#INDIECEMBER SPECIAL

December is #Indiecember, a month celebrating Independently published authors – such as yours truly – and showing them the support they all need. Just search #Indiecember on Twitter to find wonderful authors and the incredible worlds they have created.

In my case, most of my titles are on sale for just $0.99 on Kindle. For less than a buck, you can explore many of the new worlds I have created right on your kindle device.

Head over to this page for a complete list of all of my books with links to purchase them on Amazon today!

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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.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077BFF5CQ

#books #politicalthriller #TuesdayThrillers #Goodreads

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

Mysteries

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

The Dead Years In LakersLand

I have been a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers since 1968 when, at the age of four, I would listen to Chick Hearn call the Lakers games on the radio. Well, I was a fan from 1968 until the draft just before last season at any rate.

lalElgin Baylor, Jerry West, Happy Hairston, Gail Goodrich, Pat Reily, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bob McAdoo, Jamaal Wilkes, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Kurt Rambis, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Robert Horry, Derrick Fisher, and Pau Gasol were just some of the many great Lakers I watched play over the years.

When the Lakers hired Luke Walton as their head coach I was thrilled. He’s a young coach who is a proven winner – just look what he did in place of Steve Kerr for the Warriors a few years back. The Lakers had a core of good young players that Walton could mold into a very strong team that could contend for a title.

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Good Magic

But Magic Johnson, who was the greatest point guard to ever play the game, seems dead set on proving that as bad as he was as a head coach he will be even worse as a GM. (Yes, I know that’s not his official title, but please, that is what his role is for the Lakers)

Last year he threw away the Lakers first round pick on Lonzo Ball, passing up on at least three or four better players. All anyone with a clue needed to know that Ball was going to be a bust in the NBA was to watch the disappearing act Ball pulled at UCLA against Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament that spring before the draft. His rookie season last year was dismal and it will likely be his best as a pro.

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Bad Magic

Magic also bungled the chance to get Paul George onto the Lakers last year. Instead of pulling the trigger on a mid-season trade with Indiana, he smugly assumed George would come to LA no matter where he spent the final half of last year. George ended up in Oklahoma City and signed a long-term deal with the Thunder. Well done, Earvin. (Hint: Yes, that was sarcasm.)

Then Johnson fell for the hype that is LeBron James. I am not a fan of James and haven’t been since “The Decision”. That stunt he, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh pulled to create a super team in Miami was a farce that violated the spirit of the salary cap rules in the NBA. I don’t recall Magic, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan pulling the same stunt when they played.

So, as the Lakers start the season 0-3 I say good. I hope they go 0-82. I hope they go 0-82 every year that James and Ball wears a Lakers’ jersey. Magic traded away great young players to get these two jokers. Now I hope he reaps the dismal losing records that will follow.

And when James, Ball and Magic are no longer with the team, then and only then, will I proclaim myself a Lakers’ fan once again. For now, the Magic-Ball-LeBrat years are dead to me.

 

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.

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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.

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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…