Thursday, July 29, 2010

Things to do today

1. Let Batesville Guard readers know that “Purity” is my best book so far, and that a .PDF download can be ordered, really, really cheap at, using almost any Debit or Credit Card, or PayPal.

2. Work on formatting “Purity” for paperback printing, Ipad and Kindle.

3. Call Pablo to mow the yard again, because I never got around to calling the lawn mower fixer guy.

4. Check with June, next door, to see if she has Pablo’s number. I can’t find it.

5. Buy some sticky notes, so I can leave them on June’s door when she’s not home.

6. Call the lawn mower fixer guy.

7. Look for wallet. Lawn mower fixer guy’s number is in there.

8. Dig through the trash in the car to see if I can find the money to pay Pablo if he just shows up.

9. Clean trash out of car.

10. Buy some bigger trash bags when I go to pick up the sticky notes.

11. Wash $3.29 in green, sticky pennies, nickels and dimes.

12. Buy some dishwashing soap.

13. Gas up the car when I leave, so I can make it to the store to pick up sticky notes, garbage bags and dishwashing soap.

14. Look for wallet again. Check the laundry hamper.

15. Make hide-a-key place outside front door in case I lock myself out again.

16. Add “new stuff at hardware store to fix the door I had to kick in” to shopping list for after finding wallet.

17. Take shower. Pretty hot to be working outside like this.

18. Call Water Company. Tell them I’ll pay the bill as soon as I find my wallet. Ask if they can just turn it back on long enough for me to wash the soap off.

19. Call Dr. Beeper. Ask what’s the best medicine to use for chigger bites. Also, ask
if he knows how ticks know to get in places you can’t reach to pull them off.

19. Find Jeff Foxworthy’s email address

20. Email the following to Jeff Foxworthy: Suggestion: You might be a redneck if you’ve ever mowed your entire yard with a battery-operated weedeater because you couldn’t find your wallet and the illegal alien you wanted to hire to do it for
you saw the trash in your car and caked-up hair, and didn’t think you were the kind of guy he could trust to owe him twenty bucks.

21. Call Microsoft. Ask them how to fix their stupid auto-formatting thingy that automatically numbers things when you list them.

22. Make new list for tomorrow, in case today doesn’t go as smoothly as expected.

* * * * *

© 2010, Rick Baber

Sunday, July 25, 2010

"PURITY" Download for sale now.

DON'T LET the shopping cart fool you. You don't have to have a Paypal account to make a purchase. Tell it you don't, and it'll continue to let you use Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover!

This self-publishing thing is gonna be the death of ol' Uncle Buck, I can tell. Still working on the Paperback version(s) of "Purity", and hope to have them in print real soon. Meantime, in keeping with the modern paperless age, I'm making available a .pdf download of the book, which can be ordered here, by clicking on that "Add to Cart" button over there on the right. You pull the download up on your computer and (best) view the page layout in "continuous - facing", and it's just like looking at a book. But no trees are killed for it! Also working on downloads for Ipad and Kindle, and all the other popular reading contraptions, which will be coming soon. THERE IS no automatic download when you make the purchase. I'm notified by PayPal, and then I email the download to you - so be sure to fill in the box showing your email address! Delivery could take up to 24 hours.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lawn Mowers and Aliens

Believe it or not, this writing stuff takes up a great deal of time that normal people might use to do things like keeping their cars clean and their yards mowed.

John Harris and I used to mow yards, much bigger than the one I have now, for five bucks. Imagine my surprise, after both of my lawn mowers decided they didn’t want to run, when I called my neighbor and asked her what her guy charged. She said she paid him fifty bucks! Fifty! And her yard is even smaller than mine.

Racing against the clock to complete the editing on my novel, “Purity”, and having tried, unsuccessfully, to fix the mowers I had, I saw the dude over at Miss June’s house and went to talk to him. Upon her advice, I just asked what he’d charge to mow the front and side yards (the back’s so horrible I don’t let anybody in there) if I did the weed-eating myself, and when he said he’d do it tomorrow, for twenty, I jumped on it with both feet. Viva la Mexico! Little victories, you know?

That gave me the time to work on the book, and with the huge (and much needed) editing help from the kind and lovely Wenona Edley, from Batesville, all that remains to do on that project is design the cover and get it published.

Purity will split off into two simultaneous sequels, following both the primary and secondary protagonists into different realms, and those books will interact with each other in various places. I’m pretty excited about the possibilities, but it’ll be a while before the sequels are started. For one, I’d like to see if there’s any interest in it. Secondly, I’ve already begun writing a “tween” novel – something very challenging for me, because I’ll have to find a way to replace my normal “Arkansas adjectives” with, let’s say, more intelligent and socially-acceptable words.

I haven’t settled on a title for this one yet, but it’s about two modern-day fifteen year-olds; best friends; one black and one white, who are picked up by an alien space ship near their homes. When the aliens return them to what they believe is the same place they picked them up, there’s a little mistake made, and they’re dumped out of the ship near 1972 Batesville, Arkansas, and their adventure begins.

