Monday, May 27, 2013

Playing telephone in Life with the world and one another

I wish you all a very pleasant and reflective Memorial Day holiday. It's good and well on this day to solemnly consider for a time the sacrifices made by those who stood against those powers who sought to put an end to our country and as well for the mistakes we as a country have made and therefore lost our forces to battles that perhaps we should never have been involved in. That latter is the more solemn consideration, for sure.

We all make mistakes from time to time. But on a National level, the mistakes need to be as few and far between as can be made possible. Because it affects so many and so much through time and perception. Perception of others toward the United  States. Perception of ourselves toward who we have become. And the perception of who we have become at this time in History by those who shall follow us and reflect back on our deeds and actions. And motivations. And Humanity. How we are perceived by others is far more important than we tend to give it weight. The weight of importance, of reactions, and of delayed reactions.

Perception is a difficult thing at times to deal with. It can be overwhelming at both a national, world stage level, as well as in a more intimate, interpersonal level.

Have you ever played, "Telephone" at a party? Basically, it's where you tell someone a secret and it's passed down the line, everyone trying to remain as true and accurate as possible to the original statement. Then, from the last person in line, you hear what they say they were told and compare it to what was originally said and sent down the line.

Typically in comparing the two ends, you get two very different statements.

Well, consider this. When you're in a romantic relationship, you are actually playing "telephone", with your mate. There are far less involved, it is only the two of you. But some of the communications you receive from one another are not just from words, but actions, looks, and other people's comments. Indirect actions, even. But the concept is the same. You start with your thought, and by the time it reaches your partner's conception of what you are communicating, something about it has almost always changed in the process.

Last year I was watching Kofi Annan, once head of the United Nations, on The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. He was talking about how hard it was when he was head of the UN, to try and explain between the leaders of the US and Iran how, what one Iranian leader had said to its farmers in the countryside of Iran, shouldn't be incorrectly interpreted by the American leaders in Washington DC, from considering directly what was said. Sometimes, what was said in the countryside was merely an attempt for the leader of Iran to explain to an uneducated farmer, topics such as Nuclear power.

For that explanation to then be understood by the leaders in America well, it simply doesn't translate well; or in fact, at all. Kofi Annan said that he had so much trouble in pointing out that, that what was said to an Iranian farmer shouldn't be listened to or reacted to by the leaders of the US.

It was like playing "telephone" between two world leaders. That is one side of it.

The other side is considering communication simply from one entity to another. That's talking at the country sized level. Now drop it down to individual sized level. Every person on earth has a different understanding or filter of the world, from every other individual.

Certainly, we all have a somewhat general understanding or we could never communicate at all. Still, that being said, we really don't all FULLY understand exactly what any other person is saying. On an international stage, this is very disconcerting.

Now, apply that concept into the tiny confines of a romantic relationship. Tiny confines from an outsider's perspective perhaps, but from an insider's perspective it can become an overburdened, intolerably huge affair. How do we ever truly communicate? How can we truly know the other person? Or, other nation for that matter.

Kind of scary when you think about it. Right?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Gun Registration - What? I mean, Why? Or, why not?

Now before I say anything political, let me remind you that you can still pick up five of my most popular short stories today on Amazon. Check Friday's blog for details. Okay, here we go....

Something just occurred to me, regarding the Second Amendment.

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Doesn't that sound more like it's talking about one state protecting itself from another state, if not the country altogether, from another country. Remember the Civil War? God knows, Canada is a scary place to Americans. Everyone is so damn nice, just how can you trust those nearly Limey bastards? And let's not even talk about Mexico. Then there is North Korea....

The Amendment says "the security of a free state", not the security of a free citizen.

No background checks? Why? First we don't have a "well regulated militia". The Amendment says a "Well Regulated Militia". Isn't registering your gun, "well regulated"? How is it infringing your right to keep and bear them? You can still have them.

As I see it what this outcry is about is because of Czechoslovakia back in 1967 when the Soviets (who don't exist anymore) rolled in with tanks, went to the police stations, gathered up the lists of gun owners, when to those homes, took the guns and therefore, effectively disarmed the entire country. But no one I talk to about this topic, even remembers or knows about that anymore.

