Ethan Holmes Offers Advice What To Do With Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey

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 Advice About Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey

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The Town of Perfect

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.

The Town of Perfect

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.

Ethan Holmes is the author of seven books. Visit his website to learn more about the author and his work.

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.

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Ethan Holmes Die Hard Romantic

My name is Ethan Holmes and I confess I am a die hard romantic. What’s really strange about that is the fact I have no one to put that attribute to use on. No wife, no girlfriend, no dates, no nada. That said, being an author/writer, none of that stops me from writing poetry among other things. Further, it’s my belief that when one writes a romantic poem, it does no one any good if it simply remains in a shoe box tucked away in a deep, dark closet. So I present the following for your reading pleasure.

Ethan Holmes Die Hard Romantic

Please Don’t Go Just Yet

By Ethan Holmes

It was the first time, the very first time he could look deep into her eyes,

Touch her silken hand, hear the voice reaching inside to touch his soul.

The hours seemed to float by unnoticed by both, dusk melting to the midnight hour,

Bits of conversation interlocked in commonality, marked by laughter, shared with joy,

‘Til at last, the waitress reluctantly approached, check in hand, hesitant and knowing,

“So sorry to do this but we are closing,” she blushed furiously as she softly set the check down,

“That’s all right,” the man, flush with the exquisite warmth of the moment, rose.

The woman rose with him, walking out in to an unnoticed winter fog,

Stopping, he stared at the car door handle, wishing intently not to touch it.

“Please don’t go just yet.” The woman rose on her toes as high as she could reach,

Brushing velvet lips to his cheek, warm breath to his skin.

“I have to go on a business trip,” he prodded his breakfast forlornly.

She slid her hands down his shoulders and whispered in his ear.

“You’ll be back before you can miss me.”

“I miss you now with the thought of it.”

He rose and took her in his arms and danced slowly around the room to a music unheard but by the two.

She lay her head on his chest, barely heard,

“Please don’t go just yet.”

“Funny how things go around, the universe seems a circle.”

She smiled the way she did when she first captured his beating heart.

It was the same place, the same table, the same time of day with years in between.

The aging of things remains undetected when obscured by love.

Only the waitress was long gone, only the passion and love remained strong.

As the dinner crowd shuffled in she took his hand and moved to the door.

“Please don’t go just yet.”

He took her in his arms, there in front of all, kissed her as though it were the last.

She lay on the bed, at last showing the many years passed between them.

His hand clasped hers, wishing a way to pass what life left in him to her.

Her fingers tightened around his for a moment as she whispered his name,

Smiling that smile still able to lay soft snow over all life’s trouble,

Breathing one last sigh carrying her spirit away from his grasp.

The old man leaned over, ever so tenderly brushing his lips to hers,

A tear glistening on one cheek, wanting to let go and fall to her,

Asking for one last thing that could not be,

“Please don’t go just yet.”

Ethan Holmes is the author of seven books. Visit the author’s website HERE.

Get your free Ebook copy of Shorts and Other Laundry by Ethan Holmes.

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Who is That Guy in the Mirror?

Who is that guy in the mirror?

Who is that Guy in the Mirror?

There’s a guy staring at me. Who is that guy in the mirror? I don’t know who he is or how he got there. He resembles me, a little bit, but I don’t really recognize him. It’s got me totally befuddled. Maybe I should install that alarm system I’ve been thinking about lately.

First of all, this guy’s got at least a dozen long, wild white hairs sticking out of his eyebrows in all directions. I want to tell him to borrow my tweezers that I normally use for pulling cactus needles out of me. All I know is that when I saw myself in the same mirror yesterday, those weren’t there. So who is that guy in the mirror?

He’s got wrinkles in his forehead that I’m assuming come from thinking really hard about something. Yeah, that’s the ticket, must be from thinking. Can’t be from age. I don’t have those wrinkles so he shouldn’t either.

There’s a clump of dark hair growing out of his right ear too. Why? I have no idea. It seems to me if the human body wanted to keep its own ears warm it would grow hair on the ear, not in it. (It’s like armpit hair. What’s up with that? My armpits are the second warmest spot on me. I don‘t need hair there.)

See, I had thirty radiation treatments to the side of my head many years ago, back when they didn’t think it caused much harm. It explains a lot about me today. One thing I do know, though, is that I shouldn’t be growing any hair out of my ears. The treatments took away half my facial hair so nothing else should be popping out.

