Writer’s Shock

The only writer’s block I ever suffered from was when I was afraid to write. My guide for this was the old maxim: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” In checking for the source of this quote google attributed it to my hero Abraham Lincoln although I also saw that Mark Twain might be a possibility for another attribution. So before I launch into the meat of this post a couple stray thoughts.

1st. In my case I had lousy handwriting which I used to disguise my poor spelling. When I was young I felt that spelling must be the proof of intelligence and as a poor speller I didn’t want to show my shortcomings by writing. What I had yet to learn was that the key, at least for me, to confident writing would be editing, editing, editing. Ironically, I was the “pronouncer” at our regional spelling bees for about fifteen years running.

2nd. Abe Lincoln, now famous for his literary skills, gave the public plenty of literary ammunition to confirm his foolishness. Perhaps, like in my case, this was a result of his extreme self consciousness about what he felt to be his impoverished education.

If anything when I stop writing here in the blog it leads to a build up and bloat of ideas. Its more of a shock than a block. To remove some of the Lincoln-like clutter, (He kept notes in his hat) of paper scraps, I now dash off ideas in my cell phone’s messaging ap. I lost hundreds of these notes when I replaced my phone nine months ago but in my new phone I’ve got several hundred new ones. Some of them may find their way into my future writing.

Over the past two weeks I’ve had about seven ideas for a new Not Eudora column that have made it to my messaging ap. I’ve chosen to write about space today for this week’s Reader. At the end of this post I’ll share the notes I may use in cobbling together today’s column. The deadline was moved up a day for the beginning of the summer run.

If I get it written I still hope to write something about my empty “baby killing” post from a couple days ago. Its no longer just me. Dim but self righteous Republicans are rousing a great sleeping beast with all their recent posturing about saving rape fetuses. Heaven forbid that future Supreme Court justices lose the children that they tried to impregnate their victims with.

Nuff of that:

Here’s the raw ore for today’s column. I hope I can refine it into something thought provoking: NOTE: I’ve made no changes. This is what my hastily written notes look like at 3 in the morning when I roll off my pillow to tap them into my cellphone

Continue reading

Polymet posting delay

I tempt fate whenever I post a title with no content. The question is whether I will care enough about the subject after titling it to fill it out with my thoughts some days afterward. On the preceding Baby killer title I sure do intend to get to it. Getting called a “baby killer” at Republican conventions stiffens one’s spine.

But, I’m biding my time as the Alabama legislature does its best to make sure that the rape fetuses of future Supreme Court nominees are guaranteed the chance to be born. Precious semen. I read one proposed law would outlaw onanism. Let me check that. Yup. Seems to be true.

Today I visit Polymet. As a quicky candidate for Congress last summer I took no stand on copper-nickle mining. The schools took up too much of my time to properly research this issue in the past. But now will be a good time to put more time into the subject. My men’s church group wrangled an invite to tour the Polymet site. I’ll have a few questions.

Lately, I’ve done little with the diary part of this blog. Last friday I healed a major break in my family that I’ve obliquely mentioned in the past. Life is good. Rain didn’t delay our grandson’s Leif Erickson park music gathering yesterday and it looks sunny for my trip to the range today. Life is good…….even for baby killers.

Look what I found!

Checking my blog stat page I discovered that my old Congressional Campaign website from 2012 can still be found. I thought it had disappeared from the Internet. I forgot that I’d once put my URL into a snow sculpture. Its a sculpture I remember being very disappointed in but looking at it now, 7 years later, its not so bad.

And I’d forgotten this race against Democrat Oberstar and former Senator Nolan. I actually got on Almanac North with my rivals that time. I’ve been thinking that running against Pete Stauber in the GOP primary last year was my third “run” for Congress. In fact, it was my fourth although all I did was spend 300 bucks to put my name on the ballot against a Trumplican. If, however, I were to do it one more time I think I’d put a lot more oompf into my campaign. But I may also have a school board race in me too. Helping choose a new Duluth Superintendent offers a powerful temptation. We can do better.

I’ve always described myself as a Don Quixote with my long string of electoral losses. That fourth time I ran and finaly won an election my daughter was asked at my campaign party how she felt. She explained that for once she wouldn’t feel like putting a paper bag on her head at school the next day.

