How do you Quote Yourself?

Press releases are traditionally written as if unbiased news, not in first person (If thine “I” offends thee, pluck it out). I have found the following useful when writing a press release in which I need to quote myself.

Write what you want to say in the release, then before finalizing it, write those exact words in a blog post. Of course you’ll need to use your name, probably spelled the same, in both of them. Just remember to publish the blog post before publishing the press release. If you can include the title of the post in references at the bottom of the release, it can show the news publisher it is valid and safe to publish.

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New Edition of Searching for Ropens

The new title for the third edition of my first nonfiction book will be Searching for Ropens and Finding God. This explains cryptozoological investigations of worldwide sightings of apparent modern pterosaurs. Expect many new paragraphs and even new chapters. Here is a sample of what LDS should find strangely familiar, a highly modified portion of Chapter 29 of Second Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

Many of the paleontologists will say, “A live pterosaur?! A live pterosaur?! We have got pterosaur fossils and there cannot be any more live pterosaurs.”

O fools, they shall have pterosaur fossils; and they shall come from among those animals that died during the ancient Flood written of in Genesis. And what thanks do paleontologists give to God for the preservation of basic animal types on the Ark of Noah, written of in the Bible?

Really, for paleontologists who believe in the Bible, what do they mean? Do they remember the labors of those who built the Ark and their diligence to God in bringing forth many basic forms of animal life to all the earth?

O you Bible-believing paleontologists, have you remembered the Ark of Noah, God’s ancient work to save basic animal types? Not the scientists who reject the Bible. They have denounced the Flood of Genesis and hated the scriptures and have not sought to discover live pterosaurs but only fossils. God will hold them accountable, but he remembers those who recognize his hand in preserving life.

Fools shall say, “Pterosaur fossils, we have got pterosaur fossils, and we need no more live pterosaurs.” How did you obtain fossils except from living creatures?

Don’t you know that there have been more pterosaur species than one? Don’t you know that God put all of them on the earth and that he remembers to preserve those that still live on various islands and in other places? God rules in heaven and on earth, and he brings forth various species from the basic life forms that he had preserved on the Ark.

Why murmur or why marvel that, among discoveries of new species, some discoveries should be of basic types assumed long extinct? Don’t you know that the discovery of two or more basic types, such as living Coelacanths and living pterosaurs, is evidence that God preserves basic animal types?

God remembers one basic life form as well as another, preserving Coelacanths and pterosaurs. When people come to know that these two are still living, they will have two testimonies that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Don’t look for the above in the first two editions of Searching for Ropens; it’s not there. The third edition should be published before Thanksgiving . . . I hope. [Update: It was published April 18, 2014, a major revision of this nonfiction book.]

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Called the "Bible of modern pterosaurs," this nonfiction book is titled "Searching for Ropens and Finding God" - by J. D. Whitcomb

Back cover of Searching for Ropens and Finding God

From the title page of this nonfiction book:

This flies high above a common true-life adventure, revealing the early stages of what may become the most unsettling scientific discovery since Copernicus and Galileo. It soars above disputes about religion, revealing why an official discovery of an extraordinary animal was delayed for so long. Above all, this explores human experiences—of eyewitnesses and those who interviewed them. People have become connected by common encounters: Persons of various faiths, with various levels of education, from various countries and cultures, have seen a living pterosaur.

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Ropen Poetry

With apologies to Emily Dickinson, I post my humble little mutation of a poem:

Ropen-attacks-Dickinson

Humor intended, of course

I title this “Not everybody embraces a live pterodactyl.”

I believe that these bioluminescent nocturnal flying predators eat more than just bats and birds. I also believe it’s better that Western society gets to know about these wonderful creatures, although it may be “better not to know” them through close contact.

To learn about this apparent modern pterosaur, see Ropen

Here is the non-image text of my poem:

  • Ropen, the thing without feathers,
  • That sleeps inside a hole,
  • And eats the bats and perching birds,
  • And never stops at all . . .
  • Is it better not to know?

