Tag Archives: Caroline Dohack

A fine noon-time blood-letting

Ever had one of those “it’s-a-small-world” moments? My life is full of those, but few are as odd as what happened an hour ago at a Red Cross blood drive at the Columbia Daily Tribune. Co-workers Catherine Martin and Caroline Dohack raced out of the newsroom when the clock struck 11: sandwiches, cookies and other treats, all in exchange for a pint of blood.

I wasn’t far behind, though not racing by any stretch of the imagination.

Donna was the “collection specialist” who checked me in to get the blood-letting process started and when I showed her my ID, she repeated the address: 2013 Bridgewater Drive. She looked at me and announced, “I used to live there.”

Get out! What?

Sure enough, she described the huge living room, the hall leading to three bedrooms, the sliding glass door, the kitchen island — and remembered that the living room has no street- or side-facing windows.

How ’bout that?

(By the way, I had to be stuck in both arms. The right arm finally yielded a rich, red bounty of plasma-, platelet-, DNA-containing sanguine fluid. The spoils? Little slider sandwiches — one roast beef, another ham — a cold can of OJ, a cookie, another cookie, a little bag of cookies, bottle of water — and a T-shirt and an entry form for a chance to win one of six Gibson guitars. Overall, it was a fine blood-letting).


Filed under Uncategorized

A new game: ‘Hillbilly Neighbors’

“A new game” originally appeared March 2 at Riding in Cars with Goats and Other Stories


My mom emailed to tell me about a new board game she and a friend are going to make. They are calling it “Hillbilly Neighbors,” and they need some help with it.

Here are the rules, according to my mom:

“You draw your ‘neighbors.’ Then spin to travel around the board. You draw cards on certain spaces. Good cards include ‘Neighbor’s pit bull run over by UPS man,’ ‘Teenage daughter infertile,’ and ‘Wife runs off with carnival man.’

“Bad cards include ‘Neighbor gets new house, old house crushes your septic lines as it is pulled away,’ ‘Neighbor remodels chicken house and moves in tenants,’ and ‘Neighbor reunites with wife, carnie truck parked in driveway.’

“Inconclusive cards include ‘Meth lab blows up neighbors’ house’ and ‘Tornado.’”

Jackson’s Journal suggested these additions:

Bad card: Your dog drags neighbor’s poached deer carcass onto your front porch.

Good card: Ruts in your yard from neighbor son’s pickup divert rainwater away from your yard onto neighbor’s property.

Caroline would love to hear your suggestions. Shout ‘em out! (Or just make a comment).

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Filed under Guest Blog

Living write: Navigating the cyber clutter

Countdown to Kianna: 25, 24, 23, 22 days … until the princess Kianna Allene Brown makes a very celebrated entry into our lives — as if she doesn’t already consume our every waking moment.

Now for our regular Saturday programming …

The moment you’ve finished reading this post, do nothing else until you have bookmarked, earmarked, dog-eared or subscribed to the blogs that I’m introducing you to. You can thank me later. For now, though, focus on the profound discoveries I’m going to share. (And you already know there’s an entry for Grandpa’s message to Kianna at the bottom of the post; kind of like the prize at the bottom of a box of cereal. You know, like back in the days of 8-track dashboard consoles?)

Maybe you’ve see Hoarders on the A&E network or Confessions: Animal Hoarding on Animal Planet? I’m ashamed to say I could be a hoarder except that Kelly, by bride of 30 years, wouldn’t allow it. I tend to collect and amass “stuff.” I’m much better than I used to be, but left to my own devices and given enough passage of time, I’d probably find myself someday saying, “Huh. Where IS the front door?”

My email in-boxes are something of a cluttered mess. (At last count I had 10 email addresses, seven of which are devoted solely to Fantasy Baseball, yet another example of digital hoarding). My “favorites” box on Twitter is a hoarder’s dream.  And it’s a constant battle to keep my computer desktops from becoming labyrinths of icons.

But since you’ve tuned in to Jackson’s Journal today, that means you are interested in, perhaps even crave, becoming a better writer. And you have no doubt wondered, “Huh? I’ll bet there are myriad websites and blogs out there that could help satisfy my yearning for writing tips, inspiration and motivation.” And you would be correct.

However, I have already navigated the vast sea of such blogs and websites, and hereby present you with a few of the blogs I follow. The ones listed here are top priority, so you’re okay if you don’t add to the list on your own. Just check back here periodically – Saturdays are probably best – for new entries for your blog-reading menu.

The SINGLE BEST Twitter feed for writers is @elizabethcraig, and her website  has been named by Writer’s Digest as one of the top 100 websites for writers three or four years running. But you must follow her on Twitter. She collects all the best stuff for writers in the Twitterverse and posts it every week.

It’s kind of like having someone bring the old Shoney’s breakfast buffet right to your desk. Very nice.

Two other websites and blogs to get connected with are The Write Practice  and Mighty Red Pen. Even if you’re not currently obsessed with learning to never use passive voice again, as I am, Mighty Red Pen is a very entertaining blog/website.

It has convinced me that indeed grammar are fun. (Um, I meant to do that. See what I did?)

Two authors/writers produce daily can’t-miss content. Jeff Goins and Roz Morris are equal parts inspiration and drill sergeant. For writers waiting for someone to give them their marching orders to “GO WRITE!”, Jeff Goins is your guy. Roz, who also goes by the Twitter ID of @dirtywhitecandy, resides across the pond, as they say. Both writers are generous with their advice and encouragement.

Finally, if you’re simply looking for a brief but usually hilarious daily diversion, let me introduce you to “Riding in Cars with Goats and Other Stories” by my wacky colleague Caroline Dohack. CD grew up in Doniphan, Mo., just a stone’s throw from the Bootheel, in the poorest county in Missouri. Just a head’s up, though: frequent coarse language.

And now …

Grandpa’s message to Kianna #15: You’re going to have lots of questions. Don’t be afraid to ask them. And if I don’t have the answers, well, I’ve got the books. Really, I do. My collection includes What Makes Flamingos Pink?, Do Penguins Have Knees?, Do Fish Drink Water?, and Why Does Popcorn Pop?

And when you’re a little older, you’ll want to read Panati’s Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things and, my favorite, Panati’s Extraordinary Endings of Practically Everything and Everybody.

Can’t wait!


Filed under Kianna Allene Brown, Living Write