Monday, October 24, 2016

Book Review: Always Grace

Title: Always Grace

Author: Tim LaHaye with Gregory S. Dinallo

Greg Dinallo's web page:

Date: 2008

Publisher: Kensington

ISBN: 978-0-7582-3888-7

Length: 428 pages

Quote: “I’ve just the lass who’s perfect for it.”

For those who associate LaHaye’s name with the fast-paced, dramatic Left Behind stories (or with nonfiction), Always Grace may be a bit of a surprise. This is not a fast-paced novel. It’s a life-long-slow story, the kind that sounds like a re-creation of someone’s family history, about a couple who are outrageously faithful to each other in the most outrageous circumstances.

Grace and Dylan are Scots who meet during visits to North America. Dylan is a photographer. Grace is a frustrated dancer whose family don’t think she should even be seen in dance costumes, much less pose in lingerie. Because they work well together as photographer and model, when a customer orders desperate young Dylan to photograph lingerie, he asks Grace to pose. Her brother, self-appointed guardian of Grace’s morals, waxes indignant. Grace and Dylan liberate themselves from her bossy brother by getting married.

Then the war (between 1914 and 1919 it was “The” War) breaks out. Dylan enlists. He and Grace write letters regularly. They’re newlyweds and so much in love that it seems impossible that they could possibly grow old any way but together…but they do.

And why is the heroine called Grace? She’s the realistic kind of heroine, not the sweet kind; she seems a most imperfect symbol if she’s meant to represent the grace of God. Nevertheless, she and Dylan believe in fidelity, and their romantic story could have been titled “The Value of Fidelity.” Christians should only try to be as faithful to the God of grace as the fictional character Dylan is to the fictional character Grace.

Since this is primarily a novel about an artist who happens to be a quiet, non-evangelical Christian, the level of overt reference to religious topics is low enough that...actually, I have a backlog of Sunday book reviews and want to post some of them during the week anyway. It's not the sort of intensively Christian book you might have expected from Tim LaHaye. Most of the time we see Dylan thinking about his job or his wife, not his religion; his temper is peppery and his language isn't always Sunday School material.

If you like the sort of long, melancholy, poignant love stories over which some women love to have a good cry, Always Grace is for you. It’s not quite as sad as Evangeline; it breaks off at a happier point than Shadowlands.

Even if you’re the sort of cynic (like me) who wonders whether Grace and Dylan would have stayed together for so long if they’d been together all the years they were faithful to each other, I must admit, Always Grace is a pleasant, satisfying, not-too-sentimental read.

Tim LaHaye is recently departed and sorely missed, especially by e-friends who continue to receive e-mail in his name. Gregory Dinallo is, however, still alive, so Always Grace is still a Fair Trade Book. Send $5 per copy, $5 per package, and $1 per online payment to either address at the very bottom of the screen, and we'll send $1 per copy to Dinallo or a charity of his choice.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Book Review: A Short History of Christianity

Title: A Short History of Christianity

Author: Martin E. Marty

Author's web site:

Date: 1987

Publisher: Fortress

ISBN: 0-8006-1944-7

Length: 324 pages plus index

Quote: “I aim to stand at the distance which will make possible a book of less than four hundred pages.”

That’s what’s to love and what’s to hate about this book. Any “short history” that summarizes two thousand years in less than four hundred pages is by definition sketchy, leaving most of the interesting stories out.

Marty really tries, in this book, at least to touch all the bases as he dashes through the history of Christianity. Because U.S. citizens of my generation generally received such a pathetic grounding in world history—most of us got ten or twelve years of “social studies” blather with, if we persisted, maybe a one-term summary of the history of Western Europe and an occasional mention that Russia, China, Arabia, and Africa were known to exist before the year 1800—Marty may even be providing fresh new facts in his discussion of the Eastern Church, but he doesn’t discuss it much: “the weight of the account will again fall Westward, but we…balance this…with occasional Eastern prospects.”

John Hus gets a paragraph. Martin Luther gets a short chapter. The formation of a Church of England gets six pages, which, in view of its personal and political rather than theological origins, may be all that or more than it deserves. The formation of a Church of Scotland gets two paragraphs; if you happen to be a Presbyterian, you must remember to look up “Knox” rather than “Presbyterian” in the index, to find those. German Anabaptists get cursory, though respectful, mention here and there. “Holiness Movements” and the Great Awakening are briefly and blurrily noted under the general heading of Methodism, in two separate passages. Neither of those passages bothers to inform anyone who might not have already known that Shakers were different from Quakers; that Mormons (who don’t consider themselves part of the Protestant tradition) were a completely different group that formed, to some extent, in active competition with Seventh-Day Adventists (who do); that self-described “Holiness churches” still exist today. Present-time Apostolic, Pentecostal, or Holiness churches are lumped together with the “fundamentalist”  and “evangelical” Protestant movements.

In short, if you are a Protestant, what can be said about Marty’s discussion of your church is that he seems to be trying to write as an equally unsympathetic outsider looking in on the history of yours and all the other Protestant churches. His seems to be a typical Catholic view of Christianity as being more of a social/political movement that needs to emphasize “unity” to accumulate wealth and power, rather than a spiritual practice, a disciplined individual pursuit of truth.

As a first textbook for college classes studying the history of Christianity as an influence on social/political history, A Short History of Christianity is probably adequate: it presents a reasonably balanced and sequential arrangement of historical data, enough for the average undergraduate to absorb in three or four months.

As a book for Christians seeking historical perspective in understanding themselves, as groups…I wonder whether this book should be read together with Ellen White’s Great Controversy. The coldblooded quality of Marty’s history seems to me to need to be balanced by the feverish quality of White’s, because, although the history of Christianity needs to be studied in a detached historical way, this subject ought also to rouse Christians to a bit of fervor.

Marty is still alive and writing--eight books, plus many short writings, just since 1998!--so A Short History of Christianity is a Fair Trade Book. If you buy it here, $5 per copy + $5 per package + $1 per online payment to either address at the very bottom of the screen, we'll send $1 per copy to Marty or a charity of his choice. (Yes, of course his favorite charity probably is not ours. Lots of writers' favorite charities are different from ours. This web site is about supporting writers.) 

