Category Archives: Ezines

WINGSPREAD Ezine for September, 2021


“Spreading your wings in a perplexing world”

September, 2021                                                                                             James P. Hurd

Please forward, and share this E-zine with anyone. Thank you.

Contents

  • New story
  • Puzzler of the month
  • Writer’s Corner
  • How to purchase Wingspread: A Memoir of Faith and Flying
  • Wingspread E-zine subscription information

*****************************************

 New story: “The Unfaithful Wife” 

The big tires skim the six-inch grass as we roll to a stop and taxi up to the houses. I open the side window and inhale the cooler air. Wally and Marg Jank are waiting with the patient, who lies on a stretcher.

Wally translates the loud chatter of the Yanomamo women standing around. “I wonder if she’ll die…? She’s so young… Her husband was really mad… How terrible he cut her leg off…! Serves her right for messing around with that other guy; I wonder what her husband will do to him…?” And sundry other helpful comments. The Yanomamo live in scattered shobonos of about 50 people each. Venezuelan healthcare does not extend to this remote location, and neither does law and order. The men frequently wage war on neighboring villages. The people go completely naked. The men expect their wives to obey them and to quickly accede to their demands . . .

To read more, click here:   https://jimhurd.com/2021/09/07/the-unfaithful-wife/

(*Please leave a comment on the website. Thanks.)

Puzzler for the month for September

The Loose Caboose ( from “Click and Clack, The Tappet Brothers”):

Imagine, if you will, a long freight train. Like the kind you see out West with a couple hundred cars getting ready to leave the train yard. The engineer opens the throttle and the train starts to pull away from the yard. Then they realize that the caboose has a problem. The brake is frozen on one of the wheels of the caboose, and the wheel is being dragged so there are sparks and smoke. 

Someone standing there says, “Stop the train.” So, they manage to signal to the engineer, to stop the train. Well, they can’t fix it, so they just cut the caboose loose. They remove it and they give the engineer the go ahead. They wave him. You know. Go ahead. He gives it the throttle. The train doesn’t move.

He gives it more throttle, it doesn’t move. He gives it more and what’s happening in the train isn’t moving, but his wheels are spinning. There’s nothing wrong with any of the remaining cars and there’s nothing wrong with the engine, but there is something wrong with the engineer.

The question is why won’t the train move?
(Answer in next month’s Ezine)

Remember August’s puzzler: “The interchangeable part”?

What part of a car is virtually interchangeable with virtually any other car, whether it’s foreign or domestic?

Answer from Tom and Ray: 

Now, a lot of people wrote in and said things like, “the air in the tires,” “the oil in the crankcase.” But we said it was an actual mechanical part — not a fluid. We did research this for six or seven minutes.

The answer is the Schrader tire valve, the valve that goes in the stem. It’s called that because it’s made by the Schrader Company.

It’s a little check valve that keeps the air from coming out. It allows you to put air into the tire, yet it does not allow air to escape.

You can take that out of any car. In fact, we’ve taken them out of all the cars in the parking lot… and all the cars in the parking lot now have flat tires.

Writers’ Corner

Watch for my upcoming novel: East Into Unbelief (provisional title)

Sean loses his father, his best girlfriend, his life dream, and finally, his faith. How can he be a good atheist, especially when he’s stuck at Torrey Bible Institute? He can’t see it, but grace is coming . . .

Word of the Month:  Developmental editing [as opposed to line editing or proofreading]. A higher-level critique of your plot, character development, scenes.

Tip of the month: Was it Elmore Leonard who said that if you wish to be a published writer, you need to spend lots of time and lots of money? I just contracted for an editor’s critique of my novel’s first 50 pages, plus a critique of my synopsis.

Buy James Hurd’s Wingspread: A Memoir of Faith and Flying  How childhood (Fundamentalist) faith led to mission bush-piloting in South America—and Barbara. Buy it here:  https://jimhurd.com/home/  (or order it at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc.) 

See pics here related to Wingspread: Of Faith and Flying: http://www.pinterest.com/hurd1149/wingspread-of-faith-and-flying/

Follow “james hurd” on Facebook, or “@hurdjp” on Twitter

Subscribe free to this Ezine  

Click here https://jimhurd.com/home/  to subscribe to this WINGSPREAD ezine, sent direct to your email inbox, every month. You will receive a free article for subscribing. Please share this URL with interested friends, “like” it on Facebook, retweet on Twitter, etc.

If you wish to unsubscribe from this Wingspread Ezine, send an email to hurd@usfamily.net and put in the subject line: “unsubscribe.” (I won’t feel bad, promise!) Thanks.

More paraprosdokians!

  • I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it. –Groucho Marx
  • He taught me housekeeping; when I divorce, I keep the house. –Zsa Zsa Gabor
  • I haven’t slept for 10 days, because that would be too long. –Mitch Hedberg
  • Standing in the park today, I was wondering why a frisbee looks larger the closer it gets… Then it hit me. –Stewart Francis
  • When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them. –Rodney Dangerfield
  • My husband hates seeing trash and garbage lying around the house – he can’t stand the competition. –Phyllis Diller
  • I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world because they’d never expect it. –Jack Handey
  • The company accountant is shy and retiring. He’s shy a quarter of a million dollars. That’s why he’s retiring. –Milton Berle
  • I’m a very tolerant man, except when it comes to holding a grudge. –Robin Williams
  • I saw a bank that said “24 Hour Banking,” but I don’t have that much time. –Stephen Wright
  • I always remember my grandfather’s last words: “A truck!” –Emo Phillips
  • Half of all marriages end in divorce—and then there are the really unhappy ones. –Joan Rivers
  • There are three kinds of people in the world – those who can count, and those who can’t. –Unknown

Wingspread Ezine for April, 2021


“Spreading your wings in a perplexing world”

April, 2021 James Hurd    

Please forward and share this E-zine with anyone. Thank you.

