Sunday, February 28, 2010

Another Story Written

Just finished writing another short story, the third this month. All of them are over 4000 words, for a total of over 13,000 this month. (That's equivalent to about 20% of a short novel.) Now it's off to my editors for revisions.

I made this weekend my deadline to do this, and like the last two stories, having a firm deadline has been successful. I seem to do very well in a writing sprint, with a clear goal in sight. I like finishing things, and completing a short story draft is very satisfying. Selling them and getting them published is even better! Tomorrow my next story "God Save the Queen" is due out in Kasma, let's hope it's on schedule.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sites to check out

Two great sites to check out, sent by someone else. Just in case you think I'm a lone looney, Cassandra warning of what's coming.
I'm posting these for you to check out because they say it better than I can.

The first is about seven hard truths. Hard-hitting, for sure, but true.

The second is about how a company screws the common people who work for it, in this case, FedEx. Make this the start of your research, and find out more. Don't support companies who do business like this.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Just finished the book "Shoeless Joe" by WP Kinsella. You might know the more popular version, the movie "Field of Dreams." Liked the movie, loved the book. Instead of the surface glossing of the film, the book goes into just why these characters care, and why their obsessions matter. It's the detail, the lyricism, and the depth that make the book so much better than the film.

The book has a fictional device, where the protagonist essentially kidnaps the reclusive, now recently-deceased, J. D. Salinger. It treats Salinger as a person, a writer, and a metaphor. Since Salinger so recently passed away, I found this especially poignant and touching. A trifle haunting as well. While there are other ghosts within the narrative, he is the one who now stands out.

If you love baseball, this is a great book for you. If you love Iowa, or what it means to work the land, this is a great book for you. If you love finding meaning in this insane world, this is a great book for you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Real Fears

My daughter recently told me of a classmate who has succumbed to the boogey-boogey media, and is afraid that terrorists are going to come and bomb her town. I told my daughter the chances of that are less than her friend being struck by lightning while being eaten by a shark, while simultaneously winning the lottery.

It's odd how afraid people are of remote possibilities, while actual likelihoods glide right by their mindset. For example, look at the numerous recalls of contaminated food. Thousands of Americans are being poisoned daily by dirty food, because the government does not have the desire or the will to inspect it, which would cost mere pennies a serving. They have zero interest in keeping us safe from a very real threat, one that kills thousands of Americans every year, each one a preventable death. Every year more people die from bad commercial food than died on 9/11. Yeah. Where's the outrage?

Diane Carmen had an excellent column in the Denver Post, describing how we gobble tainted food, while being paranoid about stupid, near-impossibilities. Here's a quote:
"If 19 million pounds of meat distributed to half this country had been contaminated with a deadly strain of E coli bacteria by terrorists, we'd go nuts. But when it's done by a Fortune 100 corporation, we continue to buy it and feed it to our kids."

We used to regulate food, but Saint Ronnie Reagan did away with that, costing us thousands of dead citizens. The FDA is now completely industry-controlled. As proof, look the the recent "food pyramid" that replaced the easy-to-read informational one. The new one is incomprehensible to the average citizen, as it was designed to be. The bribes of the food industry to those in power worked, and they can shovel garbage at us at their will.

And they can sell us poison, as there is almost no inspection, and any regulation is now voluntary. We are at risk from companies that don't care, because America doesn't give a rat's ass about protecting itself from a real threat. Just the stupid stuff, please, like we see on television, where most people get their information.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Tale of Two Charlies- Part 2

Now for the second of our Charlies, this one Charlie Wilson, the ex-Congressman who recently passed away. He was the subject of an excellent book (and a movie which I have not seen): Charlie Wilson's War.

Back when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, the rest of the world took little action. Yawn- another indigenous population being slaughtered by an oppressive regime- ten thousand years of "evolution" and the same old story.

Charlie's heart was with the native Afghanis fighting for freedom. He vowed to help, and did. Through misdirection, lying, dirty deals, and criminal activity (he was a Congressman, remember, so quite used to all this), he manuvered money and arms to the Mujahadeen, and garnered them considerable underground support overseas.

He provided them with the means to fight back against the most powerful weapon of the Soviet arsenal, the Hind helicopter. By providing Stinger missiles, the tide turned, and a small team of Afghanis could now bring down a multi-million ruble piece of sophisticated weaponry.

The natives got organized, got trained, and learned to work together to be effective against an invader. Eventually the Soviets got tired of wasting lives and money in a stupid, pointless war, and left. All their efforts got them was a pile of corpses, a pile of debt, and extreme humiliation. Hey, why can't we get some of that?

Fast-forward a few years, when in a spate of unbelievable hubris, arrogance, and stupidity, the government of the United States decides to ignore the lessons of history and occupies Afghanistan. Yeah, we took on the part of the Bad Guys, the Soviets. Even the leader who promised hope and change escalates the war, sending in even more supplies and troops, in an effort to bankrupt the United States and kill off its' soldiers (apparently not enough of them were dying in Iraq anymore).

The Afghanis did not greet us with flowers, but rather with the training and techniques they had learned fighting off previous invaders, partly due to the efforts of Charlie Wilson. And so our men and women (and theirs, and their children) are dying for nothing, in another pointless war that will never end until we get tired of wasting lives and money. And it will have all been for nothing. Murder and slaughter and torture and bloodshed, for no point. Human misery on an unimaginable scale, like nothing we pampered folk safely stateside have ever seen, but which we pay for with our tax dollars. Yup, we make it possible, so we're responsible for the kids getting blown up and shot.

