Sunday, November 25, 2007

Excerpt from
Rebel Nation
by Christopher Stires
McKenna Alexander watched, stunned, powerless, as the CS marshal hustled her handcuffed attorney from the judge's chamber.
“Damnation,” the judge growled. He pressed a handful of yellow tissues to his bleeding nose and tilted his head back. “Give me a moment, people.”
As McKenna sat with the others in the office, she counted the crimson periods dotting the judge’s crisp white shirt. Four. No, five. Blood had also dripped onto the judge’s striped bow tie. Oh, God. She had been confident that the charges against her would be dismissed; absolute in her vindication. Had been. Until one minute ago. Now, however, the only question left unanswered was – how much jail time would she receive before she was run out of the country?
“Excuse me,” the judge said, rising awkwardly from his black-leather chair. He edged his head further back and pinched the nostrils harder. Then he walked into the office bathroom. The dark walnut door remained open.
From the hall corridor, a second marshal stepped inside.
All in the chamber were quiet.
McKenna twisted the delicate gold chain on her wrist. She should have accepted the NBC anchor job. Landry had offered the network position twice. He had flattered her unmercifully with the proposals each time. Not only, he’d said in his coarse Texas drawl, would she be the first female anchor on any of the television networks in the South but, at thirty-four, she would also be the youngest. The ratings for the network evening news were up and, even the suits in New York, credited her with the increase. The latest viewer surveys showed that people liked and, more importantly, trusted her. Plus, she had proven herself time and time again with the hard news stories and interviews she delivered.
She’d noted that Landry had tactfully avoided the disasters she had been involved with. He also didn’t mention all the mail the network had received when he first brought her to Richmond four years ago. It was bad enough, most of the letters and e-mail read, that the network was owned by Yankees. They could live with that since they had to but they definitely didn’t want some blonde Yankee bitch telling them the news each night. If it hadn’t been for Cullen’s encouragement, she didn’t know whether or not she would have survived the first year.
She said no to the anchor position. Both times. She told Landry she loved Richmond, she had made her home here after all, and the city on the James River was the Confederate nation’s capitol, and this was where national policy and agenda were decided, but Richmond was not the entire Confederacy and she enjoyed living out of a duffel bag and not knowing in which of the thirteen states she would be each week. On Monday she could be in Tennessee and by Friday in the Carolinas and the following Tuesday in New Mexico. She would miss the road and the adventure. And she hated the idea of being locked behind a desk introducing other reporters who would be doing the assignments she wanted.
This morning that decision was moot.
The Confederate Attorney General had decided that she did not want McKenna covering any news stories. Even events like the cotton harvest in the Texas Panhandle and fishing conditions in the Louisiana Bayou were too much for her. She wanted McKenna a vague memory.
But McKenna would not go gently. Not for the Attorney General, not for anyone.
from the 5-Star reviews at Amazon:

"Awesome read! Great details and world building! ... If you've ever even toyed with the idea of reading alternate history, this book is for you!"
"...delivers from the very beginning ... a thumping good read."
"...held my interest until the very last page... a good mystery."
"Just when I thought the theme of the South winning the Civil War had been done to death this author proves me wrong."
"...compelling book. From its first page..."

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Finally got to see the fourth Die Hard movie. Over-the-top? Yes. Bruce Willis still cool as Detective John McClane? Yes. They blow stuff up real cool? Of course. Better villain than Alan Rickman in DH1? Well, no. Hans Gruber is one of my favorite movie bad guys of all time. Timothy Olyphant of Deadwood is just okay.

How would I sum up Die Hard 4?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Don't be shy, tell me what you really think...


