Thursday, February 27, 2014

Writers Don't "Love" to Work

The geezer long has argued with those who cheerfully exclaim, "I just love to write!" I've been at it for a bit more than a half-century, and creating new deathless prose still qualifies as work, not pleasure.

The fun part, I maintain, is that good feeling when you think you've turned out something worthwhile. Even more satisfying is the discovery that someone bothered to read it. And if anyone says they liked your offering--WOW!

I think what does apply to the hundreds of writers I've edited and the many others I've shared thoughts with over the years is this: It is not the act of writing writers love, it is the result (when the result is even a little bit positive).

Today, with expectations of at least a trifling reward, I fully intended to concentrate in solitude and create a brilliant, fascinating, compelling post for your approval. Darn, a whole lot of important tasks took precedence. I'll just have to wait for another time to feel the love.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Rage and Extreme Violence

You may not hear much about the latest rage shooting, a strange event that happened in Pittsfield Township near Ann Arbor, Michigan. That's because the early reports were carried by one of the lesser news purveyors, United Press International, rather than the more widely followed Associated Press, BBC, or major American television networks.

Ben Clink said he pleaded for his life while moving snow 
What happened was bizarre to say the least. Ben Clink, a front-end loader operator, was clearing snow from the parking lot of an apartment complex. He had been working on the project for nearly 7 hours when he deposited some snow behind a white car. Bevin Wilson, 39, allegedly ran out of the apartment building and yelled at Clink. Clink said Wilson kept running toward the loader, pulled out a gun, and fired a shot through the loader windshield, narrowly missing him and causing $2,500 in damage.

Clink told reporters, "I was just saying 'Please don't shoot me, please don't shoot me, I'll move the snow, please don't shoot me.'"

Wilson did not shoot again. When police arrived, Wilson surrendered his gun and turned himself in. Police said Wilson had a concealed weapon carry permit.

Clink is a white man. Wilson is a black man.

The story didn't  make the UPI "Top News" category. It didn't even make the top five in the UPI "Odd News" reporting. Perhaps that's because of media preoccupation with another shooting rage story in Florida. There Michael Dunn, 47, was convicted recently on attempted murder and other charges.

Dunn said he and his girlfriend were in the parking lot of a convenience store when passengers in a vehicle carrying four teenagers played loud rap music that irritated him. After a confrontation about the music, Dunn fired 10 shots at the vehicle, hitting it nine times, and killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

As things now stand, Dunn is scheduled to serve at least 60 years in prison, a virtual life sentence for one his age. A possible retrial and appeal are pending. Dunn had a concealed weapon carry permit.

Davis was a black youth. Dunn is a white man.

It appears that deadly violence inspired by rage over what seem to be petty matters is not the province of one race or another.

It seems to me more likely that the seeds of rage lurk within humans of many varieties. Throughout history, responses to insults or irritations often were violent and sometimes lethal, although in "civilized" societies the violence came to be more likely a relatively harmless poke in the chest, push to the ground, or punch in the mouth.

But now in the U.S., killing people or trying to over small matters seems to be increasing throughout the land. It couldn't be because more people are carrying guns, could it?  Of course not--the National Rifle Association tells us that cannot be so.

Monday, February 17, 2014

It's Just Not Fair

Five years ago, we lived adjacent to the seventh fairway of a very nice golf course near Ogden, Utah. Today, course management announced the front nine will be open for play tomorrow.

We now live next to the eighteenth green of a very nice golf course near Plainwell, Michigan. It started snowing once again about an hour ago. Forecasters say we can expect three to seven inches by tomorrow morning, which should make average snow cover on the golf course nearly two feet. Course management has not even thought about an opening date.

Boo hoo.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Beating the Bulb

With a participant in our midst who had actually studied the situation, our last discussion group meeting turned to pondering the relative environmental and economic benefits of various types of light bulbs.

Some favored CFLs (compact fluorescents) as an inexpensive and long-lasting change from traditional
Will it outlast me?
incandescent bulbs. CFLs are a good choice for some places in the home, such as closets, but they present disposal problems.

LEDs (light-emitting diodes) cost much more, but last far longer, and by far are the most environmentally friendly of the choices. The prices of LEDs are dropping, and the selection is expanding, so there is little doubt these will be the choice of the future.

In our home, we're in transition mode. We have invested in a few LEDs, starting with outdoor holiday lights. We have CFLs in the garage, some exterior lights, and all our closets. We continue to use up our supply of incandescent bulbs. When one size is gone we make a spot decision to go with a CFL or LED.

One participant in the discussion said it mattered little to him because he had a big supply of the old incandescent bulbs that probably would last longer than he would--he was loathe to throw them out.

Group members once worried occasionally about outliving their money in retirement. Now we face another worry--a concern that without careful planning we may not outlive our light bulbs.