Thursday, January 28, 2010

J D Salinger

Dang it, we just lost another literary light- JD Salinger has passed away.

Say what you want about him, he planted himself as a fixture in the American literary world. His "Catcher in the Rye" remains a classic tale, THE classic tale of disaffected youth. His short stories were gems. And so we are poorer still for his passing.

There are at least two books by women who did not say good things about him. One was by a daughter, another by a lover. One had to put up with him, the other chose to. I'm not one of those who think that artists, however good at what they do, get carte blanche for acting like a complete jerk to people who love them. Ah well, he's gone, and let's remember the work he left behind.

Although I still don't forgive Holden for losing the fencing team's equipment. What a dipstick!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Howard Zinn, In Memoriam

Damn, we're losing the good ones- first Robert B Parker, and now Howard Zinn has passed away. Zinn was a political activist, a humanitarian, a speaker, writer, and great, much-needed man in this country (or any other).

He wrote "A People's History of the United States," which should be required reading in all schools. It tells the story most "history" books leave out, of those who strove for freedom and workers rights and fair dealings. If you have not yet read it, consider yourself uneducated until you do. Yes, it is simply far and away a tremendous book that gives us the story we so seldom hear.

Catch the documentary film "You Can't Be Neutral On a Moving Train," which tells about his life and work.

I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Zinn several years back, as part of an interview for Liberty News TV. He was gracious, articulate, kind, and eloquent, as he spoke for about half an hour on a subject: without notes, teleprompter, or word-fumbling. Having read about his life and work, I was in awe, but he always came across as a man of the people. The real people. Those who toil for a living, and those who fight for better conditions for people who aren't rich or powerful.

There are some people in the world, that when you meet them, you want to be a better person. Howard Zinn was one such. He fought the good fight without anger, or rancor, or bitterness, just a gentle, determined insistence that individual human beings matter.

Our world is truly poorer for his loss, but his life is one to make us think the human race might be worthy of survival.

For a "news" appreciation, here's one source. May there be many more, but much better.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Supreme Court Treason-2

Apparently there are those in this country who think turning our political system over to those with the most money is just a peachy idea. Wow.
Okay, let's take a hypothetical. Say there's these big corporations that profit when this country is at war (like Kellogg, Brown, & Root (a Halliburton subsidiary), or the now renamed Blackwater). After all, killing people and stealing from the American taxpayer don't matter to them, as they've proven. So they put up a few hundred million and buy themselves a President and some Senators. Those paid-for shills then embroil this country in yet another war or two, and the corporations see a major return on their investment. So if you think the wars we have NOW are endless and bankrupting, imagine what happens when the people that can profit the most realize this and pour their money into elections.

But hey, it's not just me acting like Cassandra here. Check out these links:

Remember the names of those "judges" who sold out this country: Alito, Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy. When the trial comes up, those names will be on the docket. They are enemies of all that this country purports to stand for, and they must be held accountable, and their shameful treachery must be reversed. May these rotten corporate whores pay for selling us out.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Supreme Court Treason

The plutocrats have openly declared war on America: its laws, customs, and people. Up until now, it's was obvious only if you were paying close attention, but this latest move is so blatantly offensive, it's out in the open.

What the Supreme Court has done is commit an act of treason. Look it up:
1 : the betrayal of a trust : treachery
2 : the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance

Well, it sure was a betrayal of America, it sure was overt, and it sure will overthrow any pretence at democracy in this nation. Politics has been already been thoroughly corrupted by money, but this latest edict opens the door to outright public purchasing of our legislators. From now on, they might as well walk around with price tags displayed.

This is disgusting, this is definitely treason, and it should be stopped and reversed. The five Un-Justices who supported this must be removed from this land's High Court, as they no longer even pretend to support the law of this land, or anything this nation stands for. They are puppets of the plutocrats, and we will be completely ruled by the rich, who will overtly control high offices. Some would say we already are. This cements the deal.

I'm not advocating bloody revolution, but this is egregious and cannot go on. Those in power have completely discarded the notion of representative democracy. They have broken the law, and must be held accountable. It is war--they have told us we don't matter. If we do nothing, they will be right.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Politics, but something good nevertheless

The famous quote goes: "People get the government they deserve."

How horribly true, and what a damning indictment of our times.

Ah, well, enough about corporate bribery and lunacy.

Let me tell you of a good thing that happened, where a short time ago I took the time to speak with someone about fixing a medical problem, and gave them assistance. Today the person came back and said they were pain-free, after doing the proper things. Their life was greatly improved, as was their mood and outlook, all from a simple thing. So you never know when you can make a difference with a few encouraging words and deeds.
Do something today to make someone else'e life better.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Robert B Parker, RIP

We just lost one of the good writers, as Robert B Parker has passed on. The world is diminished with him gone. He created one of the most enduring and terrific figures of mystery fiction, Spenser. He created others, with his Sunny Randall and Jesse Stone series, as well as the "Appaloosa" novels, but Spenser still is the outstanding work.

Years ago, when I read the first one, I was hooked. With the proper nods to the Old School of hard-boiled, Parker revived a genre and made himself the new master. His Spenser novels were perfect, polished little jewels, tight and controlled. The only trouble was, he made it look too damn easy. Many imitated him, but fell short of his complete domination of what the tough guy PI stood for.

I met him once, at a book signing. I asked him how a new writer could manage to get read and published. He said, "Write the best book you possibly can, and send it in." Well, I've been doing that, but it takes so darn long in the publishing biz.

He and his work will be missed. But his characters will live on.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Nastiest Taste Ever

Here's something to put on your life list of never to try: bacon-flavored jellybeans.

Yeah, somebody said, "Hey, bacon is good, jellybeans are good, why don't we put them together?" And so the folks at ThinkGeek did. They actually charge people money for these abominations. But since the sample was out, I had to ask: "How awful could it possibly be?"

Two good things put together sometimes produce something wretched, and so it is with this. The taste was an assault, something like eating cancer. Nasty, and the flavor lasted, despite numerous attempts to expunge it from my palate. Gah! It reminded me of the nasty-flavored jellybeans in the Harry Potter world.

So your intrepid reporter tries things so you don't have to. If you really want the flavor, go to an old outdoor grill and nibble the black charcoal bits at the bottom, and you'll get an idea of what it was like.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Roman Polanski and Values

So years ago, film director Roman Polanski raped a child, and skipped bail to avoid prosecution. He was allowed his freedom because nobody chased him. Recently, he strayed outside his safe zone, and got nabbed. So what did they do? Released him! Oh, my, house arrest in his mansion! The cruelty!

Some dimbulbs have spoken out in his defense, as if raping a child is inconsequential because Polanski made a couple of movies they like. Wow. How's that for values? Amazing how people can rationaize the most disgusting of crimes. So he got away with it until now- throw the SOB in jail and see how he likes rape when he's the victim.

For an insightful and deliriously funny satirical commentary, read the following:

This is my new favorite website, where Sean Lindsay argues that the world doesn't need more mediocre writing, so he encourages mediocre writers to stop. Yes, this hits me right where I live, and I still find it hilarious. Lots of funny stuff on the site.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sick Day

Rotten cold has me down for the count. I've got too much to do to be sick!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Another Story Sale

Great way to start the new year- my short story "The Little Guy" has just been accepted by Sorcerous Signals for their February issue. Yee-haw! This makes my tenth sale. I'm signing two copies of a 2-page contract- sounds impressive, but the payment will barely net me a venti at Fourbucks coffee.

Another piece is being considered by another publication, and has made it to the third round of consideration (yes, they have a long process).

Am feeling happy but rather tired- we went cross-country skiing with some friends, excpet my skis did not glide- they stuck to the snow like it was sushi rice. So I kicked them off and walked. Gliding across the snow is a lot easier than trudging through it.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Things for the New Year

There are many things I'd like to see in the new year for the people of the world. Let's start with some important issues for our country, things we all should see:

Proper and affordable health care for the citizens of this nation. Almost every other industrialized country has it, why are we the noncaring, dumbass exception?

Gooder education. Yeah, we're behind everyone else in this, too. Probably because we don't value intelligence in this country, and instead of spending money for teachers and strong, effective schools, we spend it on bombs overseas.

A robust economy-- uh, this doesn't mean giving millions of taxpayer dollars to rich people and banks.

A healthy infrastructure-- we need safe bridges, good roads, improved rail and public transport systems, among other things. Seems like a no-brainer.

Clean air, water, and food. Each year, thousands of Americans are killed because we have an apathetic lack of inspection and regulation of our food supply. More people are killed by dirty food each year than died in all the terror attacks combined. Where's the outrage?

An abatement of the slaughter and mayhem inflicted on human beings. Life is short enough, we don't need to prematurely end it.

A wake-up call for the American public, whose “leaders” do not represent the people, but are bribed by large corporations. Time to enable clean elections and stop voting for either “party” and support somebody else, someone that's not R or D.

A dose of reality for anyone who thinks we will win a “War on Terror.” (See the War on Poverty, the War on Drugs, War on Crime, etc. Last we checked, those are still flourishing, despite billions spent in the “War”.) Fighting for peace is like screwing for chastity. Every time we massacre a group of civilians in hopes of getting a few bad guys, we create more opponents than we killed. All those dead men, women, and children have relatives, friends, and vengeful sympathizers, in a homicidal rage against the folks that did the killing. And so it never, ever ends. Just from a numbers sense, when you create millions of opponents, who will do anything and everything to hurt you, chances are they're going to get a few good shots in. It's not “collateral damage”, it's the senseless slaughter of human beings, and yeah, those millions of people are outraged when we kill their countrymen. Duh. Oh, and by the way, this country is the biggest arms dealer in the world, selling weapons to people who often turn them back on us. How frigging stupid is that?

Another dose of reality for those who support unlimited wars, and yet who complain about their taxes (usually the same group). This country has over 750 military bases around the world, and we spend countless billions on them. So if you're all for that, shut your whining, hypocritical piehole about how high your taxes are. You want the Pax Americana, pony up and shut up. Some of us think that money could be better spent making us safe, happy, healthy, and prosperous. Geez, imagine.

Affordable, reasonable college educations. The middle class is getting crushed, and when the middle class goes down, this country is gone.

Golly, does that all seem like crazy stuff? Why are we choosing to make the world crappy, full of fear and murder? Why do we have millions without a job, millions more without healthcare? Are we too stupid to do better?

Another writer says some good things: