Thursday, December 27, 2012

My first theme song for 2013

The song is really speaking to me, especially after a pep talk today from my friend Stacy.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

40 percent off!


Hey, Happy 2nd Day of Christmas! And here's a great deal! Lulu is offering Tales from Bethlehem at 40 percent off today only! Use coupon code 26DEC at checkout! Here's the link: Tales from Bethlehem.

(Here's the fine print from Lulu: Enter the coupon code listed above at checkout to redeem this promotion. Sorry, but this offer is only valid in US Dollars and cannot be applied to previous orders. You can only use this code once per account, and unfortunately you can't use this coupon in combination with other coupon codes. This great offer expires at 11:59 PM PST, so don't miss out! While very unlikely, we do reserve the right to change or revoke this offer at anytime, and of course we cannot offer this coupon where it is against the law to do so.)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

"Gaudete"

Latin

Gaudete, gaudete! Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine, gaudete!
Tempus adest gratiæ
Hoc quod optabamus,
Carmina lætitiæ
Devote reddamus.
Deus homo factus est
Natura mirante,
Mundus renovatus est
A Christo regnante.
Ezechielis porta
Clausa pertransitur,
Unde lux est orta
Salus invenitur.
Ergo nostra contio
Psallat iam in lustro;
Benedicat Domino:
Salus Regi nostro.

English

Rejoice, rejoice! Christ is born
(Out) Of the Virgin Mary — rejoice!
The time of grace has come —
what we have wished for,
songs of joy
Let us give back faithfully.
God has become man,
To the wonderment of Nature,
The world has been renewed
By the reigning Christ.
The closed gate of Ezekiel
Is passed through,
Whence the light is born,
Salvation is found.
Therefore let our gathering
Now sing in brightness
Let it give praise to the Lord:
Greeting to our King.

Monday, December 24, 2012

An explanation of sorts

Recently someone at a Christmas gathering asked me how I consistently came up with these hilarious, intelligent, wise, heart-warming, inspiring, cheery and witty posts. (I'm just quoting.) I will tell you right now that I am simply gifted. If you buy that, then I will also sell you a few expired lottery tickets.

Truthfully I suspect my output -- such as it is -- is connected to the warped way I look at the world. My mind is given to literal fantasies, if you can follow that, but if not, don't give up. An example follows so calm down.

For instance, suppose someone tells me that his or her heart raced like mad. For most people, that would simply mean that the person speaking was excited. But my mind instantly imagines a heart riding on a horse, the reins held by its little veins and arteries as it spurs its horse to the finish line. Then I have to wonder what it's wearing its spurs on. And what weirdo would make the spurs for a heart, anyway? And spurs need boots ...

I can while away hours doing this, hours that I should be spending losing weight, cleaning my car, stalking Lucy Lawless, cataloging my belly lint collection, etc., all the fairly normal activities of someone who was dropped on his head just a few too many times when he was a baby by his jealous siblings, but that is another story and is neither here nor there, but somewhere around Albuquerque.

Another factor is that I like language, particularly funny words. Like halibut. Now, that is a funny word. Just say it over and over to yourself. Halibut, halibut, ha-li-but. Come on. You're not doing it. Halibut, halibut ... We're not going to continue until you do. Okay, that's better. Isn't that a great word? Tomorrow, say, "Merry Christmas and Happy New Halibut to you and yours!" Next week at work, just say, "Good halibut," instead of "Good morning," and when people ask you how you are, just answer, "Perfectly halibut." Your whole day will be filled with joy, topped off by getting a nice, white coat that will button in an delightfully odd way.

It also helps that we live in a funny world. Well, peculiar is probably the word I should use there, but funny works. You can find humor in most things non-Republican, and even Republicans have been known to crack a smile when an endangered species finally croaks. I find that you have to laugh at some things or you will spend all your time weeping and wailing. Frankly, sackcloth itches, and ashes only get in your eyes, and you can quote me if you are so inclined and wish to send me money since this post is copyrighted 2012.

As for the number of ideas, those come because I read a lot and am interested in almost everything that you can legally be interested in. Right now, I am reading a book on hyperspace, a Southern Sisters murder mystery, a computer book, a book on Biblical archaeology and a book on how to have a second date when the police got called on the first one. This gives me a lot of fodder for humor cannons.

I am also somewhat a klutz in the way that President Clinton was somewhat a liar. I can trip over lint in the carpet and have even stumbled due to the pressure of air molecules. This leads to those wonderful experiences that make great stories afterwards -- Remember the time I fell on the large nun who has holding her pet cat and she threw it in the midst of all those preschoolers who were eating chocolate ice cream? -- but are painful when they happen.

I also have the rare talent of being able to insert both of my feet in my mouth and occasionally have needed to borrow the feet of passing strangers just to fill up that cavernous space that persists in embarrassing me. And no, I will not print any examples. There are enough stories wandering around about me as is.

And finally it helps that my family is made up of such strongly individualistic people. Not only do we march to a different drummer, but we have often marched to an entirely different band than the rest of the world, a band made up of flutes, kazoos, tubas and perhaps a halibut or two.

 From Return of the Floozy, Copyright 2012 by Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved. No copying without express prior written permission from the author and publisher. Thank you for reading.

Merry Christmas!

★*˚°。°*。°*。★*˚°。°*。°˚°★*˚°。°*。°*★*˚°。°*。°*★
° * _██_*˚°。°/♥ \*˚°。°*。°*★*˚°。°*。°*★*˚°。°*。°*★
˛ . (´• ̮•)*. 。*/♫.♫\*˛.* ˛ _Π_____*˚°。*。°*❤*˚°。°*。°*
. ° ( . • .) ˛° . /• '♫ '•\.˛*./_______/~\*˚°。°*。°*°*❤ ˚°*★
.* (.. '•'..) *˛ ╬╬╬╬╬˛°.|田田❤|門|╬╬╬╬╬*˚°。°*。°* ♥
★*˚°。°*。°*。★ *˚°。°*。°*。★*˚°。°*。°˚°★*˚°。°*。★
★*˚°。°*。°*。★ *˚°。°*。°*。★*˚°。°*。°˚°★*˚°。°*。★

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Back

Sorry I've been away. Always assuming anyone still reads Harbor Street. Hard to tell. This is the first year since 2002 that I haven't posted any Christmas Celebration posts, but no one has mentioned it to me. Reminds me of how I'd work so hard to create a family calendar each year, but when I got ill one holiday and didn't make it, not one family member asked about it. The gift I thought was so valued turned out not to be, so I never made another one. To this day, no one has ever asked me why I stopped making them.

