Waiting is the worst!

 

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They say “No news is good news.”

I disagree. Not knowing fosters anxiety even in a guy like me who is wildly over self-examined. You receive a cryptic message about an emergency situation telling you they will get in touch as soon as more information is available. You wait; all the while consciously trying not to think the worst, but as the hours pass you inevitably let your guard down allowing the darkest possible outcomes to play out in your mind.

Times like these test your beliefs. As my handful of readers already know, I am not religiously inclined, and I have attempted to shed almost all beliefs—viewing them as traps which serve no other purpose than to allow us to be manipulated, usually through fear. I no longer fear for myself, but I do fear for others; especially those close to me. After ten hours of checking my phone, I did something that helped to ease my mind which could be labelled in a number of different ways depending on the beliefs of the person applying the label. I looked at the sky and thought:

‘Please, let them be okay.’

Most would call this praying. A far smaller number would say I was putting positive energy into the universe to create a desired outcome. For me, it was merely a mental exercise to firstly accept a situation that was outside of my control, and secondly, a way to master my anxiety once again. I never say there is no God or gods. Instead, I leave room for the possibility. While I would like to think we live in a deterministic universe where we each have free will and where, if we channel our collective energies in a particular direction, we can control destiny or fate. Sadly, thus far at least, there is no absolute proof of this one either. What I find fascinating at times like this is I am willing to give them a go without any belief in them. My “Leave no rock unturned.” approach may be the reason. If it can’t hurt and could help then why not?

Studies into prayer and meditation show the human brain behaves very differently when we partake in these activities, indicating there is “something to them”. Maybe we level up our consciousness, or maybe we just reduce our brain activity to a level where we find clarity; where we can accept that some things are outside of our control, and where we can let go of our irrational fears. After all, it is fear that spawns our worries, and it is the quantity of those worries we created in our head which can lead us into full-blown anxiety.

Some would say my “prayer” was answered.

I will not and cannot allow this label to be applied to my story, for if I do, I would become narrow or closed-minded with a singular viewpoint, and I like to think I have outgrown being that guy.

Why choose black or white when there is so much gray area to be explored?

It took two more hours of waiting, but the news I finally received was not terrible. Did God intervene at my request? Not likely. Did I use my incredible mind powers to have the universe alter our reality? I seriously doubt it. So what did happen then?

Life happened.

Things are not in our control. They never have been throughout recorded history. Everything is temporary, including each of us. The control freaks who rise to power and prominence do so by having a narrow focus. It serves them for a while, but historically, it inevitably leads to their demise because a time ALWAYS comes when they need to consider possibilities outside of their doctrine. We see maniacal despots in the media each day who are single-mindedly hell-bent on creating division and hatred everywhere they can. They only have power over the closed-minded, and this is why they work so hard at recruiting or creating the like-minded.

Avoid choosing a side because neither side can see the other possibilities.

It’s been a rough year, so why should December be any different? However, today’s news was not as bad as some of the outcomes from my anxiety based mental conjuring. For this I am grateful. As we enter the holiday season, I hope you and yours are safe, healthy, and happy. If you fall into this lucky group, please take a moment to realize how lucky you are. Not everyone is as lucky as you. Life really is about luck, and the funny thing about luck is it can change in the blink of an eye.

P.S.

If you know someone who espouses the notion that we make our own luck, remind them that while hard work and focus can help them climb the ladder of success, only a healthy person can cling to the rungs.

Happy Holidays.

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Turkey News

Dinner conversation for know-it-all’s:

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Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

Contrary to popular belief, tryptophan induced turkey comas are not a result of turkey containing a greater quantity of the amino acid than other foods, but only our overindulgence at this time of year. You most likely do not go back for seconds when you eat other poultry, nor do smaller birds allow for days of leftovers in sandwiches and soups or stews.

Enjoy your holiday.

World Food Day

sky earth galaxy universe
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

While I support all altruistic initiatives, I dislike the politicizing of subjects such as hunger. It is time we addressed the elephant in the room. The West is fat and drunk on immediate gratification.

The UN creates AWARENESS of the EFFECTS without ever talking about the true CAUSE . . . the hording of wealth.

The World Bank offers loans to organizations trying to feed people, but NOT WITHOUT INTEREST. This group could single-handedly solve hunger. They don’t.

The largest religions of the world sit on a pile of money that could immediately cure hunger. They don’t. They do however claim it is a top concern and tell their followers to give more.

Corporatized food stores do not fill the shelves of food banks. They expect their customers to do that AT RETAIL PRICES, and they use their INFLUENCE to keep farmers from donating directly.

