Happy Thanksgiving and some other stuff

First up, Happy Thanksgiving.  For those of you International readers out there, this is the time of year when we celebrate how thankful we are for having what we have by eating every last bit of it.  Oh, ah.  So anyway, have a great Thanksgiving.

In lighter news, I was reading through my spam posts and have about 18 or so that WordPress has pegged as spam.  Some may or may not be actual spam.  Not entirely sure.  If you commented on something and it hasn’t shown up in the comments, I assure you I didn’t delete your comment.  Wordpress deleted your comment.

Allow me to tell you a story

Sit right back and allow your crazy uncle Eric to tell you tale.  It’s a tale woven of gods and monsters, Nazis and beasts, good guys who aren’t so good and bad guys who are really really bad.

You see, last year a group of people decided it would be a good idea to kill everyone in the United States Congress.  Naturally, this is a difficult proposition.  Their reasons for wanting to do this were varied but usually came down to, “I’m not happy with things the way are.”  In this way, the story parallels the real world.  The difference is, in the story, the characters actually manage to do it.  They cheat of course, but they manage to do it.

The story is Henchmen, that action-packed tale about revenge gone overboard.  But Henchmen was only part of the story.  Thing is, if there’s one god floating around, there’s bound to be others, too.  And maybe those other gods are less than thrilled that the first god was released.  Gods, after all, are not big on competition.

So that’s where Arise begins, with Eve promising to kill Steven for his part in releasing the God of Dreams.  Naturally, she doesn’t kill him and they pull everyone back together to stop the thing they released from taking over the world.

I won’t promise you “Citizen Kane,” but I will promise you action, adventure, a smidgen of romance, and some damned funny jokes.

After the Dreamer tore through the United States Congress the world didn’t stop spinning. The sun still shone, gravity still worked, and the country kept on going.

Releasing the God of Dreams, though, caused ripples in places that should never ripple and soon Steven, Eve, and the rest of the gang find themselves stuck between a terrifying god that wants them dead and a God of Dreams bent on expanding his domain. They’ll need all the help they can get to make it through, even if comes in the form of a man that Steven has personally shot twice, but who refuses to stay dead. Throw in the girl he can’t strop dreaming about, a mysterious site in Dulce, NM, and a group indestructible minions and Steven soon finds he’s got his hands far more full than he ever wanted.

Blood will spill. A god will fall. And a hero will arise.

Buy it now.  Only $2.99 on Amazon

Arise Cover.  © 2014, Eric Lahti
Arise Cover. © 2014, Eric Lahti

Henchmen rev B.

Henchmen was released almost exactly a year ago.  I won’t say it was released to much in the way of fanfare, but it was released and some people liked it, so I decided to write a sequel.  The sequel, Arise, will be along shortly, probably by the end of this month.  I’m waiting for some input from a final beta reader who’s input I really trust.  Anyway, I like the way Arise turned out.  It’s a good story and you should get a copy when I release it.  Trust me, it will make life worth living.  Since Arise is pretty damned good, I decided Henchmen needed some work.  A little fine tuning, know what I mean?

A month and some change later I dropped a chapter, added a chapter, and rewrote a huge portion of Henchmen so it actually makes sense.  In the final count I dropped a thousand words or so and added a few thousand more, redesigned the cover (again), fixed a short ton of errors, and expanded the story.

It’s available on Amazon for $1.99.  That’s right, less than two bucks for a pretty damned good story.  Amazon hasn’t updated the cover on the page yet, but the new is below.  Go now.  Read and enjoy and ponder.  I promise you cool characters, a good story, and a bunch of stuff will get blowed up REAL good.

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“Rewritten and expanded for November 2014! Now with more action-packed adventure! Gods, guns, secret bases, bad guys, and a small group of people with one simple task: Kill Congress.
Steven’s boss is a seven-foot-tall blonde with supernatural powers and a penchant for parking-lot hookups. His coworkers include two hackers in love, a biker who loves guns, and a former nude model with an unexpected propensity for violence. They’ve all been hurt before, and now they’re poised to strike back. They’re done pulling small jobs. Now they’re aiming for the top – because why bother robbing jewelry stores when you can topple governments?
Yakuza gang fights. Incursions into high-security, top-secret government buildings. Picking fake fights with losers in bars. A psycho ex-coworker who has some strange friends. And a well-dressed older gentleman who haunts dreams. It’s all in a day’s work for Steven…one of the world’s most dedicated and dangerous…
HENCHMEN”

Also, don’t forget I’ve got an author page with a bunch of funny stuff.  Drop by and say howdy some time.

