The Snoozeletter @


I edit quite a few radio news scripts that mention the word "elderly" - "elderly man rescued, after falling through ice," "elderly wrong-way driver narrowly escapes death," "elderly woman shoots neighbor's rooster."

After awhile, I began wondering how old you have to be, in order to be considered elderly. Medical treatment of the elderly (geriatrics) starts from the age of 65, and the Social Security Administration defines "elderly" as 65+. So that seems to wrap it up.

But then I found out the World Health Organization sets 55 as the beginning of old age in Africa. After that, I discovered a research study referring to folks from 65 through 74 as "early elderly" and people over 75-years-old as "late elderly."

So here I am, getting ready to turn 68 in a week or so, and I suddenly realize that I've become elderly without even knowing it.

Why didn't somebody tell me. dammit?!
Savoir faire. 

Three guys were discussing the phrase "savoir faire," and the first one offered this example: "Imagine that you return from work early, only to discover your best friend in bed with your wife. If you quietly close the door and allow them privacy to continue, that's savoir faire."

The second one argued, "No, no, no - if you return home early to find them in bed, you must enter the room, adjust the window blinds to provide more romantic lighting, pour two glasses of fine champagne, and THEN close the door. That's savoir faire."

"It's clear that I must reveal the subtle nuances of this concept," replied the third. "You come home from work early, find them making love, adjust the blinds, pour three glasses of champagne, and sit down close to the bed. You then propose a toast, saying: 'Continue.' If he CAN, now that's savoir faire!"
"The war to end all wars" - listen to how it ended on 11/11/1918 at 11 A.M.

The soundscape of the Great War must have been devastating: constant artillery bombardment, rifle shots, fighter planes buzzing overhead and the screams of soldiers encountering gas. But we don’t actually know quite what World War I sounded like. Magnetic tape didn’t exist yet and recording technology was in its infancy, requiring sound to be mechanically produced using a needle and soft wax or metal. Taking such machines into the field was not practical.

Still, there were people on the front recording. Special units used a technique called "sound ranging" to try and determine where enemy gunfire was coming from. To do so, technicians set up strings of microphones--actually barrels of oil dug into the ground--a certain distance apart, then used a piece of photographic film to visually record noise intensity. The effect is similar to the way a seismometer records an earthquake. Using that data and the time between when a shot was fired and when it hit, they could then triangulate where enemy artillery was located--and adjust their own guns accordingly.

At least one bit of that "sound ranging" film survived the War--the film recording the last few minutes of World War I when the guns finally fell silent at the River Moselle on the American Front. As Richard Connor at Deutsche Welle reports, part of a new exhibit called Making a New World at London’s Imperial War Museum uses those graphic sound waves to recreate the moment the Armistice went into effect and the guns fell silent.

As part of a celebration to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the war, the museum commissioned the sound production company "Coda to Coda" to use the film strip of the guns firing away at 10:58 A.M. on November 11, 1918, then going silent when the clock strikes 11, the symbolic moment politicians determined the war would end, to try and recreate what that instant may have sounded like.

According to the company, the film strip has six lines, one for each microphone in use. The team researched the types of weapons being used by each side at the end of the war, then used the film to determine the size, frequency and distance of blasts. Looking at landscape images of the front, they also figured out how intense the reverberations from the blasts would be.

Using that info, they recreated the sound of the last minutes of battle, but they also wanted visitors to feel what the moment was like. To that end, they also created a soundbar. Visitors to the exhibit lean their elbows on the bar and place their hands on their ears. The sound is then conducted through their arms to their skulls where they can both hear and feel the moment.

"This document from IWM's collections gives us a great insight into how intense and chaotic the barrage of gunfire must have been for those fighting on the western front," Coda to Coda director and principal composer Will Worsley says in a statement. "We hope that our audio interpretation of sound ranging techniques... enables visitors to project themselves into that moment in history and gain an understanding of what the end of the First World War may have sounded like."

