Wednesday, June 29, 2016

United We Stand by Konnie Enos

Enough already!
When I look at the news nowadays I wonder what has come over everyone. Why are we always fighting and in disarray? I see all these news reports and all I can think of is hasn’t anybody ever heard the old saying “divide and conquer”?
We are dividing ourselves up, with labels.
We label everything.
White, black, brown, Asian, Hispanic, disabled, learning delayed, Native American, European decent, LGBT, the labels are endless, and everyone falls into one category, or two or three.
But what everyone fails to see is this dividing of the people is working.
Divide and conquer.
The forces against us as Free Nation want us to fall apart. They want the constitution to be shredded. They want America as a free nation to end before we celebrate 250 years. The worst part is they are succeeding.
We are a divided nation.
We are no longer Americans.
We are a nation of people divided by race, creed, gender, ability, sexual preference and socio-economic background. We are a nation that will find anything little label to divide us from each other.
The longer we stay divided by all these labels, the more labels we have, the more we fight and argue about these labels, the more we let these labels define us, the faster this once great Nation is going to fall and be no more.
I’m an unapologetic patriotic American. I believe in the principles written in the constitution and I believe if we would stop this great mass division among the people we would be able to find the freedoms, the pursuit of happiness, that our founding fathers envisioned or all of us.
I’m greatly saddened by what appears to be a slow march into socialism and communism for this once great country, most particularly the currant attacks on our Second Amendment right to bare arms.
All of it is focused on gun rights, but what both sides fall to realize is that this amendment had very little to do with gun rights, but much more to do with the rights of the people to GOVERN.
Our government is a REPUBLIC, meaning we’re supposed to be governed by THE PEOPLE. Our right to bare arms is so that those in government positions don’t forget for whom they are working for and attempt to take over. You, like they are trying to do right now.
Throughout all recorded history the first thing ALL tyrants do is take the weapons away from their citizens so that they have no means to fight back. Hitler being just one of many examples.
There was a poem, written back in Hitler’s time, by I believe a Catholic priest. It said something about not speaking up for the Jewish people because he wasn’t Jewish. And then listed others that he didn’t speak up or because it wasn’t him, but then he ended with but there is no one left to speak up or him.
Are we going to let that happen here? One by one people are going to disappear but well it isn’t my group of people so what do I care?
As long as we are divided, they will conquer us, and America will be a free nation under the constitution no longer.
Let me quote Abraham Lincoln, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” He got that from the holy bible though I can’t quote scripture and verse.
This Fourth of July, let all of commit to drop the labels and be Americans, undivided, standing together for freedom and justice for all.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Waiting by Bonnie Le Hamilton

In, I believe its Harry Potter Goblet of Fire, J K Rowling writes something about how time plays tricks on people. When we’re looking forward to something, time tends to slow down, dragging its feet, and when we’re not looking forward to something it speeds up, bringing the event you don’t want to happen up faster than you would have liked.

And I really hate that isn’t fiction, its fact.

You see I’ve been counting down to this Friday for it feels likes months, and during that time there have been a few events I wasn’t looking forward as well, that did come and go really fast, but this coming Friday is taking its own sweet time in getting here.

Now technically, I know that time passes at the same rate day by day, we all know that, but it doesn’t feel that way when you’re anxious for the ensuing days to pass so the waited for event can occur. And I wonder how many of us, beside Rowling, have ever used this effect in our stories.

We know it happens. We’ve experienced it often enough ourselves. I’m sure lots of children know the feeling of looking forward to Christmas but hate the idea of that trip to the dentist. And we all know that dreaded trip is always upon us way faster than we would like while Christmas takes its own sweet time arriving. It happens every time.

At the beginning of this month, I wasn’t looking forward to my father-in-law dying. Intelligently I knew it was coming, he was fading fast, but it is always hard to watch a loved one go. I didn’t want him to go just yet neither did anyone else in the family. We wanted more time however the clock had other plans.

Before long, I was attending his funeral.

But while I wasn’t looking forward to his death, I was looking forward to this Friday, and it seems to me that time is really dragging its feet!

You see, Konnie’s and my birthday is coming up, and some time ago we discussing how nice it would be to be able to be together on our birthday. She even suggested I make another trek down to her place.

