Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas, with Jean-Luc Picard

Because it's Christmas, and Captain Picard is awesome.



Merry Christmas, readers!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Beating Gutfeld

If only for a day or two earlier this week, I topped one of my favorites, Greg Gutfeld, on Amazon.


Bucket list item checked.

Friday, December 13, 2013

"HELL NO: The Sensible Horror Film"

So true, and so very freakin' awesome...



Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Second Term Symbolism


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Well Played, My Love

For the last 12 years, I've been not-so-secretly trying to turn my Canadian wife into an American. But last night after work, I realized I was watching a Canadian TV show about bush pilots flying C-46s and DC-3s up the Mackenzie Valley, who were playing hockey, while I was drinking beer out of a stubby bottle.

Well played, my love. Well played.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

"It's Gettin' Real in the Whole Foods Parking Lot"

A memory of my West LA days...


Good times... Sort of...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Because the Debt Ceiling Has Nothing To Do with the Debt...


Now, this debt ceiling—I just want to remind people in case you haven’t been keeping up—raising the debt ceiling, which has been done over a hundred times, does not increase our debt. Simply because we need—and will quickly usethe authority of a new and even higher debt ceiling so that we can borrow even more money just to make the interest payments on all that other money we’ve already borrowed and spent under the authority of the last hundred or so debt ceilings does not mean that our debt is going to increase. Don’t listen to anyone who says otherwise, because, I mean, seriously, these Republicans will just say anything at this point..."

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Twelve Years Ago Today

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

15 Minutes of Sheer Insanity To Make You Forget About Syria

 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Pop Quiz: Who Will Save Us From Vladimir Putin Edition

Simply put, Russian President Vladimir Putin -- that's right, this guy --


-- is running diplomatic and geopolitical rings around an obviously (and painfully) outmatched and increasingly feckless President Barack Obama. Who can America turn to for the kind of serious, clear-eyed, and steely-spined leadership that will be needed to save us all from an ex-KGB man who spends his off-hours killing Siberian tigers while armed with nothing more than a wilted dandelion?

A) Richard B. Riddick:


B) Captain America:


C) Tywin Lannister:


Hint: Our only choices are all fictional characters? Winter is coming.

Friday, September 6, 2013

White House Phone Logs: President Obama Calls the International Syrian Strike Coalition

"Hello? Is this the International Syrian Strike Coalition?... Hello?... Hello?... Nobody wants to speak first?... I can hear you breathing, Francois..."

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Remember When Diane Sawyer Asked Bashar Assad What Was On His iPod?


Maybe Diane can ask him what's on his iPod these days...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Meanwhile, in Sweden...


"I did not have red line relations with that country, Miss Syria..."
 


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

"Hank and Marie Watch Miley Cyrus at the VMAs"

Sometimes, being a Breaking Bad fan is just too much fun...



Monday, August 19, 2013

I Am (Was) Number 6

Many thanks to the Sunday Morning Book Thread over at Ace of Spades HQ for featuring not only I Would Like My Bailout in Bacon but also Let No False Angels. I can now say I've finally had a Neo experience of randomly checking my book sales, feeling my jaw drop, and then going "Whoa..."

Especially given that I Would Like My Bailout in Bacon cracked the Amazon Top 10 in political humor for the first time last night:


I'm liking this indie publishing thing. Oh, yes, I am.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Angry Young Men and Their Newspaper Subscriptions

Dear Angry Young Man who just came to my door and tried to sell me a newspaper subscription to fund your supposed college education...

Rapidly and loudly talking over me when I try to ask you a question is not a good start.

Getting sullen and insulting when I politely turn down your offer is not going to convince me to change my mind.

Having one of your friends lurking noisily but just out of sight beside the apartment door is also not going to convince me to change my mind. Or intimidate me.

And no, you don't get to pet my dog after calling me a name.

Good luck with my neighbors, though. You're definitely going to need it.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Why I Hated Tuesday

No day starts well when you wake up before the alarm all sweating and tense from a stress dream. Especially one where I was the mayor of major American city that apparently only employed obnoxious, out-of-control children. And I mean literal children, no more than seven or eight years old. So I did what any good mayor would do. I fired them all, only to be crucified in the media and by the public for being mean to little children.

