300 Words by Charlotte Chere Graham
All the news about school bullying got me to thinking about Mary. She sat behind me in second grade, and there was something about Mary that’s stayed with me for sixty years.
Back then you were on your own when it came to being bullied. No day in court to face your oppressors. No movie or book deal or Oprah interview as reward for abuse taken and overcome. You see, my classmates didn’t like Mary. “You have dirty blood, Mary. Stay away from us Dirty Blood.”
Mary was the picture of neglect. Every day she wore the same dress – stained and rumpled. Shoes bound to her feet with rubber bands. Even in the cold of January, Mary had no coat. No mother ever lovingly ran a brush through Mary’s ratted, drab hair. Instead, a pair of blunt scissors chopped into her matted and tangled curls to chase out the lice. At seven years old, Mary already had the haggard look of someone coming to the end of her days. Just living was an act of courage.
I admired Mary and envied her strength. She never complained about life at home or the abuse and shunning she took at school. Mary was as gentle and kind as she was neglected and bullied. When “Dirty Blood” was hurled at her, Mary silently stood and waited for her tormentors to stop.
I’m ashamed to say the ugliness hurled at Mary sometimes got to me, and I would cry and beg not to go to school because it was too hard to watch. But Mary was made of stronger stuff. She never missed a day of school.
Remembering Mary now, I can only think she was held close by the words of Psalm 121: My help comes from the Lord…
“I cannot remember much, I cannot feel much. Maybe erasure is necessary. Maybe the human spirit defends itself as the body does, attacking infection, enveloping and destroying those malignancies that would otherwise consume us.”
From a professional standpoint John Wade has hit rock bottom. His once promising political career is all but dead a mere six weeks after he was pretty much guaranteed to be elected as his party’s representative for the United States Senate. How could this happen? He had paid his dues and done everything right. He had gone to church once a week as per instructions, married a beautiful and charming woman named Kathleen, hired the best campaign manager money could buy and made his political platform truly about the people and built on making a difference. No lip service, only truth and honesty. How could they desert him like this?
The loss had crushed him, enraged…
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Terry Irving knows how to write a story so fast moving and gripping that the reader can’t stop. His first novel Courier is first of all a chase story featuring motorcycle rider Rick Putnam who repeatedly escapes the bad guys on a big bruising BMW or a sleek fast Kawasaki. But Courier is much more than that.
Irving recreates Washington D.C. in late 1972 when American B-52s were bombing Hanoi, the peace process to end the Vietnam War seemed stuck, and a robbery at a Washington D.C. apartment complex called the Watergate was something that no one seemed to care much about.
via Terry Irving.
Christy is the best.
Life moves fast, doesn’t it? It is a selection of seconds, moments, hours, days, and… You get the point. It is a blur some days and then suddenly a moment comes that makes you go, “Aha, I realize how short life is.” And then you breathe deeply and plant a foot in a world that brings you comfort. For me, today, it is the blogging world.
Thank you to everyone who has emailed me, left a comment on my blog (here or on When Women Inspire), sent me a note on a social media network or contacted me another way. I appreciate you all. I am grateful for you all.
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Match Stick Rocket
CONTRIBUTED BY: Steve Culivan, KSC
EDITED BY: Roger Storm, NASA Glenn Research Center
- 2 match book matches or wooden stick matches
- Small square of aluminum foil
- Paper clip
- Safety pin
- Take one match and wrap a small piece of aluminum foil around the match-head. Wrap the foil tightly.
- Make a small opening in the foil wrapped around the match head by inserting the point of a safety pin and bending upward slightly.
- Bend the paper clip to form a launch pad as shown in the diagrams. Erect the match stick rocket on the pad. Make sure the pad is set up on a surface that will not be damaged by the rocket’s exhaust such as a lab table. Several layers of foil on the lab table work well.
- Ignite the match by holding a second lighted match under the foil until its combustion temperature is reached.
Caution: Be sure the match rocket is pointed away from people or burnable materials. it is recommended to have water or some other fire extinguishant available. The foil head of the rocket will be very hot!
DISCUSSION: The match stick rocket demonstrates Isaac Newton’s Laws of Motion as they relate to rocketry. Newton’s third law states that for every action, there is an opposite and
equal reaction. The exhaust of the fire products from the burning match (smoke and gas) is the “action” and the movement of the rocket in the other direction is the ‘reaction.’ The action thrust is produced when the match burns in an enclosed environment. The aluminum foil acts as a rocket combustion chamber. Because the opening in the foil is small, pressure builds up in the chamber that eventually escapes as a rapid stream of smoke and gas.
