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Cat Got Your Tongue?

What a peculiar idiom, it must have an obvious origin.

Oh, such a naïve fool. I spent (wasted) nearly an hour poking about the internet looking for credible references for the origin. From an academic source or such.

The three most common theories (myths):

A form of capital punishment in ancient Egypt. Liars' tongues were cut out and fed to cats.

In the Middle Ages, cats acting as agents of witches would steal the power of speech from victims.

From the 1800s and the Royal British Navy, there was a whip called the “cat-o’-nine-tails," used to flog miscreants. The pain was so horrific that the victim was unable to speak for a long time.

No documented explanation for this common idiom that I could find.


You got an answer?


Or has the cat got your typing fingers?
s - OUCH
You won't know if Schrodinger's cat's got your tongue until you try to speak.
Maybe this saying originated in the fact that felines are narcissists and as such they expect to be worshipped for the fantastic creatures they know themselves to be. Often when awestruck we become speechless.
Yin and Yang of the Inbox

Just moments after reading a new rejection something else popped into my email box. A short note from the publisher of a recent anthology with one of my stories. It contained a link to a recent positive review of the book.

A doubly nice surprise is that my story was one of three that the reviewer highlighted as standing out, in a good way.

         It is difficult to pick a favorite out of this collection, but the stories that stand out the most to me are ‘Death Trap’ by Damon Nomad, ‘Definitely Not Your Mother’s Book Club’ by D. W. Milton, and ‘Return of the Ripper’ by Tom Howard.

Here is the full review if you have a strange compulsion to give it a read.


I think I’ll quit on the email for today, on a yang note.

It is always a good feeling when your tale us singled out. Well done
Congratulations *Smile*
Should You Admit Your Story is AI-Assisted?

Most traditional publishers ask that you make or endorse a statement that your submission is not AI-assisted. What exactly do they mean?

Obviously, no content generated by AI. Probably not detailed plots or settings generated by AI.

What about character names generated by AI? Or research with search engines that use AI? Synonym searches, grammar, or spell checkers that use AI?

This is all assistance. But isn’t that too literal?


Where would you draw the line?
I asked Google Gemini to help me name an imaginary pagan idol I dreamed up for
Wherever I Go  (13+)
Some people pray to their God for some magic... Others are quietly going insane.
#2319965 by Amethyst Angel🌸📝🪽

I had originally pulled the name Thoth out of my head, but it's a "real" idol which doesn't match. I did add a note at the bottom saying how I got the name... Hope it doesn't open a hornets nest *Laugh*
It depends on the publisher. Some think using Word's grammar/spelling check is as far as they go. Even then, it needs to be tempered as it is not right all the time. And these publishers don't like Grammarly (you can pick fiction where the author has just trusted Grammarly completely). Online theasuri are okay; research is fine as well.

But most I work with say it stops at programmes like Grammarly. No AI for plotting, scene generation and definitely writing. Name generation... no idea.

Look, 10 years ago, a writer had to do it all. If a writer needs AI now, then maybe they're not a writer. Same for any art. Yes, it is using a modern tool. But to lose the arts to machines is to lose something that makes us human.

I've experimented with AI image creation, but I do not pretend I am a visual artist.

And legally, anything created by AI (no %age has been ascertained) can be copyrighted; it is currently being argued in legal circles.

We didn't need AI as artists before! why do we need it now? Let's be human.
s - *can't be copyrighted. Sorry. Phones suck to type on.
Bill Gates Summer 2024 Reading List

Three novels and a political science classic in the picture with the press release.

Are two of the novels by Damon Nomad? Surely, no one would stoop to doctoring a picture for a prank to plug their own books. Never trust a writer whose pen name is a palindrome.
I am quite sure you have lost your mind. *Laugh*
Wow! I never realised that your pen name is a palindrome. You did all these just to highlight that? *Laugh*
Elycia Lee ☮ - It's been lost long long ago.
University in China Using My Novels

Came across these pictures of statues (dedicated to educator Tao Xingzhi) in China. I was shocked to learn that my books are being used at the nearby university for a course in Modern English Literature. Hundreds of copies of my books! Chosen for their literary value and my command of grammar and punctuation, especially the comma.

Okay, those last few bits were a bit too much.

Maybe someone planted the books on these statues in an outdoor statuary garden dedicated to educator Tao Xingzhi. Maybe they aren’t being used for teaching English, but they are cool pictures. Right?