At least it wasn't the recurring dream where I had to repeat high school but didn't know my schedule or my locker or my home room. Or the nightmare from last week that was running on Windows 8. My subconscious has some truly scary app tiles on its Start Screen, let me tell you.

No day restarts well when you get back to sleep, then wake up, again before the alarm, to the sound of the dog preparing to hurl a piece of chewtoy she apparently ate the day before onto the carpet beside your bed. It was a deep, awful, horking sound, but at least I got her to the bathroom tile before anything emerged, though she did lick my face in loving doggy gratitude immediately after, before I could stop her.

No day ends well when you spill water on your keyboard, then five minutes later spill coffee on that same keyboard. No tab, no letter c, and no Enter after that, even when everything had dried out. Goodbye, wireless keyboard I had only started using the week before.

At least it was a cheap one, and the keyboard that came with the new Windows 8 desktop that inspired the nightmare mentioned above is actually quieter. That's important, given how I learned my Qwerty fingering on an old manual typewriter and still pound the keys like a driver struggling with the powerless steering on an unresponsive land whale of a car. Plus, the loud clacking annoys my wife, especially when she's trying to sleep in the next room.

So I really hated yesterday, even if I did get some good writing done. And if today isn't an improvement, I will publicly embarrass it on the Internet as well.

Your move, Wednesday.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Spotted at a Conversative BBQ


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Because Breaking Bad Returns Tonight!



Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sometimes, It's All About the Tongue


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Six Degrees of Recommendation Algorithm Separation

Stumbling to the computer the other morning morning with my first cup of coffee, I saw that a friend had posted a rather striking status update on Facebook:
So, Amazon seems to think that my 8 year old daughter who has some Warriors books (cats with a human wizards and warriors society) loaded onto the kindle should try Wesley Morrison’s “Let No False Angels.”
We both had a good laugh over this, even if mine involved some painful snorts of coffee through my nose. And it was a great reminder about how parents need to monitor the advertising their children see, and which books their children are reading. Like my mom did when I was an 8-year-old and she glanced over my shoulder at the Larry Niven paperback in my hands, didn’t like what she saw, and took it from me to be replaced with a Tom Corbett, SpaceCadet novel.

I’m also the first person to admit that Let No False Angels is not for an 8-year-old. The second person would be my sister. Like when her then-very-young daughter plopped into my lap and asked me to read her one of my own stories instead of a book from the pile around us and my sister came tearing into the room shouting “You will not read my daughter one of your stories!

Even better, this may be the first time I’ve actually understood how one of Amazon’s algorithms work. How could a very dark, very adult novel like mine end up being recommended to an 8-year-old with a Kindle full of warrior cat stories? I’m pretty sure it went something like this:

Step One: I publish Let No False Angels.

Step Two: I write a blog post crediting James Lileks and his Kindle novel Graveyard Special with inspiring me to finally pull the trigger on self-publishing my own book.

Step Three: James Lileks writes blog posts about his daughter, who also really enjoys those warrior cat books.

Step Four: My friend’s 8-year-old fills a Kindle full of said warrior cat books.

Step Five: Amazon puts all the dots together and recommends Let No False Angels to my friend’s 8-year-old who loves warrior cat bookss.

Step Six: Kevin Bacon sees this blog post, gets James Cameron to read my novel, a film adaptation ensues, and my wife and I finally buy our dream house.

Okay, I made that last one up, but you get the picture. At least until the next Amazon algorithm adventure, which will probably leave us all completely confused again.

(Cross-posted from the writing blog.)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

"For God's Sake, John, Sit Down!"

Because today is, well, you know...


