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

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. 


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 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 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? 


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?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Two Free Short Horror JZ Murdock ebooks!

Free November 9th in UK and US. My two newest horror stories are going online as standalone ebooks. Originally only available in my book, Anthology of Evil.

Gumdrop City
Based on a true crime event, a widowed (now drinking) father contemplates the strange neighbor everyone is wary of… as well as his young daughter’s whereabouts. This is a disturbing story first brought to my attention when I was getting my degree in psychology at Western Washington University in a class for abnormal psychology. I took the framework of that story and built a fiction story around it. (Update 2019: I am currently working on a short film production prequel of this story). It is a disturbing story and was a challenge to write it without simply being offensive).


Japheth, Ishvi and The Light
Unknown to them, plummeting to the Earth as terrifying pillars of light from the skies, is the Zombie Apocalypse as it burns into the grounds around a religious commune’s farm; throw in some devastating confusion; a splitting migraine; a squad of special Decon soldiers; God himself; and well, there you pretty much have the making of let’s say, a religious experience.


Cover art is by the incredible artist Marvin Hayes. He has been doing some interesting works on the side and chose to work on some of my covers. On he has been selling well in the area of covers for things like ipods, ipads, and iPhones. 

Marvin also did the cover for my book Anthology of Evil and Death of heaven (no, the word "heaven" isn't capitalized on purpose as it's a sign, a warning, a commentary on the story, disturbing some and breaking some rules, both grammar and Amazon). 

Marvin recently did one for my EarVu story that has been doing well and it's an awesome graphic.

I submitted these to Indies Unlimited for their Freebie Fridays promotion. They didn't pick up my ebooks for this promotional today, this time. 

However, they have been kind enough to do so in the past and have also interviewed me and even wrote an article or two about me on there. Not the first time I've been interviewed. You can get other free ebooks there today, so, I'm promoting them here. Give them a look as there will be other Author's free ebooks available.

Have fun.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Lady Liberty is peeking out at you. Dare you take up her challenge and look back?

In looking around America, related to the election yesterday, I feel like Lady Liberty has breathed a heavy and grateful sigh of relief. I think through the years of Bush, she was in tears a lot of the time.

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Remember her? She's back. At very least, she has her chance to return, to cast off the dark cloak of isolation and cowardice; to enter into the sunlight once again as the extremists scurry back to their dark corners of this nation.

America has a chance again to be great. The dark cloud of the Bush administration and those fear-mongered years and those who still survive them, the conservative shadow of the extreme right is reasonably and hopefully in its death throws.

But they are still there. Do not give up. Keep fighting for freedom and liberty, to advance into the future and not retreat into the past and the fears of our ancient, McCarthy era mentality (and now we know) minority. Yes, hard times are still about. But who we are, is all about how we deal with these times in being open minded, kind, compassionate, intelligent, bold, brave and in keeping our eyes wide opened.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Barack Obama is still President! Thank you!

Yes, Romney has been sent back to the dark recesses of Richie Richland where he crawled out of. Or was more likely driven out by a minority and a woman serving him juice and biscuits.

Thank you America, for slowly and finally waking up and smelling the richness of the coffee over the richness of the faux belief that you too can be as rich as Mitt. Ever.

Also in the State of Washington, Marijuana has been legalized. Same sex marriage, has been legalized. Sadly, it looks like Charter Schools will be ratified. Sad for the poorer people and the school system, but there it is. Lots of rich people in Washington, lots of software tycoons. Ah well, you can't win them all. But two out of three? Not bad, especially, pot and gay marriage. Congrats, kids!

Perhaps now we have a chance on not going to war again in the next four years! Perhaps now we can start putting money into to saving lives and not killing more people (like our kids) in more wars. Perhaps the military industrial complex and the oil industry can lose money and we can put it to something actually useful.

Wouldn't it be nice to spend money on space research, and not war; life and not death? Because being in space is all and only about life. War, pretty much about death.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Meet the Flesh - On Clive Barker's Writings

Some years back I was involved in an online conversation about Clive Barker's writings from the 1980s/90s. The quoted pieces below are from a guy named Jim I was discussing this topic with online. It was being kicked about that there seemed to be a lot of thematic emphasis placed on the skin, or lust of the skin (appearance) in Barker's writings. One individual's interpretation was that we are so tied up in our own personal pleasures, and in the appearance of our objects of lust that we ignore the other realities around us.

Another favorite filmmaker of mine who's films I have watched for decades is David Cronenberg, who also has explored this visceral connection to our bodies, our flesh, in many of his films (Videodrome, They Came From Within, Existenz, etc.); and indeed Clive Barker must have recognized the verisimilitude between them having a common vision, if one takes his collaboration with David Cronenberg in his film, "Nightbreed" as a sign.

Originally when we were debating this issue online, I was curious where I might go in response to all this speculation. So I decided that I would simply free associate via a stream of consciousness and just see where it might take me. All of what follows can be argued certainly, and it's only my opinion, obviously; but I am not looking for an argument here. It is merely my take on it. I decided I would try to be as accurate as possible without making this a thesis and meticulously looking everything up. So what follows is pretty much word for word what I had typed to Jim online so long ago. I hope you find it at least somewhat useful.

Brief qualifying statement: I have always been a writer at heart and received my degree in Psychology in a division called Awareness and Reasoning, which more than "touched" upon the senses, as well as the mind/brain dichotomy and phenomenology, the study of the experiential "human condition", with sex thrown in for good measure.

Just why are we so fascinated by our flesh? What is so fundamental to our psyche about the flesh, our skin, for it to have such a primal hold on our desires and our fears. Have Mr. Barker and Mr. Cronenberg both found something in common that is so central to our "being" that they press upon it as the most disturbing and the most evocative to us in their works?

I would have to say that I believe so. Now, here's hoping I don't sound too insane....

Considering pressure, stress and tension are everything in story, looking at characterization in this way has really helped me over some rough spots when writing my own stories. In Jim's email, quoted in parts here, he questions Mr. Barker's use of skin, or "lust of the skin" (to be metaphorical  or literal in this case) in his "Hellraiser" series and other works.

First of all, what is our skin to us? Our skin is our primary contact to the outside world. It is guaranteed to us no matter what else we have or don't have, save for special examples that tend not to count. That is, if you had a condition wherein you cannot feel, which would be rare enough to not be included, unless it were in a horror story. Skin relates to our sense of "touch" which is interesting, as it is how people relate to others (e.g., "I felt "touched" by her generosity").

Simple phenomenology states that we can only know our universe through our sensory apparatus and the data that is supplied to us therein; we perceive what is delivered to us via our senses, then we conceive what that means via our personal history, our individual catalog of experiences.

A good study in lack of sensory input other than touch (pressure, vibrations, heat, cold, intuitive impressions, etc.), is Dalton Trumbo's film, "Johnny Got His Gun" (written by a one time blacklisted writer who had tried to get the film made since the 1950s, but it was considered too "anti-war"). Don't watch it alone and be prepared for an intense (and no, I won't say, "touching") experience. 

As for our senses, as everyone knows skin has the sense of touch and temperature, which are derived from pressure, the speed of it's molecules, the continuity of tactile stimulation; just as your nose has smell; your eyes, sight; ears, hearing; and tongue and palate, taste. Try looking at all senses as subsets or evolved element of the sense of touch: sight, hearing, smell, taste; all are variations of touch.

[okay, I looked up these next too paragraphs just for this]
Our skin is just another one of our organs, our largest; it is an organ made up of a group of tissues that perform a specific function or group of functions.  Skin has four main types of receptors: mechanoreceptors, thermoreceptors, pain receptors, and proprioceptors. These account for the perception of cold, hot, smooth, rough, pressure, tickle, itch, pain, vibrations, and more. Within the somatosensory system, this is our most base sense and developed first, with all other senses evolving from it. It is closely tied to melatonin which moderates our skin tone as well as our sleep patterns, moderated by light sensitivity. Our skin is the most basic and important element of a human being, next to our brains.

Pineal glands secrete melatonin. This activates the pituitary gland to release MSH (melanocyte stimulating hormone). Within the melanocytes, melanin is produced. MOST Europeans and people of European descent have calcified pineal glands. The pineal calcification rates with Africans is 5-15%; Asians ­15-25%; Europeans ­60-80%. This may have something to do with certain psychosocial differences which may mean that there is a disparity in the primal fear factors between certain races. But there is still, a fundamental and primal orientation to flesh and skin across all human beings.

How about a less formal comment on senses?

