More questions. More help. Introducing Mastering Table Topics Second Edition.

Matthew Arnold and Matthew Arnold Stern

Matthew Arnold and Matthew Arnold Stern

It’s a shame I also didn’t emulate Matthew Arnold’s nice suits. (Photo on left from Wikipedia.)

Is a name destiny?

When I think about Matthew Arnold and myself, I can’t help but think about Mark Twain’s quote about lightning and lightning bugs. Mark Twain got to pick his name along with his writing career. The story about my name is more complicated. For starters, I wasn’t named after Matthew Arnold.

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What is good technology: You bought which smartphone?

Play nice, guys...

Play nice, guys…

I have enjoyed my MacBook Pro. It’s been an excellent computer and has lived up to my expectations. So when I needed a smartphone, the choice was obvious. I got a Samsung Galaxy S3.

But don’t Samsung and Apple get along as well as Democrats and Republicans and work together just as effectively? Here’s why I chose the Galaxy over the iPhone. (And no “Fandroid versus iSheep” trolling, please.)

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My writing goals for 2013

Forsyth County, Georgia is busy setting their goals. How about you?I believe in setting goals, not resolutions. So, here are my writing goals for 2013.

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It’s a small world after all

Greenland I could understand, but Paraguay?

The map you see here are the countries where people visited my Web site from 25 February, 2011 to 28 December, 2012. The shades of red and orange indicate the number of visitors. The United States has the most, followed by the United Kingdom, Philippines, Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, and Malaysia. The countries in gray are ones where I had no visitors. A few are not surprising, like Greenland. But Paraguay? Hey, I wrote a novel about South America! (Well, it is in English. I better start saving up to do translations.)

Seeing the number of visitors I have from around the world makes me feel grateful and humble. It also gives me a sense of responsibility.

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Speaking about the unspeakable

What do you say to families who have lost their children in such a horrific way? There is nothing you can say. You can listen. Hold their hand. Let them cry. Care.

But when you’re the leader of their country, you have to say something. You not only have to comfort the families of those affected, but also address the fears of a nation. If it could happen in a quiet community like Newtown, Connecticut, it could happen in your community. In fact, it happened in a shopping mall not too far from our home the day after Sandy Hook. How do you speak about the unspeakable?

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