Author Archives: Paul J. Stam

What’s In a Word 2 – by Paul J. Stam

More madness with the English language

Foreign Legion soldier at Keelung, January 1885

A bass drum

So there I was with all this Polish furniture to polish. I didn’t know how I would get it all done so I got a soldier to desert his dessert in the desert to help me. After all his help I felt there was no time like the present to present him with the present I had for him. He did not object to the object I gave him, which was a bass drum with a bass painted on it.

English: Short leg cast

Later I went to visit an invalid friend with invalid insurance. He had a leg injury. When I go there his room was so full I was too close to the door to close it. Before I got there the doctors had to subject the subject to a series of tests. He was in great pain but after a number of injections the leg was number. They didn’t think they could save the leg, but how could I intimate this to my intimate friend?

Now unless you are bilingual, multilingual or super lingual, you’re kind of like me in that the English language is what we have to work with. I do the best I can, and I don’t know about you, but I have never been able to find an egg in an eggplant or an apple nor a pine in a pineapple. And why is it sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet at all, are meat? Why is it boxing rings are square and why is it quicksand sucks you down slowly?

And so I leave you with this, not every word is what it seems to be, or is necessarily so, which brings me to my autobiography which I am writing entitled, “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” and which will probably never be published, but at the beginning of it I give the reader fair warning with this.

An Introduction
To Be Read

It has been said that, “History is written by the winners.” Hell, I said that in one of my books soon to be released by Second Wind Publishing, so it had to have been said before me. I am one such winner in that I have outlived any who might be able to refute the things I say in my autobiography.

However, I will, to the best of my ability, be honest except when it suits me to be otherwise. After all, I am a storyteller, and the important thing to a storyteller is to keep the reader interested, not be honest.

I will also warn you that the things I tell you about me, my family, my life, my loves, my hates, my accomplishments (there’s very damned few accomplishments so I’ll have to make some up) and my failures (do you really think I would tell you about those) are things that interest me, or at last did at the time.

Now, having been warned, let us begin. Please feel free to make suggestions. They will be welcomed and ignored, as is the case with any suggestions from close friends.

There, you’ve been warned, exactly what you have been warned about I’m not sure.

Thank you, and May Only Good Come Your Way.

Copyright © 2015 by Paul J. Stam
All rights reserved

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Final MSS Cover frontMurder Sets Sail is available from Second Wind Publishing and on Amazon. Kindle editions is only $4.99.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]Another of Paul’s books, The Telephone Killer published by 2nd Wind Publishing is available on Amazon and from the publisher. Kindle and Nook versions just $4.99.

To watch The Telephone Killer video click here.

The Telephone Killer is now also available as an audiobook.

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Since everything is copyrighted please feel free to re blog any of my posts but please repost in its entirety and giving appropriate credit.

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What’s in a Word Anyway?

What’s in a Word Anyway
or
How the English Language Can Kill Writing

English: Spógvin is a Faroese wooden row boat....

Corn field

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, a farmer used his farm to produce produce. One day there was a row among the hired help as to which row to hoe. The row about which row to hoe got so bad he had to let them all go. So they all went to the river and got in a row about how to row the boat.

illustration from a book of fairy tales

Back at the farm, to help with planting, the farmer decided to put his pigs to work and so he taught his sow to sow. Things went real well with the sow that knew how to sow the seed until a bore came along and she started to rut with the bore in the rut along side the road. When she started to rut in the rut alongside the road her squealing startled the dove that dove into the bushes.

About that time the wind came up and when the farmer tried to wind up the canvas cover over the haystack the wind put several tears in the cover and that brought tears to his eyes. The wind was just starting to die down when one of the hired hands came back and the farmer thought he could teach him to lead if he could just get the lead out. But the man had been wounded on the row about how to row and so the farmer wound a bandage around the wound. After the bandage was wound around the wound the farmer sent the hired man to take the refuse to the dump, but the dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

 – The End –

Now I ask you, how can anyone write understandable material when you discover that you have a nose that runs and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few mean the same thing.

And here’s a scorcher/chiller; how can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another?

