May 2023 Newsletter

Dave writes slow as a slug. He also doesn’t like to write non-fiction. There’s too much risk of coming off as an ignoramus. Better to work through issues of the day through his characters. Yet despite this fact, he ‘marketing folk’ assure him that a newsletter is pivotal to company development. There’s the conflict.

How did he resolve it? That’s where I come in…unfortunately. My name is not pronounceable in the human tongue, so we will just call me Jitpoj. We will call me Jitpoj because my first day on a computer keyboard- which is today- I wrote the following mumbo jumbo and looked for the best letter combo therein. :keeoguvyvyrfbrvdfkfkv;songkjgn trjlhkjgnrtsjkgthkhijutjitpojiopkopjkoit.

So I have been named.

Now let me explain the thing behind the name. I say thing because I am an alien that crash-landed in Dave’s apartment a little while back. Dave was warm and welcoming, said I could stay as long as I liked while repairing my ship, no questions asked. Well, one questions was asked, and after that a grand bargain proposed, one of the barter rather than monetary variety.

In exchange for Dave’s hospitality, I, Jitpoj, agree to write his newsletter until I get the heck off this planet.

A deal is a deal. If Dave wants an illiterate alien to market his services that’s on him. This is his logic: having an alien staff writer is avant-garde; more importantly, it goes with the Transient Visitors theme, and even when I cover his children’s books, my commentary will inevitably be, as he said, ‘out-of-this-world.’

How clever.

In negotiations, I’ve made it clear that I’m not one for fibbing. Thus, my newsletters, however many there will be (and hopefully there won’t be many) will be an honest update on the status of this company- if you even want to call it a company. The publishing costs for an LLC in NYC were too expensive so cheapo is running it as a sole proprietor. That way, if he gets sued, he can be sued personally and lose all his money. No piercing of the corporate veil necessary.

Wonderful idea, esquire (isn’t that a term for a stable boy who handles horses?).  

My guess is that the response rate to these newsletters, given how boring I intend to make them, will make Dave reconsider our grand bargain- room and board for a newsletter a month (or is it a week, every two weeks…we didn’t discuss that).

I’ll turn now to present and future apologies for the typos and the grammar errors. Not only have I never written in English before (where I’m from we all speak telepathically, like civilized members of the universe) Dave said I didn’t need to check my work- call it ‘un-editing’ he says. ‘I spend too much time editing my own stuff to check your grammar,’ he says.

Even in his own writing, Dave has started saying that he is a descriptivist when it comes to grammar. This is some linguistic theory/term that relates to the rules of language and usage being nonjudgmental, objective rather than rule-based, and focusing on actual rather than aspirational methods of speaking and writing.


Deep down I think he says that because even after he reads all those grammar books, he still relies on mom to explain to him what a proper noun versus a common noun in proofing sessions for his children’s books.

 More on those children’s books in my next newsletter. A new one titled, The Lighthouse that Lived is just about ready. Links below to other books available in his bookshop. If you do decide to purchase something (I don’t know why you would, most of it is free on his website) the company line is to ask that you do so from David O’Boyle’s Official Author Page (& more) – David O’Boyle (davidoboyles.com) rather than Amazon or Barnes & Noble or big players.

Doing so eliminates the middleman, giving Dave more profits. More profits equals the ability for Dave to buy “Succession” Season 2. No spoilers! I just love watching that Logan Roy. Additional proceeds, so he says, can go to materials for my ship.



A true Transient Visitor.


Monday morning chocolate chip cookie-backing-2

Even if they aren’t directly connected to Alexander, the hardest nut to crack in the world shares key qualities with the conqueror (to extract the edible Macadamia nut from its shell requires 300 pounds of pressure per square inch). Most notable, both the King of Macedonia and the pride of the Proteaceae family of flowering plants, share an imperialistic nature.

You see, when you mix Macademia nuts with chocolate chips in a one-to-one ratio, those chips are overpowered by the nuts like the Persians were overpowered by the Macedonians at the Battle of Issus.

Leaving 330 BC and bringing things into a more modern context, allow me to express my point Pedro Martinez style: Macadamia nuts are the chocolate chips daddy.

To balance their strong, buttery, vibrant, almost coconutty taste, I declare: add way more chocolate chips than nuts! What is the proper ration? I don’t know. Perhaps 3:1?

I’m better at eating cookies than calculating things about cookies.

