by baldilocks

The benefits of quitting smoking are manifold.  I seem to enjoy sunshine and fresh air—such as it is in Los Angeles—more than ever. I wake up and get started earlier and am happy about it—even with our seemingly dismal political future looming.  As soon as the sun is on the horizon, I want the windows up, the blinds open, and the coffee brewing.

Planning was never my strong suit, but I find that it is essential now, with the many things I want to do around my apartment, not to mention the things I need to do.

Order and reordering are now the names of the game. To those ends, and because I lost much of my furniture, I mean to build my own shelving and tables for my living room and kitchen. And, possibly, make my own decorations.

Am I detoxing? Most certainly.  I’d also say that I’m having what we generally call a midlife “crisis.” I guess it could manifest itself in much worse ways.

Not quite this OCD

Another thing: it’s difficult now to stay on Social Media, blogs, etc. because that requires sitting down. All I want to do is get up and get things done, even mundane tasks like cleaning my floors.

I said all of that to point to a free service about which a surprisingly small number of people seem to use: the free digital offerings—ebooks and audiobooks–held by our public libraries.  Yesterday, while putting together the Black and Decker Workmate I requested and received for my birthday a couple of weeks ago, I listened to The Princess Bride, and today, I will continue listening to The Romanovs. I downloaded the latter to my Android so I can listen to in tomorrow while on the way to church. So, tomorrow, I will sit down and listen…for a little while.

How did I do this? Through the Los Angeles Public Library, which uses Overdrive. I would guess that Overdrive is used by countless public libraries across the country and all one needs is a library card.

You do have one of those, don’t you?

So the next time you are clean, mopping, fixing, seeding, weeding, feeding, etc. while you are listening to The Divine Comedy or Raylan, be sure to think of me favorably. Thank you.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>>baldilocks

Ruberry Black Sox
Ruberry in June with man in 1919 White Sox uniform

By John Ruberry

As this decade winds down you can look for many 100th anniversary articles. They’ll be a huge uptick of them next year to mark the centennial of America’s entry into World War I, followed by more on the armistice that concluded “the war to end all wars” in 1918. The execution of the czar and his family, as well as the fall of the Houses of Hohenzollern and Habsburg also occurred that year, events all directly related to World War I.

In 2019 baseball fans will mark 100 years since the Black Sox Scandal, when eight Chicago White Sox players conspired with gamblers to throw, that is, purposely lose the 1919 World Series.

“It never occurred to me that one man could start to play with the faith of fifty million people — with the single-mindedness of a burglar blowing a safe,” F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Nick Carraway remarked about the scandal in The Great Gatsby.

That one man, although given a fictionalized name in Gatbsy, was Arnold Rothstein, the mastermind of the scandal, although one of the few things that historians agree upon is that its genesis came from Charles “Chick” Gandil, the first baseman for the 1919 South Siders.

What does the First World War have to do with Major League Baseball’s most notorious scandal. Plenty. In his book The Betrayal: The 1919 World Series and the Birth of Modern Baseball, Charles Fountain looks back at “the war to end all wars” and goes back much further.

Comiskey statue, US Cellular Field
Comiskey statue, US
Cellular Field

The most famous member of the Black Sox of course was the illiterate–but, as Fountain explains, in no way dumb, left fielder Shoeless Joe Jackson. During the Great War Jackson was one of the baseball players who avoided military service by joining a defense industry factory baseball team where he made perhaps the same, if not more money than he did playing for owner Charles Comiskey’s White Sox. In recreating the setting of early 20th-century baseball, Fountain, a Northeastern University journalism professor, shows that there was plenty of money “out there” for players, as a third circuit, the Federal League, proved in 1914 and 1915 by luring players from the established National and American leagues with more lucrative contracts.

Another way to collect extra cash was to throw games, and Fountain spends an entire chapter on the now largely forgotten Hal Chase, a talented first baseman who was the first homegrown star of the New York Yankees, whom he dubs “the Prince of Fixers.”

There was more gambling cash involved in baseball than ever during World War I, as President Woodrow Wilson’s “work or fight” labor policy inadvertently led to the closing of most horse racing tracks for the duration of the conflict. Money for wagering wasn’t just going to idly sit in gamblers’ wallets until the war ended. While some minor baseball leagues suspended play during the war, the big leagues, despite shortened seasons in 1918 and 1919, were still in business. And so were the gamblers. The war, and Wilson, upset the economic balance of the underworld.

After the Cincinnati Reds won the World Series, or after the South Siders lost it, and despite an investigation by Comiskey that seemed to suggest some White Sox players weren’t playing, as how it was said back then, on-the-square, it would take an unrelated gambling incident for the scandal to break wide open in the final week of the 1920 season, as the White Sox were in a heated pennant race that they would lose to the Cleveland Indians. The fixers almost got away with it. As the eight Black Sox players were exposed, Fountain details the playing out of a longstanding feud between Comiskey and American League president Ban Johnson, one that nearly put the junior circuit out of business with the creation of a new 12-team National League. Of course the two-league majors survived, ruled by a man seemingly removed from the Old Testament, federal Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis.

