Archive for June 2021

Plain Vanilla   14 comments

Do you use said or asked after a ? or tag your interruptions? Any punctuation that bugs you? What’s the hardest for you to get right?

Rules:1. Link your blog to this hop.2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.<!– start InLinkz code –><div class=”inlinkz-widget” data-uuid=”cf69e5a9da434bb382680e2f68fb50c0″ style=”width:100%;margin:30px 0;background-color:#eceff1;border-radius:7px;text-align:center;font-size:16px;font-family:’Helvetica Neue’,Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif”><div style=”padding:8px;”><p style=”margin-bottom:15px;”>You are invited to the <strong>Inlinkz</strong> link party!</p><a href=”https://fresh.inlinkz.com/p/cf69e5a9da434bb382680e2f68fb50c0” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow” style=”padding:5px 20px;background:#209cee;text-decoration:none;color:#efefef;border-radius:4px;”>Click here to enter</a></div></div><span style=”display: none;”>http://a%20rel=</span><!– end InLinkz code –>[fresh_inlinkz_code id=”cf69e5a9da434bb382680e2f68fb50c0″]https://fresh.inlinkz.com/p/cf69e5a9da434bb382680e2f68fb50c0

Keeping It Brief

I trained and worked as a newspaper reporter, where “Keeping It Brief” is an overarching motto. Hence, I trained in newspaper writing, which is very different from English writing. So, the world is filled with punctuation and grammatical “necessities” that fly in the face of my training.

Examples?

The Oxford comma is a waste of ink — except in the very rare instance where it defines an important shade of difference. People overused it in the past and now it’s mandatory ink wastage. I notice my local newspaper still doesn’t use it. Good for them! I got tired of my editor yelling at me about it, so I use it now, but I still think it’s a waste of ink.

“That” following a reporting verb is also unnecessary except in rare instances. It’s always wrong when you write “said that”, but it’s also almost always wrong when “that” follows a verb. Essentially, if the “that” can be eliminated and the sentence still make sense, it needs to be deleted. It’s an unnecessary word that became so overused we think it’s necessary. I blame English teachers who were Education majors rather than English majors, but it’s also because we hear and read non-teachers use it all the time, so we assume it’s correct. The only time when “that” is absolutely necessary is when a reporting verb precedes a prepositional phrase. Example – “We complained to the committee that they had not kept us informed.” But even in that example — you don’t need it in dialogue and it creates an interesting way for some (not all) characters to speak. I use it for Trevor in “What If Wasn’t” series because his father’s a journalist and Trevor is a breezy talker. It makes his dialogue more distinctive.

Essentially, the use (or non-use) of “that” is probably the writing item I mull the most. Most people don’t care. I skip over it blithely when I’m reading other people’s books, but when I am editing my books, my training lurks in the back of my head reminding me this is almost entirely an unnecessary word.

I don’t necessarily struggle with my decision to eliminate the word when it isn’t necessary, but I do consider whether it is necessary on rare occasion. My husband gets to decide sometimes. “Does this sentence make sense?” and I read it aloud to him. If he says “yes”, I don’t add the “that”. If he hesitates, I reread it with the “that” and he gets to contribute to my writing. But over the years, he’s learned to listen critically and now occasionally says “It’ll work either way.” The “that” doesn’t survive uncertainty.

Dialogue Tags

Dialogue tags are those phrases following quotes telling us who is speaking. Dialogue tags frequently slow down the narrative. Sometimes they’re absolutely necessary. You’ve got three or more characters talking and readers would struggle to track the conversation without the dialogue tags. Most of the time, they’re unnecessary or can be substituted with an action sentence.

“Look at that beautiful sunrise,” Justine said.

Justine is one of four characters in a scene in the serialized novel I’m writing for Kindle Vella. Readers definitely want to know who is speaking, but is the tag necessary? No, not in this example. The line actually reads —

“Look at that beautiful sunrise!” Justine pointed toward the watercolor painting lightening the periwinkle sky.

Way more immersive description than “Justine said.” It’s more words, but I’m writing novels not newspaper articles, so word count is not as important as drawing the reader into the narrative. The description puts the reader right in the scene. The dialogue tag is eliminated as well, which is a bonus.

Related?

