Monday, August 29, 2016


Pranked

I love a good joke. I’ve shared some of them before on my blog and my posts. Many I have committed against others while others have been done to me. As long as the jokes are not offensive or if a joke doesn’t hurt someone, especially me, I am in for it. My son has now followed is his father’s footsteps and I am shocked that he learned so well at my knee.
During the past week, I’ve had a message left on my answering machine that I’d won The Publishers Clearing House prize. Both calls had a slow paced male voice, sharing the joyous information that I had won. Each time the voice had a slight accent that was more pronounced on certain words. A major reason the calls went to the answering machine was I was in my bedroom, listening to the television, and trying to stay cool with a fan blowing in my ears.
The first caller stated that all I needed to do to claim my prize was to call back and give them my Social Security number. They needed it to transfer the monies into my bank account. I thought it was a bit unusual they caller left no return number, but with most folks having caller I.D. on home phones, I didn’t think too much of it.
Several days later, I had the second call. It went to the answering machine for the same reason that the first call ended up there. The male voice on the machine had the same cadence, but a little deeper this time. The sales pitch was almost word for word the same as the first. I was convinced that it was a person reading the spiel from a script. But this time there was one change. The voice asked for my credit card number instead of my Social Security number. Again, he asked me to return the call and left no return telephone number.
This morning while getting ready for church, the house phone rang. It was my son, Andrew from Amarillo, Texas. We talked in generalities until his conscience got the best of him and he confessed. He said he saw my post on the Publishers Clearing House. I think his wife Renee, read it and told him he needed to call and come clean or I’d have gone on believing there was a scammer out there somewhere gunning for me. I'd been pranked.
I was so surprised I forgot to ask him what the prize I’d won was.

Friday, August 26, 2016


Past Battlefields

When I look back into my past, I see some of the battlefields in my life. Like any sailor or soldier, I see bodies, strewn about. Many have been wounded or maimed by things that I’ve said or done. Many times things were done in jest or jokingly, but they’ve been wounded nonetheless. I’m sure that they carry scars that were never intended to be. In retrospect, I can see a few, but I am sure the body count is much higher. I can even recall a note passed to me, asked to hold it, and not to read it. The guy accidentally took an overdose of drugs that didn’t kill him. When he recovered, he asked me to destroy it. I did without reading it. A promise kept, but later he committed suicide. If I would have seen it as a cry for help and read the letter, he might be alive today.

That is but one of the ghosts that haunt my past and move through my mind’s battlegrounds. Too often we ignore the past and march steadfastly on, not caring about what is still left uncared for, not mindful of the havoc we’ve wrought. Too often apologies were never uttered. Too often we have become numb to things of the past.
I am not saying we should live in the past, dwell on things we cannot change, but I am saying if we can judge the present and future by examining the mistakes of the past, perhaps our battles will be fewer and less littered with regret.

 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Spam, Not in a Can

Each morning and throughout the day, I am bombarded by spam in my emails. Every day I have to skim read their titles to be sure nothing of importance has slipped in with them and then delete them all. I imagine that during the day, I delete over one hundred spam emails, anything from Russian and Asian brides to a gal visiting the area who wants to meet up. Others want me to have a breast lift or sell me purple rhino to increase my stamina. Several dating sites, insurance sites, or sites that want to read my fortune are scattered in the mix. River cruises, ocean voyages, and tours of Texas magically appear. Cheap rates on insurance, medications, or tires are often found. Most are repeats from the day before or even a few hours earlier. If I haven’t fallen for their pitches after months of deletes, what makes them think I will jump at the next chance of their offers?
Tonight, I missed a phone call and it was a spammer. There was no way I could confuse this call as a legitimate business man. The person only had a slight accent, but read the scripted text so slowly, that I thought he had a learning disability. The stumbling spiel went something like this, “Hi this is oh. This is Publisher’s Clearing House and you have won. All you have to do is to call us back and give us your social security number so we can deposit the money into your account. Thank you and bye”
Duh! I know a lot of people who like to fish, but this type of phishing, everyone can do without. I just can’t believe that anyone would fall for this obvious and blatant attempt to finagle money from a person’s bank account, possibly open new credit cards, and to bleed a person dry of all finances.

Monday, August 22, 2016


Boo-Boos and Broken Bones

When my son Andrew was about three years old, he and his sister Amanda were playing in the bedroom, jumping from the dresser onto the bed. Andrew of course thought that he could do whatever big sister could do. So he strapped on his super hero cape and made the leap. He didn’t quite make it and broke his forearm and dislocated the elbow. I made a splint of a magazine wrapped around the arm. My wife Cindy and I bundled his sister and took her to my mom’s house on the way to the hospital.
When the x-rays revealed the problem, the orthopedist came in to repair the problem because of the possible nerve involvement of the dislocation.  It was a stressful night. Once the “surgery” and casting was over and Andrew was returned to pediatrics, Cindy and I went home to catch some sleep.
Andrew was wound up and was climbing the caged crib, but the nursing supervisor, Mrs. Joan Richards told the nurses not to call us in, to give him the Tylenol, and let him settle down. Everything worked out well and other than a slight bump in his forearm, he’s recovered.
Now, it’s his daughter, Moriah’s turn. She fell while skating yesterday and hurt her arm. When Andrew called last evening, I advised to give her something for pain, cold packs, and if she continued to have pain or swelling to have her seen and get x-rays. She did well overnight, but when she wakened and tried to use her swollen wrist, she had pain. At the emergency clinic, the x-rays revealed she had a buckle fracture, just above the wrist. She’s in a splint and sling. Tomorrow she’ll get a cast. At least she waited until she was seven almost eight to break her arm.

