Monday Morning Musings

Posted by Maryann on June 27, 2016 |

Readers and writers alike can relate to this meme. There is a great deal of happiness in the creative process and a lot in reading the results of another author’s creative process.

books meme

Saturday night I was able to go to my first live concert in months. This Ramsay Hunt Syndrome causes visual and auditory problems. For months now, I’ve had to spend too many days sitting in a dark quiet room, which basically stinks.

Anyway, it was a thrill to go to the concert at the Winnsboro Center For The Arts. Neptune’s Car, a folk duo from New England, entertained us with lovely, original songs. Their songs and albums have been on the top of several folk music charts, and I fell in love with another singing duo, Holly Hanson and Steve Hayes. And Steve on guitar was magical. Made me itch to get my guitar out, although I could never play as well as he does, unless I gave up writing to practice hours each day, and that is never going to happen.

You can sample some of their music HERE  It is well worth a visit to their site, and be sure to listen to “Lighthouse Keeper.” It is one of their top songs, and one of my favorites they sang Saturday night.

Of course, we were all curious about their name, and Holly satisfied that curiosity by telling us that the name comes from the name of a clipper ship. She recounted a true story of a woman, Mary Patten, who captained the ship in 1857, after her husband fell ill. She had to fight off mutiny from the first mate, while assuming the captains duties, and  successfully navigated the ship, Neptune’s Car, around Cape Horn to San Francisco with cargo intact.

Now that is one strong woman, and I salute her.

Last Friday, Bernie Sanders was on the Morning Joe talk show on MSNBC where he was asked if he would vote for Hillary Clinton, even though he has not officially ended his campaign. He answered in the affirmative and followed with this:

“I think the issue right here is I’m going to do everything I can to defeat Donald Trump,” he said. I think in so many ways would be a disaster for this country if he were elected president.”

There’s been quite a furor over England withdrawing from the EU, and what that means globally. Of course all the anti-government folks are shouting the loudest, and some people are even saying it is all Obama’s fault. What?

I’m not going to comment, as one of my writer friends, Tim Hallinan, said all that needs to be said. At least that is my opinion. Tim is a terrific writer who has won many accolades for his books, so do check out his website if you’d like to find some good summer reads. This is a recent post from Tim’s  Facebook page that he gave me permission to post:

I just want to suggest that the wave of anti-government sentiment that carried the voters of England to reject the EU is very similar to the wave in this country that’s taken Donald Trump from being an orally flatulent reality TV star on a fading show to his position at the top of the Republican Party’s national ticket. People all over the place are sick and tired of their government, and often for good reason. This should lead all non-Trumpeters to double down on their commitment. I’m afraid it’s going to be a long, bumpy night.

That’s all for me folks. I hope you had a great weekend. Did you do anything fun and interesting? Do share in the comments. And let me know if you check out the music by Neptune’s Car. 

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Friday’s Odds & Ends

Posted by Maryann on June 24, 2016 |

Before we get into the news, I thought you might enjoy this:

cat meme

One of the things trending in the news of late is the lack of any real gun control legislation coming from a recent Senate session.

Here is what Stephen Colbert had to say to the senate:

Senate! You couldn’t pass a bill if it was coasted in Ex-Lax. But if you ever did pass a bill it would say ‘Be it resolved: No kissing and the NRA should just leave the money on the dresser’!

To read more of Stephen’s comments from a recent show, visit Daily Kos.

In Trumster news this week, there are a couple of interesting items. First the announcement that Apple, Wells Fargo, Walgreens, Ford, UPS, Motorola and JP Morgan Chase are pulling their sponsorship of the Republican National Convention. According to an article on Credo, the business said they object to Trump’s hate-filled rhetoric.

Not only are corporations pulling away from the convention, CNN has reported that a number of high profile Republican politicians are considering skipping the convention because they’re “fearful of a potential melee in Cleveland this summer.

Secondly, it appears that Trump is running out of campaign money, and is now soliciting donations. When he started his campaign he said he had enough money to pay his own way, but a recent report shows he is way behind Hillary in campaign finances.

And where has some of his campaign money gone?

According to a story on NewsMax, he has put at least $6.2 million back into Trump corporate products and services, a review of Federal Election Commission filings shows. That’s about 10 percent of his total campaign expenditures. His campaign even buys Trump bottled water and Trump wine.

