Things are returning to “normal” in some parts of the world as some countries drop health restrictions as they re-open. It is interesting to see crowds of people attending events like concerts, sports, or just eating out.
What I find odd is that seeing a masked person in a crowd now is equivalent to seeing a maskless person before. You still get the impression that the people around are thinking “What’s wrong with you?” for different reasons.
I think in many countries, the vaccination rate is ~70% first dose / 40% second dose. I still think that with those numbers, having 20000 people in close quarters is a bit premature.
To enjoy the summer we missed last year, we should still respect physical distancing with strangers while we slowly expand our social bubble as friends/family get vaccinated.
This is no over yet. It’s getting there, though.
Yesterday, I wrote about a few of the comics that I enjoy. Here I enjoy sharing my sense (or lack of) humor.
Did you watch the US Open yesterday? Golf is an odd sport to watch. For the most part, it’s the same thing with different players, as the coverage switches from group to group until near the end of the tournament, there are less and less players on the course, so there are more and more commercials.
In other sports, when the opposing team comes onto the field/pitch/ice, the home crowd will boo and jeer their disdain for the players. In golf, it seems that everyone roots for whoever makes a good shot, lets out a disappointing “ohhh” when the ball ends up in a bunker/water hazard/ penalty area, and cheers in delight for the winner.
There are sports teams and players that people love to hate, but it is rare that a fan will publicly razz a golfer during a tournament. I suppose that the politeness and etiquette of the game contribute to the spectator’s behavior.
That being said, there are places where the crowd is more raucous. The mobbing of Phil Mickelson on 18 at the PGA Championship earlier this year is a good example. The stadium hole at the WM Pheonix Open (I believe it is the par 3 16th), where 20 000 fans will boo if the player fails to hit the green, is entertaining—and obviously sells more beer. What does WM stand for? Waste Management. Ha! During this Sunday’s round, a fan ran onto the 13th fairway and proceeded to hit a few balls. The empty case of beer beside the cart path probably explains that.
The first person to yell “IN THE HOLE!” after a tee shot started an annoying trend that isn’t funny anymore—especially on a par 5. If you mistime it, it really makes the player angry. The first time I heard someone yell “Dy-No-Mite!” when the golfer (not the comedian) Jimmy Walker teed off, I had to laugh, but thankfully that never caught on.
I assume that the PGA, like all sports, is trying to attract younger fans. But if you think that it does sometimes look like a scene from Happy Gilmore, you wouldn’t be far off (It is a pretty funny movie unless you don’t like Adam Sandler, but if you only have to watch one of his movies, this one is a good choice—or The Wedding Singer). Tin Cup is another golf movie that shows the less reserved side of the game.
While they may not be as entertaining from a sociological standpoint, there are tournaments that are more reserved than others. So, a few more weeks until The Open Championship and a return to a bit more civility.
Do you think it’s cool when your purchase total comes to…let’s say $14.00, or $34.00, or if you just bought two packs of gum and a soda and it’s $3.00?
On the flip side, are you incensed when you are filling up the tank and you squeeze just too long that last time and you see the total: $40.01?
Does it really matter anymore with more people abandoning physical money? Even before the pandemic, the use of physical cash was on the decline. I used to put all my change in a jar, and at the end of the year, I would roll it up and take it to the bank. It was my way of forced saving, and it did add up.
Then those change counting machines sprung up, and all you had to do was dump it all in like a reverse slot machine. Some of those counters were removed because of claims of undercounting. Now, I rarely have change. When was the last time I needed change? Parking? Most meters accept electronic payments. Car wash? Same deal. The subway or transit? A payphone—
Wait! What? When was the last time you used a payphone? I know that for some, payphones are still needed, but they are becoming a rarity.
And finally, that late-night purchase of that gadget for $49.99 has to be a good deal, right? Who would pay $50 for that! The same goes for that house listed at $149 999 (although, if it was a gas pump, you might be inclined to give one…more…little…squeeze…$150 000.01 (darn it!)
Do you believe in UFOs? Well you should because they are real. “C’mon…really?” you ask. Well, there are things that people see in the sky that are not able to be identified, so, yes. “I thought you meant, like… aliens.” Did I say aliens? “No,” you say poutingly. What about UAPs? “You’re not getting me with that one.”
