Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Interview at

I'm interviewed by the very talented Jennifer Minar Jaynes today over at We talk about Gallows Pole, places to write, and why I went indie. Check it out!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How to Take Christ Out of Christmas

This was too good not to share:

‎"How do you take Christ out of Christmas? You take Christ out of Christmas every time you:

Don’t take the high road.

Are less than loving, and patient, and kind.

Gossip, complain about, and judge others.

Are slow to listen and quick to anger.

And yes…. grump and moan and cry about everyone taking Christ out of Christmas, instead of simply showing the people kindness and goodwill and grace, and letting them see through your actions that Christ cannot be taken out of your Christmas because Christ is living in you. No one can take that away from you, no matter what they believe or what they celebrate or WHY they celebrate."

Thanks to Jennifer McGrail at The Path Less Taken and to M'Lou Green, who posted this on Facebook. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Review: THE DEPUTY, by Victor Gischler

The DeputyThe Deputy by Victor Gischler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Part-time sheriff's Deputy Toby Sawyer gives new meaning to the word "hapless." He's given the simple task of keeping his eye on the body of a local tough who turns up murdered. Somehow, he manages to botch even that. His efforts to set his mistake right send him lurching from one life-threatening situation to another, uncovering more and more secrets and corruption with every lurch.

Let's face it, Jack Reacher this guy ain't. But Victor Gischler keeps the action moving so fast, and makes the bad guys so bad, that you end up pulling for the poor schmuck with the tin badge pinned to his Weezer t-shirt.

Fast-paced, tightly plotted, and darkly funny, this is Gischler's best book since his debut, GUN MONKEYS.

View all my reviews

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Little People, A Silly People (And I Don't Mean the Muppets)

Latest Newspaper column:

In a world where the rich and powerful, especially giant corporations, are the truly oppressed members of society,  it’s a good thing that Eric Bolling and his cohorts at  Fox Business News are vigilant and ready to warn us of threats to capitalism.  If they hadn’t been on the job, we might never have known about the imminent Marxist peril posed by the Muppets.

As you might have heard, there’s a new Muppet movie out from Disney, starring Kermit, Piggy, and the  gang, as well as that guy from “How I Met Your Mother” whose name I can never remember. Bolling, the host of FBN's “Follow the Money,”  was offended by the portrayal of  the movies’ villain, an oil baron named Tex Richman (played by the multi-award-winning actor Chris Cooper). Richman, the story goes, wants to drill for “sweet, sweet oil" under the Muppet’s home/studio, and the Muppets and their human friends have to save it.

Well, Eric Bolling and the cracked--sorry, crack-- team at FBN weren’t going to take that kind of socialist slander lying down. “Liberal Hollywood depicting a successful businessman as evil? That’s not new,” Bolling sneered.

Actually, that much is true, as we are reminded this season by multiple portrayals of characters like Ebenezer Scrooge and “It’s a Wonderful Life”’s Henry F. Potter. Ranging farther afield, you can find a lot of fictional villains distinguished by great wealth: Lex Luthor. Goldfinger. Montgomery Burns. Donald Trump. Wait, Trump’s real. I still have trouble believing that.

 A few moment’s consideration would probably lead a reasonable person to theorize that rich and powerful characters make effective villains because their power makes them a credible threat to the aims of the scrappy underdog hero(es). Without a credible threat, there’s no suspense, and no story. A homeless guy isn’t going to do much to stand in the hero’s way, unless you give him a rocket launcher, and that would just be silly.

But not as silly as Bolling and Company when they’re convinced that leftism is afoot. “It’s amazing how far the left will go to manipulate your kids,” fussed one of Bolling’s guests,  Dan Gainor of something called the “Media Research Center”. Andrea Tantoros, one of the co-hosts of the talk show “The Five,” chimed in. “I wish they could just leave little kids alone,” she said, her voice quivering with indignation. "We're teaching our kids class warfare,” Bolling agreed, adding, “Where are we, Communist China?"

Yes, according to the genuises at Fox Business News, the Muppets and the DIsney Company  are agents of the International Chinese Communist Conspiracy.

You cannot make this stuff up, folks.

Perhaps the most amusing thing about the whole segment was that all the time Bolling, Gainor et. al, were warning us all of the Hollywood conspiracy  to defame those poor oil company execs, and thus the very concept of capitalism itself,  clips from the movie were playing on an inset in the screen--Muppets and humans dancing, singing, and generally being a heck of a lot more fun than these over-privileged whiners sitting in a New York Studio and complaining about how mean Hollywood was to the people who brought you price gouging and  the Gulf oil spill. Apparently, it’s not enough that oil companies enjoy astronomical profits every year and that their executives enjoy compensation that would shock a Medici prince, now everyone, including the Muppets, has to be extra-special-nice to them to avoid hurting their (or Eric Bolling’s) feelings.

After  other pundits began mocking Bolling for taking on the puppets in a children's movie, he eventually apologized--sort of. Being a true product of Fox, even his apology made him sound like a passive-aggressive dick. "Apparently," he said, "I said some things that offended little Kermit and Miss Piggy the last few days. And listen, I apologize." Then he went on to step in it again, adding: "I just wanted to say, listen, froggy--what's his name? Kermit, Miss Piggy, if you want to debate this any time, I'm all for it. So let's bring it."

 I guess offering to debate creatures made of felt is moderately less crazy than demonizing them as Communist agents. But only slightly.

You have to wonder: was there no one in the entire studio willing to take Bolling aside and go, “Dude. Muppets? Really?” Thanks to the 24 hours news cycle and the Murdoch media empire’s unceasing hunger to find new and fresh outrages to satisfy right-wingers’ need to feel oppressed and put-upon, the answer appears to be no.