Writing Wisdom

There was a terrific post by Sarah Madison on her blog the other day. It was a commentary about people who expect things for free – Dear Broke Reader, You’re Killing Me. She listed all the reasons that people feel entitled to freebies: I work hard. I deserve my reward. And I’m broke.

I had to laugh when Sarah said, she’s broke, too. She then went on to point out all the way people can get a free read without resorting to the Pirate Sites that have popped up that are basically stealing an author’s bread and butter. We’re mostly broke, too. Well, except for James Patterson and J.K. Rowling. LOL

Anyway this was the best part of Sarah’s commentary:

Besides, there’s this marvelous thing called a public library. You can go there and check out books, movies, and music for free! The best part is the library already paid for these things! And because it’s a loan which you will then return, it’s not stealing. Also, the library paid for these things out of a portion of the taxes you give to your community. So not checking out books from your library is like paying for Netflix and never using it.

But you want to read stories in your favorite genres and the library doesn’t carry them. Ask them to. If there is enough demand, the library will look into getting the stories you want. It can’t hurt to ask.

Since a few of my books are in libraries; in paper, e-book, and audio, I am a great supporter of library use. And unlike the pirate sites, libraries buy the books instead of stealing them.

Another thoughtful post at Writer Unboxed  was written by  Porter Anderson posed the question of when and how writers should respond to acts of terror, and what is our responsibility to do so, or not.  He admits that taking a public stand for or against gun control, homosexuality, or any of the issues that divide us can be tricky for an author. How will our stands affect our readers? Will they be angry? Anger seems to be so common today, especially in social media. And one angry reader can influence countless others.

So, do we sit back and never speak up? Porter suggests that we do not.

Writers are our most eloquent speakers, at least writers of talent and skill are. If anyone can find the grace to say what needs saying when the depravity of human evil is revealed to us and our weaponry is turned on innocent people, shouldn’t it be good writers?

That is precisely why I have used my blog to make public statements to support the causes I believe in, as well as point out the absurdities that abound. Has it cost me readers? Maybe, but I can’t let that hold me back.

What about you? Have you risked the public outcry by talking opening for or against an issue? 

Friday’s Funnies

Only a few this week, as this blog ran pretty long.

1. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.
2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you … but it’s still on my list.
3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
4. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
5. We never really grow up — we only learn how to act in public.
6. War does not determine who is right, only who is left.
7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

Here’s hoping everyone has a great weekend. If you care to comment about anything here, please do.

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Embarrassing Moments

Posted by Maryann on June 22, 2016 |

Slim Randles is today’s Wednesday’s Guest with another offering about Windy. We haven’t heard from Windy in a while, and lest you think that Slim has forgotten how to proof his columns, this is just the way Windy speaks. One of the reasons for his name. Not only does he massacre the English language, he sure does like to talk.

Since the guys are having coffee at the Mule Barn Truck Stop, why don’t we share some cinnamon rolls with them. Help yourself to one.

cinnamon rolls


“Carnsider this for a minute, boys,” Windy said, sadly shaking his head at the King Arthur memorial round table at the Mule Barn truck stop. “I mean to say, well you know them ladies actually asked me to be their speaker, right?”

We nodded and sipped our early afternoon coffee.

“I mean, all I done was tell ‘em I had new thoughts on our future and suggested it would make a good speechify for their Ladies Literary League and Garden Society meeting. And after I done that for maybe a month, they invited me to come to the lunch and deliver my pregnastications for ‘em. So I did. Today. Even paid for my lunch, bless ‘em.”

“Sounds like fun, Windy,” Doc said.

“You’da thunk, eh?” Windy said. “But I was in for an existictual surprise, I can tell ya that. I mean, I had it all spread out for ‘em. You know. How we was conscriptin’ along toward certain abolishment of oblivity and such, and them ladies .. all of ‘em … even Mrs. Doc … wouldn’t look me in the eye.

“Well, you know I finagulated that speechify book out of the library last week in preparatory for this speech, and it said you had to make eye contact with the audience. No … it really did. So I was eye contactin’ them, but they wouldn’t eye contact me back, boys. Not a one.”