John "Lee" Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven
John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

As White Sox left the ranks of baseball’s elite in 1920, modern baseball, the post-dead ball era, began. No one knew it at the time, but the Golden Age of Sports, led by the New York Yankees’ Babe Ruth, had also arrived. Comiskey, who died in 1931, never put another contending team on the field, and the White Sox wouldn’t return to the Fall Classic until 1959–and the South Siders wouldn’t win it all until 2005. But the owner nicknamed “the Old Roman” was still able to cash in on the rollicking Roaring Twenties party; Comiskey Park was expanded in 1927, largely because of Ruth’s transformation of baseball.

Comiskey is treated somewhat sympathetically here, as someone who is more frugal than stingy.

Fountain’s effort succeeds not only as a baseball book but as an historical work. Which means you don’t have to be a fan of the national pastime to enjoy it.

John Ruberry, a lifelong White Sox fan, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

by baldilocks

Nairobi, Kenya 2/24/2016 12:00 AM:

This post is mostly a stream of consciousness and mostly an excuse to post a few photos. The bulk of the really good photos will be posted on Saturday, for reasons specified below.

I arrived here on Monday at 8:00 PM, Kenya time, and slept great that night in a queen-sized Hilton Nairobi bed, but jet lag still hit me hard on Tuesday afternoon. My Kenyan parents have extremely comfortable couches.

Nairobi traffic is a vision of Hell. My young nephew-in-law, Samson, got out of the taxi and put his body on the line for the second photo.NairobiTraffic (1) NairobiTraffic (4)

My father lives in Rongai. He is small-statured, slim, and upright in bearing. I’m slightly taller than he is, but that’s probably due to his age. (I’ve noticed that my American parents are shrinking too.)  I’m much taller than my three Kenya sisters because my mother is tall.

JulietteandPhilipOchieng (2)

Father cares for his wife, Miss Jennifer, with the help of my sisters Lucy Adhiambo and Judith Aluoch. (Another Kenyan sister, Janet Akinyi, lives in Texas.) As a result of several diabetic strokes, Miss Jennifer is an invalid. Having taken care of my great-aunt in her last years, I empathize greatly.

Nairobi has an old crumbling feeling. The people, however, are the opposite. Young, hard-working, friendly and incredibly handsome. And I don’t just say that because I look like them. I’m just as grateful for my American heritage as of the African, but because of the former, I missed out on the smooth, blemish-free skin. And it has only been since reaching my 50s that the battle of the zits has been won. Mostly.

As far as I’ve seen, if there are morbidly obese people here, they don’t come out in public. Most everyone seems slim and graceful. I flew in on the Dutch carrier, KLM Airlines, and noticed that middle-aged Dutch people are mostly in good shape, too, not to mention really tall. O-beasts must be an American thing.

Ochieng House (1)
Ochieng House in Rongai

I was introduced to one of my two grand-nephews, Kyle, four months old.

Juliette and Kyle (5)

Tomorrow, I get to meet Nigel, two-years-old and one of the two stars of my Facebook page–the other being my American nephew, Jacob, also two. I guess there are three stars now!

My father and I were interviewed yesterday by a KTN reporter named Wilkester Nyabwa—a lovely young lady–for a human interest piece on our reunification. It will run on Saturday, Friday in the USA. I feel a tad bit like…not an imposter…but unworthy of all the hullaballoo made here in Kenya about my visit. I’ve long known that my father was famous on this continent, but felt removed from it. Not anymore. Fame makes a man think things over, to misquote a recently deceased philosopher.

Oh and my father and I exchanged copies of our books. That was really cool!

Ochieng Books (3)

For the next two days, my family and I will be away from Nairobi and out in our ancestral province. So I will be away from all things Internet, but it will be the opportunity for the best photos! Yes, I’m taking my anti-malarial meds and have my insect repellent handy.

My family members are all sweet, kind and funny. They all speak English, with Kenya having been a British colony, but I don’t yet have an ear for their accents and I did notice that, sometimes, my B-Girl/Valley Girl twang goes by them as well. It’s fun.

Everyone here tells me welcome home. Well, America is my home and always will be. But it’s nice to have two homes…and two wonderful families. Of course, it’s really just one big family.

To be continued on Saturday.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB: Her Kenya Trip Expenses, Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>


By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Every now and then I have to step back from politics, take a break from the insanity, and escape in a good novel. When I find a writer or a novel that’s really, really good, I like spread the word.

As a longtime fan of Michael Henry’s novels, I was thrilled to find his latest, Murder in the Grove, is now available on Amazon in Kindle format (the paperback should be available by the end of this week if you prefer).  Mr. Henry is a sort of local celebrity – he was a prosecutor in nearby Natchitoches parish where he practiced civil and criminal law, twelve of those years as District Attorney. His novels are a cross between John Grisham and Michael Connelly.  If you like either of those two guys, you’ll love Mr. Henry’s books.

