One Step Closer to Dear Mr. Putin Print Version - Learning the Tricks of Sectioning

It took me the longest time to figure out how to make headings different in each section. That's not to say I have worked on it throughout since I last griped about it. No. I have only worked on it sporadically because I couldn't stand the aggravation.

Even the person I consulted that has made her living off the use of Word didn't seem to know and suggested that if I hit the 'reveal' key to see all format instructions, I would be able to figure it out. I did so and It didn't help.

The Section command in Word provides that each section you make can contain repeating formatting that does not spill over into all other sections. If for some reason, you want an entire bunch of paragraphs to go landscape and have different margins from the rest of the document, you simply section it off, hit a 'break link' to previous section key, and you are golden

But the headers and footers toolbar is a different provision and it is not isolated from section to section in the usual way. This is presumably because you may want page numbers, for example, or book title to appear throughout all sections, even as you want chapter titles to change from section to section.

You can isolate the headers and footers of sections, just not in the normal way. This is nowhere clearly explained that I can see, and it took me the longest time to figure it out. So finally, all chapters show their individual titles on what will be the odd-numbered pages, while keeping the same book title across all even numbered pages. Now I have to work on pagination, which hopefully will be a slam-dunk and not another nightmare.

And no, I do not want that lying phony Microsoft support team to contact me and offer to help if I will but sign my computer over to them, and when you google the phone number they supply, you are told it is a fraud, Microsoft itself saying it will never provide a phone number to call.

It is another step in getting Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah's Witnesses Write Russia into print, after which I will work on the other two.

Decyphering the vagarities of Word proved so infuriating that I devoted the better part of a chapter to relating my angst in No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash. This is not to say it is their fault, necessarily. It is more likely mine. But that is not to say that I cannot grouse about it, speaking in behalf of the billions of people who do not live and breathe for technology.



I beat CBS to the punch by two years in what they said about the Oxycotin pharma fraud. It is in the Prince chapter of Tom Irregardless and Me, there because Prince died a victim of that fraud. Since the Prince chapter is Chapter 1, it is even in the free preview section.
I didn’t mention the company or the drug by name. I followed the lead of Watchtower publications, which I have come to understand their reasons mostly through imitating them. You do not name a villain, for as soon as you name one, you create the impression that removing that villain will fix things. Instead, if you should succeed in taking him out, another villain immediately steps into his shoes and the play continues with barely a hiccup.
It is the play we are watching, not the heroes and villains in it. You do not have to know the names of the actors to follow the play – it can even be a distraction if you do. The names don’t matter. If one actor doesn’t show up for curtain call, they simply plug in a substitute, and the play continues.
'Tom Irregardless and Me', in the Prince chapter, quotes a Dr. Johnson, who wrote to say he was
“forced to paint an unflattering picture of the industry that I have been a part of for the last 15 years. I wish I could tell you that this epidemic was due to an honest mistake. That the science was unclear or had mixed results that only later became evident. But I can’t. I also wish I could tell you that the only reason the problem persists is a ‘lack of physician awareness.’ But I won’t. The reason this opioid problem started and the reason it continues is sadly for the most American reason there is - business.”
At one time, Dr. Johnson points out, American doctors prescribed opioids as did doctors everywhere: for pain relief from cancer or acute injury. He then tells of a drug company, introducing a new opioid product in 1996, that swung for the fences. It didn’t want to target just cancer patients. It wanted to target everyone experiencing everyday pain: joint pain and back pain, for example:
“To do this, they recruited and paid experts in the field of pain medicine to spread the message that these medicines were not as addictive as previously thought...As a physician in training, I remember being told that the risk of addiction for patients taking opioids for pain was ‘less than one percent.’ What I was not told was that there was no good science to suggest rates of addiction were really that low. That ‘less than one percent’ statistic came from a five-sentence paragraph in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1980. It has come to be known as the Porter and Jick study. However, it was not really a study. It was a letter to the editor; more like a tweet. You can read the whole thing in 90 seconds.”
The CBS story of 5 days ago reveals a former drug rep of the company who spills for them.. I had it all two years ago, and it is even more damning. I didn’t put it in the book because illuminating Prince’s JW life was the object of the chapter, not crusading against pharma.
In fact, not only was the drug far more addictive than doctors and reps were led to believe, but the pain relief it delivered only lasted a few hours, not the 12 that was advertised. Yet, when complaints of such were received, the company would not permit reps to advise patients take it more often, since that exposed the fact that the much more expensive drug was no better than what was already being used for pain. Instead, the advice was to increase the dosage, and that obviously served to intensify the addictive quality. Prince and millions like him got hooked on a drug that the doctor prescribed, and when doctors started to get squirrelly, withholding supply for fear of what they were unleashing, these ones were driven to the black market to find substitutes.
It is here in the first chapter, Prince, which, to my knowledge, is the most complete, and perhaps only, published collection of the artist's JW experiences and interactions. And it is in the free section.