Windy sucked down some caffeine and looked up at the Pepsi sign over the steer horns on the wall.

“Gotta tell ya, I thought them ladies was nicer’n that. And after we was done with lunch, they didn’t even look me in the eye when they thanked me for coming. Thassa fact.”

“And then you came straight here, Windy?” Doc asked.

“Shore did. Straight here.”

Doc started laughing. “Windy, your fly’s open.”


What is one of your most embarrassing moments? Come on, you gotta have more than one, right? Please share in the comments. One of mine was going to a signing event with one black sock and one blue sock.

And now a word from Slim’s sponsor. The sponsors make it possible for him to share his columns with us for free.

Need a job? Full and part time positions open. Email fullwork82@gmail.com for an interview.


The Home Country radio show will be coming soon to a radio station near you! New, from Syndication Networks.

Slim Randles writes a nationally syndicated column, Home Country and is the author of a number of books including  Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing. That title, and others, are published by  LPD Press. His columns have been compiled into the book Home Country.

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted by Maryann on June 20, 2016 |

A recent humorous post at Daily Kos by Messaging Matters made me smile. Whoever is the creative entity behind Messaging Matters has a wry sense of humor and listed 12 reasons why a cat is not Republican. I can share just one, and you will have to go over to the site to see the rest. It’s worth the trip.

1. Cats are curious about what you do in your bedroom, but they don’t try to legislate away your freedom to do it.

That quote made me think of the cat I had when we first married, Nicky. She was not happy that she now had to share the bed, and me, with another person. She would get between me and my husband and put her paws on his back and push. He had a tickle spot that, when she touched it, would send him flying off the bed. Eventually, she accepted him, and even liked it when he played ball with her. We had a little rubber ball that he would bounce off the walls in the stairway, and Nicky loved to try to catch it.

In a terrific review at The Guardian written by Julian Baggini of Hands: What we do With Them  – and Why by psychoanalyst Darian Leader I learned a lot about hands and gestures and things we do so our idleness is not the devil’s workshop. I remember my paternal grandmother encouraging me to sew or do needlework, lest I fall prey to that ugly red monster with the pitchfork. I would rather run up and down the hill where she lived, and sometimes roll down to the sidewalk. I could also go several streets up the hill to visit an aunt who always had cookies for a visiting child.

Now I find that I have a hard time being idle. For many years now I have not been able to sit and watch television without doing some coloring, or sewing, or work on a jigsaw puzzle. Maybe the warning from my grandmother finally sunk in. LOL


Here are a couple of particularly interesting facts about hands:

In the 18th century, waving a fan was so popular that “by 1710 there were around 300 different makers in London and there was even a fan tax at mid-century”. We may moan now about how people permanently clutch their mobile phones, but back then people made the same complaints about the new technologies of the notebook and watch. A satirical advertisement in the Spectator of 1712 offered “classes on how to hold snuffboxes and take them out of the pocket in the most fashionable way”.

Gestures were even more important in Cicero’s times, when Roman orators paid as much attention to how they moved their hands as they did to their words, with the splay of the fingers and the angle of the hand all carefully planned.

In a recent blog post at Uncial Press, the publishers of my book, Play it Again, Sam, the focus was on travel, whether for real or by reading a book. Here is the opening quote:

That famous sage, Anonymous, once said, “Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.”

Pretty good advice, and we’d like to be able to take it more often than we do. It’s such a great big, wondrous world, and there just isn’t enough time to see it all.

I am so thankful for books that take me to places I would never get to see in real life. The parts of Canada I visit vicariously in the series by Louise Penny. The Middle East in books like Breathing Water by Tim Hallinan. England through the eyes of the late P.D. James, and many, many more.

I do treasure the memories of my trip last spring to Montana, and back home, stopping in Yellowstone National Park.

yellowstone pic

And a number of years ago, my husband and I went to Hawaii when our daughter was stationed there in the Army. That was probably the most wonderful trip I have ever taken. If Hawaii wasn’t so far away from my extended family, I would move there in a minute.

Are there favorite places you have visited by travel or via a book? Please do share in a comment. And check out Free Kindle Books and Tips for some bargains for your Kindle. My mystery, Boxes For Beds is featured there today, along with several other bargain books. 

