her big book of contacts in Oz all for her very own self.

Jerry, no matter how many boo-boos your story had, I liked it. I didn't even notice the inconsistencies. I just liked the idea that the woman didn't need another drunk in her life. And his reply that 'it's never too early for a good scotch'.

Randall, I loved the irony of Omar and Ismala; Aspirin and Carrier Pigeons indeed!

A friend who worked with the Int'l Red Cross went to Afghanistan after the Russians left.
He and a few others literally slept in the supply tent to insure that the bandages and generic acetominaphen (sp) cases weren't filched in the night.

I have to go now, the Aw(some)ful Children are awake and picking on each other. Perhaps if I feed them, they will shut up and let me get back to Bwitch's adventures as a child.

Ah, thud thud, Spouse is up. So much for an hour to myself! Chaos begins in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1... blast off!

Oyster 12-15-2001 11:36


Hi all! Just a pop-sweet hello here (no time for a pop-tart).

Eddie, I too was going to guess, as my third guess, mystery poet TEEKAY...Is it YOU, TEEKAY? 'FEss Up!

No oppressive shorties in me, right now, folks. Gotta stir together some Early American Corn Chowder for our "Christmas Crosslights" dinner-theater at church tonight. Hope I don't trip on my half-hemmed long skirt!! :-{

Gotta run. Great day everyone!

Mel 12-15-2001 8:52



Our mystery poet revealed?

Eddie 12-15-2001 5:05

Hey Mark! Who you callin' oppresive? ;-)

Mary 12-15-2001 2:23

I recall reading somewhere that the U.S. has in it's arsenal a device called the neutron bomb.

This device is capable of irradating a large area with intense radiation, killing every living thing within it's zone of destruction, yet not destroying the infrastructure.

Maybe we should consider using that in Torra Bora.

Just a thought, yes I am still mad as hell about 9/11.

Jerry 12-15-2001 0:32

Of course driving off into the sunset is a figurative term, much like the old cowboy movies where the good guy always rides his trusty steed off into the sunset after saving the ranch, getting the girl, turning down the girl, and solving the crime.

Jerry 12-15-2001 0:17

Ok, so that's what I get for writing my story in this little box.

Jerry 12-15-2001 0:16

Ok, so the sun sits very late in the morning around here in the winter, really it does. You believe me don't you? Have you ever been to the Dakota's?

Ok, well it goes down around 4 PM Mountain time here, so make it 3:30 PM and the story goes about right. Right?

Jerry 12-15-2001 0:15

Been a long day. Went to pay my internet bill, always a pleasure as I usually visit with my friend who runs the place, but today was different. He was still my friend, and we still visited, but I found that I could not think straight. I couldn't come up with simple things that I know well. Speaking of a 128 meg SDRAM, I simply couldn't think what it was, drew a blank. It continued to happen and my friend looked at me as if I were mad, or ill. Neither of which were true, or at least I don't think so.

I suspect it is some reaction to one of the many pills that I must take every day. I am attempting to get off a very addictive pain killer right now, and hopefully that is what is wrong, yet I can't be sure.

I am much better now, but it does concern me a bit. I did come up with a contributition for shorty night, and it seemed to come together fairly easy, so I haven't lost my ability to write as of yet, just a few names of a few items that's all. I hope it gets better soon, as it is embarassing to do such things, and it has never happend before. Must be the pills.

At any rate, here is my contribution, I hope you like it.

A Brief Encounter
By Jerry A G Ericsson

Wade was always a bit depressed, but nobody ever noticed. He walked through his life ignoring what was happening around him, all that he ever noticed were his feelings, his depression, his problems.

He walked into her life quite unexpectedly. She was sitting in her beat up Ford Escort, the engine running to keep the heater throwing out heat; the outside air was hovering around the zero mark. He was walking down the sidewalk, not watching where he was going, looking only at his feet. As he neared the street corner, he stepped down off the curb, intending to cross at the intersection, but her car was there. He didn’t look up, he was to concerned with what he was feeling, running over in his head, his long depression, where did it start, where will it stop. Could he stop it? He did not know. He walked on.

Then came the collision. It was not a large collision, and had she not been watching his approach, she may have missed it completely. He noticed it much the way a man notices the fly that circles his head, swatting at it unconcisously.

He stepped back and looked around. He noted the car, and then changed his angle of approach so as to go around the car, and continue his walk; all that was on his mind was his depression, and his destination, the Kokomo Inn just across the street.

If he made it to his destination, he could drown his depression in a glass of Scotch that was his way of self medicating. He didn’t believe in pills, and doctors were just for sick people, not for the depressed. He began to walk again, after setting course for the Kokomo, his head dropped, his eyes on the scuffed old loafers that protected his feet from the ice and snow of the street.

All would have continued uninterrupted, had she not opened the car door. Her intention to go inside the store and buy a pack of gum, she didn’t notice his path until he collided again with her car door.

“Excuse me.” She said, as she extended her hand to help him up off the ground.

He mumbled something undistinguishable and again started on his way.

“EXCUSE ME!” she shouted, as he walked on, watching his feet, thinking of himself and little else.

She ran after him, calling “Hey you, I am talking to you, did you hurt yourself, I am a nurse you know, I can help!”

Again he mumbled something she could not understand. She was beginning to believe that something was terribly wrong with him.

She ran after him, catching up as he was opening the door to the Kokomo Inn.

He stepped back, and bowed slightly as she approached, “After you pretty lady.” He said, and she stepped inside.

It had been years since she had entered a bar, but nothing seemed to change. There was still that distinctive smell of stale beer, and the subtle whiff of urine from the rest rooms. It took her eyes a few seconds to adjust to the dim light of the bar room, but when they had, she saw that he had already made his way to the bar, and was sitting on one of the tall shinny chrome legged bar stools.

As she sat beside him on one of the stools, she heard his first distinguishable words.

“Double scotch straight up!” he commanded the bartender in a strong authorative voice.

The bartender nodded, and turned to prepare his drink.

“A bit early to be imbibing in such a strong drink, it is only ten AM.” She said.

“Never to early for good scotch.” He replied, with a smile.

She liked his face when he smiled, and his eyes were soft, there was something there that stirred her deep down, stirred her as she hadn’t been stirred in a very long time.

The bartender returned with a tall glass filled over half way with an amber colored liquor.

He picked up the glass from the bar and drank it down in one gulp. His face didn’t change, it was as if he were drinking milk, or water.

She watched.

He turned to her, “So why did you follow me here?”

“Just wanted to be sure you didn’t hurt yourself when you fell.”

“Fell? I fell?”

“Why yes, just a few minutes ago, when you ran into my car.”

“I ran into your car?”

“Why do I get the feeling I am the only one in here that knows what is going on?” She said, a look of disgust fell upon her face. She stepped down from the stool and began to walk to the door.

“Sure, just go, leave, don’t keep me company, hell I didn’t want your company anyhow!”

She turned and looked into his eyes, gone was the look of softness, kindness, compassion. In its place was hatred, despair, evil.

She walked out the door, and as she returned to her car she thought “well enough of that, I don’t need another drunk in my life!”

He stayed in the bar and drank his sorrows away; she drove off into the sunset.

Jerry Ericsson 12-15-2001 0:08

** Oppression **
"Write a list." She didn't really say write a list, did she? Oppressive bitch. She might as well say, "Eat what's on the table or go to bed hungry." Lists. I've been stumbling over spike-pointed lists since I was 10 years old. My mother would give me a list when I'd go to the store to get one item.

The psychological issues of "List" came into play in Texas in the early days of my recovery. My sponsor told me one day to make a Gratitude List. All the happy alcoholics in Houston echoed the same refrain: "You can't be hateful and grateful at the same time." I knew I wanted something my sponsor had, and I knew all those happy people had something that had gone right for them, but I still couldn't get started. Sponsor said, "Here. Number your paper from 1 to 20. Now in Number 1 put, 'I'm grateful to have a pencil to write with.' In Number 2 put, 'I'm grateful to have paper.'"

I got that 20-item list made out. It put a lump in my throat to think I needed that much help. I nearly cried thinking how lucky I was to have someone around who cared enough to make me take such baby steps -- and pay attention to them. I did feel better. I got positive reinforcement from the experience. Somehow I also increased my disregard for list-makers. I learned to be grateful for everyday experiences and to value each one separately from the day's top-ten. A little distance from the experience and I also came to see the Gratitude List as a manipulative tool in the positive-reinforcer's bag of tricks.

It worked, and I'm grateful, but having worked once, I am wary of being manipulated again.

Mark 12-14-2001 21:52


RANDALL: Absolutely delightful. Curled my toes in glee at another Omar edition. Hope you don't mind if I pass it along to a few friends, with your moniker attached of course.
Let me know if you don't want me to, but you'd better be quick.
Seems a shame to let it drift into the netherlands of the archives without sharing it around.

The flag one was brilliant too, one of my favourites. If anybody hasn't read RANDALL's post of where the Taliban get all their American flags to burn, do your self a favour and take a look.

((((((((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))))))) to all who need them.
*~**~*~**~**~***~**~**~*~**~*~**~*~*~ inspiration to all who desires it.
*smacks* to whoever deserves one.

I am feeling wonderful. At last, at last my long awaited 'Australian writer's marketplace' book has arrived, and by golly, isn't it thick.
So I was whinging in your ear for nought yesterday HEATHER :-)

Never did I think there was such a wide range of markets and so many options.

Now, where's my trusty pen?

Teekay 12-14-2001 21:45

I'm sorry! :-))) Sometimes I crack myself up!!!


Randall 12-14-2001 20:59


To deduce the poet lurker, eliminate the inconsequential, whoever remains, however improbable...sans poet! (Sherlock Holmes) Eh? Tain't me! And with his permission...nor Americo. Probably female would be my guess. But then what do I know? I thought I was a writer...once.

Ring, ring.

"Omar's specialty store, you need it we got it."

"Hey Omar, what's happening dude. It's Islama."

"Islama? That Islama?"

"Yea bro, it's me."

"No way Jose! Islama is fighting the infidel invaders in Tora Bora land."

"No it's me Omar. Say I need to place an order...."


"Islama? Islama, it is you!"

Seconds pass..."Islama? Islama?"

Sounds of coughing. "Okay, by the grace of Allah, we're still here. Say my friend, we need a few items to help defeat the infidel American invaders."

"You just let me know Islama. We will all do our part to defeat the infidels. What do you need?"

"Omar we need..."


Heavy coughing...falling debris sounds. Gasping, wheezing. "Omar, got a pencil handy?"

"As sure as Allah is on our side. May the Americans burn in Allah's fire."

"Omar we need a case of aspirin, at least 2000, 500 milligram tablets. Capsules, as they are easer to swallow without water..."


Crashing sounds, men coughing. "And a thousand dust masks that filter down to 5 microns, several gallons of eye and mouth wash, a thousand sleeping pills, one bar of soap... (aside) What? What's that? Okay...and a bag of feed for Tulebom's camel. Stupid thing always underfoot...."


The sound of men coughing, debris falling. In the background someone is heard to say. "Jesus H. Christ that was close!!!"

Another voice. "Knocking on heavens door boys!"

"Oh yes Omar, better throw in a couple thousand ear plugs. Omar, do you have any carrier pigeons?"

"Pigeons, Islama? How will that help our holy soldiers defeat the infidel American and British war dogs?"


Loud coughing, men cursing, debris falling...Someone screams. "Get that stupid camel off my foot! Nothing is worth this! First we have to smell the cursed thing, then step in his you-know-what in the middle of the night, and now the 2 ton, 4-footed infidel is standing on my foot!"

"Ah, beats me Omar. Just as soon as we disconnect I'm throwing the frigging cell phone away. Something tells me the Americans are listening in on my calls! We'll let the pigeons relay our messages."

"Islama, that is truly inspirational thinking. With your guidance and Allah's might we will throw the infidels out of our land!"

"Omar, in Allah's name deliver that to cave complex, Allah's Breath in the heart of Tora Bora. You were here last year, remember?"

Looooooooooong pause. Dead silence............

"Who is this? And Omar's specialty store does not deliver. Good day!"


Night all


Randall 12-14-2001 20:48

You'll find me in every city, town and country on this earth
but never find a whisper in the briny sea.

You'll find me twice in everything
and together they must be.

You'll find a king without me
doesn't come to much at all

And if I left the angels
they would surely fall

You'll find me in yourselves, in each and every you
for our spirits are connected in the writing that we do.

12-14-2001 19:11

Heather, oppression
Echoes in your prose from every
The shroud of death first closing in, the burden of
Her physical body and family and friends first physically, then vocally and at the
End, the
Realisation that her dream may be forever opressed.

12-14-2001 18:51

This mysterious poet is quite interesting. The poetry is great, and a little biting. I love it!

I have no clue who it is. I hesitate to hazard a guess. There are many of the named people among us who have great talent and ability, but none of you really comes to mind as I read. If it one of us, someone has long been hiding his or her light under a bushel.

Whoever you are, master poet, you have enriched the Notebook and made it far more interesting with your poetry and the mystery you have presented.

Could you be THE OLD MAN? And what has happened to T.O.M.?


Is it you? I have always suspected you were full of surprises.

The only others who come to mind are RACHEL and HEATHER (I don't know why I am convinced a woman wrote all of this).

Rhoda 12-14-2001 18:21


I'll tell you what, you could try it and let everyone know how it tasted.

I don't like sugar subsititutes. I really don't. I don't trust them.

There are plenty of people who do like them. So I say if you're one of those people you should try it.

Let me know.

It's not my recipe. I saw it on the Today Show and just had to have it. Two people on the show said they know good eggnog when they taste it. They tried it and loved it. So......!

I posted it here, because I wanted to share it with my NB friends.

Let me know, we'll all find out together.

Debra 12-14-2001 17:03


I liked your eggnog recipe, and wondered if I could substitute 1/2 a box of Arf-it-icial Sweet(not)ner for Icing Sugar??? Then I could kill two no-longer-laying Birds with one ladle ... fat-free and reduced sugar!


Aw, too bad, no poetry?

Ho, ho, ho, Where is JackSquatch?

Oh, and Sasquatch? Even though Sasquatches don't wear pants, it might not be a bad idea to find something bright to wear in the winter. That way the hunters with guns will think you're one of them.

Anyone care to share the cost and and we can send Sasquatch a hunter's vest for Winter time in Yeti-land? They do come in X-X-X large now!

Oyster 12-14-2001 16:51


12-14-2001 16:51

For anyone who stopped drinking eggnog because it was too heave.

From: Elizabeth's kitchen

While traditional eggnogs pack in up to 19 grams of fat (that's almost 5 teaspoons of fat, and most of it is saturated!), this recipe is fat- and cholesterol-free. It also has less than half the calories. Besides that -- it is absolutely delicious! (You can make non-alcoholic version using brandy or rum extract in place of the liquor.)

Use the egg substitute listed, since this is the only egg substitute found where manufacturer guaranteed safety using their product uncooked.

1 1/2 cups Pipette Foods Better'n Eggs substitute (1 1/2 small cartons)
1/2 box powdered sugar
1 cup dark rum
4 cups fat-free half and half
5 large egg whites
Freshly ground nutmeg

In a large bowl, whip egg substitute for one minute. Gradually add sugar. Gradually add rum. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.

Add half & half, beating constantly with electric mixer. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours.

In a medium bowl, whip egg whites until they form stiff peaks, but are not dry. Gently fold egg whites into egg mixture.

Serve eggnog sprinkled with nutmeg. Makes 20 servings (approximately 3 ounces)

Nutrition Information per serving: 122 calories, 5 percent fat (<1 gram), 56 percent carbohydrate, 16 percent protein, 23 percent alcohol, 47 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol.

Debra 12-14-2001 16:31


? ? ? ? ? ? ? WHERE IS OUR FATHER CHRISTMAS ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

12-14-2001 15:13


Sorry, not me! Poet I am not. But I will answer the poets plea.
Just put all woes aside
and try to fly.

Eddie 12-14-2001 14:58

howard person thank to you for the explaining of jump starting but sasquatch never went in any car so i would not know about that. what i sasquatch do remember about is one time when i am careless and humans person sees sasquatch. humans person has what you call gun and there is a very loud noise and a sound near sasquatch ear like one bee is angry when sasquatch find sweet food in tree. sasquatch jump all right, and does what humans persons sometimes tell when frightened but sasquatch does not wear you call pants. i must go.

sasquatch 12-14-2001 11:53

Hi All,

I figured I'd 'drop in' before starting the myriad and sundry Suzy-inspired chores I must do. She's ba-ack. She took over the last bit of decorating the tree last night. I want her to go away because now she's nagging me to 'Remember when this home was really clean and neat?' I shot back 'Remember what I wrote like back then?'

Of course Suzy always has to have the last word.
'Yes, I do. But you can't eat a short story and a novel will not keep germs away.'

And on that ... Heather (hee-hee) would it, could it, be that your Oppression Character (beautifully and chillingly done, by the way) be some semblance of Suzy? Without a hand, how could Suzy survive?

So, if you didn't kill off Suzy, Heather, I'm reading it as you at least cut off one of her hands. Taking great vicarious pleasure in Suzy's near-death-experience, I feel no pity for her. Yet, Heather, having had a few those 'experiences' you described so deeply and with such colour and metaphor, myself, I can almost feel empathy of Oh Oppressed One.

However, Suzy is nagging again.

So Bwitch is stalled
and I'm appalled
by arresting in mid-muse.

But this is the way
my poetry goes,
in case others
are confused.

It sucks big time
to think in rhyme
poetry not a thing

Flunking verse,
it could have been
my name could be
A. A. Kline!

Mel: Okay, once upon a time I did 'writing analysis' as a part of an 'investigation' and Jerry will understand why I can't and won't elaborate. Suffice it to say, I've been doing 'deep reading' since I was a child. Catching the author's voice underneath the 'work'. So, as usual, my generous heart went out to a 'recipient' of a nasty type and I put my brain to work. Yes, the nasty-person was nabbed and I was sworn to secrecy.

Plus, I'm seriously thinking of doing unto others, as has been done unto to me, and swiping that poetry. I believe it is called plagarism, or stealing. If Anon-poet keeps printing that poetry, I can cut n' paste and probably have a chapbook ready for a couple of publishers ready in no time.

But ... it behooves me to actually steal. I am basically an honest person. Get thee behind me, you-know-who!

So, Anonymous Poet, since you will not 'out' yourself, here are my guesses.

You could be Eddie, because Eddie seems to have a deep insight to the dynamics and mechanics, personalities and peculiarities of the board and I suspect, a fine and wry, but also ironic sense of humour.

Almost every writer loves a mystery, and I'm no exception. However, after this post, I'm going to simply read and drool as Anon-poet, for whatever reasons, has chosen to post anonymously.

And there was that little confounding communique to Americo via Eddie recently! Hmm, that one made me wonder a bit, was Eddie talking to himself, I mused?

You, Anon-poet, could also be Americo because the polish on your poetry, spontaneously erudite and metaphorically eclectic as it is, is also hard as crystal and equally as brilliantly multi-faceted. There is absolutely no compromise, no whimsy in it, which lets out our more verbacious posters, myself included.

Each poem refracts and reflects at the same time, and the meter is highly intellectual, intelligent and the topic cynical. I'm reminded of a coldly beautiful blue-white diamond, that unless the setting softens it, will burn the eyes and absorb rather than twinkle with rainbows of colours.

Or Jon, whoever he/she is, since I've never heard his/her/it's voice, could be the Unknown Author.

What or whoever Anon-Poet is (and I'm not ruling out phantoms of the ethereal kind, either) he/she/they have been reading and taking bits and pieces from our words. Additionally, whoever you are, your poetry is 'up there' with several professional poets I've had the privilege of reading.

There is one more possibility, and I cringe to think of this ... Spouse writes poetry. But his style is lighter and certainly not as urbane as Anon-poet's. And Spouse would take credit ... yes, definitely take credit.

Thanks Heather, for understanding my conflummoxed state. Conflummoxed is not a real word. I like it because as I read recently, there are 'words for the lips' and conflummoxed is one of mine ... 'for the lips'.

Later, later, Suzy is pulling my arm and insisting all the good stuff will be gone if I don't get to the grocery store soon! As IF!

Oyster-no-poetry 12-14-2001 11:15

Taylor - that reminds me of the punishment I figured out many years ago when I was in my sophomore year of high school. You see, my cousin Kenny was living with us, as he had gotten in trouble in his school in Bison and was expelled. Now that should have told me to be careful, but Kenny and I were best of friends, we drank together, we chased the girls together, hell we did everything together and having him live in our house was great for me.

At any rate, one night we were out cruising for gals, when one of the guys we ran around with wanted to see how much rubber Kenny could lay with his black and white 59 Chevy Impale. Well Kenny punched it, and lay a patch of rubber about a half a block long. Then to make it even better, he spun the big car around and lay another patch in the other lane, well that was the plan, but when he punched it the torque converter let go in the automatic transmission, and we just sat there, the engine revving.

So this buddy of ours pushed the car up to my uncle's mechanic shop, the one he had closed when he went back to work for the John Deer implement dealer. That night, we went to the midnight auto supply (junk dealer in town) and requisitioned (stold) a torque converter out of a junk car. The next day being Monday, we cut school and went to that shop and began pulling the transmission. It was dirty work, and took all day just to get the blasted thing out, what with the two of us amateur mechanics working under that old boat of a car. Our lunch break we went up to the bakery and got a couple of pastry, then went to the laundry mat and with pennies we had filed down to the size of dimes, got a couple bottles of Mountain Dew. Then it was back to the shop and work. At the end of the day, we had the transmission out, and the torque converter in place. The next day we went back to the shop, again cutting school, and put the transmission back in. We took it for a test drive and all seemed well.

Kenney was good at forgery, and he forged my dad's signature on an excuse for school and we were in like Flint. We got our assignments and did the make up work.

Well it wasn't a week before he tore that torque converter out again, and we repeated the process one more time. This time, though the principal decided that we were just to sick to often, so he called my dad to ask about our illness. Well dad, not wanting to get us in trouble, said he would call back in a few minutes, then went out to look for us. We just happened to be taking our lunch break about that time, and were eating our pastry and drinking our Mountain Dew that we got with filed down pennies, when we saw my dad's car drive down the Main Street. He saw us at the same time, and we ran, dodging through alleys, cutting in-between buildings and such. Well dad got a bit pissed off, so he went back home and called the school, told them that we weren't sick, but skipping school. Then they asked him about the week before, and he told them we must have been skipping then too.

Now that night, all dad said was the Mr. Zimmer wanted us both in his office in the morning.

We were terrified, well I was terrified, Kenney, having been expelled from school before wasn't all that worried.

The next morning, we showed up in Mr. Zimmer's office. Now Mr. Zimmer was known as "Chrome Dome" due to the total lack of hair on his head, and he ran that school as if it were his Army Platoon. He was, in fact an officer in the National Guard. When we entered his office, we had to stand at attention, while he read us the riot act. Then came the punishment: We had a choice, we could 1) take detention study hall for the rest of the school year.( This was in September, that meant most of the school year!) or 2) Drop out of school for the year and come back next year to try again.

I took the detention, which meant I spent an extra hour after school in a highly supervised study hall.

Kenny dropped out, which was probably a good thing for me, as when he left, so did my urge to get into trouble.

At any rate, getting back to the punishment, no, I don't think he should be sentenced to detention study hall, but before Kenny moved home, we discussed the best punishment for the much hated Chrome Dome, and my plan won.

My plan was much like yours, we should hang the bastard by his heals, then feed him nothing but X-Lax for a couple of weeks. That would be a punishment now wouldn't it.

A side note, back in 1976, I ran into Chrome Dome, well Major Chrome Dome in DC. He was stationed at the Pentagon, and I met him in a hall one day when I was going to destroy classified documents at the Pentagon. He took me out for lunch, and we had a very nice visit. He didn't mention the little incident of skipping school, he was just happy to see another Lemmonite so far from home. He was serving as the National Guard liaison for the Pentagon, a cushy assignment if I ever saw one.

Jerry Ericsson 12-14-2001 10:27

Oh, fiddle-fish! Make that second "is" an "it" as in Is it you? 'Fess up! Mystery Poet...

Mel 12-14-2001 9:37


G'Morning, all...Am home today, awaiting--

Awaiting doctor appointment...
Awaiting holiday festivities at church tomorrow eve...
Awaiting noise of children returning from school, later...
Awaiting Ms. Musey to sort new ideas recently arriving as like Tolkienish dwarves to a hobbit's tea party, one by one by one...will they be the ideas to restart my novel? Will they strengthen the middle plot? Will they bring the ending smoothly crisp, as a tied shoelace or a jello mold, frozen?

Awaiting the unknown poet here to reveal a name...Is is you, MARY? OYSTER??? How I hate suspense!...

I think I will do some writing as I await all these things...

Good writing day/night to all! :-)

Mel 12-14-2001 9:36

SASQUATCH -- Jump-starting is slang for what we do to a car when the battery is drained and it won’t start. Most folks think that you need jumper cables to jump-start a vehicle, but cables weren’t always necessary.

According to the old-timers, the term really originated with the old stick shift cars. When the battery died, you pushed the car to get it rolling, then jumped in, put it in second gear, and popped the clutch. That would usually get the engine running, and the part where you jump in is where they got the term jump-start.

‘Course, things got complicated when they started making those automatic transmissions. There was no clutch to pop, and that made it more difficult, because you had to get the car up to about forty miles an hour in order for it to start, and that could lead to problems.

Like the time when Cousin Lester (for real, Cousin was his first name and Lester was his last). Anyway, Cousin Lester took his cousin Junie on a date, and his ’49 Oldsmobile wouldn’t start on account of he had left the radio on so they could listen to Elvis, and the battery died. There they were, out in the road in front of her house, and the car wouldn’t start.

Well, he told her that they would have to get another car to push the Olds, because it had to get up to forty before it would start.

She said she’d just get her father’s new Ford and jump-start the Olds. Cousin said okay, so Junie walked up the driveway, got in the Ford, and drove it down to the neighbor’s barnyard to turn it around so’s she could come up from behind.

Trouble was, she remembered that he’d said that it wouldn’t work unless she got it up to forty…

howard 12-14-2001 7:07

Make that 'succinct', with a side of coffee.

Heather 12-14-2001 6:27

Mornin' all, my rowdy and faithful writers,

Anonymous poet, I thought the latest poem was succint and stupendous. We are all pretending not to be curious about your identity.
There's not much point in leaving the name space blank, since writers know each other by voice. Of course, we are each part actor and actress, hiding in these fiction cloaks we dance beneath. There's not reason to continue doing so in the dark, but should you decide it, we'll know you by your writing, not your monogram.

In other words, since you've pulled up a seat, sign in.

Mary, missed you this morning by an hour and a half. Sorry!
Well, I did write about three pages, but I haven't sent it yet - it's a little rough around the edges. I'll continue it this morning, and send the whole shabang along.

Oyster - I still get people confused! Don't worry about it. The back and forward buttons do help, I use that method myself. Right into the box is most fun and spontaneous.

And now I will write my very early, bushy-tailed squirrel of a story, on the exciting, tantalizing topic of ....


(That word just makes you think of the Berlin wall falling, or a giant Euclid-sized chain hitting you in the chest, doesn't it?)


Kindly leave your grip from me, cold dread, you icicle of a heart, glass ball of a gut. Let me go, she thought, drifting in and out of consciousness. She felt all her warmth oozing from the end of her hand, as if her life were passing away, out her fingertips. That way, she pointed without feeling, I want to go that way. Up.

Patches of black invaded the sides of her eyes, crowding out the lights. Blue, red, blue, red, and then merely the suggestion of light, pulsating through the weave of heavy black cloth. Nothingness.

There was no ending snap, no final sound of death; but humming. The kind of hum that seems to come from the ears themselves, when all other noise is gone. The little bastard in her third grade class bashing her in the head with a bat kind of humming.

After uncountable hours, thoughts begin to reattach themselves to the conscious sector of her mind. There
are places to line up the sums, to stretch out reason, a place to fill out blanks. There is light. And new sounds.

Eyelids are mobile again, she discovers. The light hits pupils long lazy from theta mode. Her lips are thick, like dried soup, and cake around her words. There is someone nearby, she can feel it.

"Caroline, you're awake," comes her sister's screech.

In a moment's time, a crowd is moving in, leaning like a casket lid over her body. "You've lost your hand, Caroline, and you've had some head injuries, but now that you're conscious, we'll better know what sort, if any permanent damage has been done. Welcome back."

She did not flinch outwardly at the words, but closed her eyes with a slow, sleepy motion. Role call! she cried deperately inside, pushing her will to the length of each arm, horrified to know which hand was missing. If it were her left, she could live - with a lot more velcro closures, but otherwise not too shabby. But should it be her right...


And yes, it's ON topic. 100 points to the person who figures out the connection (if it's really obvious, points all around! And minus 100 for me)

Happy day to all:
Joy, joy,
with you I raise my glass

(Pillow, pillow, oh, how do I miss thee! Let me count the sides...)

Heather 12-14-2001 6:14

Yeah any punnishment is too good for a traitor, but yet they are fighting against the right that allows them to do that... Go figure.

I am a nice guy, but I say lets hang them upside down, and let people who want to have a shot them, beat him with a baseball bat...
Thats a good enough punnishment as any.

taylor 12-14-2001 2:52

Sorry to hear about the Australian who was on the wrong side too. This is one of the problems with a free society, some folks abuse that freedom and in the long run do harm to their homeland.

They should be punished, the old story about the man without a country comes to mind, yet I think that this punishment would never hurt that traitor, no death would be about right for him. No matter how you feel about the death penalty, treason against ones homeland should still carry a death penalty, and everyone should know that from the get go.

Jerry 12-14-2001 0:55

Have you forgotten
to remember us?
Faded feelings
passions paled.
We would have died for each other,
Before the children,
before the mortgage,
before the accumulated baggage
of our togetherness
like a cement block
around the ankles of our desire,
and tossed it in amongst the plates
and cups
to drown

12-14-2001 0:15

Howard, it gets easier as the years pass, I know it was hard for me too, picking up the chain that we tied her outside with, putting away the collar that the vet gave me after he put her down, and telling the kids, that was tough, but it does get easier. Loosing a pet that has been part of your life for so many years is almost like loosing a member of the family. Well it is loosing a family member.

Jerry Ericsson 12-13-2001 23:16

i the furry one am still here, howard person. but i do not know what is jump start?

sasquatch 12-13-2001 23:11

Thanks for all the kind thoughts about Maggie (my Springer Spaniel). Things were easing up a bit, and then the mailman arrived. First there was a reminder from the town Dog Control Officer, letting me know that her license had expired, and if I don't pony up the fee I'll be fined. Then I opened a Christmas card from my wife's cousin, who's never been near our home and couldn't have known we even had a dog, and the picture is of a nice little house, complete with a kitty in the window -- and a black-and-white Springer Spaniel lying on the porch. Oy!

All these similar names and double cousins reminded me of the song "I'm My Own Grandpaw" -- anyone remember that one?

Hey "Midnight Poet" -- Very nice! It's a good thing we had Sasquatch around to jump-start us -- Thanks, oh furry one!

I've got my schedule all set for school - now to run it by the NYS Dept of Labor to see if I qualify for the retraining program. I should -- everything I know is officially obsolete. :-( They've got me down for 17 credits this coming semester, including a remedial math class that doesn't count towards the degree. It's a good thing my daughter is a high school math teacher!

I'll close with one of my favorite bits of doggerel -- I wish I had written it!

The Thunder God went riding forth
Upon his fav'rite filly.
I'm Thor! he cried,
The horse replied:
"You forgot your thaddle, thilly!"


howard 12-13-2001 22:10



Merle Haggard is a legend in the country and western area of music. Far be it for me to heap praise upon a singer who needs no introduction. A "variation" of one of Merle's songs SILVER WINGS was popular in the honky tonks and bars of Southeast Asia. I first heard the tune in the Phillippines in 1969. SILVER WINGS had been "tweaked" to reflect Navy pilots efforts in the war in Vietnam.

The bar I was in, when I first heard the tune, contained, most likely, quite probably, exactly 200 or so sailors and about that many "hostesses." A Navy aircraft carrier was in port and someone aboard had reworked Merle's song. When the Filipino band played the tune I believed the floor would collapse. Sailors from the carrier were stomping, shouting, wild with a rabid patriotic fervor. It was something else!

I have thought of this "variation" many times since our boys entered combat in Afghanistan. So with apologies to Merle Haggard, this is the tune as best remember. The song's name is changed to NAVY WINGS OF GOLD. FYI... Going downtown, was a phrase used for Hanoi. Naval aviators wear gold wings. There are NO Navy pilots, only aviators. See whatshis name book, THE RIGHT STUFF for further infoomatioon. :-)

NAVY WINGS OF GOLD (sung to the tune of SILVER WINGS by Merle Haggard)

Navy wings of gold, shining in the moonlight
Roaring engines going downtown tonight
They're taking you away, to serve your country
Navy wings of gold, slowly fading into the night

You must leave us aviator, we understand
To place your life in Gods mighty hand
Duty has called you, left us on the flight deck
Left us here behind

Navy wings of gold, shining in the moonlight
Roaring engines headed downtown in flight
They're taking you away, to serve your country
Navy wings of gold, slowly fading out of sight

Navy wings of gold, shining in the moonlight
Roaring engines headed for Hanoi tonight
They're taking you away, to serve your country
Navy wings of gold, slowly fading into the night

Like I said, this was a long time ago and some of the lyrics don't sound just right. One day perhaps someone will step forward and straighten it out. (Sigh) Oh, to be in that bar just one more time. To see and feel the energy generated by hundreds of American sailors doing what they believed to be just and right. To hear the anchor raised, To sail with the tide before sunrise, sailing into the wide blue seas of the South Pacific.

"Memories, sweet memories..."

Say goodnight Elvis

Goodnight Elvis


Randall 12-13-2001 21:09

Jerry: i have that tape on tape... it came on around midnight my time... So could not read the subtitles and watch it at the same time

Ok, now I am angry at something. It seems that not only America has its John Walker. Australia has its own Daniel Hicks. A traitor to their country... The Australian government is going to try and have Hicks extradited to face trial in Australia.

taylor 12-13-2001 19:44


Okay rear. I thought you said a chunk out of his ear.

Then my rear was adding a rear. One rear too many! That's a lot of rears. With all those rears would be heaven for Lady. They wouldn't meet there. Right!

Debra 12-13-2001 19:41


Or maybe a chunk out of his rear!

Debra 12-13-2001 19:35

In case anyone wants to see the transcript of the much talked about tape of Bin Laudin, there is the link.

Jerry Transcript of Bin Laudin Tape 12-13-2001 19:18

Oh they made the Jerry legal, you can see where it was added to my birth certificate (on the original) I guess the powers that be hadn't filed the birth certificate yet when the name change went into effect.

Speaking of "J"s

I am, of course, Jerry, my wife is Judy, our son John, our daughter Joanne; I also have a cousin named Joe Anne.

When John was baptised, the minister was Jerry Erickson, his godfather was my wife's brother, Jerry Aase. Now that is a lot of Js, now the wife's brother Jerry married a gal named Juanita, they have three sons, Justin, Jordan and Kevin, and one daughter Kezia. (I haven't figured out how those Ks got in there but my wife's middle name is Kay or they could have run out of J.)

My wife's father was John, and I have an uncle John.

Speaking of cousins, I have four double cousins. Many haven't heard of the term, but it happens when my fathers brother married my mothers sister, thus making the attachment from both sides of the family, or double cousins. We were very close to our double cousins until their father died, and their mother, who couldn't take living on the family farm, sold it and moved to Washington, where one of her sister's lives. We can now email our double cousins, but have only seen one of them now in the last thirty five years. We do miss them.

The bad thing about what happened to Lady was that the fellow was on the city council, and I really couldn't give him much hell about it, as he signed my pay check.

He was, however very aware that I didn't think much of him, in fact I didn't even go to his funeral two years latter. I only hope that he gets to pass Lady on his way to hell, so she can take a chunk out of his rear.

Jerry 12-13-2001 19:09

Wait and listen while mortals speak
Hear their words of common life
Talk of things beneath the clouds, and do not
See beyond the trees

High beyond the stars that shine
Avidly I listen in
Pray that some may join the song of
Poetry in all our hearts
Entreating spirit rise above the
Normal and the everyday
Naturally by the

Making the world a
More beautiful place, practising the alchemy of turning words into

12-13-2001 18:57

No Hannibals, nor Sherlocks here?
Look with eyes that do not see,
feel with hearts that know the way
and you won't miss what's always here.

Should we fail to read between
the lines as most mortals do
Have we excuse to miss the clues
which frolic overtly in between?

Is immortality rendered me by name
or the deeds which I have done
lives I've touched and maybe changed
for you already know my name

Yet cannot recognise the spirit
which I daily bare you all
like calls to like, a begs it answer
to bask in warmth of kindred spirit

Pearls you say, through blinkered eye
perhaps a marble's glow you see
pretty glass beads to catch the eye
judge with thine heart, not with thine eye.

12-13-2001 18:26


I stand suitably chastised and only slightly embarrassed.


Eddie 12-13-2001 16:58

One more.

My uncle Norman had two children before he died, two boys.

His uncle Norman had two children before he died, two girls.

Both the wives left the state after not being able to resume their lives. We both have first cousins from other aunts and uncles and know them all well. For both of us, the only first cousins that are complete strangers are the ones born from our uncle Normans.

We both feel we missed out on our uncles and then their children.

Debra 12-13-2001 16:04

Not Joyster today, folks.

Yet another parent came to howl about our wonderful and talented and way over-worked school fine arts/music teacher! I felt myself getting angry at being the Lone and Vocal Support Service for this woman who has given our children the gift of making music with very little cost attached and has not one but 5 separate groups, both in Elementary and Jr. High (our school is blended) to get peformance ready.

Last year's choir took Kiwanis First in their category, and wow, were they good. Son was in it last year and the kids were incredible! I've never seen such a dedicated, performance perfect group of singers! And Hand Bell Choir, and Solo Group and ... the list goes on! Plus select orators introduced their choir, rather than the Music Teacher doing it. It was the Kids' show all the way! I was so proud of Music Teach for showcasing everyone according to their own talents. She lived Penelope Leach's endorsment of Kids First, our Music Teach!

And not one peep out of this group while the other contestants were performing at Kiwanis in the long waits and enforced silences of adjudication, either. No fiddling or talking during other groups' performances. Plus, they only practised one lunch hour a week! Wow, how'd she do that?

So, I'm proud of this Music Teach for giving those kids her time and effort and she's doing it again, plus teaching our hormonal heroes (the Jr. High Students) Drama, too!

Mel: I just did the back/forward button trick, as you suggested, and it works much better on Jack's board than on others. I've actually lost whole posts to back and forth of trying to respond to people on other boards. I hate when that happens. Plus I'm still getting used to everyone's destinctive voices. I will not mix up credits again, as I am particularly sensitive to getting credit for things I do lately.

Today folks, I'm in honesty mode, having written up about 10 pages of The Fat Childhood of Bwitch. I told her I'd have to and she agreed, without her customary reluctance to talk of her childhood. Bwitch was the girl marbles champ of 'primary' (Grade 1 - 3) but because the boys took back the marbles she won and her mother refused to buy her a sack full (on the grounds the marble contests encouraged 'gambling' and games of chance), Bwitch didn't get her own bag of marbles until she was a teacher herself.

I remember the huge fight she had with the Principal of one elementary school about marble playing at recess. By 1970-something marbles in the school district were banned altogheter for some edu-babble reason or other.

So, Bwitch brought the marbles indoors. I remember walking into her classroom to do some play therapy with a particular student to find an upside down Chinese Checkers board and a group of kids playing marbles in co-ed teams, making all kinds of joyful noise, while other students were keeping score and still others had earplugs in doing 'silent reading'... I laughed. Bwitch 1, Principal 0!

