Monday, February 26, 2018

So, You Hate Labels But You Label Yourself. Does That Make Sense?

Can you think for yourself or are you just
another member of the herd society?
Why is there such a need to 
declare oneself a member 
of the "Left" or the "Right" 
in today's society?

Okay, so, CNN represents the "Left" and
Fox News the "Right." That's a smart business decision by both agencies management. It means they can slant the news to suit the opinions shared by those in their respective audiences and influence them with the sensationalism they present. Of course, their audiences fail to see the "slants" and feel as though the news being presented is accurate and true. Infallible reporting, of the facts!

You really must be joking.

Two herds of sheep, being maneuvered by two different sheepdogs to go in different directions.

Baa!  Baa!  Baa!

"I'm right and you're wrong! 
I'm a Republican and you're a Democrat. 
I'm a liberal and you're a conservative. 
We think different. That makes you a worthless pile of crap. 
I hate you! 
God, if we could only clear the United States of you and your opinions, 
we'd be so much better off! 
You suck!"

Sound familiar? Have you listened to yourself lately?

Why do so many exhibit tendencies of needing to belong? Is there a fear of standing alone and being an independent thinker? Is compromise a concept that brings fear to those that feel they're entitled to have it all, regardless of how it affects others? Or, is it simply that one's comfort zone relies on not having to think for yourself for fear of being wrong. After all, just following the direction of a herd is so much easier. One only has to believe as they say and lo and behold, life is so simple!

Stop allowing fear and ignorance to rule your life!

Yes, I have belonged to many groups over the years. For some reason, most of them reminded me of high school days and being a member of a popular clique. I could tell my friends, "Oh, I belong to ..." and am a somebody. Oh, you don't? For shame." Nothing like feeding the ego, right?

Didn't we outgrow high school when we graduated? Didn't we do the same when we left college? Or, was it too sweet to be the big person on campus? Do you honestly believe we must continue that false facade into real life?

Mankind has always found safety in numbers. Running solo in early times meant walking into an unknown group and being attacked. So, we found others that were alone and formed our own group. As these groups grew, religions thrived, dynasties and empires conquered lands, and later, countries became powerful entities.

As long as the smaller groups within the larger group didn't create problems and all profited in the quality of life, minor differences didn't matter. (I know, not the best choice of words, but it makes a point of tolerance.) Why? Because, regardless of minor differences, the power of the people as a whole supplied a major force with which to deal. Governments found they could only push the people so far before the numbers pushed back. A couple of obvious examples would be the French and American Revolutions. Governments that were unconcerned with the masses and utilized laws and practices benefiting only the upper class, soon found themselves being ousted for the injustices they presented.

Of course, as politicians have always been a sly lot (scam artists), and many came from the ranks of Big Business (*BB). Long before any of us were born, the concept was figured out that by splitting power of the masses they could get away with murder. An example of this in our own history, before recent years, came with the Vietnam Conflict.

It's all about the money!

Our government and BB looked at the Baby Boomers becoming of voting age and said, "Damn, we've got to divide these folks up so we can control them. That way, if we piss half of them off, we have the other half still on our side. Let's see, the French sucked eggs fighting in Vietnam and are leaving. We can slide in and take their place, get industry moving again, and divide the population between those that will believe our bull about keeping Communism in check and those that won't believe we should be there. And, to help us out, this racial crap is coming to a head so we can use it as a dividing tool, also. We're going to have it made for at least a decade or longer if we play our cards right."

And, they did just that.

Traditionalists believed the government to be honest and true. But, after a few years, a "Peace, Love, Dove" generation saw through their charade and began protesting. Also present were those that felt segregation needed to stay and those that saw no need to change the way things were. More violent demonstrations. Hate within the nation thrived. Sound familiar?

Damn Hippies!
Down With The Establishment!
Get Your Hair Cut!
We don't want them in our schools!

Tools for big business, Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon led a money fed Congress that did as they pleased, hidden from public view by all the distractions. Big Business thrived. Kmart and Walmart got their start during this time, and gradually drove many small businesses into bankruptcy. The military machine spent billions with defense companies, including everything from basic uniforms and supplies to various fighting weapons and bombs, jet aircraft, and $250 hammers. Auto manufacturers helped the banking industry, and vice versa, with long-term payment contracts. And, let's not forget the credit card companies racing in to profit with unheard of interest rates and late penalties.

It's all about the money!

The Peace, Love, Dove Generation recognized this happening and increased protesting. Also, many saw their friends lose their lives in a war without progress. Their voices went mostly unheard as network news was, of course, run by Big Business. Black Muslim groups fought for power among themselves (Malcolm X was assassinated during this time), and Martin Luther King, Jr. took his message to the people before also being assassinated. His messages of peaceful demonstrations were always accompanied by shots of protesters scuffling with police in riot gear to contradict his words. The riots of 1968 created even a greater hate and division in the battle for civil rights. Big Business made sure to air news of those continuously and continued its industrial profit journey.

So, what brought the people together?

One of the greatest factors was the constant production of protest music. Both rock and soul sent out a constant message of loving one another to fight the hate. Songs, such as Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" (Stating it was time for all to get together), Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's "Ohio" (which expressed the sadness and shock of the shooting of four student protesters by the National Guard at Kent State), and the Temptations' "Ball of Confusion (That's What The World Is Today) gained popularity and helped to change viewpoints. As parents and relatives of those killed overseas joined the Peace Movement, gentle songs like Jackie DeShannon's "What The World Needs Now Is Love" and "Put A Little Love In Your Heart" played into their hearts. The value of the lives being lost began to eat away at political excuses for continuation. Unity of the common masses began as both whites and blacks discovered the message of love and accepted it for the civil rights cause as well as stopping the overseas carnage.

