Speak of the Devil: The Final Frontier: Farewell To A Legend

“I think it’s my adventure, my trip, my journey, and I guess
my attitude is, let the chips fall where they may.”
  ~ Leonard Nimoy

Speak of the Devil: The Final Frontier: Farewell To A Legend: Some links before getting underway today. Norma wrote about  her mind wandering.  Yesterday having had been a Friday, Parsnip had a  Squar...

He was Spock

I don’t idolize people in the entertainment industry. It’s so hard to make it to the top that most talented celebrities tend to be out of touch with the rest of the world, and for some reason the people who gain celebrity without talent seem even more vacant. By all accounts, celebrity also seems to make people … how can I say this? … dicks.
Leonard Nimoy was not, by all accounts, a dick. He was also anything but vacant. He had a Master’s degree, served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army, was an accomplished photographer, director, writer, and producer, and invented the Vulcan nerve pinch and salute. Plus, he was a Transformer. 
Just the same, it wasn’t the death of Nimoy that sent me into a three day funk. It was the death of his most famous creation: Captain S'chn-T' Gaii Spock, son of S'chn-T' Gaii Sarek, son of Skon and Solkar, of Vulcan.
We’ll just call him Spock.
In his younger days Nimoy wrote a book called “I Am Not Spock”, which was true enough (although he wasn’t as negative about it as the title suggested). He corrected that  twenty years later with “I Am Spock”. By that time, ironically, I had come to realize he was not just Spock.
I wanted to be Spock. Not Kirk, not Scotty, not even McCoy. I got a Spock haircut, and ankle boots that more or less resembled those from Starfleet, and I even had a blue long sleeved shirt with a little symbol thingy in the right place for Spock’s uniform. It was actually a symbol for the shirt manufacturer, but close enough for imagination to take over. I wanted to be a scientist, and an astronaut, and surely by the time I hit my mid-twenties I’d be stomping around on Mars with the rest of the crew.
None of this improved my standing at school.
But that’s the point, that’s why I empathized with Spock. As a kid I felt like I didn’t belong, like I was someone from another world. We were both out of place, misunderstood, and trying to hide emotions we didn’t want others to know we had. We were both tall and thin, and a little alien looking. Neither of us ever seemed to get the girl, because we were surrounded by charming adventurers like Kirk and Sulu. (It turns out Sulu never got the girl, either.)
We were both … different. In the rural Midwest of the 70s, that was a bad thing. But in the long run, Spock jumpstarted my interest in science fiction, writing, science, and learning in general.
To me, of all the souls I’ve ever known, his was the most human. All of this came from the creative genius of Leonard Nimoy … who lived long, and prospered.

Speak of the Devil: So You Really Want To Ruin A Wedding

"You know, it's supposed to be a hypothetical question. No one actually expects an answer."

Speak of the Devil: So You Really Want To Ruin A Wedding: Some links before we get ourselves started today. Norma was  catching up . Parsnip had an update.  Eve had some haiku. Krisztina wrote abo...

A Free Trip Into Strange Portals

I’m late with this, but my story “Another Family” is included in the free e-book, “Strange Portals: Ink Slingers' Fantasy/Horror Anthology”. Read lots of great authors, with stories ranging from the dark to my own tale, a lighter Christmas fantasy featuring two characters from my “Storm Chaser” series.

Sure, it was originally intended to give you a holiday break, but it’s February … don’t you need a break right now? And did I mention it’s free? … so your risk is minimal! You can get it all over the place:


Barnes and Noble:



and iTunes:

Check it out!

Twenty-two stories about fairies, vampires, werewolves, zombies, and everything in between. Visit a witch's body swap victims (Samantha's Day), find what happens when a girl is buried alive (Buried Alive), learn the origin story of Harper (from Night Touched Chronicles) and Verchiel (from the Amaranthine series), and much, much more. So kick up your feet, relax, and indulge in a short story by a new favorite author.

Speak of the Devil: This Year No One Wins The Oscar

 "What does that mean, who's wearing who?"

Speak of the Devil: This Year No One Wins The Oscar: Some links before getting started today. Yesterday having had been a Friday, Parsnip had a Square Dog Friday  post. The other day, Eve pos...

I don't want to build a snowman

Maybe you’ve seen “Frozen”. Maybe you’ve been frozen. Either way, I think you can relate to how I changed the song’s words, to reflect my feelings about winter. If you’re not familiar with the song, just ask any kid. If they don’t have the soundtrack or a karaoke version, they can probably still hum the tune from memory.

"I Don’t Want To Build a Snowman"
 (sung to the tune of Do You Want to Build a Snowman)

I don’t wanna build a snowman. 
Come on, are you crazy?
I’m not going near that frozen door
Call me a bore
I’m not going to freeze today.           

I’m used to being warm
and when I’m not
I wish that I could die!

I don’t wanna get the frostbite.
I don’t want to see fingers white.

Go away, Winter.
Okay? Bye...

I don’t wanna build a snowman.
Or get hit with wet snowballs.
I think the outside may be for you,
I don’t like turning blue
and suffering from falls.

(Just hangin’ at home.)

I’ll stoke a fire or two
Staying in my room,
and at least then I won’t die.

