Sunday, August 29, 2010

Response to a dingbat with a bad attitude

I was bored the other night and glanced at a forum about self-publishing. So far, my works are self-published. I'm doing that for two reasons: 1) because I can and five years after leaving a salaried job that paid well, my wife was (rightly) questioning when I was going to generate some revenue from writing, and 2) because I'm convinced that paper publishers (rightly) need to be convinced writer's work will be profitable before they publish. I intend to approach a paper publisher...with sales figures as well as good writing. the forum I was reading, some dingbat with a bad attitude tried to hammer a bunch of self-published writers by explaining that she is a painter of original art. She said, the has an attic full of original art, but that it was going to stay there until she got an art gallery to put on a show.
  The writers reacted with a kind of hurt self-defense.
  I think she's a dingbat. I ought to know. I was doing the dingbat thing myself...
  I had three complete first drafts of novels sitting in the bookcase behind my desk. I hadn't submitted them to a publisher, mostly because I was more focused on creating than I was on selling. Three piles of paper that stood about 15 inches tall when stacked up on top of each other. Ppppppbbbbblllllttt! What the hell was I waiting for? A publisher to detect them through supernatural means? A chance to get (still another) rejection letter praising my writing, but saying they just didn't think there was a market for it at this time?
  Nah. I'll prove there's a market. I'll make a market if I have to. Sometimes it pays to be the cocky little bastard I am...most of the time, in fact. :-D

New alarm clock results in late-night cussing fit

Several months ago I bought an expensive alarm clock. I liked it a lot. It has a circular screen, and I can choose to have it digital, or "analog" with hands on the screen. I can change the color on the screen. I can wake to CD, or iPod, or AM, or FM....set two alarms. It's a very cool clock.
   I hated it. You see (and I saw), the damn thing glows too bright. I has a dimmer switch on the back, but I could, and did, make hand puppet shapes on the wall. It's hard to sleep when light from your damn alarm clock pours through your eyelids like the sun...if the sun was green, or light blue, or navy blue.  Heck, I'm sure I could get paisley if I wanted.
  After six months of bad sleep due to the brilliant nature of the damn clock... I bought a new one yesterday. The old one is in the guest room (I like guests, but I also like it when they don't stay long.)
   Ready for a laugh? Well... I have one for you.
  1) Our bed has a footboard. On the corners of the footboard are oak, decorative, bulb-on-the-bottom and sharpish-on-the-top, thingamabobs.
  2) I  woke in the middle of the night last night and decided to use the toilet.
  3) I'm used to being able to see by the light of the old alarm clock.
  4) I'm 5'6" tall...and my waist is barely above the top of the decorations from hell on the footboard.
  Last night, at 3:07 AM...this is what my wife heard:
FLUSH! "Uh-oh" ...careful step, careful step...confident step...

And yes... I got no sympathy whatsoever!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I want to hold it in my hands...the book, I mean.

Several people have asked me if Sexton will be sold in print form. Well...shoot. Yes. The answer will be yes.

I'm going to use a print on demand publisher. Print on demand is just what it sounds like: when someone orders a copy, it will be printed and shipped to them. Sexton will be available in trade paperback, hopefully by Halloween. It will be a small press book, which means those who purchase it will find it a bit more expensive than the average trade paperback. A trade paperback, by the way is a larger size than the average paperback... Sometimes it's called a "Softcover" as opposed to a "Hardcover" book.

I'm going to keep the price as close to $20.00 as I can. That's quite a bit more than an ebook, and frankly, the royalty is actually smaller, but like many of my readers (and, please Lord, let there be more of those), I want to be able to hold the thing in my hand and dog-ear the pages like a lot of other people.

For now, though, I have a lot of work to do on my manuscript in terms of formatting for a bunch of different electronic formats. .I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hot Dawg! My first spam...worldwide blog style

I moderate comments on this blog. Odds are very good that if you want to post a comment, I'll allow it. That's part of the fun.
  Having said that...
  I can say with almost complete certainty that the odds I'll ever look for an escort in Delhi, India are minuscule.

I saved the email... You just never know what you'll need.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Update: Storm Clouds Over Sexton (Sexton Chronicles, Vol. 3)

Storm Clouds Over Sexton brings Sexton and Crescens one step closer to war. The three Americans are sent by the same king who ordered the death sentence on them, to the country of Crescens to the south. Their mission: broker peace before war begins in earnest. I'll tell you this much...mission not accomplished.