Ah, you say- but we're fighting terror. Well, frequently our best intentions go somewhat astray, and we massacre another group of civilians. And their surviving relatives are understandably upset. A number of them vow vengeance, and so we have created even more opponents. Each year they grow stronger and more plentiful, while we just tool around like ducks in a shooting gallery.

Want to fight against terror over there? Wage peace instead. Educate the populace. Educated people with a real future don't listen to the religious fanatics anymore, and don't want to suicide-bomb themselves. Greg Mortenson (Three Cups of Tea) says he can build over 30 schools for the money it takes to keep one US soldier over there in harm's way.

There is no "winning" that war, unless every person inside the country is dead. They will fight us there until we leave. Many people here complain bitterly about taxes, but they support wasting uncounted billions for the slaughter, and to enrich the murderous corporations that profit from our countries' wars. Among others, the butchers of Blackwater (Murder, Inc) having committed countless illegal murders and other acts in Iraq, are now going to be in the show in Afghanistan.

Charlie Wilson, "good time Charlie" as he was known, was a cheating womanizer, a drunk, and an abuser of the power of Congress and the laws of our country. He got a lot of people killed, a lot of them the ones he wanted to see killed. But I wonder if he ever thought and grew remorseful about the fact that his actions also got Americans killed. Probably not. The ones in power simply don't care about us, and send our men and women into harm's way to profit their campaign contributors.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

This world can be a harsh place, filled with toil and strife. The best thing we have is love for one another. Celebrate it, not just this day, but all days. Call someone you care about and let them know how you feel. Enjoy the feeling of love. Snuggle with a loved one. And be thankful if you have someoneyou care about who cares for you. It is a blessing.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Tale of Two Charlies- Part 1

There are two Charlies of note in the news today, and both have an impact on your life, though most people won't give a thought to either of them.

The first is Charlie Baker, a rich hobbyist politico who wants to be the next governor of Massachusetts. The second is Charlie Wilson, the ex-Congressman who just passed away. We'll discuss him later.

Charlie Baker is mentioned in today's Boston Globe. The guy who has already publicly shown his contempt for the voters of this state has been repeatedly asked his views on global warming. As a running-for-office wannabe, it's a fair and expected question. The answer matters a lot to the people of this state, because we have a great deal invested in green technology. And if it turns out that Charlie is a naysayer to the vast majority of the scientific community, we're up the rapidly-rising creek without a paddle.

However, this gutless wonder refuses to answer, choosing to weasel out of it with a lawyer's wiles. He won't answer because he's the usual political coward, afraid to lose any potential votes. He knows that to get elected in this state, he must kiss ass of people of both political parties. He hopes to smile and wave and tap-dance long enough for the deluded suckers to vote him into office. Then he can ride around playing Important Man.

Sorry, Charlie. If you want to be a leader, you have to state your views when asked. It's part of the deal, see? Otherwise, it's the equivalent of lying to us. We like to know what we're getting in advance, not get unpleasantly surprised once you take office. We don't need your politics-as-usual brand of celebrity, where you talk out of both sides of your mouth, depending on which crowd you're in front of.

So Charlie stands on the deck of the Titanic, refusing to say whether there's an iceberg out there. He'd rather keep you guessing. Don't guess- pin this chickenshit down!

He wants to play at being Governor, a damned difficult job in this state. It takes more than a smile and a sound bite, Charlie, and you don't have the guts, the spine, or the chops. Go back to your mansions and play with some other toys, than the lives of the people of this state. We're not all as stupid as you think we are.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Last year story subs

Went through my submissions list for last year. I submitted stories to 43 places- out of that a number folded, and some didn't reply. A pile of rejections, but a few stories sold. Not too bad, all told.

Many places make it a real pain to submit, with special formatting instructions that take time and effort to get just to their particular ideosyncrasies. They want you to jump through hoops and submit a timeless, original classic story, and pay you five bucks. It can be a grind. Taking me a long time to find a market for an excellent mystery- there aren't many places to go.

But the number of published stories keeps increasing. When a story is rejected, it usually goes right back out again to another market. With about nine stories rotating, it keeps me busy.

And still no word on the novel. Guy's busy, but shoot, I can read ten pages for someone even when I'm wicked busy.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Although not a football fan, I do watch the Superbowl when someone invites me over. So it was last night. Now I know people have their preferences, but most of the people I've spoken to claim to have been rooting for New Orleans. You have to admit, they sure could use a little help down there, and it looks like they got a real boost last night.

Several years after our "government" refused to help, and abandoned a major United States city to a horrible natural disaster where many lost their lives, much of the area down there is still a disaster. The "government" handed over our tax dollars to their corrupt buddies for "rebuilding", and the money went once again into the coffers of the rich, instead of helping the people it was meant to. Insult to injury.

So yeah, New Orleans is justly celebrating, and it should be one whopper of a Mardi Gras this year. Rock on, N'awlins. You've earned it. Your team got off to a rocky start last night, but straightened out and proved themselves worthy.

Laissez les bon ton roulez!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Latest Story out

As of today, Feb 1, my latest story has hit the stands- er, the Internet.

Go to:

Click the illustration.

Click Current issue to see the Feb - Apr '10 Issue

My story is The Little Guy

It's a very un-PC retelling of an old familiar tale. Not for the easily offended.
If you like the story, please vote for it with the Click Here button. That lets them know people like it.

And if you REALLY like it, or want to support a struggling writer, you can make a small donation by clicking the button at the end of the story.

Enjoy the read.