Please don’t make me go out there,
People are asking when it will end.
They say their skin has turned to ice,
Out there it’s not so nice:
Just go back in.

We’re not such a fan
Of this icy land,
But what are you gonna do?  

I don’t wanna build a snowman. [sniff]

Sad Olaf screencap [per request from anonymous] — When Anna freezes
"But ... I'm so cool!"

Fifty Authors from Fifty States: Connecticut’s Charter Oak by Barbara Edwards

Fifty Authors from Fifty States: Connecticut’s Charter Oak by Barbara Edwards: I love Connecticut history and became interested in the Charter Oak when I learned the large white oak growing alongside the Plymouth...

Rough Draft Meets Deadline, Roughly

We’ve finished and sent in our draft of “Images of America: Albion and Noble County”, and according to Arcadia Publishing everything looks good. The cover has been approved, and they’re reserving a spot in their production and publication schedule. (More info to come!) I’m assuming a year or so until it comes out.
I’m happy with the finished product, although I ran out of time before I could talk to some people about historical photos. My fault—much as I loved doing the research and going through all those historical photos, the last six months have been a nightmare of other things going wrong. We took dozens of pages of notes, but the book is mostly photos, and a lot of tidbits I wasn’t able to get in. Maybe that will make for extra material on the website when it comes out.
Now, on to the “Slightly Off The Mark” book I’ve been promising people since December!

Our Deflated Football Expectations‏

            Yes, I know all the footballs have been flattened and stacked away for the winter … I’m on a monthly schedule now, and you’re seeing this about five weeks after I wrote it. Besides, there’s no bad time to make ball jokes.


Apparently the New England Patriots are being accused of having soft balls.

This came as a shock to me. I mean, they’re tough football players. At the same time I saw the comedic possibilities of such a thing, and made it halfway through a truly hilarious column full of crude puns and various other plays on words, just to prove I’m an athletic supporter.

Then I realized they were talking about their footballs.

Well, that took all the air right out of me. But I suppose it’s for the best, as this is a family paper and that piece was turning decidedly un-family friendly. I suspect there aren’t a lot of kids who read my column. Still, any that did read it would have thrown questions at their parents, who would have to explain the concept of gutter humor, so it’s probably for the best that I dropped the ball.

Speaking of dropping the ball, I actually watched that game. I’m no expert, but it didn’t seem to me the Patriots won it at all; it seemed like the Colts lost it. It’s similar to the way the Republicans did such a bang-up job of losing the last two Presidential elections.

When I say I’m no expert, what I mean is that it was the first football game I’ve watched since 2007. So yeah, no expert. I have nothing against football the way I do against basketball, which is a horror experience straight from hades, but I have to budget my time and there are books to read. Besides, they don’t show the cheerleaders often enough.

Not to mention cheerleaders in pro sports don’t look like cheerleaders anymore; they look like showgirls backing up Wayne Newton in Vegas. Not to mention they could now be my daughters, which takes most of the fun out of it. Not to mention my wife has a sword collection, which takes the rest of the fun out of it.

So we’ve established I’m no expert. However, I do know that a little pressure can make a big difference. We own one of those inflatable beds. I’ve learned a few pounds of pressure can make the difference between sleeping well until our 85 pound dog makes his full bladder known by leaping on my chest, and hardly sleeping at all. Both usually result in blinding back pain, but never mind.

The claim is that the New England Patriots deflated their balls, so they could be gripped better by their players, and no way am I going to point out the obvious joke in that sentence. Each team is responsible to bring twelve balls, plus the home team has to bring a dozen more backup balls. I assume they have to show the officials before the game starts that they have a lot of balls.

What happens after that I’m not sure. I mean, do they switch between the regular and the deflated balls depending on whether they’re on offense of defense? And if it makes that much of a difference, how do the officials never notice? They actually check the balls before the game and then hand them all over to a ball boy, who has the most uncool job title ever. 

The Patriots have a history of cheating. Apparently in 2007 their coach was fined $500,000 for filming the sideline signals of the other team, and his cameraman was fined $250,000 for filming the cheerleaders. I wonder if the New England cheerleaders look like cheerleaders? Be right back …

Nope. Showgirls. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Let’s keep in mind that the team is named after, well, patriots, those people who fought off the British to secure our right to drink coffee. The British were very perturbed, and in fact accused the Patriots of cheating even then:

“They hide behind trees and fences, instead of standing in a straight line across an open field and letting us fire on them! That’s just not cricket. On a related note, we might just have to replace these red uniforms with the white straps forming a cross in the middle of our chests …”

So you see, the patriots of old were accused of deflating the British soldiers.

Some people in football are saying their balls are messed with all the time. In one case, a quarterback admitted he paid ball boys to break in their balls before the Superbowl. I guess they handle better when they’re scuffed (the balls, not the ball boys), which seems to be the way a lot of drivers I’ve encountered feel about their cars.

In this time of war, government overreach, people not buying my books, and other equally important problems, I used to think sports were a good pressure relief. It took our minds off of cheating leaders, violence, commercialism, overspending …

I can’t even finish that sentence, it’s just too silly. Maybe I’ll just throw my support to a sport that’s real and honest, not staged for entertainment, not more personality than competition.

Maybe … pro wrestling.

No balls there.
Nah, it looks fine.

Nah, it looks fine.