Monday, July 1, 2013

You All Have Indie Cooties

Michael Kozlowski over at Good E-Reader doesn’t like indie authors, self-published authors, or whatever you want to call us. In fact, he literally thinks that “Self-Published Authors Are Destroying Literature.”
When I first read his article, I laughed until I cried, and then I started reading it with the voice of Harvey Korman from History of the World (“Sire, the peasant are revolting!”) in my mind, and I laughed some more. At best, Kozlowski comes across like the drunk uncle at a family dinner, hellbent on telling the younger generation how they’re ruining it all for everyone! and stop doing it wrong! He’s annoying, yes, but you still love him, that’s just the way he is, and you know he’ll calm down after having coffee and some pie. At worst, he’s the kid on the school bus who wants to get in good with the even bigger bullies in the back, so he won’t stop flicking your ear because the bigger bullies once said that you had cooties. You know you’re going to have a very long childhood full of very real problems with that one.
Personally, I ran screaming from a PhD in English Literature so many others had always assumed I would go for, and someone has been sounding the alarm about how “literature” is being destroyed probably since the first storyteller watched the second get a better reaction from the tribe around the campfire. Somehow, though, literature always manages to survive despite the best efforts of everyone to save it, even if that literature might not be the same writings people thought were “literature” at the time. Remember that scene with Kirk and Spock on the bus in San Francisco, where they talked about Harold Robbins and Jacqueline Susann, the “giants” of twentieth-century literature? It’s funny because it often does work out that way.
Kozlowski is right when he says “95% of these [self-published] books are insufferable and are written to capitalize on trends in publishing, with authors trying to emulate successful writers.” He’s also hilarious because he seems to think that traditional (you know, real) publishing companies don’t also work this way. In Kozlowski’s parallel universe of acceptable publishing, no book is ever “met with a deathly silence” (a phrase from Andrew Franklin, actually, but Kozlowski clearly agrees with him) or its writer disappointed and left to cut through the noise from all those other books on his or her own. And all those paranormal romances, teen vampire series, YA dystopias, and television tie-in novels are original, well-written, well-edited works of quality fiction with great insight about the human condition — or at least Very Special Episodes — because they are offered to the masses by an actual publishing company, which therefore makes those chosen authors inherently legitimate and worthy of my reading time and money.
Even more, only self-published authors worry about sales and marketing in this fantasy world of modern publishing. They relentlessly spam potential readers on social media (and a few do, granted), whereas those Twilight displays at the B&N across town were put up solely for artistic value, not to sell books. Real publishing companies just don’t care about those sorts of things, at least the ones that haven’t gone bankrupt and been bought out yet.
The problem Kozlowski sees is more than just real books by “legitimate published authors” having to share digital space in online bookstores with we indie/self-publishers, however. It’s also about price. Like Kozlowski says, an e-book from a traditional publisher runs anywhere from $7.99 to $12.99, whereas self-published e-books can be had for as little as $4.99, $3.99, $2.99, or even less. Our pricing has “devalued” their hard, legitimate work, and like Pavlov, we’ve conditioned readers “to pay as little as possible,” to the point that “often they will not even consider a more expensive book.”
Now, this is where Kozlowski’s logic truly escapes me. Only self-publishers really worry about marketing and sales, remember, but the problem is that our books are undercutting the price of real books and therefore…cutting into their marketing and sales? And the actual problem here couldn’t possibly be that traditionally published e-books are overpriced to begin with, especially when you can sometimes get a paperback version for even less than the e-book. The very idea is just madness, because the only people who truly know not only literature but specifically who and what we should be reading are traditionally published authors and their traditional publishers, at least the ones that haven’t gone bankrupt and been bought out yet.
In the end, I can live with the fact Michael Kozlowski apparently thinks that I “MAY pay for a few bills, but at the expense of modern literature,” whatever that really is. Or that he probably considers me illegitimate as a writer, without ever having read a word of my own novel. Or probably believes I took a still-forbidden shortcut at 47 years of age (after having more agents than I can count on one hand) instead of just simply acknowledging I was a failure and going quietly away, never again seeking to unleash another written word upon an unsuspecting readership.
I can live with all of that, because even if my own writing never brings a moment of joy to Michael Kozlowski’s life, his own rant brought a lot of unexpected joy to mine. He angered me, made me laugh, and provoked a true reaction, which is what realliterature is supposed to do.
Of course, if more real books from real writers with real publishing contracts could do the same, people might be reading fewer of the self-published e-books, like mine, that Michael Kozlowski so obviously despises.
Talk about irony, right?

(Cross-posted from the writing blog.)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pop Quiz: End of Prop 8 Edition

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled 5-4 that supporters of California Prop 8 have no standing to challenge the lower court ruling striking down the proposition as unconstitutional, essentially returning same-sex marriage as the law of my state, who will get the credit and thanks for this momentous and historic event?

