Monday, December 31, 2012

An After Christmas eBook Giveaway!

So, it's almost New Years? Want a New Year's Eve eGift?

I'm giving away another ebook today and tomorrow called, "Gumdrop City".

It's a murder story that doesn't mess about. "Gumdrop City" was published in 2010 in Zilyon Publishing’s “The Undead Nation Anthology”. It is a horror story, pure and simple, but also a true crime story about a child serial murderer. I have also worked on this as a screenplay with a producer in Hollywood. So, hard telling if someday you may be watching a movie and think to yourself, "Gee, this seems kind of familiar."

This story is also included in my book, "Anthology of Evil", which I will be giving out free on New Year's Day.

Happy Holidays!

Tomrrorw? Another freebie!


Also, Death of Heaven will continue to be free through New Years Day!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

An After Christmas eBook Giveaway!

So, missing Christmas yet? Ready for another eGift?

I'm giving away another ebook today and tomorrow called, "Japheth, Ishvi and The Light".

Be aware, it's a zombie story. The first one I ever wrote with a bit of horror, a bit of comedy. It is based on the Biblical tale of Abraham and his son Isaac and is about the religious commune they live in. Of course, their names are different, Japheth and Ishvi. Throw in some devastating confusion, a few soldiers, God, and well, there you have it..

This story is also included in my book, "Anthology of Evil", which I will be giving out free on New Year's Day.

Happy Holidays!

Tomrrorw? Another freebie!


Also, Death of Heaven will continue to be free through New Years Day!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Another Christmas eBook Giveaway!

So, ready for another holiday gift?

I'm giving away another ebook today and tomorrow called, "In Memory, Yet Crystal Clear".

It's a piece of social horror and science fiction about how one man can change the world.

What if someone could change himself into a "computer chip" of a sort? What would that be like? For him, for the world? Here is my version of that which simply becomes more horrifying the more you think about it.

This story is also included in my book, "Anthology of Evil", which I will be giving out free on New Year's Day.

Happy Holidays!

Tomrrorw? Yes, another freebie!


Also, Death of Heaven will continue to be free through New Years Day!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Yet Another After Christmas eBook Giveaway!

Ready for another holiday present?

I'm giving away another ebook today and tomorrow called, "Poor Lord Ritchie's Answer to a Question He Knever Knew".

It's a very odd story of a Medieval Lord who has lost his way. His life is a shambles but he has one last chance to fix things in delivering his family's "crucible" sword to their enemy and thereby sealing a peace and saving his family. But he has a few problems that get in the way, like time seems to be blending together and then there is that pesky wizard he should probably have treated better.

This story was chosen by actor Rutger Hauer in a short story contest back in 2004 and is also included in my book, "Anthology of Evil", which I will be giving out free on New Year's Day.

Happy Holidays!

Tomrrorw? Yes, another freebie!


Also, Death of Heaven will continue to be free through New Years Day!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Another After Christmas eBook Giveaway!


So, you still want more Christmas presents? Wow. Okay then, fine.I mean, good!

I'm giving away another ebook today and tomorrow. A horror story called, "The Mea Culpa Document of London".

It is about a Medieval Witch Hunter in England who studied under a Master Witch Hunter, who now finds himself in the very same situation that killed his Master. What is a Witch Hunter to do?

This story is also included in my book, "Anthology of Evil", which I will be giving out free on New Year's Day.

Happy Holidays!

Tomrrorw? Sure...another freebie!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

An After Christmas eBook Giveaway!

So, you got all your presents yesterday? Want another?

I'm giving away another ebook today and tomorrow called, "Quantum History".

It's a weird little sci fi comedy of sorts.

How'd you like to wake up to your beloved spouse holding a gun on you and screaming for you to "get in here right now!" When you're already in there? And then when you tell them that, they continue to scream and threaten you with a loaded gun, thinking you aren't you?

This story is also included in my book, "Anthology of Evil", which I will be giving out free on New Year's Day.

Happy Holidays!

Tomrrorw? Another freebie!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas - ebook giveaway

Merry Christmas!

A quick holiday message....

I hope you all have a great Christmas and for you others, wishing you a very pleasant Tuesday. But for all of you, oddly enough I'm putting the ebook version of my book, Death of Heaven up for a Christmas day eGift. Always nice to have some interesting reading during the holidays.

Cheers!
Throughout the whole of Human History many philosophies and religions have attempted to answer that ultimate question: Where did we come from? James and Jimmy, brothers in spirit and tragedy since childhood are about to discover the answer to that ultimate of all questions. They will learn about it in a way that is as amazing as it is unbelievable. They alone will discover that reality is unlike anything that has ever before been considered. They will discover just what it is that nightmares are made of. Friedrich Nietzsche claimed in 1882 that "God is Dead". But that was only a piece of the whole misleading truth. It is now left for two friends alone to experience the whole story, and along with the rest of the Human Race, to experience firsthand the-- Death of Heaven.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Beliefs

First off, Happy Christmas Eve Day!

At the end of this blog article, I'll be talking about a free ebook for the holiday.

One thing the internet has pointed out to me is how different some people's views are from mine. So different at times, that one or the other simply has to be demented, or delusional.

And we all think it's the other, don't we?

But I do think it depends upon what you base your beliefs on. I too base many of my beliefs on books of ancient sayings. For me, it's Aristotle, Socrates, Pythagoras, and others of that type, including the Buddha Dharma.

So actually, I agree that ancient books and sayings can be good. But basing your beliefs on ancient superstitions are generally and specifically problematic as they are based on a specific people at a specific time and a specific set of, well... superstitions.

Superstitions are generally not good for living things. Any set of beliefs will have some good in them, no matter how ridiculous or false they are. But to set your base beliefs on belief, and not rational observable facts, leaves yourself open to all kinds of nonsense and problems.

So there is some friction between superstitious "believers" and philosophical believers based on logic. Logic is a mature and founded belief system. Superstitions are an immature belief system we are born and develop into, fed by dreams, fears, darkness, overwhelming power (the sun being the first), hallucinations, and coincidences.

Religions were born from superstitions, then exaggerations toward an agenda, and to achieve control over a group. Once it's realized that someone has to be in control, in charge, the leader of the group, power issues come to play and direct power corrupts. Logic involves indirect power, the observable and the reproducible. Thus, anyone can be in control because anyone can reproduce these beliefs. In religion, there are always some few who are in control of the information and therefore the power.

Priests and scientists do not make for a good comparison. That is something theists dream up to fallaciously support their case. Much of theists' attempts at "proving" their beliefs have to do with jumping forms of logic, and just saying they believe, which is proof of nothing. Other than that you have nothing to base your beliefs on.

If you believe in something that wasn't based in reality, that was based in unprovable hearsay. Jesus said this or that, is hearsay and unprovable; Aristotle said this or this, and if you can prove it through logic, although it is hearsay, it is provable. If you believe your reality, having started it upon superstition as a base to grow from, well the evolution of that is obvious and you are going to run into issues and conundrums. Something that we see a lot in modern society today.

All that being said, even if you do follow and believe in a religion, do try not to involve superstitions in your beliefs as that seldom works out well for anyone. Go back to the texts and origins and don't just listen to what others say you should believe  Because sometimes? They are wrong, or simply mistaken. Don't govern your life by someone else's mistake. If you're going to believe in something,  just be sure that you know what you're believing in.

And so, here we are today, in America.

It takes many kinds to make the world go round and I do appreciate you all. Just consider that the more you can be rational, basing your "truths" in verified information, the more smoothly life will go for you and for those around you. So believe as you will, but do try to make real world decisions using real world facts and then govern them with your heart. Not the other way around.

Happy Holidays!

I'm offering my short story ebook, EarVu for free on Christmas Eve Day and Christmas Day. I'll be offering another each day this week. Keep an eye out for them. Cheers!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The NRA sure seems nuts. Surprised?


Is the NRA's Wayne LaPierre insane. Or just self serving? It is after all, his job.

Add armed guards to all our schools? We can't even afford to pay our teachers a decent wage, now we need armed guards? Guards who you know won't be the cream of the crop, let's face it. Have you SEEN the TSA? Putting armed guards in thousands of schools would boost the NRA's credibility and boost the gun industry by quite a bit. But it wouldn't protect all that much. Most of those schools would never see an incident and it would be a huge waste of money and resources.