Contents

  • New story: “Journey to Mexico City”
  • How to purchase Wingspread: A Memoir of Faith and Flying
  • Puzzler of the month
  • Writer’s Corner
  • Wingspread E-zine subscription information

*********************

 New story: Journey to Mexico City

  It was long before dawn with a bone-chilling wind sweeping across TBI’s quad. The guys all stood huddled under a floodlight on the hoar-frosted cobblestones. Sean envisioned traveling hour after hour, seated in the dark van. He thought of his family Christmas in California that he would miss. Wondered if this “mission trip” would help him recover Christian faith.

Sean and Alex remembered Greg’s instructions—”No cameras. We’re on a mission, not a tourist trip. Bring one change of clothes and stuff it all into a pillow case. It’s easier packing that way. And bring your Bible and toothbrush.” Sean wondered why Greg hadn’t hired a horse and wagon—it would have provided even more suffering, more sacrifice. But they needed to get to Mexico fast if they wanted to blanket several square miles with literature.

When Langston flung open the double doors, Sean saw thousands of Bibles and Christian pamphlets strewn two feet deep across the van’s bed. Langston threw two large tarps over the literature.

“Where’re we going to sleep?” Alex asked.

“Ya’ll gonna sleep on top of this,” Langston told him. . . .

To read more, click here:    https://jimhurd.com/2021/04/19/1658/

(*Please leave a comment on the website. Thanks.)

Puzzler for April: Trapped on the island

A family of four and their dog get trapped on an island when rising floodwaters tear out the bridge they used just a few hours before. Frantically they search for some means of crossing back to the mainland and finally, when they’ve just about given up hope, the son says, “I found a small boat and oars.” They gather around but their joy is short-lived because the manufacturer’s instructions — printed on the back of the boat — say that the boat can carry only 180 pounds. Thank God Grandma’s not here. It’s just Mom, Dad, the two kids, and the dog. And the dog is the only one of them who can swim. Well, the father weighs 170. The mother says she weighs 130. The son is 90 pounds. And the daughter is 80. The dog weighs 15 pounds. Everyone can row except the dog, who can swim.

And the question is: is there any way the family can be saved? And if so, what are the fewest number of crossings to save everyone?

Answer to last month’s puzzler:

Kudos to Bill, Sam, and Andy on this one! Recall: If a chicken and a half can lay an egg and a half in a day and a half, how many days will it take for two chickens to lay 32 eggs?

Clearly, one chicken can lay one egg in a day and a half.

How about two chickens; what do they do? Two chickens lay four eggs in three days. So, if two chickens can lay four eggs in three days, then two chickens can lay 32 eggs in 24 days. (I know; it’s kind of crazy.)

Buy James Hurd’s Wingspread: A Memoir of Faith and Flying.  

How childhood (Fundamentalist) faith led to mission bush-piloting in South America—and Barbara. Buy it here:  https://jimhurd.com/home/  (or order it at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc.) 

Here are a few things to ponder . . .


See pics here related to Wingspread: Of Faith and Flying: http://www.pinterest.com/hurd1149/wingspread-of-faith-and-flying/

Follow “james hurd” on Facebook, or “@hurdjp” on Twitter

Writers’ Corner

Watch for my upcoming novel: East Into Unbelief (provisional title)

Sean loses his father, his best girlfriend, his life dream, and finally, his faith. But how can he be a good atheist, especially when he’s stuck at Torrey Bible Institute? He can’t see it, but grace is coming. . . .

Tip of the month: Give your character a distinctive characteristic, so the reader can instantly identify him/her, and separate them from the other characters. (In my novel, Fulton was a stutterer. Instantly identifiable.)

Word of the Month:  Coherence vs. Cohesion. Good writing needs both. If the writing is cohesive, each thought is connected to the next. Think a train with its train of connected cars. But the piece also needs to be coherent. That is, the piece needs to be about “one thing,” it must have a unity. Think of a tree with many twigs and branches, and also a unifying trunk.

Here is a cohesive, but INcoherent paragraph: ““I bought some hummus to eat with celery. Green vegetables can boost your metabolism. The Australian Greens is a political party. I couldn’t decide what to wear to the new year’s party.” The ideas tie together, but the paragraph has no coherence; it’s not about a single thing. (Thanks to Harshdeep Kaur)

Here are some headlines that might need some rewriting:

  • Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter (Pretty fast on the trigger)
  • Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says (Wow! Who would have thought?)
  • Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over (Seems that’s going the extra kilometer)
  • Miners Refuse to Work after Death (Must be union rules or something)
  • Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors (Sued for prescribing growth hormones?)
  • Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
  • Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers (So that’s what those big grills on their Fairlanes are for!)

Subscribe free to this Ezine   Click here https://jimhurd.com/home/  to subscribe to this WINGSPREAD ezine, sent direct to your email inbox, every month. You will receive a free article for subscribing. Please share this URL with interested friends, “like” it on Facebook, retweet on Twitter, etc.

If you wish to unsubscribe from this Wingspread Ezine, send an email to hurd@usfamily.net and put in the subject line: “unsubscribe.” (I won’t feel bad, promise!) Thanks.

Journey to Mexico City

The day after Christmas, Langston Brooks wheeled a rusty yellow delivery van into the Torrey Bible Institute quad to load up guys for the Mexico trip. It backfired when he shut it off.

Greg asked him, “Wow! Did you check the truck out before you drove it away?”

“I axed ‘em if this was the truck you reserved, and they said it was.” The van boasted only one tiny window on one side.

It was long before dawn with a bone-chilling wind sweeping across the quad. The guys all stood huddled under a floodlight on the hoar-frosted cobblestones. Sean envisioned traveling hour after hour, seated in the dark van. He thought of his family Christmas in California that he would miss. Wondered if this “mission trip” would help him recover Christian faith.

Sean and Alex remembered Greg’s instructions—”No cameras. We’re on a mission, not a tourist trip. Bring one change of clothes and stuff it all into a pillow case. It’s easier packing that way. And bring your Bible and toothbrush.” Sean wondered why Greg hadn’t hired a horse and wagon—it would have provided even more suffering, more sacrifice. But they needed to get to Mexico fast if they wanted to blanket several square miles with literature.

