Saturday, December 20, 2014

You Can Quote Me On That

by Catherine Giordano
Happy New Year 2015 Quote

Will you be making New Year’s Resolutions this year?  Will you be keeping them next year? Did you keep them last year?  

Why do people have so much trouble with New Year’s resolutions? Perhaps because they are boring and easily forgotten. They are not inspirational or motivational 

I have an idea for this year’s resolutions. Instead of making a to-do list, make a list of your favorite inspirational quotes. Write them out or print them out. Take the list and frame it. Put it where you will see it often. Be inspired throughout the year. 

Perhaps you don’t have a favorite quote. Allow me to help. I have been collecting quotes and organizing them into categories in inspirational essays. They are all posted online.  

The quotes are on happiness, love, success, work, health, and kindness. Choose your favorite quotes—maybe one from each topic and you’ll be ready for the new year.

Whatever You Are Be a Good One book
CLICK HERE to look inside
Not inspired by my collections or too lazy to make your own list (you really should work on that) try this book: Whatever You Are, Be a Good One.  It incudes 100 hand-lettered inspirational quotations.The delightful drawings alone will be inspirational. I recommend the hard cover version so you can keep it near your bed or on your coffee table so you will see it everyday. Read a page a day or pick a page at random and let fate decide what your inspirational quote for the day will be. It makes a wonderful gift for someone also. 

But first take a minute to look at my quotes. I worked hard to find the very best quotes in each category.

I'll tell you my choices.

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. --Abraham Lincoln

Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out. --Robert Collier

Get on with living and loving. You don’t have forever. --Leo Buscaglia

Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.  --Tim Duncan

Those who think they have no time for exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness. --Edward Stanley

Always be a little kinder than necessary. --James M. Barrie

The above are my New Year's resolutions. I'm going to print them out on a card and put the card on the bulletin board over my desk so I will see it everyday first thing in the morning.

I hope you will check out my quote collections and choose a few for yourself. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Odd Couple: Edith Piaf and Zombies

Edith Piaf
Edith Piaf
I’ve been writing articles that I post on HubPages. My interests are quite varied, so my articles are on many different types of topics. 

Recently HubPages revamped the formatting of the articles, or as they are called “hubs.” The pages now have a much more attractive look. 

One of the changes was to place ads in a block format along the right side of the page. (Ads no longer appear in the middle of the text where they might be confused with content.) There are three ads on the side.The top and bottom ads are paid advertisements.The middle ad is for the author. It shows a picture, title, and blurb for another hub written by the same author.   

Sometimes the hub shown is clearly related. For instance, if you go to my Cranberry Orange Nut Quick Bread Recipe, you will see an ”ad” for my hub, Healthy Cranberry Cherry Pie with Walnut Crunch Topping Recipe. And vice versa. 
Cranberry Recipes 
Sometimes the pairing is for a hub that is tangentially related.  For instance, if you go to my hub for Political Phrases in the News you will see an ad for my hub, Thou Shall Not Kill: The Immorality of the Death Penalty. I don’t know why they didn’t choose my other hub on politics, Political Parties and Symbols; Where Do They Come From and What Do They Mean?, but at least it is a social issue that might be discussed by politicians.  
Politics and Death Penalty 

However, this one floored me. I have a hub, Edith Piaf: The Little Sparrow with No Regrets. I begin with a brief bio telling the facts of her life and her death  and then I do a tribute poem about her life which ends on an upbeat line, a paraphrase from Candide . “This is the best of all my possible lives.” This was paired with my hub about Zombies, ZOMBIES: The Popularity, Mythology, Psychology, Philosophy, Morality, and Reality of the Living Dead.   
Edith Piaf and Zombies 
Edith Piaf and Zombies!? Oh well, I do mention death in both articles. Or maybe they got paired because I mentioned philosophy in both. I only know that they make an “odd couple.” 

Edith Piaf CD
Walking Dead DVD

Monday, December 8, 2014

It’s Motto Time Again

by Catherine Giordano

Every year I choose an annual motto. The motto inspires me to attain the goals I have set for myself. I wrote about the importance of mottos in an article: Motto for Life 

Last year my motto was “Stay the course.” 

Each year in December I start thinking about what my motto will be or the coming year. I don’t so much choose a motto as let the motto choose me. Every year my motto finds me. Would it happen again this year.  

Yesterday I found my motto. I went to a concert given by David Roth. (  He’s a delightful songwriter, folksinger, and dare I say, philosopher. He sang a song about making changes. He sang “This is the Year…”
"Worry Less, Live More "is a great motto.
CLICK HERE to see more tee's with mottos.
·         for making changes.

·         for letting go

·         for following my dream

·         for living fully

He added, “Give it a try” and “Practice makes progress.”

My motto is in there. I’ve set my unconscious to simmer, and in a couple of weeks, I’ll know what my motto for 2015 is.

Do you want to know more about mottos, including how to find your own motto? Read my article, Motto for Life.

Update for 2016
Yesterday I found my motto for for 2016.  it was a phrase used by a speaker at a Unitarian Universalist service. The phrase is "Turning to Wonder." I think that phrase has so many different meanings--from be curious to be in awe of the universe. It means stop and think about things deeply. It means look for silver linings. It means keep your thinking fluid. I'm sure I'll discover more as the year goes on. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Stop the Killing

Bare trees with the slogan "Stop the Killing"
Dead tress are used as a metaphor for capital punishment.
 by Catherine Giordano

Stop the killing.

This nation's shame is that when I say "Stop the Killing," you don't know what killing I am referring to.

It's almost the anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shooting. Is that the killing I am referring to?

Fergusson has police-shooting of unarmed black teenagers and boys in the news. Is that the killing I am referring to?

Actually, I am referring to a third type of shameful killing. Capital punishment, aka the death penalty.  At first you may think that the killing of innocent people has no relationship to the killing of condemned prisoners. The truth is there is not a whole lot of difference.

See why I say these three categories of killing are very much the same. I've given some of the reasons in these three posts.

Thou Shall Not Kill: The Immorality of the Death Penalty

The Hangman's Plea: End Capital Punishment (Includes poems about the death penalty)

Why Innocent People are On Death Row

Death Row Follies

For more information: Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

Read this book to understand how the death penalty affects everyone involved. 

Dead Man Walking: The Eye Witness Account of the Death Penalty That Sparked a National Debate

You could also watch the movie with Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn.

Dead Man Walking (DvD)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ode to a Cranberry

Cranberry Sauce
Apple-Cranberry Sauce
Cranberries are wonderful and versatile too. it's great in cranberry sauce, but you can also use it in pies, brads and puddings.

My cranberry sauce recipe I so good that even people who don't like cranberries love this cranberry sauce.  And it is all natural--fresh cranberries, apples, raisins, and maple syrup--no refined sugar. Additionally it is easy to make.

Read all the recipes plus get ideas for using leftover cranberry sauce here.

Apple-Cranberry Sauce Recipe and Other Cranberry Recipes.

I love cranberries so much, I wrote a poem about them called Ode to a Cranberry

Dried Cranberries
Braga Organic Farms
Dried Cranberries
Be sure to buy an extra bag or two. They freeze great. Where I shop at Publix, it is always "buy-one-get-one free" so I always have an extra bag. Cranberries are only available fresh in November and December so stock up. ( I used the cranberries in my freezer from last year's purchase to make the cranberry sauce shown above. It looks and tastes great.)

You can  buy dried cranberries year around if you don't have any in your freezer.

Cranberries are also wonderful in pies, breads, and puddings. Here is my recipe for cranberry-cherry pie.

Cranberry Cherry Pie with Walnut Crunch Topping

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The People Who Hate Me are Making Me Rich

Coins Raining Down
Pennies from heaven?