Wouldn't it make more sense, along with whatever else we decide upon to correct this rather small but very noticeable national trend of mass murder, to reinforce the schoolrooms so that they can be locked down when something happens, securing the children, teachers and administrators from attack and locking off or in, the perpetrators? Wouldn't that create jobs? Jobs that would begin and then be over but not go on forever like armed security?

Perhaps having a locked down gun in every school and one or two members of schools to have training access to use that weapon should something ever happen, before police show up, might be a reasonable thing.

The NRA has called their suggested program, the "Shield Program". Isn't that what I'm suggesting here? To give schools the ability to engage a shield if an when it is necessary? Isn't this far more aligned with being a "shield" than the NRA's suggestion of bringing more guns into the schools?

Consider, how often does this happen to schools? How many schools are there? This is not a massive thing, it's effects on us emotionally is massive. According to the National Center for Education Statistics via NPR, March 16, shows that in 1993 and 1994 there were 40 homicides each year in elementary and high schools. Guess the insanity of Junior High schools keeps most crazies out of those institutions for reasons of competition? Or maybe they are grouping Jr. High and High schools?

Does this look like an epidemic
The point is, the media has saturated us with this event. Yes, it's horrible. Yes, if it were my kids killed or even in that school I'd be incensed. But that's why we have calmer professionals around, to think for us when we can't.

No, I don't think we need to arm our schools, or our society. Yes, we have the right to keep and bear arms. Work it out. But in an intelligent way. We need more jobs right? Which makes more sense, hiring armed guards, or putting laborers to work on schools?

Then there is legislation. Do we really need assault weapons? Well, perhaps it's our right, but just as we don't or shouldn't have the right to own anti tank weapons, we probably should not have full assault weaponry. Perhaps we can with limitations. For a long, long time it's been legal to have fully automatic weapons but the license for it is very expensive, or used to be. You can own a suppressor/silencer, but you need the licensing. Not every Tom, Dick and Idiot needs to be owning one.

Of course, you can make your own and most of what's going on subverts gun laws so how cracking down on guns legally will keep illegal usage down, I'm not so sure. Yes, less guns around is less ability to use them. But it seems that a lot of these killings (and most are in inner cities but no one seems to care about that, just when children are kills, so if you'd paid attention sooner to the people you DON'T care about, maybe your kids wouldn't be getting killed now?

And I think that is a relevant point. It's not the guns that are killing people. It's the attitude and the culture of this nation that is doing it, or at least, allowing it to be possible. Even, if you think about it, reasonable  Reasonable in that sense that you can reason why this might happen, not in the sense that it's a reasonable thing to allow, or put up with.

So, should we do something? Yes. But let's make it something that will functionally do something and not just waste money. Going to war with Iraq was doing something about 9/11 but was it the most functional thing to do considering the situation? Hell, no. Going into Afghanistan was and we did that within a few weeks and we kicked some serious ass, but almost no one knew that, because we wanted more pain on the other side. What other side? We didn't really care, we wanted to lash out and old Bush Jr. was happy to help out and look good.

Like now, we want to lash out, but does it matter if we do anything reasonable, or functional? Or should we just have a bunch of knee jerk reactions to what feels good to do?

Let's do something to solve the problem. Because whatever that is, it probably won't feel good, or good enough, but it could be the right thing to do.

More guns, isn't the solution to guns. Those controlling the guns, is where the real issue lay, and no one wants to deal with that. I'm actually getting exhausted repeating this line over and over again to people. Because, no one is listening.

They just want to last out and hope that stops these things from happening. Well, guess what? It won't. Because you see, you actually have to do something that is useful, to stop things that you don't want to happen, from happening.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Political Addiction

Note: I am trying to ween myself off of political commentary. It is like being a junkie and walking through the mall when every other person you walk by runs up to you and shoots smack into your eyes; it's hard to avoid and impossible not to react to. Sometimes, viscerally.

But listening in these modern times with all the instant communications, biased news, political pundits, idiots, tramps and thieves (the latter three I'll take most of the time over that immediate former), it makes it hard not to be occasionally incensed and constantly stimulated to speak out, clearly, and at an 8th grade level so as not to be misunderstood.

I know, double negative, deal with it.

But now that I am trying, I am in withdrawal and I will do my best to contain my insanity and addiction and return to the somewhat hidden and closeted arena of a writer's speculative and the fiction worlds.

The obvious trouble with that as I'm sure you well know, is that in our modern world too many people simply cannot tell the difference between what is fiction and what is non-fiction. And so they attempt to apply unreal, opinionated information, sadly and too often successfully, to serious concerns in what I like to call the, "Real World".

Now this is not the "Real World" on MTV, so perhaps I should say, the "Actual" world. Which as you know (or should), is that which is observable when you look and listen to real people going through real events in real time.

I know. Just swap out "real" for "actual", but it should be the same thing.
It just isn't any longer.

Think about that for a minute.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mass killings: Prayer fixes all? Probably not.


Mass killings are horrible. Especially when children are involved.

But let's look at another thing briefly, so is war. This has been happening to those parents in war zones. It's currently going on. Children are dying around the world, not just in America. We are not that special; children are. So if you don't like your kids being killed, or American kids being killed, think about those parents around the world whose children are dead and dying because of war; because of Syrian's bombs, Palestinian's, Israeli's, and American's bombs.

Now about American mass murderers....

We NEED GUN CONTROL! Right? That will fix everything. It will keep guns out of the hands of  murderers and criminals! Right?

Well, not exactly.

We have guns. That's just how it is. We should look at gun control some, but it's not a solution. The guns aren't killing people. You've heard this before: People, are killing people. Did you know that in Switzerland every other citizen owns a gun and their murder rates with guns are extremely low. In 2002 Swiss murders by firearms, 67, in America that year, 9369. So, it's not just about firearms existing. Something about the people, their attitude, is different.

I've helped teach hunter's safety courses before. I own guns. But I've always wondered, how come you need training and testing to get a drivers license, but not to get a gun? How is it you can study and pass a driver's test and then you get to drive around a 2,000 lb killing machine, but you can buy a gun and in zero to three days or a week, put a comparable concept of a 2,000 lbs killing machine in your pocket and carry it around.

Then if and whenever you choose, you can expose it and spew out death repeatedly and quickly. And according to the New York Times, the average weight of an American car now is 4,000 pounds. Likewise, the assault rifle is becoming more common around America, yet the handgun kills more than anything else, and daily on the streets of cities like New York and Chicago and others. So in a way, assault rifles have gotten a bad rep through a few horrific incidences.

Yet acquiring a gun requires absolutely no accountability, no training, no conscientious building of skill or respect to own one?

Consider in this latest mass murder in Connecticut, how could gun control have stopped this? The killer didn't even own a gun but had three which he took from his mother, after first killing her. That went right around gun control, effectively, making it useless; in fact, a moot point.

Gun control and politics are not the answer. The issue is much bigger than that. But no one wants to face it. But I'm going to face it here and now, for you.

From Masculinity and Mass Violence The ‘Intimate Enemy’ We Refuse to Name, By ELIZABETH DRESCHER:

"Race and religion are certainly root similarities among Timothy McVeigh, Jared Loughner, Anders Breivik, James Holmes, Wade Michael Page, and Thomas Caffall—all white, all Christian."

Someone on my FB page the other day said that the whole problem is not enough prayer. Really? How many times has prayer kept a murderer from killing? Very, VERY seldom. Frequently, I would suspect, it gets you laughed at, just before they kill you.

From What’s the common denominator for mass murderers? White, Male, Christian, or Crazy: answer may surprise you:

"Prayer has nothing to do with fixing this. After all, many killers have religious, even more so, strict religious roots. From an article, Drescher’s [see quote/URL at top] conclusion is: “by and large the common denominator in mass killing is gender; the intimate enemy [the killer] is almost always a man. Drescher rightly points out that a major player in the hegemony of the masculine is religion, which in the case of American Society means ”

And this:

“We cannot begin to address the culture of violence that is literally exploding all around us without acknowledging that “manning up” in American culture too often involves actions aimed at the subordination of others—women, children, nature—to the will of a man who, it is assumed, embodies the will of God. These often religiously informed, institutionalized, and naturalized versions of masculinity play no small part in the continuum of violence that moves from the domestic sphere to the public arena.