Friday, October 21, 2016

October 21 Link Log

This has not been an ideal day. Friday Market was rained out; although at least it wasn't raining when I started walking, and I didn't have to walk far, I walked far enough on rainy streets that my shoes smell like gutters; Amazon (and/or the rain and/or the mountains and/or this "old" computer from circa 2009-10) bungled that free book someone had tried to send me to review; nobody's offering to adopt my beastly Problem Cat Barnie; people for whom I wrote things on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are being lazy about paying. Somebody should at least take Barnie off my hands; it (I'm really not sure) is gentle with humans, though not with slower and smaller cats, and it's extremely fluffy and likes being groomed. I lured it to my hand with the promise of rubbing behind its ears. Categories: Animals, Book, Food, Mental Health, Phenology Links, Politics, Washington, Zazzle.


Almost unbearably cute, funny dog photo essay:

Tiny kitten explores Halloween treat bucket:

Clever dolphins train humans to deliver more fish. (Genius? Meh. Green herons have figured out how to bait fish with bread, and, as demonstrated by Abby-Lab above, dogs and cats have figured out several ways to negotiate for more food treats.)


Today's book link was proposed by a correspondent. I've not read it, myself, but it should be interesting; Edith Bolling Galt Wilson was quite a character.

Food (Yuck)

I don't plan to be online tomorrow; Saturday is supposed to be my day of rest, and if I have to go into town on a Saturday I feel oppressed and depressed and repressed and pressured and generally not good. Those of you who do use the Internet on Saturday may enjoy this one. (Although Salsa workshops generally tend leftward, they also generally tend to be pretty good, and open to all political persuasions.)

Food (Yum) 

Gluten-free if you can trust the oatmeal:

Gluten-free...and (should we mention?) a palatable source of Vitamin E. Grandma Bonnie Peters recommends eating sweet potatoes once a week while going through "midlife," either as a man or as a woman. I don't eat them that often and haven't noticed any symptoms of Vitamin E deficiency...but I like sweet potatoes.

It's hard to make cookies gluten-free, but for those who can eat flour and have decorative pumpkins to use up after Halloween, here's a way to use them. (Gluten-free flour works a little better in "pan cookies" that can be iced or layered with pumpkin pie filling, scooped out, and eaten with a fork--or spoon.)

What if what life has handed you to use up are black walnuts?

Gluten-free version of a B.L.T. sandwich (as salad):

Mental Health 

Somebody out there needs to know...if you think you might be an addict, yes, it's possible to have a "high bottom." Y'know, for some addicts "hitting the bottom" of the addiction cycle means waking up in a gutter or strapped onto a gurney with all kinds of injuries you have no memory of incurring; for some it means being arrested for disorderly conduct or driving under the influence; for some it means that one morning when the alarm clock goes you say "I am sick and tired of waking up with a hangover." My father was a genetic alcoholic who "hit the bottom" when, as a drill sergeant, he received a daily list of soldiers to be disciplined for drunk-and-disorderly conduct, and his name was on the list...or maybe when he backslid one more time after that and realized he'd beaten up a good friend for no good reason. My natural sister and I have grown up self-identifying as genetic alcoholics who "hit the bottom" just from hearing Dad tell us, if we ever met any of his friend's descendants, to remember that he'd regretted that two-cans-of-beer "binge" all the rest of his life. So I've never taken a drink--if wine is being poured I say "I'll be the designated driver"--and going to meetings would feel silly to me, but yes, I have other physical indicators of Irish-and-or-Cherokee alcoholic genes, and that's why I've never drunk alcohol. You don't score points for having a lower "bottom" than other addicts, right? It's all right to have a short story, have a viable life, and be a good sponsor or ally for those who've "hit bottom" further down than you did. (Content warning: Laura McKowen's post is written the way addicts talk, not the way aunts talk.)

Phenology Links 

President Obama claims that people in Miami are seeing "the ocean coming up through the streets"? Apart from in the midst of a hurricane? Are they really seeing that? If so, why aren't they telling the rest of the world about it? If tides in Miami really are regularly rising higher than they've been rising all these years, that would be Real News!

Photo essay from North Carolina looks a lot like what we're seeing in Gate City: a majority of trees still green or just starting to turn yellow, a few bright red and yellow ones:

Politics (General) 

The United Nations may have dropped the title "Agenda 21," but they've not recognized the fundamental evilness of trying to pack people into "dense cities." I got it, before I ever heard of Agenda 21, by reflecting on the history of natural disasters...comparing the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, or other storms with Hurricane Katrina. Natural disaster + dense population = deathtrap. U.N. proposals for making cities denser are very underhanded alternatives to war.

I want to know: After checking out this temporary link, does anyone out there (a) think Cato is too serious (this is a typical newsletter of theirs), or (b) want to see more of their serious content linked here?

Washington, D.C. 

Presidential motorcades are not really endless, but the endless-loop video in this photo essay gives you the feeling...especially around the inaugural season, when a person can get pretty cold waiting for the motorcade to pass by.


I need this one! Barnie is making it difficult.

E-Books Are a Pain

Real books are such a treat...and "e-books" are such a pain! The following chat used up the time I would have spent in the Friday Market, if rain hadn't scared people away...before the market actually (should have) opened. (There was no rain during the time when people would have been working and shopping. It stopped about the time people would have been setting up their displays, if it hadn't been pouring during the time when they would have been driving into Gate City.)

This is why some people who e-mailed to ask where a book review was, on Amazon, haven't seen their review yet...(Some correspondents of this web site have sent us free e-books, which, because nobody had promised to review them, nobody has actually tried to print or download yet.) Note that the first forty minutes of the time mentioned below was spent trying to download the "gift" book without help.

I will, however, try to read Kid Chef without prejudice; it does look like a cute book that some of The Nephews would enjoy.

