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Get Fit or Die

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 - by Hannah Sternberg
via

Pudgy Stockton (via)

Do we work out for health or beauty? Yes.

I’m in the middle of reading Making the American Body: The Remarkable Saga of the Men and Women Whose Feats, Feuds, and Passions Shaped Fitness History by Jonathan Black. (Full review to come.)

So far, it’s enormously entertaining and enlightening, and I’m recommending it to friends already. Interestingly, it focuses more on the clash of personalities (and marketing styles) than on the fitness methods themselves. But what stood out to me is how so many marketing campaigns for fitness regimes, dating all the way back to the nineteenth century, played on fear and shame. Apparently every era of American society has teetered on a crisis of emasculation and/or unhealthiness. And that crisis also happens to necessitate buying lots of new equipment, accessories, and specialty food, so we can fit into the clothes that exalt the body type that the fitness trend tells us we must have.

Another thing that stood out to me was the changing shape of the “ideal” woman. One of my favorite stories from the book so far (and a welcome note of positive, encouraging marketing) was that of Pudgy Stockton. Pudgy’s nickname originated in her chunky teen years, but she shed the pounds and gained a very different reputation on Santa Monica’s Muscle Beach. A smiling, playful fitness icon, Pudgy is credited with demonstrating to women of her generation that females can lift weights without losing their femininity — and that lifting can even enhance their womanly curves. It was refreshing to see a female fitness icon who didn’t look like she could fit through the eye of a needle — but was still healthy, attractive, and feminine.

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Swimming in Scrooge’s Money Bin With Ayn Rand and Andrew Klavan

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 - by Liberty Island

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Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of interviews and story excerpts spotlighting some of the most innovative fiction writers at the recently-launched new media publishing platform Liberty Island. Please check out this interview Sarah Hoyt conducted with CEO Adam Bellow here to learn more: “It also has a unique mission: to serve as the platform and gathering-place for the new right-of-center counterculture.” 

Mike Baron is the creator of Nexus (with artist Steve Rude) and Badger two of the longest lasting independent superhero comics. Nexus, about a cosmic avenger 500 years in the future, appears monthly in Dark Horse Presents. There are twelve hardbound volumes from Dark Horse. Badger, about a multiple personality, one of whom is an animal rights champion, will appear in 2014 from a resurgent First Comics. Baron has written The Punisher, Flash, Deadman and Star Wars among many other titles. He also writes novels. You can find them on Amazon.

1. Who are some of your favorite writers, books, movies, and intellectual influences?

Uncle Scrooge, John D. MacDonald, Philip Jose Farmer.  You cannot imagine the impact LAWRENCE OF ARABIA had on me when I first saw it at age fourteen. Today I admire and try to emulate, at least in so far as moral fiction, David Mamet and Andrew Klavan. My mind is a fever swamp of monster movies, comic books and rock and roll.

2. How do you describe yourself ideologically?

Conservative with libertarian leanings.

3. Which thinkers/commentators have influenced you?

Cicero, Epictetus, David Mamet, Thomas Sowell, Ayn Rand.

4. Where are you from/currently reside?

I am from the leftist sinkhole Madison, Wisconsin.  I live in Colorado.

5.  What are your writing goals?

“You make ‘em laugh a little bit, you make ‘em cry a little bit, you scare the hell out of them and that’s entertainment!”

6. Where can people find/follow you online?

https://www.facebook.com/michael.a.baron.7

www.bloodyredbaron.net

7. What’s your craziest hobby/pastime/interest?

You now, it’s best I not discuss those.

Check out Mike Baron’s On the Trail of the Loathsome Swine

They got some big wild hogs in Beauchamp County. The one that ‘et my sister weighed 998 pounds. Lord strike me if I’m lyin’. Rose Marie weighed 95. She was twelve when that hog ‘et her. She was out behind the shed planting violets when that hog charged out the brush like a runaway truck and snapped her neck and dragged her off.

Ma and Pa had gone to Morrisonville for seed and victuals, and my older brothers Ned and Ethan were helping Uncle Lamar shingle his barn. I was in the kitchen oiling my catcher’s mitt when I heard Rose Marie yip once and then what sounded like a roto-rooter. It was a bad sound filled with pops and rips. I ran back behind the shed just in time to see that hog drag little Rose Marie into the brush.

I stood there shakin’ and cryin’ for awhile. Then I went in the house and called everyone I could think of. I called Ma and Pa. I called Uncle Lamar. I called Sheriff Dougherty. They all come back at the same time and the sheriff come with lights flashin’. Ned and Ethan drove their 150s. Uncle Lamar drove his Jeep. Ma and Pa were in the Magnum. There was a lot of dust. Everybody was screaming and crying.

“This is a public safety issue,” Sheriff said. “I’m going to round up some good ol’ boys and find thet hog and string it up.”

Pa sidled up to Sheriff and poured quiet strength down on him. “We’ll take care of this killer hog, Simon. We got thet right.”

Those boys played gin rummy with each other every Saturday for the past twenty years. Sheriff looked away first. “I reckon that’s your right, Joe Lee. But you’d better hop right on it before thet hog decides to eat somebody else’s little girl.”

Lamar pulled his thirty-ought-six from the cab rack and fed it some cartridges. Ned and Ethan ran up to the house and came back with an SKS and an AK-47. Pa got his Smith & Wesson .357. And I got my Desert Eagle .50. My grandpa Jeb Lee got me thet gun for my fourteenth birthday and I could think of no more fitting use for it than killing the hog thet ‘et my sister. …

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4 Classic Novels Perfect For Your Spring Reading List

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 - by Hannah Sternberg
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Spring is coming, and after a long, hard winter, I think that qualifies for a celebratory Spring Reading List. You know what summer reads are — beach books, thrillers, all the genre books you love to relax into. And winter reads are the kinds of books you curl up with, under a blanket next to a fire — deeper, darker books that take you away on the cold howling wind. So what’s a spring read? A book about awakening, a delicate but powerful book, a book full of the magic of transformation, tinged with slight sadness. Here are my four spring reads for this year:

4) A Room with a View by E. M. Forster

A moving romance and wry social commentary, A Room with a View takes place in the spring and summer, in Edwardian-era Italy and England. This book begs to be read by an open window.

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2 Facts About the Film Industry That Should Blow Your Mind

Monday, March 24th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

2 Facts About the Film Industry That Should Blow Your Mind. Via The #Hollywood Economist by Edward Jay Epstein #history #movies #books #ideas

  1. The Hollywood Economist
  2. America 3.0
  3. Hollywood Cartoons
  4. Intellectuals

In my grandparents’ generation about 80% of the country took in the same form of entertainment each week. Today, given the increase in more advanced entertainment options, it’s down to 10%.

Related, the Wall Street Journal on our level of television watching today:

Americans watched TV for two hours and 50 minutes a day, a second-straight increase from two hours and 44 minutes in 2010.

The ability to first influence and then seize control of a culture is predicated on being the first and then the best to master a new technology. In battles both of politics and in military conflicts the victory usually goes to the side with superior firepower that both understands the weapons they have and then has the will to use them.

So what’s next?

She snoozes so contently #maura #siberianhusky Loyal #dog

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Why Was Karl Marx So Wrong About Religion?

Monday, March 24th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Daily Question

Why is #KarlMarx dead wrong about religion? Page 9 of Weston La Barre's The #Ghost Dance: Origins of #Religion explains easily. #history #god #Pagan

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20 Things You Might Not Know About Robert A. Heinlein

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 - by Sarah Hoyt

Editor’s Note: This articles was first serialized in four parts here, here, here, and here. What other authors and subjects would you like to see explored in list format in future articles? Let us know in the comments.

Part 1: His Maculate Origin

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1. When Robert A. Heinlein was a child, his family was so poor that “[H]e slept on a pallet on the floor for years, in a constant state of amiable warfare with baby sister Louise, ‘A notorious pillow swiper.’”

Most of the writers who, in later years, would apostrophize Heinlein as “too optimistic” and turn their stories into “poverty porn” could probably have benefited from having some idea what true poverty was. Even those of us who were poor as children for some time were never so poor as to have rationed pillows.

Heinlein wrote rags to riches stories, of which those who believe the individual is powerless before his fate disapprove. But Heinlein’s own life is a refutation of their theories, so they can go suck an egg, as far as I’m concerned.

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Interview: Adam Bellow Unveils New Media Publishing Platform Liberty Island

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 - by Sarah Hoyt
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Click to check out “Murder at CPAC” by Jamie Wilson.

A year or more ago I heard about this project called Liberty Island, supposed to give those of us whose politics make us pariahs with most of traditional publishing — though not Baen Books — a haven where we could meet our fans. I keep meaning to contribute to them, but of course, the last year I spent more time sick than well, and consequently I’m so far behind on books and contracts, I can practically see myself around the corner.

Well, they are up now (and have a story by Frank J. Fleming). And I’ve secured an interview with Adam Bellow, Liberty Island’s publisher and CEO. Bellow is a longtime nonfiction editor, currently running Broadside, the conservative nonfiction imprint of HarperCollins. He is also the author of In Praise of Nepotism, a lively contrarian take on an eternally divisive topic.

