Saturday, December 12, 2009

Kicking Buttercup Butt

Shannyn Moore is finally, really mad! She is kicking Buttercup's butt all over her radio show right now! It's time to remove Shannyn from my Chicken Suit List. She may not yet be ready to talk publicly about Buttercup's faked pregnancy, but she certainly is discussing The Wild Ride and the free pass to oblivion that the MSM has provided for the Wicked Witch who wasn't PG in the first place! To quote the only phrase coined by Shannyn better than guano crazy, "Suck it up, Buttercup!!"

Monday, December 7, 2009

Going Rouge

I am pleased to announce that Going Rouge: An American Nightmare has finally been released at Amazon. I reported in my post entitled Fumbling Towards Ecstasy on October 24th that the publisher had no plans to sell the book at Amazon. Although I pleaded with Mr. Oakes then to reconsider his decision, the plan at that time was to sell the book only directly from O/R Books. Now that the publisher has made the smart move, I encourage everyone to order a copy for Christmas right now. The $15.95 price is the same as on the website and you can add another item to your order to get free shipping at Amazon. May I suggest Max Blumenthal's Republican Gomorrah or Frank Schaeffer's Crazy for God? For a quick read and a big laugh, you could add this other Going Rouge to your order. Here is my review of that other Going Rouge at PODBRAM. You can also pre-order the paperback edition of Republican Gomorrah from Amazon now if you want to barely squeak over the $25 line!

Update: Amazon has just dropped the price of Going Rouge: An American Nightmare to $9.32. A combo order with Republican Gomorrah in paperback will not get you free shipping, but the price of Going Rouge from Amazon is now even lower than the price directly from the publisher!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bikini Orange

Kindle & Smashwords Editions

I have recently discovered a few discrepancies among my e-books between the Kindle and Smashwords editions, but these have been rectified. If you have seen one of my earlier Kindle editions displaying double line spaces where single line spaces should have been, this problem has been corrected. All versions of all my books should display correctly now, although the Kindle and Smashwords editions will never be identical.

There are two separate versions of each of my four books now. The Kindle Editions have paragraph indents, but the Smashwords Editions have single line spaces between paragraphs. This is because the Smashwords versions have to be compatible with more than a single type of e-book reader. The Kindle Editions are priced a little higher because they have been specifically formatted for the Kindle only. Some of you may already be aware that the Smashwords Editions have been available directly from the Smashwords website for some time. They recently were added to B&N online and other sites, and soon will be available at Amazon. All the print versions of my current books will continue to be available everywhere.

Here is an update on the release of my upcoming book, Ker-Splash 2: The High Performance Powerboat Book. Initially at least, this book will be available only as a CreateSpace printed edition at Amazon. It is still on schedule to be released 1/1/10 or very soon thereafter. Ker-Splash 2 will be my biggest book yet, featuring a total word count much higher than my previous books and at least seventy photos, mostly of boats, of course. While awaiting the arrival of some key photos for Ker-Splash 2 from a particular boat builder, I took advantage of the break to work on the previously mentioned updates to the electronic versions of my current books. There has coincidentally been a bit of face-stuffing activity with old friends during this time period, too!

I call the photo above Bikini Orange. This is a 2009 Commander 28-foot catamaran in a mid-cabin design. This small boutique builder of California Custom Boats will be included in Ker-Splash 2. This photo is one of the outtakes that did not quite make the cut: a better shot is in the book!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fumbling Towards Ecstasy

With apologies to Sarah McLachlan for stealing the title of one of her best albums, I want to say a few words about this new book slated for release 11/17/09. Going Rouge is the first release from the new O/R Books, a company formed earlier this year by two very experienced New York publishing icons, John Oakes and Colin Robinson. This new book of essays is edited by Richard Kim and Betsy Reed. The writers include Jim Hightower, Naomi Klein, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Max Blumenthal, Matt Taibbi, Jane Hamsher, and many other recognizable names, all justly famous for sitting next to the windows on the left side of the airplane.

There is a reason why I chose the McLachlan title for this post. This is a book that deserves to be read by millions, but will it be? You currently cannot order it from either Amazon or B&, so where can you get it? Today, absolutely nowhere, because the ordering system is down at the O/R website, and you cannot get the book from any source other than directly from the publisher! Why should you care? Go look at the ranking number of this book, and it is at least available through Amazon, if not directly from their warehouses with free shipping. Going Rouge: An American Nightmare is nowhere to be seen at Amazon; nor is it at B&N. The publishers have done a good job of bringing publicity attention to the book; however, most of it is negative, not positive! Check out this poll at NPR, of all places.

The price of Going Rouge is $16 from the publisher's website. Can you imagine how many sales are being missed right now because this book is not paired with Going Rogue at Amazon with free shipping? Sure, the Palinbots would go crazy in the reviews of either book, even before the books are available for anyone to read. They would also toss their cookies in the Amazon discussion pages at the bottom of both books' Amazon listings. What we have right now is the 'bots going crazy at NPR while no sales of the book are even happening! In the meantime, sales of Going (Pack of Lies) Rogue are putting that book in the #2 spot at Amazon.

