Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I know that I am guilty of wasting time searching for inspiration, but never finding it, and only ending up feeling regret for such a waste of time.
Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good websites and blogs that will inspire any writer, but my point is that as a writer you should be writing more and worry about inspiration later.
A good day for me is meet my word count. My word count includes my blog entries, and post on the website The Spoof (this link will take you to my profile). I feel that just writing is better than spending all day looking for something to write. I also find that writing about funny subjects also helps me write about serious subjects.
It isn't easy to always meet my word count, because I try for two thousand words a day, but I feel that it is realistic if I set about three hours aside a day for writing.
I don't know what most writers do in a day when it comes to word count, and I don't always believe what other authors say about word count, because an author of any worth is good at lying.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Why poetry? I think it has to do with the fact I am trying to understand my grandmother's death. She was 83, and diabetic, but her death still came as a shock. I guess I never thought she would die.
My grandmother was always a little dark, and I blame that on her German upbringing. She had no problem talking about death. I never liked the subject and liked to tell her that she wouldn't die. A loud laugh came from her every time.
I can't say that I have written anything worthy of memorializing my grandmother, but my search for something that might do her justice has lead me to a nice website. Poets.org. This site offers a lot to the poet who might be struggling to find the right word or would like some good poetry to read.
I also went through some of my old textbooks from my college days, but those books only offered me a nice distraction from the task at hand.
This poem I write for my grandmother won't be read in a church, because her funeral has now passed, but it will be read in the open air of the cemetery.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
I picked English as my major because I was seduced by the well written sentence, and lured in by the stories of gainfully employed writers.
I also picked English because I have opinions and wanted to learn how to write a better argument, so someday I could grace the pages of the local newspapers.
You might say why didn't you just become a journalism major if you wanted to write copy for the local newspaper?
I would tell that I love and loved reading the classics, and needed to get credits for my passion. I also wanted to take advantage of the great professors that were in the English department. Two of them were award winning writers, and I couldn't say that about the professors in the journalism program.
English might seem like a waste of major, considering the tight the job market, and large number of unemployed right now. And I knew that an English major wasn't going to get a lot of fancy jobs, but I wanted to learn from the best people on campus, and at that time it was the English department.
Business majors will probably make more money over their lifetime, and nursing majors will probably make more money, but how many hours will they have to work? Will they be happy?
It is hard to say what the future will hold for this English major? I know college debt to be repaid is on the top of the list, but the debt was sure worth it.
I like to listen to talk radio, because I find the bias to be so obvious, but yet so funny. The kings of bias in my opinion have to be Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.
Sean Hanity is pushing for limited government that doesn't tax him. He keeps arguing about how Reagan's tax cuts lead to more revenue for the government, but neglects to mention the fact that Reagan's tax cuts lead to the largest increase in the national debt.
Rush Limbaugh just relies on name calling instead of honest debate when it comes to any issue that he disagrees with, so he doesn't have to know his stuff, because he relies on tactics a student might encounter while playing on the school playground. I understand he has the need to be heard, and is very popular. Why is he popular?
Rush Limbaugh seems to be popular because he has a base that doesn't like to accept facts and they seem to agree with him. It is rare to hear someone call his show and disagree with him, probably a controlled thing that his producer does to make it sound like everyone agrees with Rush.
It is interesting to listen to these shows with an open mind. I try to listen to their message. I just can't. I know what it is like to be unemployed. I know what it is like to search for a job and discover that there are over 100 candidates applying for the same position.
I just don't think these mega rich pundits get it. There message of hate is harmful to the land we live in and want to see get better.
Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh aren't the only bad guys out there preaching hate of anything liberal. But they are the two loudest voices right now on the radio.
I will continue to listen to talk radio, because it is always entertaining.
Monday, September 27, 2010
I love to read a good piece of writing before I edit my own work. This practice gets me in the mindset of seeing what works in published writing.
I don't think it is easy for a writer to see what is wrong with their own work. It takes years to get to the point that dissecting and repairing becomes a skill they can count on when needed. Sure, some writers can do it sooner than others, but they are the lottery winners of the writing world.
For me, the true battle is making sure that I am not preaching with my stories. I love to write about the moral decay of society. I don't necessarily believe moral decay is real, but I find books that deal with subject interest me the most.
Their are other subjects that interest me, like secularism and atheism. I also try to make sense of Glenn Beck's following, and why people listen to talk radio? I us my writing to wonder about what happens to societies that rely on hate speech and their effects on society.
As a writer it is easy to avoid subjects that aren't going to get published, but a true writer needs to find what really matters to them and write about it. I believe writers owe that to society to write about the truth, even if it means not getting published by a major publishing company. I honestly believe people thirst for the truth, but can't really find it as easily as they can find the lies.