I just don’t know. I just don’t know, but I will keep trying to write readable material. Why don’t you look inside some of my books and let me know if I succeeded. You have a lot to choose from. There are mysteries, adventure and right now I’m trying my hand at science fiction.

Thank you, and May Only Good Come Your Way.

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To learn more about me or look inside some of my books click here.

S&FL FrntI have signed a contract for another novel with Second Wind Publishing. The title is, A Short and Futile Life. Have no idea when it will be released, but you can bet your sweet boots I’ll let you know when I know.

It is a near future novel about life in the United States when most, if not all, the personal rights stated and the Bill of Rights have been revoked for the good of the whole.

 

churchstepsThe mystery Body On the Church Steps is now available from Second Wind Publishing and on Amazon. Kindle editions is only $4.99.

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Final MSS Cover front

 

Murder Sets Sail is available from Second Wind Publishing and on Amazon. Kindle editions is only $4.99.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]Another of Paul’s books, The Telephone Killer published by 2nd Wind Publishing is available on Amazon and from the publisher. Kindle and Nook versions just $4.99.

To watch The Telephone Killer video click here.

The Telephone Killer is now also available as an audiobook.

Since everything is copyrighted please feel free to re blog any of my posts but please repost in its entirety and giving appropriate credit.

Copyright © 2014 by Paul J. Stam
All rights reserved

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Quinn’s Tahitian Hut – by Paul J. Stam

I woke up in the middle of the night and started thinking back to my sailing days; specifically about Quinn’s bar.

1-quinnsQuinn’s was the quintessential South Sea’s bar. Right on the waterfront; it was loud, dirty, boisterous, smoky, bawdy and famous. Anyone who had ever sailed into Papeete prior to 1973 has squandered his money in Quinn’s.

James Norman Hall, best know for his book, Mutiny on the Bounty, and James Michener of Hawaii fame and other better known writers frequented Quinn’s.

The original, legendary Quinn’s is just a memory now. It was torn down in 1973 and replaced with an air-conditioned store catering to tourists. The Sheraton Hotel took the name for one of its bars,

My wife never let me go into Quinn’s alone. it was a free-wheeling bar with no restrictions of any kind and a guy alone, who was obviously not local, was quick to get propositioned. There were frequent fights over the girls and the girls were friendly.

There was only one toilet with a ragged curtain as a door. it was not uncommon to have a girl come in to squat over the trough while a guy stood at the trough in the floor that had water continually flowing in it. I once had a girl come in while I was peeing and hoisting her skirt squat down look at me and say, “You want me hold for you?” No wonder my wife didn’t want me going to Quinn’s alone.

So there I was, unable to sleep after a great week in the studio thinking about how I was going to work Quinn’s Tahitian Hut, better known as Quinn’s bar, into “It Ain’t Necessarily So!” It is an autobiography, which is my current work in progress, hence the name. But that comes after my Africa days so I’ll think it through later.

But damn, my wife, our son and I had a wonderful 8 years of sailing the islands of the South Pacific and I can’t wait to get to writing that part of it in “It Ain’t…”

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To learn more about me or look inside some of my books click here.

Paul Stam is the author of the books shown below with another one, A Short, Futile Life, coming soon from Second Wind Publishing.

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Final MSS Cover frontMurder Sets Sail is available from Second Wind Publishing and on Amazon. Kindle editions is only $4.99.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]Another of Paul’s books, The Telephone Killer published by 2nd Wind Publishing is available on Amazon and from the publisher. Kindle and Nook versions just $4.99.

To watch The Telephone Killer video click here.

The Telephone Killer is now also available as an audiobook.

Since everything is copyrighted please feel free to re blog any of my posts but please repost in its entirety and giving appropriate credit.

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Don’t Kill the Messenger

TruthNow don’t get angry with me just because I’m about to tell you the truth. I know, I know, the truth hurts, but sometimes we have to face it. Now I am just going to be honest with you, and if the truth hurts, remember I’m just the messenger.

White houseJeffersonThis truth business all came about because a friend, well OK, an acquaintance really, had just returned from D.C. and was rhapsodize about all the monuments and I thought, “Yeah, that’s a city of nothing but liars and monuments and all the monuments are to liars.”

