Friday the 13th with a Full Harvest Moon is the perfect time to blog nonsense.

I believe next to nothing. However, I am open-minded enough to consider ANY possibility to establish its probability.

I have looked lizard people square in their dead eyes. They don’t like that. They know you know, and they would prefer no one knows of there existence; particularly people who might out them, like me.

Are they human?

They are born in human form and have a human lifespan, but they are devoid of many of our better “human” qualities. When examined solely with medical diagnostic technologies, they appear quite human, complete with susceptibility to injury and disease, just like us.

How do they differ from real humans?

If you believe in such things, you would describe them as soulless: only able to feign caring, compassion, love, sympathy, and empathy while being completely baffled by human traits like: giving, gratitude, and self-sacrifice. In their view, they believe themselves superior because they lack these human burdens plaguing the rest of us. While we lose much time being fully human dealing with all these feelings, they can maintain focus on their goals, achieving above average success.

Where do you find them?

They were created for the patriarchy’s economic machine. They are the administrators, evaluators, and the judges who, if their track record proves them to be free of morality, scrupulousness, and ethical constraints, will rise to the level of policy-maker occupying a chair in a board room somewhere around the globe.

What do they do?

Yeah, I admit that last one has tin hat time written all over it until you ask the question:

Why is the World Bank interested in birth registration?

How does it profit them?

They are not known for altruism, despite what their propaganda machine’s press releases might want you to believe. Here is a sample from the link above:

“The international development community is increasingly recognizing the multifold advantages of expanding birth registration coverage. When the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted last year, they introduced a new agenda for the field of development and birth registration for all became a specific development target. What is more, the World Bank went on to argue that “providing robust means of identification,” such as birth certificates, “will fundamentally support the achievement of at least 10 other SDGs,” in areas such as social protection, women’s empowerment, health, and even fighting terrorism.”

The international development community, huh. I’d be very interested to see who is on this list.

Sustainable Development Goals, huh. This is my question:

Sustaining the development of what for whom?

Before we encourage our children to join the so-called honourable professional ranks listed above, perhaps we should rethink the alter we’ve been worshipping.

 

Leaving is never easy, even if it’s only Facebook.

I do feel lighter though.

It’s no secret I despise the flawed technology everyone else seems fine with. Even while writing this blog I had to deal with a sketchy Internet connection which wasted the better part of an hour of my life; an hour I cannot get back as with all the hours spent online doing what we authors are told is necessary.

This Sunday I will be pulling the plug on facebook forever; not merely deactivating—not just taking a break—but deleting my account.

Why would an author or writer ever do this when “experts” tell us we should be on social media to create a following which may lead to people reading our blogs who then might decide to buy our books? Should, may, and might are words used by politicians and other con-men to dupe the unsuspecting, the uninformed, and the gullible. I am none of those any longer. I did however willingly join in the lie of social media five years ago, and stayed two years longer than I planned. Perhaps this was out of a false sense of loyalty to relative strangers on the Internet, or it’s possible I’m more of an egotist than I thought. Maybe solitude finally got to me? Nah. I’ll let you know if and when I figure it out.

Many of the people I’m leaving behind were kind and supportive and they have all been thanked for their encouragement along the way.

Some shared my warped sense of humour and we had some laughs. These people will be missed. Just like childhood friends, former co-workers, or old neighbours, they are genuine when they say you will be missed, but they will get busy with their lives and soon forget about you. It is the way of things.

I have been a harsh critic of social media and facebook a.k.a fakebook a.k.a. flakebook in particular, for its practices i.e. privacy, data collection, and mental conditioning algorithms. I realize now my preaching abstinence there was as effective as a priest giving a sermon on morality in a whorehouse.

It felt hypocritical and it’s time to cut the cord.

I hope my remaining facebook friends, who might stumble across this, find the peace and joy I once had and am attempting to get back in touch with again.

I wish you well.

Five Long Years

The fall of Western civilization can be charted by the declining number of book readers.

Yesterday was National Book Lovers Day, and on social media it came in like a lamb and went out with a whimper. On twitter, it never made Trending status in the many hours I was on which says a great deal about where everyone’s heads are these days. As expected, facebook and the mainstream media ignored it completely. Why? The answer is a simple one.

Readers a.k.a. thinking people, are dangerous to the rising regime.

“Book Lovers Day is celebrated on August 9 every year. This is an unofficial holiday observed to encourage bibliophiles celebrate reading and literature. People are advised to put away their smartphones and every possible technological distraction and pick up a book to read.” Wikipedia

I did my bit by contributing a half dozen tweets which were repeated on my facebook page that, not surprisingly, ranged from serious to amusing. Most saw no engagement. Yes some genuine book lovers tweeted, as well as some booksellers, but this was an opportunity missed by almost every author, publisher, educator, and library I know and about a million others I don’t.

We all talk a good game when discussing the importance of reading in America, but when it comes to actively doing something collectively about the problem, we fall flat.

Changing how we parent, educate, treat the environment, allow ourselves to be governed. . . all have become political, and this is why intelligent people no longer participate in these discussions. The prevailing rampant stupidity in politics has silenced the majority who need to speak out and be heard.

I thought book people would be different.

I know many are introverted. I also know they are smart. Why is it they do not realize their apathy endangers their beloved books. Here’s how the world works, kids:

If you are not fighting for it, they will take it away.

 

Bureaucrazy

The only business that has never seen a downturn is government.

Public servants my ass!

Government employees are a special kind of crazy—similar to academics—in that they are completely incapable of functioning in the real world.

You need only look at a ditch digging project where the white and blue hats outnumber the yellow hats—the only ones with tools—to see how far removed from reality they have become. Collectively, one blue hat, two white hats, and three yellow hats are costing the taxpayers about $350.00 per hour as they stand around talking while looking at the ditch.

two man holding white paper

Productivity and efficiency mean nothing to these people.

None are motivated to work hard or to get the job finished as fast and cost effectively as possible. Their jobs are secure for as long as they want them, and a significant pension awaits when they have had enough. In addition to their generous top-of-scale salaries, they and their families enjoy complete short and long-term disability insurance, medical, drug, and dental plans. . . all paid for by the taxpayers.

The blue and white hats decide to have lunch to discuss the hole in the ground further so they jump into three separate government vehicles which they pay nothing for, and they expense their two-hour $120.00 bistro “business lunch” back to the taxpayer. In a bizarre rationalization, they consider themselves to be taxpayers because they pay taxes, so they feel entitled to such expenses. To them, it is as though they are paying for their own lunch. With only an hour or so left in their workday, they all head home early to beat traffic.

Meanwhile in the real world. . .

Somewhere out there right now is a young guy with a family to support, driving a ten year-old pickup truck which he bought; paid to licence; pays insurance on; pays to maintain; pays to put fuel in, and who also bought the pick and shovels in the back with his own money.

yellow pick up truck on grey concrete road

He is digging a hole too.

He estimates one hard day of ditch-digging should get the job done. His hands will be blistered and his back will be sore come lunchtime when he gets to eat his brown-bagged mid-day meal, lovingly made by his wife from last night’s dinner leftovers. On completion, the customer, which he had to find by making calls and sending emails each night after work, will pay him $200.00 for a day’s work. He will set aside 30% for income tax; 11% for business taxes, and 20% to keep his business operating. He and his family will attempt to live and build a secure future on the remaining $78.00. He worries about how long he can keep up this pace. Last month’s dental bill for the kids wiped out their savings. Regular dental checkups for himself had to be shelved in favour of keeping up with his workers compensation insurance payments.

He has been called the backbone of America.

Sadly, this hypothetical taxpayer’s back only lasted into his forties. He called up the government-run workers compensation department for help when doctors said he could not return to his job. The bureaucracy seized the opportunity to kick him when he was down. To them, with every denial and penny-pinching move they were saving the government money while simultaneously justifying their own continued employment within the bureaucracy. They do not acknowledge who pays the government they work for. ‘Claimants are the enemy. We are not accountable to the taxpaying general public.’

These bureaucrats had the audacity to question HIS integrity.

They are oblivious to the hypocrisy which is all around them. They even went so far as to accuse him of being a scammer before finally sending $680.00 each month.

Pull your heads out of your asses America.

This level of inequity is not sustainable.

I’m Easy!

It’s true.

Thanks to the SEO work I do when publishing each blog, I will be forever searchable using tags like: easy author, easy writer, and a few others I haven’t thought of yet. When a female reader comes along, I cannot help but crush on them a little. If they are reading my book, I can feel my heart beating in my chest as they give me their impression of my work. Often, they update me as they read—a blow by blow if you will—every encouraging word softly stoking my psyche.

It’s not that I’m an egotist.

Praising a writer is like showing love to an abused animal; they quickly return that love any way they can, and it’s an honest loyal kind of love . . . until the leg humping begins.

As for the extra special ones who took the time to write a favourable review. . . well . . . they could have me with a snap of their fingers.

Why be a starving writer when you could be a starving naked artist.

I am so sick of computers and everywhere they take us.

Being a writer means being married to your computer. Things are made worse if you are a published author because you also have long term commitments to social media and publishing sites. My almost one-year-old Dell is an evil wife. She has melted down twice in the short time we have been together; a RED FLAG if ever there was one. So why continue to put up with the daily torment of weak WiFi, boggy performance due to updates and background processes, and the general stupidity of the online world when there is little or no money in it?

I can do other things.

The real question is: What other things can I do which don’t involve computers? I could reinvent myself once again as a post modernist painter. I might use my initials to create a new artist identity: Ethan Alfonso? It has an artsy ring to it. I could add a hook as well: All Alfonso’s are painted in the nude. Post modernist erotic portraits of lonely housewives and  divorcées, painted by a still pretty hot naked guy, should get me laid more than writers do. The fee for such commissioned portraits would certainly exceed what I make as a writer; perhaps several times over. For a tiny initial investment—far less than book publishing—I could whip off a bunch of samples to lean against the walls of my apartment for prospective clients to peruse; perhaps over wine, if they are hot. I could sell some works beach-side while working on my tan. Once summer ends here, I can move into a spacious van and travel to various beach communities down South, chasing the warmth of the sun, and making Canadian winters something I don’t do anymore.

What’s the worst that could happen?

It’s possible I might be killed by a jealous husband, but this has always been my preferred check-out plan anyway.

Sounds like a worthwhile endeavour to me.

Where is that art supply store?

I’d Google it, but this hunk of junk Dell—soon to be ex wife—sucks harder than the vacuum of space during a hull breach on the Enterprise.

When Will We Get It?

Most days I root for humanity . . . some days I root for space rocks.

If you enjoy reading about patriarchy and the puppet masters, you are in the right place.

In my storied online “career” (?), I was a good, not so little, author who played nice in the early years. I “friended” and/or followed approximately 10,000 people, sites, and pages because that was what we were told was necessary to promote our books and build a platform to launch us. However, as I delved deeper into the publishing world, I found out it was all a sham to keep us busy, and, most importantly of all, to keep us blowing money. Now, after five years and spending months cleaning out my social media accounts, I have about 300 interesting “friends” and follow about 300 others.

Some of the people I axed were butt-hurt.

If they were true supporters, they were given my reasons, but most were people who never engaged in all the years I kept them around. This idea of “friending” or “following” just to have impressive numbers is laughable, and anything but social.

My new antisocial media program is simple.

If I am ever to make enough time to write seriously again, social media has to go—except twitter—I love my twitter in the mornings over coffee, and I can “misbehave” there. I have a new ‘boobies and books’ theme I am thoroughly enjoying. Do I care some will be offended? F-ck no. Do I care about the imagined publisher or agent passing on me because I don’t conform? Hells no. It’s just bullshit “they” feed newbies. The right agent or publisher will get me, or I will self-publish again, but in a much smaller way.

Here is the plan for this summer:

  1. Create and blog out memes daily, if possible.
  2. Power tweet on Fridays.
  3. Facebook on Saturdays.

In a perfect world, this system should:

  1. Drive up website traffic.
  2. Give me more monetized hours each day.
  3. Let me work on my tan.

Have a great summer.

Bad breakup? Need closure? WTF, try an email.

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How to write the ultimate GO F-CK YOURSELF email to a cowardly ex who denies you closure by going into hiding.

Yeah, I wrote an email like this, and I would do it again if ever I am stupid enough to fall for another selfish narcissistic sociopath who refuses to make a call to end things properly.

Why do this?

It is simple really, you need to get the rage out, and this is infinitely better than burning their stuff in the backyard. The neighbors look at you even more weirdly than normal when you do such things. More importantly, this allows you to process their evil deeds, and the pain you are feeling through carefully chosen words when a long relationship ends horribly. In other words, this is one method of speeding up the recovery process when you have had enough of their bullshit. IT IS ALL ABOUT YOU and your wellbeing. Don’t be polite; they weren’t, and they will not suddenly start appreciating you if you take the high road now. It is time to sink to their level to get through to them. THEY BROUGHT THIS ON THEMSELVES. At times like this, it is not narcissism—it is a survival mechanism.

Essentially, we are aiming to hook them, call them out, and then crush them like the cockroaches they revealed themselves to be.

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To use this article as a template, ideally (and sadly) you would need to have experienced lies, deception, and betrayal which led to you ending a relationship. This is not about revenge. No, this goes deeper. This is about retribution which factors sin into its meaning.

The first line needs to grab their attention, and spark their curiosity so they will continue reading.

Don’t scare them off with a nasty first line; appeal to their humanity in case they have any. Aim to create guilt and remorse whether they are capable of feeling those or not. Go with something like:

Hey, remember me? The person you won’t talk to who. . . 

You then add a reasonable number of important things you did for them—the more life-altering the better.

In the next section, you want to point out why you felt compelled to write to them.

You want to subtly shift from continuing to pile on the guilt to pointing out how their spinelessness forced you to take this action.

I really thought you would step up and talk to me at least one final time. But no, as with every decision you make, you chose poorly once again. You probably will never tell me the whole truth to help me with closure, and even if you did, I would have a hard time believing any of what you might say.

This mild slap in the face will show them how low your opinion of them has become.

Next, remind them how you had noticed their suspicious behavior for some time, and then shift to the possible conclusions you have reached as a result of their lack of communication.

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You can get nasty here. It’s character assassination time. (Woohoo!) You could begin with questions:

Are you on drugs? Are you having a mid-life crisis of epic proportions? Did you fail to take your meds? Are you attempting to sleep your way into money and security rather than working for it? Were you dropped on your head as a baby? etc.

Personally, I prefer statements. You could begin with:

Now that I know the depths of your depravity and duplicity, I think the following are probable:

Your list can be “on the money” or you can take “creative liberties”. You get the idea. Have some fun with it, while making it clear what a loathsome piece of crap you now see them as. Also indicate how you will continue to believe all of these possible truths until such time as they explain their actions.