When Langston flung open the double doors, Sean saw thousands of Bibles and Christian pamphlets strewn two feet deep across the van’s bed. Langston threw two large tarps over the literature.

“Where’re we going to sleep?” Alex asked.

“Ya’ll gonna sleep on top of this,”  Langston told him.

They loaded up and started out through the vast, quiet streets of pre-dawn Chicago. Mexico City lay 2300 miles away—sixty hours of driving time with fifteen guys entombed in the dark van. A low-wattage bulb overhead gave barely enough light to read their Bibles. They sang a few choruses, but mostly slept. The route lay through Joliet, Champaign, St. Louis. It was getting dark, but they continued to drive, stopping only for gas, bathroom breaks, and truck stop food. They drove for hours through Texas, and finally reached the border town of Brownsville in the late afternoon of the second day.

“Okay; the church says we can overnight here on the floor,” Greg said. “We’ll cross the border tomorrow. We gotta pray that all this literature gets through.” Greg acted as if they were smugglers for Jesus sitting atop precious cargo, and prayed a panoply of protection over them.

Next morning they all grew quiet as the van approached the border and pulled up at a small wooden guardhouse where they all piled out of the van. The guards asked Greg some questions, trying out their English. “Where you from? Where you going? What you doing in Mexico?”

“We’re going to help some of our friends,” Greg explained.

Each guy walked into the guardhouse to fill out a visa form. Where it asked Motivo de viaje? (purpose of trip) Sean wrote in “missionary.” The official said, “No sirve.” He scratched this out and wrote “tourista.”Technically no one could enter Mexico as a “missionary.”

Outside, the guards sniffed around the truck, looked underneath it, looked inside the back, then turned to walk away. But one guard stopped, returned, then rolled back a corner of the tarp.

He saw the books. “Qué son estos?” he asked Greg.

Greg said, “We’re taking these books down to give to friends.” (He didn’t mention they were going to charge a few centavos for a copy.)

The guards looked around some more, asked more questions. Sean asked Alex, “Are they waiting for a bribe?”  Sometimes a couple of dollars at the border greased the skids and reduced the delay. All the STL guys were sitting around on the ground waiting.

Then abruptly, they waved them through. Sean didn’t see any money change hands.

The next day, evening was falling as the truck entered the vast outskirts of Mexico City. Street lamps illuminated the grey industrial buildings, and all the signs were in Spanish. Greg hadn’t planned for accommodations (typical of STL; they traveled “on faith”), so the group did what all homeless Evangelical missionaries do when they arrive in Mexico City—they went to “The Kettle” and threw themselves upon the good graces of Wycliffe Bible Translators (WBT). In Mexico City, WBT maintained The Kettle, a place of refuge for their missionaries when they came to the capital to renew visas, get government permissions, make purchases or meet other staff. The director told Greg, “You guys can bed down on the floor of this large assembly room.”

Sean and the team felt truly welcome. Greg seemed oblivious to any sense of imposition; he was on a mission for God and graciously accepted the hospitality. It was a good fit anyway, since WBT, like his Spread the Light group, specialized in literature and literacy.

In high, cold Mexico City, the STL guys wore their jackets as they enjoyed hot coffee in the patio. Supper time came, and Sean and Alex helped themselves to a wonderful buffet-style meal of rice mixed with fragrant pieces of pork, mango and pineapple, accompanied by guanabana juice. Behind the counter, Mexican women in white blouses and multi-patterned skirts dished up the food.

Alex and Sean sat under the colonnade in the dim light, eating their dinner at a table with an older WBT couple. Sean asked, “How long have you worked with WBT?”

“Over twenty-five years.”

“Do you like it?”

The woman replied, “Well, yes; it’s been a great ministry for Cam and me”

Sean asked, “Where did you live in the States?”

The man said, “I graduated from Santa Ana High School. My wife, Elvira, also comes from Southern California.” He began attacking his rice and beans.

“Oh, I’m from Santa Ana! What parts of Mexico did you work in?”

Elvira said, “All over. Cam came here single at first, worked in Guatemala translating the Cakchiquel New Testament. He and I’ve been working together now for fourteen years.”

That night as Sean lay almost asleep on his cot, he thought about the tasty food. Then it hit him. Cam? Why does that name sound familiar? Cam . . . Cam . . . short for Cameron?

He jerked awak—“Uncle Cam” Townsend! He and Alex had just eaten with the legendary man who’d started WBT thirty years before. Uncle Cam knew the former Mexican president personally and had negotiated their broad presence in the country where they created alphabets for the Indian dialect languages and taught people to read. He was also founder of JAARS (Jungle Aviation and Radio Service), the air arm of WBT!

Sean yelled and Alex’s eyes flew open. “Dude! The guy we ate dinner with tonight started WBT. Cameron Townsend! He’s world famous; written up in Reader’s Digest.”

“What? What time is it? Why are you yelling?” Alex clearly didn’t grasp the awesomeness of the encounter. Exhausted, they fell back again on their cots and were soon asleep.

The next day the STL group transferred to a local church where they set up housekeeping on the floor of the auditorium. Greg walked in. “Here’s some, coffee, pan dulce, tortillas, beans. Just serve yourself.” After breakfast they sat around, sang a couple songs and prayed.

“You’re going to split up into teams of two,” Greg told them. “Each team will carry a supply of Dios Llega al Hombre plus lots of pamphlets.” (Dios Llega al Hombre was a simplified New Testament that uses only a few hundred Spanish words.)

Plunging into the vast city like innocents abroad, Sean and Alex went from door to door trying to sell their low-priced wares. They canvassed a dozen little pedestrian cul de sacs, knocked on a multitude of doors.

Someone had fabricated a little plasticized card with a message in Spanish that they gave to the people: “We are visiting Mexico to distribute Christian literature. We have some free things for you, and a few books to sell, cheap. Do you wish to buy a Bible?”