Beta readers and editors alike sometimes insist “said” is the only acceptable reporting verb in a dialogue tag. I disagree. Yes, it’s unobtrusive, but it’s also boring and overused. It adds nothing to the description. You wouldn’t use it, except you need a dialogue tag and “said” is an easy choice. Drawing from my journalism background (where we were writing under strict word limitations and deadlines), I don’t use “said” often. My Newswriting professors used to use my reporting verbs as examples for the class. My 101 professor was a former New York Post reporter who previously taught at Columbia University’s School of Journalism and my 401 professor was a former reporter and editor for the New Orleans Picayune. They HATED when students used “said” because they believed it was the Apache White of reporting verbs. “You only have 350 words to engage the reader. Don’t throw one away on a plain vanilla word.”

I have the same view of the word “asked”. If it is necessary to tag a question in dialogue, my tag is congruent with the use of a question. It probably won’t be “asked” because it falls into Apache White territory. “Inquired”, “queried”, “requested”. Despite all the sage advice of writing gurus today, I consider “said” and “asked” to be lazy writing if I am the one using it.

Better?

“Look at that beautiful sunrise,” Justine gasped.

The alternative reporting verb “gasped” tells readers who is speak, but it also tells them something about how Justine spoke without putting an adverb in the mix.

“Look at that beautiful sunrise,” Justine said excitedly.

Abverbs are frowned on as unnecessary these days — although I think they’re a condiment that makes all the difference in compelling writing. While I’m glad we moved away from the “purple prose” era of writing, I think we might overcorrect in chasing down bugaboos. Still, I think “gasped” is a better substitute than “said excitedly”. The first is “show”, the second is “tell.” Enough said.

It’s okay to experiment with language as we write, to search for what will work best for our writing, to find techniques to hold ours apart from the writing of other authors. Variety is the spice of life. It’s also the condiment of novel-writing.

Announcing Serialized Novel

Watch for Words I Wish I’d Said sometime this summer. It’s a romance set in Hawaii, and the couple has enough problems to keep readers guessing between weekly episodes for at least half-a-year. I previously struggled to write romance, but somehow the serialized method broke my writer’s block in that genre. I might tackle mystery in that method next.

I’ve already posted some of the series episodes and written a good bit of future episodes and am now waiting on Kindle’s unannounced launch date for their new program, supposedly around the end of July.

Posted June 28, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

Tagged with , , , ,

A Chance to Read Early Editions!   11 comments

June 21, 2021If you could choose one author, living or dead, to be your beta partner, who would it be and why?

Rules:1. Link your blog to this hop.2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.<!– start InLinkz code –><div class=”inlinkz-widget” data-uuid=”da7ba37310894115909817e921c843f1″ style=”width:100%;margin:30px 0;background-color:#eceff1;border-radius:7px;text-align:center;font-size:16px;font-family:’Helvetica Neue’,Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif”><div style=”padding:8px;”><p style=”margin-bottom:15px;”>You are invited to the <strong>Inlinkz</strong> link party!</p><a href=”https://fresh.inlinkz.com/p/da7ba37310894115909817e921c843f1” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow” style=”padding:5px 20px;background:#209cee;text-decoration:none;color:#efefef;border-radius:4px;”>Click here to enter</a></div></div><span style=”display: none;”><script async=”true” src=”https://fresh.inlinkz.com/js/widget/load.js…“></script></span><!– end InLinkz code –>[fresh_inlinkz_code id=”da7ba37310894115909817e921c843f1”]https://fresh.inlinkz.com/p/da7ba37310894115909817e921c843f1

So Many to Choose From

Just one? I can think of a couple. I’m not sure I can choose from among them. And then there are the ones I definitely would NOT choose. Great writers with a history of getting stalled would not be on my list. JD Salinger was a great writer, but he hardly published after Catcher in the Rye because, the biographers say, he kept chasing the next Great American novel so he couldn’t get out of the blocks. The last thing any author needs, especially with multiple series in the wings, is a beta partner who can’t finish a project. I feel the same way about Harper Lee. GREAT writer who only published a couple of books in her career. You want beta partners to be thorough, but not excessively indecisive and in today’s publishing world, one-hit-wonders tend to get lost in the deluge of writers who are constantly cranking out new content.

But Who Would I Choose?