So what are they screaming about?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Journalistic Integrity

I get these things. Why can't professional news media get it? Or politicians? Or political mouthpieces, or loudmouths? I am referring to Fox News. They seem to be the worst for this kind of behavior, pushing agendas, pushing the limits of journalistic integrity (I doubt they can spell that). But there are others. I can forgive some, sometimes, but not to these extremes we are seeing now a days. Edward R. Murrow should be turning in his grave. 

First of all, I am NOT a paid Journalist. But lacking resources or payment for what I write for free many times, I at least try to be honest and accurate. When someone has corrected me on this blog I have checked out their contentions and made the corrections, many times even leaving the original and noting the mistake in the text. I don't delete their posting even when they are being condescending or obnoxious and I don't take credit for correcting what they found if at all possible (but if they post anonymous, it's hard to give credit where credit is due). 

So here it is....

I've been called a Liberal. I'm not.

I've been called by a liberal, a conservative. I'm not. 

I just believe in the truth as I can best uncover and conceive of it. 

I prefer to have life be good, to maintain the status quo except for where it can be made better.

In some cases the status quo needs to be destroyed. In other cases, maintained. However, I know that I have to use my knowledge, my intellect, the newest information I can find in relation to it, along with a consideration of how History has shown any efforts to effect change, in order to change the status quo.

I want to make my life better whenever possible. but I think we should take some calculated risks to continue to strive to make life better not just for me, but for everyone.

When I profess anything as fact, I should strive to prove first to myself that it is, indeed, fact. Buy checking that item via another second source, disconnected from the first and then from a third source, a source as opposing to the first as possible. Or three primary sources with objective or unimpeachable reputations (if there are indeed, any left).

I do not think I should act hysterically and before I have all the facts in and act or speak. And if I speak, to make it clear this is my opinion and not yet a fully realized one.

I do not think I should speak negatively when there are positive ways to view and explain things.
I should not misrepresent facts. I should not color things to seem to be what I know them not to be or simply that they are not. I should not make things up or lie for my own benefit. When I do make a mistake I should correct myself.

I should not blow things out of proportion to make a buck or push myself into the forefront while misleading the American people and causing them to respond to incorrect information thus affecting the path of America in an incorrect direction.

Who raised you that you as professional Journalists, that you don't get these pretty simple things that your parents should have instilled in you as a child and your mentors in journalism should have beat into you as reporters of the news in the Public Trust?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Free ebooks Spring Giveaway - Friday May 17th!


Starting today for five days (Friday May 17th through Monday), several of my ebooks on will be available free of cost to anyone. Please feel free to grab one, or all if you haven't already. 

-Expedition of the Arcturus (Sci Fi some might say, apocalyptic even and somewhat related to recent true life)
-The Conqueror Worm (Tween Horror)
-Mr. Pakool's Spice (Zombie Horror)
-The Mea Culpa Document of London (medieval macabre), and 
-EarVu (Horror/Sci Fi in the Lab).
And soon the audio book version of - Expedition of the Arcturus 
The Conqueror Worm, The Mea Culpa Document of London, (and soon, Expedition of the Arcturus) are also available as audio books, but are not included int his promotion. Have fun!


I was just looking at some of my stats and rankings on Amazon Author Central. 

In Kindle ebooks I was at 37.014 on April 25th for no apparent reason I can fathom. But hey, thanks! 
Non-Kindle books (print, maybe audio too, I'm not sure) - 113,112. 
All Books - For Sci Fi/Fantasy 4,354. 
All - Fantasy 3,633. 
All - Sci Fi 2,961.

Hmmm if I keep going will I get to #1? lol
Kindle Sci Fi 1,926
Kindle Horror 1,276. This one peaks a lot time and again. My highest number this year was 1,049 on Jan. 14th.

