Monday, April 1, 2024

Editor's Corner


By Mary E. Adair

April 2024

."Winter’s done, and April’s in the skies.
Earth, look up with laughter in your eyes!"

― Charles G.D. Roberts

Brace yourselves! When April rushes in, it's only a brief respite before the highest temperatures Summer holds in store follow. Of course that also makes this month the one to check out the offers for cruises, or other exciting opportunities. If your household includes youngsters, they will have ideas to bring to the table as well. Family time is synonymous with Summertime.

I shall relax. I may even travel. The benefit of growing older.

Thomas F. O'Neill in "Introspective" calls us to examine our Beliefs and where we acquired them. Marilyn Carnell's column "Sifoddling Along" finds new challenges in building a novel, now research is an earnest part of her time. Judith Kroll's column "On Trek" reminds us that everything changes. Pauline Evanosky's column "Woo Woo," topic is Generosity, and how it affects anyone. Ara Parisien in "Author-Medium-Spiritual Teacher" tells her views on Grief and why it can be a gift.

Rod Cohenour and his helpmate develop a new recipe. Their collaboration, M's Coffee-Orange Pork Loin, is perfect for this season before really hot weather takes over. "Cooking with Rod" shares all the ingredients and how to in this issue.. "Armchair Genealogy" by columnist Melinda Cohenour shares her To Do List, detailing some prime effort attempts to accomplish her goals. Mattie Lennon who promised to get more info to us on the works of Jack Byrne does so highlighted by quotes from his subject.. He adds a few more notes on "Under The Bridge."

Walt Perryman's four poems are "Monday Morning Thought for You," "Big Thought about Life's Little Things," "Listen then Think, Before You Talk," and "Another Sunrise.". John I. Blair's four poems are encore presentations ("Ten Men in A Truck," "Deja Vu." and "Mixed Inheritance") except for "Sailing Around The World in My Chair," . Bruce Clifford's two poems are "Technicolor Lights" and "Hanging." Bud Lemire's four poems are "My Truth," "Pay It Forward," "Snownada," and "Unanswered Questions."

Pencil Stubs Online co-founded by Mike Craner and your editor, is still going strong because of his original expertise. Again, I am expressing my gratitude to my talented friend and original webmaster Mike Craner. We place our confidence in him as we have in the past and shall continue doing so.

See you in May!

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Armchair Genealogy


By Melinda Cohenour

To Do List


Greetings, readers, on this frivolous April Fool's Day. Who knows what pranks and jokes may occur this day? Well, no pranks from this corner, just some introspection and a bit of forward viewing. Your author is attempting to plot a course of action for this year's family research, which always now includes staying aware of advances in DNA technology. This may be an outline for work in the balance of 2024; it is at least a nascent attempt.


It occurred to me that when researching various ancestors the fact arises that their migration to America was as part of the great escape from religious persecution. We have covered the life and times of one of our most famous Huguenot ancestors Bartholomew DuPuy, my 8th Great-grandfather: "He was heir to the title of Count. He enlisted in the French army at age 18 and became Captain of the household guards of King Louis XIV. In 1664 he retired, bought an old chateau and vineyard at Velours, and in early 1685 married Susanna Lavillon." And, ultimately, escaped with his life upon the revocation of the Edict of Nantes which had provided for tolerance and civil rights for French Calvinists in a predominantly Roman Catholic country.

How many others were Huguenots? Perhaps we can construct a list sufficient to deserve a full column.


My recollection is that over my many decades of family research I have uncovered several stories regarding the contributions of my ancestors to the founding of New York and its famous suburbs. Some of these stories have already been included in prior columns. Did I miss some?

We have previously written about our 7th Great-grandfather Pierre Cresson: and

Pierre Cresson was a Huguenot exile.

"Their ancient family seat was Mesnil la Cresson (Cresson Manor) near Abbeville, Picardy."

"Pierre Cresson, a Picard Protestant, born in 1609, fled into Holland, and there remained an exile seventeen years; part of this time at Sluis, Delft, Leyden and Ryswich; in the early part of this period acted as gardener to the 'Prince of Orange,' and was ever afterwards called 'Pierre le Jardinier'; with his family emigrated to America, 1657, settled at Harlem, of which town he was one of the first Magistrates in 1660. He removed to Staten Island in 1678; died about 1684."

His line was rather full of folks who helped build New York and it's famous suburbs of Brooklyn, The Bowery, etc. And this ties back to my first potential subject line. (The Prince of Orange was William III, born only one week after the death of his illustrious father. He was named titular head of all the states listed above from his birth; however, he only attained practical rule in the 1670’s when he reached the age of approximately 21. This Prince of Orange, along with his wife, Queen Mary II, co-ruled and that period would become known as the Reign of William and Mary. He became King of England, Ireland, and Scotland in 1689 until his death 8 March 1702.)


It is a constant that I research these key figures in our family tree whose biography is missing some key element(s). Returning often to these personages, no new factual documentation has yet been found to finally break through the wall of "Not Known." Argh! The frustration!


This is an ever evolving field where new processes, methodologies, and procedures miraculously amplify the ease of use of DNA in so many fields: law enforcement, medical advancements, potential cures for historic diseases, improvements in farming and ranching and manufacture of goods derived therefrom, identification of John and Jane Does whose families long for closure, anthropology where archeological finds are used to advanced scientist's knowledge of humankind.


April 17 2024 marks the next court date for Rex Heuermann who was arrested July 13 of last year after DNA, cell phone records, witness testimony and other evidence connected him to the original Gilgo Beach Four. We will stay on top of this case as new facts emerge.

In addition to the ten sets of remains connected to the Gilgo Beach investigation several municipalities around the nation have law enforcement reviews of cold cases with the potential to involve Rex Heuermann. Any news on these investigations will certainly be grist for a new column.


Prior columns have been devoted to a handful of our ancestors whose roles in securing our nation's sovereignty resulted in historical records being created. We shall continue to search for more and give those brave ancestors their due recognition.


That, dear readers, is my To Do list thus far for 2024. Feel free to message me if you have interest in a different scope of research. Ideas are always welcome.

In the meantime, please avail yourself of the millions of documents now available thanks to the wonders of the Internet. Pursue your own Armchair Genealogy!

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Cooking with Rod

By Rod Cohenour

Easter has just been celebrated and Spring is in full bloom. Roasting of meats will soon be passed by to avoid heating up the house. But this delightful dish just might prove to be the exception. Full flavored, with an enticing blend of flavors, give it a try. I'm sure you'll love it as much as we do.

Bon appetit~!

Ms Coffee-Orange Pork Loin


  • 3.5 to 4 lb boneless pork loin
  • 12 cups strong brewed coffee
  • 1 can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed (will use 1/4 cup for rub and remainder as roasting liquid)
  • 2 large oranges, sliced
  • 2 large white or yellow onions, sliced
  • 1 envelope Lipton (or similar) onion soup mix
  • 2 Tbsp. Garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp. Ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. Ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp.. Ground sage


    1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
    2. Prepare loin: rinse in cold water, pat dry. Remove heavy fat cap. Remove white membrane. With side showing remaining fat turned up, score loin using diagonal cuts in a diamond pattern.
    3. Prepare rub mixture: To 1/4 cup orange juice add onion soup mix and spices. Blend well with small whisk.
    4. Set out large roasting pan. Rub loin all over with prepared orange spice mixture, making sure to work into scored sections. Place loin in pan.
    5. Add remaining orange juice to brewed coffee, blend and add to roasting pan. Layer sliced oranges and onions over loin. (Too many? Retain for garnish.)
    6. Roast at 400° for 30 minutes. Then cover pan with lid or aluminum foil sealed tightly. Lower oven temp to 350°. Roast for one hour then check to make sure liquid is sufficient. Baste the loin. Plan 25 minutes per pound overall cooking time. For a crisper surface on your loin remove cover.