I can tell you who would be on my short list. They’re the writers I loved in my younger days. Madelaine L’Engle would be on that list just because of my love of her books, especially the descriptions. Everyone is familiar with A Wrinkle in Time, but my favorite is The Young Unicorns. I’d put Ray Bradbury on that list because I liked his view of plot as just a setting the character design to their own benefit. That’s really how I write, discovering the plot as my characters live their lives. I’d also put Zenna Henderson down among my considerations because I think that as a teacher, she could impart her valuable insights to me. Hardly anyone remembers her now, but she was my introduction into sci fi and fantasy. CS Lewis might fill a similar beta partner need for me — the ability to explain his guidance in a clear way.

Who Is Number One On My List?

Currently, my favorite fiction writer is Brandon Sanderson and as I consider the field of available talent to beta for me (and assuming that means a swap on their books as well), I’d have to choose Sanderson. I don’t like every book he writes, but his Stormlight Archives has me hooked. I’d love the opportunity to give him early suggestions and would appreciate his suggestions about my books as well.

Okay, enough said. Wonder who my fellow blog-hoppers would choose. I’m headed off to enjoy the midnight sun. Ta-ta for now.

Posted June 21, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

Tagged with , , ,

What I wanted and what I got   Leave a comment

Richard Dee’s article

Posted June 15, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

What Do I Miss?   6 comments

June 14, 2021

Write a top 10 list in the voice of a character. Is your character a tween writing in their diary? A person making a bucket list? How about someone listing their greatest fears? What does the list they make say about the character?

Rules:1. Link your blog to this hop.2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.<!– start InLinkz code –><div class=”inlinkz-widget” data-uuid=”9264bcd7c07e4999a442b2bfae4b13ce” style=”width:100%;margin:30px 0;background-color:#eceff1;border-radius:7px;text-align:center;font-size:16px;font-family:’Helvetica Neue’,Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif”><div style=”padding:8px;”><p style=”margin-bottom:15px;”>You are invited to the <strong>Inlinkz</strong> link party!</p><a href=”https://fresh.inlinkz.com/p/9264bcd7c07e4999a442b2bfae4b13ce” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow” style=”padding:5px 20px;background:#209cee;text-decoration:none;color:#efefef;border-radius:4px;”>Click here to enter</a></div></div><span style=”display: none;”>http://a%20href=</span><!– end InLinkz code –>Wordpress shortcode[fresh_inlinkz_code id=”9264bcd7c07e4999a442b2bfae4b13ce”]Unique url for your link partyhttps://fresh.inlinkz.com/p/9264bcd7c07e4999a442b2bfae4b13ce

The Setting & Purpose

Cai Delaney, the 30-year-old brother of Shane Delaney, an attorney and member of the Emmaus Civil Patrol, is writing it in the days before the end of Winter’s Reckoning, during a fierce blizzard when there was nothing to do but stock the fire and watch the snow fall outside the living room windows.

The town of Emmaus is cut off from the world by the bombs that destroyed life as they knew it. Now three months after the events in the first book in the series, there’s no television, no electricity, no central heating, no laundry, now hot water, limited groceries, and no communication with the outside world. The Delaney family is doing whatever they can to keep from going stir crazy, hoping against hope that they’ll survive to spring, when presumably things will get better. Gathered in the dining room with Cai are Jill Delaney, Click Michaels, Alicia Sanchez, Marnie Delaney, Shane Delaney, Alex Lufgren and Keri Delaney Lufgren. It was Alex’s turn to pick the game and topic. The Lufgrens are visiting (Keri is Cai & Shane’s sister and Jill’s daughter). Rob Delaney and Jazz Tully (household members) are on patrol. Shane, who was injured in the course of Winter’s Reckoning, was asleep in the living room, which is really the only warm room in the house with horizontal surfaces.

And, since Cai was shot at the end of A Death in Jericho, this list might be the last thing he ever writes. I make no promises whether he lives or dies.

Top 10 Things I Miss About the Old World

  1. Lazy Saturday Mornings hanging out in bed with Marnie, walking to downtown for croissants and coffee.

Cai and Marnie, newly-weds, have been insanely busy since the start of the apocalypse and the town hasn’t seen croissants or coffee in months. Cai is helping to keep the town going and Marnie is the only remaining town physician. They are doing what they must and are glad to do it, but Cai misses simpler times and the ordinary things of those days are now unattainable luxuries.

