OJ Simpson interrupts soap operas once again

OJ Simpson’s done it again— not the double-homicide which he got away with in spite of the blood trail that led to his house, but the other awful thing he’s done—- interrupting soap operas.

His trial caused my soaps to be interrupted so regularly that I think they never got their viewership back— which is why 2 of them were cancelled a few years back. And the other day my sole surviving soap, General Hospital, had a massively exciting episode featuring the kidnapping of a kid— only we had to watch OJ Simpson lying at his parole hearing instead.

I AM interested in the OJ case. I feel sad for the fact that Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman had their lives cut short, and that their families never got to see the killer convicted. I feel horrible that Nicole Brown Simpson’s children had to be raised by their mother’s killer.

I even feel compassion for OJ. He’s a sinner like the rest of us. But I can’t help but think he’d be better off if he had told the truth.

Imagine if OJ, the second he got done with the murders, had experienced a moment of clarity. Imagine if he had run into Nicole’s house and called the police, announcing he had just killed his ex-wife and a friend of hers in a moment of madness, and he had kept proclaiming his guilt even when lawyers wanted him to try an insanity plea.

The crime would have been considered a crime of passion. There is a long history of men who catch their wives with a lover getting no jail time for killing the pair of them. Confessing immediately would have played into that. He might have been able to plead to some lesser sort of homicide and done very little jail time.

He would probably have lost custody of his kids, at least during his imprisonment. But that would have been good for the kids. It must be scary to have as your sole parent the dad that murdered your mom.

OJ would have lost a civil wrongful death case, as he did in reality. But with a criminal conviction there would have been little attention paid. And having owned up to his guilt OJ would not have been able to justify holding back his possessions from the Goldman family.

So— at the time of the robbery, OJ’s debt to the families of his victims would have been long paid off. None of OJ’s personal possessions would have been in the hands of memorabilia dealers, so he would not have gone to jail for nine years. His jail time for the crime-of-passion killings would be long over.

And right now, today, OJ would probably been looking back on years of gainful employment after the killing. No one would be yelling ‘murderer’ at him on the streets because he himself had acknowledged his guilt and paid the price. Even Fred and Kim Goldman would be close to being able to forgive by now, though they could never forget.

I kind of think that’s part of what the Bible means about the truth setting you free.

 

I think it would be a good thing for all of us who have followed the OJ case to take a moment to pray for all involved. Even OJ Simpson.

Worldbuilding Wednesdays: Clothing

Author Rebekah Loper has this blog hop called Worldbuilding Wednesdays. In spite of the fact that today’s theme is about clothing, I’m going to participate. Here goes! http://rebekahloper.com/worldbuilding-wednesdays/

My current WIP is for a series I have envisioned called ‘Revenant Nation.’ It’s a near-future political dystopia in a world where zombies are real, but not as dangerous as the pro-totalitarianism Rosa political party.

Some of my characters are a part of the Settlement movement, where people leave the Rosa-party-controlled urban areas and create rural settlements where they live old-fashioned, more self-sufficient lives.

Settlements started out as a way to protect Amish communities. Christian Settler women commonly adopt modest-dress fashions, which are of several types.

Neo-Amish styles use the exact same patterns that Amish women use for their dresses. But brighter colors are allowed. Also, some who use Neo-Amish dress allow themselves some print fabrics for the apron and cape of the standard Amish dress, or print dresses with plain, usually white aprons and capes. These styles are most popular with Amish fiction fans.

Pioneer style dresses honor the women of the pioneering age. They are also called Laura dresses after Laura Ingalls Wilder. These dresses are almost always worn with sunbonnets. The dresses themselves are often more like 1970s versions of the old styles.

Trachten styles are based on the official national and regional styles of dress from Europe, and also on the dirndl style of dress. Many women seek out the trachten style from the homeland of their ancestors. Others pick a long-skirted version of the dirndl dress. Plain versions are made for everyday use, and fancier ones for use going to church, synagogue or mosque. Clothing styles based on national dress of non-European nations are considered to be in the trachten category, and most seamstresses who make dirndls and other trachten styles have patterns for Asian and Middle Eastern costume as well.

Denim jumpers are used by most settler women for outdoor chores. In some families these are the primary style of dress.

Men tend to not follow these styles too closely. Men tend to wear jeans with plaid shirts for work/everyday wear. For more formal occasions Western wear or Amish mens’ clothing are the inspirations.

American Indians, whose reservations provide a legal basis for the Settlements, have adopted an odd style of dress which is a combination of Indian styles and fantasy-world elven costumes.

