Diagnosis: McPhIDS

Dear Friends,

Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.

I learned this morning that I have been diagnosed with a recently identified, trauma-related ailment spawned by the technology sector. This ailment is known as McPhIDS, the acronym for My Cell Phone Is Dead Syndrome. This occurs when one’s indispensible mobile phone or similar device inexplicably stops functioning.

(Did I mention that technology sucks?)

Here’s what happened . . .

My alleged smart phone went dumb. As in mute.

It died last night.

Dumb Phone RIP
Dumb Phone RIP

Black screen.

Dead as the proverbial door nail.

I press the ON button. Nothing.

Plug it into the charger. No response.

It’s only four [expletive deleted] months old!

The dread of having to deal with an impudent millennial at T-Mobile claws through my mind. I do NOT want to deal with this.

(Did I mention that technology sucks?)

OK. First things first. Make coffee.

Caffeine enthused, I try to find the paperwork to take with me that proves I own the phone—my wife being the primary name on the account, and she being halfway around the world gazing at the descendants of dinosaurs, and only reachable by texting. Catch-22.

Not a great start for the week.

Having dealt with computers for the past 36 years, I learned (and often employed) the three-finger salute—Alt-Cntl-Delete—to reboot a blue-screen machine. But that’s not an option with a black-screen digital phone.

Then the proverbial light bulb flickered on. I can’t be the only one with this problem.

Hello, Google.


Long string of results for “dead cell phone.”

I found that DPS (Dead Phone Syndrome) is common. So common, in fact, we should expect it. But is that stated anywhere in the marketing hype or even in the fine print of the owner’s manual? Of course not. That would mean admitting that . . . say it . . . technology sucks! I’m thinking that the cell phone manufacturers, like Big Pharma, ought to be required to fast-talk this disclaimer at the end of their commercials.

But I digress.

I take a quick scroll through the results and find a simple solution: Remove, then reinstall the battery.

Easy, schmeasy, right?

Not. Nadda. Zippity-doo-dah.

Still dead.

(Did I mention that technology sucks?)

Time for the defibrillator.

I paddle a little deeper into the depths of the Internet. (Thankfully, I didn’t have to dive into the Dark Web.)

I learn that DPS can be caused by a “firmware” problem, and a simple reboot will not solve it. To fix it, one must not only remove the battery, but one must also press the ON/OFF button and hold it down for at least one full minute. That, according to the explanation from the helpful geek, drains any residual electrons playing hide-and-seek in the dark recesses of the SIM card.

Sort of like a full-body blood transfusion. Sort of like saying that to save the patient, we must kill him. Or, as the generals said during the Vietnam Era, to save the village, we had to destroy it.

So, I dutifully do as instructed. I take a deep breath, press the button, and hold it (my breath as well as the button) while I silently count off the 60 seconds, thinking Mike Wallace might appear on screen if it actually works.


The chime sounds and a magenta SAMSUNG crawls across the screen amid faux fireworks. (But not even the ghost of Mike Wallace appears.)

I immediately nickname the phone Lazarus.

I check my contacts. All there.

I check my photos. All there.

I check my apps. Oh, right. I don’t use apps. (Well, OK, one birding app.)

Then I notice the date: Thursday, December 31, 0000.

Huh? It’s supposed to be Monday, February 4, 2019.

Doo-doo-doo-doo. Twilight Zone time.

I look around the house and everything seems normal. I look out the window. I do not appear to be in Bethlehem, even though the torrential rain of biblical proportions keeps pounding on the roof.

I double-check the bird-a-day calendar on the kitchen counter. Yep, Monday, February 4, 2019.

I check the date on the phone again: Thursday, December 31, 0000.

And I think: What would Jesus do?

I close my eyes and take several deep breaths, breathing out slowly.

I will get through this. I will get through this.

When I open my eyes, the correct date appears on screen.


So, take heart. This DPS does not occur due to operator error, or the result of dropping said device into bath water, or a toilet, or off the balcony of a tall building, or out of the window of moving motor vehicle. It’s similar to a human having a heart attack. As my cardiologist explained to me, –it happens.