Initial Question: Priscilla King, in aid of Heifer International, supposedly received an e-book as a gift in exchange for a review. Gift order was #[deleted]. Gift claim code was [deleted]. When I pasted these numbers into the Amazon window, a demand for a credit card came up. I clicked a button to download a Kindle reader app; when I pasted the numbers into that window, nothing happened at all. Did Callisto Publisher's Club actually *give* me a copy of "Kid Chef" or is this some sort of scam?
05:55 AM PDT Kaviya(Amazon): Hello, my name is Kaviya. I'm here to help you today.
05:56 AM PDT Kaviya: Hi Priscilla
Nice to meet you !!
05:56 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: Hi, Kaviya.
05:57 AM PDT Kaviya: Just to confirm are you referring to the [claim code]?
05:57 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: Right.
05:58 AM PDT Kaviya: I see that you've not redeemed the book under account.
05:58 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: Right. Callisto advised me to wait for an e-mail from Amazon. That never arrived. When I opened this Amazon account, I saw (and still see) nothing about this book.
05:59 AM PDT Kaviya: No worries.
06:00 AM PDT Kaviya: Please use the below link and redeem the book now
06:01 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: Right. I clicked on that link, pasted in the claim code, and got this demand for credit card information. [deleted]
06:02 AM PDT Kaviya: No Priscilla. Just click the link that I've sent now.
06:05 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: Right. So when I click on that link, I see a button for "accept gift." This brings up a box for the gift claim code. This brings up the following page: [deleted]. On this page is a button for "accept kindle gift." This brings up the demand for the credit card information. (Just to clarify, nobody is ever *allowed* to put credit card information online through this computer.)
06:06 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: No billing. No credit card. If the book is not actually a gift, I can do without it, and I'll post some reviews of Callisto's "gifts" too. If it is a gift, no reference to credit cards should appear on the screen.
06:06 AM PDT Kaviya: I'm really sorry Priscilla.
06:08 AM PDT Kaviya: In this case I'll provide you an alternate solution.
06:09 AM PDT Kaviya: I'll exchange the gift book as gift credit and apply to your account and using that credit please purchase the book again.
Is that okay for you !
06:09 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: It's okay if it works.
06:09 AM PDT Kaviya: Can you please hold a minute so that I can proceed?
06:10 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: If you mean leave the "Your Account" page open, yes, it's open now.
06:11 AM PDT Kaviya: I've exchanged "Kid Chef: The Foodie Kids Cookbook: Healthy Recipes and Culinary Skills for the New Cook in the Kitchen" for an Gift Card in the amount of $4.49, which has been applied directly to your account
Now please use the below link and purchase the book:
06:13 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: That brought up this demand for a billing address. No billing. No mail from Amazon, ever, unless it's a book purchased with a giftcard. [deleted]
06:14 AM PDT Kaviya: No Priscilla just purchase the book using the option "Buy now with 1-click".
06:15 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: Right. I clicked on that and I saw that nasty screen with the "billing address" on it. Repeat: if there's any possibility of anybody but Callisto ever receiving any "billing" related to this book, I don't want it. Wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole.
06:16 AM PDT Kaviya: I'm really sorry about this.
Please try again.
06:20 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: I'm still seeing that "billing address" screen, and I've spent enough time on this for one day. If I'm paying for a book even as an online gift, it wouldn't be this one. I agreed to read "Kid Chef" free of charge and give Callisto a review free of charge. It's already costing me more time than it's likely to be worth to me.
06:22 AM PDT Kaviya: In this case, if you wish I can help you place the retail book.
06:23 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: Place the book? On a shelf? In a job assignment? Or do you mean order it as a real book to be mailed to the real address like the other books I've ordered using giftcards?
06:25 AM PDT Kaviya: Yes, we will mail the book to your address.
Is that okay for you?
06:26 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: That's okay enough with me to pay for the loss of time, thanks...I hope it's equally okay with Callisto. (I prefer any real book to any e-book!)
06:26 AM PDT Pranoti(Amazon): Hello, my name is Pranoti. Please give me a moment to review the previous correspondence.
06:28 AM PDT Pranoti: Priscilla, just to confirm you are placing an order for ebook, right ?
06:29 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: I tried to claim an e-book as a gift. That has already taken more time and trouble than the book could possibly be worth. Kaviya just offered to mail me a copy of the real book, which would make up for the inconvenience...I actually enjoy reading real books. Looking at screens, not so much. I agreed to read/review the e-book as a sort of mutual favor--publicity booster--but it's already done enough damage to my aging eyes, without my having seen the book.
06:30 AM PDT Pranoti: Thank you for confirming. May I know if you are placing the order for the book ?
06:31 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: If it's covered by the amount Amazon credited to my account, yes, let's place the order for the real book now. (No additional payment. No billing. Not ever.)
06:34 AM PDT Pranoti: Okay, so paper back is for $12.56, correct ?
06:36 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: Hmm. I'm seeing "More Buying Choices
$5.50used & new(55 offers)". I don't have a problem with used books as long as they're intact. (But I'm not paying any extra charges.)
06:40 AM PDT Pranoti: Thank you.
06:41 AM PDT Pranoti: A member of our Kindle specialist team will be the perfect person to help you with this. Let me connect you to a member of our Kindle team. It will only take a moment.
06:41 AM PDT Josh(Amazon): Hello, my name is Josh. Please give me a moment to review the previous correspondence.
06:42 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: No. I agreed to accept a real book, free shipping, in exchange for the time and eyestrain this "gift" has already cost me. I no longer *want* the Kindle. I would have accepted the Kindle e-book if one click had downloaded it, yesterday...but I've already spent more than an hour on the hassle, and that's more time and trouble than any e-book could ever possibly be worth!
06:43 AM PDT Josh: We have a specific department that can help you further on this issue. Let me connect you to the correct department.​ Please stay connected. Thanks.

​06:44 AM PDT Roschelle(Amazon): Hello Priscilla, my name is Roschelle. Please give me a moment to review the previous correspondence.
06:45 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: Real books are a source of pleasure. Looking at a computer screen is work.
06:47 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: And I've invested enough work in this alleged "gift" of an e-book, already, to turn me against it. It's only a cookbook, for pity's sake. I don't mind helping publicize a cookbook...if it's not a HUGE HASSLE to see the wretched thing! An hour of online headache time is more than a SCHOOL TEXTBOOK is worth!
06:47 AM PDT Roschelle: I have reviewed your concern and confirmed that a $4.49 gift card was issued on your account.
06:48 AM PDT Roschelle: May I have the link of the physical book you'd like to purchase?
06:49 AM PDT Roschelle: Can you please confirm if this is the book? [deleted]
06:49 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: "Used from $5.50." You may apply the spare change from previous giftcard purchases, but no billing for shipping!!!
06:50 AM PDT Roschelle: I understand.
06:50 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: Yes, that's the book.
06:50 AM PDT Roschelle: Thanks for confirming.
06:52 AM PDT Roschelle: I don't want you to be of much hassle in purchasing a used book.
How about if I'll issue an additional promotional credit so you can just purchase a new book?
06:53 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: Whatever...if a new book boosts Callisto's sales and smooths things over for them, that's fine.
06:53 AM PDT Roschelle: Don't worry, nothing will be charged on your credit card and you'll not be asked for billing address.
06:54 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: If the book and shipping are free, that'll be fine.
06:56 AM PDT Roschelle: Can you please proceed to check out and see how much will be the shipping fee so I can also waiver it off?
06:58 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: This comes up: "Select a payment method