After three books, you would think I would have learned not to release them prematurely. You would think I would learn that reading them through a few times and running them through proof-readers is not enough. I think this book needed more corrections than the other two combined. Maybe because it was more ambitious. Maybe because most paragraphs weren’t written concurrently and many first appeared somewhere else in modified form. Even the ’extremism free’ version fell short of its goal. I have fixed it.

It’s embarrassing. And I apologize to whoever downloaded it. I got impatient, is all I can say. Download it again, if you will. The price is the same: free. All errors are out, and most were not really errors in the first place, but just clunky expressions or oddball punctuation that I brought under control.

Hmm. Is there a search tool that looks for ending a sentence with a preposition? I still have a few of those, but other than an English teaching harrumphing over it, the sin is probably not that great. And the education chapter still strikes me as a little too unfocused. But overall, I am happy with Dear Mr. Putin, and whoever has downloaded it, I invite them to do it again.

The Travesty of 'Irregardless'

Kermit Way from the book Tom Irregardless and Me was a real person, referred to by his real name. At his funeral it was said that, not only was he a gentleman, but also that he was a gentle man. It was true. A more refreshing person would be hard to find.

Kermit is the one who successfully dissuades a brother from using the word 'Irregardless.' This also is true. He told the account to me, and I am the one who unsuccessfully, 30 years later, tried to get someone else to stop saying it.

Alas, unlike in Kermit's day, the word WAS found in the dictionary. True, it was labeled 'irregular,' but that was a point far too subtle for the one I was speaking with. #TomIrregardless

Background Material for Media

I have written a free 160K word ebook on the problems of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia. It covers worldwide news reports, trials, ban of the Bible, and confiscation of property. Also, separate chapters are devoted to the most vehement accusations against Witnesses (most of which are made everywhere) and philosophical answers they might make to such accusations.

The book contains about 500 endnotes. It is faithful to the Jehovah’s Witness point of view (I am an active Witness) and that of their parent organization. Arguments made in support of faith and freedom of worship will be of interest to all minority religious groups, all of whom experience harassment today. There is also a ‘safe’ version of the book, with all quotations from extremist sources removed. To the extent possible for a Westerner, it is written from a Russian point of view. In ebook form on Smashwords, it is free.

'extremist' quotes removed:

There is a Second Version of 'Dear Mr. Putin'

The book quotes a few times, not often, from Watchtower publications. Technically that makes it extremist and it can be like the broken tail light the cop stops you for as a pretext to making more serious trouble.

Hence there is an identical 2nd version for anyone who wants to avoid the problem with all such quotes replaced with 'redacted' or 'redacted for reader safety' or the like. Both are found at


The stopgap measure will only apply to Russia, because anywhere else you can read a Watchtower quotation without being thought extremist. And since relatively few Russians speak English anyway, the release of the 2nd Dear Mr. Putin is mostly symbolic. The book covers are identical, save only for the message in the orange ball.

Not only does the new version not violate any extremist law (unless and until the book itself is declared extremist) but it serves to highlight the silliness of it all, for context nearly always indicates that the eliminated quotes are perfectly innocuous. However, every effort is made to be deeply respectful of the government. In no way could this be described as a protest book. It also strives to relate things from a Russian perspective.

Dear Mr Putin Russian edition Dear Mr Putin (1) (1)

I An Not Afraid of my Proofreader! Nyah Nyah Nyah

Okay, I am reneging on my concession to my proofreader. I am partly reinserting Mary's imaginary talk-back to the angel. I'm not afraid of my proofreader. No. Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah! it is enough that she has made me back off on some of my favorite words.
Here is how it reads as revised: "Enough already! Everything is challenged! Everything is hurled back in God’s face. Just for kicks, turn the page. Find yourself in the gospels. What if Mary had answered the angel that way when he announced that she would carry the Child: “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you?” What if she had shot back: “In what way is he with me?” Had she talked back like that to the angel it might not be Mary remembered as the mother of our Lord. It might be Olga or Tatiana."
I just like it too much and I decided that my audience will not primarily be deeply religious people who would be offended at the mere hint that Mary might say something untoward. Her remark in Matthew follows too close on the heels of the book of Malacai, where the surly Israelites taunt God constantly.
Still, I didn't entirely put it back. I clarified it so that it can be seen it is my irreligious imagination at work and not something that actually would ever happen. I am willing to take the arrows on this one, as a pioneer unconcerned about his time.
The ebook is out and can be downloaded free.

