Archive for the ‘Banter’ Category

The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consulafft, at Bergen, Norway.

Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared.

Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.

I apologize, I neglected to mention that this report was from November 2, 1922. As reported by the AP and published in The Washington Post – 93 years ago!Mount Cain trip 01323d2b108_2273321June July 2013 047DSC00845

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Secrets of Hawking Manor A few comments from readers

 “I truly love your writing. In fact I would categorize it along the same vein as John Jake’s work. You are a truly gifted writer and in my opinion Secrets of Hawking Manor is  a literary masterpiece. I can definitely see it being developed into a television mini-series or feature-length movie.” (L. Gomez, editor)


“Intrigue, adventure and romance are skillfully woven in Secrets of Hawking Manor.  Well researched and historically accurate, Manke’s story weaves a fictional tale that draws the reader from the first page.  The intricate plot travels from an English estate to the wilds of uncharted lands of America and back again.  The characters are welldeveloped with period appropriate language and culture.  The scenes are imaginative and take the reader to the time and place with ease.”  (Teresa Bird, Editor and Publisher)


“I truly enjoyed meeting your characters. I could identify with their joys and heartaches. They are universal and timeless. You have captured the essence of humanity. You have shown that the concerns, loves and feelings of mankind run a common thread throughout the ages. The language you used was rich and strong. Your descriptive imagery conjured up the most delightful scenes. Powerful writing. It is a book I want to reread.” (Chris Reusse, teacher)


“Only occasionally have I picked up a book and found it hard to put down.  But that was the case with Secrets of Hawking ManorI wanted to find out what happened next, and more than once I found myself reading on when I should have been getting my beauty sleep.  It’s that kind of book.  It’s a fictional, English family story written against a historical background and I definitely recommend it.  It’s a book that deserves a sequel.” (Gordon McMann)

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Secrets of Hawking Manor My novel is now published in E-book form. Kobo readers will find it there. The Smashwords store sells it and I believe Sony and most E-Book retailers handle it as well. It should sell at the Smashwords store for $7.99 while Kobo has it listed for $9.07. The novel is action packed. Many readers have praised it.  I’ll post some of their comment next.

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What are the brains at Microsoft thinking?  Since Windows XP what Microsoft has done best is make their programs less user-friendly and more frustrating for the majority of users.  Perhaps the super serious computer consumer who spends his life at the keyboard likes the frequent changes, the more difficult applications and the greater options that one can access for occasionally, marginal use.  The trouble is most of us are not super serious users.

What’s my beef specifically?  The latest computer I purchased came with Windows 8 preloaded.  It presented a fairly steep learning curve made a bit more difficult by the absence of instructions at the time.  But you live, learn and move on.  Soon after I began using it Microsoft encouraged downloading 8.1 with frequent reminder that I hadn’t done so yet.  Did I have a premonition that trouble would follow, if I succumbed to those reminders?  I ignored them for several months and went along happily with Windows 8 and what it offered.  Then came a day I’ll never forget.  To keep from seeing the 8.1 reminders again I said to myself, “Why not hit the download now button and get rid of all these irritating reminders?  How much different and troublesome can 8.1 be?”images (2)

Troublesome would have been a piece of cake compared to what I got.  The amount of time it took to download should have given me reason to worry.  Once the foul deed had been accomplished I found my monitor staring at me in bright ugly orange.  No big deal I thought.  I can fix it.

Little did I realize that trouble had come calling in a big way.  I turned on my laser printer to copy a document, but my computer informed me it could not find the printer; it didn’t exist.  I’ve added a printer or two in the past so I wasn’t worried yet, but I spent nearly an hour unsuccessfully to add that printer.  I didn’t panic because I had a wireless color printer too.  Guess what I discovered?  Yea, the computer had never heard of it.  Have you ever noticed that trouble comes in groups of three?  Still trying to get the printers working I found a message on my screen telling me my computer was at risk.  I had just renewed my security program for three more years. Ready to call Kaspersky to give them a piece of my mind I noticed the shortcut had disappeared from my computer screen.  Further investigation showed me I had no Kaspersky antivirus program or any other on my computer any longer.

images (3)To make a long story short I sat at my keyboard for five and a half hours while a Microsoft techie asked me the occasional question.  Otherwise I watched him try to get Windows 8.1 to accept my printers and get a handle on the Kaspersky problem

Do I think Windows 8.1 is wonderful?  Maybe I’m expecting too much, but I figure Microsoft should have at least warned me that by downloading 8.1 I would find a few surprises some of which would be very troublesome, and others I would  likely only discover with time.  I can’t wait to find them.

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I’ve neglected to add posts regularly during the last month.  Proof reading and editing six full length novels that I’m getting ready to publish in eBook format demanded much of my time. I have only managed to read two or three books in that time at late hours when my tasks became overwhelming.

