Archived Messages from November 5, 2002 to November 30, 2002
Finished putting up the Christmas Lights today, we put a couple more of those net lights on the hedges, but haven't turned them on as of yet. Took in the parade of lights tonight and the lighting of the park, most of the town turned out for it, then there was a bond fire with free coco and roasted marshmallows for the kiddies, Santa was there (TWO SANTA'S it's all so very confusing!!)

Great time, I do love the holidays, makes me feel like a kid again. The wife and daughter are going to abandoned me for three glorious days while they do their Christmas Shopping in the big city. I look forward to the peace, and a chance to sneak up to Hettinger and pick up the item's that the wife has been drooling over every time we walk past them in the big farm home store.

Sometimes it's nice to be alone. Just for a day or so anyhow.

Jerry 11-30-2002 23:37

Who punched the panic button? Howard!!!!

Heather 11-30-2002 20:30

Gifts? Shopping?


howard 11-30-2002 19:52


You wrapped *all* your gifts? I'm in awe. I haven't even started shopping yet. That's me, the biggest procrastinator in the world. XD

Sarah 11-30-2002 16:50

Rachel - Sebastian sounds so adorable! I can't believe it's already been 2 years. :D

I wrapped all my gifts last night - and I only intended to wrap a few. ­­ *sighs* Oh well, at least it's done. :D

Allein Peachick's Gallery 11-30-2002 15:51

LITTER -- Well, Yes!

howard 11-30-2002 10:29

Hey Tina,

I hope you can sell your house. I'll put in some good words where I can ;o) (hugs to you).

Rachel 11-30-2002 9:52

Hi Tina,

Two years is a lot of fun. Seb is a pleasure to parent. I've been very fortunate with my children. We have been starting on the lights for the outside of the house. Sebastian is wild for them. We had some friends over yesterday evening. Their children informed them that "Dan and Rachel would have their jingle lights up." We did and the children were delighted. I think our friends would like to kick us in the backsides ;o) I love the things that children say. "Jingle lights" how cute is that?

Take care you.


Rachel 11-30-2002 9:50

HORWAD -- you sure you want to know?

OK, The publisher has been in contact and they gave me their answer. It was.. are you absolutely sure you want to know all the grisly detatils???

Litter 11-30-2002 9:43

The kids have all gone home, although it was a terrible fight against winds gusting over sixty five miles an hour, but they made it. The wife has gone off to bed, and it's just smoky and me watching Jay Leno on TV.

It was a super Thanksgiving, the weather even cooperated well on Thanksgiving anyhow, it got up near 70 degrees but today's winds have chased all the warmth south and the mercury is now settling near the zero mark, well sixteen above the zero mark but close.

I discovered a new toy that has me looking at my pc with new wonder. It's called virtual PC. It allows one to run several operating systems on one PC without the old fashioned way of repartitioning reformatting and all that, simply run the software, it makes a "virtual PC" on your hard drive and you can install the new OS on it. Works great too, I now have XP (the original OS) Windows 95, Windows 3.1 running over DOS 6.2, and Linux on my machine. I can move from one to another all while XP runs in the background, it's GREAT. I can now use the old free cable connection software that came with DOS 6.0 called Interlink to transfer software from my main PC to my old Pentop Toshiba 486, finally I can put Tome Reader and my book collection on that little bugger and read ebooks anywhere. I can run Linux and surf the web with Galon, while I am surfing the web with IE 6 in another window, while I am surfing a different website in a different window using IE 4.0. I know there isn't a lot of need to surf three websites at once in three windows, and if there were you could do that with IE without the bother, but it's just FUN to do it that way.

Yep, one of these days I'm going to have to get a life.

Jerry 11-30-2002 0:16


Viv ... My daughter has been very quiet since that night. It may be that she is thinking things over? Send me your e-mail address and I'll get you a Texas T on the way.


Randall 11-29-2002 21:54

SUNNY -- Sounds like fun! It's been hectic around here too, with five grandchildren staying with us, and three of the four older ones constantly testing their boundaries.
We drove down to Chapel Hill this past summer, to pick up our grand-daughter, who was down there for a field hockey camp. She's in 9th grade, and they've already pulled her up to the varsity level. We think her little sister is going to be even better!

LITTER -- I'm sorry to hear about your friend. That's a beautiful memoriam.
And "What If" you told us more than "I've heard from the publisher??"

howard 11-29-2002 19:23

I want to add my happy Thanksgiving wishes to all the others! I was in Baltimore, celebrating the day with my mom, who turned 86 today, and my dad, who's a survivor of 3 major heart attacks. They are both active and upbeat, and very inspirational to have around. My daughter, Lauren, is home from her first semester at UNC - Chapel Hill, so we came back early to see her in-between her visits to friends. I'm thankful to have the kids both here for the first time since August, even though it's majorly hectic! May all of you have wonderful holidays, whenever and wherever they fall. :-)

Sunny 11-29-2002 19:07

Hi All,

Happy belated Thanksgiving to all ‘merkins on the notebook. Four years now since I was treated to a good ol’ southern Thanksgiving in Louisiana. Ahhhhhh, memories.

I heard back from the publishers…

Can no one rid us of this irritating Chinese person?????

A very dear friend of mine died last Thursday. He was minstrel of exceptional talend and only 53. This is for him –

Bill McArthur, Balladeer.

A balladeer died yesterday,
Taken before his time –
Before his song was sung –
Before he could languish
In plaudits and applause,
When the lights went up
And he made way
For the next generation
Of Bardic tradition –
The natural way of things…

Lights now forever dimmed,
His strings played only
By the poignant pluck of memory,
A bitter-sweet reminder
Of a poets passion
And the minstrel magic
That entertained and enchanted
Friends, both old and new.

The pain will ease, with time,
An afterglow of pride
Warming those he loved
And those who loved him.
He was a friend to many –
He was a friend to me,
And he will be greatly missed.

In memory of Bill, my friend,
22nd November 2002.


The novel in question was inspired by a dream I had, combined with several of my interests. (E.g. End-days prophecy, UFOlogy, hard science (astrophysics, cosmology, etc.) The dream was formless and consisted of only two words spoken by a female friend of mine from 25 years in the past. The dream is portrayed in the book, just as it actually happened, and then I asked that most obvious question and authors best friend, ‘What if?’.

The book nearly wrote itself, then re-wrote itself, then re-wrote…

Basically I have not used anything, science wise, that I could not find justification for, so everything is as original as it can be. I did, however, use some of the stereotypes of alien space-flight, appearance, and the like, but not necessarily in the accepted way or form.

The characters (human) are pretty much real, but I have switched personalities and looks around so much that no one can identify themselves. (Saves on later litigation.) This also has the therapeutic effect of being able to demonise those I didn’t like, without them being aware of it :o)

I spent many days on web sites such as NASA, JPL, and MIT, and so on, and I have many gigabytes of assorted scientific and biblical information. If anything, it was probably over-researched – I’ve probably pre-researched my next half dozen novel attempts, so that’s all to the good.

So, yes, it was started from scratch, with the dream as a catalyst. Being bed-bound for six months, and being on substantial amounts of morphine, also helped considerably with the ‘what if’ process. As in the book plot, the book started off as therapy and then grew arms and legs.

Sometimes, ‘what if’ leads to very strange places…


Litter 11-29-2002 16:27

Randall: I'd laugh and relax if that were my daughter. She sounds like your typical good kid who wanted to know what being drunk felt like. She did her research thoroughly, just like she does everything else. Now she doesn't have to try that again. Hate to tell you this: I know that from experience at the same age! I've never tasted vodka or anything harder than wine again. I'll drink an occasional glass of wine, but nothing more. That's what's neat about having type A folks around...we do it well then we never have to do it again.
Will go looking for the tee-shirt starting tomorrow. Caught the flu and bronchitus. I've been going to work and coming home, but that's about it. Another couple days I'll have this bug licked and I can start in on my shopping again. I will definitely get something that says Japan or Tokyo on it. That shouldn't be too hard.

Viv 11-29-2002 7:47

Ah and turkey day is rolling down, the 22 pound bird was enough to fill all bellies, we had both our kids home John brought his wife, daughter and two sister-in-laws to help celebrate, mom and my sister with her daughter came to help dispose of the bird. Had a wonderful time, and my stomach is still full from dinner (here abouts we call dinner the noon meal).

Spending the evening watching movies with my grand daughter (a fourth grader this year), as the wife and kids play careers in the dinning room. We had our fill of pinochle earlier then my back sort of gave out so I retreated to my favorite chair. I enjoy the movies anyhow.

Hope all had as great a thanksgiving as I did, we surely do have much to be thankful for.

Jerry 11-28-2002 22:12

Hi all!

Rachel, hi you! Thanks for the 'Sebastian update'. I love 'em at 2 years old. So much fun.

Christi, I only speak the truth.

Hey, if anyone has any pull with a god, saint, or spirit that can help sell my house, please put in a good word for me! I'm starting to feel stress.

I'm writing again though, despite the stress. Or maybe because of it? It's the perfect retreat from real life. I'm glad; at one point this fall I was beginning to wonder if I'd lost it. Now I'm thinking maybe my muse enjoyed the skydiving so much, she didn't want to come down from 10,000 feet!

Happy US Thanksgiving :-D

Tina 11-28-2002 18:01

Hi all :o)

I am nearing the end of my semester in school. With only two papers left and then exams I find that I am looking forward to having some time to drop in and catch up with you guys. I've miss you (hugs all around).

Sebastian Update: Seb is growing up on me. He still has his mop of white blond hair, but I can see the dark roots starting to grow. His face has lost its baby roundness and has taken on more of a big boy shape. Seb is a blond hair , blue eyed copy of his father! He is adorable! As he approaches the age of two years, I find that his speaking is improving on an almost daily basis. Sebastian is working hard on his ABC's. He has the tune down and has begun to put sections of the letters in order. It is so sweet to listen to him sing. He also has been working on a couple of French nursery songs. He is quite the little singer. I guess that comes from all of us singing to him without end. Sebastian has begun to be able to differentiate colours. I attribute this to the variety of coloured cars and trucks on the roads. Each time we see a car or truck, I tell him what it is, what colour it is and some days I even go into the make and year (grins). Okay, so sometimes I go a little to far ;o) Everyone else in my home is doing well.

Happy Thanksgiving to the Statesian folks.

Rachel 11-28-2002 8:26

Yes, Happy Thanksgiving! And I'm thankful for the continued prayer and good wishes!

We've got five of our grandchildren staying with us while their parents are sunning themselves in St Lucia. One daughter won a trip and got a second one free, and they're down there in 85 degree weather (Karin called even as I'm typing this) enjoying the sun, sand, and whatever else there is to enjoy down there...

I saw a message on a church signboard that said Be Thankful You're Not A Turkey!"

Ours is in the oven already, and the pies are done, the dressing is in progress. I have to peel the onions for the creamed onion dish, and everything else is under way.

Just finished a really good fantasy book by Mary Brown, that I'd recommend highly -- it's The Unexpected Dragon -- a trilogy consisting of Pigs Don't Fly, Master Of Treasures, and Dragonne's Eg. RHODA -- I think you'd like it, (as would most others here). It's told from First Person POV, by a 19-20 year old girl named Summerdai for the first two, and concluded several hundred years later by a 20 year old girl named Sophy. It is really excellent! The first line from the first book is "My mother was the village whore, and I loved her very much."

Gotta run -- breakfast is ready.

howard 11-28-2002 8:16

Happy Thanksgiving, USians! Happy day to the rest of you lot! Am feeling warm and chummy, but this here is a quickie post.

Howard, I'm breathing a large sigh of relief. I'm so glad you're okay! I've just had a scare myself, healthwise, and it's nice to feel 'normal' again, whatever that is.

Tina, Thank you, you sweet thing!

Christine, Hi! I'm a Christine too, but only officially. I've never found a better place than here for touching base with other writers. Tag, you're it!

Good luck, Litter! Am crossing my fingers for you.

Goodnight all you fellow scribblers.

Christi 11-28-2002 0:21


I'm leaving work now, it's 1:15. The boss was nice enough to let everyone leave early. Can't decide if I should pick the kids up from my mother's house or go home and enjoy the quiet for a little while.

Great writing to all!

Cheri 11-27-2002 13:18

TAYLOR: Nope, I wasn't in Kalgoorie. I don't even know where that is. That shirt sounds awesome, I should request my parents to get it for me.
CHRISTINE: A happy and warm welcome to you. I would've written your welcome yesterday, but I was busy doing my project.
TO EVERYONE ELSE: Have a happy thanksgiving everyone. Don't eat to much turkey! LOL. I can't stay on for long. May your Thanksgiving be filled with happy dreams and big writings!
Till Niagara Falls! (LOL)

Elaine 11-27-2002 10:43

The basement repair guy finally showed up a few days ago, I haven't been down to inspect his work as of yet, but he says he's ready to pour the cement footer for the central load bearing wall. Now he has to wait till the weather get's above 32 so he can pour the cement. Not that our basement is cold, it's the hottest part of the house in the winter what with hot water heat and copper heat pipes running under the floor boards to radiators in every room, but he's going to pour one yard in our basement and another at his house (the ready mix company has a 2 yard minimum) and that's outdoors. It has been strange hearing noise in the basement though, not used to that.

So it looks as though our happy home will remain above ground for many more years.

The town sure looks different since the Governor's men came and left. Altogether they took down over thirty buildings, most in the residential areas, but Main Street now has three gaping holes where old abandoned three story brick and block buildings used to stand. I sure hope someone builds on their lots, but in today's economy I don't see it happening soon.

You know when I was a kid here, we had three auto dealers, three grocery stores, a men's clothing store, a lady's clothing store, a JC Penny's store, two newspapers, A meat market, two sales barns (livestock markets) two slaughter houses, three barber's two bowling alley's three night clubs, four bars, a dime store, two drug stores. Heck you could buy most anything here. Now we're lucky to have one of each, none of some (no meat market, no slaughter houses, NO clothing stores, one car dealer, one drug store, one bowling alley, one bar, no night club) but I guess it's because of better cars allowing folks to go out of town to shop, and, oh about a thousand fewer folks living here, and about one quarter the farmers in the area, due to the death of the family farm and the birth of huge ranches and farms.

Life goes on and the only thing one can be sure of is that things change, sometimes for the best.

Anyone catch the President's latest speech? Weapons of mass construction? Ok I know he's a wonderful leader but at times his word stumble makes one laugh.

Jerry 11-27-2002 10:42

Weeeee!!! 5 days off!! I'm in such a holiday mood, but I promised myself no wrapping presents or putting up my little tree until the day after Thanksgiving.

I've recently turned vegetarian (out of respect for living creatures, and for my health) so I will not be partaking of the prime rib my parents have decided to cook. Of course, Mom doesn't seem to understand what the term 'vegetarian' means even though I've recently bought lots of soy cheese, veggie meat, etc. So she bought me a Cornish Game Hen to eat on Thanksgiving when I was gonna get Tofu Turkey. *grumbles* I guess I can bend once and eat it. I can always have the Tofurky for Christmas.

My boyfriend is calling me on Thanksgiving, he's at college in Mass. but lives in NY so right now he's up there visiting his parents. I'm happy he'll be calling. Even though I'm not really a phone person I'll probably have a bit to talk about on Thanksgiving when he calls. The trouble is that he has a cell phone and I have to repeat things 2 or 3 times before he can understand what I'm saying. I should've bought him a phone card for Christmas. He's also the type who will watch TV or talk to someone in the room or something while he's on the phone. I hate that. The person on the phone gets my full attention (on the occasion that I actually talk on the phone).

Tomorrow I'm going to buy my final present for someone. I just found out he was in the hospital a month ago for a staph infection. (This is an internet friend and I noticed he'd been gone) He says the doctors didn't think he was going to make it but he did and up until last week he's been sick and sleeping most of the time. But now the doctors are keeping him in isolation in his room (at home, but he has to go to the hospital every day for tests) and he says that it's driving him nuts - he has TV, stereo, computer, things to keep him occupied, but it's still driving him nuts. He says he's practicing drawing so I'm gonna send him a sketchbook and maybe some nice pencils or pens. :)

BTW, I'm getting ready to send Christmas cards and I like receiving them also, so if you want me to send you one or you want to send me one, just e-mail me and I'll give you my addy and vice versa! :) It's good to get mail. I'm not posted my addy here for the sake of internet safety, but I know most people at the notebook, so I don't mind giving it out over E-mail as long as I recognize you. :) After almost 4 years of being here, I consider the notebook kind of like a second family. I'm like the kid who leaves occasionally comming back for food (inspiration) - nah, I like all of you! :)

Well, I think that's about it for me! :)
Take care everyone and to all the Americans out there - Happy Thanksgiving (in 2 days :D)

Allein Peachick's Gallery 11-27-2002 1:50

What I want to know is WHEN did they stop showing color cartoons at movies and start advertising COKE????

Personally I much preferred the color cartoon.

Oh and Yang - shove it up your ying!!

Jerry 11-27-2002 0:28

I wonder if Yang even knows he's posting here?

howard 11-26-2002 20:44

Hi All :)

Oh, how I do love coming in here and reading entries that spark my own memories or just simply make me laugh. The lawnmower and the moose pulled my spirits up nicely, thank you!

Christine - welcome, come on in, the water is just the right temperature thanks to all these warm hearts.

I just spent a wonderful weekend with my Mom. Mom bakes Christmas cookies every year. She makes enough to give as gifts to every single family relative and to the pastor, the chefs at her two favorite restaurants, several of her comapanies primary customers ... and who knows who else! She used to make enough to sell, but we put the kabosh on that when she kept getting sick on Christmas day due to exhaustion. She's now down to 16 varities totalling approx. 3,000 cookies. And yes, she does keep an accurate count by watching every nibbler coming in the door very closely. This was my year to refresh my memory on how to make these cookies and learn the new ones. I pulled a goodie though. The very first batch I made I goofed up. The recipe called for 2 pounds of butter. I'm in the habit of thinking in terms of cups, not pounds. They were a bit dry and hard, but we baked them anyways, creating a new cookie. hehehehe Then I remade the batch properly - and they turned out just like Mom's!

I spent our off time in the evening copying down all of Mom's cookie recipes (with the amounts for larger batches). Now I hope to compile a recipe book for all the family members to have for the future.

Now - its time to get back to my writing!

Have a great day everyone, whether its writing, experiencing life or making cookies. :D

Carol 11-26-2002 15:59

WELCOME, Christine!
This is a perfect place to recharge those inspirational batteries and find other understanding loners....I mean writers. :oD

Heather 11-26-2002 14:44

Thank you all for the great welcome! I have found the biggest problem with being a writer is the isolation. I love what I do, but I also love to be around others...I thrive on that energy that only comes from interacting.

Lately, however, I have found myself locked in my office, desperately trying to finish a biography and begin a second one. I am thankful for the work, believe me, but I would like some more time with my family and maybe even a little time to work on MY stuff. Whenever I do have a little time and think about working on my novel or a short story, I just can't seem to find that creative spark that I once had. Is it gone forever? I really hope not. Hopefully it is just a slow period, and my muse has not taken up residence elsewhere.

Christine 11-26-2002 13:51


Elaine: I was walking down the shop the other day and I saw someone with the T-shirt written with "Till Niagra Falls" on it. I immediately thought about it.
You weren't in Kalgoorlie last week were you? LOL

Litter: Good luck with your Sci Fi novel... Question for you... How'd you do it. Did you start everything from scratch or did you expand on other Sci Fi technology?

Christine: Enjoy your stay here and Welcome

Everybody: I hope things are going well... And that you all are drawing inspiration from wherever you need to draw it from... And hope y'all are gearing up for another Christmas.

Sorry haven't been on lately. Been socially active and busy lately. Just wanted to drop in.

Taylor 11-26-2002 11:02


Elaine: I was walking down the shop the other day and I saw someone with the T-shirt written with "Till Niagra Falls" on it. I immediately thought about it.
You weren't in Kalgoorlie last week were you? LOL

Litter: Good luck with your Sci Fi novel... Question for you... How'd you do it. Did you start everything from scratch or did you expand on other Sci Fi technology?

Christine: Enjoy your stay here and Welcome

Everybody: I hope things are going well... And that you all are drawing inspiration from wherever you need to draw it from... And hope y'all are gearing up for another Christmas.

Sorry haven't been on lately. Been socially active and busy lately. Just wanted to drop in.

Taylor 11-26-2002 11:01

CHRISTINE -- Welcome! And be prepared to talk/write about anything and everything! Stephen King wrote about a "Christine" once -- neat story!

LITTER -- Thanks! Those underline tags work just fine, as long as you remember to put the <./u> tag in when you want it to stop. (Adding the . after the opening < allows you to put the tag in for display purposes without actually executing it)

JERRY -- es, heroes change, but the old ones are still remembered -- and missed. Check my website for "Hoppy's Gone" sung by Roger Miller and you'll see what I mean. RANDALL (and anyone else) you'd like it too. It's at

See y'all later!!!!

howard 11-26-2002 7:24

Hi All.

Just another drive by posting.

HOWARD – Just caught up with the news – excellent news indeed! (But I see you are still using those dangerous underline tags…)

Right now, I’m sweating over my sci-fi novel. If the publisher is true to form, I should be hearing from them within the next few days – prayers, crossed fingers, good vibes, and positive thoughts are all welcomed.

Back soon

Litter 11-25-2002 20:51

Hi all!

Christine, welcome welcome welcome. :-)

Randall, I liked your story, but I liked the previous post about 'Oh Brother' better. Very thoughtful. Showing your true colours from beneath that semi-redneck exterior ;-)

Viv, January is just 37 sleeps away. I'm waiting too.

Christi, I got your email and I want to announce to everyone that You Are A Sweetie. You really perked me up just when I needed it. Can't wait to meet you in person in January.

Allein, erg. You reminded me of all the holiday stuff I haven't done yet, and don't know when I will! Erg. So much to do.

Can someone refresh my memory please? There was a tiny little book recommended on here many moons ago, an inspirational book for writers. I got it from the library, loved it, gave it back and now for the life of me can't remember the title. Help!

Blue skies!

Tina 11-25-2002 20:17

Hi Everyone!

I have been reading your posts and you seem like a wonderful group of writers! I wonder if I may invade your circle and join your conversations.

For now, I have an interview to do, so I must be off. Looking forward to sharing with you.


Christine 11-25-2002 13:51

(SIGH) I don't have much to say. I'm tired, it's an evil Monday, (aren't MOnday's always evil?) I have a project in Chemistry due tomorrow a project in German due today, plus I'm working 4 and a half (or so) hours at work. Could it get any worse? I take it back, it just started to snow.

Sorry all, that was my monday complaining spiel. I think I'm done with the complaining...I haven't slept enough! Okay now i'm done. How are all the rest of yous? (New York, Chicago accent) Other than my complaints, I am just peachy (as in Georgia) I have to get going on that German project other wise I would stay and chat, but I can't so I'm not going to.

Oh, by the way, RANDALL: nice post about yard clean-up, It made me smile.

Till Niagara Falls!

Elaine 11-25-2002 12:08

Evening all,

Was wondering if anyone else caught the Tony Hillerman movie on PBS tonight. I guess it must have been taken from his first book because Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn met for the first time and Leaphorn's wife was still alive, though sick. I thought the movie was excellent. Couldn't say how close to the book it was because it's been years since I read the first one. I did remember a lot of bits and pieces from 'The Skinwalker' and really enjoyed it. A nice surprise because Sunday night on TV is usually a complete loss.

Loved the yardwork story Randall. I mowed again last week and told the grass it was almost December and it could just cut-it-out.

bye for now,

Rosemary 11-24-2002 23:53

Great stuff Randall - maybe Outdoor Live or one of those magazines would scarf that story up, in fact from what you've posted here, they'd probably give you a column.

Did you ever notice your hero's change as you age? It came to me tonight, as I was surfing the channels on TV attempting to find something, anything worth wasting my time watching, when I came across a program showing the big trucks, and motor graders building roads. I realized I used to think those guys who drove those big machines had the best job in the world. When I was but a little guy, and used to go to visit my cousin Kenny who lived on a farm south of here, we would spend hours, days even building little roads on the bank of the old basement left over from their first farm house (the new one was just a few yards away.) We'd build the roads, even blasted banks and rocks out of the way with firecrackers left over from some Fourth of July in the past. Oh how we dreamed of running those big machines, Ken had the full set of Tonka Toy Trucks, graders, Uke's the whole lot.

Ken eventually found his way to that dream job, and still works at it now, I, however followed a different path, yet there are days when I wished I had gone with him. But at any rate, now I don't see them as hero's anymore, and that was a disappointment when I realized it tonight.

Guess I should invite Ken and his good wife over for cards one of these days, funny how you grow apart when you grow up, haven't said more then hi to Ken since we moved back, yet when we were young, we were inseparable. I spent several summers at his farm, he stayed in town and went to High School with me, stayed in our house in fact till that fateful day when I met the wife, and while I should have been standing watch, as our "crew" burglarized the Country Club, I was parked with the wife watching submarine races. That night, my brother-in-law pulled their car over for some minor infraction, I don't recall what it was, but saw a case of Cutty Sark in the back seat. The wheels began spinning in his head, and he had to wonder what a bunch of seventeen year old boys were doing with a case of fairly good Scotch. His curiosity led him to do a full search of the car finding a couple more cases in the trunk as well as several cases of beer.

Now the burglary had yet to be discovered, but the B-I-L arrested them all an investigation discovered the burglary, and Ken went to jail with another of his cousins and our best friend Dennis. I on the other hand, had a super reason to be thankful for meeting the wife, and things just got better as we continued seeing each other, but that's another story...

My B-I-L did inform me that he knew I probably would have been with the guys, but he never mentioned it till just a few years ago when we were out hunting deer.

Jerry 11-24-2002 21:56

RANDALL: That little yard-work story was a SCREECH!!! You REALLY should submit that one as a humorous filler for any magazine (maybe COSMOS would take it, heh heh!). :-]

HOWARD: Those WD books sound like good 'uns. I recently purchased BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamont, another good 'un! :-)

CAROL, CHERI: May golden-rayed muses fly into your pens and keep you both writing! :-) Thanks for sharing...

ALL: May the seeds of inspiration plant themselves in your mental gardens today and grow like wildfire! Corral those fingers onto a keyboard or lasso a pen while they're hot! :-]

Mel 11-24-2002 7:41


Hi guys and girls and all the rest, like Mary Ann!

My neighbors! What a bunch of weirdos! Sure they get out in their front yard and work, raking leaves, mowing and trimming in the fall. But let me get out in my yard doing the same thing and they seem to believe it's a big thing!

"Hey Randall ... thought you only raked pecan tree leaves once a decade!"

"Say! Randall, your house really is white! I could never really tell with the height of the weeds in the front and all!"

"Wow! Look out boys, Randall's raking leaves. Sure to be a blue moon tonight!"

I knew something was afoot about midmorning today. I had a leaf rake and a box of plastic trash bags on the porch. I was digging thru priceless, (and I mean PRICE LESS) antiques my wife carelessly discards in the garage, trying to find the lawnmower. Sure enough there it was hidden underneath my wife's collection of 1980 Cosmopolitan magazines. Wonder if the girls on the magazine cover ever had to rake and mow a lawn? But then, why should they? I know if my wife wore something slinky like the Victoria's Secrets teddy's they wore, why I ... oh, hell, forget it.

After pouring in a gallon of engine oil and a gallon of gasoline the infernal machine almost started ... after 500 pulls on the rope. During the lengthy process, in which I rearranged several vertebrae in my lower spine, I managed to sprain both knees, send my belly into convulsions, offend numerous saints in Heaven and made the demon hierarchy in Hell blush in astonishment. I noted several neighbors gathering across the street. Some wiseacre shouted at me. "Hey Randall ... need a mechanic or an ambulance or a priest?!"

"All of the above!" I muttered, ignoring the howls of laughter. I removed and cleaned the air filter several times. They just don't make the air filters the way they used too. I mean the thing was brand new only 10 years ago! I finally used a spray can of engine starting fluid, read ether, gave a mighty pull on a badly frayed cotton rope and the old veteran mower farted louder, leaped farther and died deader than anything I ever saw. Another generous squirt of ether (The legendary start or blow up philosophy!) and it settled into an internal combusted rhythm much like a WWI Jenny after being shot to doll rags by the Bloody Red Baron. But it was running. I should receive a letter from the EPA next week, but the mosquito problem in Central Texas should be negligible for the next decade.

This seemed to settle down the crowd of gawkers across the street. Of course it could have been the lawn chairs and beer cooler which had appeared among them. During all of this clamor, my wife and daughter appeared on the front porch, glanced at my tortured face ... correctly guessed Dad's mental condition, mentally reviewed the historical record relating to the above and went back in the house. Minutes later my daughter emerged with a bottle of Jack Daniels and a handful of Valium. She's a real cutup!!!

Discarding the leaf rake and trash bag's approach to fall fun I shoved the power lever fully forward, jerked the frayed, felt cowboy hat down on my head and entered the world of November leaf control. A brown world of swirling leaves, clouds of dust, pecan twigs spinning away, exhaust fumes and a roaring lawn mower of 1.5 horsepower. Halfway through the yard I noted our cat sprinting from across the street. An errant limb tagged her from under the mower, she flipped in mid air, never missed a beat and streaked into the garage followed by a loud crash. (Snicker!)

We have two very large pecan trees in the front ... and they dump pounds (if not tons) of dead leaves and small pecans and twigs every fall. And brother, when I mulch, I mulch everything. Through the swirling dust and debris storm I saw my next door neighbor sprint for this brand new pickup in the driveway and hastily park it down the street. The guy never learns. Like last year ... who would have guessed that a rotten pecan twig could go through the front fender of his wife's Cadillac like that? I thought it should have been turned into Ripley's Believe it or Not. He muttered something about homicide and a shotgun before she pulled him into the house.

An hour later I saw a glowing object before me. It was the muffler on the mower, glowing a bright red. Rather than start a fire that might transform the neighborhood into a scene from REIGN OF FIRE, I removed the bandana from my face and coasted to a stop with a resounding backfire. As the dust settled, I was surprised at the direction I was facing. Glancing across the street I noted the gang so happy before I started to mow were now in a garage and glowering at me. Must have been that pesky south wind that settled the dust cloud on their party. (Giggle!)

Well now! Looks like I'll just sit here in this garage and "review" some of them old Cosmos. Anyone knows you should let a lawn mower engine cool down before piling priceless antiques on top of it for the year. Especially magazines full of scantily dressed girls pouting at the camera! Sometimes I just hate my behavior! But not near enough to change ... (GRIN)


Viv ... the above is mostly fiction, this is not. My daughters rite of passage ... my wife woke me up about 3AM this morning and said "Sara is in the emergency room!" I don't even remember getting dressed! We were there in minutes, as the hospital is close. I walked into the room and she was throwing her guts up, there is no other word for it. And it was Vodka. 20 years old ... straight A student in HS and a sophomore in college ... wants to be a banker. But she was with friends ... one guy was in the Army headed to the Middle East and he got her to drink, according to her friend, three shots of vodka. I would guess more ...

LONG PAUSE ... My thoughts? Well, it hasn't soaked in yet I suppose (no pun) There is just so much a parent can do in preparing their children for the world. If you don't have it right when they turn 18 ... The scary part is a lot of the world has to be learned hands on. The nurses gave her IV's and after 3 hours sent her home. She is devastated ... I told her this morning ... it happens. Learn from your mistakes and leave the stuff alone. Well, that didn't work with me or my brother when we were teenagers ... we drank anyway. Mom and dad handled it, though it must of hurt them. If I have learned anything in this world, anything at all, the most basic lesson is that the circle always closes. What shit you deal out will eventually come back like a ripple in a pond. I will always be there for my children, no matter what they do.

Howard ... thanks for the sites! John Hartford, as I have said many times here ... GENTLE ON MY MIND is a song waiting to be a novel.

Jerry ... You're right about the CNN nerve gas story. I believe Bernard Shaw ... retired?

Viv ... Randall Henderson ... 2203-Southside Drive ... Brownwood, Texas 76801 (Grin) XL (Sometimes the water hereabouts make my clothes shrink!) Anything that says Japan or Tokyo and I will send you a T from Texas.

Randall 11-23-2002 23:20

We took our four older grandkids to se "The Santa Clause 2" tonight -- you're right, Jerry, it's a hoot!

howard 11-23-2002 22:21

The State of South Dakota came up with a unique idea, a clean up South Dakota campaign. Part of the program involves a State Wrecking Crew that travel from city to city demolishing old abandoned buildings. They visited here this week. Main Street is now absent several of the old three story buildings, one of which housed the first apartment that me and the wife lived in, on the side streets, the first house that we lived in, in town when I was a kid went, along with a bunch of other dilapidated buildings.

Many are sad to see the old landmarks go, but they had lived out their usefulness, many were filled with asbestos and unusable. Several folks are angry because the Mayor's old building on Main Street was among those demolished but I don't see their point. It was free to the City, so long as the City agreed to haul off the rubble once the deed was done. My sister was very upset over the old house we once lived in but it was vacant since the old fellow who owned it passed away over twenty years ago, and was about to fall down of it's own accord.

We can only hope that someone will come along and put another building up where those once stood but that will only happen if the economy bounces back.

It used to be that war was good for the economy, as those making the implements of war flourished, and I guess we are already seeing some of that, saw a report on one of the news shows about one smart bomb plant that hired on new shifts so they can work around the clock producing the very expensive ammunition. I doubt that we'll see any of the profit here about though since the only factory's here produce silver and gold rings and things and copper wall hangings.

Jerry 11-23-2002 10:59

We went to see "The Santa Clause 2" last night, I haven't laughed so much in years, quite a show.

Randall & Howard - you two are talking about some of my favorite music too, must be something about growing up when such music was popular.

The weatherman (DAMN HIM!) tells us that our Indian Summer is over, at least for a while, yesterday was in the 60's today it's only supposed to get in the 30's tomorrow in the teens with snow. Well we enjoyed it while it was here.

I was visiting with my barber yesterday as she cut my hair, we got to talking about Fox News, and how it would be nice if we could get it here, she told me a story that FOX was un-ethical because they did a story on how they entered restricted air space here in the US with a small private plane and flew there for hours unchallenged, then it was reveled that they had permission from the government to do this and that's why they were unchallenged. Ok so that might have happened, yet I haven't heard of it, maybe because we don't get FOX news, yet you would think that the Clinton News Network, or Always Been Clinton, or one of the other Clinton networks would have had orgasms while reporting such a story.

Then I mentioned the story by Bernard Shaw on CNN about the US using nerve gas against deserters in Cambodia, the one that got Shaw fired from CNN and gave CNN a black eye, she said that that never happened, because she didn't see it.

Was I dreaming or something? Didn't that happen like last year or the year before?

Jerry 11-23-2002 10:22

Randall: Can't wait to hear about your daughter's rite of passage. I have a 21 year old daughter. I'll bet she's done exactly the same thing, only I didn't recognize it as a rite of passage. As far as the moose, it was not me with the crossbow! I did not hit the moose I shot at. (Somehow this sounds like Clinton.) I can definitely get you a Tokyo tee-shirt. I'll look for something that has an obsene message in Japanese printed on it. Something like Baka Baka Chin-chin nami nami.

Allein: If you know that, don't tell. It's not exactly what you'd expect someone my age to say, much less know. I learned it from my sophomore writing class. Tonight I'm feeling a little sophomoric...sophomoronic? Welcome home and have a great holiday. I know exactly how that feels. I'm also counting the days until vacation. Will January NEVER COME????

Viv 11-23-2002 10:11

RANDALL -- You really got me thinking about John Hartford -- he really was one of my all-time favorite singer/performer/composers. I found the official JH website at
and there's a whole raft of information there.

I found that his wife passed away on 12/30/2001 -- that would have ben his 64th birthday -- two days after what would have been their 21st wedding anniversary.

I guess I must be in a nostalgic mood lately -- I'm finding lots of stuff from the "Goodle Days." That's another one of John's songs, by the way -- "Back In The Goodle Days."

He, as well as Roger Miller and Mason Williams, wrote many of what you termed as "story songs." You may remember Williams from the old Smothers Brothers show. He wrote "Classical Gas" as well.

howard 11-23-2002 9:54

RANDALL -- one of my favorites -- besides John Hartford -- is Roger Miller. Remember "Dang Me" and "Husbands and Wives?" I found a whole bunch of his lyrics at
Also have a lot of them in mp3 format.

howard 11-23-2002 8:33

RANDALL -- no, I didn't mean that "Man of Constant Sorrow" was written by John Hartford. The version on my page was performed by John Hartford. It's a much older tune than that -- dates way back to the 19th century or early 20th century. Bob Dylan performed it as well.

I'll put up a jpg of John Hartford taken I think) shortly before he died in 2001.

howard 11-23-2002 7:57


Howard ... I'm shocked. GENTLE ON MY MIND is a favorite song of nine. And now I find the same man wrote CONSTANT SORROW!

Why am I up at this hour. My 20 year old daughter had to go through a rite of passage. More later, but she is okay.


Randall 11-23-2002 5:38

p.s. After trying to run down the Chinese bozo and the errant html tag, I will just archive sometime tomorrow and cull out the problematic stuff. Take care everyone. Good writing and happy holidays.

Jack Beslanwitch 11-23-2002 3:41

Hello all: Have been a bit busy with some web design duties and some diving. I will get to the Notebook sometime tomorrow and expunge the Chinese bastard and start checking to see if there is some way to block him. It may involve a new version of tdforum. However, in the mean time I will cut his content. Little tired right now. Off to bed. BTW, saw Harry Potter in cinerama and loved it. Looking forward to the Two Towers in the same format.

Jack Beslanwitch 11-23-2002 3:31

RANDALL -- I put up an instrumental version of "Constant Sorrow" on my page
It's by John Hartford -- the same guy who wrote "Gentle on my Mind."

howard 11-23-2002 0:30

Tired...**plops down on couch**

We worked 4 days this week - usually we only do three. Luckily next week we only work 2 days because of Thanksgiving, which I'm really looking forward to. :) Christmas is just around the corner and I got my shopping done early!! YAY!!!

I'm reading The Mists of Avalon right now - it's a really good book, I'm about 250 pages in and can't put it down! Well...I can but don't want to. :D

That's all from me for now. :)

Allein Peachick's Gallery 11-22-2002 21:26



Many thanks for the kind words about "Old Moose!" As Jerry said Moose can get in the way and a story about 44 million in one state was too good to pass up! Howard I remember a story about an elk in Estes Park, Colorado, a giant animal, a pet, shot by a dorkweed with a crossbow and killed. Thanks Viv and, say, how about a T-Shirt from Tokyo? Hum?

Creative writing and author style and how too and why not ...

I read song lyrics. Most of you have read posts of mine related along that line. The best song story I know is GENTLE ON MY MIND sung (sang? singed?) by Glenn Campbell. I also referenced ELUSIVE BUTTERFLY by Bob Lind on a post last year. ... FLY ME TO THE MOON is haunting and the meaning somewhat mystical (might that be musical?) CATCH THE WIND by Donovan is way too short in prose for me, but delightful nevertheless. There are others, Bobby Dylan is a great source! Annnnnnnnnnnnd it is fun to find these musical stories hidden behind a full orchestra and a set of drums. Or foksy banjos!

And this is related to what, Randall? Well, I'm glad you asked! We ALL have a style of telling a story. As per Heather and my recent posts ... I prefer the document style, plenty of facts thrown in to make the fiction believable, however improbable it is. I like a lot in a story, something I can get my mind into. But sometimes this expansion in a tale drags on too long.

Now class :-) let's consider the following song/story ... Okay, okay so I'm preaching to the choir. (GRIN) This song, from the movie O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU is different. The song writer bemoans a series of problems one poor soul is having in life. Why, one might ask, should we listen to another's problems? Where is the song/story headed? A simple melody or a meaningful song. To me this is the beauty part...not till the last line do all the other versus gain meaning. Fulfilment ... dare I say, testimony to faith? The last frigging line for crying out loud. To be exact the last three words ... Could this be another definition of ... past is prologue?

Would the song be just as meaningful had the last line been the first? How much power lies in a sentence? Placement? "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." So, where does the "power line" lie in a story? Keeping in mind content matters but quality is better than quantity. One line at the start for definition, a series of thought provoking sentences throughout, or one line at the end when there is no other place too go? This would hint that readers should have the intelligence to remember what they had read and make appropriate connections.

Would you like to write a short story, or perhaps a novel where only at the last line ... the entire manuscript snaps into focus like the Hubble telescope on a clear night?


"(In constant sorrow through his days)
I am a man of constant sorrow
I've seen trouble all my day
I bid farewell to old Kentucky
The place where I was born and raised
(The place where he was born and raised)

For six long years I've been in trouble
No pleasures here on earth I found
For in this world I'm bound to ramble
I have no friends to help me now.
(He has no friends to help him now)

It's fare thee well my old lover
I never expect to see you again
For I'm bound to ride that northern railroad
Perhaps I'll die upon this train.
(Perhaps he'll die upon this train)

You can bury me in some deep valley
For many years where I may lay
Then you may learn to love another
While I am sleeping in my grave
(While he is sleeping in his grave)

Maybe you friends think I'm just a stranger
My face you'll never see no more
But there is one promise that is given
I'll meet you on God's golden shore
(He'll meet you on God's golden shore)"



Randall 11-22-2002 20:34

VIV -- will do!

MEL -- I just received two books from WD Book Club (though I don't remember the flier -- I usually return it so they don't send the book) -- Andrei G Aleinikov's MEGA Creativity -- Five Steps to Thinking Like A Genius and The Creative Writer's Style Guide -- Rules and Advice for Writing Fiction and Creative Nonfiction by Christopher T Leland. They look interesting -- especially the last one...

howard 11-22-2002 13:46

I was surfing through the notebook and I found the hobbit name site. I went there and found out that I was a Tigerlily and then I forgot it. they also had an elvish name for me and I forgot my first name but my last name is Elendil. Sorry if I'm just jumping all over the place, but THAT'S REALLY COOL!!! I'm going to go back there and find out the rest of my Hobbit and my Elvish name.
Till Niagara Falls!

Elaine 11-22-2002 12:26

Howard: Will send prayers your direction and I'll bet that story will be a hit. Let us know all about it!

Carol: Very quiet on your side of the street. All I hear is the tapping of fingers on the keyboard. Will join you tomorrow. Have only a little to send, but it's something. Wow is Pommes fun to write.

Viv 11-22-2002 7:37

Randall - We used to get a moose or two in town up in New Rockford back when I was Chief there. It was always our job to heard them out of town before they ate all the gardens (as they loved to do) or ran over some old Grandma who was chasing them out her yard with a broom. Oh it was exciting, you ever tried to make a wild moose do something he doesn't want to do, not an easy task and to top it off, the damn newspaper was usually the first or second to get the call (we were usually first or so we liked to think) so if you did anything stupid like get knocked on your ass by a pissed off moose, your picture was sure to be on the front page of the Transcript (I was always lucky enough not to get in that position, however one of our officers wasn't that lucky but that's a different story altogether).

Once saw a moose take on a Soo line freight train, lucky for the moose the train wasn't going that fast, and was able to stop before it made moose burger on the rails. Damn moose took off after the train like it was his long lost cow or something, the engineer put the train in R and backed away, but the bull kept charging. After he hit that engine, he bounced back shook his head and ran off to the north. The train began it's journey east again, but the engineer and fireman were sure to have a story for their kids that night. It was the luck of the moose that the train had just started up from attaching more cars in town so was traveling rather slow at the time. It was the biggest traffic jam I saw since I left the DC area though, looked like every car going either way spotted the fight of beast against man's strongest invention, you could hear a cheer when the moose ran away, everyone was rooting for him, well everybody but that engineer I'm sure, he probably had to empty his shorts, but I'd be guessing since I never got a chance to ask the fellow and I doubt that he would have admitted it at any rate.

Jerry 11-22-2002 0:29

RANDALL -- Thanks for the moose story! We don't see too many of them this far southwest of the Adirondacks, but occasionally one does pass through. We had one a few years ago that the news reported on for a couple of weeks, with daily progress reports on his journey. Then one of our local idiots -- lives about 10 miles from here -- had to shoot the poor critter "in self defense," with a .44 pistol. The judge wondered why, if it was self defense, was the moose shot from above and behind? The guy was heavily fined, all hunting and fishing privileges (as well as his pistol permit) were revoked, and I think he even did some jail time.

VIV -- It's slow going, but I've got a couple of ideas for a story for Chelsea.

howard 11-21-2002 22:28

Thanks, Viv - so long as the original is there, GREAT!!!! I don't mind a re-worked beginning, either, but if I remember correctly, I didn't find the opener dragging.

Ta ta, all; have a scintillating evening!

Heather 11-21-2002 22:17

Randall: Once again you've made me laugh. Nothing like a moose story. There's something about the word's a sobriquet that fits the animal. We have talk shows with giveaways on the radio over here in Tokyo and I think that qualifies as big city. There's nothing better than going crazy dialing your telephone to win a stupid tee-shirt.

Heather: Hope to get the story off to you by Sunday. Want to experiment with a different beginning. Don't like the way this one drags. Will send original and copy on Sunday so you can choose.

Howard: Congratulations! I'm glad it's not cancer but emphasyma isn't so great either. Hope it all turns out to be nothing and you are here a lot longer. How's the story coming for your young friend at church? I'll bet you write her a good one.

Viv 11-21-2002 19:15


Thank you, Tina - and it looks like I can send text attachments after all. I test-ran 'Daniel' as an attachment to Mark, and it worked!
So there are three of us on that story like a cat on a three-legged mouse....

...wolf on a rabbit....

Oh, okay, it's not like we're going to bite gaping holes into it!

Thanks Cheri and Sunny for telling us about your childhood writings and inspirations.
My mother was a math teacher, so she was kind of pulling for me to get into scientific and mathematical professions. She felt that any art wouldn't pay enough to eat for a day, let alone a week. Her mother hounded her constantly for having a 'man's job' and keeping a man from 'being able to feed his family because you took his job'. So my grandmother thinks freelancing is an excellent choice - I won't be stealing away any MEN'S jobs... (Ooooh, I could smack her sometimes) and my mom thinks that the possibility of becoming published is like a needle in a haystack, so better have another career picked out and ready. In fact, why not just go for that career and forget art altogether, since it's just a HOBBY?
Smack for you, too, Ma.

That's what we all want, isn't it? Someone we look up to to tell us that we SHOULD chase our dreams, and keep on working toward those goals, no matter the odds. And I'm not talking the dream mother inserted about being some lab technician behind a locked door in a weeny lab somewhere in a hospital's back hall.
Well, it would be nice. It would be grand.
But only one person can convince you the beans are worth the grind. YOU.

And don't try letters to Santa, I hear he gets his elves to go through the slush pile! ;oD

Heather 11-21-2002 11:39

Howard, that's great news!

Jerry, I used to get a kick watching the neighbourhood cats strut up to the catnip and roll in it. The glassy look in their eyes was too funny!

Heather, okay I remember that. I will continue my rewrite.

Cheri, a shame that you didn't have the early encouragement, but it's a testament to the strength of your muse that are doing it now. That's great!

Blue skies.

Tina 11-20-2002 22:14

That's supposed to be "that's the reason I BOUGHT those books."


Cheri 11-20-2002 21:19

Sunny – The books I bought are “A Writer’s Workbook” by Caroline Sharp and “If you can talk, you can write” by Joel Saltzman. I haven’t started really reading them yet, but what I’ve skimmed looks interesting.

Heather - I’ve been writing on and off (mostly off) since sophomore or junior year of high school. Unfortunately, I was never motivated or encouraged to chose a career when I was a kid. My mother’s idea of a good career was, and still is, being a mother. I always dreamed of being a mother and wife and that was all I aimed for at that time. My luckiest break in life came when I met my husband. He showed me how much more there was to life than just being a mom and/or wife. Now that I am a mom and wife, it’s a lot harder to try new things. About a year and a half ago, my husband and I started taking Tae Kwon Do. It’s been fun and helps us to get in shape. But it takes time away from other things I want to do…i.e. writing.
Most of my writing is in fits and starts, not much of the actual finished product. That’s the reason I book the books on writing. I’m hoping it will help me to finish what I start.

Hope this didn’t sound too rambling.

Great writing to all and to all a good night!

Cheri 11-20-2002 21:13



Hump day! (Ah, the work week is half over.)

Howard, that's great!!! Made my year! I dedicate this tail (grin) to you old friend!

A local radio station occasionally conducts over the air contests. A lot of rural stations do these things. Big cities as well I suppose. They give away free tickets to a movie or a case of soft drinks or a pound of grass. You know, small town things.

Anyway, I was on an early morning delivery and one of these contests was ongoing. Their question; "North Carolina has more of these than any other state. Nearly 44 million. What is it?"

You know, you have to wonder about some people. Someone called in and guessed deer. Well, that wasn't it but one of the DJ's said. "Well, that was close, but no."

44 million deer? In one state? The next person guessed pine trees. No. Then people. No! Cows. NO! Mules? No! Then some cracker with a keen sense of Randall humor brought the whole show to a sliding, screeching stop.

Moose? MOOSE? I nearly wrecked the delivery pickup. MOOSE! 44 million Moose in North Carolina? :-) In Texas the white-tail deer population is estimated at 3.5 million. 44 million Moose in Texas would be a disaster! In a smaller state like NC... can you imagine? A full-grown Moose can approach 1500 pounds, 6 feet at the shoulder, horns 6 feet wide, bulls even larger!

"Attention all employees. Now some of you are straggling in late for your shift. The excuse that a Moose was blocking your front door, another Moose blocking the driveway, a herd of Moose on the highway or you couldn't find a parking spot for the Moose standing around is no longer valid. You must leave a little early to allow for the Moose overpopulation we are currently experiencing. The annual award banquet has been canceled because the park is now a Moose calving ground. Thank you. Now will someone come and remove the Moose from the hallway outside my office."

Car repair and body shop owners would be driven to work in chauffeured driven limos. Car insurance rates would soar into the stratosphere, nearly as high as they are now. Insurance company executives would be buying small nations, trying to avoid taxes. Bus line service would include a driver and a herder, a person who jumps out and shoos Moose off the road. Train service slows to a crawl and would include a dozed herders to shoo Moose off the tracks. Moose Removal employee unions would threaten to strike unless they were given incentive pay and 100% hospital and injury coverage. Moose proof fence construction firms would be buying insurance companies and evicting them from small nations.

"Now attention shoppers. At the back of the store we are conducting a seminar on non lethal Moose removal. As Moose are protected under Federal guidelines and the Moose hunting season has been reduced to eight hours ... there are plenty of Moose for everybody. Our kit includes a genuine plastic, super sized air horn, with extra "combat load" air cartridges, all pressurized to 1000 pounds per square inch. When you touch this baby off the Moose will leave for your neighbor's yard believe me! Also included are two, genuine Amazon tribal blow guns, made in Singapore, with a dozen darts, non lethal of course. Finally a pamphlet teaching fundamental Moose charge avoidance techniques, rapid running maneuvers, clever dodging techniques, brisk tree climbing recommendations, inhale and exhale suggestions and what to do and not do as you reload your blow gun on the run. As a bonus all local hospitals, chiropractor and doctor offices and 911 phone numbers are included."

In the capitol the governor sits at his desk head in hands. "How much?"

"Well sir, Texas said they would take 2,000 Moose at $1,000 apiece."

"Wow! Way to go Texas! We get rid of 2,000 Moose and they pay us a $1,000 each!"

"Uh, not exactly Governor. We, ah, have to pay them a $1,000 each to take the Moose."

"Ask them would they take another 2,000 next week?"

44 million Moose. I know a few local meat and horn hunters who would leave last week if NC had that many Moose on hand. But, alas, in today's environment of animal rights ... well Moose would be doing Moose things and left alone ... to roam.



OH! The correct answer? I have no idea. I made a delivery and when I returned to the pickup the contest was over. So ... what does NC have 44 million of that no other state has?

Randall 11-20-2002 21:08

Tina - ours is a home grown product too, not that we planted it or anything, just grows wild in the back yard. Our daughter's cat used to attack our feet when we had walked through it too, back when she and her cats lived with us. That's how we discovered it growing back there, after a few attacks, our daughter went to investigate and found the patches.

Jerry 11-20-2002 19:21

Howard -- :-)
way to go!!!

Sunny 11-20-2002 17:56

Who says prayer doesn't work?!? I saw the surgeon this morning, and had a long discussion with him. He convinced me that I don't need surgery -- that the "tumors" reported by the radiologist and the other doctor are not really tumors at all -- only fibrous tissue that most likely will not cause any problems in the forseeable future. He said that given my family history (no cancer) and all that, he would recommend repeating the scan in 2-3 months to be on the safe side, and taking it from there. The breathing difficulties are primarily from the emphysema (which would further complicate surgery) and the surgery would not do anything for that anyway.
So, I'm around for a while longer!


Thanks again for prayers and good vibes!

howard 11-20-2002 16:36

A belated hello to CHERI and DAN! Anyone that I missed? Well, a belated welcome and hello to you too! I was sick yesterday, otherwise I would have written and said hello and welcome sooner. As for all the talk about writing, Don't give up, don't give in, and yes I'm dreaming of becoming an author and I've had that dream since I started my first big project during my 6th grade summer. 5 years have passed since then (WHOA! FIVE YEARS!!!! who would ever think I was that young...) and I still want to become a published author. Luckily for me, I've had a lot of friends telling me that I should get published (after they've read my poems of course) and that there is no reason for me not to since they believe that I'm talented. I'm going to finish typing my poems up so that I at least have them all together and typed. I'd type more now, but my wits and wrists are hurting and nothing witty is coming to me. so happy writing today all!
Till Niagara Falls!

Elaine 11-20-2002 12:21

Heather - You know that's the first time anyone's ever asked me that question! Hmmnn... When I was a kid I loved to write poetry, but by high school I had somehow convinced myself that I wasn't a real writer. I always journaled though, so I guess I developed my own voice somewhere along the line, and decided to try it out a few years ago in a weekly newsletter I send to friends, family and business clients. (I had released How To Be Organized in Spite of Yourself originally in 1989, and it was updated in a 10 year anniversary edition. But I did that along with a "professional" writer, so I didn't think it counted.;-) Anyway, the newletters have been a big hit, and a number of readers persuaded me to try to turn them into a book. It's been a struggle, even with an already successful book behind me, but I've persevered, and finally have an opportunity to create something meaningful for a larger audience. The funny thing is, I have the same doubts and uncertainties that I had as a kid. Only now I know that they're normal. The gift is when I hit that "flow" space and look up and find that two hours have gone by. I have good days and not so good days, and horrible days as far as the writing goes, but the love I had for it as a kid is still with me. It's part of who I am and I accept it as a gift that I can share, whether I publish or not. Thanks to you, and everyone here for sharing your own experiences. They're more of a help than you know. :-)

Sunny 11-20-2002 11:02

Tina - you aren't alone! But do kick that guilt in the pants. Art, whether it be writing or sculpture, painting or verse... is what has given life definition, shape, meaning; would we want to live in a world rotating solely for the sake of the almighty dollar? Yet even money wags the work of artists.

Heather 11-20-2002 9:29

Hi Tina - actually, you had mentioned that you thought I would want to shorten it! The initial edits are really just for the 'feel' of the piece and of course, to catch typos and grammatical errors, etc. I really hadn't worried about the length until I had everything printed out and found that 'Daniel' is so long I had trouble deciding where to place it in the list. Then I thought about whether or not there was anything 'cuttable', and just after the opening was the only real 'slow section' in the piece. Tina, it is a cool story. No worries there! I thought I would try to mention a few areas to work on in the NB in case I couldn't send a proper email ever again! LOL
I didn't mean to put you on the spot, either. Sorry about that!

Back on my head..... and back to the NB to read what I've missed!

Heather 11-20-2002 9:23

Jack, is there any way to block this bozo? Please?

Tina again 11-20-2002 1:16

Hi all!

Sorry, Heather. I honestly thought I'd sent that back! Oops.
I just went and perused your edits. You didn't actually stress any problem with the length or the lead in. Your post here was the first I've heard of it. I will consider this matter... and Mark, let me know what you think. Regardless, I'll get the revisions back to you Heather.

I realized something in the last few days. After a decade of pursuing art - visual and written - I've had a hard time believing that I should continue on this path. I've been thinking of going back to school for something entirely different, just so I can have a 'real' carreer. The root of this? Guilt at not getting on with a 'real' life, not contributing enough financially. Damn! I thought I'd whipped this beast fresh out of high school when I decided on art school! Self-doubt rears its ugly head yet again.

Howard, that is a wonderful thing. I hope this gives you the 'in' the get through this girl's wall.

Jerry, I wish our kitty acted so fun when drugged. She just goes to sleep. The closest she gets to a good buzz is attacking my shoes if I've walked through catnip. We used to have a clump in the garden, and when I'd come in, she'd molest my garden runners. :oD

Tina 11-20-2002 1:15

Damn, I feel old tonight, our daughter (the youngest, the baby of the family) turns 30 this week.

Other then that, the Indian Summer continues, the weatherman says it's el ninio, good for el ninio. Supposed to cool off this weekend, but that's ok, it's been so nice for so long, who could complain, heck it even rained today, a nice gentle rain, the kind that soaks the ground, the kind that the farmers have been praying for since spring thaw. Not enough to end the drought, but a good start, can we hope that it will continue?

Heather, thanks for doing the edits, I know you do a fine job.

Jerry 11-19-2002 23:47

Cheri, Sonny - how long have you been writing?
Did you dream of becoming a writer as a kid?

That last one is as good as a shortie night!

Heather 11-19-2002 20:41

Howard, you and Mark together will put all imps to shame! *giggle*

Heather 11-19-2002 16:13

*blushing furiously* No, I've never been a teacher. I've been writing since I was a kid, my first book in grade three, which the school secretary typed up for me, and I illustrated and bound it myself. Wrote a book at 16, it's still in the closet. My first serious poetry I began writing at 13, published one at 14, but never took it as a serious career choice (probably my parent's influence, actually). I don't remember dreaming of wearing a beret and typing until dawn every night. (Where is that beret, anyway, and my cigar collection?)
I've been writing on book length manuscripts as an adult for the past four or five years, having set aside much of my work from the first serious book in order to start on what I consider a more captivating idea. I write poetry sparingly, since emotional turmoil was my number one subject, and I just don't find myself buried in it these days!
I found this group just about three years ago.
Thanks for the compliments - so long as something I say helps, I'm glad I said it!

Heather 11-19-2002 16:10

HEATER -- Around here, smooches are definitely wife-rousing! ;-) Oboy, are they ever! :-) :-)

howard 11-19-2002 15:27

Cheri, you're so right! Heather is very encouraging, and she is the type of person you should be listening to. I don't know what writing books you have, but "Bird By Bird" by Anne Lamott is an excellent one, because she doesn't just talk about craft, she tells what the writing life is all about. I'm living it now, on deadlines from an editor, and you know what? In certain ways it's alot harder than doing the proposal submissions. Before it was just a labor of love, and now it's a *job* (I'm doing a non-fiction work). But the writing bug has got me, and I can't *not* do it. It's the most magnificent, awful obsession you can have, and I'm so grateful that I have the opportunity to run with it. Keep coming back here, and you'll see how lucky you are! ;-)

Sunny 11-19-2002 14:44

Hi All :)

Dan - I second Rhoda's comments. I once had the "fun" of watching an agent go through a pile of submissions during a writer's conference. It took less than three minutes for her to make a decision of whether to continue reading or return to sender. Worst part, all of us in the audience agreed with her decisions. I suspect an agent would groan over receiving such a hefty package. Send according to their guidelines with the mention of your additional work in your cover letter. Good luck!!

Viv - I've been heavy into research this week, so I didn't send out this past Friday either. I've found the historical fact that will back up my general ideas, and this is giving me names and details that will really do a nice number in my story. I've revved and excited and going nuts with all this info!! But, oh what fun!! I may not have written any words to add to the story this week, but I'm getting some excellent ideas of what happens next and why.

Mel - I'm still working on my fantasy novel. First three chapters completed in rough draft, first chapter partially rewritten/edited.

Cheri - I've been where you are too many times to count. That downer is about the worst thing to overcome. I turned "serious" about writing fiction approximately almost six years ago. I only found the genre I really wanted to write in six months ago. I have a long ways to go yet, but after going through so many downers, so many doubts, I do know that I can get through them and you will too. I suspect a lot of my doubts about my writing arose because of my problems/dissatisfation with life itself and blaming the writing was simply the most obvious, easiest thing to blame. Give yourself a break, write something purely for fun and see what happens. We're all pulling for you!

Now - I'd best put my words into action and get some work done! Have a great day everyone!

Carol 11-19-2002 14:42

HEATHER; Thanks, I needed that! :) How long have you been writing? And have you always been so... what's the word I'm looking for? Optimistic! Encouraging!
One last question ; Are you or have you ever been a teacher?

Cheri 11-19-2002 14:24


I don't think sending so much material is wise unless it has been requested. Most agents and editors have submission guidelines. Find out what they are and follow them to the letter. You have no idea how little regular material these people read. If they decide somewhere in the process that they cannot use the work, they will stick it back in the SASE and send it back to you. They might have read nothing but the cover letter and if you are lucky a page or two of manuscript. These people get thousands of submissions and have large stacks of the slush pile which they or their assistants read when there is nothing else to do. You have no idea how pressed for time these people are.

Make your submission as simple as possible and let them ask for more if they are interested.

Take it from someone who has made anywhere from 50 to 75 submissions in her life-time.

Rhoda 11-19-2002 12:38

Well, three copies of the same email aren't so bad, are they, Mark? I am praying you can open one of them!:oD

Heather 11-19-2002 12:35

Mark, you deviiiil, you! LOL
Of course I'll try sending something to you - thanks for offering to have your email program hopelessly clogged with my emails. Gee, always wanted to be a human pimple.... HA HAHAAAAAA

I'll send you Tina's Daniel, and if you can help me shave down the first third, that would be terrific.

HUGS all 'round but no ho-downs.

Heather 11-19-2002 12:24

Dan - hi and welcome!
I haven't heard of anyone going to that much trouble before sending in the manuscript for the book. While publishers are having a look at the book, you could spend that time writing the screenplay and so on - at least, that's what I would do!
It just gets your book out there faster, and you'll want something to work on while you wait to hear back from different publishers.
Good luck with your endeavors, Dan!

Heather 11-19-2002 12:22

VIV - not the last one! Find the one you posted in the workbook. It was the very first version, AFTER I had edited it the first time. This version of Urban Legends had the heads bobbing up in the rice field at the end. That's the one I want!
Thanks for searching for it, Viv!
I have so many printed stories surrounding me right now, and so many versions of most, that I'm swamped!
If you can find it for me and send it on, I will set the other printed versions aside immediately so I won't get them mixed up. As soon as I'm sure we don't want the versions in the 'aside' pile, and that I've got the correct copies of each story that is going to be sent out, I can toss those others out. (At last!)

Ta ta and toodles for now, all!

Heather 11-19-2002 12:13

Wow. Several sombodies has been really cookin.

HEATHER -- send me an email. If I get 49 or 50 copies then we'll know your system still has a problem (and I'll have just that many more reasons to think of you). That happened at work once; the problem was in the mail server, not in the PCs. Did you call your ISP? Pretty sure Yahoo mail and Hotmail allow attachments, that should work.

JERRY -- Bonsai kitten? The work of a truly disturbed individual.

Congratulations to anyone who has kept writing. I'm replacing a hot water heater at home, repairing duct work on the furnace of our last rental house (trying to sell it), and running from here to Batavia to teach Microsoft classes.

Mark 11-19-2002 12:10

Hello: Has anyone ever written, as I am now attempting to do, a complete package, including a novel, the screen play version and the stage play version of the novel, and submitted them to an agent? Is this a wise choice? This would be my first submission of any kind. My thougt was I could present a variety of work for an agent's review. Thank you for your time, everyone.

Dan 11-19-2002 12:06

That's just it, Cheri, it's all about MAKING the time.
I do think that joining the Toastmaster's Club was an awesome idea - especially if you write your speeches. I'm terrified of reading or speaking in front of others as well, but if I have to do it, practice helps. :oD
I do not think writing is a fantasy that can't be turned into reality. There are reasons why people don't make time to write: Fear.
Artists of all types are stricken with it at one time or another. It's not just a fear of failure, but a fear of success, and even more importantly, a fear of undeserved success ~ because art and all it represents is a subjective thing. We only become well-known because people (other than us) are reading our work, and because someone in the position of publisher thought it good enough to print copies. But what if we can't repeat the process with our next creation? What if it's only read as an example of what NOT to do, torn apart sentence by sentence by English Lit Professors?
What if small children laugh at our kid's stories not because they're funny, but because they're just that stupid?
Well, there is NOTHING we can do about the professors, and nothing we can do if little kids laugh at us. (Consolation: they're still buying your books)LOL
But there comes a time when we have to step over the line and pull our wits about us tightly. Either we do or die.
Write or go home. Get published or try 'til we're dust. Fear or no fear, if we are going to be writers, we have to write, and we have to clench our teeth together and send it on. This is not the fun part, or the easy part, but it always looms like a huge anvil in the sky, doesn't it? If you prefer not to deal with all of these issues, you will find excuses not to write forever. If you use them all, and never overcome, you will not get anything written.

Pressuring yourself to write isn't going to be of assistance for most people. Thinking about tomorrow, or fame, or eternal embarassment is not going to get a sentence written.
But there is a salve for such a situation, and that is the love of writing. Do you love it? Do you love seeing words grace your screen? Love the flow of ideas, the caress of though on that expanse of white?
Then it is worth the struggle.

Keep on keeping on if you really love this crazy process, and especially keep on coming here - among others who know what you're going through. Inspiration will get strong enough at some point or other, and won't let you go until you write it all down.
Trust me.

Heather 11-19-2002 12:01

MEL; The only thing I've written of late is a speech for the Toastmasters Club I joined at work. I'm very shy speaking in front of a group(even people I've worked with for close to 10 years!) so I decided to try this club. It is to help you with speaking and preparing speeches.

I also bought two books about writing, but have not had the time to actually read them. I really am starting to think that my fantasy of becoming a real writer is just that...a fantasy!

Sorry to sound a little down, but as time passes ever faster and I don't get the chance to write I begin to feel envious of those who do have the time and more importantly, MAKE THE TIME!!

Oh well! Hope everyone has a good writing day today!

Cheri 11-19-2002 11:31

MEL -- it was too cloudy here too. O well, better luck next year...

Groaner for the day:

Two cannibals are eating a clown.
One says to the other:
"Does this taste funny to you?"

RIP James Coburn... we'll miss you!

howard 11-19-2002 9:28

Good morning/afternoon/evening, all!

RANDALL: I was dusting (NOT!) library shelves the other day... and found a lonely space needing a historical fiction book: the space had your name on it! So where is it??? :-)

HOWARD: Didn't see any Leonids this morning - too cloudy, darn!

JERRY: Have kitty, Will giggle - I love catnip-crazed kitties! :-) And thanks for the writer-resource sites; they look good. I'll have to put my characters through that test...

Did anyone notice the drive-by postings the other day? TEEKAY, CHERI, CHRISTI, MARY, TAYLOR, CAROL, EDDIE... What the heck are you guys writing these days, anyway? Or, like me, are you just wishing you had TWO DAYS like VIV had to WRITE, WRITE, WRITE???!!! Way to go, VIV! :-)

Everybody, Scare up a villain today and do him in, heh heh heh! :-] (Um, what? Oh.) My muse wants me to come back to the airy aerie and interview some more characters over lunch... Do I dare invite my villain back for dessert???!!! *shaking in my shoes!!*

Mel 11-19-2002 8:43

Howard: That is exciting, not only did you find a way to get that little girl to open may have discovered a writer! What fun. I wish I'd been there to see her respond to you. A belated happy birthday. I've been putting the chapters I wrote into a folder then printing them out so I can see all the errors better. Notice I say ALL THE ERRORS. Wish I could find them all. It took me all day Friday and Sunday. Those were two perfect days, I got all the time I needed to write.

Carol, I'm doing edits on the first chapters so I didn't send anything much to you...or did I? Friday seems a long time ago and it's only Tuesday. Well anyway, Friday is coming and I'll be sending more I hope. I know what needs to come next anyway.

Heather: I've saved most everything. I understood the basic idea of what you said in your last post. I'll look over the stories ASAP and try to figure out which version was our last one.

Viv 11-19-2002 8:08

Thanks Randall - I'll go ahead and do that for you. I haven't finished the list of all the stories that will be included in Phantasium for submission, so there are still a number of pieces that will fit in!
It is not easy to cut things out of your own work - believe me, I know. It is exceedingly hard to read your own work as if with new eyes, and with the general readership in mind - at least, the readership that would be most likely to pick up Phantasium from a rack and buy it.
I don't really know who they are!
All I know is what works to make stories grabbing - any stories. Fact can be sprinkled in just like cinnamon and brown sugar on apple pie crust. Too much and you can't take eating a whole slice - too little and it's awfully tart, and lacking something. I've never been worried about word count. Only word quality.

HAHAA!! Quality. Brings to mind 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance'. Brilliant, the whole thing. But a slog job of reading if you are on vacation, and want to finish it before you leave...

I believe any viruses have been purged and do update my software for virus protection. I think it could very well have to do with Kazaa (thanks, Mary!)
since my husband is addicted to downloading all the parody and comedy we can stuff our files with. So fatal exceptions and errors abound, but we've got enough CD fodder to last a few years' worth of burning songs.
I will try attaching files to emails from my other accounts, but I suspect it may fall flat as plan C.
Anyone for a plan D?
Mark?? Input?

Later days, friends!
Keep sending me permissions and so forth - thank you Randall, and thank you Jerry!
Teek? Where have you been??? Shovel the snow out of your office and sign in!

Heather 11-19-2002 5:55

Another lovely day in the banana belt, weather was up over fifty, nearly sixty to be exact. The basement guy called last week said he would start working on ours today, never showed. I am beginning to wonder if I should have given him the down payment he requested a couple of weeks (seems like months) ago. I know he's still in town, but jeeze...

Smokey our cat got is first dose of catnip today, boy was he snookered. Ran all over the place jumping on furniture, hanging sideways on the foot stool, even dove into his two story scratching place, where he hasn't been in weeks. Ran around for like thirty minutes then collapsed and slept for over an hour.

He even tackled Renn, who was not impressed, and left in a huff, he's been mopping around for most of the afternoon, doesn't like it when cats beat up on him, after all he IS a dog, and it's his job to beat up on cats right?

Such is the life in paradise.

Jerry 11-19-2002 0:25


Heather ... in addition ... I haven't looked at THE PATRON in months. I just now pulled it up to take a look. Honestly, I didn't believe it made the final cut. So to say. If you have time to edit it go ahead. I'm not sure I could ... cause I have a terminal addiction ... adding to stories. If I sit down to crop and cut, (I would hate myself in the morning) but would only add and expand.

As in FLOWERS I get the bit in my teeth and run with the story. :-) I, personally, like factual documentation in a story. The fabled DISCOVERY CHANNEL style of writing. Lots of background, and as in THE PATRON most of it is factual, historical fiction (Hi Mel!) in a ghost story setting.

Still at 7780 words it probably is too long for a SS. So do what you can...I'll go, most likely, with your decision.


PS Now I will go look at it and see what I wrote!!!

Randall 11-18-2002 23:04


Heather ... Go ahead. When your finished .... let me know on this site or email at Have pen ... will edit. :-)


Randall 11-18-2002 22:34

LITTER -- "Neo-haiku?" I like it! :-)

Thanks again all, and thanks especially to Heather for all the work on our stories. I wish I could help with the Email problem -- which Email program do you use? Perhaps it's a setting...
Or maybe you've got a virus! Some do behave similarly to what you've described.

howard 11-18-2002 20:48

Ok... back again!
Litter - your story is finished and ready to go with the collection when I submit it.
Hallee - if you still stop in and read the NB sometimes, your 'Magnolias' is fine as is, and I already have your permission to submit it with the collection. Please let me know what the name of the contest was that your 'Magnolias' won! Anyone remember? Romance of some type, the contest was, I'm sure.
Ok - Rachel! Your story hasn't been edited or revised more than the preliminary few red bits. I will need your permission to revise it if I can't get this email problem solved. There are some sentences I'd just like to reword for clarification; the plot itself doesn't need any changes.
Randall - If you were to write yours the way you write your posts, it wouldn't need much work if any. As it stands it is boggy with description and the action takes too many pages to get going. If you could crop it, or allow me? I'm sure you know from my work with the beginning of Flowers that I won't change the heart of your story, which is a great heart. I simply take all the footsie-ing around out. I'm a no-nonsense editor, if I may say so myself!
If you would rather work on it yourself, please let me know!
As I said to Tina, keep in mind if you do edit yourself that we are going for the punches; the dance at the beginning could be much shorter.

Here's a few rules I follow in general to tighten up writing:
If you can leave out all of the 'introductions of characters' and start right with the action and dialogue, do it. Add character traits and features by sprinkling them in sparingly in the dialogue tags, or in among the action - always with a slight touch. Too easy to over-do description. Remember - if it doesn't matter to the story what color someone's hair is, or little things like that, leave it out!
People will automatically 'fill in' those little things in their minds as they read anyhow.
Give us a detailed example of what someone does with their hands or face while they're nervous or scared - the reader will know they're scared etc., without you having to spell it out.

For example:
"Did you see that?" she shreiked, waving a few shaky fingers at the air.
"See what?" LeMont slobbered, the flashlight perched in his teeth. He didn't bother to look up from his work - the wires were almost too close in color to find the red.
For a moment he didn't move. Snip! "Ok. Got it. Hold your breath, it might take a minute for anything to happen. If it happens," he slurped, dropping the flashlight into his hand. "Renata?" She was there a second ago.

OR........ I could have souped it up, with unnecessary details.
Like, what color was Renata's hair, what she was wearing, where the two people even ARE. What wires, and what are they up to?
I don't need to tell you - I'll ruin the mystery anyway! You know they're somewhere dangerous and frightening, you know it's dark because he needs a flashlight to see. He also has two hands busy, or he wouldn't hold the light in his teeth. And she is too nervous to be any help, or else she'd be holding the flashlight for him.
Also, note that she doesn't point at something specific. When you're scared, you aren't precise. Moving your arm or hand in the general direction will suffice.
I also start the story off in the MIDDLE of the scary action. At the intense part. Why? Because now you're hooked and you want to know what the hell happened to Renata.
That's the beginning I'm looking for with your story, Randall. Start it off with the two guys getting their shovels and equipment out to start digging. Everything leading up to there is irrelevant.
You can stretch out the suspense much more if you start at the actual excavation site. You can cut the two landowner characters if you want, or you can have them ride in at the end, shaking their heads. But we don't need anybody's background except the buried body's.
And the two guys excavating - give us their details sparingly, by what they say to each other, (as body language and our words tell who we are) and with sprinkling any other small details in among the action and so forth.
Otherwise, because it's a short story, it's way too long before anything attention-grabbing begins to happen.
I'm not trying to be harsh - it's just that with such a short number of pages, more lead-in means less body to the story. We want as much body as we can get or people will just skip a story and go onto the next.

Any questions? LOL
Anyone looking at cutting some of the non-essentials from your own work - Phantasium or otherwise - the above should be of some help, I hope!
It's nothing new, by any means.
But I follow it, and it works very well for me.

Hugs to all, and to all a fantabulous night!

Heather 11-18-2002 20:13

Hello everyone! Happy belated birthday Howard!
(Oh, pardon me.....smooches. Yes, those are less wife-rousing)

Ok...I have an announcement - a stick in the spokes, really. And an annoying one at that.
My email program is having problems - or it could be something in Windows - still haven't figured it out and have been uninstalling and reinstalling my fingers off lately. I cannot send attachments. I have tried and tried, but all the recipient gets are a zillion duplicate emails from me, with attached files that will not open.
Now, this wouldn't matter too much if I didn't need to send stories back to people for approval!!! And I can't post them here, since that would be a form of publication since this is a public forum with no pass protection.
So, please, if anyone can help me wrestle this machine out of this knot and get the attachments flowing properly (and without damned duplicates - I sent Mary 46 messages with one click the other day, OMG) please do speak up! I can receive mail and send mail no problem - unless I attempt to attach a file.
I have succeeded in pasting a scanned image right into the email and sent that without trouble, but I can't do that with a whole story - it will be cut off.
I do have another option, if I can't get this working soon. You could all trust me that any changes will be small.....or I can send the collection off to a publisher with what work has already been done and approved by you, and I won't make any further edits. It's up to each individual. Let me know. Feel free to email me since that is fine - oh, and I can receive attachments no problem as well.
I will continue to work on my computer and see what I can do....but I can't promise it'll all be working properly in any specific time frame. I simply don't have the time to completely reformat right now.
Anyway, we are quite near the end of edits, so there are not so many stories that I would require permission to go in and edit myself.
Rosemary, I need your permission to work on yours, (edits, revision) and unfortunately can't show you the results until this email thing's worked out.
Jerry - there is one story of yours I'll need permission to do the edits on as well. This includes revisions.
Christi - same for your two. I haven't had a chance to edit the latest versions you sent me before my email buggered up.
Howard - yours are all finished.
Teek - all of yours are finished but maybe one.
Americo - yours is finished.
Mark - yours is also finished.
Viv - Urban Legends - please send me any and all different versions of this one - I am not sure I have them all. The one that was revised and posted in the workbook is the one I'm not sure I've got and that's the one I want! I think I may have it, but you've gone in and written in it with red and then sent it to me in an email, and I think you did some changes in black text as well, so I have nothing to compare it to to be sure it's unchanged.
(Sorry, that was as confusing as could be)
Mary - yours is finished
Tina - Sandra and Lily is finished, but on Daniel, I never got any revisions back from you. If you have been able to cut out some of the lead-in to the main part of the story, please send it on! It's just a tad too long, and the first third of the story is a bit dragged out. Otherwise it's perfect. (edit as if this were sparring. You can dance a while, but that ain't the fightin' part at all - merely where two fighters are sizing each other up. We want a page of sizing up, and the rest all kicks and punches! And with your K.O. of an ending, all will be well!) I would have liked to participate more in Daniel, but unless I can get this )#(*)%*)% email to behave, the cuttin's going to be your job.....or Mark's.
That's another possibility for you Tina - send Daniel, even the copy with my edits in it (if you still have it!) and see if he can help you slim that story down a tad near the beginning. NOT the first bit, with the arrival. It's right after Beth's arrival that needs to be all punch and kick)

Ok....gotta run - if I missed you, it's because I've got to scoot out the door and not because I forgot about you!

Hugs all round,

Heather Hemlock Bags 11-18-2002 18:03

Happy Belated Birthday Howard!
I would have written sooner, but I don't get on the computers on the weekends. Best wishes and may more birthdays come your way!
Till Niagara Falls!

Elaine 11-18-2002 11:59

Did you ever want to give your charcter a test? Well they have one online for you to use, and it's free, intresting too. Give it a try you may be amazed at what you learn, it gives an indepth study of your charcter based on the test.

Jerry Character test 11-18-2002 0:20

Better late than never eh Hoorawd.
Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Eddie French 11-17-2002 23:18


Thank you everyone for your support. I will take the criticism with a grain of salt, and I will plug on doing what I do.

Rhoda 11-17-2002 22:50

HORWAD – Being a poet, I understand the nuances of language, spelling, meter, rhythm, rhyme, pace, scan, intonation, metaphor, etc., etc., so I pulled out all the stops for your birthday greeting and designed a new haiku form – the neo-haiku – which is constructed of three lines each of two syllables. Hope you like it…


Sorry this is late.

Litter 11-17-2002 18:34

Hey Howard -- one more "best wishes" from me! You've been especially kind to me since I arrived at the Notebook, and I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate that. And since I firmly believe that there are no accidents, I'd like to affirm that your story about the little girl is the universe's/God's way of letting you know, on your birthday in particular, how very special you are. Thanks for being you! :-)

Sunny 11-17-2002 11:11

Hi, everyone!

HOWARD: HAPPY BIRTHDAY (a bit late, but the celebration isn't over until the last card is opened!)!!!!! :-) That was a great story about the girl who opens up to reading and writing - enjoy the partnership! :-) Maybe she'll post here someday!!

My little one (5) is waiting for her computer turn so I'll have to turn the controls over to her now, befiore time to head for church. Y'all, make pleasant writing memories today, I hope! :-)

Mel 11-17-2002 9:06

Hi all -- Thanks again for all the birthday wishes! I wish I could remember birthdays like our B'day fairy -- but I have a hard time beyond wife's and daughters'.

Had a good time all day yesterday -- my wife was busy making cake (wonder what for?) and spaghetti sauce (from scratch) for today's family dinner. Then she was gone for the afternoon so I got a chance to do some cleaning for her (dishes, etc,) and some cleanup on my computer.

Then the hilight -- a community harvest supper at church. Dorie brought Evangeline up from the nursing home, and she really enjoyed herself!
But the real bright spot was a little girl that one of our church families first had as a foster child, and has now adopted. She's 10 or 11, and has been very withdrawn, never smiling, not talking, even at home. I've tried to get through to her, as have several others, but she had this shell around her, and just wouldn't open up.
Last night we were talking with her mom, and Chelsea was just standing there as she always does, not wanting to talk at all. I tried to talk to her, but no response, until her mom mentioned that about all she wants to do at home (besides help with the chores) is read. READ! READ!

Thank you Lord!

I asked if she enjoyed reading, and she actually answered me!
I asked what she enjoyed reading, and she said "Everything!"
I told her that I've written a couple of stories, and her eyes got big, and when I asked if she'd like to read one, she lit up and gave me the biggest sweetest smile I ever saw! At least that's what it looked like to me.
Then I asked if she ever wrote a story herself, and she said she had. So we're going to trade stories!
More later -- gotta go get ready for church.

howard 11-17-2002 8:30


Happy birthday Howard... Better late than never huh?

Taylor 11-17-2002 5:12

Hap, Hap, Hap, Happy Birthday Howard!!!

Mary 11-17-2002 2:26

HOWARD; A very happy birthday to you! May you enjoy the day with all your loved ones close to your heart.

RHONDA; I agree with everyone here, KEEP AT IT!!!

Cheri 11-16-2002 23:03

Happy happy birthday from me too, Howard! It's a bit late but the feelins are just the same! {{{Smack!}}}

Christi 11-16-2002 22:38

Happy birthday Howard :-)XOXOXOXO

Rhoda, ditto on what everyone else is saying. Keep at it, and take all criticism with a large block of salt.

Something wonderful happened yesterday. While walking home from work, I caught myself thinking about 'Shadow'. Spontaneously. I haven't done that in months! Made my day. Maybe my dry spell is ending soon.

Blue skies!

Tina 11-16-2002 21:27


HAPPY BIRTHDAY HOWARD!!! I'm not that far behind you old son!!! Go ahead and plow the row for me!!! :-))))


Randall 11-16-2002 21:22

I'm overwhelmed! Dunno what to say!

Thanks all!

howard 11-16-2002 21:22

Found this site today, it goes to show you that you can find almost anything on the internet.

Happy 61'st Owhard!

Been a super day here on the buffalo commons, we are still enjoying native american summer, or the influence of the banana belt as they call it here bouts.

Have a great one eveyone.

Write on.

Jerry bonsi-a-kitten 11-16-2002 20:29

A Very Happy Birthday Howard!! And many, many more!!

Carol 11-16-2002 19:35

HOWARD: Why HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU ol' son. I'm glad I'm the second here to be able to wish you well on this day of days.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY once again. Am sending you warm birthday thoughts and wishes through the air waves. They're faster than post.

Teekay 11-16-2002 16:27

Whoopsy-do, I do declare I mean 61 Springs ago. It would be more like 788475 moons, and that's not even counting the blue ones.
Guess that apple blossom nectar was a little more potent than I gave it credit for.
Unless Golph the Goblin had been adding poppies to it!

Birthday Fairy 11-16-2002 16:20

(to be said in sweet, squeaky fairy like voice): Ladies and Gentlemen,
I suppose you are wondering why I gathered you all here today, (yes, I know you were really already here, just play along) now I shall set your minds at ease.

61 or so moons ago a spark came into this world. A beautiful, glowing, shining spark, that through the years has never lost its shine, but has mellowed to a glorious golden hue.

This light has touched those who have come near him, not necessarily physically, but spiritually also, and so for that I gather you all together on this auspicious occassion to say;

(Gnome, drum roll please)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HOWIE-POO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
May the day bring more benificence than you ever imagined. May felicitations come upon you most unexpectedly.
May you see the doggy-doo before you tread in it.

Even in darkness there shall always be light. (c) The Birthday Fairy 2002

Now, must fly, a child has lost her tooth and the Tooth Fairy had a late day of it yesterday, so I'm doing her a favour.

Birthday Fairy 11-16-2002 16:10

Here's a great place to learn a whole bunch about writing.

Jerry Online Writers Tools 11-16-2002 12:42

Rhoda - I don't know the first thing about publishers, or agents or any of that, but what I do know is that if you have something that you believe in, really believe in then you should fight to get it out there, get it published.

Randall - nope, saw ghosts, saw will-o-the-whisp lights, saw things that I still to this day believe do not exists, but never saw a UFO.

Howard - I used to love watching those meteor showers, back when I was working on the PD I would spot one or two from within town and I knew it was time to check the outlying area, like the steam thrasher's grounds, the parks, the ball field and all that. Used to park amongst the giant old steam engines, turn off the lights and the engine, and just sit there for a half hour or so, watching those wonderful lights streaking down to earth, like so many rain drops in the summer sky. Same with the Northern lights when they got good, but those required a check of the grave yard, the golf course and the North West Farm (a party area where the young'un's used to gather to drink their beer, make babies and wreck their cars.)

Don't think I'll go looking this time though, well maybe depends on the cloud cover I guess, but I did see one shower that was just fantastic, beyond belief there were so many, some of them rather large, or at least they looked large from my vantage point.

Jerry 11-16-2002 0:08


Evening all ...

I have seen two UFO's over the years. I note several of you notebooker writers nodding, "Yeah, that's what I thought, the lad from Texas is bonkers. Knew it some time ago!" Actually, I saw my first UFO when I was nine or ten at my grandparents night. The one in 1985 was in broad open daylight.

Why am I writing this? Well, I have several Red Britches tales swirling around the dusty recesses of my noggin, but they haven't solidified as yet. So ... uh, anyone else seen one? A flying saucer?

It was a dark summer night in the eastern part of Mason County, perhaps 1957 or thereabouts. My brother and I were outside sitting on the lawn with our grandparents as it was hot as the dickens inside the old wood frame house. Their home was in an isolated area of brush and oak-covered pasture and AC only a dream. Someone said something and soon the four of us were standing at the back yard gate. We watched as a bright, multicolored object floated by, only a few hundred feet off the ground. It made no noise, completely silent, slowly moving in a deliberate fashion about a hundred yards away. One of my grandparents said it was a balloon, but balloons as a rule don't have brightly flashing lights. I knew that. I knew that at the time. Ten years old I knew this was not a normal event. The object was following, whether deliberately or not a dry stream bed.

The next morning at breakfast I saw Granddad's old 30-30 Winchester in a corner next to the back door. Normally kept in a front room closet, for some reason it was ... at hand ... in case ... well, in case an intruder came calling.

In 1985 or so I was hauling sand for TXDOT north of town. It was a bright, hot summer afternoon, perfectly clear sky. Ahead of me, to the right was a small peanut field. As I slowed the dump truck and prepared to turn left I noted a small whirlwind forming in one corner of the field. Then a black object arose WITHIN the whirlwind and floated into the sky. I stopped the truck and stood on the step watching. The thing appeared to be a black 55-gallon trashbag draped tightly over a large trash can lid. But it wasn't. The object floated upward, trembling (not a better word for it) like a FALLING tree leaf. In less than a minute it disappeared upward, long after the other debris lifted by the whirlwind ... leaves, twigs, paper had fallen. The last time I saw the thing it was a black dot in the sky moving straight up. Now, this is pretty weird. But the weird part is ... the thing was quite small, maybe five feet across? It was not an immense thing ... like one might expect.

Perhaps I should have walked into the field and looked a little closer at the site. But I didn't. It took me several years before I could even discuss the sighting with my wife. She asked why? I told her I wasn't sure. Maybe fear of ridicule was a factor? Is there another explanation for the two sightings? Sure. Maybe my eyes deceived. Maybe my brain faltered. Maybe memory is selective. Maybe it was something Al Gore invented? Maybe ... maybe, it WAS the fabled flying saucer.


Randall 11-15-2002 22:23

Rhoda, I hope you don't mind hearing some more encouragement, but here's my 2 cents. ;-)
I have a contract now on a book that I have been fighting for for two years. The agents and editors that read it (and there were plenty) simply didn't "get it". They told me that it was too this, and too that, and that they would consider it if only I would xyz. But I never stopped believing that I had something to say, and that this particular book needed to be written, and written by me. Kinda egotistical, huh? But I persevered, because I believed. And I found an incredible agent, and a wonderful editor, who understand me completely. And this was after I already had a successful book published! But I didn't want to do the same thing over and over again, and that's what my old publishers wanted me to do. So, accept all criticsm and suggestions that seem valid to you, and ignore the rest. Do what you know to be right for you. Believe in yourself.

Sunny 11-15-2002 18:26

Ok, to make up for the lines, here's a tip from NASA on the upcoming Leonid meteor shower:

Nov. 14, 2002: The 2002
Leonid meteor storm peaks on Tuesday, Nov. 19th. But should you go
outside on Tuesday morning? Or Tuesday night?

"That's the question I get asked most often," says Bill Cooke, a meteor
forecaster at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

"The answer is Tuesday morning. No matter where you live, the hours
between 11:00 p.m. on Monday and dawn on Tuesday are going to be the best
for spotting Leonids."

Europeans and North Americans are favored this year. "We expect a flurry
of meteors over Europe peaking at 04:00 UT followed by another flurry
over North America around 10:30 UT (2:30 a.m. PST or 5:30 a.m. EST),"
says Cooke. Sky watchers could see hundreds to thousands of meteors per

"Try to get away from city lights," he suggests. "The darker the sky, the
more meteors you'll see."

Unfortunately, there's one bright light we can't get away from this year:
the Moon, which is full on Nov. 19th. Nevertheless, notes Cooke, "if
there are lots of bright Leonids (as there were in 2001) we should still
get a good show." High-altitude observing sites with clean, dry air
suffer least from lunar glare. Cooke himself plans to watch the Leonids
from a mountaintop in Arizona.

Cooke offers this common-sense advice: No matter where you go to watch
the Leonids, take a thermos of hot cocoa and dress warmly. "It can get
cold in November at 3 o'clock in the morning." In fact, a warm sleeping
bag is perfect for meteor watching. Spread it flat on the ground, crawl
inside, and look up.

"There's no special direction you have to face," says Cooke. Leonids can
appear anywhere in the sky. "But don't look toward the Moon," he
cautions. "That will ruin your night vision."

When you see a Leonid, trace its tail backward. It will lead to the
constellation Leo the Lion. "Leonid meteors stream out of a point in Leo
called the radiant," he explains. "This year the radiant is easy to find
because it's near the bright planet Jupiter (see the sky map below)."
Because of foreshortening, meteors near the radiant appear short and
stubby. Meteors away from the radiant are longer and more eye-catching.

Leo rises at approximately 11:00 p.m. local time on Monday, Nov. 18th.
You can see Leonids anytime between then and dawn on Tuesday, but the
strongest outbursts should occur on Tuesday morning at specific times
listed in the Science@NASA story "Meteor Storm Forecast." Check the
forecast for a city near you.

"And finally," says Cooke, "don't forget to look for earthgrazers."
Earthgrazers are disintegrating meteoroids that fly over the horizon
nearly parallel to the atmosphere. They produce remarkably long and
colorful tails. Leonid earthgrazers will appear mostly during the hour
between 11:00 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 18th, and midnight on Tuesday, Nov.
19th, when Leo is still low in the sky. "You might not see many
earthgrazers because they're rare," says Cooke. " But they are beautiful,
so it's worth a try!"

Just don't forget: Monday night and Tuesday morning. Those are the times
to watch. "You'll never see anything if you go out on the wrong day,"
deadpans Cooke.

Happy meteor hunting from Science@NASA!

howard 11-15-2002 14:16

ROWHAD – look on the positive side – your face is red but the rest of the text is still black. (and underlined :o)

Everywhere you look – lines and lines an’ lines ‘n’ lines lineslineslineslineslineslines…

Litter 11-15-2002 13:50

RHODA: I know that almost everybody has commented and I think it's my turn. Unfortunatley, almost everything that I want to say has been said already. (SIGH) So I guess I'll repeat. Don't ever give up! When I have doubts about my writing 'ability' I pick up a book, usually a very unusual book that you wouldn't think would be published, but is. After a couple boxes of Kleenex and a few milk chocolate bars, I think: Alright, Elaine, I know you're a little down about your writing right now, but you know what? If this author can do it, so can you. It's only a matter of time before SOMEONE wants to read it. So pick up a pen or pencil and get to WORK!
It usually works, though it may take a little more convincing thoughts like that before I'm actually ready to write again. All great authors have doubts about their writing. All great writers worry about their works. That's what makes us human.
On TLotR, I'm really excited, I think I'll be seeing it tonight, my extended version. UHEY! Well I hate to cut this short but the time is running out!
Till Niagara Falls!

Elaine 11-15-2002 12:24

Is that what is commonly known as a 'C**k up?

Eddie French 11-15-2002 7:33

Is my face red!

howard 11-15-2002 7:21

On editors, and their "comfort zones," a classic example of an editor taking a chance is that of Sterling Lanier. He received a manuscript that a good number of editors and publishers had turned down. He liked what he saw, and decided (risked his reputation and job) to go ahead and publish it. The novel? Dune by Frank Herbert.
True, editors such as Lanier are few and far between, but it does happen.

howard 11-15-2002 7:19
Good morning, everyone!

RHODA: I don't think editors know the entirety of what readers want. They see what books sell, but who's to say a new kind of book won't sell? One person will read it first, then tell others how good it was, then before you can say "huh?" your book is a bestseller. :-)

Some readers want traditional books, true, but most simply want GOOD books. There are MANY books with romance in them, for instance, but because of intricate plotlines, they're not classified as romances. That's okay with readers - they just want to read great stories!

The library and bookstore shelves have room to grow on them: this space is for great new books, whether they fit into traditional genres or not. I recently heard of a public library that rearranged its children's books, from traditional shelving placements to more user-friendly searching topics, like ABC books, concept books, easy-to-read chapter books, etc. Circulation increased, bigtime!

I see future trends in library/bookstore shelving to reflect new authors: beside Mysteries, Romances, and Westerns, we'll also shelve together "GREAT" books, "Memorable Character" books, and "Unique Plots." The reader will find just what is desired on the shelves. The trick remains to find an editor with a progressive eye for good writing, not one who rules by rigid genre forms.

RANDALL: Well said!!!

HOWARD: You just bring that extended version of FOTR over to my house anytime (how about a Sunday afternoon?) - the entire family is Tolkien-ized! :-) I'll have some popcorn in a bowl with your name on it...

EVERYONE: Write, write, write! Those empty library shelves are waiting for YOUR books!!!

Mel 11-15-2002 6:50


I do eat Boca burgers every so often, and they are delicious. Sometimes I do a vegeterian meal. The vegiburgers don't taste anything like the real thing, but they are nice for a change of pace. I also like the black bean ones.

Turkey burgers are also good.

I do love beef though, and whenever we have hamburger we get the 7% fat variety. Actually we do chicken more than anything.

Down here in Louisiana, everyone eats fish of all varieties.

Speaking of Louisiana, I think we really hit the jack pot moving here. I took a tour of the oldest working sugar plantation in Louisiana. They still had the old school and the slave quarters and the ruins of an old sugar mill that had been burned down by people who used to be old friends of the family. They had filmed at least three movies there, one with Tom Cruise. It was a beautiful, rustic place. Many French tourists come there. They wrote their greetings and comments all over the blackboard in the old schoolhouse. They also like to speak French with the proprietors who are Cajuns. The guides say it is very amusing because so many meanings of words have changed over the years. It is interesting to see how blood, language and culture bind people across continents and years. The French visitors have a great interest in Cajun culture as the Cajuns have a great interest in modern France. It is sort of like the American/Anglophile thing. I remember working in a Mexican restaurant once and the manager of the restaurant always talked longingly about the day when she would finally be able to visit Spain.

The culture is so rich down here and so different from anything I have known before. I feel as if I am a permanant tourist in a foreign country. All I have to do is step out of my house every morning, go into the French Quarter or visit an old plantation house, and immediately I am transported into a different world. Speaking of plantation houses, there are three within ten miles from where I live. I haven't been to any of them yet because I still have to keep house, write my book and care for the family, but I relish the opportunity to see it all.

Rhoda 11-14-2002 23:19

RHODA: When my mother sent her manuscript off to a romance genre editor, the manuscript came back with notes in the margin and basically good advice. The general concensus was, however, that the book would be unmarketable because the conflict of the story was too 'outside' of the main characters. Instead of the two main characters trying to fight through a personal conflict between themselves, they were both working to overcome the same external problem. I guess romance editors don't like love interests to initially be on the same team! I am with you on the 'rules don't make any sense' issue.

Keep your chin up and do what you feel is right.

Mary 11-14-2002 23:11


Thanks for the encouragement and advice. You all said what I know in my heart to be true. But at times I get bogged down by doubts and fears. I don't ever want to get stuck writing things I do not wholeheartedly believe in.

Rhoda 11-14-2002 22:52

Rhoda - Steven King got 700 rejections before his first book was published. DON'T GIVE UP!! :) We believe in you. As for hamburgers being too fatty, have you ever tried Boca burgers? They taste just like the real thing and only have 1 gram of fat. Just a suggestion if you aren't opposed to veggie burgers. :)

Allein Peachick's Gallery 11-14-2002 22:46

Oh, and Rhoda - don't forget, many authors have their books regected by countless editors. Then the day comes when just one editor decides she/he really likes it and takes a chance. Presto, the "unmarketable" book becomes a number one seller. Oh, sweet revenge! :D

Carol 11-14-2002 21:59

Still haven't heard anything from the surgeon -- he's busy, I guess, and there's really not all that much of a rush to get this done. I'm pretty confident that it's benign, just growing. Meanwhile I got a call from the disability medical examiner -- wants to see me on Monday for an evaluation, and the ENT guy wants me to come back for a recheck in case he missed something. Thank God for insurance! It's really weird -- only 61 (almost) and everything's falling apart! Next year will be better!

RHODA -- The problem with any "genre" writing niche is that the rules are fairly well set in stone. Take most any of the "romance" books, make an outline from it, and plug in different names and locations. Then put a "hunk" and a low cut bodice on the cover, and presto! you've got the next Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan "chick flick." And just a hint -- I read an article that said that most of today's romance writers are actually men!
Next time you're at the library check out one of the books by Mary Brown -- "Dragon's Eg," "Pigs Don't Fly," "The Unlikely Ones," all sound like what you've been describing, and they're great books! They're not stuck in a genre rut, and people are beginning to notice them. They have those same romantic and character development themes you've mentioned, but they are (unlike Harlequin, ect,) not predictable.
Main thing is -- don't give up, and don't "sell your birthright for a (commercial) mess of pottage!"

ELAINE -- I just got my extended version of FOTR but haven't watched it yet. There are (according to the insert) 30+ minutes that were not in the theatrical release. Some expanded scenes as well as some completely new ones. The only problem is that my wife absolutely refuses to watch it, so I've got to either stay up late or wait for bad weather so I've got an excuse to stay inside. Or maybe while recuperating after surgery... It came with a free ticket to The Two Towers -- hope I'm up to seeing it on opening day.

howard 11-14-2002 21:01



Rhoda, "...impossible to market..." comments from critiques by well meaning, but dunderhead readers make me grit my teeth in frustration! Though, honestly, such comments on "Flowers" from the few who have read the entire manuscript deal with the subject of mixed genre and the mixing of facts in an S/F format. The comment "mixed genre" make me grit my teeth in frustration. However, this is the "writer's reward" Papa Hemingway spoke of and we should accept our reward. The question comes down to ... who do you serve? The editor? Or Rhoda? Marketplace or Rhoda? I would go with Rhoda any time ... into the bleak wilderness of writer torment if necessary.

As an unpublished author ... I may comment in complete ignorance of what editors and readership seek. I have an image of an editor reviewing romance novel sales and marketing and trendy (but empty of content) novels via computer graphics. Book company's are a lot like political parties ... "Let's run a push poll and see what the great unwashed want!" Much S/F I read today is a retelling of the same old tried and true serialized "petty" drivel. But ... tastefully, highlighted by unpronounceable place names and characters. "Hupmorzee from the planet Galopixve is seeking the magic sword Longurewqa..." Or themes along that line.

Why do you do this, Rhoda? Write that is. Because IT is in you. This IT will not be contained and comes forth from a great fountain of intellect, gathered over the years, nourished by imagination and fertilized by human interaction ... indeed, part of your personality right down to the core of your existence. You have something, a drive to create that many do not have, will never have and not capable of having! This drive to create, to write, to bring forth words and emotions and characters in an arrangement that satisfies will always stand you well ... and the hell with conform. (Pant, pant!)

"How practical should a writer be?" (GRIN) Well shoot, Rhoda! Who said writers had to be practical in the first place!?

"A writer writes not because he is educated but because he is driven by the need to communicate. Behind the need to communicate is the need to share. Behind the need to share is the need to be understood. The writer wants to be understood much more than he wants to be respected or praised or even loved. And that perhaps, is what makes him different from others."


Did I help?


Randall 11-14-2002 20:38

I got back my critiques from my contest which I placed 3rd out of 3. All four critiques were wonderful and constructive. The editor did not give me any feedback. She must not have been too impressed. I did get a comment that this book is going to be impossible to market as a romance because the hero and heroine are apart for too long. There might be something to that.

I have such a difficult time fitting into the romance catagory because I think the rules are stupid. I understand that they go by what the readership wants, but I am not that petty when I read a book. Actually I must face the truth. I really don't like "romances." I like love stories, but I want issues in them other than the romance. I want to see personal growth. Another thing, I will never perpetuate the myth that a good man or a good woman can save someone from whatever it is that is bringing a person down. So perhaps I have another project on my hands that I will throw all my energies into and no one will buy. That is frightening.

Why do I do this? I don't think I am wasteing my time, but I think I set myself up for a lot of frustration and heart-ache, because I cannot, will not conform.

Market versus Art. What are your thoughts on that? How practical should a writer be?

Rhoda 11-14-2002 19:33


I am still praying for you and Anita. I know what you mean about those cheap hamburgers. Frank has made that mistake a few times. The last time I cooked them up, we almost burned up the grill there was so much fat. Finally he believed me when I informed him there was a difference between extra lean and ground beef.


I am praying for you also. Hopefully you will get to go out west.

Rhoda 11-14-2002 19:25

Peanut butter and jelly
moist and sticky

Stephanie 11-14-2002 15:03

Yahoo!!!!! I broke down and bought the Lord of the Rings special edition. (yes!) Sorry for that little outburst. I loved the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the movie was good as well. Writing has been all right, been spending most of my time equally on my projects and got my poems back this week. I finally know how many i have, (around the number anyway) Over a hundred! (another yes!) I've been waiting for that ever since sophmore year. I hope all that you're doing is blessed with success and that you all have a good day!
Till Niagara Falls!

Elaine 11-14-2002 12:09

Rosemary: What fun! I loved the last line of your post...gotta go, I think I'm cooking something that is going out of control here. We could have a ball doing a kitchen scene using that line!

Viv 11-14-2002 2:21

Morning all,

I heard from EBay that the email that I had received was fraudelent (sp!). They assured me EBay would never ask for any kind of identification or personal information outside of the EBay enviroment. They also said this one probably came to me because I was using my e-address for bidding. I knew that might someday be a problem and had been thinking about it but didn't want those suspicious dark glasses next to my name. In the five years or so I have been on EBay, this is the first time anything has come up so I consider myself lucky. I went ahead and changed the username. They assured me it would not affect my feedback history.

I don't know if the yarn section has just become more popular or if it is because of Christmas coming up, but I'm going to quit bidding until after the holidays. Some of those people bidding are out of thier minds. I think they get inflamed with the competion. One batch of yarn went over a hundred dollars with seven bidders. It was really nice yarn, but a sweater made of it wouldn't cost that much.

Gotta go, think I'm cooking something that is getting out of control in there.

Rosemary 11-13-2002 11:46

Hi to all! :-)

MARK: Chris Suellentrop's problem is in perspective. Harry Potter is NOT a traditional hero. He begins with fantastic odds against him by being the only known survivor--as a baby, no less--of an evil wizard's murderous rampage: Harry's survival makes him a wonder, not a hero. He then proceeds to be a boy having an adventure. He's certainly not the only hero in his story, but it is HIS story, not theirs. Just my one and a half cents. :-)

HOWARD: Continued prayers... and (((hugs))) :-)

EDDIE: More prayers for Anita - sounds like she's doing wonderful! I'm so glad she's made progress. :-)

CAROL: Oh good - I'll check out that Writer's Digest at the library this week (I stopped my subscription awhile back as they were stacking up faster than I could read throught them!). Happy writing to you! :-)

A great writing experience to all today!

Mel 11-13-2002 7:21

Ack! Melodrama! *skittering away FAST*

Heather 11-13-2002 0:38

Rosemary - I did that, explained in the very short limited space that this fellow refused to pay, it just made me mad as hell, but like you say, there are all kinds out there, I sit now with 199 good comments, and one neutral, it could have been worse I guess, he could have made it totally negative, maybe there is an ounce of sense buried somewhere deep beneath his dark dark soul.

It's not like I was being a hard ass about the whole thing, I offered to let him have a second chance, I explained that the whole deal was only over ten lousy bucks, he wouldn't even make that good, let his reputation fall over a lousy ten bucks.

I personally have a box of 8 meg simms that I didn't want, the fellow advertised it as a mixed lot, some 8's some 16's some 32's so I bid, I could use some of the larger ones to fix up the ancient machines I tinker with in the back room, then, after I bid, he added a comment that they were all 8 meggers, so I sit with a box of 50 8 meg simms that I will probably never use for anything, but I didn't back out of the deal, I paid the damn price, and I expect no less from the fellows who bid on my auctions. That deal cost me 25 bucks, that I surely could have used for other things, but I like the fact that I had NO negative, no neutral not bad stuff, then this idiot comes along, bids on the auction and stiffs me on the deal, over a lousy ten bucks. Just hit me all wrong, maybe I was having a bad day that day, but I didn't cuss him out, I wasn't negative in my emails, I was trying to be nice, but he was simply an ass hole who cared less about his reputation on EBAY, UNTILL I left the bad comments, and all I said was he refused to pay. Didn't call him an ass hole or anything like that, just told the truth. Maybe he's a product of today's "it's all OK" school of thought where it's all about how YOU FEEL, not about how you make others feel.

Wait a minute, I think were supposed to be the 'feel good' generation, or was it the feel bad??? I don't recall.

Oh well I blocked any further emails from him, I was getting one about every ten minutes after I filed a complaint with EBAY, who apparently notified him of it. I did forward the complaining really nasty emails he sent to Ebay for their consideration. I doubt that any one will read them, as I'm not spending 20 bucks to have some idiot on their payroll look into it.

Sorry for the rant, I see our friend Yang is back with his happy dust again, someone should really let him know that we don't want or need his participation, anyone type Chinese?

Jerry 11-12-2002 23:43

Here's a review of Harry Potter that I found insightful.

Mark HarryPotter 11-12-2002 21:59

talc POWDER and lump
Main chemical and physical index:

Specification HaichengNO1 HaichengNO2 Haichen NO3 Liaoning No1 Liaoning NO2
SiO2 60% 57% 52% 47% 35%
MgO¡Ý 30% 31% 31% 31% 31%
CaO¡Ü 0.50% 0.70% 1.50% 1.50% 2.00%
Fe2O3¡Ü 0.30% 0.40% 0.40% 0.50% 0.50%
Al2O3¡Ü 0.20% 0.20% 0.50% 0.50% 0.50%
Whiteness¡Ý 90-95 90 90 90 90
L.O.I¡Ü 7.0% 10% 13% 17% 25%
Mesh 325-1250 325 325 325 325
Moisture¡Ü 0.30% 0.30% 0.30% 0.30% 0.30%

Packing: 1.0mt/bag, pp, woven; 25kgs/paper bag or per customers requirements

TEL: 0086-411-2827218;
FAX: 0086-411-2810866 /3680411

yang lian chun china jilin shanwei wollastonite mining co., ltd 11-12-2002 21:22

wollastonite POWDER AND LUMP
SiO2: 49% MIN
CaO: 45% min
Fe2O3: 0.5% MAX
L.O.I.: 1.5% MAX
CO2: 1.5% MAX

SiO2: 49% MIN
CaO: 44% min
Fe2O3: 0.5% MAX
L.O.I.: 1.5% MAX

SiO2: 49% MIN
CaO: 43% min
Fe2O3: 0.5% MAX
L.O.I.: 1.5% MAX

SiO2: 49% MIN
CaO: 45% min
Fe2O3: 0.5% MAX
L.O.I.: 1.5% MAX
Al2O3£º1 %MAX
CO2: 1.4% MAX

SiO2: 49% min
CaO: 46% min
Fe2O3: 0.3% MAX
L.O.I :( AT 1050¡æ): 1.2% MAX
S: 0.001%
P: 0.050%
Mesh: 60/100/200/325/400/1250 Mesh 95-98% min passing through, whiteness: 90-92%
FOR the ceramic paint, rubber, rubber, and plastic industries and a coating for welding rod, and as protective slag for continuous steel casting as stuffings in chemical.
Packing: in plastic woven bag of about 25/50kgs net or in 1m/t bag/as required
Tel:0086-411-2827218; FAx:0086-411-2810866/ 3680411

yang lian chun china jilin shanwei wollastonite mining co., ltd 11-12-2002 21:22

Hi All :)

Viv - It is hard to come back to writing after a long break. Take it one day at a time. The notes I sent just may help get the ball rolling again. I know your notes have helped me in the past a great deal!

For those interested - Writers Digest has some interesting articles to read this month. Received it and devoured it within one hour today. :)

Carol 11-12-2002 18:00

Just for any of those who are authors of Shadows In A Dream. I emailed PublishAmerica complaining about the unsigned checks. Just got an email back acknowledging the problem and indicating that they would send out new checks to both me and to Allein. These are very small checks, but it is the principle of the thing.

Jack Beslanwitch 11-12-2002 14:46

Morning all,

I noticed that some sellers that had a couple of negative feedbacks were able to put a comment that explained. It was like your experience. They said the customer refused to pay and one said the check had bounced. This was entered after the negative feedback had been posted. You might want to look into that. I think most buyers realize there are a lot of crazies out there and you're bound to run into one of them sometime.

Rosemary 11-12-2002 11:01

Viv - Poor sign. Yeah, I've been a little scared to drive too, but I have to go to work somehow, so I guess I gotta. :)

Jerry - The police were right there and I don't really have the money to pay for it right now, so, I had to exchange info with the other driver and call the insurance company. If I had the money and we'd agreed, I probably would have paid for it.

Allein Peachick's Gallery 11-12-2002 0:05

Congrats, Howard! But it IS something special!

Heather 11-11-2002 22:13

Neat! I just received a copy of one of my poems in a series that comes from our junior college. One of the profs sends out a "Monday Poem" mailing, and he picked one of mine for today. It's "Cycle" Nothing special, but I guess he liked it okay. I had all but forgotten it -- here 'tis

Howard Tuckey

Trees wake in springtime,
reach out to capture
presents from earth;
gifts from the sky.

In summer they bow,
condescend to each other,
comparing possessions;
green and alive.

In fall they discover
true value of treasure;
yellow as gold,
crimson as blood.

Then winter's cold wind
steals away all their riches,
trees sigh and shiver,
sleep naked again.

howard 11-11-2002 21:04

Jerry: I'm back in the "Land of the Rising Sun", but the sun ain't! It's chilly today. I'm sitting inside feeling happy that I don't have to go out. Perfect writing weather.

Carol: Thanks for the words of encouragement. You know after I take a break from writing it's double hard to get back to it. Thankfully, I can work on your edits to get warmed up.

Allein: I sympathize on that parking lot accident. My latest accident really upset me. I took out a sign. Why was this awful? Well, it was a sign that looked like a police man. They posted this picture of a policeman and it was supposed to scare motorists into behaving carefully because they "thought" they saw a policeman. It does work after dark. It was dusk when I hit it and I thought I'd killed a policeman. I went around the corner a little too close to the sign and CRUNCH...took it out. I looked in my rear view mirror and saw what I thought was a policeman on the ground. It was right next to the police station.

I hit the brakes, backed up...hit it again (not to make sure it was dead...but because I was so flusterated).

When I found out it was a sign, I kicked it over to the side of the road. Then I looked up to see a Japanese policeman standing by the front door of the station watching me. He was actually cowering. I shrugged, got back in the car and drove off. I kind of worried that they might come haul me away for hitting and running over a sign with a policeman. (There has to be a law somewhere about that. If there wasn't...there is now.)

What was bad was I was afraid to drive for about a week after the incident. It really shook me up. I wasn't driving fast because that's impossible here in Japan. You can't go over 30 mph because there are too many things in the way.

I'm a parking lot car hitter as well. I also seem to hit cars parked on side streets. I've gotten so I carry a camera...even a broken one because when I take a picture, no one seems to cheat much on the scratch. Before I carried my faux-camera, everyone's scratch became a new fender. I got so I wished I could just hit and run.

Guess I sort of got my hit and run wish about a month ago with the faux traffic cop. Guess I should have taken a picture of him with the faux camera.

Anyway, I sure empathize with that situation. Been there too many times to count!

Howard: Sending lots of prayers your way.

Viv 11-11-2002 20:02

Ok, so I put up two old 486 motherboards on Ebay, I figured maybe to get a buck or two out of them rather then throw them away. This guy bids on them, gets the bid for five dollars, shipping is another 7.50 and HE REFUESES TO PAY.

Ok no biggy I send him an email saying I'll leave negative feedback if he hasn't paid in ten days, the ten days go by, and I leave it a simple refused to pay after winning the bid.

The arsehole LEAVES NEGATIVE FEED BACK ON ME??? Because I left true negative feed back on him?

I wrote Ebay, they replied saying basically your on your own, we will no longer remove negative feedback without A COURT ORDER!

What a pile of crap.

Take warning Ebay will not stand behind you should you get undeserved feedback. (They say this is a new policy, the only other option is to hire their invistagative service for $20.00 to check it out and issue a report, then, if their investigator says to, they will remove it without a court order.)

Maybe they are just too big and getting too many arseholes up there, but it would be nice to know that they stand behind the folks who make their site work, those who pay their damn salary.

Jerry 11-11-2002 19:45


My name is Roy and I am Sunny's husband. She told me about this site. I am impressed, many good messages. But the real reason for me writing is to say a big thank you to all the veterans. I just joined Rolling Thunder - a veteran's organization dedicated to the POW/MIA issues. I know you will keep all veterans in your prayers, especially those who did not return. To all of my veteran brothers and sisters welcome home. Leave no-one behind! Keep on writing. It is what makes this country great!

Roy 11-11-2002 19:20

Hi All :)

My deepest thanks to every veteran on this board. I cannot say "happy" Veterans Day -- it just doesn't fit and I have yet to find a suitable replacement. Also - a hug to every spouse and family member of our veterans, they too deserve our respect.

Carol 11-11-2002 16:50

Thanks again, all for the prayers and kind words. The insurance coordinator called and gave the ok for the surgery (nice of them) and now I'm waiting for a consultation with the surgeon. I'm told that he's very good, and his first name is Kenneth -- they call hin Kenny. So it's not Som Ting...

LITTER -- thanks for the poem! It's hard to think about the sacrifices made by the men and women who gave so much for so many. I spent three years in the military, never saw any action, but I did see some of the guys who came back through our unit from Viet Nam. I held a 19 year old kid while he had nightmares from seeing his whole squad blown up in front of him -- the VC had used a little girl as a human bonb to take them out.
I saw guys whose lives were ruined by the horror that had driven them to alcohol and drugs.
They served with honor. I only hope that those who placed them in harm's way honestly did so from the same sense of honor.
And I hope and pray that our current leaders will let that honor direct them as well, and will honestly seek (as they claim to be doing) the wisdom of Almighty God in the decisions they're making
Yes, the situation in the Middle East is violent and volatile (when was it not?) and something must be done to curb the evil of state supported terrorism, but I'm praying that that is the only motive for the sabre-rattling going on as we discuss this.

JERRY -- Quite a story -- and all too true in too many instances. Thanks for sharing it.

howard 11-11-2002 11:16

Happy veterans day - rememberance day - what ever anyone else calls it day.

A bit of a shorty in the spirit of the day.

Welcome Home
by Jerry Ericsson

The phone rang for the seventh time. “Go away, leave me alone!” he screamed at the square black box with a dial.

It rang again, and again, at long last he picked up the old receiver, gritted his teeth and said “Hello.”

It was Henry on the other end, sobbing incoherently, but he knew why, he didn’t need to ask, the date said it all, it was Veterans day, and they were vets, they shared a common past filled with the horror of total war, of free fire zones, of death and destruction.

“I’ll be right there.” He said. It wasn’t a smile on his face as he went to the door, took his old field jacket off the hook on the wall then left his modest one bedroom home, but a mixed look of fear, dread, and despair.

He guided his old Ford through the streets of the city, not breaking any speed limits, but not wasting time either, Henry was in trouble and he was the only one who could help.

Arriving at Henry’s house, he got out of his car, and slowly walked up the sidewalk to the front steps of the small duplex, then rang the bell.

There was no answer but then he didn’t expect one, he used his key, the one Henry gave him so many years ago so he could keep an eye on the place while Henry was in the VA Hospital. As he entered the house, he could hear the television playing, some lady was reading the names from “The Wall,” “Thomas Alfred Spillum” she read.

He found Henry sitting at the kitchen table. There was an empty glass in front of him, an empty whiskey bottle lay on it’s side in the middle of the table, but what lay directly in front of his buddy caused him to gasp. It was the Tokarov .30 caliber pistol that Henry took of the dead body of the NVA officer he shot over thirty years before. The magazine was in the pistol, the hammer pulled to the rear, it was ready to again serve the man who held it.

“Welcome home!” he said as he sat at the table across from his old army buddy.

Henry looked up, “Welcome home.” He sighed, the traditional welcome of Viet Nam Vets.

“We lost you know.” Henry said in that matter of fact tone of his.

“We didn’t loose, we were winning when we left!”

“But it was all for nothing!” Henry sobbed.

“It was not for nothing!”

“Yes it was, we lost!”
“We fought for our buddies, for our platoon, our company, our regiment!”

“Fuck no, we fought for our country, and we lost!” Henry picked up the pistol and put the muzzle in his mouth, his finger was on the trigger.

“NO! I fought for you, you fought for me, we fought for each other, and we won, we’re both here aren’t we?”

Henry put the pistol back on the table. “I guess so.”

“You gotta let it go man; shit it’s been over thirty years ago!”

“I know, it’s just the day I guess,” Henry said, as he pulled the clip from the pistol and cleared the weapon by pulling the slide to the rear and ejecting the round from the chamber.

“John Wesley Anderson” the lady on the television read.

Tears ran down both their faces, “Welcome home!” Henry said.

“Welcome home.”

Another crisis over, another veteran returned to reality, another veteran’s day over for another year.

Jerry 11-11-2002 10:45

Rosemary - I highly doubt that was really ebay. Good for you for not sending your personal info to them! That's one scam I've heard of recently, (though I don't know anyone who's fallen for it): People impersonating a company or service, or some other thing like that and asking for your credit card info, or your password.

Anyway...sorry I haven't been adding to the Phantasium list - I have been feeling more than rotten and am starting to come around. This past weekend I'd hoped to have everything in one pile (the Finals pile!) but it just didn't happen. I slept so long Friday night and Saturday, that I got the worst backache, just from lying down so long. ICK.
That would never have happened to me ten years ago. *sigh*

Anyhow, this week is looking good for finishing up Phantasium 'last-ditch edits'.

Howard - how are you? You're still sending me funnies, so I PRAY that means you're healthy et al.
Sorry I haven't kept up with any NB updates...
I think my head would fall off if there wasn't so much (ewwwww) mucous holding everything together. Now that's a glue, sonny.
Sorry, I refuse to pass it on!
I'll update everyone on the Phantasium status, and latest edits on individual pieces, etc. when I've got it all together. There are several stories that I haven't received back from first edits - I'll get to those last, since they have been edited at least once!
I think to speed things up a bit, I will go in and make changes personally and then send finished stories for approval for everyone.
If you would prefer to make changes yourself (on any stories that aren't in the 'finals list' yet), just let me know!

Heather 11-11-2002 10:29

Rosemary - No, I never received anything from Ebay, but then I don't use credit cards with them either, they withdraw directly from our checking account. Could very well be some sort of scam artist trying to get your credit card number so they can steal property using it.

I guess I did get one email from them about six or seven months ago but all they wanted me to do was go to their customer service page and insure that all was correct.

Allien - you know you don't have to turn minor accidents into your insurance company if you don't want to. All you have to do is pay for the damages to the other guy's outfit, and yours too, of course, then your rates don't go up. Guess it depends on how you want to handle it and the combined damages.

Speaking of insurance, my mother has this combined insurance, (Company name) that has been well known as being as close to a scam as you can get without actually being one. At any rate, she is always filing insurance claims with them, any time she pulls a muscle, or sprains a wrist, if she falls, or simply wakes up with a sore neck she comes up with some reason to file with them.

Now don't get me wrong, I don't think she's doing insurance fraud or anything, but this outfit pays in addition to Medicare or any other insurance. I guess they have put up with her doing this for many years without complaint because she pays in more in premiums then she gets back, or at least I think so. But that's not the point, you see there is a clearing house of insurance claims that all insurance companies subscribe to, and a year ago last summer, her claims caught up to her. She got a letter from her insurance company (the one that insures her home and car) saying that due to the large number of insurance claims she has filed, they were cancelling her policy.

It took me two weeks to get this mess sorted out, and ended up with one insurance agent in loosing her license, not because of the cancellation, that was legit, but because of the way she did it, she didn't file the necessary paperwork, and failed to give mom adequate notice. At any rate, she now has insurance again, but pays nearly twice the premium that she used to. It's with a different company that doesn't have a local agent (well there's one within 75 miles.

But it does go so show that one should be very careful filing insurance claims, it's my understanding that the pool of information is very much like credit bureau's sharing credit information.

Mom still has Combined Insurance, every time she decides to chancel they call her and ask why she is cancelling, she tells them, and they seem to "find" some old claim for $20.00 that they still owe her, they tell her they will send the check once she renews. She always does, being a product of the depression era, she treats it as "found' money.

Jerry 11-11-2002 9:50

Did you watch the documentary 'Shot at Dawn'?
Over 300 of our men were shot by purple faced officers for reasons that defy belief.
One poor man, Corporal Goggin, was shot along with a private and a sergeant for retreating twenty yards to a safer shell hole in the face of a massive enemy attack.
The Court Marshal transcript states that there was not enough evidence for a guilty verdict of cowardism, but as the battallion was not doing too well at that time an example was in order. They shot the three of them.
There are many stories like this. It makes me feel ashamed to have been part of the military.
Let's hope that we are past that sort of banal behaviour now.

Eddie French 11-11-2002 9:12

Hi all,

HOWARD – my prayers have been updated from heavyweight to superheavyweight. Can’t hurt, but I’m not sure God differentiates in any event! Undifferentiated or not, my prayers remain with you and yours.

Remembrance day in once again with us. Every year I seem to feel more incensed by needless waste. This is what came from yesterday musings

Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day
Has come around again.
More to remember now,
And still counting,
Whilst the generation
With which it started
Has withered,
And has mostly gone,
Dying from the day
They saw Hell incarnate
In the mud,
On the sand,
In the air above the battle,
Or in the unforgiving sea.

But the ‘War to end Wars’,
And the lessons to be learned,
Too many parasites…
Too many Mandarins
Of political ambition
And martial conquest –
Shaping history
To serve themselves –
Still send the loving,
And the loved,
To obscene damnation
And a lifetime of regret.

© Litterali, 10/11/02

Not sure if it is finished yet. Probably is.

Ciao for now,

Litter 11-11-2002 8:07

Hi all!
Haven't been around too much, but I've been lurking. Got into a minor accident yesterday - scratched a guy's car trying to pull into a parking space. Luckily he wasn't to mad, but I am cause now my insurance will go up and it's already too high to begin with. Ironically, my car suffered more damage than his and it wasn't terribly bad. I hope he doesn't try to lie about the damage and try and get a new bumper or anything when a little touch up paint will take care of the problem. I could really care less about his car, I just don't wanna have to pay insurance. If it were my car, I'd just say forget about it. His car was a bit newer but not much nicer than mine.

Sorry, just had to vent a little. >.<

Shanace - I started writing in 2nd grade too. Your story is very cute. :) I hope you continue to like reading and writing, develop characters of your own and become an author someday.

Allein Peachick's Gallery 11-11-2002 0:12

Evening writers all,

I just got an e-mail from EBay asking for my name, e-address and credit card number for their review of their member accounts. I never use a credit card on EBay and I sent them a message saying I wasn't giving them or anyone else my credit information and if they didn't want me to keep buying on EBay, they just had to say so. I realize this might not have really been EBay. Was wondering if you received a similar request.

Went to a market fair in a small town about 10 miles from here and sold about $50 in crocheted items and got a vicious sunburn. The weather was clear, sunny and over 80 degrees. Who expected that in the middle of November. I was worried when I started out because I had forgotten my sweater. You just never know around here. The weekend before it rained and we almost froze. Is it any wonder we all come down with sinus infections around here?

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you. I use military medical services and haven't seen a real doctor but twice in years. Some of the PAs and RAs are really good and then you get one like the one said that I could not possibly have an infection because I had no fever. I wound up in the Emergency clinic a week later unable to swallow because of a pocket of infection in my jaw. The Doctors there just shook their heads when I told them what he had said.

Enough of my blabbering for now.
Keep on writing all,

Rosemary 11-10-2002 20:30

hi my name is shanece i am in 2 grade. i love reading ill tell you 1 right now.hunting for honey. that is the name of the story. time for hunny said pooh.surly theres hunny in the cupboard. hoory! Today is honny delivery day! with exsitment. in the box theres a ... ...tub of butter!? butter tastes nothing like honey! if pooh has some1s butter then some1 must has poohs honey! pooh heads off to a honey hunt mabe piglet has poohs hunny Hello piglet were are you piglet needs latters now he can reach his cupboard... ... and the kitchen sink mabe Kanga and roo haves it pooh did you get any deliveries tody pooh akked kanga? yes roo got a package from his uncle. here comes roo!! its a pretty jar!!

shanece shanece 11-10-2002 18:08

MARK -- no -- real! Love those little blue pills!

howard 11-10-2002 13:15

EDDIE -- Anita is still on our list, and I'm glad she's improving and able to get out.

SUNNY -- Thanks for the prayers, and I'm glad your hubby is better.

You mentioned "Nurse Practicioner" -- have you noticed that we're seeing them more and more lately? Also "Physician's Assistants," like the one I've seen for my neck and arm problems. They can write prescriptions, do diagnoses, etc, and some of them (like this one) are very good at what they do, inspiring confidence -- but i've seen some of both NP's and PA's who might better be dispensing hamburgers instead of medical advice. But there are doctors who are that way too -- I saw an ENT specialist for my trauma hearing loss recently, and to be honest, I felt like just another notch on his 401(k).
But then there are those who go the extra mile, or more, and go out of their way to really make sure the patient is receiving the best care possible.
The big kicker is the horrendous number of people out there who get no medical treatment because they don't have that magical insurance card. How do they survive? I can feed my neighbor, and make sure they have warm clothing and a place to live, even help where I can with his spiritual needs, but how do I care for his physical ailments?
I know people with families, trying to raise them on $400-$500 a month (even less) who can't even take their kids to the doctor when they're sick, because they can't pay the bill. I know there are programs oout there to deal with some of this, but they can't even begin to meet the needs.
And now our county has just announced that they're cutting 104 jobs (mostly in social services) and still raising our taxes -- which puts even more of a burden on these poor folks.
Gotta stop -- getting depressed -- but someone has got to start doing something about it! I know if I won the lotto I'd try to set up some sort of free clinic for these folks, but I'm afraid that it wouldn't last long, and would probably do more harm than good.
Meanwhile I keep getting ads for things like "43 inch plasma flat TV's -- only $2500!" and HBO "on demand," and "fabulous Disney Cruises." It's to chunder...
like I said, gotta stop.

howard 11-10-2002 13:14

CHERI -- re-reading my post, I see that I left out an important phrase, "per month." Those houses pay $12,000 per year in tax. And the rich get richer . . .

HOWARD -- thoughts and prayers. {I liked the "heavy breathing" part. Phone sex, eh?}

Mark 11-10-2002 13:11

Cheri -- I'm about an hour or so north of you, and as a matter of fact I was in Flemington last Sunday! My husband and I took our 16 year old son down to the outlets to get a winter coat. And we were in Lambertville the weekend before that! We go there a few times a year as a quick get-away. I love the countryside, and the stores. And I know what you mean about the "McMansions" down that way. Yuck!

