Stan Lee

ABC's "Fresh Off the Boat" - Season Three

It is hard to imagine what sci-fi/fantasy would be if Stan Lee weren’t a part of it. The incredible universe he helped create at Marvel will almost certainly be impossible to duplicate.

Like many other SF/F authors I first was a huge fan. Thor, Spiderman, the X-Men, Iron Man, Captain America, the Incredible Hulk and all of the others were huge favorites. And what joy to see them move from the comic book page to the TV screen in weekly live and animated series.

Then the huge move to the big screen a few years back with the incredible series of films. Were it not for these films I would likely never have discovered the Guardians of the Galaxy. Seriously, I’d never checked out any of the Guardians’ comic books. Now, Rocket is my favorite Marvel character of all.

Stan Lee passed yesterday at the age of 95, not too long after the passing of his wife. This news was expected, but still saddens SF/F fans around the world. The legacy Lee leaves behind, in the stories, worlds and characters he created over a lengthy career is one any author/creator would sell his or her soul for. His stories will live on through time and be enjoyed by generations not yet born.

Ours can say we were lucky to enjoy him during his life and hopefully in future Marvel films not yet shot, they can figure out a way to have Stan show up in the film. His cameos have been fun to watch and I hope they keep on coming.

As for those who somehow wish to taint his legacy with unfounded rumor and innuendo, I’d say shame on you but the sad truth is you don’t have any to begin with. So I choose to tune out these negative nellies, these SJWs who are mad at Lee because he would not rewrite long-established characters to be something they never were.

Lee’s point that brand-new characters could be written with the qualities and traits the SJWs demanded was quite valid. But, as is always these case with these hateful people, it wasn’t enough. They always seek to destroy what came before, never to build something new.

Lee stood up to them and that might be his greatest legacy of all.

Rest well, Stan, you’ve earned it.

Acosta Is An Activist Now, Not A Journalist

07_3e9f94465201f14817ad8eb3073965b8There is a difference between journalism and activism.

A journalist seeks to record an event accurately, then lay out the who, what, why, when and how of the story in a fair and impartial way. The journalist allows the reader to draw their own conclusions without trying to sway them by “spinning” or “slanting” the story in a specific way.

An activist almost always discards inconvenient facts in order to “spin” or “slant” their narrative – sometimes referred to as “their truth” – in order to sway the uninformed reader to their way of thinking.

I was a journalist for over 20 years. I was never an activist.

Sadly, the line between these two mutually exclusive entities has been blurred for many years now by those claiming to be journalists.

Which brings me to one Jim Acosta, a journalist activist for CNN.

Jim has the sadz today. He is no longer welcome in the White House after literally assaulting a White House intern who was merely attempting to do her job. Many on the left are claiming he never touched her. He did. His arm bar made contact with her person.

It may not be the “laying hands upon” as Sarah Sanders described in her statement. But it was still the legal definition of battery. Jim is lucky he is only facing being banned from the White House. If I were the press secretary, Jim would be in jail.

Also, if I were Jim’s boss at CNN, Jim would have been handed his pink slip upon his return to the newsroom. Then again, he would have been pulled from covering the White House months ago if I were his boss at CNN.

Jim’s actions are those of an activist. Barely better than the Antifa brats that attempted to break into Tucker Carlson’s home last night, terrorizing the man’s wife and children as he was going on the air. Such brave folks those Antifa brats, right?

(As an aside, attempt to break down my front door only if you have seen to your funeral arrangements first. I will consider any such unlawful attack as a direct threat, a clear and present danger, to the health and safety of myself and my family and will respond with all of the instruments of deadly force at my disposal. “We know where you sleep at night” qualifies as a direct threat for those Antifa thugs who were wondering.)

But back to Jim and CNN.

A reputable, legitimate news organization would not tolerate his conduct. He is no longer reporting the news (journalist) he is becoming the news (activist). Yesterday’s assault upon the integrity of journalism was a perfect study in what NOT to do at a press conference.

After you have asked your question and received your answer, you may ask for a follow up question. If granted, ask it and move on. If it is not granted, yield the floor and allow one of your colleagues to ask his or her question, especially if the person holding the presser calls upon another reporter.

Jim did not do this. He attempted – after first lecturing instead of inquiring – to veer off onto an entirely different subject from his first alleged question. He was told no and to relinquish the microphone.