2. Baseball Games in the town stadium when most of the town is gathered and the summer afternoon hangs low.

It’s winter and without central heating, nobody ever feels really warm. So naturally, he’s dreaming of muggy summer afternoons. And, baseball — which plays in the background of sports discussions of this family.

3. Major League Baseball games in Kansas City or Denver.

Kansas City and Denver no longer exist. It’s possible major league baseball died with the United States of America. It’s normal to mourn the loss what used to be ordinary times.

4. Fishing at Jusilla’s Pond with Grandpa Jacob.

Jusilla’s Pond is still just down the road, but Jacob, the patriarch of the Delaney family, died in Gathering In. His grandson is missing him and probably concerned that Jusilla’s is getting pretty fished-out as going hungry is now one of the primary activities of the townspeople.

5. Ice cream on a hot summer’s night after a raucus song service at the church.

Church is important to the Delaneys, as is music. The church is still standing, but most people don’t have the energy for singing right now and it’s the coldest part of winter. And without electricity, who knows when they’ll see ice cream again.

6. The Walking Dead. Scratch that. I don’t like apocalyptic plots anymore now that I’m living one.

That should be self explanatory. Although Transformation Project is currently zombie-free, you never know what the capricious deity of their universe might throw at them. Cai misses things like television, but he’s afraid if he entertains zombies, they might materialize.

7. The feeling of my skin after a good long, hot shower.

They’re currently taking shared baths in inches of water heated on the coal stove. If you’ve ever been camping, when you get back to running water — showers are glorious, right? Well, imagine that feeling if you’d been three months without a shower.

8. The smell of freshly laundered clothes.

All the electronics that run washers and dryers fried in the EMP and without electricity…. When I was a kid, we lived in a no-water cabin in Anderson and trust me, the smell of freshly laundered clothes after months of handing clothes to air-out is indescribably beautiful.

9. Having access to the world through my smart phone.

Self-explanator. Cai was valedictorian of his high school class and graduated #4 and #11 from University of Kansas and law school. He loves knowledge and chafes under the restrictions of being limited to a physical book library.

10. A summer rain shower. Scratch that. After the nuclear fall-out, not sure I’ll ever feel comfortable in the rain again.

Self-explanatory.

Nostalgia, the stuff of younger years, and warmth capture his thoughts. An extremely smart, family-oriented guy, Cai’s thoughts are on those around him, but also on knowing what’s going on outside the “bubble” of their community. The last we see of him in the published books he is lying on the cold snow surrounded by a pool of blood.

Stevie Turner’s Article   1 comment

Blog Hop Post 6.7.21

Posted June 7, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

PJ MacLayne’s Article   Leave a comment

Blog Hop 6.7.21

Posted June 7, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Jingle All the Way   Leave a comment

Magical World Web

June 7, 2021
What commercial do you hate? What commercial is your favorite?

Have you ever gotten an idea for a story from a commercial?

This week’s #OpenBook topic got me thinking about how few commercials I see nowadays since we got rid of cable ages ago. And then it reminded me that I’m surrounded by them anyway via everything. I don’t have a strong like or dislike that I can share (surprise, surprise), but I do have some tidbits about me and commercials.

  1. I do watch Super Bowl commercials, and I have a great time with those.
  2. I’m not into commercials that have jumped the shark. Years ago.
  3. I like watching foreign commercials now and then.
  4. No, I haven’t gotten an idea from a commercial. It’s not out of the question, but I’m most likely to get story ideas from research.
  5. I like commercials that make me laugh, or…

View original post 129 more words

Posted June 7, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

NVDT #89 – Smells Like Sunshine and Happy   Leave a comment

Posted June 7, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Steve Smith’s Blog Hop Article 6.7.21   Leave a comment

Article

Posted June 7, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Do Polar Bears Like Coke?   13 comments

What commercial do you hate? What commercial is your favorite? (YouTube link us if possible) Have you ever gotten an idea for a story from a commercial?

Rules:1. Link your blog to this hop.2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.<!– start InLinkz code –><div class=”inlinkz-widget” data-uuid=”977793030f7246a2a0b55412a4580e11″ style=”width:100%;margin:30px 0;background-color:#eceff1;border-radius:7px;text-align:center;font-size:16px;font-family:’Helvetica Neue’,Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif”><div style=”padding:8px;”><p style=”margin-bottom:15px;”>You are invited to the <strong>Inlinkz</strong> link party!</p><a href=”https://fresh.inlinkz.com/p/977793030f7246a2a0b55412a4580e11” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow” style=”padding:5px 20px;background:#209cee;text-decoration:none;color:#efefef;border-radius:4px;”>Click here to enter</a></div></div><span style=”display: none;”><script async=”true” src=”https://fresh.inlinkz.com/js/widget/load.js…“></script></span><!– end InLinkz code –>Wordpress Shortcode[fresh_inlinkz_code id=”977793030f7246a2a0b55412a4580e11”]Unique URLhttps://fresh.inlinkz.com/p/977793030f7246a2a0b55412a4580e11

Commercials Ain’t What they Used to Be

Should the Polar Bear Still Sell Coca-Cola? | The New Yorker

All commercials are selling something and work to manipulate you into buying what they’re selling. That is one of the first things I learned in Marketing class as a journalism major.

I grew up in the 1960s and 70s when television commercials were all there were. Between every program, there’d be about four or five and sometimes a station break/ID. Then between the 12-minute scenes, there’d be two. There was no mute button and no remote, so the option to change the channel during the commercial break was a cumbersome one. Usually you used those times to get a drink or snack or go to the bathroom. Sometimes we’d talk about the program. Yeah, in those days parents and kids watched the same programs because the content was generally appropriate for all ages and most people only had one television set in the house. My mom really loved mystery shows, so we would often use those commercial breaks as an opportunity to guess whodunit. But also my parents would sometimes see things on the screen that they thought needed to be discussed. Do parents still do that now? Oh, that’s right, the kids are usually watching their own shows on the Internet, not even in the same room as their parents.

Notice, we were having these conversations when the television was on and we just ignored the commercials. If you turned off the television, the old vacuum tubes would cool down, so even if you timed the commercial break right, you’d likely miss the first part of the scene because the television had to warm up before it could broadcast.

People just learned the art of ignoring the chatter in the background.

What One Commercial Stuck With Me?

Well, let’s start by explaining that I grew up in Alaska where we often didn’t have access to the things being advertised. We typically had two items on the shelves — the fancy brand (like Charmin or Lays) and the store brand. I later learned in high school economics class that these items came out of the same factory and just received a different label and the fancy brand got advertising while the store brand didn’t. Mom was right! There were no differences other than price and hype.

So, the commercials often didn’t mean anything to me. They were advertising Seattle stores if they were national ads and we were a six-hour plane ride away from Seattle, so — yeah, why bother to watch them? We also got our television on a delay. We watched Thanksgiving shows at Christmas and Christmas shows in late-January. And, yes, the advertising was delayed too. Sometime around 1975, we finally got a satellite uplink here in Fairbanks and got same-day broadcast — though the 6 o’clock national news programs played at 4 in the afternoon…before anyone was home to watch them…so our local broadcast station would record it and play it at 6 o’clock. Again, commercials were for Seattle or California stores and activities and we hadn’t yet perfected energy-beam transportation, so why bother watching the commercials?

Man, were we glad when the Mute button became a thing. Our first one required you to physically get up and hit it on the television, but it was a step in the right direction. At least you didn’t have to listen to the commercials.

A Message of Unity During a Time of Division

But, of course, some commercials were universal. Fairbanks had Coca Cola. Alaskans thought the polar bear Coke commercials in the 1980s were hysterical. I know, it was supposed to pull at our heart strings, but…yeah, giving a coke to a man-eater just seemed like a dangerous idea.

Of course, the iconic Coca Cola commercial was I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke. That is probably still my favorite commercial of all time. It was just so well done and appropriate to the era. Yes, all commercials are manipulative and selling something, but this one also sent a great message. All races can find unity in something we share in common. I certainly hope it wouldn’t be a bottle of high-fructose corn syrup (Original Coke didn’t contain HFC in 1971), but the point spoke so much to my community in Alaska where races had been coming together over the shared issues of extreme cold, isolation and poverty for decades. This was pre-oil, when Alaska was still the poorest state in the union.

