Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Mariner 10 flies by Mercury, 1974

Mariner 10, launched November 3, 1973, became the first spacecraft to encounter Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun. It made ultraviolet observations of Comet Kohoutek in January 1974 and passed Venus February 5. It made its first flyby of Mercury March 29, 1974.  The second was September 21 and the third (and last) March 16, 1975.

It was decommissioned about a week later.

My favorite movies - 1974

1974 is another year that I cannot pick one favorite out of so many good ones, so I chose my top 4 plus an "honorable mention".  In just these five films, I think everybody in Hollywood made it onto the screen.  Each one has a stellar cast, whether comedy, drama or action.  How many actors and actresses can we name that did NOT appear in one of these!

Blazing Saddles starring Mel Brooks, Cleavon Little, Madeline Kahn, Gene Wilder and everybody else.

Young Frankenstein starring Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman and everybody else.

The Towering Inferno starring Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Faye Dunaway and everybody else.

Earthquake starring Charlton Heston, George Kennedy, Ava Gardner and everybody else.

Murder on the Orient Express (honorable mention) starring Michael York, Sean Connery, Lauren Bacall and everybody else.

The Donald paves the way for the U.S. to become the world's biggest polluter

Yesterday, The Donald signed an executive order, telling the Environmental Protection Agency to reverse its course on the Clean Power Plan which President Obama put in place to reduce greenhouse gases from power plants.  According to the New York Times, The Donald said coal miners were going back to work.

This was part of The Donald's campaign promises but many say it is not going to work.  First of all, the demand for coal has been declining as (cheaper) natural gas and renewable energy sources are on the rise.  No energy company has plans to build new coal-burning plants, so The Donald's promises are just going to be hot air.  Like many of his other campaign "promises".  The move may save coal mining jobs from being eliminated, but not created.

The U.S. had signed the Paris Agreement in 2015 as part of a global effort to reduce carbon emissions and slow global warming.  The New York Times reports that the U.S. is the second biggest polluter in the world, so what will happen if The Donald takes us out of it?

The U.S. might become the world's biggest polluter!  Is that what The Donald meant by making America "great" again?

Happy birthday, Couselor Troi!

Beautiful and talented Marina Sirtis, born March 29, 1955 in London, is best known to us Trekkies as Counselor Deanna Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation.  After auditioning for Star Trek, she was planning to fly back to London, but got the call that she had been given the role of Counselor Troi right before boarding the plane.  All about that timing!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Happy birthday, Reba!

Reba McEntire, one of the goddesses of country music, celebrates her birthday today.  Born March 28, 1955 in McAlester, Oklahoma, she graduated from Kiowa High School and attended Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, before starting her music career.

To date she has released over 30 albums, won 7 Academy of Country Music awards for Top Female Vocalist, and 12 American Music Awards for Favorite Country Female Artist of the Year.

Monday, March 27, 2017

My favorite movies: 1968-1973

My favorite moview from 1968-1973.  I got to 1974 and it's going to be another year where there are so many movies it is going to be hard to choose.

1968: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang starring Dick Van Dyke and Sally Ann Howes

1969: Hello, Dolly! starring Barbara Streisand and Walter Matthau

1970: Airport starring Dean Martin, Helen Hayes, George Kennedy and everybody else.

1971: Bedknobs and Broomsticks starring Angela Lansbury and David Tomlinson

1972: The Poseidon Adventure starring Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons and everybody else.

1972 (runner-up): What's Up, Doc? starring Barbara Streisand and Ryan O'Neal.

1973: The Three Musketeers starring Michael York, Faye Dunaway, Charlton Heston and everybody else.

1973 (runner-up): Enter the Dragon starring Bruce Lee and John Saxon.

Venera 8, Venus lander, launched 1972

Venera 8, the Soviet lander, was launched March 27, 1972 and made a successful landing on Venus July 22.  It transmitted during its descent and continued to transmit for just over 50 minutes after landing.  It confirmed the high temperatures and high pressures discovered by Venera 7 about a year and a half earlier.

