You Don’t Know Jack Schmidt!

Jack W. Schmidt was born on September 19, 1927 and died on July 25, 2015 at age 88.

The world seems a bit off without him in it… this Jack of all trades who was an actor, writer, cryptologist and a financial analyst for the aerospace industry.

In Jack’s career as an actor, he appeared on Broadway in a short-lived musical spoof of Agatha Christie’s “Ten Little Indians,” and off-Broadway in “Little Shop of Horrors” as well as “The Fantasticks.” In film, he was an extra in the bank heist scene in Woody Allen’s “Take the Money & Run.”

A two-time winner of the “Bad Hemingway Contest” with wife Liz, Jack also won the hearts of the writers in the Ridgefield Writers Guild, a group he was a member of for 12 plus years.w-OBT-Schmidt

Jack was a formidable man, in spirit and stature. He was tall, but thin and frail in recent years and walked with a cane. His frailties were the antitheses of the strength he wielded in his voice and stories. The timbre of his voice resonated in a room when he read aloud and commanded the attention of those who had the pleasure of hearing him speak.

The stories Jack wrote were as much about his life and travels as they were about the people in his stories who shared his experiences. From his time spent in Mexico with literary peers, to witnessing H-Bomb blasts in the New Mexico desert, which he chronicled for the Air Force, and then later wrote about in story form — I was there with him, a passenger on his journeys, seeing the world as he did through his eyes and his words.

Jack was a gentle giant of a man and had a heart as large as Mexico. He was an inspiration to our writing group and always supportive. His talent and kindness will forever remain in our hearts.

In July, we lost an elegant writer, speaker and friend. A selfless man who lived big and dreamed bigger.

Carpe diem. Seize the day -Love Jack, he wrote in a 2009 email, a phrase that captures the way in which he lived his life.

We miss you, Jack!


What Kind Of Thinker Are You?


The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris

The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been thinking about thinking a lot and the different ways people use their brains, or don’t use them.

I recently wrote a post about the subject at Huffington Post and would like to expand upon it here.

As an “outside the lines” thinker, I’ve been listening to this thought rattle around in my head:

Can a “within the lines” thinker let his mind wander beyond the perimeter outside conventional thought?

Specifically speaking, can a rigid-thinking mathematician who values the orderly nature of numbers use his thoughts as a flotation device? — In one-tenth percent of a moment, can he disavow digits and embrace escape?

I think Mr. Numbers can if he’d be willing to take his thoughts out for a spin on the far side — a magical place to visit whenever life broadsides your brain.

Just two words can take you there: “What if?” A game writers love to play.

“What if my house is really a spaceship that landed in my yard while I was asleep in a coma tube?”

“What if the universe is really a diorama in an alien museum?”

Try to prove or disprove that theory my “within the lines” thinking friend.

Perhaps, rigid thinkers, like Mr. Numbers, are a necessity for those of us who landed on Earth in a coma tube. We need practical thinkers to counteract wily thinkers like us.

Rigid types create structure that prevents wily thought travelers from disappearing into a virtual vortex of vex.

Perhaps, one structural creation device is a pharma helper called Concerta for attention drifters whose thought migration patterns follow the sparkles in shiny things.

As an attention drifter myself, Concerta helps me travel round trip from left-brain to right. Now when I clock in at work, my mind clocks in, too. Concerta keeps my thoughts on a leash inside the perimeter in which I sit. If I’m not busy, I find work to occupy my time to prevent my thoughts from taking a sudden trip to Imagination Island.

Mr. Numbers has a problem that’s 180-degrees from mine. He’s a “within the lines thinker” and could benefit from a pharma helper with a psychedelic twist. Not that I condone taking “under the counter” drugs. I don’t. In many cases, even “over the counter” drugs aren’t the best way to fix an anomaly in the brain.

Let’s take the natural route, instead, and ask Mr. Numbers to try meditating once a day without clutching his calculator.

I only use a calculator when adding or subtracting, which consumes most of the focus in my focus meds.

By the time I get home, my mind is in a hibernation state. All I’m capable of is staring at the brain-suck box in my living room. It whites out lingering dark figures that prowl the corridors in my head searching for answers to sum up their existence.

I wonder if things ever add up for them.

What sums up the kind of thinker you are?

Disclaimer: This is not an endorsement of Concerta. I am no fan of pharmaceutical ads and their side-effect warnings — especially, the latest ad on Shingles that shows gruesome pictures without a warning beforehand of the PTSD side effects of viewing red oozing back sores. Somebody please get Shingle ads off my TV.

Ted Cruz Is Up And Running, But What About His Website?

Ted Cruz Epic Website Fail

Oops. Ted Cruz’s team should have put website at the top of their to-do list. Even though website begins with a “w,” this is one of those times it was a mistake to be alphabetically correct.

Maybe, if Ted Cruz spent his time searching for a URL on GoDaddy instead of reading Green Eggs and Ham on the senate floor, he would have been able to secure the domain name Now he’s going to have to settle for, which is geographically correct since he was born in Canada.













Kind of, sort of but by someone else.

Do You Feel Like You’re Blogging In An Evening Gown?

That’s how it feels when I write a post on WordPress. I need to put on an evening gown to write, unlike Blogger, which has a casual dress code.

