Do You Believe In “Do-Overs” And “Third Chances?”

Best Spuds 007
Maybe this will make your mouth water! They tasted even better than they look!

Going clear back to high school days when I got involved in baking for 4H, it has left it’s mark on me to this day. Since that time it resulted in the pioneering of commercialization of yeast doughnuts in Ecuador.

Doesn’t that seem strange? In 1978, when doughnuts had been around for decades in the U.S., and are part of western history, yet in this small country far older than the U.S., they were non-existent. It took a year and a half before I realized this back in 1972 after our first move here.

The day came though, probably drinking a cup of coffee, when I realized I hadn’t had a doughnut and furthermore, hadn’t seen one. It’s not like this was unusual, as there were many food items I was accustomed to in the U.S. that were by no means standard fare in Ecuador.

I had made many cakes over the years, but never anything as adventurous as made with a yeast dough. My mom was great at making bread, dinner rolls, and anything made with a yeast dough, but I had never tried. Most likely in part because she always commented how difficult it was.

Boredom will give way to activity for some, and that was me in 1972. Teaching private English classes 4 hours a day was bringing in a reasonable income, but I still had too much time on my hands.

This, and the realization there were no doughnuts had me digging out an old cookbook Mom had either given us, or we had indefinitely “borrowed” before leaving. So leafing through the pages I found a recipe for yeast doughnuts. Reviewing the ingredients and instructions, it didn’t seem to difficult and I guess I was desperate enough to give it a try.

There was no knowledge of high altitude adjustments, and the first batch didn’t fare so well. However, the process didn’t seem all that hard and a second was made with very different results. The doughnuts actually came out good.

From there a business, if it could be called that, was started and subsequently failed for about every reason a business could go belly up! Still, I had much to learn about doughnuts.

Moving back to Indiana in 1974, and then to Texas in 1975, the notion of doughnuts in Ecuador never left me. Trying to get information about machinery I ran across a man who had been a consultant for Campbell-Taggart Bakery Equipment. They manufactured commercial bakery equipment and this gentleman was one of their top representatives, until a heart attack ended his career.

At that point he purchased two small doughnut shops in the suburbs of Dallas, and was also president of the Dallas/Ft. Worth  Retail Bakers Association.

Somehow I ended up talking to him and related my story about doughnuts in Ecuador. He was intrigued as to how someone with absolutely no knowledge of doughnuts, much less any bakery background, could have accomplished what I had. This prompted him to invite me to the next meeting of the association as a guest speaker, to share how I had done what I had.

Out of this came and offer to work in his doughnut shops and he would teach me all I didn’t know. He said he wouldn’t pay me for my work, but he also wouldn’t charge me for what he would teach. He made good on his offer. I became both a student and very fast learner.

During this time because of his continued connections with the bakery equipment industry, and because I had mentioned seeing a small automatic fryer manufactured by Belshaw Brothers in Seattle, Washington, a surprising incident came about.

He mentioned to me one day that a he had received information that a bakery in Ecuador was in the process of importing the same exact system from Belshaw that I was interested in. To say that I was flabbergasted would be an understatement.

Part of the reason I had accepted his offer to teach me about doughnuts, was because I had finally decided we would go back to Ecuador and pursue doughnuts again. Doing so this soon had not been part of the plan. We had just purchased a house and were barely established in Texas.

As it turned out a trip was planned for a visit to family in Quito. It was the perfect opportunity to gauge the climate as to this being a good time to re-introduce doughnuts to Ecuador. It had been three years since leaving, and previously it was determined, by me, that the impulse buying habit had not yet become prevalent in Quito, and maybe in Ecuador. Doughnuts are an impulse purchase, so this was important.

In November of 1977, in 30 days our house was sold and we packed up and headed back to Ecuador. I had a plan for the business, which I had never experienced before. It was a grandiose idea, but it was a plan. It’s just that there was no money to put it into action.

Six months later an investor appeared and we were in production within a matter of weeks. It was easy going compared to my first experience of 20 hour days just three short years ago. Even I was surprised at how much I had learned since then.