Hyphens are a Tool of the Lazy Devil

The ebook is written but that does not mean it cannot, being an ebook, be tweaked after date of delivery. Other than for matters of publication, I will do this very sparingly, for it seems that more would be 'cheating.' I did find a way of explaining neutrality that i like, however, and I managed to insert it:

"All human governments will drop the ball and usually it is a bowling ball; this fact explains why many of Jehovah’s Witnesses become Jehovah’s Witnesses in the first place. Thereafter, were they individually to contemplate their own toes, they might conclude that those on their right or left foot appear most vulnerable. But they strive not to bring such matters into the congregation and thus disturb its peace, opting instead to focus on the fact that human governments of all stripes drop the ball but God’s kingdom does not."

Speaking of punctuation, I am coming to grips with the fact that I am inconsistent in their use. One must not blow it off as nothing (as I am initially inclined to do) but one must face the fact that there are plenty of people who care about such things

Sometimes I use double quotes, sometimes single. Sometimes put titles in apostrophies, sometimes not. Dashes I regard as the tool of the lazy devil, who can't quite figure out the precise relationship of two adjacent phrases and so simply flings a dash at the mess to get on with life. I'll go back in and fix it all. It will take a while.

I will try to get it as close to exact as I can before pitching it to journalists, newsmakers and such. Some of them are real sticklers.


And Just What is the Sacreligious Joke I Took Out So As Not to Offend?

And what was the sacreligious portion that I deleted that I wasn't going to at first but finally decided to take my proofreader's recommendation and do it since it could be offensive to some?

Here it is:

Discipline is a tough sell today. It is decidedly unpopular. The need for it is a constant of life, however. Let us play with the notion as we consider the prophet Malachi. Did he have teenagers? How else can one explain his style of writing? The Book of Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament – a short work of just four chapters. The entire book is read in less time than a quarter of this chapter:

I love you, says the LORD; but you say, “How do you love us?”

And if I am a master, where is the fear due to me? So says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests, who disdain my name. But you ask, “How have we disdained your name?”

“‘By presenting polluted food on my altar.’ ‘And you say: “How have we polluted you?”’

By offering defiled food on my altar! You ask, “How have we defiled it?”

You have wearied the LORD with your words, yet you say, “How have we wearied him?”

Return to me, that I may return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say, “Why should we return?”

Can anyone rob God? But you are robbing me! And you say, “How have we robbed you?”

Your words are too much for me, says the LORD. You ask, “What have we spoken against you?”

Enough already! Everything is challenged! Everything is hurled back in God’s face. Just for kicks, turn the page. Find yourself in the gospels and roll that attitude onto Mary, the mother of Jesus. If we were to do so, what might one read?

“In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to… Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” (Luke 1:26-28)

“In what way is he with me?” she shoots back.

Had she answered that way, it would not be Mary remembered as the mother of our Lord. It might be Olga or Tatiana.

.......That's it. I think it's funny. Others have agreed. But remember that Mary is the MOTHER OF GOD to some and just the HINT of something bad or disrespectful on her part is to wave a red flag before a bull. I won't go there.

The Haggai part is fine. But the Mary part..... You know, I am not going to ax it entirely. I will modify it so that the joke is suggested to those who don't mind going there but isn't actually made. It won't be quite the zinger I wanted but it will be servicable.

Sometimes People Reject a Valid Point Because of How Boorish its Author Is

I scored a significant coup after my post about busy proofreaders. Another person of good judgement and experience came forward to say she could do it. Already she has given very good insight on two chapters.

She also spotted and recommended deletion of something I had put in deliberately. It was too crass, she thought, or more specifically, some would find it sacreligious.

I intended it as a hilarious joke made to powerfully illustrate a main theme, and it IS hilarious - I ran it before on FB and people told me so. I write primarily for moderns and skeptic-minded people, and do not always take into account deeply religious people, on the basis that there aren't many in my neck of the woods. But there are elsewhere, and if I offend some unncecessarily, it - well - why go there?

I have made no effort to remove my personality from the book, and my personality is a little 'out there' - I know it. So here and there one must tone it down a little. It is enough on display elsewhere.

There are plenty of people on the internet who make very valid points, only to find them rejected because readers resent how ill-mannered the person is. I want to stay far away from that pitfall.