Saturday, February 27, 2010

Faith

Gotta have it. If we intend to be happy, to live our lives with joy, we have to have faith. If that seems obvious, it doesn't make it any less true.

And here are some photos of the blue sky today.



And here's a song from YouTube that makes me happy.

Smile On

And what does this all have to do with faith? How should I know? Just enjoy the song and photos and we'll be deep tomorrow. Have a great sunshine filled day.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Belief

I keep coming back to belief. I think belief determines success in life more than any other factor. Belief in God. Belief in yourself. Belief in your dreams. Belief in love. Belief in other people. I'm not sure how many of those I hold anymore.

Belief in God, yes. That's easy. And that's the most important one. What is our brief time down here compared to eternity? However, our time, brief as it may be, is here now, and dealing with the now is always the problem.

Belief in yourself, I don't know. I'm failed so many times that sometimes I wonder if it's become a habit. I know failure well so it's easy to do, easy to explain away but hard to live with. I think it's why people turn to drinks and drugs. Anything to dull that voice in their heads.

Belief in my dreams, no. I've been letting dreams go over the past few years. I'm middle-aged now. Certain things are simply not going to take place. There's everything in the world, but enough time. Is this wisdom? To learn to love what you have instead of always reaching for more? I don't know, but I do know my heart is tired of trying to fly. There's a lot to seen on the ground, too.

Belief in love, no. How could I after all my failed relationships? I've never been loved or wanted as much as I loved and wanted. I've have several people tell me that they feel the same way, many of them married for years. We can't get the love we want so we make do with the love we can get. It's not such a terrible thing as long as you can live with it.

Belief in other people, the answer in that lies above. People fail us. People will always fail us. It comes with being human. And the only wisdom that applies is forgiving them for their failures so that they will forgive us for our failures.

These wisdoms are not despair. They're realistic. They're reality as opposed to hopeless dreams. Perhaps if we start on the ground, we could build something that would reach to the sky. Maybe small dreams can grow. I don't know. We endure. And endurance carries its own honor and worth.

I'll tell you this: there's nothing I wouldn't give to have someone wholeheartedly believe in me once more.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Cold and gray Monday here. I don't like it, I don't. Want warmth and sunshine and possibly an attractive young lady to rub suntan lotion on my shoulders ... That would be nice.

Bad news tonight: My beloved HP Photosmart 7960 printer broke. On that printer, I wrote five books, years of family newsletters, several plays, hundreds of greeting cards and postcards, countless articles, and much more. Naturally HP doesn't make anything like it now. Its price per page and reliability index has never been matched by HP -- not that they want to. "Planned obsolescence" has destroyed the manufacturing industry. In the printer industry, the drive to create merely adequate printers as cheaply as possible -- while making incredible profits from ink and toner -- led HP to discontinue many of their most reliable printers. Mind you, Epson did it first. The profit motive outweighs customer satisfaction every time these days.

And here's another reason to mourn this printer. I have over $250 in ink for it, and HP no longer makes any printer that uses these cartridges.

I was three-fourths finished with printing the February family newsletter. Somehow I've got to get that last page printed. Perhaps I can print it on the laser. The loss of color won't matter so much since that page is mostly type anyway.

You might think it strange to grieve for a printer, but I'm saddened by its loss. I knew it would eventually break, but I was hoping for several more years. Now I can either attempt to find a used one on the Net and hope it works as well or perhaps cannibalize an used one for parts and attempt to fix mine. Or I can buy a new printer. Sigh.

Hope life is treating well. Talk to you tomorrow.

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

The cold lingers on

I can't seem to shake this cold. The thing I resent the most is how it saps my energy and makes everything a chore. I have things to do! Newsletters to publish! Books to write! Sigh.

And I'm not doing any of them. Bummer.

Well, eventually I'll be better. Hope you're doing well. Talk to you later.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wondering

You might be wondering about the posts on Murder by Dewey Decimal and Murder by the Acre Tuesday and Wednesday. Although I always have both books listed in the sidebar, I was still asked by a regular reader how they could be purchased. So I thought I'd indulge in a bit of shameless promoting. Go forth and buy!

You also might be wondering if I've found any new blogs to read since my current Blogs of Interest have been seduced by Facebook. Yes, I miss Frenzied Feline, Michelle, Trixie, and the others, but I've stopped nagging them about posting. Perhaps one day they will return to regular posting and share more than those tiny tidbits on FB, but until then, let me expand your reading by at least one active blog. It's This Fluid Life by Adam Huckeby. Adam is a friend of mine. He has had several blogs before, but this one seems to be a keeper. He has an interesting way of looking at life, the world, God, families, etc. I think you'll enjoy him. Check the blog out and let me -- and him -- know what you think.