And, yep, sure, as soon as I get a weekend to pound it out, I’ll do a novella for Liberty Island.

Sarah Hoyt: I heard of Liberty Island back when it was in the planning stages.  I understand it is an online magazine-cum-community center for writers and readers on the right side of the spectrum.  Is this true?  What do you want to tell us about Liberty Island?

Adam Bellow: We started Liberty Island to help the new wave of conservative storytellers connect with their natural audience. Even before launching the site we’ve discovered dozens of new voices on the right that you won’t find anywhere else. These are talented and creative people who have previously been excluded from mainstream culture because they hold the wrong views and didn’t go to the right schools or attend the approved writing programs. This just confirms our hunch that something like Liberty Island is desperately needed.

SH: Who is the audience for Liberty Island? What is “conservative fiction”? Shouldn’t good stories just stand on their own?

AB: Great literature stands on its own, but the productions of popular culture often carry a hidden freight of ideology that reflects its authors’ biases. Sometimes not so hidden — the evil conservative businessman is essentially the default villain in Hollywood these days. But think about what happens when great stories are told from a conservative perspective: you get Tom Clancy, or Brad Thor, or James Patterson, or Vince Flynn. Mega-bestselling authors with a huge following. Our audience is anyone who loves great pulp writers like those guys. At Liberty Island you will find dozens of stories like these, in genres ranging from humor to thriller to SciFi. These writers aren’t heavy handed in the least – their conservative outlook is sometimes explicit but just as often merely implied or completely submerged. Besides, a case can be made that traditional pulp genres are inherently conservative.

SH: In what way do you intend to distinguish yourself from other online magazines?

AB: Liberty Island combines a magazine, a free range self-publishing platform, and a community of readers and writers who share a commitment to the values of freedom, individualism, and American exceptionalism. It also has a unique mission: to serve as the platform and gathering-place for the new right-of-center counterculture.

SH: What made you think of the project – and commit to it and work so hard for it?

AB: Two things: first, an impulse to carry the culture war into the field of popular culture. And second, the writers themselves. In 25 years as an editor of nonfiction books I’ve watched the conservative intellectual project thrive and flourish. But like others on the right I’ve been dismayed by the slowness of conservatives to challenge the liberal dominance of popular culture. It’s not enough to carp and criticize the frequently substandard and offensive crap that liberals produce. As Andrew Breitbart used to say, we have to make our own—and it has to be good. But recently we began to notice an exciting development: hundreds, indeed thousands of conservative and libertarian writers were seizing the opportunity afforded by new digital technologies to produce and publish original works of fiction. Others were making music, video, graphics, and other forms of entertainment right on their laptops at home. These were ordinary men and women all over the country, working in isolation, doing their best to hone their art and find an audience. Yet no one seemed to know that they existed. So we started talking about what we could do to help them. Liberty Island grew out of those discussions.

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I Have No Arms, and I Must Type

Friday, March 21st, 2014 - by Sarah Hoyt and Charlie Martin
It's a metaphor for the writer's existence!

It’s a metaphor for the writer’s existence!

Hi, this is Sarah, and today we’re going to talk about Lloyd Biggle, Jr. Or, more particularly we’re going to talk about one of Lloyd Biggle, Jr’s books, The Still, Small Voice of Trumpets. There will be some spoilers, but the point of something like The Still, Small Voice of Trumpets is not the solution, but the execution.

It was always one of my favorite space operas, and then about five years ago, I started to get the impression it was more than that.

Back when I was in a writers’ group, one of our friends, Alan Lickiss, used to start his comments on every story, no matter how silly, with “Well, I thought it was a metaphor for the human existence.” No, he didn’t actually think that, it had just become a running gag and it made people nervous about getting a critique laugh.

Well, more and more, up till a few years ago, I got the impression that The Still, Small Voice of Trumpets was a metaphor of the writer existence specifically as it existed at the close of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty first.

The novel’s main character is a diplomatic envoy, or perhaps a diplomatic operative. Earth at the time encourages democracy, but doesn’t impose it from outside. In fact, the motto of the department is “Democracy imposed from the outside is the worst of tyrannies.”

So these people go in and are supposed to ease things so the prospective colony wants democracy.

The planet our hero finds himself in has a culture (the people are essentially humans) so starved for beauty and art that they’ll risk their lives to get them.

The harpers who play before the king are the most highly respected artists, each with an adoring fandom. But the king is mad. The punishment for crimes in this world is to have your arm cut off. Periodically for no reason at all, he has one of these man mutilated and become pariahs, like other criminals, living in “camps of armless.”

They can no longer play and therefore cannot reach their adoring fandom. And since by custom the armless don’t exist, these men are the living dead.

If you’re not following along with the similarity, until two, three years ago, this is what happened to writers. Suddenly one of the mad kings of the NYC establishment, determined you must be thrown out of the field. Perhaps you really didn’t sell very well, but in the cases I know nine times out of ten the cover was horrible, or they failed to print enough books, or no one pushed them. But when you didn’t sell the fault was yours. The lightest punishment might be that you got told you couldn’t work in that field/series/subgenre anymore. This is how I ended up with a string of names and different series. Sometimes, they just shut their ranks against you. And some of these were inexplicable. For instance, not only did my friend Rebecca Lickiss’s second book, Never After undergo three printings, but it was an SF book club alternate selection. But her multiple proposals were all rejected by the house, and no one else picked her up. I have theories, but mostly it’s the act of a mad king.

If you stayed on, you had perhaps the hardest time. When people told you they’d just discovered your first series, ten years after it had gone out of print and asked why you weren’t writing more, you couldn’t say “The house dropped it on the floor and then refused to buy more.” You had to smile and say “Well, I just didn’t want to write it anymore.” And accept the anger from the fan.

And sometimes, you just disappeared. And you were so embarrassed, you stopped going to conventions or interacting with the fans, and people thought you’d died or had stopped writing.

In The Still, Small Voice of Trumpets, the main character finds a way to bring those dispossessed, mutilated men to the attention of their fans again.

And indie is doing that for writers, now.

My friend, Cedar Sanderson went to her first convention as a professional this last weekend, and there she met Christopher Stasheff, whom many of us thought was dead or had stopped writing. (The two often being indistinguishable for writers, themselves.)

She interviewed him for a post in my blog last Monday. You might want to read the full interview. This is how Cedar met him, and what she found out:

I did a doubletake, then caught my First Reader, who was serving as my escort, and brought him back to where the gentleman was now standing looking at the table of bookmarks and promotional goodies. It was Christopher Stasheff, who I knew was my First Reader’s favorite fantasy author, and neither of us had any idea he would be at the convention. Nor, as it turns out, had the concom; he had decided to attend with his son on the spur of the moment. We chatted briefly, and after I got home and was talking online about meeting this living legend, I came up with the idea of asking him for an interview.

You see, while we were chatting that first time, he had responded to my question of “are you still writing?” with “yes, but no one is buying.” He went on to tell us that his son has set up a website for him  and they are beginning to release both his recent work, in snippets, and past work which has reverted to him.

Below, I know there will be links to Christopher Stasheff’s books. Buy one. Or two. Or three. I remember him as one of the best fantasy writers. For a long time, he was in exile, unable to reach his readers.

Now he and others are making their way out of the camps of the mutilated.

Think of your favorite writers, the ones who disappeared, and you don’t know if they’re living or dead. Maybe we should make a list of the disappeared and call them back to their fans. Because indie will let them return and reach us. This field was never about the intercession of a gate keeper. It was always about the relationship of the artist and a public who loves his/her art.

And now mad kings can’t keep us away from the fans anymore.

Hark, do you hear the call of indie? It’s the still, small voice of freedom.


[Charlie now.] I want to second Sarah’s recommendation for Chris Stasheff’s books. I honestly thought I’d read he had died, so I’m pleased to be wrong. (And how often do you see me write that?)

The thing is, he’s got lots of books. So here’s what I’m gonna do: I’m going to link four of his books instead of the usual two per author, and mix them into the others. Remember Rule 10: The whim of the editors is law, even with respect to the preceding rules. But I’m also going to strongly suggest you visit Chris’s Amazon Author’s Page for more books and more information.


Remember, tell all your writer friends to send the AUTHOR, TITLE, a SHORT BLURB, and an AMAZON LINK AMAZON LINK AMAZON LINK to book.plug.friday@gmail.com to be plugged here on PJ Media.

Deadlines are flexible, but in general the deadline for Friday is Tuesday the preceding week. So, for example, the deadline for March 7 was February 22.

That said, last week was a really big one, so some books are being put off until next week. Hey, we said the deadlines are flexible.

It really helps if you don’t bother with HTML magic at all, because we just have to parse it apart to put it into the template. The ideal submission is like

TITLE

My Book

AUTHOR

My name as it’s on the book cover.

