Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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(Some links or topics may not be completely kid-appropriate.)

Fri, Jul 29 2005

Casual Friday Blog Browsing

City Comforts Blog pointed to some advertising art that is also a great play on words.

faith in fiction explores why fiction and religious text might both need to be somewhat unpredictable.

If you find yourself too often an unwilling listener to the private lives of others via their loud cell phone conversations, you might like to download, print and snip your PDF copy of the Dear Cell Phone User Card.

Between sexual fanaticism and anti-sexual fanaticism there sometimes appears an observation that sees how silly either view can become. Without saying he has all the answers, Hugo Schwyzer talks about how either side's extreme preoccupation with virginity can become an unhealthy fixation that promotes an attitude and view of human sexuality that is false, unfair and judgmental.

posted at: 10:21 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Thu, Jul 28 2005

Blogging To The Choir

From PressThink comes anticipation of the BlogHer Conference. It's a great idea to have the gathering, but the most telling thing I heard about women and blogs came recently when a small group of acquaintances was chatting, and the mention of blogs came up. A very smart woman who is ten years my junior and has spent all her adult life in the office world and has traveled and taken time to get her MBA tilted her head to one side and asked us, "What is a blog, anyway?"

The real work won't be at some conference, but in everyday life, where many still have no idea what a blog is for. And many who are steeped in blog culture are completely unaware that they don't even exist to people who still live in a world devoid of blogs. We're not there yet, ladies. But, carry on. It's all good.

posted at: 13:49 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Wed, Jul 27 2005

Two Things I Found While Looking For Other Things

I came across a site with lots of sliding puzzles, including reproductions of many vintage ones. Have a browse at Nick Baxter's Sliding Block Puzzle Page.

If you're a golfer, you might like Golf Magazine's web page where you can locate golf courses in the U.S. and elsewhere.

posted at: 09:11 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Tue, Jul 26 2005

They're Really Busy At NASA

Discovery's launch was magnificent this morning. The camera view from the external fuel tank was a first that I think will impress even the on-board crew, once they have a chance to view the video.

While I was poking through some of NASA's online material I found out that the next planned launch is for the GOES-N, a weather monitoring satellite that will adjust its orbit in order to appear relatively stationary to Earth's rotation. And in September NASA plans to launch CALIPSO, another weather-related satellite.

It's all pretty exciting, especially since knowledge of clouds and storms could one day lead to saving more lives during severe weather conditions.

posted at: 09:18 | category: /Science | link to this entry

Mon, Jul 25 2005

Wagging The Dog

Court TV maintains on their web site a column called "Stupid Crimes & Misdemeanors". I had to laugh when I read the story about the fellow from Florida who concocted a wild story of robbery and abduction in an attempt to cover his tracks after an expensive night at a Louisiana strip club. He apparently began the whole deception by telling his girlfriend he was going out to buy dog food and the night went downhill from there.

Of course, any fiction writer could have told the alcohol-infused chap that good storytelling isn't just stringing lies together. Fact-checking is just as important in fiction as it is in true-to-life stories.

posted at: 10:41 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Fri, Jul 22 2005

Hidden, Secret, Magic Porn

I haven't taken time to comment on all the uproar over Take-Two Games and the issues with Rockstar's "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas". I'm glad that Eric at Fire Ant Gazette commented yesterday.

If a company wants to be in the porn business (encrypted porn or otherwise) they should at least have the cojones to own up to it. The term "adult" means a lot more than porn content. Taking responsibility for one's decisions and actions is certainly a whole lot more adult than creating hidden porn and then blaming someone else when you get caught with your pants around your corporate ankles.

posted at: 07:59 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Thu, Jul 21 2005

My Husband Will Want This One Too

I keep hearing people talk about a small kitchen appliance that makes doing marinade really speedy. The Reveo MariVac Food Tumbler from Eastman Outdoors uses a vacuum pump to add flavor and increase moisture in less than half an hour. I don't know about you, but I rarely think enough time ahead to marinade foods for the 8-24 hours a recipe often calls for. This little helper would have foods plumped, tenderized and ready for the grill by the time you mixed up a salad, cut some bread and poured something cold to sip. I haven't met anyone yet who is sorry they bought one. I may be the next happy customer.