Who is that guy in the mirror with the strange look in his eyes? He looks tired and a bit worn out. I know that can’t be me. It’s not uncommon for my work week to entail things like manhandling large trees in or out of the ground, digging holes and shoveling tons of gravel a day. This guy looks like he’s too tired to lift a stamp to his mouth to lick it.

I take a step closer to the mirror and notice a slight sagging under the chin and around the cheeks. Now I know for sure that’s not me. Nothing on me is sagging, yet. Well, nothing I would talk about to anyone but a doctor. I specifically make sure that I go the gym at least three to five times a week just to avoid that very thing. So, who is that guy in the mirror?

This is not the first time I’ve seen him in the mirror. I think he started showing up sometime last year. I should charge him rent if he’s going to live with me. Sometimes he even talks to me although he never has anything good to say. For instance, about a month ago he was complaining, first thing in the morning, that he’d woken up with his lips and teeth stuck solidly to the inside of his mouth.  I told him to just turn on the humidifier.

Another morning he woke up and complained that his eyes were all dry and blurry. He said it took him ten minutes just to see anything clearly. I told him I didn’t know what he was talking about because I couldn’t see him in the mirror.

After thinking about it for a while, I decided that guy in the mirror was the answer to a lot of the mysteries in my life in the past year. You see, about a year ago I went on a three day rampage looking for my keys. I tore the house inside out. I searched the shed, my vehicle, all around the yard and driveway and tore the house up again. Still, no keys. Three days later, I’m standing there next to kitchen cookie jar, half crazed with rage and a lack of sleep. For some reason I still cannot comprehend to this day, a little voice in my head said, ‘look in the cookie jar’. Hey, maybe it was that guy in the mirror!

I actually argued with myself for a moment or two.

“Don’t be stupid. What would my keys be doing in the cookie jar?”

Once I quit arguing with myself, I lifted the lid and Voila! There was my entire set of keys nestled among the biscotti. For months afterward I argued with and berated myself about those keys in the cookie jar.  I argued with that guy in the mirror too. What in the world was going on in my head that would cause me to take a bunch of keys and a car fob and toss them into a damn cookie jar?

But see, now, I have someone to blame for it. It’s the guy in the mirror. He can’t remember anything and, apparently, he likes to take my stuff when I’m not looking and put it in places where I can’t find it and wouldn’t think to look. He’s done a lot of that with my tools when I’m working on something. I’ll set a pair of channel locks right next to me while I’m working and the next thing I know, after a half hour of crazed searching, I find them on the other side of the car. I didn’t put them there. It’s that guy in the mirror. I should tell him to quit moving my stuff, especially when I’m trying to use it.

This is the same guy who must have thought it was hysterical when I couldn’t find my Costco card. It took me two weeks to find out he had left it at the store. The people at Costco looked at me with pity when I went to retrieve it. I could hear them whispering among themselves as I left.

This guy in the mirror is the same one who forgets stuff at the grocery store all the time and has to go back repeatedly. The result of three trips to the store for a box of cereal is that the box now costs fourteen dollars including gas. (He told me he hates lists, says it’s just something else you have to remember.) He’s also the guy who sometimes picks up the wrong nozzle at the gas station, forgetting that he has a diesel car. And we won’t even talk about what happens when he goes some place he’s never been before. If it wasn’t for GPS this guy would turn a drive to Las Vegas into a global circumnavigation. That’s why I always make him take food and water in the car.

Who is that guy in the mirror? Me, I have a darn sharp memory. I know this because I annoy my friends and acquaintances with the ability to play their conversations back like a tape recorder in my head, word for word. They hate that. The guy in the mirror forgets to pull his zipper up when he leaves the house.

When something is gone and I can’t find it, this guy in the mirror always looks like he is as stressed as I am.  He’s got the same fragged out look on his face that I do. What’s annoying is that he never helps. He never speaks up and says ‘go look in the cookie jar’. What’s the point? I should have a talk with this guy, especially if he’s going to stay here.

I’ve decided that getting older is a real battle, mentally and emotionally, not just physically. I don’t like it one bit but the alternative is not attractive. It’s why I tell people not to complain about their birthday. You have two choices. You can have a birthday, or you can stop having them.

