Sunday, December 27, 2020

Milliron Monday: A Letter to Obama 12 28 2020


Abbott "Pete" Smith, D.V.M.
June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010

Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Pete Smith, D.V.M., and  Milliron: Abbott “Pete” Smith, D.V.M. The Biography (Monday Creek Publishing 2017). A graduate of Colorado State University and a well-known veterinarian in southeast Ohio, Dr. Smith continues to motivate and inspire. 

Difficult to believe that 2020 is drawing to a close. Where has the year gone? Lockdown, pandemic, mask, social distancing... whew... we all deserve a better New Year! 

To end 2020, it seems fitting to post Dr. Smith's letter from 2009 to President Obama. We are in the throes of a Presidential transition, after all. 

From Dr. Smith...

Dear President Obama,

Congratulations! Along with the vast majority of the world's population, I'm delighted that you are now the man!

There has never been a more appropriate time or pressing need for audacious action.

First, we should legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, which would generate untold revenue and eliminate most crime, since most drug related crime is caused by money. The better the interdiction the more expensive the drugs and thus more crime. Cheap legal drugs mean lots of money for the U.S. government, but none for organized crime and obviously a $6.00/a day habit has no social consequence compared to a $600.00/a day habit. Our shameful prison population would be quickly reduced by about 50%. Cheap, clean drugs from a government health source would reduce hepatitis C, aids, etc. and each time a drug purchase was made the addict would be exposed to help, education, and counter-addiction strategies in a legal, safe, confidential non-threatening environment. Our current system is a dismal and expensive failure so why not talk to folks in Holland and see how the idea has been working for them. A trillion or so a year at almost no cost would come in handy right now.

P.S. Your reaction (and mine) to this idea is probably to blow it off as perhaps an interesting concept, but totally impractical and unacceptable due to political unpalatability and moral, ethical, religious, and emotional issues, but stop a minute and think. Alcohol can be a terrible taskmaster and we all personally or peripherally know of the tragedies that can accompany its use. Always was and always will. However before prohibition ended, remember Al Capone types and Valentine's Day massacre were events, which are now almost unheard of because alcohol is now legitimate, available, and cheap. Not to mention the billions in revenue produced. Look at your daily newspaper or police blotter or TV news and there is almost no mention of crime related to legal personal addictions to alcohol, nicotine, or caffeine. A veritable artesian well of trillions of dollars badly needed by the government goes untapped in drug money other than graft. Marijuana is well known to the largest dollar agricultural commodity in most states, but being criminalized and unregulated causes only trouble rather than producing billions in state, local, and federal revenue.

There would be little point in criminals recruiting addicts for money if drugs were cheap and legal. Addiction has been and will be with us always, but ending drug prohibition can stop the associated social consequences of crime, graft and corruption.

A vibrant economy and functional social programs produce meaningful work and negate many of the gateway factors to drug abuse. We know that prison time graduates hundreds of thousands of hardened criminals with connections each year besides impoverishing breaking up those families. No other society imprisons the percentage of the population that we do. You can balance the budget in just a year or two and eliminate most crime with the one bold stroke of ending this era of drug prohibition.

Enjoy the journey to 2021!

Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.

Five Ways to Avoid Writer’s Block by Matthew Caracciolo

Five Ways to Avoid Writer’s Block

by Matthew Caracciolo

It happens to the best of us. One minute you’re Hemingway, churning out page after page of inspired writing that excites you. The next, you’re in a creative desert unable to find even the next word. What you do write isn’t what you want, and the whole process stalls out of frustration. Writers block is a real bummer, and it’s unrealistic to think that you can avoid it completely. However, just as healthy practices such as washing your hands decreases your chances of contracting the flu, there are some best practices to preserve your creative health. In general, writing begets writing: these suggestions will help keep the words flowing.

Keep to a routine

If you already have a writing routine, good on you. If you don’t have a routine and are tired of writers saying you should have one, I get it. I didn’t have one for a while. I thought “when do I have time?” The answer is you don’t have time for everything you want to do in life, but if writing is important to you, you’ll make time. Wake up earlier. Sacrifice another hobby. It’s not always pretty, but the hope is to flex your writing muscles as often as you can, even if it’s just 30 minutes every other day. Routines set the expectation that you have something to accomplish, and allows you the space to accomplish it. They also act somewhat as mini, self-assigned deadlines. Deadlines produce urgency which produces the impetus to write.

