Five-Star Review on a Paper

(re)view

My mom joined me for the first two weeks or so of my extended vacation to Naples, Florida. One of the many outings we enjoyed together was a three-hour tour (just like Gilligan’s Island!) by boat through the Ten Thousand Islands of the Everglades mangrove forests to a remote island where we could go shelling for a while before returning. Before I tell you more about our day, I’m going to share with you a review someone left online of this very same tour they’d taken just a day or so earlier:…

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hope z

For as long as I can remember, my usual workout time has been between midnight and 3:00 AM. A couple of weeks back, two young guys—Josh and DaeDae—started working the overnight shift at my gym. I’ve been chatting with them here and there—when I arrive, when I leave or whenever they happen to be cleaning nearby. Nice guys. But until recently, it’s been mostly small talk. Friday morning, on my way out, I decided to go a little deeper with them. I wanted to ask about something that’s been on my…

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scam

Most people who read my blog know me first and foremost as an author. So they are surprised when they learn that I do other things as well. (And conversely, those whose first dealings with me center on one of those other areas are always surprised to find that I’m also an author.) Well, one of those other things I do is designing information systems. I’ve done this since I was a child and home computers first came out. But as far this story is concerned, here’s the simple version: I build…

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Flat rustic wooden head shape on rustic boards. A living vine with heart-shaped leaves runs underneath, and a magnifying glass highlights gears in the brain area.

less lonely

We’ve heard it a million times: “Bad news sells.” And we’ve certainly had more than our fair share of it lately, haven’t we? As someone who takes my own advice perhaps more than anyone, and ever keeping in mind that central theme of mine — “You always have a choice" — I went beyond simply turning off the bad news to making an active search of good news. Would you believe that there is actually a whole news site called Good News Network? There I read an article that not only held true to the…

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The Best Advice So Far - it's a breeze - curtain fluttering at an open window

it’s a breeze

One day last week, I wished a friend of mine a happy birthday. He turned 30 and was feeling old. Interestingly enough, he was a sophomore in high school when I met him, and I was older than he is now. So I was able to paint a convincing picture for him as to just how young he still is. As we talked about getting older, a famous quote came to mind: “With age comes wisdom.” Yet I’m inclined to agree with the second half of Oscar Wilde’s observation on the matter: “… but sometimes age comes…

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The Best Advice So Far - the builders

the builders

I was wakened from a sound sleep by the ungodly grinding of a saw cutting through what sounded like concrete or metal right outside my bedroom wall. The whole place shook, setting the nearby jar candles to skittering. It was immediately clear that this was not going to be a situation solved by fingers in the ears or pillows over the head. So I got up. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, there was a loud crunching and a thunk. That sounds like it’s right in the house, I thought.…

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The Best Advice So Far - elevator

elevator

Whenever someone learns that I’m a writer, they inevitably ask the following two questions: What do you write? Who is your target audience? They’re reasonable questions. And you’d think that after a decade of professional writing, I’d have honed my elevator pitch by now. I haven’t. I’ve tried—really, I have. But it doesn’t seem any easier today than it was when I first started. You know how people will ask you a question and a response comes directly to your mind, but then you edit it by the…

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white cotton briefs/underwear hanging on a clothes line

unmentionables

I’ve always thought it a little strange that we as a culture are conditioned to believe that certain topics are taboo. Unmentionables, if you will. I’m not sure who decided what made The List. Perhaps it was the same unmentionable “they” who are so often referred to in cultural lore: “They say people hide razor blades in caramel apples.” “They say you shouldn’t swim within thirty minutes after you eat.” “They say the average person swallows eight spiders a year while sleeping.” Pure…

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