Monday, December 14, 2015

Xmas is fast approaching and I think it is time to seriously think about religion...

Religion, when mixed with politics, has had a devastating effect on the sanity of the world.  The religious writings themselves generally promote peace and love, but many fanatics have taken these writings completely out of context, and used them to promote their own distorted form of greed and power mongering.

Christians are no better than Muslims in many ways, and both can stand accused of atrocities, particularly when they are not only the one religion, but also control the government.  We have seen this in the Crusades, the witch hunts of America, and now in the terrorism of the Middle East working it's way West.  Religions prey on the weak, the sick and the poor; and in doing so, have the ability to make a sane person perform insane acts.

I would like to see nothing better than all churches and religious organizations disbanded, and replaced with individual spirituality.  We would no longer have rich and powerful religious organizations trying to influence governments and control both the citizens and it's members.  I truly believe that if people are left to their own beliefs, they will love their neighbors and treat others as they would like to be treated.

I suspect there would also be fewer wars because governments would not be able to use religion as a means to promote hatred.  But alas, I am just dreaming.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

I'm sure I'll go to Hell for this, but...

I think all religions are a farce.  The only thing they accomplish is leading the sick and helpless down their path of lies and deceit.  Their one goal apparently is to get rich and/or powerful; and many of them are succeeding quite well.

The Catholics (which my grandmother was a lifelong member) are probably the richest today, and their power is enormous.  To accomplish this, the church joined with various governments to force their religion on a multitude of other smaller countries than Italy.  It is unknown how many sinners were killed by them in the past, but I'm sure the number is phenomenal.  They tend to keep a relatively low profile in today's world, but their influence is still strong.

I've heard that Muslims of today, in many cases, are a peaceful people.  However, their teachings seem to instruct them that all non- believers are infidels and that the world should only have one true religion, theirs.  Some fanatical groups have broken off, and have interpreted their Quran to say that all infidels, or non-believers, should be killed.  They seem to be doing a pretty good job today of setting this in motion and stealing the 'domination spotlight' away from Catholics.

I don't know if it is just me, but I believe in some higher power, and I believe this power would want me to help others and to love my fellow human beings.  However, I do this privately in most cases, and have never been good at following like a sheep.  I just can't seem to be able to give up my own personal beliefs, and follow some religion that wants my money and my complete dedication to whatever cause they believe in.  My cause must by MY cause.

I look upon religious leaders as deceitful and corrupt, and the people that blindly follow them as helpless fools, in most cases.  A person must have very little self-worth to give up their life for some religions fanatic. All religions use false promises (well, I suspect they are false), to get their members to follow their various rules.  If you follow Jesus's word, you will get to heaven;  if you follow your imam and kill infidels, you will be given many virgins from Allah; if you protect cows, you will be accepted as a good Hindu; etc.

I guess I just mistrust religious and political leaders.  I also don't trust the news about what is going on in the world anymore because most of the news outlets are controlled by big business/banks, who are buying politicians, who are then dragging innocent people into wars, who are then being mislead about what is really happening in the world.  Let's face it, religions and governments are all about money, not our souls.

If anyone knows of an honest religion our there, please let me know.  I would truly love to believe in something again.  Until then, I'll just shake my head whenever I see someone blindly following a religion or religious practice. Of course, if there is in fact a true heaven and the promises are true, where do I line up to pay my way in like everyone else.

Monday, November 30, 2015

2 more disappear while travelling in Mexico...

I live in Mexico for 7 months each winter.  I return to the same city, rent the same apartment and travel extensively with my Mexican friends.  I've learned a few things about Mexico that should be shared with anyone travelling in Mexico during this current drug crisis.

1. If you are flying down to an all-inclusive, try to stay at your hotel and enjoy the amenities there.  If you must visit a city or town nearby, go with a group of people (preferably with someone who is or speaks Spanish) and only travel during daylight hours.  Also if you are caught travelling at night, stay on the major highways, and not the freeways that are extremely dangerous.
2. If you are driving in Mexico, don't have an expensive vehicle (such as a motorhome or luxury car).  You will just attract attention to the fact that you are probably wealthy, compared to most Mexicans.
3. When driving, stick to the major highways (as above) and travel during the day.  Full size pickups and vans are targets in many states because they look like Narco vehicles.  If you happen to be driving through one of the more dangerous states: Guerrara, Michocan, Jalisco or many of the US border states; driving one of these vehicles is like waving a red flag.
4. Renting apartments or houses in Mexico requires some close analysis before you make your decision.  Mexico is not anything like the USA or Canada.  If you don't have big walls with barbed wire or electrical fences, you will more than likely get robbed.  Many cities like Lake Chapala have many Americans and Canadians living in them, and their homes are about as secure as their places back home.  Not at all.
5. It is important to choose a safe location to live in also.  Many neighborhoods may have houses that look safe, but if you happen to need juice or something else at the corner grocery, it can be dangerous just going outside.  I live in a large neighborhood with 24 hour security at all entrances, and my cul-de-sac has 24 hour guards at our 20 foot gate.  Our house inside is surrounded by 15 foot walls with thorns on top.  Kind of like living in a prison, but at least I can sleep at night.
6. Anytime you go out shopping, don't wear flashy jewelry or anything else advertising the fact that you have more money than the residents.  I drive a 1999 Pontiac Sunfire in Mexico and blend right in with the locals.  I only wear nice watches or clothes when going to a special function, and do not walk around town in this attire.
7. When withdrawing money from bank machines, I try to always have a friend with me to keep watch.  Fortunately my bank only lets me take out so much a day, and if I did get robbed, it would only hurt a little.  Oh, and make sure that if someone is robbing you, give them your money and anything else they ask for.  Most are armed and will kill you in an instant if you don't comply with their demands.
8. If you plan on spending any amount of time in Mexico, learn Spanish.  Not only will it allow you to communicate with the local residents and buy your groceries and other items easily, it will give you the advantage of knowing what someone may be saying about you nearby.  If a couple of guys are standing nearby and talking about robbing you, knowing Spanish may save you.
9. Get a cheap Mexican telephone and keep it charged with pesos.  Texting in Mexico, from one Mexican phone to another, is cheap (1 or 2 pesos for an outgoing text, and free for incoming).  The emergency number in Mexico is not 911, but is 066.  Of course, you'll probably have to speak Spanish, and well, hopefully the police actually respond.
10. So, because we are all considered to be rich visitors, we should do our best to downplay this perception.  I have spent years trying to convince my Mexican friends that I am not rich, with little success.  They feel that if we can travel to Mexico each year, and rent a nice house/apartment and apparently not do any work at all, we have to be rich.  In their eyes, I guess we are.

So, don't wear expensive clothes or wear flashy jewelry, don't drive luxury cars, travel only during the day whenever possible, stick to the major highways, rent only secure houses/apartments in secure neighborhoods, and try to stay out of the dangerous Mexican states. Watch your back at all times, and you should be alright.  Or you can do what a lot of people suggest - stay out of Mexico.  But sorry, I love the people, the food and the winter climate for to much to follow that advice.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Renting houses and apartments in Mexico.

I have been spending cold Canadian winters (well, not so cold on Vancouver Island) in Mexico for 5 years now, and was fortunate enough to find a fantastic place to live and probably one of the best landlords, and now friends, in the country.

My first visit was funny because I was asked by the landlord to sign his rental agreement, all in Spanish, which I didn't understand in the least.  A friend, who was 15 years old at the time, tried to translate it for me, but a legal document is a little much for a teenager.  Nevertheless, after the document was sort of explained to me, I signed.

Another thing the landlord required was for me to sign a number of promissory notes equal to the number of months I would be staying.  After I paid the rent each month, one of the promissory notes would be returned to me.  This was something the landlord did to protect himself in the event that I did damage to the apartment or created such a disturbance that he had to get rid of me.  This was never required BTW.

