Thursday, February 21, 2019

Look! Up In The Trees!

...doesn't seem like much, does it?

But those my friends are vampire turkeys, eerily camped out way up in the Halloween trees at night, just waiting to swoop down and gobble, gobble, gobble you up...
...scary, scary stuff...

Ok, so I admit it's a slow news's still winter and I'm still bored out of my skull, wishing I could be outside in the non-existent warm weather and refreshing breezes of spring and summer...

...but it is a little weird to see all those turkeys sleeping up in the trees at night.
Had another heart attack inducing system failure yesterday...
...and this one looked like The Big One, a get-on-your-knees-and-pray disaster...but by the grace of God - and in what felt like a last second miracle - a linux contractor with whom we deal was able to pull our system out of the fires of H-E-double-hockey-sticks and patch it back by 1 am things were actually working again.

We soldier on.
Due to yesterday's excitement I took an unintentional break from working on my latest and greatest...
...and I'm itching to get back to it...the finish line is in sight now and I'm happy with where it's going.

As a matter of fact, as I'm writing this blog entry I just realized this is the greatest piece of fiction ever written!

And the book isn't too bad, either...I'll let you know when it's available for's possible you might not hate it.

Hey, can't rule it out.
Ordered a book the other day...
...a collection of newspaper articles published in 1916 through 1918.

That by itself is not so remarkable...but these articles, given the circumstances under which they were published, are indeed remarkable.

For they sprang to printed life on a commandeered printing press near the embattled town of Ypres in Belgium in February of 1916...during the first World War... a British troop that decided it would be good for the morale of their trench mates if they had something interesting to read.

And so they began the unlikely endeavor of publishing the Wipers Times - so called because the rank and file had no idea how to pronounce "Ypres" (ee-pra) - about 100 copies for the first edition.

They continued publishing as they could, from various locations with differing names as they moved from battle front to battle front over the next 3 war torn, blood stained years.

It is truly an amazing accomplishment and a testament to the tenacity of the human spirit, desperate to hold onto to anything that reminds them of civilized society when pressed on all sides by the the evidence of barbarity and death.

Some of the articles are quite clever, often filled with double entendre and not so subtle innuendo...

"Dearest, at break of Dawn, I need you most...
And as you, in your silver shrouded dress,
Gambol before my eyes, I daily bless,
The coins that made you mine, the trifling cost,
That sold you into bondage, such as this;
To be my Slave, Enchantress of my Soul;
To pay afresh each morn, the levied toll,
That I extort from you - a honied kiss.
And as upon my cheeks, my rugged chin,
Your scented lips you passionately press,
In muscadine abandon, I caress
Your adipose delight, and with a grin,
Each morning half awake for you I grope,
Oh Stick of Superfatted Shaving Soap!"

I absolutely love the above know he's talking about the fleshly desires of a love starved soldier, paying for illicit pleasure...until you read the last line...and discover he's waxing euphoric over shaving soap!

Definitely worth a read, folks...a glimpse into the minds and hearts of soldiers on the front of one of the bloodiest wars in history.

later, mcm fans...

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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Oh Good...'s snowing least we're finally in the 2nd half of February now...another couple of weeks and we hit March where it's legitimate to start thinking about Spring again.
...a distant dream at the moment...but March 10th is time change weekend...can't wait...

Got knocked down hard by the flu this year...
...but like Mr. Tunney in the above pic, I eventually got back up and am in there swinging again.  Nasty stuff, though...out of it for most of 2 weeks.

Saw a pretty good flick this weekend...
...the true story about 3 black women, geniuses all, who were employed by NASA in the early days of the space program.

I say "pretty good" bc the story itself is a lot better than the movie which played a little fast and loose with some historical truth.

They portrayed NASA in the early 60's as still being segregated, which it was not...society was for sure, and the attitudes they depicted definitely existed...but not within NASA of those "need some conflict in this story so let's manufacture some, shall we?" Hollywood things.

Unfortunately that type of distortion lends itself to a couple of dramatic "white savior" moments...y'know, a white man has an awakening of the conscience and so rises above his fellows and their provincial attitudes to strike a blow for racial justice for the poor, downtrodden minority.

Only problem is it didn't happen that way and it cheapens the real story of these women making groundbreaking achievements on their own by the power of their intellect, perseverance and will.

Even so it's worth a look to learn about 3 amazing women of color who played an important part in our nation's space program back in the day.

Moving along pretty steadily with Time Slip Island...'s not great literature but I'm liking the story and am probably 3/4ths of the way through it now...hopefully will publish sometime in March.

Decided to run a half page ad for my Papa's Model T series in The Vintage Ford magazine again...
...coming out in the next edition.

This admittedly is probably the triumph of hope over experience, bc the last time I ran an ad in the official publication of the Model T Ford Club of America I got absolutely zero response.

But hope springs eternal, or so I'm told...

The upgrade from hell continues unabated at work...
...ok, so it's not quite that bad though it depends to whom you talk...

