Sunday, July 1, 2012

Eric Shackle's Column

Eric Shackle Interviews Himself For His 1000th Story

G'day Eric. You're looking bright and bushy-tailed. Not bad for a nonagenarian, I must say. I've just googled your name, and found dozens of links to stories you have written. How did it all begin?
    About 12 years ago one of my four sons, Ian, emailed a very clever anagram to me. It was:
    Shakespeare: To be or not to be: that is the question, whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.
    Anagram: In one of the Bard's best-thought-of tragedies, our insistent hero, Hamlet, queries on two fronts about how life turns rotten.
    I was so impressed that I decided to trace it back to find it I soon established that it had been composed by an American post-graduate student, Cory Calhoun. And it was posted on an anagram website run by Anu Garg.
    I exchanged several emails about anagrams with Anu Garg, one of which I still find amazing: I discovered that ANAGRAM GENIUS= NAME IS ANU GARG
    Anu then invited me to be his copy editor. I gladly accepted. Twelve years later, I still enjoy that job.
    Anu is now an American citizen living in Seattle.
You claim you've written a thousand stories. Have you kept count of them?
    No, it's only a guesstimate, and it doesn't include hundreds of items I wrote for newspapers when I worked as a staff journalist.
    Which newspapers have you worked for?
    In New Zealand: The Press (Christchurch)
    In Australia: The Queenslander*,
    Brisbane Courier-Mail and Sunday Mail;
    Sydney: Daily Telegraph, Truth*,Daily Mirror*, Weekend*

    *No longer published
Have you had any stories published as a freelance?
    Yes, quite a lot. One in The New York Times and one in The Observer (London)... and several in The Sydney Morning Herald.
How can we find your stories?
    Try these three collections:
    Eric Shackle's e-book (South Africa):
    Ohmy News (South Korea):
    Open Writing (England):
Do you receive much feedback from your readers?
    No, very little. That's probably because I steer clear of politics and religion, and other controversial subjects. I usually write about trivia.
    A few months after I began putting stories on the internet, I received these messages
    It's an ever-expanding collection of stories that make us think, laugh, and learn. Wordsmith Anu Garg, mastermind of A.Word.A.Day Seattle, Washington, USA.
    "Life begins at 80 ... on the Internet," proclaims Eric. And ever since his hi-tech epiphany, he has been celebrating his new-found obsession with this eclectic collection of writing.
    Nick Galvin checks out some of the newest destinations on the Net (Sydney Morning Herald): "I don't read your articles because you are 'the oldest.' I read them because you have interesting things to say."
    "The Boy on a Bicycle", Denver, Colorado, USA.
    I thought that I would never see
    My father grasp technology.
    Now his thoughts rush 'round the world
    A brain let loose like flags unfurled.
    Ian Shackle, Frog Rock, New South Wales, Australia
    I hope those endorsements still apply.
    Posted Saturday, 23 June 2012, at 18:15 From Sydney, Australia.
From left: Eric, Ian. Dane and Jack Shackle.

Four Generations of Shackle Boys. 

Hear the World on your Computer

    This may be old hat (stale news) to you, but it's an exciting discovery to me. I've found I can use my computer to listen to hundreds of radio stations around the world.
    In the last two days I've heard programs being broadcast by stations in New Zealand, South Africa, Bhutan, Ireland and the United States. All I had to do was to visit a website in Palo Alto, California called TuneIn
    The website says:
    "TuneIn is a free service that lets you listen to anything in the world from wherever you are. Whether you want to hear music, sports, news or current events, TuneIn offers over 50,000 stations, all yours, for you to choose from.
    "From finding local stations to discovering new stations from around the world, TuneIn brings you to where you want to be.Millions of people across every continent listen to what they love through TuneIn."
    Here are some of the stations I've heard (with varying degrees of interest):
    Radio Valley 99.9, Thimphu, Bhutan. Bhutan is a small kingdom in the Himalayas, between India and China.
    KNTU Denton, Texas KNTU is licensed to the University of North Texas and is on the air 24 hours, every day of the year, broadcasting with 100,000 watts at 88.1 FM.
    The Night Time Network, Dublin, Ireland. Its website says:
    On the Night-Time Network we realise that not everybody goes to bed at night...if you're doing the night shift or just having trouble counting sheep, we have plenty of music and games to get you through your night.
567 Cape Talk. News from Cape Town, South Africa.
Try it out for yourself. Tune in to Tunein com
Posted at 21:24 Saturday, 2 June 2012, from Sidney, Australia.

Click on Eric Shackle for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

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