Friday, December 28, 2007

Jungle Bells

I have one question for the global-warming shriekers, none of whom want to help me shovel the driveway for some embarrassing reason: What if the world gets more of this white nonesense?
Would there be a problem with global freezing? Anyone interested in a lack of polar bears in the Miami Zoo because there are so many of them loose in the streets, naturally breeding in the Everglades National Glacier Park?
Global warming can be a problem. That's easy to see. But so's global cooling. We would have to imagine the damage wrought because we can't see it happening. We'll have to do a little geopolitical extrapolating to figure out if a dip of a few degrees will do something rank and ugly, and exactly what.
Where I live was covered by glacier tens of thousands of years ago. That fat ol' cube ended WAY south of here. Wonder what was alive just south of the melt zone? There may have been room for, oh, maybe twelve oak trees.
Do we counter our SUVs by leaving the fridge doors open?
And can we get enough consensus from non-political scientists to provide some guidance?
And can we PLEASE keep the politicians out of this?
And can we quit with the goggle-eyed panic over global warming as some kind of fashion statement?
Wits must prevail if we want to find a fix and get it done for our descendants.

Flip Flop Season

How cold? How much snow? Are you an idiot?
Not exactly. This is preseason for another presidential running with the bull.
To me, there is a difference between changing one's viewpoint of a particular subject in order to garner more votes (call it "saying anything to get elected") and switching sides on an issue because one grew up and saw the light, once new information came in. We've all done that, and there is enough examining of each candidate right down to individual corpuscles so sharp voters can see the difference. A help on this is to see what a candidate has done, not what they may say. We've got enough lip-flappers, and we're fortunate to wind up with only one when the chads are done hanging.
I don't know how many of us ever see any candidate who is Rushmore material this early on, but I think most people can support someone who maybe is waffling a little or on the wrong side, but is capable of and ready to grow into a unique and humbling and powerful job.
That's a part of my litmus test.
So who am I supporting?
It's a secret ballot, Suzie Q.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Book 'em

Dave's on the prowl for a literary agent for a book we're banging on. Although my name has to be off the cover, we're an ideal kind of team. Each of us has our own strengths, we're both eager to do better, and we're open-minded enough to suggest and take advice. We're making each other better, and that's the core of teamwork.


He's the published author but he got his book out sans agent. So he doesn't work that route from experience. He was ready to shotgun queries but I suggested we send one at a time.
"Why? Wouldn't blowing out a bunch save time?"
"Consider this. We'll likely get rejections but we may not be able to discern why the query was rejected. You can't take a rejection as the genuine word. They're form rejections."
"What if we get a bite?"
"Maybe we wouldn't know the why of that one, either. Stephen King outright sold his first book, splitting the proceeds 50-50 with the agent."
"Maybe we wouldn't want that kind of bite."
The two of us putting our heads together and discussing how to continually improve single queries is slow and frustrating for one of us, but there is no other way to make our first impression the very best possible... and a real grabber that is the best for author, ghost-advisor, and agent.
At least I think.
Dave moved his book in an unconventional and low-percentage fashion... not the route anyone suggests.
So, you never know with absolute certainty that your attack is the right course, or even the only one possible.
We're doing something, however. Doing nothing always fails.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

On Shaky Ground

I have a puzzle. Maybe you can solve it. Tell me what you can about the following, and I quote:

Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace; four happy days bring in
Another moon: but, O, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes! she lingers my desires,
Like to a step-dame or a dowager
Long withering out a young man revenue.

There are people, actual real live thinking and breathing people who walk upright, who claim that this will still be read five hundred years from now, because it's classic and the best prose going.

My question to you is: How is anyone going to read it?

Question two: These beings claim that children will sit down and discover the magic of reading and all it brings to education, entertainment, and personal fulfillment, by reading this.

Shakespeare. A Midsummer Night's Dream. Scene One. Th
eseus speaks.

J. K. Rowling has brought tangible, portable, hold-in-your-hands no-batteries-or-translation-needed books to millions of children who have thus accelerated their love and appreciation for the printed word. In a language they understand. And they got an education about things because they wanted to. There's a wealth of ease here that Rowling has addressed.

The Bard of Avon will be read forever, I'm sure. By whom is one question. And how his masterful tales could be brought to the masses without loss in translation into the vernacular is another problem. Admit it, you snobs: Because of the way we now speak and think, Shakespeare is a problem.

Understand that those who fall all over themselves for Shakespeare are to be honored and respected for the ability and interest in such an endeavor. But if this is such grand and delightful material, will someone please find a way to bring it to the masses? Or are they going to share praises with the other twelve people who can fathom this? I can, and have, read some of his material, to be fair. But it's work. And try to find someone who wants to take on this kind of work. They are few, and that might be a shame. In fact, I'll concede it's a genuine shame.

