Monday, December 26, 2011

So, that was Christmas.

And we're back .... though probably not for long.

As you probably well know, there is more than enough stuff to do during the holidays. So much stuff that it's rather hard to believe that we actually get anything done. The phrase "I need a vacation from my vacation" is something we can all relate to, at least once in our lives.

In my case, I have no idea how my next few days shall go.  So, the blog may suffer some touch and go moments.  I had wanted to do a blog index. Something where someone could sit down, open the blog (in a permalink in the right side column) and see everything from 2011.

However, can you imagine how much work that is?  We're talking about nearly 200 posts from this year alone.

How can that be, you ask?

I'm so glad you asked.

You remember back in the middle of the year, just after Lent and Easter week? I was doing two blogs a day, three days a week, and a music blog on Thursdays, and a week in review every Friday.  That's over eighty blogs right there ... I say about 80 because 1) I can't remember how long I did it for, 2) nor can I remember how many days I may have missed one.

And, for the record, the Lent, and the Easter posting was about 31 blogs right there. And, never again!

I suspect that, by the second week in January, we'll be on track again.

Here's hoping.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Celtic Christmas, a music blog with Lindsey Stirling

Tis the week before Christmas, and all through the house, we're going to close up the blog early -- can't you hear the mouse?

However, before I abandon everyone to their last minute Christmas shopping -- and you forgot aunt Shelly, didn't you? -- a little bit of Christmas music is in order.

Last week, we had Silent Night, by Lindsey Stirling.  This week, we're going a little bit more Irish.  If you haven't figured it out from Maureen McGrail, and Sean Ryan, and Scott Murphy as characters in my novel, I'm a little bit Irish. About 50% if you want to bicker.

So, it should come as no surprise that today's "God rest ye merry Gentlemen" is going to be a little Irish....

With Lindsey Stirling.



And, the Carol of the Bells



And Happy Hanukkah to all, and to all a good night.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Catholic review. The war on Christmas, Kim Jong-il, Sherlock Holmes, and the WBC

I've had an interesting little month. Because I have a new job....

On Examiner.com, I'm now their Catholic columnist.

Yes, I write on self defense and on Catholicism. I'm a strange, strange man.

However, it shouldn't be too much of a surprise. After all, many of my articles on this blog acted as articles for the Examiner column.

In fact, my first column was one of my first articles from this past Lent.  Catholic cannibals: Explaining the eucharist. Yes, Catholics are cannibals. Live with it. :)

If you are a long term reader, you might remember that I was allowed an interview with Murder in the Vatican author Ann Margaret Lewis.  It is now a four part article on Examiner.com -- mainly because Examiner doesn't like long columns. In fact, you can start the Interview right here.  Parts twothree and four are attached.  As is my Review of Murder in the Vatican.

There was also an Interview with "Infinite Space Infinite God II" editor Karina Fabian.  That was only a II part article.  The Review of "Infinite Space Infinite God II," one part only

And there were a few other articles that readers of this blog might know.
Mr. Phelps, David Koresh called, he wants to chat;... 
Fred Phelps, you are disavowed. 
“You're going to Hell.... Not.” I'm Catholic, not Dante 
Japan, and the Christian vlogger - 2011 Catholic... 


Then there was some new material. I wanted to explain December 8th, feast of the immaculate conception, to "normal" people.  Also, I wanted to explain why they were Rewriting the Catholic mass -- yes, they are, and they did.

Last week, there was an odd thing of North Korea versus Christmas. -- and then Kim Jong-il died. Huh.

And then, The war on Christmas came to New Jersey. I can't make this stuff up

Fulton Sheen, New York saint? Yes, New York might have a saint buried in the city limits. Who knew?

I'll see you all again tomorrow. We're not done yet

Monday, December 12, 2011

Music blog: Silent night, by Lindsey Stirling.

I do not do sweet and touching.

But for this, I'll make an exception.  Silent night, done by last week's Lindsey Stirling.




And, just so you don't feel jipped, have another ... not Christmas music, but it'll do, I think.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Extremists, Atheists, and Jesus Freaks.

In previous articles having to do with politics, I have described myself as apathetic, or left or right depending on where the jury is from. I hate all politics, so I could be summed up as fair and mentally unbalanced.

What about religion? The same rules apply.

If anyone is familiar with the George Carlin routine [link rated R for language] about religion, it involves him talking about the Invisible Man in the Sky, and He Wants MONEY. When I first saw it, I thought it was hilarious. A nice little parody of the Catholic church when he was growing up.

Then I discovered that it's what he believed. Him, Bill Maher, and a whole bunch of other people.

Now, it could be that I'm a snob. My BA in philosophy might as well have been in Catholic philosophy. My father with the PhD in catholic Philosophy taught me more about the faith than my Catholic schools ever did. I get the impression that if my education mirrored George Carlin's, I'd turn out much like him. I would like to think that I could do my own research to learn what was going on, but who knows.

Atheists do not annoy me. Seriously. Two of my friends are atheists. One was my best friend before she went crazy with extremist politics—I was going crazy with PhD studies at the time, so that didn't help either.

My other atheist acquaintance is the primary artist for this website, Matt. He says he's a militant atheist. I disagree. If only because I've met militant atheists, and they have hated my guts for no other reason than I am religious. They couldn't do something reasonable like get to know me and my personality quirks before they hated me.

And I love those hate-filled nutjobs. Truly I do. They're amusing. If only because they spend a lot of them telling me what I think. It's sort of like my political article. I try to tell people what I believe politically, and from one sentence (usually a half sentence) they leap to amazing conclusions about what I think, what I believe, and why I believe it. They're funny as heck.

Then again, I may have a strange sense of humor.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Music blog: Lindsey Stirling, epic violin

If you don't know of the violinist Lindsey Stirling, you're missing out.

But, since even I only heard of her about a week or two ago, you probably haven't missed too much. Thankfully, she's up on Youtube.

Short version: I've never seen a woman dance and jump around while playing a violin.  Well, not since the last time I saw Celtic Women.

