Monday, May 18, 2015

I've been tagged. Another Blog Hop About Me. (What a boring topic!)

Ivy at "Uncharted" tagged me to reveal seven things about myself as a writer.  That is all I know about the hop.  I have no links to the hop or even it's name.  So, if you are in a feeling of loss, simply imagine being me!

As I stated, I have been tagged to reveal seven things about myself as a writer. Strange, as I really don’t consider myself a writer.  I am a teller of tales, a witness to the asinine, and a soothsayer of events (current and future).  Still, let me see what I can relay to satisfy this “tagging process.”

1)  I am a Gemini.  This means that I love starting things but seldom finish.  Writing short stories is a way to keep this from becoming a major factor or hindering my creations from ever being seen.  Besides this, about the only thing I finish is lovemaking, but I find it easy to satisfy myself anyway.

2)  I’ve actually had over 600 pages of a novel done for years, but can’t figure out a way to end it without sounding trite or in a cliche.  I’ve rewritten and attempted different paths to finish this marvelous tale, but may simply end it, “The Story Will Continue In Part II, Soon To Be Published.”  Hopefully, I’ll die before too many people force me to write the conclusion and be remembered as one of the finest writers never to finish the series.

3)  I lean towards dark humor, overstepping boundaries whenever possible and bringing in the extremes few feel comfortable experiencing.  Playing is safe is boring.  You haven’t lived until you’ve told a joke onstage that makes people squirm in their seats at first, and then provide nervous laughter afterward.  That’s when you really know you’ve touched a nerve.  I lean my writing that direction, also.

4)  I actually have written a sales training manual, a customer retention manual, and a telemarketing manual, all of which are still in use at various institutions.  These were done under a corporate name for legal purposes.  Still, when I visit these corporations, it’s amazing how many people come up to me and tell me how much my teachings changed their perspectives and futures.  So, I wonder, “Why the hell am I so broke if they’re all doing so well!”

5)  My first short story ever published was in a science fiction magazine in the 70’s.  It entailed a person born with super hearing and the trials they endured just by living an average life.  I know, I had too much time on my hands.  Yet, they paid me the enormous sum of $75 for it, which was equivalent to $150 today.  Two more stories and I could have afforded to go to Starbucks.

6)  I would prefer to write short stories instead of blog posts, but few will take the time to read a good short story in a blog.  I do a blog hop periodically that allows me to be creative in the opening before getting factual in the second half.  There are times I’ve written shorts for this to simply see if they draw interest.  I’ve learned that blog hop readers don’t appreciate shorts, so most of the time I just find something to bitch about to make them feel as though we’re all going through life together.  Misery loves company!

7)  I have great compassion for the human race and for the people I meet individually, but seldom let that shine through.  In my sarcastic looks at the news”, I do my best to show the idiocy of our government to open the eyes of the reader before it’s too late.  I do my best to instill a spark to keep them from “dumbing down” and to get them thinking in alternatives.  I do my best to get them to add one and one and see that it does equal two, instead of what the propaganda masters of television news sensationalism broadcast.  I figure I’m on my last slide down the mountain, so no big deal if I piss any of them off.  If something I’ve said will just stimulate a person to start thinking then I’ve succeeded as a writer.  

And, as that satisfies the requirements of the hop, I bid you adieu!

Friday, May 15, 2015

TTOT... 100th Edition Post ... Damn, Has It Been That Long?

Follow all the TTOT Posts here!!!

So, this is the 100th edition of 

Ten Things of Thankful.

I congratulate Lizzi and the rest of her coven for being able to keep this going for as long as it has.  What a tremendous milestone!

Not all of us have 
that type of tenacity.

I've been absent for about a month or so.  Not so much "writer's block" as "writer's dissatisfaction."   Frustration that everything I was writing started sounding alike to me.  

Kind of like today's Pop Music.  There may be a decent song here or there, but overall it sucks.  That was exactly the way I was feeling about my writing.

Many of you probably felt the same.  

Even my wife did ... and she's not that smart!  Remember, she's been blonde for 58 years.  The bleach has to have gotten to what little brain she was originally born with by now!

Then, out of the blue, I had a week from Hell.  I sustained a minor heart problem, 80-year-old father going partially blind, lawyers and mental incompetency dealings with a stepmother suffering from Alzheimer's ... and multiple four hundred mile round trips ... all in the week my doctor's told me to "take it easy."