The other alternative is to use this native-to-Australia-but-mostly-now-grown-industrially-in-Hawaii-and sometimes-South Africa-nut, and chop it up into smaller pieces. Not only will that dilute the taste a bit, but it will also have the added benefit of aesthetics. A split macadamia nut adds a vivacious pearly white sheen to the cookie, a whole macadamia nut kind of makes it look like you spilled chickpeas into the batter.

Splitting the nut is also good for your pocket (and we love that). Taking 7-10 years to bear fruit, and being located in tropical climates, you can’t get Macadamia nuts for peanuts. You need that fiat-money baby! That is, unless your local macadamia nut dealer accepts crypto.  


Monday morning chocolate chip cookie-backing- 1

Looked up a recipe for chocolate chip cookies to make on a Sunday night to start a ritual. Brought them into the office on Monday. Feedback was a little inconsistent. Some said that they were just right and others said they were doughy and others said that they were a little crispy.

You’ll see from the image that the chocolate chip cookies are all different shapes and sizes. Scratch that. We don’t need to be nice here. They look like giant ameba. As much as I like my things looking organic, I think I have to draw the line at the biomolecular level.

So what was the problem?

A few things. First and foremost, impulsivity. I literally just clawed the chocolate chip cookies up in my hand and tossed them onto the baking tray without any regard for size (the Knicks were on at 7:30 and that takes priority during a win streak, we don’t get many of them since the 90’s glory days…go New York, go New York…Go!). Turns out that when you have different shapes and sizes, you also have cookies that cook at different times.

Thus, when you take them out all at once, some are going to be just right, others will be doughy, and others will be a bit crispy, especially when you have a tiny oven like me that essentially coughs out a flame- I’d be better off using a lighter. The result of this: you get some happy cookie eaters, some tolerable cookie eaters, and some frustrated cookie eaters. At this point I should interject and state that the frustrated cookie eaters need to calm down. I didn’t charge for this cookie. And even a bad chocolate chip cookie is better than a good oatmeal cookie. Come at me oatmeal people. Keep that -ish in the breakfast bowl.

What’s the solution?

Part of it is, as the Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories says so wonderfully, is that you have to go “lunch-lady style with a portion scooper.” Okay, you don’t need to go lunch-lady style unless you want a big cookie (I just added this because I loved the description), but you need a portion scooper. Then you need to, “Scoop up a mound of dough and fill the scooper, take your palm and swipe the dough off flat from one edge of the scooper to the other, then clean off the edges and deposit on your cookie sheet.”

Taste of Home seconds this ‘scoop theory’: Get identically sized cookies when you use a cookie scoop. This handy tool is a must in any kitchen (and it makes a great gift for bakers).”

Eat This Not That echoes this notion, but also adds that you want to pay attention to the degree of packing you do into the cookie scoop before you level off. If you overpack some and level it and underpack others and level it, you could be heading for another batch of amoebas.

Cookie uniformity, I’m on my way. And if you need a book, to go with that cook, or a short story to wash down that chocolate chip glory, check out my homepage or my bookstore. I promise I edited those a little bit more.


Musings on Mindfulness 1- presence as a precondition

One of the ways to be more mindful in daily living is to tune in to your senses- sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell. With respect to sight, that means looking at the world and paying attention to things like color, texture, shape, size, luminosity (how much it gives off light or reflects light). I started looking at things and trying to identify color and realized that I didn’t have the vocabulary to describe colors that were not pure hues. For example, I looked at a curtain and identified that it was green, but off-green. Basic color theory actually has words for impure hues. a pure hue that has been mixed with white is called a tint. Here, then, the curtains were a tint of green. Off-green mixed with black is called a shade. And off-green mixed with black and white to make grey is called a tone. The same terminology applies to all colors.

With this new vocabulary at your disposal, it makes the identification of colors in your environment more interesting. This has helped me better stay in the present moment, which is a major element of mindfulness. Note, however, that being in the present moment, while a necessary condition for mindfulness, does not amount to mindfulness by itself. There are more steps. More necessary conditions. According to Psychology today, “Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention to the present. This state is described as observing one’s thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad.” I suppose, then, that being mindful of the green curtain would not just be, among other things, identifying it is a tint of green, about six feet in length, rectangular in shape, and moderately luminous. It would also require not passing judgment on the thoughts that arose in relation to my viewing of the green curtain. For instance, that it is old, that it needs to be washed, that it doesn’t look good with the room etc.

Figuring out how to be nonjudgmental is the subject of later postings. In my opinion, it is a far more complicated aspect of mindfulness.


Writing group notes from the field: first-person narrator consistency 2/20/2023

Talked about the trap of writing sophisticated descriptions in stories with a first-person narrator who is unsophisticated. Dialogue and stream of consciousness style and tone should match more general descriptions such as setting. To do otherwise runs the risk of internal inconsistency and as a result, compromises believability. That is to say, the reader just may not buy it.

