Spring Fever

spring feverDo you ever feel like you’re just going through the motions? Wake up, go to work, come home, have supper, go to bed, then do it all over again the next day? The days blend into each other and sometimes it’s hard to tell one day from the next. It’s like you’re on a slow ride through a long, boring expanse of flatlands with nothing to see for miles and miles, just rolling along and letting life steer the car.

Lately, I feel like I’m just rolling along and (NOT) enjoying the ride! I think it’s probably cabin fever. The weather’s nice, but not nice enough to be spending a lot of time outside soaking in the sunshine and fresh air. The ground is spongy and damp, the air is cold and crisp…too cold and crisp to really enjoy it yet. The trees are just starting to bud.

Once the weather breaks, I lose my shoes the instant I come home from work and don’t put them on again until the next morning when I go to work. The soles of my feet are dying to feel the ground underneath. I want to feel the grass between my toes. I want those days where I come home from work and sit out on the back porch with my Kindle, reading until the sun goes down, sleeping with the windows wide open and hearing the birds chirping in the morning (although I can do without the mentally deficient Woody Woodpecker who keeps trying to “woodpeck” our gutters).

sassidirty
Sassi can’t wait to play in the mud after a Spring shower!

I want to sit out in the backyard and laugh at the dogs running in circles, burning off all the energy they’ve had pent up over the winter. I want to breathe in the aroma of cookouts that permeates the neighborhood all spring and summer long. I want those hamburgers that you can only get from a well-seasoned grill in the backyard, with the paper plates and potato salad and pickles and the pitcher of pink lemonade (always pink!).

Ugh, I don’t know whether I feel better or worse after writing all that. LOL! Hurry up, Spring, I’m tired of waiting!

Skewed Perception

I read an article recently in which several sci-fi authors and others had made predictions back in the 60’s as to what life would be like around the present time.

One of the things that struck me was that several of them predicted that our work week would be shorter (hopeful motherfuckers) and that most of our work would be done by machines or robots.

shame2At first, I thought they were sort of right. Machines have made our lives simpler in a lot of ways, and computers pretty much run everything…but then I started thinking of all those third-world people who actually do most of “our” menial labor for pennies a day, and I became ashamed.

What a sad reflection on the human race that we “use” our fellow human beings that way.

Freedom

I used to have a web site called Random Rants. I spent a lot of time sharing my thoughts and opinions there, and it’s been awhile since I’ve had a good rant, so consider yourself forewarned:)

I’ve seen several posts on my Facebook newsfeed lately regarding the Pledge of Allegiance and the phrase “In God We Trust” on our currency. The discussions are whether recital of the Pledge of Allegiance should be mandatory in US schools and whether the phrase In God We Trust should appear on our currency. The comments on these posts can get quite heated.

The Pledge of Allegiance
us flagRegarding the Pledge of Allegiance, a majority of people argue that recital of the Pledge should be mandatory and should start the school day. While this was standard practice when I was a child, as an adult I tend to see things differently. For one thing, the US was founded on the principles of freedom, and the First Amendment of the US Constitution grants every citizen of the United States the freedom of speech (also sometimes referred to as “freedom of expression”). What this means is that we may communicate our opinions and ideas using our body and property, and as such, we may express our opinion of the government (and anything else) in any way we so choose. The First Amendment gives us the right to disagree with our government. Sure, kids probably don’t refuse to recite the Pledge because they don’t like the US; in most instances, I’d say the decision to make recital of the Pledge of Allegiance mandatory usually isn’t made by the kids in the schools but by some adults or organizations on their behalf.

 What comes to mind when I think of rooms full of young people reciting a pledge to their country is crowds of Hitler’s Youth raising their hands in salute or young cadets marching in formation to the beat of a drum as they head off to war. Yes, it’s an extreme vision, but when you think about it, why is forcing children to pledge allegiance to a country just because they live there considered good? As I said, this country was founded on the principle that all humans are created equal. Why should we make young minds pledge allegiance (by rote, no less) to a country when they’re only just beginning to form opinions and ideas of the world?

