Saturday, December 31, 2016

Interview, David Lee Summers


Author David Lee Summers stops by for a short interview.

DBR: You have a new book out called The Astronomer’s Crypt.   Is this set at an  observatory or a planetarium?

The Astronomer's Crypt is set at a fictional observatory in the Sacramento Mountains of Southern New Mexico. 

DBR: Is this a ghost story?

Yes, in the sense that there are ghosts in the story.  However, the ghosts manifest and gain strength because an ancient, mystical monster has been unleashed, which proves to be the story's primary threat.

DBR: This story takes places at Carson Peak, is that a real location or a composite from the places you’ve visited?

Although the location is fictional, it takes inspiration from real observatories I've worked at or visited in California, Arizona, and New Mexico. Not only is the observatory fictional, but so is Carson Peak itself.  Although fictional, the mountain resembles real peaks in the Sacramento range.  I also imagine a small mining town nearby called Toledo and an Apache casino beyond that.  The overall setting is not unlike Mt. Palomar in California.  The fictional town of Toledo is essentially an amalgam of the real New Mexico towns of Mogollon and Madrid.

DBR: You do a lot of vampire stuff. Is this a paradigm shift or just a one-time thing?

The long term goal is for The Astronomer's Crypt to be the first book in a trilogy set around the Carson Peak wilderness area.  So, yes, it stands separate from my vampire books, but if all goes well, it will be more than a one-time thing.

DBR:  So, can you tell us a little about the main character?

The novel's main character is Mike Teter.  He operates telescopes at Carson Peak Observatory. At the end of a night, during a terrible winter snow storm, he experiences a vision of horrific monster. Afterwards, on the drive home, the astronomer he has been working with hits an icy patch on the road and dies in the subsequent car crash.  Freaked out by this event, he quits to take on a life in town with his new wife.  Two years later, Mike is asked to return to the observatory during a staffing shortfall.     That's when his troubles really begin.
Mike is something of an introvert, but he loves his wife, an astronomer named Bethany.  They're expecting their first child.  He's a science fiction fan and loves superhero comics.  He doesn't believe in ghosts and he just wants to do his job and support his new family.


DBR: You actually work at a real observatory.  Have they been supportive?

 Yes, I work at Kitt Peak National Observatory outside of Tucson, Arizona.  My boss has admitted that she's a little nervous that I wrote a book entitled The Astronomer's Crypt, but in fact, she's been quite supportive of my writing.  A lot of the astronomers I work with have expressed an interest in this novel.

DBR You’ve also got a story coming up in a weird western anthology soon.  Can you tell us what that’s about?

My story "Fountains of Blood" will be appearing in the anthology Straight Outta Tombstone, edited by David Boop.  The story was inspired by the real life disappearance of Albert J. Fountain, a former Texas governor and Billy the Kid's defense attorney who was investigating participants in New Mexico's so-called Lincoln County War.  While traveling through White Sands, Fountain and his young son vanished, never to be seen again.  In the story, Fountain's body guard investigates the disappearance and discovers it may have been the work of vampires rather than hired guns.

The Astronomer's Crypt is available from Amazon at the link below.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N5EH8QP/

Friday, December 30, 2016

Dr. What?

Old goat wanders around space and time doing stupid things.  Or Dr. Who. Call it whatever you like. I have not enjoyed the latest offerings from the long-running BBC program, so my expectations were especially low for the Christmas Special.  Some guy with super powers wants to get laid and the Doctor comes by and interferes because he doesn't trust anyone to save the Earth but him. * That's pome star out of five.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Fruitcake

With most fruitcakes, we could have the Air Force dump them on ISIS and they'd surrender immediately.  Yet more are gifted, then re-gifted every Christmas.  No one ever seems to want them. To that, enter my fruitcakes. They mow them down and beg for more. Today I'm making another batch as the original supply has run out and people want more for New Years.  Why is that?  My fruitcakes are delicious and everyone else's suck. What's my secret? I ain't telling.




Monday, December 26, 2016

Fruitcake

Made fruitcakes a few days ago. They're very easy to make--if you know how. Mine are especially good.  There are two things I can really fix: turkey and fruitcake.  A lot of the ones bought at the store are mediocre.  They skimp on ingredients.  My cakes are moist and delicious and I don't put those horrible green things in them.