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Friday’s Odds and Ends

Posted by Maryann on June 17, 2016 |

Before we get into the news and other odds and ends, I thought you might enjoy this meme. The caption from Rita Rudner is priceless.

dog meme

In The News

This video  on Blue Nation Review of Joe Biden responding to the Trumster’s verbal assault on Judge Gonzalo Curiel in the media is worth watching. Judge Curiel is presiding over the civil case against Trump regarding Trump University. In the vein of civil, meaningful, and did I say civil discourse, this is the way it needs to happen. The speech was given at the American Constitution Society conference dinner.

In other Trumster news this is from Newsmax:

Donald Trump’s response after the Orlando gay nightclub shootings left some Republicans worried about him staying on a message they can stand behind.
Politico reports lawmakers are worried that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee won’t perform well in a president’s role as a national healer after major tragedies.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said, again, that he would not support Trump’s Muslim ban, according to NPR. 

“I do not think a Muslim ban is in our country’s interest. I do not think it is reflective of our principles, not just as a party but as a country,” Ryan said.

Following the shooting in Orlando last Sunday that left 49 people dead and over 50 wounded, the debate over stricter gun controls heated up. Many people favor a ban on assault weapons, but our legislators are reluctant to add that to any gun control measures. If you would like to sign a petition asking Congress to consider such a ban, you can do so here at Credo.com  I am a gun owner, and I support the right to have a weapon, but I don’t believe that an assault rifle or pistol is what one needs for hunting or target shooting.

In other related news, I was pleased to read this from NBC News:

Senate Democrats ended a nearly 15-hour filibuster early Thursday after Republican Party leaders reportedly agreed to allow votes on two proposed gun control measures.

Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, said that a compromise had been reached. Votes would be held on whether to ban people on the government’s terrorist watch list from obtaining gun licenses and whether to expand background checks to gun shows and internet sales.

Writing Tips From Authors

“You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you’re working on another one. If you have talent you’ll receive some measure of success – but only if you persist.”  Isaac Asimov

“Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say ‘infinitely’ when you mean ‘very’, otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.” C.S. Lewis

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” Cyril Connolly

Friday Funnies

Why do banks charge a fee due to insufficient funds when they already know you’re broke?

Why is it that when someone tells you that there are one billion stars in the universe you believe them, but if they tell you there is wet paint you have to touch it to check?

Why doesn’t Tarzan have a beard?

Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?

Why did Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

Whose cruel idea was it to put an “s” in the word “lisp”?

If people evolved from apes, why are there still apes?

Why is it that, no matter what color bubble bath you use, the bubbles are always white?

Is there ever a day that mattresses are not on sale?

Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?

Why do people run over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it and then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?

Why is it that whenever you attempt to catch something that’s falling off the table you always manage to knock something else over?

Why, in winter, do we try to keep the house as warm as it was in summer when we complained about the heat?

That’s it for me folks. Have a great weekend. Let me know which joke resonated the most with you. I could relate to knocking things off the table. 

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Enjoy the Summer Evenings

Posted by Maryann on June 15, 2016 |

Please help me welcome Slim Randles as today’s Wednesday’s Guest. As a divergence from his normal Home Country humor, he is sharing some thought on those wonderful, lazy summer evenings, when the work is done, dinner is over, and we can sit outside on a deck or porch, or even a stump, and simply enjoy. Of course, those kinds of evenings are perfect for lemonade. Help yourself to a glass.

And when you are finished here, hop over to The Blood-Red Pencil blog where Slim is also a guest. How does he do that? Two places at the same time? He is amazing.


Our day is filled with heat at this time of year. It commands our attention and makes our work harder. As we toil, we daydream not about love or success, but things as mundane as shade and a cool drink.

But though the oppressive heat weighs on our brains and taxes our bodies, it is the price we pay for being allowed to spend time outdoors … and it has its one singular consolation: our summer evenings.

When the sun goes down in summer, it’s romantic enough to hug a cactus.

The recipe is simple; keep the earth warm, but just bring out the stars and a soft breeze that cools the skin. Mix this with a fulmination of little night varmint sounds of peeping and chirping and croaking.

And guitars.

Whether we play them ourselves or just turn on the radio, it is a setting that is perfect for guitars. Villalobos, Fernando Sor, Tarrega, Randy Travis, Doc Watson, Steve Cormier.