You could be wondering how my health is. Well, it's been a rough two weeks, but I hope I'm finally on an upward trend. Still have lingering symptoms from the flu and my stomach is looking for a new host and we don't want to talk about my diabetes, but despite that, I think I'm improving.

Perhaps, however, you're wondering about Murder by the Mile, the third book in the Measurements of Murder Mystery™ series. Here's a bit I posted recently on the Stephen B. Bagley Books fan page on Facebook:

This time around in Murder by the Mile, Bernard, Lisa, and the chief will confront a vicious murderer obsessed with revenge. And when they realize that someone dear to them is on the murderer's list, they will have to decide how far they will go to protect the ones they love. Also, a wedding, a cat-fight, old boyfriends, old girlfriends, plenty of family troubles, and much more make for a busy month in Ryton, Oklahoma.

I'm wondering if that teaser catches your attention. I hope so. I can't quite commit to a September publishing date yet, but I'm hopeful. If I could just stay healthy, I'd better know how to plan.

Anyway, now that we've wandered all over the place in our wondering, I'll close. Good night. Have a great tomorrow! Talk to you then.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

MBTA Teaser

Murder by the Acre
A Mystery Novel by Stephen B. Bagley

     The librarian and the reporter are back! This time Bernard and Lisa stumble on a body of a local jeweler and ladies’ man in an underground house. As the couple and Police Chief Donaldson investigate, they find themselves drawn into a confusing mystery of lies and alibis that involves the upper crust of Ryton, Oklahoma.
     Questions abound: Who killed him and how? Why doesn't the widow care that her husband is dead? Why doesn't his mistress? What does the mysterious Aventura Corporation have to do with the murder? What is the corporation hiding? Soon events spiral out-of-control as the killer strikes again and again.
     As the three dig for the truth, they upset powerful, vengeful people. The chief might lose his job, but Bernard and Lisa could lose their lives in this suspenseful sequel to Murder by Dewey Decimal.

Read the 1st chapter here!

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       Read Murder by Dewey Decimal, the first book in the Measurements of Murder Mystery™ series!

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

MBDD Teaser

Murder by Dewey Decimal
A Mystery Novel by Stephen B. Bagley

       When Assistant Librarian Bernard M. Worthington finds the body of the dreaded Agatha Ryton-Storer, he has no way of knowing her death will begin a series of murders that will stun his small Oklahoma town & reveal secrets hidden for thirty years. He, roving reporter Lisa Trent & Police Chief Chuck Donaldson must outwit a ruthless, determined murderer. What was stolen from the library safe? What happened to the missing janitor? Why is Lisa a target? Who stole the Ryton family jewels? Why did old Eliah Ryton will his hideous mansion to the city? What secrets does it hold & who is killing to hide them?
      Appealing characters, sly wit, clever plot & chilling suspense mark this first novel in the Measurements of Murder Mystery™ series.

Read the 1st chapter here!

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       More murders abound in Murder by the Acre, the sequel to Murder by Dewey Decimal!

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Books Read in 2010 -- so far

29. **** Breath and Bone by Carol Berg
The stunning and exciting conclusion of the duoloby that started with Flesh and Spirit. Valen has discovered the truth about his life, but it's a truth that makes him a target for kings, warriors, dead men, witches, and worse evils. I hated to see the book end. Recommended.

28. **** Flesh and Spirit by Carol Berg
A interesting, quirky fantasy, the first of a duology. Valen doesn't fit in anywhere and runs away from the restrictive Pureblood Registry straight into a war that will determine the fate of the entire world. Recommended.

27. **** Revision & Self-Editing by James Scott Bell
One of the best books I've ever read on how to better your writing. Lively, packed with great examples, well-organized. I'm going to buy this book for my library. Recommended.

26. *** UFO by Charles E. Sellier with Joe Meier
25. ** The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
24. *** Elyon by Ted Dekker & Kaci Hill
23. *** Lunatic by Ted Dekker & Kaci Hill
22. *** Tragic Magic by Laura Childers
21. *** Chaos by Ted Dekker
20. *** Arctic Drift by Clive Cussler & Dirk Cussler
19. *** Renegade by Ted Dekker

18. **** The City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann
The true story of the disappearance of ledgendary British explorer Percy Fawcett in the 1920s and of the many other explorers who lost their fortunes, lives and/or sanity searching for Fawcett and the Lost City of Z. Recommended.

17. **** Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Do you like steampunk? Do you like alternate histories? If so, Leviathan is the book for you. It has zeppelins, clankers (like Star War walkers), giant living airships, cannons, politics, a prince on the run, and much, much more. The only reason this handsome teen book didn't get five stars was because it's the beginning of a series, and the story leaves you hanging. Recommended.

16. *** Infidel by Ted Dekker
15. *** Less Than Dead by Tim Downs
14. *** Florence of Arabia by Christopher Buckley
13. ** Amberville by Tim Davys

12. **** Whirlwind by Robert Liparulo
Another entry in the Dreamhouse Kings series. The King family moved into a huge creepy house and discovered that it held terrible secrets. The pace is staggering as they rush from one danger to another. This teen book has some truly creepy moments in it. Recommended.

11. *** A Darkness Forged in Fire by Chris Evans

10. **** Altar of Eden by James Rollins
James Rollins's Altar of Eden is a good book, but it dismayed me with its vulgar language in places, and frankly, it's not one of his best. Characters are slight, and the plot has a few holes. Still, Rollins is one of the best thriller writers out there, and I don't think I wasted my money; I just know Rollins has better books in him. Recommended.

9. *** Cowl by Neal Asher

8. **** Crush it! By Gary Vaynerchuk
Crush It! is a great book for anyone who is trying to turn their passion into a life-long career. It's worth your money if you've ever thought about telling your boss where to go and leaving to follow your dream.

7. *** Design it Yourself Newsletters by Chuck Green

6. ***** First Lord's Fury by Jim Butcher
First Lord's Fury is my first five starred book and is the conclusion of an epic fantasy series. (Butcher also writes the Dresden Files series, the basis for the short-lived show on SyFy channel.) I hope he returns to these characters again in a new series. I think there's still plenty of stories left to be told in that fantastic world. Highly recommended.

5. *** Marvel Visionaires Chris Claremont
4. *** Orcs: Army of Shadows by Stan Nicholls
3. *** Robot Titans of Gotham by Novell Page

2. **** The Chocolate Cupid Killings by JoAnna Carl
The Chocolate Cupid Killings is the latest in a mystery series. I've not read any of the others, but I'm going to look for them. It's an excellent cozy. Carl, by the way, also lives in Oklahoma. I love Oklahoma authors!

1. *** The Light of Burning Shadows by Chris Evans

_________

Talk to you tomorrow. Have a great day!

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day 2010

Today is Valentine's Day! Or as I like to call it, Passover ...

I'm sure you're having a great day, all snuggled up to the love of your life, enjoying champagne and chocolate. And I'm so very pleased for you that I will regret keying your car ... later.

No, no, I won't key your car. I'm happy that my friends are happy. So I'm sorry about texting your ex-boyfriends/girlfriends that you want to see them immediately and they should bring whipped cream.

It's a strange holiday. Apparently it's so we can remember St. Valentine, a saint who went around dressed in a diaper and shooting arrows at innocent people before giving them chocolate and roses and eatable underwear ... Hmm ... Seems unlikely, but after all, Bush was elected, and a world that can do that probably has room in it for a man in diapers and a hunting bow. If you'd like to try it, you can probably get a show on the Hunting Channel right after that fishing guy who baits his hooks with his own flesh.

Valentine's Day is also when we remember that terrible massacre where a bunch of gangsters killed another group of gangsters, which upset a lot of people, although I don't see why. I would think gangsters killing gangsters is a sport we should encourage. In face, I've been thinking we should arm both sides in Congress and seal the doors and let them fight it out! Then as the survivors come out, we feed them to rabid batweasels.

Truly the legend of St. Valentine is inspiring and wonderful or so I assume since I'm not taking the time to look it up, but you don't become a saint if you don't do something like that, so it's a safe assumption. Actually, I think I remember it had to do with him marrying a young couple after a ruler passed a law saying no one could marry. Naturally this got him and couple killed, because nothing says Happy Valentine's Day like a state-mandated execution.

Anyway, I hope you're having a great day if you're with someone or alone. Just remember to keep your chin up, particularly if you're eating soup, and you'll be okay. So I'll close with telling you, "Happy V.D.!"