Arlington

UnknownI realize that may not be a very nice thing to say, so I’ll mitigate it somewhat by saying there may be a monument to someone other than a liar like the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and some of those little monuments in Arlington.

Aside from that slight possibility; in all likelihood the greater the liar, the larger the monument, because almost every monument is to a “gone from here” politician and everyone knows there is not a more accomplished liar than a politician. Continue reading

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Problem Thinker

Is it not imperative that writer’s think, or does the thinking just cause problems with the writing? This is a very serious question to which we don’t want answers. Is the admonition, think before you write a hinderance or the answer? On the off-chance of shedding too much light on a subject writers would prefer to keep in the dark, I offer this humble but erudite Homily.

Thinker 1

It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then to loosen up. Inevitably though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker.

I began to think alone – “to relax,” I told myself – but I knew it wasn’t true. Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time.

I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don’t mix, but I couldn’t stop myself. Continue reading

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Questions Wanting Answers

Well now this isn’t one of my questions, but instead a wonderful answer by Stacy Casteneda to the cover for A Shot and Futile Life coming soon from Second Wind publishing. – Thank you, Stacy!

S&FL Frnt-Thmb

O.K. 2W family, I really would like to know what you think.

Question 1 – Is there any empirical evidence that sequential excerpts from books engender sales, or are we just desperately hoping that some people will be so enamored with our writing that he or she will be unable not to buy?

Question 2 – If we conclude that excerpt do create awareness if not actually leading to sales (and no one will buy anything they haven’t heard about), then what is the optimum post length?

Question 3 – If showing them our wares themselves does not lead to sales, then what kind of blogging does get them interested in our books. The same identical hat in a dingy store will not get the same attention as it would if it were in an “upscale” store. So, what “storefront” if you will, induces the blog reader to walk in and look around?

Question 4 – How did I get “over the hill” without getting to the top? – No, no, that’s not my real question, I just had to throw that in there to lighten things up a bit. But seriously, now in my 80’s I know I am out of touch with modern reality. Hell, I don’t even have a cell phone, but why would I need one when I don’t get a dozen phone calls a month and half of those are some someone wanting to sell me something, or the drugstore reminding me that one the chemicals that keep me alive needs renewing.

My question has to do with modern communications technology. I gather from Google that MOBI is an eBook format that along with EPUB, AZW etc. are designed for small screen formats. Can DOC and / or PDF formats be converted to MOBI and if so what is a good converter.

Oh dear, I fear I have over loaded you with questions, so if you would answer any one of them I would be “over the hill” ecstatically happy. Hell, I’ll be happy if you just have a great day and don’t answer a single one of my questions.

Anyway; Good Luck, or May the Force Be With You, or Blessings, or Happiness and Light, or as my Irish mother used to say, “May your troubles be less, and your blessing be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door.”

Blessing and Aloha – pjs.

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Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]Final MSS Cover frontPaul’s book The Telephone Killer published by 2nd Wind Publishing is now available on Amazon and from the publisher. Kindle and Nook versions just $4.99. – Soon to be available as an audiobook.

Murder Sets Sail  now available from Second Wind Publishing and on AmazonKindle and Nook versions just $4.99,

 

churchstepsS&FL Frnt-ThmbBody On the Church Steps now available from Second Wind Publishing and on AmazonKindle and Nook versions just $4.99,

A Short & Futile Life coming soon from Second Wind Publishing.

 

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What Was 2014 All About?

Fireworks - pinkI always wonder if the fireworks at December 31/January 1 of any given years is to celebrate the end or the beginning.

We are not too far into 2015 that we should forget the previous year, or even make New Year’s Resolutions. It is my understanding the resolutions made during the month of January are valid for that year.

There are those of my betters who would have me look back on 2014 and reflect on my various blessings. As a rule I ignore suggestions from my betters. But I guess there is still a lingering of the good-will of the Christmas season that influences me to yield to their suggestions.

