New Guest Author: Frank Hughes

We’re delighted to introduce new Guest author Franklin E. Hughes. Frank has graciously consented to let us republish stories he originally posted in FaceBook. I felt Frank’s sense of place, reminiscence and regional storytelling all deserve a wider audience. Frank writes:

Alex – You got it right, my stories are mostly ramblings. I just start typing, and most of the time I never know where I’ll end up … I never expected anyone but a few friends and relatives to even be interested in them. Some of them are true … and most of them are based at least partly on happenings in my life. The small town I grew up in probably never had 200 people. My graduating class had 14 students, 3 boys and 11 girls. At one time the town was quite large. Oil was discovered in 1905 and it grew overnight. The oil slowed down and the people left for richer grounds. By the time I grew up there, all that was left was 2 general stores and a gas station. Uh-Oh … I’m rambling agin!  Maybe someone else out there will enjoy my ramblings…! I leave it in your capable hands. With the way I write, I wouldn’t even know where one paragraph started or ended. I have enjoyed your website. It seems to have a little bit of something to interest a lot of different people.  Regards, Frank

We here introduce two of Frank’s stories, in our Writing department. There are more to come!

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“Get”: What’s In a Word?

English word usage: “get” is such a mongrel word, yet we’re totally accustomed to it and recognize the meaning by context and nuance. Pressed for a definition, we immediately think “obtain, procure, acquire”, but there are over a hundred more very common usages: possess, receive, fetch, to hear clearly or grasp, capture or seize, receive a punishment or sentence … oh, all right: I’m already sneaking looks at the dictionary! Article in Writing.

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WRITING Department Converted

Our WRITING department has been converted over to WordPress. Some pages are newly reformatted for WordPress pages or articles. Legacy HTML stories, reflections, poems and letters have been relinked to the new WRITING home page. Guest articles have been linked, but have not been moved or reformatted.

I hope you enjoy the new format and find it easier to browse.

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Elections 2008

We have a number of recent posts in Humor, Computers, PHOTO Notes, Writing Notes and even our Bug List.

Since this website was founded in 1995, I can’t recall an election where Summitlake.com opted to recommend a candidate. There are several reasons for this, not just one.

  • My political and social commentary shows pretty clearly that Summitlake.com is not a good fit for any current political party
  • Since I came of age to vote for a presidential candidate in 1964, casting a ballot has been a distasteful choice between “the lesser of two evils”
  • This voting strategy has been a bitter disappointment as the winners let me and our country down
  • Our commentary is issues-oriented, not party-oriented

This is the first election in over forty years in which I feel an unqualified optimism about one candidate and the platform of one major political party.

Read our precedent-breaking full editorial essay , in our Commentary department,  Why I’m Voting for Barack Obama in 2008.”

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Summer 2008

Well, my goodness, we don’t usually fall behind this far in updating What’s New. For Summitlake news and new articles across all our “departments”, we do rely on “At a Glance – Last Modified” on our home index page. We hope you do too.

We have new articles this summer in Commentary, Computers, La Parola, Miscellany, and Writing Notes. I’m mining all this from “At A Glance”. The menus in those departments show all the most recent postings.

Swan is still sending his delightful photo compositions in Photo Notes. I have a few new photos there too, including a couple of Washington state’s celebrated Mt. St. Helens. Fred Leeds has posted 10 more chapters as he wraps up Mutual I, in Writing. Oddly, I haven’t posted anything in my own My Notes since June – much of what I’m writing relates to what I’m reading, so that has all been going into Writing Notes instead.

Our index page counter seems to be stuck on 1,780,738 site visits (Feb 7). There is always something new to maintain on the site. We’ll do our best to keep those articles coming too. Cheers!

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Posts and Such

We did a site upgrade to WordPress 2.5.1. Miraculously, most “At A Glance” last-mod dates didn’t toggle false latest-post updates. (Without going to the Home Page, you can always also see “At A Glance” in the right hand menu on this page.)

We have a wonderful short article in Writing Notes, Retirement in Oregon – by Dave Norton. Dave and his wife retired recently to start a new life in the beautiful and peaceful Pacific Northwest.

We also have new photos from Swan in Photo Notes, and a new post on Herodotus (yes, the ancient history Herodotus) in Writing Notes.

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New in Writing, My Notes

  • If you haven’t been following it, you should: in WRITING, we’re hosting a serial essay “Mutual I” by guest author Fred Leeds. These chapters aren’t long. If you’ve been following along, you should see why by now. I just posted Fred’s Chapter Five last night, and I’m really looking forward to more installments.
  • That’s What I’m Talking About: in Writing Notes,  I go back to Summitlake’s founding metaphor of The Lake, a place for reflection, but also a thing of beauty in its own right. “This short essay is just to remind us: have fun, but revere the lake. We are part of the local history of the lake, but it is also a part of us, more than most of us take the time to realize.”
  • Letter to Stereophile Magazine: in My Notes, we finally get our licks in on all that political editorialzing on the subject of  … music.

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The Mutual I

Building on his delightful essay “Birthday Year”, Guest Author Fred Leeds has embarked on a thoughful serial essay to explore how we see each other as human beings. New chapters should be added at a rate of about one every other week.

The Mutual I – now in our Writing department.