Copyright 2010 by Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Flu day 3

I'm better. Not well, dang it, but better. If I could get a good night's sleep, that would go a long way, but I keep coughing and running a temp and that wakes me up. Maybe tonight will better. Speaking of which, I'm going to bed now. Have a great night, and stay well.

Night.

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Flu day 2

A second day of coughing, sneezing, running temps, etc. Absolutely miserable. I know I'm really sick when I'm not even able to concentrate enough to read a book. I hope I'm better tomorrow or back to the doctor I'll go.

Hope you're doing well. Talk to you tomorrow.

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Monday, February 08, 2010

Friday, February 05, 2010

Friday night

So I have a cold. It's amazing how something minor like that can completely take your energy and initiative. I just want to curl up, drink hot tea, and sleep. Still, it was a fairly good day. I worked until noon and then met Adam at a local Mexican restaurant and discussed a business opportunity. Then I came home, did some laundry, and napped.

This evening, I watched a couple of shows I had recorded on the DVR. Hey, for those of you who watch it, what's up the lighting in Smallville? Apparently no one pays their electric bills. I guess it's meant to convey a sense of realism or perhaps eeriness. Or maybe their sets look shabby, and they think if they keep it dark, we won't notice. Whatever their reasons, it's simply annoying.

I should have taken a few photos of all the snow and ice that we received a few days back. But frankly, I'm tired of it, don't think it's beautiful, and ready for spring. Cold weather is repulsive. I want summer and I want summer now!

Sigh, I suspect it will still be a few months before I'm complaining about the heat. Although I rarely complain about the heat. I like it!

Anyway, that's all I have to say on this chilly Friday night. I hope you're warm, safe, and happy. Talk to you tomorrow!

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Thursday, February 04, 2010

10 Jokes on Thursday

Joke 1: As a senior citizen was driving down the freeway, his cell phone rang. Answering, he heard his wife's voice urgently warning him, "Herman, I just heard on the news that there's a car going the wrong way on Interstate 77. Please be careful!"

"It's not just one car!" said Herman. "It's hundreds of them!"


Joke 2: A family of three tomatoes were walking downtown one day when the little baby tomato started lagging behind. The big father tomato turns and yells at her, "Ketchup!"


Joke 3: A husband and wife were driving down a country lane on their way to visit some friends. They came to a muddy patch in the road, and the car became bogged. After a few minutes of trying to get the car out by themselves, they saw a young farmer coming down the lane, driving some oxen before him. The farmer stopped when he saw the couple in trouble and offered to pull the car out of the mud for $50. The husband accepted, and minutes later the car was free.

The farmer said to the husband, "You know, you're the tenth car I've helped out of the mud today."

The husband looked around at the fields incredulously and asked the farmer, "When do you have time to plow your land? At night?"

"No," the farmer replied. "Night is when I put the water in the hole."


Joke 4: A clergyman is walking down a country lane and sees a young farmer struggling to load hay back onto a cart after it had fallen off.

"You look hot, my son," said the cleric. "why don't you rest a moment, and I'll give you a hand."

"No thanks," said the young man. "My father wouldn't like it."

"Don't be silly," the minister said. "Everyone is entitled to a break. Come and have a drink of water."

Again the young man protested that his father would be upset. Losing his patience, the clergyman said, "Your father must be a real slave driver. Tell me where I can find him, and I'll give him a piece of my mind!"

"Well," replied the young farmer, "he's under the load of hay."


Joke 5: Why is a Laundromat a really bad place to pick up a woman?

Because a woman who can't even afford a washing machine will never be able to support you.


Joke 6: St. Peter and Satan were having an argument one day about baseball. Satan proposed a game to be played on neutral grounds between a select team from the heavenly host and his own hand-picked boys.

"Very well," said the gatekeeper of Heaven. "But you realize, I hope, that we've got all the good players and the best coaches."

"I know," Satan answered unperturbed. "But we've got all the umpires."


Joke 7:An aspiring young lawyer was sitting in her office late one night, when Satan appears before her. The Devil tells the lawyer, "I have a proposition for you. You can win every case you try for the rest of your life. Your clients will adore you, your colleagues will stand in awe of you, and you will make embarrassing sums of money. All I want in exchange is your soul, your husband's soul, your children's souls, the souls of your parents, grandparents, and the souls of all your friends and law partners."

The lawyer ponders this for a moment, then finally asks: "So, what's the catch?"