And then to be asked to write a report on the benefits of marble playing with regard to enhancing fine motor skills in children ... from a sceintific view (LOL), you bet I said sure. To make it more 'rounded' I added Tiddly winks playing as a fine motor skill to the report, too! Bwitch took my report to her Principal when called down for a 'discipline' and he couldn't argue with the play expert the board had contracted to serve his school, now, could he? LOL, again!

Just as I was getting ready to read a few entries here (I vowed to read more frequently to keep up with who said what after my mix-ups) I had to shut down the 'puter as Murderous Mom arrived, ready to verbally dissect our Music Maven at the school. Plus Son is home sick, so I have no privacy today.

I had to tell Murderous Mom an unwelcome truth about her busy-active son. He cannot and should not be expected to sit through passive and protracted choir activities given his predeliction and strong need for activity. It took her nearly an hour, but she got it ... finally.

This brilliant, active guy got himself out of choir by missing practises by his own choice, not the teacher's fault. That the teacher was difficult to reach was not her fault either. One can only stretch so far. And one teacher cannot individually communicate with 95 parents (yes, there are that many kids involved in our fine arts program at this point!) whenever a problem arises in addition to all her Jr. High class parents too!

Bwitch taught me all that. She was and is a truly inspirational 'pupil oriented' teacher. I'll have to tread really carefully when we come to her teaching career, as some stuff might breach FOIP here in Canuckland (FIA for our American compatriots) which now extends to discussing anything about a student with anyone outside of school.

Sorry Mel, Debra and Teekay for mixing up who said what. I did write jot notes, but obviously the tacit pressure to 'hurry up and finish' caused some boo-boos! Spouse was getting peevish and I figured some computer time would salve his soul. I have books to read and write, Spouse doesn't. And he was burning to get his minutes done just so he could zone out on the computer.

Ah, the joys of compromise in a marriage.

Tina: Nope, didn't live in the Okie-Noggin, but friends did. Enderby, when I was there, was like Spuzzum, BC the 'blink and you will miss it' capital of Canada. In fact, Enderby didn't even have it's own school then, I think it does now. I do remember a lot of 'undeveloped' land around Enderby, and that is where Bwitch's Uncle's farm was ... outside Enderby.

Heather: I wore clodhoppers for a while. Hiking boots, as a matter of fact. But only for hiking. For work I wore those butt-ugly platform shoes (the first time they were in style!) until I amazed myself and my boss by executing a perfect flip over a railing going downstairs and landing with a shuddering thunk on both feet. As soon as I could afford to, I ditched the platforms and went 'lower'.

By then, the knee pounding stiletto heels were in style ... and the pointy toes? Oooo, ow, worse than Jerry's Falling Arches Army boots. Crunched toes in the name of style. But, I bought purple leather ones! And wore them for far too long.

Fortunately, my orthopedic specialist said "Your knees are shot. If you want to walk without crutches after age 40, ditch the heels."

Hee, hee! What a good excuse to become a fashion outcast! But wouldn't you know that I actually had personnel recruiters actually ask me if I could 'dress more professionally' in heels and skirts???

Today I feel like someone has forcibly opened my shell, and downstairs on the 'other' PC (mine) I have Bwitch1 partially written. Bwitch is six and just bringing home her second report card (the D's are in red ink) and Gran-Witch is sitting on the porch smoking a 'sweet smelling, hand rolled cigarette of some unknown substance' ...

I have to go downstairs and find out what Gran has to say to Bwitch! I think Gran's going to ask Bwitch what's bothering her. When I get that part finished, I'll post it here, changing the name to protect the not-so-innocent! May be a while, the Christmas Tree goes up tonight (oh yay, family conflict waiting for a place to happen!)

Even with Suzy's hiding, I'm still The One who gets household things done ... like cooking dinner.

Oh, and I was asked to serve voluntarily on a committee on childhood obesity today. I declined. Anyone care to take a stab at why I declined? *Eyes rolling here*.

Anonymous Poet?: Now that you've showed us your pearls (and they are, they are) how about shelling out a name? My moniker is pure invention, yours could be too.

Oh, and on that, am I correct in assuming that Eddie was alluding to a time when people in this notebook were playing 'musical monikers' ie. creating several different names and posting different posts under each?

Hah, wrote way, way more than I thought I would, but my inquiring mind is ... well, it's enquiring!

Oh, and Howard, my codolences on the canine companion. Around here we all still miss our departed canine family members, including a wee pup we had to euthanize (sp?) due to Parvo Virus two days after he came home. We still speak fondly of "Yoda" and "Goof" our departed ones, and several hamsters, our two cats Ebony and Felicity. And it took me a rather inordinately long time to resolve the loss of my wonder-cat Puma. For all intents and purposes, Puma was my best friend and companion for the short two years of her life.

Just watch folks, as soon as I hit enter, I'll have three more posts to read! Ah, but such good things. Move over Martha Stewart ... we have good things here, too!

Oyster on The Half Shell 12-13-2001 15:43


In case you're wondering, Dan and I spent a lot of time getting to know each other saying "Me too"

Debra 12-13-2001 15:43

; 12-13-2001 15:25


12-13-2001 15:25


12-13-2001 15:24

Oops - my e-addy.

Mel 12-13-2001 15:24


Email me later and I'll give you more darker ones.

12-13-2001 15:24

Dearest Debra, I fear where you may lead me next! How about email so we don't take all Jack's page for ourselves? You should write all this in a book called STUNNED. I am! :-)

Mel 12-13-2001 15:22

I can keep going.

Debra 12-13-2001 15:09

My mother lost her first born baby boy at only a few months. She concieved me to replace that loss. She knows for sure I would not have been here otherwise. That made me the oldest and a daughter. I owe my esistance to his death.

My husband and I lost our first born baby boy. I immediately conceived another baby which I know I would not have conceived. That is my daugther. That made her the oldest daughter which owes her existence to his death.

For clarity, my mother and I share the same connection of losing a son, and that my daughter and I share the same existence out of sadness. We both were born to frightened and excited parents.

Debra 12-13-2001 14:53

DEBRA: I am still stunned and amazed at the first round! Do I dare dare you for more? hmm... My bus leaves at 4:10 (that's 16:10 here) - what can you fit into that time frame to awe me further? :-) (Okay, it's a dare, from one name-fancying writer to another! You may inspire me to write a name-game poem or something...)

Mel 12-13-2001 14:46


I can keep going. Would you like more?

Debra 12-13-2001 14:24

DEBRA: Ha! Isn't life strange? I was a middle child; my older sister got married four years before me, my younger brother got married four years after me. She has two kids, my brother has three; I have five-?! My father was an only child. My husband's mother was an only child. OH! The merry-go-round keeps going and going... must be an Energizer Bunny around here somewhere...! :-D

TINA: Hee hee hee! Is that Marsha Mellows thing really true? Names are too funny sometimes! :-) Have fun in the snow! Write an opening sentence for a new story in the new snow and report back here... :-)

Mel 12-13-2001 13:27

Hi all!

Sasquatch, it's always a pleasure to see you here! We'll do our best to not fall into the rutt of seasonal pressure.

Oyster, you've 'spent time' around Enderby? Another sweet little town. Did you used to live in the Okanagan? Bwitch sounds like an interesting gal.

Okay, the name games have my head spinning. The only one I'll go into is the gal I knew named Marsha. When she married, she refused to take her new husband's name. Why? His last name was Mellows.

Lone Poet! Claim thy fame...

I'm thinking that Suzy homemaker can't and shouldn't be killed. She comes in handy now and again. I mean, when I have guests coming - expected or not - I just turn her loose. She can clean my house faster and better than I ever could, and can organise a nice meal in a flash! The trick is keeping her in a strait jacket the rest of the time. :oD

Mary, (((HUGS))) Be well.

Howard, (((HUGS))) for you too.

Rosemary, yahoo!

Okay I have to go and shovel the walk. We had 20cm of snow last night. Yay! I love snow ****** (those were snowflakes*)

Be well

Tina 12-13-2001 12:46


I can keep going!

Debra 12-13-2001 12:31


No I'll keep going. I lost my uncle,my father's brother, named Norman in a tragic accident when I was little. He was my favorite uncle. My father never got over this loss. My father came from a big family full of siblings. He had to identify the body that then made him the oldest son. My husband lost an uncle named Norman in a tragic accident when he was little. It was his favorite uncle too. His father never really got over it either. He had to identify the body, that then made him the oldest son. His father came from a big family full of siblings.

For clarity both of our fathers came from a big family and then married a women with only one sibling, a sister, a younger sister, with issues.

For clarity, both our paternal grandmothers lost a son named Norman in a tragic accident.

The wives of these men pulled away from the family and never was able to replace these great men.

Debra 12-13-2001 12:28


I'm dizzy! I love it though.

I can keep going too.

My grandmother's name is Nora. Dan's is Ora. His mother lives on Dora street and she only has one sister and no other siblins. My mother too only has one sister and no other siblings. Both of our fathers spent their whole lives working for the same company. We as children spent one day of each summer at the same company outing. We think our paths never crossed, but who knows. He has a sister Linda, Debra and Joanne. I have a sister named Linda, I'm Debra and a sister Joan. My husband grew up with three sisters and no brothers. His children are three sisters and one son too. In fact they are in the same pecking order. He had an older sister and then him then the next two girls. IN our house we have a girl then our son and then two girls in that pecking order. His grandmother lives on Windgate lane and so does my aunt but a different one in another state.

I'll stop now. I don't have too. But I'm going to.

Debra 12-13-2001 12:17

DEBRA: heh heh! The pressure, albeit unspoken, may be on my nephew Joey to name any son "Joe" (with a different middle name?) as his grandfather(my brother-in-law Joe's father) was also named Joe (with a different middle name). Hoo boy! :-)

Mel 12-13-2001 11:38


Please tell them that when they all have children to forget that there is even a J in the alphabet.


Debra 12-13-2001 11:25

DEBRA: My sister is Jen. Her hubby is Joe. They have two grown sons, Joey (a different middle name) and Jim. Joey has a fiancee Jenn. Jim has a fiancee JoAnne. All together, they are Jen and Joe, Joe and Jenn, Jim and Jo. When the younger pairs are married, all six people will have the same first and last initials. :-)

Mel 12-13-2001 10:56


Greetings, my creative friends! Here's one for you: I dreamed this morning I was about to be gifted with a bear cub for a pet, and he not yet litter-trained. Hmm... methinks I have a serious vitamin deficiency to dream such strange, wild things...

CHRISTI: Go to your local newspaper office and ask for a (free) newspaper end-roll (sometimes heavy, so be careful). Take the endroll home, roll some paper onto the floor/table, and wrap happily, guilt-free, because it's just leftover newspaper and recyclable! Jazz up the plain paper with crayon pictures and a bit of curling ribbon (cheaper than bows), or wrap gifts with Sunday newspaper funnies. Presto! Beautiful gifts. :-)

HOWARD: (((HUGS))) So sad to lose a canine friend; perhaps, after a bit, a new pup will fill your heart...

TAYLOR: Oh no! I was yelling, "Taylor, don't forget the papers under--" Too late! (((Hugs))) & Grins :-) I bet you REALLY needed that meditation session, heh heh!

ROSEMARY: Hurray for your knee! :-) (And for losing 22 unwanted pounds - you GO, girl!)

JERRY: No one can say animals are not part of God's Plan! I think Lady, a real heroine, has gone to a place more special than that meter reader will ever see. (((HUGS))) to you too!

RHODA: YEA! You go, girl! :-) Wish all my troublesome scenes were as easy to fix!

MARY! (((((HUGS))))) Bruce Ballenger's piece was a SCREECH!!! :-D

LONE POET: Unmask thyself! Your poems have found safe haven in my heart. (((HUGS))) to you. 'Tis a name that renders you immortal. Show us one, please! :-) Friends here.

OYSTER: That was Teekay who dispatched Suzy HM so nicely. When you're posting, it's easy to click on the "BACK" button, scroll to whom you're replying, and doublecheck the person's name. Then, just click the "FORWARD/ARROW" button and you're back to writing your post.

HEATHER: Shhh!You'll get my kids started on Monty Python Holy Grail quotes and there'll be no stopping them till they've done the entire movie!! "I'm feeling better..." (live man thrown on cart for dead plague victims) "Bring us SHRUBBERY!" (Knights who say 'NEE!') "Come back here and I'll bite your knees off!" (mighty defender, reduced in size) Hoo boy! You've got ME goin'! ...

I'm outta here, with strains from Sir Robyn's minstrel bouncing through my head...

Here's to good writing today, everyone! :-)

Mel 12-13-2001 10:47

I know what you feminists are thinking. You're probably thinking why didn't I just use my maiden name in front of Palardy right? Well my maiden name just happens to be my sister in laws' middle name, if you can believe that. The only thing seperating my sister in law from me is MY middle name Jean. The weirdness goes on. The one and only person who almost seperated me from Dan in the beginning is a girl named Jean. He was seeing her when we first met. He struggled for nearly two years making a choice between her and me. Now that we are married Jean is the only thing seperating me from the other Debra Palardy.

Maybe she'll get married someday, but she is already 30. I adopted the J. when we got married 14 years ago and now it's part of me. The J stays.

Debra 12-13-2001 10:44


So let me get this straight. Your legal name is Arthur, but your friends call you Jerry. Or your legal name is Jerry and all the rest of the names too.

I love names. I expecially like it when a person seems to match their name. Don't you?

See I have a sister in law named Debra Palardy. We get mixed up lots. In fact I get calls from her boyfriends just looking her up in the phone book. I find myself asking if they think I'm a tall redhead. When they say yes, then I tell them I married her brother. I'm the other Debra Palardy.

That's why I adopted the J. Debra J. Palardy

I'm not a tall redhead. I'm a short brunette. Although I now tell people that being stupid is worse than being short. I do believe it, but I sometimes wish I were taller and not stupid too.

Debra 12-13-2001 10:34

Heather - When I was born, they tell me, my given name was: Arthur Gordon Ericsson. A tradition being followed, my father was named Gordon Arthur Ericsson, his father was the first Arthur Ericsson.

Well after they brought me home, someone looked down into my crib and said something to the nature of "Isn't little Arty cute!"

Then one of the kids in the room repeated an old poem that circulated the youth of the time:

Gene Gene made a machine,
Hank Hank cranked the crank,
Joe Joe made it go.
Art Art let a fart and blew it all apart.

Hearing that, mom decided that such a young child shouldn't be tied to such an old sounding name. She was discussing it with my dad, when my sister, who was in the first grade suggested they name me Jerry, after the characters in her first reader, Alice and Jerry. So Jerry it was, but they never removed the other names, so I became Jerry Arthur Gordon Ericsson. You should have heard mom when she got mad and had to blast out all four names to get my attention as many mothers do. I think she regretted the naming at such times.

It does lend itself to conversation however, the podiatrist who fitted me with the arch supports a few months ago asked me how I felt about having so many names, seems he and his wife are expecting, and they know it is a boy; they wish to give him three names, as I have. I told him that I wouldn't recommend it, as his mother would have such a mouth full, and many people will think he grew up in the deep south where such naming is the norm.

Jerry 12-13-2001 10:16


I think you gave me credit for someone elses'post.

Don't get me wrong sweetie pie, I love getting credit!

Debra 12-13-2001 8:55

Carol: Thinking back, it was a stupid thing to do... I had about 20 odd pages under my leg... but that didn't occur to me, I chased down on piec of paper, and forgot about the other 20.

Oh who is that unknown poet?

Yeah so far... now my story is in two parts, beginning and end, just hope that it meets in the middle

Sasquatch: You are indeed a wise soul... Hope you continue to keep coming and sharing your words of wisdom... Are all sasquatches as insightful as you?

Monty Pythons Holy Grail: "On second thoughts, lets not goto camelot, for it is a silly place"

Oppressive stuff: Rather not get into that... lol

Story is going along nicely actually

taylor 12-13-2001 8:18

okay, three or four things.

Heather 12-13-2001 3:36

Told you! I've got at least one other thing...

Mary - Have you been watching Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail?
"Help, help, I'm being repressed!" --peasant in field who is really Eric Idle in drag, being arm-wrestled by John Cleese and two coconut shells.

Other favourite lines from said movie:

"Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead!" (town crier)
"But I'm not dead yet!" (man being loaded onto the cart)

"Get out of here, you English pig-dog, donkey pillow vibrator machine! Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries! Go away, or I will be forced to taunt you a second time!"
(Frenchman atop a castle in England)

And then there was some jibberish about Albatrosses.


Heather 12-13-2001 3:35

Oyster - Well, I know I'm still going to be wearing my Doc Martens, or my big ol' paratroops when I'm sporting a head full of grey hairs. I've been wearing what my mother calls 'clodhoppers' since I was fourteen years old, and there's just no stopping me now! I guess by the time I'm a grandma it'll be cool to wear boots, so I'll have to start buying those hideous fuzzy bathroom slippers, and wear them to out. Nothing like embarrassing the grandkids!
Oh, and here's another little rhyme that my wee brother used to have a good laugh over (when under the age of 10)

"Arty Farty had a party
And all the Farts were there;
Tootie Fruity blew a beauty
And they all went out for air."

Remind me not to quote my little brother any more. *waving hand in front of wrinkling nose*

Carol - chapter 4 is getting longer today! I've got a whack of ideas just bugging to be expanded from jot form to full sentences.

Mary, what a brilliant little shortie to post for us! Loved 'Grammar Police'. Wish I'd written it, too!
Also, I like your idea for shortie night.
HUGS to get better, HUGS just for the sake of a great big warm hug. :o)

Christi! Hey there, girl. You just keep on lurking and 'not posting', okay? Ha ha ha. Enjoyed reading your posts again. It's been far too long since you were here regularly! Have you been eating virtual bran?

Americo - here's a boost to your morale whether you'd like one, require one, regard it as extraneous or not:
Three big, sloppy kisses from me.
But not on your bum.
Start smiling!

Anonymous poet - don't be shy. We don't usually use teeth when getting to know new notebook fanatics. Be welcome.

Howard - oh, what to say to you about your poor wee dog! All I can say is that I'm sorry. It's always harder than you think it will be to lose a pet. HUGS to you, and then some.

Teekay - where art thou? I miss you!

I just know I'm going to hit 'enter' and think of a thousand other things to say.

I think I've contracted a nasty case of verbal diarrhea! Sorry in advance to all who received emails from me tonight!

What was that little rhyme again? Oh, yes. Arty Farty...

Before I use my daily allowance of amazingly brilliant words (oh, that's such a low quota these days) I must heave-ho.
But not before I send a tight hug to my Yeti friend:

Sasquatch, thank you for your beautiful thoughts and for writing a wonderful prayer. Your knowledge and intuition of the One is indeed profound. Hugs to you.

Heather 12-13-2001 3:25

Oyster - you know every time I read your posts, and you mention those army boots, I think "I should respond to that!" then I read on and go off on a different tangent completely.

Anyhow, I used to have (well I guess I still do have) a nice pair of East German Army boots, that I picked up through Shotgun News right after the fall of the eastern block. They are wonderful boots, the tops come up to near the knee, and would make great ridding boots if I hadn't had to give up my motorcycle after I hurt my back.

I wore those dang thing for months, even though they were a bit tight on my high instep, after a few months, the tightness went away. Now I never noticed that the reason the tightness went away was that my arches fell and I became the true description of the cop of old, flat feet.

I blame those damn boots for that, but I guess I should just blame myself, as I was the fool who wore them even though they were too tight. Now I wear a pair of VA issue arch supports to remind me of my stupid years, when a shiny pair of boots brought the downfall of my arches.

Oh and I did manage to get my hard drive and burner to live in marital bliss, it seems the drive had a hard thing for one of the sticks of RAM. I simply exorcised the offending stick and am running the machine with two empty RAM slots. I couldn't determine which of the 64 meg DIMMS was the bad one, so I just tore out the both of them. That leaves my new 256 MEG SIMM to carry the load for the whole computer, but that should be enough for any machine I guess. What with the falling cost of RAM, I could almost afford to buy a couple of more sticks but why bother, plus I have better places to spend my money now that Christmas is so very near.

Jerry 12-13-2001 1:03

They gathered about her bed. The young, the not so young.
In turns they took it to bathe her brow.
‘Not long for this world.’ The whisper nestled in darkened corners. Fragile cobweb words hanging heavy in the gloom.
‘What happened? What ails her so?’
Silence. Who knew?
And then a woman who had seen the mountains born, opened her mouth.
‘Twas the moon,’ she told them, ‘the moon came and stole the light from her soul.’

12-13-2001 0:44

Be patient

Good things may come
Once you are ready
Or even after you are ready

Try too hard, Grace, or Jack, may turn their back.

Have foretold in
Verse that
Everything has

A season

Winter, summer, fall and spring
Over, and over
Being patient
Open yourself to the fact that
One day it may happen,
Keep on hoping.

12-13-2001 0:34

If you would call

My name

Believe that I will come to you
Over hill, and city street
Roughshod over rocky lanes
Endure, I will
Desire, I do

And know

Is waiting for me in
Tender arms.

12-13-2001 0:22

Greetings All :)

Mel - You're quite right. Starting the day with writing is the only way to make it a good day.

For a change, I didn't punish myself. I didn't whip myself with a wet noodle for not writing yesterday. Instead, I turned on the computer this morning and began. I was so tired last night, I went to bed at 9:30. Way early for me. Almost immediately, my brain started working. It started telling me where the story was supposed to go. Finally I gave up, got up and wrote the notes and ideas in my journal. It did mean tossing the Sheriff and starting all over. But I really like the new direction.

Jerry -- two great stories in George and Lady.

Christi - one solution to the wrapping paper problem I've used in the past -- I wrap with paper grocery bags (inside out) and then paint Christmas themes to decorate. A ribbon with a scented pine cone tied on also works well in place of a bow. Just a thought. :)

Howard - you have my sympathies on the loss of your dog. They truly become such a member of the family.

Taylor -- I'm so glad you found all your notes. It would have been fun to actually see you in action though. hehehe

Rosemary -- Congrats on the PT and the weight loss! A big hug for you!!

Mary - I wish you sunny skies to view while you wait for the bad things to go away.

Heather -- how's Chap. 4 coming? :)

Happy words everyone

Carol 12-13-2001 0:21

How quiet the voices
whispering low
be they here
Or did they go

what is this echo
That calls to me
to something hidden
where none can see

Prophets of future
seers long dead
thorny crown
not against my head

but wrapped so tight
round this heart of mine
pray to loosen
that binding twine

such cold winds blow
Through hollow heart
begging warmth
In pitching dark

Hark and listen
What do they say
These voices
Of another day

The words they speak
may be the key
to liberation
from misery

to cut the thorns
to free my eyes
to make me stop
and realise

The key I’ve
had it all the time
‘twas the lock
I couldn’t find.

12-13-2001 0:09

*Oyster here*

I think I stressed Suzie out to the max. I took her to a choir performance at Eau Claire. Even her paternaturually Martha-Stewart side winced at the 'first time out' of the school for these choirsters. And the Jr. High Band. And the Bell Choir. And a bunch of parents who gossip worse than old time fish wives. Suzy (insert evil grin here)is hiding from me. She even shut up long enough to let me look for books on the Library Catalogue!

Rhoda - sorry to hear the job fell through, glad there won't be any down time for your posts between now and the next move. Want some snow? Cheap? Got lots!

Debra - You must be psychic! I was just thinking of italics and then I read your Post! As for Salmon Arm, I know it well and love it for the small town it is. Spent time in and around Enderby now and again.

Bwitch is my best gal-pal. Bwitch is a witch, acutally 'wicca' and a (sorry Tina) pretty fair representation of Randall's garage, um, guardian.

Bwitch was born in Salmon Arm and The Army Boot Granny lived in Castlegar. Gran saved Helga's sanity, and maybe her life by insisting Helga's mother (I think I'll call her Lotte) send Helga off to 'the farm' during the summers.

I'll write more later about Bwitch, since I can almost see Carol and Viv getting their fingers ready for a clamour of "when are you going to start writing"! More research, first!

Carol - Speaking of witch, I mean which:>) I've read Laurie Cabot's work and find it a little ... um, saccharine and manufactured because of Bwtich and a few other not-so-nice experiences back when I didn't have kids to protect and serve. But, m'dear, I did reserve the Merlin's 21 (good book, I hear) and another one c. 2001. And there is so much on the Net about Wicca. Plus I have another Wicca friend.

Wicca is legal in Alberta. Huh! No wonder Bwitch wants to retire here!

Jerry: LOL at your Bouncing George story. Thanks, I needed that. I was thinking maybe George got into the beans. Remember this one, Jerry? "Beans, Beans, the musical Fruit, the more you eat, the more you toot." Son did that during our Mexican Feast ... and sounded more like a trombone than a trumpet (or maybe that was a tuba??) and we had to open all the windows in the car and let the frosty air in.

Randall: Your George of the God Almighty kind! What a character. I swear you make me feel like you really did meet these Guys. Too funny!

Eddie French: Hi! Thanks for the update on Americo-The-Intellectual. A cat you say? Hmmm. Oh, and Eddie? Do you come with a Topo Gigo? I was remembering (after a friend jogged my memory with a nostalgic 'remember when' email ... and thought of "Eddie, Eddie ... can you tell me a story Eddie?" and the incredibly precocious little mouse TVland could not get enough of. I adored that mouse.

So Eddie? "Can you tell me a bedtime story, Eddie?" (insert coy little mouse face here and drooping eyelids)

Americo: Okay, I just gotta (grammatical imperfection in vernacular, intentional):

Americo The Bountiful, God Shed Her Grace on thee,
And crowns thy goods with writerhood from C to shining C!

And, since you have a cat, I will share this story with you. I bought a set of Chinese Steel Balls complete with brocade case for a friend who really needs them (his wife is a ball-buster). Whilst I was penning a favour for a friend I hear ka-thunk, ka-jung up near my bedroom.

Eddie spoke of your cat getting into rooms? Your cat would be no match for Teko, the Terror-Dog. He barks at cats. Cats run, Dogs Chase. Teko is no friend to cats. A rather idiot-savant of the canine set, Teko is about 1/4 Jack Russel Terrier ... with Bichon and Shih Tzu (and he does that too) mixed in. He chews and spews.

Today Teko ate the balls case. I hot-glued it back as best I could, and sighed. Spouse suggested I bean the dog with the tinkling Iron Balls. I did not do this. I put him in his kennel, an old cat carrier from a time when Felicity and Ebony (yes, both cats) ruled our roost.

Americo I like your style. I aspire to write assidiously and ascerbically one day. However, my 'good child' self-image has learned to use humour. I'm sure you'll let me know when I've at least made the grade on irony, yes?

Christi - Bye Bye Suzy goodbye. Dec. 27, you say? Hooray!

Mel - you are incredibly astute at this spontaneous writing thing, aren't you? Picked up the Suzy thread and did away with her so well, I almost thought she was dead. For a moment. Does Suzy ever really die? Can she be transmitted to the male of the species? As in Sam Homemaker? Hmmm.

Sasquatch - Hello! I liked that poem and being Iambic inept myself, you better copyright that thing and quick. My theiving eyes are flashing green with envy and I'm tempted to ... (hushed whisper here) steal!

Teekay - More, More! Be grateful you only have preschoolers ... school daze make it much, much worse. Aside from chaperoning the Choir, we attended a "Literary Evening" where Son and his classmates entertained us with several novel studies and short plays! What a hoot! Still, more baking to be done. Maybe I'll get Grumpa (my husband is sitting next to her next time) to bake the next batch of goodies. She did offer. She did!

Litter - Thanks for the mea culpa on the Bold II! I thought it was me again, when I was reading earlier. I'm also taking note of that email address you mentioned. Bwitch and I got pals all over Academia and some really strange emails have popped up lately!

Mary - Oh Boy! Pneumonia, Degenerative Bone Disease and a broken foot? Too much for one person! Okay, three. Done. And if that DBD thing messes with your ability to create that beautiful stuff, I will be choked.

My arthritis seems to creep into every bone I ever cracked or broke. And the joints, too. Fortunately it is rather dry (even when it snows) here, and Ibuprofin actually helps reduce the swelling.

Tina: Did I actually see a post from you? Or was it my old eyes doing some wishful thinking? I was thinking how I missed you the other day.

Anyway folks, Spouse is yammering about needing the computer. He is the School Council Secretary and needs to type out his minutes! Ha, Ha! I love to call him Mr. Secretary ... it makes him feel im-po-tent.

Oh, and Jerry? Get your computer another marriage counsellor will you? I like reading your cop stories and if you're busy reconciling your CD Burner to the Hard Drive or whoever is in the Polygamous Relationship, then I don't get many Jerry Stories. I look forward to Jerry stories.

See you later folks!

ps. notice I didn't bold, OR italicize or 'colour' my words red, white and blue? Or anyone else's either? I'm learning restraint ... such a good thing!

Oyster 12-13-2001 0:08

too shy, too shy
must creep and pry
for pudden’ middles too soft inside
for scathing eyes
and words of barbs
must welcome into gentle arms
and then the beauty and sweetness show
what it is you wish to know
hail poet well met
come kindred soul
pray welcome to the writer’s abode

12-12-2001 23:31

oh deepest want
and how you tease
to waken me from sleep at night
and burden me with worlds unseen
beyond a glimpse of shimmered lights
and touch thine heart with purest joy
to still insist I stay me here
and await my dying day
oh deepest want.

12-12-2001 23:25

AMERICO -- smile? no.

howard 12-12-2001 23:00

He was in his office late at night. He was writing. There were three loud raps at the door. He scratched out sentences. He hid paper under the file cabinet. He pulled the paper from his typewriters and stuffed it into his mouth.

The door exploded open and two men barged in. Both wore tweed sportcoats with wrinkled copies of Strunk and White in the breast pockets. They stood in a cloud of chalk dust, flailing their red Flairs.

"Grammar Police! Drop the pen!"

They flashed their IDs. Both full professors. They yanked the yellow second copy from his mouth and ransacked the drawers.

"Run-ons," the older one said, scoring his pen over the paper.
"Comma splices," the other man said. "Gerunds everywhere."

They rolled the teacher away from the desk and faced him against the wall.

"But I take a process-oriented approach," the teacher said.
"Sure buddy, we've heard that before. Spell necessary."
"I'm not spelling anything until I see my lawyer."
"Punctuate this sentence." They shoved a piece of paper into his lap. "THE MAN WHO WAS HAPPY EATING WHEATIES LIKED OTHER CEREALS TOO."
"I'm not punctuating anything!"
"How long have you been teaching at this university?"
"A year."
"Put it in a complete sentence."
"I have been teaching at this university a year."
"Put it in the pluperfect."
"I taught-"
"Book him!"
"But this is only a first draft!"
"Sure it is buddy, just like this is your first trip downtown."
"You can't do this. There's nothing wrong with being ungrammatical as long as you do it in the privacy of your own room with a consenting piece of paper."

They thumbed their Strunk and Whites in unison.
"Listen to this, Meathead: 'There is no excuse for grammatical ambiguity.'"
"But what about content? What about subject? What about voice? What about me?"
They clamped two steel parenthesis over his wrists.

"I was a victim of an ungrammatical childhood," he said. "My mother spoke in fragments. My father always paused in mid clause. In their eyes I was parenthetical. I lived between the commas."

He was paroled the next morning and was last seen chasing run-ons through a parking lot in New Jersey.

Oh how I wish I could say I wrote that, but it was Bruce Ballenger.

Mary 12-12-2001 22:57

Hannibal Lechter was that way too. Knew Clarisse's story just by her appearance and a few small sentences. Pretty cool.

Mary 12-12-2001 22:41

A dreamer of the gentlest kind
roughest life
against tender

Selecting beauty in quiet light
seen with eyes aglow
heaven's silvery

'tis the moon in his eyes
reflected light
the brightest

12-12-2001 22:37

AMERICO: I don't remember one time that I have ever thought your morale needed boosting. As far as your tact being lost in the translation, I was being polite. I still stand by my compliments because I don't need to really know you to be able to tell you are intelligent and educated, which generally holds hands with being valuable to somebody somewhere. So, pardon me. I stand corrected and properly chastised as usual.

Sherlock Holmes was very good about reading a person and knowing more about them than one could think possible.

OK folks. I am having some minor health issues. No big deal, just a bunch of little ones piled up. I have pneumonia, I broke my foot and was diagnosed just yesterday with degenerative joint disease.

That degenerative joint disease sounds worse than it is. It is good-old-fashioned arthritis. Not so much on the good side considering my age and my chosen hobbies/jobs. I don't dare complain when I know how bad some people suffer. I broke my foot by falling over the dog.

SO: Even though this is later than I like to be, the SHORTIE NIGHT THEME for this week is:

Sit and write a list of things that opress you. Spend at least ten minutes on the list, writing everything you can think of. Then, pick one from the list and write for ten minutes about that one choice. That's your shortie. Good luck.

Mary 12-12-2001 22:37

Oh, forgot to mention, the George story is absolutely true, George quit teaching the next year and went back to college. We used to Call George a professional student, and that is what he was, seems he just couldn't decide what he wanted to be. He is now in Seminary, and will be an Episcopalian minister shortly. He is about the only friend from Bowman that I have kept in contact with, in fact he has been to visit us many times since then.

He is probably the nicest fellow anyone has ever met. He will bend over backwards to help anyone.

Jerry 12-12-2001 22:36



You are right. Emotion works. I had one of my best writing sessions in weeks. I sat down at the computer and hashed out a difficult scene I have been having trouble with for days.


You are indeed a wise soul.


Good to see you all posting again and good to read your interesting banter.

Rhoda 12-12-2001 22:27

It was a cold night, the wind blew so hard the car rocked as I guided it down the icy Main Street.

I knew what I had to do, orders were orders, and the Chief gave ordered it, right when he was getting out of the patrol car at his house, he said:

"Oh, and there is a bitch down at the dog pound with her five pups. When you get the town put to bed haul them all out to the dump grounds and shoot them."

He said it just that cold, just take them out and shoot them. End their lives, they had served their purpose, no get rid of them. I knew the story, it was always the same, the owners were moving and couldn't take the dog along, or maybe it was the "well we tried to give the pups away, but nobody wanted them, can you get rid of them for us, and the mother too, all she does is squirt out pups all the time."

I dreaded the chore, not that it was the first I ever had to do, nor would it be the last, in fact the first was my mom's dog, she gave it to the chief to be rid of, and of course I worked the night shift the night he was due to be destroyed. Now that was difficult, but that dog was ill, and I doubt that he would have lived much longer anyhow, then there was my sisters cat, but that one was easy, the damn cat hated me, perhaps he knew what was to come cats are like that you know.

This one was different though, puppies, now who can hate a puppy? I worried at the chore until nearly 3:00 AM, the town had been asleep now for about an hour, hadn't seen one car moving for the last thirty minutes, and that was a bar owner making his way home after a long night at work topped off with his scrubbing the floor in preparation of the next day's cheers. I made one more swing up and down Main, the stopped at the dog pound that was located on the edge of the Main Street City Park.

I slid the huge garage door to the side, and made my way past the street sweeper, on to the dutch door that led to the pound. I took my key (gotta keep them locked up in case an owner tries to get his pet without paying the fines you know) and unlocked the padlock, then swung the top portion of the door open. As I shined my flashlight around the room, the bitch came running, she was a short dog, but had plenty of energy, she was a blue healer. Blue healers are wonderful dogs, and this one was no different, she was so happy to see me that she jumped up so high, she could lick my face.

Now that was enough, I knew right then and there that there was no way I could shoot that pooch, I unlocked the bottom and took her five puppies in my arms, then with the mother following made my way back to the squad car. I opened the back door and dropped the puppies in the mother jumped in by herself to stay with her puppies.

I started driving, I even drove out to the dump grounds, but I knew I couldn't do it. I turned the car around and drove out to the farm house we were renting just a half mile south of town, I gathered the puppies in my arms and carried them to the front door. The mother kept running around me, jumping up to lick my face, and licking my hand.

I put the puppies down on the kitchen floor, and with the mother in the lead, the began running through the house, right to our bedroom, where they jumped in bed with my wife. Now my wife likes dogs, but six of them were a bit much to explain, but after learning their destination, she opened her heart and took all six in.

It was only a matter of a few days and we had all the puppies given away, seems farmers in these parts love blue healers, as they make wonderful cow dogs, they are a natural cow dog, and will even herd sheep when asked.

The mother was ours for nearly twenty years, she helped raise our children, one day when we were on an outing with my buddy Dan his wife and two year old son, she actually saved the boys life, we were atop a very tall butte in an area called the cave hills. It is a wonderful place for a picnic, and that was our plan. From the top of the butte, that stands nearly ten stories tall, you can see two states and several small towns. Dan's little one was a quick little guy, and before we knew it he was running straight for the edge of the butte, when our dog Lady, saw him, she ran full speed, and got in-front of him, stopping him long enough for his dad to grab his shirt and prevent what would have surely been a fatal fall.

I will never forget her last day on this earth. She was very protective, and like most dogs, she hated the mailman, and the meter readers. The Electric meter man was also on the city commission, and he didn't like dogs one bit. Well he was at our place to read the meter, and Lady happened to be tied out behind the house. Now the reader didn't need to get within the chain reach of the dog, but that didn't make any difference. I heard the barking, and went to the window to see what was going on. There was the meter reader (known locally as Big foot because of his fondness for show shoes in the winter) like I said, Lady couldn't have reached him, as her chain wouldn't reach that far, but he must have thought different. It could be that he was just an ass hole, a fact that I knew well. Lady was at the end of her chain barking and jumping, Big foot took his can of pepper spray and sprayed here. She backed away, and began pawing at her face, Big foot walked forward and sprayed her again. The poor dog had a stroke, she just collapsed. I opened the door, to try and help the poor animal, Big foot must have thought I would shoot him or something, he ran like hell.

I gathered the dog up in my arms, and took her out to the Vet Clinic, where the vet worked over an hour before coming out to tell me the score. Seems the stroke took out a major part of her brain, he said he could probably bring her back, but she would be paralyzed on one side for sure, and he felt that her memory would be gone. I could see no solution the to have her put down, which I did.

That was one of the hardest things I ever had to do, well almost, then I had to tell the family, that was harder.

I know how you feel Howard, been there myself way to many times in the last fifty years.

Jerry 12-12-2001 22:26

MARK -- My browser (IE 5.5) works as you say, and if I click on the link it opens an Outlook Express mail composition window. I've seen the problem Christi describes, but only when having a problem with the cable (RoadRunner) not able to get to the POP server. It might be my network card, because a system restart often fixes that.

howard 12-12-2001 20:52

you asked:
"Why is it that Audio is spelled with an 'i' and Video is spelled with an 'e' ?"

Audio derives from audIre, video from vidEre. You should know that, old chap... (Latin humour).

you stated:
"admit it, you still love me."

Yes, I always loved you. *Smack*

Don't tell anyone about your novel before you finish it. The joy will be greater then.

Sorry for your pet. Hope you smiled with my post where I compared Jesus to me. I'm sure He did.

That's all for some time, folks.

Americo 12-12-2001 20:51

A slightly soggy good evening to all,

So sorry about your dog. Their life span one of the bad aspects of owning pets. I considered getting a parrot, and leaving it to my sister in my will. (I was mad at her at the time.) But really, those birds are smart, funny and loving and live at least fifty years if well taken care of.


Great George story. It actually made me sorry for George. At least he was aware of the problem he caused. Had to be embarrassing.

Sorry your move fell through. Congratulations on not having to move. There's good and bad in everything.

I met with the head PT person at the hospital today for re-evaluation. He said I have made so much progress, that my appointment on Friday can be the last one. BUT, I do have to keep doing the exercises. He mentioned that the 22 pounds I have lost in the last month-and-a-half probably helped almost as much as the exercises.
WHOOPEE. Those appointments in the middle of the day (1:45)just ruined a day.