AMAZON LINK

http://www.amazon.com/My-Book-By-Me/dp/B00ABCDEFG/

BLURB

no more than about 100 words.


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The Warlock in Spite of Himself
By Christopher Stasheff

Rod Gallowglass is a man of science who does not believe in magic. ** Gramarye is a world of witches and warlocks. Of strange abilities and phenomena. A world where society mirrors Earth’s own Middle Ages, and a world headed for doom. **

Rod Gallowglass must become a part of the local fabric to save the world from both itself and external forces that threaten its existence. But to do so, he must put aside his own convictions and beliefs, and become a warlock, in spite of himself. **

A grand adventure mixing science fi ction with elements of fantasy, this is the book that launched a whole series (fourteen books and counting).


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The Grey Man- Vignettes
By JL Curtis

John Cronin is a Texas rancher and lawman, a decorated Vietnam vet with connections to law enforcement agencies all around the world. Whether it’s a sniper competition or teaching the feds a thing or two about police work, Cronin doesn’t hesitate to pull the trigger. Of course, this slow-talking lawman’s biggest challenge yet might be when his granddaughter Jesse falls in love with a Marine. When drug smugglers stir up trouble in Cronin’s backyard and try to kill Jesse and her new beau, all hell breaks loose, and Cronin and his granddaughter are just the people to set things right.


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Her Majesty’s Wizard
By Christopher Stasheff

This 25th anniversary eBook edition of this classic story includes a new introduction by the author and new cover art by Anne Maria Brant!

Matt didn’t know the scrap of parchment was a trap. So he read the runes – and found himself on a world where reciting poetry verses worked magic. His first effort got him locked in a dungeon by the evil sorcerer Malingo. Trying for light, he brought forth a fire-breathing, drunken dragon, who told him Princess Alisande, rightful ruler of Merovence, was also held in the dungeon.

Naturally, he had to free her, himself, and the dragon, using poetry lifted from Shakespeare. And because she was young and beautiful, he swore to serve as her wizard. Then he learned that his job as wizard was to fix it so the three of them could overcome all the dark magic and armies of Malingo!

The addition to the party of a lust-witch and a priest who became a werewolf now and then didn’t seem much help. Matt figured he had got himself into quite a predicament.

For once, he was right!


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Bound into the Blood, Book 4 of The Hounds of Annwn
By Karen Myers

Book 4 of The Hounds of Annwn.

DISTURBING THE FAMILY SECRETS COULD BRING RUIN TO EVERYTHING HE’S WORKED SO HARD TO BUILD.

George Talbot Traherne, the human huntsman for the Wild Hunt, is preparing for the birth of his child by exploring the family papers about his parents and their deaths. When his improved relationship with his patron, the antlered god Cernunnos, is jeopardized by an unexpected opposition, he finds he must choose between loyalty to family and loyalty to a god.

He discovers he doesn’t know either of them as well as he thought he did. His search for answers takes him to the human world with unsuitable companions.

How will he keep a rock-wight safe from detection, or even teach her the rules of the road? And what will he awaken in the process, bringing disaster back to his family on his own doorstep? What if his loyalty is misplaced? What will be the price of his mistakes?

http://www.amazon.com/Bound-into-Blood-Virginian-Elfland-ebook/dp/B00IPY38Q6/


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A Wizard in Bedlam
By Christopher Stasheff

The rebel slaves need a leader. Even if he’s a wizard. Even if he’s dead…

The revolutionary DeCade died generations ago, leading the last great revolt of the planet Melange’s churls against their despotic feudal masters. His staff and bones were broken and lost; only his songs remain.

The churl Dulain joined the Resistance in his youth – an exile Resistance, devoted to readying the churls for their next great attempt at freedom. Now that moment finally nears. Back on Melange for the first time in years, Dulain must now hasten that revolt… or die.

The Giant Gar is the mysterious stranger whom no one knows, a power greater than he seems. More powerful, perhaps, than churls, masters, or even the Resistance…

This ebook edition contains new cover art by Margaret Miller and Ashley Cser, and an introduction by the author!


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The Dragonslayers, Volume 1: The Righteous and the Lawless
By Matthew Maynard

A clerical error. A loss. An opportunity. A hope. A pursuit…

When Scott Philipson loses his parents to a no-knock drug raid on the wrong house, he turns in desperation to selling marijuana to make ends meet. He gets plenty of help from his girlfriend Carley, but can he evade the grasp of Officer William Cavanaugh? The stakes rise when a doctor approaches him with an offer he shouldn’t refuse…

(Note: Matthew Maynard will be signing copies at the Virginia Festival of the Book Annual Book Fair in Charlottesville, VA on March 22nd.)


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Mind Out of Time
By Christopher Stasheff

Angus McAran, born brilliant but deformed, had as little use for other people as they had for him. Until the day he met the Neanderthal… and discovered that he had destiny, one he wasn’t sure he wanted. This is the origin story of Doc Angus and his time traveling organization, GRIPE.


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The Bookworm Returns: Life in Obama’s America:
By The Bookworm

In 2008, President Barack Obama promised that he would fundamentally transform America — and that’s one of the few promises he’s kept. In a series of clear, elegant, witty essays, Bookworm looks at the changes in American society since Obama became president. These changes have seen America become a poorer, less safe, less free, more racially-charged nation, adrift in a world that, without America as both protector and anchor, is also become increasingly poor and dangerous.


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Strangelets with a Side of Grilled Spam: Season One (The Strangelets Series)
By Michael Angel

After the original short story spent 21 months on the Top 100 Lists, Strangelets with a Side of Grilled Spam: Season One takes us through the entire post-apocalyptic saga.

Pursued by packs of deadly ‘steelies’, Lieutenant Shane MacWilliams and his Humvee crew journey through an America shattered by an alien invasion.

Things look grim…until MacWilliams comes across something that could turn the tide. It falls to him and his crew to get the word out across a land choked with post-apocalyptic wreckage and teeming with deadly alien monsters.

Their journey is blocked by steelie hunter-killers, vision-shrouding sand storms, and nightmare plains turned to radioactive slag by nuclear fallout.

And at the end looms their final confrontation with a horde of aliens set to wipe out the human species!


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The Thank You Angel
By Ann Trenton

A little girl learns about the joy of saying “Thank You” from her grandmother and the Thank You Angel.

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We’re No Better Than The Walking Dead In Dealing with the Mentally Ill

Thursday, March 20th, 2014 - by Bonnie Ramthun

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Love it or hate it, The AMC channel hit series The Walking Dead is a mirror of our culture. The show is nominally an apocalyptic zombie series but it is really about how people deal with a total societal collapse.

The answer is: Badly. Usually very badly.

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Episode #14 of season 4, “The Grove,” is a thoughtful and tragic examination of what a society should or can do with a psychopath. (Spoilers!) Set in the woodlands of the American south after a zombie apocalypse, in this episode a group of five refugees find a cabin to stop and rest for a few days. There, disturbed young Lizzie goes homicidal. She stabs another little girl to death. Her mother-figure, Carol, then asks her to “look at the flowers” while she prepares to execute her, the only solution possible in their terrible new world.

The clues were all there, laid out carefully in past episodes. The girl had an obsession with capturing and cutting up live rats. She had sudden outbreaks of violent rage and anger. She was fascinated with zombies and couldn’t distinguish between the living and the dead.

The clues are all here in the real world as well, and we are no better at preventing the slaughter when a mentally disturbed person decides to kill. The Sandy Hook killer, the Aurora theater killer, the murderer at Virginia Tech, the killers at Columbine High School, all exhibited distinct indicators of violence and psychosis. All of these killers were under psychiatric care and on medically prescribed drugs. Each of them showed signs like little Lizzie on The Walking Dead, and her path ended the same as theirs, in blood.

In “The Grove,” just as in America today, we wait until a disturbed person becomes a killer and only then do we do something about them. Only then do they receive the confines of a cell or a grave. We can do better than this. Unlike Carol on The Walking Dead, we have options.

In the heartbreaking and frightening essay “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother,” the mother of a mentally disturbed boy explains how she cannot find care for him. “With state-run treatment centers and hospitals shuttered, prison is now the last resort for the mentally ill.” This mother doesn’t want to put her innocent (but violent and disturbed) twelve-year-old boy in prison. Would you like to live in a world where people are jailed for crimes they might commit? Instead, we need to re-build our mental health care system in this country and that includes treatment centers and hospitals. If we don’t, we will continue to endure the slaughter of innocents at the hands of the mentally ill.

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Analyzing America’s Post-Protestant Secular Religion

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 - by David P. Goldman

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My review of Jody Bottum’s important new book (An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America, Image Books, 2014) appeared today in The American Interest. An extract:

Joseph Bottum…examines post-Protestant secular religion with empathy, and contends that it gained force and staying power by recasting the old Mainline Protestantism in the form of catechistic worldly categories: anti-racism, anti-gender discrimination, anti-inequality, and so forth. What sustains the heirs of the now-defunct Protestant consensus, he concludes, is a sense of the sacred, but one that seeks the security of personal salvation through assuming the right stance on social and political issues. Precisely because the new secular religion permeates into the pores of everyday life, it sustains the certitude of salvation and a self-perpetuating spiritual aura. Secularism has succeeded on religious terms. That is an uncommon way of understanding the issue, and a powerful one.