Not only did he continue to try to ask a question, he refused to hand over the mic. The intern’s job was to retrieve it and be ready to hand it to the next reporter to be called on.

Jim’s first error was in not allowing her to take the mic. It did not belong to him. He has no First Amendment right to hog an entire press conference.

His second error was in striking the intern with his forearm and possibly his left hand. Looking at the image above, he definitely makes contact with her arm as she attempts to retrieve the White House’s property. No matter how much you want to spin it, he struck her and prevented her from doing her job. By law, he could be charged with battery.

He deserved to be banned from the White House. He also deserved to be grabbed by the Secret Service and thrown out through the nearest closed window, but alas, a civilized society frowns upon such actions of true justice these days.

That CNN and other media outlets are decrying Jim’s ban is a black mark on the profession and further evidence that today’s press has abandoned the responsibility that comes along with the privileges of the First Amendment. It also indicts them as political activists, possibly even more of a threat to our democracy than the black-hearted, black-clad Antifa thugs roaming our streets.

Media bias? Yes, it does exist.

So we’ve been hearing CNN’s Jim Acosta and his brethren rail against being called “the enemies of the American people” by President Trump.

Gee, I wonder why they are labeled that way?

Journalist says win by GOP candidate would “Suck”

I spent over two decades in newsrooms, with reporters from all over the country, before hanging it up in 2010. I can guarantee you that similar remarks are being made daily in newsrooms wherever a Republican candidate is on the verge of defeating a Democrat.

I recall the 1996 cycle when an editor at the paper I was working at wailed about how stupid voters were when they passed ballot initiatives and voted in candidates that she opposed. No one on the news side disagreed with her. I just shook my head and carried on with what I was doing. Thankfully, I was manning the sports copy desk that night.

There is a hard left bias in nearly every newsroom you walk into – print, radio, TV – with very few exceptions. It has been this way for decades but only recently has the media decided to be blatantly open about it.

The problem is, they still want us to believe they are “impartial journalists.” They haven’t been that for a very long time. Perhaps, if they really dislike being called the enemy of the American people they can start by no longer acting like they are?

You can start, former colleagues, by sticking to reporting the facts and leaving your opinions for the op-ed pages. I happen to believe the American people are smart enough to sort out what is right and wrong without you trying to tell them what their opinion on the subject should be.

And if you happen to be as sick and tired of real-world politics and the shenanigans that comes along with election day how about escaping to a political thriller series where the good guys win out?

Jack Del Rio is the FBI’s rising star in counter-terrorism. But this lone agent will soon find himself to be the only man standing between the country he has sworn to protect and a decades-old plot to permanently destroy it.

This three-book political-thriller series begins with Reservations. Set in the Four Corners area of the American Southwest, FBI Special Agent Jack Del Rio navigates the legends, lore and politics of the Navajo, Zuni and Hopi tribes to bring an end to a serial killer’s spree.

In Betrayals, Del Rio uncovers a conspiracy hatched in post-Worlds War II Russia to infiltrate and overthrow the U.S. Government from within.

In the grand finale, Endgames, Del Rio becomes the hunted when the last vestiges of the conspiracy turn their full focus and fury upon him and anyone close to him.

#books #politicalthriller #TuesdayThrillers #Goodreads

On Kindle, KU and in Audiobooks too (Endgames is due out in audio format early next year!)





Time To Thin The Sideline Herd, NFL

So apparently, today is Sports Day on my blog. Hey, I did cover sports for more than 25 years so every once in a while I’m going to talk sports. Earlier, I told you why I am suspending my fandom of the Los Angeles Lakers.

So now I want to discuss an issue I have with football – at all levels and no, it doesn’t involve anything that goes on in between the sidelines.

How many of these people actually need to be on the sidelines? Not that many.

It is what happens outside the boundaries that annoys me, and has for some time. There are too many people standing there and many of them don’t need to be there at all.

The players, coaches and staff need to be there of course. So do the officials. The TV camera guys for TV and NFL Films are there to do a job, as are the still photography guys (of which I use to be one I might add.)

Everyone else? Nope. Don’t need to be there, so be gone!

I’m talking about the sideline reporters. Reports from the sidelines can be done by the play-by-play guy or the color analyst in the booth – like they used to do back in the olden days (pre-1990). Those injury reports? They are sent up to the press box. Everything else? Is just noise that does nothing for the game on the field.

As an aside, I did enjoy the game NBC broadcast many, many years ago with no announcers in the booth or on the sideline. Just the game with whatever sounds were being generated on the field and in the stadium. It was the most enjoyable game I’ve ever watched.

Now, back to the sideline reporters. Get them off the field and off my screen. And not only because of the one that got bonked in the back of the head by a football whilst doing whatever they call that blathering her lot does. They just clutter up a crowded sideline, making it harder for the camera folks to move about and do their jobs.

The heave-ho especially goes for Booger McFarland on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. The dude sits on some glorified recliner in the sky on the sideline. The lack of oxygen likely explains the utter nonsense he spews out. But that clunky bit of stage can easily disappear from the sideline.

Great eye candy? Sure. Great for the game? Not really.

And send off the cheerleaders as well. The only purpose they serve is eye candy. They do nothing for the game itself. And they too tend to wander out of their designated areas. I know, I’ve been hit from behind in the head or the back of the leg by a wayward pom-pom and/or boot enough times while trying to get a shot of a play more than my fair share of times.

And seriously guys, if THAT is what you go to the games to see, you need to get a Playboy channel subscription and just stay home. There is a football game being played. Watch that.

And don’t even get me started on the people on the sideline there as a “special guest” of the owner. There is nothing more annoying than trying to take a picture of a play down the sideline only to have some putz stick his head right between you and the play. I

C’MON MAN!!!!!! I’m working here!!!!!! This dude was not a coach, not a TV guy and not with a TV cameraman. Nor was he an NFL official. He should NOT have been standing there or moving in front of the photographers.

stopped counting how many back of the head shots (like the one to your right) I took about three years into my photography career.

It’s also a safety issue. The more people on the sidelines, the more likely someone is going to get hurt. Just look at what happened to the security person who got steamrolled by Kenny Stills last Sunday. It wasn’t Stills fault he ran into her. It wasn’t her fault for being in the way. She was in the place she was supposed to be, her back turned to the field and watching the stands as she was supposed to.

So if the NFL would really like to do something positive, try thinning out the crowds on the sidelines. It is starting to look like the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles during the morning commute – and getting just as dangerous. Trust me, the product won’t suffer in the slightest.

Felony Culinary Assault

My wife and I watch the Food Network a lot, mostly the cooking competitions like Chopped and Beat Bobby Flay. We get ideas for cooking dinner that we try out based on something we’ve seen.

One of the other shows we watch is on Bravo, Top Chef, where pro chefs compete over a season to be – wait for it – Top Chef. One season began with Wolfgang Puck as a judge and he was presented with a risotto that apparently did not measure up. SO much so, that he got up, led the chef back to the kitchen and began to show the chef how to cook it right.

The chef, the other chefs and the other judges were mortified. And I think that chef was not cut that week simply out of sympathy for being shown up like that.

Today, at lunch, I almost went full Wolfgang Puck.

We’ve been trying out area diners, drive-ins and dives (sorry, Guy Fierri) in and around Omaha since moving here back in May. Today we stopped in at a restaurant in Fremont that allegedly serves Mexican food.

I say allegedly, because I’ve had Mexican food. I’ve made Mexican food from scratch. This was in no way shape or form Mexican food. It was, however, an abomination.

The way I decide if a restaurant has Mexican food worth eating is very simple. I order a chille relleno. The proper way to prepare this item is to take a roasted Anaheim chille, stuff it with cheese (my favorite is a mix of mild cheddar and monterey jack), coat it in flour and beaten egg whites, fry and serve covered in green sauce and topped with a dollop of sour cream.

A properly prepared relleno. No red sauce. No flour tortilla shell.

What I got today was a chille of dubious origin, stuffed with cheese and then wrapped inside a flour tortilla, fried and covered with a tomatoey red sauce with bits of hamburger meat.

It was the worst Mexican food I’ve ever forced down my throat. Not just as far as rellenos go either.

This even tops the Blue Jay Inn up in Jamestown, ND back in the mid-1970s that served up a fried burrito complete with fried tortilla, beans and – I kid you not – a hot dog wiener dead center. On purpose.


Yeah, tell me about it, sister.

Fortunately, we had to get going so that chef was spared getting schooled on the proper preparation of Mexican cuisine. Of course, maybe my first clue that something was wrong with the place should have been the presence of ranch dressing at the chips and salsa bar…


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.






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