Category: writing

What If?

What If?

Every day someone finds something.  This day was no exception.  The more creative the attack the more interesting the day.  If you call that number they try to get you to give them $199.00 to unlock your computer.

You can send me some money if you like but, here is the fix for this…

CTL ALT DEL , task manager, kill the process, aka browser and then do not restore the page when you reload the browser.

I am not affiliated with CCleaner but I sell a heck of a lot of it for them.  Install it and let it clean your browser after every use.  $25 a year and damn well worth it!

As one might use an explicative to emphasize a point, I often use a somewhat tawdry analogy for this purpose.  Surfing the web with inadequate anti-virus software is like “hooking up with a stranger” without using protection.   Not only is it idiotic, but dangerous!

Having been in Data Processing, or the IT business since before Steve Jobs or Bill Gates was a household name, I know a thing or two.  The scars on my back are from arrows taken in the trenches of digital mayhem. This bedlam was caused by such things as bosses wanting to be on the bleeding edge, to software not ready for prime time, been there done that.

Free antivirus software is not worth what you pay for it!  

The best security software is going to have a price or cost to it.  Why?  It takes many engineers, coders, and much research to create and maintain a massive program like anti-virus software.  Who is going to do that for free?  More importantly, why?

While someone might write an app for free, to get their name out there; anti-virus software takes a village.

Much like hiring someone to sell your home, you don’t hire someone who does it part-time or as a hobby. If you want to get something done, give it to a busy person.  If you want to sell your home, hire someone who’s lively hood depends upon them being successful.  You want a secure computer, hire or purchase the product with the most to lose if it fails.

There is much more to the process of considering which product to purchase but, free is not a reason.  I would argue that free is a cause to eliminate that choice.

The reality is that the internet has become the wild west.  The bullet that finds you can come from almost anywhere. Every company that uses computers should have a security officer.  His or her job should be to focus their attention on threats out there and the best way to keep them from affecting that company.

I find it surprising that politicians are screaming about Russian hacking of our computers.  What the hell do you expect?  You just assume that someone with a certification gives a damn!?

What worked in 1982 does not work now.  Having a “PC Wizard, or your grandchildren” working for you is tantamount to a trapeze act, blindfolded and working without a net.  Insurance companies and credit card companies are now aware of this and demanding your strategies to be secure in the world of cyber threats.  They should audit you, and they should hire folks like me who know what to look for.

White Hat hacking allows us an inside look at what one might expect.  We learn many ways to infiltrate a company.  The same applies to the TSA in homeland security.  While I would probably choose a job to be that guy that test the security systems of the homeland, airports and such, it is much easier to check companies.

The first thing I must do is understand you.  More importantly, know that entity many of us in the biz call “users.”

Too many infiltrations are accomplished with something called click bait.   “Ten pictures that should never have been made public…” With half a picture of some scantily clad woman visible, how many will click?

Human nature dictates men will want to see what the camera saw. “Boom, you’re infected.”

Good antivirus software will stop any activity created by software manipulation but, the caveat or keyword there is “good.”  What if you bought the bargain basement software or just used the free stuff?

For the coders to write the fix, someone must fall prey to it, report it, and then they must institute a fix.  That is why Software of this type is never static.  Updates are consistent and often.  New threats are released hourly.  To run a company dedicated to this is no small task.

Maybe you own a plant which produces widgets.  Your widgets are better than others, and your competition wants the skinny.  You hired someone like me for your IT manager or CIO so they cannot get in through your firewalls.  Your safe, or so you think.  Industrial espionage is rife in the competitive world of gadgets and widgets.  If I want in bad enough, I will contract one of my guys to write a program that will hide on a computer until certain key phrases are typed, and then it will activate.

“Wait, you said my firewall is secure, Fort Knox secure!”

“Why yes I did, so I am going to place this little program on a thumb drive and…I am going to put some naughty pictures on it with some commercial looking writing on the outside of the device to make the person who picks it up from the parking lot where I dropped it, think that they have something juicy.”

Possibly just tossing a thumb drive out the window of my car near the parking lot with a few files on it, and the Trojan would be enough to get me into your network.  I will purchase some chrome colored or fancy looking thumb drive to be sure that it is spotted.  I will know when the landscape folks work, so I make sure and plant it after they have done their thing so that one of your employees will find it.

Maybe I send one of my spies out to places that your guys eat and leave the drive on the table by the ashtray or the salt and pepper shaker at the table they eat every week on a given day and time.

Possibly I get one of my people inside your company, hired by you.  They install some remotely controlled program like Team Viewer on their PC and Viola; you are hacked.

Because your IT guy is so sure that his firewall is good enough, or your engineers are so demanding that he left the USB ports open for use by them, with lax policies he leaves your company vulnerable too.

How do we stop the threats?

One way we do this is with training.  Every employee should sit through CE training on the essential use of the corporate computers.  This is information that they can bring home and share.  Education is by far the best tool one can have in their arsenal.

All of the policies are trumpeted for them to hear and before they leave they sign a document saying they will adhere to them.  With it harder and harder to fire people these days, that too is one more tool in your belt.  Good employees, you want to keep, those that prove lacking, they need to go.

I could easily make the argument that good computing practices are patriotic.  I could certainly apply this to purchasing respectable anti-virus software and creating policies and procedures that protect your business but, the bottom line is, in the end, it will save the company money.

I was making this argument to a CEO of a good-sized company when he stopped me and said, but viruses help your bottom line too.

I argued that I would much rather use my time and talents to design safe environments for companies like his than put out fires.   It is considerably less expensive to install a good fire retardant system then to try and rebuild.  Yes, a metaphor for using robust best practice standards in computing vs. reacting to noise.

Noise is the result of a problem created by an event that was unplanned or caused by employee error.

A good security person is somewhat paranoid and is always asking, what if?  I do this in disaster recovery scenarios balancing those “what if’s” against statistics and a risks assessment.

With proper education, we can mitigate the employee errors.  Using proper procedures and policies, we can diminish the unplanned events, i.e. viruses or other malicious code.

When I run into companies that think free antivirus software is adequate, it makes me a little crazy.  If they are a public company, trust me, I will not purchase their stock.  Flirting with disaster out of sheer frugality or ignorance is idiotic.

If you keep your guys around because you like them, think again.  I may love some folks, but I would not hire them for certain positions if I could find someone better.  I don’t have to like you, for you to work for me.  If you are the best person for the job, you get the job.  P&L trumps feelings!  Feelings can be costly and can be a liability.  Logic in business is your ally.  Logic must always be forefront when making business decisions.

I have walked away from companies who have their kids working for them.  By hiring the children, you open yourself up to losses that could be untold.  One company had their children not doing the paperwork necessary to complete the task, thus losing money in that department.  Hiring me to do an analysis, it did not take long to find the problem.  I fired her children after trying to work with them.  I kid you not one of them actually cried in my office after telling him time after time he must do all of the job.  A grown man crying!  There is no crying in IT.  Either perform the work or get the hell out!  Either do all of the job or learn to ask, “Do you want fries with that?”   Is that too tough?  I felt for the kid but, feelings do not dictate policy.

Do your kids a favor and don’t hire them.  The real world does not work that way so why in the world handicap them, and make them believe that it does?

Over the years there are best practices that have been created by time trusted procedures and policies.

Some are things like:

  • Hardware Asset management.
  • Software Asset Management
  • Security both physical and digital

I could write a book on the subject, but I will spare you the details.

Today, now more than ever we must harden our networks.  We must have sound policies and procedures in place, and they must be adhered to.  Documentation is essential, and it must be updated.

I don’t relish firing people but, sometimes their people are the problem, and the CEO is so far removed from the process they just don’t know it.  If training can fix it, I am all for it.  Attitude too plays a crucial role in the process, and I will not tolerate a crappy attitude.  Life is too short, and the subject matter is too important.

I love the HR folks because often they are the gatekeepers, saving the CEO from disaster.  Good HR folks are worth their weight in silver.  Gold, maybe not, so let’s stick with silver. Worthy people are not that hard to find as many would have you believe.  Upright people are around, but they may not have everything that you are looking for immediately.

Instant gratification is an expensive luxury and can be elusive at best.  Where employees are concerned, I want to start with a “good foundation.”

We place certifications above character, and that is part of our modern day conundrum.

I hired a grocery store manager and trained him for a job in IT.  He had little experience in the job I hired him for, so why did I hire him?

He had the right attitude and wanted to learn.

I had the time to train him.

The money used for training him was penny’s compared to hiring exactly what I was looking for.

He did not have the bad habits that come with so many “experts”  with the certifications, and their egos.

He ran a grocery store and let me tell you; he was not afraid of work!

Back in the day, we had interns or apprentices.  Folks, we need to look carefully at that once again.  I have hired many over the years that had the right attitude and the skill set to learn.  American people are out there struggling, and we won’t give them a chance.  Why?  Instant gratification.  We need someone who can step into the job right now, and we run with minimum employees because of what?  Because it is so expensive to have employees.

That is one of the things we need to push back on Congress and health care to fix, but the reality is, internships and apprentices I think are essential to finding and creating good employees.

Every job fair that I go to has thousands of workers looking for work.  If you can’t find them, you are not looking!  I spot good employees daily.  There are times I would love to go work for a recruiter just because I can spot talent!

Are they the exact racehorse ready for the Derby today?  Maybe not, but can they be trained?  There are virtual diamonds in the rough everywhere, looking for a chance! We are begging to bring in more H1B folks instead of taking care of our own.  That is not very damned patriotic if you ask me!

Our schools are a disaster in my opinion.  In speaking with college graduates today, I am frequently amazed at just how ignorant and totally out of touch with reality that they are.  Someone somewhere screwed them to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars for an education that is worthless.  When they think voting for a socialist is a good idea, they were screwed by their college and should demand their money back!

Today we have kids tens of thousands of dollars in debt, and they cannot find a job.  I know of several college grades making much less than $15 an hour.  Our educational system needs an overhaul.

As quickly as a company can get a process documented and packaged, they send it overseas via a VPN over the internet, sending jobs out of the country.

Trades are being overlooked for white collar jobs which are going the same way.  IT jobs are vanishing in the states.  Virtual IT shops are set up in some foreign country, hiring an English speaking American to act as a liaison between them and their Indian or other counterparts.  With an American point of contact, it is then up to the American to manage the folks in another country who speak little English, making little money, to be the IT shop for these American companies.  This same person puts an American face on their business while working with their client managing the “noise.”

“Do you see any security risk there?”

You have no clue where your intellectual property is going or who is seeing it.  Maybe you have a contract but so what.  Much like HIPAA was created to protect your health information, do you honestly feel as if your information is secure?  If you do, you are fooling yourself.  Read the documents you sign when you visit the doctor.  You sign things saying that your information is protected and then you sign a document which pretty much gives them a pass to do whatever they want to do with your information.  Smoke and mirrors.

Doctors and hospitals are hacked and the information is stolen all too often.  Why?  How?  Piss poor planning on someone’s part. Using some cheap method to get things done perhaps?

Your contract with your Virtual IT company is as worthless as the paper it was printed on.  Yes, that deal might make you feel better but, know if you are a developer, someone in some other country has your work and if they can use it, they will.

I want to touch on Software Asset Management as it is germane to this subject.  All of the subjects are salient, but that one, in particular, is in the case of security.

There are tools which you can use to inventory every program on every PC.  Why?  Why would you want to do this?

Licensing of software is an issue, but more importantly, you should want to know what is on those PCs.  The first time I did this for a company I was struck with the reality of the sheer number of programs designed for remote control of a PC, that was active.

In this world we live in, corporations can ill afford to have the wild west inside their computer networks.  Besides the games and other foolishness that was identified, the risk to the infrastructure was phenomenal. The company is liable for every program on their PC’s, no matter who put it there.  If they are audited for their licenses, and someone like myself does an audit and finds them, they must then produce that license.  Can you?  Can you put your hands on all of your licenses?

Ignorance is no excuse!

Having been part of the evolution of the business process, dating back to the secretary and the typewriter to current day, I have seen the learning curve first hand.  Fighting the first virus on a network before there was anti-virus software; asking “what if” became second nature.

Back when Gregg shorthand was used, a business letter cost an average of $100.00 back then.  Now we type out e-mails with the ease of few keystrokes and dictation is a thing of history.  Technology has improved the business process, but the bad guys have found a way to make it interesting.

The very tools we use to make our lives easier are under constant threat by evil forces that look for ways to extort money or steal your property either through the exploitation of your network, or your employees themselves.

We use the cloud as if it were a hard drive in some vault in our closet.  We send information to the cloud without a clue where the cloud is and who has access to it.  Why we don’t encrypt that data before it leaves our computers is beyond me.  If I were a villain, I would be looking for ways to infiltrate the “cloud.”

“What if?”

The opinions expressed are my own as well as the intellectual value of the information put forth for your consumption.

© All Rights Reserved 2017

 

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Pioneer deceleration problem, My take. #space #time

Pioneer deceleration problem, My take. #space #time

 

In 1992, we launched Pioneer 10, which is leaving the solar system.  As it reaches further away from the sun, it has begun to decelerate.

Scientists believe to have discovered the solution.  They are proposing that particles leaving the spacecraft as heat are pushing against the forward momentum of the craft slowing it.

“I beg to differ.”

Using the good old formula F=MA, that simply does not seem to add up.

I read about this anomaly years ago and have noodled the issue for, well years.

 

Time is not a constant.

We here on earth think of time as purely a linear progression that we measure with clocks, watches, and calendars.

For years we have all seen the model of the solar system on a green grid with the sun, planets and other bodies all warping the fabric of space as they “fall” in their respective orbits.

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Picture the solar system not on a horizontal plane but inside a bubble.  Maybe it is an oblong bubble and not a perfect sphere but a bubble never the less.

Now picture the other things inside that solar system in their respective bubbles, each creating a bubble that is respective of its mass.

That bubble is warped space.  Its intensity of warpage is directly proportional to the amount of gravity.

When we see these huge storms on the sun that go on for days, or the Magellanic Clouds that seem to be frozen in time, this is our first clue that time is not a constant.

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If we could build a craft that could tolerate the heat of the sun and orbit it much closer to the sun, I also suspect that the storms on the sun would happen at an accelerated rate.  That craft would be in a different “local time.”

 

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Pick this handy little gadget up at Think Geek!

 

 

 

Much like traveling through the country we pass time zones and date zones.  If you hopped in your faster than lightspeed spaceship with your version of the flux capacitor and left to see the Horsehead Nebula, when you got there, it would not be there.

Leaving your “local time” heading outside of the solar system would put you into another time zone.  Instead of being based on some ancient 60 seconds to the minute, the next “bubble might be 75 seconds to the minute.”

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Traveling between the Bubbles in that area of empty space, where gravity does not play a role might very well find you traversing the distance in “no time,” as there is nothing there to create the bubble!

Pioneer 10 and 11 are slowing because they are reaching the end of this bubble and entering into another local time.  Once outside the bubble of the Milky Way, I suspect it will speed up significantly.

Where the demarcation point of that bubble is, is truly a mystery.

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This postulation can be proved or disproved with a simple test.

As the spacecraft get further away, does the bit rate of the telemetry change at all, even in the slightest?

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The bit rate should not change with distance, only time!

I am a science fiction writer.  I don’t pretend to understand the books of math that these scientists do.  Because I don’t constrain my thought process to what I can find a formula for, I can think outside the box.

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The postulations no matter how preposterous they may seem to the scientific community, I claim them as mine and hold that copyright.

They may very well find themselves in one of my next novels which is possibly the only place that they belong.

-Best

© All Rights Reserved 2016

 

Open letter to Bill O’Reilly @oreillyfactor @Bill_O_Reilly   on #Harambe, did Magilla (Harambe) have to die?

Open letter to Bill O’Reilly @oreillyfactor @Bill_O_Reilly on #Harambe, did Magilla (Harambe) have to die?

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The other night on the O’Reilly show, Bill called those of us who question the shooting of this animal  (Crazy.)

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Firstly, I called Harambe, Magilla for a reason.  There are a number of us Baby Boomers, who might think of this creature with fondness. Years ago there was a cartoon about a lovable gorilla named Magilla. Magilla would constantly cause his owner, Mr. Peabody angst.  We, in fact, have this as our “context” of what and who this creature was which might cause us to become mawkish over this creature.

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We might also remember with fondness the work of Dian Fossey or Jane Goodall. We might be aware of the work of Francine or “Penny” Patterson and her work with KOKO who one could have a conversation with through signing, using its own language of GSL (Gorilla sign language.)

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Then Bill we see small snippets on the news of an animal that appears to be helping the child up after a terrific fall, and find out that Harambe was shot for looking out for the child.

The problem Bill; we did not appreciate the vulgarian nature of the creature as we did not see the video of the child dragged through the water by its leg until we watched your show.

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Once again journalism at its finest looks to incite public outcry, I suspect for ratings by biasing the story.

I would submit to you Bill; it is not us who are crazy.  It is we the public that are deceived under the guise of reporting a story. In truth, they appear to be practicing “Yellow Journalism.”

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In this, I agree with Trump; some media are sleaze. It would appear that they might do anything for ratings without regard for the end result.

 

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By the way Mr. Trump, you might want to get some thicker skin for the job you are applying for. 

Just my two Cents…

 

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-Best

The Ivory Tower of liberalism yet again shines like a beacon on a hill.

The Ivory Tower of liberalism yet again shines like a beacon on a hill.

 

Richard Dreyfuss @RichardDreyfuss shows us just how out of touch Hollywood types are by his latest twitter diatribe.

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“Trump supporters are struggling, and those supporters of notoriety are whores.”  Paraphrased but pretty close.

  • Don’t you find it amazing that those that are the most vocal about doing away with our second amendment are those who have armed body guards to protect them?
  • Isn’t it amazing that those who claim to know the “real Americans” live inside a liberal bubble of propaganda, Hollywood elites, and other closed minded folks?

Richard; loved you in the movies but you don’t know me!  You don’t know the struggling whores who work two jobs to make ends meet.  You have no clue what it is like to struggle just to make the house payment, electricity bill and manage some sort of groceries to do it all again next week and then the next.

Yes, Richard, we are all whores as we sell our time and our bodies for money so we can go from one day to the next.  The others who don’t work, they too struggle as well as they certainly don’t get enough to make ends meet from the rest of us that do work.   With  millions on food stamps and millions more coming across the border it is only a matter of time when there is no more porridge left to give out.

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Of course, you, Hollywood Ivory Tower types don’t know anything about that do you?  Maybe we should just all eat Cake!

 

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1.5Million dollar estate of R. Dreyfuss

 

Trump supporters don’t like the idea of a Political elite class who cannot tell the truth if she wanted to.  The Clinton Dynasty is long overdue to ride off into the sunset of history.

 

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Belongs to the dead broke HRD

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Keep doing what you do best, regurgitate lines written by people that know more than you, and emote!

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The crap that comes from Hollywood is part of the problem in this country.

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Between the violent music and violent movies, we have a host of dysfunctional people that use what they see through media as a guide on a way to live.

 

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The Useful idiots return. 

 

Throughout history, people have watched something on the silver screen or the idiot box and replicated some action or idea that was ill advised.

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Now we have millionaires who don’t live on a budget trying to advise us that progressive values are what we should be voting for while not paying attention to how bad off California actually is.

 

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If these kids paying for these high priced college educations were actually learning anything they would recognize this as a bad thing.

 

 

 

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These same rocket scientists see this is their savior…

 

 

These policies that they espouse will be the total destruction of their state much like it is in Vennizueyla today or Greece was last summer and still is!

 

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Socialism is not taught in America… They are in economic collapse!

 

 

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Even if you have money, you can’t buy what is not available. 

 

No Richard, we are not struggling or whores, what we are is damned tired of elites such as yourself calling us whores or miscreants or idiots.  We get it because we live it!

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When Trump becomes the next President, and you decide like so many of your ilk that you cannot live in this country any longer, please don’t let the door hit you in the Ass! In addition, please convince the rest of your kind to follow you.  The land is cheap in Venezuela right now, but you might want to pack your own toilette paper, as they do not have any!

My two cents…

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-Best

Original Article

Richard Dreyfuss Goes Off on ‘Small-Dicked’ Donald Trump and Celebrity ‘Whores’ Who Support Him

 

My Two Cents #Cowardice and #Bullying

My Two Cents #Cowardice and #Bullying

 

Cowardice is certainly not a topic I write about often, but it seemed appropriate given the times that we live.

Following social media reminded me just how misguided some people are.  Launching vicious attacks on “public figures” under some pseudo name.

Those actions my friends are gutless cowardice. That gesture Does nothing to heal this country.  In fact, it further exemplifies just how fallen we as people are.

We do this with our driving as well, as we are autonomous in our cars.  We think nothing of cutting people off or driving carelessly.  We can hide behind our sunglasses and know that we can escape those that we piss off. We use our horns as weapons to berate those that don’t drive aggressively enough to suit us. We use our vehicle as a weapon slowing everyone else down riding in the left lane because we have taken on the role as “road nazi.”

It is all wrong folks. 

It is not your job to force others to comply with your version of how to drive.

The horn is not a cattle prod!

The horn is to warn of imminent danger IE you have drifted out of your lane “wake the hell up!”

When in line at the bank or movie theater or grocery store we are much more polite.  Why?  Because the person or people that you piss off might take you to task.

That is how you should be while driving or on social media, pretend like those that you are talking with are sitting next to you.  Healthy debates are one thing, four letter name calling is juvenile, cowardice and flat out being a bully!

Don’t you find it interesting that millennials are driving this whole narrative about not bullying but in fact on social media are the worst perpetrators of it?

Maybe there is a disconnect in the terminology.  Maybe they have not figured out what being a bully is?

Possibly they are bullied in “real life” so sitting in their mother’s basement in their underwear calling others names under the pseudo name “Morbius, or Death Eater” is their way of dealing with their real life.

“I can bully this person as long as nobody knows that it is me.”

Is that why geeky people escape into role playing games where they can suddenly “be someone?”

Are the bullies behind the wheel or the keyboard the bullied in “real life.”

Read the stuff on twitter or feedback on some of these forums.  If you espouse an opinion such as on this piece, and someone takes some objection to it, heaven help you.

You cannot control the actions of others.

What you can do is lead by example.

State your case in a manner that would lead others to follow your example.  Ignore those that are helplessly lost in their world of four-letter words, and ethnic diatribes.

  • Ignored behavior goes away.
  • Leading by example teaches.
  • What is it that you wish to teach?

I for one want to leave this world a little better than I found it.  That should be the goal of everyone.

We can do that in our day to day discourse with fellow travelers on this road of life.

To my geeky friends out there, take heart, the meek shale inherit the earth.  In this life, I have found that the geeks also make the money and control those jocks who stole your lunch money! If this is you, stop pushing this agenda down the road.  Those that bully you today will grow up “mature” and those that cower in the basement will either learn to deal or become twisted internally spending lots of money on therapists or doing something stupid as in Sandy Hook or Aurora.

 

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I would add…act…Before you “act…take an action, Think!

 

The bullying must stop at all levels, and we can start with our day to day discourse online.  Everyone alive has some “shit” that they are dealing with.  Cut them some slack!

The Millennials have the right idea.  If they can arrest the bullying and learn that we all have talents either with physical prowess or with intellectual prowess it would be a much better place.  If I were a jock, I would befriend the geeks as assistance with calculus from them would go far.  A symbiotic relationship between the strong and the meek is nature’s way if you study it at all.

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My two Cents

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-Best
© All rights reserved 2016

 

 

 

 

 

The sophisticated waltz of the #query letter. #LiteraryAgent

The sophisticated waltz of the #query letter. #LiteraryAgent

The sophisticated waltz of the #query letter. #LiteraryAgent

Having read countless blogs on the subject of the “perfect query letter,” I have concluded that something is very wrong or broken in this process.

The process is this:

  • Research the agents.
  • Who considers your type of manuscript?
  • Research their track record.
  • Are they large or small?

Small agencies have less time to read every query.  They then cherry pick, out of the 10’s of thousands of wannabees. There is no shortage of writers.

Large agents do the same, however; because there are more of them, they may see more letters.

Keep notes of all of the agents that you queried, you do not want to bother them with duplication and, if they sent you a form letter or even worse ignored you, that is good to know too.

Remember that some of the best authors out there are facing the same task, the same rejections, etc. because agents are so swamped with queries that they do not have time to do this properly.

When I do a direct marketing campaign for my business…my real livelihood…I have about a 2% return.  Every hundred postcards usually net two customers.

Query letters are probably even more subjective.  It is more important that you know who the agent is and how they deal with letters.  Whom have they helped in the past? What is there rate of taking on new authors?

My no bullshit approach would be, “Would you like to make a lot of money, look at my damned manuscript!”

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They do not play that game, like a princess they want to be, wooed.  Money does not seem to be a factor in the selection process.  Think foreplay on steroids, complete with all of the best manners when you are on a date for the first time.

“My novel will make you misty with anticipation of the next paragraph!”

When Mr. Covington came into the room with his shirt half torn, Sheila knew it was only a matter of time before she would feel the brunt of his hunger. The passion, which raged inside, tipped the boiling point, and was about to spill over!

Depending upon your agent, they will either reject it or become hot, thirsting for more… Is this what people read?  Can I market it? What did Sheila do to get Mr. Covington so stirred up?  What does he look like? What is his hunger?  I must know more….Or not….

 

My dream is this….

When the novel sells over a million copies, I want to take the time to send a copy to all of the agents that have ignored me or…sent me a form letter… Is that petty?  Maybe….  If I do have to self-publish the first novel, I will make “E.L. James a verb, much like google it!”

Keep at it my friends; the spoils go to the one who never gives up. As always, feel free to write. I love hearing from fellow writers. 

-Best

© All Rights Reserved 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are but Pawns on the chessboard of life. @oann

We are but Pawns on the chessboard of life. @oann

We are but Pawns on the chessboard of life.  @oann

Today’s news regarding the slide of oil prices brings back the memories of the volatile world in which we live and just how much of it centers around our lack of energy independence.

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Still fresh in my mind are the long lines at the gas pumps of the “world coming to an end” oil shortage of 1973.

Much like the world ending “Global Warming Hoax,” I do not trust any of them.  (with good reason…they lie!)

If you really want to know what it means…follow the money… Who gets rich if we stop using coal, or we all use sunshine and unicorn magic instead of fossil fuel?  If Al gets to sell you his carbon credits that he already has printed, who gets the money for them, and what do they do with that money?

Many of my readers are too young to remember or know about the oil shortage hoax, so for those of you that were not driving in the 70’s here is the deal. 

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In 1972 Gas was about .50 a gallon.  $5 dollars would fill my car…The price per barrel of crude was $14.00.  Minimum wage was $1.85. I made minimum wage for a while until I went to work flipping burgers making $2.10. “I was of course in school; this was popcorn, gas and movie money.”

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All of the sudden there was this “Energy Crisis!” We had gas lines and limited supplies. According to Carter, we were going dry and in a few years’ time, there would be no more gas…ever!

 

70070-full.jpgThere were oil tankers crashing into each other as well as running in to under water obstructions spilling millions of gallons of oil into the ocean.  The shipping lanes, which they had navigated safely for years prior and years since; all of the sudden became more dangerous…?

My contention is that those ships were sitting off shore waiting for orders to make their delivery and ran into things because they were in places that they should not have been.

As Americans went from paying .50 cents a gallon and allowed to purchase all the gas that they wanted, that changed overnight. Suddenly it was mandated as to how much and when we could purchase gas.  No more than 10 gallons on odd or even days depending upon your license plate, and of course, the price jumped. Like sheep, we fell in line because our leader was someone we could trust, and if he told us this, we would do it.

President Carter responded to the crises thusly…. This is part of his speech…

“The oil and natural gas that we rely on for 75 percent of our energy are simply running out.… World oil production can probably keep going up for another 6 or 8 years. But sometime in the 1980’s, it can’t go up any more. Demand will overtake production. We have no choice about that.”

“To some degree, the sacrifices will be painful—but so is any meaningful sacrifice. It will lead to some higher costs and to some greater inconvenience for everyone. But the sacrifices can be gradual, realistic, and they are necessary.”

“We must not be selfish or timid if we hope to have a decent world for our children and our grandchildren.”

This is not the first time a sitting president has lied to us….Nor will it be the last.

Oil production during this period was steady with a slight linear progression all except one…The Middle East.

In 1970, The Middle East topped the oil production of North America, continuing its production to 21.894,000 and in 1974 to finally peak in to 22,020,550 in 1979.  At which time they cut production back to a low 10,645.400 1984.

There were other players in the market, but make no mistake, the Middle East was the driving force.

During this time, Asia Pacific was ramping up its use of Oil… In 1979, they peaked usage to 10,917,244 barrels a day.  At this same time, North America was sitting at 21,483,623 with the largest consumer of oil being Europe and Eurasia coming in at 25,117,430 barrels a day.

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The problem was the OPEC Embargo.  Egypt and Syria announced that they were no longer selling oil to countries that supported Israel. Less supply of oil caused prices to rise 134%.  In response to this Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, and Qatar unilaterally raised prices by 17 percent.

These events caused issues with our markets and eventually negatively affected our GDP.

Once again, we were held hostage over oil in the 1979 Iranian Revolution.  OPEC once again raised prices by another 14.5%.  The US then halted Imports from IRAN and Kuwait, Iran and Libya cut production.  Saudi Arabia eventually raised the prices of crude to $24 a barrel. These factors brought an increase of oil up another 118% in one year. The Gulf War precipitated another increase of 113% in 1990… This adversely effected the strength of the US dollar as the feds started to lower interests’ rates.

Lines

 

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We had long lines at the gas pumps because the Middle East who we now relied upon for oil.     Years of negotiations finally eased supply but the price was no longer .50 a gallon. Today the barrel of oil dropped below $30 a barrel.  If things were equal that should make a gallon of gas about a dollar.

These are the scant few facts that history tells but… I would really like to know the rest of the story.  Who profited? Why did Carter fill our heads with lies?  Who was pulling his strings?

 

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The Embargo that inconvenienced millions was a political play. Today we have a glut of oil on the market bringing the prices down to record lows taking the world stock markets with it.  They are blaming the glut on less demand … are you trying to tell me that there are less cars?

The Middle East for some reason, “economics” is crushing its competition by making oil supplies more abundant.  This adversely effects the other oil companies, as now exploration…fracking… and other sources of obtaining oil is no longer profitable.  With oil at $30.00 a barrel, all of the oil producing countries of the world will be effected, with Russia, amongst one of the countries hardest hit.

Enjoy your cheap fill-ups as your 401K is adversely suffering because of this.  

  • “Do they still teach economics in school?”
  • “Have they common cored our people into actual stupidity?”

 

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Now she is pretty…This is far more important than your survival…look at that pretty dress…that bracelet is stunning…I wonder who did her hair… Sarcasm..yep!

If the kids of today understood anything other than who got an award in Hollywood or who was sleeping with whom,  or…what video game is great and why…they might actually protest our out of control politicians.  These overpaid bags of hot air who paint with unicorn blood and fairy dust, create rosy pictures for those of you who watch passively the greatest president that we ever had…ever…give the greatest State of the Union address ever!  If you do not believe me…ask him….he will tell you that himself if, he can pull himself away from his selfie stick or mirror!  “Yes, that is sarcasm.”  If the only politics you followed are on MSNBC or CNN and then watched the State of the Union Address you would buy the lies.

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There is some sort of scandal with her and mean girls but that really does not interests me…She is attractive … but completely not germane to anything that I am talking about.

“Folks, they are lies…. People such as myself are not going to be able to keep this fight up forever…you had best engage and smarten up, unless you want to go the way of Greece.”

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Protest in Greece turns violent… Out of free money…

I will take this opportunity to put a plug in for a news network that is strictly news.  No opinions, just the facts. http://www.oann.com/

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I actually think she is great!  I think she went to the Blaze …

Their reporters at time are sophomoric, but I find that part of the charm.  Just the facts, no spin.  They are currently in a battle with the major news networks, as the multi media giants are pulling strings to keep them off cable networks.  Verizon still has them but Time Warner and Charter who seem to be under the thumb of certain people in the administration, do not want them. The FCC is going to have to get involved with this one but I am certain that they “the multi media giants” can drag this out until after the election, as to keep the left wing loons influencing politics as they have been doing forever.

Seek the truth my friends!

-Best

© All rights reserved 2016

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My Shameless plug for the Blaze…

 

 

To Insure Prompt Service T.I.P.S.

To Insure Prompt Service T.I.P.S.

 

A recent article about tipping brings to the forefront of our “things to talk about;” tipping.

Europe has simply raised the cost of goods and services 20% to 30% in their restaurants and stopped tipping. The money “supposedly” used to increase the wages of the employees as well as pay for things like health care. I do not see any issues here, do you?

In theory, it sounds great but what accountability is there on the shop owners that they will use that money for those reasons?  The answer is none.

I would prefer to TIP my server, as his or her service can be quantifiably assessed by his or her clients. They get immediate feedback.

Speaking of jobs if I could choose, I would like to be a restaurant critic.  I already am a foodie and know something about food.  I used to travel a lot, when on an expense account one of my companies allowed generous benefits in that area.   Taking clients out to dinner often times I went to 5 star places and came to know the difference between good, mediocre and bad.

If I could have dinner with one celebrity, it would be Gordon Ramsey.  In the world of IT, I am just like him, other than I can choose my vernacular better than he…I still have that style and appreciate an honest person.

Life is not fair.

Not everyone will have the same skills and talents.  When you as a younger person piss off your opportunities afforded to you in school, you relegate yourself to jobs that are currently being taken by others from other countries that think those jobs are sweet; you limit your possibilities!

In the food services industry, servers that are good, earn more money than those that work in the back room. 

I would point out that the kitchen helper position is not exactly a career choice that anyone should aspire to.  Much like working in the mailroom in a large corporation, those are entry points into the job market.  They are minimum wage jobs because they require little talent to perform.

Retail sales is not a career choice, it is an entry point.  The problem is that managers that work there will tell their people anything to encourage them to keep their nose to the grindstone and work hard as they see management potential in them.   Most of the time they are lying in an effort to placate you into giving them more of your time in return for part time minimum wage dollars.

“Time is expensive.”

When you boil it all down, what you are selling is bits and pieces of yourself through the time you invest.  We are all whores if you think about it; we will do almost anything for money.

“Money truly is the root of all evil!” 

People that find a way to live comfortably, without killing themselves to earn more money, are probably the true winners of the game of life.

Higher paying jobs are inherently more stressful, and stress kills.  Stress produces a hormone known as cortisol.  This hormone is the “fight or flight” hormone, released when danger is present.  When we stay in a stressed out situation, that hormone is released in copious amounts, and often…that takes a toll on your body and your health suffers.

If corporations had a brain in their collective heads, they would look into ways to reduce the stress on their employees; as stress leads to job burnout, sick time and turnover.  Those are costly!

If you can live on minimum wage, work your 8 hours and whistle while you work, your life might be sweet.

Those who chase the dollar their whole life, typically die young and leave their life’s work to their spouse or their greedy progeny to fight over, allowing attorneys to swoop in like vultures, and acquire the bulk of it.

Tips for success.

  • Get a good education.
  • Find a trade or skill that cannot be outsourced, and master it.
  • Discover all of your talents and skills.  What are they? Take an inventory of them.
  • Are any of them marketable?
  • Figure out what you like to do…what makes you happy?
  • Can you find a job doing that?

 

Keep toxicity out of your life.

If you have toxic friends, develop boundaries and keep them outside of them.  If your job is toxic, find something else as soon as possible.  We all have worked around toxic people who bitch and moan incessantly.  That is their own toxic cesspool, which they most likely have created.  Stay out of their sphere of influence.  Do not add to it and certainly do not marry into it.  You cannot fix stupid and you cannot help someone that does not know either that they need help or that they do not want it.  Some people actually enjoy being miserable.  They like to be the victim.  You cannot help them.

As a manager, identify those employees and try to work with them through HR, or get rid of them,  that BS is contagious.

Tomorrow is never coming back.  The time you spent reading this is gone, forever.  The time I spent elucidating my thoughts on these subjects is gone as well.  I hope that I spent that time wisely. I am optimistic in thinking that you got something out of it.

Time is your stock in trade. Time can be measure in heartbeats as you only have so many.  There is a finite number of times that your heart will pump that life force around your body. Do not waste it.

Now go take on the day!

 

-Best

© All Rights Reserved 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Fifteen Minutes

My Fifteen Minutes

Everyone seems to get his or her 15 minutes.

I made the front page of a small East Texas Newspaper twenty-four years ago, in a most austere way.

Driving home this evening I passed more than one person who was weaving in their lane.  Usually it is because they are texting or trying to see who called and of course, they are much better at this than every other driver is, so they can do it safely.  Sometimes the weaving is simply because they are drunk, or high.

In the year 1992, my life changed forever.

After a head on collision at freeway speeds involving an intoxicated 80 year old, I was forced to re-invent myself.  Managing to live through being treated in a small country hospital that doubled as an emergency vet… (Joking…, I think…) I was destined to do other things.

The broken bones and lacerations healed, but the scars remain, hidden just under the surface, pain is a constant reminder of that fateful day 24 years ago.  I have legs today because I happen to enjoy coffee.  Moments before the impact, I had stopped to purchase Gas and coffee. Filling one of those stainless steel thermoses, I had the thermos upright in the seat beside me.  Topping the hill to find a Cadillac, in my lane coming at me, my two options were to dive into the other lane or hit the brakes.  A red Truck was in the lane beside me so, in the split second that I had to utter the explicative “Oh Shit!” It was all over.  Literally, the accident was that fast.  I had locked up anti-locks breaks, and bent the brake pedal…He never attempted to hit his breaks.

The combined collision speed was 115 miles an hour.  How they got all that I have no idea however, my speedometer was stuck at 45…frozen in time.

The memory of that split second in time, indelibly etched into my brain is a constant reminder of what happens when idiots drink and drive.  Every detail lives with me in excruciating detail.  Time fascinates me today because of this, as I think time is not linear but relative. During the Nano second of the impact, the event turned into one of those films you see that was taken by a high-speed camera.  Bits of glass tumbled frame by frame, horizontally from my left to right.  The dash came up to meet me as the steering wheel crushed my face and chest.  The thermos full of coffee tumbled from beside me, launching itself to the floor, lodging between the firewall and the frame of my seat.  The hydraulic effect of the thermos filled with liquid, stopped the dash from severing my legs and most probably kept the shaft of the steering column from piercing my heart.

The driver of the other car was under his dash. He was hauled away first in the first ambulance arriving on the scene.  He had one small cut on his forehead and released from the hospital that day. He was not even wearing a seatbelt.   I never heard what happened with the driver after that. Since both of us had the same insurance company. I was lucky to be compensated for my losses.  I remember the claims person as being nasty to me on the phone…  They did not even replace my truck as it was now 6 months old.  I was upside down on the loan and they did not care…. It was a smaller truck, not one of the full size trucks like I drive today.  I understand that claims adjusters work for the benefit of the insurance company but I was surely not in “good hands.” Insurance is in fact unavoidable, if you are lucky; you are pissing your money away paying for something that you will never need. They do whatever they can do to keep from paying out.

The trip to the hospital started as I said, after they removed and transported the person who was responsible for the accident.

My vision was fading, as the pain in my chest was intense.  I made my peace with God as I knew that I was going to die and strangely enough, I did not seem to mind.  There was a strange peace about it as if the answer was at hand; this is how it will happen. God however had other plans… While waiting for the final sting… I tried to relieve the pain, I managed to remove my seat belt, but the pain was still there.

With what was left of my vision, I was able to watch as they pulled the other driver from under his dash and put him onto the stretcher.  A man came to my window talking with me as I told him about the pain and the vision issues.  It hurt to talk and my statements were short as breath was scarce.  My face had met up with the steering wheel, Or the steering wheel with my face, so talking “clearly, plainly” was not really an option; nor was it possible as blood was now leaving my body through every orifice that I had visible and some places that were not visible.

The engine and tires of my truck were underneath my seat.  Using the jaws of life I heard the popping sounds of the metal as they cut my door away from around me.  Finally, they got to me after removing my door and cutting what was left of the restraining device that was still wrapped around me.  By now, my vision was all but gone, but I could still hear the noises of the equipment, and the voices of the first responders.  You have heard people mention the white light.  My vision had faded from white sparkles to a blank white screen. One of the responders said, “It is a miracle that he is alive.” Placing that plastic collar on me, they then pulled me out of my truck.  Once they laid me down, my vision returned.  I could see the emergency vehicles, and the wrecker driver picking up my belongings as they were now strewn over much of the freeway. Steam was coming out from somewhere under my seat which was now where the engine was. The bed of the truck was warped; the force of the wreck torqued and twisted the metal.

Once in the ambulance the man told me that he was going to put some sugar water into me, the 18 gauge needle was going to hurt. Compared to the rest of the pain that I was in, that was a mosquito bite.

Arriving at the hospital, they were already working on the other person that hit me.  A curtain separated us, but I could hear him.  He was old, drunk and on medications.  His wife had just bought him another car as he totaled the last one.  He had badgered her about driving so she bought him this old big Cadillac so if he were in an accident; he would be protected. He bragged about how he guessed she was right because he was still there.

Laying there on the other side of the curtain, listening to him tell the story of his classic Cadillac, what was left of my blood boiled! It was not bad enough that they took the old person first, but I had to be in the same room with him!

It was now my turn to be treated like meat.

Cutting my clothing off me there was no shortage of witnesses to watch the story unfold.  Doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants (young attractive female with long curly brown hair) and a burly old cop who clearly had never missed a meal, were a few that made the cadre of spectators.

The report of the accident was read aloud to all that were present including the fact that my seatbelt was not buckled.

I tried to tell them that I took it off but, the cop was making notes, not interested in my wellbeing but who was at fault and if there was a ticket to write.  He looked down at me as if to say, yea sure…we have heard that one before…  I was pissed!  Arrogant son of a bitch!  If he could not see from the evidence what happened, he was a moron!

As they cut my shirt off, a large purple stripe across my chest and my belly that the belt left, told the tail, and at that; the cop put his ticket book away!  I was more concerned about living through this and he was looking to write a ticket.  I do not mean to sound churlish. I know many police who I call friends.  Thinking about this, I am still pissed at that asshole!

The doctor was wearing a black silky sports jacket with a yellow logo on it as he was at some sporting event and was on call.  He was not happy to be there and his bedside manner left much to be desired.  There were two hospitals in this town, one for poor folks, and one for people with means.  I had insurance and means and they brought me to the other hospital that was in need of so many things.

After examining my naked body in front of many people, the “doctor” flipped me over to stuff a finger up my butt as the final insult…  Now I had broken bones, crushed chest, face and legs and without x-rays or anything else, he treats me like a slab of meat to finish his exam so he can write up some orders for the nurses and get back to what he was doing before the rude interruption.  After he was satisfied with his initial exam, he left. They did a sonogram of my heart to find that it had been bruised.  Then they took me down to x-ray.  X-ray was close to the morgue, I could smell dead people, or was it me.

The ceiling tiles, stained from years of leaks and neglect told the tail of the financial history of this place.  The X-Ray machine would not stay in place.  After she would set it, get some distance to trigger it, the head would slide down, as its joints were old and loose.  We had to take several “pictures” before she was finished. No telling how much extra radiation that I was exposed to because of this antiquated relic that belonged in a museum.

Back in the emergency room, the man’s wife arrived.  He told her… “They said I was in the wrong lane.”

Laying there listening to him getting his three stitches on his forehead, it was not long before he was released to go home.  Before they left, his wife came over to me.  From what I could tell, I was covered in my own blood from head to toe. My beard was caked in blood.  She rubbed my forehead as she apologized… ”I knew better to get him another car.” She said…then she told me “I am not supposed to tell you this, we have good insurance…”

Even in my state of mind, I was too nice to tell her what she could do with her good insurance… I had to live through this day, this night and then another day before I could even think about getting things taken care of.

After hours spent in the emergency room; I was moved to ICU.  If you have never been in the hospital before “and I had not” this was not an experience that I would welcome or recommend.

Since I had a bruised heart, it was decided that I could not have pain medication.  A dentist came in and checked my teeth that had gone through my face.  Stitching up my face from the inside out, no pain medication was used.

The next fun thing was the doctor that set my broken nose.  This person reminded me of the professor on back to the future.  Pushing on my nose with his thumb, he could not get it exactly straight so again, without any pain management, he put these huge forceps up my nose and … got it straight.   The pain was unbelievable as the final crunching sounds of the bones ceased.

The machine that monitored my pulse echoed the throbbing of the pains in my body.

Listening to the beeping of the machine, I knew as long as it was beeping, I was alive.

The PA came in and tried multiple times to get me to tell her what I was taking.  “C’mon, we know you are taking something, what it is…we need to know…”  “Really…my word meant nothing… I don’t do stuff like that, never have!”  Several times she tried to get me to tell her what I was on…the answer was always the same. I maybe the only person on this damned planet who has never done it but…I don’t…

“We don’t know what you are on so we can’t give you pain medicine.” She said… What was I supposed to do, lie so they could manage my pain?

The next day, after the worst night in my life the toxicology report came back…my potassium was low…”What are you doing to cause your potassium to be low?” the doctor with bad bedside manners asked.  “Ummm, I don’t salt my food…” Never did get as much as an aspirin.

The days and nights blurred together as I could not sleep.  My nose was packed with cotton, and it throbbed for days. I could barely breathe as my ribs and chests were broken, breathing hurt!

Every few hours someone came in and jabbed me several times with a needle to get blood.  The phlebotomist, if that is who they were, sucked at it! I was still getting saline from an IV so peeing was the only activity that I could muster.  Lifting the sheets was near impossible and on several occasions, I had to get help…talk about humbling…

After the third day, glass from the accident was still imbedded in my hands left arm and face.  My beard was one solid chunk of caked blood and not so much as one person offered to get the glass out of me or clean me up.

For entertainment, I found that I could control the beats of my heart.  Using some biofeedback technique, I could slow them down to an eerie slow level or speed them up. I was hooked up with a remote telemetry gadget so someone somewhere could look at a screen and see my heart rhythm.  There was also a camera on the ceiling watching me.  At some point in time, I wanted a nurse and could not get one.  I pulled the telemetry leads off my chest.  The monitor went to a silent tone and … nothing.  Nobody came for close to 15 minutes! If this was ICU, I shuddered to think what care was like in a regular room.

The next day the hospital administrator came to my bed as I had asked to be transferred to Houston.  I personally knew Dr. Debakey and he knew me.  He even told me once if I needed his services to let him know.  If there was anything going on with my heart, I would much rather he and his team take care of me than this bunch of people.

The next day they moved me to a private room in the “best part” of the hospital.  Some wing of the hospital had been made via donations from someone.  It was there, with help from family that I managed to get myself into the shower, and stay there until I managed to get all the dried blood off me, out of my hair, and what have you.  I then dug into my luggage and used my own damned tweezers to get the glass out of me.

The doctor with the crappy attitude before releasing me was much nicer on his final examination.  I guess he was finally satisfied that I was not on anything…the wreck was in no way my fault or…he got lucky the night before…. Either way, I was happy to leave that hospital.  Holding a pillow next to my chest my friend of many years drove me home where I lost months of employment and finally had to leave the job I loved, as I was no longer able to do it.

One of the people that I missed was Dr. DeBakey and his team.  I had spent years taking care of the doctors in the Texas Medical Center and ended up in a small East Texas hospital that was a joke by any standards.

Loosing months of pay I got a call one day from MADD…mothers against drunk driving.  While I could ill afford it, I sent them some money anyway.

