Tag Archives: Jack Linton


“If you can talk, you can breathe,” Mayor, Petal, Mississippi

It is rare when national events have an immediate impact on small towns.  However, such an event recently engulfed the small Mississippi community of Petal (population 10, 674), and it will most likely continue to do so for many days and weeks to come.  The unacceptable words of the mayor jolted the small town awake and forced its people to face the reality they no longer exist in isolation.  Business as usual and doing things the way it has always been done – sometimes with no more than down home accountability – was laid open for the world to see.  With the push of a button, a Facebook post, similar to ones that have been posted time and time again, exposed one man and by association a whole town to the scrutiny of the nation.  They learned what they think, say, and do matters and everyone is accountable not only to themselves but to the bigger world that exists outside small-town America.

Small towns are no longer the exclusive playgrounds of good old boys who hold the only set of keys in town.  It is no longer their town, but everybody’s town–black, white, brown, gay, straight, Christian, and non-Christian.  That may be hard for some to swallow, but it is a truth often ignored.  In this age of ever doubling information and uncountable tools of communication, the world is no longer a distant landscape with little or no relevance, but a river running through the streets demanding inclusion and transparency.  Such a river flooded Petal, Mississippi, and its rising waters, calling for clarity and accountability, will most likely change the town forever.  Hopefully, it will make for better human beings.

There are many things beautiful and great about small towns, but sometimes the isolation they breed creates blinders that prevent residents from clearly seeing the other side of the road.  As a result, they often grow complacent and do not recognize the cliques, self-righteousness, and arrogance that blinds them to the world and even the incongruities in their own backyard.  Too often, they see the light only after a good hard kick to the seat of the pants or a “come to Jesus” meeting.  The mayor’s words brought both, but the insensitivity and wrong of his words are not solely his to shoulder.  The citizens must partly share the shame.  This is not the first time bias and indifference has been shown, but it is the first time the citizens have chosen to no longer tolerate it.  Finally!  Good for them!

Once the cameras stop rolling and the bandwagon rolls out of town, the people of Petal will face either going back to the way they were or building a new beginning.  Hopefully, they will make a fresh start on the shoulders of the hurt, anger, and frustration they have witnessed, and the hearts that have finally awakened.  Man’s purpose on this earth is to respect the humanity of all people and honor the sanctity of all human life regardless of affluence, ethnicity, religion, skin color, or lifestyle.  Anything less is an abomination to respect and love for one another.  To truly be a free nation as well as a civilized nation, everyone must be adamant in the pursuit of life, liberty, and humanity for all.  Anything less is unacceptable.

©Jack Linton, June 4, 2020

Our First Cruise:  Seven Days to the Bahamas

One of the things my wife and I said we would do when we retired was go on a cruise.  We finally accomplished that goal in April when we joined another couple on a seven-day cruise out of New Orleans to the Bahamas.  Our biggest fear was my wife would get sick during the trip from the motion of the boat, and I would end up pushing her around the ship in a wheelchair as I have on two occasions at Disney World.  The first time was after she rode the Tower of Terror, which with her vertigo issues was dumb on my part for letting her ride.  I always wondered why Disney has so many wheelchairs available at their top thrill rides; now I know.  However, not willing to settle for dumb, on our next trip, I convinced her motion sickness was all in her head and she could ride Thunder Mountain.  That elevated me to the stupidity level, and for the second time I had to wheel her across Disney in search of a cool place to throw up and lay down for a spell.  So, when it came to a cruise, she wisely tuned me out, and visited her doctor for help.  I have no idea what kind of chemical wonder drug is on the patch he gave her to stick behind her ear, but it worked!  Even during a few wobbly moments when the boat rocked a little more than usual, she held her lunch and we had a wheelchairless fantastic time.