Monday, November 19, 2007

(replace the word "moron" with your favorite group to pick on)
Two morons living in Oklahoma were talking, and one moron says to the other, 'Which do you think is farther away... Florida or the moon?'
The other moron turns and says 'Helloooooooooo, can you see Florida ?'
A moron pushes their BMW into a gas station. Tells the mechanic it died.
After he works on it for a few minutes, it is idling smoothly.
Moron says, 'What's the story?'
He replies, 'Just crap in the carburetor'
Moron asks, 'How often do I have to do that?'
A moron is out walking and comes to a river. Sees another moron on the opposite bank 'Yoo-hoo!' moron shouts, 'How can I get to the other side?'
The second moron looks up the river then down the river and shouts back, 'You ARE on the other side.'
A highway patrolman pulled alongside a speeding car on the freeway. Glancing at the car, he was astounded to see that the driver behind the wheel was knitting! Realizing that the moron was oblivious to his flashing lights and siren, the trooper cranked down his window, turned on his bullhorn and yelled, 'PULL OVER!'
'NO!' the moron yelled back, 'IT'S A SCARF!'
A moron was playing Trivial Pursuit one night. It was their turn. The moron rolled the dice and landed on Science & Nature. Their question was, 'If you are in a vacuum and someone calls your name, can you hear it?'
The moron thought for a time and then asked, 'Is it on or off?'
A moron visiting a moron friend, who had acquired two new dogs, and asked what their names were.
The second moron responded by saying that one was named Rolex and one was named Timex.
The first moron said, 'Whoever heard of someone naming dogs like that?'
'HELLLOOOOOOO,' answered the second moron. 'They're watch dogs!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Louis L’Amour
A Review
When I was younger, Louis L’Amour was one of my favorite writers. But he dropped off the Top Ten list quite a while ago. I discovered writers like William Goldman, Larry McMurtry, and Stephen King who far surpassed him in style, characterization, and plot. I also read more in my younger days, too. Had more time. I still love a good novel though. A good, compelling novel with cool style and solid characters is better than a movie and I love movies. Anyway, my own writing is struggling at the moment (to say the least) and, after I finished my day-off chores I decided to read something. Anything. But I wanted to read. (I had one more item on my day-off something-fun list. See blog below for that adventure.) I went to a nearby used book store and found myself in the western section. I bought Hanging Woman Creek. I didn’t recall having read it before.
Barnabas “Pronto” Pike is a foot-loose cowboy who likes to get into fistfights for fun. Winter is coming on and Pike doesn’t have a job. He picks up a new partner, Eddie Holt, who is a black cowboy who once worked with Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show. Pike and Holt get jobs working a line cabin on the Bar J cattle ranch’s far perimeter. They get the jobs because no one else will take it because a vicious gang of rustlers has been working that area. Soon they met their closest neighbors, Philo Farley, a homesteader who served in the British Army, and his sister, Ann. All goes well for a while then a full-out range war between cattlemen, homesteaders, and rustlers erupts and finds Pike square in the middle of it.
First, Pike is well drawn as a character and a narrator. Also the places L’Amour talks about and the daily ranching tasks he describes are solid. You know instantly that the author knows what he is talking about. You believe. On the downside, the novel is only 150 pages and should have been much longer. The other characters (there seems to be about a hundred) are quick-drawn shadows and the main villain finally appears at the halfway mark. You also wonder why a couple other villains were even included. And events happen quickly. Too quickly. Didn’t believe the spark between Pike and Ann. L’Amour is one of the best-selling authors of all-time. He has a lean sparse style that reads well. But. I guess if I was recommending L’Amour to a first-time reader I wouldn’t tell them to start with this one. Then again, perhaps, L’Amour hasn’t changed at all. Maybe I have.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The aches and knots in my body had reached the point where I was having trouble sleeping. I decided it was time to schedule a massage appointment. I used to go regularly (about once a month or so). I went to the same massage therapist named Linda. Always felt better afterwords. Then Linda moved away. Went a couple times to her replacement but it wasn't the same. Tried a couple other therapists. One was okay but the other wasn't. At $60 an hour -- okay doesn't cut it. I pretty much stopped going.
The other day I decided it was time to try again. I went to the local Internet pages. Found a place not too far away (10 minutes drive time) that specialized in Tuina Chinese massage. I've always done Swedish (okay, I did deep tissue a couple of times and it nearly killed me.) The spa also advertised a free table shower for the first visit. No idea what that was. Anyway, I called and made an appointment.
I arrived. Spa was clean and neat. Always a good sign. I met Cindy who would be my therapist. (She weighed, I guess, between 90 to 100 pounds. This will be important later.) I went into the room and undressed. Wrapped the towel around me and laid face down as instructed. This was new. In all my Swedish massages, I began face-up. Cindy asked if I had any trouble spots. Shoulders and lower back, I replied. She began. She used her thumbs and palms more than I was used to but the knots began to pop. She also used her forearms. Felt good.
Then it got strange. At least for me. As she began kneading my lower back and hips, she climbed onto the table. Never had a therapist do that before. Then she was straddling me. Okay, now I was getting nervous. She worked on my back and butt for a while then she moved on top of me. I could feel her knees kneading my butt. Then she stood up and worked on my butt and higher with her feet and full body weight. The tension began to melt away. Soon after, she was down and had me roll over. Now, for the first time, I noticed a set of bars stretching across the room, over the table, near the ceiling. She must've been holding onto them as she stood on me. Anyway, she worked on my legs, hips, and chest then finished with a facial massage. I was in the zone. Felt terrific.
Cindy, while looking away, gave me a large towel to wrap myself in. After I did, I followed her to the Jacuzzi table shower room. There I discovered what a table shower was. I laid down face first in a large shower tub. I was rinsed with warm-hot water then lightly scrubbed with Dove soap and rinsed off. Then she turned me turn over. Nothing inappropriate occurred. But this was totally different than any massage I'd ever had before. Whoa. When I left, I felt rejuvenated. Knots and tension was gone. I think I'll be going to see Cindy again. Next month at the earliest. Can't afford $60 an hour plus tip too often.
P.S. -- When I talked to my nephew, Brian, about going to a Chinese massage spa, he made a joke and said, "No happy endings, Uncle Chris." I must be getting older or I stepped off the slang train at some point. I didn't get it. Then I did. Oh, geez. All I wanted was a massage to relieve the tension and knots in my body. I've never used the services of a "hooker" in my life and I don't intend to start now. Note to Bri-guy: my massage had a happy ending but not that happy ending. I'm still pure. Okay, I'm not pure but in that area ... ah, hell, forget this tangent.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Members of the Writers Guild have gone on strike and TV shows are shutting down production. (BTW, I hope the writers get what they're asking for.) In the meantime, TV programmers are going to fill the empty time slots with reality shows, game shows, and news programs. I've decided to create the Stires TV Network and listed below is our prime-time programs:

8PM: I Love Lucy
8:30PM: The Dick Van Dyke Show
9PM: Cheers
9:30PM: Taxi
10PM: The Rockford Files


8PM: Leave It to Beaver
830PM: The Andy Griffith Show
9PM: All in the Family
9:30PM: M*A*S*H
10PM: Magnum P.I.


8PM: Little House on the Prairie
9PM: Grey’s Anatomy
10PM: House M.D.


8PM: The Mary Tyler Moore Show
830PM: Bewitched
9PM: Night Court
9:30PM: Barney Miller
10PM: L.A. Law


8PM: Star Trek: The Next Generation
9PM: The X-Files
10PM: Firefly


8PM: Have Gun, Will Travel
830PM: Gunsmoke
930PM: Alfred Hitchcock Presents
10PM: Law & Order


7PM: 60 Minutes
8PM: The Wonderful World of Disney
9PM: Colombo Movie
(I stayed with network programming that's why Sex & the City, The Sopranos, and Deadwood aren't listed.)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The trouble with political jokes is that they sometimes get elected.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I can't believe my good fortune. I received not one but two emails today informing me that I had won one million dollars pounds sterling in two separate UK lotteries. What are the odds? I have to be the luckiest bozo in the world. Gosh darn, how will I spend my new found wealth? My head is spinning. All I have to do to reply email with the following information:
To file for your claim, please contact our fiduciary agent Mr. Roy Phil (it's Dr. Jones Walker at the other lottery) with the feed Verification/Fund Release Form Below :
1.Full Name:
2.Full Address:
3.Marital Status:
8.Country Of Residence:
9.Telephone Number:
Wow ... now I can put in a real offer for the Golden Gate Bridge to that nice realtor.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

(look closely ... those are soldiers lined up)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Why don't you ever see the headline "Psychic Wins Lottery"?
Why do they call it "lipstick" if you can still move your lips?
Why do doctors call what they do "practice"?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

KISSING ... Better
On MSN, there's an article on how to improve your kissing technique ( Here are their suggestions:
1) Lean to the right (if I'm a liberal can I lean to the left?)
2) Close your eyes (that way you can imagine you're with someone else because that's what your partner is probably doing ... hopefully you have a partner)
3) Get your hands in to the action (depending on where your hands go you'll either get slapped, a restraining order, or lucky {insert here Public Service message about Safe Sex practices})
4) Pause before you pucker (yes, always start your little timer before kissing)
5) Chuck your gum (when I was little I was taught that sharing was polite ... all these contradictions in life are confusing.)
6) No brushstrokes (okay, but how else to you get the food crumbs from dinner off your partner's face except with your tongue?)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

No Comment on my End