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.”


Check out my other blogs while you are here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

  1. My favorite movie scenes:
  2. By: Joe P. Attanasio

  3. I like to watch movies. Well, not just any movies, probably less that 5% of all the movies released each year. Like everyone else, certain scenes or words can become dear to me for one reason or another. I like to call these “my favorite scenes”, This is not very original, but identifiable by many.

    Over the course of the last forty-fifty years I probably have less than twenty favorite scenes. I think you can learn a lot about a person by asking them about their favorite scenes and since I brought this up, I will save my readers the bother of asking.

    FIRST KNIGHT (1995) – Richard Gere, Sean Connery, Julia Ormond and Ben Cross:

    I really liked this movie a lot. Guinevere was abducted and Lancelot chased the captors relentlessly and eventually saved her and they escaped. He stopped for a moment to rest in a small grove of trees and she asked him why they were stopping. “I’m tired.” was his response. She laughs politely and says, “Never! You battle in your dreams.”

    This line exemplified Lancelot’s Spirit and Guinevere’s love and respect for him. I think all men who consider themselves “champions of a cause” would like to be seen this way, as tireless in the fight against evil.

  4. **

  5. PRINCESS BRIDE (1987) – Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Robin Wright, Andre the Giant and many more.

    Although I have many favorite lines from this movie, one scene stands out above the rest. Westley was almost killed and mostly dead but recovering. He was a master planner and was dragged to the city gates by Inigo Montoya and Fezzik who needed to get inside. The gates were being guarded by sixty men and there was just the three of them. Westley could not even hold his own head up he was in such bad shape. “We must get inside but the gate is guarded by sixty men,” Inigo told Westly while trying to revive him.
    “What are our assets?” Westley asked rolling his eyes in a stupor. “My sword, Fezziks strength and your brains,” was Inigo’s response. “Impossible,” Westley stated, “I mean, if we only had a wheelbarrow, that would be something.”
    Indigo responded, “We brought you in a wheelbarrow, it is over there.”
    Westley said, “Well, why didn't you list that among our assets in the first place?”

    I like dry humor and the whole scene is bathed in it. The idea of an almost dead man asking what are our assets and chiding them for mot mentioning a wheelbarrow tickles my twisted funny bone.


    BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (1969) - Paul Newman, Robert Redford and Katherine Ross:
    They were being chased relentlessly by a special posse of expert lawmen and were trapped on a rock ledge about 150 feet above a white water river. With no way out Butch said, “We will jump, I'll jump first.”
    Sundance replied, “no.”
    “Then you jump first,” Butch countered.
    “No, I said,”
    “What's the matter with you?” Butch said desperately.
    “I can’t swim,” Sundance’s replied.
    Butch looks at the 150 foot drop into the rapids then back at Sundance and breaks out in laughter.
    “Are you crazy? The fall will probably kill you.” Butch said grabbing Sundance’s hand and pulling him over the edge with him.
    “OH SHIT…..,” could be heard as they dropped into the river.

    I loved this scene as it showed bravado in a no win situation, The determination to try anything before giving up to certain death, and doing it with style.


    CAT BALLOU (1965) Jane Fonda, Lee Marvin, Michael Callan:

    One of my favorite movies but one particular scene always come to mind and has been quoted by me numerous times. Frankie Ballou (Cat’s father) is in danger from a gun slinger and she convinces her friends to stay close to him to protect him. Every time he takes a step three guys move with him. Frankie stops and spreads his arms moving the three people away from him and says, “Stand back and let me breathe.”

    I know this probably sounds mundane but it has stuck with me all these years.


    ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948) Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Lon Chaney Jr. and Bela Lugosi:

    This old classic is full of ‘tongue in cheek’ humor and is very entertaining. A local museum operator orders Dracula’s coffin from Europe and ends up with Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolf Man terrorizing their small town. He is concerned with the loss of his exhibits and blames Chick Young and Wilbur Grey. In the final scene all three monsters are chasing Chick and Wilbur when they pass the curator. Wilbur yells, ”Hey, if you still want your exhibits, here they come,” as he points at them in pursuit.