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New Photos and Story

New in PHOTOS and WRITING:

  • From Swan (“Sunset at the State Fair“) and Dave Norton (“Colorado“), we have great new photos in Photo Notes.
  • In WRITING I’ve put together a photo narrative of my early growing up as a “California transplant”, in Lafayette, California. The memories cover the years 1950 to 1952 in a much simpler time. It’s a longer read. Check it out in the story Pine Lane, 1950
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    Recently New

    In case you didn’t catch these through AT A GLANCE on the main page:

  • Vietnam Photo Galleries, in PHOTO – scans from my early 1963-1964 tour of duty overseas. We are scanning more as time rolls on …
  • Apostrophes, Molehills and Wallace Stegner, in Writing Notes – in which we perfect the time-honored writing style known as “Flogging the dead horse”.
  • Correspondence: More on DataDesk Keyboards, in Computers – will the makers of the world’s finest computer keyboards ever discover advertising and salesmanship, or do they just huddle over the drafting tables waiting to hear if anyone has bought a new keyboard this month?
  • PHOTO Notes – don’t forget to check out fine recent additions by Swan, Terry White and yours truly …
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    “Birthday Year” – New Guest Author

    We’re pleased to offer a delightful new short piece, Birthday Year, a creative submission from new Guest Author Fred Leeds.

    “Birthday Year” is posted in our WRITING department, and is available now at the link above. We think you’ll agree it speaks of a wonderfully refreshing outlook. Do you see a different take on something that’s there all the time?

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    To Drill Two Holes

    Dave Norton has sent us a fine new creative narrative, “To Drill Two Holes“. Like Jack London’s “To Build A Fire”, it tells how the seemingly simplest project has a way of turning into a monster. With photos, this story in our WRITING Department has a surprise ending you won’t see coming.

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    Ten years Online

    Hey, we noticed the counter on the Index page shows 1.55 million visits to this site since 1999. I realized I don’t even know exactly how long we’re been online. But after all, our motto right on the front page says, “Articles, stories, community and computer resources – the world of the original written word, on the World Wide Web since 1995.”

    I thought: how would I find out?

    Well, I did find a 1996 archive from our first site on long-defunct ISP Best.com. We had four departments: Computers, La Parola, PAUG and Stories & Fiction. (PAUG was our Mac computer club, itself long defunct).

    The Stories & Fiction department has long since been renamed WRITING. Today, I added a Writing Notes page, not to replace WRITING, but to supplement it, one of our largest and most popular departments – with 267,400 hits since we added a counter. Writing Notes is a WordPress page (like this one), designed for briefer, “on the fly” notes. Please do check it out for additional background on why both WordPress and the traditional HTML pages each have their own value on a site.

    Those you who’ve learned to check our At A Glance listings on the Home Index page know that we’ve been busy all over Summitlake.com. We have new photos from July vacation, and recent postings in My Notes, Computers and Commentary.

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    Goings-On

    • Q: How come some departments show an update in “AT A GLANCE” when there has been no recent activity? A: Blog spammers. I read they’re called “sploggers” now. Spammers have automated crawlers that leave comments on web logs. These are generally links to other sites which increase Google visibility, which gets somebody paid more advertising money. I have filters which almost always intercept and hold these postings, until I can delete them, but the files are all updated anyway to show “activity”.
    • Thanks to Dave N. for pointing out the broken “Write Us” buttons all over this site. In February I updated the Perl program which supports this function, in response to a server-mandated change, but failed to upload the changed file. “Write Us” works now. Hope I haven’t missed some more.
    • Dave and Swan continue to send fine contributions to “PHOTO notes”.
    • I am working on a major, almost scholarly review of the Darden Pyron biography “Liberace – An American Boy”. Analyzing the complex life of “Mr. Showmanship” has been a fascinating challenge. I am nearly finished with the article. I have some finishing positive touches I want to add, but I’m in no hurry to rush it through to completion. The article will be posted in WRITING when complete, and we’ll announce it here.

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    New Today

    We have a really nice Valentine’s flower from Swan in PHOTO Notes. It looks like a Christmas Cactus to me, but the bloom is most appropriate for remembering somebody special on Saint Valentine’s Day.

    Also in PHOTO Notes, I posted a couple of shots of my own with my new Nikon D70s model digital camera.

    In Writing, I added our first-ever book review. If you’re a fan of the John D. MacDonald Travis McGee series, or ever were, your take on the series might be different than mine, but you’ll agree they’re addictive. For those of you looking for a different serial thriller engagement, if you’ve never read Travis McGee, my review postulates that you may find yourself of sufficiently strong constitution to read more than one of this captivating series – or maybe even all of them.

    Lastly, I see that release 2.01 of WordPress is out. And you know what that means. Over the next few days, we’ll probably see all the last-modified file dates being updated to “today” in all seven WordPress depertments. If the weather remains cloudy on my Phoenix vacation, what better way to spend an afternoon than site maintenance?

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    Bear of The Day

    Well, you were probably wondering: who is “Bear of the Day?” For that matter, who are “The Bears?” Visit C.Bear’s World to find out. We have Bear Honorariums going back to the year 2000. Good to January 2006. 🙂

    Also, check out PHOTO Notes for our new picture postings by Swan and Art Neighbor.

    Do you follow Astronomy? We know at least one of you does … we don’t get the telescopes out much this year, but we still enjoy “naked eye” and binocular sessions. As we write these up, we’re posting periodic impressions of our night sky observations.

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