Monday, July 6, 2015


I really like corn.  I bought some yesterday at the store. It was on sale.  What I can't figure out is why so many people shuck it in the store. They have a special trash can for it and there's always somebody standing there shucking away.  Corn keeps better if your leave it with the husk on until you're ready to cook it. It really does. These people shucking at the store or buying it already trimmed and peeled are idiots. That's all I can say.  And don't boil it.  Bake it, roast it or microwave it but don't boil it.

By the way, if you butter an ear of corn a lot of dogs like it. Most of them will eat the kernels but some dogs don't get it and try to eat the cob.

Sunday, July 5, 2015


They say the novella is making a comeback--whoever "they" are.  I wrote one. I just finished it. There really aren't many markets for something that runs around 14,000 words. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Rip Roaring 4th

When my brother and I were growing up, our family often spent the 4th of July at our grandmother's house in Arkansas. They didn't care about fireworks and you could set them off all day long. The only restriction we had was how much we could afford to purchase.  We soon learned firecrackers and bottle rockets were fairly cheap while roman candles and skyrockets were not.  And we could set firecrackers off all day--not to mention blow up the occasional ant hill.  

I've now lived in a state where fireworks are not widely allowed for over a decade. Most counties ban them.  I kind of miss the little explosions, Even at my decrepit age I wish I could fire off a few bottle rockets.  But that's progress.  I just can't get as excited about the commercial displays.  They're just not as much fun.

Since I'm working tonight, I don't have any real plans to do anything fireworks related or otherwise. Someday, maybe even next year, one thing on my bucket list is to go someplace where you can set off fireworks and get  a whole mess of them and blast away.  But this year's pretty much a dud.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Market Farmers

Around these parts we have farmers markets on every street corner--at least it seems that way.  And they sell produce from the very same companies that the local supermarket has for twice as much money.  Yep, the trays and crates behind the tents are same exact brands you can buy from at the store.  Most of the food bought in this country comes through distributors of one sort or another. 

Now there are some baked goods and stuff at these things that may have some aspect that can't get at the local store.  But this is not the local farmer selling his wares as in days of old.  I remember growing up and going to my grandmother's house in Arkansas. She lived in a largely rural and farming area. There were little booths along the side of the road and you could get amazingly fresh locally grown items.  But those days seem largely gone. And what's being passed off as farmers markets really is anything but.  This food is coming from the same wholesalers as everyone else's food.  It's not what they want people to believe. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

bumps in the night

Last night I noticed a shadow outside my back door. and I could hear odd noises.  I wondered if I was about to experience a home invasion or something. I looked through the window and there was a bear on my porch. When I turned the light on the bear left.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Enough Already

I'm not going to rant about what writers do or don't do--at least not for  awhile.  Today, I thought I'd update the ghost at the hotel.  As I've mentioned before, we seem to have a ghost at the hotel I work at.  I hadn't heard from him in quite some time.  Well, a few nights ago that changed. He seems to like to make noises.  At about 1:30 am I heard loud footsteps coming from the floor above me.  As usual, after I went up there I found no one around. The hallway was empty.  This has happened many times.  I guess he's trying to get my attention, although I have no idea what he wants. He's more active when the hotel is more or less empty.  I'm thinking about trying to do some electronic contact this fall when things slow down again.  

Friday, June 26, 2015

Getting Published, Part 2

More thoughts continuing from Wednesday's post.  One of the most aggravating things is page numbering.  Every program for word processing I've ever seen has a page numbering feature.  They will efficiently number your pages and put the numbers anywhere you want--top, bottom, right side, left, side. Yet at least half of the submissions I see have some weird ass effort at inserting a header or footer into the page.  This creates a clunky look and is often embedded into the file and a bear to remove or change.  And these headers often aren't set up right and number the pages incorrectly. At the very least, they tend to take up three or four lines where, had one simply told Word to number them, they'd only take up one line.  

I haven't mentioned content.  So far I'm just talking about the files that come in.  And my biggest peeve of all is the growing trend of files that have no contact info whatsoever.  How do you expect someone to send you a contract if there's no contact info on the manuscript?  . I'm not giving that out you say?  Really?  Would you apply for a job and leave the contact part of an application blank?  This isn't that different.

And I still have not mentioned content.  I'm still just talking about housekeeping things.  There is such a thing as a basic manuscript format.  a lot of contributors don't seem to know what that is--or they don't care.  Why should i do it that way?   Well, because that's the way it's done.  A manuscript formatting is covered in plenty of books in every library in the country, so I won't belabor the concept here any further.  Refusing to send in something that at least resembles it is something you do at your own peril.

Then we come to content.  That's harder to talk about.  If something is poorly done, it's poorly done. If it's not well edited, it's not well edited.  If it's the same story about vampires hiding in the trunks of cars that I've seen a dozen times before, well it's rejected.  This is where writing skill comes in. Some folks have it and some folks don't.  And I cannot, in a guidelines sheet, do much about that.  What I'm saying, and I really mean this, is not tending to the basics, not sending in a good well prepared manuscript is more likely to cost you than you might think--even more than a weak story.  At least that's how I view things.