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Ever had anything stolen?

November 29, 2017

If you’re a blogger or artist reading this I’m curious if you’ve ever had any of your online stolen and posted on another website and if so I’m wondering what you did about it and if you ever used the Google Copyright Removal tool I linked to below.

A website took a story I posted here on 11/16/17 and  changed it up a little and put it up on their website. I couldn’t find any contact information on the site other than a link for “admin” but clicking on that only took me to a listing of all the articles posted on the site. I added a comment to the post thanking them for sharing one of my stories and asking them to change the story back to it’s original form/content and to provide a link back to my blog or, if that wasn’t possible, to maybe just remove the story. That was on 11/20/17 and nine days later my comment is still showing as, “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” So now I’m kind of stumped as to what to do. Any suggestions or advice?

Google Copyright Removal Tool





November 20, 2017

I felt a little strange when I learned this morning that Charles Manson had died. It’s not like I was a fan of his or anything, or thought him anything less than insane, but Charles Manson has been a part of pop culture since I was something like 12 or 13 and for lack of a better word, he was fascinating. Nowadays cults and violence and mass murder seem to be the norm and things that we think about for a day or two before going back to our lives, but back in 1968 (Vietnam notwithstanding), it wasn’t that way. At least not to my young eyes. 1968 was crushes on girls I’d never talk to, trumpet lessons, Mod Squad and Land of the Giants and the F.B.I. and Gomer Pyle. And when Charles Manson made the news it was like a real live monster in the living room.

So I won’t really miss Charles Manson but the thought that he was dead was just odd.


Yucky Baked Potato

November 20, 2017

I made a baked potato last night. It was one of the regular brown russet potatoes and when I cut it open and got ready to drizzle a little ketchup on it and I found this big, ugly, black crusty-looking thing in the middle. It looked to me like an unborn twin potato, or like an alien that had burrowed in there under cover of night and died before it could fully mutate into something resembling a potato with the goal of infesting every other potato on the planet and it was kind… I take that back, it was really nauseating to look at.

So I threw the potato away and silently mourned the loss of the bulk of my dinner. After I had recovered from that trauma I went to the Idaho potato website and I asked Dr. Potato what the heck that monstrous looking thing was and I learned that my yucky potato had what’s called “Hollow Heart”. Despite the fact I’ve never seen it before, it’s apparently a common problem with potatoes and it has something to do with slow and fast growth alternating during the growing months after the potato has been planted. Makes no sense to me but who am I to doubt the good doctor. The doctor went on to reassure me that it’s not a disease and that the yucky part can be cut out and the rest of the potato eaten.

Good chance of that ever happening in my house.

For all I know, Dr. Potato is covering for the aliens that are trying to take over Earth’s potatoes.

Dear Doctor Potato: while I thank you for reassuring me, there’s no way I’m going to eat a potato with “Hollow Heart” in it!

(Does all this talk of ‘potato’ and ‘potatoes’ make anyone else remember Dan “Potatoe” Quayle?)

Hollow heart. Hopefully my potato ordeal wasn’t an omen of some sort and trying to tell me something.

Alas, affairs of the heart. Hollow heart 😦

Hollow heart 😦


Day 16: Pizza Delivery

November 16, 2017

Day 16: Write a story involving money

Pizza Delivery (512 words)

I met Jane when she was delivering pizza for Gustino’s. It seemed that every time I ordered pizza she was handling deliveries that night. With familiarity came conversation and with conversation came an eventual date. Jane’s good looking, I’m not so good looking, so when we were waiting in the lobby of the Heights Theater for the 6:00 p.m. revival showing of Casablanca to let out I asked her what it was that made her agree to date me.

“You give good tips,” she said.

I thought it was a strange answer and I didn’t totally believe it, because, I mean, look at her: Jane’s good looking, did I tell you that already? And my experience is that women who look like Jane, who, if I haven’t already mentioned it, is pretty good looking, don’t seem to ever be interested in shlubs like me, but I nodded and smiled. Jane smiled back and maybe sensing that I didn’t totally buy her answer said, “And people who are generous to strangers, that’s a rare trait. And I like it.”

And that’s when I defied my pounding heart and that little persistent little voice in the front of my head and reached out and took her hand. When she squeezed my hand and smiled that little voice melted into the background.