Constitution_of_the_United_States,_page_1“If you don’t like this country, get out!” Why? As an adult, I choose to pledge allegiance to my country; I love the country in which I live, mainly because of the freedoms it affords me. If I disagree with something my government does or says, I can stand tall and state my opinion without fear of vanishing in the dead of night and turning up dead. But that’s a choice I make; every citizen of the US has a right to make that choice for himself. If someone doesn’t like something our government does (and believe me, I think we can all attest to feeling this way sometimes), they have every right to, and SHOULD, speak up and let their feelings be known, not be told to “get out!” The government of the United States is “for the people, by the people” and if the people don’t agree with something it does, they SHOULD share their opinion! It’s what our country was founded upon and was one of the very reasons our founding fathers left the country(ies) they were born in!

In God We Trust
1in_god_we_trustRegarding the phrase In God We Trust that appears on our currency, to be honest, I don’t care one way or the other whether it’s there. I’m (probably) not a believer, and at best, I’m an agnostic. I won’t even argue that the Constitution also gives us the right (and freedom) to choose the beliefs we wish to follow (it absolutely DOES grant us that right). I’d rather focus on the arguments I’ve seen on those posts. They run the gamut from “the US was founded by Christians” to “of course it should, because this country believes in God and doesn’t bow down to a false god like those filthy ragheads!” Another common comment I saw went something like “Yes! We need God in our lives more, people don’t even have dinner with their families anymore, they don’t go to church anymore, this country is falling apart because people don’t have God in their lives!”

All of these comments bother me, not because of the belief people have in God, but because of the nonsense they’re stating. Let’s break them down:

The US was founded by Christians.”
According to sources cited on Wikipedia, “of the 55 delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, 49 were Protestants, and two were Roman Catholics. Among the Protestant delegates to the Constitutional Convention, 28 were Church of England (or Episcopalian, after the American Revolutionary War was won), eight were Presbyterians, seven were Congregationalists, two were Lutherans, two were Dutch Reformed, and two were Methodists.” Additionally, a few were anti-clerical Christians (Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin), and some (Thomas Paine, for example) were deists. Some historians even argue that some of the most prominent founding fathers were theistic rationalists.

muslim pray…this country believes in God and doesn’t bow down to a false god like those filthy ragheads!” Regardless of what our founding fathers believed, the US Constitution states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In other words, the US has no “official” religion, and no one in the country can be prohibited from freely exercising the religion of their choice. So those “filthy ragheads” have every right to get on their knees for Allah! And printing the words In God We Trust won’t make that commenter any less of a bigot than he is now.

Yes! We need God in our lives more, people don’t even have dinner with their families anymore, they don’t go to church anymore, this country is falling apart because people don’t have God in their lives!
you-must-be-the-change-you-wish-to-see-in-the-world-1024x576This comment gets me every time. This person is essentially blaming the absence of God for the lack of family and community. She thinks that by forcing God on people, they will miraculously change their ways and become better people. The fact that people don’t have dinner with their families is directly related to the fact that they don’t have God in their lives? How so? As I stated above, I’m a non-believer…but I have dinner with my husband nearly every night. My beliefs, or lack thereof, do not determine whether I’m a good person or not. The presence or absence of God in my life doesn’t make me want (or not want) to have dinner with my family. All that needs to happen for people to change their ways is for…GASP!…people to change their ways!!!

free

A LOT of the comments I saw on the In God We Trust post were bigoted and hateful. I replied that words on a piece of paper won’t make people “better” if they’re bigots. In God We Trust won’t do anything to change someone from hating the “filthy ragheads” or make them have dinner with their families more often if they don’t want to. Those are things that THEY have to do on their own.

We should not need God to tell us to be good people; we should aspire to be good people regardless of what we, or others, believe.

