Better off with a new political horse and course? I think not!

Let’s see you pragmatists and probability analysts out there – stock market up, jobs up , housing starts up, real estate market up, wars down…. I could go on. 

Do we switch horses in the middle of things getting better? I think not.  Any administrator can tell you it takes three to five years to really turn a big company around. Now if Mitt isn’t telling us that, then either he’s pretty vague on an plans for our future (which I think he is based on his speeches) or he is planning to follow in Obama’s path and is really a liberal in disguise saying anything to get into the White House (not a good reason), or he’s planning to make some really great big changes that are a bit tricky and he doesn’t want you to know how he’s going to gamble with your future. 

Based on probability, I’m not sure Mitt can promise me that his program won’t reverse the current positive upswing that we’re in.  The odds are greater that he’ll do something to screw up the jobs, housing, stock market, war situation …  and we all know where we’ll be when that happens again, having just climbed out of the pickle barrel after four years.

Thus, given the options of continuing to slowly improve the economy etc. or take some unspecified changes that could mess up , I’m advising us to stick with the trusty tried and true three year horse that we’re currently riding.  Slow and steady wins the race!

Stick with old Dobbin and you’ll get there!

The Book has Gone to Press!

I just got the email that the completed manuscript for “Rough Enough: Richard Clow’s letters and Diary from the Civil and Indian Wars, 1865-1885” has gone to press.  Now I can get those contact lists out  and begin to work on the publicity and marketing!

Final Stages in the Book Publishing

It’s a long  road to get a non-fiction book published in proper format and style but it’s worth it and certainly worth having an excellent editor to work with.  In collaborating with American Book Publishers for the past 18 months, I have found them to be extremely helpful, patient and thorough in the editing of my manuscript for my Civil and Indian War book, Rough Enough. Now that we have reached the point of me signing off on my book cover and all manuscript corrections, I expect that they will be as efficient and thorough in the marketing and publicity of the book. A lot of the work will fall on my shoulders because I don’t have a best-seller already under my belt to bring out the big guns for support, but I am sure they will guide me along the path if I do my part. 

Get Those Book Endorsements!

Hey folks,

If you are in the business of selling books, or for that matter just about anything else, you need people to recommend your product.  After sending out some fifty queries with a synopsis and sample sections of chapters to prospective endorsers for my new Civil and Indian War book “Rough Enough”, I have gotten back six really professional pieces that will look great on the back cover of the book when the galley proofs come out in the next month or so. At that point I’ll start searching for reviews in newspapers and magazines as well as prospective buyers from universities that have history departments seeking additional reading materials for their CW , IW or 19th Century history classes.   The research never ends and the minor corrections never seem to end on the book itself.  I can remember my dad actually paying microbiology students a dollar an error after his book “Microbiology in Relation to Man” came out in the 60’s. Gosh that was a long time ago! Hang in there, the book is coming!

Book Endorsements for “Rough Enough” – Letter Going Out!

Today is the big day for me to get out letters to a goodly number of important newspapers, TV hosts, Magazine Editors, Best Selling Civil War Authors and Celebrities in order to get endorsements to go onto the cover of my book, “Rough Enough” or onto my web links.  Keeping my fingers crossed than the big names come through and then I can mail out the pre-release galley proofs and get back some really top notch statements that will go into pushing the marketing of the book in the fall just before the big sales push for Christmas, New Years and the holidays!   

Spring hits Oregon

Finally! Spring has come to Hood River. The main indicator is my strawberry patch. There isn’t much better in life than sitting in a patch of strawberries and just popping the berries off the plant and popping them straight in the mouth, cottonwood fluff, ants and all.  It’s a very different taste to those cardboard Californian and Mexican strawberries that arrive in the supermarket this time of the year. These will actually squish in your mouth and the flavor is a mixture of that acidic taste of vitamin C (ascorbic acid), sugar and whatever the ester is that gives strawberries their distinctive smell and taste.  The crop this year is fabulous, a testament to the effects of global warming on the local climate of Oregon.  It seems to have pulled in more Pacific moisture which makes the local weather actually cooler and wetter for spring while the South burns up. Strawberries just love that cool weather for setting a big crop of berries.  Now that it has started into the warm weather I’ll take a big bowl every other day off the bushes until the heat drives them into dormancy for another year. Strawberries and cream! I think the good of the one counteracts the bad of the other! Yum, Yum.

