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Sedentary Revolutionary

English: Revolutionary parade, ink drawing by ...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m twisted inside at what’s happening here.

We gave in to the mob though their cause was unclear.

As they’d hoped, we averted our eyes and went on

keeping time to the sound of their merciless drum.

Now we’re over that cliff.  Who knew lemmings could fly?

Oh, they can’t?  I guess that’s why we’re so contrite.

We hit bottom and turned to each other in hope.

Then we realize we’d given them all of our rope

thinking they’d make a noose for themselves.  They hung us

out to dry, on a limb, on a hook, or a truss.

Now here we swing while they dance down below

and they’ve brought us their broken ideals in tow.

“What shall we do?” we all scream in despair

as we dangle here just like a brace of march hares.

Well, we probably should learn to cooperate,

get ourselves off of this hook post-haste.

But we just throw blame.  You blame me.  I blame you.

We keep fighting.  There’s nothing at all we can do.

So the marchers go, pockets full of change.

“Your objections are bigoted” they will explain.

What’s the answer?  We know we should all just consent

to the plan of our forefathers’ first document.

Constitutional law, as you know does not fail

unless the balances tell you the check’s in the mail.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on March 11, 2012 in Poetry, Politics

 

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The Difference Between the Top One Percent And The REAL Top One Percent…

Percent poverty world map

Image via Wikipedia

Some of you know I’m a missionary in Honduras.  From time to time we get visitors from the United States and other countries.  They come here to help the people here with whatever skills they have available.  Some are engineers or know how to build stuff and they come to build for people here.  Some are doctors and they come to offer free medical treatment to people here who can’t afford it otherwise.  They all have giving hearts and want to share their lives with people less fortunate than themselves.  On occasion, however, they are challenged by family members or friends, acquaintances or neighbors about the fact that there are poor people in the United States that could use their help, so why go to a foreign country to do what it is they feel the need or responsibility to do?

Recently I met a dentist who came here to offer free dental care to people suffering with rotten teeth and such.   There is no local dentist here, so it is a very much needed service.  While eating at a dinner in honor of the team on their last night here, I sat and talked with him and he told me the following story.  The story poignantly stressed the difference in the needs here and the needs there, in the United States.  I asked him to write it down and send it to me when he got back home and he agreed to do so.  So this is kind of a guest post by my new friend, Thomas Gelhaus, D.D.S.

Who Are the Poor?
Written by: Tom Gelhaus, D.D.S.

For the past 20 years I’ve been spending my ‘vacations’ in South and Central America. They’re working vacations….fixing teeth on people who otherwise don’t have access to care. Occassionally I’ve been asked why I do that….why don’t I just help the poor in the United States. (actually I do even more charity work in my own office in north central Wisconsin)

I struggle a bit in answering that question. It really isn’t easy to understand without visiting ‘3rd World‘ countries in person. So I try to explain it in this way…..

My wife and all 4 of my children have accompanied me on many trips. They know first hand what I do and what conditions I encounter. My kids also know about the less fortunate in the United States since they’ve participated in humanitarian efforts here as well.

When President Clinton was in office he made the effort to visit the 3 poorest areas of the United States. Two were Pine Ridge in South Dakota and the Appalachia  area. Coincidentally I had children working in both areas that year.

When my daughter returned from her spring break humanitarian mission in Appalachia,  I asked her ‘how did it compare to Guatemala?’, where she had been with me twice before. Her answer was that she helped a family who needed house repairs but she said the poor in the U.S. would be among the rich in Guatemala. They had housing (not fancy) but also clean water, food, education, enough clothes etc.….which the Guatemalans did not have. The average person in the world doesn’t have clean water or many of the things we take for granted. In fact the average person in the U.S. is in the top 1 to 3 % of the worlds wealthiest.

We think we are middle class but actually are richer than 99% of others on earth.

I think of the ‘occupy Wallstreet’ movement. Those are really the top 1% doing the protesting….the rich protesting the richer.

I wish I could take everyone in the U.S. with me on a trip…..

 
4 Comments

Posted by on March 2, 2012 in Honduras, Politics

 

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I’m A Finalist!