Murder in the Grove is a very timely novel; retired prosecutor Willie Mitchell Banks has moved to Oxford, Mississippi where he is content to live quietly, sipping vodka tonics and playing golf at the local course with his weekly group until he is approached about looking into a cold case that involves the murder that occurred during the September 1962 Ole Miss riots when a black military veteran enrolled in Ole Miss.  Federal and state forces were embroiled in violent clashes with southern segregationists and in the end there were two dead and many injured.

It falls to Willie Mitchell to find out what happened to a young man who was killed that night but was not part of the official death toll because his body was not found until several days later and was not found on campus.  Blending actual history and entertaining fiction in this novel, Michael Henry gives us characters that are thoroughly realistic and human, dialogue that is sharp and witty, and a memorable plot that is tightly-woven and filled with surprises.

I’ve read the entire Willie Mitchell series as well as Mr. Henry’s stand-alone book, Finding Ishmael, and think this one may be his best yet. (For years, Three Bad Years was my favorite, but I think that’s changed, now). If you’ve never read his work, this novel can certainly stand alone, but it will leave you with a desire to go back and read all of the others.  The character of Willie Mitchell is beautifully drawn; he and his best friend, the fat banker Jimmy Gray, banter back and forth like only long-time friends can and with such wit and humor that you feel like you know these people.

Mr. Henry’s books present a view of the south that is not stereotypical and does not pit blacks against whites as Hollywood would have you believe is always the case. His plots and his characters are drawn from his real life experience in the south both in and out of the courtroom and are a joy to read. I can’t fathom why he isn’t selling more books than Grisham or Connelly but I think it’s probably just that he’s our best kept secret. Once he is “discovered” he will quickly join the ranks of acclaimed southern writers.

Check it out:  Murder in the Grove. Let me know what you think.


Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

I speak to Author Carolyn Astfalk at the Catholic Marketing Trade Show

Her facebook page is here, her twitter account is here. Her web page is here.

I speak to Author Erin McCole Cupp at the Catholic Marketing Trade Show

Her web page is here, her twitter account is here. Her facebook page is here.

I speak to Author Declan Finn at the Catholic Marketing Trade Show

his web page is here, his twitter account is here.

I speak to Author Michelle Buckman at the Catholic Marketing Trade Show

her web page is here, her twitter account is here. Her facebook page is here.

I speak to Matthew Bowman of the Catholic Geeks at the Catholic Marketing Trade Show

The Catholic Geeks web site is here, their facebook page is here, their twitter page is here.

I speak to Author Zip Rzeppa at the Catholic Marketing Trade Show

His twitter page is here Matter media’s web page is here. His facebook page is here.

I speak to author Mary Claire Kendal at the Catholic Marketing Trade Show

Her twitter page is here, Her web page is here

I speak to author of Holy Fool Holy Father, Fr. Nicholas Marziani at the Catholic Marketing Trade Show

I speak to author Stephanie Landsem at the Catholic Marketing Trade Show

Her web site is here. Her facebook page is here, her twitter page is here

Oh and I read The Well,  it’s really good.

I speak to author Deanna Klingel at the Catholic Marketing Trade Show

Her web site is here. Her facebook page is here, her twitter page is here

I speak to author Ellen Tomaszewski at the Catholic Marketing Trade Show

Her facebook page is here, her twitter page is here

I speak to author Ann Margaret Lewis at the Catholic Marketing Trade Show

Her website is here Her twitter page is here

I speak to author John Desjarlais at the Catholic Marketing Trade Show

His website is here His facebook page is here, his twitter page is here

I speak to author Dennis McGeehan at the Catholic Marketing Trade Show

His facebook page is here, his twitter page is here

I talk to Dr. Paul Thigpen the Keynote Speaker at the Catholic Marketing Trade Show:

His web site is here. His facebook page is here

I talk to Authors Gloria Brady Hoffner & Helen Hoffner at the Catholic Marketing Trade Show

You can buy their Book the Rosary Collector’s Guide here

I speak to Author Roger Leblanc at the Catholic Marketing Trade show

Some details about the Holy Mass Crucifix Apostolate are here and here His books are here or you can buy them below.

I spoke to Catholic Science Fiction Author Karina Fabian at the Catholic Marketing Trade show Half and Half

I say half and half because it was a tough interview because the system crashed and burned before it could start, when I finally got the system up and began the interview the camera died half way into the interview but I just continued on with the audio which ran an additional 3 minutes

The full audio interview runs 6:14. It’s here

Her web site is here you can find her on facebook here and twitter here

The Catholic Geeks website is here and heir facebook is here

I speak to Chuck Healey of Liguori Publications at the Catholic Marketing Trade show

Because I was at the trade show with WQPH I often had people to help film so I’m in a lot of these videos which is quite a change for me..

The icon of our mother of perpetual help that he’s talking about is here.wqph banner You can find Liguori publicans here their facebook is here and their twitter is here.

