Wordle in 1!

I finally got the coveted Wordle in 1!

On May 4, the Wordle answer for the day was TRAIN. Fun fact, it was also the word of the day for a Wordle spin-off, Canuckle. I did Canuckle first, and got it in 3. Then I turned to Wordle, and thought, what the heck. May as well use TRAIN as my starting word. And BAM! My first and only time getting Wordle in 1.

You have to be a Wordle addict to appreciate the excitement, but I rode that high all day!

May 4. Wordle in 1

Canuckle Answer for the Day. What’s Your Best Guess?

It’s official, I’m a Canuckle nerd (nerdle?). In today’s blog I’m fully coming to terms with that realization and finally admitting it to myself. My wife is already planning to have friends and family over later tonight for an intervention.

Since I got hooked on Canuckle a couple of months ago, I started keeping a private list of words that I think are very good candidates for future Canuckle answers. In today’s blog, I’m posting that list for other Canuckle addicts out there. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Maybe we could start having meetings in church basements…

I claim no insider knowledge. This list is simply what I believe to be likely candidates for future Canuckle answers since they have a Canadian flavour and theme to them.

I will, from time to time, update this list with new words that occur to me, and strike through the words that get used as the answer for the day. A couple of these words are my favorite starting words, and I’m excited for the day when I hit upon the right answer on the first guess. That hasn’t happened yet, but I have solved Canuckle 11 times in just two guesses.

The Real Answer History Archive

Just in case you’ve been missing out, I’m also maintaining an up-to-date list of past Canuckle Answers, starting with the very first puzzle back in February 2022.

If you are a fellow Canuckle nerd and have some favorite starting words of your own, drop me a line and let me know if you find this list helpful. Or let me know if you have some words that should be added.

Words that are struck-through have been the puzzle answer since I started maintaining this list.

GREATPINESPOLAR
BUCKSCEDARGRILL
PIZZATREESEARTH
FRESHBEANSDUCKS
CRANEGRAINSKIIS
RANGEFISHYMILLS
SLOPEFUELSBREAD
SNOWSWATERFLOUR
HURONPLAINBANKS
STEELRIVERFOXES
SPACEAPPLEHERON
BEACHGRAPESPUDS
MOUNTGEESEHORSE
RANCHMAIZEEAGLE
COATSMISTSTRAIL
ACORNBROCKTRUCK
BRANTTEPEETRACK
DEERSGROWSDONUT
HUSKYROOTSTOONY
MUSKYFORTSCREAM
WOODSTRAINRADIO
PROUDPUCKSHYDRO
BEASTCRAZYVOTES
GOATSFORCESALTY
BOATSFROSTPLOWS
SHIPSFROZEROYAL
LOONYCREAMCIDER
STANDSTOCKSTEAK
HIKERLOCKSCREEK
HONEYMUSICMEDAL
METALFRESHCABIN
MINESALIEN
Expected Canuckle Word Game Answers

A little coffee humor to lighten your day

The first thing I do when I get out of bed is head downstairs into the kitchen and start the coffee. And then I stand there and wait for enough coffee to appear in the carafe to pour a cup. Fortunately my coffee maker has a ‘pause ‘n pour’ feature, otherwise it would get rather messy.

In nice weather I’ll take my coffee and laptop outside to the back deck and listen to the birds while writing or reading the news. Unfortunately in Canada the weather is crap 9 months of the year, in which case I go into the living room, turn on the gas fireplace, and sit next to the fire.

I can’t imagine starting the day without coffee. I’m not sure how non-coffee drinkers do it, but I think the government should fund a research program to study them and find an answer to that question which perplexes all the rest of us normal human beings.

I find it very relaxing to make humorous memes, especially if they are coffee related. Kind of goes with the territory when your ‘thing’ is escapist adventures featuring coffee loving alien smugglers.

Here are links to the humor pictures I’ve made over the years.

Some previous humour posts.

Have a great day.

Why we need pulp fiction now more than ever

The dangers of doomscrolling

I’ve been spending all my time doom-scrolling since Russia launched its brutal and unjust assault on Ukraine, and I can’t recall ever felt angrier with what I’m seeing in the news.

Short of WWIII, it’s about as bad as it can be. And in all seriousness, WWIII could break out now at any time. Many believe it’s just a matter of time. I asked myself, how can I write humorous sci-fi at a time like this? Why would anyone want to read it now? And so for a while I seriously considered dropping my current writing project – a light-hearted sequel to my humorous sci-fi series about aliens who love coffee. I felt like this just wasn’t the right time for writing frivolous sci-fi.

But then I thought about how popular dime novels were during the American Civil War, which featured escapist adventure stories. And during the depression cheap adventure stories in the form of ‘pulp’ fiction were hugely popular.