It’s the book I’m finishing to read now on my Kobo Arc I want to share.  Written by Susanne Clarke “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell” is a story of a magician trying to restore the art of magic in England.  After reading the first four or five chapters I had it in my mind to quit.  I found the pages to that point boring.  But I decided to labor on for another chapter, and as if by magic the story began to catch my attention.  One curious element I notice now, whenever I boot the reader up and select the novel to continue to read it, makes me wonder if the author has added a diabolical twist to the book.  Can you believe it?  As the time I read the story increases so does the time remaining to read according to the tablet.  Obviously, I now must read to see if or how the story will end. magician 4

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First day of winter

Winter arrived today.  For me  all seasons are beautiful.   I was about to write, even winter, but it might be more accurate to say, especially winter.  Think of a new fallen blanket of snow.  It can convert even a grey, uninspiring countryside into a scenic marvel.  Have you ever noticed the intricate pictures frost can paint on a pane of glass or theFamily pictures 171 windshield of a car?  As a kid I loved watching through the window the first snow curling down, and I looked forward to the backyard covered deep enough for me to build a snowman or other figures.  What boy or girl from three to ninety can resist a snowball fight?  For me a cap of snow lends mountains even greater majesty.  Those who have never skated or played hockey on a frozen pond or lake have missed out on one of winter’s great delights.  The beauty of a clear winter night and Northern lights of winter, I think, belong to nature’s greatest master pieces.  Yes, I like winter.Mount Cain trip 018

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The Plight of Pawns

The trouble with elections is, they only last for a few weeks during which individuals of voting age  count.  The four years that follow that same voter becomes nothing more than a pawn.  The announcement today of Hydro increases that will top 25% is another reminder of this. DSC00591 (3)

During the election campaign we heard how important families were and that seniors, having given years of service to the province, deserved consideration.   In speeches the same people told us huge increases for electricity they would not allow.  The Hydro increases announced today proves them to be liars.  Does anybody think there won’t be a new pipeline?

So what will 25% mean in dollars and cents, and who will be most affected?  Let me count the ways.  Take your present Hydro bill, divide it by four and add that amount to your present bill.  For me it will be about $700 a year or almost $60 a month.  If you think you can cut back to keep from paying more, you’ll have to shut all power off for 1.75 days each week.  That’s 42 hours each week of the year.   But that’s not all the bad news.  Prices of everything you and I will buy will go up.  A business must pass its costs on to the customer.  Health care will be more expensive.  School districts already strapped for funds will have increased costs which will translate to fewer services for student.

And who will be most affected.  That one is easy.  The same families we heard our politicians say they will make sure they get a fair shake, the same seniors on fixed incomes they claimed they would protect from the poorhouse.  What about young people trying to make ends meet in colleges and universities?

But maybe the bigger issue is that we have allowed politicians to lie to us, making promises they had no intentions ever to keep.  I know if I told my employer over and over I would do a job and then I didn’t do it, that employer would have the right to fire me and most likely would do so.

I wrote the Premier today and hope a lot of people will do so.  Don’t you think enough is enough?

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Fall has moved into our part of the world for its three months visit.  Like every season it brings with it its own beauty. The crispness I feel in the air  in the morning, the yellow, red and brown garments I note that many trees have changed into, the voices of migrating birds I hear and the evidence I see of Halloween  in stores all shout, “It’s autumn.  But the picture that for some reason lingers in my mind’s view is one of the past when fall came to the Prairie.

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I recently purchase and read a book by Tara Conklin called, “The House Girl.”  The book doesn’t feature a lot of intense action and drama.  It tells of a young lawyer who is part of a team planning a class action suit to compensate people whose ancestors were slaves in the tobacco and corn fields of the southern states.  The action switches back and forth between the present and the days of slavery.  One chapter relates the professional and social issues facing the lawyer and another describes the life of a slave house girl.

For me the most interesting parts of the book dealt with the hardships and the dreams of the slave house girl and the other slaves on the farm with her. Like I said, if you’re looking for a lot of bang, bang action, this isn’t the book to read.  Its interest lies in the way the author relates the two time periods, and how she deals with the young lawyer and the house girl.  One might make the point that the young lawyer was as as much a slave as the house girl.  In the first case the law firm exercises control over her life, in the second case the owner of the farm owned the house girl.  One learns a good deal about the people of the southern states both slave and free.

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Today I want to touch on the topic of wind farms.  One of many sets of turbinesIt’s a subject quite different from my posts of the past.  Harvesting wind power has intrigued me for a long time.  As long as the wind blew, I believed, wind turbines would give us cheap power.

Like with most things I like to draw on what history tells me for confirmation.  After all, isn’t past experience the best predictor of future success or failure?  Looking at the use of wind power of a couple centuries ago I note the success of the Clipper Ship.  Before steam engines replaced them the Clipper dominated the seas with Clipper Ship  Aits marvelous speed.

The windmills of the past used the wind to turn a huge grindstone  that ground grain into flour.  The invention of the windmill saved many hours of manual labor and was seen as a benefit to people.  These and other inventions speak favorably of seeing in wind farms a cheap way to light our homes.  It appeared safe to me to draw the conclusion that using what nature gives us freely can only benefit us all. DSCF0348

For that reason I applauded the construction of a wind farm on the northern tip of the island.  After all we get windy days almost all of the year. The power a portion of the turbines produce , it seems, is now hooked into the hydro network.  We should soon see a benefit to our hydro bills, shouldn’t we?

The experience in countries that have gone to wind farms to solve their power issues suggests otherwise.  Stories from England and Scotland now tell us that all is not as it should be.  The turbines don’t produce as imagined.  There are days when the wind does not blow or blows to hard, and backup power generators are needed.  The cost of constructing these giant towers with their huge turbines may never be repaid by the power they generate we learn.  We also hear of birds being killed in no small numbers.  Germany saw in wind farms the way to eventually dismantle their nuclear power plants.  The most recent news from that country suggests that it was a pipe dream, one that could set that country’s booming economy back a century or two. DSCF0349

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