Friday, September 09, 2005


According to Britain's newspaper The Guardian , "It is quite wrong to portray publishing as an impenetrable cartel - if anything it's too open to unknown writers."

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Column the Paper Doesn't Want You to See

Well, I finally hit the wall, it seems, with my hometown paper. I've been writing a weekly column for them since 1998, and they've been pretty tolerant. They passed this column up, however. They say they didn't print it because they were afraid of the "slings and arrows" the conservatives might send them.


Here it is, in all its glory:

It seems that, after I turned my column in last week, televangelist and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Robertson decided to apologize for his remarks saying that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez needed to be killed. "Is it right to call for assassination? No, and I apologize for that statement," Robertson said. "I spoke in frustration that we should accommodate the man who thinks the U.S. is out to kill him."

Of course, a couple of days before, Robertson had denied saying the very words he has now apologized for. "I didn't say 'assassination,” Robertson sputtered. “I said our special forces should 'take him out.' And 'take him out' can be a number of things, including kidnapping; there are a number of ways to take out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted by the AP [Associated Press], but that happens all the time."

Apparently, however, someone pointed out to Robertson that, since he made his pronouncement on TV, he was, you know, on videotape. And that videotape showed him actually using the word ‘assassinate.’ Thus, the apology. Nice to know that this man of God will actually confess to his wrongdoing, once he’s cornered like a rat in a trap.

Anyway, Pat’s apologized, so it’s over, right? I mean, folks are saying, hey, let’s move on, let it go.

Wow. If I’d only known it was that easy, I wouldn’t have been so restrained in these columns in the past. But now that I know better, I feel strangely liberated. I can now say things like:

Pat Robertson is a raving fascist nutjob who ought to be chained to the back of a pickup truck and dragged to death.

Wait, I was misquoted out of context by the paper. I never used the words “fascist” or “death.”

Okay, I did use those words, but I apologize. I spoke in frustration that a nationally known Republican was calling for the assassination of another country’s President.

Boy, this is fun. Let’s try another one:

Donald Rumsfeld is a bloody-handed war criminal. His policies have led to the torture of people in American custody and have brought disgrace on our military. Rumsfeld ought to be hauled before an international tribunal, tried, and hanged at dawn.

Darn. Misquoted again. I never said Rumsfeld had blood on his hands. I didn’t say “war criminal” or “hanged.” I never accused Rummy of being responsible for torture.

Okay, I did us those exact words, but I apologize. It was wrong to say those things. I didn’t mean them. I was just frustrated. So let’s move on:

George Dubbya Bush is a congenitally dishonest, bungling hack who stole his first and probably his second election, lied about WMD’s to get us into the wrong war with the wrong enemy, then criminally mismanaged that war, resulting in the needless deaths of over 1800 Americans and God knows how many innocent Iraqi civilians, all of whom seem to have died so that we could have an Islamic Republic with close ties to Iran could be established, assuming the whole thing doesn’t tear itself apart in a bloody civil war that further destabilizes the Middle East. He’s easily the most incompetent President this country has ever had. He ought to be dragged out of the White House by his heels, tied to a tree and horsewhipped till he cries for his Mommy.

Doggone that newspaper! They can’t get it right, can they? I never said Bush lied or stole an election. I never called him incompetent or a hack and I certainly never advocated any kind of violence against him.

Well, okay, I did. I was wrong to say those things. I apologize. I didn’t really mean any of it. I was just frustrated with the way the war is going and the fact that the President and his supporters keep saying “stay the course,” when there doesn’t seem to be any course or any clear destination.

So, now that I’ve made my apologies, let’s move on, shall we? Anyone who writes a letter to the paper now, rebuking me for saying those things above is just dwelling on the past and being mean-spirited. We should all stop with the name-calling and hateful statements, even though we never actually did any name-calling or made hateful statements and if we did, we all apologize. Right?

Dusty Rhoades lives, writes and practices law in Carthage. At least that’s what he’s saying now.

Monday, September 05, 2005

B'Con Virgin No More

A few random musing about my first Bouchercon (random being about the best I can do right now):

Harlan Coben is a hell of a nice guy.

Barry Eisler is a hell of a nice guy. He’s apparently about to break huge with Killing Rain, his fourth John Rain novel, and he deserves every bit of it. The books are great international-intrigue type thrillers, and did I mention he’s a hell of a nice guy?

J.A. Konrath is hilarious, even early in the morning, and yes, is a hell of a nice guy.

Mark Billingham was also hilarious; I went to a panel he was on even though I was only mildly interested in the subject matter, just to see him moderate (and yes, the other guests were fascinating as well, so it was a good thing all ‘round). And while I didn’t get to actually meet him, I hear he’s a hell of a nice guy, even though thanks to him, I am now known as the Southern guy who likes porn and cheese. Thank you, Mark. Thank you VERY MUCH.

Ken Bruen is a hell of a nice guy, but everyone already knew that. He also must have the constitution of a Titan. If I’d have run as long and hard as he did for five days, they’d be carrying me out on a freakin’ gurney. And I’m not just talking about booze, although there was a bit of that. Just a wee drop, really. Congratulations to Ken on his Macavity. I hope he took my advice, took the award (a big-ass cat statue) to a meeting with his publishers, slammed it down on the table and said “I’m Ken Bruen, bitch!” But he probably didn’t.

Harley Jane Kozak is a hell of a nice lady. Congratulations to her on her awards (Anthony and Macavity) as well.

But with all due respect to the folks above, I have to say that Barbara Seranella has to be the coolest person on the planet. She’s been through so much this past year, and she’s still totally open, funny, and laid back. She even gave out free onions with little notes that said something like: “Take the onions but I’m keeping the liver.” That’s Richard Pryor funny, if you know what I mean.

People I met who I liked so much that I will now have to buy their stuff: Megan Abbot, C.J. Carpenter, Bill Crider, Ray Banks, Sean Doolittle, Dave White, Jim Winter, and Sean Chercover (hope I spelled that right). I’m sure others will percolate to the surface of my memory soon.

Congrats to Jason Starr for the Anthony for best PBO. It’s well-deserved. And the best part about that was seeing his obvious joy in it…if he’d grinned any bigger, the top of his head would have slid off. It made me happy just to watch him.

Duane Swierczynski and Allan Guthrie really do make a cute couple. And the cover of Duane’s new book is about as cool as something can get without having wheels, cleavage or a trigger. Maybe the coolest thing about it that it already listed Jason (who did a blurb) as "Jason Starr, Anthony Award Winner". Allan’s book Two-Way Split is also coming out in a new U.K. edition with a truly bad-ass cover. His other book Kiss Her Goodbye is not only some of the best noir you’ll ever get your hands on, but already had one of the greatest covers ever. Buy these books or be consigned forever to the outer darkness reserved for the truly lame.

Regrets? I’ve had a few…people I either missed entirely or only got to see in passing on the way to somewhere else and hoped to catch up with more, but never did: Paul Guyot, Keith Snyder, David Montgomery, James Lincoln Warren, and of course, Polly P.I.

Guyot: I was in the damn bar, ready to buy you a drink...where the hell were you?

Next year in Madison