Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Writing Propaganda Machine

This is a business that's so brutal and competitive than cults evolve to create their own worlds outside of mainstream writing. I'm about to give up on writing commentary about publishing and concentrate on getting decently published. To hell with all of the PA, POD vanity press discussion: They're all worthless so why even talk with people so duped thery can't tell the difference? I'm done with it. The warnings are out and anyone who does it now deserves what they get. I've been pounded by vanity trolls and hell, even legitimate writers and reviewers like Paul Guyot (screen--TV) and David Montgomery ( freelance crime reviewer). Like fanfiction writers, whoare nothing more than ignorant plagiarists, vanity press authors are a cult.

The fact of the matter is they're also irrelevant. I'm out of it and on to the real business of journalism and science. It's just a negative drain for people who don't deserve any effort expended on their behalf. For those who insulted me, "Screw you and the goats you rode in on." This Bud's for me. Cheers.

Update: Whenever I leave a site after a long heated battle with vanity shills, trolls, regulars intent on personal insults over my views on publishing, it's standard proceddure to check to see what folks are saying. This thread at Lee Goldberg's takes the cake. I respect Lee but Christ even his friends are insulting trolls. It's like grade school all over again. No thanks.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Kerry's Plan II

Yesterday, I laid out a 9 point plan to get it right in Iraq. Here are 3 steps the President can take this weekend to start getting it right in Iraq and ensure greater security for our troops.

1) The President heads to Europe this weekend. He needs to bring home more commitments from our allies to shore up Iraq's borders, invest more in reconstruction and do more training of Iraqi troops. A secure and stable Iraq is in the best interest of every nation across Europe and the Middle East.

2) Send a message across the Middle East that Iraq's neighbor countries must do more to stop the rise of terrorism in Iraq. We need countries like Saudi Arabia to keep their commitment to help pay for reconstruction efforts in Iraq so the Iraqi people get electricity, water and better roads.

We also need help from Iraq's neighbors in shoring up the borders so foreign fighters and terrorists can't get in and can't get out. The President needs to take his tough message to the region and enlist support for our mission. The best way to stop the growth of terrorism is by enlisting more Arab allies.

3) Truly honor our troops' sacrifices in Iraq by immediately covering the one billion dollar shortfall in funding for veterans care this year here at home and increasing funding for armor and necessary supplies for our troops over in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He's right. Unless these steps are taken immediately the effort will continue to flounder.

Florida Biologist Reinstated

Fellow federal biologist Andrew Eller has been given his job back at USFWS. For once politicised science has failed. Good work campaigners.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Hillary Fiction

Oh yeah, how about a new conservative line of books. Sheesh. Smear away USA!

Shelby Foote 1917-2005

A true character of the South and literary giant is gone. He wrote these epic historical works longhand with a fountain pen. This makes David McCullough's Royal typewriter and Tom Wolfe's Olivetti look like the future; unreal skill and technique.

Kerry's Plan

It was the best plan of action during the failed campaign and still is.
If Mr. Bush fails to take these steps, we will stumble along, our troops at greater risk, casualties rising, costs rising, the patience of the American people wearing thin, and the specter of quagmire staring us in the face. Our troops deserve better: they deserve leadership equal to their sacrifice.

Rats in the Slushpile

Would be and current authors would do well to read Michael Allen's thesis on publishing. It's a free download. As with icebergs we can only see the top third. This holds true with anything in the arts. All we see are the survivors not the 1500 who drowned in the process.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Wall Street Wingnuts