Consider this idea stolen...
I knew it! *Laugh* You planted them! *Laugh* Arent you clever?
s - I read that there is a Charles Dickens statue in Australia with a holding a copy of a book, Invasive Species I think is the title. Might be of interest to you. Maybe you can chase it down.
A Meteorite Is Just About To Hit Your Roof! I’m Not Kidding!

Dont Worry, I Have A Plan.

Well, a very small meteorite. Many of them, tons each day come down to the surface. If you, or someone you know have ever dreamed of finding a meteorite and you have a roof you can find a micrometeorite, with just a bit of work. If you have a flat roof, then wait for a day after a rain and sweep up the dust, and put it into a bag. Now use a strong magnet to collect potential micro-rites.

If you have a pitched roof with downspouts, then put a bucket under one and turn the garden hose onto the roof. Use a strong magnet to collect potential discoveries.

Now, the difficult part. Find a microscope, nothing exotic just enough to get a close look. See these examples from this web link or others and you will have your meteorites.


Shall We Play a Game?

The famous quote from the computer that nearly destroys mankind with nuclear weapons in the 1983 science fiction thriller movie, War Games. The premise is that humans were recently taken out of the command and control loop for launching nuclear weapons. There is also the Terminator series, where the backstory is that the AI Skynet nukes mankind.

Crazy fiction, right? It’s not fiction anymore and it’s not crazy talk.

We all know that Artificial Intelligence has made huge leaps in the last ten years. Guess what one area of intense study and debate is regarding AI? Yes, the proper role of AI in nuclear weapons systems.

Go ahead, and type it into a search engine: “Nuclear Weapons and Artificial Intelligence”.

You will find think tanks, academics, military strategists, and government policy experts among others all weighing in on the topic.


What could possibly go wrong?
I use to watch that movie War Games but that's pretty scary especially if it's happening right now.
One of my favourite cartoons showed a go live moment - when Artificial Intelligence took over. There was a brief pause then the AI exclaimed horror and disbelief at the stupidity of humanity, and ordered the safe destruction of all the nuclear weaponry. "What the hell were you thinking guys!!!"
Humanity's gravestone will read, "Couldn't fix stupid".
Immersive “Deep” Point of View

I was starting to get somewhat comfortable with point of view (POV) in writing, when I stumbled across a series of articles about a POV I never even heard of. It seems to masquerade under several aliases, including: immersive, deep, and close third-person.

Some of the articles make the case that this is what todays audience wants. This makes me instantly skeptical, which audience would that be? The twenty five year old living in a van and camping in parks and forests working on his first fantasy novel or the sixty five year old retired former federal prosecutor and John Grisham devotee.

They claim to totally strip the writer out of the prose. For example, by dropping filter words and dialog tags to write leaner, faster and cleaner. Dropping dialog tags? Well, I struggle with all the punctuation rules around dialog tagging, but again I’m suspicious.

Here is a master class article on the subject MASTER CLASS DEEP POV  

Some of the examples in the articles were promising, but not fast moving multi-character dialog. It seems to me a formula for readers getting lost.


What are your thoughts on this topic?
With encouragement from editors, I have used some aspects of this, but not all. the lack of dialogue tags would just annoy most publishers, and confused many readers. it feels like one of those trends that will fade, like the second person trend of the late 90s, and the present tense trend which is on the way out in trad publishing even now. Of course, I am only talking trad publishing. Self-publishing... no idea.
There's a tendency to overcomplicate things. POV is another tool. Use the tools that achieve the best result for the story you're telling.
I think it has some benefits- but the author needs to be uber cognizant of head-jumping and consistent if they used it. It does seem more focused.
No Harm No Foul, Right

Clarence licked the powdered sugar off his chubby fingers as he finished typing his form submission letter for his novel manuscript. A science fiction, romance comedy that he was sure would be a hit. He knew he should spend time doing more editing and polishing, but that’s what copy editors are for. His story concept was brilliant, all of his friends agreed.
He had a database of 326 publishers that did not require an agent.

He knew it would take hours to sort through which ones were interested in his subgenre. He muttered aloud as he grabbed another donut, “Wouldn’t it just be easier to bulk email it to all 326, not hurting anyone right?”

Days later, on the other side of the country, Regina is fuming as she checks her inbox of new submittals for her small publishing house. More than two hundred since yesterday and just skimming through she can see that well over half are not in their small portfolio.

She picks up the phone and calls her webmaster, “Block the submissions email and post that we are closed to open submissions.”


