Not Even Jack Del Rio Could Fix This

When I created the three-book Jack Del Rio series (Reservations, Betrayals and Endgames) I envisioned a lone man standing against powerful political forces. While Reservations was the first book in the series, Betrayals was actually the first one that I had written and that back in 1998.

I had imagined an FBI Agent discovering an old Soviet Cold War-era plot to infiltrate and overthrow the U.S. Government from within. Reservations was released in 2015 and Betrayals followed in 2016, right in the middle of one of the strangest presidential campaigns I have ever seen. And seeing many elements of a story I had written 18 years before starting to appear in real life was somewhat scary.

Now, if the final scenarios found in Endgames (2017) start playing out in real life, I’m packing my bags for a deserted island in the South Pacific.

Like many of you, I’ve been watching the Kavanaugh Hearings with a mixture of popcorn-power-eating fascination and despair for what the state of politics in America have become.

The facts are rather simple: Dr. Ford claims she was attacked by then-17 year-old Kavanaugh. He denies it. Both seem sincere. The people she has named as being present in 1982 have all said that what she is claiming never happened.

There is no factual evidence. No police report. No conversation with a friend, a pastor or anyone after the attack. We don’t even know the day or place. Experienced prosecutors have stated they couldn’t even get a warrant to search for evidence given what we know now.

“Because I said so” is not evidence.

“Because I told my therapist and family 30 years later” is not evidence.

And one of the (crumbling) foundations of this country is that you are presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty. And that burden of proof falls upon the accusing party.

In watching this bizarre theater of the absurd play out these past few weeks, I cannot help but wonder if the people playing these political power games understand the damage they have done and continue to inflict on our country. Our faith in our institutions has been flagging for over 40 years now.

The Presidency, the Senate and House, the FBI, our intelligence agencies, our military and now even our Supreme Court. All have been under assault by those seeking power, by those seeking to deny others their freedoms many have fought and died for.

I look at what is going on today and wonder what Jack Del Rio would do here. Seeing political groups attacking our country the way the radical left is doing, and given his ultimate solution in Endgames, would Jack make a different decision regarding the package he reveals in the Oval Office?

To be honest, I think he might have left it there undiscovered and stayed put in his fortress home in Arizona. Because the America we are heading for, that anyone can be accused – and found guilty – of a crime without one iota of actual proof (remember, because I said so is NOT proof) is not the America our Founders envisioned.

And it isn’t one worth trying to save, either.

 

Check out Jack’s gauntlet, and his triumph over evil,  in the Del Rio Series.  They are available in print, Kindle and audiobook formats.

 

 

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Off The Top Of My Head: The Participation Trophy Generation

Something I noticed early in my sports writing days was a change in how games were approached among the young kids. At certain levels, the score was not kept. There were no winners, no losers and everyone got a participation trophy.

This was done, so they said, so that kids’ self-esteem would not be damaged by losing. Then came the mandatory “if the kid is on the team, the kid has to play at least a certain amount of time regardless of skill and ability” rules.

The kids were no longer being taught valuable life lessons in lieu of making them “feel good about themselves”. But by making everyone happy, those proponents of this approach were actually doing a huge disservice to the kids and to society.

Winning AND losing teach valuable lessons on the field that can be used off the field. Yes, winning is wonderful and the desired result at all times. I’ve enjoyed my fair share of on-field and off-field wins. There is nothing like that feeling of victory.

And yes, losing sucks. I’ve had my fair share of defeats in sports and in life. It isn’t fun to go through. But here’s the thing. Losing can teach you a whole lot more than winning does. And those particular lessons come in very handy off the field of play.

I was taught, by my father and several coaches, to win and lose with the same grace and dignity. I was also taught to use those losses as motivation to improve my own abilities and efforts in order to emerge victorious the next time. And trust me, after each defeat suffered I came back the next time highly motivated to do better. And more often than not, I did better and collected more victories than losses.

I was not taught to blame the other side for my inability to win the day/game/contest. Nor was I taught to constantly attack the winner endlessly simply because they bested me on the field of play. It was up to me to win by getting better, and not chasing my opponent off the field of play with underhanded attacks.

But what happens when you aren’t taught those early lessons? We see it today in the way this generation is handling losing. Back in 2016 this Participation Trophy generation suffered its first loss in a Presidential election here in the U.S. And what have they done for the last two years since?

Throw a temper tantrum that would make 22-year-old John McEnroe blush, that’s what.

They’ve marched in the streets at the drop of a pussy hat and for reasons of cosmic insignificance. They’ve taken to confronting officials who are out to dinner with family long after the office doors have closed, chasing them out of restaurants and events. They are viciously slandering innocent people with outright lies.

