Ethan Holmes Offers Advice on What To Do With Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey
An archived dry witted seasonal blog post from author Ethan Holmes.
Ethan Holmes Offers Advice on What To Do With Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey
An archived dry witted seasonal blog post from author Ethan Holmes.
Ethan Holmes presents his newly published novella, The Town of Perfect.
Written for the reader like you. You don’t have a lot of time to satisfy your reading appetite and even less for an author you never heard of, so here is a solution. Patterned after the famed ‘bookshots’ published by James Patterson, this 66 page novella can be polished off in a relaxing evening or lazy Saturday morning with a cup of tea or coffee. Enjoy this little gem from author Ethan Holmes.
Have you ever wanted to live in a society where money doesn’t mean a thing? That’s how it is in The Town of Perfect, where the only requirement for living there is also the town motto; All Give Freely of What They Have.
Can such a society truly exist? After being bred from day one of their lives to pursue, buy, take and otherwise gather as much material possessions and money as they can, are people able to give that up and become givers rather than takers?
What happens when some people adopt the life style but others rebel? The Town of Perfect is not always so perfect. All it takes is one person who does not choose to give freely of what they have. All it takes is one person who wants to take, not give.
The Town of Perfect by Ethan Holmes is available in Ebook format on Amazon and FREE in the KDP Select Program.
Check out Ethan Holmes’ exciting novel, Water.
What will you do when you turn on the faucet and nothing comes out except spatters of mud?
Don’t forget to pick up your free copy or Ethan Holmes’ collection of slightly twisted short stories, Shorts and Other Laundry.
Fifteen years ago I wrote an article about Internet dating titled Internet Dating Sites, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
It’s amazing how some things change, some things remain the same, some get better, some get worse.
After a recent 90 day, nightmarish and discouraging stint on Match, during which I found out I’m as ugly as a bridge troll, I decided to put the eight year old re-write of this back out there.
Hey! At least I was smiling!
Internet Dating Sites, The Good, the Bad & the Ugly
One day eight years ago I sat down at my computer to write about a relatively new phenomenon in the exploding world of home computers and the internet. Internet dating sites and matchmaking sites were appearing out of the woodwork and their rapid growth in popularity was nothing short of astonishing.
I don’t know why I was astonished at the time. I suppose I didn’t know there were that many allegedly single lonely people out there looking for a way to find someone. Well, at least that sounds good.
The truth of the matter is, I was already picking up things about on-line dating and matchmaking that many people took years to realize later on. I did extensive research over the years, including becoming a member on some sites and I could quickly see that this was not going to be a pretty process.
Initially I thought, “Wow, what an amazing tool this could be. Just think, you can get on the internet and meet people you most probably would never bump into in real life.” The thought that I had the power to reach out even with the confines of my own little area of the desert and find someone who might live within a mile of my doorstep yet I never would know otherwise was amazing.
The fact that I was living in a relatively barren-of-life small town in northern Arizona at the time which seemed to have a rule that you must be over 85 to live there might have had something to do with my false initial hope. You see, I never have been much of the bar type. Smoke and alcohol are not my idea of good bait for the girl of my dreams.
Some of the early internet dating sites were quite rudimentary and crude by today’s standards. There are sites now where you can go to live video, live chat, see who is ‘online right now’, see who viewed your profile, and even exchange FREE initial contact of some sort. Back then you either joined or you didn’t and all you got for not joining was the ability to view, in some cases, a few teasing photos of alleged members just anxiously awaiting your message.
That was not what bothered me in my early experiences. I paid more than once to be a full fledged member of multiple dating sites. After all, I reasoned, while I am looking for the supposed girl of my dreams it would be a good thing if I knew what I was talking about if I ever decided to write about this. To tell the truth, it didn’t take me long to decide to write about it. Yet I find myself tearing up the old article and starting anew because, folks, it is worse than I ever predicted back then.