Add an image of how you now view them for a more dramatic effect.

You could (or perhaps should) go straight to a porn site for an impactful and distasteful image which exemplifies your view of them. Other possibilities might include images of various STDs from a medical book. I went with a less vulgar illustration myself, but it’s your call.

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If they have made it this far, it is time to write your heart out.

Admit you weren’t perfect while driving the stakes in. Take a little responsibility while showing how minor your character flaws are when compared with theirs.

I always wanted what is best for you, and it was out of love and caring that. . .

Show how their behavior has left you pitying them. This, of course, presumes you truly know their history or pathology and were not lied to about everything.

It’s sad—so sad—you are incapable of true love and gratitude. I blame. . . 

Don’t be afraid to make unfavorable comparisons with your previous exes or especially people you know they dislike.

My other exes had some class and most knew at least a little of what is appropriate decent behavior. You are a total hypocrite. You slander [Insert name here.] while behaving even worse.

Dive into decency, morality, scruples, ethics. . . whatever you can sink your teeth into which best fits their behavior.

A soft warm up to your closing statements is next.

You could use a bulleted list.

  • I am sad for me for being duped.

If there are children involved, you could add:

  • I am sad for [Child’s name.] because he/she will most likely be raised by the likes of you two.
  • I am sad for your new significant other if you manage to get your claws into their heart, or on the keys to their house and vehicles, or worst of all, access to their bank accounts, insurance policies, and will.
  • And yes, I am sad for you as well, because despite all my efforts to repair the damage done to you, your ability or willingness to retain anything new is abysmal. You will continue on YOUR CHOSEN PATH, unconsciously following your base programming, and this trail will not lead to happiness. On the upside, I have finally figured out my fatal flaw. No one can fix you. Only you can do that, once you trade in self-obsession for self-awareness.

It’s important you leave them to the end of the list so it ties in with the big finish.

Enough of the body blows, it’s time to close with a throat punch because punching the heartless in the chest is pointless.

Here’s an idea for you:

At the end of most of my relationships, I would usually say farewell or good luck in your future. It would be disingenuous of me to say either of these to you because I know Karma is going to tear you a new one over what you have done. YOU ARE SO F-CKED!

I will just say goodbye.

Did it work?

In my case it did. I got most of the poison out. She confirmed the magnitude of her deception and offered up a lame apology. Regardless, it was enough for me to shed any residual affection and desire . . . allowing me to quickly move on to healthier greener pastures.

I can’t wait to see the comments on this post. I expect the miscreants to be outraged, and every person who has dealt with betrayal to love it. We will see.

 

Getting more from facebook: 20 useful tips for authors and normal people too!

How to eliminate everything that sucks about facebook.

 

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Choose your “friends” wisely.

If you think someone on facebook must be popular and interesting because they have 5000 friends, think again. Most likely they or their “people” are just too lazy to clean out the dead accounts on their friends list. Lazy might be an overly harsh choice of an adjective as I found out when I took on the monumental task of visiting more than 90% of my 3000 “friends” profiles to see what they were about. It took hours per day for weeks but what I found out and the actions I took would make flakebook entertaining for the first time in my four year battle with it. In all likelihood, these mostly writer types I accuse of being layabouts above, are smart enough not to care too much about social media and only show up for a short time each day to feed the insatiable beast.

person cleaning flush toilet
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Why make the effort to clean it out?

A few months back I was oh so close to deleting my fakebook account completely, but I stopped just short of doing this in favor of re-purposing MY site into an “entertainment channel” for myself and the lucky few “friends” who survived what I now refer to as:

The Cleansing or Friend Pocalypse 2019.

Why did I put MY in upper case letters? The answer is simple really; many of us forget that our facecook account is ours to do with as we please. Authors often feel an obligation to accept friend requests from just about anyone who sends one in the naive hope these people will become readers of our books. Worst of all, you probably think you will hurt someone’s feelings by unfriending them, when in truth, they probably don’t care and may never know.

I dumped just over 2650 “friends” in about three weeks and here is the data I collected:

  1. At least 50% of those were abandoned accounts.
  2. Approximately 50% of the abandoned accounts have been high-jacked.
  3. Sadly, you will find out some people you once engaged in conversation with have passed away.
  4. 5% were deactivated accounts.
  5. Not one person objected via DM to their termination.
  6. Your followers are not related to your friends list.
  7. Post engagement went up.
  8. My news-feed is now full of posts which actually interest me.
people holding banners
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Rant, whine, whinge, complain. . .

Authors in particular love to complain about their posts not being seen or interacted with, and how facelook limits the number of our friends who can see our posts; yet they never consider how this corporate giant is, or should be, motivated to send our posts to our dead “friends” accounts in order to save big on server usage. If there is no interaction on a post, server costs go down. The 7% claimed maximum post reach is quickly cut in half most of the time by your dead accounts, and it is conceivable that some days our posts get shared into the news feeds of nothing but these dead accounts. It’s way easier to blame facenook (I love to every chance I get.) than it is to clean out all the dead accounts YOU FRIENDED. Yes, your “friends” list is your responsibility; ergo, your post reach is a reflection of how well you manage your facetook account.

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Because I no longer care about the publishing dream we are sold, I have turned “unfriending” into an art form.

Here is my criteria:

Mutual friends with my ex? GONE!
Mostly political posts? GONE!
Mostly religious posts? GONE!
Mostly kids and pets? GONE!
Mostly book promotion? GONE!
Unanswered birthday messages? GONE!
Infrequent posting? GONE!
Over the top patriotism? GONE!
Allowing people to post ads on their wall? GONE!
A whiff of racism? GONE!
Over the top sexism? GONE!
Posting in languages other than English? GONE!
Posting violence? GONE!
Posting animal cruelty even if you are an animal lover. GONE!
Unceasing negativity? GONE!
A lack of engagement: Likes, Comments, and Shares? GONE!

I wasn’t as merciless as the list above might make it seem, although I did relish terminating vocal Trumpeter supporters and old rich white guys whose view of the world is just too f-cked to bear. I must also confess how much I enjoyed unfriending real best-selling authors who I envied for catching a break but who turned out to be boring as shit. In fact, I visited over 90% of the profiles I dumped looking for reasons to keep them. If you made me laugh, made me think, posted something meaningful, or showed yourself to be a caring person with some depth, then you probably made the cut.

person reading the daily fake news newspaper sitting on gray couch
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Where did all these fake or abandoned accounts come from?

In most cases, the author contracted a P.A. or book marketing services company to create and manage their profile and possibly pages, but when the term of the contract was up, these authors found out they did not own the account. From that point forward, the promoters continue to post there from other accounts they create, leaving you to scroll back months or years before you find a post from the author whose page it was. This wreaks of a scam by companies claiming they will get your book in front of hundreds or thousands of readers, when in fact most of us unfollow these accounts as soon as the first ad for sunglasses appears. If you are a budding author, create and manage your own accounts and consider what you may leave behind. Do not allow other people to post to your wall; let them tag you instead.

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There are different levels of cleaning.

A Level 1 Cleaning is just scrolling your friends list and deleting the deactivated accounts. This hour or so will make room for new friends.

A Level 2 Cleaning is the dumping of all the people you unfollowed. Why keep them if you don’t like their posts? This will take a few hours.

A Level 3 Cleaning means going to profiles to see if they are real and active accounts managed by the author. For most of you, this will happen over time as this can represent days of work if you have thousands of friends. Keep notes on where you left off, and keep at it because these accounts are hurting your post reach.

Level 4 is a total reboot. I downsized to create a small but interesting group who entertain me. In the process, I scrapped three pages as well, due primarily to abysmal engagement, but also to eradicate all evidence of my former significant other. I visit these remaining friends profiles when the mood strikes and I’m usually pleasantly surprised with their posts. It’s like having 350 pen pals.

I will leave you with some facebooking 101 tips.

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Be really careful of the groups you join.

Just sit back and watch what goes on in the group before actively participating. If you see gossip and drama, RUN AWAY!!!

Only some of these are author specific:

  1. “Friend” readers—NOT AUTHORS OR WRITERS (at least not too many)—people who review, blog, promote, and talk books. i.e. members of book clubs.
  2. Activity (posting) and engagement (commenting) is key for both you and anyone you “friend”; otherwise you will never see anyone interesting to check out as a possible new quality “friend”.
  3. “Friend” ONLY people who seem real, who fill out the About Section of their profile, and ideally who show pics of themselves, friends, and family etc. Of course authors writing under a pen name may need an exemption from this rule, but you can get a sense of their legitimacy by the size of their following, their number of mutual friends, and how long they have been around.
  4. NEVER TRUST ANYONE OR ANYTHING YOU SEE on f-ckbook, or anywhere else online for that matter. This is a world of pretenders who, except for a rare few, do not know the first thing about being truthful. Lies and deception rule their pathologies.
  5. UPLOAD content daily to your Author Page. i.e. a good morning meme, and share it to your profile’s wall. This will increase your page reach.
  6. Update your Status daily on your profile, ideally with something amusing or interesting which can be shared publicly. Status updates are seen more than posts you share to your wall.
  7. INVITE people to Like your Author Page. Before long you will have a following who will read the tweets and blogs you send to your page. I made the mistake of creating followers of my public posts from my profile’s wall instead of creating an Author Page right from the start.

Best of luck.

She showed you mine so I’m sharing hers.

“Turnabout is fair play.”

A 1755 English/Irish proverb which suits my purposes here.

I have a friend; a really cool friend; an honorable friend; a supportive friend; an aware friend; an empathic friend; a scary smart friend who writes on a level so impressive I asked for her hand in marriage after reading only a thousand or so of her words. It was in jest, I think, and years ago now, but as I recall, she didn’t exactly say no. . .

Since that time, she has purchased, read, and favorably reviewed my book; an act which showed her to be good to her word; a person of substance; a person of character rising out of a sea of pretenders who made similar promises without delivering the goods. Such is life as an author. You become accustomed to it while paying close attention to the solid people you meet in your journey.

Today she made some noise about my book on twitter so I thought a little surprise reciprocity might be in order.

Her name is Shelby Kent-Stewart

a.k.a. The Sultaness of Snark

(I just made that up.)

and I’m proud to call her my friend.

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So when a friend you admire, or perhaps adore—I’m still working that out—who you are slightly intimidated by as a writer asks you to write with her, you get butterflies in your stomach reminiscent of your first school dance. Your palms get clammy, your mouth goes dry, your respiration becomes quick and shallow, and you struggle with words that seem to want to form sentences written by a chimp.

I gathered myself as we discussed the possibilities and we settled on a starting point. A simple blog post from two points of view to see if our styles, philosophies, attitudes, and perspectives could somehow mesh into something worth reading without destroying our friendship.

We did it.

In my heavily biased opinion, our first collaboration is Blog of the Year material, if that’s a thing, and we hope you enjoy reading it this weekend as much as we enjoyed producing it for you.

Go straight to our article. It should be up late in the week.

Shelby has six 5 STAR rated books available on amazon.

Like and Follow her on facebook.

Get to know Shelby on twitter.

Watch for her new book: For Love of Honor coming soon; part of the Wicked Tails Stories series.

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Thanks for everything Shelby. You are appreciated, and I’ll try to keep up.

 

 

 

 

Top 10 things I learned in my years on facebook, or how many “friends” can I lose in one post?

FYI: There were 3001 when I posted this. LOL

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“Live and learn.”

Conservatively, I estimate I “invested” 1400 hours of my life into Facebook over the past four years which is 500 hours more than it took to produce my book. Let that sink in a moment. I have dwelled on this for some time now. It is because of this significant amount of time that I did not just delete my Facebook account when the final straw arrived. I was close though. For better or worse, there is a legacy we leave behind on Facebook for our “friends”, if not the general public. However, if you posted as I did in a willy-nilly devil-may-care sort of way, you will spend days trying to clean it all up in order to leave a “best of” collection of posts worth scrolling before saying your final farewell. Be prepared for Facebook to “limit” your profile and page(s), a.k.a. putting you in Facebook jail, when you attempt such radical changes.

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1) Some people are not who they claim to be.

I am not talking about authors writing under pen names - which is absolutely necessary to avoid harassment - I am talking about people with multiple online personas. Don’t make the mistake of PROJECTING your level of integrity or values, a.k.a. honesty, discretion, and honour onto people you meet. It will bite you every time.

You can protect yourself by using a free deep web search at: pipl.com.

If aliases appear, search each one. If you know multiple locations where they have lived, search each city by each alias. It could take a while to compile all the data, and you should prepare yourself as the results can be nothing less than staggering. Look for, and even search, relatives, known associates, and phone numbers to confirm the site has not made an error. There are pay sites starting from $2.00 that generate a full report including criminal activities. You might want to consider one of these if you are in deep with someone you met online. May your god be kind with what you find.

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2) Don’t be naïve.

If you look up naïve in the dictionary, I’m sure you will see my picture there. I viewed joining the author communities on social media as an opportunity to connect with bright, engaging, open-minded seekers of wisdom . . . kindred spirits who would share thoughts as pen pals would, only using modern technology. Overall, nothing could be farther from the truth. Yes, you will encounter a few worthwhile decent types, but in a game where we count followers in the thousands, they represent a minuscule percentage.

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3) “Haste makes waste.”

I remember being excited about making “friends” on Facebook when I first started out. So excited in fact, I would send friend requests to anyone who had the words author or writer on their profile. Back then, the prevailing theory suggested the key to success was a numbers game; the one with the biggest following would get a publishing deal. People were actually buying followers 10,000 at a time. I didn’t buy into this. I viewed social media as a popularity contest which does not translate into book sales ─ the equivalent to putting flyers in your neighbor’s mailboxes. I have yet to see data which is convincing enough to see it any other way. If I knew better, I would have cultivated relationships with influencers, readers of my genre, publishers, publicists, agents, reviewers, and bloggers ─ all the people I did not have as “friends” but who might have made a difference to the success achieved by my book. Had I known then what I know now, my friends list would look very different than it does today.

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4) Cocaine would have been a better choice.

If you are going to choose an addiction, social media is the worst possible choice. THERE IS NO HIGH, and the more time you spend on social media the less happy you become. Anyone who has read my book, knows I am anti-escapist regardless of whether the high is produced naturally or artificially. Regular cocaine users know the drug has a diminishing return. The high is never as good as the first time they tried it unless they increase the quantity used; and the more they use, the more frequent their cravings become until it affects their lives. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no hypocrite. I let my demons out for an occasional stroll, but I pick my poisons carefully to ensure that none take charge of my life. Social media hooks us on being connected and never being alone. It is dangerous because humans must be alone in order to think, learn, and grow. Social media stagnates the mind and, Facebook at least, seems bent on depressing the populace. Endless distractions thwart creativity and productivity. If you: feel obligated to post on social media; look in regularly for comments on posts; have never turned off Messenger or notifications or your device, then you should pick different poisons for a while until you get a handle on the monkey on your back.