"As gender scholar Raewyn Connell has noted: “There are many causes of violence, including dispossession, poverty, greed, nationalism, racism, and other forms of inequality, bigotry and desire. Gender dynamics are by no means the whole story. Yet given the concentration of weapons and the practices of violence among men, gender patterns appear to be strategic. Masculinities are the forms in which many dynamics of violence take shape.”

Interesting, right?

So what is needed? Less strict religious upbringings, perhaps less prayer, not more, is needed. More attention to raising children to grow up as adults with reasonable self control and reasonable self discipline, positive masculine attitudes for boys and positive self image for both boys and girls.

I would like to say one thing about the President's comments this weekend in using the power of his office to "do something". Pres. Bush, after 9/11, wanted to "do something". So we went to warn with Iraq, an inappropriate reaction to an action by terrorists whom he was actually at odds with. I don't know what the President has in mind at this time, I doubt even he does at this time, but I do hope whatever action he takes, it is appropriate to the situation. Because the office of the President these past ten years or so, and our government in general, hasn't so much been appropriate, in their actions.

Like with "cutting" and "self abuse" behaviors, we have been raising our kids not to have outlets, so they internalize, self abuse. Then when they get tired of abusing themselves, they may lash out. When they lash out, be careful. You may be next.

We have learned not to raise our kids as our parents raised us. How to cut off certain behaviors  that today's parents had done as children. We have effectively frustrated our children and taken away their ability in some cases, maybe in many cases, to simply be children. To get into trouble, to learn by experience, to make mistakes and grow from them. They need to "act out" to release, to be heard. We need to pay attention to them, to give them appropriate releases in order to grow emotionally healthy.

In the end, gun control will not solve this problem. Having healthy Americans however, will. There will always be the individual who walks into a place and kills randomly. Sometimes, people are just crazy. But we're seeing too much of this for that to explain this. We need to reevaluate our own behaviors. We need more good mental health, positive role models. Consider how screwed up our Congress is? Kids see and hear about this. People need to stop being nuts, selfish, greedy, and start acting like mature and most importantly, intelligent, responsible adults, to give our kids a way to see how they should act.

We need to strengthen our population, our mental health, our societal health. Then we will stop seeing all this insanity. It goes into our culture, our corporations, our government. This issue is so big, no one is seeing it, and so no one thinks it can be fixed. But it can. Just not over night. And we need to start, now.

Look at your child(ren). Consider how you are raising them. Look to yourself. Because in the end, it's not just the other parents who raised a crazy kid, it's not just gun control that will fix this situation, it's not just someone else who is responsible. In the end, we are all responsible.

Also, there is another side to this we really need to consider. Watch this video of Dr. Michael Welner talks to the ladies of The View about mental illness as it relates to the Newtown, Connecticut shooting.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

GOP - The Grievous Old People Party


Let me ask you something. Who are we most becoming like, moving toward? Or if you don't like that one, who is becoming much more like us, moving that direction, anyway?

Outside of ourselves, who do we owe the most money to?

Who do the fear-mongering politicians and pundits say we most want not to be like? Or that we should fear? No, not Russia.

Who was the most repressive, conservative presidential candidate in the 2012 election going to stick it to if he had been elected president?

In all these questions the answer may very well be, China.

Are we becoming like China? Is China becoming like us?

It seems that way.

Do we want Big Brother telling us what to do? Do we really want to limit our options, let a political party keep us from having the freedom to choose, in a so called free nation state? Do we want our government telling our women how to act? Do we need one gender making medical and societal decisions for the other gender?

Where do they get off thinking that is okay? Even after getting pounded in the election, they still think they should not pay any attention to women or minorities. Is that smart?

In the 1950s when McCarthyism was running rampant, the fear was about the Soviets and those were who we became most like. Fear, repression, rooting out your neighbor who just might be a commie, turning people in, blacklisting very talented people regardless of their true predilections. If someone is not outright calling for active destruction of the government, what is the problem with free speech?

I'll tell you, lately free speech is letting loose some mad dogs who want to return to a policy of control of the citizenry. The GOP is a party who says they want smaller government yet they are trying to control more of the citizenry, just with more government. They seem to want their cake and eat it too. Wouldn't you say? Smaller government, government out of our businesses, out of our bank's business, but not out of our citizens personal lives, it would seem.

Do we really need a government like that?

It would also seem the GOP wants to control our country by using "God". Their God certainly, the Christian God, of course. "Let God decide", they seem to be saying, what businesses need to be controlled. And in using God's demands... in the Bible, that religious tome of a single overarching religious community, let people be ruled by how they (the "righteous"?) interpret "God's Word".

Do we really want a political party setting the laws of the land according to one religious community's dogma? Do we really want to turn America into China? Only a religious China? Consider how the God Communism has ruled China for so long. They are a "Godless Nation" it's been said; but are they? Are they really? It's been said that America worships the God Money. Maybe. But we really need to not be worshiping anyone and certainly not, money.

The one conundrum here is that China has a law requiring one child per family so that they nearly require abortions, where the GOP is doing just the opposite as they seem to fear abortion and require children.

Abortion isn't a great thing certainly, but when it can cost a woman her life in suicide and fatal attempts to perform one on her on, that is when medical procedures need to be available. Which, wasn't that the original reason for Roe vs. Wade in the first place? To save women's lives who were getting back alley abortions, then bleeding out, or getting fatal infections.

The GOP wants to return to those days and with their restrictions already it is happening now. Women are taking drugs to abort pregnancies and they are hemorrhaging and dying. And that, is on the heads of the GOP and the ProLifers who are really being so pro fetus that they have become, and they refuse to think about it or to really consider the actualy consequences of their demands, AntiWoman.

The Grand Old Party has turned itself into the Sad Old Party. It's a terrible thing to ruin a fine tradition in the name of perceived righteousness. Especially when you're wrong. Religious bigotry and repression are the worst of all traditions. Just cast a glance a short distance back through time to the middle ages where religions slaughtered people for the most mundane of human conditions, all because of the demands made by a supposed (perhaps non existent?) entity described as written down in an ancient book, updated over centuries by the various and prejudiced hands of... men.

If you are a Republican, fight to bring your party back to the light. It's your party. Is this who you are?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Our Next War


Where will our next war be? Now that Iraq is over and Afghanistan is wrapping up, we need to look at who to go kill next. Iran is an obvious contender for the Zionist war mongers among us. Those people, who were historically treated poorly and never given a chance or their own country to call their own, who are doing the same thing to Palestinians for whatever reasons, seem like the most promising next war. To stand with Israel and support them in their attacks on Iran, that is.

But the reality is probably less obvious. Considering China's change in leadership, their 500 year dominance of Japan, Japan's more modern overpowering of China earlier last century and their current status as a world power and world economy, the next war or "police" action" whatever you want to call it, could come over a dispute in the Senkaku Islands.

Traditionally these islands belonged to China. But so did Japan. Then when Japan took over China, they claimed and to this day have been in possession of, these islands. Now China is pushing for their historical possession of these islands and the Chinese and Japanese navies have been pretty contentious around these islands.

Our problem lies in our treaty with Japan. After the intensity of Japan in WWII, America wanted to cut Japan off at the knees and made an agreement to Japan to protect them if they ran into martial problems with another country in Asia. That meant we didn't have to be so concerned about Japan rebuilding their military force and once again take on their historically aggressive attitude and thus find ourselves in yet another conflict with them.

What we hadn't foreseen was their going up against the new strength and possible threat in Asia, China. If a conflict starts between these two countries and it is possible, we would have to go to the aide of Japan against the second most powerful nation in the world and to whom we owe a massive debt.

So first of all, who really should have possession of these island?

They say that possession is 9/10ths of the law. It is true that a current owner has greater claim over previous owners. But a bigger power can also take back or make a claim outright and simply occupy a place, thus having new, albeit possibly temporary ownership. Then it would take others to go in and reclaim that place through force, or agreement. Considering China's new economic and world situation, as well as their newly changed regime at this time and that new regime needing to assert their control, it is very possible they will find that they do want to push this issue to its ultimate conclusion so that they might reclaim ownership of the Senkaku islands.

Japan and China have had a long traditional opposition and neither has forgotten the last hundreds of years. Japan will not want to give up these islands. Partially because and both know this, there are some very wealthy oil reserves in this location and they both want them.

Here is my view. These islands belong to Japan. They are in possession of them. They have been in possession for many years and China has accepted that. So the possession issue in my mind is settled. China argues that they had historically had possession of these islands, which is also true, but what does that matter, really? I had historical possession of my car years ago, but I sold it, thereby accepting that I no longer owned it. Can I now go back with threat of force and reclaim it because I had historical possession of it? No.

Also, China had tried to take over Tibet for hundreds of years until a decisive battle settled who was sovereign:

"In 821 China-Tibet Peace Treaty: "Tibetans shall be happy in Tibet and Chinese shall be happy in China". The peace treaty was an acknowledgement of stalemate between the two countries after 200 years of Sino-Tibetan conflict. The treaty stated that the Chinese recognized Tibetans as equals and Tibet as a separate state with its own inviolable territory. The treaty was engraved on a stone pillar in front of the Jokhang temple in Lhasa."

1910-12 A Qing army led by General Zhao Erfeng invades and occupies Tibet, causing the Dalai Lama and Tibetan government officials to flee.

1918 Tibetan army, led by British-trained officers, defeats Chinese army. Tibet and China sign a peace treaty; China refuses to ratify treaty.

So, if China's argument on the Senkaku Islands is to be accepted, then they need to move out of Tibet. If their claim on Tibet is true and valid, they do not get the Senkaku Islands back.

We therefore are obligated to follow through to defend Japan's claims on the islands and the wealth therein, against China no matter what the consequences. China, if Tibet is any kind of example, will most likely not back down without some kind of remunerative benefit, either by way of taking possession of the islands, or in some other way.

A conflict in those seas is highly possible and could potentially be our next war, in or around these islands. If we allow Israel to drag us into another Middle Eastern morass of killing with Iran, we might once again find ourselves in conflict with two different countries, only on very different parts of the globe.

This won't be the same thing as Bush Jr. getting us into an Iraq war over a reason that didn't exist. This will be a war required by law, unless we can help them to find another way to resolve it. Perhaps they can share the islands? This isn't really acceptable as Japan's legal possession at this time in my mind is indisputable. But the reality of a military the size of China's brings along with it, an entirely different kind of reality. Not to mention our financial debt to them, where they could also potentially use it against us if we angered them enough, although that could easily backfire on them and they know it.

The world is not at peace yet and we need to get on that as soon as possible. Once people get used to peace, they get pretty unpleasant when forced back into war. But as long as we maintain any kind of a semblance of being at war, the possibility of starting a new war is always a more easy possibility.

We need to start paying more attention to what is important. Peace, climate change, our economy, (that is, paying for what we want and not charging it for future administrations to worry about), and forging a truly peaceful world into being.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Devil's Carnival with Emilie Autumn


I just watched The Devil's Carnival (56 minutes) with Emilie Autumn (I did a blog on her a while back).


I really wanted to like it, I really did, and I did like it, a bit; maybe even, two bits, but not six bits, or a dollar.

It had some of my favorite actors in it, Dayton Callie, from among other things has  now been in several of my favorite shows, Deadwood (loved that show), John From Cincinnati, and my current favorite, Sons of Anarchy; Sean Patrick Flannery famous for Boondock Saints and Boondock Saints - All Saints Day (also, love those flicks); Bill Mosely, famous for so many horror films including the Night of the Living Dead remake (and the upcoming, Night of the Living Dead: Origins 3D), and House of 1000 Corpses (I ran into Bill, Tom Savini and Sid Haig at ZomBcon II in Seattle (SeaTac) where at one point, in a seminal scene I have to tell you, they were being "blessed" by a "Zombie Jesus" at the bar, amazing scene....).

Original Music by Saar Hendelman and Terrance Zdunich of Repo! The Genetic Opera (the 10 minute version and the 98 minute version).

I haven't seen "Repo!" but I read that it was good. TDC had a lot of promise and I wanted to like it. Mostly I did like it. But I was having trouble with several things during the film. One was the audio production, it left much to be desired in places and was inconsistent in quality. The other main problem I had was the music and lyrics. It came off to me at least, as pretty pedestrian and somewhat amateurish. Consider this, they had Emily Autumn on set and they didn't use her to her full potential? They did use some of her very good violin skills and I'll give them credit for that.

See also the Blog, Wrestling with Pop Culture

Emily's main song just didn't work for me. After seeing many of her songs she performs on her on stage show, this just didn't live up to the quality she usually offers. Her performance was good as always, but the song and lyrics just didn't give her that much to work with. The song was "competent" but not great.

I'd love to have seen what she would have turned out if the filmmakers had told her to go for it and supply her own songs for the entire production; something that is long overdue. Had they then gotten a much better audio engineer and had the director been more on top of things, this could have been an incredible little film and not just an interesting, and merely good one.

I'm divided on this film. I liked about half of it, I appreciated what they were trying to do and half failed at. Half of the songs were likeable, but I'd have to say that in the end, they missed the mark on this. Should you watch it? Absolutely. Because of what it was trying to achieve if nothing else.

A film should leave you wanting more. But after it is over, not during, and afterward I was left wanting more quality in the songs and skill in the audio production and director.

All that being said, it is still an interesting piece.

Monday, December 3, 2012

9/11 Was Not Just A Terrorist Attack - The Return of America the Great


9/11 was not just a terrorist attack. At very least, its effects were much more far reaching.

9/11 was an injection of poison that no one seemed to notice. That was the damage that was done, not just the lives lost. America was poisoned with a shot injected into the largest city of this once great country by those deluded with hate, by those who grew to hate us in part from our own actions over the past hundred years of our paying no attention whatsoever to what our actions were doing to those then third world nations of the world. We were injected with a poison that spread out rapidly, reaching across our country, and then spreading out to the world.

In modern pop culture terms it was like we were bit by a zombie and then we bit others conveying the poison to the world. The infection spread partly from fear of terrorism, but also from our own words and actions. America is rather new to the need to protect our homelands from terrorism and sadly, we reacted to it like children.

Fear is contagious and we helped to spread it. This was what FDR meant when he said, "Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself."

After 9/11 we were turned into a Zombie country. We were infectious, WE then were dangerous. We went to war against the nearest country that fit our need to kill; someone, anyone We did what was right before we were attacked. We should have cleaned up in Iraq in the 80s, not in 2003. We rightly went into Afghanistan in 2002 and attacked our attackers, Al Qaeda and their associates the Taliban. We nearly devastated them and the Taliban. But then we let Bin Laden escape to Pakistan. Why? Because, we weren't through satiating our revenge. You can blame the Bush Administration, they were the head of the pimple at that time that was America.

What other country has two million people in thousands of prisons and jails in its own country? Who had secret prisons around the world? In Romania, in Poland, in Guantanamo? That poison we were injected with on 9/11 made us go crazy. Our own past with nonsense like our "War on Drugs", a war on many of our own citizenry, gave us a mindset that allowed us to be led into a "War on Terror". So we went into the longest war in our history in Afghanistan, a "war" that spread against a rag tag global group of terrorists and wannabees. We found a way to allow ourselves to torture prisoners, to terrorize individuals in a confined setting. We used things like "extraordinary rendition" to kidnap and torture and when that became too difficult to do, we found other countries who had brutal natures and we allowed them to do those things in our name.

The Bush Administration kept these things going for many of those years. Those secret prisons were shut down in 2006 and in 2009 it became official policy that we do not do that anymore, under a different administration. For years the flag draped coffins at Dover were banned to be photographed when America's children, killed in war, were brought home to their final resting place. The worst thing we can ever do, is to force ourselves away from facing that we are indeed at war. When at war you need it to be painfully obvious. Let that be a lesson to us.