When I first started discussing my experiences with people, including some of those I met through these sites, I immediately noticed that initially the idea of finding and dating someone through cyber-space carried the same stigma as newspaper personals used to carry. Mention to a married friend that you were going to meet a girl you met on the internet and they would look at you with one of those “You got to be kidding me. Why would you do a thing like that?” looks. Easy for them to ask, they had someone to come home to.
That didn’t really bother me. Frankly I don’t much care what other people think about what I am doing.
The second thing I noticed about this was that I was immediately experiencing what is now common place in the world of online dating. I was meeting women who had lied their butts off about nearly everything on their profile including their appearance. Case in point; I met one woman at a plaza for coffee. Upon my arrival I literally walked right past her without recognizing or even looking at her until she called me by name. Why? Because the woman sitting at the table in front of me was TWENTY SIX YEARS older than the photo she had posted. When I asked her why she had posted a photo which, by her own admission, was twenty six years old, she looked at me indignantly and said, “Well, it’s still me!”
I quickly realized that this wonderful tool was not going to be used in the manner I had assumed, silly naïve fool that I was. In fact, as I write this now, I realize that what started out as a relatively minor event years ago has now grown into a perfectly acceptable form of conduct in today’s society. The anonymity of the computer and the internet has allowed millions of people to behave in a manner they might never have displayed if they actually had to take responsibility. That, in a nutshell is the quickest and most succinct way I can describe what those two things have done to modern social behavior.
In its purest form the internet can be the most amazing instrument. Writers such as I can tell you it is probably the most profound research tool we have ever had. I just completed a novel that took me seven years to write. During that time I had to study and research at least four different sciences and visit parts of the planet I had no hope of ever getting to. The internet took me there and back and every bit of information I needed was at my fingertips.
Here I had, at my fingertips, the ability to introduce myself to people who lived in my own town or hundreds and even thousands of miles away. Little did I know what I was in for.
One of the earliest things I learned aside from the deception was that women on the internet want you to live a half mile from their doorstep. You should not waste your time or money on contacting someone who lives out of state, out of the country, or in most cases, out of your immediate vicinity. They want you close by but just far enough away that you’re not like a neighbor.
Pay attention to what their profile says. You can learn a lot about a person just from what they wrote or how they wrote it. I have seen online profiles that looked like the person was heavily medicated when they stabbed at the keyboard in a vain attempt to spell anything over three letters. I have seen ads with enough content to make you want to go get a cup of tea, some cookies, a pair of slippers and some Nyquil.
I have seen online profiles with so little content you wonder why they even bothered. You know the ones I am talking about; “Um, hi, I like walks in the park, my 16 dogs & the color pink. If you like what you see contact me.” Wow, who wouldn’t be jumping all over that?
Some of my other tongue-in-cheek favorites include profiles with outdated photos, photos of a girl who claims she is just “a few extra pounds” overweight and she outweighs me, and profiles with nine photos, eight of which are shots of sunsets, pigs, someone riding a camel, kissing a kangaroo, your favorite beach, your relatives minus you because you were taking the photo, your car, someone else’s car, a bridge, a lake, your leg, your foot, you turned in the other direction, you drunk with twenty other women at your favorite bar, an unidentified pregnant female, a lizard biting someone on the lip, someone French kissing a dog, and a partridge in a pear tree.
I have literally seen all of those on the internet and more. My favorite still remains the outdated photo, especially one of her ten years and forty pounds ago posted as the primary photo. I do have to say that shots of her with her ex-husband or current boyfriend go a long way too.
If the profile says “just looking”, believe it. Most of them are doing exactly that. The internet has provided a great way for people to get the attention they apparently crave without having to own up to anything, thus the existence of buttons like ‘Delete’, ‘Ignore’, and ‘Block’. What if you could do that in real life? Can you imagine? Some guy walks up to you in a bar and says something stupid and you just reach in your purse and hit ‘Ignore’. Better yet, you’re at one of those mindless weekly corporate mandatory employee meetings and you just pop the ‘Block’ button and you don’t have to listen to it anymore. Hell you don’t even have to go anymore.
Let me share some statistics with you that will simultaneously astonish you and discourage you. These are things the various internet dating sites do not want you to know. Just remember this is based on years of research and way too much money spent so I suppose someone should be paying me for this.
It comes down to this. For those of us who do not go out cruising bars and sleazy singles joints, the internet held promise. Unfortunately human behavior wrecked that promise. You should understand as well, that the internet has no better odds than real life. Yes you have the opportunity to meet more people but that simply increases the odds of finding what you are looking for.
Lastly, no matter what these internet dating sites tell you, they do not give a hoot if you are single. They are not here to provide you with the girl/guy of your dreams. They are here to provide a service and make a hell of a lot of money doing it. The cyber-dating world is every bit if not more disappointing than the real world and you had better steel yourself for that fact unless you are one of the rare cases who actually finds what you are looking for. All I have to say about that is the same disclaimer they put on TV weight loss and fitness ads: RESULTS NOT TYPICAL.
Ethan Holmes is the author of six books and numerous articles.
Five Sentence Mystery
Miriam came out of her stupor and abruptly realized she was staring out the kitchen window while holding a small hatchet that fit a little too easily in her small hand. Her dark, red-rimmed eyes traveled from the blood on the mixer and the splatter pattern on the dishwasher to the body of her husband lying in the small space between the island counter and the sink. She heard footsteps that sounded like high heels clatter across the wood laminate floor of the living room and the front door slammed shut. She scratched her head with the hatchet and struggled to focus. “Did I get mad at Dick for not doing the dishes again or was that his girlfriend who just left in a hurry?”
I just thought I would take a moment to have a little fun with a Goodreads challenge to write a five sentence mystery. I can’t help but wonder why or how this stuff lives in my head or how easy it is to bring it up when challenged even mildly. Don’t believe me? Take a look at my books. I can’t even settle on a genre to specialize in and I don’t think I want to. It’s great being weird.
Ethan Holmes is the author of six books, including Water, Earth’s Blood, The Keystone, Live Your Life in a Crap Free Zone, Shorts and Other Laundry and A Multi-Pack of Brain Flakes.
Sign up to follow Ethan Holmes on Facebook, Twitter or on his blog and get a shot at a free paperback copy of Water.
You know, the tree, the lights, the outside decorations, the fake snowman and reindeer in the front yard? Take the poll at the bottom of this blog but first, enjoy a short story about it from Ethan Holmes titled Taking Harry Down.
Taking Harry Down
By Ethan Holmes
Harry settled heavily into the battered leather recliner, huffing and puffing as though he was trying to haul his over-burdened frame out of the chair instead of plopping down. He mumbled under his breath as some of the egg nog in the calcium-spotted glass sloshed onto his lap. He watched the yellowish liquid slowly soak into his sweatpants and join myriad other stains. He shrugged and slugged some of it back, probably more bourbon than nog.
He looked around the room with a bit of disdain, this day after Christmas, when suddenly all the decorations, lights and even the tree seemed silly, like so much extra trash cluttering up an already cluttered home.
Harry stared at the cell phone on the small side table.
“I should call the crazy ol’ woman and see if I can start taking all this crap down. Box it and give it up to Goodwill! That’s what I’d do if it were up to me!”
He stared angrily at the string of lights Myrtle made him hang around the entire ceiling of the living room the day after Thanksgiving. There was one light, one stupid little bulb at the top of the twelve foot peak in the cathedral ceiling that was out. It had been out since the moment she made him plug the string into the wall socket. Of course, you know he had already put the ladder away. It was more than a stretch for him and his eight foot, rickety wooden step ladder. So was the ten foot artificial tree she insisted he drag out of the garage for the umpteenth time. Add in the porch decorations, the lawn ornaments, a whole box of outside lights and a partridge in a pear tree and Harry was exhausted. Nevertheless, that damn unlit bulb had driven him nuts for nearly five weeks.
“One of us should have died yesterday. Especially after eating her mashed potatoes.”