    Prepare your side dishes while loin roasts.

    7. Check loin about every 20 to 30 minutes. When almost done there should be enough liquid remaining to make a gravy, at least 3 to 4 cups. If not add fresh brewed coffee.
    8. When done remove loin from oven. Pour liquid into saucepan, returning loin to pan. Cover loin and let set while gravy is made.
    9. To make gravy: Liquid should not contain a lot of grease. If it does pour into a large jar and place in freezer to allow grease to rise to the top and begin to congeal. Remove congealed grease and pour remaining liquid into saucepan.

    Prepare thickening mixture: to 1/2 cup flour add 1/2 cup hot water. Whisk.

    Bring coffee and orange juice mixture to a boil. Add thickening mix, stirring constantly. When at desired consistency remove from heat.

    10. To serve: Plate loin with your choice of whipped mashed potatoes, steamed rice or pasta. Serve gravy over loin and potatoes, rice, or pasta.

Delicious with cranberry sauce, a green vegetable like green beans, broccoli, or asparagus, corn, and a mixed salad of greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and your choice of dressing. Hot crusty bread and a cold tea or lemonade top off the meal perfectly.

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Woo Woo


By Pauline Evanosky


I’ve never been trained to be a spiritual advisor, yet when I settle to write an inspirational sort of article, I imagine that I am writing a sermon. I don’t necessarily focus on holy words from the Bible or any other religious work, but I pull from my own lessons of life.

One of those I’d like to talk about today is generosity.

You don’t have to be wealthy to be generous. The definition of generosity is giving money or time beyond what is normal. What is normal? I guess that depends on what is expected of you. If nobody expects much, then your threshold for giving is lower.

If you didn’t already have somebody in mind to be generous to, you might think of any number of organizations that rely on volunteers to help them accomplish their goals. The Red Cross springs to mind. Local food banks are also in need of volunteers. Soup kitchens. Churches. Old folk homes might need people to help. Libraries might need help, too. Hospitals. In your city, schools might rely upon the help of volunteers to help children.

You could ask yourself what you know or are interested in. Then, in this internet age, you might advertise your tutoring services on a neighborhood bulletin board. Maybe you could say you have three hours of time twice a week to help out a single young mother. Or, you could volunteer to do a couple of hours of yard work for an elderly person.

Many times, people in need don’t ask. You are the one who needs to say, “Do you need help?”

You could even learn a new trade. Many businesses are willing to accept volunteers to come in and help with easy tasks. Maybe they need help answering visitors' questions. Maybe they just need somebody to answer the phones. The thing with answering the phones at any business is that it forces you to learn about the business to be able to answer questions. Nobody expects you to know that sort of stuff right off the bat, and yet, those positions are generally filled by new hires. They just throw you into the water and see if you can swim.

At first, there are many “I can ask someone about this for you” questions. That is the same for any job. You get the contact number, write down the question, and pass it along for someone to either tell you what the answer is or they can handle it. What you want is to be able to answer those questions yourself eventually.

The organization might have a training day or a course they want you to take before you begin volunteering. You might need to have taken a basic Red Cross safety course or CPR course. For a soup kitchen, having a food handler’s permit might be necessary or preferred.

Think about this: A customer walks into a store and asks where the toilet paper is. Somebody who has worked there a long time right away says, “At the end of aisle 21.” This means this is a large store. A person who does not know the layout of the store wouldn’t know. One of the first things a newly hired stockperson or clerk in a grocery store needs to know is where the stuff is. I can guarantee nobody is going to quiz you on this. It is your responsibility to know. I know this because I once was a bagger at a local grocery store.

The questions, no matter where you are volunteering your time, you should know before you begin volunteering might include:

  • i. Who is a person who can help you learn the ropes? If there is no particular person, ask how the organization is set up.
  • 2. Who is the boss?
  • 3. Can you have an organizational chart?
  • 4. How do you take messages? Is there a standard policy, or can you just write notes?
  • 5. What is the layout of the campus or building? What doors should you use? Where is the bathroom? Where can visitors go? Where can you go to take a break?
  • 6. Where can you park your car if you have one?
Volunteering at the front desk of any organization is one of the toughest positions. You really do need to learn a lot. The trade-off is that if you are looking for work, you can document how many hours you volunteer and use them on a resume. This shows prospective employers that you both volunteered your time without getting paid and learned what a receptionist knows. Being polite to the public is very, very important in any position.

Often, charitable organizations do not have the money to pay people to help them accomplish their goals. They depend on the help of volunteers. Besides, that volunteer position you have, depending on how much you learn, might allow you to be considered for a paying position eventually. If not that, then you are gaining valuable experience in how the world works and can take that experience wherever you go.

The contacts you make in volunteering will often enable you to plan ahead. If not with a particular company, then just with word-of-mouth endorsements. For example, say an older lady is volunteering with you in a soup kitchen. You work alongside her. She gets to know that you are dependable. As she is more comfortable with you as a person, she begins to show you some of the ropes. You volunteered there for two years, so now she knows who you are. She knows you are helpful, that she can trust you, and that you are resourceful. She knows how you operate under pressure, and she knows you are generous to other people, clients, and volunteers. Guess who will put in a good word for you when her nephew mentions they are looking for someone to help out in his company.

You can’t build a contact base without being generous. Otherwise, you are just another salesperson marketing yourself.

Everybody needs help, but they don’t always ask. Showing a generosity of spirit can be helpful to both you and the people and organizations you volunteer for.

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Sifoddling Along


By Marilyn Carnell

Re-learning about The Civil War

         Last month I wrote I was writing a novel set in the Civil War in southwest Missouri. I was continuing in that task and was speeding along when I bumped my nose against a basic reality. Research. Historical fiction requires a LOT of research. It isn’t enough to trust your memories of stories told by your grandparents. To be credible, it is necessary to stick to the facts unless you tell the reader that you have taken liberties with geography or that some episodes are fictional. I recall being annoyed when reading a novel set in 1812 where the lady slept in a “queen-sized” bed and wore bloomers. Both were invented long after 1812, a couple of factoids I had stored in my brain.

         You may recall that the book is about a young woman, Bonnie Faye Doolittle, left alone in a cabin on Big Sugar Creek in 1861 when her Papa, a doctor, enlisted as a surgeon in the Confederate Army. Her fiancĂ©, Julius Roberts, also enlisted, but he opted to join a company in Wisconsin, his home state. This left her frantic with fear for both of them. Although she was not present at any battle, her home became a place where unexpected and unwanted visitors passed through–bushwhackers and soldiers from both the North and South, stopped by to seek, supplies to liberate, information or pass the time with a beautiful young woman.