English: Geraldine Farrar in evening gown

English: Geraldine Farrar in evening gown (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In September Ron, head writer of the fabulous blog Being Ron, wrote a post asking which blogging platform we preferred WordPress or Blogger?

I responded with this comment:

If I could do it all over again, I probably would have stuck with Blogger. For some reason, I had more fun when I had a Blogger blog. I think upgrading to a “professional” site has taken the fun out of blogging. It’s more formal. It’s like typing in an evening gown. I’d rather write in jeans…I miss Blogger. I upgraded my site for my writing platform. But, what’s the point of upgrading for your writing if you end up writing less?

I then told Ron that I would eventually write a post about the subject, citing him as my inspiration.

Well, I did write that post and called it Blogging In An Evening Gown. It was published yesterday at Huffington Post.

Thank you for starting the conversation, Ron.

Since upgrading my blog to WordPress, I’ve had to deal with many technical issues that were far above my pay grade. I’ve spent hours searching for answers online that I never found. Finally, I hired a tech-savvy avatar to fix all the problems that pissed off Google — who gave me a timeout.

For writers who blog, it’s difficult enough switching between writing in the sky and writing on earth. (It’s a different mindset.) Add tech issues to the mix and blogging/writing becomes toxic. That’s why I stopped messing with stuff in the dashboard I should have left alone. — I was ground zero. — I am my own worst enemy in the sky and on earth.

Shortly after being released by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), I learned how to achieve a fragile balance between blogging and writing. The result: I blog less but write more. It was the only way I could remain almost sane.

Thank you for reading the words of a somewhat sane madwoman.

I hope you’ll stop by Huffington Post and read my post that was inspired by Ron. And please stop by Ron’s place for some great stories and photos.


Office Deja Vu: A Shoeless Tuesday Ago


A flash of memory pops into my head, illuminating a moment I try to forget.

Sounds of summer in the office: copiers chirping, papers flapping in the breeze and the intoxicating scent of Wite-Out — always helps me through the day. I need my Wite-Out fix to escape V.P. sales hysteria, the cause of office chaos.

Six sales people, each with their own personality quirks, try to burst into my office every day of the week. They try, because I keep the door locked.

On the other side of my door, the sales staff wanders in a fog. I am the traffic controller, the manager of the office. On most days, they can’t function without direction from me.

While their heads bobble on their shoulders outside my door, I work on an excuse for locking my door today. Luckily, my silence is interpreted as hyperfocus. I know this because they yell when they talk.

What’s Lauren doing in there?

Hyper-focusing. She’s swamped.

I laugh. I’m playing FreeCell. But the jokes on me because I’m stuck. I study the screen, eyes glazed like a donut.

My problem-solving process ends abruptly at the shrill ring of the phone. I awaken from my FreeCell coma, hand shaking as I answer the phone.


Lauren, is that you?

Who else would it be? This is my extension.

Oh, good.

Why are you whispering? This is Moira, right?

Yes. I don’t want anyone to hear me. I’m in my car.

Are the windows open?


Then how can anyone hear you?

No, no…It’s more of…if anyone can hear YOU talking to me.

They’re yelling out there. I’m in my office with the door locked.

What are they yelling about?

The usual — holes in pages in the magazine. Lou’s yelling about the lack of ads. It’s hell out there.

I’ve got problems, too.

Where are you calling from?

The garage. I’m downstairs in the garage.

Scratching head.

Why don’t you park and come upstairs?

I can’t!


It’s embarrassing.

Moira, please tell me. I think ten calls just went into voice mail.

Uh, well…The thing is…I drove to work without my shoes.

I think we have a bad connection. Did you say you drove to work without your shoes?


How is that possible?

I always drive barefoot and keep a spare pair of shoes in the car. I must have left the spare at home.

Jesus. It’s not like keeping a pair of bowling shoes in your car, though it would have solved your problem.

Christ, Lauren. I don’t bowl. It’s also why I don’t type — fingernail polish. Let’s move on. Do you have an extra pair of shoes?

WTF? No. I don’t even have a pair of rain boots. We’re in the middle of a drought. I’ll check the shoe vending machine.

Thank God, there’s a shoe vending machine.

Moira, I’m kidding. Though I’d be happy to get you a bag of chips. Hey, maybe you can eat the chips and use the empty bags as shoes.

Momentary silence. Moira likely deep in thought.

Sounds too messy.

Maybe I can get two garbage bags from the cafe upstairs.

I’m not walking around with garbage bags on my feet. That’s too weird.

And not having shoes isn’t?

Please don’t judge me. I’m having an anxiety attack.

Do you have a paper bag? Put it over your head and breathe slowly. If you have two, you can use them as shoes.

You know how I feel about bags. I’m calming down. You obviously can’t help me. Thanks for trying. I’ll just go to the drug store and get a pair of flip-flops. No one will recognize me if I’m wearing sunglasses and a hat.

Good luck! Are you coming back?

No, I can’t attend a meeting in flip-flops. I’ll call Lou from home.


Back to FreeCell.


Page 1 of 72123456»102030...Last »




Follow on Bloglovin

Mayura Badge

Northeast Bloggers Network