I am a very boring guy

Recently I was asked this question: “Do you take weekends off to do some fun things? I hope you take a break once in a while.”

Here’s my rambling reply (with a few revisions):

Do I take weekends off to do some fun things?

No. Everything I do is fun to me. I enjoy building things. I enjoy exercise. I enjoy reading books, and I enjoy writing them. I enjoy going out to see a movie at the theater (mostly alone). I don’t pay for cable TV, because I can’t stand all the advertisements and news that is almost always depressing especially with Donald Trump as the President of the United States. Trump is nothing but a pile of vile orange turkey crap. Why let him ruin my day? If I watch anything on a TV, it is after 8 PM and it is always from a DVD.

In short, I enjoy life, because every day is a holiday to me and has been since I retired more than twelve years ago. Sometimes I go out to eat alone and sometimes with a friend or friends. I enjoy eating alone or with friends as long as the food is healthy and my definition of healthy food doesn’t match most people, because I’m a vegan and have been for thirty-five years. Most American’s would not go one day without meat, sugar, sodas, sugar, dairy products, or sugar.

Going out to dance would not be fun for me so I don’t do that. Going out to party is not fun to me, and I don’t go to bars because drinking booze or beer is not fun to me. Paying to go and watch a football game or any sports would not be fun to me.

Celebrating my birthday is not fun to me. Celebrating any holiday is not fun to me, because every day is a holiday to me. If I get through a day without pain, loss or an injury that is a good day and most of my days are good ones.  And even when I injure myself, I do what I have to do to treat the wound, and return to what I was doing when I injured myself. Since I’m a woodworker and have a lot of dangerous power tools, I do cut myself and all I do is clean the wound, pack it with cayenne pepper, bandage the wound, and get back to work. The cayenne pepper stops the bleeding, protects the cut from infection and blocks the pain from the cut so I don’t feel it. It also speeds up the healing process.

If I had to go back to work to a job with a boss, that probably would not be fun because during the 45-years I worked and had bosses most of them were tyrants and/or were incompetent, and I even hated a few of them. But since I retired, every day is a fun day just because I’m alive and healthy to enjoy it. I have no desire to spend money just to have fun. For instance, I have no desire to visit theme parks like Disneyland. To me, that is an expensive waste of time. In addition, even though I was once a gambler and card counter, I don’t gamble today. Even though it isn’t illegal, there is too much stress counting cards in a casino and avoiding getting caught. I did that for several years and always won more than I lost, but the stress wasn’t worth it.

I take and enjoy life one day at a time no matter what I’m doing. I see no difference between any official holiday and all the other days of the year. They are all equal to me. I think most people have been programed to spend too much money on official holidays, but spending money to make someone else wealthier, isn’t fun to me.

I enjoy listening to music and right now that music is from Grace VanderWaal or Angelina Jordan, the eleven-year-old Norwegian jazz singer. For instance, this video of Angelina singing is incredible and I never get tired of watching it.


Every time I watch this video, I have fun because of Angelina’s amazing voice. Wow!

And I’ve watched Grace VanderWaal’s first concert for her first concert tour so many times, that I have lost count. Every time I watch her first Austin City Limits Music Festival concert for her own fans, I enjoyed stopping the replay to scan the crowd looking for expressions of joy and there was a lot to enjoy. For me, that is fun. And Grace’s expressions of joy are fun to watch too. It’s obvious that she is having fun providing music for her fans.

I have a vast choice of things to do every day that I enjoy doing. The list is so long that I have to manage it so I don’t spend too much time doing one thing. For instance, I just got in from doing two hours of yard work and I enjoyed the results and the fact that it was also free exercise. Now I’m writing this post and when I’m done, I’ll work on a chapter for my next book.

Why pay someone to mow my lawn while my body rots? It is a fact that if we don’t use our bodies, our bones will become brittle and we will lose muscle mass. Why should I pay someone to do the yard work for me and then pay to join a gym and exercise when I can do it for free?

