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Driving in Tennessee: Sleeping is the New Texting?

So I get it.  Tennessee has passed a law that as of July 1st, 2019 no one is allowed to have any cellular device in their hand while drivi...

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Snapchat played backward sends secret messages?


Image result for evil social media
So today at my school we had a special guest who rallied the students around the dangers of social media.  Don't get me wrong, I fully agree with his perspective.  I'm not quite ready like Vermont to propose laws banning cell phones in those under 21.  However, I have several friends whose children or family have had adverse experiences online.  It can be a dangerous place.

Image result for gas station pay phonesBut as we were listening, I was reminded of my own school days.  Back then there were no smart phones.  All our phones were chained to walls in our house or poles outside seedy gas stations.



Image result for copenhagen tobaccoOur dangers were not so different though.  We didn't jule, but the evils of nicotine were readily available for us in the form of dipping tobaccos.  We even had "trainer" gum such as Big League Chew.  Many a day I was told to spit out my half pouch of BLC during class.  I was quite disappointed when I later found out Copenhagen didn't allow you to blow bubbles.

I recall our assemblies where we were warned not to dip.  Just as I remember our version of the "Snapchat is evil" assembly.  For us, it was MTV and heavy metal music.  The TV would rot our brains and prevent us from ever having a future.


Image result for lost jaw tobaccoAs I remembered these moments, I looked to a colleague and suggested that in our day the point was always punctuated with our favorite technique.... fear.

We had to sit and watch images of people without jaws.  And then we were told this would happen to us if we dipped... maybe even if we just kissed someone who dipped.  "Don't drink, smoke, or chew or date girls who do!" was our rally cry!

And let's not forget the horrors of heavy metal music.  It turns out that if you play the records backward you are likely to hear, "Arrgghh Wuuufff Relllennncia..." which obviously is a secret message to worship Satan.  If the lyrics are heard too many times, that message will penetrate your subconscious.  From there you are doomed.

15 creepiest backward messages in Rock

My colleague and I had a good laugh... until our current rally turned to similar techniques.  Students bullied in cyberspace who are no longer with us.

It reminded me of something I read long ago.


“Everything in our background has prepared us to know and resist a prison when the gates begin to close around us . . . But what if there are no cries of anguish to be heard? Who is prepared to take arms against a sea of amusements? To whom do we complain, and when, and in what tone of voice, when serious discourse dissolves into giggles? What is the antidote to a culture's being drained by laughter?”



I recalled it, because just as I did when I was in Middle School, the kids today sat apathetically by.  They were excited to raise their hand that they had their own smart phone and were on social media.  They were idly distracted when presented with stories of predators, charges for child pornography (yes, this was a section of the talk), and lost future jobs due to posting inappropriate material.

Image result for dangers of cell phonesBut the real reason I thought of the quote is I began to look at my other colleagues in the room.  About half of whom were not listening.  They were being entertained by their phone.

Maybe, just maybe, the cultural ideas and darlings of one generation are a timed bomb for the next.


Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Cats, not robots, are our doom

Image result for cat as god

I think we all have intuitively known for a while that most cats are simiply biding their time before their usurpation of civilization.  They are haughty, arrogant, disease carrying animals that so many people love and adore.

Up till now, it has been speculation as to whether our world would end in flames of destruction as Arnold Schwarzenegger type robots took over or whether cats would eventually rise up and subdue all humanity as in any number of cartoon farces.

I still have an eye on the robots in my life and will be especially suspect if Walmart ever installs a robotic "Arnold Greeter."  But in regards to cats, there is no longer a debate.

A new study shows that people with cats are less likely to attend church.


Image result for cat as godThat's correct.  If you have cats, you have already begun to accept that there is no need for a higher power in your life.  The article even states that the research shows:

"We want to always win their affections and it bothers us when we think they might be somehow displeased with us."


The study reflects a strong "negative connection" between cat ownership and church attendance.  Further, the study resolves:

"So while they (the cats) are pretty low-maintenance, we end up serving them a lot. Cats are very godlike in those characteristics."

I've been to cat-people homes.  It goes something like this...

Me: You have cats?
Friend: "Oh, that one is Tabby.  She's a sweetheart." (picks up cat.  Cat claws her face.  Friend tosses cat to me)
Me: "She seems a little violent?" (I'm holding cat as it swipes it claws at mt eyes.  I know if I set it down it will open my guts and I will bleed out.  I must survive)
Image result for cat scratching human faceFriend: (taking cat who hisses) "Oh, she is just hungry."  (Friend looks at cat) "Who is a hungry little kitty?  Who needs some tuna?"
Cat: "Me.  Go get it."
Me: "Look at the time... I have to get to church..."
Cat: "I'm watching you.  You too shall one day bow before me."

You know I'm right.  Cats think they are gods.  In fact, the study concludes:

Professor Samuel Perry, from the University of Oklahoma, said cats could be seen as a "god substitute".

