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

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 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

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 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.

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

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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.