Category Archives: Books

Bookin it – Yeah, so I lied about not posting

I regretted my promise even as I was making it. I stewed about it and came up with a compromise with myself. I’ll post after 10pm if I’ve been good. I have been attending to the book despite its having been a weekend with my grandchildren. I put three pages together on Saturday and 2 pages together today thereby finishing a rough draft for Chapter 1. I’m very pleased with it. I hope to have Chapter two whipped into good shape by Wednesday since I don’t have any planned tasks to work on. I begin it with six pages already completed and all my notes on the subject matter fully organized for quick review.

I’m debating posting bookin it posts with samples of text. Let me know what you think with an email: harrywelty@charter.net.

My book begins and bon voyage

I just wrote that I’d gotten so distracted that I’d forgotten how I started my book three weeks ago. At the time, I was hell bent for leather to crank the whole first chapter out but life got in the way. Yesterday I finally had a chance to resume but I was suffering from fear of getting started again because the thread had broken off after I set the book aside. Well, late in the day I read what I’d left off with and was very pleased.

As a last post until I’ve got at least 75 more pages done I’ll show you what I cranked out three weeks ago. It will get better. Here’s the usual caveat.

Chapter 1 October, 19, 1977

“I never had so much as a freaking speeding ticket.” Don Boyd

On Thursday Don Boyd would be one million dollars richer. He would ink the deal with his old employer Reserve Mining to sell them the rock and gravel they would require to put an end to a long running environmental controversy. Continue reading

A Meditation

I went to bed wide awake and that never works. As I lay too caffeinated to sleep it occurred to me what I had to do. I had to stop blogging for a bit to work exclusively on my book. I regard writing it as far more important than blogging or running for Congress. Readers will recall that I joked some weeks ago that my running for Congress might only be a means of hawking my book. The truth is it is a means to hawk my book. However it is not “only” a means to hawk my book.

The fact of the matter is that I’ve wanted to be in Congress for most of my adult lifetime. That ambition has paled in recent years. I’m 61. I’ve planned a writing career for myself late in life. My grandsons and children are close by. Congress is a snake-pit of vanity and money raising. Who needs that?……. Apparently I do. Or at least I need the chase.

But the chase and the blogging are interfering with my book writing at the moment. Three weeks ago I had an epiphany. After a dozen false starts I realized just how to begin my book. I dashed out the first two and a half pages and then got mired in distractions. Ten days with the grandsons I love. First a mini vacation followed by a week of sick days followed by a Leap Day blizzard and snowdays off of daycare with them. That was followed by my rushing around for another five days shoveling snow and building the one shot I would have this winter at a snow sculpture. I’ve done at least one every year for a quarter century thanks to my daughter getting me started when she was starting first grade. Besides, the sculpture would be a fun ironic statement about my lot in life. Don Quixote the man who tilts at windmills was me – Harry Welty perennial candidate.

Then I needed a week to figure out my website software and time to buy a domain name and set up an at least rudimentary website. As I did all this the epiphany grew dim. I even forgot what I’d written.

To top it off I felt a pang of guilt about not attending to the writing. I mentioned a few days ago that I finally had that conversation with my wife and suggested it would be worthy of a post. I’ll make it very brief. Claudia is not impressed with my stab at a Congressional run. As she told me I’ve never heeded her advice before to resist running for office. That’s true. I guess its my one vice and I’m too selfish not to run no matter how much it disrupts our life. I was cursed with a spouse who hates politics but blessed with one who has made the best of my obsession.

It was her comment to me about my betraying a friends trust that was harder to take. The friend, Don Boyd, is the subject of my book. He’s had a tough bout of illness recently. He’s in his eighties. I’ve told him several times in recent years that I couldn’t guarantee that I’d finish the book about him before he moved on to his great reward. He’s seen me plunge into several politial forays over the six years I’ve fussed with his book and each foray distracted me from the book. I don’t owe him anything. But the story about him is just damn interesting. He was screwed royally by a lot of powerful people and I don’t want to be the last one to let him down.

I’m going to abandon the blog for a while to get the book written or at least started but not just for my friend. I really think his story is so fascinating that I can used it to pay for a serious congressional campaign. As this page in my campaign website points out I first conceived the idea of using the proceeds from selling a book for political purposes twenty years ago. Book sales seem clean and the idea of grubbing for donations really sticks in my craw. I’m not quite ready to become a political prostitute.

There is no reason that I have to keep blogging to keep interest in my campaign going. There are only a couple thousand folks visiting every month. If I start selling a completed book or one that is close to completion I’ll be able to build a campaign around it. By itself my blog isn’t that compelling. As I lay in bed the old phrase from our Revolutionary War kept drumming in my head, “Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes.” Well the whites of the other congressional candidate’s eyes won’t really be visible until about a month out from the primary election in September. That gives me March through July to crank out 300 pages. Hopefully it will be even less although I’m sure I could fill twice that many pages easily.

I sort of expect that I may find out tomorrow that I just set a record for the number of people who visited my site in a day. I really hate going on vacation when sales are up but I need that book. My friend needs that book. My campaign needs that book.