Got to go now,
Play nice.

Rosemary 12-12-2001 20:05

Howard: I am really sorry to hear about your dog

I have a funny story to tell it happened last night. I was sitting on a public chair last night in the town square writing away while waiting... Sitting comfortable, some pages sitting beneath my leg so they wouldn't blow away.
But, from my plastic bag, a paper blew away, which happened to be where I kept my list of names of people in the story. So instinctively, I got up and chased it down, I managed to pick it up, get back to where I was sitting, and the pages that I had under my leg blew away, and so I had to chase them down as well, do that and then put it back into order.
All in all I got about 3 sentences done while waiting to goto meditation.

I'm just glad that nobody was in that area to see this spectacle

Taylor 12-12-2001 19:37

CHRISTI -- all it does is ask for your password? Must be an email program in your PC. ?? Do other people's email links work for you, or do they give the same message?? Here's another try. If nothing else, when you hover your mouse over the link, your browser should show you the link destination in a small box near the bottom of the screen. Try it. You should see "" in a little window.

Mark 12-12-2001 18:36


Just got back in from college and exams, Phew!
I know I did ok, I finished and the program run (ran) well.
Have you any idea what the temperature can get to when there are 30 pcs' running in a room 35ft square, even when the outside temperature is below freezing?
You tend to find out who has the B.O. problems!

Don't beat about the bush......give it to us straight. (English Sarcasm)

Forward slash before the B

Eddie 12-12-2001 16:57

SASQUATCH -- Thanks for that -- I needed it especially today. I had to have my dog put down this afternoon. It was not an easy thing to do, but necessary.

howard 12-12-2001 16:54

Americo, P.S. Please don't tell Jon I said that. I still haven't healed from the last time he scratched me.

Christi 12-12-2001 14:54

Yes, it's me again. Sorry, but at least I didn't turn the whole page to BOLD! (Ha ha! Sorry, Litter. That was a cheap shot. :))

Eddie, It's wonderful to see you here in such high spirits!

Litter, Do stay and comment!

Americo, That was an absolutely great post, even though you did begin to sound a bit like Jon there at the end. I'm positive that Jon really DOES believe he was Jesus in another life. :D

I am one of the worst offenders of the bad habits and bad taste you spoke of, such as overusing exclamation points (!!!) and exaggerating by using capitol letters and such. But admit it, you still love me. *smack*

And that's all, folks. Unless there's more.

Christi 12-12-2001 14:51

Holy Cow! I responed to the posts I downloaded only two hours ago. Now I have to catch up all over again!

Christi 12-12-2001 14:36


Darn it, you all are too great for me to remain lurking for long. :D

Hey Mark, I clicked on your name, but all it does is ask for my password ... and I'd love to receive Holding Wonder. Would you try it again, please? :)

Americo, It's alway good to see you. Stay for awhile this time!

Teekay, Golly gosh, I'm blushing down to my toenails. Tee hee! Right back at'cha, babe.
HAHAHAA! Great end for Suzie!

Heather, :D I'm having a lovely time with Symphony!

Mel, Thanks for asking about the writing. I'm working on a novel and (I don't think this is too much to ask for!) hope to FINISH this one! Time will tell the genre as the tale moves on. :P

Howard, Your story about the nine-year-old boy you're teaching brought a tear to my eye. Now I want to call you Teacher too. I have every faith that he CAN learn, even excel if he's got you on his side. It reminds me of the story of the girl whose parents were told she'd never walk. They never told her that she couldn't do it, and slowly she learned to walk, and then run, until one day she was winning marathons. The human spirit is sooooooo amazing!

Oyster, HI! Still making me chuckle. Your post brought a whole new meaning to, "Yer Gramma wears Army boots!"
Sometimes I find it hard to balance my Suzie Homemaker with my Thelma and Louise side--they duke it out all the time. During the Christmas season Suzie rules the roost, but aaaaafter Christmas, well ... heh heh heh. I only wonder how Suzie will get it this year. I'm thinking that right around December 27th Suzie's gonna get a tack hammer to the back of the old cranium, as T and L chortle with glee and resume typing their manuscript.

Randall, You could do a whole book just on George! HAHAHA! That was great.

Sasquatch, I hope The One comes through on what you ask.

Jerry, Poor George! But HAHAHAHAHA, I never could resist laughing when someone falls gracelessly on their keester. A very unbecoming habit, snorting when someone takes a dive.

Happy Holidays, everyone! I've got my Christmas shopping done! Now I've got monstrous piles of presents in all shapes and sizes to garnish with wrapping paper and bows. Somehow I feel supremely guilty every year, knowing that all of that paper and those bows will be nothing but garbage the moment they're ripped off. How can I rid myself of the guilt? Isn't there some other way? (she says, hand outstretched to the heavens)


Christi 12-12-2001 14:34

you wrote:
AMERICO: You are an intelligent, well-educated, valuable person, but sometimes your tact gets lost in the translation. And don't go touting that 'pack' attack thing again, I am not attacking you, everyone here can fight their own battles, just giving my opinion about why you have gotten some of the responses you have in the past.

You do have this incredible knack for making people want better of themselves. It's respectable.

Some quick comments on your post.

1. I dislike public praises or compliments, unless they are deserved and necessary to boost someone's morale. Your "intelligent, well-educated, valuable person" sounds to me as one of those attempts at boosting my morale.

2. I also, occasionally, write praises to boost someone's morale. So I accept yours and politely thank them. But ask you to please refrain from such compliments. They only show the limits of the critic's perception, and may be utterly wrong.

3. In my case they are right (your perception has no limits, Mary). I also think that I am intelligent, well-educated and valuable. And so did my mother, at least before I went to school. But those who really know me are unable to recognize this truth, which only shows how dumb they are.

4. "My tact gets lost in the translation". The problem is not the translation but the writing and the reading. Few people know how to read or write on a screen. It is not a case of being a foreigner or a native. Some of my friends are Americans who once wrote to the Notebook but had to give up for lack of communication. Their main complaint is that many people here do not know how to write or read. I tended to disagree, but how can one refute such an accusation at the evidence of so many pages of chitchat and pidgin English, bad spelling and worse grammar? The Anglo-Saxon world invested on bombs, not on literacy. As for Europe, it never had money to invest on anything. As you can see, I am also one of the victims and culprits of such educational poverty, and humbly share with you the tears I can see in your eyes.

5. Shall we shut the shop then? I don't think so. I know other pages like this where illiteracy is even worse than here. We must keep hope because, from time to time and out of the blue, someone comes with

6. " this incredible knack for making people want better of themselves." I was this sort of guy once. I decided to break my silence yesterday because I started listening to the tapes Rachel sent me with the recording of "Shadows". Deeply moved with what is possible to do with people who love writing, I tried to resume my former role as motivator of writers. For that I would need to clean the board and start contributing again with renewed passion. As if I had time, as if it were always possible...

7. A dreamer. That's what I am, a dreamer. Crucifixion will be my destiny. But, even with my head lost in the clouds, I will keep laughing at the innocent crowds shouting on earth. That, at least, will distinguish me from Jesus, who cried with sorrow for the "packing people". The other difference is that Jesus never learned how to read or write whereas I am, as you said, "an intelligent, well-educated, valuable person". Both of us are, in our different ways, Messiahs, though I modestly concede that He came before me. And my friends keep saying that any comparison between I and Jesus can be read, on the screen, as a blasphemy, so I'd better shut up.

8. And thus ends my beautiful post of today.

PS. Jon sends greetings from Afghanistan. He's preparing an interview with bin Laden (after the latter's ressurrection) and writing an epistle to the Corinthians. (Hope he does not imitate my style). So keep in touch, everybody.

Americo 12-12-2001 14:07

Been reading through some of the posts. Ohhhh, I am tempted. But should I? Would I? Maybe later, but it is still tempting...

Litter 12-12-2001 13:47

Well, I'm off to College now. I will try to get back on later tonight. Wish me luck.

Eddie 12-12-2001 13:29

Did you forget to close your bold tag??

Eddie 12-12-2001 13:27

Sorry People. Sorry Jack. I have turned everything bold. I was in too much of a hurry to post this...

Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

I shall now slink off

Litter 12-12-2001 13:27

One of these days I will have time to post more than virus warnings.

Not today. Sorry to report yet another virus. The file is titled '' but is actually an executable file with a .dat file extension, and came to me as an email attachment via I have no knowledge of this this person? Anyone know her?


This one was sent to a domain name that I had registered for future use and for which I have mail forwarding but have only used a couple of times some months ago, by way of a test.

I disabled the file before it had any effect. Unfortunately this seems to have bypassed my antivirus program which I had updated yesterday. Anyone know any more about this virus?



Litter 12-12-2001 13:22

And I don't know why, but easy to remember:
you SEE vidEos, you LISten (accent on first vowel) to audIos.

Does that help you, Ed? :-)

Mel 12-12-2001 13:12

EDDIE: How romantic of you to read to your wife! :-) It's nice when spouses share reading interests. If I'm really tired, I can ask my hubby to read to me from one of his history books, and I'm usually asleep before he hits the first period, heh heh! With LOTR, a mutual favorite, at least I have a bit of semi-conscious time to visualize a few scenes before I drift into dreamland. I too feel THE HOBBIT defined the fantasy genre in a deeper way and what a shining example to follow! Even with all of Tolkien's dangling prepositions, the story wraps around me and entrances to the end! I think J.R.R would be proud of the upcoming movie, from what I've seen of all teaser-trailers, except, perhaps, for overdoing Arwen's part? I'll be watching closely! (And enjoying every visual morsel as much as listening to it!) :-)

Mel 12-12-2001 13:09

Ohh......I see!

Eddie 12-12-2001 13:04

Why is it that Audio is spelled with an 'i' and Video is spelled with an 'e' ?????

Just wondering.

Eddie 12-12-2001 13:02

Hi Jerry,
How are you doing old son. Loved that one about George. You are spot on about his Gas problem. I had a friend who managed to lose half of his gut and he generated the same exclusion zone.
I've got exams tonight and I am not looking forward to it at all. (VB) I've missed quite a bit of the course with the trips I've been on lately. Still, with the results I have attained in my previous exams I have a bit in reserve.

Hee hee!


Eddie 12-12-2001 12:59

Hi Mel,
I too read aloud (Quietly) to my wife in bed. She seems to like it as I never have to suggest it first.
The Hobbit, in my opinion was the fantasy defining novel, short as it was for that genre. Every novel I have read since has some elements of The Hobbit in it.
I see that not one of Tolkiens family agreed to attend the Premier. Not at all surprising when you think that the rights were sold to the movie Company for a pittence.
I have an Audio CD which narrates the story of how the Lord of The Rings was developed and published. It makes fascinating listening.

Eddie French 12-12-2001 12:39


Hi (J)Oyster,
I've just been scanning the posts after getting in from Turkey. I read Americos' post which was directed mainly for your enlightenment regarding the characters here on the notebook.
(Hi Americo, nice to see you posting)
Now Americo, a very nice man when he gets out of bed on the correct side, forgot to include himself in his list of (characaturisms?). You see, once, a long time ago, there existed this place, a virtual place where writers and wannabe writers alike could meet and talk about writing. There were many different characters in this place, and even some poor souls suffering from multiple personality disorders. Then a few of the more outrageous people left and the virtual place became a really sensible place to be. It also became just a little predictable.
Then Americo burst upon the scene. Now don't get me wrong, I do not rue the day. He was like a breath of fresh air. Somebody had opened a window and in he flew. He got up our noses, on our wicks (English expression for annoyance) and under our skins. He's still there (Just).
The cat went to the moon, to the bottom of the ocean, got into everybodys' house (At the same time) and did a pretty good job of confusing everybody to distraction just because he could. He also brought in another cat...Pussy, but she's ok...if a bit daffy.
Americo is also a pretty decent writer. But he can be a bit manipulative. (That's for the fugitive bit!)
BTW, I am not apolitical, I just choose not to reveal everything about myself here.

Eddie French 12-12-2001 12:30

SASQUATCH: You are a wise and precious gem of a Yeti. We all thank you for that beautiful prayer and for sharing your deep wisdom with us. :-]

TINA: "One ring to rule them all..." Have you had time to re-read Fellowship? My hubby and I are reading through it together as a bedtime story, 'though I tend to fall asleep first, drifting with the story as I listen to my husband's myriad of character voices, etc. He's a natural storyteller! :-)

JERRY: Hee hee ha ho ho heh! (poor George...) I'm back on the floor laughing! Between you and Randall, my office rug is getting pressed nicely today (lots of lint down here too...oh and there's a crumb from yesterday's lunch...) :-)

Hi, ED! :-)

Mel 12-12-2001 12:27

Mel - we have it! A white Christmas that is, it has been snowing all day yesterday, well not exactly all day, it began as a freezing rain, then turned to snow. We were very happy to see the snow, as it is a real son of a gun driving on ice, the snow gives you a bit of traction. The way the weatherman talks, the snow is here to stay for awhile anyhow. Up till yesterday, it seemed as though winter would never get here. Oh we had on big snow earlier, well not that big, just about four inches, which is not all that much for this country, but for this year it was. Other then that, we have had a unusually mild winter thus far with no sub zero temps, and little snow.

Randall - you missed one definition to kicker - KICKER - a device attached to a cow's hind legs to prevent her from kicking the bucket as she is being milked. Also known as hobbles. We used to have two cows who kicked constantly until we put the kickers on them, then we were able to milk them with little trouble. The only weapon they were left with were their tails, one of them regularly slapped my face with her tail as I milked her.

You know even in small towns, there are cop "groupies." Those are the folks who like to hang with cops, and in small towns, the police often take along "riders" who are civilians who have signed a release (Will not hold the city, or the police at fault should I become injured or killed while riding along with the police.).

In Bowman, our favorite groupie was George. George was the music teacher at the high school, who secretly wanted to be a cop, but just couldn't bring himself to apply anywhere. George was a big man, weighing in at over four hundred pounds on his six foot four inch frame. He once had bowel problems that were cured by removing nearly half of his large intestine. This left George with horrible gas and when he used the men's room, he could evacuate the entire building. Often when George was in the back seat of the cruiser he would call for a quick stop so he could relieve himself of a gas build up. We ALWAYS complied with his request, knowing the fate that awaited the slow compliance with Georges request.

One night, George dropped in on us at the PD, and wanted a ride along. That night, I was partnered up with my best friend Dan. When we got to the unit, I drove, Dan rode shotgun, and George took a back seat position behind Dan. The night was uneventful, or at least the first half was, around midnight, we decided a break was in order (George's request for a men's room stop), so we took a quick trip to the PD. Dan busied himself with making coffee for the break, while I caught up on a bit of overdue paperwork. George, of course found the men's room, and within minutes the smell began creeping under the door, and into our offices. Dan noticed it first, as he was closer and signaled that we might wish to step outdoors for a breath of fresh air. Within minutes George joined us, as always apologizing for the tremendous smell that now penetrated every inch of City Hall. As we stood out by the bike rack behind the PD smoking our cigarettes, the phone rang. Now I out ranked Dan, so he knew it was his duty to return to the PD to pick up the phone. Taking a quick deep breath, Dan sprinted to the phone and picked up the receiver. He had to be quick as the phone rang both at the PD and at his house, where his wife was on police phone duty. Within seconds, Dan was back with us behind the PD.

"Big fight at the Silver Dollar!" He said.

With that, we all ran to the car, I dived behind the wheel, and had the engine roaring before Dan had his door closed. Seeing Dan in, I threw the car into drive and hit the accelerator. Seconds later, Dan reached over and slammed the shifting lever into park, the car screeched to a halt.

"George!" Dan shouted.

"George didn't make it!" He shouted.

I turned just in time to see George bounce off the blacktop parking lot, flip and land on his face. He apparently had one leg in the car, the other still on the ground when I sped off.

We both jumped from the car and ran to George's side. He looked at us, then shouted "What are we waiting for, let's get to that fight!"

He jumped to his feet, and before I could get back to the drivers side, had his back door shut and seat belt buckled.

Now I don't recall much about the fight that night, but I will never forget the sight of big George bouncing on that hard blacktop.

Jerry 12-12-2001 11:51


Thank you once again for making me smile!
GGM........I loved it.
You got some talent there boy.

Eddie French 12-12-2001 11:40

Well Hello all you happy people!

I've been away to see my mom, and now there is no possible way for me to catch up on the posts. I DID however spot Randall's story... LOL. What a great way to start the morning!

Something happened yesterday that will make Jerry drool. A lady gave me a computer. Just a 386, but it's in great condition. All the pieces except a modem. It's not for me, it's for my sister-in-law. Now we just have to set it up and see how it runs.

Oyster, you're not the first to do the HTML thing. I once turned to NB into italics. Jack can fix it. ;-)

Suzy Home-maker, locked in the closet! Yay! It's writing time, and drawing/painting time, and gym-time, and hiking time... but watch out for that tower of dishes... oh oh, aaggh!

Rhoda, here's a sad face that he didn't get the job :o( and a happy one that you don't have to move! :-D

Oyster, who or what is Bwitch? Never heard of her, and I live 30 minutes from Salmon Arm. At first I thought you were talking about a ficticious character.
And don't let the smarmy tourist glitz ruin your impression of Salmon Arm. It's still a funky, artsy little town with the best roots and blues festival around. I gather you used to live around here?

LOTR! Only 7 days to go, I can make it, I can... just keep the door locked... I'll be okay, he he, just let me see the trailer every hour. Really, I'm fine. Where's my copy of the book? he he...

Time to go.
Blue Skies!

Tina 12-12-2001 11:23

i sasquatch am back and here is what i will ask the one

great and gentle
one who made us
keep us all in
tender love
as the creature
cares for offspring
hold my friends in
quiet peace.

i must go

sasquatch 12-12-2001 11:11

hello again notebook friends i sasquatch am able to keep near even this close to that you call solstice because there is little snow. you see Yeti do not change color in snow time as some creature and we are more easy to see against the snow. leave also more prints of large feet in snow as well so we do not linger as near in snow season. so i can stay close and see what humans persons are doing and it is interest to sasquatch to see. laugh and sing very much is what i see but there is also empty in much of this as some do not appear satisfied but still hungry for something not food. i sasquatch think this is not as the one said to be. there is also i feel some fear in some humans persons and i see many do not go out of their dens every day as before but stay and look at they call ads and worry for not to working. i sasquatch say life is working also and need to do work at living first. this worry and fear and empty is also not as the one is telling to be. i sasquatch will ask the one for good things for all humans persons. i must go.

sasquatch 12-12-2001 11:06


Iiiiii'm dreeeaming...of a write Christmas...! :-) Need more time to write...gonna make more time to write...soon, Musey, soon...

RHODA: Sounds like the best time for writing for you is NOW. May it brighten your life, renew you, and maybe even put some bread on the table (or in the bank!). :-)

TEEKAY: Ah, Scraps of paper...are they doodled with pictures? Recipe ingredients listed to purchase at the store? Important meeting notes--or--important but boring meeting notes and story snippets? Heh heh...only the holder of the PEN knows for sure ('cuz no one else is allowed to look!). So, come over to the U.S. (South Central New York State, specifically), and I'll take you to the PAD & PEN store, and then to lunch where we'll "scritch" on our pads for awhile and then decide if we need groceries or more lunch, hah! BTW, enjoyed your installment to Suzy H.M. :-]

RANDALL: heeheeheeheeheeheeheeheeheeheeheeheehee!!!!! You're gonna get me in trouble if someone sees me on the floor of my office rolling with laughter, and that betwixt the five book-carts, my filing cabinet, and printer stand! Help! I can't get up!!!

CAROL: The very best days ALWAYS start with writing. I've got to work that into my New Year's writing resolutions too! Hang in there...

JERRY: I believe in you (*clapping as for fairies to revive them with fresh spirit*). Your computer woes will be fixable--I KNOW you can do it! Past experiences, posted here by you, prove it! :-)

TAYLOR: Go with the flow... :-) And when you reach a writing lull, have your muse contact my muse to sign her up immediately for a class in "How To Scare The Beast Into (Your) Writing" and the refresher course, "How To Write Your Beast/Best." ;-]

Round 'em up and write 'em down, gang, even those dangling preps!! We'll hafta do sumpin' 'bout them varmints later...

Later! Keep your smiles attached. 8-D

Mel 12-12-2001 9:34

I was referring to the "dontcha think". Red herring is in any dictionary, no problems, except that I never tried in my post to lead people's attention away from the main point of my message. That was what I really did not like, as it seemed another sign of misinterpretation on your part. Apologies accepted (and returned...)

I think you asked me a question some time ago. I don't know anything about that, sorry.

Americo 12-12-2001 9:27

The richest man is not who has the most, but who needs the least.


I like it when people defend their beliefs. That is what makes us not droids.

AMERICO: You are an intelligent, well-educated, valuable person, but sometimes your tact gets lost in the translation. And don't go touting that 'pack' attack thing again, I am not attacking you, everyone here can fight their own battles, just giving my opinion about why you have gotten some of the responses you have in the past.

You do have this incredible knack for making people want better of themselves. It's respectable.

Au revoir.

Mary 12-12-2001 3:32

Sorry, a typo error in my previous post... Wring is suppose to be writing

taylor 12-12-2001 1:35

Writing anywhere...anytime, almost have paper with me all the time now.

I find my muse is a BEAST
Sometimes he snacks
But others he wants a FEAST

Maybe people look at me when I write
Let them stare if they want to
My wring urges won, I can no longer fight

You are right Teekay, about phasing out kind of when writing, where there is nothing but your own little creation.

taylor 12-12-2001 1:08

There is no need to fear, Underdog is here!

Ok, so I ain't Underdog, but sometimes I feel that way. Got up this AM and decided that since my stupid server computer divorced the CD burner, and the wife, who is now totally in to Christmas has been asking me anxiously about all those Christmas Carols I downloaded, and when can I have those two CD's ready so she can put them on the player. Boy read that without a breath. Anyhow, I decided that to make the computer again recognize the burner, all that would be needed was a reformat and reinstall windows. Should cure all ills right?


Now I can burn one file at a time or one folder at a time, but to tell it to burn a music CD is like giving it the three finger salute (Ctrl-Alt-Del for the uninitiated).

Now it worked on all the other computers that were ill with the virus, and mine doesn't show any virus activity, it just doesn't work right. I have replaced the memory, played musical processors with the computers, to no avail, all I get is the dreaded blue screen of death.

Must be the Motherboard or something, but I am at my wits end, and I still have some work to do on the granddaughters machine before they come for early Xmas on the 23rd.

Tomorrow is another day, and another format C: I guess. I could move the modem and burner to this machine, and it would probably work fine, but that would just be too easy, and it would be admitting that the machine got the best of me, and I am not about to do that.

I may be a bit scares for the next couple of days until I lick this problem, but I assure you I shall check in at night, just couldn't go to bed without checking the notebook first.

Jerry Ericsson 12-12-2001 0:59


HOWARD: Ah, and there I was being worried about you saying stupid things :-D

Wealth my dear HOWARD, as you well know, is a state of mind.
If your wallet is full, but your heart empty you are poor.
If your heart is full and your wallet empty you are rich.
If your heart is full and you wallet is too, you're darn lucky.
If your heart is empty, and your wallet is empty, you've got problems.

Teekay 12-11-2001 23:11


HOWARD: No pressure intended by my last post. Please don't be afraid to open your mouth for fear of saying anything stupid and having my and VIV's high regard come crashing down about your ears :-D
We know you're only human :-D

I've just made 4732848239088498587 honey kisses for the playgroup party tomorrow.
I've just devoured 46809869852862299 of them.
I'm on a honey high.


Teekay 12-11-2001 23:05

TEEKAY - If I'm so damned smart, why ain't I rich? :-(

Lebanese organic farmers certainly know their hummus...

howard 12-11-2001 22:58

Americo - I'm sorry you saw sarcasm in my post - I certainly did not mean it as such. In fact, I apparently misinterpreted your "rigorous exegesis" statement as a bit of sarcasm on your part, hence the "red herring" description, which I honestly thought was understood universally. (red herring is a term used to describe a statement - or fact -inserted into an argument or discussion in order to draw attention away from the main topic)

If you were referring to the (admittedly glib) "dontcha think," I do apologise -- it was an ill-conceived attempt to end the post on a lighter note. But it was definitely not sarcasm. I try to avoid that -- especially among friends.

howard 12-11-2001 22:56


You're cute. Thanks for telling Carol I'm patient. Cause I am. I'm still waitng for your reply from June of (99).

Jaaas kidding!

Debra 12-11-2001 22:08

You wrote: " And the "proper exegesis" argument sounds a bit "red herring-ish," dont'cha think?"

Look, Howard, your post sounded a bit sarcastic to me. If you want to try a better answer, you will be welcome, but please avoid American slang. It does not sound polite or adequate in a serious conversation, mainly between foreigners to each other as we are.

Apart from that: are you really happy with your interpretation of my post? Do you feel you were honest in your reply? Is that the best you can do to refute my argument that quoting the Bible is unwise in this environment? I was just trying to be nice and serious for a change...

Americo 12-11-2001 22:00

Evening All :)

Oyster - "Power of the Witch" by Anne Cabot is one book. If you want to get really old, try the "21 lessons of Merlin". It's not wiccan, but similar with the druidism. I did some research on this topic years ago for a book I was drafting. It just hasn't seen fruition yet.

Howard -- methinks whatever rust falls leaves the soul to shine brighter. :)

Rhoda - I wish I knew the answer to your question......

Randall -- another great character and another enjoyable story. Thank you

I'm in a bummer mood tonight. I did get the majority of my Christmas shopping done today. That was good. What I didn't do is start the day writing. It's the worst day I've had in two weeks. Pooh!

Carol 12-11-2001 21:39



Thank you Mel for the comment on the prologue. Yes it might look better if I left out the last part of that sentence. I'm going to leave another tale tonight, or as the Taliban in Afghanistan say. "Run! Run! Here comes another bomb!!"

Kicker is big around here. The word, that is. Kicker in a sentence may have several applications. Field goal kicker in US football...kicker in soccer I suppose. I believe some martial arts practices involve kicker. Or hockey..."I'm gonna kicker your teeth in!"

But the kicker term I find attractive is used this way.

"Bartender, give me a beer and a whiskey kicker." Glass of beer and shot glass of whiskey. The whiskey being the kicker. Uh...this is where the head scratching comes in. The whiskey kicker being used for, ah, oh, well an additional stimulation? Something like that.

Kicker is also used in street racing. "He's catching us! Elmo, we need a kicker!"

This verbal stimulation usually involves the driver standing on the accelerator or as some boys say, "Trimming your toe nails with the radiator fan." Using kicker in this form is usually followed by. "Oh hell! Here comes the cops Elmo!"

Which is usually followed a day later by Judge Jailemall "Racing uh? Okay boys, 250 dollar fine and 100 hours community service as a kicker."

I was leaning on the counter at work Saturday morning, contemplating my position of affluence in Brownwood society, when George Grayson Matthews strolled in. George is a legend in town, having the unique ability to wring the last fraction of horsepower from any mechanical object. If it is powered by internal combustion, George can soup it up. He has raced everything from an Abram's main battle tank (Gulf War) to a John Deere riding lawnmower.

It is rumored that during his tour of duty in the Gulf War captured Iraqi soldiers spoke in awe of one American tank streaking through the sands in excess of 100 miles an hour. When questioned by American intelligence officers they described the phantom tank as painted candy apple red, with red and yellow flames on the front. On the back of the tank was hand painted "I MAY BE SLOW BUT I'M AHEAD OF YOU!"

Sometime later George was discharged, rather abruptly, after he refused to reveal how he had "tweaked" the turbo charger on the engine to operate at 155% of factory specs. Army technicians tried to test the fuel but the resulting explosion halted any further tests. George told me several years ago the tank was locked inside a hanger at Wright Field, next to a suspicious object that looked just like a UFO covered with a tarp. Who knows?

Anyway, George parked his lanky frame on the stool and told the assistant manager he wanted a 25-horsepower kicker for his latest project.

"How much horsepower you running now George?"

"750 at the rear wheels."

"Is that dyno?" The manager asked.

"Yeah." He snickered, "Blowed that sucker up on the second test. They threw me out, telling me to never come back."

I entered the conversation with my usual style. "Huh?"

George turned and grinned, "Yeah, the guy told us to get out. Said a 750-horsepower garden tiller was only good to get people killed."

Eventually George wandered away, leaving us all grinning. He is such a misplaced genius America has lost a dozen years in technological innovations. If NASA needed any help in designing a rocket booster to reach the nearest star in a week's time, George would be the one.



BTW----George's initials GGM is reflected in the statement, usually shouted in urgency, "Good God O'Mighty here's comes George and he's got his foot in it!!!"

Randall 12-11-2001 21:17

Hi Mark!

Debra 12-11-2001 21:10


Morning All,

HEATHER: Course I don't mind. I would have to say that it is almost better than having a wise and witty saying on the bottom of one of those little desk calendars. :-D

TAYLOR * MEL: Hee hee. I wonder if people were watching you guys and saying to themselves in a voice of awe ; 'Wow, that must be one of them writers.'
Of course you lot wouldn't have noticed being caught up in the art of creation as it were.
Whenever I see people writing I wonder if maybe they're kindred spirits scratching away to ease the itch of the story in their souls, but more often that not they're just writing out their grocery list.

When No:1 son goes to school I'm going to go to this yuppy little cafe armed with pen and pad and a tortured look, sit myself down with a cappucino (intended to last for a couple of hours) and start scritching away, just to see what it feels like.
Only problem is, in Australia most people see you doing this and think; 'Wow, she must have a really long grocery list' :-D.

HEATHER: Never apologise for what your brain does, as if you were responsible for it's actions. Besides, I love your zany posts.

HOWARD: I don't care how much schooling you have or haven't had. I think you are one of the most interesting and intelligent people I have ever met.
How many idiot Doctors, teachers, nurses have you ever come across? Practically anybody can have a degree.
Just watch 'The wizard of Oz.' :-D

'The more a wise man learns, the more he realises there is to learn.'
I think I just mutilated a quote from Socrates or someone, but you get the drift.

Suzy Home - Maker: part :2

No, this time, for now at least, Suzi was definitely out of action. There was no time to lose. Every moment precious. There was no telling when Suzi would return to point her soap scoop like some holy dagger and demand the lacy mantle be placed once again upon my harrowed brow.

Did it always have to be this way? was there nothing I could do to slay Suzi forever that she would rest in peace and so could I. Rest without her constant chatter at the base of my skull.
'Don't buy storebought cookies, homemeade are so much better for the children, and will inspire memories that last forever.'
'You missed that patch under the table, go back and do it again. If you don't do it properly then it isn't worth doing.'
'Frozen dinners!!! What kind of wife and mother are you anyway.'

I shook the memory of her voice from my head. 'Not this time, Baby. You and I are over.' I bent and grabbed her stiffened legs and dragged her across the floor. I think I could just manage to make her fit in the basin locker if I removed all the cleaning products. There was a small padlock in the shed. Not that I had any real cause to worry, nobody but me had been in that cupboard ever, but I wasn't taking any chances.

Panting and perspiring I stood back to survey my work. There was Suzi, doing the most amazing calisthenics. Frozen forever (hopefully) in impossible dance. I closed the door with a satisfied smirk, she could keep the soap scoop, I certainly wouldn't be needing it any more.


Teekay 12-11-2001 18:53

We are not going to Mobile Bay. Evidently it wasn't the sure thing it had originally been presented to be. I am relieved we are not moving at this point. It is now time to call the mortgage company and refinance.

Frank is disappointed because he was unable to wow the hiring committee. Actually he was overqualified, but that is no comfort when unemployment stares you in the face.

I must put my writing skills to work and continue to polish that resume, which so far has impressed no one. Things will work out one of these days, but why does disappointment, uncertainty, and failure seem to run in spurts?

Rhoda 12-11-2001 17:39

CAROL - no treasure here -- treasure doesn't tarnish - and you should see the rust! :-)
Robert (that's his name) wrote three sentences this afternoon using several of his spelling words, and connected them into a real story! It was a bit of a struggle to get him started, but once he got going it was easy. He said so, anyway... and me with writer's block!

AMERICO - I'll not argue the point here, but you seem to be asking for a response. I will say that if you have the understanding that a word (used anywhere) has several different meanings or senses then you're free to read it with that understanding. I am likewise free to use it from my point of view. The suggestion that I should refrain from mentioning a subject simply because someone might take offense at a word or a phrase seems contrary to the philosophies you've posited here in the past. And the "proper exegesis" argument sounds a bit "red herring-ish," dont'cha think?

howard 12-11-2001 17:14

"Made Bold by words Oyster" - Sorry Mel, I realized what happened way too late. And I have no clue how it happened, either!

So, I'm borrowing Carol's style.

Carol - I find three a good number for readers, and I learned that trick by being one of a trio of readers for a writer who is so profilific he really doesn't know when to stop writing. Me too.

The trick is (and I've had this happen) picking readers who don't know each other so they don't all collaborate and 'discuss' the work, like an Oprah's Book Club round table!

I've also made the onerous error of giving sci-fi to people who read historical romance as a steady diet and various other mistakes I've learned from!

Americo - got anything on the history of Wicca? Carol's got some, I've found a bit more, and of course I can always get the Bwitch to talk but I could use some help on the old-old pagan stuff, which Bwtich ignores in favour of mid-evil (pun intended) practises and other such stuff.

Howard - bet after you got to school, you can teach. Teaching's pretty cool if you can stand FYKIA's. In the meantime, origami is ever changing. Chrysanthemums rule!

Where's Jerry?

Uh-oh, I feel a pull toward the washing machine. It must be Suzy calling me.

Oyster 12-11-2001 16:18

your wrote:
"AMERICO -- I've heard lots of people - including yourself - quote from various sources, but the only ones you hold up to ridicule (perhaps ridicule is too strong a word?) are those who quote from the Bible. Interesting:-)"

No, Howard, that is not accurate. I respect the Bible at least as much as any other great book. The problem is that the Bible, like any of the Scriptures produced by mankind's genius (with or without God's inspiration, as you prefer to believe), is rather controversial in terms of faith. Quoting from it may offend gratuitously those who have a different interpretation of the Bible in general and the quoted passages in particular-- mainly in an environment like the NB where serious discussions can rarely lead to any clarification of the problems.

I will give you an example. You said some time ago that James was Jesus's brother (11.16.2001). But, for the Catholics, who prefer to rely on the interpretation of the "Fathers of the Church" (St. Augustine, etc.) rather than on their humble literal reading in their modern languages, that is not true, as, in their experts' interpretation of the New Testament, Jesus had no brothers (or sisters). Moreover, Mary is supposed to have always been a virgin... According to the Catholics, the original word, translated in some "protestant" versions as just "brother", had a broader meaning including both "brother and cousin". James, for the Catholics, was just a relative of Jesus (not his carnal brother). As you see, a rather complicated matter.

Why, therefore, quote the Bible and, even if involuntarily, bring up this sort of complex problems to our modest Notebook? The sacred books demand rigor in their exegesis and should not be quoted lightedly.

That is not the case of profane books. Those you can quote freely. Here's a citation from a good one, enlightening the matter as far as my attitude towards the matter is concerned:

"Sebastian hated dogmas and prejudices. He knew that nothing is truly sacred if said with the right intonation, because God, in his opinion, had a great sense of humor and surely loved a hearty burst of laughter."
("Shadows in a Dream", p10)

Unfortunately, you cannot hear intonation on the NB...

No, no, Howard starts first. You used to start first once, but Howard has been the champion in more recent times.

A round of applause to both of you.

Americo 12-11-2001 14:02

Greetings All :)

Viv - you've got a good point about the benefits of several readers. Having just one all the time does lose its effectiveness after a while. Four people looked at my Grandma story. Only one suggestion was said by all. All other comments were different and very valuable. The only thing to keep in mind, is when to say "done." That's a hard point to find since, at least for me, I want the story as perfect as possible. Gotta let the bird fly sometime though.

Your candle idea for Friday sounds great! Go for it. I started work on another story earlier this week. I pulled the idea from the newspaper and may need to call on Jerry's expertise for this one. Its currently in a Sheriff's POV, though I'm not sure I'm keeping it there. Maybe Fri. I'll try the alternative POV I'm thinking of and you can give me your opinion.

Taylor -- Find those scraps wherever you can! :)

Mel - I haven't started the writing "cleaning" and resolutions yet. That ususally starts just after Christmas for me. It has become a yearly event that I look forward to. I also review the accomplishments for the year. I have to do that or all the unfinished work would really get me down.

I enjoyed watching the Harry Potter movie last night. We have such a small town! There were a total of 16 people in the theater, only 2 of them were children. Now I've got to get another story completed and edited in time for neighbor to take me to LOTR. hehehe

Howard - what a wonderful thing you are doing for that young man. You are a treasure -- with words, warmth and caring. Its a pleasure to know you.

Oyster - Ok, all you did was wet my appetite for me! LOL I love the army boot details of Gran. Research? I love research. I have a wonderful book on wiccan ways - I'll dig around and find the title for you. Just in case. :)

Regarding Suzy -- Can't Gran banish her? hehehe Oh shoot, no she can't. First rule of wicca's - "Do no harm." Well, maybe Suzy will suffocate in a pile of dust bunnies.

Today's schedule is Christmas shopping. I've got my list. I've got a buddy to shop with.

Have a great day everyone!

Carol 12-11-2001 13:21


OSYTER: For a minute there, I thought either the NB had always been in BOLD or else my eyes were going bonkers...! Do you realize your BOLD extended through this entire current page? I'm glad it's not normally all in bold; too much of a good thing for the eyeballs to manage so much at once! 8-]

HEATHER: I hope you can stick to your resolutions - they're very good ones! :-]

MARY: I knew Heather's White Rabbit quote had to be from the Disney version as I couldn't find it in the book! (Well, I'm here in the library with the books, so of course I cheated and looked!) ;-]

HOWARD: You go, Teach'! :-) Maybe your 9-yr-old student is a genius in disguise! :-) it sounds like he is doing wonderfully with your help!

Off to lunch! (Um, not sure if Ms. Muse will tag along or not...will window-shop until she makes up her mind...!)

Mel 12-11-2001 13:03

Sorry about the bold, guys! See what happens when I get Suzy-fied? I miss the end commands.

Oyster 12-11-2001 11:50

"Vay-Oyster" here!

Uh oh, folks. I think I took a big bite out of a BIG project! But for Carol and Viv, who are wanting to hear about the Bwtich, I'll tell you all this ...

Like Christi (lurk, smirk, hi Christi, lurk some more) I decided to 'lurk' on a few sites that were about Bwitch's home town of Salmon Arm, BC. Argh!

It's changed. It's different. It's ... become touristy! Now how am I supposed to send my mind back to 1950's Salmon Arm when I can barely remember 1960's Salmon Arm? So I called Bwitch and she laughed with me at my chagrin and advised me to "Start with Gran."

I groaned and said "Castlegar, BC?" Bwitch chuckled and she said "Yup". ohhhhh. More research to be done. More toursity schlock to wade through waiting for my mind to click back to a picture of 1950'/60's Castelgar! To a cabin so far off the beaten track my imagination has to get an imagination to go there!

Then ding-dong, like one of those angel bells, a clear memory of Gran pops into my head ... Gran, Bwtich's very eccentric Grandmother (and a witch, too! LOL) wore army boots! No kidding Jerry. She trudged around the heavily forested area near her home just outside of Castlegar in big old army boots! I know this because when I met her she was wearing them. Without odor eaters!

German army boots, no less!

And I discovered, despite the tantalizing prospect of describing a very small, very intelligent and lively old woman who wore army boots and picked herbs in spring and cut her own fire wood and stuff like that there ... I'm still in Suzy Homemaker-Mode. I hate Suzy! I wish she'd go away, but her constant nagging and guilting is one of the penalties of working 'inside' my home.