It's been a wild year, filled with both tragic and joyous events. And it was the year that supposedly the Mayans predicted would be the End of Days. Or not. The world was supposed to end December 21, but of course, it didn't. We're still here.

We have this fascination about ancient civilizations and often attribute them with scientific and mystic knowledge beyond ours. We should ask that if they were so awesomely powerful, why aren't they around now? Of course, their descendants exist, but none of them hold the power their ancestors did. I guess. After all, our modern appliances and gadgets would seem very god-like to such ancient peoples.

Anyway, I'm back. The world's still here. All our problems and joys remain. We still remain. And that's a good thing.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Review: Warpaint

Warpaint by author Holly Lisle continues the story began in Hunting the Corrigan's Blood, which is Cadence Drake's quest to rid the universe of vampires.

This time the stakes are much larger; the vampire plague is spreading at a terrifying rate. This may be humanity's final days as a free species. Darkout is the term for this extinction event, and Cadence and a brave group of friends throw themselves against the rising tide.

This is not a mindless vampire adventure story. Cadence and her team have to be wise, clever, and fast to stop Darkout. Many of their solutions are twisty and surprising.

I especially enjoyed the discussion and debate about their actions. It's rare to find characters who truly question their actions and the possible repercussions. Cadence and the team read as real people and behave accordingly.

Hints of a possible future romance are in this story, but the story mostly focuses on this fight to the death -- or maybe fight to the undeath. Cadence is carrying a heavy burden, and her desire for vengeance propels her toward a horrifying choice.

Buy this book. Read this book. You'll be pleased.

Disclosure: I received an advance PDF copy of this book.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

You're invited!

The second book signing for Tales of Bethlehem by Stephen B. Bagley is today (Thursday, Dec. 13) at the Ada Public Library, 4:30-6:30 p.m. There will be cookies, appreciation prizes, registration for a drawing for more than $100 of books and merchandise, and, of course, books, books, and more books!

Here's what's in the drawing:
EndlesS by Stephen B. Bagley,
On Target: Devotions for Modern Life by Kelley Benson,
Floozy & Other Stories by Stephen B. Bagley,
Fashion reading glasses with metal case from Dr James Kevin Cunningham of your Ada Vision Source,
Murder by the Acre (Second Edition) by Stephen B. Bagley,
Creations 2012 by Ada Writers,
Norman Rockwell 2013 Calendar from State Farm,
Murder by the Acre kitchen magnet,
Music sampler CD from Christian artist Doug Matlock,
Europa pocket notebook by Eccolo,
Designer bookmarks,
Christmas mug with salt water taffy,
Water bottle with pens from Vision Bank inside,
CD of Christmas music,
and chocolate kisses!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Reception for TFB

Stephen B. Bagley at the reception and book signing for Tales from Bethlehem held November 29 at Karen's Art & Framing, 108 East Main, Ada.





Saturday, December 01, 2012

Book signing!

Here's the story that my local paper ran on the upcoming book signing for Tales from Bethlehem at the Ada Public Library, Thursday, Dec. 13, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. There will be table prizes, registration for a drawing for more than $100 in books and merchandise, Christmas cookies, and books! What more could you need?
 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tomorrow!

The first book signing for Tales from Bethlehem is tomorrow (Thurs., Nov. 29) at Karen's Art and Framing, 108 East Main, downtown Ada, Okla., 4:30-6:30 p.m. Food, door prizes, drawing registration for the grand price of more than $100 in books and cool merchandise, and of course, autographed books that make fantastic Christmas presents for your friend and family and you! 

Hope to see you there!

Monday, November 26, 2012

You're invited!

YOU'RE INVITED!

Yes, you and you and you! You're all invited to the first book signing for Tales from Bethlehem this Thursday, Nov. 29, at Karen's Art & Framing, 108 East Main, Downtown Ada, 4:30-6:30 p.m. 

There will be door prizes, registration for the big drawing, autographed books, and lots of delicious eatables! 

Come and see me! Even if you've already purchased TFB, come by and register to win and lift a cup with me! 

Your smiling face will make my day!


Friday, November 23, 2012

30 percent off!

Right now, you can save 30 percent on Tales from Bethlehem at Lulu.com! Here are the details: United States only. Valid Nov. 23-27. 30% off! Use code DELIRITAS in all caps. One use per account. Here's the link: Save 30 percent on Tales from Bethlehem!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Six things budding authors should know

It recently occurred to me that people do foolish things all the time. Even now someone is thinking about running for president in 2014, which is doubly silly since no sane person wants that job and the next presidential election is in 2016. But be that as it may, I was thinking about those people who wake up one day and say, “I’d like to publish a book!” And even though that only leads to madness and worse, off they go.

I speak from experience. I’m in the middle of publishing a book right now. It’s been nearly three years since my last publication, mostly because it took me that long to recover. However, my creditors were hounding me again, and I embarked on another publishing voyage somewhat similar to that undertaken by the Titanic, but more tragic since it involves me.

The first thing I’d like to say to those people considering publication is this: Don’t. For the sake of your sanity and that of your loved ones, don’t. Please, please, please don’t. Just don’t. Don’t.

However, “those whom the gods would destroy, they first make writers” may be a paraphrase of Longfellow (and others), but it’s true. So writers blithely ignore the disasters that befall their fellow writers. They think, “That won’t happen to me.” This type of thinking is why women marry men who have been previously divorced three or four times for cheating.

The second thing I would say to budding writers is don’t, but I’ve already said that and you aren’t listening. So the second thing is to write everything down. Make notes and write out schedules so you can realize how far behind you are and how you missed your deadlines yet again. These notes will also be important for your state-appointed psychotherapist.

The third thing I’d tell someone thinking of publishing is, of course, don’t, but should they proceed anyway, I suggest getting a pharmacy discount card. This will save you much on the medications prescribed by your state-appointed psychotherapist.

The fourth thing (don’t) is to take a deep breath and remind yourself that it’s not really life or death. Neither of those statements ever helped me worry less, but I thought I’d throw them in here just in case you’re the type of person who is comforted by platitudes.

