Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the month “June, 2013”

Love Your Mum, Love Your Editor

I’ve become one of those people and I’m feeling ashamed of it. You know the type I’m talking about – the people who read your book and proactively looking for errors – grammatical, spelling, and especially plot. They get more excited discovering a mistake than at a plot twist. Okay, I have not fallen that far, but I am noticing mistakes and if there are too many, it becomes very off-putting.

Now let me make it perfectly clear: I have made all these mistakes…frequently. Thankfully my writer’s group or my awesome editor usually catches them. Here are a couple of examples:

In At The Walls Of Galbrieth – Seanchai and Ilana rode their horses into a closed desert enclave, met and fought some bad guys and walked out. Luckily, one of my writer’s group suggested they take their horses with them because they are in the wilderness!

I have had characters walk into a one-story building and climb stairs, and in Unwanted Heroes spent over a page talking about the pastry crumbs in Salvador’s beard – it was later cut to one line.

I have written and self-edited nine manuscripts, with six eventually published. It would not occur to me to publish a book without a professional eye scrutinizing every line. I am grateful for the people who email me when they find a mistake in one of my novels and I diligently write it down for a future revision. But I confess, it hurts when they find it. We want our novels to be perfect – if we didn’t, it would be a serious flaw in our motivation for publishing. 

imgresI am close to finishing reviewing my editor’s work on Ashbar. As with the previous two epic fantasy novels, she has cut over 10% of the manuscript. Given that my own rounds of revisions did something similar, I am still always surprised. But the manuscript reads, without a doubt, tighter and more fluent for her work.

I came across an article by Dick Margulis entitled The Editor–Author Relationship: Five Reasons Why Self-Publishing Authors Need An Editor. I was more interested in the relationship side, but Margulis focused on the latter part – fair game considering he is an editor.

You can check out his article for yourself if you need convincing your work needs an editor. I am always surprised when people present at our writer’s group and preempt by telling us that their work is finished and sent to their publisher. I just know the group are going to find a dozen errors and will show no mercy pointing it out.

I think the relationship between author and editor is fascinating. I have never met Monica Buntin, my editor for the Wycaan Master series. But I feel we have a close, sensitive, professional relationship, and yet we could be sitting at adjacent tables in a coffee shop and never know (oh no, the woman next to me has caught me staring – she will never believe my reason!).

imagesBut we have created an understanding whereby she feels comfortable to be critical and I am willing to hear what she says (it helps that she is 95% right). I can email short questions and she send back a succinct answer while inviting me to ask if what she wrote is not clear. 

I have no idea if she enjoys my novels, but I have no doubt she is totally invested in my novels being as perfect as possible. I hear from so many friends, writers and editors, how this relationship is riddled with tension, how the writer feels the editor is rushing through, how the editor is too burned out to mention a flaw knowing the writer will just become defensive. 

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I believe I have the perfect relationship with my editor and that can only mean a better, more fluid final manuscript. Perhaps it is better that we never meet and never invest anything personal in the relationship. It might be better if the woman at the next table was not my editor. Still…she has a dictionary on the table next to her latte.

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Alon Shalev writes social justice-themed novels and YA epic fantasy. He swears there is a connection. His latest books include: Unwanted Heroes and the 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Award for YA – At The Walls Of Galbrieth. Alon tweets at @alonshalevsf and @elfwriter.   For more about the author, check out his website.

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Rights Violation Hits Home – Roger Ingalls

For the first time in my life I felt the anger of having my rights violated. I was denied the right to plead not guilty to a traffic violation.

I come home from work on June 25th and look through the mail that was delivered three days earlier. I notice a letter from the county superior court so I opened it and read that I must pay $456 or appear in court by June 27th. Of course, my response was WTF!

According to this paper, I received a citation three and half years ago at the location of Clayton Road and Galindo in Concord, CA. My name and car license plate number are shown in the letter but the spaces for my driver’s license number and date of birth are suspiciously blank.

WC Court

Being more than somewhat agitated, I decide to show up at the court house the next day. My first encounter was with the clerk and she looks at the paper and said, “wow, this is strange and goes back several years…I’ll let you go in front of the Judge”. About a half hour later I’m sent into the court room with about fifteen other people who are there for various traffic issues. Before the Judge comes in we are shown a video explaining that we have rights in traffic court just like any other court and we will be given the opportunity to plead guilty, no contest or not guilty. After the video, the judge shows up and explains our three plea options again but goes on to say that there is no discussion, you must say guilty, no contest or not guilty.

