Free Books to Combat The Summer Brain Drain

There may be no two words in the English language that bring more joy to a kid’s ears than Summer Break. Hey, I loved school, but I still salivated over the idea of weeks and weeks of sleeping in and goofing off.

But parents and teachers also talk about something known as the summer brain drain. The concern is that too much down time allows students to not only fritter away what they might have learned in the previous school year, but it also gets them out of learning mode.

I want to help by supplying free books. I’m going to take some of my own creations and give them away. You can grab copies of my Galahad series for young adults (middle school and high school) as well as some of my Buster Blank books for grades 4-6.

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When Writing is No Longer a Hobby

You like to write, and you think it would be cool to be published. You just don’t want to try and then get discouraged.

I get it. I’ve been there. I sat on stories for years and years, then cursed myself later when I finally made the leap.

Eventually you realize you’ve got nothing to lose by trying. You may not publish a bestseller - in fact, you may sell fewer than 100 copies. But so what?

Ask anyone who has published a book, and I mean anyone: What was it like to see your name on a book cover for the first time?

You’re a freakin’ zombie if you say, Eh, no big deal.

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Missing Mom

What’s your favorite memory of your mom? It’s easy to pick out the mushy stuff, which is fine. But what about the quirky, odd memories? The ones that, in hindsight, remind you how much you take her for granted.

When I was in the third grade, our family lived in northern Italy. My dad was in the Air Force, and we were stationed near Lake Garda for a couple of years.

Our school was a small island of American military kids, clustered along a river running through Verona, Italy. Field trips are always fun, sure, but they really get interesting when you don’t speak the language.

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Farewell, Albums

As a housewarming gift in December my son and daughter-in-law gave me a turntable. I’m talking the old-fashioned device used to spin vinyl. I quickly ran to my storage room and dug out a couple of dust-covered boxes holding more than a hundred albums. Soon my house was bathed in a sound I hadn’t heard in decades: the crackling, popping beauty of a needle on old forgotten records.

Not long ago we were all told to toss those albums because vinyl was dead, gone the way of 8-tracks and cassettes. And then, for who knows what reason, they began a quiet comeback. Not a massive comeback, mind you, but a trendy one.

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Is a Stand Aside Disrespectful?

First, let’s explain the concept of the Stand Aside.

Most people have a crazy crush on that one celebrity, either a musician, actor, or theoretical physicist. Hey, it happens.

Whenever you see them the lust-meter goes berserk. And you don’t keep this a secret, either. You’ll happily let everyone know just how much you want to ravage them.

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It's New to Me: Eruction

Came across this word this morning and had to stifle the giggle emanating from my inner ten-year-old.

No, it has nothing to do with the blast you see on the right. Nor does it have anything to do with blood flow to the nether regions. But it is a bodily function.

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Semi-Pro: The Gift of Giving Up "What-If"

I’m ambidextrous, which is kinda fun. I write with my right hand, I shoot pool with my left. I play tennis and racquetball with my right, bowl with my left. I eat right-handed, kick left-footed. Drum right-handed, but strum a guitar with my left.

As one good friend said: Dude, make up your mind. You’re a goddamned mess.

I played a lot of baseball as a kid, and as a left-handed pitcher I did pretty well. By age 15 I led the summer leagues in ERA. I couldn’t hit for shit, but I struck out a lot of guys from the mound. Yet by my junior year of high school I walked away from the game because I was already working full-time in radio. My trusty mitt was put on a shelf in the garage.

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Let It Be Good

On a vacation a few years ago we stumbled across a bar that truly kicked ass. It was outdoors, on gently-sloped property behind a restaurant, a rectangular bar overlooking a small river. Towering shade trees provided respite from the sun. The drinks were moderately priced, the service impeccable.

For what it’s worth, the bar was ergonomically perfect, too. Just the right depth to the tabletop (not too skinny, not too wide), at a comfortable height, and with foot rests positioned just where they needed to be. You may, or may not, understand exactly how all of that matters. Some of us happen to be "eat at the bar" people. It matters.

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We're Moving Thanksgiving and Halloween - Pass The Word

I like Christmas, but I love Thanksgiving. It’s got everything you want in a holiday: time off from work, a chance to hang with family and friends, a little bit of football, and the best food of all time. On top of that, while it might inject a little bit of stress, it doesn’t come close to the crushing pressures we associate with Christmas.

The only problem is that Thanksgiving comes at the wrong time. Let’s move it from late November to the fourth Thursday of October. Here’s why:

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