The plan is to use as many real names, events and places that I can remember, and get away with. At the beginning of the book the boys are given a ride from out near Cushman by my father-in-law, Von Price, and dropped off at Hedges Grocery on the north end of Batesville, where they’re offered help from Harlon and Shirley Martin. From there, once figuring out they’re “not in Kansas anymore”, they start walking toward the lights of town.

Now, I’ve asked around on Facebook for some help with things that went on during football season, 1972, and have thankfully received quite a bit. But, I’ll take all the information I can get about that time – if anybody has anything to contribute. Being stuck here in Chickenopolis, 200 miles from home, it ain’t like I can just drop by the Independence County Library and look through the Guard archives - as much as I’d like to. So, I’m asking anybody who has any info regarding places, events, interesting people, etc. around October, ’72 to drop me a line. Oh, there’s no money involved, of course. But, when you die, on your deathbed, you’ll achieve total consciousness. And I’ll be happy to list your name in the book as a “contributor”.

Meantime, please watch for “Purity” to come to a bookstore near you soon. You can still read the first chapter on

Monday, July 05, 2010

Degrees of Integrity

Upon the occasion of driving the Cherokee Turnpike, at 75 mph, on the way to Tulsa the other day, I got to thinking about a wallet I found a few weeks ago. We were going to the smoke shop over in Siloam Springs to find some cigars for James to celebrate the birth of the twins. There on the road I opened the door and scooped up a long leather billfold and instantly thought “biker”. It just fit the profile, you see.

You have to open them to see who they belong to, so don’t hold it against me that I counted the money. Thirty one bucks. We went into the smoke shop and asked if anybody there knew the dude whose name appeared on the drivers’ license, along with a scary photo. Nobody did. So just as we were walking out to go check it with the casino next door, the clerk said “Hold on a minute.” She disappeared for a moment and then came back and said there was a biker at the drive-thru window asking if anybody had turned in his lost wallet. I walked outside and gave it to the guy. He was thrilled, and said if he had more money he’d give me a reward. Of course, I told him that wasn’t necessary. He thanked me again, cranked the hog, and roared out of the parking lot – back to the campground at the river where he told me he lived. I felt good about being the one who found it, assuming that many other people who did would not have returned it to the rightful owner. Karma, I thought, would surely be smiling on me, so we went on into the casino to test that theory. And Karma gave us both big swift kicks in the butt.

Until making the long, straight drive to Tulsa, I had forgotten about it. But, boredom, you know…

I wondered if the same wallet had contained, say, $3100, would we have been so quick to seek out the owner. Or, what if it was $31,000? I mean, are there degrees of integrity, or is it an absolute? Not knowing the answers to these questions myself, I was quick to pat myself on the back for this minor act of decency. But, maybe Karma did know the answers and was treating me accordingly.

What if there had been a whole bunch of money in that thing and I knew the owner, and it was somebody I didn’t like? What if it belonged to some rich jerk who likes to go around rubbing his wealth in the faces of the have-nots? What if it belonged to Ann Coulter or Osama bin Laden? What would I have done then? Sure, if it was Ann Coulter’s and it had, say, twelve bucks in it, I would have surely returned it, just so she’d know I knew she only had twelve bucks. But, twelve hundred?

If it had been Osama’s, how would I find him? Would he answer a “Lost & Found” ad in the paper? Then, I thought of a way to catch bin Laden. Remind me to tell you about that sometime.

I got to wondering, if biker dude had found my wallet, would he have returned it? That, in itself, didn’t seem to matter. And I didn’t know the guy, so I couldn’t make that judgment. But then I wondered, if I was the guy living at a campground down by the river, would I have the luxury of returning any amount of money I found? If he was to keep it, I wouldn’t hold it against him. But would I hold it against me under the same circumstances?

The miles clicked away, and my mind continued to wander. Karma, it seems, has never really smiled upon me for doing the “right thing”. I mean, not that I noticed. I’ve given rides to stranded strangers, only to go so far out of my way that I ran out of gas before getting home, and had to walk, myself. I’ve given my last five dollars to panhandlers beside the highway and had to skip lunch. I’ve been attacked by vicious turtles after stopping and risking my life to drag them out of the road so they wouldn’t get smashed by a truck. Matter of fact, I can’t think of a single time I’ve ever done anything selfless or generous and been “rewarded” for it, in any recognizable way. And yet, like a dummy, I continue to do stuff like that.

Once, about two in the morning, we picked up a female hitchhiker on Hwy. 412, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. She started telling us stories about working for the drug task force and being taken prisoner by meth dealers and them cutting her breasts off. Really more information than I needed, there on that dark highway with her practically invisible in the back seat. She informed us that her truck had broken down, and her three kids were several miles back, waiting for her to return. I offered to go back and get them, but she said, “They’ll be OK. They have a gun.” I wondered if the youngins had the only firearm the family owned, or if the other one was pointed at the back of my head, and it did tend to make the rest of the trip a tad uncomfortable. But we made it to the house where she said she could “borrow” another car to go back and pick the kids up. The payoff for that one was not sleeping at all that night.

By Saturday I had thought about it all long enough to start mentally composing this column, while driving to Bella Vista to take a photo of a friend. Just about the time I concluded that the self-satisfaction I get from doing “nice things” is worth whatever price I pay, my right rear tire blew out.

© 2010, Rick Baber