It would appear to be politics as usual

First up, I just added a politics category.  We just had the midterms and the Republicans swept up a lot of new seats.  Presidential elections will soon start heating up and things are gonna get crazy ugly.  I’m predicting we’ll only hear from the extremists on either side and their arguments, as usual, will be completely full of shit.

American politics – and I suspect, all politics – is ugly business.  It sickens and disgusts me.  Reading anything political is like staring in wide-eyed wonder at the corpse that just got ripped in half by train; it’s horrifying and terrible, but I just can’t look away.

That said, a buddy of mine posted a link to a fake Letterman Top 10 List titled “LETTERMAN’S TOP 10 REASONS TO VOTE DEMOCRAT.”  It wasn’t actually written by David Letterman, but you can see the original post on LinkedIn.  If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, no worries.  I’ve posted it here so we can all get a good chuckle at those wacky Democrats and their crazy ideas.  So, without further fanfare, enjoy the well-reasoned (1), fully thought out (2), and absolutely hilarious (3) reasons to vote Democrat.

“#10. I vote Democrat because I love the fact that I can now marry whatever I want. I’ve decided to marry my German Shepherd.

# 9. I vote Democrat because I believe oil companies profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene, but the government taxing the same gallon at 15% isn’t.

# 8. I vote Democrat because I believe the government will do a better job of spending the money I earn than I would.

# 7. I vote Democrat because Freedom of Speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.

# 6. I vote Democrat because I’m way too irresponsible to own a gun, and I know that my local police are all I need to protect me from murderers and thieves. I am also thankful that we have a 911 service that gets police to your home in order to identify your body after a home invasion.

# 5. I vote Democrat because I’m not concerned about millions of babies being aborted so long as we keep all death row inmates alive and comfy.

# 4. I vote Democrat because I think illegal aliens have a right to free health care, education, and Social Security benefits, and we should take away Social Security from those who paid into it.

# 3. I vote Democrat because I believe that businesses should not be allowed to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest away to the government for redistribution as the Democrat Party sees fit.

# 2. I vote Democrat because I believe liberal judges need to rewrite the Constitution every few days to suit fringe kooks who would never get their agendas past the voters.

…And, the #1 reason I vote Democrat is because I think it’s better to pay $billions$ for oil to people who hate us, but not drill our own because it might upset some endangered beetle, gopher, or fish here in America. We don’t care about the beetles, gophers, or fish in those other countries.”

As soon as you’re done laughing at the rapier wit, we’ll continue the discussion.

The first problem I have with things like this is it manages to paint every Democrat with the same broad brush.  Even better, all the points are taken from the more nearly extreme end of the Democrats’ spectrum.  I had some trouble finding exact numbers, but it seems like there are approximately 72 million registered Democrats.  According to the author all of them share the exact same beliefs.  Needless to say, I was stunned by this because I’m a Democrat and don’t believe most of these point.

Let’s a take a point by point look at these.

“#10. I vote Democrat because I love the fact that I can now marry whatever I want. I’ve decided to marry my German Shepherd.”  This is a common argument against legalizing gay marriage.  It’s designed to make you afraid and show you just how bad things will get.  You see comments like this repeated all the damn time and everyone who says it thinks it’s absolutely the most clever thing anyone ever said and it’s the perfect way to stab the gay marriage debate right in its black heart.  It’s also complete bullshit.  Listen carefully, kids.  Marriage is a legally binding contract.  Meaning anyone who enters into marriage must be legally able to sign a contract.  Last time I checked, dogs did not have that legal standing in the United States.  Sure, some idiot out there already has married his dog, but it is not a legally recognized marriage because DOGS CANNOT SIGN CONTRACTS.  If you want to debate gay marriage at least have the common decency to make some kind of sense.

“# 9. I vote Democrat because I believe oil companies profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene, but the government taxing the same gallon at 15% isn’t.”  The Republicans held sway in this country during the Bush/Cheney administration and I don’t recall taxes on gasoline going down.  I do, however, remember paying nearly $5 a gallon for gasoline during that time (gas is under $3 in Albuquerque right now).  I cannot recall anyone, Democrat or Republican arguing for lowering gasoline taxes.  I do recall a few people saying we should open up our strategic reserves.  Because in the case of national disaster it would be good to know the national gas reserves have been depleted so some people could have cheaper gas for their H2s.