A) Supreme Court Justice and conservative boogeyman Antonin Scalia, who voted with the majority:


B) Noted conservative lawyer Ted Olson, who made the anti-Prop 8 argument before the Court: 


C) President Barack Obama, who after being backed into a corner by Vice President Joe Biden's statements on the issue of same-sex marriage in 2012 bravely evolved into essentially the same position that Dick Cheney voiced way back in 2004:


Hint: Obama is not Dick Cheney. And irony abounds.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Between Carlin and Barry on a Very Good Day

I've had a lot of unexpected joys since I started publishing as an indie. Not many of them match the one I had this morning, when I checked how I Would Like My Bailout in Bacon was doing over at Amazon:


Any day I find myself sandwiched between George Carlin and Dave Barry in the Political Humor category is a very good day indeed.

A Not Exactly Secondary Blog

Just a housekeeping note that my writing blog is now up and running. That one will be politics-free, unlike here. So if you prefer your geekery without politics, you'll find a home there. If you want geekery and politics, though, you'll still have an irregularly updated home here.


Thank you. That is all.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Exclusive Video: New U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power Arrives at the United Nations

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Pepe's Tacos

I can't say if Pepe's tacos are any good, but given I found this sign on the ground pointing toward a set of bushes, I'm not optimistic...


Thursday, June 6, 2013

"Winston Smith Takes It on the Jaw"

Because Todd Rundgren and Utopia rock, and this is also the most fitting song I can think of for these days of NSA and PRISM...

A Married Conversation About Subtle Hints

"My love, that was a subtle hint for you to get me the milk from the refrigerator."

"You know what might have worked better? Just asking me would I please get you the milk from the refrigerator."

"You're such a guy sometimes."

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Horska!

If Rankin/Bass had ever done an animated steampunk version of Dr. Zhivago, it would have looked like this...

Monday, June 3, 2013

Spotted While Walking the Dog #463

This is the sign for an upcoming free pet vaccination clinic in my town:


What could possibly go wrong?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Exclusive Video: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Faces the Scandal-Invigorated White House Press Corps

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Joy of Indie Publishing #261

Amazon just recommended my own book to me. Unfortunately, I already know how that one ends.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"The Matrix Retold By Mom"

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Sound of Obama: "Spinnin' In The Rain"


[Spoken]

BARACK:
Goodnight, Michelle. See you tomorrow.

MICHELLE:
Goodnight, Barack. Take care of that throat. You have a lot of questions to answer now, remember? This rain of Washington scandals is a little heavier than usual.

BARACK:
Really? From where I stand the sun is shining all over the place.

[Singing]

BARACK:
Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo
Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo-doo
Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo-doo
Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo-doo...

Just spinnin' in the rain
What a glorious feelin'
Like campaignin' again
Those scandalous clouds
So dark all around
Jay Carney's in flames
But I'm spinnin' in the rain

Let Eric Holder chase
Reporters from the place
Come on with your rain
The IRS will give you some pain
Like I've done all these years
Just as Tea Party feared
I'm spinnin'
I'm spinnin'
In the rain

With talking points in place
'Cause the truth is my disgrace
Issa's in my face
And I'm happy again
Benghazi burned to the ground
With a U.S. ambassador down
Good luck gettin' the truth
'Cause I'm spinnin' in the rain

Your e-mails are all mine
Just lke your cell phone lines
Reporting's now a crime
And I'm happy again
So let the whistleblowers blow
'Cause if it's one thing I know
I'll keep spinnin'
Keep spinnin'
In the rain

THE AWAKENING MEDIA:
Mr. President! Mr. President! What did you know, and when did you know it?!

[Presidential tap dance of avoidance, with petulant, puddle-stomping outrage at the very question]

BARACK:
And I'm happy again!
'Cause I'm spinnin'
I'm spinnin'
In the rain...

Yes, I'm spinnin'
I'm spinnin'
In the rain...

Sunday, May 19, 2013

President Obama's Scandal Bracket!

As always, click to embiggen.


(H/T: Gleefully reposted from Jon Gabriel at Ricochet)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Exclusive Video: Attorney General Eric Holder Testifies Before Congress About the AP Phone Records Scandal

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Overheard at the Family Reunion

“Well, that was just a big barrelful of awkward...”