The original poem by Emily Dickinson begins, “Hope is the thing with feathers, That perches in the soul . . .”

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New Word for Marriage Between a Man and a Woman

A new word has been appointed for traditional marriage between a man and a woman: Adahmeve. Why should we need a new word for this ancient family organization? Some Western countries have legalized the use of the word “marriage” to include same-gender relationships licensed by government. But God himself organized marriage in the beginning as between male and female. The word “adahmeve” is now available to avoid confusion, for it only refers to the traditional formal relationship between husband and wife.

From “The Family, a Proclamation to the World,” from the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

“. . . marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children. . . . All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”

Young family right after an LDS baby blessing in Southern California in 2013

Family form organized by God: husband, wife, and children

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Adahmeve

What is this word “adahmeve?” . . . we must have a word specific to the traditional marriage of a male  husband and a female wife.

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Definition of Marriage

The natural direction of growth for the English language is to add a word to our vocabulary when we find something new that we value. How unnatural to officially dilute a word, so that it refers to additional things, not originally intended!

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Amazon Rankings and Reviews

I’ve read this advice, for new authors, on how to improve book sales: Get good reviews. For Amazon sales, at least, beware of this over simplistic idea.

Why do many readers purchase a particular book? Consider the following:

  • Many book readers could become interested in it
  • Those readers are often reminded of the book
  • Benefits of reading it are clear and convincing
  • Readers find if easy to purchase

With all four of the above, your book will sell well. If the potential audience is in the millions, it will sell at least in the hundreds of thousands. But beware of the following simplistic Amazon-review dream: A few good reviews will generate more sales which will cause more good reviews which will generate more sales, until hundreds of thousands are sold on Amazon. I suggest that rarely happens, if ever.

An associate of mine published a short book two months ago. The audience is small but the book was apparently well prepared and loved by those who read it; the illustrations were highly praised. It sold well for the first few weeks. It now has twenty Amazon reviews, each of them giving five-stars. Yet the Amazon Best Sellers Rank is now at #327,966. I suspect that the bulls-eye of the target audience mostly already owns copies of the book and that most of the secondary target has no idea the book exists.

The point? Those twenty 5-star Amazon reviews will not likely sell many more books in the next few weeks, unless other marketing avenues are used to bring the book to the attention of the secondary audience.

We need to concentrate on the four basics of successful book sales and beware of simplistic ideas about quick results.

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The Miracle of Father Kapaun

Whether it’s by a medic or chaplain or regular soldier, a wounded comrade is carried in somebody’s arms. The word “literally” can distract from that simple act, tempting the reader to wonder, for a moment, how a wounded soldier could be non-literally carried. I know this is trivial in itself, but it gives us a clue that the writer is probably not professional, and imperfections can add up over the course of 200 pages.

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Did Roosevelt Have Pre-Knowledge?

I recently watched part of a documentary that appeared to try to convince people that President Franklin D. Roosevelt knew, ahead of time, of the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor. I don’t intend the following to be a deep examination, but only a few observations.

But first, consider the virtue of doubting the worst we hear about another person, holding back negative judgment, at least until we hear from the defense. We need to be objective, especially when somebody’s character is being attacked.

An hour before the first Japanese planes were launched from the decks of aircraft carriers, many miles from the nearest coast of Hawaii, nobody knew how devastating the attack would be. Prior reports indicated that the military forces at Pearl Harbor were not generally on high alert, but nobody could be certain, when that launching commenced, that the Americans would be completely taken by surprise.

Not even the Japanese who trained for that military mission could be sure it would be successful. Everything depended on surprise. Why do we now understand the devastation of that December 7th attack? Hindsight. We can see the photo of giant plume of water shot up from the explosion of a torpedo on the hull of a ship. We can read of the thousands of American lives lost and the many airplanes and ships damaged or destroyed. We can hear the words of those who survived that devastation.