I spoke to the authors of the children’s book Pat the Gnat at the Catholic Marketing trade Show

There is about 30 seconds of post interview video. Due to the overwhelming quantity of interviews I just haven’t had time to double check & edit the all the video down and get everything up in a timely fashion

The Pat the Gnat site is here

I spoke to Author & blogger Lisa Mladinich at the Catholic Marketing trade Show

Fyi the audio is from the camera NOT the mic which I recorded for WQPH 89.3 FM at the same time (which is why I was there)if you want just the audio it’s here

You can check out her Pathos site Water into Wine here her facebook here her twitter here and Amazing Catechists here

I spoke to Author Ellen Gable head of the Catholic Media Guild at the Catholic Marketing Trade Show

Her website is here, the Catholic writers guild is here.

You can buy her books below.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – On the eve of the publication of Harper Lee’s novel, Go Set a Watchman, we get a new plot turn:  there may be a third novel.

It is with mixed emotions that I sit here, awaiting my Amazon Prime shipment of Watchman.  It will be impossible for readers of this new Lee novel to avoid comparisons to the iconic To Kill a Mockingbird.  As an English teacher, I have taught To Kill a Mockingbird for years.  I’ll always have one or two students who grumble:  “I’ve read that book already; we had to read it last year.”  I always tell those students that I have read it multiple times, and each time I read it, I discover something new, which is true.  And without fail, those students also discover something new: some symbolic reference they missed before, some lovely, poetic turn of phrase, some witty dialogue that now makes sense.

There is a reason why To Kill a Mockingbird has endured all these years. It is a beautiful novel that epitomizes all that is good and bad about the South.

Watchman will not be that book.

Go Set a Watchman may turn out to be a very good book, great, even, but it will never be To Kill a Mockingbird.

And look:  the book isn’t even out yet and the comparisons are everywhere.  People have already made up their minds about it.  I know people that are refusing to even read the book because they either don’t want their established reverence for Atticus marred, or because they fully believe that the vultures are exploiting Harper Lee now that her protective sister Alice is no longer alive.

I’m going to read it, and if there is a third novel as Tonja Carter suggests, I’m going to read that, too.  Even before this second novel was “discovered,” I was in the camp of those who always believed that there was a second novel. Harper Lee hated the media attention; she likely resented the insinuations that her friend Truman Capote may have actually written Mockingbird, or helped her at least, and she was perfectly content to live a reclusive lifestyle, resting on her laurels from her novel.

But you don’t write a novel that beautiful, that well-crafted, and then never write another thing.  Writers write.  I always believed she had another novel or stacks of stories stashed away in a closet somewhere that would come to light after her death.

Is it possible that her handlers are taking advantage of her now?  Of course it’s possible, and shame on them if that’s the case.

But, I can’t wait to get my hands on that book!

It’s summertime reading-list season. National Review has its annual list out, and so do many others.

The New York Times, as always, continues to list its NYT Bestsellers, a very influential list for public library and bookstore buyers, not just for private book groups and the general public. There’s one book missing:

The New York Times informed HarperCollins this week that it will not include Ted Cruz’s new biography on its forthcoming bestsellers list, despite the fact that the book has sold more copies in its first week than all but two of the Times’ bestselling titles, the On Media blog has learned.Cruz’s “A Time For Truth,” published on June 30, sold 11,854 copies in its first week, according to Nielsen Bookscan’s hardcover sale numbers. That’s more than 18 of the 20 titles that will appear on the bestseller list for the week ending July 4. Aziz Ansari’s “Modern Romance,” which is #2 on the list, sold fewer than 10,000 copies. Ann Coulter’s “Adios America,” at #11, sold just over half as many copies.

. . .

It is currently #4 on the Wall Street Journal hardcover list, #4 on the Publisher’s Weekly hardcover list, #4 on the Bookscan hardcover list, and #1 on the Conservative Book Club list.

Dana at Patterico points out the Amazon rankings,

#1 in Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Leaders & Notable People > Political
#3 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Ideologies & Doctrines
#4 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Specific Topics

Dana looked into the convoluted criteria for the NYT bestseller list, so it may not be a case of “photo erasing,” as opposed to byzantine accounting.

However, the NYT Book Review did assiduously ignore Carlos Eire’s brilliant, moving memoir, Waiting for Snow in Havana even after it won the National Book Award. The paper published an interview on the book, but the Book Review skipped it. In his incandescent book, Eire is devastatingly honest about the catastrophic effects the Communist revolution had (and still has) on his entire family, something the NYT Book Review may not have wanted to dwell on.

Ted Cruz’s A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America is available in Kindle, hardcover and Audible formats at Amazon, and as of the writing of this post is ranked #1 Best Seller in Political Conservatism & Liberalism. Carlos Eire’s Waiting for Snow in Havana is available in Kindle, hardcover, paperback and Audible formats. I haven’t read A Time for Truth yet, but I highly recommend Waiting for Snow.


Ed Driscoll recalls why Roger Kimball stopped sending review copies of Encounter Books to the NYTBR.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news and culture at Fausta’s Blog

If you’ve heard of Moira Noonan author of Spiritual Deceptions and Ransomed from Darkness and want to see her in person there are two chances coming up.

One begins tomorrow in Medway Massachusetts

Moira Noonan retreat

And another is coming on May 30th in Toronto

Moira Noonan marian

Of course if you’re not free this weekend or the 30th or simply don’t want to wait get a taste of things with the first part of my seven part interview with Moira right now

I’m known as the master of the 3 minute interview but this interview with Moira & Fr. Romain Rurangirwa (who joins us in part 3) ran nearly 2 hours. So I’ll be blogging it a bit at a time, but if you can’t wait I’ll try to get all of the parts (plus a small solo interview with Fr. Rurangirwa) up to youtube by the end of the day.


If you approve of Journalism that will cover the Christianity in General & the Catholic Church in particular without the hostile assumptions of the mainstream media I would ask you to hit DaTipJar and help me pay for it.

My goal for 2015 is Twenty Two grand

Olimometer 2.52

That gets all the bills paid. (including my writers like Fausta)  If I can get to Forty Thousand I can afford to travel outside of New England and/or hire me a blogger to help me get it done.

Consider Subscribing 100 Subscribers at $20 a month will get the job done.


Our May Premium for a tip jar hitters of $50 or more is Tim Imholt’s book: The Forest of Assassins

If you are interested in Moira’s books I’d be happy to offer a substitute preimum a copy of Ransomed From Darkness: The New Age, Christian Faith and the Battle for Souls with a $50 tip jar hit. Please specify that this is the book you want in the comments section of DaTipJar

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All Tip Jar hits in May of $10 or more will get a copy of Jeff Trapani’s excellent E-Book Victor the Monster Frankenstein.

I greatly enjoyed Carly Fiorina’s new book, Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey, which was launched to coincide with her announcement to run for President.

The book’s bio states,

CARLY FIORINA is the chairman of two major charitable organizations, Opportunity International and Good360. She is also the chairman of the American Conservative Union Federation and of the Unlocking Potential Project. From 1999 to 2005 she was the chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, becoming the first woman CEO of a Fortune 20 company, and before that she spent nearly twenty years as a telecommunications executive.

An astoundingly exceptional woman, Fiorina started as a secretary. The key to her character is her resilience and spirit (I consider resilience and spirit entwined as one trait).

Clearly a woman of talent and intelligence, she repeatedly confronts adversity head-on. She does not conceal the fact that she was ousted from Hewlett-Packard, she describes facing cancer and her daughter’s death while running for U.S. Senate, and she now enters a political race unlike any other.

You can’t help but compare that with the other party’s candidate, who, for instance, can not even name a single tangible during her tenure as Secretary of State. (By the way, Hillary Clinton’s 2014 book was titled Hard Choices; Fiorina’s 2007 book was titled Tough Choices.) However, what distinguishes Fiorina from Clinton is her steadfast belief that,

“We are losing the sense that each of us has the right and the capacity to live life fully and on our own terms. And with that hope, the belief that the American Dream is being lost: that it doesn’t matter what you look like or what your last name is. It is your gifts, your grit, and your potential that defines your future.” [page 12, emphasis added]

This uplifting campaign book engages you emotionally, it’s the perfect length (190 pages), outlines Fiorina’s position on the issues clearly, and is a must-read for anyone interested in the 2016 election.

Disclosure: Fiorina’s publisher asked if I was interested in reading it, and sent me a free copy.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s blog.

Update: (DTG) I haven’t seen Ms. Fiorina’s book like Fausta but she did consent to an on camera interview a couple of weeks ago before she anounced.

Can you picture Hillary allowing a blogger to come up and do an unrehearsed on Camera interview?

Instalanche thanks again Glenn


Pete’s appeal:

If you want journalism owned by you instead of the left elites I would ask you to hit DaTipJar and help me pay for it.

My goal is Twenty grand a year

Olimometer 2.52

That gets all the bills paid. (including my writers like Fausta)  If I can get to Forty Thousand I can afford to travel outside of New England and/or hire me a blogger to help me get it done.

Consider Subscribing 100 Subscribers at $20 a month will get the job done.


Our May Premium for a tip jar hitters of $50 or more is Tim Imholt’s book: The Forest of Assassins

Subscribe at $50 or more in and receive each monthly premium shipped the date of your payment.

All Tip Jar hits in May of $10 or more will get a copy of Jeff Trapani’s excellent E-Book Victor the Monster Frankenstein.

By the standards of Journalism the writing of , blowback to, and retraction and re-writing of Entertainment Weekly’s piece on the hugo awards was rather quick, and a victory to truth vs narrative in journalism.

