Say What?

Being old, I like old sayings. I especially like the old Scottish proverb from the 1600s, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” No, I didn’t actually use it myself in the 1600s, but I think it clearly conveys that you need to make things happen and not just wish for them to happen. However, I’m not sure the term beggars is politically correct these days. I think financially-disadvantaged is now the proper term. “If wishes were horses, the financially-disadvantaged would ride” just doesn’t seem to have the same cachet. And who wants to go ride a horse? Raise your hand if you do.

Put your hand down. Nothing good can come of that.

But there is an alternate version of the saying that I prefer.

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Take the Journey

Not Journey the band. I wish! I really like “Wheel in the Sky” from the boys at Journey including lead vocalist Steve Perry. But wait, if Steve Perry was their lead vocalist, who’s this guy?

Oh, right. He’s the Journey vocalist after Steve Perry left when their albums sucked. That makes sense that he’s playing a free concert locally. Hard pass from me.

But that’s not the journey I’m writing about. I want to get a little contemplative and explore why I am writing this blog and why you may be reading it.

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What Does God Look Like?

I had to write a letter to my 13 year old daughter yesterday for some Church thingy. In the letter, I mentioned that God is not some bearded old man in a flowing robe. Sounds like me on a Saturday morning after not shaving all week. But what if God is exactly that?

What if God is just like one of us?

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My Holiday Accomplishments

The list of all that I accomplished over the holidays is too long to write about, so that’s a bit of luck for you readers. But I can still waste your time giving you some selected highlights. I already wrote about spending some quality time with our dogs. But wait, there’s more!

First thing I did was try not to be such a dick when I was out shopping and running errands. I was inspired by this older pic of Alice Cooper serving others that resurfaced and made the rounds on Twitter recently.

I wasn’t as ambitious as Mr. Cooper, but I tried to hold doors for others and keep a smile on my face. When cars cut me off, I made sure to wave at the drivers with all the fingers on my hand and not just the middle one. I always wonder what the world would be like if each person in the world did those little things every day for a whole year.

I also stayed healthy. I told you about my COVID test. We heard of a friend of the family who got very sick with COVID but is recovering. We also heard of some folks who are friends of friends who have passed away. They predict the omicron variant infection rate in Chicagoland will peak by the end of January. Looks like no indoor public activities for a while still. See you outside in spring!

Professionally, the news I received just before the holidays was bad, and I took some time over the holidays to process it and feel comfortable about my future.

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The Return of … Random Thoughts

I haven’t published a Random Thoughts post in years, and I acknowledge the public outcry, or lack thereof. One of those two. I am responding with a potentially triumphant return Random Thoughts post. So, let’s dive right into my alleged mind.


This current Applebee’s commercial makes me want to NEVER eat at an Applebee’s again.


Our governor has reinstated a mask mandate in the state of Illinois, and it is great. It saves me so much time, because with the mask on when I am out in public, I can get away with less frequent nose hair timmings.


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Once Again, I Lost but Still Won

If you recall, I came in 4th in the April elections, but still won a seat on my local township board. Well, here we go again, but this time I did even worse and still won. I entered my book of short stories in a competition, mainly to get a “professional” review. Well, I’m not sure how professional the review is, but I can’t argue with its accuracy. See what you think. Here’s the review.

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Weight, Hair, & Election Losses

I normally like to wait a day or two after the end of the month to announce my weight loss for the month. I check my weight for several days in a row before and after the last day of the month to verify that I actually did lose weight that month. But here we are a week into May, and I’m still not sure. My weight bounced around like a ping pong ball at a college fraternity beer pong tournament. Up several pounds one day and down a pound the next. A week into May, and about the only statement I am comfortable making is that I didn’t lose any weight. I’m still staring at losing 10 pounds by the end of warm weather in the fall.

My weight loss plan was at a serious disadvantage in April with Easter coming early in the month. My plan to deal with all the chocolate in the house at Easter was to eat it all as quickly as possible. Success!