posted at: 15:15 | category: /Food | link to this entry

Hollister, California Area Residents Still Need To Watch For Missing K-9 Officer

K-9 Officer Arno is still missing. The latter article makes a good point. Dogs who work with human police officers are trained to respond to certain situations with what might appear to be aggressive behavior. In the context of duty this would seem appropriate, but Arno might forget that he's on a self-imposed holiday and could react to humans in ways that cause alarm when taken out of context.

posted at: 08:27 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Wed, Jul 20 2005

If You Simply Have To Have Three With Dinner

If you drive to dinner and you decide to start drinking, you can call a cab. But then your car is left sitting somewhere until you can pick it up to get it home. So this is not the worst idea. Maybe the idea will catch on in the U.S.

posted at: 16:17 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Tue, Jul 19 2005

Radio Shack And Watch Batteries

I'm increasingly disappointed in Radio Shack's stores. My latest irritation concerns watch batteries. I used to go in and buy a watch battery and some nice person who worked there would remove my old watch battery and replace it with the one I had just purchased in their store. Now when I go in they tell me they have no tools with which to open my watch. I'm sure it's some policy "thing", but I want to be plain in saying I dislike the policy very much. It was so nice not to have to fight to open the watch myself. I am fairly able-bodied, but I wonder about folks who are arthritic or have other physical limitations that make it almost impossible for them to open a watch and change the battery themselves.

If anyone knows of any national store chain that will still perform this service for paying customers I would love to know about them. I will happily help give them a little free publicity.

posted at: 13:07 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Where's Arno?

K-9 Officer Arno has been doing his duty for about two years, but right now his fellow officers are out looking for him. These dogs contribute immensely to the work of police in our communities. I hope Arno shows up soon, safe and sound. He works in Capitola, but his home is in Hollister, which is the area where he is believed to have disappeared. Maybe he's gone undercover and he'll sniff out a meth lab while he's out there.

posted at: 10:15 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Mon, Jul 18 2005

Poetry Is Its Own Prize

Even poetry seems to be having its tabloid side. As a child, I thought of poetry as one of the purest art forms, where words and ideas were chosen by people who needed fewer words to take us all to new places of thought. It's sad to think that poetry may be so full of politics and favoritism, but I'm still hoping that the internet will level the playing field a bit for the best poets. There will still be some cliques that open doors to bigger money, but when it's as easy to self-publish as it is online now, wonderful poets and their readers will be able to connect in spite of a few contest judges who might be biased toward personal acquaintances.

posted at: 06:30 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Fri, Jul 15 2005

Hey! You Got Internet On My TV. And You Got TV On My Internet.

TVNewser seems to think that there may be an official announcment from CNN this coming Sunday. Is CNN's online channel almost here?

I still find myself looking online for news details and in-depth answers when I'm working. But I tend to go find the TV for "breaking" news because it still seems to get the first word out faster. If this new channel marries the two I'll be delighted.

posted at: 15:24 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Thu, Jul 14 2005


If you're under a certain age you won't remember much about the craze of CB radio. Or, you might remember your parents being caught up in the whole thing. I was dragged into it all in Tennessee by my gadget-loving husband, when I was still pretty shy about talking to people I didn't know and couldn't see. But a couple of persistent types got me to press that key and hold conversations with them, conversations that often began with somebody calling out a handle (nickname) and asking, "You got your ears on?" I started to recognize the voices that went with handles like Big Marv, Kit Kat and others. Some of us swapped equipment, went to dinner together and then wondered what to do next. This was too good to keep to ourselves. We could help others with our radios and our network of connections.

We decided to form a local group to assist REACT and we held a fund-raiser for our local ambulance and rescue volunteers, off an exit near the freeway. We planned the event weeks in advance and it turned out to be a cloudy weekend that was one of the coldest in the history of the state. We put on extra socks and stamped our feet and drank hot cocoa. Then someone lit a portable heater and we huddled near that like drifters around a trash fire in a back alley.

The local ambulance and resuce crew had planned a rescue demonstration in order to raise awareness of their activities, and the whole thing went really well, with a simulated car crash scene and crews moving up and down the nearby embankment to haul the mock victims to safer ground before any vehicle gas tanks could possibly supposedly explode. Those acting the parts of victims were doused with fake blood to simulate various injuries so that crews could demonstrate their ability to handle everything from crushed ankles to open chest wounds. There was plenty of moaning and flailing and all the reality they could muster. They brought one man up the hill while pretending to perform CPR on him.

Along about that time people driving by on the freeway nearly had some very real royal wrecks of their own as they craned their necks to see the drama, all mesmerized by the very professional rescue team's movements, and all completely convinced that only something really horrible would have brought such a bunch of bystanders (us) to stand around and watch on this freezing winter day. One bus full of children pulled off the exit at breakneck speed and kids nearly fell out the door trying to get over to us to ask if there was anything they could do to help. We pointed to the donation table and got looks that told us they hadn't exactly had cash in mind. I think maybe they had hoped to pass rolls of sterile bandages and give sips of water to the dying. They left, looking disgusted at having been duped into this sham of a roadside attraction.

Earlier this year Single Southern Guy reminisced about the days when CB was popular. As several people have noted, it wasn't really all that different from today's world of instant message nicknames and other things online. It will be great fun to see what comes next.

posted at: 09:53 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Wed, Jul 13 2005

Write Lightning (And Others) Celebrate

Today this blog officially enters the "terrible twos" phase.

Today is also the 61st birthday of Mr. Erno Rubik, who invented a little thing that continues to (happily) puzzle a lot of people. Believe it or not, that little puzzle turns 25 this year.

posted at: 10:19 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Tue, Jul 12 2005

Is Hit Really Iulius?

Here's how to announce today in Old English.

posted at: 17:25 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

The Good News Comes With Bad News, But This Bad News Could Still Bring Other Good News

It's July 12 and not April 1. But the recent stories on some folks being treated for Parkinson's disease made me look at the calendar just to be sure. It sounds like bad news at first, but if researchers know that dopamine agonists cause compulsive gambling in some patients, might this be a breakthrough in the treatment of those who already have a compulsive gambling problem? If researchers can figure out how the drugs cause the problem, maybe they can one day figure out how to stop the process. It might also lead to knowledge about what causes compulsions in other areas of life.

This whole thing holds another good lesson for humans. Most any drug that seems to target symptoms in an illness is also very likely changing other things in our bodies. Pharmaceutical companies, pharmacists, physicians and patients need to keep that in mind whenever a drug is used to treat symptoms.

posted at: 08:49 | category: /Science | link to this entry

Mon, Jul 11 2005

Blight: The Other Tax Meat

I lived in the Twin Cities area for a short time in the early 1980s, and I recall that there was a growing Hmong population settling in that area. Our church congregation rented our building to a group of them for awhile, since they needed a place to worship while they saved money for their own house of worship. Since I've been very upset over the recent Supreme Court's (narrow) decision on eminent domain I noted with interest a blog post by Al over at Old Whig's Brain Dump. It seems that the eminent domain decision is already being touted as a precedent in U.S. cities, including the Minnesota community of Brooklyn Center.

From now on the term "blight" is probably going to be one of those words pulled out of the proverbial top hat any time a city wants to build up its tax base a bit. It will become a developer's favorite word. Homeowners will see it as a bulldozer to be used against their individual interests and a battering ram to be used by collective homewowners (or business owners) to force undesirables out of the 'hood. So attorneys will now be hard at work to make the term "blight" mean as many different things as possible for their client's interests, while holding the other side's interests to as narrow a definition as possible.

posted at: 10:29 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Jethro Would Have Loved This

Joe Gandelman gathered comments from the blogsphere regarding the fact that Karl Rove has now been identified as the anonymous source in journalist Matt Cooper's fact-gathering.

The whole "double super secret" phrase keeps making me want to giggle in the midst of a really serious mess. It always sounds like very young children trying to play by emulating what they perceive to be grown-up ways of handling the real world. And then there's always that one kid in the group who can't resist bragging about having inside information.