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5) I kept my promise.

I used my Facebook profile page as a playground where I could share multiple aspects of my personality. This allowed me a place to vent . . . and vent I did; or more correctly, am continuing to do here in what will become my last post to Facebook. Early on I promised the real me would be on display at all times to my “friends”. The people on my friends list did not get an artificial construct or watered down perfect illusion of who I am. Nope, they got the full Monte, or at least as much Monte as Facebook would allow. My inner bad boy posted what little nudity Facebook community standards would tolerate for two reasons: Firstly, I am a rebel who sees freedoms dying faster than the planet is losing species; and secondly, nothing in the world is more beautiful to me than the female form. I shared my sense of humour as well, even when I knew it might be crossing someone’s line every now and then. I also shared my philosophies, and those from others which resonated within me, in what I now see as a futile effort to awaken the sleeping oblivious sheeple. The proof is in the likes. There were next to none. Recently, I wanted to find out if I was out of Facebook jail so I posted: ‘Somebody, anybody, tell me if you can see me.’ This post got more attention than a year’s worth of meaningful posts, and at the same time, it made a sad statement on the superficiality of the average Facebook user.

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6) “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

As an author, I should have divided my time equally between Goodreads, twitter, and Facebook because Goodreads has proven itself to put your books in front of readers, and unlike Facebook, you can reach out to everyone and anyone on twitter. Time is the one thing you can never get more of and it does not allow do-overs. Spend yours wisely.

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7) Nazi hamsters! WTF?

Fuckerberg, and the Nazis in the shadows behind him, are using facebook for data collection on each and every one of us, as are most of the major corporations in Silicon Valley. The difference is Facebook knows far more about us than Google, and possibly even the makers of our devices and the companies that supply operating systems as long as they do not breach their published privacy policies which most have already been caught doing. Facebook considers EVERYTHING you share to be their property. This includes Messenger. Yup, your selfies and home-made porn videos are all sitting in a data farm somewhere and you can never truly delete them. They lured us away from My Space with the promise of something better. A promise which was never kept right from the beginning. Their endless adjustments to the algorithm, have severely limited our outreach to readers while they stayed busy categorizing and compartmentalizing us into something reminiscent of a box filled with hamsters where everyone is climbing all over each other. Good luck. I’m out.

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8) Let’s see Facebook for what it is: a societal manipulation site.

That doesn’t have the same innocuous ring to it as social media site, does it. In my time on Facebook, I have been appalled by posts in my News Feed ranging from animal cruelty to the shooting of an unarmed man by police, with a far too great number of others in between. Were they fake news as with the Trumpeter’s election campaigners who mysteriously showed up only to disappear shortly after the election? We can never know. What is clear however, is we are affected, influenced, and manipulated by what we see and hear in all forms of media. Worst of all, we become desensitized to atrocious human behavior and I believe this is NO ACCIDENT; but where they are intentionally herding the minds of the sheeple. When three billion users worldwide have been programmed to no longer give a shit about life, the world can easily fall into anarchy. On that day, the frightened sheeple will willingly turn over the last of their freedoms for safety. The single biggest difference between other forms of media and Facebook is there are no restrictions placed on what Facebook is allowed to broadcast. Facebook can do what they want with the get-out-of-jail-free-card of being a social media platform not responsible for the content created by users. There is no Editor In Chief to hold accountable for what is thrust before our eyes. Facebook’s new take on morality is not for me. It shouldn’t be for you either.

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9) Some people make it bearable.

If I look at my years on Facebook as I would my life, there are some parallels. I have a few regrets but there was also a great deal of laughter. There were a handful of people who made the time spent on Facebook almost seem worthwhile. I hope they keep in touch. There were also some standouts who stepped up when it really mattered, and they have my deepest gratitude.

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10) Facebook is what you make of it.

If you are just an individual who wants to keep tabs on people you already know in the real world, or if you want to find people you have lost touch with, then have at it while being VERY cautious of what you post or message to people. Keep your circle small and be wary of people you have not met in person when they send you a friend request. If you have the misfortune of being a writer who is following conventional wisdom, a.k.a. forced kicking and screaming into the social media spotlight as I was, then things will be tougher. Absorb and retain the previous 1800 words and I will leave you with the immortal words of my favorite Zen master: ‘Mind what you have learned; save you it can.’ – Yoda.

Rationalizations: What to do when the Internet is down.

First thing this morning my neighbor sent a text to inform me the Internet is still down, but they claim to be working on it. Apparently a major cable was cut last evening leaving our entire area without service.

Thanks for the update., I thought to myself as I ran my morning self-diagnostics to see if I was fully functional before getting out of bed. I worked out yesterday so you never know. Out of HABIT I turned on my computer anyway and headed to the coffee-maker.

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As I stood in the kitchen waiting for The Nectar Of Awakening (© 2019 E. A. Barker LOL), I pondered the importance of the Internet to him because he is a well-to-do guy who loves his toys. His home is run by Google and he likes his fully-automated lifestyle, and I don’t think he likes it when I speak of the potential for abuse of the users privacy. He only has his phone now. All that is good in his life has perished. Perhaps this is why he sent this out of character early text which woke me from some badly needed sleep.

Coffee in hand, I sat down on the couch and drank the entire over-sized first mug while staring blankly at the Windows start up screen. The only thought I can recall during this semi-conscious period was: They chose a nice shade of blue.

What will I do this morning? Maybe go for a walk? Too cold. Read? Eyes still too sleepy and brain not receptive to input. Write something? There it is. But what? We’ll wing it.

Anyone who reads my crap knows of my contempt for the Internet and my fervent belief that it is a mind control weapon employed against the oblivious masses in the final stages of our enslavement. Yet, it has also become a part of my ROUTINE to have my coffee while scrolling twitter and chatting with online friends.

It was not always this way. I remember having a satisfying life before all this book writing nonsense took over.

Here is an example of RATIONALIZATIONS running wild:

I RATIONALIZED this CHANGE IN MY BEHAVIOR by TELLING MYSELF this was necessary to launch and promote my book. I further RATIONALIZED I should continue promoting my work beyond the one year period I had originally planned for as there were still occasional requests for interviews and the like coming in. I continued my RATIONALIZATION to stay on social media because we were entering the peak selling season. That’s no time to quit. My latest RATIONALIZATION, after almost four years since I first appeared on social media, is I now have a handful of people whose words and thoughts I enjoy. It would be wrong to abandon them.

Or would it?

A flaw in my thinking just made itself known on mug three. I am PROJECTING my character traits onto them; people I have never met. I ass-u-me they share my values: morality; ethics; scruples; sense of decency etc., when in truth, I really have little hard evidence to support the mental picture of them I have created in my mind. It is hard enough to discover the TRUE NATURE of people we meet in real life, without compounding the problem by believing what we see or are told through an electronic medium.

Recent─all too public events─began with provocative hurtful posts which I could have been spared from seeing. I retaliated. That was wrong. The enraged are not in touch with rational thought. Things escalated from there into a tangled mess of unimagined proportions. If you witnessed any of it, my apologies. I now have first-hand knowledge of the gossips, spies, stalkers, trolls, and double agents we have all heard about when chatting about facebook dramas.

I am disgusted on many levels by many things, but mostly for allowing myself to be temporarily lowered into The Pit Of The Petty (© 2019 E. A. Barker LOL) where the worst parts of humanity reside.

Unchecked RATIONALIZATIONS can lead to DEMONIZATION or even DELUSION.

I am only guilty of the first two. I plead temporary insanity. I have and continue to work hard to be fully conscious and self-aware, and I pride myself on my ability to stay grounded in reality. This heightens your powers of perception so you can see things for what they are, and not how you would like them to be. However, this trait will not be considered endearing to anyone who lives in a fantasy world of imagined futures. Normally, I am so good at this people have called me a mind reader, or suggested I have them under surveillance, or even that I can predict the future. In truth, once you have really explored WHO YOU ARE and wrestled your demons into submission─with only occasional escape attempts─you are given a gift of heightened sensitivity which is composed mostly of sympathy, empathy, and compassion. Some call this being loving or caring; I just call them good people.

Humans like to think of themselves as complex creatures when in fact most human behavior is transparent and predictable to the few of us who bother to know ourselves. Once you know the best and worst you are capable of, and even though your self-control can slip at times, you can make shockingly accurate assessments of people as well as predictions of behavior and consequences.

To the superficial and narcissistic, life will always be a mysterious sequence of tragic events. They create petty RATIONALIZATIONS of their abhorrent behavior with statements like: “The heart wants what the heart wants.” or “We are only human.” or “They told me to do it.”. . .

Every single one of the seven billion souls on this planet are capable of moving beyond this most basic form of existence. I sincerely hope the readers of this will be some of those who do.

This was the second time I became embroiled in a facebook drama. There won’t be a third. Farewell facebook friends and followers. It was quite an experience which I can no longer RATIONALIZE.

Keep in touch by email if you like.

A Holiday Message

My present fron Kat

Times are tough.

There is a great deal of uncertainty, at the very least, if not fear or outright paranoia in our world at the moment.

Please try to reign in these thoughts, especially over the holidays.

If you are able to read this on-line, it most likely means you can afford devices and services which connect you to this online world. These are luxuries you should be conscious of. This also implies your immediate security needs of shelter, food, and clothing have also been met. Be grateful for what you have as there are a great many others who are not as fortunate and who will not be able to read this.

The holidays are a time for giving—our way of expressing love, caring and thanks to people we know.

Even strangers sometimes treat us a little better at this time of year. They might smile as they hold a door for us when we have both hands full of shopping bags. Acknowledge these small kindnesses. It’s too easy to be self-absorbed—preoccupied with finishing the damnable shopping so we can jump right back into the hustle and bustle of travelling to parties and family gatherings. We might overlook this tiny kind gesture which is really what this season is about. Seize the moment to look them in the eye, smile, say thank you, and wish them a happy holiday. It might be the only present they receive this year.

The holiday season puts increased demands on our time because of all the commitments we make to family and friends. This causes us to be stressed and possibly irritable. We need to remember that we are fortunate to have those friends and family members with us as many others may not.

Some people will not be able to travel to see their friends and family this year. They may feel very alone. They can change that by volunteering their time to a cause they believe in. Many worthwhile causes do not close during the holidays and spending time with the other volunteers will almost certainly turn into new friendships.

We pick up the holiday spirit by being compassionate. Give some canned goods to the food bank, give some blankets to a shelter or contribute to your local toy drive. The smallest things make a difference in this world. We often forget this. We do not have to solve global warming to improve the planet; the kid who receives your toy this year might be destined to do that, if they are not emotionally scarred by Santa missing their home. This is how we are all connected.

Goodness spreads like a virus through all walks of life, across all religions, and it does not see the colour of someones skin or their gender. By spreading that which we know to be good, we spread hope. The hope we create can alter the path of another, and they in turn influence the 10,000 people they will meet in their lifetime.

I wish to extend my gratitude to all of you who have followed me online—both past and present. To you, and everyone you care about, I wish you a safe and happy holiday season.

E. A.

 

Why do we hurt people who seemingly care about us?

 

This may be yet another middle-aged guy thing.

Recent events have me questioning myself and a new person in my life.

I have too much on my plate, so I deemed it necessary to take a break from social media in order to FOCUS on turning my new place into a home. During this period, I will also be finishing the last round of edits on my manuscript, which I also believe to be a reasonable step. Additionally, it is possible that I have reached the point of exhaustion, as I cannot remember the last time I took even an entire day off or got away from things for a while. In my estimation, taking a break from everyone who can INTERFERE with those goals may not be healthy, yet it seems as though that is what I wish to do.

Attempting to understand what is driving you is never easy.

In my case, I am stressing over MONEY and TIME; but most people have those worries. When I was younger, those things cropped up from time to time but now it seems more frequent. I have had minor health problems and minor injuries that have negatively affected my projected timeline for the COMPLETION of my goals. This is an ongoing nagging FRUSTRATION that has been plaguing me for the last six months. EXPECTATIONS are my problem right now. If you do not have expectations, then you cannot be let down. Life rarely goes as expected, but knowing these words often is not enough to stave off stress.

My VISION of the life that I have been working toward, did not include the possibility of a significant other for reasons that are graphically detailed in my book. Instead, I imagined a life where I would write, travel, lead a healthier lifestyle, and only engage in casual sexual encounters. That is my idea of a SIMPLE PEACEFUL life that would ultimately make me HAPPY. This latest sexy cutie threatens my PLAN, and I have DOUBTS about my ability to meet her long-term needs.

If you allow yourself to stray off course into a relationship, you must have PATIENCE; and patience is something that is in very short supply with me these days.

We all love the feeling of being loved, and we can cling to the new exciting adventure just to keep that feeling. Lately however, I have found myself taking a PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE approach to this wonderful person, as my heart and head wrestle for supremacy. When I am pragmatic, my comments often tear at her fantasy of our future, causing her to be unhappy. I do not like myself when this happens; but it does happen, and quite regularly. There are a great many obstacles in our way, if we were to attempt a serious committed relationship, and I question whether I have the ENERGY or DESIRE to try it one more time. Sometimes, I actually RESENT the intrusion in my life by this beautiful young soul, and we have talked at length about my mixed feelings towards a long-term relationship; yet she PERSISTS, believing that we were brought together for a reason by a divine influence. Her beliefs allow for her to construct a happily ever after story that she is pursuing RELENTLESSLY. Anyone that reads my stuff knows that I do not believe in such things, so her ideology bothers me as well. I all too often view her caring interest as a DISRUPTION due to her INCESSANT need for communication that I view as unnecessary blathering via telephone or text.

I know that I am someone whose singular FOCUS allows me to COMPLETE things.

I know that I may have unrealistic EXPECTATIONS, and I am trying to make a conscious effort to swim with the current more often.

I know that my PLAN for a SIMPLE PEACEFUL life may get lonely or tiresome but should I not at least try it?

I know I am not PERFECTLY happy, but can a perfectionist ever truly be? I would like to find out though.

I know that my PATIENCE is directly tied to my stress level and I must get better at managing stress.

I know that my planned lifestyle changes will improve my ENERGY level.

I know that my internal CONFLICT will persist until I either commit or withdraw from this relationship.

I am very conscious of the fact that I am not being FAIR in this relationship.

I would MISS her if she was no longer in my life.

There is a fine line between doing what you know is best for yourself, and being selfish or narcissistic.

