2019 Posts

Contents:

A Quiet Rampage
Himbergeist?
The Good Narcissist
Fossilless – Step 4
Author Rape
To Publish or Not
To Okotoks and Back
“Eclipse of Our Soul” Published


A Quiet Rampage                                               January 22, 2018

rampagekindlecover

A Quiet Rampage is on the loose!

Only 144 pages, this memoir of my life is easy to read. It aims to entertain rather than bore with a litany of positions held and adulation received (well, it might have included the latter if there was any). It responds to questions like “What the hell did you do all those years at the Lazy B?”

In a more serious vein, it endeavors to paint a picture of who I am, what I stand for, and what makes me tick. To some, it may seem like my true personality is coming out of the closet but really, the closet door has been relatively transparent for those with a discerning eye.

Oddly enough, ever since I released it a flood of additional memories which could have found their way into the book have popped up. Some people, events and phases have gotten short shrift. It’s hard to know where to draw the line and adding too much might run the risk of boredom. So it is what it is. Perhaps I’ll come up with a second edition at age ninety, if still around and in possession of some semblance of a cognitive memory (two big “if’s”). In other words, don’t wait for the second edition. Let your curiosity get the better of you now and visit my website.


Himbergeist?                                       February 24, 2019

Osprey444

Fifty-four years ago, five of us built this Thunderbird (Osprey, #444). Since all of us were engineers, the boat had a number of innovations and unfortunately a 500 pound penalty associated with its sturdy construction. The added weight prevented us from winning a race over the first few years and it looked as though we never would.

One of our group, Max Turner, took a field service assignment in Germany. He sent us a bottle of Himbergeist (ghost of the raspberry or more literally, raspberry spirit) to celebrate our first victory, if it ever occurred. Ray Overlie kept the bottle ready for over a year until, lo and behold, we won a race!

Four of us met at Ray and Marge’s house and broke open the bottle to celebrate. We drank over half of it and progressed from drunk to sick. We all had splitting headaches the next day and Ray buried the half-empty bottle in his back yard. We marveled at its potency and didn’t think kindly toward Max and his gift.

Last night (half a century later) I got a call from Peter Morton, the third member of our group (Pete Wheeler is the remaining one). Peter was attending a conference  back east and had sat next to a German lady at dinner. They got talking about sailing and Peter recounted the story about Himbergeist.

“Himbergeist?” she said in a dismissive Germanic accent. “You don’t drink Himbergeist, you cook with it.”


The Good Narcissist March 26, 2019

Narcissist – one who pursues gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s idealized self-image and attributes.

They cover a wide spectrum from slightly self-centered to egotistic to empathetic to covertly non-empathetic (outwardly charismatic while secretly getting rid of non-adulators) to overt non-empathetic to irrational non-empathetic to irrational sociopathic and trumping them all, delusional unintelligent irrational sociopathic. In other words, good all the way to a menace to civilization.

One thing they seem to have in common is a charisma or ability to lure followers, no matter the degree of narcery (Spell Checker, you can underline it all you want—I’m using it). At the far end, they can call war heroes cowards, make fun of cripples, promote violence, make pokahontic slurs, and so on without alienating their tribal followers. Oddly, they seem to label their perceived enemies with their own attributes, such as Lying Ted or Crooked Hiliary.

Four breeding grounds for narcery (look, SC, you don’t have a problem with adultery, so back off) narcery exist; namely corporations, sports, entertainment and politics. Of course, there are good corporate leaders along with those who destroy a hundred year old pillar of industry for personal gain or feel sufficiently immune from censure to display their penis on social media. The “bottom line” mentality that permeates the current corporate world indicates the scales are tilted in the bad direction. Sports (“I am the greatest!”) and entertainment (“Elvis has left the building!”) lean in the good direction.