Venera 8 showed that the Venusian clouds end at a high altitude and the atmosphere is mostly clear at ground level.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

My favorite movies 1963-1967

1963 The Birds with Tippi Heddrin and Rod Taylor, Jessica Tandy with Veronica Cartwright.

1964 Mary Poppins: starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke

1965 The Sound of Music: starring Julie Andews and Christopher Plummer

1966 The Trouble with Angels starring Rosalind Russell and Mary Wickes

1967 Walt Disney's the Jungle Book starring Phil Harris and Sebastian Cabot.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

My favorite movies - 1962

The latest Facebook challenge is to lists your favorite film from each year that you have been alive.  I started in 1962 (duh!) and the plan was to list several years at a time so I'm not posting these for the next year, but when I looked at the films from 1962, I couldn't narrow them down to just one.  So I listed five (not in any particular order)

The Manchurian Candidate (favorite thriller) starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey and Angela Lansbury.

The Music Man (favorite musical) starring Robert Preston and Shirley Jones.

Hatari! (favorite action movie) starring John Wayne and Red Buttons

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (favorite psychological thriller) starring Joan Crawford and Bette Davis

The Brain That Wouldn't Die (favorite sci-fi, guilty pleasure) starring Jason Evans and Virginia Leith.

Sputnik 10 launched 1961 with Zvezdochka (space dog safely recovered!)

Sputnik 10 (or Korabl-Sputnik 5 in the west) launched March 25, 1961, carrying Zvezdochka, a small dog who was recovered safely.  The mission also carried a mannequin, which was ejected upon descent to test the ejector seat.  It was also recovered without damage.

Zvezdochka's flight lasted only an hour and forty-six minutes but took rescuers 24 hours to find the capsule.  The landing occurred during a snowstorm so it took rescuers a while to find out where Zvezdochka touched down.

There isn't much information on Zvezdochka, not even its sex.  From the picture above and the video below, Zvezdochka looks like she(?) is a terrier-chihuahua mix.

Friday, March 24, 2017

First Belgian in space, Space Shuttle Atlantis launched 1992

STS-45 Atlantis crew - Seated (L-R): Pilot Brian Duffy, Commander Charles F. Bolden, Jr.
Standing (L-R): Payload Specialist Byron K. Lichtenberg, Mission Specialist Michael Foale, Mission Specialist David C. Leestma, Mission Specialist Kathryn D. Sullivan, Payload Specialist Dirk Frimout

Space Shuttle Atlantis blasted off March 24, 1992 on its eleventh flight and the 46th for the space shuttle program.  On board was Dirk Dries David Damiaan, Viscount Frimout, born in Poperinge, Belgium, making him the first Belgian astronaut.  Charles Bolden served as Commander of the mission, his third trip into space.  Charles later became the first African-American administrator of NASA.

"Dick Dancers" gets 4 Hearts from!

Prime gave Dick Dancers 4 Hearts!  Thank you, Prime! Read the entire review below:
Reviewer: Prime
Review: I’m going to keep this one short, not just because this is a short story but because I don’t want to ruin the element of surprise of this book. We are introduced to Joel, who for the sake of brevity can be a selfish prick, as well as his sweet and caring boyfriend, Sam. Joel is a sought after dancer at the club where he works and ends up with a stalker.
This is a well written book and I got quickly engrossed with the story, despite the fact I did not like Joel particularly well from the beginning. All I’m going to say is that I did not see the end with this one and I hope that there could be another short giving a bit more…and that is all!

Purchase your copy of Dick Dancers here:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Gemini 3 launched 1965

Gemini 3 crew: Gus Grissom (L) and John Young

Gemini 3, the first American two-man mission in space and the first flight of NASA's Gemini program, launched from Cape Kennedy March 23, 1965.  Commander Virgil "Gus" Grissom and Pilot John Young made history.  Grissom had nicknamed the spacecraft Molly Brown, after the musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown, in hopes that the fate of his Mercury flight, Liberty Bell would not repeat itself.  Liberty Bell sank after splashdown.

Although, Gemini 3 did not sink, a miscalculation from the wind tunnel tests put the capsule 45 miles from its intended splashdown point.  Grissom and Young had to wait half an hour before they were recovered.

Oklahoma Higway Patrol facing huge budget cuts

First, Oklahoma City announces it might have to close schools because of budget cuts.  Now the Oklahoma Highway Patrol is bracing for the next round of cuts.  The agency is still reeling from cuts it experienced last year.  Since the state legislature refuses to end tax breaks and incentives for oil and gas, Oklahoma is facing a $900,000,000 budget deficit.

OHP Chief Rick Adams said:
"These cuts will force deeper operational restrictions, elimination of missions, possible closure of Headquarters, furloughs, and possible layoffs of troopers and other DPS employees. This Public Safety Crisis harms DPS and the OHP and will put lives at risk."
So what's Governor Scary Failing to do?  Cut funding to one of the most important agencies dedicated to our safety, of course!