Oh, extremes shouted loudly and their presence was well represented on the nightly news. The KKK and Black Panther movements were shown almost daily. Black Panther food programs for the poor in the ghettos were seldom if ever shown on newscasts as BB found displaying images of armed and uniformed blacks more effective in promoting hate and keeping the population divided.

The hate messages continued daily but found messages of love and togetherness hard to compete against. Gradually, the tide shifted.

Power to the People became an anthem to influence that change. The constant preaching "together we can make change happen" hit home. The majority of Americans saw the light and demanded Congress listen to their demands. Big Business heard the noise and backed off as politicians reconsidered their future election odds and valued their careers over owed favors. Nixon was found to be the crook he'd always been suspected of being and left office. President Ford stepped in, an obvious "lackey" to Big Business, but one acceptable enough to the public in his image, as long as he got us out of the war.

Unified, people had made the difference. There was a song by the Brotherhood of Mann called "United We Stand, Divided We Fall" about a relationship, but fit the need of the time for a slogan. It's words, repeated over and over, reminded all of the strength the people shared as one. Obviously, the only BB industry that enjoyed hearing it was the recording industry.

Our mistake was that we grew lazy after ending the war and Big Business didn't. We stopped paying attention. Hippies turned into Yuppies and bought new cars and homes with long-term mortgages. We'd become the "Establishment" we'd fought so strongly against.

When Big Business found that opening, it jumped back in with more vigor than ever before. It wanted its profits and was determined to have them. You can see they've had their way.

It's all about the money!

I could go on and on, describing what's transpired over the twenty years or so.  Clinton's signing of the foreign trade agreement which allowed factories to relocate to foreign countries without penalty (leading to the shrinking of this country's middle class), Bush's efforts to seek oil control for Big Business by using the 911 attack to go into Iraq (instead of pursuing the guilty) as well as Congress giving Haliburton a non-compete contract to supply the fighting military with services (many already having trained personnel replaced by more expensive employees), Obama's bailout of the auto and banking industries, and later, assisting the Insurance industry by mandating every American pay higher premiums for decreased coverage or be fined (providing millions of dollars in profits before unheard of)-all contributed. Of course, I'd be remiss if I failed to denounce President Trump for assisting the NRA to survive present attacks against its insistence to supply eighteen-year-olds with weapons.

All proclaimed their actions to be for the benefit of the people. Some were much smoother than others in getting the population to believe and trust in them. The naive public always wants something and someone to believe in. They thirst for a better life and want to believe so badly that it's the quest of those they elect. That's why scam artists do so well with them!

It's all about the money!

We haven't had saints in office for decades, if ever. Remember, the concept of "Manifest Destiny" was no more than a phrase to say to the Native Americans, "We're going to steal your land because you don't matter." As America's "great divide" has grown, so have the balls of Big Business. Money paid to politicians for their vote was once illegal and called "graft" (check out history and the problems it raised for President Taft). However, in recent years, it's no longer "under the table money" but legalized and listed as "political campaign" or "special interest" contributions. No matter what it's called, money influences vote outcomes and takes the representation of the people out of the equation.

It's all about the money!

So, you have a choice. You can either remain a member of a herd and continue to spew your spoonfed lies and hate, or you can become an independent, thinking member of society and make decisions based on investigating the facts. If you decide the latter, here are some things I've found to help my independent thinking:

1)  Watch different news agencies to get both sides of a story. Not only CNN or Fox News, but the BBC, and other foreign offerings. You might find none of them tell the "facts" the same, as they're all after ratings (ratings = advertising profits).

2)  Study history to get a wider viewpoint as to what is going on currently. (History often repeats itself as money is a constant theme.) Ask yourself, "What does this network have to gain by saying this about ...?" Instead of blindly believing, question what you hear. Sometimes, if you're honest, you'll find answers your previous self wouldn't want to hear.

3)  Independent thinking means you're strong enough to stand on your own two feet and be able to back up your decisions and develop opinions with logical reasoning and factfinding. Don't be afraid to face the opposition as they seldom have more than emotions and political party agenda B.S. to fall back on. Work to help them understand instead of simply spewing hate.

4)  Learn to compromise and make it a habit (as long as you're getting as much as you're giving), and remember, the first rule of negotiating is, "Never let emotions enter the picture if you wish to win. They only cloud one's judgment."

5)  Before you join any group, ask yourself, "Are they spreading hate or providing a viable answer?" Any group that says violence is the answer is not one to in which membership is recommended. Remember, the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the Weathermen of the Peace Movement are still looked upon as detriments to the cause. Hate and violence are never the answer.

6)  Look up tolerate in the dictionary, as many have forgotten its meaning, and learn how to practice it instead of being offended by everything around you. As Joe South once sang, "Walk A Mile In My Shoes", look at both sides of the issue and understand where the opposition is coming from before viciously saying things you'd hate to hear said to you. In other words, use some damn common sense for a change and learn how to become a decent human being. You have the gift of having a wonderful mind. Use it!

7)  Read works of the classic philosophers and hear what they say. Greed and power have always been the primary reasons for society's woes. (Well, sometimes the fight for the love of a woman, but let's be real. Plastic surgery today can do wonders.) Look for references that may forecast what you see taking place. You may be astounded.