Politics presents the entire spectrum, thanks in large part to corporate funding. But rather than devote words to the unblinking lizard that rules the Senate, I want to turn to the good side of narcery (damn it, SC, it may not be an actual word, but you allow “politically correct” non-words every day). A racist acquaintance called Obama a narcissist just after he was elected. Probably true, but anyone who saw him kneel to talk to a little girl, tear up talking about a mass shooting or giving a speech of closure at the Nagasaki war memorial, knows any narcery is grounded in empathy.

I once watched Liberace enter a hotel in Edmonton and as he glided to the front desk his narcissism was on full display. You didn’t need to watch his performance to recognize it. You see, he didn’t wear the usual winter coat, he wore a cloak. A good narcissist loves praise and clamors for recognition, then turns around and helps others to succeed or enjoy life. They can laugh at themselves. They are harmless and they often contribute greatly to society. They are driven to make a name for themselves in a good way and we are better for their existence.


Fossilless – Step 4 June 16, 2019

Linda’s new car has gone 350 miles on a quart of gas. Well over 200 miles per gallon but the gage tops out there.Paragraph

It’s a Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid that provides 47 miles on pure electric before kicking into the hybrid mode for the rest of its 340-mile range with a mere seven-gallon gas tank. She has yet to reach 47 miles in a given day.

Step 1:         Solar panels that provide more electricity than we use.

Step 2:         Tesla Model 3.

Step 3:         Electric tankless water heaters to reduce gas usage.

Step 4:         Honda Clarity

Step 5:         Heat pump coming in July relegates gas to power-out use only.

After replacing our worn out weed eater with a battery one (which performs better), the last remaining gas guzzler is our lawn tractor. We need it for a while at least so that I can periodically drive up to a gas pump in the Tesla and watch the quizzical stares.

We’ll have to live another ten plus years to break even but damn, it’s satisfying!


Author Rape July 27, 2019

Of millions of authors who have slaved over one or more books, only a minute percentage receive any significant financial reward. After reviewing books that appeared appealing yet proved not to be, it’s easy to conclude that a large percentage deserve to languish in obscurity. But there are also many, many deserving books that never obtain public awareness. I feel for those authors when they count on royalties for a living.

To see why, consider a book that sells for $10.00 and is published using on-demand printing. Printing cost would be $3.85, less than 40% of the selling price. A royalty of about $2.15 might be expected so the publisher pockets what’s left: $4.00 or 40%. Of course, he will claim overhead and often marketing expenses. But seldom is anything spent on marketing the book in question and the author must pay for any publicity effort. It’s not like the old days when publishers had to risk being stuck with a large inventory after a print run.

Publishing today leaves an author with options such as hiring a publicity agency, flooding social media, seeking book-signing opportunities, or soliciting reviews with giveaway copies. Personally, I would love to see my books reach a wider audience though sales are not a financial necessity. Of these various options, I’ve only used giveaways in search of reviews. Receiving one review for every ten copies seems to be the average. I think I’ve discovered one reason why,

Of millions of authors who have slaved over one or more books, only a minute percentage receive any significant financial reward. After reviewing books that appeared appealing yet proved not to be, it’s easy to conclude that a large percentage deserve to languish in obscurity. But there are also many, many deserving books that never obtain public awareness. I feel for those authors when they count on royalties for a living.

To see why, consider a book that sells for $10.00 and is published using on-demand printing. Printing cost would be $3.85, less than 40% of the selling price. A royalty of about $2.15 might be expected so the publisher pockets what’s left: $4.00 or 40%. Of course, he will claim overhead and often marketing expenses. But seldom is anything spent on marketing the book in question and the author must pay for any publicity effort. It’s not like the old days when publishers had to risk being stuck with a large inventory after a print run.

Publishing today leaves an author with options such as hiring a publicity agency, flooding social media, seeking book-signing opportunities, or soliciting reviews with giveaway copies. Personally, I would love to see my books reach a wider audience though sales are not a financial necessity. Of these various options, I’ve only used giveaways in search of reviews. Receiving one review for every ten copies seems to be the average. I think I’ve discovered one reason why,

After seven years, used copies of my first book are still offered for sale even though a very limited number were printed before I dumped a poor publisher choice by revising and re-titling the book. Concerned about the possibility of piracy and counterfeiting, which Amazon tends to turn a blind eye on until confronted with evidence, I ordered a couple of these books. Here’s the shocking result:

The other copy had this page torn out, so it probably was a similar situation. Bottom line—I purchased the copy at the author price and paid to ship it to the “reviewer” who may have read it or not before selling it to a re-seller.

