Marvel's Next Female Superhero

On Las Vegas, a Ship I Love, and David Copperfield

I wanted to talk about my experiences in Las Vegas.  I live here six months out of every year. Honestly, before I ever visited, I can tell you that I thought I wouldn’t like it. It has that hard-playing reputation, you know, and based on that, it just didn’t seem like me. I don’t gamble, although I’ll put ten bucks into a slot machine now and again, just to hear the clinks and whistles. I don’t drink much. Two glasses of wine is usually my limit, and though I do love a good martini, it'll put me to sleep an hour later, as it has done since I was old enough to drink. But my husband coaxed me into visiting Las Vegas for the first time, and ever since he and I have been together, we’d come … [Read more...]

Why Ban Books?

At the end of Banned Books Week, let's ask ourselves why people feel the need to ban books. It's simple. When we point a gun at ourselves, we can see it. And we know that once we pull the trigger, we’ll cause our own death. But when we use our own mind against our own self, we don’t know that’s what we’re doing. In a twist of biological irony, the most unique and powerful weapon we have to insure our own survival is our brain, but that same brain can be manipulated into causing our own destruction. And the simplest way for our minds to be taken over to our own detriment is for the information that goes into it to be restricted and controlled. Think about it. If rice is the only food we’re … [Read more...]

You Deserve It

The year was 2000. I can't describe how lonely I was. I loved living in Greece, but I just wanted to talk with someone who had shared experiences, you know? An American who'd lived through what I had. Enter "Forest Farmer" a man who posted an ad for a pen pal. He'd written, "I have four wonderful sons, and I love them very much." That was the first sentence of his bio. I didn't know anything else about him, but I'm sure I started to fall in love from that, because I had a son who I loved very much too. We did become pen pals, wrote every day for six months, without ever exchanging a photo, until he came to Greece to meet me. He got off the plane, and I had never seen anyone skinnier or with … [Read more...]

Cookies, Bloody Cookies

Let's talk about passive aggression. The ability to snipe at others in this fashion and do so successfully takes patience and intelligence. And to spot it also takes intellect. Spite under a cloak of "support" or "helpfulness" works like this: You welcome a new neighbor whom you wish weren't in your neighborhood by bringing her home-baked cookies, and then while she's at her door, holding your plate and thanking you, and ready to invite you in, you step back off her porch, you tell her how miserable it is living on the block. If she asks you, "Why would you say that?" your reply is, "I'm just trying to be helpful. I'm just trying to let you know what you'll suffer by living here. And I … [Read more...]

Neo-America

Just so I'm clear, let me list the facts as I know them: In protest against American racism, a Black football player kneels during the national anthem. That's the length and breadth of his protest, correct? He is then called out as "disrespectful" by another former Black football player, Jim Brown, who, if memory serves me correctly, once threw a woman out of a moving car. We've somehow reasoned away a grassroots, fascist militia who open carries assault rifles and combat gear to their own protest, and a sheriff (Arpaio) who went after a judge, his own wife, jailed a journalist for reporting his misuse of power, was in contempt of the law for not showing up for his court date, and under … [Read more...]

A Letter to American Nazis

Dear American Nazis: We all thought it over ─ the rest of us in the United States who aren’t Nazis, that is ─ and decided to give you what you want. We will leave you the country, and we’ll all go someplace else to live. To be clear on who’s leaving, I’ll say it using your terminology: Niggers, Jews, Chinks, Spics, Wops, Feminist Cunts, Libtards, and anyone else that isn’t part of your supreme group ─ we’re all going. You win. When we saw how one of you sat in a 4000-pound vehicle that kept him safe while he plowed into pedestrians who had no chance at all against it ─ we thought, “Wow. That’s brave. We can’t beat these people.” So, we’re out of here. But when we go, we take with us … [Read more...]

Only One Kind of Flower?

TRUE STORY: When my son was only four, a relative tried to teach him the "N" word. Luckily, this 'lesson' was conducted in front of me. When we got home, I then had to explain to my little boy not only what the word meant, but what it meant about the values held by the relative --- someone he really loved --- who tried to teach it to him. My son listened to my explanation in absolute shock. Then he said, "You mean, there are people who want only one kind of people? That's the same as wanting only one kind of animal, or one kind of flower." Yes, son, it is. And to the people protesting in Charlottesville: He was four when he figured that out. … [Read more...]

June Allen: Ninety Years of Courage, Perseverance, and Love

  She was twelve when war broke out. She was eighteen when she first sailed aboard the RMS Queen Mary, and with her was her baby son. June Boots Allen celebrates her ninetieth birthday today, August 3, 2017. Those years have been rich and vivid, filled with happiness, but also with more heartbreak than most know. Yet, despite the extraordinary ups and downs of her life, she remains a positive force of inspiration, not only for her own family, but far beyond. A long-time resident of Anderson, Indiana, June came to the United States as an English war bride in 1946, aboard the Queen Mary. It took June sixty-seven years to get back to the ship again in 2014, this time as an honored … [Read more...]

On Happiness, and SPELLS AND OREGANO …

I have one more draft of this manuscript to complete--the final edits before the copy edits.  People who don't write novels probably assume that everything on the pages is made up because it is after all, fiction. But the reality is that if a writer is too lazy to do research, what he ends up with is a story that pulls a reader out of the world he's created to say, "That doesn't make sense." Even when you've created a world that includes spirits like this one does, which many would argue don't exist, there has to be a consistency in how those spirits operate. In Cooking for Ghosts, for example, the spirits look as alive as you and I. In Spells and Oregano there is one spirit who does not. … [Read more...]

TERRORIST MEDIA

After a terrorist attack most of us say, "I wish there was something I could do. I wish we could all make this better." Well, guess what? There is something you can do, and it is very counter-intuitive. STOP reading about the attacks. STOP watching news reports about it. STOP clicking on links with headlines about it. Sounds wrong, doesn't it? Not if you read this. I've compiled a number of tweets from a terrorist attack victim and listed them below. This is what she went through with the so-called press, and apart from a few clarifications of abbreviations, etc., I've added nothing of my own, other than this: True journalists have a code of ethics. Re-terrorizing victims and … [Read more...]