Friday, November 15, 2019


Last night the coyotes were howling.  I don't speak Coyote, so I don't know what it was about.  I also noted that our family of quail in the neighborhood are gone.  We also have a hawk that likes our neighborhood.  I call the hawk, Henry.  My dilemma is I don't know if the demise of the quail is due to the hawk or the coyotes.  Mt impression is both are quite happy with a quail dinner.

Now, what difference does it make?  None, really. It's just the sort of thing I spend my time wondering about.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Holiday Greetings

One of the many peculiarities of the Holiday season is the Christmas Card.  Folks send far less than they once did, but this oddity still exists.  Some years ago I found a set of old fashioned postcards. Since postcards don't need envelopes and have less postage costs than regular Christmas cards, I thought this concept was awesome.  I have not seen this sort of thing in years and am surprised it never really caught on.  I'd buy some if I could find some, but that seems unlikely.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Pluto, make up your mind.

Apparently Pluto is now a planet again. At least the guy in charge of NASA seems to think so. Citing its many planet features like a moon and stuff.  Supposedly it's thermal activity and atmosphere mean they should change it back from Dwarf Something.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Shopping Bliss

Beyond yesterday's mention of getting kicked out of restaurants, I note I used to get kicked out of supermarkets.  For instance, some old hag kept running her shopping cart into me at a Kroger [King Super] back in Colorado.  I told her to get away from me and she immediately returned with a manager and I was removed and banned.  For a while there, this played similarly. At a Safeway this [another] old hag cut in front of me in line.  I told her she was dead if she didn't get in her place and the manager and police swooped over and not only made me leave but trespassed me as well.

Then, I stopped getting kicked out of stores when I moved to Arizona.  And now I get kicked out of restaurants.  The last one, I don't know why--perhaps mistaken identity.  The one last month, the hostess told me to sit anywhere. I sat at a table by the window [lunch time hardly anyone in restaurant].  "You can't sit there.  Go over there to crappy tables." And I replied "You said sit anywhere."  And she said, "You get out. We don't want your kind here."

It's not easy being me.

Way back in the good old days, the Irish were treated that way, tossed out of restaurants and barred from hotels.  My character, Miles O'Malley,  In The Devil's Due discovers his horse is more welcome at a lodging place than he is.

Well, alas, I don't seem as welcome as Miles lately.  And no, I have no idea what "your kind" implied.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Dining Adventure

Got kicked out of another restaurant here in Tucson. This one was a Chinese restaurant.  "You can't sit there."

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Adventures in Holiday Shopping

This is the time when people start going into holiday mode. I was told yesterday at Costco that Christmas is late this yes. I replied, it's always  on December 25th.  What they mean is Thanksgiving is late this year. Christmas is always the same.  It's a retail myth people don't start shopping until after Thanksgiving.  I've already done my shopping--ha-ha, my family does not exchange Christmas presents ha ha take that retail world..I ain't buying nothing this holiday season. We may do a few Christmas cards but we stopped exchanging gifts many years ago and just loved it.  No returning a hideous sweater in my family because we don't get any presents to return.

what, no holiday cookies?

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Random Thoughts on Space

International Space Station is getting an oven to make cookies.

Other things they need:

A Christmas Tree, maybe one of those pink aluminum ones

A dog, name him Hasbro after the Jetsons. He’d be Hasbro the Space dog.

They need a machine to can and process poop, then they could sell it in the NASA gift shop as “Astronaut Poop.”

They should have a picture of Moscow Mitch in the Russian Section of the space station.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019


Interesting off year election as I sipped a beverage from my official Moscow Mitch Mug.  City of Tucson had an election, but I live in the county and we had nothing going on out our way.

He sold us out to the Russians, He's Moscow Mitch.  Rootin tootinest crookedest Senator there ever was. He's Moscow Mitch.  Ketchup and Caviar on a bun--that's the Moscow Mitch sandwich. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Trash Talk

Well, it is once again trash day. Every Wednesday the garbage truck comes and hauls away my garbage.  They empty my can and head off to do my neighbors.  It's a glorious thing.  Alas, at times, I do worry that the trash people could cross over to the forces of evil.  Imagine if you could, dumping the entire contents of a garbage truck on someone's pool--you'd give up swimming.  or dumping a truck load on a freeway. That would make the commute more fun.  But, instead we have efficient removal of our refuse by dedicated solid waste professionals. 

disappointing holiday crap

Well, the movie trailers are dismal, now I've seen the postage stamps.  Disappointing is an understatement. They are pathetic. 

Sunday, November 3, 2019


Here in Tucson the local parks are stocked with fish during the cooler winter months [in the pond, of course].  Of course, no one believes my fish theory. I content ;here it comes,. that fish may in fact know full well what a fishing line does and they don't care. Meaning, you're not fooling them at all. They bite the hook because they're trying to commit suicide and there is no such thing as angler skill. 


One of the peculiarities of places like Arizona is the snowbird.  They start showing up in November, most arriving by Thanksgiving, then they are around until March or April, then they all go back to whatever godforsaken wasteland they came from.  All because they don't like the winter weather back home.  Meanwhile, the local stores are crowded, as are the restaurants and the traffic goes from bad to unbearable.  You see, I am a year around resident of Tucson, Arizona. I love it here in the summer because the snowbirds are gone and the college kids are gone and it's not a bad place to live when everyone is gone.

Alas, we're just getting started. The snowbirds are flocking in like columns of geese. It happens every year and every year I complain about it.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

All Hallows Eve

This Halloween isn't going to be much. I love Halloween, but my recent trip to the hospital and all left me with no real plans for everyone's second favorite holiday.  I read somewhere that Halloween is the second most popular holiday in the USA by dollars spent. Furthermore, it's expanding into places like Europe and the United Kingdom where it has not been historically celebrated.  

As an actual voting active member of the Horror Writers Association [and the Stoker Awards] Halloween is usually the primo event of the year.  Maybe next time.  I guess I'll just hang out tonight with Linus in his pumpkin patch.  If you don't know what that means, well then you're even more out of it that I am.  Goodnight and good halloweening.

By the way, don't forget it was Halloween that brought the infamous War of the Worlds radio broadcast.  

Oh, and one other thing.  I still like haunted hotels and there may be a new development soon on that front, even if the ill fated anthology Hotel Haunted is dead.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019


Whilst reviewing the Addams Family, they had the customary movie trailers for upcoming attractions.  Dear lord, run and hide. Don't leave the cave you are hiding in until February, after Ground Hog Day.  I've never seen such amalgamated crap in my life.  Not one of these trailers was interesting enough to even watch on home video, let alone in a theatre.  If this the best, it's going to be a bleak Christmas.  Just awful looking.  

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Addams Family review [I've been busy]

I rarely review movies. If I do one, it's an unusual case.  And there is nothing more unusual than the Addams Family.  I used to watch the original 1960s TV show [I guess I'm showing my age].  I even once had a book of the Addams Family cartoons reprinted from the New Yorker.  I think it is safe that there is nothing Addams Family that I don't simply adore.  And I adore this movie.  I found myself almost forgetting it was animated.  Once again, Wednesday steals the show--she always does.  When I was a kid I looked a little too much like Pugsley, but I digress.  At first I thought "What the hell?" as it starts off quite different than I expected.  One family got up and left.  They missed a really good movie. Patience is a virtue. It comes together quickly.

My sole and only criticism is Lurch. I have never liked any version of Lurch since the original TV show--that guy cracks me up.  That's more my problem..  The Addams Family can't go wrong and I can't objectively review them, just give me more. That's all I want.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Hotel Haunted

Hotel Haunted, the ill-fated anthology is officially dead.  If you think you are in this book and have not heard from me, please contact.  I have not been able to reach all of the contributors.

This was an anthology of stories about haunted hotels. Alas, I was editor but not publisher and the publisher never released the book, wasting everyone's time.  Unfortunate, but this sort of thing happens now and then.