When my turn comes I say not guilty. The judge looks at me and asks, “what are we going to trail for?” So I explain that I’m being told to pay $456 and I don’t really know why and I’m not just going to pay without some type of reasoning and my only recourse is a not guilty plea. We have some additional verbal exchanges and then he says “I’m not sending this to trial; I’ll give you a no contest plea and a fine of $150.” Essentially telling I’m not being allowed a not guilty plea, I must assume implicit guilt even if the facts behind the fine were false.

I was in shock and I still am.

If you ever find yourself in front of a traffic court Judge, you may be denied your right to a not guilty plea and subsequent trail to defend yourself against your accusers.

I suspect the whole thing revolves around generating revenue for the local cities and county. Public safety and justice is a false veil.

So Happy – Historical Decision

I took down the Whistleblower post and it will appear in a week or so. I want to give space and recognition to the historical decision just handed down by the Supreme Court. 

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http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/politics/2013/06/26/sot-nr-scotus-doma-unconstitutional.cnn.html

Not sure what else to say. A great and long-overdue moment for all our LGBTQ community.

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Alon Shalev writes social justice-themed novels and YA epic fantasy. He swears there is a connection. His latest books include: Unwanted Heroes and the 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Award for YA – At The Walls Of Galbrieth. Alon tweets at @alonshalevsf and @elfwriter.   For more about the author, check out his website.

 

Balls – Tom Rossi

I’ve been watching the Confederations Cup, an international soccer tournament, on tv for the past few days, and I see that a problem has not really been fixed.

For the 2010 World Cup of Soccer (Futbol), Adidas introduced a new ball unlike any that had been seen before. Adidas holds the contract with FIFA to provide the soccer balls that are be used in the games. This contract provides plenty of opportunities for Adidas to make some serious money.

Adidas wondered how it could really cash in, and they came up with a way to make everybody say the name “Adidas,” over and over again: they came out with a new, really crappy ball. And that ball, or its very similar offspring, is still in use.

Video: The Jabulani in action…

The Adidas “Jabulani” ball has no stitches. It’s panels are bonded together in a kind of heat/glue process that makes the outer surface completely smooth. This makes for what aerodynamicists call “laminar” airflow around the ball, at least until the air gets to the back of the ball, where it makes a slight vacuum, due to turbulence.

Huh? Don’t worry about the technical stuff. What matters is that the Jabulani acts like a beach-ball. When a player kicks it up into the air, it slows down drastically, almost floats in suspension, and then falls back to the ground, significantly short of where you might expect from its original trajectory.

face paint

This causes passes through the air to travel so slowly that the defenders can get to the landing spot before the ball reaches the intended receiver. As a result, it essentially takes away the long pass as a strategy in many situations and thereby significantly alters the game of soccer.

Several good teams could not adapt, in the 2010 World Cup, to these changes. These teams had long used the long pass as an integral part of their strategy. Adidas essentially changed the outcome of many matches with their new beach-ball (although Spain might have won the whole thing, anyway – they had a great team).

I’m frustrated by the slowdown in the game when I watch, anymore. Scoring hasn’t suffered, due to the fact that the new ball curves like crazy on shots, but midfield play certainly has. The lack of the threat of a long pass has allowed defenses to swarm around the ball more, almost like in an AYSO game for eight-year-olds.

Video: Cute, but this isn’t what World Cup play should look like.

Is this another of my occasional digressions from politics into sports? Not really. This is a clear example of a giant corporation making a mess of something, strictly for the purpose of increasing their already massive profits.

The World Cup is a fantastic event that brings the countries of the world together, in peace, in civilized competition. Aside from a few incidences of hooliganism, it’s a chance for teams and fans from around the world to rub shoulders, have a beer together, and talk about their different lives and loves. It’s an incredible opportunity for fun, interaction, and sewing the seeds of peace.

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Adidas hasn’t really changed all that, but the World Cup has been tainted by their greed. Now, there are rumors that, despite record profits in recent years. Adidas in testing a new ball that more closely resembles the balls of the past. Let’s see if they can fix it in time for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

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-Tom Rossi

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Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

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Beautiful Bay Area Voice

There are many good reasons to live in the San Francisco Bay Area: the public schools, the politics, unpredictable but ultimately great weather, and the amazing people, many of them artists, who gravitate here.  Two weeks ago, I attended debut author, Corina Vacco, a member of our writer’s circle, at her book launch for My Chemical Mountain (I am wearing the T-shirt, as I write this!).  The place was full of our writer friends, who have all toiled over each others work, offered encouragement, critique and shared successes and less successful times.