Initially as a fetus, we have touch. From that basic sense (skipping the correct order of development), we have the other "impression" senses (all essentially relating to translations of pressure into a conceptual framework). At very least, I would say all senses "developed from" the initial sense of touch. A one cell organism requires at very least that one sense (i.e., an amoeba will touch something, then move to the left).

-TOUCH, the transduction of pressure upon the skin surface and of heat as the nearly direct electrical translation of one form of energy to another, similar in nature to the mechanism of sight. Intense heat, to the point of the melting of skin cells, initiates higher energy states leading to intra-cellular chemical reactions; with cold being the absence of heat, a progression toward solidification and a type of experiential vacuum; a negative impression of pressure.

-HEARING, the transduction of sound waves through mechanical means, via the ear drums vibratory impressions to the "hammer and anvil" in the ear, to Electro-Chemical impulses to the brain. Balance coming from fluid touching filaments in the inner ear.

-SMELL (similar to taste), the translation of molecule chains into the same said Electro-Chemical impulses via chemical reaction and similar to taste in mechanism. I would argue smell and taste as very highly evolved and specialized forms of touch.

-SIGHT, the transduction of light waves into E/C impulses via the impression of energy upon the rods and cones of the optic nerve. Light touches the rods and cones, and the fluid purpurea drains from the structures and a corresponding "feel" (set of impulses) is related to the brain which interprets this sensation, eliciting the firing of a set of neurons in the brain which give off a feeling of a particular nature which evokes a subset of historical experiential relationships, which is typical of our ability to translate sensory input into usable data.

-TASTE (similar to smell), cataloging discrete units of flavors via the interaction of those chemicals upon several taste-buds in triangulatory matrices. Again I would argue taste and smell as very highly evolved and specialized forms of touch.

Basically, all senses are an admixture of translating different forms of pressure upon organic sensory mechanisms. This is a simplification, but the more one studies the structure of the senses, the more this fundamental feature of "pressure" raises itself as a predecessor and becomes relevant, or appears common.

Now, there is no emotive affect in this, that comes later. Through childhood we all learn certain basic and common associations related to the human experience and our particular society. We learn to tie them to less esoteric behaviors. We learn to discriminate and compartmentalize societal norms and thus eliminate synesthetic experiences of cross-modal sensory translations.

Individuals that eliminate these emotive affects from their lives, that are normally tied up intricately from childhood with their sensory data, become closer to sociopathy and seeking pure pleasure (by their own definition) and at all costs.

There begins, as I see it, the "sense" of a good horror story; the birth of a horror story antagonist. 

Take these basic concepts and twist them, see where they go; where they would lead an individual if some part of this process breaks down. Whether it is due to some abnormal functioning of the senses, or due to something quite outside of normal reality, stepping into the sensual arena.

We can only understand by way of what we know. We can synthesize experience, but if something happens too far outside of our experience, reality breaks down. When something outside that realm of understanding occurs, we shut down. We act irrationally, or we ignore it.

Consider schizophrenics. Are they crazy? Or merely acting normal while trying to deal with the insane sensory input they are receiving? 

> In both [Hellraiser] 1 and 2 there are entrances into other worlds which
> consist of  tunnels leading into any number of directions.  Again the labyrinth in 2 is a
> more explicit example.  The interconnected maze of the labyrinth is ruled by
> Leviathan.  What is Leviathan?  Is this an actual occult figure?
> My interpretation of the labyrinth is that it symbolizes the mind and the
> passageways to other worlds which we can only experience by disregarding the
> limited functions of our physical selves.

Perhaps Leviathan is the most easily understandable form of a connection of all these "worlds" or "passageways" (of the mind?). And what is that? What function does the mind (our mental software) have on the brain (our physiological hardware), or the brain on the mind?

> My interpretation of the labyrinth is that it symbolizes the mind and the
> passageways to other worlds which we can only experience by disregarding the
> limited functions of our physical selves.

So, is this the opposite of the sociopath mentioned above, who forsakes the senses for more ethereal experiences?

> I still don't have a good interpretation for what the puzzlebox
> represents.  There seems to be a vague connection to the decisions we make
> throughout our life and the impact they have.  Especially with respect to the
> pleasure/pain scenario.  To what extent are we willing to go to experience
> pleasures?  There seems to be a direct relationship between the pleasure Frank
> is willing to seek and the pain he endures.