Assign yourself tasks

Rather than sit down and hope your fingers know where to go, tell yourself “today, I am going to write ____.” This can be as ambitious as a chapter or as specific as a character description. Remember, nobody said you have to write in chronological order from start to finish. If what occurs next is what’s getting you stuck, write something else that you know will appear later, or revise something that you’ve already written that you aren’t satisfied with. You can always come back to what may currently mire you in writer’s block.

Work backwards

On that note, if you feel yourself drifting toward writer’s block because you’re not sure how to write the next part, try thinking backwards as a mental exercise. Do you know how you wish to end? What happens just before the ending? And just before that? And that? Write those parts instead.

Engage your brain somewhere else

If you feel yourself starting to overly criticize or think too hard with little in return—sure signs of oncoming writer’s block—then put your brain to work somewhere else, preferably in another creative or a physical endeavor. Write another assignment, draw, build something. Exercise isn’t a bad idea either. Then return to the computer to write.

Put off for tomorrow what you could probably do today

This is counterintuitive, but I’ve found that if I’m writing and still excited about what I’m writing about, I should save something to do for tomorrow. That way, I know that at least tomorrow I won’t have writer’s block because I’m already looking forward to what I have to work on. For example, if you know the next three steps in the plot, write the next two and save the third for tomorrow. If you have small children, it’s a little like the “keep them wanting more” mentality when taking them to museums or zoos—don’t overstay their excitement. Don’t overstay yours either.

With luck, these tips will stave off writer’s block as much as possible. What techniques have you found useful in the past?

Image by Steve Johnson from Pixabay

Matthew Caracciolo is a freelance writer and author of The Waygook Book: A Foreigner’s Guide to South Korea from Monday Creek Publishing. He also maintains his own travel blog, Travel is Fatal, on his website. To find out more about The Waygook Book or Travel is Fatal, please visit

Telly Tales: The Best of Telly Owl & Friends! by Paul David Powers


Telly Tales: The Best of Telly Owl & Friends! (15th Anniversary Edition) Paperback – February 19, 2019

Telly Tales is the three part Trilogy of the Life and Times of Telly Owl, who like Jesus watching over His Sheep, Telly's job is to watch over the creatures of the swamp! Book One Tales of the Swamp Creatures was released in 2003, Book Two, Telly Tales, Adventures, Telly has Passed on, the mantle falls on Son Thomas Telly Owl and his struggle following in his Fathers Footsteps. (2010). Telly Tales III, Telly Owl, Family and Friends, now Telly Tales, Best of Telly Owl & Friends concludes the Telly Owl Trilogy with the 15th Anniversary release commemorating Thomas Telly Owl's Coronation and Marriage! Telly Tales II is available through B&N and Amazon.Com. For Bookings etc, write PaulDavidPowers@Yahoo.Com!

Available in eBook and Paperback HERE!

About the Author

PAUL DAVID POWERS graduated from Miracle Valley Bible College in 1976. In 1982, he received Leadership Development/Helping People Who Hurt Certificates from David Wilkerson's-World Challenge Institute of Christian Training. "Journalism Awards-1992-1997", as Photographer & Editor of TNCC's-The Nelsonite. In 1997 He graduated from Thomas Nelson Community College with an Associates Degree in Photography, went on to Southside VA Community College, earned an Associates Degree in Human Services, Substance Abuse Counseling, finally a Bachelors Degree in Counseling from Master's International School of Divinity.


Saturday, December 26, 2020

A German Excursion in Columbus by Matthew Caracciolo


German Village, Columbus, Ohio

A German Excursion in Columbus

by Matthew Caracciolo

Like much of the Midwest, Ohio boasts significant German heritage throughout the state. All the major cities have their own German restaurants and even German-tinged neighborhoods (Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine comes to mind) but nowhere in Ohio quite compares to Columbus, with its ample German eateries, biergartens, and the quaint German Village neighborhood. If a trip to Europe isn’t in the cards any time soon, put together an afternoon and/or evening in these haunts throughout Columbus to scratch that Bavarian itch.

