Celebrating My 300th Post With Poetry

I’m celebrating my 300th post with poetry. Fred Proud does an excellent reading in this video. Kipling was an English Twain with his command of colloquialisms and rough hewn dialect, the plain talk of common people. But Kipling’s word play was not at all common. “An’ the dawn comes up like thunder outer China ‘crost the Bay!”


by Rudyard Kipling

BY THE old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin’ lazy at the sea,
There’s a Burma girl a-settin’, and I know she thinks o’ me;
For the wind is in the palm-trees, and the temple-bells they say:
“Come you back, you British soldier; come you back to Mandalay! ”
Come you back to Mandalay,
Where the old Flotilla lay:
Can’t you ‘ear their paddles chunkin’ from Rangoon to Mandalay ?
On the road to Mandalay,
Where the flyin’-fishes play,
An’ the dawn comes up like thunder outer China ‘crost the Bay!
‘Er petticoat was yaller an’ ‘er little cap was green,
An’ ‘er name was Supi-yaw-lat – jes’ the same as Theebaw’s Queen,
An’ I seed her first a-smokin’ of a whackin’ white cheroot,
An’ a-wastin’ Christian kisses on an ‘eathen idol’s foot:
Bloomin’ idol made o’ mud
Wot they called the Great Gawd Budd
Plucky lot she cared for idols when I kissed ‘er where she stud!
On the road to Mandalay…

When the mist was on the rice-fields an’ the sun was droppin’ slow,
She’d git ‘er little banjo an’ she’d sing “Kulla-lo-lo!
With ‘er arm upon my shoulder an’ ‘er cheek agin my cheek
We useter watch the steamers an’ the hathis pilin’ teak.
Elephints a-pilin’ teak
In the sludgy, squdgy creek,
Where the silence ‘ung that ‘eavy you was ‘arf afraid to speak!
On the road to Mandalay…

But that’s all shove be’ind me – long ago an’ fur away
An’ there ain’t no ‘busses runnin’ from the Bank to Mandalay;
An’ I’m learnin’ ‘ere in London what the ten-year soldier tells:
“If you’ve ‘eard the East a-callin’, you won’t never ‘eed naught else.”
No! you won’t ‘eed nothin’ else
But them spicy garlic smells,
An’ the sunshine an’ the palm-trees an’ the tinkly temple-bells;
On the road to Mandalay…

I am sick o’ wastin’ leather on these gritty pavin’-stones,
An’ the blasted English drizzle wakes the fever in my bones;
Tho’ I walks with fifty ‘ousemaids outer Chelsea to the Strand,
An’ they talks a lot o’ lovin’, but wot do they understand?
Beefy face an’ grubby ‘and –
Law! wot do they understand?
I’ve a neater, sweeter maiden in a cleaner, greener land!
On the road to Mandalay…

Ship me somewheres east of Suez, where the best is like the worst,
Where there aren’t no Ten Commandments an’ a man can raise a thirst;
For the temple-bells are callin’, an’ it’s there that I would be
By the old Moulmein Pagoda, looking lazy at the sea;
On the road to Mandalay,
Where the old Flotilla lay,
With our sick beneath the awnings when we went to Mandalay!
O the road to Mandalay,
Where the flyin’-fishes play,
An’ the dawn comes up like thunder outer China ‘crost the Bay !

More Kipling at this site:

The Cat that Walked by Itself
The Elephant’s Child
Mandalay – Fine reading by Fred Proud
Kipling and Long Sentences
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Stanton Delaplane Thoughts on writing Writing tips

Update on My Book Proposals

My Stanton Delaplane (internal link) book proposal has now been turned down twice. I think that’s just getting started for most writers; two proposals barely a beginning. I do think, though, that I am going to reorient my proposal. Instead of a book featuring his writing on all kinds of subjects, I am going to limit my anthology or reader to just his animal stories. A small title, no more that thirty or forty six-hundred word columns. I might even consider self publishing the book, as I think such a title would make a wonderful book and I don’t want to lose Delaplane to history. If I find the money I’d consider getting an illustrator. I did get a nice rejection letter from one publisher. Here it is:

