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The Gypsy Pall


Friday, May 21, 2010

Democrats Give Calderon Standing Ovation for Bashing the USA

Democrats shame themselves by giving a standing ovation to Mexican president when he bashes the United States and Arizona in particular for its illegal immigration law. I try to avoid politics in my posts, but this is so outrageous it cannot be ignored. Barack Obama has demonstrated time and time again his disloyalty to our great nation. He is ashamed of the United States. We do not need a commander-in-chief who is unable to be proud of the country he is supposed to represent. Obama is unable to advocate for our nation; he is too busy kissing butts of dictators and despots. Now the democrats join him. They have revealed their true natures and do not deserve the privilege of representing our country. Vote them out!

President Calderon is a hypocrite and should take a look at his country's own immigration policies. He should also address his country's many failings and ask himself why his citizens are leaving in droves. But I don't blame him nearly as much as I blame our own representatives. It was a shameful display to give applause and a standing ovation to a foreign leader who is bashing our country.

It's sickening.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Make Your Own Eyeglasses or Sunglasses Case

My first online article:
Make Your Own Eyeglasses or Sunglasses Case

My book, The Gypsy Pall, is being featured on Frequently Felt!

Check out the Frequently Felt blog:

Frequently Felt

Man Claims Not to Eat for 70 Years!

According to an article from Live Science, an Indian mystic claims he has had nothing to eat or drink since 1940, taking his sustenance from air and from meditation. He is being studied. Not only is this outrageous, it would seem impossible. I hope there is a follow-up on this story. The human body must have food and water to survive. If the body could survive without food, the Donner Crossing would not have turned into such a tragedy, and people would not regularly perish from anorexia. Breatharians feel that choosing not to eat is only part of a lifestyle designed to expand the sphere of consciousness.
As for me, I am unable to believe such a thing is possible.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Wall Street Dive Caused by "Fat Fingers"?

When I hear the phrase "fat fingers", I don't immediately think of Wall Street. It's not the first image called to my mind. But then, you know what kind of mind I have. lol.


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Bailing Out Fannie & Freddie

Fannie Mae is asking for another $8.4 billion according to CNN. As just an average ordinary citizen, it boggles my mind that our tax dollars were spent on bailing out any large corporations. As a taxpayer, I feel helpless. The government will do as it wishes regardless of the will of the people. What about the little people? The ones who are supposed to be represented? Where are our bail outs?
Failure is the price of making mistakes. It's the cost of bad business practices. These giant corporations should suffer the consequences of their bad decisions.
If you take a look at the salaries these bozos were earning, it will make you sick. Why are we bailing these people out? A better question might be why do CEOs earn so much money for doing a bad job?
The voters in this country are justifiably angry and it will be evidenced in the election.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Used Pantyhose to Clean Oil Spill

According to an AOL news article, "Hanesbrands is donating 50,000 pairs of used pantyhose to make oil-absorbing hair booms".
The plan is to stuff the nylons with human hair and use them to trap the spilled oil.
I am wondering how Hanesbrands got their hands on used pantyhose. As far as I know, women do not routinely return their used nylons to the manufacturer. Are pantyhose recyclable?
While I think it's wonderful this effort is being made, it wouldn't have been my first idea of how to put worn pantyhose to good use. (wink wink)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Tips for Writing

Here is a great article by Cheryl Rainfield with writing tips:

Top Ten Ways to Dramatically Improve Your Writing

Does Stephen King Hate Adverbs?

Stephen King said, "The road to hell is paved with adverbs."
I understand this, but don't necessarily agree. It's true that too many adverbs can make your writing seem amateurish and lacking in real content. However, I happen to like a well-placed adverb. If a character walks, I'd like to know how he walks. Does he walk softly? Does he walk crookedly? Does he walk briskly or slowly? I suppose a writer could find a different word than "walk". Skips, strides, glides, sneaks, tiptoes, etc. But sometimes a plain and simple verb works best, with a nice ripe adverb to make it tasty.
If you were to peruse Stephen King's books, I'm sure you will find adverbs. And I think I know what he meant in this quote. He is a talented and prolific writer and could not possibly be suggesting that we never use adverbs. I think he is suggesting we use them like a spice, sparingly and for flavor without overwhelming the literary palate.
Apparently Mark Twain shared this distaste for adverbs as well.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Dirty Words in Erotica

Now, there is nothing wrong with calling a spade a spade, but when it comes to erotica that I enjoy reading, it's something of a turn-off (for me personally) to have body parts crudely described. That kind of rhetoric has its place, for certain, but many women (and possibly men too) do not find it romantic or titillating. If the tall dark and gorgeous hunk looks into the sultry woman's eyes and says, "I know what you need; you need my big throbbing cock in your hot wet pussy", I've lost interest. I expect the heroine to say "go straight to hell, buddy, and take your ego with you". However, if he gazes deep into her eyes and says, "I want you so much I think I'll explode" then I'm right there on the page with her. If he says "Let me slide into you and feel you around me; let me taste you; let me take you", then I'm still hanging on. I guess that makes me vanilla.
Yet even with that said, I realize there is an audience who likes their erotica straightforward, without frills and euphemisms, and directly to the point. Therefore, I am not discounting that style of writing. And I will probably utilize it in future works. I guess that makes me a vanilla hypocrite! Guilty as charged!
It will be interesting to slap some hard unforgiving terms into the text of my next novel. Kind of like adding hot pepper to a dish. It gets your attention.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

If You Want My Money, Don't YELL At Me

I like to listen to the radio when I'm driving. But some commercials drive me crazy: those ads that yell at me about their products or service. There is even a petition for people who want to boycott loud commercials on tv.
I have to wonder if there is a special course in the advertising educational package that includes "Yelling At Potential Customers". I don't follow the logic.
Some of the biggest perpetrators of this type of commercial are liquidators. Whether they are liquidating lumber, furniture, or cars, the word "liquidate" calls to mind something one might expect from an alien with a ray gun. Or maybe I've just been too submersed in writing my current novel, which happens to be a sci-fi. Nonetheless, advertisers might want to consider searching the thesaurus for a new word. Liquidate just doesn't trip my trigger. Especially when it is screamed at me by an over-excited announcer who sounds as if he is on the verge of a nervous breakdown or cerebral blowout.
Speaking of blowouts, this seems to be another favorite phrase of the advertising yellers. To me, "blowout" does not sound like an event I would want to attend. It brings images of tires blowing up which is a decidedly unpleasant image. Now "clearance" or "sale" are words I do understand. They are useful, descriptive, optimistic, and friendly words. But they can be said at a normal volume. It is not necessary to sound inappropriately excited about the item; it is merely comical and irritating. Announcers: screaming your ad info at me at full-throttle makes you sound hyper to the point of dysfunction and perhaps suffering from a hearing disorder.
Racetracks, furniture stores, and car dealerships seem to be among those most guilty of this type of in-your-face advertising. But I've also heard this method used by carpet dealers, fairs and festivals, and lawn products suppliers. Oftentimes, loud annoying sound effects are added to the background to further grate on the nerves.
Attention advertisers: When your announcer speaks very quickly at high volume, it does not make me want to buy your product or attend your event. It does the opposite. Calm down and take a pill! If your product or service is worth buying, you don't need to scream its virtues. Just explain them.

The Best Books on Writing Fiction and Creative Nonfiction

The Best Books on Writing Fiction and Creative Nonfiction

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Are Upper Management People Too Delicate?

