Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

There is a new law under debate in the Ohio chambers concerning the ownership of wild/exotic animals. This debate began last year when an older man living in a rural setting released forty or so exotic animals from their cages, including lions, monkeys and such, and then tragically took his own life. The result was the killing of most of those by sheriff deputies. It is something that saddened me.

The resulting law that is now under debate pits animal owners against those who think exotics should be kept under strict conditions. I am for the strict conditions, but I would take it another step. There is no one who should just have the 'right' to own these types of animals. I understand someone wanting to build a business in such a way, however I would apply heavy restrictions to them as well.

Anyone wishing to own such animals must not only be licensed but must have a legitimate veterinarian/animal husbandry, zoology or similar degree from an accredited state university. Why? Managing this requires special training and knowledge and shouldn't be allowed by anyone just because they want to own exotic animals. These creatures, beautiful though they are present a danger to their owners and the public in general. Without special knowledge and training we are just waiting for another incident down the road.

Just because you want them doesn't give you the right to own them. Some things aren't about rights, it's about common sense.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Indie Way

No, this isn't about another Indiana Jones movie. As most of you who follow this blog know, last year I published my first novel White Staff. It has been a fun ride learning and writing and one of the best things I have discovered was I joined a group of great writers.

The world of writing and authorship is not an easy world to break into. There are only a handful of traditional publishers left in the world, because as with everything else in the business world, they merge and buy each other out creating large and unwieldy businesses that answer to no one. As funny as it seems, they don't even answer to the reading public, their final consumers. They have to make a buck, or a pound, or a euro to stay in business. Unfortunately what that means for the writing world in general is the readers get cheated out of great writing and fantastic stories. Their world of the next great novel or book is now nothing more than lavishing money on a famous person whether they are an author or not.

Is reading another book ghost written for someone named Clinton really worth the thirty dollars they charge? Do you want to buy a novel by a famous name that doesn't even write their own work any longer? Somehow I can't see myself farming out my work to others no matter how successful I was. That just isn't me.

What you can find (and you don't have to look very hard) is a group of talented authors who have poured their hearts and souls into their works. They cover all genres and write with a great many styles, and they have passion for their work. Not all writers are as good as they think they are and reviews of work can be helpful. That being said, how many times have you purchased a book from a big publisher and been disappointed? If passion for their craft is the type of author you want to read, find them. You won't be disappointed. Most are available through Amazon and Kindle as well as other venues.

Here are a few to look for....

Tomas Braun; Mercenaries of Earth
Rosemary Fryth; Dark Confluence
Dawn Smith: Crimson Fury
IE Castellano: The World In-Between
Kate Aaron: Fenton, The Loneliest Vampire
Jeanette Raleigh: Giggles
Traci Hilton: Buyer's Remorse
Saxon Andrew: Ashes of the Realm

...and many many others.

The range of writing is wonderful and the personalities vibrant. Happy reading.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I could not make this up

A few weeks ago the highest rated A.M. radio station in town was told by their out-of-town corporate management to cut costs, much of which involved firing a number of staffers, both air personalities and behind-the-scenes workers.

This purge occurred on a Thursday. One of the people let go was filling in for the normal early morning drive-time host, had ended his shift that day at 9:00 by telling folks "see you tomorrow", and within a few minutes was gone from the station. This not only prompted the regular host to return the next day, but also forced the station to scramble to find a fill-in host for their local spots for Saturday and Sunday.

This past Sunday the station debuted a new "local" show featuring three women, at least one of whom is a former long time Columbus radio host. I say "local" show because of that connection, although the show is a branded and syndicated show that is not necessarily local.

I had the great misfortune to tune into this show on Sunday. It was billed as "the stuff women talk about". Perhaps that should have given me a clue, but I tried it anyway. During the Ten Minutes Of My Life I Will Never Get Back And Which May Have Left Me Permanently Scarred, I heard these women talk about vodkatinis and other recipes for drinking vodka, talking about people who are always mean (including one of their grandmothers who could be talked about meanly as long as you said, "God rest her soul" several times), and some other vapid drivel which has thankfully not burrowed itself into my brain.

If this is really "what women talk about", then I am not only thankful that I am not a woman, but I am beginning to be very concerned for the state of mind of womankind in general.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A sense of passing time

It is with sadness that I witnessed the passing of CBS news long-time newscaster Mike Wallace. Though it is always a notable event when someone of his stature and history passes, it caught me a little different.

He was a fixture of 60 Minutes. He was the one who drew the heaviest hitters and newsmakers of the day. He didn't pull punches and seemed to me to ask the direct questions. He put people in uncomfortable situations they had to answer for. Like all of us, I'm sure he had his demons to some extent. At least he seemed to keep whatever they were mostly out of the public limelight.

What gave me pause was when I think of the years he spanned. He was a multi-generational newsman. Most tend to think of generations as being separate. My father had his generation and I have mine and my children and grandchildren will have theirs. But generations overlap. Beloved Father would have been the same age as Mike Wallace; 93. How is that multi-generational you say? My father watched 60 Minutes religiously and it became a fixture on Sunday night in our home. He in effect handed Mr. Wallace off to me and my siblings. As a group we have always kept up with national and current events of substance. (None of us to my knowledge are much of the celebrity watching genre).

In that way I can relate to one who began his career in my father's time and ended his career in 'my time'. Although Walter Cronkite walked into my living room nightly in my formative years, he would still resonate with my father's generation more than mine, although he sticks in my memory to this day.

There aren't many national figures left I can think of that will cross that line as I move on in life. To that end my father's generation in passing by. I will miss them as I miss him.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Annoying to the Nth degree

There is a television commercial currently running in which a car with four early-twentysomething occupants comes to a stop as three of the occupants are singing along to a song by Spandau Ballet (an annoyance in itself that grinds on the ears; the song, not their singing).

The driver turns down the radio and asks "Do you hear that?" He is answered by, "Dude, that's Spandau Ballet!"  (I do not believe any of these people were alive when this song was a hit, but that's neither here or there.)

The earnest driver then goes on about the E-assist that is running now that the car is stopped, and his passengers again complain, "He did this all the way to the restaurant!", to which he responds along the lines of "gas mileage" and concludes with an almost agonized plea of, "C'mon, this is important!"

It is not enough that we are continuously being bombarded by messages subtle, and less so, about global warming, saving the planet, green energy, and the like, but the worst part by far is how smugly superior and "caring" these people think they are, compared to those of us in the Great Unwashed.

While I am all for doing my part to be careful with the environment, I believe that mankind cannot destroy the planet, even if we set off all the nuclear bombs on earth at once.

And I do not need some smarmy, earnest know(nothing)-it-all insisting he is better than me because he "cares".