Sunday, October 26, 2014

As the years slip away…
By: Joe P Attanasio

Time is ever moving at a near constant rate. I state it that way because of the proof offered by Stephen Hawkins that gravity does in fact effect time.

How we perceive time to be moving is relative to thousands of factors. When people get in the latter part of their lives time seems to pass faster and faster. The seasons and even years sometime seem to go by in the blink of an eye. As a young boy I remember long summer days that seem to last forever. Also true is the idea that when you are having fun, time flies, but when you are being punished or are sick, it can drag on ever so slowly.

I have another birthday tomorrow and it made me think about time, hence the topic for today. I have an interesting life (in my opinion) and enjoy myself most of the time. Perhaps that is why time seems to be moving so fast for me. I am not getting older by any standards except chronologically (alright physically too!). I embrace life and the constant change that inevitably accompanies it. I look forward to crossing new horizons and challenging myself in ways I cannot yet perceive.

I have lived long enough to have personally witnessed many changes throughout out the years. Technological innovation of course was huge in the last 66 years. I have also witnessed cultural change growing from many roots, some good and some bad. I am aware of a trend in self-satisfaction and attention deficits. I am also aware of a loss in patriotism in general among the younger generations. I see morality being redefined, some good and some bad.

I always was a passionate person in general. I despise apathy as anyone who know me has heard me say time and time again. I find I am becoming even more opinionated as I get older. Perhaps I feel I have earned the right to speak my mind a little bit more. I truly believe wisdom comes with age, perhaps not intelligence, but wisdom for sure.

I find organized religion to be something I feel I do not need or want. I have a deep respect for people’s beliefs however, no matter what they are. I believe there is more to life than conception, birth, death and nothingness. I will leave that right there without getting philosophical.

I have a wish for the world that all people learn to love each other at least in some basic way. I will settle for acceptance if love seems too intimate a word. In the sixties we used words like, “It’s your bag” and “do your own thing” to signify that we accept each other being different. I am not just talking white, black and yellow here but gay, transsexual, Arabian, Russian and South African etc.

With respect and acceptance of others, human nature can rid itself of the ideals impressed on us through the media and replace those ideals with what we ourselves feel in our hearts is right.
I will leave this article with a couple of poems from my collection: Thanks for reading along as I ramble.

NOTE: On the left is my face on Conan's body taken on my 25th wedding anniversary. On the right is me a few years ago taken for a funny story about the scarf that I will share someday here.

One of my first poems takes a look at what a day is and what it can mean.

What is a day?
By: Joe P. Attanasio
Some think a day is just a measure of time.
Some think a poem is just a measure of rhyme.
But each day is a life, complete with birth and death.
Not sharing with others, but standing alone from the rest.
As dawn is born we have a new beginning, a chance.
For goals of all sorts; and for romance
Some days seem long and some very short.
Some are hard, some are restful, all sorts.
Sometimes in the morn, we are already dreary.
As a day draws to an end, we may hold it dearly.
But one thing is for sure, each day will hold.
So much more for those who are bold
The days in the past are written in stone.
The ones not yet here stand empty and alone.
Remember as each day begins to unfold.
We have a say, how the story is told.
If you’ve planned a day from dawn to night
You know, they never come out quite right.
You can enjoy a day fully without any plans.
Just let it happen and see how it lands.


         BY: Joe P. Attanasio
Sensory input, rationalized mentally
Conjured and intuitive assessment
Conceptual, biased reality, imagined
Mental recreation of fact; perception
We see what we want to see,
And hear what we want to hear.
“I can’t believe he was a killer,”
“He seemed like such a nice guy”
“She is such a slut”
“He is a selfish bastard”
“She is a bitch”
“He is a womanizer and a cad”
Labels, based on perception
Judged reality by our assessment
Shared with others for validation
Of our own ambiguous imagery
Our own perception of ourselves
Not based on reality, but conjured
Camouflaged by desire and confidence
Blended with self-esteem and fantasy
Our lives are controlled by perception
Input from our senses processed
With semi-conscious assessment
Always question your perception!


Please check out other blogs from my archives.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fake names on Face-Book and Amazon
By: Joe P. Attanasio

I considered writing under a pen name and publishing some erotic-romance stories. These tend to be short and easy to write and sell quite well in the marketplace. I have a number of stories already written that could easily be converted. I would not want to use my given name, as it is associated with an entirely different genre, and these stories could affect my reputation.

I decided to scrap the idea as the perils far outweigh the benefits. However, I found the topic of using a pseudonym or pen name in both Facebook and Amazon an interesting subject open for debate on many levels.