Friday, August 19, 2016


Kudos

This morning I would like to thank two of my close friends and fellow writers for the support and professional assistance they are giving to me as I try to edit and self my next book in The Tommy Two Shoes Mysteries.”  Without their expertise and guidance, I would be more foolish than I am at present.
The first is my dear friend, Patricia Slye, who writes under the name Ageless Sage. She has written several books, sharing the wisdom and knowledge she has lived and gathered in the years God has allowed her to be here on the Earth. I can’t tell you her age, because a gentleman shouldn’t share a woman’s age once she hits eighteen. Pat writes of the tragedies in her life and gives insight as how to survive and to flourish, even in the face of adversities. Her several, self published books share these insights in a series of vignettes that cause the reader to think, smile, and sometimes share her tears. She has mastery of the English language and manages to wring so much meaning out of each word, phrase, and sentence.
Other than my own editing, Pat is my proofreader and editor. Thank you so very much.
My second friend and confidant is Janice McLaughlin. She also has self published several books, some whimsical and others that require hours of research. Jan loves poetry and her efforts have a tendency to lean in that direction, as several of her books will attest. Her other talents include photography and she has stepped into book cover designs. Jan has designed the front and reverse covers for my new attempt. She is also guiding me through the maze of self publishing. Jan’s range of books wanders into children’s books, coloring books, books she helped her cat to write, and of course, her love of poetry: how to do and Haiku.
This is a special thank you to these talented and wonderful women. I am blessed to have met them and can call them friends.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Feeling Sketchy

I’m not sure why I am not sleeping well at night and having the feeling of wanting to nap during the day, but it sure is annoying. Part of it has to be allergies and the pressure of a full head. During the daylight hours, one side or the other of my nostrils seem plugged and at night, I can’t sleep on my back and that causes me to toss and turn seeking a position of comfort and allows me to breathe freely. My old man bladder causes me to trek to the bathroom several times on some nights.
I am trying to review and correct any mistakes that I find in the writing for my next book, Partners for Life. Because I want to offer my books at a more reasonable price and not go through an editor and publishing company, it is taking me longer to do so. The creativity and choosing the correct words are just the tips of the iceberg when you hold a book in your hands. There is so very much more.
Not only am I composing and compiling the stories for this book, I have been rewriting my feeble attempts at Haiku poetry. As I began that task, I started to sketch thumbnail drawings to match some of the verses. When I’m finished with the next in the series of Tommy Two Shoes Mysteries, my next project is to put the sketches, one to a page, and surrounding it with three Haiku poems. I would like the reader to be drawn to the sketch, then read my thoughts. Sometimes when I read poetry, unless it is exceptionally good, the words often times seem dry and difficult to understand exactly what the author is trying to say. My mind wanders outside of the words, instead of sharing the author’s imaginings.

Monday, August 15, 2016


Works of Art

The coins and currency of the United States were once works of art. They captured the imagination and history of our nation in beautiful and magnificent bas-relief. Coins at one time were fashioned from rare metals like silver and gold. Master artists designed the images for our currency and skilled engravers worked diligently to reproduce the inspiration of the artist’s original vision. The skills of artists and engravers were put on display for the public to enjoy on a daily basis. These images stamped on the money captivated and elevated the common man, even if it was only for a moment as currency changed hands in daily transactions.
Just like the masterpieces created by Monet, Van Gogh, or Michelangelo, these coins are now sought after for their beauty and artistic composition.  Just as serious art collectors, coin collectors understand the time, skill, and work that was necessary to fashion these miniature treasures.
The value of the coins isn’t necessarily found in the metal from which they were struck, but also on the rarity and condition of the image. Like the classic paintings, wear and damage affect the value of these treasures, the same happens with our coins.
Today, as I emptied my pockets and saw the metal discs that came tumbling out, I was ashamed to think that the same agency that one time selected the beautiful images of the rare old metal coins of our past, have now selected the images that cover our baser metal minted change.
I find the image on the new nickels extremely appalling. The unfinished look of George Washington is stamped without the framing edge on the coin. Even the much regaled state designed quarters have a coarse, bedraggled, and inconsistent look, with none of the grace or finesse of our old coins. I don’t think I will ever see a time when collectors will ooh and aah over these misrepresentations of the greatness that was once found in the history of our money.
I am also sure that much of our coins and currency are still printed and struck on the presses of old, but even the old machinery and crafts cannot infuse beauty without beauty and inspiration being engraved on the plates.