Monday, September 30, 2013

Read Chapter 1 of The Devil's Assassin

Halloween is almost here and The Devil's Assassin, a creepy horror/thriller is always available for your Kindle e-reader for these chilly autumn nights ·

Kindle books can be read on PC, iPad, iPhone, and smart phones too with Kindle software and Apps.

Read Chapter 1 of The Devil's Assassin now.

In a dark, fog laden forest in Ontario, Canada sits a dimly lit cabin. Hundreds of crickets and as many tree frogs create a cacophony of noise in what should be an otherwise bucolic location. A couple of owls, one nearer and one more distant add their more baritone notes to a post-meridian symphony. A bat flies in irregular patterns around the perimeter of the cleared area where the house sits, dashing silently in and out of view. Fireflies wink on and off.

The sound from a television in the cabin wafts weakly out into the noisy night and after a time disappears. A light in the house goes out followed by another. The house is plunged into darkness and silence as the nighttime symphony continues. A slim crescent moon rises over the cabin while the fog ebbs and flows around the cabin.

Something has been lurking in the woods outside the cabin for a couple of hours, watching the moon's rise and the billowing fogs ebb and flow and now this lurker moves toward the darkened house. The fog billows as the lurker moves through it. It moves slowly and steadily toward a window which is slightly opened.

Finally, it reaches the window and begins to try to push it up. It doesn't move easily, but the lurker takes his time, working slowly and confidently. A couple of times the window squeaks and the lurker stops pushing to be sure it hasn't woken the house's sleeper. After about ten minutes of work on the window it is open enough for the lurker to climb through.

Once inside, and without hesitating, the lurker moves toward the bedroom. It is as if this prowler has prowled this cabin's interior before this night.

In her bedroom, a forty-seven year-old woman lies sleeping in bed, covered with a quilt. She is alone in the dark room and in a deep, restful sleep. A click disturbs the silence in the room, but the woman continues her slumber. The door knob, which is what made the click, begins to turn slowly, almost as slowly as the minute-hand of a clock. The prowler has a great deal of patience and caution, knowing too well the price of carelessness. In this bedroom, in this cabin, in these woods, the lurker has all the time in the world.

Finally, the door begins to open. Again, to avoid door creaks and squeaks, the lurker allows the door to open very slowly. He can smell his victim long before the door is open wide enough to see her. When the door is open enough to admit him into the room, the lurker moves softly over the wood floor until he stands near the side of the bed. As he regards the sleeping woman, noting the position of the quilt draping her body, a white needle suddenly jumps into view, stiletto-like, in front of the lurker. He considers the woman for a moment more and then drives the needle into the sleeping woman's chest. She shudders. The lurker draws the needle out as quickly as it was driven in and turns to leave the room.

Before moving out of the room the killer pauses to lick the needle, cleaning it of the blood which now stained it. He then walks out of the room, closes the door behind him and finds his way to the victim's kitchen. There he opens the refrigerator door and places all the fruits and vegetables he can find into a plastic shopping bag he finds on the kitchen table. The killer then stands up, leaves the kitchen and heads toward and through the window that he had entered the cabin through, closing it quickly behind him. He takes a bite out of an apple he had taken from the woman's refrigerator as he disappears into the forest.
It is a bright, sunny morning as a young woman leaves the front door of a farmhouse. The farmhouse is adjacent to a field of wheat. A couple of crows caw noisily to each other while a song bird sings. The young woman waves her hand at the door as she leaves. "Tsai jien," Miss Sung says brightly, which means goodbye in Chinese. She continues walking toward her car, gets in and then drives it away as she does every morning on her way to work in a nearby factory.

After a few hours have passed at the same Chinese farmhouse, the birds are quiet and few other sounds break the peaceful day beyond the passing of an occasional diesel truck on the nearby road. Inside the house, a radio softly plays Chinese music as an old woman sits sleeping in an easy chair with knitting in her lap.