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas For Older Kids

Christmas Stories For Older Kids


  Sally kept looking at the old grandfather clock as it ticked along.  Time was moving so slow. Would these people ever go to bed?
  “Hot date?”
  She glared back at Ray for a second. What did Gramma see in him? “Sure, I”m going to gang bang the local high school band after you two fall asleep.”
   “Where do you learn such filthy talk?” Gramma handed Sally a cup of coca.
  “I”m seventeen, not twelve,” she mumbled under her breath. Neither of the two could hear much of anything without their hearing aids–which were always turned off to save batteries.
Ray was drinking Scotch, as usual. A shame he didn’t have a fondness for arsenic. “He’s always asking me about boys. Goes on like I’m the local whore.”
  “Stop this, both of you.”
  Why had Mom gone off to Switzerland?  It was the middle of winter. Hans or Gunther or whoever it was this week had money.
   “You redheads all have a temper,” Ray said between sips of his Johnny Walker.
  “I was a redhead,” Gramma reminded him. “Before it went gray.”
  The cookies were good.   On balance, how she hated this season.
  Ray announced, “Well, Ray is gonna turn in.  Maybe Santa will bring him something good.”
  Sally really hated it when Ray started talking about himself in the third person. “Maybe a lump of coal.”
  “Nope, Santa’s getting me a new chain saw. Vroom.”
  “It’s been a long day,” Gramma announced.  “Don’t stay up too late, dear.”
  “I won’t.”  It wasn’t like they had cable or even Internet. Just some fuzzy channel from Denver.
   At least the tree looked nice this year.  She loved that evergreen smell.  Last year, Mom had bought a fake one for the condo back home. It was pink. Gramma would have nothing like that in her house.
Except for Ray, it was at least a tolerable Christmas.  After Grampa died, Gramma married Ray for some inexplicable reason. Old people go to bed early.  That was a good thing. Sally was used to being alone. She didn’t mind it. She gazed out at the snow. Probably more snow here than over in Switzerland.  Mom probably wouldn’t even bother to call.
  There was a present for Gramma Sally had picked up in town at the Rexall.  Mom had sent one for her, and even one for Ray. But Ray wasn’t going to find any present from her under there. No way.        One package looked like a chain saw. He’d be a happy camper.
   She combed her hair and thought about things.  It was only nine o’clock.  At least Ray was in bed.
  The tree put out good light. She left it on and turned off everything else.
  Gramma’s house was so small there wouldn’t be any landing on the roof. Just not room enough for eight reindeer [Do they count Rudolph? He doesn’t exist anyway.] The sleigh would have to put down in the back yard and go between the two cottonwood trees. No other way.
  The guy at Radio Shack agreed and sold her a getup that used a laser beam. It was more reliable that infra red, he’d insisted while he tried to look down her top. It seemed to be working
She found herself dozing off.  Should’ve skipped the cookies and cocoa. Gramma never heard of sugar free products.
  It was beeping.  The TV changed and switched to the back yard.  That hadn’t been hard to connect.     But the guy at Radio Shack initially offered little help. The more she bent over the counter letting him look down her sweater, the more helpful he seemed to get.
  And now it was working.  The sleigh was right where she’d predicted.  And the back door was opening.
  Santa placed his heavy bag on the floor. “At least they don’t have a pink tree this year,” he muttered quietly.
    Sally put her arms around him. “The tree wasn’t my fault.”
    “You’re too old for presents.”
  “You’re never too old for presents. Besides, the older kids hurt the most on Christmas.”
  “You get no presents, Sally. You can’t have any if you’re not sleeping.”
  “Good. I don’t want any.” She released her grip on him. She released her nightgown as well. It fell around her ankles,
  “Oh my God!”
  Santa was shaking.  “Look, five years ago, you were lying naked on the bed. I didn’t know you were here.”
  “I knew you were here.  I wanted you then. I want you now.  I’m not little girl anymore.”
  “You most certainly are ... not an adult young lady. You get your clothes on right now. I’m a married man.”
  “I don’t care.” She started rubbing her breasts. “I could be your mistress. Lots of men have them.”
  “Out of the question.”
  She grabbed him and tried to kiss him.
  Santa pulled away.
  “I’m legal in seven states and half the European Union. Take me there. You’ve got reindeer.”
“Yeah, like I want them telling Mrs. Claus.”
  Sally laid on the couch. “Very well.  Could you at least take Ray’s chain saw back to the hardware store?
  And he was gone.  The sleigh was gone.  And that chain saw was gone.  And there was another box for Ray.
“If you could move that fast, why’d you linger here so long, Santa? You know you want me.”
  The next morning Sally was surprised it was eight o’clock. Old people get up early.
 “You want some breakfast, Sally?”
  Please don’t say “Merry Christmas.
  “Merry Christmas.”
  Sally checked to make sure she had her clothes back on. Her nightgown was in place. She wrapped her flannel bathrobe tight as well. After breakfast they opened their presents.  A gift card to the hardware store from Ray. A stack of books from Gramma–some of them might be interesting. And there was another box, from Santa. She opened it. It was a nightgown, a low cut see through nightgown from Victoria’s Secret.
  “My word. Who sent you that? Gramma asked.
  “It says ‘Santa.’” Sally folded it up. “I don’t know. Unless Mom?”
Ray opened his last box.  “What the heck happened to my chain saw?” He removed a lump of coal from the box. “Now this isn’t funny. Where’s my chain saw?”
  “It wasn’t me,” Sally insisted. She handed Ray the gift card. “Take this and get a chain saw with it.”
   “You don’t have to,” Gramma said.
  “No, he’ll enjoy a chain saw more than a puppy likes a new tennis ball.  Chopping up all that scrub oak.”
  “Well, thank you Sally.  I sure wish I knew who took the one from under the tree.”
   “And that nightgown wasn’t here yesterday.” Gramma pointed out.
  Sally mumbled, “Weird.”  She’d just put a peppermint stick in her mouth.
  “Where’d you get that?” Gramma asked.
  Sally pulled the peppermint out of her mouth. “This?
  “I sure didn’t buy it.  And we didn’t have any yesterday. I’d think it was your mother’s doing but she lacks any sense of humor, whatsoever.”
“ Maybe Santa brought them,” Sally said.
  Far to the north there was one unopened package at the end of the route.  Santa had waited until everyone was asleep to open it. He’d found it in the bag. “To Santa From Sally.”  It was a red colored plastic tube.  Inside was some sort of poster. He unrolled it. It was a poster all right, of Sally in a skimpy bathing suit. Where could he put it? Mrs. Claus was everywhere.  He wanted to toss it into the fireplace, but he just couldn’t do it.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Carol, A

This time of year there are plenty of opportunities to watch A Christmas Carol.  It pops up all over the place.

I never seem to tire of this story.  I’ve read the original story by Charles Dickens.  I’ve seen more dramatizations than I can count.   I have no idea how many there actually are, although I am confident I’ve seen most of them. There are at least ten that have been made into TV specials or films. 

My first exposure was in junior high.  In the eight grade we put on a slightly watered down version.  I was stage crew.  But what a wonderful play it was.  Over the years I’ve tried to take in every adaptation of it that I could.  It is arguably both the best Christmas Story and the best ghost story ever written.  

I’ve come to just a few conclusions. The farther the scriptwriter or director attempts to venture from the original Dickens dialogue, the worst the movie/play is. My favorite is the George C. Scott version. I thought he made a delightful Scrooge. 

What was Ebeneezer Scrooge's occupation? Well he was  business man with a partner named Jacob Marley. I've read the original Dickens.  Frankly, it doesn't say. People have speculated it was some sort of money lending operation. I would submit they could have been accountants.  But we're never really told.  Somehow, American versions seem to feel the need to substitute turkey for the prized goose in the window. I like turkey better, too.  But it was not in the original.  

I've watched three versions this season, thus far. If you haven't seen it in a while, download it or borrow or watch it on one of many channels.  AMC runs multiple versions.  

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night [and that's from another work]

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Myrrh

Myrrh. No body's sure how to spell it, let alone pronounce it.  I don't know what you use it for.  It's famous as it's mentioned by name as one of the gifts the Three Wise Men brought for Baby Jesus.  Did Baby Jesus open up a Myrrh stand in Bethlehem?  I still don't know what you do with it.  I'm giving it to select recipients this Christmas.  If any of them whine about it I'm telling them: "If it's good enough for Jesus it's good enough for you1"

Monday, December 19, 2016

Fruit cake

I make a really good fruit cake.  It's just awesome.  I'm making one right now as we speak. Who will get it?  Ha. That's a secret.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Fereners



They say it's not just foreign countries that are taking away our jobs.  It's robots.  Robots don't look like the big walking tin cans I grew up looking at on Lost In Space.  Today's robots are built in the walls of factories,   And they're everywhere.  

Automation has wiped out the job of bank teller--both direct deposit and the atm machine have eliminated thousands of jobs.  Even the post office is using robots to deliver the mountains of packages this holiday season.  Look at a USPs video of their automated mail sorting plants then look at post office seen on Miracle on 34th St.  

They're testing cars and planes that drive themselves.  Lookout Teamsters, they're testing trucks too.

Until my recent retirement, I worked for a large hotel and property management company.  Another hotel company tried automated check in. They quietly dropped it. Folks didn't take to it.  But automated check out, where you can review your bill and check out on your TV set has proven quite popular--especially in larger towns like Las Vegas.   

So, don't be too surprised in the not too distant future if there's a robot in bed with your daughter instead of some fat old guy in a creepy red suit.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Mule Deer

Well, I knew moving to the Sonoran Desert from Colorado was going to be an adjustment.  One thing I never expected to encounter were mule deer.  It seems they're everywhere.  In my case they've suddenly started attacking my two ash trees I planted a few months ago.  Apparently, tree leaves is good eats.  