Shakespeare has his heroes, and they're obviously smart cookies. So may I suggest something heroic to those fans: Dust off this arcane prose of legend, and allow the masses to raise their voices with a hearty huzzah and sundry expressions of visceral delight.

In short, tell us what this says.

Notice I'm not ready to suggest a mass reprinting of the Cliff Notes versions. Even thoug
h they're quite available. They miss something in translation, and that's obvious to those on either side of the question.

Meanwhile, we're reading the Harry Potter stuff. And other material we can understand with a little immediacy. Things that touch the heart and soul and intellect right now.

You think that Shakespeare is good and Rowling is bad? Offer up proof. We, the average people of the Earth would welcome it.


Monday, December 10, 2007

The Novel Has Worn Off Already

Three posts today. Enjoy the feast while you can.

Dave just sent off another query, after five other rejections. He says each one is a learning experience that should make the next query even better.

First, I really don't want to die a genius.

Second, this advice is coming from a guy who somehow managed to get published just fine without an agent. So he's claiming to be the go-to guy on this kind of advice. Actually, we're discussing every move before we make it, and once we get an agent, we don't have to go through a shopping spree with little on the credit card.

We decided long ago to call this a novel because nobody would believe the real story. Also, we had to cut a number of bumps because book readers enjoy a smooth roller-coaster. And we're tiring of it already.

However, I do thoroughly enjoy all the process, and that is what propels me. I don't know what motivates Dave.


I never owned a pet because I was never a fan of the care and cleanup involved. Okay, I think i owned a fish at one point.

Anyway, Dix showed me something that made me feel a little guilty.

She had to pick up after Woofus, and once done, she gave Woofus a rub and a hug, then they played ball.

I missed the balance of it all. The prospect of cleaning up lumps and other hindside ejections just doesn't charm the undersnappers off me, but I saw the reward; the longer moments of love.

It's not the puddles. It's the cuddles.

I might do better if I leave myself more open to the good that leads the not-so-good.

I wonder if Deepak Chopra or the Dalai Lama has something on that point. Then again, Dix and Woofus maybe said all I need to know, and no one took the lotus position.

Gee PS

You try to depend on local government to get everything right so public life can flow smoothly but it doesn't happen. Yeah, I know it's tough, and they want to stay out of the babysitting business, but there are subtle elements that are handled all the better by the private sector.


Drive somewhere on a major road (not an expressway) and I dare you to know the name of the road. Street signs--if there--show the smaller intersecting ones but not the get-there road you're on for... miles? Nervous miles?

Most any GPS will tell you that. Useful? Yeah.

And those little helpers do more.

Try to tell someone the exact distance to a landmark. Most GPS units will show that. Also ETA. Also upcoming streets and landmarks maybe a mile away.

None of that shows through the windshield.

I recently gave directions to a lost stranger. "Take the next right, then the next left." It would have been all the more helpful if I'd known the distance. Those turns may have been a mile away, or ten. I don't carry that detail in my head, even though it's neighborhood. And said stranger would have done well on his own if he'd had a GPS.

No, I didn't buy any stock before I mentioned this.

I just crave useful information and am willing to go get it. And pass on how I did.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Two Woopsies

A problem with blogs missed by most is the lack of an editor. King Seneca has blue-penciled some and gently questioned a nibble or three, despite his pronouncements otherwise. Maybe that's because I self-edit far better than most. That's not said out of pride, but from comparison to what I see him chopping and reassembling out of other hands at the Ticker. No matter what, however, dust motes do cross the illuminated view from time to time. Here are two.

I had my Ticker email shut down, at least temporarily. Like most print media, it's not rolling in cash, so it must make do with resources within reach, and that includes an email server easily overwhelmed, due to its technologically elder age of three years. Contact me at I'll get it directly, and this account can sort all the wheat and chaff that the Ticker account cannot. It also has some attached techie features I may yet partake of, when convenient. So maybe this wasn't a woopsie after all.

Woopsie #2:

I was walking Woofus, and Dix and I were chatting, when an elderly lady on her own constitutional asked me what kind of dog it is.

"It's one-third male," I said.

She blanched and giggled and covered her mouth, and Dix stifled herself.

The lady came back with, "I meant, what breed?"

I told her pureborn Australian Shepherd, then we moved on.

I thought she was referring to what really mattered about Woofus, and I insist I was right in my reply. Dix had to point out my frame of reference, and I got it. I looked embarrassed, out of respect for them.

Was I embarrassed? Well, until you get to know me, or your read the book, you'll know that I can't be embarrassed. Neither can I be humiliated or insulted.

Dix loved the line, and she wants to use it. I never considered myself a ghost writer, preferring to hang my own laundry on my own line. (She wears those?)

Still, I seem to have some success at it though it only pays in friendship, but that's the kind of reward I'm pleased to bank.

Hmm... this wasn't a woopsie, either. I'm told that's what makes me famous: Not realizing what I'm saying.

Hope it's a trend I can survive.