We hit it off and started seeing each other regularly and after six weeks we decided to make our relationship exclusive which was more than cool with me. Sitting on the couch one Friday night watching Robert Mitchum in Out of the Past, we were chatting and sharing secrets and right after Mitchum fought Steve Brodie after Brodie tried blackmailing Mitchum and calling his girlfriend a “cheap piece of trash”, Jane told me about a fantasy of hers.

“You really want to hear it?”

“Yeah, I do.”

“It’s a little embarrassing, but OK. I think about delivering pizza to a house where a guy answers the door to accept the pizza wearing only a towel.”

Jane started laughing to cover up her embarrassment and I suggested that Sunday afternoon we make her pizza delivery fantasy a reality. “How so?” she asked and I told her that I’d call Gustino’s at 4:00 and order a pizza and when she delivered it I’d be Towel Boy.

Sunday comes and at 4:00 I make the call. I get undressed and wrap a towel around myself and sit back on the couch and wait. At 4:27 the doorbell rings – I’ll be damned if they ever go past that ’30 minutes or free’ time limit – and I stand up from the couch and walk to the door. As I’m reaching for the door I decide to give Jane a surprise that goes beyond our role playing so I pulled the towel off and let it fall to the floor and I took the last three steps to the door naked. I reached out and grabbed the handle and with a smile on my face I opened the door.

“Hi babe is that my… Mom? MOM!”

– End

What is FlashNano: “Created by Nancy Stohlman in 2012 in solidarity with NaNoWriMo. FlashNano is in its 6th year!” Click HERE to learn more.

(Please pardon any typos or grammatical errors. My goal at this point is to just get the story down. I can worry about fine-tuning and editing later if I want. Thanks for reading!)



Take all the holy books and…

November 13, 2017

Take all the holy books in the world and put them aside for a moment and look at this poem, or gatha, from Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh –

Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment.

Twenty-two words; aren’t they beautiful?

Close your eyes and repeat the poem a few times silently as you breath. Or if you haven’t memorized it just recite it a few times.

It feels good, doesn’t it?

I wonder if we all said this a few times a day and got into the habit of showing this type of reverence toward ourselves if it wouldn’t spread out from us in some way to bring calm and smiles and wonder to others around us?

Do we need anything else?


November 9, 2017

Day 9: Write a story in the form of a press release

(135 words)


Blizzard rocks state amid celebrations

Armistice Day destruction

Minnesota, November 13, 1940

Spring-like temperatures in the 60’s covered much of Minnesota on November 11th and residents, eager to take advantage of the unseasonable weather, flocked to enjoy outdoor activities. Hunters took to the rivers for what promised to be a relaxing day of duck hunting, families headed for local lakes and parks for one more family outing and other traveled downtown for a day of shopping.

The area forecast was for colder temperatures and light flurries to move in later in the day but no one was prepared for the extreme change as temperatures fell and rain quickly turned to sleet and snow.

At this time we can report hundreds of Minnesotans stranded and at least seven deaths due to the storm.

– End

What is FlashNano: “Created by Nancy Stohlman in 2012 in solidarity with NaNoWriMo. FlashNano is in its 6th year!” Click HERE to learn more.

(Please pardon any typos or grammatical errors. My goal at this point is to just get the story down. I can worry about fine-tuning and editing later if I want. Thanks for reading!)

But Don’t You Miss the Taste of Meat?

October 10, 2017

I like food and when I eat I try and follow a compassionate diet. What that means for me is a plant-based diet that causes no harm to animals and doesn’t involve the exploitation of animals and doesn’t cause any harm to the planet. Oh yeah, and selfishly I suppose you could say, a diet that’s also the most beneficial to my health. Call it what you’d like: vegetarianism, veganism or Whole Food/Plant Based; I call it simply trying to eat and live mindfully.

For me, eating a whole food/plant based diet for health at this point in my life is a no-brainer, and while I have a lot of love for vegans (sorry vegetarians, but between ‘ovo’ and ‘lacto’ and ‘ovo-lacto’, you don’t make a lot of sense to me so my love meter for you falls a little lower and lands in the “bunch of respect” category ) the focus on animal welfare and harm makes the vegan diet a little difficult for me. Not because I want to eat animals, but because the attitude of some individual vegans is off-putting and that makes the overall lifestyle unappealing to me.