The fifth thing to remember that even though your book is vitally important to you — even though you’ve sweated and worried and rewritten the thing forty times and given up sleep and wrecked your health — other people, including some of your nearest and dearest, won’t have the same regard for it. In fact, they will treat it with such indifference and general unconcern that the only thing you can do is WRAP YOUR HANDS AROUND THEIR THROATS AND SQUEEZE MIGHTILY!

No, no, no, that’s not right. Is it? My state-appointed psychotherapist says it’s not. So I guess it’s not. No, you should simply remember that when you’re rich and famous, you can have your bodyguards beat them up and toss them out to the curb.

No, wait, the shrink says that’s not good, either. He’s annoying. Apparently the right advice is to forgive them and remain cheerful. Yeah, I don’t see that happening.

Anyway, the sixth thing I’d tell them is for them to buy my book. Yes, yes, yes, that’s the best advice of all.

Copyright 2012 by Stephen B. Bagley. From Return of the Floozy. No copying without express written permission by the author and publisher. Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I can see you. Can you see me?

I used video chat for the first time in August, and while it’s lots and lots of fun — particularly since I was talking to my marvelous nieces and sister — it does have a few serious drawbacks.

First, you have to comb your hair. Bethia buzzed me for a video chat, and I sat down to do that. Fortunately my monitor camera came on before it connected to her, and I was able to see that my hair looked like a rat’s nest — with the rats still there. I turned my camera to the wall, ran my hands through my hair dislodging a couple of pencils and a raffle ticket, and then turned the camera back around, revealing my tousled attractive hair to the camera. I bet the boyish gleam in my eyes was really charming.

Second, your house needs to be clean. Fortunately, my camera only captures a small corner of my house and entrance way, thus I don’t have to worry about the rest of it. I mention this as I look across my living room, which has two piles of laundry to be folded on the chair, several files and six stacks of paper on the coffee table, a box of computer parts and cables and a computer on the couch, and a Mouse Trap game on the floor, left there from when Eric’s grandchildren visited us a week — no, two weeks — ago. I will have to speak sternly to the maid, although Eric keeps telling me that I don't have a maid, and what’s up with that? 

Third, the connection can play tricks on you. I’m MUCH better looking in real life than on video. No, really. Everyone says so, particularly when I’m carrying a sword and pistol, and I usually am. And the audio and video can get out of sync so you look like a character in one of those old Japanese martial arts movies — your mouth moves, but the words don’t start until the middle of your sentence. And finally the connection will drop so just when you’re about to hear the awful truth about Cousin Sid’s fifth wife and the cable man’s cousin and what really happened at the Methodist Church’s Harvest Festival Hayride, the screen goes black.

Fourth, you have to wear clothes. This isn’t a problem as I’m basically a modest person — I’ve been told I was born middle-aged — and even wear clothes in the shower, but a friend of mine decided to use non-video chat to talk to one of her clients. Unfortunately for her, she accidentally hit the video button, and before she could shut it off, her client was treated to a picture of her in her underwear. She was embarrassed beyond belief — even though the client renewed his contract for another three years. Naturally her compassionate and supportive co-workers and family have told this story to everyone they can.

Of course, video chat does have advantages, too. It feels more like being there without all the travel involved, and you can share facial expressions so that people will know when you’re being sincere or rolling your eyes in ways that would get you slapped if they were near you. You can also use it to visually teach someone how to do something — say knitting or how to properly mix rocket fuel — although I don’t know anyone who does that, but you could.

A friend of mine who used video chat for a couple of months finally decided to return to the “old-fashioned” way of communicating. He went back to calling people on his cell phone.

Copyright 2012 by Stephen B. Bagley. From Return of the Floozy. No copying without express written permission by the author and publisher. Thank you for reading.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Save 20 percent!

Through tomorrow, you can save 20% on "Tales from Bethlehem" at Lulu.com! Use the coupon code VETS2012. The offer ends Tuesday, Nov. 13. Remember to tell me when you've ordered one so that I can send you an autographed bookplate! Here's the link: Save 20 percent on Tales from Bethlehem!

Friday, November 09, 2012

"Tales from Bethlehem" arrives

Here are the boxes. They're sturdy.

The publisher guarantees safe delivery so there are
 sturdy inner boxes,also. 
The books are divided into groups of ten and then
shrink wrapped  in the enter of cardboard stiffeners

Here's one out of its protective covering!
Isn't it lovely!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

My new business card


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Error

Over on Facebook, a friend of mine posted a picture of four bushels of green tomatoes from her garden and I posted "I love green tomatoes. I wish I lived closer to you! I'd beg you until you gave me some."

Except what I actually posted -- a typing error -- "I love green tomatoes. I wish I lived closer to you! I'd bed you until you gave me some."

I immediately corrected my error, but no one is letting me forget it.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The long election is over

Okay, take a deep breath. Say a prayer. Believe in God and His plan. Believe in the goodness of ordinary Americans who work beside you each day. And remember this nation has survived wars overseas and wars domestic. It has survived depressions and recessions, it has seen race riots and peace marches, it has marched through history bringing a light to world and a dream of freedom. Yes, it has made mistakes. Yes, it's not perfect. Yes, we all have complaints -- and the freedom to voice them. On whatever side you voted on, remember that we remain Americans, a proud people in the greatest nation on earth. This nation remains ours. We're going to be okay.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Bells


"Bells," one of the poems in Tales of Bethlehem was inspired by "Ring Out, Wild Bells" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Naturally I don't presume to think I reached the mastery of this poem. It's one of my favorites. Read it aloud and feel the rhythms that propel this powerful poem forward to its triumphant conclusion.

Ring Out, Wild Bells
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out thy mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

If you'd like to read my poem "Bells," here's the link to purchase Tales from Bethlehem.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Perfect Christmas gifts!

Christmas is just around the corner! (Yeah, I know.) Here are some suggestions for the readers you know. And remember, I'll mail autographed bookplates to you for the books you purchase when you request them. At the top of the list is the just released Tales from Bethlehem. With the Nativity as its theme, this book is sure to get you into the spirit!
Tales from Bethlehem
By Stephen B. Bagley
Inspirational - Have you ever wondered about everyone else in Bethlehem on the night of the Nativity? These charming and touching Tales will tell you their stories.
Buy on Lulu
EndlesS
By Stephen B. Bagley
Poetry - Enjoy more than 50 sensual & moving poems, including the award winning "Non-Communion," "Torrent," & "Endless."
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Lulu

Floozy & Other Stories
By Stephen B. Bagley
Humor - Laugh at more than 80 hilarious tales from the author's decidedly different life.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble
Buy on Lulu

Murder by the Acre (Second Edition)
By Stephen B. Bagley
Mystery - Who killed the ladies man? Bernard, Lisa & the chief are back! New expanded edition. 2nd in Measurements of Murder series.
Buy on Lulu

Murder by the Acre (First Edition)
By Stephen B. Bagley
Mystery - Who killed the ladies man? Bernard, Lisa & the chief are back! 2nd in Measurements of Murder series.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble

Murder by Dewey Decimal
By Stephen B. Bagley
Mystery - Who killed the librarian? 1st in Measurements of Murder series.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble
Buy on Lulu

Thursday, November 01, 2012

'Tales from Bethlehem" is here!

Until midnight tonight (Thursday, Nov. 1) you can save 20% on my just released Tales of Bethlehem at Lulu.com! I'm so excited by this book! Use the coupon code BRAINFOOD to get the discount. Here's the link: Tales of Bethlehem Sale!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Review: "Hunting the Corrigan's Blood"

Note: I received an advance reader copy of this novel.

When I find a series I like, I always hope the series has been going on for a few years so that I'll have plenty of books to read. Although the sequel to Hunting the Corrigan's Blood will come out next month ("Warpaint," November 2012), that's still only two books. Holly Lisle needs to write faster.

This book starts with Cadence waking up in a locker with dead woman. Things go down for her from there. Cadence and her partner Badger recover lost or stolen items for their owners after the authorities have given up, and they've been given the task of recovering a star ship with extraordinary properties. Unfortunately, the ship is at the center of several dangerous conspiracies, and Cadence finds herself running from planet to planet in a desperate attempt to survive.

The plot twists and turns, and just when the course of the book seems clear, Holly Lisle throws in a huge surprise. I'm not often surprised by an author, but this one raised my eyebrows. Naturally, it's not a pleasant surprise for Cadence; in fact, her little job has revealed a terrible danger for the entire galaxy.

Cadence is an appealing character. She's hard-nosed, holds definite opinions about life, makes mistakes, has a true sense of justice, knows the meaning of regret and love, and has enough heart to temper all her actions with mercy. Above all, she's not a superwoman; she's so human that it hurts to read about her losses.

Don't think, however, this is a romp through space. I don't know if there is a category for "dark science fiction" like there is for dark fantasy, but this book definitely would belong in DSF. Cadence confronts some truly terrible things. How she deals with what she finds makes for an intriguing and fast-paced read. I was truly sorry when the book ended.

Here's the link on Amazon: Hunting the Corrigan's Blood

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mad, I tell you, MAD!


I'm going mad. Just thought you should know. I've spent just about every waking hour working on Tales from Bethlehem. I've been trying to make up the time I lost during my two and a half week illness. Well, now I'm about a week behind. And I am so SICK of being in front of this computer. That's why I'm going mad, mad, MAD!

Anyway, not much else to tell you about last week because of that. And that's what I'm going to be doing this week, too.

Let's see what I have planned:
- Enter in corrections as they arrive from my various proofreaders.
- Tuesday afternoon, book signing for Kelley Benson's On Target: Devotions for Modern Life. This is the first signing any of "my" authors have had. I'm supplying the table and tablecloth and table sign. He's supposed to supply the rest. We've mailed postcards, emailed local people, and (I hope) will have a story in the local newspaper. Sometimes they run stories; sometimes they do not.
- Household chores.
- Hope to get a pumpkin and some mums this week and decorate my porch.
- Clean my desk and get some organization in the piles of paper publishing a book seems to generate.
- Writers group meeting Saturday morning. In which they will each take a Tale and do some proofing for me.

I hope your week goes WONDERFULLY! And if not, you can always go MAD with me!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

First proofreader

Tales from Bethlehem is under the pen of the first proofreader! Woohoo! Corrections away! One step closer to publication. And we're getting down to the deadline in this. Still haven't caught up yet from being ill, but getting there!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

All I'm doing

Doing nothing today except working on Tales from Bethlehem. I'm kind of in a panic about it. Lost nearly two and half weeks because of illness. It was supposed to be published today according to the schedule I gave myself several months ago. Well, we're getting there. Just one Tale to finish and the Notes, and the actual writing will be done. Then it's time for the rewriting editing. Woohoo! It will feel more real to me then. And now I'm out of here.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cured

This piano solo was written and performed by Grant Wilson, former of the TV show Ghost Hunters. It's quite good. Click the link below to go Cloudplayer and give it a listen.

Cured by Grant Wilson

No, I still don't like Ghost Hunters because I don't believe in ghosts, but that's good music. He's talented. You can also go to his blog and read why he quit GH. (He still believes in ghosts. He has other reasons.)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Read the warning first!


WARNING: The following is so delicious that you read at your own risk and I am not responsible for your blown diets or need for larger clothes.

Take four or five chocolate chip cookies or oatmeal raisin cookie. Break into large chunks. Put in microwave for 10 seconds or less; just until they're warm and gooey again. Put two scoops of vanilla ice cream (or yogurt if you want the illusion of healthy) in a dish. Sprinkle crushed warm cookies over ice cream. Devour like a crazed person while making noises of enjoyment that would get you arrested in public.

Repeat at the peril of your waist.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Update on TFB

Due to my recent illness, I'm running two weeks behind on Tales from Bethlehem, but hope to catch up this week. I have one Tale to finish and one Tale to write. And illustrations to put in and so on and so forth. Here's the current mock-up of the cover.




Monday, October 08, 2012

Hey you! Buy my books! Make me happy! Or happier!

EndlesS
By Stephen B. Bagley
Poetry - Enjoy more than 50 sensual & moving poems, including the award winning "Non-Communion," "Torrent," & "Endless."
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Lulu

Floozy & Other Stories
By Stephen B. Bagley
Humor - Laugh at more than 80 hilarious tales from the author's decidedly different life.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble
Buy on Lulu

Murder by the Acre (Second Edition)
By Stephen B. Bagley
Mystery - Who killed the ladies man? Bernard, Lisa & the chief are back! New expanded edition. 2nd in Measurements of Murder series.
Buy on Lulu

Murder by the Acre (First Edition)
By Stephen B. Bagley
Mystery - Who killed the ladies man? Bernard, Lisa & the chief are back! 2nd in Measurements of Murder series.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble

Murder by Dewey Decimal
By Stephen B. Bagley
Mystery - Who killed the librarian? 1st in Measurements of Murder series.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble
Buy on Lulu

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Sleepy

Sleepy. That's what I was all day today. And I did nap. Twice. So naturally I can't sleep now. And I really do need to be in bed. I'd like to keep regular hours. Like regular folks, you know.

