Odds and Ends

A few notes.

First, my ebook project Ice Cream Follies has been delayed by a year. I think it will be ready in 2017 (fingers crossed). Sometimes life has a habit of getting in the way of creative writing projects. It happens.

Interestingly, the challenges of doing my own creative writing assignments turned out to be greater than I imagined. The mature writer tends to want to write novellas about everything — it’s hard to limit yourself to a page or two. I have been working on other story collections. I hope to have a serious fiction collection out within the year.

Two other book projects that have interested me.

First, my ebook publishing  company  published a short story collection about the Civil War. I ended up learning about a lot of Young Adult fiction about the 19th century and the Civil War.  I created an online bibliography of Civil War fiction for young adults here.  You can download the Oliver Optic ebooks here and the Joseph A. Altsheler novels here.

Second, I recently learned that my favorite story book  (titled Golden Phoenix)  as a child fell out of copyright. It’s very likely that I will republish the ebook and give it away for free. The original book looked terrific; I’ll try to do justice to it in the ebook version. Look for it in 2017.


Project Gutenberg has a lot of free ebooks  for kids from last century.  It can be hard to figure out what (if anything) is worth reading. If you want, you can browse the kids’ titles here. Please don’t be put off by the “children” label. Many fine works were written specifically for kids — as well as a lot of garbage.

Third, I happily re-read the classic math fairy tale Flatland (which you can download for free here).  I was excited to see that there is an animated movie version of the book  (in fact, there are two different movies which came out at about the same time).  The better version (which is 90 minutes long) is free on youtube.

Speaking of great movies on Netflix, the obscure 1932 Japanese silent film “I was Born But” is free on youtube. Ozu is considered one of the greatest directors of all time (especially for his movie, “Tokyo Story.” “I was born but” is an entertaining kid’s flick about two brothers who move to a new town and all their crazy adventures. As joyful as the film is, it is also sad because many of these kids later grew up to fight (and die) in World War 2. This is a perfectly innocent and wonderful movie.

Speaking of fun things to watch, here’s a classic 1950 episode of this early American TV comedy, the Ed Wynn show. I laughed my head off. (Also, it features a singer I love Helen Forrest).

Here’s a bit of doggerel (nonsense rhyme) poem I composed recently — with the aid of several online rhyming dictionaries):

Only Chumps with a Rump vote for Trump.
He will pump this country into a slump.
Don’t make me a grump.
Don’t be a lump.
If you thump for Trump,
You might as well jump into a dump!

Let’s get over this mad callithump
and dump this Trump.
He’s no Forrest Gump.
He’s just a mean-spirited clump
of hypocrisy and plump
who will gladly gazump
any voters not paying attention.
We don’t need a chump to pump
our brains with harrumps.
Let’s not flump into a sump of disdain
Or treat every non-beauty-queen as a frump
Or be the guy who’s always yelling at the ump.
A little bit of determination
is all one needs to get over this hump called Trump.
Decades later, books will recall the time
that democracy survived a slight bump
and the towering tree of haughtiness
was quickly leveled to a stump.

Here’s a lost masterpiece by  Alfred Hitchcock as a TV show. It’s a good example of how you can create suspense with little or no action onscreen.

Here’s a person who wrote a book of imaginary text messages from his dog.

I won’t make it a point to post here often — maybe once or twice a year — if only to mention the progress of the Ice Cream Follies ebook. You can check my regular blog for the latest on what I have been doing.  I also post daily on my Google Plus account.

As a finale, here are 4 great songs and music videos about topically relevant things.

Subway Art — a sad poetic song. “Lonely People are subway art.”

Hope Dies — a downer/rap song starring Austin pop singer Patricia Lynn. I love it when rap songs express complex messages and don’t simply use a lot of cuss words.

Heads Down by More or Les. A social protest song against cell phones. All right!

Examination of What by Digable Planets. Here’s a wacky early rap song with really clever lyrics (no video, sorry). Love the refrain… “We’re just babies…just babies, man.” (Oops, I just listened to it again — and heard an F-bomb. I’m de-linking to it though the song is really good).

A Math Puzzle:  “There are 100 bags each with 100 coins, but only one of these bags has gold coins in it. The gold coin has weight of 1.01 grams and the other coins has weight of 1 gram. We are given a digital scale, but we can only use it once. How can we identify the bag of gold coins?” (This is based on a puzzle mentioned in an old Columbo TV episode. It’s a good one — and fortunately it’s not too hard — though you may have to think a while). Please don’t post the answer. It’s easy to google though. Check question #14 here http://www.columbo-site.freeuk.com/faq.htm

Roberto, signing off — have a good summer!




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