Sign Up Now
Priscilla, Your cost could be $8.47 instead of $18.47! Open an Store Card and you'll automatically get $10.00 off instantly as a gift card.
Your available balance

Use your $6.12 Gift card balance"
06:58 AM PDT Roschelle: Do not sign up for that one.
Just proceed to checkout.
07:00 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: From this page I'm still seeing "enter payment information to continue."
07:01 AM PDT Roschelle: Don't worry about it, you will not be charged anything because you'll apply your gift card ($6.12) and the promotional credit ($12.35) entirely.
07:02 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: Now, or by entering another code?
07:02 AM PDT Roschelle: Just refresh the page.
07:03 AM PDT Roschelle: Right now, you have $18.47 on your account that will cover the cost of the new book and shipping cost.
07:04 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: I'm not seeing a change yet. (Refreshed three times)
07:05 AM PDT Roschelle: Please follow the steps below so I can see what you're seeing on your screen.
1. Open in a web browser.
2. From the top of the screen, look for the Amazon search bar which is right beside Shop by Department
07:05 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: You mean a new window? It's already open in Chrome.
07:05 AM PDT Roschelle: Yes, in new window.
3. Type the word "share" in the search bar.
07:06 AM PDT Roschelle: 4. When you are done, click on the search button on the right
07:07 AM PDT Roschelle: You should be on the search results page.
07:07 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: "Activation code while on the phone"? Something for Amazon to fix! I don't use the Internet from a *phone* or reveal any phone numbers online!
07:08 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: I clicked "back" to get back to [deleted]
07:09 AM PDT Roschelle: Please click this one: [deleted]
Please provide the activation code you have on your screen.
07:10 AM PDT Roschelle: Please enter this one: [deleted]
07:10 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: I'm seeing this: "Activation code What is this?
A customer service associate will read you the activation code while on the phone.
"...and it's unacceptable. Amazon is not allowed to talk to me on the phone.
07:11 AM PDT Roschelle: Did you enter the activation code [deleted]?
07:11 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: I did.
Got this: [deleted]
07:12 AM PDT Roschelle: It looks like it's taking too long to connect.
How about we try this option.,
07:13 AM PDT Roschelle: Please log out and log back in to your Amazon account.
07:14 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: Here's an even better one! Why don't you just print out the mailing address on a sheet of paper and mail me the book? I've spent more than TWO HOURS looking at screens for one wretched cookbook. It can't possibly be worth this much trouble. You can put it in the mail today, or Amazon, Kindle, and Callisto can all get one REALLY BAD review.
07:14 AM PDT Roschelle: As much as I'd love to, I do not have an option to place an order for our customers.
07:15 AM PDT Roschelle: You really just have to proceed to checkout because I have provided enough promotional credit on your account that could cover the cost of new book and its corresponding shipping cost.
07:16 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: Well, then you deserve a bad review, because plenty of people have older/smaller computers and live in more remote mountainous regions even than I do. I'll give it ONE MORE SHOT before posting everywhere, all day, about the HEADACHE I got by accepting a "free gift."
07:17 AM PDT Roschelle: I am so sorry about this, Proscilla.
07:17 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: No. This is still coming up: "ON ORDER
0 items

Try Prime
View benefits
Manage balance"
07:17 AM PDT Roschelle: Just disregard that page and proceed to checkout.
07:18 AM PDT Roschelle: You have gift card ($6.12) and promotional credit ($12.35) for a total of $18.47.
You can see the promotional credit balance at checkout.
07:19 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: Now I'm seeing "Shipping address [deleted]"
07:20 AM PDT Roschelle: Please click Apply.
What's the order total you're seeing?
07:20 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: Well, finally something about a "courtesy credit" came up and then this came up: "Thank you, your order has been placed.
An email confirmation has been sent to you. Sign up for delivery updates by text for this and future orders.

Order Number: [deleted]
Kid Chef: The Foodie Kids Cookbook: Healthy Recipes and Culinary Skills for the New Cook in the Kitchen will be shipped to Box Holder by
Estimated delivery: not yet available
Review or edit your order"
07:21 AM PDT Roschelle: Perfect!
07:21 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: So what's with "not yet available"?
07:21 AM PDT Roschelle: Your new book will now be shipped to your address.
07:22 AM PDT Roschelle: Don't worry about that, the delivery date will be updated in a few and you'll receive an email confirmation once it has shipped.
07:23 AM PDT Roschelle: I hope I was able to somehow make this right for you. Again, I am so sorry for all the trouble.
07:23 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: Well, then we'll see when it gets here. I did click on the Twitter button, and will be posting a warning to e-friends not to accept an "e-book for Kindle" as a gift! Henceforward, people who want reviews have to send me real books only.
07:24 AM PDT Roschelle: Rest assured that your voice will be heard and customer feedback like yours will help us improve our store and provide better services to our customers.
07:25 AM PDT Priscilla Heifer: I hope so. Thank you, Roschelle, and let's hope the rest of both of our work day goes better than this morning has gone.
07:25 AM PDT Roschelle: You're very much welcome, Priscilla.

Terrible Minds Scary Story Link Roundup (Parts 1 and 2 of 3)

Regular readers know that I joined Chuck Wendig's scary story challenge, in which several writers posted part one of a scary story as it occurred to us, then each wrote part two of someone else's story. Next week, those still participating will be posting part three of yet another story, which means each story will theoretically have been written by three different people. Here's a link roundup (so far) of how to read parts one and two of each story...

Wendig explains the rules, and writers check in and link up in the comment sections, here:

Stories (alphabetically by the screen names of the authors of part one, with keywords supplied as temporary titles if the authors haven't given them official titles):

Boundbeautifunk's story, Stranger at the Table, part one:

Part two:

Chris Chambers' story, Sleep, part one:

Part two:

Christopher's story, Badfellas, part one:

Doug K Zeigler's story, Genetics of Revenge, part one (Warning: all of these stories contain gross-outs, but this one contains obscene sexualized violence):

Jemima Pett's story, Black Dog, part one:

Black Dog, part two:

J.F. Capps' story, End of the World, part one:

Kaleiyah P's story, Bradley Portrait, part one:

Laura's story, Scottish Play, part one:

Martin Perlin's story, Your Next, part one:

Matthew X. Gomez's story, What Lurks in Shadows, part one:

Part two:

Mozette's story, The Bubble, part one:

(Is "part one of four" scaring people off? I want to see what people with street drug experience have to add to this story!)