For those two hours mowing, trimming and cleaning the yard, I was constantly on the move and I think that counts the same as a two-hour walk. I know going out to drink and dance is fun to many people, but I don’t pay to go out and drink booze and beer and dance. That is not fun to me. I will probably never pay to go on a cruise and eat too much bad food and gain ten or twenty pounds because that is not fun to me. The only winery I want to visit is a castle in the Napa Valley called Castello di Amorosa. I wouldn’t visit it to sample the wine or buy any wine. I’d visit it to see the castle. I like castles, and that is one trip I wouldn’t mind taking.  I’m even willing to travel to Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Germany, and Portugal to visit their castles. I wouldn’t go for the food or the alcohol. Why is eating unhealthy food and drinking alcohol considered fun to so many people?

Yep, I’m a really boring guy because I don’t do what many people think is fun.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Where to Buy

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What does it take to become a child prodigy?

I have two favorite living child prodigies: one from the United States (age 13) and one from Norway (age 11).

Grace VanderWaal won America’s Got Talent in 2016, at age 12. She competed by singing her own songs that she wrote (the first video). She then signed a contract with Columbia Records and put out her first short album (with 5 songs) that reached #9 in the United States. She went on to win awards from the Teen Choice Awards and Disney.

Angelina Jordan won Norway’s Got Talent when she was age 8, singing classic jazz. At age ten in 2016, she recorded “I Put a Spell on You.”  If you enjoy that performance, there’s more. You will discover Angelina performs barefoot. Her first album is scheduled for release this year.

Grace VanderWaal and Angelina Jordan are both child prodigies. Scientific American explains what it takes to be a child prodigy.

“Recent research indicates that basic cognitive abilities known to be influenced by genetic factors also play a role in prodigious achievement. In the most extensive study of prodigies to date, the psychologist Joanne Ruthsatz and her colleagues administered a standardized test of intelligence to 18 prodigies—five in art, eight in music, and five in math. There was a wide range of IQs in the sample, from 100—the average for the general population—to 147—well above the usual cutoff for “intellectually gifted.” However, with an average score of 140 (above the 99th percentile), nearly all of the prodigies did extraordinarily well on the tests of working memory. …

“With an average score of 148, the music prodigies in the Ruthsatz study were especially high in working memory (the average for the math prodigies was 135 and for art prodigies was 132). In fact, all eight of the music prodigies were at or above the 99th percentile, and four were at or above the 99.9th percentile. The odds of eight randomly selected people scoring this high on a test are essentially zero. …

Prodigies also exhibit an unusual commitment to their domain … “Often one cannot tear these children away from activities in their area of giftedness, whether they involve an instrument, a computer, a sketch pad, or a math book. These children have a powerful interest in the domain in which they have high ability, and they can focus so intently on work in this domain that they lose sense of the outside world.”

What happens to child prodigies when they grow up?

To discover how far Grace VanderWaal has gone since winning America’s Got Talent at age 12, in 2016, to the first weekend in October 2017 at the Austin City Limits Music Festival as she starts her first national concert tour at age 13, watch the next video.

It’s wild! Her fans love her songs and they love who she is at this age. We all change as we age and mature. I hope Grace gets only better as a person, and that she never forgets who she was when she started out.

UPDATE

Since I’m a writer and a published author, I wanted to add the names of a few child prodigies in that field, but to be clear, I was never a child prodigy.

  • Flavia Bujor wrote her first book when she was 12 and published it with Harper Collins when she was 14.
  • Nancy Yi Fan started writing her first novel when she was 7. She completed that novel when she was 11. Harper Collins published that book in 2007, and it became a New York Times bestseller.
  • Jake Marcionette wrote his first book when he was 12, and that book also became a New York Times bestseller.
  • Alec Greven was nine when he wrote: “How To Talk to Girls”.  His book made the New York Times bestseller list for a book he says he wrote in a week.
  • Dorothy Straight is on record as being the youngest published author ever. At the age of four, when many children can’t read let alone write, she wrote a story for her grandmother. Her parents took a shine to it and sent it to Pantheon Books, who published it in 1964 when Straight was 6.
  • TopTenz

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

The Story of Lucy – Beautiful Thing

Every time I watch this Windex commercial, yes, it is a commercial, the best I’ve seen, because of the happy memory tears that flow every time. I’m not alone with my tearful reaction. After you watch The Story of Lucy, scroll down and read some of the comments.