We sit in brick-paved patios with something cool and someone sweet. We relax and talk about dreams, because on evenings like this, anything is possible. On nights like this, it’s difficult to decide whether remembering evenings like this in the past is better than anticipating those to come. All we really know is that it sure is nice to be here right now.

Tonight I’m going to see if I can remember all the words to “Little Joe the Wrangler” and find out if my guitar is still in tune.

If you click on the links you can find out some interesting things about guitars and the men who play them so well.

Do you sit outdoors on a summer evening? Do you just like to sit and watch the sun go down, or do you need to be busy? Sometimes I can just sit and be.


And now a word from Slim’s sponsor:

Need a job? Full and part time positions open. Email fullwork82@gmail.com for an interview.


The Home Country radio show will be coming soon to a radio station near you! New, from Syndication Networks.

Slim Randles writes a nationally syndicated column, Home Country and is the author of a number of books including  Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing. That title, and others, are published by  LPD Press. His columns have been compiled into the book Home Country.

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted by Maryann on June 13, 2016 |

First off, I thought I’d share a couple of pictures that will hopefully bring a smile. I buy fresh flowers from a vendor at our local farmer’s market and keep them on my kitchen table where I, and one or two of my favorite statues can enjoy them.

flowers and dragon

The dragon was a gift from my sister after she heard that I sang “Puff the Magic Dragon” with Peter Yarrow when he was in Winnsboro for a concert. The chicken is a gift from a dear friend, who sent it and said the chicken needed to live at my house.

cat and flowers 6-16

The statue is a gift from my daughter. It is the only cat that is allowed on the table, but the four live cats failed to see that memo. Or just ignore it as cats are wont to do.

In the ongoing debate about abortion and women’s’ rights here is something to make folks think a bit. The quote comes from a recent article posted at Daily Kos by Leslie Salzillo, and I’m not posting it to take a stand on abortion. I just thought her words speak a truth that we should all stop and consider.

In one simple quote, Sister Joan Chittister, O.S.B. sums up the hypocrisy of many in the ‘pro-life’ movement:

I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.”

The shooting in Orlando  early Sunday is the worst mass shooting in American history. The gunman opened fire in a gay nightclub killing 49 people and wounding 53 wounded, Chief John Mina of the Orlando Police Department said that the gunman, Omar Mateen, 29, told police negotiators — falsely, they later discovered — that he had explosives and accomplices at Pulse nightclub. You can read a detailed report in this link to the The New York Times.

In another unrelated incident on Friday former “The Voice” contestant Christina Grimmie was shot and killed after a Friday night concert in Florida. The shooter then fatally shot himself.

The singer had opened for the band Before You Exit and was meeting fans and signing autographs a half hour after the concert ended when she was shot.

In both cases assault rifles were used. Do we really need to have assault rifles in the hands of the general public?

Writing Tips

The following is from a wonderful article by Sarah Callender at Writer Unboxed about writers’ block.

Psychologists use the term “fixation” to describe what happens during writer’s block. Essentially we become stuck in a development phase. We cycle, and we cannot break free from the mindset or thought pattern. That sounds about right. When I am blocked, I feel dull and unfunny. I cannot unstick myself. I cannot create. Unfortunately, the ability to create might be the most fundamental element of writing fiction.

I really liked this article because it clearly lays out all the factors that come into play when we are not productive. Stuck somewhere in a story that we are tempted to trash and start over. I have always believed that if we just keep slogging away, the debris will clear and we will have words tumbling over each other in their attempt to get on the page. And they will be good words. Words worth keeping.

I wonder if claiming one has writers’ block is just a good excuse to quit the writing for a while, maybe a long while, and Sarah wondered the same thing in her article, sharing this:

Psychologist Steven Pritzker, PhD, believes writer’s block is only an “artificial construct that basically justifies a discipline problem. A commitment to a regular work schedule will help you overcome barriers like perfectionism, procrastination and unrealistic expectations.”

While I don’t like to admit that writer’s block happens because I am undisciplined, it does make sense.

That’s all for me this morning, folks. I do hope your week has started off on a good note. Do leave a comment and let me know your thoughts about writer’s block.

