Saturday, August 20, 2016


Politics will have to wait a week or so. I'm currently editing. I decided to, what the heck, pretty up my first manuscript and publish it as the second April Tompkins novel. If it sells as well as RADIO CRAZY, I'm going to be flush with a sprinkling of pennies!

But that's what we do -- and by "we", I mean quixotic strivers.

Maybe I need to advertise - tweets aren't working well. But I have no budget. I edited RADIO CRAZY, designed the cover, converted it to the proper format, uploaded it to Amazon -- all at a cost of $0.00.

All one can do is try.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The World In Ruin: CBS Announces Six New Shows Led By White Male Actors!

The CBS network apologized today for slating six new series for its fall lineup that features lead characters comprised of white men!

How the hell dare they?!?

Here's a tip, CBS:  Grow a pair and stop apologizing for committing an act of commerce.

As I commented on the Washington Post story, networks care about ratings. I know, I know, corporations aren't supposed to be "people, too", as Mitt Romney once infamously uttered. But, like most of us, except for those thirty-year-old "kids" whose sole support is derived from Mommy and Daddy's monthly personal check, networks like to make money! Crazy, I know.

Let's take a look, shall we? I see we have Michael Weatherly -- DiNozzo from NCIS. Last time I paid attention to such things, I learned that NCIS is the number one network television show. Thus, it's pure insanity to give Weatherly his own show after he bowed out from resting beneath Mark Harmon's shadow.

And Matt LeBlanc? Damn, was he ever in a show that could be considered a hit? I think there may have been some nineties sitcom whose name escapes me.

Kevin James -- some people think he's "funny". I think he also had a hit show on CBS at one time.

Joel McHale was once part of NBC's community. He also did Talk Soup on E. You might recognize his face.

Some dude is reprising MacGiver. People younger than me, when they're trying to fix something that's gone awry like to reference scenes from that show, so apparently MacGiver is part of the zeitgeist, as the hip dudes like to say.

I don't know who the other guy is. Don't care.

"We can do better", a little pansy-mouthed CBS exec proclaimed.


If you really can do better, why aren't you?

Is it because, while the LGBLT community is tops on the social justice radar, they don't exactly draw in viewers? Is it because feminist warriors don't endear themselves to TV watchers who just want to kick back after a hard day at work and not be hassled by an endless parade of whiny identity politics?

Here's a shocker:  CBS had a hit show forty years ago called "Cagney and Lacey", featuring two female protagonists. I liked the show; enjoyed it. One of the women -- I'll guess "Lacey" -- was married and I think even had a kid. The other lead, Cagney, was single, but not, as far as I know, part of the LGBLT community, because she did date guys. But the two of them were very capable police officers, solving crimes and all the things that police officers do, even though they were clearly females. The show was popular because the lead characters were human beings, not a check-the-box demographic. See, that's what "real" people are; do. Hillary, you're about a half a century behind the times.

I personally would like to watch a white male lead in a TV series -- if I watched network TV --- which I don't, because the writing is sub-par and I can't abide commercials.

Stop apologizing for giving us what we want. We know you like money, just like we all do.

How about you tell the social justice warriors to just go to hell?

Thursday, August 4, 2016

We Now Pause For This Commerical Announcement

I am offering a FREE copy of Radio Crazy tomorrow, August 6, only!

You can download your free copy here

A review would be very much appreciated, whether you like it or don't like it (I would be too embarrassed to read my reviews anyway.) But I think you'll like it.

We now return you to our regularly-scheduled bizzaro world of presidential politics....

P.S. If you miss the promotion and would still like to receive a free copy, I'll make sure you get one.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Thoughts On Two Political Conventions I Barely Watched

Remember when political conventions used to be fun? Perhaps you don't, but I do, because I always viewed them as great entertainment. Maybe it's because I'm a history buff, or maybe I'm lame and need to get a life, but when I was younger, I'd watch the conventions from gavel to gavel. I would still do so now, only to a lesser extent, but I reside with someone who dearly loves his clicker. Therefore, right when something on the screen causes me to glance up from whatever tome I happen to be reading, poof! the picture disappears, replaced by a documentary about the atom or a black hole, with wide-eyed scientists waxing poetic (as poetic as scientists can wax) about facts that have been hashed and rehashed since the days of Galileo. These guys and gals must love astronomy as much as I love conventions!