2 Days of sunshine in Hood River

Back from diving in Curacao – the sun seems to be finally coming out in Hood River and the garden is beginning to grow.  The corn is up and the sunflowers are a foot high so with a week of really good hot temperatures we’ll be off and running for some good fall crops.  It’s a great year for peas and strawberries because they love cool wet weather.  I’m up to my eyebrows in great read berries.  The raspberries and blueberries are set, so it’s just a few more weeks before we get those as well.

Orienteering in Moses Lake, WA – Watch out for water on your map!

Well Saturday the 2nd of June was a day to remember in my orienteering sport.  For those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s basically a cross country sport involving races of various lengths for different age groups in which you are given a map at the start of the race and sent off at about three minute intervals with nothing but your feet, brain and magnetic compass to guide you to a sequence of points at which you must either punch a hand held card or use an electronic pen-drive to log-in your ID and the time your reached the control.

Well…. the Moses Lake meet had 19 controls and was about 7km long so I set off going through the first four controls with very little problem.  Then I was thirsty and took a swig from my bottle and splashed it on my map which I had not placed in the usual plastic bag — Bad Mistake! Fortunately the water hit mostly in areas that I had already run so as the ink ran I was able to still proceed and headed off for the next control. This one took me longer because I lost my concentration on direction and also had a blotched place on the map that was hard to read.  Finally got there 15 minutes later and by then the map was dry and things seemed to be picking up.  Next two controls easy with only a few minutes between them. Then disaster struck again.  I approached a narrow (5ft) wide stream and seeing that there appeared to be good footing on each side, took a great big step across – oops! Extended foot slipped off into the middle of stream, bottom of channel was over 4 feet deep and I ended up soaked to the chest and you can guess what happened to my map.  So now I am navigating with a wet rag draped over my arm with barely visible control points and fortunately a few key landmarks and the control descriptions still intact!.  It looked like the next control could be reached by circling a couple lakes so I took off.  Well it had rained an ton the day before and the lakes had all swelled to the point of that they filled up areas that would normally be dry. I headed into the swamp with another guy and after five minutes of wading I yelled to him that I couldn’t find a Hippo path and it reminded me of the Okavango.  He cleared out and I turned around a few minutes later – map held overhead  fortunately dry again and headed back. So the time to that control was on the order of 15 minutes plus.  From then on, things went fairly well although I mistook a depression symbol for a knoll and was on top of a hill while others were running down the next arroyo and continuing on. Finally found it and got in to the finish with a total time of 133+ minutes.  I was 18th out of a total of 25, the ones below me either misspunched or did not finish. I suppose for a 68 year old competing against all age groups – 18 – 70, I shouldn’t complain because I at least finished the full course.  From now on I’ll carry my own plastic bag and stay away from the water.  Live and learn.

Map making for book

The final stages of editing my new non-fiction Civil and Indian War book, “Rough Enough” have involved the creation of a couple of maps so that readers will have some idea of the Civil War forts and training camps in the Boston area and also will have a reference to look at when following Richard Clow’s travels on the frontier.  I may also do a small map of the Union and Confeserate forts (outposts) around Petersburg so that readers are able to refresh their memories of the positioning of the Union and Confederate troops during the final month of the war.  It’s a fun project, but very time consuming to get the data into a form that will be both accurate, visually pleasing and educational for the readers.  Fortunately I have found a really good graphic artist who can take my ideas and bring them to full fruition. So we’ll see how they look when they are on the final pages. 

A blurred line in the sand or “I never saw the line, Gus”

The current congressional debate in congress about whether you can abort a baby for the simple reason of not wanting one of that sex should lead all of you writiers, whether in fiction or non-fiction to think about the giant issue of eugenics and its application to humanity.  As we make and carry out abortions for arbitrary non-disease traits such as hair and skin color, sex, athletic prowess… aren’t we beginning to tread on a rather delicate line that seemed all to clear at the time of the Second World War when we were fighting in part Hitler’s plan to erradicate certain arbitrary traits from his section of europe?  I am reminded of McMurtry’s book “Lonesome Dove” in which Jake links up with a seemingly ok group of travel companions, only to be gradually drawn deeper and deeper into the spiral of depredations that led to the eventual horror of the massacre and burning of an entire frontier family just for the “fun of it”.  As he was sitting on his horse ready to be hanged, he replied to Gus’ statement of “You stepped over the line Jake” with the famous phrase in my title.  Is abortion for the purpose of getting rid of an embryo that is the wrong sex aproaching a line that we have chosen to ignore?  Hopefully the debate in congress will bring up some good discussion of the philosophy of why abortions are sometimes necessary and why sometimes they cannot be justified.     

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