I've always been amazed at how hideously ugly this particular type of deer are.  They look like some mad scientist somehow spliced together the head of a mule with the body of a deer.  Back in Colorado people somehow kept mistaking Elk for mule deer.  They'd come in all happy and inform me they'd seen a mule deer.  "We don't have mule deer around here. You've seen an elk." I would say without even looking up from my paperwork.   The forlorned traveler would venture back to his room disappointed.  At least there aren't any elk attacking my trees. These are mule deer and I can tell the difference.  My neighbors might get a bot miffed if I take up deer hunting tonight. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Pie

Bought a Costco pecan pie a few days ago. Their pies are huge.  I'd never had the pecan variety.  The thing was absolutely delicious.

You can get an amazing variety of baked goods this time of year.  And then there's fruit cake. You can get plenty of them, too.


Friday, December 9, 2016

all the worse for wear

No ill effects from drinking my seriously expired lemonade.  I figured it didn't smell bad, so what the heck.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Mmmm Tasty Fresh

As I write this it's just after midnight on Thursday, December 8.  Earlier this evening I found a carton of lemonade in the refrigerator.  It had a expiration date of July 5th.  Again, it's December now.  What did I do?  I looked at it. I smelled it. Then I drank some.  We'll see how this turns out.  


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Trees

When I moved into my current house this past June I soon planted two Ashe trees to try and eventually get some shade.  They're doing quite well, although it will be some time before they're big enough to provide any meaningful shade.  If I ever get a camera I'll post a picture of them.

This is the first yard I've ever had.  Sure, growing up our parents had yards--three over the years.  My grandma had a huge yard in Arkansas.  But this is the first time I've ever had a yard as my previous and only other home I've owned was a condo.


Monday, December 5, 2016

What'll they think of next

Okay, so my new shoes I ordered from Amazon arrived. yay!  Problem is, they didn't fit so good.  Well, we now have Amazon package lockers in the area.  All I had to do was tell Mr. Amazon I  wanted to return them, them take them down to the store and wave the bar code under the laser. A door to one of the lockers popped open, I placed my box inside and closed the door. Pretty slick. Not drone slick, but not bad.


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Then there's banks

When I was in junior high school my math teacher said we wouldn't have cash by the 21st century.  Along came high school and my history teacher made the same statement.  In Tucson armed guards at banks are not at all unusual. So we have guards guarding something we shouldn't have anymore.  Of course I already knew that.  I read science fiction.  Back in those days it was mostly Heinlein.  First the juveniles and then the regular books.  Some of Heinlein's  books were kind of racy--especially to the 12-year-year-old.  But no one  cared.  Neither of my parents would touch a science fiction book. I could read them all day and no one cared. Glory Road entered my life about that age.  Plum filthy.  And no one cared. Science fiction was my own little universe.  And in more than one Heinlein book cash money was on the way out. So, when my teachers told me this grand revelation was coming I already knew it because I read science fiction,

Armed guards may be guarding money.  I was recently asked to guard something else.  The word is out in our compound that I write.  One neighbor's niece apparently liked a book  I've already had out--but it was a book I EDITED. She got it at school, as best we can figure. Or possibly her public library. My most similar NOVEL is the Two Devils.  Ergo my dilemma. Should I mention the sexual content and get  auntie all worked up or just remain silent?  Two Devil' is mild, but has this angel from hell who has a real sexual lust for the main character.  I never did understand teenage girls. So I figured to err on the side of caution and assured my neighbor to send her a copy and it would all be fine.

And I'm glad the guard out there is keeping my money safe. No Heinlein for him, that's for sure. Concentrate on them criminals trying to get at my money.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Books is good gifts

The only gifts I've given out that the recipient didn't like are gift cards, which they used to call gift certificates.  It's the least you can do.  And I've rarely given them out.  They say Prancer mauls people who give out gift cards, but it could just be a rumor. For the really out of it, Prancer is one of Santa's reindeer.

On the other hand no one has punched me or even acted angry when I've given them books.  So, if you're trying to decide what to give out for Christmas, let me suggest some of my books.  Crass commercialism? Probably.   For those who want to pick up something immediately, I'll also mention that at least some of my books are available in Chicago at Quimby's Bookstore.  In Denver at Broadway Book Mall. and in Tucson at Mostly Books on Speedway. Everything is available on Amazon.  Most near everything is available through any bookstore that can order through Ingram Distribution.  And a lot of my stuff is available  at Book Depository, which is an English outfit that ships worldwide.  If you don't see it, ask.  


Bonded Agent, my most recent book, is a science fiction novel about a Martian insurance adjustor.

Heat of the Midday Sun is an anthology I edited of weird western horror stories.  

The Martian Anthology is an anthology of science fiction stories involving everyone's favorite planet.

Gunslingers & Ghost Stories is one of my better selling endeavors. It's western ghost stories.

Six Guns Straight From Hell 2 is another anthology of weird westerns.

Low Noon is an out of print weird western anthology that's still around from used book stores.

The Devil Draws Two is a collection of three novels [that's novels, not short stories] in one big book. This is the entire history of Miles O'Malley thus far, anyway. Set in 1880, it's a ripping good adventure through the Wild West.

Buy some books.  And remember, no one who put books under the tree has ever been mauled by Prancer. 


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

holiday decorating

Spent yesterday putting up Christmas lights and helping my dad do his at his house.  Both houses look pretty good, me thinks.  Nothing really fancy. I like to used the trees and shrubs in a yard and rarely run lights along the eves of a building.  I'm not really into little elves dancing around or nativity scenes, either.  Maybe I keep things too simple, but it's my house and I'll do it the way I want.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Jury Duty continued

Well, I still don't know what it's like to be on a jury.  We were told they don't need us and we have to come back next month and try again. At least you can call in and see if they need you before driving downtown.

Random thoughts:

Why do they think our time is valueless?  They only pay $12 a day.  That's a day, amigos, not an hour.  I guess we may get some mileage as well, but they're kind of vague on that.  

If they had comely lasses who go around and give neck rubs that would make it a lot more popular--at least with me.   A golden retriever to play ball with would be nice.  But money would do it.  Self employed people like truck drivers or plumbers lose a lot of money going in  to jury duty. Until they actually fairly compensate people for their time, people are not going to want to do this. I doubt anyone cares.  Free parking doesn't exist in downtown Tucson. Free parking would help.  Or they could send bus vouchers.  

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Civic Duty

I'm scheduled to report for jury duty on Monday.  People have been asking me "Can you get out of it?"  Of course I could get out of it. I don't want to.  Back in Colorado I used to get jury notices every year like clockwork. I would simply throw them away. Nothing ever happened.  No one came to arrest me. I didn't get any letters from the court. Absolutely nothing happened.  

But, the down side is, if I were on trial, I wouldn't want everyone thumbing their nose at the jury system.  So  I have decided to report and if I am placed on a jury to do whatever it is juries do. I'll post about it next week if anything comes of it.

Now, as for getting out. That's not hard.  If you're placed on a panel, just tell the judge he must be guilty or he wouldn't be sitting there. They would have no choice but to get rid of you on bias. I once knew someone who showed up with an aluminum foil helmet to protect himself from aliens probing his mind. They knew it was a scam, but what are they going to do?  Back before they banned smoking my dad just went and got a doctor's letter that the cigarette smoke was making him sick--and was a true reason they couldn't argue about.