Disclaimer: For the record, this post is not at ALL about, or against, religion. I could not care less what anyone believes, what religion they are, etc. This post is about bigotry and hatred and my frustration at people thinking that what’s wrong with our country can be fixed by forcing other people to conform to what THEY approve of.

The Bus

I’ve always had a vivid imagination. It’s part of the reason I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Once I realized that not everybody sees things the way I do, it made me want it even more. Of course, my low self-esteem has always been detrimental to my aspiration to publish, so…

The Bus
“The Bus”

Anyway, that’s not what this post is about. This post is about The Bus. Several years ago, when I worked in the legal field, I had to deal with a lot of difficult people. I was a supervisor in the word processing department of a fairly large firm (by Rhode Island standards anyway), and my staff was responsible for doing all the overflow work from the “real” secretaries, as well as providing coverage when someone was out sick or on vacation.

I loved that job, despite its difficulties. I didn’t have to sit at the same desk every day and do the same old work day after day for the same people. I got to work with nearly everyone in the firm, and I loved the challenge of knowing exactly how they liked their documents prepared, their phones answered, etc. I loved solving problems and gaining the reputation of being able to make Microsoft Word do things people didn’t think it could do.

mountain cliffBut along with all the good stuff came the constant complainers, the people who were never satisfied and always found something wrong with something no matter how you prepared it. One day while I was sitting at my desk, stressing over a particularly difficult encounter with one of the lawyers, I imagined him on a bus careening down a steep incline toward a dangerous cliff. I giggled. My anger and stress dissipated a little bit.

So from then on, whenever someone upset me, rather than let it get to  me, I just added them to The Bus. My friend down in accounts payable emailed me one day, upset over being hassled by her boss. I told her about The Bus, and before we knew it, we had back-and-forth emails about The Bus. We had people clinging to the roof, and if we were especially upset or angry, people desperately grasping the grill on the front of the bus, barely able to hold on, and the speed of The Bus would increase, the incline would become steeper, cliffs would appear on either side of the road, the weather would get rainy or icy.

I’ve used The Bus a lot over the years, and it never ceases to help me deal with the every day stresses of working in an office with various personalities.

not-an-easy-way-down
“Not an easy way down”

So the next time someone pisses you off at work, just close your eyes for a moment and imagine The Bus, swerving and bouncing along a high mountain road, cliffs on either side, lots of twists and turns, and picture the people who pissed you off in various areas of The Bus–their eyes wide with fear, their knuckles white as they cling to the back of the seat in front of them…or the edge of the window they’re hanging out of…or the back door flapping wildly as they hang on for dear life. I usually picture an old, decrepit school bus, but you can make it look however you want.

And don’t be afraid to let people fall off–or to let The Bus crash–it’s a magic bus…it will be there the next time you need it!

Good Times, Bad Times…

“…you know I’ve had my share…”

Zeppelin, and a nice cover by Godsmack;) Anyway, this post will be about good times, no bad times. I just like that song.

I thought I’d write about some memories (good only:)

I remember the little turtle I had. His name was Sam. Sam ate little bits of ground beef that I fed him out of my hand. He lived in a little plastic terrarium. I can remember the smell of the artificially colored gravel that we put in the bottom.

I remember the little pet hamster I had that I wanted to take for a walk on a leash. My mom let me (why?!), and of course my little hamster ran away. Not a really good memory, but I remember how happy I was to have a hamster.

I remember visiting my grandma’s house around the corner from our house. Later, my parents would buy that house from them when they moved one town over. But when my grandparents lived there, they had these cool blackout shades left over from World War II. I have memories of taking naps in the living room and my grandma would pull those shades down and there were little teeny pinholes in the shades, and the sun would shine through them like stars in a night sky.

I remember fishing with my dad. He used to take my sister and me fishing, but eventually he ended up just taking  me. He said my sister was too impatient and jumpy, whereas I could sit there for hours just staring at my bobber waiting for a bite. Plus, I’d bait my own hooks and take my own fish off the hook. I was a lot less girly than my sister.