I want to make clear that while I consider using a pseudonym or pen name for the above reasons I frown on the idea of using one for the purpose of cross promoting your work or for "trolling" and “defaming” people which is very rude.

With Amazon you have to use your real information Name, Address, Bank Account, Social Security Number etc. for legal and tax reporting reason because of the royalties for selling books. Amazon will allow you to use up to three pen names on the books you publish. Although law enforcement is privy to that information, no one else needs to know that the pen name is also you.

Facebook however, has its own policy as stated below.


Here is Facebook’s policy regarding the use of names:

Facebook is a community where people use their authentic identities. We require people to provide the name they use in real life; that way, you always know who you're connecting with. This helps keep our community safe.

You may be having trouble changing your name if:

Your name doesn't follow our name policy
You changed your name in the last 60 days
You were previously asked to verify your name on Facebook
You can also add an alternate name (ex: maiden name, nickname) to your profile. If your first and last name isn’t listed on your account and you’re unable to change it, let us know.

What names are allowed on Facebook?

Facebook is a community where people use their authentic identities. We require people to provide the name they use in real life; that way, you always know who you're connecting with. This helps keep our community safe.

Please refrain from adding any of these to your name:

Symbols, numbers, unusual capitalization, repeating characters or punctuation.
Characters from multiple languages.
Titles of any kind (ex: professional, religious).
Words, phrases or nicknames in place of a middle name.
Offensive or suggestive words of any kind.
Other things to keep in mind:

The name you use should be your authentic identity; as your friends call you in real life and as our acceptable identification forms would show.
Nicknames can be used as a first or middle name if they're a variation of your authentic name (like Bob instead of Robert).
You can also list another name on your account (ex: maiden name, nickname, professional name) by adding an alternate name to your profile.
Profiles are for individual use only. We offer Pages for professional personas, organizations and businesses.
Pretending to be anything or anyone isn't allowed.
If your authentic name isn’t listed on your account, please change your name. If you're unable to change it, learn more.

What types of ID does Facebook accept?

You can confirm your identity in 1 of 3 ways. When submitting documentation, please cover up any personal information we don't need to verify your identity (ex: credit card number, Social Security number). We encrypt people’s connections to Facebook by default, including IDs you send to us. We delete your ID information after verification is complete.

Option 1

We will accept any government-issued ID that contains your name and date of birth. Examples include:

Birth certificate
Driver’s license
Marriage certificate
Official name change paperwork
Personal or vehicle insurance card
Non-driver's government ID (ex: disability, SNAP card, national ID card)
Green card, residence permit or immigration papers
Voter ID card
Option 2

You can provide two different forms of ID from the following list (ex: a bank statement and a library card, but not two bank statements). The names on your IDs must match each other, and one of the IDs must include a photo or date of birth that matches the information on your profile.

Below are some examples of IDs we'll accept:

Bank statement
Bus card
Credit card
Employment verification
Library card
Magazine subscription stub
Medical record
Membership ID (ex: pension card, union membership, work ID, professional ID)
Paycheck stub
School card
School record
Social Security card
Utility bill
Yearbook photo (actual scan or photograph of the page in your yearbook)
Option 3

If you don’t have an ID that shows your authentic name as well as your photo or date of birth, you can provide two forms of ID from Option 2 above, and then provide a government ID that includes a date of birth or photo that matches the information on your profile. We won't add the name or other information from the government ID to your account.

Why Facebook wants your name

Facebook estimates that nearly 83 million registered users are actually duplicated accounts, spammers, or non-people, like that profile you made for your puppy. That's a staggering number, and Facebook has acknowledged such "inauthentic" accounts as a potential threat to its brand and business. Facebook has also made its effort to crack down on nicknames and pseudonyms pretty public, allowing users to display "alternate" names only in parentheses.

There is no estimate for people who go by a realistic fake name, although the phenomenon could potentially pose trouble for the social network that wants to own your real identity on the web.

Facebook depends on its users to be honest. With 239,000 users for every Facebook employee, it's logistically impossible to verify all the information that is submitted. Fake names, fake ages, fake interests — all these inaccuracies interfere with the company's ability to accurately target advertisements. Facebook wants to build the world's most comprehensive database of people. If the information is current and correct, Facebook could eventually become a place where people bank or vote or even file taxes. If it's filled with errors, it nears uselessness — at least, as far as advertisers are concerned.

Real names are key to keeping the integrity of that database. By forcing people to use their real names, Facebook pressures users to mirror their offline identities. That’s why Facebook, now a public company, has made enforcing its real-names policy a top priority. Employees and automated systems trawl the site for fakers, sometimes sweeping up genuine users including Pulitzer Prize-winning author Salman Rushdie by accident.