Me, I’m trapped in a Twilight Zone-like dilemma. In my head, I’m still 35 or 40 years old. I pick up and handle more weight in a day than most people handle in a month. I’m still wearing the same pants size, and in some cases, the same pants I was wearing twenty years ago. Last year I hiked one of the seven toughest hikes in Arizona with someone twenty six years my junior and lived to tell about it. I still find thirty and forty year old women very attractive but they look at me like I fell out of an archaeological find in a glacier. I don’t feel old, unless it’s one of those days when I shoveled fifteen tons of rock.

My hair isn’t white yet but there’s just enough of it on the sides to automatically make the sixteen year old behind the counter give me the senior discount without even asking. I hate that but I hate it even more when they ask.

They ought to offer a ‘confused and bewildered’ discount. Now that, I qualify for. I don’t know who I should be dating. The forty year olds look hot to me but the sixty five year olds who play bingo five times a week and outweigh me scare me. I’m caught in between. Both groups come with enough luggage to sink the Titanic, again.

I’m not going quietly into the night. The guy in the mirror can go if he wants, but I’m going to kick and fight and rebel. I don’t know what good it will do but I’m going to do it. I’m going to break all the rules or break a hip trying. Only after my teeth and my hair are completely artificial and my medications outnumber my vitamins, will I admit to being ‘old’. Then I will throw in the towel, but not until I’ve wiped the rice pudding off my face.

Ethan Holmes is the author of six books including the acerbically funny, Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone.


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The Last Gentleman, Ethan Holmes

Am I the last gentleman? Seriously, are there any men other than me who still treat women with respect, kindness and consideration?

The Last Gentleman

The Last Gentleman

The issue of sexual harassment has exploded on to the public scene with revelations of experiences from women all over the country. Their allegations and accusations are being made against men from all walks of life. Cops, movie/TV stars, producers, directors, model photographers, corporate executives, agents, politicians and yes, even your exalted leader have been caught up in this tsunami of disclosures.

The revelations by these many women are astounding and quite profound if even some of them are true. It has caused me to alter my own views about some of the accused. I grew up with Bill Cosby’s comedy mirroring my own life and I considered him a comic genius. Now I don’t think he’s one bit funny any more. I just see a worn out, half blind old man who spent his life trying to get into the underwear of many beautiful women by drugging them. (Really, Bill? How much fun could a drugged and incapacitated woman be?)

When I was a kid, I used to think Joe Paterno was a god and the Penn State institution was a model of decorum, morality, sportsmanship and education. That would be destroyed by the revelation that he spent years covering for his friend and subordinate, Joe Sandusky, while he sexually assaulted boys and young men.

Kevin Spacey was a favorite actor of mine. His roles in American Beauty, K-PAX and Pay It Forward were fine examples of great acting. Now all I see is a bully who can’t seem to keep his hands to himself and doesn’t seem to understand unwanted advances.

Apparently, predatory sexual harassment is far more prevalent than I ever knew and involves victims and predators of all types and both sexes. I find this amazing, in part because I never behaved this way and never will. I am a gentleman, possibly the last gentleman. I treat women like ladies until they behave otherwise and then I walk away.

I hold doors for women. I help them with their groceries at Costco, lift heavy things for them, move their furniture and reach things on shelves for them. I give them compliments for no reason, sincerely meant and sincerely given. I bring them flowers, hand picked and with no motive behind them other than to see them smile. I talk to them respectfully and listen in the same manner.

I do all this with no expectations, no ulterior secret motives, no bad intention. It would be nice to get a ‘thank you’ all the time but that happens with less and less frequency. My new rule is expect nothing.

I am trying to figure out why this sexual harassment and ungentle man-like behavior is so prevalent. This is just the publicly reported stuff too. Can you imagine what must be going on among the not-so-famous remainder of the population? Worse yet, how much more of this stuff is going unreported? My logical brain wants answers. Why are men behaving this way and why is it such a common thing? It’s difficult to wrap my head around this because I don’t do it. But they do. Many of them do. Why?

The only logical reason I can come up with is that, even occasionally, it works. It works in that they get what they want, which is sexual contact. wanted or unwanted. I don’t understand this either because if I even sense that a woman doesn’t like me, doesn’t want to talk to me and certainly would never go out with me or be friends, I walk away, period, end of story.