My book:

Ms. Creant: The Wrong Doers!

Life with Women: the long awaited instruction manual.

Talks of relationships, health, life, biology, philosophy, sociology, theology, genetics- even physics as well as how HOW SEVERELY DAMAGED THE AUTHOR IS.

I hope your biggest problem is that someone cares about you.

E. A.

So What Is Mid-Life?

Another birthday has arrived. They are coming faster it seems.

A writer in his late forties shares a little too much.

At this point, I am well into mid-life and spend a great deal of time dealing with issues that ONLY people of my age can relate to. Younger people should read this however, as ALL this stuff is just around the corner for you, and it will be here faster than you can imagine.

My book explores the subject of MANOPAUSE nicely, so I will refrain from being repetitive. Instead, in this post, I will explore the tragic comedy of my personal situation.

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Your birthday should be a time to be a little introspective but do not obsess or be unhappy about your circumstances just because another year has passed.

Just like having an old house, MAINTENANCE seems to consume more of your time these days if you want to remain attractive to the opposite sex. However, you do realize that you will eventually reach a point where the ones you are attracted to will view you as TOO OLD. That scares me. The upside of that day arriving, is that you will be able to let much of the maintenance slide.

Mirrors are your enemy!

My advice is to reduce the size of them or remove them from your place altogether.

If you are not ready to make that move, then you will have to face what appears there on a daily basis and do what you can about it.

The pessimist within, looks at my body in the mirror after getting out of the shower and notices that my mid-section has a layer of fat that was not present in my thirties. My pectorals need work but that is do-able. A little more walking or sex and I can shed some lbs. and tone my midriff up… some. The optimist within, realizes that I still have a better body than half of the guys out there that are still in their thirties, so I have that going for me. Most of those guys are chasing women in their twenties anyway, which leaves women in their thirties and early forties more readily available and vulnerable to my intellectual stimulation tactics.

Rogue hairs are showing up everywhere.

F. S. H. (follicle stimulating hormones) are present in guys too.

The pessimist within says this is a real sign of old age being just around the corner. The optimist within realizes that a razor and tweezers are all that are required to make the problem go away so you can continue to live in denial for another week or so.

Grey hair has been an issue for me since I was in my thirties. My Nazi dominatrix hair-dresser insisted on eliminating them back then and has been doing so ever since. I don’t dare disappoint the mistress. The pessimist within, notices that my beard is about 50/50- salt vs. pepper now, but it can be colored as well. The optimist within reminds me that there are plenty of guys in their thirties that are losing their hair while I maintain a healthy full head of hair. Additionally, my grey is confined to only those two places… so far.

Your libido is not what it once was.

THANK GOD!

I remember getting hard with every slight breeze, sexy picture or beautiful woman that I came across. It was a very unproductive time in my life. The pessimist within notices, that I can sometimes go a couple of days without wanting sex. The optimist within me sees this as an opportunity to get stuff done.

Middle-age forces you to consider your mortality.

Your health will be noticed more often now.

The pessimist within looks back over this past year and remembers back issues, joint pain, a few colds or flu’s that seemed to linger, too much coughing and head congestion due to anything but my nicotine addiction (Denial, denial, denial.) and a fortunately short- relatively minor bout with the shingles virus. The optimist within realizes that it could have been much worse. My cardiovascular system is still quite good despite the abuse and I see many younger people in far worse shape than myself.

My Dentist and I will develop a new friendship due to my paying him far more regularly now. Smoking, sugar, wine among other things have wreaked havoc with my once white smile, but as my grandmother often said: “At least I still have all my teeth.” I did loosen one recently and that has me a little worried.

My energy level is at an all time low but I have discovered napping and really enjoy it.

You must fight off the urge to be critical.

You were incredibly “young and dumb” too.

It does not help that your patience is at an all time low, but if you are conscious of yourself, you can pretend that you still have the thick skin you once had. Every time I want to take a strip off someone younger than myself, I flash back to what I was doing at their age and it helps me to keep my mouth shut… most of the time.

My book:

Ms. Creant: The Wrong Doers!

Life with Women: the long awaited instruction manual.

Talks of relationships, health, life, biology, philosophy, sociology, theology, genetics- even physics as well as how YOUR ATTITUDE AND GRATITUDE WILL KEEP YOU YOUNGER LONGER.

Enjoy your birthdays… there may not be that many left.

Be as young as you can, for as long as you can.

E. A.

What Is Abuse?

Have you been or are you currently a victim of abuse?

This is a tough topic.

We will explore the grey areas and the results might surprise many of us that BELIEVE that we are in a non-abusive relationship.

I have witnessed or counselled people on almost every aspect and type of abuse without ever realizing the nuances of abuse- never truly connecting all the dots for myself.

Did you ever wonder what happens when the cheerleader marries the football player? This post was inspired by a friend that confessed to me that she has been living in fear and has been the recipient of brutal physical attacks over the last twenty years. It sickened me to hear this. I told her that this is not how anyone should live and encouraged her to contact several different agencies and groups for assistance. She was EMBARRASSED to let others know of her situation. I could not fathom how someone could risk serious person injury or even death because of ego.

I found a wonderful brochure in a waiting room that everyone should read. It is simply entitled “ARE YOU COOL?” (Yes, the title appealed to my ego and I think that I am very cool.) The brochure was reprinted by the YWCA and copies can be ordered through METRAC. Inside was a quiz that went as follows: (I included my own answers from all my previous relationship experiences as I was not in a relationship when I took this quiz.)

Relationship Quiz

In a relationship, have you ever experienced:

  1. physical violence?

YES ____ or NO ____

(I had to answer YES even though she was drunk.)

 

  1. threats that your partner will leave you if you don’t do what he/she asks?

YES ____ or NO ____

(Again I was forced to answer YES.)

 

  1. being kept away from your family and friends?

YES ____ or NO ____

(NO.)

 

  1. not being able to look at or speak to other males/females?

YES ____ or NO ____

(Again I was forced to answer YES.)

 

  1. having to justify your whereabouts?

YES ____ or NO ____

(Again I was forced to answer YES.)

 

  1. your partner using guilt trips to get his/her own way?

YES ____ or NO ____

(Again I was forced to answer YES.)

 

  1. not being able to go out without your partner?

YES ____ or NO ____

(Again I was forced to answer YES.)

 

  1. any put-downs about your physical appearance?

YES ____ or NO ____

(Again I was forced to answer YES.)

 

  1. your partner never being satisfied with you?

YES ____ or NO ____

(NO; that I am aware of.)

 

  1. fear or intimidation by your partner?

YES ____ or NO ____

(NO.)

 

  1. being treated badly or humiliated in front of your friends or family?

YES ____ or NO ____

(Again I was forced to answer YES.)

If you answered YES to one or more questions, you may be in an unhealthy relationship.

“Well DUH!” went through my mind. I learned from these relationships and wrote a book about my misadventures. The mere fact that I have personally experienced EIGHT of a possible ELEVEN did shock me a little though. I am a six foot three inch tall guy that is in good physical condition, weighing in at two-hundred pounds and very capable in a fight, as my early bad boys years proved.

I never thought of myself as a VICTIM until I read this.

On the inside of the brochure is a relationship thermometer that ranges from COOL (blue healthy zone) to WARM (amber warning zone) and finally to HOT (red danger zone). Again I would ask myself if I had ever experienced any of these, but this time I would also ask myself if I had actually DONE any of these.

ARE YOU COOL?

Is your relationship healthy?

Find your relationship on the thermometer…

IN THE BLUE HEALTHY ZONE:

Responsibility- Do you and your partner make decisions and solve problems or conflicts together? (Typically, YES.)

Trust- Do you and your partner respect each other’s feelings, wishes and opinions and do you support each other? (Typically, YES.)

Honesty- Do you and your partner accept responsibility for your actions and talk openly and honestly with each other? (Typically, YES.)

Fairness- Do you and your partner work through conflict so that both of you are satisfied and are you each willing to compromise? (QUESTIONABLE- I believe there is a fundamental problem here. I do not believe that people who compromise can also be satisfied. I wrote at length about the word compromise in my book and how it usually means that one party makes more concessions than the other, or capitulates completely to avoid an escalating conflict.)

No Threats- Do you and your partner talk, act and resolve conflicts in ways that make you both feel comfortable and safe? (Typically, YES.)

Financial Partnership- Do you and your partner share financial decisions and responsibilities? (YES.)

Respect- Do you and your partner respect each other’s feelings, opinions and differences? (Typically YES.)

 

IN THE AMBER WARNING ZONE:

Blame & Denial- Does your partner blame you for making the abuse happen, avoid personal responsibility or deny that there is a problem? (YES, I have had partners with these traits.)

Jealousy- Does your partner check up on you or act jealously or possessively towards you? (YES, I have had this happen to me.)

Control- Does your partner boss you around, give orders, or make all the decisions? (NO, I have not had this happen to me but YES I make my wishes clear when a woman moves into MY place, I expect that it remains my place. However, on the few occasions where we got a place together and were both contributing financially, it became OUR place and had to respect her choices… however bad they may be- especially in the areas of decor and household purchases. If this makes me a control freak, so be it. I like what I like.)

Criticism- Does your partner criticize your appearance, your ideas, your family and your friends, or purposely embarrass you in front of others? (This one is an eye-opener: YES, I have been with critical partners and YES I have been critical of my partner at times. How do you encourage growth and change without criticizing? I had an epiphany here. Perhaps my problem is an unwillingness to accept partners for who they are and whoever they might become- to love their soul and ignore all else. I doubt that I can fix this defect in myself. This may be why I choose to remain unattached.)

Fear- Does your partner have a quick temper, a history of mistreating others, threaten suicide or make you feel afraid? (YES, I once had a partner that threatened suicide but I called her bluff and she did not hurt herself. NO, I do not believe I have used fear as a means of control.)

Force- Does your partner force you to do things that you don’t want to do and make you feel guilty if you disagree? (NO, I have never been forced into anything but YES guilt has been used to manipulate me into doing things I did not want to do. NO, I have never used force against my partner and I consciously avoid using guilt as a weapon to get what I want.)

 

IN THE RED DANGER ZONE:

Physical Abuse- Does your partner slap, push or kick you? (NO.)

Sexual Abuse- Does your partner force you to be involved in sex against your will? (NO.)

Financial Abuse- Does your partner control all the money and how it is spent? (NO.)

Threats & Intimidation- Does your partner threaten to hurt you, your family, friends, pets or scare you with looks, actions or suicidal behaviour? (NO.)

Emotional & Verbal Abuse- Does your partner shout, yell, put you down, call you names or make you feel badly about yourself. (This is interesting. Women have shouted, yelled, put me down, called me names but rarely, if ever, made me feel badly about myself. My self-esteem is not fragile. Arguments will get heated sometimes and YES I have raised my voice out of frustration but to the others I would answer NO.)

Isolation- Does your partner control where you go and when or keep you from family and friends? (NO.)

The brochure concluded with:

HEALTHY or UNHEALTHY?

Having a partner (boyfriend/girlfriend) can be an exciting and important time in your life. If your relationship with your partner is a HEALTHY one, you and your partner will feel good about yourselves and value each other. However, sometimes relationships can be HURTFUL and have a negative effect on your feelings of self-worth and self-confidence. This can happen if your partner is abusive towards you. If this is the case, you are in an UNHEALTHY relationship. Remember, being on your own is also a healthy way to be. Having a partner is not a necessary part of life. Discovering life for yourself can be exciting and rewarding.

What is abuse?

Abuse is being hit, slapped or pushed around. It can also be invisible and leave no marks. Emotional and verbal abuse can be terrifying and equally dangerous.

Does your relationship include abuse?

You may feel that it’s your fault if things aren’t working out. Sometimes living with abuse seems better than being alone. You may hope that your partner will change and the abuse will stop – chances are, things will get worse! This happens to many people – you are not alone and IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT! Remember, all forms of abuse are attempts to control. TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE, BE YOURSELF, TAKE CHARGE!

What the pamphlet did not delve into is where abuse comes from.

  • It can be a learned behavioural trait. Being a witness to abuse as a child can lead to being abusive as an adult. To these individuals, abuse has become accepted as being NORMAL.
  • It can come from brain injury and brain chemical imbalance. Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder commonly lead to abuse. In some cases, the treatments work but many patients will quit taking their medications or abuse substances that counteract the effects or the medications. If the abuse begins years into an otherwise normal relationship, the victims often stick it out in the hope that things will somehow return to the way they once were.
  • Jealous possessives are people that are very insecure. They usually have low self-esteem or low self-worth because of the emotional damage they carry with them that could have begun in their childhood with bullying, been imparted into them by the educational system or their family members.
  • Psychopaths have trouble understanding right from wrong. They are usually identified and hopefully treated. There is only a very small percentage of violence from persons with psychological disorders despite what movies and the media tell us. Most people with mental disorders are more likely to be victims than perpetrators.

Settling is the first problem. We make bad relationship decisions based on our self-worth with the romantic, but unrealistic notion that we can change the person we select into our ideal mate. From there it is fear of loss that makes us stay in unhealthy relationships as well as a warped acceptance of the unhealthy relationship as time goes by- eventually, IT JUST BECOMES NORMAL.

Not everyone looks very hard at themselves to try to understand their behaviour. Most people will take the easiest path in life, which often results in them living in an abusive environment and raising children there. This perpetuates abuse generation after generation. It is very sad.

What does it take to remove one’s self from an abusive relationship?

  • BRAVERY- you must believe that a better life can be had despite your insecurities.
  • PATIENCE- you must realize that it probably took some time to get you into this situation and it may take a while to get yourself out of it.
  • HELP- few people just pack a bag, get on a bus and leave forever. Most have to get in touch with family, friends and most importantly… the AUTHORITIES on the subject like police, counsellors, groups and organisations that specialize in this area.
  • HONESTY- You must tell everyone what has been happening to you. It will not be easy and some will wonder why you let things get so bad before doing something about it. Others will just open their doors to you. This honesty will afford you some safety. An abuser that is found out is less likely to do anything that could get them in trouble with the authorities.
  • PLANNING- with the guidance of social workers or other PROFESSIONALS, you will be able to leave for somewhere safer without having to worry about the details of your former home.

 

My book:

Ms. Creant: The Wrong Doers!

Life with Women: the long awaited instruction manual.

Talks of relationships, health, life, biology, philosophy, sociology, theology, genetics- even physics as well as HOW HAPPINESS IS ATTAINABLE.

 

I will spend the next little while trying to understand why I persist in writing about tough subjects.

Hopefully, something funny will be the inspiration for the next one.

Until then remember “Life is what YOU make of it.”

E. A.

 

12 tips for a Merry Christmas or Holiday Season or what have you.