Easter was quickly followed two days later by the local election that I lost but still won. Yes, third runner-up was enough to be elected. I felt like a kid at a rec league soccer tournament where everyone gets a trophy. But I think it’s official now that this came in the mail …

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The Price Was Right!

After working in sales & marketing for 3 decades, I knew I had to follow my instincts. The $0.99 price was wrong. I just knew it. I could smell it. Sure, I had been making money at that price. Royalties for my book of short stories had been rolling in for 3 months in a row. Take a look at the royalty notifications in my email.

It’s been nice, but not enough to support the cost of my habit of taking soothing foot baths in baby’s tears, especially with COVID driving up the costs.

I knew I had to run a sale. My nostrils flared at the thought of a sale, and I could feel my heart pounding and working harder. Maybe that was from my high cholesterol, but regardless, I just knew it was the right time for a sale. And so, I dropped the price over last weekend … down to $0.00. Okay, maybe that was a bit extreme, but take a look at the results.

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FREE Book!

I had planned to shamelessly and incessantly plug my book of humorous and contemplative short stories about the afterlife from the beginning of the year until now. However, I got derailed with this local election race which I surprisingly won. To get back on the promotional track, I’ve decided to make my book available to you, the loyal followers of this blog, for FREE through Monday. Just link to www.bit.ly/beyondtales to download my book for FREE for your reading enjoyment on your Kindle or Kindle app.

There really are no strings attached. Just download. I hope you enjoy it, and I would be most appreciative if you leave a rating or review on Amazon. Read on!

Rejected!

I had a different post planned for today, but this arrived …

My book has been rejected! Well, almost. I didn’t even get that far with Black Rose Writing. My submission to submit my book for consideration has been rejected. I’m confident that if I keep trying, I’ll eventually get a rejection of the manuscript itself. I can’t promise I’ll try, but I’ll try to try.

What’s that? You’re wondering what manuscript I’m talking about. Well, thanks for your interest. Here it is …

(Editor’s Note: For those of you familiar with this blog and Jim’s shameless book plugs, now is a good time to bail on this post. There will be better posts to read all the way through. On second thought, maybe not based on history. Anyway, your call. If you proceed, you’ve been warned.)

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A Tempting Viral Offer

They need to stop sending me these offers …

I understand that COVID-19 can be a killer. I mask-up. I sanitize my hands. I isolate myself as much as possible. That last one is especially appreciated by all who know me. But the temptation to get COVID so I can qualify for this study is almost too much for a money-grubbing lowlife like me. I sure could use $4875.

I have a safer solution …

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Affection for Rejection

The reviews for my book BEYOND: Tales of the Afterlife are dribbling in like an old man standing at a urinal. Here are some words I pulled from the reviews that have been used to describe the book:

  • Irreverent
  • Deeply Reverent (???)
  • Humorous
  • Well-written
  • Weird
  • Charming
  • Disturbing
  • Goofy
  • Thoughtful
  • Thought-provoking
  • Thoughtless (just kidding about this one)
  • Engaging
  • Dizzying Kaleidoscope of Perspectives and Styles

You can read the reviews yourself on Amazon. Because of those overwhelmingly positive reviews, I’ve made a decision …

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BEYOND: Tales of the Afterlife – A Look Inside Tale #2

The year is 1968. The hot rock & roll bands are the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Monkees, although I distinctly recall girls in my grade school class talking about how much they loved the Turtles. Why can I remember that bit of minutiae and not that garbage day is Tueday?

Anyway, I go back and forth. The Beatles are the greatest rock and roll band ever, right? Sure, we all have our favorite other non-Beatle bands. Mine include XTC, Squeeze, Cage the Elephant, Springsteen & the E Street Band, Wilco, Tame Impala, The Clash, Crowded House, and many others. And I’ll choose to listen to those bands over the Beatles more times than not. But still, the Beatles are tops, right? Right? Well, maybe not.

I’ve been thinking a whole lot about the Rolling Stones recently. They released this song earlier in 2020 around the start of the COVID quarantine.