Since that historic moment of silence, the Armistice has been remembered in the U.S. as part of Veterans Day and marked around the world by other holidays, notably, as Remembrance Day by the U.K and Commonwealth of Nations. More than 9.5 million military personnel died during the World War I and an equal number of civilians perished from famine and disease brought on by the conflict.

Life By Misadventure by John Kingery. Life By Misadventure

I completed a freelance editing job in early July, and enjoyed it enormously. This is the third novel I've edited for John Kingery, and they've all been delightful to work on.

Usually, there's not much you can do with a novel. The writing is normally so bad that it needs a total rewrite, not just an edit. And the writer doesn't want to pay for a rewrite. So you plod through, wasting your time correcting the grammar in idiotic sentences that go nowhere, and you collect your fee, feeling like a fraud.

But John is different. He actually knows what he's doing! Yaay! And his manuscripts are always 98% *there*, so I can use a scalpel on the remaining 2%, rather than a machete. Nice. Satisfying. It feels like I actually help him get closer to his goal.

"Life By Misadventure" was just published earlier this week, and I highly recommend it. It could easily become this generation's Catcher in the Rye.
Easy path to an Author Page. 

Have you always wanted an Amazon Author Page, but lacked the ambition to actually write a book? Then write a 100-word story (or a 50-word poem) about Wrath and submit it here:

After your gem is published, you can add the Wrath anthology to your Amazon Author Page:

They recently published two of my gems:

, and if I can do it, you certainly can! Submissions for the Wrath anthology close November 30.
Google knowledge panels for authors. 

Try visiting and searching for your name. You might want to stake a claim on that "knowledge panel" over on the right, before somebody else does. (I'm in the process of claiming mine.) I assume this is a new Google feature, and they haven't got a clue about providing security.

LATER: More info, from those crafty Dutch.

STILL LATER: Google finally inserted my photo, but they left out the other 2 books I requested:

EVEN LATER: Just when I give up on Google, they fix something I requested many days ago. Be patient. If you're still having trouble, this form should help. Pro Tip: make sure your Gmail account has the Web & App Activity turned on.

LATEST: The Knowledge Panel no longer shows up in a search for my name. Google sayeth, "Knowledge Panels automatically appear when they have information that is highly relevant to a user's query. Over time, Google Search may determine that a specific query should trigger a KP, but that happens organically and is not something we can or would influence." In other words, they got tired of posting my updates. However, my KP is still visible at this direct URL:

UPDATE: My KP is back -

UPDATE 2: If Google, in its infinite wisdom, doesn't think your Knowledge Panel is sufficiently interesting to display in the initial results page, it may belch out a "Complementary Results" box instead. This box displays a link that says "See results about _____ (Author) (Main Book)." When you click the link, you finally get a search results page that contains your KP. Anikó's KP is currently hidden by this two-step process (but her status may change by the time you get there): initial results and direct URL for her KP.

UPDATE 3: This is Google's "f*ck you, relax and enjoy it" message: "We’ve reviewed your feedback, and unfortunately, the change you want to make isn't supported at the moment. There are parts of Google Search that can't be edited or removed, such as content that is found on publicly available websites, unless that information is inaccurate. If the information about your knowledge panel is still inaccurate, please submit feedback again with more detail. Make sure to link to publicly accessible and authoritative webpages that confirm or support your feedback." Once you get this message from the all-knowing and all-powerful Google, you've reached the dead end, even if you submit more "publicly accessible and authoritative webpages."

UPDATE 4: Setting up author pages at Amazon's international sites.
Neil Simon (July 4, 1927 - August 26, 2018). 