I remember camping when I was 11. I mean, I remember camping most of the summers of my life, but when I was 11…that year was special. That’s when I realized that as much of a tomboy as I was, I liked boys:) I met Jeff. He was younger than me (I was 11…he was 10-1/2…woooo!). I was riding my bike down at the lake, and the boys had set up this jump that went down the hill, then shot them out into the lake. The problem was, most of the boys were afraid to try it. So I did. And when I flew off that ramp and shot out into the lake, I think their jaws dropped. Jeff came up to me after that, all blue eyes and sandy blond hair, and said, “Wow…I’ve never seen a GIRL dare to do something like that. You’re the coolest girl I’ve ever met.” We spent the rest of our time at the campground together, riding our bikes, catching frogs, fishing. Haha!

I remember, a year after my dad had his first heart attack, and a few years before he died, hiking up Mt. Chocorua in New Hampshire–my dad, my brother, my uncle (Dad’s youngest brother), and me. Dad told us, “Don’t pack anything needless, you don’t want to carry things if you don’t have to.” So we were smart about what we put into our packs. Near the top, my brother and uncle wanted to climb the rocks to the summit. My dad and I stayed behind because we were both afraid of heights. Once my uncle and brother were out of sight, my dad reached down into the bottom of his pack, held up a can of root beer, and said, “Wanna split this?” I still remember the view sitting there next to my dad, passing that can back and forth, what seemed like the entire state of New Hampshire spread out below us like a quilt. I didn’t tell anyone about that until years later. I sometimes wish I hadn’t because it was one of the few memories of just me and my dad.

I remember taking my brother, 11 years younger than me, to his first concert when he was 14. I took him to see Metallica. One thing he and I always shared was our taste in music. My dad used to tell me, “You corrupted my son, getting him into that damn heavy metal shit.” Haha! But the way that kid’s face lit up when Metallica hit the stage. It was priceless!

I remember being at a rock concert with my then-boyfriend (now husband), back when he was a drummer in a band and looked like he’d just jumped out of the pages of Kerrang or Metal Edge magazine. I remember thinking, What on Earth is this guy doing with ME? as I looked around at all the slutty metal chicks whose eyes were all on him–then I turned to look at him and his eyes were on me–not on any one of them.

I remember that same guy suddenly pulling his car over to the side of the road once, jumping out and running into the middle of the median on the highway, then running back with a handful of daisies.

I remember my first niece, sitting in her car seat in the back of my car, bobbing her head to Patsy Cline’s Crazy and singing, “Crazy! Craaaazzyyy!”

Good times:) I can never get enough.

Think Positive!

I’m trying to think positive…really I am! This is a busy time of the year for me at work. We have a fellowship in our division at the hospital, and I’m the fellowship coordinator. That means that when we start recruiting fellows (which happens starting in March), I’m the one that has to coordinate the interview schedules, the transportation, the pre-interview dinner, etc., for all these people.

As in past years, we invite 10 applicants for each of our four interview dates, with the supposition that not all of them will accept (because that’s what I was told to do…even though I said, “If all of them DO accept, we’re screwed…” I was told, “That won’t happen.”). Well, guess what? All 10 of the applicants invited for our first interview date (tomorrow) accepted…to which the doctors said to me, “What?! How are we going to interview 10 applicants in just one day?! Why did we invite 10?!” To which I replied:

deanfacepalm[And yes, that is Dean Winchester. Like I said, I’m trying to think positive. He helps:) ]

I won’t go into detail about all the other things that are happening. It seems that on my busiest days of the week, that’s when people start having computer issues or the phone rings off the wall–little, tedious, mundane things that can wait, but they all want it now, NOW, NOW! Not to mention that one coworker called in sick and the other called in late, which leaves me answering their phones all morning.

Positive thoughts, right?