*sigh* Laundry today. Now, since I don't have a 'wife' to do all this stuff, and I'm off on a field trip chaperoning the choir all day Wednesday, in between all the stuff that the Suzy-Nag insists I does. Do. Um, you all know what I mean. Anyone got any tips on how to banish Suzy?

With a bit of humour, I did inform Son-of-my-heart when he told me to 'hurry up' with his breakfast this a.m. that slavery was never legal in Canada and that treating me like a slave was illegal. He apologized. And he did put his dishes in the sink and brush his teeth and a few other things, saving Suzy-Me from the Morning Remind (they call it nagging, but I only remind 'once', then they're on their own).

Today, after dropping Sonny at his appointment I have to drag Daughter to SuCa, an eclectic international craft store to get a book and CD on how to play the diggeri-doo(sp) for a friend who has one they brought back from Austrailia. I also have to go scope out an artistic fruit bowl, in black. *Eyes rolling here* because Daughter is not a good companion shopper. Maybe she'll play the wonderful wooden xylophone (me want, any fool can make music on it, and I love music) for a bit as I suck the staff into explaining to me why this bowl is black and some history of it.

Maybe if I'm lucky they can write it on the back of one of their business cards and I won't have to! The Friend I'm buying this bowl for is quite erudite and needs to know the 'history' and 'culture' of her Christmas gifts to appreicate them. Need I say that this is the one who brought Vietnamese ear cleaing tools back as souvenirs?

So folks, I'm off to take a box of Girl Guide choco-mint cookies (yes, we still have some left, but they're ours, we paid for them) to my mini-Christmas party, then go get some gum for the Warm Feet charity socks Daughter's class is making, and a few other 'odds and sods'. Then, when I get home, MORE laundry. I hate laundry almost as much as I hate Suzy!

Normally, I'd give everything else the heave-ho, run downstairs and pound away at the computer. But this year, this season for some reason, I can't focus on writing like I used to. And my grammar and spelling suck, too!

If anyone's up for a "How To Murder Suzy-Homemaker" mystery session, I'll start ...


Her prone body lay in the laundry room, arms akimbo, laundry soap scoop clutched in her cold, dead hand. Aghast at what I had done, I tried to rouse her.

She wouldn't move. Was rigor mortis setting in? Was she really dead? Or was she just tricking me into believing she was dead and gone forever by just laying there?

Suzy is a crafty one. And, like a cat, she has nine lives.
Her capacity to lay guilt upon my head like a lacy mantle is huge, enormous.

I thought I saw the flicker of one of her June Cleaver look alike eyelids. I couldn't be sure. I bent over and ...


Anyone else care to help me take out Suzy for good?

*Wicked Smile* If nothing else, maybe I can shrink her in the dryer? Yes?

Oyster 12-11-2001 11:49

MEL -- Actually, one person does call me his teacher. I'm tutoring a nine year old boy who has a learning and speech disability. His school has all but given up on him, and told his family that he'll probably never go beyond grade school, let alone graduate. His grandmother won't give up, though, and she asked me if I could help. Now he refers to me as his teacher, and introduces me to everyone that comes along. He's learning, too - we read together, and he's writing a story using his spelling words from school. He can work simple arithmetic in his head - many times he sees the answer faster than Ican do it. Sometimes I think he sees 7+5 as symbolically equated with 12. I'm not sure I'm expressing that right, but it's almost like the processes Mark mentioned a while back. It's as if he's thinking "7+5 is the same thing as 12" instead of "seven plus five equals twelve." I wish I knew more about it so I could understand him better.
But when he hugs me and calls me "teacher" I melt.

howard 12-11-2001 11:34

I'm late, I'm late
For a very important date
No time to say Hello, Goodbye
I'm late, I'm late, I'm late, I'm late
When I wave,
I lose the time I saved
My fuzzy ears and whiskers
Took me too much time to shave

I run and then I hop hop hop
I wish that I could fly
There's danger if I dare to stop
And here's the reason why you see
I'm overdue
I'm in a rabbit stew
No time to say hello, goodbye
I'm late, I'm late, I'm late.

I'm off to see the Queen of hearts
Who lives up in the palace
The very moment I'm through with her
I've got a date with Alice!

(He's got a date with Alice! and
The Queen of Hearts who lives up in the palace!) (background vocals sing that part.)

Funny part: I have never seen Alice in Wonderland, but I know all the words to that song from a cassette tape of Disney songs I listened to when I was a kid.)

Mary 12-11-2001 11:33

And the White Rabbit said, "I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date! No time to ________, Hello, Goodbye; I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!"

Can anyone remember what Rabbit has no time for? I've stumped meself.

Feed your heads,

Heather 12-11-2001 10:58

Hi Mel! Yes, my writing resolutions for the New Year are as follows:

Keep writing until nose and small digits fall off, dry up and are auctioned off on ebay.
Publish Symphony
Publish LT collection
Cure myself of Griswoldese
Live to tell more stories (thought typing might be a chore by this point)
Get my Christmas cards written and sent before December 25th, 2002

Ah, I have no idea what my brain was intending to say last night - perhaps it just wanted all of you to know it exists beyond the confines of my wee skull, and has typing fingers of its own.

Mary - still online?

Heather 12-11-2001 9:05


Good Morning/Evening, potential Pulitzer-Prize Writers! :-) YOU, yes YOU!!! Lurk all you want, but YOU're A WRITER, no denying it!!! (Oh Heather, see what you've loosed with these exclamation points!!!!!)

CAROL: So, how'd you like HP? :-) I'm just floating high on HP movie memories until LORD OF THE RINGS comes along next week to bury them (Ahh,, Harry who? heh heh)

CHRISTI: Okay, so quit lurking and tell us what you're writing these days...any more timeless romances for my hungry heart? :-)

HOWARD: heh heh origami art increasing hee hee! Viv's right. I'm in line behind her to learn more about writing verse, from YOU, "Professor!" :-) Time's a-wastin'! Take some education courses and land yourself a teaching job. :-) Viv and I will be your "guinea-pig" students for class plans, heh heh! If you can teach US (me? Are you with me, VIV?) you can teach anybody!

MARK: Oy Vay - hyuck hyuck! :-]

JERRY: hee hee hee oh my the satire page hee hee hoo boy! SOMEBODY's got WAY too much time on their hands to write all that and then put it on the web!!! :-)

TEEKAY: "Goblet" was the BEST of the four HP books! Also the longest and with a reading level FAR beyond that of the many younger children wading through it! I'm impressed with Rowling's writing charisma. (Or is it Harry's undeniable attraction to mortal danger?) :-]

HEATHER: hee hee hee ha ha oh stop it! CORRAL those "!" and finish what you were going to say! :-)

TAYLOR: Writing on scraps? Oh boy, you've got it BAD! :-) As bad as the day, a couple years ago, I wrote on the bus to work, got off the bus and kept writing as I walked several blocks...When the muse is HOT, keep those pens a-moving! :-D

Feeling good today - I think I'm veering toward that great big EDIT ME pile in my closet, otherwise known as my first novel's rough draft. I'm working on formulating some serious New Year's WRITING resolutions...anybody else working on those too?


Mel 12-11-2001 8:36

Howard: Happy anniversary

Oh boy, found myself at karaoke writing some ideas down on some scrap paper in between songs
Never done that before

taylor 12-11-2001 4:29

Pardon! all! of! my! extraneous! exclamations! friends!
My! brain! is! imploding! with! all! this! emphatic...


*sorry, Heather's brain is temporarily out of service*

Heather 12-11-2001 3:16

Teekay: The White Rabbit said it! (And is it just me, or did that rabbit sound as if he had a mouthful of marbles?)

Howard: Happy Anniversary! I, too, think you would be well-qualified to teach us all something about poetry!
And Mark, too.

Mark: Now you've gone and done it. I've got to get my hands on 'Orality and Literacy'! (Trade you for 'A Natural History of the Senses' by Diane Ackerman. It's a mind-feast of a book.) I'm also very happy to hear that 'Holding Wonder' of Howard's has made it back into 'circulation'! *phew*!

Mary: HUGS! Make that double HUGS! This writing buddy thing is the best thing going!

Viv: What a wonderful post about the candlelight service!
Print that one out and keep it.

Christi: Cartwheels in my livingroom - you're posting!

Teekay (again!) I hope you don't mind, but I printed out your post from the other day (the part to Randall, about writing without self-censorship)! It's more than a keeper, it's being laminated and mounted by my desk. :oD

I think I've more to say, but no time to say it...

'Til tomorrow, then!

Heather 12-11-2001 3:13


Hi all, this is just a real quick post, I haven't been able to read them all yet, and now I've doggone run out of time.

MEL: Daughter number two tells me I read 'Goblets Of Fire'
It's the one where he, oh, I can't even really say coz it'll give away the ending for those who haven't read it. I'll send you an email and tell all :-D
I'm buying the collection for number one son for when he's able to read them.

OYSTER: I see your writer's block is well and truly unblocked :-D.
I'll read over your post and all the ones I missed after dinner's over and number one son is abed.
CHRISTI: Well you inspire me simply by being you.
By golly, if you weren't already married.........:-D

I sure hope you have that tune over there in America :-D

OYSTER: Yes DEBRA is very patient. Not that you asked, but I could sense you were going to.

What else?
No time for anything else.

Must run.
Who said: I'm late, I'm late for a very important date.

Teekay 12-11-2001 1:22

Found this page whilst researching a damn virus that infected several of my family machines (not mine, my sister and here daughters). I throughly enjoyed the humor there, take a peek if you need a chuckle. I think we could all use a chuckle now'a days.

Now if I could just figure out why my server refuses to burn CD's in the project mode, refuses to copy CD's but will burn in the drag and drop mode, I would be overjoyed.

I do have my grand daughter's computer almost built, well it is built, I have the software almost all installed. Trying to decide what software is best for an eight and a half year old girl does have me scratching my head. I know which games she likes to play on my machines when she comes to visit, so I have put them on. I am going to put as many restrictions on the browser as I can think of, in fact I may simply lock out the internet and let her mother set the limits of web access. It is frightening to think of what a child could find on this wonderful/awful thing called the internet.

I was running into a problem finding a monitor for it. I have several old ones but there seems to be something wrong with all of them, so today I cracked the cover on two of them, and to my amazement, I actually found out how to adjust them so they work right! Something I have never really tinkered with, although I did repair televisions when I was in the service. Not that we were trained to repair televisions, in fact all any of us in communications were trained to maintain was communications equipement like two way radios, and telephones, but to try and explain that to the Majors and Captains who brought their TV's in expecting us to fix them would be something beyond the scope of our knowledge. So we did learn, on officer's televisions, in fact we got quite good at it. I guess some of that knowledge did transfer to monitors, after all they do serve a simular purpose.

And I ramble on, I think this may be an age related thing, the rambling that is.

Mary, your photo's on your site are wonderful, I don't see how you could make them any better, all I was indicating that you should have at least the three free photo's accompaning the product.

Howard, hope you had a wonderful anniversery, did your good wife mention that I sent her an e-mail?

Mark, so good to see you back amongst us again.

Write ON!

Jerry Satire page 12-10-2001 23:59

VIV - Is there another Howard here? That certainly doesn't sound like me! But if it was me you thought you were describing, Thanks! But that's certainly more to live up to than I bargained for.
Nope, certainly not an English prof - never even went to college until I was in my 50's. I always did like to read and write, though, and did quite a bit of tech-type writing in my various jobs in the IBM information systems areas. Then when I got downsized (July 1993)I decided to go to our local community college (my wife works there, so I got free tuition), where I got an AAS in communications, with a print journalism emphasis. I also got a truckers license (class A) because I thought I might want to drive tractor-trailers one day. I had this picture of writing poetry on a lap-top while hauling steel (or tea-towels) over the road. Got a part-time (60+ hours in some weeks) job on a computer helpdesk during my last semester, just to make ends meet, and stayed on there after I graduated. Dunno any other kind of work, really. And I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I've no idea of the rules or mechanics of metered verse. It just has to sound right. And no, there are no books floating anywhere, just bits of verse that occasionally coalesce into something that makes sense. About the only things I've had published are an essay and a couple of short stories. I do have a couple of loose collections of poems bouncing around here somewhere, maybe someday.
But I still think you have me confused with someone else -- Mark, perhaps -- he's much the better writer than I, and a college prof to boot. I worked with him on that helpdesk, and am the richer for it.

howard 12-10-2001 23:16


Ah, CHRISTI_lurker, I have “Holding Wonder” and a note that says you might want it next. My e-dress is attached, send your address.

OYSTER – Happy Birthday. Could you just as easily be the VAYster?

DEBRA – “Beat red”?? Methinks you have abuse too much of the mind. Try ‘beet red’ for the commonplace description.

HOWARD – Celebrate the day.

HOP – Interesting point about English and polar thinking. Charles Osgood (a known radio and TV commentator here) tried to make a map of world languages during his graduate studies. He devised a list of words which should have exact opposites and mixed some others into the list, then asked high school students around the world to give the opposite term for each word in his list. “High” got “Low,” “Tall” got “Short,” and “Light” got both “Heavy” and “Dark.” Armed with his list of polar opposites, Osgood then asked different sets of teenagers (chosen because kids at that age are most acutely aware of their languages) to rank a list of nouns against the set of polar descriptors. He found that in every country except Korea, “Mother” got the highest positive score. In Korea the highest positive went to “Moon.” He also found that some Finlanders and Laplanders had trouble with the whole notion of polar scales.

Walter Ong wrote extensively of that experiment and others in his book “Orality and Literacy” which explores many notions of the effects of literacy on cognition. I’m a believer.

More Later.

Mark 12-10-2001 22:14

Carol: While writing that thing about the candles I got an idea. It might make my story for Friday. I'll use the Heather wisdom about having the action of the story carry the weight and see if I have a Christmas story of sorts in the description. Cool. I'm glad we "chatted"!

Jack: Thank you for the notebook. It's a thinker place. Without communication you don't have writing ideas. Ummmm, this sounds rude but we really do need our page for putting what we finish up on the blocks. I am enjoying working by sending things out by E-mail on Friday with Carol, but really I could use the input of a community of writers. I'm afraid it will be like language, after awhile I'll get used to Carol's mistakes and begin to accept them instead of critiquing properly. When you are teaching ESL it's always a challenge to keep noticing mistakes. Sometimes I end up at the end of the day, sounding just like the students. I forget which pronouns to use, and repeat every word four or five times in a sentence!

If you are really having a time with that page, could you d send me a written description of the trouble. There are many people making Web sites at my workplace. I could get them to put their heads to work on a solution. There is also a computer center equipped with engineers. I could give the problem to them in a translated version and they could bang their heads on it as well. Many heads make lighter work of a problem. I wish I knew enough to work on it with you. I'll try to get up to speed but I think this is a LOOOONG proposition. That's sort of like you coming over here and telling me you'll help me with the translation. It'd take you a couple years just to get the basics down so you could help. I think that's the boat I'm in. I need to learn a new language...the language behind the picture on the screen. It's neat and interesting but it sure looks complex.

Anyway it goes, thank you for your brillant idea on this notebook and hang in there! This page is definitely a Magnus Opus of the highest caliber.

OYSTER: Happy Birthday to you! Your friend sounds like a neat person and someone I'd love to read about. Maybe after HanniChristmas you could send me a bit of it? I'd love to read it! I'm not really the greatest as far as critique but I could attempt and what I don't get right, you could send to one of the others????!!!!! We could round robin it!

Viv again 12-10-2001 20:57

Carol: Hi! I'm dry as far as IDEAS for Friday! I usually can think them up by Tuesday but so far nothing. I think I may just do re-writes. I'm glad we have our Friday date or I wouldn't write at all. I don't actually know until I start writing what will pour out on the page. I hope it does pour but if it's not pouring I'll have revisions to work on. I'm sooooo glad.

Howard: You're going back to school?!!! I consider you very well educated and cultured. I thought you were an English professor working for a Major University. I haven't ever met another writer as erudite and versatile in metered verse. I hope you can find a teacher who is intelligent enough to give you something. If you aren't hired, it's because there are people out there too stupid to recognize the real thing when they see it. I wonder, where do you work that they don't recognize you? Over here in Tokai, you'd be so respected no one would talk to you. We'd all be afraid we'd reveal how little we actually know! (There are some real great teachers at Tokai...I just don't count myself among them. Mostly I just let the students take over and do what they are good at! That seems to be much better than trying to share my "gems" of wisdom with them.) I'm grumbling because if you aren't an English professor you sure ought to be. I'd like a class in metered verse please. No, I don't want one in syllabics, I want one in HOW TO WRITE metered verse! Why is that talent going to waste????!!!! Frustration.
I have a lot of questions because I joined the notebook late and never did get to read about you.
1. Where do you live?
2. What do you do to earn money for the essentials?
3. Come clean on this many books of poetry have you already published????? There have to be some out there floating around because when you do drop one on line, it's every bit as perfect as one of Mary's necklaces.

Carol: I don't know how well organized the candle lighting was. Ours was completely disorganized and very spontaneous. Our friend Yumiko is having a lot of trouble because she miscarried. She can't get pregnant again. We were sitting outside on the dusty little bench near the fish pond and the statue of Mary. Everyone had their little can of hot tea and we were enjoying a brief moment in the sunshine before we had to get back to the housework. We chatted about how hard it was to get through these holidays. We were talking about the big-time foreigners, the Siri Lankan folks who've most recently joined the community. They are being ostracised because many of them had T.B. and the kids had T.B. and went to school with the healthy children. Then we got onto the subject of the child that died of T.B. That flowed into Yumiko and then into all the mothers even the ones who successfully hid their saddness and soldiered through these holidays. Gloria (from the Philappines- not the other Gloria) mentioned that she'd heard about a candle lighting. She was a little late getting the article to me so you all could light your candles.

Like I said, it was impromptu and very disorganized. We had dogs and children who kept knocking over the candles as we were lighting them. But there for a brief moment, before the wind started blowing them out, the dusty playground turned into a field of stars. We let the wind have its way and the field slowly winked and blinked its way out.

Congratulations on your anniversary!

Viv 12-10-2001 20:41


I want to order one of those mirror chimes. Right now I have a smiley face wearing a red white and blue bandana.

I'll be in touch. I might even want more than one.

Very talented! You are!

Debra 12-10-2001 20:36

See now you'all can see the shaving strawberry!

While I'm here, I might mention Ab Fab is on tonight at nine o'clock on Comedy Central. It is Ab Fab!

Now that will clear up any writers block fer surrre!

Debra 12-10-2001 20:33

DEBRA -- I once knew a guy who had a nose that looked like a strawberry that needed a shave!

--The art of origami is increasing...

howard 12-10-2001 15:45

Drat! Forgot to say that, Mary!!!, I think your photos are perfectly done and a very good representation of your beadwork. The car mirror thingie (can't remember the name but I want one) is the only exception, and for obvious reasons that can't be helped.

Boy does this take the mystery out of lurking. :(

Christi 12-10-2001 15:28

*lurk lurk lurk*


*lurk lurk lurk*

Christi 12-10-2001 15:26

Greetings All :)

Happy Birthday Oyster!
Happy Anniversary Howard!

Jerry - that looks like a great site -- thank you! I love finding sites like this. Another interesting one is linked below (I hope - it's the first time I've put in a link). They are archiving newspaper articles as far back into the 1800's as possible. For fun, I did a quick search on cleaning outhouses -- six sites came up. (Okay, now you all know just how strange I can be. )

Oyster - Hurry up with that cleaning -- I wanna see Bwitch!

Off to get some writing done now. Then some cleaning. Then Harry Potter tonight! My neighbor has been anxiously waiting for the completion of Grandma Rose (formerly Grandma Ghost). She's treating me to the movie as a reward for finally completing it. What a sweetie! :)

Carol Link 12-10-2001 15:05

HEATHER: Sorry, I thought you said something about how a picture can't really capture the way light hits beads, and how much better amber colors look when you see them in person. That must have been something you said before you had gotten the necklace.

Mary 12-10-2001 14:04

Thanks to everyone for the Birthday Wishes. And for the kind words and the stories and the writing!

Spousie got me a wonderful little booklet about the year I was born 19(mumble-mumble) and I got a real Mexican dinner out as well! I am a happy Oyster!

Two of my best birthday presents were all the best wishes from my 'new' Writer's Group at (Thanks to Jack for giving us a place to 'be' the writers we 'are'). And all the neat stuff to read ... from writers who are equally as puzzled and enthusastic about this journey we call writing as I am.

And the second, speaking of Witches, came from my best budette. Her affectionate nickname for public consumption is Bwitch, which she resmbles greatly and may turn me into The Toad for saying, but ah ha! Tis true. And as a Wicca, she honours veracity, it's in her code of conduct ... the Wiccan Rede. So no Toad Oyster!

Bwitch gave me four gifts last night as my exhausted family tumbled into bed. I didn't expect her call until later this month, but she gave me a gift, my Bwitchy Friend, in fact four of them!

First, she remembered my birthday. Not many people do, since it's in the Christmas/Holiday Month and sometimes smack in the middle of Chanukah. Actually, my birthday this year was The First Night of Chanukah.

Second of all, she called to give me 'permission' to base a character on her. Which will be hilarious as soon as Jack opens the notebook. I've been waiting 20 years to immortalize this woman in print ... I'm so excited I can hardly wait to start, but Chanu-mas first and January is a long and boring month. Perfectly suited to writing,

Bwitch says I can even use her real name too.
As soon as I start, she wants to 'see it'. Hoo-hah, ready-made-reader! This from a woman who thinks reading is anathema since she doesn't do it well! And she's a teacher, as in gets paid real money to do it, too! LOL!

The third gift was a real surprise. Somehow Bwitch managed to get an old gang of friends together to sing "Shout" over their telephones in honour of my 'Big Day'. I think it's called a conference call, what they did, but it was so cool!

And their birthday wishes were all at the end of the song. Apparently The Bwitch rented a Karioke (sp) machine and put the music on for the song in the background. She made them all practise privately as she emailed them all the words and warned them to 'do it right'.

The fourth and final gift was one for sharing with all of you. It comes from the Bwitch's earnest and sincere collection of friends all over the world. On September 25, she entreated her friends to get together after 911 and 'image' peace for our world. And healing too.

Not long after that, she called and told me to check out one of my subscriptions to a funmail thing. In it was a prescription for living well which another friend also sent via email. Bwitch got the same beautifully written advice and wanted me to 'think hard about this, then do it, d*mmit!' I did and did.

Here are the three things Bwitch advised me to 'do' and 'be with' in this year of my life:

Dance Like Nobody's Looking

(I did that at the Spouse's Christmas Party)

Sing Like Nobody's Listening

(I did that for four hours yesterday afternoon with a group of really good singers)

Write like Everybody's Reading!

(This I am working on, and here, I do just that, yes?)

Howard, I'm not sending your wife any condolences, she has a pearl just like the ones Mary works with.

Debra I will take my time. I know you are patient. Thank you.

Teekay Thanks for the snippets about 'family', there are days when I feel I'm drowning in dialogue, none of which I expected to hear with my own ears! Hee-hee, at least I know I'm not alone!

Mary I like your pictures. Ebay will like your pictures.

Barnabas Thanks for including Cheri and I.

Jerry I'm going to start calling you Encyclopedia Ericksson, after my favourite ever Character: Encyclopedia Brown! How you do the things you do, and know what you know, is beyond my ken. But I know if I ask, you'll find me an answer. Thanks, Jerry!

Oh, and I loved that site you put up. Got anything on Canada?

Have I left out a lot of people? I'm sure I have, and my thanks to those I missed, but it's *groan* more housework day and my mind is torn between 'doing' and 'remembering'.

This afernoon at 3:00 I will have two hyper-excited nine-year-olds doing their level best to 'get pretty' for their first ever trip to the Dinner Theatre with their Guide Company.

There is Husky-hair all over the place and the girls plan to dress in black! I don't even want to think about the upcoming events of this week yet, it's so full of 'kid-stuff' that I can't begin to remember what commitment I made when, and I'm scared to look at the calendar for fear of giving myself a stress-induced stroke!

Thanks again for the Birthday wishes, and when I get my housework done and the 'other work' finished, I'll be ba-ack. Who knows maybe with a character assassination, I mean description of the Bwtich, to share as an appetizer!

Oyster of The Open Shell! 12-10-2001 13:08

DEBRA: OH! I like your description of the man much better now - a sailor, yes, indeedy - a very story-worthy character now he seems. Hmmmm...

Mel 12-10-2001 12:26


Actually it was a man that walked into a cafe I was in not too long ago. He had on a cap that must have been hiding a headfull of red hair, but I didn't see it. He looked like an old time, land,locked sailor.

His face was beat red and he had five O'clock shadow red head style. He looked like a strawberry that needed a shave.

How's that?

Debra 12-10-2001 9:45


Here's to a Marvelous Monday for everyone! Mondays...when the weekend writer-would-be returns to the paying job...when the gung-ho author realizes that the get-up-and-go has got-up-and-went...when smashing the alarm clock into the wall to stop that infernal buzzing noise doesn't work; the sun still rises... guess I'm glad for the sunshine, anyway!!! :-]

Mondays...when I finally get back to a pc after two or three days of wrestling four family members for use of the home pc, and as "patient" wife/mother, finally run out of time for my own turn...sigh. BUT! Happy news - we've decided it's TIME to get each person his/her own pc at home! So, we'll buy them, one at a time, as we can afford them (there must be some sales out there somewhere!) and then network them all at home so we can all have internet access... and then MAYBE I can get back to editing my novel on the home pc - YES! I can't wait!!! Ms. Muse is doing crazy cartwheels (a thing I could never do) all around my mental house... :-)

Some quick (I hope) post-answering:

DEBRA: My muse is having difficulty wrapping herself around a strawberry needing a shave... will let you know if a breakthrough occurs.

TAYLOR: Be sure to sprinkle that long dialogue section with character actions, movements that reveal the characters' personalities... I need practice with this sort of thing too.

AMERICO: A nicely written nutshell into which you've put us all. We resemble your remarks! :-)

OYSTER: Belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! :-) Glad you liked King Toady. He's Rosemary's fault as she helped him off her birdbath one day and inspired my muse. I hope one day an illustrator will clarify my fumbly poetic images in a children's book; cars and geese swooshing past Toady will certainly help.

ROSEMARY: Life is short. Meet your old friend at the airport. You'll be glad you did. Thanks again for the Toady inspirations! I'll try not to echo Kenneth Grahame's Wind in the Willows toad adventures. And if Lizzy dropped on MY head, I'd scream the fuzz off the chicks, let me tell ya! :-)

CAROL: I'm glad the Buddy System is helping you! Thanks for sharing that. I find rough drafts are SCARY and EXCITING at the same time. Then comes editing - TEDIOUS and Deeply Satisfying, a job you hate to start but glad you finish for the shine buffed into the story. :-)

HEATHER: I liked that quote on imagination and humor! :-)

HOWARD: Good luck with the job search. HAPPY WEDDING ANNIVERSARY! :-) Last evening, my hubby and I watched "the Making of LOTR" - whew! WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW!!!!!! :-) We want to see those LOTR movies NOW!!!

TEEKAY: I too enjoy hearing about your novel progress (and ANYBODY's writing progress!!). Keep those updates coming!
:-) BTW, Sirius Black was also in HP #3, so who knows which book you read if you don't? :-) Thanks for the rhyme-time, pal-o-mine. I hope you're using a new PEN with that new notebook (anything for an excuse to go to the PEN store, heh heh!). :-)

VIV: The candle-thing for children sounded nice. Sorry I missed it. Meanwhile, I hope you find time to write something "wise and kind" that glows with the author's confidence. :-) Put it here as a shorty. We're waiting! :-D (No pressure meant, just trying to inspire you to write what you enjoy reading, for a change!)

RANDALL: In spite of your writer's self-image, you are doing WELL with dialogue! Your dialogue sparkles with real personalities, in my opinion. :-) And your early American imagery was beautiful - THAT was a lovely armchair writer's retreat for me! :-) As you spoke of the buffalo, I heard them saying all that you suggested and one more: they saw their future but were content, knowing that one day an author named Randall would immortalize them. :-) I have one teeny suggestion for that piece - cut the last sentence and end with "The Anglo-Saxons have arrived." That is enough, and speaks so many more unwritten words in itself.

LITTER: Was that Wee Josie an acquaintance of yours, perchance? :-)

MARK: Nice shorty of last Thursday. I liked the message of opulence not necessarily giving one a swelled head. :-)

JERRY: As much as I "sag" when you guys banter the politics, you're so right about writing something that makes people think--for or against. Good for you!

MARY: So glad the writing buddy system is also working for you! Keep up the great work!

GS: Old Business: That missing movie title was...QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER. Now why couldn't I remember the name Quigley, I wonder? 8-]

HOP: Have you seen or heard about any of the on-location filming for LORD OF THE RINGS? The clips I've seen of the movie settings in NEW ZEALAND look BEAUTIFUL!!! :-) You're so lucky to be surrounded by so much natural beauty in NZ. And in reply to your question, writing about evil is important when the story plot is about good vs. evil; but detailing that evil can go to different levels, depending on the author. For me, it's very tough...I need (horrors!) practice here too.

So many words, so little time to write them... I've writ too many here as it is. Back to Monday mundanities!

Mel 12-10-2001 9:15


First of all take your time with my emails. Always.

Ask Teekay. She'll tell you how patient I am.



Debra 12-10-2001 8:29

JERRY - thanks for that site! There is some excellent stuff there, and you're right -- there's story-fodder there as well. It reminds me also of a project that was started by Frank Wiggenton, a highschool English teacher in Georgia. He encouraged his class to go out and interview some of the old-timers, to preserve their knowledge and traditions before they were gone. It turned into a series of books called "Foxfire."
Another very interesting book that recounts the first half of the 20th century in the USA is "The Aspirin Age," a more formal group of essays on some pretty interesting topics. It's long out of print now, but I managed to snag a copy at a used book store.

HOP -- Welcome back!

howard 12-10-2001 7:36

Actually, Mary, I thought my necklace looked just the same in person as it did on your site - fab-U-lous!
(Must have been Christi?)

Happy Birthday Oyster!

Haven't even caught up on the rest of the posts!

Morning top of,
is this a mountain or...
am I dreaming

Don't want to break my stride

*disclaimer: It's 7 am, and I know my kids are still in bed*

Heather 12-10-2001 7:05

Happy Birthday Oyster!!!!!!!!!!!

JERRY: You have been to my site and seen the pictures I have there, I used the same ones for my auction. Do you think that they need to be better? I have been thinking that myself, not so much for my visitors, but mostly just because 'I' want them to be better. A flat scan sure doesn't add any life to jewelry. I have been looking at cameras specially engineered to take close-up shots of jewelry. I have some good cameras already, I think my major problem is I need to learn about lighting and how to best use it to my advantage. Will work on that. Someday.

HEATHER commented on that too. About how different the necklace she ordered looked in person from the picture I had on the internet. Food for thought.

Mary CeltiCreations 12-10-2001 1:14

There days when everything goes well, and I never think about age. I mean, heck mom is still around, and at 75 she is just as sharp as she ever was; oh sure, she makes a mistake every once in a great while playing pinochle, but overall she is healthy and going well. But tonight was different. We were watching Christmas specials on Public TV. It is their begging week, and they play the best shows over that period so they can beg. At any rate, when the old reruns of old Christmas specials from our youth ended, they showed a super show with the original artists singing their do wap hits from yesteryear.

My God were they all OLD, and the audience who sang along with these hits of my youth were OLD. After an hour and a half of this, I turned to the wife and said "you know hon, I think we are getting old."

"Yes dear, we are getting OLD!" she replied, then she pulled her shawl over her shoulders and went off to bed.

Tonight I feel old.

Oh well, I will be young again in the morning. (Well I can dream can't I)

Oh there was a bit of forshadowing of this feeling when this morning, a friend of my wife's dropped in for coffee.

Now we all knew that I knew this gal when we were much younger, in fact her brother and I were best friends for much of our teen years, we went on double dates together, he was my best man at our wedding some thirty two years ago, she was always my best friends tom-boy sister.

She spent much of the visit talking about her recent open heart surgery, and my GOD did she look old.

Yep, I am officially an old fart, but that's ok.

Cause when I wake up in the morning, I will be young again, at least young at heart and that's the most important thing I guess.

I have a new idea for a writing project, and if I get my grand daughters computer built up in the next few days, I will start on it. It has all the feel of becoming my first novel, but I am not quite sure if I can stretch it out that long, most of my earlier attempts at writing anything like a novel have turned themselves in to short stories, so that may happen with this too, but I hope not.

Of course at my age, I may well forget the whole thing by the morning.

Jerry 12-10-2001 0:01

Just had an old friend over from Singapore. Okay, he was on a packaged tour and couldn't visit me but we did have a good length conversation on the phone just before he left.

It makes me all nostalgic...

Compared to my friends in Singapore I'm very lucky I realise because a) I get to enter University two years earlier then them even though my IQ is way below them b) I don't have to do national service (compulsory military service) c) in New Zealand anyone can "theocratically" run for government, in Singapore you must be approved by the government to run for government. Any political organisation for that matter must be approved no matter how pro-government they claim they are.

While thanksgiving isn't a holiday I celebrate I do like to reflect on the year in December. I don't seem to have a lot to be thankful per se but the importance of the above can not be underestimated.

Footnote 1: Don't say that I'm putting my own intelligence down when I say my IQ is lower than my friends because my friends are the top of the top of the top of their level. So being the bottom of the top is pretty good already.

Footnote 2: If you compare the amounts of work I've done in University with the amount of work they're doing in pre-uni in Singapore my guess is that I'm doing less work for the whole year than they do for half their year. I suspect I may do less work in one year than they do for a quarter of their year.


New Zealand secondary schools have phased grades out now. They're introducing a new system where you can have three kinds of achievements for each unit of learning. One is distinction (or the equivalent), one is merit and the last is pass I think. No grades.

There was quite an uproar about this because the NZ schools felt that the current grades and exam system allowed them to compete in an international market driven by grades but now without grades it looks like New Zealander will not be "up-to-standard" even more than usual. Some schools are looking at making their students sit the GCE O and A levels set by Cambridge

Footnote 3: The O and A levels are taken by Singaporean students i.e. my Singaporean friends. If I had stayed I would have taken it as well.

Back to titles

Well, I always said I try a few titles and eventually the right title will spring to mind.

As for my writing

My writing of Psiforce has certainly turned for the worst. That is the age range has gone from 12+ to maybe 15+ thanks to headless corpses and cannibalism. I think its important to bring out the horror and evil of the bad guys and I think its important to the plot. Has anyone else come across something like this is their writing?

Here's to more Asian writers! Sorry if we tend to be a little serious but that's the way most Asian societies are structured.

Unbelievably, Japanese Anime are trickling into New Zealand. I saw a number of Anime DVD's in "the warehouse" a chain department store which offers bargains etc. They're DVD's with English subtitles of course.


There is no such thing as real freedom because restraint is always around us. For example, The very language you speak almost always restrains you to certain lines of thoughts. English language tends to be bi-polar, black white, good bad etc. Culture is a restraint in a way, it makes you do things like celebrate Christmas.

What of physical freedom? We are still restraint by our bodies and limits.

Point is, we can have free choice not freedom because to have freedom means to be well...God free from any kinds of restraints.


Anarchy is a state of no government that is the true definition. People think it implies chaos and no respect for each other but anarchy is simply no government. Nothing bad would happen if everyone respected each other. You still have rules which you create, just not ones laid down by a government or sovereign body. So if everyone got along just fine, anarchy is quite viable. Of course too many people can't get along so usually we have a government.

Side point here, the only thing that can protect someone from a "bad" nation-state is another "nation-state." Seems a bit unfair if you're an anarchist since you have to choose to live under a government.

Cherri and Oyster

Glad both of you are staying.

Barnabas "Hop" 12-9-2001 23:29


Rhoda 12-9-2001 23:02

oops, I just got back from that page, some of the writing is fantastic, and many of the articles deal with life in the US in the depression, super reading, a fantastic taste of life in the good old USA when booze was illegal, jobs were scarce, and men and women were still men and women.

Jerry 12-9-2001 22:57

Yes, Happy Birthday OYSTER! You picked a good day! It's not quite 12/10 here yet, but on that date Dorie and I will have been happily hitched for 35 years! She's if anyone wants to send her a note of condolences. (That's an underscore between the y and d in the id).
I've got my paperwork for going back to school under the retraining act -- if it passes the test they'll pay me the unemployment while I go to school. It's a good program - there's not much in the way of decent jobs around here, and I need a bit more smarts in order to make it. Quite a bit, in fact.
It's a week and a half to LOTR! I've seen some of the trailers, and it looks like it's been well done. Can't wait!

howard 12-9-2001 22:18

I found this page a long time ago and forgot it. Just ran into it again today, and thought you might be interested in reading a bit of history. These "reports?" were written by writers who were hired by the U.S. Government in the dirty thirty's to travel the US and interview old folks to record what they lived through, and how they lived their lives. The writing isn't all that great, but you can brows through it and get a wonderful flavor of what life was like at the turn of the 20th century.

It is also a wonderful place to become inspired to write stories.

Jerry WPA Writers life in the US history page 12-9-2001 22:06

Happy Birthday Oyster

Mary - one very important thing about auctions, you MUST have a good quality photo to post with the auction. I have listed an item with no photo, and received no bids, then relisted it and uploaded three photo's of the item, and it sold for much more then I ever dreamed.

Jerry 12-9-2001 20:41

Happy Birthday Oyster!

I would like to make a correction... It isn't the Risolto Towers that have been threatened... Its actually called the Rialto Towers, a mistake there

taylor 12-9-2001 19:14


Morning All,

Okay, now it's HAPPY BIRTHDAY OYSTER!!!!
I thought yesterday was the 10th, when in fact it was the 9th and I got in a day early with those birthday wishes, which even though now are technically a day after should be reaching you at just the right time :-D

VIV: I'm glad you enjoy hearing about the story :-)
I shall keep on with it now no matter how I think I might be boring you all.
That candlelight tribute sounds like a lovely thing to do. I wish I'd had more imformation in advance so I could have taken part.
Do you know if they news it up? Or is it something that gets around by word of mouth?
Nevertheless, I think it's lovely. A horrible thing that there's a cause for it, but lovely to remember those little lives and to give support to those left behind.

RANDALL: Wow, thanks.
Well, my hats been off to you often enough, it only seems fair :-D

JERRY: I read about Afroz in the paper a few days ago. These terrorists are a pus filled tick on the bum of humantiy.
That's what my daughter called me yesterday.
She was joking.
I think.

Gotta go, thoroughly determined to send out this short story that I've been determined to send out ALL last week.
BTW: I made another mistake yesterday, I'm only 2 chapters past the halfway mark. You see, what I did was doubled what I had then subtracted 3 multiplied it by pye to the 3rd power, and made a boo boo.
So, I'm not as prolific as I thought I was.

Have a great day y'all

Teekay 12-9-2001 18:27

...and my posts here, of course!

Mary 12-9-2001 13:39

Hello everyone.

My daughter is in her first Christmas play this year. She is ironically playing an angel. After practice today I asked her if she was getting excited about being an angel in the play and her response was, "No, angels are stupid, I want to be GOD!" She threw her fisted hands up in the air to exclaim her point. Sighs. She is four.

My son just turned three and is now old enough to attend 'children's church' during the regular service. I have always kept him in the pew with me, and he was usually asleep by halfway through. Today I sent him downstairs with his sister, but as soon as he saw all the cute chicks in the nursery he wouldn't attend the class and spent the whole time playing with girls. Sighs again.