"Facebook is a community where people use their real identities. When everyone uses their real first and last names, people can know who they're connecting with. This helps keep our community safe," a Facebook spokesperson said in an email. "It’s a violation of our policies to use a fake name or operate under a false identity, and we encourage people to report anyone they think is doing this."

Facebook has a dedicated investigations team that reviews user-reported aliases, and the company has also built and is constantly working on "complex technical systems that flag potential fake accounts for review," the Facebook spokesperson said. As a last resort, Facebook asks users to submit a form of government-issued identification.
So obviously, making a Facebook page under your pen name is risky and could get both of your accounts banned.


Fake names on Amazon contributed to this article below that was in the Huffington Post.

Below this dead link is the article from the Huffington Post:

Article here:

Bestselling, award-winning crime author R.J. Ellory has been caught faking Amazon reviews for both his own books and the books of his competitors.

Ellory was caught writing the fake Amazon reviews by fellow author Jeremy Duns, according to ABC News. Such an act is dubbed "sock-puppeting," or writing anonymous online reviews praising one's own work.

Gawker posted the complete Twitter thread written by Duns, via Storify, in which the author describes the posts Ellory wrote about his own works.

"Ellory writes 5-star reviews of his own work on Amazon. Long, purple tributes to his own magnificent genius," Duns tweeted. "RJ Ellory also writes shoddy, sh----y sniping reviews of others authors' work on Amazon, under an assumed identity."

Adding, "Prasing [sic] yourself is pathetic. Attacking other writers like this? I have no time for it, and have no time for anyone who defends it."

Ellory posted one of the fake Amazon reviews under the pseudonym "Nicodemus Jones," writing: "I don't need to really say anything about the plot of this book. All I will say is that there are paragraphs and chapters that just stopped me dead in my tracks. Some of it was chilling, some of it raced along, some of it was poetic and langorous and had to be read twice and three times to really appreciate the depth of the really is a magnificent book. Ignore all dissentors and naysayers, this book is not trying to be anything other than a great story, brilliantly told. Just buy it, read it, and make up your own mind. Whatever else it might do, it will touch your soul."

"Nicodemus Jones" also wrote a negative review about Stuart MacBride's "Dark Blood." It was in this review that Duns caught onto Ellory's fraudulent reviews. He noticed that one particular Nicodemus Jones thread had postings by user "RJ Ellory," according to the Guardian.

Ellory issued a statement to the Guardian, offering his apologies for sock-puppeting.

"The recent reviews – both positive and negative – that have been posted on my Amazon accounts are my responsibility and my responsibility alone. I wholeheartedly regret the lapse of judgment that allowed personal opinions to be disseminated in this way and I would like to [apologize] to my readers and the writing community."

Ellory, who won the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award in 2010 for "A Simple Act of Violence," is not the only author guilty of writing fake reviews.

Orlando Figes, a leading historian, admitted to writing anonymous Amazon reviews celebrating his own work and condemning the work of his competitors in 2010, according the BBC. He was sued by two historians and ordered to pay damages.

One of the United Kingdom's most successful thriller writers, Stephen Leather, also admitted to sock-puppeting and claimed the practice is commonplace.

“I’ll go on to several forums … and post there, under my own name and under various other names and various other characters," Leather disclosed at the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival, according to the Telelgraph. "You build this whole network of characters who talk about your books and sometimes have conversations with yourself … I have friends who are sockpuppets … One person on their own, difficult to create a buzz. If you’ve got ten friends, and they’ve got friends, and you can get them all as one creating a buzz, then hopefully you’ll be all right."

John Locke, a successful self-publisher and author of "How I Sold One Million E-Books In Five Months," admitted to buying five-star reviews to boost his Amazon visibility, The New York Times reports.

Sam Millar was accused of the act earlier this year. Science fiction and fantasy authors also found that frustrated writer Robert Stanek was sock-puppeting in 2009.

The Telegraph's Jake Kerridge questioned if the Ellory scandal is just the tip of the iceberg.

"Already other publishing practices are coming under scrutiny. Do too many crime writers provide quotes for the jackets of their friends’ books?" he asked, adding, "Most of the crime writers I know are genial, friendly souls (Ellory has long been regarded by many in the community as atypically self-aggrandising and chippy), so perhaps not. But since Amazon is unlikely to discontinue its practice of allowing pseudonymous reviews, the industry needs to get to work on regaining readers’ trust."

Authors have already publicly condemned Ellory for abusing online anonymity by "misusing these channels in ways that are fraudulent and damaging to publishing at large." Notable authors who have signed the petition against sock-puppeting include Karin Slaughter, Ian Rankin, Jo Nesbo and Val McDermid.