However the internet being what it is unfortunately this story is proving the old saying that a lie gets around the world before the truth gets a chance to get on its pants:

London telegraph

The Hugo Awards have been at the centre of a furore after two campaigns successfully prevented female authors and authors of colour from being proportionally nominated. Some people are comparing the controversy to GamerGate, which in 2014 saw coordinated misogynist attacks aimed at people who spoke out about sexism in the gaming industry.

In 2014 the Hugo Awards celebrated the increasing diversity of sci-fi and fantasy writers, with younger writers, women and people of colour all picking up awards. At the time, pop culture website io9 commented that the awards heralded “a sea change”.

The nominations for this year’s awards were announced on Saturday and showed that two campaign groups, the Gamergate-affiliated Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies, have succeeded in getting a list of predominately male, white writers nominated.


Last year, the Hugo Awards went to mostly minorities and women. In response, a fan group decided to fight back against what they saw as a liberal attack on their medium. It appears that they have succeeded, as the 2015 nominees are predominantly chosen by a group called “Sad Puppies. Now a counter-counter group is trying to ensure that no one wins any Hugo awards in any category except Best Novel. New Zealand:

Sci-fi Hugo Awards hijacked by anti-diversity campaign

The Guardian:

By putting forward a slate of predominantly American nominees, the campaign organisers have been able to lever the votes of a minority of non-attending members to “hack” the voting process and dominate the award nominations. Remarkably, this is all within the rules of the Hugos, and the moral defence put forward by campaign organisers for what many people would consider cheating is their belief that block voting is common in the award-giving process.

The Hugos and Worldcon have always been – much like the baseball World Series – a world event in name only. Hugo winners have been overwhelmingly from the US, with almost no non-anglophone works even considered for the awards. But over the past decade or so, the Hugos and Worldcon have become much more diverse and interesting, with many more women, writers of colour and international voices among nominees and winners. It’s that diversity which has been lost in this orchestrated backlash.


IO 9:

The new slate of Hugo Awards nominees were just announced, and you can read the list at the link. Suffice to say, the nominees in pretty much every category (other than Best Novel) come pretty much exclusively from a fan campaign called Sad Puppies, organized by Brad R. Torgersen and Larry Correia. Last year, Correia organized a campaign which successfully placed one item in each category on the Hugo slate — so this year, they decided to go further. As John Scalzi has pointed out, this was not against the spirit or the letter of the Hugo Awards rules.

The Hugo Awards are voted on by fans, and anyone who purchases a supporting membership at Worldcon can nominate two years in a row. (And typically, it doesn’t take that many votes to nominate something successfully.) To Torgersen and Correia, this meant that a “rarefied, insular” group of writers were promoting their agenda by nominating works by women and people of color. To the rest of us, it looked as though science fiction and fantasy were finally catching up to reality — the best stories aren’t only the ones told by straight white men.

 The Outhousers:

A conservative ballot stuffing campaign probably destroyed the credibility of the awards.



Never doubt that a small group of deranged trolls can ruin anything (even the Hugo Awards)



Av Club:

The 2015 Hugo Award nominees have been announced, and there are some strong titles in contention for Best Novel, including books by Ann Leckie, Marko Kloos, and Jim Butcher. However, that doesn’t seem to be what people are talking about, which is probably causing some consternation in the Kloos household, where conversation is usually relegated to arguing over the best pronunciation of their last name. No, this year’s crop of nominees is notable for being overwhelmingly dominated by a group of white guys who formed an organized backlash to the growing inclusion of women and people of color in last year’s awards.

Comics Alliance:

It seems eternally worth stating, as there’s no end of people who don’t seem to understand this, that welcoming women, people of color, and LGBTQ people into an industry does not mean there’s some sort of secret conspiracy against conservative straight white dudes. It means people value a progression towards allowing more voices in a conversation. In trying to combat an imagined liberal conspiracy that puts politics ahead of good work, the Sad Puppies have achieved an actual conspiracy that does exactly this. Good job.

I submit that most of the people who wrote the articles above will not update theirs with Entertainment Weekly retraction.  They will never note Brad Torgersen or his letter:

Firstly, the SAD PUPPIES slate cited in the article, included both women and non-caucasians.

Rajnar Vajra
Larry Correia
Annie Bellet
Kary English
Toni Weisskopf
Ann Sowards
Megan Gray
Sheila Gilbert
Jennifer Brozek
Cedar Sanderson
Amanda Green

Or Glenn Reynolds:

SO ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY PUBLISHES A NASTY HIT JOBLarry Correia Fisks it here — and without contacting any of the people it attacks, and then after publication, the author, Isabella Biedenharn, invites Larry to give the other side.After publication. What, did she come to Entertainment Weekly from Rolling Stone or something?

And they certainly won’t ever cite Larry Correia’s Epic fisking of EW here

Here is an interesting one for you moderates, SMOFs, and fence sitters to ponder on. Why is it that our own words and actions aren’t to be believed, but anything the other side says about us, no matter how outlandish, is to be accepted?