Labeling so many things as "war" allowed us to think as you do in a war. In war we do things that are not normally allowed. Murder, is legal and not even called, "murder". The "Fog of War" includes killing the lame, women, old people, and children. It allows us to kill our own citizens, something that should never happen without due process and judicial interference. And we did that. We killed an American citizen with a missile in another country by first labeling him as traitor. His father even went to court to sue the country to keep it from happening, asking instead that he captured, to bring his son back, give him a trial as he was guaranteed by having been through all his life, a great thing, an American citizen. But in killing him we devalued what we are as Americans.

One of the great things about our Country, about being an American citizen, is the protection of our own country and in having due process, not presidential dictate leading to capital punishment. After we killed that American, we then killed his sixteen year old son, shortly thereafter and in the same manner, using a bomb delivered on the end of a missile.

Is this who we are now?

Is that America? Does that sound like America to you? Is this, what our once "Great Nation" is about now? All this because we were afraid? Because of Fear? When we are afraid does that give us the right to throw our long standing ethical principles, right out the window?

President Obama, as soon as he took office on January 22, 2009, put a stop to our torturing people around the world, on principle. Some people complain a lot about Pres. Obama and what he has done since coming into office. They have various considerations on how we should be rebuilding our economy, treating our citizens, and fighting (or even being in) a war. But the one thing the Obama Administration has been and is doing, is helping our country to heal itself after ten years of our longest war ever (other than our "War" on drugs and the American citizen).

Healing is difficult, it can be painful, but it is necessary.

Look, having a "War" on things is dangerous. That attitude alone is dangerous and we need to stop doing it. Legalizing Marijuana strangely enough, is one way to help end that mindset of having a "war" on something because it means an end to extraordinary actions against something that some only some people don't like. When it leads our own country into rationalizing actions against our own citizens, then we really have gone astray. Whether it is arresting someone in our own country for possessing even small amounts of Cannabis, or in blowing an American up in another country for terrorism and being a traitor, we need to make up our minds who we are and what we are allowed to do, in any circumstance.

As it helped lead us into our, out of context, "War on Terrorism", something that sounds good, feels good but counter-intuitively isn't good, it also led us into something else. Things like the "Tea Party", extremism in our country, the Republican Right taking over to the detriment of our country and even the GOP, their own party. But as things go these types of things tend to be cyclical and the pendulum can only swing so far to one extreme or the other before it either swings back, or simply breaks the mechanism. And we have been far too close to that for far too long now.

Being an American means something. It should mean something, anyway. It should mean something extraordinary and these last ten years and more we have diluted what it means to be an American. We need to stop that. We need to get back on the path and we need to heal. Not only ourselves within our own country, but also in how others view our country and its citizens. We need to get back to the business of being "Great" and not saying it. It's not just about our military power or our economy. It's also about our principles, our existence, our being a leader in doing things around the world, and within our own country. We need to decide what is "right" and stick to it.

Sometimes being that kind of a country is difficult, it can be painful. Lives can be lost over it. But we have in the past been the kind of country that can "take it on the chin" and continue on, even through difficult times, and continue doing what is right.

Which kind of country do you want us to be?

During these past ten years we have at times been, in contemporary parlance a, "chicken shit" country. Literally, we have been scared of our own shadows. Remember the colored, "Shades of Danger" alerts that we stopped using in 2011? As it turned out, we only needed them for feeling all fuzzy safe. The Bush administration had pushed us into an old fashioned Texas style retribution and we all know that revenge destroys both the deserving and the undeserving. It can also make one into the other.

But now we are painfully trying to leave that juvenile opiate of war and the mindset of retribution behind. Shouldn't we now finally go back to being the kind of country we were once again? Shouldn't we allow this healing process that the Obama Administration is trying to help us with, happen? To return to being once again that great nation that we once were?

We have evolved during this process. We are a different country now than we were in 2000. We have entered the 21st Century as a country at war and we need to stop that and become a country that is on the forefront of delivering peace. Of advocating Peace. If we want to be at war then we need to be at war against those who are fighting a war against us. But it is not toward our own citizens. It is not toward those who use recreational drugs. It is not toward terrorists. Terrorists require police actions, intelligence operations, not full scale war actions. Going to war in Iraq when any "war action" was really in Afghanistan, was simply ludicrous.

War against terrorism is a concept that may very will never end. Those wannabees who wish to be terrorists can simply do so. But do they deserve a war? Maybe so, but do WE deserve it? No. Surely we can handle them with smaller, less devastating actions that will not destroy those innocents nearby them as "collateral damage" and create new terrorists in their wake because of our killing their relatives and loved ones, as inadvertently as it may be.

Jeh Johnson, the Defense Department's General Counsel, the head Lawyer for the Defense Department, went out this past week for the Obama Administration to say just this. He spoke at Oxford University in Britain and said that wars against something like terrorism can go on forever and we need to find an end to it. He said that we are fighting against a new kind of thing and that at some point we need to call an end to the "war" actions.

"How will this conflict end. It is an unconventional conflict against an unconventional enemy, and will not end in conventional terms." - Jeh Johnson

At some point he said, this will have to be turned over to police and intelligence agencies, and the sooner the better.

America is finally coming back into its own. We are striving to return to being the once great nation we had been and perhaps in the end, we will become an even greater nation than before.

A lot of what I'm talking about here falls under a single word: Honor. War gives a wink and a nod to acting in dishonorable ways, and that has to stop. We have to acknowledge our past actions but then we have to move on to heal from them.

But we have to allow it to happen, we have to let it happen, and we have to support those who are trying to do this hard work. We have to want it and embrace the change as well as a embrace a different, more mature way of being and looking at things. We have to be brave, to persevere through adversity and no matter what, we have to not allow those fear mongers who have spoken out for so long and have led us astray, to influence us, ever again.

In the end, we have to be Honorable. We have to face it, to admit it, that we were not at some points in these past ten years. And then we have to move on to build ourselves a better way of being, under any situation.

This, is America.

Make that mean something once again. Allow America to again come into its own and to remain so from here forward, no matter what.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Chasing Ice review is now up on PerihelionSF.com

Just a quick note to say that Part II of my Chasing Ice documentary review is now available.

Cheers!
Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Showing expertise in fiction?

One of the things Maryann Reid said in her recent article, Why Nobody Reads Your Book stuck with me. Check it out. If you're into publishing your writings, it's a good, short blog article.

She said:

"Nobody knows who you are - Even if you and your book have visibility, you still need to back your writing with facts by making it clear who you are and why you’re qualified to write on your topic. Cover your background, your inspirations, your aspirations and anything else that will give your book substance. Otherwise, your audience will have less faith in your validity as a writer and thus less incentive to read your book."

Good point.

Consider however that Maryann was mostly talking about non-fiction. For myself I write and publish mostly fiction: horror fiction, speculative fiction, science fiction, hopefully disturbing and macabre fiction (well, some more than others) and, even some humor. Then there's also my generally non-fiction blog, here. And some non-fiction I write here and there. For instance my review on the documentary, "Chasing Ice" in PerihelionSF.com.

But her comments got me to thinking.

First off, I have a University degree in Psychology. I have a non-fiction ebook out on Psychology. Okay, so I have the degree in that and allegedly some degree of expertise in writing on those topics.

But, what about non-fiction? How does one show... what? Expertise? In Horror fiction?

You could be a biographer of Edgar Allen Poe, or have a Masters in the writings of H.P. Lovecraft. Or, you could say: "Hey, read my horror book. I was once a serial killer. A really, REALLY deranged one, too!" Now that, would be showing expertise in horror.

But... that might however not be too productive from a jurisprudence consideration when the police knock on your door to arrest you.

What I suppose I can say for myself though is that I had a pretty broken childhood and that's where I got my expertise in writing disturbing fiction. Of course at the time as a child, it can seem devastating or life threatening and we all have our ways to deal with it. How many comedians have said they had a rough childhood and so found humor as a way out of it or merely to survive it? I also got pretty good at using humor growing up, if you didn't try to laugh at it sometimes  it seemed insurmountable to live through it. But at some point that can also turn into a kind of gallows humor.

I got in trouble (much as my own son years later did) almost constantly. I was constantly curious, bright to the point of stupidity (ask my teachers from back then, I'm talking early elementary school here), ADHD (obviously), and I was brave beyond sanity. My mother once said she feared one day looking at the window and I'd have my bicycle up on the white picket fence, riding merrily along, and about to fall off and be impaled. She also had said when we were at the hospital ER yet again, that I really should have my own room there as we seemed to visit so often for one thing or another.

Funny thing though about that, after all these years, after all the things I've done, falling off cliffs while climbing on search and rescue teams, skydiving while still in high school, SCUBA diving since 10th grade, street car racing. Yes I broke the law, but I was as careful within the realms of insanity that I could work out at the time (and yes now I shudder to think about it). But that was all about me. The real weirdness was not within me (it was all around me), or perhaps I should say it did not come out of me, until later.

My mother had a few marriages. And divorces. Her last was to a guy I never got along with. He just didn't like me very much. Mostly my siblings didn't like him either, not even his own son, my half-brother and five years my junior. Nor did our mother, she didn't like him very much either. Which is curious since she married him like four times, once being after his conversion to Catholicism; and not infrequently she said that she hated him. An odd way to grow up.

Our mother and this last step-father would have some pretty rumbling arguments. Which is a misconception because "rumbling" makes it sound like a low drum beat when really it was a much higher pitched ensemble of anger and fear. Though the fear was mostly from us kids watching our mother beat on our step-father (who was quite muscular and could easily take it) but waiting for him to one day snap in all their rantings and just kill her and then, us. My younger brother died of liver cancer at fifteen and I had always thought that it was because he grew up only knowing that lifestyle of tension and anxiety; while I had had the experience of living for five years before all that came into my life. I was the lucky one.

We also grew up in an environment of love from our somewhat crazy and fun, but rather strict mother. That all blended with the anger, bitterness and jealousy of that last step-father who now is turning ninety-one and has dementia. As I grew up I came to understand him somewhat but he was still an arrogant ass, jealous, ignorant and selfish. But then he always paid for us to live. It was a strange environment that made little sense to me as a child. He at times terrorized me, but somehow our mother kept him from doing the two things that really made all the difference: drinking and beating us. Had he had more free reign on those two things our lives would have taken a quantum leap into the realms of misery.

Between my constantly getting into trouble and my home life, I was allowed to do little on my own. But I was still a kid and my mother was still a mother with other kids and a house to run. So I always found ways to get into things. I just learned mostly how to hide what I got into. When we moved to our last house I was only allowed out on my own, to go to the library. At the library I discovered two life changing things. The "Adult Section" and the "Science  Fiction Section" and within that last one, a series of Science Fiction books written for young boys where I first learned of authors like Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and later Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison and so on. I also found thinkers like Aristotle, Socrates and a few others.

After grade school, I graduated from comic books to magazines like Creepy and Eerie which led to HP Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe and others. Though it wasn't until tenth grade that my cousin turned me onto The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, an amazing discovery I will forever be thankful for. At that point escapism took a quantitatively lighter slant. But the darker die had been cast years before. Perhaps that alone is why I lean more to writing Horror and not Fantasy?

Later on in fifth grade and much more easily in sixth grade, I could freely wander the neighborhood far and wide as I had earned some trust. Whenever I could I disappeared into the neighborhood on my bike. Times were certainly different then. But the seeds were set in those younger years with the speculation of possibilities that first Science Fiction and later Horror, offered me. Horror was a great way to work out the frustrations of daily and family life for me, as I'm sure it has been for so many others. It was also great to play out the fears you have and to examine your limitations and your strengths, on occasion even learning of new ways out of dire situations.

From a social perspective, it seemed that no matter where we moved up to that point, and we moved almost every year for some reason, I never had anyone my own age to play with in the new neighborhoods. They were always either my older sister's age, or my younger brother's age. Our oldest brother lived with his dad and his new family, much to all of our consternation and his repeated running away from there and returning to our house where (we and) he desperately wanted to live. It was a repeatedly heartbreaking ritual. One that in the end was always brought to a sad conclusion by his father retrieving him as after all, he had legal custody.

My sister though was a shining light in our childhood. Always knowing the right thing to say or showing some basic logic to get us through. Sometimes giving the emotional comment to give us hope and if I believed her feelings, she believed mine in that round-robin kind of support that kids share in these types of living situations.

My younger brother was just annoying, having suffered through "beautiful child syndrome" and replacing me as the cute kid. I had always been fawned over until he arrived and even back then I had to admit, he was a good looking kid. Just annoying, though. Where I had been fun and energetic and annoying, he just seemed to be whiny and annoying.

Those who would have been his friends mostly wanted to play with me because they saw in him what I saw. Still, I got annoyed when they displayed the same feelings I felt toward him. Of course, I would play with them sometimes, but then they were still younger than me and so I frequently ended up playing on my own again. My sister being a girl, well, her friends didn't want anything to do with me, even though I did. Sadly for me, that never went anywhere. Then again, maybe it was better as it turned out. Still, we played together for years until a certain age and then that too seemed to just stop. Pretty common I would assume.

Always getting into things, I spent a lot of my time in my bedroom being "grounded". I ended up with a record player, a small TV (though I wasn't usually allowed to watch TV if grounded, although I could listen to music and that was a great saving grace). And then, there were my books. I could be imprisoned in my room, but I always knew that my books would allow me to travel the stars, and then some. Which kind of brings me around full circle.

How does one show expertise in one's fiction writings?

I suppose it helps to have a background that lends itself to a lively inner life as a child and the more drama, then surely the more that will be available later. But that's really all dependent upon how that child sees things, as a child.

How does one show that expertise in one's writings? It's quite obvious, isn't it?

It comes in the clarity and the depth of what you are writing about, because you've been there. At least, to some extent. Because you've experienced those feelings of loss, despair, anger, even possibly hatred. Not the juvenile "hatred" of not being allowed to go to the prom. But the mature "hatred" of wanting to kill your parent or parents; for making your entire family miserable year after year after your mother consistently supporting your views by saying how much she hates her own husband, your step-father and one of your sibling's father who also hates him and you feel that there is no love lost from the other side either. Yet he can be neutral in many situations that makes your entire life appear, somewhat insane.

You should have known as a child the gaps between the highs and the lows when as a child it all seems so much more intense. In those first formative years whatever happens is a great deal of the entirety of one's life. It is only in later years that it all comes into perspective and you can see it clearly for what it is. And maybe as an adult you can come to terms with it all and learn to become productive and useful, to society and yourself and hopefully one day, a family of your own.

It is at that point that you can share those intense feelings and experiences, possibly through the filter of the genre in which you are writing. To give your reader the feeling of having lived through things, hopefully things that they have never had to live through themselves. Or to re-experience those things they too had lived through, but this time with the potential for showing them ways around or out of those situations, to help them heal even in the most negative of story lines. To offer them "relief valves" through which they can find catharsis or at very least, humor. To possibly entertain and educate.

See, that is the interesting thing about fiction over non-fiction. You can show your expertise through story, through the journey, and the ending. Through the Gestalt of the tale told. Part of the magic of it is that a reader can put down the story at the end of it and know in their heart and their mind, that you have brought them to someplace special; if you had that expertise to bring them to that place. The more levels you can touch upon, the more release you can offer them, and the more expertise you have shown. For expertise is not just about one's level of skill sets but also about one's experiences.

Then again, writing fiction doesn't just require a rich childhood, for the richer your set of writing skills is the more you can persuade your reader to believe. Believe, that you were there.  If your experiences and skills are not that rich, the more you write the richer they both become. Because the more your write the more you examine yourself and your past and enhance your current abilities.

Your experiences are your primary expertise and your foundation, a platform from which to write even about things that you have never before touched upon. It is when you can put those two elements together, skills and experience, that you have the potential to form some very intense reading experiences indeed. It is not unlike the visual arts, in that your expertise is obvious in your art. So how do you show your expertise in your fiction? You simply need to write.

It is very likely that you already have the expertise, we all do, but you simply may not know it. You just have to find it and show us.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Day 2012!