The style of Rosa party members, by contrast, is unisex and immodest versions of contemporary fashions.


Fantasia Hearth – Worldbuilding Wednesday – Clothing  This is today’s post by Rebekah Loper, founder of the blog hop. It was nice to discover I’m not the only woman on the planet who was taught to sew in childhood. Nor the only one intimidated by today’s fabric prices.

 

Blonde or blond? They’re, there or their?

Words. Writers use them, and so need to know a lot about them. But some writers have difficulty with some word choices. Here are a couple that can be problems.

Blond or blonde?

Neither is a good old Anglo-Saxon word. They come from the French language, and the thing to remember about French is that in French, words have sex. (You may now have a moment in which to picture French words having sex.)

Blond is the masculine form. When the word is used as an adjective (describing word) it will be describing a male person or a group of males. It should also be used for mixed sex groups: “the blond Swedish children eat kimchee on their pizza.”

Blonde is the feminine form. “The blonde serial killer needed to go to the grocery store for milk and to the gun store for more ammo.” Use ‘blonde’ to describe women, girls or groups of them.

Sometimes the words are used as nouns. “The blonde is studying calculus, Latin and philosophy.” “The third blond to the left was the one Mark picked as a dance partner.”

There is a stupid custom in modern times about telling jokes about blondes being stupid. Since blond hair color is restricted to certain ethnicities (unless a dye bottle is involved) this is a racist custom. It’s like saying people with very dark skin are stupid. Not very civilized.

Some educated writers don’t think this distinction belongs in English and they use ‘blond’ universally. Though they avoid using ‘blond’ as a noun to avoid confusion.

They’re, there or their?

This is something very commonly taught in grade school. At least it was when I was in school. Maybe these days they are too busy indoctrinating the kiddies that Republicans are ‘racist’ to get to the basics.

‘They’re’ is a contraction of ‘they are.’ So the best way to check the correction of your usage is to replace ‘they’re’ with ‘they are’ and see if your sentence still makes sense.

‘There’ is about a place— a place that is not here. ‘We went there because they have great crullers.’ Sometimes the place is more abstract. ‘There you are wrong, my friend.’ ‘There’ has a few other uses— check your dictionary.

‘Their’ is about the pronoun ‘they.’ It means there is something that belongs to ‘them’ in the sentence. “Their house is full of eels.”


Some blog posts I’m reading:

By the Book: Summer Reading Lists    This is a list of great books that high school kids might be asked to read over the summer. They sound like the would be worth reading by older people as well. Especially “Strangers on a Train”, I didn’t even know that was a BOOK!

Biblical Evidence for Catholicism: Atheist Deconversion Story Series #2: Lorna     This blog is written by my friend Dave Armstrong, a former Protestant who is now a Catholic Apologist. He’s written a number of books and often debates online people with different world-views. In this particular post he examines an atheist woman’s deconversion story— how she journeyed from a ‘fundamentalist’ Christian childhood to her current atheist position. He treats Lorna’s story with kindness and respect, but points out the reasons why he thinks her story is not proof that we should all take up an atheist position.

How many zombies are in a zombie apocalypse, anyway?

In Memory of George Romero (1940-2017), inventor of the modern zombie film. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine on him….. (Because we don’t want him to come back as a zombie!)

I remember watching a much-censored TV version of Night of the Living Dead as a kid. The zombie outbreak in the film was a local one, and was caused, as was everything in the Sixties, by mysterious radiation. But what about the REAL zombies? Or, OK, the more realistic ones? How do they grow from a local problem to a cool global zombie apocalypse like in The Walking Dead?

Most of us assume the zombie condition is caused exclusively by bite-to-bite transmission. That is, a person is bitten by a zombie, dies, turns, and goes on to bite others. But can this mode of transmission lead to a global outbreak? I mean, it wouldn’t take more than a few transmission events before people got the clue that it was a really bad idea to leave zombie-bite victims unattended. If human beings were to routinely shoot newly dead zombie victims in the head— or maybe all newly dead— a zombie outbreak wouldn’t likely reach outbreak levels. It might become a part of the death ritual— like the way they smack a newly dead pope in the head with a silver hammer…. (I wonder which pope became a zombie so they had to institute that ritual?)