The only thing to which you are entitled in life is your opinion. The rest you have to earn. (I know your parents told you differently, but they were only placating until you were old enough to get out of the house.) Make that opinion "your" opinion, instead of one of the herd's. Arrive at that opinion using your independent thinking instead of saying what your political party or Facebook/Twitter friends push you to repeat. Lead the way in for those that want to break away, yet, find fear in being alone. Show them they're part of a group that doesn't need to have their minds spoonfed by propaganda being offered.

Stop the hate and spread the love. Stop labeling yourself and being a part of the "great divide" and become part of the solution to unify the people of the country. Bring the power of the masses back where it belongs. The power that tells Congress and Big Business the people control the United States and their job is to take care of the people, not the other way around.

It's a proven method to initiate change for the better.

Big Business is betting you can't do it as we once did a half a century ago.

 Want to take that bet?

*No, I'm not a scholar. Nor do I have a degree in business or economics. I'm simply a man that's never lived life with closed eyes or wearing blinders. All I've stated is easily seen and understood if one opens their eyes and mind to their surroundings and uses common sense.

It's only an opinion ... my opinion. One developed by observation, constant efforts to educate myself, and fact. If you don't like it, I understand. It's your right. I'll sit back and watch how well hate serves you and those you associate with - you know, the other members of your herd. 

If you succeed in living a happy life I'll applaud you. If not, I'll laugh at you. I'll provide you with the same understanding you provided me. You get what you give. Enjoy the ride!

Saturday, February 17, 2018


Seventeen dead this week.

Eighteen school shootings 
this year.

Blame Shifting continues,
as usual.

Hate messages flood social media.

People are so ignorant they can't recognize themselves in a mirror.


What if I told you that your messages of hate and actions in public were killing your children?

Would you stop?

I dislike all politicians. Why? Because they're all scam artists. They scam the public into thinking they're working for them, and fill the pockets of Big Business with profits, instead. Don't be naive, they honestly don't give a damn about you.

Everything they do revolves around making themselves look good to the voters so they can continue screwing them over. Special Interest Contributions, a new phrase for legalized graft, continue to add to their bank accounts while the jobs that you have barely pay for the increase in medical insurance costs over the last few years. Where else can you vote to give yourself a salary increase besides Congress? Where else can you serve one term and get paid for life besides Congress. Stop believing in a pipe dream. They really only care about themselves and the corporations they serve.

You know, the premiums that went up hundreds of dollars a month 
so that your coverage would go down.

Oh, but you HATE Trump and feel the need to express it every chance you get.

I'm so happy you want to be a tool of Big Business.
Don't complain about guns. You're much more dangerous!

What? You didn't kill anyone? No, not directly, but indirectly the hate you spew vocally, on social media, and in your actions adds to the hate others spew. It sets an example for children to emulate. I know that's a goal you want to set for the growth of your children's mental health ... to teach them how to hate! Do a good enough job and you can read about how their hate grew until it drove them to kill those they didn't like, or the bully next door.

Won't you be proud of the example you set then?

But, but, but, Trump's dividing the United States.

Bullshit! You're dividing the United States. Stop blaming others for your inability to see that. Instead of sitting with your children and explaining why what he's doing is sometimes questionable or wrong, you're sitting there, cussing at the television whenever the newscasters feel the need to show him, and teaching your children to hate. Great job!

When people hate, they refuse to compromise. They become like the Hatfields and McCoys, feuding and fighting. People get killed. That's what's happening today. If you'd take off your blinders you could see it for yourself.

The division in the United States started long before this current president. Roots from the Vietnam War Era, of big business continuing a war for years so young men could die so that profits could be gained. Roots from social injustices that spawned racial anger for decades. Roots from teenage gangs, comprised of members that knew no parental control or love. Roots from the Clinton years of presidency where trade agreements were signed allowing business to take many jobs overseas without penalty, destroying the middle class. Roots from the Bush administration going to war in vengeance of a violent attack on home soil, yet, instead of going after the guilty, going after oil instead, again for big business. (Oh, and lets not forget Haliburton's non-compete contract to overcharge for services that the military already had people doing.)Roots from the Obama's years making billions of dollars of profit for insurance companies by mandating all purchase coverage, creating higher rates and less coverage for all. And, now, we have the Trump years, an egoist who would rather tweet than sleep. All have been major influences on the growing hate that has worked to divide the population for their success, and that of big business. Several were just much smoother in making their charade a success!

Divide and conquer, has been the goal of big business, with the politicians being its primary tool for decades. Create herds that spew hate for each other and the populace will lose the strength that unity brings. Use hate to distract from what is taking place in Washington, D.C. When children see nothing but hate, they will hate. When the children pick up arms against other children and life has no value, the hate has become complete. 

Damn it, what's so difficult about concentrating on what's important instead of 
the political bullshit that has been, and always will be nothing but bullshit!
Aren't your children more important than that crap?

Instead of continuing to be play toys that sit and watch things get worse, it is time for the hate spewing to stop and love to flow. It is time to show that humans are not animals that can be herded, but intelligent beings that unify and stand against the dirty politicians and big business, showing a strength they never expected.

It happened long ago. We stopped the war in Vietnam and made them back down by doing just that and we can do it again. It's time for the children to recognize that love is stronger than hate and violence is not the answer. It is time for adults to be adults and set a good example instead of acting like children and pouting because they didn't get their way.

