Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The fragility of the U.S. economy scares me!

I am truly worried about the next couple of years' U.S. economy. I watched The Bill Maher Show on HBO Friday night, and two U.S. Representatives said on national TV that most Americans do not realize just how close to national bankrupty our national economy is, that it is very "fragile" at present. I also read that several of our country's largest financial institutions/banks were insolvent, according to the NY Times. They will either have to declare bankrupty or be nationalized by the federal government. Then just today I read where Citibank is trying to negotiate for the federal government to become 40 % owners. Wall Street investors are bailing out of the market, according to the headlines, causing it to fall to its lowest point since 1997. The government acts like they are surprised that investors have not responded better to the recent bailout. Well, from what I read and have heard on 60 Minutes, the bankers do not even know for certain just how big a deficit/loss is involved with the big banks because no regulation means they never have had to report their exact deficit figures to any government agency and even the banks have no clear idea of the total figure. Some estimates are upwards of forty to fifty trillion $$. Insiders have no confidence that the bailouts can save many institutions because $1+ trillion from the government to these banks is a mere drop in their deficit bucket, and the government cannot possibly afford to give them 40 trillion $$$. Plus there will still be hundreds of thousands of jobs lost in the coming year, maybe more if several national banks and the Big-3 car manufacturers go bankrupt. Then there is still the housing crisis, with millions of foreclosures impending. Plus the health care costs for those now unemployed and uninsured. On and on, the economic picture for 2009 is dismal at best. And what if China and other foreign countries that have been allowed to buy up America suddenly demand payment on all the loans given to U.S. companies, etc. The U.S. dollar would become virtually worthless in international trading. Heaven help the U.S.A.! I don't think the average American has yet realized how dire the current economic crisis truly is.

I will quite interested to see what President Obama has to say in his national TV address tonight. I hope he tells it like it is.

The Republican rebuttal will be given by Piyush Jindal, who calls himself "Bobby", the current governor of Louisiana. Jindal is so busy running for President in 2012 that he seems to be out of state more than in-state. He is the Republican heir-apparent, so designated by the true Republican Party leader Rush Limbaugh, that ex-druggy hypocrit. Jindal is pure ambition; he will do or say anything the party leaders want him to since he is trying so hard to win the presidential nomination. Watch his mouth move with the Republican leaderships' hands up his back.

I truly do not understand the Republican Party. First Bush ruins the economy and has the first huge multi-billion $$$ bailout for the bankers, who then turn around and give billions of $$ in bonuses to bank company executives, remodel offices, take lavish trips, etc. since no accounting or regulations were included on how the money must be spent. Bush's bailout was certainly the first step toward nationalizing the banks and toward going down the road to socialism. But now, the Republicans are acting like they did not cause this economic disaster but somehow it belongs solely to Obama and the Democrats. What short and selective memories these Republicans have! Rather than try to help save millions of jobs, prevent home foreclosures, and rebuild America's failing infrastructure with the Obama bailout, all the Republicans in Congress save three Representatives from the Northeastern states voted NO, trying to block it. I guess it is okay with Republicans to bail out bank executives but to hell with working people across America. A good Republican should be rich enough not to need government help, I guess...unless he is a multi-millionaire banker. The Rupublican Party cares not one whit about this great country of ours. All they care about is hoping Obama's efforts fail so they will have a stronger campaign issue come the 2010 Congressional elections and then the 2012 Presidentail election. They are willing for America to suffer, maybe collapse economically, just so they can get returned to power. All I have to say is "Shame on the Republican Party!" I hope most Americans see them and what they are doing for what it is. They spit on Obama's gallant efforts at bi-partisanship. They are willing to spit on the American working class. Wake up, America! Don't let those..uh, gentlemen, get away with turning their backs on bailing out jobs, homes, roads & bridges, etc. Remember their votes and actions well this next year while America's economy suffers and falters. They will be smiling in glee watching it. Remember them in the coming 2010 & 2012 elections. It will be your turn to vote NO on them.

I hope everyone watches President Obama's speech tonight!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I've been busy entering contests.