I’m going to see Wicked in a couple weeks in Boston with my sister and my niece. Woo! Can’t wait! I have the day off from work so we can head up early and spend the day in the city. Ha, and of course, the following Monday is that one holiday that RI celebrates that nobody else does–Victory Day–so I will have a long weekend!

Then there’s NecronomiCon August 22-25. I’ve already got my tickets to that. How appropriate that my first Con is a Lovecraft convention:)

I’m getting myself in creative mode again–writing and dabbling in some photomanips. I am determined to leave my job at the office, so once I leave at the end of the day, I don’t give it another thought (so I say…it’s much easier said than done;)

Oh…AND! I put on a pair of capris this morning that I hadn’t worn since last summer and found a nicely washed $11 in the pocket:)

Doo Wop A Diddy Vrooooom

SAMSUNGI love rock and roll. The harder, the better. Most people who know me know this. I’m a headbanger, a metalhead. Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax–I listen to those when I’m in a pissy mood. My tastes in hard rock range from the melodic (think Foo Fighters, Goo Goo Dolls) to “cock rock” (Disturbed, Five Finger Death Punch) to the artistic (Tool, Nine Inch Nails). I also have a soft-spot for 80’s hair bands (Mötley Crüe, Ratt) and blues (Delta blues, specifically, rarely Chicago blues).

What a lot of people don’t know about me is that I also love, love, LOVE doo wop music. I’ve always loved the whole vibe of the 50’s/60’s–from ponytails and bobby socks to poodle skirts and saddle shoes. I can’t think of a better time to grow up than in the 1950’s/60’s. I’d have loved to have been a teen then.

camaroAnd the cars! Oh my god, the cars! I look around now and I see teens driving little Hondas and Hyundais, with big tires and low carriages, neon lights underneath, tinted windows. They sit at lights and rev their little lawnmower engines, their seats so far back they may as well be sitting in the back seat, leaning over so far to look “cool” that it’s almost like they’re sitting in the middle of the car instead of the driver’s seat.

That ain’t cool. Cool is a ’69 Camaro, a ’65 Mustang, a ’57 Chevy Bel Air. No plastic bodies on those, just sleek styling and a big-ass sound. They don’t make cars like that anymore. My dad had a ’57 Chevy Bel Air coupe (haha, in fact, my parents often told me I was conceived in the backseat;) It was two-tone, turquoise and white. He loved that damn car. I never saw it; he sold it when my mom got pregnant with me and bought a 1963 Mercury Comet. THAT car I remember. It was black with a red interior. I remember the big old steering wheel and the shiny leather seats, the way it smelled and the way it sounded. I don’t remember what year my dad finally got another car, but he was so adamant that nobody else own that car after him that he had it scrapped–and took pictures of the entire process of its demise.

mustang2My first car was a maroon red 1975 Mustang that my grandfather gave me as a graduation gift. Granted, a ’75 Mustang wasn’t really anything special, but to me it was everything. To me, it imagined itself to be a 64 1/2 ‘stang, and it gave me the freedom I had been yearning for. I got it with 150,000 miles on it, and I put another 150k on it before I was through with it.

I remember the last time I drove that car–I pulled into the local convenience store, and there were two little boys sitting outside the store, maybe 10 or 11 years old. As I started the car when I was leaving, I heard one of them say, “Man, that car sounds AWESOME!” I smiled a bittersweet grin when I drove away, even though the rumble of the exhaust was really just a hole in the rusting muffler.

They were right, though. That car sounded AWESOME!

