Saturday, January 31, 2009

More of Tom Anderson

The reason I don't get much done anymore is that my mind is cluttered up with too many things, e.g., taxes, taxes, taxes, and more taxes. Tax time can become frustrating, but here it is again. And speaking of taxes, I'll be starting the next few blogs with a stanza from a poem about taxes, one of many sent by E-mail, and here is the first one: (and we'll eventually get to the punchline)

Tax his land,
Tax his bed,
Tax the table,
At which he is fed.

Anyway, I been working on my novel, Tom Anderson, practically rewriting it, but keeping the basic outline, and it's taking longer than it should. This one takes place in a small town along the Sevier River in Utah plagued by two bank robberies, romance, rivalry, and Indians way back in 1857. Now if I can just load it with enough suspense, action, love, and all that, it will be very promising. Here is another small portion of it for your titillation:

"I bet that was his girlfriend," Yonny said. "Hold on! It says Billy? Billy! He told us his name was Bobby, Bobby Watson. Maybe he stole that watch."

"Or he just lied to you," added Cadmus.

Jack and Tom pulled their hastily constructed gurney near the unconscious body, Jack telling the others, "We need a blanket to wrap around the poles for a bed, since we don't have any deerskin, and it'll be ready to drag him to Hell and back. I hope his horse don't mind pulling this contraption."

They finished loading the outlaw onto the travois, tying him down so he couldn't slide off, threw a buffalo robe over him, and he was ready to go.

"Tom, I think you should continue lookng for those other outlaws, since you're the only lawman among us," suggested Cad. "Who wants to go with him? I'll take this feller back to Hillside, but I'll need help."

Jack volunteered right away to help Cadmus, and Yonny said he would go with Tom.

"I'm going to offer a little prayer for this feller's health and we'll be on our way before we get snowed in," stated Cad.

"You ain't going to pray for him, are you? Hell, he doesn't deserve the Lord's help after robbing us twice," said Jack, climbing on his horse.

"You don't have to join in if you don't want," Cad said, "but I'm still praying for his soul. Take your hats off for a minute and look at the poor devil. Oh, Lord!" he began, " I don't know why we are trying to save ths evil feller, but I think it's the only human thing to do and the way You would want it if it was you praying. So, we ask you, dear Lord, to help this poor devil, Bobby Watson or Billy or whatever his name is, to live on and change his ways, and to help us catch those other outlaws who took the bank's money. We'll drag him through the snow to Hillside in the hope he'll live through the journey, and we thank You for this opportunity to save his life no matter how wretched, underhanded and crooked he is. We ask these blessings in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen."

That was from Chapter 9. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Great news, well, almost

"I joined a health club last year, spent about four hundred bucks, haven't lost a pound. Apparently you have to go there." (From E-mail)

Well, well, well, some good news and maybe some bad. The query to a publisher with "The Upamona Gold Claim Wrangle" (three chapters and a synopsis) has resulted in them asking for the complete manuscript, which will be sent off today. This happened once before on another novel and it was finally rejected. But it is exciting and encouraging to have them ask for the complete job, though. Maybe this time it'll be accepted for pub, but I won't know for up to eight or ten months, maybe. Oh, the agony of waiting! This novel has been a lot of work, what with all the rewriting, editing, etc., and I haven't been able to get on to something new. Will keep my fingers crossed.

To celebrate the occasion, I added some apple juice to the cranberry juice this morning. Whewee! Zing! Zing! Zing!

I have a sequel already written to the "Upamona" story. All it requires is some re-reading, editing, changing, adding and stuff like that. No problem. Personally, I think it is better than the first one, and it is dying to be published. Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Blogging posts/PC's

"I have to walk early in the morning before my brain figures out what I'm doing." (E-mail.)

You may have missed some of the blogs due to my error or misunderstanding or whatever. The ones I recently posted were shown in order of the date they were actually written, not when they were posted. While on "vacation" I wrote some blogs to be ahead of the game, so they have been posted in order of date written. You may want to review the last month or so to make sure you've read them all. That's what I get for thinking ahead.

When I purchased this computer (it's a Compaq Presario by HP) it came with a bundle of instructions, which they all do. But how would I know, having only had one other type, an E-Machine. I had an E-Machine for a few years, buying it on sale, and I thought it was a very good machine once I got the bugs worked out and I learned how to use it. This one would've been another one, but it just didn't have all the capacity I thought I wanted from the model that was on sale, ergo, the Compaq.