They are stomping their feet and whining and wailing over a loss suffered two years ago with all of the gusto of an eight-month-old child that just had its binky taken away. Actually, I should apologize to all of the eight-month-old children I just insulted. They at least have an excuse for their behavior. They just haven’t learned how to behave yet.

These 20-30 somethings don’t have that excuse. They really should know better.

I do recall, way back when this feel-good, participation trophy horse-hockey was originally introduced, many of us actually warned that this would be the end result. Well, let me qualify that. I think we knew it would not end well. We just didn’t know it would be this big of a charlie-foxtrot.

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Off The Top Of My Head: Extremists Will Be Our Undoing

Extremists will be the death of this country. I truly believe this.

I’m not talking about Islamic extremists who fly planes into buildings, blow up people at sporting and entertainment events or run about stabbing people in subway stations. Those lunatics we can deal with. They have no chance of undoing the foundation this country was built upon 242 years ago.

But the extremists on both the left and the right can and they seem hell-bent on doing just that. The sad fact is that neither side seems to care about the damage they are doing to the country – or the harm to innocent people caught in the crossfire – just as long as they “get” the other side.

On the left, we have those who blithely toss out accusations of sexism, racism, etc., etc. at anyone and for the mere crime of disagreeing with them over a single point. Many times that point of contention has nothing to do at all with the “-ism” charge being leveled at that.

For example, Comicsgate has seen this to a level far surpassing insanity. If you say a particular storyline is terrible and completely disregards years of a character’s established story the immediate response is that you are a racist. If someone involved with that particular comic is female. you are sexist. And don’t even get me started on what happens when the gender-identity stuff gets tossed into the mix.

The original point of contention – the STORY itself – is ignored and the extremist rants about being discriminated against rather than addressing the actual issue. This is done because in fact, they can’t defend what they did and the best defense – in their world – is a bald-faced lying offense.

Now, lest you think I am being biased, the extremists on the right are no better. Because many of them are in fact racist and sexist. But most of them only show up to be racist and sexist and don’t actually bring a valid concern to the table. Like their counterparts on the left, they just want to burn everything to the ground and claim “victory”.

Meanwhile, you, me and the rest of the sane people who just want to read or watch great stories are caught in the middle of this stupidity. The vast majority of the Comicsgate people are like me – we just want to produce and enjoy great stories. We don’t want to indoctrinate, pontificate or obliterate people. We also don’t want – when we are the consumers instead of the producers – to be indoctrinated, preached at or told we should be eradicated from the face of the Earth.

Yet, both sides are so engaged in their mutual destruction that they don’t care who among us they take out in the middle of their little war. I know. Because I’ve been targeted by both sides.

12391200_1051842254836608_5427364927344955744_nThe lefties are dead certain that I’m a racist (my Native American ancestors are laughing their asses off in the afterlife, trust me, as will my half-Japanese grandson when he gets old enough to understand how stupid adults really can be). I’m sexist (my wife is laughing her ass off over that charge). I’m homophobic (my son and my cousin are laughing their gay asses off over that charge). as well as a slew of other charges without any foundation in actual fact.

Meanwhile, the righties have called me every name in the book and even gone so far as 403162_10150613644143465_129446698464_11144620_448774237_nto threaten to “deport me” because I have not bent knee to Donald Trump, Vox Day and a few other sacred cows of theirs. I’m not sure to where I would be deported, being that the last member of my family – maternal AND paternal – to immigrate to the U.S. did so back in the 1890s. Not to mention that at least two of my ancestors might have been standing on the beach when the Mayflower first pulled up to Plymouth Rock back in the 17th Century.

But, as with the extremists on the left, facts don’t matter. The target must be destroyed at all costs, even the truth itself must be sacrificed for the “greater good” it seems.

Which brings me to Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Who is being targeted for destruction by the extremists on the left. There are now two allegations dating back nearly 40 years against him. They’ve been levied at the very last minute, neither of them have one scintilla of factual evidence to support them, and even the people mentioned as potential witnesses are denying every aspect of both allegations.

Yet, despite the fact that neither claim is believable (the fact that these allegations were known for months and kept hidden until the very last second screams political hit in my opinion), we have a man being targeted for destruction simply because he disagrees on a political point: abortion. And for that “sin” he must be utterly destroyed. No matter the harm done to him, his reputation or his family. No matter the harm done to people loosely connected to this attack. No matter the harm done to the concept of “Innocent until PROVEN guilty” that is the foundation of our legal system.

He must be destroyed. At any cost. “For the cause.”

The problem is this: In taking out a Brett Kavanaugh in this fashion, the extremists are taking out our country at the same time. Because if this continues it will only escalate further until this becomes a shooting war.