I very well might be the last gentleman. I know this because I live on Rejection  Street and because I live there I think I can see why all these men do what they do. I’ll tell you what I get for being the last gentleman. I get to be alone all the time. I get slammed shut every time I think I might have met someone worth spending some time with. I get dirty looks, scowls, looks of astonishment and the rare expression of gratitude. I get to go on Match and watch while TWO HUNDRED AND  SIXTY SEVEN women can’t/won’t even say a polite ‘no thank you’ to my gentlemanly and oftentimes humorous, witty and intelligent queries. Yes, I used humor, wit, intelligence, romance, poetry, courtesy and a partridge in a pear tree. (I can do all that. I’m the author of six books.) Obviously none of those matter if you’re ugly as a bridge troll. Meanwhile, millions of men are having some modicum of success in attaining their goals by sending the women naked shots and lurid messages. It must be working because they’re doing those things and Match has millions of members and the largest market share of any dating site. In my opinion, it just doesn’t pay to be a gentleman there.

I can tell you from decades of experience that being a polite gentleman gets you nowhere in life. Not anywhere near where I live anyway. Example; I have a neighbor across the street who is an attractive girl in a violent relationship. I have watched her greaseball boyfriend assault her. I have watched them scream at each other and I have watched him or her leave for days only to come back. Go figure. I will note here that this is not an uncommon phenomena. It’s not pleasant to see the dysfunctional choices many women make in relationships when you know you would treat them so much better than that. It doesn’t matter.

I am  a gentleman, possibly the last gentleman. It is now clear to me why I don’t hang around other guys and why I disavow those I used to look up to or admire. I never did like the way most guys talk about women when they are in packs and I have a really tough time not taking some jerk down when I see how he treats his wife or grilfriend.

I will not alter my behavior despite the complete lack of success in finding what I am looking for and the profoundly solitary life I lead. I will not send naked shots of myself for fear that you will send me $20 and tell me to go buy a pair of pants at Walmart. I will not walk up to you and say lurid things in the hopes that you and I will immediately drop our groceries in the produce aisle and start making some ‘produce’ of our own. I will not try to peer up your skirt, besides the women around here don’t wear them. I will not go to bars and pick up the local bar ‘ho’ and I will not go next door to Nevada so I can ‘git me some’ for hire.

I will continue to be a solitary gentleman, maybe not the last gentleman but a solitary one.

Ethan Holmes

Ethan Holmes is the author of six books, all in ebook format and four in paperback.

Visit the author Ethan Holmes

Get your free copy of a collection of short stories by Ethan Holmes,

Shorts and Other Laundry

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Internet Dating Sites

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!

Ethan Holmes Internet Dating Bridge Troll

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.

  • On most, if not all internet dating sites, the men outnumber the women by at least ten to one. I have never figured out why this is unless it goes back to the stigma thing and many women don’t ever want to admit they found a partner on the internet. So if you are ready to go into a room where there may be four women but forty or fifty men and you think you have a shot, have at it.
  • Most women who join these sites, especially the pretty ones and the intelligent and pretty ones, are immediately inundated by hits from men. Most are immediately overwhelmed. Some give up; some develop a random system of deletes, ignores, and blocks to deal with it.
  • The number one complaint from men on dating sites is that most women do not respond at all to hits, inquiries, first contacts, etc.. The reason for this is obvious, see number two.
  • Most of the women who join a dating site have no actual intent to meet someone. Many of them are quite happy with the cyber attention alone which their profile generates. Many of them are more than pleased to come home and find fifty six emails waiting for them in their mailbox all from men panting to meet her. (Who wouldn’t like that?)
  • Internet dating sites like to let the women join for free so it will draw in the men who are willing to part with the money to join up in the hopes that one of these ‘hot women’ will contact or respond. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it. Sounds just like Ladies’ Night at the bar. Men have to pay a cover charge, women walk in and drink for free for three hours. The bar owner knows the women will make the men come in, and after the free drinks are over the men will fork over for drinks for the women.
  • No single internet dating site is significantly better than another. They all have problems, many of them the same problems. See items 1-5.
  • Internet dating sites create rude nasty people who forget how to be polite and courteous since they don’t have to face anyone. Women use the excuse, “I don’t have the time to answer everyone.” Men don’t need an excuse to send shots of their genitals to strange women.


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.

Visit the author on Amazon.

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Five Sentence Mystery by Ethan Holmes

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.

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How Long Do You Leave Christmas Up?


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.

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The Girl on the Train, Review by Ethan Holmes

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.

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Asking Why, Not Expecting Answers

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.

Live Your Life In a Crap Free Zone by Ethan Holmes

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?

Water by Ethan Holmes


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