Recently I wrote a flash fiction piece called The Book.  I posted it on my blog and entered it in a story competition at Hannah Rose’s Blog.  Well, I am one of three finalists and the voting is still going on!  Why not stop by and read the stories?   You might like one of them well enough to vote. (Hint, hint!)

There’s no prize involved, but it’s nice to know that I’m one of the top three, right?   Enjoy the competition and the finalists’ stories.  I liked all three, but I was partial to one.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on March 1, 2012 in Competitions, Flash Fiction

 

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Adding A Blogroll To Your Blog

Hi!  Today I’ve decided to do a “How To” article.  It’s fairly obvious, by reading the title, what I plan to show how to do today, but the reason may not be obvious.  If you’re a seasoned blogger you’re probably already pimping a blogroll on your sidebar, but since I’m fairly new to this I had to figure it out myself.  I got some help from friends who commented here when I asked about this very subject in a previous post, but before and beyond that I was on my own.  I searched thoroughly, or at least I think I did, for a blog post giving instruction on how to do this.  I may not have known where to search or how to search correctly, but I certainly didn’t find anything to help, other than the helpful friends who gave me advice on this when I asked in the earlier post.

So I figured it would be helpful for new bloggers if they new how to post a blogroll on their sidebar.  Here goes nothing:

How To Add A Blogroll To Your Blog

The first thing you have to do if you want to post a blogroll in your sidebar is, well…  you have to have a sidebar.  It took me a while to figure out why I didn’t have a sidebar, but in essence it was simply the theme WordPress had automatically started me with.  It had a place at the bottom of the page and it had left right and center settings for anything I wanted to put there, but no sidebar.  So you have to change your theme.

This may not be too difficult if you’re new to WordPress, because you can just pick one you like, making sure it has a sidebar, and then edit any colored fonts you may have used in posts.  For me it was difficult because I had almost 50 posts that I would potentially have to edit for colored fonts if I chose the wrong theme.  (There were also quite a few frilly themes that had flowers and pieces of candy and such for place markers, which being a guy I decided I didn’t need.)  I went through all the potential blog themes and decided on this nice Choco theme that sort of reminds me of a field notebook or something.  It’s manly enough to bolster my “macho-ness” and still has a bit of creative flair to it.

After you’ve decided on a theme and set up all the options you want for it you’ll be able to add a blogroll.  You’ll still have trouble if you go to your Dash Board and look for it, though.  There is no heading in the left column menu for “Blogroll”.  What you want to do first is make a list of all the people or websites you want to include in your blogroll.  Consider it your personal hall of fame.  This is where you give honor to all your blogging or webmaster heroes.  Don’t just include every website in your browser’s history.  This is a coveted place of honor that people are constantly attempting to acquire.  Be selective.  My guideline is that unless someone appears in my Top Recent Commenters section in the Stats page for my blog, they don’t get put on the blogroll.  (There may be a couple of exceptions to this, but that’s my norm.)  Most bloggers seem to use a personal rule of only including blogs in their blogroll that will inspire their readers or compliment the content of their own blog.  I think that’s a good rule too.

Once you have a list compiled with not only the URL‘s, but also the name that appears at the top of the page when you navigate there, Go to the Dash Board of your blog and click on the Links/Add New option.  It looks like this:

Add New Link (to your blogroll)

It’s going to take you to a form that you’ll have to fill out, but it’s not as complicated as it looks.   You can actually fill in everything on the form for each link you add, but at this point I’m only going to show you what you need to know to have that blogroll showing in your sidebar.

Now, The first thing you’ll want to do is add the name of the blog and then the URL goes in the next field right underneath the name.  The name should appear the same as it does on the website you’re referring the reader to, but if you want to be funny or play a practical joke or if you’re trying to help a campaign to boost search results for that website, you can change that name to whatever is appropriate for your purposes.

One last thing to do before you can add this link and move on to the next.  You need to scroll down to the Categories box and choose categories for your link.  In this case you can choose only the Blogroll category.  Add more categories if you feel they are appropriate, but Blogroll is the only one you’ll need now.

Okay, the link is ready to add to your blogroll.  Go to the top, right-hand corner of your screen and make sure the check box “Keep this link private” is not filled in and then click the “Add Link”  button.  The screen will reload and you’ll have the opportunity to add all the links in your list in one session without having to keep navigating back to the Add New Link page.  Once you’ve added all the links you want on your blogroll you can then post it so the world can see it.

Now To Post Your Blogroll

Your blogroll is a widget, so in order to post it you’ll have to go to the widgets page under Appearance on the menu to the left side of your dashboard.   Just click on the link and it will take you to a wonderful page where you can pimp your blog out really nicely.  There are widgets for calendars, images, videos and more, but today we only need one, the one titled “Links”.

Before you do anything else, look at the right side of your screen and you’ll see a layout of your sidebar.  If you already have other widgets on there, figure out where you want your blogroll to appear in the order.  Count from the top and figure out the numbered position it will have.  This matters in a minute, so remember it or write it down.

The widget we want for posting you blogroll is in the middle of the page when you first arrive there.  You don’t need to scroll down much. It simply says “Links”, which is why I had so much trouble figuring out how to do this.  (I should add that underneath it is a description, that I originally didn’t see, that tells you this is where your blogroll is going to be.) When you find that, click “Add”, which is going to open a widget configuration screen for you.

Okay, you’ll need to select Blogroll for your first field and then you can select/deselect the other options as you see fit.  The second field allows you to choose the sorting parameters for your blogroll, determining which URL appears at the top, etc…  The bottom box is for you to select how many links you want to show.  This only matters when your blogroll gets big and you don’t want to fill your sidebar with it.  Still, it’s nice to know how to decrease the size when you need to.  Once you’ve posted this widget you can always go to the widgets screen and select it from the sidebar and edit whatever settings you want.

This is below the  first box and it determines where your blogroll appears.  If you have more than one sidebar, you can decide which one to put it in.  Since I only have one, it was a no-brainer.  Once you’ve selected which sidebar you want it on, select the numbered position I told you to remember from the widget screen.  Then click on “Save Widget”  Congratulations!  You now have a widget on your sidebar!  Go to your main blog page and admire it.

I hope this helped you.  Cheers until next time!

 
6 Comments

Posted by on March 1, 2012 in Blog Management, Writer's Resources

 

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One out of One Thousand Four Hundred Sixty One

Well, this is the one day out of the year we will not be able to see on our calendar again until one thousand four hundred sixty more days pass.  I couldn’t let it get by without attempting to write something significant.  I mean, why not?  Right?

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately, as some of you already know, discouragement has reared its ugly head in my life.  I’ve been so busy with painting and construction work that it has been nearly impossible to do anything towards my WIP or my blog.  Thanks to a few of my friends who comment regularly here, I’ve had a better outlook about it for the past couple days.

I know I should schedule myself to write a little each day, but schedules are not my best friends.  I’m the guy who never sticks to a schedule and so I avoid making them.  I even made a daily routine “guideline” once and titled it exactly that, because I was asked to write a schedule.  It looked like a schedule and even had times on it, but it wasn’t one because I had titled it something else.  I still didn’t stick to it.

You see, to me writing is a passion thing.  It’s something I have to be in the mood to do or it ends up just being mediocre.  So, when I have a ton of other stuff to do and can’t just drop it all to go write when my fickle muses come to flirt, I don’t get much writing done.

What puts you in the doldrums?  What discourages you?  Is it external distractions of life or is it some dark psychological stimuli that gets to you once in a while?  Most importantly, what’s your muse?  What gets your creative juices flowing?   What makes you feel as though you could write for a week without stopping?

 

 
7 Comments

Posted by on February 29, 2012 in Difficulties, Inspiration

 

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Friendly Encouragement

Ena Noel Award for Encouragement

Image via Wikipedia

I owe the inspiration for tonight’s blog post to a fellow blogger, Ellie Mack.  She gave me some encouragement do to my somewhat piteous post last night and It inspired me to write about how friends can sometimes help us to pull up our bootstraps and get back to it.

