Back Again, Healthy, and Humming

I’M DEPRESSED, DISAPPOINTED, AND SAD!
I have occupied space on this earth and in this country for the last eighty-three years, seven months,. During that time, I’ve experienced among other things, seven years, two months in a military career cut short by blindness which caused me to be unfit for military duty, a job as salesman for various forms of consumer products, various jobs as accountant for major corporations, a part-time job as a clerk in a men’s department store, a short time as a self-employed operator of a bar and restaurant, the self-employed operator of a vending business, and the self-employed operator of a food and snack concession.
In all of that time and in all of the above situations, I operated on the premise that “the customer is always right.”

I now find myself in a society which doesn’t give a good damn for the customer, or the consumer, or the payor for services – take your choice of designation! Following are just a few recent examples of which I speak.

On a recent trip to a well-known department store to buy a dress shirt, my wife and I were confronted with jammed up aisles of clothing, and couldn’t find the particular brand of shirt I sought. Lorraine spied a couple of clerks who were “yucking it up” a few aisles away, so she went over and asked for help. She was given a wave with the back of one of the clerk’s hands and told it was out there somewhere – just look for it! I’ve got to believe James Cash is not turning, but spinning out of control in his grave!

We recently had trouble with the “box” furnished by our television service provider, and called for assistance. After spending considerable time holding on the line for an “agent”, Lorraine was told that they would send us another box, but the shipping would cost $19. Can you believe it? We pay a healthy monthly sum for TV service, the provider’s equipment fails, and we have to pay to ship out a replacement! The story is not over.
We got the new box, and after several attempts to connect the thing without directions, Lorraine spent hours – yes! HOURS – on the phone with two different “agents” trying to get the damned thing to work. Finally, we have TV service! Think this is the end of the story? Wrong!
Lorraine had to package-up the old box and bring it to the post office to ship it back to the provider, but they gave us a break! We didn’t have to pay for that shipping cost!

We recently ordered food delivery from a local restaurant which has great food. My order was for a good burger with grilled onions and their special sauce and fries, but unfortunately, they failed to put the top half of the bun on the sandwich, and it was not nearly as enjoyable as it could have been. The sad part – I called them about it and asked if that was the way the sandwich was normally served. I was told they normally serve it with the top half of the bun in place, but when I told them of my sorry plight, I got only, “sorry about that” and a damned hang-up! I should have called back and spoken with the manager, but I was tired, and there was nothing to gain, anyway. Sad truth is, I’ll probably order from them again.

Oh, how I long for those good old days when I was greeted by a salesMAN with a tape measure around his neck who knew all about men’s clothing, and would fit me properly in a new dress shirt! A courteous service-technician knocking at my door with new equipment which he installed in a few minutes, and left with an apology for the bad service would be nice, and of course, a good old fashioned hamburger joint with a three-ounce, greasy, fat-filled meat patty flattened out to fit the bun, seared, served with finely shredded lettuce, thin slices of tomato and onion, and dripping with good old mayonaise and a little mustard spread on the top half of the bun – pickles on the side would be frequented with loyal regularity! (Side note: I don’t know what’s so great about six ounces of hamburger in the form of a fist in the middle of a bun with leaf lettuce and chunks of tomato and onion and pickle and bacon and cheese and heaven knows what else – so thick you can’t get your mouth around it and when you do, you choke, it’s so dry!). Enough bitching!

THE NEW WEB SITE
Will soon be up and running. I’m sure I’ve found a good web master in Go Daddy, and from my experience so far, it should be better than what I had with the last web master, God rest his soul! Keep an eye out for the announcement and visit the new site when we have it up and running.

THE LONGMONT LIBRARY FESTIVAL
Is coming up soon, and Lorraine and I have been invited to submit writing for their 2016 anthology. We will, of course, and look forward to the event.

THE CONVENTIONS ON TV
Start on July 19, 2016, so I’ll probably be tied up with that entertainment for the next couple of weeks! We’ll talk again after. Meanwhile…

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A votre sante! J.O.T.