Hmmm... maybe I should write another Horror story. Perhaps a nice tale from my childhood. Or worse, Junior High years and how I was not even wanted by the Freaks and Geeks until High School when I was a leader in the Freak community. lol

I've been watching Freaks and Geeks from 1999/2000. Fun show. In Jr High I wanted to join the Chess Club (Geeks). Not even they wanted me. I could only join if I could beat their best player, they said. Funny how I remember and can see it in the basement where they met, of our Jr High.

Of course, I lost. Really not cool of them (Thanks, Mike Wise who later built a home PC in a wooden foot locker at home back in 1969 or so).

But in their defense (and as with everyone who knew me most of the first half of my life), they just thought I'd screw around and not be serious, focused, or dedicated. They, were wrong. And through my life I've been a not too bad chess player though I'm a bit rusty now. For years I'd only play against non humans after one particularly bad loser's fit of angst when I beat him that put me off playing against people with bad temperaments.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Starting tomorrow - Free ebooks for Spring Giveaway!

Hi there!

Starting tomorrow for five days (Friday - Monday) I will be offering some ebooks for free. Check them out tomorrow for more information.
Expedition of the Arcturus
(Sci Fi - some might say apocalyptic even and somewhat related to recent true life)

-The Conqueror Worm (Tween Horror and beyond)

-Mr. Pakool's Spice (Zombie Horror)

-The Mea Culpa Document of London (medieval macabre), and 

EarVu (Horror/Sci Fi in the Lab). Art by Artist Marvin Hayes

Like I said above, stop by tomorrow for more, or just stake them out and pick them up tomorrow. Or just catch my blog tomorrow morning.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Second Amendment

It occurs to me that the arguments about the 2nd amendment are misunderstood. People look past the words to the actions. Owning guns and what kind of guns.

Since the beginning of this country it's been stated and argued that each citizen needs to have a weapon to be part of a well armed militia; to protect themselves; to protect the citizenry against tyranny from our own government. The liberal counter to that is, there is no way the citizen in these times can protect themselves against the modern American authority. The greatest fighting forces and police forces in the world. We cannot outfight our own country's weaponry, their numbers or their tactics. So what's all this arguing about?

By merely HAVING the 2nd Amendment, we have a talking point, a rally point, a doorstop to maintaining this vigil against tyranny that is far more effective than any one (or multiple) weaponry going up against any other form of weaponry, or any citizen force of any size going up against any federal or state forces in this nation.

In that vein the Founding Fathers, or merely Thomas Jefferson, WERE brilliant. And that, is what all this noise is about the 2nd Amendment for. To think that we as citizens can stand against the American weaponized authorities, is ludicrous. However, in arguing and keeping the Second Amendment alive and flourishing, we keep alive the concepts behind that. Now, that does not mean, we need to have military weaponry in our homes. It means we need to keep alive that right to keep and bear arms. Now a days, the actual "arms" are merely bookmarks.

To keep the argument alive and therefore, to keep the American Government more in it's "place" than not. To this concept we also have the concept of State and Federal Government which is and always will be problematic. And which at this moment in time may be too heavily slighted toward the Federal. But that does not mean we should through the baby ut with the dirty bathwater. It means we need to think, to come together, to work this out in a thoughtful and not partisan, or insane, way.

As for the NRA.... I read an interesting article yesterday sitting in my dentist's office that showed how, through interviews with the parties involved, the NRA is not the mouthpiece of the gun manufacturers. Rather, things have turned around and the gun manufacturers now a days have become puppets of the NRA and outright fear their clout. Examples were given of a gun manufacturer going against the NRA's lead and the NRA striking back with moves that devastated the sales of the gun manufacturer for not lining up with the NRAs plans and actions. It is indeed the NRA who has grown to be out of control.

It is the NRA who needs to be disassembled and reconstituted. Do we need an NRA watching for protection of the Second Amendment? Or do we need a brand new organization. Or a branch of an already existing civil rights organization to take over for them and start acting like good citizens for the American welfare and not just their own agenda?