Currently OHP has only about 600 officers, but ideally, they would have 950.  There were 845 in 1990.  Twenty-six percent of the force is close to retiring, and with no money for OHP training, it's going to be difficult to replace them.

ZZ Top releases "Eliminator" 1983

The best ZZ Top album ever and one of the best rock albums ever, Eliminator was released March 23, 1983.  It included such monster hits as Gimme All Your Lovin', Sharp Dressed Man and Legs.  TV Dinners was also released as a single but I don't remember hearing it on the radio.  I do remember seeing the video on MTV.  ZZ Top's videos from the album featured a souped-up 1933 Ford Coupe and fuzzy guitars that could spin 360°.

Eliminator was certified Diamond, meaning it has sold at least 10,000,000 copies.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Back to the moon?

How many of you have wanted to go to the moon?  Everybody?  Well, we’re all nerds here so I’m not surprised. 

What is a surprise is NASA’s announcement that there is the possibility of astronauts returning to the moon as early as next year.  2018 is the fiftieth anniversary year of Apollo 8, which was the first spacecraft to reach and orbit our natural satellite.  Commander Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders left Earth’s orbit, circled the moon a few times and returned home safely.

Acting NASA administrator Robert Lightfoot said last month he wants to fast-track the heavy-lift rocket, Space Launch System (SLS), which has been in development since 2004.  Original plans called for the SLS to make an unmanned flight to the moon in 2018 and a manned mission would follow 3-5 years later.  Lightfoot acknowledged the challenges for hurrying the project but wants to discover the opportunities it would provide for getting humans farther into space.

Earthlings haven’t been to the moon since Apollo 17 in 1972 and the space shuttle program was shut down in 2011.  Of course, NASA has experienced mixed signals from presidents ever since.  Bush I said we’re going to Mars.  Then Obama said ‘no’ but changed it to ‘yes’ later on.  And The Donald has actually expressed interest in beefing up the space program.

But there has to be more than just talk. NASA’s budget is less than a third of what it was in the mid-1960’s (adjusted for inflation) when we built and flew Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Skylab.  NASA needs support to get people back to the moon, because it is going to be a long road from there to Mars.

And I want to go.

First Mongolian in space, Soyuz 39, launched 1981

March 22, 1981, Jugderdemidiin Gurragchaa blasted off in Soyuz 39 and became the first Mongolian astronaut.  Mongolia became the 10th country to put a man into space.  His backup was Maidarjavyn Ganzorig, also from Mongolia but he never went to space.  Gurragchaa's fellow cosmonaut on the mission was Vladimir Dzhanibekov.

Soyuz 39 carried the eighth crew to Salyut 6.  They installed cosmic ray detectors to determine the amount of exposure spacecraft crews were receiving.  The last two days of the mission were devoted to studying Mongolia from space.  They returned to Earth March 30, spending just 8 days in space.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Celebrating World Down Syndrome Day - Jamie Brewster, actress/model

World Down Syndrome Day, observed March 21,  was started in 2011 to raise public awareness and advocating for rights, inclusion and well being of people with Down Syndrome, a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all orpart of a third copy of chromosome 21.  People affected with DS experience physical growth delays, characteristic facial features and mild to moderate intellectual disability but this can vary widely.

Education and proper care have shown to improve quality of life.  People with Down Syndrome have been making great strides in advances in all aspects of life, which were formerly off-limits.

As with Black History Month, I decided to feature someone with Down Syndrome who has made history.  Jamie Brewster is best known for her roles in the anthology American Horror Story with Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett.

I've liked her since the first season, because of her starring in non-stereotypical roles.  Her characters aren't written for characters with DS, showing her versatility and broad talent, playing a suburban daughter, a witch and wife to Neil Patrick Harris' character.

In February 12, she became the first model with Down Sydrome to walk the runway during New York Fashion Week.

Oklahoma City closing schools due to budget cuts

Always one to sacrifice education and children, Oklahoma's budget deficit and their government's unwillingness to stop sucking up to the oil & gas industry has led to Oklahoma City's school district to shut down several elementary schools.  The media has also blamed low enrollment as part of the reason for the closings, but it's clear in the articles the decrease in the state's budget is the main culprit.

