Homeless and Unsheltered Living in Their Cars in Fairfax, VA

Mercedes Beater CarWhy is ‘Get a Job’ not a useful thing to say to a homeless person? If you don’t already know the answer, you are part of the problem.

Homeless and unsheltered folk are resourceful, and they work hard at maintaining some semblance of dignity and self reliance. If you think it’s easy, you’re mistaken. If you think not working is some kind of picnic, you are deluded.

Here’s a pretty good look at what it’s like in Fairfax County, VA – one of the wealthiest counties in the U.S.

My homeless characters in A Cup of Pending have it better than these plucky Virginians living in their cars, but my story is funny, even when it makes a point. The Washington Post article is reality. It is the point. It’s one of the points of Cuppa. It’s not very funny.

Book Review: THE BLACK DAHLIA by James Ellroy

The Black Dahlia (L.A. Quartet, #1)The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Black Dahlia is a fictionalized account of the investigation into the real life torture, mutilation, and murder of Elizabeth Short in 1947. It is appropriately dark and deeply disturbing. On balance, I thought it was quite well done. It was consistently engaging and sufficiently challenging throughout. It is not loads of fun unless you really embrace the darkness. Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW: 251 Things To Do in Tofino

Tofino CoverParadise Found?

More . . . As Promised

Yesterday, in my post about the likely outcomes of last night’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, I mentioned Tofino, BC in Canada as one of the places I would choose to live should we end up with an orange U.S. president. Thankfully, Trump did not acquit himself very well in the debate, so the likelihood of his getting himself elected is somewhat diminished. Even so, Tofino seems to me to be an altogether lovely place in which to live. I think this because of this charming little book—a travel guide that succeeded in making me want to travel . . . to Tofino . . . and to stay there . . . indefinitely. Continue reading

Predicting the Debate

Clinton Vs. Trump

USA Flag

A Circus Not Likely to Change Anything . . .

I made a conscious decision before I released Cuppa to abstain from political discussions while I flogged the book. I didn’t want to risk putting off any potential readers by offending their political sensibilities. It seems not to have made any difference in sales of the book, but it has made me a nervous wreck while the Trump juggernaut of ignorance and incivility gathers steam. The unthinkable prospect of an orange presidency is now upon us with most polls showing Trump and Clinton in a dead heat on the eve of the first presidential debate. Continue reading

Review: REDSHIRTS by John Scalzi

RedshirtsRedshirts by John Scalzi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I liked this book quite a lot by the end. It didn’t start out that way for me. In the beginning I thought it was way too flippant to have won a Hugo. By the time I’d finished the narrative, I’d completely changed my mind. It was still flippant in timbre, to be sure, but it also maintained a really fine tension between that flippancy and a difficult spin on the various anomalies and paradoxes of time travel. So what I thought I had in hand, by the end, was true genius. Continue reading

2 out of 5 Stars for Moby Dick??

humpback whale underwater blueThe Book Review: Bane or Boon?

I’ve been looking for book bloggers and reviewers to give me objective reviews of A Cup of Pending. Reviews are a numbers game for indie authors like me – the more reviews and ratings we get, the more readers we are likely to attract. It’s a snowball effect. It’s the on-line equivalent of word of mouth recommendations.

To this end, I have been trolling review groups on Goodreads. You’d think this would be a fairly straightforward process: find a post by a potential reviewer looking for books to read, reach out, and, if they’re interested, send them a book. There’s more to this than meets the eye, however. For example, you probably don’t want to send your military action adventure story to a millennial fan of paranormal romance. You are not likely to find an open mind in such an exchange. Of course, the reverse is also true.

With this in mind, I try to vet potential reviewers before I approach them. It just makes sense to get a sense of the kind of treatment I can expect before I put the future of my life’s work into someone else’s hands. Frankly, I have been stymied by this process. Continue reading

Bean’s Supper

greyhound

Anthropomorphism: an innate tendency of human psychology

I cook for my dog, Bean. He eats almost as well as I do. I think this makes me an exemplary human being. Bean seems to agree because he follows me around adoringly from the time he gets up in the morning till he goes down for his first nap 20 minutes later.

Every three days I make a pot of rice and chicken. I cook the rice in chicken broth, which is a by-product of my Tuesday crockpot roasted chicken. I supplement the rice and chicken with additional broth, high quality kibble, and an assortment of flavor enhancers like hard-boiled egg, steamed broccoli, baby food, sweet potato, and an occasional chunk of beef, just to keep things interesting. Bean likes this routine a lot when he is on his feed—more often than not since I started going to all this effort. Continue reading

WHAT HO!

cartoon-1297067_1280Jeeves and Wooster

I’ve been binge watching Jeeves and Wooster on Acorn. It’s a BBC series based on the P.G. Wodehouse stories about Bertie Wooster, erstwhile English gentleman of leisure, and his manservant, Jeeves. To my thinking, this is excellent television. All TV ought to be this good.

It helps, I suppose, that the series stars Stephen Fry as Jeeves and Hugh Laurie as Wooster. Both established their comedic chops in this series, which originally aired from 1990-1993, and went on to achieve modest fame and acclaim in quite a lot of subsequent offerings.

Personally, I can’t get enough of this sort of thing. The theme music alone is enough to keep me coming back for more. The lines are hilarious, and they’re delivered with droll aplomb, especially by Fry. If that weren’t enough the cars are fabulous, the tailoring impeccable, and, if you watch carefully, you will see the debut television appearance of Highclere Castle, better known of late as Downton Abbey. Continue reading

Poverty Is Not a Crime Either

Poverty is not a crime.Socially Responsible Themes in A Cup of Pending.

Coming to Grips with Poverty

I have rather a lot to say about poverty and homelessness in Cuppa. Some would probably say, too much, while others, not enough. Depends where they fall on the spectrum of wealth distribution.

Fun Fact: most of us are a lot lower on the scale than we imagine.

I know that I personally am a lot lower than I used to be, and the precipitous slide has prompted me to give up my Voldemort Republicanism for something more egalitarian and charitable. That’s just me, though, everyone reacts according to their own particular sensibilities and beliefs. Continue reading

Homelessness Should Not Be a Crime

Homelessness is not a crimeA Cup of Pending treats homelessness with an air of mirth. This is because I am a funny man with a highly developed sense of humor and too much irreverence to serve most sensitive political issues.

I realize, though, that homelessness is not funny. This is why I have tried to shed some light, however airily, on the problem in my book. I relied on several sources for the information I included. One was an excellent article by Malcolm Gladwell that appeared in the New Yorker in 2006 titled Million Dollar Murray. I recommend it to your attention. Continue reading