But the point I'm eventually getting to, is the information that comes with them. I'm finding out more things with the Compaq as I go along, but I haven't read or understood all the little details that it has. In fact, I don't even know what some of the slots on front are for, like Smart Media/ xD or SD/Mini MMC/RS/Plus/Mobile, never having need for them. I'm sure it'll cook an egg if I knew how to load it. I find alot of this technical jargon and equipment beyond the everyday needs of anybody I know. One of these days I'll settle down and take the bull by the tail and just learn all this stuff.

My granddaughter was showing me her new Blackberry device and she explained it to me, but most of it went right over my head. It'll do about anthing except print, but I imagine you can hook it up to something and it'll even do that. Talk about being born too late!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Comment on politics or maybe religion

"The only reason I would take up walking is so that I could here heavy breathing again." (E-mail.)

I haven't commented on politics or religion yet, but I feel I have to make one on the headline by AP, Saturday, Jan 17, 2009: "Obama prayer leader from group US linked to Hamas." I know Mr. Obama is trying to be all things to all people (except the rich, which he is one), but I can't understand why he would invite Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America, to speak at the prayer service at Washington National Cathedral, since her organization has been linked to Hamas, a terrorist organization, even though the group says it does not condone terrorism. But the definition of "terrorism" is defined by the user. We all know now what kind of group Hamas is. What can she possibly say, and mean, that would make it a better world?

I wish all the best for Mr. Obama as he takes over the reins of government, but I just do not know why he would ask this lady to pray for us, and it has nothing to do with any religious beliefs I may hold.

I have been wondering, is the Middle East considered a Western world or Eastern? Looking at a map of Asia, it looks to me like it is located south of Germany, and Africa is also on one of the maps of Asia I looked at. Wherever it is, is all right with me, I just wondered.

Well, so much for world politics. Let's get back to the more mundane aspects of writing cowboy novels. Why does everything you do have to have a message to be liked? Any western carries a moral message, at least the ones I'm talking about, e.g., the good guy always wins. But now, they seem to want something more, it's just not enough for the good guy to be the hero, he has to be something else too, or there has to be something in the book that's different from anything ever written. Are the readers so intellectual that it no longer satisfies them, or is it, the editors and publishers? Or is it more liberal hogwash or what? Pure escapism should be enough, and there should be no need to put in a flowery-language tid-bit that carries another meaning. The good cowboy shoots the bad cowboy in the end or lends him out of service for awhile. What else is needed?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

More reading

"I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me." (E-mail excerpt.)

Here are some more books on my shelf:

82. Letters from an American Farmer and Sketches of Eighteenth Century America, by Hector St. John de Crevecoeur

83. Buggies, Blizzards, and Babies by Cora Frear Hawkins

84. The Arnheiter Affair by Neil Sheehan

85. Westward Journeys edited by Martin Ridge

86. Oscar, the Naval Cadet by Capt. Ralph Bonehill

87. Arizona Was the West by James R. Jennings

88. Bil Arp, From the Uncivil War to Date, 1861 to 1903, by C. P. Bird and C. H. Smith

89. Commerce of the Prairies by Josiah Gregg

90. An American Original, The Life of J. Frank Dobie, by Lon Tinkle

91. The Rampaging Frontier by Thomas D. Clark

92. Stagecoach West by Ralph Moody

93. Tall Tales of the Western Badmen by Russ Leadabrand

94. A Confrontation in the Desert by Spike Milligan

95. A Tour on the Prairies by Washington Irving

96. Jim Bridger by J. Cecil Alter

97. The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker by Tobias Smollet

98. Billy the Kid by Robert M. Utley

99. Kit Carson's Autobiography edited by Milton Quaife

100. Riley County - Kansas by Winifred N. Slagg

101. How Come It's Called That? Place Names in the Big Bend Country, by Virginia Madison and Hallie Stillwell

102. The Bassett Women by Grace McClure

103. A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains by Isabella L. Bird

104. Sam Colt and His Gun, The Life of the Inventor of the Revolver, by Gertrude Hesker Winders

105. Good Soldier Schweik by Jaroslav Hasek

106. Selected Writings of Washington Irving edited by Saxe Commins

107. Lady in Boomtown by Mrs. Hugh Brown

108. Southwest Saga by Wm C. McGaw

109. Rocky Mountain Rendezvous by Fred R. Gowans

110. Frontiers edited by Stephen Dunning and Beryl Goldsweig

111. South Pass, 1868, James Chisholm's Journal, edited by Lola M. Homsher

112. A Wake for the Living by Andrew Nelson Lytle

That there is another heavy passel of reading and a few of them standout for me like The Bassett Women. They lived in a cabin they built next to the Dinosaur Nat'l Monument in Utah and were mixed up in some cattle rustling it was alleged. And there is Commerce of the Prairies, a great freight study, and Lady in Boomtown, about Nevada mining. All interesting reading. And the Rocky Mountain Rendezvous about the fur traders in the early 1800's.