And on that happy note, I'm off to the rest of this snowy Sunday.

later, mcm fans...

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Sunday, February 3, 2019

A Super Weekend... have a birthday...and so we celebrated the Xth anniversary of Karen's 29th birthday.

And if you think I'm gonna tell you what X stands for you must believe I'm suicidal.

I'm not, and besides, whatever number it is she's still looking fabulous.
Of course there were flowers, cake, a card and libations.

Wanna know how you can tell you're at a real Irish Pub?
They have a countdown to St. Patrick's Day showing days, hours, minutes and seconds until the big event.

...and we enjoyed a delicious meal to go with the Blue Moon for Karen...
...and a Guinness for me.

Ah, crap!  Did I misplace that finger again?

Good stuff.
Had a grandson boxing in a tournament this weekend, but apparently his opponent was a no show, so no bout after all.

Since we were in the mood for some pugilistic action, we cued up Cinderella Man:
...a pretty good movie starring Russell Crowe about James J. Braddock who won the heavyweight championship in 1935 in a heartwarming comeback story.

The real James J. Braddock:
...a tough light heavyweight in the late 1920's who fell on hard times...oft injured, struggling in the Depression, he got a one shot fight against "Corn" Griffin, the number two heavyweight contender in the world.

A last minute fill in for the injured scheduled opponent, Braddock scored an incredible upset in a knockout victory.

Now back in the game he'd been banned from several years earlier, he worked his way through a series of elimination bouts and earned a shot at the world heavyweight title against heavily favored Max Baer (yes, the father of Max Baer, Jr, aka "Jethro Bodine" of the Beverly Hillbillies, believe it or not).

15 brutal rounds later Braddock emerged victorious and cemented his place in history as one of the greatest sports comebacks in history with a nickname he openly detested.

"Cinderall Man"?

Come on, Damon could have done a lot better than that.

Even something as lame as The Comeback Kid would have been more palatable to a tough pug like Braddock than comparing him to Cinderella.
Made some real progress on Time Slip Island this weekend...
...worked my way through some earlier difficulties and am now at 13,000 words and in the meat of the story.

Liking the potential here; just hope I don't screw it up.
Of course it was Groundhog Day weekend...we had intended to watch the eponymous movie...
...but ended up skipping that and watching Some Like It Hot instead...I guess the reasoning was it starts out on a February holiday...Valentine's Day in Chicago, 1929 to be precise...
and the infamous Valentine's Day Massacre by the Capone Gang...
...but from there devolves into a romp for Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon...
...harmless fun directed by Billy Wilder.
Some pics from the recent snowstorm...
the view from the front...

...from the back...

...the back patio...

...and from within the courtyard.
Oh yeah, also heard something about a football game of some kind going on...

Patriots 13, Rams 3 (yawn...)

later, mcm fans...
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Friday, February 1, 2019

The Cold Winds Of Winter...

...continue to blow...4 below zero at the moment with wind chills near 25 below...and currently our furnace is acting up..short cycling then turning off and won't come back on.  Inside temp has dropped to 60 degrees..

Thankfully we do have a fireplace so we're not in dire straits - we won't freeze - but we do need Mr. Furnace to work...wonder how much this is going to cost??


Furnace update:  replaced the filter (did not help), then got up on the roof - nice up there in that 25 below zero wind chill - and discovered a snow/ice cap blocking the fresh air intake pipe...cleared that away and voila!  All is well again.

Total cost: $0.00   Those are the kind of repair bills I like.
In this extremely cold weather we're seeing more of the deer than we usually do... is scarce so as long as we spread corn around they stop by both day and night.  Saw a 6 pt buck the other night, but too dark to get a decent pic.  It's amazing they can withstand the cold the way they do.

And of course we've got all the usual suspects hanging around the bird feeders...
a convention of mourning doves...
...and here's what happens when  you tap on the glass...
...don't worry, they'll be back...
Struggling along with Time Slip Island...
...still liking the story, but for some reason I'm stumbling over the "show, don't tell" axiom that is every writer's 1st rule of "good things to do so readers don't use your book as a door stop".

Telling: "Lord Foppington was 50 years old and wasn't happy about it."

Showing: "The revelers had departed, taking the sparkle of the evening with them.  Now Lord Foppington sat alone by the dying fire, eating the last of his cake and mourning the arrival of his fifth decade upon this mortal coil."

Ok, so neither of those is great literature, but that's not my fault...blame Lord Foppington for being such an ill tempered bore.

In both cases you learn LF is 50 and unhappy, but the difference between them is that of reading a Spark notes summary vs  the real thing.

In business telling is usually better than showing, the ubiquitous (and boring) powerpoint culture notwithstanding.

In fiction, however, showing is better than telling, always.

Don't want to drift into the Dickens zone...
...where I end up using 100 words for something that should be communicated in 10, but don't want to write a grocery list, either.
duty screams as always, so excelsior!

later, mcm fans...

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