Joke 8:After the Great Flood was all over and Noah lowered the ramp of the ark, he told the animals, "Go forth and multiply."

All the animals left except two snakes who lay quietly in the corner of the ark.

"Why aren't you going forth and multiplying?" asked Noah.

"We can't," answered the snakes. "We're adders."


Joke 9: Three cowboys were hanging out in the bunkhouse.

"I know that Tex," said the first. "He's going to start bragging about that new foreign car he bought as soon as he gets back."

"Not Tex," the second cowboy said. "He'll always be just a good ol' boy. When he walks in, I'm sure all he'll say is hello."

"I know Tex better than either of you," said the third. "He's so smart, he'll figure out a way to do both. Here he comes now."

Tex swung open the bunkhouse door and shouted, "Audi, partners!"


Joke 10:A herd of cows and bulls are standing in a field. A huge gust of wind comes along and knocks all the cows over, but the bulls just stand there.

All the cows stand up and go back to their chewing.

Pretty soon, an even stronger wind blows through, and all of the cows are knocked to the ground again, but the bulls just stand there.

The cows get back up.

Next, a bona fide tornado comes through and all the cows are knocked clean into the next pasture. The bulls don't move.

Finally, one of the cows asks one of the bulls, "How come the wind always knocks us right over and you just stand there?"

"Isn't it obvious?" the bull replies. "We bulls wobble, but we don't fall down."

***

Talk to you tomorrow!

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

DIY

Write your own post. I'm feeling a big lazy. So just write your own. Try to mention beaches and ocean and deep blue sky with a few white clouds drifting by. That's what I'm longing for as Oklahoma once again prepares for another winter storm. Although this storm is supposed to be less severe than the last, thank God.

I also have a sore throat. And my sinuses are stopped by. Whee. A winter cold to make this dreary season complete.

Anyway, get to writing, and I'll be talking to you tomorrow. I hope.

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Lizard Cowboy

A frustrating evening. Enough said about that.

I wish I wasn't so angry about things. I go around struggling with the urge to scream. And even if I screamed until my throat bled, I couldn't get all the anger out. So I control it. There is no letting go.

I'm a controlled person. Always have been. There's always been two people in me. The one I let the world see and the other one whom I keep hidden. All those ugly things I never share. Those dark thoughts that surprise me with their strength and longing. But that darkness is nothing new. We all have it. We all control it. There is no letting go.

Of course, some people do let go. They abicate their responibility to humanity.Some people give themselves over to their beasts. We see them or their endings on the news. Beasts are dangerous. They kill innocents. They have to be controlled. Or killed. There is no letting them go free.

Not that I have the urge to harm innocents. In fact, I suspect the darkness within me is not so terrible compared to the madmen who have ravaged this world at times. But all things are relative to the one experiencing them. It seems terrible enough to me, and there is no letting go.

Some people call that dark part of us -- the selfish, ugly, mean creature -- the lizard brain. They say it's left over from our ancestors who crawled up from primeval swamps. The lizard brain cares only for its survival and comfort. It would cheat on its spouse for pleasure, steal food from children for its hunger, and burn the bodies of its friends for warmth. Civilization would burn to ashes if we let the lizard roam unfettered.

So we harness the lizard. We throw a saddle on and ride those suckers. Modern day cowboys going the time on our reptilian natures. If we want to be good decent people, we hold the reins. And we don't let go.

Talk to you tomorrow. Good night.

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Monday, February 01, 2010

Another Monday survived

Back at work today, and by midmorning, my head was about to blow off. I got a tension headache that hung grimly on all day. But hey, the day ended, and I ate dinner and watched Chuck and Leno, and then life was better.

Hey, did you notice the new page listings up there to the left under 51313 Harbor Street? Well, there's only one page there so far: Books Read In 2010, where you can go and see what books I've read this and read brief reviews of the ones that received four and five stars. I'll be adding other pages as I think of them. Just a way to better organize information on Harbor Street.

Not much else to tell you. Working on Debt Free At Last! with Kelley Benson. I'm hoping the book will come out this spring. I should know more this week or next as we hammer out the details of what the book will cover and how quickly it can be produced.

I've been playing Lexulous with Frenzied Feline on Facebook. She started out slow and has got a lot better. She's becoming a shark. Don't bet money with her! And don't play with Jean unless you really want to work your brain. She is merciless and clever. My kind of player!

And now I'm going to bed. I hope you have a great night and wonderful tomorrow. Talk to you then.

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