         In writing about the early 1860s I found I had to look up details that I casually wrote about in my first draft. The first was when the heroine heard a gunshot and assumed it was a young boy shooting a squirrel with a .22 rifle. Better look that up, I thought. Smith & Wesson’s first firearm was a .22 short pistol first sold in 1857, but it wasn’t until 1887 that the J. Stevens Arms & Tool company produced the .22 long rifle we know today. Therefore, I changed it to “she heard the distant crack of a rifle.” Safe enough.

         Then I decided she had to have a dog. Easy peasy. She would have a smart border collie that guarded and protected her and her farm. Better check that, I thought. Most dog breeds were brought to the U.S. from other countries. Sure enough, “sheepdogs” were not brought to the U.S. in any number before 1890.

         I was talking with a friend and she suggested a “mountain cur”. A breed I had not heard of before. Yes, they were in the U.S. in 1861 and before that Daniel Boone was one of the breeders. They are a rare breed today but were essential to early settlers. They were used for guard duty, protection, and hunting.

Source: :

         Now I am hooked on looking up details and am not willing to stop looking things up on the internet, I also am looking for books and diaries about that time. My bookshelves are creaking with additions from “Gangrene and Glory” to “Bushwhackers, Visions, Star Crossed Lovers. I never know where I will find a tidbit of information that captures my attention, nor do I know whether these little “facts” will make it to the final revision, but for now I am entertained by learning them and I hoped you will enjoy them, too.

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Irish Eyes


By Mattie Lennon



I told you last month that I was starting to read Under the Bridge, the first of Jack Byrne’s trilogy, which covers a hundred years of the connection between Liverpool and the author's ancestral home of Wicklow. The other two are Across the Water and Before the Storm.

After the first few pages I predicted that it was going to be a brilliant read and, while I am no Nostradamus, my forecast was accurate.

The author was born and reared in Liverpool but his father emigrated for Wicklow, near the beautiful Vale of Avoca, after WW2.

Jack says, “My Irishness came late. It was delayed by tragedy and a commitment to class. The idea to which we attach our identity is not always chosen freely at first. It comes from the water we swim in, the roads we travel along and the events and people we meet. The identity we finally accept is in our hands. We determine who we are, not where and when we are.”

The tragedy he refers to was the suicide of his older brother in Ebrington barracks, Derry, in Nov, 1975. It was three days before Jack’s fifteenth birthday. “He used the rifle issued by Her Majesty’s Government to kill an Irishman. Himself.”

His Irishness may, as he says, come late but he certainly has his finger on the pulse of life on both sides of the Irish Sea, not just now but, whether through genetic memory or what, for decades before he was born. In thirty nine chapters he takes us through stories of love, hate, intrigue, bent cops and every crime imaginable including murder. He told me, “My three novels in The Liverpool Mystery trilogy are not the story of my family, but of families like mine, who have crossed the Irish sea to build new lives and families.” Some of those fictitious characters are not nice people. The reader is given insight into Jack Power, a Wicklow man and his cohorts who are involved in some heavy duty criminality. The book starts with a human bone being unearthed on a building site by a JCB. It is spotted by Michael, an Irish caretaker. This led to a long journey by Vinny Connelly, a student, and Anne McCarthy, a journalist. In their search for the truth they are led to a labyrinth of deceit, greed, threats and double crossing. Their mission involves enough twists, turns and Cul-de- Sacs to rival any scene in the best of Richard Osman’s works. Jack Byrne can describe in detail anything from Liverpool weather to an uncouth Irishman eating toast to a Tipperary man breaking a haulier’s finger while working for Jack Power and Anne McCarthy’s one-night stand with a cop, all done through a prowess with words that very few writers possess.

What led to this son of a Wicklow emigrant being able to, in the words of D. H. Lawrence, “… muse and thunder in such a lovely language"?

Perhaps the author himself gives us a clue, ” By the mid-seventies, I had chosen. I stood at the bus stop in Speke council estate, briefcase in hand, waiting for the bus to a grammar school. My parents had left for work before we got up. Two sisters were next to me, waiting for the bus to a local factory. I remembered Heath saying “it is the government or the miners” and being happy the miners won. A shop steward brother introduced me to Paul Mackintosh Foot and The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. I couldn’t decide between Slade and T-Rex, but did decide The Communist Manifesto spoke for me. The working class is still the spectre haunting Europe.”

Under the Bridge is published by Northodox Press and when you read it you will certainly want to read the other two in the trilogy.

* * * * *


During the Irish Potato Famine of the nineteenth century, about one million Irish people perished from starvation and disease, while more than two million fled the country in fear and desperation, with some 850,000 landing in New York City. In this book Meredith B. Linn explores three kinds of afflictions—typhus fever, tuberculosis, and work-related injuries—that disproportionately affected Irish immigrants, tracing how existing medical ideas and technologies intersected with American prejudices to further conspire against this once culturally distinct group. Linn makes a compelling case for how Americans’ interpretations of the visible bodily changes wrought by typhus fever and injuries contributed to dehumanizing biases against these new immigrants, while tuberculosis—with its symptoms of fatigue, pallor, and emaciation—enabled Americans to see individuals beyond stereotypes and to recognize the equal humanity of the Irish.

Irish Fever is published by University of Tennessee Press.

Happy Easter.

See you in May

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Ara Parisien Author-Medium-Spiritual Teacher


By Ara Parisien

The Gift of Grief

Grief. It is fraught with pain, despair and lack of direction.
The process isn’t something to simply be endured, although
it can feel like it takes a lifetime before the fog lifts and
you are able to breathe once again. We all experience it.
No one seems to be absolved of this journey.


There is something about grief, however, that is typically overlooked. It is the gift it provides. This gift is the last physical gift our loved ones bestow upon us at their point of transformation back to non-physical energy. Yes, I said gift.

The gift is growth and evolution that allows us to become more than we ever thought we could be. It commands that we change and often we go into that change kicking and screaming which is totally justifiable under the circumstances.


Everyone impacted by the death of someone is being offered that gift of growth and expansion. The person you were before your loved one passed is gone. Truly, it is the OLD you that you are grieving, and the old life. That is where you want to stay. What is waiting for you is a phenomenal, new version of yourself that beckons you forward. Grief is the journey between who you were to who this experience has caused you to become.

There is also a re-invention of Self that occurs. You are trying to figure out who you are and what life looks like without that person in physical form. The gift is always about the power to choose the best Self possible. It is an eternal gift borne of love, given in love and in time, received in love.

In my book, The Other Side of Grief, I explain the following:

Eternal gifts are the soul gifts our loved ones leave behind at their point of transition. They are meant just for us and they contain exactly what we need. In them we find solace, meaning, clarity, peace and ultimately joy. ~ excerpt from The Other Side of Grief, by Ara Parisien

Joy is available to us now. Our loved ones in non-physical now see how it was there for them also when they were here. It is their parting gift to us, in creating the vehicle which allows us to perhaps release our joy and live the best life possible, in spite of what we think we have lost.

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By Thomas F. O'Neill


The world of social media divides us in many ways, and it all comes down to beliefs. We all have them, including our opinions; we do not always share the same beliefs and views of others, but they play a significant role in shaping our reality in various ways.

Our beliefs influence how we perceive the world around us. Two people can interpret the same situation differently based on their beliefs. For example, someone with a positive outlook may see a challenging situation as an opportunity for growth, while someone with a negative outlook may see it as a setback.

Our beliefs can influence our behavior and actions. If you believe you can achieve something, you are more likely to take actions that lead to success. On the other hand, if you believe you will fail, you may not even try.