Although my mom’s best friend was a lovely person, her husband was a racist who would occasionally, when he’d have too much to drink, jab at Mom about her American Indian ancestry. Before you think, “How horrible!”, Mom would jab right back. The woman had a wicked tongue and knew how to use it. That wasn’t always a great thing when you were her kid who’d done something to anger her, but it was fun to watch when someone else needed a comeuppance. Les had lived in Alaska long enough by that time to know the people around him disagreed with him. Alaska outlawed racial discrimination in 1945 (yes, nearly two decades before the nation got around to it) and, even in the 1960s, we were a very diverse community, so Les and his opinions had experienced pushback in a community that had moved beyond him a long time ago. Still stuck in his ways, whenever the Coke Hilltop song would come on, Les would harrumph and subside into his chair like Archie Bunker after a well-earned lesson. Les knew he’d lost the racial argument with his own children (who were friends with me, my mother’s offspring). But more, he knew the world had changed and left racists like himself behind in its wake. It was a comeuppance without Mom needing to say a word. My dad would occasionally start whistling the tune when Les would be looking for a fight. If often shut him right up.

Which is why I found Coke Corporation’s actions visa vis race in this last year to be so ironic and frankly disheartening. Enough said on that topic.

Annoying Commercials?

Of course, I can think of dozens of truly annoying commercials. I know a lot of people who thought that “Where’s the Beef?” Wendy’s commercial was funny, but I found it annoying. The fact that the local Wendy’s stopped selling beef burgers last year caused that commercial to come to mind. There was one with a singing (and mounted) fish. I don’t remember what it was advertising, which might be my point. There was a Quizno’s ad that arrived here ahead of the food chain – singing rats singing badly – I know people who won’t eat at Quizno’s because of that commercial.

I hadn’t really watched commercials in years. There’s the Mute button and then when we had Dish, there was a feature that allowed you to click through the commercials. Then we cut the cord and the Internet, until recently, was commercial free. But, Youtube now has commercials and this last fall, during the election, we had to watch one, two, sometimes three, for Al Gross who was running for US Senate against Dan Sullivan. They played about every 10 minutes and you can’t really zap them, so….

Note to Youtube – figure out a way to put ads at convenient breaks in the show we’re trying to watch rather than interrupting it mid-sentence. Seriously. I’m not paying for Youtube television EVER until you fix that issue.

Note to politicians — annoying your potential constituents might result in them choosing not to be your constituents.

Al Gross did nearly 60 commercials, so I’m just going to post the one that annoyed me the most. The brief on this – Al Gross is an Anchorage brahmin (think the Cabots speak only to the Lodges and the Lodges speak only to God). His father Avram was a good guy (according to my dad, who knew him) who was involved in Alaska state politics. I think Avram wasn’t a brahmin (Alaska didn’t really have those back then). I think Al probably had a few adventures growing up here. You can drive to the woods if you live in Anchorage and back then, Anchorage was small. Because we lived right on the edge of a vast wilderness filled with primary predators, Alaskan teens lived pretty exciting lives when the Lower 48 idea of teen adventure was the mall crawl.

Do I believe Al had all those adventures from the commercial. No way! And nothing he listed (other than the lies) would have been considered a big deal when we were growing up here (we’re about the same age). So emphasizing that really torqued my Alaska-born-and-bred self because it was aimed at “cheechakos” –new residents who just moved up and don’t know anything about Alaska’s recent past. Al “took down” a grizzly bear? The story floating here in the state is “That’s the story he tells. Truth varies when you want a bear hide to hang on the wall.” My husband actually held off a grizzly bear with a chain saw, so I’m not impressed with Al’s story. Lots of Alaskans work the fishing fleet to put themselves through college. They didn’t let girls on the boats back then (unless your daddy or your husband owned it), so I worked a slime-line instead. Not impressed. And, never lie outright in a commercial. Avram got the loan for Al — banks don’t give 14-year-olds loans because minors can’t sign contracts. Even in the 1970s, Alaska banks were bound by federal law from offering loans to 14-year-olds.