An example: Say a third grader is the first-person narrator for a story. In the story, the narrator speaks like a third grader, saying things like, “I hope Ma let’s me play outside before it gets dark”; they have a stream of consciousness like a third grader:  “I wondered if anyone would tease me because my light-up shoes didn’t work anymore.” And yet, that first-person narrator describes walking up to school in an elegant, flowery, fashion using a knowledgebase beyond this third-grade narrator’s capacity. Compare this, “Pockets of crab grass thrusted through the Virginia red brick, destabilizing the outer walkway, creating a vegetative grout where sand and cement ceded their power” with, “Grandma’s devil-grass spilled green onto the pathway rocks at school that were made of dry clay from the part of the river where you need live bait to make the bass bite.” The second one is way better. In fact, I might say it is not only better in context, but better stylistically as a whole. For me, this brings up its own set of new questions about how one should write in general. Or perhaps it just shows that I write like a three-year old.   


Writing group notes from the field: Fragment writing

We discussed the power of writing fragments in a narrative to create rhythm and balance to a work. Once you know the rules you can break them without fear of criticism for doing something ‘wrong.’ There is no wrong in fiction. Regardless of whether Microsoft word gives you the terrifying colored line under your words, nothing is stopping you from doing it anyway. Sure, it could come across as sloppy. So what? They said the same thing about Pollack. He did okay for himself. Plus, somewhere in between sloppy and completely clean is a thing called style.

Just ask a jazz musician.


David O’Boyle’s February 2023 Art Contest

Contest Invitation

David O’Boyle of davidoboyles.com is inviting all artists residing in the United States to draw , paint or design the illustration for his Transient Visitors Tiny Tale “Ghostkeepers.”


The contest is open to all people 18 or older who live in the United States.

Contest Theme and Inspiration

Drawing is hard. As you will see from this sight, I write a lot of very short stories (“tiny tales”), purely for entertainment, for a reader on the go. To make them even more entertaining, I like to provide a pleasing image to go along with the story. It turns out words and images go well together. Who knew.

Sometimes I take this task on myself and do my own drawing. As much as I enjoy doing so, I remain and work in progress. Therefore, it doesn’t always come out pretty. That’s where you come in!

Contest Deadline

  • The Art Contest submission period begins February 4, 2023 and concludes on February 21, 2022 at midnight EST.
  • Only one submission per applicant will be accepted.
  • There will be one winner selected from all entries. The winner will receive $100.

For additional information or questions, please email davidoboyles@gmail.com.

See contest terms and conditions.




Using and Understanding Legislative History in Interpreting Ambiguous Statutes

Courts use a lot of different methods to interpret ambiguous statutes in a given case. One method that can be particularly difficult to navigate, and one I really struggled with until I went back and read the below-cited casebook long after law school, is proper use of legislative history.

To really understand legislative history, and then to use it to marshal part of your legal argument, you need to know the basic process of how a bill becomes a law, and what paper trail that bill leaves behind once passed.

The paper trail left behind has ‘an informal hierarchy of importance.’* That hierarchy is listed below. For reference, ‘1’ has the highest persuasive value (informally) to a judge rendering a decision on how an ambiguous statute is to be interpreted, and ‘6’ has the lowest persuasive value on how an ambiguous statute is to be interpreted.

  1. Conference Committee Reports (from the House, from the Senate, Joint Committees- if the Senate and the House pass bill proposals in different forms)
  2. Subcommittee Reports
  3. Committee Hearings
  4. Draft Versions of the bill
  5. Oral debate on the bill that arises on the House or Senate Floor (debates are recorded in the Congressional Record).
  6. Individual Statements of Legislators, Presidential signing statements

*See Lawson, Gary Federal Administrative Law, 8th Ed. 42-44, (2019).

DISCLAIMER – not legal advice All content on this website is intended for general information only, and should not be construed as legal advice, tax advice, or financial advice applicable to your particular situation.


Avoiding ethos in a short story (or trying to)

Aristotle’s pillars of argument include ethos, pathos and logos. Ethos has to do with the credibility of the narrator. Basically if you trust what the narrator is saying, if you think the narrator matches certain ideals like honest and integrity, the narrator has a better chance of persuading you.