Schmidt’s Sausage Haus

If you’ve lived in or have family in Columbus, this one will strike you as fairly obvious. If not, Schmidt’s Sausage Haus und Restaurant has a history dating back to the 1880’s and is a landmark institution in Columbus. Famous for its Bahama Mama sausages, cream puffs, and Autobahn buffet, Schmidt’s is as popular as ever and boasts a lively atmosphere in a historic building. The company’s food trucks and concession stands make regular appearances in area festivals and, most notably, the Ohio State Fair. The restaurant has appeared on Travel Channel and the Food Network as Columbus’ main restaurant representative.

Valter’s at the Maennerchor

If Schmidt’s comes off as a little ostentatiously German, you’ll find Valter’s a more subdued counterpart. This relative newcomer again offers an authentic German menu but with the added bonus of a solid beer selection as well, including some German imports. Sitting in an old 1907 house, Valter’s feels more like a neighborhood haunt than an attraction, and its weekend brunch is both phenomenal and relatively inexpensive. The restaurant is also the home base of the Columbus Maennerchor, founded over 170 years ago and the nation’s longest continually running men’s German singing club. Check out for when the Maennerchor will be singing.

Gemüt Biergarten

Opened in 2019, Gemüt Biergarten occupies a former firehouse in Olde Towne East and offers a biergarten, patio, and dining room with German-style beers and menu. The most unusual feature are the stunning stained glass windows depicting figures from Norse mythology, all themed with their beers. Relaxed and family friendly, this brewpub is perhaps the most unique brewery in Columbus.


Affiliated with the original biergarten in Munich, Columbus’ Hofbräuhaus is a giant restaurant and brewery filled with live entertainment and good-natured fun. The beer list is simple, the menu is authentic, and the performers and silly competitions maintain a convivial spirit throughout the night. The place is perfectly family-friendly during the day, though slightly less so in the evening. A beer mug is the perfect souvenir, and one you could conceivably pick up in Germany, to call your German excursion in Columbus complete.

The Book Loft

German Village

Schiller Park

The name says it all. Settled by German immigrants in the mid-19th century, this cozy neighborhood just south of downtown is comprised of red brick streets and historic houses in a tight grid. Mostly residential in nature, the neighborhood nevertheless boasts some of the city’s most popular restaurants and shops, which are sprinkled throughout rather than on one main drag. On a Germany-themed day, you’d likely spend most of your time here walking along the well-maintained homes and stopping in for lunch or dessert. Schmidt’s and Valter’s are both located in the neighborhood, for starters. For some bookworm browsing, look no further than The Book Loft, an independent bookstore with 32 rooms, hallways, and nooks stuffed with books. Schiller Park is good for a post-meal stroll (it’s only a block from Valter’s) and features landscaped gardens and a handsome statue of poet Friedrich Schiller. Exploring the residential streets is always a treat and rewards visitors with meticulously-kept gardens and neighborhood bars and cafes off the radar. For more on German Village, visit

With plenty of food, beer, and even some music to put you in the Bavarian spirit, Columbus has what you need for a pretend day in Germany.  

Matthew Caracciolo is a freelance writer and author of The Waygook Book: A Foreigner’s Guide to South Korea from Monday Creek Publishing. He also maintains his own travel blog, Travel is Fatal, on his website. To find out more about The Waygook Book or Travel is Fatal, please visit

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas 2020!