Five elementary schools are on the chopping block: Edgemere, Gatewood, F.D. Moon, Green Pastures and Johnson.

The plan has also been labelled a "consolidation" plan since the students from the schools that are closing will be sent to other schools nearby.  They appear to be dancing around the subject, perhaps they don't want to "anger" Governor Scary Failing who continues to cut funding for education.

Monday, March 20, 2017

"Gamera vs Viras" released 1968!

Gamera vs Viras, released March 20, 1968, was the fourth film in the Gamera series.  It was released later in the U.S. as Destroy All Planets, trying to cash in on the success of Toho's Godzilla movie Destroy all Monsters.

An alien force bent on conquering Earth must contend with Gamera first.  Gamera destroys the first spaceship, so a second one arrives with another cunning plan.  It manages to gain control of Gamera's mind and command him to destroy Earth, while keeping two young boys hostages.

But a spaceship controlled telepathically, capable of interstellar travel, mind control and teleportation is no match for two mischevious 9-year olds.  They figure out how to reverse the mind control process and escape the ship.  Thus, Gamera is free from the alien's influence and turns his wrath onto the spaceship.  Viras, however, becomes a giant squid and engages in hand-to-hand combat with Gamera.

Much of the movie is childish and silly, but the Gamera series is geared towards children, although I'm not sure if the "multiple beheadings" scene is kid-friendly.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Voskhod 2 launched 1965, first EVA

Voskhod 2, launched March 18, 1965, carried two cosmonauts, Pavel Belyayev and Alexey Leonov, into space.  Alexey left the capsule to perform the first extra-vehicular activity.  It last only about 10 minutes.

Despite the success of the spacewalk, the cosmonauts experienced problems during the flight and re-entry.  They touched down nearly 400km from the planned landing point.  They landed in a forested section of remote mountains.  Before the rescuers could get to them, night fell and the temperatures dropped below freezing, but they managed to stay alive.

Rescuers on skies finally reached them but it would be another day before they would be able to get back to civilization.

"The Glass Slipper" is available now at Amazon!

My latest story The Glass Slipper, published by JMS Books, is now available on Amazon!  It's my M/M take on Cinderella.  Read the excerpt below!

Cillian is trapped in his small village, by his loser uncle and cousins until the royal family comes to the village. The Queen Mother Beyta seeks him out to repair a glass slipper the Princess Itha broke.  Cillian’s uncle and cousins try to sabotage his work for Beyta but she saves him and brings him to the notice of the King, the prince and princess.  He presents a gift to the lovely Princess Itha but he catches the eye of the handsome Prince Pari.  Who will break the curse of his entrapment and cast a spell on him?

A noise above him brought Cillian out of his thoughts. The door opened and footsteps descended the stone steps. Arten appeared dressed in his finest jerkin with slashed sleeves and satin chemise, his best hose and a hat Cillian had never seen before. His boots had been cleaned and tied with new laces. He carried a bowl and a wooden spoon.
     Arten sat the bowl and spoon on a small table and removed Cillian’s gag.
     “We’re off to the holy day celebration dinner at the king’s cottage,” he sneered. “The Queen Mother came by and picked up the slippers but we told her you were all tied up.” He laughed at his own joke and then pivoted in place. “By the way, do you like my new hat? I used the money you hid to purchase it today.”
     Cillian gaped but said nothing, glaring at him.
     “I brought you some soup for you, since you won’t get anything else until breakfast,” Arten said caustically. He brought the bowl and spoon closer to Cillian. Ladling some of the soup, he held the spoon to Cillian’s lips, letting him take some food. The broth was cold and watery, with little taste. He screwed up his face as he swallowed the vile liquid.
     Arten raised another spoonful to his mouth. This time, Cillian took the soup in his mouth and then spat it out, spraying Arten’s fine clothing.
     “My jerkin! It’s ruined! You bastard,” Arten shouted. He dropped the bowl to the floor and slapped Cillian hard across the face. Cillian’s head snapped around at the blow. He turned to face Arten but received another strike. And a third.
     He endured several minutes of the beating, until Arten stopped, seemingly more from fatigue rather than mercy.
     “Just starve then! See if I care!” he screamed. He re-tied Cillian’s gag, tighter than before. Arten ran out the door and slammed it behind him, leaving Cillian in the dark.