At the beginning of the month, I attended a first live performance of Ahri Golden, a friend and member of our  very special Jewish community, Chochmat HaLev, She played at The Red Devil Lounge on Polk Street and I have to admit, my better half dragged me along – midweek social events after a long day at work is never greeted with enthusiasm – but she just blew me away with her amazing voice and meaningful lyrics.

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Ahri is financing her album through Kickstarter, a crowd-sourcing way to raise money for projects. Ahri must raise $15,000 (breakout of costs on the webpage) by the end of this month. For a $25 investment, you will receive a CD of the album and a copy of the cover art (for as little as $1 you will receive good karma points).

Please listen to her music and consider investing in an exciting new Bay Area voice. If I haven’t convinced you, check out what Ahri has to say below. 

 

I am an award-winning public radio producer turned singer/songwriter. The journey to my singing and songwriting life has been a transformative odyssey, which began at my grandmother’s funeral in 2003. Bernice Friedman was a pillar of grace and wisdom in my life. She died suddenly in a tragic car accident only 9 days after my wedding. When she passed on, my mother, who always wrote and delivered the most brilliantly eloquent of speeches, was devastated, inconsolable, and speechless. I wrote the eulogy, enacted the story of my relationship with my grandmother, and sang. It was the first time I ever sang to a large group of people. It was cathartic and had planted a seed toward finding my voice.

Fast forward to 2009, when my son was 4 years old, and a new big brother, I became oddly adamant that he take music lessons.

I hired Dave Rosenfeld, who was a musician, music producer, private teacher, and creativity coach. Conveniently, he lived just a few blocks away. After a handful of lessons it became hard to get my son motivated to go. One day, I was struggling for us to make the lesson on time and he said to me with great frustration and breathtaking wisdom, “Mom, I don’t want music, YOU want music!”

I stood there, dumbfounded. We stared at each other. I remembered the visceral experience of singing at my grandmother’s funeral in a flash.

Then I took a deep breath and said, “Wow. You’re right. I do.” He was right. I wanted music. My son called a spade and spade. I listened.

The next week, I took his place in the music lessons with Dave and we’ve collaborated every week for 4 years to improvise, open and hone my voice.

Ahri has only 10 days left to raise the $15,000 – if she doesn’t, Kickstarter will not take your money. If you are as impressed as I am with Ahri’s voice and potential, please don’t delay and invest in another beautiful Bay Area voice.

Have a great weekend.

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Alon Shalev writes social justice-themed novels and YA epic fantasy. He swears there is a connection. His latest books include: Unwanted Heroes and the 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Award for YA – At The Walls Of Galbrieth. Alon tweets at @alonshalevsf and @elfwriter.   For more about the author, check out his website.

The Big E: It’s Back – Roger Ingalls

Just like clockwork, E coli in beef rears its ugly head every year or so. This time it’s 23,000 pounds of tainted ground beef coming out of Kansas.

E coli is found in the intestinal tract of warm blooded animals and is spread to the outside environment through manure. Today’s cramped feedlots (aka: cattle or beef factories) create a perfect home for infectious diseases such as E coli. To lower cost, the cattle are fed grains instead of their natural diet of grass that, in turn, increases acidity in their gut—E coli thrive in an acidic environment so the problem is compounded. In the past, “mom and pop” farms raised their cattle on grass and E coli was a rarity.

Why has this foodborne disease become so prevalent over the past 30 years? Grass-fed cattle ranches have been replaced by massive high-density feedlots where livestock are crammed together in manure saturated pens until they mature to slaughter age. Essentially, small private farms and ranches have been gobbled up by Wall Street backed farming conglomerates that put priority on profit over a healthy food system.

from Food Inc. (movie)

from Food Inc. (movie)

The entire beef food chain is unnatural. Cattle now eat an unnatural diet of corn, this creates an unnatural elevated acidic environment is their gut, E coli bacteria multiple at an unnaturally high rate and then people get poisoned. Corn is subsidized by the government creating an unnatural “free market” economy; grain products have unnaturally low prices, Wall Street demands high profits so farm conglomerates feed cattle an unnatural diet of corn which lowers the manufacturing cost of beef. People eat more beef because, normalized to inflation, it is unnaturally cheap.  An unnatural amount of beef is consumed causing heart disease, animal fat related diabetes and other health problems.

