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.

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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.

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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.

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I Appreciate All My Proofreaders and Editors

Any writer knows that it is almost impossible to proofread your own work. This is because, when it consists of thousands of words, you tend to read, not what is there, but what you think is there, and you do not recall yourself making any mistakes – if you had, you would have corrected them long ago. So you must enlist volunteer proofreaders unless you are wealthy or are going the big business route.

I used five. Three were known to me personally and two through social media.Yes, my motto for social media is that everyone online is a liar, but that is only a default opening assumption. Over time you can sort many of them out. How have my five deported themselves?

Persons that you would entrust with such a project – inviting commentary as well as mere proofreading – you are going to find are not just sitting on their hands, but are busy. This has proven to be the case.

One, an elder, excused himself almost from the getgo. Portions made him uncomfortable. I was surprised of it in his case, because he raved about Tom Irregardless and Me, but I was not surprised in the generic. The new book is unswervingly loyal to both Jehovah and his visible organization, but it does go in some places not routinely gone, and there will be some uneasy about that.

Another one, also an elder, got back to me two months later. He also loved Irregardless, more so even than the brother before, but he had been insanely busy chasing around doing many things. He said I should not give up on him. He would yet get to it.

A third, who said she reads voraciously, returned a couple of chapters promptly with both valuable observations and proofreading. She said she was a bit uncomfortable at how a few things were stated. I told her it was the first chapter and I was relating without comment how some others presented matters and that I would be addressing them later on. Afterwards, she sailed away (literally, almost) and said she would be willing to do more, but it would be a while.

A fourth, who has spent time in Russia, returned a chapter or two with good commentary, and I forwarded another. This one sat for a time, because, as with the others, he is extremely busy, but it just came back.

The final one, the most prolific, to whom I sent some of the most sensitive material, returned in good order three chapters, but then was distracted by a major personal event, and after attending to it she left the country on vacation.

I appreciate them all – I truly do. The one in Russia even helped me out with translating some phrases – some others I let AI handle because I liked the ‘Boris and Natashia’ flavor returned. 
The book cannot be too far off, it really cannot. Final tweaking, removing redundancies, injecting new salient points, and shaping up the endnotes, but overall, not too far off.

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These Two Beauts Didn't Make the Cut, Though I Like Them Both

Not everything will make the cut in editing. It is always good to write far more than you will need and prune later.

I like the following two paragraphs, but decided they had to go. They are a little too self-indulgent for the Education chapter, and they champion homeschooling, which is not at all a concern of the book. They may show up somewhere someday, but shelve them as regards the present book on Russian persecution:

"Many an educated person has chosen menial work, so as to not turn his or her mind over to corporate or government interests –  ‘the Man.’ The Man may reward you materially, but he does not do so without demanding your soul. This writer stumbled across a BBC list of the top 100 important books of all time. I discovered that I had read over half – no other commenter had read more. Is it personal boasting to mention this? Hardly. Take it as an invitation to be a janitor, for it is while so employed that I ‘read’ most of them via ‘Books on Tape.’ The Man would have never granted me the time. Even in college he would not have done that. On Twitter, I came across a CEO who grumbled: “Stupid janitor forgot to leave an extra roll of toilet paper – I’m screwed.” I tweeted back: “I read 54 of the BBC’s topic 100 books as a janitor via Books on Tape. Sorry about the toilet paper.” One must think outside of the box of today’s strait-jacketed educational system, which is often little more than indoctrination into the prevalent thinking of this world.

"They wouldn’t let my homeschooled son read when he briefly forayed into public schooling - it was ever workbooks for him. When he later entered community college, they declared his math skills age-appropriate, but his reading skills “off the charts.” “I had no idea that there were so many stupid people,” he innocently remarked later. How can they not be stupid? The intellectual diet of this system of things is one of pop culture, transitory trends, and video games. He had never been denied those things; he had simply been directed to keep them in their place. And nobody on the homeschool front gave two hoots about workbooks. He could read all day if he wanted to and sometimes he did. ‘He reads?’ exclaimed a local educator – an ally – to my wife who had asked what she should do, and then ventured: “Don’t do anything” – do not mess up that formula."

Actually, maybe some parts of this I will stick in after all - weave it into other paragraphs where it will not hijack the overall theme.

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Get Used to It - God's Name is "The LORD"

The upcoming book about Witnesses in Russia doesn't use the New World Translation as the 'house' Bible because the New World Translation is banned in Russia. 

I settled upon the New American Bible - Revised Edition instead and forced myself to accept that the name of God is 'the LORD.' 

In the Ten Commandments movie, the Israelites are despondent because they do not even know their God's name. Later on they are happy as pigs in mud. They have learned it It is 'The LORD'

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A Fine Book Review from Ivor E. Tower

Authors like reviews. I received a very kind and lengthy review of Tom Irregardless and Me from Ivor E. Tower. Authors are grateful for a review of one or two lines. Mr. Tower goes several paragraphs and illuminates some of the ‘Tom Irregardless and Me’ characters. He is a non-Witness scholar who has written extensively about Jehovah’s Witnesses and his real name is recognizable to studious readers of Watchtower material:

“Tom Harley’s Tom Irregardless and Me has been described as “a romping and riotous defense of Jehovah's Witnesses and their place in today’s world.” This really sums up the book, which is a light-hearted look at numerous aspects of the Watch Tower Society from the perspective of a practicing Jehovah’s Witness in the US.

“To the outsider, Jehovah’s Witnesses may seem deadly serious and preoccupied exclusively with their religion and the Society’s own publications. Harley dispels this stereotype. The book is about real people and issues, although the author has changed the names of rank-and-file members to preserve name anonymity. Tom Irregardless is an elder who uses the spurious word “irregardless” liberally in his Bible talks. Other characters include John Wheatnweeds, who hinders members from their house-to-house ministry by spending inordinate amounts of time expounding the text of the day before they set out. Then there is posh brandy-sipping Bernard Strawman, who receives frequent visits from the publishers, but continues to raise facile objections to their faith. Vic Vomidog, an apostate, repeatedly seeks to hamper their work. Other chapters are about real JW celebrities such as Prince, who is the subject of an entire chapter.

“Despite being light-hearted throughout, Tom Harley raises serious issues such as flag salutes, Darwinism and creationism, theocratic government, the paedophile scandals and the dangers of online grooming of minors, and the accuracy of the New World Translation of the Bible. Tom shows a remarkable breadth of knowledge and reading too – he has by no means exclusively studied Watch Tower publications.

“My favourite part of the book was the parody of Mickey Spillane near the end, where Tom Harley envisages a house-to-house publisher acting like one of Spillane’s macho characters. For those who don’t know, Spillane was a novelist whose books were renowned for their sex and violence, until Spillane converted to become a Jehovah’s Witness in 1951 – a decision that drastically changed his writing style.

“Tom Hartley states that he hopes Tom Irregardless is “entertaining but serious at heart”. This sums up the book well. It’s a good read, while providing valuable insights into life as a JW.”

I’m very grateful to Mr. Tower. They line up around the block for a recognized name like John Grisham or Stephen King, but it is extraordinary difficult for a new writer to break into the ranks. ‘Recall how many books you have purchased in the past year from a totally unknown writer,” one source advises. “Now you know why you should not become an author."

I was a little worried at first that JW opposers, who can be quite nasty, would try to sink my infant book with horrid reviews, like Herod and the infants of Jerusalem. But now, even if that were to happen, I would draw the contrast between those and 8 glowing reviews and say something like: 'that says it all,' putting it where it first catches the eye. It might even help the book.

Tom Irregardless (1)

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If the rat can see his shadow when he emerges from his lair, (he's having coffee, now, and he sometimes enjoys 60+ cups) he releases his promised e-book 'No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash.' ImageIf he doesn't see it, he tries to pawn off his old book, which everybody is getting pretty sick of by now, 'Tom Irregardless and Me. bit.ly/2hjSMHE

It's too soon to tell. The day is cloudy, not a fair test.

C'mon! You think it's easy writing an e-book in a groundhog lair?

Tom Irregardless and Me         No Fake News But Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)