In an interesting variation of the experiment, try making holes of different diameters to let the combustion products out at different rates. A larger opening permits the smoke and gas to escape before it has time to build up much pressure. The escape of the products will be slower than produced by a match stick rocket with a smaller opening. Isaac Newton’s second law states that the force or thrust of a rocket is equal to the mass of the smoke and gas escaping the rocket times how fast it escapes. In this experiment, the mass of the smoke and gas is the same for both cases. The difference is in how fast it escapes. Compare the distance traveled with the two match stick rockets.
via Match Stick Rocket.
The child walks or skips, happily and with joy. With no particular intention, reveling in his own spring of inner joy. Where is this child going? Who will he become? When ignorantly he wanders away from that inner peace and joy and forgets the way he came, how will he try to return? How many paths will he try before he breaths a sigh of relief in returning home?
I am an insurance agent. You are a writer. She is a physical therapist. He is a stay-at-home dad.
We have jobs to perform. We have careers to build. We have schedules to adhere to and meetings to attend. We meet deadlines, make appointments, and multitask our way through the days.
We navigate the hustle and bustle of society. We ride out the ebbs and flows of the economic system. We create trends, and then we buck them in favor of the next latest, greatest thing.
Some struggle to wade through the mundane hours of their workday. Others strive to climb the ladder and achieve new heights of career elevation. The luckiest of us grab ahold of that thing that sparks our passion and find a way to make both a living and a life with it.
Source: The Most Important Job
Classic Mysteries · by Les Blatt · November 24, 2015
The Mystery Writers of America has announced the names of the recipients of three of the organization’s top Edgar Awards for 2016. Walter Mosley will be named a Grand Master, for his lifetime achievements as a mystery writer. Editor Margaret Kinsman and the national organization Sisters in Crime will each be receiving the Raven Award, which “recognizes outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing.” And Janet Rudolph, the director of Mystery Readers International and editor of the Mystery Readers Journal, will receive The Ellery Queen Award, which honors “outstanding writing teams and outstanding people in the mystery-publishing industry.”
(Darn! They overlooked me again. But I’ll get them…..)
Date: April 27, 1966
Place: ABC News bureau on the 6th floor of the Caravelle Hotel in Saigon.
“How do you do, sir? I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Yasutsune Hirashiki—just arrived from Japan.”
Well, my initial greeting went very well. I shouldn’t have been surprised–after all I’d been practicing it for days.
The man with the mustache gave me a smile and a handshake. His name was Jack O’Grady, the bureau chief for ABC News Saigon. He wasn’t all that tall, just a bit taller than an average Japanese.
“Welcome to Vietnam! New York told me you were coming. They said you were a damn good cameraman.”
He went on to tell me that he’d screened the demo reel of film clips that I’d sent to New York weeks ago and that he was struck by the creativeness of my photography.
That sounded good.
“I’m ready to work, sir. When shall I start?” I said.
“Well, this week is very quiet, so why don’t you check with us next week?” He replied.
What? I hadn’t expected that. Did he just say that I didn’t have a job this week but I might have a job next week. But only if it was busy?
I was sure he was mistaken. I had a letter from Jack Bush, the executive in New York who hired camera crews around the world for ABC. He had very clearly said that I should quit my job at a Japanese local TV station and fly to Vietnam where a job was waiting for me.
This is what I’d wanted for years. I quit the news cameraman job where I’d spent the past ten years, packed up everything I owned, and came to Saigon to join ABC News–one of the mighty American News Networks.
Clearly, this O’Grady fellow hadn’t gotten the message.
I hadn’t practiced this speech but I believe my English was very clear. “Mr. O’ Grady, I was hired by New York as Saigon bureau cameraman. According to New York’s instructions, I quit my job at a Japanese TV station, and come here to work.” I said.
Mr. O’Grady patiently listened to my terrible English and said, “Show me the letter.”
I gave it to him. He read it, smiled, and said, “Look at this line.”
He then ran his finger along the line of incomprehensible English words as he carefully read them to me. “It says that you will have a chance if you go to Saigon but there the word ‘hired’ isn’t in here. We will give you a chance. Come back and check next week. If it’s busy and we need a cameraman, we’ll send you on an assignment and you’ll have a chance to show us your work.”