Quit fumbling the ball, people! Going Rouge is written by a gang of very experienced writers. Going Rogue is written by a ghostwriter and an idiot. Why must we continue to let the opposing team win? By the time An American Nightmare is even available to order, An American Pack of Lies will already have sold thousands, if not millions. What's the matter with this picture? If you think you are going to waltz into your local B&N and see the two Goings side by side on a table just inside the front door, I am afraid you are sadly mistaken. Harper Collins will have paid thousands for whatever prime store placement they have secured for Going Rogue. Unless O/R Books is a lot richer than I expect, then the best they can ever hope for are a few copies of Going Rouge placed on an alphabetized shelf somewhere in the store. If they are lucky, they may find a few B&N managers who will put copies in the close vicinity of the Harper Collins book, but can you imagine the hissy-fit an HC representative would throw if he saw even a single copy of the O/R book actually sitting on his bought-and-paid-for Harper Collins shelf? All this is not even taking into account the returnable policy so beloved by the Barnes & Noble store chain. Without a return policy, as is the case with the great majority of POD books, the most O/R can hope for are a few books ordered by a few B&N stores, not the stacks and stacks of the HC book that will blanket the B&N's all across America!

The new publishers of Going Rouge obviously know a lot more about traditional publishing than I do. They obviously have everyday contact with many writers I would love to meet, if only once to shake their hands. My expertise comes from the school of hard knocks. I got involved in the POD industry a decade ago. If you have not yet watched the video put together by John Oakes and Colin Robinson, take a look at it. These two nice guys act as if they just discovered POD! If you have not been following my other blog at PODBRAM, go check out this article. Here is another one you may wish to read. If you want to get seriously deep into the subject of marketing a POD book, go to PODBRAM and start reading the articles listed down the left column under The POD Experience. Allow me to cut to the chase: 90% (or more) of all POD books are sold through Amazon. B&N online and all the rest add up to less than 10%! I know that sounds shocking, but it's true.

A similar situation applies to Kindle. The great majority of e-books sold are currently sold through Amazon for the Kindle format. Yes, Smashwords is another good source of e-book reading material, along with a number of others, and yes, I know the B&N Nook has just been released. We'll see where that goes. The O/R website states that Going Rouge will be available in e-book form, too. Where? The publishers will probably discover that $9.99 for the electronic version might hurt sales a bit, too. Put it on Kindle and halve the price: then you'll have a mover.

I have already been in contact with Mr. Oakes concerning these issues, and can only hope that he has taken my advice to heart. He may know all about the publishing and marketing processes involved in the traditional marketplace. I know what it takes to successfully market an unknown POD or Kindle book at Amazon. Do not look at my own pitiful sales numbers and judge my knowledge accordingly. I have been trying to sell books in various genres by an unknown author, all of which are particularly difficult to market successfully. I can't help it if I'm hard headed: I write what I know, not what I know will sell. An American Nightmare is a totally different story, one that millions of Americans should read, and written by authors already familiar to millions of Americans.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The American Concert Tour

Boys and girls, I have a plan to help some of the American citizens that need help the most. This is a plan that would boost President Obama's popularity, help solidify some of our current, rampant divisiveness, and inject an economic boost right where it's needed most. The American Concert Tour (TACT) is nothing if not an old idea. Even though I thought it up, I would like to see it developed into a far more original theme and layout. As a concert promoter from the early '70's and an Austin resident since 1980, I have had an up close and personal look at this proposition. Here is more or less what I propose.

TACT will be somewhat like Farm Aid and Live Aid, but it should be developed into something at least a little more akin to Austin's South by Southwest (SXSW). First of all, it should not be a direct charity event like the former two, but an overall, commercialized economic boost to the cities in which it would be held. SXSW is not one big concert event at all: it is a plethora of small music events, all combined under the SXSW umbrella. The City of Austin and many of its businesses make more money during the week of the events than at any other time of the year. Most importantly, the money is not concentrated into a few hands, or even the local music industry. The whole city benefits, as do small, unknown bands from all over the USA (and the world).

The photo shows the most obvious choice to be the ringleader underneath the concert big top, but many others are obvious shoo-ins to be major players, too. The secret of the event's success would not be to create one big, mega-concert, but one main event surrounded by a whole week of lesser events. You get the picture: the nobody bands begin playing all over the city at the opening of the week and the superstars play the big finale on Saturday. The more successful you make the overall festival, the more those lesser bands will want to start playing during the previous weekend.

Here is one of the most important components of this idea. TACT will only be scheduled in key, major American cities that most desperately need an economic shot in the arm. These might include Detroit, San Diego, Phoenix, Sacramento, Las Vegas, New Orleans, the most deserving city in Ohio, and a city in Florida. These events could be scattered in time, with the northern cities hosting during the heat of the summer and the warmer cities hosting during the cooler months. Depending on how long it would take for the long-range planning issues, these should begin as early as next spring and continue through 2010 and 2011.

Local color, both musically and otherwise, would be encouraged so that each week-long festival has its own unique flavor, from the Motown sound to the Latin influence of San Diego. However much appropriate non-musical entertainment could be added in each location would also determine the overall flavor of the event.

