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The Pale Blue Dot

This is possibly my favorite quote from any book–fiction or otherwise.

Let me give a little context if you’re not familiar with it, though. On February 4, 1990, when Voyager 1 was exiting the Solar System and entering interstellar space, NASA commanded Voyager to turn its camera around and take one last photo of Earth. The photo was taken from 3. 7 billion miles away. Earth, about the size of a pixel, appears as a “pale blue dot.”

Four years later, Carl Sagan wrote about that pale blue dot in his book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space. In light of everything going on in the world today, I believe this quote is as relevant as ever. So I’ll stop writing now and let Carl Sagan take it from here. Read more

What Did Jack Kerouac and Junior Seau Have In Common?

So what do Jack Kerouac and Junior Seau have in common?

Who is Junior Seau, you might ask? He’s a Hall-of-Fame linebacker who played in the NFL for 19 seasons, retiring in 2009. Three years ago, after years of battling CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), Seau put a shotgun to his chest at committed suicide at the young age of 43.

CTE is a fairly new discovery in the football world. It’s brought on by years of repeated brain trauma–either concussions or simply getting hit in the head over and over. Hundreds of players have been diagnosed with CTE, or shown symptoms consistent with the condition, either post-mortem or after retiring. Famous players like Tony Dorsett, Bernie Kosar, Jim McMahon, and Brett Favre are part of that list. The condition has become quite a controversy, with some players retiring very early in their careers out of fear of suffering from CTE later in life.

So what’s all this got to do with Jack Kerouac?  Read more

Kerouac’s Legendary 120-Foot Scroll

The story goes that Jack Kerouac wrote the original draft of On The Road in just three weeks and on a single 120-foot scroll of paper while living with his second wife in a Manhattan apartment on West 20th Street. All of that fueled by coffee and benzedrine, legend goes. He actually taped individual pieces of paper together to create the scroll.

Over the next 6 years, Kerouac would revise the text until On The Road was finally published in 1957. He wrote the scroll single space, without paragraph breaks. Also, of legend, the last few pages of the scroll were ripped because a dog named “Patchkee” ate them up. Read more

Next Up: On The Road

This will be my second (maybe third?) go around with On The Road. About 15 years ago, I would’ve told you that On the Road was one of my favorite novels.

These days? I’m not so sure.

It’s the perfect novel for a 24 year old who’s still trying to figure stuff out—and one who can pick up and go on a road trip across the country on a few day’s notice. But that’s not me anymore…so I wonder how my age and life situation will influence my view of this novel.

I guess we’ll find out.

Here are a few fun facts about On the Road and Jack Kerouac: Read more

Book #83: Midnight’s Children

Finally, I finished Midnight’s Children.


That’s not an indictment of the novel, although it isn’t necessarily a light-hearted, quick read by any means. At 500+ pages, Midnight’s Children isn’t the type of novel you’re going to plow through in a couple of days. That said, it shouldn’t take a couple of months, like it took me, either.

Midnight’s Children is an interesting novel. It’s part allegory, part historical fiction, part something called “magical realism.” It’s a well thought out, extremely detailed book. It’s the type of book that, as you’re reading, you have a feeling that you might be missing something. For most of the time, I was thinking…am I smart enough to read this novel? Read more

1 Easy Tip To Help You Edit Better

Most of you guys are writers like me.

We write in our spare time, at work, on blogs, on our manuscripts. And, sometimes, it’s difficult to get a quality editor to help out after you’ve finished your work. Maybe you don’t have the extra income to pay a freelancer, or maybe you just don’t know how to go about getting one. And, let’s be honest, your buddy Joe is literate–good for him–but he’s not an editor.

So what do you do?

Here’s one very easy tip to make you a better editor.

It could be life-changing. Probably not.

But it’s so simple you’re going to be mad at me for making an entire post about it.

So what is it? What one tip will make you a better editor?

Here you go. It’s this: Read more

The Presidential Grammar Rankings

Well, I don’t know about you, but I relish every opportunity to make fun of a politician.

And this recent infographic from Grammarly gives me a good bit of ammunition to do just that.

Which presidential candidate’s followers have the best grammar? Well, Democratic candidate Lincoln Chafee, of course!

Who? Yeah, I don’t know him either. But his followers made only 3 grammar mistakes per 100 words, according to Grammarly. To conduct the test, they visited the official Facebook pages of all 19 presidential candidates (I believe one or two might have dropped out since the study) and pulled comments from those pages.

So whose followers hadded the worst of the grammars?

No surprise here: Donald Trump.

Trumpites made nearly 13 grammar mistakes per 100 words. Funny, with Trump bloviating so much about the immigration laws and how he’s going to make America more American, or something like that, it seems his followers have a hard time speaking English.

Overall, Democrats are much more well spoken (or well written) than Republicans–for what that’s worth. I blame the liberal media.

Anyway, here’s the full infographic. I’m sure, no matter who you support in the 2016 election, you’ll represent said candidate with exceptionally exceptional grammar.  Read more


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