Nate F's story, Ashore, part one:

Part two:

Pavowski's story, Laughing Matter, part one, has two alternative Part Two's:

Part two (first one posted):

Part two (second one posted):

Priscilla King's story, Grim Reaper, part one:

Part two:

Rebecca Douglass's story, Witching Weather, part one:

Part two:

Rebekah Spark's story, part one:

Part two:

Rosemary Carlson's story, Dark Fairy, part one:

Part two:

Sertysh's story, Fat Man and Apocalypse, part one:

Part two:

Shana Horn's story, Blood, part one:

Part two:

Skye's story, Tarot, part one...generated three Part Two's:

Part two (first one posted):

Part two (second one posted):

Part two (third one posted):

Sugar And Mice's story, Tilt, part one:

Swampyanky's story, Gyascutus, part one:

Tonya R. Moore's story, River Duppy, part one:

Vicente Ruiz's story, Crow, prequel:

Part one:

Extra Chance to Register to Vote

Just in case someone out there knows someone who needs this information...thanks to the ACLU for sharing:

Yesterday, a federal judge ordered that the deadline to register to vote in Virginia for the November 8 election be extended through today, Friday, October 21.
This is because the state Department of Elections website failed during the days leading up to the original registration deadline of this past Monday. If you are already registered, there is nothing you need to do. However, if you were affected by problems with the online portal while trying to register, or even if you just forgot and missed the deadline, you have all of today and tonight to register.
Here's how:
Since the reason for the extension is because of the state website failure, we highly recommend that you register in person or by mailing a paper form even though online voting is an option.
Voting in elections is one of our foundational rights as Americans, so highly valued because it is preservative of all of our other rights. Don't take your right to vote for granted. If you haven't already, please register to vote today and participate in the November 8 general election. The future of your civil liberties depends on it.

(Can this post use an Amazon link? Why not? Google + does run on pictures...)

Book Review: Boy Genius

Title: Boy Genius

Author: Lou DuBose

Author's current web site:

Date: 2003 (there was an update in 2009, which I've not read)

Publisher: Perseus Public Affairs

ISBN: 1-58648-192-4

Length: 253 pages

Quote: “When Miriam Rozen…asks why no reporter at the event has challenged Bush’s limited understanding of national and foreign policy issues, Rove [says]… ‘Because they were spellbound.’”

Boy Genius is a hostile biography of Karl Rove as “The Brains behind the remarkable Political Triumph of George W. Bush.” At least it wanted to be hostile.

Personally, I’ve never been convinced that W Bush lacked brains, as such. Obviously, Ben Carson he’s not; nor is he Bill Gates, nor is he Stephen Hawking, nor…My point here is that if Americans had, as a group, wanted Ben Carson as our President, we could’ve elected him. We didn’t. Given a choice between a real genius who has better things to do than make speeches and look good on TV, and an ordinary chap who did reasonably well in school and loves to make speeches and look good on TV, we’ll elect the TV “personality” every time. When I was younger this fact used to make me wish I could belong to some other nation that did better about this sort of thing than Americans. Now that I’ve given up hope that such a nation exists in our world, I can only observe that W Bush was very, very good at what We The People apparently wanted—at looking good on TV.

Good, as in bland. Good, as in…blond? Would you call W’s hair blond or grey? In any case W was very good at using the “blond” stereotype to defuse hostility. “I did that? Mercy! How? I wouldn’t even have known how to do that. I was just standing there, thinking about how I was going to look on my next TV show, and someone else came up and…” If you know how to play the “blond” game you don’t even have to blame someone else for whatever it was, the way tacky old Bill Clinton, who is not a gentleman, always seemed to need to do. W, who is a gentleman, didn't blame Karl Rove. I don’t remember anyone’s actually even mentioning that Rove was blond, originally, whereas in some early photos Bush’s ash-fair hair had darkened to a point that could have been described as brown.

Rove was, however, a political strategist, which is one of those occupations it’s easy for some people to hate. He was a quintessential nerd, which is one of those personality types it’s easy for some people to hate. He was White, he was slightly overweight, he was rich, and he was a known admirer of Richard Nixon. W did not actually need to tell his critics to bash Rove. A lot of them wanted to bash Rove, on general principles, for any reason or none. So in this book they do.

Much of the time, I confess, I have to remind myself, “Giving Rove credit for keeping W ‘on message’ about education and property tax relief, during the gubernatorial election, counts as blame…they think getting W elected was a bad thing.” A lot of practical politics is game playing. If you’re a Republican you can read many of DuBose and colleagues’ stories of Rove’s successes as praise. For me, reminding a candidate to say a lot about tax relief counts as a bad thing only if the candidate subsequently raised taxes.

Getting Walking-Target Bush into the White House was a bad thing, in my opinion, because it started a war. If DuBose and company could prove that Rove knew that would happen, they’d have had some real dirt on Rove. They can’t. I personally can prove that I suggested that W be a really compassionate conservative and back a conservative with a different family name, in 2000, but I can’t prove that Rove ever read that suggestion. A theoretical possibility remains that Rove, who was so brilliant at manipulating Americans, knew nothing at all about Arabs. I can believe that the self-serving bias, always very strong in humans, could have persuaded W—who was and is an oilman, who knew and knows Osama bin Laden’s relatives—that “Of course old Osama knows that he’s only the demented demagogue of a handful of malcontents, and that I’d mop up the floor with him if he ever went beyond ranting and did me any harm; sensible Arabs like me.” I suppose Rove might have fallen for that idea. Maybe. As a Christian I sort of hope he did. 

“In…‘the money primary’…Bush easily defeated John McCain, Gary Bauer, Lamar Alexander, Alan Keyes, Elizabeth Dole, and Pat Buchanan,” in fundraising. Nevertheless Rove has been blamed for a truly remarkable, because surely unnecessary, negative campaign against McCain.