If these cities are economic cripples in the first place, how are they going to pay for all this fun? The federal government will guarantee much of the cost upfront. Yeah, that's just what we need right now, yet another government bailout! No, what we need is to put Americans to work. Of course a large percentage of the jobs created will be temporary, but many of them will not, and temporary is a whole lot better than no jobs at all. How will the government recoup its costs? Remember Woodstock? The theatrical release, the LP, cassette tape, CD, VHS, DVD, and probably even the Beta and 8-track paid for it. The live concert itself lost a ton of money. That does tend to happen when you let your audience crash the gate. Thanks to having corporations in charge, that doesn't happen anymore, so the main concert event itself stands to net at least some of the cost. I would call this idea an indirect charity event. The government will back the main expenses, just like the major record labels and beer and soft drink companies have always done. Most of the week's lesser events will be created by small and large businesses within each locale.

The magic that will make this thing work is the inclusion of a variety of draws for the crowds. Famous and local authors can do book signings for all the nerds. Local and rival sports teams could do exhibition games for the jockstrap crowd. Some localities may find movie screenings to be a big draw. Others might impress with the local cuisine. There might be well established local events that have already found themselves in deep financial poop and would love the opportunity for a health revival by becoming a part of TACT. Some locales are going to vary widely from others in their basic infrastructure available and necessary to host a TACT event, and this could broadly influence the flavors of various TACT weeks. Some city layouts and weather patterns will drive most of the activity indoors while others are held all but totally outside.

In case you have never thought of it this way, events such as this build a need for jobs long before and long after these single exciting weeks. The week itself is just the climax of the economic boost. Every city loves tourism and wants more of it. What I am proposing is a big week-long blast of it for the locations in the USA that need it most.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Zip Up That Chicken Suit!

The Top Ten Journalists Who Should Appear on Television Wearing a Chicken Suit for Knowing the Truth about Sarah Palin and Babygate, and Refusing to Publicly Say a Word About It!

10. Jeanne Devon (AK Mudflats)

9. Shannyn Moore (Just a Girl from Homer)

8. Chris Matthews (Hardball)

7. Keith Olbermann (Countdown)

6. Campbell Brown (Campbell Brown)

5. Wolf Blitzer (The Situation Room)

4. Rachel Maddow (The Rachel Maddow Show)

3. Meghan McCain (The Daily Beast)

2. Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post)

1. Greta Van Susteren (On the Record)

Feel free to vote for your favorites in the poll or add more chickens to the list in the comments!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Check Their Queen!

Doesn't this image remind you of someone? If you have ever played chess, you should be able to realize just how strongly the balance of the game can be shifted when one player's fighting men have all been dispatched by his competitor and his king has heard the inevitable, Check! It becomes a game of cat and mouse from that point onward. The player whose king is in check with only a queen for companionship is the player who is always on the defensive. There is no time left for offensive maneuvers when your precious queen is on the run. Your tactical plans have been laid to waste. The only strategy you have left to play is to protect that queen at all costs.

The Republicans have a queen. The Democrats are displaying something less than intestinal fortitude when they blatantly ignore opportunities to threaten the other team's queen. How far along would health care reform be if the elephants had been kept on defense these past weeks? How much less divisive would our nation be if the right-wing operatives were busy defending their queen instead of issuing rallying cries for hate speech?

How do you threaten a queen? You bring issues to light so the Foxes guarding the hen house have less time to spark attacks on our (and their) President. The recent eBay auction was a scam from the beginning. The Hong Kong audience members are a bunch of Communists. Who carries her baby like a sack of potatoes? I don't want the retarded baby... I want the other one.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Boogle Review

Mark McGinty at The Boogle gave my book Timeline of America an excellent review. Here is that review reprinted in its entirety.

300 Pages, Non-fiction history
4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Floyd Orr has succeeded in compiling a complete and completely off-beat history of American pop culture from before the first documented UFO sighting in 1644 to the failure of New Coke in 1985 to the rise of the Dixie Chicks as musical pundits. Timeline of America is not a typical history book – remember those 700-page clunkers that are heavy on war, atrocity and death? – Timeline is a book about the “fun stuff.” It is a celebration of the minutia that has defined our culture; the memorable movies, the power of television advertising, the rise and fall of popular music, sports as a consumable, popular cars, toys, computers and gossip. Somewhere between a non-fiction narrative and a list of dates, Timeline of America is a book like no other, a version of U.S. history told while sitting in the basement of That 70’s Show.

Organized into a series of narrative timelines that cover general history, movies, music, cars, television, sports, toys and “the nerd channel” it can either be read cover to cover (I did that) or used as a reference that allows you to skip to your favorite category or year without concern. It succeeds in connecting the dots and organizing all the white noise of pop culture into a tidy little capsule where all components can be viewed as pieces to a giant puzzle (I never realized that John Bonham and John Lennon died less than 90 days apart), and lets you see connections you never knew existed. Did you know that Starbucks and cell phones, two things that literally go hand-in-hand, both arrived in 1971?

Filled with interesting trivia (250 grave robbers were shot to death in 1900???) the book is meticulously researched and overflowing with nostalgia. It’s at its best when it covers the years when you grew up and resurrects countless suppressed memories (I had forgotten about the made-for-TV post-nuclear holocaust movie “The Day After”). Along with reminding you of all the great toys, shows and gossip of your youth, it’s also filled with many things you’ll be glad you missed – Heinz purple ketchup?