Any easier and I'd have croaked.

By the way, did I mention I'd purchased a new car?
(How's that for a subject changer?)

I can now drive in excess of 80-100 mph with the top down ... increasing my chances of death should an accident occur.  I've found that at 60 mph an interstate circle ramp can be taken, but the slightest bump wants to launch the car from the pavement.  I do love leaving these huge 4WD pickup truck drivers in the dust, especially after they think they're intimidating me by pulling up close to my bumper at stoplights.  

(I'm just waiting to see my wife sitting next to one of those guys given they've much in common to talk about ... I'm sure.  They're probably riding down some dirt road discussing how much everything I've been writing sounds the same.)

Anyway, for this 100th edition of TTOT, the question lies within ... what do I do to devote just honor to the crew?  How can I show my thankfulness without bringing in the doom and despair that my "newscast thankfuls" usually display?  How can I make Lizzi smile without pinching her where she enjoys being ... no, wait a minute ... "How can I make Lizzi smile?"

Let's see if these thankfuls will do the trick:


1)  Death Benefit Relatives.  It never fails.  When the health of the elderly starts to fade, you suddenly get to meet all types of relatives that never made the effort to come by and make themselves known prior.  Of course, the two primary items on their mind is "On a scale of 1-10, how long do you think they've got until they bite the big one", and "Do you think he's got a will made out, and am I in it?"  Funny how people never care until there's the possibility of reaping in some cash.  (By the way, if you have any relatives about ready to kick the bucket let me know.  I'm sure we're related somehow.)

2)  Farmers On Tractors On Highways.  Tis the season for Spring planting of crops.  This means more and more farmers are hitting the road.  Now, tractors are not the fastest means of transportation.  In fact, if you're in a hurry to get somewhere and you happen to find yourself following one, you may experience rising blood pressure, mood swings, and urges to take the pistol from your glove compartment and do a little target shooting.  STOP!!!  Step back, relax, and enjoy watching the fields slowly pass by.  Get in touch with nature.  Enjoy the Earth that God gave us.  (And, when the tractor finally pulls off the road, you'll find you have a much better shot at the bastard than you did before!)

3)  Nature's Fury.  Spring brings us many a shower.  Some may even qualify to be called storms.  Add a tornado or two and you've got yourself an afternoon of excitement that money can't buy!  Ride your John Deere lawn mower into the sky and catch the view only a few have lived to talk about!  Besides, you wanted to get rid of all of your mother-in-law's gifts.  What a better way to do so than with the tornado taking them away and dropping them where they'll all be appreciated ... say a trailer park ... or even Baltimore!    

4)  Road Construction.  So you're driving along the interstate.  It's finally quiet with the exception of the music you're streaming.  The
kids, long bored with their I-Pads, are gently snoring in their booster seats.  Then you see it ... that triangular yellow sign that announces "Road Construction!"  Fear grips you as you recognize what's ahead ... lane shifts, bumpy pavements, reduced speed limits, and the worst torture of them all ... the dreaded "Left Lane Closed Ahead!"

Why people can't gradually merge is beyond me.  The few that try are discouraged from doing so by the assholes that rush ahead in the left lane trying to get in front of everyone else.  They don't care that this action slows the stream of traffic down to a crawl as they find a way to slip into the flow and frustrate those patiently awaiting their turn.  If you're brave (and drive a big enough vehicle) you might try straddling the center line to keep them behind you.  Although you might be a hero to some, remember the farmer and the tractor target shooting.  Courageous Sienna drivers may become the new farmers, if you know what I mean.

5)  Ego Filled Drivers.  Since I began driving a sports car, it's amazing how many people feel as though they have to challenge me passing them on the interstates.  I generally keep it on cruise control at a steady 75 mph.  Coming up on traffic from behind, I hit the turn signal to change lanes and start going around the slower traffic.  That's where the ego game occurs.  

Immediately, these drivers see a smaller car passing them and  the old ego kicks in as they think, "Damn, this is just a small car coming around me!  I can't let that happen!"

So, immediately they decide to start the game.  They speed up substantially, I go back into the slow lane behind them, and then they slow down below where my cruise is set.  Then it all starts all over again and again.  