The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. 
We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, 
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Anxious in Love: Say Goodbye to Anxiety in Relationships by Amanda Palermo

Anxious in Love, Say Goodbye to Anxiety in Relationships. If I Can do it, YOU Can Too!: Understanding and Overcoming Anxiety in Relationships. How to stop and overcome couple conflicts and insecurity 
by Amanda Palermo  
Relationship anxiety is not uncommon, and you are not alone. But you are in control, and this guide will help you eliminate these feelings from your life.
Many people go through life feeling anxious and inadequate for no concrete reason. Let me ask you:
  • Are you plagued by relationship anxiety?
  • Are you anxious in love?
  • Do you worry about your worth and value in a relationship?
  • Do you worry your partner might leave or abandon you?
  • Do you fear you are incapable of having a fulfilled, meaningful, and romantic relationship?
If your answer is yes to even one of the above questions, then you have come to the right place for lasting solutions to these problems.
Before we go any further, you must first dispel any thoughts from your mind that you are a freak or something equally hideous. You are absolutely normal, and your fears can be handled, managed, and finally eliminated from your life with a bit of help.
Here is where this book, Anxious in Love, comes into play. It promises you a way out of your anxiety.
By completing this book and implementing the foolproof suggestions and recommendations within it, you will not only find yourself free from anxiety and fears about yourself, but also understand your authentic self. This means you can break free from all kinds of obstacles preventing you from achieving your best in love and romance.
This book will teach you:
  • To look at the problem of anxiety for what it really is.
  • Why and how anxiety can be good for you.
  • To look at yourself the way you should.
  • To love and respect yourself first.
  • To become the best version of yourself in love and romance.
  • How to change your thoughts for your own benefit.
Do you wonder if the ideas stated above are even possible? Do you think they are beyond your grasp and are meant only for others and not for you?
Well, this book is based entirely on my personal experiences. I have implemented every idea mentioned in Anxious in Love. And you know what that means, right?
Yes, I have been in and out of some really difficult relationships. Each one of them has contributed to my learning. I was plagued by the same doubts and fears that you have. Today, thanks to these lessons, I have overcome almost all anxiety-triggering elements and lead a happy, successful life, replete with love and romance.
Believe me, if I can do it, anyone can! And YOU definitely can. Why? Because you are proactive and already looking up ways to find solutions to your problems. That is the first, and perhaps the most important step in your journey.
Order your copy now and harness the power it promises.
Available in Paperback, Hardcover, 
Audiobook, and eBook HERE!

About the Author
Amanda Palermo is an author who specializes in self-help.
Her first book, Anxious in Love Say Goodbye to Anxiety in Relationships. If I Can do it, YOU Can Too!”, explores the complicated topic of overcoming anxiety, insecurity, and jealousy in relationships. 

This new self-help book is an essential read for anyone wanting to take the first steps in creating a healthy relationship. The best part is that once you read "Anxious in Love Say Goodbye to Anxiety in Relationships. If I Can do it, YOU Can Too!" you'll discover amazing ways to also make a positive difference in your personal life.

Anxious in Love Say Goodbye to Anxiety in Relationships. If I Can do it, YOU Can Too!” is a masterpiece that is based on thorough research and personal experience. In this instructional book, Amanda provides advice to her readers that they can apply to their life to overcome anxiety. Professional psychologists and counselors who specialize in relationship anxiety strongly support her methods and techniques.
One of the reasons that Amanda started writing on this topic is because she herself suffered from anxiety and insecurity in her relationships. Throughout the years she went through a string of toxic and negative relationships that all fell apart from anxiety.

Today, it’s a different story for Amanda. She has overcome her anxiety problems and now enjoys a healthy and balanced relationship.

As an author, Amanda is a trustworthy and experienced voice. Everything that she dives into is thoroughly researched. This methodical approach allows Amanda to provide a strong and reliable message to her readers that will help them to radically change and improve their lives.

Amanda is currently working on new projects that explore relationships, psychological issues, communication, mental health and practical techniques to improve self-esteem and positivity.

In her work, Amanda is passionate about encouraging holistic well-being and mental health. In this fast-paced and stressful modern society, writers like Amanda are vital change-makers as they create works that help people to cope with daily stress and live well.

Health, love, and family are the cornerstones of Amanda’s writing.
On top of this, Amanda is also interested in discovering different ways to empower women and offer them inspiring ideas to improve all aspects of their lives.

In her spare time, Amanda enjoys going to the cinema, dancing, and eating good food and wine with her close friends.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Milliron Monday: Johnny 12 21 2020

My dad's registered Hereford bull, Johnny, at the lower barn. 