Therefore, I only grabbed snapshots from this year's conventions. The rest was filled in for me by the lovely cable "news" networks and various talk radio dudes.

The reason conventions used to be fun was that unexpected things happened. One never knew if a fistfight would break out on the floor or even on stage (see: 1968). And maybe everything was settled in advance, but I naively didn't know that, and thus I stayed glued to my TV screen to find out if "my guy" managed to wrest the crown from the young upstart.

Now it's a show; sometimes a good show, sometimes a clumsily produced one. No longer is there any suspense.

So, my takeaways, in random order:

  • Even the Democrat delegates don't heart Hillary. It's like someone commanding me to pretend I really like liver. Sure, I can fake that -- as long as you don't plop a plate of the steaming, slimy, grey glop in front of me. Cuz if you do that, I promise you, I will barf. That sort of sums up the delegates' reaction to HRC.
  • Sean Smith's mother gave a heartbreaking presentation at the RNC; talked about how Her Royal Clintoness left her son to die in Benghazi. Too bad The Trumpster chose that moment to call in to Bill O'Reilly's show. He missed it, but maybe he caught it later on YouTube. It was a classless move; another example of DT's fake "caring".
  • Bill Clinton really likes balloons. I'm not going to spell out what I'm thinking, because my dad suffered from the same disease and it's not funny -- if that's what's going on with Bill. If that's not what's going on with Bill, then I guess he just really likes balloons.
  • Ted Cruz is an ass. This is not news to me -- I've always considered him an ass -- but perhaps until the reaction to his speech at the RNC, he didn't know what an ass he is.
  • Hollywood "celebrities" are so darn cute! I'm not exactly sure what Sarah Silverman has ever done to distinguish herself or to justify her fame, but she has even fewer fans now, after she called Bernie supporters ridiculous. And didn't you just love the rendition of "What The World Needs Now", by, again, "celebrities", who I couldn't pick out from a lineup? Jackie DeShannon is turning over in her...hang on...let me check Google...whew!...okay, retirement home."What The World Needs Now Is Love Sweet Love" was as fakey in the sixties as it was two days ago on the stage of the DNC convention. In case no one has noticed, nobody loves anybody anymore. In fact, the world probably needs love, but that's not what it's got. Far from it.
  • Donald Trump is not Donald Trump with a teleprompter.
  • HRC is HRC with or without a teleprompter. AND STOP YELLING! TODAY'S MICROPHONES CAN PICK UP EVEN THE TINIEST SOUNDS, GRANDMA! HRC knows as much about microphones as she does about anti-malware software. And her personal check to the Nigerian prince is in the mail!

I used to fall into slumber after watching the Republican convention inspired, determined, hopeful. I think that last happened for me in 1980. Now it's a TV reality show, and frankly, The Apprentice was more entertaining. I remember watching The Apprentice, and I thought, that Donald Trump, he's a really smart guy. That was wrong. He's not smart; he's a moron, but he's the only moron we've got.

When poor (now) afflicted Bill Clinton stood up on the stage of his convention with poor climate-afflicted Al Gore and their wives, with Fleetwood Mac singing, "Don't Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)" behind them, I remember almost buying into it. Little did I know then that Bill's harpy wife would one day scheme to lead my country down the road to ruin.

Jaded? Sure. I've lived too long, seen too much.

Maybe my husband has it right after all. Better to lull oneself with a retread of quark dissection than to put one's faith in any of the canned promises of any candidate.

If only Donald J. Trump had a cool theme song. I think that's the missing piece.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Dear Fox News...