The strongest and most detailed prose can be found in the car section and Orr is clearly an enthusiast. I am not but I enjoyed learning how to determine the decade a car was produced by measuring the amount of chrome on its body. The details here are very convincing and Orr comes off as an expert. In fact, his knowledge of automobile history is so rich that it’s almost too much. It is packed with so many details that after awhile I was swimming in a sea of letters and numbers that looked almost like someone had taken a Scrabble game and tossed it on the floor with a stack of Uno cards (2000GT F150 Honda DX 1998). After awhile the makes and models didn’t mean much. Knowing that the 1998 Cobra had independent rear suspension was probably a bit too micro – I wanted to read more about Rod Stewart getting mugged and OJ fleeing from the cops in his Ford Bronco. And not a single mention of Back to the Future? Let’s hear less on specs and more on Nick Nolte’s hilarious DWI mug shot.

The movie section is pure nostalgia. Filled with movies I forgot that I loved and many I know I need to see it was great to read the yearly progression of movie history. The television section proved how quickly the arrival of the boob tube radically changed our innovation of snack foods. Can you image a dark age with no nacho-flavored Bugles or without mint and orange Kit-Kat bars? The music section is dedicated mostly it to rock music, categorizing and rightfully omitting rap, bubblegum and commercialized country music as “just plain trash.” Orr’s commentary includes such gems as “What is true rock and roll without talent, angst and rebellion? Without those things, all that is left is bad taste.” And he’s right on the money, strengthening his argument by referring to Shania Twain and Snoop Dog by their real names and not their corporate inspired monikers.

While some tidbits require further elaboration, like how reruns of Green Acres provided decades of entertainment for potheads, there will be some things that are missing entirely. No Kids in the Hall? What about The Daily Show? But Orr warns you that your favorites may not be found as not everything can be included. He alludes to a sequel and we hope we see one as the book ends with 2006 and almost begs for a second edition.

A masterpiece of nostalgia the book contains one nearly-fatal flaw: the cover. Clearly a symbol of the downhill slide music takes when corporate profits push art aside its tacky “road of life” image was clearly designed on a home computer. Normally I don’t go here and limit my reviews to the content of the book but in this case Orr risks sacrificing a wonderful read.

I’m reminded of the fictional rock band Spinal Tap, laboring over their album’s controversial cover and eventually releasing it in all black with no words or pictures. Let’s hope Orr doesn’t go that far when he produces his next edition but instead realizes that he has written a highly entertaining book – one that can be that much better.

Strengths: nostalgia!!! a fun, light read, painstakingly researched, filled with humor, well-written
Opportunities: not many but the car section gets bogged down in details, the cover
Will appeal to: movie buffs, car enthusiasts, history buffs, music lovers (especially rock music), people who enjoy gossip columns and anyone who loves their books American as apple pie.
Timeline of America: Sound Bytes from the Consumer Culture is available on amazon.

Reviewed by Mark McGinty, June 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Outstanding New Review

Mark McGinty at The Boogle has just posted an outstanding new review of my fourth book, Timeline of America. You can read it at The Boogle or on Amazon. Thank you.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hawkwind At His Leisure 2

Cat of the Day: Hawkwind

Believe it or not, this is the same picture turned upside down. Would you have known which one was upside down if I had not told you?

Hawkwind At His Leisure

Cat of the Day: Hawkwind

This is a photo of my Silver Chinchilla Persian, Hawkwind. Yes, he was named after the band. Believe it or not, this photo is right side up.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Legend Only In His Own Mind

In honor of the legendary Don Martin and his even more legendary hero, Karbunkle, Floyd M. Orr has released his earlier books in various e-book formats. Timeline of America is still available directly from iUniverse for $6.00 in the old format, but newer versions have been released at Amazon and Smashwords. The Last Horizon is available at Amazon and Smashwords. Ker-Splash is currently available only at Amazon in the original paperback and the new Kindle formats. Plastic Ozone Daydream is now available in a new e-book version at both Amazon and Smashwords.

The very complex formatting of Daydream and Timeline has been reworked into a smoother, more widely spaced format for both the Kindle and Smashwords versions. The author is currently working on the development of a new, completely updated version of Ker-Splash to be released early next year, immediately after all the 2010 boat models have been introduced at the boatshows nationwide.

Consider the photo a special tribute to Don Martin. This is the cover of his 1969 release, with Karbunkle doing his thing in the kitchen. Below is the link to the new press release announcing all the new developments. Thank you.

A Legend Only In His Own Mind

Sunday, May 3, 2009

New E-book Versions

The special sale prices of the Kindle versions of my four books ended Friday, so the regular price of $4.80 each is back in effect. The Last Horizon: Feminine Sexuality & The Class System and Timeline of America: Sound Bytes from the Consumer Culture have just been released at Smashwords. This means that these two books are now available in any digital book format. Horizon is priced at $2.99 and Timeline at $3.99.

has been restored to its original, pre-release format with line spacing between every year in the timelines. These spaces had been deleted in the original paperback version for the sole purpose of holding the page count and the cover price of the paperback as low as possible. (Amazon just recently reduced the price of the Timeline paperback from $21.95 to $19.75.) The 300 pages of the paperback version are very tightly packed with a Size 11 font and a word count well over 100,000. If the new electronic version was in printed form, it would be at least 400 pages, and possibly closer to 500. See what I meant by Godzilla stuffed into a briefcase? When the Kindle price was returned to $4.80, the new, more spacious version was uploaded, so all future buyers of the Kindle version, even from Amazon, will receive the easier to read edition.