He wiped egg nog from his upper lip, wondering why she wouldn’t let them go to Denny’s instead of eating Thanksgiving leftovers.
“No restaurant should be open on Christmas. Everyone should be home with their family.” Myrtle was indignant as she spooned out the oddly solidified potatoes and some green bean casserole that had taken on a yellow hue. “Besides, I’ll be gone tomorrow visiting my sister. What would you eat while I’m gone?”
“Anything but what you made.” Harry kept that comment to himself knowing if he voiced it he would probably have to pull a wooden spoon out of his skull.
Harry stared at the single bulb, squinting his eyes, trying to will the bulb into suddenly coming to life. Not only did the bulb make him nuts, but Myrtle decided to jump on the bandwagon. Every day she had some comment about the dead bulb. His favorite was this one.
“Why don’t you just grab the ladder and replace the bulb. It’ll just take a second.”
That would start a sure fire argument every time.
“Really, woman? When was the last time you picked that ladder off the rack in the garage and hauled it into the house? What’s that, Alex? I’m thinking the correct Jeopardy answer is, ‘What is NEVER?’”
“You know I can’t lift that thing. It’s the only reason you’re still around.”
Harry could never quite figure out if that was true or not.
“Besides, chances are that we don’t have the right bulb anymore. In fact, those damn lights are so old I don’t think anyone has the bulbs anymore. The hardware store will probably laugh at me and send me to an antique shop.”
“Tsk. They’re not that old.”
“Older than you, woman.” Harry grumbled to himself as he relived the conversation while drinking his egg nog.
He glared at the taunting dead light.
“I’ll show you. I’ll take the whole lot of you down and pitch you in the trash. I’ll just tell her the whole damn thing shorted out.”
Harry grabbed the phone and speed dialed his wife’s number. To his surprise, Myrtle’s sister Delores answered the phone.
“Merry Christmas! Myrtle’s in the shower. Who’s calling?”
Delores’ cheery voice jangled in his ear with way too much Christmas spirit for his taste.
“Probably from the bottom of a bottle of spiced rum.” Harry took another slug of his egg nog.
“I’m sorry, what did you say? Who is this? You’ll have to speak up. We have Christmas music playing in the background.”
“Dammit Delores, tell Myrtle to call me when she gets out of the shower.”
Harry pressed the END button on the cell phone, pushing it hard as though that would slam the call closed.
Myrtle called back about thirty minutes later.
“I’m taking everything down. Christmas is over and it’s just taking up space. Besides, the damn light bill is going to through the ceiling.”
“Just wait till I get back, Harry. I want to see them one more time. It’ll be a year before I get to see them again.”
“Wish I could say the same about you.”
“What did you say, Harry? Delores has the stereo up loud. We just love all the Christmas songs.”
“Nothing! I’m just saying, might as well get ‘em down while I can. Sitting here doing nothing but watching Christmas shows on the TV.”
“Well, it’s not as though you have a lot of other things to do, Harry. Next thing you know, you’ll be telling me you’re headed for the gym.”
Harry held the phone away from his ear for a moment as both women cackled with delight at Myrtle’s sarcasm. He could hear Delores snickering in the background when he brought the phone back to his ear.
“I’m taking them down, Myrtle.”
Harry stared at the single bulb at the peak and pictured himself up on the ladder gleefully pulling the whole string down with one violent yank. He could even see the staples sparkling as they flew through the air all over the living room. “That ought to muck up her vacuum cleaner good!”
“You just wait, Harry. I’ll be back in a week. Besides, you shouldn’t be climbing up there without me to hold the ladder.”
“She means to push me off it.” Harry swallowed the last of his egg nog. He looked at the yellow coating left behind inside the glass. “I need another nog.”
Harry woke up, groggy and dry-mouthed. He looked down at the nearly empty glass still clutched in his hand. There was a wet spot on his sweat pants under the glass. He squinted at the digital clock on the mantle.
“Ten o’clock! How many of those things did I have?”
