Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thoughts On Reading Novels


Recently, a member of my writers group posed the following: "The question, of course, is what kind of book -- genre, characters, plot, theme -- do you genuinely like?

What do you want to read?

I responded with, "This is a question I've often asked myself but have never come up with a satisfactory answer. I'd like to think about it for a while before I post a reply."

Well... I've thought about it for a number of days and my final response, in one sentence is:

All of the books that I read and like well enough to save for re-reading contains at least two compelling characters in conflict with one another, each of them remaining consistently himself (or herself) and whose actions (always stimulated by his or her deeply held beliefs) create interesting and unexpected events written in an engaging and suspenseful manner.

And it seems that all of the novels on by bookshelf conform to that single sentence. For example: The Silence of the Lambs features FBI agent Clarice Starling (the good) and Hannibal Lecter (the questionable) in suspenseful psychological conflict along with serial killer Buffalo Bill (the bad) whose insanity provides compelling action.scenes.

Yes, I believe that my single sentence response says what I wanted it to say.

But, on second thought, who am I to judge?


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Almost The End of August


The FREE Wi-Fi here at my apartment provided by the management has been inoperative again. For the last three days I have been without Internet access. I was told on the third day of the outage that several people have reported the problem and that the technician has been called. I was told that the system 'has issues' and that someone will be coming out to look at it this afternoon. Yep... after three days, someone has now been called.

Oops! I just now gave it a try and the Wi-Fi is working again, at 11:52 A.M.


Last week I reported here in the blog about my winning of three dollars in the Power Ball lottery drawing... I had one number, that being the Power Ball number. I used one of those dollars to buy an extra ticket (a random computer pick) for the next week's drawing. Well... that ticket contained the Power Ball number and two additional numbers in this week's drawing.


The amount I won for having those three numbers was seven dollars -- How 'bout that? I took the cash and tucked it into my wallet. No extra tickets this week... don't want to push my luck.


During the last few months I have noticed that my muscles have weakened to an even more alarming degree than I had grown accustomed to. I do not see myself as feeble... not quite, but lately it has been difficult for me to accomplish even minor tasks. For example: my bathroom sink has a pull-on/push-off faucet and I can no longer pull it up to the 'on' position at the first try... I have to use both hands instead of only one as most people can do. My arm muscles are no longer as strong as they were a few months ago.

And I am thinking that perhaps my cognitive abilities have also deteriorated, maybe even to the point of senility and I simply cannot detect it. I suppose it's possible.

How would I know if it is so?

As Forrest Gump was fond of saying . . .
"And that's all I have to say about that."


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Evolution . . . Etc.


This morning I slid my Power Ball lottery ticket into the slot of the Circle-K's win/lose checker... and was informed that the ticket was a "WINNER" -- it seems that the number '39' (which is always my Power Ball pick) is this week's WINNER -- but of course I had no other correct numbers to go with it, so the total amount of winnings was merely $3. Oh well, that's better than a poke in the left eye with a sharp stick. And yes, I used the three bucks to buy three tickets for the next drawing.


Below is a short paragraph that I read somewhere... can't remember where, but I like it so much that I am posting it here:

Evolution is a simple fact. We can choose to remain ignorant of it, we can stick our fingers in our ears and refuse to think about it, we can even rail against it and shout and scream that it is not allowed to be true. But facts are facts, and will not go away just because we don't like them. We don't get to vote for our preferred method of having come into existence as a species, any more than we can choose to have been delivered by stork rather than conceived and born in the usual way.


To indoctrinate means to convince another person that the indoctrinator's personal beliefs are correct and beyond question. As I see it, indoctrination has become a synonym for education. But that's just my own personal opinion.


There is no good reason for me to have pasted in (at this time) the above picture of the planet Saturn. But I decided to do so anyway.


Even though I am still trying to blog, I fear than my writing ability has weakened considerably... but I'm going to keep on trying.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Will Power And Self Control


The digital scale informed me this morning that I now weigh 170.4 pounds. Six months ago I weighed 160 pounds -- the weight I had maintained for a number of years. This evidently means that I have reached a new and excessively high plateau. Something must be done about this.

Resolved: On this day, August 19, 2011, I will stop overeating and will lose at least ten pounds within the next four months. By the end of this year I will weight 160 pounds or less.

Hey! Don't doubt my ability to control my physical appetites by will power.

Right on . . .


TV News reported that Wells Fargo Bank will soon be charging customers a hefty fee for using its debit card, and that their depositors are protesting this action. Why, I wonder. All a majority of their depositors have to do is move their money to a different bank; that will put a quick end to the problem. And if other banks try to do the same thing, one can always stop using the debit cards and pay with a credit card... or with cash.


It really pisses me off that I get so pissed off about such trivial incidents

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Just A Thought


Watching Doctor Oz on TV today about those life-saving portable AED machines installed in public places. He demonstrated how a person should go about administering electric shock to the heart of a victim using an AED machine as part of CPR Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation. But it occurred to me that the person administering this resuscitation might be sued by the the family of the revived victim if that victim had previously signed a (DNR) Do Not Resuscitate order as part of his (or her) living will.

I believe that it's a valid question.

(At least, it could be used as part of a plot for a fiction story.)