The long version: try this video.  If you're not familiar with the tune, it's the main theme to the Legend of Zelda video games. If you have no idea of what a "Zelda" is, don't worry about it. It's fantasy, and it usually involves swords. Just play the video



Of the various and sundry videos Stirling has up, it was hard to pick what else I wanted to post....

However, this one has her moonwalking as she plays the violin.

This girl is awesome. And cute.

Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Troubles and Tribulations

REVIEWS OF BOOKS YOU (PROBABLY) NEVER HEARD OF. PART 2: Tribulations



Reporter Susan Randall is going through the worst time of her life, as is LA. It begins with a typical ride-along with a local patrol car, usually a serene, boring assignment; and it is, until she gets shot. It gets worse: a serial killer is having a fun time in Los Angles, slicing through the homeless population. Each victim is mutilated in a less-than-typical fashion: their hands are sliced in such a way that they riffle like a deck of cards when touched. Susan wants the case, and gets it and everything that comes with it.

“Everything” includes not only the killer sending her e-mails, but a man named Raymond Weil, who keeps showing up: first at the crime scenes, then at the funerals of the victims. Despite his claims of demonic involvement in the murders, Raymond knows more than the police do about the serial killer and makes for a great lead for the story. 

That is, until Susan suspects he knows too much.

As the search for the killer proceeds, Susan becomes intrigued by Weil’s life and his continued persistence in relating the demonic to a serial killer. Before too long, she discovers an unnerving secret that causes her to suspect Raymond shouldn’t know some of the things he knows, especially as the City of Angels slowly becomes more like a city of Hell.

Joseph Michael Straczynski is the creator of the television series Babylon 5, wrote over one hundred episodes of miscellaneous TV programs, ran Amazing Spider-Man and Thor for several years, and will soon take over writing for Superman and Wonder Woman comicbooks. Straczynski’s style is often marked by creative wit and a keen observation of society at large. Tribulations is no exception. Throughout the novel, he uses his years of experience in Los Angeles with his graceful wit and driving narrative that forces the reader to push on. Despite his claims of atheism, one would hardly suspect it with his knowledge of past demonic incidents—both in theological and pure historical terms.

There is one mistake you should not make before you continue reading: that this is a spiritual novel. Whether you are Freud, the next generation, an atheist theology major, or a Catholic priest, you can enjoy this book. One might say Straczynski is part Walker Percy and part Jeffery Deaver: humorous, thrilling, and just dark enough to make you look in the closet, just to be safe. Straczynski uses his considerable talents to merge psychology, sociology, and theology into a story that unites profiles of serial killers, the sociology of a riot, and a profile of evil.
 
Truly something for everyone.

Month in review: November, 2011

Well, another month shot to hell.  :)

Anyway, this has been an interesting little month. This was the month I discovered Stumbleupon.com.... and I posted links to almost every single blog entry.

So, all of that adds up to this month having over 13,255 hits on the blog.  It's been a good month.  Even if I had to rewrite the top ten blog list. I may still yet have to.

Anyway...

There is a Story By Twitter coming up soon on the blog, and probably next Monday.  If you have a twitter account, find join my twitter feed (you can find a link in the right hand side). Otherwise, you may not get it for a while.

I've written characters of mine who take surveys, starting with Egyptian cop Hashim Abasi ... who has a list of enemies on his mouse pad.

And, if you ever missed a video we've done thus far, well, you can't: here are the complete Videos of A Pius Man.  Not to mention that there's also a video going around the net that makes me think I have to seriously up my A-game: a live action recreation of a video game fight from the epic game Arkham city.

Oh yes, and there is a contest going on: I hope someone has notice.

Our music blogs have had: Dragonforce's Heart of a Dragon, Final Fantasy's One Winged Angel, and MozartWe also had Tom Smith's Cooking for 93 ... a little something for Thanksgiving.  There was also the classic science fiction summary in song Rocket Ride, by Tom Smith, as well as some Dragonforce's Where Dragons Rule.  We also had some Two steps from Hell, and the greatest beer that any bar has ever had for sale: it's Three-oh-seven Ale.

I've also had the most FAQ that any author has ever had to deal with: "Where do you get your ideas from?"  Here's an answer.

There was also some issues with Google.  Feh.

And, finally, there was a self defense review: with kill shots, Occupiers, and ... something else, I'm sure.

See you Monday.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas charity opportunity.

Karina Fabian, former guest blogger and interviewee,  has asked me to post this.  So I have.  Enjoy.

No, I didn't say a lot. But I think the below will do, don't you think?


Dear friends and readers, This winter, I have two things in my heart and on my mind:  caring for those less fortunate than me (or indeed, much of the world) and my DragonEye, PI stories.  For Christmas, I’m combining them and would like to share them with you. Those of you who are “Vern Fans,” know about my dragon who works in our world as a private investigator, and his partner, Sister Grace, a mage and nun in the Faerie Catholic Church.  They’ve saved the worlds and their friends in numerous stories and novels.  Last year, I wrote a story for Flagship about their first Christmas together.  Not only is Grace struggling with the Mundane idea of Christmas, but their home is threatened by a land developer who wants to tear down the entire neighborhood and make a mall.  When the Ghosts of Christmas come to visit him, however, Vern and Grace have to solve the mystery before the Christmas Spirits become Angels of Death. I have revised and am publishing “Christmas Spirits” as a serial story to raise funds for Food for the Poor. This is a wonderful charity that helps people in impoverished nations help themselves. It allows donators to choose their gifts--whether rice for a family for a month, school supplies, livestock, tools or even houses.

I'm asking that you please check out the story, and, if you enjoy it and want to see more, that you donate even a dollar to the cause. Also, if you enjoy the story, let your friends know. I'll post every Tuesday and Thursday as the donations come in.   Right now, we have raised enough to send a family 20 baby chicks and are halfway to a fruit tree in addition.  Vern would like to send them a cow (he is a dragon, after all), but Sister Grace and I are dreaming of raising enough to buy someone a home.  Can you imagine giving a HOUSE for Christmas?  Will you help? Find the story at http://christmasspirits.karinafabian.com.  You can also get to it via my website, http://fabianspace.com.  Look under the Christmas dragon for the link.   You can learn more about Food for the Poor at http://www.foodforthepoor.org.

