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Get the Name of the Dog. By William Van Zyl. Published in December 2022.


Tool# 14: I share my dog’s name – a brown-coloured dachshund named Jason (1997). It all happened at a hardware store in Alberton. Suddenly he was gone without a trace. Location: The Johannesburg area in South Africa. The introduction will whet your appetite to hear more.


Read the full blog post here:


Excerpt 1:

“One moment, please tell me, what is the dog’s name?” asked the reporter.

“His name is Jason. I’ve had him for 6 years. He is my most trusted friend.”

“What makes Jason special to you? Do you have any significant stories of Jason?” asked the reporter.

“He is very intelligent – a brown dachshund. Dachshunds are very clever dogs. They love touch. Throughout the day, he will snug up against me and nap. Sometimes, he jumps onto my lap and rests on my legs when I sit down. He is quite heavy, but I tolerate his weight. When he looks into my eyes, my heart just melts. He is so loving.” 

“Aaahhh, so cute.”

“The most significant story of Jason probably is that he once disappeared. He is very friendly. If a stranger opens a car door, he will jump in. He is so trusting. And that is exactly what happened once. I was at a hardware store with a large open field next to it. He was running around enjoying himself. I wasn’t attentive for a while. My wife was in the car, and she was also distracted for a while. Then as I called him, he was gone, nowhere to be seen. Luckily, someone in a car in the carpark saw what had happened. She ran up to my wife and me and said someone saw the dog on the other side of the field. They stopped, opened the car door, and Jason jumped in. They took off. Did they think he was lost?”

“What happened? Did you get him back?”

“Yes, I did get him back about 2 days later.”

“How did you get him back?”

“He had a microchip in his neck. The people who stopped thought that he was lost. They took him to the nearest SPCA. We made several calls hoping they would take Jason to the nearest vet or SPCA. And lo and behold, we received a call from a local vet 2 days later. We were overjoyed! We identified him by pointing out the loose hanging dew claw on his right front leg – just above his foot.”

“Great story!”

Excerpt 2:

This rule applies not only to dog stories but to all stories. Writers and reporters need details. Make lots of notes. Ask many questions:

  1. Notes: Take endless notes — story ideas, impressions of sources, unique insights — and mine them for future articles. Ask many questions. Think about your questions before you have your interview. Jot them down. Knowledge is the cornerstone of superior stories in journalism and content marketing. 
  2. Research: No matter the type of content you create, using data, statistics, and research will bolster the credibility of your articles. 
  3. Writing: Once you have quality information and a point to make, you must package it into a clear and compelling story. How will you present it? To write compelling non-fiction you have to be creative. Here are 5 things you could do: 1. Tell a memorable story. 2. Bait your audience. 3. Use emotional language. 4. Say it simply. 5. Surprise the reader.  
  4. Be creative and innovative: Think about how you will start your story. In this article, I started with a conversation between a journalist and a person (the person was me) on a true dog story. How will you start your story? A poem, a conversation, a compelling story, a photograph, a diagram, a sketch, or something else.
  5. Always remember to get the name of the dog


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The Code that Took Humans to the Moon. By William Van Zyl (published December, 23, 2022).


“Five minutes before landing.”

“Three minutes before landing,” said the leader of the mission. All eyes were fixated on the large black-and-white screen.

“Houston, we have a problem!”

“What! What is the problem?”

“Listen to the alarm. We think it is the onboard computer.”

Margaret Hamilton moved closer to the screen. She had her large, heavy laptop open. Her computer stored over 600,000 lines of code. Behind her was a stack of handwritten computer codes on size A3 paper. The stack was as tall as Hamilton herself. About 1.7 m high.

She ran to the stack. She grabbed volume 17 – right at the top, and opened it on page 95. 

“We think it is the radar system,” said the astronaut.

“I have thought about all sorts of interferences. I have programmed the computer to recognise such an error.  The software’s priority scheduling would complete high-priority tasks first — like preparing for landing. The code that has been written will ignore lower-priority ones.”

“Margaret, it seems to have settled now. I think your high-priority code kicked in! The alarms went off!” 

The ground crew sighed in relief.

“One minute before landing, all engines running.”

“The Eagle has landed!”