The first draft was completed in September 2009. I'm polishing the manuscript now (to the tune of 50 pages a day) and hope to have it available for purchase by September 15.

The fourth book in the series, Sexton Sand is about midway through first draft. With any luck at all, I'll have it available for sale by St. Patrick's Day.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Learned it at 14, took until now to put it in practice

  My first paying job was as a camp staff member at Boy Scout Camp Rota-Kiwan. I was 14 years old, and had the merit badges for basketry, woodcarving, and leatherwork, but I needed to know more than the other guys to be able to teach them anything.
  The manager at the local Tandy Leather shop gave me lessons, and I loved them. But... I used to get aggravated when he would make me stop just when it seemed like I was getting the hang of a new technique.
  He would smile and say, "You reached the limit of what you can absorb. We'll start from here next week."
  That would piss me off to no end. I was just getting started!
  Now I know what he meant. He was right for several reason: 1) He knew I would rush, in my excitement to play with the new skill; 2) I would get frustrated quickly when rushing made me make mistakes; 3) my brain needed the break to integrate the skill.
   The same lesson applies to editing my manuscripts. Fifty pages is about all I can handle in one sitting. After that, I get carried away with the story and miss typos, or my attention wavers and I miss a detail that needs to be clarified.
So, although I'd love to plough forward until the wee hours of the morning (it's been 2 years since I last glanced at Storm Clouds Over Sexton), I'm going to stop...for the night.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday night entertainment you don't want...

We live in a 120-year-old house with a lot of trees in the yard. A lot of trees, old trees, with reaching roots that probe for water.  They probed for water...and found it in the pipe that leads from our house to the sewer.
  My mother is coming to visit tomorrow...and today we had water backup into the basement. We'll get the Roto-rooter guy out on Monday, but today it was all on me...
and all over me.
  It happened before, and I couldn't think of another solution. So when I was doing dishes (no dishwasher but me in this house), I had to go downstairs and allow the water to fill buckets from the pipe in the basement. You know which pipe, right? ...The one you're never supposed to open.
  Sometimes I'm dumber than a bucket of corn. We used to have a shop vac, and I could've sucked the water out of the outside pipe with it. But the shop vac blew up last spring and we haven't replaced it. So I had the bright idea of using the carpet cleaner to suck the water out. I wasn't dumb enough to keep trying it when the poor carpet cleaner got hot. Not me! I went downstairs with 3 one-gallon buckets, thanked the lord for my inability to smell, and opened the pipe a little at a time.
  Now we have a bog in the backyard. Take a shower...go down and empty the pipe. Do some dishes...empty the pipe. Take a...don't make me say it...and empty the pipe.
  I don't let stuff like that make me mad. I just deal with it and will let my new best friend, Mr. Roto O'Rooter take a crack at it on Monday morning (their rates are significantly cheaper when it's not the weekend), and go back to merrily flushing.
   In the interim, I think as long as it's dark, I'll spare myself and the buckets a little effort.
   ...City limits and etiquette be damned... I'm peeing outside!

Sexton = Digital Pulp Fantasy

A ride. A fun ride to someplace a little familiar, to which you've never been. A ride with some good friends, some laughs, some danger, and some magic.
  That's what I want for you when you read Sexton Chronicles. That's what I try to deliver when I sit at the keyboard and stuff starts appearing on the screen.
  Some want to write great literature that makes a statement about the human condition, and I applaud that. I don't want to do it, but I applaud it. When I first started writing for fun (I think I was about 8 years old at the time), all I wanted to do was tell a good story. That's what I still want. I'm better at it now than I was then, but the goal is the same.
  I admire the guys who wrote the dime novels, the pulp fiction, in decades past. Now there's another opportunity to write books, sell them for not a lot of money, write 'em by the seat of the pants, and kick them out for people to enjoy. There's no pulp, so far, in the Sexton books--at least not the kind of pulp that cost a tree its life. pulp. Buy 'em for three bucks, read 'em as fast as you want, and get ready for the next one.
  I promise you I'll do my best to make it a fun ride for you. I'll try to keep you hooked from beginning to end...with a caveat. The caveat is that I don't intend to end the adventure until I can't write anymore. I also promise I'll bang out the Sexton novels as fast as I can and still write them so they're enjoyable.
  Some of the old pulp fiction writers had a formula. After reading one or two of their dime novels, it became obvious they were following some sort of internal template.
  I don't have a formula. I don't do formulas. My books will have a beginning, a bit of a middle, and a stopping point between volumes--but not an ending. Maybe it's fighting dirty, and maybe it isn't, but I tell you unabashedly...I want to write books you don't want to put down. I make no apology for stopping a short chapter in the middle of the action. Cuss at the digital page if you must, but go ahead and start the next chapter. It's a short chapter!
   Just read another chapter...and then...uh-oh! another chapter. It's only a couple of pages. have time for one more chapter...
Yeah, that's it. Just keep reading.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sexton Spice is live!