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Primary Elections

Am I the only one fed up with all of the hull-a-ba-loo about primaries and caucuses? There must be a simpler way than what now exists, i.e. each party having different methods of choosing delegates and candidates.
I suggest we delete all of this male bovine defecation, and institute a national primary to be held on the same day country-wide!
Rules would state that no party affiliation is required, but optional. Each candidate on the ballot for the national primary would have to gather at least 50,000 signatures from registered voters to get his name on the ballot. A deadline for getting your name on the ballot is set, and that is the date the campaign begins!
All qualified candidates (50,000 signatures gathered) appear on the ballot, and any registered voter, regardless of party can vote.
If one of the candidates gets over 50% of the votes – congratulations – you are our new president elect! If no one gets over 50%, a “run-off” election is held 60 days later between the top two vote getters in the national primary. The winner of that “run-off” would be president.
It seems to me that this puts the power in the hands of voters, not political parties, and would be a much more economical method of holding elections.
I would like comments on this!

“Murder At Two Rivers” is now available as an audio book performed by Jason Paton, on audible.com and iTunes. Visit http://www.jamesorytheall.com for more details.

Warm weather is finally approaching and I love it!

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A votre santé!J.O.T.

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Debate (?) Over And Goals Accomplished

All that was missing-

Was the tiny car rolling onto the stage and having all of the CNBC and GOP clowns come piling out! Does everyone agree with me the GOP debate (?) on Wednesday, October 28, was a farce and an insult to our intelligence?

 

Who cares how Trump feels now that he is running second to Carson? Did not everyone know that the lady, Fiorina had been fired from her position of Chief Executive Officer at Hewlett-Packard? I like Carson’s proposal of a flat income tax rate, but I really don’t care that he did commercials for a shady seller of vitamin pills, or that he was still taking them? Bush sounded like a whining toddler and surprised me with mud slinging at Senator Rubio.

I was pleased to find that “fact verification” web sites cleared up some of the blatant lies by both debaters (?) and what CNBC has the nerve to call “moderators.” I watched the “pre-debate (?) show and all the way through the debate (?) and the interview (?) with The Donald, and my ribs were throbbing from laughing!

I am a registered Independent and I have not declared my choice of the “major candidates;” however, I thought the two candidates who infuriated me the most before the debate(?) actually presented themselves with the greatest professionalism and a serious desire to occupy The Office of the President of the United States. I now have more respect for Senators Rubio and Cruz, although we are miles apart on issues. They have earned the right to the title, “Rescuers of the Debate (?).” At least, we know where they stand and by golly, they held firm to their positions.

Now we hear that NBC is disappointed at having the GOP pull its partnership away from them. Poor babies! They could solve their problems by shutting down CNBC and firing all of the clowns that were assigned the role of moderators!

Finally!

Murder At Two Rivers is done, and readers of print or EBook (Kindle, etc.) can now buy it at http://www.amazon.com/books/jamesorytheall, and listeners of audio books should have something to listen to in a month or so. Hope you will at least look at the version you prefer, and avail yourself of the low prices!

Taking off

In a few days to Laredo for my grandson’s wedding. The addition of his lovely fiancĂ© to our family is exciting! Is there such a title as “granddaughter-in-law?” I can hardly wait!

The presentation

by Lorraine and me to the Longmont Genealogical Society, on self-publishing was very rewarding to both of us. Lorraine’s presentation was superb as always, and I struggled through some babble for which I had prepared notes, then lost them! The Society was gracious, and we were well received by the audience.

Apologies

To all of you who have visited my web site recently, and may have been confronted with news the site could not be read. I’m not sure how long it was down. I experienced a long stay at the hospital in August, and another short stay in September, and regretfully, I did not visit the site as often as I should. I bear the responsibility for not catching the blunder, and I’m still working with my webmaster for solutions. Please bear with me, and thank you for visiting the bummed-up web page.

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A votre santé!

J.O.T.

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Back Again!

