“I’ll take ‘Unlikely Movie Titles’ for $100, Alex”

I was doing some shopping on Amazon.com the other night.  To my utter astonishment, one of my search terms returned not only goods for sale, but also a short movie titled “Kung Fu Wizard of Jesus vs. Undead Robot Nazi Werewolves“.  A screen capture illustrating it looks like this: What’s more, it’s billed as a comedy!  I haven’t watched it, because my belief in Christ is an obstacle to making him an irreligious figure of fun.  Nevertheless, the title brings in so many tropes and story elements that it boggles the mind.  There’s even another film in the series titled

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The trials and tribulations of an indie author – review edition

I’ll be very grateful if those of you who’ve bought and read my latest novel, “A River of Horns”, fourth in the Ames Archives, my Western series, would please leave a fair and honest review on its page at Amazon.com. I fear that launching it shortly before Christmas as I did, many people bought it, but didn’t read it immediately;  and now, having done so, they’re not putting up reviews.  Despite selling reasonably well, it has only 14 reviews at the time of writing (all of them very positive, but simply not enough of them). Reviews are critical to independent authors

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There’s something fishy going on here

I had no idea that the United States was the largest producer of farmed Caspian-Sea-origin beluga caviar in the world!  The New York Post reports: Caviar prices are plummeting — but if you want the best price, you might want to find a dealer. . . . Even if you don’t have a special connection, caviar is becoming more accessible than ever. Wholesale prices in the US have plunged more than 50 percent since 2012, from $850,000 per ton to $350,000 per ton last year, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. At the same time, US caviar consumption is

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Stocking stuffers from friends

Several friends have published new books in recent weeks.  Here they are, in no particular order. First, J. L. Curtis (more widely known as blogger Old NFO, among other things) has published the fifth and last volume about his protagonist, John Cronin, in the “Grey Man” series.  (It was originally planned as a trilogy, until he got carried away!)  This one’s titled “The Grey Man – Twilight“. The blurb reads: Never count an old man out, even when he’s hanging up his hat! Deputy Sheriff John Cronin is looking forward to a quiet retirement, working on the ranch, and handing it off

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Wolves, cattle, wilderness and control

I’m reminded, yet again, that in so many cases, government edicts or actions don’t necessarily have anything to do with the problem they claim to address.  Instead, they’re an attempt to impose greater control over part or all of the populace, so that bureaucrats and special interest groups can force their will upon them.  Gun control?  It’s about control, not guns.  Obamacare?  It’s about centralized control of health care and those who need it, not about medicine as such.  Draconian traffic rules and regulations?  It’s all too often about “revenue generation by cop”, rather than road safety. The latest example

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“A River of Horns” is published!

My latest Western novel, “A River of Horns“, fourth in the Ames Archives series, has been published in e-book format.  A print edition will follow soon The blurb reads: Walt Ames and his Texas partner, Tyler Reese, know that the U.S. Army is bound and determined to push the Comanche and Kiowa tribes onto the reservation for good. Once the Texas Panhandle is pacified, millions of acres of land will become available. They aim to be among the first to set up a ranch there – but that’ll take money… a whole lot of money. How do you raise money

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Saturday Snippet: more hazards on the trail

Following my recent heart attack, I’ve found my writing activities severely disrupted.  Part of it is the sheer amount of time I have to spend on cardiac rehabilitation classes, seeing doctors, and other related activities.  However, much of it is due to medication issues.  I’ve been put on one of the most recent anticoagulant/blood-thinner medications, which is doubtless very effective at what it does, but also plain whups my butt!  It leaves me breathless, dizzy (particularly when I stand up too quickly), and exhausted if I try to work too hard.  (That may be intentional, for all I know, to stop cantankerous

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Meal delivery services: all hat and no cattle?

In Texas, an expression I’ve often heard is that someone is “all hat and no cattle”.  It means that someone is full of grandiloquent talk, but lacks the accomplishments or assets to lend substance to their words. I’ve long felt that services such as Grubhub, Doordash and their ilk are pretty much “all hat and no cattle” in business terms.  They don’t add even one cent of value to the goods they deliver.  Their entire business model is based on providing convenience for a price, but that’s an entirely dispensable benefit.  If I’m short of cash, there’s nothing stopping me cooking

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America’s food chain: interesting – and vulnerable?

The University of Illinois has just produced the first high-resolution map of the food supply chain in the United States.  It’s eye-opening in many ways.  Fast Company reports: Our map is a comprehensive snapshot of all food flows between counties in the U.S.—grains, fruits and vegetables, animal feed, and processed food items. . . . This map shows how food flows … in the U.S. What does this map reveal? 1. WHERE YOUR FOOD COMES FROM Now, residents in each county can see how they are connected to all other counties in the country via food transfers. Overall, there are 9.5

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Fraud and counterfeiting in medical supplies

I’ve been looking into emergency medical products to control bleeding, following my recent spell in hospital and subsequent developments.  I’ve been very fortunate to have Kelly Grayson as a friend.  He’s not only a very experienced paramedic, he’s won national awards in that field, and is about as knowledgeable as you can get as to what works and what doesn’t.  He’s pointed me in the direction of what I need (tourniquets, larger hemostatic wound dressings, etc.), and I’m in the process of buying it now. What’s astonished me is the amount of fraud and counterfeiting going on in that field.  There are certain types of

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