I hope you found this interesting and feel free to visit my other blogs as listed in my archives.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Politics and Religion on Facebook
Musings by: Joe P. Attanasio

Let me preface this blog with some insights about me personally. If you haven’t read my past blogs let me recommend two:

That is not what I meant! By: Joe P. Attanasio
Passion and Debate: Thoughts by: Joe P. Attanasio.

In the first blog I endeavor to bring to everyone attention how in written communication our intended meaning is often lost or misinterpreted.
When commenting and posting on Political and Religious subject matter (both sensitive issues for many) this has the potential for damaging relationships.

In the second blog I give my opinion that ‘Passion and Debate mix as well as Oil and Water.’ I go on to say:

“I think a debate should have rules. Perhaps be limited to a certain amount of time or number of points. This should be agreed on beforehand. I also think a person should be able to “agree to disagree” in some cases and end all discussion by making that statement.

I know some people that enjoy debating just about anything with their friends. They revel in presenting pros and cons for hours. They get to exhibit there knowledge and expertise and truly enjoy the whole experience. I say, “Good for you if that is your thing.”

To me, debate is just a fancy word for argue until you prove yourself right. Although I am passionate about a great many things, you will rarely find me willing to debate my point. I don’t like the confrontation. I will state my opinion and you can agree or disagree. Try to debate with me and “I will pass”.


So basically I do not like to discuss Religion or Politics in public on Facebook because it makes me uncomfortable and because I fear my comments may be misinterpreted. I also do not like to even see most of these.

I have felt myself bristle with anger over a number of political and religious posts in the last few years. The comments people make range from supportive to rude to completely idiotic in my opinion. While this may be mildly amusing to some, I take umbrage over these posts.

I feel many of the political memes I see have been created to discredit one political party or individual or another. I suspect that is the sole purpose for many of the memes to be created, so we can spread and sway our friends in one direction or the other. Well, I personally think that is terrible and I refuse to become part of it.

While the religious memes are generally benign in nature bringing religious views into unrelated posts as comments can cause hard feelings between people of different mindsets.

Especially around election time I wish Facebook would allow filtering by use of a button to hide all political posts. When the status or meme is posted a list of categories could come up like Religious, Political, Advertisement, Adult Language, or Other to be selected. Of course, this will never happen as Facebook wants as many posts and interactions as they can get to show to their advertisers. 

These types of posts are all too frequent for my taste.

This is just me giving my opinion.

Read through my archives for all my blog titles.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

That is not what I meant!
By: Joe P. Attanasio

This blog is about what people perceive you to have said.

When two people are talking face to face we communicate with words, actions, and expressions or body language.

Often our smile or grin tells the other person that we are being playful or kidding when we say something. Our eyes convey concern or the way we stand can show resolve. There are many ways we use our bodies to help communicate. We also read other people by observing their bodies. Often what they say is secondary to their body language for conveying their intentions.

The trouble is that in today’s world most of our communication is typed and sent in messages. There is no way to ensure that your words will be received in the same meaning that you intended when you wrote them.

As writers we may be more equipped to convey our meaning than a lot of other people but that is of little comfort when you are misinterpreted. The old adage “Assume means make an ass of you and me”, especially plays into written communication.

Many words have multiple meanings and assuming the writer means one thing when they meant another can throw a slant on a whole conversation. I have seen numerous Facebook posts with comments where one friend or acquaintance chastises someone for making a comment to another person based on what they assume the conversation meant.

Once seen (read) the words you posted cannot be unseen. We have a responsibility to choose our words carefully and scrutinize them for misinterpretation before posting. I think a little awareness in this area will go a long way toward ensuring people know what we meant to say.

Facebook contributes to the problem with their limited choice of buttons. Most people click LIKE to show they read a post. Clicking “like” does not always mean a person agrees with a post.

Another factor that I see come into play on Facebook is that many public posts should be private. By posting publicly people invite opinions and comments that can cause conflict and hard feelings. If you are going to say something publicly, be ready to own it and defend it is my advice.

Another point I want to address here is that behind the veil of relative anonymity or knowing you will never have to meet the people you are talking to in real life, many get a false sense of bravado.  In other words, people feel comfortable being rude and outspoken because they are detached personally. In my opinion, this is a poor excuse for acting any differently than you would in person.

Depending on their mood, people can interpret what you said to be totally different than what you meant. Misunderstandings have ruined many friendships and families.  

Let’s all make a conscience effort to think before we type.


Please feel free to check out my Blog archives for other posts.

Friday, September 19, 2014

First chapter of "A Butchers Tale"
By: Joe P. Attanasio

This was my first attempt at writing a novel. I was 62 years old and had just retired from my profession as a meat-cutter and manager.