Sunny 11-10-2002 10:50

SUNNY- I was surprised to hear you’re from NJ! I live in Flemington. Where abouts are you from?

HOWARD & EDDIE – Prayers for both of you & your loved ones. Just this week my husband had to undergo a thallium stress test. He’s the kind who sees the glass as half empty and so he nearly worried himself into a heart attack thinking they would find something. He’s diabetic and his father has a bad heart (quadruple bypass surgery at age 46), add to that his blood pressure was a little high and the Nurse Practitioner ( NO not the Doctor) decided it would be a good idea to have the stress test. However, everything came back normal and hubby is muck happier.

EDDIE – Congrats!!

TINA – I have to agree with everyone on your earlier post. I, too, have felt that way. I’m lucky enough to have a large, close family to remind me that even without friends I’d never be friendless. I hope that makes sense.

MARK – One thing that stood out in your post was those houses on large pieces of property that sell for even larger sums of money and high taxes to boot; you just come for a visit to Flemington NJ!!! Most of the newly built “houses” (they look more like small mansions) start at 375 to 400 thousand! And the taxes?! I shudder to think about it! I live in a townhouse and pay over 3000.00 a year. My lawn is almost nonexistent and I get to maintain it myself.

My husband and I often drive by these places wondering what on earth these people to earn that kind of money!

To All – Enjoy the weekend! Remember the Veterans on the 11th.

Cheri 11-10-2002 0:07

Howard -- you have a marvelous attitude and I believe it will serve you well. Prayers will be coming your way from New Jersey, you can bet on it! :-)

Sunny 11-9-2002 20:21

Hello fellow Notebookers,
I thought it time I checked in so here goes.
Since Anita suffered a stroke I have had to take on more responsibility with regard to the general running of the household. Most of the everday things are just fine, washing up after meals and so forth. I had plenty of practice doing that before anyway. I like to cook and have always dabbled at that too. It's the shopping that gets me!
I just cooked myself a couple of burgers that I bought from a large store yesterday. They were frozen so I defrosted them in the MW. I took them out and brought them up to my PC room with a coffee. (I intended to put some work in on an assignment which is due in on Wednesday) Anita is out at a 60's concert with her best friend tonight. She is doing fine but has not really improved much more over the past few weeks. She still needs a stick to get around and the doctors say that it could be up to a year before she fully recovers. Anyway, I digress, I took a bite out of the first burger and almost sprayed the monitor with a mouthfull of cheap meat! UGH. Next time I look for burgers I will certainly look out for the word 'Economy' on the side of the pack. Does anybody ever buy these things a second time?
Some good news (for me!) I got a nice surprise in the post last week. A couple of paperback books arrived from the US of A, I opened it and it was two LITPOT anthology publications. Each had a piece of my work in them. It was really satisfying to see my work in print. I also got a letter asking permission for one of my works - 'The Grave Digger' - to be included in yet another publication called 'Debuts', which I gladly gave.
I put the link in for you to check it out, the books are really well printed and manufactured.
I am now attending University two days a week in order to gain my computer degree so my workload is really high at the moment and about to get higher. In my second year (starting next summer) I will be starting my Cert. Ed. course which will enable me to lecture at any institution throught the UK. At the moment I just lecture part time for 1st year college (16-19 year old students). I also have a twelve week course to squeeze in this year (BTEC Lesson Planning) Life is hectic!
I almost gave it all up when Anita became ill but she now pushes me even harder than she did before. She seems to want this more than I do. I'm glad I stuck with it as the terrible fears which plagued me after Anita's stroke are slowly fading and as we get back to living our lives with some measure of normality.
Well, I think that's everything from my side.
I'm with you all the way. Be strong.
Be well and don't take anyone for granted.

Eddie French Debuts 11-9-2002 16:58

RANDALL -- Believe me, I am no stranger to the power of prayer, and I could ask for nothing better than to know that folks are praying for me. As you said, it's a great thing, and I truly appreciate it. Moreso because I know it's not just a casual or cliche thing, as many people believe it to be. It means coming into the presence of holy, almighty God, just to ask for His help. He's real, and He wants us to do just that, and that's why prayer does work. Even doctors are beginning to recognise its power -- I've read several articles lately on the subject -- and sometimes they actually recommend it.
Again, I'm most thankful for that. While we don't believe this is cancer, and I've been through it before, it would be false bravado, even foolish to say I'm not concerned. True, I'm looking forward to heaven, but like most, I want a peaceful and painless trip! (and a long one) :-)

You know, on that subject, there's a growing market for inspirational writing. Dunno whether it's all the turmoil in the world nowadays, with the terrorist actiities and the threat of war, or just the fact that the average age is increasing with all the baby boomers (they're a very real and growing influence on our society) coming along. Probably a combination of both factors, along with an upsurge in interest in Biblical end-time prophecy.
And that brings to mind the old saw about "Old folks read the Bible more as they grow older -- they're cramming for the final..."

howard 11-9-2002 15:20


Good afternoon...

Howard, words, however meaningful may be empty, while action speaks loudest. I am pulling for you and from first hand experience, prayer works. To wit ... My mother was very ill with cancer many years ago and in the hospital in Temple, Texas. I was staying in a hospital motel on the grounds, to be near her. About midnight or so the phone in my room rang. It was a nurse and asked me to come to my mothers room. The nurse said her condition was failing and I should hurry.

I did...

There were several nurses in the room when I arrived minutes later. Mothers life signs were failing and the end was in sight. I believe I got down on my knees (memory, ya know) and prayed, asking Jesus to allow her a few more years to be with her grandchildren.

I guess He accepted for ... FROM THAT POINT ON, MOM GOT BETTER and lived several more years. Let me say again, from exactly the time of my prayer, within minutes, she began to improve! Prayer works and I will pray for you as I'm sure we all will.

Jerry ... I saw that discovery channel program. I had surmised for many years the "last stand" was not. One of the NA participants said many years after the battle was over in the same amount of time it takes a hearty man to eat a meal. That's not very long. (I know I can really "wolf" it down in a hurry!) At one time I had a book written by an "Indian agent" who took down stories from the Indians who were there. This was dozens of years afterward and many Indians were still afraid to admit they were present. Throughout the individual accounts ... each contained a common thread ... many 7th calvary soldiers facing capture ... committed suicide. One Indian said he saw a whole group of calvary men shoot themselves in the head as they tried to evade on their horses!

Appalling? Not really. Anyone who has read of the West knows that the old adage of "save one for yourself" was common knowledge when fighting Indians. The discovery channel special showed a human skull with a rectangular whole (uh, make that hole! :-) in it. I might submit this was caused by a weapon being held against ones head? It was reported Custer suffered several wounds, one a head wound. As the end approached did he commit suicide? I read a story many years ago that his personality was such, that thoughts of capture and torture might lead him to suicide. And once captured, torture was a sure fire thing. No pun intended.

Many Indian accounts mentioned one trooper who was especially brave and fought valiantly to the end. This sergeant is pictured in a very famous, and probably the most accurate of all the "last stand" paintings by E.S.Paxson. He is the trooper kneeling and firing a carbine, just below General Custer's position. There are 200 identifiable persons in the painting. The artist worked for years on the painting and interviewed many of the Indians present. Many of the "last stand" paintings were in error however. Anheuser-Busch's famous painting in 1896 has Custer with a sword, while in reality the 7th calvary troopers had left their swords behind, in storage.

There are a lot of side notes to the battle...

Tom Custer is the only man in American history who was twice awarded the Medal Of Honor, during the Civil War. Many historians believe Tom would have been a better general than his brother George.

More than one Custer family member died in the battle ... George, Tom, Autie, civilian packer Boston Custer and brother-in-law Lt. James Calhoun. Tom's body was mutilated very badly, perhaps in response to his fighting so hard till the very end. All of the brothers died only yards from each other.

Weeks before the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Wild Bill Hickock was involved in a saloon shoot out with troopers of the 7th calvary, killing at least two. Tom Custer swore he would kill the famed gunman after the summer campaign.

Many years afterward the fully clothed skeleton a seventh calvary trooper was found many miles from the battle site. Someone was nearly a "survivor."

George Custer was not mutilated although his eardrums were punctured by squaws after the battle "... so he could hear better in the next world because he didn't listen in this world."

Oh well...General Custer screwed up big time and a lot of young men paid for the failure of "Custer luck."

Gotta go


Randall 11-9-2002 13:44

TINA -- That would be wonderful! Unfortunately, we're only going to be there 12/23-12/27 or so. And the doc may not let me go even then. We're hoping...

howard 11-9-2002 11:31

(Tina opens her trusty road atlas...)
Okay that's what, 4 - 5 hours from Tucson? Too bad, I was having daydreams of meeting you and Christi both!

Tina 11-9-2002 10:37

TINA -- If we go, we'll be heading for Williams -- about a half hour west of Flagstaff on I40. Dunno if we'll get much south or west of that, but might make a run to Sedona.

howard 11-9-2002 8:15

Randall - It's a little known fact that when Custer met his last stand, the ground was white! Know Why?

Because the Indians kept coming and coming and coming....

Just saw a history show about Custer a couple of days ago, this team of scientists and historians assaulted the battlefield after a prairie fire had denuded the area, they used metal detectors to recover brass from the battle as well as bullets and other battle implements. Then they did a scientific study of all that they found in the interest of determining exactly what happened. The punch line was that Custer's last stand wasn't a stand after all, but should have been called Custer's last rout. Most of Custer's men were not in fact men but boys, with little if any battle experience, most around 17 or 18 years old. From the bones they determined that many had very bad backs, the result of ridding hundreds of miles with little or no rest. The soldiers were armed with single shot Springfield trap door 45-70 carbines, the Indians with Henry and Spencer repeating rifles capable of firing over twenty rounds of much lower powered cartridges without stopping to reload, thus the soldiers had the advantage with long range, the Indians at short range. Since the area was ripe with gullies for the Indians to approach unseen, when they attacked they seemed to come from no-where.

The Soldiers, as was the custom then first formed skirmish lines, but when the full strength of the thousands of braves became apparent, quickly, those who survived the first few assaults ran to the location of other companies, the Indians followed, killing many on the retreat, then assaulted the next company in much the same manner, then finished off what was left. They figured that instead of an all day battle that history reports, it was over in under 45 minutes.

What followed the battle was total carnage, as the soldiers bodies were dismembered, their limbs scattered to the winds. This in the belief of the Indians that you and your enemy will meet again in the after life, and if you remove the enemy's arms and legs, then he will enter the afterlife without them, and thus can't take revenge. Skulls were crushed, bellies ripped open, entrails removed and so forth, this from the record of those who buried the dead.

This all took place a couple hundred miles west of here, Custer and his men went through our pasture on our old farm, we found their names and the 7th Cav carved into the sandstone out in our pastures. This before the last stand, when Custer lead an attack on the Black Hills to rid them of the dreaded Indian, after we had signed treaties giving them deed to their sacred hills till all rivers run dry, and the sky is no longer blue.

Anyhow, I ramble on, not unusual for me, funny how this becomes typical to old farts....

Jerry 11-9-2002 1:03



Been reading of General Custer's Last Stand and found this ....

Custer's Last Stand ...

The curator of a Western art museum commissioned a local artist to paint a mural sized painting of Custer's Last Thought. The artist was told to make it highly symbolic of Custer's mindset during the debacle at Little Big Horn. Deep in thought, the artist went to her studio. After many false starts, she proceeded to paint an enormous oil painting.

Finally, after many months of work, the painting was unveiled for the curator. In the foreground, a beautiful crystalline blue lake with a single fish leaping. Around the fish's head is a halo. In the background, the hills and meadows are covered with naked Native American couples copulating.

The curator is both disgusted and baffled by what he sees. In a rage he turns to the artist and asks, "What the heck has this got to do with Custer's Last Thought?"

The artist replied, "It's simple. Custer's Last Thought had to have been, "Holy Mackerel! Where did all these f***ing Indians come from?"

BIG GRIN! I bet that's right on!


Randall 11-9-2002 0:09

Hey Howard, ((((((HUGS)))))). Thought you might need one. Or six.

Where in Arizona are you heading for Christmas? I'll be in Eloy (half way between Phoenix and Tuscon) January 7th to the 18th. I'll get to meet Christi! Yay! Will you be anywhere near?

Tina 11-8-2002 23:59

Well I now have my computer running XP Home again. It wasn't as easy as it could have been had bill gates not put such restrictions on the distribution of his products.

HP sent me seven cd's all of which had to be installed at once, since the restore file is one huge file dived on the cd's. My first error was leaving both hard drives in the machine when I installed it. The software determined that my C drive was the hidden partition on the origional hard drive, and that my D drive was the C partition, so it put all the install files on c, renamed D C then installed windows XP on D. When it tried to reboot, it kept hitting the old C drive and blowing the boot. Had to take out my extra drive, reformat everything and start over.

The second time was a charm, and I'm back, spent the last two hours removing all the CRAP that HP sells with the system, like "Try before you Buy Word Perfect 2002" and Quicken free trial. What a load of crap, they sell you a machine loaded with SHAREWARE and think you should be happy with the gifts!

Oh well.

Randall your right, of course. The Democratic party of my father ended with the death of JFK, and it's been down hill ever since. I guess it probably died with the life of Kennedy but nobody noticed those things back then.

Back to getting things orginized on my machine.

Write ON!

Jerry Ericsson 11-8-2002 22:29

RANDALL -- Someone recently sent me a copy of a sarcstic thank-you letter to the dems for giving us many of the things you mentioned. If I haven't sent it to you already, I will do so shortly.

It's been quite a day -- finally got the word from the doc. I've got tumors on both lungs, but he still can't confirm or deny cancer. He said that perhaps a biopsy would be in order, but that would be almost as bad as the surgery, with a certainty of a collapsed lung -- requiring a chest tube and some hospital time and all, and the tumors would still be there. Well, I really don't want to go through another collapsed lung. I've had several of them already, and they're more painful than the surgery. Besides, the tumors are inhibiting one of my favorite past-times -- breathing. I have several other favorites, a couple of which require heavy breathing that are being hindered as well.
So, I'm waiting for a call from the surgeon to schedule a consultation, then if all goes well, we get it done in time to get to Arizona for Christmas with the kids.

Would you believe -- the surgeon's name is Wong...

howard 11-8-2002 21:54


TGIF !!!

Evening ... Nice short story Tina ... Howard ... great word site! Instant bookmark ...

Politics and the democratic party rout of 2002 ... I saw a bumper sticker not long ago. THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY GAVE AMERICA BILL AND HILLARY CLINTON AND MONICA LEWINSKY ... ANY QUESTIONS? Until the image of democrat Clinton shaking his finger in America's face and lying to the American people about having sex with a woman in the Oval Office dissapears ... democrats will take a beating at election time.

My family has been of democrat leaning from the git go. In addition, there are a lot of good persons in the democratic party. Still ... Mom told me one time "The republicans will take your money, but the democrats will take you to war." That my political leanings are now conservative and republican, no doubt, cause them to pinwheel in their grave.

The democratic leadership, at the time SHOULD have condemned Clinton, and convicted him in the impeachment process ... but they didn't. Minutes after the final legislative act democrat and veep Al Gore proclaimed Clinton a "great president." Yes Al, but great at what? Seeking sexual self gratification in the same office where democrat John Kennedy faced down the Russians? Where Franklin Roosevelt initiated the defeat of the axis powers in WW II? Where Harry Truman made the horrific decision (the buck stops here) to nuke Japan and finally end the war? Wonder what our Arkansas lad was thinking when his morality was down around his knees?

Until bad conduct is condemned and good conduct rewarded, America will have episodes of people like Clinton and ANY party which condones, winks at, or downplays such abhorrent behavior will suffer the consequences. This was not relevant in the elections you say? Not mentioned in the liberal media or polsters. Did you expect them to dwell on it? It is there nevertheless, perfectly defined by the bumper sticker quoted above. Along that line I understand the democrats are going to select a left-winger from California to a position of leadership in the House of Representatives. They have not learned and one can only assume the democrats are STILL in denial and shifted forward gears from political adjustment to self-destruct. Will wonders never cease.

There are (or where before this election) more rich democrats in congress than republicans. The democrats are quick to play the "P" card and want to be identified with the poor and downtrodden. A fallacy, best indicated by the fact that REPUBLICANS passed the Voting Rights Act which finally nailed "Jim Crow" into his southern coffin. Clinton gave us the largest tax increase in history, retroactive in fact! and republicans are trying (over the objections of democrats) to give the money back! Anything wrong with this picture!? Could this be the tax and spend democrats are famous for? If democrats are the party of the poor, shouldn't it stand to reason they would strive to help the working class of Americans? But maybe they want a welfare state, say, like the Palestinians in the Middle East? Now there is a progressive country to emulate! Millions of idlers, not working, but living off the United Nations relief fund, while throwing rocks at a nation which through labor and intellect made the desert bloom.

Along that line, I refuse to believe that wealth indicates success. A Mormon Bishop stated several years ago ... "No success in business can compensate for failure at home." I know a lot of rich people and will not compare my life to theirs in any regard, most especially political or in a matter of wealth. If they are democrat or republican and rich does not matter a hill of beans to me. I, solely, am responsible for my life and rich or poor is not an indicator of success at any level. Ever.


Off the soap box and goodnight ...


Randall 11-8-2002 21:06

Well, just finished another go at my novel. Hope to finish by the first of the year, have it pretty much plotted, (loosely) just need to put it together and flesh it out.

Laura 11-8-2002 19:44

Hi all!

Try this again... note to self, don't hit 'tab' and then enter by mistake...

How nice to open the NB and see this kind of response! Mark and Carol and Howard and Jerry, thanks! Oddly enough, I wrote it with only a little regard to how it was written. I just needed to get that moment in print, to savour it and preserve it. note to self, stop over thinking your writing!

Jerry, I need some of your good weather on Sunday; can you spare a bit of it? Cold is okay, I just need clear skies.

More people coming to see the house, yay! Now if only one would bite...

Blue skies!

Tina 11-8-2002 19:09

Hi all!

Tina 11-8-2002 19:02

Hi All :)

Jerry - I sure hope that fine weather you're experiencing heads this way. All your bad weather does, so fair is fair, right? hehehe Actually today was a touch warmer, in the higher 40's and we did get those little odds and ends done.

Tina -- I think your piece hits a cord in all of us. I know I've felt that way many times in the past and it usually is a stranger who shows me that it isn't true. That is a very nice piece of writing you've posted here. Now follow up this kind woman's faith that you will be published when the time is right and send this piece out! (after correcting the couple of extra words )

Viv -- if those last two chapters you sent me were written when you were overtired, then I think you may want to try that more often. I can't think of words to speak in normal conversations when I'm overtired, let alone try to write. I'm looking forward to seeing what you accomplished this week. And yes, I will have some new material to send you as well. :)

Sunny - thanks for your words of advice. I'm trying! I put my foot down yesterday and got some writing done. Thankfully hubby knows if I go too long without writing, I get to be one very crabby lady. When I warn him that I'm approaching that edge, he does give me some space to work. Thanks too for the link to your recent article. Not only did I enjoy reading your article, but I bookmarked the site for those days when my soul needs a good feast.

Time to write!

Carol 11-8-2002 17:19

Been a glorious few days here in the buffalo commons. Temps have gone up to the high 60's even hit 70 yesterday. All the snow is gone, and the trees came our of shock and dropped ALL their leaves yesterday. I spent today picking up the few leaves that landed in my yard from the neighbor's trees (I removed the last of my big trees this fall).

Mark - your right about the percentages. I recall my fathers political beliefs very well, and I hold those same beliefs. In his day the Democratic party represented those beliefs, but today there has been a shift in party platforms so far that to belong to a party that follows the basic core beliefs of my father, I have to go with the Republican party.

TINA Great writing.

The change in my OS's was not a good idea, and when I tried to use the HP method to restore my XP, it failed. My fault for not looking at the way they had things setup.

Called HP two days ago and they were very nice, said they would have me a set of recovery disks by the 12th free of charge. The disks arrived today, now that's fast service. I take back all the bad things I ever said about HP, well most of them anyhow.

I am about to reformat and install the old XP Home again, wish me luck.

Write ON!

Jerry Ericsson 11-8-2002 15:18

Hello all! Been working my butt off between school, work, and home, and have been finally able to take a little down time. I've almost completed another poem, with the execption of a title and a couple of verses. We're playing the most awesome pieces in band for Monday. A lot of patriotism, but that's all right. I love songs like that. Maybe i'll write something about it....(PAUSE WHILE THINKING), hmm, not a bad idea... I had a brain fart, oh, well they come and go. As for the views on elections, I didn't vote because I'm not 18 yet, so I didn't really look at the canidites or the results. Though I am happy about the Republican President, Republican House and Republican State. My parents voted for the Republican guy in our state. Well must go, the bells going to ring soon
Till Niagara Falls!

Elaine 11-8-2002 12:02

TINA -- A rousing second to what Mark said -- a great piece of writing! It proves you don't have to sit for hours trying to think up a blockbuster plot in order to hold an audience's attention. Everyday experiences, if related as well as you did that one, catch the eye of more people than fictional invention. I think it's because they bring to mind things more familiar than hobbits and orcs.

howard 11-8-2002 8:02

Hi, All !! Two things to say,
First -- TINA -- Wonderful piece of writing. I liked everything from its timing and pace to its use of quotes to its attitude. I've written snippets here that were well-received, but it seemed as though they were always regarded as simple expositions of an event in my day (or my history). In every case they were examples of writing, and in no case was the craft of writing taken note of. I think it worth bringing up.

