Sunday, March 26, 2017

Tricameral Legislature (You figure out the legalese)

Just musing from my ivory tower. Just musing on the current political climate. Just musing, just musing, neither right nor left because I never discuss politics in public or on blogs. Just musing.

Here's an idea. Why not have three houses of the legislative branch?

Why not have a legislative house for the rest of us? Call it the Humble House. Its members will be called Humble Persons.

Humble Person: an elected official that represents the average Joe or Jane (You figure out the legalese).

Qualifications: A Humble Person shall have the same qualifications as a U.S. Representative, except that: the Humble Person must have attained the age of 35, have one or more dependent children living in the household with at least one between the ages of 2 and 17; and have an annual household income of no greater than 5 percent of the median income of the Humble Person's state. (You figure out the legalese).

Distribution: The number of Humble Persons representing each state shall be determined based upon a formula: 1 half of 1 percent of the total number of middle class U.S. citizens residing in that state; furthermore, there shall be no fewer than 3 and no greater than 10 Humble Persons representing each state; and at least one of the Humble Persons from each state must have an annual income that is at or below the poverty level.(You figure out the legalese).

Powers: All bills concerning social issues passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives must also pass the Humble House before reaching the Chief Executive's desk. From time to time, the Humble House shall create a bill when it seems that the other two houses need direction on a particular issue. The Humble Persons shall partake in the approving of Supreme Court Justices and all presidential appointments. The Humble House shall have no input into matters of foreign policy, international trade, or war, except in cases where over 1 percent of people are subject to job loss or 1 percent of people under 21 are called up to fight (You figure out the legalese).

Salary: Current household income plus 5 Percent of their current household income. In addition, all household bills of the Humble Person shall be paid by the Government, not including healthcare, life insurance, income taxes, or college tuition and fees. All travel and other expenses associated with the Humble House shall be paid for by the government. This salary comes with no annual raise. All Humble Persons are encouraged to remain in the real world. (You figure out the legalese).

Term: 4 years. Election period shall coincide with Presidential elections so that the Humble House Representatives shall be attached to a particular President.

Just musing.

But seriously.

We have the Senate, and all Senators are smart and good people, but ALL Senators are so far removed from the rest of us living in the real world.

We have the House of Representatives, and all Representatives are smart and good people, but ALL Representatives are far removed from the rest of us living in the real world.

Ask a senator: “How much does a gallon of milk cost?” Watch what happens.

Every single member of the U.S. Legislature is a good person, but All of them, All of them, ALL of them are so out of touch with the American people. We elect them to represent us, and they do so to the best of their abilities, but how can they do that with even the slightest modicum of success?

How can they represent us if they aren’t like us?

How can they represent us if they don't know us?

How can they represent us if they can't feel what we feel?

The America government is a government of the people for the people by the people. So where are the people in government?

In the Humble House.

Just musing.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Dennis, Starring Kim Kold

Of Mice and Elephants

Preston L. Allen

The film, DENNIS, demonstrates to an extreme and absurd extent the results of a domineering parent on an adult child. The shrewish mother controls the protagonist Dennis by making him feel guilty and dependent on her when in fact it is she who is dependent on him. She is lonely, it seems, because she has no male companion. Early in the film, Dennis shyly tells her, “I’m going to the movies with Peter.” This is not true. He is actually going on a date with a girl Peter has set him up with, but he must lie rather than tell his mother he is going out with a girl. The lie he tells is shown to us as a fib, a “naughty” little boy’s way of deceiving. You can’t see his hands the way the scene is shot, but you can imagine his fingers crossed as he fibs. His mother responds by saying, “It’s okay for you to stand people up like that.” We can see the result this has on the hulking Dennis now completely immersed in the role of the “little boy” who has disappointed his mom with his “sneaky,” dishonest behavior. To make up for is misdeed, he hangs his head guiltily and volunteers to put away the groceries—one of his “duties” she reminds him. In their cramped tiny kitchen, it’s hard to miss that he towers over her--she looks tiny and frail beneath him. If he doesn’t move out of the way, she cannot pass to go into her room—but move out of the way he does. The contrast in their size in this scene is emphasized by the camera angles, and it is important as the director wants to illustrate that a mother of this type can take away the manhood of even someone as physically imposing as this bodybuilder. And thus the mouse controls the elephant much to our surprise and amazement.