I was amazed at the organization of such a huge operation.  For a ship with 3,900 passengers and over 1,500 crew, I couldn’t believe how smoothly everything worked from boarding, to room service, to activities, to getting everyone off the boat in an orderly and time efficient manner when the cruise was over.  When it came to customer relations, I can think of several local businesses that would do well to take the cruise and study how customers should be treated, especially if return business is expected.  The only thing that was slightly disconcerting at times was the language barrier that existed when trying to communicate with ship staff.  Most of the ship personnel we encountered were Indian with a few Germans, Swedes, and Italians thrown in for good measure.  Sometimes their less than perfect English and our Southern drawl and language bias ears conflicted.  That didn’t happen often and when it did, the ship employee slowed down and listened more intently and patiently to our question.  When dealing with the customer, they never lost sight of their commitment to provide a smooth and enjoyable experience.  They were extremely friendly and helpful.  They did not exhibit an attitude they were doing us a favor to wait on us like so many local store employees often do.  The employees on the Carnival Dream acted like they enjoyed their jobs and were genuinely appreciative we had chosen their ship for our vacation.  Some of our home town businesses could learn a lot from them.

Food!  I had always heard there was plenty to eat on a cruise, and I was not disappointed in the quantity.  Italian, Mongolian, Asian, Pizza, Guy Fieri Burgers, salads, deserts, and ice cream were available throughout the day, and at night there was fine dining in the ship’s more elegant restaurants.  Overall, the fine dining experience was excellent with a waiter who called you by name while serving your table each evening.  The restaurant food was excellent, but I would strongly advise against the lasagna.  The Indian chef did not have a clue how to prepare lasagna, but he more than made up for that disaster with the prime rib and steamed mussels he prepared the last night of the cruise.  However, my favorite food on the cruise was the soft serve ice cream!  I stopped for a cone of soft serve vanilla or strawberry every time I passed a machine, which was frequently.  I don’t know where my wife can find one of those machines, but after this cruise, it is number one on my Christmas list.

Shore excursions are a big part of a cruise, and we took full advantage of our time off the boat.  Our first stop was Key West where we opted out of a paid excursion and chose to tour the town on our own.  The weather was in the 80s but otherwise perfect.  We had no idea where we were going when we left the ship, but after following the wives through countless tee-shirt, trinkets, and beach bag shops, we found a guitar store where my good friend and I were allowed by our wives to browse for a solid five minutes.  From there we toured Earnest Hemingway’s house, and ended the afternoon with key-lime pie at a little joint off the beaten path.  After the pie, we continued our leisurely stroll through the streets of Key West.  We were in no hurry until we realized we were in danger of missing our ship’s departure time.  We made it, but we were close to becoming Key West residents.  The ship was scheduled to depart at 4:30 p.m.; we made it back to the ship at 4:20 p.m.  In our minds, the only thing that mattered was we made it, but from the rolling eyes of the ship crew members who hurriedly ushered us aboard, I am not so sure, they felt the same way.

The second stop was at Freeport in the Bahamas where we were introduced to driving on the wrong side of the road by a very lively 75-year-old bus driver.  Freeport was one of the saddest places I have ever visited.  As we rode to Paradise Cove, our destination for the day, I was struck by the poverty of the area.  Most of the homes were run down if not completely crumbling.  Weathered blue tarps ripped into threads by the wind and rain covered many homes, a reminder of the destruction tropical storms and hurricanes brought to the little island of 40,000 people.  However, listening to the bus driver, you would have thought he lived in paradise.  He did not shy from talking about the poor conditions, yet he spoke with pride and hope for his island home.  At one point, he pointed out his home as we drove by, which was humble, but a castle compared to his neighbors.    He dropped us off at the cove where we spent the day relaxing on a small beach and snorkeling in crystal clear blue-green water.  What struck me most about Freeport was how appreciative the bus driver and the adults and teens who operated the Blue Lagoon facilities were that we had chosen to spend our time and money with them.  Not once, did I see a frown in Freeport.

