Trick or treat

Smell my feet. Give me something good to eat. Wonder who created that little rhyme?

Speaking of smelling...wasn't it Ben Franklin who said fish and company smell after five days? Well, I've had company for five days. No smells are being emitted so we're safe there. I will admit though that I'm rather tired. It's hard work being the hostess with the mostest. Still, I'll miss them when they leave.

Back to work tomorrow.

I owe; I owe. It's off to work I go.

Sling Words out.

Rob Petrie lives

I've been behind on my blog reading so I cruised around my favorite sites and found where Lee Goldberg who writes A Writer's Life had posted a link to an interview he did with the fabulous Dick Van Dyke. The link is for the part of the interview where Mr. Van Dyke talks about his most recent series "Diagnosis Murder" as well as his history in television, but you can hear the whole interview as well.

I find Mr. Van Dyke charming and articulate. Since he's 80, we're always supposed to be surprised about that, but my grandfather lived to 100 and was just as charming and just as articulate until the day he died.

So here's a link if you want to listen to the interview. Many thanks to Lee Goldberg who writes the Diagnosis Murder mysteries and who seems pretty charming and articulate himself.

Dick Van Dyke interview.

Sling Words out.

Books, books, and more books

Fall brings with it the undeniable urge to clean out the clutter. Since I'm chained to my writing desk, I'm limited to the clutter in my study. Like most writers, I have this obsession with books. I buy a book and keep it until the end of time. That is, I used to do that, but moving three times in four years will make even the most ardent bibliophile question the wisdom of transporting few thousand books. So I cull each spring and fall.

Many erudite people have made insightful remarks about books. Here's one for the cynical crowd.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg said: There can hardly be a stranger commodity in the world than books. Printed by people who don't understand them; sold by people who don't understand them; bound, criticized and read by people who don't understand them; and now even written by people who don't understand them.

That's quite a commentary on the state of publishing, isn't it? The really interesting thing about this is that Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, who taught physics, mathematics, astronomy, and other subjects, was not talking about contemporary books and publishing because he was born in 1742.

Lichtenberg did research in many fields, geophysics, volcanology, meteorology, chemistry, astronomy, and mathematics to name a few, but he's remembered primarily for his work in physics. His only true scientific discovery though was related to electricity. In 1777, he found that discharges of static electricity formed patterns in bits of dust. Though these Lichtenberg figures were of no use to him at that time, they are the basic principle used in modern photocopying machines. Now, Lichtenberg figures, radial patterns formed when sharp, pointed conducting bodies at high voltage get close enough to insulators to discharge electrically, are being studied because they are fractals.

He is remembered for the thousands of pithy sayings he composed as much as for his contributions to science. Actually, I think he's remembered more for his creative witticisms since he's considered a mere footnote in scientific history.

In an odd way, I find it comforting that someone a few hundred years ago felt the way we writers often feel about what gets published. So when you get disgusted with what's being bought and sold, you're in good company.

Sling Words out.

Astros win!

Woo hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry I can't help myself.

I was at the game in 1986 when they won. Last night, I watched it on TV. I'm just so proud of Phil Garner and Jose Cruz and the rest of the coaching staff and the players.

Way to go, Astros!

Appointment week

I've been AWOL for several days while I've been making and keeping apointments. You know, those pesky checkups we, as intelligent, responsible humans, have to endure.

Yesterday was the allergist which I ended up postponing until next week. I decided, after detouring around two major grid lock jams on all eastbound roadways only to end up in another, that there was no way I could make a 9:30 appointment when I hadn't succeeded in getting five miles from home. Being the modern gal I am, I whipped out the cell, called and cancelled.

Today is dentist. Hope I have better luck in getting there. I'll be glad when I'm finished with these because it sure interrupts the writing day.

Sling Words out.

Tickle a writer's funny bone

You've probably seen this going around the email lists. I received it from several sources a while back. I was cleaning out my cyber files and was about to delete it, but I took a minute to read it again. It's still funny. So I decided to post it since some of you who read my blog aren't writers. This might give you a hint about how tough the writer's lot is.


Q: How many copy editors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: I can't tell whether you mean 'change a light bulb' or 'have sex
in a light bulb'. Can we reword it to remove the ambiguity?

Q: How many editors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Only one. But first they have to rewire the entire building.

Q: How many managing editors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: You were supposed to have changed that light bulb last week!