Second -- Politics -- AH HA!! {big sigh} I could get long-winded here.
In the 1950's and 60's when we were growing up, there really was a vast middle class in this country. Since that time more wealth has accumulated in fewer hands. We return to "The Golden Age" when Rockefeller, and Chase, and Carnegie et al. controlled huge amounts of production and distribution. The 1980's merger mania did much to ensure that more companies came under fewer umbrellas. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
Jack Welch of GE is retired and still has an income of $3 million per month. Per Month!
In the '50s and 60s, company CEOs did well if they made 20 time a worker's annual salary. Professional people talked about tradesmen by saying "I'm in the wrong business." Plumbers, pipefitters, toolmakers generally made more than their managers. The upper class was a few people, but generally it was a vast group of upper-middle class people who could still be seen as within reach. No more.
I'm still in the middle, but the reaches are frightening and the bottom looks closer than the top. IBM has a big facility here with hundreds of manufacturing people making $8 per hour. Temp employees are all the rage; how many of them have upward mobility?
Out my front windows, across a little valley and up the next hillside, I see houses on 2- to 5- acre tracts that cost $250,000 to $400,000. They pay at least $1000 in taxes. At a discussion of that tax burden today, several of my neighbors blinked and said, "What do they DO that they can afford houses like that?"
More wealth in the hands of 10 or 20, less wealth in the hands of hundreds. How did it happen? In the '50s and '60s the country voted about 55 percent Democrat. Today it's about 55 percent Republican.

Mark 11-7-2002 22:48

Howard, that is a cool thesaurus. Bookmarked it! Thanks.

Ever have a total stranger restore your confidence in humanity?

After the wild success of our Haunted House, I was cleaning up and taking a load of branches (that were temporarily the Haunted Forest) up to the dump for chipping. I get there, weigh in, and drive to the brush pile. It only takes about five minutes to unload, but it could have been an hour. I’m in such a bad, despondent mood that ever minute seems like ten. I just want to go home and lose myself in a book, so I don’t have to be part of the world for awhile. After all, the world seems to get on just fine without me in it, people don't even seem to notice that I'm around - or not around.

So I finish unloading the branches, sweep out the bed of the truck, and head back for the scale to weigh out. The woman in the booth nods, and I get out with my purse. My mask comes on, and I smile just like I always do when I'm around people, so they think I'm all happy and chipper.

"Hi," I say to her through the small window.

The woman inside perks up and says something entirely unexpected. "I know you! I gave you a ride to school once, when you were in high school at VSS."

For this to be true, she is talking about roughly 15 years ago. I don't recognise her, and I the surprised tilt of my head gives me away.

"You don't remember," the woman in the booth tells me, "but you missed your bus and didn't know what to do. I gave you a lift."

And then I do remember, how my bus stop was at an elementary school, and she used to drop off her boy and always said hi to me. How I'd missed the bus, and she'd taken me to school.

I nodded, still surprised. How could she remember that? I didn't, not until she triggered it. "You have a great memory, because I sure didn't remember that on my own," I told her.

She shrugged. "That's two dollars for the load. Do you need a receipt? So what are you doing now-a-days?"

"Yes please. These days? I write, and I jump out of planes. And I have a job, but that's not what I do." I stumbled over my answer, unable to hide my amazement. She remembered me from 15 years ago, a timid teenager. I don't look the same, I'm twice as old. Why would she remember me?

"You write? That's great!"

"Well, yeah, but nothing published." Suddenly I'm ashamed to claim to be a writer of any kind.

"You will. Those things happen when the time is right."

"I hope so."

"It will. I'll see you around?"

I nod and mumble "Thanks," aware of a truck behind mine, waiting its turn to weigh out. So I take my receipt, climb back in my truck and drive off. The smile I give her is real.

It's the same dirt road I just came in on. The day is only 15 minutes later, and the sun has barely moved. And yet it isn't the same day anymore, and I'm not in the same place.

It's odd, how I go through life always wonder if people are patronising me. Do they actually want me around? Do they really like me, let alone respect me? Or is it an act that I can't see through? Too often I feel like I have no identity, no place in this small town where I've lived all my life. I feel bleached, transparent. Many times I’ve learned and relearned that it isn’t true, and yet I still give in.

Such a small thing, to be noticed by a stranger who has no real reason to remember me. In that brief moment, she reminded me that we make our reality, and mine is really pretty fine.

Be well, and blue skies!

Tina 11-7-2002 19:00

A friend just sent me the url for an amazing thesaurus. Try it -- it's really neat!

howard 11-7-2002 17:23

Mr. Chairman, I move that in the interest of domestic tranquility, and in the interest of peace in our time that we transfer ownership of the State of Florida to Cuba.

This will give Fidel the headaches of elections in that state, and in the confusion should lead to the downfall of the communist government. This will also return hundreds of thousands of Cuban residents to thier homeland, and decrease the worry in the rest of our great states of election woe's each and every election day.

Richard Gebhart 11-7-2002 11:08


Very true. Thanks for listening, and thanks for being kind. Sorry to get off on a political note. I really like to avoid that. But I will say that if the national Democratic leaders were more like you, the Democratic party would be in a lot better shape, because though you and I disagree on many issues, I feel that we are free here to express what is on our minds and respect each other for it. I know so many Democrats, like you, who are honest, tolerant, and wonderful people. If Daschle, Gore, Clinton, McCalliffe and the rest could learn from your example, we would have a lot better and livelier, more wholesome political climate.

Rhoda 11-7-2002 7:34

Jerry and Rhoda: Fair Enough :-) Given we live in a democracy and this is freedom hall, we are all welcome to our own opinions. Take care everyone.

Jack Beslanwitch 11-7-2002 2:09

Jack, sorry about that, my joy overcame my good sense I forgot that not everyone here shares my beliefs.

Jerry 11-6-2002 23:29


I remember those Reagan days, just as clearly as I remember the Carter days. Reagan ended double digit inflation, lowered taxes and brought down the Soviet Union. Not a bad eight years, but that depends upon how you look at things.

George W. does not have carte blanche because many Republicans are more moderate. Also the rules of the Senate give the minority much power to put the skids on things.

I am happy about the election mainly in the fact that some of the dirty dealing that went on did not succeed. The Democrats ran the dirtist campaign by going against state election law in New Jersey to get a better candidate. The way they used the death of the senator in Minnisota was sickening. All the Democrats in the Senate have done for two years is obstruct, obstruct, and obstruct. They had no other agenda than to oppose Bush. And I think that is why they lost.

Republicans are not perfect and they have had their bad years as well. Hopefully the Democrats will change their leadership and once again be a party that plays by the rules and the laws once again. Hopefully they will stop insulting the intelligence of their electorate and talk to the voters of the United States as thinking, reasoning people and not like drones and idiots. And hopefully they can once again put the good of the country before their goal of acquiring power at any cost.

My hope in the American electorate has been vastly restored. And I hope the Republicans take note to not get too arrogant and to not take the support of the American people for granted.

Rhoda 11-6-2002 20:35


Gee thanks, Rosemary! That was a wonderful comment to be on the receiving end of. :) I wish you could come on out too. What a time that would be!

Tina, I'm sorry, I did get your email and the plan is to return to my email box tonight and write you back. My son's birthday is coming up and it's mass hysteria around here. Heh heh. Okay, so I'm the only one that's hysterical but I count don't I?

Randall, What a crack up! I'm going to try and not to think of your story next time I fly. My sister's a flight attendant and I already know too many stories about whacky pilots. I try to think cheerful happy thoughts when I fly and nuthin but. :)
My sister was here the other day and passed on a good joke (at least I thought so).

Why did the pilot marry his first wife first and his second wife second?
Because his second wife wasn't born yet!

Jerry, I really enjoyed your story. The ending was a bit rushed but other than that it was great!

Cheri, You're a welcome breath of fresh air! Why don't you lurk less and hang out for a bit? :)

Sunny, Checked out your article. If anyone needs organizing it's me. Thanks! Great job!

Heather, I've got Angel and the Seer all reworked if you're interested in taking a looksie.

Hi Jack! Nice to know you're still there.

Adios, amigos,

Christi 11-6-2002 18:44

Well, I excised the spam and sent off a very blistering email to tell him to quit posting to the Notebook. Will have to see if there is a way to ban him.

Re the vote. Around Washington state we just shot down the one hope for any movement on correcting our transporation issues, i.e., some way to pay for it, voted for a monorail that is supposed to be paid for by bonds that are secured by additional taxes on our vehicle licenses and then voted on top of it that we capped our license fees at $30. Add to that a 2 billion deficit, the second worst unemployment in the nation and businesses like Boeing and others saying if we do not fix our transpartion they are going to bail on Washington, well, you get some idea.

My one comment about both houses of congress becoming Republican is that they apparently are not going to do anything about the deficit and let it grow again ala Reagan. Oh, well, those who do not remember history, especially financial history, are doomed to repeat it :-)

Take care everyone. Will get the archive up soon.

Jack Beslanwitch 11-6-2002 16:48

sorry for the political commentary.

Viv - thanks, glad you enjoyed it. Are you still in the land if the rising sun or back in the good old U S Of A?

Jerry 11-6-2002 9:53


Election couldn't have gone better! Well it could have, Thun hasn't won SD yet, but we now have a Republican House, a Republican Senate, and a Republican President.

Someone pinch me, I must be dreaming!

I guess all he negative ads and annoying phone calls (5 yesterday alone!) were worth putting up with. Well almost.

That last phone call really pissed me off, all day the damn phone was ringing, now I voted at 9:30 but at 5:00 PM the phone rang again, as usual, it was the Democrat's asking for my vote.

I don't like being rude, but dam it, I was tired of it all, and when this lady said she was calling for Senator Dashall, I lost it. "I wouldn't vote for that son of a bitch if he were running for DEAD!" I screamed into the phone and slammed it down. Then I thought - Running for dead? What the hell did that mean? I have no idea, I meant running for Dog Catcher, but at any rate the calls stopped.

The only thing I miss about North Dakota is their quaint little election law that all signs, all ads, all calls MUST stop at midnight the day prior to election day. At least one can vote in peace. Maybe I should suggest a referred measure.

The thing that got me was that all week, nearly every day the Democrats called, never got a call from the Republican party, but then I'm a registered Republican. Did Dashall really think he could convert me? I have to be on his hate mail list, as often as I send burning emails to his office.

They have those don't they? Hate mail lists? They have to have. I mean how else can they decide who would be a danger to the good Senate majority (very soon to be minority) leader?

Sent his buddy Johnson a letter once, after my first ever letter to Senator Dashall when the full brunt of the Federal Government was on my back, way back when they took my home and sold it for three grand. At any rate it was during our last Presidential Election, and Dashall was down in Florida kissing the then Vice President's ass, and never got back to me for weeks. I sent a letter to Johnson, our other Senator, and asked him for help dealing with the seizure of our income tax refund, and attachment of my Social Security check. In the letter I explained that I had asked Senator Dashall for help several weeks ago but he had his head so far up the Vice President's ass that he didn't have time for constituents.

Just hours after sending that email, I got a call from Dashall's office apologizing for loosing my letter, the guy who called said it was now attached to this "other" letter and they would be looking into my situation. They looked all right, my check was attached, my credit ruined by a report that I had a federal judgement against me, and I was forced into Bankruptcy.

So you see, the defeat of Johnson would be so very satisfying, and there's word in the air that Dashall may soon step down as Senate Majority (soon to be minority!) leader and return to the private sector instead of his planned run for the Presidency.

Jerry 11-6-2002 9:50

Jerry: Liked your story! I did not see that ending coming up at all. I enjoyed the unexpected turn everything took, kept me off balance and reading all the way.

Randall: Just got off a plane and the trip sounded a lot like that. You ever been a pilot?

Carol: Just got back and read through your comments. I didn't download the attachments because I was paying by the minute. Still going fast because Hubby needs the e-mail so just a quick note here. Thank you for all the work you put into those chapters. I'll get them edited and I know your comments were right. I wrote them quickly when absolutely exhausted beyond reason. Hopefully, I'm caught up a little on sleeping. Got to get papers graded first, sighs impatiently! Friday, Writing day at last! I'll go in and do a complete revision of all the story because I discovered I have two different versions of chapter 2! All in all I think I'm up to 12 chapters and still rolling. Wow! That's the most I've ever written without burnout!

Looking forward to seeing your next chapters this Saturday. Hope you found some quiet this week.

Heather: Discovered a new ghost! Know it's probably too late but what fun to be sensitized to the ghost traditions around us.

Viv 11-6-2002 8:37

Randall - good stuff. You can tell your boy that once he gets up here and gets to driving on our white streets, the secret to stopping at stop signs when you can see the reflection of the sky is to put that car in N then apply the brakes. To do any other is to drive through the intersection like there wasn't a brake on that unit.

It's almost over! Thank God! NO MORE MUD! for a few months anyhow then the Prez election comes around. Looks like the press learned from their last fiasco that they should not predict. Good thing. I heard one newscaster complain that they had to turn elections back to 1951, another said no, just 1960. Now there's conservatism.

Jerry 11-6-2002 1:00

The empty space at the end of my post? Uh ... well, Texans need a LOT of room!


11-5-2002 22:02


Hey! Good evening all!

Looks like one hung low is at it again.

Seems like Readers Digest, at one time, had a series called "Conversations we would like to hear." Or something like that. I'm basically a scardy cat when it comes to commercial flying, or (with an eye on a recent date) flying on a broom stick for that matter. I handle it, but if the airliner's left wing fell off, my deepest fears would be confirmed. As the plane tumbles to the ground fellow passengers would wonder at my calmness, but would be puzzled as I kept repeating ... "Of course. I knew it. I knew it. Bound to happen."

An imaginary conversation ...

A pilot addresses the passengers, but a faulty circuit switch enables additional cockpit conversations to be broadcast into the cabin.

"Good afternoon and thank you for flying Tree Top Airlines. We are now departing the terminal and will soon take off for ... (whisper) Where the hell are we going co-pilot?"

In the background ... "Minneapolis-Saint Paul. The twin cities, dork weed!"

"Ah, we are flying to Saint Minneapolis..."

"No! No! DA! Minneapolis! In Minnesota!"

"Oh yeah! Jessie Venturies turf. Home of the WWF."

A groan. "Will you get on with the welcoming speech!"

"Ah yes ... Our friendly and courteous cabin attendants will ... What?"

In the background passengers hear the sound of an engine starter turning over and over. Now the sound of a gas pedal being vigorously pumped ... A frantic voice, it's the co-pilot. "I said it won't start."

"What won't start?"

"The airplane. The airplane engines!"

"Have you tried choking them?"

"No, but I feel like choking you!"

"Don't blame me! I'm a pilot not a mechanic! I just take ‘em up and down. And I'll tell you one thing ... if our contract is not approved I'm going to do something drastic real soon! Did they gas her up?"

Sounds of a cockpit window being thrown open. "The only gas up here is from you! Turn on the fan! Quick!"

Now there is shouting from the cockpit. "HEY YOU! Yes, you walking down there."

A muffled response from someone obviously on the ground.

"I said it won't start! (Long pause) WELL, HOW THE HELL WOULD I KNOW! Somebody was supposed to check the gas! Well open the gas cap and measure it! And hurry up, we're flying to Twin City!"


"WHEREVER! I am the pilot, just remember that buster!"

"Sure, whatever you say Captain Kirk."

Several minutes later the pilot addresses the passengers. "Ah, we are having a bit of difficulty, but we should be airborne in a very short time. In the meantime please accept nuts, free beer and mixed drinks as a courtesy from Tree Top Airlines."

In the background the co-pilot is heard to mumble. "I should be so lucky! Beam me up Scottie!"

"Co-pilot run down that check list again."

"Okay, Captain."

"Electronics are on. Cockpit gauges are on. Flaps are operable. Radio ... on. Seat belt ... fastened. Henweigh ..."

"Whoa, whoa! What's a henweigh, co-pilot?"

"About five pounds captain!" Sounds of loud laughter.

"That'll be enough of that! You're a very sloppy co-pilot! What's does this switch do? It's in the off position."

"Don't touch that switch captain!"


"I'm not sure. It could be the pilot, flight crew, parachute activator. All I know is, when it's over there ... see, the little light next to that big yellow whatchacallit, is red. But when you switch it over there, next to the doohinkus, see, it turns green!"

"Does it usually smoke like that?"

"Ah, not usually. Well, not lately anyway." Tapping noises. "There, a little tap and it stopped!"

"That doesn't make a lot of sense! Darn shade tree mechanics! Probably crossed some wires again! Take out the light bulb, so it won't worry me."

"Uh, captain, when I remove the bulb all the other flight panel lights turn red!"

"Well phooey ... leave the durn thing alone. Anything else up here I should not know about?"

"Well Captain, there are a lot of things up here you should know about and a few things you shouldn't know about. Hey, the grounds crew is waving at us. WHAT?"

"Co-pilot, I think they are saying it's should be okay to start the plane."

"Well, buckaroo, lets's go! Attention all passengers. The engines are about to start and ... WHAT? Oh, okay ... ah, I have been informed that some of you have been playing jokes on the ground crew. Now that display of a PLEASE GOD HELP US sign and arm waving from the windows must stop. Recline your seats, drop your trays we're going to put this baby in the air ...."

Well, I hope they make it!

Randall 11-5-2002 21:54

SUNNY -- Congratulations! Way to go!

howard 11-5-2002 21:48

This may not be as exciting as chemical rock compositions ;-),
but i just had my first on-line feature article published! For anyone who wants to check it out, the site is:, and it's under my by-line, Sunny Schlenger, in the current (November) issue. Thanks, guys, for your support in here. You're great people and I love "knowing" you!

Sunny 11-5-2002 20:18

It's me again!

I was looking back at the archieve and found this funny post from Allein on Jan 16th 2000.

"Remember, when people make you angry it takes 43 muscles to frown, but only 4 to lift your middle finger."


Cheri 11-5-2002 16:44

I've stopped here before, but mostly I just lurk.

JACK; I needed to let you know that I love this Notebook. I've visited other writing sites, but none of them inspire me to write as much as the NB. Reading about everyone here is like visiting with friends. When I'm really down about not writing as much as I should or even as much as I would like to, I stop by here and feel encourged that one day I'll be posting more often and writing even more.

Hope everyone of you here is doing great and continues this wonderful site. Thanks for your inspiration!!!

Cheri 11-5-2002 15:36

Well I done the deed. Checked the box. Made my feelings known to those who would lead the way.

Yep just got back from voting. Met the wife and daughter there, they came on their way back from the Gym.

Strange this year, maybe it was my daughter's doing, maybe it was the fact that I now listen to RUSH every day and the wife overhears what he says, but the wife said she'd be voting Republican this year. Makes me feel good, as usually she simply cancels out my vote by voting for that other party. I know my daughter votes Republican, makes me proud that she shares my belief in the best bet for a strong America.

Jerry 11-5-2002 11:43

Had this one started before the topic of the week came out, so I'm posting it anyhow. Sort of a left-over from Holloween.

Rest in Peace
by Jerry Ericsson

Four lonely men sat around the old rickety table. Piles of poker chips, red, blue and white stood before each man, cards littered the table with no sense of organization, no sense of game.

Alex, the oldest of the bunch scratched the white quarter sized scar that lay in the center of his forehead, “Heard from Joseph the other day, he said he’s figured out a way.”

Tom who sat across the old table from Alex reached out with his heavily scarred arm and gathered the cards into a deck in preparation of dealing the next hand. “What kind of plan does he have this time, nothing works you know, no sense planning.”

“He didn’t say; just that he had a plan and he knew this one would work.”

The weathered door of the bar swung open with a bang, and another equally aged man entered, a grin nearly as wide as the scar the decorated his throat. “It worked!” He shouted.

With this announcement a hooray went up from around the table, the men jumped to their feet quicker than fellows half their age. William, the youngest of the bunch, must have been around seventy five ran to the bar and opened a huge bottle of Jack Daniels, he poured drinks for the rest. Alex went to the jukebox and deposited a quarter, then picked his three songs, all songs of celebration.

The five men pulled their chairs to the table, “Tell us, how’d he do it, a cannon, or maybe he found a train that still ran?

“Nope, not a cannon or train, you know that place over in the Cave Hills, the one the kids used to call lovers leap?”

Four heads shook in unison.

“Well he climbed that old hill to the very then walked over to lover’s leap and jumped. Must have been fifteen stories high that leap, well his body was flat as a pancake laying down there. I went down and checked, he had no pulse or anything, it worked for sure!”

“What say boys,” Alex said “Wanna make it a group jump?”

“Right on!” one fellow shouted.

“Let’s do it!” another chimed in.

“I’m with you!” screamed another in joy.

The door slammed open again, Joseph walked in, his nose was lay to one side, most of the skin was gone from his face, and his limbs made grinding sounds as he walked in.

“Didn’t work!” Joseph said with a sigh, I was only out for an hour.

Darkness grew over the other men’s faces. The drinks were downed quickly, nobody said another word as the six men condemned to eternity on the baron prison planet walked in a daze to their individual cells so they could morn by themselves.

Jerry 11-5-2002 10:54

It's almost over, till next time. Go out and vote, participate in government here in the good old U. S. OF A.

I still think we should form our own party, call it NONE OF THE ABOVE. Much like the Eddy Murphy movie. After all the mud slinging of this election, I think just the party name would be enough for a landslide.

For those of you not in the U.S. of A., you can still vote as a Democrat here in South Dakota, what with the Democratic party resurrecting the dead on the local Indian reservations, I'm sure they can find a way to offer the vote to non U.S. Citizens too, so long as you agree to vote for the Democratic party.

Jerry 11-5-2002 9:39

There there is is an an awful awful echo echo in in here here... ...

Litter 11-5-2002 5:34

Just noticed that things had grown to close to 700 k, so I have archived. Welcome to a brand new Notebook. Will get the preceding Notebook archived shortly.

Jack Beslanwitch 11-5-2002 0:59

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