Stop blaming inanimate objects for the deaths of our children and innocent and do something positive to stop more from joining the ones that have suffered from the hate that's grown from you and others. Life is too precious to waste. Children deserve a chance to live. Won't you do your part in seeing that take place?

Whether one continues to be part of the problem
or part of the solution is their choice.

Hopefully, you'll pick the right one.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Did you watch the Superbowl?

Isn't it hypocritical for those that believe it right for NFL players to kneel during the National Anthem in protest to condemn the protests of those that boycott the NFL broadcasts?
Why is it right for some to protest but not for others?
Is there a superiority in believing that one can say, "Fuck You" to the nation - and the anthem that represents all it stands for - that made the players millionaires over those that believe that everything has a time and place, and the National Anthem is neither the time or the place?
I marched for civil rights many decades ago and still believe that protest is good for the nation. No, I didn't watch the Superbowl, nor any NFL game this last season. Why?
Because years ago, when I was serving in the military, I found that the anthem was more than just a song. It brought tears to my eyes as it played. The notes brought visions of home and the people I loved that were there awaiting my return. It stood for all the opportunity that I didn't see in other countries. It said, "I am here when your time in the military is over. Thank you for helping to ensure that true for all." That feeling has never changed.
Things have never been perfect in this country, nor will they ever be. Our politicians and are as bad as they've ever been ... in both parties. The elimination of the middle class, police continue to use excessive force at times in response to becoming targets, and many expect the government to supply them with everything they want instead of working to better their own situations. We are divided, with both sides being right and both sides being wrong, a feeling of entitlement rules, and the retirement age for many continues to be raised as the politicians reap in pay for life, even if they only serve one term.
No, things will never be perfect in this country, but they're much better than they are in many others. If they weren't, why would we have the immigration problems that flood the headlines? Why would those that have lived in countries that can't compare fight to stay here?
This nation has become a nation of "bitchers" instead of "fixers." Why, with all their millions of dollars, don't the players combine efforts and create community centers to bring about awareness to the problems they feel need attention? Why, if the NFL management really wants to address problems, does each team not set up these centers in each of their respective cities to show other municipalities how to become part of the solution instead of the problem?
Why? The answer is simple. Because it's easier to bitch and blame others than it is to do something positive. It's cheaper, too! Why invest in the community when you can bitch about it and look like a hero, and then drive home in your Mercedes SUV to your million dollar mansion so you can sit in your heated, indoor pool and think about how you can spend your money during the offseason?
Don't get me wrong, protest all you want when you see a wrong, I'm on your side. But remember you're free to do so because you live in a country that gives you and I that same right.
When you sit down and think about it, isn't that alone worth a little respect?

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Edition ... TTOT ... That's Life ... Sometimes!!!

Yes, I've been procrastinating as of late.  Oh, the novel writing is moving on ... slowly ... but
moving forward.

What hasn't been going on has been posting in my blogs.

My apologies!

Please refrain from utilizing your cat-o-nine-tails skills upon my bare backside.  Tempting, I know, but please reserve your skills for those that enjoy them during those S&M sessions.

I dropped by Facebook and saw I'd been tagged by Clark for my misdeeds. Alas, his sharp perception did not allow my hiding to escape. He's aware of all and see's all ... a fact I must remember in the future.

Christmas is upon us!

Ho! Ho! Ho! and a bottle of rum!

No, that's not right ...

Ho! Ho! Ho!  Merry Christmas!

Okay, that's better.

The season of sharing good cheer, joyous blessings, and the giving of gifts has arrived.  Retailers are smiling the world over. is loving it!

Yet, somehow and some way, we have to pinch ourselves and remember what it's really all about.  As everything in the world seems to be up for debate anymore, I won't say it's the birthday of the baby Jesus. To be politically correct, I will say it's the day we celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus.

If you're still not happy, suck it up!  That's the best you'll get from me.

Other religions have their own values, ways, and dates of celebration. I have no problems accepting those. It is a person's right to believe in what they believe.

However, if you don't believe at all, go to work on Monday and stop mooching off of our holiday. If you're gonna bitch about it, forget it and carry on normally. That's your right!  You'll save your friends a lot of money spent on wasted gifts that you obviously don't want.

'Nuff said.

I won't do a repeat of my Christmas story I did a few years ago.

Some of you really hated it.  lol  Hey, it was supposed to be a satire, not fact!
Where's your sense of humor?

So, instead, let's forego the story this time and get right to what this blogging group is supposed to be about ... Ten Things Of Thankful!

This week, I'm thankful for ...

1) A few people that are smart enough to see the hatred of the world.  Yep, just check out Facebook any day of the week. You'll see political posts from both sides that demonstrate nothing but hate. It's to the point of ridiculous.

 I made up a sign and posted it earlier this morning in direct retaliation to their stupidity. The lack of class and respect for others this time of year needs to stop.  I don't care if you love or hate the president and what's being done.  There are 51 other weeks of the year to complain and show how ate up and obsessed you are with hate.  Like others, I've had enough of it. How about a break?

Show some class, concern yourself with your fellow man and his well being, and do your best to spread the good cheer the holiday is meant to express.

Hell, you might even find you like it!

2) Fruitcakes.  I know, many of you despise fruitcakes.

So what?  I love 'em.