It’s not a great song, but it’s certainly a good tune that sounds exactly like a Rolling Stones song should sound. They are still producing good new music after more than 50 years! And they’re not half dead like the Beatles. Sure, the Stones lost Brian Jones early on, and Bill Wyman has retired, but Mick & Keith are still going strong with Charlie Watts on drums and Ron Wood on guitar. I’m starting to give the nod to the Stones over the Beatles simply due to longevity.

So, what does this have to do with my book of short stories titled BEYOND: Tales of the Afterlife, available on Amazon? Well, Tale #2 is titled “A Monkee to Die For,” and revolves around a Davy Jones promotional visit to a California record store. In the story, not only is Jones featured in an indirect way, but the Rolling Stones and Beatles also get mentions. My video excerpt in this post from Tale #2 involves a demonic being explaining to a 12 year old girl smitten by Davy Jones that the Rolling Stones may not be as icky as she thinks. Take a look and listen.

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BEYOND: Tales of the Afterlife – A Look Inside Tale #1

I have gotten side-tracked with all this inauguration stuff. I need to get back to hawking my book of 16 short stories titled BEYOND: Tales of the Afterlife while also entertaining you, my valued readers (he said, sucking up to his readers in the hope of making a book sale and earning a few measly coins from Amazon).

In a non-COVID world, I would normally be out on a promotional tour of truck stops and gas stations throughout the Rust Belt of the US reading excepts from the book, with or without the venue’s consent, which can make for an interesting book reading. The readings featuring sock puppets are normally the favorites of people who happen to come inside for a rotisserie hot dog or shower. But with COVID, I have resorted to video readings.

Let’s dive into the first story titled “Doggone.” All 16 stories are connected in some way to the afterlife, and this one finds the lead character, Jerry, waking up in the afterlife confronting God. But not God as humans may typically imagine God. God is in a bit of a different form here, and why not? I won’t give too much away, because I know you are dying to read it (pun intended).

This video clip features me reading about Jerry’s indignation at being the victim of a practical joke played on him by God.

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Greek Geek Gawk

I am sad to say that one of my self-acclaimed and sometimes mildly amusing Mite Be Funny cartoons is NOT the all-time most-viewed post on this blog. It is this monstrosity …

It registers well over 3000 views, and that number continues to grow daily. If you search on Google for “maga hat mark of the best,” my post is at the top of page 2. I hesitate to post a link, but if someone is really interested in the original satirical post on Biblical/political (Biblitical?) numerology, click HERE.

In July, I added this post to disavow the original post as UTTER NONSENSE. It didn’t work. I could just kill the original post, but the views alternately entertain and terrify me. And then this comment from a reader arrived …

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About the Artist

Isn’t the featured image on this blog post a beautiful picture? It spoke to me. It spoke to me and said that it had to be my cover pic for my book of short stories called Beyond: Tales of the Afterlife. However, it also told me that I was too fat, so I didn’t speak to it for a while. But we finally sorted out our differences, and I just knew that it had to be the cover for my book. The biggest hurdle was that I was not the artist and didn’t really know the artist and live nowhere close to the artist and well, you get the idea. It was a longshot. The lesson learned is that sometimes asking is the hardest part. The artist said, “Yes.” She also was cool with me stretching the aspect ratio of her painting to fit better as the cover pic I finally used.

The artist’s name is Linda and here’s her online studio … riverjazz.studio. My personal favorites are her abstracts and florals. Here’s an example of one of them she created just the other night …

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BEYOND – Tales of the Afterlife – A Glimpse Inside & Bonus Offer!

I recently announced the pre-release of my book, now available for purchase for under a buck! But why would you want to purchase? Well, I can give you 16 reasons … the 16 short stories in the book. Well, maybe 15. My editor hates one of the stories that I quite like. You can be the judge. Purchase, read, judge.

Here’s a peek inside at the Table of Contents along with some editorializing on each of the stories …

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