There are already several others out there who are trying to be rational, sane organizations who do believe in things like background checks. Something that most Americans want but the NRA is pushing to avoid. Even though their mouthpiece Wayne LaPierre back in the 90s suggested it himself but later switched his stance one he got blow-back by yes, you guessed it, right wing conservatives.

Whatever the answer, today it is not the NRA. They, have to go. Or grown up (or down). For they have too much power and themselves are fearful of a right wing bunch of nuts. Slowly America is coming to realize that this right wing bunch of nuts are exactly that, nuts. And bad for America. Much in  the way now that Christians are making themselves look bad on the subject of Gays, as young Americans who couldn't care less, have Gay friends (or relatives) whom they are not afraid of; every time Christians speak out against Gays, they are losing more and more Americans who DO count. Until finally, one day, this will simply become a non issue and those who speak out against Gays will be seen in the same vein as racists, sexists and the bigots they are based upon a book of myths they hold up as scientific fact.

We need to stop allowing the argument to be clouded and obfuscated, on the Second Amendment, and so much more. We are getting there. But we need to get there faster.

Pay attention, to what is really happening in America. And the next time someone starts to spew nonsense in your direction, spew some enlightenment back at them and let the others around them know what is really going on, too.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Seminal TV shows... mine.

First of all, I would like to wish you all a thoughtful International Clitoris Awareness Week. My thoughts go out to all abused women. I hope it won't be long before women everywhere can feel safe and live their lives in peace and security.

Okay then. Now....

Perhaps, TV is more of a catalyst to the Baby Boomers than since. Yes, generations since them have been inundated with shows on TV, cable, satellite, even the Internet. But in the beginning of TV through the Baby Boomer Generation, there were only about three channels, and they went off the air at 2AM if not sooner.

When a show came on back then, that was it, you saw it or not. It was, it seemed, important. You valued those shows, you gave them more import. You believed more of what you saw and they affected you and the culture far more than happens now.

I can remember when I missed the first time, the beginning of a Star Trek episode in 1967. I was about twelve. We were in the parking lot of the Gov-Mart, a WallMart like store in South Tacoma, Washington. I kept hoping my mother would come back out of the store, get in the car with my Grandmother and me and drive home in time for the opening. She had to talk to a department manager about a vacuum cleaner she had previously purchased for some reason. I maintained hope all the way up until a minute before the show was to start and then, when I realized we would miss the show, I broke down in tears.

We got home about half way through the show and my little brother was watching it when we came in. But I refused to watch the rest of it, not wanting to run the show by jumping in half way and I went to my room, crushed, until it was over. I was miserable for that next week, until the beginning of the next episode and no one, was thinking of keeping me from seeing it that week. Nor was I going to let anyone take me out of he house that day until I saw that episode.

So I think that the shows I saw as a child carved me much more into the person I am today, than the shows now a days can for today's youth. Today we know we can seen the show right after the episode is over, perhaps. Or we can get it "On Demand", or online, somewhere. It's just not a big concern any longer. And between this knew capability and the original shows, someone had invented the "rerun".

I'm not saying today's young viewers aren't affected by TV programming, I'm just saying way back when, it was different. More affecting, overall and in many ways on many levels. Was that a good thing? I don't know. Maybe that is why this country is so messed up? Maybe if we'd had more options as we do now, perhaps things would be better now. Maybe they'd be worse.

So, what shows do I remember now? What shows stuck in my mind after all these years? What shows do you remember from back when? That means, what shows are so affecting that over the decades, it is easy to remember them, or someone about one of those shows from your childhood guide you in your thoughts in some way. Maybe they have something to do with a course change in life and choices that are made. Shows that over all the others that I no longer remember, or would have to "pressure think" in order to remember. Maybe something a character said echoes in your mind from time to time as a guide or mental sign post directing you in a way you feel is right, or courageous. It's something to think about.

Movies and shows for a youth are much like living a real life experience. Were these seminal experiences giving us good paths, or should we consider them and consciously strive to correct them? We should also consider how the shows of today will affect our own children.

What shows do you remember from your own childhood? These are some of mine that come to mind and in no particular chronological or order of importance.

