Aug 13

Do You Have Bats in Your Belfry?

PikiWiki_Israel_11327_Wildlife_and_Plants_of_Israel-Bat-003Bat_Roost_San_Antonio_TexasWhen people think of bats, they often conjure up images of something evil, a terrifying flying creature to be feared, the thing of myths and legends.

THEIR ROLE IN ECOLOGY: In reality, in many cultures or locals, the bat is a boon to the farmer. Often, bats are the primary nocturnal insectivores in some ecologies, as each night they consume one-third of their body weight in aerial and ground-dwelling insects. Each bat can consume several hundred insects in a few hours. This reduces the need for pesticides around crops and gardens.

Bats are present throughout most of the world, also performing vital ecological roles of pollinating flowers and dispersing fruit seeds. Many tropical plant species depend entirely on bats for the distribution of their seeds.

ARTIFICIAL ROOSTS: Often, people work to attract bats by creating an inviting environment. Bat houses attract bats just as birdhouses attract birds. Bat houses can be made from scratch or bought ready-made. Plans for bat houses even exist on many web sites, as well as guidelines for designing a bat house.

HOW THEY GET AROUND IN THE DARK: Bats use echolocation to get around in the dark. They emit a continuous call and separate pulse and echo in frequency. Their ears are sharply tuned to a specific frequency range. They emit calls outside of this range to avoid self-deafening. Bats use echolocation to locate and catch their prey. When the sound waves produced by these sounds hit an insect or other animal, the echoes bounce back to the bat, and guide them to the source. Modern day radar and sonar was developed by studying how bats maneuver and using the same principles of echolocation.

BATS ARE MAMMALS: Their forelimbs form webbed wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. Other mammals said to fly, such as flying squirrels, can only glide for short distances. Females generally have one offspring at a time and nurse their young until they are nearly adult size, because a young bat cannot forage on its own until its wings are fully developed.

AUTHOR CORNER: What can a writer learn from the bat? She begins to write a mystery book. She sends out a signal−how to get the protagonist from point A, the story beginning to point B−to bring down the bad guy? She takes the protagonist on a twisting, turning journey, following the echoes, negotiating the obstacles. If her signal is clear and she focuses on the echoes, she will reach a satisfying conclusion. Lose sight of the echo and her story gets lost along the way. Hey! How profound is that?

EVERYBODY ELSE: In a like manner, we relate to other people by sending out a signal. Good or bad, what is returned from others is the echo of our signal. Ask a question? Get an answer. Smile at a stranger? Usually you get one back. Be a friend and your friendships will flourish. Deceive or lie and in most cases, it comes back to bite you. Appreciate the bats. They pollinate flowers and catch insects. But be careful. Just of few of them may bite you on a dark night.

Aug 13

What Put the Crack in the Liberty Bell

CASTING THE BELL: In 1751, the bell was originally cast as the Pennsylvania State House bell in an England foundry. The first time the new bell was struck, it cracked. It had to be recast twice during the following year before it was rehung in the Philadelphia State House bell-tower. The words from the bible are inscribed on the side “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” Leviticus 25:10

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE: Among many other occasions, the bell was rung on July 18, 1776 to celebrate the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. The people immediately associated it with the Revolution and made it the symbol of their fight for freedom. Later to be renamed the Liberty Bell when it became a symbol of the abolitionist, seeking the end of slavery, it has since been struck during times of war, when women won the right to vote, the passage of civil rights and other momentous occasions marking societal freedoms.

THE BELL IS SAVED: In the fall of 1777, as the British armies advanced toward Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War, the bell was removed and hidden in Allentown to prevent it being melted down by the British to make cannons. After the British defeat in 1781, the bell was returned to the Philadelphia bell-tower.

THE BELL’S LAST TOLL: Then in 1846, it rang for the last time. The Philadelphia Public Ledger reported on February 26, 1846: "The old Independence Bell rang its last clear note on Monday last in honor of the birthday of Washington and now hangs in the great city steeple irreparably cracked and dumb. It had been cracked before but was set in order of that day by having the edges of the fracture filed so as not to vibrate against each other ... It gave out clear notes and loud, and appeared to be in excellent condition until noon, when it received a sort of compound fracture in a zig-zag direction through one of its sides which put it completely out of tune and left it a mere wreck of what it was."

SYMBOL OF FREEDOM: If there was ever a symbol of America’s freedoms, including an author’s freedom of speech, it’s the Liberty Bell. Americans love the bell, despite its flaws and cracks. Today the Liberty Bell is on display in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at Independence Hall, free to all who wish to witness it.

View of video of the Liberty Bell


AUTHOR NOTES: The Liberty Bell symbolizes perseverance despite its crack. If we wish to succeed as writers, we must persevere to meet deadlines, work on our manuscripts, rewrite, edit, and then persevere to promote our finished works. Even as flawed human beings, even if what we write disagrees with others, in America we have the freedom to express and publish our works for all to view.

EVERYONE ELSE: The Liberty Bell has been a symbol of freedom for over 150 years. Don’t waste your freedom. Don’t be satisfied to be one of the silent majority. Stand up and be counted. If you disagree, speak out when laws are passed, entertainment defies our moral values and decency is trampled through what society insists is political correctness and a sign of the times.

Aug 13

What Is Murphy's Law? Why Worry?

What is Murphy's Original Law?

If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe, then someone will do it.

Other wise men have opined similar notable truisms.

  • Etorre's Observation - The other line      moves faster.
  • Acton's Law - Power corrupts,      absolute power corrupts absolutely
  • Boob's Law - You always find      something in the last place you look.
  • Franklin's Rule - Blessed is he who      expects nothing, for he will not be disappointed.

As authors, Murphy’s Law affects our craft. I’ve taken the liberty of thinking how some of these laws might apply to an author. Perhaps you’ve experienced a few?

To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a computer

1.  The chance that your copy machine will break down is proportional to the importance of the manuscript that needs to be copied.

2.  When you arrive at your pitch session appointment, you’ve left the synopsis at home on the desk.

3. There will always be beer cans rolling on the floor of your car when the writing instructor asks for a ride home after class.

4. Any time you are unable to solve a problem scene in your manuscript, ask your critique leader. She probably won't know how either, but she will fake it.

5. If you’re broke you ask your publisher for an advance on your royalties, she will help you remember what you wasted all your money on.

6. The display settings on your computer will play havoc only when you have to finish the article for a press release by 5:00 this afternoon.

7. At the end of the Writer’s Conference, you recall having enrolled in a lecture at the beginning of the weekend…and never attending.

8. On the day you planned to work on that difficult love scene in your manuscript, your neighbor is going to mow the grass all day.

9. At the Writer’s Conference, your laptop will fail during the main speaker’s lecture.

Author’s Corner: Look at something you wrote several years ago. If you can’t immediately improve it by editing or rewriting it today, you aren’t growing as an author. Better take some additional writing courses, join a critique group, or head for a writer’s conference. An author must constantly be improving his craft or risk being left behind.

Everybody Else: If you eat a live toad in the morning, nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.