WILLIE: 57 years I'm in this business, you learn a few things. You know what makes an audience laugh. Do you know which words are funny and which words are NOT funny?
BEN: You told me a hundred times, Uncle Willie. Words with a 'K' in it are funny.
WILLIE: Words with a 'K' in it are funny. You didn't know that, did you? If it doesn't have a 'K' it's not funny... I'll tell you which words always get a laugh. (About to count on fingers.)
BEN: Chicken.
WILLIE: Chicken is funny.
BEN: Pickle.
WILLIE: Pickle is funny.
BEN: Cup cake
WILLIE: Cup cake is funny... Tomato is NOT funny. Roast beef is NOT funny.
BEN: But cookie is funny.
WILLIE: But cookie is funny.
BEN: Uncle Willie, you've explained that to me ever since I was a little boy.
WILLIE: Cucumber is funny.
BEN: (Falling in again.) Car keys.
WILLIE: Car keys is funny.
BEN: Cleveland.
WILLIE: Cleveland is funny... Maryland is NOT funny.
--The Sunshine Boys, by Neil Simon
"Gunfight At The Shopping-Cart Corral" in "Greed"! 
I submitted a 694-word anti-gun screed ("Gunfight At The Shopping-Cart Corral") for a print anthology entitled:

"Greed" 7 Deadly Sins, Vol. 3.

[The Seven: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, pride.]

The editor accepted it, saying:

"...the ending is really powerful..."

This book will be published in a month or so.

August 10 update - published sooner than I expected:
F*ck Amazon, and the horse they rode in on. 

"Amazon Author Page bibliographies can only include and display products classified as Books on Products classified as Books will include specific format and publisher information, displayed further down in the Product Details section of the product page. Items classified as 'DVD-ROM', and 'Multimedia CD' will not be displayed on your Author Page. Also, if a listing has no offers, this prevents it from showing up on the search results and your Author Page."

(I just noticed that a bunch of items are missing from my Author Page.)
Where are my "Timeline Photos" on Facebook? 

1) On the PC interface, click "Photos" at the top of your Timeline (just under your Cover Photo), then click the "Your Photos" link (a little bit lower, and to the left).

2) Hover your mouse over a photo that was posted directly onto your Timeline. See the "Timeline Photos" link that appears on that photo? When your mouse is directly over it, an underline should show up. Click that underlined link.

3) Store the resulting URL in a safe place. You may never see it again. ;-)

PS: Here's an example from Zuck's Photos:

And by clicking a "Timeline Photos" link on one of his photos, you will end up viewing his Timeline Photos album:

Use the same technique to view Zuck's Mobile Uploads album:
When they fight dirty... 

Re: The Activist Left Doesn't Give a Shit About Your Calls for Civility (Get ready for a summer of rage)

I have a Danish friend who's also a socialist, and he deplores the "depths" to which American progressives have sunk, in order to express their abhorrence of Trump's playbook: cruelty, fear and divisiveness. So when my friend expressed his distaste for the article above, I responded with this:

Yes, we have become animals, by lowering ourselves to the level of our opponents. We don't have the luxury of following the Marquess of Queensberry Rules, because our adversaries are the same brownshirted monsters that invaded Denmark in 1940. You Danes had it easy during WW2, but many others didn't, like the poor souls at Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Bergen-Belsen, Dachau, Treblinka, etc. These shiny-new brownshirts are ripping apart families and putting them in camps. In cages. How long do you think it will take before they turn on the gas?
Neutrality is a cop-out. 

We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
--Elie Wiesel

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.
--Albert Einstein

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
--Thomas Jefferson

He who does not oppose evil, commands it to be done.
--Leonardo da Vinci

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
--Desmond Tutu

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
--Edmund Burke
"Crap" in "Gluttony" - Publication Day! 
I submitted a 2-sentence, 864-word rant ("Crap" - first sentence = 863 words) about desperate constipation, for a print anthology entitled:

"Gluttony" 7 Deadly Sins, Vol. 2. [The Seven: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, pride.]

The editors replied:

"Hi Alan - we laughed at the beginning, screwed up our faces in the middle, and sighed with recognition at the end. So yes, we will include 'Crap' in 'Gluttony'."