See posting Publishing News
Writing Blog Number 2  (18+)
This is a continuation of my blogging here at WdC
#2311764 by s

by s for more news on this topic.
  •   1 comment
You are so close to the truth here it hurts...
Good Things Sometimes Lead to Bad

I just finished watching the Netflix documentary, Turning Point: The Bomb and the Cold War. It is fantastically researched and presented in an interesting nine-part series. Many first-hand accounts from people from across the globe as well as historians, authors, and politicians.

One moment that particulary struck me, was when they replayed a clip (November 1989) of Tom Brokaw reporting as people were swarming over the Berlin Wall and it was coming down. I remember watching that news story live and I remember the excitement and a feeling of joy for those people. There was a sense that this was a good thing and the world was on the path towards greater stability and safety.

In 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed, and in early 1992 President George HW Bush announced that the Cold War was over. Yes so, things were on the right path. Right? I remember thinking so.

Missed opportunities and miscalculations sought to intervene. The events of 911, the war on terror of course. Now a full-scale invasion of Ukraine as Russia felt trapped by an ever-encroaching NATO makes it seem that the Cold War was just on simmer and it turned hot.

I also believe that bad things can also lead to good, so I hope, My three novel series, Nuclear Proliferation trilogy, the first two published deal with this theme and much of what is discussed in this Netflix series.

Take a look at the TV series and see what you think about this perspective on modern history. Maybe you'll want to buy my books. What is a news post without a shameless plug.
  •   1 comment
There's nothing wrong with a shameless plug. If you don't do it, who will? I wish you good fortune in your series.
Oral Argument This Coming Thursday on Presidential Criminal Immunity

The Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments this Thursday on an appeal of the ruling of the DC circuit regarding claims of presidential immunity from criminal prosecution.

What did the three-judge panel of the DC Circuit say in the opinion that is the subject of this appeal? Maybe you don’t have the time or inclination to read the full opinion. Here is the concluding paragraph, unedited, from the three-judge panel’s opinion. You can find the full opinion on the courts website for free.

We have balanced former President Trump’s asserted interests in executive immunity against the vital public interests that favor allowing this prosecution to proceed. We conclude that “[c]oncerns of public policy, especially as illuminated by our history and the structure of our government” compel the rejection of his claim of immunity in this case. See Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. at 747–48. We also have considered his contention that he is entitled to categorical immunity from criminal liability for any assertedly “official” action that he took as President — a contention that is unsupported by precedent, history or the text and structure of the Constitution. Finally, we are unpersuaded by his argument that this prosecution is barred by “double jeopardy principles.” Accordingly, the order of the district court is AFFIRMED.


I’ve been in the chambers of the Supreme Court during oral argument; it is quite an experience.

In my opinion, I believe the court will draw the line for criminal liability close to where they have drawn it for civil liability for presidents. The court unanimously confirmed that presidents can not be civilly liable for official acts; however, they determined that this immunity does not extend to their personal (unofficial conduct). Clinton v. Jones (520 US 681) 1997. It will be interesting to see if they go beyond general principles and decide the matter in the pending appeal.

Are you waiting see what the court rules or could you care less? Obviosuly a US centric query.
It should have been dismissed immediately and a statement similar to the DC Circuit Court's issued. The fact that they've decided to hear this is insane. I wish I could say I have faith in the Supreme Court's handling of this matter, but I do not. I am, to bungle a term, terrifyingly resigned to a likely ruling that will in essence, make presidents Kings.
Aiva Raine - I remain cautiously optimistic that a reasoned balance will be struck. I agree with you that this is an important case regarding the nature of the presidency in the US system of government. Certainly the founders and framers were not looking for another King.
Another Speculative Fictional Story Ruined by Reality

So, you have this clever speculative fiction story with a chase scene through a modern city with the cops and bad guys using jet packs. The editor rejects the story with a note, well written with a clever plot and interesting characters and dialog. But we are only taking speculative fiction, nothing speculative about this. The editor gives you the link to a story from Dubai about a recent race, yes using jet packs.
That's the thing about spec fic in the scifi field - technology is developing so fast that is it speculative or just something that could well be happening right now?

That's why I stick with horror; anything can be made scary. And fantasy; just add dragons. (Having said that, I've had a few scifi shorts published...)
I used to have dreams all of the time with me flying using jet packs. It was so much fun! *Laugh*
I got one in my garage.... But it's older model mileage sucks... And the electric model is limited due to the Cord.
Writing Journal

What a silly idea. My first thought as I started down the road of creative writing, several years ago. But I gave it a shot and at first, it felt awkward. Now, I’m writing in it or thumbing through it several times nearly every day.