Dear Mr. Farley:

Thank you for thinking of us for your proposed Stanton Delaplane reader. I’d never heard of Mr. Delaplane, and I was charmed by your inclusions. A lot of thought, care, and affection has gone into this proposal, and I appreciate that. It’s a lovely and nostalgic piece of SF history. I see the resonance with our mission, but I fear that this project would be challenging from a financial and business point of view for us. I see this being a tough sell in a fiercely competitive marketplace, and we need for our books to sell at certain levels to not only recoup expenses that go into their production but also help support our overall organization in a meaningful way. I’m sorry to disappoint you, and I hope you find a better home elsewhere. Self-publication might be an option if you’re committed to seeing this book in print (I suspect you could negotiate very low fees from the Chronicle) and able to do some marketing to get it in the hands of those readers who would treasure it. Depending on the production quality, I suspect a handful of SF bookstores would be happy to carry the book.

Kind regards,
The Publisher

My Nevada Agriculture book proposal (external link) isn’t going anywhere. Despite limited interest, the University of Nevada Press and the Nevada Farm Bureau have declined to help. Two private foundations are also unable to supply funding and I have exhausted the resources in Nevada that might assist. Self-publishing this book would be impossible due to the costs involved. A two hundred page book in color would be very expensive to print and the project would take me a year of full time work to do. The problem is that Nevada is a small state in population and the market for the title isn’t that big. I might consider publishing houses that cover the Great Basin in general but for right now I am leaving this book idea alone.

And, I have a blue sky book proposal floating that I haven’t written about before. I call it blue sky because I am proposing not just a single new book, but a raft of new books, a new title series for a large publisher. I put together a heavily illustrated 14 page .pdf file to show what a book in the new series might look like. Preparing this file put my new camera to good use and I have just sent the proposal off. I can’t discuss it until something comes about; with all companies that means weeks and perhaps months of waiting. But I am enthused about the project because it would mean a number of titles I could publish myself with little expense save for travel. I would much prefer a large publishing house pick the idea up, of course, but at least I have a way to go if no one is interested. This proposal got me out to different places around Las Vegas and that made me happy. Here’s what Spring Mountain Ranch looks like right now.





Google Tips Thoughts on writing Uncategorized Writing tips

Tracking Queries With Google’s Calendar

I’m now using Google’s Calendar feature (external link) to keep track of queries. I wish I used it before. It’s a free service with a Google account. You already have it if you use Gmail.

The calendar is pretty straight forward to use. I note each date I send in a query. I then schedule a query follow up in two weeks or two months, whatever is appropriate. I get an e-mail when this happens so I don’t have to keep checking the calendar. Setting up e-mail delivery is a little confusing. First the big picture, then the small. Here’s what part of a calendar page looks like. We’re on the left hand side.

On my Mac, using Chrome, everything happens on the left. There’s a “Settings” feature at the upper right corner of the browser window (not pictured), but that doesn’t control notifications, which is what you want. Instead, look to the left side for those choices. Notice that tiny downward symbol next to the “My Calendars” selection? Click that and you will get to the notification settings.

Here’s what the next window should look like. Make sure you select “email” when you choose your delivery method. Selecting the alternate, “notification”, will only give you a fleeting message on your computer screen. Which you will probably miss.

Google’s calendar feature is fairly simple and free. It keeps me aware of the book proposals, literary magazine submissions, and magazine article queries I make. It keeps past entries so I can always check back later on when I sent something in.

Magazine article Thoughts on writing Uncategorized Writing tips

Finding Your Way With QR Codes

In my Rock&Gem Magazine articles I supply GPS coordinates for sites lacking a street address. Here’s a common example, this one leading to a noteworthy monument in Catheys Valley, California:

N 37° 26.292 W 120°05.177

This approach is practical but not completely convenient. Punching the right numbers and letters on a navigation device can be tricky and time consuming. How about replacing or supplementing those numbers and letters with a QR code?