This emasculating due to guilt extends beyond the home as is demonstrated by his awkwardness in social situations in general, but especially around members of the opposite sex. Not only does he shrink before his little mouse of a mother, but he is now exposed to other little mice who can sense his condition and victimize him further. This is illustrated quite effectively in the scenes in the restaurant and at the party. At the restaurant he is a disappointment in the eyes of his date, Patricia, because he drinks Coca Cola rather than alcohol, an adult’s beverage. “I’m in training,” he lies. (It is because his mother scolds him when he drinks we will learn in a later scene.) Also there is a noticeable smirk on his date’s face when he tells another transparent fib when asked if he lives alone. “Yes,” he tells her, averting his eyes. You can see in her face that she doubts his words and is debating whether to call his bluff by asking to go home with this enormous “little child man” for a night of “adult” activities. How amusing that would’ve been.

Instead she invites him to a party and he agrees to go, but first he must take the padlock off his bike—his mode of transportation in a country concerned about the environment? Perhaps. In this film, however, it is just one more framing of him as a child—a giant on a child’s mode of transportation. In the scene at the party, he is made to undress and dance by three more little mice for their amusement. When the “real” adult males appear, they are little mice too compared to him in size, but like all mice they sense his weakness and victimize him as well by laughing derisively at him calling him a “lump.” (Of cheese?) No wonder the giant flees down the stairs and out of the apartment.

Finally, the giant “little boy” cannot take any more of this abuse and returns home. He has tried to escape his mom by running away and it hasn’t worked. The world outside his cage is too dangerous and so he returns to the only place where he feels safe. Now he is so humbled by shame and guilt that he cannot face her, but he must take her scolding if he is to regain her protection. She asks him how the movie was, knowing full well he did not go there. Had he gone there, would his shirt be inside out? She observes too that he has been drinking—he is becoming more like his father, an alcoholic (but perhaps a real man?) She goes to bed, leaving the child thoroughly chastised by her insinuations. Wracked with guilt, he goes into his bedroom, takes off his shirt, again revealing his massive physique, but after a while we see him in her room where he asks timidly, “Can I sleep with you?” What does he mean by that? No, this is not incest, but much worse. The mouse says, “Yes, you may,” rolls over, and pulls back the sheet. And the elephant climbs in—so much like a mom and her giant “little” boy, lying safe beside her.

Monday, October 26, 2015

R.I.P. Glenn

I was low today, and I couldn't understand why. Then I remembered that Glenn died last night. Yeah. That's it.

I feel as if though I've lost a longtime friend. We were friends in a way. Not "in a way" dammit. He was my friend. He told me all of his secrets. I told him all of mine. He told me he loved Maggie long before he asked Herschel for her hand. I rooted for him through all his battles with the dead and the undead. He always knew how to get out of a tight situation. He is like the little girl in the red dress in SCHINDLER'S LIST. Small. Weak. Least likely to survive you would think if you didn't see how resourceful she was, how ferociously she clung to life. That's why I will miss him. How ferociously he clung to life. I may even weep when I am alone.

I haven't felt this way about a television character since Hank was killed by the Neo-Nazis on BREAKING BAD. That one hit me hard too. I was out of it for days. Not a good time for me.

What is it with these AMC TV shows? How do their writers get me to invest so much in their characters?


I was low today, and I couldn't understand why. Then I remembered that Glenn died last night. Yeah. That's it.

I feel as if though I've lost a longtime friend. We were friends in a way. Not "in a way" dammit. He was my friend. He told me all of his secrets. I told him all of mine. He told me he loved Maggie long before he asked Herschel for her hand. I rooted for him through all his battles with the dead and the undead. He always knew how to get out of a tight situation. He is like the little girl in the red dress in SCHINDLER'S LIST. Small. Weak. Least likely to survive you would think if you didn't see how resourceful she was, how ferociously she clung to life. That's why I will miss him. How ferociously he clung to life. I may even weep when I am alone.

I haven't felt this way about a television character since Hank was killed by the Neo-Nazis on BREAKING BAD. That one hit me hard too. I was out of it for days. Not a good time for me.