But hindsight should not blind us to the ignorance that everybody lived in right before that attack began. Everybody was ignorant of the devastating attack, one hour before the first planes took off from those carriers.

Japanese losses were comparatively light, with only 29 aircraft lost, compared with 188 American planes destroyed, most of which were sitting on the ground. But things could have gone differently. The weather was getting rough after the second wave of attacks, instead of earlier. Somebody might have alerted the Americans in time for some of those 188 planes to have gotten into the air.  The American carriers could have been close enough to have launched an attack on the Japanese carriers. Even some of the ground aircraft might have threatened the Japanese fleet, if the advantage of surprise had been lost.

The point? Even the Japanese did not know for sure that their attack would be devastating, an hour before their planes were launched. So why believe that the president of the United States knew about that devastation, before the attack, when those men on those Japanese ships knew nothing for sure? Franklin D. Roosevelt had no idea that a devastating attack was about to take place.

Of course there’s much more that we can learn from various researchers. But let’s not get carried away with believing President Roosevelt had any sure pre-knowledge of anything related to the Pearl Harbor attack, even if he had access to many bits of evidence. Remember that when we look back at the evidences that the president may have had from advisors, we today have the advantage of looking back at a historic event; he did not.

As an aside, when I was a young man, I worked with a Charlie White, as we maintained the sprinkler systems on the campus of California State University Long Beach. He told me what he experienced during the Pearl Harbor attack.

Charlie was on a small destroyer; as I recall, they were on training out at sea. When they were attacked by a Japanese plane, they replied with live return fire. The pilot gave up the attack and looked for an easier target, or at least a safer target.

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Nazi Germany Versus 21st Century America Regarding 9-11

How do our present freedoms in the USA compare with the freedoms of citizens of Germany during the rule of Adolf Hitler?

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The Quality or Mercy: is it Strained?

I’ve not read The Miracle of Father Kapaun; keep that in mind. I’ve read mostly from the Amazon “Look Inside” excerpts for this nonfiction biography of a war hero.

Let’s examine the technical quality in one brief excerpt, remembering that the quality of ideas, the noble life, the Christ-like example—those can compensate for imperfect English with ease. What follows, I hope, will not distract from the deeper value of this book. For the moment, I merely encourage improvement in writing quality in one detail.

Quality Writing

Consider the following sentence, keeping in mind the context: an army chaplain who assisted wounded soldiers during the Korean War. What do you think of it?

He literally carried a wounded soldier on a long, torturous forced march to the prison camp.

I don’t imply that any basic rule of English has been violated: I see nothing wrong in punctuation or spelling. By the way, if you thought that “torturous” was the wrong word, I disagree, for the soldier was probably suffering pain relevant to a word like “torture.” The problem is subtle.

Whether it’s by a medic or chaplain or regular soldier, a wounded comrade is carried in somebody’s arms. The word “literally” can distract from that simple act, tempting the reader to wonder, for a moment, how a wounded soldier could be non-literally carried. I know this is trivial in itself, but it gives us a clue that the writer is probably not professional, and imperfections can add up over the course of 200 pages.

The point? Avoid any adjective or adverb (or any other word) that will distract from what we want to portray.

A Distracting Metaphor

Accidentally distracting the reader need not come from one word. A poorly thought out metaphor can be distracting, as in the following example of my own making, keeping to the same subject:

Using the word “literally” in the above sentence is not in itself disastrous, not like tripping while carrying a wounded soldier and dropping the man onto the ground.

Notice how the above metaphor does the opposite of what is intended? We imagine the fall and the poor injured soldier hitting the ground—a serious accident—but the point was intended to be that something is not disastrous. Beware of putting “not” in front of a metaphor.

The Miracle of Father Kapaun

While writing this post, two or more copies of The Miracle of Father Kapaun may have been sold on Amazon, for it’s now ranked #574. The quality of English is not a strain on sales of this book, or many other books I suppose, when the interest and value is great.