Over the years I’ve done Sad Puppies, do you know how many fannish blogs, fanzines, and podcasts interviewed me, the guy who started the campaign, about the goals of Sad Puppies?


I can’t think of single one. You’d think with the most controversial thing to happen to the Hugos in forever, somebody would actually want to sit down and interview us and get our side of the story, but nada, zip. Sure, lots of people wrote about it, but it was pretty obvious these fannish journalists didn’t read what I actually wrote, and instead they critiqued Straw Larry, or they quoted other bloggers quoting Straw Larry.

Nope for the readers of those sites the libelous claims from Entertainment Weekly that those pieces were based on will be forever true, the retraction never noted and the “facts” forever established in their minds.

That’s considered a feature BTW not a bug.

Closing thought let me point out to Larry & Brad that if you think you’ve already got a winner in a libel suit in the US, any moves against sites in UK and other such countries with much lower standards for libel, should be a cakewalk.

Update: Larry notices the spread:

Most of them said our slate was exclusively white, straight, and male (not true)
Most of them said that last year was a big win for diversity (I believe last years winners were all white and one Asian).
Most of them said our slate was exclusively right wing (not true, in fact the majority skew left, we have socialists, liberals, moderates, libertarians, conservatives, and question marks. To the best of my knowledge, I believe that last year’s “diverse” winners all espoused the same social justice politics).
But there is no bias in this perfectly functioning system. My side said that political narrative trumped reality in this business. Believe me yet?


Primary Season is coming and with a 1/4 of the year gone were less that 5% toward our annual goal.

If 1000 of our readers kicked in $20 we’d be all set for a full year and I could retire DaTipJar till January of 2016.

Of course if one person wants to kick in that $20K we’ll take that too.  Help me make the good fight every single day.

We’re extending our March premium to April for tip jar hitters of $50 or more is Stacy McCain’s book:  Sex Trouble: Essays on Radical Feminism and the War Against Human Nature

Subscribe at $50 or more in April and receive each monthly premium shipped the date of your payment.


All Tip Jar hits in April of $10 or more will get a copy of Jeff Trapani’s excellent E-Book Victor the Monster Frankenstein.

Cottontail, mother of twenty-one little boy and girl bunnies, holds life-long dreams of becoming an Easter Bunny.

Why, you may ask, a children’s book written in 1939 by a proper Charlestonian named DuBose Hayward, matter to us, jaded denizens of the 21st Century?

Because it is a powerful book.

DuBose Heyward (1885-1940) wrote several books, including the acclaimed novel Porgy,

the first major southern novel to portray blacks without condescension. Just a decade later George Gershwin had transformed Heyward’s book into an opera that would become one of the most enduring masterworks of American music.

Undoubtedly, Porgy and Bess is powerful art, but what makes The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes powerful is the strength of its main character: A good mother who stays true to her core values of becoming “wise, kind, and brave!”, for all five Easter Bunnies (did you know there are five?)

must be the five kindest, and swiftest, and wisest bunnies in the whole world.

Little Mother Cottontail works hard and does her best as she takes pride in her work. No false self-esteem here, since she believes in results and achievement. She believes in herself and keeps a positive attitude. She focuses on keeping up with her everyday work (much like her creator, who kept his day job); Duty is foremost for her:

Cottontail stopped thinking about hopping over the world with lovely eggs for little boys and girls, and she took care of her babies.

She values the love of her family. She ignores the jackrabbits, the snobs and the naysayers.

And she rises to the challenge.

Some view it as a feminist fable, but it’s more than that. It’s a book about values.

I only read The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes recently, after a friend recommended it. It’s funny, the prose is perfect, and you will cry, and laugh. The illustrations by Marjory Flack are beautiful, charming, memorable and funny. It also comes with a bookplate, “For someone wise, and kind, and brave,” perfect for giving as a gift.

Good literature is when it goes beyond the printed word to exalt the better parts of our human souls. The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes is great literature.

Order yours now so you’ll have it by Easter.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog. She bought the 70th anniversary edition with the shoe charm.

Today at DaTechGuyBlog we announce the first of our monthly Premiums for Tip Jar hitters courtesy of the Pen of Robert Stacy McCain.

Yesterday I got my two copies of Stacy McCain’s New book Sex Trouble: Essays on Radical Feminism and the War Against Human Nature.

Sex Trouble

I’ve finished about 2/3 of it and it’s not only an incredible read but it’s a glove to the face of feminism daring it acknowledge the works, words and beliefs they teach in Women’s Studies courses all over the nation.

As Stacy himself puts it “There is nothing more dangerous to feminists than quoting them accurately.”

It’s a great choice for our initial DaTechGuy Premium promotion:

Hit DaTipJar in March for $50 or more and you’ll receive a copy of Sex Trouble: Essays on Radical Feminism and the War Against Human Nature sent to the address of your choosing.

Subscribe at $50 or more in March and receive each monthly premium shipped the date of your payment.