There were valid reasons for Republicans to prefer Bush, McCain, or someone else in the 2000 primaries. Though neither candidate was “conservative” to anything like the extents that candidates Dole, Keyes, and you-can’t-be-serious Buchanan were “conservative,” Bush could be described as a “country-club, tax-and-spend” Republican. McCain had admitted in his bestselling book that, on all but military issues, he could better be described as a conservative Democrat. (Nobody at this web site hated McCain, and some of us liked him, for that reason.) A legitimate Bush/McCain primary campaign could so easily have been organized along the lines of “Senator McCain voted to increase spending…Senator McCain failed to support budget cuts…”

Instead, as most readers probably remember and as the McCain family will never forget, there was a series of palpably false rumors about Senator McCain’s personal life, including a really vile one about a child just barely old enough to be embarrassed. Any proof that Rove was directly involved with that might have been published as legitimate “political dirt” that would have given readers a reason to dislike, distrust, vote against, Rove and the candidate for whom he was working. Long story short: that’s not what Boy Genius contains.

And so this political biography starts with a growl and ends with a whimper. We know the three co-authors don’t like Rove. We’re not convinced that their reasons for disliking Rove are more than game-playing or personal prejudice. Some day Boy Genius may actually come to be considered a Republican document.

Some day it will have historical value...and right now it's a Fair Trade Book, which means that if you buy it here, $5 per copy + $5 per package + $1 per online payment, we send $1 per copy to DuBose or a charity of his choice. Payment may be sent to either address at the bottom of the screen. If making a payment via Paypal or (not recommended, but allowed) Amazon giftcard to Salolianigodagewi, you'd send $11 for one copy or $26 for four copies of Boy Genius (or one copy of each of four books of its size); if sending a U.S. postal money order to P.O. Box 322, you'd send us only $10 for one book or $25 for four books, and the post office would collect its own surcharge.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

October 20 Link Log

Busy, busy, busy, following up on hack writing orders and pre-posting book reviews all day. Categories: Christian, Michigan, Poetry, Politics, Psychology, Shopping, Travel, Writing, Yougov. Zazzle? Buried in the e-mail. At one point today I thought I was catching up with the e-mail, then realized that an entire page (mostly of irrelevant Niume comment notifications, to be deleted, but deleted by ones because an occasional Niume comment is relevant to me) had come in while I was elsewhere in cyberspace. Sigh. I'd rather be too busy than too bored.


Jonathan Cain shares his Christian testimony at what I must warn you is a more than usually annoying page even by The Blaze's standards. (This computer opened it, but not easily.)

Michigan Update 

Looks as if Michigan may be setting itself up for another large-scale disaster. Tuberculosis was an epidemic in Europe and North America, one or two hundred years ago. It's no longer a serious health issue here because it's a bacterial infection that responds well to treatment with antibiotics. So if real refugees have tuberculosis bacilli, TB, that's not a reason to deny them shelter or employment; it's a reason to offer them a cure. By "covering up" the problem, people purporting to help refugees may be literally killing the refugees as well as endangering the host communities. But...Michigan? In the state that contains Battle Creek these idjits are "covering up"..."Idjits" isn't strong enough. Even if lead poisoning is involved they're behaving like full-blown homicidal fools.


Fellow Virginians...we've let North Carolina draw ahead of us in funding Elizabeth Barrette's Fifty States poem series. This is disgraceful. (I've seen a draft of her Virginia poem. It's at least as good as this one, maybe better, more focussed. Fund it please! It's only $10!)

Politics (Election 2016) 

Charles Krauthammer (not linked) says Trump almost won. Trump says Trump won. Scott Adams says Clinton won, but just barely, and then goes off on an interesting tangent about whether the election is being "rigged." My take: At this point it needs no further "rigging." Getting brain-damaged Clinton past any number of Democrats who are active and healthy and reasonably popular, and repulsive Trump past more than a dozen viable Republicans who even campaigned, was the part that had to be "rigged," and it was. We are now deciding who gets to make the speeches handed to her/him by operatives who will include, most noticeably, Bill Clinton...this time without the benefit of Alan Greenspan. (The position of this web site has long been that Alan Greenspan was the only thing BC's administration had to recommend it, and Greenspan's Objectivist apres-moi-le-deluge fiscal policy wasn't really a good thing either.)

I agree with Norb Leahy up to the last two the next to last paragraph he's using "Communist" with a capital C in the old inaccurate fashion, to mean aggressively socialist, and in the last paragraph his claim that a greedhead like Candidate Trump won't use existing socialist laws, institutions, and morality for all he personally can get out of them...? ???

Candidate Trump is not, repeat not, Hitler. Neither is he Franco, Mussolini, nor even Khomeini. But he does seem to incline toward the same unholy alliance between Big Business, Big Government, and Big Military that Jonah Goldberg and Larry Elder have noted on the Left. I support free markets and business and enterprise--but there's a huge difference (go ahead and read "'uge," imitating Trump's accent, if you want to be mean) between the way I support those things, probably the way you do, and the way Trump does.


How do you remember things? What kind of memory triggers recall things to your mind? Some of my memory triggers are discussed in my comment on this post:


If anybody out there knows a "Mr. and Mr." couple, +Beth Ann Chiles has a nice pendant for them...


Barney Scout Mann leads a virtual hike through the Sierra Nevada in California:


Even if it's in an e-friend's rating, +Andria Perry is rating high! She deserves it. She delivers a nitty-gritty, down-home Alabama blog with lots of inside tips about the frugal life of a country gentlewoman, with short, fun reads every day.

Can I pick just five? Scroll down if necessary; you'll see a long stream of blog feeds, some active every day and some inactive for months or years, on the right side of the screen. It's ironic but, due to people's moving on in life in one way or another, the great legendary blogs--Drudge, Malkin, Ozarque, Making Light, Language Log (I don't even have a book link for them! Pitiful!), many more--just aren't where the blog action is these days. Some of the great ones still post good stuff, but not every day, or every month, any more. Self-funding Andria Perry is surging ahead of me in the frugal nitty-gritty blog department, and may well be our next Angela Nissel. Problogger has an active job ad page, which is nice for freelance writers in search of gigs. If our correspondent and U.S. Representative, Morgan Griffith, weren't so busy being a Congressman he'd be a great blogger. Scott Adams rates up there with the legends of the blogosphere, and +Mona Andrei has been rated pretty close to his standard of humorous blogging. There is a lot of good stuff I've been neglecting at Live Journal, in addition to Elizabeth Barrette and M.C. Hogarth. How would I know which blogs you want to follow, anyway? If any reader cares to post a comment about which topic most interests you, I'll pick five blogs that tend to focus on that topic.