Fruitcakes bring back memories of Christmas dinners at my grandparent's home.  All the uncles and aunts, cousins and friends, gathered around the Christmas dinner table, stomachs too full of tremendous offerings to move, and the good feeling of belonging to something bigger than yourself. The gifts would soon be given out and love shared throughout the day.

Yeah, every time I bite into a slice of fruitcake, it takes me back to those days. So, if you don't like 'em, that's fine.  I'll take your slice, sit back, and remember a time when Christmas dinner consisted of good times and conversation, instead of phone checking and texting.

3)  Facebook Scams.  Yep, every once in a while, we need to be reminded that Facebook is filled with unscrupulous individuals and companies that lie to make a living. It keeps us from making too many mistakes and losing too much money.

Last Tuesday, I saw an ad for a Snoopy Coffee Cup that I thought perfect for my wife. Checking the ad, I found that if I paid an extra $4 in shipping fees, I could have the cup by Friday.  So, I eagerly submitted the money through Paypal.  Well, Friday came and went and the tracking showed the cup had yet to be shipped.  The TeeSassy Company will never receive another dollar from me.  I don't imagine they get much repeat business as most people won't put up with their crap. I'm just hoping to spread the word about them.

Nothing like a satisfied customer.

4) Good Cheer ... Cash.  My wife and I were lucky enough to receive a small inheritance from a relative of hers.  We were able to pay off both of our cars and still put back some for a rainy day.  It was a nice change and a good feeling.

However, my heart isn't as hard as I thought. I've had a couple of Facebook friends that are experiencing times that were taking them down. Sending them a little money to help out around the holidays meant a lot to them, but it meant even more to me. I've seen what the heads of various charitable organizations make and hate to contribute to their paychecks.  Yet, when a friend is in trouble, it makes you feel good to be able to help them out.

By the way, I'm tapped out now. If you'd have only let me know earlier ...

5) My wife. Yeah, after 37 years together, she finally admitted she was lucky to have me ... voluntarily.  lol  I've known it for years about her. Not many would put up with all I've put her through over the years. Moving around during my radio career ... my absence at home during my comedy career ... and many other things that usually tear apart households have done nothing but bring us together.

She and I are a lot like the characters in one of my books. To see us together and hear us talk to each other, you would never think we cared about each other. But, to think of life without her ... well, let's not.

Don't give away my secret if you see her around!

6) Good friends. When I was young and in high school, I was a fairly popular person. Yeah, I was class president a couple of years and student body president my senior year. After graduation, I turned my back on the small town I came from and never looked back for over forty years. The web wasn't around back then and I pretty much just made new friends wherever I landed next.

I attended a class reunion during the summer and reacquainted myself with many of those I'd left behind. Since then, several have picked up where we left off as if the years didn't matter at all.  I've been able to be there for a couple of them that were going through tough times and help them through it by many hours of talking in PM's on Messenger. I always try to leave them smiling and feeling better than when we started.

Several of the "friends" I've made since those days proved to not be friends, but backstabbers.  It's nice to know that there still are good folks you can believe in these days, even if they come from way back when.

7) Christmas Music. I really don't like Christmas music. I know that sounds bad, but I spent too many years as a disc jockey in radio playing the stuff day after day during the season.

The only song I hate worse than Christmas music is "American Pie."  I worked at a station that was being purchased and the word was out that the new owners wanted to change the format.  With the staff reduced due to holiday vacations, I went on the air at 8 pm, and didn't get off until 12 noon the next day.  All during that time, it had been decided we'd protest the change by playing "American Pie" and only "American Pie" back to back/over and over again as a tribute to our station's format and music dying. So, if by chance I'm in a store and hear "American Pie" over the speakers, at least this time of year I know I can leave and go to another store that has Christmas music playing instead.

8) Gift Giving.  I know, the "commercial" phase of Christmas.  Still, seeing the smile and the joy in my wife's eyes when she opens her presents makes fighting the crowds worth it!

For the first time ever in our marriage, I was almost done shopping for her a couple of weeks ago. I've purchased a few things online (like the damn cup by the TeeSassy Company that won't make it in time), but I had just about all wrapped a week and a half ago.

I had to do something since Kmart had closed and there was 
no Blue Light flashing on Christmas Eve to tell me what to buy her!

9) Family. As one gets older, the family they grew up with grows smaller. Loved ones pass and are no longer there. Even though the young new additions are there, it's not the same as it once was. Roles change and families tend to be separated by great distances.

I still have my father, but his age group is all gone now. No uncles or aunts or grandparents to tease and joke with. It's different, to say the least.

Several cousins have moved away, some don't talk to each other, and there are only three of us that seem to be attempting to stay in contact with each other. We're there for each other when we need support, love, or just someone to bitch to when things go wrong.

It's nice to have them around.  
Otherwise, you'd have to listen to me bitching all the time!

10) My writing.  I know most of you have yet to purchase one of my books.  No big deal. I haven't purchased yours either.

Yet, writing has been a Godsend to me. It has allowed me to seek sanity in the creation of worlds others have yet to visit. The characters I develop and attempt to bring to life become real people that I control the destiny of and can lead them to happiness and justice. It has been very fulfilling and enjoyable.  (Editing is hell, though.  lol)

Being able to early retire this year has been a blessing. I'm finally able to cast away the life I hated and pursue a life of which I'm truly thankful, and those that read my novels seem to enjoy.

So, that's it!  Another TTOT complete!

I do wish each and every one of you Merry Christmas, 
or whatever the holiday greeting is for your own belief. 

 And, if you're a non-believer, 

"Enjoy the day at work!"