The doorknob begins to turn slowly. It is minutes before the door opens enough to let someone in the house. A small form steps through the door and advances directly toward the easy chair in the living room. The intruder stands in front of the woman's chair watching her breathe and snore softly. He tilts his head to regard her face, matching the angle of her head. In the midst of this almost soft moment, a long white needle suddenly appears in the intruder's hand and is immediately thrust into the sleeping woman's chest. She shudders and dies instantly.

The killer pulls his bloody needle out of his victim, leaving no visible wound on the old woman. As he turns, he licks the needle clean of the blood of his victim. He then finds the kitchen where he fishes around in the refrigerator, taking as many fruits and vegetables as he can find in a bag he finds there. After he has his unusual booty, he leaves by the front door.
A campfire burns under a dark, star-studded sky on the plains of Argentina. There is popular Argentine music playing and two grizzled gauchos sit near the fire on camp stools listening to a boom box. Cattle can also be heard, horses are tied up nearby, and tents are pitched. Coleman lamps throw a little light on the campsite in addition to the fire's light.

Another gaucho is in a nearby copse of trees relieving himself. He hears a stick crack in the darkness to his left. He looks in that direction and sees something coming toward him. "Quien es?" he asks.

His answer comes in the form of his brief surprise and fear as, in the moment before he dies, he sees his attacker driving a white needle into his chest before he can utter a sound. With his pants still undone, the gaucho crumples to the ground. The killer licks his needle clean and escapes unnoticed through the grass and into the Argentine night.

At the campfire, the other two gauchos are smoking and listening to the music. Hearing or sensing something, one of the men stands up and calls out, "Roberto!?"

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Why Steve Lonegan for U.S. Senate?

New Jersey will hold a special election to fill Senator Frank Lautenberg's United States Senate seat on October 16.

If change is going to take place in Washington D.C. and the U.S. Congress, someone should be elected to that Senate seat who is more than a rubber stamp for failed Obama administration policies. The strength of the minority party in the Senate will be buoyed by the election of Steve Lonegan making the Senate that much less likely to be an automatic cancellation of everything which the House of Representatives puts forward, and the body will also be less of a rubber stamp for Obama administration policies (though the Senate will still retain its Democrat majority for the time being).

Electing Cory Booker will continue the Congressional status quo of dysfunction, inaction and voter discontent with the U.S. Congress.

A Senator Lonegan will fight for reduced government spending, attacking wasteful government spending, finding solutions for the debt and deficits, and be a loud voice for lower taxes on overburdened citizens. He has shown himself as an effective leader in New Jersey and on national issues.

Please vote for Steve Lonegan for U.S. Senate on October 16 in New Jersey.

You can also Vote by Mail

Monday, September 23, 2013

Same-sex Marriage

gold wedding rings
I would like to offer my feelings concerning same-sex marriage, such as they are, and hopefully some readers will see something of value in the words that follow. Many people are going to be against what I say here and many for different reasons. But the thoughts are offered as an addition to a discussion which is already going on and comes at the problem from a slightly different angle than I have seen elsewhere. I ask only that you think outside the proverbial box.

The discussion of same-sex marriage is based on the foundation that religion has a problem with first homosexuality, and second that the marriage of two people of the same sex is against God's will, and third that the institution of marriage (which is purportedly sanctioned by God) will suffer degradation. If viewed from an areligious (or atheistic) point of view, the opposition to same-sex marriage would come from the supposed degradation of the institution of marriage (which is based on tradition that is in turn based on religion), and on the deleterious effects it would have on the family unit and on the proper raising of children.

This present discussion will take place in the presence of religious argument because most of the opposition to the practice comes from that quarter.

First of all, it is not my place to say that the relationship that involves same gender love between two adult people is right or wrong, just as I have no place to say that the relationship between an 80-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman is right or wrong. Nor, I would further contend, is it the business of anyone else. In the end, that relationship is between those two people and God is the only and ultimate judge over a person and their actions on Earth. I do know that God celebrates and encourages love between people and so this love between two people of the same gender is very probably blessed by God as any love is. Since physical love is a reinforcement of our spiritual love for our mate, I would think that this love would be in harmony with God and His laws as well (ie., not a sin). By physical love, I mean sex within a relationship of love between two adult parties where the love between the two is buoyed by the physical contact. Not sex for sex. Not friends with benefits.