ROSEMARY: I have had two or three of my pieces of jewelry on Yahoo! Auction before. I set a low reserve of $30, and started the bidding at $5.00. These retail at usually $90-$110 so I thought that was pretty fair. I got no bids at all, and only about 10 views. I think that one of my problems might have been listing them in the wrong category. Another problem might have to do with people mass producing similar items with cheaper supplies and retailing them for $20 all over the place. I don't see myself putting anymore of my stuff on auction anytime soon. Admittedly, that was my experience with Yahoo!, not ebay, so maybe I would give it a whirl on ebay before I totally decide.

HEATHER: Whatcha doin' girlie? Did you get my email...the one that ended with my husband putting up the Christmas lights?

VIV: I am glad that your contract got renewed, but I assure you, it was not because of me. Take all that credit for yourself. I didn't do anything but put your ideas on the internet. You did a good job.

That candlelight vigil is touching. As someone who has lost a child, I can say that I appreciate it. Thank you.

A personal progress report on the 'Writing Buddy' program:

I have written for at least one hour everyday, sometimes more after a hiatus of I don't know how long when I didn't write anything at all. I could honestly say the only thing I had written was my name on the bottom of checks, and some html product descriptions for my website. Pathetic.

Mary 12-9-2001 13:35


Teekay....My hats off to you. You offered the best definition of how a writer writes that I have ever read. Fantastik!


randall 12-9-2001 12:16


Thanks for the b'day wishes. In less than an hour we're going Carol Singing at the Heritage Park in our fair and snowy city (it's snowing again, but this warms things up a bit).

You're right about the block, it's 'my' block. I'm still able to write other stuff, not fiction, so that's okay. I just wish it wasn't so durn busy this time of year!

Well, I'd better go get the masses their breakfast. No food and the three of them will be absolutely too grumpy for words. Wouldn't want them to sing period carols (circa 1900) in surly voices, now would we?

Ebay sounds like a hoot, Jerry and Mary. I don't have anything to sell ... or do I? I dunno. Maybe after we clean out the basement we'll find some cool stuff to sell via Ebay. I'd rather be the seller than the bidder, I think.

And since I've been at estate auctions, I think I understand how you feel Mary. I outbid everyone on a piece that I ended up refinishing and selling for triple my bid price. Everyone seemed to enjoy the bidding, I just wanted the piece. It was an antique ebony jewellry box.

Viv I loved your description of the Candlelit feild. When I saw 'she lost' I thought ... aha! Viv's doing a mystery! I love mysteries. Espeically when the author leaves a bit to my imagination.

Cheri I'm glad to see your post. I don't feel like such a neophyte at this when I see you're reading too.

Debra I'm still reading your emails. I've really missed this side of commiseration and company since September. And maybe what's happening is my mind is giving me a rest whether I want it or not!

I'm off to sing and celebrate. And open my b'day presents since Ddearest is more excited about the giving than I am about the getting!


Oyster 12-9-2001 11:49

Sorry about the "she lost" on the bottom of the page. I lost that "she lost" and just found it. The computer is acting squirrely lately. I think it's also a combination of exhaustion and squirrely computer. Only about two or three more hell weeks until vacation. Then a few more hell weeks and another vacation. I'll get rested up soon.

Allein: Your package is sitting under my dining room table unwrapped still. I thought to send it for Christmas and now it looks like New Year. I'm sorry that disorganization has taken over. I'll pull it back in line but maybe not before the New Year is finished. I have to keep my priorities going. If I want to live here, I have to get the obligations of the New Year finished in the next couple weeks. This means thanking everyone for their help during the year that helped me. Wow what a list I have.

I haven't heard from you lately. Are you doing ok? Are you enjoying Christmas time? Have you been ice skating yet? I hope so!

Viv again 12-9-2001 6:39

Teekay: Hi! No, we don't wish that book was a secret. It's interesting to hear you go, Ok, I've got one chapter...I wonder what will happen. Ok, I've gotten another chapter and so on. Here you are up to 14 chapters. Keep on going! Congratulations! It's nothing small to have written 14 chapters that hang together. I hope I can do that someday.

Meanwhile I'm pecking away at getting as many short stories as possible because I think I learn every time I write one.

Jack: This is going to be long, so I apologize.

Here's what my friend was talking about (ref: my last post.)
Patricia Loder is the executive director

She lost her children ages 5 and 8 in an automobile accident. She finds it very hard around the holidays to get into the spirit. She found that she wasn't alone because there were many people who had the same problem. (She's right, my friend Yumiko is having this trouble right now)
Please ask everyone you know to remember all the children who have died by joining in the Commassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting today Sunday Dec 9 at 7:00pm.
It started in New Zealand and as the candles burn down after one hour they are lit by the next time zone. It creates a virtual 24-hour wave of light.

We did this in Yamato in the schoolyard. A huge field of candles you could fly overhead and see. We stood around and froze our buns and drank hot canned tea. They winked slowly out and we all went home.

Not a huge deal, just a small show of support for mom's who are hurting. My kids are fine, knock wood, but it would rip my heart out if one of them were hurt. I can't even say the other option. NO WAY. I couldn't keep going.

Anyone who feels the same, go for it! We didn't even go on line so we maybe didn't do it correctly, but in a tiny corner of Japan, the candles were lit. We also have a Shinto ceremony we do...we wash a small stone statue of a baby right now and dress it in a little red cap and gown. It means the same. It's a shrine to children born and unborn who died. We did it all on the same day. Itseemed to make sense. It also was a task we had to do before New Years.

She lost

Viv 12-9-2001 6:32

Well they are right about security... When I went over east in October... An airport, I wont say which, had no metal detectors, no security guys were evident, and nobody was checking carry on luggage.
It was early in the morning I know, but jeez it would have been so easy to exploit it
Mind you its not a busy airport, but from the 'unnamed' airport, you can cause some real damage

taylor 12-9-2001 5:09

Mary - some times you just can't win, sometimes it is best you don't.

As far as selling on EBAY, yes you can place a minimum price to sell, called a reserve price, and can keep that secret, most do it seems. You must say you have a reserve though, if there is one. You can also have a minimum bid to start with, but to entice bidders, it is best to leave it low just to get the ball rolling. You can also have a buy now price, which is, of course the price you will accept for a quick sell. That price is always posted, and should someone find just what they are looking for, they can snap it up before those snippers get in the play.

When I first started selling some of my excess parts from those lot auctions, I set my shipping rate too low, and lost money on one auction, after that, I insured that my shipping was enough to cover both the cost of packing material, and postage. I always shipped priority mail, mostly because we don't have a UPS drop here in town anymore.

I subscribe to a newsletter for vets, and the latest post, besides letting us know that the site where we can go for more info and such was shut down in that bankrupcy thing, but is back up at a new address. At any rate, here is that article about the Austrailian terrorist threat from that newsletter:

Sydney Morning Herald
Story: By Christopher Kremmer, Marian Wilkinson and Mark Metherell

Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terror network planned to crash a hijacked
passenger plane into the Australian Parliament, a suspected suicide pilot
who received flying training in Australia has told Indian police.

Indian Home Ministry officials told the Herald that Muhammad Afroze, an
Indian citizen, has confessed to being part of the September 11 conspiracy,
which he said had originally envisaged attacks on the Australian, British
and Indian parliaments, as well as on Washington and New York.

Indian media yesterday quoted unnamed sources as saying that Afroze was
carrying a US passport with visas for Australia and Britain when arrested in
Mumbai in mid-September.

He had arrived in Mumbai on September 12 on a flight which originated in New
York before the September 11 attacks.

The Attorney-General, Daryl Williams, confirmed yesterday that the man had
received pilot training in Australia in 1997 and 1998. He left Australia in
December 1998 and had not returned.

"He claims that he undertook that training for terrorist purposes," Mr
Williams said, after being briefed by ASIO. "However, we have not been able
to confirm the veracity of that claim."

Mr Williams said intelligence agencies had been aware "for some time" that a
group was training to carry out attacks in Britain, India and Australia.

Federal Government sources told the Herald that Afroze's name did not appear
on any terrorist watchlist at the time he entered and trained in Australia.

They were skeptical about some of his claims, saying that some of what he
told Indian police was incorrect, including claims of family links to Osama
bin Laden.

In a separate development, SBS Radio revealed that the FBI rushed
investigators to Adelaide after September 11 when it was alerted by
Australian authorities that up to seven Middle Eastern students had sought
urgent pilot training in South Australia.

South Australian Government documents show that the students did not receive
the training sought late last year and had gone to the United States.

Australian official sources last night said there was no evidence of links
between the students and any terrorist group.

Afroze, who is said to be fluent in English, confessed that al-Qaeda had
spent $400,000 sending him to do pilot training in Britain, Australia and
India, the Indian media said.

He had claimed that his al-Qaeda codename was "pilot" and that he also used
the alias Afbidi.

After interrogating Afroze for several weeks, Indian police passed a record
of his confessions to Australia and other concerned countries, whose
intelligence services confirmed some of his claims, the media reports said.

ASIO agents had scoured hundreds of flight schools around Australia to
establish a link. The Government has not disclosed details of the school at
which he trained.

But the time Afroze learnt to fly was well before the training of other
alleged al-Qaeda members, like Mohammed Atta, who carried out the September
11 attacks.

Indian police say Afroze belongs to the Students' Islamic Movement of India,
which has been banned over alleged al-Qaeda links.

Mr Williams said the Government was not aware of any specific threat in
relation to the man or any other person, but said Australia remained on the
high security alert imposed after September 11.

Measures to deal with terrorist threats, including new legislation, would be
considered soon by the National Security Committee.

Earlier, the Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, said the Indian's
confession proved Australia had to take security seriously.

"I don't think this is a hoax or should be treated as a hoax," he told the
Seven Network. <<

Jerry 12-9-2001 0:04

Jerry: I have heard that too... I am Australian to, they're saying the Riolto towers could be a target since they are our tallest buling.

I dont like it when planes fly over now... Especially these formation flying planes that seem to be happening a bit in where I live

Also thinking to hell with what I write, I will write the sory the way I want to at the moment, wic seems to be turning in my head faster than I can get it to paper

taylor 12-8-2001 23:50

Hi all!

I said it before and I’ll say it again: I love reading everyone’s posts!!

It’s as if I’m listening to a conversation between a group of friends. Everyone has their own opinions, ideas, lives and experiences and hearing about them is almost as enjoyable as reading a good book. It’s also a bit like having an ongoing “family” discussion, with arguments and squabbles, but everything always seem to work out in the end. Just remember that no two people see things exactly the same way and that we can still get along without trying to change the people around us. How boring would it be if we all thought in the same way?

I also want to thank all of you for inspiring me to continue to write. Even if I never have a word published or make a dime from it, I will remember that I enjoy it for myself first.

Cheri 12-8-2001 23:43

Late Evening to all,

I have also bid and purchased items on EBay, but haven't experienced the frenzied bidding you have. When I find the item I want, (sometimes there are more than one of them listed) I wait until the morning of the last day and if the bid is within my range, I bid the maximum amount I am willing to pay. If I am outbid, I considered it overpriced and wait until it shows up again. I must not want popular items because so far either I get it or it goes way over my limit. Usually, I get the item for far less than my maximum bid.

You might think about trying to sell some of those beautiful beaded items on EBay. I think they allow a reserve sale price and with luck, you could get much more. JERRY would know more about how that works that than I.
It might be interesting to see the bidding process from both sides.

Gone again,

Rosemary 12-8-2001 22:53

At least with real life auctions, the bidding goes until it quits elevating and everybody present gets a fair shake. You are physically with the other bidders (or proxies) and can feel in the air whether it is going to go higher or not. With ebay, you just never know who is waiting in the wings to clip your legs out from under you. Human nature I guess. I am not against selling anything on ebay, if the opportunity were to present itself, but I don't think I will be doing anymore bidding. It's just too sneaky for me. Take care.

Mary 12-8-2001 22:03

Rejecting last minute bids? Seems like that is the only way to outbid anyone at ebay. If you don't wait til the last minute, you can forget it. With anything popular or well priced anyway.

Mary 12-8-2001 21:52

Way to go Mary - There are sellers out there now who are rejecting last minute bids, and selling to the bidder who held the bid longer. They also, from time to time will sell to high number bidder if a negative or 0 number bidder actually won the bid. I have purchased more then one part after that result. However then you have to wonder, was that high bidder actually a shill? One never knows with online bidding, but it is the same in live actions too, one city where I policed for several years, was the home to two auction houses, both of whom held community auction on alternating weekends. I saw many items go for way over new cost; I also saw items be mis-stated by the auctioneer, and bring a price that was outrageous for some piece of junk.

Teekay - just read an article on that terrorist picked up in India, who was said to have planned on hijacking an airliner in Australia, and crash it into your parliament building. Sounds like we aren't the only target here in the good old U. S. of A.

Jerry 12-8-2001 21:04

Well, I went out of ebay with a bang. I was outbid with 20 minutes left in the auction. I waited until there were 42 seconds left to bid and placed a final, last-ditch effort bid and wouldn't you know I bid highest by 50 cents. I have turned into a sniper. Good thing I am quitting now, I don't want people to hate me.

Yes GS, I lost. I paid more than anyone else would for a used leather coat, and turned into something I don't like to do it.

Mary 12-8-2001 20:12


RANDALL: I know just where you're coming from.
I think if you write without censorship, it goes beyond the conscious mind and allows access to subliminal ideas. Bits and dregs from all the movies you've ever watched, all the books you've ever read, all the people you've ever met, all the life that you've lived thus far are free to float to the front, through the arm and out onto that blank white sheet in front of you.
And when you look back after a time at what you've written, sometimes you can even surprise yourself with what has been created.
‘By Jiminy, where the &*$@$% did that come from?’

That's why writers have to give themselves permission to write some crap, there's a lot of it floating in there amongst the good stuff.
You've got to let it all out, and when the time is right you go back and you pick out all the crap, chuck it in the bin, tidy up the good, maybe even improve upon it and make it great.
One advantage to writing a good piece is recognising the crap.
Another is being able to part with it.

OYSTER: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now stop stressing.
You're not writing a story so you don't have to worry about the block :-D Just tuck in an extra packet of cookies or something.
Treat yourself to a big cup of chammomile tea, take some really deep breaths and just enjoy yourself.

Carols By Candlelight in the park tonight. I must admit I'm feeling rather festive :-D

I always get this way, lots of big ideas as to what I'm going to bake and make and decorate, but it's all in the head I tell you. Come Christmas Eve I'm still as disorganised as ever.
Ah well, they say it's the thought that counts.

I'm 4 chapters past the half way mark in my novel. Chapter 14. I've almost written a book!!!!!
Well, if I staple it together between two pieces of cardboard that constitutes a book, doesn't it? :-D
It's like a delightful little secret I hug to myself. Well, not a secret to you guys, though you're probably wishing it was :-D

be well all, have a great day, and especially you OYSTER.

Teekay 12-8-2001 18:18

The Oyster Who is Too Stressed for Words!

I only have five minutes, then I have to go get DDearest at gymnastics and start ... arghhh more housecleaning. Tree and Menorah go up in the next two days and I have been advised confidentially that sometime on my birthday, Dec. 9, my wondeful, but grumpy daughter and husband have cooked up a surprise! Probably after we go sing Christmas Carols (my b'day present to myself) at the local Heritage Park in the reported to be -30 freeze tomorrow!

Okay, I can do suprises. But here's how I'm blocked.

I have to write to The Family across the mountains and I'm procrastinating. I usually 'give' stories of a particular kind to augment the year's gifts and baking too.

This year they're getting those chocolate mint Girl Guide cookies (we bought a whole case of the awful things) in lieu of the baking I usually tuck into the packages.

And no stories. None, nada, zilcho. My beloved aunt doesn't do unhappy endings. I sent her a few that were a bit to 'real' last year and ... argh time's up folks!

DDearest's Guide Leader just called. They need someone to hawk more of those choco-mint cookies in front of Zellers at the local mall today! The Girl Guides don't usually get to do this anymore without special permission. No one wants 'solicitors' in front of or in their stores anymore! Eeek! Erk! How much you wanna bet Ddearest says "yes, I'll go do it?"

And writer's block does not extend to spontaneous writiing, I've found! I wish it did, but you poor folks will be hearing from me all too soon!

Anyone want some choco-mint cookies?

Oyster 12-8-2001 13:54

Mary - I have investigated that software that was mentioned, it is available as shareware, but will not function correctly until you pay for it. At any rate, you run it, and it will syncronize your system clock with Ebay's, then begining about one and a half minutes before the end of auction, it begins raising the bid until it either has the high bid, or reaches your maximum.

I too have wondered if the folks who sell the item do bump the bid up themselves, and it sure would be possiable, using an alias or some such thing, I understand there are even those who have a friend raise the bid, much like in a real auction. I do know that Ebay does watch for any hint of this, and have become involved as a wittness against one seller who was doing that very thing. The Federal government gets involved, and the offender can be arrested for federal offences for doing such things. THey can enforce it because it involves interstate transactions. The one I got involved in was a fellow who was selling bogus items, collecting the funds, and not sending the items. At least that was the alligation. I checked my records, and that person didn't screw me one bit, in fact the item I purchased (a CDROM Drive) didn't work right, and the fellow sent me TWO more to compensate.

Many sellers are not refusing to take snipe bids, and roll back to the high bidder after the auction, sending the sniper a note that they do not accept such bids. This appears to be the only way to stop it, and I know that Ebay has found ways to defeat several of the sniper programs, and makes every attempt to be fair in their dealings with both buyers and sellers.

One way to avoid this situation is to sort your searches by ending times, and bid on items ending that same day, then be online at the finish, and be prepared to bump your bid if necessary, that has worked for me occasionally.

There are other auction sites where you can find bargins, one is, another, but haggle sells mainly computer related items. I know there are others, but their names slip my mind right now.

Jerry Ericsson 12-8-2001 11:42

GS: Quite right. I have a bid up right now that has remained unchallenged for two days, there are 14 hours left in the auction, but I can practically guarantee that in the last half hour, I will be under-cut yet again. I will be glad when it's over because it was my last remaining bid then I quit. I don't think ebay manipulated me though, I went into it with that mindset before I ever even had a user ID, convenient for them. I don't bid unless I desperately want something, and when I don't get it, THAT feels like losing. I guess if I were to ever come away from there feeling the least bit victorious, I wouldn't be so bitter. Most of the time, I just feel like the sucker that fell for the street game and was played a fool. I don't care how hard they deny this, but I think those sellers outbid the high bidders if the price doesn't go where they want it to. Good thing it doesn't cost anything to bid.

Mary 12-8-2001 3:15

Hi All :)

Someone asked a while back to be kept apprised (sp?) of how the buddy system is working for those involved in it. I'd have to say, that so far, Viv and I are finding it quite rewarding. We decided on one hour every Friday. A low amount, but comfortable for us to committ to. We've not only met our goal, but exceeded it each time. I think it is seeing what can happen in one little hour that gets us going and keeps us going all day long. Viv is able to do a complete rough draft in one day. I completed my edit today. I had a fair amount of it done after the one hour minimum and I noticed it was reading a lot better. Well, I couldn't stop there. If it looked that much better after one hour, how much better would it look completed? I had to find out. It met the final judgment -- hubby read it. He found two typos and no negative comments on substance. And yes, he does comment if it doesn't read right to him.

I started this particular story simply to have fun for myself. I pulled in names of people I know. Not their full names, just partials. A first name here, a last name there. It made it fun for me. This is the first time I've written a story just for fun -- for me. Its also the first time I've completed one that I enjoy. I didn't worry about markets. I didn't worry about other people. I think I just learned another lesson.

I wonder what I'll write next ...

Carol 12-8-2001 2:36


Are there any more at home like you?

gariess 12-8-2001 1:43


I found what you said about eBay quite interesting. I notice you also have been manipulated into using eBay language. You said that you did not "win" the auction. EBay loves to get people thinking in terms of winning rather than outbidding. Outbidding is not winning, it is buying. I have bought quite a few items on eBay and I have yet to win anything. I bought the items because I was willing to pay more than anyone else was willing to pay. Somehow that doesn't sound like a winner to me.

All that being said, sniping on eBay has gotten to be quite a craft. I hear there is actually software that enables a user to get a bid in at the last fraction of a second. I don't think there is much one can do about snipers, but I have only been sniped a couple of times. I have even had cases where my highest bid sat for two days with no one outbidding me. That scares me more than the snipers.

gariess 12-8-2001 1:41

I just got through talking with a friend. He said that tomorrow is a day for remembering children who died. I know that sounds really strange, but SUNDAY at 7:00PM your time, please light a candle for these children. They are hoping a candle is lit across the world in every time zone. Thinking of those little candles being lit across the world seems like a sort of fragile but steady light.

Would you join me please. It'll seem a little silly, but if you have children, say a prayer of thanks.

There is a web site, but my friend has to check into it. He'll let me know HOPEFULLY in time to let you all know.

Anyway, I wanted to spread the word NOW and if and when I get the website I'll get back on and give you that as well.

Viv 12-8-2001 1:35

Teekay: Guess the storyline is the best thing... But then again just as long as readers get the gist of what Im saying... Its just this story has to be kind of like, it could happen tomorrow so to speak

taylor 12-8-2001 1:05

Just shows to go ya that those highly paid idiots only know what is put on the telaprompter, too damn bad they don't hier folks with a bit of smarts to write the stuff on those prompters.

Jerry 12-7-2001 23:02



TGIF you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Teekay...Words, that is ideas as well, come to me, and I have no idea from whence they come. I often comment that I have no idea WHO writes my manuscripts! Sure, the words come from my keyboard, reflect on the monitor...but who, WHO? WHO REALLY writes my stories? For sure they come from Randall...but which Randall? I have no idea. And the other guy isn't talking to me right now!!! (I only do what the voices in my head tell me too!) :-)

The word "fastness" is correct as it is used, but where or how I came up with unknown. Some subtle influence? Did DeVoto use in one of his teriffic books?

Mr. Webster, in a long winded, wordy tome defines fastness "....2 a: a fortified or secure place b: a remote and secluded place..." (Teekay, the last is my favorite! I dig seclusion!)

Again, I must of heard or read the word "fastness" and somehow retreived it. But then isn't that what writing is all about? Being able to recall obscure words and use them correctly?

Jerry, old pal...more conversation might help the reader. FYI, writing conversation is a LOT harder than speaking it. And even more difficult to master. Annnnnnnnnnnnd some day, I hope I can :-)))))))))))))))))))))))))

No cut and paste tonight. To tired.



12-7-2001 22:55


Writers Block: Constipation of the psyche.

I wonder if that will still sound brilliant in half an hour :-D

Teekay 12-7-2001 20:51


Just to let you know that my opinions are apt to change at the shortest notice, depending on new evidence and experiences :-D.

Teekay 12-7-2001 20:47



RANDALL: Wonderfull imagery there. I think there was a part near the bottom where you wrote about the fastness of America, I think you meant vastness.
Only bringing this up in case this is on your proper copy and you can fix it up.
And the ending was good too, ominous and brooding, suggestive of dark times to come. I'd give the book a go :-)

JERRY: Personally I think only you can know where your story is going. Other people can make all the suggestions they want, but if it's not where the stories meant to go then I think it will be stilted.
Wherever it goes I sure do hope it has a happy ending.

TAYLOR: I advise that you don't stress too much over it. It's fiction, make it up, write anything, just get the story moving. This is only the first draft, once it's done you can then go back and fix it up, put in a bit of researched evidence - if you need it. Stick question marks where you need to find out stuff, and get back to it later.

VIV: You slept through Harry Potter?!?!?!??!?! Boy, you must've been tired.
You missed some wonderful effects.

About where I stop and start my writing - I don't have any set time that I allot myself. I get the urge to write and I write. Yesterday I wrote in the morning and again in bed. I stop for a number of reasons, my hand aches, I have another book I want to read, hubby snarls at me to turn off the light, I have to feed people, all sorts of reasons.
I'm finding with the novel that as I write the ideas come, I've got a bit of editing to do when it's finished :-D

Short stories for me are easier. They begin with a little pea of an idea, or maybe even a first sentence. I can get the rough draft of a short story done in a couple of hours, as far as I'm concerned it's just a matter of fleshing out a central idea.
Then I let it sit, then come back to it later and fix it up, then I put it aside, come back and fix it up again. When I think it might be finished I send it off for another opinion. Then, when the opinions come back, I read through them, use what I agree with and discard what I don't.

This hasn't been a hard and fast rule with me, but it's what I've begun to do and so far it seems to be working. I only hope it continues to do so.

I bet you're glad you asked :-D. I may have gotten a bit carried away :-D

OYSTER: Just remember 'This too shall pass'.
In my handing out of wisdom and free advice I even have some on writers block. Yes, I know, I'm sooo full of it :-D

Anyway, here it is, taking in mind that I don't know if you write for a living and have deadlines and so forth, in which case I can't help (or even pretend to :-D), so stop reading now, because as far as I'm concerned when the pressure comes through the door, the creativity goes camping.

Now, for the creative fiction writer my advice for writers block, and I know I've said it before, for all of you who are scanning this post with hungry eyes (*SNORT*), but I will say it again.
You must write initially for yourself. You can't sit down to write what you think other people might want to read, otherwise you're just going to tie yourself up in knots, and your writing is going to turn into a giant chore. You're going to be editing every word that comes out of your head and that is going to hold up the entire works, causing huge amounts of back-up, leading inevitably to 'writer's block'.

Breathe deep, take up your pen and open your heart and then the story you write will be a success. Maybe not a financial one, but there are other ways to measure success.
On one side your novel may sell.
On the other it may not, but you will have learnt much from the experience.

I think the majority who write fiction for the sheer purpose of selling it, are setting themselves up for heartbreak and failure.
And apart from the financial gain, I fail to see where the joy in that writing would be.
Write first for the love of it, and come what may.

Told you I was full of it.

But not any more, uh uh, no siree, I'm all empty now.

Teekay 12-7-2001 20:45

Howard: You got to be kidding me... The news lady said WW1?

Just proves that newsreporters are getting more idiotic as time goes on

taylor 12-7-2001 20:05

Evening mostly everyone,

I just want you all to know that all those annonymous posts that have been popping up lately are NOT me. No matter what anyone holding old mouldy grudges says.

For someone with writers block, you're doing pretty well. :-D Keep it up. Sooner or later, you'll forget about that block.

I'm crossing my fingers for your son. That should insure the sale of his house and the move to your town. :) I really do hope things work out for all of you.

Congrats, and I know what you mean about being happy about being offered the contract. I worked for a company that sold out and the new company moved our headquarters across the country. Now, I wouldn't have moved with them but I was really disappointed that they didn't ask. It turned out later, that we (the old employees here) were making too much money for their tight pockets.

Tomorrow I'll be going to a small town faire with Mary Lou. She has contracted for a booth for the promotion of her book. Wish us luck.


Rosemary 12-7-2001 19:11

Howard, did she really say World War One?

Blink, blink. I seem to recall it was WWII. In fact I know it was WWII, because my uncle was in the Cdn Merchant Marine and his ship was in the Pacific at the same time Pearl Harbour happened. His shipmates cheered when the Americans announced they'd be joining the already exhausted and flagging Commonwealth Forces in the Pacific Theatre.

Oyster 12-7-2001 18:23

Today on MSNBC, during the ceremonies remembering the 60th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, they cut back to the anchor desk. The woman seated there proceeded to announce that "We've been providing live coverage of the Pearl Harbor memorial service. It's been sixty years since the horrendous event that triggered World War One."

howard 12-7-2001 17:37

Just got back from up-town, where I did my Christmas shopping. I only buy gifts for my wife, and this year, after 31 years of guessing, and sometimes getting something she likes other times not, she actually told me what she wanted. I got that for her, and also began the traditional gifts. The traditional gifts are those that I have given her every year, the first began our first Christmas, and consists of a box of turtle candies, well now days I have to get two boxes, to equal the one I got for her that first year, at twice the cost, but who's counting. The second is a rather new tradition, one that began when I was in college back in '94. That year, I spent all the week days in my dorm, or in classes, and weekends at home. I found her a little teddy bear, that was wearing a sweat shirt with the words "somebody at UNDLR loves you" on it. Since that time, every year comes with a new teddy bear for her growing collection. Some years they were large, other years small, but there is always one under the tree. This year with all that has happened, called for a bit of change, I still got her a bear, but this one is praying for peace, it is called the prayer bear, and while small in stature, is huge in meaning. It stands for both the prayers for peace, and represents our reunion with the church of our childhood.

I will, of course pick up a few other items, because I just can't stand getting her just kitchen ware, even though she asked for a sixteen quart stew pot, and I picked that up this afternoon. I looked at one in Bismarck at Target, it was marked 22 bucks, but at that time I didn't have my check book, and I would rather spend my money at home if I can. The one I picked up today is a better brand name, and only cost me four dollars more. I went to school with the fellow who is working hard at trying to keep his hardware store open, so I know he will appreciate the business much more then the impersonal folks at Target.

The past few years have seen many small town business fold because of the increasing popularity of Kmart, and Wallmart, and it is a terrible shame. Back in the town in ND that we moved from I watched two hardware stores, much like the one I shopped in today go under. I still remember the feeling of having to drive 40 miles to buy a screw to fix something around the house, and I didn't like it very much.

At any rate I am glad to be mostly done, my wife and daughter have gone up to Hettinger, which is 25 miles west of here so they can shop at the farm store, ours closed so many years ago, but farm stores have many things that you just can't find elsewhere. I guess we should be thankful that there is still one nearby.

We have been trying to put together some Christmas CD's, I am downloading what I need from Kazaa, but to try and stay within copyright laws, I am sticking to songs by artists that we own records, or 8 track tapes. I look at it as a way of backing up the music I own, and I guess it is legal that way, or it was back when I studied the law.

I know we could play the records, but now all I have for a turntable is an old Pioneer PL120 deck attached to my stereo. It plays the records nicely, probably better then any record player we ever had, but being a professional quality turntable, you can only put one record on at a time, so it means running to change records a lot, and I can get nearly six hours of music on the 5 cd's my player takes. I do have the capability of copying the music from my stereo to my computer, then transferring it to CD's but that is a lot of unnecessary work when the music is available online, and can be downloaded at will.

Jerry 12-7-2001 15:52

jjjjj Oyster here jjjjj

First to Mark and Mary You're welcome and thank you respectively.

I did read all the posts and now my mind is reeling, it's a rather discocerting feeling, having been elsewhere reading and writing more intensely before this. And having to think harder, too!

Americo is right, folks. No matter what little barbs and I liked this analogy 'mosquito bites' (Howard I only began to spell this word properly without dictionary help since moving to Mosquito Land ... aka Alberta) you all suffer along the way, this is a truly entertaining and close cyber-community of writers! Hah, and some great writing, too!

A rather grumpy Oyster today. I've been battling a strange flu bug that comes and goes, and it's zapping my energy. Plus the Season To Be Jolly is crammed with all sorts of must-do's and meetings and greetings. No solitude for Oyster to slam shut her shell and make pearls these days. People, people, people! Argh!

I have been other 'spontaneous' writing forums today, and unlike my 'pearls' *EWG* (evil wicked grin) I do tend to try and keep my 'spontaneous writing' in various venues specifically designed for discussing politics, religion, etc.

And I'm big time blocked. I can barely think fiction, let alone edit and revise it. I know why, too. The detritus of discussion has caught up with me! I am so sick of talking, arguing, discussing and convincing, I'm about ready to stand on the snow covered roof of our home and howl at the moon! Except the sun is out and with my luck I'll get a sunburn!

And that's just from my family! Daughter, Son and Spouse!

And at this point, when I should have been shopping for food for the family to eat (and me to cook) I'm running around after a little Bichon-Shih-Tsu X type dog who's gone to his Jack Russell roots.

We just found out last year that the dog has Jack Russell Terrier in him! Yoish! Aside from bouncing like an inflated basketball, this wee bundle of curly fur (which someone has to trim regularly) reminds me of the preschool daze I endured when my kids were younger! Curiosity, activity and a strong need for attention ... from a dog, no less!

Ah, politics and prose. Now who was it that has a dialogue going on between two politicans? Been there, done that and read it a bit too. I've been personally inspired by some really good speeches I've found in novels. So I figure if a speech in a novel can inspire this 'old broad' as someone delighted in calling me today, it can and should be done!

I'm finding, as a 'prolific, prodigious' reader that we just can't escape politics in our prose. Just about every darn thing is political when you get down to it! Sub-themes of a political nature abound in novels and short stories. It simply cannot be avoided, except in pedantic literary prose and who wants to read a steady diet of that? Not me! Even then, in some of my discussion with other readers and writers, wouldn't you know even the most innocent characters become metaphors and symbols for politicians!

Anyone remember reading Animal Farm? I hated that I was forced to try to discern who the horse and pig and every other barnyard animal was in 'real life'. I caught the underlying theme, but name that character pissed me write-off! (Pun intended!)

And religious/spiritual themes, too! Anne McCaffrey, one of my favourite authors, wrote of a young woman who sat in her kitchen in Ireland and insisted that Anne write more religion into her books. Anyone who's read the Dragonrider series can plainly see that the telepathic connection between Dragon and Rider is spiritual, not simply physical.

And Jack, when you get that notebook back up, I'll be there ... if someone tells me how to get 'in'. Jerry? You're the computer guy, give me directions, please!

I'll explain what I went through and then you folks can understand a bit of why Oyster is grumpy today and yes, why my pearls aren't popping up right here, right now. Aside from the block I'm suffering.

I'm deliberately skirting 'prose' because I had an experience recently on a spirituality board where my words became a topic.

While I was a little flattered, the line was taken way, way out of context and it made me chuckle, while at the same time reminding me that public forums are read by many.

I'm very conscious of the ability of words to hurt and heal, and that brings me to Jerry's 'unfinished' story.

Jerry I get a strong sense of vulneratbility in that character you have described, a vulnerability so raw, and touching that I want to find out what happens to 'him' next. Yet I'm afraid to. It's gotta be something bad, I fear.

That is my reader's take.

From a writer's perspective, I've read your other stories and see themes of mechanics and prosaic postitiveness that simply do not exist in the story of the Patroller. Can you meld the two? If not, this may well be a turning point in your writing, this patroller story, a side of you that you need to explore a bit more. If so, it may well add a deeper touch, making your characters rounder and more full. And I'm struggling with the same thing myself.

I can do flat characters (and I'm reading Janet Evanovich right now whose humour flattens her characters in favour of pithy, humorous dialogue and adventures of the Klutz kind) when the setting and themes she write claim more attention than the characters themselves.

I've always struggled with the dichotomy of 'actions speak louder than words'. When my characters go 'flat' in terms of dialogue, their actions become more 'round'. When the actions go 'round' the dialogue goes 'flat'.

And Randall, I LOVED that last piece. My mother would have gobbled it up as she did her opera.

I especially liked the way the setting was coloured and described and I'm drooling big time here. Since I had trouble physically seeing colours for 2/3's of my life, I had difficulty describing them. Now I'm learning to do this. Thanks, Randall for the inspiration.

Okay, Oyster going shopping for food to feed phsyical bodies, now.

Thanks to all for the feeding of this oyster-writer. Without this forum, a certain oyster would be starving for commiseration right about now!


Oyster 12-7-2001 14:49

A silent post to remember Pearl Harbour

God Bless

taylor 12-7-2001 12:31



12-7-2001 10:03

Mary - I know the feeling, I get sniped on a regular basis myself. I have learned though to not bid on the exact item I need. For example if I am in need of a CD ROM Drive, I don't go searching for that item, what I look for is a lot of computer parts. Then I search those items for one that has a CD ROM drive in it. I usually get the whole lot for much less then I would pay for the CD ROM drive itself. I don't understand exactly why, maybe the folks who are looking for CD ROM drives don't have any idea what to do with the rest of the items or something, but it is working well for me. This also gives me a supply of other parts that I usually find a place for after a fashion, and if I can't most of them are re-sellable on EBAY by listing them as individual items, in fact I have done this many times and come out money ahead. It happened to me again last week, I have these old 486 motherboards that I got on one of those deals, and a bunch of old computer cases a friend who used to work on computers dropped off one day.

Now a 486 DX2 66, which is not much of a machine even for a beginner, but if you drop one of those DX4-100 chips, or even the newer Pentium 83 MHZ chips in it, it does make a decent machine for typing letters, and browsing the web. Well I went searching for DX4-100 chips, and they were all going for between 10 and 15 bucks each. When I looked for a lot of computer parts, I found one with two of those chips, along with a 2 gig hard drive, and a CD ROM drive, plus some older software that would go nicely on the older computers. I got the lot for six dollars, plus four shipping, so for less then I would have had to pay for just the chip, I got enough to almost finish a decent speed 486 beginner machine. There is a market for those, I can get a hundred bucks for just the machine, one fifty for the machine and a monitor.

I think the reason I can sell these is the low wages in this area, most folks around here get around 6 bucks an hour, and like most places there are a whole bunch of single mothers with school age children, who need computers for their kids to be able to do homework. I fill that market with these 486 and pentium computers that I build from the parts I pick up on EBAY.

I will never get rich doing this, and in fact I don't make a whole lot of money on any of them, just a bit over breaking even, but I do provide a service that is needed, and it does give me a good feeling to know that I am helping these kids learn more about computers.

I also sit down with the buyers, if they desire and give them a few lessons on how to get around on the machines, and have taught one fellow in a nearby village how to work on them so I don't have to. He lives on a farm just outside of the town, and has been picking up a few extra dollars by helping his neighbors.

I have managed to scrounge up enough parts to build each of my kids nice machines (well they were nice a few years ago when I built them) and have one of those low graded pentiums fixed up for my grand daughter for Christmas. I also gave each of my kids a Mac from my brief time learning the dark side of computing. My daughter uses it to test her graphic designs to insure that they are compatible on both the Mac and PC, my son just likes to play with them and learn how they work.

In fact I am about to stop messing around with them, as our son is talking about moving down here and sitting up shop, doing exactly as I am doing, but offering repair service and possibly setting up as an ISP. We are excited about this, but he has to sell his house up where he lives in central North Dakota and in today's economy, he may not have a lot of luck unloading it. His new wife will be transferring to a college near here, so it would be a good move for both of them. We are hopeful, it would be wonderful to have our family living in the same town, and I think that is the main reason he wants to move home to.

At any rate, I ramble on like an old man, I will shut up now before Jack has to archive again, just to be rid of all my long boring posts.

Jerry 12-7-2001 10:02

HEATHER: Ok hon, been up since 7, writing with blurry eyes, I am sending now! Talk to you soon!

Mary 12-7-2001 9:18

Teekay: When do you stop writing when you are writing a novel. I go crazy to get to the end of these short stories. I can't think (in reality terms) until I finish writing. I can just see me (and the house) by the end of a novel.

Heather & Mary: Good luck on the writing this morning.

Mary, I got my new contract for the year...a lot thanks to you! I not sure if I can take the year's contract at this point. I have to see if my husband still has a job around Christmas, and where that job is. What was important to me was that I managed to get a new contract. It means the job was done to satisfaction and that's what is important to me. Thank you for your help on the Websites. They helped a great deal.

Carol: Thanks for another wonderful Friday. I just got the last guest out the door. We bunted on the party. I pulled ancient history cans from the pantry...Aspargus Soup bought in Germany (8 years ago). It was good. I put four cans in the pot, added milk and some fancy rolls. I sped down and got some apples, and made a quick pan of gingerbread. My husband brought home some ice cream and then we took all the guest to the movies so we could sleep. It was Harry Potter playing. I read the book so I let my husband be an eyeblocker, curled up in the chair beside the wall and had a nice nap. I'm not a big one for watching books at the movies.

Viv 12-7-2001 8:40

Teekay: The problem is I dont know the ins and outs and on of course how far I could go with it... But I will be doing some major research and watching Parliament Question time a bit

taylor 12-7-2001 4:30


MARY: Aww, those poor sad monkeys.
I swear, I'm a hair's breadth from being a manic depressive.