The third stop was Nassau where we took a ferry to Blue Lagoon Island.  Like Paradise Cove in Freeport, the water was crystal clear and changed from blues to greens throughout the day depending on the light reflecting on the water.  We relaxed on the beach and tubed in the shallow water and enjoyed a buffet lunch as part of the excursion package.  A major attraction of the lagoon was swimming with the dolphins (an extra charge, which we did not choose to pay).  With the assistance of guides, paying customers were treated to an afternoon of swimming and playing with the beautiful and amazingly intelligent animals.  If I go back, I will spend the extra money to swim with those beautiful creatures.  The people I watched in the water with them were having too much fun for me not to give it a try.  Swimming with the dolphins in the Blue Lagoon is now on my bucket list.

As much fun as we had on the ship and the shore excursions, I must admit, the ship itself reminded me of a prison.  A very relaxing and beautiful prison but confining nevertheless.  For me, it will never replace a cross country camping trip in my travel trailer.  I enjoy open spaces, and there is little of that on a cruise ship.  However, I enjoyed the food, the live entertainment, the shore excursions, the company of good friends, and the soft serve ice cream enough to go again at the first opportunity.  However, the biggest reason I will continue to take cruises is my wife.  Not once during the trip did I have to push her in a wheelchair!  By itself, that made for a very enjoyable trip and gives me the motivation to return to the high seas as soon as possible to continue my adventures on a floating luxury shopping mall.


©Jack Linton, May 4, 2018

Facebook is People Being People

Sometimes people get upset and bent out of shape over posts on Facebook – sometimes for good reasons, and sometimes for reasons not so good.  There are times when you laugh with people on Facebook and times when you want to wring their necks.  If you choose to be a part of social media, you will experience both.  Why?  It is simple.  Facebook is people being people, and if you can’t accept that, you have no business being on Facebook.

At the end of the day, there is one given with social media – people will post just about anything for just about any reason.  That means the odds are excellent you can find something to offend you if you look hard enough, or you are in the right frame of mind to be offended.  There are offenses to meet every taste on Facebook from really rotten truly offensive stuff to petty, silly, downright ridiculous stuff.  At times, people even get their panties in a wad over innocent things that were never intended to offend anyone, but what is sad is when the offended person refuses to let it go regardless how many apologies are forth coming.

Please, let me repeat!  Facebook is people being people, and if you can’t accept that, you have no business being on Facebook.  People post for a variety of reasons, and other than holding a stinky rotten cheese stick to their head, there is little anyone can do about it.  If a person owns a computer, tablet, or smart phone, with a Facebook app, they can post whatever they please.  If it offends, you can laugh it off, you can ignore it, you can lash out, you can hold a grudge, you can act like a blooming idiot and make a fool of yourself, you can offend them back, you can dig up dirty laundry you know about the offender and post it, or you can unfriend the offender, but that is about all you can do.  As of now, offending someone – intentionally or unintentionally – is not punishable by prison time or the death chamber, so move on – let it go, especially if the offending person offers an apology.  Remember, Facebook is people being people, so accept it, or go do something more constructive with your time like read a book.

People being People on Facebook:

  1. People who post to witness and share their religious status;
  2. People who post because they are lonely and seek human contact;
  3. People who post to be funny or humorous (at least they try);
  4. People who post to share something that makes them happy or excited;
  5. People who post to affirm their existence;
  6. People who post to share a political or social view or rant;
  7. People who post because they are on Facebook and don’t want to be perceived as lurking in the background;
  8. People who post to provoke a rise out of people or get their goat;
  9. People who post to Facebook as a family scrap book;
  10. People who post because it is easier to post to Facebook than actually talk to people;
  11. People who post because they like noise of any kind in their lives;
  12. People who post because they don’t have a life;
  13. People who post because deep down they really like people and like being around them;
  14. People who post on Facebook because they have a short attention span and cannot read or write anything beyond a handful of sentences;
  15. People who post because Facebook is the only family they have;
  16. People who post to share their pity party;
  17. People who post to keep up with friends;
  18. People who post because it gives them a sense of being somebody;
  19. People who post to simply inform; and
  20. People who post because they can.