It is interesting to see where a simple piece of writing can take you.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
My friend and I have a serious competition going, and the past I never failed to be a little bit more motivated than I was this time. It was also the first time that my friend beat me. We did about eight runs in the past, so I still have bragging rights, in a way.
I now know that overconfidence is very painful. My bedroom is on the second floor. Monday morning was very painful for me, and I had to walk down the stairs sideways so that I wouldn't tumble down them. My legs were so tight and sore that I spent a lot of time thinking about why I was so foolish and didn't try to get a few runs in before Saturday's run.
I am a fan of history, and I believed that since I used to crush my friend, well, this time would just beat him by a little. I really should have listened to him when he said that he was running about twice a week. Sure, he was running on a treadmill, but he was still running. I should have listened to my wife when she said I should go for a run. I should have listened to my little voice telling me I needed to go running.
It isn't easy to lose, but I didn't train because I was too confident. It is a lesson that at my age I should know is a painful lesson. I know how my body responds to training runs and adding extra miles. I know how my body responds to adding some speed training, my body isn't a fan. I also know that over the last couple years I haven't run as much and so I added a few extra pounds. Weight I lost years ago, but sadly put back on over the past two years.
Weight gains were the reason I took up running. Racing against my friend gave us both a little extra motivation to run more than would have done on our own. The weight gains have also slowed me down to the point that I am running at speeds that I ran when I first started running.
This week I started running on the treadmill, and I have run 1.5 miles everyday, because this is about as far as I can run without feeling really winded.
I do realize that running on a treadmill isn't the same as running outside, but I do run at 1.5% incline to help take away some of the advantages of running on a treadmill. The treadmill is nice for trying to get back in shape because it isn't as hard on the legs like running on the road.
I have a treadmill and wasn't using it. I know that is sad, but I wonder how many people have treadmills and don't use it. I also have a trainer for my bike and hardly use it. I have the equipment to help me stay in shape, but it is just a matter of using it.
The point I am trying to make is that a person can find a lot of reasons for not doing something, but the truth is that even a doing a little bit will help you avoid the real painful outcomes in the end.
Leaks seem to be a big issue when it comes to the war in Afghanistan, and the war effort will only be hampered by more reports of generals and other officers bashing the president.
The other issue is the war in Afghanistan isn't going the way it should, and some of that could be because McChrystal's rules of engagement that seemed to protect the Taliban more than his own soldiers. A fact that he wasn't a popular general because of his policies only seemed to get more attention after his Rolling Stone article.
Mike Hastings may have stepped over some imaginary line when he published General McChrystal's comments, but was he doing it as a way to save the lives of American soldiers or as a way to make a name for himself?
The article gave Hastings's media recognition, but it also caused him to lose his job in Afghanistan because the people in charge can't trust him.
It does appear that Hastings' is casualty of timing. If WikiLeaks hadn't published secret documents about the war in Afghanistan, maybe Hastings would still be an embed journalist.
The United States seems to be fighting a PR war in Afghanistan, and can't afford stories that show generals dislike for a policy or that the United States doesn't trust the corrupt Afghanistan government.
Hastings did what he thought was right, and maybe he shouldn't be shocked that he won't be going back to the front lines. It does appear that some fear he might print more secret talks or print something about what he sees in the front lines. It is censorship because Hastings isn't afraid to tell the truth, and now he won't get a chance to report what is going on in Afghanistan right now.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
You can also read a blog post on The Nation about Feingold's fight to get more reforms put in the bill.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Here are some sure sings your date is a Russian spy:
1. They are always asking about American foreign policy. Sure, the date might like your opinion on foreign policies, but odd are he or she is a spy.
2. They always pay cash for everything. Most Americans use a debt or credit card to pay for everything. In fact, if you see someone using cash, odds are you should report them as being a spy. You should always use caution when around these cash carrying people.
3. They never complain about taxes. A true American complains about taxes and how much they lose off their checks.
4. They are always looking around the room. It could be that they just don’t like you, so use your own judgment on this one.
5. They wear a shirt that says ‘I Heart Marxist.” The person might also go to a liberal university, so they could be slightly confused about why democracies are far superior over Marxist regimes. Don’t try to argue with them over this point, because that could lead them to leave you with the bill.
6. They stop listening to you when you tell them that you don’t work for the government and don’t have government clearance. The date could be a huge X-Files fan and might hope you could answer some questions they had about strange lights they see in the night sky. It is important to ask them why they want to know, because they might also be shy.
7. They drive a Toyota. True Americans don’t drive Toyotas because they would have bought into all the fears that come with driving a Toyota.
8. They speak with a Russian accent, even though they claim they were born in Minnesota. Don’t look at them as if they were liars, because this will only make them mad.
9. They laugh at your jokes—enough said.
10. They don’t know the state capital of North Dakota is Bismarck. Most Americans know the answer, but if they don’t you could always ask them what the state capital of Rhode Island.