Sunday, October 27, 2019


Just got my space assignment for Tempe Book Festival [Nov 2nd].  I'll be in space 40 right next to Duncan's Books.  I'll have my current in print books and a few other items with me.  If you're in the area, please stop by. It runs from 10-3 and it is FREE.  This is a nice friendly little book fair at the Tempe Library--Baseline & Rural.  If you haven't been there it's well worth checking out.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

The Great Wall

Well, my former home state is getting a new wall to keep the people in New Mexico out.  You really don't want people like them running around Colorado.  Next thing you know, they'll be camping or even staying in hotels. They might even go trout fishing. Heaven help us. Thank God we have the wisdom of Donald Trump to guide us and protect us by putting a wall around places like Colorado.  Keep New Mexico in New Mexico.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Strange Rejection

I got a story rejection today.  That's hardly noteworthy save for the fact I didn't realize I had any stories pending anywhere.  With my health problems and other distractions, I haven't done any writing in a while.  So, when I was rejected I started wondering. What the heck?  I didn't remember the anthology or what I'd sent them. So, after some time, I figured out it was for a project I'd submitted to over a year ago.  Wow, ain't that a timely response.   The projects I edit almost always get a reply within a month.  A year, a whole blasted year.  And they wonder why writers are insane.

Another reason I don't get rejected much is most of my stories are accepted.  There are a lot of reasons for why a story is rejected.  Most recently my last reject was because they didn't want male authors.  They didn't disclose that or I wouldn't have bothered.  You just never know. It's a very fickle business.  

Thursday, October 24, 2019


I seem to have an inordinate amount of tire problems. Part of it's our really crappy roads around here, but something else seems afoot.  I shredded a tire two months ago.  The replacement tire, after only two month, is now leaking.  At least it is still under warranty. Off we go to the tire place today.  

Wednesday, October 23, 2019


Apparently, Donald thinks they're putting a wall around Colorado.  He does not appear to understand Colorado is not a border state.  Oh well. Don't forget, Denver now has Voodoo Donuts.  I guess they don't want to run out.

Sunday, October 20, 2019


I didn't go to Denver this year for health reasons. I normally go to Mile Hi Con.  To add salt to my open wound, I just learned they now have Voodoo Donuts in Denver. I didn't know this wonderful Oregon delicacy was expanding.  Now I'm really bummed. I'd have crawled from St Joseph's to the airport if I'd realized they had Voodoo Donuts. Bummer dude.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Mile Hi Con

Normally, Id be in Denver at Mile Hi Con this weekend.  I'm not. I'm still in Tucson.  Having just gotten out of the hospital and still facing some health problems, a trip to Denver simply was not a good idea.  Still, it seems odd. I always go to Mile Hi Con. I've been going for years.  It was easier when I lived in Colorado, but I've continued to go even since I moved to Tucson.  It's a chance to see old friends and sometimes make new ones.  So, I hope everyone at MHC  are enjoying themselves and maybe I'll get to Denver again, someday.

Thursday, October 17, 2019


One thing that seems to go with barely a whimper is the ongoing voter suppression.  Lots of people are being purged from voter rolls.  Yet, they still hand out signs and stickers like "I voted." Well, here are some suggestions for the current times:

I Guess I Voted

I Tried To Vote

I Don't  Know  If  I Voted

Somebody Voted For Me!

I doubt they'll be handing these out at the polls, but I can always hope.  

On a related notion,  Whatever happened to the dead vote?  It's a fact, not really contested any longer, that LBJ in his Congress days, was elected to office by dead people.  Apparently, he was extremely popular with the dead voters and won nearly 100% of the dead people vote.  So what happened to the Texas dead?  Do they no longer vote? They probably vote Republican now, I'm guessing.  

Fun Fact:  Neither of my grandmothers  ever voted--not once.  They actually started out in an era when women were not allowed to vote.  They still never did vote. I don''t know why, although one of them lived in a Southern state and seemed to dislike the poll tax.  That was a tax on voting to discourage black people from voting. It also kept a lot of poor white people from the polls as well.  

Primary season starts soon. Update your voting status , especially if you recently died.  I wonder how many dead people read this blog.  

Wednesday, October 16, 2019


All right, yesterday's post was a little shameless self promotion.  I wish people would buy it.  It's a different sort of weird western.  It's character driven.  Yes, there is some violence but I think it is well within a PG rating.  The content is fairly tame as we meet the alien piano player who works at the saloon and learn about the other folks who call Dry Gulch home.  Oh, I guess I've done it again--more shameless self promotion.   

Dry Gulch

Buy Tales From Dry Gulch.  It's good for you.  It's like eating peach cobbler with ice cream--well, sort of.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Horse Doctor

A friend thought I was being a bit rude as I referred to one of the doctors in my recent medical nightmare as a horse doctor.  Apparently, she thought I was disparaging the veterinary profession. I didn't really think of it in those terms, more a simple effort to claim my displeasure with the skills pf that particular doctor.  Truth is, no I wouldn't really take a horse to see her.  What did the horse ever do to me?

The term Horse Doctor is a derogatory term much akin to Quack when referring in a derogatory manner to the medical skill of a doctor.  It is not my invention.  

Monday, October 14, 2019


Well, it's Columbus Day.  I'd much rather see Ground Hog Day have a holiday, but no one asked me.  Columbus did not discover the New World--the Vikings were here 200 years before he was.  He thought he was somewhere near India--not exactly, dude.  And for some reason children are taught he was some great explorer.  He brought nothing but misery, death and disease on the Native people living in the Caribbean. By the way, he never set foot on the mainland, just the islands.  I pointed this out in the sixth grade [or fifth? I don't remember for sure].  Got something like a D on my report. It's like questioning God to some people.  

Anyway, there are no fireworks on Columbus Day at my house and we don't even have presents under the Columbus Tree.  I'm a horrible person.  

Saturday, October 12, 2019


This is the time of year I'd normally be getting ready to head off to Denver for Mile Hi Con next weekend. Alas, after my recent health problems which included some serious kidney issues including gout [a truly nightmare disease].  I decided not to undertake a journey to Denver this year.  I'll miss it, but that's the way the cookie crumbles.  If I had any type of relapse, being so far away from home would make things really tough.  

This makes me wonder about going to cons in general.  I am increasingly snubbed by them.  They simply don't want me there.  Mile Hi Con was one of the very few where I still felt welcome, so this is a loss.  Most of the cons I contact simply do not want me there. Why?  I don't really know.  As I look toward next year, I wonder if I'll be doing more than one or two of these things.  They're a good way to meet folks in the business [writing and publishing business] and that's the main reason i go to them.  It's not essential. One can do just fine without going to cons.  And that may be my future.

Friday, October 11, 2019


Now my yard is overrun with weeds again.  I was distracted by my health problems, but ventured into my back yard yesterday and thought it had been replaced by some jungle from a different climate. I live in the Arizona desert.  We can't have weeds here--it';s too dry. Yikes.  Well, I know what I'm going to be doing this weekend. 

Thursday, October 10, 2019

People reading books

I had to go to the doctor yesterday, as followup to my recent hospitalization.  What was interesting as as I sat in the waiting room was the fact that most of the people were reading books.  These were printed books, not ebooks.  I don't know what they were about--none of them looked like mine. Still, I was thrilled that people were actually reading books.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Then there's garbage

I'm talking about garbage, real garbage.  The company that served my neighborhood had drastically cut back on recycling. They no longer take anything but cardboard, aluminum cans and clear plastic bottles. That's it. 

Worse even tan that, they blew me off last week and didn't even pick up anything at my house.  It's enough to make people drop out and quit recycling.  And that's unfortunate.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Am I me?

Well, I like debit cards. It's a really convenient way to buy stuff.  However, dealing with the bank that issued the darned thing is anything but convenient.  I got a new debit card. I called in from my regular phone number to activate the card.  It wouldn't believe I was me. It insisted I had to call from the phone number I was calling from.  I tried to reach an actual live person--nothing happening there. A live agent was not even an option.  I finally gave up, cut the blasted thing in two and threw it away. Time for another bank.  When these places adopt security systems that make it impossible for an actual customer to use the product, what have they really accomplished?