Just to reveal my own bias, I'm a dog person.  But I will certainly never admit it once cats truly come to power.  All hail her majesty Fifi!.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

OWNFTK: Eadeverell

 "On Writing But Not From The King" (OWNFTK).

On Writing But Not From The King is inspired by my second reading (I read it when it came out decades ago).  I will be looking at blog sites that are highly recommended within the writing community.  My goal is to do so through the eyes of a new-ish member to the writing community.  I will be posting in these blog posts what I have learned from each site.  I hope you find it helpful in your own journey as a reader of literature or as a writer.

Today I took time to look at:  https://www.eadeverell.com/worksheets/



Writers Helping Writers offered a myriad of options and rabbit trails.  I could literally (and have literally) spend hours following the site's many offerings.  Here, the site is much more specific.  It focuses on helps to plot material, character, and worlds. There is a very long video (I admit I only made about 10 minutes) showing an involved technique to create a fantasy world. 

I have learned in the last year that writers often use the terms "plotters" and "prancers."  According to James Scott Bell's Great Course (a must I think for new writers!) every writer should know which one is his / her strength and plan (or not plan?) accordingly so that the story is helped.

I'm still learning which I favor and believe there are techniques for either side to benefit a writer.  I truly appreciate this website's character sheets and other worksheets to help a writer pre-plan and develop.  Of particular interest, I found this sheet on character logs super helpful.

https://www.eadeverell.com/character-log/

There is also one to develop a magic system for your world!

https://www.eadeverell.com/magic-system/

Good stuff!


And for those interested...

https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/how-to-write-best-selling-fiction.html




Friday, January 3, 2020

OWNFTK: Writer's Helping Writers

 "On Writing But Not From The King" (OWNFTK).

On Writing But Not From The King is inspired by my second reading (I read it when it came out decades ago).  I will be looking at blog sites that are highly recommended within the writing community.  My goal is to do so through the eyes of a new-ish member to the writing community.  I will be posting in these blog posts what I have learned from each site.  I hope you find it helpful in your own journey as a reader of literature or as a writer.


Wow!  That is all I can say.  Wow!  I hopped on this site to see what it offered.  When I made myself stop (I may or may not have been in a professional development meeting for work...) I had no less than 13 tabs open for me to look at later!

I have links regarding a really cool thesaurus for describing urban locations (I grew up in the country).  There are sample pages and it looks great.  Their post before Christmas has several sample thesaurus entries over various topics (emotions, action, etc...) and it was the "Christmas Present" my writing group printed and distributed to each other.

I have a link regarding quick facts about westerns (I'm currently trying my hand at a western).

Here is one on parts of a western coach!==>


There is a section on resources including one on the Choppy Shop.  This is a group that critiques young adult pitches and query letters.  As someone who just finished a Middle Grade reader, I am excited about this affordable resource.

Choppy House


There is also a link to a free workshop (assuming you meet requirements and apply correctly) for the first five pages of a finished manuscript.

There is a list of group specific free dictionaries (British, Navy, NYC slang, Math people, etc...)

Overall, their primary product is their own works.  It seems most are books helping writers with language.  How to describe emotions, places, and to make your writing more vivid.  It is officially the first blog I have subscribed to with my new pristine writer's email.

If you are a writer, I would highly recommend this site.  If you are not a writer, I would suggest it is still worth a glance.  Scroll down and look to the right for the menu links.  Maybe something will strike your interest!


Apologies for the absence

So I took off for the Christmas Break.  Those of you in the regular working world (I spent my careeer there), there is this amazing thing teachers receive called "Winter Break."  I did a lot of writing on my next book, but very little with the blog.  Time with family, with my community, and with friends dominated my schedule.  And for that, I am very thankful.

It also marked for this blog a school teacher's anniversary.  Not necessarily in months or years, but in the completion of the semester.  Thinking about last semester I have come to terms with who this blog is intended.  I have had 600 views and thank those friends and family who have taken time to read and maybe even share.  And a special thanks to those who have even registered something as an emotional support animal or gotten a dreamcatcher for your car!

I certainly want my viewers to continue and hope to provide entertaining information as well as informative entertainment.


But at a core level, this blog is being written (Oh my!  Horrible use of the passive tense?? Yes... ) for myself.  For that reason, as I mentioned in December I am issuing a challenge to myself.  I am going to look at highly recommended blog sites for writers.  I will read and post here what I learn from each site.  I am not rating or reviewing the site in particular, but looking at it through the eyes of a new writer (though one who has had a bit of life under his belt when approaching the task).

I am calling the sections "On Writing But Not From The King" (OWNFTK).

On Writing But Not From The King is inspired by my second reading (I read it when it came out decades ago).  I will be looking at blog sites that are highly recommended within the writing community.  My goal is to do so through the eyes of a new-ish member to the writing community.  I will be posting in these blog posts what I have learned from each site.  I hope you find it helpful in your own journey as a reader of literature or as a writer.

Ready?  Here we go 2020!!