Facebook is people being people!


©Jack Linton, April 27, 2017

Such are the Stupid Things We Do

I don’t know what it is about our society, but it seems somebody somewhere is always doing something stupid.   Whether it is by design, by chance, or out of our penchant for convenience, there is never a shortage of the ridiculous.   Some of it we create and some of it is created for us, but either way as Forrest Gump said, “Stupid is as stupid does.”  That is even truer today.  Maybe, it is because, in today’s world, we have more opportunities to face stupidity, or maybe, we are just smarter today and can better identify stupid when we see it.

One of the stupidest things I have seen lately was a isign in a local PETCO store. First, I must explain, I am an animal lover (for the most part), but I have this unique ability to recognize animals are not human. Yes, I am one of those rare throwbacks who believe people are people and animals are animals. I am one of those horrible people who thinks there is nothing wrong with giving a dog or cat a biscuit or bone from the table. My wife and I make sure our pets are up to date on necessary shots and go to the vet when they are truly ill, but I do not buy into bi-annual doggy dental cleanings, doggy colonoscopies, or doggy birthing rooms, and the same goes for cats, hamsters, rabbits and pigs. For heaven’s sake, five minutes after a dog gets his teeth cleaned it is sniffing and licking anything nasty that comes within sniffing distance of its nose and tongue.  Therefore, are doggy dental cleanings really worth the effort?  Probably not, yet, such are the stupid things we do!

I have yet to see the value in flossing for my dog, but my wife insists dogs should have good manners, so we took our six month old, sweet as sin, hell on four legs, lab mix to PETCO for obedience training. While waiting for the instructor, I noticed a sign outlining guidelines for pet adoptions. I could not believe what I read! In addition to screening individuals for pet compatibility, anyone wishing to adopt a pet was subject to a polygraph and required to release their tax records for the past seven years to prove they were financially stable and could  provide a good home for the adopted pet. The adopting family had to agree to a criminal and psychiatric background check as well as an on-site home inspection and evaluation.  It was also recommended the new pet be provided private space with a written schedule for when human/pet interaction was permissible.  In a side note, there was a recommendation, though not required, the private space be a separate room with its own pooh facilities. I told my wife the guidelines went way too far, but she calmly assured me the guidelines were intended to match the pet with caring adults.  She said the requirements and suggestions were not a personal conspiracy against me or others like me.  I was not sure how to take “others like me,” but I accepted her explanation. Besides, it was obvious the whole thing was written by a liberal. I could even accept that, but when I read the last guideline that said pet counseling may be required, I fell to the floor laughing.

Pet counseling! I could see Simon, our lab mix, reclining on a shrink’s sofa, one paw lying across his eyes, the other holding a cigarette from which he took an occasional long draw. A female shrink sat across from him, legs crossed, an old time yellow legal pad and pencil in hand, asking questions. “Tell me about your parents,” she said.

Simon took a long draw on the cigarette and thought for a moment. “I only knew my mama for a few short weeks,” he said. “I didn’t know my daddy at all.”

How do you feel about that?” she asked.

Haven’t really given it much thought,” Simon said.

You ever feel depressed because of it?” the shrink asked.

Nothing that a little licking can’t cheer up,” Simon replied.

“Have you ever thought licking might be a sign of a deeper issue?” the female shrink asked.

No mam, when it comes to licking, I like it, so I do it.” Simon said and ground the cigarette into a cat shaped ashtray.  “If it feels good, I pretty much do it without much thought.” 

I believe Simon has life figured out better than any of us.  If it itches, scratch it; if it smells, sniff it; if it feels good, lick it, but whatever you do, don’t over think it.  I am most likely over thinking this pet counseling business, but in my opinion, pet counseling is one of the coolest stupid things people do. It is up there with paying a professional pooper scooper to clean your backyard. It’s true, some folks pay to have someone come to their house once a week and pick up dog and cat pooh.  In fact, pooper scoopers have their own organization, the Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists.   It’s true – look it up!  Can you think of anything stupider?  I am not talking about the guy who makes money picking up pet pooh; I admire him for his ingenuity. I am talking about the nitwits who pay him, but such are the stupid things we do!