And also – and this is sad – animals, in one form or another, are (again, sadly), involved in pretty much everything in our lives. Because of that, I wonder if it’s not almost impossible to live a truly ‘vegan’ life.

I don’t defend or necessarily condone any of what follows, but . . .

There are animal parts in house paint (casein). So do I live in a home with unpainted walls?

I have an old hammer in a drawer that I use to pound nails into the wall to hang photos and I think the handle might be leather. So I can get rid of the hammer and replace it with a rubble-handled hammer, but rubber also contains animal ingredients (stearic acid).

Forget about the rubber tires on my car, how about the asphalt I’m driving those rubber tires on (glycerin)? So do I stop driving and walk everywhere, careful to avoid stepping on asphalt and walking on grass only?

If I do that – walk on grass only – I’d better make sure what type of fertilizer was used on that grass because . . .  yes, animal parts (bone meal, manure).

And speaking of driving: I can’t drive my car in the summer without bugs and insects smashing up against the windshield and the front grill so by driving am I inadvertently putting insects and bugs in danger and harming them when I drive to the grocery store to buy vegetables and fruit and other non-animal food products to eat?

Vaccines, what do I do, just say no? (I have no real idea what’s in a vaccine but I’ve read a lot of nauseating things about fat and milk and blood and bone and brain and muscle being used at one point or another in the process)

It goes on and on:

Plastic bags (animal fat)?
Condoms (casein and glycerin)?
Fireworks (stearic acid)?
Computers (stearic acid)?
Wine (casein, gelatin, isinglass)?
Beer (gelatin, isinglass, glycerol)?
Red-colored applesauce and lollipops (carmine or carminic acid)? Some bagels and bread (L-cysteine)?
The Minnesota Orchestra (and by extension all Classical music because of the catgut for stringed instruments and glue to hold the wood of those instruments together)?


The summer of 2017 has been tenacious here in Minnesota and the other day I took a beautiful walk through the Westwood Hills Nature Center (if you’re ever in town check it out, and if you let me know I’ll try and meet you there) and while I was enjoying the trees and the grass and the water and the wildflowers and the breeze, a bug flew into my mouth and my immediate instinct was to cough and then I involuntarily swallowed and it all happened so fast I had no idea what was going on until the bug was on his way down into the gloomy acid-filled pit of my belly. So do I need to stop outdoor walking?

Yes, I’m using very extreme examples here and I understand that my examples might be every bit as absurd as saying that the bible tells us not to kill, but when we wash our hands we’re killing bacteria so as hand-washers concerned with sanitation and personal hygiene we’re guilty of murder. And I know that by the definition provided to us by the Vegan Society, veganism is living – as far as possible and practicable – a life that limits anything that would exploit or cause cruelty to animals for any reason, and I know that sometimes in life there are things that are simply out of our control. But the point I’m trying to make – and I took a long and windy way to get here but if you go back to the second sentence of the second paragraph you’ll see what got me started on this – is that no one is perfect and I think that life would be a lot simpler if people stopped believing they were perfect and other people weren’t.

Wow, man, how’d you get from there to here and who’s talking about being perfect and criticizing others for not being perfect?

Well, I’ll tell you.

I read different message boards looking for food and cooking tips, as well as recipes, and I see a lot of compassionate and humane people criticizing other compassionate and humane people for no real reason except to, I can only assume, make themselves feel better. I see vegans criticizing vegetarians for being hypocrites and vegans insulting other vegans for not doing enough or for not being compassionate enough, or in the case of one message I read, a person was criticized for not being “vegan enough”. What does that even mean? I never comment to anything on these boards because what’s the point, but after reading enough of those messages and absorbing enough of that anger and hostility I start to wonder what the point of it all is.

Someone lives a vegan lifestyle because they don’t want to bring harm to animals and yet they can bring harm to another animal online by shaming them. It doesn’t make any sense to me.

What does make sense to me is to live simply and to live mindfully.

Thanks for reading and now go live as the best being you can think to be. And if you have a recipe you’d like to share, please do. Or if you want to know where I get my protein, feel free to ask!

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