No worries, it’s all self-correcting. Global warming and peak oil will increase grain costs and beef prices will eventually follow. Steaks and burgers will no longer be the food of the masses and the health of people and cattle will return…provided extinction doesn’t intervene first.

Cat Caller Form

WARNING: The form below contains offensive language. Feel free to skip this post if you might be offended.

Two weeks ago, I shared a revealing conversation (revealing for maybe 49% of the population, I mean) I had with a young woman about the thoughts that go through her mind and those of most young women when out walking.

She sent me this form (you will need to double-click it to see bigger) to share.

Catcalling Questionaire

I was never brought up in an environment where we cat-called. I  find it difficult to understand what makes a man feel such power over a person he has never met that he would call out a derogatory comment. But it still happens and in areas of the world where you would imagine a more enlightened and aware populace.

In hebrew, the same word is used for husband and owner. I understand how this came about in Biblical times, but fail to comprehend how it has remained in our vernacular. Still, I recently followed a link about a story regarding my beloved soccer team and reached a daily English newspaper – The Daily Star – every page had pin-ups, including one which reported on a horrific case of sexual abuse. I remember this happening when I was growing up in the UK, but today?

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Last month, I introduced my youngest son to an intensive dosage of Star Trek. He asked me if I thought there were races from other planets watching us and, if so, why they had not made first contact. I responded that maybe our world is simply not evolved enough to make contact with: we still have wars, famine, poverty, etc.

It just occurred to me: perhaps the commanders of these star ships watching Earth are female (must be a 50% chance). Judging by our behavior to more than half our population, I understand why they might give our planet a wide berth.

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Alon Shalev writes social justice-themed novels and YA epic fantasy. He swears there is a connection. His latest books include: Unwanted Heroes and the 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Award for YA – At The Walls Of Galbrieth. Alon tweets at @alonshalevsf and @elfwriter.   For more about the author, check out his website.

 

Hurray for Higher Costs! – Tom Rossi

Everybody seems thrilled that housing prices are rising again. Yippy! We’re all going to get to pay more for rent or a mortgage! Yay!

Housing-Costs

Well, not me. People don’t seem to realize, or at least the news media doesn’t realize, that when the housing market moves as a whole, it moves as a whole. What? Yes, it’s so simple that it sounds stupid.

Let’s say you own a 3-bedroom house and your company moves you to another, comparable city. You sell your house for $400,000. Well, then you buy a comparable house in your new city for, guess how much? $400,000.

What if you initially paid only $300,000 for your house? So what? That “profit” of $100,000 is going straight into the price of your new house. The only advantage is that you’ll be able to put a bigger down-payment on the new house… that is, assuming you didn’t take out a second mortgage. Assuming that you still need to live somewhere, rising prices won’t really help you.

Anyway, rising prices are mostly due to an illusion.

The main reason housing prices are on the rise, again, is that there aren’t enough houses available. Did you ever wonder why you keep hearing on the news that “inventories are low?” Did you ever wonder how that could be? There are three reasons.

One reason is that people have been hanging on their houses and condominiums (condominia?), renting them out instead of selling them because they are dissatisfied with current prices. Another is that investors (both human and corporate) are buying up houses while prices are low.

The third reason is the one that makes me angry. A close friend of mine figured out what people aren’t supposed to know – how to see the list of houses that could and should be on the market, but are being mysteriously held back by the banks. She bought a house that had been a “short sale.” Despite what it sounds like, this does not mean a “quick” sale, but that it was sold back to the bank for a price below what was owed on it’s mortgage.

Screen Shot 2012-11-29 at 2.36.49 PM

But this house wasn’t on the real-estate listings. There was no “For Sale” sign in the front yard. It was simply being held in limbo by the bank. It was an incredible pain in the ass for her to buy this house, as well. The bank just didn’t really want to sell it – they delayed and delayed. And before she settled on this house to make an attempt to buy, she found lots of these “secret” houses – houses that should have been for sale, but weren’t.

Why do banks do this? Two reasons… First, they simply want to wait, like private homeowners and investors, for prices to go up, before they sell. But they also low inventories of houses. That makes the prices go up, so that any houses they own, they can sell for more.