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Friday’s Odds and Ends

Posted by Maryann on June 10, 2016 |

First I have to say I am dismayed that it looks like Bernie Sanders will not get enough delegates to win the Democratic nomination as a presidential candidate. Unfortunately, a lot of the reasons have to do with the political power in Washington – both parties having party machines that control too much of what happens. Another reason is the skewed media coverage. Too many media outlets were concentrating on the Trumster and his foibles, or covering the Hillary campaign, and Sanders was getting less air and print time of any of the three leading candidates. Much less.

William Rivers Pitt wrote a great article following last Tuesday’s primaries, and it is worth a read.

After you read that article, check out Meryl Streep as Donald Trump. A hilarious video.

That’s all the political nonsense we need, although I must admit the Streep imitation was priceless nonsense. 🙂

I was going through some of my old photographs and came across this one of the first cat we had out here at Grandma’s Ranch. The dog is Misha, who had been a city dog before we moved to East Texas, but she adapted quite well to country life. And she liked the cat.


Writing Tips

In a recent post on Writer Unboxed, Donald Maass did a great job of explaining what makes some books “literary” and how we can add a literary aspect to our books while still writing commercial fiction. Reading his post, I kept think about Louise Penny and her books set in Quebec, featuring Armand Gamache. She gives the reader just enough postcards to help us see and feel the place that is Three Pines.

Before reading Donald’s post, I’d never heard of using a postcard technique and the balance between it and scene, but it makes perfect sense.

  • A scene enacts a change in story circumstances; a postcard illuminates something that we haven’t yet fathomed or perceived.
  • A scene leads to further action; a postcard leads to deeper understanding.
  • A scene is about what happens; a postcard is about what we discover.
  • A scene is an event that has implications; a postcard is a moment with meaning.
  • Scenes change characters; in postcards, the change is in readers.

Scenes hustle us from point A to point B.  Postcards sink us into point A.  A scene takes us in a new direction; a postcard shows us a static picture and says wish you were here.  Neither intention is wrong.  Both achieve a narrative effect, seeming to move us along, somehow, except that the direction of scenes is forward while the direction of postcards is deeper.

Friday’s Funnies

I saw a woman wearing a tee-shirt with ‘Guess’ on it. So I said “Implants?”
She hit me.

I signed up for an exercise class and was told to wear loose fitting clothing.
If I HAD any loose fitting clothing, I wouldn’t have signed up in the first place!

Marriage changes passion.
Suddenly you’re in bed with a relative.

Don’t argue with an idiot;
People watching may not be able to tell the difference.

Wouldn’t it be nice if whenever we messed up our life we could simply press ‘Ctrl Alt Delete’ and start all over?

Wouldn’t you know it…
Brain cells come and brain cells go,
But FAT cells live forever.

Life is like a roll of toilet paper.
The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

Why do croutons come in airtight packages?
Aren’t they just stale bread to begin with?

If people from Poland are called Poles,
then why aren’t people from Holland called Holes?

Why is a person who plays the piano called a pianist,
but a person who drives a race car is not called a racist?

If it’s true that we are here to help others,
then what exactly are the others here for?

Do Lipton Tea employees take ‘coffee breaks?’

 That’s all for me folks. Do leave a comment if you wish, and let me know which joke you liked best. While the toilet paper one really isn’t a joke, it is so true.  I remember my grandmother telling me that the weeks and months and years would fly by the older I got. That was very hard to understand as a twelve-year-old, but now many years past that age, I know exactly what she meant. My birthday is coming up soon, and I swear I just had one last month. 🙂
You can also comment on the political scene as long as you are civil. One of my friends on Facebook urged everyone to stop, take a breath, and enter into civil discourse. Yes, too many people are being uncivil, but do we have to follow suit? We can say we dislike a candidate without calling names and saying ugly things. And now I’m going to say it. I dislike Trump as a presidential candidate because I think he does not have the temperament to be diplomatic, civil, and cordial.

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Worms: Not Just for Fishing

Posted by Maryann on June 8, 2016 |

Slim Randles is back as today’s Wednesday’s Guest with a  story about Dewey and his entrepreneurial spirit. Who would have thought worm poop could be such a lucrative business.