Once again...both you and I get free stuff sooner if you use this link to join Yougov. I should mention that, unlike some survey sites, Yougov does not waste your time with surveys that ask a lot of questions before they start counting points...I think we could use a law requiring survey sites to award points upon the opening of the first question, myself. If a company wants to analyze surveys only for a certain demographic group (in the U.S. Spanish-speaking people are the hot ticket of the moment; you'll get more surveys if you tell'em you prefer to take surveys in Spanish whenever the option is offered) then the company should take responsibility for sorting out the surveys of special interest and paying the other people whose time they've taken up. The trouble with Surveymonkey and some other sites is that you could theoretically spend hours telling everybody your age, location, first language, and so on, and never get a single point. Yougov has not been doing this; they usually include questions about, e.g., Clearasil and Olay in the same survey and let the sponsors deal with how many results they get from teen vs. senior respondents. I think we should all encourage Yougov to continue making all surveys pay off for all respondents, regardless of their answers.

Book Review: The Goose Girl

Title: The Goose Girl

Author: Shannon Hale

Author's web site:

Date: 2003

Publisher:  Bloomsbury

ISBN: 978-1-58234-990-9

Length: 383 pages of text, plus an interview and discussion section

Quote: “There are three kinds, three gifts…people-speaking…animal-speaking…and…nature-speaking.”

The original Grimm fairy tale about “The Goose Girl” is one of the hardest to love in their whole collection. All that violence, and that squick about the horse’s dead head endlessly repeating a message of useless commiseration. Anybody can adapt “Hansel and Gretel” to suit modern tastes, arguably even “Red Shoes,” but it took Shannon Hale even to want to modernize “The Goose Girl.”

And she did a bang-up job with it. Hale’s Princess Ani believes in the magic of “animal-speaking and nature-speaking,” but how real that magic is, even in her fictional world, is debatable. What saves Ani, or what she uses to save herself, is people-speaking. Ani is a quiet, respectful child who doesn’t use a “gift of people-speaking” to manipulate people, so at first she’s pushed aside by the jealous serving wench Selia. Ani does, however, listen to, talk with, and work with people, so in due course she’s able to muster an army and overthrow Selia.

If you enjoy the genre of old fairy tales reworked into relatively believable novels, with subplots and minor characters and all, you will love The Goose Girl. Even as my outer grownup says it’s a silly genre, my inner child loves it. Evidently a lot of people agree because this book has generated a trilogy.

Although I'd encourage anyone who likes this sort of thing to get the whole trilogy, new, The Goose Girl is available as a Fair Trade Book by now. As usual: $5 per book, $5 per package, $1 per online payment.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

October 19 Link Log

To-do list: Take Yougov survey (done!). Find, read, and review e-book. Read e-mail and blog feed. Share best of those in Link Log. And I made it through one Google + friend's Google + page! Hurray for me! And, whoa, midway through the day, in comes another writing job. I love it. Keep the paid writing jobs coming. Let the Link Logs suffer if they do. Categories: Animals, Books, Christian, Food, Fun, Music, Phenology Links, Pictures, Poetry, Politics, Travel, Writing, Yougov, Zazzle...whew!


Is Barnie's face more like a barn owl's or a snowy owl's, really? I've been wondering...both typically have white faces with huge dark eyes, dark beaks, and little caps on top. Barnie has an emphatic dark gray stripe down her nose that gives her a very owly-looking face. Maybe it's more like some snowy owl faces than like this barn owl's. Barnie is not really answering to any name yet. She is living in the barn, so "Barnie" still seems like her name. If she ever learns to trust me enough to answer to a name (or demonstrate that she doesn't hear enough words to answer to a name) and she's still with me at that point, she'll have an opportunity to change her name.

This is rare, although I've seen it happen: a formerly feral cat not only bonded with a human, but accepted that human's house as her home. (At the Cat Sanctuary, partly because I don't force these things on the cats, it's been a generational progression: Patchnose let me pet her but not carry her; Polly let me carry her, and once spent a cold night indoors, but never really relaxed indoors; Bisquit was a pet who lived on the porch; Candice was not a real pet but brought up her kittens indoors; Heather and Irene think the mud room belongs to them, and last spring Heather lobbied unsuccessfully, but with determination, for complete control of the office as well.)

This cat was a rescued stray, not from a shelter. This type of animal rescue is by far the most ethical and humane! Cute pictures, too.

This cute cat is letting its human know that it wants to play the classic kitten game, where if the human tickles that soft inviting underside the cat is going to grab and nip the human's hand.

For the dog people, here's a cute photo essay from Barkley, who really does help other animals and whose book I'm waiting to receive in the mail...

Time for a rescued animal feature? Here's a cat who needs to be rescued from (I think) a relatively decent local shelter. I don't like looking up local animals on Petfinder, though, because they post so many links to the Johnson City animal shelter, a horrible place where the "rescued" (or stolen) animals aren't kept in physical cages but in more permanent mental cages formed by keeping the animals doped out of their minds. I walked in there once, saw twenty different cats lolling around in a mock-up of a home with a couch and armchairs, petted a cat who woozed over to me, and thought "Will this wretched animal ever, as long as she lives, even see that I'm not the person she's remembering on her drug trip? Coming off a trip like that is an appalling experience for a human who's chosen to get stoned and more or less deserves it--what's it like for a poor dumb animal?" I would have serious doubts about whether any animal rescued from that shelter would ever become a pet worth feeding. However, Kingsport and Blountville have shared a shelter that uses physical cages, from which I have rescued at least one cat who eventually became a great pet for someone else (she was in the shelter only a few hours); this more yuppified "no-kill" shelter claims that Flame is living in relatively normal conditions in a temporary home, although they won't let people check up on that claim, and I have doubts.

Adopt "Flame" of Kingsport from Petfinder at

My experience has been that these pale orange and white "biscuit-colored" cats seem to share a unique sort of personality, maybe similar to Siamese cats--I've not lived with a purebred Siamese, so don't know. They can seem hostile at first. Young kittens of this color will dodge, hiss, spit and sometimes even bite, even when their mother presents them to her human. This is a test. If you persist in being friendly, they bond with you and become very affectionate pets, possessive, maybe even jealous or clingy. I lived with our late lamented Bisquit for years (not enough years, and I blame Monsanto's "Roundup"); maybe because I avoided petting her because it went to her head and made her jealous, I don't remember her ever pulling away or ignoring a single possible crumb of attention. If you feel that most cats are too aloof, taking the time to bond with a biscuit-colored cat might be ideal for you.

