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My granddaughter

She was reached the stage where she laughs and smiles, and knows what those things mean. Her smile lights up a room, and her laughter is like music. It amuses her heartily if I imitate her laugh, which still sounds a bit like a growl. But it’s the effort that counts.

Paul Stories: String and Spoon

Read the explanation of this series here.

Influenced by Hugh Downs, Dave Garroway and Steve Allen, as a five-year-old, I tied a string to a spoon and pretended it was a microphone, which I used to interview friends, relatives and my brother, Steve, who ran the “camera” (it was a broom). I was always the host of the “Paaauullleee” something show. At my final staff meeting at KBPS, I was given a light bulb attached to a string because the staff misheard the story.

Why I Write

For those of you who don’t read comments, here is my response to a comment I received on last week’s edition. It came from Stephen Coquet, one of the very few regular readers who did not come to PSACOT by way of my personal acquaintance.

I responded, “Thank you for your kind words and continued interest. I appreciate the fact that you read the column, since, without readers, I'd just be talking to myself. I am humbled to hear you enjoy it as a letter from a friend; I have been a letter-writer all my life, and this is just a continuance of that habit. Bringing pleasure to others is a life goal. You are one of only a handful of readers who is not a life-long acquaintance. Thanks for that. It is nice to know I have obtained one reader on the merits of the column alone.

I have been writing essays since I was 12, and I expect to be writing one the day I die, many years from now. Other than music and family, writing is my life. I am grateful for so much in this life: my ability to express myself in this way is high on that list.”

When the Horse is Dead – Dismount

I have fallen in love with VC Mark Fedin, a virtual fountainhead of good management advice:

“Many situations, things, or people in life do not satisfy us for long periods. For example:
    Relationships that have become a burden.
    Work that has become boring.
    The business that brings only losses.”

When the Horse is Dead – Dismount. Follow the link for a good list of things NOT to do with a dead horse

As for me, professionally, of seven jobs, four were voluntary dismounts of living horses, and three involved management, which shot a live horse out from underneath me. Luckily for me, I never had to dismount a dead horse professionally.

I did need to dismount personally. My first lover had to be told the horse was dead. My second told me to dismount. My third spoke with actions rather than words but the equine expiration was still obvious, even if I couldn’t see it at the time.

Book Review:  Lucky Stars

This book had me at H. Claire Taylor. She is the remarkable author of the Jessica Christ books and the Kilhaven Police books. She is dramatically reinforcing my opinion that women write the best comic novels.

Although I could put the book down now and then to eat and answer nature’s call, I read this 251-page volume in a single day. I’ve said before I can’t put into words what it is about a novel that compels me to consume it rapidly. I assume it is a combination of great writing, great plotting and humor. This book has all that.

Admittedly, she comes across a bit Douglas Adams-like in the early going; you almost expect Ford Prefect or Zaphod Beeblebrox to round the next corner. On the other hand, how many ways can you depict an alien abduction? Of a Texas A&M graduate with a degree in Animal Husbandry? How often will all the guns that appear in the first act go off in the third (literally)? It’s as if it was plotted that way. Uproarious, clever, compelling and a hoot to read.

This and That

Irony Department
Now that I actually write songs, I thought of Barry Manilow’s I Write The Songs. Ironically, Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys actually wrote the song
Aids Ride Anniversary 26
In June, 1997, I rode in California AIDS Ride 4, a 570-mile bike ride from SF to LA to raise money for AIDS prevention and research. I completed every mile: a summary,  and an achingly detailed journal
Amazing Video
Cool: a chronology of fashion trends over the last 100 years, created with Stable Diffusion and a prompt travel extension. Even the future seems to have been captured.