My two earlier books, Plastic Ozone Daydream and Ker-Splash, will become available in all electronic formats at Smashwords soon.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Special Kindle Prices

All four of my books are on sale at the very special price in the Kindle format of only $1.60 each until Mayday. The prices will return to the regular $4.80 each on 5/1/09. What a bargain!

Special Prices at Amazon!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Kindle Releases

All four of my books have now been released in the new Kindle format. Priced at $4.80 each at Amazon, they are all now more of a bargain than ever before. Although The Last Horizon and Timeline of America have been available in the Kindle format for a while, the releases of Plastic Ozone Daydream and Ker-Splash! are new. Being non-fiction, semi-reference books, my works are somewhat more complicated to convert to the needs of the Kindle reader than are most fictional novels. I know that I still have a bit of work to do to clear out some of the unnecessary page spacing and sharpen up certain title subheadings and such, but this drive for perfection is one of the reasons I have embarked on my extensive research for The Kindle Report over on my PODBRAM blog.

The photo is of the 2008 Malibu Corvette ski boat, the only motorized vehicle on earth that truly splits the difference between The Corvette Chronicles and Recreational Power Boaters Guide, which are, of course, the subtitles of my two new Kindle releases. This particular recreational power boat is the result of a joint venture between Malibu Boats and Chevrolet, and it has functioned as the showroom traffic attraction for the Malibu brand for a number of years. Of course it is featured in Ker-Splash! as one very interesting ski boat.

The Kindle versions of any book will always have a number of qualities that lean heavily on convenience for their appeal at the expense of the quality of the packaging. Plastic Ozone Daydream contains thirty-something photos and graphics, as well as tons of specially formatted back matter that the Kindle version will never be able to match. On the other hand, you can play the audio track to listen to Daydream as a talking book if you own a Kindle 2. One of the better elements of the Kindle phenomenon is that books can be updated quite readily at any time. I know the 2000 date listed on Daydream appears ancient, but the book is about classic Corvettes, not new ones, and it does include all models up through the early years of the C5. Besides that, the book was officially released on December 30th. Like the legendary movie The Graduate that everybody thinks of as a product of 1968, even though Benjamin's Alfa Romeo Duetto Spyder was actually built in only one year, 1967. Like the movie released in NYC-only on December 21st, my first book is a 2000 model in copyright date only.

The main difference between the 2002 release date of Ker-Splash! and now is that a lot of the boat builders discussed in the book are now out of business. Of course that was my point in writing Ker-Splash! in the first place. It was a very special time in America that was about to become extinct, a time when recreational boating, even with brand new boats, was still somewhat affordable as a source of family recreation. I have been contemplating the release of an updated version of Ker-Splash! in the easily modifiable Kindle format only. The reason I have not done this already is that I really don't think it would be worth all the time such an update would require to research and develop. Although Ker-Splash! has been my best-selling book in many venues, I am hesitant to think that it would be as popular as a Kindle book. If I change my mind about any of this in the future, my readers of this blog will be the first to know.

Some of you may have already come across Kindle books that may have been released with current, as opposed to truthful, copyright dates listed. Of course I shall never do such a thing. The four books I have released in this format will remain with their true, original copyright dates unless or until I choose to significantly update one or more of them. If that happens, the newer date will reflect significant updating of the material, not just a cover or title change.

I can assure all my potential readers that if you want to read the most imaginative stories and articles about classic Corvettes available, then Daydream is your book. It is actually a decent deal in the print format due to the completeness of the photos and graphics, as well as the ability to quickly utilize the table of contents. There will never be a later, updated version. Although the electronic audio track in the Kindle version is technically present, the nuance and perfection of the printed version leaves it in the dust.

The most likely of the four books to ever receive an updated version is Timeline of America. Its nature clearly leaves the future open for a continuation of its timelines. As it is, Timeline is the bargain of the bunch in its Kindle version. The Kindle formatting may leave a little to be desired, but the material is all there and the price is less than a quarter as much. As with Ker-Splash!, the biggest drawback to an update would be the enormous amount of work required to complete the project. The reason Timeline was released in 2006 in the first place was that I could so clearly see the upcoming burst of the housing bubble and its subsequent financial crisis. The cover photo is a photographic allegory: we were at the top of the hill of the housing market at that time. There was nowhere to go but down.

The most likely of my books to receive a sequel is The Last Horizon. More than the other releases, it was conceived from the beginning as the introduction to a series. I have a lot more to say on the subject of Feminine Sexuality & The Class System, especially The Class System part. If the national economy in general, and the book business in particular, continues on its current pathway, I can easily envision the follow-up to Horizon as a Kindle-only book.