This is my Holiday Greeting Card so pay attention!

. . . he wrote, amused by the overt slap he had just given everyone.

The holiday season, like every day in your life, is what you make of it. You have the choice to make it special or a time to be unhappy. I choose the former.

The best messages of the holiday season may help more than ever this year, so here are some of my favourites:

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” Charles Dickens

“As long as we know in our hearts what Christmas ought to be, Christmas is.”Eric Sevareid

“Bless us Lord, this Christmas, with quietness of mind; teach us to be patient and always be kind.”Helen Steiner Rice

“He who has no Christmas in his heart will never find Christmas under a tree.”Charlotte Carpenter

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!” Hamilton Wright Mabie

“Christmas is a day of joy and charity. May God make you very rich in both.”Phillips Brooks

“Christmas is not a time or season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”Calvin Coolidge

“Christmas is not as much about opening presents as opening our hearts.”Janice Maeditere

“Do give books- religious or otherwise- for Christmas. They’re never fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal.”Lenore Hershey

“For the spirit of Christmas fulfills the greatest hunger of mankind.”Loring A. Schuler

This one is perhaps the most needed now.

“Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” – Oren Arnold

Is the glass half empty of half full? Either way there is only half of a glass, so top it up to the brim with cheer and read on. Yes, it is okay to augment your positivity with some artificial peace, love, joy, and goodwill . . . just don’t drive.

My “half full” view of the world works like this:

Recent world events have brought to the surface the best traits of mankind.

In the darkest places on Earth where the most inhuman acts occur, there are acts of selflessness and compassion which continue to shine through the bleakness. The media pays little attention to these stories as it appears to be in violation of their directive to sell fear and despair all year round.

In response to this, I have locked the cable box so only the fireplace channel, Christmas movies, and Christmas music stations can be played.

My “half empty” view looks like this:

Recent world events have also brought to the surface the worst traits of mankind.

There is sadness, hate, calls for retribution, racism, fear, paranoia, isolationist thinking, and divided opinion in most countries of the world. It has wormed its way into my circle of friends and even my family so I may choose to spend my time elsewhere this year.

In social media, I have fought many losing battles in an effort to bring balance and rationality to hotly debated issues. Apparently, rationality is not in high demand these days; lesson learned. It has left me drained emotionally and thoroughly disappointed in my fellow man.

When the going gets tough, strike out in an attempt to find people who are doing for others; whose hearts are full of joy. Staying home alone with the news won’t help you or the world.

Happy holidays to all, and to all a good night.

 

Shit To Avoid Doing On Social Media

A concept created by Author Angora Shade.

 

Actors are famous; some with millions of LIKES and with FOLLOWERS numbering in the hundreds of thousands on social media sites. Meanwhile the writers that supplied their lines remain mostly unknown.

That is the world that writers live in.

In an often vain attempt to be noticed, Authors are required to have an online presence that includes (at a minimum) the following:

  • Tweeting daily.
  • Updating their Facebook status frequently.
  • Blogging weekly.
  • Maintaining a website.
  • Being an active participant in many organizations and groups.
  • A book trailer on YouTube.

For most, the commitment to social media is over twenty hours per week of a writer’s time, assuming they did not get drawn in- endless surfing. You see writers are inquisitive by nature. We wish to experience new ideas that make us think. We may later write using this new found inspiration. We also want our words to affect others. There is a certain power that we feel when others are moved by our words. It can be a teachable moment.

THIS IS THE TRAP.

We cannot stop ourselves from commenting on interesting posts and we cannot stop surfing for those posts. If we stop, we might miss something that could have changed a life or gone viral. We are like kids begging to stay out later. Surfing social media can become addictive. If you are not careful, you will find yourself unwashed, in three day old underwear, still looking for the next opportunity to contribute. Books do not get written or published that way.

I have made many mistakes in my short time immersed in social media that I will now share.

1) DO NOT OPEN YOUR SITE UNTIL YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. I bombarded my early followers with friend requests over and over again. Bless them for sticking with the newbie.

2) DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ALTER THE THINKING OF OTHERS. I am well known for my anti-substance abuse stance, so in one post I questioned Australia’s idea of legalizing or decriminalizing drugs harder than pot. The group that posted seemed to think that by making these drugs more available it would remove the burden on law enforcement, reduce the backlog in the courts and empty the prisons ultimately saving tax dollars because drug treatments are cheaper. They kind of missed the point that habitual drug users do not wish to be treated. Always one for being philosophical, I suggested that “Mankind makes enough mistakes without being intoxicated.” If it was a jail, I would have been gang raped. Their responses ranged from “Your parents should have used protection.” to “Go f@ck yourself.”

3) DO NOT PRESUME THAT YOUR ON-LINE “FRIENDS” ARE LIKE YOUR REAL-LIFE FRIENDS. I think of writers as well educated thinking people in search of noble things like awareness and understanding. The ones I have associated with in real life have open minds, have journeyed into their inner selves and who freely engage in friendly banter that may include jest. They are witty. They understand and appreciate sarcasm. Recently, an author that I had conversed with several times on-line, posted the results of one of those “Who is (Her Name)?” tests that came back as being perfect in every way imaginable. You are smart, beautiful, sexy, an amazing lover… yada, yada, yada. The photo on her page (if actually her) was of an extraordinarily attractive woman. I was sarcastically questioning this personification of perfection and was almost immediately swarmed by others on the post. I was told that “If I had nothing nice to say, that I should say nothing at all.” I attempted to explain that my comments were a tease but to no avail. The Author told me that “she would be happy to stick her eight inch heels up my ass.” I had run into someone with a “mirror mirror on the wall…” complex who believed her own press. She obviously has some self-esteem issues that manifested in her oversensitivity. Her worshipers- presumably readers, would not allow a non-worshipper to talk to their goddess in that way. None got the joke and that is the moral of the story. The UN-FRIEND button was used on this occasion.

4) DO NOT PLAY DEVIL’S ADVOCATE. Recent world events have polarized many people into “for” and “against” and neither is willing to look at the opposing viewpoint nor are they interested in finding any common ground. It does not seem to matter whether the group is talking politics or religion- there is no give in their stance no matter how inhumane or ridiculous that stance may be. Do not waste your precious time.

5) DO NOT ATTEMPT TO EDUCATE EVEN WHEN IT APPEARS THEY ARE ASKING FOR HELP. Offering up unsolicited advice is never welcomed in the “on-line community”. Despite your “friend” status, you are a stranger and they probably do not know anything about you. When you are asked, you must weigh your words carefully- remembering that people tend to ask for your input to help them be more comfortable with a decision that they have already made. They are looking for peace of mind and not looking for answers that may require them to strike off in a new direction.

6) NEVER ENGAGE IN CONVERSATIONS AFTER MIDNIGHT- ESPECIALLY ON WEEKENDS. People get hammered and go on-line thinking that they are smarter and more communicative when they are in that condition. These are the same people that use liquid bravery to meet others in bars. In either place the results are the same. Incoherence and impaired cognitive function does not make for good conversation. The key to identifying them is by their tangents. I say “The dog is red.” and they come back with “You don’t like dogs that read?” Do yourself a favour and log off right there.

7) DO NOT ENCOURAGE ON-LINE CRUSHES. You do not know if this person is real or an axe murderer serving a life sentence. All you have is a profile that they wrote.

8) DO NOT BELIEVE ANY POST ON THE INTERNET. So far I have seen a city in the clouds, a massive underground ancient city, more blurry UFO’s and apparently there are four different species of aliens that are running everything. Research everything to establish whether what you read is fact or fiction.

9) REMEMBER WHY YOU ARE THERE. For most of us, it is part of the job. Do not let your addiction get the better of you and do not let some fools take the fun out of it for you.

10) IF YOU NEED TO RANT; DO IT IN YOUR BLOG. Your blog readers probably enjoy your personal views but Facebook, Twitter and YouTube should not be used for rants unless they are comedic.

SOCIAL MEDIA IS ABOUT FLUFF.

If you want to be on-line without any grief, simply do the following:

  • Keep things light.
  • Be encouraging.
  • Tell people what they want to hear.
  • Never get involved in controversial posts.
  • Post pretty pictures.

It is not what good friends do, but that is the point.

When you have put in your twenty plus hours a week on social media, sit back, pour yourself a stiff drink and weep for humanity… but for the sake of all that is holy, do not go back on-line.

 

My book:

Ms. Creant: The Wrong Doers!

Life with Women: the long awaited instruction manual.

Talks of relationships, health, life, biology, philosophy, sociology, theology, genetics- even physics as well as HOW EACH OF US MUST ANALYSE OUR RELATIONSHIPS.

 

Go make some friends… ideally in the real world.

E. A.

 

 

Manning Up and Other Lofty Goals

Here is why I did not say these things but instead wrote them for you. I wrote this so that it could be READ. I believe we retain only 20% of what we hear; 50% of what we read and 80% of what we write. This is why I encourage students to apply themselves in school and develop their note-making skills. My intended target for this article should benefit even though he is having a tough time emotionally.

A teenager that I know was devastated by a girl that ended their seven month relationship. As usual, as it is with many men, he was blind-sided but he did confess that he FELT that there was something wrong. She seemed different for a week leading up to the breakup. He had relationships end before without this level of suffering. It was not the first time that he was involved in a sexual relationship. He believes that this traumatic life event requires answers to achieve closure. (His words.)

Question: So why did this one gut him?

Answer: She became his SIGNIFICANT other.

She HELPED him find an educational path that would lead to his dream career and ENCOURAGED him to pursue it. She TAUGHT him that hard work in school pays off, as she is an honor student with many options heading into university. She GAVE love to him; even if it was for a short time.

She made him grow and strive to be better.

Instead of grieving for your lost relationship, THANK HER for being an important part of your life and walk away with your head held high- cherishing the memories.

This is what a REAL MAN does and IT IS NOT EASY.

It is also a great way to make her question her decision.

You may be tempted later to be vindictive. You may wish to inflict as much pain on her as she created in you. These days, guys post sexy pictures of their ex-girlfriends or ex-wives on the internet. This is an immature response that says that you are not yet a man.

REAL MEN do not do this.

Guys, especially young ones, often do not understand what it is to be a REAL MAN. Some think that because they had SEX they are a man. Most think that because they have reached an AGE where they can quit school, leave home, drive, drink, vote, work and live independently that they are men. Others think that because they PROVIDE they are a man. Many believe that because they are ENGAGED OR MARRIED they are a man. Still others think that because they HAVE A CHILD with a woman that they are a man.

Being a REAL MAN is not these things.

Being a REAL MAN means that you LEARNED about yourself and life as you did these things.

After a few decades of ATTEMPTING to be one myself, I have this to share with you my young Padawan learner.

  • A real man does things that make him loved by many. He realizes HE IS LOVED by many people so the loss of one, no matter how significant, is not the end of his world.
  • A real man recognizes that nothing lasts forever. He is GRATEFUL for the women that chose to spend their time with him and the joy they helped him to experience.
  • A real man is AWARE that life is challenging and meeting those challenges head-on is what gives him his strength.
  • A real man FACES HIS FEARS. He does not hide from them even though he is afraid.
  • A real man develops an INNER STRENGTH that allows him continue his life alone, if need be. He is comfortable and content in his own skin and to be on his own. He does not need others to enjoy life.
  • A real man knows that EVERY DAY IS PRECIOUS and does not waste his days on a temporarily broken heart or the person that damaged it.
  • A real man SEEKS KNOWLEDGE and new experiences because they give us understanding. You are not born a wise man. Wisdom is what you collect in your life’s journey.
  • A real man LISTENS more than he talks. He takes in what others say; absorbs the meaning of their words and asks for clarification before deciding to voice his opinion.
  • A real man does not ESCAPE HIS REALITY through booze, drugs, gambling or gaming. A lifestyle that includes these is counterproductive to all of the above. Escape into music, books, art, sports, travel and films as they are far less damaging and supply opportunities to expand your awareness.
  • A real man knows that HIS WORD MEANS EVERYTHING. If he makes a commitment, he will move heaven and earth to make certain he honours his word. His word is his bond. A handshake is his contract.
  • A real man understands that HIS HAPPINESS IS UP TO HIM. No one can give him happiness or take it away. Happiness is something that comes from within. Happiness is something he chooses to make a part of his everyday life.

 

My book:

Ms. Creant: The Wrong Doers!

Life with Women: the long awaited instruction manual.

Talks of relationships, health, life, biology, philosophy, sociology, theology, genetics- even physics as well as THE AUTHOR’S MISGUIDED ATTEMPTS TO BE A REAL MAN.

Hug someone with a broken heart.

E. A.

 

 

Unraveling The Mysteries Of The Universe

What if the great mysteries are not as difficult as we are led to believe?

What if the flip-flop is the key to everything?

Physicists are directed by mathematics which seemingly contain a logical consistency within the formulae.  They then attempt to prove their theoretical ideas. Lately, they have had some successes.

But what if the sciences are just a racket?

For the last 5500 years since Mesopotamia, the most brilliant minds pitched the wealthiest people around, usually kings and religious leaders, and played on their FEARS; promising them answers to impossible questions in return for MONEY.

We call this the grant system today.

Paranoid governments fear the other inhabitants of Earth and will pay anything to the person who can offer SECURITY. I guaranty if you can show you are close to being able to put an energy shield over the USA, you will quickly have incredible amounts of money raining down on your head.

What if THE ANSWERS TO EVERYTHING hinge on just one answer in a different discipline, and what if almost nobody is studying that area?

I believe ALL THE MYSTERIES OF THE UNIVERSE will be unlocked the day we understand why women need SO MANY shoes.

It is summer, and with this season comes the clicking of flip-flops. A young girl who could actually run in hers inspired this writer to attempt to motivate the scientific community to make a serious study of this bizarre phenomenon.

Early man learned that foot protection meant he could hunt and gather in places where others feared injury. He could walk on jagged rocks, and fish in coral shallows just by wrapping his feet in the skins of the animals he hunted.

He learned successful hunting strategies:

  • Hunting by stealth meant blending in and not standing out.
  • Sneaking up on your prey meant being quiet.

Women were probably once equal to their mates thousands of years ago when humans were migrating to warmer climates following their food supply. They most likely went hunting and gathering with their mate for mutual advantage. Simply, a pair could hunt better than an individual.

Inequality and glass ceilings did not exist in this period of human history.

That would all come later.

This is the prehistorical life of Oog.

(This is also about how some academics spin a tale; often on the flimsiest early evidence.)

In most cases, the men of the time did notice that their mate could not lift as big a stone as they could. There were other differences too. The biggest being that for about three moons, after three seasons together, her belly swelled causing her to not want to travel or hunt until she produced a new little hunter. These new hunters were too noisy to take hunting until many moons had passed.