Teekay 12-7-2001 2:36


VIV: I only have a vague idea of the ending of my story. It develops as it goes along, and as I write more ideas come to me.
I figure different methods work for different people and I think I've finally hit on the method that works for me.
Hope it lasts.
BTW: Good luck with tonight.

TAYLOR: I forgotten what I was going to say, hold on a sec.
Oh, okay, so what's the problem then?
I love watching those parliamentary meetings on the ABC, it's like a pack of pre schoolers having a fight :-D
Bit scary though, when you think about it.

Can't read the rest of the posts yet coz daughter is bullying me to get off.

Teekay 12-7-2001 2:26

Well, thank you Mary! Any time I need to go on a diet, I'll dig up that post about spit-roasting monkeys. UGH.

I'm so glad you're back online!

Monday sounds great - I think 7 am is good, that'll give us just about an hour before anyone else is awake. We're on the same time-zone, but does your family get out of bed before 8? My daughter is up by about 7:50am. My son usually sleeps in until 9 or later. He's younger, but he lies in bed yakking to himself, and reading. My daughter closes her eyes and is asleep! Hmmm. I have a feeling my son takes after ME.

Anyway, let me know, Mary, if 7 am is okay with you!

Jerry - I'm just about to sign off for the night, but I will get right back tomorrow and read your story! I'm glad you posted something. My shortie on opulence will be late!

Oh, so tired.



Heather 12-7-2001 2:18

Whew. What did that take me? An hour to catch up on the posts? Only to find out that there is more in the archive to dig up?

Mark: I enjoyed your post from a few days back about literacy and how it affects our thought process.

Rhoda: My best friend from high school(my maid of honor) just moved to Mobile last year and loves it. She has a masters in botany, her husband has his doctorate in botany and is a professor at the university there. She is a belly dancer. Betcha wouldn't have guessed that last part. ;-)

Oyster: As a jewelry designer, I know a pearl when I see one. Welcome to the Notebook if I haven't said it already. Male--left over stuff, huh? I can't believe Teekay didn't have anything to say about that line.

Howard: High fives.

War is ugly and both sides of any war do incorrigible things to each other. Always have, always will. At least in our lifetimes. Both sides also think they are right and can hold up proof, evidence and opinion to verify their rightousness. It's an ugly thing, war.

Whenever the topic of war comes up, I remember something my father told me about his time in Vietnam that reminds me of how ugly different cultures can be to each other. He told me that Vietnamese people roast monkeys on open spits and when the fire has singed all the hair off the bodies, they look like children. Small children, maybe five years old, roasting on spits. Even the thought of seeing that sickens me, but to the Vietnamese, it's just dinner.

Mary 12-7-2001 2:04

Americo: Well, your criticism is on target with the exception that due to the AT&T Broadband meltdown I have been mostly off line since last Saturday. Tonight is the first night that I have been even marginally on line. I will try to get the Workbook up in some fashion tomorrow. Of course, that is given that I am not taken down again and have no access to either email or web due to AT&T Broadband. We will see.

Jack Beslanwitch 12-7-2001 2:02

viv -- just tell them the truth -- you got hit with the bug and they'll just have to take the house as it is. And "what would you like on your cheerios?" (A favorite response of my hubby's when I ask him to make supper for a change. HA!)

Heather -- got your comments and a big thank you! Let me know when you need the complete edited version by.

Jery - I miss your ususal style of story telling in this last piece. Where'd it go? :)

Carol 12-7-2001 1:25

I'm baaaaaack!

I haven't read ANY posts yet because my fingers are going through Notebook posting withdrawal and I just have to post something. Anything! Aaack.

Ok, so that isn't entirely true, I skimmed through quickly while drinking a little zinfandel that my mind doesn't like but my mouth thinks is just fine. I am celebrating having my computer back FINALLY! (Sorry Americo, I know how you hate yelling.) I haven't even checked my email yet.

Thank you Heather for serving up a shortie theme. I am sorry I abandoned you, I will be ready first thing in the morning to write and send whatever I come up with on to you. Then, how 'bout we hook up on icq Monday? Pick a time. If you have already emailed me setting something up then disregard this message and whatever you picked is fine by me.

JERRY: I got sniped on eBay again. @#*%@#*% Blast it! I thought for sure I had set my bid high enough to not get outbid again at the very last blinkin' minute, but NOOOOO. Sheesh, I don't know how you deal with eBay. I haven't won a bid yet, the stinkers. That's it for me...I'm done.

MARK: Great to see your name. Sincerely.

Off to catch up!

Mary 12-7-2001 0:55

I had this idea for a story. I began to follow it, and like many stories I started, I some how lost the train of though. Now this was becoming a fairly good story, or at least I thought it was, but I can't for the life of me figure out where to go with it. I will post what I have thus far, maybe someone will have a thought on were to go with it. This is, is it not, shorty night? Where has our queen gone with her topics? Did I miss it in all my angry political rant? Could very well be.

At any rate, in honor of shorty night, here is the short of it:

He was a man filled with fear, but he hid that quality well. When he walked down the streets of his village, people would say “there goes a brave man!” or at least in his mind they did. Oh he had done brave things in his life, when the General of his Brigade pinned the medals on his chest, the words that were said spoke of bravery, they spoke of heroic acts, they praised his actions, they raised his status within his Brigade, and in his village.

Yet he was filled with fear. When a car backfired, the hair on the back of his neck rose, yet somehow he overcame his fear and searched for the offending vehicle. When screams for help echoed in his ears, he gritted his teeth, his breath became quick, his voice gained a quiver, yet somehow he overcame that fear and went forward to save the fair damsel in distress, or more particularly he went in the house and stopped the domestic dispute.

His fear, he believed began when he was but a boy, and his father, who had the best of intentions, took him out to the county late one night, to a place he had never been. He could still hear his fathers words “You will have to find your own way home.” And with those words, he took off the blindfold that had covered his eyes during the half-hour drive; in what direction he had no idea. As his father drove off, in the wrong direction to get home, purposely to throw his eight year old son off the trail, he felt that now familiar raising of the hair on the back of his neck. He gritted his teeth, and his voice gained, for the first time, that now familiar quiver, as he called out “Daddy come back, please come back.” But his father was already gone; the tears flowed down his face as he began walking down that dirt road. After some time, a few seconds, maybe a few minutes, he began to notice the sounds of the night. Off in the distance a dog barked, probably, he thought at a farm nearby, but what if they were feral dogs? What if they were at this very minute running through the tall grass that covered all that could be seen to his left and right, running to get him, running to attack him, to tear out his throat?”

No, as he listened, the dog sounded like he was far away, and wasn’t getting any closer. He walked on, he could hear his every foot step on the gravel, but was that the footsteps of another behind him, he walked faster; he could hear that person behind him walking faster too. He began to run; he could hear those footsteps behind him run too. He cried even harder, he ran faster, he ran as fast as he could, sobbing, running, the dirt he kicked up stuck to his face where the tears ran, at last he became so out of breath he had to stop. He stopped, so did those footsteps behind him. He sat down on the side of the road, his feet in the ditch, and cried, and cried some more. In fact he was still sitting there, still crying when fifteen minutes later his father, who had planned this all in advance, returned with the car and picked him up. He had been crying so much, that he couldn’t stop, no matter how hard he cried. His father told him to stop, but try as he did, he could not. His father shouted for him to stop, but he continued to sob. “If you don’t stop that infernal bawling, I am going to stop this car and turn you loose on the road again, and this time I won’t stop!” His father shouted.

He stopped.

It could have been that. That was where the fear first hit him, but, it seemed to him, he had never stopped being afraid. Yes, this soldier who was decorated for his bravery, this cop who worked the mean streets of Chicago, five times decorated for his bravery on “the job” spent his days and nights in fear. It was this fear that made him cautious, that made him think before he acted, made him the soldier who survived where others would have perished, allowed him to save his buddies from an ambush, allowed him to stop the assault by the angered husband, allowed him to save that child from the burning house he discovered that night when he was on patrol.

Any suggestions?

Jerry 12-7-2001 0:25

Teekay: What I mean is you know like Prime Minister speeches, newsreports, Deputy Prime Ministers speeches, the bad guys 2 main speeches... I dont plan on using too much "political jargon" Because I dont think its called for... Like have the Deputy PMs address in it and that.

taylor 12-7-2001 0:12

Yes, it was I who started this political banter, and it was I who, with a sigh complained that it got out of hand.

In reality, though, I think it enlivened the notebook, it excited the souls of those who contributed, it quickened our pulses, and isn't that what writing is all about? Is it not better to have one read your work and slam down the book, complaining "that idiot, who can he say that?" Then to pick it up again to see how much further it can go, how different from your point of view is he? Or, on the other hand, isn't it wonderful to pick up a book, and think "wow, I agree with that person so much, it is as if he read my mind!"

Well maybe not, I know it brought just a bit of excitement to my dreary day, it quickened my pulse, it got my dander up, it had me cussing, it made me feel alive.

I do think, however that we should keep this wonderful banter to an occasional pace. To do any other would defeat the purpose, very reason for this place in cyber space to exist.

Jerry 12-6-2001 23:24

It's a banter it back and forth until we see it the way we like it notebook! Why not. Writers can create their own reality. I know I enjoy creating mine!

Carol: It's noon and the house is still stirred with a spoon, the food is not in the house, and the guest arrive sometime around five o'clock! I couldn't stop writing. I seem to have a tough time stopping until I've stapled on the ending. I stopped to take the cat and dog to the vet, but I didn't really feel like I was there. I was here writing. I think a novel would kill me.

Teekay: You are up to Chapter 11. How do you stop and start your day? I know what the end is and the hard part is not rushing to get there! I can't hang onto the end and I'm afraid I'll forget it before I get there. As it was the tail of this story turned in my hand and it twisted into a completely different story than I'd imagined.

Heather: I sent it to you as well. It's weird. I'm not sure I like it. Why can't my ghosts behave like everyone else's ghosts.

Mark: Opulence. Sounds interesting. I think that would make a good Friday next week. I like that word.

Viv 12-6-2001 22:24

Is this a Writers’ Notebook or a Banter-it-back-and-forth-until-I-see-it-the-way-I-like-it Notebook?

HOWARD – As an expression of personal belief, my essay intended to give fuller expression to two ideas: 1) We helped form the cauldron in which Al Quaida was shaped, so now look what we have to deal with, and 2) We tend to look at THEIR extremists differently than we look at OUR extremists.
Taking a day away from it and looking again, I can see that I would have given it a low grade in class for trying to make two points. The true classical essay has one aim.
Seems like I tweaked something more than your intellectual interest ; )

OYSTER – Thank you for reading it as a writing exercise here in the Writers’ Notebook.

OPULENCE – for shorty night

Yes, I’m a man of some wealth, though I choose to keep that fact to myself. My affluence is hidden behind a row of trees in a vinyl-sided house that looks small on the outside. Every now-and-again I am tempted to study enough architecture to discover just how it is that large houses can be made to seem so average. I might be able to sell such ideas to men who, like myself, care little for ostentation.

Luxury is a matter of taste. I luxuriate in my Personal Computer collection. Currently I have three, each serving a specific purpose that could just as easily be served by one central machine. But I think it a luxury to have an Internet gateway machine, a machine to practice programming on, and a machine for others to use in case I want to be busy at a computer. Again, this profusion is hidden from common view. Visitors to the house see one computer on the main floor. Like the external view of my house, the external view of my network shows less than really exists.

Mark 12-6-2001 22:10

Winter’s come
The snow has fell
Wee Josie’s nose is froze as well
Wee Josie’s nose is froze and skintit
Winter’s diabolic, in’t it!

Och aye…

12-6-2001 21:31


I'm sorry gang. I choose to not enter the discussions on 9/11. I write to enjoy the flow of words, to make a world, fantasy, if you will where I can escape reality. To block out the harshness in human actions I seek to escape, not on a broom as Harry Potter, but with a keyboard that transcribes the swirling thoughts inside me.

Negative actions and thoughts only enhance the negative inherent in us. Positive actions and thoughts bring about the goodness we, as a race, so desperately need.

This is the prologue from THE SOUND OF YOUR VOICE CALLING, a manuscript I wrote many years ago.


There was a time when it was pure, perfect in function and form, like a rosy cheeks, fat, bouncing baby boy. It was like the morning after creation, when God strolled across the land. A time when cool glittering rivulets ran bright and shiny through alpine meadows, powered by tiny springs bubbling from under moss covered stones. So clean, almost magical in the musical freshness of an enchanting spring day. Sparkling clear streams become robust rivers that drain freshly melted snow through lush meadows, later falling into steep rock walled chasms. Aspen trees are bright with the newness of life, leaves rustling as gentle winds brush new branches. Mountain slopes are covered in blue-green spruce, pine, fir, razor straight, slowly discarding their winter white. Majestic mountain peaks covered with fresh, pearly white snow rise into the radiant blue sky ... range after range disappearing in the remote, far-away distance.

Deep inside pristine mountain fortresses abundant green meadows contain Native American lodges. Thin trails of smoke rise lodge pole straight in the still, cool morning air. Laughing children and barking dogs run through dew soaked green grass chasing each other, carefree. And why not? Surrounded by majestic cathedrals of mountainous terrain covered by immense virgin forests, every human need is provided by nature. Native Americans want for nothing, everything necessary for existence is available, accessible with only a little toil.

Inside primeval forests deer, bear, elk, beaver thrive, their life spent eating, breeding, sleeping. Cool mountain streams are full of fish and mammal. Nutrition and clothing is everywhere ... free for the taking, only a little effort. Wild fowl abound, ducks, turkeys, quail, countless others so innocent children slay them with rocks.

Over the mountains, on wide grassy plains massive buffalo by the million roam freely, providing nearly every human need. So many buffalo meander through the area it's not when will the Native American's eat, but how much. What epics lie hidden from humans in the brain of these shaggy beasts? On cool dark nights under a bright crescent moon do they bed together and talk of other, older times? Do they discuss ancient Gods or review primeval tales? When white buffalo calves are born do the matriarchs gather and rejoice. Offer alms perhaps? Do they form circles around the birthing remains and look into the future? Are they able to see the near demise of their race? Who knows? They choose not to communicate with humans as so many other animals do.

Day ends in Eden. In the setting sun towering mountain peaks turn sharply crimson, flushed by a rose colored sunset. Laughing children race home to fresh buffalo meat, wild berries, drink mountain tea, sleep safe and warm in soft robes of buffalo or bear. Elk and deer bed down, as the buffalo. Enormous eagles settle in atop ancient trees in nests hundreds of years old. The brisk twilight turns luminous with alpenglow. An alpine night descends and in the silence giant luminous stars sing the mountain tribes to sleep. All is well in the fastness of America.

Far away to the east, beyond the great plains the first European settlers stand cold and forlorn on the deck of their ship. They stare at the dark foreboding mass of land just ahead for tomorrow morning they land. The Anglo-Saxons have arrived. It's a whole new ball game."



Randall 12-6-2001 21:15

GARIESS -- I worked with Mark for a couple of years, and got to know him well enough to know that an 8 or 9 year hiatus is not enough to dull his writing edge (though he might think so. He's got one of the sharpest minds I've ever had the pleasure to encounter. The essay was, as I said, excellent. I just happened to disagree on a point or two. But that in no way diminishes my opinion of him personally.

howard 12-6-2001 20:53

Jerry: I thank you for posting that political piece. It's something I hear everytime folks feel mean. I can see now that it stirs other folks as well. I get soooooo mad when someone comes up to me and says this! I feel like getting I'd like to be Godzilla and do a little Tokyo stomping. It happened in Germany too. In fact, it's happened in about every foreign country. I think Americo is right, it's rude but it's a fact that sometimes American's are not viewed by other countries the way they think. Some of the words are true so it really hurts. The worst thing is we are not the people that make the decisions. We are simply trying to keep our jobs or get new ones after we loose ours. We're completely helpless to really change things. Sometimes I wish I were a person with a huge amount of power and money. Instead I write MEAN stories. I don't really like writing mean things. Ghost stories are not what I like to read. I like wise, kind things that give me warm glow of confidence. Unfortunately, I feel small and I create a monster and stomp on the meanies!

Debra: I liked your description of the chocolate Sunday! No Howard, I ain't gonna' call it a Sundae. I think of them as a treat invented on a hot mid-summer afternoon for a family who have been cooped up in stuffy church all morning. They are a rare treat and a fine one! A Sundae looks like some sort of thing you'd find in one of the nebula. It doesn't even look right.

This is coming from a woman who habitually goes to the restaurant that has a sign advertising Blunch every Saturday at exactly 2:00 PM.

I think Blunch is a lot better than brunch. It definitely says what it is: Breakfast-Lunch. I haven't made it to Blunch's served about 10:30-12:30 on Sunday. My stomach doesn't get up until 2:30PM on Sunday. I figure I have to get out of bed, but my stomach doesn't!

Carol: I got up and did my writing but I'm still stuck in the middle of it. I know the ending but I had to get the animals to the vet clinic at 8:00 AM. My daughter had to be in school at 9:00 AM. I have to give a small Christmas party tonight and the inside of my house looks like it was stirred with a giant spoon. I haven't even got the food started. It has to be something soft because we all have a slight case of the flu and one of the guests is coming straight from the dentist. Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas, care for some gluhwine anyone???

I'm not happy with what I've written so far. The woman has to be dealt with and I know just the ending but the middle is too darned long and it's repeating itself again and again. I think tomorrow when the morning is a little more quiet I can concentrate on the last bit. I'll try to wake up and shoot it off to you as you shoot off your ending. Thank you for working with me. It did get me up and going on this. I didn't have to keep it all stuffed down inside me for another week. I do like this schedule but I wish I had a couple days to just lie there, stare up at the ceiling and drool. If it's too bad, don't critique, just read it through, shrug and think...well, it's in progress and as we keep at it, maybe she'll improve. Sorry for the torture! If it gets too bad, just turn off the computer.

Also, I don't really feel this way about most folks. I'm just creating a character you'd love to see killed off. I don't want you to feel very sympathetic toward her. Oh, by the way, the title Ijime means bullying.

Viv 12-6-2001 20:15


TAYLOR: So what difference does that make wether it's political or not? Do you mean people may get bored with reading long strains of political jargon?
If that's the case they shouldn't do, because whatever the characters say ought to be for a reason not just talking for the sake of it.
Let me know, I'm curious
as usual

Teekay 12-6-2001 20:05

Teekay: Though with my book it includes politics, so that is kind of why theres a whole heap of talking

taylor 12-6-2001 19:50


The guy said his essay was classically organized, he didn't say it was perfect. After all, it is the first one he's done in eight or nine years. I think he makes a fair point when he mentions that Christians have their repressive attitudes toward women. It is more or less a matter of degree. Wearing slacks might be discouraged by the stricter Christians, but at least we don't see public executions of women who are guilty of speaking in public. Nor do we see men's ears and noses being cut off because they shaved their beards.

gariess 12-6-2001 19:00


HOWARD: No, it's because you're a real gentleman, like Shrek.
Only maybe not as cute :-D
Okay, okay, as cute.

TAYLOR: I think I know what you mean about the dialogue....thing (that was after scraping my mind for the right word and coming up almost empty handed :-D)
I have the same thing happening. I sort of think that maybe I have too much dialogue, but as yet it's a bit hard to tell.
One good thing about dialogue is that it gets an awful lot revealed and pulls the story along nicely. I think it's just a matter of finding the right mix, and luckily, I think there are a few recipes around.

MEL: I think it must have been number 4 I read in the H.P. series, because the name Sirius Black (is that right?) sound very familiar.
Mel Pel,
you did ever so well,
when you wove me up in your toady spell :-D

Sorry - couldn't help it.

Am half way through chapter 11, and into a whole new notebook.
I love starting a new notebook.
Must write faster so I can start an even newer one :-D


Teekay 12-6-2001 18:56

So, somebody had to get personal. Hmm.

Gariess 12-6-2001 18:23

oops - AMERICO - there was supposed to be a :-) -- at least a small one -- after "Interesting." :-)

howard 12-6-2001 18:20

TEEKAY -- You just want to get me closer so you can hit me! I know you! :-)

howard 12-6-2001 18:17

Been away most of the day, job (and school) hunting.

AMERICO -- I've heard lots of people - including yourself - quote from various sources, but the only ones you hold up to ridicule (perhaps ridicule is too strong a word?) are those who quote from the Bible. Interesting.

MARK -- Take a scale. On one side place the bodies of women stoned to death for offending the Taliban dress code. On the other side place those whose pastors "insisted" that they dress modestly (or not wear pants). I still do not see anything resembling a balance here. Dunno about all the beatings inflicted by Mississippi Baptist pastors on their helpless flocks, but I think that would have made even the liberal papers...

My problem with this whole thing is that as soon as Jesus Christ or the Bible is mentioned, the anti-religionists rise up in force and protest, and start with the comparisons.
We hear about the atrocities (and there admittedly were many) committed in the Crusades --where did all those poor persecuted Muslims come from in the first place, and how many slaughtered bodies of Jews, Christians, and even other Muslims did they leave in their wake?

Our universities - supposedly bastions of free speech - do allow free speech about any subject, or any "religion" except plain Christianity. Our press is as bad. I'm as tolerant as anyone, and I expect tolerance in return. Where is it?

And the offsetting of "Christian" appeared to be (whether intended or not) offsetting them from that mass of "good people" whoever they are, and lumping them in with the loonies. Sorry if I misinterpreted it.

I guess this whole thing is an excellent example of how easy it is to trigger emotional reactions with a few simple words. Especially if they're well crafted.

Gotta stop - resumes to send out.

howard 12-6-2001 18:15


HOWARD: By golly, if you weren't already married.......

Teekay 12-6-2001 17:48

Hey, Jerry, didn't you START the 'discussion' (read as 'ranting') on politics by posting that piece a while back? The one you disagreed with...

My policy on politics: Never underestimate what other people think they know. Half of us are going on mere impressions!

Americo, you are terribly cute and coy, too.
Kisses to Jon. A swat to Pussy, and a bottle of her favourite nail polish. I would like to give 'Saints and Sinners' a real go, once LT* has been sent off. Think about it, won't you?
Mind you, you'll have a fair amount of time to do so ~ I've barely begun the editing process.
My boss has been very ill lately, so I've been covering some of her nights for her - but because my husband works evening shifts every second week, I have to wait until he gets home at 2 am to go out and fill in for her! So, pardon me everyone, for not getting started as quickly as I'd hoped with the editing process. I will begin anew after this weekend!

Tina - it's still in the works - I'm about half-way through putting the edits into the text now. :o)

Carol - just sent you back your story with edits. On to finish Tina's tonight, if I manage to stay awake past 10 pm.
Howard - THANK YOU!

Rhoda, you're welcome. I know you and your family will know the right decision when the opportunity arrives.

Mary - hope everything is well your way - HUGS!

I suppose if anyone wants to put forth an idea for short shortie night, it'll be appreciated.
The only topic that came to my mind was 'Opulence'...
If you want to 'go with it', be my guest!

I think my headache will prevent me from participating, unless those Tylenol live up to their promise. Here's hoping.

And here's a quote, author unknown:

"Imagination was given to man to compensate for what he isn't, and a sense of humour to console him for what he is."

Heather 12-6-2001 16:09

Or maybe Joyster???

Americo, we must have been doing our posts at the same time. I did enjoy your quick character sketches, and especially the Joyster comment. At the risk of sounding too Joyster-ish ... LMARO!

As I'm new, I'll have to see if your perceptions are Truman Capote Truths, Americo. I still live in fear of ending up like dear Truman, who offended many Powerful People, whom he called 'friends' in one fell Book.

I've had to learn to laugh (and cry) as I was born a very serious person. I will always be indebted to my kids for teaching me that humour is where you find it, so I could inject a little into my writing.

The upstairs floor is clean now. Time for the downstairs one ... yuck. Perhaps if I do this more regularly (can one barter maid services with short stories d'you think?)it will not be such an odious chore. My back is twinging and my knees are sore. Scrub-brush (not the prairie kind) is the only tool that takes off ... that male left over stuff.

In the mean time, Adieu, Adeiu, to you and you and you-ou!

(as you can see I watched the Sound of Music a few too many times!)

oyster 12-6-2001 15:31

Greetings All :)

I managed to finish GG earlier this week and am now in the editing process -- with a big thanks to Viv, Rosemary and Teekay for their guiding direction. I know I'll be thanking Heather as well when she completes looking it over.

I'm trying to decide which process I like better. The creative process of the rough draft or the editing process that produces something people will hopefully enjoy reading. Then again, why decide? Both satisfy.

It has been a long time since I've been able to get into a story this completely, finish it and polish it. Everyone on this board has inspired me in one way or another. Thank you.

Carol 12-6-2001 14:54

No, no, AMERICO! You have it all wrong. I quote scripture and HOWARD supports (sometimes).

Rhoda 12-6-2001 14:53

Just received an e-mail from someone I knew growing up and met again last year by e-mail through one of those highschool reunion web sites. She and her husband are going on vacation from Arizona and have to change planes in Houston. I couldn't tell exactly how long they're going to be there on layover but I'm tempted to go to the airport just to say hi. Then, think about it, do I really want to see (and have them see me) someone I haven't seen in over 40 years??? Not to mention the scaryness of a major airport just hoping to find two people in that giant mess.

You do so much with a casual comment. Absolutely loved your verses. I'm not sure we need to bring reality into this. Geese are grain eaters. They're in my back yard for grass lowering purposes. I don't really know if they would eat a toad. But for sure they are big enough to stomp him flat. Those birds must weigh at least 20 pounds each. My geese don't fly but we all know wild geese certainly do.

Visual Just for you,
As I opened the door to the shed where we keep baby chicks warm, I felt something land on my forehead. I thought it was probably a leaf, they're falling everywhere right now. I reached up and brushed it away, but as it fell to the floor, it landed with a small plop and scurried away. Was long and skinny and had stripes. It had legs so it wasn't a snake. Must have been a type of lizzard I haven't seen before. Lizzy could really get into trouble with Toady.

I always find your political rants interesting. They generally follow a line that I agree with, even though I try not to get quite as rabid about things I can't affect. (one of my life rules.) I tend to get upset about "the principle of the thing." if I don't watch out.

I know it's the holiday season and we are all really busy, but I miss the weekly short shorties. I think some pretty good work came out of those exercises and most of us enjoyed ourselves. You had some great topics and some that interested some more than others. When you are able to make everyone happy, we'll run you for (are you in Canada?)whatever is appropriate to run the world.

Gotta go, think I've lost a book on tape from the library. time to search the house and my truck.

Rosemary 12-6-2001 13:41

Debra I did try emailing you and the system whatever sent the email back. I'm going to check the address and try again later today. When the toilets are clean and the floors don't try to suck off my slippers like the mud in which Mel's Toad Wallows.

And if this email box doesn't work, I'll try Jerry's idea and do another box. Debra we will connect, that I promise.

MarkRhetorical essays are writing too. I did a lot of them to purge the 'passion' before I could get down to writing fiction.

LOL, if I don't still do a little 'purging' on other forums. I've found newsboards quite the entertaining mien for posting political pundits. And mine are pundits! Bad punned-its, too!

I'm suffering from Writers-Block, too. I think it's the stress of The Season!

Jerry I am so impressed with your Rocket Car Blowing Up story! I have a favourite author who uses first person narrative in which her protagonist, as a female-garage mechanic, kind of skirts the mechanics of mechanics.

I was LOL, when I thought, in my politic-tired brain ... Jerry writes (as one of my male creative writing instructors did to get his work published) under a female literary name and does cars! This would be so good.

Oooo. See? My imagination is wicked. Bad, bad Oyster! Good, good Jerry.

Rhoda I 'resonated' with your skirts/pants issue. Although I'm from a time when schools, churches, synagogues and the like acquiescently and sometimes publicly entreated women to 'look feminine', I have not bought or worn anything without legs since 1992. It's a comfort and defiance thing for me.

I did a whole lot of research on Muslim women's dress inspired by a writer like the one you quoted after a display of Afghani veils I saw at a museum some time ago. The veils were gorgeous, and ancient.

As I read and asked questions, I found out that like North American women, women of Middle Eastern and Asian ancestry differ in their opinions of dress. Some see refusal to dress 'traditionally' as a 'feminist' (dare I mention that word?) issue, while others see it simply as a cultural aspect and still others see it as a code of respect and tradition.

And anyone who has seen Orthodox Jewish women in public, knows that 'discreet' dress is a cultural/religious custom as well. In fact, Faye Kellerman has a character who dresses 'orthodox' in one of her detective serials. Rina Decker.

Yet former Cowtown Police Chief Christine Silverberg covered her head when she went to a Mosque in town to speak out of respect.

I've been known to dress 'for respect' in order to honour another culture's traditions. LOL, but like many women, I'd be wearing pants under my Burqua, thanks!

Mel That Toad poem! What a hoot! My fatigued Gray Cells are trying to get a visual on some of your imagery, but I'm did catch a sense of a happy toad. I love the fact that you can even attempt poetry. I'm still stuck in Dr. Seuss mode.

Okay folks, floors and toilets beckon ... and I really must get some other 'work' finished. *Groan*

SYL, All.


Oyster 12-6-2001 13:25

Oyster -- I have been around the NB for almost three years and know a little about its tricks. Here are some of its commandments for your benefit as a newbie to this interesting place.

1. Try not to speak about politics. But do not allow Jerry too much leeway to spread his views on death penalty, guns and nukes. He may give foreigners a harmful view of the USA and its people, namely that all Americans are reactionaries and the USA ground to pre-diluvian policies. Jerry Ericsson is a hiper-sensitive man and a nice guy. He would not be able to kill a fly but, in his extreme patriotism and hiper-sensitivity, he may be unfair to himself. Which would be unjust, as we all like him and some of us consider him the best story-teller in the block. I think that he should come to Europe, visit his forefathers' fatherland (Vikinglandia), and learn that neither the USA is the only free nation on the planet nor the South Europeans are black (though I'd like to be one and have the vigour of Michael Jordan). Jerry Ericsson is also the main runner-up to win the prize for the best Notebooker of 2001 -- an award which will be granted in due time by Jon, our favorite cat.

2. Try not to speak about religion. Howard will quote the Bible and Rhoda will support him (with minor corrections to his citations). I will invoke other sacred books and Litter will come from his lovely Scotland to protest against something Jon, in his innocence, said. Eddie, a Liverpool fugitive, will put an end to the discussion by adding something to the biography of his grandchildren.

3. The girls will then speak about their horror to subjects like politics and religion, thus showing that they are ready to make their own revolution, whose aim will be to have all the space in this page to talk about their lovely feminine problems. Debra will make us all scratch our heads trying to decipher her English, the exact moment when

4. Mark will try to explain the passive voice, getting lost in the process and giving us up till a better occasion;

5. Gary will come from his slumber and call knee-jerkers to anyone in the neighborhood, running the risk of being called Gariass and thus make us infringe the rules of good spelling. Gary, incidentally, deserves my sympathy as a good democrat and an interesting joker, but progressive thought and sense of humor are not enough, and his tendency to write on the spur of his emotions makes him the left-wing counterpart of our own Jerry. Gary & Jerry are almost the same thing, though in opposite fields - they help us understand the Mr. Hyde and Dr. Jekyl that constitutes the soul of the average Western citizen.

6. That's when Rosemary will write her annonymous posts -- usually to send Jon to hell --, an error which she will try to correct later on when it stops raining. Her place is just at the gate (quoting the song) but a beautifully florid one. I always think of "Gone with the Wind" when I read her posts and wish to visit Texas.

7. There are also other interesting characters, all of them trying to have a place in the contemporary world of the Internet, but I have not anymore time to go on with this and have to make the ten commandments only

8. Jack springs from his corner and, after mentioning his scuba-diving, promises to archive the Notebook "tomorrow" and open the Workbook "next week"-- which, for an American, means, as you know, "when God wills".

How can we still love this page, Oyster, is a mystery to me.

Here's a piece of advice for you: since you are a promising Notebooker, change your signature to Joyster, and you will be read with attention. You see, we Notebookers read with our little hearts and rarely with our brains. We react to subjective impressions rather than to boring facts. We are Joyceans rather than Dickensonians -- but this is just my attempt at finishing with a golden key and has nothing to do with sheer truth or genuine culture.

Americo 12-6-2001 13:17


Everywhere you go, you will find a politicized forum, because if politics isn't there, you will bring it in. I am not saying that to be unkind, but I don't think you would settle for involvement with a group that has no passions. And I am the same way. Though there is a time and a place for every subject, I don't have any desire to be associated with any group of people so inhibited that they refuse to discuss politics or religion under any circumstances.


I am a Baptist and I practically live in pants. I have known women from the more fundamentalist Baptist churches, and if they wish to refuse seeing movies, wear dresses, no make-up, etc. etc., then that is fine with me. The nice thing is, you see, is that they can't make me live that way.

I have been to fundamentalists Baptist chruches and I have my own thoughts about them. Some of these people drive me up a wall and irritate me. On the other hand, I have associated with Christians who were very conservative about their dress and life-style, but who still accepted me with graciousness and respect though I do wear make up and wear jeans. They have the maturity to look beyond the outward appearance and see into the heart of a fellow believer. But personally, for whatever reason, they chose to dress and behave in a certain way.

I have no problem with Muslim women or any other type of woman covering her face, her legs, or whatever. Much of the fundamentalist Muslim system is suported by women. Why don't you read Jean Sasson's books about the Saudi Arabian princess. The first one is titled, PRINCESS. These books are actually the accounts of a female member of the Saudi family, and you would learn a lot reading them.

We have been discussing labels here on the Notebook. Terms like "Reds" and such. We have also been discussing Japanese and the reaction to them after WWII, and then Muslims as well. Most of us have concluded that labeling people is beneath us. We must look at the individual and his or her actions and not judge them on the basis of what label or nationality they have.

MARK, can we also include Fundamentalist Christians and Baptists and even Jahovah's Witnesses in this light?

Rhoda 12-6-2001 12:00

Shock of see the same thing over and over again... Yeah I know about that... Something that I thought would be an impossible act.

But now something else has hit the news that I thought we would not have to worry about.
No surprise it happened.
A man linked to bin laden was taking flying lessons in South Australia was arrested and there were threats of terrorism against Australia.

The story I'm working on seems to have more talking than action in the story part of it... You know characters more likely to be a war of words than any other thing.

That is last about the WTC attack for now

taylor 12-6-2001 11:16


Here's one for you.

He looked like a strawberry with five o'clock shadow.

Debra 12-6-2001 10:53

Well at least I got some dialog going in the notebook again.

Sorry if I offended anyone, I was very tired, and still haven't gotten over the shock of seeing those airplanes slamming into the WTC over and over on television, hearing all the gory details of the rescue effort; praying every day that they find just one more survivor. This has all been to much, and I am mad as hell at those who did it. Yes, I think I would even support nuking the cave structure if I knew it would destroy the fellow who set this all off, although I don't relish seeing us use that terrible weapon again. You know the current nukes in our arsenal would put those little firecrackers we dropped on Japan to shame.

Jerry 12-6-2001 10:40


Good morning, WRITERS! I hope you don't all go "political" on me now. I need deeper writing inspiration than that! Politics never inspire me. I'd rather take a grizzly bear to a picnic in the forest.

ROSEMARY! You're doing it again! :-) Giving my muse great visual inspirations, that is! Your phrase "Dangerous for a toad" has my muse scrunching her eyeballs into slits, sweating for rhymes and storylines... I just need to know more about geese and how they behave on the farm, especially when Toady is near...I can guess some gruesome things, but give me some visual facts, PLEASE! :-] Just a snatch of what I've got:

King Toady of the farm
never came to any harm.
He sat, fat; his hat
trailed a leafy muddy arm.

But a crown it was,
and as any crown does,
it made Toady smile
as he hopped his daily mile.

Suddenly, WHOOSH! and then SWOOSH!
His crown went a-flyin'
His feet jerked, a-tryin'
to jump twixt wheels and heels.

Aiming to cross the road
can be dangerous for a toad.

Crownless back at the farm,
Toady pouted without his charm.
He glowered at the truck
that squawked worse than a duck.

Suddenly, WHOOSH! and then SWOOSH!
Five big white geese appeared;
Their wings were huge;
as they flapped, a deluge
of feathers forewarned as Toady feared.

Five big geese in a load
can be dangerous for a toad.

Oh, I know the meter is off, the rhymes are bad; it's just somewhere to start... And it is SHORTY DAY, idn't it? :-)

RHODA, VIV: One good thing about moving, no goodbyes needed to 'Net friends. We'll be right here, between any packed or unpacked boxes, whenever you need a break! :-)

AMERICO: Gee, thanks for the compliment on the otter statement. But I must confess, it was inspired by someone ELSE's saying about sliding on the ice in a much more vulgar manner (ahem! that I won't repeat here, partly because I can't remember the whole thing; maybe someone else will, who dares to repeat it!).

And Americo, some of us Americans regret EVERY war-death there ever was, is, or will be. In my view, there is NO good reason to kill another human being, or any living creature for that matter. Soldiers and hunters, nothing personal here. God made us to enjoy life, to care for each other; and HE ALONE will see that any justice needed will be done, not necessarily in this world but maybe in the next.

As for "Saints and Sinners" I would love to hear more about what's needed; I'm having trouble getting inspired to write a specific story. Have you got any ideas for this project, Americo? Please don't be discouraged by all the nonwriting topics of late here on the NB. Above all, we need MORE WRITING INSPIRATIONS, like your S&S* project!!!

I'm writing mentally only, today, sigh. Much work to do at the office and at home... Somebody write a few words for me while you're at it, won't you? I need one of those week-long (at least) writers' retreats in a natural setting with only me, my pc, pen and paper, and the thesaurus of course! :-)

A good day to you all...

Mel 12-6-2001 8:59

HOWARD -- Point 2 -- The offsetting of "Christian" is EXACTLY intended to take the few loonies and separate them from the mass of good people. The point there is that we tend to think THEIR loonies should be nuked, OUR loonies are acceptable.

Mark 12-6-2001 8:52


Still nothing!

Debra 12-6-2001 8:52

HOWARD -- I have a client in my house, placed here by her Baptist minister who insisted that women should always wear skirts, never pants. He's in a minority faction -- yet the treatment of women by repressive minorities remains questionable around the globe. My experience with Baptist ministers in Mississippi was eye-opening and haunting. I've got the research.

Mark 12-6-2001 8:46

I think I'm almost done debating about 9/11 and all the consequences it has caused.

I must say I hope they establish the Military Tribunals. How dare these terrorists get the same rights as good citizens get. These are the kind of guys who attacked America because of the things it stood for. Terrorist tried to crumble that very foundation. So why should they get those same rights.

Now I think I'm done... Really should stop debating things, since I do not have a political leg to stand on. Just am going on how I feel in my heart.

I should have paid more attention in history class though. Thinking back on my previous thoughts of events, mainly Pearl Harbour, I was absolutely positively wrong about it

taylor 12-6-2001 4:33

MARK – Great style (and thanks for the section labels) – but short on substance in a few spots.


The religious right in Islam is the same as the religious right in America -- socially and politically conservative.

Not sure what you’re basing this on – the Qu'ran commands Islam’s
religious right to wage war on the unbeliever and to annihilate him.
By contrast, Christians (including the religious right) are to win over the unbeliever by acts of compassion and charity.

On both sides, the religious leaders believe in a separate social status for women as well.

…then further along that flight of fancy:

Know any Baptist ministers who will tell you that women should not wear pants? Odd how many of my acquaintances think the Taliban treatment of women is deplorable, yet those same people simply accept "Christian" strictures on women's dress and behavior.

You’re back in the first half of the 20th century here -- I’ve not seen any Baptist women forced to wear veils (as mandated by the Taliban)-- ever, and it’s been literally years since I’ve heard a Baptist preacher mention “women in pants.” And “liberated women” are alive and well, and functioning very nicely in most of the churches I know.