The book was published a few hours ago:

"69 writers get gluttonous... Edward Ahern, Alan C. Baird, Elaine Barnard, Paul Beckman, Jon Bennett, Howard Brown, Michael H. Brownstein, Mark Budman, Steven Carr, Guilie Castillo Oriard, Changming Yuan, Jan Chronister, Marcia Conover, Carolyn Cordon, Judah Eli Cricelli, Ruth Z. Deming, Andrea Diede, Salvatore DiFalco, Michael Estabrook, Tom Fegan, Nod Ghosh, Ken Gosse, Roberta Gould, Steven Gowin, Noah Grabeel, Anne Graue, Jake Greenblot, Andrew Grenfell, Shane Guthrie, Jan Haag, Mark Hudson, Louise Hofmeister, Sharron Hough, Abha Iyengar, Bryan Jansing, Jemshed Khan, Linda Kohler, John Kujawski, John Lambremont Sr., Ron Lavalette, Valerie Lawson, Tracy Lee-Newman, Larry Lefkowitz, Cynthia Leslie-Bole, Peter Lingard, JP Lundstrom, Chuck Madansky, Karla Linn Merrifield, Marsha Mittman, Leah Mueller, Piet Nieuwland, Carl ‘Papa’ Palmer, Melisa Quigley, Dorothy Rice, Joanne Rizzo, Ruth Sabath Rosenthal, Sarah Salway, Shawn Aveningo Sanders, Rikki Santer, Wayne Scheer, Iris N. Schwartz, Fraser Sutherland, Lucy Tyrrell, Marian Urquilla, Rob Walker, Townsend Walker, Rob Walton, Michael Webb and Jeffrey Weisman"
More than EIGHT THOUSAND Facebookers die every day. 

Facebook is a growing and unstoppable digital graveyard (BBC):

At some point, there will be more dead Facebook users than living ones – and for those left behind, it is transforming how we experience the death of those around us. [...]

By 2012, just eight years after the platform was launched, 30 million users with Facebook accounts had died. [...]

Neither Kerry nor my Aunt Jackie are memorialised, which means, for all intents and purposes, their deaths haven’t been recognised by Facebook, or by the unwitting users who chance upon them. Their digital identities continue to exist.

Note: YOU can memorialize your loved ones' Facebook accounts ("Remembering ____"), so they stop appearing in public spaces, like People You May Know or Birthday reminders. Just visit this URL:
George Bernard Shaw writes about his visit to Skellig Michael. 

(18Sep1910) Yesterday I left the Kerry coast in an open boat, 33 feet long, propelled by ten men on five oars. These men started on 49 strokes a minute, a rate which I did not believe they could keep up for five minutes. They kept it without slackening half a second for two hours, at the end of which they landed me on the most fantastic and impossible rock in the world: Skellig Michael, or the Great Skellig, where in south west gales the spray knocks stones out of the lighthouse keeper's house, 160 feet above calm sea level. There is a little Skellig covered with gannets — white with them (and their guano) — covered with screaming crowds of them. The Bass rock is a mere lump in comparison: both the Skelligs are pinnacled, crocketed, spired, arched, caverned, minaretted; and these gothic extravagances are not curiosities of the islands: they are the islands: there is nothing else.

The rest of the cathedral may be under the sea for all I know: there are 90 fathoms by the chart, out of which the Great Skellig rushes up 700 feet so suddenly that you have to go straight up stairs to the top — over 600 steps. And at the top amazing beehives of flat rubble stones, each overlapping the one below until the circle meets in a dome — cells, oratories, churches, and outside them cemeteries, wells, crosses, all clustering like shells on a prodigious rock pinnacle, with precipices sheer down on every hand, and lodged on the projecting stones overhanging the deep huge stone coffins made apparently by giants, and dropped there God knows how.

An incredible, impossible, mad place, which still tempts devotees to make "stations" of every stair landing, and to creep through "Needle's eyes" at impossible altitudes, and kiss "stones of pain" jutting out 700 feet above the Atlantic.


I tell you the thing does not belong to any world that you and I have lived and worked in: it is part of our dream world.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Behind the Scenes in Ireland (Skellig Michael):
[Typing this up for a friend...] 

So I woke up drooling into my pillow...