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bits And Pieces


I suspect that old age has weakened my ability to distinguish between truth and fiction. If that's the case, then now seems to be the ideal time for me to buckle down and write my autobiography... probably in first person, past tense, but not necessarily.

Lately I have been reading some delightful pieces of Flash Fiction, most of it discovered while perusing the short articles in Fictionaut -- and found myself wondering if there is such a thing as Flash Poetry. If so, one might find one's self tweeting tiny tidbits of tantalizing twaddle.

One of the questions on Are You Smarter Than A Fifth-Grader was: "Who was the only U.S. President to have served in the army in both WW1 and WW2?" The contestant answered that he thinks it's probably Benjamin Franklin, but he locks in his answer as 'Thomas Jefferson'.

Holy crap!

I can't wait until it's time for today's double re-run. It's at noon, Tucson time.

The price of excessive government power is certain annihilation of any ability to protest.


Monday, August 15, 2011

That Does Not Compute


While listening to Rush Limbaugh's talk show, I heard a caller say, "If Obama was the last man on Earth, I wouldn't vote for him." And I thought how ludicrous that statement was. If President Obama was the last man on Earth, the caller would not exist and thus would not be able to vote for him.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Morning News


After watching the three major Sunday morning News shows -- I, like all of the distinguished participants -- have nothing constructive to contribute.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Figure Of Speech


While reading from Atlas Shrugged (by Ayn Rand) a certain simile caught my attention. It was -- "...the street beyond his window was like a congested throat coughing with the horns of pre-Christmas traffic..."

I put aside the book and thought about it; I thought about how aptly descriptive was that short phrase... and then I thought that it could just as easily have been written as a metaphor -- "...the street beyond his window was a congested throat coughing with the horns of pre-Christmas traffic..." -- and I wondered how the author had decided on which of the two of them to use. I prefer it as a metaphor.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Gullible? Who, Me?

What Is Rumpology?

Rumpology or 'Bottom Reading' is a pseudoscience performed by examining crevices, dimples, warts, moles and folds of a person's buttocks in much the same way a chirologist would read the palm of the hand.

Ulf Buck

Ulf Buck (above) is a Rump Reader from Meldorf, Germany. He's also blind, yet he claims he can read people's futures by feeling their naked buttocks.

Word of the day:
Easily deceived or duped.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

U.S. Education


Yesterday I mentioned that I have been watching re-runs of the Jeff Foxworthy show titled Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader. It fascinates me to see supposedly well educated adults fail to answer some of the simplest questions correctly. It 's (virtually?) unbelievable.

One contestant, a middle-aged lady with two college degrees was asked, "True or False: The Mississippi River flows East to West?"

She hemmed and hawed for a short time then finally locked in her incorrect answer... which was, "True" -- and, as previously revealed, she was a college graduate.


A member of The Harlem Globetrotters was asked, "The huge storm called 'The Big Red Spot' is located on what planet?"

He said that he thought it must be either Mars or Mercury, and he finally locked in his final answer, which was Mars. Which is wrong, of course... the correct answer being Jupiter. The funny thing about it is that two of his fifth grade classmates also answered Mars... only one of the three of then said Jupiter.


Another contestant was asked: "Which of these is never found inside our solar system: comets, constellations, or meteorites?" Her answer was comets.

Good Grief!

Heard on talk-radio:
That's not merely irrational, it's Charlie Sheen crazy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Matter Of Perspective

There is a TV show titled Are You Smarter Than A 5fh Grader? that I have been watching in rerun lately. I'm not convinced that Jeff Foxworthy has not set this show up to be a hand-picked farce, a dishonest depiction of the unbelievably downright 'stupidity' of the typical American citizen.

While shopping at Fry's Supermarket I was shocked to discover that the price of a box of Kellogg's Raisin Bran Crunch was $5.99. The Kellogg owners are evidently not satisfied with being millionaires but must have their billions. A similar box of Kroger brand Crunchy Raisin Bran was priced at $2.67. Kroger major stockholders seem to be satisfied with their million. Of course, I bought the more reasonably priced Kroger brand. And, yes, I use Instant Nonfat (powdered) milk.

And speaking of money grubbers, why has the movie industry become such a gold mine for investors? Yes, I am one of those grumpy old codgers who remembers a childhood of thirteen cent movie admission tickets and 5 or 10 cent bags of popcorn.

'nuff said?

Oh wait... I should remind everyone to be sure to read Ayn Rand's book, Atlas Shrugged?

No sooner had I written the above text than Scott Pelly of CBS news reported on the hundreds of thousands of Somalian refugee children who are starving because of drought.

Those video shots of skin-and-bones children make the minor irritants I wrote about above (cereal prices, etc.) seem inconsequential.



Why do I even try to write?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Immersed In Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged

For the last five days I have had no internet access. And that's hard to take. The Wi-Fi here is undependable. But it's FREE and I keep hoping it will get better. My alternatives for a high-speed connection are Cox Cable or Quest, which are far from free.

As always, you get what you pay for.

What to do... what to do...

On PBS I recently heard a government official say, "...and that is virtually unique." -- Well, I am having trouble visualizing the meaning of that particular combination of words. Unique means 'one of a kind' and I'm not sure how 'virtually' is meant to modify 'unique.'

I am in a quandary.


Whenever you hear an orator say, "The fact of the matter is.." you can disregard the 'fact' which will follow.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

No Title


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