Dear Fox News,

So Roger Ailes "stepped down" yesterday. You and I both know that's a nice way of saying he "got the boot". I'm not sad -- after all, the guy is 76 years old. I'm no ageist -- look at me! I don't, however, understand why an old rich guy wants to stay on the job. I'm quite a few miles away from seventy-six and I want to retire tomorrow! And I don't even have any money!

But I digress. I will say, however, in the future, try not to hire a litigious "talent" who screams sexual harassment anytime she doesn't get her way. Maybe I'm biased, but I've read enough about this woman to know that this isn't the first time she's thrown down that particular flag. On the plus side, I no longer have to endure her vacuous news chatter.

I would like to take this time, now that you have a younger (ha!) CEO in charge, to let you know the things I like and dislike about your network. I wouldn't normally care, but yours is the only one we've got.

I'm a person who streams Fox News during my workday, and when I come home, I flip my TV to your channel instinctively. Therefore, I'm no novice viewer. I will, though, flip you off when I'm bored or irritated.

Here are some things that irritate me:

  • Fox & Friends -- can't watch it. If I want tips for grilling the perfect burger, I can tune in to the Today Show. I watch a news channel for "news". Which leads me to:
  • Give me news! You claim to be a news channel, but what you really mean is you are a talking heads channel. Know how hard it is for me to simply get the facts of an event? Analysis is great and all, but first let me understand what just happened.  
  • You foisted Donald Trump on us and didn't even give us a choice. Sure, I know the other channels had him on endlessly, too, but c'mon -- admit you were pushing him from the very beginning. I was a Marco Rubio supporter and the way your opinion hosts denigrated him really irked me. The "Little Marco" comments that your people reveled in were, at the very least, disrespectful of a man who possesses substance, as opposed to your fanboy (and girl) favorite who has yet to give me one concrete idea for how he can ever possibly hope to govern. And the fact that some of your people are personal friends and/or minions of this moron nominee insulted my intelligence. I get it -- really. I know why O'Reilly, Hannity, Van Susteren, and Bolling promoted him so vehemently, at the expense of other more qualified candidates. Don't assume your viewers are idiots.
  • Outnumbered. Maybe this concept began Ailes' downfall; I don't know. Or maybe he actually thought he was being "hip", creating a show with four cackling hens and one rotating dude for all of them to talk over. Tell me why I should listen to what these random Fox women have to say. What are their credentials? I'm old enough to have experienced the whole women's lib thing, but do you actually think this is a concept that conservative women celebrate? Give us some damn more credit than that. I'll gladly listen to what an intelligent man or woman has to say, but throwing together a gaggle of news readers, politicians' kids, former staff members of failed campaigns, really means nothing to me. 
  • Endless book promotions. Does the Fox host exist who hasn't written a book? If it's Charles Krauthammer, sure, I'll be thrilled to read it. If it's Eric Bolling? Can the man actually string together a sentence? His performance on The Five leaves me with doubts.
  • Sean Hannity. Luckily, I work an early shift, so I don't stay up late enough to watch his debacle. But I've unfortunately heard him on the radio, and I will hazard a guess that you execs at Fox like him because he's a "nice guy" in real life. Maybe he is. I know lots of nice guys, and if that's the bar we're reaching for, how about you choose one who has a modicum of intelligence? And isn't a Donald Trump lackey?
  • Eric Bolling and Juan Williams. I used to listen to Juan during my public radio phase. He never interrupted his guests. I guess that's a new trait he's acquired since taking over for Bob Beckel. Too bad you guys let Bob go. He was like an eccentric uncle whose gross habits repelled us, but was still lovable and endearing in his own inimitable way. Bolling? You guys know he was relegated to the "slow" reading group in elementary school, right? But I guess he has "the look" for TV, and we viewers are such numbskulls, the right look is all we care about, really.   
  • Laura Ingraham. I'll grant you, her speech at the Republican convention was spot-on, but her incomprehensible disdain for people like Marco Rubio drips like venom from her lips. Why not just replace her with Ann Coulter? Their sarcasm is interchangeable.
  • Your utility players. How cheap are you? You rotate "commentators" through practically every show! Spend some bucks and hire fresh voices! You know, we're not in love with these people. I've got nothing against Karl Rove, but how about featuring someone who's a couple or three decades younger? I don't want to think my party is dying, but you are giving off that decaying whiff.