...and immediately freaked out, because nobody ever warned me that it would happen at this age. Inside my grey-thatched skull is a teenager who can still hit a passing car from the roadside bushes with the firehose of his piss, who still has trouble controlling his erections around girls, and who still hasn't figured out what he wants to be when he grows up.

Why don't they issue a manual that tells you when to stop referring to the loss of memory as "early onset" and just simply call it "onset"? What is the proper age to start expecting that an innocent fart might suddenly turn into a nasty wet brown stain on your boxers? And how many times will you wake up at night to pee before Emily Post considers it to be excessive?

When did the world become so blurry? When did your arms become too short to bring the tiny print on that pill bottle into focus? And when did you start needing a magnifier to read your friends' status updates on Facebook?

Finally, why can't scientists develop a warning device that will tell you beforehand that you are about to have your last sexual experience, so you'd better f*cking enjoy it chucko, because this is the only memory that will keep you warm as you slowly descend into senility...
Our Irish Vaca - CliffsNotes: 

Day1) Plane trouble, and we miss the connecting flight in Philly. By 5 minutes.
Day2) We enjoy looking out at the rain from our airport hotel room in Philly. It's a dump.
Day3) We finally get to Ireland, and trudge around to a few sites in the cats-&-dogs rain.
Day4) We get lost in the p*ssing-down rain. Alan: "Hey look, another ogham stone!" Anikó: "That's the same one, genius."
Day5) The GPS breaks. Yeah, that GPS - the one that had all our tourist spots programmed into it.
Day6) A Polish driver backs into our rental car, ripping off a rear-door panel. We are overjoyed.
Day7) We are forced to drive 3 hours to fill out an accident report. Our overjoyment knows no bounds.
Day8) Anikó steps in dog poop, then sheep poop. The good news? Her poop locator seems to be working quite well.
Day9) Anikó takes a tumble, and we hear a loud snap in her wrist. But she was proud that she saved her iPhone.
Day10) Our flight home is cancelled, because the entire crew is sick. Our rerouted flight heads east, instead of west.
(Executive Summary) Despite the unbelievable series of setbacks [which became a running joke after awhile], we actually had a f*cking great time! Delicious food, fascinating sights, and our 200-year-old cottage was straight out of a fairy tale. We'll torture you with more pix and stories later...
Uncle Terry. 

Ronald Terrence "Terry" Gilbert
(20 Apr 1941 - 13 May 2018; Age 77)

OAKLAND - Ronald Terrence [Terry] Gilbert, 77 passed away on May 13, 2018, following a short illness. He was born in Waterville, Me., April 20, 1941, son of Ronald W. and Thena Sullivan Gilbert.

In his formative years Terry studied music with the renowned Lila [Ma] Atherton. Upon graduating from Williams High School he studied and was certified as an airline steward. With the love of music still in his heart he entered the Northern Conservatory of Music and graduated with a degree in music education. He also did graduate study in England. He taught public school music for many years in Hudson New York where he had a renowned boys choir. Returning home he taught music in Fairfield, Maine along with maintaining Musical Trends where he offered private music lessons in piano, voice, woodwind and brass instruments. His private students presented outstanding recitals each spring at many different venues. He also worked for a number of years in the mental health field. His loving companions at different times throughout his life were his Chihuahuas.

He is survived by three sisters, Beverly Baird Cauley of Ocala, Fl., Natalie Vogler of Ocala, Fl., Sherry Gilbert of Oakland, many cousins, nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, one sister Catherine Bacon and husband Otis, and two brothers-in-law.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 am on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at Notre Dame Catholic Church, 116 Silver Street, Waterville.

Arrangements are under the direction and care of Gallant Funeral Home, 10 Elm Street, Waterville. An Online guestbook may be signed and condolences expressed at

Published by the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel on on May 23, 2018:

Wallachia: Reign of Dracula - demo available! 

The game demo for "Wallachia: Reign of Dracula" (which I had a small part in writing) is now available!
Other pix:
Original announcement:
Free eBook ("Vlad the Impaler: Son of Dracul"):

Wallachia Avail

Sinclair Lewis sayeth. 