I got the QR code below by first going to Google Maps and entering the GPS coordinates. That pulled up a map and with it a very long URL. Next, I went (external link), which produced this hash which my smart phone QR app can read.

Success! This 300X300 pixel image was easily detected by my QR reader. In reality, in print, where detail is much finer, it is possible the QR code could fit into a space an inch wide and an inch across if printed at 300 dpi. QR images can be put into colors and even have logos and brands in their design. A terrific way to make navigation convenient.

The Nevada Department of Transportation uses QR codes on their maps. Very cool.

Just one of many amazing designs now produced.

I know you wanted to see the monument. 🙂

Magazine article Uncategorized

Stop Government Overreach in The Auburn State Recreation Area

Could you please sign this petition? It protests the shutting down of the Auburn State Recreation Area to rockhounding and prospecting.

The Auburn RSA is located about forty miles northeast of Sacramento. Over many years, I’ve found gold in quartz, gold flakes, gold dust, and even beautiful quartz crystals. All of that activity is now illegal except for “hands and pans’ mining. That’s where you get to work a single gold pan without the help of any tool, not even a small shovel. Metal detectors are now strictly outlawed.

Here’s where to sign the petition. No registration or password required.

Please help keep the area open to rockhounds. To give you an idea of the area’s beauty and what everyone is being shut out of, here’s a mini-article. I can’t write up this story for Rock&Gem Magazine because people can no longer prospect. This particular area I visited a few years ago is just one of many where you can find gold. Read my captions below.

This is the middle fork of the American River. The middle fork and the north fork of the American come together near Auburn at what is called the confluence.

Plenty of areas to explore, especially at the end of the season with low water levels.

This is crevice work, where you dig out sand, rocks, and gravel between boulders, screen it down, then pan the fines.

Pioneer Mining Supply in Auburn (external link) sells specialty crevice tools like this or you can use old screwdrivers and the like. Don’t worry about disturbing anything; winter rains will wash new material back into the cracks. One hopes, with a little gold.

Here is the rough material gathered from the crevice. The large rocks are discarded and water flushes the fine material through the screen and into the pan. Then you pan out what remains.

And if you are lucky you will find some gold. All of what I have just described is now illegal. Please sign the petition if you would like to restore wonderful activities like this.

Photography Uncategorized

The Free Public Domain USGS Multimedia Gallery

The United States Geological Survey maintains a wonderful public domain library at this address: (external link). All will do for web work and many are printable quality.

Nearly all 10,000 images are at no charge and copyright free but of course you should credit the photographer and agency whenever possible. I particularly like the well done images of minerals.

Mark Wipfli, Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. Public domain.
David Pyke, USGS . Public domain.
(Credit: Carlin Green, USGS. Public domain.) USGS description: A sample of azurite, the blue mineral, and malachite, the green mineral. Both azurite and malachite are copper minerals that were once used as pigments but are now mostly valued as collectors minerals. They do serve as good indicators of copper deposits that can be developed.
John Mars, U.S. Geological Survey. Public domain. Taking notes on a silicified ridge at Goldfield, Nevada. Silicified ridges are typically associated with epithermal gold deposits.



Thoughts on writing Uncategorized Writing tips

Working For a Content Creation Site

What’s it like to write for a content generation site? Or, as some people call it, a content mill? It reminds me a little of my past newspaper reporting. I get a topic I might know little about, I research it, and then I write up an article. Sometimes I have to get images to go along with it.

I  choose the topics to write about at (internal link), although sometimes the choice is meager. Three or four links in every article are provided to participating merchants. Keywords for search engine optimization (SEO) are added. It’s interesting work.

Compared to the hours the articles take, there isn’t much money involved but I get a byline, a bio, and I get to keep writing. It’s resume and skill building and just one part of my overall income stream.

Here are topics I’ve written on so far. Each is 600 to 700 words. I’ve added some links to so you can see what an article is like.

Top ten creative ways to use landscaping stones.