And what, exactly, is meant by the offsetting of Christian in “Christian” strictures? I know it's a literary device, but you forgot to label it.

(Digression) Know any American agitators who have disturbed the peace? Know any protestors with guns at abortion centers or women's clinics? You know what "The Who" said . . .

Yes, unfortunately we’ve all seen and heard these examples, and they’re very much condemned by the Christian Church (including Baptists and (shudder) “Right-to-Lifers") as a whole. It’s amazing how we so smoothly make the transition from disturbing the peace to the use of guns at abortion centers. It’s also misleading, and an example of the misuse of rhetoric. AKA cheap shot.

It’s an example of a double standard, in this case separating the Taliban from Islam, while measuring and labeling Christians based on the actions of a very few (but admittedly very vocal and visible) loonies.

Perhaps more research is indicated?

howard 12-6-2001 0:48

Oyster - I don't have anything against Muslums. No, I just don't like terrorists very much, that they happen to be Muslums has nothing to do with it at all, except in their minds.

Jerry 12-6-2001 0:44

SO, Mark are you saying we asked for it?

Don't you live in the New York area?

Can you truthfully say that you would rather pay $5.00 a gallon for gas and let the middle east go on it's merry way?

Or should we dis-associate our selves with Saudi Arabia because we don't like their politics, and oh, maybe open up all the oil fields in Alaska, and maybe uncap all those oil wells we have in North Dakota? I know a whole lot of farmers in North Dakota who would love to see it.

Maybe we should become isolated, much like the US was between the world wars, maybe that would be the right thing to do. Stop buying the oil, stop supporting any nation that we are forced to deal with so we can have our cheap gas and oil.

You may be right, you can afford five dollar a loaf bread, six dollar a gallon gas, ten dollar a quart oil. Maybe you can, but my Social Security check just won't go that far. Oh sure, I could stay at home, about the only place I go anymore anyhow is to see my doctors, and my weekly trek across town to play cards with my seventy five year old mother and my sister who lives next door.

Sure, we could make out OK if we took the high ground and said good by to the middle east, and I am sure they could find others who would buy their oil. But can we afford it?

What about those who say we are not to disturb that wonderful tundra in Alaska, where no body lives, where no body goes, where even the polar bears don't tread because it is just too cold, to open, to lonely.

Oh well, world peace is just to much for my mind to consider after two days fighting viruses and staring at monitors, with breaks only to read a chapter or two in King's Dream Catcher (a good read thus far be assured).

You are probably right Mark, we should just leave that area completely. We should allow Israel to fall to the PLO, we should shun that dictatorship in Saudi Arabia, we should just pay the ten dollars a gallon for gas and like it.

But then you could be wrong.

Jerry 12-6-2001 0:31

I gotta find a writers site with less politics!

Jerry 12-5-2001 23:59

I had this friend up in New Rockford, we met one day when I was at my mechanic's garage visiting with him, as he dropped a 455 ROCKET v8 under the hood of my old Chevy Pickup. It was one of those things that one never forgets, in fact I think the memory of blowing up the diesel engine in my pickup will go with me to my grave. It was one of those famous 5.7 liter diesels that GM built on using the standard 350 CID blocks. They were noted for blowing up in quite spectacular displays, and mine did no less. We were on our way here to Lemmon for a visit, I had a cab-over camper on the back, and we were nearing the half way point of our three hundred mile trek when it happened.

There was no warning, no knocking, no pinging, the engine purred down the road like it was still brand new. Now I was told that it began to smoke real bad before it happened, but I had my eyes on the road, and my mind set on stopping in Steal ND for a cup of their famous flavored coffee's, then from out of nowhere, a boom, very loud louder then the report of the ten gauge shotgun my uncle had, even louder then the day he screwed up and pulled both triggers at once.

Smoke and steam belched out from under the hood, when I looked in the mirror, I saw a cloud of smoke behind me nearly as large as the one coming from under the hood.

I knew right away what it was, the oil pressure dropped to zero, the water temp gauge rose to the top and I had no power whatsoever.

To my good fortune a Doctor was traveling the same road in his Lincoln, and stopped to give me a ride into Steel.

At any rate, I met the fellow there in the shop, as my mechanic was converting everything from Diesel to gas, and bolt that huge engine in the place of the little 350 that was there before, when this older fellow came into the shop. He was tall and very thin, and when he spoke, he had a slight quiver to his voice.

We stood around while the mechanic was doing his thing, and began to talk. Seems he survived the death march, and while he didn't want to talk about it much, what he did have say let me know that it was no picnic. We became very close friends, and I came to know he and his wife well. I used to stop in and have coffee with them when I had a chance.

Then came the sad day when he lost his wife. I responded to the ambulance call to assist because as thin as he was, his wife was big. She had to tip the scales to at least four hundred pounds, and I knew the little ladies on call that day could never get her down those stairs without help.

After we got his wife loaded (she was nearly dead when we got there), I took my friend in the patrol car up to the hospital, and sat with him as we awaited the word from the doctor. It was then, knowing his wife wouldn't be long for this world that I came to understand his pain.

It wasn't long before I lost my friend, he lasted about a year after his wife's passing, and although I continued stopping by when I had a chance, I think he died of loneliness. He always told me though that he didn't hate the Jap's, not as a people, but he sure didn't much care for their soldiers.

It is because of his pain, because of what little he told me of the march, it was the tears that he shed when he talked of those days, of his friends who didn't make the march, of the guards who smiled as they bayoneted American POW's when they fell from exhaustion, it is that picture in my mind that makes me say what I said about Japan in WWII.

Jerry 12-5-2001 23:50

Done w/ Sep11? Dunno. But it sure gave me some interesting head time. The post right before this is a classically organized rhetorical essay, the first I've written in eight or nine years. Enjoy.

Mark 12-5-2001 23:39

What goes around, comes around. (An Essay)

(Exordium) The rise of Al Quaida was as predictable as the springback of a trampoline after a teenager has jumped on it.

(Narration) Al Quaida’s inception came in Saudi Arabia in response to repression from the Fahd family and the Saudi princes kept in power by American oil money and American weaponry. Al Quaida’s first action came in a strike 15 (maybe almost 20) years ago against Saudi secret police and their American trainers. The criminals were found, tried, convicted and (gasp!) exiled.

Wherever they went, Al Quaida was known to cause trouble and agitate for a radical, fundamental law in accordance with their view of Islam. Such troublemakers are often cited as the reason for greater vigilence, more police power and more weapons. Funny thing is, they tend to show up in societies with restrictive, repressive dictators who use police power on their own people. In Islamic countries where there is some measure of political freedom given to all citizens, radical reactionaries fail to take hold. The religious right in Islam is the same as the religious right in America -- socially and politically conservative. On both sides, the religious leaders believe in a separate social status for women as well.

(Digression) Know any American agitators who have disturbed the peace? Know any protestors with guns at abortion centers or women's clinics? Know any Baptist ministers who will tell you that women should not wear pants? Odd how many of my acquaintances think the Taliban treatment of women is deplorable, yet those same people simply accept "Christian" strictures on women's dress and behavior. You know what "The Who" said . . .
"Here's to the new boss,
Same as the old boss."

(Proof) The label here tells you that this part of a well-formed essay is called “Proof.” I believe you are all capable of surmising that this section of a professional essay would contain detailed evidence in support of the argument set out in sections Exordium and Narration. Instead I refer you to and speeches given by Stephen Zunes, who deserves the credit for the bulk of my point here. Today on the radio I heard a detailed, thoughtful, and impassioned speech on the rise of Al Quaida and the Taliban. Here’s the blurb on it from the website:

“U.S. rhetoric about the war against terrorism creates many contradictions. While we criticize the fundamentalist Taliban regime in Afghanistan, we ignore the excesses of the Saudi Arabian theocratic dictatorship. U.S. foreign policy creates extremists. The more we militarize the Middle East, the less secure it becomes. Instead of relying on arms sales and air strikes, the U.S. should pursue a Mideast policy based on human rights, international law, and sustainable development.”

Two years ago Mr Zunes spoke on a similar topic to a similar small audience. Here’s the blurb for that talk:

“U.S. policy in the Middle East is promoted as advancing the causes of peace, international law and human rights. These myths, repeated like mantras on the evening news, distort and obscure reality. The region is in turmoil and is ruled by emirs, sheiks, kings and dictators, some of whom are the U.S.'s closest allies. In a powder keg situation, the U.S. is pouring in arms and militarizing the area at an alarming rate.”

(Refutation) I’ve heard convincing arguments to the effect that no Cause can justify the Effect we received on September 11. I’ve kept my mind open and my ears open. I can no longer believe that the attacks on the U.S. were attacks against a great blameless society. FDR knew Pearl Harbor was coming, someone knew Sep 11 was in the wind also.

(Peroration) Al Quaida grew out of a fierce desire to strike back at Saudi oppressors in the Saudi homeland. Exiled to other countries, the movement found international targets in those who sponsored repression. The U.S., as the world’s biggest supporter of repressive regimes, could not escape being a target. Action-reaction. Those with their eyes open and their sense of simple humanity in place knew something had to happen.

Mark 12-5-2001 23:36

HEATHER -- I sent you an updated "Annie"

Howard 12-5-2001 22:57

...and that thing where you get chocolate all over your chin is a sundae -- not a Sunday.

But lets do get back to writing - I've been trying to kick a major writer's block episode for some time now. Can't seem to get off the dime.

howard 12-5-2001 22:53

Umm - Actually it's Khmer Rouge.

howard 12-5-2001 22:48

Oyster - the way to get around that is simple, just get another email address. I have several, i rarely if ever give out the one I use here, as it is my main, but I have one for junk mail at another for contests and things like that at and another with my web page at I rarely if ever check the last two, but I have to clear out the iwon one regularly or it fills to overflowing, it is the one I use at all those sites that require an email.

Jerry 12-5-2001 22:48


Debra You should have mail! And my email addy. Sorry folks, I should have mentioned this ... some rather unpleasant additions showed up on our desktop via a very flagrant and daring hacker, and some rather nasty emails, too. If you're going to send me an email, let me know, please.

I can't figure out how to de-secure the email box now that I've got it secured, but after one of my gal-pals was cyber-stalked, I am not taking any more chances! Since I managed to survive the meat-ware (is that what we call them Jerry?) stalkers myself, I have this strange feeling that "it's something about Oyster".

And no, Debra *chuckle* I didn't live with either of them. They stalked me through school and my writing in an underground magazine.

Randall! That story about 'Red' was so good! I was convinced you were relating an anecdote! I honestly believed, not knowing you well that you were doing a 'Jerry Story' ... like one that really happened. I figure if you can suck me in, then it's got to talent! I honestly enjoyed Red, he reminds me of a few old cronies of mine!

GariessWhile I can understand your feelings about 9/11, and I know enough American History to probably even agree with you about that article's tone and examples of American whatever, no country 'deserves' to be terrorized.

I spent several anxious weeks waiting for emails from friends in New Yuk to let me know they weren't at the WTC's when the plane hit. Those buildings were huge! I was always hearing 'brags' from New Yukker friends about 'stopping for coffee' or 'seeing my broker' ... one of my friends IS a broker who, but for being late for a breakfast meeting he couldn't remember the location of, certainly could have been in the left (or right?) whatever ... tower as the plane hit.

And three young men who were writers did die there. From my other on-line writer's group. That made me cry. And I only cry rarely. I cried for the waste. Two of the three were burgeoning talents, witty, well-spoken, frequently humorous and had just started to open up about what and how they wanted to write. Good stuff. Like Omar Tyree's stuff. Anyone heard of him?

When the site came back up (it was down for a while), I stopped visiting it. I couldn't deal with the 9/11 issue that prevailed with it's patriotic cries for retaliation because our precious little thread of 'Descriptive Writing' was gone forever. And the writers who made it fun were dead. All I wanted was for them to come back, and I knew that would never, ever happen. Forunately, their families were aware of their on-line 'creative writing' and all three posted small obituaries identifying the 'real' names of these young men. One of them was only 21!

While I can understand the politics behind and of 9/11, I had enough to contend with between friends in New Yuk (all over for the States for that matter!) calling and emailing and discussing. I still get 'updates' from well-meaning friends who want to 'discuss' Mr. Bush's actions. I keep up on the Afghanistan situation because I have friends in the American Military, Canadian Military, British Military and neighbouring Pakistan, as well. Somewhat like our visitor 'Mahmoud' (sp?) I've managed to find writing pen pals in Pakistan who like to write. And their english is MUCH better than my Pakistani!

Anyone who likes to write is my immediate friend! Such a sucker, aren't I? LOL, I'd probably even be friends with Bin Laden if the guy wrote well. Just kidding, Jerry! Wrongly hard wired writers do not my crank turn!

So Gariess, while I do frequently trot out my knowledge of American warts, I usually add the Canadian, British and yes, any other country that has warts, too.

Now, Jerry, I know my story about the former writer's group will probably add fuel to an already smoldering fire, but those three guys? Muslim, all of them. Yeah, folks. Some people keep their religions to themselves, but my three buddies on-line were non-drinkers, and had a certain je ne sais quois that begged the question. So I asked it and they answered. Yup, all American Muslim.

Americo I never did get to read many of your words. I'd been meaning to go back through the thread and see if I could get to know you through your words.

So please, stick around!

Oh, and Americo?

My Dad was a big WWII afficiando, and my uncle who did eventually mellow out and get over it, made Jerry's words look tame. I heard *eyes rolling here* so much about Japs and Nips and torture and Midway and interment camps in my home city, I finally screamed during a family visit. All those listening to my uncle stared at me in astonishment.

They thought I was on bad drugs at the time, but it was my uncle's constant bigotry and glee that got to me! So, for want of a better way to shut him up, I screeched like I was in pain. He shut up ... and stared. Then, realizing I was surrounded by my uncle's enchanted audience who were having a 'rare' conversation, I couldn't think of a thing to say!

Hah, that wouldn't happen now!

I'd just finished reading "Sedako and A Thousand Paper Cranes", and eavesdropped on my mother's friend who was telling of her life in the Japanese interment camp as a teenager. My mother, bless her, was not prejudiced against Japanese people or First Nations people, everyone else was fair game. So to catch her 'being good' I shamelessly eavesdropped Mrs. U was over for coffee. My mom was cool when Mrs. U. came over.

So are we done now with 9/11 for a bit? Are we back to writing? I wrote so much today, I'm written out.



Oyster 12-5-2001 22:26

Now Gary and Jerry, thanks for your information and let us shake hands. We don't want the girls to go on strike, do we? Here's the best sentence of the week:

"May we all be more like otters; when life seems to freeze, just sliiiiiiiiiiiide on the ice! :-D
(Mel wrote it)

Americo 12-5-2001 22:21

OK, Jerry, thanks for the information. I really hope not many Americans support the idea of using nuclear weapons because I want you and I and the seaguls to live some more years on this pretty planet.

your Japanese school fellows are very rude. Tell them that the USA is a pain in the world's ass indeed. But so have been all the countries with power throughout History, including Japan and (you are not going to believe this) Portugal, my own respected country ( loved only when its soccer team wins). The problem seems to be Man and his greed, a name he sometimes hides under other more respectable names like politcs or even religion. With these beautiful words in his dirty mouth he tends to enlarge his power and his wallet in a process where the victims of today may very well be the tyrants of tomorrow. The rest is patriotic nonsense, igorance of History, racial prejudice or any other illnesses of that kind.

And the best movie of the moment is "Khandahar", by Mohsen Makhmalbaf, an Iranian who described the women's condition under the Taliban. I'm afraid women's condition will only change significantly when women themselves make a very much needed revolution, not only in Afghanistan but in other not so dusty places. Some ancient Greek women managed to put an end to a war just by going on the most interesting strike in History: they refused to make love to their husbands till they stopped fighting. Three days later the war was over! (Just an idea, girls...)

Americo 12-5-2001 22:13

Well I learned a valuable lesson today. You see, I continued working on my sisters computer last night until midnight. I was up at six AM, and working on it again by seven thirty. I finished it at six PM tonight.

Lesson learned; when you know that there is probably a virus on the machine, run a stupid virus scan before jumping into the FORMAT thing.

I must have reformatted that stupid machine ten times. I Fdisked it twice, I even considered a low level format, but decided against it. I installed windows on it about the same number of times, only to come up with more crashes then Carter has pills. At last, around noon, it seemed to be working and I began the installation of the software, but I just couldn't get the dang machine to recognize the CD drive without the DOS drivers installed, then it lost the high speed access that windows offers. Yet I went on, and eventually it came to installing Norton Anti-virus. I have the complete system works, so I stuck in the CD, and told it to install. All went well, yet when all was installed, I couldn't find the anti-virus. Checking, I found it was not installed, so I manually installed it. It wasn't one full minute into the virus scan that it found it.

It was a virus called NYBO, and was stored in the boot sector, where it intercepted every format command, it intercepted my fdisk command and showed me what I expected a clean disk, a new partition, yet it did NOTHING to the hard drive. After I finished the removal, I did a format, and everything went like a dream. The machine is up and running now, and my sister and her daughter are very happily surfing the web.

Now I can't understand why they do it as they do, maybe that is what you are supposed to do on the web, but here is what they do.

They have friends who are also online, like most of us do. But instead of sending emails and such, they send jokes, like many of us do, but they also send URL's or full pages.

My sister works at a grocery store, and spends her days dealing with customers and checking groceries, when she gets home, she eats then hits the computer and reads here "pages" which are sent to her by housewives all over the country. Her daughter, who is disabled and lives at home, spends most of her day sorting her mom's pages.

She has one folder for the web pages, another for jokes, and another for regular e-mail. She also deletes those she knows they already read, and keeps copies for herself to read. Many of them are religious in nature, which is good for them I guess.

Now when they first discovered computers, (by buying my old machines) they forwarded all that stuff to me. Now I am as religious as the next fellow, but a mailbox full of religious web pages was a bit too much, I eventually had to tell her, that while those pages were nice and all, but please don't send them on to me, as I don't have time to wade through them, and have been deleting them as fast as they came.

She looked a bit hurt, but got over it. Now I only get a dozen or so a night, a great improvement to the nearly one hundred a night that I had been receiving. My ISP is much happier now also as my mailbox isn't as full as it has been.

At any rate, they are both online again, and I hope they are happy with her machine as I sat it up for her. We all have ICQ so I have been getting regular reports on their progress so far tonight, but I won't let it get to me, as I did this whole hurrah over that Bowman guy.

I will learn one of these days to keep my politics at home, well maybe I will, maybe not.

This is a place for writing, and I guess I should stick to that topic, and learn how to spell the dirty words that I write so Gariessss doesn't have to correct me, god forbid I make a spelling error when writing anything for hissss consumption.

Jerry 12-5-2001 21:56


Speaking as a native American (Yes, I was born in America,)I do not believe that regret over the fact that we never nuked Tokyo can safely characterize the American sentiment. I, personally, regret that it has left us being the only nation in history to have used nuclear weapons against another nation, but, our situation was unique. In the context of the time of world war two, I believe it was entirely appropriate for us to have bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It has been argued that we commited the second bombing too soon, but again, in the context of the situation we were in, it was important not to show the slightest weakening in our resolve. When there was no response to the first bomb, the second left no possibility for doubt on the part of the Japanese leadership. It was surrender, or endure the consequences. It was imperative that the Japanese government know that there would be no surviving the consequences.

gariess 12-5-2001 21:19

You know what, I could really give a damn what you think, Gariessssss, as far as I am concerned your opinon is yours, mine is mine. You can love the communists, hell you can be one if you want, after all this is a free country, or it was the last time I checked, and the internet is absolutly unregulated, so feel free to say what you wish, feel free to do what you wish.

Like they say, opinions are like ass holes, everyone has one and they all stink.

Jerry 12-5-2001 21:15

The question is whether it is sufficient to say someone is a communist if one wants to brand someone as wrong or evil. In my view a person can be a communist, but if one is to be branded as wrong or evil it will have to be shown where one has done something wrong or evil. It also needs to be shown that one’s idea is wrong, not simply that it is a communist idea, whatever that is.

The Kmer Rouge (we may as well know how to spell it if we are to write about it) may have been communist nominally, but few of their followers could have cared squat about communism or any other philosophy of government. They were a horde of blood-thirsty murderers who followed vicious and corrupt leaders. Communism was not the motivating force behind the Kmer Rouge, political power and self promotion were.

As for Mr. Bowman, I do not see where he was "trying to say" that we deserved what we got on 9-11. I think he said clearly what he was trying to say, and I, for one, don’t need a third party to tell me what that is. One of the problems with people who are constantly out to discredit the unpopular truth is that they are always so ready to tell the rest of us what someone else is trying to say. We get enough of that from Rush Limbaugh, we don’t need the army of miniLimbaughs that we have running across the landscape megadittoing the Big Gasbag.

If one’s message has merit, one needn’t add the weight of the Red Menace to one’s proposal. If evil is done we don’t have to go screaming "Communists!" down every country lane. We have about reached the point where crying "Communism!" is as likely to get us ignored as it is to get us heeded. Really, Communism as a message of doom has been at least upgraded to the level of Liberalism. Get over it.

gariess 12-5-2001 20:58


Hi gang!

Whew! Some, ah, really active posts the last few days. Wow! Remember this is the season of good cheer! A word of clarification on my wild swings of post and disappear for a week. I simply am unable to read WN every day, sometimes for several days. I'm sure this shows as often my posts have absolutely nothing to do with the subject being discussed. I have two obstacles in accessing the site, my body is simply too tired and Sean, my son is camped out on his web site. (Or, "Seanapoo" as he is called by one of his many gal pals.)

Carol, dear lady, thank you for the kind remarks about my story about "Red." And Oyster, Red is a mixture of me and several men I have known in my life. That being said, Red is in fact modeled after an actual wino, Clifford, who lived under a bridge in town. Long departed for the great vineyard in the sky, Clifford was a quick wit, drunk or sober. You never got one over on Clifford for his outlook on society in general and local politicians in particular could be as sharp as his breath. (Willie Nelson in his tune Pancho and Lefty says "... breath as hard as kersone." This is as good a description that is available.) Clifford lived in a cardboard house, which was at times quite extensive. This depended upon various appliances that a nearby appliance store had received, size and shape. But it wasn't shabby. No sir! Clifford used only the finest materials. Bet your home doesn't have "This Side Up" or "Use No Hooks" or "Invoice Enclosed" on the walls!

A classic story about Clifford is the time his abode burned. It was in the winter and he had a kersone lantern inside for light and heat. He was fast asleep in the middle of the afternoon when he accidentally tipped the lantern over. Some boys working nearby saw smoke pouring out from under the bridge and rushed to pull him away from the growing fire. They saved him but the house was a goner.

Someone asked Clifford what he thought of the incident. "Waallll boys, I'lllll tellll ya." he drawled staring at the smoldering ruins. "Disappointed actually! First time I'd been warm all winter!"

A cowboy rogue standing close, nailed the situation when he said. "Yeah, I can see the headline now. LOCAL DRUNKS SAVE LOCAL WINO!"

Somebody carried Clifford to the his building center (appliance store) and he was soon at work rebuilding his home.

Go figure, huh?

Outta here


Randall 12-5-2001 20:37

Americo - I was looking back at what the Japanese did in WWII, things that are so atrocious that they as a people should have been punished, or at least that was my thought at the time.

I don't think it express the general feeling in America, but I could be wrong.

Understand, I was speaking of the Japan of WWII era, not of today. While I still use Japanese goods, (we really have no choice in that now do we), had I a choice I probably would not. I don't hate them as a people, but when I hear of the trouble that Viv gets from the local people there, I can't help but be angry at them, for their hatred of us.

Personally, I guess I don't hate any people, there are some that I don't particularly care for, such as the Japanese, and I guess I have never met a Russian that I liked, well not one who is native, I have many friends who are of Russian decent. Of course, I have only met a few Russians, and those who I have met have been very obnoxious, so I guess I am judging a people by those who I have happened on here. I haven't met a lot of Japanese either, just a few who I ran into in Tokyo when I passed through there, and I guess they were OK, of course most of them worked at the Air base, and dealt with us on a regular basis, then there was the cab driver who scared the holey hell out of me driving us from Yakota Air base to Tokyo International Airport. He seemed nice enough, but then again, we were his customers, and most good workers are kind to their customers. Then there were the two security guards at the airport, who couldn't speak English, but made their questions plain with gestures, asking us if we had any knives. My neighbor in Tacoma was married to a Japanese girl, and she was a very nice lady.

But again, when you look at the horror that the Japanese Army committed against the peoples of Nanking, what they did with germ warfare all over China, how they tortured and murdered the POW's on the Death March, their willingness to act in inhuman ways, then yes, I think we should have dropped a few on Tokyo.

But again, whatever, you believe as you believe, and I believe as I believe.

I am still writing with the anger at what happened three months ago in NYC, and right now it takes very little to get my dander up.

Jerry 12-5-2001 20:30

Jerry, you wrote:

"they [ the Japanese] deserved every ounce of uranium that was used in those bombs, the only thing we did wrong was using too few, we should have dropped a couple on Tokio!"

I would like to know if this kind of thought reflects the main trend of American public opinion or if it is just the outpouring of an extraordinary personality.

Jack, please cancel my project for the Workbook. We do not have time for such trifles anymore.

Americo 12-5-2001 20:14


I sent you an email. It came back undelivered.

If you send me one, then I will have the right one.

Debra 12-5-2001 16:58


Thanks for the instructions. I feel better already with a plan and goal in mind. My Sunday will be chocolate with plenty of nuts and whip-cream. Actually I think those one of those cream pie milkshakes they sell at Sonic would be nice. I'll be sure to order a large. I know how you feel about wanting to move. That was the way I felt when I left Perryton, TX to come here to Tulsa.


The weather and climate in Mobile are beautiful. I would love to have days with nothing to do than hang out on the beach. I love the ocean.


Thank you for your confidence in us. I do have to consider the many possibilities and opportunities such a change might give us. It is an adventure, after all.


We have had a lot of moves and they haven't killed us yet, and I think they have made us closer as a family.

Frank has had the interview and now we have to wait a few days and see if he actually gets offered the job. It seems likely, but with this company, you never know. But I do realize that whichever way things work out, it will be for the best.

Rhoda 12-5-2001 12:48

LOL, Jerry, you are such a good brother! Spending all that time fixing your sister's computer is truly a generous gift. To her. Hopefully the Game Afficiando who downloaded the virus in the first place has learned a lesson. I've known so many families who have said 'no Net downloads' for their gaming members because of such problems.

As for the communism issue, I do have a copy of Mao's Little Red book. I came across it in a pile of paperbacks in a box downstairs not too long ago. It was 'free' from the Communist Party of Canada, who set up a table at our campus to entice 'members'. Being a young adult and curious and wanting to see what Mao was actually 'preaching and teaching' I got a copy ... LOL, without signing up!

I gave it a cursory read at the time. My Dad, who was an avid reader, read it cover to cover. He wouldn't give his opnion on the tiny tome as he was on to a book on his favourite subject, WWII after reading Mao's words.

Also in the box was my Dad's copy of Stalin's words and excerpts from Mein Kempf (sp?). Out of the three, I have to admit Mao was the better writer, from a writer's perspective. Mr. Hilter and Mr. Stalin both coloured their words with harsh treatises that I found rather Totalitarian. Ironic, isn't it? The National Socialist Party Leader of Germany and the National Communist Leader of Russia had similar writing styles and ideals.

Fortunately, I was able to make a Poli-sci paper out of this and somehow passed political science.

And this is how I see doctrine, political or otherwise. Ideals arise, which are manipulated and exploited by folks who want power. And as far as I'm concerned Joseph Stalin was the worst of these power-mongers. China's Gang of Four were the next worst, and none of them wrote a single thing I've ever seen outside of the People's Republic!

Yet, so many Ukrainians who managed to 'get out' of the then burgeoning Soviet Union came and settled in Canada, doing exactly what they should have been able to do in their own country ... farming, working, raising families, and insuring their children had a choice in their own futures.

The same is true of a recent surge in immigrants from Hong Kong and the former British, Portuguese colonies.

And now, despite the chaos that is happening in Russia, the Ukraine and various other former Soviets, people do have choices again. Perhaps not easy ones, but choices.

Interestingly, my gal-pal and I are researching Buddhism in 'commnist' Southeast Asian countries. We haven't come to a major conclusion on why this particular religion still exists in various 'communist' countries, but it does as it had for centuries before the political changes.

I've never quite made sense of the 'ideal' of communism, any more than I make sense of the 'ideal' of democracy. When I can, I listen to the stories of 'real' people who have lived under communist regimes, both in Europe and Asia. Their stories have two sides to them.

I've lived with a 'socialist' approach to *EWG* car insurance in BC, and ICBC certainly flopped big time! Now, because The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia is in such debt due to claims, I'm wondering why the province doesn't scratch the 'program' and go back to private insurance, like we enjoy here in Alberta.

Viv, your idea for 'writing through the move' ... what a good one! Every move we've had though, we've lost a box or two. I have no clue why this happens. Usually it's stuff we can live 'without'. Except ... I know I lost a whole whack of writing one move. LOL, and the little notebook journal I'd kept quotes in. I noted phrases I liked that regular people said. It was such a cool thing to have these profound words ordinary people said! Could come in handy for pithy dialogue right about now!

The Spouse packed my little notebook 'in error'. I've never seen it again.

Ah, the time has come to go and do some 'serious' cleaning and then writing. Daughter is home sick today, so I'll be 'working' around her.

And Debra if you need a reader for your book on Women in Abusive Relationships, I'm open to the challenge. My gradnmother was a battered wife, and my sister a battered wife as well. Sis started out living with the guy, though.



Oyster 12-5-2001 11:39


Jerry 12-5-2001 9:30

Hi Jerry: Thanks! Nice of you to say it and sorry to groan outloud after I read it. It would be interesting if you didn't hear it everyday. Once in awhile I think what you said, but I don't think that'd go over very well! Kind of like walking in the bullpen holding up a big red flag. I knew one American man who used to joke on Pearl Harbor Day that he was going home to beat his wife! She'd joke that she was going to get him back on Hiroshima Day.

Rhoda: I sympathize! I know what you mean about moving so often. It's not easy on the budget and harder on the heart. Hang in there, here's my recipe for a successful move.

1. Go to the store and buy a little notebook that will fit in the hip pocket of your jeans.

2. Tape a ten dollar bill to the back cover of the notebook.

3. Don't use the notebook to make lists on what you need to do. Just lean back against a wall and record the minutes of the move...good and bad.

4. Watch for the times you laugh together as a family.
These moments are much stronger than the times you end up fighting. There's something about a move that makes a family fight together, but draw closer at the same time.

5. Record the times you laughed. Who said the thing that made the whole family stop and smile? Those are like gold. See if you can find the "gold" in every family member during the stress of the move.

6. Don't tell any of them what you are writing and if anyone tries to read the notebook GO FOR THE THROAT. That is yours and it is private. It is also not to be used by your husband for listmaking. Give him a different notebook. Say that your notebook is for your lists alone.
(Yup! You'll have a fight over this but it's well worth it)

7. Then one night when you are sitting on cardboard boxes, sharing the first pizza in the first night of the new house...when everyone is feeling vulnerable, pull out your notebook and tell your family thank you. Read off the moments they made you smile. You'll find out that the next day those cardboard boxes get packed away a lot faster.

If people feel appreciated and loved they adjust quicker.

8. Final instruction. Get your map out. Find the way to the biggest shopping area.

9. SNEAK OUT! Leave the whole family! Leave a note behind that says...went out for a bit. See you soon, love Mom.

10 Go find and buy an outrageously big Ice Cream Sunday. All by yourself. This will really feel wicked! Don't invite anyone except your notebook. This is YOUR TREAT. No one else gets to stick their spoon into it, or reach out and nab the cherry. Tell yourself that you won that Ice Cream Sunday. You did. Eat the whole thing. You already used those calories chasing after the moving company employees as they packed your garbage can complete with garbage in the same box as your bedspread.

(There's only one bad have to find your way home after you eat that Sunday. Don't forget to Bring The Map!)

Oh and it's all very well and good for me to sit here typing this because I'm not facing a move tomorrow. Mine's coming though. Please send me these instructions along with a good laugh sometime around February. Personally, I hope I am moving! It's time to clean out the cupboards. I have a roach the size of an elephant in with the canned goods. He leaps out at me every morning when I reach in to get the cat food. I bat him back and he sullenly retreats behind the coffee can. It's time to get those cans out of there and smash him once and for all!

Viv 12-5-2001 7:10

Jerry, I think the point was missed when you read Gariess' post!

Rhoda, a sterling post, as usual! Best of luck to you and yours, I do hope everything works out for the best - but as somebody or other said, "When God closes a door, He always opens up a window."
Take that window of opportunity, if it suits everyone for the better. You always keep your children's feelings in such high regard, and are always looking out for their best interests. I know you and your husband will know the right choice when it presents itself.

Hi, Mark! Nice post, too. ;-)

Heather 12-5-2001 2:05

Viv - I know you can't do it, but wouldn't it be nice to retaliate to those in the lounge that it sure was a chicken shit thing to do, attacking our ships in Pearl Harbor, THEN declaring war, they deserved every ounce of uranium that was used in those bombs, the only thing we did wrong was using too few, we should have dropped a couple on Tokio!

You have to excuse me, it has been a very long day.

Jerry 12-5-2001 0:27

Pardon my french, but I have had a miserable day trying to untangle a mess on my sisters computer. I am not exactly what happened to it, but there wasn't one thing left setup right. I have reformated her hard drive now five times, I even fdisked it, to no avail. I am on the sixth install of windows 98, and if it is stable enough to keep running I am just going to say to hell with it and give it back to her as fixed as well as I can fix it. There was some sort of virus according to all the error messages, but I have never seen such damage in my life.

Garies – I don’t wish to get into a pissing contest with you, hell all that does is raise my blood pressure, and I don’t need that after a day of trying to straighten out my sister’s computer after her kid got into it and screwed it up royally.

But you seem to imply that the communists were nothing but a paper tiger. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Was it not the communists in the North that invaded and caused the Korean War, a war that is yet to have peace finalized, a war that cost our nation hundreds of thousands of men, and billions of dollars?

Was it not the communists in the North who invaded South Vietnam, and cost our nation hundreds of thousands of brave men, and billions of dollars?

Were not both invaders supported by the communists in Russia and China?

Was it not the Khmer Rouge who murdered nearly three quarters of their very own people in Cambodia, and were they not communists?

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe that there are communists behind every corner, and I think McCarthy was a jerk who used the communist threats to make himself seem important, and in so doing, ruined the lives of a good many fine people.

And I don’t think that the Communists, those that yet exist had anything to do with the terror that broke our nation’s heart on the 11th of September.

Sure there were times when our nation supported assholes who were not voted in by their people, simply because they were our assholes, and you may think we were wrong in doing so, and at times I wonder. I am not saying my nation right or wrong, not at all, but that asshole Bowman who wrote that article was trying to say that we deserved what we got, because of this. I don’t believe that, not for one minute.

As far as I am concerned, they should send Mr. Bowman to Afghanistan to find Bin Ladin, so he could put his arm around his shoulders and comfort him as our ten thousand pound block buster blows his ass to hell.

Jerry 12-5-2001 0:17

Evening youse,

My father was military and my school was changed every year and a half until I started highschool and he retired. It's not something I would recommend, (frequent school changes) I realize I have certain traits that are probably a result of this situation, but they could also come from the fact that both parents were alcoholics. What I'm rambling on about, is that frequent moves will probably not damage your children and their horizons may be expanded. I know a number of people who have not been more than a hundred miles from home, and believe me, that is not a good thing.

you just say when. Tody is in hibernation right now, or, he might be just hiding because I now have 5 big white geese in my yard. Dangerous place for a toad.

Right now that slide on ice sounds pretty good to me. It's 9:30 pm and about 71f. Just a little soggy because of the weekend's rain.

Don't forget that critiques are just another person's point of view. :-D (talking about mine, of course)
On the one leg squat, just stand like you are on crutches with a sprained ankle. One leg bent at the knee with the foot off the floor behind you. Then (holding on to something) bend the knee of the leg you are standing on, about a third of the way down, then straighten up. It's going to be a while of three or four of those at a time before I'll be able to do twenty with my good knee, much less the bad one.

I'm in pain just thinking about it,
Gotta go

Rosmary 12-4-2001 22:46

Our country has little history of nurturing foriegn dictatorships to block out communism. It has in fact a greater history of assisting governments which assist us politically and economically. It's the old mutual scratching of backs. The communist red herring is, and always was, a blind for the morons at home who fell for it. That's how we got Joe McCarthy in the fifties, and should the moron numbers grow again beyond the insignificant range where they are now, we will have another Joe McCarthy, another Blacklist and another decade to dig ourselves out of the dark.

gariess 12-4-2001 22:00


I'd really love to hear a story I'd really like.

Bring it on!

Debra 12-4-2001 20:54

Perhaps not being American I cant totally see all your lots point of view... But in NO WAY, am I thinking that America is reacting wrongly, I just want to make that very clear.

On how the terrorist attack has affected my writing... Well I must say it gave me a basis for 3 different stories, however which I feel I should change some of the story parts since it kind of hits close to home, but then again I don't want to. Thought of decreasing the number of buses or increasing them so the total buses used does not equal 4

taylor 12-4-2001 19:39

Debra: I have a story for you when I get it all fixed up! You'll really like it!!!!! Ohhhh, I have to get this done.

Viv again 12-4-2001 17:23

Uh...wait a minute. I just re-read what I wrote. I hate political arguments because they usually make the participants sound idiotic. These are complex decisions and they need multifaceted answers. I only have stereotypical behavior on which I've based my observations.

Still, I'm sick of hearing everyone yell Americans OUT! My daughter pretends she doesn't understand English where-ever she goes. She dresses in a non-descript fashion and so do I. We don't want to be marked as American for two reasons: 1. We are sick of being lectured on the ills of American society. 2. We don't want to get hurt.

My daughter and I have created snappy comebacks to stupid lectures about our country. Mine:
1. My country is like my child. It makes me sad when someone comes up and starts telling me what it's done wrong. I know it's capable of doing wrong, but it's MY country and I love it.

2. Why don't you just shut up and go bother someone else.

My daughter's response:

1. I'm taller than you are and I hit harder. Why are you telling me this?

2. (If the person is taller than she is or one of her teachers)
Excuse me, why are you telling me this. Go write a letter to one of our politicians. I have the address for our congressman. Would you like to just sit right down and write a letter. I'll post it for you. OUR POLITICIANS will read YOUR LETTER and maybe you can really do something about this issue. (Most of the time the bully will say that he doesn't have time to write a letter)
Don't tell me. I'm not a politician. I'm a little kid. You go run the world since you are so capable.

Personally, when someone goes into a speil I just groan. It's a self-important little thing to do, and is generally just mean spirited. I find that impolite people like to excuse themselves for prejudice using political argument.

Jerry, I'm with you. It makes me mad as hell. I won't say much but I step around the offender and I usually don't come back for seconds!

Viv 12-4-2001 17:20

Jerry: I came on the notebook on Tuesday morning soon after you posted that little piece on America. I got so disgusted. This is what I hear in the teacher's lounge. I hear it from students who don't want to do their homework. I hear it walking up the steps of the station from the idiots and their bullhorns doing their political deal.

My answer is silence because it does little good to argue. I am American and I think that is complete and total garbage. I do know why they have American bases situated in many countries. These are nations that have characteristics which make them very warlike. It's better if we use our armies and don't give them the opportunities to create their own.

A lot of the rhetoric which comes out is created by people who will create mayham if given power.

Anyway, that's my theory. I am proud of America. I don't think anyone is at "fault" in a terrorist situation...except the terrorist. This is like blaming crime on the victim.

Back to work! I want to get papers graded so I can get to Carol's story.