*****

cross-posted from Spengler

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Fear and Loathing in White Guy-ville

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

angrywhitemen

 

City folk have always looked on their country neighbors with superstition. According to John Podhoretz at the Weekly Standard, this suspicion has carried a clearly political bent since the days of W. His evidence: Scary white dudes, like Walter White (Breaking Bad) and Bill Henrickson (Big Love) from middle America invading your TVs.

“In Difficult Men, Brett Martin’s book about the remarkable writer-producers who brought television to new cultural heights, Martin notes that there was something explicitly political at work in the early days of what he calls television’s “Third Golden Age.” Americans “on the losing side” of the 2000 election, Martin writes, “were left groping to come to terms with the Beast lurking in their own body politic.” As it happened, “that side happened to track very closely with the viewerships of networks like AMC, FX, and HBO: coastal, liberal, educated, ‘blue state.’ And what the Third Golden Age brought them was a humanized red state. .  .  . This was the ascendant Right being presented to the disempowered Left—as if to reassure it that those in charge were still recognizably human.”

…It’s the depiction of the worlds in which they live that is so striking, even more so in the series that have come along since the body politic’s shift to the left, beginning in 2006. The canvas on which these characters are brought to three-dimensional life isn’t a “humanized red state” at all, but rather the red state of liberal horror fantasy.”

Podhoretz concludes: “Still, rich Hollywood folk making mincemeat out of poor rural folk is another element of the ongoing American culture war that should not go unremarked.”

Fair enough, although any critical studies grad could tell you that whitey from the sticks, especially them man-folks, have been derided for a long time among the educated liberal elites who fill television’s coveted writers’ rooms. Educated liberal elites, mind you, who are primarily white dudes.

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5 Secret Emotions Only E-Reader Addicts Understand

Saturday, March 15th, 2014 - by Hannah Sternberg
woman-reading-kindle-mobi-e1357903297243

I love my Kindle, and my Kindle cloud account, which allows me to read books I’ve purchased on any device (for the times when I forget my Kindle, have to take an unexpected Metro ride, or carry a ridiculously small purse to match my outfit). I used to be that person who never went anywhere without a book. I still am that person — but instead of having to tote around a paperback, reading the same book I read at home, from the same page I left off, is as simple as whipping out my phone. My name is Hannah Sternberg and I’m an eReader Addict.

You, too, may be an eReader Addict, if you’ve experienced one or more of the following:

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20 Things You Might Not Know About Robert A. Heinlein, Part 4: His Happy Destiny

Saturday, March 15th, 2014 - by Sarah Hoyt

HVSPCSTWLL1958

Click Here for Part I: “His Maculate Origin”

Click Here for Part 2: “His Preposterous Heritage”

Click Here for Part 3: “His Eccentric Education”

16. A lot of people nurtured on Heinlein juveniles went on to make a difference in the fields of aeronautics and space exploration.

This effect is still going on with my sons’ generation. (Or at least Have Space Suit Will Travel was a great part of second son’s decision to study Aerospace Engineering.)

Some of the others of us just went on to dye our hair a shade of red and keep too many cats. In my defense, however, the only juvenile I read before my thirties was Have Space Suit Will Travel. I became a fan with The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, and never looked back. (Interestingly, by the way, I discovered Heinlein among a welter of seventies New Wave books. I still liked Heinlein better. Now that I’m older and know the history of print runs in my field, I know that this is true for most people. New Wave, on the other hand, is much preferred by the intelligentsia.)

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Yes, You Can… Sell Books Indie

Friday, March 14th, 2014 - by Sarah Hoyt and Charlie Martin
Teaching and learning blend in a crazy new world.  (And who ate the rest of the guy's tie?  Some mysteries have no solution!  Indie publishing mysteries do, though.)

Teaching and learning blend in a crazy new world. (And who ate the rest of the guy’s tie? Some mysteries have no solution! Indie publishing mysteries do, though.)

Sometimes Charlie and I (hi, children, this is Sarah) wonder if we’re throwing these links out there into the wild and NOTHING happens. So, it’s always a joy and a pleasure to get an email from someone like Rolf Nelson, author of The Stars Came Back, who emailed us:

I’m sure you like good news in the indie and self-publishing world.
You plugged my book, The Stars Came Back, a month ago. It’s still floating around in the top 100 charts (mil sci-fi and space-opera) on Amazon, spending most of the last month between 20 and 40. More than 1100 copies sold. Reviews solid. Need to work on getting it ready for a paper edition.

Thanks for the continuing support of the independent author/publisher.

Rolf Nelson

In the same way, it’s funny how I, an old pro with fifteen years of publication (starting with short stories) under my belt, am learning about indie from my friends who are just starting out — and doing fantastically well. One of them is Peter Grant, whom we’ve plugged here, a good friend and a very good writer. He is one of four rotating bloggers on my group blog at MGC and today he blogged on Ten Months of Lessons Learned. He talks about his business plan and how he arrived at it:

1. First, pre-publication planning really pays off! I prepared a detailed analysis of my potential market and readers, and built my marketing plan around my blog and the blogs of friends and fellow writers. I’m very pleased to say that this worked even better than I’d hoped. If I’d published something without any marketing plan, I daresay I wouldn’t have done nearly as well.

2. It’s important for newbie authors to keep up a high rate of publication, so that they stay in the public eye. I’d thought about this, and pre-wrote sufficient to bring out three books within six months (the first two SF novels and my memoir). However, I hadn’t thought it through far enough. In the first place, a change of genre didn’t translate to sales success. The prison chaplaincy memoir hasn’t sold very well at all by SF standards (although it’s done quite well by the standards of its genre and categories).

Furthermore, I decided to delay the publication of my third SF novel so that I could work on improved characterization and plot development. This meant that there was a gap of almost eight months between Volumes 2 and 3 of the Maxwell Saga, during which sales fell to negligible levels compared to earlier in the publication cycle. I hadn’t expected that big a drop. (Fortunately, when Volume 3 came out almost six weeks ago, it immediately zoomed up the charts and took sales of the first two books with it, so I can’t complain there!) Clearly, I’ve got to try to maintain a publication pace of no longer than 4-5 months per volume over the short to medium term in order to maintain market momentum. I’m in awe of authors (like Kevin J. Anderson – wow!) who can write hundreds of thousands of words in a month. I’m not among them! Nevertheless, I hope I’ll write faster as I gain experience. I may get up to a book every quarter in due course.

Since Peter just passed 20k copies sold, over 4 books, in less than a year, you should definitely check out what he has to say.

And I, who plan to bring out Witchfinder, my first indie novel, within the month (yeah, it did get delayed. My wretched health ate February), will be picking his brains very thoroughly.

Now go you, and do likewise. (Doing well in indie publishing, not picking Peter’s brains. He’d have to open an advice office!)


Remember, tell all your writer friends to send the AUTHOR, TITLE, a SHORT BLURB, and an AMAZON LINK AMAZON LINK AMAZON LINK to book.plug.friday@gmail.com to be plugged here on PJ Media.

Deadlines are flexible, but in general the deadline for Friday is Tuesday the preceding week. So, for example, the deadline for March 7 was February 22.

That said, last week was a really big one, so some books are being put off until next week. Hey, we said the deadlines are flexible.

It really helps if you don’t bother with HTML magic at all, because we just have to parse it apart to put it into the template. The ideal submission is like

TITLE

My Book

AUTHOR

My name as it’s on the book cover.

AMAZON LINK

http://www.amazon.com/My-Book-By-Me/dp/B00ABCDEFG/

BLURB

no more than about 100 words.


cover

What Lurks Between
By Michael Kingswood

From a place beyond reality, it comes to consume the world.

For Barry, getting a transfer to a new position as an electrician aboard the Ketcham Space Station summed up his professional life perfectly: just one dead-end job after another. Little did he know that job put the fate of the world in his hands.

Waking up at home with no memory of how he got back from the Station, Barry soon finds that he brought something back with him. Something hungry. Now he has to stop it. Somehow.


cover

Dominion of the Damned
By Jean Marie Bauhaus

For Hannah Jordan, the world ends bloody and violent. The only survivors in a family of survivalists, she and her infant brother ride out the zombie apocalypse in a backyard bunker, emerging months later to a world ruled by the newly appointed saviors of humanity: a race of vampires hellbent on preventing the extinction of their only food supply.


cover

Restless Spirits
By Jean Marie Bauhaus

A paranormal investigator becomes the subject of her own investigation after stumbling into the crosshairs of a malevolent spirit.