Friday, October 4, 2019

Saddle Up Boys and Girls

A new weird western anthology has been released.  I'm always excited when that happens.  Straight Outta Deadwood just  hit the shelves. This is a big deal as large publishers like Baen rarely do weird westerns.  This is the second "Straight Outta" book, following Straight Outta Tombstone.  These books are edited by my friend, David Boop.

It's not expensive. Buy a copy.  I have no skin in the game here as I am not a participant with this book. I know the editor and some of the contributing authors.

This should not be confused with my new book, Tales From Dry Gulch, the difference being my book has a small flying saucer on the cover and Straight Outta Deadwood does not.  Buy a copy. They make great Halloween presents to put under the Halloween Tree.

Thursday, October 3, 2019


I found a quarter today.  What's really neat is that I was able to bend over and pick it up and put it in my pocket. Frankly, a week ago that would've been impossible.  I was amazed at how fast I went downhill and and equally amazed at how fast I have recovered.  It all started with a bad reaction to anaesthesia, then kidney failure, then a bonus prize called gout.  And now it's all over and I'm moving on my own power.  

It's sure been a reminder of my own mortality.  Strong suggestion: have a medical power of attorney.  There was a point where the hospital was starting to push me around and implying I couldn't make my own decisions.  Glad to have one on file,really glad.  

I could go on, but I'll stop with that for now. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019


I can't believe it's almost Halloween.  I love Halloween.  It's my second favorite holiday after Ground Hog Day [yep, I'm kind of weird].  I don't get trick or treaters  in my neighborhood.  Two miles down the road my dad gets hundreds of them.  I always liked seeing what the kids are dressed up like, especially the little ones.  They say Halloween is the second biggest holiday in terms of money spent, now only trailing Christmas. 

To that end, a local attraction down the road called Old Tucson, gets right in the spirit.  They have an event called Nightfall, where the movie-themed park turns into a ghost town at night.  I have never gone and intended to go this time. Alas, since i just got out of the hospital and have little stamina, that now seems unlikely.  Bummer.  So, I guess I'll go help dad hand out candy.  Maybe I'll put a costume on, probably not.  My ten-year-old self would be disgusted with me. 

By the way, Tales From Dry Gulch has some stories just right for Halloween.  Feel free to order a box and hand them out instead of candy.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019


Three's a crispness in the air. Heck, the evenings are getting noticeably cooler.  After a very long hot season like we get here in Tucson, it's kind of nice.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Late night thoughts

I wonder what people think about late at night in a hospital room if they can't sleep.  I know what I was thinking about--exoplanets.  I normal person would be thinking about their dog or their house or their job or what they're going to have for breakfast. Not me, at 2 am I'm lying in bed thinking about exoplanets..  More specifically, I was wondering if these planets around other stars have moons.  Current technology doesn't seem able to tell, but there don't seem to be any confirmed discoveries of any moons.  Why is this important?  Without the moon, our moon, some theories suggest without its gravity causing tides and stuff, life might never have developed on earth.  Ergo, are we closer to finding life?  That's what i think about at two a.m., but snubbed by cons as some sort of scientific lightweight.  

Saturday, September 28, 2019

how was your week?

Top this buckaroo

Go in for some testicular surgery, to relieve fluid build up. Supposed to be outpatient surgery.

Come out of surgery and start fighting with hospital workers.  Self removed IV and breathing tube before the nurse was ready to do it. During the fracas somebody gave me a black eye. No one “Knows” anything at hospital about that.

They admit me cause I’m not breathing right.  Put me on oxygen.   Anyone ever hear that anaesthesia and surgery can mess up people’s metabolism?

The hospital doctor changes my meds.  This drops my blood pressure to that of a zombie corpse on The Walking Dead.. Immediate result, kidney failure and a genetic vulnerability for gout kicks in. My ankle causing me to go screaming if I’m even touched there.  Kidney specialist called in [partner of my regular kidney doctor]. He changes meds.  Blood pressure goes to normal and starts treating gout.

I’m feeling much better, and am dozing in a chair. I wake up, become confused, and think I’m in someone else’s room. I get out of chair and walk three feet before I realize I’m too weak to walk and go crashing to the floor and can’t get up.  Hospital crew lifts me and puts me to bed.

Testicular surgery starts bleeding. Urologist comes in an re-sutures wound.

After 10 days in hospital I am transferred to rehab hospital.  Final act at hospital, nurse steals my pen.  Rehab hospital is a creepy place at two am.  There must be a horror story there somehow. Not supposed to get out of bed, but you press help button and on one ever come to help you. After two hours srart defying rehab hospital and just go to bathroom on own.  I’m getting rehab, but not exactly the right kind.

Morning of fourth day I demand to be discharged and go home.  I could take it no longer. Vow to get outpatient physical therapy referred by my regular doctor. 

What have we learned:?
Nrse practitioners are idiots
anaesthesia can really mess up your body.
Gout is far more painful than anything I’ve encountered, including a broken arm in third grade.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Back sort of

I will expand on this as time permits this weekend.  I went off to the hospital and never came home for two weeks.  Things just went from bad to awful.  I'm back now.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Off for surgery

After all my medical tests last week, now I'm off for surgery today.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

More medical stuff

So, I go through all the tests. They took enough blood to feed a vampire.  The nurse practitioner didn't like my EKG, the cardiologist said it wasn't that bad, but made me get an echo cardiogram just the same.  That's a glorified ultrasound if you have not had the pleasure.  Then they decided to clear me for surgery.  I guess that's a good thing.

Surgery is scheduled for Monday.  

Friday, September 13, 2019


Huh?  The thing I noticed most about having all these blasted tests--three hours of tests for what's supposed to be a half hour outpatient procedure.  Anyway, these medical people, not the doctors so much as the little trolls who work for them, ask some things that make you wonder.  I don't think I'm super old and decrepit,although I'm starting to wonder.  "Can you sit up on the exam table?"  Uh, no I need to sit on the floor.   "Do you need a wheelchair or can you walk over to get your ultrasound?"  Uh, no, I just walked three times that far coming in from the parking lot, better order me up a wheelchair.   "Do you need help putting your shoes back on?"  [seriously]    I don't know how my shoes get on each morning.    Do they really think I'm that feeble or is it just the force of habit?  Maybe I don't really want to know.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

And More Tests

And the cardiologist I had to go to because the nurse practitioner is an id*t decided I can have my surgery.  Yay!  Now, what else will go wrong? Stay tuned. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

What A Production

Getting ready to have surgery. What a production.  They took a lot of blood and stuff. One gets the feeling they're desperate to find something wrong with me, in addition to the problem for the surgery.  The nurse practitioner, which means a nurse with godlike power over you, did not like my EKG. I don't understand what is wrong as no one really told me. So, tomorrow it's off to see the cardiologist. Are we having fun yet?

Monday, September 9, 2019


"Well, well well. How about we just take our knife and cut that tumor out of you. Betcha you'd like that."

"Go ahead.  [That's one way to save on co-pays }

Sunday, September 8, 2019

What are you doing?

I was asked why I posted a lackluster review of Tales From Dry Gulch yesterday.  Well, it wasn't that bad.  It's just people like seeing what other folks think before purchasing. To put it another way, we have nothing to hide.  As is often the case with anthologies  tastes vary a lot.  So people are looking for something that makes them feel like this particular book is right for them.  It's hard to get them to buy.  The review gave folks another take on the book.  

Saturday, September 7, 2019

New Review

A new review just came out for Tales From Dry Gulch.  at Critical Mass review site.

Not overly wild about it, but not hard on it either.  He has not liked much of my latest products. Folks can read it for themselves.