Dime novels became very popular during the darkest years of the Civil War

It’s in times like this that low-cost escapist adventure stories are needed more than ever. We all need to take a break from doom-scrolling through the news and find a way to unplug and relax. Pulp fiction, escapist adventures, humorous sci-fi – whatever kind of reading you prefer – is a legitimate form of recreation.

Apart from that, however, we must take things seriously and do what we can. The best way most of us here in Canada and the USA can do something practical is to donate to charities supporting worthy causes.

Recently I did some research into charities dedicated to assisting the people of Ukraine. The Washington Post and The Globe and Mail have both published lists of reputable charities supporting Ukraine.

Charities supporting Ukraine:

UFOs are just aliens looking for a good cup of coffee

Do aliens like coffee? We think so! What intelligent being wouldn’t? As readers of my blog and fans of my novels have long suspected, UFOs are aliens just looking for coffee. For years, I’ve been the lone voice in the literary wilderness pointing this out to anyone who would listen, and writing a few novels about it. But now other serious writers are beginning to take notice. Joe Queenan, well-known columnist for the prestigious Wall Street Journal no less, has come around and now agrees. They’re here, and they’re looking for coffee.

The Wall Street Journal Finally Agrees With Me

In a recent WSJ column, “Are UFOs Just Aliens Looking for a Cup of Coffee?”, Joe Queenan argues this very point. And we think this is good news, because it means UFOs probably do NOT have hostile intentions or planning an invasion. If the aliens are just looking for coffee, then logic dictates they are nice, peaceful, intelligent and witty, because in my experience human coffee lovers are nice, peaceful, intelligent and witty. We prefer to sit and visit while sharing great coffee over interesting conversation, rather than invade foreign countries – much less attack someone else’s planet.

Now, the more cynical among us may argue the opposite. Since, to the best of our knowledge, Earth is the only known planet in the galaxy that can grow coffee, might not aliens be tempted to take us over? As their logic goes, the very fact aliens are coming to Earth might mean they’re planning an invasion so they can get their hands on our coffee.

But I don’t think so. Alien visitors are likely to be intelligent – after all they’ve managed to invent UFOs that can travel trillions of miles through space to get here. If they are smart enough to do that, they are smart enough to realize it’s much cheaper to simply buy the coffee from us rather than attack.

Planetary invasions can get pretty expensive.

Buying a Cup of Coffee is Cheaper Than Planetary Invasions

Do the math – it’s not all that hard. How much is a pound of coffee? My local grocery store carries it for anywhere from $5 to $10 a pound. I usually spend $20 on premium Rwandan coffee from a roaster here in town. It’s much cheaper – and quicker, by the way – to go shopping than it would be to invade Rwanda.

As a matter of fact, as I write this at 5 o’clock on a Friday morning, I’m getting low on coffee. And I think I’ll simply go see my local roaster and spend $20, rather than launch a military assault on an African nation at the cost of several millions of dollars (not that I have several millions, I’m just trying to make a point). If I can figure this math out, I’m pretty sure any alien astronaut can as well.

They Are Here for the Coffee

I feel confident our alien visitors have come to much the same conclusion. And the proof? Well – they haven’t invaded yet and apparently they’ve been visiting us for decades, at least since the 1950s when people started to notice UFOs, and have yet to take hostile action. If they were going to invade, I think they would have done so by now.

And what did it cost the US to invade Afghanistan? 1.2 trillion dollars! If it cost that much to invade a little country right here on Earth a mere 8,000 miles away, think of the cost to invade an entire planet across the galaxy. For an alien visitor, wouldn’t it just make more sense to come to Earth peacefully, find a human willing to trade, and spend the $5 to $20 dollars a pound?

And it would be much more pleasant for both the aliens and humans involved. They could sit down, enjoy a nice cup of coffee while comparing notes on our respective cultures. Launching military invasions is no way to make friends. A pleasant cultural exchange is much nicer than shooting at each other.

As readers of my popular novels have long suspected…

Let’s hope the Pentagon is paying attention. If the American military brass realize that UFOs are really friendly aliens just looking for a cup of coffee, and not to invade, then they are much less likely to start shooting.

My New Time-travel Adventure is Here!

The girl from the future…

What does a girl do when she can’t tell anyone where she’s really from?

I’m excited about my latest novel – a fun blend of love, romance, dystopian future and time travel. It’s about Octavia, a woman from a dystopian future who has traveled back in time to our own day. She’s here on a mission: study us and learn how we lived prior to a deadly plague that almost destroys human life and brings on the dystopian world she grew up in.