It isn’t always easy to see the signs that your date is a spy, because sometimes their good looks get in the way of such decisions. An attractive date could go a long way to improving your status among your friends, but remember that your status among your friends should is only temporary, because odds are that they know the true you.
Again, please use caution around people that you feel could be a spy, because the person might also be a trained assassin, and that could mean game over for you.
Don’t be surprised if people don’t if people laugh at you, and tell you: “The Cold War is over.”
Friday, July 2, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
The story continues with:
- Anna Chapman was denied bail.
- Robert Christopher Metsos disappeared in Cyprus
- The spies not really spying by trying to recruit spies.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Howard Campbell Jr. is the main character of the novel. He is an American by birth, but moved to Germany before Hitler gained power. He does a lot of evil things while serving Hitler, but is he really serving Hitler or someone else?
The book is told through the eyes of Mr. Campbell, and Mr. Campbell is a sympathetic character; even though he is an ex-Nazi propagandist.
The book also examines what people feel about themselves when under the control of a brutal regime. Mr. Campbell at times searches for answers, and tries to deny his past. Reality is something that Mr. Campbell can't seem to accept, but he does learn that the old self is still part of the new self, and that fact doesn't change no matter how much he wishes it would change.
The ending of the book doesn't disappoint.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Ronnie Lee Gardner died by firing squad at 12:20 a.m.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Living in Milwaukee has it ups and downs, but right now Milwaukee is on one of those downward swings. The city needs help, if only to help it become a place of economic growth.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a piece about college graduates staying Milwaukee and the results of the mass exodus of graduates leaving once they get their diploma.
I think the most striking part of the article is the fact Milwaukee is falling behind on retaining college graduates.
According to the article, the graduates make an important contribution to the safety and growth of the city. But, Milwaukee isn't really retaining many graduates.
The unemployment rate in Milwaukee was 10.5% for March. The number could be lower right now, but even still, that is a very high number for a city that boast two large universities.
Minneapolis was mentioned in the comment section of the article, and the unemployment numbers for Minneapolis in March was 7.8 % and expected 6.8% unemployed in April.
What does this story have to do with the rest of the state? Tom Barret and Scott Walker are both from Milwaukee, and they are running for governor. They both claim they are going to create jobs. It sure seems like empty promises, if you look at the number of unemployed in their city, and their lack of job creation.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
In an ever growing world of political correctness, Helen Thomas was victimized by her own words and prejudices.
Her opinions on Israel were wrong, but she was expressing her opinions. Do we not want our journalist to feel passionate one way or the other on issues? Were her views taken the same way by Palestinians? She was raised by Lebanese immigrants, and it appeared on camera that her biases leaned more towards the Palestinians.
She always had an opinion and just because her opinion was racist doesn’t mean that she shouldn’t be given a second chance. People should be allowed to mistakes, and why was the first response the one the involved her resigning from her job.
Sure, Rush Limbaugh lost his job on ESPN when he made racist comments about Donovan McNabb. Rush is still on the air making racist comments. It really doesn’t appear that he learned anything from what he said on ESPN.
Newspapers are sensitive to their advertisers’ worries and the repercussions of comments made by their employees that might cause them lost advertising revenue. But Ms. Thomas was a syndicated columnist that was paid for opinion.
How many people read the opinion section of their newspaper and get offended by the opinions expressed by writers they don’t like. That is why it is called the opinion section and not the news page. People crave opinions, even if they don’t match their own opinions, because if they didn’t there wouldn’t be an opinion section.
It might even appear racist to defend Helen Thomas, because that means taking her side. There really isn’t any side when it comes to freedom of speech. She had the right to her opinion, and because her job was as a journalist she was held to different standards. Would she have lost her job is she was a novelist? It is hard say.
The freedom of speech allows people to speak their mind and express opinions opposite of what is popular or right. People should be allowed to make their own opinions on what is wrong and right.
But, freedom of speech in the past couple decades seems to also come with the limits of speech that is deemed hurtful and contrary to the public good. And this new standard hasn’t allowed the freedom of ideas to be expressed to the intent the amendment. Politically correct speech isn’t free speech but censorship in sheep’s clothing.
Ms Thomas won’t be reporting from the White House, and I am sure in the next couple months her opinions will disappear from the thoughts of most newspaper readers. It is just sad to see someone that did so much for women journalist make comments like she did.
It is also sad to think that “I am sorry” isn’t good enough anymore, and that the best thing for someone like her is to resign her post as an opinionated columnist. Her opinion didn’t do anything to change people’s opinions on the Middle East peace process, but it did make her look foolish.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
How do you end a show with 20 years of success on NBC? You end it the way you end every episode and that is what the writers of "Law and Order" did last night; you have closure, with only a few questions about what will they do tomorrow.