What is it with these AMC TV shows? How do their writers get me to invest so much in their characters?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Ten things to do if you want to publish a novel

(I'm posting this on all of my blogs)

Going through my files, I found this list from my WebTV Webpage. Remember WebTV? It had to be written somewhere around 2000-2002.

Man, I was cocky back then. And sharp. Enjoy.


So you want to publish your book . . . here's a list of 10 things you ought to do.

1) Sit down and write the book.

That's right. Sit down and write. Lots of writers talk the talk, but they don't walk the walk. They want to live a writer's lifestyle (whatever that is). They are attracted to the writer's celebrity status (whatever they think that is). They are eager to puff their egos by seeing their names on a book jacket on a bookshelf at Barnes and Noble (and yes, that does puff one's ego). They desire to introduce themselves to strangers with a firm handshake and a hearty--"My name is FILLINTHEBLANK, and I am a writer." Cut the crap. Stop posing and get that book written. I have worked with too many clients (when I was editing books) that would hand me six or seven typed pages and say, "Here's where I've gotten so far, Tell me what you think of it." My answer would invariably be: "I think you are a poser. Go write. Come back when this has grown up." Writers write. And publishers publish manuscripts that are longer than six pages. Spend an hour every morning writing two pages. In six months you'll have your first book. It may not be great, but at least it will be finished and we can talk about it.

2) Copyright the book.

Now a few years ago, I would never have wasted your time or mine with this piece of advice. In fact, if you had asked me a question about copyrights back then, I would have told you not to worry about it. "No one is going to steal your book," I would have told you. "If a publisher really likes your writing, they won't steal it. The work is like the golden egg, but you are the goose that lays the egg. If they steal the work, they sell one book. But if they sign you as one of their writers, they can sell a series of your books. That makes more sense." Recent personal events, however, have demonstrated that people do steal a writer's work. Protect yourself. Enough on this.

3) Get another set of eyes to read the book.

Join a writer's group or sign up for a creative writing class at a local college and have someone competent and objective read your book. Listen to their advice on what works and what does not work with your book. As the author, you do not have to take all of their advice, but you should listen to it. This helps you to gauge how an audience will read your book--such information can be valuable when you make later decisions on what to cut and what not to cut. Writing groups and creative writing classes are also good places to help you tighten your prose and fix your grammar and clean up your typos. As writers, we often have a vision of the book in our heads that is quite different from the actual book that is written on the pages. We become blind to our mistakes. Worse yet, our hubris makes us unwilling to cut dull and longwinded passages. So get your book read by an objective reader or two and leave your ego at the door.

4) Find twenty to twenty-five publishers who might be interested in publishing your book. There are a couple ways of doing this. The first way is to be a good reader. If you are a good reader, then you already have many books on your shelves that are similar to the one you have written. Who published these books? Start writing that list. The second way is to go to a bookstore and pick up books that are similar to yours. Who published these books? You can go online and do the same thing. You can also go to a very important book called the THE NOVEL AND SHORT STORY WRITER'S MARKET and do the same thing. This is your target list.

5) Arrange the target list in order of most prestigious to least prestigious.

When you start sending out your manuscript you will begin with the publishers at the top of the list and work your way down. In the words of author Lynne Barrett told us in grad school, "Your manuscript, like water, will find its own level."

6) Write a MEETS hook.

Think about your book. Think about two other books (or movies) that it is similar to. Then write your MEETS hook. Your MEETS hook should sound something like this: "My novel, CHARITY GARNER'S BOYS is a story of rage, temptation, gangsters, and surprising compassion set in the high plateaus of depression era South Dakota [. . . include a brief description of the book . . . then finish with . . .] It is like BONNIE AND CLYDE meets THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY.

7) Get an agent.

Once you have tightened up the book, gotten your target list together, and written your MEETS hook, it is time to get an agent. Why do you need an agent? Because you need a friend and guide in the publishing world. Yes, there are writers who have gotten published without agents. They are not the rule--they are lucky. An agent will get 15% commission on your book, and he/she will be worth every penny of that commission. How do you get an agent? There are several ways to do this. Send out query letters to agents listed online or in books such as THE NOVEL AND SHORT STORY WRITER'S MARKET (there are many good books and online sources that will guide you through query-letter writing--do consult them). Ask another writer to introduce you to his/her agent--but expect to be turned down. Writers guard their agents jealously. Go to writer's conferences and take a course with the agent (s), who will read your manuscript and maybe sign you up for representation. Note: It is a good idea to go to writer's conferences regardless. Many authors have gotten their books sold or represented through contacts made at writer's conferences.

