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Earl Merkel's Blog

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Feb.13.2013
As with so many of my fellow authors, I HATE writing a synopsis. If a novel could be adequately encapsulated in a few pages --usually (at least, if based on the synopsis "examples" offered by "how-to" books on writing) excrutiatingly stripped of style and liveliness... well, then why did the writer...
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Feb.12.2013
whiskey, watered.jpeg
HEADLINE: "Maker's Mark lowering proof to meet demand" And in related news, citing response to high demand for books, publishers today announced that they will increase the amount of "leading" between lines; this will allow books to remain at current page volumes, while permitting authors to...
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Feb.11.2013
SPOILER ALERT FOR GRAMMY VIEWERS/DOWNTON FANS: In the latest of a string of unerringly wise decisions, Lady Edith is apparently about to start dating her editor. Oh, yeah-- only good things can result from THAT. -- Earl Merkel
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Feb.11.2013
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The most dangerous phrase in the world is rapidly becoming that which the "supporter" of ex-LAPD cop and murderer Chris Dorner voiced in the final graf. (See accompanying image.) God save us from the ill-informed, oft-ignorant and mindlessly enthusiastic who gather under the banner of "...
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Feb.09.2013
In an excellent New Yorker piece on the intriguing case of Amy Bishop --the neurobiologist who killed several colleagues at the Univ of Alabama/Huntsville in 2010, and two decades earlier had killed her brother in an "accidental shooting"-- I don't think I've ever encountered a better extended...
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Feb.07.2013
drones not allowed.jpeg
Yes, indeed-- this should work wonderously well. I hope the fine folks in the Pakistani and Afghani parliaments are taking note here. In fact, domestically, why doesn't someone try applying this approach to, say, gun control? Let's use a li'l imagination, lawmakers! -- Earl Merkel
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Feb.07.2013
I'm trying hard to remember when the Saturday mail delivery brought anything but bills and those bulk, pulp-paper ad-'n-clipper-coupon sections... Nope. Too far back to recall. Frankly, a one-day-per-week delivery schedule --Tuesday, perhaps; it's usually a pretty bland day anyway-- would...
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Feb.07.2013
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It would appear that the headline writers at The Daily Caller are already on Spring Break... Still, many Faithful Readers may find this an... uh... uplifting story. Certainly, the protagonists experience profound change in the course of the plot. http://dailycaller.com/2013/02/07/brown-...
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Feb.07.2013
From our "Sign Of The Times" archives: IL Gov. Pat Quinn, in yesterday's "State Of The State" address, called for an increase in the Illinois minimum wage to slightly more than $10/hour. This will, of course, further cut job opportunities for the very folk it is "intended" to "help:" low-...
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Feb.06.2013
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Yes. Once they know a stickler's particular grammatical peeve, they go out of their way to twist the knife. Not, we hope, literally. (Cartoon pilfered from the Candorville daily comic strip by the insightful --literally-- Darrin Bell) -- Earl Merkel
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Feb.06.2013
doing it wrong.jpeg
From our "Ambigious And/Or Ominous Headlines" -files, a tale of (I hope) simple misdirection... Might I suggest they consult some kind of instructional manual? I suspect they're somehow just doing it ...well, wrong. (Photo courtesy of HuffPo) -- Earl Merkel (POSTSCRIPT: Tho, admittedly, we do live...
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Feb.05.2013
Those cursed fact-checkers NEVER give up: a century later, they're still editing poor Laura Ingalls Wilder... Story at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/la-heb-meningitis-blindness-mary-ingalls-20130204,0,5444134.story
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Feb.05.2013
I'm puzzled: why is the hostage-rescue of the five-year-old in Alabama apparently being downplayed in the amount of "official" information being released --or being otherwise uncovered by the throngs of newsies themselves? It seems obvious that one of the FBI's Hostage Rescue Teams made the...
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Feb.05.2013
damn february.jpeg
And while we're at it: double-damn February, anyway... (Cartoon image purloined from the always-excellent Arlo & Janice strip; creator Jimmy Johnson is a genius who I suspect musta lived in Chicago's Winter Wonderland at some point...) -- Earl Merkel
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Feb.05.2013
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Man-- those "work for hire" provisions are getting really tough... not to mention, expansive. Now your kid's math homework may end up the "intellectual property" of your local school district. From the article: "For Adrienne Paul and her sister, Abigail Schiavello, who wrote a 28-page book more...
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