Q: How many art directors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Does it HAVE to be a light bulb?

Q: How many copy editors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: The last time this question was asked, it involved art directors. Is the difference intentional? Should one or the other instance be changed? It seems inconsistent.

Q: How many marketing directors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: It isn't too late to make this neon instead, is it?

Q: How many proofreaders does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Proofreaders aren't supposed to change light bulbs. They should just query them.

Q: How many writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: But why do we have to CHANGE it?

Q: How many publishers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Three. One to screw it in, and two to hold down the author.

Q: How many booksellers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Only one, and they'll be glad to do it too, except no one shipped
them any.

Saturday at rest

I finally updated my website. Only 14 days late this time. I think I've caught a bad case of procrastination from my dh. I never used to procrastinate the way I do now. With him, it's genetic which explains our daughter's tendency. With me, I think I finally got tired of being the whip cracker in the household. The good news is that I'm a lot more laid back; the bad news is every fracking thing now falls by the wayside.

Anyway, I got the website updated, went for a ride with the top down, had lunch at Whataburger, the original Texas burger joint, and now I'm waiting for the Astros to beat the Cardinals tonight. (Please God!) Sorry if this offends any Cardinal fans out there, but a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do.

Sling Words out.

Lotto winner

Well, according to my email this morning, I've won six lottos. Wonder if that's some kind of record worthy of Guinness? All I have to do to claim my gazillions is send some money to these wonderful people who have my email address.

Now isn't that special?

Autumn still here

Wow, we've had five days of autumn. How sublime to be in the 70's instead of the 90's. This morning there's a lovely drizzle that makes it seem even more autumnal. So I gaze out the window often at the raindrops beading the broad-leaved agapanthas.

Nice day for writing.

Sling Words out.

Houston Astros win

Pardon me while I act insanely partial and scream like a maniac! Houston just beat Atlanta. 18 nail-biting innings, a record according to all the talking heads.


Warning: rerun ahead

Life is too busy of late thus I find myself without time to sling a few words at you or even to update my web site. We're already five days into October and the task of web site update weighs heavy on my mind. Must get it done asap. So I'm going to excerpt an article I wrote a few years ago about book-related trivia.

I’m a trivia collector. I have file folders bursting with amusing items about authors, writing, and books. Of course, this means I occasionally (once a year!) must clean out the clutter. This process takes a while since I find myself reading and chuckling as I go along.

Some of these are so good they don’t deserve to be buried in a file folder or trashed so I thought I’d share some.

In the last seven years of his life, Thomas Hardy took no baths. (Yuk! I imagine everyone wanted him FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD!)

John Grisham received twenty-eight rejections for A TIME TO KILL.

Jonathan Swift went a full year without speaking to anyone.

David Cornwell is the real name of spy novelist John Le Carre.

Lord Byron set his hair in curlers at night.

Mary Higgins Clark had her first short story rejected forty times. (Of course that means there were at least forty markets for short fiction then!)

Charles Dickens detested being called Grandpa.

William Golding received twenty-one rejections for LORD OF THE FLIES.

Frank is the real first name of Mickey Spillane.

Pearl Buck received 14 rejections on THE GOOD EARTH.

George Bernard Shaw had his first five novels rejected.

Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski is the real name of Joseph Conrad, author of HEART OF DARKNESS among others.

L. M. Olenhewitz is Jules Verne.

Marguerite Johnson is Maya Angelou.

Then there is the admiration authors have for other authors.

Harold Robbins on Ernest Hemingway: “Hemingway is a jerk.”

Tolstoy on Nietzsche: “Nietzsche was stupid and abnormal.”

Truman Capote had less than admiration for just about everyone so I won’t single out an individual for his caustic comments. Instead, I'll finish with what Kurt Vonnegut said: “I’d rather have written CHEERS than anything I’ve written.”

Got an interesting fact related to books? Send it to me via email, and I’ll add it to my collection.

My thoughts on SERENITY

Go see the movie. You won't be disappointed even if you haven't seen the series Firefly. Serenity is well written and well acted which is what I expected from Joss Whedon and the cast. I laughed. I cried. I sweated in suspense. Whedon didn't pull any punches, but I was surprised at the deaths of a couple of major characters. I won't say any more because I don't want to create a spoiler even though the trailers on TV do it all the time.