Nonfiction book - biography by Roy Wenzl and Travis Heying - "The Miracle of Father Kapaun"

Priest, Soldier and Korean War Hero

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A Light Moment With a Bowl of Soup

Waiter: I hope you enjoy the soup.

Customer: Thank you.

Waiter: May I ask, did you bring reading glasses?

Customer: Why? Is there a problem?

Waiter: Maybe or maybe not. With reading glasses, you can see better and easily remove the fly from the soup, but if you left your reading glasses at home, there’s no problem.

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Riddles

Let’s consider something lighter for a change: riddles.

I submit one I just invented. The three parts are separated to allow you to guess in stages, with the third part the easiest for guessing (the three parts make up the same riddle). Traditional ones are interspersed. I’ll give a hint for my own riddle: It’s not nearly as dark as it first appears.

With a Coldness (part one) by Jonathan Whitcomb

With a coldness kills a walker
With a rock it makes a blocker
With a hole it hides a stalker

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Used in The Hobbit

Voiceless it cries
Wingless flutters
Toothless bites
Mouthless mutters

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With a Coldness (part two)

With a foot that never walks
It never eats; it never talks
But may look down on soaring hawks

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Old Riddle put to rhyme by J.W.

Feed me, I grow
Touch me, I bite
Always I glow
Water’s my fright

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With a Coldness (part three)

Bravest men can die on whim
Rivers run away from him
Gawkers gaze from highest rim

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from the film "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Adventure" - Gollum in one of his more friendly appearances

Will you be surprised?

Answers

The Hobbit riddle: the wind

Another old riddle I put to rhyme: fire

“With a Coldness:” a mountain

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How Popular is the Truth?

This morning I noticed how few persons had viewed my newest Youtube video compared with the hoax video that it was intended to expose. It was more than a million to one favoring deception over my exposure of that deception. To be specific:

Hoax from Canada

“Golden Eagle Snatches Kid” has now had over forty million (40,000,000+) viewers who watched an apparent toddler being carried up into the air, for a short distance, by an apparent bird of prey. An animation studio in Montreal, Quebec, soon admitted that it was a computer-generated imitation of reality: There was no real toddler and no real bird.

Exposure of the Hoax-Video (31 views by the middle of December 28, 2012)

A humorous look at why “Golden Eagle Snatches Kid” is a hoax.

I was about half through my creation of the expose-video when I learned that Centre NaD, an animation school in Quebec, had made public the true nature of their video. By the time I had completed my own project and uploaded it to Youtube, on Christmas Eve, many expose-videos had already appeared, some of them with many thousands of viewers.

It looks like a large bird of prey is about to grab a toddler in a park

In reality a woman was acting a part, not reacting to a real attack

Attitude of Gratitude

Today, for a minute, I started to slip into the quagmire of self pity, for my hours of work in trying to make an entertaining video (that reveals the truth) was overshadowed, by a million to one, by a work of deception. The student animators in Canada may have spent fifty times as many hours on their video than I had on mine, but how many Youtube viewers were deceived by their product!

There may be, at this time, many thousands of parents and grandparents around the world who are nervous about taking small children to city parks. They were among those forty million viewers, but did not catch the later revelation that it was an admitted hoax. I’m glad that my own videos and books do not cause such an unnecessary problem.

I now realize the short-sighted and narrow perspective in my self pity. Truth will prevail, in time; and I have already had my own Youtube-popularity success with “Ropen-Pterodactyl American Eyewitness.” That video, that I edited and uploaded, has had over 300,000 viewers.

We need to remember to be grateful for what truth we have and what means we have to promulgate it. The future victory of truth is assured, regardless of how popular or unpopular it may be among some people at present.

Frigate Birds and Freak-Like Nerds

The Frigate bird, also called “man-o’-war bird,” flies far from the conflicting opinions of the living-pterosaur controversy. How irrelevant! But again it has been brought up as if evidence for the nonexistence of the ropen of Papua New Guinea.

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