Believing in something can make it more likely to happen. If you believe you are going to succeed, you are more likely to work towards that success and make it happen. Conversely, if you believe you will fail, you may inadvertently sabotage your efforts.

Our beliefs can influence how we interact with others and how they perceive us. For example, if you believe people are generally trustworthy, you may approach social interactions with openness and warmth, leading to positive relationships.

Our beliefs can impact our emotional well-being. Positive beliefs can lead to feelings of optimism, resilience, and happiness, while negative beliefs can contribute to feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression.

Our beliefs can act as filters through which we interpret information. We tend to notice and remember information that confirms our existing beliefs (confirmation bias) and ignore or dismiss information that contradicts them.

Our beliefs shape our reality by influencing our perceptions, behaviors, interactions, emotional well-being, and interpretation of information. Awareness of our beliefs and actively challenging them, when necessary, can help us create a more positive and fulfilling reality.

Do not let social media's echo chambers determine and influence our reality. We must challenge what we believe to be true because an objective approach outside the echo chambers can help us rise above America's great divide.

Always with love,
Thomas F O'Neill

    WeChat - Thomas_F_ONeill
    Phone (410) 925-9334
    Skype: thomas_f_oneill

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On Trek


By Judith Kroll

We Are Always Changing

Every year we do change, and as we age, our body doesn't change yearly like it did when we were living YOUTH. As an elderly person, our thinking changes. Our outlook changes, we live the moment like we did as babies. We found joy in seeing everything. We even had to taste it.

Adulthood, we once again enjoy the moment. We can stare at the same tree but we focus on the whole tree, and how it has been part of our life for years, and brought us much comfort, much joy, much love. A flower pushes thru the earth, from the previous year, and we welcome it, like a newborn babe. We are truly happy to see it, smell it, and gently touch it to share a wee bit of energy.

I watch a birdie fly and stop to eat, and now I feel the birdie. It doesn't exist without fear. They have scouts watching and ready to warn them of dangers. They are constantly aware. Busy building nests now, and getting ready for a family, and picking the right spot to raise their little ones. They are like us on a smaller scale.

I am oh so grateful for all we have, without owning it. Just for our pleasure, our joy, our love to share. My wish for all is that we can change our thoughts to peace, and love, and live more in the moment.
Judith 2/27/24

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 By Bud Lemire

When the wind blows the snow, in a whirlwind around
It's called a Snownado, a tornado on the winter ground
It blows the snow, all over everywhere
Look out your window, you can see it there
A snow devil that is going around
Blowing snow wherever it's found

When a big gust of wind, blows the snow very strong
It's when we hear old man Winter, singing his song
The newly fallen snow is blowing away
To a new place entirely, where it will stay

Snow layered on top of each pile
That is the way of the Wintry style
Flakes piled up, on top of another one
It keeps on flying, until the Snownado is done

If you stand where it'll blow
You'll get whipped with that snow
So stay warm, and away from the wind that blows
Keep your body warm, even with your red nose

©Feb 28, 2024 Bud Lemire

                        Author Note:

I've seen a snownado out my window.
It was a small one, and I'm sure you've
seen them as well.


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Ten Men In A Truck

 By John I. Blair

Today ten men in a truck back,
Riding somewhere in the morning,
Looked out at me;
And one smiled enigmatically.
Where were they going?
What would they be doing there?
Why was I so curious
About these strangers?
Pulling up beside them
For less than 20 seconds
I felt connected
To these fellow humans,
These co-travelers
In the freeway traffic
And on the planet,
These mitochondria mates
In the sea of life;
And when I pumped the pedal
And sped along my way,
A ghost of loss rode with me
And hung about my office
The rest of the day.

©2003 John I. Blair

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Another Sunrise

 By Walt Perryman

This morning I witnessed another sunrise,
Today is a gift from God and is our prize.

However, all of today is not a for sure bet.
Some of us may not make it to this sunset.

Tomorrow we may have another sunrise,
But for today, let’s enjoy our today’s prize.

If you can give someone a hand or even a smile,
Or spend some of your day with them for a while.

A little compliment can give someone a big lift,
A compliment will last longer than a bought gift.

We cannot buy time with silver or gold, this is true.
Today is your day and how you spend it is up to you.

©May 16, 2021 Walt Perryman

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Unanswered Questions

 By Bud Lemire

Unanswered Questions, are the ones you never ask
The ones you should have, but weren't up to the task
Not the most important ones, but the ones in which you dwell
The ones that make you wonder, but nobody would share or tell

Why did that happen, to that woman that you know?
What happened to that man, why did they let him go?
Why are they doing this, why are they doing that?
Why did she get a dog, when she should have had a cat?

Why did the manager, tell her what he did?
Someone said he yelled, and really blew his lid
It's this kind of questions, that make you wonder
Too afraid to intrude, in case it brings on thunder

The one who it's about, will answer the correct one
Then you know it's true, your wondering is done
Questioning things in your life, is the way to be
Sometimes you get the answers, much more easily

©Mar 13, 2024 Bud Lemire

                        Author Note:

We all have unanswered questions going through our heads.
Sometimes we find out the answers, and other times we never
do in our lifetime.

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Sailing Around The World In My Chair

 By John I. Blair

Slumping here in my swivel chair,
Back aching from hours of inertia,
I can sail my mind around the world
On the stuff at my fingertips.
Lots from China: baskets, tools,
My coffee cup; from India
A richly carved wooden box
I hide my pushpins in;
From Germany a precise alarm
I use to schedule noon-hour naps;
Japan my PC CPU;
Sweden my sturdy stapler;
France a Bic with tinte bleu;
Australia a jar of stomach pills;
West Africa the cacao in the cocoa;
Banana from Honduras;
Bright Post-it flags from Mexico . . .
All tangible reminders
That this evidently isolated room
Is anchored in the universe outside.

©2003 John I. Blair

Author Note:

The photo shows the room I am talking about in this poem from
years ago when I still worked at corporate headquarters in Irving.
Back when computers had white keyboards and I used a white mouse.
Note that I have several poems posted on my wall,
perhaps even including this one.
Note the wall phone with a cord.
But I'm sure it had pushbuttons and not a dial.
The brilliant poet Billy Collins wrote a poem
"Sailing Alone Around the Room"
that inspired me to try this

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Big Thought about Life's Little Things

 By Walt Perryman

A big thought about life's little things
And the joy little memories often brings.

Enjoy the little things in your life every day,
Because later they mean more in a strange way.

With age, we remember the happier things more,
I guess that is what God gave us memories for.

Folks, the sunrise will be here in just a little while,
I hope today, your little things make you smile.

©Mar 6, 2024 Walt Perryman

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My Truth

 By Bud Lemire

My truth is believing, what I'm knowing
I can feel the things, that aren't showing
Sometimes I can even hear
When the spirits whisper in my ear

I believe the messages that are sent to my friend
Given to me, by the lives that never end
The human life ends, but the spirit never does
It becomes what is, instead of what was

What it is, is so very amazing if you knew
The continuing soul journey, would surprise you
They carry on in spirit, without the bod
It is so natural, to you it may seem odd

It's where you were, before you came here
From one world to another, you disappear
Crossing over is so easy to do
It won't be hard when it happens to you

People can hear them, if they're in tune with it all
It takes a certain mind frequency, then you'll hear the call
Just know this, they don't have any pain anymore
They left it behind, when they went through that door

©JFeb 14, 2024 Bud Lemire

                       Author Note:

True! I don't have to believe anymore, because I know.
How do I know? It's a hearing, a feeling, a knowing.
If I hear them, it is not my imagination. When I feel
them, it is not my imagination. I know! When they
come in my dreams and I wake up still feeling their
touch, I know.