Friday, September 6, 2019


Well, I've got to have surgery in the near future.  It's not as simple as stick a knife in me, and call it done. Oh no, first I have to be cleared for surgery.  I think that's so they're confident I won't die on the table. Maybe not. I felt like the last time I was cleared for surgery was for my kidney cancer operation. Then I felt like they were basically checking me out for drug use. I'm sure someone on meth would create havoc with anaesthesia.  So, if I get cleared, then a few days later they'll stick the scalpel in me--assuming the insurance company approves the blasted procedure.  

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Not a Drop to Drink

Our water went out at 7 pm Monday and was out until Tuesday evening.  We tend not to think much about water. You turn the tap and it's there, until it is not.   Then, forget about that morning shower or doing your laundry.  Maybe you've got some bottled water to drink--maybe not.  

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Speaking of Dry Gulch

Antigone Books in Tucson now has copies of Tales From Dry Gulch.  Tell your friends.

Them Librarians

Every now and then when I got to an event such as a con or book fair I end up talking to school or public librarians. Yes, they still exist.  They're curious about weird westerns, but afraid to recommend them to younger readers.   Some of these, hell lots of these, have a lot of violence and sex in them. Well, not all do.  Legends of the Dragon Cowboys has very little of that sort of thing.  And the new Tales From Dry Gulch kept itself to a  PG sort of rating.  I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to a young person.  But librarians, overall, remain skittish. I guess they're tired of angry parents complaining if they guess wrong.  

So tell your libraries to order these. Them is good readin.

Monday, September 2, 2019

To Kindle or Not to Kindle

The Kindle ebook version of Tales From Dry Gulch should be up and running today sometime.  There are other ebook services but I tend not to use them.  Simply put, they don't sell enough copies to bother with.  Kindle will typically sell 20 copies for every one sold someplace else. So, these other places do not seem to me to be worth bothering with.  

Saturday, August 31, 2019


Wild berries are not common here in Arizona.  To get such things in the wild, one must go to places like Maine or Oregon.  However, the canned ones are not all that bad.  I wanted some blueberry pancakes last night, so I got out my pancake mix then poured it onto my griddle, then topped the little wonders with blueberries.  Boy, they were good.

What I do not understand is the lack of frozen blueberry pancakes. Around here in Tucson there is no such thing in the stores.  I used to but them all the time, but that was in Colorado.  They don't have them in Colorado, either.  They used to, but they're gone. Where did they go? 

Thursday, August 29, 2019


Yesterday evening I was on my way home when my phone lit up with a flash flood warning.  The next block I drove into a river.The car picked itself off the ground for a moment. Then the tires reengaged and I gunned it and got out of there and made it home with no further dangers.  Flash Flood warning--no shit.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019


Last weekend i blew a tire on one of our deplorable, treacherous county roads.  Well, my car has a doughnut and that's what I limped into town with.  No problemo, I thought as I have two cars. So, I backed the other car and the mirror hit a pole under my carport, shearing it off instantly.  So, in a matter of an hour or so I go from two cars to one car limping along with a doughnut tire and one car with a  busted mirror just begging some state trooper to stop me and give me a ticket.  I replaced the tire yesterday. Today the car is getting a new mirror installed. Yay!  It;s not safe out there.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Dry Gulch

I haven't said much about Tales From Dry Gulch. I was waiting to see the physical books and make sure they were okay.  A lot of things went wrong with the production of this book.  They look great and they're ready to sell.

Welcome to Dry Gulch, Colorado.  It's a small town that's struggled since the gold mine went bust. Still, people try and be positive about the future.  There's some company from back east that's thinking about putting in a zinc mine.  No one is sure what zinc is, but that won't matter.  At the center of town is the saloon.  There you can find men drinking and cussing and paying cards.  And you can have a cold beer, maybe even served to you by Wendy Washer, the owner of the saloon.  And you can enjoy the piano playing, if you get over certain things about the piano player. Sam Knight does double duty in that he wrote one of the stories and did the cover art as well.  That ain't a cowboy heading in to the saloon through the bat wing doors.

Folks are welcome in Dry Gulch.  You can take the stage from Denver or there's rumored to be a flying saucer from some other place.  No matter how you get there,   I think you'll enjoy the stories by Sam Knight, J.A. Campbell, Jill Hand, Patrick Dorn, Henry Ram, and more--As you get to know Marshal Jones, town drunk Henry Steelman and Chief Running Bear, who deals a  friendly hand of stud poker.  Dry Gulch is easy to find, just saddle up and order a copy from your favorite online bookstore.  

Sunday, August 25, 2019

It's here!

I got my Moscow Mitch mug today. I can put beverages in it and it has a picture of Moscow Mitch on it. I don't normally buy stuff like this, but I think the Moscow Mitch thing is hilarious.  So, I'm having tea. "Here's to you. Mitch! Das Tribunal!"

Friday, August 23, 2019


Got some rain last night--finally. Hopefully that'll cool down things a little. August was looking like it might be an all time record hot month.  Of course rain is not a simple matter in my neighborhood. My cell phone lit up with emergency alerts to be prepared for flash flooding.  Mt neighborhood drains water rather well, but our access roads that go into town may be a mess in the morning. If they flood there can be mud and crud everywhere. Stay tuned.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

It's Hot

It's just unbelievably hot.  I mean, sure it's Arizona in August. As I write this, it's 10 pm and it's still rather hot outside. And tomorrow my day job takes me outside yet again.  It's not going to be pleasant.  

Monday, August 19, 2019

Weird Westerns

For 20 years I've been an advocate of "The Greatest Genre Nobody Ever Heard Of."  I'm talking about Weird Westerns.  These are an under appreciated genre that's over 100 years old, yet most folks have never heard of them and don't really understand the concept. There a lot of them around.  I edited the heavy on science fiction, Science Fiction Trails for 14 annual issues.  I've also edited or co-edited some freestanding anthologies such as Gunslingers & Ghost Stories and Six Guns Straight From Hell, to name a few.  In the past couple of years I have two novellas, The Venerable Travels of Ling Fung and Fallen Angel.  [And some other stuff that's not really in print].

So, I think it's safe to say I like this genre. I talk about the genre whenever I can find a willing audience at book fairs, science fiction conventions and similar venues.  I think I have some credentials in this area..  

And now I release Tales From Dry Gulch, where I am editor as well as a contributing author as one of the stories in the book is mine.  What amazed me was how well the stories fit together.It kind of struck me as a Wild West version of Mayberry.  Well, maybe not that syrupy.  But whether it's Wendy Washer and the problems she has with her saloon or the amazing things the town drunk gets into, it all kind of fits into a town I'd certainly like to visit.  I suspect this is in part because most of the other authors are people I work with.  I think they've figured out I'm a sucker for a ghost story--and real sucker for anything with little green men and flying saucers.  Still, these folks took the time to read the guidelines and select at least one of the of the mandatory stock characters.  Most importantly of all, many of them said they had fun writing their stories.  And I think that's most important of all.  I believe the readers are going to have fun reading it.

Print is out now, the ebook will be along in a few weeks.  Tight on money, maybe you can get your library to order a copy for you.  That's Tales From Dry Gulch, the one with the little green man in a cowboy hat going into the saloon.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Dry Gulch

Who'd a hunk it?  A shared world weird western anthology.  What'll they think of next?  Yep, we are talking about Tales From Dry Gulch, a new anthology edited by me. It's available now from Amazon. The ebook is expected in about two weeks.

Contributing authors were given a list of stock characters. They had to use at least one and could choose from Wendy Washer, the saloon owner, or Henry Steelman, the town drunk, to name a few..  The cover comes from Sam Knight who also contributes a story.  So, order your copy today.  Then you can saddle up and take a ride out to Dry Gulch.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Heating back up.

Things are really heating back up.  My car's air conditioning can't quite keep up with it.  Good news isstores and places aren't as crowded as folks seem to stay home more when it's this hot.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Many hats

I've worn many hats as I've published stuff over the years.  There's my author hat because I've written a whole ton of short stories and seven novels. And my editor hat because I've edited a whole bunch of anthologies plus 14 issues of Science Fiction Trails magazine.  I've also been publisher of some of these things, particularly Science Fiction Trails.  But most people don't know that 've also worn an art director hat.  I've bought a lot of the cover art in all these things I've been publisher for.

Well, Science fiction Trails Publishing has been putting together a new anthology called Tales From Dry Gulch.  The thing went together quite well, so when I was wearing my editor hat I was happy. But, put on the art director hat and just sigh.  Over the years, I've had so much trouble with artists. This project was no exception. The first artist delivered a caver. For the first time ever, I was forced to reject the cover. It looked like the artist really phoned it in.  There two men on a porch. It looked like clip art that had been slapped down in a couple of minutes. And they appeared to be looking at a shower curtain on the porch. That was it. Plus the buildings were all purple for some inexplicable reason.  I gather the shower curtain was some sort of ghost.  Well, two guys standing on a porch next to some ghost, in itself was pathetic.  I showed it to three other people. They all thought it was a shower curtain on a porch.  

The next artist, like all my art assignments, agreed to the deadline.  Well, the deadline came and went with no cover. Alas, not being in a forgiving mood, I informed the artist he  need no bother and hired a third artist.  That artist delivered what I wanted in two days.  

Sure, writers are a pain to work with. But I'll take writers any day over artists. Nothing causes me more grief than working with artists in publishing land.  

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

yard work

I've got this big old ugly bush in my front yard.  I've never really liked it, but it doesn't hurt anything. but it desperately needs trimming.  Between the fact it's been well over 100 degrees and I've been nursing a bad back, this has not been something I really wanted to take on.  But, that's the goal for today--to trim the bush.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019


My back pain has finally tapered off. I still have no idea what I did to cause it.  It's simply amazing how hard simple things like getting in and out of bed can get.  No wonder old people are so cranky.

Monday, August 12, 2019

More Yikes

Still do not know what I did to get my back hurting. The last two days were most unpleasant, but it is finally settling down. Nothing like back pain to remind you how quickly you can be messed up and feeling very mortal.

Sunday, August 11, 2019


There's nothing like back pain to make you say Howdy.  My back has been killing me.  I don't know what I did to upset things.  I don't have a history of back problems. In fact, such pain is quite unusual. Therefore, I'm somewhat bewildered as to what to do about it. But I write this blog entry at 3 am because I sleep and am completely miserable.  And, thanks to the people abusing opioids, doctors no longer give out pain medicine, so there is little point in venturing off and seeking medical help.   Although I doubt it. 

Saturday, August 10, 2019


I've said before, every time the Hostess people change the color of their Snoballs, I buy a package. It never fails.  They've been green for a while, not sure why. Today, they were orange. It seems a little early for Halloween, so I'm not sure why the orange color.  But that's what they were. Naturally, I bought a package.  They've got me completely programmed.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Oh please, oh please

Tucson has relatively few tall buildings.  Since is fairly plentiful the trend has been for urban sprawl rather than upward growth that you see in cities where they've run out of land.  Still, downtown has a few such places.  I was getting inside an elevator and noticed some people were heading for me.  I frantically looked for a button to close the door, but could not find one.  I desperately wanted it to close before the people got there. Miraculously, it did close in time and I did not have to share my elevator and went straight to the floor I wanted.

Am I a bad person for not trying to hold the elevator? Probably.  But it's just the way I am.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

This Just In

I live in an older people neighborhood. A lot of my neighbors are grandparents. One neighbor has a daughter and two grand kids who live fairly close by here in Tucson.  So, apparently mom took the dog out to go potty two mornings ago.  And there was poop on the back porch.  She decided it was human poop and her son Kevin must have taken a dump on the porch. The younger grandchild is still in diapers and is an unlikely suspect.

Well, Kevin denied knowing anything about it. And he pointed out he'd done one of those backyard camp outs at his friend Robert's house and only returned a few minutes ago.  So, either Kevin walked three miles in the middle of the night to take a dump on the porch or he might be innocent.

So, another look was taken at the poop.  It looked human to the parties involved.  As they're discussing the turd, a neighborhood dog runs up and takes a  big old dump. And that poop looks just like the previous one.

So, young Kevin narrowly escaped execution solely because he had an alibi.  Makes you think, sort of.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019


Had my eye tests yesterday.  I did pretty good.  In fact, I did better on one test for peripheral vision than I did last year. I don't really know how that is possible.  I have high eye pressure. It was caught early, so it never caused the eye damage glaucoma can do if not treated.  This runs in the family, but I always urge everyone who knows me to get their vision checked.  Some of these eye diseases give few symptoms until major problems start developing and it simply isn't that difficult or expensive to go in and see an eye doctor--be it a doctor of optometry or an MD opthamologist.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Out With The Eyes

Off today for an eye exam.  I hate that.  And I get to do the little machine with the flashing lights. I really hate that.  Although I like my eye doctor, what I hate are the little trolls that heard you around the place. I guess they're medical assistants of some form, but they would have you believing they actually knew something about eye care. Truth is, most of them can barely schedule an appointment and are completely useless.  The sooner the robots take over for medical office staff, the better.

Monday, August 5, 2019

The Pleasant Season

August is usually a really hot month here in Tucson. It's certainly started out that way.  Of course it gets hot all over the country  in August.    I'm growing some shade in my back yard, but that takes time.  

The college kids will be showing up soon if they haven't already.  This cycle takes place each year. And the school kids go back soon as well.  Growing up in California we didn't go back to school until after Labor day, but around here it's mid August.  And so another season comes to an end. I call it the pleasant season. It's when the schools close, the college kids go to wherever they go, and the snowbirds are gone.  The traffic is light, the stores uncrowded because all these blasted people are gone.  I even got my car worked on the other day without an appointment.  Fancy chance that'll ever happen in the winter months around here. Yes the pleasant Season is coming to an end, although we still have a little while before the snowbirds are back.

Sunday, August 4, 2019


I'm not going to keep dwelling on Moscow Mitch.  I do find the explosive way it took off fascinating. But this isn't really a political blog and I'm not going to keep hammering away at him.  But my usual visits to this site run 200-250 a day. They went up to 1000 when I posted the recipe for a Moscow Mitch sandwich.  Whether folks are clamouring for a new type of sandwich or just more information on the tormenting of the senate's majority leader--that I can't say. 

Oh, this  is my favorite Moscow Mitch song:

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Where will it go?

I mentioned the Moscow Mitch phenomenon yesterday. It appears to be spreading out of Kentucky. I'm told a bar in Ft Collins has a vodka cocktail they're calling the "Moscow Mitch."  Simply amazing.

I asked a Russian how to make a Moscow Mitch. This is the recipe for a Moscow Mitch sandwich:

This is how you make a Moscow Mitch. First, you take a good sized chunk of baguette, slice it in half, and toast it. Then you put a thin layer of butter—real butter—on the bread. Then you take boiled eggs, slice them thin, and cover the buttered bread with the egg slices. Then you cover this with good quality salmon caviar. Voila, the Moscow Mitch.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Every Now and Then

Every now and then a nickname comes along and attaches itself like glue. A lot of those attach themselves and you can't ever get rid if them.  In junior high it might be "Stinky" or something. In prison it might be "Fingers"  Think about that one a moment.  In college it might be "Hot Lips" or Slutty Sheila"   We had a guy when I was in Wyoming who we called Butt Wipe. I'm not sure where it came from. Anyway, the person stuck with these names seldom likes them but is loathe to do anything about it.  We know where this next one comes from.

To this comes senate majority leader "Moscow Mitch " McConnell.  He won't allow a vote on election security bills and has been accused of being on the side of the Russians in election meddling. Some even think he hopes his doomed campaign will be saved by the Russians.  So, the Kentucky Democratic Party is having some fun  selling stickers and other merchandise that says Moscow Mitch on it.  I think it's hilarious. Moscow Mitch he shall always be.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Paranoid Delusions

Yesterday I had a cancer scare.  I convinced myself I had testicular cancer.  So I made an appointment and went off to see my doctor.  Apparently, that type of cancer doesn't look like what I had. My gonads were really swollen.  It was diagnosed as a cyst that was  full of fluid. So, I was referred to a urologist to have it drained and that's that. My doctor was not too impressed with my self diagnosis.  