My writing skills have improved but I have never revised this story. I present it here as written in 2011. 

This is a historical adventure. This is the story of a passionate and idealistic young man named Joseph in fourteenth century England. He gives up his career as a butcher with his trade guild in York and follows a young woman, Dorothy, and her family into the border country to the north. Dorothy and her family are going to take over the farm they inherited when her uncle died.

   The English-Scottish war is heating up and the border region is very unstable. This is the time of Edward I, (Longshanks), and William Wallace. Every effort has been made to ensure the historical events and flavor of the times is accurately portrayed.

   For those that are familiar with the reference; this story resembles a fourteenth century version of “Little House on the Prairie” written by Laura Ingalls Wilder.


Chapter 1

     My name is Joseph and I was born in Brighthelmstone on the southern coast of England in the year 1281. I am a journeyman butcher and was taught the trade by my father. I don’t remember my mother; she died when I was only four years old. My father died two years ago in the year 1298 and I moved to York. I am tall and strong and no stranger to hard work. I have brown wavy hair and blue eyes. I got a job working in a butcher shop and joined the butcher’s guild.
    It was May in the year 1300. The butcher’s guild was participating in the annual Mystery Plays again this year. I am working on making props and helping to decorate the pageant cart. The cart will be moved throughout York so many people can see the performance. We are doing the biblical scene of Adam and Eve this year. Another butcher from our shop, and a friend of mine named Thomas, is playing Adam.
     I was painting signs one day when Thomas walked up talking with the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. “Joseph, I want you to meet Dorothy she will be playing Eve.” I stood up and smiled and bowed, “Pleasure to meet you Dorothy.” She smiled and bowed her head slightly, “A pleasure to meet you too, Joseph.” Her golden hair hung gently on her shoulders. She had light blue-green eyes that sparkled with youth and vibrancy. Her skin was smooth and ivory colored. Her lips were plump and inviting. They said goodbye and they both walked away talking.
     I watched Dorothy as she walked. She had a very nice shape and her hips swayed with grace and charm as she disappeared around the corner with Thomas. I would sure like to be in the Garden of Eden with her I thought, as I went back to painting.
     I saw Thomas and Dorothy here and there as we prepared for opening day and every time I could not help but admire Dorothy’s beauty and grace. It felt like a sweet fresh wind blew past me whenever she was around, arousing my senses.

     It was one week before the pageant when Thomas had a terrible accident. He was preparing a large sow for slaughter, when the sow slipped and crashed against him; it pushed him through the fence and a broken board pierced his chest. I went to see him at St. Leonards Hospital and he was pale and weak. He was in very serious condition and not expected to live. I knew the priest had already heard his confession as one could not be admitted for care until that was done.
     “Joseph, I want to tell you two things. Dorothy is sweet on you and she asked me not to tell you. She said her heart skips a beat whenever she is near you.” Thomas coughed a few times then cleared his throat.
     “John the director was in to see me already. I told him he should consider you to take my place in the Mystery Play. I told him you could play my part and that you and Dorothy had feelings for each other and that would enhance the performance. He is not convinced as he has never seen you act but I know you can. He is willing to see you try it.
     Go to my house and take the script and look it over. It is not hard to learn. There is not that much dialog and if you practice it before you see him you will convince him you can act the part.” I assured Thomas I would do my best and that helped him relax a bit.
     I went and got the script and sat there practicing the words and pretending I was talking to Dorothy. It was not difficult to remember the words and I learned them all easily. There were only five parts, the Narrator, God, Adam, Eve and the Serpent. I had to learn the cues from the Narrator, God and Eve. The Serpent never talked to me only to Eve. All I had to do was deliver my lines with the right feeling.
     Dorothy entered Thomas’s house as I was preparing to leave. “Thomas told me I might find you here,” she said with a sad look on her face. “I hope Thomas does not die, he looks pretty bad” she added.
     “He is young and strong and he is in a good hospital getting good care. All we can do is pray to God he will recover.” We talked for a while and she agreed to run through the lines with me. She read all the lines but mine to help me learn my cues. She made her voice deep when she was the Narrator and I had to smile the first few times. I forced myself to concentrate on the lines instead of us being alone there. After some practice she agreed to see the director with me, so off we went.

     John consented to hear us act our parts together.  We really played well off each other and John saw the love we had for each other and liked what he saw. John told me I had the part. We had the wardrobe altered as Thomas was shorter than me. We covered ourselves with loincloths decorated with greenery but after we sinned we were embarrassed by our nakedness and had to wear more clothes.  Dorothy and I rehearsed our lines together even though we knew them so well already. We just liked being together and we were growing very fond of each other. We also worked on decorations and props.