8) Beware of agents who charge a fee. Usually, agents do not charge a fee. Agents take 15% commission on advances and book sales. Think about it: if an agent charged even, say, $25 per manuscript as a reading fee, he/she could make a pretty decent living without ever having to do the hard work of actually selling a book. There are a few, very few, big name New York agents that charge a small fee--if you get a chance to work with one of these, pay the fee by all means! Beware of agents who solicit you--most reputable agents have more clients than they can handle. If an agent contacts you via phone, letter, or email, ask for a list of published clients. There are many writers out there eager to get into print and they are easy prey for predators posing as agents and editors.

9) Help your agent to sell your book.

Once you have gotten your agent, give her/him your plan for selling your book: the target list of publishers, your MEETS hook. The agent will likely modify the target list based on her/his contacts in the publishing world. The agent may also modify your MEETS a bit. The agent will also want to know what audience you wrote the book for: age, race, gender, level of education. You should be able to answer all of these questions. It is also likely that the agent, upon signing you up, already has a few publishers in mind for your book, publishers that he/she has worked with in the past and who are looking for a book such as yours. If this is the case, you have hit the jackpot. Just sit on your hands, and let your agent do his/her job.

10) If All Else Fails . . .

Should I self-publish? Maybe--but hold on there a minute. Did you join a writer's group? Did you leave your ego at the door? Did you edit and then really edit your book? Did you go to a writer's conference and hobnob with agents and publishers? Maybe you should enter your book in a few contests. Try that. If all else has failed, then maybe you should self-publish. Self-publishing is not a bad idea if you are the right kind of person. I hope to build another link in a month or two that addresses the issue of self-publishing with a greater thoroughness. For now, let me leave with you with a few tips. 1) Get a company that is inexpensive. The self-publishing companies that charge $5000 provide roughly the same quality service as the ones that are $750, $450, $250, or free. 2) Make sure your book is copyrighted. 3) Don't purchase any of their add-on services. They are a waste of time and if you need them, you can always get them cheaper at Office Depot. 4) If you plan to get rich on the book, prepare to have a professional marketing plan; in fact, you need to hire a professional publicist. This will cost you money, but it will be worth it. 5) Be prepared to travel to sell your book. 6) Be prepared to make deals with bookstore managers to stock your books. 7) Be prepared to work.

I have more to say on this, and I will on a new link.

Good luck


Friday, September 20, 2013

Lebron James Will Be Better than Gambling Addict MIchael Jordan: Hold on There, Bro!

I found this on Yahoo Answers posted in June. It is typical of the debate that exploded in the cyber universe, and in front of TV sets and in bars around the world after the article on MJ dissing Lebron James came out and the 2012 NBA finals ended a few months ago, crowning Lebron and the Miami Heat as back-to-back NBA champs.


MJ can stick it where the sun don't shine. He can't touch LBJ in elimination games or game 7s. LBJ is just way too damn good. Better passer, rebounder, and all around defender already. Plus he isn't busy losing money gambling or sucking at baseball. MJ had Rodman, Pippen, Armstrong, Kukoc, and Grant. Scary thing is LBJ is 28 years old and just now reaching his prime!! Repeat back to back champions looking for a 3rd straight. What a champ!!


In response to the poster, who calls himself Jesse, I have to yell WHATTTTT!!!!! And to correct him on one finals point. True Lebron and the Heat have won more finals elimination games than Jordan and the Bulls.

Read my lips.

Jordan and the Bulls usually won the finals in game six!

I've got to give it to you on the baseball and gambling, though. True Dat.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Pain and Gain: Why are You Laughing?

My brother emailed to ask if I would recommend watching the new film PAIN AND GAIN. So I responded with a cryptic email that he misunderstood and so, to clear things up, I responded thus:

"You misunderstood me. I said don't watch. No, watch it. No, don't watch it. No, watch it. No, don't watch it. No, watch it. No, don't watch it. No, watch it. No, don't watch it. No, watch it. No, don't watch it. No, watch it.