Usually, busy housewives answered the door with a couple of kids, black-eyed and serious-faced, peeking out from behind Mother’s brown legs. The women were polite and kind. Some practiced their English on the guys. All the stuff was deeply discounted. Most took the free literature and didn’t purchase anything. But some bought a Bible (fifty centavos) or a small booklet (five centavos). Sean kept track of the coins they accumulated.

Farther on they began seeing more upscale stores. On the sidewalk by Neiman Marcus, a girl walked up to them. She appeared a middle teenager¾thin, with large dark eyes, black hair, long eyelashes and too much eyeshadow. A smile showed lipstick on her white teeth. She wore flip-flops and a short, flowered skirt. Sean glanced up and saw a man lounging in a nearby doorway, staring at them.

Quiére pasear?” she purred. He didn’t know much Spanish but discerned this wasn’t a question, but a proposition. The guy standing nearby was probably pimping her. They gave her a tract.

Late morning they bought pan dulce and coffee in a tiny bakery. They’d each exchanged fifty dollars or so into Mexican pesos, an amount that needed to last their whole time in the country.

Walking outside, they inhaled the black diesel exhaust from the passing busses. Each had an Aztec barrio name over its windshield—Coyacan, Chapultepec, Tlatelolco. Alex said, “I think Tlatelolco is ours.” After they rode for twenty minutes they exited the bus and walked back to their church. Sean thought he’d write Kathy, and he had bought some Mexican stamps downtown. They’d hardly talked all semester. She’d traveled home to be with her family for Christmas, so she wouldn’t get the letter until after she returned to school. He sat on the cold floor with a notepad in his hand.

Dear Kathy,

You probably won’t get this letter before I come back. I hope you enjoyed a great time in California with your family.

Two days ago, we arrived here in Mexico City at “The Kettle,” a hostel run by Wycliffe Bible Translators. You’ll never believe who we ate dinner with—”Uncle” Cam Townsend and his wife! He’s the founder of WBT. We didn’t even recognize him.

I hope we can see more of each other when I get back about January 7.

Best wishes,

Sean

The time finally came to leave Mexico City. After three days of constant traveling the truck rolled into the school’s quad. Sean stumbled out the back, climbed the stairs to his dorm room, then fell exhausted on his bed, sick with diarrhea. Greg brought him up some Lomotil but warned him not to tell anyone he was sick because TBI might cancel future Mexico trips.

Sean smiled to himself. How strange he’d survived, even thrived, on this trip, even though he was telling some people he no longer believed in God. Interesting how a person can soldier on, even as they are losing their faith.

Jeff Landry, Serial Killer

One of my most interesting students was Jeff Landry, the one who threatened to kill me. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I was teaching anthropological theory at Bethel University—10 students, all in their early twenties. All except Jeff Landry who was in his early thirties.

The first day Jeff walked in, he took a seat in the back and slouched down in his chair with his motorcycle-booted feet splayed out in front of him. Hands in the pockets of his leather jacket. Black, disheveled hair hanging down over dark glasses. Looked as if he was running security for the mafia. Like a person whose anger boiled just below the surface. Intimidation behind dark glasses.

An older student often enlivens a class. Jeff was like this. He didn’t talk much, didn’t fraternize with the other students. But he asked questions, good questions. He showed himself a skeptic—never smiling as he offered humorless critiques of my ideas. And he had this strange interest in the motivation of serial killers. He said he wanted to do a sociology major, which we did not offer at the time. I advised him, “Take the sociocultural major and take lots of sociology classes.”

One day he told me, “Dr. Hurd, we’ve gotta talk about Postmodernism.” My heart sank. Not only did I not want to teach Postmodernism; I knew almost nothing about it. But I grudgingly prepped a lecture on the subject.

After he graduated, Jeff pursued a Ph.D. in sociology. His thesis topic: serial killers—their methods and motivations. Completely focused. Over the years, he would email me. I was puzzled why he kept up a correspondence with me, but I tried to give him helpful suggestions for his graduate studies.

He had some run-ins with his instructors and finally stalled when he had to write his Ph.D. thesis because he kept clashing with his thesis adviser.

I was sitting at my office computer late one night when I received a short email from him: “I can show you how to strangle a man with a piece of piano wire.”

My spine chilled. Jeff was like this—straight, direct, and he apparently still had this obsession with serial killers.

I emailed my colleague, Harley Schreck. He said he’d also received an email from Jeff Landry which read: “I can show you how to strangle James Hurd with a piano wire.”

I freaked, and called Bethel security. They told me to call the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff came out. I was surprised he did not seem panicked. Maybe people called in death threats every day, I thought. “Look,” he said, “contact Jeff and ask him to explain his email to you.” Then he disappeared out into the night.

But I was afraid to contact Jeff. I couldn’t concentrate on writing my lecture, so I gave up, and decided to head home. Walking out in the dark toward my car, I was looking to the left and right. How do you protect yourself against a vague threat, I wondered? I had considered asking security to accompany me, but reasoned that only women did that. I walked a little faster, trying to stay under the lights that illuminated the parking lot. I was relieved when I reached my car. I checked the back seat, checked under the car, then got in and drove home.

The next day I told Harley about the sheriff. He said, “Oh, Jim; I’m really sorry! Landry never sent me an email; it was a joke!” Harley was like that. Random jokes. He was really apologetic.

In later years, my study of Postmodernism transformed my thinking about theory and even about understanding the Bible. Jeff was the one who pushed me into it.

So, that was the day I survived Jeff Landry’s threat to kill me.

WINGSPREAD Ezine for February, 2021


“Spreading your wings in a perplexing world”

February, 2021                                             James Hurd    

Please forward, and share this E-zine with anyone. Thank you.

Contents

  • New story: The Middle Passage
  • Words to Ponder
  • How to purchase Wingspread: A Memoir of Faith and Flying
  • Puzzler of the month
  • Writer’s Corner, with a new contest
  • Wingspread E-zine subscription information

*********************

 New story: The Middle Passage

I survived three years at Orange Intermediate School, but I resent that they forced me to do puberty at the same time.