Thanks for your attention!

Karina Fabian 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Self Defense Review: November 2011

It's that time of the month again.  We're back with yet another self defense review.

I started off this month with my last -- as in final -- article on Occupy Wall Street. I've had it with these people.  Not to mention that I wrote the article the day before the OWS were told that, no, squatting is illegal, and we're taking your tents away. Thank you.  If you ever wanted to know the problems that local business had with Occupy Wall Street, just click here.

If you ever wanted to scare off attackers, or at least make yourself look like a target that would give them trouble, you might want to try here.  You even get a song with it.

I've mentioned more than once that, well, accidents happen.  When you're attacked, and you must defend yourself, someone could die.  You should avoid it whenever possible, but sometimes, well, accidents can happen.  My friend Carlos helped me out with this one.

And, after I stole more than a few good lines and articles from this book, I decided to do a little review of The Special Forces Guide to Unarmed Combat.  It's surprisingly useful.

And, just for fun, I did a nice little article on how to Survive Black Friday.

I hope you all enjoy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving blog: Cool stuff. Cooking for 93.

The odds that anyone is going to read the blog today are so slender, it's improbably ridiculous.

However, for those of you who have tripped over my website today, you will not go away empty handed.  

First up: have you ever had to cook for relatives?  On Thanksgiving?  Without any help from the vast army you're feeding?

If the answer is yes: enjoy.






Next up, you've seen my videos -- and if you haven't, look in the right hand margin, and you'll find them soon enough.

However, now that I've seen this awesome group, I think I should hire them before I try doing another one.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Music blog: Tom Smith's Rocket Ride, Where Dragons Rule, Halo

This is Tom Smith's classic "Rocket Ride."  Basically, making fun of every major high-budget scifi movie made .... possibly in the last twenty years.  Give or take a decade.

I think it's kinda fun.

Enjoy





Dragonforce: Where Dragons Rule, as done to Halo.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Coming soon: another twitter tale.

Last week, you learned about the strange situation I'm in with google.  This week, I've fixed it, as you can tell by the strange ad layouts you see around you.  And, I think that I like these ads better -- when I have them, that is.

However, I spent so much time getting that fixed, I'm missing a blog for the day.  I think the moral of the story is: don't bother with google ads, unless you like being screwed over.

However, I will make a little note here: Does anyone remember "Boys of the Old Brigade"?  It was story by twitter that I put together a while ago.

I'm thinking of doing it again in December, only with a story called Coyote Christmas.   I've written out the whole story in proper format, and I've done a twitter version.  The former was 18 pages, the latter only 7.

However, there is one major difference.

This time, I actually have a twitter account.

How many people do you think I can confuse on Twitter with lines like


Calling me a rent-a-cop is like calling a mushroom cloud a really neat special effect. 


It should at least get someone's attention.

I'm thinking of saving this story for December 5th.  So, if you want to catch it live, join my twitter by then (the join button is in the right hand column).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Occupy Google!

Sorry, this blog will be postponed for today. Nothing new is going to happen.

Why?  Because Google has decided to jerk me around

This blog, APM, has recently had a slight bump in traffic.  How slight?  Well, to break it down, the blog has had just over 16,000 viewers.

Thus far, November has brought in over 8,000 new readers.

Google Ads, who usually have a place in the right hand column, or just under the latest blog post, have decided that my latest bump in Google Ad clicks is sketchy.

If you don't have Google's Adsense on a blog, it's simple: you get paid by click.  The more hits you get on the website, the more likely it is that someone will click on your ads, and the more clicks, the more money.

However, you don't get paid until you make $100.

Before November, I had "made" $40.  Since the start of the November, I've brought in more than that -- not much, but I could buy a new laptop, if I buy it wholesale ....

In other words, just when I'm actually about to make ANY money, Google pulls the plug on me.

I'm going to spend the next few days waterboarding someone at Google .... um, I mean, appealing my case to these overstuffed shirts.

It's not much, but for someone who is too overeducated to be employed even at McDonald's (I think they're afraid I may take over), it's something.

Pardon the interruption.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Music Blog: 307 Ale, Halo, Dragon Rider

Yup, more music ....

By the way, before we begin, please remember that we have a contest ongoing.  Also, if you could check out some of our sponsors on the way out, it would be nice.  Thanks.

Anyway, today is the return of Filk music.

Tom Smith: 307 Ale .... the world's first hyper beer.



More below the break.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Top Ten Blog Posts, November, 2011.

Well, this has been an interesting week.

I recently came across a network called Stumbleupon.com.  I figured "hmm, maybe I should post some of my blog posts up there."  After a while, I posted .... a lot.

The website for APM did not go down .... though we had about seven THOUSAND newcomers ....

If you are one, welcome.

Anyway. we've had to rewrite the top ten most viewed blogs blogs of A Pius Man.  Apparently, people really like comic books, theology, and blowing stuff up.

#1 Sex, DC Comics, and ... wtf?  This should not come as a surprise to anyone. This was a hit within the week it was posted, and shot up, and stayed up ever since.  Written in the wake of the initial DC reboots, this blog took a look at how DC treated two of their best female characters .... badly.

#2 Disasters to Marvel At: A Comic Discussion. Before DC comics had ever earned my ire, Marvel had done a great job at annoying me, by turning their entire world into a giant hamster wheel, where there is a lot of running, and no one goes ANYWHERE

#3 Mr Phelps, You Are Disavowed… No one likes poor Fred Phelps, founded of the Westboro Baptist Church, probably incest master, definite cult leader, and all-round narcissistic little prick.

#4 Evil Religions 2: Baby-raping Catholic Priests. Part of my Evil Religions series (the title was ironic) I took a look at everyone's favorite cliche -- namely, "Oh look, a priest on television. Who does he rape/ maim/ assault /kill?"

#5 The Pirate King, a Story of Sean A.P. Ryan.  One of my stories about the infamous mercenary Sean Ryan, a man who doesn't exactly look like the heroic type, and may be too crazy to be a bad guy.  Basically, a Somali pirate picked the WRONG ship.

