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Say it ain’t so, Stephen

TC Conner:

Ok, what about Paul Shaffer?

Originally posted on Mindful Digressions:

I’m sure you’ve heard the devastatingly tragic, heartbreaking, heartrending, gut wrenching, brain-twisting, finger-popping news by now. It’s all over the airwaves. It’s the top story on Fox News, where all of the on air personalities are experiencing non-stop orgasms.

I’ll have what they’re having.

As I sit here at my computer composing this post, I can barely contain my anguish. The tears that are streaming down my cheeks are literally flooding the floor beneath me. Literally, I tell you! I need to go change my socks.

colbert report bannerThis can’t be happening. But, alas it is. Stephen Colbert is leaving The Colbert Report and will be taking over The Late Show on CBS when David Letterman retires next year.

What?!?

I am not a religious person, but I watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report religiously. I get all the news I need from those two shows. Seriously!

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I Need A Vacation

TC Conner:

We all need a vacation, some more so than others.

Originally posted on Fish Of Gold:

I’m going on vacation. I’m going to show up at all of your houses with my dog. We’re going to eat up all of your potato chips and use up all of your hot water. I promise that I won’t overstay my welcome, not that I was welcomed in the first place. Expect me this evening.

Really, it’s 2014. Why don’t we have instant travel yet? Why does it take hours and hours just to get to the other side of my country? Where is my flying car? If we had instant travel, I would eat up your potato chips with glee. I would like to be here now:

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It would be really nice to sit outside on a spring evening drinking tea with some of you. I wonder what you’re like. Even those of you who post pictures of yourselves and vlogs, I wonder what you’re like. Videos don’t…

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Our children are animals

TC Conner:

It’s a downright shame!

Originally posted on Mindful Digressions:

church sign This is a real sign in front of a real church in Kentucky. Those are real letters spelling out real words (well, mostly real words). This picture was not created or modified using Photoshop.

And there is so much wrong with this sign and what’s on it.

Let’s start out with the most obvious — the spelling error. “SUCEED.” Huh? Well, as a result of my extensive research, I have learned that “suceed” really is a word.

Yes, According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the word “suceed” refers to “an insulated container used especially to store liquefied gases, having a double wall with a vacuum between the walls and silvered surfaces facing the vacuum.”

And the Urban Dictionary definition of “suceed” is that it’s an “up-and-coming word that you say when there is nothing but a hot, steamy pile of FAIL building up.”

So maybe…

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Fear of low phone battery

Are you one of those people who’s afraid to be stuck with a dead phone battery? Once you get to your destination, do you immediately search for the nearest receptacle or maybe a charging kiosk if you’re at a mall?

I sometimes think I’m one of those people, even when my phone battery hasn’t dropped below 50% charged. What are we afraid will happen if our phone dies on us? Will I miss an important phone call or text? Will I need to make an important phone call only to find that my phone battery is dead?

It’s not only cell phones, it’s all the other hand-held electronic gadgets we carry around – iPads and other idevices, tablets, phablets, etc., etc. We’re so connected with and to our cell phones and iPads that if we lose power to one or the other, it feels like doomsday!

I remember a time when the only electronic gadget I had was something called a transistor radio. It used a nine-volt battery and you could only listen to AM radio stations. Archaic ain’t it?

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Regency TR-1

It sounded terrible, but I didn’t notice back then. I think I also had an earphone, made for one ear. Imagine that, listening to music with only one earbud, how did we get through those times?

Some folks say we’d be better off if things were simpler like they were back in the days of transistor radios, hopscotch, and Etch a Sketch. I don’t know if that’d be the case or not. I guess it’s soothing, in a way, to think of simpler times; lazy nights during summer,  lying on my back in the grass gazing up at the stars, imagining what was beyond them.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy technology, the Star Rover app on my iPad takes me to the stars from a sitting position. I still wonder if there’s anything beyond the stars, wondering is timeless. However, it needs recharging every once in a while. But that’s okay, there’s no physical requirement needed to do that.

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What is your reward?

Last October, after a routine visit to a Veteran’s outpatient clinic about a bothersome ache in my index finger, I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic. Routine because I wasn’t expecting news about anything other than why my finger was aching. Blood pressure checks are routine and when they checked mine before I talked with the doctor about my finger they noticed it was rather high – around 170 / 90 or so (the bottom number may have been a bit higher, I don’t quite remember).

After checking my finger (which eventually led to an appointment with a specialist about radial tunnel syndrome) the doctor asked about my lifestyle habits and notified me of my high blood pressure. She ordered blood work and sent me home with a blood pressure checker. After a week of monitoring my blood pressure, I saw that something needed to be done! What surprised me was the fact that  I had no clue and didn’t realize that a double, and sometimes triple, whopper with cheese every now and then, and a couple of sugary Ski sodas a day, and chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate was leading to what could turn out to be type 2 diabetes.

Yes, I was a dummy! I should’ve realized what I was doing to myself. I guess that’s why they call it “the silent killer.”

Please do yourself a favor, if you’re not already, and begin watching what you’re eating and limit, or better yet, eliminate all the junk food from your diet! Thank the good Lord I have an exceptionally talented cook for a wife! Without her cooking (and her help monitoring what I ate) I know it would have been a much more difficult struggle for me!