The first day, l I walked past Jimmy Creech in the hall—a bellowy eighth grader, bereft of grace, who stood six foot five. Creech wasn’t the sharpest needle in the pincushion–it probably took him two hours to watch 60 minutes. But here he came, walking like the Fonz, with a gaggle of admirers following.

I must have said something like, “Hey there,” or “What’s up?”

Creech paused, and turned: “What’d you say?

“Nothin’”

“Come ’ere kid.”

I came.

“Turn around, kid.”

I turned. . . .

To read more, click here:   https://jimhurd.com/2021/02/19/the-middle-passage-2/

(*Please leave a comment on the website. Thanks.)

Things to ponder:

If the world had a population of one hundred, the following would be true:

11 are in Europe
5 are in North America
9 are in South America
15 are in Africa
60 are in Asia

49 live in the countryside
51 live in cities

12 speak Chinese
5 speak Spanish
5 speak English
3 speak Arabic
3 speak Hindi
3 speak Bengali
3 speak Portuguese
2 speak Russian
2 speak Japanese
62 speak their own language.

77 have their own houses.
23 have no place to live.

21 are over-nourished
63 can eat full meals.
15 are under-nourished
1   ate her last meal, but did not make it to the next meal.

For 48, the money spent on living for one day is less than US$2.

87 have clean drinking water
13 either lack clean drinking water or have access to a water source that is
polluted.

75 have mobile phones
25 do not.

30 have internet access
70 do not have conditions to go online.


7 received university education
93 did not attend college.

83 can read
17 are illiterate.

33 are Christians
22 are Muslims
14 are Hindus
7 are Buddhists
12 are other religions
12 have no religious beliefs.

26 will live less than 14 years
66 will die between 15 – 64 years of age
8 will live to over 65 years old.

If you have your own home,
eat full meals and drink clean water,
have a mobile phone,
can surf the internet, and have gone to college,
you are in the miniscule, privileged lot (in the less than 7% category).

Puzzler of the month:

February puzzler: number translation

Here are two series of numbers and their equivalents:
Two, nine, seven, nine, 12—That series of numbers equals the number seven.
Three, five, zero—That group of numbers equals the number two.

So, how would you write the number 10? That’s the question.

Answer to the January puzzler

Recall the three boxes that sit on a table, inside one of which is a picture of the fair Rowena. It is the job of the White Knight to figure out – without opening them – which one has the treasured picture.

The gold box says, “Rowena’s picture is in this box.” The silver box says, “The picture is not in this box.” The lead box says, “The picture is not in the gold box.” Only one of the statements is true. Which box holds the picture?

So, two of the statements are false only if the silver box has her picture in it. Therefore, it’s in the silver box. If it’s in the silver box:

The gold statement is false
The silver statement is false
The lead statement is true

Yeah, White Knight!

 Best black-and-white movie you’ve ever seen:

That one’s easy for me—Casablanca. Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), who owns a nightclub in Casablanca, discovers his old flame Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) is in town with her husband, Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid). Laszlo is a famed resistor, and with Germans on his tail, Ilsa knows Rick can help them get out of the country, but if he does, he will lose her forever.

What’s your favorite black-and-white and why? (I’ll publish these in the next WINGSPREAD.)

Buy James Hurd’s Wingspread: A Memoir of Faith and Flying.  

How childhood (Fundamentalist) faith led to mission bush-piloting in South America—and Barbara. Buy it here:  https://jimhurd.com/home/  (or order it at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc.) 

See pics here related to Wingspread: Of Faith and Flying: http://www.pinterest.com/hurd1149/wingspread-of-faith-and-flying/

Follow “james hurd” on Facebook, or “@hurdjp” on Twitter

Writers’ Corner

Tip of the month: Your whole novel, and each chapter, should have a “plot arc.” The action should rise, climax, then quickly reach its denouement.

Word of the Month:  QAnon

A popular conspiracy theory, started by a social media item posted by the mysterious “Q,” which asserts that an international pedophile ring is conspiring to bring down the 45th President of the United States. Many people still believe it.

Watch for my upcoming novel: East Into Unbelief (provisional title)

Sean loses his father, his best girlfriend, his life dream, and finally, his faith. How can he be a good atheist, especially when he’s stuck at Torrey Bible Institute? He can’t see it yet, but grace is coming. . . .

Subscribe free to this Ezine   Click here https://jimhurd.com/home/  to subscribe to this WINGSPREAD ezine, sent direct to your email inbox, every month. You will receive a free article for subscribing. Please share this URL with interested friends, “like” it on Facebook, retweet on Twitter, etc.

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The Middle Passage

I survived three years at Orange Intermediate School, but I resented that they forced me to do puberty at the same time.

The first day, l I walked past Jack Cratch in the hall—a bellowy eighth grader, bereft of grace, who stood six foot five. Cratch wasn’t the sharpest needle in the pincushion–it probably would tak him two hours to watch 60 minutes. But here he came, walking like the Fonz, with a gaggle of admirers following.

I must have said something like, “Hey there,” or “What’s up?”

Cratch paused, and turned —“What’d you say?

“Nothin’”

“Come ’ere kid.”

I came.

“Turn around, kid.”

I turned.

He ripped a piece of paper out of my notebook and wrote on it, then scotch-taped the paper to my back. “You take that off and I’ll beat your face in.” Then he walked away. The paper read “I AM THE SCUM OF THE EARTH.”

I wore the sign the whole morning of my first day at intermediate school. Finally, a teacher saw it, ripped it off, and asked, “Who did this to you?”

“I dunno,” I lied. From that day on I realized that I was not the most important person on campus.

After lunch, the boys would sort of mill around the playground or huddle in tight little knots. Cliff was squat, muscular, a football type of guy. John played first base in our pickup games. Dan had a crewcut and a waxed ducktail. These were the noble ones—they drank from the Source. That year I invited them to my birthday party—miniature golfing at Shady Acres in Long Beach. They never invited me back. I learned then that friendship isn’t something you can buy.