Stay tuned.


Friday, November 25, 2016

Senior Discount

I got a senior discount this morning at breakfast.  I find that depressing.  Most people are thrilled at getting discounts.  Thing is, I'm not a senior according to the menu.  That's what's depressing. And I certainly didn't ask for it.  






Thursday, November 24, 2016

Still Sort of Non Commercial

One thing I like about Thanksgiving is it's sort of non commercial.  True, it's centered around a large meal, but having a meal with friends and family doesn't seem commercial like the crass commercialism of Christmas. They had Christmas decorations up well before Halloween.  That's perverse.  So, the fact you don't have to put up lights on your house or wrap gifts, I view as a good thing.  

So, when the Great Turkey comes by your house with bags of cranberries and boxes of stuffing, give him a "Howdy Hi Ho" and enjoy your meal.  



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Are We Thankful Yet?

This past year has been a year of tremendous change.  I sold my house in Colorado and moved to Arizona. I even planted two ash trees in my new yard.  I lived in a condo before and did not really have a yard.
    

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Walkers

Well, tonight is another episode of the Walking Dead.  Some of the front desk girls at my last hotel watched it.  No one I hang out with watches it. No one I'm related to watches it.  This is like the absolute best episodic horror program ever made.  When I see people who aren't watching it I want to shout "What's wrong with you? Why aren't you watching?"  But, that's pointless.  People don't have to watch the show. 

It's so darned good, though.  

Saturday, November 19, 2016

In light of recent events

I've never been to the White House.  In light of recent events, I find myself wondering if they have a gift shop.  If not, I'm sure they will soon have one selling jewelry and the new president's books and such.


Friday, November 18, 2016

Feeling gypped


When I was a young lad they would have some guy at halftime fly from one end of a football field to the other.  Big deal.  But, people were dullards back then and everyone oohed and awed. 

I also remember my mom took me down to the local excuse for a shopping center and they were supposed to have robots.  And they had big shiny gold and silver robots.  Only–they were on wires and not wireless and I followed the wires to some van and the guy in the van was trying to talk to us kids, but the robots weren’t working. They just stood there.  And that was that.

And we were told by knowledgeable people when we grew up we’d all get around in flying saucers and cars would be obsolete. In fact, we’d soon by living a lot like the Jetsons they would tell us. We'd have talking robots to prepare our meals and do laundry whilst everyone zoomed to work in comfortable flying saucers.  

And my math teacher said we’d all be on the metric system by 1984.

And I’m still waiting for the factory to deliver my flying saucer. Damn, do I feel gypped.  None of this stuff ever happened.  Oh, the robot part sort of did. They have robots in factories making refrigerators and cars and stuff.  But a robot to serve me, that ain’t happening.  And don't get me started on the metric system. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Public poop

Every now and then I've had to use public restrooms.  Over time I've noticed trends with chain companies and how clean their public restrooms are.  I realize this is simply my opinion and not a scientific sampling. Best to worst.  I just note my experience has been Costco does a magnificent job of consistent cleanliness at all hours based on my experience. Don't write to me if you disagree.

Hyatt Regency San Francisco                    [best]
Costco
Lowe's
Olive Garden
Denver International Airport
Denver City & County Building
Walmart
McDonalds                                              [uhm, not so much]




Monday, November 14, 2016

Nice review ... really nice

Stumbled upon a rather nice review of my sf novel Bonded Agent at SF Reader. I placed a link below.

http://sfreader.com/read_review.asp?t=Bonded+Agent-David+B%2E+Riley&book=1963

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Holding over

Holding over from Halloween were four solar powered mini jack o'lanterns. They're sitting in my back yard glowing as I write this. Each one is about the size of  medium onion.  They come on at dusk and burn until midnight or so. They were cheap--only a buck each.  I wonder how long they'll last.  I've had very erratic results with solar yard lighting. Some of it performed well whilst a lot of it did not.  

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Lots of Good stuff

Got a great deal on getting my carpets cleaned.

Got a refund when I was overcharged at doctor's office.

Found the tea I like at the store.

And the day is only half over.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Well, at least the election's over

Thank God the election is over.  This isn't a political blog, but I don't see why the Brits can do an entire election cycle in about two months and it takes us nearly two years.  Since I'm sure Trump will declare martial law if he doesn't think he can get re-elected, this will likely be the last open election for many years, just as the Roman Senate became dysfunctional and gave way to the nutty emperors. From my point of view we are heading down that same path and the republic as we knew it is gone. At least we won't have to watch these hideous campaign commercials any more. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election phacts?

Every election year I hear reporters mention John Kennedy was the youngest president. Not so.  I guess it depends on how you word it.  John F. Kennedy is the youngest-ever elected president at 43. However, Theodore Roosevelt is the youngest person to ever become president. He was 42 when he succeeded to the presidency, following the assassination of McKinley

I've heard JFK incorrectly described as the youngest president three times today.  

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Votin

A few days ago some woman with a handheld device of some sort came up to me outside the library. "What's your address?"

"Excuse me?" That a seemed a bit forward from someone I'd never met.

"I can  give you your polling place."

Ah.  "I've already voted."

"Instead of offering me some weekend tryst she just walked off to the next guy coming by.

Rather rude, I thought.

The weekend tryst part?  Well, she was kind of cute.  I never asked for a weekend tryst.  I never expected to get get one.

I like early voting.  Why I vote early is simple. I hate standing in lines.   Election day lines in many places are horrible.  I just look at all those people and smile.  

Friday, November 4, 2016

Best Laid Plans

I've had to cancel yet another anthology for lack of interest.  I wanted to do one on train stories, called All Aboard. I only got eight story submissions and only two of those were publishable. It's hard to get story submissions.  

Monday, October 31, 2016

Trick er Treat

Halloween has changed over the years, going from a kid holiday to more of an adult holiday.  But, little kids that can barely say "trickertreet" will be out there. The eye holes on their costumes are too small and they often trip because their costumes are too long.  Slow down if you're on the road and for god sake mom don't make your kid wear a coat over his costume.  Making kids wear coats over their costumes will make them become retarded and no one wants that.  If you have older kids and that carton of eggs you could swear you bought disappears tonight, well just let it be and don't ask any questions.

If you have any four legged friends, keep in mind Halloween is baffling to them.  We used to have a golden retriever who loved to get dressed up in costume and go trick or treating (and he got a lot of treats). that said, for most dogs all these people coming to the door is baffling and if your dog must be in costume, keep eye holes really really big.  Dogs are claustrophobic to a bit.  They don't like to feel confined.  And realize once fido understands it's okay for people to come to the house he'll be okay (ha).

Oh, those Butterfingers and Kit Kats are yummy.  Some of that cheap crap, not so much.  And bake your apples into a pie--kids don't want them.

And Linus will be hanging out in the pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin to come and visit. If that ain't a reason to avoid wild mushrooms I don't know what is. And Charlie Brown will get rocks in his bag--that's mean.

Have fun and Happy Halloween


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Can you spare some money, asshole?

Bums–they’re everywhere.  I cringe every time I see people give them money. In Tucson they love to beg for cash in the center mediums at intersections. It violates a city ordinance, but little is done to enforce it.  

Here’s my problem. If they really are vagrants with cardboard signs begging for help, giving them money will only buy more booze or drugs and will do nothing to help them. On the other hand, a lot of these folks are not what they seem.  I’ve watched them for years, both in Arizona and back in Colorado.  They often have shifts. Good intersection, when it’s time for one bum to go home another shows up with his cardboard sign to relive him.  This is a lot more organized than people seem to realize.

Hey, just this past week I watched one guy take clean clothes off in a wooded area, put on filthy cloths, put the clean stuff in a backpack, hide said backpack, and head off to beg for money.  As I said, these guys are not what they appear.  This would stop tomorrow if people stopped giving them money.  They should fine the donor. But that’ll never happen.







Thursday, October 27, 2016

It's almost here! Yay!

I've written before about Halloween, including dogs and Halloween, decorations and some other topics.  I seem to recall being dragged to church one Halloween and being forced to bob for apples. That's where they put a bunch of apples in a bucket of water and your're supposed to grab one with just your teeth--and keeping your hands behind your back.  So you've got your head immersed in a bucket of saliva and germs trying to grab an apple that's too big for your mouth.  Talk about gross.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

behind the gym

Apparently, our vice president wants to take Mr. Trump behind the gym.  Trump says he'd welcome it.  So, gentlemen, do it.  Heck, I'd pay cash money to see it.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Halloween Decor

I live in a gated community.  I'm new here inTucson and this will be my first Halloween around these parts.  I've noticed some folks are decorating their houses to a level that's equal to Christmas with orange and purple lights and skeletons and tombstones, etc.  Didn't see much of that in the mountains of Colorado. I doubt my house will see much action, as there just aren't any kids around. So, I went to my father, who also lives in Tucson and asked him to let me decorate his house.  To my surprise, he agreed.  So, I've spent the weekend putting up lights and spider webs and ghosts and getting the jack o'lanterns just so.  Damn, it was like I was ten again.  It was really fun.  I thought the place looked wonderful. On my way home, I noticed one of his neighbors had done a much better job that I had.   Their house was amazing.   It was beautiful and scary at the same time. Argh! 






Thursday, October 20, 2016

Gone [Went] Fishing

I've been away from the internet the past three days as I went on a fishing trip. "How was your trip?" My neighbor asked upon my return. "Awful," said I.   It was cold and windy and I didn't catch any fish. 

And, of course, what if it's the fish who put up all of those no fishing signs?

Not much stranger than my contradictory theory that fish actually know it's a lure they're going after and do so anyway--fish suicide,  I've written about it before.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Halloween Haunts

I've mentioned Halloween Haunts before.  Members of the Horror Writers Association post essays and stories about Halloween. Mine appears today.  Just click on the picture and you should be directed there.  If that doesn't work for some reason the actual link is;
http://horror.org/halloween-haunts-story-idea-stupid-david-b-riley/


Thursday, October 13, 2016

J A Campbell Interview

Colorado author J. A. Campbell stops by this blog for a short interview about her new collection of stories in Brown: Ghost Hunting Dog volume 2.

DBR Brown, she’s not from around here is she? What time period does she live in?

JAC  Brown’s stories come to us from the early 1900’s and take place predominantly in the American west, but occasionally she ventures east.

DBR What made you want to do another Brown collection?
JAC Honestly, I kept getting asked for one by fans. They come to my table at conventions and ask for another collection, so I figured I should oblige.

DBR Why ghosts?  Why not zombies or criminals?
JAC Brown has a way with ghosts, and enjoys fighting them. It’s that border collie eye. Also the first anthology invite that inspired her stories was a ghost story anthology. However, she’s helped put a few criminals away too, usually at a ghost’s request. Zombies . . . well . . . she hasn’t encountered them yet, but maybe someday.

DBR What does it take to make a dog character believable?
JAC  You have to do just enough humanization that people can relate with the character, but also add in enough dog, that the character is believable. Think about how dogs experience the world . . . through their noses. Scents are super important to include if you’re writing from a dog’s POV, along with keeping in mind that they will understand some things quite well, perhaps better than a human would, and others not very well at all.

DBR Brown’s one weakness is Elliott, her human.  Do we learn anything new about him this time around?
JAC  I feel like Elliott has grown a bit as a character through the stories. He’s more confident in his abilities and he and Brown’s reputation. However, I don’t feel like there are any startling revelations about his character in this book, other than that he’s turned into an all around decent guy. He used to be something of a con artist.

DBR What’s your favorite Brown tale?
JAC   That’s a tough one. Even though there aren’t ghosts in it, I think Brown vs. the Martians is my favorite published tale. My other favorite is Brown in Allosaurus Wrecks. It has a ghost in it. A very large one. This story isn’t in the upcoming collection. It’s due to be published in a weird western anthology in July.


DBR Did Brown really save earth from Martian invaders in vol 1? Any other take offs from ghosts in volume 2?
JAC Yes, Brown really saved earth from the Martians. She even went to space to rescue her human and a Plutonian. In this collection, along with ghosts, Brown and her half-plutonian puppies battle mechanical sheep gone bad, con artists, sheep-rustlers, and a whole host of new ghosts, including plant ghosts.

DBR Who’s going to like Brown? Is this a YA book or does it go for an older market?
JAC While this book is YA friendly, it’s designed for all ages of ghost and dog story lovers. The first collection has fans of all ages, and I think this one will appeal to a wide audience as well.






Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Brown-Ghost-Hunting-Dog-2/dp/1539180867

Monday, October 10, 2016

Good Eats?

I don't normally review restaurants. I went by Olive Garden just after 11 am today, Monday Oct 10th., while I was doing some other shopping at the Spectrum Mall in Tucson. Since the parking lot was nearly empty I naively assumed I could grab a quick lunch.  I was seated promptly by the hostess--right next to a big group of very loud women. And there I sat and sat and sat.  No one ever came by and offered beverages and acknowledged me, let alone actually take my order  At 25 minutes I got up and walked out the door.  I wonder if they ever noticed I'd left.  

When a restaurant is getting slammed I understand a customer might get lost in the crossfire.  And, as I was by myself, I know I'm a low priority for servers since I'm not as likely to generate much in the way of tips.  But this place was not busy.  Except for the group and a few other tables, the place was empty.  And still I was ignored.  I seriously doubt I'll ever go back there again.  Too bad, as I really like their soup.  





Sunday, October 9, 2016

Hang 'em

I noted some guy was selling hangman's nooses all tied up and ready to go for 35 [approx] bucks. Well, I went down to the local hardware store and bought a dollars worth of rope and tied up my hangman's noose in a couple of minutes.  I'm not going to go into the hangman's biz, but I think that guy seems a tad bit high on his prices.  That knot is simply not that difficult to tie. I'm ready to go with Halloween decorations.




Friday, October 7, 2016

voting rights act

I had a discussion last summer that I was thinking about again as I drifted off from that horrible debate the other night.  This person, Sheila, told me she always votes for the last person in each category, and didn't bother to learn anything about any issue on the ballot.  Apparently,  her father discovered this and is very upset with her. He thinks she should use her sacred right carefully and with due diligence. Frankly, I rather like her approach.  As long as the candidates are selected at random, and they are in most states, then she's leaving to fate who gets elected much as one lets the quick pick computer select one's lottery ticket.  