Abbott "Pete" Smith, D.V.M.
June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010

Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Pete Smith, D.V.M., and  Milliron: Abbott “Pete” Smith, D.V.M. The Biography
 (Monday Creek Publishing 2017). A graduate of Colorado State University and a well-known veterinarian in southeast Ohio, Dr. Smith continues to motivate and inspire. 

Dr. Smith was known for his quick whit and whimsy. He could tell the best of jokes. Many of his clients have retold his famous jokes to me again and again. One former Milliron Clinic client told me just last week... "Did you hear Pete's joke about the two bulls? Well, there were two bulls on a hill, an old one and a young one. The young bull says, 'Hey dad, let's run down the hill and get one of those cows.' The old bull replies, 'No, son. Let's walk down the hill and get them all.'"

I suppose the joke may be off-color to some, but to a veterinarian, he probably heard it first-hand. Dr. Smith seemed to have a one-on-one connection with cattle. I think he liked vetting cattle - he was good at it. And the joke reminded me of Johnny. 

One time Dr. Smith was vetting our Hereford bull, Johnny. My dad would get a new bull every few years, and he always named the new bull Johnny. Dr. Smith had a rough appointment with this particular Johnny. It was late at night in our lower barn and my dad put Johnny in the barn away from the other cattle. Johnny had pinkeye and needed vaccinated so it wouldn't spread to the herd. I was just a kid - a farm kid who knows how these things go. But this time things got really noisy! Crash! Bam! Snot flying from the bull's nose, flinging just over my head. It's amazing how a huge bull with tiny legs can jump and pirouette like a ballet dancer. Manure flying, I ran behind the hay-mow to find refuge. The bull was everywhere in the stall. "Oh, he's very gentle," I heard my dad shout out, who was helping. My dad lost his wedding ring that night, and probably some pride, as the bull would not cooperate until Dr. Smith sedated him. I suppose it's difficult to sedate a moving target, the needle has to go just right... 

I love the smell of cattle and the winter barn. When the weather was really severe, we fed the cattle in the barn. We put their grain in long troughs. With snow on their topline, steam rolled off their backs. 

At Christmastime, I always believed the cattle celebrated, too. I remember watching a TV show, The Waltons. They aired a Christmas episode and the children were talking about the Christmas Miracle, how the cattle kneel and pray on Christmas. John-Boy, the oldest child of the Walton family, told the story to his siblings on Christmas Eve. The children all went to the barn and gathered around. “Tell us the story, John-Boy.” John-Boy said...

"When Jesus was born, it was in a stable. And the first things to lay eyes on him, except his mama and his papa… The uh, first things to lay eyes on him, was the sheep and the goats and the cows and all the other animals that lived there. All dumb animals. But they were the first ever to see Jesus’ face. And ever since that night, animals all over the world wait up… and at the stroke of midnight they kneel down and they pray and speak in human voices." 

A thoughtful tale of animal love, we ponder the scene; the creatures worshipping the Creator. My parents would not let me go to the barn to see if Johnny and his herd knelt and prayed. I think they did. I believe. Do you?

Enjoy the journey to Christmas!

Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Letters from Larry: The "W" in Christmas


                                 The "W" in Christmas

Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience.

I had cut back on nonessential obligations – extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending.

Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas. My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old. For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his school's "Winter Pageant."

I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there'd be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation. All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then. Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.

So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.

Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as "Christmas," I didn't expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment - songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer. So, when my son's class rose to sing, "Christmas Love," I was slightly taken aback by its bold title.

Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads. Those in the front row- center stage - held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song. As the class would sing "C is for Christmas," a child would hold up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete  message, "Christmas Love." The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside down – totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W".

The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one's mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her "W". Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together. A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities.

For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear:

"C H R I S T W A S L O V E"

He still is.

Christ is born, Alleluia! Have a Blessed Christmas!

Much love from the beautiful Smoky Mountains


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Stuff & Nonsense: Introducing Celeste Parsons, Ohio Writer

Greetings from southeastern Ohio! My name is Celeste Parsons, and I live here on a 48-acre former dairy farm with my husband Jim, our Westie...