The Halloween pumpkin met its end yesterday. It became a soup.
After gracing the front steps for months, it needed to be used before natural demise set in. It could not have served more faithfully in life or in the pot. The soup was just right for a cold, rainy day (or a cold, snowy day, if such a thing ever happened in this latitude). Of course, with selfish humans unable to do anything to reverse environmental damage, my descendants will be unable to enjoy warm soup on a snowy day...maybe not even in Greenland.
_ Please hate us.
We are arrogant and selfish.
I do not recommend writing to any young person seeking a lucrative career. It is easier to make money off writers than to be a writer. This seems a bit screwy, since the author is the one doing all the difficult work.
I recently published a new novel as ebook. I make a bit of money and the publisher makes a bit of money. There is no paper involved, so no printer makes money. Sales are conducted over the internet, so retailers make no money (unless the title is sold on B&N, Apple, etc.) Still, the author earns more per sale than with print books.
Once the long struggle with writing is over, it is a pain to convert a book from ebook format to print format and vice versa. Once done, it can be uploaded to a number of print-on-demand publishers. I choose Amazon for my latest book, just for fun. To give you an idea of the economics (so you don't think that I am becoming rich), I earn $.62 per book, whereas Amazon collects $14.33 per sale. That's capitalism...
I like leftovers. Fortunately. Especially at this time of year. People tend to buy and cook too much at Christmas. This is especially true in Germany, where there are three (count 'em...3) feast days. That's a lot of leftovers to polish off before New Year's gluttony.
Today, I finished off the last of the Christmas Day meal (roast chicken) and the final helping of Christmas Eve dessert (Baked Alaska...which become better as time went on). There's still some Chateaubriand left from Christmas Eve, which makes great sandwiches.
We will shop for New Year's Eve dinner tomorrow, and I should have everything finished by then. It was a good holiday season for eating...
_Most people want security in this world, not liberty.
_ As a contrast to life in Pyongyang, I went shopping in Frankfurt. After-Christmas/end-of-season/desperate-to-generate-turnover sales are underway.
I prefer to buy things at a reduced price, and I tend to wear clothes and shoes for many years. Fashion is not a big issue, because I chose items with a long shelf-life, so to speak. I do not see a reason to pay full price, which is probably inflated. Retailers and marketers (very few, if any, manufacture anything these days, so the factory has already made its money) have such large mark-ups, that they make money on reduced prices.
Whereas shops (is there such a thing?) are empty in North Korea, western shoppers are faced with too much choice. From the hundreds—perhaps thousands—of jackets on offer, I found only one to meet my taste. Yes, I am difficult to please and have rather conservative tastes, but one would expect a better ratio of likes to dislikes. In the end, I selected something from an upscale brand with no branding beyond the label. I do not like to announce my purchases, do not need a brand to define my personality, and am not willing to lend my stature to boost a brand for which I have paid money.
_ I may or may not have admitted to not understanding human behavior. If not, I am reminded of this failing when watching video footage from North Korea. Either there are masses of really good actors; these people are nuts; or fear and hunger cause strange actions.
Having spent many months living and working with the Korean army, I know that people from the southern end of the Korean peninsula are different than Americans (and several other nationalities with which I am familiar). That said, soldiers that I met were a far cry from their cousins to the north, as displayed on national television.
It is no consolation for people imprisoned in countries such as the United States, Germany, or Britain, but their existence might be more pleasant than that of the average citizen of North Korea. All surely eat better.
If anyone is ever feeling down or sorry for themselves, the best cure is to watch such footage...
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.