People can use whatever means they wish to vote even if it's ridiculous.  I asked about propositions. Her answer: she votes yes on everything.  I kind of wish she'd vote no, as most of these propositions that bypass the legislative process give us poorly worded unworkable laws.

Back a few years when I still lived in California I rolled dice to select my ballot choices. I only did it once.  If you try that, mark a sample ballot. Don't make those poor people who have been standing in line wait for you to keep tossing your dice or flipping your coin.

With early mail in voting, I've wondered if people will start selling the right to fill in their ballot. Gee, I wonder what that might be worth.  How do you get Craig's List again? *








*the blog owner is not advocating selling votes, but simply having thoughts about the voting process.




Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Random Thoughts in a Doctor’s Office Exam Room

Hot towels on your neck would be nice.

Also, a comely lass who comes in and gives you a massage would be nice

Might not be profitable, but this would be one hell of a popular doctor

No nice massage girl?  They could send a dog in to play with you whilst you’re waiting.

Monday, October 3, 2016

postage

The mighty US Postal Service has issued a jack o'lantern series of stamps for Halloween. I think they look pretty darn cool. Problem is I use so few stamps I'll be using them in February.


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Halloween Haunts

The Horror Writers Association is, once again, running its Halloween Haunts. This is a feature where you go to their website and can view essays and stories about horror and Halloween.  There will be at least one new posting a day during the month of October.  Best of all, you can win prizes.  And it's all free.  My posting "Your Story Idea is Stupid" is slated for October 16th.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Snowballs

They used to sell these things called snowballs in stores--kind of a gooey cupcake.  Most of the time they were pink, then they'd briefly change color at certain times of the year. Thing was, every time they changed color I bought a package.  It always worked, green for St. Patrick's Day I'll buy that. Then the company fell on hard times and there weren't any snowballs.  They eventually started turning back up in stores slowly, this time all white so they looked like real snowballs.  

Well, they're at it again.  I noticed a bunch of orange ones at the store all decked out for Halloween. Of course I bought some.  They have a spell over me.  






Monday, September 26, 2016

Magnificent Seven

I don't do many movie reviews and I don't even really see very many movies.  But I have a tough time resisting westerns. The remake of Magnificent Seven is a tough act to follow.  If someone never saw the original in a theater this works.  If, like me, you did, I'm not sure there's any point to watching it.  There's nothing really wrong with it, but I can't say that it's better than the original. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Self curating

One local and fairly large used book stores has some of my books.  They also have kind of a featured science fiction section where the books are displayed face front instead of the usual side view.  Well, I couldn't help myself. I moved Bonded Agent down to that section to try and help it sell better.  Now, keep in mind, this is a used book store.  I won't get any royalties on the sale. Still, I just can't help myself.  Have I done this at other book sores, say back in Colorado?  Maybe.  Bad to the bone.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Them there trees

Back in Colorado you could get Christmas trees just by paying $10 at the forest service ranger station. Arizona, where I now live, is much more complicated.  Supply is tighter than Colorado because so much of the state is a friggin desert.  Well, on land where you can harvest them, I've spotted my tree. Now, if I can come up with a way to protect it from other folks until it's time.  


Sunday, September 18, 2016

out of ketchup, oh my!

I went to a fast food outlet today to grab some lunch.  Well, I noted the hot sauce and ketchup were nowhere to be seen. “Are you out of ketchup?” I asked.

“How many you want?” one of the employees asked.

“Two.”

“Homeless people keep taking them all.  We had to put them behind the counter.”

Go back two days.  I was in line at the grocery store.  The guy in front of me was unable to come up with the ninety-five cents he was short.  He was buying basics like chicken and orange juice, not beer and cookies. I handed the clerk the money he was short.  You’d have thought I donated a kidney the way he acted.  He was Mexican and didn’t speak much English.  One “gracias” would have sufficed.


I usually don’t bring politics into this blog. but there’s something wrong when there’s no discussion at all without congressional candidates who only have eyes for tax cuts for millionaires and getting rid of people’s health care when people are so desperate for food they’re taking ketchup from restaurants.  The fellow in the grocery store couldn’t cover an $8.00 bill. For a country that has the wealth this one does, can’t we do better?  Apparently not.


Friday, September 16, 2016

Gardening

Now that I'm a  home owner and no longer live in an apartment or condo, I've discovered something called yard work. I've also discovered that many plants in Arizona have some really sharp thorns.  But my prize possession isn't work gloves to protect my hands--it's a propane weed burner.  The thing's incredible.  It just fries every weed in minutes without poisons or herbicide and without hurting my bad shoulder. I just love this thing.  


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Blogaroo

One of the things that needed to be done now that the HWA has started an Arizona chapter is the creation of a blog or web page.  We opted for a blog because they can be set up for free. Although I'm still tweaking it, our blog is now up o the internet.  I doubt anybody outside the hwa will find it all that interesting.

http://horrorarizona.blogspot.com/

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Horror

I don't talk much about my participation in the HWA.  It's a professional writers group.  We've been trying to start an Arizona chapter.  So I drove up to Phoenix for our inaugural meeting Looks promising.  Nice bunch of folks with some good ideas on promotions.  We'll have blog and stuff shortly.




Tuesday, September 6, 2016

To Boldly Go

The 50th anniversary has arrived.  Fifty years of boldly going.  I still remember my first episode.  Didn't care for it much.  It was the first Harry Mudd episode where he was bringing women for miners in some godforsaken hellhole.  Problem was I was quite young when Star Trek came out and I didn't really understand it.  Over time Star Trek caught on in syndication, then the movies, then next generation, then DS 9 then Voyager then more movies.  

Back to my first episode.  I had never heard of Star Trek. I was a little kid.  I had just discovered Batman.  Who needed this guy with pointy ears and no apparent super powers?  But my mother was watching it. Huh? She was watching Star Trek.  I never did figure that out.  The mere thought of reading a science fiction book would send her into a coma. But she was right there in the living room watching it nonetheless.  Over time, meaning by the next week, I do not recall her ever watching it again.  And I started watching it and watching it and watching it.  

So, I don't really know what all Paramount has planned in the way of dancing girls and ice cream and such.  But the Postal Service has just released a set of Star Trek commemorative stamps.  I've got mine.



Monday, September 5, 2016

Trees

I planted two ash trees and a myrtle in my back yard two weeks ago. They're still alive and seem to be doing well.  We've had so little rain that I was worried about them. We're over 100 every day and no rain in sight. Fortunately, there's this thing called a garden hose.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Them survey things

I had an appalling meal at Danny's yesterday.  burnt pancakes and raw hash browns coupled with appalling service.  Not amused.  So I thought I'd take the survey on the receipt.  No such luck. The code you have to put in was declared by the computer as not valid.  They don't really want feedback.  A shame.  I would've ripped them big time.  