Octavia never had a family, never knew a mother or father – she was raised on a eugenics farm by robots and impersonal guardians. She arrives in our time and meets Jake, the loving single father of an 11-year old girl, and it’s not long before they fall in love. For the first time in her life, Octavia becomes part of a real family. But she can never tell Jake that she’s from the future – how could he possibly believe it? And that’s not the only secret she has to keep from him.

But falling in love was not part of her mission plan, and the secrets she carries about herself and the terrible future awaiting them soon threaten to tear them apart.

I actually started writing this in 2016, thinking it would be fun to write a story about a world-wide pandemic and time-travel. I finished it prior to 2020 under a different title, and then covid-19 broke out. When covid-19 hit, I no longer felt like promoting a novel about a plague. Reading and writing stories about an apocalypse is fun until it starts to feel like you are really in one. So I shelved the project for a while.

In early 2021 I dusted it off and re-read it, and sent it to an editor for professional proof reading. I like the story and now that it looks like we are getting to the end of the covid-19 pandemic I feel good about publishing it.

It’s a fun, clean read with a feel-good ending. I’m a huge believer in happy endings… I mean, why read a book that leaves you depressed. I can go to CNN for that.

I hope you like reading the book as much as I liked writing it. Drop me a line and let me know what you think.

Available on Amazon

Octavia Seven Book Review

Epic Honduran Roast from Oddfellow Coffee Roasters

Coffee farm in Honduras

It’s 6:30 AM, and I am just finishing a 3rd cup of coffee I brewed with a Honduran roast from Oddfellow Coffee Roasters. Oddfellow is a local roaster in Brantford Ontario that I ‘discovered’ last winter at the Brantford farmers market, and I’ve been hooked ever since. What I like about Oddfellow is not just the amazing flavour of his roasts, but that the owner, Ryan Wlodarek, buys direct from just a handful of small growers in Honduras, El Salvador and Brazil.

Today I am going to talk about his Honduran roast, because Honduras holds a special place in my heart – especially when it comes to coffee. But I’ll get to that momentarily, after I rave a bit on Oddfellow’s coffee.

Ryan at the Brantford Farmer’s Market

Oddfellow’s Honduran Roast is semi-sweet and fruity, with a hint of toffee and citrus and easy on the stomach. He buys the beans directly from Finca La Fortuna farm in central Honduras.

Finca La Fortuna is run by Delmy Regalado, a 2nd generation farmer who inherited the land from her father. Originally it was a sugar plantation. Perched 5000 feet above sea level, this farm receives amazing tropical heat, sun and rain fortified by cool nights. Perfect conditions to produce some of the most sought after beans on planet earth. The beans must work harder at higher elevations to develop and ripen, lending to unique fruity and sharp sweet characteristics. The blend is made up of Pacas, a natural mutation in the Bourbon bean and Typica, one of the main varieties of Arabica coffee.

I love this coffee from Oddfellows, not only for its incredible flavour, but because, as mentioned, I have a soft spot for the country it comes from.

Coffee has been part of my morning ritual for my entire adult life, so it is safe to say that I’ve enjoyed thousands of cups of coffee over the years, yet there is one cup I had more than 3 decades ago that I still remember with vivid clarity.

I was in Honduras for a short visit, not as a tourist but to help an organization setup a computer system. The family I stayed with in La Ceiba knew a local farmer, and one afternoon they took me out into the countryside for a visit. The family was very hospitable, and we spent a very pleasant afternoon visiting under the shade of a palm tree. It was not long before they served coffee, with cream and sugar.

The coffee, of course, was excellent, but I soon learned that the most amazing thing about the coffee was that the family produced absolutely everything that went into it. They roasted the beans from coffee plants they grew on their own small farm. They also grew their own sugar cane and made the sugar that went into the coffee. And the cream came from their own cow.

Later, the farmer asked me if I would like a cup of water. I said yes, and he motioned to his young son and pointed to the palm tree we were sitting under. The young boy scampered up the tree, picked a coconut, and came back down with it. He gave it to his father, who used a machete to slice off the top and handed it to me. I drank from it, feeling like I was a supporting caste member in The Jungle Book movie.

That afternoon was three decades ago, a coffee experience I have never forgotten. Oddfellow’s Honduran roast transports me back to that afternoon every time a brew a fresh cup using the beans from Delmy’s farm, Finca La Fortuna.

Oddfellow Coffee Roasters has some of the best roast I’ve ever experienced. Their website is still under construction and Ryan tells me it will be ready shortly. When it is, I will add the link to my List of Best Coffee Blogs. In the meantime, you can reach him by email at oddfellowroaster@gmail.com.

Have a great day. Stay safe and stay sane.