That brings me to my final complaint (thankfully, you say). Re-sellers distribute books without paying royalties which, if nothing else, eats into the author’s market. And Amazon happily advertises them—they get a cut from the resale.

This is a book out of print for seven years, however it is equally true of live books. Author rape complete.


To Publish or Not August 19, 2019

We are in an era when this question arises after writing an article or story that criticizes the Trump cult. You may scoff saying it’s not that bad. But we now have over a million people armed with weapons of massacre destruction. And almost all answer to an unstable leader who doesn’t hesitate to sic them on his enemies.

Not too long ago, hate crime murder of minorities was difficult to tie directly to the administration. That no longer is true as evidenced by the El Paso massacre. Violence is not only enabled, it’s encouraged by thinly veiled tweets and speeches.

One of the vilest examples involves false claims that the Sandy Hook massacre is “fake news” by a cult follower. He has incited attacks on victims’ families forcing many to relocate and even one father to commit suicide. There has been no leadership attempt to rein in this atrocious behavior. Hitler’s brown shirts have arrived in the United States.

So when it comes to publishing anything critical of the current administration, one has to ask oneself, do I want to expose my family and property in this environment? Does the impact of what’s written outweigh the risk? As the orange moron would say, SAD.’

______________________________________

To Okotoks and Back September 29, 2019

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is okotokstrip.png

2,500 miles in the Tesla we fondly call Becket and never once did we run out of gas! Seriously, we chose the route for its scenic content and good golf courses, as well as an abundance of charging stations. A typical day, other than the first one, involved driving in the morning to the next destination (shown by large circles on the map) and letting Becket graze while we ate lunch. Only once did we stay with the car at a charging station for more than a few minutes and that was because we got into an interesting conversation with two other couples there at the same time.

We played golf in Kamloops, Golden and Okotoks and were rained out at Revelstoke and Kelowna. The goal was to visit and play golf with great friends from our Arizona days. That was a very pleasant success. All in all, a wonderful get-away and proof that an exceptionally enjoyable to drive electric car is no real limitation on long trips.Paragraph

My choice of accommodations came under scrutiny after a night spent in Yale at The Johnny Ward House. Yes, it was a B&B, however it was built in 1860 during the Fraser River gold rush and remains furnished as in that era. An electric light bulb hangs in each room now and it has indoor plumbing but other than that we were living in the 1860’s. And trains roared by not 40 feet from the house every hour or so. Still it and the adjoining museum provided an interesting and memorable experience (not recommended for multiple day stays). The brand-new hotel in Kamloops made it feel like we traveled 160 years in one day.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is wardroom.jpg


“Eclipse of Our Soul” Published November 8, 2019

This novel is now available in print and eBook format. Please visit www.SandysPen.com for more information.

Like most of my books, assigning it a specific genre is difficult, however YA fiction comes closest. A musical extrovert and deaf introvert come together during school years and as young adults begin a promising family career. He can’t resist getting involved in the 2016 political scene with tragic consequences.

For the few who read “Ickee Mushta”, this may sound familiar—with good reason. The first third was lifted from that book, condensed somewhat and used again here, with all reference to the “Ickee” name removed. Part 3 on extends the story and makes the novel complete with out suffering the impact of subsequent events which I feel rendered “Ickee Mushta” obsolete. Significant meat, conflict and emotion is added.

Since the book deals with the sinister issues facing American democracy during the dark 2016-2020 era, it will inevitably be considered political. People leaning toward progressive will enjoy it. Trumpers will find it sorely tests their ability to keep an open mind. While it deals with the American experience, in a world where pressures to move toward an authoritarian government pop up all over the place, it provides useful perspective globally.

%d bloggers like this: