Free Advice: Worth Every Penny

Lately, I have taken to signing up for free webinars and teleconferences about writing and marketing. I look at it this way, most of them are an hour, maybe an hour and fifteen minutes long, they only cost time, so if I learn only one thing that might help me, then the hour was worth it. If I don’t learn anything then it only cost me an hour of my time. Continue reading

A Pontification on Getting Old

So I started thinking the other day about getting old, more specifically, some of the things I have noticed about getting old. Now, I am not complaining about getting old, it happens to everyone, well unless you stop it and there is only one way to effectively do that, but cryogenics just doesn’t appeal to me.

Anyway, what started me thinking about all this was my weekly trip to the pharmacy. I used to think it was funny when my dad would go into the pharmacy and he was on a first name basis with everyone there because he was there so often, well guess what? But that isn’t what started me thinking. I realized that when I go to the pharmacy I always meet someone I know, whether an old friend or just an acquaintance. Normally these people are the same people I used to run into in one of the purveyors of alcohol establishments I used to frequent. You know, there just might be some kind of a connection there.

The thing is I don’t feel or look any older, well except for the fact it takes me a little bit to get the joints loose enough to be able to get out of bed in the morning. And there is the whole prostate thing going on. (Ah to go back to the days when I could just whip it out and go and not have to wait five minutes just to start.) At least it gives me time to memorize the phone numbers written on the stalls in the highway rest areas. Of course, I forget them by the time I leave but I try, not that it would do any good for me to call them anyway.

But other than that there really aren’t any changes, unless you count the fact that I can no longer grow hair where I want it (namely on the top of my head) but it has no trouble growing in my ears, nose and eyebrows. Really, nothing has changed.

And just because it takes me a little longer to get places, that’s only because I want to take my time. We should all take the time to smell the roses whenever we can. Okay, so I don’t have any roses between the recliner and the bathroom, but there are other things to enjoy on the trip. Besides, there are roses outside the house where I park the car, I can smell those. Oh, that’s right, those roses aren’t there anymore, I had to stop trimming them because for some reason the pruning shears didn’t seem to want to close anymore. This was okay, they took on this wild look, unfortunately they ended up being transplanted down the street on the side of the road. Who knew roses would root themselves in a ditch after un-sticking themselves from the undercarriage of a car that may not have seen them as it was backing out.

No, I pretty much haven’t changed much in the last forty years, why, I bet I could get up and run around the lake like I used to. Well, if I used to, but never actually ran around the lake, or the block for that matter, but had I did it then, why, I m sure I could do it now. In fact, maybe I’ll go do it right now… or maybe not, besides it is pretty near my bed time.

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A Pontification on Dead People

I bet you all thought I was one of the “dead people” since it has been some time since my last post. No, I can assure you that I am alive and semi-well just very busy with some editing jobs. So all of you loyal readers of my blog can now rest easy, I am here. Okay, so maybe I don’t have a whole lot of loyal fans since I this is only my sixth post, but some day, who knows.

So, I started thinking the other day about dead people. No, not about making dead people, or eating dead people, or doing anything with dead people, but rather what I would ask them if I could. You see there was a post on my Facebook page the other day with one of those questions that people like to put out there. Of course, what these people don’t realize is that when they do this I think about the question for all those long, lonely hours driving around my little part of the world. In fact, sometimes, I think about these questions more than about what I am doing and that leads to missed exits, runned red lights (somehow I don’t think runned red lights is correct, ran red lights?) and other mishaps while driving. Anyway, where was I?

Yes, the question was “If you could talk to any dead person and ask them one question, who and what would you ask?” The problem I had is when I would come up with any one name and question who I thought would be the best, I would then come up with another. Here is my list of who and what I would ask them, in no particular order, but possibly with a political bent:

  • Marilyn Monroe – What really happened the night you died, were the Kennedy’s connected?
  • Lee Harvey Oswald – Did you act alone?
  • The Founding Fathers – What do you think of the country now?
  • Martin Luther King Jr. – What do you think of the direction your movement has taken? Is it what you expected?
  • Richard Nixon – Do you still think you are not a crook?
  • Confucius – Did you really say all that stuff or did you have a staff of writers? And how do you feel about having your words in fortune cookies?
  • My father – How did you manage to get smarter as I got older?
  • George Washington – Is it true you never told a lie?
  • Ted Kennedy – What were you thinking when you drove off the bridge?
  • George H.W.Bush – Wait, he isn’t dead yet, oh well, I’ll ask anyway. Do you still want us to read your lips about the no new taxes thing?

That’s it for now, although I am sure as I drive around tomorrow I will think of some more. How about you?

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A Pontification on Lawn Mowing

I started thinking about lawn mowing the other day. No, not about mowing my lawn but just the whole subject in general. I look at mowing the lawn as one of those household chores that is nothing but an exercise in futility.

Think about it, depending on where you live, I am in the Northeast, you mow the lawn today and in two days it needs to be mowed again. What’s the point? Why not let it wait another two days? Or four? Heck, why even do it at all. At least when you do other pain in the ass yard work, like raking leaves, you only have to do it once and then not again for another twelve months.

From GuySports.com

Regarding raking leaves, over the course of many years I tried every conceivable strategy to make raking leaves easier. At the time, the house in which I was living had a yard full of oak trees, which tend to have many leaves. One year I waited until I could see that all the leaves had fallen, figuring I would only have to do it once. In theory, this was a good idea, except for the fact that oak trees are notorious for holding onto their leaves for as long as possible. Raking leaves in late November is no better than raking them in October, if fact it is usually cold, raw and damp.