On some hunting trips, Oog would also notice his hunting partner was looking for prey where he would not think to look. She would stop to smell the prey often near brightly coloured flowers. She would stop and watch brightly coloured flying insects to learn their secrets. She would stop and listen to noises made by a brightly coloured bird. Oog knew SHE WAS INDEED IN TOUCH WITH POWERFUL MAGIC which was beyond his understanding.

Oog would hunt alone most of the time now, and was not travelling as far as they once did prior to the little hunters. He would arrive back at the cave to find that his hunting partner had been busy. There were hides covering the ground in the cave and she would make him take off his foot-wrappings before he could walk on them—especially when it had been raining. She had brought the brightly coloured flowers into the cave to attract prey so that Oog would not have to travel so far to find food. SHE WAS WISE so he complied with her wishes.

One particular day in Oog’s memory, he returned to the cave to find his hunting partner wearing something other than foot-wrappings on her feet. She had scraped fallen tree branches on rocks until she had made two small wooden planks the size of her feet. Then she had taken the tip of her spear and spun it until she had made two holes in each plank. Finally she tied strips of hide through the holes creating a loop that was just big enough for her big toe. As she walked they slapped the bottom of her feet and made a clacking sound that was surely designed to ward off dangerous animals. Why else would she have gone to all this trouble? With the top of her feet exposed they were not warm, but now she could walk over the sharpest coral for hours without cutting through the new foot protectors. Oog decided this was why she did it, and IT WAS A GOOD THING.

A short time later, she had applied the juices of a plant to her wooden foot protectors making them brightly coloured so her feet would be camouflaged when she hunted in the fields of flowers she spent so much time in. Oog thought he must be the most fortunate hunter of all time to have a hunting partner AS SMART AS HIS. He asked her to make him a pair.

Some moons later she presented him with a set of his own. He put them on and immediately noticed that stepping on a small stone no longer hurt his foot. He squeezed her affectionately as SHE OBVIOUSLY CARED SO MUCH ABOUT HIM that she was trying to take his pain away.

He could not wait to go hunting with them on his feet.

At the earliest light, Oog put on his footwear and attempted to run after the prey in the flowery field. After only his second stride, the wooden plank of his right foot caught a tree root which tripped him up and caused him to fall hard to the ground.

His big toe was bleeding.

Undaunted, and shaking off the pain in his big toe, Oog began to stalk the prey much more slowly being careful not to make the clacking sound associated with his new foot protection. He sneaked up on many prey birds that day, and had the most successful hunt ever. His amazing hunting partner had forced him to become a stealthier hunter, and it had worked. Oog was beaming with pride in his hunt, and IN HIS SELECTION OF A SUCH AN AMAZING MATE. It was at that instant a sabre-toothed tiger attacked and killed him. It seems the killer cat had been following the blood trail from his injured big toe.

Oog was the first FLIP-FLOP FATALITY.

Oog’s widowed hunting partner would soon find another mate to wear the flip-flops, named Ugg. He would later die at the base of a cliff after losing his footing on some loose stones and falling to his death.

Years later, some tribesmen in a hunting party would stumble across Ugg’s skeletonized remains and remove his unusual footwear. The flip-flops were well-preserved by the colour applied to the wood. The hunting party, upon returning to the village, would present them to their tribal chief who would wear them proudly. His warriors would have their mates make them some as well, to emulate and honour their great chief.

They began to lose many battles after that, and they knew not why. Eventually, all the warriors were gone and the victors took the women of the village as slaves and mates. These women knew how to make flip-flops, and they did not like their conquerors.

Skip ahead 40,000 years to our modern times.

The flip-flop is still with us.

Women continue to love them, and some men still attempt to use them—especially now that they come with bottle openers built into their soles.

The flip-flop related fatalities continue as well.

Today, thanks to fashion magazines, yearly changes to seasonal colours drive up the quantity of flip-flops you will find stored throughout your house. Your mate will tell you some needed replacing because of wear while others were needed to keep up with colour trends, but the collection can grow by as much as ten pairs per year and rarely are any parted with.

Similarly, flats, pumps, runners, boots, and the close relative to the flip-flop: the sandal, all apparently require the same upgrading and storage process to await their eventual return to fashionability.

Statistics indicate the average woman owns 21 pairs of footwear. I guess I know above average women. A study also shows women also usually own 9 pairs of shoes that were purchased for a singular occasion, and these too must be stored for years as a keepsake to remember the event.

From the data collected we can establish the following:

Formula

As this equation clearly indicates, women’s shoes will grow exponentially until they consume the planet, our solar system, our galaxy and finally our universe.

We must stop this threat.

Do not let yourselves be fooled gentlemen; women have been in on it from the beginning.

My book talks of relationships, health, life, biology, philosophy, sociology, theology, genetics—even physics, as well as HOW WOMEN CAN BE YOUR UNDOING.

Have a good flip-flop-free week.

P. S.

I have absolutely no idea if the formula says anything at all, but would it not be amazing if in the moment I was writing this the universe spoke to me. I just took a Fourier equation and plugged in the numbers 21 and 9 and then added a well known sorority.

Flashback To Naivety: Part 2

This is part 2 of my first written rant about Canada and politics from 1991 addressed to The Spicer Commission: Citizens Forum on Canada’s Future.

“Talk about job creation; Batman!”

Recycling:

Currently, we can recycle aluminum, some plastics, glass, news-print, and corrugated cardboard.

________ Draw a light-bulb in the space provided.

We can create and manage STORAGE SITES for Styrofoam, rubber, used petroleum products, paper products and plastics that cannot be broken down with our existing facilities. These products are still in abundance in our land-fills, and most unfortunately, in our lakes, streams and oceans.

“YOU HAVE TO SPEND MONEY TO MAKE MONEY!”

Spend $25,000,000.00 (I wonder where that number came from?) {Ed. note: The cost of the Spicer Commission.} on the plan below, and no Canadian with a conscience will object to spending that amount or even more, every year from now on.

1) There will be A NEED FOR neighborhood containers for all the above mentioned recyclables with sections to allow the public to do the sorting- enabling more efficient collection.

2) True or false? Municipalities will more readily welcome a RECYCLABLES STORAGE FACILITY far more quickly than a landfill.

3) DEVELOP the recycling TECHNOLOGIES right here in Canada for those materials that are not easily broken down with our existing technology.

4) When new processing methods have proven themselves, BUILD the FACILITIES in various municipalities, districts etc. as large as necessary based on the recyclables produced in that area now, and in the years to come.

5) TRAIN people to operate these waste management plants. Many people, who are on UIC because of plant closures, may be well-suited to these new jobs.

6) Once the system has proven it is efficient, we could OFFER to take sorted recyclables from other countries that are DESPERATE enough to rid themselves of waste any way they can. Ocean dumping is popular among these countries.

7) SELL the recycled RAW MATERIALS to the highest bidder.

8) SELL the system to other countries as we would sell high technology or nuclear power. Unlike nuclear power stations, recycling plants cannot melt down.

Word Scramble:

Take all the upper-case words above and write them down.

Reads like business doesn’t it?

How the jobs are created:

1) Local plastics, fibre-glass and metal fabrication companies can BID for the work of making the collection and sorting containers.

2) Universities and laboratories looking for FUNDING could develop the processes needed to break down what we currently consider non-recyclables.

3) Building trades from architects to painters would be needed in the CREATION of these new plants.

4) Manufacturing people, laid off as a result of companies closing or moving, can be RETRAINED to collect, process, and manage these recyclables in the new facilities.

5) Trucking would be needed to bring recyclables from the USA if a DEAL can be struck.

6) Canada can hire out consultants to countries that are PURCHASING our new waste management systems.

Now was that so difficult?

{The governments set themselves up as “watch-dogs” for ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION rather than getting their hands dirty. Everything to do with waste management has been PRIVATIZED where it cannot be easily REGULATED.  The government sells LICENSES to a handful of firms. The biggest of which is an American company worth 30 billion dollars. They missed a huge OPPORTUNITY, and continue to spend money South of the border. When did we decide governments must be a COSTLY enterprise rather than a PROFIT generator? I must have missed that referendum.}

Education and Who is Alvin Tofler?

With few exceptions, the majority of our current educational system in Canada was designed in a post-world-war era to supply people for manufacturing jobs in a budding “industrial revolution”. Like the “agricultural revolution” before it, the “industrial revolution” has run its course. Due to our lack of DECISION MAKING, (more on this later) or outright laziness, we have allowed the Japanese and Germans to take over high-technology markets that could be dominated by Canadians. If you do not believe me, check their money against ours on world markets.

It is not too late. We are now in the early stages of a TECHNOLOGY BASED society and must NOW strive to NOT take a classroom filled with potential, and prime our youth for industrial jobs. The fact that many plants are leaving Canada for “greener pastures” in the USA and Mexico soon eh, {Free Trade reference.} could prove to be only a minor setback if we start exploring the INDIVIDUAL TALENTS of all young Canadians NOW! It is time we tapped Canada’s greatest resource: our youth, and STOP THE EDUCATIONAL PRODUCTION LINE that is our present school system.

Example:

Imagine if Wayne Gretski was raised in India, his talents would most certainly have gone un-noticed.

Those people in charge of developing a better educational system for Canada, (Are there such people?) should read Alvin Tofler the author of Future Shock and The Third Wave, available at enlightened book stores everywhere. No, we are not related. However, I stole most of my ideas for this section from him. Thanks Alvin.

{Well, change is slow. Today Canada’s high school kids rank in the top ten in the world. Not bad, but never above sixth in any one subject. We can do better. Also, there is NO SIGN WHATSOEVER we are working towards a system that IDENTIFIES APTITUDES at a young age. Most of our young people head into their post-secondary education without a clue as to what they truly want to be doing in the near future, nor do they know where their gifts and passions lie. Canada has embraced the high-technology sector which has helped the economy a little as we continue to wave goodbye to manufacturers.}

The Little Country that Could!

Part A: Foreign Policy

There is no time like the present to strengthen the U.N. so “super-powers” are not calling ALL the shots. The majority of nations COLLECTIVELY should be able to “police” conflicts anywhere in the world.

Problem 1:

The quote-unquote “super-powers” are some of the worst AGGRESSORS in the world, yet they are the countries with the power of VETO in the United Nations.

Problem 2:

Canada must stand on its own two feet and NOT blindly follow US policy and initiatives. If memory serves correctly, we used to do fine without the US holding our hand. However, since the Free Trade deal, they seem to be able to “pull strings”. WHY IS THIS?

Problem 3:

If Canada is going to survive—literally—we MUST NOT follow the US policy in the Middle East because we have ALREADY SEEN their foreign policy is governed ONLY by a multi-billion dollar “defense” (“offense” more correctly) industry that will sell arms to the highest bidder with little regard for how they will be used.

It is my feeling Canada acted correctly in the FIRST PHASE of the Mid-East war, but it is “not over ‘til it’s over.” DON’T KID YOURSELF, WE WILL HAVE TO GO BACK AGAIN.

That region of our world is so volatile, and the policy to deal with it so wishy-washy, we haven’t heard the last from the Middle East. I recall Israel telling the world that “they reserved the right to strike back at Iraq” after the first SCUD attacks. Is the war over for the Palestinians? I think not.

Why didn’t “The New World Order” do anything about:

  • Syria invading Lebannon?
  • Turkey invading Cyprus?
  • Tienamin Square in China?
  • Russia invading Afghanistan?
  • The US invading Panama or Guiana?

Perhaps the “peace-nicks” were not so wrong when they said THE WAR WAS ABOUT OIL.

The Persian Gulf war propaganda machine made a big deal of the oil slicks in the Gulf, but I don’t see anyone stopping the US from dumping garbage into “their part” of the World’s oceans for countless decades.

“What is good for the goose, is good for the gander.” should be the new policy of the UN and perhaps Canada can play a constructive part in bringing this about.

Part B: On the Home Front

Problem 1:

“Tell you a secret.” PUT A STOP to “closed door” bargaining sessions on ANY topic that could dramatically affect Canada’s future. The Canadian public HAS THE RIGHT to be consulted on matters of VITAL importance to the country.

Problem 2:

“I’ll scratch your back if you will scratch mine.” Environmental Regulation CANNOT come from a GOVERNMENT APPOINTED OR RUN AGENCY. “Interference” is almost certain. The same is true of government audits, and just about ANYTHING that can be BENT to appear “rosy” at election time.

Yes, I could fill a book about the problems we and the world have; but who would read it?

{24 years later, I look prescient. The simple fact is that everyone in my age group felt the same way at the time. A girl I had dated took a copy of this to a writer friend at The Globe and Mail but was told “The paper would never run a piece like this.” She insisted this was exactly how young people felt, but it made no difference. We were young and naïve without any idea the news agencies we trusted were a part of a societal control and conditioning mechanism.

  • We wanted the UN to be a global government. We did not know who owned it.
  • We were tired of our spineless leaders doing the bidding of the US.
  • We hated US foreign policy; in the Middle East especially.
  • We knew the war was about oil.
  • We knew that Saddam was calling us cowards for stopping at the Iraqi border and that it was not over.
  • We saw secret deals, a.k.a. Bills, being put into law when the opposition party was not paying attention.
  • We saw that Environmental Regulation was corrupt.
  • We saw that politicians will say anything to get elected.

I wrote that book about the worlds’ problems, and I’m still wondering if anyone reads anything meaningful anymore.}

Government Leaders: A Definition

WIMPS too worried about losing their positions and the associated POWER that comes with those positions TO MAKE POSITIVE CHANGE.

Opinion: History favors people who make positive change over dictators, and yes, even Prime Ministers who used to talk to the dearly departed.

New Governmental Theme: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few {Ed. note: or the one.”}  – Milton I don’t know if there is a Milton, but the Star Trek episode where I first heard the name, was quite good. Two thumbs up, and yes, I will steal from anybody.

{I blew it on this one. The quote was incomplete and the author cited was wrong.  I was thinking this quote, made famous by Star Trek, was attributed to Milton when in fact it was Dickens. The upside is it is doubtful the readers at the Spicer Commission would know better. This is laughable in retrospect. At the time I wrote as though the P.M. might actually read it.}

Closing Snide Remarks and Apologies:

The intent of all this nonsense was, and is, to draw attention to several areas of concern for Canadians. My attempts at humour through sarcasm are there in the hope more people will read my letter, thus making them aware of their own feelings towards Canada and what lay ahead in our future. My feeling is IF Canadians look at themselves lightly, and FAR LESS conservatively, without losing site of our goals and aspirations, then there IS hope for this country yet.

We should face the fact that the only times in history that a government has turned to its people for advice or opinion, have been in times of great difficulty.