It's that good. It's so dark and so good I'm ashamed that I like it.

It's like watching a comedy about the assassination of Martin Luther King or JFK, and Martin Lawrence, Eddie Murphy, and Jim Carry are the bumbling conspirators.

You're laughing at the antics because they are hilarious and well acted but at times you look around in shame that you find this stuff funny. But it is funny. It's like watching an eloquent junior high school bully picking on the fat kid. It's like watching your mom slip on her bum in the snow. Funny stuff, but maybe you shouldn't be laughing.

So funny that I had to stop the movie at times because of the brutality that I was enjoying.

It's like a Quentin Tarantino movie based on a true story--true story that ruined one man's life and took the lives of two others.


Sisters Gambling While Kids Outside in Car

Gambling makes you irresponsible, and you both are fined $1000.

Fair punishment, huh? I don't think so. Punishment enough to discourage reprehensible behavior? Absolutely not.

For a gambler it is a mere nuisance. Another trip to the ATM machine at most. For a gambler, it's the price of doing business.

Let's see now, if the sisters have but a modest gambling habit, they're probably not unused to blowing a couple hundred bucks per gambling binge. And if they are complete degenerates--which the evidence implies they are--a thousand dollars a day is an average binge. It doesn't hurt a degenerate as much as non gamblers might think.

A degenerate gambler by his nature has thicker skin than that or he's not a degenerate.

Those kids are fortunate that the sisters took the time to see that the air conditioner was left on.

Read my book ALL OR NOTHING, and you'll see what I mean.


"South Florida Sisters Gambled in Casino While Kids Sat in Running Car"

Two South Florida sisters are facing child neglect charges after authorities say they left their young children in a car while they gambled inside a casino.

Malory Pierre, 27, and Romanie Pierre, 31, are both facing four counts of child neglect without great harm after they left four children inside a running car outside the Mardi Gras Casino in Hallandale Beach Sunday, according to an arrest report read by Broward Circuit Judge John Hurley in court Monday.

Both were ordered held on $5,000 bond and it was unknown whether they have attorneys.

According to Hurley, the sisters took the car full of children -- ages 8, 5, 4 and 2 -- to the casino Sunday evening and left them in the running car while they went inside.

A woman noticed the kids were in the car between 20 and 30 minutes and called 911. Police arrived and had to have one of the kids unlock the car, Hurley said.

The oldest child told officers that their step-mom and her sister went inside and left them there. When officers found and questioned the sisters, one of them said she had gone inside to use the bathroom, while the other said she went inside to ask a question, Hurley said.

But after a brief investigation, police discovered the two had gone inside and were gambling and had checked in at the player's club and were playing slots, Hurley said.

Hurley ordered the two to stay out of casinos if they post bond, but wavered when asked by prosecutors to order them to have no contact with the children.

"It's inappropriate behavior there's no doubt about it, however, I'm not sure that, there's just a part of me that says it may be going too far to keep them away from the children," Hurley said.

The sisters said the children were at home with their mother, and Hurley decided against keeping them away from their kids.

"Hopefully these two have been scared and have been put in jail and maybe shocked into coming to their senses that what they have allegedly done is extremely poor judgment and I'm not going to take their kids away," he said.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Replacement Refs Cost Charles Barkley Big

Wow. If I had that kind of money, I would never have become a gambler. My ass. When I was still in the game, I would have lost all that and then some.


So a lot of people had money on the Packers on Monday night, and a lot of people lost that money when that last call went in favor of the Seahawks — the swing in Vegas was as much as $9.2 million, according to Vegas Insider (via The Big Lead). And worldwide, the swing was as much as $300 million, says R.J. Bell of

A large chunk of that was wagered by a Mr. Charles Barkley, and yes, he had the Packers. And he is not amused. Barkley stopped in to talk on The Mike Missanelli Show on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia on Tuesday. Barkley:

“I don’t think I’ve ever been this mad in my entire life. I got robbed [Monday] night.

“I’m just angry. I love to gamble, I can live with winning and losing, but I don’t ever want to get jobbed like I did [Monday] night. I’m going to give you a quick synopsis. Everybody is going crazy over the catch, but I got screwed on the roughing the passer, I got screwed on the pass interference, I got screwed on the interception and I found out today that they actually have a real official in the replay booth who could’ve overruled that? I got screwed four times and that makes it even worse.”