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Exclusive Video: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Answers Questions on Benghazi, the IRS, and the AP Scandals

A Tale of Two Weekends

This weekend, I saw one of my nieces marry a truly fantastic guy. President Obama dealt with the fallout over the IRS deliberately targeting his political opponents.

This weekend, I had two fantastic plane rides and absolutely no TSA troubles. President Obama dealt with all the lies about Benghazi and a dead U.S. ambassador no longer holding water.

This weekend, I finally got to spend time with my other niece's new husband, who is every bit the great guy I'd hoped that he would be. President Obama dealt with outrage over his Justice Department spying on the Associated Press.

This weekend, I saw relatives as well as current and former in-laws for the first time years. President Obama  dealt with his Secretary of Health and Human Services shaking down the very people she regulates for donations to a private group created to help promote ObamaCare.

My weekend is over, but President Obama's is just beginning...

Friday, May 10, 2013

Pop Quiz: Fifty Shades of NSFW

Who does the best dramatic reading from Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James?

A) George Takei:

 

B) Gilbert Gottfried:

 

C) Everyone else:

 

Hint: As Sir Salman Rushdie said, "I've never read anything so badly written that got published. It made Twilight look like War and Peace."

Thursday, May 9, 2013

I Would Like My Bailout in Bacon

Satire, politics, geekery, and dogs...


“Welcome to the blogroll.”—David Burge, Iowahawk

“Wesley pokes the Left in the eye with a little boy smile. It’s wonderful to watch them laughing, and then realize that they’re laughing at themselves, and then look around the room to see if anyone caught them laughing.” — Michael Prescott, Simply America

“...a fine, thoughtful, creative writer...conservative, interesting, multifaceted, and upbeat. You can’t do better...”—Zack Rawsthorne, DiversityLane

“Wesley, the guy with the copious free time, has proved to be a very entertaining writer.”—Mike Alexander, Sonicfrog

Trade paperback and Kindle e-book available at Amazon. Nook and other e-book formats available at Smashwords.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

How Do You Solve a Problem Like the Benghazi Whistleblowers?


1)     “The non-extremist Republicans all agree with the Democrats, there’s nothing here.”

2)     “People tweeting most about #Benghazi are white, married men who like Chik-fil-A.”

3)     “Squirrel!”

4)     “You may have been our Number Two guy in the Libyan embassy, but can you really be sure that was actually Hillary Clinton you briefed about a terrorist attack instead of a YouTube video that night?”

5)     “But if it wasn’t about the video, then why is that filmmaker still in jail?”

6)     “We can talk about four dead Americans in Benghazi or about four-thousand dead Americans in Iraq.”

7)     “Yes, the State Department had all the references to Al-Qaeda taken out of the talking points. That’s called diplomacy.”

8)     “Death is a part of life.”

9)     “Remember when Karl Rove and George W. Bush...”

10)   “The bottom line is that Hillary would never, ever lie to the American people. She’s a Clinton!”

UPDATE:

11)   “Maybe it was a virtual protest...”

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Spock vs. Spock (or, The Greatest Car Commercial Ever)

How can an Audi commercial also be 2:44 of absolute nerd-gasm? Just watch...


If Leonard Nimoy will sing "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" during my test drive, I promise to buy a fleet of them.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Epic Author Popularity Algorithm Fail

The problem with learning curves is that by the time you finish something, you finally grok what you're really doing, so you want to go back and do it all over again from the start. That's why I did the layout for the paperback version of Let No False Angels again. Because I finally grokked the tricks to get the software to do what I really wanted, and loose lines really bug me.

That also meant the paperback was unavailable for a few weeks while I revamped the layout, and during that time, something truly strange happened...


A used copy of my novel for $331.35? Even if my mother were an author popularity algorithm, she wouldn't pay that. She loves the idea of having photographic proof, however.

Now that the paperback is available again, the used prices have come back down to earth. Non-Kindle ebook formats are also now available at Smashwords.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Kid Snippets: "Math Class"

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Married Conversation (without Spoilers) After Watching Tom Cruise in Oblivion

“So what was your biggest problem with Oblivion?”

“Seeing Jamie Lannister walking around with a big gun instead of a sword.”

“Seriously? That’s what bothered you most?”

“Absolutely. Because from that moment on, I just kept picturing Jon Snow instead of Tom Cruise, Sansa Stark instead of Tom Cruise’s partner in the tower, and Peter Dinklage instead of Morgan Freeman. It was Game of Oblivion inside my mind.”

“Sounds like you saw the better movie.”

“Peter’s already got Oscar buzz, or so the voices tell me.”

Friday, May 3, 2013

Meanwhile, Back in the Days of Clean-Cut Grooviness


(H/T: James Lileks)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Soft Magenta Line



“Excellent question. I will acknowledge that I did, in fact, lay down a red line on the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and I will agree that I did, in fact, call the use of such weapons a ‘game changer,’ with the strong implication of military action to follow. However, as every man who has have ever gone shopping with a wife or a girlfriend knows, colors can be tricky things. You say green; she says teal. So after much consultation and review of the available evidence, we have determined that what I referred to as a red line is actually more a soft magenta.”

“So your other red line on the Iranian nuclear program—”

“Angry tangerine. Next question?”

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wil Wheaton: "Why it's awesome to be a nerd..."

This.

Yet Another Presidential Press Conference


“Thank you all for coming. As you know, presidential press conferences are important to educate and inform the American people about the many vital, important, and pressing issues facing this great country as well as my own thoughts and positions on those matters. I assume you all received the memo from Press Secretary Carney as you came in, but just to review, I will be making no substantive or even informative comments today regarding the Boston bombing, the continuing questions surrounding the Benghazi attack, the Iranian nuclear program, North Korea, the use of chemical weapons in Syria, problems with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, how the alleged mass murder Kermit Gosnell reflects on the regulatory oversight or lack thereof regarding abortion clinics, or really anything to do with the continually sluggish economy. I am, however, prepared to speak at length about irresponsible Republicans in Congress, the wonderful time we all had at the White House Correspondents Dinner, and openly gay NBA players...”

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Married Conversation (with Spoilers) After Watching Tom Cruise in Oblivion

"If you were a clone and couldn't remember everything, I would forgive you."

"That's what your last clone said."

Friday, April 26, 2013

Patton Oswalt's Epic Star Wars Filibuster Pitch for Episode VII

Total. Geek. Heaven.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Poem for Amanda Palmer


You don’t know how to make sense of this massive parade.

You don’t know why people thought “A Poem for Dzhokhar” was a poem for a terrorist named Dzhokhar.

You don’t know why people don’t believe you were surprised that so many reacted so badly to someone empathizing with a terrorist while the bomb site was still being cleaned.

You don’t know why other people don’t look up the definitions of “sadness” versus “empathy” in the dictionary so they can understand the poem you wrote in nine minutes, so you’ll look them up for us, because we probably wouldn’t understand what we read anyway, like how we didn’t understand your poem.

You don’t know how to explain yourself.

You don’t know how I’ll never be able to listen to “Coin Operated Boy” again without seeing the face of a killer who ran over his own brother.

You don’t know how the people who lost one or more limbs wish they could right now be trying to decide how many vietnamese soft rolls to order.

You don’t know how many people wish you had brought each victim a vietnamese soft roll, and then performed “Coin Operated Boy” at their besides, instead of being so interested in how people misinterpret art and then get angry about it.

You don’t know how glad I am that Dzhokhar didn’t know the way to new york, because I don’t know how many more people he would have killed there.

You don’t know how you walked into this trap so obliviously.

You don’t know why he let that guy go without shooting him dead and stuffing him in some bushes between cambridge and watertown, because you either don’t know that guy was actually told the answer or you don’t know how to believe anyone anymore.

You don’t know how much I suspect most of the fans for your poem will empathize with Dzhokhar’s essential, common thread of humanity right up until the moment he comes out against gay marriage or women’s reproductive rights.

You don’t know why so many wish you had written about that eight-year-old Dzhokhar set his bomb down beside instead of pondering the preciousness of iphone battery life.

You don’t know how much I wish Neil Gaiman had thanked you for that soft roll and then lovingly suggested you leave “A Poem for Dzhokhar” in your Drafts folder, just for a few days, and look at it again before deciding what to do with it.

You don’t know.

You don’t know.