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Deja Vu

 By John I. Blair

Let me make one thing clear:
I really don't believe reincarnation,
I really don't believe I've been reborn
Over and over across the eons.

Yet sometimes when I'm trotting
From one room to another
In this modern office tower,
I court the thought I've done it all before.

I've scurried down a cloister,
Wrapped in my woolen robes,
Anticipating the abbot's jibes
About my clumsy toil in the scriptorium.

I've waited endless hours
In a chilly marble chamber,
Eyeing armed centurions,
Clutching my petition to the emperor.

I've threaded my way fearfully
Through claustrophobic temple corridors,
At each dim corner drawing nearer
To the holiest of holies.

I've crept with smoking torches
Deep into the mountain cave,
Hoping to complete the sacred painting
Before the woolly mammoth hunt.

If anything's to be learned
From all these flights of fancy:
Though circumstances change,
Anxiety stays much the same.

©2003 John I. Blair


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Monday Morning Thought for You

 By Walt Perryman

A Monday morning thought for you
About whether your heart is true.

I have spent eighty years, seven days on this earth,
And I’ve seen a lot of good and bad since my birth!

But I have never seen our Country doing this bad,
And what’s happening to God really makes me sad.

Some will think I’m wrong about where we are today,
And I can know you’re wrong for not seeing it my way.

I don’t care if you’re on the left, middle, or the right,
If you can’t see what’s going on, you have bad sight.

We had better get together with God and not wait,
Because, if not yesterday then today could be too late!

If you believe in God with a true heart, just remember,
To take God home until He becomes a family member!

Next is something God and your family can do,
Go and spread the word to other people too.

We may not save the world, but we can try,
To spread God’s word until the day we die!

©Mar 4, 2024 Walt Perryman

80 Years Young
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By Bruce Clifford

She left me hanging year after year.
She left me wondering why I was living in fear.
She left me wanting to know what I did wrong.
She left me for decades with endless empty songs.

She left me hopeless under a stormy sky.
She left me holding her hand in an imaginary time.
She left me hanging day after day.
She left me thinking of the right words to say.

How could this be so?
How did we let this love go?

You left me broken, alone and heartbroken.
You left me afraid, alone, and betrayed.
You left me to wonder about what could have been.
You left me broken without any reason to begin.

How could this be so?
How did we let this love go?

She left me hanging.

©3/21/2024 Bruce Clifford

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Pay It Forward

 By Bud Lemire

Pay It Forward, do a good deed
There might be someone, who is in need
They might not be able to afford food, in the marketplace line
The kindness that you give them, now would be the perfect time

They might feel embarrassed, you tell them to Pay It Forward too
Then sometime in their future, that is what they will do
Let me buy you a coffee, and a breakfast for you
It just feels so good, it's the right thing to do

A homeless person in a box on the street
Give her your jacket, and some socks for her feet
That guy's tire, has gotten pretty low
I'll use my pump, air his tires for this Joe

The little things we do, will help those who are in need
Which is just what was needed, you planted a seed
From what you started, they'll pay it forward too
The seed will grow, and the deed will renew

©JMar 15, 2024 Bud Lemire

                        Author Note:

Many times it's the little things we make an effort
to do, turn out to be the big things for someone else.
So remember to pay it forward, do a good deed.
Just think how wonderful you feel after doing it.


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Mixed Inheritance


By John I. Blair

Because I am a man
I hate to think about it,
But half my ancestors were women.
So often I will credit
All my manly attributes
To the line of hairy males
I claim as predecessors.
But don't I also owe the females?
Whenever I'm on my knees,
Weeding my flower garden,
Whenever I'm in the kitchen,
Whipping up a batch of cookies,
Whenever I'm adding the final touches
To a neatly made-up bed
By box pleating the top sheet,
Cleaning the house without complaining,
Folding the laundry, pressing a shirt, singing,
I can give thanks to the women
In my family tree
That I don't spend all my waking hours
Puffing cigars, belching, stinking,
And scratching where it itches . . .
Though I love those things as well!

©2003 John I. Blair

Author Note:

Well, I gave up the cigars many years ago,

 and don't spend much time on the housekeeping these days,

 but it's still a true poem.

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Listen then Think, Before You Talk

By Walt Perryman

At times I open my mouth and words come out,
When I have no idea what I am talking about.

‘Thought’ is something my words sometimes Lack,
Once they go past my lips, I cannot get them back.

I am going to try to start ‘thinking’ before I speak,
Even if each of my conversations last for a week.

While I am talking, I have never learned a thing,
It is when I am quiet that I’ve learned something

. I will try to not talk before ‘thinking’ anymore,
This could well be what God made silence for!

©2/12/2024 Walt Perryman

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Technicolor Lights

You turned me on like technicolor lights.
Before there was you there was forever black and white.
You landed in my life when life was on the run.
You took my open hand until suddenly you were gone.

You broke my heart into a million tiny pieces.
Once you were gone, I was a new lost and lonely species.
You turned me away like you never knew me at all.
I still wish I was there to save you after the fall.

After the fall.
He took you apart.
How did it happen?
Why did it start?
Can you remember us at all?

You lit me up like technicolor lights.
Everything else was dark throughout my days and nights.
We held each other’s hands and we looked into our eyes.
As we touched each other’s soul I began to cry.

After the fall.
Did you ever know me at all.
Why can’t you explain to me?
Why can’t you trust our history.

In technicolor lights.
The vibrance of our days.
What I miss most of all.
Was your willingness to stay.

©3/11/2024: Bruce Clifford

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Friday, March 1, 2024

Editor's Corner

By Mary E. Adair

March 2024

“Peace begins with a smile.”
_Mother Teresa.

Your editor has been amazed by all the foods that can be changed into Green Treats as the cooks try to develop something new and spectacular to serve on St Patrick's Day. (The aforementioned poor saint would most likely be quite subdued to know of all the fuss and excitement made of his life and activities.)

I will continue to prefer my red meats red, and my rice or potatoes or pasta in the pale blond colors natural to them. Normally green commodities like broccoli or asparagus, green beans, etc., are enough of such emerald foodstuffs for me. Speaking of food, my Column ID pic is cropped for this issue from the photo at the bottom of the page taken by the waitress at Applebee's (one of my very favorite dining establishments) mid-February in Lubbock. My Firstborn Granddaughter Melinda Smith and I spent the day there, and since we don't have this chain of restaurants in our western Texas area, it was a real treat for me.

Walt Perryman's poems for March are mainly nostalgic featuring "Did You Or Not?," "How Many of You Loved Your Old Truck?" and "Ducks in A Row." John I. Blair's poems are "Cedar Waxwings" and "Comfortable With Myself", the latter with a photo to prove it. Bruce Clifford's two poems are "We Didn't Know" and "All These Years." Bud Lemire's poems "Family Game Time" and "The Word On Senior Companions" relate to his current busy life while "Like The Wind And The Sun" speak with his personal beliefs, but "The Dream Traveler" can intrigue many of us. "Times Past" is by Riva Joi Smith, one of our poets we haven't heard from for awhile. Good to see you are still wielding your pen, Ms Smith.