Have you ever felt like you just had so many ideas spinning through your head and yet couldn’t get them written?  That’s how I feel now.  I have three great ideas for novels that two of the three are no more than a page of notes each, right now.  I also have a lot of ideas about how I want to improve this blog by organizing it better, enhancing the EOS quality of it and writing more posts about writing and fewer posts about the random junk I originally started throwing on here in my new blogger zeal.  I also have a few ideas about writing articles for e-zines and some poems I need to write.  I love writing flash fiction too, but that’s just for fun and practice.

As if all that weren’t enough to be roiling around in my cranial cavity, I just received a shipment of 20 gallons of paint and need to paint my house.  My brother-in-law is going to be visiting with his family in two weeks and I want the place to really shine when he gets here.  (He’s a retired Colonel and my wife is always eager to bless him with good impressions of how we’re doing.)

I have a lot on my plate, but all I can think about is writing my first novel.  It’s a great idea for a novel, too.  My wife literally dreamed it up.  She does that.  She dreams full plots with a beginning, a middle and an end.  (I read somewhere that Stephen King dreamed the plots for some of his best novels.)  The only thing she doesn’t always have is a good twist at the end, but we are both very imaginative, so we can develop that as we go.  I think I have the twist I want for this one, anyway.

So I let my blog stagnate for two weeks and now I’m feeling guilty.  Here I am trying to establish an online presence so that everyone will possibly look forward to reading my work when I produce it and then I leave everyone in the lurch for two whole weeks?  Not acceptable.  But Ellie cheered me right up!  So I decided to write about the power of encouragement.

It’s not just some kind words you throw out there and forget about.  Real encouragement comes from the heart of one person and lifts up the heart of another.  There are so many things we can say to one another and yet most of us usually don’t choose encouraging words.  If you don’t agree, look at the comment section of any online news site.   You’ll most likely see that about seventy-five percent of the comments are negative.

I once heard the statement that “life is pain and anyone who tells you different is either lying or selling something.” I don’t think it has to be that way.  Our words have power and they produce results.  Just think what a different place the world would be if each of us made a choice to encourage at least one person every day.

I thank God daily for a wife who encourages me to write.  I am also thankful for the encouragement of friends like Alex and Laura.  They are friends of mine who never seem to have anything negative to say to me or about me.  Now believe me, if they wanted to find negative things to say about me they certainly could, but they don’t.  You see?  That’s what makes a difference in people’s lives.  In fact, they and my wife were the main ones encouraging me to publish The Lost Flip Flop and The Honeybee Fiasco, my two short stories, published on Amazon.com.  Another is coming soon and I feel so much better now that I’m doing something with my writing talent.

Encourage someone today and see how much better you feel too.  Trust me, you won’t be sorry you did so.

 

 

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My Blog is in the Doldrums

Doldrums ExperimentFor those of you who haven’t read much about maritime sailing, here’s the definition of doldrums from Wikipedia: “The doldrums is a colloquial expression derived from historical maritime usage for those parts of the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean affected by the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone, a low-pressure area around the equator where the prevailing winds are calm.”  This typically meant, to sailors at sea during the age of sailing vessels, that the ship didn’t move much unless they towed it with rowers in boats out front.  Very exhausting work.

Well, I have been very busy lately with building projects and writing my novel and have basically neglected my blog.  I do apologize to those of you who look forward to hearing from me daily.  I’ll try to do a better job of keeping the blog current.  Lately it’s been too much like work and I hate rowing.

I had an idea this past week that I am hoping you will all respond to and maybe we can work together to get the momentum going again.  Here’s the idea.  Let’s make a list of all the different writing challenges and prompts we know of.  It doesn’t matter if it’s poetry or prose, short or long.  I’m interested in hearing about your favorite weekly or monthly writing challenges.  I like flash fiction and poetry, but feel free to stretch our imaginations.  If you know about a writing challenge, let’s hear about it here.  (10 extra points if it’s on a WordPress blog)

List

100WCGU is a 100 word challenge for grown ups based on the one for schools.  It is held weekly.  There is a text prompt of some type given.

 

 
7 Comments

Posted by on February 26, 2012 in Challenges, Contests, Inspiration, Prompts, Writing

 

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