As a footnote to this post, I want to add that I still have a few printed copies of all four books available for reviewing. If you are seriously interested in reading one of my books for review, either on an official review blog or at Amazon, you can leave a comment on this post and I shall get back to you.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

2010: Timeline for a Psychotic Nation

Like most of us, I assume, sometimes I wonder what it's really all about, and what our place is meant to be in this world. You could easily make the case that I have been religiously obsessed with the issue for most of my life. Although I feel as if I am genuinely in touch with my contemporary environment at all times, my compulsion has always been to try to extrapolate the future from the past. My hobbies, my career choices, and all my writings, which began in the mid-Sixties, have led up to this point. Once you have peered into the depth of humanity, you become Mr. Hyde and you become unable to return to the quiet naivete of Dr. J. The never-ending quest for knowledge becomes both the journey and the destination.

The title of this piece originates from a short list of the elements of modern American madness that I made up back in 2005. At least I think that was the year. It may have been '04. I had intended it to become the title of my next book, the sequel to Timeline of America. This sequel would have represented the Mr. Hyde of The Consumer Culture, the result of decades of pointless, relentless, wretched excess to the detriment of the sanity of all of us as a nation. Timeline of America slings the reader through the arrows of timeless bliss as we have consumed ourselves into oblivion. Timeline is a celebration of what American life used to be. 2010 is almost here and the journey is almost complete.

Allow me the indulgence for a moment to explain how my first three books are relevant as prequels to 2010. Wallowing in the heady subterfuge of classic Corvette mania, Plastic Ozone Daydream is a storyline full of Republicans as told by a Democrat. Once Corvette mania has crossed the line into a Wall Street influenced world in which the cost of the car has become more powerful than its engine, then what we have is a fantasy. Ker-Splash! took the fantasy to the water at a time when the same madness was rapidly overtaking the family boating market. The Last Horizon flashed back to the topics of my earliest writing, although the text was composed completely in this century. The Last Horizon is a detailed study of herd behavior, a unique, entertaining treatise on the way this behavior transcends psychology and sociology to become a monster much larger, and more insidious, than you might have imagined, although you have probably been living with this Darwinian beast all your life. The first two books are entertaining lessons describing exactly how money rules our culture through the development of our adult toys. Horizon explains our obsessions with the intricacies of social power based on sexual attractiveness.

Any expert who has proclaimed that Depression 2.0 was invisible up until the fog miraculously lifted late in 2008 is either lying or a madman. I have been watching its approach since 1970. Few crises of the past decades have surprised me as they leaped upon the national stage, and this one is no different. Anyone with half a brain who has simply been paying attention could have seen any of it coming at us like a runaway train. I have been referring to it as the bear in the closet for years. The bear simply refers to the way the American citizenry so belligerently insist on imitating sheep and lemmings. If a Martian examined our culture from deep space, he might conclude that our religion is that mob rule is never wrong.

2010 is going to be a state of mind that we have never experienced before. The most important detail of which I am most unsure at this moment is whether or not the USA will continue bashing into hard objects as we continue falling through all of 2010, or will we crash land by the end of 2009, leaving us all to wander our splattered universe in a state of shock through next year. As I stated earlier, my hobby has always been the extrapolation of the future through an examination of the past. I selected 2010 as the big year of reckoning based generally on how long it takes for a catastrophic psychosocial event to soak into and alter a cultural entity. The relentless sellout to Wall Street for short-term profits with excessively low interest rates was obviously the leading driver of the housing bubble. There is no doubt in my mind that Alan Greenspan is the most guilty person on earth as the causation of the bubble, although I am sure he will have a lot of company in hell when he arrives.

I don't have a strong opinion about the controversial government bailout plan, as I don't think we shall ever know exactly what would have been the right choice until it has become far too late to do anything about it. I have no patience with the madness of all the Republicans, media, and some Democrats, who are relentlessly bashing Obama, though. As I have so often said, America cannot win The Civil War. By that I mean that as long as we are squabbling among ourselves like two children over a favorite toy, we are unquestionably going down with the ship. Yes, I do strongly feel that Republicans, conservatives, right-wingers, and evangelicals are 98% of the problem in this regard. They are the ones who started the first civil war and their descendants are the ones fanning the flames now. A wise person once said that race would be the downfall of America. I want to amend that concept just a bit to say that although it was once most certainly true, I think the balance of the madness has ever so slowly shifted to money over the long continuum of our history as a nation. Two intelligent people could get into a slap-fight over whether or not this sea change has actually occurred, but a debate over the issue might never end. I think the issue lies mostly in exactly how you choose to look at it, but I want to ask you this question. Is Obama being attacked from all sides right now because he is the country's first black President, or because he wants to take the country back from Wall Street and give it to the citizens?

There's nothing else out there. This is another one of my sayings I have worn out since the late Nineties. America desperately needs to face the simple fact that all products and markets have a distinct lifespan, and so do most ideas and cultural concepts. All the fruits of our vaunted consumer culture are reaching ripe old age. This was the single negative concept I espoused in Timeline of America: Sound Bytes from the Consumer Culture. The reader can see the same pattern repeated over and over again in the timelines. We made all the big advances years ago. We changed the way we live with everything from cars to television sets, from computers to cell phones, from washing machines to microwave ovens. We have reached the point at which all we have left to say is "These go to eleven". Wile E. Coyote is just frantically spinning his legs before he realizes there is no cliff below his feet, only air. We can never buy our way back to reality through the consumer culture. Our past imperialisms must die a slow death and contractions must become our faces of the future. Home Depot will never again open a new superstore every forty-eight hours. We must relearn how to live like compassionate human beings again.