#6 Snarky theology 3: Evolution, Creationists, and other irritants.  Also part of the Evil religions series ... Sort of.  Some people like to complain about evolution. That it proves or disproves EVERYTHING about religion.  If you really, really think that way, well, I think you're a flaming idiot.  Here's why.

#7 Scott Murphy's Notebook: Spytech This was a complete shock to me. Honestly.  I tossed together some fun facts I've collected over the years, and  compiled them.  Before, NO ONE had read this blog.  Now ... well, what a difference a post on Stumbleupon can make.

#8 Snarky Theology 5: The Passion, Jews, and Good Friday.  I wrote this the week before Easter.  Too many people watched Mel Gibson's The Passion, and I wanted to look at a few things.

#9 Snarky Theology 2: FAQs about Lent. Again, another "why are people reading this one?" post.

#10  The flame war is postponed ....  After the Japan Earthquake, some little twit online made a comment that went viral.  I decided someone should smack her down.  I did.

Anyway, so, again, if you're new, welcome.  Take a look around.  We have a nice introduction column on the right.  And, before you left, please click on a sponsor or two.  We have some interesting ones, and, we need the cash.

Thanks.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

FAQ: Where do you get your ideas?

I've touched on this briefly during the series on how I created A Pius Man, but, apparently, the question many authors are besieged with is “How do you come up with your ideas?”

Short answer: formal viewpoint. Or a functional mentality.

For example, last year, I saw Forbes Magazine with cover article about how al-Qaeda was losing money, and it suggested that Osama "needed a new business model."

I can not make this stuff up.

The point is, people look at things from a “formal viewpoint.” I would look at a large pile of money and think of where a character would hide it. An accountant would probably count it all. A pyromaniac would look at it as stuff to burn.


In my case... to use an example, in 1998, my family went to London and stopped off to see the Crown Jewels. Everyone else stared at the jewels. I went and looked at the security. I didn't take notes, since I didn't want to be thrown out of the Tower of London by the fastest possible route [the jewels were a few floors up]. The British Museum got the same treatment from me -- The Elgin Marbles from the Greek Parthenon had their own wing.... so, if the Greeks really wanted them back, they could steal them with a few construction helicopters and just airlift the whole wing—the Israelis did that with an Egyptian radar tower once to great effect.

Basically, it's a matter of looking at things from a certain viewpoint. I suspect that if I go see the Mona Lisa, the majority of my time will be pondering how someone could disable the security guards, the electronic surveillance, and walk away with a few paintings from the Louvre. Though the answer would probably be to steal something from the basement storage area—less security, without the individual alarms on every piece.... hmm, now that's an idea....can someone scan for Semtex at the entrypoint to the Louvre? Hrm...

The sad thing is that the above was really thought up as I wrote it.
[More below the break]

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Music blog: Heart of a Dragon, One Winged Angel, and Halo

Sorry, this Tuesday, I can't honestly say that there's anything I want to blog about.....

So, music blog.

You remember back when I mentioned I was a nerd? This is proof. I present you with the most epic soundtrack I've heard in years .... the main theme for the Halo video game series.

While I originally wanted to post this video, the owner disabled embedding. Darn it.


Monday, November 7, 2011

A contest... I had to do this sooner or later.


I have fans everywhere

In the interest of keeping everyone interested in what goes on around here, I have come to a simple conclusion. It's time to share the joy.

I would like the dear loyal and trusted fans on Facebook to help with a few things.

In short: I want some more fans on Facebook, and I'm willing to pay to get them.

However, since I don't have cash to shill out in bribe money, I'll have to make due with something else.

Do I have your attention?
[More below the break]

Friday, November 4, 2011

To steal a phrase: I report, you decide

I've never posted any evidence about the Pius XII debate.  I do today.

Look it over yourselves, see what you think.  I found it ... interesting.

http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/Vatican.php?id=4287 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Videos of A Pius Man

Thus far, anyway.

I was wandering through the video section of the APM Facebook page, and I realized that I haven't done a video trailer for ... a while.

If you're relatively new, you've probably never seen any of the trailers.  Unless you're really diligent in spelunking through the FB page, then you've probably come across them.

This is where I've collected the ones done thus far.

This wasn't the first one, but it was a remodeled version of it. I cleaned up the typeface a little, and I think the visuals are spliced together better.


The images are obviously not done by me. Anyone who's found the Vatican Ninja images I've done will notice that.  They're from a lot of books that take one side of the Pope Pius XII argument, such as it is. And, just maybe, a Dan Brown novel.

I'm subtle like that.

And then, then there were the character trailers.
[More below the break]

Monday, October 31, 2011

Month in Review: October, 2011


This is the month where everything went very, very strange.  And, that was apparently a good thing.  This is officially the month with the most page views ever. Who knew?

I started out with something that pissed me off: DC Comics turning Starfire and Catwoman, two of their stronger female protagonists, into sluts, to put it charitably.  They were so totally reduced to sex objects, I wanted to throw rocks.

So I threw angry language at them instead.

Ironically, in one month, it has become the most read post on this entire blog, beating out Disasters to Marvel at, which is a year old.

Also, I decided to get back to creative writing, creating more surveys that my characters have filled out.  You know, the older online essays that used to be sort of fun.  I had one for the German spy Manana Shushurin, and another for the Secret Service agent and nerd, Wilhelmina Goldberg, as well as the lethal weapon, Irish Interpol Agent Maureen McGrail.

I didn't have all that many music blogs this month.  I threw up some John Williams marches, and Tom Smith taking his revenge on technology and Rob Granito

A false report on gay marriage in the military made me start an irate blog .... then I wanted a better footnote, discovered that the story I based my indignation on was bogus, and I was stuck with a blog I had to rewrite, very, very fast.

I put in another blog on writing. This time it was a matter of "how to exposition like crazy" -- when you have to dump a graduate paper's worth of information into one novel.

Also, I had a little conversation on how to write for disaster.  It's mostly how to write characters who are supposed to be terrified, when you yourself have never been quite that scared -- and, making certain that your character's fear is appropriate both to the situation, and the person.

And, there was my self-defense review for the month -- with my  my self defense columns for October. It had to do a lot with Occupy Wall Street, self defense for women, and self defense against the zombie apocalypse .... I'm serious about the zombie apocalypse part.