So if God looks at love between homosexual partners with favor, then how does he look at marriage between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman?

First we need to ask, How does God view marriage in general?

God is interested in the love between two individuals. Jesus has said over and over that God is Love. If these two people have committed to be with each other, then it is the hurt that one causes the other that is the sin. Adultery then is the break of the trust and bond of love within a couple's relationship and the pain caused the other party. That is where the sin of adultery is. God doesn't see the institution of marriage, He sees the relationship between two people and how they treat each other.

The institution of marriage is an institution created by man (secular society and church) to sanction the relationship between two people. That sanction of marriage offers benefits to the couple from society (tax benefits, insurance benefits, child-care rights, etc.). Benefits are also gained from the religious organizations that sanction marriage (acceptance of the couple that they are not living in sin). The church benefits because people are further bonded to the creeds, dictates and traditions of the church, and society benefits because people and families are easier to keep track of, regulate and dispense benefits to. The benefits that people receive from God by being in a marriage are the same as those that two people committed to each other in love receive but who are not "married by men".

There is no "living together in sin" if the partners are committed to each other in love. This is what God wants and it is better still if this person is your soulmate. In God's eyes it doesn't matter if you are married but only if you are loving.

If you are to follow this reasoning to its natural conclusion, then you must realize that marriage is a human construct and as such its definition is whatever we as humans want it to be.

If most humans want marriage to be defined as a loving committed relationship between two consenting people of adult age, then that is what marriage is. If most humans want to reserve the meaning of the word marriage to mean only the committed relationship between a man and a woman then perhaps another term could be looked for for homosexual commitments.

I am going to take what I surmise to be the point of view of God on this and say that what men say and their institutions require doesn't matter as regards this subject. As humans in charge of the human institution of marriage, that institution, that word, can mean and include whatever we want it to and broadening it to include people of the same gender is not much broadening at all and ought to be done in every country and every place, since God himself has nothing to say about it and man everything.

Let me also deflect the myriad quotations from the Bible that will be advanced in support of the traditional view of marriage. Everyone knows about the inconsistencies in the Bible. There are many, including those concerning homosexuality versus God's love and grace and in general Jesus' portrayal of His Father. Inconsistencies in a book that is supposed to be the word of an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfect Being. These inconsistencies arise from (not only) the fact that humans, through the centuries and even to today, are responsible for copying, typesetting, typing, cutting and pasting, printing, and proofreading the Holy Book. For instance, Bibles are printed each and every day, in many countries, right now. Do you think the books leave those presses every day with no errors? Is it the word of God when words are dropped within those pages or pages left out of the bindings? Typesetters and typographers are not perfect. Printers and their machines are not perfect. Proofreaders are not perfect. Human beings are in charge of the printing of Bibles in this time period and people are as flawed now as ever. They are God's highest creation, but flawed still (due to the exertions of their own free wills). Errors are introduced by omission and commission.

So it is now, so it has been for thousands of years. There is much that is correct and in accord with God's law and love in the Old Testament and the New Testament. But there have been so many people and committees and councils involved that much of what is included in these books should be subject to careful and deliberate inspection, thought, and prayer as to its Truth. Blind obedience to a book shepherded through history by flawed men (men with agendas) and held as God's word because an ecclesiastical council said it was so is not the thinking that God gave us brains for. In fact, it is not thinking but agreement by consensus of the masses in the authority of the Church (or various churches).

Don't get me wrong, I love the Bible. It has many wonderful lessons and generally shows how to be a good person with respect for our Creator and in it can be found the path to Heaven if you look carefully. But if you want to know what God thinks about an issue, the Bible should not be your only source. Your heart, your mind, and your soul are not just supplemental resources when it comes to Truth, they are indeed the most important instruments.

Let every man and woman think for himself and herself. And in my humble opinion, let every man and woman marry the man or woman of their choice.

(When responding, please respond to the discussion of marriage. The discussion of the existence of God is not material to this present discussion because the argument against same-sex marriage generally presumes such existence. Someday we will have a blog posting concerning that topic. Thanks.)