Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Save Your Pennies

Yep, save those pennies and cash in those aluminum cans. You'll need them for the release of THE TOYMAN RIDES AGAIN in March 2010. I was afraid that with the economy the way it is my book might get canceled, but it's hanging in.

Interesting day today. A very elderly man from down the other side of our cul-de-sac came to my house in his walker, almost forced his way inside, and started telling me something. Unfortunately, he speaks only Russian. Fortunately, I have a nephew-in-law with a Ukranian e-bride and, with judicious use of a phone in speaker mode, was able to learn that "bandits were in his house" and I should call the police. I checked the house, which was empty (as best I could tell without walking in), and called the cops as asked. They arrived 30-40 minutes later and took the old gent away, after again using the services of my family translator.
Only one thing bothered me. The cop made a couple of notes on his memo pad. He asked me my name, which I gave him. Then he asked me my age. What in the name of Nimitz does that have to do with anything? I refused.

As this was going on a couple of other neighbors gathered outside and the guy next door told me someone stole his company truck as he went into a store to buy his morning coffee. He even walked past the thief coming out as he was going in. The kicker is he'd left the keys in the ignition and the engine running. He's an electrician and there were a lot of tools and parts in the truck that he'll likely never see again. I just hope he doesn't get canned for his lapse of judgment.

What did I do during the inauguration? Sat on the flightline in a pea soup fog freezing my tail off. That's a memory I'll take to the grave.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Book Cover

Here's the cover of the book I mentioned on my last blog. I like its pulpy look.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy Bleeping New Year

I'm starting 2009 with the flu. That's what I get for taking a flu shot this year.

I spent the time between Xmas and New Year's in Oregon, visiting with friends. One day they marched me to 500 Goodwill stores, book stores, and a couple of cheap eateries in the cold and rain, which probably helped lay me low. Nevertheless, I had a very good time and it was fun to talk of fannish things to kindred spirits.

One book I found in Portland is called Sex and Rockets, by John Carter (not of Mars). It tells the story of Marvel W. Parsons, alias John Parsons, alias Jack Parsons. As John Parsons he was a brilliant chemist who co-founded the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and invented the JATO system for aircraft (jet-assisted takeoff). His inventions are still used by NASA today.

As Jack Parsons he was a disciple of Aleister Crowley (The Great Beast) and practiced arcane rituals and black magick in his large L.A. home. My interest in Parsons is linked to the latter discipline, in that one of the kooks he brought into his life back then was L. Ron Hubbard, one of the biggest flim-flammers of history. About all Parsons got from his relationship with Hubbard was a business partnership in which LRH put up $1,800 and Parsons put up $20,000. Soon after Hubbard absconded with ten grand and Parsons' girlfriend. It was possible that this period of his life taught Hubbard how to practice mind control, use gobbledygook argot, and run scams on the trusting and naive, a skill he would put to effective use a short time later with his Dianetics/Scientology scam.

I wish there had been more about the Hubbard/Parsons relationship in this book, and less of the incantations and spells, but it is interesting for what it is--the life of a brilliant but confused and foolish man.

This is a new book and can be purchased at you local book dealer's or on line.