Catholic conspiracies 3.  This was almost a replacement for It was inspired after I saw a lot of idiots try to pin Occupy Wall Street on "crypto-Jewish Jesuit fascists founded by the Illuminati."

I want my Vatican ninjas.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Self defense review: Zombies, Women's self defense, Barbara Sheehan

This has been a really weird month for me, truly. And how is that difference from any other month, you ask?

 To start with, most of my self defense review materials turned out to be comedies.

Taking this month in chronological order will probably make the most sense.

To start with, I discovered a new Women's self defense, every Sunday.in Manhattan.  It's Krav Maga for women -- which is actually more advanced than going for straight, plain-old Krav Maga, believe it or not. It has to be for some of the techniques to be effective.

And then, of course, there was the little incident of Barbara Sheehan, battered women: which is always a problem.  In New York, you can't kill anyone and get away with it. That includes if you kill someone in self defense. Even if a jury let's you go, the New York District Attorney's office will find some way to throw you in jail, without remorse.

But, then again, the odds of that happening are more likely when you consider that Barbara Sheehan shot her husband with his own gun while he was shaving, after she just came back from her next door neighbors. Click the link to read more.

After that, things got a little weird. Yesterday, I covered the latest in Catholic Conspiracies, with Occupy Wall Street.  I also did several articles about them kicking around.  I not only did articles about protection from them, and how dangerous they may or may not be (answer: mostly harmless) but how they can protect themselves -- both from each other (ie: how NOT to have your $5K laptop stolen), and their own stupidity (eg: DON'T ATTACK THE POLICE!!!!!).

I also discovered that the same people who brought you last month's self defense seminar has a new one: knife and stick defenses.

And last, but not least .....

Okay, I have to deal with a lot of strange stuff in New York. That's because it's New York.  Nothing here is really "normal" here.

And then there's the CDC creating the Zombie Preparedness kit ... and the comic book for it.

I can't make this stuff up.

See you all  next week.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Catholic Conspiracies 3: Jesuits, OWS, and the Vandals Are Here.

Vatican
Ninja
Remod
(Draft)
Once upon a time, very long ago, I discussed how the Catholic Church seems to be the favorite of multi-generational bands of abject nutcases.  I then expanded the topic, discussing how many fruit loops were involved, and that was titled The Revenge of the Vatican Ninjas.

In this case, we're going to add a bit of local politics.  And by local, I mean New York.

Has anyone heard of Occupy Wall Street?

If you haven't, that's okay, they're rather annoying -- essentially a fun bunch of anarchists hanging out in Zuccotti park who were told that 1968 was a really fun time, that bathing is bad for you, and it's quite okay to defecate wherever you deem fit.  It's not so much a political movement as an unruly mob. They're mad as hell, they're not going to take it anymore, and they are rebels without a clue -- when someone says they hate Wall Street, and the bailouts of Wall Street, yet they don't protest anyone who was bailed out, this spells stupid to me.

They've attacked police officers, and they want the redistribution of wealth, but they whine when their stuff is stolen.  At the end of the day, while they may appear threatening, they are mostly harmless.  And if you read any of the links, you'll notice that I spend most of my time making fun of them.  Just don't tell my editors, they may think I'm having too much fun.

So, what does this have to do with Catholic conspiracies?

Well, recently, I did a search on twitter for "Jesuits."

Big, big mistake. 

Apparently, now, the Jesuits are a crypto-Jews / Nazi / Zionist organization, bent on establishing the New World Order via Occupy Wall Street .... And, of course, founded by the Illuminati. 

As my friend Jason says,
"It's the internet. I'm not surprised about anything I find on it anymore. I think it was created by Cthullu, not Al Gore. It's a bottomless pit that WILL stare back at you if you look at it too hard. In the dark. On a cold winter night. With eerie music playing in the background (Cthullu has a MP3 player)."
I have to ask, now -- what are you people smoking?  Or is it that the internet goes to the loudest spammers, who happen to be nutjobs with unlimited time on their hands.

Either way, it's always good to see that nothing ever changes.

The amusing part of the Occupy Wall Street movement as "crypto-Jewish Jesuit conspiracy" is twofold, really.  One, they've got an emerging anti-Semitic group in there, with makes the whole "evil Jewish Conspiracy" part kinda stupid .... er.  

On the other hand, their fellow occupiers have issues with breaking other people's toys.

How so?

I'll give you one guess.

Their international branch at "Occupy Rome," in addition to firebombing cars, has taken upon itself to smash up religious icons.

All I can think is: if this happened to a synagogue, would the Mossad have already killed everyone in this photo by now?

But, no, it's just the Catholics.  So, who cares?

Ann Margaret Lewis, posted this to her facebook page and asked "Why?"

And isn't it obvious?  Because Catholics are "evil, baby-raping priests," and most of these people are too busy worshiping their iPads . And they like to talk about how they should "eat the Rich"-- and the Catholics are wonderfully rich and powerful, aren't they? They have so many shiny things, after all.... And, somehow, the sarcasm isn't burning a hole in my keyboard.

And, sure enough, someone said just that, responding with two recent stories.**   And by recent, I mean they happened the week before.  The words are "innocent until proven guilty ... unless he's Catholic," aren't they? But, it's nice to see anyone can justify a hate crime is the target is "right."

But, thus far, Occupy Wall Street has endorsements from the Nazi party of America, the Communist party, and David Duke.

Between this and the above "evil Jesuit plot," it seems that a faceless, aimless rabble makes for a great Rorschach test for ideologists of any stripe.  "Oh look, there's a group of angry protesters, they must hate who I hate," or "they embody everything I despise."

Vatican Ninja Chibi.
"Grr. Arrgh"
While it is quite entertaining to watch a group of people go slowly insane, it's time these guys ought to come up with a coherent message. Hell, the Tea Party's wants could be summed up as "We hate big government, we want fewer taxes, less spending and no Obamacare."

With the OWS, we have the Nazis, the Klan, the Communists, "we hate Jews / big business / brand names / we're wearing brand names/ we hate bailouts but won't protest those who got bailouts ...."  