Thomas F. O'Neill in "Introspective" decries the rampant, though random, comments deriding American intelligence. Marilyn Carnell's column "Sifoddling Along" reveals that her new creative project is writing a novel, and shares a brief episode. It certainly captures this editor's attention and interest. Judith Kroll's column "On Trek" explains her charming concept of magic wands in a different manner. Pauline Evanosky's column "Woo Woo," shows us what happens in a psychic's life when someone unsought pops in to visit and have a chat. Our newest columnist Ara Parisien in "Medium-Author-Spiritual Teacher" discusses the realistic difference in a "Pollyanna" acceptance vs a knowledgeable power stance.

Rod Cohenour shows us a couple of photos from his kitchen while following a favorite recipe devised by his wife, he affectionately calls "M." "Cooking with Rod" includes the full recipe and serving suggestions which may be varied by the diners. "Armchair Genealogy" by columnist Melinda Cohenour updates us with the advances and new uses of exploring DNA processes. Dublin's Mattie Lennon likes having March roll around in the year because of all the activities that have been and continue to be held to honor St Patrick's Day. He was impressed with a new book on the scene "Under The Bridge."

This from last month bears repeating: Now with this new year of Pencil Stubs Online underway, we are again astounded that a simple suggestion 27 years ago by Mike Craner that we try doing our magazine on the World Wide Web, has bloommed so beautifully. Again, I am expressing my gratitude to my talented friend and original webmaster Mike Craner. We place our confidence in him as we have in the past and shall continue doing so.

See you in April.


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Armchair Genealogy

By Melinda Cohenour

What's New With DNA


DNA is the most exciting tool for genealogists and the family researcher as well. That statement has been true since the first commercial testing became affordable several years ago. The ability to compare test results and identify people around the globe who share ancestral lineage is, simply, amazing. Knowledge made widely available and affordable!

Recently, while researching my series on the Gilgo Beach Serial Murders, I was shocked to discover new technology had progressed to permit a DNA profile to be extracted from hair samples with no root! Previously only mitochondrial DNA could be determined. A huge forensic advancement.

What else is new in DNA science, I wondered. Well, quite a lot it seems. Such a complex subject requires far more training than I possess; however, I can research. So that's what this month's column is focused upon: research and links for other inquiring minds to review if desired.


First, it would be helpful to have a basic understanding of how molecular biology works to crack the code of life's creation. Thus, a site that teaches how the scientists cracked the code. (The first page of the college level text is reached through the following link. Subsequent pages can be opened at the bottom of each page. Explore if you're interested.)


"These three letters “DNA” have now become associated with crime solving, paternity testing, human identification, and genetic testing. DNA can be retrieved from hair, blood, or saliva. With the exception of identical twins, each person’s DNA is unique and it is possible to detect differences between human beings on the basis of their unique DNA sequence.

"DNA analysis has many practical applications beyond forensics and paternity testing. DNA testing is used for tracing genealogy and identifying pathogens. In the medical field, DNA is used in diagnostics, new vaccine development, and cancer therapy. It is now possible to determine predisposition to many diseases by analyzing genes.

"DNA is the genetic material passed from parent to offspring for all life on Earth. The technology of molecular genetics developed in the last half century has enabled us to see deep into the history of life to deduce the relationships between living things in ways never thought possible. It also allows us to understand the workings of evolution in populations of organisms. Over a thousand species have had their entire genome sequenced, and there have been thousands of individual human genome sequences completed. These sequences will allow us to understand human disease and the relationship of humans to the rest of the tree of life. Finally, molecular genetics techniques have revolutionized plant and animal breeding for human agricultural needs. All of these advances in biotechnology depended on basic research leading to the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953, and the research since then that has uncovered the details of DNA replication and the complex process leading to the expression of DNA in the form of proteins in the cell."



Simple Summary:

"Next-generation sequencing (NGS) is a powerful tool used in genomics research. NGS can sequence millions of DNA fragments at once, providing detailed information about the structure of genomes, genetic variations, gene activity, and changes in gene behavior. Recent advancements have focused on faster and more accurate sequencing, reduced costs, and improved data analysis. These advancements hold great promise for unlocking new insights into genomics and improving our understanding of diseases and personalized healthcare. This review article provides an overview of NGS technology and its impact on various areas of research, such as clinical genomics, cancer, infectious diseases, and the study of the microbiome."



Talking Glossary
of Genomic and Genetic Terms
The glossary features nearly 250 terms explained in an easy-to-understand way by leading scientists and professionals at the National Human Genome Research Institute.



DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms. Nearly every cell in a person’s body has the same DNA. Most DNA is located in the cell nucleus (where it is called nuclear DNA), but a small amount of DNA can also be found in the mitochondria (where it is called mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA).

Further Reading: (The Source site provides links to each bulleted subject listed below.)

  • What is DNA?
  • DNA Properties
  • DNA Chemical Modifications
  • DNA Biological Functions
  • DNA Interactions with Proteins
  • DNA Genetic Recombination
  • DNA Evolution
  • History of DNA Research: Scientific Pioneers & Their Discoveries
  • DNA and Technology
  • DNA Translation
  • RNA Codons and DNA Codons
  • The 1968 Nobel Prize in Medicine
  • DNA Sequencing
  • DNA Sequence Assembly
  • Structure of DNA
  • What is the RNA World Hypothesis?
  • DNA Replication and Repair
  • History of Microarrays
  • How Do Microarrays Work?
  • What is Satellite DNA?
  • Interactions That Hold DNA Together
  • Role of Transcription Factors
  • The i-motif in DNA
  • What is DNA Loop Extrusion?
  • DNA Loop Extrusion Mechanisms
  • Mechanism of DNA Synthesis
  • Histones and the Cell Cycle
  • How to Store DNA
  • What are DNA Nanomachines?
  • What is a Semi-synthetic Organism?
  • Types of Non-Coding DNA Sequences
  • The Effects of Neanderthal DNA on Modern Human Health
  • * * * * *



    What is the new DNA technology CRISPR?

    "A: CRISPR genome editing allows scientists to quickly create cell and animal models, which researchers can use to accelerate research into diseases such as cancer and mental illness. In addition, CRISPR is now being developed as a rapid diagnostic."

    * * * * *



    What has DNA technology improved?

    "DNA technology is increasingly vital to ensuring accuracy and fairness in the criminal justice system. DNA can be used to identify criminals with incredible accuracy when biological evidence exists, and DNA can be used to clear suspects and exonerate persons mistakenly accused or convicted of crimes."


    * * * * *


    No, dear reader, not by a long sight. The sources offered, however, do cover the latest advances in technology and processes as well as resources for a basic understanding of terms and ground floor education in molecular biology. Perhaps we will return to this exercise in future columns.

    In the meantime, continue exploration of your personal DNA and family research, building your tree and, perhaps, becoming acquainted with newfound cousins!

    Make use of the advances in your personal Armchair Genealogy. See you next month.

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Cooking with Rod

By Rod Cohenour

Having grown up in the Land of Enchantment, one learns to appreciate the many different ways that Mexican food blend spices can be used. One many people may not think about but which is imminently delightful is Ms Mexican Queso Meatloaf.

