My Work

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sing the Song of Fall

Fall has officially arrived, and for many in my neck of woods, that means getting the plumbing protected from freezing temps, getting the rest of the garden harvested and canned, and other pre-winter essentials taken care of. It also means visiting those places with blazing color, and cursing all the businesses that insist that this is the Christmas season.

It’s also a wonderful time for reflection, and I like to do that through poetry. Please join me for this little ditty I call

Sing the Song of Fall

A quiet time, a time to gather one’s strength,
            To prepare for that even more quiet time,
            When sleep comes to so many, the long
            Quiet sleep of winter.

A heart that beats with glory in spring, one that
            Beats with color and music through a long
            Hot summer, now slows, prepares for a long
            Quiet sleep of winter.

Few songs are sung to the grand scape of fall, so
            Many are so busy, preparing for the next,
            It’s fall when the next comes with joy, a long
            Quiet sleep of winter.

Blankets of color grace the pastoral, blood and sap
            Draw within, saving their strength for that
            Other, when cold shivers all limbs, for a long
            Quite sleep of winter.

Sing the song of fall, sing the song of making ready,
            When the pastoral is quiet to the soul, when
            We gather that sown, sleep warm, waiting for
            Our green awakening from a
                        Long Quiet Sleep of Winter.

We’ve been teased by those prognosticators of “the weather” with the possibility of a strong El NiƱo this winter, which if it happens, could mean the end of our prolonged drought here in northwestern Nevada. We won’t be doing much fall fishing since the rivers are empty, but those thoughts of a wet winter might bring spring fishing, and so, we’ll do a little rain dance to help it along.

Enjoy this autumn, an in-between sort of season. Winter is pretty much just that. Cold, wet, Jack Frost presiding. Spring is renewal, fresh growth, all good and warm and green, while summer is hot, filled with swimming and fishing and eating BBQ. But old man fall, he just kind of sits around, turning gorgeous colors, ambling between a few days of warmth, a couple of cold, maybe a touch of rain, then some frost. Just can’t make up its mind. Well, I just made up mine.
The end

Until next time, read good books and stay regular.

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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Pass the Peace Pipe

The 2016 election is getting more than interesting with some strange front runners, some previously thought of front runners becoming has beens, and what appears to be open discussion on what many people consider to be, a big problem. That is, drugs and the so-called war on drugs. That war on drugs has been just as effective as Elliot Ness was on his war on booze.

Being a died-in-the-wool libertarian at heart, I’ve questioned why there has been a war on drugs in the first place. Narcotics are not like alcohol in one respect. If one drinks gin, vodka, whiskey, or beer and wine, one does not automatically become an alcoholic. On the other hand, many of what have become illegal “drugs” aren’t habit forming either. Getting ‘high’ shouldn’t be any more illegal from a plant that one smokes or eats, than from one that is consumed as a beverage.

The only product from this war on drugs has been the creation of major criminal enterprises making more money than anyone can imagine. Those profiting from the distribution of illegal drugs have become warlords with immense power and prestige, far surpassing the criminal element that thrived distributing illegal alcohol.

Putting age minimums on alcohol consumption only creates a ‘thrill’ situation for those that haven’t reached that age plateau. That, of course can be seen in drunken orgies at any college campus or high school after game party. I went to high school on Guam during the early 1950s and, except for the military bases, the civilian thirst parlors did not have age limitations on purchasing a drink with alcoholic content.

When I was fourteen, if I wanted a beer and had the money, I could buy one and drink it. The local pubs had serious rules of conduct, though. If one misbehaved to the point of being told to leave, that pub owner could make the ejection permanent, and often did. On an Island only thirty-eight miles long, if one was stupid and foolish, one ran out of places to imbibe. That was more efficient than any law that said one couldn’t drink until one reached a certain age.

The war on drubs has also created an entire class of hypocrisy within the law enforcement field. Defense attorneys face prosecutors over some dumb-ass caught with a couple of joints and, after court, snort some cocaine with their martinis while grilling a steak. The cop on the beat snags a guy with a clay pipe and some residue and goes home to smoke a joint or two after supper.

If a person feels responsible for himself, that person should be able to enjoy a martini without fear of arrest, snort a coke hit, or inject some black tar. It’s his body, he would be responsible for the results. If he becomes a raving alcoholic, his responsibility. If he becomes a drug addled fool, his responsibility. Assault, theft, DUI, and other crimes should be prosecuted to the fullest measure of the law, which should be reflected as a deterrent to other users.