So while the AWARENESS created each year since the 1940’s by the UN is a good thing, it also illustrates that 70+ years of TALK hasn’t solved anything. Individuals must do what we can. Organizations won’t.

Check out my latest interview with Fiona Mcvie.

Thank you authorsinterviews, I enjoyed your questions.

E. A.

 

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Gather ’round kids, so cocky uncle E. A. can tell you a story.

Cocky? Cockier? Cockiest?

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While I don’t live in the United States of America, Canada and most countries in “the West” do share common legal approaches. My OPINIONS should not be considered legal advice, but should make for a good starting point for those of you who have been witness to the latest travesty in indie-authordom. Unless the reprobates currently running the U.S.A. have completely flushed America down the proverbial turlet, then what I am about to share with you will probably still be upheld in their courts.

What is a Trade Mark?

I rarely use Wikipedia as a source, but they did offer a sound definition in this case.

“A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a recognizable sign, design, or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others, although trademarks used to identify services are usually called service marks. The trademark owner can be an individual, business organization, or any legal entity. A trademark may be located on a package, a label, a voucher, or on the product itself. For the sake of corporate identity, trademarks are often displayed on company buildings.”

IF some poor misinformed soul did want to Trade Mark the word cocky, they are completely within their legal rights to do so. HOWEVER, as no person or corporate entity may hold title of a commonly used word, the Trade Mark office requires that the word in question be presented in an original form, a.k.a. artwork and even a custom font or in an existing font USED WITH WRITTEN PERMISSION.

You can Trade Mark a LOGO containing a word, but not the word itself.

We might as well cover all the bases while we are on this ridiculous topic.

What  is a Patent?

“A government authority or license conferring a right or title for a set period, especially the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention.”

So unless the individual in question INVENTED the word, they can’t go down this road.

What is a Copyright?

“The exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same.”

Every time a writer PUBLISHES, they are protected by Copyright law. HOWEVER, we live in an age where everyone sues their neighbor over the slightest thing. Thanks for that America. This translates into a shit pile of lawyers making money on every tiny fender-bender or slip-and-fall. Authors would be well advised to actually get Copyright protection in their own country at the very least, as it carries a bit more weight than a mere publishing date.

Can you Copyright a word?

Yes, if it is the title of your work and no one has ever used it before. HOWEVER, this only protects the Copyright holder from having others use the EXACT SAME TITLE. It does not give the Copyright holder EXCLUSIVE rights to the word.

pexels-photo-726478.jpegWhat is a frivolous lawsuit?

They are not called “sharks” for nothing.

“Is the practice of starting or carrying on lawsuits that, due to their lack of legal merit, have little to no chance of being won.

Yes kids, this is probably what is going on here. Some law firm is exploiting this poor author knowing full well the case has no chance.

So why is Amazon allegedly pulling down books with the word cocky in the title or in the key words?

There are any number of possibilities. But first, why am I not worried about using the word Amazon in this piece? It’s simple, they don’t own the word—just the presentation of the word as a Trade Marked corporate logo in context with a certain type of business. The Amazon river was there long before the company, and it will be there long after the company is gone.

  1. Indie authors are not that important to Amazon as they represent only 16% of the company’s total book sales. (See the Publishers Weekly article.)
  2. Lawyers are expensive; even to a corporate giant. There is no upside for Amazon to challenge the alleged letter sent from this author’s law firm. It is easier, and w-a-y cheaper, to just piss off a few inconsequential indie authors than it is to wage a legal battle on their behalf.
  3. A less likely, but plausible reason might be that some middle manager panicked when the legal notice arrived on their desk, causing them to make “an executive decision” without running it up the flagpole first.

Smashwords and Ingram Spark are looking better and better, aren’t they?

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If and when . . .

. . . I get a cease and desist order telling me to take down this blog because it contains the word cocky, I will have my lawyer fire one back telling them what a cocky prick I am, and that I suggested ‘they should all have intercourse with themselves’. Of course what I would actually say to my lawyer in this hypothetical instance would be: Tell them they can all go f*ck themselves.

And here kids is the moral of the story.

A frivolous lawsuit is there to incite an EMOTIONAL RESPONSE. My lawyer is there to START A NEGOTIATION, as is the lawyer of this author. My lawyer will water down my message to make me appear more reasonable so A RESOLUTION CAN BE REACHED.

Both authors pay.

Both law firms get paid.

Amazon was the only one to make a good business decision.