It was a good day for sleeping, though. Cloudy, damp, chilly. Just the day for curling up with a book under a soft blanket ... and then your head droops and you're asleep. Sleep is easy.

Except when you need to be asleep. Like now.

Sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep ... you are getting sleepy ... your eyelids are getting heavy ...

But they're not.

Sigh.

All my friends are day people. Or they're forced to be day people because of their jobs or children. That means when I'm up late, I'm alone. Just me. Well, me and those people in my head, many of whom are quite nice and interesting. A couple of them, of course, aren't, and we don't talk to them, but we know they're there.

Anyway, I'm going to take some meds and try the bed again. I may be back. But don't wait up for me. Just assume I'm sleeping and not creeping around, breaking into your house, and going through your belongings. That's probably best for you if you want to get some sleep.

Night!

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Games and the people who play them

I've never understood the compulsion some people have to play games. I'm not talking about chess or football or any regular games, of course, but the people who like to game with emotions and other people's lives. Do they do it for amusement? Because they're bored? Because they have strange needs and goals? Maybe they're just evil.

Whatever the reason, I have little patience with them. Been there, done that, won't be doing it again. Here's a hint on how to handle them: I've noticed they often start a game by telling you a "secret" that they don't want you to tell anyone else. Of course, they always say, "Now, promise you won't tell (whoever is the subject of their game)." I always interrupt them -- rude, I know, but I do -- and say, "Oh, if it's a secret, don't tell me. I tell EVERYTHING. Thanks anyway." Then I walk away.

Because game players like secrets and lies. Nothing sinks their games faster than transparency and truth. Try the next time a game player tries to involve you in their dirty play. You'll be surprised how easily it ends the game. Eventually, they won't even approach you.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Better

Woke up feeling much healthy today. I can breathe without drowning in snot. Yes, I know my friends think I've been focused on snot a lot lately, but it's not because I like snot. It's because I had so much of it. Gallons and gallons and gallons. A lake of snot as it were. But today, it seems the flood might be over. I am so pleased.

And I imagine that you will be pleased, too, particularly since I won't be talking about snot so much. Unless you want me to continue to do so?

I thought not.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Mammon

We have a distrust of wealthy people in the United States. And it's hard not to when you consider how badly many of the most wealthiest have behaved. Consider, for instance, the shameful antics of Paris Hilton or the robber barons who build railroads by enslaving Chinese immigrants or the Wall Street bandits who gleefully devastated the pensions and life savings of millions. We have reason to know that the love of money can compel people to do terrible things.

So we distrust wealthy people. And we should if wealth truly is their god. But many wealthy people became wealthy because they loved what they were doing and the wealth resulted from it. The late Sam Walton comes to mind. He continued to live a fairly simple lifestyle after making his money because the money wasn't his motivator. Or Steve Jobs who pursued his single minded dream, many times not making the money he could have because of his adherence to his vision. When people build something, they almost never do it because they're trying to become rich. They're doing it out of passion.

It's their heirs who usually waste their money on $13,000 hairstyles and $50,000 dresses or $1,000,000 cars. People who don't have to work for their money never learn the value of money or hard work or anything else resembling ethics. They truly are a different species, uncaring and self-absorbed. Naturally there are exceptions, but they don't make the headlines.

Many wealthy people give generously to charities. And not just because they want the tax exemptions, either.  They want the world to be a better place, and they have the money to attempt to make it so. They don't love their money; they love what they can do with it.

Anyway, this distrust is why (I think) that so many Americans who hate taxes will go quiet when taxes on the wealthy are raised. We don't trust what they will do with their money. Part of us says, "They have the right to do what they want with their cash." But another part goes, "Really? Starving children in the world and they're buying diamond-paved toilet seats for $9,000?"

I'm always amazed by the wealthy people who don't understand how this type of outrageous spending offends people, particularly those who are struggling. I suspect they simply can't or won't understand. They've given their souls to Mammon, and he's a terrible god.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Probably going to regret posting this ...

I'm probably going to regret posting this, but I thought it made a lot of sense. And the talking heads made me me laugh!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

A tale of Tales

Had to remove a Tale from Tales of Bethlehem today. It only repeated events already covered in other Tales. I like the main character (Dora Ruth) and maybe her story will get told in another Tale, but not in that Tale. I've lost so much time because I've been ill and still am. I think I'm somewhat better today, but I'm still exhausted. Still, as long as I get a few words and work on Tales daily, it's progress. And progress is good.

Otherwise, not much else to tell you. Hope you're staying healthy. One of us should!

Monday, October 01, 2012

Nothing

That's what I did last week: nothing other than being sick, taking meds, going to doctors, sleeping, coughing, wheezing, sneezing, and other unpleasant things I won't mention. I had hoped I'd be over it all by now, but the cold lingers on, my IBD flared due to the meds, and I threw my back out while doing my best impression of a possessed Linda Blair. Well, that's life sometimes.

This week, I intend to make more progress on Tales from Bethlehem. At least when I was sick, I did a lot of writing in my head and solved a huge problem in "The Cook's Tale." Otherwise, not much else is planned other than doing what chores I can and what marketing I can. And doing my best to get healthy.

Hope y'all have a great week.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Threes

Things we hold
things we held
slip away

Hopes we hoped
dreams we dreamed
melt away

Beyond this fog
beyond this rain
a sun rises

Beyond this sadness
beyond this anger
joy abounds

Gather your loves
hold your dreams
walk in the sun

Share your tears
release your anger
love each other

Copyright 2012 by Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved. No copying without express prior permission from the author and publisher. Thanks for reading. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hey, you bought my books yet?