“# 8. I vote Democrat because I believe the government will do a better job of spending the money I earn than I would.”  I think this is another thing about taxes and how we have too many of them.  I’m guessing this is some kind of wishful thinking about how Republicans will completely eliminate taxes.  At least for things this guy doesn’t agree with: Planned Parenthood, food stamps, that sort of thing.  The military budget won’t get touched, though.  By cutting funding to Planned Parenthood we’d be able to keep the U.S. Government going for an extra 5-10 minutes.  If memory serves Reagan did lower taxes significantly and it was an economic disaster because they didn’t also lower spending.  Later, Republicans would blame the debacle on Democrat spending, even though Republicans had control of the House, the Senate, and the Oval Office at the.  Personally,  I don’t mind paying taxes.  I’m not always happy about where that tax money winds up, but I recognize the need for niceties like roads, schools, defense spending and so on.

“# 7. I vote Democrat because Freedom of Speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.”  This, unfortunately does tend to be an American tendency.  The PC police have softened the language while the religious right is busy squawking about how having to treat people they don’t agree with as equals is a violation of their First Amendment rights.  It’s no longer okay to say crippled or handicapped because we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.  At the same time, some God-fearing-folks are getting their nickers in a twist because people don’t  want religious iconography in court rooms or mythology taught as fact in schools.  Here’s my advice to everyone on this issue: suck it up.  Life if full of dealing with things you don’t want to deal with and hearing words you don’t like.  Life is hard, get over it.

“# 6. I vote Democrat because I’m way too irresponsible to own a gun, and I know that my local police are all I need to protect me from murderers and thieves. I am also thankful that we have a 911 service that gets police to your home in order to identify your body after a home invasion.”  Another common meme among some Republicans is the oft-repeated idea that Democrats are all gun-grabbing loons.  First up, the Obama administration hasn’t done much (if anything) to curtail Second Amendment rights.  There were some rumblings among the more extreme left Democrats that private ownership of guns was a bad idea.  Don’t worry.  Most of us thought those people were idiots, too.  I don’t know of a whole lot of Democrats, at a personal level, who actively want guns taken away.  Regulated, sure, but not snatched up.  Hell, I don’t even know if it’s feasible or possible to take all the guns away.  As to the other sentence about the cops, that’s pretty much what the cops do.  Aside from driving around and glaring at everyone, I mean.  It’s kind of funny, actually.  Usually it’s the conservatives who are badge lickers, not the liberals.  When seconds count, the police are minutes away, so I’ll grant him the second sentence.

“# 5. I vote Democrat because I’m not concerned about millions of babies being aborted so long as we keep all death row inmates alive and comfy.”  I’ve read up on conditions on death row and they look pretty freaking far from comfy.  Besides, the two things have very little in common with each other other than fact that they’re in the same sentence.  I’ve known plenty of Pro Life folks and they get themselves extremely worked up over abortion, to the exclusion of everything else.  Here’s the problem though: these people will fight to the death and go so far as to kill abortion doctors to make sure the cute little babies get born.  After that, those babies and their mothers are completely on their own.  There used to be a summer lunch program here in Albuquerque that provided sandwiches for kids, gratis, at some of the parks in town.  Bear in mind, for some of these kids that was all there was to eat during the summer.  I know people who wanted it shut down because the extra five cents taken out of their checks in tax money was too burdensome.  So that’s the Pro Life movement right there: we’ll fight to the death to make sure you get born but after that, fuck you.  This is essentially a religious argument and I know plenty of people on both sides of the political spectrum who oppose abortion.

“# 4. I vote Democrat because I think illegal aliens have a right to free health care, education, and Social Security benefits, and we should take away Social Security from those who paid into it.”  Everyone needs a boogeyman.  It’s so much easier to control people when you can point to another group and say, “Those folks are responsible for all your problems.”  It’s not the fact that you have no skills or work ethic, it’s those guys over there taking your jobs away.  Again, I know of no single Democrat advocating Social Security benefits for illegal immigrants.  To get Social Security you have to pay taxes and register and do all sorts of other things that will get your ass kicked out of the country.  The whole illegal immigrant argument is getting stale, and most Republicans know it, so they’re upping the ante: Now it’s not just that they’re coming for our jobs (and probably women), they’re ISIS militants coming over the border to do nefarious things.  It’s bullshit and it ignores the root of the problem.  Why are people coming over the border illegally?  They’re looking for work.  Why do they think there’s work here?  Because PEOPLE KEEP HIRING THEM.  You want to stop the flow of illegal immigrants, clamp down hard on the people providing the jobs.

