T.I.L.T. #150 — It’s Time To Be Novel

I have written twenty-five T.I.L.T.s this year since I relaunched in February. Not every week like planned, but life has a way of getting in the way of my creative genius! Or maybe it was too many Martinis? Hmmm. Who knows. Who cares! At least I am writing somewhat regularly. And on that note, I hereby announce that I am going to write another novel!

Ok, I know, the first novel I wrote last fall is still in its first draft awaiting a second draft, but why finish one project when you can start another? I mean, hey, everyone cooks new meals even though they have perfectly good leftovers in their fridge that should be eaten first, right? Humans like novelty. Hence time to write another novel!

Why now? Well, there’s a fun contest called National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO) where people all over the world try to write a novel of at least 50,000 words in 30 days in the month of November. The contest is against yourself and the clock using a social media platform website to connect with people and keep yourself motivated. It’s all driven by a non-profit organization which at its heart is about promoting writing and educational programs. You make a donation, get to write and play on their website, and if you succeed then you can order a cool winner’s t-shirt! Woohoo!

How do they know if you actually wrote 50,000 words? Well, when you are done, you upload your novel into their online word-counting program to verify your word count, but really, you could upload the phone book and they wouldn’t know the difference. It’s an honor-based system and if you are so desperate to lie about it so you can send money in to get a winner’s t-shirt to brag to your friends, then by all means, please do so because the money still goes to a good cause!

I did the contest last year and it was galvanizing to realize just how much I can actually write if I just put my butt in the seat and do it. So this year I want to do it again since I hope that maybe if I get enough leftovers in my fridge then eventually I’ll get around to finishing them!

Hmmm, I wonder if paper can start to mold? Good thing it’s all digital these days and hopefully has a shelf-life longer than a martini in my house!

So what will I write about? I have several ideas I’m mulling over. My wifey suggests that I write all about her and how fabulous and beautiful she is and how much I love her. Clearly this idea is well worth considering if I know what’s good for me. But what if that just ends up being another first draft that sits on a shelf for another year or two or longer? Do I want my wifey to be relegated to leftovers? Clearly that would be a worse fate, and besides, I want to write fiction not non-fiction! And since wifey is fabulous and beautiful and I love her so much, then that topic is simply not novel material.

I guess I could change the names but then she might think I was writing about some other woman and then all the martinis in the world couldn’t save me!

Hmmm, maybe I should write The Great Martini Massacre . . . Secret Texan agent, Rex Wonder, is undercover in Germany trying to figure out why nobody there knows how to make a good martini until he meets Romanian Secret Agent, Dynamite Wench, and tries to get under her covers!

Now that sounds like a bestseller to me! Hmmm, maybe I need to keep my brilliant fictive ideas to myself before someone steals my money-making genius! Or maybe I need a martini to come up with yet a better idea!

Hmmm, on that note, it’s five o’clock somewhere and I need to get going but don’t be surprised if I don’t do much T.I.L.T.ing in November. I will need to be cranking out circa 1,666 words a day to reach 50,000 words in 30 days with occasional breaks for martinis and playing secret agent with wifey!

T.I.L.T. #149 — Made In Germany? Watch Out!

Uh oh, seems things were too good to be true in the good old Bundesrepublik. The Fatherland has been riding high the last few years, with the strongest economy in Europe, the best football team in the world, the moral high ground of leading the way by denouncing intolerance and welcoming refugees above and beyond all other western countries, and all the while having one of the greenest environmental and energy policies in the world.

Wow! How on Earth do they do it?

Simple: great PR and marketing to hide the fact that behind the scenes they lie, cheat, and steal!

Yes, the deceitful, world-dominating Teutonic culture of everyone’s nightmares has risen from the ashes! Made in Germany über alles!

Yes, in its drive to become the world’s largest automaker, ’DAS AUTO’ company of good old reliable Volkswagen, has thrown Germany into its biggest identity crisis in a long time. Apparently it’s really hard to build clean-burning diesel engines, which really shouldn’t be so surprising if you’ve ever driven behind any diesel car spewing black smoke into the atmosphere and your lungs. No, instead of just admitting it just can’t be done, VW added software to make the cars act clean when they were tested and told the world they had superior technology! Genius! I guess maybe that’s not lying since software is technology, but that’s about as authentic as state-subsidized school lunches counting ketchup as a vegetable.

Worse yet for the German collective conscience is that VW didn’t just produce a lot of hot air telling tall tales of top technology, but spewed trillions more harmful particles and emissions into our already over-heated globe. So much for leading on the environmental front!

But if you look a bit deeper, it’s not just the VW scandal. The last couple of years there’s also been a gambling scandal about match-fixing in the top German football leagues. And the welcoming refugee PR campaign is starting to reveal policies that are emerging that let everyone come in, but then they will be screened, checked, analyzed, and only the best, most educated, who can fill the the gaps in an economy-threatening dwindling German workforce will get to stay. The rest will be, how should I put this, eliminated? You know, deported, sent back to whatever bleak existence that made them flee their Motherlands in the first place. Only the those with the right profile will get to stay in the Fatherland…


The only thing that seems to be authentic for now is a strong economy. Must be all those VWs they sold!

All this makes me wonder whether there is some truth to the long-held  euro-skeptics view that Germany’s efforts to integrate and strengthen the European Union as a way to make up for all its past sins of trying to rule the world at all costs is, well, just another way to rule the world at all costs?

Honestly, I don’t think so. I don’t think Germany is doing anything worse than countless other countries in the world.

There have been many automotive scandals – most of them in the USA.

There are many international companies out there which are much less ethical and even worse for the planet and humans in general than VW.

And Germany is hardly alone in its refugee roulette, the rest of Europe is no better.

And football match fixing scandals, or any sporting scandals for that matter, are so common all over the world its funny anyone even writes about them any more.

Where does this leave us with the current German identity crisis? Is Germany really such a bad place? Not at all if you ask me. It’s still one of the most peaceful, tolerant, clean, abundant, and generous societies in the world. I think the only problem that it has is a tendency to think itself somehow superior. Of course, is that just a German thing? I know America still likes to think of itself as the greatest country in the world and is happy to tell the world this in almost every major political speech in the last century but the truth is most people think they come from the greatest country in the world – their own of course.

So, next time you see ‘Made In Germany’ and think, “Whoa, watch out!” ask yourself if it really makes that much difference if it says ‘Made In China’ or ‘Made in USA’. As far as I can tell, scandals and hypocrisy are a global currency, and soon the latest smoke of the latest scandals which happen to be in Germany will blow over and give way to the next topical tragedy somewhere else for all of us to shake our heads and wag our fingers at.

Who knows, maybe next thing we’ll learn is that all of this is just a mastermind Japanese plot to sell more electric cars made by refugees and convince the world that Sumo wrestling is the greatest sport in the world.