For the next seven years a doughnut monopoly was enjoyed and the benefits, as well as disadvantages, that come with it. While I was great at production, finding outlets for wholesale, administration and finance were my greatest detriment. The business was constantly in danger of going under, as is common with most small businesses that are under capitalized at the outset.

Due to a failing economy in Ecuador in 1984, and with four sons staring college educations in the U.S. just a few years down the road, the decision was made to relocate back to the U.S. At that time is was impossible to do more than sell off the equipment, as no one was interested in a business, much less one that seemed to have it’s lifeline of success because of the “gringo” influence. Once the gringo leaves the business will die.

For the most part that’s what happened. Mostly due to a lack of vision, but that is of little consequence. In 1992 a man came from Canada, apparently to retire in Ecuador, and decided doughnuts would be a good business. The rest is sort of history and the doughnut business came to life once more on a much larger scale. Eventually around 1994 Dunkin’ Donuts finally entered the scene and today have 9 locations in Ecuador.

Now what is even more interesting is this. We retired to Quito in 2014. There was no intent to EVER get involved with the doughnuts or ANY business. Our retirement income was in place and we had no need for additional income. That plus the fact that labor laws were even worse than before, put an exclamation point after the NEVER!

You know that thing about “never say never?” So in a series of events we were selling some property. As it turns out, the interested party happened to have a small restaurant, and the property for sale was viewed as being in a strategic location for an additional local.

In the process of the sale, it was revealed that I had pioneered doughnuts in Quito. This brought about immediate excitement and there was a constant interest in exploring this idea more in depth for the buyers.

At first there was some resistance on my part, as I thought this may simply be a tactic to endear themselves with us as it might be to their advantage. In time it became apparent the interest was genuine and sincere.

As of this writing, it appears there may be a new player in the doughnut business in Quito. One that has a formula and know-how as no other.

Dunkin’ had approached me to be their license franchisee clear back in 1980, if I would pay THEM $100,000 for that right. That was declined and it wasn’t until 14 years later they finally made an appearance.

That product and all the others presently in production, have reduced the donut to it’s lowest quality that could be possible. While Dunkin’s products resemble those of the U.S., the others are a sorry example.

So as the process takes on more shape as to the way it is going to look, even 30 years later this seems to still have a life. It’s not often in a lifespan you get the “do overs.” Second chances are rare, but I’m not so sure what the odds are on a triple! This has all the earmarks of being an interesting story, so look for the updates. I’m going to make some more doughnuts!

Is A Writing Contest A Competition Or Just A Chance To Criticize?

I get lots of notices about all things writing. Just the other day a contest was announced, which is really an opportunity for a writing site to gain more prospects. No problem there as that’s just some good marketing.

As my curious nature usually leads me to investigate, I perused the contest rules, especially as it pertained to the stated benefit that all entrants would get published, “if they want.” If they want! That had an odd sound to it in my head. What writer doesn’t want to get published? So I read some more.

The long and short of it has to do with having one’s work of 1000 words or less reviewed, to see if it measures up to someone’s idea of what readers want to read. If not then there will be adequate critique to let you know that someone supposedly more capable than you will fill you in on why you are lacking in writing skills.

I say that in 3rd person simply because I am way past caring what some editor thinks of my “skill.” It really seems like the same old thing we say about someone trying to justify their existence in a particular category. In today’s vernacular…whatever!

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It was said by one more famous than I, “What? Me worry!”

Prize money is offered along with the carrot of getting published and reviewed by some magazine I’ve never heard of or read. The thought comes to mind that I’m as likely to get read right here in my blog as in that magazine. Those odds are more to my liking.

Getting paid to write is absolutely not what motivates me. The opportunity to have someone tell me why they don’t think my writing is up to par doesn’t excite me in a positive way at all. In fact it would take a great deal to remember what they think is none of my business.