Sexton Spice went "live" on this afternoon. I'm excited! Now I feel like I'm delivering on the promise of a series I made with the tag "fantasy series", in addition, of course, to the thrill of having another book out there for people to read.
  I love to entertain people. It's part of what makes me, me, I suppose.
  It's late now, or early depending on whether one sees being still awake at 1:00 AM a start of a new day, or an end of an old one...and it really doesn't make a damn bit of difference. I can tell you this much...I'm going to bed now, with a little smile on my face.
  I'll post a direct link to this 133,000 word work of mine. A little ride I call Sexton Spice.

In the morning,  I'll start the final edit of the third book in the series, Storm Clouds Over Sexton. It's already been through two drafts and is almost ready to go.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Brief Moments of Duh

We all have them. Some of us, like me for example, have more than others. You know what I mean, don't you? The mind takes a little hiatus and before we know it, we're examining our actions and say "Duh."
  Yesterday I edged the carpet in our guest room in preparation for a visit from my mother. I had a cigarette dangling from my lips as I went around the walls with the vacume cleaner hose in my hand. I sensed the ash was getting long, and being a male and therefore lazy, I lifted the hose and held it up to the end of the lit cigarette. This, I reasoned, would cause the loose ash to rise into the hose and would be better than dropping ash on the carpet.
  Why I thought it was better to have the ash go up the hose rather than vacume it off the carpet--which was my next step in cleaning the room--I don't know.
  Actually, I do know: Brief Moment of Duh. ...BMD, for short.
  A few minutes later, I stood and walked to the dresser to put the cigarette out in the ashtray.
   ...I didn't have to put the cigarette out.
   ...The BMD took care of that. The vacume cleaner sucked not only the loose ash, but the entire cherry-red, hot, tip. Sheared that cigarette off right at the cool, safe part.
   The BMD evaporated in an instant. I laughed and sat on the bed, watching the bag on the upright vacume cleaner with keen interest. It was full of cat hair, dust, and whatever else I'd sucked off the floor in the past several months. After a few minutes, I decided it was safe to remove the full bag and carry it out to the garbage can. I wasn't completely sure there wasn't a smoldering fire waiting to grow...but I decided that if there was going to be a fire, I wanted to share it with my neighbors.
   ...I'm very considerate that way.

Sexton Spice...almost there!

After a pile o' work: minor word changes, corrections, additions, deletions--with pen and paper, and later keyboard and computer--then more work formatting and uploading, Sexton Spice (Sexton Chronicles, Vol. 2) is now in the virtual hands of
  In 48-72 hours, give or take, it will be for sale as a Kindle book. I'll put a direct link on this blog for those who wish to purchase it (and buy a smile from dear old Dave in the process.)
  I spent too long today trying to publish Sexton for Scribd. Evidently, selling things on Scribd is in Beta. I could use the revenue, but have a few problems already with Scribd. For one, they pay 50% to the publisher/writer (that's good), but they only pay when they have a hundred bucks or more to send, and only quarterly. I don't know what kind of traffic has, but it's mostly free stuff and not in the business of marketing or selling anything, so my faith in their ability to move my books is dim at best.
  I'm watching Barnes & Noble and their NOOK with keen interest. They're planning to devote a lot of resources to the NOOK (their e-reader) in the near future, but they're not there yet.
  Like a lot of other parts of life, I'm choosing to control that which I can control: my writing, and my editing.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fan mail. Made my day!