You don’t know.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Five-Step Soup Disaster

Step 1: Slice open thumb while trying to open soup without spraying it all over the kitchen cabinets.

Step 2: Spray soup all over the kitchen cabinets.

Step 3: Hear soup explode in microwave; watch dog run into different room.

Step 4: Burn fingertips removing soup from microwave.

Step 5: Realize you bought the wrong soup, so lunch was doomed from the start.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Do Not Fold, Spindle, Mangle, Mutilate, PhotoShop, or Otherwise Alter This Image

The White House has released the following photo as evidence that President Obama really, truly does enjoy skeet shooting "all the time," even though he never once mentioned it during his entire first term in office (not even when Jared Loughner shot all those people in Arizona, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and the gun issue was front and center) or during the 2008 campaign (not even to dig out from under that "bitter clingers" remark):


Many things amuse me about this picture. First, the President tucks. My own wife has fought long and hard to rid me of this particular fashion faux pas, to where a shirt only makes it underneath my belt these days if I'm wearing a suit coat over it. Michelle needs to get on this with the President right away.

Second, President Obama is a lefty. Enough said.

Third, you have to love the warning that accompanies the photo:
This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.
I doubt anyone will think the President, the First Family, or the White House approves of this blog post or endorses this blog, so I think I'm covered. And the Interwebs, of course, are too scared to even consider manipulating this image in any way.

Finally, I've never gone skeet shooting in my life, but I honestly don't recall ever seeing any skeet shooter firing off his or her gun parallel to the ground, like the President is doing here. Of course, the caption accompany the photo actually says "clay targets." Not that I'm suggesting the President doesn't actually go skeet shooting all the time and this was just the best picture the White House could dig up in an attempt to verify his claim, like all those conspiracy-mongering "skeeters" apparently think. I'm sure the President really does go skeet shooting all the time. They just don't fling the clay targets into the air for him, because he's still just really, really bad at it.

Kind of like he is at being president. Still.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Blanket Defense, with Chuck Hagel


“Senator, in the interests of time, I’d like to just issue a blanket correction-slash-apology for all my previous confusing and troubling public statements up to and including this point. That should allow us to move on to entirely new confusing and troubling statements and even outright admissions of ignorance which I can then correct and apologize for tomorrow...”

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pop Quiz: Cornel West vs. Daniel Hannan

Which of the following is the better argument regarding Occupy Wall Street?

A) Cornel West, with the argument for:

 

B) Daniel Hanna, with the argument against:

 

Hint: Does the more flamboyant, more entertaining speaker ever really have the stronger argument?

(H/T: Kurt at GayPatriot)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Compare and Contrast, Part II

First Lady Michelle Obama:


America's Supernanny Deborah Tillman:


All kidding aside, the first time my wife and I saw an episode of America's Supernanny: Family Lockdown, we honestly thought we were watching Michelle Obama. The hair, the pearls, the dress, the build, even the mannerisms, it was like the producers wanted viewers to make that connection. And oh, how we did, to the point of rewriting Supernanny Tillman's dialog as we watched:

"It takes time to change a child's behavior, just like it takes time for Barack to fix the economy he inherited..."

Next time it's on, I'm going to make up dialog for the children as if they're House Republicans.

"We Are Never Ever Gonna Cook Together"

Because the wait for the last batch of Breaking Bad episodes is really, really getting to me...

Major spoiler alerts for anyone who hasn't seen all the aired episodes yet.

 

Compare and Contrast

First Lady Michelle Obama:


Former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice:


Just because.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Darth Schwarzenegger!

NSFW, but I laughed until I cried...

 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

None of This Would Have Happened But for James Lileks

None of this would have happened but for James Lileks. Seriously.

I signed with my first literary agent at 19. Not only had he been an editor before becoming an agent, he had been the one editor I really wanted to crack but never did. So when he offered to represent me, it felt like God telling Moses things would all work out in the end. First one manuscript and then another went out, always getting good reaction if not a contract, and I was hanging out in the SFWA suite at conventions and being introduced to writers I had grown up idolizing as one of the new up-and-comers.

And of course, it never happened.

I kept writing, though. And I kept trying. I signed with and changed agents, more than once, as time went on, and I even took a 10-year detour in Hollywood as a screenwriter, snagging an option or two, developing a bunch of scripts with various producers that in the end went nowhere, and being introduced again as one of the new up-and-comers.