I got a crash course in fashion when I noticed these same boys wearing button-down shirts (two lapel buttons, and a collar button which you left unbuttoned) and perma-pressed slacks with a little cloth belt buckle on the back. Or they wore Levi’s. If a kid came to school with a new pair of Levi’s, they would wrestle him to the ground and tear off the little red Levi’s tag on the back. I didn’t wear Levi’s. My parents provided well for us, but we weren’t rich, so my mom found a second-hand tee-shirt somewhere that said “Orange Grammar School” on the front (an obsolete name for Orange Intermediate). I only wore it once.

I learned more vocabulary on the playground than I did in the classroom. We would say “Oh, fat,” “spas out” [a mockery of spastics, whose gestures we would perfectly imitate], or we would call someone “brain” [mocking his stupidity]. My linguistic education was bilingual—I learned dirty words from the Mexicans, even though I didn’t know what they meant.

Playground talk often shifted to the second gender, and soon my hormones began warring against my Fundamentalist Christian morals. All the girls at Orange Intermediate wore dresses, or a blouse and skirt. The boys would look up their legs when they climbed the steel stair steps to the second floor, longing to pick the low-hanging fruit. Sometimes when a girl leaned down at the drinking fountain, a boy would come up behind and snap her bra strap.

But I loved Shirley—blonde, beautiful and burgeoning—the daughter of the owner of Orange Furniture Store. In second grade she was my first girlfriend, but I hardly dared speak to her now in intermediate school. At high school graduation several years later, I played clarinet in the marching band from where I watched her sitting on the stage playing the piano, flouting school clothing regulations with her low-cut, strapless dress.

At intermediate school I learned about the criminal justice system. The principal was the ultimate threat, the face of justice that was supposed to motivate good behavior. Once during lunch hour, some of us were playing handball against the side of the stuccoed building instead of participating in the required softball games. The principal told the Phy Ed coach, Mr. Elmwood, to deal with it. He was a proud man, bronzed, muscular, and serious as a heart attack. Talked as if someone had put sand in his toothpaste. He took three of us to the woodshop where he found the wooden paddle with the holes drilled in it. He told me, “Grab your ankles.” I upended, wondering how hard he would hit. He hit. The single, hard whack brought tears to my eyes but I refused to sob.

At Orange Intermediate, I just felt weird. Later I learned that “feeling weird” is common for pubescent males, but at the time I was convinced it was because I was a Fundamentalist. The kids at school came in only three categories: Unchurched, Catholic, and Mainline Modernist (read liberal, “worldly”). I didn’t fit any of these categories. As far as I knew, I was a group of one, a spiritual orphan.

My Fundamentalist pastor told me I had to separate myself from the contagion of the world. At intermediate school I saw the world all around me—worldly dress, worldly language, worldly activities. I felt compelled to “witness” about my faith, speaking Jesus-words to my unchurched classmates. I refused to participate in square dancing. At graduation, they were all doing the Bunny Hop in the auditorium while Howard and I sat in the lobby playing chess. Howard, the supreme nerd, once asked our math teacher if she knew how a right triangle is like a frozen dog? (Answer: “perp-in-di-cooler.”) I didn’t like Howard. I didn’t like myself. We were both nerd-heads.

I would stand mute while my friends discussed the movies they’d seen. Our church was anti-movie, so I never entered Orange Theater. And when my history teacher talked about early hominids and evolution, I had to tell him, “I don’t believe that. The Bible doesn’t mention it.”

He told me, “I don’t believe it either, but we have to teach it.”

I did not like my body. Looking in the mirror I would think, My eyebrows are too low! In the locker room, I discovered a new athletic appliance—the jockstrap. I didn’t even know boys needed one, but I self-consciously climbed into it. Other boys were less self-conscious—Mike would pull his on, stretch one of the straps over his shoulder, then look around and ask innocently, “How do you get into this thing, anyway?”

My most precious memory of the locker room is Billy, a guy who would steal pennies off a dead man’s eyes. One day he turned from the adjacent urinal, directed his appliance, and peed on me. A little yellow river trickled down my leg and onto the floor.

Some days, Orange Intermediate seemed the last refuge of the damned, but looking back, I see that most of my pubescent learning took place there outside the classroom—learning how to deal with adversity, how to relate to “worldly” people, how to be “in the world but not of it,” how to respect women, how to share faith, and how to have compassion for all people, even Billy the Bully.

I began to realize that I was a prig, a “holier than thou” person. The kids at Orange Intermediate did their best to squeeze the prigness out of me. But I felt more than different—I felt insecure, with an unfulfilled passion to conform. I failed to fit in. (Much later, I discovered that most middle schoolers feel that way.)

But perhaps most important, Orange Intermediate taught me that I was not the fourth member of the Trinity.

WINGSPREAD E-zine for December, 2016

“Spreading your wings in a perplexing world”
December, 2016                                                                                     James Hurd      

 

Contents

  • New blog article: The Game My Mother Taught Me
  • Writer’s Corner
  • Book and Film reviews
  • E-zine subscription information
  • How to purchase Wingspread: Of Faith and Flying
  • Quotable quotes

*****************************************

New blog article: “The Game My Mother Taught Me”

 “Mom, I’m bored. What can I do?”

The clock nibbles away at the afternoon. It’s Sunday and I’m a fidgety ten-year-old sitting on our living room couch. We Fundamentalists embrace a strict set of biblical doctrines, and a list of forbidden “worldly” practices—practices especially prohibited on Sundays. I can’t go to the movies or read the newspaper. Can’t ride my bike out of the neighborhood….   Read more here: https://jimhurd.com/2016/12/05/the-game-my-mother-taught-me/

Writers’ Corner

Writer of the Month: Henri M. Nouwen (1992-1996). Dutch priest. Powerful devotional writing that shows great transparency and vulnerability. Read by millions of Catholics and Protestants alike. Books: The Return of the Prodigal Son, The Wounded Healer, In the Name of Jesus, Genesee Diary).

Words of the Month

Scening: Think motion pictures. A “scene” is a place where an un-interrupted series of actions takes place. Temporarily label each scene in your manuscript and make sure you’re signaling to the reader where she is in the story. This also helps you keep chronology and transitions straight.

Tagging: Temporarily use colored print to reveal the anatomy of your manuscript.

Normal print for narrative, story. Should be over half your piece. It’s what engages the reader.

Green for reflections about the narrative, and descriptions of people, places, etc. Limit this.

Orange for dialogue. Use lots of this.

Grey for “backstory”—explanations of the story; previous happenings—eliminate this, limit this, or feed it to your reader in small bits and pieces.

Answers to quiz for November

  • Before I realized it, I had driven much further into the desert. (Use “farther” for distance)
  • He noticed a large stain in the rug that was right in the center of the room. (Stain or rug was in the center?)
  • The dog aggravated the little puppy. (Irritated. “Aggravate” means to make worse)
  • He had shone how not to fly the airplane. (Shown. “Shone” is past tense of “shine”)

 New Quiz for December. Correct these sentences:

  • You should vote, irregardless of your political preferences.
  • Today they have less workers than formerly.
  • Caribou smells good like a coffee shop should.

Writer’s tip of the Month: Use descriptions (of places, people, things, weather) but limit them to a few essential details, and tell your reader only what they need to know.

Book and Film Reviews

Foreign Correspondent. 1940. An early Alfred Hitchcock film. American triumphalism. (three stars)

This Changed Everything. 2016. A video documentary on the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation (2017). Excellent, three-program set, narrated by David Suchet.
(five stars)

George Herbert (1593-1633), The Complete English Poems. Penguin Press: 2004. Great, insightful clergyman with a magic pen. (four stars)

Subscribe free to this E-zine   Click here https://jimhurd.com/home/  to subscribe to Wingspread  E-magazine sent direct to your email inbox, every month. You will receive a free article for subscribing. Please share this URL with interested friends, “like” it on Facebook, retweet on Twitter, etc.

 Buy James Hurd’s Wingspread: A Memoir of Faith and Flying.  How childhood (Fundamentalist) faith led to mission bush-piloting in South America—and Barbara. Buy it here:  https://jimhurd.com/home/  (or at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc.)
See pics here related to Wingspread: Of Faith and Flying: http://www.pinterest.com/hurd1149/wingspread-of-faith-and-flying/

 Quotable quotes

   Both optimists and pessimists contribute to aviation.  The optimist invents the airplane; the pessimist, the parachute.

   Aviation training: Death is just nature’s way of telling you to watch your airspeed.

♠    Venison for dinner again?   Oh deer!

♠    England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.

♠    They told me I had type-A blood, but it was a typo.

♠    I changed my iPod’s name to Titanic.  It’s syncing now.

♠    I stayed up all night to see where the sun went, and then it dawned on me.

*    *    *

Follow “james hurd” on Facebook, or “@hurdjp” on Twitter

If you wish to unsubscribe from this Wingspread E-zine, send an email to hurd@usfamily.net and say in the subject line: “unsubscribe.” (I won’t feel bad, promise!) Thanks.

Retirement Surprise

 

Absence of occupation is not rest.
A mind quite vacant is a mind distress’d.
—William Cowper

 

Time’s clock hurls us all on a one-way life ticket, and when you reach retirement, you can’t rewind. You find yourself still busy, but different busy.

Your employer no longer tells you what to do. But your partner—loving and kind—brims with fresh ideas to fill your days, and believes that now that you’ve retired, you should be working on becoming a Better Person. This apparently includes such things as exercising, controlling your weight, maturing spiritually, spending more time with the grandkids, and significantly, taking a greater role in kitchen and housework.

From our first date, Barbara and I never talked about division of labors, so on our honeymoon I began to prepare breakfast. She had a few kind suggestions, and then took charge of food preparation for the next forty years. She didn’t exactly forbid me to cook, but she arrived in my house with a sturdy image of her calling, a calling that included all the cooking, housework, and most of the child rearing. At first, I limited my domestic tasks to repairing our car, mowing the lawn, and handling our money. (She would say I earned it and she spent it.) Gradually, my responsibilities expanded to taking out the trash and, if I got up last, making the bed—the only incentive I can think of to get up early.

Now that we’re retired I occasionally offer to grocery shop, but apparently I lack the requisite skills—judgment, frugality and—okay—common sense. The supermarket presents itself to me as a foreign country—inscrutably organized, with nothing arranged logically, nothing in plain view. I’m too proud to ask for help because I know what people will think—He’s clueless! Even the rare times I go with Barbara, I serve mainly to challenge and distract.

When I offer, “Give me your list; I’ll buy the stuff,” she replies, “That’s all right. You’d take twice as long and pay too much for stuff we don’t need.” It’s true—I’m never sure what brand or size to buy, whether I want lite, diet, or regular, whether I should get high-fiber, organic, or low-fat. I don’t understand coupons. I eschew green-colored food displays; my tastes run more to the ice cream, meat, and cheese counters and to things like refried beans, potato chips, pastries, and chocolate. I’m heartened to hear that with all its antioxidants, chocolate’s becoming the new broccoli. I’ve always thought that if your body craves something, that means it’s good for you. It’s not that I despise the food groups; I just choose to honor different ones than Barbara.

Retirement changes your work habits. Shortly after I retired, I tried the old line, “I have to go to the office.” But when Barbara would ask, “What for?” I couldn’t think of anything. So, when we moved into our townhome, I plunged into unboxing and assembling new furniture, installing cupboards and curtain rods, hanging pictures, spackling and painting walls, installing TV, stereo, carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarms, and repairing downspouts.

Today, Barbara passes her days keenly alert for any strange noise—a sticky door, a flickering lightbulb, a bare spot on the wall. I don’t repair any of these anomalies too quickly, because they’re like moving ducks in a shooting gallery—you no more knock one off than another one appears.

One day Barbara notices that our dishwasher heats and whirs but doesn’t swish any water over the dishes. She says, “The dishes come out as dirty as when you put them in.