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

blueberry pancakes?

I don't know if it's a factor of where I live or what, but I cannot find blueberry pancakes in grocery stores here in Tucson.  Certainly, this is not a blueberry producing area. I get that. But canned blueberry's can be shipped anywhere.  I recall once buying blueberry pancakes in the frozen aisle in other states like Colorado. Then, for some reason, they sort of disappeared.  I know a few restaurants sell them, but I wanted them at two o'clock in the morning--a time of night I didn't really want to get dressed and go back out to get them  I guess I'll have to make do until I can find some, if they still exist.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Straw People

I continue to be appalled at the number of eateries that stick straws in my beverage.  I don't use straws at home and wonder why I need one if I eat someplace else.  These damned plastic straws create some serious solid waste problems.  And I don't understand why restaurants all think people need them. They don't even ask, they just keep putting them in your drink.  How do we stop it?  There must be some sway to stop the madness.  We don't need all these straws.

On a related note, I seem to remember paper straws as a child before everything became plastic. At least those would degrade.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Old Karz

They say it's cheaper to have older cars than new ones.  I haven't had a new car in a very long time. I do have two aging cars that seem to be spending most of their time at the local mechanic.  Last week it was a throttle assembly.  Tomorrow one of them will get new spark plus and a transmission flush. Will it ever end?  I doubt it.

Whether I need two of them, that may be the real question. It's nice to have a backup car. Tomorrow, with my car in the shop I still have a car to go places.  On the flip side of that--twice the registration fees and more insurance.  

Saturday, July 27, 2019


Well, I looked around for housing yesterday.  I didn't really like anything.  I guess I don't really have enough money to do what I'd like.  I guess I'll just stay put for a while.

Friday, July 26, 2019

looking for housing

I've been considering selling my house and returning to the rental market.  There are quite a few rental options, so deciding what I want to do isn't all that easy.  These senior only places come with meals and stuff. I kind of like the concept. Whilst I qualify as an over 55, I'm a lot younger than the median ages of 75+ that a lot of these places have. Would I fir in?  Probably not.  To be continued.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

This just in

Well, there's this thing that seems to be serious where they want a bunch of people to storm Area 51. I think I already have plans.

Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us


"Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us" is a Facebook event currently planned for September 20, 2019 at Area 51, an United States Air Force facility within the Nevada Test and Training Range, to raid the site in search for extraterrestrial life. Wikipedia
DateSeptember 20, 2019

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Birthday Kardz

Well, it's that time of year again.  There's a fair chance I may have a few birthday cards in my mailbox today.  I just don't think the email cards are the same as a printed card.  Maybe I'm just an old geezer in that regard.  There's something nice about a printed card with some hilarious Farside cartoon on it. 

Oh, I'm showing my age again. Farside was this hysterical cartoon that used to run in newspapers.  Then one day it stopped because Gary Larson didn't want to do it anymore.  I went into a depression for a while back when that happened.

About three years ago everyone forgot my birthday and I didn't get any cards at all.

Presents, I ain't got no presents.  I don't really care about presents as it's usually something I don't really like anyway.  But a nice card that brings a smile to my face, well I'll admit I still enjoy that.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Magic Karpet

Been trying to get someone to clean my carpets.  I've never liked those do it yourself machines you rent from stores.  There's something about my zip code in that they think I live many miles farther out of town than I really do. Ergo, no one wants to come to my house to do the work.  I finally found some place, but will they actually show up?  We'll see.

Monday, July 22, 2019


"How come he needs two cars?"
I live in a neighborhood of older people.  A few of the old ladies go for a walk in the morning, which is a perfectly reasonable activity.  But they talk loud. If I have a window open I can hear them. They don't seem to understand why I have two cars.  It seems to bother them.  The reason is simple enough; my cars are older high mileage vehicles, one of them is really older built in 2000.So, one of them is 20 and the other is 12.  Having two of them gives me a backup.  One of them was damaged in a hit and run a few months ago.  The other one has been in the shop for various things as recently as last week when a part connected to the accelerator broke.  Having a backup car means I can still go somewhere if I need to.  In a sprawled out town like Tucson public transportation is spotty at best.  And that's why I have two cars.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Messing alone

I've mentioned before my fondness for the survival show Alone.  That's the show where they dump you off and leave you there to go insane.  I keep thinking if I had a production company, how easy it would be to bring in a few people and let them think they're on a survival show, but it's really not.  Then just mess with them.  Have footprints in fresh snow when they wake up.  Have piles of cigarette butts nearby, like someone's been watching them.  Maybe have their entire camp vanish when they're off hunting, put food in their camp they didn't catch.  The list goes on  and on.  It's a good thing I don't have a survival production company.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Moon Landing

My mother was thrilled when they decided to do the moon landing on her birthday. I've been somewhat amazed at how little interest there is in the 50th anniversary of this event.  Back then the whole world was glued to their TV sets.  Yet, at a recent convention, I gave a talk about moon stuff and hardly anyone even showed up.  Stories of the day predicted we'd soon have bases on the moon.Well, that never happened. I guess the problem was there simply wasn't much going on.  If they'd found gold, things might have turned out differently.  But they just brought back a few hundred pounds of rocks.  We benefited greatly from the space program with improvements in computers, commercial uses for laser beams, improvements in food storage yum freeze dried,

As I think back to how mesmerized people were, locked on to every development, it's kind of amazing how little interest there is in the 50th anniversary.  But that grainy picture of Neil Armstrong stepping from the Lunar Module and onto the lunar surface is still very clear in my memory.

If I'd been an astronaut, and I was 10 years old then, but if I'd have been an astronaut, I'd have pointed somewhere off camera and said "What's that?  It's coming closer! And then screamed, followed by silence for a minute or so.  Then a just kidding. Well, that's why I'm not an astronaut.

Friday, July 19, 2019

all by myself

Of all the survival shows they have on TV, the one I like best is Alone.  Here, they drop you off in the winter out in the middle of nowhere and just leave you there until you go insane.  It's certainly the show I'd like to be on.  With my kidney problems and some other health issues, I couldn't survive on any of these shows.  Alone allows way more provisions, but calling in for help is the same as tapping out.  So, the folks build shelters; some quite elaborate and others little more than a lean-to. This season, in the Canadian arctic, that may come back to haunt some of them.  

As with Naked & Afraid, procuring food is tough.  

If it were me, I'd try and build a raft or dugout canoe before the weather turns really cold. Then I could cover more ground looking for resources.  Fish move around. Game moves around.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Rough Time For Car World

Yesterday, my car broke down.  It could only go about ten MPH. I feared I was going to have to get my gun and shoot it. That's what they do with horses to put them put of their misery. Whilst I thought it was a transmission problem, it turned out to be a throttle problem and not all that expensive to fix. At least where this happened I was only about a mile from the place i take my car to for service.  So I limped along with my flashers on and that was that.

This is the same car that was hit by a hit and run driver in May. Poor car's been having a rough time, but it's not quite ready to be towed off to that junk yard in the sky.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Cutting Costs

I recently switched over to Consumer Cellular from one of the more bigger and more expensive services.  It's really worked out well and I've saved a good deal of money that will add up over time. Yay! 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Pouring Gasoline

I try very hard to keep politics out of this blog.  There is no rigid format. I don't call it David B. Riley Rants & Rave For Nothing.    I ranted about soap boxes and the incompetence of fast food counter help. But politics, "It's a mania" to misquote Ben Franklin.

The President's pouring of gasoline to ignite racial hatred was hardly a surprise.  Being a cranky middle aged white guy I don't pretend to know what it's like to be of some other race.  But I never considered myself racist.  Nonetheless, because of my demographics it has not been uncommon for people who barely know me to start railing about "Ship 'em back to Africa" and similar themes.  Those are not my views.  