Top ten creative places to hang artwork.

How to decorate with a triptych painting.

Where to learn the history of country music. (external link)

Electronics for international travel. (external link)

The top ten accessories for outdoor adventuring.

Why do British movies look different. (external link)

What music genre is the most popular.

Which accessories to buy for your vinyl collection.




Thoughts on writing Uncategorized

What if Gordon Gekko Was a Coffee Addicted Writer?

I’m just starting my first cup this early morning. What would Gordon Gekko say?

“Coffee, for lack of a better word, is good. Coffee is right, coffee works. Coffee clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Coffee, in all of its forms: coffee for life, for money, for love, for knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind. And coffee, you mark my words, will not only save my writing, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.”



San Francisco and The Summer of Love

The de Young Museum (external link), in association with other groups and venues, is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of San Francisco’s Summer of Love. Pardon me if I don’t join the festivities.

As the promoters put it, “In the mid-1960s, artists, activists, writers, and musicians converged on Haight-Ashbury with hopes of creating a new social paradigm. By 1967, the neighborhood would attract as many as 100,000 young people from all over the nation. The neighborhood became ground zero for their activities, and nearby Golden Gate Park their playground.”

Actually, Golden Gate Park became their litter box. And the City’s been dirty ever since.

Until the late 1950’s, my grandmother in Sacramento could write her son in San Francisco by putting down his address and then writing “The City” as its destination. Everybody knew the town by that name, there was nothing else so grand and magical to warrant such a title.

When my family visited The City we dressed up. San Francisco made a huge impression on me as someone not quite ten. The air was fresh and clean, scrubbed by the minute by wind off the Pacific, the hills and the views and the cable cars tremendous. I could not imagine any city more beautiful.

My third grade class went on a field trip to San Francisco and I was roundly laughed at for wearing my good pants and a red sports jackets. I felt badly for being teased and badly for my schoolmates, who did not understand we were going someplace special. That ribbing did not lose my love for the City.

Sometime in 1967 my family visited San Francisco and Golden Gate Park. The whole area had changed. Half-naked people, grown people, had taken over the swing sets and playgrounds. Long haired men were wearing World War 1 aviator helmets and goggles, t-shirts, and tattered jeans. To put it mildly, the park was one rolling freak parade. The City never recovered.

In with the hippies came a more relaxed view of hygiene and cleanliness. The streets and sidewalks were now something to sleep on, camp on, and go to the bathroom on. All the old standards were thrown out and made lax. The invading army had won. For all the art and music that was created, the City as a temple was destroyed.

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!'”

For me, San Francisco was like Kerouac’s firework’s explosion. The only response was Awww! and awe. Kerouac and company were Beats. They were different. They came before.

As a young man I watched the 1968 Steve McQueen movie Bullitt. It encapsulated the stirrings I remember before the Summer of Love. Only Hollywood can do that.

First, there was Steve McQueen and he was cool.


And he dealt with people still hanging onto the Beatnik look which was cool.

And he lived in a corner apartment with a bay window. If you have ever been to San Francisco you have looked up and wanted to live in one. This is the filming location, the building now scarred with a garage.

And, of course, he had a smart, beautiful girlfriend. And they had breakfast at the bay window of the apartment everyone wants to live in.

As with any city with dozens of neighborhoods, you can still find places in San Francisco to fall in love with.

In the early 2000’s I helped a friend, the sister I never had, find an apartment in the Inner Richmond district. I was given a key and I could come and go as I wished. The apartment even had off-street parking. For two or three years I reveled in bicycling across the Golden Gate Bridge, enjoying the New Chinatown on Clement, and visiting countless used book stores like Green Apple Books.

But terrible neighborhoods, filthy neighborhoods, have proliferated and continue to get worse. I avoid them when I visit and that’s all one can do.  For all the good that The Summer of Love brought about, the City was been victimized by its tolerance and acceptance. The City was never loved back.

Stanton Delaplane felt the same way about going into San Francisco as a child as I did. Delaplane (internal link) was a Pulitzer wining columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle for over fifty years.