“# 3. I vote Democrat because I believe that businesses should not be allowed to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest away to the government for redistribution as the Democrat Party sees fit.”  What the fuck?  Couldn’t come up with something that makes sense?  Can someone shed some light on where this came from?  Honestly, I think the author was running out of good zingers and just started making things up.

“# 2. I vote Democrat because I believe liberal judges need to rewrite the Constitution every few days to suit fringe kooks who would never get their agendas past the voters.”  Because it’s certainly only liberal judges that do this.  No conservative judge has ever used rewritten laws to support the right wing religious fringe groups who want to impose a Christian nation on the rest of us.  This is the classic example of “It’s not wrong when we do it.”

“#1 reason I vote Democrat is because I think it’s better to pay $billions$ for oil to people who hate us, but not drill our own because it might upset some endangered beetle, gopher, or fish here in America. We don’t care about the beetles, gophers, or fish in those other countries.”  Become a Republican and punch Mother Nature in the face!  The author must have been listening to Sarah “Drill Baby Drill” Palin (never a good idea, there are much better Conservatives to listen to) and decided she was onto something.  I’ll grant a reliance of foreign oil is a huge national security threat (note, the author doesn’t cover this aspect), but the solution isn’t increasing drilling in American, which could take up to a decade to get going and would probably cost a fortune anyway.  Also, as I understand it, we already have a lot of drilling going on here and it looks like the trend is increasing.  What we need to focus on is some kind of renewable or alternative energy source but most conservatives dismiss that as hippie talk.  Besides, we produce more oil than we import, anyway, and the trend looks like it’s increasing.

While we’re here, let’s take a quick look gander at the environmental arguments here.  Sure, drilling might displace or damage endangered animals.  That can be somewhat problematic depending on the animal, but I would posit that the greatest threat is to things like ground water and air.  Everyone needs air and water and polluting it so you can get slightly cheaper gas for your monster truck just doesn’t make long-term sense.  Ecosystems are kind of complicated things and I won’t delve into the ramifications of eliminating certain beetles, gophers, or fish, but it can have devastating effects.  Add to that the environmental issues of pumping waste into rivers, lakes, and the air and you’ve got a good enough reason to at least think twice about drilling for oil.  I don’t know about you, but I like air and water that won’t kill me.

So, there you go.  The Top Ten Lies People Keep Telling Themselves About Democrats.  Funny stuff, no?

The biggest problem with nonsense like this is it further entrenches the ideas of us and them in the minds of a lot of people.  Not all Republicans think this way, nor do they all think it’s real.  Truthfully the Republicans have some decent ideas, it’s not all a bunch of hullabaloo about immigration and abortion.  I don’t particularly care for their track record on the social side of things and I think they’re getting more and more likely to let big business run roughshod over us, but I agree with the idea that a smaller government is generally better than a larger one.  The problem is when the Republicans had absolute control over government, they didn’t do a damned thing to shrink government.  They started a couple wars and created a brand new agency, but they didn’t actually shrink the government at all.

As a side note, they didn’t do much to stop abortion, either, did they?  It’s almost like politicians will say whatever it takes to get elected and then go ahead and do whatever they feel like.

Honestly, when you get right down to it, most of the time it doesn’t really matter who’s in charge because not much ever really changes.  Marriage equality is becoming more and more common and I’m happy to see that, but that wasn’t politicians driving the cause forward; that was people driving the cause forward.  Same thing with marijuana legalization.  If you want to see the country change, quit backing these political shucksters (I made that word up) and go out and drum up some support for something you believe in.

Above all, though, quit listening to crap like this list.  It’s not based in reality, it’s not rational and, worst of all, it’s not even funny.  Stuff like this doesn’t help anyone and it doesn’t convince anyone that your cause has any merit whatsoever.  All it does is make you look like a fool.

1: Not actually reasonable, paints half the country with one giant brush

2: Not really though out, just a bunch of bumper sticker logic

3: I, personally didn’t find if funny; your mileage may vary