There were some writing prompts related to this contest, and not one of them was in the non-fiction category. That struck me as interesting, and will likely become a “writing prompt” for me at some future date.

As I read some of the “tips” for writing that 1000 words or less story, creating the plot, character, the evil or problem and painful situation, the hero, I thought to myself what’s wrong with the real stuff? There are enough everyday stories that lack none of those things and don’t have to be fiction.

Supposedly real drama must seem tame compared to the fertile imagination of a writer who creates the bigger than life story. When I consider the real experiences compared to the impossible challenges the hero of the story overcomes, impossible physical feats, human endurance that goes beyond reality, well it just can’t compare to the real thing.

On top of all that are those who feel justified to critique someone else’s imagination. Does that even sound right? Stories are just that, and most writers have a “voice” which is not likely to be that of the one doing the critiquing. So the phrases, verbs and adverbs chosen by the original writer expressing their way of communicating, are now challenged. Been there, had that, that’s why I write free of the rules!

So writing contests are just opportunities for writers to go through the anguish of hearing that their efforts don’t measure up to some standard another has determined. Somehow those so called “experts” are not consulting the readers they pretend to represent. Slowly but surely the readers are speaking back. Are you one of them? Here’s your chance to sound of, in the comments section below!

Is A “Blog” A Weblog, Log, Or Website?

Following are several definitions of what some dictionary sites define as a “blog.”

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  • a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.
  • add new material to or regularly update a blog
  • a website containing a writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other websites.
  • 1995-2000; shortening of weblog
  • a Web site on which someone writes about personal opinions, activities, and experiences
  • a Web site that contains online personal reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer; also :  the contents of such a site
  • A blog (short for weblog) is a personal online journal that is frequently updated and intended for general public consumption. Blogs are defined by their format: a series of entries posted to a single page in reverse-chronological order. Blogs generally represent the personality of the author or reflect the purpose of the Web site that hosts the blog. Topics sometimes include brief philosophical musings, commentary on Internet and other social issues, and links to other sites the author favors, especially those that support a point being made on a post.

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It is obvious that there is a general consensus that any of the three categories are sufficient to describe one. However the short, four letter word with just one syllable seems to be the favorite or “fav.”

“The English language is a language of economy.” So it has been described by a relative of mine whose first language is Spanish. Considering all the “slang” expressions that have evolved over the years, it’s not hard to understand how another culture might see it that way.

Well, maybe in fact it is! In a real sense blogging and bloggers who blog are taking a significant shortcut or economic detour to the centuries old domain of publishing. Writers, such as yours truly, may never gain the personal importance or talent to ever get a major publishing contract.

Because of the internet, that has changed forever. Anyone who can put their fingers on a keyboard, can blog and make their thoughts, rants, complaints, joys, accomplishments known to all who care to read about them. Grammar, organization, spelling, Chicago style or AP don’t matter in the least, as is most often, and sometimes painfully, obvious.

There seems to be a trend however, that those bloggers may be responsible for. Readers are no longer content to let editors or publishers, determine what they read. Now stop and think about that for a minute. What does that mean?

Bloggers have something to say, and quite frankly many have messages full of feeling, thought, with amazing content worth the read. There are no add campaigns or flashy

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I’m THINKING about blogging!

photos to promote their message to the masses. In most cases it just floats around in cyberspace waiting for some unsuspecting “websurfer” to enter a keyword that hits on an article a particular writer has listed. Bingo! A new writer is discovered.

You can bet that there are those who have refined blogging to an art form, and have made good money by doing so. As with all things, compared to the number of bloggers, those who have flourished are in the great minority.

I blog or write because I have to. That doesn’t mean someone is standing over me with a club to do so…well at least not in the physical sense. Rhetorically speaking I have lots to say about many things and that is my “club” or my “what.” That “what” is not necessarily and opinion, as I make no claim to having superior knowledge about the things I write. Even those areas where my knowledge may be greater due to experience, thoughts in those arenas are still just thoughts.