The song and lyrics are from Grace VanderWall who wrote the song and first performed it on America’s Got Talent in 2016.  She was 12-years old.

For more about Grace, read my fan post at This is an Invitation to attend my favorite YouTube Concert.

The next video is an interview with Grace on 98.7 AMP Radio. This way you get to know a bit about who this 13-year old is who wrote the song used in that incredible Windex commercial.

The Grammy nominations will arrive near the end of 2017. I’ll be shocked if Grace doesn’t get nominated.

Thank you, Grace. May you always see the world through the same prism that you were using when you were twelve. Keep that glass clean so there are no distortions. Use Windex.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

This is an Invitation to attend my favorite YouTube Concert

I am a Grace VanderWaal fan, and I have been attending a lot of her concerts sitting in front of my desktop with a stereo headset on. She was 12 when she won America’s Got Talent (AGT) in 2016. She’s now 13 and has a mini album out with her first-five original songs on it. After winning AGT, she was signed by Columbia records and her first mini album was “Perfectly Imperfect” and reached #9 on the national charts in the United States and #11 in Canada.  She also won the Radio Disney Music Award for Best New Artist and is pending for the Teen Choice Awards. She was nominated for Best Female Artist on the Acoustic Music Awards but didn’t win that one.

This YouTube concert starts with the first four songs Grace wrote and performed while competing on AGT. I don’t watch TV, so I never saw the original performances. I learned about Grace by accident a few weeks ago and have only watched her on YouTube.


28.17 minutes

The next video is her performance on stage in front of a huge audience. She sings her first original song, I Don’t Know My Name, and a new one called Moonlight.


8:46 minutes

Next, watch her first professional video where she sings her 5th original song, Moonlight.


about 3 minutes

Last, listen to her first album on VEVO’s You Tube channel


16:48 minutes

And if you want to use Google to find the original lyrics, they are available online. Once you read the lyrics of the songs Grace wrote when she was still 12 years old, I think it makes Grace’s YouTube concert experience even better. A friend of mine says Grace must have an old soul to have written those songs.

I have discovered that watching Grace perform and sing her own original songs is therapy for me.  She helps drive back the darkness being spread by #FakePresident Donald Trump and his extreme alt-right cabinet of professional haters. J. K Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, says Trump is worse than Voldemort.

UPDATE August 18, 2017


Grace returns to perform on America’s Got Talent almost one year after she won AGT in 2016. She is a superstar now, and this performance proves it.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova – is it porno, erotica, or something else?

This morning—Saturday, December 20, 2014—I mailed off the USB drive to my copy editor with the final rough draft of my next novel, The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova. If all goes well, the book will be released by March 2015 at the latest.

My first novel was My Splendid Concubine, and it was historical fiction set in 19th century China based on a real-life love story.

My second novel, Running with the Enemy, was also a love story and a thriller set during the Vietnam War in the 1960’s, and I borrowed from events that happened to me and others in my unit in Vietnam when I served there as a U.S. Marine.

Number three was a memoir, Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé—with no love story or sex—and it came out in November 2014.

The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova is a 1990 libido-driven, multi-murder mystery, want-to-be love story set mostly in the palace of a nightclub called the Aphrodisiac Academe in a beach community in Southern California.

LowiDef Dec 19 Book Cover for Redemption With Title Flattened

In the early 1980’s, I was the maître d’ for a few years for a similar nightclub called The Red Onion in the same region, and the nightclub in this novel is modeled after that one that had three dining rooms—one with a glass ceiling and full-sized palm trees—and three bars for a nightclub that held up to 1,000 lusty dancers and drinkers, including a DJ’s booth and a stage for live entertainment.