Population and demographics have held the top step of my soapbox since The Sixties. There is absolutely nothing on the horizon that is going to diminish the power of this cultural, economic, and environmental issue. The evangelicals may as well begin getting over their hemorrhoids concerning our culture's treatment of sex and procreation. No amount of Preparation H is going to cure what ails them if they don't. The seismic shift has already rattled our cultural foundation. Most of us believe in both God and science, and there isn't much ammunition left in the bandoliers of the crazier members of our society. I think the re-election of George Bush in 2004 was the turning point. Many of us looked back on that most unfortunate event and saw that America had, indeed, stepped off the sanity train without a helmet. Now that 2010 is almost upon us, we can reflect back on the good old days of our consumer culture. We can also look to the future and bring the Brave New World to our lost souls before Mother Nature does it for us. I hope we all know that we should never try to fool Mother Nature.

See Also: Timeline for a Psychotic Nation
DNA: Unscrambling the Message
America Cannot Win The Civil War
Go Back to Sleep America, Your Government is in Control
The New Americanism and the Return to Quality

Monday, March 16, 2009

Save the Wolf Pups

Sarah Palin is the cruelest enemy of Alaskan wildlife that the United States has ever known. I read Jack London's White Fang for the first time a couple of years ago, and the story was a bit hard to handle, even for a sixty-year-old like me. Believe me when I say the Disney movie version was cleaned up quite a bit from the cruelties recanted in the original book. The half-wolf of the book was orphaned with just enough age and experience to survive after finding adoptive humans, even careless, cruel ones. The innocent little baby pups sleeping in their dens that Sarah Palin and her redneck cronies want to mercilessly murder in the name of predator control will not have it so good. These babies will never venture out into the new spring sunshine to chase butterflies or tussle with their litter mates. Ruthless infanticide will follow the killing of their parents. Governor Palin has relentlessly stuffed the Alaskan Department of Game with big game hunters and profiteers while shoving aside those proffering a scientific view of proper conservation of Alaska's rarer species.

I have been one of America's biggest fans of werewolves for the past fifty years. I revel in the intelligent works of screenwriter John Sayles. His version of The Howling presents werewolves in a more complete, human style of psychodrama than anyone in movie or literary history. But even as a kid watching the previews of the little-known, 1956 movie The Werewolf, I knew it was all just a fantasy, a game of how to pump up the adrenaline. Sarah Palin is the real monster. She has no compassion whatsoever for the baby wolves or bear cubs she is so hell-bent on destroying for profit. Her plans for Alaskan wildlife are nothing less than monstrous, and she must be stopped. The only way to do that is to discredit her, to expose the beast she really is to the voting public at large in both Alaska and the U. S. in general.

There are many things we can do to stop this slaughter of babies by this monster in a skirt and expensive eyeglasses. We can support the Wolf Song of Alaska with our hearts and our donations of time and money. The Alaska Dispatch has covered this travesty in far more complete and accurate detail than I can from my warm environment down here in Texas. The Sarah Palin Truth Squad has done their part to publicize this wildlife conservation nightmare. Alaskan wilderness author Bill Sherwonit has done his part, too. His Living with Wilderness will take you places you may not have realized existed. Palin has placed a bloody $150 bounty on the forepaws of wolves and the hunting of wolves from aircraft has been consistently supported by this bloodthirsty governor.

The Mudflats posted an excellent article on the subject last week. The story was even sent to The Huffington Post, who so graciously placed it in an obscure position away from the site's home page. This fit of wolf pup and bear cub compassion was effected after 3 p.m. last Friday, at which time a tremendous horde of animal lovers read this important story. Ashley Judd needs to know about the great white hunter's chickenshit gassing of wolf dens and the cruel snaring of bear paws. Remember the baby seal hunts that the American public once thought was so delightful? Well, these cub and pup killings must be just as much fun to watch because the Alaskan supporters of this lovely sport are encouraging the participation of all their young offspring. They want ten-year-olds to get in on the fun, too! It worked out well for the Heaths and Palins; why not for the latest generation of Alaskan youth? Teach your kids well: unnecessary killing and slaughter is fun for the whole family!

The Wicked Witch of Wasilla and her bloodthirsty family must be stopped. Don't hold your breath for Arianna Huffington to do it. She wants this abomination of a politician on her news pages. The witch is nothing but a cash cow to The Huffington Post and the rest of the mainstream media. Haven't you noticed how little they present stories that will actually stop the bitch in her bloody, political tracks? Sure, they will milk any benign piece of caribou crap that the witch slings their way, as long as it never actually causes the voting public to wake up to the travesty. Sarah Palin is nothing more than Anna Nicole Smith without the big boobs or Lindsay Lohan without the talent. I pick on Arianna only because she is supposedly on the side of logic and compassion. We already know what CNN and the Fox Holier Than Thou Hens are up to, but it's high time we faced the power and greed of Arianna, too. Americans hate animal cruelty more than anything this side of child molesters and missing attractive white kids, especially that involving cute, cuddly mammals (whether they are, in actuality, cuddly or not). We must all work diligently to somehow keep this story in the news. Nothing else has the obvious potential to stop the raging witch more effectively and permanently. Is Jon Stewart the last real American patriot left on the boob tube? It sure looks that way.