Growing up, I came to view my mother as one of the most racist people I ever knew.  Yet she would always deny being a racist.  She'd deny being a racist, yet come home from the store and announce there was some black guy at the store.  She'd deny being racist, yet the first predicate of any remarks was how black someone was and the need to always remind  anyone that someone was black.  She was raised to hate the Japanese, and she relished that from the WWII era until the day she died. She also hated Mexicans, I never really was clear on that, save for the fact all Latinos were Mexicans in her eyes.  Her racial formula never made any sense.  Why I now feel the need to mention it, I don't know save for the fact that race is not simple.

But I am  not my mother.  When I was a laundry supervisor at hotel laundry operation and people made comments about the Chinese Laundry, I advised them they could keep their thoughts to themselves. When I recently posted the guidelines to the book I'm editing, Tales From Dry Gulch,  I was denounced as racist and my writers guidelines were taken down from some websites.  No one ever bothered to state why they were supposedly racist or let me respond to any of their criticism. That angered me greatly.  And I still do not see what was racist in those guidelines. Apparently, writing about people of color, even accurately is racist to some.  I guess I'll never understand it.

But back to the politics.  The President of the United States stood in the Rose Garden and said a slight variation of "Ship 'em Back to Africa," a mantra I heard all the time from my mother's friends when I was growing up.  And that attack was directed at four women who are not only United States citizens, but elected members of Congress.   I'm a writer. I have a very large vocabulary. Yet I was at a total loss for words.  Maybe I'll think of something to say today or tomorrow, but I wonder why I should have to.  My mother didn't really know any better. Donald Trump certainly does.

Sunday, July 14, 2019


Our seasonal monsoon finally showed up last night.  They usually start in late June and nightly thunderstorms bring much needed rain to Arizona.  I fear we're going to get a very brief  monsoon season this year.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Tacos From Outer Space

Cheap tacos. How can you beat that?  A  lot of reviews have come out on Burger King's new taco. A lot of comparison has been made against Taco Bell. Frankly, it's a lot more like Jack in the Box's taco than Taco Bell's, in my humble opinion.  They both feature deep fried tortillas.  The main difference that I can tell is Jack in the Box deploys a small slice of what appears to be American cheese whilst Burger King uses shredded cheddar.  I got some of each and tried them side-by-side. To my eye the BK ones are a little bigger.  And I kind of liked the BK taco better.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Reap what you sew

The other day I told a friend that I wish the space aliens would use their mind control to make people order copies of Fallen Angel.   She asked : "What alien mind control devices?"

Well, back when I worked at a hotel in Colorado the general manager got miffed with me turning off the music at night.  He wanted to know why I was doing it. "It's alien mind control," was my actual true really I said it answer.  He replied, "I know that, but why do you turn it off?"  And I explained it gave me a headache. So, I promised to turn it back on at the end of my shift and that was the end of the matter.

Until I moved to Vail, another town in Colorado.  When I first worked there I kept turning off the music, but always fired it up in the morning. The manager hauled me into his office and asked why I kept turning off the music.  "It's alien mind control," was my actual really I said that answer. And he said "I know, but it keeps people calm."  He wanted it on all night. I reluctantly complied.  Then another company took over and the alien mind control system was taken out.

So, I thought the aliens could go into people's minds and make them buy my book.

She said "that's ridiculous."

"You don't believe they can do stuff like that?" Asked I.

"No, of course they can. But who are the bad guys in Fallen Angel?"

"Uh, the aliens from Mars."

"The aliens from Mars who eat people and hate women?"

"Uh, I see your point," said I.  "When the aliens produced the movies ET and Close Encounters of te Third Kind , the aliens were portrayed positively.  I portrayed them as evil. They're not going to help me."

"Not in a million years," she said.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

elections is good

I'm already sick of next year's election and it's over a year away.  These damned politicians aren't going to deliver anything close to what they're promising. It ain't gonna happen.  I have no solution, but think the process is far too long.  The British can call an election and the whole process only lasts about two months and it's over.  

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Weird Western Books On Sale!

Hadrosaur Press has their weird western books on sale, including two of my books.  It's a really good deal.  Link is below.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Fine Dining

I've had a  couple of problems in the past few days that I have never had in my entire life.  First of all, last week I sat in a restaurant for 25 minutes wondering where the heck my order was. Then the waiter told me he forgot to put the order in. Duh?  I said to forget the whole thing and walked out of the place. I doubt I'll ever go back.

Then, yesterday, I was having lunch. I'd ordered a cheeseburger--nothing fancy.  My food arrived and I asked: "Why is there bacon on my cheeseburger?"  and he seemed shocked. "You don't want bacon?" To which I responded "Did I order it with fucking bacon?"  So he takes it back to the kitchen and returns in a minute. "Listen, asshole, I could've taken it off  myself. Bacon has a strong flavor. The damned thing still tastes like bacon."  Then I threw it back in the kitchen. I have no idea where it landed. "Cram it up your ass!" said I.  Then I walked out of the place and left.  I've never cared for bacon. I sure as hell never ordered it. Am I unreasonable?

Neither of these problems has ever happened to me, not ever.  

Monday, July 8, 2019


It rained for ten minutes at my house yesterday.  We're well into the monsoon season where we should have rain rolling through the area every day and there is nothing going on.   This is not good. I'd rant about the government trying to cover up the science on climate change but it wouldn't do any good.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Buying bulk

Okay, one amazing experience is taking someone who's really really old to Costco.  I took my dad there last Wednesday as he wanted to have a cookout for the 4th of July.  So, I had to take him there as he can't find Costco on his own.  We found the steaks.  Now, I'd have been over at the hot dog department cause there ain't no way I'd be paying nine bucks for some steak--that's each steak was nine bucks..  He doesn't think much about the price and we soon have a pack of steaks in the cart.  

Then we go over to the ice cream area.  You had to buy two half gallons of vanilla ice cream.  No, we can't do that because it'll melt.  Okay. but you wanted ice cream?  Then we go and get cranberry juice. You have to buy two jugs--they're attached to each other.  "That's too much cranberry juice."  Okay, so I said I'll put it back then put it in his cart and he didn't notice.  Then we went to get corn.  They had packs of eight ears. "That's too much corn."  Okay, but you wanted corn.  Then we got the strawberries. No objection. One clam shell of strawberries.  No objection. Hmm. He can't cope with buying in bulk.  "Look over there." and I toss a second pack of strawberries in the cart.   "Want some tortilla chips?"  Okay. I put one bag in the cart, it's like five pounds of chips, but they're only in one bag so there's no objection.  And we were soon checking out.  We go out to the car and head off to his house with a ridiculous amount of strawberries, but no corn.  

Then he says, "we need to stop at the store."  Okay, so we stop at the store. He goes inside and returns with corn, the same kind they had at Costco, and with ice cream--two gallons of it because it was on sale.  

And I'm still eating strawberries because no one ate any on the 4th.  

And that's taking old people to Costco.  Go and find some old guy and take him to Costco. If you don't have one of your own, I'm sure you can borrow one.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

What's in a word?

Well, I am a writer. I have a fairly large vocabulary.  They have these words called synonyms. A synonym is a word that means the same thing as another word.  Now, a while back I submitted to a weird western anthology.  One of the many stupid changes the editor made to my story was he changed poop to shit.  Well, they are synonyms. They mean the same thing. But, they're not used exactly the same way.  

I used the word poop to describe all the horse product that was on the road  in a western town in 1880.  These were mostly unpaved towns with dirt roads. The poop mixed with the dirt and flies bred and it would rain and you had this mess of mud and poop and flies.  In talking about this situation the character was in mixed company. That means ladies present.  That's why I referred to this product as horse poop.  I did not think a gentleman would use the term shit, even though it is a synonym, in this circumstance in 1880.  But the editor, who is sort of a slave to active voice, decided shit was more activer than poop was and changed it to shit.  I took exception to this change and some of the other even more stupider changes he made.  I ended up withdrawing my story.  

