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

How to keep Grinches from stealing your joy

Front cover, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!Holiday songs, movies, and stories have more to them than jingle bells and boughs of holly. They say something important about the human condition that applies throughout the year. This is true about the story I’m writing about this year, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! I’ll refer to the original Dr. Seuss book. If you prefer your Grinch on a screen, watch the 1966 TV special with Chuck Jones, Boris Karloff, June Foray, Thurl Ravenscroft, and no Jim Carrey.

Regardless of how you experience the Grinch’s misadventures, we’ve all had times when we feel someone is stealing our joy — especially when we are our own Grinch.

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Don’t know whether to laugh or cry

The remains of our 2003 Toyota Camry after the fireWe had the most 2017 thing happen to us. The car we gave our daughter caught on fire. We will never know why. She had been taking it in for regular service and had a smog check done on it recently. But as she was driving with a friend, the car began to rattle and smoke. She pulled over to the side of the road. She and her friend got out just before the engine burst into flames.

We’re not talking about my mom’s 1960 “unsafe at any speed” Chevrolet Corvair or my 1974 “glorified Pinto” Ford Mustang II. This was a 2003 Toyota Camry. A Toyota Camry. Many cars of this model year are still on the road. And ours gave us 15 years of dependable service before its self-immolation.

Why does this represent 2017?

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Appreciating the gray

For Thanksgiving this year, I decided to appreciate something that has bothered me for a long time — getting older.

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Commerce or art?

As I prepare Amiga to publish independently, I’ve been watching videos and reading articles to learn the best way to make a book marketable. At the same time, I’m crafting Amiga into a work I can be proud of. It’s my expression of the history of the computer industry and how I see the world today. How do I make Amiga marketable and creative? Is writing commerce or art?

Or can it be both?

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Spare us your “thoughts and prayers”

Photo By: Shane T. McCoy / US Marshals, Image from Wikimedia CommonsThe phrase “thoughts and prayers” should be permanently struck from our vocabulary. Any sincere sympathy it once had has been soiled by cynical politicians and others who have no intention to help.

“Thoughts and prayers” is less than the least thing anyone can do. A thought? What kind of thought? “Thank God it wasn’t me!” “I hope it doesn’t cost me reelection.” And prayer? You want to pass off your responsibility to God? Doesn’t the Bible say “faith without works is dead?”

“Thoughts and prayers” has become something people utter when they know they’re supposed to feel bad, but they don’t really give a damn.

If you’re one of those people, spare us your “thoughts and prayers,” as well as “God has a plan” and “they are in the better place.” Don’t say anything at all. Get out of the way and let those of us who actually do care go out and do something.