Richard Biggs born 1960

Richard Biggs, born March 18, 1960, was best known (by nerds like me) as Dr. Steven Franklin on Babylon 5.  He also appeared in an episode of Crusade, the mini-series spin-off.  Unfortunately, he left us too early.  Biggs passed away May 22, 2004 from an ascending aortic aneurysm.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Inhofe accuses EPA of "brainwashing" children, offers no proof. Sound familliar?

Sen. Inhofe continues his parade of insults and accusations against the EPA, now claiming they are "brainwashing" our kids, but taking a page from The Donald's MO, offers no proof, no evidence and no reasoning bechind his false statements.

In this interview with CNN, he "justifies" Scott Pruitt's numerous law suits against the EPA by saying that other states havae also sued the EPA.  Why, Inhofe?  You don't say why.  You just keep accusing them of over-reaching their authority, brainwashing, and alarmism.

"Godzilla vs Megalon" released 1973

Godzilla vs Megalon, released March 17, 1973 in Japan, teamed up Godzilla with robot Jet Jaguar to defeat Megalon, a beetle-type monster with the Chrysler building as arms sent from the undersea nation of Seatopia.

It wasn't released in the U.S. until 1976, when a small distribution company decided to cash in on  the King Kong craze (the movie with Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange had just been released).  The U.S. cover even had Godzilla and Megalon fighting on top of the World Trade Center.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Vladimir Komarov cosmonaut born 1927, Walt Cunningham astronaut born 1932

Cosmonaut Vladimir Mikhaylovich Komarov, born March 16, 1927 in the Soviet Union, and astronaut R. Walt Cunningham, born March 16, 1932, are both heroes but whose stories end completely different.

Komarov, close friends with Yuri Gagarin, flew his first mission on Voskhod 1 in October 1964 with crew members Boris Yegorov and Konstantin Feoktistov.  The flight lasted just over twenty four hours and its success awarded Komarov the Order of Lenin and Hero of the Soviet Union.

He was assigned to the Soyuz program to fly on Soyuz 1 April 1967.  Long before the launch, Komarov knew there were major problems with the space capsule and feared that he would be killed if he flew in it.  He wanted to refuse the mission, but his backup was Gagarin and Komarov did not want his friend to die.  

Soyuz 1 launched April 23 and experienced problems shortly after launch.  Upon re-entry, the parachutes did not deploy correctly and got tangled with the spacecraft.  Komarov fell several miles to Earth.  His last words were of him cursing the men who put him in a botched spacecraft.

Ronnie Walter Cunningham flew on Apollo 7, October 11, 1968 with Wally Schirra (who celebrated his birthday just a couple of days ago) and Donn Eisle.  During the mission, Schirra developed a head cold and without the benefit of gravity, could not clear his sinuses.  When the crew prepared for re-entry, they refused to wear their helmets.  Schirra feared if he blew his nose, he might suffer a pierced ear drum.

As a result of this "mutiny" none of the Apollo 7 astronauts were assigned to future missions.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

"Gamera vs Gyaos" released 1967

The third installment of the Gamera series, Gamera vs Gyaos, was released March 15, 1967 by Daiei Films.  It introduced the Gyaos, who became a favorite adversary of Gamera, kinda like King Ghidorah to Godzilla.

It was released in the U.S. as Return of the Giant Monsters and spoofed by Joel and the Bots on Mystery Science Theatre 3000.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Happy birthday, Gemini and Apollo astronaut Frank Borman!

Frank Frederic Borman II, born March 14, 1928, is a veteran of the Gemini and Apollo programs.  He flew on Gemini 7 in 1965 with James Lovell, setting a record the time of 14 days in space.  They performed maneuvers with Gemini 6A bringing the spacecrafts within 1 foot of each other.

Later, he was part of the Apollo 8 crew with James Lovell and William Anders, December 1968.

As of Jon Glenn's death in December 2016, Borman is the oldest living astronaut.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Wally Schirra, Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronaut, born 1923

Walter Marty (Wally) Schirra, Jr., born March 12, 1923, was the only person to fly
in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs.  October 23, 1962, Schirra flew on Mercury-Atlas 8, orbiting Earth six times in a little over nine hours.

His second trip was commanding Gemini 6A with Tom Stafford, December 15, 1965 when they rendezvoused with Frank Borman and James Lovell aboard Gemini 7.

Schirra became the first person to go to space three times on Apollo 7, launched October 11, 1968.  He commanded the mission with Donn F. Eisele and R. Walter Cunningham.  They replaced the original crew of Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee who perished in a fire during a ground test  in the Apollo 1 capsule.