According to Forbes Magazine, there is a list of words that should never be used at work because of their negative connotations. One of these words is "try". Forbes believes "try" is a weasel word, weak, and indicative of a person who is building in an excuse for failure. I disagree. Rational people know that trying is better than not trying, and they know that all anyone can do is try. Taking the will-do attitude is certainly commendable, but sometimes the person who says they "will" do something is really saying he will try. There is no guarantee he will succeed. I would rather have someone tell me he will try rather than say he will, if he knows from the outset that his success is only probable. To say "will" instead of "try" is to buffer the truth so the people in charge can dismiss the item from their worry list. Are our managers, CEO's, and supervisors really that delicate?
The second word an employee should never use according to Forbes is "whatever". I happen to agree with them on this one. There are currently very few ways to use the word that do not suggest a dismissive rude attitude on the part of the speaker.
The next set of offensive words includes "I don't know" and "maybe". According to the article, these words can be used as an excuse for laziness. I don't know about you, but I think maybe sometimes these words mean exactly what they mean. It doesn't make an employee more valuable if he is willing to pretend to know something which he does not know, or to give a definite answer when reality is somewhat less certain. If a person does not know something, it's far better to admit it, and then find out how to access the information. And if something is uncertain, a maybe, it's preferable to admit it. I understand the point in the article that employees should not be allowed to slide by on those words and use them as an excuse for inaction. But, it is what it is. Sometimes maybe we just don't know.
Forbes warns against people who say "I'll get back to you". I wonder what is wrong with the boss who keeps an employee on the payroll who routinely fails to follow up? It makes no sense to me to blame the words. Obviously, this employee is not up to the task and perhaps should be culled from the herd. It's a personnel problem, not a verbiage problem.
"Yes, but" annoys this Forbes writer. However, there are times when it is necessary to clarify a point. "Yes, but" is a useful tool that allows examination of possible obstacles that will need to be addressed or mitigated.
"I guess" and "we'll see" made the list as well. "I guess" does indicate some indecision and could probably be replaced with a clearer sentence. However, bosses may not want to accept this, but oftentimes an employee will use the words "I guess" with an employer who is wrong but cannot tolerate dissent. Using the words "I guess" is a very handy way to distance an employee from the boss's wrongheaded thinking without pissing off said boss. "We'll see" reminds the writer of parents postponing a decision. This is not the employee's issue; it is the boss's. Sometimes we won't know something until we see it. I do agree the concept could be better worded. For instance, it could be said "the answer will soon be apparent, once all the information has come in" or something to that effect.
In conclusion, it's disturbing to think employees have to micromanage very word out of their mouths to avoid upsetting the tender ears of a temperamental boss. More important than the words used by an employee is his or her work product. Judgment of an employee's value to a company should always be performance-based.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Starving Artists Must Live Cheap

Until your first big break happens, or your first paintings sell, or your first novel goes stellar, it can be difficult to make ends meet. But how far are you willing to go in the name of thrift?
Entertainment. First of all, the best entertainment value for your dollar is a book. A good book can be read many times. And when you are ready to let it go, it can be donated. Consider also spending your leisure time honing your craft. Or walking (which is also good exercise). Some other cheap forms of entertainment include the library, window shopping, free festivals and gatherings, playing games at home, or writing letters to long lost friends and relatives or to politicians who have aggravated you.
Cheap eats. Everyone who has ever lived on a brutal budget knows the praises of peanut butter, macaroni & cheese, soup and a sandwich, and omelets. But how about beans and tortillas? Not only are they good for you with all the complex carbs, but they are low cost. Especially if you buy the dried beans and learn how to prepare them from scratch. Dash of Tabasco sauce, a sprinkle of grated cheese, and yum!
Veggies are expensive! But a lot of them are easily home grown such as tomatoes, green beans, and lettuce. I grow mine in pots on the patio. They taste so much better than the waxy artificial-looking store varieties. Let me toss out there a few more cheap meal ideas: pancakes or French toast, potato soup, beans & weenies, or the ever-popular Ramen noodles.
Laundry soap is exorbitant. You can make your own and it works quite well as long as you remember to pour a half cup of white vinegar in the rinse cycle. I made a simple recipe of 1 cup grated Ivory soap, half a cup of Borax, and half a cup of baking soda. Just use 1 to 2 tablespoons for each load of laundry. I still have to use a dryer sheet or I will get the dreaded static cling, but I cut those in half so a box does twice the number of loads. If you are adventurous enough to try making your own liquid laundry soap, here is a great website with instructions:

Cleaners are expensive. You can make your own surface cleaner by mixing white vinegar with equal parts of water. The smell does dissipate some after it dries. It cleans floors really well if you rinse them with clear water that has about a teaspoon of baby oil per gallon of water. I wouldn’t use this on wood floors, however. Vinegar water and old newspapers clean mirrors and glass pretty well. So you could save a few bucks on household cleaning supplies.
Face cream can be costly. If you don’t need all the fancy additives and supposed youth-restoring secret ingredients, plain old cocoa butter works pretty well. Some people swear by Vaseline.
New car? I don’t think so! I’d rather pay for repairs to my old one than take on another debt. New house? No way! I would rather paint the walls and make the upgrades to my existing home than take on a higher house payment. New clothes? Not often. Not when my city has an abundance of thrift stores with great merchandise and low prices.
There are some things even a tightwad will not scrimp on, including me. But I am willing to cut costs wherever I can until that big wave of fortune rolls over me.

The Gypsy Pall - excerpt

Excerpt from The Gypsy Pall:
"It is dim inside the small trailer. Apolena seats herself behind a cloth covered table upon which rests a crystal ball of smoky glass. The interior of the cabin is draped in rich satin of varying colors and the scented air is musky and thick with a sweet aroma. Apolena gazes at him over her crimson veil for a moment, her dark eyes liquid and taunting. Slowly she reaches up and removes the silky veil, revealing a smile. Her white even teeth behind ruby lips, and rich dark skin glowing in the lamp light cause a thousand tingles to rush up Amos’s chest like a sudden fever, over his throat, and into his hair. Even his scalp thrills to the impact of that vision. It’s as if each individual hair on his head reacts by standing away from his skin, trembling. He has never seen a more lovely nor dangerous looking creature in his life. More beautiful than the wild mare rearing up on her back legs on the prairie, framed by the flaming sunset. More dangerous than the lithe crouching cougar at the edge of his land who stalked him one evening. More perilous than the thundering storm that rolls over the open ground, bending bush and tree to its will.
“What you want, peasant?” she addresses him, her sultry voice filled with an odd combination of scorn and invitation.
His throat goes dry and he fumbles his cap from his head and worries it in his rough hands.
“You,” he whispers hoarsely. “How much?”
She laughs softly. Her voice is like bells or zephyrs or the clear rushing waters of an enchanted stream.
“What a crude man you are,” she says, looking intently at him. “Why you think you can buy my love?”
He stammers his reply, which makes no sense even to his ears. He has heard rumors, he tells her. He thought, he assumed, he guessed.
“Well, you guess wrong, peasant,” she replies. “I should curse you for this insult. But, Apolena feels pity for you. You have woman?”
“Yes. My wife, Martha,” he tells her, his face flushed and perspiring.
“Why you not make love with your wife, Martha?” she demands.
“She’s a good woman, my wife,” he says. “She works hard, she’s decent. She’s not the type to, well, appreciate the animal side of things. She’s upstanding.”
“Ah, I see now,” Apolena says knowingly. “You would do these things to me that you would not do to your virtuous wife.”
“I didn’t mean…”
“I know what you mean, peasant,” she snaps. She closes her eyes for a moment and touches her chin with the tip of her slender finger. Amos eyes the many rings on her hand, the dark red nails, her slender bangled wrist, and is seized by a feeling of irresistible lust tinged with fear. He knows he has offended her but can’t seem to disguise his longing. He thinks it must be oozing from his pores, filling the very air with its urgency.
“Come back tomorrow night,” she decrees. “Bring fifty dollars and something that belongs to your wife.”
“Fifty dollars?” he says in shock. She dismisses him with a wave of her hand.
“Fifty dollars, peasant,” she says as she rises. He stumbles to the doorway and carries his hunger with him out into the night..."

Dust Bowl Days old time photos

The gypsy pall

The Gypsy Pall. a novelette

Introducing my new book, The Gypsy Pall. This historic erotica with a twist is set in the early 30's and tells the tale of Amos Hay, a plains farmer who offends a traveling gypsy. She retaliates by placing a "pall" on the county and strange things start happening. It was, after all, called the Dirty Thirties! Check it out.