As usual, my mind is questioning the motivations involved here. Is this a PR stunt? Did the-powers-that-be create a new distraction just for indie authors so we won’t pay attention to a US administration just itching for a war with anybody? I guess time will tell. Until then, stay cocky everyone.

 

 

Of Squirrels and Airplanes

It’s been a long, long, long time since I have had a day like this-literally years since I published a slightly impaired blog titled: An Intoxicated Tirade, or words to that effect. A conscientious blogger would create a link, but I don’t care.

Life as a struggling author is tough, and full of duties and obligations. Today was different though; I fulfilled all those daily tasks by 2:00 p.m. on a sunny and warm Sunday afternoon which allowed me a shopping trip including a visit to the liquor store.

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It should be noted that I mark the return of warm weather with a cocktail we Canadians call a Caesar-made from tomato/clam cocktail, vodka, and spices, including salt, pepper, celery salt, Worchestershire sauce (Did you seriously expect me to spell it right?) and Tobasco sauce. (Ditto.)

I spent TWO magical hours alone with my thoughts (and the booze) in direct sunlight which has always been my drug of choice when I needed to re-energize and refocus. There was a part of me who screamed I should have a book with me or what will the neighbors think? F*ck ’em.

ancient-arched-window-architecture-532902I moved to this neighborhood to be amongst the poor and down-trodden. Granted, houses in this area sell between one and two million dollars, but that does not mean the people here are rich; they just have good credit. As property values have gone from ridiculous to insane while I have been here, it led me to think about the retirees on a fixed income being displaced because they could not keep up with their property taxes as their property’s value exploded, forcing many to take out equity loans just to keep their homes.

After the second drink, I noticed a deep exhalation that I am certain has not been a part of my existence for some time. Some people meditate to accomplish this state-of-being, but I have not been making the time for any spiritual journeys of this nature lately. I am just too damn busy.

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So, about the squirrels . . . Ever notice the squirrel who is busting his (or her) ass (Who can tell?); digging up chestnuts and running across a busy street to bring home the bacon? He/she is unlike the other squirrels who have trained humans to feed them, and who unknowingly have become reliant on their trainees. I respect the hustler’s choice. I hope he/she doesn’t get squished by one of the vehicles travelling much too fast in our school zone.

It occurred to me upon sipping my third drink, I could really use more days like this. This prompted a revised want ad stolen from my book.

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WANTED: A good woman.

  • This old dog is tired and in need of a porch to sleep on.
  • Please send photo of your porch.
  • Applicants with a wrap-around-porch will automatically advance to the next round.
  • A porch swing will score bonus points.
  • If you have both a wrap-around-porch and a boat, you are gold. Please send photo of the boat as well.
  • If your porch overlooks a unicorn ranch, it is important you include this information.

Dinner Update: One part is burnt, and one part is still frozen. Balance is key.

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On to the airplanes-you can’t help but notice them while you are positioned to be face-first into the setting sun in the West, which coincidentally, is also where our airports are, relative to where I live. There are fast-movers, a.k.a. military stuff, at serious altitudes leaving twin contrails. Those are our F-18s. I did however see a fast-mover with a single contrail; I hope we didn’t buy one of those piece of sh*t single engine F-35s.

FYI: The texture of my chicken patties can be best equated with cutting cardboard with your standard cutlery. And again, I don’t care. Two hours of direct sunlight and four cocktails will do that to a person.

My man-bun-daddy neighbor with way too many health issues for his age and I just talked about using some of our more useless neighbors as food when the apocalypse comes. I suggested a barbecue sauce.

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What are the passers-by thinking as they acknowledge my smile, nod, or wave as I sit in my lawn chair basking in the sun? Are they jealous of my leisure time inactivity, or do they think I am hurting property values in the neighborhood? At the moment, I can confidently state I don’t give a flying f*ck about what others think.

One neighbor who regularly parks her car in front of my house chatted about her court day with our street’s bandit parking cop, and how she was kayaking on a river today. She does lead an interesting life.

autumn-beautiful-blur-658945I chatted briefly with my hot neighbor about how confusing this time of year was for her when it came to choosing what to wear. She was in sandals and a sweater coat. I suggested she remove the coat.

I saw some kids playing road hockey while armed with squirt guns. I guess I didn’t get that memo.

Birds chirping; the sounds of motorcycles and children at play; and the guy with saws. Dude, give it a f*cking rest already.

I thought up a killer book idea, but I’ve thought that before . . .

Much can happen in two hours if you go outside to figuratively stop and smell the flowers.

I admit I have been neglecting this blog, but sh*t happens. My Ms. Creant site blog has kept me busy with a ten-ish part series on the book publishing game. If you are a soon-to-be-published author not picked up by the big 5, you would be well-advised to tune in.