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

I ain't got no camera

I do not have a digital camera. On nights like tonight I dearly wish I had one.  That's one thing about moving to the desert--these incredible sunsets.  They're not at all like sunsets back in Colorado. A shame I can't share it.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Tea of Our Discontents

I like one particular brand of iced tea that comes ready made and sold at most stores.  All summer long I've struggled to find it.  I'm usually looking at an empty shelf at the grocery store.  I don't see why this company can't make more tea, or hire more drivers or whatever the problem is.  They're losing business.  supply chain people-- that's business school 101. I want my tea.




Saturday, August 27, 2016

Topless Day 2018

Tomorrow is Women's Topless Day,Can't find any events listed in Tucson,

Friday, August 26, 2016

Not Much Going On

My postings have dropped off a bit lately.  I don't really have much going on.  Story Emporium 2 is out.  My next project is to try and get an Arizona chapter of the HWA up and running.  We've set our first meeting for September 10th in Phoenix.  We'll see what sort of interest there is.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Trees

I recently planted two ash trees.  They seem to take the heat fairly well.  I'm so pleased to notice new leaves are growing.  That's when I'm told they're out of danger.  

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Second Grade

Some kids are back in school, some aren't depending on where they live.  How sad they look.  I looked like that on my way to school.  No school bus. I got a bicycle at some point.  When I was little I used to get so worried about school I'd throw up.  Of course that prompted my father to relentlessly tease me or do anything to up the pressure.

One day I went off to a little creek about a mile from out house.  I never went to school that day.  Mostly sat around and caught crawdads.  It wasn't much fun.  But I'd brought my lunch.  Went home at the usual time.  Figured I'd get in trouble.  Nobody ever seemed to notice.  Felt better about school after that.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Fur trader

It's 100 degrees in the shade and some guy's sitting in the back of his truck trying to sell fur coats.  I don't know if the coats are mink or rat.  I do know they're on the back of a pickup truck.  

It's not uncommon around here to see people parked on a vacant lot hawking objects de art,  But I've never seen somebody trying to sell fur coats.  It just seems so totally wrong somehow.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

poly ticks

Didn't turn on the telebibision once yesterday.  Not one word about Trump.  Simple bliss it was.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

more on trees

Even more about trees, well a bush anyway. Lightning took it out during a really violent storm last week. This thing has some nasty looking thorns on it. Got to cut the dead thing up. Not looking forward to it.  That lightning strike was only about 15 feet from my house.  Think it can't happen to you?  Fifteen feet.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Trees part 2

Well, my new tree has not died yet.  It's a ashe good for desert climates.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Titles

I was thinking up story  titles for some burned out copy writer.

Bunch of birds fly around resort town.  Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds

Cleaning lady loses her shoe.                 Cinderella.

Some guy buys a lamp at the bazar.           Aladdin.

Old miser sees ghosts.                            A Christmas Story

Some guy in France steals a loaf of bread and gets arrested            Les Miserable.

A woman thinks she can spin golden thread      Rumplestiltskin

People go around burning books.                              Fahrenheit 451

A prince goes around kissing dead girls.               Snow White


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Tree

Bought myself a tree for some shade on the hot side of my house.  boy, was it tough to plant. We have incredibly hard rocky soil.  Hope the darned thing doesn't die.

Hot Stuff

As most folks reading this blog know, I recently moved to Tucson, AZ from Colorado.  Well, it's quite a bit hotter.  I'm not complaining. but I am explaining.  I've been trying to find some trees, as the back side of my house gets really hot in the afternoons.  Every nursery I've gone to tells me different things.  "You need this.  You need that."  Tomorrow, I will make my decision...

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Olympus

One problem with the Olympics is tv.  All the other networks kind of roll over and go into rerun mode. So, if you don't want to watch the Olympics, you've got few options. At least it's only every two years [winter and summer]. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Money from outer space

Want money?  I got some at one of our casinos.  I only went because some people from out of town wanted to go.  I won a whole dollar.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Hanging Judge

Two areas in the Wild West became especially notorious as being outside  the rule of law were Deadwood and the Indian Territories, which later became Oklahoma.  As most white settlements in this area were illegal and there was little in the way of local justice, this was literally a lawless region. The only real law came from Judge Charles Parker, who presided over the U.S. Court for the Western District of Arkansas out of Fort Smith. His tenure was unique in the history of the federal judiciary; while most U.S. district judges toiled away on civil cases, Parker heard thousands of criminal complaints involving disputes and violence between Indians and non-Indians. He served on the bench for 20 years.  Lacking any other rule of law, he deputized federal marshals and sent them into the Indian Territory to arrest and bring back literally hundreds of criminals.  Although he often claimed he was trying to rehabilitate these men, he sent 160 people to their deaths. This is more executions by far than any American judge, ever. Most of those executed had no right of appeal--there was no appellate court claiming jurisdiction over the area.
 Parker's efforts led to major changes in how the justice system operates. In Fort Smith he tried to create, in his own words, "the moral force of a strong federal court." He did this singlehandedly with little help or guidance from Congress or any other court. He deputized blacks as well as whites as marshals at a time when marshals were under the supervision of federal judges.  Some of his marshals arrested got so good at what they did they would arrest hundreds of criminals a year and bring them back to stand trial by the wagonful. 

And this concludes Hanging Week.  I hope you've enjoyed it,

Monday, August 1, 2016

New Adventures

The New Adventures of the Late Judge Roy Bean

The town council was frantic.
What are we to do?
Scofflaw are everywhere.
There’s a car parked in my spot

Then the air turned and the sky churned and a man stood before them.
“I’m Judge Roy Bean and I’ll clean up this town.”
And the sky churned and the wind blew and suddenly another man was there.
“That’s deputy Dan.”

And so the citizens were safe once again.
They could sleep at night
Cars could be parked.
The law had arrived.

Then court was in session.
The judge cracked his gavel. Court is open!
What’s the charge?
Littering.

What of it?
A gum wrapper, it was.
Oh, did he hate litter.
 "Guess we’ll have to hang ya.”

Next case come forward.
What’s it gonna be?
Hitchhiking!
The judge hated looking at people’s thumbs.

The town council was frantic.
What are we to do?
We’ve made a mistake.
But there’s no car in my spot.



This is a poem I published a long time ago in a small magazine long forgotten.

Judge Roy Bean, the only law west of the Pecos.  Often and erroneously called the hanging judge, truth is he was just a part time justice of the peace and saloon keeper.  He handled minor cases like stealing and drunkenness, but lacked the authority to run capital trails.  Although there is one tale of one case where he did order someone hanged...

Tomorrow we'll rap up hanging week with a real bad ass hanging judge.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Hanging Up the Ladies

If you ask folks who the first woman hanged in the United States, you'll likely get Mary Surratt, the boarding house operator who helped plot the Lincoln assassination.  But that's not the first woman hung, it's merely the first by the United States Government.  A lady named Hannah Ocuish was hung in Connecticut way back in 1786.  She was a native American and choked a girl to death following a fight over strawberries.  A woman was hung in May of 1865 after poisoning her husband in Illinois. One writer estimates 505 women were hanged in the USA since it was founded. About 200 of those are disputed or at least not verified.  But 306 cases are fairly well documented. Of these 306 verifiable cases, 211 women were put to death for murder, 7 for attempted murder and 2 for conspiracy to murder. 26 were hanged for witchcraft, 17 for arson, and the rest for various other crimes including concealing a birth and burglary in a dwelling house. One woman was hanged for adultery. 