*Btw, since there's been a plague of spammers on Blogger, I've had to turn on the moderation portion of the blog.  If you don't get an immediate response to your comment, please check back.  I'll okay it and answer it as soon as possible!  

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Sorry, No Jokes This Time ... Ten Things Of Thankful

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So, it's been almost a year since I've written a post for Ten Things Of Thankful.  Please don't think that I turned my back on the group.  That's not the case at all.  In fact, there was a constant gnawing to return, but time just wasn't available.  

Busy?  My gosh, "Yes!"

Anyway, instead of my long intro into "Ten Things of Thankful" that I'm known for, let us begin without further ado.

This past nine months, I'm thankful for:

1)  Early Retirement - In January, I made the decision to take early retirement.  I had been dissatisfied with my previous career for years and the lies that were constantly a part of it.  I'd been told in the past that I didn't have enough "larceny" in me, which in all honesty, made me feel much better as a human being.  As I'd seen numerous management changes within a year take place, I knew in my heart that I needed to get out and pursue what I really loved ... writing.  When the opportunity presented itself, that's exactly what I did.  Thankfully, early retirement was an option that I could take advantage of.

Available Here!
2)  Horror Across The Alley - Yep, In February I began writing my first novel and completed it in May.  It has been a constant seller on and has received great reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.  

Horror?  From a comedy writer and past performer?  I know, it seems strange, but I actually love writing things that stir the emotions and will put the reader on the edge of their seat.  This one achieves that.  However, it seems many of its readers have been from outside the Horror Genre.  People seem to love the characters that were created within it.  Some have admitted to laughing at times and crying at others as they became so involved in them.  

I'm thankful that I'm finally able to move forward with a writing career.  Life has a way of turning lemons into lemonade if one seeks it.  That has indeed been the circumstance here.

Available Here!

3)  They Lurk In Summer -  You guessed it right!  In late July, I released my second novel, "They Lurk In Summer."  I left the Paranormal / Horror genre and decided to pursue a tale of six youngsters during a summer vacation in 1966 middle America.  Of course, they face a few advisories ... an abusive husband/father, venomous reptiles, a psycho thief/kidnapper, and a pack of man-eating dogs, but what's a summer vacation without a little challenge?

This book hasn't sold quite as well as the first. Perhaps, I need to return to the paranormal/horror genre.  Or, could it be because I haven't offered it at a reduced price as I did the first one?  (Could two whole dollars keep people from purchasing?) It's a longer book, and I believe a much better book all the way around than the first.  It still has an overabundance of suspense and shock factor, but it also concerns itself with the coming of age of a group of young people and first love.  It's been described as "Cujo meets Stand By Me" by one reviewer, which should set it off.  But, it's just sitting there for the most part.  

Still, I'm very thankful that I was able to get it out to the public and out of my system.  It proved that I wasn't going to be a one book author and then fall back into nothingness.  I was thankful that I proved I had it in me to move on.  So, without hesitation, I started my third book!

4)  Problems Arise -  At this time, problems started to make themselves present.  I was working on one book and another kept creeping into my mind.  There was a sense of urgency to apply myself to the second that I just couldn't shake.  So, I put aside the one I was working on and immediately went to work on the one that obsessed me.  Within eight nonstop hours, I'd developed ten major characters and completed an outline of the story complete with timeline.  Then, as if an afterthought, I found myself changing the names of the characters as it worked itself out perfectly to be a sequel to "They Lurk In Summer".  It was all falling into place too easily, but I was thankful that my decision to delay my efforts on the first was proving correct.

5)  Murder in Alabama - Taking a break one Monday afternoon, I perused Facebook to see what people were up to around the world.  I caught an article that had tagged the name of one of my best friends (an adopted sister if you will) that lived in Alabama.  

It had been years since I'd seen her ... over twenty plus.  She'd left her husband for another and I'd lost all contact information.  We'd only found each other on Facebook a couple of years ago, but the friendship was as if there had never been a break period.  She'd been one of my advance readers of my first book.  I'd sent her an autographed copy of which I've been told by many she had on display on a bookstand in her living room.  We'd even talked the Friday before in a message.  She'd just received my second and couldn't wait to read it.

That never happened!

According to the article, on Saturday, both her and her husband were shot and killed between 12 noon and 2 pm in their own home. 

To say I was shocked would be an understatement.  Sadness and anger joined that shock to make a type of emotion felt in such times.  It is one I do not wish to ever experience again.  I'm thankful that I saw the article on Facebook.  Had I not taken the time for a break it might have passed me by and I'd be upset because she was ignoring my messages.  I almost think I'd rather be dealing with that.

6)  My Visit To Alabama - Susan was a dear friend of mine.  I could do nothing in Kentucky.  I had to go to Alabama.  

I awoke the next morning with an intensity within.  Going to Alabama and finding out what happened was the only thing that filled my mind from the time I arose, through my morning shower, and to the time I sat down and discussed my thoughts with my wife.  I couldn't stand by and let things just happen.  I needed to be a part of it.  I needed to write a book about it!

No, it wasn't going to be another "In Cold Blood" as some have suggested since that morning.  I didn't know what it was going to be, but I was driven to do nothing else.  I cast aside all fiction and devoted myself to finding out what happened, why it happened, and what could be done to find the one(s) that did the heinous act.