{I am pretty sure this is the line used in a Mulroney televised address.}

The Citizen’s Forum on Canada’s Future should not be taken lightly as it sounds like a CRY FOR HELP. Our present government should be EXTREMELY CAREFUL to heed the words of Canadians, and should recall the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. I love our country; however, there are plenty of reasons for concern.

Formula:

Concern squared = Worry.

Worry squared = The need for a good gastrointestinal specialist.

To anyone who found this work offensive, insulting, or belittling . . . my apologies.

To the government leaders I slapped in the last section I can only say: PROVE ME WRONG, I’D LOVE IT!

D. T.

Of course I used an alias. Where does it say “stupid” on my forehead? I have no wish for sudden audits from Revenue Canada; or to be “black-listed” by the R.C.M.P. as a “commie pinko” sympathizer; or WORSE YET . . . they ask me to work for them.

{I believe it is the line above in bold type that later came out of Mulroney’s mouth on TV to my shock, horror, and amazement. That guy had never had an original thought in his life—a talking head—and hearing my words come out of his mouth made me feel like I had been shot in the stomach. My naivety and innocence were lost in that moment. It would open my eyes as to how bereft of intelligence our puppet world leaders really are. In point of fact, I believe I was careful not to give them a set of finger-prints as well. I was a silly naive youngster.}

24 YEARS LATER, I AM STILL CHALLENGING HUMANS TO DO BETTER.

Science Fiction writers give us a multitude of possible outcomes when we are finally confronted by superior beings from another planet, galaxy, dimension, or universe. If the last 2000 years are how humanity is to be judged, then it does bode well for us as a species. WE ARE NOT IMPROVING.

We are a terminally petty and manipulative species lacking forethought and conscience.

Despite our leaps in technology and minor improvements in civilization, we are little more than a plague on this planet, and it is time for a more worthy species to take our place.

I am rooting for dolphins.

The reason I no longer follow politics and current events is I have always been Utopian in my hopes for humanity. I am still trying to reach humans with a message of hope and change twenty-four years later, in a world that has lost hope and is resistant to change. You get tired of swimming against the current.

I hope you enjoyed this “blast from the past”. Go out and make a difference this week. Take a case of canned goods to the food bank, and then go get to know a dolphin.

 

Flashback To Naivety: Part 1

I had never been serious about writing before this, and my grades proved it.

In January 1991, the Canadian Government asked for my input. Well not me specifically, but all Canadians were invited to submit their ideas and concerns to The Spicer Commission: Citizens Forum on Canada’s Future. Only 400,000 of 20,000,000 did so. Since the 1950’s and Diefenbaker, Canadians have lost faith in government, seeing politics as pointless, corrupt, stupid, and wasteful. This explains why only 2% of the more NAIVE types, like me, participated. I genuinely thought they were trying to make the country better.

In 1991, you could cave in the skull of a mugger with your cell phone. NAFTA would not be ratified for two more years, and the internet would not be born for a few more months.

If you were wealthy, you had a home computer with a price tag of at least $3000.00. On-line dating did not exist.

WE WENT OUTSIDE.

Bars, restaurants, parties, laundry mats, shopping, and playing sports were how we met other people. The Gulf War had just ended. WE DID OUR FACT CHECKING AT THE LIBRARY actually seeing printed facts in BOOKS.

As a young bachelor, living in a Miami Vice inspired beach apartment in Toronto that all too often smelled like sewer gas, I sat down to write my ideas and vent my frustrations to this Spicer guy who claimed to be trying fix Canada on behalf of the Brian Mulroney government, or so I thought. In a previous article somewhere, I mentioned how the P. M. ’s speech writer had ripped me off, and I will bold that section for you, if I can remember it.

This was the first time in my life that words poured out of me faster than I could write them down.

Apparently, I had much to say about being Canadian and where the country was heading. I remember papers everywhere. The living room floor and furnishings were almost completely covered in notes, headings, sub-headings and rants. I did not have a typewriter or a home computer back then, so everything was hand-written.

Upon discovering this relic and giving it a read, I found that as a first time writer, I was “a little rough around the edges”; but I also found out my sarcastic humor has been with me longer than I thought. I sometimes have to work to be less serious these days because I have become jaded by the years, but back then it came more naturally. Now, I consider the potential ramifications of my words; however back in the day you got the “full Monte”. I may have been better then than now. You be the judge.

I AM NOT UPDATING THE BODY OF THIS REPORT. I am however, giving it a minor line-edit as I go, as it seems in my haste I did not pay much attention to punctuation and grammar. You will see it (in italics) more or less as I sent it, so many years ago.

WHAT IS TRULY FRIGHTENING IS A QUARTER OF A CENTURY HAS PASSED AND NOTHING OF CONSEQUENCE HAS CHANGED.

This is why I have no respect or use for government types, and why I am so sick of their lies, pandering, and self-serving nature. The idea of politicians being Public Servants is a joke. The public now serves them.

Politicians and government employees DO NOT appreciate that:

  • it is the tax-payers who employ them.
  • it is the tax-payers who own the country.
  • it is the tax-payers who own and build the country’s infrastructure.

Politicians and government employees are PUBLIC SERVANTS who need to remember:

  • they are only there because WE PAY.
  • their house of cards can be brought down if WE DO NOT PAY.

Spicer Commission

Citizen’s Forum on Canada’s Future

The Tuesday Report

Dear reader or is anyone in there?

Enclosed is a personal vision of Canada that encompasses past, present and future which originated in my heart and then was edited by my remaining grey matter.

I have taken great pains not to “candy-coat” my feelings, ideas, or observations while openly displaying contempt for non-productive government. This could pose a problem to closed-minded individuals or to a reader who believes in earnest that ANY government in this century has been truly effective at anything other than riot control.

Though I have many more topics I could have addressed; consider the ones found herein as the greatest hits. The underlying messages contained in the section headings to follow are intended to be positive in nature as I have endeavored to identify problems, solutions, and benefits in overview so as not to be considered “just another whiner”.

I must confess a few “cheap-shots” are taken in the interest of humour for which I will apologize later. People become more humorous in direct proportion to the money they DO NOT have.

A few late nights were spent on the pages to follow. It is my sincerest wish they not “fall on deaf ears” or become condensed so the fun is squeezed out of them or (horror of horrors) they find their way into your waste basket.

I wish you well in this open forum style of government.

May you enjoy reading these pages as much as I have enjoyed writing them.

Contents:

Canadian First: What a Concept.

Foolish Behaviour:

Taxation: the Unemployed and the Military?

Brain Dead.

“Talk about job creation, Batman!”

Education and who is Alvin Tofler?

The Little Country that Could:

Government Leaders: A Definition.

Closing Snide Remarks and Apologies:

 Canadian First: What a Concept.

Immigration and Multiculturalism

I cannot believe I am about to write this next sentence. Canada can learn from the American system of immigration. There I did it.

The American system, while allowing a person to maintain their religion, heritage, and customs, leaves little doubt of the fact that: where ever you came from YOU ARE AN AMERICAN NOW!

Most people of ethnic origin I encounter say they are Italian, Greek, Chinese, or from virtually any other place in the galaxy EXCEPT Canada. If Canada is to continue, we need to increase our level of national pride. The people who want to live in this country should feel a sense of pride in saying they are CANADIANS of Italian, Greek, Chinese, or Martian descent.

By creating a Canadian immigration system where incoming people are ORIENTED SUFFICIENTLY to allow them to LEAVE ANIMOSITIES BEHIND due to their partially severed ties with their former country or planet; we will have fewer race related problems when they settle in Canada.

The importance of immigrants KNOWING Canada’s history, our heritage, our direction for the future, and what part they are expected to play in that future, CANNOT BE STRESSED ENOUGH. Once done, new Canadians will be able to live together HARMONIOUSLY in the years to come.

BE A CANADIAN FIRST.

It won’t hurt a bit.

{Well they did not listen to me on this one. We let “THE TAIL WAG THE DOG” and now we have a country full of people who take no pride in saying they are Canadian; if they even think to mention their citizenship at all. We have different sections of our cities for each “distinct society”. The new Canadians are pandered to by government people. Reverse racism is everywhere, and it is the predominant weapon of choice in our ridiculously politically correct tolerant society.}

Foolish Behaviour:

Quebec

The “Quebec Question” can be equated to looking for an answer to the question “WHY” or trying to find the last digit of Pi (π).

Here is a textbook example of what happens when a small group of people are not (and perhaps never were) Canadian FIRST.

Canadians of French descent are constantly coining the phrases “French Canada” and “English Canada”. They refer of course to the languages spoken predominantly however they leave out one small aspect: that being neither France nor England has anything “real” to do with our country or government any longer. Nor do I imagine they want anything to do with our country or government.

If a group of Canadian citizens living in the Canadian Province of Quebec want so desperately to be French; we should arrange for their ship to sail immediately. In France, home of the guillotine, guilty until proven innocent, and “Let them eat cake.”, I am certain these EX-PATRIOTS will find the life they so richly deserve.

This “Pandora’s Box” (of which I believe we have already broken the seal) can easily be compared to existing problems in the Soviet Union and the Middle East. For fun get a fifty or one-hundred year old map of the Middle East; you will not recognize very much.

Quebec has had countless millions of CANADIAN DOLLARS not French Francs dumped in its lap for years, and now some Quebecers decide they want a distinct society with or without sovereignty association.

Didn’t a war decide this once already?

It is time the rest of Canada explained to Quebec they have to PAY to acquire CANADIAN ASSETS as they have NO RIGHTS to the lands of Canada.

Enough about Quebec. . . what action do you suppose a STRONG GOVERNMENT would take if Native Canadians decided to reclaim their rightful lands and oust some newer Canadians doing it? Well that is another story; or is it?

{This was written prior to the Quebec referendum. “English Canada” was pissed off and we actually considered the possibility of a civil war. It is interesting I foretold the Native land claim issue though.}

Taxation: the Unemployed and the Military?

Consider: A Canadian citizen who drives a car, smokes cigarettes, is a social drinker, and earns less than $40,000.00 per annum (gross), pays in excess of 50% of his or her earnings in one form of tax or another.

Government Position: ridiculous, absurd, preposterous etc.

Check it out! IT IS TRUE.

The rich are still getting richer and the poor are still feeding the wealthy.

The people who work in the only busy departments of government: the tax section of Parliament Hill, should be tied to chairs and forced to watch Robin Hood (the Errol Flynn version) until they scream.

The “well-to-do”, unfortunately, are the policy makers in Canada. The same people election after election talk of tax reform but inwardly know that fair taxes for all Canadians would mean the new Jaguar for the Mrs. would have to wait. We cannot have that now, can we?

A publicly APPOINTED group is needed for effective tax reform. Meaning other than the publicly ELECTED group now “addressing the situation”; if you get my drift.

STOP TREATING THE SYMPTOMS AND CURE THE DISEASE.

Formulae:

Work + Productivity = Good Economy

Inflation + Unemployment = Bad Economy

The unemployed are living comfortably on U.I.C. and Welfare to the tune of $40,000.00 for a family of four at a maximum. Why am I eeking out a living on my own?

What do you imagine would happen to the unemployment figures if it were to become law that: ANY able-bodied person without dependants under the age of forty be inducted into the Canadian Armed Forces after receiving the appropriate above mentioned benefits for a period not exceeding 120 days?

They could provide an inexpensive work-force, and learn a skill at the same time.

Another human resource that is costing incredible amounts every year, and is being wasted, is the convict guilty of non-violent crimes. These people, given a choice, may even prefer the C.A.F,. and may participate in road building or some other necessary project. God knows our roads need work.

The RECOVERED REVENUES should be allocated to the Canadian senior citizens who made this country what it is (or was) with their blood, sweat and tears—great cliché and great band. These people’s old age pensions would have them living near the poverty line. This, I find embarrassing as a Canadian.

Besides, if everyone is working, then even people on assistance and convicts cannot help but be productive which will net us a good economy; if my formula is correct,

“Out of the mouths of babes.”, oh never mind.

{This was too totalitarian for the weenies in power. My theory that being a “productive citizen” means you remain FREE to choose your destiny; while the “non-productive” types would lose their freedom, did not sit well in the weak government of the time. Today there are generations of welfare recipient families, criminals have far too many rights, our armed forces are under-manned, and our roads are still f-cked.}

Brain Dead.

G.S.T. and Canada’s Manufacturing Sector

IF the Goods and Services Tax is a necessary evil (and the jury is still out on that one), then why not take a lesson from any kind of sales professional who can readily overcome an objection. I objected to the G.S.T. and was overcome. Turn a negative into a positive (integers), and MAKE BUYING CANADIAN MANUFACTURED GOODS G.S.T. FREE.

When the tally was taken January 1, 1991: products from Japan, the USA and U.K. all had prices down 6% to 16% while Canadian built goods generally were HIGHER than their pre-G.S.T. price. Was the intent of the G.S.T. to STOP people from buying Canadian or was that what Free Trade was supposed to do?

Let us use our brains shall we. Work with me on this one.

Should a company wish to MANUFACTURE in our country (rare these days), EMPLOY CANADIANS and SELL their product in Canada; would it hurt to encourage them to STAY in Canada by making the purchase of their raw materials G.S.T. FREE?

If a wholesaler wants to SELL this CANADIAN MADE product across Canada, would it hurt to make his cost G.S.T. FREE?

When a retailer decides to MERCHANDISE this CANADIAN MADE product for SALE, would it not be an added incentive to make the retailers cost G.S.T. FREE?

Envision if you will, a consumer confronted with a product tag which read: “BUY CANADIAN AND SAVE: GST FREE!” Do you not think he or she might SHOP CANADIAN and quit spending millions across the border? This plan might even encourage consumer spending, which “I believe” has a positive effect on the economy.

I would like to thank my Basics of Economics & Marketing 101 instructor and the Academy.

{Well some credit is due, as there was a push created to “Shop Canadian”. However, the GST (now HST) was a nightmare for Canadian businesses to adapt to, and it created a taxation imbalance provincially. It did generate A SIX BILLION DOLLAR SURPLUS the government “LOST” somewhere, and I am not certain if they ever reported finding it.}

Blogus interruptus… to be continued.

 

 

 

 

Lost in the Wilderness: Part 4

The Myth of “Living the Dream” in the Country: The Northern Ontario Experience.

ADDITIONAL POINTS OF INTEREST:

For those of you who have not yet changed your mind about living fulltime in The Great White North, and called a time-share real-estate agent somewhere down South, I will dispel a few more myths of the Ontario North country.

“YOU WILL MEET INTERESTING PEOPLE.”

“Interesting”, if you are a sociologist writing a book perhaps, but you should expect to meet uneducated, unwashed, unkempt, alcoholic, drug using scammers, and gossips anywhere you go.