Ghost hunter Veronica ″Ron″ Wilson gets killed in the line of duty; but after she herself becomes a ghost, trapped in the house where she died, she realizes that the mystery has just begun. She and several other ghosts are being held prisoner in the house by the same sadistic spirit that killed them. Their captor likes to entertain itself by torturing its fellow ghosts, and as if that isn′t bad enough, it appears to have the ability to kill ghosts, devouring the poor souls for whom it no longer has any use. Ron′s only hope is to convince the other terrified ghosts to rally together to find a way to defeat the evil spirit so they can move on to their final rest. But Ron′s not in any hurry to get there once she discovers that there′s still a lot of living to do after death.


cover

GOD REVEALED: Revisit Your Past to Enrich Your Future
By Fred Sievert

In GOD REVEALED: Revisit Your Past to Enrich Your Future Fred Sievert, a former Fortune 100 president, challenges readers to watch for messages from God in their daily lives and to draw on past experiences in ways that will strengthen their faith, enhance their work and home life, and ultimately live richer lives.

Sievert’s tools for this mission are candid and highly personal stories from his boyhood through his aggressive rise to president of New York Life Insurance Company, a Fortune 100 corporation. Each GOD REVEALED story then concludes with “For Reflection” exercises that invite readers to draw on their own past experiences to discover God’s active role in their lives.

“This book is ultimately about you, not me,” writes Sievert in his introduction. “Each story within each chapter is meant to be a memory trigger—to trigger your recollection of experiences in your own life . . . allowing you to re-experience, through memory, your life in a whole new way.”

GOD REVEALED is 73,000 words (223 pages) is available as a paperback ($17.99) and an eBook ($9.99). Proceeds from GOD REVEALED will go to faith-based charities.


cover

The Last Stratiote
By LeAnn Neal Reilly

A stunning dark urban fantasy reimagining Charles Dickens’ classic novel A Tale of Two Cities in which the age-old struggle between revenge and love plays out on the modern international stage but ultimately finds resolution in the heart of one tortured woman.

Blood Law. It’s the foundation of all human relationships, as old as humanity itself. In the Balkans, it’s been enshrined in written code since the Middle Ages.

For Elira Dukagjini, a stratiote, an Albanian mercenary who loves Shakespeare and composes blood haiku, it’s what drives her—at least until she meets James Goodman, an ICE agent pursuing the same trio of sex traffickers one explosive March night. For James, a Special Forces veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who earned a degree in philosophy on his career path, it’s not just about bringing criminals to justice. The sex traffickers have kidnapped Mirjeta Gjakova, the woman he loves, at the behest of a man he burns to pay back. For Mirjeta, a concert violinist who escaped her Balkan homeland as an orphaned teen, the strict accounting of Blood Law threatens to collect a heavy debt: her life.

When Elira’s blood hunt collides with James’s pursuit of the kidnappers, the resulting trial forces her out of her predatory myopia. What Elira decides will change the entire course of their three lives, setting a precedent in the law governing human behavior.

Complex, gritty, and brutally human, The Last Stratiote alternates between dramatic action and a challenging, richly symbolic exploration of life, religion, and philosophy. It is a story informed by the intrinsic motives underlying our desire for love, lust, revenge, healing, and redemption.


cover

The Eternity Symbiote
By Cedar Sanderson

“Unknown to humanity, a galactic power struggle surges over the Earth. When an alien delegation suffers a fatal accident, hidden plans unravel around the wreckage in the Alaskan wilderness. Infectious disease expert Gabrielle McGregor discovers the hidden infiltrations, and neither her life, nor her family’s, will ever be the same.”


cover

The Alecto Initiative (Loralynn Kennakris #1)
By Jordan Leah Hunter & Owen R. O’Neill

Life was never easy out in the Methuselah Cluster, but when her alcoholic father found her a ‘job’ while he went off-planet to look for work, 11-year-old Loralynn Kennakris began to learn just how ugly it could get. Within months, her employers sold her to a brutal slaver captain, who took from her the last thing she owned: her name.

Most girls in Kris’s position last a year or two. The strong ones might last four. Kris survived for eight before liberated by a navy cruiser.

Eight years growing up in hell prepared Kris for everything but freedom. Not only must she find her way in a bewildering society full of bizarre rules, but the very people who rescued her think she’s a terrorist plant, a beautiful interstellar celebrity is complicating matters in more ways than one . . . and now someone is trying to kill her.

But Kris hasn’t stayed alive by obeying rules, and her adopted society is about to find out what it’s like to collide with someone who has no concept of a no-win scenario.


cover

Australia Day
By Andy Semple

Andy Semple

As Australians prepare for their annual Australia Day celebrations, S.E.N.T.I.N.E.L. (Strategic Enforcement, National Terrorism Intelligence Network, Espionage and Logistics) discovers that a major terrorist attack on Sydney Harbour is imminent.

With a limited window of opportunity, S.E.N.T.I.N.E.L. operative Jonas Blackthorne leads a black-ops commando cross border raid on a Jemaah Islamiyah stronghold in a remote Indonesian village – where he uncovers detailed plans of a dirty bomb strike targeting some of Sydney’s most iconic landmarks.

With the bomb components intercepted, and the key players seemingly arrested, Australia’s political elite publically claim that a major terrorist attack has been successfully averted.

Blackthorne, however, remains unconvinced that the intercepted bomb is an isolated incident, believing that it is only one element in a highly orchestrated and multi-faceted attack.

Armed with minimal intelligence, and with precious little time, Blackthorne embarks upon an audacious plan to locate the mastermind behind the attack in an attempt to neutralise the biggest terror threat Australia has ever faced.


cover

Dunham
By Moriah Jovan

It’s 1780.

The Americans are losing their desperate fight for independence from the most powerful nation on Earth. Britain’s navy is crushing outposts up and down the eastern seaboard and the Americans’ pitiful navy consists mostly of small-vessel privateers on missions of profit.

“Captain Jack” Celia Bancroft is one of those privateers, whose list of debts of honor is a nautical mile long. Sailing for the Americans is the current project on her to-do list, and once she has finished all her tasks, she will then be free to sail on a tide of whimsy.

Commander Elliott Raxham, cashiered from His Majesty’s Royal Navy, is a newly made British earl who schemes for his own independence — from the title he never expected to inherit and the country that has betrayed him time and again.

They meet in a Caribbean tavern where he steals a kiss that starts a brawl she finishes. In retaliation, he steals her ship’s figurehead and, if that isn’t a grave enough insult, proceeds to chase her across the Atlantic to collect on the promise in her kiss.

With that, the romance is on, but the adventure is only beginning as Elliott and Celia face obstacle after obstacle in their own fight for independence — a new life together on the American frontier.

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What Does It Mean To Be a Righteous Man In Today’s America?

Friday, March 14th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Daily Question

What does it mean to be a righteous man in America today? Question of the day. #manhood #masculinity #God #men #women

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Making Media Mischief? 40 Products and Books I Recommend For Inspiration

Thursday, March 13th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

Today's product post coming shortly...

This year at PJ Lifestyle we’re going to try and increase the number of products that we review. This is version 3 of an ongoing list of the best books and products for self-styled “new media troublemakers.” I’m going to try and publish new versions with more products and photos regularly. I’d say daily but don’t want to over-promise yet. I’ll TRY for daily (Monday-Friday) with more product suggestions and original photos… Have a product you want to see photographed and reviewed in this space? Send me an email: DaveSwindlePJM {@} Gmail.com

Seven Writing and Media Tools I Use Daily

1. Morning reading spot of choice (when Wife hasn’t commandeered it): Sumo Gigantor - reviewed here, and named “The Giant Tribble” for its furry resemblance to a notorious Star Trek villain. It serves as background for many book photos.

2. Tablet of choice: iPad, a tool I use throughout the work day…

3. Tablet case of choice: Snugg - reviewed here. Have a better one I should try?

4. zebra stylus pen - I like having a real pen on one end and a stylus on the other. I need to order ink refills.

5. Moleskine Journal - I strongly recommend writing by hand and this has become my journal of choice over the years.

6. iPhone for taking and uploading photos.

7. Instagram for sharing images quickly.

Two New Books I’m Enjoying Reading Now That I’ll Review More Thoroughly Soon:

What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House by Tevi Troy. #Book that just arrived I am excited to read and review! #history #freedom #America #siberianhusky

8What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted by Tevi Troy

On the reading agenda this morning: Lisa De Pasquale's debut book #FindingMrRighteous

9. Lisa De Pasquale’s debut book Finding Mr. Righteous

Three Of My Favorite New Books I’m Going to Reread and Write More About Soon:

Very excited to finally get to read Glenn Reynolds's brand new book! The New #School How the Information Age Will Save #American #Education from Itself

10. The New School by Glenn Reynolds

Was Islam manufactured just to unify the Arab empire? Politically incorrect questions... #history #religion #war #god #empire #secular

11. Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa and Prof. Ronald Rychlak’s Disinformation 

12. Robert Spencer’s Did Muhammad Exist?

Twelve Library Books on my Mind of Late:

10 books on #art #culture #history #WaltDisney #BillandHillaryClinton and #EVIL on my mind today.