EndlesS
By Stephen B. Bagley
Poetry - Enjoy more than 50 sensual & moving poems, including the award winning "Non-Communion," "Torrent," & "Endless."
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Lulu

Floozy & Other Stories
By Stephen B. Bagley
Humor - Laugh at more than 80 hilarious tales from the author's decidedly different life.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble
Buy on Lulu

Murder by the Acre (Second Edition)
By Stephen B. Bagley
Mystery - Who killed the ladies man? Bernard, Lisa & the chief are back! New expanded edition. 2nd in Measurements of Murder series.
Buy on Lulu

Murder by the Acre (First Edition)
By Stephen B. Bagley
Mystery - Who killed the ladies man? Bernard, Lisa & the chief are back! 2nd in Measurements of Murder series.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble

Murder by Dewey Decimal
By Stephen B. Bagley
Mystery - Who killed the librarian? 1st in Measurements of Murder series.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble
Buy on Lulu

Friday, September 28, 2012

But I will

When I had a job, I always looked forward to Friday because its arrival meant the weekend with its glorious freedom was nearly here. Now, Friday is just another day that I work on my computer and try to make a living from my writing.

Well. Things could be worse. I remind myself of that often. And I do have many, many blessings that the majority of the world does not. Roof over my head, food on my table, health that could be better but not life-threatening, books to read, nieces and nephews to love, good friends, and many other things that bring me joy. When the black dog grabs my ankle, I need to beat him away with the knowledge that I am loved and are worthy of that love. Easy to say, but somehow very hard to do.

But I will.

Hope you have a great Friday and wonderful weekend.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Strawberry

I thought I was finished for the night, but I guess not. Something happened tonight, something bad. That seems to be the way of it lately. It's not something I can share since it's not my secret. It belongs to other people who are trapped in a terrible dance of lies and deceit and God only knows where it will end.

I gave my usual advice when asked -- that the truth is always best since it will eventually come out anyway, that there are trained professionals who can help, that life will go on, and that God really does care for us no matter what.

All the usual truths, the advice that no one takes, the words we all nod our heads to while thinking, You don't understand.

So now I'm realizing how outdated I am, how old fashioned. How utterly ... romantic.

See, I still believe in love in first sight. I still believe that two people can heal their broken hearts. I still believe in babies and puppies and apple pie and vanilla ice cream. I know all the words to The Star Spangled Banner and sing them loudly at ballgames. I like church and the people who go there. I also like books and old movies and playing Scrabble and Uno. 

I told a girl a long time ago that I believed in people having space in marriages and that they should have their own lives. I only said it because I wanted to not scare her off, but I tell you now and will tell her if I get the chance that I didn't mean a word of it. I believe in best friends who love each other and would rather spend their time together than apart, and if you don't have that in your marriage, you should fix it or get out. And I believe you can fix it if you both want to. 

Why state this all of this when it is probably not much of a secret to anyone who reads this blog? Because I feel threatened lately. I feel pressed. I feel the world closing in. I watch people I love tear themselves apart, and I have to repeat to myself to what I believe and why this life is worth living.

It's a promise to myself. It's a reminder to keep my head up. It's a binding of heaven and earth. It's a prayer.

It's a prayer.

There's a Zen story that goes something like this. A man was walking along a path near a cliff when a bear began to chase him. To escape, he started to climb down the cliff, but halfway down, he hear a growling below him, and it was a pack of wild dogs leaping up at him. He couldn't go up and he couldn't go down, and his hands were getting tired. Just then he saw, growing out of the cliff, a wild strawberry plant with one ripe berry. The berry was red, plump and beautiful. Letting go with one hand, he reached out and picked the berry and ate the berry. It was delicious.

And he smiled.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Buy my books!

EndlesS
By Stephen B. Bagley
Poetry - Enjoy more than 50 sensual & moving poems, including the award winning "Non-Communion," "Torrent," & "Endless."
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Lulu

Floozy & Other Stories
By Stephen B. Bagley
Humor - Laugh at more than 80 hilarious tales from the author's decidedly different life.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble
Buy on Lulu

Murder by the Acre (Second Edition)
By Stephen B. Bagley
Mystery - Who killed the ladies man? Bernard, Lisa & the chief are back! New expanded edition. 2nd in Measurements of Murder series.
Buy on Lulu

Murder by the Acre (First Edition)
By Stephen B. Bagley
Mystery - Who killed the ladies man? Bernard, Lisa & the chief are back! 2nd in Measurements of Murder series.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble

Murder by Dewey Decimal
By Stephen B. Bagley
Mystery - Who killed the librarian? 1st in Measurements of Murder series.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble
Buy on Lulu

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

If only there could be a timeout

I'm so eager to get this election over with. Both sides seem filled with anger and bitterness. If I could, I would vote for neither of them. Or send them into a timeout in separate corners like the loud, rude, children they're acting like.

Unfortunately, I can't.

And of course, there will still be anger and bitterness after the election is over, but it should die down some. I hope so. I am hardily sick of it. I haven't lost any friends over it yet, but I tell you that it's been a close thing more than once.

Grow up, people! Or at least try!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Unworlds

I admire the people who come alone to the gym. I see them sometimes. They forge ahead, sometimes listening to music, sometimes talking on their cell phones, sometimes just walking, walking, walking, but they're there. I make a point to smile and say hi to them. Some of them respond eagerly, some friendly, some not at all, and some act startled. Strange that a simple greeting can cause such reactions. But we don't live in a friendly world, so I guess it's not that strange that someone being friendly can cause that reaction.

Occasionally I'm at the gym alone. I always make sure to bring my old iPod and crank up the music. It's a change for me and quite relaxing at times just to exercise with only my thoughts in attendance. I find that I can involve myself deep enough in a daydream to almost forget the strains of exercising. I can't completely shut the world out like I did when I was kid, but I'm been told that wasn't very healthy the way I did it. It's not good when your fantasy world becomes more "real" than the real world, if that makes sense. Although it has certainly helped me write plays and novels, that ability to live in an unreal world. So who knows?

I think most authors have to have the ability to shut the world out. Fictional people have to move us. Fictional places have to reside firmly in our mind's eye. Events, good and terrible but all untrue, have to unfold for us. We live with one foot in this world and one in unworlds. There's just a thin line between writing and madness. I guess the world decides if we've crossed it.

The thing is ... sometimes ... I think my fictional worlds for all their danger and drama are much better than this world. And that's when I have to stop writing for a day or so to allow me to readjust. I know where the lines are. Really I do.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pool table

Seems I get my thoughts organized like the balls on a pool table, and then wham! Another thought comes along and knocks all the other thoughts various ways, and I start the process of putting them in order again.