First of all I’m thankful that I didn’t lose my job. Oh, that’s right, I don’t have a job to lose. Nevertheless, even though I am unemployed I still get phone calls from people whom I have never met who wish to do business with me. They start out by saying something like, “May I speak with Paul Stam please.”

“I am Paul Stam.”

“Just to make sure I have the correct person, may I have your date of birth please.”

Now that immediately implies two things. The first is that I was lying when I said I was Paul Stam. At the same time, I have several cousins and second-cousins named Paul Stam, so I can begrudgingly forgive their questioning which Paul Stam I am.

But to ask me what my date of birth is, is just too much. I don’t remember being born, so how can I remember the date of an event I don’t remember? Now if they ask me what kind of car I own, that I can remember, but I honestly do not remember being born, which may be a deficiency on my part.

I am also grateful that some people love me, or at least like me. The only explanation I can give for that is that they do not know me as well as I know myself. And for my own selfish reason I am not going to do anything to enlighten them as to the real me and I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t either. Make that one of your resolutions for this year. It is not too late to make a resolution.

I am also very grateful that I did not fall down and break my back or spirit. Both backs and spirits are hard to replace. I know there is a blood-bank, but I don’t know of a single back-bank or spirit-bank.

Come to think of it, it has been a really good year. Absolutely nothing I can complain about, but that’s the story of my life – looking back there is absolutely nothing that wasn’t for the better, although I can’t understand why I can‘t remember being born, it was after all, a rather important event in my life. Maybe if I try real hard it will come back to me.

Seriously, I sincerely thank you for following, or at least occasionally, reading my posts here at Second Wind Publishing, and however you view the past year, whether wonderful or a real bummer, I hope that for you; 2015 will be better, happier, healthier and in every good way above and beyond 2014.

Wishing you a great 2015 and Aloha!

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Happy Christmas to All

Xmas card

You heard Paul exclaim on his blog post that night
Merry Christmas to all and a year of Happy delight!

 Mele Kalikimaka
Merry Christmas

Hau`oli Makahiki Hou
Happy New Year

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It Ain’t Necessarily So – 2

Aint 3 finalIt Ain’t Necessarily So
CHAPTER TWO

The Wages of Sin
In doing it My Way

I said before that I don’t remember the event of being born. It would seem to me that one should remember the most important event in his or hers life. Without that important event there can be no other important events. I guess that is a deficiency on my part. Nor do I remember sucking my mother’s breast, but again, I’m told I had a voracious appetite.

One other thing that I think should be made quite clear is that I also do not remember being consulted as to whether or not I wanted to be born. It seems to me that is something a person should at least be informed about if not consulted. After all, I’m going to be spend more time with me than with anyone else and I should be allowed to decide if I want to be me, and spend my entire life with someone like me. Continue reading

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It Ain’t Necessarily So – 1

Internet problems delayed the publishing of this blog, but here it is somewhat late.

After long and intense reflection; some of a religious bent might say, “prayerful consideration,” 27 seconds, that’s long enough for any intense reflection; I have decided to tell the world a little about myself. However, before I do I want to give the reader a chance to understand where I’m coming from. The “Warning” to this so-called “book in progress” is something I will suggest every reader of any post in this category read. So, here it is! You are the first to read this Introduction to the very first chapter in my new book entitled – It Ain’t Necessarily So.

A Warning!
Required Reading

It has been said that, “History is written by the winners.” Hell, I said that in my book, A Short Futile Life, soon to be published by Second Wind Publishing. Since I said it, it has to have been said before.

I am one such winner in that I have outlived any who might be able to refute the things I say. I will, to the best of my ability, be honest except when it suits me to be otherwise. After all, I am a storyteller, and the important thing to a storyteller is to keep the reader interested, not be honest.

I will also warn you that the things I tell you about me, my family, my life, my loves, my hates, my accomplishments (there’s very damned few of those so I’ll have to make some up) and my failures (do you really think I would tell you about those) are things that interest me, or at last did at the time.

Now, having been warned, let us begin. Please feel free to make suggestions. They will be welcomed, ignored, but genuinely welcomed.