    I love the line and am always finding ways to use it in everyday life with my wife. The picture of the three monsters chasing them and the snarky way Wilbur yells it to the curator is priceless.


    INDEPENDENCE DAY (1996) Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell, Judd Hirsch, Margaret Colin, and Randy Quaid:

    I was moved by the speech the president makes in the face of obliteration from a conquering race of aliens.

    President Thomas J. Whitmore: Good morning. Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world, and you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind. Mankind, that word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed by our petty differences any more. We will be united in our common interest. Perhaps it's fate that today is the 4th of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom. Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution, but from annihilation. We're fighting for our right to live, to exist and should we win the day, the 4th of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice, 'We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on, we're going to survive.' Today we celebrate our independence day!

    I hope we got to know each other a little better through our FAVORITE MOVIES SCENES. Thanks for reading and feel free to check my blog archives for other articles.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Erotic, Hot or Spicy writing:

Ramblings by: Joe P. Attanasio

I have never been a romance reader per se. I find that odd since I have always been a romantic person. I have written a number of short stories and poems of a romantic nature but I was never interested in reading romance novels. I think that is because I perceived them to be filled with “fluff”.  
In this case fluff would be; ho hum relationships, overly described in meaningless detail with a number of partners, involving the same schemes and ending in the hero gets the girl predictability.

Recently I have become involved with a number of authors and writer groups giving me a responsible desire to sample romance novels of sorts. This came about as a mixture of curiosity and a sense of reciprocation for reading the works of fellow writers.

I found that the term “Romance Novels” did not fit my preconceived notions anymore.
Many of these stories have thriller and mystery plots intertwined with romance and seasoned with Spicy, Hot or Erotic scenes. The reading is compelling and the story settings are easy to become immersed in.

The seasoning here has come a long way from the true detective stories of the 50’s. The descriptions of intimate scenes are often so vivid they make you squirm in your chair as you peek through the gaps in your fingers to read every word you thought you did not want to see.

I see from the comments on Amazon that some people prefer not to see explicit scenes but they are finding their way into many of the books these days. Men and women are titillated by these bold descriptions and curious about some of the alternate sexual lifestyles presented.

Authors are using sex to help draw attention to their works as less people read and more and more books are released.

I am no stranger to reading and writing adult and erotic short stories. One does become ‘desensitized’ after a while and finds themselves skimming the sex to get back to the plot but I still get caught up in the scenes from time to time. The old adage going around Facebook as a meme is routed in truth: “Women who read romance novels tend make their husbands very satisfied at night” or something to that effect.

It is not simply the descriptions of the sex act that fills these romance books today but the teasing and flirting in the dialog and the narrative. Chat room talk to strangers and innuendos set the stage for the inevitable sex scenes. Tension does drive a story after all.

Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of bad erotica and romance stories on the market by writers that think the sex is all that matters. However, there are some real gems in the pile of books available if you look. The good news is that authors in general are responsible enough now a days to tell exactly what kind and how much sex is in their stories so people know before buying them what to expect.

Please look over my BLOG archives for other stories to read.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Learn to write part 3

By: Joe P. Attanasio

This is the final part of my blog for beginner writers. I am going to assume you have written a novella or a novel. Let’s also assume it has been edited and beta read by at least four people. You have tweaked and rewritten your manuscript and finally you are happy with it. Remember to add page numbers if you have not already done so. You will also want to have a title and a description of what the story is about. What do you do now?

With final draft in hand, you have basically two options.

Option one: Try to get a publisher interested in your manuscript eventually singing a contract with them to publish and promote your work.

Option two: Self publish your story as an independent author.

About option one: It is rare that an unknown author is going to get a publisher to take on their book. If you are interested in trying this route then I would suggest hiring a literary agent to do the work for you. This is often a time consuming and costly process.

Most writers will be going for option two these days. There are a number of places to self-publish but I am going to outline the process I am most familiar with.

I used because I think all books should be available in both print and digital formats. You make up a password. They use your email address in place of a user name. It costs nothing to join.

Before you upload your manuscript you will want to format it for the size of the book you want. I chose 6x9 inch format. They have tutorials and community pages to help you do this. I use M.S. Word so for me I had to select 6x9 as the page size and set the margins as mirrored with a 1.5 in interior and 1 in for top, bottom and exterior margins.

You will want to include a title page, copyright notice if applicable and maybe a dedication or other information you want to add before the first chapter. At the end of the book perhaps a little background about the story or a biographical note about the author. Perhaps include links to your blog or Facebook page if you want.

Once you upload your manuscript Createspace will require 24 hours to check it to make sure interior file fits the book size and everything looks alright. They will tell you how many pages your book will be and how wide the spine will be to accommodate them. This information is used when designing the cover.

Take your time and design a cover you are happy with.

An example for a book with a 1 inch thick spine follows. The cover dimensions would be 6 (front) +6 (back) +1 (spine) or 13 in wide and 9 in tall. You can make your own cover and upload it in adobe format or use the book cover designer they have available for you. Either way, they have much information to assist you.

Once cover and book are approved to fit properly you can order a proof to look at. They will print one copy or more of your books for about $5.00 each and mail them to you to look over. You do not have to approve the finished book until you are happy with it. After you look the physical book over and are satisfied, go online and click approve. You will then have the option to make it also available for the Kindle (digital). They will submit the files and help you because Amazon, Createspace and Kindle are all the same company. You can have a printed copy in your hands and a book on Amazon in paperback and Kindle in digital format for under $10.00 if you design your own cover.

Because the paperbacks are print on demand and the kindle version is digital; you can change the interior files any time to make edits in case you discover an error. The down time is only 24 hours.

I hope you enjoyed my short version of the entire process from this three blog series.

Check out my other blogs while you are here from my archives by month on the right side of this page.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Learn to write part 2 
 By: Joe P. Attanasio

I will assume that you read part 1 of this blog and that you wrote at least one short story. If you did not write a short story, go back to part one and write something. You cannot learn to write if you don’t try.

You now have a ‘first draft’ of your story. A lot of writers will tell you that this is where the real writing begins, polishing your draft. This is also called editing and rewriting.

Many word processors like Microsoft Word will underline text in red or blue that is used wrong or spelled wrong. In addition, many of these have a spelling and grammar checker that will help you find possible mistakes in your writing. I hesitate to use the word mistakes or errors here and these programs will miss many things and ‘flag’ or color things that are alright or passable. Still this will go a long ways toward helping you with grammar and spelling. As a bonus, if you thought a sentence or word were fine and discover what was wrong, you will be teaching yourself better grammar and spelling.

Certain web sites can also correct grammar, punctuation and spelling. This site has a free trial but requires signing up for a monthly plan that you can cancel:

Once you are satisfied that your short story is mostly polished, have a friend or relative ‘proof it’ by reading it. Even though a story may be free of spelling or grammar errors it may be confusing to read. You need someone else to read it and let you know. It may not seem confusing to you, but it needs to be clear to others also.

Make any necessary corrections and then you will be ready for the final step.

Post your story online and see what readers think of it. This can be Facebook, a blog or a website where writers post and others comment.  

Places like:

You don’t need a picture or even a bio if you don’t want to post one yet.
You need a unique username like: NC17665 or Lucy2014 etc.
You need a password like: snowbunny41, or boogaloo4
Both of these are usually case sensitive. Write them down so you remember.

About these sites: People often don’t comment on your work unless you comment on theirs. This is good because it allows you to see how other do things and you can build friendships in the writing community. Many writers still use these sites for feedback and sharing.

Part 3, the final part in this series is now posted.

Look back in my archives for past blogs that might interest you.