So it was nothing!

"My grandpa started walking five miles a day when he was 60. Now he's 97 years old....and we don't know where he is." (E-mail excerpt)

I had a medical appointment recently which I dreaded, for an esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD. The reason I didn't look forward to this procedure was the only experience in this line was what I heard a few years ago and an illustration of the mechanics. The doc said all there was to it was a tube down the throat and maybe a snip of tissue for examination. "It doesn't take long and we put you out so you can't feel anything. Your throat may be a little sore afterward for a day or two." But the illustration I saw made it look like something from the dark ages, where the patient is shown lying on his back with his head over the end of the table and a metal tube about three feet long sticking out of the mouth. I thought that I'd never survive that spectacle because when I tilt my head back like that, I can't breathe very good, if at all. How the heck can you breathe with something like that covering your throat from bulkhead to bulkhead?

Well, we arrived at the appointment a good forty-five minutes early since only thirty minutes was required. Traffic wasn't bad. I filled out a few papers plus the ones I had to turn in, signed my name three or four times giving all the money I didn't have to somebody or other or something, and we took a seat in the lobby to await the summons. I read through a Time magazine, picked up a Reader's Digest and read all the jokes, and talked to the wife about this and that. She had to come with me to drive me home, if I survived, "You just can't drive home or do anything else the rest of the day" they told me. And we waited until finally we were called in to the prep room where I answered more third degree questions and settled back with a device in my arm for whatever they decide to feed me. And we waited some more, until the nurse pushed my bed into the inner sanctum.

The doctor made his appearance after about ten minutes of more hooking up and prep and asked me how I was doing. "Turn on your left side and we'll start the sleep medicine," he said.
And the next thing I knew, I opened my eyes and saw my wife sitting by the bed. I asked her when are they going to start. "They're finished," she said. "You can go home as soon as you get fully awake." Of course, I thought she was just pulling my leg, but the nurse came to the bed and said, "Would you like some apple juice or something to drink, and you can go home in a couple of minutes. I was totally amazed, didn't feel a thing, couldn't believe the doctor had done anything, but he showed up right away while I was still groggy and related all the pertinent facts to us, and left.

By the time we reached home my throat was a little sore, but I thought by golly they sure done that slick, and I was just as happy as a pup and ready to start writing something!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Name change

"Walking can add minutes to your life. This enables you at 85 years old to spend an additional 5 months in a nursing home at $7,000 per month." (Excerpted from a recent e-mail.)

Here we go again. I changed the name of the blog, if you haven't noticed, thinking it would be a little easier to access. HA! The access address is still the same:, so just make sure you put oscar- in front. That's what I get for being a little dense with computer stuff. For those who may not know, Curly was a childhood nickname, so I re-energized it for the blog hoping it won't be so formal.

I've finished for now "The Upamona Gold Claim Wrangle", and as soon as it is read by a couple more objective bystanders, will send it off to the publishing world and keep my fingers crossed. It's about 145 pages, perfect length for the market, I think. I've seen some books with as little as 90 pages in this genre.

I was watching the History channel awhile back and saw a short bio of Andy Warhol, but it was mostly about his wigs. He had quite an assortment, but the ones they showed looked about the same. They must have gotten too sweaty or maybe dirty to wear so he filed them away in boxes and envelopes. They didn't explain how long he wore them, but the bill was $850 for two. Nothing unusual about this, but it reminded me of the bill I ran across in some stuff of my father's a few years ago. It was a bill from the town grocery store showing he still owed $10 on his groceries and was dated 1932 at the height of the depression. At that time, he had only seven kids and a wife to support, although the older boys probably helped out a little bit. He ended up with an even dozen off-spring. And why it popped into my mind, I have no idea. If I knew where that bill was right now, I'd take another look at it to see how much things cost in comparison to today. But the administration keeps telling us there is no inflation. Just compare this year's grocery bill to last year's and you'll find out there is no inflation. Every time I hear it, I know it's time to be prepared, everything's going up.

A word of advice to the young people, and it isn't as if you haven't heard it before, put some away for the future, and if you can, put a lot away.