What are UAPs? Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon. “That’s just the same thing with a different name.” You’re right. That’s government for ya.
OK. I admit that I watch “Ancient Aliens”. Pyramids, Megaliths, Monoliths, Nazca lines, and all that stuff. When, as a kid, I first saw the face on mars, I thought” Holy s%*#” – well, I probably didn’t swear, maybe I said “Holy guacamole”. Now I know it’s just a big hill, but it was fascinating at the time.
It is pretty amazing how some 5000 year old structures are so perfectly crafted, with tight seams, 90 degree angles, and smooth sides, but is that evidence or just dedication to detail?
Recently, the US government released a statement saying that the Armed Forces have been witness to many UAPs and have declassified several videos shot from fighter jets and aircraft carriers.
Is that proof? Not unless you think poor resolution, grainy, grey-scale video is proof. Why can we never get a good picture? Doesn’t the government have access to high-tech? I thought we were done with fuzzy pictures with so many hi-def cameras and smartphones around.
Is there other life out there? I don’t know. Maybe. Probably. If there is, they’re just naturally blurry.
I hope you enjoyed “The Day Before”. Guess what’s next?
Every few months (or every 50 newsletter subscribers), I open up the Lines by Leon Survey, my way of learning about where my readers have arrived from and their reading habits, so that I can gauge the effectiveness of my web presence. If there were reviews of the survey, I suspect they would go something like this:
“The Lines by Leon Survey – it was over faster than one of his short stories!” – Professor Scrapbooker, The People’s Collage “I clicked on the link and it took me directly there. Wow! The future is here.” – Undisclosed Hollywood B-lister “I didn’t have time…” – Rolly Casio-Seiko “I made up a whole bunch of stuff to skew the results. Mwah ha ha!” – A. Troublemaker “Brilliant. It was so much fun I did it twice.” [You can’t do that] “Oh. Just once then.” – Over-zealous subscriber “I laughed. I cried. Mostly cried (because I had just watched a sad movie).” – Giveme A. Minutte
I was looking through my posts, and I had thought that I had posted this here before, but I couldn’t find it (yes, I used the search feature). So, here is a post from my old blog, circa 2019.
Say that five times fast. That’s OK. Take your time. Try again. I’ll wait…
We’ll just have to add that to “Peter Piper” and “She Sells Seashells,” won’t we?
I decided to reach out to some more book bloggers this week. I googled book blogs and came up with sites with lists of book bloggers. As I suspected, there were a lot of them. Why book bloggers? Somebody has to read your book and like (or dislike) it enough to tell others. There are countless blogs out there, and many companies/individuals that set up blog tours, cover reveals, and book blasts. I checked out a few of them, and I wasn’t convinced that it was worth the cost (advertising is always a gamble even if it is a necessity). Sure, you get a fancy banner, and they send out your info to the participating blogs, but I visited a few, and some blogs had tour stop after tour stop that looked pretty much the same. I don’t think you get to choose your site either.
The last point was the most important to me. Now, I’m sure that these bloggers get many emails from authors, so how do I stand out? I wanted to make a personal connection, so this is what I did:
Looked at the review policy. Don’t review poetry? No point in staying…but wait—
I searched their site for my genre. Hey look, they did review a poetry book, and they said they should do more. There’s my in.
Guest posts. If they take them, I read through some to see if my writing fits. I send my request, and let them know that I read their blog.
I also looked to see if their reviews generated comments/discussions. More discussions = more readers
I did discover some interesting things during this exploration:
Bloggers are clever! There are great names out there. Here are some of my favorites: Brooke-reports, Bookedonafeeling, Spinesinaline, Literaryweaponry, Fortheloveofdewey
Book bloggers are 99% female. Why is this? I suspect that what I was told in school is correct, “Girls is smarter than boys” (and thought I was SMRT)…and they have the ability to dedicate themselves to a task and finish it.