Flame is female, as was Bisquit. A majority of either bright or pale orange cats are male, but normal healthy females occasionally inherit two copies of the gene for orange fur. Can we find a biscuit-colored male, in case anyone out there wants to rescue a male cat? Maybe in Washington, D.C...though I warn you that D.C. shelters may be "rescuing" pets stolen from loving homes in places like Kingsport. If you like "Mojo," please investigate his history carefully...

Adopt "Mojo" of D.C. from Petfinder at


For those who get into Halloween and "gorey" things...Edward Gorey's work wasn't usually gory or gross, but weird in an amusing way. (A fellow I dated during my post-mononucleosis ace phase appealed to me because he looked like a Gorey illustration. Somehow that seemed to indicate that he'd be nice, funny, and a good asexual friend--which he was.) Gorey was the illustrator of choice for all kinds of quirky-funny books, and also wrote several picture books of his own; today's Featured Amazon Book Link is an omnibus edition.

That writing job could be considered publicity for a certain forthcoming Second Edition of a certain book for which misleadingly low sales figures were initially reported. Hmm. Aunts certainly don't endorse books that feature nude pictures of "Worst Actress" award winners, but Amazon suggested this related book, which is funny...unfortunately Amazon won't let me see the recipes without buying a copy!


From Penny Nance:

Pray for the salvation and complete life change of radical extremists.

God, you are the Creator of all men,
No one is too far from your reach.
We ask that in your incredible power,
You bring radical terrorists to their knees
To repent and turn from their wicked ways.

Isaiah 55:6-7 – “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”

Food (Your Call)

Chocolate...chili...quesadilla? Definitely the strangest recipe I've seen today. Well, there's no actual cheese involved and the chocolate is a dark chocolate flavored with chili instead of milk and sugar, so maybe, depending on your taste, you'd actually eat it.

Food (Yum) 

Need I mention that if you have a reliable source of GMO-free corn tortillas and glyphosate-free rice, this would be gluten-free?

Here's a nice frugal fry-up:

If you use rice, or rice-based pasta, it may not be Hungarian but it'll be a cheap gluten-free one-pot meal:

Venison anyone? (About this time last year I saw a poacher spot a big buck deer in a neighbor's woodlot, leap out of a truck, and hit the deer with one lucky shot. It was out of season. Maybe if the deer had suffered I would have reported the poacher. Since the deer never knew what hit him, and the neighbor didn't particularly want to breed more nuisance deer in the woodlot, what was there to say but "Great shot, man!" However, there's a reason why hunting season is in winter. In warm weather there's some risk of catching undulant fever from eating wild game. So, save these recipe for later if you live in Virginia, please.)


How hard is it to walk a straight line, and why?


I don't post audio clips here, but +Martha DeMeo can and does. If you're an Alabama fan, you'll enjoy the two audio links in her blog post:

Btw, during yesterday's shoe blog writing I remembered that Jimmy Buffett's greatest hit features shoes...I can't listen to it on the computer, but that's not a problem. I listened to it enough as a teenager that it replays flawlessly in my mind.


Some more beautiful autumn roses.

Hurricane survivor story.



New Zealand:

More New Zealand:


Celebrating Northern California:

This poem brings to mind probably the oddest couple of e-friends in my blog feed, Elizabeth Barrette and Norb Leahy (our main source of Georgia updates). Will they ever like or read each other? I have no idea, but I manage to like them here, NTL, is EB's peachy Georgia poem:

Now, wouldn't you like to see what EB wrote about Virginia? I have, and it's cool. Fund it to read the free-verse poem "Tunneling Through Virginia."

+Sandy KS wrote a cute poem about a pumpkin:

Politics (Election 2016) 

Scott Adams considers Trump's alleged (and Bill Clinton's confirmed) sexual sins from SA's inside view as a male celebrity. My comment: They have a point. Feminists also have a point that male celebrities tend to let the self-serving bias run away with them, to such an extent that I still believe today that, if I had taken the opportunity to meet President and Mrs. Clinton when I was researching their history in the 1990s, and had spoken to Bill Clinton with the same don't-support-but-don't-hate bare courtesy I would have directed to Hillary Rodham Clinton, BC would have read that plus my body shape as a nonverbal invitation. If any male celebrities happen to be reading this, I don't care whether you know firsthand that a woman once wrote something about how attractive you were--that was then, this is now. Unless she's confirmed within the past five minutes that she seriously wants your body now, you should assume that that past comment was intended as a joke. (If it didn't read like a joke, you should assume that that's because she's not a very witty writer. And you might enjoy SA's book because he's a very witty writer.)

Documentation of fraud? I can't watch the videos, so I don't know:


Bing's irregular e-mail asked what Alaska is the home of half of the world's supply of. I didn't know. Here's what. (Warning: pretty pictures hosted by commercial travel site; high cookie potential.)

This one's not commercial, anyway:


Have any of you readers used this site yet? Your thoughts?

What about this site? The post asks for comments. I typed in a few. They did not show up right away, nor did a message about their being moderated show up. That says to me "Your comments are not welcome at this site. You are not welcome at this site." I know this message is coming from something in Wordpress's over-ambitious programming, but why would I ever want to subject myself to it again? My tip for all writers: Don't use Wordpress or any Wordpress-hosted site unless you're being well paid for using it, and don't expect anyone who's not being paid, also, to read what you post at a Wordpress-hosted site if you are being paid.

Problogger is worth following--for the writing gig advertisements if nothing more--and this podcast is worth watching/listening/reading. (I never listen to podcasts; if the full text is available, as it is at Problogger, I'll read it, and if I think it needs sharing I'll share it.)

Though I've signed out of Linked In forever, some people still post some good things there:


If you've not joined this survey group, there's still time. When you join (and take a few surveys) both you and I get bonus points toward free stuff...and I already have a short list of people waiting for me to make things with the free stuff I get from Michaels via Yougov. I could almost do my knitting-as-a-hobby-that-pays with Yougov/Michaels alone. This is a legitimate survey site; the (mostly boring, shopping-related, but short) surveys work on small, cheap, or old devices, and the site does not send out spam. If you are not a crafty person, you're not limited to free stuff from Michaels. Several stores and restaurants, including Amazon, offer giftcards in exchange for Yougov points. Big-chain stores currently participating include Lowes, Sears, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Macy's, and many more. You can sign up without using a referral link, but both you and I get points if you use this one.


The sale was supposed to be on "Wall Art." Is a plaque "Wall Art"? Anyway, here's Valentino:

Here's a poster advocating general mental health...