I got an email this evening from a reader of Sexton. I won't quote it here because it's personal between myself and the reader. It email from an individual who not only read my book, but looks forward to the next one.
  It truly made my day, and it was already a good day. The praise was nice, but I think the real thrill was the sense he conveyed of excitement about something I wrote. ...That somehow, through the magic of twenty-six letters of the alphabet combined into words managed to put pictures in this reader's head, make the reader care about the characters, and gave him an adventure.
  I replied to the young reader, but I forgot to tell him something. Hopefully his Mom will see this and pass the word to him. The message is: I'm going to put his message to me in a frame, and put it on the wall right next to the cover of my little ebook. First book, first piece of fan mail. Seems fitting somehow, and it feels great!
  I promised him Sexton Spice (Sexton Chronicles Book 2) soon. I'd better get busy.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I can do this...

There are hurdles to self-publishing. Lots of them. I plan to tackle them all. Digital publishing makes it a lot easier than the bad old days, when a writer paid a printer and ended up with a trunk load of books.
  ebooks have made their debut and they (unlike paper books) are on a sharp upward move. It took me a long time to decide to self-publish rather than go the traditional route, but now I'm in. The way I see it, most writers just don't have the business experience to make a go of self-publishing. I think I have that kind of experience. Here's my checklist, or To Do list:
  1. Write books. Status: first book in the series is up on Amazon, second book will be soon, third book is done, and the 4th is half done.
  2. Convert manuscripts to formats acceptable to all ebook sellers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Scribd, and Kobo.
  3. Publish to all ebook sellers
  4. Market the books: press releases to local media, Facebook ads, personal blog, friends, and friends of friends
  5. Keep writing.
  6. Maintain rights to all work, for future sales to paper publishers
It's going to be a lot of work, but work that feels like fun isn't work.
Fortunately, I'm in a good position. I don't have to make enough money to offset a high salary. I only have to make more money writing than I do at my part time job...and then I can write full-time.

In case you're wondering...I wrote this on the fly. I wasn't 100% sure I can achieve what I see as success when I write the title of this blog entry.
   ...Now I am sure. Yes. I can do this.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

That bit about coming home feeling shorter? Poppycock!

Got Mother-in-law and brother-in-law out of bed on time. Check! Packed, ready to go to Sea-Tac airport 3.5 hours early (dammit). Check! Returned rental car while wife and in-laws checked luggage... Check! When they found out my mother-in-law needed a wheelchair, we had outstanding service from a man who pushes wheelchair-bound people around the airport.
   The flight from Seattle to Minneapolis was smooth, and seamless. No weather issues, no screaming bansheebaby creatures, and a smooth flight.
   Got in at Minneapolis, under the assumption our 1.5 hour layover would be sufficient time to enjoy a meal and maybe do a little shopping in some of the stores. Did you know Best Buy has a vending machine? Yeah! A vending machine that dispenses cell phones, etc. Tanya told me I could look all I wanted...but that she had the credit card and the debit card and I could use either one if I could peel it from her cold dead fingers with my cold, dead, detached teeth! I took that as a maybe.
  It was not to be. We were carted (it's a verb. Feel free to check), to close to our terminal for our connecting flight...then transferred Mom to a wheelchair.
   It didn't matter. When we got to the terminal...the flight had been changed to another gate. We went (a motley, drag-ass crew 1/4 of which was being wheeled) to the appointed gate. After 1/2 hour there, I went back and checked the sign. Our 7:30 PM flight had been changed to a 9:00 PM flight. An hour later, we found out the flight had been moved to another gate. One more wheelchair assistant (I don't know his title, but the guy was great) pushed Mom to the next 'new' gate. He was at least 60 years of age, that man pushing the wheelchair, but he advised us to take the moving walkways. We did...and he managed to keep up with us. I was impressed.
  We were supposed to land in Saginaw, MI at 10:06 PM, and got there at 12:30 AM. Flew through some pretty cool lightning along the way...but we landed safe, and sound...if a bit tired.
  Then, because I was the one suffering from a 12-hour long nicotine fit (abated in good part because of a nicotine patch and a few of those little tobacco pouches you suck on to get a fix), I went out to long-term parking to find my Mother-in-law's Grand the the rain...and I didn't have any idea where in the lot it was. I found it eventually...parked next to the 1973 baby-blue Cadillac my other brother-in-law drives. Hard to miss a 143-foot-long ancient Cadillac, even in the dark and the rain. $36 later, I was in the 2007 Grand Marquis, out of long-term parking, and picking up the rest of the family.
    All is well that ends well...and I now pronounce this day at a good end. I'm going to sleep now. It's late, I'm tired...but tonight my head will rest on my pillow, in my bed...and a cat will probably rest on my head.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Coming back always seems shorter