That was in 1995 my 7th attempt at public office. I long ago got over the fear of losing an election. That fear is what has turned so many Republican politicians into zombies flushing Abe Lincoln down Donald Trump’s golden commode. Someone should send them all JFK’s book Profiles in Courage.

I read it in Junior High and it made a powerful impression on me. It reminds me of my take on a The Emperor’s New Clothes which I published in the Reader 17 years ago this month: The King is Naked.

I hope my version doesn’t prove prophetic:

Eudora’s latest – Family Heirlooms

It begins:

“I spent last night polishing a family heirloom to send to my son. It’s was set aside for him years ago before college. Back then it wasn’t the sort of artifact he had any use for. It still isn’t. But one hundred and forty-five years ago, filled with ice chopped from a frozen Smokey Hill River, it kept the Robb family’s butter cold on the supper table.”

Read it all on the Duluth Reader website.

Duolingo and learning lingo at an advanced age

I just spent some time reading a discussion site on my Duolingo ap. One person about my age had expressed frustration with how slow going it was to learn French at 67. She asked if there were other older learners who could give her tips. I just had to add my two cents. For anyone contemplating such an activity this is what I told Dranke (probably not her real name)

Good luck Dranke,

We are the same age and I started from scratch learning French on Duolingo 16 months ago just before my 67th birthday. I’ve had two streaks – 194 days when I quit because I had just begun a month long tour of France. 30 days later I started a 208 and continuing streak. I’ll have more to say after I share this link from yesterday’s New York Times about the limits of online language learning from someone who just passed a 500 day streak:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/04/smarter-living/500-days-of-duolingo-what-you-can-and-cant-learn-from-a-language-app.html?searchResultPosition=3

I don’t know if that will be an active link when I push post but if not just copy it and paste it into your browser.

The story is spot on but more dismissive of learning Duolingo than I am. I am not someone who simply redoes easy lessons to add points or win lingots or worry about owls. Everyday I try to cram new information in my head. I have put close to 2 hours a day memorizing…..as the article says….the vocabulary and the grammar. Nine months didn’t come close to preparing me for speaking in France. Neither has the subsequent seven months. But I am improving. I have started listening to cartoons in French, Peppa the Pig and Zazou the Zebra. Movies are too hard to follow so far.

I’ve considered similar immersion programs in Quebec. I’ve also considered spending a month in a rural part of France where there will be fewer English speaking residents to hamper my practice. Continue reading

Colbert on Trump………..again

I don’t watch the late night hosts mock President Trump very often anymore. They were a comfort to me for the first year of the Trump Presidency but I eventually decided that going to bed early was better for my mental health. But occasionally some of them are sent my way and this is another one that is right on target:

Jesus and Washington, lone wolves vs herds

This is a thought I may pursue before the day is out after I attend to some mundane chores. Otherwise I might just delete this post like a dandelion seed about to be blown to oblivion.

ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT! FOR WHAT ITS WORTH:

For an American George Washington is the first citizen of the land. He is the nation’s Father and Founder above all others. For Christians the same must be said of Jesus. George W. Bush was once roundly ridiculed when asked who his favorite “philosopher” was for answering, “Jesus.” That in a nutshell demonstrates the challenge of dual loyalties. By so honoring the founder of Christianity, even if thinking of him as a philosopher was a stretch, Bush offended the same crowd that Hillary Clinton may have had in mind when she called Trump folks “deplorables” and handed the Presidency to him. Continue reading

How a lot of us feel

I am in awe of what sculptors can do with sand. I was asked to give it a try in Two Harbors thirty years ago at their Kayak festival and that was enough for me.

I also know that I’m not that dedicated a snow sculptor especially in terms of technique. Weather plays a role as well. I’ve done a number of presidents over the years. I’ve done Lincoln twice. The second time I did I too used the famous sculpture of him seated in the Lincoln memorial. It was a warm day and my sculpture wasn’t huge and sun defying. One fellow at church afterward told me he just didn’t think my sculpture was as good as others I’d made and that it didn’t look like Lincoln. Well the head was only a foot wide not six feet wide and he saw it the next day which was in the mid thirties and sunny.

I later used its picture as one of my 50 “trading card” pack for my 2017 school board campaign. You will note the sculpture was built near Lincoln’s birthday in 2006. That was the same time as the birth of this blog when I ran for Congress as the sole member of the “Unity” party.