We had one of those back in the 1860s. I don’t think we’ve fully recovered from that one yet and it has been 150 years since the last shot was fired. If we start shooting again, we may not have a country left when the last round is fired.

It’s time for the extremists to shut up. There is a way to disagree without being disagreeable. There is a way to oppose someone’s position without destroying their lives and those of innocent bystanders.

Its called being an adult. So grow the fuck up, children, because those of us caught in the middle of your temper tantrums are adults. And it will not go well for you when we’ve finally had enough of your childish antics.

Some People

Off The Top Of My Head: San Diego

So the purpose of this particular series of posts is going to be about whatever happens to pop into my head at any given time. It could just be about any subject under the sun.

Today it’s about San Diego. They have a nice zoo there. Beaches are great. Weather always seems to be 76 and sunny. I enjoyed going to Sea World. Legoland was something of a disappointment.

SAN_DIEGO_CHARGERS_LOGO_3But what brought it to mind today is the Los Angeles Rams are playing the Los Angeles Chargers today in the NFL. The Chargers originally played in Los Angeles for a brief time in the 1960s AFL before moving south to San Diego. Last year, they moved back to Los Angeles.

It isn’t the first San Diego team that Los Angeles has pilfered from its southern neighbor either. After eight years in upper New York, the Buffalo Braves of the f3d9cb25eef5740b62c90ed67214e5b8--sport-logos-school-sportsNBA packed up and headed west for San Diego in 1978 and changed their name to the San Diego Clippers. But in 1984 the team moved north and played in the Sports Arena as the Los Angeles Clippers.

That leaves San Diego with just one major professional league team out of the Big 4 (NFL, NBA, MLB & NHL): The San Diego Padres. Now, the Los Angeles area already has two baseball teams in the Dodgers and Angels.

But given the history, San Diego should probably keep an eye out on Los Angeles. Besides, even if they don’t pilfer another San Diego franchise, the way L.A. is growing they might just up and annex everything between Norwalk and the Mexico border.

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Did You Miss Me?

Well, did you?

I took two weeks off from social media – Facebook, Twitter and even this blog – if for no other reason than to save my sanity. The first couple of days of my self-imposed exile were kind of tough. That desire to get online and hit social media was a bit of an eye-opener for me. I hadn’t realized how much time and energy I had devoted to social media until I stopped logging on.

After a few days I came to another realization: I can actually do without social media. I got a whole lot more done during these past two weeks than I normally do. And my general attitude toward the human race in general improved as well.

Social media – especially Facebook and Twitter – are nothing more than toxic cesspools. To be honest, there was a point about a week ago where I was considering making my exile permanent. I had a third party posting news and promotion ads for me during my absence. I could have easily made that position permanent.

are-you-not-entertained-meme-com-12069313I’m sure my knockdown drag-outs were entertaining. But they weren’t very productive. 

But the simple truth is that social media is a necessary tool for a writer, especially an independently published one. Permanently checking out of social media isn’t going to work, as attractive as staying out of that swamp may be.

So, here’s how it’s going to work going forward. Starting now, I’ll resume posting on Facebook and Twitter. However, the block button is going to have a very quick trigger finger resting on it. I’ve already weeded out a lot of toxic individuals and left a few groups that seem to be more into politics than suits my purposes.

I’ll resume blogging here as well. If I feel the need to pontificate, I’ll do it here. Comments have to be approved before being posted on the blog, so the possibility of another series of incidents that led to my timeout are reduced.

Timeless_Book_2_V2 copyAnd, in the meantime, I’ll continue working on my scheduled writing. Recently, the first book of the Timeless series was released. I’m writing the second book, Secret Of The Sphynx, and editing Planetary: Pluto for Superversive Press. 

My next full-length novel, Firstborn’s Curse, should be coming out sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The remaining four books of the Timeless series will roll out every other month.

As far as next year I have three projects I am focusing on. The novelization of Seadragon, the 1986 comic book series I was a lead writer for, a possible launch of a graphic novel project on Indiegogo and a novel for Superversive Press.

Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? It is. And the less time I spend arguing with anonymous trolls online the more likely it is that I will get them done on time.

And really, which would you prefer to read: Me arguing with idiots or one of my amazing stories? Like this one:

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Betrayals Now Out As Audiobook

Fans of the Jack Del Rio political/thriller series have reason to be happy today. Betrayals, the second book of the series, is now available on Audible as an audiobook. Theo Holland returns to narrate the second installment.

Here’s the link: Betrayals

And if you haven’t listened to the first book, Reservations, also narrated by Theo, then you should pick up an audiobook copy of it as well.

Here’s the link: Reservations

Production of the third book, Endgames, is scheduled to begin this fall. Theo Holland will return to complete the series.

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