Haha, well this post went a bit wonky, didn’t it? From music to muscle cars to memories! I have to say, though, while I would have loved to have grown up in the 50’s/60’s…I would, of course, wish to have modern tech;) 

Good News

I read an article last night that came across my Facebook page. It was about a 2-year-old girl named Hazel who’s been in the oncology ward of a children’s hospital for several weeks, battling a high-risk Stage 3 neuroblastoma. Her family spends a lot of time there and they try to keep her feeling happy and upbeat. A few weeks ago, her grandmother visited and shared a time when she was in the hospital and put a message up on the window of her hospital room.

ht_hazel_hammersley_ll_130715_16x9_608
Photo: Hope for Hazel/Facebook

The little girl was waving out the window at passersby, but nobody was waving back, so her family decided to put a message up on the window. Using tape, they wrote: SEND PIZZA, RM 4112. A passerby saw the note, snapped a photo of it, and posted it on Reddit. Pretty soon, the hospital was inundated with pizza, so much that they had to begin handing pizzas off to the nursing and other staff, and Hazel woke up to the wonderful smell of hot pizza and had a pizza party in her room. Look at that smile! Isn’t it beautiful?!

This is the kind of thing I like to read in the news; the kind of story that makes you take a second look at your fellow Earthlings and wonder why more people aren’t more kind more often. To see the results of a simple pizza order–the grin it put on a 2-year-old little bald girl’s face–we should all strive for those results. Every. Single. Day.

I don’t subscribe to a local (or national) newspaper. I haven’t for at least 10 years. I first stopped my subscription to our local paper because the writing was so atrocious–or at least the proofreading. I’m a bit obsessive about spelling, grammar, punctuation, and typographical errors, especially in the media. People trained to deliver the news should deliver it as accurately as possible, and nothing bothers me while reading a professional publication more than finding errors. [My favorite was the brochure for my local community college, which offered a course in “Pubic Relations.” Ugh! That’s just unacceptable!]

I do have some news apps on my phone, and I do try to catch the news on a regular basis via my phone or CNN; but sometimes I’ll go days without it, not due to grammatical and spelling errors these days, but simply because there are so few uplifting stories. There’s always a “trial of the century” or a natural disaster or a terrorist bombing, and they’re always overblown and sensationalized, which I find offensive. News anchors should be reporting the news, not making it into a hyped-up reality TV show.

smileyI pay attention to the news and try my damnedest to not let the media color my own perception of the facts. Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what really matters and what is just “fluff,” added to make the story more sensational. It seems as though modern media thinks we need crazy headlines and a sensational “name” for everything that happens… Do they not think we’ll watch a news story about a deadly tornado in the Midwest if it doesn’t have a flashy title like “Horror in the Heartland”?

I love the feel-good stories, but they seem so far and few between these days. So every so often, I find myself visiting sites that share good news, and I’ve provided some links below. I’m going to make it a point to visit those sites more often, to remind myself that for all the bad things that happen in the world around us, there are also so many many good things that happen as well.

Good News Websites:
Daily Good
Good News Network
Good News Planet
Good News | Huffington Post
Good News | Today
Happy News
Inspirational and Positive News | ABC
Positive News
Positive News US

Ranting

Yes, I’m going to rant again. Those of you who know me probably know I’m fascinated by the strange and paranormal.

lo0221Foot
This is not the actual image, but it is one I found online that looks EXACTLY like it, and this is one of the ones I shared in my comments on Facebook.

Well, recently an image was posted on a Facebook page local to me (and which I follow) about a woman whose kids found a partially decomposed foot in the woods, which they (and she) believed to be human in nature. She contacted the police, but she also sent a photo of the item to the owner of this particular Facebook page, who posted it and requested comments.

Most people agreed that it appeared to be a human foot, but a few (myself included) theorized that it might be a bear’s foot, minus the claws on the ends of the toes. The bear foot theory was not only dismissed, but essentially scoffed at. When I posted links to images of other partially decomposed bear foots which had also mistakenly been believed at first to be human feet, the owner of the Facebook page told me “This is definitely NOT a bear foot. It is CLEARLY a human foot” and again dismissed my theory. Several other commenters did the same, some ridiculing the bear foot idea.

This is another example of a bear paw. You can see why it would be easy to think it's a human body part.
This is another example of a bear paw. You can see why it would be easy to think it’s a human body part.