Today 24 years later I am often teased about my driving.  I am very defensive, leave lots of room in front of me and preach to those that will listen. I tell them to pay attention to what is going on at least 15 cars in front of you and leave enough room so you can see them.  I am often told, I drive like a grandpa…slow.  Slow translates to the speed limit or a mile or two above or below it, depending on the average terrain.

Driving a full size truck with many airbags is only a small part of my strategy.  When I see these people with their damned phones driving and messing with the phone, part of me really wants to scream at them.  Then the cops have radios, phones and a laptop computers and a host of other distractions while they drive through school zones…Folks, they are no different from you… Watch them; you will see them drift all over the road as they mess with their toys. I have seen them, and I cringe.

Keep your distance from them, big trucks and cheerleader types who think a selfie while driving through a school zone is smart.  They do it!  They are all over Facebook… Just the other day a young woman picked up her child from school and took off from the school, passing everyone doing 40 or better in a 20.  She was on her phone at the time…texting as she passed me.  “Where is a cop when you need one I said…”  With that, a cop pulled up on her bumper on his motorcycle.  She drove a long way without noticing him behind her, as she was texting on her phone.  That ticket had to be pricey!

Who do you think you are that you can endanger others with your BS?

I wish I could say that this is a story and “blah blah blah” but the truth is, that this is the truth.

This happened, and I am certain that by now, some of the memories have faded but I must tell you, most are still there including the pain.  Twenty-four years now, I have lived in unmitigated pain.  I take nothing for it.  I live with it, working out as best I can to help manage it…but there are no meds that would leave me mentally acute.

I do not know what happened with the man that hit me.  I know that if you have the same insurance carrier, you lose. By now I am certain he is gone, but there are plenty others to take his place.  There were no smart phones back then…Now everyone has one. Weed is legal in some states and I fear that those people will drive impaired as well. Even in states where it is illegal, I am certain that one of three folks is under some sort of influence.

Defensive driving if taught correctly, would be money well spent.

-Best

© All rights Reserved 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Published #writer #author

Getting Published #writer #author

 

I write the following from what I have learned thus far on this subject.  I would appreciate input from those of you that have made this trip successfully.

Write Well 

It cannot be overemphasized enough to write well.  I have read many books written by people who were self-published. They wrote their story that they wanted to tell.  Not being able to make their fortune from their manuscript, they self-published. They spent the next several months trying to sell enough of their books to re-coop their investment.  Not everyone was meant to be a writer or published.  If they had read their work more carefully they would have discovered that it was not written well.  This leads me to my next thought.

Write for your enjoyment. 

The passion that most writers have is not to sell millions of books, just to write.  It has been said that if you want to get to know the author, read their book.  Take this one-step further.  If you want to get to know yourself, who you are…, write a book.  When you are reading your story, if you are listening, you will find yourself in your characters.  Insight as to who you actually are will come out in their actions and feelings.

If your characters do not have feelings, you need to go back and try again.  Sell the story through their actions or feelings.

Which reminds me, do not try to do this for a living, until you are famous.  Your sanity might depend upon you being in this world with a day job. We are social creatures, being around people and not in your world of your story all of the time is important.   Of this… I speak from experience…

Start out with a bang!

The first few pages sell your book, especially for an unknown. The prologue is a good place to entice the reader to want to know more, than you can build the story after the prologue. Once you become a JK Rowling, than you can let your name (or brand) sell your product.

Be well read

Most successful writers read a lot.  While I have read some “flash in the pan” books that were not well written, nor were the authors “well read,” that actually made it.  Statistics show that more often than not, books that get published, are from people who were well read.

Have a story that is unique and interesting

Your story should be unique.  If it is a rehash of a common situation, there is a good chance it will sit on the circular file cabinet of some publisher, until the janitor makes his or her rounds.

Expect rejection

You must have thick skin to be in this vocation.  Your own family may not like what you have written.  Do not expect everyone to love it as much as you do. This is your baby, your passion not theirs. As soon as you send it off to someone, start working on something else. One of the publishers that I have been talking with might take a year before they get back to you simply telling you, no thanks!

A Good Agent

First off, agents are about as hard to sell as are publishers themselves.  Many folks take up writing as a get rich scheme instead of for the pure passion of writing or telling a story.  Agents get a commission for what they do.  Never pay someone up front…If the agent is a true agent worth their salt, they will know from your synopsis if this is something that they can sell.

Do lots of research on your agent before signing.

Good agents are available. Locating them through a writers league might be a good idea as the others in the league might have an experience to share.

Finish your work before you think about getting it published

I have spoken with many who get some idea for a book and immediately approach an agent or publisher.  You have nothing to sell, until there is a manuscript of 120,000 words or so in your hands.” 

When writing your manuscript do not get hung up on the word count!  After the editing process, your 135,000 words might be around 95,000.  Somewhere between 100,000 and 120,000 seems to be optimal.

Check your work well before you send it off…

As alluded to in the last point, editing your work is paramount.  When you decide to send it off, it should be as good as you could possibly make it.  I like to read it aloud although one trick that I found is to have something like “Nuance’s Naturally Speaking” full edition; read it back to me, one paragraph at a time.  Your mind will skip over clumsy sentences or bad grammar.   The program only reads what it sees so the “you instead of the your” will pop out at you!

Try to get something published in a magazine prior to getting your book published.

This is a great idea for first time writers.  Write a short story or several, 5000 words or so and submit it to magazines.  If they publish it, they might pay around $500 for the story (one time) but you then can write on your cover sheet…published in….  That is a great way for your manuscript to get more of a look than 3 seconds, of some agent or publishers time.

“What magazine you ask?”  What do you write?  Sci-Fi… Pick a science fiction magazine and approach them with a story…

Submission guidelines are critical…

Everyone has some idea of what they expect to see when they open your manuscript.  I have found double-spaced block type, cover sheet etc… They should have guidelines to follow…follow them not just a little bit, to the letter.

Have a well-written synopsis keeping it to two pages.

This is a problem for writers.  You need to tell the complete story, with the ending in 500 words or so…2 pages…  Look for guidelines online… Oh yes, it must be written well…

Purchase The Writer’s Market published by Writer’s Digest

Query Letter

Send a query letter even if they say they are currently not accepting. The worst thing that will happen is you wasted a stamp.  (One page)  Many publishers may say that they do not accept unsolicited manuscripts but truth be told, they all want best sellers.  A query letter cost you .50 cents and it might perk their interests.

Sending your manuscript to agents and or publishers should not be with a lot of fanfare.  Simply box it “if it fits its ships” or padded envelope and let the post office do it for you.  No FED EX nothing like that…Media Mail in fact… Anything else gives the appearance of desperation.  “They should be lucky that you have chosen them to publish…”  Ok, maybe not but, you get the gist.

Now go back to writing and tell a story….

-Best

Below are a few links that I have found while digging.

http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/

http://agentquery.com/publishing_mp.aspx

https://querytracker.net/whatisqt.php

http://www.writersmarket.com/

https://duotrope.com/

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