More naysayer nonsense from WSJ on global warming torn to bits by real scientists here at Take a look. This a key passage for me.
The natural causes of past climate variations are increasingly well-understood, and they cannot explain the recent global warming. As discussed elsewhere on this site, modeling studies indicate that the modest cooling of hemispheric or global mean temperatures during the 15th-19th centuries (relative to the warmer temperatures of the 11th-14th centuries) appears to have been associated with a combination of lowered solar irradiance and a particularly intense period of explosive volcanic activity. When these same models are forced with only natural radiative forcing during the 20th century [see e.g. Crowley (2000)] they actually exhibit a modest cooling trend. In other words, the same natural forcings that appear responsible for the modest large-scale cooling of the "Little Ice Age" should have lead to a cooling trend during the 20th century (some warming during the early 20th century arises from a modest apparent increase in solar irradiance at that time, but the increase in volcanism during the late 20th century leads to a net negative 20th century trend in natural radiative forcing). In short, given natural forcing factors alone, we should have basically remained in the "Little Ice Age". The only way to explain the upturn in temperatures during the 20th century, as shown by Crowley (2000) and many others, is indeed through the additional impact of anthropogenic (i.e., human) factors, on top of the natural factors.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Stephen King's Commencement Speech

Fantastic speech at the U Maine graduation by author Stephen King on C-Span.

Stay in Maine; Stay in Maine; Stay in Maine. As King says, it's a special place one has to leave to appreciate. In my family, we've known it since 1761 which is why my major writing topic is Maine history.

Brain Trust?

Here's a typical social discussion over at Mindfart Series forum. With the two exceptions of Fred Dungan and Harry Simenon the latter of The Netherlands. Most claim to be Christians in this group, but the majority are naive wingnuts. This is about immigration and of course the bible-thumpers are outraged, blowhards and conservative bandwagoners who just want Mexico to care for its own. Yeah right. Sure they should but reality dictates they won't so that lofty ideal is a moot overgeneralization fallacy. Wingnut pseudo-publisher Lynn Price rails on about her taxes and stretched services in California, but makes no mention that her vegetables are all picked by illegals. Maybe she should quit eating them in protest? What about the farmer that hires them or her neighbors who do to clean their overpriced houses? No mention of those painful stubborn facts is there?

Then there's the San Antonio writer who affirms all of the above fallacies. Of course she publishes him. His subject matter? He's a Jesus expert. In his own mind that is. Yeah a real compassionate conservative. Give me a break.

Article Links

I've moved all of my stories to Yahoo because of complaints that MSN wouldn't allow readers to access them. Some could, but in the recent barage of trollery criticism, I want everything in the open. One called me a fraud for deliberately "hiding" them. Now they can find another excuse.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Tom Cruise

Well, I watched the infamous show on Oprah today by virtue of a ten-day grounding by a doctor after injuring my leg on an ATV last week. The good news is I still get paid; one of the benefits of being a federal employee. I worked with Cruise on Jerry Maguire in Tempe, AZ in 1996. I was only a sideline reporter/extra but I was in close proximity during the hot all night shoot. I remember making eye contact and the acknowledgement as one actor to another at three in the morning. Since Tom Cruise, aka Thomas Mopather, made millions to my 100's of dollars I paid attention to what he did.

He worked hard; intense and focused on the scenes. He exuded confidence and command of the scene. In short I was impressed with his professionalism. Years later I worked on Magnolia on one set while he filmed another in an adjacent room and a hotel in Santa Clarita, Calif. Same thing from what I could detect. The extras in LA all concluded with complete clarity and conviction that Cruise was gay. I scoffed at the time and still do. He's bonkers for the cute Katie Holmes and I can't imagine that is a ruse, anymore than Hollywood marriages are in general.

I think the Scientology thing is whacked but even smart people sign on to weird things. The bottomline is movie stars start out just like you and I. Their drive and possibly talent spur them to great success. There's nothing wrong with that. It's the America we know.

Google Ads

I've filtered out the ads from vanity presses from Google since I've been charged with hypocrisy on the subject. I hadn't even looked at them until recently. The ad content is generated by the text content and since I rail against vanity presses by virtue of having two of them, any nick in my armor is exploited by the commenters who like the vanity presses. Consider it done.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

PBS on the Chopping Block

What a travesty that fake balance, read that wingnuttery, directed from the White House be ingrained in public broadcasting. We must do our master's bidding. What a crock.