The point is that blogging has taken on a life of it’s own, and is the new format for many writers to self-publish. Some blogs have been turned into eBooks and published in a more concise format. You can find blogs on nearly any topic you can imagine, plus many you never even thought of. Take the craziest subject you can possibly imagine, like square doughnuts.

Now for years I made a decent living making regular donuts, and have been more than happy eating those beautiful, golden, round bits of fried dough that depending who makes them, can melt in your mouth.

Doughnuts can be found with few exceptions in every shape and flavor imaginable. There are Long Johns, Bismarks, Twists, Bowknots, cake donuts, and the list is endless. But square doughnuts? Who woulda thunk there was such a thing? Go ahead. Type that into Google, and you’re gonna get 23 million links for “square doughnuts!” I don’t know about you, but to me that’s crazy!

To me that might be as crazy as an upside-down ice-cream cone! Yup! There are 488,000 links on Google for that! Let’s see, what other crazy idea can I come up with? How about the needle in the haystack that was found? That too! Over 500,000 links where people have actually done it.

So the point here is that blogs are like written conversation. I may not know you, but we can get into each others mind, that is if you should happen to leave a comment to which I can reply. And if not my reply, someone else who may be lurking out there, reading and and creating a reply, or silently moving on with no reply at all. Ready to start blogging?

Do You Eat With Your Eyes, Nose Or Taste Buds?

The way to a man’s heart is trough his stomach. The question is  how do you get there? At least the first sentence is from a saying of many years standing. It’s that next sentence that begs an answer.

There are at least three possible answers. Taste, appearance and aroma. One or any combination of the three is a possibility. So who should know better? Well now there may be the ultimate question.

As a teenager growing up in a farming community, there wasn’t a lot of work that paid much outside of mowing lawns for the summer. Bailing hay for the local farmers was always a good job, as you were out of doors, getting a tan, and impressing the farm girls as they were nearly impossible to keep away.

Aside from getting stuck up in the barn stacking the hay, it was a great summer job. The pay was not exorbitant, but the farm wives made up for it with a meal that was nearly always to die for. If you could name the vegetable, meat or dessert it could just about be guaranteed to find it’s way to the table. Better yet, there was enough for seconds. Most of us worked as much for those meals more than the $1 and hour we got paid.

The work would start as soon as the morning dew would dry. Wet hay bales are one thing no one really cares to lift off the ground up to 6 high on a trailer. So by noon everyone is wondering what time is lunch?

When you go to a restaurant and observe the menu, the photos of the food generally are captured under ideal conditions, with special attention paid to colors and textures. So if it’s true that we eat with our eyes, then this would be the first attempt to draw  our senses in to make a choice.

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Sorry but my “Legs of Cuy” (Guinea Pig) are all gone!

More leverage could come into play if another customers dish is seen on it’s way to the table. Ever have that happen to you? As you’re ready to order another dish is spied in transit and it looks so good, you end up changing your order. Sound familiar?

How many times have you walked past a bakery and the smell of baked bread is wafting out into your walking space? What did you do? if you’re normal, chances are you went in and bought some warm bread. So there is where the nose gets involved.

I still remember hearing about a particular restaurant that was rumored to have the best lobster bisque around. Not being a particular fan on lobster bisque one way or another, but liking seafood, it seemed reasonable the next time we were there to try it. Am I ever glad I did, because to date I have not found another place that can beat it, and even those who brag on theirs admit defeat at the hands of the other local. So taste wins out there.

So lobster bisque and taste, the farmers table and the eyes, or my favorite coffee roastery. The taste, eyes and nose all get in the act. Does one get precedence over the other? What do you think? Here’s a chance to add your thoughts in the comments section below. I’d be interested to read them.

 

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Is There A Real “Magic Pill” Out There For Your Health Or Is It Something Else?

Everyday you are assaulted with ads claiming pretty much unbelievable  health claims. These days it nearly always has to do with loosing weight, since obesity has reached epidemic proportions and not just in the U.S.