Yesterday I emailed an entry to the Winning Writers 2009 War Poetry Contest. The entry fee for this contest is only $15, which is quite cheap as far as many international contests go. I have written a number of war poems over the years; however, poems for this contest must be unpublished, even on-line. So, I had to write two new poems in order to enter. Finished tweaking them yesterday and entered.

I have entered my latest poetry book, Poetic Musings of an Old, Fat Man, in three book contests: Reader Views Annual Literary Awards 2009, 2009 National Indie Excellence Awards, and 17th Annual Writer's Digest International Self-Published Book Awards (actually will mail this entry Monday). I'm hopeful .... cautiously optimistic, as they say. I think it is my best poetry book yet.

I entered Bob (actually the first chapter of my book Bob the Dragon Slayer) into the 2009 Tom Howard Prose Contest.

Lastly, I still have not heard about my chapbook entitled What War Is, which I entered awhile back into the Slipstream Poetry Contest for chapbooks. (I'm not too hopeful about this one winning.)

I'll be hearing the results of contests I entered for the remainder of this year, from March until mid-November. This may be a humbling year! :-)



A Cold Jumped Me When I Wasn't Looking!

Rats! I made it through the worst winter weather -- such as it is in NW Louisiana -- and now have come down with a cold! I went to bed last night with a scratchy throat and woke up this morning with major congestion and achy joints. My son brought it home from work, gave it to my wife, who in turn gave it to me. I knew I shouldn't have kissed her! Bah. I hate colds.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I Had Two Winning Poems in 2008 Tom Howard Poetry Contest

Greetings, All ~

I can now reveal what the two secrets I have been keeping for a long while were. I teased you (and I'm sure annoyed some) with posts about having secrets. In December I was notified by John Reid that my storoem entitled the Old Salty Poems had won 2nd Place in the 2008 Tom Howard Poetry Contest. In addition to being quite an honor, it awarded a $1,000 prize to the winner. Then, in January I was notified that I had won another cash award in the contest. My free-verse poem entitled The Assembled Waiters had won a High Distinction award, with a prize of $200. I was informed that I was the only poet to win two cash awards in the contest. I was asked to please not tell anyone about my winning until they released the official results in mid-February. So, I have been sitting on this great news for over six weeks.

The official results have now been released. See them at:

Needless to say, I am extremely pleased at both the two honors and at the $1,200 winnings. That is more money than I have earned from all five of my published books together; plus it is most pleasing to have my poetic talent officially recognized.

Cheers for now!


Friday, February 13, 2009

New Review for White Lightning Road

A new review for my contemporary romance novel, White Lightning Road, was posted today by Shannon Yarbrough at Lulu.com at the WLR page ( http://www.lulu.com/content/261801 ),as well at the Lulu Book Review blog ( http://lulubookreview.com/ ). Shannon enjoyed the read!



Saturday, February 7, 2009

Secrets Can Soon Be Revealed

Way back at the end of December I posted that I had a secret -- a good secret, to be sure -- but could not reveal it yet. Then shortly thereafter I posted that now I had two secrets to keep until mid-February. In just over one week I can talk about both of these secrets. I hope you will drop back then to share in my good news. :-)



Tuesday, February 3, 2009

“The Troll Door, The Trunk & The Compass” by Pamela Devor

In today’s post, let’s take a closer look at Pamela Devor’s book, “The Troll Door, The Trunk & The Compass”.

Book Details:
Paperback: 129 pages
Publisher: PublishAmerica (March 3, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1604741961
ISBN-13: 978-1604741964
Book Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.3 inches

Pamela, please tell us a little about your book, “The Troll Door, The Trunk & The Compass”:

“The Troll Door, The Trunk & The Compass” is about five siblings who spend the summer with their Aunt Matilda on the farm. Their aunt’s fiancĂ© had been missing for six months. Their aunt needs the children to distract her from her problem. That is why she invited them for the summer. The children have a lot of fun farm experiences.
Eight-year-old Alexander explores in the attic and discovers a trunk. Inside the trunk is a diary from a scientist who had lived at the house with his grandparents twenty years before. After reading a few pages of the diary, Alexander looks in the trunk further and finds a time travel compass. He accidentally travels back in time and meets the scientist who invented the compass. Together Alexander and the scientist travel to other worlds searching for his aunt’s missing fiancĂ©.