©ack Linton, February 28, 2017

It’s The First Day of School, Teachers Don’t Worry

It’s the first day of school, teachers don’t worry

            About low pay – they can’t afford what you are worth;

It’s the first day of school, teachers don’t worry

            About long hours – artists never see the clock;

It’s the first day of school, teachers don’t worry

            About politicians – they’ve never had your back;

It’s the first day of school, teachers don’t worry

            About public opinion – they haven’t a clue what you do;

It’s the first day of school, teachers don’t worry

            About evaluations – they need you more than you need them;

It’s the first day of school, teachers don’t worry

            About teaching – make compassion your passion;

It’s the first day of school, teachers don’t worry

            About state tests – teach their content with your heart;

It’s the first day of school, teachers don’t worry

            About personal breaks – teachers have big hearts and bladders;

It’s the first day of school, teachers don’t worry

            About not being good enough – your best is all anyone can ask;

It’s the first day of school, teachers don’t worry

            That America’s kids are behind the world – you know that’s B.S.;

It’s the first day of school, teachers don’t worry

            That parents don’t like you – sometimes they don’t like themselves;

It’s the first day of school, teachers don’t worry –

            Smile – Feed a young soul with your light;

It’s the first day of school, teachers don’t worry –

            Pray – Stay humbled by the lives you help shape;

It’s the first day of school, teachers don’t worry –

            Play – Laugh, dance, and celebrate the day;

It’s the first day of school, teachers don’t worry –

            Stand tall – Not many have the courage to do what you do;

It’s the first day of school, teachers don’t worry –

            Seize the moment – Be ready to make a difference;

It’s the first day of school, teachers don’t worry –

            Give – Your best gift is that you care;

It’s the first day of school, teachers don’t worry –

            Love – You teach because you love kids;

It’s the first day of school, teachers don’t worry –

            You have the most important job in the world;

It’s the first day of school, teachers don’t worry –

            Take a deep breath and enjoy the ride!


Remember the three most important influences in a child’s life are  . . .

  1. God
  2. Family
  3. Teachers

Everyone else is gravy or sour milk.



©Jack Linton,  August 3, 2016

Requiem for The Battle of Linton Hollow

I am in mourning and shock.  For twenty days, the hen house in my backyard lay under siege in what became known as The Battle of Linton Hollow.  Night after night, the chickens cowered in fear as hungry predators circled their coop searching for ways to get at them.  By day, my wife and I mended holes in the fencing and set traps, but in the end, there was nothing we could do to save them.  It’s hard to admit, but we were simply outwitted by a craftier, more relentless, superior intelligence.  The varmints that struck down our chickens one by one could have taught Colonel Sanders a thing or two about “finger licking good.”  Once they honed in on the hen house location, and tasted the first chicken, there was no keeping them out of the buffet line.  The final casualty count read seven chicken lunches, seven raccoons, and three opossums.  Although I would have liked to publicly hang each and every critter we trapped, not one of the varmints was harmed; all trapped animals were given a meal and relocated to the river.  The chickens were not so lucky.

The final casualty of the battle was Devil Chicken, so named by my wife because she was mean as hell (the chicken, not my wife).  In some recent Facebook posts, I have referred to this gritty old girl (again the chicken, not my wife) as The Half Chicken.  During the siege of Linton Hollow, she lost an eye, all her tail feathers, and half a leg, but she was nevertheless a gallant bird to the very end.  Although the raiding critters treated her or at least parts of her as a “take out” meal throughout the siege, her spirit never wavered.  Unfortunately, the final assault, a beautifully orchestrated attack by a raccoon and opossum, was too much for her to handle.  The Half Chicken fell in battle sometime during the early morning hours of June 30.  The unexpected alliance of the raccoon and opossum was brilliant, and as of sunset July 3, the pair continued to elude capture with the same brilliance.  However, efforts to trap them and bring them to justice will continue for several more days.

