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thOur house smells of smoke thanks to a wildfire just south of town. The recent unusually sunny and warm weather has left the area ready to burn.

The linked video above shows an uninhabited, mountainous area. Unfortunately the blaze is spreading toward a part of town with wonderful homes – and no utility infrastructure.

That’s the trouble with living in an isolated area: Even if fire trucks can get up there, they can use only the water they brought with them.

Residents are packing their bug-out bags and creating what the fire folks call “defensible spaces” around their homes (e.g., removing trees and mowing down brush) and everyone’s sort of on tenterhooks. I expect even the atheists are praying for a downpour right about now.

Down here on the flats I’m feeling sad for anyone in the fire’s path and also experiencing a bit of survivor’s guilt. Our house lot is mostly treeless; if fire broke out in tree-heavy areas nearby, we have two hose hookups that would let us squirt out any embers that blew our way.

Thanks to the city water system we’d have a steady supply. One of us could be on the ground watching for hot spots and the other on the roof to protect the shingles. Since this is a one-story house it would be a simple scramble up the ladder; DF does this every year when he sweeps the chimney.

Right now I’m praying (for real) for rain.

 


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thThe “we” is me and my daughter, whom regular readers know as the brains behind the I Pick Up Pennies website. Abby and I are participating in the #FinHealthMatters writing competition and we want to hedge our bets.

Specifically: We would really appreciate some social media lurve.

 


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The unfriendly skies.

th-1Dreading being seated next to or near a baby on your next flight? You should probably be just as concerned about the adult passengers. Recently I’ve read two accounts of teen-aged girls (one of them an unaccompanied minor) being molested by adult men at 35,000 feet.

As we used to write from the city desk, “Police said alcohol was a factor.” Then again, plenty of people drink on planes and don’t grope strangers. Liquor may break the chain and free the beast, but only if the beast was already there.

The family of one girl (just 13 years old!) is suing American Airlines. The other, aged 16, kept pushing the guy away until another passenger intervened.

The moral of the story: Save the stinkeye for creepy drunken dudes and give parents of small children the benefit of the doubt.

 


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thThis time last year I tried something completely different: creating an online course. It turned out to be an education for me as well as for those I hoped to teach. (In a good way.)

To celebrate the first anniversary of Write A Blog People Will Read, I’ve decided to give away a copy.

You may be thinking, “But I don’t have a blog, so why would I care?” However, the course will help you become a better writer in general – even if all you do is an annual Christmas letter.

 


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thGiven that my most recent giveaway had 243 entries, I’m guessing you guys like to win gift cards. That’s why you should all head over to my daughter’s website, because she’s giving away a $100 Amazon gift card.

Well, she isn’t. DollarDig is. Abby’s just the host. The cash-back site is sponsoring the giveaway of the gift card and will also donate $100 to a charity of the readers’ choice (and 10 T-shirts in addition to the Amazon scrip).

That’s not the only site you should visit, though.

 


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