Then on top of that you are deluged with Vegan, South Beach Diet, Paleo, Whole Food powders and the list is nearly endless. You are told coffee could help prevent some types of cancer and Alzheimers, when not too many years ago it was being linked to cancer as a cause.

Hamburgers are being linked to cancer because of being fried at high temperatures, and about the only thing that really seems safe is water…if it has been purified, oxidized, electrified and certified 99% ozonated!

What it seems to boil down to is, who or what do you believe? This could get back to a previous post concerning the placebo effect, and does what you believe have more impact on your health than anything else.

Working it out on the mountain trails.
Working it out on the mountain trails.

Or is it something else? Could it be a question of discipline? Commitment to a lifestyle is another. Making a change in eating habits, and eliminating some things that have become shall we  say…addictive?

For me it’s bread. Plain and simple. Here in Ecuador neighborhood bakeries making fresh, hand made bread everyday fresh out of the oven is beyond irresistible. Can you resist the aroma of fresh baked bread hot from the oven? If you say no you’re not normal! It’s like smelling freshly roasted coffee and not wanting a cup. Think of some of the other aromas that set your taste buds salivating.

So as I stated for me it’s fresh bread. Now the wheat that is used to make flour these days is an enemy. It gets that designation because it has been so hybridized that it’s to the point when it is in your system, it basically becomes addictive. Worse yet, you wouldn’t believe all the products flour is in!

Soups, salad dressings, anything that uses a product to thicken it will generally have flour as part of that. So you are getting far more flour in your diet than you realize. It’s not just bread that is at fault (whew, thank goodness for that) rather the flour. Bet that’s one you would never have thought of.

Still even knowing that, there are choices involved. Do you really want to make a change? Your head might be telling you this, but is it wholeheartedly embraced by your thinking? Ok, so we’re not going to get into all the subconscious factors, but they do play a huge part in whether or not changes are made.

Determination is possibly the biggest factor in maintaining good health and healthy habits. The discipline coupled together with that is nearly unbeatable. For many, that’s where things break down. The determination is there but not the discipline and vice versa.

I had to come to grips with the fact that I’m not going to give up eating bread. So instead I need to be more conscious of not eating as much of it. Not an easy thing to do when there are so many things bread goes with. Rice, potatoes, and pasta were easy by comparison. I do not miss them, and French fries are no longer a part of my diet.

That may work for me, but I can tell you it doesn’t for my wife. Everyone is different, but determination and discipline are the same no matter who you are. In the end, you are the only one who can figure out what is going to work for you. That, is the “magic pill!”

No amount of fad diets, pills, exercises, “Super Juices” and the like will make the difference. Please believe me because I’ve tried a lot of them. You can find the combination that works for you. It just takes a strong desire to find it.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your comments so share your thoughts. Come on, I won’t make fun of you! 🙂

Is Can I Get A Little Help From My Friends Just A Song?

What would you do if I told a story on you,
Would you delete and block me evermore?
So give me your eyes and I’ll write you some words,
And try not to be a big bore.

Wish I could get by with a little help from my friends,
I’m tryin’ to get a little help from my friends,
Surely I can get help from my friends.

Writing words today when you have some to say,
Shouldn’t fall on blind eyes that’s for sure.
Read ‘em out loud to draw in a big crowd,
It will amaze ‘em if they just endure.

Just a “like” would help from my friends,
Follow me if you’re one of my friends,
I’m gonna fly with the help of my friends!

I love to write and it’s plain to see
There is always a topic for me.
My stories are true and it could happen to you
As the subject of one of these.

That’s how it is when you have friends,
They all help to the very end,
I get by with help from my friends!
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There is no rhyme nor reason for doing that, but it was just something going around in my head and I had to get it down. Does that happen to you? You wake up in the morning with the verse of a song rolling around in there, and it stays with you all day.

Of course, there is no song for the verses I wrote, and it was very loosely taken from that famous one by the Beatles back when. I challenge you to go back and read it with that tune in mind. Smiles are free and that should create one.

Do you consider it interesting the number of random thoughts that enter your mind on a daily basis? Would you be at all surprised that of the estimated 70K or so, you may only be aware of a very small portion consciously.

Obviously, you don’t consciously think about breathing, or blinking your eyes, swallowing, along with so many other bodily functions. Even scanning your computer screen takes thoughts. Processing all the colors, words, and content on the screen uses more. Are you starting to get the picture?

So does it seem all that unusual that you might wake up from a dead sleep with a tune running through your mind? By the way, in case you think there are no thoughts while you’re asleep, what about that dream you had? Yup, that counts too.

Now there has to be someone out there who wants to disagree with this, based on plain ole human nature. A number like 70,000 is hard to handle. One site I looked at put it closer to 600,000. Can you even remotely begin to wrap your mind around that?

So come on and jump in here. Can I get a little help from my friends? You know who you are, and maybe there’s a few who want to chime in on this that aren’t on my friend list. Cool! Of those 70K or so thoughts runnin’ around in your noggin, share a few here!

Does Medicine Make Us Better Or The Placebo Effect?

You know what a “placebo” is. During any testing of medicines or drugs for what are known as trials, in order to make doubly certain the results are accurate, a “fake” or harmless substance is used along with what is being tested.

To further insure accuracy in what are called double blind studies, even those administering the tests don’t know which is which. I guess that’s a good way to eliminate confusion.

Anyway, the point is there’s a fake in the bunch and no one knows who’s gonna get it.

What’s really interesting is the impact of the placebo on the unsuspecting particip_DSC4776ants. It needs to be added that this doesn’t just apply for trials on drugs, but even on surgery. Really? Keep reading because this gets more interesting.

Here’s a link you may find interesting as it relates to depression. This is one guaranteed that your Dr. is not likely to tell you about, and almost certainly your pharmacist.

Should we call it the mind or the brain? One of the two is beyond any words to describe it’s power. Even scientists don’t know how to account for all that the “placebo effect” seems able to do. This is not just some trick the intelligent mind plays on the body.

An ability to believe on a positive result to such a degree that it manifests the benefit is the issue here. The “mind over matter’ has been bandied about for years, and has always sounded like so much positive mental attitude palaver. Then when you talk to professional athletes and they tell you that their bodies are always in pain and they simply ignore it, something begins to click.

Over the years in my continual quest to find that “ultimate” product that would create the magic cure for everyone’s health, I have tried so many. There were the Amway products, followed by lessor knowns. Then Herbalife, Tree Tea Oil, Noni Juice, Xocai Chocolates (without question my favorite), Kangen Water Purification System, and there were more.

In each and every case, all failed to provide the “magic pill!” The only one that “did,” was a product called Protandim. In short order, after being on the product for 2 weeks, my acid reflux and arthritis (minimal joint pain in hands and some minor gout in one big toe) was gone. Four years later with no pills it’s still gone!

So is it mind over matter or those pills? Because of the chronicled medical and scientific peer reviews that lend credibility to this product, did it really work, or did I just believe it would? Wouldn’t it stand to reason if the pills made the difference, not taking them would cause the reflux and arthritis pains to come back?

Or is the belief so strong that I have cured myself? A better question might be is my mind that capable? No one in my high school class would ever have accused me of superior brain power. Back then I only had one thing on my mind it seems, and thinking wasn’t one of them.

This is today, and change has been ever present throughout all these years. Indulging in expanding my mind has been constant. Has it been successful is the question? Beyond knowledge, intelligence, understanding, meditation, neural linguistic programing, positive affirmations, self hypnosis’s is about getting to the bottom of the placebo effect.

Who dares to try and understand it? So far, it’s like trying to understand the mind of God. Explanations as to why it works and to what extent have not been discovered.

Lastly, when the placebo effect can work even in surgical situations, it really makes you want to scratch your head in amazement.

Patients numbering 180 at the Baylor College of Medicine admitted for knee surgery were divided into 3 groups. Each group knew they were there for surgery. Of 324 potential participants many declined because of knowledge some would receive a placebo. Surgeries were performed on two groups, and simple incisions were made on the third, but no surgical instruments were used and nothing removed.

Here are the amazing results. This is a quote from the actual study. “During two years of follow-up, patients in all three groups reported moderate improvements in pain and ability to function. However, neither of the intervention groups reported less pain or better function than the placebo group. Indeed, the placebo patients reported better outcomes than the debridement patients at certain points during follow-up. Throughout the two years, the patients were unaware of whether they had received real or placebo surgery.”

To read the full report check out this link.

Is there an answer whether it’s medicine or the placebo effect? This I know…I think. When I had the infectious disease several years ago, I’m not sure my best mental efforts would have cured me, compared to the antibiotics I was given. With a 40% fatality rate I can only say something worked, as I’m here to write this.

What do you think? give me some feedback. Is it medicine, or placebos that make the difference?

Do You Write Because You Can Or Because You Have To?

So was I writing because I could, or because there was this drive that I simply had to write?

In 2011 I had lot’s of time on my hands as I was attempting to recover from some mysterious fevers that had all the Dr.s stumped at the V.A. Hospital.

At the same time I had been working on building a website, and doing a good deal of writing. At some point, I ran across EZine Articles site, and an piece about article marketing caught my attention.

The idea of getting paid to write definitely appealed to me, and it just happened that EZine Articles was sponsoring a contest to write 100 articles in 100 days.

It's in the pot!
It’s in the pot!

About this same time I had come across a company promoting Omega 3 Fish Oil, which I had been purchasing and taking on a daily basis. So being a promoter of healthy living and high on Omega 3 at the time, it seemed like a great topic to write about.

Even though I was a few weeks behind, I figured if I could write 3 articles a day I could make the deadline for the contest with a day or two to spare.

The challenge was taken up and I began doing research to see how many different topics I could write about around this topic.

Now keep in mind I saw this as a challenge, whether I could do it or not. It wasn’t so much that I was 100% convinced about the benefits of Fish Oil in the form of a capsule. I was simply 100% convinced I could write 100 articles and maybe, just maybe, begin selling some writing. THAT was the real challenge. Could my writing earn money?

So was I writing because I could, or because there was this drive that I simply had to write? A great question in light of why I was writing those articles.

Writing is something I have been doing since 3rd grade in school. Stories of heaven and I don’t remember what else were some of my first efforts. Along the way it developed into love notes and eventually pen pal correspondence.

Being an avid reader my vocabulary grew far beyond that of my peers. So there was a wide range of words to draw from because of that reading. Little by little many of those words would find their way into my conversations, leading to ridicule from classmates who had no idea what I was talking about.

There has always been the need to put thoughts on paper. At one point stories of experiences in Ecuador were being provided for my hometown weekly newspaper and that was fun. No editor who had to justify his job by tearing up my reports. 

A difference was noticed between that type of writing and creating the articles based on a challenge. For that I had to write and there’s a huge difference for me compared to writing what seems to come naturally.

For me, I have to write! Writing because I can is something forced. This was just something that rolled out from inside. As spontaneous as thoughts just more directed. And you? Do you write because you can, or because you have to?

Do You Know What Happened After The Jailbreak?

At this very moment, it occurs to me that I seem to be writing new, fresh, honest content without worry or concern of organization or perfection.

 

On the Cuicocha Trail around the lagoon!
On the Cuicocha Trail around the lagoon!

There was a flood! Yup, you read that right. There’s a good chance you thought it was about people breaking out of jail. Right? There might be a resemblance to people if you use lots of imagination, because words describe people. Are you still with me?

So ok, a little liberty with the jailbreak. Maybe more with the flood, but I’m talking about a flood of words. The jailbreak is about hundreds of files of content that have been stored for decades, just waiting to “bust out’ into print for all to read.

Granted, there is always the question in every writers mind as to who may want to read those words and thoughts that many times seem to jump right off the tips of my fingers to the letters on the keyboard. How the readers mind is affected as the eyes scan down the page, absorbing those morsels of wit and wisdom.