It’s now 10:30 p.m. and my nightcap is almost gone.

Ever notice how I only use contractions when I’m drinking?

Talk soon.

Radical Christian extremists are active in my neighborhood—A Christmas Story

I just witnessed an act of Christian terrorism on my street.

While many of us were erecting ladders to put up Christmas lights, others had even more politically incorrect intentions.

A woman with her three girls from a few doors down, just skulked passed my house carrying a large standup carboard cutout of Jesus which they covertly placed in front of another neighbor’s house, a few doors up the street from where I live. I am guessing this mom is an artist, and the girls all participated in this craft project. I do not know either of these neighbors, but I grinned as the perpetrators ran by in a full retreat. A short while later, the terrorist leader mom walked by again to take a picture of their evil-doings; presumably to be used in a propaganda victory speech which would undoubtedly be posted on their radical facebook page tagging the victims. As she returned from her photo recon bomb damage assessment mission, she commented to me, rather matter of factly, “He hates religion.”, to which I replied, “Oh my.”, still wearing my amused grin but laughing hysterically on the inside as this woman had no idea who she was talking to. To me, this Sunday was quickly becoming more entertaining than any of the ones spent in the hundreds of Houses of Worship I have visited in my travels. It would not take long before a woman, who I presume is the wife of the aforementioned “He”, would walk by looking a little embarrassed as she carryied the big Jesus back to the terrorist’s encampment. I suspect this was just a good-natured prank among neighbors as big Jesus was leaned carefully against a tree in the yard of the terrorist’s command and control bunker, and no hostile words were uttered or shots fired as she departed.

This is how battles of religious ideologies should be waged.

We must now look at the victim of this atrocity who was targeted by these extremists because “He” believes differently. “He”, who apparently “hates religion”, could be an atheist, and if this is the case, we should be respectful of his choice of belief system. But what if “He” is not an atheist? What if “He” is like me? What if “He” has come to despise most religions as I have, because they have corrupted the messages of God and their various prophets in order to amass wealth and power—often promoting division, hate, the subjugation of women, and even violence. Am I next? How long before I can expect big Jesus in my garden? I  think it’s time to pick a religion just to be on the safe side.

So. let’s see what comes up when I google: What religion should I follow? Oh look, Belief-O-Match; they should be able to tell me. After taking their quiz, they decided I am a Seventh-day Adventist? I don’t know this one. Let’s find out what they are all about.

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/9-things-you-should-know-about-seventh-day-adventism/

Oh, I don’t think so.

Not even close. So much for Belief-O-Magic.

Back to the drawing board. I will eliminate all religions with significant wealth that don’t spend most of it to feed starving children. Let’s see what google has to say.

https://www.therichest.com/rich-list/world/the-10-richest-religions-in-the-world/

Well that really shortens the list of possibilities.

Let’s try googling the most charitable religions. It is interesting that this search netted little of substance; just a few articles about do-gooders, putting Muslims, Agnostics, and Buddhists well in the lead. You would think that some of the other major religions would step up and single-handedly save a famished nation just for the bragging rights, but none do or have.

Although I could probably squeeze my beliefs into the Agnostic box, as a historian, I feel as though I should be able to find something—and I did—but unfortunately it is in decline with just 190,000 followers left. Maybe it is not about the popularity.

Zoroastrianism worships a single deity: Ahura, The Lord Creator, and The Supremely Wise. This religion predates most all of the best known prophets with its roots going back to 2000 BCE. (I like that.) It has no major theological divisions. (I like that.) In Zoroastrianism, the purpose in life is to: “Be among those who renew the world; to make the world progress towards perfection”. (I like that.)

Its basic maxims include:

  • “Humata, Hukhta, Huvarshta,” which means: Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds. (I like it.)
  • “There is only one path and that is the path of Truth.” (I like it.)
  • “Do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, and then all beneficial rewards will come to you also.” (I like it.)

I am now a religious man, safe from big Jesus.

I am a Zoroastrianist . . . I think.

I have much reading to do, and perhaps I should check my terminologies while I am at it, before telling everyone. Once I have confirmed that Zoroastrianist is actually a word, I’m going to go tell the neighbor up the street—maybe he is one too, and just doesn’t know it yet.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoroastrianism

 

This is it for a while.

To everyone, regardless of your philosophies, faiths, beliefs, and indoctrinations, I hope you all enjoy a safe and happy Holiday Season.

Humata, Hukhta, Huvarshta.

I like it.

😀