Monday, June 20, 2005

New Vanity Presses

Pubishamerica spawns look-a-likes who add some aspects of a real publisher but still go POD and then sell nothing just like the rest of the vanity presses despite claiming to market. PW reviews the occasional one and that's good. Alas, still vanity even with that addon. Look at the numbers. Want to bet on shelf placement? I've never seen one in a store.

Guts in the Senate

It's about time, but they'll ram Bolton in somehow.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Banned at Mindsight

I made about five posts at the Mindsight forum and was banned in one day. It's an amazing tankfull of POD dweebs who can't stand real information about publishing. The group was among the first to be ripped off by Publishamerica and still haven't learned anything. They just go from vanity press to vanity press long after the word has been out three years ago.

Two things, since I didn't clarify the assertion enough: the folks who frequent Pod-dy-mouth can be morons. They are vanity press bandwagoneers; anti-commercial publishing sore losers in the game. The idea that POD vanity presses are taking over the publishing world is laughable. They're taking over the slushpile and that's all. Any book can be obtained from a store and the special order desk. Real books are found on the shelves. That's how you tell the difference.

Of course the only way a Mindsighter gets a book in a store is to buy it first and consign it in a Kansas store.

Here's one that's screaming off the presses.

Or this one from the moderator who bought boxloads of his own book from Publishamerica. Who Needs a hero? A space cliche straight from the Turkey City lexicon.
Space Western
The most pernicious suite of used furniture. The grizzled space captain swaggering into the spacer bar and slugging down a Jovian brandy, then laying down a few credits for a space hooker to give him a Galactic Rim Job.

Who indeed.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Altered Grazing Study

The Bush administration altered critical portions of a scientific analysis of the environmental impact of cattle grazing on public lands before announcing Thursday that it would relax regulations limiting grazing on those lands, according to scientists involved in the study.

Same thing they do with all studies these days. This defines politicised science and it's a Bush MO. With enthusiastic religiousity they alter the science into a lie. I work for the agency BLM now so I can't comment on anything specific, but my sources tell me this is even more common at the lower levels of management. The lawsuits are rampant because the agency refuses to follow the management plan. They don't call it the Bureau of Livestock and Mining for nothing: The Dark Side. Under Bush it's all dark all the time. I will continue to expose this and provide solid scientific documentation of the real conditions on the ground, be they bad or good in individual cases. That's my job. What they do afterwards is on their shoulders not mine.

The End of the Never-Ending Publishamerica Thread

Well Jenna Glatzer ran out of patience I guess and closed the thread at absolutewrite. The quality had indeed declined as of late but I don't condone this type of heavy-handed owner control of speech in a forum. She banned me for a genuine disagreement over amateur reviews so I'm not surprised. She wasn't initially for the whole campaign anyway since it's basically a war that Publisnamerica is still winning. I don't see how squelching discussion will help. It's more like changing the channel and stucking one's head back in the sand. Whatever. It's her operation and I want no part of it.

Monday, June 13, 2005

The Legacy of Mining

"Electric-blue, purple and green, the water that drips from the walls and ceilings in the Richmond Mine near Redding, Calif., is so acidic that it once dissolved a steel shovel left overnight in a puddle."

A chilling Pandora's Box legacy of poison.

Vanity on NPR

I was at the LA Times Festival of Books and when I walked by the the vanity tents I saw no one there. The piece is another of the man/woman writes book variety just like the sort that makes local papers. They never actually review one of these books as reported in the story. What I remember is John Dean signing books alone at the end of a long day since his panel was at 11:30 a.m. It's discouraging that the reporter had a copy of her book with her that she most likely bought herself. That's the reality of it.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Losing Amazon

The ecoregion not the online bookseller. "It is all about money," said Napuli, a 31-year-old tribesman. "If they try to keep land for tribes like us, they would lose the money they would make on farming." In other words it's the money stupid. He's an astute observer. It's a damn shame our primitive people aren't this smart.

First Novels

These are the publishers who have published first novels. None of them are vanity publishers. When I first looked into POD publishers in 2000 I did so for a term paper on the future of publishing: digital versus print. At the time the big houses were experimenting with this as a way to find new talent. While it still can happen the industry is distancing itself from the POD companies. That's a fact, not an opinion.

I continue to be attacked by sensitive vanity authors, many of whom run editing services for novice writers and thus are great promoters of vanity presses. That's a conflict of interest and a tainted opinion. To advocate vanity publication one has to suspend factual analysis and head straight for a faith-based approach. Not surprising as with Publishamerica a more naive conservative religious-based clientele tend to believe these companies will help them create a writing career. They won't. I've also edited my intro to nonfiction writer, since author is a loaded term in this divisive atmosphere. The charge was I claim POD authors aren't really authors so how can I be? It's a fair question.

I certainly would defer that title to those with commercial publication. Hemingway was an author. He also started as a journalist, which is where many future authors train. I defend that path to publication, and, as anyone can see for themselves here, my diploma and published clips document my efforts down this same road. I could have rested on two POD books, long scientific career, and claimed expert author status, but I didn't. That's the difference between wannabes and the real thing. My work continues to be under review at top literary agencies in New York. That's the only way to the top or the bottom rung of the ladder for that matter. The deniers are wrong.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Global Warming Move

They moved Valdez four miles after the 1964 quake but I don't believe they've ever moved a stationary village due to warming. Until now that is. Shishmaref

Politicised Science

The Memo

Yeah who needs genetics to protect endangered species? Without that evidence we can say BS like hatchery fish and wild fish are the same.


Here's a recent brain-dropping on a post about altering science reports. Notice the expert analysis of my work. Brilliant!
Well hello mark.

Im just curious as to why you seem to love making rude comment on POD-Dy Mouth girl's blog? Are you like 5 years old?

I bought your book, just to see exactly how you write (a POD book nonetheless) and.. im appauled. You honest to god, truely wrote this book? My 3 year old son could have done that.

Wait. Are you a lesbian? :)

What's a Journalist?

Here we go again, first the blog mob and now the real book reviewers get into the fight over what a journalist is. This is a quasi-generalist term that's meaningless when anyone who types a word about anything qualifies.

This is my response to Jim Fusilli who writes reviews for the Wall Street Journal and others and is a crime novelist, from Goldberg's blog. It came about from a series of insults from David Montgomery a freelance reviewer, about my journalistic qualifications. I've never had so many insults as I have over this J-degree from those who don't have one.
I'm really sick of this. I defined it as a separate niche in the media, but it isn't reporting per se which was what Lee was referring to. Everyone in this business is so touchy about their turf. The question becomes in this light, what is journalism? Then we get anyone with a blog is a journalist, yet those are and mostly opinion. But there are opinion journalists although columnist seems to be the term used by the papers. The editorial page is separate from from the news, yet most people don't know the difference. They think it's all opinion, so this muddies the water further in my view.

Like I said I have a degree in journalism and they don't have a course on review writing. They have reems of them about reporting all of the areas of the news. Reviewing doesn't require interviewing the source. You can be extremely selective about what you write about. Pod-dy-mouth in turn is doing journalism because she's conducting interviews and reporting new information. Connelly did that as a crime reporter. I do it to as an environmental journalist from far-flung field investigations.

Jim can defend his territory but I can defend mine as well. If you don't agree then don't agree. That's your choice, but blatant self-interest certainly governs the sensitivity. Reviewing is more like PR than journalism from my training. Saying that isn't an insult to anyone unless you let it be. Making biologist cracks is.

Fusilli's logic path and thesis is here:
There's something going on here that's beyond me, but to the point, I'd say reviewers are journalists, and Michiko's a good example of why. Her expertise is conveyed through adherence to a consistent set of standards, she writes clearly and her work almost always bears evidence of reportage and empirical knowledge. Tom Nolan's a good example in our field: When he reviews Robert Parker, Dennis Lehane, Denise Hamilton or Laura Lippman, for instance, he brings to the assignment a proven expertise in the history of American detective fiction as demonstrated by his Ross Macdonald bio, which I'd call a significant work of journalism. Like Michiko's, Tom's work as a reviewer is informed by his journalism and, in my opinion, is journalism.