The critters may have won the battle, but the war is not over!  In the spring of 2017, my wife and I will train a passel of new recruits.  These recruits will be hand selected, and put through regimented training that would make a Spartan warrior proud.  Our next brood of hens will kick raccoon and opossum butt.  Well . . . .  not really.  Chickens are called chickens for a reason.  They have four functions in life, and fighting heroically is not one of them.  Chickens eat, drink, poop, and lay eggs; that’s it!  When it comes to defending themselves, other than a peck and limited flight, they are quite helpless.  Their major line of defense against predators is a well-designed and well-built chicken coop.

The siege of Linton Hollow taught my wife and me our chickens did not have a well-built and well-designed chicken coop.  We did not skimp or plan it that way.  In fact, we were excited when we first built the coop; we were proud of our handiwork and thought any chicken would be honored to have such a great place to live.  Little did we know varmints were lurking in the shadows licking their lips and laughing at us.  However, the twenty day siege taught us a few things about design, and as a result, come spring, our backyard chicken coop will undergo major renovations.  Galvanized hardware cloth will replace the old 19 gauge chicken wire top to bottom.  Rolls of 18 inch galvanized razor wire will cover the top of the coop, and overlapping electric fencing will wrap around the perimeter of the coop and repel onslaughts from the sides.  The new design also calls for a four foot wide moat surrounding the enclosure.  Of course, both raccoon and opossums are excellent swimmers, but a wet varmint climbing over electrified fencing is about as good as it gets when it comes to turning a hungry determined varmint away.

Now, the wife and I are not sadistic meanies!  We have no desire to hurt any animal, but we do intend to do a better job of protecting our chickens in the future.  However, to be fair, we are erecting warning signs around the chicken coop.  If the diabolical four legged critters can read, they can save themselves some pain.  If they can’t, I can only hope they are fast learners.  Either way, I plan once again to have fresh eggs for breakfast by late fall 2017.  By the way, did I mention the 140 decibel alarm horn attached to the chicken coop as a part of the new defense system?


©Jack Linton, July 3, 2016

Rosie: A Real Diamond

All of us have diamonds in our lives.  Maybe we don’t have diamonds on our fingers or around our neck, but when we slow down our never ending rush to get through life and shove the noise and clutter aside, the real diamonds, the ones that really matter, come to light.  Diamonds that are more precious and valuable than any gem mined from the ground.  Diamonds that can never be taken from you; they are the rocks on which your life is built.  They are mined from your life experiences, your heart, and your soul.  They are the people who stand above all others; people who make and made you the unique person you are; people who believed in you and still do; people who supported you when they would have been wiser to run; people who protected you from the storm; people you depended on when the world and even some friends turned away; and people who stood beside you when you were alone.  Most often these people are family and close friends who know your heart better than anyone, but sometimes that special person, that diamond, is someone you work or worked with such as Rosie.

Rosie and I are now retired, and rarely see each other anymore, but I recently saw her in a local store, and as always she greeted me with a hug and a smile that radiated she was truly glad to see me.  That was the same smile she greeted me with every morning of my fifteen years as an assistant principal and principal, but not just me, she greeted everyone with that smile, which didn’t cheapen it in the least since everyone knew it was genuine.  She was secretary for close to thirty years to the first three principals at Petal High School ending with me.  She knew every student by name, over a thousand of them at the time, served the teachers with passion, and kept the administration in line.  She had her hand on the pulse of everything from curriculum, don’t think for a moment that she didn’t  know what kids were supposed to know and be able to do, to discipline (If you ever get her alone, get her to tell you the “two socks” story).  For thirty years, Miss Rosie, as the kids called her, was Petal High School, or like I think of it – Rosie Kinard High School.  No one ever gave their heart and soul to a school more than Rosie.  Working at Petal High School was not a job for her; it was her school, her kids, her teachers, her principal and assistant principals – it was her life!

When I was named principal of Petal High School, Rosie became my life support.  She was my secretary, actually she was everybody’s secretary, but she was so much more than that.  To the kids she was a mama, a counselor, and a friend; to the teachers she was their biggest fan and supporter; for me, she was my partner.  Together we ran the school.  This tiny woman was a fireball of energy, still is, who knew more about the school in her little finger than I would ever know.  She was the glue that in many ways held the high school together; she certainly held me together.  I learned early, as I am confident the principals before me learned also, to bounce ideas off her.  As principal, I could often gauge how teachers would react to my ideas by her reactions.  If I ran an idea by her, and she said, “Oh, that is wonderful, why haven’t we thought about that before,” I knew the chances were good the teachers would be excited about the idea as well, or if she said adamantly, “That’s what is best for these kids,” I knew there might be a fuss, but it would be worth the fight.  However, if she responded with something like “You’re the principal, so I don’t see that there should be a problem,” I knew the odds were good the “ice cream” was about to hit the fan.  I learned to value her opinion and look for her insightful cues, and by doing so, she helped me become a better person and especially a better principal.

Rosie is what my grandfather called “good people,” to which I would only add “REALLY good people!”  She cared about people not because of their position, who they were in the community, economic standing, the color of their skin, or the persuasion of their heart; she cared about them because she truly loves and cares about people.  As school secretary, she was compassionate to all people – children, teachers, parents and school administrators.  She was not perfect; she could get feisty at times, but if she did, she would apologize for days afterwards.  In the history of Petal High School, there have been many diamonds that should not be overlooked, but I was there for 25 of the school’s first 40 years, and I can say no one was more important to the success and reputation of Petal High School than a little lady who made “peanuts” for a salary.  She gave her all to the school she loved, and when she retired, she took a piece of all us with her, but she left behind an integral part of the foundation Petal High School is built upon – her heart.

I am blessed to have many diamonds in my life, but Rosie will always be one of my very special diamonds.  She didn’t have to be there for me; she could have chosen to be a part of the storms, but rather she chose to take a young principal under her wing and protect him from the storms.  As a result, our time at Petal High School became a triumphant journey of adventure and fulfillment.  I always sincerely thank the students and teachers for that, but without Rosie Kinard, Petal High School would have been and would be today just another good high school.  Through her energy, courage, encouragement, passion, and compassion she helped mold the high school into the great school it is today.  Rosie is the real deal.  She is a diamond that I cannot thank enough for being there for me when I needed her.

So, if you see her about town, take notice of her infectious smile, and don’t be surprised if you get a hug.  Thank her for what she has meant to the Petal Community and the thousands of lives she has touched.  Tell her “Thank you;” she deserves it, and she has most definitely earned it.

Rosie, thank you for being a diamond in my life!


©Jack Linton, April 30, 2016

The How in the Hell did that Book get Published List

Just about everyone wants to write and publish a book.  They envision their life story or creative fiction on top of the bestseller list and making zillions of dollars.  Unfortunately, of the millions of people around the world writing their best seller, only a small percentage will actually realize the publication of their work, and a smaller percentage of that small percentage will make the big money.  However, despite the odds against publication and getting rich as a writer, true writers never stop trying.  Thank goodness!  Where would we be if John Grisham, Greg Isles, Stephen King, Frank McCourt, and J. K. Rowling, just to name a few, had given up on their dreams?

Nevertheless, sometimes books are published that leave readers and struggling writers asking, “How in the hell did that book get published?”  I am not talking about self-published books or vanity press publishers where the author pays to publish whatever he/she deems worthy of publication.  I am not referring to mainstream books such as Twilight or Fifty Shades of Grey, which consistently appear on “bad book” lists.  No, I am referring to such classics as It Hurts When I Poop by Howard J. Bennett and David Blanchard’s My First Cavity Search, which is described by its Amazon.com blurb with the caption, “This whimsical book will help teach your child what is about to happen to them now that they have been declared a threat to national security.”  Really?  How in the hell did that book get published?  Of course, in this era of ebook and traditional book publication, the line between self-publishing and traditional publishing is fast disappearing, which throws open the door for books of questionable merit to be published.

Some people may argue these books have credibility and should not be considered questionable at all.  They might claim such books are unique and come under the heading of novelty books which hold a legitimate and well-established place in the publishing industry.  I agree there are unique books that fit a specialized niche in the market such as Diane Muldrow’s Everything I Need To Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book; Stuff White People Like: A Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions by Christian Lander; and Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead. However, I am of the opinion that books like the “Poop” and “Cavity” books  defy all publishing logic.  Is there really a market for those books?  Is there really a market for books such as Do It Yourself Coffins by Dale Powers and Gobbling Proofing One’s Chicken Coop by Reginald Bakeley?  As mindblowing as it seems, apparently there is a market for such books.  Why else would Amazon.com sell them if there wasn’t a market?  If you don’t believe Amazon sells these books, go to the website and look for yourself.  While looking, you might want to look for the books in the chart below that can also be found on Amazon.  Who knows, seeing some of the bizarre books that have made it into print might be the motivation you need to finish that long overdue novel or non-fiction family history you have been dreaming of writing.

The How in the Hell did that Book get Published List

[All books are real and available on Amazon.com]

Book Title Description Author Publisher
Crafting with Cat Hair:  Cute Handicrafts to Make with Your Cat The title says it all!  Crafts you can make from the hair your cat sheds. Kaori Tsutaya Quirk Books
How to Avoid Huge Ships


This book was named “worst book ever” by Publisher’s Weekly, but you owe it to your kids to buy it.  You never know when they might be accosted by a huge ship on the way home after school. John W. Trimmer Cornell Maritime Pr/Tidewater Pub
How to Goodbye Depression:  If you constrict anus 100 times every day?  Malarkey? Or Effective way? The author claims consistent rectal exercise will result in a beautiful complexion and make you look twenty years younger. Hiroyuki Nishigaki iUniverse
How to Live with an Idiot: Clueless Creatures and the People Who Love Them According to the author 4 out of 6 people live with an idiot.  The other two are fledgling idiots. John Hoover Career Press
Knitting with Dog Hair


What makes more sense than harvesting your dog’s hair and knitting rover a sweater? Kendall Crolius St. Martin’s Griffin
Latawnya the Naughty Horse Learns to Say “No” to Drugs African American horses are lured into the world of illegal drugs by drug dealing Caucasian horses. Sylvia Scott Gibson America Star Books
The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America This book contains photographic documentation of actual stray shopping cart sightings.  Get your camera ready! Julian Montague Harry N. Abrams
Walter the Farting Dog Walter is a great dog, but much to the delight of the kids, he has gas Kotzwinkle, Murray, Colman Frog Children’s Books
What Bird Did That? A Driver’s Guide to Some Common Birds of North America Use this guide to decode the bird crap on your windshield to track down the bird who soiled your car. Burton Silver Ten Speed Press
Who Cut the Cheese:  A cultural History of the Fart Yep, just what it says, a historical perspective on farts. Jim Dawson Ten Speed Press

How in the hell did those books get published?  I can assure you I don’t know, but I am seriously considering purchasing each of them to see if I can find a common denominator to getting published that as an unpublished writer I have yet to discover.  Hmmm?  I wonder if anyone has ever written a book about the “migratory habits of tics and the photogenic opportunities they offer?”  If the books in the list are an indicator, there is bound to be a niche for such a book.  There is one thing for sure, though, if this list does not motivate you to start writing, you are a dreamer and not a writer!


©Jack Linton, April 3, 2016