And of course, it never happened.

I kept writing, though, and I kept trying. I had been knocked back to square one more than once as a writer, and form-letter rejections from publishers and agents don’t have quite the same sting after you’ve had 10 movie or TV pitches shot down in 10 minutes (or less) by someone sitting right in front of you. Besides, I was married and in my forties at this point, and had gained a hard-won perspective on things that I couldn’t have imagined back when I was in my twenties writing novels or in my thirties writing screenplays.

And of course, the Internet was rising, the traditional publishers were dying, and e-readers were appearing. Things were changing, but I had come of age not just before the Internet but before Amazon.com as well, back when indie or self-publishing meant dropping a large chunk of your savings to a vanity press for a closet full of books that no store would ever stock. Even worse, your career would be over, we were told, because you had cheated, broken the rules, skipped out on paying your dues, and clearly just weren’t good enough for a real publisher to take you on.

I had had agents, though, one after another. And Hollywood had optioned more than one screenplay. And I had heard from editors, more times than I cared to remember, that it was a great book, just not right for them, and I should have no trouble placing it elsewhere. And the agents, one after another, had agreed as well.

And of course, it never happened.

Then James Lileks published Graveyard Special for the Kindle. And he did it on his own.

That was the tipping point for me. Lileks had already published books traditionally, after all, and seeing him go the Kindle/self-publishing route with a new novel meant the stigma was at least fading, if not gone. I’d known this in my head, of course. It just hadn’t made its way down into my gut, where it really needed to be.

And if James Lileks could do this, what in the hell was I waiting for?

Besides, I was 47 now. Banging my head against still more walls to get yet another agent, and then going through yet another round of submissions to still more traditional publishers, well, that seems a lot more glamorous when you’re young and have no real idea what an unknown fiction writer is up against. Especially these days.

So here it is:


It’s available at Amazon.com for Kindle and as a trade paperback. Hopefully, this is the first of many more to come as well.

And none of this would have happened but for James Lileks. Seriously.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Shadow of California Past

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Married Conversation About Page Layout and Design

“Does this look off to you?”

“It looks fine to me.”

“You don’t see that?

“See what?”

“This. Right here.”

“I’m not seeing it.”

“But it’s right in front of you!”

“Still not seeing it.”

“How can you not see this?”

“Oh. Wait. You mean this?”

“Yes!”

“Really?”

“Yes!”

“This thing you had to point out three times before I even saw it?”

“Yes!”

“Shouldn’t that be telling you something?”

Monday, January 14, 2013

If You Were a Hobbit in a Past Life, Gary Busey Wants to Know

Friday, January 11, 2013

"Though His Ways Are Hard and Steep"

Spotted on the wall of a tea shop...


...and no, I didn't ask...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

"Mr. George Survives It All"

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

President Obama's Belated New Year's Resolutions for 2013


1) Play awesome New Year’s prank on everyone, like nominating Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense.

2) Finally send Hillary that “Get Well” card.

3) Continue fighting to change the partisan tone in Washington.

4) Grind the Fat Cat, War on Women, Anti-Science, Throw Grandma from the Cliff Republican opposition into finely processed corn meal for white bread, which will then be given to Mitt Romney as part of a concilatory horseradish sandwich.

5) Play more golf.

6) Keep reminding America that tax rates, not how much money the government actually collects in taxes, are what really matters when it comes to debt and deficits.

7) Reset the reset of the reset with Russia.

8) Get new phone number for White House; make sure Bibi Netanyahu doesn’t have it.

9) Give more speeches.

10) Call Elizabeth Wurtzel, and make sure shes okay.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Crazy Uncles in the Washington Attic

So, as of today, at the start of 2013, it seems the only two people in Washington, DC, still capable of actually negotiating a compromise of any kind, on anything, are Drunk Uncle (Joe Biden) and Stick-Up-His-Butt Uncle (Mitch McConnell).

Is this a great country or what?

2012 in Review (JibJab Style)

My New Year's Resolution for 2013

My New Year's Resolution for 2013? Not to be sick for a third New Year's in a row.

On the plus side, all the enforced downtime is letting me watch Firefly again...