Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Adventures of Beercules!

As a kid my brother had a cherubic face and following puberty this became horrifically deceiving because right below it was a muscular physique with considerable upper body strength and a ‘take no shit from anybody’ attitude.
He has become a wonderful family man who has cut all ties with his past and prefers it be forgotten. I respect his wishes, but only to a certain extent. Meaning, I’ll still tell the story but change the name.
I considered referring to him as Hercules after the handsome and powerful ancient god but having seen an episode of How I Meet Your Mother, I decided to go with the more accurate title of “Beercules”
Here’s an example of how pretty my brother was. One evening me and Beercules were sitting in a park in the Bronx and this guy comes up and tries to sell me some new product that had just come out. I let him do his spiel but in the end decided to pass. The guy, like any good salesman, gave it one last try but I again said I wasn’t interested. Now here’s where it gets interesting. At that point the salesman tilts his head to my brother who’s sitting on the bench and says…
“Perhaps your lovely girlfriend would like one.”
Now, in the salesman’s defense this was during the mid seventies and both my brother and I had long hair but damn, I looked like a guy with long hair, my brother looked like Lindsey Lohan before the drugs!
Now imagine the surprise on this guys face when Lindsey Lohan bolts from the bench with clenched fists and in a very deep and masculine growling voice turns to me and says “Did this (F-word) just call me your (f-word +ing) girlfriend!!?”   
I did the only thing I could do. I smiled at my brother with a ‘don’t be silly’ smirk and when I saw he wasn’t buying it, I turned to the Salesman and shouted, “Run! Get the (f-word) out of here. I’ll try and hold him back!”
I jumped on my brother and wrapped my arms and legs around his chest. Not that it mattered, he still charged at the guy, swinging like I wasn’t even there.
Fortunately, the guy took off and managed to hop a fence, and with me slowing my brother down, he got away.
Now that’s a funny story. Here’s one that’s not so funny.
Beercules is sitting in a Bronx playground with a bunch of friends drinking beers and stuff when two guys enter, walk over and announce that this is a robbery. At which point one of the robbers opens his coat, pulls out a sawed-off shot-gun, points it at them and tells them to empty their pockets.
My brother stands up, walks up to the guy with the shotgun and says, “How do we know you got bullets in that thing?”
So the guys pushes my brother back, the grabs the pump under the barrel, holds the shotgun vertically and does the trademark ‘cha-chick’ which loads a bullet into the chamber. With the gun no longer pointed at him my brother lunges, yanks the shotgun out of the guy’s hand and like a baseball player swinging for the fences, bashes the guy’s skull in.
As the would-be robber falls unconscious on the ground, his friend, now unprotected, is set upon by the friends. Screams bring police cars and ambulances.
Here’s another Beercules adventure. We’re at a party with my soon-to-be brother–in-law, Kenny. Everyone is having a good time but Beercules has clearly overstayed his welcome at the keg.  So me and Kenny try to persuade him to take a nap on the couch. But he ‘Don’t wanna!’ But we insist. He still ‘Don’t wanna.’ So we decided that we will each grab an arm and shove his drunken ass down.
Despite his condition and despite the fact that Kenny and I have him bent backward, Beercules has a sudden burst of clarity, stares at both of us and yells, “Cut it out!” I shake my head and say, “You need to sleep it off,” he replies “DON”T WANNA!” then reached down and with each hand grabs me and Kenny’s belt buckles and lifts us both off the ground. True, me and Kenny were in our mid twenties and neither was over 140 pounds but still!
In mid air I turn to Kenny and say, “I’m beginning to see the flaw in our plan.”
He looks back and says, “Really? Just now, huh?”   
Fast forward.
The years go by and I move my family from New York City to the North Country. Because of the distance and conflicting schedules it become difficult to visit. Finally, he comes up during the Christmas holidays; we go to dinner and stop off on the way home for some beer.
Now here’s the damndest thing. In the 25 years I’ve lived in the North Country I’ve never had a problem with troublemakers. Never once, except for that one time during Beercules visit.
I’ll explain.
As mentioned in earlier posts when you’re from the Bronx you learn early to always be aware of your surroundings and to note the position of anyone who could potentially harm you.
As we’re heading back to my house I notice a car following me. Since I live in a rural area, it’s winter and there is rarely any traffic at this time of day, I decide to make a few odd turns just to see if I’m just being paranoid.
The car continues to follow.
I head toward my house which is on a small cul-de-sac.  I turn onto my street then do a complete u-turn so my car is now facing theirs. I get out and the guy in the other cars opens his window and calls out. “Do you have the time?”
I know the game and I’m not going to play. I say, “No, I don’t have a watch.”
To which he replies, “What did you do, stick it up your ass?”
I’m close enough now to see there are 4 of them. Younger, drunk and obviously looking to start something.
At this point Beercules, who has heard the exchange steps out of my car, puts his beer can on the roof and shouts, “Friction? Do we have friction!?”
He strides past me and waves for them to approach. They don’t and eye each other instead. “What are you a tough guy?” one calls out.
Beercules grins, makes a fist and says in a truly malevolent voice as he continues toward them, “Why don’t you get out of the car and find out?!”
Ahhh, crap I say to myself as I trot up alongside my brother. Looks like I’m going to spend the holidays with a black eye and a fat lip. 
I can see Beercules is now miffed. He has yanked off his coat, pulled up his sleeves and is shouting, “I said get out of the (f-word+ing) car!
They obviously ‘Don’t wanna.’ As the car is thrown in reverse and hurriedly backs up, Beercules chases after them. “Get out of the (f-word+ing) car, you fairies!” he bellows. They can’t complete the u-turn before Beercules shatters the driver’s side window with his elbow. As he reaches in, the driver floors it and speeds away.
 Looks like they figured out what time it was. It was exactly 10 seconds to an ass kicking of the clock.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

You're a Genius. They're all Idiots. Here's Why.

When I read biographies of famous creative people I’m often amazed at the difficulty they had achieving fame and notoriety, especially when they were so obviously talented and their work so superior.
If, like me, you are incredibly talented you’re probably wondering, with all the poorly written novels out there, why hasn’t your work of unmitigated genius been discovered and thrust into the limelight for all to purchase and enjoy.
Here’s why. It’s a very tight market. The print industry is dying and its employees are scurrying for the lifeboats. The few who have retained their jobs are not going to take any risks with a new and unproven author. Why? Because if they push to publish your book and it goes nowhere, they are going to get called out on the carpet to explain why.
And frankly, they’d better have a damn good answer. They’ll need to explain to their superiors why they thought the book would sell, why the cover would catch the public’s eye, why it would fit in with the current popular genre and why they believed you had enough personal appeal and charisma to sell several hundred thousand copies right out of the gate. 
Do you have oodles of charm and charisma?
Me neither.
In fact, like me you’re probably only an amazingly talented and skilled novelist.
Unfortunately nowadays that ain’t enough. Not when Madonna’s notoriety can land her a very lucrative contract to write children’s books. But then, one shouldn’t be surprised when you consider how child friendly her act is.
And it’s not like she’s isn’t already a best-selling author. Remember her book ‘SEX’ and how she won over the literary world by parading around nude with a feather duster jammed in her ass?
But take heart. Many amazingly talented people like us had their work routinely rejected only to go on and stun the world. For example:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was rejected by a dozen publishers, until Bloomsbury a small London publisher, only accepted it because the eight-year old daughter of the CEO begged him to.
Harry-freakin-Potter?! Hundreds of millions of copies sold throughout the world yet no one in Britain’s renowned publishing circles saw any merit in JR Rowling’s masterpiece? And the only reason this literary genius was published at all was because a child wrangled her father into doing something he didn’t want to?
Here are some other timeless works that were considered worthless.
The world-wide best seller Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was turned down 121 times.
Margret Mitchell’s classic Gone with the Wind was rejected 38 times before getting published.
C.S. Lewis received 800 rejection notices before selling a single piece of his work.
134 rejections for Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen before they found a publisher for Chicken Soup for the Soul
The BEATLES were turned down by every recording label in Britain before the last one, EMI begrudgingly signed them and assigned George Martin, who was producing comedy albums at the time, to record them.  
It’s simply a crapshoot and either you catch a break or you don’t. However I will recommend one thing. If you are lucky enough to catch that one break, make damn sure you have your skills honed to their sharpest point and more importantly, find yourself a damn good editor. One who will drive your mercilessly and force you to create your best work.
I remember when JK Rowling’s final Potter novel was set to be released and how stunned I was when I saw the critics lining up to tear it apart. Here was an artist who had brought so much entertainment to so many people yet, the only thing the book reviewers wanted was to find some flaw in the book to exploit and criticize.
Anyway, good luck to my fellow authors out there. And remember, in order to compete in today’s book marketplace you’re going to have to do something that will draw attention to yourself like Madonna does.
Well, if that’s what you got to do, then that’s what you got to do. As for me, I got my camera ready. Now all I have to do is remember where I left the feather duster.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Real Life Lessons from the Bronx

As most of you know, I was born and spend the first 20 years of my life living in the Bronx. And although that area is traditionally looked down upon as breeding ground for imbeciles and doofi, it nevertheless provides a real education regarding the world and how it works.
Let’s start with the schoolyard. If you’re a kid who’s clever, glib and quick-witted, you think everyone will like you because you’re fun, have lots of friends and are the life of the party.
But what the Bronx teaches you is that the majority of people are slow-witted, petty and prone to violence. And it pisses them off that you have personality and talent and they don’t. Why should you be so fortunate and popular when their life stinks?  And maybe it’s time somebody taught you that nobody likes a showoff. And it is during that serious beating and public humiliation that you learn not to display your talents and good fortune in front of those who have neither.
Lesson two: You’ve worked hard, sacrificed, risked everything and finally, after years of unrelenting toil, you’ve made it! You’re a success.
So you go back to the hood to show your friends and family that the local kid made good. And they’ll be happy for you because let’s face it, the world loves a winner!
While you’re buying drinks and flashing cash and checking the time on your Rolex, while you’re showing off that big diamond ring and platinum card, you are also reminding those whose life has been one failure after another, of all the things they want and can’t have.  And why should you have all the money and status when they got nothing?  Maybe it’s time that somebody taught you that nobody likes a showoff.
And when you wake up in a hospital room with a knot on your head the size of a softball and all your money and jewelry is gone, it is here that the Bronx points out that the world Does Not love a winner, in fact, just the opposite. So don’t parade your successes before the unsuccessful.
And now for the most important lesson. A young, attractive, fun-loving woman dresses up for a night on the town with her girlfriends. She puts on her sexiest clothes, her prettiest shoes, and has her hair and nails done. She’s worked hard that week and deserves a good time.
And she has one.   
All the guys want to dance with her, buy her drinks and get her number. As it gets late her friends try to convince her that it’s time to go.
But she’s having so much fun! Besides, she’ll be all right. She’s a big girl.
The majority of the guys ogling her will try to convince her to come home with them and when she refuses, they’ll walk off disappointed and a bit pissed off but that will be it.
There are predators out there who think such a women needs to be taken down a peg. Get taught that you don’t go parading around in a mini skirt and low cut blouse if you ain’t gonna put out. And where does she get off teasing and flirting like that, all full of herself. Just who does she think she is? Maybe it’s time that somebody taught her that nobody likes a showoff.
But that’s so unfair, you say. Why shouldn’t people be able to display their talents, their financial successes, or take pride in their sexuality?