     We kept quite busy that week and finally it was time for the pageant to start.  We had 6 shows each day. It was a very hectic schedule but we learned to hurry between shows and it was so much fun. People always crowded around to see the shows. Our show was one of the most popular. People would follow our cart for miles just to watch our show.
     Dorothy would pick the forbidden apple and offer it to me. Dorothy would tempt me to sin every show and I would try to resist every show. I always gave in to her temptation on stage. I was tempted by Dorothy off the stage also and would eagerly do whatever I needed to be with her. We resisted temptation and we kept our relationship professional.
     After eight days and 48 shows we finished the plays for this year. After the final show the troupe had a huge celebration. John the director announced that Thomas was getting better but it would take him a long time before he could return to work. Everyone was pleased with the success of our show and the mood was quite happy.

     Dorothy pulled me away from the others and asked, “What are your plans for the future now that the show is over?”
“I really don’t have any plans but I hope to be able to spend some time with you!” I said staring into her beautiful eyes. “I have grown quite fond of you as I am certain you know.”
     “I am quite fond of you also Joseph.” She smiled so sweetly at me. “I wish we could be together but I am going to be leaving York. My Uncle William died a short time ago; he owned a small farm near Jarrow along the Tyne River. My father has agreed to take it over. It is far to the northeast and I am going there to help my mother and my father run the farm. I told my father we really liked each other a lot and I want to be with you. He said you were welcome to join us if you wanted. I understand that you have a good job here and would probably want to stay.”
     I did not need any time to think about it. I wanted a change and I wanted to be near Dorothy. “I will call on your father tomorrow and offer to help your family move. I am willing to go work on the farm for a while and see if I like it. At least I will be near you. I can always come back to York and butcher again if it does not work out.” Dorothy put her arms around my neck and gave me a hug and a kiss on my cheek and said, “Joseph I am falling in love with you and want to be near you always. I am so happy you are coming along to Jarrow!” I smiled and kissed her on her lips. “I fell in love with you the moment I saw you.” I confessed.
     Dorothy’s father’s name is Luther. He works at the lumber mill just outside the north-east gate. I found him at the mill that morning. He is a short and stocky man about 40 years old. He has long white hair and a soft voice. He was very fit for his age and strong from all the hard work. I had met him a few times in the past and we got along good together. He saw our play five times.
     “Dorothy told me you were going to come along and help with the farm. I can promise you food and a dry place to sleep but I do not know about paying you until we get settled there.”
     I told him, “I am fine with that. I have saved some coin and am not worried about being paid for now. I love your daughter and just want to be near her. I will work hard for you but I must confess I do not know much about farming. What can I do to help you get ready to go?”
     He told me, “Talk to my wife Catherine and she will give you a list of things you can do to help.” He added, “I am no stranger to farm work but there is a lot I do not know either, we can learn together.”
     Catherine and Dorothy were sitting together talking when I arrived at their house. It was easy to see where Dorothy got her good looks. Catherine has short white hair and is rather petite in size, her cheeks are rosy and her beautiful blue eyes sparkle like sapphires. She is a bundle of energy and high spirited.
     Dorothy stood up and said, “Joseph, I want you to meet my mother Catherine.”
     “It is nice to meet you Catherine. I saw you watching our play with Luther. I hope you enjoyed it.”
     “I enjoyed it very much.” She added, “I wish my son Sean could have seen it too. He would have been so proud of Dorothy. He is an archer fighting for England in the north of France.”
     “Is Sean younger or older?” I asked
     Dorothy answered, “Sean is my big brother. He is two years older than me. He has been a soldier for 5 years.”

     The next two weeks passed quickly and it was time to leave York. I pulled a small cart with our belongings along the well-travelled road out the north gate of York. I wondered how long I would be gone from the great walled city. It took us three days to reach the busy port of Sunderland at the mouth of the Wear River on the North Sea. We found an inn each night and did not have to search for a room among the many farms on the way. The next morning when we started out we knew we would sleep on the farm that night. We bought some bread and mead and other food to take to the farm.
     The coast fell behind as we climbed the hilly terrain between the Wear and the Tyne rivers. Dorothy had not been to the farm for six years and was excited to be going there. Her Uncle William had died two months ago and was the last of his family. He was buried on the farm by a young man from a nearby farm that helped him with the chores. Dorothy and her parents were very excited as we neared the farm. We crested a hill on the worn wagon trail and Catherine pointed toward the river, “There it is! There it is, over there by the river.” I could see three structures clustered together near the river. One large one that I assumed was the barn.
     When we arrived at the farm Luther and I took a look around while the ladies stayed in the house tidying it up. The house was bigger than most we saw on the way here. It had a hearth and an oven in the main room and two smaller rooms for sleeping. There was fresh straw on the beds. Behind the house was a tall wild field going down to the river. It was mixed with brambles, small trees and even some big trees. There was a hen house with about 25 chickens. The barn was large and there were two oxen inside. Each ox had a stall for itself. There were sacks of grain in the barn and straw. In the corner was a bin filled with hay.
     On one side of the barn an herb garden was growing. A large open area led up a slight hill to a hardwood forest and had been planted with barley. A wheat field was growing behind the barn and led all the way to a wagon road along the river. It was July and the wheat was getting tall. There was no one around but us. Luther and I were inspecting the grounds. There was no well on the farm. Apparently all water was drawn from the Tyne River. There was four buckets of water on the north side of the house and Luther told me to always keep those full in case the thatched roof caught fire.
     Luther was somewhat familiar with farm life and was explaining how some things would have to be done. He explained that the chickens were free range and allowed to roam the farm to feed with supervision then closed back up in the hen house to keep them safe. There was a leather yoke for each oxen and a work cart for hauling. The manure from the oxen stalls would be spread in the fields to enrich the soil for the crops. He told me the farm could be run by one person most of the time but you needed help for plowing and harvesting.
     We heard a man yelling and we could see a young man walking toward us from the river. “Hello!” he yelled as he waved his right arm from side to side. I waved back in recognition and he stopped yelling and approached us. “I am George. I live a few miles up the river and had been helping William on the farm here ever since his son died. I was told a message had been sent to his brother and was expecting you.
     Luther said, “William was my brother. I am Luther. This is a friend of ours, Joseph. He is going to help us run the farm.”
     “Let me show you around,” George said. George was about my age and almost as tall. He had short brown hair and brown eyes. His shoulders were very broad and his neck was thick. He looked very strong. He had a friendly face and a warm smile.
     Dorothy and Catherine came out of the house and George took one look at Dorothy and kept staring at her with a huge smile stuck on his face, he tried to speak but no words came out. I could tell that he was captivated by her beauty. Catherine broke the silence by saying, “Hello I am Catherine and this is my daughter Dorothy, it is nice to meet you.”
     George looked at Catherine and said, “My name is George, I live a few miles up the river and I was helping William.” 
     Catherine invited us all into the house to eat bread and drink mead.
     We sat and talked with George for a long time. He had three brothers and two sisters and lived on a farm up river with his father. His mother passed away four years ago.  He was friends with William’s son Arthur and when Arthur died a little over a year ago he started helping William with the farm. He told Luther that he would introduce him to all the people he needed to know in Jarrow to manage the farm. I could see George was taken with Dorothy’s beauty. She looked especially radiant today. Being out in the countryside seemed to agree with her, perhaps because it made her happy.
     Luther and I followed George around the farm and watched him do the daily chores as he talked and talked about the farm and Jarrow and William. We promised to come up and meet his family someday soon after we got settled. George said, “I will be back in the morning and we can all go to Jarrow, it is not a long walk.” Then he went home for the night.

Please take the time to look over the other blogs from my archives.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Five of my all-time favorite jokes:
By: Joe P. Attanasio

I have a handful of jokes that I seem to remember and enjoy telling on occasion and I wanted to share them here.


The finals of the National Poetry Contest last year came down to two finalists. One was a University of Alabama Law School graduate from an upper crust family; well-bred, well-connected, and all that goes with it. The other finalist was a redneck from Auburn University in Alabama.

The rules of the contest required each finalist to compose a four line poem in one minute or less, and the poem had to contain the word "Timbuktu."

The Duke graduate went first. About thirty seconds after the clock started he jumped up and recited the following poem:

"Slowly across the desert sand
Trekked the dusty caravan.
Men on camels, two by two

The audience went wild!

How they wondered could the redneck top that?

The clock started again and the redneck sat in silent thought. Finally, in the last few seconds, he jumped up and recited:

"Tim and me, a-huntin' went.
Met three whores in a pop-up tent.
They was three, we was two,
So I bucked one and Timbuktu."


Somewhere in the farm country in the central Unites States, a new young priest was assigned his first parish.

Shortly after arriving he received a letter from the old priest at the next parish over, inviting him to dinner.

He arrived at the old priest’s house for dinner and knocked on the door. When the door opened his jaw dropped and his eye grew wide. A most beautiful curvy blonde lady in her 30’s greeted him with a nice warm smile. Behind her was the old priest. As her entered the old priest took him aside and assured him that she was merely his housekeeper and no funny business was going on.

After dinner the young priest thanked him for having him over and told the old priest that he enjoyed the company and dinner very much.

A few days later the housekeeper told the old priest that ever since dinner that night, she could not find the silver gravy ladle that was on the table. The old priest looked for it, and not being able to find it wrote the young priest a letter.

The old priest wrote: I enjoyed having you over, but I have a concern. I am not saying you stole it, but since you came for dinner I have not been able to find my silver gray ladle.

A few days later, the old priest received a letter from the young priest saying:

I am not saying you are sleeping with your house keeper, but IF you would have slept in YOUR OWN bed you would have found it!!


I have to tell a story about this joke. I was 10 years old and I walked into the kitchen at some holiday time and there were about 5 adults, including my dad. Someone was telling a joke and was just getting done. All I heard was Pastor Fuzz and they people all roared with laughter. I asked what was so funny and was not told.

 I never forgot those two words. A few weeks later when I was alone with my dad in our garage I asked him about the joke. He could not remember. I still never forgot those two words, thinking that someday I would hear the joke.

 Last year some 50 years later something reminded me of those two words. With the internet being available I tried “Pastor Fuzz joke”, and there it was, 50 years later and many hits. It seems the joke was popular in England as well only in England they used the name Pastor Fluff.

                                                           THE JOKE:

The Reverend John Fuzz was pastor of a small congregation in a little Pennsylvania town. One day he was walking down Main Street and he happened to notice a female member of his congregation sitting in the town bar, drinking beer. 

The reverend thought this was sinful and not something a member of his congregation should do, so he walked through the open door of the bar and sat down next to the woman.

"Mrs. Fitzgerald," the reverend said sternly. "This is no place for a member of my congregation. Why don't you let me take you home?"
"Shure," she said with a slur, obviously very drunk.

When Mrs. Fitzgerald stood up from the bar, she began to weave back and forth. The reverend realized that she had had too much to drink and he grabbed hold of her arms to steady her. When he did, they both lost their balance and tumbled to the floor.

After rolling around for a few seconds, the reverend wound up lying on top of Mrs. Fitzgerald, her skirt hiked up to her waist.

The bartender looked over the bar and said, "Here, here, buddy, we won't have any of that carrying on in this bar."

The reverend looked up at the bartender and said, "But you don't understand, I'm Pastor Fuzz."

The bartender nodded and said, "Well, heck, if you're that far along you might as well finish the job."


Okay, this joke is going to be difficult to say typing, it is a speaking kind of joke BUT I will endeavor to tell it.

There were two great friends Ollie Oyster and Sam Clam,
They both died on the same day in a car accident.
Ollie Oyster, who had led a good life, was taken into heaven.
Sam Clam was not so lucky, his wild past caught up with him and he was condemned to hell.

One day Ollie Oyster with his harp under his arm approached Saint Peter at the gates of heaven.

He asked if he could get a special pass to visit his old friend in hell.
Saint Peter told Ollie Oyster he could visit hell but had to be back by midnight.

When Ollie Oyster got to hell, he asked around to find where his friend Sam Calm might be.
Finally someone told him that Sam Clam owned a wild discotheque (disco) club.

Ollie Oyster made his way to Sam Clams disco and found his old friend and was having a great visit. 
Time went by very quickly as they reminisced.

He looked at the clock 11:50 pm he barely had time to get back to heaven, he ran all the way to the gates where Saint Peter was waiting.

He stopped, looked at Saint Peter and promptly said, “wait!! I have to go back”
Saint Peter asked him why and he replied, “I left my harp in Sam Clams disco”

Ok…. Are you laughing?

Or did you at least go DUH?

Try saying the last  8 words again, listening to how it sounds.

Try singing the last 8 words!

To the tune of:

I left my heart in San Francisco, by Tony Bennett

Well, I did warn it was a vocal joke so you could exaggerate the ending.


A Mailman was getting ready to retire after 30 years on his mail route. Most of the people he delivered mail to knew that Friday would be his last day.
Friday morning he started his deliveries. 

At the first house he was given a box of candy as a retirement gift. At the second house he was given a bottle of wine.

When he went to the third house he was greeted by a shapely young blonde woman wearing a see through negligee. She took him by the hand and led him up the stairs to the bedroom. She gave him the most mind blowing sex he ever had. 

She then led him down to the kitchen where she cooked him bacon and eggs, toast and coffee. Under his coffee cup was a one dollar bill.

The mailman was full and sexually satisfied. He could not believe his luck. Still, he wondered what the one dollar bill was all about, so he asked her.

“Well,” the sexy woman replied. “I told my husband last night that we should give you something because you were retiring.  He said, ‘Fuck him! Give him a dollar!’ the breakfast was my idea.”


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