THE BEST INTENTIONS

are not always realized. My hope of having “Murder At Two Rivers,” my newest Mike Delo novel, will probably not be available until mid-October or November 1, 2015. L An unanticipated set – back : I spent most of the month of August in the hospital with seven fractures on four ribs, and as if that was not enough, returned for a couple of days in September! I’m home now, doing well, and Lorraine and I are working like crazy to get each of our books published and ready for sale. I anticipate that you will harvest acres of pleasure from Sophie and Jenny in Lorraine’s new book (working title “Growing Young Together”), and of course, enjoy the antics and sleuthing of Mike Delo and Smokey in my new “Murder At Two Rivers.” Bear with us, please. Here’s a little teaser from the murder mystery:

 

‘…We moved on past a couple more empty cubicles, and I found myself staring at the latest addition to Leon’s human resources. Her silky auburn hair, styled in a short cut that reached just a bit below the top of her collar framed her slightly oval face. Alert green eyes, reminding me of emeralds, gave me the once over, then she turned her attention to Leon. “. You’re working late tonight, Loo,” she said, flashing a row of white teeth, perfect in every way except for one of her incisors – the one on the right – crossing over the tooth next to it just enough to be noticed.

“I’m about ready to wrap it up, Smokey. Hope you guys have a quiet evening.”

“Me, too.” She glanced at me again, then back to Leon. “Who’s your shadow, there? He looks like a cop. He work in traffic or Internal Affairs?” She grinned.

“Mike Delo, this is Detective Alicia Smolinsky. You have a good eye, Alicia. Delo’s an ex-cop. He’s private now, and always trying to get me to solve one of his cases. Keep a close eye when he’s around,” Leon said.

“Nice to meet you, Detective. You’re a welcome addition to this bunch of humdrum geezers.”

Leon rolled his eyes and moved on to distribute more paper, but I held back, feeling like a blushing, grinning teenager.

She cocked her head to one side, and smiled. “Thank you. I’m not sure you made points with the boss. Actually, they’re really a nice group to work with,” she said.

“I guess. When did you start?”

“Just this week. I happened to be in the right place, blah, blah when the new budget was issued, and, well, here I am.” She spread her arms wide, revealing a substantial set of breasts tugging at the buttons of her blouse. Enough to make a baby cry!

Leon made his way back and gave me a gentle shove towards his office. “Come on. Let my help get back to work.”

“Er, ah, maybe we can get together for a drink later, Detective, unless of course, Old Iron Pants here has got you chained to the desk,” I said.

She chuckled and waved a business card at me. “Call me. We’ll see, and by the way, most folks call me Smokey.”

I gave her the two-finger salute with her card held between my index and middle fingers, turned, and followed Leon, a wide grin on my face as I shoved the card into my shirt pocket. I’ll bet she really did smoke under the right conditions. Man, she’s hot!

“I’m all done here. You eat yet?” Leon asked.

“Just had a great meal with Cholly and Mom. Two helpings of sauerkraut and potato dumplings with roast pork.”

“I’m in the mood for some of Julio’s good Mexican food. Meet me at the El Toro. I’ll eat, and you can have some coffee and tell me what you’re after.”

“Can I bring Smokey?”

Alvarez shook his head and grabbed his jacket. “Harrumph! Give it up. Get your ass moving. I’m hungry.”

I laughed and headed toward the exit. I managed a glance over my shoulder, but Smokey was no longer at her desk. I shoved my way through the doors, down the steps, got into my Rendezvous, and drove to South Omaha, fantasizing…’

 

AND HERE’S ONE OF THE SHORT STORIES FROM LORRAINE’S SOON TO BE LAUNCHED COLLECTION:

 

‘FRIENDS

 

A few months after they “joined forces,” as they both spoke of their arrangement, Jenny and Sophie were sitting at the kitchen table, drinking a cup of Celestial Seasonings Raspberry Zinger tea (decaf, of course) while they talked over the events of their day. For dinner. Sophie had baked a delicious, creamy quiche and served it with a fruit salad. Jenny had loaded the dishwasher and cleaned the stove and kitchen counters. They could relax now.