He retired from NASA after this mission.  He joined Walter Cronkite as a consultant on seven Apollo missions.

Wally Schirra passed away May 3, 2007 from a heart attack he suffered during surgery for abdominal cancer.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Happy birthday, Curt Brown, Space Shuttle Astronaut!

Curtis Lee Brown, Jr., born March 11, 1956, is a veteran of six (count 'em...6!) space shuttle flights.  His first was STS-47 in September 1992 aboard the Endeavor.  The second was aboard the Atlantis, STS-66 in November 1994.  His third was STS-77, May 1996 on the Endeavor again.

In August 1997, he commanded the Discovery on the STS-85.  His fifth mission was with Senator John Glenn, STS-95 in October-November 1998 on the Discovery.  His final flight was STS-103, an 8-day mission in December 1999 on...wait for it...Discovery!

He's logged over 1383 hours in space.

Friday, March 10, 2017

"Silent Running" released 1972

One of my favorite 70's sci-fi movies, Silent Running, was released March 10, 1972.  This was shortly after the EPA had been formed so environmentalism and saving the forests were huge messages in the movie.  Bruce Dern stars as an astronaut on board one of several ships carrying the last of Earth's forests and plants, since our planet had become so polluted, all the flora and foliage died off.

When the order comes from Earth to destroy the bio-domes and return, Bruce takes matters into his own hands.  It has some suprisingly touching scenes with Dern and the robots, Huey, Dewey and Louie, who were played by several multi-amputee actors.

Joan Baez lends her voice to the songs featured in the movie.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Pruitt doesn't "believe" carbon dioxide contributes to global warming

Scott Pruitt once again proves that he is not competent to head an agency that bases its actions on science.  Nor is he in any position to prove his outrageous claims, which can't be proven, because of the overwhelming evidence by scientists who know what they are doing.  Pruitt does not.

Pruitt stated that he does "not agree that [CO2] is a primary contributor to the global warming that we see."  So he admits there is global warming?  But where is the basis for his "belief"?  He choses to ignore what scientists have been tracking for over 100 years, with mountains of data to back their claims.

How do we impeach an EPA administrator?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Great review for "Dick Dancers" from the Blogger Girls!

I don't know why I didn't post this when it came out but here it is!  Thanks, Blogger Girls!

Review: This is a short story about two guys making a living in NYC as go go dancers. If you’ve ever been to NY and experienced the bars and go go dancers, I think you’ll appreciate this story a bit more. It was fun to see this exaggerated version of how things are.

Joel and Sam’s lives consist of little more than going to the gym and dancing. At least, that’s all Joel seems to care about. He is with Sam, but is constantly thinking about more, being with more people, making more money, how much better he is than everyone else, etc. He is basically a big jerk with no redeemable qualities. I had absolutely no idea what Sam saw in him.

Sam is a sweet guy who, while he enjoys his job as a dancer, is looking for a bigger break. He spends his days looking for acting jobs or modeling gigs while still fitting in the gym and the dancing job. He pretty much only has eyes for Joel, though, again, I can’t fathom why. When Joel starts getting messages from a stalker, Sam is the only one who seems concerned.

Things escalate as the stalker steps up his game, but there is a pretty big twist that, even though it should have been obvious, I didn’t really see coming. This may have been the first time I was ever really happy about the outcome of such a twist.

Needless to say, this story was a really fast read, and storyline aside, the writing was well done. It was easy to read, made me chuckle at the almost ridiculous actions of Joel, and though this isn’t really a romance, I did feel like there was a HEA when all was said and done.

This is my first story by Mr. Morgan, and I’m looking forward to checking out his other work.

Overall Impression: I liked it

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Trump proposes 93% cut to Chesapeake Bay clean up program

In another reversal from his campaign rhetoric, The Donald has proposed a 93% budget cut to the Chesapeake Bay Program, a six-state effort with Washington, DC to clean up the largest estuary in the country.  That would mean a budget of $73M to $5M.  It supports a lucrative fishing industry as well as a favorite tourist destination.

As early as last Tuesday, Trump vowed “to promote clean air and clear water” but he also promised to create jobs.  Not only is he putting clean air and clean water in jeopardy, he is proposing cutting 3000 jobs at the EPA.  He has no plans to keep his promises.

