WINGSPREAD Ezine for April 2023

Spreading your wings in a perplexing world

April 2023                                                    James P. Hurd

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  • Blessed Unbeliever published!
  • Writer’s Corner
  • New story
  • This month’s puzzler
  • Wingspread Ezine subscription information
  • Wisdom

BLESSED UNBELIEVER is on the shelves!

In Blessed Unbeliever, Sean McIntosh lives in a California world of Fundamentalist certainty—until that world unravels. Now he’s shaken by contradictions in the Bible. Plus he’s trying to make sense of losing his girlfriend and losing his dream of becoming a missionary pilot. His despair leads him to commit a blasphemous act while at Torrey Bible Institute, Chicago. But, despite his honest attempt at atheism, grace pursues.

Blessed Unbeliever (paper or Kindle version) can be found at Wipf and Stock Publishers, Amazon or wherever good books are sold.

Writer’s Corner

Word of the Month: TYPESET or GALLEY version. The book is laid out, formatted and returned to the author for final corrections. (I found 100 errors in the typeset version of Blessed Unbeliever!)

Tip of the month: It’s helpful to sketch out your whole book. For each chapter or section, briefly list major scenes, major characters and major events, and maybe even the weather! This allows you to see the whole topography of your chronology and plot. Even Charles Dickens did this.

Author of the month: CHARLES DICKENS

Born in Portsmouth in 1812, Dickens saw his whole family sent to debtors’ prison while he himself was apprenticed to hard labor with a bootblack. His difficult life informed several of his novels (Pickwick Papers, David Copperfield, Hard Times, Bleak House).  The epitaph at his tomb in Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey reads: “. . . He was a sympathiser with the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his death, one of England’s greatest writers is lost to the world.”

Book of the month: Dickens based David Copperfield partly on the struggles in his own life. Here, he created one of his most infamous characters: the “‘umble” Uriah Heep.

Your turn: Who is the most interesting character you’ve ever read about, biographical or fictional? Why? (I’ll list some of these in the next ezine.)

New story: Muleticos: A graceful disaster

In Thee we trust, whate’er befall;
Thy sea is great, our boats are small.

—Henry van Dyke, from “O Maker of the Mighty Deep”

I see Muleticos airstrip appear from behind a hill—my last stop for the day. I test the brake pedals—they’re firm. Here in northwest Colombia the tiny grass airstrips dotting the landscape appear more like pastures than runways. Airstrips that most pilots would eschew. Turns out I should have eschewed Muleticos that day.

To read more, click here: Muleticos: A graceful disaster | Wingspread (    

(Leave a comment on the website and share with others. Thanks.)

This month’s puzzler: Ralph on a Jet Plane

Adapted from Car Talk Puzzler archives

Ralph, an auto mechanic, has to catch a flight late on a Friday night after a long workday but he’s forgotten to bring his change of clothes. So he changes into a crisp new mechanics uniform that he finds in the shop.

When he walks through security the metal detector alarm sounds. So the guard goes, “Excuse me, sir, would you kindly empty the contents of your pockets?”

So, Ralph empties his pockets. Puts all his stuff in the little tray. Wallet, keys,  everything. He tries to walk through again, but the alarm goes off again. So they ask him to remove any jewelry he has or his belt and try to walk through again. He does that and then walks through a third time. And the alarm goes off, for the third time. 

So finally, the guard looks at him and says, “What do you do for a living?”

And Ralph says, “I’m a mechanic, I fix cars.”

The guard smiles and says, “Oh; that explains it.”

So, what’s happening here? Hint: it wasn’t just auto repair mechanics that were having this issue. And remember, this was a long time ago, so this issue never happens now. But it happened then.

(Answer in next month’s Wingspread ezine.)

Last month’s puzzler. Recall the three candidates for a detective job. The head detective gives them a test, with a clue in one of the town’s libraries “stuck inside a book between pages 165 and 166.” Two of the candidates rushed out the door. The third just sat there—and he got the job. Why?

Answer: Everyone knows this, but not many people think about it. There is nothing between pages 165 and 166, just as there’s nothing between pages one and two of the book. Page one is the right-hand page and page two is printed on the back of that page.

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Football Wisdom

“Football is NOT a contact sport, it is a collision sport. Dancing IS a contact sport.” 
– Duffy Daugherty / Michigan State 

After USC lost 51-0 to Notre Dame, the coach’s post-game message to his
team was: “All those who need showers, take them.” 
– John McKay / USC 

 If lessons are learned in defeat, our team is getting a great education.” 
– Murray Warmath / Minnesota 

“The only qualifications for a lineman are to be big and dumb. To be a back, you only have to be dumb.” 
– Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

“We live one day at a time and scratch where it itches.” 
– Darrell Royal / Texas 

“We didn’t tackle well today, but we made up for it by not blocking.” 
– John McKay / USC 

“I’ve found that prayers work best when you have big players.” 
– Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

Why do Auburn fans wear orange? So they can dress that way for the game on Saturday, go hunting on Sunday, and pick up trash on Monday. 

Mary brings good News to Eve

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