 

“Well -I never – that’s the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. What possessed her to say that?” sputtered Jenny. “And, Sophie, I’m surprised you even know that word.”

 

Sophie sat back in her chair. “Of course I know the word, but I didn’t say it, Jenny. I’m only repeating what I overheard Madge whispering to some man I have never seen before. We were playing bridge at the Senior Center and she didn’t think I could hear her. You know some people think I am getting deaf.”

 

Jenny replied, “Your hearing certainly isn’t what it used to be and we both know I can’t see as well as I would like to. After all, we are sexagenariansnothing works right anymore.”

 

Sophie snapped back, “I don’t know about that fancy five dollar word – sexa – whatever. I only know that sounds a whole lot sexier than we are, and you’re right – nothing is the same as it used to be.” She usually did not speak to Jenny in that tone of voice.She took a sip of her tea and added, “Madge went on to say she could tell because we have such a passion for each other.”

 

“You are my dearest friend and of course I love you Sophie, but passion for you? I don’t think so. What I do think is that Madge is nuts, insane and crazy as a loon! You know my passion is for working in the garden, then eating the good meals you prepare with the produce, and throwing an occasional pot. I also love to drive – that might be a passion, too.”

 

Jenny went on. “Of course your passions are very different than mine. You love to arrange flowers, which you do beautifully. Those watercolors of yours are very nice, too. I can’t get over the amount of time you spend knitting, crocheting and doing needlework. And cooking – why, you are a top-notch cook. That Quiche Lorraine you made tonight was wonderful. Those are what I call passions.”

 

“Madge seemed to be talking about a different kind of passion, but I’m not sure exactly what she was saying. I wish now I hadn’t tried so hard to hear their conversation, since it seems to upset you,” Sophie said in her usual soft, sweet voice.

 

“I’m not upset,” Jenny barked. “But to hear that screwball biddy Madge call us a couple of old lesbians – that does make me mad! If I thought she could comprehend, I would give her a lecture about unwarranted assumptions.”

 

Sophie had heard Jenny’s lecture on unwarranted assumptions several times and did not want to hear it again. She smiled and changed the subject…’

 

A RENEWED INVITATION

To anyone who would like to be a guest blogger on this site. Send your submission to jot2321@centurylink.net as an e-mail attachment, preferably as a WORD file. I will consider all submissions. Please keep the language suitable for family reading, and please SPELL CHECK YOUR WORK!

 

BOOK REVIEW:

I recently finished listening to Harper Lee’s newest release, “Go Set A Watchman” and I can only admire this lady for having thus far published only two books and attaining so many honors – probably the most significant – a Pulitzer Prize for her previously published novel, “To Kill A Mocking Bird.” Allegedly, her current best-seller, “Go Set A Watchman,” was written before “Mockingbird,” but was never published. This lady invented “tough love.” I can understand why the book was not published until now – it would have been too controversial in the 1950s – but today, reveals with, in my opinion, expert writing skills and clarity, so much of what was happening in the mid- Twentieth Century in the deep south. The book is a great read, and sends a clear, strong message to us. It should definitely be on your reading list!

 

AS USUAL, THANKS TO ALL

For the nice wishes while I was incapacitated, and to all of my readers. Writing is great fun, but the fun is really in having people read what I write, and giving reviews on the work. All authors welcome reviews, good and bad. It’s the way we learn.

 

THE NEWSLETTER:

Has been put on hold for now, but scroll down and sign up for notifications about new posts and comments on this blog. It only takes a minute and you will receive an Email each time a new post or a new comment has been made.

 

MEANWHILE –

A votre santé!

 

J.O.T.

 

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MURDER AT TWO RIVERS

SHAMEFUL!

Once again, I’ve neglected this site. Seems there are never enough hours in the day, and it has been a busy time.