There perhaps needs to be alternate methods of transmission in order for the zombie condition to spread to apocalyptic levels. In The Walking Dead the theory is that everyone’s infected, so that death from any cause will spread the zombie condition. Once people know this one would think that it would become a universal rule to crack the skulls of dead people just in case, but that doesn’t seem to have happened. I blame big government. They were too busy setting up refugee centers and military controls to do the right thing and spread the essential zombie-prevention information to the whole population before the lights (and TVs) went out.

Perhaps the zombie infection is like the Black Death of the Middle Ages. In the initial form the plague was spread from rat fleas to humans. But then as the infection grew worse in the cities, it began to spread human-to-human through coughing and sneezing caused by the infection.

The primary initial method might be something other than zombie bites. After all, there has to be a first zombie somehow unless the zombie condition is endemic and present in the population at a low level all the time. In my much-delayed zombie story, the infection is spread by inhaling or otherwise consuming a plant symbiont. The infected person will either develop an acute infection and rapidly become a zombie, or get a “slow burn” infection, which will allow the person to live with the infection for years and only become a zombie after natural death.

With a second method for spreading the zombie infective agent, one can achieve very large numbers of zombie far more rapidly than if you need a zombie to bite every victim. If you want to wreck the world with zombies (in fiction, I hope) a second infection method will get the apocalypse going quicker.


Blog posts I’m reading:

Daniella Bova: What Happened to Common Decency

Fiction Notes: Series Tips: Characters, Timeline & Plot

Girl Zombie Authors: Lizzie Borden’s Doctor #Paranormal #Mystery – Almost here!   – Christine Verstraete writes about her latest, soon-to-be-published zombie novel. Girl Zombie Authors is a multi-authored blog by, you guessed it, girl zombie authors. Meaning girls that write about zombies not girls that ARE zombies, I’m guessing.

 

The joy of rediscovering the Tyndale Bible Commentaries

In the long-ago days when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was in college, there was a popular set of Bible commentaries that seemed to be carried in every Christian book shop around. I bought 2 of the commentaries— Romans and Revelation I think— and wanted to collect them all like they were Pokemon or something.

But at the end of my college years I had what I now think of as a spiritual breakdown— I lost my faith that Christianity is true, in spite of the fact that I had found no logical refutation of the reasons I believed in the first place. As a result, my commentaries along with other Christian books were sold at a garage sale.

In 2005 my faith came back, and I wished I still had the commentaries, even though my faith came back Catholic. I didn’t even remember the name of the commentary series.

Recently I asked my assorted FB friends if they knew the commentary series. One of them shared a list of Bible commentaries with me and as soon as I read Tyndale Bible Commentaries I knew that was the right one.

I Googled, hoping to see a picture of the commentaries with the covers that I remembered (as pictured above.) While doing that, I found a picture of the commentaries with a different cover— and this picture was from an eBay auction of 14 of the commentaries in the Old Testament series for a very reasonable price. I snapped those commentaries up like they were bound in imported dark chocolate.

When they arrived I learned a few things I hadn’t known about the commentaries before. They were a series based in England and most of the Bible scholars who wrote the volumes seemed to be English or Australian. The dates of the commentaries ranged from 1964 to 1984. And one of the authors of the commentaries, Derek Kidner, is popular enough today that his commentaries are available in a reprint series called the Derek Kidner Commentaries.

I’ve currently been reading Kidner’s commentary on Psalms as a part of my Bible and Catholic Catechism reading program, based on a leaflet provided by the Coming Home Network. I read the Psalm I’m supposed to read for the day’s reading, and read the related pages of Kidner’s commentary with it. It’s far more enriching than to just read the Bible text which I’ve read a number of times before. Of course, it will probably slow down my progress a bit. It will probably take more than one year if I read all the Bible passages with a commentary. And I’ve already gotten far behind the goal. But at least now, with the commentaries, I have an excuse.

As a Catholic, I’m also interested in getting some good Catholic commentaries. I’ll share some about that search on another Sunday.


These are the commentary volumes I currently own:

Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, IVP

D. J. Wiseman, General Editor

2. Exodus – R. Alan Cole (1973)

4. Numbers – Gordon J. Wenham (1981)

5. Deuteronomy – J. A. Thompson (1974)

7. Judges & Ruth – Arthur E. Cundall & Leon Morris (1968)

12. Esther – Joyce G. Baldwin (1984)

13. Job – Francis I. Anderson (1976)

14a. Psalms 1-72 – Derek Kidner (1973)

14b. Psalms 73-150 – Derek Kidner (1975)

15. Proverbs – Derek Kidner (1964)

16. Ecclesiastes – Michael A. Eaton (1983)

17. The Song of Solomon – G. Lloyd Carr (1984)

19. Jeremiah & Lamentations – R. K. Harrison (1973)

20. Ezekiel – John B. Taylor – (1969)

21. Daniel – Joyce G. Baldwin (1978)

24. Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi – Joyce G. Baldwin (1972)

 

5 Ways to Improve your Blog Post Titles & Get More Readers

If you are using your blog to help build your author platform, one thing that can mean success or failure is blog post titles. Doing it right attracts readers. Doing it wrong fails to do so. Here are some things that can help you improve your blog post titles.