Here's a few thoughts:

I can't make anyone buy anything. All I can do is offer them a product, talk about the value of a product,and hope the customers see it's worth their money. This is true for books, cards, cars, etc. Advertising agencies talk about "creating" a need in a customer, and I do believe you can influence a customer to think that they need a particular item, but it takes time and many ad impressions.

For self-published books, authors are the best salesmen. If the author doesn't sell, sell, sell, the book will die, die, die. Don't expect e-books to change that.

I don't like e-books. Oh, I can see their attractions and uses, but the best e-books seem to be the ones that were ported over from print books by the major publishing houses. The majority of self-produced ones are riddled with spelling and grammatical errors and simply bad writing. I have read several good self-produced e-books and a hundred or so bad ones. It's all well and good to say the gates are down and information flows free, but there's a lot of merit in having discriminating gatekeepers. I guess the consumers are the gatekeepers now. And maybe the technology.

And now some pertinent info.

Last week I mostly worked on Tales from Bethlehem. It's now in the hands in my first proofreader. He's found several errors so far, which I always appreciate. After he's finished (by the end of this week, I hope) then it will go to my friend Jean to catch everything he missed. (No pressure, Jean!)

Saturday, I attended writers group and gave a very short program on the various rights authors can sell.

This week, I will
- Work on Tales from Bethlehem. Entering corrections and lengthening one of the final Tales and finishing another new Tale.
- Continue to help my two authors promote their books.
- Chores.
- Walk at least three times.

That's a bit vague, I know, but those are what I have lined up ... until another thought comes along.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Flickers

Been feeling ground down lately. Stressed by the day-to-day uncertainties of life. Finances remain a major worry. I waver between being a miser, hoarding my coins, stretching funds as far they can go, and being a spendthrift, tossing money at books and toys, defiantly baring my teeth at my creditors. This does not make a sound financial plan. I think I might be crazy.

Sometimes out of the blue, the loss of my parents hits me in the face. It's strange the things I will remember about them. I miss talking to my mother. Miss the Sunday morning phone calls from my father. I don't like visiting their graves. Don't like being reminded of what is lost. And besides, I know they're not there.

In the end, no matter how strong-willed we are, no matter how much we cling to life, no matter how hard we fight, in the end, we all pass away. We all go into the unknown. In the end, we all die.

And it always seems that our lives are too brief, mere flickers of flame in the storm-tossed dark. Every moment is precious because it will not come again, and yet, it is impossible to live each moment to the fullest. We were not made to be constantly on the edge of life. We have down times and off times, low moments and sad moments. We cannot be rejoicing all the time, and if we were, how would we know what to rejoice in? If we had no darkness, how would we know that a moment filled with sunlight and laughter should be cherished?

Perhaps that is what Heaven truly is: Bright moments that we know are bright for which we do not have pay for with darkness. Pure rejoicing with no taste of the bittersweet. To dance in the infinite sunlight as the stars sing forth praises.

There are times I long for a place I've never been. Do you?

Friday, September 21, 2012

25 Random Things (Updated)

1. I don't like my middle name and have often wished I had asked my parents how they came up with it.
2. My dad had seven sisters and one brother.
3. I fell and broke my arm in two places backstage before a production of Oklahoma! by the local community theater. My left arm has never been the same.
4. I miss my mother and father often. They were taken too young.
5. I hate washing dishes. Someday I will have a dishwasher! Besides me, I mean.
6. I like to cook, although it's less fun now that I have to focus on low carb meals.
7. I am a fan of White Collar and Leverage.
8. I have a fish named Spencer after Winston Spencer Churchill.
9. My first computer was a Tandy 1000. I saved for months to buy it. My current computer is an HP Pavilion. It's a good little thing.
10. My main characters on World of Warcraft are mages. I don't enjoy playing other types.
11. I used to play Dungeons & Dragons in college. A group of my friends and I still get together and play every year or so, but it's harder now because we all have commitments. Scheduling is a real problem.
12. My next book will be Tales from Bethlehem, a book about Christmas mostly written not during Christmas.
13. I don't have respect for either political party these days, which makes it easier to make jokes about them.
14. One of my favorite TV shows is Last of the Summer Wine on PBS.
15. My favorite hymn is Amazing Grace.
16. If something gets my attention, it is quite easy for me to become obsessed with it.
17. I think electric cars are the ultimate in cool. If I could, I'd live in a solar home that generated enough power to charge my car.
18. I often regret that I didn't have any children, but then I see the living hell some of my friend's children have put them through and continue to do so -- and I count my blessings.
19. I really think most doctors are only in it for the money. And I detest most of them.
20. I once accidentally dated a married woman. She didn't tell me she was married until we had dated three months. I was very upset when I found out and immediately broke it off. She dropped out of college because she said she couldn't bear to see me every day. I hope she finished her degree somewhere, but I don't know.
21. I've always lived in Oklahoma and proud of it.
22. I love eating at Rib Crib. And La Fiesta.
23. I have blue eyes.
24. I wear contacts and glasses because my vision is so bad.
25. Barq's root beer should be served in an ice cold mug. I like it that way and have my own mug. But I since I rarely drink soft drinks anymore -- and when I do, they're diet -- I haven't had Barq's in months now.

Buy the Second Edition of Murder by the Acre here!
2012 Oakleaf Harbor Christmas Cards now on sale!
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Amazon.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in paperback at Lulu.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in hardcover at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Barnes&Noble.com

Buy Murder by the Acre at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by the Acre in soft cover at Lulu.com

Buy Murder by the Acre in hardcover at Lulu.com

Buy Floozy, MBTA & MBDD items and more at Oakleaf Harbor

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Important things you should know

With the right rockets attached, pigs fly just fine. Remember this when people try to stomp on your dreams.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Made for more

It comes down to this: Every second we live is a second closer to death. Most of us prefer to not think about it since it doesn’t seem healthy to dwell on our approaching demise. There are a few rare (thankfully) individuals who focus on death, sometimes to the extreme of choosing to commit murder or suicide or both. But most of us live our lives in the now. No one knows when they’re going to die, which allows us to make some terrible choices since we think we’re going to survive the consequences of our foolishness. Youth makes us immortal, we erroneously think.