Of course, you guys do some good things, too. Your good things are:

  • Bret Baier.
  • Bret Baier's panel. I like Charles a bunch! I also like Jonah Goldberg, but you rarely have him on. Maybe his intelligence and wit intimidate you. Steve Hayes is a treasure. I also like Tucker Carlson, because he has a mind that actually functions. You need to have Brit Hume on more, though. I understand he's chosen to "semi-retire", but we viewers are hungering for more smart guys like him.
  • Martha McCallum. 
  • Bill O'Reilly. Okay, I know he is a close personal friend of Trump, but you gotta like the guy. He's intelligent; sure, a blowhard and an acquired taste, but he absolutely commands the airwaves. He often exasperates me, but he's like a comfortable pair of shoes -- a bit ragged, but reliable.
  • Megyn Kelly. If I want to know the true scoop on a story, I watch Megyn's show. Her program actually breaks news, as opposed to feeding me mindless blah blah Trump blah Trump Trump. Megyn won't be around long -- she's going to move on and sell her soul to one of the liberal nets, and I'll never watch her because I don't watch those rags. But I appreciate that she's still on our side, for now.
  • Greg Gutfeld. He often seems bored, but that may just be his pose. He's clearly the most intelligent of the Five bunch.
 I'm done yearning for a conservative start-up to challenge you guys. No one has stepped forward yet, so I'm guessing no one will. So, I'm rather stuck with you.

And you'd be okay with me if you'd simply get rid of the dead weight. As a "news" channel, how about giving us some news? I used to watch Neil Cavuto, but since he's been home recuperating, I've switched over to Jake Tapper, and I like him. He reminds me of what news is supposed to be. And he won't admit it, but he's a closet conservative.

I'll stick with you -- some of you -- for now. I don't know if I'll ever get over the Trump thing, but I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt. Warning, however:  Don't take us for granted. And you, of all conglomerates, shouldn't insult our intelligence.

Underestimating us is what drove us to Fox News to begin with.

Friday, July 8, 2016

People Don't Matter

I'm not going to write very much about this; only what I'm feeling tonight.

I took a quick peek at my local newspaper's website today and every headline on its front page said, "Shot". Shot, shot, shot. Two babies shot in north Minneapolis. Twelve police officers shot, five killed, in Dallas. A driver pulled over by police in St. Paul shot and killed. There's more, but I won't go on.

The one thing I can say about the year 2016 is that people no longer matter. See, they aren't really people; they're "symbols". They're good for "the cause", whatever the cause might be. The fiance of the man who lay dying after being shot by a police officer didn't rush to wrap her arms around the man she loved, didn't sob over him, comfort him. Instead, she took out her cell phone and narrated the story in order to stream it live on Facebook. Maybe I misread her emotions, misinterpreted her intent; but it sure looked to me like she was more interested in sticking it to "the man" than she was suffering in grief. But, you know, it's all for the cause.

Those two gang bangers shooting at one another? Damn if those little kids got in the way. They should have known better. But at least Loretta Lynch can pull the headline out of her briefcase and bemoan the gun culture in America. Oh wait -- can't bring up this incident -- it didn't involve the police shooting innocent folk who were just minding their own business. On second thought, we just won't mention this unfortunate tale.

The (fortunately now) dead sniper in Dallas? Well, come on! Everybody knows the police are gunning for African Americans. It's about time the tables were turned. Remember, "hands up, don't shoot"? That scenario almost actually happened. At least it could have happened...somewhere...sometime. Lots of things could happen -- you don't know.

And if all these lives don't matter -- the dead policemen, the dead babies, the dead driver who reached in his glove box for his registration after the police officer warned him not to reach for anything -- well, their lives did serve a purpose. They proved somebody's point. And that's what's really important. Not that they lived, got married, had families; were innocents held in their mothers' arms, innocents with a glimmer of a future if only their mothers hadn't had the misfortune of living in north Minneapolis. Their lives and deaths make good placards for the marchers. Because we're all about our grievances. Grievance is our new religion. 

