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

Rain

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.

https://davidleesummers.wordpress.com/

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

Monsoon?

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.