Wishing everyone a warm and pleasant Thanksgiving Day, especially those displaced by weather and our changing environments both environmentally and, politically. Also, best wishes and thoughts for those innocent families displaced by war and terror attacks: Israel, Gaza, South Sudan and all the other places suffering the ill effects of bastards and scoundrels

I'm not going to give you a big list of what I'm thankful for. We get enough of that today. Yes, there's lots of things I'm thankful for and should be.

But today I will be having dinner with my family and I'm simply thankful for that. 

 #thanksgivingDay

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Chasing Ice" documentary review Part I on

Friday, November 16, 2012, I was at the premiere of "Chasing Ice" at the Egyptian Theater in Seattle, WA. Part I of my review on the fascinating "Chasing Ice" documentary from James Balog and his Extreme Ice Survey, with help from NASA, is now up on Perihelionsf.com. Next month, you will also be able to read Part II there.

Check it out. This is one of the greatest, most important documentaries I've ever seen and it has incredible, stunning footage of glaciers, including scenes that perhaps no human has ever before seen.
James Balog with icebergs at Ilulissat Isfjord,
UNESCO World Heritage site,
Disko Bay Greenland.
Chasing Ice Crew at Sundance
A melt zone
An EIS team member provides scale in a massive landscape
of crevasses on the Svínafellsjökull Glacier in Iceland.
These images are...nothing.
See this movie.
Certainly, if you do not believe in climate change,
you have to see this documentary.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Are supertaskers delusional?


The platform and attitude (and the loss in this last election) of the Republican party has made it crystal clear that we are dumbing down as a people. Extreme Conservatives and Right Wingers (especially the religious right) have pushed against critical thinking and questioning authority, unless it fits their agendas, or your name is Obama...or Clinton. And recent research is proving it is going to get worse if we don't react soon. And with our history of reacting to things, like climate change, I don't have high hopes.

College students tested against less tech savvy people are showing their perceived multitasking superiority as "supertaskers", people who may for example, be active on Facebook, Tweet, talk on the phone, do homework, watch TV, etc., are deluding themselves and are actually proving to be far worse multitaskers than they themselves conceive.

What we need to do as a nation is to stop multitasking so much. Corporations want us to multitask because they believe that they are getting more bang for their bucks. But they actually aren't. Corporations too are having issues because of stupid decisions. Look at the banking industry. There is more going on in our economy than just deregulation. Think Hostess, for one recent example where blame by the Political Right is being put on Unions or the employees themselves; people who tried to stand up to a corporation who had far exceeded their ability to endure as a company, and who refused to evolve; which is death to any long running company.

What we need is a push to start focusing more on single tasking and compartmentalizing tasks. Learn not to respond to everything immediately. Set times for certain things. Practice one thing at a time. Yes, in this modern day it's almost impossible. But we need a paradigm shift, or we're lost. Because there are so many of us, yes, we will probably struggle along; but it doesn't have to be that way. We do not have to live such a low quality of life, when it could be far superior to what it is. Life is as it is, because we aren't paying attention and we think, we are.

We're not.

Buddhism is one good example of a way to be, that is actually smarter than multitasking. Buddhism teaches "mindfullness". That you should focus on what you are doing fully and completely, to be a happier individual. When you are eating, eat. When talking with someone, practice "being" there with that parson, be "in the room with them" mentally, as well as physically. Not only is it good manners, you get more done in the long run, and you are doing yourself and others, service.

You are doing mental pushups for your brain.

Consider what kind of work out you get if you did one pushup, then read a book for twenty seconds. Now consider doing twenty or fifty pushups, then read a book for half an hour. The first way is insane. The second gives you a strong body and mind.

If we need anything in the world right now, with all the changes, the failed economies, the "superstorms", disasters and such, it is strong minds and bodies.

And please people, start reading books, and not just any books. That has gotten us into a lot of trouble. Vet your books before you read just anything. There are lots of nuts out there, and lots of published fluff. Even some books written by true experts are total nonsense. We've seen too much of resources being expended into nonexistent "problems", like voter fraud and verifying Americans are Americans. It's all fluff, distractions, like the Petraeus "affair", if you'll excuse the pun.

If you already read books now, but you are one of the extremes (extreme conservative or liberal, extreme religious, etc.), stop reading books that are so fringe or that tend to agree with you and start reading books based upon a solid foundation of intelligence and unbiased information.

Remember that saying, "keep your friends close and your enemies closer"? Learn the other side's point of view. Maybe, they are actually right on some things. It's hard to let go of long held beliefs, like climate change doesn't exist. Well, I don't want to bum you out, but oh yes it does. The proof's in and anyone telling you other wise is trying to kill you. Now, there's a conspiracy that's real and you can sink your teeth into and no, they mostly really don't know they are part of a conspiracy, as they are simply ignorant and propagating pure nonsense.

Yes, UFO's are fun, ghosthunting is fun, seeing a conspiracy behind every Bush, extreme liberal or conservative is fun; but let's face it, we need real brainpower, working on real issues. Those other things are for when everything is running smoothly, for when all is functional and we are no longer running for our lives.

In getting back to our topic at hand (remember, multitasking?), when you are reading those books that you've verified as having actual useful information, concepts and helpful, useful knowledge in them(?), focus on your reading. Put down the smart phone, ignore Facebook, turn off the TV, put on some soft music that let's you focus on your reading and helps you to keep from drifting away from the words on the page. Try to understand what you are reading, don't just barrel though it. I realize that most of the people who would be even reading this blog, probably don't need to be told any of this. But perhaps it may put it into a format that makes it easier for you to share with those who could use this information. Who knows? It might come in handy.

Practicing on focusing on our reading is becoming a necessary thing today. It's hard to even find the time to read, yet alone actually have a way to concentrate. But it's healthy to escape daily life with a good book, without interruptions. If you space off on a concept, that's okay. It may even be good. Take the time. Stop reading, think, critically, about the idea you just read. When you are done, reread that last paragraph.

If you are reading and you suddenly notice that you're drifting, or you notice that you do not understand that paragraph, read it again. Re-read it until you DO get it. If after eight or ten times you still don't get it, you've read it too many times; just mark it to return to later; maybe after you finish the book it will make more sense then. Or look it up later, or ask someone if they understand it. People forget how much fun it is to bring up a paragraph in a book to someone and discuss it. It hearkens back to college days when you had to do that. But do this all within reason.

If more people, if everyone did this, think how much better our lives would go, how much better our country would run, how our economy would flourish and how the world would start to be a more peaceful place

Or at very least, we'd have far more lively debates.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hunger Pangs: Dark Confessions is out!

Hunger Pangs: Dark Confessions 

Tales for your Dining Pleasure [Kindle Edition] is out looking for yOU!

Check it out. From the Anthology's Amazon.com page:

From the ravenous Donner Party expedition to the twisted mind of Albert Fish, and verily even the fictitious Hannibal Lector from Silence of the Lambs to the recent rampage of carnage spawned by the Florida Face Eater, fascination with cannibalism has always been intense. How hungry do you have to be...or how sick to eat another human? You are cordially invited to dine with some of the finest authors in the horror genre as we savor the delights of these tales; dress code is relaxed, bring a friend, regrets only, RSVP not required.

My previously unpublished story, "Mr. Pakool's Spice" is in this Anthology.
Along with it is long time friend, publishing mentor and benefactor, TACM - The Awesome Cal Miller's story, "Meat Doctor".

Also, some very other disturbing reads, including:

For Elise by Evan Roy
End of Tradtion by TL Decay
Still Life by Dave Jeffery
The Smokehouse by Kim Krodel
Compromised Morals by Rebecca Besser
Just One Day by TL Decay
Rump Roast with a Side of Thigh by S.P. Durnin
Prey by Shaun Phelps
Safety in Numbers by Alan Wismer
Deeply Disturbed by Jeremy Peterson
Fine Dining with Oscar by Jennily French
The Hunger by Scott M. Baker

Maybe don't buy it.
No sense is scaring yourself for no good reason.

Is there?

Monday, November 12, 2012

"YES, Mr. President, what can I do for you. SIR."

Okay, just let me get this straight, let me understand this clearly. From the New York Times:

After his speech, newly re-elected (so kind of Twice a President) Pres. Obama tried to call both Mr. Boehner and the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, but was told they were asleep.
Let me repeat that, he was told they were asleep.