I came across several blogs that had been inactive for a long time. I was compelled to peruse through the blog to see if there were any clues to why the site had been abandoned. Not one had closure, no last post saying thanks, or link to follow. Nothing. A ghost in the digital miasma (I learned that word while doing a crossword puzzle…). So, as a writer, I wrote:
I stumbled upon your blog today The place you built to have your say A clever name Graphics much the same Stars twinkled between pages Of poetic thoughts, dreams, and rages Shared part of your life right here For friends and followers to hear But where do you go? The last post was two years ago Why walk away? Was there nothing left for you to say Do you still look the same? Do you have the same name? I hope you left for good reasons Like the changing of the seasons There’s nothing I can do Except hope for you So, I’ll go on pretending That you wrote a happy ending I closed your blog when I was done The visitor count read 3,471
A sommelier once told me: “Don’t let anyone tell you what you smell. If you smell blackberries and burnt rubber, then that’s what you smell.”* That’s good because my sense of smell is not as honed as some. When I take in that bouquet from a glass of wine, I know that I have smelled a particular aroma before but usually find it had to place. Grapefruit, tobacco, cut grass are some that I can identify—and in the case of some Sauvignon Blancs—cat pee—or ammonia if that is more appealing sounding.
So, if I was a dog or cat with a sense of smell, I wouldn’t last long…
Where is this going? Well, I was walking along a river trail. It was a warm day, and the sun was playing hide-and-seek behind the scattered clouds. I could smell something, and I knew it was one of my favorite smells. The leaves were just coming out, and it smelled green and moist, with a hint of dusty dryness. I could smell the meandering water slowly flowing along the marshy banks. I felt at peace. The dog that I was walking was a bonus, adding to the therapeutic experience.
Certain smells do trigger vivid memories and feelings:
The smell of sawdust is my father and so is chainsaw exhaust
Jack pine on a hot windless day is my grandparent’s farm
Baking bread is my mom
An outdoor wood fire is time camping with friends. That jacket sure holds onto that odor—and I don’t want to wash it.
Cigar smoke reminds me of a friend that I miss
Coffee tells me the day has just begun
My high school crush wore a perfume that I catch a whiff of from a passing stranger every so often
Old wood timbers take me back to the university building with the creaky stairs
Book pages—well, they just smell nice
Does rain have a smell? It sure does. It smells like rain**
I’m sure I’ve missed a few, but they will come back to me when the wind is just right.
Do you have a favorite smell? Where does it take you?
*He also said that the only person who can tell you if a wine is good or not is you.
**I love the smell of rain, don’t get me wrong, but when it rains, the world kinda smells like worms.
If you are new to Weird Wednesdays, it is my day to share some of my odd writings, or more often, my cartoons: “The Miniscules”(posted on Instagram @lines_by_leon) and “The Untitled” (on Wednesday).
I had started a series of “Hide-and-Seek” cartoons, so this will be my next series called: The Day Before”
The 5 Ws (and one H)
With the advent of the internet, we now had the knowledge of the world at our disposal. Unfortunately, much of that knowledge was fit for the disposal.
Anyone could edit Wikipedia, no one really knew who Jeeves really was—and what his credentials were, Yahoo answers became a way to get your funny tweet onto a late-night talk show before the plug was pulled, and now you can just ask Google, Sire or Alexa a question. Before that, most answers (well, some answers) could be summed up in one or two paragraphs in any of the 37 volumes of the World Book Encyclopedia. You could always ask your dad, but he would probably make something up that would later make you look foolish – Thanks, Dad.
Questions move the world forward. Advances in science are driven by curiosity. Imagine a world where nobody asks who, or why, or where, or…well, you get the idea.
Here are some burning questions:
When news programs do stories on cryptocurrency, why do they always show a pile of physical coins?
Why are oranges the only fruit we call by their color? (I’m not counting blueberries…) “Pass me a couple of yellows, please.”
Is there a word that actually rhymes with orange? (And not just kinda close enough)
Why do we call it a ‘double-U’? It’s clearly a ‘double-V’.
Why do we talk to our pets in grammatically correct sentences?
Honorable Mention: From the mind of comedian, Rich Hall
“Why do dogs stick their head out of the window when they are riding in a car, but they get mad at you when you blow in their face?”