Flipping through it now, what do I find?
Here is a partial list of my most common entries

Tracking progress on clearing publishers editors comments for novels and short stories
Story ideas and concepts
Short story rough outlines
Ideas for WDC news posts
Character ideas and outlines
Research notes on various topics
Tracking progress on promotional tasks
Notes on the craft of writing
Interesting news or articles
Lists of submission openings and publishers


What about you? Have one and what’s inside?
I do have one, but not active now. Will share that if it's more... err... active.
While I have several writing prompt journals, I don't have a writing journal like this. I have a bunch of notes in my note app on my iPod that include various writing ideas/prompts, word counts, character ideas, and plotting. It's a very good idea though. I'll have to look into starting one of these myself. Might be a bit more organized that way.
Never had a journal, in more than 40 years of writing and almost 40 years of submitting. Never saw the need, to be honest.
Literary Critics Strange Admission

I've been doing some research on popular writers in the mass market and what literary critics have said about them. I came across this short bit about an LA Times critic and Tom Clancy, I think it is from around the time of Clancy’s death.

The critic referred to the books as “technobabble thriller[s],” that were all about commerce. I guess as opposed to literature. He added that there’s nothing particularly interesting about such books.

Then the real kicker as he added, “which is one reason I never read his books.


So, he was quite sure these books read and enjoyed by tens of millions of us common folk are not at all interesting without even reading the books.

I have wondered if many of the self-appointed literati take a dislike to popular authors simply because of their success with the great unwashed masses. Without even giving them a read. This is a data point that tends to support that suspicion.


Do you pay more heed to what literary critics say or what the marketplace says before taking a chance on a book by an author you have never read?

Lazy Writer est 4/24/2008 - youre not alone. I've done that. Yeah, we're strange.

Live with it, will ya. Lol

Actually, I look at the cover, the back, any intro inside the jacket covers too.

If the first pages don't grab me, I might open it to the middle.

I'm not fond of what the popular critics say even about movies. They might hate it but I liked it.

That being said, I had looked forward to the newest Ghostbusters movie. I d I d go see it, sat through the whole thing. but honestly I almost wished I didn't go. It didn't have the same appeal as the first one.
Since I don't read the critics, I can hardly take their views into account. And, as the monkey said about the marketplace, "Fifty million cows can't be wrong - eat grass." Back in the days when I bought books, my choice was most often decided by how they smelt.
I don't read trending novels, but I can relate that to something I do enjoy every day: music. As an Imagine Dragons fan since 2017, one who reads every headline and knows every track they've produced since their inception, I know all too well that ID is despised across the board by music critics, even though they're popular beyond belief and can boast of a bevvy of loving fans.

The critics accuse ID of being trite, canned, overproduced and unartistic... It seems to me as if they only like bands that nobody ever heard of, with potty mouths, who habitually shred their guitars onstage and rant and rave. I think it's an affectation, quite frankly. They don't want to admit that a band this popular is actually decent, or else they scoff at decency as being childish.

So, to answer your question in a roundabout way, I don't pay attention to what anyone at all says about music I've never heard. I read the lyrics to see if there's anything nasty, check the artist to see if their behavior is trashy, and then I'll listen to the song. Which is why I don't use streaming services. I'm extremely fussy and can't bear having songs shoved randomly down my throat.
Memorable Sites

April 18th is World Heritage Day, celebrating landscapes and structures that mark cultures of the world.



Outside of my home country, my top three memorable travel sites are:
Himalayas from Nagarkot; Angkor Wat at Sunrise; the Treasury of Petra coming out of the slot canyon.


What about you, what are your most memorable sites from your travels?

I have very short term memory so right now, it's Yokohama's Red Brick Warehouse  . For some reason, it reminded me of a scene in Tim Burton's Wednesday Addams on Netfix when they had a red brick scene. Also, on that day of our travel, they had these really cool vintage cars from the oldest to the latest. And you can see the ferris wheel from there. Beautiful wheel (view). Pun intended.
My most memorable places are:
Aya Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey(Tutkyie).
Plitvice Lakes National Park and Dubrovnik in Croatia.
Clock tower in Prague, Czech republic.
Szechenyi bridge in Budapest, Hungry.
Mozart house and Mira-bell garden in Saltzburg, Austria.
Bled castle and The Pilgrimage Church of The Assumption of Virgin Maria Cathedral in Bled, Slovenia.
Museo del Prado(Prado Art Museum) in Madrid and Sagrada Famila Grand Cathedral in Barcelona, Spain.
Grand Cathedral in Fatima, Portugal.
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