The ground crew – at NASA Mission Control Centre – and the 3 famous astronauts jumped for joy. Neil, Buzz and Michael were over the moon.



Did Margaret Hamilton write the code for the Apollo Moon landing?

The answer is Yes! She is far lesser known as Neil Armstrong – the first man on the Moon. However, she is the woman who helped them to get there. Margaret Hamilton and her team of software engineers at the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory wrote the sprawling code that made the mission possible

I saw the great picture below of Margaret Hamilton standing next to a 1.7 m high pile of handwritten code on social media. Immediately an article popped into my head. I have written it for you.


Who is Margaret Hamilton? She is an American computer scientist and software engineer. She led the team who developed the software for the Apollo moon missions and the Skylab space station in the 1960s and 70s. Her code helped the 3 men to get to the moon – and back!

How many lines of code did she write for the Apollo?

There are 17 binders in the photo. Assuming the 17 piles (bound volumes) are 5″4′ (1.524 mm) in total (stacked on top of each other), they’re all code (not simulation) and applying Mike’s measurements, assuming 10 binders are Aurora-like and 7 are Luminary-like yields 14,500 code pages, about 660,000 code lines.

What software was used for the Apollo?

The Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) was installed on board the Apollo 11 Command Module (CM) and Lunar Module (LM). The computer’s software was written in Assembly Language. It was called  Assembler. Assembler is considered a low-level programming language as there are very few “plain language” type words – for example instructions – readily recognised by humans.

The article includes great images and a video that will make the article a compelling read. The introduction had been dramatised. 

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Aslan pulls the sword from the rock – the earth quakes – he defeats the giant. By William Van Zyl. Published in Oct 2022.


The senior pastor of the Gateway Church in New Zealand loved to talk about C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien getting together at a nearby pub to discuss their writing. I attended his church for several years – around 2015. He delivered great messages to his congregation. ‘The Eagle and Child Pub,’ which I am referring to, is famous in the UK. See the picture of the pub in this post. Can you imagine the extravagant discussions by the two well-known writers while sitting in the relaxed environment of the pub?  According to reports, they have critiqued one another’s writing. 

Where did the inspiration of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien come from? Which places did they visit during their lives? What could have inspired them?  In this article, I look at their extravagant thoughts and the events and locations that could have inspired them. What inspires you?

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This article endeavours to point to the parallels between the legend of King Arthur and King David (Biblical character). I compare the richly layered true stories of the Kingdom of God with the legend of King Arthur. I also search for allegories to Biblical events. The point I want to make in this article is the rich inspiration of the Bible stories combined with myths and folklore of the past in Lewis’ work – The Chronicles of Narnia. 


Please take a look at the image of the rock in the blog post. According to legend King Arthur found a stone in his shoe and threw it from Carmarthenshire to the middle of the Gower Peninsula. As it had been touched by the hand of King Arthur, the stone grew with pride, and the rocks around it raised the main stone high up with admiration. Holding it up for us to see. King Arthur’s Stone (or in Welsh ‘Maen Ceti’) is on the Gower Peninsula in Wales. It is a Neolithic burial tomb dating back to 2500 BC. Credit: Robin Leicester – Own work. Description: A massive capstone over a Neolithic Chambered Tomb, on the Cefn Bryn hillside, in the center of Gower (Wales). 


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To Forgive, or not to Forgive, is the Question. By William Van Zyl. Published in October 2022.



At last, he gets him.

They are both bloodied, exhausted to death. The tomahawk slices through some of his fingers. The assailant looks at his hand in disbelief. He is missing a couple of them, blood starts to trickle from the exposed flesh. It colours the white snow ruby-red. The white bone of Fitzgerald is visible, But only for a few seconds. He instinctively tears a piece of his shirt off with his right hand. He wraps the dirty shredded fabric around his hand, ready to continue the fight. The pulsing blood from his hand is under control. They are both lying on the ground. Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) can’t get up, he has a severe stab wound to the back of his upper leg.  His hamstring twitches from the trauma. He grabs his leg and screams.