Finally, I tire of their ego filled reactions and shoot my car around them, leaving them wondering what happened.  Some will give chase for a few minutes, but sooner or later, most will slow down and tire of the game.  There are a few that can't stand it and try for a repeat performance.  

The world is filled with dumbasses!

6)  Turn Signals.  Auto manufacturers install turn signals in their vehicles as a safety item.  They are to be used whenever one changes lanes (as discussed above) or in preparing to turn off the main roadway.

Many Americans are completely unfamiliar with this feature.  In fact, I wonder if they even have a clue as to what the lever on the left side of the steering column is for.  It's like they believe you're supposed to have extra sensory perception and know what the hell they're going to do simply by brain waves.

I even knew a man that I once tried to educate in turn signal usage when he rode with me.  One day, after a discussion on why I used them, he spouted, "It's like I'm asking permission to change lanes.  I don't have to ask anyone's permission to do that!"

Deja vu!  The world is filled with dumbasses!

7)  Road Construction, Part 2.  We all know that subcontractors make up the majority of the idiots assigned with fixing the highways of America.  Yet, one often wonders if they have to go to a school that turns them into idiots prior to taking on the job.  However, there is a reason for everything if you search hard enough.

Have you ever wondered why pylons start being displayed ten miles prior to where the actual construction is actually taking place?  I believe it is to get you frustrated with the reduced speed limit.  Traveling at a much slower rate of speed for no reason becomes frustrating, which then gets you moving at a faster rate, which gets you a ticket at an escalated "Construction Zone" prices, which makes more money for the county that is trying to recoup its costs in the road construction project!  If you think about it, the act makes complete sense!

Ever wonder why so many construction areas are empty when you drive by?  Many areas have started working construction during the cooler night hours instead of the hot, heavy traffic day hours.  That, at least, is what they'd like you to believe.

In fact, empty construction sites give the police assigned to issuing tickets many great places to hide during the day, and makes them difficult to see at night!  Plus, it's extra hard to get your phone camera focused during the night hours to pick up the police beating up those they've pulled over so they can make additional court cost income with charges against the speeders for resisting arrest!    Anything for a dollar!

8)  Impatient Idiots.  You've done well driving along in a lane of traffic and you're in the far right lane getting ready to take the next exit ahead.  There's no one behind you
and everything is going well.  Then the idiot appears!

They pull up beside you at breakneck speed, slam on their brakes, and cut in front of you, causing you to slam on your brakes.  They easily could have slid in behind you without any problem, but the idea of being last in line just creates a panic within them.  If you're lucky you'll be turning the opposite direction at the exit so you can pull up beside them and give them the great American high sign, commonly called the bird.  It's the least you can do.  Of course, they'll be wondering why you did it as they're in a state of denial.

Hell, just shoot them and get the hell out of there.  
The world will be a better place for it!

9)  Fast Food Restaurant Drive-Up Menus.  Have you noticed the recent trend in the drive-up window menus these days?  Instead of having a list of items with the prices next to them, we are greeted with a display of pictures, combo offerings, and an array of opportunties to spend outrageous sums of money without knowing it.  Coffee items are located under fish sandwich and chicken nugget photos, soft drinks at the top (three feet away) on the right side, and value menus seem to move daily!  A sandwich has 4 size offerings, french fries three, and soft drinks four!  And, the drive up window people seem to get offended if you don't take the largest sized combo.  I also wonder why I'm the only one saying "Thank You" most of the time.  Don't these people have any basic manners?  Oh yeah, I forgot, they've chosen a career in fast food service.  What was I thinking?

Sorry, but if you can't even give me the ketchup I ask for, 
you don't deserve $15 an hour!  
Take your $6, ammonia washed piece 
of assembled beef parts and stick them 
where the fries don't roam!

10)  B.B. King.  A great musician died today.  B.B. King, the "King of the Blues" passed away leaving a legacy in Blues Music that will never be duplicated.  I am happy that I grew to love his music years ago, and have been enjoying it ever since.  Thankfully, his music will go forward as his past recordings are played over and over, and discoveries of new music are made (as they are always with artists that leave us).  B.B.'s signature song was "The Thrill Is Gone."  Indeed it is, as is the man that supplied it.  We'll miss you for a while, my friend, until we meet again at that Blues Club in the sky.