“While the dance floor in a nightclub of this size is the central arena of seduction, actual sex usually takes place in bathroom stalls, exit stairwells, and so on. In other cases the disco became a kind of ‘main course’ in a hedonist’s menu for a night out.” – Disco American Heritage Magazine by Peter Braunstein, Vol, 50, No. 7, November 1999

The family that runs the fictional Aphrodisiac Academe in my murder mystery is a deliberately sexually dysfunctional family—or maybe they are normal and everyone else isn’t normal.

A reclusive 96-year old billionaire owns it all, and she helps rescue abused women with help from her grandson, the main character whose name appears in the title, but he has a problem. He has sworn off being the Lothario he was raised to be in the family tradition, and, for him, it’s a challenge to stay sexually sober. Don was taught by his Lothario grandfather to seduce women starting when he was age ten. In the novel, he’s forty. Will he succeed in leaving the old life of lust behind and find the love he craves with one woman?

And will he avoid getting murdered?

My question is this – is this novel pornography, erotica or just a mystery in a setting where lust and sex is normal?  The world of nightclubs and bars is a world we don’t read or hear about often, but there are literally thousands across the country, and the Top 100 List for Nightclubs and Bars in 2014 showcased the current economic strength of the industry with more than $1.5 billion in combined total revenue in 2013.

How big is this industry that is the setting for my first mystery? The US bar and nightclub industry has about 45,000 establishments (single-location companies and branches of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $20 billion.

Peter Braunstein wrote, “From the juke joint to the dance hall, American clubs in the postwar era have been the center of a cultural struggle pitting the forces of hedonism, revelry, and sexual liberation against those of socio-sexual stability and control.”

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

Crazy-is-Normal-a-classroom-expose-200x300

Honorable Mention in Biography/Autobiography at 2014 Southern California Book Festival

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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She Treats Me so Mean

What happens when you have talent but can’t travel to distant cities and try out for shows like American Idol, The Voice, or The X Factor?

Fox Business.com says, “What the TV audience doesn’t see is, if you’re from San Diego and you audition and make it through in St. Louis, then you have to return to St. Louis a month or two later for the next round, and then again for a third round. … Some can’t afford to and drop out.”

This means that some never get a chance to wait in line for an audition.

One example is Derek Michael Marc. For him—like many talented singers and musicians—the cost of traveling, hotel rooms, eating out and waiting in line for hours is too much, but that hasn’t stopped him from performing.

On February 5th, 2013, Derek appeared on My Window—a talk show known as the window to Central Oregon broadcasting from KBNZ for CBS Entertainment, News and Sports.


My Window on CBS – Aired Tuesday, Feb 5th, 2013

Derek says, “I’m just another guy that has dedicated his life to the art of Music.”

After moving to Central Oregon from his hometown of Snoqualmie, Washington in the summer of 2005, Derek became a full-time working musician playing hundreds of shows through-out the Northwest Territory.


Bad Luck Blues

Discover Barber Shop Quartets and Amazing Acapella

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

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Jim Carrey’s Satire on Assault Weapons

After Jim Carrey appeared in a new video released by FunnyorDie.com as Charlton in a parody making fun of gun nuts, Fox’s News hosts went nuts too—about Jim Carrey—losing what’s left of their minds.


The Young Turk’s Cenk Uygur explains, with examples, what happened in all its hilarity.

In the video, Carrey is lip-synching backed by his merry band: Gandhi, Lincoln and John Lennon. Click on the next link for the performance.

http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/0433b30576/cold-dead-hand-with-jim-carrey
Carrie makes it clear this is Social Satire.

And the neoconservatives at Fox News handed Jim Carrey billions in free PR by protesting too much.

Discover The Self-Annihilation of Credibility  It is an author’s duty to speak out against libel and defamation of his or her work.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”