Things You Can Do to Help the Wolf Pups & Other Alaskan Wildlife
Stop Alaska's Aerial Wolf Killing Program

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Cat of the Day

Betta Splendens

That sounds like a name for a cat orgasm to me. Siamese Fighting Fish, eh? You don't look so tough to me. Come out here and put up your dukes! I'll show you who's the king of the castle!

(Photo courtesy Dianne K. Salerni)

Sunday, February 22, 2009


One of America's most famous cats died a few days ago at the advanced age of twenty. I tip my mouse to The Cat of the Day, Socks, Mouser in Chief of The Clinton White House. One of my all-time favorite Murphy Brown episodes is the one in which Murphy accidentally catnaps Socks from a White House function. Of course a look alike stand-in was featured on the show, but the cleverness of such a plot left an endearing impression upon this cat lover. I'm afraid your replacement on Pennsylvania Avenue is going to be of the barking variety. Maybe it's just as well you didn't stick around to see that. We'll miss you, Socks!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

First Anniversary

Valentine's Day 2009 is also the first anniversary of this blog. In honor of this special occasion, this post will be a Cat of the Day (featuring a photo by Dr. Al Past of his cat April) and a Top Ten List that covers most of the subject matter of the blog. I have three other blogs in other genres. This is my catch-all site for the stuff I want to say that doesn't belong on one of the other three. Since the others concern my books and officially published stuff, motorcycles, and book reviews, this seems to leave a lot of everything else. Basically, I should have been a columnist or commentator in print journalism long before blogs were invented, but I wasn't, so now I'm taking it out on you with this blog!

The look on April's face shows how I feel about things most of the time. I cannot believe the citizens have not yet taken back our country from the marriage made in hell between Wall Street and the evangelicals. If we don't accomplish this very soon, we are all swirling down the drain.

The Top Ten Things America Must Do to Save Itself:

10. Let the bad megabanks and other institutions too big to fail fail.

9. Legalize marijuana and retool the entire concept of The War on Drugs.

8. Severely limit the imperialistic efforts to control the economies of other countries.

7. Reduce the number and sizes of American military bases abroad.

6. Severely restrict illegal immigration and increase restrictions on legal immigration.

5. Rebuild our infrastructure with jobs that benefit American citizens.

4. Set up a proper health care plan for all citizens.

3. Halt the race to the bottom, retract globalization efforts, and reduce income inequality.

2. Tell the Wall Street Evangelicals to sit down and shut up or get out.

1. Begin a totally open and government sponsored discussion and promotion of a national and worldwide birth control and population control movement for the future good of us all.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Cat of the Day

Sue Ann Nivens was a very sweet, lovable kitty that we lost recently at the age of five. She is less than a year old in this photo taken at Christmas 2003, playing with a Christmas bow like a happy kitty should. This poor baby had a really rotten break in life for her last couple of years. She had a heart murmur that later developed into kidney failure, and we finally lost her a couple of weeks ago. She had always been a delicate little cat. She was a triplet with her nearly identical brothers, Murray Slaughter and Ted Baxter. She also had two sisters named Georgette Baxter and Rhoda Morgenstern. We adopted the whole litter when they showed up in our neighborhood as strays with ringworm. After doctoring the kittens back to health, we added them to our cat family. We always want to remember Sue Ann just as she looks in this photo, a very happy Christmas kitty.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Me & Destiny

This is a photo of the author of this blog and the books touted on it, standing in front of the Carnival Destiny, the biggest fun-boat in the world at the time of its launch, a few months before this stupid picture was taken. I remember when it was because it's tough to forget your one and only honeymoon. I don't remember where it was. Obviously the boat stopped somewhere on a Caribbean island and I got off to have my picture taken by my wife, who was new at the time.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Few Unusual Corvette Facts

1. Malibu has been building this Corvette ski boat for a number of years. Pictured here is the 2008 model.

2. The cars had to be shoved out of the showrooms with a lot of effort from desperate salesmen in 1953, the first model year. They built only 300 and had a devil of a time selling even that many!

3. There were no factory black Corvettes in 1970.

4. There is no 1983 model.

5. The standard engine in 1975 produced only 165 horsepower.

6. The 1968 Corvette does not have the Stingray name on it. This model was originally designed to replace the Sting Ray as a Mako Shark featuring a delicate dark gray to white (top to bottom) paint pattern, just like a shark. The exotic paint pattern proved too difficult to manufacture, so the Corvette reverted to the Stingray name using one word in 1969.

7. The '68-'82 Stingray body, with its sloped radiator under a plastic nose, proved repeatedly to be the most radar resistant car according to contemporary Car and Driver tests.

The Corvette Chronicles
Recreational Power Boaters Guide