That 9:30 Lecture

The other day I mentioned that my niece – who’s 18 – has started university this week in Belfast. (She’s at Queen’s.) It’s her first extended time away from home without her parents around. I believe her previous “separation” record was when she was 15: she had flown with us – uncle and aunt – for two weeks in New York and in Florida, just us three.

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a pencil and back to class text.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a pencil and back to class text.

If you are just starting out, university will seem unfamiliar and maybe at times intimidating. You are thrown back largely on yourself for perhaps the first time. Within days, though, trust me, it will all start to make sense.

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In The Shadow Of Windsor

Friday night we went to an, uh, fiftieth birthday party at a hotel two minutes’ walk around from Windsor Castle:

The Queen Victoria statue in front of Windsor Castle. [Photo by me, 2016.]
The Queen Victoria statue in front of Windsor Castle. [Photo by me, 2016.]

The castle is along the edge of Windsor. I’d never been to Windsor or so close to the castle before.

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Fifteen Years Ago

Part of a personal experience of mine, placed in September 1994 for fictional purposes:

Excerpt from "Passports." Click to expand.
Excerpt from “Passports.” Click to expand.

That indoor observation deck was indeed superb. (I’m a bit better with heights now than I was then.😉 ) The roof walkaround just above it was reached by escalator with no guided escort being necessary, and was a more “open” viewing experience than the Empire State Building. There was no problem seeing from the top of the old World Trade Center:

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A New Digital Day: iBooks, Nook And More

I’ve again been spending way too much time in the eighteenth century. (An American and an Englishman walk into a Paris coffeehouse in 1792 and meet an Irishman…) Our present always needs looking after. Specifically, the published “1990s” present, that is.

Since 2013, I’ve been “cocooned” at Amazon. No more. I’m spreading my digital wings.

The three (thus far) Atlantic Lives novels are going “multi-platform” courtesy of Draft2Digital:

Screen capture of Draft2Digital dashboard.
Screen capture of Draft2Digital dashboard.

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What The Poet “Said”

It’s a pleasant surprise to have your phone ping around 10pm and find this, as I did last night. I screen captured it earlier this morning. Yes, this is about the time I usually start my day:

Text messages exchange screen capture.
Text messages exchange screen capture.

That opener is from my new poet friend, Tracey, in Cambridge. She’d found out who I am through a mutual friend. She’d texted me a few weeks ago that she wanted to read what I’d written.

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Our Varied Heritages

Ancestry.com is after me again. This below is from an email I received this morning:

Screen capture of Ancestry email.
Screen capture of Ancestry email.

A few years ago through Ancestry, I found one of the ship manifests that included my maternal great-grandmother as a young adult sailing to America. She had traveled with about a dozen other people of varying ages, all from the same village in Sicily. My great-grandfather was in America already, awaiting her arrival.

She was born near Syracuse (as was he). She departed Messina, stopped in Naples, stopped next in Marseille, and from there journeyed to New York’s Ellis Island. It was typical for the time and their nationality.

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“Retro-Fittings”: Not Creativity In My Book

We have learned that Star Trek’s “Sulu” is to be “re-imagined” as gay. Believing that to be “right…for our times,” Guardian writer Ryan Gilbey is clearly pleased by that writers’ decision. Interestingly, however, LGBT activist, and original “Sulu” actor, George Takei, is clearly not:

Screen capture of the Guardian, July 10, 2016.
Screen capture of the Guardian, July 10, 2016.

Mr. Takei’s disapproval obviously disappointed Mr. Gilbey and quite a few others:

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Celebrating Fathers

Today is about celebrating our fathers in their infinite variety and incalculable impacts on our lives. I had been thinking of what to say. However, every time I started writing I gave up – “That’s not it!” – and deleted what I’d begun.

Father's Day card, for my father. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Father’s Day card, for my father. [Photo by me, 2016.]

Nothing seemed to capture what I aimed to say. Then I recalled perhaps a more indirect approach would make the point. I reflected on how I’ve fictionalized certain fathers I’ve known over the years and thought sharing some bits here could in its own way serve as the best “tribute”:

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Landing From Above

It’s now 5:50 AM UK time as I write this. On another June 6, seventy-two years ago this morning, the Normandy beach landings would be starting within about the next half hour. But several hours earlier, starting just after midnight, thousands of U.S. and British paratroopers had already come down a few miles behind those planned invasion beaches on the French coast:

The now famous photograph: General Eisenhower talking with U.S. paratroopers at a take-off airfield, southern England, evening, June 5, 1944. One soldier there later said that Eisenhower had looked so stressed and worried that they all felt they had to reassure him everything would be fine. [U.S Army photo. Public domain.]
The now famous photograph: General Eisenhower talking with U.S. paratroopers at a take-off airfield, southern England, evening, June 5, 1944. One soldier there later said that Eisenhower had looked so stressed and worried that they all felt they had to reassure him everything would be fine. [U.S Army photo. Public domain.]
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