Heather: That attachment you sent wouldn't open. Could you send it again? I'd really like to see your comments. Thanks! Viv

Viv 12-4-2001 16:56


Thank you. They are scum! As a matter of fact these abusive men are the ones who are hot to get married in the first place. One should always worry about a guy who can't think about anything else but sealing the deal, especially if he is already showing signs of jealousy.

That's a huge clue, HUGE!

I just know every girl will be helped by my book. I know it sounds odd hearing someone say that. I had been in this situation for a short time in my life and then had twenty years to think about what happened. Most girls spend twenty years trying to release themselves from the trap. There's no time to think there.

I got free and then wanted to help.

Debra 12-4-2001 14:18

OYSTER: As a librarian, a mother, and a writer, I must agree that BOTH Oral and written stories are SO IMPORTANT!!!
And when you're editing your own written mss., READ THEM ALOUD to yourself - listen to hear if your stories could be told orally (to whatever age group they interest) - if so, they will be successful! :-)

Mel 12-4-2001 12:46

Thanks Mel, your post gave me all that I missed at a glance.

And to you too, Rhoda, my thanks. Mobile, Alabama? Hmmm. Isn't it warm there? Moving sucks, but so does unemployment. I know that tautology all too well.

Warm, as in Mobile, would be good as I glance out at the frost rimed trees, snow covered roofs and sigh deeply. Five long months of winter ahead, and no trees to break the nerve-fraying North wind! *Groan*. We just discovered another thing about those trees we had to chop ... they were a good wind-break!

So Rhoda, I'm just a light shade of green, thinking of you moving to somewhere warm. Maybe I'm actually a slight a turquoise colour when you mix it with the blue-cold of our sudden winter!

Jerry, I agree that no one is going to feel 'safe' for a while. Then again, the story about your granddad reminded me of how 'unsafe' many Europeans felt every time one of their 'Empires' changed. Like Mel said, and Mark reiterated, there are a lot of factors to the linguistics of what we now call 'journalism' and learning about our world as a whole.

The auditory aspect of 'storytelling' and oral tradition figure prominently into how I view the world. More on that in a minute!

Which would be why I don't do journalism anymore, anymore! LOL, or write speeches for politicians, either! I shake my head at some of the ways I 'used' my writing in the past, and for what causes. Sometimes there was a hidden agenda even the politico-to-be didn't ken to. Exploitation and manipulation abound in our world, think I. And some of it is so subtle, while other bits acquiescent. But storytelling survives despite all. Oral tradition.

Having worked with Americans during my very first ever full time job, I got a taste of American/Canadian Trade, and of the CIA, too. And the DEA and InfoRoad USA, a then tourist based government service. And I can't say much more about that, except that politics and trade seem to go hand in hand. Even with so-called 'communist' or 'socialist' governments. British Columbia, due to it's long standing 'socialist-leaning' NDP government was certainly a place to 'watch'. LOL, I'm so glad I don't live in that province anymore. Softwood Timber issues have everyone riled!

Can you believe this, Jerry, my gal-pal actually went on vacation to Vietnam 5 years ago? A vacation! South, of course, but still, Vietnam as a vacation spot? Who'd have thunk it? Her pictures were worth a thousand words, and her experiences were atypically touristy. Her own world view coloured what she saw and did, having been a privileged one amongst the not-so-privileged.

Can you imagine she brought back ear-cleaners as a souvenir? I got chopsticks, thank God. And beautifully embroidered t-shirts for the kids. I was invited to go, but alas, my travelling daze are on hold until I can figure out a way to make enough money to travel again.

Back to oral and written storytelling for a second. Years ago I had the opportunity to record book-tapes for the blind, which I thought due to a congenital eye condition, might just include me later on! Disgruntled as I was, I read books into a cassette recorder, which someone else had 'edited' to insure the books wouldn't over run the precious space on those cassettes!

I could still, through squint-slitted eyes and a certain visual learning style, read words and say them out loud. Okay, so the book was like, two inches from my face ... but the listeners wouldn't know that! And I always read like I was telling a story, hamming it up a little. And as I read those books I'd read before, a different story emerged. One I'd not paid attention to while I did 'silent reading'.

It wasn't until I started to learn a bit of Japanese that I discovered what Mark was saying ... the differences and nuances of language and linguistics do shape our world. Since I suck big time at reading and writing Japanese calligraphy, I picked up some Japanese from listening to the oral language.

My son, who 'identifies' strongly with Asian people, picks up a whole lot more from body language when we are out in the burgeoning Asian community here in Cowtown than I ever thought possible. But this kid wants to move 'to the States' and can name every capital city of all fifty States (all the Canadian ones, too, thank goodness). Or Japan. Huh, the kid just wants to travel, I think. And he most certainly does not 'fit in' with his peers who prefer Disneyworld to Djakarta.

And for the record, my sensitive Son is so pro-American, he should dress in Red, White and Blue!

My daughter, who is not in the same world view, is our auditory-kinesthetic learner. She can and does pick up ideograms and pictorals with an ease I find rather envy-making. She memorizes characters and then auto-reproduces them with a pen. Pictoral linguistics at it's best. Yet, this kid likes the symbols of culture, more than the customs, and prefers concrete materials to personal engagement.

The reason I wrote down these anecdotes is because I believe that we all 'learn' language in different ways. And some of us don't get the opporutnity to develop the linguistics we are good at due to cultural norms. I would hazard to say that there are many people in different countries who would prefer the phonics of English to the Ideograms of Arabic, but that is their learning journey, their learning style.

Now I also am not so great at reading Hebrew, which I was immersed in due to circumstance, nor Arabic, which to me isn't much different in style. Mark's point is hammered home in that these languages are based on a pictoral style of writing as well.

And now I'll add in the aspect of science fiction as a medium, and fantasy to tie this all together. The runic languages mentioned in novels and 'alien' languages depicted on certain shows (Pick Star Trek's Clingons here) were based on the pictorals of Asian linguistics. So were many of the 'alien' dialects featured in the various vernaculars (Pick the Star Wars Chewbaca, here).

I recall a particular Star Trek episode that still makes me wonder about phonetics, where Jim Kirk has a constitution that has been intrepreted differently and becomes identifiable as 'similar' to the American Declaration of Indpendence when read a particular way.

Hmmm. Our languages and stories and world views are coloured by our language development and usage, aren't they now? I heard a story about a School Superintendent in Saskatchewan only in the 1920's who signed his schoolteacher's paycheques with an X. The superintendant could not read, nor write.

Literacy has changed our world, and some would say for the better. I, for one, am for a balance. Oral storytelling and written story telling. I think this is why movies sell so well ... there are auditory and visual action 'cues' in them.

Jerry, your style of writing is very oral in it's read. I can almost hear (what I imagine your voice to sound like) as I read your posts.

And isn't that what we want folks? Our author voices to be full and able to be read aloud for the enjoyment of all as well as the enjoyment of one?

Oyster 12-4-2001 12:04


Nice post. I like your clear headedness and great sense of perspective.


I read briefly over that article you pasted late last night after coming back from a rushed, emotionally charged trip to Alabama. I thought on that all morning until I came back to the computer after some sleep and saw it for what it was. It was not the musings of some new contributer of the Notebook who for his effort might deserve some reponse, but just an article. I hate those type of articles, not necessarily for what they say but because of how they affect me emotionally. MARK was so right about literate Americans banging their heads over the actions and sentiments of illiterate, medieval people across the world. Going back and trying to find reasons for things like the terror of 9/11 and for the hatred that spawned it is enough to make a thinking person tear their hair out. It would be akin to the battered wife trying to figure out why her husband wishes to beat her.

Welcome to the world of emotions!!!

Emotions defy logic. There are things within the human soul that cannot be explained by reason or forumlas or philopsopy or anything. Ever had a coworker or fellow student hate you for no apparent reason? I am sure we all have.

I intend to take these thoughts and apply them to my writing and character development. I am sure there are parallels between some of the stories and novels we are working with to this seeming insanity in the mideast. I would propose exploring these issues. How will 9/11 and all this madness affect our art? After experienceing this and seeing what has happened in Afganistan under the Taliban, can we approach our characters in exactly the same way we did before? I can't. How about you other writers? For myself I have been reminded of a side of humanity I wished to think was on the wane. Wasn't I naive.

Well, I am now sitting and waiting a momentous devolopment. This morning in just a few minutes my husband will be interviewing for a position that will likely be offered to him in Mobile, Alabama. I do not want to move again, but my husband's position here has been cut and he has until March to find another one or he joins the ranks of the unemployed. So our decision is shall we uproot our family AGAIN and go to Alabama? Or shall we risk finding something else here in Tulsa? Mobile bay has a nice climate, is close to beaches and to Florida, etc. etc. I don't think living down there would be so bad, but oh those adjustments with children and schools. I still feel as if I just moved to Tulsa. Four months ago I finished unpacking from the last move.

Moving sucks, but so does unemployment.

Rhoda 12-4-2001 10:40


Hello, Everybody! Here's to a day filled with :-) for each of you!!

Regarding politics and military and wars, etc, etc, all I can say is...When are we (the inhabitants of this Earth) all going to mature a bit and start living in PEACE as our MAKER intended? Why do we quibble over boundaries and lifestyles? Why do we pursue POWER over other people, our fellow human beings? I'm all for simply LIVING, enjoying the blessings of our natural world, enjoying the gifts and talents of our neighbors, and sharing the good fruits of all our labors. Is this too easy for some to comprehend? How can a gun or a bomb take the place of a handshake or a smile? Can't we reverse this horrifying trend?

"Kirk here. The Dark Side of the FORCE is blotting out the sun--and the Son--on this world. Need to discover new worlds that can inspire this one to try harder to live simple so that the EARTH and its inhabitants can simply LIVE. Scotty, beam me up. It's time to boldly go where no one has gone before."

Yeowchy! Dangling prepositions in our favorite lines!!! 8-}

On to happier stuff...

TINA: YEA for the Harry Potter movie! :-)Have you read all four books? Favorite books--and WHY they are my favorites... (not in any order)

Rowling's HARRY POTTER books
Tolkien's HOBBIT, LOTR, etc.
Kurtz' DERYNI Chronicles
Zelazny's AMBER Chronicles
Lewis' NARNIA Chronicles
Roberson's CHEYSULI Chronicles
and more of course, but these few come readily to mind.

And WHY do they come quickly to mind? What magic has the author captured with words on paper to capture my imagination and spirit and keep me reading these tomes all night long, again and again?

Three elements that immediately draw me are: fantastic magic made possible, swiftly moving plot, and memorable characters. Especially the characters! These books revolve around characters that have a "simple, down-to-earth" nature, yet they are fully human, make mistakes, dream great dreams, long for adventure or a better life... just like me. And they take a chance to make their life-visions come true. Whew! I draw the line there. I dream dreams but am afraid of crossing the line of safety to pursue the dream-goals...somebody push me! :-)

TINA, killing a character - do you have to? I mean, make it look like he/she died, but ressurect him/her again later, heh heh! See, I hate crossing that line of no return! Especially when you've worked so hard to make a character so real that they need to die to make the story move forward...?! The author's crazy dilemma... Good luck with writing the actual bump-off. If BEN is lurking, maybe he can help you, as he once said he often kills his characters.

ROSEMARY: 5'10" - me too; I understand "the creeps" with weight gain! Am pursuing a de-creeping plan myself! Good luck, you, and hang in there with the knee therapy!

CHRISTI: YEA for your novel outline! I find outlines help a lot, if only to get you started or re-started if you get stalled. If the story finally veers from the outline, who cares? The outline served its initial purpose.

GS: I forgot SILVERADO, one of the best Westerns I ever saw and made in recent years! Fantastic characters and dialogue and good story too. Also, the POSTMAN and DANCES WITH WOLVES (did anyone mention those?) and a Tom Selleck Western; something DOWN UNDER (a Western set in Australia) - can't remember the character's name at the moment, confound it! And I hope you leave a place, on the top ten most likely, for the upcoming LORD OF THE RINGS, PART ONE. I think it's going to blow us all away! Someone'll have to pry me outta the theater seat inbetween showings or I'll just sit there watcvhing it over and over, until next year when PART TWO is released, etc, etc.!!!

HEATHER: FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON by Daniel Keyes - I LOVED that story! But so sad... a full box of tissues-kind of book! BTW, my hubby and I always Christmas shop together for our kids and most of the relatives; we provide dinner for the kids and then take ourselves to for a meal, much hand-holding and window-shopping and reminiscing, etc. :-]

VIV: re: bookcases in every room - at my parents' house absolutely!! At my house, every other room has books, only for lack of bookshelves to fill...boxes of books in the attic!!! :-) We keep our favorites handy. BTW, gee thanks! :-) I would love to write some kids' books someday (after I get my fantasy-bug somewhat satiated in my muse's hair). I'll probably start with "TOADY DANCES DOWN" (stay handy, ROSEMARY! We'll have to do that one together!!) :-D

DEBRA: Good luck with the "dating violence" book - an important subject! And it needs a sequel for women who marry their dream guy only to discover he's a beater once they're married! The scum...

HOWARD: LOVED your double-movie reviews! What a SCREEEEEECH! :-D

TEEKAY: Which HARRY POTTER did you read? I think #4 was the best. (I think I'm in love with Sirius Black!)

JERRY: Congrats on a new family member! :-)

Hi, ED! :-) Safe travels...

CAROL: Otters in your driveway! How wonderful!! I love to watch otters playing - they're so carefree.

May we all be more like otters; when life seems to freeze, just sliiiiiiiiiiiide on the ice! :-D

Have a great day, you-all!

Mel 12-4-2001 10:26

Oyster - I was thinking along those lines a bit myself. The fellow goes on to say that since Israel has a strong army, and has been working at anti-terrorist policy's for so long they should be the safest nation in the world, yet terror goes on.

There is quite a difference between the US and Israel, for one thing, we are not a very small nation surrounded by peoples on three sides that want to push the people of Israel into the sea and take the holy land of both cultures for themselves. Our nations support for Israel may well be the major reason that the terrorists now attack our people, but I hope and pray that we continue our support for that small nation filled with a wonderful brave people. I am sure there is tension on both sides in the Gaza strip, but there can be nothing less.

It is my understanding that what the press calls "the occupied zone" is in fact part of Israel, it is a land that they won in a war, and would be considered a part of their nation if they were in Europe.

This is much like the homeland of my Grandfather. He was born and raised in what was part of Denmark, however Germany seized that land, and made it part of Germany. He was forced to serve in the very Army of his enemy. This was the very reason that he left Germany, stealing what he used to tell me was "the fastest horse in the Kaiser's stable" and rode it to the coast where he, with horse in tow booked passage on a ship to America, using funds his American relatives sent him for that purpose. On arrival, he rode that horse half way across the U.S. to what is now North Dakota, where he homesteaded.

It may well be a very long time before we in the U.S. feel safe in our homes again, really safe as we did before the 11th of September, and for that reason, I find myself very angry at those who put us in that situation.

This fellow also goes on to say that it was our CIA who brought this upon us. As you might be aware, the last few Administrations here in the U.S. Choked the CIA into a very small agency which depends on data from satellites for their information instead of the old way of infiltration. This too is one of the reasons that the terrorists were able to attack us so easily. Now they may have done some very bad things in the past, this I do not know for sure, as I believe most of that is highly classified, and I doubt that the author of that article knows any of that information as a fact, I believe he is relying on propaganda put forth by the former Soviet Union, and that coming out of other soviet block nations. In today's world, the truth is rarely if ever plain, in fact if one invented a truth detector, he would be both an instant millionaire, and the most hunted person in the world.

Yes, I am aware that the U.S. did do some bad things in the name of freedom, we used drug dealers to help us overthrow dictators, we did install or at least support bad leaders in some nations, to put forward our own policies, but we did those things for reasons that we thought valid, mostly to stop the communist block from gaining a foothold in another country. You have to remember at that time, the world was being decided into two distinct partitions, that of the free, and that of the enslaved under Communist regimes. So if we had to support a bad leader who would keep the communists out, we did. The alternative was to allow the Communists to win, and we needed to stop them at all costs.

Many complain that the war in Vietnam was kept alive because of the domino theory, that saying that if Vietnam falls, so goes Cambodia and Laos, then as nations fall to communism, the entire of South East Asia would fall under Communist rule.

Well when we pulled out what happened? South Vietnam fell, then Cambodia, then Laos, then most of South East Asia. The only reason that some of those nations are now free, is because Communism does not work. If you read between the lines on that article by Mr. Bowman, you will see that communistic ideals are there with each and every statement.

Jerry 12-4-2001 10:16

Marshall McLuhan and Walter Ong are just two of the more recent commentators on how literacy affects the way we think. Socrates saw changes in the wind and didn't like them. He wouldn't have liked America, I don't think (of course, he couldn't read or write, so we have to take Plato's word for it).

In a nutshell, there are two kinds of writing technologies -- phonetic and ideogrammatic. We have phonetic, China has ideogrammatic. In the phonetic alphabet we exchange information via our eyes in symbols which represent sounds. This stress on the visual at the expense of the aural causes changes in the way we think. Literacy causes us to become insular, literate people are more individualized than non-literate people. Non-literates are tribal.

McLuhan offers an example of American aid workers bringing pipe and pump to a village where everyone had to carry buckets to a well. After a month (or less) the Americans were asked to remove the pipes. People were no longer gathering at the well, the communal life was disrupted.

Americans threaten the whole pattern of social interaction in undeveloped countries because we do not consider their social lives (or consider their societies in negative terms).

"When in Rome, do as the Romans do" means more than toga and sandals.

I think we find Israel a companionable place in the Mideast because the people there are so highly literate. Our involvement with Arab nations has regularly been an effort at finding people and places "just like home." We take McDonald's wherever we go. The American tourist in Bahrain asking for Cheetos affronts both the local palate and the local worldview.

America is a highly literate country right now banging heads with a highly non-literate tribal population. Thirty years ago McLuhan offered insight on the tribalizing affects of radi; I find it interesting how the Taliban used the radio for their messages and banned the use of TV.

This is a culture clash that won't soon be over and won't be won by one-sided asshole4s getting damn mad.

Mark 12-4-2001 10:00

Hello All!

I got back 'on-line' after a server glitch only to find Jack had archived all the stuff I missed! Ah, but toward a greater purpose ... I can hardly wait to see how this other part of the site he's working on works.

Jerry, I've read that piece you cut n' pasted a few times. Different places, actually. And I've read a lot worse, too. And I always dread turning on the radio because it seems a new terror is somewhere else in our world!

Today as I was driving to an appointment after dropping daughter off at school (son left early being on school patrol) I heard the news from Israel. The terrorist attack was the topic for nearly an hour, a whole program devoted to Israel's 'retaliation' and the wherefores, why's and opinions on what happened. I listened intently and remembered.

My 'aunt' didn't do her 'time' in the Israeli Army before coming to Canada ... she did her mandatory service later, on The Gaza. Her Canadian born and educated daughter who immigrated with hubby, served also immediately after becoming an official Israeli citizen. She served on The Gaza too.

Both women were shocked at how the Palestinian people were treated by 'immigrants' to the country who felt they had more right to be there more to than people whose ancestry was hundreds of years in the same little village. Having lived so long in Canada, both women were used to a different political climate.

Yet both women served in the military because it was the law. A law passed by the Knesset to insure the 'Independence' and 'democracy' of a country of recent immigrants. Israel, like the U.S. and Canada was young and quickly developed, her strength coming from a cultural diversity of immigrants and built on stringent immigration laws.

Israel is and will always be a bit different as a developed nation ... it didn't have a whole lot of natural resources to exploit. No oil in Israel. Yet a lot of thriving businesses, a powerful military and a lot of immigrants, and more every day!

My point is every country has it's warts. Canada may well have evolved as a major military power, had it not been for her proximity to the U.S. and colonial relationship with Britain. As a matter of fact, I heard today that the Civil War in the U.S. was closely linked to Canada's confederacy.

Maybe I should have stayed awake in History class, eh? Probably would have known that little tidbit!

A point I did hear on this radio program about Israel stuck with me, and I think it is an acquiescent point. "Developed countries" (Canada, the U.S., Austrailia, Britains fab-four, Sweden, Denmark, to name just a few) need to help "Developing Countries" to come to a stage of development where hunger and poverty do not rule, self-government does. And this is what our world is striving for.

Maybe it's a piece of grit, that article, Jerry ... irritating for a great-Jerry-story to be born.

I know I'll be writing something from this morning's radio discussion. Maybe not right now, but I keep seeing Palestinian children near the Kibbutz and knowing they were terrified of the guns and the Kubbutzim who carried those guns for 'self-protection'. And realizing some years later, those children's homes were no more. Their village was absorbed into the Kibbutz, which later became a settlement.

Anyway, I've rambled on long enough for my 'first day back' ... except ...

Randall, tell me this 'Red' guy is not real? This is a Randall story created by Randall, right? I'm a big believer in Truth is Stranger than fiction, and *grinning here* tend to get 'sucked in' rather easily. It keeps me humble.

Night all.

Oyster 12-4-2001 1:38

Well I will admit that the fellow had a few points, however every point he tried to make, he went way overboard.

Now I understand he claims to have flown 101 missions in Nam, and that may very well be true, however for him to comment on it as he did, that the majority of the south vietnamese would vote for reunicfication, and vote for Ho, is wrong.

In the first place, the majority of piolets who flew missions in Nam either came off aircraft carriers, or out of Thailand. I was there, I met hundreds of Vietnamese nationals, and not one of them had anything good to say about the north. Now you might say "of course they didn't they were talking to an American" and you might be right, however that would not explain the mass murders in Hue during Tet of 69, where soldiers of the north gathered together all the teachers, all the office holders, all the doctors, all the lawyers (well that was a good idea) and all the public officials, then led them to a pit, their hands tied behind them with barbed wire, and shot them in the back of their heads. It would not explain the mass killing that took place after the fall of Saigon, it would not explain the "re-education camps" that populated the South after the fall of Saigon. It would not explain the treatment that the "wonderful socialists" who took power in Cambodia under the name of the Kamar Rouge, and murdered nearly three fourths of the total population in the killing fields.

He speaks of the wonderful much loved leaders who we overthrew in Central America, most of which were Communists. Now you may not remember, but at that time, the communist world wanted to kill us and our government because we were free, and we made the free market work.

Read that closer, and decide for your self, this fellow is a died in the wool socialist communist SOB at least that is what I got out of reading it, and I assure you I have read it several times.

Sure he does make a few valid points, but they are inter spaced with his communist propaganda, and they are given to make his other propositions seem valid.

Now I may be way off base, but that is how I read it, and it makes me damn mad.

Jerry 12-4-2001 0:35

JERRY -- I'm afraid I have to agree with Heather and Randall to a certain extent. I love this country as much as anyone can, but it cannot be a blind, unreasoning love. We do have blood on our hands and crap on our boots. We've made mistakes. We've done wrong things. That certainly does not justify what was done on 9/11 or to the Cole, or the embassies. What it does do is explain why some hate us.

It also shows the emptiness of the Humanist premise - that mankind is inherently good, and that we can pull ourselves out of the mud without help from any supreme being thank you very much. 'Taint so, and we'll continue sliding down that slippery slope (and take the world with us) unless we change our ways.

We now have a man with a very different mindset in the Oval Office, and he has already sent (or become part of) a wakeup call to this nation, reminding us that we are, or say we are, "one nation under God."

Congress has shown some measure of agreement by passing (on 11/14) a joint resolution, designating 12/4 as
"...a National Day of Reconciliation. The rotunda of the Capitol is authorised to be used at any time on 11/27 or 12/4 for a National Day of Reconciliation where (1) The 2 Houses of Congress shall assemble in the
rotunda with the Chaplain of the House of Representatives and the Chaplain
of the Senate in attendance; and (2) During this assembly, the Members of
the 2 Houses may gather to humbly seek the blessings of Providence for
forgiveness, reconciliation, unity, and charity for all people of the
United States, thereby assisting the Nation to realize its potential as--
(A) the champion of hope; (B) the vindicator of the defenseless; and (C)
the guardian of freedom."

Can you imagine our government encouraging prayer, of all things, in a public arena!!

That italicised quote was taken from a note from the White House to the Presidential Prayer Team, and I think that what the President is saying is that we need to clean up our own act. I can forward a copy of the whole note to anyone interested.

I hope I haven't come off too preachy, but this has been on my mind for some time now.


howard 12-3-2001 23:28

Jerry: Thinking about that post for awhile... What he says is almost valid
America has been guilty of despicable acts before

But absolutely no country deserved what America got... But to blame America or the current govt for it is highly inappropiate and wrong

taylor 12-3-2001 23:11

Greetings All :)

Rosemary - I'm trying to figure out how one squats while standing on one leg. My imagination is failing me! Is one leg folded back? Ouch! I don't envy you all the PT, but I sure pray it will be well worth it when you're done. Thanks for the comments on GG.

In fact - everyone who volunteered to read GG, thank you. Every comment and suggestion was helpful and a lesson learned. I was able to bring the story to a conclusion today, though it is weaker than I'd like. Now I'll let the story sit a couple of days and then look at it with fresh eyes and suggestions to hand. :)

Jerry - I have to agree with Heather. The gentleman has several valid points.

Randall - another well told story! Thank you. I so envy your talent to tell us a story in this manner. I feel as though you're sitting nearby just talking away and drawing me into a different world. This is a style of story writing that appeals not only to me, but to most people.

Carol 12-3-2001 23:02

OK, I have the last Notebook archived, but just realized that I am missing the previous Notebook archive. I am hunting around my hard drive to try and come up with September through October 30. Sigh, hopefully I will find it. Take care.

Jack Beslanwitch 12-3-2001 22:45



Last year someone on WN was chatting about various contributors, articles and such. They mentioned Randall, then paused, "Isn't he the one that is always negative?"

I laugh every time I think of this because it is basically far as it goes. Being pessimistic and negative in thought, to a point that is, has its own reward. If you expect the worst, you're never disappointed, and the up and downs of life smooth out. Ah, in a manner of speaking.

I spotted an old friend, Red Britches sitting on a park bench late this afternoon. It was near quitting time and I dropped by to say hello. Red is a tall, gaunt older man, thin faced, so thin he could tread water in a garden hose. Red dropped out of society decades ago. He exists on handouts, some form of a government pension, which I suspect is a veteran's disability. This could be any war covering the Spanish-American onward. He won't talk about it. For whatever reason Red spends the better part of the day drinking wine. I'm not a judgemental person and if that's what he wants to do...fine with me. It is his business, not mine. There are do gooders in town who have attempted to help with food, groceries, rent money and such but Red inevitably returns to the path of least resistance. As most men do.

Red was sipping on a red soda pop bottle as I arrived. But he only does this to fool the cops (which really doesn't) as the liquid was wine and not sugar water with dye.

"Git on out Randy," he invited saluting me with the bottle.

Red has always called me Randy.

"Whatcha ya doing Red?"

"Waalll," he drawled, slurring his words. "I'll say it in three words. I'm con tan plating my life. And I'm about to reach a conclushion."

"Yeah," I answered sitting next to him. "And what's that Red?"

He handed me the bottle. I wiped the neck off and drank a little. Mogan David I surmised. Red was drinking the good stuff today, must have received a check.

"You see Randy...I suspects my life might appear to some folk to be nearly at a dead end. But them folk don't know what I do. From my vantage down here I can see quite clearly the mysteries of life."

"And what have you arrived at Red?"

"Life ain't no mystery at all. All ye gotta do is find something and excel at it. Don't make no difference what level ye exists on."

About that time a local policemen drove by. Red gaily lifted the bottle and waved. The policemen shook his head and drove on.

"Ya sees Randy, the last several years or so I've been researching the negative aspects of self-destruction. Its kinda like climbing a mountain to see the old wise man. Except I've fell down the steps into the basement to see the same dude."

"Isn't self-destruction a negative Red? I mean by definition someone crashes their life. If that's not bad, I don't know what is?"

He angrily shook his head. "Now, Randy, I never said I was self-destructive! I just said I was researching the negative aspects of it!"

"And that has helped you understand life?"

He jumped to his feet, walked a few steps then turned grinning. "Well, yes! Yen and yang Randy. It makes life a whole lot more exciting if you dip into the negative aspects of it. Don't ya see? It takes a mighty strong person to be full of positives all he time. If one knows, lives within the negatives they know and understand life is no problem. Hell, Randy, you've heard that most men lead lives of quiet desperation? Not me, my desperation is up fronts and all the negative aspects plainly visible."

Red paused to refill the soda pop bottle from a gallon wine jug he had tied under his overcoat.

"I don't understand Red."

He walked back and patted my shoulder. "And never will ye, till ye delve into the negative aspects of self-destruction."

Red weaved away. Obviously pursuing the negative aspects of self-destruction.

Jerry: I liked the post from the NASA dude. We are, as a country, very close to the abyss. Much closer that most believe.



randall 12-3-2001 21:24

And this is the guy you're against, Jerry? Try reading it without getting upset. He may be right.

Heather 12-3-2001 21:01

Greetings composers,

I finally typed up my comments and sent the e-mail to you. Sorry I took forever.

I went to Physical Therapy today for my knees and they added 4 new exercises that included squats. The one with both knees at once was ok, but the one with me standing on one leg and squatting was murder. (they do let me hold on to something.) I'm going to have great upperbody strength after this.
I'm sore already, didn't even wait till tomorrow morning. Thought I was getting through this too easily.

Gotta go,

Rosemary 12-3-2001 20:49

Jerry: Thanks for that perspective... I honestly did not look at it that way

taylor 12-3-2001 18:42

Greetings All :)

Hmmm, a clean slate here. Now I don't remember what all was talked about last and what responses I wanted to make.

Not much to report. Continuing to work on my ghost shortie. Still haven't come to a conclusion on it, but did get some unnecessary words deleted.

No more otters out in the driveway -- pooh! I so enjoyed their antics.

Carol 12-3-2001 17:28

Taylor - I posted this in the last notebook before Jack Archived, but will post it one more time. I did put this reminder on it, as you are aware, anyone can write anything to anyone on this internet thing, and they can attribute it to anyone they see fit, so the name attached may or may not be the one who actually wrote this. If that makes any sense.

The real kicker for me was the background of the author (at the bottom of the piece), but then you may know who he is already.

What Can We Do About Terrorism?
by Dr. Robert M. Bowman, Lt. Col., USAF, ret.

A few years ago, terrorists destroyed two U.S. embassies. President Clinton
retaliated against suspected facilities of Osama bin Laden. In his television
address, the President told the American people that we were the targets of
terrorism because we stood for democracy, freedom, and human rights in the
On that occasion, I wrote: "Tell people the truth, Mr. President ... about
terrorism, not about poor Monica. If your lies about terrorism go
unchallenged, then the terror war you have unleashed will likely continue
until it destroys us.
"The threat of nuclear terrorism is closing in upon us. Chemical terrorism is
at hand, and biological terrorism is a future danger. None of our thousands
of nuclear weapons can protect us from these threats. These idols of
plutonium, titanium, and steel are impotent. Our worship of them for over
five decades has not brought us security, only greater danger. No 'Star Wars'
system ... no matter how technically advanced, no matter how many trillions
of dollars was poured into it ... can protect us from even a single terrorist
bomb. Not one weapon in our vast arsenal can shield us from a nuclear weapon
delivered in a sailboat or a Piper Cub or a suitcase or a Ryder rental truck.
Not a penny of the 273 billion dollars a year we spend on so-called defense
can actually defend us against a terrorist bomb. Nothing in our enormous
military establishment can actually give us one whit of security. That is a
military fact.
"Mr. President, you did not tell the American people the truth about why we
are the targets of terrorism. You said that we are the target because we
stand for democracy, freedom, and human rights in the world. Baloney! We are
the target of terrorists because we stand for dictatorship, bondage, and
human exploitation in the world. We are the target of terrorists because we
are hated. And we are hated because our government has done hateful things.
"In how many countries have we deposed popularly elected leaders and replaced
them with puppet military dictators who were willing to sell out their own
people to American multinational corporations?
"We did it in Iran when we deposed Mossadegh because he wanted to nationalize
the oil industry. We replaced him with the Shah, and trained, armed, and paid
his hated Savak national guard, which enslaved and brutalized the people of
Iran. All to protect the financial interests of our oil companies. Is it any
wonder there are people in Iran who hate us?
"We did it in Chile when we deposed Allende, democratically elected by the
people to introduce socialism. We replaced him with the brutal right-wing
military dictator, General Pinochet. Chile has still not recovered.
"We did it in Vietnam when we thwarted democratic elections in the South
which would have united the country under Ho Chi Minh. We replaced him with a
series of ineffectual puppet crooks who invited us to come in and slaughter
their people - and we did. (I flew 101 combat missions in that war which you
properly opposed.)
"We did it in Iraq, where we killed a quarter of a million civilians in a
failed attempt to topple Saddam Hussein, and where we have killed a million
since then with our sanctions. About half of these innocent victims have been
children under the age of five.
"And, of course, how many times have we done it in Nicaragua and all the
other banana republics of Latin America? Time after time we have ousted
popular leaders who wanted the riches of the land to be shared by the people
who worked it. We replaced them with murderous tyrants who would sell out and
control their own people so that the wealth of the land could be taken out by
Domino Sugar, the United Fruit Company, Folgers, and Chiquita Banana.
"In country after country, our government has thwarted democracy, stifled
freedom, and trampled human rights. That's why we are hated around the world.
And that's why we are the target of terrorists.
"People in Canada enjoy better democracy, more freedom, and greater human
rights than we do. So do the people of Norway and Sweden. Have you heard of
Canadian embassies being bombed? Or Norwegian embassies? Or Swedish
embassies. No.
"We are not hated because we practice democracy, freedom, and human rights.
We are hated because our government denies these things to people in third
world countries whose resources are coveted by our multinational
corporations. And that hatred we have sown has come back to haunt us in the
form of terrorism - and in the future, nuclear terrorism.
"Once the truth about why the threat exists is understood, the solution
becomes obvious. We must change our government's ways.
"Instead of sending our sons and daughters around the world to kill Arabs so
the oil companies can sell the oil under their sand, we must send them to
rebuild their infrastructure, supply clean water, and feed starving children.
"Instead of continuing to kill thousands of Iraqi children every day with our
sanctions, we must help them rebuild their electric powerplants, their water
treatment facilities, their hospitals - all the things we destroyed in our
war against them and prevented them from rebuilding with our sanctions.
"Instead of seeking to be king of the hill, we must become a responsible
member of the family of nations. Instead of stationing hundreds of thousands
of troops around the world to protect the financial interests of our
multinational corporations, we must bring them home and expand the Peace
"Instead of training terrorists and death squads in the techniques of torture
and assassination, we must close the School of the Americas (no matter what
name they use). Instead of supporting military dictatorships, we must support
true democracy - the right of the people to choose their own leaders. Instead
of supporting insurrection, destabilization, assassination, and terror around
the world, we must abolish the CIA and give the money to relief agencies.
"In short, we do good instead of evil. We become the good guys, once again.
The threat of terrorism would vanish. That is the truth, Mr. President. That
is what the American people need to hear. We are good people. We only need to
be told the truth and given the vision. You can do it, Mr. President. Stop
the killing. Stop the justifying. Stop the retaliating. Put people first.
Tell them the truth."
Needless to say, he didn't ... and neither has George W. Bush. Well, the
seeds our policies have planted have borne their bitter fruit. The World
Trade Center is gone. The Pentagon is damaged. And thousands of Americans
have died. Almost every TV pundit is crying for massive military retaliation
against whoever might have done it (assumedly the same Osama bin Laden) and
against whoever harbors or aids the terrorists (most notably the Taliban
government of Afghanistan). Steve Dunleavy of the New York Post screams "Kill
the bastards! Train assassins, hire mercenaries, put a couple of million
bucks up for bounty hunters to get them dead or alive, preferably dead. As
for cities or countries that host these worms, bomb them into basketball
courts." It's tempting to agree. I have no sympathy for the psychopaths that
killed thousands of our people. There is no excuse for such acts. If I was
recalled to active duty, I would go in a heartbeat. At the same time, all my
military experience and knowledge tells me that retaliation hasn't rid us of
the problem in the past, and won't this time.
By far the world's best anti-terrorist apparatus is Israel's. Measured in
military terms, it has been phenomenally successful. Yet Israel still suffers
more attacks than all other nations combined. If retaliation worked, Israelis
would be the world's most secure people.
Only one thing has ever ended a terrorist campaign -- denying the terrorist
organization the support of the larger community it represents. And the only
way to do that is to listen to and alleviate the legitimate grievances of the
people. If indeed Osama bin Laden was behind the four hijackings and
subsequent carnage, that means addressing the concerns of the Arabs and
Muslims in general and of the Palestinians in particular. It does NOT mean
abandoning Israel. But it may very well mean withdrawing financial and
military support until they abandon the settlements in occupied territory and
return to 1967 borders. It may also mean allowing Arab countries to have
leaders of their own choosing, not hand-picked, CIA-installed dictators
willing to cooperate with Western oil companies.
Chester Gillings has said it very well: "How do we fight back against bin
Laden? The first thing we must ask ourselves is what is it we hope to achieve
-- security or revenge? The two are mutually exclusive; seek revenge and we
WILL reduce our security. If it is security we seek, then we must begin to
answer the tough questions -- what are the grievances of the Palestinians and
the Arab world against the United States, and what is our real culpability
for those grievances? Where we find legitimate culpability, we must be
prepared to cure the grievance wherever possible. Where we cannot find
culpability or a cure, we must communicate honestly our positions directly to
the Arab people. In short, our best course of action is to remove ourselves
as a combatant in the disputes of the region."
To kill bin Laden now would be to make him an eternal martyr. Thousands would
rise up to take his place. In another year, we would face another round of
terrorism, probably much worse even than this one. Yet there is another way.
In the short term, we must protect ourselves from those who already hate us.
This means increased security and better intelligence. I proposed to members
of Congress in March that we should deny any funds for "Star Wars" until such
time as the Executive Branch could show that they are doing all possible
research on the detection and interception of weapons of mass destruction
entering the country clandestinely (a far greater threat than ballistic
missiles). There are lots of steps which can be taken to increase security
without detracting from civil rights. But in the long term, we must change
our policies to stop causing the fear and hatred which creates new
terrorists. Becoming independent of foreign oil through conservation, energy
efficiency, production of energy from renewable sources, and a transition to
non-polluting transportation will allow us to adopt a more rational policy
toward the Middle East.
The vast majority of Arabs and Muslims are good, peaceful people. But enough
of them, in their desperation and anger and fear, have turned first to Arafat
and now to bin Laden to relieve their misery. Remove the desperation, give
them some hope, and support for terrorism will evaporate. At that point bin
Laden will be forced to abandon terrorism (as has Arafat) or be treated like
a common criminal. Either way, he and his money cease to be a threat. We CAN
have security ... or we can have revenge. We cannot have both.
Dr. Robert M. Bowman directed all the "Star Wars" programs under presidents
Ford and Carter and flew 101 combat missions in Vietnam. His Ph.D. is in
Aeronautics and Nuclear Engineering from Caltech. He is President of the
Institute for Space and Security Studies and Presiding Archbishop of the
United Catholic Church.
2066 Deercroft Dr., Viera, FL 32940
(321) 752-5955

Jerry 12-3-2001 16:46

Hello -- lo -- lo -- lo

Wow! - ow -- ow -- ow

Listen to that echo -- o --- o ---- o !!

howard 12-3-2001 16:12

OK, as I indicated I have archived the Notebook. Or, I should say, blasted everything back to tabula rasa and will be archiving the last Notebook as soon as I get done here. Now that I more or less have internet connection back after the AT&T Broadband meltdown ala the Excite bankruptcy, I will make a stab again at getting the workbook up with password protection. We will see.

Jack Beslanwitch 12-3-2001 15:26

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