I'm sick. Sick of the blood. Sick of the talking heads on cable news who pontificate about the "deeper meaning" of it all. Sick of throwaway lives.

Just keep on marchin', y'all.

As if it really matters.


Sunday, July 3, 2016

Happy Birthday

I'm a sap for patriotism.

It may be a generational thing. I was too young in the sixties to "protest" anything. I'm too old now to worry about not being cool. I guess it's not cool anymore to love your country. You are supposed to point out its wrongs; its faults; its failings. The current resident of the White House is quick to proclaim that the US is no better than any other country, and how dare anyone say it is? What hubris! (from one who knows hubris). Perhaps he thinks he's overseeing the local ladies' garden club. He does have a phone, and a pen to write out those calligraphied luncheon invitations, after all.

Too bad. Too bad for him. For someone who has reaped the rewards of this country more than almost anyone, too bad he is too arrogant to acknowledge the opportunities he could only find here.

Me? Life hasn't been a breeze. I'm from the working class -- we don't get the breaks, the kudos for a job well done. We just do our jobs. We packed our kids' lunch boxes every morning with peanut butter sandwiches and packed one for ourselves, before we shuttled the boys out the front door to their public elementary school, before we shuttled ourselves off in our four-year-old used Taurus to a job we tolerated because the kids needed new jeans, after all, and all those personal checks for RIF books and after-school basketball league and we needed to make the next payment on the saxophone that would last through one year of fifth grade band and then be abandoned in a corner next to smelly tube socks and two-day-old nachos that required a chisel to dislodge them from their final resting place on a plate purloined from the kitchen cupboard.

Some summers our vacation was a two-night stay at a state campground. Even if it was only fifty miles from home, it felt like a vacation and we had fun. We pulled board games out of the camper's storage locker and played and laughed and threw gentle insults at one another, disparaging each other's deficient Sorry skills. We blazed hot dogs on a little Weber camp grill. We stuck marshmallows on found sticks and generally burnt the little buggers to a crisp and decided to let them fall into the fire, rather than risk permanent taste bud annihilation.

And we were happy.

The Fourth of July parade always makes my heart swell. To experience Independence Day properly, I believe one must live in or find a small town. People there don't care if they look goofy in their star-spangled tee shirts. The sweat rolls down their necks as they fire up sparklers for even the littlest kids.They grasp their young'ns around the waist and point them toward the floppy-footed clown marching down the street, tossing out candy. They kid one another about eighties hairstyles as the high school marching band, their alma mater, steps past, but they only get to hear the rat-a-tat of the drums -- the trumpets don't pick up their parts until the whole squad is a block down the street, right by Neuen's Western Store.

And they stand up and salute or put their hand over their heart or just rise silently and give a little nod when the veterans march by carrying the American flag.

Maybe we don't have the conscious thought at that moment, but we know how lucky we are. And we know that many men -- uncles we never even got to meet, our first cousin who barely had one summer month after graduation before he got drafted and sent for basic training, our big brother; braved hell for something they might not have even understood, but they did it to give us the chance to have picnics and act like goofs on the Fourth of July and rib each other by the campfire.

So, yes, I'm patriotic. I love my country. The US isn't just about the people we elect or the ones we didn't vote for but are forced to endure.

The US is US. It's my dad and my mom, who endured the depression and lived and thrived and built a business from the sale of eighty acres of farmland. It's me with my transistor radio under my pillow, a staticky "Incense and Peppermints" saturating my dreams. It's my kids ripping paper off a box from under the Christmas tree to find Optimus Prime (just what they wanted!) It's my son smiling, a little shaky; standing at the altar, watching his bride-to-be escorted by her dad, glide up the aisle.

The US is a promise. Sometimes the promise is a pipe dream, sometimes it's a dream come true. What we have, regardless, is a possibility.

I'm all for possibilities.

Happy Birthday.