The people who hate me are making me rich. 

OK, not exactly the people who hate me.  It’s the people who hate my ideas who are making me rich. 

OK, not exactly making me rich. I’m still only earning pennies per day from my web essays. But it did go up to 49 cents one day which is way better than the 10 to 20 cents a day I usually get.  

I wrote an article called “The Billboard Wars: Good without God.” It was based on a presentation that Fred Edwords, National Director of the United Coalition of Reason ( He gave the presentation at the FreeFlo Humanist Conference in Orlando in October 2014. 
Good without God
Fred gave me permission to adapt his presentation for the web. I carefully edited to create an objective piece of reporting.  I explained how some free-thought groups started putting up billboards and ads on the sides of buses. Most of the ads were promoting the idea that people can be good without God.  

These ads got some Christian groups so incensed that they put up counter ads. This brought lots of publicity to the atheist ad campaign. The publicity brought in lots of new members and donations to the atheist groups. Ironically, it was the people who hated them who made them successful.   

I write for HubPages and HubPages encourages their writers to comment on each others’ work (hubs). When someone comments, everyone who “follows” that person will see their comment.  One person got really nasty.  At first I was upset. Then I realized he was giving my hub a lot of publicity within the HubPages community.  The more he ranted, the more views I got and the more money I made. 

Some of my other hubs generated a little bit of controversy, but not enough to make a real difference. Check out What is Secular Humanism? and Thou Shall Not Kill: The Morality of the Death Penalty. 

Death Penalty MoralityAdditionally, these two hubs were a little bit shocking to a few. Right Livelihood: The Quest for Ethical Work and An Introduction to Unitarian Universalism. 

So if you hate me, maybe you’ll do a comment on facebook and google+.  Better yet, if you love what I have written, please like and comment. Or you could link to these articles on your own websites. (These links are like manna from heaven.)

Unitarian Universalis Chalice

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The First Step--Glorious

by Catherine Giordano

The book is finally out. The First Step is an anthology of over 60 short stories and essays on the theme of new starts (big or small), taking the fist step, doing something new, going in a different direction, or beginning anew.

The back cover states that the stories may "pull at your heart strings, or make you laugh, but all will entertain you."

You'll probably tear up when you read my story on page 42, "Te Amo," not because it is sad but because it is a heart-warming story of love. I tear up every time I read it, and I wrote it.

The anthology is compiled by the Florida Writer's Association.  This is the sixth annual volume. Each year, an author of renown, is invited to read all the stories that have made the cut from the hundreds submitted and choose the top ten. This year the author was Mary Burton, the best selling author of mysteries.

I'm proud to say that I am included in the top ten. It is such an honor. Especially because (toot-toot) I made the top ten last year also.

If you happen to see me, I may have a copy for sale. If you already have the book, I'll be happy to sign my story for you. It makes a lovely gift.  You can click the link above to buy it on amazon and while you are there consider the five previous volumes.

I recommend the book because it has great stories. I don't make any money from the sale of these books. (All the profit goes to the Florida Writers association to help support the organization.) In fact, I don't even get any money for being in the book. It is all for glory.

And it is indeed glorious.

Enjoy!  Try one of Mary Burton's novels while you at amazon.The Seventh Victim is a good one. (At the time of this writing, it is only $1.99 for Kindle.)

A young woman is in jeopardy from a serial killer who attempted to kill her once before. Will he get a second chance? Not if a certain Texas Ranger has anything to say about it. Is romance brewing?  Absolutely.

Mary Burton is a prolific writer. If you like one book, there are dozens more.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Presidents Day

Abraham Lincoln Log Splitter
Painting by F. A, Schneider
by Catherine Giordano

I know Presidents Day is not until February, but I am having my own personal President’s Day.  I just wrote two posts about the presidents..

One was about the childhoods of the presidents and the other was about the jobs they had before they wee president.

I picked six presidents  George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama. 