It Ain’t Necessarily So

CHAPTER ONE
A Biased Introduction

I don’t precisely remember being born, but I have it on good authority that I was. People I trust, who were there, namely my mother, said that it really did happen and I believe her. I also have an official document stating that I was born. It is not a birth certificate in the normal sense, but an American Consular Service form that is a “Report of Birth of Children Born to American Parents”. Since I have that piece of paper (or at least a copy of it) and I’m here, I guess that pretty much settles the mater that I really was born and that I am not just, as some young friends of mine claim, a bird dropping that was left on a fence post to hatch.

Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon said, “Age appears to be best in four things: old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.” I’ve had a couple of books published, but does that make me an old author? When Bacon talked about “old authors” was he talking about dead and gone writers from a century before him, or old codgers who can’t stand up by themselves?

Now that I am older than most people on this earth, I was hoping that people would listen to what I say just because I’m old. However, they don’t and why should they?

H. L. Menkin said, “The older I grow, the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.” I have to agree with that thought. I don’t know that I’m wiser. I’m more experienced, maybe, but wiser? One of the problems with what my experience has taught me is that much of what I know is no longer needed. It is from a time before computers, space travel, cameras that don’t need film, cell phones with the camera in it yet, satellite global positioning, or even automatic transmissions.

Some say that I should associate with more people my own age. Why? All they talk about is the past. “I remember back in…” I knew one old guy that always used to say, “I remember back in aught three…” He was talking about 1903, then he’d tell the story he’d told you a hundred times. He’s long gone, but now I too can say, “I remember back in aught three…” But who wants to be reminded of what became the quagmire of the war in Iraq?

 

If you look at the history books, 1931 (the year in which I was born) was not a particularly auspicious year. Not a whole lot happened that year. I think the Empire State Building was completed that year and work started on Boulder Dam, later named Hoover dam.

Considering that it was an era known as the Great Depression, it is understandable that not much happened of significance. I, of course, being raised in the middle of Africa didn’t know anything about any depression until I came to the United States at age fifteen and had to study History. When I came to the US the Depression was over and all the talk was of “The War.”

I don’t remember much of my early years, by that I mean before I was five or so, and so some of what I tell you about those years is hear-say, or my imagination, both of which are inadmissible in a court of law.

I was told that I was so startled by coming into the world that I didn’t talk for almost two years. I don’t think it was that I didn’t have anything to say; it was just that with everyone else was talking so much I couldn’t get anyone to listen to me. I have learned in the years since then that people are much more interested in what they want to tell you than in what you have to say. That is OK since you don’t learn nearly as much by talking as by listening.

If you find someone that is genuinely interested in what you have to say, then listen to what they have to say. If they talk mostly about the things they want or have, move quietly away and find someone else to talk to. Things aren’t worth thinking about. If they talk about people, listen to what they have to say, but don’t take their advice. People are just slightly more valuable than things. If they talk about ideas, and their ideas stimulate you to thinking, then keep them as a friend. Friends with fresh ideas are worth spending time with. If their ideas startle you sometimes, but are stimulating rather than frightening, and if the person is attractive, of the right age, sex, and of the same disposition, marry them.

I married well both times. My first marriage was strictly a business deal. I’ll tell you more about it later. For right now I’ll just say it was the only business venture I ever entered into that I considered a total success. I think she felt the same way, at least we parted company very good friends and grateful to the other for what each brought to the table, or to the bed, so to speak.

With some of her friends and some of my friends present, the terms of the contract were thoroughly discussed before we got married. There was no written contract, no prenuptial agreements, or any of that BS, but we both considered a verbal agreement as binding as anything on paper.  Now I am not digressing so much as getting ahead of my story. I think, if possible, stories should be told in a chronological order, don’t you?

I’ll try to keep things in better order in the following chapters. As I said right at the beginning, this chapter is sort of an introduction, a biased one at that.

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Paul’s book The Telephone Killer published by 2nd Wind Publishing is now available on Amazon and from the publisher. Kindle and Nook versions just $4.99. – Soon to be available as an audiobook.

Murder Sets Sail  now available from Second Wind Publishing and on AmazonKindle and Nook versions just $4.99,

Body On the Church Steps coming soon from Second Wind Publishing.

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