Fundamental of the pain/pleasure dichotomy is that both release hormones similar in nature to a heroin-like substance. Pain merely brings more intense doses of the painkiller hormones thus, those individuals that can overcome the "agony" of the pain (for want of a better word), experience the pleasures, which are what is left over.

> What are the religious tie-ins in these movies?  There are a few references to the worlds being
> part of  Hell. Is the idea that these are personal Hells which each individual experiences
> separately?

Every person's Reality is a separate universe. Each person experiences and views (or filters) Reality differently, and as no two individuals can perceive the same Reality, there is NO ONE sharing your Reality with you.

We ARE all alone.

> I am interested in what others think, especially if there is other
> symbolism I may not have mentioned that plays a major part in the overall
> meaning of these movies.  Barker seems to have a much deeper meaning and more
> intriguing way of presenting his material, that I wish I could fully understand.

Brief Aside: Read M. Merleau-Ponty on Perception. My university class had to read it. Was the class titled "Creativity", or was it "Perception"? We quickly discovered that the shorter the title, the harder the class, something it took underclassmen a while to learn. We lost several students that first week. The homework was to read only the first paragraph of Merleau-Ponty's book. Several students nearly had a nervous breakdown that quarter due to that class (all of them business majors I might add and no offense, its just who they were). More than one Psych major had serious difficulty, but they had to see it through as it was after all, their Major area of study. 

So, this is how I break things down toward achieving alternate states of a character's consciousness. To the outsider, or reader, it makes for a very satisfying, "odd" character, and one that holds together through the story or the character's dementia, or their altered Reality. But at the same time through these considerations, it becomes somewhat easier to create.

Sorry this was so long, but I spent years trying to understand this stuff, and it is very much more complex to understand than what I have stated above. If I offended your sense of biological reality, I only meant to supply an alternate way of viewing that Reality. Or merely of creating a character for a story.

In closing, flesh certainly is a fundamental issue with humans. Both physically and emotionally, even metaphysically. Both Barker and Cronenberg have hit on this and much to their benefit (and ours), as well as the horror genre in general. Just consider "Buffalo Bill" in "Silence of the Lambs", and the effects the words, "It rubs it on its skin", had on the audience. Cronenberg and Barker both, were there before that, setting up the stage and the lighting, and the warm detestable glow it produced upon our pallid skin in the theater.

Thank you ... and good night.

The following is a reply email I received from someone I had previously sent this set of thoughts to (following used with author's permission):

"Thank you for forwarding your thoughts to me.  I just wanted to let you know that I found your replies very interesting.  I am presently studying for a doctorate in Genetics, and so I have a strong background in cellular biology (believe me, this is going somewhere).  When I first read your thoughts on how all senses are derivatives of touch, I first thought "Nah, not really."  But I then remembered how cells interact-either through a molecule from one touching the receptor of another, or molecules on the surfaces of both touching.  This is the way cells "talk" to each other, and is the basis of all of our senses (after all, how will we know what we are seeing if our rods and cones don't tell our brain what is there).  I now agree with your point, and appreciate having another point of view clearly illustrated to me.  I have a tendency to think on the level of very small molecules too much! Once again, thanks for the post and for the interesting ideas. I just wanted to let you know that your ideas have gotten me thinking--a hard thing to do today, since the holidays just ended. Christine"

Saturday, November 3, 2012

An Inconvenient GOP Truth


I have to say, from what I've been seeing in recent years, since Newt Gingrich came to power back in the 90s really, the Republican party has been getting shadier and shadier until they are a sad shadow of a once great party. Don't believe me? Check it out yourself then. First of all I want to say that Rachel Maddow, Rocks! Thanks for pointing this all out to me. I knew some of it before but it helps to have it all brought together to see it more clearly.

Before I get into this, it's only fair that I point out there are two sides to every "story" but not to facts. However, the GOP side of this fact twisting, is so much worse than their opponents, that it is a marked reality worth noting. Too many times I have run down Fox News "truths" only to find they are not what they seem and fall quickly apart. To be sure, once in a while they hit the bullseye, but it is nothing in comparison to what I will detail here.

Here's the facts....