Oh, yeah, and they're an evil Jesuit conspiracy.....

Can I have my Vatican Ninjas now?


**The footnotes are below the break.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Don't Panic: a writer's guide to disaster

I should start by mentioning that this is going to be less about writing disasters, and more about a character reacting to them.
My characters have all sorts of problems.

In my books, I've had people confronted with Being beaten to deathDestruction of public propertyheartbreaka small war, as well as vampires and the end of the world.

In most cases, this is easy for writers to put down. Fear is easy, everyone has experienced it in one way or another.

In my case, not so much.

There are two moments in my life that highlight the reasons my characters react the way they do.

One New Year's eve, I was over at a friend's house.  My sister decided to be helpful in the kitchen, and went to work cutting vegetables with a mandolin slicer.

Somehow, my sister managed to cut off the pad of her little finger.

The husband of the house couldn't look at the sight of blood. The wife felt immediately ill. My sister felt faint from blood loss almost instantly.

I rolled my eyes, sighed, made sure that the severed part clicked into place with the rest of the meat puzzle of my sister's finger, wrapped it, and drove her to the nearest ER.  We were seen immediately, since it was only 6pm on New Year's eve.  Midnight would have been a different kettle of fish, I'm sure.

I didn't freak out before, during, of after the incident. I was mostly annoyed that the evening might be shot to hell.  I went out into the parking lot with my cell phone and started calling people to wish them all a happy new year.  It took about 90 minutes for my sister's nine stitches to put her back together again. And a fun time was had by all.

And this isn't gloating. This isn't "I kept my head while others lost theirs!" moment. This was a moment of irritation, annoyance, and "Damnit, I have to play ambulance driver? Really?"

Now, you could say this happened to someone else. so why should I worry.

Then there was the time I was accused of being a terrorist....
[more below the break]

Monday, October 17, 2011

DADT, Gay Marriage: Who cares?

Last week wasn't very good as far as blog posts went. And I'm sorry for that. This week, I've got three posts already written.  This one is considered "timely," as my Examiner.com editors like to say.

A while ago, I wrote an article about gay marriage in New York.  It was entitled: Gay Marriage, so what?  I suspect you can guess what my general conclusions were.

I collect all sorts of weird articles, and magazines.  On the one hand, I could read Guns and Ammo, then the Spring catalog for a major publisher, then Time Magazine (until they went anti-Semite), the list goes on.

One such magazine is Salute, the magazine of the archdiocese for the military services, USA.

Yes, the military has their own archdiocese -- their Cardinal is the Cardinal of New York City.

In their Summer, 2011 issue, there was a statement from Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, the Archbishop for USA military services. (An Archbishop is more hands on.)

His statement was two pages long, and here's an excerpt ...
"The church is unwavering in her commitment to the pastoral care of all persons in need, regardless of sexual inclination or anything else.  All people in need are served by Catholc Chaplains with zeal and passion for bringing the reality of the Risen Lord to all.  Whether Don't ask don't tell persists or not is immaterial to that bedrock principle.  The faithful .... must never forget that those with a homosexual inclination must be treated with the respect worthy of their human dignity."  [Typed by hand, any typos are mine]

In short: that's nice, we don't care if they're outed, it doesn't matter to us.

The message then cited Federal law (1 USC subection 7)... which I believe is commonly known as the defense of marriage act (DOMA).

So, "yes, you have DADT repealed. Who cares? We don't like it, but we're not going to marry gays, and you're not going to make us. We can continue, business as usual."  Everyone can move on.

Which is pretty much what I said the first time about gay marriage.

It's so nice when the Catholic Church listens to me.
[More below the break]

Monday, October 10, 2011

Music blog: Tom Smith; Cheap Cyborg, Fake it better, Granito.

It's the columbus day weekend.  Most people don't show up on the blog on long weekends.

However, for those of you who have shown up, some music....

First, ever wonder what would happen in the future? Ever consider that technology would enable you to have laser beams and stuff?  Well, the future is here ... what happened?





One Mr. Rob Granito is a liar, a thief, and an art forger -- only what he does is steal other people's comic book artwork and claim it as his own.

This song is rated R for language -- the only language strong enough to adequately describe the little punk.



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Music Blog: John Williams marches

I figured that this was going to be one of two items today: another character filling in another survey, or a music blog.

You're in luck: music.

First: the march of the Wedding Party at one of my friend's wedding last year .....

The theme to Superman....

Mainly because his wife forbade Star Wars. Otherwise, it would have been the Imperial March



And, speaking of Star Wars ...

The Imperial March.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sex, DC Comics, and ... wtf?

Long term readers know my opinion on sex in writing.  I'd say my opinion on sex in general is very Catholic, but since no one understand that, I'm not even going to bother.

However, I can sum up my thoughts on sex in fiction very easily: who needs it?

We all know the mechanics. What possible reason is there for a blow by blow description? Pardon the pun, but you know what I mean.

Since my first article on sex, I've written a few sex scenes .... by few I mean two, and they were in the same book.  However, the "sex scene" was in someone's dream, and the protagonist was having a conversation with his dead wife through most of it. The sex was incidental, and mostly has to do with the fact that she was killed on their honeymoon.  The second sex scene was so vague, any less detail would be as clear as a Salvatore Dali painting, only with words.

Yes, I brought in Dali to an article on sex. I'm weird. However, there is a point.

Even during these scenes, there's no blow by blow description. (I'm going to stop apologizing for that phrase, just roll with it.).  It's not necessary, unless someone's writing porn.  Even something as intimate as noticing a tattoo on someone during sex doesn't necessitate that much detail -- the audience does not need to know what specific act the individual was doing when s/he noticed the tattoo.  It's sex. Nudity happens.  Next chapter.

So, what prompted today's rant?

DC Comics seems to be going back to the 1990s, where the artistic style was summarized by my friend Jason as "Big boobs, big guns."

The current version seems to focus on women and sexuality, with an overemphasis on the sex.

I've no problem with sexuality, or with women -- look at my model for Manana Shushurin if you don't believe me --  it's that it's bad writing.