Of course that's not the only time I got pissed off at changes made by an editor.  Back when my novel The Two Devils was being edited, the very same character that was in the short story just mentioned was sitting on the porch reading the newspaper.  That newspaper was called The Epitaph. That was the real newspaper of Tombstone, Arizona.  That editor changed it to "the newspaper."  He took the correct name for the local paper, which was the best name for a newspaper in the history of the world and changed it.  And 15 years later I'm still steaming about it.  [The reprinted book is in a tome called The Devil Draws Two by David B. Riley and has Epitaph in it].

Now, I couldn't walk away from the book because I'd signed a contract.  Where no contract had been signed at the point I walked away from the short story with shit in it.  I wish I could have.  Both editors are still alive. I didn't kill either one of them.  I probably should have, but I didn't.  What's this all mean?  A lot of writers throw things into a story that need change. But, sometimes editor's change words when a writer really wanted that particular word, knew exactly what that word means, and might show up at that editor's house with a crazed look in his exes and a shotgun in his hand.

I've been editing Dry Gulch.  In spite of being warned about content needed to be appropriate for younger readers, some of the writers stuck whores and crib girls in the saloon even where it had nearly nothing to do with the story.  Bad writer.  Well, this makes the editor step in and change that. It was in the guidelines.  And the paper's name was the Dry Gulch Gazette. That was in the guidelines, too. So I don't have any remorse.  

So, it's different being and editor than a writer.  And that's why editors carry guns.

Friday, July 5, 2019

All gone

Remarkably quiet 4th. Wasn't anybody around in my neighborhood.  Don't know where everyone went.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Quiet 4th

Decided not to go over to New Mexico and buy fireworks.  It just didn't seem like it was really worth it.  Sure, I enjoy a bottle rocket and don't mind a few firecrackers, but such things are not legal here and I decided not to bother.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Can't decide

When I was a boy I just loved fireworks.  We spent much of our 4th of July time at my grandmother's house in Arkansas.  The advantage was fully legal fireworks. You could set off as much as you could afford.  And my brother and I blew off a lot of them.  We figured out that the firecrackers and bottle rockets were far more economical than a lot of the other stuff like Roman candles and bigger skyrockets. 

And we never got injured or burnt down the house or anything.  Although we did blow up a few ants as we blasted their ant hills.

But those were real fireworks. They were the kind that flew and exploded.  All we can buy are the safe and insane kind that just sort of fizz.  I can't decide if I am going to bother this year.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Hooray for the town drunk

I have often lamented that most of the weird western stories sent to me for the projects I edit are what I call "Walking Badge" stories.  I coined that term as the central character is always some sheriff. He is not even remotely developed as a character. And the story goes downhill from there.  It would be nice if they'd use an army provost marshal or something now and then--but no. It's always some sheriff.  

So, here comes Dry Gulch, the new anthology I'm editing.  This one's a little different in that the stories all take place in Dry Gulch, Colorado.  There is a sheriff in two of the stories--one from the nearby town of Pronghorn who's sweet on the local school teacher. And a sheriff from New Mexico comes by looking for some bandits.  Here's the thing that surprised me: Not only was the concept of some sheriff very limited, but the most popular character by far is Henry--the town drunk.  I was very pleasantly surprised.

Now, back to sheriffs for a moment.  Dry Gulch has a town marshal as most incorporated towns did. And that's what ticks me off with this sheriff crap. Sheriffs are usually elected and police unincorporated counties. Most towns were policed by town marshals hired by the mayor or town council.  They're not the same thing.  But twits writing these stories don't seem to know that.  In Tombstone where an overrated gunfight was once fought, Virgil Earp was town MARSHAL. That's Virgil, not Wyatt Earp and marshal, not sheriff.  Wyatt ran for sheriff and lost the election. He was deputized by his brother as a deputy marshal.  But that's not how most people would re-tell the story if I had Tombstone Tales instead of Dry Gulch.  

But rant and rave all I want, I doubt it'll make any difference.  

Okay, so the town drunk is the most popular character.  The second most popular character is Wendy, the owner of the saloon.  She beat out an alien piano player.  Yep, Dry Gulch is a happening place. And, right in the middle of all the action is Henry Steelman, the town drunk.  I am so happy.  

And there's no crooked rancher trying steal somebody's land, either.  But we have an alien piano player.  

Monday, July 1, 2019

Blue Balls

I've mentioned before that Hostess changes the color of its Snowballs product every now and then. The standard color is pink.  When they do this I always buy a package.  They're geniuses at getting me to buy the things.  So yesterday they had some green ones. Or were they blue?  I am not sure. They're kind of a turquoise.  I still bought some, but I am confused as to what color they're supposed to be.

Sunday, June 30, 2019


Nicknames aren't as popular as they once were. Well, at lease that's how it seems to me.  I never really had a nickname growing up.  I was Dave, even though I preferred David, I was ALWAYS Dave.  When I reached adulthood, I became DAVID most of the time, but neither affliction is a real nickname.  Curly is an inevitable nickname for some bald guy.  

One place I worked at for a while was a commercial laundry in Wyoming.  A few people came there with existing nicknames. We had one guy called Tex.  That wasn't his real name.  Then we had this guy who was rather obnoxious and nobody liked.  I started referring to him as butt wipe.  In a very short time, the whole place were calling him butt wipe. It stuck like glue.  He complained to personnel that everyone was calling him butt wipe, to no avail. Personnel simply couldn't get it stopped.  And they weren't sure where it started from.  I was called into the personnel manager's office and I denied everything and swore I'd never personally called him butt wipe. The guy quit and left and that was the end of butt wipe.  Is butt wipe a proper noun? Maybe it should be Butt Wipe.

What reminded me of butt wipe was a trip to a restaurant yesterday.  I was sitting in the counter and the cook asked the dishwasher "Where the hell is that butt wipe?"  Well, I'd love to be a fly [or more likely cockroach[ on the wall of that kitchen.  Ah, the fact that butt wipe still exists as a derogatory nickname made me smile. A name I created [maybe] is still in the archives of names like stinky. I was so happy.  

Saturday, June 29, 2019


One of my favorite shows is Alone.  That's the show where they dump you off in the Arctic and just wait until you go insane.  I've been thinking. It would be fun to do something like Alone, but with special effects to really mess with the survivors. Like  have a Bigfoot walk through their camp, a visit from space aliens--that sort of thing.  You could really mess with these people. Plant a dead body on the trail, then have it disappear.  That sort of thing.

Friday, June 28, 2019


Still haven't resolved the hit and run accident I had last month, but things are looking up.  In Arizona they don't make it easy to get the information about the other driver. Privacy, they call it.  You have to get a police report.  That took two weeks before they released it. Then you fill out some form and have to have your signature notarized. Then you mail the form to Phoenix.  Then in a couple of  weeks they finally send you back the information about who owns the other car and if there was any insurance.  Frankly, this is ridiculous to make victims have to go through this.  

Now, I have an older car and only had liability coverage. If I had collision coverage and had filed a claim through MY insurance company this production would not have been necessary.  So, there actually was insurance on the other car that hit me, making one wonder why it was a hit and run. I then contacted said insurance company and filed a claim.  After a week, they finally got back to me and took my statement and wanted pictures of the damage.  Not remarkable claim service, but at least I didn't have to go to court over the accident.

Oh, in case you're wondering, as for the hit and run. That's a crime.  Alas, when the sheriff's department gave me a photo lineup, I  could not identify the other driver.  I don't know if that was because someone besides the owner was driving or I simply couldn't identify her from the rather crummy pictures they showed me.  But no charges were filed as I could not identify anyone.

Coincidentally, today is National Insurance Awareness Day.  What better way to celebrate than download a copy of Bonded Agent, and read about her adventures as an insurance adjuster.