Waiting for my website

I missed two appointments to donate my usual pint of blood this morning. I slept through the 7:50 appointment because after waking up and working on the new website at 3am I was taking a nap. I missed the rescheduled blood draw at 10:20 because I was working furiously on additional changes to the site. They finally told me to just walk in around noon. They gave me a green bandage for my arm in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

My website is ugly and wordy and has lousy linkages between pages. Its got far more links to various things I’ve written than the typical voter would want to traipse through. Oh well, I’ll announce when my web provider finally points the URL www.welty4congress.com to the correct site. After that I’ll only do little touch ups and add a donations page after I’ve got a good 75 pages to my book written. From now on until I make it through most of the book I’ll give my best hours each day to the book. The blog will be composed in the secondary hours of the day. At least that’s my plan.

I’ll try to get a word search in every day at least. It’ll be pretty boring but as I get further along in my book I’ll post more passages in “bookin it” posts.

Would like to be bookin it

I’ve spent hours this week putting together chronologies. I just have two books left to finish for this project. I skimmed Solberg’s bio on Triple H. I’ve already poured through it twice before. The other covers a great void in Minnesota political literature – the Republican side. this one is a treasure. I’ve read through it twice before and to believe a Republican can be so funny.

All these books, fifty so far, (I found two more yesterday) mostly serve as a launching pad for the story I really want to tell. I’ve offered up snippets and there will be more.

My wife is a little appalled at the time I spend on this but I feel guilty that I’m only getting started……that is if you consider the six previous years only preparation. Joe McGinnis cranked out his book on Sarah Palin in amazingly short order. I’ll bet it was a lot less complicated than my book. Everyone in Wassila, Alaska seems to have wanted to talk to him so long as it was off the record. Not so with my book and lots of the witnesses are no longer Earth bound. Continue reading

Bookin it 14

Today has been consumed with preparing for and meeting with and emailing lawyers following a sleepless night with fidgety grandchildren in my bed. I never found the time to sit down and compose. I did however begin typing up a Bibliography. Its supposed to be laid out alphabetically by author and coincidentally only a few of the source books have author names at the beginning of the alphabet. Here’s my start.

I’ve been looking through a couple of writing form books to get the proper layout of information. Turabian advised me to separate information with periods unlike in footnotes which use commas. Go Figure.

I have a feeling a lot of changes have been made in the 30 years since my writing manuals were first published. It will be interesting to see how one Internet Source of mine should be laid out. Good thing I printed it all out a few years ago lest someone remove it from the Net. I tried to talk the author’s widow into letting me talk the Minnesota Historical Society into publishing the work. Its as funny as Klobuchar if not funnier. Too bad the author loved Rush Limbaugh and that I encouraged his family to read my blog…….

The Bibliography’s beginning:

Berman, Edgar, MD..Hubert The Triumph and Tragedy of The Humphrey I knew. New York. G.P. Putman’s Sons. 1979
Berman, Michael S. Living Large A Big Man’s Ideas on Weight, Success and Acceptance. USA. Rodale Inc. 2006
Gieske, Millard L. Minnesota Farmer-Laborism The Third-Party Alternative. Minneapolis. University of Minnesota Press. 1979
Haynes, Haynes Earl. Dubious Alliance The Making of Minnesota’s DFL Party. Minneapolis. University of Minnesota Press. 1984
Hudelson, Richard & Ross, Carl. By the Ore Docks a Working People’s History of Duluth. Minneapolis. University of Minnesota Press. 2006
Klobuchar, Jim. Eight Miles Without a Pothole as close to heaven as I’m going to get. Minneapolis. Voyageur Press. 1977-1986
Klobuchar, Jim. Minstrel My Adventure in Newspapering. Minneapolis. University of Minnesota Press. 1997

There are roughly another 30 works. Thank God I don’t have to include news stories. They’ll only be endnotes/footnotes/sourcenotes or whatever they are called today.

Picture here (before I got them organized}

Origins of self delusion

My Buddy sent me this interesting article from the New York Sunday Book Review. If its a warning to me I appreciate getting it.

Fooling others yields obvious benefits, but why do we so often fool ourselves? Trivers provides a couple of answers. First, believing that we’re smarter, sexier and more righteous than we really are — or than others consider us to be — can help us seduce and persuade others and even improve our health, via the placebo effect, for example. And the more we believe our own lies, the more sincerely, and hence effectively, we can lie to others. “We hide reality from our conscious minds the better to hide it from onlookers,” Trivers explains. But our illusions can have devastating consequences, from the dissolution of a marriage to stock-market collapses and world wars.

Oh yeah, about that Congressional run

I think I’ve said before that this Book writing of mine may not just be book writing. It may serve as the beginning of a campaign for Congress. I suppose rather than look too much like Herman “buy my book” Cain I ought to mix it up a bit with the potential candidates I could face in a primary.

I haven’t put much thought into the other candidates but I do know a bit about one potentially formidable challenger so I’ll play a little offense to keep all the others on their guard. Their turn could come next.