(Did I mention that technology sucks?)

And not if, but when, it happens to you, the McPhIDS may begin instantly, or it may slowly build as repeated efforts to resuscitate the device fail.

McPhIDS is not known to be fatal (to humans), but symptoms may range from deep depression and uncontrolled sobbing to lengthy strings of curse words to items being thrown at walls and through windows, and, in extreme cases, stomping said items into small pieces. (Take it from me, the latter is not recommended—the Humpty Dumpty procedure may not be successful.)

Whew! I feel better already. Thank you for indulging me. And if you, too, feel an attack of McPhIDS coming on, reach out to me. After all, I’ve been there.

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Hinton’s 1967 coming-of-age novel credited teenagers with a rich interior life

The Enduring Spell of ‘The Outsiders’: S. E. Hinton’s 1967 coming-of-age novel credited teenagers with a rich interior life.

Here, a tribute by Lena Dunham to the book that created young adult fiction as we know it today.

Writing of YA fiction — or any fiction — take note.


#yafiction #writing #reading

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The Coming Switch From Createspace to KDP Print

Good info here on Amazon’s coming transition from CreateSpace to KDP Print . . . it could get ugly.

David Gaughran advises do it sooner than later . . .

How To Switch From Createspace to KDP Print


via @DavidGaughran


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New Series Entry: Parallel Justice by Susan Herman and more

New Series on dealing with violent loss from Connie Saindon, founder of Survivors of Violent Loss: Parallel Justice by Susan Herman, Poem: I will cry again…, and How to Survive a School Shooting . . .

Survivors of Violent Loss

new series link

New Series entries:  Parallel Justice by Susan Herman, Poem-I will cry again…, How to Survive a School Shooting

Murder Survivors Handbook has been well received across the country and won the Benjamin Franklin Award for Best in Self Help by Independent Book Publishers. A great deal of reading, interviewing, collecting stories and viewing took place to gather information for this book. My premise was that none of us knows it all.  While it would be impossible to capture everything for such a resource book, I was content to give enough variance and links, so each reader would feel less alone and have more information for their new and treacherous journey.

I plan to introduce one of these sources each month.  I will select them in no order but as they come to me.  Each resource is of equal importance as is each homicide. The second in this series…

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The War on Apostrophe

O, the much-embattled apostrophe, whose legacy is under fire in the English language, now faces an even greater, if not farcical, fight in Kazakhstan as folks become apoplectic. Is this apocalyptic? Or merely apocryphal?

“Linguists . . . protested that the president’s approach would be ugly and imprecise.

“Others complained the use of apostrophes will make it impossible to do Google searches for many Kazakh words or to create hashtags on Twitter.”

O, the horror.

Kazakhstan Cheers New Alphabet, Except for All Those Apostrophes


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Holiday Coping Tips

Survivors of Violent Loss

Tips for Handling the Holidays after a Loved One has Died

Don’t be surprised at the power of unexpected pangs of grief, also knows as SUGS (Sudden upsurges of Grief).  Recognize that it is not unusual to re-experience waves of intense sadness.  Find places to have quiet times until these pass.  Keep yourself safe while reducing your expectations. This is not a normal event.  These reactions are NORMAL.

Arrange to be with others who have gone through a similar loss.  Set up times to be with family and friends.  Know that the first year can often be the most difficult. Being with others who know some of what you are going through reduces the need to explain.  You and other co-victims are there to listen to one another.  Limit your contact with difficult people. Don’t let anyone try to convince you that avoidance is bad.

Create new traditions and rituals. Such…

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Larry Edwards Joins Editors Panel at Memoir Writers Event

Larry EdwardsFreelance editor Larry Edwards, of Polishing Your Prose, will join a panel of editors at an event sponsored by the San Diego Memoir Writers Association.

The event, The Who, What, Why, When and How of Working with an Editor, is scheduled for Saturday, November 4, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. at

San Diego Writers, Ink
2730 Historic Decatur Rd.
Barracks 16, Suite 202 & 204
San Diego, CA 92106

Learn more . . . Larry Edwards Joins Editors Panel at Memoir Writers Association Event, Nov. 4

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