13. No One Left to Lie To By Christopher Hitchens

14. The Wisdom of Maimonides by Edward Hoffman

15. Bill and Hillary: The Politics of the Personal by William H. Chafe

16. Escape from Evil by Ernest Becker

17. Walt Disney’s Fantasia by John Culhane

18. Walt Disney’s Animated Characters by John Grant

#maura and me Sunday #book reading, jogging, and lunch at the park. Wish Wife was here. #siberianhusky

19. The Hebrew Republic by Eric Nelson

11 books on culture, #art, #poetry personality cults, hate, racism, and #Paganism ancient and modern. Picked up as holds from the library Friday afternoon.

20. Break, Blow Burn by Camille Paglia

21. In Search of Bill Clinton by John Gartner

22. Timothy Leary: A Biography by Robert Greenfield

23. Antisemitism and the American Far Left by Stephen H. Norwood 

"Whenever a person is haughty, the #Divine Presence wails over him." - Maimonides, Commentary on Pirkey Avot quoted in Edward Hoffman's The #Wisdom of #maimonides page 46 juxtaposed with cover of Ann Coulter's case against #BillClinton

24. High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton By Ann Coulter

Where to Get the Best Deals on Books? Library Book Sales. For $20.50 I Got These Ten Last Weekend:

Yesterday morning at this month's library #book sale I spent $20.50 and acquired these 10 finds - all hardbacks, ranging in price from 1-2.50 each. #Apple #ForbiddenKnowledge #Film #hate #founders #dog #Jefferson #Washington #Hamilton The wife was disappointed there weren't as many art books this month. Maybe next time...

25. Henry Ford and the Jews: The Mass Production of Hate by Neil Baldwin

26. The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald

27. George Washington collected writings

28. Thomas Jefferson collected writings

29. Alexander Hamilton collected writings

(I really made off like a bandit with getting these 3 Library of America collections for only $8. Brand new they’re about $75 and even used you’re lucky to get them for under $30 not counting shipping.)

30. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

31. What’s a Dog For? by John Homans

32. Film: An International History of the Medium by Robert Sklar

33. Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography by Roger Shattuck

34. Barry Goldwater’s The Conscience of a Conservative

Six Movie, Music and Talk Radio Recommendations To Have On in the Background While Troublemaking:

What are the 5 best #disney animated films? I am counting down my picks. I have concluded that #Fantasia is the greatest film Disney ever made. Why? I will explain in a future article...

35. Walt Disney’s Fantasia on Blu Ray

I’ve gotten in the habit of just having it on in the background some days while working…

)

36. Oceania by the Smashing Pumpkins, which Chris Queen blogged through track by track last year, is still my favorite go-to album when I need to focus and work.

37. Songza for classical music while working and something more energetic while running the Siberian.

38. Early Morning Talk Radio Recommendation: 6 AM-9 AM PST on Am 870 – The Morning Answer with Ben Shapiro, Elisha Krauss, and Brian Whitman

39. Late Morning Talk Radio Recommendation: 9 AM- Noon, The Dennis Prager Show

40. Late Afternoon Talk Radio Recommendation: 3-6 PM The Ben Shapiro Show on KTTH 770

*****

Maybe you have a product that you’d like to see featured or reviewed? Everything from food to books to tech gadgets and accessories to Giant Tribbles is fair game. And if I’m not the one to review it then another of the PJ Lifestyle contributors might have the expertise. Please contact me: DaveSwindlePJM <@> Gmail.com

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The Spritz App: Now You Can Waste Time, Even Faster

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014 - by Hannah Sternberg

vintage-reader

Like all passionate readers, I sometimes feel anxious about the number of books I’ll never be able to read. A single lifetime is just a blip when you consider all the delicious literature out there, waiting to be consumed.

That was the first thing I thought of, after my mild horror subsided, when I heard about the new hyper-speed-reading app Spritz. Spritz promises reading speeds of over 500 words per minute; at its fastest, it can allow users to read the Bible cover to cover in 13 hours.

Why the mild horror? Well, it’s another byproduct of being a passionate reader: I’m torn between the desire to read as many books as possible, and the pleasure of lingering in each one. There’s no lingering in the magic of a scene at 500 words per minute.

This Atlantic article makes a great point that the app’s greatest utility may be sifting through the pages and pages of online articles many people feel socially and professionally obligated to read. If your goal is to be able to say you read it, that’s fine. Maybe eventually we’ll evolve to be able to comprehend at that speed, as well.

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Timothy Leary Vs. Bill Clinton: Who Inflicted More Harm?

Monday, March 10th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Daily Question

Who damaged America more: Timothy Leary or Bill Clinton? #history #ideology #counterculture #questionoftheday

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8 Lessons I’ve Learned By Self-Publishing 3 Kindle E-books

Saturday, March 8th, 2014 - by Bookworm

Book publishing back in the day

When I was in my 20s and 30s, my dream was to publish the Great American Junk Novel. I had no illusions about my ability (or, rather, inability) to write something profound, but I truly believed I could write a Bridges of Madison County or Da Vinci Code. I was wrong. After innumerable efforts, I gave up. I have no imagination, no sense of character, and I’m incapable of writing dialog.

Thanks to the blogosphere, however, I discovered in my 40s that, while I’m not and never will be a novelist, I am an essayist. Over the past decade, I’ve written over 11,000 essays, which easily qualifies me for “expert” status. My blog has become a vast repository of my thoughts on just about everything: politics (mostly politics), parenting, education, Hollywood, social issues, national security, travel — you name it, and I’ve probably written about it.

Considering how many hours I’ve spent at the keyboard, I’ve always hoped that I could monetize my blog. Unfortunately, while I’ve got a solid, and very dear to me, following of readers who genuinely like the way I think and write, I’ve never leveraged my way into the Big Time amongst conservative bloggers. Not being in the Big Time means that any monetization I’ve done has earned me just enough money to buy a few books, not to make a mortgage payment or two.

A few years ago, it occurred to me that I might be able to make some money if I took my writings to a new readership. That’s how I decided to try my hand at self-publishing. I saw it all clearly:  I would assemble my essays, package them attractively, upload them at Kindle Direct Publishing, and sell them for a profit on Amazon. It seemed so easy….

Sadly, it wasn’t easy, at least not the first time around. That didn’t deter me from publishing a second e-book and, just recently, a third. Each book has been easier than the one before, so I’d like to share with you some lessons I’ve learned, many of which I learned the hard way.

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20 Things You Might Not Know About Robert A. Heinlein, Part 3: His Eccentric Education

Saturday, March 8th, 2014 - by Sarah Hoyt

Robert A. Heinlein_1973_Time Enough For Love

Click Here for Part I: “His Maculate Origin”

Click Here for Part 2: “His Preposterous Heritage”

11. Heinlein was married three times.

His first wife was named Elinor Curry. Not much is known about her, and their marriage lasted only about a year. Before leaving the Navy, Heinlein married Leslyn MacDonald. She was intelligent, well read and very liberal. Their marriage was ultimately unsuccessful, but it lasted for well over a decade. He was married to his third wife, Virginia, (nee Gerstenfeld), until he died in 1988.

It is believed many of his early heroines resemble Leslyn. Perhaps so, but perhaps Heinlein just liked multi-competent females. Having been privileged to speak to the third Mrs. Heinlein, I can attest she was intimidatingly intelligent and well read, and that I found her echo in many of his female characters. So much for everyone who claims that his women are men with breasts. (Whether he had a male’s naïve view of female sexuality is a wholly different matter. To a certain extent, try as we might, we are all prisoners of that space behind our eyes, and no matter how much talented individuals try to escape it, they’re prone to believing what others wish them to believe.)

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A Book About Fairies… That Boys Will Love Too

Friday, March 7th, 2014 - by Hannah Sternberg

IronKingCover

This week, I cheated. I know I promised you guys last week that I’d start a blog series on adventure books for young boys, to encourage reading — and for men and women of all ages who yearn for an old-fashioned swashbuckling yarn. I went through my bookshelves and pulled out some classics, to kick things off. And then, instead of reading any of those selections, I got pulled into a fantasy tale set in fairyland, published by Harlequin Teen.

The good news is, I think your boys should read it, too.

I know there aren’t a lot of teen boys who would want to be caught reading a Harlequin book, especially one featuring pixies and fairy magic and sparkling gowns. But in both the land of fairies and real life, appearances can be deceiving, and Julie Kagawa’s The Iron King has enough adventure, action, gore, surprise twists, creepy creatures, and sly humor to keep girls and boys alike rapt for hours. I haven’t finished a book in two days in a long, long time, but The Iron King made me feel resentful of any time I had to spend not reading it until I managed to turn the last page.

Protagonist Meghan Chase is an average high schooler and a bit of a tomboy. But her humdrum life is overturned when fairies exchange her little brother, Ethan, for a changeling — a vicious monster who has assumed Ethan’s features, if not his sweet personality. That night, she also learns that her best friend Robbie is actually Robin Goodfellow — more commonly known as Puck, the mischievous fairy from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Puck leads Meghan into the land of the fairies, where she seeks her little brother and in the process becomes embroiled in the political schemings of the Summer and Winter Courts. She and her companions encounter a stunning array of creatures along the way, from ogres and goblins to dryads and satyrs.

Author Julie Kagawa has a prodigious imagination and a knack for clever action and suspense scenes that reminds me of The Princess Bride, another seemingly “girly” tale that has captured the imaginations of thousands of young boys. The Iron King hits all the right notes that I listen for in an adventure tale: fast-paced action scenes, cleverly choreographed; wry banter between friends and enemies alike; a diverse host of companions and foes, with entertaining quirks and foibles; a journey through a variety of landscapes; and a good mix of physical challenges for the heroes, and mental ones, such as riddles and bargains.

If you, or your boys, loved The Princess Bride, tales of Robin Hood, or The Hobbit, Kagawa’s The Iron King will hit the spot.

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Join The Club

Friday, March 7th, 2014 - by Sarah Hoyt and Charlie Martin
In the Human Wave clubhouse, we only care about the stories you tell.

In the Human Wave clubhouse, we only care about the stories you tell.

Hi, this is Sarah, and I’m tired.

So, lately I’m looking over all the “controversies” over who gets to be recognized as writing science fiction and who gets not to be, and how the cool kids club in SF/F needs to be restricted to people who are genetically diverse, endowed with vagina or in other ways part of the “victim club.”  Then there’s the whole thing with “stealing victimhood.”  Unless you’re a member of a mean girls approved victimhood class or you spend your entire life beating your chest, you’re not allowed to write about anyone who is from a different genetic/orientation/handicap class than you. That’s stealing victimhood. I’m so used to this that I didn’t even blink at the article in Salon ragging on white belly dancers.

Note the arrow of victimhood goes only one way.  I’m completely able to write a white male because, since he’s supposed to be an oppressor, I can’t steal his “victimhood.”  No, not even if I write about a white male who’s been beaten from birth, and who never had anything. Because… he’s supposed to have white male privilege, which I suppose is a magical attribute that keeps him warm and dry and fed.

In case this is not obvious I’m tired. I’m tired of people importing Marxist privilege and victimhood classes into their heads without a whit of thought. I’m tired of their trying to justify their casual racism.

Casual racism?  Yes, what else do you think the entire confusion of culture with race is? My kids, (half Portuguese) were repeatedly put in ESL classes taught in Spanish, leading to my descending on the school in escalating rages, until I got in the secretary’s face and said “Why are you teaching my children in the language of their ancient enemies?” This they got. This stopped it. And this is extreme nonsense. My kids are American. They speak English as their first language.  They belong to the curious Geek subculture. They’re American. But in the mind of people for whom race equals culture, it made sense they’d hate Spaniards, because their ancestors fought them. (And traded with them.  And mated with them, because nearby countries do.  But I couldn’t say that, because then they’d put the kids back in Spanish.)

What is this belief that people’s characteristics are determined by their ancestors’ genes and nothing else, but casual racism? Every supermarket shopper (I wish I were joking) who chided me for not teaching my kids “their language” believed that language is somehow genetically inherited, never mind that this goes against the evidence of the entire history of mankind.  (No?  Are you speaking Caldean?  Or whatever proto language Og the caveman spoke?)

Worse, note that it is enough to be part-blood of one of the oppressed, downtrodden or just unfashionable (well, once upon a time, Portuguese and Spanish did divide the world between them) ethnicities to be of that ethnicity and to be unable to speak English as your native language. Because, you know, we little brown people (well, give me a month at the beach and I am.  I consider the lack of a month at the beach a violation of my basic human rights) can never possibly speak the language of the “oppressors” who must therefore be obviously superior.

In the same way, the article at Slate drips with “leave them belly dancing, because, I mean, that’s all they have.”

I’m tired.

And when I’m tired, I do revert to type.  There is a tendency to put my hands on either side of my hips and speak frankly.  Only I’ve done that, and the insanity continues.

So, I say undermine them. Take their victimhood away and flush it in a river of good fiction that doesn’t care what color you are, or what language your ancestors spoke: a flood of good storytelling that doesn’t care about anything but telling a convincing story that makes internal sense and that people want to read.

Years ago, tired of all the books in which humans are the villains, western culture is the villain, white males are the villains, males are the villains, and no woman, gay or person of color can possibly do any wrong, I wrote a post about a new kind of literature, “Human Wave.”  The reason I called it that was an answer to the “New Wave” which, back in the seventies tried to be revolutionary and challenging and ended up devolving into the political correctness we see today.

The requirements of Human Wave writing are: It should be human positive. This doesn’t mean other races can’t be awesome, or that we can’t have bad endings, just spare us the pseudo-profound “humans are a cancer upon the Earth.”  You know you don’t really believe it.  If you did, you’d have offed yourself before writing it.

So enough with the pseudo-enlightened chest-beating. I’m not the only one who is tired of it.  Judging by the way the print runs have dropped in the last forty years, most people are.

If you’re a human wave writer, you can be any color, gender or orientation. So can your heroes. So can your villains.  We don’t care.  All we care is that you’re readable, and that you’re not beating up on humans or pushing Marxist victimhood classes down our throats.

And the people who insist you need to be this tan to get into the club?  Their culture is dead and walking.  They just don’t know it yet.


Remember, tell all your writer friends to send the AUTHOR, TITLE, a SHORT BLURB, and an AMAZON LINK AMAZON LINK AMAZON LINK to book.plug.friday@gmail.com to be plugged here on PJ Media.

Deadlines are flexible, but in general the deadline for Friday is Tuesday the preceding week. So, for example, the deadline for March 7 was February 22.

That said, last week was a really big one, so some books are being put off until next week. Hey, we said the deadlines are flexible.

It really helps if you don’t bother with HTML magic at all, because we just have to parse it apart to put it into the template. The ideal submission is like

TITLE My Book

AUTHOR My name as it’s on the book cover.

AMAZON LINK http://www.amazon.com/My-Book-By-Me/dp/B00ABCDEFG/

BLURB no more than about 100 words.


cover

A Blue Frog Occasion
By Robert D. Rose

Great Ward is now crumbling, after 3,000 years of peace,. Two unstoppable enemies prepare to invade…and blue frog magic is almost gone.

Now comes the death of a very uncommon acolyte, revealing centuries of secrets when the wizard Vorin investigates why she died…reopening an ageless war between himself and the ever-grasping Order she joined.

If he fails, his magic will be gone forever and East Thumb Peninsula will be lost. If he wins, an entire society must change.


cover

The Running Girl
By D. Alexander Neill

Ally of Eldisle, sword-thegn and sometime mage, bears twin burdens: a complicated heritage, and a penchant for finding herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Faced with false accusations of treason and murder, she flees to foreign lands, finding enemies all around, friends in unexpected places, and wonders undreamed-of. While struggling to keep an ancient treasure out of unfriendly hands, she is forced to reconcile her preconceptions about the wider world and its myriad inhabitants with her own origins – and to come to terms with the meaning of a bloodline lost in the depths of antiquity, created by ancestors both inhuman and unknown, and with the awful powers they have bequeathed her.


cover

I, Geek: Confessions of a Geeky Mind
By Joseph Dickerson

A collection of essays on all things geek – technology, Star Trek, Doctor Who, Dungeons and Dragons, and more!

From the introduction:
A few years ago, this open geekness would have been shunned, and I would have been subject to random wedgies from strangers as I walked down the street. Well, no more. Now, geek is chic. Shows like The Big Bang Theory has allowed people like me to let our “geek flags fly” with pride, and all of a sudden we are the cool kids… mostly.

The geek have inherited the earth.


cover

The Book of Helen
By Sherry G Antonetti

“Everyone thinks they know what happened in the Trojan War and afterwards, but no one ever bothered to ask me.” –Helen of Troy

At 65, the famous Helen of Troy finds herself in a new role, that of having no title, husband or things to do as she faces exile on the island of Rhodes. Her hoarded wealth, fabulous stories of the past, and a newly acquired servant/scribe named Pythia , should allow Helen to establish her own legacy, but there are some who won’t be courted.

Helen begins to ply her legendary charm, wit and capacity to create beauty and spectacle in her new home to win the hearts of the people with great effect. But Helen rarely recognizes that as she ascends, others might resent her casual winning over of everyone. Queen Polyoxo has granted sanctuary to her childhood friend for reasons other than friendship, leaving Pythia caught in the wake of two very powerful women with very different means of conveying and maintaining authority.

Can Helen with all her treasures and stories and charisma win over everyone? Or will the need for revenge, threaten the life of the most beautiful woman in the world and those who serve her?


cover

PAGER
By Gerry Garibaldi

Does romance have a future? It’s the year 2165, and one man thinks so… As a pager, Peter Mandrin’s job is to track things down – criminals, shipments, missing transports, anything that turns a profit – and he’s just sacked the catch of a lifetime, infamous embezzler Roger Finlay. As a reward Mandrin wins Finlay’s vintage 1960’s four bedroom, ranch-style house, complete with sports court and old-fashioned swimming pool, on the most expensive planet in the universe, Earth. From low-life pager, he’s hit the sweet, sweet big-time. In Pager two hundred years have passed and a hostile, canyon-like divide has developed between men and women. Marriage is an arcane word, mutual suspicion abounds, and Wallys (artificial life) fill in the emotional void. Up to now, it’s just been Peter and his insouciant, sexy Wally, Debris, the replicant woman of his dreams. That is, until he meets the real woman who lives next door, the mysterious Wendy Roseland. In Wendy, Peter discovers that the human touch and passions it arouses are greater than anything he imagined. Unlike Debris, it’s Wendy imperfections that beguile him the most. In her arms, he suddenly feels the ticking clock of his own mortality — and it frightens him. He wants to be with her forever. When Wendy suddenly flees the planet, Peter does what he does best: tracks down the truth behind her disappearance.


cover

A Warrior’s Path
By Davis Ashura

“The characters, dialogue and action are mature enough to satisfy readers at the older end of the YA range, and the author weaves them all into an attention-sustaining tale…the milieu is markedly original…first rate world-building.”

Kirkus Reviews.

Two millennia ago She thundered into the skies of Arisa: Suwraith, a demon bent on Humanity’s extinction.

Into this world is born Rukh Shektan, a peerless young warrior from a Caste of warriors, devoted to the sanctity of his home and his way of life. He is well-versed in the keen language of swords but all his courage and skills may not save him. A challenge comes, one that threatens all he once thought true and puts at risk all he holds dear. And it will enter his life in the form of one of Humanity’s greatest enemies – and perhaps its greatest allies.

Worse, he will learn of Suwraith’s plans. The Sorrow Bringer has dread intentions for his home. The city of Ashoka is to be razed and her people slaughtered.


cover

The Cenacle Scroll
By Anthony F. Lewis

Jennifer Goodwyn, a Cornell University graduate student, inadvertently returns home to sleepy Ithaca, N.Y. from an archaeological dig at the Cenacle—the purported site of the Last Supper—with an ancient bone box. The ossuary is found to contain several pieces of early first century stoneware, and a mysterious, tiny scroll. When the Aramaic glyphs on the slip of crumbling papyrus are translated, they identify the humble dinner setting as the one used by a rabblerousing Nazarene rabbi at his Seder meal, on the evening he’d been arrested by the Romans.

One ill-considered impulse—asking a local parish priest to say Mass with the cup—sweeps Jennifer away to churches, cathedrals, sports stadiums, and to a powerful Cardinal’s basilica to celebrate Mass with the vessel and to exhibit it before ever-growing crowds of believers.

But soon, all hell breaks loose. While the State Department is aggressively seeking its return to Israel, a nationwide political movement starts rising up around the relic. And Jennifer soon discovers that the storied artifact is causing sickness and even death among those who remain too long in its presence.

In an effort to stem the political mayhem and insure the safety of the faithful, Jennifer hits the road, trying to stay one step ahead of the feds until she can find a way to quell the growing public chaos unleashed by the revelations of The Cenacle Scroll.


cover

Aqua Vitae
By Anthony F. Lewis

Wildlife biologist Jackie Bannon may have found just the job to jump-start her stalled career. A potential client with seemingly bottomless pockets and plans for an unorthodox business venture has invited her to his private Caribbean island to discuss her coming on board.

At first glance, the place seems a textbook tropical paradise: glistening white sand beaches, lush highland forests, every inch teeming with exotic flowers and wildlife. But a closer look reveals widespread abnormal behavior among the native animal species; behavior that Jackie recognizes as deeply problematic.

Despite her misgivings, she wasn’t about to turn down a high-paying job on a luxurious private island, especially one that could remake her career, and she relished the independence she would be allowed. But with that independence would come responsibility, and she could already see that there was much more to this island than meets the eye…


cover

Big Boys Don’t Cry
By Tom Kratman

Big Boys Don’t Cry is a novella from military science fiction author Tom Kratman, known for A Desert Called Peace. The story concerns the life cycle of a Ratha, a sentient future supertank that dutifully fights Man’s battles on dozens of alien worlds. But how long will an intelligent war machine with enough firepower to flatten a city be content to remain Man’s obedient slave?


cover

Iron Magic
By T. M. BRIDGELAND

The wind blows from the sea to the mountains, bringing snow and rain in season, creating a paradise so enchanting that the first inhabitants named it ‘Eden’. This year Eden was invaded and sacked. The books were burned, and fanatics hunted and killed the few who still studied the old knowledge of magic.

In the ancient, haunted city of Selzburg, a new power is rising. A local guild has uncovered a book revealing the secrets of black magic, long lost and nearly forgotten.

Kail, a young magician from Eden hopes to ally with these new sorcerers, though he mistrusts the source of their power. His plans go awry when a princess is abducted and circumstantial evidence points to him as the perpetrator. Now a wanted man, Kail still hopes to turn the sorcerers from enemies into allies.

With the help of an abusive girlfriend, a street boy named Rat and a possibly possessed horse, he has to save the princess, clear his name and gain the sorcerers’ aid against their common enemy.

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18 Books and Products I Recommend For Other New Media Troublemakers

Friday, March 7th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

I'm going to start photographing more products to blog about. Please get in touch if you are interested in a review. Everything - books, tech, food, practical products.

This year at PJ Lifestyle we’re going to try and increase the number of products that we review. This is the start of an ongoing list of the best products for self-styled “new media troublemakers.” I’m going to try and publish new versions of this list with more products and photos regularly. I’d say daily but don’t want to over-promise yet. I’ll TRY for daily (Monday-Friday) with more product suggestions and original photos…

Beginning a new morning #reading routine with #siberianhusky #maura

Writing and Media Tools

1. Reading spot of choice (when Wife hasn’t comandeered it): Sumo Gigantor - reviewed here, and named “The Giant Tribble” for its furry resemblance to a notorious Star Trek villain

2. Tablet of choice: iPad, a tool I use throughout the work day…

3. Tablet case of choice: Snugg - reviewed here

4. zebra stylus pen - I like having a real pen on one end and a stylus on the other. I need to order ink refills.

5. Moleskine Journal - I strongly recommend writing by hand and this has become my journal of choice over the years.

6. iPhone

Recommended Books on my Mind of Late:

10 books on #art #culture #history #WaltDisney #BillandHillaryClinton and #EVIL on my mind today.

7. No One Left to Lie To By Christopher Hitchens

8. The Wisdom of Maimonides by Edward Hoffman

9. Bill and Hillary: The Politics of the Personal by William H. Chafe

10. Escape from Evil by Ernest Becker

11. Walt Disney’s Fantasia by John Culhane

12. Walt Disney’s Animated Characters by John Grant

"Whenever a person is haughty, the #Divine Presence wails over him." - Maimonides, Commentary on Pirkey Avot quoted in Edward Hoffman's The #Wisdom of #maimonides page 46 juxtaposed with cover of Ann Coulter's case against #BillClinton

13. High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton By Ann Coulter

Very excited to finally get to read Glenn Reynolds's brand new book! The New #School How the Information Age Will Save #American #Education from Itself

14. The New School by Glenn Reynolds

#maura and me Sunday #book reading, jogging, and lunch at the park. Wish Wife was here. #siberianhusky

15. The Hebrew Republic by Eric Nelson

What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House by Tevi Troy. #Book that just arrived I am excited to read and review! #history #freedom #America #siberianhusky

16What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted by Tevi Troy

On the reading agenda this morning: Lisa De Pasquale's debut book #FindingMrRighteous

17. Lisa De Pasquale’s debut book Finding Mr. Righteous

Siberian Husky Supplies

Today #maura #siberianhusky got groomed and a new blue harness arrived in the mail. She's now tired after our evening run and has assumed her post guarding our patio and monitoring the comings and goings in her neighborhood. Yes, her #Yoda #StarWars doll with a crushed skull in shot.

18. Yoda plush

Food:

Am I the only one who has a fondness for sour fruit? #citrusjunky

Trader Joe’s is current source of photographed foods. Their minneolas didn’t blow me away — as their fruit rarely does — perhaps these on Amazon would be better?

Or maybe you have a product that you’d like to see featured or reviewed? Everything from food to books to tech gadgets and accessories to Giant Tribbles is fair game. And if I’m not the one to review it then another of the PJ Lifestyle contributors might have the expertise. Please contact me: DaveSwindlePJM <@> Gmail.com

Beginning a new series of product reviews. #siberianhusky #maura co-starring.

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What Will Barack Obama Be Doing 10 Years from Now?

Friday, March 7th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Daily Question

"Reject and repudiate fraudulent, sly, underhanded, or illegal practices. Woe unto one who builds his edifice on such dealings. He will be abandoned in the prime of his life, and his end will be disgraceful." - Maimonides, as quoted on page 78 of Hoffman's The #Wisdom of #Maimonides The Life and Writings of the #Jewish #Sage

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