The fellow I know sits on the Duluth City Council. He’s been there for some years and I swear I have no strong impression of anything he’s done on the council. That’s not a big deal. Tons of Congressmen don’t get a chance to do anything of consequence until they’ve served for a decade or longer. That’s a lot longer than Rick Nolan served. But this salvo is directed at Duluth City Councilor Jeff Anderson not Rick.

Jeff was paralyzed when facing an issue he chose to believe was not part of his “turf.” It was something I knew would affect all of Duluth even if it was the School District’s mess. In 2006 the school board hogged $450 million precious tax dollars to rebuild most of its schools. It did it without a very compelling case that such a massive project was necessary. It did this without asking for the voter’s approval. Very few City Councilors could muster the courage to criticize something that both the Chamber of Commerce and the local Unions had endorsed. Jeff Anderson sure couldn’t.

I did. I was early. I didn’t give up. I raised hell. I was right and today the School District has lost the trust of the citizens of Duluth who Jeff represents. As a result of taking five million classroom dollars each year to pay off building bonds for a plan that keeps leaping past its promised cost the school district will be faced with draconian cuts on top of draconion cuts already in force.

As a City Councilor Jeff Anderson saw first hand the unwillingness of the School administration to treat with them honestly and today the City Council is faced with unpleasant facts like the District’s failure to account for the logistics of parking students attending a huge new school in a residential neighborhood.

If cowardice and biting one’s fingernails is what the voters of northern Minnesota want for their new Congressman they will surely get such a representative in Jeff Anderson.

If they want someone brave enough to speak out and smart enough to call a train wreck long before impact… Well, I have another candidate in mind for them. Oh yeah, he’s busy writing a book.

Ending a drought

I’ve just added a new book to my personal reading list. Its a wonderful book that I found in Alice Springs in bookstore devoted to Aboriginal Australians. The book The Original Australians by Josephine Flood is the best single treatment of the subject ever written. That’s my guess anyway.

Fighting the Red Plan for three years was so all consuming I didn’t read a single book from cover to cover for two years. I’m so over that.

2010

Sunburnt Country…………………………………. Bill Bryson
Thunderbolt Kid ……………………………………….Bill Bryson
Lincoln, The biography of a writer ………………… Fred Kaplan
1776…………………………………………………………David McCullough
The Diary of Anne Frank (Definitive edition)……… Anne Frank
Nature’s Building Blocks A-Z guide to Elements……. John Emsley
In Tasmania …………………………………………… Nicholas Shakespeare
The Fatal Shore……………………………………….. Robert Hughes

2011

Searching for Aboriginal Languages………………. R.M.W. Dixon
A History of New Zealand …………………………. Keith Sinclair
Carnivorous Nights (Trail of Taz Tiger)…………….Mittelbach & Crewdson
New Zealand Wildlife BRADT……………………….. Julian Fitter
Australian Wildlife BRADT …………………………..Stella Martin
The Last of the Nomads……………………………. W J Peasley
The Original Australians……………………………. Josephine Flood

My Reading List

In 1999 after timidly following my daughter into AOL Chat rooms I began exploring the Internet. I was soon building my own website www.snowbizz.com now largely neglected and mutilated. I transferred most of my energies into a fight for my right to vote which led me to create and work on other websites and this blog. I also abandoned book reading for better than two years. Last year I tried to do a little catching up. Here is the list of books I read (or that I can recall reading) last year:

2010

Sunburnt Country by Bill Bryson
Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson
Lincoln, The biography of a writer by Fred Kaplan
1776 by David McCullough
The Diary of Anne Frank (Definitive edition) by Anne Frank
Nature’s Building Blocks A-Z guide to Elements by
John Emsley
In Tasmania by Nicholas Shakespeare
The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes

I just added one to the list that I’d forgotten until this morning and posted it on one of the webpages for my original website – “My Reading List.” I’m just learning to master some new software that has made working on my old websites a bear. I may yet get back into the groove again. There are some things this blog just isn’t good at communicating.

Old Chestnuts

My posts have been few and far between recently. Its not for want of topics but rather my inclination to practice grandfathering and read books again.

My eight loyal readers know that I’ve been reading the recently published full diary of Anne Frank out loud to my wife this summer. (I obviously haven’t read it every night or we would have finished it long ago)

Keeping Anne on my mind has been an antidote to too much self absorption. A couple days ago there was a news story about the chestnut tree that Anne could see from her hiding place falling over. By coincidence that night when I resumed reading the first diary entry I read mentioned the chestnut.

Anne hasn’t been far from my thoughts. Last week NPR had a story about Adolph Hitler’s signature being found on the Nuremberg laws which made Jews second class German Citizens and which were a precursor to the Holocaust.

Also a short time ago I ran across a Christian rock music video which was a peaen to Anne Frank that brought me to tears with a succession of photos of Anne and her family.

Last night I finally finished the diary and finally ran across Anne’s famous quote about still having faith in humanity despite everything. She was just a year younger than my Mother.