My landlords father owns two homes in Lake Chapala which he rents also.  In addition to the contract and the monthly promissory notes, they require the tenant to sign a very large promissory note to cover them in the event the tenant blows up the house or something similarly as drastic.  Many tenants in Chapala are Canadian/American, and they feel threatened by these procedures.  I must admit that if I didn't know the landlord personally, as I do now, I might be hesitant too.

Recently an American lady wanted to rent the house in Chapala, but had some concerns.  I talked to her on the telephone and answered all of her questions.  She later emailed me with more questions - which I answered.  Yesterday, she emailed back with her decision to NOT take the house.  Her reasons were not about the promissory notes or the contract.  She was upset that a deposit was required by the landlord to hold the house for her (and stop other potential tenants from inspecting the premises), so that he could then fly to Chapala and make sure the house was perfectly ready for her.

She was upset that he had instructed her that, after flying to Chapala, if she no longer wanted the house, she would forfeit the deposit.  She felt this was extremely unfair, and that he should cover all costs in the event that she backed out of the deal.  She was also worried that she would commit to a 6 month lease (because it is a house and not an apartment), and that if she got sick and had to return to the USA prior to the 6 months ending, she would lose her security deposit.

The landlords previous tenant had also run into difficulties and had to leave early, but was not charged the security deposit.  It is sad that this lady has decided to find other accommodations as she does not trust Mexican landlords.  Too bad.  She had actually found probably one of the best landlords in Mexico, but decided to try and find something better.  Good luck.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

As our Western/European Governments allow more Muslim immigrants...

into our basically Christian countries, they expect these new residents to be unilaterally accepted into our culture.  However, they tend to forget that there are many Muslim factions (ISIS, Al Queda, Boko Haram, etc) that have declared a jihad (war) on all Christian infidels and they intend to kill anyone who does not convert to Islam.  There are now thousands of Muslims fleeing the problems in their own countries, and entering non-Muslim countries.

Our Canadian, American, German governments expect people to be able to immediately tell the difference between good Muslim and bad Muslim refugees and immigrants, and accept them as new residents and eventually even new citizens.  Even though this new culture establishes itself in isolated areas of our cities and towns disallowing most Christians from entering, and even trying to establish their own system of laws based on the religion and atrocities they are apparently running away from.

I myself cannot tell if a person wearing a Naqib, is expressing some kind of newly-acquired religious freedom, or hiding some intended evil.  When anyone walks around in public with their body and faced covered, particularly when that culture has declared war on me, I am supposed to automatically accept that they are the 'good Muslims' and not the bad ones?

I know that in the Christian faith, people are told that when attacked, turn the other cheek.  I'm not really sure if Jesus meant to accept this religion into our countries and, one day, let them kill us all.  I'm not sure if he meant to allow them to cry racism, and become elected officials to ultimately change our historical laws to coincide with their religion.  I'm not sure if we are racist or prejudice, or if it is them.  I find that the group that cries out 'racism' the loudest, are generally the racists themselves.

It is going to be interesting to see how this great Muslim Exodus plays out in the worlds immediate future.  I must say, as a Christian, I am a little afraid when I see Muslims on our streets.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

To the new Canadian Government - here's what I, an average Canadian thinks...

1. Your decision to pull Canada out of Syria and the ISIS conflict is a good one.  Most Canadians feel that Canada has been well respected by the world for it's 'Peacekeeping' role.  Although, citizens do acknowledge that when threatened, Canadians can be a formidable foe.
2. Further, Canadians feel that their military are necessary, and put their lives in danger to protect us all.  So treat them with respect, and ensure they are given the resources necessary to re-enter society after fighting in a conflict, and to retire with the dignity that they have rightly deserved.
3. Immediately deal with the First Nations issue across Canada.  Hard working Canadians are tired of listening to the complaints of Aboriginal people.  Most think that the money currently given to them is wasted, and just want this problem to be finally resolved.  Today's generation wants everyone treated fairly.
4. It is time to start giving tax breaks to the poor and middle classes rather than the rich.  At the same time, ensure that businesses pay their fair share also, while at the same time, balancing enticements to stimulate business in Canada.
5. Businesses that have the potential to adversely affect the environment must be monitored more closely to ensure they meet all regulatory criteria.  If they break the law, they should no longer be allowed to continue business.  Protection of the environment must come before profits.
6. Canada has always held it's door open to immigrants and refugees.  On this note, however, with Muslims declaring war on Christians throughout the world, Muslim refugees must have even more extensive background checks performed before being allowed into Canada - a predominantly Christian country.  Don't change our laws for the few.
7. If an immigrant/refugee is convicted of terrorism activities in Canada they are sent back to their country and all their rights in Canada are revoked.  If their citizenship was based on a lie while taking the Oath, of course their citizenship should be revoked.  Canadians born in Canada (or overseas to Canadian-born parents) are not required to take this oath, thus there ARE two levels of Citizenship in Canada.
8. Abolish the Senate.  These posts are redundant and a waste of taxpayers money.
9. Change the entire pension system for elected officials to bring it in line with the pensions currently given to bureaucrats.   Number of years service times 2% times an average of their best 5 years salary.
10. Lastly, revamp the entire election system so that we are led by people concerned with the welfare of Canadians, rather than lining their own pockets or representing the interests of their election contributors.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

10 Benefits of Converting to Islam....

1. You DON'T have to follow any man-made laws, only the Quran.
2. You can rape, torture and kill any non-Muslim, and still be one of the chosen people.
3. Martyrdom automatically gets you 72 virgins and to the front of the line into paradise if you are male; but all Muslim males will receive this gift nonetheless.
4. You are part of the select group that will be saved at the End of The World.
5. You get to lie, cheat, steal and murder without judgement, while waging jihad on infidels.
6. You get to shoot neat guns and blow things/people up.
7. You get to wear cool clothes like the hijab, niqab and burka if you are a woman, and be dominated (sorry, cared for) by Muslim males.  Also, if you do not wear the required clothing, you are eligible for a free rape, or if really lucky, a stoning or bullet in the head.
8. Women and men alike can have sex whenever they like, as long as it is not in public, and they are expected to breed like rabbits.
9. You get to chop peoples heads off and make cool videos of these events.
10. And, you only have to pray 5 times a day to qualify for all of these wonderful benefits.


I recently required an incisional hernia repair in Port Alberni.  Of course, I went to Dr. Ferguson's office, my surgeon that had performed the previous two hernia surgeries 12 years ago (which ultimately caused this new hernia).  He is a surgeon with an excellent reputation, but obviously, even his surgeries are not perfect - or maybe it was just my body getting older and starting to break down.

Because this surgeon is quite busy and almost ready to retire, I was transferred to his associate, a relatively new and young female surgeon.  I found her very straightforward and told me that I should definitely have the surgery before leaving for Mexico in two weeks.  I agreed, and did not want to explode while living in a 3rd World country.  We scheduled the operation for about two weeks before my flight.  We both felt that this would give me just enough time to heal for traveling, but unfortunately not enough to lift heavy bags.  I made these arrangements with the airline.

The day of the operation, which is a traumatic enough day as it is, I arrived at the hospital only to be told that my surgeon was in the operating room with an emergency patient.  Would I mind waiting about 4 days and postponing my operation until Monday?  What could I say, someone may be dying in the operating room as we speak.  I said sure, and spent the weekend trying to mentally prepare myself to be cut open on purpose.

The day of the surgery was as good as could be expected, and everyone treated me kindly and with respect - answering all my questions.  When I awoke in recovery, I felt relatively fine, and the nurse told me that everything was successful, and I could go home after the doctor inspected me and I went to the washroom.  I used the washroom and changed, and my son from Nanaimo took me to my old house in Port Alberni (being purchased by my second son), to recuperate for at least the next day or two.