The area’s “best and brightest” have left for greener pastures and better lives, and they rarely return.

THIS SHOULD BE TELLING YOU SOMETHING!

The locals left behind have a huge inferiority complex that makes them jealous and envious of “citiots”; a term they often use that refers to anyone who left the confines of the area or who is new to the area. They will take your money when you hire them, but will gossip endlessly about you as a “thank you” for employing them. They will always happily take your money in their shops, but will not reciprocate by supporting your business.

The rampant morbid obesity is a tell-tale sign of their low self-esteem and self-worth issues. Anxiety and depression are also common, and of course made worse by alcoholism, illegal drug use, or going off their prescription meds. The closest town has two methadone clinics servicing an area population of only 20,000. This says a great deal about area residents.

YOU CAN BUILD A NEW LIFE IN THE COUNTRY.”

If this means working at a career or job requiring the support of the locals; forget it. If you did not grow up there, they will resist employing you or supporting your business. They think that by hiring you, they are taking food out of the mouths of a local boy’s family. If you bring specialized skills that are unmatched in the area, they will hire several locals before finally caving in and hiring you to fix their problems. They will try to negotiate your invoice AFTER the work is done, so be careful who you work for, and don’t trust a hand-shake deal.

If you think your big city experience is marketable, you are sorely mistaken. They do not embrace knowledgeable people; they envy and ostracize them. Women and minorities will have it even worse as the local folks are about 100 years behind in their thinking. THEY ARE LEARNING TO HIDE IT though, thanks to the societal movement towards political correctnessTheir sexist and racist ideas have been a part of their upbringing and are subtly evident in how they do business.

You will hear things like: “We have tried all this before.” even though they have not. You may even hear my personal favorite: “That’s not how we do things up here.” which shows how they cling to ignorance and resist change. This, of course, is why they struggle so. If you attempt to “raise the bar” they will reject your ideas in favour of continuing to crawl under it. Their inferiority complex makes them petty and small-minded. New ideas that did not come from one of them just makes them feel inferior. They ask for suggestions but view answers as CRITICISM. Their idea of success is survival; NOT GETTING AHEAD!

ALL BAD THINGS HAPPEN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT:

  • You will run out of propane at 3:00 am.
  • Your furnace will quit at 3:00 am.
  • Pipes burst at 3:00 am.
  • Trees fall across your driveway at 3:00 am.
  • Drunk, crying women will show up in your driveway at 3:00 am.

“THE FRESH AIR WILL INCREASE YOUR APPETITE.”

You may be hungry but where can you go to eat? Restaurant quality may be my biggest reason for getting the hell back to civilization. Roadside converted service stations selling DEEP FRIED EVERYTHING with “Home Made” GOOD SOURCES of FAT and SODIUM litter the area. You will have to drive some distance for a truly good meal. The smell of the forty-year-old grease and oil impregnating those old concrete garage floors “pair well” with the grease and oil these “greasy spoons” are cooking with.

“LIVING THE DREAM”:

If you think you are headed to a place of serenity, then most of you will find you were WRONG unless you buy acreage away from lakes, trails, roads, and PEOPLE. With ownership, you are simply TRADING city stressors for country stressors.

GIVE ME SMOG, IDIOT DRIVERS, AND BLACK SNOW-BANKS ONCE MORE AND I PROMISE I WILL NEVER COMPLAIN ABOUT CITY LIFE AGAIN.

I will rent or buy a condo and let someone else handle all the maintenance. I miss restaurants, spare time, movie theatres, income opportunities, and women who look after themselves. If I never see another snowflake or pine needle again, I would be just fine with that too.

The new dream is of sand beaches, palm trees and warm temperatures.

I wonder how long their bug season is?

See you there!

P. S.

If anyone has a large estate on a tropical island or a huge yacht you rarely use and you want someone to watch over the place, please get in touch. FYI, I am very experienced with boats and would make a good motor-launch pilot. I could probably get used to “hanging” with women named Missy and Muffy.

Lost in the Wilderness: Part 2

The Myth of “Living the Dream” in the Country: The Northern Ontario Experience.

PEACE AND QUIET:

For most people considering a move to the country, peace means SECURITY—worry free living. You can leave your door open. You will be moving to a place where neighbours get together to help each other out, just like “the olden days of barn-raisings and quilting bees. Right?

There was a reason that EVERYONE CARRIED A GUN BACK IN THOSE DAYS. Some guns were actually named: Peace Maker. Back then, just as today, about 33% of the people you met were good people who would help their neighbor. Unfortunately the other 66% are people you must keep an eye on. 33% are out to screw you over. The remaining 33% are either indifferent or could waffle from one side to the other on any given day.

If you think there is no crime or less crime in the country, THINK AGAIN!

You are moving to the POT GROWING CAPITAL OF ONTARIO which means organized crime. While exploring trails on your ATV, you may cross paths with a biker-type carrying an automatic weapon. When he tells you: “You should not be here.”, LISTEN TO HIM and go back the way you came—QUICKLY!

Add to this the local teens with little to do to kill the boredom, who will get drunk, high, or both, and come up with some really bad ideas as to how to keep the party going.

Lastly is the saddest group, the alcoholics, drug addicts, sociopaths and schizophrenics displaced by cut-backs to the Ontario health system. They too are here for low-cost living. THEY ARE YOUR NEW NEIGHBOURS. They are easily managed if you BUY A GUN AND FIRE IT OFTEN to make them think twice.

The “QUIET” will make up for these other minor negative points, so long as your idea of quiet includes logging trucks that literally shake the place when they go down a nearby highway, chainsaws and gunshots just like in The Red Green Show, ATV’s every weekend for 8 MONTHS, snowmobiles the other 4 MONTHS, plus heavy power boat traffic for 2 MONTHS, and the never ending over-flights of commercial, military, and police aircraft THAT WERE NOT THERE TWENTY YEARS AGO. Oh yeah, do not forget your neighbour who is building a mansion with diesel powered heavy equipment.

FRESH AIR AND SUNSHINE IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS:

If by “fresh” you mean COLD, then yes. Northern Ontario has some of the freshest air short of the Arctic Circle because THAT IS WHERE MOST OF OUR AIR COMES FROM.

The winter of 2013-14 was horrible everywhere in the province, but here are some statistics from my area:

  • In each of the 8 months beginning in October and including April, it snowed.
  • In that same period, the temperatures NEVER HIT POSITIVE DOUBLE DIGITS. In other words +10C or 50F was not seen for an 8 month period.
  • For 4 consecutive months the temperatures NEVER WENT ABOVE FREEZING.
  • For that same period the typical night-time temperatures were -20C to -40C or -40F (they are the same at that point on the scales).

For most of 6 months, “dressing up” meant putting on your “good” long-underwear and snow pants.

Sunshine happened occasionally for 30 minutes a day, if you were lucky, and you may have had to travel to see it. In winter sunshine comes with a price. Clear skies often mean extreme cold. There were entire weeks that went by without seeing the sun. A favourite joke when it did come out was “What is that fireball in the sky?” SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) runs rampant without the sun and its natural vitamin D production. In December you will get four hours of sunlight, if you are lucky, and you will not want to be outside. “Feel the burn” is usually a phrase associated with a work-out, but here it means frostbite or sunburn due to the giant hole in the ozone layer overhead.

BEING SURROUNDED BY NATURE:

The fantasy of having rabbits, foxes, and deer playing in your yard was my reality. So was the more disturbing unwanted less cute critters like bears, wolves, fishers, skunks, raccoons, snakes, and what some people thought was a cougar.

YOUR FANTASY OF RUNNING NAKED THROUGH THE FOREST MIGHT GET YOU KILLED BY NATURE.

Being surrounded by nature means GOOD HUNTING: BUG SEASON is open all year round!

Black fly season begins as soon as the snow melts and lasts for 2 TO 3 MONTHS! For those not familiar, this is a CARNIVORE about the size of a flea that does not like their homes being disturbed by anything; especially raking. A distant relative of the piranha fish, they will attack in great numbers and devour ANY EXPOSED FLESH. Working outdoors means covering up or using massive quantities of CANCER CAUSING AGENTS a.k.a. bug spray to keep just some of them away. Locals like to make black fly season even scarier to tourists by making jokes like: “The black flies are so big this year I just saw one humping a partridge.”

Some years you will be given a choice between bleeding bites from black flies and lumps from the West Nile Virus carrying mosquitoes. Mosquito season can last for 5 MONTHS and it begins with the heat of summer that will kill off most of the black flies. However, the mosquitos will only be killed off by cold.

In July, the mosquito will be joined by other man-eating species like deer flies and horse flies. Deer flies are about the size of a house fly, but they are a fast delta-winged biter that lives in wooded areas.

The horse fly likes, you guessed it, horses, but have now adapted to eat other mammals as horses are not as common as they once were. Horse flies appear as an over-sized house fly until he takes a chunk out of you. They are relatively slow which means you can often swat them with your hand. They do not drown easily and yes, I have done this experiment. The horse fly loves a sunny day at the beach, especially when humans are on the lunch menu. If you want a high kill ratio, then wait until they start to bite before swatting. Like a human eating a good steak, they are savouring the taste of your meat, and are not paying attention.

Dragon flies, bees and butterflies are often COLLATERAL DAMAGE when using insecticides. Though they are beneficial, sometimes they are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I never used these products as a camper, but once you live in the woods fulltime, your views on environmental impact change.

Just there to piss you off are June bugs, moths and ants. Enjoy the hunt and the kill. FYI: moth season is open year-round as somehow they will last into December when all the others have died or are in a cryogenic sleep.

Spiders, ants, and house flies are available for hunting year-round without having to go outside.

The stinging varieties are many:

Wasps, especially ground wasps that nest under rotting logs, hornets and yellow jackets are like ISIS members: TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY. It is them or us. In late summer or early fall, many of the stingers cannot cope with the idea their lives are about to end so they act insanely and commit suicide by attacking you for no reason . . . the suicide bombers of the insect world.

Enjoy your week. I have to go kill something.

Blogus Interruptus… continued next week.

 

What it’s like to finish writing a book: The Regurgitation

Poets have it easy.

They can wrestle with one page and then type those two magic words: THE END. For any writer who is trying to produce a book, it is a far greater undertaking.

I took about a year just researching and making notes. It took about a month to assemble those notes into a very rough chapter outline. I wrote early versions of the Preface and Introduction to use a compass to keep me from straying too far off course which was necessary, as any of my readers know, because I love to travel tangential lines to see where they lead.

Thoughts come faster than fingers can type. You must have a pen and paper near you at all times for that moment of clarity when it arrives. There were sticky notes everywhere.

I wrote all the basic Ms. Creant stories next, and then placed them in those rough chapters with related notes. To begin the writing of those chapters, I only needed to put the notes into sentence form; building on thoughts and ideas as I went. You never stare at a blank page this way, but it will add a huge amount of editing time at the end.

After three years I had five chapters completed, but stalled there as another Ms. Creant came into my life. A couple of years later, she was gone and I had another story to add. I got back to writing the book. In one massive push over a three month period in the fall of 2014, I completed the last three chapters of what I now call “the First Edition” and wrote the two magic words: The End.

I poured a single malt scotch and lit a Cuban cigar because that is what my influences would have done, and then sat back to bask in the afterglow of this tremendous accomplishment. The feeling is akin to having the best sex of your life, but the feeling stays with you for weeks instead of hours. You wear a silly grin all the time. You pat yourself on the back, A LOT!

I took three days off and just watched a favorite TV series; seven years of it; full time.

“The End” is just the beginning.

The word count was just over 51,000 words at that point in time. The editing began. With every pass through your work you will add to it, improve it, and make it longer. As a nonfiction book, Ms. Creant required a Reference and Index. By the time I had the First Edition e-book completed, the word count had reached 60,000 words. The Second Edition which I thought would be in print, had an extra chapter with an “alternate ending”. It sat at 65,000 words. The Third Edition added another chapter and I expanded on a number of ideas throughout, creating a new word count in the 80,000 range. I nervously sent the manuscript off to an editor, and what came back made me realize I had to take my writing more seriously. Another two chapters with at least twenty proofreads to this point and I sent it off to the publisher with a word count topping 100,000. There are still two rounds of revisions remaining in the coming weeks prior to the September release. Nonfiction writers should plan a week just to get a handle on the most basic Index. I took a nine page article and practiced on it before screwing with 100,000 words.

Fantasy vs. Reality:

As I wrote my first book, I thought it was good enough to get me an agent who would work hard to get me a publisher. This publishing company would produce a well distributed book that would attract the attention of a publicist who would get me on the Times Best Seller List. This would of course lead to a guest spot on The Daily Show which would garner to attention of a producer who would get me a television or film screen-writing deal. All this attention would have managers clamoring to my door who would arrange speaking engagements at major universities leading to a fellowship with an honorary degree, landing me a tenured professor position.

This was “the dream”.

Here is the reality:

When I had completed three chapters, I decided to fire out a Query Letter to the top agents in New York to shake the proverbial tree to see what fell out. In a word: nothing. Stock but polite rejection letters came back from most of the over twenty agencies I pitched. They did not even ask for so much as an Outline nor were they curious enough to ask for some chapters. In some future blog after the book is published, I will explain why. For now we will just say the publishing business is a tough business for first time authors.

YOU WILL WRITE THOUSANDS OF WORDS AFTER YOUR BOOK IS FINISHED!

Query 1:                                  395 words

Query 2:                                  416 words

Overview:                               747 words

Marketing Platform:              1611 words

Competitive Title Analysis:  1290 words

Chapter Outline:                    1004 words

Author Info:                             499 words

Agents mailing list:                421 words

Publishers mailing list:          989 words

Facebook:                                1000 words per week (easy).

WordPress:                            25,000 words / year (estimated).

Twitter:                                    5500 words / year (estimated).

6 miscellaneous sites          6000 words / year (estimated).

Website:                                 4788 words (and counting).

TOTAL:                                   Over 100,000 words since writing the book.

I am developing and identity crisis.

I set out to be an author but have become:

  • a media copywriter,
  • a blogger,
  • a mail room clerk,
  • a publisher,
  • a social media student,
  • and a full-time time manager of all of it.

I now resent all things which keep me from writing; especially when I am “on a roll”, including the seemingly endless maintenance of my middle-aged body. It is common for me to have two sinks full of dirty, but rinsed dishes (I am not a cave man.), as well as a herd of dust bunnies roaming the floors. I tend to neglect showering because it is hard to make notes in there. Shaving is the first thing to go, and the brushing of teeth drops to once a day on occasion. This does not go on for long as life and the biz will force you to make yourself presentable to go outside again. Perhaps it is for the best.