It took Harry four tries to get his rotund frame up to a position in the recliner where he could at least attempt to stand. He felt woozy and still sleepy. He leaned forward and stared at his feet encased in a brand new pair of DeerFoams. He wiggled them.
“I can’t feel my feet. I wonder if she deliberately got me the wrong size.”
His eyes rose to the TV, silently playing an old, black and white version of A Christmas Carol. “Must have muted the TV.” His blurry eyes traveled up the living room wall. “That’s weird. I don’t remember turning on the lights.” Then he remembered everything is on a timer.
He followed the blurry glow of the string and landed on the peak, on that one annoying, nerve racking dead bulb. Harry shook his fist. “Blink, you piece of crap!”
The bulb was defiant. There had to be three hundred bulbs in the string, but that one, single, solitary bulb stood mutinous in all its glory at the very peak of the ceiling.
Myrtle jiggled the key in the lock of the front door. It was bitterly cold and the key just didn’t want to turn in her frozen fingers. She beat on the door.
“Harry! Harry, come open the door! I can’t get the key to work.”
She turned around, noticing for the first time since she climbed out of the cab that all the Christmas decorations were broken and scattered around the yard. She went around to the kitchen window and noted that the fake candle was gone. She reached up and banged on the window.
“Harry, where are you? Come help me!”
Myrtle went back to the front door and after a few more attempts, finally got the key to turn. She went back down the steps and retrieved her luggage.
“Jeez Harry, the least you could do is get out of the damn recliner and come help me with my bags. And what happened to the Christmas …?”
Myrtle stopped in mid-sentence as she came upon a chaotic scene in the living room. The TV was blaring It’s a Wonderful Life. The ten foot Christmas tree, fully decorated and lit, was laying across the top of the TV. She peered over it and saw the wooden step ladder open and splayed across the tree. Behind all of that, she saw a tangled mass of string lights, still cheerfully blinking.
She pushed her way past all the mess that looked as if the place had experienced a major earthquake. Lying next to the tangled mass of string lights, Harry was blankly staring at a single bulb clutched in his hand. Myrtle could see it was the only bulb in the whole string that wasn’t blinking. A portion of the string was wrapped around Harry’s ankle and another short length of it had tangled around his neck but Harry had a firm hold on the section with the single bulb.
Myrtle stood there for a moment, gathering in the whole scene, a blank, emotionless look on her face.
“I told him not to take my Christmas stuff down until I got home.” She said this in a nonchalant, matter of fact way.
She looked around the room and slowly walked into kitchen. She opened the refrigerator, took out the egg nog and reached for a glass and the spiced rum in the cabinet. She dug her meat mallet from the junk drawer and crushed a few ice cubes, put the shattered fragments in the glass and slowly poured two shots of rum into the glass. As she did this she began to hum ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’. She filled the rest of the glass with egg nog and headed back into the living room.
Frosty the Snowman played on the TV as the detectives kneeled over the two bodies.
“Look at this, Jack. They were both drinking.” Ed pointed at the glass lying on its side on the dingy carpet next to a large wet spot that vaguely smelled of rum.
“So, what’s wrong with that? It’s Christmas.” Jack kicked the glass aside as he stood up. “It’s just a simple accident. They probably got all tangled up when he got up on the ladder and fell.”
“Yeah, maybe you’re right.” Ed looked at Myrtle, face down on the carpet with a piece of the twisted string of Christmas lights wrapped around one fat ankle. “Hey! Would ya look at that! There’s a bulb out!”
Thank you for reading my new short story, Taking Harry Down.
Here’s the poll!
This is a review of The Girl on the Train by author Ethan Holmes.
I rarely drop a book in mid-read and yet I find myself doing this multiple times during the past year or two. I bought the book as an author who is trying to determine what the ‘audience’ out there wants, basically, what makes a best seller.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins now joins my growing list of disappointments along side Fifty Shades of Crap and John Lescroart’s Plague of Secrets as books I cannot comprehend reaching the lofty heights of publication and notoriety they have attained.