Serve this once and, I guarantee, it will become a repeat entree on your food repertoire.

~Bon appetit!

M's Mexican Queso Meatloaf

(Serves 6-8)



    * 3 lbs lean (at least 80%) ground beef
    * 1 cup Progresso™ plain bread crumbs OR dry 6 slices bread then crumble (or amount required for one cup crumbs)
    * 1/2 cup thick & chunky salsa
    * 1 lg. Bell Pepper, diced small
    * 1 sm. white or yellow onion, diced small
    * 1/4 cup red enchilada sauce
    * 2 eggs

For Topping:

    * 1/2 cup thick & chunky salsa


    * 1/2 brick Velveeta style cheese
    * 4 oz. brick Pepper Jack cheese, grated
    * 2 cups shredded Fiesta Blend cheese
    * 1 (7 oz.) can Green chiles, diced, (use liquid)
    * 1/2 Bell Pepper, diced with membrane and seeds removed
    * 1/2 cup whole milk (add as needed)


    1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
    2. In large bowl mix all Meatloaf ingredients together, reserving 1/2 cup thick & chunky salsa for later. Press mixture into two ungreased 9x5-inch loaf pans. Top each with 1/2 cup salsa.
    3. Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted in center of loaf reads 160°F. (We like our meatloaf to have a bit of a crusty top.)
    4. While meatloaf is baking, allow about half an hour to prepare queso.
    Melt Velveeta in double boiler. Add both the Pepper Jack and Fiesta Blend cheeses. Add bell pepper. Continuously stir, allowing all ingredients to slowly blend, achieving a silky smooth texture. If needed, add milk in portions to keep Queso at right thickness.
    5. To serve, arrange meatloaf slices on plate over choice of mashed potatoes, rice, or Knorr Mexican rice blend.

    Drizzle queso over meatloaf.

    Offer crisp salad featuring lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper (plus your favorites). A dressing of salsa blended with sour cream is a delightful choice.

    6. Offer the following for guest's optional toppings:
      Sour cream
      Cilantro leaves, finely diced
      Crisp radishes
      Green onion stalks
      Bell Pepper sticks
      Pico de Gallo
      Sliced chilled jicama and lime slices
      Hot buttered tortillas
      Tortilla chips
      Extra salsa
      Extra queso

Mexican Queso Meatloaf ready to pop into the oven.

See pic below of serving the meatloaf topped with Queso.

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Woo Woo

By Pauline Evanosky 


I think encouragement might be one of the more important things we can do for ourselves and for others. As a writer, there is the added chance that the others who might be affected are people you may never meet. Also, it’s just a good practice to be encouraging.

Now, whether you are able to help somebody get back into the game immediately, or if your voice is one of many to actually get a dismayed couch potato up off of the couch doesn’t matter. You helped.

Just don’t give up on them or yourself. I know in the early days of my being a psychic medium, I would get clients who were not able to listen. I could tell, because they would ask the same question over and over again until it became annoying. Maybe I just wasn’t doing it right.

As I moved through my menopause years, I began to think of myself as a psychic drill sergeant. “Did you not just see my lips move? Why aren’t you listening?” I didn’t really say things like that. I thought of them, though, often enough.

There’s a saying that people just don’t like to hear the truth. This is true whether they go to a psychic or their sister-in-law.

See, the thing is that the advice people give is generally based on their own experience. If you were to go into a bar and ask the guy who sits at the end of the bar day in and day out for advice about something, that advice would probably involve a bottle of beer, maybe more than one. Just remember that.

If you are asking a criminal's advice, there will likely be underhanded doings involved. Or, if you figure everybody has a legitimate point of view the world is your oyster as far as asking people for advice. Interestingly enough, I’ve come to think everybody, no matter what their views are, might have something of interest to suggest.

Like if you figure criminals take advantage of the smallest opportunity, they might teach you about being observant. I think we tend to pass up many opportunities in normal everyday affairs.

It’s like if you’ve got polarizing views of good or bad, you might not consider an accident actually to be good luck. I am an optimist at heart, and even for me, it took many years to be thankful for things like being fired. The woman ghosted me out of a job. I should have stepped forward long before the ghosting started to say, “I need to move on.” She found somebody better and stopped calling me to work.

In the woo-woo part of my life, my spirit guide said when I dropped an entire half gallon of milk on the kitchen floor that exploded everywhere, “Oh, happy accident.” That was the first time in a long time that the entire kitchen floor, cabinets included, got washed. Completely.

Charity begins at home. That means being kind to yourself. If you are attempting to do something that some people could do without blinking an eye, but you need to learn the 25 supporting actions that have to happen first, then allow yourself a couple of years to do it. Short of enrolling in a school, just learn it yourself. In this day of the internet, you can reach out via YouTube and find folks who have taught and documented their progress in renovating their homes, raising chickens, or cultivating mushrooms.

By the way, contact me if you’d like some pointers on how to develop your own psychic senses. It doesn’t take much because the way I figure it is that everybody is already psychic. You just have to pretend for a little bit. Then, pretend becomes reality.

Best of luck to you all. Be kind, encouraging, reflective, and you will be fine.

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Sifoddling Along

By Marilyn Carnell

Writing a Novel


A couple of years ago, my insurance company offered a free online class called “Me and The Can Write a Romance Novel” Although I have never written in the romance genre, I thought, “Why not, it is a free class.” I tinkered with it for some time and recently got serious about it.

I am writing a semi-romance story using the Civil War in Southwest Missouri as background, as I have always been interested in the history of the area. None of my family lived in McDonald County during the war, but one great-grandfather was stationed at near Maysville, AR, and later settled in Pineville. One of my great-grandmothers did butcher a hog and hide it under a pile of laundry. Follows is a fictional scene of what happened.

      Bonnie Faye Doolittle leaned over a steaming black iron cauldron resting on a welded ring above a roaring fire. After much tugging with the help of a sturdy broomstick, she extracted a bedsheet from the seething water.

      The sheet would serve as a screen to hide the dead pig currently residing under a nearby pile of dirty laundry, and later, when drier, the sheet would help in handling the slippery beast and conceal it during transportation to a safer place. Despite the chilly, just-before-dawn, weather, sweat dripped from her face and soaked her clothing. She swiped a wisp of dark red hair, now sprinkled with gray from the recent trauma of war, from her forehead and hooked it behind her ear. She was taller and stronger than most women she knew, but her formerly robust body was thinned by short rations since the war began. She had a pretty face with creamy white skin, large green eyes, and a ready smile that showed even white teeth. Her strength and good health gave her some advantage in being responsible for caring for all the necessary farm chores that fell to her since the war began. after all the men were gone.

      Times were brutal and if a male of military age was found, soldiers or bushwhackers were inclined to shoot first and ask later. Men who were not in a group were wise to stay hidden. Bonnie Fay’s adult male family members chose to serve in the Southern army, which reflected their loyalties – this area was almost evenly divided between Union and Rebel causes. Even brothers differed in their opinions which divided some families painfully.

      The sun was just peeking over Pea Vine Ridge. She had to hurry. The war had been going on for 6 months and its impact on southwest Missouri had been devastating. Seemed like every soldier on each side had marched through the area and bushwhackers could strike out of the blue wreaking havoc and death.