Today it may go unappreciated until my passing, and only then the possibility that scores will lament the missed opportunities of engaging in person the author. I sure wouldn’t be the first. Being a step out of time gaining recognition while breath still finds it’s place on a daily basis sounds good to me.

At this very moment, it occurs to me that I seem to be writing new, fresh, honest content without worry or concern of organization or perfection. While it seemed those were always my intent when writing, I sense a difference.

Recently I read a small book that suggested tossing all the “writing rules” out the window and just write. While that idea has always appealed to me, somehow it kept most of my words at bay. The thought of some editor changing my words to suit their idea of what may be grist for the readers mill just got my rebellious nature in gear.

It seems people today want to read what they want, and not something that has been contrived to fit some pattern of palpable drivel a great majority have become accustomed to.

So to this end I have jumped into the fray! Of course the only measure how successful I’ve been will be feedback from those who have entered into that fray with me by reading these posts.

So there is your challenge, to determine with your “likes” and comments if this “jailbreak” has made an impact. Here on Face Book and on Word Press you will find awordmerchant.com. That’s me, and the intent is adding to these pages on a regular basis.

What will I write about? Will it be centered on one topic or theme? All the experts say I should center on a theme that will become identified with my style of writing. That may similar to a musician like Michael Buble who is a crooner, or Caleb Johnson who is a rocker.

Then there is “Weird Al” Yankovic, who has an amazing ability to imitate other vocalists and their styles. Well, I’d say his name, or at least the “Al” part, sorta says it for me. Give me the potpourri of writing themes, from war to romance, humor to just the facts. For me it’s like having a banana split with all those different flavors mixed together. So take a chance and make your thoughts known in the comments.

Part 3: Did You Get Left Behind Or Were Afraid You Would Be?

Not the best news as I was going to miss a big New Years celebration with my girlfriend, Marilyn Hosbach from East Tawas, Michigan, but to not be at my company when they left would be the same as desertion, which did not have good consequences.

So off I went spending new Years Eve on a jet back to Hawaii that was nearly empty. The only plus was each of us were given a full magnum of champagne since the flight had so few passengers.

The great surprise when arriving at my company, was that I had been transferred to another battalion as just a grenadier. The First Sargent had the last laugh. I now had to face the reality of all the training I had missed. True to my nature, I believed I would find a way to survive, and I’m here writing this story.

Now more than 50 years later things have not changed much. Viet Nam for me was simply not the nightmare so many endured. It was bad enough, but I chose not to focus on that. What was worse than Viet Nam was losing my Dad just a few weeks after getting back in a car wreck. This again only deepened my feelings of abandonment.

He was able to demonstrate his feelings with my three sisters, but never with me. Anger was generally what I created with Dad, but he usually responded in silence. Hugs and terms of endearment were not part of my Dad’s way. He did show it in other ways, but what I craved were the physical. I got neither from my Mother or Father.

My father an I had always had a strained relationship, as I was not the dependable worker or son he would have desired. My Dad was all that and more. While I would haphazardly get things done, it was usually not in a way that pleased my Dad. My greatest challenge was wanting to do things my way, not Dad’s or Mom’s. I’m not sure if I was typical for a teenage boy, but I was definitely irresponsible.

To make matters worse, I tried to cover my tracks with contrived accounts, or in other words mistruths. Commonly known as lies. My acting career started very early in life, as my performances on a daily basis were very convincing. This was good on stage, but not for everyday life.

So after Viet Nam, Dad and I had a new respect and relationship. I was a battle tested veteran, which my Dad was not. While he was part of the reserve forces in Japan during WWII, he never fired a shot. Now he could look at his son as having lived through something he had not. Most active military always ask themselves the questions of, “what if?” So for the first time we saw each other with different eyes and attitudes. Then in a flash he was gone.

I was twenty, and nearly ready to strike out on my own. A few more months in the Army and I was free. Free to continue my survival in life feeling like a stranger.