By Rick Chandler

26 September 2012, From Off The Bench (

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Three in a Row Straight Up on the Roulette Wheel!

This story makes me want to start gambling again!

Straight Up: 3 Times In a Row in Roulette

Copyright © 2006 -by Mack E. Green, roulette player and former Roulette Croupier

In Roulette, it's easy to make a few bucks betting even money. But as a player begins to seek higher rewards, it becomes much more difficult. Inside odds of 2-to-1, 8-to-1, 17-to-1 and finally 35-to-1 wear out and grind down even the biggest bankrolls. Roulette, it is fair to say, "ain't the easiest game in the casino."

I was playing during what must have been The Beau Rivage graveyard shift. Even for a weekday night it seemed particularly quiet. No big action at the Craps tables. No high rollers working at the Blackjack tables either. But that was certainly not true for the Roulette table. That's where I was; playing Roulette. A gorgeous brunette walked over and dropped a twenty dollar bill in front of the croupier. She seemed to be a bit nervous, but that's not unusual for first-time gamblers. The croupier, working alone, made her change in four casino five-dollar chips, per her instructions. She then put three of the four chips into her purse, and placed the remaining chip straight up on number thirty-six. It was a long-odds bet (35 to 1) and probably her last before she returned to whatever city the next morning.

But as luck would have it's way... She hit it. Unfazed, the croup scraped off the remaining bets, mine included, and went over to his house five-dollar chips. Pausing, he turned to her and asked "Want that colored-up, ma'am?" "Yes, please." was the answer. The croupier sensed she wasn't going to play out $175. in red, so he paid her one black ($100.) and 3 green ($25.per chip).

Our brunette heroine wasn't done just yet. She let the red $5.00 chip ride on number 36 again. And again she hit for $175.00. Generally speaking, to hit a number straight up, the odds are about 38 to 1 against you. To hit a number straight up twice in a row, the odds are over 1,400 to 1. But here she was, collecting another big win off a puny red chip. Not only was she winning big, she was staying cool as a cucumber. No screaming. No whirling around. She just stood there waiting for the croup to complete her payout.

And what did I do? Did I "shadow" her play, and make myself a big wad of money? Nope. Not me. Stubborn 'till the end. She was incredibly lucky, but I chose not to share in the wealth. I played half a dozen inside numbers in the "First 12" and made absolutely zippo for my efforts. Funny how that works. People simply want to play their own game, regardless the outcome. Me included.

In what can only be described as a surreal turn of events, the buxom brunette left her same five-dollar chip on the same lucky number 36 for the third straight time. The croupier and I must have thought the same thing... "Not again, lady. No way." I bet accordingly, several numbers away from number 36, and quietly waited for the spin.

Now, a croupier has seen many lucky things in his job. And hitting a number straight-up is no big deal. But it definitely got his attention when the ball stopped dancing around, and hit number 36 for the third straight time. "Very nice." he said to the brunette, and got a friendly grin in return. He paid off the same way. The brunette placed the chips into her purse again, this time picking up her winning five-dollar chip, too, and left for the cashiers cage.

Total number of bets: 3.

Total won $525.00.

Total tip to the croup: $0.00.

The amount of money I made shadowing her bet(s): $0.00.

The odds of hitting three numbers in a row: 54,872 to 1.

Copyright © 2006 -by Mack E. Green, roulette player and former Roulette Croupier

Mack wrote this story for

Lipshitz 6

Lipshitz 6
Reading T Cooper for Christmas

Punk Blood

Punk Blood
Jay Marvin

Breath, Eyes, Memory

Breath, Eyes, Memory

Anonymous Rex

Anonymous Rex
Reading Eric Garcia for Christmas

Vinegar Hill

Vinegar Hill
Reading A. Manette Ansay for Christmas

Nicotine Dreams

Nicotine Dreams
Reading Katie Cunningham for Christmas

Junot Diaz

Junot Diaz
Pulitzer Prize Winner!!!

Edwige Danticat

Edwige Danticat
New Year's Reading


This Brother Is Scary Good

One More Chance

One More Chance
The genius Is At It Again/The Rapper CHIEF aka Sherwin Allen

Sandrine's Letter

Sandrine's Letter
Check out Sandrine's Letter To Tomorrow. You will like it, I insist.