I found out from my friend's son that the funeral was going to be that Friday.  So, I left my house in Kentucky at 8 pm Thursday night and began my journey.  I was met with a downfall that was so bad the truckers were doing less than 25 mph on the interstate because the visibility was so bad.  A deer crossed the road only yards ahead of me, forcing me to brake while knowing the semi behind me wouldn't be able to stop.  Somehow, he was able to avoid a collision.

I wondered, "Is this a warning?  Do I need to turn around and go back home?  Is God telling me not to go?"

Shaking my head, I proceeded down Interstate 65.  Within fifteen minutes, the skies had eased the downpour to a light drizzle.  Then, another hour and all was clear.  I knew it was my fate to move on.

I arrived in Brewton, Alabama at approximately 7 am.  I stopped by the newspaper office there wanting to talk to the editor that had covered the story.  Knowing it was a longshot, I found them closed.  On to option number two ... Flomaton, Alabama police station.  There, I was able to talk to a police officer that covered the crime.  We discussed all that he was allowed to discuss and became friends in the meantime.  Hitting it off, we later became friends on Facebook.  We'd both been in the military, and I'd done some time wearing the badge as a ship's Master-At-Arms on the USS Coronado.  It was a good common ground to work from.

My head swimming with the information I'd learned, I returned to Brewton and the newspaper office.  The editor was more than willing to talk to me and gave me some additional information that shocked me, but was needed for a partial picture of the "Why?" to form within.  She was more than gracious and I appreciate all she shared.

I then traveled back through Flomaton to Atmore, where the funeral was to take place.  I had a couple of hours to kill so I explored my old home.  I'd arrived there in 1979 to take a job at a radio station there.  It was a small town, but friendly in nature to outsiders.  I'd been taken to an old house where the station had procured the upstairs apartment for me.  Pulling the U-Haul truck around to the back of the house, I'd just started unloading my furniture and fighting to carry a couch up the stairs by myself when Susan had stuck her head out her bottom floor backdoor and asked me in for a cup of coffee.  We'd hit it off immediately as friends.  It was all I wanted at the time, and she was in a relationship anyway.  

The town had changed.  The Porch Band of Creek Indians had opened a gambling casino close to the interstate and had taken much of the town's business.  So much so, the main street was filled with empty storefronts.  Still, fast food places reigned supreme.

I drove all along the four ways into and out of Atmore, seeing the changes.  Some good, some bad, but changes just the same.  Returning to the funeral home, I entered an hour early.  I won't describe the emotions felt or the things that took place there.  Susan had talked about me to many of her friends about my comedy career and my books.  It was almost as if I was a celebrity of sorts to some.  After the service, I found myself going into the comedian character for a short time trying to raise spirits of those hurting.  It worked!  I'm thankful that I still have those skills.  As inappropriate as I felt it was, the smiles I was able to bring made it feel as if I was doing the right thing.  Many have become friends on Facebook since.  Maybe, it was as God intended.  Maybe, it was as Susan intended, too.

6)  My Return To Kentucky - Leaving the funeral, it was after 4 pm my time (Atmore was an hour behind as they are on Central Time). I filled up with gas and hit the interstate.  

To say I was an emotional mess would be making light of my state at the time.  I'd learned things I wished I hadn't but had been common knowledge there.  

It was no longer going to be a book of "Good vs. Evil", but one of "Things Going Wrong" in life.  I can't and won't go into detail, but people change in life for one reason or another.  We live in a time where the elderly are forced to pursue avenues to financially survive.  Unfortunately, these paths lead to dangerous territories where escape is not often an option.  It is sad that society has gone this direction, but it has happened.

I arrived home a little after 1 am Saturday morning.  I'd been at it for over thirty-two hours but was so wound up that it was another couple of hours before I could make myself go to bed.  My wife was thankful that I returned safe, but had worried as I'd ignored getting a room in which to sleep.  I was thankful that I hadn't felt the need to sleep anywhere along the way.  Adrenaline and the man upstairs had done their jobs.

7)  Since the Trip - Since returning from Alabama, my mind has been a wasteland.  I wanted to write, but couldn't.  Oh, I've tried a few times, but I might as well have been playing a football game on the computer.  I'm lost in what direction to go.  I know I need to write about the crime, but the story isn't complete.  No one has been arrested for the crime, so I can't go into the actualities as to why it occurred.  I don't have the details I need from the crime scene as it's still an open case.  I'm not asking the police officer to endanger his position by giving me any information beyond what he is technically allowed to state.  I do know that the FBI has some sort of involvement, but I don't know what type.  I'm in an area of "what direction do I go" at present time.

Common sense would tell me to go back to one of my other books that need attention.  I have made an attempt, but there are no creative juices flowing.  Fiction just isn't there right now in my brain.  Still, I'm thankful that I have the first two under my belt.  

8)  Conservatives vs. Liberals vs. Conservatives vs. Liberals  -  As my creativity has temporarily taken a vacation, I've spent more and more time analyzing where the United States is going.  We seem to have an overabundance of anger. Hell, let's call it as it is ... HATE!

In fact, the hate is so bad that a CBS VP announced this last week that she didn't have sympathy for the victims of the Vegas shooting because they were mostly Trump supporters. (Since when does a person's politics make them less human than another?) She was fired, but not for what she said, but because CBS was afraid they'd suffer ratings losses due to what she said.  The trouble isn't just her as this same sentiment was echoed many times on Twitter, Facebook, and other social sites.