I know I don’t get along with a drunken idiot or blithering druggie, but unless they get in my face aggressively or threaten me in some other way, I just pass it off. It’s their body, and it will be their hang over, or hospital bill.

It’s the creation of major criminal elements that have been the true result of the war on drugs. Massive areas of good agricultural land have been set aside for growing the plants that turn into drugs. Entire police agencies have become drug runners, governments getting their kick-backs from cartels, thrive with under the table money. Think how much real food could be grown on the land in South America dedicated to cocaine, or the land in Afghanistan dedicated to poppies.

With the money available because the drug is illegal, any farmer in a third world economy would be foolish to grow corn when he could grow a poppy or coca plant. Most of the drugs that are illegal today were not illegal prior to World War Two, and the fear mongers, terrified that the war effort might be affected by drugs, started this whole mess.

The repeal of the ban on alcohol did not create a nation of alcoholics, and did force the gangster element to move to different means of income. I think the time has passed to let adults be adults and force the drug cartels to find another way of making trillions of dollars.

Until next time, read good books and stay regular.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

To Better Civilization ... Or Not

I’ve been neglecting you, oh dear readers, and I feel bad about that. I could say I’ve simply been too busy, but of course that would be nonsense. It’s simply that I’ve been writing my skinny little butt off and having a ball doing it. For several years, those just before and just after retiring from a real job, I wrote half a dozen or more novels, never looking to get any of them published.

Some of us are slow learners and it took several years before I finally said, why haven’t I seriously tried to get published? I have published many short stories, many poems, and of course, fifty years of journalism, many articles. Why not a novel? No good answer, so I got out my stack manuscripts and started the long process of polishing them up.

Two thousand and fifteen is my year, so far. I have published the western Jacob Chance, U.S. Marshal, which has received four five-star reviews and some favorable comments. I have published the fantasy The Quest, with one five-star review, so far. The book hasn’t been out very long at this writing. And I just finished the first edit on my western novel, Paradise Challenged, which could be available in time for Christmas giving.

I’m writing the second book in the Jacob Chance trilogy at this time and have two mystery/crime novels that I hope to have published in 2016, and this brings up the question of writing in more than one genre. I’ve had no problem with the concept, but I know other authors who either don’t feel comfortable writing in more than one genre, or feel it shouldn’t be done, for whatever reason.

My comfort level comes from my long background in print journalism and broadcasting. In my broadcasting career I was called on to write fuzzy-wuzzy commercial copy, hard news, cover murders, and ladies’ tea parties. And, I called many sports broadcasts, baseball, football, and elections. (Humor intended) In other words, I had to wear many different hats, write in many different forms, and all of it on the fly. The word ‘deadline’ still makes my heart race and my blood pressure increase.

So why couldn’t I have Jacob Chance clean up a mob of land scheming frauds in one novel, put Simon Sol Dorsey through the wringer clearing out drug dealing mobsters in another novel, and enjoy writing Tom Henry through a universe-wide conspiracy with romance in the wings? Well, actually, I have, and in the process allowed Pete Quimby to be compared to John Wayne.

Some introductions are in order here. You have met Jacob Chance, U.S. Marshal, and Tom Henry, interstellar traveler, I hope, and in a novel not yet completely ready to be looked at by a publisher, Simon Sol Dorsey is a private eye with high morals and few ethics. Yeah, a likable noir character who can get in lots of trouble. Pete Quimby is one of the leads in Paradise Challenged, and my editor said, ‘his character should be played by a John Wayne type.’

What I find most enjoyable about all of this is simply having lots of fun telling stories, letting make-believe people romp through all kinds of difficulties and circumstances, some living through it all, some not, and at the end, hopefully, many live happily ever after and the bad guys go down in flames. I try not to write with a heavy moral emphasis, strong on doing good, or characters that toe the line of ethical behavior, rather, I try to picture myself at a campfire surrounded by wonderful people listening to my stories.

Those teaching ‘creative literature’ are already cringing, but I like to write the same kinds of stories that I like to read. I love rompin’ stompin’ heroes fighting off the murderous hordes, men and women in silver space suits soaring through the vastness of our galaxy, or a rough and tumble PI with a forty five auto tucked in his pants whoop-assin’ on some tweaker.

No, my novels will not make social inroads toward bettering our civilization, but hopefully they will make more than one evening’s read a pleasant experience.

Until next time, read good books and stay regular.

Will you join me on facebook from time to time?
Or Tweet with me, darlin’?