Have you noticed the phenomenon? It's artificial, of course, but coming home seems to go faster than heading out to a new place. I think it's because things become more and more familiar and, well, homey...when you get close to home.
   It's been a great vacation, even the parts I dreaded before we left. Now it's time to go home, and I'm ready. So is my wife. We've eaten, and walked, and driven, and seen, and done, and shared. All good stuff. Still, I'm looking forward to climbing the steps at home, chucking the bags in the dining room, and watching the cats ignore us for a while until they forgive us for leaving them alone for 10 days.
  Unlike this place, we have tile in the shower...not marble. No one is going to make the bed in the morning unless it's one of us. If I want a newspaper, I'm going to have to buy one. And that's okay with me.
   It's time to go home...and bake some bread.

Next time you hear from me, I'll be there.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A great dinner, a better view

I've been a lot of places, and had some great meals, and tonight will be an unforgettable example of both.
  We started our day with a plan (normally a nice, but useless gesture when traveling, especially with me.) We planned to take the light rail (a little electric train that runs up and down Tacoma) at 7:00 AM to the train station and hop a train to Seattle.
   There were two flaws to our plan: 1) we forgot to see what time the light rail starts on Saturday, and 2) we forgot to see if the train to Seattle runs on Saturday. The answers to questions one and two are, in order: 1) 8:00 AM, and 2) No. It made sense once I read the signs and thought about it. Both are commuter trains. They cater to during the business week type stuff. So...we decided to visit Seattle on Monday.
  We drove up to Defiance Point. I still don't know what it defies or why, and don't really care. They have zoo/aquarium there. I balked a little at the $12 admission cost, thinking I would pull one of my pattended express visits. I was wrong, and admit it cheerfully. It was well worth the price. The exhibits were excellent and we got to see the animals up close...
   In one particular case...a little too close.
   Have you ever seen a walrus? A real one? I hadn't. Until this morning, and then all too close. The one I'm talking about weighs a little over 3,000 pounds. A friendly looking fellow, he was, lying on a rock minding his own business. Then we went down a cave like thingamajig...and got a peek underwater at the habitat of the walrus. The windows were fogged, and a couple of kids and their parents were trying to peer through. I pulled a tissue out of my pocket and wiped off the fog.
  As I was wiping off the fog, my buddy the big-ass walrus came drifting down. He was a dark, lumbering submarine of a thing and made a beeline toward me and the glass. I swear he was grinning when he lifted up at the last second and...and... (Here it comes, and I hope you're more prepared for it than I was)...and...
   I'm not sure what it's called when a walrus shows his dark privates in a smear on an upward tilt three inches in front of a grown man...but I think I named it something that sounded like a cry of "SWEET JESUSLORDALMIGHTY-WHAT-THE-HELL-IS-THAT!"...or something akin to that.
  As you might guess...I didn't spend much more time in that particular exhibit...


Saturday, August 7, 2010

It was cooler than it sounds

I'm sure, like me, the first thought you have when you're at a family reunion for a family you're related to only by marriage, and they put up a screen for a slide show, your first thought is NOT, "Wow! This is going to be awesome!"

It wasn't my thought. Especially when I saw the warning from the PowerPoint software. You know the warning. It's the one that says (and I'm not making this up) "Slide 1 of 397."

Fortunately for what's left of my sanity (a shaky beginning at best), the man who put it together is a retired Air Force Colonel who doesn't waste time. He said the slides were timed to change every 5 seconds and that the show wouldn't stop for questions. He had photos from 1910 to 1987, and most of 'em were very good shots. I'm a history buff anyway, and I found it fascinating.

If you'll indulge me for a bit... I find history intriguing. It lights my imagination to see old photos, and to put them in context--especially on an everyday level--with the lives of people. From the fashion of their clothing, to the buildings and implements in the photos, to the facial expressions, there is much to see.