We've become a divided nation, much like during the Civil War.  Friendships have been lost, and families separated.  There are three groups in America right now: 1) Liberals, 2) Conservatives, and 3) us folks in the middle looking at the other two shaking our heads at the stupidity being exhibited.  

The two extremes continue to wear blinders, neither willing to take them off.  They are allowing hate to ruin their lives without seeing what's happening.

A few of us were raised with a little common sense, unlike many that fill society today.  There was a concept back then that if you disagreed, you discussed the differences and came to a compromise. Today, people are unwilling to talk.  Oh, they love to preach it when it comes to political figures doing their jobs, but when personally faced with one that doesn't agree, there's no listening to what the other has to say.  It's worse than the late 60's when Buffalo Springfield first came out with "For What It's Worth."

"Nobody's right, and everybody's wrong."

Doesn't that mean anything to people?  No one nationally recognized political group can be completely right or wrong.  It's a fact of life. Both have their share of bad (I have to question if either side has any good).  So, why then is it happening?

It's a government of the rich succeeding in creating division within the masses. 

Why? People have strength when they fight as one. The government witnessed this strength in the early 70's when the two sides began to recognize that civil rights were needed and that the war was only for the profit of industry. We came together and forced laws to change and the war to be exited.  

The government doesn't want to see the people have that strength again.
Division means strong government control as the peons squabble.

We once knew "United We Stand and Divided We Fall", but today's society ignores that fact.  They're too busy blindly hating each other.

So, why am I thankful?

I'm thankful and hopeful there's time to change and perhaps enough people
will open their eyes to make change take place.  I have faith they can, 
but the question is, "Will they?"

Or will Hate win out?

9)  Indiana University Football - I'm thankful they're as sorry as always.  I'd hate to get my heart excited watching them actually becoming a contender.

10)  So, What Next? - If you've stayed with me this long (I know this is a novella size post), I'm thankful for you.  I know this wasn't my typical joking style, and it brings about a side of mankind that none of us like to believe exists.  But, there are times we have to honor our souls and write what's within.

I can't say a lot about what I've been doing lately, besides what's already been stated. Some of it may lead to a future book and some of it may lead to other important things.  Perhaps, today might be one of the most important things ... getting back to what I do best.  Writing may be a form of healing for me.  If so, this post is long enough to heal the dead.  Maybe I'll come back to life and creativity will flow again.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Horror Across The Alley - An Author's Review

Hear Ye, Hear Ye ... I have returned!

Yes, it has been around six months since my last blog post.

Kind of forgot about me, didn't you?

No, over the last three months I've been writing and publishing a book.

Yes, miracles do take place, even in today's world.

Seriously, I decided to get off my duff (as others have been after me to do for years), and write a book.  So ... I did!

Now, you're probably saying to yourself, 

"Rich is known for sarcasm and humor. 
What the hell is this? Horror? Rich? 
You've got to be kidding!"

Actually, if you check out the tabs above, you'll see a couple for Gabriela, The Demon Cat. I wrote these many years ago on Hubpages and went through pure hell with their moderators. With the changes they required, the stories lost some of their substance. I got aggravated with the site and moved them all here.  (Check them out sometime if you get a chance, but remember they are covered by copyright laws.)

I was faced with a decision when determining the type of book to write. I could 1) make it a humorous fare and do my best to make people laugh  2) make it a political satire and demonstrate that politics are nothing more than a game to keep the rich from being bored, or 3) I could combine #1 & #2 and write a Horror story!

I picked #3 ... but with no politics whatsoever.

There were things I wanted to cover in this writing:

  1. Narcissism and Control Freaks,
  2. Sociopathic behavior,
  3. Love and the time it takes to develop trust,
  4. How fanatics can influence our lives and behaviors,
  5. What it's like to get old and find yourself not able to achieve the things you once did.
I attempted, and several of my advance readers have said I accomplished, to do this by intertwining the relationships of four couples and an outsider. It was my desire to get the reader to know the characters so they could make up their own minds on whether to love or hate them. One of my readers stated, "I couldn't believe it. You actually made me cry."

That was my intent in that part of the story.

Oh, and let's not forget, along with the human characters, Horror stories need a demon or ghost or monster or something involving the Paranormal to succeed. 

This one has that, too!

Now, my next task was to make the story unlike any other so that the ending would be unpredictable.  I think when you read this you'll find there are four surprises that take place, so you'll have to read it all the way through the Epilogue to find them. You may guess one of them, and those randomly shooting out possibilities may get two right, but the other two are surprises that you may find happy or sad. It's up to you.

If you're familiar with my writing, you know I strive to achieve what I call "Common Folk Language" or "Simpleze", both my own terms for what I work for. I remember having to pause time and time again to look up words in my youth and then fight to get the story line back. It's not my goal to educate one's vocabulary. Instead, my goal is to present a story in words simple enough for one to enjoy without having to stop and search a word's meaning. Some of the best storytellers in the world do so around a campfire, where no dictionary is present. And, after all, isn't fiction just storytelling?

Horror Across the Alley isn't your typical horror story. Many of today's writers concentrate totally on the entity and leave the people behind, or use them as throw away characters. People aren't meant to be treated that way.

So, in closing, Horror Across The Alley will make you wonder what's taking place the next time you hear a door slam or see new neighbors moving in next door. Are your neighbors enjoying life as they present themselves to be, or are they hiding secrets that shouldn't be shared? Where do you find safety when there is none? And, who or what are the enemies of whom we need to be wary.

Guess you're going to have to read it to find out!

I thank you in advance for doing so!