Then there was the year I decided to split the yard into sections and do each section twice. Again, in theory this was a good plan except for the fact that when the New England wind would blow, it would remove and evenly distribute the leaves throughout the yard, including the sections I had already raked.

Finally I had the idea that if I just left them there in the spring they would all be gone. Unfortunately after the snow melted, the leaves were still there, except a lot wetter and harder to pick up. I will say that in the house I now live in, this strategy actually works. You see, when the wind picks up off the lake it blows all my leaves into my neighbors yard and Bod has to pick them up. Good man that Bob.

Any way back to mowing the lawn. I can remember the ex-wife would always want me to spend my day off outside cutting the grass. She would always let me know how our yard looked so much worse than the neighbors. Of course I would reply that if the neighbor didn’t like the way our lawn looked he was more than welcome to come over and cut it himself. Now that I think of it, this could be one of the reasons she is now my ex-wife.

And I just don’t understand why people would want to spend all their time putting things on their lawns in order to make it grow more. You know the guy, he gets up early Sunday morning, starts the lawn tractor, mows the lawn then spreads Scotts Turf Builder to make it grow some more. Why? So you can do it all again next Sunday?

The same thing with watering it. Pffffttttt, click, pffffft, click, neighborhoods are full of this sound as people turn on the sprinkler systems. All in order to make the grass they just cut grow some more.

Now, I do have to admit, after the lawn has been mowed it does look a whole lot nicer. The green is greener,the various lawn accoutrements seem to pop from the landscape and there is noting quite like the smell of a fresh cut lawn. Yup, sure is wonderful, I just wish my neighbor would hurry up and get over here to mow it.

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A Pontification on Ice Fishing

pauls ponderings ice fishing

I started thinking the other day about ice fishing. You see I was travelling through northern Vermont where there is still ice on the lakes and people ice fishing. Honestly, I just don’t get the point. After all if you need ice just put water in your freezer or go to the store and by a bag. Do you really need to sit out in the cold trying to catch it? Okay, I  know when you are ice fishing you aren’t trying to catch ice. But I still don’t get the point, therefore I pondered on it for awhile and hence, this pontification.

However, before I begin, let me put a few things out there about me and especially why I have so much time to ponder and pontificate. For the last twenty years I have spent the majority of my time behind a windshield. I have made a living, not a great one but a living, driving around in various motorized vehicles. This has given me much time for pondering the mysteries of life. This is why anyone who drives for a living, whether a truck, car or bus (as well I suppose a plane and train) knows everything. Whether it is the fumes, watching windshield wipers go back and forth for hours, or something else, I can’t say for sure, but it is definitely a trait amongst all drivers. Personally I think it has to do with the fact drivers spend all their time alone and have no one to contradict them. If you have no one to argue with, you will always be right.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, ice fishing.

Last week I was driving in northern Vermont, through what is called the “Northeast Kingdom.” Now I have no idea why it is called that and I suppose I could look it up if I were really that interested but I am not. I also drove into the “Great Northwoods” in New Hampshire. There are some really large lakes in the area and many times I see ice fishers (fishermen? fisherpeople?) on the lakes, and this got me to thinking about the whole ice fishing thing.

What is the thrill of sitting on a little stool or metal lawn chair, on the ice, in the cold waiting for a little flag to pop up? And it is cold up there, maybe not now as winter is almost over but it has been cold all winter. There were a few times this winter when the temperature was way below zero, like 13 below. That’s cold enough to make your nostrils stick together. And now you are sitting in the cold, putting a line with a hook on it into a hole where the fish are probably sleeping for the winter anyway? Are you hoping to maybe hit one of them on the head with the hook? Don’t get me wrong, I like real fishing, you know when it’s warm and there isn’t any ice on the water, but sitting in the cold..I don’t think so.

Sure, I have seen some little out house looking things out there, in fact I swear I saw one that may have been a converted porta-potty, and they probably can be heated, but so can’t my living room. And I know there must be all kinds of equipment out there that can be purchased, like heaters and chairs but I still don’t get it. But then I guess I have never been the outdoorsy type. I get all the outdoors I need when I look out the window of whatever I happen to be driving at the time.

I have to admit though that the snowmobiling thing appeals to me. When I am up there in the north woods I see lots of snowmobile trails and I could get into buzzing down these trails through the woods and fields enjoying the scenery. But then that has also started me thinking. What happens if you are tooling along and come around a bend and there is a moose standing there? I have encountered moose while driving and they don’t always tend to move. In fact I had one actually stare me down once, until she finally decided I wasn’t worth the trouble and slowly ambled across the road. If they didn’t move for a car I don’t think they will be particularly interested in getting out of the way of a buzzing snowmobile.

So what do you do? Moose are pretty tall and I suppose you could try to go under them but then there is a reason for the expression “Hung like a moose.” Okay maybe it’s “hung like a horse, but same difference. I don’t think it would be all that fun getting your bell rung by… well you know.

I imagine the bigger problem in the woods would be wild turkeys. While not as big as a moose, and not hung like one, although I have no evidence of either, they tend to jump up at you when startled.  And, like moose, wild turkey’s don’t seem to want to move to quickly when approached. I suppose if you hit one you could take it home for dinner, not as easy with a moose, but then that would get us into another subject altogether, road kill or trail kill in this case and that could be a subject for a later pest, I mean post. Did you know that Benjamin Franklin actually wanted to make the wild turkey the national bird?

So what is the attraction with ice fishing? Is it really worth being in the cold for endless hours on the off chance some half dead fish will bump into your hook?  Wait… there is another kind of Wild Turkey isn’t there? Maybe that’s the attraction…

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