Well, the other night I noticed that this Facebook page had posted an update indicating the police forensics and an expert from a local university had concluded that the foot in question was definitely that of a bear and not a human. The update was posted quietly, without much uproar, and with barely a comment of acknowledgment. I at least expected the page owner to acknowledge that they and others had been wrong. Nothing.

So I scrolled my way to the original post to see if they had acknowledged the bear foot theory that had been posted in the comments there. Well, not only had they not done that, but each and every comment regarding the bear foot theory, as well as each and every comment disputing (and/or ridiculing) that theory, had been deleted.

Does it sound like I’m upset? I’m actually not upset so much as just disgusted. I’m considering unfriending or unfollowing that particular Facebook page because this one act has made me lose some respect for the person that runs the page. She has essentially twisted the history of the discussion regarding the foot that was found and erased her and others’ dispute of one of the theories (which later became fact).

questions-1Why is this such a big deal? Mostly because most of us that are interested in such things are skeptics. We see lights in the sky, we try to explain them with fact and logic. We hear a knocking sound when we’re alone in the house, we try to find a logical and mundane explanation (like a raccoon in the basement). We try to find the simplest and most logical and easily provable explanation for things that we don’t understand before coming to the conclusion that something unusual is going on.

By this person not only neglecting to acknowledge that a theory they ridiculed was actually correct, but by also removing every mention of that theory or their dispute of that theory, they have removed the proof of the speculation surrounding the incident as well as damaged their own integrity as an impartial observer. It makes me now doubt everything they have posted of a supernatural nature, wondering if they’re leaving something out that might give a clue as to the true nature of the event or item they are describing.

ufo2I could post a long story about the time my husband and I saw a UFO. I can describe the chill that went down my spine and the way my husband and I both looked at each other with the same wide-eyed expression and said, “Did you see that?” I can tell you that we were in the car and on our way somewhere, but we still decided to take the time to chase down the object, and the thrill and excitement we felt trying to get close enough to see the little green men piloting it, deciding which street to turn down, which direction to go to get a better glimpse. You’d be amazed and think, “Wow, you saw a UFO!”

If I then leave out the fact that we DID get close enough to see it up close…only to discover that it was a Fuji blimp…what does that make me? And if you later found out that I KNEW what I saw was not an alien spacecraft, that it was just a blimp heading to a local sporting event, what would that do to my credibility from that point forward? Would you believe anything I posted after that? Or would you be left wondering what details I was leaving out that might help to explain what it was that I saw?

questionThere is a LOT of misinformation and disinformation in the world these days. Our politicians lie to us, our news media twist the facts to give us a good story. If we as skeptics refuse to acknowledge when we are wrong; if we refuse to accept that some things have very mundane, simple explanations even though our imagination may get the better of us, then what does that say about us? Are we being true to ourselves? Or are we merely falling victim to the same sensationalism that is so prevalent today?

I’ll be cross-posting this on P-E, though without most of the back story details, because we think it’s important for those of us running sites like that to be objective in our observations and give our readers the opportunity to make up their own minds about what they’re seeing or reading about.

Author’s Note: If you’re interested in more information on the bear paw stories, please see this sitethis site and this site. Also, check out this Google search. You see, I wasn’t just making up stories that the foot in question was possibly a bear paw; I was sharing factual, proven information showing that bear paws are very OFTEN mistaken for human body parts and that it was POSSIBLE that the foot found was a bear paw. I never assumed that it WAS or that it WASN’T; just offered an alternate theory.

Print Books vs E-Books

bookAlright, I’m gonna rant here, I can’t help it. I have a Linked In account and I belong to several writers’ groups there and it’s almost a daily occurrence to see a debate about ebooks vs. print books, and to be honest, I’m just sick and tired of the whole argument.

From the point of view of an aspiring writer who has published one erotica book under a pseudonym and one collection of short stories years ago when electronic self-publishing first came out, let me just say that I don’t care in WHAT format someone buys my books as long as they READ them.

