Monthly Archives: November 2014

Stand Tall, Mr. President!

As I write this, President Obama has just announced his executive order that will finally (!) if only temporarily address a major component of the overall immigration issue that Congress has been unable to deal with ever since the House of Representatives refused to act after the Senate approved a comprehensive immigration bill many months ago. Predictably, those same Republicans are now up in arms, accusing the President of usurping power, of behaving like an “emperor” or a “king”. He’s been charged with sinking any hope of collaboration and compromise with the newly Republican-dominated Congress, and there have even been rumblings of impeachment due to his alleged disregard of the Constitution.

The Republican outrage is, IMHO, hypocritical bullshit.

Republicans have only themselves to blame for this. Their intransigence, their open defiance of the President, their opposition to everything and anything he says or does have brought this on. To risk a bit of a mixed metaphor, Republicans have led government full speed into an absolute standstill. It’s been a charge back to the 19th century, when the robber barons almost succeeded in ruling the roost.

Today’s Republican Party can only exist through preservation of an overtly stratified society with maintenance of a permanent underclass. How else to explain their anti-immigration, voter suppressive, don’t tax the rich, holier than thou, in your bedroom behavior that’s become the party’s angry white mantra? The truly amazing thing is that so many who stand to be hurt so severely by current Republican doctrine…vote Republican. Why would any woman, any person of color, anyone who cares about the environment, vote Republican? It simply defies logic.

And so, I say hang tough, Mr. President. Show ’em you’ve got the cojones to spit in the eye of industrial, big business crooks and the politicians they’re paying off. Which is not to forget, however, that some of these slimy beasts are Democrats, too. It’s just that, in general, they’ve been less obvious than their Republican brethren. Why, for example, aren’t they supporting their President more actively? Payoffs? Fear of the right wing? Dare I venture racism as a possible cause for them as well as for the Republicans? After all, Obama’s record isn’t nearly as bad as some are saying it is. In fact, although I disagree mightily with a few things he’s done, I have to acknowledge his efforts to end two wars, his success at slow but steady economic recovery, his saving the auto industry, and his bringing affordable health care to many who until now haven’t been able to get it. Anyone who says this is nothing is simply being willfully ignorant, which is worse than being truly ignorant, albeit perhaps not by much. To wit: Louie Gohmert.

Okay, that’s it for this week’s rant. For those who follow this blog in countries outside the U.S. (and there are several of you) I must tell you that the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving is next week. In order to have some time with family, will, for the first time since going online last January, be taking a week off. We’ll be back in two weeks, though, so plan on checking back on 5 December for the next posting.


Good News for Zendoscopy

   Good news for Zendoscopy. As regular readers know, Zendoscopy is my second book. It was published earlier this year and, although reviews and feedback have been encouraging, sales have been modest. Of course, walk into any bookstore or look at any bookseller online, and you’ll see that there’s a glut of books vying for your attention. That’s why personal marketing is critical for the self-published author.

OK, so what’s “personal marketing”? It’s doing book signings, readings, book club appearances, and setting up for sales at flea markets and weekend farmers’ markets. In this area, I admit to have lagged a bit, largely because of a heavy travel schedule that had me away for much of July, early August, most of September, and early October. Home now, I’m ramping up marketing for Zendoscopy.

I recently placed copies of Zendoscopy on consignment at Pasadena’s largest and best known non-chain bookseller: Vroman’s. They now have me scheduled to do a book signing and a reading from the book on Sunday, January 25th at 4 PM. More information will follow closer to the event, but if you can be there, please come. I’d love to meet you and sign a copy of Zendoscopy for you.

What’s Zendoscopy about? Well, for starters, it’s not really a book about Zen, at least in any formal way. It’s a collection of stories about growing up in the 1950’s and ’60’s in Southern California. Together, all of the stories add up to the lead character’s coming of age, with all that that implies. Some of the stories are very funny, some are quite serious, and others are, well, tragicomic. Here are a few of the story titles:

·         Effie Mae and the Bubble-Up Bottle of Fate

·         Brother Parthenia and the Fido Treasure Hunt

·         Lust, Terror, and the Praying Mantis of the Holy Grail

If you find that these pique your curiosity, pick up a copy or, even better, come to the book signing in January. It promises to be a lot of fun.

The Midterms

This blog is mostly oriented toward writing in its many aspects but, as regular readers know, I occasionally wander from issues surrounding writing and publishing to take on other topics, usually of a liberal and/or freethinking perspective. This entry is one of those.

This week, we finally concluded the midterm election season. I, for one, am absolutely sick of the avalanche of campaign mail that assaulted our mailbox. Not only was it voluminous, mostly going directly into the trash, but the individual mailings became larger and larger in format. How many trees gave their all just to end up in my recycling bin without more than a cursory glance? Worse, the distortions of truth, outright lies, and thinly veiled prejudices in many of the pieces of mail we received were, to say the least, both cynical and terribly disheartening. The only thing some of those mailers did for me was to convince me ever more firmly not to vote for the candidates touted on them. As for the television ads, the less said, the better. Well, except for the disgusting ad by the Republican candidate for governor in California, who somehow thought it was in good taste to show a drowning child, improperly analogizing it to the incumbent governor’s alleged disregard for education and children’s welfare.

Moving on…I simply do not understand how so many people can vote for candidates of a party (guess which one) whose stated positions run so counter to those people’s best interests. Opposition to women’s rights, including equal pay for equal work and abortion rights, stated opposition to “big government” unless that government and its courts adopt particularly undemocratic policies that include voter suppression and unlimited campaign spending, opposition to immigration reform, thinly veiled bigotry and overt religious zealotry, and opposition to universal health care. There are more, but why go on?

“Be afraid of ignorant people in large groups,” says the bumper sticker, and never was it truer than now. To those words of wisdom, I’d only add, “…and keep those folks out of our bedrooms and, most of all, keep them unarmed.” A sheep-like public following the ignorant and cynical politicians of the right is a freaking dangerous mob, and it scares the hell out of me. Unless you’re planning to join an American Taliban, it should scare the hell out of you, too.