Starfire in costume
Take, for example, the character of Starfire.  She's an alien with red hair, green eyes (and I don't mean with two green irises, I mean the entire eye is green), orange skin, with measurements somewhere in the 36 DD battery range.

Normally, I would stop reading at green-eyed redhead (I grew up with a crush on the female lead in Riverdance, leave me alone).  The character has always been sexually relaxed, it was mostly a cultural thing.  And, for the most part, it was used properly -- as comedy.  For example, in the classic Crisis on Infinite Earths, Starfire walks in with Nightwing, meets an old friend, and introduces him as "This is Nightwing, my lover."

Nightwing's reaction is such that you suspect he's glad that he has to go and face the end of the world.

And that was it.  One panel. Move on.

[More below the break]

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Month in Review: September, 2011

Ah, another month shot to Hell.

So, where are we?  Ah, yes, it's been a very strange little month.  Since I've cut back on the daily ... and weekly ... output, it's been interesting.  I don't even though I've gotten around to posting a music blog in a while.

So start with, we opened the month with a new concept from August: Characters answering Surveys.  In this case, I used Scott Murphy.

Then I looked into how terror can also be a form of communication: sometimes, the most intimidating characters are the ones you least expect. And, sometimes, they're just in your face.

Then there was how to torture characters: with some JMS, and some Jim Butcher.  Muwhahahahaha!!!!!

Yes, I've been having too much fun around here.

Can you tell?

Speaking of which, there was also my Impossible Odds blog, focusing on million to one odds.

Anyway, there was also another Self Defense review.  In this case, I covered how I spent my 9-11; mostly it was learning how to save a life.... no, I'm not joking.  How to save someone from chokes, and guns, and knives.  I also covered the latest in bulletproof clothing, and how to spot a concealed weapon, and such ...

Oh, and I also looked back on September 11, 2001.

Also: DC Comics rebooted their universe, and I'm not that happy about it. Though I'm told I'm dead wrong.

I did a review of The Expendables..... The Pain! The Pain!

And, there was Talk like a Pirate Day, where I got to be lazy ... in other words, I had nothing for that day, and I was saved by the realization it was September 19th.

And, finally, we had the return of Karina Fabian, discussing her new book Mind Over Mind. She gave us Ten Reasons to Love Science Fiction, an interview, and my review of the novel.

Anyway, I thought this was a good, fun little month.

And I've already started on the blogs for October.

Enjoy, all.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Impossible Odds: From Masada to Talisman

"Whether it's the Trojan War, the Battle of Thermopylae, or the Last Stand at the Alamo, many of the famous battles in history were sieges in which small forces took on much larger armies. Unfortunately, sieges don't make good stories because the smaller force won. They make the history books because the little guys fought well, before they died." ~Michael Westen, Burn Notice. Last stand, Ep 4.18
I like thousand to one odds.  Love 'em.  Can't get enough of them. Make it an intelligent war, I'm with you all the way.

300 Spartans (with about 10,000+ other Greeks) versus one hundred thousand (or a million, depending who you ask) Persian Imperial forces?* I'm there.

Nearly seven hundred Jewish rebels vs. a Roman legion at Masada?** I'm with you ...

The Alamo ... Okay, not so much, but I'm more familiar with the players involved, and I can't say that I liked any of them, on any side.

A hundred thousand Orcs of Mordor versus Gondor? That's at least worth an Academy Award....

In my own writing, I have a tendency to give the bad guys the upper hand as much as possible.  I try not to leave it as a matter of "evil badguy gains upper hand because he's using underhandd methods, while virtuous goodguy never sinks so low." Anyone who had read even one my self defense articles knows better.  When in doubt, bite a nose off, pull at an ear, gouge the eyes, and, of course, kick 'em in the groin, whenever possible.  My characters fight like their lives depend on it, usually because it does.

No, when I give the bad guys the upper hand, it's because they either have better training, better equipment, more people, or all of the above.

That's when I whip out The Anarchist's Cookbook, and go to work.  Because when my characters are out-manned  outgunned, outmaneuvered, and when things have stopped looking grim and have moved on to "we're all going to die" ....

That's when my characters get smart, get sneaky, and become very, very dangerous.


I've done it a few times in my books.  In A Pius Legacy (book three, should book one ever be published), I've practically got the army of darkness on our heroes' doorstep, and not one of my heroes even looks like Bruce Campbell.

I've got a murder mystery series on my hard drive that involves a writer, and a nerd, who's being hunted by assassins .... however, he got very good grades in chemistry, will hit people with everything and the kitchen sink, and he knows how to kill people with a pen.

The list goes on.

Besides, if it's a fair fight, you know how things go in fiction: the protagonist wins ...

However, when you have lopsided odds, and an author who has shown s/he's quite willing to assassinate any of his/her characters at will ... well then, that's when things get interesting, now, isn't it?






*Everyone by now should have at least heard of the story of Thermopylae ... aka The Hot Gates ... aka "The Gates of Fire" (which is my personal favorite translation) ... You may have seen the ads for the film 300.


**If you've never heard of Masada, in 70 AD, you had Israelites versus the Roman Empire. Only this wasn't Mossad or the IDF, but the sicarii, or knifemen. By 73 AD, the war was lost, and the last of the sicarii were held up in an old mountain fortress called Masada.

Originally, it was a story of how 700 rebels held out against the siege of a Roman legion, until the Romans finally breached the walls, only to find everyone had committed suicide, rather than be taken hostage again.

Recent research has concluded that the tale is a little different than originally reported -- the sicarii of Masada fought to the last man, woman, and child.

To this day, the Israeli Defense Force takes an oath: "Masada Shall Not Fall Again."

***Isn't it sad that this blog needs footnotes? :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Suffer characters suffer!" Jim Butcher & JMS

I love screwing around with my characters, about as much as I like messing around with my audience.

Over time, we've talked about who can you trust in A Pius Man, how I like to keep my characters vague ... sometimes the most vague being the one who is the most blunt.

Now, I didn't get into writing to be a sadist of my own personal playthings. Unlike some authors, like J. Michael Straczynski, I don't "torture my characters." In some cases, like JMS, he does it literally.

