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From the Phantom's postcard collection.
We need a laugh. I bought this is Calgary. The moose is with the RCMP.

Summer 2018: Summer is finally coming, and we are just a bit concerned about what it has in store for us, right? Weather forecasters are predicting more frequent and deadly hurricanes beginning soon, environmentalists are worrying about the polar ice shelves. Melting ice means flooding, broken shelves mean huge, drifting icebergs, huge like the size of Delaware, drifting who knows where. Other scientists are worrying about the melting of the Siberian tundra, which could release ancient viruses that would drift around the planet. Bill Gates has predicted that as many as 30 million folks could die of some unknown universal virus soon. That would be a monster plague.

We add to that our current batch of flooding, and strange weather. Hawaii is having serious environmental problems, while other parts of the country are already facing droughts. And spring is late. I have no idea what that means, most likely a huge, quick snow melt that is likely to cause even more flooding, mudslides and soil erosion will descend on us soon. Some areas haven't recovered from last year's devastation. And there is always the ever present, rarely predictable, forest fire worry. Of course, California is always worried about earthquakes. It goes on and on.

So we are facing very frightening physical threats to the planet from every angle, including the political ones. All-out war is not off the table, thanks to you know who. But as someone famous said, "nevertheless, we persist" or was it resist? Whatever, you get the idea.

Clever Magazine will give you a few minutes respite from worries, thanks to our many contributors still cranking out amusing and thought-provoking fiction and essays. I want to thank everybody for their hard work and creativity. Also, a big thank you to the loyal Clever Readers, who always show up. We are grateful.

So let's keep on keeping on, as they say. Have a wonderful summer. Stay watchful and alert, but have lots of fun while you are at it. Visit a national park!

Diannek, editor
Clever Magazine

Winter 2017-18: It's here, winter, but California feels like spring is in the air, along with the fires, smoke, ash and devastation. It's hard to be upbeat with all that is happening in our beautiful state, and our country in general. But here we are, another year beginning, and who knows what's ahead. One good thing, rains are coming. A mixed blessing. And ...my daffodils are ready to bloom.

Personally, things are okay. My knees are a little better, thanks to cortisone, and stem cell injections in both knees. My senior pals are all talking about stem cells for regeneration of knee cartilage, and some have tried the injections, with varying success. I had the procedure done a couple months ago. I am hoping to avoid the dreaded knee replacement ordeal. When we are young we take our health and our joints for granted, and then as we age, stuff starts happening, creaks and aches, and worse. The medical people are working hard to make life easier for us. I applaud them.

As far as Clever is concerned, we have had some technical issues that caused a big delay. I had to rebuild a lot of the site because of it. These things happen. I've been lucky not to have to deal with this more often. It was hard work, and the wasted time irritates me no end, but that's the price paid for working in this medium.

However, we continue. We have gathered up quite a few stories for you. Great work, my friends. Thank you for your effort and diligence. For those of you whose work was turned down, keep trying, there are lots of online journals out there. I'm always looking for interesting work, with a little sense of humor, if possible. I cannot actually define what interests me, but I know it when I read it. Other editors are probably looking for something slightly different. There's a spot for everything, as long as it is has been edited and spell checked, and it reads easily. If it teaches us something, or amuses us, brings us to tears, makes us laugh, or shocks us in some way, it's probably a good story.

Hope you enjoy this current issue.

Diannek, editor
Clever Magazine

Summer 2017:
It has taken awhile to get enough material together for a good issue. I'm very pleased with the content, which features two articles that are exceptional. I rarely do that. As usual, I've chosen quite a collection of stories that will amuse and interest you. Thank you all for sending in your work and waiting so long to see it published.

It's finally summer, but it's still a bit on the chilly side in Northern California. Don't know why, we are usually complaining about the heat by this time. Could it be climate change? Yes, it could and it probably is. But for us, finally, the drought is over for now. The trees and the grass are all greening up nicely, flowers are blooming like mad, and the shrubs are trying for all time record growth. I hear that we are in for some very hot weather, coming soon.

Personally, my arthritic knees are giving me fits at the moment. So I'm reading arthritis books. There is an arthritis remedy industry, writers are making big bucks telling us how to get over it. Hoping at this point that I don't have to have knee replacement surgery, but who knows. I'm not a happy couch potato. And all the advice, lordy, some of it works for some people, sheesh!

But I'm not trying to solicit advise or sympathy, just stating what it's like for me, growing older, as we all are. Complaining does sort of help, but action is better. I will do something very soon, just watch me. I just have to figure out how to get out of this chair first.

So without further ado, here it is, the summer issue of Clever Magazine!


Winter 2017:
As I write this it's raining buckets. It's supposed to be the storm of the decade. I believe, I believe. But I haven't been out much so I don't know what's really going on. No flooding here, just the steady plop of rain, and some wind. Other parts of the country are much worse off. Heavy snow where none should be. That's painful. Hope everybody is holding up just fine.

To be truthful, I haven't been feeling great these days, I'm horribly depressed with the state of the world. Trump has not surprised us. If you were looking for something more presidential from him, you are out of luck. I'm laughing, but it's gallows humor. I don't know how this disaster could have happened. We certainly didn't deserve it. I only hope that we survive it.

As a result, I'm not too motivated to work hard at anything. But I should be because this issue of Clever Magazine is huge. I'm calling it The Reading Frenzy because I don't think I've ever accepted this many submissions. And quirky, yes, you bet, we've got quirky this time. Thanks to all contributors, both the new ones, and my old stand by contributors. We are all going such great work.

Happy New Year everybody. Let's hope for the best and prepare for the worst!