Once I got settled on the couch and we started watching movies, I started drinking lots of water.  We had purchased T3's in case I needed them, but once I came off the anesthetic, I only required regular Tylenol.  This was about 2 PM, and my younger son came near the couch where I was trying to relax, and he asked where the blood on my sweatshirt had come from.  I pulled up my shirt and noticed that the inside of it was covered in blood, and so were my track pants.

Off to emergency.  I almost passed out while giving information to the receptionist (telling her I was not on any blood thinners), and was rushed into a bed.  The doctor on duty asked me what had happened and I explained that I had surgery that morning by Dr. Vanderputten, and the incision had now started to bleed badly.  He told me she was still in the hospital and he would page her.  Meanwhile, he pushed around the incision area after removing the gauze and bandages covering the wound, and could not get the blood to flow again.  The the surgeon arrived and did the same.  She was in two minds about whether she should open me back up, or re-cover the incision and send me home to relax.

She decided on the latter, and back home we went.  Within a half hour of laying on the couch, I again started bleeding.  Back to emergency to check in again, this time bleeding all over the hospital floor.  In emergency, my surgeon immediately came in and called the male nurse (Daniel I believe) and decided they would have to open me back up and see what the problem was.  Because I had eaten, they decided to do a local anesthetic and re-open the wound right there in emergency.  I was scared, but had to get this fixed.  Anyway, after being cut open again, she could find nothing wrong with her surgery.  She asked me about blood thinners I think, but I said no again.

I was stitched and bandaged up again and sent home, everyone scratching their heads.  After lying on the couch again, I noticed some minor bleeding, but decided to dab it with paper towel until it hopefully stopped.  It did stop in about a half hour, and my decision was to then lay still for as long as possible and try to fall asleep.  Hopefully I wouldn't quietly bleed to death during the night without my son even noticing.  My oldest son returned to his home in Nanaimo and said he would call to check on me the next day.

I survived the night, and the bleeding completely stopped.  I decided to do a search on the internet about natural blood thinners the next day, and discovered that I had been taking a natural blood thinner for the past few days.  Because my family has a problem with kidney stones, my daughter had discovered that apple cider vinegar, in small doses, dissolved these stones.  I had been taking a few teaspoons of this for about a week before my surgery.  Smart.

Anyway, the point of my story is that I also went online to see if I could find any information about my surgeon.  I did, and most of it was negative.  Some saying she was uncaring, others saying that she was inexperienced and even bordering incompetent.   I had to disagree, and feel she was extremely professional and caring at the same time.  She was as perplexed as I was about the bleeding, but she did everything she could to discover the problem, while at the same time, trying to ensure I was OK.  Both she and Daniel were the best as far as I was concerned.

Any surgeon that operates on me must first be competent and professional.  I don't need to be treated with kid gloves and definitely don't care about their bedside manner.  It is the results of the operation that I am interested in.  This surgeon was great, and possessed all the traits that I require and I have the utmost respect for good surgeons.  I can't imagine what it would be like to cut someone open.  Every body is different as well as the problems these bodies encounter, and performing this myriad of surgeries must be difficult and challenging at the same time.  One month later - everything is healing great.  Thanks.

Monday, September 14, 2015

What kind of writer are you? The Novelist

The Novelist - now this is a true writer in my book.  It is also what I aspire to be one day.

The novelist takes and idea, or a group of ideas based on either fact or fiction, and creates a story that allows the reader to drift off into another world.  When written well, the novel keeps you turning pages one after the other, to find out what happens next.

The novel, in many cases, can be the foundation for almost all other forms of writing.  Many screenplays, plays and movies originate from novels.  Novelists, like many other writers, spend much of their time hidden away in a secluded spot to create these marvelous works.  They don't come out to play often, but when they do, they are usually the quiet ones that may appear somewhat antisocial.  They may have a better relationship with their characters than they do with the real world.

However, once you peel away the protective layers of the novelist, you will find some of the most thoughtful and intelligent people hidden underneath that you will ever meet.  If only one day I can become a true novelist.  BTW, this is the final chapter on the various types of writers.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

I took a fall at the dock into the water yesterday...

and cracked a rib.  Yes, I know, I live on my boat and should be more careful, particularly when it is raining and the dock can get slippery.  Anyway, I was stupid and wearing cheap Dollar Store deck shoes, and I went down between the dock and the boat, hitting my heart area as I went down.

After dropping my grandaughter off at her dads (thank goodness she was there to pull down the swim ladder for me to climb out of the water - the poor girl is now traumatized though), I slowly and painfully drove to the emergency room at the hospital. Of course I couldn't have picked a busier day to injure myself.

My wait in the chilly waiting room was 4 hours because I deal with pain well and told the nurse it was about a 3 unless I took a deep breath, and then it was a 10.  She told me to relax in the waiting room and my name would be called.  One woman was getting her Chemo treatment in the waiting room because the emergency room was full, and there was another German couple waiting with me.  The German lady had caught her hand in a car door, and it looked like she might have broken bones.

The husband kept everyone in the room entertained for the next few hours.  He was one of those people that remembers every joke he has ever heard, lucky guy, and he proceeded to tell one joke after another.  Laughing with a cracked rib hurts, and I begged him to stop numerous times, but when you are on a roll....

After a few ambulances arrived and those patients that were processed, I was finally admitted to the emergency room itself.  I was given a bed and a gown, and then my blood pressure and heart rate was monitored.  I spent about 2 hours in this room, with nurses and others coming in and out to check my vital signs and listen to my chest, back and heart.  The nurse thought she heard a heart murmur, and asked if I had ever been told I had one before.  Nope.

I was then attached to 5 monitors placed on various parts of my chest, and within about 15 minutes, a young fellow came in pushing a machine that he called an EKG, I think.  He attached about 7 or 8 smaller monitors all over my body and ran tests for about 10 minutes.  He said he would give the results to the doctor.  One thing I noticed while in emergency, was that the nurses naturally talk to the doctor and tell him your information.  I guess they think we are so out of it we don't hear them, but we do.

Anyway, the doctor came in finally, and apologized emphatically for his lateness.  I told him that I had been watching the activity in the hospital, and he had nothing to apologize for.  I told him that I couldn't believe all the various maladies he had to deal with, and that I was retired - 6 hours didn't bother me.  I also told him about the fellow in the waiting room that kept us all entertained.  He checked me over and told be that because my lungs were clear, it was most likely a cracked, and not a broken, rib.  He also checked my heart and told me, yes, I did have a slight heart murmer.  He would pass on this information to my family doctor, but I shouldn't worry.  I was finally able to leave at 4:30 and get some breakfast.

The point of all this is that I have been a bit critical of doctors in the past, particularly those that consistently push prescription drugs down their patients throats.  Pharmaceutical Companies had always been a pet peeve of mine, and I hate those doctors out there that are their drug pushers.  However, I tend to forget about the good ones out there, and this fellow, and my family doctor fall into that category.  Anyway, where would we be if we didn't have these hard-working people to look after us.  Oh yeah, probably dead.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Married lady in Ucluelet with tattoo of another woman's daughter's name above her breast.

Let's start at the beginning.  About 15 years ago a young man with mild learning disabilities about 18 years old, met a young girl about 14 years old who had her own emotional problems.  They fell in love, and as the young man started to mature and find suitable employment, the young girl turned to alcohol, and then cocaine, then crack, and eventually heroin.

During the alcohol stage, the two decided it would be a good idea to have a child, and they had a beautiful young daughter.  About this time the young man found employment as a deckhand on a commercial fishing boat.  While he began his training in his new career, the wife of his boss took the girlfriend under her wing.  It was known at the time, but both the captain of the boat and his wife were ex-heroin addicts.

It wasn't long after the young man had been out on a few fishing trips that he returned one day to find his girlfriend and daughter gone.  He searched the small town and found the girlfriend in a crack trailer, totally out of it, and his young daughter sitting in her stroller with a soiled diaper.  That was then end of the relationship, and the beginning of further problems.

The girlfriend moved to Nanaimo, and her friendship with the bosses wife matured.  It is my belief that the wife, being a recovered addict herself from what I heard, decided that she could help the young lady with her addiction problems.  Not only did she drive back and forth to visit the young lady, she assisted her with trying to obtain partial custody of her young baby (who was only about a year old at the time).  The young man, still working for the husband, was constantly dragged into court to fight for custody, and spent thousands in legal fees - money that would have been better spent on an education plan for his daughter.

Let's move forward to last year.  The baby's mother, now living in Nanaimo, was now hooked on heroin and living with a fellow in the same predicament.  This fellow overdosed and died, and a few months later, so did the young mother.  The young father married another woman and they have a new daughter, so the step-mother is now raising both children.

The young father is still working for the captain and his wife, and now the wife has decided that because she wasn't able to help the mother, she will now help this little girl (who is now 9 years old).  Not only has she set up a room in her home in Ucluelet for the child, I understand that she now has the little girls name tattooed above her breast.  I wonder if the deceased mother's name is on the other breast?

I sincerely hope that the young man smartens up and keeps this lunatic and her captain husband away from his daughter.  If the young girl is given the same assistance as the mother, heaven help her.  This woman probably thinks she is helping and is a friend of the deceased mother and her daughter, but with meddlesome friends like this, who needs enemies?  And finally, let's hope she doesn't have some kind of perverted interest in this young child, and if so, did she have the same for the mother?

Monday, June 22, 2015

What kind of writer are you? The Blogger

The Blogger - what a fantastic way to reach a vast audience, that is, if you can figure out how to get your blog out there and easily accessible.  The first step, however, is to find the right platform for your blog.  As you noticed, I am using Google Blogger, because it was one of the most popular ones when I started my blog last year.

The ratings now show that Blogger is all but dead.  I think it might be time to switch to another more popular platform in the near future.  More popular platforms that are actually monitored and improved upon regularly are:  A Quick Primer, Wordpress (always one of the best), Squarespace, Posthaven and Ghost, just to mention a few.

But what is blogging all about?  Basically anything you want to write about that tickles your fancy, can be included in your blog.  The main thing is to make it interesting and be passionate about what you write.  Also, be sure to have a basic knowledge of your topics, because there is nothing worse than rambling on about something, and having a complete stranger challenge your information.  Not only does this make your blog ineffective, it can be quite embarrassing as well.

My blogs are divided into a few main topics that I enjoy writing about.  Writing of course, and also Politics, Mexico and Canada.  You can never write enough about politics, and because the news always contains different political issues, there is a never-ending supply of material for me to blog about.

My main concern, however, about my blogs is trying to determine how to reach an audience.  I don't just want friends to read my blogs, I want the WORLD to read them.  Unfortunately, I haven't discovered just how to accomplish this yet.  Perhaps it has something to do with my blog title, perhaps the titles of my individual posts;  whatever it is, it seems to be hit and miss for me.  I will write a blog one day on a certain topic, and get one view;  then the next day I'll blog on the same topic and get 100 views.

If anyone has any suggestions on what I might be doing wrong, it would be greatly appreciated.

Now that my boat has been repaired and I have no plans for taking any immediate yachting trips, I just might be able to blog more often.  The last, and final, chapter in this series is The Novelist.  Coming soon.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Canada - For Sale

I'm not entirely sure exactly where or when it started, but Canada has now been placed on the open market, and it's resources are for sale - sometimes at giveaway prices.  I first noticed this phenomenon quite some time ago.  Our rights to, believe it or not, the marketing of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were sold to Disney.  Of course, it was only for five years, and the rights have now been returned (I believe), but this was the start of a precedent.

Now we are looking at Nestle taking much of our water supply (almost free), and turning around and selling it to Third World countries and those in need.  Nestle seems to believe that water is abundant on the earth and belongs to whomever takes it.

I've recently heard, and this is apparently true, that controlling interest in the Canadian Wheat Board has been sold to G3 Global Grain Group, a joint venture between Bunge Canada (USA controlled) and SALIC Canada (Saudi controlled).

Not only is our water being siphoned off, but now our grain food is being controlled by foreign interests.  Let's see, they now control our water, our food;  what will be next, our air?  I think it's time our politicians lost control of Canada's finances.  They obviously are not concerned with our well being, and have no skills in this area whatsoever.

Next up for sale - Canada's Via Rail.

Monday, April 27, 2015

What kind of writer are you? The Songwriter

The Songwriter - a songwriter is similar to a poet, particularly those songwriters that concentrate on writing the lyrics to songs.  Many songwriters are also musicians, which gives them a distinct advantage to become a full-bodied songwriter; because songwriting not only includes writing lyrics, it requires writing a melody too.

So, to be considered a songwriter, one must write either lyrics or melodies, or both in many circumstances.  That is, unless, the song is written solely as an instrumental.  In many instances a person has the ability to only create either one or the other.  To create a complete song, they will usually have to collaborate with another person.

Myself, I love to write lyrics, and even though I am also a musician, the melody of the song just doesn't come to me.  Of course, I have an idea of what the meter and genre of the song will be (fast, slow, Rock and Roll, Country), but not the melody itself is missing.

Fortunately many of my previous band mates have been talented in writing music, and we have collaborated on numerous songs.  And great ones, I might add.  In my opinion, if a group of musicians in a band are somehow able to write and perform their own music, it doesn't get much better than that.

Songwriting is like modern day poetry, but much more entertaining because it tantalizes the senses in ways poetry cannot.  Even if poetry is spoken, it just doesn't compare to the sound of a great song. Poetry with music, I simply love it.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

RBC Direct Investing Inc. - Legal siphons

Three years ago, my mom got a tip on a very hot stock to buy.  It was going to go through the roof, and soon.  I told her that I wasn't really interested, but she was so sure of it, she sent me $500.00 to invest.  Because I was already a member of RBC, I decided to use RBC Direct Investing Inc. as my broker so that I could keep track of this wonderful investment right on my RBC Online account.  There was a one time buying fee of 6.95 or something like that, so I bought over 600 shares at a value of about $450.00.

I then basically forgot about this wonderful investment, but received regular statements that showed it going up and down, and not materializing into the 'get rich' value mom had told me it would go to.  This is the important part for people to understand.  This was a relatively small investment, and actually no investment on my part, but RBC has quarterly management fees that they tend to hide in their multitude of information upon signing up.

There is a $25.00 quarterly fee deducted from your account every three months.  Now, on a 447.00 investment that isn't doing as wonderful as predicted, within three years these small fees add up to $300.00.  Then add in a stock change of some sort about a year into the purchase (the value of the shares dropping somehow), my mom's $450.00 investment not only deteriorated in value, any increases were eaten away by RBC.

The stocks are now about $0.00, and the only people that made any money off them was RBC Direct Investments Inc.  Fortunately my mom purchased her shares through CIBC, and hers are still holding their original value (or slightly less).  The moral of the story - DON'T use RBC Direct Investing Inc. for any small share portfolios.  They'll ensure they make as much, or more, than you from your investment.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Muslim beheadings of Non-Believers and Christians..

I have been disgusted in recent months watching the news of ISIS (or whatever they are called now), and their atrocities towards non-Muslims and Christians.  You can say what you want, but it is obvious that they are fighting a religious battle, not matter how distorted their views might seem - or so our new Muslim citizens imply.

Western countries have been taking in Muslim immigrants for years, and now we discover that some of these are terrorists in our own midst.  And our Governments don't seem to have any answer but to allow even more of them into our quiet and previously safe countries.  We have welcomed them with open arms, and they in turn, plot to kill us.

Not only do we welcome these devils, but when caught plotting murder in their new homes, they are slapped on the hands and sent to one of our cushy prisons.  The severity of their crimes is measured in numbers (numbers of years in jail).  What ever happened to an 'eye for an eye' or the 'punishment fits the crime?  Aren't those Christian principles?

I only have to picture my late grandmother, one of the nicest people I have ever know who attended the Catholic Church faithfully, having her head chopped off by one of these bastards.  My Christian punishment would easily fit the crimes of these animals, and I would have not regrets whatsoever.

Friday, April 17, 2015

What kind of writer are you? The Satirist

The Satirist -now this is the kind of writing that I like, and it is really fun.  Just pick any topic that you think is ridiculous, and go to town on it.  But of course, try not to be totally rude and obnoxious when slamming whatever it is you are writing about.

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift is a perfect example of satire.  It is a satire of 18th Century British Society, and is a classic.  Satirists of today can have a field day with topics such as politics, overpaid actors and professional sports figures, and numerous other subjects.  Politics has always been a favorite throughout the times.

When writing satire, keep in mind that you want the reader to find your writing humorous, and not condescending.  You want to leave them with a smile on their face, and something to think about.  You don't want to leave them with the impression that you are just a complainer, and possibly even an arrogant antagonist.

Anyway, a little satire in whatever you write can add spice to your creations.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Advice for young people...

I am now in my 60's and find myself single once again.  Being retired, single and finding that I have more time now to reflect on life (past, present and future), I would like to make some observations to possibly help others one day.

1.  I now know that getting old sneaks up on you.  It seems like just yesterday I was in high school, or University.  When you are younger, you think you have all the time in the world, but in effect, time travels far more quickly than you realize.  Make every moment count, and concentrate on good relationships rather than bad.  Keep your good friends close to you and your family even closer.  They are your support.

2.  Take care of your body while you are young.  This means exercise, eating well and drinking lots of water.  Be aware that any injuries sustained in your youth will be amplified in your later years, so stay away from extreme sports.  A broken leg suffered in a biking accident at a young age can seem like nothing immediately after healing, but can be extremely painful when you are 80 years old.  And there is nothing worse then dying too soon because of stupid decisions or poor health habits.

3.  Start saving a percentage of your salary at a very early age, if not for your children's education (even if you are too young to have/plan for children), but for your retirement.  The Government does not look after the little people in retirement, just the politicians and their friends.  Now whether you should hide your money under the mattress or invest, sorry I can't advise you on that.

4.  Learn how to balance intelligent money management with personal entertainment.  This means be frugal in your daily living, but make sure to put aside something for enjoying yourself.  Hopefully your entertainment doesn't include too much alcohol, and make sure to stay away from dangerous social drugs.  Try buying groceries on sale and in bulk and freezing them for later use.  This can save thousands over a lifetime.

5.  Get enough sleep so your body can protect itself from virus's and disease, and in the worst case scenarios, you have the energy to recuperate from them. I know this may be difficult for University students, but time management is important, and you have to allow time for rest.  It will actually make you smarter.

6. Education, education.  Don't just settle with Grade 12 graduation, go to College or University and get a degree. This will not only open up many career doors for you, it will give you the leverage to make substantially more money over your lifetime.  Unless you are one of the lucky ones that knows in grade school what they want to be when they grow up, higher education can supply even more career ideas.

7.  Don't fall for the 9-5 trap unless it is your decision alone.  If you want to be a business person and support yourself, do it.  If you want to work a little, save up and travel, do it.  Of course your parents may not agree with this, but what do they know anyway?  Just because society teaches and trains you as cattle doesn't mean you have to follow your family and friends to the slaughterhouse.

8. Treat everyone, and that mean's everyone with the respect and dignity you would expect to receive from them.  You are no better than anyone else, and the sooner you realize that, the better.  We are all given a certain amount of time on this earth, and the one certain thing we all face, is death.  Poor people die as well as rich people.  Just because you may have more money or better looks than someone else doesn't mean you are 'special'.

9. When you get older, your mind continues at basically the same speed as always, but your body tends to slow down a little.  Don't give in and let it.  Keep exercising and eating well, and most importantly, keep acting and feeling young - and you will be.  Whoever said we must grow old gracefully was out to lunch.

10. Plan to leave a legacy for your children.  I know this is hard when you haven't had any children yet, but it is important.  If we don't pass anything down to our kids or friends, who exactly will remember us?  And make your legacy a positive one so people don't remember you as an asshole.  I'm writing books about my early life for my children, but not everyone has this desire or ability.  Just make sure to leave something or some memory behind.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

What kind of writer are you? The Playwright

The Playwright - Every time I look at the spelling of this work, I feel it should be spelled 'Playwrite'.  You know, 'play' for the primary function of this genre of writing, and 'write' for what else, writing.  Perhaps it comes from an ancient form of the word 'write'.  Maybe it is actually spelled correctly and my assumption is wrong.

Anyway, a playwright is a person that writes dramatic pieces of literature that are written primarily for performances such as plays and television.  A production that is both visual and oral.  Because they are a drama, they have main characters, protagonists, antagonists, and a plot.  They can be written in prose or poetry, but most modern plays are written in prose.

If a play is written for personal satisfaction, and not for any type of production, in my opinion they are like a flower that will never bloom.  Transposing a play from the pages to the stage, not only allows for an enhanced visual effect of the work, it also gives either the playwright or the production manager room to be even more creative.

In my personal opinion, I have always found plays a more social venue than just going to a movie theater and watching a production on the big screen.  Not only do you get to see real actors, and at times be able to interact with them, most plays have an intermission that allows the attendees to get refreshments and also discuss their feelings on the play thus far.

Definitely a more personal way to view an author's work.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

What kind of writer are you? The Historian

The Historian - Yawn......Sorry, but history was never one of my favorite subjects, and I tended to find myself falling asleep during many classes.  It may not have been the topic itself, it may have been the teacher.  He was a big oaf with a deep voice, and when he spoke, the world stopped spinning and everything went dark.

Seriously though, I have always been extremely interested in history.  I went through a phase a few years back where I ate up every book I could find on World War II.  I have always been a firm believer that if we study our past, we have the opportunity to make fewer mistakes in the future.  Notice I used the word 'opportunity'.  Just because humans have the capacity to learn from their mistakes, does not mean they actually will.

Historians are a little like private investigators or archeologists digging for clues about a subject, and then arranging them in some sense of order.  Hopefully if they accomplish this, they can also make their works interesting reading.  Actually, when you get right down to it, I love a task where I can work alone and spend hours investigating a mystery.

I can't believe it.  I started this article with the premise that historians were boring people and even more boring writers, and I finished with them being some kind of detectives.  Go figure.

Next week's rant - Who knows?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Went to Santa Fe in West Mexico City yesterday. Some observations.

I spent the entire day yesterday in Mexico City.  I went with my landlord(s) to renew a rental agreement on an apartment they manage in the south part of the city.  Because it was Mexico City, and apartments seem to rent withing seconds, the renewal took about 15 minutes to  complete, and then we were off to the San Jeronimo and Santa Fe area to have lunch at the Olive Garden.  The restaurant was located on the rooftop of and exclusive mall in this very rich area.

We had a fantastic lunch, and the prices were relatively inexpensive.  During lunch, my friend Raul told me that at the other side of the mall were the cheap restaurants like McDonalds, etc.  Anyway, after lunch, we wandered throughout the 4 story mall, and our first stop was the indoor skating rink.  It brought back memories of Canada.

As we walked through the various floors of the mall, Raul stopped at a small real estate booth and grabbed some information on apartments in the area.  Most start at about 2,000,000 (that's US dollars, not pesos), and all I could do was laugh.  We also saw a very sporty BMW on display, and the sales girls zeroed in on me, thinking I was rich or something, and we got one of their cards.

Continuing on, I noticed a lady walk by escorting three noisy children.  At the time, I didn't notice the man following them dressed in a nice black suit.  Raul pointed out that the lady was obviously an extremely wealth Jewish lady, and the man following was their bodyguard.  And here I thought I was an observant guy.  Raul also explained that her marriage was undoubtedly arranged for her at an early age, and they probably had their limosine and driver waiting for them down in the valet parking lot.

These super rich people really impressed Raul, but I didn't seem to find them anything special at all.  So what if they have million dollar houses filled with gold, money can't buy everything.  But I guess it can help in many ways.  Oh, almost forgot, on the way to the mall we witnessed a car make a retorno (cars make u-turns instead of having left turn lanes), and the turn around was so steep that the car's right front tire literally came off the pavement about 3 feet.  I laughed as we drove by, thinking that the poor city workers got even with these rich, but leaving holes in their streets so their BMW's and Mercedes fell apart sooner.

I must say, it was strange to see multimillion dollar structures on one side of the street, and poverty and little shacks on the other.  Only in Mexico.  As we drove back to Cuernavaca in our 2006 compact Chevy, I felt almost normal again.  The rich Jewish people in Mexico can keep their high prices.

Friday, March 20, 2015

What kind of writer are you? The Essayist

The Essayist - I looked up the dictionary definition of this today, and it was very informative.  An essayist is 'a person that writes essays'.  Now I understand.  Clear as mud.

Actually what I later discovered was, an essayist is someone who writes, in their opinion, about a multitude of topics.  They can concentrate on the more profound and intellectual topics we humans experience, or just provide their opinions on the less extraordinary things found in our daily lives.  They can write in prose or verse, but prose is the normal.

Because these essays are the writers own opinions or reflections, they are open to discussion or criticism by those with different outlooks on the subject.  I think most modern day essayists can be found writing articles for magazines and periodicals.  I generally don't read these types of prose, however, there are some that I believe I read everyday without actually realizing it.

For instance, bloggers commenting on current new articles, that write numerous paragraphs explaining their opinion on subjects can be considered essayists - although many of their essays are quite short in length.  One useful essayist I find in my work as a novel writer, is the critic or reviewer.  These kind folks analyse a writers work, and write an essay outlining their opinions of it's value.  Other essayists write reviews of products we use in our normal daily lives.

When I first started investigating the essayist, I had assumed that they were simply opinionated writers trying to prove their arrogance by writing intellectual pieces on a variety of intellectual topics.  How wrong I was.  They are actually quite useful in today's society.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Transfer of car ownership in Mexico.

Well I renewed my Mexican Driver Licence for another year recently; then proceeded to buy a 1999 Pontiac Sunfire from my Landlord in Cuernavaca.  I think I got a good deal, and paid approximately 2,500 Cdn for the car.  It needed a few repairs, but is in perfect working condition now.  Remember if you are buying a car in Mexico, stick with the older models of Chevrolet, Ford, Chrysler and of course Volkswagen.  Also remember if you happen to buy a new vehicle, the Dealership repair shops are rip-offs.  Find a good cheap mechanic instead.

So, I finished paying off the car a few days ago, and it was time to do the transfer of ownership.  Instead of going to the main office up north, we decided to go to the central, and much smaller, office downtown.  I'm not sure if it was a mistake or not because it was quite busy too.  Also, let me mention, that one of my fellow tenants last year was an employee responsible for installing the new, improved computer system for these types of transactions.  I heard the company sold the system to the Government for 50,000,000 pesos (about 4 million dollars Cdn), and I must say, it sucks.

Outside the office was a photocopy business, and they are making a fortune.  Any vehicle transfer involves at least 5-10 photocopies, and we were not excluded.  We needed a copy of the registration, a copy of my Temporary Resident card, a copy of the original vehicle registration from the dealer, and copies of the past 5 years of tax receipts.  Taxes must be paid annually on all vehicles, but used vehicles are much less.  Mine was 250 pesos per year, and this amount decreases as the vehicle gets older.

We first joined the long information line with all of our original forms and copies.  After about a half hour, we reached the first clerk, and she handed us a new form to enter the ownership transfer information.  The bill of sale was not sufficient.

We then had to join the second lineup to get these forms processed.  Because my Resident photocopy was not adequate, I had to run next door to the photocopy store and get an enlargement of it.  This took some time, and meanwhile, Raul waited with this second clerk to ensure they continued with the processing.  The clerks had trouble with the new system, and then after about an hour of waiting, instructed us to go to the photocopy store and use their internet to obtain a Mexican form stating I was a Mexican citizen - which I'm not.  Raul told them this, but they insisted.

We both went next door and obtained a printout stating that I wasn't Mexican, but I was assigned a temporary tax number anyway.  After about another hour of the clerk entering and re-entering this data, we finally got the transfer document and the estimate of cost of the transfer.  It included a 350 pesos amount for the transfer tax, a 250 peso amount for the 2015 taxes and a 147 amount for the transfer itself.

Then we proceeded to lineup number 3.  This was a much shorter line, fortunately, and I was able to use Visa to make the payment.  I was then given two more forms showing the payment and then we went to line number 4.  The last one, but much longer than all of the preceding lines.  I stood in this line and inched forward for just over an hour, and we finally reached the clerks.  Fortunately a clerk from lineup #2 moved over to this lineup to give the clerks a hand.  This seemed to move the line ahead a little faster thank goodness.

After re-entering all the information one last time, I was given a form to sign and enter my cell number; and was then given my registration form and 2015 tax decal (which had to later be applied to my back window of the car.  Total time for this transaction was about 5 hours.  I must say that I wasn't impressed with this new computer system.  But I must also say - it was an experience.  Hopefully paying the 2016 taxes will go a little faster next year.

Oh, one last thing, one of the problems they had at lineup #2 was that I only have one last name.  The computer system was designed for Mexicans, who have two last names (father and mother).  So my last name on the registration now ends with XXX.  Too funny, but at least now, I finally own the car.  Now to file all the original forms in a safe place at home so no one steals them.  If they have the original registration from the dealer, they own my car.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club

A few years ago, my sister visited Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic and fell in love with not only it, but one of it's residents.  She visited the relatively new Lifestyles Resort and she and her girlfriend attended one of the sales meetings.  That is if you can call a Time Slime pressure sales tactics a meeting.  My sister told me about this fantastic investment and I told her it sounded like a glorified Time Share.  She disagreed.

Now my sister and her friend are not stupid people by any means, but finding oneself on a beautiful island, enjoying a fantastic well-deserved holiday with music and drinks, tends to clouds one's judgement a little.  Needless to say, they both ended up buying memberships to the club for 50 years.  My sister bought the gold membership (I believe) for approximately $35,000, paying 1/2 down and committing to payments for the balance.  Her friend paid a little more for the platinum membership.

It wasn't long after that the 'Club' enticed them into buying one of and exclusive 50 shares in the resort; with promises of far greater benefits while vacationing, and not only that, the opportunity to put their shares to work for them in the form of a rental business.  The cost was only a minimal $85,000, and after a discussion back in Canada, the girls decided to buy in and form a business to recover their investment.

The promises made were:
1. Only 50 shareholders in the club
2. Dividends paid annually at $5,000 per share
3. Unlimited access to certain VIP beaches and restaurants only for shareholders
4. Availability of Villas and Cart Transportation on all of their vacations.

5 Years Later, what they got:
1. Almost 1,000 shareholders in the club
2. Dividends given in benefits at the resort, not cash
3. Now there are 1,000 shareholders using the VIP beaches and restaurants, not 50
4. Villas and Carts have to be fought for, and reservations not honored.

The girls have now discovered that they were given a false set of goods, and that their investment will not pay off in the way they had hoped.  The only way they can recover any of their money is to plan vacations at the resort (during non-peak periods to take advantage of their benefits), and use their dividends to pay their villa fees and all-inclusive fees.  At least in this way they can recover at least some of their investment.  They could still send guests using their share, but with services declining because of  increased numbers of shareholders, they would be embarrassed to send anyone.

I understand the owner, who lives on the resort some of the time, now has bodyguards on a 24 hour basis.  I think he needs them.

The moral of the story - don't be pressured into buying into these schemes.  Take a break from the salesmen and give it some serious thought.  Some people do like this form of vacation.  Finally, get everything in writing, and don't let them distract you when reading the contract.  I think I prefer living in Mexico for 7 months a year on just under $5,000.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

What kind of writer are you? The Screenwriter

The Screenwriter (sometimes called Scriptwriter) -what I describe as a much more difficult occupation than the novelist.  Of course, many screenwriters are either novelists themselves, or they use novels to create their screenplays.

Screenwriting is difficult because of the medium required to produce your work.  In the old days, much of the writing was done for radio, thus the term 'scriptwriter'.  A writer was not able to describe and set scenes for the audience and use special visual effects because this was not possible through a completely audio scenario.  How a scriptwriter made his script more effective was through the use of various sound effects and tonal changes in voices.  Of course, because the characters could not be seen, a person that could use different voices could, in effect, portray numerous characters in a story.

Today, because radio productions are few and far between, most of the scriptwriting is done for movie or television screenplays.  Screenplay s vary in length depending on the length of the production, shorter for most TV programs, but longer for movies.  But they are all consistent in their presentation and follow a standard 'screenplay' format.  There are a couple of different styles, but only one format.

I have just begun a new career as an author of books, but one day I hope to face the challenge of writing either a separate screenplay, or one based on one of my books.  I have started to learn the process of developing characters through the use of both prose and dialogue, but the ability to tell a story primarily with dialogue would definitely be something interesting to tackle.  I think I'll wait a couple of years though.

I am going on vacation for two weeks, and may not be able to get any updates written on this current topic of types of writers, but will definitely have the next one done sometime in early March.

I dream of the day when ALL politicians are held accountable.

Is it just me, or do politicians seem to make big promises, get elected, and then fall somewhat short on those promises or dismiss them altogether?  If I applied for a new position and made promises about my qualifications and abilities to my new employer, then totally disregarded them, I would be FIRED - not later but sooner.

If I made errors on my expense reporting over a period of time, I would not only be FIRED, I would probably be charged with theft and may even serve time in PRISON.

If a friend of mine helped me get my foot in the door and eventually get a new job, and I then changed policies within the company to benefit these friends financially to pay them back for their assistance, my employer would surely FIRE me.

We won't even go into what would happen if, after I was hired, I changed the internal company policies to give myself raises in pay and increased benefits.  What company on earth would allow it's employees to give themselves raises and benefits?  Gee, I think my CPP payments are too low, I'll just give myself a raise - I deserve it.  No, I think I would be FIRED.

And of course the large corporations that fund elections for various politicians are just providing legal contributions;  it really isn't bribery.  But let any common citizen do the same and off to PRISON.  I don't believe it.  It just hit me.  There are two sets of laws in the world.  One for the rich and one for the poor.  Silly me.

I dream of the day when politicians are truly held accountable for their words and actions and a few of them actually go to JAIL.

Friday, February 6, 2015

What kind of writer are you? The Speechwriter

The Speechwriter - now this is a truly noble occupation.  I think if this was my career I would ask someone to please just shoot me in the head.  Not only is the content a pile of bullshit, it is written for the lowest of the lows in most cases - politicians.

Not only do their clients/bosses lie their way into a job, they spend their entire career paying back their financial supporters once they have been elected.  To do this they change whatever laws are necessary to help these manipulators.  Then they leave a few years later with a big fat pension that they didn't earn, but the public has to pay for - forever.

Now, I'm sure some speechwriters truly believe their job is honorable and that the work they produce is valuable, but they obviously don't have the forsight to see the Big Picture.  They are writing for liars and scum, and their finished product (the speech) is a farce.  Maybe one day they will realize this, and make the politicians write their own BS.

My suggestion for speechwriters - firing squad.

Next week - The Screenwriter.

Monday, February 2, 2015

When is a writer's 'marketing' annoying?

I am a fairly new addition to the online writing market.  I think I've done almost everything that everyone else has done to promote my first two books;  like set up a facebook page dedicated to my writing and books and set up a Twitter account and Blog.  I have politely added new friends, trying to ensure that we have interests in common.  I've even gone off the beaten path from time to time and added friends that are musicians, myself being a bass guitar player.

I have noticed, however, that some of my recent 'friends' not only post indiscriminately on my sites, but they seem to have joined every writers group currently registered on the internet.  Not only have they joined these multitude of groups, they appear to have a never-ending supply of daily posts at their fingertips.  One particular 'friend', I have noticed, posts about 20 times a day on these various sites, which are unfortunately sent to my personal pages.

Now, I'm not sure if this 'writer' actually has this much to say, or if they feel that posting absolutely everywhere will market their skills at the same rate of speed as they are posting.  If they are trying to accomplish a fast-track for their book sales, in my opinion, they are just doing the opposite.  I have now had to block a couple of these promoters so that I can actually read posts of some importance.  Not only have they forced me to delete them and their hundreds of posts, I have made a resolve to stay as far away from their writings as possible.

Their attempt of promoting themselves and their works has had the exact opposite effect that they probably desired.  Please, please, stop posting so much - you appear desperate, and are driving sales down, not up.  Just my opinion.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What kind of writer are you? The Children's Author

The Children's Author -boy did these writers pick a difficult genre to write for.  This past birthday, my eldest son found a gift for me that was truly unique.  He signed me up to an online Children's Writing Course.  Even though my current writing is aimed at a slightly higher age than children, I have found that this course applies to any new writer.

Children's Books are generally categorized into Pre-School (which includes infant and nursery books for children under 7 years old); Over 7 (which includes children from 7 to 11 years old); and Teenager/Young Adult books for those children over 11 years old.  Of course, different publishers may change or rename these categories, but they do follow a similar categorization.

Needless to say, the basic rules of writing must still apply for whatever type of writing you do.  That is to say Setting, Characterization/Dialogue, Plot, Theme and Storyline are all critical.  The largest market for Children's Books are romance stories for young girls.  However, fantasy and science fiction are also popular now, and even for boys.  So pick a category, find out if there is a market, and start writing for the age bracket you want - keeping in mind that your main character should be about the same age as your audience.

Now, I'm sure you are thinking that to be a good children's book writer, you must have the mind of a child or possibly even act like one.  Not so.  I sincerely think that as long as you haven't got Dementia or Alzheimer's (of course, you wouldn't know it if you had them), and can still recall your time as a child, this should suffice.

I am currently writing a series of books, which might be described as auto-biographic, that are made up of numerous short stories from my early childhood.  I am writing them from the perspective of my age in the various stories/chapters, but even so, I consider them primarily for young adults and adults in the same age bracket as me (let's just say I'm over 50).

I am actually having a lot of fun writing these 'memoirs', but have found it challenging to keep my momentum and motivation going over the past few months, but even this topic has been covered in detail.  This course has also given me valuable information to become a professional writer and re-enforced my resolve to keep writing.

Next week - The Speechwriter

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What kind of writer are you? The Poet

The Poet -First off, not all male poets are gay, they are sensitive.  A poet is a person that has music running through their soul, and when they write, it comes out in rhythms and rhymes.  All you have to do is add music to their writings and you have a song.