  1. Place your blog post titles in the title form— above the place where you type in the post itself.  This may seem obvious, but I’ve seen a few blogs where the blogger puts nothing in the blog title spot. Some put the title on the top line of the post body, others don’t use a title at all. In the internet world, your blog title is an essential way to getting your post found in search engines and in shares of your post by your readers.  Don’t do this. Put a title in the title spot.
  2. Weak titles do little good. If you use ‘Book Release’ as a title when you announce your book’s release, you won’t attract as many readers as if you use something more interesting that relates to the book’s content. Like “Zombie Eats US President!!!” That might bring in readers. And if your book is zombie fiction and the US president is in fact eaten by zombies during the course of the story, you might even make a sale.
  3. Titles with numbers in it are good for how-to blog posts. Such as “5 Easy Ways to Stop Your Cats from Mating in the Living Room” or “7 Methods to Build a Zombie-Proof Retirement Portfolio.” For some reason people are more interested when you use numbers.
  4. Make sure your title matches your post. If your title is “Zombies Invade Banat, MI” and your post is all about finding a good book cover artist, you will just anger readers. If your post includes more that one topic, the title must match the biggest topic. If you are writing about how to use Scrivener to make an ebook, and you put in a line at the end about how your older cat and her daughter both had 6 kittens on the same day, the title shouldn’t be about the cats.
  5. Research to find more good methods of coming up with good blog post titles. I’ve read the blogs Copyblogger and Problogger to pick up tips. These sites often research what works and what doesn’t, and so they will have the latest trends in blog post titling.

Even if you are having one of those weeks when you feel everything on your blog is junk, try tweaking your next blog post title. It can make a lot of difference.  Have you written any great blog post titles lately? Share in a comment— and provide a link to the post in question.


I’ve been tending my old blog posts lately, making sure they have the correct categories and tags, checking to see if the content needs updating and such. Even the oldest posts can attract a new reader every now and then. Here’s a post I updated and I’m hoping to write a follow-up post soon.

Content Genres and Identity Genres


The Write Life: How to Write a Blog Post People Actually Want To Read

Celebrating H. H. Holmes, a very bad man

hhholmes

It’s Celebrate the Small Stuff day, and today I’m celebrating serial killer H. H. Holmes.  Unlike what you may have heard in the promos for a reality show on the ‘History’ channel, Holmes was NOT America’s FIRST serial killer. In fact I know there are a couple of female serial killers who came before him.

Holmes was also NOT Jack the Ripper. Holmes’ killings were of people he knew and there was a money motive involved as well as the sadism. Would he really stop his serial killing in the US, go off to commit 5 or so slayings in England using a totally different M. O. and earn the nickname Jack the Ripper, go back to the US and commit killings in his normal method, and never even drop a hint in his confession?

Holmes wrote a tell-all confession after he was caught, which included some abortions (“illegal operations”) he committed. He listed a lot of his victims— some of whom were found alive.

He was caught because he killed a partner in crime in an insurance scam, and then took off with three of the partner’s children in order to claim the insurance. The three children were murdered. There was a nation-wide manhunt for Holmes and the children, and he was caught, but too late for the children.

Holmes constructed a building later known as the Murder Castle. It had two rooms in which victims could be gassed to death, a chute to the basement where there was a gas oven which could cremate bodies, and a walk-in vault in which women were left to suffocate. He stripped the flesh from some bodies and sold the skeletons to medical schools.

H. H. Holmes seems like an odd fellow to celebrate. But it was an interesting case, Holmes was caught, and he was executed so he was unable to kill more people. And now his great-grandson has his own reality show from it. Which would be more of a thing to celebrate if they had hired an experienced historical researcher to help. But of course then they couldn’t link the case to Jack the Ripper.

Another thing— H. H. Holmes committed so many more murders than the Ripper that trying to prove Holmes was the Ripper is a little like the Beatles trying to prove that they were the Monkees.

Visit the Celebrate the Small Things participants by following this link: http://lexacain.blogspot.com/