You'll note some women were hung as witches.They didn't always burn them.  Fire wood was probably too precious in winter to waste it burning some witch.  Gradually, authorities started treating woman with more kindness.  Martha Place was electrocuted  in New York in 1895. So, Mary Surratt  most assuredly was not the first woman hanged in the USA.


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Hangtown

The gold rush had barely begun when claim jumpers and other no goods started turning up on the mother load.  We don't really know how many citizens juries didn't wait for the law and strung someone up on a tree, as records weren't always kept.  Hangtown became Placerville when it incorporated in 1854.  Until then it was famous for stringing up no goods. But, as more refined folk started turning up in what was then the third biggest town in California, they settled on Placerville.

So, what's the difference if you get a noose around your neck by a "citizen's jury" or the real thing? Well, the obvious answer is rule of law.  But there are also matters like a chance to present a defence and select an impartial jury.  But the most striking difference is the technique.  Citizens  juries, which were really just vigilante groups rarely ever bothered to build a gallows.  A rope was strung around a sturdy tree,the noose placed around the accused neck and then the chair he was standing on or the horse he was sitting on is suddenly and abruptly vacated.

Not so with those convicted by a real jury before a real judge. Those folks got the benefit of hanging at a gallows, where ropes were measured and trap doors inspected before the proceedings.  Might even get a chance to pray with a priest beforehand.  

Friday, July 29, 2016

Lucky Number 13


Did you ever see a hangman tie a hangknot?
I've seen it many a time and he winds, he winds,

After thirteen times he's got a hangknot      Woody Guthry



As hanging week continues, I'll talk about the hangman's noose.  It's a simple knot, a variant on other slip knots. It's a big knot and has a distinctive look.  It takes a few tries, but it;s not tough to get it to look right.  I used to tie them all the time.

Whilst growing up, we were told by the Boy Scouts the knot was illegal in California. As much as Boy Scouts love knots, they did not like us using that one,  It may have been illegal. All I know is when I grew older and got better at library research I couldn't find any actual law making the knot illegal.  I don't think there is one although you can't entirely rule out some local ordinance someplace. So, get yourself a rope and have at it. Remember, it's 13 coils--no more and no less.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hang 'em High

As hanging week continues, I set out to find out if people poop after being hanged?  There are a few, though not many, articles on this subject.  In most cases, the answer is no.  Although there have been a few instances of people pooping their pants when being hung. Kind of depends on how much food the executee consumed and how long before the event.

Pissing themselves, well that seems a lot more common.  If it was me, well I'd try to talk the hangman into building the gallows with seats for kids below, so they could get a good view. And I'd make sure I ate a hearty last meal.  Those folks would remember that, I'll betya.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I guess we'll have to hang ya!

I've noted recently that executions have ground to a halt as officials can't find any of the stuff for lethal injections without going to drug dealers.  Can't beat a rope. Just string 'em up. It's hanging week on this here blog.  Stay tuned!



Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Star Dazed

Well, one of the things you get to see when you live out in the desert are these things called stars.  They're all over the sky.  If I lived closer into town, the light pollution would make things tougher to see.  But it's pretty dark out where I live.  And they're everywhere.  I'm not sure if it makes much difference, overall.  

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Happy Bir*day M'fu*er

Well, today is my birthday.  It's the first time in a decade I haven't had to work.  I guess that's because I'm semi-retired now and not due to some altruistic employer giving me a day off.  I kind of like working on my birthday, as it's a shield from getting sickeningly sweet cake or stupid presents I don't want.  "Gotta work, don't have time" has served me nicely over the years.  

So, I really don't need any cake. If you want to send me money by PayPal that's okay.  And I can think of a few things the redhead at the hardware store could do, but for the most part just leave me alone. I'm fine with that.




Friday, July 22, 2016

Art

Well, the new issue of Story Emporium: Purveyors of Steampunk & Weird Western Adventure is about to be released.  The cover appears below.  The cover seems to be attracting a lot of attention.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Lamentations

There was some discussion about what works in science fiction at a con I went to a few weeks ago.  The general view was white guy or generic guy from Earth as hero.  That's what readers buy.  May be so. Not having the sales I was hoping for on Bonded Agent,  a female insurance adjuster from Mars.  I guess people don't want to read about some insurance company.  

But it's got lizard men!  For god sake, it's got lizard men.   And that's all I have to say.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tidbits

Here are some tidbits about me. I decided not to call them interesting tidbits, because they may not be all that interesting.

My first novel published was the Two Devils.

I drive a Ford.  The car before that was a Ford. The car before that was a Ford.  The car before that was a Ford.  The car before that was a Plymouth.

My first short story published was "The Orb." It appeared in a little publication called Virgin Meat. It has been reprinted elsewhere.

My first fish I ever caught was a rainbow trout at some small lake in Colorado.

My most recent novel is Bonded Agent.  I dearly wish a few thousand people would order a copy.

I live in a manufactured home in Arizona.  I am officially trailer trash.

Although I really like dogs, I have never actually owned one.

I've never been outside of North America.

Favorite pizza topping: pineapple and pepperoni.

Favorite ice cream flavor: Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia.

Favorite movie:  Kill Bill








Saturday, July 16, 2016

Attractions close at 7 pm

I live in what's called a gated community.  There are quite a few of them in Arizona. Whether they truly keep the riff raff out is open to speculation. I guess they make the residents feel more secure. Only it's only partly gated. We have a wide open view of the desert. I was sitting on a bench near the swimming pool last night when somebody let out a shriek. Seems there was a diamondback rattlesnake crawling across the lawn.  There is honest-to-god desert 50 yards from where this snake was.  Snake was likely headed home.  Then the lady's husband said "Get something to kill it."

I got up off the bench and approached them.  "What's going on?"

"There's a rattlesnake."

"I know that," said I.

"We need something to kill it.:"

I drew my 9mm out of its holster.  "A bit loud."  [Yes, I have a concealed carry permit].  I reholstered it.  "Oh, looks like it's getting away."  I went home, just as the snake seemed to be across the lawn. It only had a few feet to go..  

Live out in the desert and get upset when desert creatures are spotted.  Problem is, the snake was the wrong kind of desert creature.  Folks love all the quail we have running around.  The deer caused a stir a few days ago.  But that serpent must be killed.  Not by me.  I would never shoot  a snake because it's crawling across a field.  It wasn't  hurting anyone.   Leave animals alone and they'll leave you alone.  My distraction gave the snake time to escape.  


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Parallel parking

At least in theory, there may be parallel universes that may resemble our own. This begs the question: in how many universes is Trump running for president in?  Just something to think about as you lie in bed waiting for aliens to come and abduct you tonight.  

Monday, July 11, 2016

Corn dogs

I'm new to the Tucson area.  Some store sells corn dogs in their deli.  They're not very good The locals are laughing at me, in all probability.  Sure would like some good corn dogs though.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Creature

Some creature recently ate the cable that brings the internet into my house.  The service provider didn't seem to believe me until they actually came out and saw the cable.  It has now been fixed and I am once again free to rattle on about things.