The family shows:

Mickey Mouse Club (obviously, and the original, again... obviously)
The Walt Disney Show (ibid)
Leave it to Beaver (the PERFECT 50s style family)
And many others....

The Westerns:

Daniel Boone
The Rifleman (the seemingly perfect and fallible Dad/Father figure)
Have Gun Will Travel
And many others....

Sci Fi:

Lost in Space (the first five episodes of LIS which were very good Science Fiction but then they degraded into sheer buffoonery much like the Batman TV show did and mostly because of Dr. Smith. The coupling of the boy/robot dynamic was good, but the addition of the antagonist Dr. Smith was unnecessary in my consideration)
Star Trek (in the forever ongoing argument of LIS vs ST, I'd say ST every time)

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (sadly it eventually degraded into the BEM fallback position with a weekly Bug Eyed Monster to hold the young audience, possibly to compete with LIS)

The Comedies (some of these were mere reruns from the 50s):

I Love Lucy (Lucy was my mother's hero as was, and this is scary too, Liz Taylor)

The Honeymooners
Jackie Gleason

The Red Skelton Show
I'm Dickens He's Fenster
Car 54 Where are you?
F Troop
My World and Welcome to it (1969-70 and based on the humor of James Thurber)
Addams Family (in the Musters vs Addams Family comparison, I was an AF... easy).
The Munsters
My Three Sons
Father Knows Best
The Patty Duke Show
Dobie Gillis
Bachelor Father
I Dream of Jeannie (and boy did I and oh so many other males during it's run)
The Monkees
The Partridge Family
Family Affair
I'm sure there are some that are important but are simply slipping my mind just now but have regularly popped into my head.

Variety Sketch Comedy Shows

The Smothers Brothers Show
The Carol Burnett Show
Though I didn't get to see them often, the late night shows had an affect on me whenever I got to see them, The Jack Paar Show, The Tonight Show with Steve Allen and later Johnny Carson)
The Monty Python Show (on PBS here in America)

Then there was a turn for the dark side with police procedurals, adventure shows, and more adult programming:

Perry Mason
Adventures in Paradise - (Captain has a weekly changeable crew of all females)
Ripcord (skydiving)
Route 66
77 Sunset Strip
Richard Diamond
SeaHunt (SCUBA diving)
Checkmate (Detective agency show that had a title sequence I found fascinating as a six year old. I recently got them from NetFlix and watch them to see what it was I liked)
Peter Gunn
The Man From UNCLE
I Spy
The Avengers
Secret Agent Man (Danger Man in the UK)
The Saint
various Doctor shows
And many more of these through the 60s as they were a mainstay of TV

I generally preferred scripted shows and I fear for some children addicted to so called reality shows now a days. There are some great reality shows. Many of which are cooking shows (and many of which are not). Even some shows do some civil good in helping people understand much misunderstood groups, such as "Hoarders" in showing mental illness, it's repercussions on family and friends and how to deal with it. And of course focusing too much on any topic doesn't give one a full view of life. Not that scripted shows in the 50s/60s or beyond have, either for that matter.

How did this affect me in my early adult years? At nineteen I took the exam for the police department. There were too many applicants and only six slots at that time. Within a year I joined the USAF as Law Enforcement. I have flat feet so they cancelled that route while I was in basic training and I ended up a parachute rigger as I had prior sky diving experience. Before I got out I was vetted and accepted as an USAF OSI Agent.

But at the last minute, I got out to get a degree in Psychology. Now I am striving to make a living as a writer and love the entertainment industry (the artistic process, not the business side which I think most of us find rather distasteful). So I think you can see perhaps, how what I watched on TV as a youth affected me. I also grew up seeing USAF planes on the runway several blocks down the street from us at the local MacChord AFB which I think led me into the USAF as opposed to the Navy, Army other some other branch of the military, even those my father had been in the Navy.

In the end it is fun and can be useful to reflect on these shows that have affected us in the past, during our formative years and consider the same for our children.

What is the one show you first think of from your own first five or ten years on this planet? How has it affected you in your life?