Monday, February 25, 2013


  Sorry but this week's posting has been cancelled due to bronchitis.  Hope you come by next week.  Thanks.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Grant, an author?

You've heard about Ulysses S. Grant the general and president but did you know he also wrote a two volume memoir?  Neither did I.

In May of 1884, Grant found out, as did other investors, that monies they had invested were taken by Ferdinand Ward in a ponzi type scam. This wiped out Grant's finances.  The editors from Century Magazine  had approached him, in the past, about writing articles about the different battles he participated in. Now needing  a source of income, he finally agreed and  wrote about the battle at Shiloh. 

After the success of his article and finding out he had throat cancer, Grant needed to make sure his family would be provided for.   He  decided he could write a book of all the battles and presented the idea to Century (editor's note: some sources say it was Grant's idea, others say it was Century Magazine's).   The editors offered Grant ten percent royalties on a suspected sale of twenty five thousand sets.  He almost signed the contract until his friend, Mark Twain, offered him a better deal,  seventy-five percent royalties or net profit, depending on who you read.

In the beginning, Grant dictated most of the words for his memoirs.  It is reported that he could dictate up to ten thousand words at one sitting.  As a writer, I can only dream of doing so well. As time went on the cancer spread to his tongue and mouth making it hard for him to talk, breath and eat.  And yet, despite the pain,  he continued.

 In June of 1885, the Grant family moved to Mount McGregor, New York, in the Adirondacks, to get away from a terrible heat spell that had gripped New York City , hoping Grant would be more comfortable.   There Grant finished volume two.  On July 23, 1885, a couple of days after completion, Grant passed away.  If that's not dedication to complete something, I don't know what is.  Sadly, he never saw his work published.  Julia, Grant's wife, eventually received  approximately $450,000 from sales.  The  Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant went on to be acclaimed as one of the best military histories ever written,

Did you know about the memoirs?  Did you know he also drew and painted mostly in his younger years?  Have you ever visited Grant's Tomb in New York City?   

Thanks for joining me today.

Sources:, wikipedia,,, - reccomend watching

Sunday, February 10, 2013

It's no wonderland

Well as most of you know the the northeast was hit pretty hard with a blizzard.  Stores were crowded and lines formed at gas stations the day before as memories of hurricane Sandy screamed in their brains.  I live on the south shore of Long Island and luckily we only got about 11" of the white stuff.  Others I know, who live further north, received about 30".  

Since this is what's been preoccupying me, for the last couple of days, I figured I'd share it with you.  It has nothing to do with the fact I am out of shape and have been tired after shoveling that I hadn't gotten to the blog. No that's not it at all.  

                     Route 25 in Suffolk County.             Photo via Kim Maliadis
                      I'm guessing the green light is a moot point right now. 
                      They just had to go out and get that bag of munchies.

My daughter and I tried to make a snowman but the snow was too powdery.  We opted for a symbol of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  Hey, you have to be flexible and work with what you have, right?

   This is really a two story building.  Okay, only kidding, it's a ranch.  I know.  I didn't fool you. : )

   Yeah, my daughter and I had some shoveling to do.  That's three cars side by side.

  I shot this through my backdoor because the screen door was frozen closed.  I couldn't get out.

                 I happen to like this tree, so you get to view it too.

Tell me how you fared with this storm.  If you weren't affected, have you ever been in a blizzard and what did you do to pass the time while it snowed.  Did you get to make a snowman when it was done?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Plug Me In

Today, when I tried to write a scene, after letting my mind wander around a concept and having ideas form and connect, my brain magically turned into a sieve - again.   As soon as I tried to jot them down, sections slipped off to who knows where, possibly a far off secret land where they laugh at my attempts to capture them.   I can still hear their muffled tittering.

Then I thought wouldn't it be great if I could plug something into the side of my head that would record all those thoughts.  Okay, so it might be a bit jumbled but I could sort it out.  It wouldn't be any worse than what I write on paper. Yes, I do everything in long hand first.   Maybe Apple could invent it and call it the I-Brain.   No longer would you have to strain your fingers.   Then they could release an I-Brain ll, three months later, which would also digitally record those scenes you picture in your head like a movie and project them on a screen. This little gem would be smaller and have more color choices.  And three months after that, they would come out with the I-Brain lll.  It could send these images to handheld devices that have a hook up to transfer it to another person's brain.  Brain to brain communication!

Wow.  Just think of the possibilities.  Imagine what ad agencies could do with this. Teachers could teach from their homes and know who is listening.  Authors could pitch without getting tongue tied.  They just project their story into the Brainpad lll to any agent or editor.

Yes!  OMG  We could start a movement. If we get enough people sending out good thoughts to everyone we could change the world.    World peace.  A better, healthier environment.  Better protection for wildlife.  A great tasting non-fattening chocolate.  The possibilities are endless.