Yeah. I can write with stuff like that as imagination-ignition material.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Museum of Glass

Tanya and I went to the Museum of Glass today. I balked a little at the $12 admission fee. It wasn't the fee...I just believe in the express mode for viewing museums. The express mode involves me sprinting by any and all static displays... Therefore, the admission price is wasted on me.
  I much prefer to spend $12 bucks in a pseudo religious at a strip club. Yes, there, at least, when I look at something I can't touch...I can say, "Nice job, God!"

Of course... I never, ever go to those places. But if I know...just sayin'.

Okay...on a serious note:

It was very cool watching the artists make glass objects. They had theater seating in front of the kilns, and a narrator announcing what the artists were doing. That was worth the twelve bucks.

Uh-oh. No good can come of this...

I'm feeling impish today. Grinningly, brightly, amusingly impish.

...I'll let you know what happens.

We'll see if I get it

I've always wanted my own copy of the Oxford English Dictionary. Found one in a used bookstore here in Tacoma. It's used, of course (or I'm sure it would be so far out of my price range as to make me forget even looking at the price), but it's still in the box, and still has the original magnifying glass it comes with.

Tomorrow, my super-secret plan (so secret, I'm willing to blog it) is to lure my unsuspecting wife into the bookstore, and when her arms are full of whatever treasures she happens to unearth, I will risk throwing my back out and heft the dictionary up on the counter. When she opens her mouth to say something, I will lift one arm and shout, "Oh, look, it's an albatross!" ...With any luck at all, the distraction will give me time to swipe the debit card.

I'll keep you posted.

PS--still finding ways around the hotel internet filters to post on this blog...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tricky...moving target

I'm not sure which one of us is the moving, or the blog. Still working from a kiosk at a hotel. The security on this station won't let me see my own blog. I keep finding ways to circumvent the system, but what worked yesterday didn't work today. By extension, that means what works today probably won't work tomorrow.

This a

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Snuck in the back my own blog


The Internet kiosk at this hotel won't let me pull up my blog the normal way. I can't say as I blame them, but they have a net nanny sort of thing that doesn't like blogs. I laughed the first time it came up, warning me that there might be adult material ahead. There isn't any...I know there isn't any...and still I felt a little flicker of hope. Kidding! Don't get any ideas, buster! I moderate the stuff that gets put up here!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Look inside the book

Look "Inside the Book"... When someone (hey, why not you?) looks to buy books on Amazon...some titles offer a look inside.
   But not many.
  This evening, which, by the way, I just noticed is now this morning, I began to upload the files that will allow potential buyers (again--why not you?) to look inside my book. When you go to a bookstore and are thinking about buying a pick it up, flip it open, and take a glance at what you will get when you buy the book.Why shouldn't you be able to do that with an ebook?
  You should be able to do that with an ebook. You can...with some. On Amazon, the picture of the cover will have some cheerful lettering extolling you to do just that. Most don't.
  After tonight, I can tell you why most don't. ...It's a pain in the ass, that's why! Trust me. I know. I just went through the process. I'll spare you the gory details, but it involves a fair amount of pdf knowledge, some patience with getting approval to be a seller as well as a publisher, writer, marketing dude, and (oh yeah...) a writer!
   And now we wait. I converted the pdf file, uploaded the cover art (modified to the proper dpi), jumped through the hoops, hooplets, and hoppers, and I think...uploaded the damn thing. Now, someone on the amazon end of things will look at the zip file (another step), then at the files, do his or her thing, and then you'll see those friendly letters telling you to Look Inside Sexton.
  I'm glad I did it. The reader deserves a peek inside before buying a book at any price (shameless ad: mine is only $2.99), and I want to honor that right of yours.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

This time I'm going to make it!

Charlie Brown, cartoon character turned American icon, tried to kick a football held by evil little Lucy. Every time he tried, she yanked it away at the last second.
   I feel like Charlie Brown every Sunday when it's time for Meet the Press. I saw the teaser this morning, and it sounds like I can watch the whole show without mooning the television. That's right, baby, I'm going for it! This time, I'm going to make it.
   Having said that, I will admit I like to hedge my bets. I have 9 minutes before the show starts. That's enough time for me to get out the duct tape and make a pair of suspenders. I'm also going to put oven mitts on each hand...which will make it difficult to unbutton and unzip my trousers.
  *I reserve the right to unleash my usual string of cusses when the talking heads cheese me off, but I promise not to leave any cheek prints on the screen.