How did their childhoods and their careers shape them into the kind of men who became president?

The Jobs of U.S. Presidents (Before They Were President)  (This one was designated an "Editor's Choice.")



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Understanding Zombies: The Walking Dead Returns

The Walking Dead cast posterby Catherine Giordano

The Walking Dead returns to A&E on Sunday, February 8 for the second half of  Season 5.

The show is so much more than gore and violence and killing.  It is about the questions:”What does it mean to be human?”  “Who is family?” What is important in life?”  “How do we combat evil?  What is human nature? ” And a lot more. Deep philosophical stuff.

You’ll appreciate the show so much more if you have a better understanding of “the zombie question. ” Someone who read my post told me in a comment, “Now, I understand why I like this show so much.”
The creator of the original graphic novel that the show is based on, Robert Kirkman,   said, “The thing that excites me most about this show is that because these characters are growing and evolving and changing.”  I agree.  I can’t wait to see how the characters respond to the new challenges they will face in season 5.

The Walking Dead Novel
for the graphic novel
Rick Grimes and his band of survivors are usually pretty smart, but they walked right into a trap when they entered “Terminus.” Maybe they believed in Terminus because they were just so desperate for a safe haven. Or maybe, the characters have to do stupid things every now and then to keep the plot going. If it was me, I’d get on an island. The zombies can’t swim.
If my post gets you to thinking, please let me know in a comment.
The Walking Dead DVD

If you missed anything from the prior seasons, A&E has made reruns available on TV.  Or you can get the DVDs.

Here is an example of The Waking Dead confronting moral issues that are relevant in real life. I knew it was only a matter of time before someone advocated killing Ebola patients.Tom Kincannor, Republican operative from South Carolina infamous for racist, sexist, and generally obnoxious comments, proved my prediction correct in a tweet on October 4, 2014. Also, he recommends execution for anyone who might possibly been exposed.
It reminded me of The Walking Dead story arc in which Carol kills Karen and David, two young people who were part of the band of survivors. A virus was sickening and killing members of the group, and sick people could infect others. Also when they died they turned into walkers, and that was not a pretty sight. Carol said they had to be killed to save the rest of the group. Was she right to do what she did?

If Ebola does come to the United States will vigilantes be killing people?

Watch the video. The show-runners and actors give us a preview of what is in store for our band of survivors. 




Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Scoring with a High-Scoring Scrabble Word

by Catherine Giordano

I recently wrote an article about quetzals.  Someone pointed out that it would be a great word for Scrabble. It uses the two highest value letters in the game—the Q and the Z. The eight letters are worth 26 points, but the trick is to get the Q or Z on a triple letter square and to cover a triple word square also. Also it gives you the opportunity to play 7 letters for a bingo with 50 more points.

What other eight letter word gives you the opportunity to use both the Q and the Z?  I only found one: caziques is even better
than quetzals. It is worth 31 points without any triple letter, triple word, or bingo points.

A cazique is a tropical bird.  What is a quetzal?  Read my article to find out.  The Resplendent Quetzal  
P.S. Scrabble is a perennial favorite. Is your board worn and old? Are letters missing? Replace and upgrade with this board--the letters lock in place--no more accidental slippage of letters.

Thank you for sharing, liking, and tweeting.

10/15/14: This post was selected as "Hub of the Day   It is beautiful and well worth your time to take a look at it. This is the third time I have received that honor in the last 30 days.  I had Hub of the Day on 9/14 for my hub on collecting and again on 9/22 for my hub on writing poetry.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

My Hive Mentality: It's About Bees

by Catherine Giordano
A bee on a pink flower

A bee obtaining nectar from a flower 

I have never paid much attention to bees except to stay away from them so as not to get stung.  

Then I started writing for HubPages. I needed something to write about so I asked my friends who are beekeepers to give me the information they use when they do presentations. Now I am fascinated by bees.

These little creatures are absolutely amazing. So far I have done three posts about them  My most recent post is All About Honey Bees: 20 Questions … And Answers.  BTW, in that one, I explain what to do if you get stung by a bee. 

Here are the two other bee posts. 

Inside the Bee Hive: How Bees Make Honey This one was signaled out for special recognition. It was named “Editor’s Choice.”

Little Known Facts About Honey Bees, Plus Poems This one includes four poems about bees.

Let me know what you think of them or the bees.

Also, if you want to read an amazing book about bees, read The Secret Lives of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. The book is not exactly about bees, but beekeepers are some of the main characters.  It is a coming of age story of a young girl in the rural South in the 1960’s. It is a wonderful story and beautifully written.

The Secret Lives of Bees was also made into a movie.
The Secret Lives of Beesbook by Sue Monk Kidd

The Secret Lives of Bees DVD

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Butter–Side-Down: Of Glitches and Newsletters

by Catherine Giordano
bread falls butter-side down
It's Murphy's Law:
 What can go wrong, will go wrong.

Bobbie Christmas is the owner of Zebra Communications and very well-respected editor. I’ve met her several times because she frequently lectures on “How to Edit.”  Every writer knows that it is next to impossible to edit your own work—it takes a trained editor to find all those pesky typos and inadvertent grammatical errors.   

(You can probably tell that my blog posts are not professionally edited. No matter how many times I proofread, errors remain.) 

Bobbie has a free monthly newsletter, The Writer’s Network News, that every writer will find useful. It’s two or three pages a month chock-full of editing tips and other information. Recently Bobbie wrote about the misuse and over use of the word “awesome.” She also did a little blurb about a form of wordplay called “lipograms.” I write for HubPages and I was inspired by her comments to write two pieces: The Naughty Grammarian: Literally Awesome Hyperbole and Word Play: What is a Lipogram 

I emailed Bobbie to thank her for being an inspiration, and she emailed back to tell me that she liked my work and was going to link to it in her next newsletter. What a nice break for me. Lots of people would learn about my work. All month, I eagerly awaited the newsletter. Finally, it arrived in my in-box. I clicked on the links to my articles just for the pleasure of seeing my pages pop-up. The links didn’t work.   

I was beyond upset. I thought I had made an error. I hadn’t. It took a while, but I discovered that there was a glitch with the HubPages servers and some links wouldn’t work. Why does the bread always fall butter-side down? Why did the servers fail just on the same day the newsletter came out? Why were my links among the affected links? Murphy's Law. 

(By the way, the links work now. So if you tried to use them and got an error message, try again. The links above should work now. Also, Bobbie was nice enough to say she would reprint them next month.) 

You can learn more about Bobbie Christmas at or You can also follow her blogs, Rx from the Book Doctor and Write in Style 

I said a little prayer to Loki, the Norse god of mischief, and asked him not to mess with my links so I’m sure all the links work.

P.S: I have done a whole series of The Naughty Grammarian posts. Which of these issues do you need to brush up on?

Monday, September 22, 2014

An Avalanche of Accolades

by Catherine Giordano
The illustration used in "Tips for Writers"

It has been just about four months since I started writing on HubPages (HP). I began because I wanted to earn money, but I stayed for the joy of writing. 

I’ve been told it takes about a year for earnings to happen, but, for me the accolades happened very quickly.  I have reached over 3000 views in my first three months and close to 100 followers to date.  Some of my hubs have been selected by the staff for special recognition. (On HubPages, the articles or posts are called “hubs.”)  

Accolade #1

One of my hubs Inside the Bee Hive: How Bees Make Honeyreceived an “Editor’s Choice” award. It is featured on the HubPages domain where it can get extra attention from search engines.
Accolade #2

About a week later, one of my hubs, Why People Collect Stuff and How You Can Too,was selected as Hub of the Day. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of hubs published every day, so it is an a great achievement to win the Hub of the Day award.  

Accolade #3
I figured that was it accolade-wise for a while.  After all, HP probably wants to spread the glory around.  It is a way to encourage writers to keep writing, especially those of us who are not actually making money yet. Today, I turned on my computer and found I had won Hub of the Day a second time--twice in one month. This time it was Tips for Writers: The Making of a Poem that won.

I wrote Tips for Writers: The Making of a Poem as a way to put some of my old poems to use. I had several poems with a common theme—a love of words—so I put them all in a hub and  wrote some text about how to use the unconscious when writing prose or poetry, and added some pictures. I thought I was just burning off some old poems, but the tons of comments I have received indicate that people really found the hub interesting and useful.  And they liked the poems.

Another benefit: A network of friends. Through comments and other communication and by reading what others write, I have formed friendships with some of the other hubbers (people who write hubs.)  

If you think you might enjoy writing for HubPages, let me know. I will help you get started.

Update 10/15/14:. I had another hub chosen as "Hub of the Day" today.  That makes three hubs selected for this honor within 30 days.This time the hub was  The Resplendent Quetzal: The Most Beautiful Bird in the World. I may be the only person to ever accomplish this. I also got my second Editor's Choice" today, for  my post The Jobs of the Presidents (Before They Were President)

I am an artistic success. Now,show me the money.
Really, I'm getting all this validation on the quality of my writing, but still only pennies a day.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How to Get Laid Right

by Catherine Giordano

Matchstick man lying down
Matchstick man is lying (not laying) down.

This post is about how to get laid right. Also lie, and lay, and lain. Yes, this question refers to grammar. You knew that, didn’t you?

Miss Grammers is back and she instructs on the confusing lie/lay verbs—present tense, past tense, and past participle. So few people get these two verbs right. Miss Grammers must confess that even she gets them mixed up. Read the post here: The Naughty Grammarian: Lie, Lay, or Laid
CLICK HERE to read the inscription on the back.
With this mug, you will always have the correct usage of lie and lay in your grasp.
 You might also want to read some of these other Miss Grammar posts.

I appear to be having a blue period. “Blue” in the sense of risqué. My last post was about nip-slips and now I’m talking about how to get laid right. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Perseus, Hercules, and the Nip-Slip

Perseus Rescues Andromeda
Perseus rescues Andromeda.
by Catherine Giordano
I have been doing posts for HubPages. They have some strange rules that can trip a writer up. You only learn what the rules are when you violate them. 

I did a couple of great hubs (as posts are called on HubPages), about dragon encounters in the myths about Perseus and Hercules.  I wanted to illustrate these hubs with classical art from Museums. I thought it added just the right feeling to the hubs.  

For the hub on Perseus, I told the story of Perseus’ rescue of Andromeda from a dragon named Cetus. I found a great picture. Only thing—Andromeda is naked. The story specifically describes her as naked, so practically every picture of Andromeda shows her naked. You can see the picture I choose at the top of this post. 

HubPages scores every hub and this one got the highest rating ever for me—a 96.  Then a few days later, I got an email saying that ads on my hub are being blocked because of a content violation.  Naked ladies are not allowed.  Ads are how a writer makes money on HubPages so I changed the picture. 

Ironically, one of the ads was for a statuette being sold on of Perseus, naked, full-frontal nudity.  
Hercules with the Hesperides
Hercules with the Hesperides
After that I did a hub about Hercules.  Hercules goes to the Garden of the Hesperides to slay the dragon Ladon and obtain three golden apples. (It’s his 11th of his “12 Labors.”) Again I wanted to use museum pictures. Again all the ladies had a bit too much décolleté.   

This time I imported the picture into Microsoft Paint, and painted a bodice over The naughty bits. I’m not much of an artist—I should have put in some shading—but I’m hoping no one will notice.    

Read the stories and see the replacement photos:  Perseus  Hercules 

I also earn money from views. So please click the above links. You will enjoy the stories. I tell them with humor. If you go to the hub, please do the polls and leave a comment.