I was in shock. He was right! Being Japanese, I had translated the letter with a dictionary and only paid attention to what I thought was the important parts of the letter.
Quit. Go to Saigon. Have a chance.
Tony Hirashiki and Steve Bell in Cambodia. (Or is it properly Steve Bell and Tony Hirashiki?”
“The Charming Dictator”
Yes, this is based on a recent personal experience. Want the details? Keep reading!
How to litter your manuscript with typos
- Create a character with a short name that could easily be found in many longer words — i.e., “Kat”
- Write 40,000 words of a story
- Realize that you prefer an alternate spelling — i.e., “Cat”
- Do a “Search All” and “Replace All” to change the spelling — i.e., “Kat” > “Cat”
- Write another 10,000 words
- Realize you prefer the first spelling
- Do a “Search All” and “Replace All” to change the spelling back — i.e., “Cat” > “Kat”
- Casually reread the story and realize you’ve created 218 typos — i.e., “sKatter”, “reloKated”, unsKathed”, “mediKations”
UCLA professor Jean-Luc Margot has proposed a new, mathematical definition that would apply to bodies both inside and outside our solar system. By his calculations, detailed in a paper that has been accepted for publication in the Astronomical Journal, our moon could qualify as a planet, as New Scientist reports.
The planet definition debate has been particularly controversial since 2006, when the International Astronomical Union came up with a set of criteria that stripped Pluto of its planet status.
Sorry, it’s too late.
Photo post by @amdobritt.
Source: Writing Quotes — Elmore Leonard
By now, Colleen has hopefully shaken off the long road trip, had time to stretch her legs, and started to put things in order. It’s an exciting time, starting a new adventure.
Source: Busted – A Short Story
The silence and the sea.
A Poem by Coyote Poetry
We need to listen to the sea, the wind and rebirth each day hopeful and ready.
The silence and the sea
Blessed is the man that knew regret and he learn from it.
Lucky is the man who loses the emotion of rage.
Learn to live in the splendor of celebrating each new day.
Old man baking in the hot sun by the Seaside beach.
Watching the glistening sea dance upon the morning shore.
Drinking coffee and waiting for a reason to write.
He watches a young man walking alone.
His head lowered, eyes detached to another place and time.
Roaming the beach looking for answered that can’ t be found.
Source: –The silence and the sea
This is truly frightening…
When the second group came past, a reporter finally called out, “What happened at the front?” and another asked, “Tell us what happened on Hill 875.”
The soldiers just kept walking past without the slightest reaction and didn’t say a word. We were surprised when a few turned around and walked back to where we were standing. They faced the cameras and the massed microphones and began to tell us what had happened.
It was an eruption of anger, frustration, and sorrow at the hell they had gone through for the past days. In the beginning, the soldiers spoke one by one but soon they began to talk over each other, shouting and even weeping as the terrible memories poured out. I had covered these units before and I knew that they were some of the toughest troops the Americans had. It was a scene of raw emotion.
The military press officials tried to stop the men from speaking by pulling them away from the press but the soldiers ignored them and continued to tell us their stories of hell. We all stayed behind the rope but the soldiers came closer and their stories became more intimate. Everything they said was a testimony to the shocking, brutal, bitter and cruel nature of the fighting on that hill. They were so angry that curse words and slang came pouring out; i knew we couldn’t broadcast that sort of language back in those days but they were speaking from the heart and they were probably the only words that could begin to express their feeling. It was the reality of war being told in a truer way than I had seen in all the time I’d been in Vietnam.
(Tony with Don North – Not at Hill 875)
IN ICELAND THEY have this delicacy called hákarl that recently initiated diners describe as “the worst tasting food on Earth,” “the world’s foulest food,” and “the worst thing I have ever had in my mouth.” To say it smells like a urinal would be generous. Not that anyone should be surprised, considering hákarl is rotten shark meat fermented in the dirt or open air for months on end.
With WONDERLAND, Ace Atkins flawlessly captures Parker’s narrative voice and has written the best Spenser novel in his years. It reads like Parker in his prime, and even without Hawk appearing in the book. There isn’t a single false note in the plotting, character, pacing or prose. It’s an astonishing feat, it’s like he’s channeling Parker from the great beyond. It’s actually better, and truer to Parker and his characters, than the last few Spenser novels that Parker himself wrote. It’s a shame Atkins can’t take on Jesse Stone and Virgil Cole, too.