All Tip Jar hits in March of $10 or more will get a copy of Jeff Trapani’s excellent E-Book Victor the Monster Frankenstein. (make sure you include the desired email address to send it to)

It’s a great way not only to support Stacy’s latest book but to help support our ability to keep bringing in excellent bloggers to inform and entertain you all year round.

Olimometer 2.52

P.S. And yes that picture in the upper right is me 27 years ago with a full head of hair. The young lady in that photo has aged considerably better than I have.

It’s Christmas eve, you hate, hate, going to the mall, and you have readers on your list who don’t like fiction. I strongly recommend you buy them The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels on Kindle edition, which they can also read on line and in their tablets and cell phone apps.

Epstein created the Center for Industrial Progress (emphasis added),

Center for Industrial Progress (CIP) is a for-profit think-tank seeking to bring about a new industrial revolution. We believe that human beings have the untapped potential to radically improve our lives by using technology to improve the planet across a multitude of industries: mining, manufacturing, agriculture, chemistry, and energy. Every individual has the potential for a longer, happier, healthier, safer, more comfortable, more meaningful, more opportunity-filled life.

The keys to a new industrial revolution are a new industrial philosophy, a new industrial policy, and a new approach to communication.

The emphasis on using technology for an anti-pollution but pro-development approach to improve our lives is key to The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.

Epstein convincingly makes the case that “fossil fuel power [is] cheap, plentiful, reliable, scaleable – indispensable.” He discusses the greenhouse effect and the fertilizer effect (and global greening), the energy effect, and climate mastery.

Climate mastery, you ask? Yes,

There are two elements to mastering climate. One is control over the climate you’re in. Two is the ability to make the most of the climate you’re in. [page 122]

Epstein goes on to discuss how fossil fuel energy contributes to climate livability and climate justice.

This is only one example of the topics he discusses throughout the book. He makes a convincing case that fossil fuels are the only way to develop cheap, reliable, plentiful energy for seven billion people, and that it’s immoral to deny it to the developing world.

When I was asked if I would review the book I said yes but clarified that I could not promise you favorable review. Now that I read it, I highly recommend it.

And you’re on time for Christmas!

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

Not only different from everyday topics, but different because the book does not deal with the horrific Communist Revolution.

The book, La Belle Créole: The Cuban Countess Who Captivated Havana, Madrid, and Paris, is about the life of a Cuban lady of aristocratic background who was a contemporary of George Washington, Napoleon Bonaparte, and many illustrious writers who in turn wrote about her.

Her name was Mercedes Santa Cruz y Montalvo. Mercedes was raised by her grandmother in Cuba, moved to Spain where her parents were involved with the royal court, married a general almost twenty years her senior, and then things got interesting, in the form of the Napoleonic wars.

The beautiful child whose school education was mostly ignored grew up to be a most resourceful woman who became a writer and hosted some of the brightest authors of her time. One of them, Alexandre Dumas, had Mercedes herself appear as a character in his novel Pauline. Aristocrat, wife, mother, hostess, opera singer, writer, and traveler, she was also one of the celebrities of her time.

Note that the term Créole of the title refers to a person who was born outside of the country holding a kingdom, and is not a racial term; Mercedes was born in Cuba, which belonged to Spain, hence she was a Créole. As her fame increased, she was nicknamed the Beautiful Créole (La Belle Créole).

Author Alina García-Lapuerta brings to life an extraordinary woman. García-Lapuerta’s skills as researcher and writer shine in a book that illuminates a period of history most of us never hear anything about. Silvio Canto and I had the pleasure of talking to her about this most interesting character, whose life reads like a novel. You can listen to the podcast here.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin America politics, news and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

My apologies that I’m a tad lat to this but I can’t let July end without reminding everyone that Stacy McCain’s loyal morning fellow Kevin “Wombat” Trainor has entered the realm of authors with The Last Falangist:  Essays on Culture and Politics in America

Smithy has done a review and his piece on parenthood and Divorce is worth reprinting here 

The whole point of having a mother and a father working together is so that you have backup when one of you drops the ball; the other one is there to quickly scoop up the errant pigskin or maybe make the catch and run it in. Unfortunately, divorce screws up that neat metaphor, because all of a sudden Mom and Dad aren’t really on the same team any more. . . .
When you and the Mrs. are constantly fighting over every little thing, when a lot of her energy is going toward building up the new boyfriend and tearing you down for not being a passive, enabling doormat, it becomes damn near impossible. Because the kids know what’s going on. They may not understand it, but they know.

That’s excellent cultural commentary and being a divorced man to some extent self accuracy but the real gem of this book is to see how the internet once was as with this tidbit.

How far back does The Last Falangist go, you ask? On Page 59, we find an entry from January 2005 that begins thus:

“I’ve been thinking about the long comment Allahpundit left on Michele’s old blog . . .”

Yes: In 2005, there was no and Allahpundit was just another dude hanging out in the blogosphere.

Yup if I had started my blog just 3 years earlier….

Anyway you can pick up his book here.  I suggest you do so.