Leap year, Summer Olympics and US Presidential Election

In America we have the same senerio every four years. Not only is it leap year, it is our presidential election and the summer Olympics.

Leap year gives us an extra day to plan for the other two, as if we needed it or it made a difference in the grand scheme of things. But merely the fact that it happens in the same year every time the cycle rolls around is a topic for conversation around the water coolers.

This year the summer olympics in London coincides with the year of Queen Elizabeth’s 60th jubilee, so it gives citizens of the UK something to take the place of the fact that they aren’t having a presidential election. As the trials get underway for the coveted spots on the teams the athletes are putting their best (should be better) foot forward,

In America the debates rage on as to who is more qualified and will do a better job at firing up our national economy. And me? I’m sitting here using a number of cliches, the meanings and origins of which you can read about in my great-selling book, On the Origin of the Cliches and Evolution of Idioms, and its companion, On the Origin of the Cliches, All New Book Two. Have a great day and get your mind off the steaming temps outside by relaxing with a good book or e-book.

A reason to celebrate

As I type these words, the temperature outside my door is 103 degrees, and we are in severe drought. On the surface it would appear that I wouldn’t have much to celebrate. But our great country is about to enjoy the 236th anniversary of our independence. Now in spite of the problems we have today, America is still the greatest nation in the world, and I was born here and celebrate my citizenship as an American citizen. The fact that we still have our freedom is a reason to be grateful.

Every day we can look around us, both literally and figuratively, and see many who are not as well off as we. There is an old saying, “I was sad that I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.” These is always reason for gladness and celebration. All Americans should rejoice in their rights and freedoms and as this July 4th holiday approaches, greet it with gladness and thanksgiving.



Procrastinate is defined by Merriam-Webster as to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done. Most of us have been there: “I’ll have plenty of time to get that done tomorrow.” But then we learned a useful cliche, “Tomorrow never comes.”

This is why working in priorities has become second nature to me. Of course no one can get everything done that they would like to do in any given day when the list of necessary objectives seems exhaustive. But getting around to doing the most urgent tasks can be accomplished.  Start by making a list of items with the most pressing at the top and graduating to the lesser important at the foot. Then begin to whittle away at them, marking them off like items on a grocery list. This way procrastination can become a problem solved.

The more things change the more they stay the same

One of the tasks with which I am involved on a daily basis is the preparation of books for publication, either in printed form or as e-books. When working with classic litterature–those endearing yarns of the nineteenth or early twentieth centuries–I certainly realize the evolving of our language and the difference in common terms which have been lost in the marching onward of the years. That’s why it is intriquing to me to work with cliches, proverbs and idioms in determning their origins and how their meanings have altered with the turning of the pages of time.

But a saying that is certainly an axium is ‘The more things change the more they stay the same.’ The first time this proverbial phrase was brought to my attention was as the title of an article by a dear friend of mine several years back. I am currently formatting the charming Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain for release by our new eVolve e-book division. Though some of the phrases and expressions have gone the way of the dodo bird, the quaint charm and insights into human nature are timeless.


Freedom in America

America was founded by immigrants from Europe who came here seeking freedom–both religious and economic. I know that at least two of my immigrant ancestors, one on my mother’s side, and on on my father’s, were French Hugeunots. I will call them Peter and John, sounding for the world like two of the desciples of Jesus. But I’m fairly certain that they were not that pious. And their birth names, though anglicized to these forms, were actually Piere and Jean.

Dr. Piere Chastine was a physician who first escaped with his family to Switzerland in 1696, later to the VIrginia Colony, where he helped found a town. All Chastains, Chastines, Shastines, and related spellings in the US are thought to have descended from him.

Jean Bricquet, also born in the mid-seventeenth century, and his family, journeyed from Artois Provence, now Pas de Calais, France, first to South Carolina, then Maryland, also ending up in the Virginia Colony. All Brickeys in America are said to descend from him. 

Today our freedoms are quickly eroding. It is up to us to fight to keep them strong.


America was founded largely by immigrants from Europe who were seeking freedom–largely religious and ecconomic. I know that at least two of my immigrant ancestors, one on each side, came to the New World from France seeking freedom of religion…I call them Peter and John. SOunds like two of the desciples of Jesus, but I’m pretty sure they weren’t quite that pious. ‘Peter’ was actually Dr. Piere Chastain, a physician

A Sense of Accomplishment

At the end of each day I mentally review the events of that day from a personal prospective and ask myself what I have accomplished that day. Have I done anything which will positively impact the lives of anyone else? Have I accomplished anything which will have a lasting effect for good? If the answer is ‘no,’ then I want to try to do something positive before retiring.

Not every day in my life or the lives of any single person are what we would wish they could be. Not every action I have taken is one that I now am proud of. Some days are filled with circumstances which we wish would never have arisen, but which we could not avoid. But how we react to those negative happenings determines whether or not we can look back on that day with pride or regret.

Remembering that I alone have control over my actions and destiny helps me to make more wise decisions rather than foolish ones and enables me to accomplish more with my time and talents. We all have the same number of hours in a day, and what we do with them are up to us. I trust that today will be a good day for everyone who stops long enough to read these words. Vaya con Dios.

Summer solstice

Today is the longest day of 2012–a year proclaimed by many to be a global game-changer. In olden days ancient tribes would meet on both winter and summer solstice for religious ceremonies. The summer solstice was to celebrate the positive energies associated with the blossoming of spring into summer. Some today still participate in these celebrations.

Regardless of this, summer brings hot temperatures and vacations in which we can enjoy the beauty of nature. When you have opportunity, drink in the values that reading a great book or e-book can bring this summer. St. Clair Publications is about to crank up a new program by which we will have available a number of e-books which may be enjoyed on a variety of electronic devices at one reasonable cost. More on this later. In the meantime, have a wonderful summer!

Follow that Star

The unforgetable theme from “Man of Lamancha,” The Impossible Dream” aka The Quest, has haunting lyrics. The chorus rings out to youth everywhere who truly have dreams that they are not willing to lay aside for their “Day jobs.”

This is my Quest to follow that star,
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far,
To fight for the right
Without question or pause,
To be willing to march into hell
For a heavenly cause!

Don Quixote was only a symbol of this resolve. Many real people in history have followed this path against the grain and the flow of society, and even lost their lives doing so.

I encourage the youth of today to stand up against injustice and prejudice and follow their dreams. My only caution would be that their dreams will lead to right and victory for truth and love.

Food promotes growth

It seems that Rhonda and I have had poor luck growning plants. I guess that is because we find ourselves so engrossed in our daily lives and matters that seem more urgent at the moment that we neglect the nourishment of the greenery about us. This spring Rhonda purchased a pot of three crisp young tomato plants and we have occasionally sprinkled them down when rains didn’t provide needed drinks of life-sustaining water. That, however, has not kept them from blanching and drooping. They now have five tender little fruit hanging around, but I realized that in order for them not to go the way of our past failed crops, I needed to provide them some fertilizer. We should have done it earlier, right? I have now given them their initial feeding of the brand-name growth hormones, and hopefully they will soon be out of danger.

It also occured to me that we are just like plants in the sense of needing proper sustenance. Not just in a physical aspect, but in a spiritual and emtional way as well. I hope this is on our minds as we plow into another week.