I told her flat out I wasn’t ever going to go down to Vegas during the summer, not if I could help it anyway. She insisted she couldn’t afford to come up to Pocatello, and I could afford the trip to Vegas, which I could, but I decided the solution was for me to pay for her plane fair.

Anyway, this Friday morning I’ll be heading to I.F. for the airport to pick up Konnie, and we’ll have a couple of kids and menagerie free weeks to spend together, well aside from Konnie will have her phone, but still, it should be fun for my friends to finally see for themselves just how alike we are.

And sometime I should try writing a scene where the character feels that time is playing tricks on him, might be interesting.
What do you think?

Happy writing everyone. J

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Intelligence Quiz by Konnie Enos

While online yesterday I found an infographic that presented the conclusions from several different studies about intelligence. Each of these studies evaluated different things to see how they indicated a person’s IQ. Two of them were based on genetics, two on family dynamics and the remaining four on things that can change throughout life.
The two based on genetics are being tall, and being left-handed. I guess one of the two isn’t bad.
The family dynamics were being the first born, and having music lessons, which cuts out a whole lot of kids who come from poor families. My own son, has never been able to have them, because they weren’t offered in school and we couldn’t afford them, yet he’s extremely intelligent, even if he isn’t first born.
Three of the remaining four things involve your health. One was being thin. One study correlated healthy mind with a healthy body. According to that study the intelligent people took better care of their physical health, and one of the other studies agrees with it. They concluded that highly intelligent people were non-smokers. However, another study said highly intelligent people, at some time in their adult life, used, yes, I said used, illegal drugs. It seems contradictory for a person who intelligently takes care of their health by staying a healthy weight and not smoking to engage in risking behavior like drug use which is proven to destroy a person’s health. I’m intelligent enough not to engage in such risky behavior.
The last one was being a cat owner, well I’ll generalize it to cat person. Apparently cat people tend to be introverted and pursue more intellectual hobbies, you know, like reading and writing.
As I discussed this list with my daughter it occurred to me that she could prove them wrong. Okay, she is a thin, non-smoker and being ambidextrous can claim left-handed, plus she did have a little bit of music lessons in grade school. She is however, my middle child. She’s also intelligent enough not to use illegal drugs and although we consider her tall in my family I sincerely doubt those doing the study would consider her petite 5’4” frame as tall. Plus as she pointed out, she is a dog, not a cat, person. However, her hobbies are more intellectual ones. Namely the reading and writing.
Recently, to enroll in college, because she hadn’t been able to take the ACT, she took some entrance exams. When her counselor saw her scores she commented that she had never seen such a high grade in language arts before, it was off the charts, and my daughter did it fresh out of high school. And though her math scores were lower, they were still high enough she didn’t have to enroll in remedial math classes but could start with college level classes.
So she gets four out of eight. Then again so do I. Seems to me we’re doing pretty good in the intelligence department.
Anyway, the whole thing got me thinking about how we have this tendency to judge people, trying to put everyone in neat little categories, and I find myself repeating my favorite saying.
No two people are exactly alike.
Think about it.
Putting people into neat little categories says we’re all alike in some ways. That it’s impossible for a cat lover to be an extrovert or a dog lover to be an introvert, or an intelligent person to be fat or a smoker, or the middle child.
Be intelligent.
Think outside the box.
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Big Words by BL Hamilton

 “Don’t use a big word when a singularly unloquacious and diminutive linguistic expression will satisfactorily accomplish the contemporary necessity.”

Every time I read this, and I know it’s true, and a very necessary part of writing, but I can never help reminiscing about an incident, which happened in sixth grade.

It all started when the teacher changed the sitting arrangement, placing my seat between two boys who were close friends, and they couldn’t stop discussing all sorts of things over and around me, while the teacher was instructing the class, making it impossible to hear her.

For several days, I tried without fail to ask them to stop talking, but my request seemingly fell on deaf ears. So by the time the weekend came, I totally frustrated, and searching for some way to get it across they’re thick skulls to be quiet during class, and my big sister, Jacki, came up with the answer. (Her nickname isn’t Dictionary for nothing.) She wrote out a twenty-five word sentence of singularly loquacious words, which frankly I wish I could remember today, but back then, Jacki spent the whole weekend coaching me to memorize the phrase.