Since it is now heading quickly into summer here in Texas and for Slim in New Mexico, I thought a cool glass of iced tea would be appropriate. Enjoy…


The real growth of Dewey’s company began after The Weekly Miracle ran that story about his fertilizer empire.

The young reporter might have gone overboard a bit by writing “… with a pure heart, strong arms and a shovel, Dewey Decker pioneered a civilization based on cow manure.”

Maybe just a little…

But the truth was, Dewey is so accident prone, shoveling “product” into people’s yards was the only thing he found he could do without 1. Ruining expensive equipment and 2. Damaging his body with anything that might be sharp. He was tired of knowing everyone in the local emergency room on a first-name basis.


But the expansion became evident when his sideline, vermiculture (feeding worms) began appearing in bait shops all over the state. This was the brainchild of Dewey’s girlfriend, Emily. Her magnificent cheekbones were only out-shadowed by her belief in Dewey. Soon she was referring to their vermicultural activities as the “Fishing Functionaries Department.”

If there had been a way for Emily to train the worms to be more attractive to trout, she would’ve tried that, too.

But the worms did well, catching fish when not busy munching “product,” and the result was more money than Dewey knew what to do with. So he bought an acre of land, establishing large bins for the worms, and began bagging and selling the resultant worm castings as House Plant Magic.

It worked.

If people’s yards and houseplants could talk, they’d thank ol’ Dewey for their greenness and vitality.

With the success of Dewey’s red wigglers, his thoughts now began turning toward nightcrawlers.

Life is good.

Slim provides the columns free of charge, but he does ask that we include a short ad. Here is the one for this week’s column:

Need a job? Full and part time positions open. Email fullwork82@gmail.com for an interview.


The Home Country radio show will be coming soon to a radio station near you! New, from Syndication Networks.

Slim Randles writes a nationally syndicated column, Home Country and is the author of a number of books including  Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing. That title, and others, are published by  LPD Press. His columns have been compiled into the book Home Country.

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Protect The Whales

Posted by Maryann on June 6, 2016 |

Something that I have not been aware of, or even thought about, is what shipping is doing to marine life. Dahr Jamail, a Truthout staff reporter, recently posted an article about the dire situation in the oceans, mentioning a documentary, Sonic Sea, that aired on The Discovery Channel last week.


The film states that, “We are acoustically bleaching our oceans,” and underscores several deeply disturbing facts about the ever-increasing level of noise in the sea, including that:

  • Sounds can travel 17,000 kilometers underwater and still be audible
  • There have been several documented instances of US Navy sonar causing brain hemorrhaging, organ lesions and bleeding from the ears in whales.
  • Whale calls are literally being drowned out by ship noise
  • There are 60,000 commercial ships in the oceans at any given moment.
  • According to the US Navy, noise levels in the oceans are doubling every 10 years, and have been doing so for decades.

Whales, dolphins and other marine life depend on sound to live, and we are seriously interfering with their ability to hear what they need to hear.

It seems like we are slowly taking away the homes of wildlife, and how many years will it take until they are all gone? Can we find a balance between human needs and animal needs?

On a more positive note, there is good news for elephants. The U.S. has recently restricted ivory trade, and China may soon follow. Poachers are killing elephants faster than they are able to reproduce, and it is estimated that every 15 minutes an elephant is killed for his or her ivory. Maybe the restrictions on ivory trade will have a positive impact.  Wayne Pacelle, the president of the Humane Society of the United States posted the news on his blog on June 2.


Well, that’s all I can do for today. That nasty Ramsay Hunt Syndrome has decided to make my life miserable again. Here are a few pictures of my cats that I took on Sunday as they were sunning themselves. I thought that quite appropriate on a “sun”day.

lily sitting in sun

This is Lily. I liked the shadows, and she seemed to like them as well.


sammy & his shadow

This one is Sammy. Again, some interesting shadows.

Hermione in the sun

This is Hermione. I hardly ever get a picture of her. She was in another room with a different shadow configuration.

When I first started taking pictures of the cats, three of them, Lily, Harry and Sammy were sitting in a row in the streak of sunlight,  Of course, they all started to move when I got the camera, all except Lily. Then Sammy came back and I got his picture. Harry never did come back, not even when I went into the living room which is where I got the picture of Hermione.

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