I had a six-month check up the other day and my doctor said I could be a poster child for those wanting to make healthy lifestyle changes! My bad cholesterol plummeted to almost normal levels from last October till now,my blood pressure has returned to almost normal (137/80), and I’ve lost almost 20 pounds (from 186 to 167). All of that without medications! And you can do it too if you’re determined! GET STARTED NOW!!

What’s your reward? Two words: BETTER HEALTH!

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The drop!

 

Spring

If I had to choose one season out of the four as my favorite it would be spring. I love the essence of spring, its aroma, its colors. I love the sound of spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer), calling out from the pond that lies next to my wife’s herb garden. It’s such a grandiose time, new life is sprouting everywhere. Spring rejuvenates my soul. I’m always amazed by the transformation from the browns and grays of winter, to the sharp contrasting yellows, reds, and whites of spring.

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It might seem depressing when you think about everything that’s going on outside our little slice of real estate; the missing Malaysian jet, Russian aggression, and who knows what else? But the seasons never notice any of it. Trees still leaf out in spring, perennial flowers creep to life, and my grass will keep me busy mowing for the first few weeks of warm weather. And that’s what helps keep me grounded, that and music. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t plant a flower or pick an old guitar every once in a while.

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If I were a collector of sorts, it’d be hard to choose what I would want to collect most: new and rare flowers or new and rare guitars.

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I’d be okay with either. As long as I can still smell and hear spring!

'Mom's' Forsythia

‘Mom’s’ Forsythia

My Writing Process – an author chain

Good friend (and big fan of Mandolin Whiskey) LK Hunsaker, author of several literary romance novels, asked if I’d like to participate in a blog chain. I’m not at all familiar with what a blog chain is and had never been a part of one till now. I decided that doing something that might help me tap out a few more words would be beneficial. I like to think of myself as a writer, but I know I don’t write near as much as I should! So, while I’m doing this blog chain thing, I’m also self-analyzing a few things about my writing process. Here then, are my answers to four questions.

1. What are you working on at the moment?

I might actually be multi-tasking, but at this very moment I’m working on the post for this blog chain thing. Ok, not funny.

I have two things I’m working on at the moment – a novel (or short story, haven’t decided which yet), and a children’s book. The novel is an attempt to write in the female voice, which I hear is quite difficult for a male writer to pull off. It’s geared toward young adults, 18 to 25-years old. And it’s my first serious attempt at writing fiction. At a little over 5,000 words, it’s still in the early stages of development (click here for an excerpt).

My children’s book is also in the early stages, and probably won’t be much over 30 pages long, it’s an alphabet book with illustrations by Don Conner, my brother (click here for an excerpt). Writing a children’s book is another first. And then there are the “regular” gardening articles I write once a month that are featured in Life & Times: A Magazine with Senior Flair. I’ve been writing gardening articles for close to 10 years. (I’ve been in touch with the folks at Life & Times about a link to their publication, it’s not been an easy task.)

2. How does your work differ from others in the genre? 

I’m not sure about the differences between my writing and the writing of others. Simply because I don’t read a lot of other stuff. I’ve been told that my garden writing voice is much like the voice I use when giving lectures or just talking to folks about gardening. The main character in my young adult fiction novel/short story/whatever it turns out to be, can fly, and there are other fantastical goings on as well. I often think of a favorite book that I read in college, “Like Water for Chocolate,” by Laura Esquivel, and try to create a magically thrilling, and maybe a little bizarre, journey for the reader.  Ms. Laura created just such a journey with her book and you should read it.

3. Why do you write what you do?

Why do I write what I write? Gardening is such a huge part of our lives, my wife and I, that writing about it comes almost as naturally as planting zinnia and cosmos seeds. I write about it because it’s something I love doing. It also pleases me to know that others are gaining knowledge about gardening when they read my articles. I self-published a collection of some articles, Through the Seasons with The Write Gardener, perhaps you’d like to order a copy? Please. :)

I think the best part about writing fiction is the freedom. I had never given it much consideration before meeting Ms. LK. She’s full of the freedom of fiction, and it seems like she’s always writing and/or editing something new. And that’s a good thing if you’re a writer. I write about other things: a book review here and there, guitars, music, and whatever comes up in my Facebook feed that sparks a comment. Sometimes I’ll choose something controversial to post, which usually generates about 100 comments if it rubs someone the wrong way (which happens more often than not). I decided to write fiction just to see what would happen. Something did, it’s just taking its own time getting to wherever it wants to go.

4. How does your writing process work?

My gardening articles work themselves out, for the most part. I get suggestions from my wife and friends that often lead to an article. Other times I’ll just happen to see a flower, tree, or shrub, or a pot in a gardening catalog, or even something on TV that will spark a topic idea.

I can’t quite explain how I write fiction. It just happens. There is, I suppose, something that be might called a muse that knows what it wants me to write. But that directive comes and goes without warning. The writing for my “young adult fiction novel/short story/whatever it turns out to be” is most always controlled by the muse, I’m just the medium it uses to get the words out.

If reading my answers caused a writing spark within you, then please fuel the fire! We need more good writers.

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