And guys like Jim Butcher have literally said "Suffer characters, suffer!" in describing his writing style.  Back at DragonCon, he practically leaped at the microphone when asked about beating up on characters, and said "I'll take that one."

In my case, I just enjoy giving them mental problems that confuse the hell out of them.

And, also in my case, I like throwing in a love story, just to screw with some of them.

I've been in love.  As someone with two BAs, a masters degree, and more PhD credits than I want to think about, dealing with women has been one of the more interesting situations I've ever had to deal with.

So, I took what has turned out to be one of my most frighteningly intelligent characters, Scott Murphy, and gave him a different problem to work on: not only does he have to figure out who killed an al-Qaeda terrorist, but he also has to figure out ........ "Am I falling in love?  Damnit!"

It's fun watching characters beat their heads against a wall in frustration, especially when they try to logic their way out of a romantic situation.

Okay, I have to steal the line....

Suffer, characters, suffer!!!!!!!


I feel like there should be a "muahaha" in there somewhere.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

DVD Review: The Expendables

I've done some book reviews here and there, so I thought I would try my hand at DVDs.

Since this blog does cover things that blow up, I would start at the most likely candidate: The Expendables.

You may have seen the ads: this movie has practically every major action star in the last thirty years: Ahh-nuld (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Bruce Willis in bit parts, with main roles filled by Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgen, with Mickey Rourke fresh off of the set of Iron Man 2, if his hair is to be any judge.

When one starts viewing, you know from the beginning that this isn't going to be a great work of art, or even a lot of great acting. This isn't Shakespeare, but we can at least hope for something around the level of a good Schwarzenegger movie (remember those? I think the last one starred Vanessa Williams and James Caan).

If you're expecting a stellar review of this movie, turn back now.
(More below the break)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Talk like a pirate day ... Or, how to be a lazy blogger

Today is talk like a pirate day!  Which means what, exactly?

Which means that it's a great excuse for me to be completely lazy, and post pirate stuff.

And use a lot of R's.

How cheat?  Well, you all remember the APM story of The Pirate King, right?  Well, if you don't, you might want to check out how I would deal with pirates of the Caribbean .... okay, Somali pirates, but what the heck.  It's one of the complete stories of A Pius Man, constantly updated for your amusement.

We also have flashbacks to the Wiki Pirates, Harry Potter and the Pirate Queen, and, of course, explaining what the heck Talk like a Pirate Day actually is.

Like I said, lazy blogging 101.

Enjoy, all.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Review: Mind Over Mind, by Karina Fabian

For those of you who missed yesterday's interview with guest Karina Fabian, the author of Mind Over Mind, a little recap.

Deryl (the name is NOT mispelled) Stephen is a teenager with a few issues. He has great powers of empathy .... so great, that he will occasionally experience other people's feeling exactly as they if they were his own.  The butler to his rich aunt and uncle is a drunk, so Deryl smashes the liquor before he goes on a binge. Deryl finds and stops a rape, and has to knock himself out before he exchanges one rapist for another.

And, oh, yeah, he's being contacted by space aliens.

So, one or two people have considered him more than a little insane, which is why his address at the start of Mind Over Mind is the local insane asylum.

Enter one Joshua Lawson, who's just there for the summer, a quick job before moving on to other things.  His method of therapy: accept the delusion, and teach patients to work within their own little world.

Which is a good thing, because it looks like some of Deryl Stephen's delusions are actively trying to kill him.

If I read the book correctly, it looks like Deryl's father came for a one-night stand from another galaxy, and Deryl had inherited a sacred position -- he is the all-knowing, all seeing Ydrel (I said the name wasn't misspelled), of the planet Kanaan.  The job of the Ydrel is to provide answers to anything asked of him.

Anthony Ainley from the
original Doctor Who
However, Kanaan is in the middle of an interplanetary war.

The people who ask Deryl for information think he's an angel to help them against their enemies – an alien race who thinks that their world is the promised land.

On the other side, there is "The Master," an alien who seems quite interested in training Deryl as a weapon ... and may get him killed doing it ....

However, every time I read about "The Master," I immediately saw Anthony Ainley from the original Doctor Who.

One would think that this would make for more than enough of a science fiction epic, and move on.  It's certainly a great foundation for it.

However, the book is mostly told from the perspective of Joshua Lawson, who has enough trouble with his new job. His boss hates him, especially when Joshua is right; and Joshua seems to be developing feelings for one of the nurses, Sachiko Luchese ...

Yes, the nurse is named like a cross between a General in the Japanese Imperial Army, and a mafia godfather -- something I suspect may have been done for the express purpose of one bad pun in the middle of the novel. But that's neither here nor there.

In fact, Joshua and Sachiko's romance takes up a good chunk of the plot, though it really doesn't mention "romance" on the back of the book.

Enough of the summary, time for the review (below the break).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Interview with "Mind Over Mind" Author Karina Fabian


Yesterday, we had guest blogger Karina Fabian, author of Mind over Mind (editor of Infinite Space, Infinite God II, etc, etc) give us her views on writing science fiction.

Today, we get another shot at Madam Fabian, were we get to ask about her latest novel Mind Over Mind.  Because, apparently, she seemed to enjoy the last interview we had with her.

I'll see if I can do better this time .... muwhahahahaha....

Sorry, I had the switch jammed on "evil" for a moment....

Before we begin, the back cover of the book reads as follows:
Deryl Stephen’s uncontrollable telepathic abilities have landed him in a mental health institution, where no one believes in his powers.

But when Joshua Lawson, a student of neuro linguistic programming, takes part in a summer internship, he takes the unique step of accepting Deryl’s reality and teaches him to work with it. As Deryl learns control, he finds his next challenge is to face the aliens who have been contacting him psychically for years—aliens who would use him to further their cause in an interplanetary war.

On the one side of said war, there is Tasmae, the Miscria, of the planet Kanaan, who seeks out and contacts Deryl (not a misspelling, but the way) for information on everything from growing crops to making explosives (which goes over well in an insane asylum). On the other side is a being known simply as "The Master," who trains Deryl for combat, whether he wants it or not.

On with the interview .... (below the break)