All religions focus on death, or really the afterlife. It seems inconceivable to us that we won’t survive in some fashion, be it Heaven, Nirvana, or merging with the Cosmic Flow. To think of the earth as a staging area or a practice arena for what comes next helps many of us to find meaning in our lives. Other people choose to hedonistically live for the pleasure now. “You only get one life; live it to the fullest.” A slogan that seems to be particularly popular for selling beer and sport cars.

Time overwhelms us. If you think about all those nameless people who went before us and all those who will follow us, you can feel lost in the multitudes. Few of us will achieve the fame to be remembered 100 years from now – not that such remembrance could factor into our lives now because we won’t know if we will be remembered or what we will be remembered for. The vast majority of us will not be remembered here.

You have to shy away from such knowledge, you know. You can’t live your life with eternity peering over your shoulder. The responsibility of living for the future can drain away your joy now. There is a balance we should seek between now and eternity, between pleasure and responsibility, and between us and other people. “Moderation in all things,” to quote a very wise man.

Balance. There’s the rub. How to gain it. How to keep it. How to be an adult in a world that celebrates bad behavior. We’re not a society that appreciates good behavior. Bad behavior will get you on a so-called reality show. Bad behavior will get your name in the tabloids. People will know you if you have more money than sense, cheat on your lover, steal money from friends, curse to shame a sailor, and perform other egregious actions. It helps if you can blame your actions on a substance abuse problem. That way you can go into detox, and the stories you’ll tell and will be told about you! You won’t be happy, but you’ll be busy with yourself, and isn’t that what life is all about? If you kill yourself later on, well, that’s sad, but you might even get songs written about you and at least one made-for-TV movie on one of the thousands of cable channels.

But we’re made for so much more. We can be a light to our friends. We can be kind to our enemies. We can leave the world a better place than we found it. We can be adult and reasonable and sane and right. Not because there will be a reward for it down here – because there probably won’t be – but because it’s the right thing to do. When we humans finally do the right thing because it’s right and not because we’re rewarded for such, then we will have finally at long last grown up.

I hope it’s soon. Don't you?

Buy the Second Edition of Murder by the Acre here!

2012 Oakleaf Harbor Christmas Cards now on sale!
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Amazon.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in paperback at Lulu.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in hardcover at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Barnes&Noble.com

Buy Murder by the Acre at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by the Acre in soft cover at Lulu.com

Buy Murder by the Acre in hardcover at Lulu.com

Buy Floozy, MBTA & MBDD items and more at Oakleaf Harbor

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Religion versus science

Over at a friend's blog some time back, an atheist wandered by and engaged the group in a discussion. After a hundred or so comments, I was inclined to join it. Here is what I wrote:

Like a bear drawn out of his den, I will finally comment on this debate. I was lured out by the mention of physics, which as y'all know, I love the way some people love chocolate.

However, this debate, to my disappointment, has no physics in it. Sigh. Since I'm already awake, I'll throw in and hope that if I can't inject clarity, I will at least not increase the muddiness of the water. I won't promise to reply to any comments, but I might, although if my past behavior is a good indicator of my future behavior, I won't.

As I understand it, (the atheist) is asking Christians to prove there is a God of some sort. That question cuts both ways: (the atheist) could be asked to prove there isn't one. Either way, the answer is the same. You cannot prove the existence or non-existence of God in a concrete, scientific fashion. Many intangibles fall into this category. And since they can't be proved, it is certainly within rational limits to decide for yourself that they don't exist. I don't agree with that decision, but I can understand the reasoning behind it.

Let's not fault science in this. Science isn't meant to prove or disprove matters of faith. This recent incursion into the religious arena is only because religion decided to insert itself into science. The scientists have responded in depressingly like fashion to the attacks that zealots have inflicted on their ranks. This is not to say that science is blameless. Many scientists' obvious contempt for religion only infuriates their opponents. I well remember my college biology profession telling my entire class that "Evolution proves there is no God." Why, no, that's not what evolution proves. That's not what it was meant to prove. You can use it in that way, but it demeans the science involved. Science is supposed to be about facts, not beliefs. But science is done by people, and every person carries a burden of beliefs. Those beliefs influence science. Science, however, tries to be -- and mostly is -- a self-correcting process. New knowledge informs previous theories, and the theories are adjusted. Sometimes this adjustment takes years because scientists like to hold on to cherished beliefs as much as the next person, but the process is unrelenting, unforgiving, and uncaring in its progress. Eventually a new, better theory results.

Frankly, the battle between science and religion is a poor use of time for both sides. People will believe what they choose to believe and then find the reasons to justify that belief, despite all evidence to the contrary. Humans have always been that way, and I don't see us changing any time soon. All that really happens when science and religion clash is that a lot of rhetoric is generated; both sides get to score dubious points; the worst among us insult people of differing beliefs; etc. That doesn't mean that people can't or shouldn't share how they view the world, but as soon as voices are raised and potshots are hurled, it's simply not productive. There are people who make it their hobby to generate noise and fury. I generally find them to be a waste of breath and often think their bodies should be painfully recycled into the earth.

As most of you know, I love science and the church equally. I am a cantankerous Christian, a Southern Baptist with Pentecostal roots with a toe in Buddhism. I am also a rational Christian, if you can fit your mind around that concept. How this translates into behavior is as follows: To pray for healing and to use doctors. To believe God created the heavens and to accept the latest findings about how the cosmos formed. To acknowledge the limits of faith as well the boundaries of science. To remain grateful for the gift of intellect and the gift of life in which to use it. To believe that life is too precious to waste since we will be dead infinitely longer than we will be alive, and while we know there is an afterlife, we also know that we won't be here on earth to help those around us.

I am quite sure this all sounds too depressingly adult. It's much more fun to wave our arms around wildly and claim the earth is 6,000 years old or that the dinosaurs were killed by the Flood or that string theory proves the nonexistence -- or existence -- of God or that God is merely a higher dimensional being (as per Flatland) or that cargo cults are a good analogy for all religious behavior, and so on and so on.

For me, it comes down to this: I know that God exists. He loves me. He sent His Son to die for me. Amazingly and wonderfully, He found me worthy of such a sacrifice. I wish and pray more people had that belief. I think they would be happier if they did. But they have the right not to, and I will not gainsay that. I only require that they grant me the same indulgence as I grant them.