All or Nothing

All or Nothing

Editorial Reviews of All or Nothing

New York Times--". . . a cartographer of autodegradation . . . Like Dostoyevsky, Allen colorfully evokes the gambling milieu — the chained (mis)fortunes of the players, their vanities and grotesqueries, their quasi-philosophical ruminations on chance. Like Burroughs, he is a dispassionate chronicler of the addict’s daily ritual, neither glorifying nor vilifying the matter at hand."

Florida Book Review--". . . Allen examines the flaming abyss compulsive gambling burns in its victims’ guts, self-esteem and bank accounts, the desperate, myopic immediacy it incites, the self-destructive need it feeds on, the families and relationships it destroys. For with gamblers, it really is all or nothing. Usually nothing. Take it from a reviewer who’s been there. Allen is right on the money here."

Foreword Magazine--"Not shame, not assault, not even murder is enough reason to stop. Allen’s second novel, All or Nothing, is funny, relentless, haunting, and highly readable. P’s inner dialogues illuminate the grubby tragedy of addiction, and his actions speak for the train wreck that is gambling."

Library Journal--"Told without preaching or moralizing, the facts of P's life express volumes on the destructive power of gambling. This is strongly recommended and deserves a wide audience; an excellent choice for book discussion groups."—Lisa Rohrbaugh, East Palestine Memorial P.L., OH

LEXIS-NEXIS--"By day, P drives a school bus in Miami. But his vocation? He's a gambler who craves every opportunity to steal a few hours to play the numbers, the lottery, at the Indian casinos. Allen has a narrative voice as compelling as feeding the slots is to P." Betsy Willeford is a Miami-based freelance book reviewer. November 4, 2007

Publisher’s Weekly--"Allen’s dark and insightful novel depicts narrator P’s sobering descent into his gambling addiction . . . The well-written novel takes the reader on a chaotic ride as P chases, finds and loses fast, easy money. Allen (Churchboys and Other Sinners) reveals how addiction annihilates its victims and shows that winning isn’t always so different from losing."

Kirkus Review--"We gamble to gamble. We play to play. We don't play to win." Right there, P, desperado narrator of this crash-'n'-burn novella, sums up the madness. A black man in Miami, P has graduated from youthful nonchalance (a '79 Buick Electra 225) to married-with-a-kid pseudo-stability, driving a school bus in the shadow of the Biltmore. He lives large enough to afford two wide-screen TVs, but the wife wants more. Or so he rationalizes, as he hits the open-all-night Indian casinos, "controlling" his jones with a daily ATM maximum of $1,000. Low enough to rob the family piggy bank for slot-machine fodder, he sinks yet further, praying that his allergic 11-year-old eat forbidden strawberries—which will send him into a coma, from which he'll emerge with the winning formula for Cash 3 (the kid's supposedly psychic when he's sick). All street smarts and inside skinny, the book gives readers a contact high that zooms to full rush when P scores $160,000 on one lucky machine ("God is the God of Ping-ping," he exults, as the coins flood out). The loot's enough to make the small-timer turn pro, as he heads, flush, to Vegas to cash in. But in Sin City, karmic payback awaits. Swanky hookers, underworld "professors" deeply schooled in sure-fire systems to beat the house, manic trips to the CashMyCheck store for funds to fuel the ferocious need—Allen's brilliant at conveying the hothouse atmosphere of hell-bent gaming. Fun time in the Inferno.

At Books and Books

At Books and Books
Me And Vicki at Our Reading


Preston L. Allen is the recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature and the Sonja H. Stone Prize in Fiction for his short story collection Churchboys and Other Sinners (Carolina Wren Press 2003). His works have appeared in numerous publications including The Seattle Review, The Crab Orchard Review, Asili, Drum Voices, and Gulfstream Magazine; and he has been anthologized in Here We Are: An Anthology of South Florida Writers, Brown Sugar: A Collection of Erotic Black Fiction, Miami Noir, and the forthcoming Las Vegas Noir. His fourth novel, All Or Nothing, chronicles the life of a small-time gambler who finally hits it big. Preston Allen teaches English and Creative Writing in Miami, Florida.