The President, Of the United States of America, newly re-elected President Barack Obama, first African American to be elected President, then to be re-elected President. THE PRESIDENT of the UNITED Damn STATES of AMERICA calls you on the phone, you PUNKS, even at Midnight, or 1AM, 2AM, 3AM, 4AM, 5AM, whatever damn time in the world that it is, it doesn't matter!

You do NOT TELL the President of the United States of America, your boss, that YOU ARE ASLEEP. And everyone, knows you were up watching the election. Why? Because that is their entire career on the line. Trust me, they probably had TROUBLE sleeping that night.

But YOU get on the PHONE!

And you say, "YES, Mr. President, what can I do for you. SIR."

This is what the problem is with our government. Not Pres. Obama. The Republican partisan government members. From them we're supposed to expect compromise. From them now I only expect more stonewalling and placing blame on the President. On OUR President, and that means you whoever you are that don't like him being President. Get over it. Like they told me in the service, if you hate a man, but he is an officer, you still salute him, because you are saluting the office, the rank, the United States.

Not one Republican did this, but two, which pretty much indicates it isn't the truth, but a lie, and a subterfuge to avoid talking to someone who just beat your candidate and you know what? THAT does not matter. You take the call.

People, THIS is your Republican party. These are your Republican Leaders.
Seriously. THIS is disgraceful.

And I've just lost respect for them, completely.

Boehner and McConnell...Republicans. Your Republican representatives.

I'm seriously disappointed in these men, who represent the GOP, and all Republicans in America. Again, this is your Republican Party, an American political party, representing not just Republicans but Americans. I'm embarrassed by them. And you should be also.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veteran's Day 2012

I wish a pleasant Veteran's Day to all you Veterans out there. All you who have served in peace time and most of all to those of you who have served in war time; and even more so, those who have seen battle, the effects of battle, and the aftermath of battles.

To those of you who went in first, stayed late, and may have cleaned up after.

To those peacekeepers, door kickers and special forces. We as a Nation, thank you for your service. For your time away from family, for time in danger, for being given danger pay, and those who deserved danger pay and didn't get it; for lack of food, warmth, security in the field, for enduring poor commanders in the field and those who gave orders who are not in the field and should have been, and those who have given you bad or even illegal orders; for bad officers you have had to suffer through. For the food, or lack of materials in a timely manner and especially, ammo.

War is hell and the fog of war can only be understood by those who have survived it, or at least who have gone through it; if life after that is any kind of life, it is all the life we have.

All the best to you, one and all!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

When Pot becomes Legal, why do Feds turn Fascist?

We need to stop being stupid. The President and the Feds, the DEA and others, need to grow up. Finally the will of the people is becoming known. Otherwise, why on Bill Maher's show on HBO Friday night, when he said Pot is now legal in two states, did the entire crowd break out in a huge cheer? 

WHY? 

Because they know that the Federal government is being fascist about a subject everyone knows they have been lying to the American people about for many decades.

We need to ask, why are the Feds so adamant about keeping Pot illegal?

Consider this....if even some people quit alcohol and smoked pot, the world would be a safer place. That, is a fact. 

The police keep talking about drivers getting high, but consider if we suddenly swapped all drunk drivers for high drivers, how many of those deaths from drunks would be converted into survivable accidents, or no accidents at all?

Then consider, if some people with anger issues did that same thing. Alcohol can drive people into rages, do you have any idea how many wives and girlfriends and children have been beaten while a guy was in an alcohol driven rage? Not to mention, the mothers who have abused their children when drunk. But if they had been stoned and not drunk, it's just a different mechanism.

Conservatives are afraid of their own shadows, so they try to turn everything like this into a fearfest. They would say things like how people who abuse their families are on pot and alcohol and harder drugs. Whatever. We're not talking about them. They are problems. But we're talking about the millions of people who are law abiding, except for liking to safely get high. So let's not muddy the waters here. That's the job of the Feds, the police, the Drug Czar, a stupid position if ever I heard of one. 

It's time to end the madness, especially now that the people have spoken. Now the Feds are going to turn rabid and fascist, unless the President does something about it, something to protect us.

Please, Mr. President, protect us. We voted for you. We have done the hard work, pushed to get you elected, pushed to legalize pot, legalize same sex marriage, and we need your help and support.

Stick up for us Mr. President! Fire your Drug Czar. Reign in the DEA. Get pot legalized at the federal level, or at least, get off our backs.


Alcohol manipulates the insulin levels. It can make you crazy. Literally. Cannabis doesn't have the same mechanism. It is not an opiate either. Feds love that fallacy.

The federal government has lied to us long and hard on this topic. Marijuana, Cannabis, Pot, whatever you want to call it, is simply not a dangerous drug. It's in the same category as caffeine, if anything. It's a drug, but a benign one. 

Alcohol has a lobby, so does tobacco. You know what is sad? We will be getting help and protection from them, and their lobbies, not the President (maybe, but it's up to you Pres. Obama), and not the Feds, not the Congress, not the DEA. But then the DEA are the rabid dogs of Congress and the President. And we need protection, from our own Government.

Look, whereas alcohol is in a similar category to cocaine. Think about it. I don't know if you've ever taken cocaine, but I'm sure you know of it's affects. It numbs you out. So does alcohol. It can drive you into a hyper excitable state, so can alcohol. It can massively decrease your motor skills, so can alcohol. If you take enough cocaine, you can die, same with alcohol. But not pot.

I've known people who quit drinking and started getting high instead and they were completely different people to be around, so much more pleasant and enjoyable as people. Fun to be with, which before, I never wanted to even be in the same house with them.

It's easy to point out negative issues but we have to consider the positive ones now that eighteen states have legal medical marijuana laws and two states have outright legalizes it for recreational use. We now need to see how we can benefit from this change as a state and a nation. Also, we will not be removing these profits from drug cartels, something where that alone is a huge thing as they use pot profits to fund some of their cocaine efforts.

We are at a point where we now have to ask ourselves, why would the Federal government continue to fight against the people's will. Who, is working for whom here? 

Let me tell you. The federal government works for the citizens of the United States. They need to fall in line and start doing what they are told. 

A prosecutor in Washington has just dropped hundreds of marijuana charges for hundreds of individuals. Why? Because he said, it was the will of the people and it makes NO SENSE to go on with this.

That, is a government official. One who realizes he is paid by the people, and is not the boss of the people, not the Drug Czar, but the servant of the citizens. He is only another citizen, doing the will of the people and following the law. When the states start to see reality before the federal government, when the Feds should have seen this first, they should have acted on this first, the Feds should be the leaders, not the states, the Feds need to fall in line and do the will of the people. Not the complainers, not the people who are the vocal minority, but the government is there to protect the minority too. When there is a travesty perpetrated upon people, as the Pot laws have done now for generations, who is to protect us?

Not the Feds, apparently.

Here's the President's chance to really be a leader, on a topic people don't think is worth the time. But there are thousands of people in prison who do think it would be worth it, and millions of us out here who agree with them. And don't want to join them. 

Come on Mr. President. You got high in college. Give all the rest of us the legal right to do so. OR at least get out of the way and let us lead, at the state levels.

It's your Call Mr. President.

Fareed Zararia, always a level headed journalist how tells it how it is, on his GPS show today said that Colorado and Washington states, in voting in the legalization of Marijuana for recreational purposes, has MARKED THE BEGINNING OF THE END OF THE WAR ON DRUGS, a War many see as a war on minorities and American citizens. 

"This may be the most costly, distorting and futile war the United States

has ever waged. In just four decades we have spent $1 Trillion to fight this war without reducing the availability of drugs in cities, while also destroying our penal system. The US has more than 3x's as many prisoners per capita as we had in 1980, and about ten times as many prisoners per capita as other rich countries; according to data from the OECD.

"About 1.6 million American who were arrested in 2010 on drug charges, most for using Marijuana. This week's votes indicate that Americans have begun rethinking these policies; perhaps moving towards ones that would deprive drug cartels, their huge profits, and allow our police to focus on serious crime."

America is ready for an answer. Will our government finally act the adult to do the FORWARD thinking thing?