I tell her, “I think that’s the way it’s supposed to work. Anyway, they’re sterilized.”

(Eye roll)

So of course we purchase a new Whirlpool with an Energy Star rating. Like a dried-out drunk, I immediately start criticizing friends who don’t have Energy Star-rated appliances. Don’t they care about being green? But when I discover that friends who are real greenies wash dishes by hand, I graciously forgive all my dirty-energy friends.

I think Barbara invites guests over only as an excuse to clean the whole house. I’ve never personally seen any dust in the house, yet Barbara insists that we should clean on the grounds that there might be some there. She’s introduced me to the vacuum cleaner, a challenging machine with lots of switches and levers. It waits patiently in the closet and whispers, “Please take me out; I feel neglected.

When I first pulled the vacuum out and grasped the cold metal handle, it seemed simple enough, and surrendered to my control. I determined to do the sunroom first, because it’s small, and doesn’t seem very dirty. I pushed and pushed with little result. “Barbara, it doesn’t seem to be cleaning very well.

“You have to push the brush control down.”

“I knew that.”

“No, you didn’t.”

Now an expert, I thrill to the loud, businesslike whirr of the motor, the smell of dust in the air, the light-colored swipes on the carpet. The whole house takes less than an hour, yet I wonder darkly, Is this merely the thin edge of a dangerous wedge?

It’s true—without even realizing it, I find myself immersed in other new tasks—for instance, scrubbing the kitchen floor using a milky liquid that Barbara tells me you merely wipe on and wipe off. This is cleanliness gone to church—the floor doesn’t even seem dirty. I learn that you should sweep first. Otherwise you’re down on your hands and knees with a cleaning rag, chasing around little crud thingies.

I’m not complaining—I love retirement. I want to end my passage well. I wish to work well, seeking those new tasks God has for me. It’s just that I didn’t realize God was so interested in cleaning and vacuuming.

E-zine for January 1, 2015

Here is my latest Wingspread E-magazine. If you wish to continue receiving it, please subscribe to it at: https://jimhurd.com/

The Ezine is about three things: faith, flying, and your writing. I’ll include new stories, articles on writing, and helpful web links for you.

WINGSPREAD for January 1, 2015

AN E-zine dedicated to faith, flying, and your writing in a complex world

Happy New Year! We enter it with hope and trust, knowing we are accompanied.

Subscribe to this Wingspread  E-magazine (free), sent direct to your email inbox, twice a month. Click here http://jimhurd.com to subscribe. You will receive a free article for subscribing. Please share this URL with interested friends, “like” it on Facebook, retweet on Twitter, etc.

Wingspread: Of Faith and Flying.   A memoir about childhood faith and mission bush-piloting in South America. Buy it at: http://booklocker.com/books/7785.html (or Barnes and Noble, or Amazon.com). See pics related to Wingspread: http://www.pinterest.com/hurd1149/wingspread-of-faith-and-flying/

New article: Here’s an article about Barbara’s Mennonite childhood on the farm.

A footbridge high above Pequea Creek provided a shortcut to Uncle John’s farm. We also used that bridge to go visit our grandparents who lived with Uncle John. Narrow boards hung on two cables, with two more cables for handgrips, but no sides.   (Read more…)

https://jimhurd.com/2014/12/27/barbaras-childhood-on-the-farm/

Writer’s Corner: Wondering how to clean up your writing? Read my short piece, “How to revise an article” at:  https://jimhurd.com/2014/12/05/ezine-for-dec-15-2014/

Some Favorite quotes:

♠   ‘Twas much that man was made like God before, but that God should be made like man, much more. Milton

♠   In theory, there’s a difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there’s not.

♠  Of all my wife’s relatives, I like myself the best.

♠  Wife to husband: “But I thought that after you retired, you’d work more on becoming a better person…”  (Oh oh…)

♠  People need to know that you care before they care what you know. James F. Hind

Helpful writers’ links:

All about self-publishing:  http://online-book-publishing-review.toptenreviews.com/

Great link for self-publishing, writing contests, writing tips for authors. This is where I published the Wingspread book. http://www.writersweekly.com/
If you wish to unsubscribe from Wingspread, send a note to hurd@usfamily.net and say in the subject line: “unsubscribe.” (I won’t feel bad, promise!) Thanks.

Follow “james hurd” on Facebook, or “@hurdjp” on Twitter

Wingspread—Ezine for December 15, 2014

A new Ezine dedicated to faith, flying, and your writing in a complex world.
People can subscribe to Wingspread (free) at: http://jimhurd.com. You will receive a free article for subscribing. I hope to publish Wingspread about twice a month, direct to your email inbox. Please share this URL with interested friends, “like” it on Facebook, etc.

Wingspread: Of Faith and Flying.   A book about spreading wings on flights of the Spirit. Check it out, or buy it at:   jimhurd.com (or Barnes and Noble, or Amazon.com).

See new pics related to Wingspread book: http://www.pinterest.com/hurd1149/wingspread-of-faith-and-flying/

Follow James Hurd on Facebook, or @hurdjp on Twitter

Favorite quotes:

Busyness is the earwax against the voice of God.

Bitterness is a poison that you take, hoping that the other person will die.

Pride has two evil stepsisters— low self-esteem and jealousy—and two cousins, anger and bitterness.

In theory, there’s no difference between theory and practice, but in practice, there is.

I’m a Christ-follower, but I suck at it. (Fuller Seminary student)

Wondering how to clean up your writing? Read my “How to revise an article” at:  https://jimhurd.com/category/writing/  It contains gleanings from the experts.

 “The Middle Passage” A story about middle school and coming of age—read it at:  https://jimhurd.com/2014/11/06/the-middle-passage/

Tips on protecting your passwords! Watch this video: http://www.nytimes.com/video/technology/personaltech/100000003216464/how-to-create-a-secure-password.html?emc=edit_th_20141106&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=48256846

If you wish to unsubscribe from Wingspread, send a note to hurd@usfamily.net and say in the subject line: “unsubscribe.” Thanks.