 

AN INVITATION

To anyone who would like to be a guest blogger on this site. Send your submission to jot2321@centurylink.net as an e-mail attachment, preferably as a WORD file. I will consider all submissions. Please keep the language suitable for family reading, and please SPELL CHECK YOUR WORK!

 

MURDER AT TWO RIVERS

My newest novel in the Mike Delo series is currently being edited and made ready for publication. This one has been a fun project, as have all of my other novels and so far, I’m very pleased with it.

 

HERE’S AN EXCERPT FROM THE COMING THRILLER:

“Over here,” Smokey yelled at me, motioning me to come.

I moved quickly. “What?”

She pointed with her forefinger. “Look there, a partial footprint, and see the trampled grass and broken branches leading toward the river?”

I checked and suspected the boot of the perpetrator had made the footprint.      “Come on, let’s go,” I said, and headed for the river, following the obvious trail the scumbag had left.

The trail left by the mystery man did not appear subtle. That worried me a bit. I heard Smokey right behind me. She hadn’t wavered for a moment.

I slowed down and put my hand back, palm facing her. We stopped.

“What?” she asked.

I put my index finger to my lips. “This damn trail is too easy. I don’t like it. We might be headed for a trap or an ambush,” I whispered.

“Hmmmm, you might be right. What’ll we do?”

“First thing is we split up and get off this trail. You circle around to the left, and I’ll do the same on this side, and please be careful,” I said. “Now go, and be quiet.”

She smirked and took off without hesitation. She disappeared from my line of sight and I moved off the path. Three minutes later, I spotted our guy on a sandbar in the middle of the river. From the prone position, behind a slight levy he had built, he held a handgun pointed in the direction of the trail he had left.

“Drop the gun! Now, dammit!” I yelled.

I apparently surprised him. He turned toward me for just a second, then quickly turned back and raised the gun in Smokey’s general direction.

I did not hesitate. I yelled a warning to Smokey and repeatedly pulled the trigger. I saw two or three flashes from the muzzle of his gun. I kept firing until the head covered with the ski mask turned. He began crawling toward the opposite side of the sandbar and toward the water, disappearing into the brush on the far bank. Between the shots, I heard Smokey scream in pain. I let the perpetrator go.

I ran to her as fast as I could. She lay on her side, a puddle of blood already starting to pool around her head…

 

HOW DID DETECTIVE MIKE DELO AND HIS LATEST LOVE INTEREST, DETECTIVE ALICIA SMOLINSKY (aka SMOKEY) GET INTO THIS SITUATION?

Hopefully, you will be able to find out very soon. My target date (which is not always when things happen) for the book’s availability to readers is October 1, 2015. Watch for the announcement!

 

AS USUAL

My lovely, kind, and generous wife, Lorraine, is designing the cover for the book, as well as doing the editing and formatting. I couldn’t even begin to put something like this novel together without her invaluable assistance. She has written several genealogical books (including one on my family), several articles in genealogical publications, has had short stories published in local periodicals, and has contributed several items to our Longmont Writers Club Anthologies and the several anthologies of the Longmont Public Library. She is currently working on her third book, a collection of short stories about the two fictional characters she created some time ago. The little old ladies, Sophie and Jenny, will keep you laughing, and sometimes crying. Watch for her announcement. Her target date is similar to mine. You will love the stories!

 

NEWSLETTER SOON TO BE LAUNCHED

Watch for my new E-Mail Newsletter which will be announced on this page, as well as Facebook and other social media. Be ready to sign up to receive the bits of news, tips about good books by other authors, interesting blogs by others, and an occasional excerpt from one of my novels or short stories.

 

MEANWHILE

Sign up for notifications of new posts and comments on this page. Scroll down. It’s easy and just takes a few seconds.

 

THANKS TO ALL

who support me in these projects! It’s no fun unless I know someone will enjoy the work, or at least reads and comments on why he/she did not enjoy it! Please, always review books you read, and I don’t mean just mine. All authors rely heavily on this type of feedback to improve their writing skills and to know what readers are looking for in reading material.

 

A votre santé!

 

J.O.T.

 

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REFLECTIONS FROM THE DARKNESS: Been Gone Too Long!

ONCE AGAIN, MY APOLOGIES…
I’ve neglected the blog for much too long. Priorities sometimes get muddled. Accomplishing everything a person wants to accomplish during the span of a week only works when that person has the good sense to not take on more activities than he can handle. Enough said. You get the point. I’ll try to do better in the future.

SHOULD WE BE ALLOWED TO EXERCISE OUR RIGHTS…
if such action denies another’s rights? Much has been said about our “rights” as Americans. How many times have you heard the statement, “I have a right to do this?” How often have you asserted your right to sit and enjoy a meal or a cocktail in a public place, only to have cigarette smoke invade your space and curtail your enjoyment? Did you think that your rights were being violated? Did you think the smoker had the right to his cigarette or cigar? Were you pleased when petitioners and voters exercised their rights and took action to have smoking banned by law in public places? Yes, you say, second hand smoke endangers the life of those who ingest it. Good point, I say.
Each of us has the right to sit on our patio, deck, in our living room, or kitchen to enjoy a cocktail or a good book, the LSU Tigers or Denver Broncos football game on satellite radio, or a quiet conversation with a loved one or a friend.
Pilots certainly have the right to fly their planes, assuming they have acquired the necessary skills and licensing. Skydivers, as well, have the right to, in my opinion, foolishly risk their lives jumping out of airplanes and floating uselessly to the ground for the sheer pleasure of it. Our next-door neighbor absolutely has the right to own a dog, and to allow it to roam freely in its own back yard. However, should the rights of the pilots be denied because the excessive noise generated by the circling planes prevents us from enjoying our patios, decks, living rooms, and kitchens? Should the ascent and descent of skydivers be allowed when interruption of satellite signals occurs only when these activities take place? Should the rights of the neighbor to own a dog be curtailed just because the animal barks constantly and infringes on our right to a stress-free, tranquil environment?
We often forget that with “rights” we have “responsibilities.” We abuse our freedoms by irresponsible exercising of our constitutional rights with little consideration of the rights of others. Is the danger to our health from constant stress from above described situations, or the imminent danger of planes colliding in mid-air, or the possible horror of watching a sky-diver candlestick to his death or horrible injury, as bad as the danger of second hand cigarette or cigar smoke or a legally licensed automobile driver speeding or crossing the yellow line, endangering the lives of others? I say it is, and unless people take the responsibility of exercising their rights with concern for the rights of others, we should ban their activities through legislation!
What do you think? Leave a comment.

THE LONGMONT LIBRARY’S ANNUAL FESTIVAL…
Was delightful again this year! On Sunday, Lorraine and I attended the kick-off event – a Flamenco guitarist, dancers, and singers. They drew a nice crowd. We had front-row seats and got to visit with the performers after the show.
Monday night, we attended the event when all of the local authors who have work included in the library’s anthology,”You Belong 2015,” got to read some of the work to the audience. Since my Braille skills are no longer existent, Lorraine read each of our pieces. She did a marvelous job as usual!
Several activities took place during the week – workshop for writers, children’s hours, etc. – and culminated on Saturday with the book signing by local authors, followed by a small reception and sort of “get together” for the authors.
The library staff and volunteers did a marvelous job of making the week’s activities possible and deserve many kudos!

WRITING HAS NOT BEEN GOING WELL…
Too many activities, and I’m suffering from a serious “writer’s block.” The novel has hit a brick wall, and I’ve had to struggle to write a couple of short stories for Writers Club assignments. I hope that I’ll get back on track and finish the book, or maybe, I’ll just let it sit and work on a new project, which keeps drifting in and out of my head, interfering with my concentration on the current project. Absolutely maddening!

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A votre santé! J.O.T.

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Best of the Season!

Lorraine and I wish all of you the best of the season. We hope you take in the joys of this Merry Christmas and have a happy and prosperous New Year!

A votre santé! J.O.T.

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