Banks, thanks to their foreclosure fetish, have the power to make inventory levels lower than they really should be. They artificially control them. Does this strike you as just slightly unethical? Gosh, aren’t you just so sensitive and judgemental!

But besides little issues like logic and ethics, rising home prices just make things really difficult for those of us who don’t own one. It will be pretty much impossible for my wife and I to ever buy a home in the Bay Area. I can’t see how we could ever afford it. Heck, it will be pretty much impossible for us to buy a house in Detroit. And many, many renters are in the same boat. Rising housing prices shut many of us out. Many of us couldn’t possibly put together a big enough down payment and our rents and other living expenses keep rising, keeping us from saving up any money.

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It’s interesting that the news media also (VERY briefly) have talked about how tough it is that people now have to spend almost 50% of their income on housing. But then they forget about that fact and go back to the usual housing-price-cheerleading. Whose side are they on? Evidently housing developers’.

-Tom Rossi

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Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

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What Fathers Really Want

I would blog this on Sunday, except everyone is too busy hitting the diner or firing up the grill and anyway I rarely blog on the weekend. Father’s Day has always been a bit anti-climatic for me, coming a few days after my birthday. Given our family’s busy schedule, we tend to spread birthdays over a few days (okay weeks).

imgresI saw an advertisement for Father’s Day on Amazon. They suggested you show your undying appreciation by buying your old man either a green-striped necktie or an HD Kindle Fire. I keep thinking about this. My kids have never bought me a tie for Father’s Day, and it had better be darn special if they ever do!

Now I often wear a  tie for work: anything from a power tie (usually striped) to a Jerry Garcia masterpiece (if I can get away with it). It infers a sense of confidence and raises my self-esteem – call me shallow, but I raise money for good causes and believe I am empowering the next generation to be socially conscious. Whatever it takes!

images-5But what does the tie signify? No, not incarceration, but time in the office … away from my family – the opposite of Fathers Day!

So then I started to think about the Kindle Fire. I don’t need one. I watch movies on a TV, read my books comfortably on my old black-and-white kindle, listen to music on my phone or iPod, and type my novels on a laptop. Life is tough!

Offering me another toy that can keep me engaged with social media, TV shows, connected to the office is exactly what I don’t need. And if I do – I will buy it myself.

What I, and most fathers (moms too – but you’ve had your day) need is time: time to unwind, time to pursue hobbies and good health, and most of all, time to spend with my family. No man on his deathbed ever regretted not spending more time at the office. No man in his memoir ever mused that his commute was only three hours a day.

traffic-jamSo what do I want for Father’s Day? I want to go fishing with my kids, take the family into the Redwoods and hike, picnic, and do some archery together. Perhaps we can tickle-fight on the bed or snuggle on the couch and watch another episode of Big Bang Theory even if we’ve seen it a dozen times and know the punch-lines by heart. Better yet, Lord of the Rings for the 100-th time. It doesn’t matter, as long as we are doing it together.

DSCN0951Because what a father really lacks … is time. Quality time with his family, before they grow up and move away and become adults in their own world. It’s not about the money spent, the thought that went into clicking the mouse to purchase a gift, or the wrapping. And this is a problem for Amazon and other retailers:

You can’t sell time. If you could: you wouldn’t need to sell ties and kindles for Father’s Day.

rememberingdad

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Alon Shalev writes social justice-themed novels and YA epic fantasy. He swears there is a connection. His latest books include: Unwanted Heroes and the 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Award for YA – At The Walls Of Galbrieth. Alon tweets at @alonshalevsf and @elfwriter.   For more about the author, check out his website.

 

An Activist’s Encryption: The 49er – Roger Ingalls

Today’s post will, hopefully, have a little brain teasing with some fun thrown in. It’s a coded message but relatively simple if you’ve consumed Ovaltine or watched a Christmas special on the tube. To help you decode, there are two hints in the title of this post.

(code: four-ty niner) M’H PMOI XS AMWL E JVMIRH LETTC FMVXLHEC, LI XYVRIH 49 CIWXIVHEC. XLEROW XS LMQ, M’ZI FIIR KMZIR XLI STTSVXYRMXC XS ZIRX QC TSPMXMGEP ERH WSGMEP JVYWXVEXMSRW XLVSYKL FPSKKMRK. LI EPPSAW QI XS TSWX QC STMRMSRW IZIVC XLYVWHEC.