      A short time later, she heard volleys of gunfire that were closer than usual. It seemed to come from the far side of Pea Vine Ridge. She was terrified.

* * * * *

Stay tuned for future stories. If you find this interesting, let me know.

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Irish Eyes

By Mattie Lennon


MORE than a million people lined the streets of New York's Fifth Avenue for a colourful St Patrick's Day parade in 2001. Despite the cold many stayed for hours watching over 150,000 marchers pass by, police, army, firefighters, hundreds of bands, and people from every county in Ireland.

Our green and misty island was well represented. The marchers included the Finglas Concert Band as well as a contingent from Dublin Bus while Garda representatives joined the New York Police Department at the head of the parade.

I was one of the 100 from Dublin Bus participating. The late Barney Coleman had put years of work into organizing it, ably assisted by Dublin Bus Management. One of our group was Limerick man, Joe Collins who was the PR man for Dublin Bus for many years and knew New York City like the back of his hand. No matter what information or help we needed all we had to do was (if I may borrow a phrase) “talk to Joe”

We met many who wanted to talk about their Irish roots. One man said he had stood in ehe same spot for the parade for 50 years. "It's a great day for the Irish," he said. His comments reflected the enthusiasm of many New Yorkers, for the parade, even those without Irish connections.

Among the dignitaries was Mayor Giuliani who was wearing a green woollen scarf over a green turtleneck sweater. He was hugely popular with the inhabitants of the Big Apple, some of whom shouted: "We love you, baby". Members of the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organisation were underwhelmed since they were once again refused permission to take part. They chanted: "We're Irish, we're queer, and we’ll be here every year". Their protest was peaceful, unlike the previous year when there were 11 arrests.

On the days on either side of the march our group divided into splinter groups. The shopaholics among us seem to spend most of their time in Macy's and such establishments. I was one of a small group who stood on the roof of one of the Twin Towers, looking down at the small planes going up and down the Hudson. Little did we know the fate that the same building and its twin would suffer six months later.

On the Sunday I compiled and presented a one-hour radio programme Ceol na nGael on WFUV20.7 broadcast from Fordham University. It is the most popular Irish radio program in New York, and according to the feedback my presentation was all right. One of my fellow travelers had told me, “You have the perfect face for radio.” I had prepared most of it before I left home and I brought Dublin Bus driver/ singer Angela Macari who gave a memorable, live, rendition of Grace.

Our little group was also in a world-famous submarine. It wasn’t submerged, of course. I’m referring to the nuclear sub, Growler.

At the time Growler was the only nuclear missile submarine available open to the public in the United States. As the information areas about the sub on Pier 86 are spacious, visitors were encouraged to learn and take in as much information as they could in the early parts of the tour before entering the submarine. Once on board, lines can move quickly and the ability to ask questions of the staff is limited, but encouraged. A couple of us there didn’t need any encouragement to ask questions. I prefer to think of us as having inquiring minds but unkind people described us as “inquisitive hours.

* * * * *

In September 1998, 40,000 people showed up to catch a glimpse of the President of the United States Bill Clinton, and his wife Hillary in Limerick. At a public event on 5th September on O'Connell Street, Bill Clinton was granted the Freedom of the City by my old friend, the Mayor of Limerick, Joe Harrington. As Bill was mounting the platform Joe whispered something in his ear and the world’s media didn’t find out what it was. But on March 18th two and a half years later I made a trans-Atlantic call, did a live on-air phone interview with Joe and he told me, and the Stateside listeners, what he had whispered to the President. I won’t share it with you but it was a piece of advice that Bill eventually took.

There have been many changes, both good and bad, on both sides of the Atlantic since that memorable day twenty-three years ago.

* * * * *

I was just a few pages into "Under the Bridge" by Jack Byrne, an English author of Wicklow ancestry when I got an email from the editor telling me that the deadline was staring me in the face. However, I was far enough into this gripping story to see the author's talent.

One reviewer has described it as "A truly British and Irish Thriller" and I couldn't agree more. Set in Liverpool in 2004, from the very first page the author's ability to describe everything including the weather, in detail and to bring the reader into the minds and hearts of the characters is obvious. We are steered into an intimate knowledge of the emotions of the two complex characters, Anne and Vinny.

Watch this space in April. And in the meantime, whether you are English or Irish or from anywhere else in the world I can already see that going out to buy "Under the Bridge" would be a good move. It is published by Northodox Press Limited and you will find the author at;

See you in April

Click on the author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.
This issue appears in the ezine at and also in the blog with the capability of adding comments at the latter.


Author-Medium-Spiritual Teacher

By Ara Parisien


Time and time again I have heard that positive thinking is not realistic. It’s all too sugar and spice. Very Pollyanna.

What I know is this. If my reality is not to my liking I am able, through my innate power, to create one I do like. Nothing Pollyanna about that. That is power!


Perhaps people believe that one cannot possibly be positive ‘all’ the time. To this, I agree. However, there is nothing stopping one from attempting to be. After all, we live on a plane of duality so we will always have hot/cold, slow/fast etc. We live in a world of opposites. Just because the negatives exist does it mean we absolutely have to pay attention to them? No.

If you consider that your thoughts create then it would bode well for us to pay attention and offer only the thoughts we would love TO create.


When one focuses on the negative or pushes against what they see or hear it only serves to expand the negative energy and bring more of the negative into your experiences. Think about that. We have all had days that started out badly and got worse. We stress out on the bad things that happen and it causes more. It stands to reason that the opposite is also true.


E=Mc2. It’s energy. It’s energy in motion. Small amounts of mass (your experiences in your reality) are equivalent to huge amounts of energy expended. When we consider how long and how intensely we focus on the negatives in our lives we can begin to see what it DOES create.

E=MC2 also works the same to the positive. It’s not Pollyanna. It’s science.

We can see how a positive attitude can be more beneficial for this reason – and countless other reasons too! How do we switch from the negative to the positive?


Enter the Universal Law of Polarity which states, “Everything in this dual plane of existence has an equal opposite.” Hot/Cold. Fast/Slow, etc.

Consider holding a stick. It has 2 ends. One end represents the negative value and the opposite end, the positive. As human beings, who by the way, deem themselves to be intelligent, focus on a negative event they are typically caught up with identifying the catalyst of the event and rarely the event itself. They twist and sputter about the rightness and fairness and such. When they do so it simply expands what they are pushing against. They rarely notice the opposite end of the stick which represents the gift the event has caused into being. Not only that, they fail to notice all the emotional values between the negative and positives that lay between either end of the stick.


In choosing the positive end, we may not immediately jump to it in one try as the vibrational frequencies do not align. However, they can at least try and land comfortably somewhere in the middle of the stick. Even the middle feels vastly different than the negatives they are immersing themselves in. Even if you only jump a third of the way you will still feel better and be able to gain some clarity on the situation that remained elusive when at the negative end.

Striving to maintain a positive balance in any given situation is not Pollyanna. It is more about unleashing your power. You have the power in you to create the reality you prefer. No one is fated to live through a challenge as it appears at first glance. They have the wherewithal to see it in a better light, a better frequency which caters to maintaining a higher frequency which inevitably leads to a faster solution and a more positive result. Who ‘doesn’t’ want that?


Remember the stick. Remember your choices. Remember who you are. You are not Pollyanna. You are power!

Click on the author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.
This issue appears in the ezine at and also in the blog with the capability of adding comments at the latter.