So, aside from the style of the commercial and the fact that Youtube made us watch it and dozens of others over and over again for weeks, the lies he was telling got to me. I had planned to vote against Dan Sullivan for Senate, but Al convinced me he needed to lose the election in a big way — which he did. But it was more than that. The commercial I posted shows him wearing brand-new Helly Hanson rain gear. Nobody but tourists wears brand-new outdoor gear in Alaska. It makes noises in the woods whichscares off the wildlife and there’s a commonsense wives tale theory that the petroleum outgassing attracts bears. It reeks, I know that. My Helly Hansons are 25 years old, patched with innertube rubber and probably have another 20 years of wear in them. Once my husband pointed that out to me, I started watching and every commercial Al did showed him wearing brand-new and high-end clothes, which is a clear indication that he was making crap up. Then he had a commercial where his daughters were talking and you could see out the window behind them — at trees that don’t grow anywhere in Alaska, but are found in landscaped yards in California. Turns out, Al owns a mansion in Santa Barbara, California, and his family lives there full-time. They come back to Alaska for periods of time to qualify for the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend and to run for Senate. That doesn’t make him any worse than Dan Sullivan, but Dan at least admits his attachment to Alaska is through his wife, who was born and raised here. This libertarian was not going to help give carpet-bagger Dan Sullivan a second term, but Al Gross so annoyed us with his incessant commercials (and then I found out he doesn’t live here anymore) that I voted for Dan just to send Al packing. A lot of other Alaskans apparently agreed with me, though there’s rumors Al might run against Don Young in 2022. Either way, Alaska can get rid of Sullivan in 2026, after we focus on getting rid of Lisa Murkowski in 2022.

Commercials that Inspire Me

I got to say, I still try to avoid commercials, but Youtube doesn’t really allow you to do that, so I had to think of ones that had inspired me to the point where I might have learned something or that I want to put them in my writing. I think PragerU commercials have influenced some of my research and might have inspired some events in my novels. PragerU has a lot of videos that often deal with history or something going on in culture and that’s not what I’m referring to. Those are usually longer than the five-minute or less commercials that become attached to other shows — like this older one on how to reengage boys in learning and, hopefully, reengage the next generation of men in society. I don’t use these commercials to inform my opinions, but I sometimes learn things I didn’t know and then I go out to research to find out if PragerU is telling me the truth. Usually they are, but I don’t assume that. I fact-check them through my own research (as I do with most articles I encounter). Always question anyone claiming to be an authority. I don’t always agree with the PragerU commercials. While looking for this commercial I’d seen before, I ran into a Jill Simosian commercial where I just found her condescending, even though I largely agreed with her facts on public schools because I’ve already studied the topic.

And while looking for this commercial, I also found this one by Adam Carolla which echoes something my husband and son have been discussing for a while and a character in one of my WIPs has been trying to express. I like how Carolla presents a familiar argument without sounding like he’s lecturing. There’s not a lot to fact-check in the commercial but I did google Carollas bio and he wasn’t making up his childhood. I also ran across a video he did about the whole neighbor-calling-the-cops thing. That apparently also happened.

All advertising is manipulative and trying to sell something…but occasionally it’s just trying to sell a broader perspective on the blinders we put on ourselves. In many ways, truth and liberal thought are commodities just as much as sugar and butter. In our current strait-jacketed culture where we all self-segregate into our own information bubbles, I think it’s brilliant to advertise alternative viewpoints and hope they get attached to videos that present self-segregated opinions from an opposite perspective.

Last night we sat through one that pleaded with us to understand that the world is going to end in a decade if we don’t start giving polar bears cokes. That last part’s a joke, but not really — the commercial (which I couldn’t find as a standalone) suggested some things we should do to control climate change that might prove almost as dangerous as trying to give a coke to a polar bear.

Posted June 7, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

Tagged with , , ,

The Libertarian Ideal

Voice, Exit and Post-Libertarianism

CRAIN'S COMMENTS

Social trends, economics, health and other depressing topics!

My Corner

Showcasing My Writing and Me

The Return of the Modern Philosopher

Deep Thoughts from the Shallow End of the Pool

Steven Smith

The website of an aspiring author

thebibliophagist

a voracious reader. | a book blogger.

cupidcupid999

adventure, art, nature, travel, photography, wildlife - animals, and funny stuff

Republic-MainStreet

The Peaceful Revolution Liberate Main Street

%d bloggers like this: