Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It Warms the Heart

Would you give away your lottery winnings? It kinda warms the heart.




Nicest Canadian Couple in World Dole Out Lottery Winnings
By Liz Goodwin

A retired Canadian couple who won $11.3 million in the lottery in July have already given it (almost) all away.

"What you've never had, you never miss," 78-year-old Violet Large explained to a local reporter.

She was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer when the couple realized they'd won the jackpot in July.

"That money that we won was nothing," her tearful husband, Allen, told Patricia Brooks Arenburg of the Nova Scotia Chronicle Herald. "We have each other."

The money was a "headache," they told the paper--mainly, it brought anxiety over the prospect that "crooked people" might take advantage of them. Several people called them out of the blue to ask for money when the news first broke that they'd won the jackpot. So they began an $11 million donation spree to get rid of it and help others, the Chronicle Herald reports:

They took care of family first and then began delivering donations to the two pages' worth of groups they had decided on, including the local fire department, churches, cemeteries, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, hospitals in Truro and Halifax, where Violet underwent her cancer treatment, and organizations that fight cancer, Alzheimer's and diabetes. The list goes on and on.

Violet told the Canadian Press that they retained about 2 percent of the money for a rainy day.

"It made us feel good," Violet told the Chronicle Herald. "And there's so much good being done with that money."

The Nova Scotia couple have been married more than 35 years and quietly saved up the money that Allen made as a welder and Violet made in retail before retiring.

"We haven't spent one cent on ourselves because we've been too busy getting everything looked after and with my health, I have to wait to get my health back to get the energy to do anything," Violet told the National Post.

"We're not travelers anyway. We live in the country and we're proud of it. Money can't buy you health or happiness."

Now their neighborhood is abuzz over their good deeds.

"People who know them just know that's the type of people they are—they're just happy to have each other," local restaurant owner Lori Hingley told the Canadian Press.

The prize was in Canada dollars (roughly equal to U.S. dollars at current exchange rates).

Nicest Canadian couple in world dole out lottery winnings
By Liz Goodwin

A retired Canadian couple who won $11.3 million in the lottery in July have already given it (almost) all away.

"What you've never had, you never miss," 78-year-old Violet Large explained to a local reporter.

She was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer when the couple realized they'd won the jackpot in July.

"That money that we won was nothing," her tearful husband, Allen, told Patricia Brooks Arenburg of the Nova Scotia Chronicle Herald. "We have each other."

The money was a "headache," they told the paper--mainly, it brought anxiety over the prospect that "crooked people" might take advantage of them. Several people called them out of the blue to ask for money when the news first broke that they'd won the jackpot. So they began an $11 million donation spree to get rid of it and help others, the Chronicle Herald reports:

They took care of family first and then began delivering donations to the two pages' worth of groups they had decided on, including the local fire department, churches, cemeteries, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, hospitals in Truro and Halifax, where Violet underwent her cancer treatment, and organizations that fight cancer, Alzheimer's and diabetes. The list goes on and on.

Violet told the Canadian Press that they retained about 2 percent of the money for a rainy day.

"It made us feel good," Violet told the Chronicle Herald. "And there's so much good being done with that money."

The Nova Scotia couple have been married more than 35 years and quietly saved up the money that Allen made as a welder and Violet made in retail before retiring.

"We haven't spent one cent on ourselves because we've been too busy getting everything looked after and with my health, I have to wait to get my health back to get the energy to do anything," Violet told the National Post.

"We're not travelers anyway. We live in the country and we're proud of it. Money can't buy you health or happiness."

Now their neighborhood is abuzz over their good deeds.

"People who know them just know that's the type of people they are—they're just happy to have each other," local restaurant owner Lori Hingley told the Canadian Press.

The prize was in Canada dollars (roughly equal to U.S. dollars at current exchange rates).

Monday, October 25, 2010

Michael Jackson Tops the List of Earners Among Dead Celebrities

I found this bit of macabre info on AOL and had to share it with you.

--Glad to see 4 writers made the list.




Top-Earning Dead Celebrities
(Click on name to see full profile.)

1. Michael Jackson
$275 Million | Musician | Died: June 25, 2009

2. Elvis Presley
$60 Million | Singer, Actor | Died: Aug. 16, 1977

3. J.R.R. Tolkien
$50 Million | Author | Died: Sept. 2, 1973

4. Charles Schulz
$33 Million | Cartoonist | Died: Feb. 12, 2000

5. John Lennon
$17 Million | Musician | Died: Dec. 8, 1980

6. Stieg Larsson
$15 Million | Writer | Died: Nov. 9, 2004

7. Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel)
$11 Million | Author | Died: Sept. 24, 1991

8. Albert Einstein
$10 Million | Scientist | Died: April 18, 1955

9. George Steinbrenner
$8 Million | Sports Franchise Owner | Died: July 13, 2010


Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Police Can Put A GPS Device On Your Car Without Your Consent

Jonathon Ramsey
Aol Autos Correspondent

Is your vehicle private property? The answer seems obvious: of course it is. But depending on where you parked it, you might give up some rights in actually keeping it "private." Police can place a tracking device on your car without a warrant, according to recent judgment in California.

Earlier this year, an Oregonian named Juan Pineda-Moreno was convicted of growing marijuana after police tracked his car to a suspected growing site. Pineda-Moreno appealed, citing the fact that on two occasions DEA agents placed tracking devices on his car while it was in his driveway -- which he considered private, not public, property -- and therefore breached his Fourth Amendment rights.

In case you don't have your Bill of Rights handy, here's the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Pineda-Moreno didn't have any signage or barriers around his property to clearly indicate that it was private property, and since "an individual going up to the house to deliver the newspaper or to visit someone would have to go through the driveway to get to the house," why couldn't the DEA? Further, the court ruled that the underside of his car isn't private because "[t]he undercarriage is part of the car's exterior, and as such, is not afforded a reasonable expectation of privacy."

Of course there are all kinds of legal chicanery involved, so read the decision (it's short) if you really want to know how it went down (for instance, DEA agents attached GPS devices on seven occasion, five of those in public places, not Pineda-Moreno's driveway) and then decide for yourself whether Orwell has lifted a finger from the grave or not.

How It All Went Down

Pineda-Moreno tipped law enforcement off in 2007 when he was seen buying a large amount of fertilizer from Home Depot. The fertilizer, one typically used to grow marijuana, was purchased in conjunction with groceries, irrigation supplies and deer repellant and placed in the back of his 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The Drug Enforcement Agency decided to study Pineda-Moreno more closely, placing GPS tracking devices on his vehicle. The devices, about the size of a bar of soap, were placed on the underside of his vehicle on seven different occasions -- four times while parked on the street outside of his residence, once in a public parking lot and twice while parked in his driveway. Reports indicate that police placed the devices on his vehicle between 4:00 and 5:00 AM in the mornings.

While tracking his vehicle, officials recognized Pineda-Moreno's car was leaving a commonly known marijuana growing location. They located his Jeep, pulled him over and noted the smell of marijuana coming from his car. All three people in the car were placed under arrest and when officials searched Pineda-Moreno's trailer, they found two large garbage bags full of weed.

What's undisputed is that Pineda-Moreno was in possession of marijuana. But should the manner in which police tracked him get called into question? While Pineda-Moreno lost this recent appeal, expect him to take it to a higher court (the U.S. Supreme Court) in the coming year.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I just saw Kick Ass and I loved it. Now I have to shuffle my list of greatest comic book movies. Kick Ass has got to be in the top five, maybe the top three.

I'm thinking. . .

Spider-Man 1
Spider-Man 2
The Incredibles
Dark Knight
Iron Man 1
Superman Returns
X-Men 1
Blade 1
Batman Begins
Iron Man 2
My Super Ex Girlfriend
Blade 2
Hellboy 1
Hellboy 2
Incredible Hulk (Ed Norton)
Spider-Man 3
The Incredible Hulk (the artsy one)
Sin City
X-Men 2
Road to Perdition
Daredevil (director's cut)
Fantastic Four 1
X-Men 3
Fantastic Four 2
Ghost Rider
The Spirit
(Note: This list does not include pre-CGI movies)

Kick Ass:

Nicholas Cage is back!! He's one of my favorite actors, but every now and then he stars in a stinker. But Man Oh Man, he is great in this one as Big Daddy. The real star of the film, however, is Hit Girl, who plays his butt-kicking preteen daughter. The chemistry between them is powerful stuff--powerful enough to bring a chuckle to the heart and a tear to the eyes. Hmmm. Kinda reminds me of another great Nicholas Cage performance, MatchStick Men. He teamed up with a butt-kicking daughter in that one too. I think we're on to something here. Nick Cage makes a real good albeit twisted father figure.

Hit-girl, We never . . . what?
Turn our backs to the wall. Sorry, daddy.

The now infamous "Rescue Scene" cracked me up and saddened me at the same time, with lines like:

Take cover, Child!
Switch to Krypton Light!
Robin's Revenge!
The show is over, Motherf**kers!
I'm proud of you!

And after she disposes of all the bad guys, we have that tender moment when she wraps the body of her dying father in the cape to kill the flames. I'm a comic book fan from way back, and I can honestly tell you that I have never felt such genuine emotion in a comic Book flick. Death of Uncle Ben--close, but no. Death of the first Night Owl in Watchmen--close, but no. Superman on his getting whipped by Lex Luther--nice, but no. How the heck does a campy, half-serious film manage to push all of the right buttons?



Sunday, July 11, 2010

James Patterson Becomes First Author to Sell 1 million E-Books

I found this bit of news.

Congrats to Mr. Patterson


by Terrence O'Brien

James Patterson doesn't exactly write what you'd call "high literature." His thriller novels, often about a psychologist named Alex Cross, are basic bestseller tripe in the vein of Dan Brown. Patterson is far more prolific than most of his contemporaries, though, having penned 65 novels in his 33-year career. That body of work has put him in a position to be one of the foremost forces behind the e-book revolution.

Patterson's publishing company, The Hachette Book Group, claims that his novels have now moved 1.14 million copies in electronic form, making him the first author to sell over 1 million e-copies of his books. There are no third-party monitors of e-book sales, so Hachette relied on its own numbers and compared them with the sales of other prominent authors. Patterson will likely soon be followed across the million copy line by other bestselling authors, but we won't lie; we're shocked that he wasn't beaten to the punch by more geek-friendly authors like Stephen King or Douglas Adams. [From: L.A. Times]

Thursday, June 3, 2010

He Hit the Debt Collection Lottery for 1.5 Million!

I Found This on AOL.

Funny and sad at the same time.



VILE Voice Mails Cost Agency 1.5 Million Dollars

June 2) -- A fed-up Texas man has turned the tables on a collections agency.

Advanced Call Center Technologies, usually in the business of collecting money for its clients, now finds itself $1.5 million in debt to Allen Jones. A Dallas County court awarded him the hefty judgment after a jury found the agency barraged Jones with harassing and racially charged phone calls.

ACT debt collectors confessed to logging eight expletive-filled calls to Jones, of Lewisville, Texas, in August 2007, many peppered with the "n-word." Jones, 26, saved the vulgar voice mails as evidence.

"This is your motherf------ wake-up call you little lazy a-- b----," a collector said in one early-morning message obtained by Dallas/Fort Worth's WFAA-TV. "Get your motherf------ n----r ass up and go pick some motherf------ cotton fields."

The calls from the Pennsylvania-based company came as early as 6:30 a.m. and as late as 11 p.m., seeking to collect a $200 debt from Jones.

He said he told ACT in their first communication that he had already paid the bill.

"This shouldn't be tolerated," Jones told WFAA. "Nobody should have to experience what I had to experience."

A jury agreed with Jones, finding that ACT violated debt collection ethical guidelines. Jones was awarded $1.5 million in punitive damages, $143,000 in attorney's fees and $50,000 in mental anguish, one of the largest rewards of its kind.

One of Jones' attorneys, Dean Malone, said the reward was fair punishment for "the most egregious collection case" he's ever seen.

"It was just significant, over-the-top harassment," he told ABC News. "I've handled hundreds of these cases over the years. This is by far the worst I've ever seen."

A lawyer for ACT told ABC that the language used in the calls was "indefensible" and said the calls "must have been in some sort of personal attack unrelated to the business."

George Vignola, a collection expert and president of Commercial Collection Consultants, a debt collection firm based in Massapequa, N.Y., told AOL News he was shocked after listening to the audio of the voice mails.

"As an agency owner, I couldn't believe the vulgarity. That's what gives our industry a bad name," Vignola said. "What could you possibly hope to achieve by using profanity? The only thing you're going to get is a dial tone."

Or in the case of ACT, a whopping debt.
Filed under: Nation

Fran Drescher Blessed to Have Met Gay Ex-Husband

I found this on AOl.




In a bombshell interview with In Touch Weekly, Fran Drescher has revealed that her ex-husband, Peter Marc Jacobson, to whom she was married for more than 21 years, is gay.

Although he broke the news to her after they divorced in 1999, Drescher has finally come clean about her ex's sexuality, admitting his confession brought them closer together. "Peter and I feel so blessed to have met each other and to still have a caring, loving relationship," Fran says. "Love is what we're all about."

In the interview, Drescher speaks candidly about her openly gay ex-husband and the traumatic burglary that changed everything.

The two first met while attending Hillcrest High School in Jamaica, Queens. The couple married in 1978 when Drescher was 21 -- shortly after she made her film debut in 1977's 'Saturday Night Fever.' In hindsight, Drescher admits young love had its pitfalls, but the two went through life-changing experiences that would later define their careers in Hollywood.

"Peter and I met when we were 15," Drescher tells In Touch. "We were just kids and didn't know who we truly were. We went through a lot together."

Jacobson and Drescher became an unstoppable team when he wrote, directed and produced her signature television series, 'The Nanny.'

But not everything was as simple as it seemed.

The couple had quite a few ups and downs -- including a traumatic experience in January 1985 when two armed robbers broke into their Los Angeles apartment. While one robber ransacked their home, the other sexually assaulted Drescher at gunpoint. Jacobson was also physically attacked, tied up and forced to witness the entire ordeal.

Although the man was sentenced to two life sentences, Drescher had a difficult time overcoming the horrifying ordeal. "At the time, it didn't seem to hurt the marriage," Fran told Larry King in 2002, but added, "Nothing was ever really the same again."

The couple separated in 1996 and were officially divorced in 1999. They did not have any children together.

That's when Jacobson finally told Drescher that he was gay. Although the two split, Drescher reveals they're still "the best of friends" and continue to collaborate. "We love each other dearly," she says. "We have even fixed each other up! I more successfully than him, by the way."

The couple even co-hosted a cocktail party in LA to benefit an organization that sought to block California's ban on same-sex marriage -- known as Prop 8. "I'm a gay icon," she explains. "But even if I weren't, I'm a political activist who believes in preserving the American dream, which is tolerance of diversity and the separation of church and state."

Teens Aren't Getting Any Smarter about Sex

I found this on AOL.




(June 2) -- Attitudes among American teens about birth control, sexual activity and pregnancy have remained largely unchanged since 2002, according to a new federal report.

Stalled progress is bad enough, but some subtle changes also have experts concerned.

Most notably, more teens than ever are using the "rhythm method" to prevent pregnancy, and a growing number of teen girls approve of underage childbirth.

The report, compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is based on interviews with 2,767 teens, ages 15 to 19, between 2006 and 2008.

At the foundation of the report is the prevalence of teen sexual activity. It's remained nearly unchanged since 2002, with 40 percent of teens reporting at least one sexual encounter.

But in a 6 percent increase from 2002, 17 percent of sexually active girls reported timing their sexual encounters in an attempt to prevent pregnancy. The so-called rhythm method has long been debunked as ineffective, as it only works about 25 percent of the time, according to the study's authors.

Attitudes about pregnancy are also changing. Nearly 64 percent of teenage boys think it's acceptable for a teen to have a baby, compared with 50 percent in 2002. Among girls, more than 70 percent now approve, compared with 65 percent in 2002.

Only 12 percent of boys who weren't sexually active said they opted out of sex because they feared impregnating their partner.

Combined, the two worrisome trends might help explain a related issue: the uptick in teen pregnancies, which occurred around the same time as this survey.

After dropping steadily for more than a decade, the teen birth rate in the U.S. rose between 2005 and 2007. Compared with other developed countries, the U.S. posted the remarkably high rate in 2007 of 42 babies per 1,000 teen girls. In Canada, by contrast, only 13 babies are born per 1,000 teen girls.

"We've known the decline in childbearing stalled out. This report kind of fills in the why," Bill Albert, spokesman for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, told The Associated Press.

Laura Lindberg, senior research associate at the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute, speculates that the growing number of glamorous celebrities bearing children -- especially as single mothers -- is having an impact on the attitudes of America's youth.

"Teens don't live in a vacuum," she told USA Today. "What they see adults doing around them is going to reflect in their own behaviors and attitudes."

Other advocates are speaking out about the need for immediate solutions, particularly in regards to sex education.

"[W]e cannot afford to keep our heads in the sand about ensuring that our young people have access to comprehensive sex education," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, who cited a need for sex ed that incorporates "abstinence, contraception, healthy relationships, and responsible decision-making."
Filed under: Nation, Health

Sunday, May 30, 2010

JFK and George Washington were the two richest presidents by far


This is from Asylum.com.

But I thought I read somewhere that Washington and Jefferson died penniless. I'll have to check on it.




John F. Kennedy and George Washington were our two richest presidents by far.

The Atlantic magazine took into account property, savings, salary, inheritance and royalties when calculating, in present dollars, how much each of the 43 men who have been president were worth at their peak. JFK, due to family money, was valued at a whopping $1 billion, whereas George Washington, who had massive land and slave holdings, checked in at $525 million.

Other presidents who topped the $100 million mark were Thomas Jefferson ($212 million), Teddy Roosevelt ($125 million), Andrew Jackson ($119 million) and James Madison ($101 million).

Barack Obama is currently worth $5 million. That number, however, will likely skyrocket when he leaves office.

Bill Clinton, for example, has already upped his net worth to $38 million -- and the big fella never even did that lucrative McDonald's ad campaign we all expected him to cash in on.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Say it Isn't So!

Dennis Hopper.

Another great one gone to that big screen test in the sky.

I loved him best in Giant, Blue Velvet, Easy Rider, True Romance, and Speed in that order. And who can forget Babalugats in Cool Hand Luke?

Rest in Peace, Jordan Benedict III.


Making the Hook-Up

Check out the last erotic story I will ever write until I decide to start writing erotica again: "The Three Kisses."

It is in the collection "Making the Hook-Up" (Cleis 2010).

The book is pretty hot, so pick it up with a potholder.



Say It Isn't So

Wachu talkin'bout, Willis?

Some people out there are making light of his passing, but for me and my generation, this one is big.

Gary Coleman



Saturday, May 22, 2010

Iron Man 2

Last night I saw IRON MAN 2, a very entertaining film that matches up well with the original.

Gary Shandling is great in it--good to see him again. Yours truly is a big fan of the Larry Sanders Show.

Don Cheadle in an action flick? I was not sure that I would like it. He did a fine job, though I did miss Terrence Howard just a little bit. I think Howard and RD, Jr. had better chemistry.

Sam Rockwell--I loved to hate him in Matchstick Men, one of my favorite films, and I loved to hate him in this. He's good as the bad guy.

Scarlett Johannson and Gwyneth Paltrow--fine performances for both of them.

Samuel Jackson as Nick Fury--this was a stretch for me, but Samuel Jackson always brings it. There was not much scripted here for him to work with, but I think he'll do just fine in the eventual Avengers movie.

Mickey Rourke--My god! This guy is amazing as the villain. He sizzles on screen! I love the tooth pick almost as much as the Russian accent.

I kid you not, Mickey Rourke stole the show! Think Heath Ledger--though I do not think he will become the second supervillain to be nomimated for an Oscar. Been there, done that.

Mickey Rourke is gold right now.

Everyone should get on Twitter and vote him on to SNL ASAP.



Sunday, May 16, 2010

New York Times Book Review of Jesus Boy

The New York Times Book Review.

There is a God. And His blessings are bountiful.


Prof. Allen


The Ecstasy and the Ecstasy

What is it about church that is so damn sexy? The question has bugged me for a long time. An erotic current runs just below the displays of rectitude and purity, despite the hard pews and organ repertory. I suspect it has to do with the congregants’ concerted effort to suppress carnality in favor of distant heavenly rewards. Denying the flesh only makes it throb harder. It’s tricky to defeat one’s own biology, especially when young. It bubbles up during sermons as eyes and thoughts wander. The nape of a boy’s neck sitting two rows up — that modest strip of naked flesh between hairline and suit jacket — can surprisingly arouse.

Sixteen-year-old Elwyn Parker, the protagonist of Preston L. Allen’s novel “Jesus Boy,” is smitten by something just as banal: the glimpse of a twice-pierced, yet unadorned earlobe. The ear belongs to Elaine Morrisohn, 42, a freshly widowed member of his black community’s church, Our Blessed Redeemer Who Walked Upon the Waters. The widow’s earlobes lend credence to rumors that she lived a life of “singular wickedness” before she accepted the Lord. As Elwyn boasts to his high school principal, in this church “we don’t drink, don’t smoke, and our women don’t wear pants.” Jewelry is forbidden, as is coffee, dancing, secular music and most forms of fun.

But these strictures do nothing to repress the congregation’s primal urges, and generations of illicit sex run through this clever and wide-ranging book in which the flesh always triumphs. “Jesus Boy” could well be titled “Jesus People,” for it is crowded with backsliders, hypocrites, horny preachers and shunned “outside” children. All the furtive copulation makes for a general kinkiness that permeates the sanctuary like cheap aftershave. In one case, a couple decides to stop fornicating and get married — only to discover they are distant relatives.

When Elwyn discovers that the girl for whom he’s harbored a long but chaste crush is pregnant, he turns to the pierced widow to explore his own impulses. He visits her just hours after her husband’s burial — she is still in her funeral dress — to ask about the sins she committed in her former life, and whether she ever feels like “yielding.” She does. And she shows him how.

Surely no one does church sexy like Allen. In his worship services, the Holy Ghost descends on women who collapse in the aisle with “spasming legs” and preachers whip their flocks into orgiastic frenzies. The middle-aged widow gazes soulfully at her teenage lover as he strokes the piano during a hymn, “so tight and so fresh and so full of juice,” and calls out an “orgasm shout” that is lost among the holiness shouts.

These people want ecstasy in heaven and on earth. They may lapse into sin, but they can’t shake religion entirely because it is their identity. They quote the Bible — yea, the King James Version — as they beat each other up. They pray before cheating and raise holy hands in the middle of a seduction. One adulterous couple, knowing their congregation will ostracize them if they go public with their liaison, reach an impasse when it comes to finding a new church. As the man ticks off denominations, the woman finds faults with each. She can’t bear to leave her spiritual home of so many years. “Love will conquer all,” her lover finally reassures her. “Love will find a way.”

“Will it?” she responds.

The sinners here take comfort in the notion that “Christ is married to the backslider,” and will forgive their trespasses “seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22). That’s 490 times, or about one aberration every two months over an 80-year lifespan — not much. Like Ted Haggard-Jim Bakker-Jimmy Swaggart, when their hypocrisy and dirty secrets are revealed, they expect, even demand, forgiveness.

Allen’s writing is by turns solemn and funny. There is a revival scene staged by three ministers — two are African-­American, one white — that is hilarious. As the “Rev’run” struts around the stage in a mint-green double-breasted suit berating the audience, the adulterous Rev. McGowan responds with tears, but the white minister leaps to his feet, slings the Rev’run aside and screams gibberish into the microphone before sprinting down the aisle and out the door. The stunned audience “pondered the role of the white minister,” Allen writes, while the two black preachers wondered who he was; neither had invited him. Was the mystery man speaking in tongues, reacting to the Rev’run’s emotional appeal or exhibiting psychosis? The reader must decide if his behavior is any more schizoid than that of the zealous sinners or sinning zealots who people this book.

Allen’s previous books include “All or Nothing,” a novel about gambling addiction (as this one is about religious addiction) and “Churchboys and Other Sinners,” a story collection in which Elwyn is a recurring character. It would be easy for “Jesus Boy” to become fluffy satire, but Allen keeps his characters real. Elwyn, who once aspired to become “a beacon unto the faithful,” becomes something much more profane. His faith wanes, but he still slips into the pews now and again to get his fix by singing the hymns he’s known since boyhood. He leaves before the sermon begins. There is nostalgia for the simple morality, the fellowship, the promise of celestial rewards. Old habits are hard to break.

by Julia Scheeres

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I found this article by Ben Stein (Bueller. Bueller. Bueller. Bueller.) on AOL.

No—I am not breaking my oath and getting political. This article lends perspective.



Opinion: Giving Nixon His Due on Health Care Reform

March 25) -- Attention must be paid.

All eyes have been on Washington in the past year as the parties debated President Barack Obama's shifting versions of national health care. On Sunday night, after a highly questionable series of parliamentary maneuvers, President Obama signed into "law" his health care plan.

With some considerable reason, he noted that health care for all is an idea whose time has come. (His plan still leaves more than 20 million not insured, but let that be.) And, with some justification, most of the media rejoiced that national health care had arrived for people with low incomes, with pre-existing conditions, without jobs, with impoverished employers.

To call Barack Obama's response to the passage (however questionably executed ) of this bill "triumphalist" is like calling Mount Everest "tall."

But among the glorying, there was little or no mention of my former boss, Richard M. Nixon, and this was a monstrous wrong, one of an innumerable number of wrongs directed at Mr. Nixon.

The flat truth is that in February 1974, with the hounds of hell baying at him about Watergate, with a national trial by shortage under way after the Arab Oil Embargo, with the economy in extremely rocky shape, and with large Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, Republican Richard M. Nixon submitted to Congress a national health care bill in many ways more comprehensive than what Mr. Obama achieved.

Mr. Nixon's health care plan would have covered all employed people by giving combined state and federal subsidies to employers. It would have covered the poor and the unemployed by much larger subsidies. It would have encouraged health maintenance organizations. It would have banned exclusions for pre-existing conditions and not allowed limits on spending for each insured.

I know a bit about this because I, your humble servant, as a 29-year-old speech writer, wrote the message to Congress sending up the bill.

In many ways, the bill was far more "socialist" than what Mr. Obama has proposed. It certainly involved a far larger swath of state and federal government power over health care. Please remember that this was 36 years ago, when middle-class Americans still had some slight faith that government was on their side.

My point is not whether or not Mr. Nixon's plan was better than Mr. Obama's. In fact, they have many points in common.

My only point is that if you want to call someone a visionary, if you want to call someone compassionate, if you want to note that someone was a foe of inequality and a friend to mercy, think of Richard Nixon, with a host of problems of his own the likes of which Mr. Obama cannot imagine, reaching out to the poor and the uninsured to help.

The plan, of course, was killed dead by the Democrats, led by Edward Kennedy, who later regretted what he had done. Still, attention must be paid to a prophet without honor in his own land.

Ben Stein is an economist, lawyer, actor, comedian, public speaker and university teacher, and he was a speechwriter for Presidents Nixon and Ford. He has also written several books, the latest of which is "The Little Book of Bulletproof Investing," written with Phil DeMuth.


Sisters Battle in Court Over Lottery Jackpot

I found this on Aol.

Might I add that they are in their eighties?




March 24) -- The beauty of sisterly love apparently runs only so deep.

Two sisters in their 80s had a special bond, taking regular trips to a Connecticut casino and buying lottery tickets. After one sister won $165,000 and shared most of the money, the siblings drew up a contract, saying they would equally divide all future winnings.

Both women said they adhered to the deal for nearly a decade, but they stopped talking after a fight in 2004 about a small loan, according to The Hartford Courant and The Associated Press.

Things turned ugly the next year when one sister, Rose Bakaysa, and a brother won a $500,000 Powerball jackpot. When younger sister Theresa Sokaitis learned of the win, she wanted a share of the money and took her older sister to court.

The sisters, who reportedly haven't spoken to each other in five years, saw each other Tuesday in New Britain Superior Court as Sokaitis' lawsuit went to trial. Sokaitis, 84, says Bakaysa, 87, violated their notarized contract. But Bakaysa says Sokaitis canceled the deal in 2004 during the fight, which was over several hundred dollars.

"She was shouting, 'I don't want to be your partner anymore.' I said, 'All right, that was it.' I tore up my contract," Bakaysa testified.

Acknowledging the fight, Sokaitis said she thought their contract was still valid. "I love my sister. There was no reason not to be partners," Sokaitis testified Tuesday. She denied saying she wanted to end their deal.

Both sides agree the case has damaged the family. In court, the sisters never seemed to lock eyes, the Courant said, nor did they exchange smiles or waves. And Bakaysa spoke of her sister as "Mrs. Sokaitis."

"One thing Theresa Sokaitis has maintained throughout is the thing she is most upset about is she has lost the relationship with her sister," said her lawyer, Samuel Pollack.

While a judge had dismissed Sokaitis' lawsuit under a Connecticut law that makes gambling contracts illegal, the state Supreme Court said the law didn't apply because the case involved legal activities and allowed the trial to go forward.

After the one-day trial, Judge Cynthia Swienton said she expects to issue her ruling in the next few months.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Berlin Poker Heist

I heard about this on AOL.


These guys have balls of steel.



Berlin Poker Heist

(Mar. 7) -- A group of robbers wielding machetes and handguns stormed a Berlin poker tournament Saturday -- escaping with as much as $1.1 million in a stunt that was captured by German television cameras.

In what looks like a scene out of an action movie, four robbers in disguise burst into the poker competition at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, sending panicked players, hotel employees and spectators scrambling for the exits as security guards attempted to tackle the thieves.

The initial moments of the heist were captured on live television, with poker players seen fleeing their tables mid-competition, but coverage soon cut away.

"An armed robbery in broad daylight in the heart of Berlin, at Germany's biggest poker tournament," Olaf Wagner, a witness and photographer for Germany's Bild newspaper, marveled to BusinessWeek. "I just couldn't believe my eyes."

"One guy stood in the corner stuffing 500 euro notes into his backpack, while a second man pinned down a security man with his machete," Wagner added.

Berlin police said seven people were injured and a security guard was slightly wounded when the robbers barreled into the hotel just after 2 p.m. local time Saturday, demanding employees of the poker competition turn over the one-million euro jackpot ($1.36 million.)

A police spokesman said it was unclear how much loot the group escaped with, but the BBC reported the sum could be as much as $1.1 million.

According to published reports, a security guard managed to force one of the robbers to drop a bag containing some of the prize money, but police would not say how much the bag contained.

The robbers escaped unscathed, at least temporarily, as no arrests have been made. Police said they are interviewing witnesses and reviewing surveillance tape.

Despite the scare, the poker playing continued, according to the competition Web site.

"Nobody was seriously injured and the Main Event, High Roller tournament and Ladies Event all managed to resume within a few hours," it said.
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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Obama on Vegas--"I take that back--It is Good to Gamble"

I found this on AOL.

Generally, I stay away from politics in my blog, but this one is too funny.

Are they saying that it is GOOD to GAMBLE in a tough economy? LOL. Please do not tell this to me, for I am an addicted gambler and I need no excuses to go blow my hard-earned cash, tough economy or not. Hell, I built Las Vegas. I just didn't know that it was good to gamble.

Fire and damnation. I'm buying my plane ticket. Vegas, here I come.

And don't forget, folks, in a tough economy it is also good to smoke--if your state sells tobacco. In a tough economy it is good to drink--if your state sells whisky. In a tough economy it is good to plunk down a chunk of change on a new HUMMER--if your state sells Hummers. In a tough economy it is good to pick up a few hookers--if your state has legalized prostitution. In a tough economy it is good to spend--in this way the country's economy will work just fine, but you, personally, will lose your house.

Hmmmmm. This has started me thinking . . . more on this self-sacrificing concept later.




LAS VEGAS (Feb. 2) -- President Barack Obama, attacked by Nevada leaders after referencing Las Vegas for the second time in a year as an inappropriate place to spend money, tried late today to soften the blow by praising the city as "one of our country's great destinations."

Obama's attempt to soothe ruffled feathers came hours after a town hall meeting in Nashua, N.H., where he told a crowd that people ought not "blow a bunch of cash in Vegas when you're trying to save for college."

The comment came almost a year to date after the president referred to Las Vegas as a place where companies receiving bailout money from the government ought not be coming for junkets -- a perceived dig at America's top tourist and convention destination that led to an outcry.

This time, Obama told his audience: "When times are tough, you tighten your belts. You don't go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don't blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you're trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices. It's time your government did the same."

That reference sparked a firestorm in which every member of the state's congressional delegation -- which includes three Democrats -- issued scathing statements lambasting Obama for discouraging tourism at a time when Las Vegas is among the nation's most economically depressed cities.

"I don't know if Obama has a problem with Las Vegas, but I have a problem with Obama," Rep. Shelley Berkley, a Democrat whose district includes the Las Vegas Strip, said in an interview. "This is the second time he has made a comment that is harmful to the city of Las Vegas and the people I represent. It is incomprehensible to me that he should not only repeat the same mistake but continue to insult the people and industry I represent."

Obama even took a licking from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, his top congressional ally and a politician facing a tough re-election campaign this fall. Reid issued a statement saying he told the White House "the president needs to lay off Las Vegas and stop making it the poster child for where people shouldn't be spending their money."

But later this afternoon, Reid was circulating a letter from Obama attempting to defuse the situation.

"I hope you know that during my town hall today, I wasn't saying anything negative about Las Vegas," Obama wrote. "I was making the simple point that families use vacation dollars, not college tuition money, to have fun. There is no place better to have fun than Vegas, one of our country's great destinations. I have always enjoyed my visits, look forward to visiting in a few weeks and hope folks will visit in record numbers this year."

Obama is expected in the city later this month to raise money for Nevada Democrats. He won the state in 2008 but in February 2009, he invoked Las Vegas as an example of how bank bailout money should not be spent.

"You can't take a trip to Las Vegas or down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers' dime," Obama said then during a town hall meeting in Elkhart, Ind.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority said the Indiana remark led to the cancellation or moving of several conventions because companies feared seeming profligate if they met in Sin City. Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman angrily demanded an apology from Obama at the time but never received one, instead settling for a remark by Obama in May on a visit to the city that "there's nothing like a quick trip to Vegas in the middle of the week."

The new flap came on what should have been a good day for Obama and Reid in Nevada. The president's budget axed funding for the controversial Yucca Mountain national nuclear waste repository, a project about 150 miles outside Las Vegas that the state has fought for decades to kill. Reid has been credited with having Obama's ear and persuading him to effectively end the project.

Instead of victory laps, however, Reid and others were defending a city that has the nation's highest foreclosure rate, record-high unemployment and a gigantic state budget gap brought on by falling sales, hotel and gaming tax revenues.

Berkley said what stuck in her craw was the fact that the president made Las Vegas sound like an extravagant destination when an oversupply of hotel rooms and soft visitation figures have turned it into a relatively inexpensive getaway.

"The president needs to get more information about my remarkable city," she said. "He is obviously terribly misinformed and has a stereotypical opinion of one of the most remarkable communities I've ever known."

Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman Cara Roberts said the chamber appreciated Obama's response to Reid.

"It sounds like the president clarified his remark and he's excited and supportive of Las Vegas," Roberts said. "We want the president to realize there are thousands of men and women whose livelihoods depend on us having a strong hospitality industry. We're in a particularly vulnerable time and we need to do everything we can to bolster that industry and support our economy and jobs in southern Nevada."

Yet others weren't so charitable. Former Nevada Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Lowden, a leading contender to be the GOP nominee against Reid this fall, dismissed Obama's letter.

"It is rather embarrassing when the president of the United States has to apologize to the Senate majority leader of his own party on White House stationery," Lowden said via e-mail. "Worse yet is when the apology is over a second round of disparaging comments about Nevada within the past year. Nevada families are struggling and having the president against us doesn't help."
Filed under: Nation, Top Stories

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Say It Isn't So

We're saying goodbye to wrestling great Jack Brisco.

Remember the good old days. Jack Brisco and Gerry Brisco Versus Terry Funk and Dory Funk, Jr.

Say it, Gordon Solie: "What a matchup, the Briscos versus the Funks! Oh My!"

The Briscos also introduced the world to their buddy Terry Bollea, also known as Hulk Hogan.

Jack Brisco



Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ohio Lottery Winner Killed After Celebrating Prize

I found this on AOL.

Wow. How sad.



Ohio Lottery Winner Killed After Celebrating Prize

SANDUSKY, Ohio (Jan. 27) - Authorities say a woman who had been out celebrating her lottery winnings at a north-central Ohio bar was killed when she was struck by a car.

The Ohio Highway Patrol says 47-year-old Deborah McDonald of Crystal Rock had just left the bar near Sandusky on Tuesday night and was hit as she was walking along a road.

An Ohio Lottery spokeswoman says McDonald won $8,000 in the lottery's TV game show "Cash Explosion Double Play."

The show was taped Jan. 12 and is set to air at the end of the month.

Bar patrons say McDonald was with a group that had been celebrating her winnings and playing pool.

Patrol Sgt. Joe Wentworth says police are looking into whether alcohol was a factor, but they don't think the driver of the car was drinking.
Filed under: Nation

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Brett Favre Is a Living Legend and Deserves More Respect Than This

Hey Minnesotans, quit yer whining.

Brett Favre did not lose the game for the Vikings.

The loss was a team effort.

The fumbles?

The two meek running plays in a row at crunch time?

A penalty for 12 men in the huddle that put them out of (realistic) field goal range?

Lack of pass protection all game long that left Favre with a weak ankle and unable to run on the crucial play?

Then Favre fails to see a man wide open down field and tosses his cross-body interception. Okay. That one was his fault.

But then there was overtime and the three consecutive bad calls by the refs that put the Saints in field goal range.

If Favre decides to retire again because the Minnesotans are angry that he (not true) lost the game with his selfish, gunslinging ways (not true), then send him on down here to Miami where the Dolphins will be glad to have him.



Thursday, January 21, 2010



Go see it. Go see it now. Do not wait. This movie has taken filmmaking to the next level. It kinda feels like when I first saw STAR WARS and I knew the world would never be the same. As a lover of the written word, I almost never discuss special effects, but let me tell you that this jaded viewer could not discern where the CGI ended and the live action began--the effects were that good. Seamless. Visually, the film is splendid. I have to go see it again. I can't believe my eyes.



Utah Man Pleads to Get More Prison Time to Cure His Addiction

I found this on WTOP.com

Maybe gamblers should plead up, too. Maybe a little prison time can cure the gambling addiction. LOL. I think not. Prison is not the place to cure addictions. By nature, addicts are sick, not criminal. Prison is a place where, in fact, you can become addicted to various substances and vices. On the other hand, some of us sickos need to be grabbed and held down before we will take our medicine.

I am doubtful of the success of this method, but hopefully this guy is right and prison time will work to cure his addiction.

Heroin addiction is no joke. It's almost as bad as a gambling addiction.





A Utah man has chosen to fight heroin addiction by spending more
time in jail.

Damon Conrow was sentenced Tuesday on a charge of possession with intent
to distribute a controlled substance after asking to "plead up" to a
first-degree felony. The charge had been a second-degree felony, but
Conrow wanted a longer sentence.

Conrow says he'll soon be happier than he is now because he'll get off
heroin. He says within about eight weeks of going to jail, he expects
withdrawal symptoms to ease so he can start having normal sleeping

The 25-year-old pleaded guilty in December.

On Tuesday, 2nd District Judge Pamela Heffernan gave Conrow one last
chance to change his mind and withdraw his guilty plea. Conrow declined.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Do Not Pour Hot Water on a Frosted Over Windshield!

Thanks, guys.

You were all in one hundred percent agreement in your advice to me: Do not pour hot water on the frosted over windshield to melt the frost--or it may potentially break the windshield.

Being a South Florida boy, I dd not know that common bit of windshield wisdom.

I guess I dodged a bullet. My windshield is still intact despite its hot water bath. I will not do it again.

This winter thing is tougher than I thought. Tryin' to get used to it. Trying' to adapt.



Monday, January 11, 2010

I Am an Arizona Cardinals Fan

I never thought I would be saying this, but I am now, at least temporarily, an Arizona Cardinals fan.

As many of you know, I am the world's number one St. Louis Rams fan--but they took a little nap time break this year and left me without a team to pull for.

Way back when the Rams were the Greatest Show on Turf, they had a scrappy, tough as nails QB by the name of Kurt Warner.

Since Kurt Warner is now a Cardinal (and saintly is the lad indeed) and since the Cardinals are playing like the gunslinging Rams of yore ('98 through '04), I have granted myself permission to root for them.

Go Warner!

Go Cardinals!

But seriously, folks, you gotta admire Warner. Age 38. Completed 29 of 33 passes. Tossed 5 TDs and no INTS. Passed for over 400 yards.

Kinda reminds me of Jim Plunkett of the old Oakland Raiders. Poised. Unflappable. And destined for greatness.



Snow Flurries in Miami

At 6:00 a.m. this morning after listening to the Weather Channel report 26 degrees in Kendall, I went outside to check my car. Yep. There was frost on the window. Actual frost.

I was so excited. I went back into the house and got some steaming hot water in a cup, poured that bad boy on the windshield, brushed it off with a towel. Voila! Frost-be-gone! I felt so . . . northern.

Then I wondered whether I had done the right thing. Would not sub freezing temperatures eventually freeze to ice even the hot water I had poured on the windshield?

Would my windshield suddenly freeze over while I was driving to work?

What do people up north do when they wake up with frost on their windshields?

Anyway, another day without portable heaters in South Florida.

Come on, Home Depot. Get your act together.



Sunday, January 10, 2010

No Portable Heaters in Miami

In the year 2010, there are no protable heaters to be had in South Florida. In the past FIVE days I drove around Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and I phoned the major stores in Palm Beach County--only to find out that they had NO portable heaters despite the fact that they have known for a week that we would be having a cold freeze throughout the weekend.

There were no portable heaters to be had after Wednesday, January 6, 2010 in Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowes, CVS, Brandsmart, or Walgreens (I spotted them in Walgreens on Monday the 4th but was not alert enough to purchase one before the big chill hit).

ACE was the only store with portable heaters and they were selling them (according to the manager) at about 200 to 250 per day. They couldn't take them off the truck fast enough. They made a killing! Good for them!

Capitalism in action! It's all about supply and demand. When people are demanding an item, the guy who can supply it gets rich.

Wake up, people. It's thirty degrees in Miami. Hint. Hint. There's a potential windfall out there for anyone who can supply a few thousand portable heaters.

Maybe Home Depot, Lowes, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, CVS, and Brandsmart are too big or too rich to want more money. In this depressed economy? I think not.

Some mid level executive is going to be fired for dropping the ball on this one.



Thursday, January 7, 2010

$30 Million Lottery Winner Missing

Why can't they just leave these poor lottery winners in peace?

This is from the Huffington Post.



LAKELAND, Fla. — In 2006, Abraham Shakespeare – a truck driver's assistant who lived with his mother – won $30 million in the Florida lottery. His good fortune may have cost him his life.

Shakespeare vanished months ago. His mother hopes he is somewhere in the Caribbean, lying on a beach and enjoying the good life away from all the hangers-on who were constantly hitting him up for money.

The sheriff has a more ominous theory: Shakespeare was killed.

"There are a lot of odd and bizarre circumstances in this case," Sheriff Grady Judd said. "We fear and are preparing for the worst. We're working this case as if it were a homicide."

On Wednesday, Judd said investigators have a "person of interest" in the disappearance: a 37-year-old woman who befriended Shakespeare after he won the lottery.

Judd said Dorice Donegan "DeeDee" Moore has information about Shakespeare.

Shakespeare, 43, won the big jackpot after buying a lottery ticket at a convenience store in a town called Frostproof, claiming later that he gave the last $3 in his pocket to a homeless man just before the winning numbers were announced.

Shakespeare – who had a criminal record that included arrests and prison time for burglary, battery and not paying child support – took a lump-sum payment of $16.9 million instead of annual installments.

He bought a Nissan Altima, a Rolex from a pawn shop, a $1 million home in a gated community. He talked about starting a foundation for the poor and insisted the money wouldn't change him.

"I'm not a material person," he said in 2007. "I don't let material things run me. I'm on a tight budget."
The money quickly caused him problems.

A former co-worker sued him in 2007, accusing Shakespeare of stealing the winning ticket from him. Six months later, a jury ruled the ticket was Shakespeare's.

Then there were the people constantly asking him for a piece of his fortune.

"They didn't wait. They just came right after they found out he won this money," his mother, Elizabeth Walker, said recently.
She said her son was generous, paying for funerals, lending money to friends starting businesses and even giving a million dollars to a guy known only as "Big Man."

Not long after he bought the million-dollar home in early 2007, he was approached by Moore, said family and officials.
Moore – who could not be reached by The Associated Press – said she was interested in writing a book about Shakespeare's life. She became something of a financial adviser to Shakespeare, who never graduated high school.

Property records show that Moore's company, American Medical Professionals, bought Shakespeare's home for $655,000 last January. His mother said the last time she saw him was shortly afterward, around her birthday in February.

Detectives said Wednesday in a news release that Moore began using Shakespeare's cell phone in April 2009 to text the man's relatives and friends to have them believe it was Shakespeare attempting to contact them.

Officials also said Moore is believed to have offered to give away a home worth approximately $200,000 in exchange for making a false report to law enforcement regarding an alleged recent sighting of Shakespeare.

Detectives say Moore also paid one of Shakespeare's relatives $5,000 to hand deliver a birthday card containing cash to Shakespeare's mother suggesting that the card was from her son.

A telephone number connected to Moore was disconnected Wednesday.

The sheriff said the last time anyone saw Shakespeare was in April – but it wasn't until Nov. 9 that he was reported missing, by a police informant.

And the story gets more bizarre.

According to The Ledger of Lakeland, the 37-year-old Moore contacted reporters at the newspaper in April, saying Shakespeare was "laying low" because people tried to suck money out of him.

That made sense to Shakespeare's mother – sort of. "I remember once, talking with me over the phone, he said he might go to Jamaica," she said.

On Dec. 5, a sobbing Moore told The Ledger that she helped Shakespeare disappear, but now wants him to return because detectives were searching her home and car and looking for blood on her belongings. She said she was also upset that detectives went through her belongings and car while looking for clues in Shakespeare's disappearance.

One reason he wanted to leave, she said, was a child support case for a child he allegedly fathered after winning the lottery. "Abraham sold me his mess to get a better life," she told the paper.

She even gave the paper a video that she said she took of Abraham. In the video, he says he is tired of people asking him for money. "They don't take no for an answer," he says.

"So where you wanna go to?" Moore asks in the video.

"It don't matter to me. I'm not a picky person," Shakespeare replies.

Moore told the paper that she took the video to "protect herself."

Moore said she filed paperwork to take over five mortgages totaling about $370,000 that had been owed to Shakespeare. She said she sold the loans at a loss to another person. She added that many of the people who borrowed from Shakespeare have refused to pay, and she feels threatened by some of them.

Moore's past includes a year of probation after she was charged with falsely reporting that she was carjacked and raped in 2001. Officials said she concocted the scheme so her insurance company would reimburse her for the SUV, which she claimed had been stolen.

The woman did not answer several calls placed to a number listed for her in public records. During a recent visit to the home she bought from Shakespeare, a security box rang to a phone number that had been disconnected.

Sheriff's officials won't comment on Moore's involvement in Shakespeare's life.

The sheriff said that Shakespeare spent the bulk of his lottery winnings. The fact that he didn't call his mother on Christmas reinforces the theory that Shakespeare is not just hiding, Judd said.

"I hope so much that he is alive somewhere," said his mother. "And I want people to know, if they ever win the lottery, I hope they know how to handle the people that come after them. They can be dangerous."

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.

World Series of Poker


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.