Introduction from The City: San Francisco In Pictures. 1961. 

By Stanton Delaplane

We never called it anything but “The City.”

You packed your things in the car and gassed up at the gas station.

“Going somewhere?” asked the gas station man.

“Up to The City.”

If we were going down to Los Angeles, we said: “I’m going down to L. A.”

San Francisco has always remained “The City” in California. Los Angeles grows out of its citrus skin. The forecasters of the census predict a huge San Jose.

Even San Francisco has shrunk by population moving to the suburbs.

But when we come to town, we “drive to The City.”

In this book we have our best photography of The City — its face doesn’t change much. A few new glass-and-steel skyscrapers. The Western Addition coming down to make room for better houses.

But changes are made with reluctance. We don’t like to change The City. We like it the way it is. (Let those cable cars alone!)

The City, thank heaven, has unchangeable assets: There is no way you can change The City when the fog spills like whipped cream over the barrier of Twin Peaks.

No architect can rearrange the look of the Bay when the afternoon winds are kicking up whitecaps from the Golden Gate to the Carquinez Straits.

The hills stand up against the washed blue sky, just as they did when Dana sailed here in the “Alert” in 1834. (His description is as good today as it was then.)

While other cities change—and maybe for the better—The City photographs with the well-remembered face of an old friend.

In the pictures we found the feeling of The City: the clang of the cable car mounting the California Street hill. The spicy smell of Chinatown when the herb shop door is open. The sound of the wind in the sweep of the bridge. The toot of a freighter headed for deep water.

Said Tessie Wall, one of The City’s best known ladies of the Barbary Coast’s unladlylike days:

“I’d rather be an electric light pole on Powell street than own all the land in the sticks.”

We used to pack the car and pack a lunch. It took more time to get to The City in those days.

We wore our best suit and carried a clean shirt.

“Going to The City, huh?” said the gas station man.

If we’d been going anywhere else, we’d have worn jeans. You couldn’t fool him. When else would you wear city clothes? Only when you were going to The City.

Thoughts on writing Writing by others Writing tips

The iStory — A Way to Improve Your Writing? (external link) is promoting a new kind of writing for our too wandering thoughts, a 150-word prose form called an iStory. Here’s how they describe it:

An iStory is a short, dramatic narrative, fiction or nonfiction, up to 150 words long. We are particularly interested in works that give readers a strong sense of having read a full and complete story in a brief space.

The iStory seems well suited for our mobile obsessed culture, as we now read casually on our phones and tablets instead of reading deeply with books. They give four examples at their site. Here is one:

Friendship and Art by Alan Ziegler

The buzzer rings near midnight. It is Robert, distraught. He has had a fight with his girlfriend and walked out. Can he stay with me?

Sure, I say, and put on some tea. We talk for a while. He leaves, and when I next see him, he says everything is all right. I feel good about helping to save a relationship.

Two years later I run into him on the subway. He tells me he is writing poems. He asks if I want to see one. As I read I realize it is about that night. I am portrayed as a cold person who barely tolerates the intrusion and says good-sounding things only to get rid of him.

“What do you think?” Robert asks, as if the poem were about roses in winter.

“It’s nice,” I reply, the words you use when you want to break a poet’s spirit.

Rather than speed the death of long form writing, the iStory may contribute to its survival. That’s because the iStory is very similar to what every article or book demands: a strong lead.

Here’s one of the strongest leads in literature, the original paragraph trimmed to iStory length:

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.

This opening paragraph is a lead and not a complete story like an iStory. The point of the lead is to mercilessly grab the reader’s attention, bring them along, running downhill all the way. The iStory idea, though, may help you with your writing. Can you encapsulate your entire book or article into 150 words? If you can’t make your story compelling in 150 words, can you ask the reader to stay with you for 70,000? is also holding a contest for iStories. At $22 an entry I won’t be contributing, especially given the work and time involved. But I’d encourage you to go to their site to read the other three examples. Interesting.