The standards issue is the most important part and this and dervives from the code of ethics and standards not followed by amateurs. Journalism though requires original reporting. Everyone reviewing the same book really isn't the same thing as reporting news. That's the only point I was making, but of course I touched a niche nerve and was attacked for it. Ridiculed is more like it.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Climate Crime

More of evidence of politicized altering scientific conclusions by Bush aides. This one a former petroleum institute lobbyist. This the same thing Gale Norton did with the ANWR caribou calving data. This is why these people can't be trusted. They're all shills, especially the president.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Bears in My Yard

From Leslie Stahl's report tonight of 60 Minutes.
"There's only room for so many out there in this area. And the food source is only going to support so many. It'd be like us putting 1,000 head of cows into a pasture that may only feed 500 head," says Bales.

Yeah well, that's exactly what ranchers DO do with America's public lands to the detriment of the land. As for the bears, they're a sign of a healthy ecosystem. Moreover if cows are killed the US government pays for them. It's standard policy.
"We've been told that outside the park no one in the state of Wyoming has been killed by a grizzly bear in 100 years," says Stahl.
"My response to that is, and I don’t mean to be flippant, but, so?" says French. "It doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen, that it’s not coming."

Argument from ignorance.

Cattleman Curt Bales says the bears will never drive him off the ranch, but feels something has to be done.

"You have to realize that there’s a place for everything, and the grizzly bear’s place is not everywhere that it ever once was," says Bales. "You know, California had grizzly bears. We could put ‘em back in California. It’d suit me just fine."

How about Central Park? "That would work, too," says Bales.

"You'd love to see that," says Stahl.

"We have to be realistic," says Bales. "You know, down in the suburbs of Cody is not grizzly bear habitat."

Well no history in New York but black bears are all over the suburbs into PA. Reintroduce grizzlies to California is fine with me as well. Cattleheads like this guy are radical extirpatists. What he won't own up to is the fact that he's a welfare case on the American taxpyer. The land he's recreated for us sucks. Welcome to reality buddy. Now get out or shut up.


I've never seen such shilling for the Bush administration as I just did by Chris Wallace of FOX NEWS Sunday questioning the Amnesty Int. representative Shultz, a minister. Loaded questions, sidestepping, appeal to emotion and so on. This is not a legitmate news network. It's a jingoistic propaganda machine. What questions? It was an attack for an exaggerated "gulag" comment about documented torture. Just because not every prisoner was tortured, doesn't mean there is no significance to those who were. Trust me, the "enemies" will remember the latter.

Wallace went on to pointedly question Gordon Liddy anyway so it's a matter of an easy mark when you have one on hand. Liddy actually deserved it by comparison.

Saturday, June 04, 2005


I went to the resting place of Ernest Hemingway today in Ketchum. The house isn't open to the public and sits up a private gated road not visible to anyone. It's an odd thing really. My dad knew him in WWII from D-day and beyond. "Ernie was crude," he said.

BookExpo America

Yesterday's editor panel on publishing reiterates the fallacy of print on demand. "If the books aren't returnable and in front of the audience," said Gillian Blake of Bloomsbury," then they have no chance. It's all about presentation." Bookstores will take a chance on first time authors if the books are backed with returnability she said. That's the deal in a nutshell.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Republican Shills

Have these false pietists no shame? I guess not.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The Scam America Story

It just gets more pathetic all the time.

"and their victorious legions of authors: The inside story of PublishAmerica."

What's there to say that takes 327 pages. Meiners must have plagiarized someone .

Train New Leaders

"Unless we provide Iraq with good leadership, our plan to spread democracy, which looked so close to victory two years ago, will end in defeat."

Anyone want to bet that the nimrods running this show will listen to a ground grunt? They should, and
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