Diannek, editor        
Clever Magazine

Fall 2016: as I finish up this issue of Clever Magazine, I'm getting ready for our latest Sweet Adeline chorus competition. My chorus will soon be heading (ha ha: "beheading") off to Sacramento for our send-off pep rally, and then next month to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for the big show. We are once again revved up and ready to go. This photo shows part of my costume. For our second act, should we make it into the finals, I get to wear the bird hat. We will all be wearing different costumes that we have created ourselves. Shocking, I know. Adelines are known for unity and glitter. We do that too.

Our chorus pushes the envelope a little, singing rather edgy music for barber shoppers. We are singing Gimmie Gimmie from Thoroughly Modern Millie, and At Last, for our ballad. Big songs, nothing to lose! That's show biz. Hold good thoughts for us, we are definitely the longest of long shots.

Otherwise, I'm doing the usual stuff for a retired woman of a certain age. I spend lots of time in coffee houses, and restaurants, chatting with my very amusing and interesting pals. Combine that with small adventures like heading off to Santa Cruz for a look at the ocean, or prowling the Goodwill for undetected, probably priceless, artwork. I have found such treasures. One of these days I'll do an art piece and show off all the wonders that I've found. I make up little stories to go with the foundlings. Some are just small dramas: like grammy finally died, and look what ended up in the Goodwill. Shame on those rotten kids! Or, this piece was obviously stolen and the Goodwill sorters have no idea what they are dealing with. And my favorite: this painting was covered with so much exhaled smoke that nobody but me could even bare to bring it home.

I also check the thrift shops for first editions. Found a pristine 1st of Wild,  by Cheryl Strayed worth about $60. And just yesterday I got a Forest Lover, by Susan Vreeland, also a 1st and worth about $20. My combined cost: $3.30. I do hope my rotten kids know enough to get a book dealer in here when the time comes to get rid of this granny's things.

Now a word about the latest issue: it's great as usual. Some extremely accomplished writers have submitted charming stories that I take great pleasure in presenting to you. And don't skip the humor section. A big thank you to all contributors. You are wonderful, as ever.

We are rolling into fall and then winter. It happens so quickly. I do hope you all have survived the summer heat waves and rains, the fights, slander and bickering, the tornadoes and hurricanes and the near misses. So much for politics. When next I talk to you, we will know who the next president will be. I will still be here in San Jose or packing up for Canada. With fingers firmly crossed, which makes it hard to type, I send you all my love until we meet again,

Diannek, editor
Clever Magazine

Here's a rose from my garden. It's the first time in years that the roses
have looked
this good. It's the rain, of course.

Summer 2016: I was disappointed at the number of submissions for the spring issue, but there were loads of them for this one. I guess winter is the best time to whip up those short stories and send them off. Thanks for thinking of us when you are looking for a home for your writing. I do have to reject some material.  If you get rejected, send it somewhere else. It might be perfect for another ezine. We are always looking for the light touch, or a quirky sense of humor, even in the serious pieces.

Weather report: Northern California is still getting rain off and on, which is lovely for our gardens, and the watershed, and the thirsty reservoirs. The gloomy folks who try to predict the way-future weather are saying that this El Nino is gone and we are going back to drought conditions. Sigh. It's hard to think that we still have to (really, really) save water, after a nice rainy season. But it could be our new normal, as they say. Sure hope not.

Update on my postcard collection: I was looking through some old postcards the other day when I found one from WWII. It was one of those soldier comic cards so popular back then. It was from a soldier in boot camp at Fort Sills, Oklahoma, and addressed to a friend in the Bay Area. I don't remember where I got it, probably in an antique shop.

I could barely make out the soldier's name and address but I got to wondering if he still lived in that area. A quick google search led me to a funeral home website. Apparently he had just died a few weeks earlier. There was a condolence box on the site so I wrote a short note to the family, telling them I had the card and would send it to them if they wanted it. I heard back in a few days, from a cousin. He was delighted to hear about the old postcard. So I sent it to him. I'm sure it will mean more to the family than to me.

Now I'm wondering just how many more old postcards I could reunite. Might be a fun project.

Life goes on: I'm getting ready to make a quick run up to Reno with my chorus. It's competition time again. We aren't competing because we are going to the International competition later on this year, in Las Vegas. So we will be anxious to find out who the lucky chorus will be for next year's international. Lots of fun, but it's hard work too. Still loving it.

Hope this note finds everybody in good health and enjoying a pleasant spring. Check out the latest issue, and pass the word to other potential readers. Clever is ever so much more interesting than those ratty magazines in the doctor's office. And we are a friendly size for iphones.

Diannek, editor
Clever Magazine

Spring 2016 The sun just peeked out through the rain clouds. Lovely. It's been a rainy month, which we appreciate very much. No huge storms, not too much damage, some downed trees and a little flooding, but nothing to really get down in the dumps about. I'm actually enjoying the bad weather.

Unlike this little owl. I do feel sorry for all the urban wildlife during the winter. It must be tough out there. This little owl image and many of the others throughout the issue come to us as a gift from the New York Public Library free digital image collection. What a lovely gift. The website comes with a search feature. I never know what might come up but I have had a great deal of fun finding old illustrations for this issue. You will see more of them in future issues. They seem to strike just the right note for Clever Magazine.

I'm doing well these days. No complaints. I'm getting fewer submissions these days, so more time goes by between them. But I'm still pleased and surprised to receive them. Our readership is not growing much, but we still have a very good readership. We have lots of competition from all the interesting social media these days. It's a changing world, and there are so many sources of amusement "out there". The world is a most interesting place.

Thanks to everybody who submitted something to Clever Magazine. Keep it up. We are always looking for what's coming round the bend.

Sincerely, Diannek,
editor, Clever Magazine


To contact the editor, email: dianne@clevermag.com

To see some of the old messages, go to Archive of Editor's Notes