There are so many kinds of poetry it will be difficult to describe them all here, but here we go anyway.  Let's start with the basics - The Sonnet.  Sonnets are lyric poems that contain 14 lines only.  William Shakespeare loved to write sonnets, and wrote many memorable ones.  They generally contain only one or two rhyme schemes.

The Epic Poem - For those poets that cannot get their message across in 14 short lines, there is the epic poem.  These poems usually have a hero or central character, and/or include an adventure.  Henry Wordsworth Longfellow was famous for Epic Poems like 'The Song of Hiawatha' or the 'Iliad' by Homer.  These poets would be considered the novelists of poetry.

The third type of poem is called the "Haiku" - These are much shorter than even the Sonnet, at three lines, and believe it or not they don't even have to rhyme.  Why they are even called poetry is beyond my comprehension, but alas, they are.  They originated in Japan, and that might explain it.  Perhaps they rhyme in japanese.

Moving onto the "Free Verse" poet - To me, these types of poems, which have basically no parameters, are a perfect example of a poet on drugs. They can be any length, be about any topic, include or exclude rhymes and leave the reader with no message whatsoever.  Perhaps if the reader is drunk or on drugs, they may make more sense.

The Cinquain - A five line poem inspired by the Haiku, if that is at all possible.  To top it off, there are numerous variations of the Cinquain.  Here is an example: TreeStrong, TallSwaying, swinging, sighing, Memories of summerOak.  Now if this is what you would call poetry and you get the message, you are a better person than I am.  But I must admit I love the use of capital letters in incorrect places.

The Ballad - Ballads, like Epic Poems, tell a story.  However, they are based on a legend or folk lore, and are often incorporated into songs to make them more effectively received and understood.  Another type of poem similar to a song.

The last popular form of poetry is the Name Poem - These poems should really be written for small children in my opinion, and they follow a particular format, just like the Haiku, Cinquain and Sonnet.  They begin a person's name, and each line thereafter begins with the next letter in that person's name.  For example if the poem is about James, the first line would begin with the word James, the next line would begin with the letter 'a', then 'm' and 'e' and finally 's'.  This would therefore be a 5 line poem.  Whoever dreamed up this type of poem was probably a highly organized neat freak.

There are many other types of poems and poets, but these are the major ones.  I am particularly fond of the ballad poet because I have been in numerous bands and have attempted to write lyrics to songs.  However, when I have found myself in a particularly depressed state, Free Verse has taken over a couple of times and I've written a couple of these gems.  When I go back and re-read them, I have absolutely no idea of where my head was at, but I do know that I was not drunk or on drugs.  I guess this is just one of those strange life's mysteries.

Next week -The Children's Author

Friday, January 16, 2015

What kind of writer are you? The Journalist

The Journalist - a person who writes about news events of the day and adds their own artistic talents to the mix whenever they can.  These writers are often criticized as being talentless and devoid of creativity, but in fact, many of the successful journalists are able to take a bland or boring story and embellish it in such a way as to make it interesting to the reader.  Others haven't developed this ability yet.

One of the benefits of being a journalist is that stories are constantly being created for you in everyday life, and if you are good, you can carry on with your version of the story for as long as it lasts - or even longer.  One of the downfalls is that the journalist can usually never achieve true creativity, and many of the articles they write are about human misery and suffering - not the most positive of topics.  Novelists and Authors don't give journalists the time of day.

There are basically 4 different types of journalists, Print, Photo, Broadcast and Multimedia; and they report on numerous topics such as Sports, Politics, Business, Crime, etc.  Print Journalists work with the written word and write particularly for newspapers, magazines or gossip columns.  Some are employed by a particular newspaper/magazine and actually have a career, and others work freelance, sometimes making more money than those with careers.

Photo Journalists are not really journalists in my mind, unless of course, they include text with their photos.  Needless to say, photo journalists will undoubtedly disagree with this assumption.

Journalism has evolved and become extremely fast-paced in recent years, and many stories have completely run their course before print media has even had the chance to publish them.  This is why the last two types, Broadcast and Multimedia, seem to be taking over as leaders in the industry.  Photo Journalists are also developing a far more important role because of the emergence of these two modes of communication because photos are critical in developing stories on TV and in the Multimedia.  What do they say 'A picture is worth a thousand words'?

I think the goal of ALL journalists is to become famous, get rich, and thus eventually get laid - in basically that order.  The topics that a journalist selects as their profession therefore becomes the target market for their sexual desires.  Yes, you guessed it, Political Journalists want to sleep with some politician they have a crush on;  Business Journalists want to give one of their subjects the Business; and Crime Journalists, deep down, want to get laid by either a sexy criminal or hot police officer.

But my guess is that the journalist who follows celebrities, and tries to get photos and stories of their lives, are the journalists that have the most fun.  Sure, some of their investigations lead to negative stories, but discovering smut on these 'people on pedestals' must be extremely exciting at times.  And there seems to be a never-ending number of people that like to read this crap, so their market seems pretty secure.  But ultimately, these journalists, have mad crushes on their celebrity subjects, and want to screw them in more ways than one.

Some journalists are even able to ascend to the pinnacle of stardom themselves, and if THEY ever become the news, it can become quite entertaining for those of us with no excitement in our dreary lives.  Journalists covering the antics of other journalists gives the public some of the juiciest of stories ever.  Jian Ghomeshi comes to mind.

Journalists - are 'the under-valued writers', in my book.

Next Week - The Poet

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Parking your car in Mexico.

I have previously mentioned that when parking on the street in Mexico, look for yellow markings on the curb (NOT red), and be sure to use your steering wheel lock.  And if you can, give one of the parking attendants (yes you can find them on the street) a few pesos to watch your car.  But much of the parking in Mexico is in parking lots, either private or provided by a store.

Some of these lots charge, and some provide parking as part of their shopping experience.  But you will find in all of these lots, persons that either sit in a booth and charge you as you exit, or a group of people I will call 'whistle blowers' that meander around the parking lot and try to guide cars into and out of parking spaces.

Here are some of the current parking strategies.  At the entrance of Mega grocery stores, you will find a ticket dispenser.  You simply push the button and are issued a ticket.  Also at this time, a large arm raises to let your car pass into the parking lot.  Many of these lots are underground, and are excellent to keep your car dry during rain and cool during sunny weather.  Once you have completed your shopping, you must pay the cashier an extra 3-5 pesos for your parking.  Do NOT ever lose your parking stub because you will then have to probably pay for an entire day of parking - after you prove the vehicle is yours.

Soriana grocery store generally has outside free parking and so does Walmart.  Although Walmart sometimes is underground.  One difference in these two free parkings is that the 'whistle blowers' at Walmart have to pay Walmart to assist clients with parking.  Most other stores allow these people to wander their lots and make tips.  Some stores even give them a small amount of daily pay - not Walmart.

Many private lots have an attendant at the front gate and give you a stamped ticket when you enter the lot.  Don't lose this either.  In many cases these private lots are located near various types of stores, and they sometimes have an agreement with the stores.  The store will stamp your ticket, and you will then get a reduced rate of parking because you shopped.  Sometimes buying a 5 peso item can save you many pesos of parking.

Valet parking is available at many high end restaurants and hotels.  Make sure all valuables are out of the vehicle before you turn it over to the valet, and make sure to check your vehicle carefully before turning it over to them.  Also, when the vehicle is returned, inspect it again to make sure they didn't do any damage.  You may also want to make note of the fuel level and mileage, just in case they decide to take it for a joyride while you are eating.  This is where cell phone cameras come in handy.

Also a quick aside.  Airport parking is generally as secure as the lots mentioned above, but much more expensive.  For example, many of the parking lots in Cuernavaca or Mexico City are somewhere in the area of 10 pesos per hour.  The MC Airport charges 44 pesos for the first hour and 22 pesos for every hour thereafter - slightly higher.