I thought it would be fun to apply this to fiction. In Pectoral Claspers, a Month 2 of 12 Transient Visitors Very Tiny Tale, I created a narrator with an unclear ethos. At least in this story, what seems to happen when I employed that technique, is that the other two modes of persuasion- pathos and logos- take over. The reader is forced (or at least I hope they are forced, as that is what is intended) to decide how they feel about the story as a whole without reliance on the credibility of the speaker i.e., without ethos.

I take some issue with what I set out to do because of a potentially flawed premise. That is to say, the ethos of a work of fiction cannot entirely detach itself from the writer writing the story, regardless of the credibility/lack of credibility of its fictional narrator(s). Ultimately the actual author’s ethos, whatever it may be, seems inextricably linked to the story. So maybe ethos wasn’t entirely taken over by logos and pathos after all.



Reaching for increased readability in fiction writing.

transient visitors logo

I wrote this month’s Transient Visitor’s teaser tale with an eye on the science behind readability. Based on the research by Shane Snow, many great fiction writers have great scores. In my short story, Chute the Virus, I sought similar scores.

My results: very good grade-level readability – about sixth grade. Note that according to the Literacy Project, the average American reads at the 7th to 8th grade reading level. So at a sixth grade (5.9 Flesch-Kinkaid reading ease) I am solid there. Put into perspective of the masters, that is .3 points off from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (5.6). Ernest Hemingway’s Pulitzer prize-winning The Old Man and the Sea is at a grade 4 reading level. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is between a grade 4 and 5 reading level.

To be fair, some masters write at a higher level. For example, George Orwell’s 1984 is an 8.9 on the reading ease scale, making it about a 9th grade reading level (8.9). I know from reading that book, as interesting as it was, that certain parts were hard to get through.

All in all, I’d like to bring reading level down a point or so for future work, but I can live with that in Chute the Virus.

Interestingly, while I am at a good grade-level reading ease, Chute the Virus is still outside of striking distance of the great fiction writers when it comes to readability. Snow defines this score as ‘how fast a piece of writing is to get through.’ This is measured by the Flesch readability score. The Flesch readability score is scored out of 100. The higher the score the better.

How does Chute the Virus compare here? Well, Chute the Virus has a Flesch readability score. Hemingway’s bestselling books score about 95. The bestsellers of Cormac McCarthy, Stephn King, and Tolkien are at least 80. See Snow’s research cited above. These seem like clear numerical gaps between Chute the Virus and the masters. According to Wikipedia, “Polysyllabic words affect this score significantly more than they do the grade-level score.” With that in mind, my guess is that for a better score I could have edited out certain words and replaced them with plainer English. If I revisit this text, words like ‘counterclockwise’, ‘blunderbuss’, ‘undeterred’, ‘lifelessness’ and ‘centrifugal’ would be on the chopping block.

Lesson learned. Maybe next time.

Interestingly, according to Wikipedia, “The average Flesch score for Harry Potter was 72.83, with the highest score (81.32) for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.” The lowest score for Harry Potter was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at 65.88. So in terms of readability, I fared better than Rowling in Order of the Phoenix. My guess is that statistics hit a glitch when measuring magic. Rowling writes with a wand, not a pen. When it comes to writing, us mortals are all her subjects.

Enjoy Chute the Virus.

Chute the Virus: A Transient Visitors Very Tiny Tale (davidoboyles.com)


Orchardkeeper: Take a Pick, I mean click.

Over the years I’ve written various iterations of Orchardkeeper. The more I rewrote and revised, the less philosophical and the more Michael Bay it became. Maybe I am getting simpler in my thirties. Nowadays all I need is some lava and some giants and I’m satisfied. Hopefully you are too. If not, you can still enjoy Gene Ellerby’s illustration of Transient Visitors Month 2 of 12 Teaser Tale #7 (see below). Gene’s work is always worth a click.


hungry? Have some troll food.

Check out my newest Transient Visitors, Month 2 of 12, Teaser Tale, “Troll Food“. I wrote this during the winter months of Covid after quite a bit of time jogging on long country roads during dry January, trying to rid myself of a craft beer belly. Disclaimer: No aliens or trolls were hurt in the production of this story.



A Transient Visitors teaser tale on football to get you ready for football Sunday

Odd as it may appear, I’ve been working on this story for a few years now. Little brains take a long time to produce things, even if they are only a few pages. I wanted to publish it at the right time, so I asked myself, when would the world be most receptive to “The Arro”. The answer: before kickoff on Sunday morning. If anyone is interested to know, this will be one in a series of more targeted posts (a story about football posted on Sunday morning before football) to see if I generate more traffic. Maybe that’s a no brainer. But again, see above…little brain. Link to “The Arro” here: https://davidoboyles.com/the-arro/