The security issues themselves aren't funny, and the fact that real people's lives have been horribly affected isn't funny. But the idea that certain individuals have begun to twist and cross their arms and point at people on either side of their own bare-bottomed cheeks makes me want to laugh. I keep remembering the character Jethro Bodine from The Beverly Hillbillies and all his chatter about wanting to be one of "them double nought spies".

posted at: 08:20 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Fri, Jul 08 2005

Go Read Another Blog Today

Today has been productive, but hectic, and I spent very little time at the computer. In the absence of my words, Please enjoy a post from Missouri Mule, who gave a nice tribute to Billy Graham over at BlondeSense.

posted at: 22:05 | category: /Religious and Spiritual | link to this entry

Thu, Jul 07 2005

Know Anybody Who Wants To Stay Nobody? You'd Better Reveal Them Or Face Jail

An editorial from The Detroit News reminds us that journalist Judith Miller has been ordered to serve jail time for a story she never even wrote.

The New York Times reported that Judge Thomas F. Hogan compared Ms. Miller's refusal to reveal her confidential source to a child deciding to take a chocolate chip cookie and eat it. First of all, such a thought belittles the actions of those who help keep American citizens informed. Keeping a source confident in the face of doing jail time is not like sneaking and eating a cookie because it tastes good. I respect the work of judges, but I disagree wholeheartedly with this judge's analogy.

If a journalist can be sent to jail for keeping a source confident, even without acting on that information in the course of his or her job as writer and reporter, then so can anyone else in this country. If you know something about a person and you obtained that information from a source who wishes to remain confidential, you are in danger of being jailed. It apparently doesn't matter whether you take action using that information or simply possess the information itself. It only matters that you listened to a secret source and that you refuse to make that source's identity public. If this is Judge Hogan's interpretation of law I'm really dismayed. It does not bode well for Americans. Are you ready to go to jail to protect a principle? It's no longer a hypothetical question in the case of Judith Miller, and because of this precedent, it's no longer a hypothetical question for any of the rest of us who live and work in these United States.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has a counter on their site that shows the amount of time Judith Miller has been incarcerated.

posted at: 11:00 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

A Very Ugly Kind Of Franchise

This is not the first time I've awakened to news of terrorist attacks somewhere on this planet. One man on TV this morning (I did not catch who it was) referred to the continuous desperate acts of splinter groups as an odd type of thinking that was almost that of holding a terrorist "franchise". Since we usually think of a "franchise" in connection with moneymaking ventures, it only strengthened my suspicion that a great number of these deluded people who are willing to kill crowds and even strap bombs to themselves and thrust themselves into crowds to die for their "cause" are really frightened, powerless people who are being manipulated by a few individuals who wish to maintain their own riches and status as glorious leaders.

posted at: 10:52 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Wed, Jul 06 2005

Being Part Of The Rabble

One of the things that spoke to me in Robert R. Thompson's column this morning was the reawakening of a grim thought that has visited me several times in recent years. And that is that someday I will probably find myself standing with people whose morals and ethics contrast mine in every way imaginable except one, that one being the notion that, as far as possible, there should remain a wide separation of church and state.

posted at: 09:04 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Tue, Jul 05 2005

Bono And His Stetson

I knew that U2 rocker Bono had been a little busy with Live 8 lately, but I somehow missed the fact that the man had been in a custody battle over his beloved Stetson hat. From what I understand, the hat in question is the very one shown on the cover of Rattle and Hum. Now that a judge has ruled in favor of Bono and U2 I wonder if Bono will keep the hat or sell it to raise funds for the fight against poverty.

posted at: 08:39 | category: /Arts and Entertainment | link to this entry

Sun, Jul 03 2005

A Green MBA With An Extra Shot Of Youth

Yes magazine has a wonderful piece on elementary school kids and MBA candidates learning side by side at IslandWood on Bainbridge Island, Washington. I glanced at only a bit of the area's history, but it does seem as though it has served as a crossroads for many cultures and businesses before. Maybe this more recent venture will bring a sense of balance to the region that will aid both business and environmental projects.

posted at: 17:30 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Sat, Jul 02 2005

Fri, Jul 01 2005

Living La Vida Loca, Or At Least La Mancha

While our web server was down, and while I found and fixed lost blog posts, I missed out on reading others' blogs. And I've been too preoccupied to keep up on current events and news headlines. I see some political jabbing on Capitol Hill as Supreme Court Justice O' Connor retires. And our astronomers will be taking a jab at a comet this Independence Day weekend, like a collective Don Quixote fixated on fiery dragons in outer space. Happy 4th, everybody. Let the fireworks begin.

posted at: 10:32 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
and cattle rustlin'! Lightning may strike
such varmints when they least expect it!