An excerpt from the book follows:

“The next day Alexander woke up thinking everything that had happened last night was just a dream. Until he rolled over, that is, then he felt something in his pajama pocket. He reached down into his pocket to find that there was something medium sized that almost took up the entire pocket space. He took it out. It was the compass from last night. He was shocked and found it hard to believe that he had actually been to another time. He had actually met Thaddeus Worthington! He desperately wanted to tell someone about it, such as his sisters Alicia or Minnie, but he knew Alicia would only scoff at him and that Minnie would only laugh. He knew Caleb would probably believe him for he had a huge imagination. But there would be questions and then he might blurt out something about the trunk behind the “troll door.” So Alexander would have to keep his discovery to himself. But he kept thinking that maybe Alicia and Minnie might know something that would help him find Kevin.
After breakfast, Aunt Matilda started doing the laundry in the basement. Caleb and Veronica were playing with toys in the living room. Alexander, Minnie, and Alicia were doing the breakfast dishes.
Alexander blurted out, “I think I know what happened to Kevin. I think he disappeared out of this world and is stuck in another world.” Both girls looked at him.
Then Minnie said, “Alicia, Did you tell him what Penelope told us?”
Alicia said, “No!”
Minnie said, “Then how does he know that Kevin really disappeared?”
Alexander said, “I didn’t, until now. But I did know you girls were kind of secretive and you might know something.”
Alicia said, “Well, What do you know? Why did you bring it up? What do you mean ‘Other World’?”
Alexander said, “I’m not sure where Kevin is, but I think I can find him.”
Minnie said, “But how?” Just then Aunt Matilda came upstairs from the basement and the kids stopped talking.
After they finished the dishes they went outside to the picnic table to talk.
Alexander told them there was a scientist named Thaddeus who had invented four compasses to travel through time and to different worlds. He told them that Thaddeus had left two compasses in the trunk behind the troll door, and he had one of them but one was missing. Minnie and Alicia just looked at him with wide eyes.
Alexander said, “I think Kevin has the other compass, or at least he had the other compass. Either he lost it, broke it, or does not know how to use it to get back here.” Minnie and Alicia both just sat there without speaking while they thought about what he told them.
Minnie and Alicia told Alexander all about their talk with Penelope and how Kevin had disappeared into thin air right in front of his commanding officer.
Then Minnie said, “Let us see the compass.” Alexander said, “Ok, But don’t try to take it away.” He carefully pulled the compass out of his pocket. It was brass with lots of different dials. The girls looked closely at it. It had a dial for ‘Year’, a dial for ‘Month’, even ‘Day’, ‘Hour’, and ‘Minute’. There was a dial labeled ‘AH’, ‘Home’, and there was a safety catch. There was also a dial labeled ‘World’.
They both said, “WOW!” at the same time. They could not believe it. This was so cool!
Minnie said, “Take us with you! Three are better than one. We could help.”
Alexander said, “I don’t know if I CAN take you with me.”
Alicia said, “Have you actually used it?
Alexander said, “Yes, I’ve gone to other times but not to other worlds. I set it to go two minutes back in time. This worked. Then I accidentally traveled back in time to Thaddeus time by setting the dial to ‘Home’.”
Minnie had a watch on.
She said, “We’ve been sitting here for ten minutes. Let’s all switch positions so we’ll know if it worked.” So Alexander set the compass for five minutes in the past. They all touched Alexander. Alexander held the compass and pushed GO. Nothing happened. The safety catch was on. He took the safety off and pushed GO. They were suddenly sitting in the spots they had started out in, before they switched places. Minnie looked at her watch.
“It worked!” Minnie shouted.”

Now that this has piqued your interest, please buy Pamela’s “The Troll Door, The Trunk & The Compass” and enjoy the read.

Cheers for now!