The following Monday, at the first opportunity, I spewed forth this enormous sentence and, just as Jacki had promised, it stunned both the pains into jaws hanging open, stunned stares, silence. A fact that caught the attention of the teacher who asked what was going on.

Both boys pointed at me and said, “You should hear what she just said!” making it sound as if I’d broken the rule against foul language. The teacher asked me to repeat it, so I did. Now, the only ones in the room that didn’t have their jaws hanging up were Konnie and my best friend Sherrie, who had helped me learn the sentence.

The teacher stared at me for at least a minute before she finally said, “Do you even know what it mean?”

“Yeah, it means, ‘Shut up!’ They keep talking and I can’t hear you!”

She moved the boys in question across the room from each other. Problem solved. And I learned a valuable lesson about big words. Sometime you need them. Then again, sometimes you can go overboard.

Years after that sixth grade experience, I entered college and signed up for a class title “Concise Writing” in which I think I was little ahead of my fellow classmates.

On like our second or third class, we entered to find the teacher had written a particularly long quote on the blackboard. It was a rather easily recognized quote from the ever-loquacious Howard Cosell, and, per his usual, four paragraphs long.

As class started, the teacher said we could form groups and work together to cut the quote down to as concise a form as possible.

  So, while all my classmates busied themselves with moving into groups and dividing up who would look up words, I remained in my spot and read through it a couple times. In previous lessons, the teacher had instructed us to never use two words, which mean essentially the same thing, and having grown up under the tutelage of the aforementioned Dictionary, I knew quite a few words, enough to know all the words utilized in the subject quote.

So, while my classmates discussed which words they needed to cut, I simply wrote down my concise version. Then sat there twiddling my thumbs until the teacher decided the class had had enough time. Then the fun began.

He asked for a show of hands on how many cut the quote down to two paragraphs or less. Everyone raised their hands. Then he asked for a show of hands on how many cut it down to just one paragraph or less. Most of those hands dropped.

Then he asked for a show of hands of those who got it down to two or fewer sentences. More hands fell. Then he asked for those who had a single sentence, of sixteen or fewer words. Still more hands fell. So he asked for ten or fewer words, and eventually six or fewer words.

By that time, there was only one group, and me, with our hands still up. He asked the group how many words were in their sentence. They had exactly six. He asked me how many words I had. I had four. He stared at me and asked what my sentence was.

Now, today, I can’t remember what dang team Cosell had been talking about, but I’m sure anyone who knows who his favorite team was can fill in the blank, but here it is:

“The (insert team name here) are good.”

All my classmates erupted in protests because Cosell had most decidedly not used the singularly unloquacious word “good” in his rather pompous soliloquy, but the teacher had never said we had to use the exact words, only that we needed to attempt to make it as concise as possible. I nailed it.

After all, if twenty-five words boils down to just two words, then four long paragraphs can boil down to just four words, which, as this post shows, is something I learned in sixth grade thanks to Dictionary. J   

Happy writing everyone! J

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

To Remember By Konnie Enos

Growing up Memorial Day was always a long weekend were we had picnics and put flowers on all the graves of our loved ones. I never thought much about it and as I grew up I learned many cultures have customs which include a yearly remembrance of loved ones who have passed on, which is what I understood Memorial Day to be.
It isn’t.
It isn’t about remembering veterans, now dead, who once served in the armed forces.
Sorry Dad.
Originally Memorial Day, which was at first called Decoration Day, was a day to remember those who had died in war. Eventually it was declared as a national holiday then Congress made it the last Monday in May.
Over time people have used Memorial Day to remember all their dead, which I have no problem with. As I said, many cultures have customs to remember their deceased, but don’t confuse remembering those who died in war with honoring all who served who are now dead.
During this month of May we had another holiday which very few people even mentioned. If you want to honor those who are now serving our country, remember Armed Forces Day. Officially it’s celebrated on the third Saturday in May each year.
To remember those like my husband, father, great uncle, brother-in-law, father-in-law and so many more who have served in the military at some time in their lives, thank them for their service and decorate their graves on Veteran’s Day, which is celebrated on November 11th of each year.
I’m proud of the men and women in my family who have served. Let’s all remember their days.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.