Code Key

(code: forty nine-er) QJYYH KRACQMJH JUXW!

(code: four-ty niner) EW QSWX SJ CSY ORSA, XLMW MW EPSR’W WSGMEP NYWXMGI FPSK, ERH MR GEWI CSY HSR’X ORSA LMQ XLEX AIPP, M’H PMOI XS WLEVI E PMXXPI SJ ALEX M ORSA.  EPSR WLEPIZ PMZIW ERH AVMXIW MR XAS ASVPHW. LI MW XLI EYXLSV SJ XLVII WSGMEP NYWXMGI-XLIQIH RSZIPW ERH E WIVMIW SJ CSYRK EHYPX ITMG JERXEWC.

(code: forty nine-er) JUXW RB J PANJC OJVRUH VJW JWM QRB UNJY RWCX HJ OJWCJBH RB CQN ANBDUC XO QRB PXXM QNJAC. FQRUN XW J OJVRUH LJVYRWP CARY RW WXACQNAW LJUROXAWRJ, BQJUNE KNPJW FARCRWP JW NYRL OJWCJBH WXENU CX ANJM CX QRB BXWB JAXDWM CQN LJVYORAN. XENA CQN WNGC CQANN HNJAB, KXCQ BXWB JWM CQN JWLRNWC ANMFXXM OXANBCB KXAN FRCWNBB CX CQN BDVVXWRWP XO CQN FHLJJW VJBCNAB.  CQNBN OJVRUH PJCQNARWPB KAXDPQC JW JMMNM PNWAN CX JUXW’B FARCRWP.

(code: four-ty niner) LMW JMVWX ITMG JERXEWC RSZIP, EX XLI AEPPW SJ KEPFVMIXL, ASR XLI 2013 IVMG LSJJIV FSSO EAEVH – CE GEXIKSVC ERH AEW E KVERH TVMDI JMREPMWX. XLI WIUYIP, XLI JMVWX HIGVII, AEW VIPIEWIH MR QEVGL 2013, ERH XLI XLMVH FSSO MR XLI WIVMIW, EWLFEV, MW IBTIGXIH MR SGXSFIV.

(code: forty nine-er) JUXW’B XCQNA PNWAN, ORLCRXW-KJBNM BXLRJU JLCRERBV, RB AXXCNM RW QRB CNNWJPN HNJAB LJVYJRPWRWP FRCQ CQN JWCR-JYJACQNRM VXENVNWC, OXA CQN ANUNJBN XO SNFB OAXV CQN BXERNC DWRXW, JWM QNUYRWP CQN KDAPNXWRWP PANNW VXENVNWC. CQRB UNM QRV CX NGYUXAN DBRWP ORLCRXW JB J YUJCOXAV OXA BXLRJU SDBCRLN. QRB FXATB RWLUDMN: DWFJWCNM QNAXNB FQRLQ KARWPB CXPNCQNA JW XUM KJCCUN-BLJAANM LQRWNBN JVNARLJW FJA ENC JWM JW RMNJURBCRL JWM YANCNWCRXDB HXDWP NWPURBQVNW FQX BQJAN J UXEN OXA BJW OAJWLRBLX, LXOONN JWM FRWN. CQNH BXXW MRBLXENA CQNH BQJAN NENW VXAN FQNW ANYANBBNM VNVXARNB ANBDAOJLN. XCQNA WXENUB RWLUDMN: J PJAMNWNA’B CJUN: J BCXAH XO QNJURWP XO OJVRUH, UJWM JWM LXVVDWRCH, JUXWP FRCQ J UXXT JC CQN YJPJW ANURPRXW JWM RCB CRVN-QXWXANM RVYJLC DYXW ADAJU LXVVDWRCRNB JWM CQN JLLRMNWCJU JLCRERBC: J ORLCRXWJU JLLXDWC XO CQN JBCXWRBQRWP ‘VLURKNU’ CARJU CQJC LJYCREJCNM KARCJRW RW CQN 1990B.

(code: four-ty niner) VIEH E JIA SJ EPSR WLEPIZ’W RSZIPW, CSY’PP FI IRXIVXEMRIH ERH FIXXIV JSV MX.

(code: forty nine-er) QJYYH KRACQMJH, VJW!

Here’s a final hint: http://cryptoclub.math.uic.edu/shiftcipher/shiftcipher.htm

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