Did Nobel Prize-winning author Sinclair Lewis say that when fascism comes to America it will be "wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross"?

Clever saying, but ummmm, no:
Mystical Music - radio program pitch. 

I'd like to produce a Sunday radio program (suitable for syndication) dedicated to an eclectic mix of sacred music from a wide variety of cultures and mystical traditions... and I think it would be perfect for NPR. The first seven shows might feature the following works:

Paul Horn - Inside

David Hykes - Hearing Solar Winds

Paul Giger - Chartres

Kudsi Erguner - The sacred flute of the Whirling Dervishes

Vox - Diadema (Hildegard Von Bingen)

Arvo Pärt - Te Deum

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Shahen-Shah
Wallachia: Reign of Dracula. 

The game demo for "Wallachia: Reign of Dracula" (which I had a small part in writing) will be available on April 26th. Exciting!
Other pix:
Original announcement:
Free eBook ("Vlad the Impaler: Son of Dracul"):

Steinbeck sayeth. 

John Steinbeck once said that socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires. (A Short History of Progress, by Ronald Wright, 2004, p.124)

Steinbeck actually said:

Except for the field organizers of strikes, who were pretty tough monkeys and devoted, most of the so-called Communists I met were middle-class, middle-aged people playing a game of dreams. I remember a woman in easy circumstances saying to another even more affluent: "After the revolution even we will have more, won't we, dear?" Then there was another lover of proletarians who used to raise hell with Sunday picnickers on her property. [¶] I guess the trouble was that we didn't have any self-admitted proletarians. Everyone was a temporarily embarrassed capitalist. Maybe the Communists so closely questioned by the investigation committees were a danger to America, but the ones I knew—at least they claimed to be Communists—couldn't have disrupted a Sunday-school picnic. Besides they were too busy fighting among themselves. (America and Americans, by John Steinbeck, 1966, p.27)
Know your ending before you start writing. 

Brautigan: .44 Magnum
Hemingway: 12-gauge Boss shotgun
Kosiński: head in plastic bag
Plath: head in oven
Thompson: Smith & Wesson 645
Wallace: hanged
Woolf: walked into river w/stones in pockets

Boye: sleeping medication overdose
Chamfort: shot off nose/jaw, stabbed w/paper cutter
Ćopić: jumped off bridge
Crane: jumped off steamship
Levi: jumped into stairwell
Mishima: seppuku
Potocki: shot w/silver bullet blessed by priest
Sexton: locked in garage w/car running
Seneca: slit wrists

(Despite mutilating himself so horribly in September, Chamfort didn't die until the following April)
(Potocki was performing a public service - thought he was becoming a werewolf)

Jonker: walked into sea
Mayakovsky: played Russian roulette 3 times, won twice

Tacitus records the elegant suicide of Petronius:
"Yet he did not fling away life with precipitate haste, but having made an incision in his veins and then, according to his humor, bound them up, he again opened them, while he conversed with his friends, not in a serious strain or on topics that might win for him the glory of courage. And he listened to them as they repeated, not thoughts on the immortality of the soul or on the theories of philosophers, but light poetry and playful verses. To some of his slaves he gave liberal presents, a flogging to others. He dined, indulged himself in sleep, that death, though forced on him, might have a natural appearance. Even in his will he did not, as did many in their last moments, flatter Nero or Tigellinus or any other of the men in power. On the contrary, he described fully the prince's shameful excesses, with the names of his male and female companions and their novelties in debauchery, and sent the account under seal to Nero. Then he broke his signet-ring, that it might not be subsequently available for imperiling others."

UPDATE: I just realized I'm not famous enough to commit suicide. Dammit. ;-)

UPDATE 2: Resumé (by Dorothy Parker)
Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.
How to see who Likes and Follows your Facebook Page. 

1. Click Settings,
2: Click People and Other Pages,
3. Click dropdown: People Who Like This Page,
4. Click dropdown: People Who Follow This Page,
5. Click dropdown: Pages That Like This Page.