See, here’s the thing…for years, we’ve been seeing in the news how horrible American schools are nowadays, how 90-gazillion percent of high school seniors graduating are reading well below their grade levels. Rather than arguing over which reading PACKAGING is better or worse, shouldn’t we just be glad that people are READING?!

book2Seriously, if I see one more person eloquently state how they savor the fresh scent of a paper book, rejoice in the feeling of the pages moving so softly between their fingers, and relish the weight of a book in their hands, I’m gonna very eloquently vomit on their friggin’ book. A book is to be read…not made love to. I don’t care if the damned thing is written on a NAPKIN, a paper bag, or parchment laced with gold, all I care about are the words that someone took the time to put together into sentences and build into a story.

Ebooks are not going to be the death of literature, no matter how many people seem to think they are. Electronic publishing DOES have it’s advantages, even if most people won’t acknowledge them. For instance:

  • Some aspiring authors can’t afford the expensive marketing and publishing costs today, so the only way for them to get published is to do it themselves.
  • By the same token, unless an author is lucky enough to get that huge multi-million dollar advanced payment contract that we all dream of, chances are they are working a full-time job and don’t have the time to market their book and shop around for an agent, a publisher, etc.
  • If not for things like Project Gutenberg, there is a very good chance that a LOT of obscure, out-of-print books would have been lost in the sands of time by now. How incredible is it that some of those old tomes have been preserved electronically?!
Amazon_Kindle_3
Kindle 3

I have a Kindle. I bought my Kindle when they came out with the second-generation version in early 2009, when they still cost a fortune even. It was my Christmas gift to myself using my Christmas money and money I saved up, and it is probably one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever bought. A year or so later, I bought a third-generation Kindle and gave the older one to my mother-in-law. Two years ago, I bought my eldest niece one for her high school graduation and bought one for my mother for her birthday.

My niece LOVES her Kindle, uses it all the time, and loves to get Amazon gift cards to buy new books to read. One thing I have never regretted is buying books for each of my nieces and nephew every year and instilling a love of reading in them, picking out books that I loved as a kid (like Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn or Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia) as well as books I know they want, and I won’t regret buying each of them a Kindle as they get older. (And for the record, my 19-year-old niece’s favorite book of all-time is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn:))

My mom loves her Kindle as well, especially the fact that she can enlarge the font to make reading easier on her eyes, one of the reasons she said she hadn’t been reading as many books in the last several years. She now reads every day on her Kindle.

We bought my stepson a Kindle Fire for Christmas in 2011, and he loves that as well. He was one of those boys who really didn’t like to read, but in the last few years, he’s been reading like crazy.

The debate over whether ebooks will make printed books obsolete is stupid (yes, my opinion–STUPID). For one thing, I think there will always be a place for printed books, just as there is still a place for vinyl record albums, CDs, and live musical acts. But just the fact that people are actually READING–THAT is what’s important!! Who cares what format the material is in as long as they are READING!

carDo we really need to see the same arguments fighting against advancing technology every time something new comes along? Many people believe ebooks are just a passing fad. Sure they are–just like automobiles were–and electricity–and radio–and film–and the telephone–and the computer.

I am always amazed and astounded by technology. When I realized that I could carry an entire library in my purse, you bet I was excited!   And yes, I immediately started saving my money up to get one! And I haven’t regretted that purchase for a minute. Besides being able to carry so many books with me, the fact that I can download the next book in a series when I finish the previous one, that I don’t have to go out to a bookstore (or wait for it to be open if it’s the middle of the night), that I can switch from one book to another without having to pick one up and put one down, that I don’t have to keep bugging my husband to build me another bookcase–those things alone were worth it!

Really, just quit with the arguments and debates over which is better. Keep buying and reading your print books if that’s what you prefer. I won’t knock it; I get it! But don’t knock ebooks either! Just be glad people are READING!