It seems that when Bush Jr. didn't like a report, they quashed it. The US Report "Patterns of Global Terrorism" from the US State Department came out for 2003 as it had for twenty years. I've read it myself in the past. Bush kept saying how good they had done in the fight against terrorism and how it was down.

The 2004 report then came out to say that terrorism was higher than it had ever been in their twenty years of reporting. And so Bush killed the reportexplaining it off as a need to reevaluate the criteria the report was using. They did that time and time again.

From the Seattle Time report:

"But other current and former officials charged that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's office ordered the report, "Patterns of Global Terrorism," eliminated weeks ago because the 2004 statistics raised disturbing questions about the Bush's administration's frequent claims of progress in the war against terrorism.

"Instead of dealing with the facts and dealing with them in an intelligent fashion, they try to hide their facts from the American public," charged Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst and State Department terrorism expert who first disclosed the decision to eliminate the report in The Counterterrorism Blog, an online journal."

There is now a different report that has replaced it. But what had happened was that the old report was buried within the newer style report to make the Bush Administration not look so bad. This reminds me of what the USSR used to do in using "disinformation". They were the experts in it and taught the British (or they learned how to do it in combating the Soviets) and we learned as we had so much of that type of thing, from the British.

From Wikipedia:

"Disinformation is intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. For this reason, it is synonymous with and sometimes called black propaganda. It is an act of deception and false statements to convince someone of untruth. Disinformation should not be confused with misinformation, information that is unintentionally false.

"Unlike traditional propaganda techniques designed to engage emotional support, disinformation is designed to manipulate the audience at the rational level by either discrediting conflicting information or supporting false conclusions. A common disinformation tactic is to mix some truth and observation with false conclusions and lies, or to reveal part of the truth while presenting it as the whole (a limited hangout)."

I don't have to make this stuff up. If you ever watch the news, you've gotten the GOP's disinformation. If you watch Fox News, you probably no longer notice it, since they seem to deal in some severe nonsense much of the time. The GOP would call it, "Truth", or maybe, "Spin", but Stephen Colbert has labeled it, "Truthiness": "a quality characterizing a "truth" that a person claims to know intuitively "from the gut" or because it "feels right" without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts."

Now, when a year earlier it the education department found that the Bush's push for using Charter Schools had those children showing they were falling behind public school kids, suddenly the Department of Education cut back on the data it collects about charter schools.

When mass layoffs were shown to be happening, the Bush administration decided to stop publishing information about it (The Washington Post, January 3, 2003 U.S. Drops Report on Mass Layoffs; Data Helped States Track Patterns of Industrial Demise).

This sounds very 1984 to me. If you don't like what is being said, kill it so no one reads it.

When the US Tax Policy Center's report said that Romney's plan DOES raise Middle-Class Taxes, Romney's people came back to say "Romney camp slams tax group analysis as "misleading, deceitful" (10/18/2012 The Hill - Erik Wasson). When the unemployment rate when down to 7.8% recently, the Republicans came back with doubting job numbers following these strong reports...from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (The Huffington Post, Luke Johnson 10/05/2012). What happened to the days when political parties would try to figure out how to spin numbers? Now they either try to eliminate them as the Bush administration had done, or deny their validity, which is a travesty against this country.

I am seeing a very anti American trend in the Republican party where they will lie, cheat and steal apparently (Nixon notwithstanding, not like they have a history of this or anything), to look good and win elections. It's a horrible thing to do to a nation you have been elected to office to serve. It is underhanded, it is dirtying the authority and reputation of the American Government. It is biting the hand that feeds you, whipping the children in your care, kicking the dog, poisoning the roses, slapping Mickey Mouse in a mousetrap, or kicking John Wayne in the balls.

More recently, November 1, 2012 The New York Times reported, "Nonpartisan Tax Report Withdrawn After G.O.P. Protest". One of our most prestigious research groups, the group who does the research for Congress, The Congressional Research Service (how paranoid is THAT?), made an economic report stating that, "there is no correlation between top tax rates and economic growth, a central tenet of conservative economic theory". This is from Congress's own nonpartisan Think Tank. As Rachel Maddow put it about the CSR, "they are nothing but the facts and their integrity is unimpeachable."

See also: Nonpartisan Tax Report Withdrawn After G.O.P. Protest

So, the entire theory and plan that Mitt Romney and once President George "W" Bush and the Grand Old Party have been shoving down our throats for decades, is false! There really is no higher authority on this topic and what did they do? Senate Republicans raised concerns about the paper's findings and wording and they got the CRS to pull their report, against the advice of the agency's economic team leadership.

In part the report had stated that, "There is not conclusive evidence ... to substantiate a clear relationship between the 65-year steady reduction in the top tax rates [that is lowering the tax rates on millionaires and billionaires] and [creating] economic growth." There is not evidence if you cut taxes on the rich that it enhances our economic growth.

Gee, no kidding. But then, finally one and for all, proof.

The trouble is, this pretty much shoots down Romney's entire campaign. Without this, what is he? A hot bag of wind. He may have had a life in business, but he has not run a country, not the United States of America. For that, you need a real brain and a diverse set of tools, not just business. Because you are dealing with people and families in ways you frankly, never had before. There are cares and concerns as president you simply do not have as a CEO, or an investment banker. War for instance, as the Commander in Chief, isn't just about how many ships you have, or listening to the Joint Chiefs of Staff; it's also about politics. Maybe rushing in with a fleet will win a war, but perhaps you shouldn't do that because of Russia's position today. It's not all just about business.

But even if it were, Romney it would seem, has no clue what he is doing if he thinks that keeping tax rates low on his friends and himself will help our country in any way whatsoever.

This is the whole basis of the Republican party and why so many Republicans make a never raise taxes pledge to Grover Norquist.

This tampering with reports is a very scary thing. It's very 1984. It's very USSR. It's very, UnAmerican.

Look, the way to be great, to become great is to deal with your detractors. In handling not hiding from our criticisms, we hone ourselves, make ourselves better, stronger. The way to fail, to become poor in spirit and action, is to avoid criticism, to hide. The Republican party in trying to survive and look good is killing itself. When you make mistakes, when you are found to be wrong, you do not hide from it, you FIX IT. You work harder to find a better way. You do not squash your enemies, you let them strengthen you because you have to find new ways, you have to find ways to fix your problems.

What I'm seeing in the GOP is a party on its deathbed, a party that is fearful, who are going to become panicked and could at some point, become destructive. THINK about it. Haven't you ever seen a person be this way? They eventually self-destruct and that's what I'm seeing. You need to open up, not shut down. Face your fears, mistakes, and failures. Become the great party you once were and don't let these little people of spirit, these extremists, this religious fanatics be the mainstay of your party. Just STOP. Remake yourself.

I wish you well. You are an American institution. I want you to succeed. At least, I want you to be a vibrant, healthy party that does things for America for the best of civic reasons and not for self-serving, kiss the ass of the rich, type people who are deluded into thinking the earth is only 6,000 years old. Come ON! Get it together guys! Well, that's all I can offer you. The rest my friends is up to you. What do YOU want your GOP to be? This dying behemoth or a Grand Old Party, renewed?

There it is. Someone had to say it.

For that report, you can find it, here. The nice people at The Rachel Maddow Show, have put it up on their website. Because you can't find it on the U.S. Governments' website. Why is that?

It is called, "Congressional Research Service: Taxes and the Economy: An Economic Analysis of the Top Tax Rates Since 1945" (pdf)

There are also two articles linked on that page by Steve Benen: "When the GOP suppresses inconvenient truths" and, "'This has hues of a banana republic."

I hear you there brother....

Friday, November 2, 2012

Heavyweight Republicans Now Endorse Barack Obama

Guess what? Some serious heavyweight Republicans are very Pro President Obama this week and some are decrying Mitt Romney.

A Republican, Colin Powell, a man I respect so much that were he to have said that I should vote for Mitt Romney, I would have had to give serious consideration to changing my opinion, has endorsed President Obama. He endorsed him for the 2008 election but it wasn't going to be that close then, and I think many voted for our current President because either he is obviously educated, and was African American. If he'd been a woman, it might have been the same thing. After all, when the passion is up, how do we pass up doing something so historical when it could have happened, to vote in a first in politics, in America like that?

Now Michael Bloomberg, a one time Republican and now Independent, and Mayor of New York City, who wasn't going to endorse anyone, has now endorsed the President big time and pointed out how Mitt Romney simply will not give us the leadership this country will be needing these next four years.

Republican Governor Chris Christie who had been a banner boy for Mitt Romney up to this point, who was the key note speaker at the Republican convention, is also singing the praises of President Obama, very much to the GOP's consternation.

Essentially what has happened is this: Nature, has taken a very large gun and pointed it right at the heads of the Mayor of New York and the Governor of New Jersey and others, and they finally had to face the fact that President Obama was the only one of our two presidential candidates who has pushed for climate change controls and the need that we have to do something, proactively, about it. Whatever that may be.

And where Governor Romney has made fun of climate change and it's associated dangers which we've seen a stark example of with the superstorm Sandy (do YOU remember ever before hearing about a "SUPER" Storm?), and said that he would see to it that Americans are taken care of, though not the polar icecaps. Insert laugh here and guess what now Mr. Romney? It's really not very funny to an awful lot of America. I certainly don't think it's funny. I have a lot of my own family in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. I've sent of my Red Cross donation of money (please see my previous blog post about donating), something far more important than donating food and clothing locally right now.

As we have seen this week, thirty million Americans out of power, many now homeless, many dead, in order for our President to take care of Americans from here on, he will have lead, to deal proactively with these terrifying new climate change issues. Whether that is to be by dealing with carbon emissions, green energy, or fixing our infrastructure, our levies, our protections from the ocean and the elements, Mitt Romney has stated repeatedly that he is not the man for the job.

Just remember that when you vote this year.

Also, remember this weekend to roll back your clocks, but don't roll back this country next week, come election day.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Free Zombie short story - Japheth, Ishvi and The Light

Today only I'm offering my short story Japheth, Ishvi and The Light, from my Anthology of Evil, for download for the Halloween holiday (sorry, it's a day late but I thought you might need a post event, event).

Japheth, Ishvi and The Light - One of my two zombie stories, putting a religious commune, a squad of decon soldiers, a migraine and God, all together to see what happens; available for free download today only.

The other zombie story I've written is coming out soon in a British anthology associated with (Mr. Pakool's Spice) about a father trying to get his two children through the zombified winter backwoods of Oregon, while being chased by, someone, not a zombie.

Hope you had a Happy Halloween!

SuperStorm Sandy - The Healing, The Giving Begins

[Update] This is from our friend, the brilliant and beautiful (and sexy) Courtney Zito ("Hollywood Girl"):
"I called to verify this number before posting. Its legit. If you have lost power & your food has gone bad FEMA is issuing $200 checks for food. The number is 800-621-3362. If you are able to get online on your phone you can also go to the website to file for help at 
God Bless. ♥"
If you need help, call!

[Update] How to help, from TED.

Usually we have been told as Governor Mitt Romney had mistakenly said yesterday, that we need to donate food, clothing, etc. Traditionally that's how we understood was the way to help. We are all learning that is not the case.

Actually... the Red Cross is asking us to please not donate solid goods. Instead please donate your money, so that they will not have to pay the costs of planning for the logistics to transport food and goods, to sort all the clothing, and waste the time it takes to transport all these solid goods across the country rather than simply being sent the money that they can simply transfer these sorely needed resources with the click of a button; so that suddenly the goods will be available in those desperately needed areas; so that the food and clothing can move quickly to the areas where people are homeless, hungry and cold.

Wow, that was a mouthful. But I'm in a hurry and the people waiting on these resources are cold and hungry and traumatized. They need help now!

Reports now are that within days there will be yet another storm to hit the area with winds up to 50 miles per hour and temperatures down to near freezing levels. American citizens need help now, ASAP.

If you would like to, if you can donate, please call 1800-red-cross, text redcross to 90999 or, go to and donate on their web site. I just made my donation thought their web site. Took about a minute.

Katrina was bad for New Orleans and so much of the US Gulf coast. The tsunami in Japan was massive devastation. Now we have our entire northeastern coast ravaged, with some of our oldest historic landmarks and structures, with so many people displaced or hurting, that we have to yet again offer what we can to help those who are now in dire need of this help.

No one is asking for anything that will cause you or your family pain, but so many others now are in pain, simply do what you can. That is all anyone can ask. And if you can do more, please consider doing it.

Thank you so much for your time.

PS Not to take away from our own disasters, but Fareed Zakaria has a point in hosting an article on his site by John Campbell, CFR about the current flooding in Africa:

Why is Western media ignoring Nigeria flooding?

John Campbell, CFR is former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria and Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.