Remember that Scott Pruitt is from Oklahoma, and has no knowledge of how to keep such a large body of water free from pollution.  This could set  clean-up efforts back years.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

White House proposing deep cuts to NOAA, destroying jobs, not creating them

The Donald, who promised often during his campaign that he would create jobs, has proposed deep cuts (up to 18%) to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and would eliminate funding for smaller programs, one which seeks to bolster coastal areas to withstand rising seas.

NOAA's satellite division would lose $513 million.  NOAA relies on data from its satellites to predict and track serious weather, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, to warn people of danger.

Another cut would eliminate a coastal research program that is conducted through thirty-three universities across the country.  Many of those universities are in states that went for The Donald in the election, such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Florida and North Carolina.

Cuts like these are certain to eliminate jobs as well.  Didn't The Donald promise to create jobs?  Am I mistaken?  Trumpsters?

Friday, March 3, 2017

Hey, Trump! No evidence WOTUS cost hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Trump's claim that the "Waters of the U.S." cost hundreds of thousands of jobs is baseless. No evidence exists that so many Americans lost their  jobs due to the EPA's rule.

The Washington Post reports that two of the biggest critics of the ruling, the U.S. Chamber of  Commerce and American Farm Bureau Foundation did not conduct any sort of review to see how many jobs had been lost since the rule was enacted.  By the way, the rule has been in stasis since 2015 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

The Post reached out to other opponents of the rule but did not receive any information on lost jobs.

First two Corey Shaw novels are now available in "Fleshed Out" from Lethe Press!

The first two Corey Shaw novels, Breathless and Murder at the Green Lantern, are now available on from Lethe Press!

This paperback contains the first two books in the paranormal, erotically-charged thrillers chronicling psychic officer Corey Shaw's adventures: previously published as Breathless and Murder at the Green Lantern.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

House Republicans introduce a bill to terminate the EPA

In a move that shouldn't surprise anyone but should alarm everyone, House Republican Matt Gaetz (Florida) along with co-sponsors Thomas Massey (Kentucky), Steve Palazzo (Mississippi) and Barry Loudermilk (Georgia) has introduced a bill H.R. 861 to terminate the Environmental Protection Agency.  The bill was introduced on February 3 and referred to the Subcommittee on the Environment February 10.

The Subcommittee on the Environment is lead by Lamar Smith (Texas) who is an outspoken climate-denier and brought a lawsuit against NOAA, claiming they were falsifying data to spread an alarmist agenda.  An independent study proved that NOAA did NOT fudge their data.  Global warming is real, folks!

The Subcommittee doesn't even have it listed on their front page, but it doesn't look like the page has been updated since September 2016.

But Republicans don't get it.  Why terminate the EPA?  What justification is there for exposing millions of Americans to pollutants when we've worked so hard to get clean water, clean air, etc.  I sent a tweet to Jim Inhofe, asking him where his snowball this past month but haven't received a response.

So Trumpsters, how do you justify this one?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Our environment is doomed: The Donald begins his dismantling of the EPA

NPR reports that The Donald is planning to do away with the EPA's "Waters of the U.S." rule, which tries to define what small bodies of water are subject to the Clean Water Act.  There has been much controversy over the ruling when it was signed by President Obama, but Pruitt has sued the EPA over the ruling (2015).

Trump and Pruitt have both used strong language that seems to put the EPA into some sort of eco-terrorist light.

Trump stated:
"Regulations and permits started treating our wonderful small farmers and small businesses as if they were a major industrial polluter. They treated them horribly."
But the EPA's fact sheet on the Clean Water Act clearly shows farmers and ranchers being exempt:

From the Agriculture Fact Sheet:
The Act requires a permit if a protected water is going to be polluted or destroyed, however, agricultural activities like planting, harvesting, and moving livestock across a stream have long been excluded from permitting, and that won’t change under the rule. In other words, farmers and ranchers won’t need a permit for normal agricultural activities that happen in and around those waters. 
If it's clarification that is needed, don't eliminate the rule, revise it, Pruitt!  This isn't rocket science, which you wouldn't believe anyway.

It's old news that Pruitt is in thick with the oil and gas companies who contribute to his campaigns and lawsuits against the EPA to lighten or eliminate restrictions on releasing pollutants.

Trump and Pruitt have no inclination to preserve our environment.  They plan to dismantle the EPA which since 1970 has worked to give us clean air (remember Los Angeles and Manhattan in the 70's?), clean water and clean power.