Disappointment doesn’t cover it. Add in four cups of frustration, one cup of confounded, three tablespoons of astonishment, a dash of puzzlement and at least a dash of anger and you have the perfect recipe for an author who still does not know what the reading public wants or why they seem to want the trash that is making millionaires out of people who can’t write.
I was forty pages into The Girl on the Train and I could find no vestige of a plot. What I did find was the constant, incessant ramblings of a psychotic woman who was constantly watching trains, riding trains or drinking on the train. The only concrete characteristic is that she is an alcoholic. In truth, it felt as though I had inadvertently stumbled across the diary of a twenty year old whack job. I wasn’t supposed to be reading it and I didn’t want to read it after the first seven pages, and yet I plodded onward.
It didn’t get much better and I held little hope that it would. That is not a pleasant way to enjoy one’s precious reading time. I asked my editor about this book and she confirmed my increasing disappointment by informing me that she ‘could not finish it’.
When I began writing seriously with foolish thoughts of becoming a rich, famous author, one of the most important things I learned about novel writing was that it was necessary to capture the attention of the reader quickly. This book fails miserably and it stills fails miserably fifty pages in.
I also learned another frustrating fact or two while researching this ‘best seller’. The author pitched the book while it was only half finished, a big alleged no-no in this business. I would like to talk to whoever read the first half of The Girl on the Train manuscript and then sent this woman money. I think the main character was not the only one drinking that day.
The other bit of news was that this book somehow became a movie. That is where an author makes the real money in this business, movie rights. Apparently from the reviews, the movie is as bad as the book. What’s puzzling and mind-numbing frustrating to me is that it is no longer important to be a writer who writes well, (a goal I always had from the beginning). You just have to write the flavor of trash the buying public wants and hope they make a movie out of it.
The long and short of it is that I could have written a two sentence review of this book. It would read as follows. “I purchased this book at Costco for $9.99 plus tax. I would like to return to Costco and ask for $9.79 back….plus tax.
Ethan Holmes is the author of six books, including the highly relevant most recent release,
Get your free copy of Ethan Holmes’ collection of short stories, Shorts and Other Laundry by clicking the book cover below.
I’m asking why, not expecting answers. I’m Ethan Holmes. Yes, I’m weird. Yes, I have strange thoughts running through my head. These are things that cross my brain when the traffic in my head slows down.
Why does it take a hacksaw, a drill gun, a utility knife and a pair of pliers to get into modern day packaging?
Why do shoes made for a dollar in Korea or China and consisting of nothing more than a piece of rubber, a piece of foam and two shoelaces cost $150?
Why is rain a big media event in Phoenix?
Why do most, if not all prescription medications have many more dangerous side effects than the symptoms your ‘doctor’ is trying to help you hide?
Why are some women’s clothes marked as size ZERO? Does that mean you’re paying for nothing?
Why do people swear in front of God, Church, family and friends to stay together ’till death do you part’ and then get a divorce? Shouldn’t you just be allowed to legally kill each other?
Why is going without underwear called ‘going commando’? Is the military unable to afford underwear for the soldiers?
Why do all the plants in your garden become stunted and die due to a myriad of diseases and bugs, yet the weeds grow to four feet?
Why do kids learn to ride skateboards and spend the next five years trying to jump off of them and break something?
Why do people pay for someone to tie a rubber rope around their ankles and shove them off a bridge?
Why do people allow themselves to be overcharged by a major coffee chain for a 16 oz. drink only to be handed a cup with 8 oz. of fluid in it?
Last but not least, I’m asking why is it that there are nearly 320 million people in this country and the best you could come up with for President was the two clowns currently gnawing at each other?
Ethan Holmes is the author of six books, including his dry-wit look at life in general,
Live Your Life in a Crap Free Zone.
Available in paperback and ebook.
Ethan Holmes’ latest novel, Water, is available in paperback and ebook. What would you do if you tried to take a shower and nothing but mud came out of the shower head?
Get every new post delivered to your Inbox
Join other followers