He had been chasing down John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) in the frozen water and melting snow of the mountains in Nebraska. Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio), the legendary fur trapper who survived a grizzly bear attack, had been trekking through the snowy terrain to track down the man who betrayed him – Fitzgerald had killed his son. He will pay. Glass shows the same grizzly-bear determination he had modelled months ago. Glass became a legend for surviving a grizzly bear attack, left for dead, and walked over 320 Km back to the fur-trading camp.

Glass is ruthless, fearless, and unforgiving. Like a groaning grizzly bear, his eyes are locked onto his target –Fitzgerald. He will destroy him. He has to take him out. Fitzgerald has to pay for taking the life of his young son. He will avenge his son’s death. John Fitzgerald will pay with his life.


As you’ve gathered, the true story and the legend have been turned into a movie. I watched this movie, The Revenant, in September of 2022 on the Maori TV Channel in New Zealand. The film was released in 2015, and DiCaprio won an Oscar for the leading actor’s role in 2016 at the Hollywood awards. Leonardo made a stunning speech on the night, calling for action. Over and above the list of people he thanked graciously, his focus was on saving the environment. See the 49 million views on YouTube of his speech. ‘We have to take action for our environment,’ he said.


It is 1823. In short, the story goes like this:


While exploring the uncharted wilderness in 1823, frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) sustains life-threatening injuries from a brutal grizzly bear attack. When a member (Tom Hardy) of his hunting team kills his young son (Forrest Goodluck) and leaves him for dead, Glass must utilise his survival skills to find a way back to civilisation. Grief-stricken and fuelled by vengeance, the legendary fur trapper treks through the snowy terrain to track down the man who betrayed him.


The frontiersman, Hugh Glass – the legend who survived a grizzly bear attack.

Article – He Never Gave Me a Name. By William Van Zyl – Published August 2022

“He never gave me a name,” whispers the rejected monster as he prepares to die. His facial expressions are gruesome – the stitches crisscrossed over his face, neck and head. It tells a story of science that has gone wrong, horribly wrong. The pain in his eyes is excruciating to watch. He flinches and repeats those painful words, “He never gave me a name.” He closes his eyes and gives up his spirit. He is lost forever, without a name, without someone taking responsibility for him. Nobody cared about him.  Nobody loved him. The flames consume not only his body but also his soul and spirit.

Where is his Maker? Where will his spirit and his soul go?


I watched this movie of the famous writer’s life – Mary Shelly – on Television on Saturday night, July 24, 2022, on the Maori Channel (New Zealand TV). I watched the movie Frankenstein years earlier. It must have been fascinating for its time. Dr Frankenstein collected all the different rejected parts of dead people. Later, Mary – the writer – is hailed as the pioneer of science fiction. However, there is so much more to this story. The real-life of Mary Shelley, who lived with her partner, who became her husband after several years, is depicted in the second movie Mary Shelly, as I have mentioned. I look at the words of the monster. What lies behind the emotional sentence?  Read the blog post at Five House Publishing:

‘He never gave me a name.’

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Midnight-muffin-men stun the baking world by beating face recognition software – a Bake-o-Drama. By William Van Zyl. Published July 2022.



The three men walked past the scanner. They look like three ducks – marching in a row. Black and white.


“Beep, beep, beep,” sounds the piezo speaker of the surveillance camera. The three black and white-bearded ducks marched through the door. They are undetected. They seamlessly move past the door – no squeak from the High-Tec face recognition sensor is heard. The business owner of the warehouse is sitting in a state-of-the-art surveillance room. He makes eye contact with Charles Stiles. His mobile phone is quiet, very quiet. It should have warned him with immediate notifications. Who are these unknown duck-men in his business! What are they up to?


It is just past 9 pm. You can hear a pin drop in the secretly placed surveillance room.


Charles Stiles rewinds the camera footage to 7:00 pm.


At 19:02, the security guard walks out of the warehouse to his truck in the parking area. He looks around and then carefully lifts the tarpaulin off the back of his utility vehicle. To the viewer’s astonishment, two men dressed in white shirts and black trousers get up and jump off the back of the open truck. They open the back gate and unload a sizeable square-shaped machine. They wheelie the red-coloured engine into the warehouse.


 The high-security industrial food equipment warehouse – of a passionate Italian owner – has a sophisticated face recognition camera with Bluetooth and a Wi-Fi-enabled notification app. It ultimately secures the building. But, tonight, the system is beaten by three clever men. The innovation is off the charts.


The three white and black ducks march through the back door with confidence. They have placed the generator next to a large industrial mixer and oven. They give one another a high-five. They are in business.

“Tree Brothers – Bake-o-Rama!” they chanted. They are in business….


Read the full story in the blog post:

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Scuba Diver Defeats Unknown Depths of Hopelessness.

A true story. Read about the tenacity and sheer determination of the US Navy Diver, Carl Brashear. A movie was created in his honour: ‘Men of Honour.’ Actor Cuba Gooding (Junior). Here is the introduction:


The rusted cable and long pipe flashed briefly as it hurtled towards the experienced US Navy diver.

“Watch out!” he shouted as he looked up.

At the same time, he pushed and pulled the person next to him out of harm’s way.


The cable and pipe whipped Carl Brashear’s feet out from under him. The long pipe, connected to a steel cable, came from nowhere and attacked him. With brute force, his left leg was sliced. It all happened at lightning speed – unexpected.

He fell face down on the deck. Warm red blood instantly stained the deck. The salvage operation, lifting bombs from the ocean, ended abruptly. Immediate medical attention was required. Brashear was in severe pain.

The person beside Carl is safe – saved by his quick action – looked on in shock. Carl acted selflessly. The pipe attached to the flying cable had sliced through the lower left leg of Brashear. A large gaping wound stared at him as he looked down at his leg.

“Aaarrgggh! Aaarrgghh!

Carl is convulsing, twisting, and turning under the excruciating pain. Both hands are clamping onto his lower leg. An artery has been severed. Blood is gushing from his leg.

“Help! Help me!”



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Crystal Radio shortens Gravedigger’s night. By William Van Zyl. Published in June 2022.

A unique article – with creative writing. Based on the true events. A friend of mine goes to his bedroom and brings a crystal radio back. It is mounted in a light blue soap container. It is 50-years old. He tells his story as a teenager – it revolves around a dormitory at school. I look at crystal radio sets. I include several short interesting sections in the post. I conclude with 2 lessons teachers of Minecraft Education,  STEM, Technology, and Electronics could use. Brilliant ideas and concepts for Minecraft lessons. See them at the end. I also share some of my childhood memories – including sketches from my sketchbook. You will enjoy it! See the blog post. Several images and videos are included for your enjoyment. Blog post: in a new tab)


Image of the over 50-year-old crystal radio mounted in a soap container.


Pneumatic words destroy reinforced concrete.

Read the blog post while listening to this podcast:



The power of placebos and the effect it has on people are explored. In short, it has a massive impact on people’s recovery and healing. The medication – a placebo in this instance – provides improvement and healing to those in the experiment. In the experiment, there are two groups. One group receives the ‘actual medicine’, and the other gets a placebo. They don’t know if it is a placebo, or is it real. However, to my surprise nobody receives real medicine in the experiment – they all receive placebos. The medication given is powerless and harmless. Completely neutral – as if you are taking tablets made of white odourless powder. All the people in the experiment are told that the medicine is powerful and they can expect an impact. Surprisingly, after taking the medication, people reported feeling better. The ‘medication’ had an effect. Very interesting! More about the experiment…

Don’t miss the amazing video at the end. See how a person is healed from essential tremor (shaking hand). Ultrasound is used to focus on a specific area of the brain. It ablates that small area. The shaking stops immediately. 



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William Draws.

In this podcast, I refer to the work of Peter Draws (YouTube) and the sketch work of Liz Steel. Then, I discuss my own first doodle.

You can read the text of the podcast in a blog post at Five House Publishing:


Have you seen Peter Draws on YouTube? It is quite an experience. He is a gifted artist. With his down to earth approach, he has established a popular channel with 968,00 subscribers. Some of his videos have over 16 million views (Glass dip pen drawing & grinding my own ink). People watch him making conversation and drawing unique things. Outstanding, talented artist! People comment that they feel relaxed when listening to the calm voice of Peter. The doodling also contributes to a very tranquil experience. 


Title of the blog post.



William’s first random doodle.

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