Because, as the Bronx teaches, the world is filled with bitter, angry, and vindictive people. People whose ugly isn’t just skin deep, it goes well past the bone and burrows into their soul. People whose only joy in life is making other people suffer.
That’s why.
I will now quote an incredibly insightful saying that I just made up. Here it is:
So what is the difference between RIGHT and SMART? 
Being RIGHT comes with a price. It gets you hurt physically, emotionally and financially. Because if you want to change the way people think, if you want to change the world, remember, every revolution has its birth in blood and the only question you have to answer is how much are you willing to shed?
The Bronx however, teaches us from the very beginning the importance of being SMART. It teaches us that the world is a dangerous and violent place and that you must always be aware of your surroundings; always know who is on the street with you and to always remain one step ahead of the predators.  Because, as the Bronx warns us, the Son of Sam still is, and will always be, out there. And every day he takes a face from the ancient gallery and walks on down the hall.
Just ask Kitty Genovese.   

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Seriously, What's with all the Naked Pictures?

  So here’s the story. Over the last few days I’ve been receiving unsolicited photos of women wearing little, and in some cases, no clothes at all in my e-mails, as well as on my Facebook and Twitter accounts. Since I’ve always encouraged women’s rights, I feel it’s my duty to stand up and announce that, “My name is I’m Zackary Richards and I approve this practice.”
But my question is, why me and why now?
To be honest this isn’t the first time women have titillated me with seductive photos. Back in the days when I was young and beautiful…
Yeah, I said it!
…and was the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for a rock band, women regularly struck seductive poses in scanty outfits to get my attention.  I’ve described many of these adventures in previous posts, but that was decades ago and the years haven’t been all that kind.
Whereas I was once a hunka-hunka burning love, I am presently generally referred to as a lumpa-lumpa steaming poo.
Okay, okay, I’m not quite that bad, but I’ll freely admit I’m a tad past my prime.
The women forwarding these photos are not porn stars or Playboy models but instead normal, everyday, middle-aged women. Most of the photos appear to have been taken with a cell phone camera and show their bodies but not their faces. Some do however and seem proud of it. I suppose they get a kick out of posing nude for a guy they’ve never met.
Again my name is Zackary Richards and I approve this practice.
 I discussed this with my writer friends after our meeting and they asked if I had printed out copies. (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) I told them no. In fact, right after viewing and perhaps replying with a ‘LIKE’ or thank you, I delete them.
I’m not kidding.
Here’s why. I don’t know your story but over the years I’ve said or done things that I wish could be deleted out of existence. And I don’t like the idea of somewhere down the road someone getting hold of my computer and putting that women’s photo on some porn site and screwing up her life.
Therefore I think it best that after a proper hello, we say ta-ta, to the ta-ta’s!
You know, it amazes me that I can be this clever and still not be rich.
Anyway, I was still trying to figure out what brought this on.
Then I recalled a blog post I made a week or so ago. It was called The Truth About my Facebook Friends. In it I blather on about all the things I enjoy about Facebook. In the post I use a comedic tool that is referred to as a ‘Callback’.
A callback is when you make a comic reference in the beginning of your routine and then interject it again later after the audience has forgotten about it. The callback I used was, ‘And it features pictures of women in various stages of undress.’
So apparently some women noted this and decided it would be fun to send me photos of themselves in various stages of undress.
Now here would be an excellent place to insert a callback. I’ve already used one twice in this post. Can you find that comment?
I knew that you could.
No doubt this practice will run its course and then it’s back to being inundated with the regular crapola. Offers to increase my bust size, enlarge my naughty bits, decrease my waistline, tighten my abs, lower my cholesterol, add years to my life, strengthen my libido, lessen my allergies and other such nonsense.
You know what might be funny? If I replied to these women with a provocative photo of myself in various stages of undress.
On second thought, nah. That’s just cruel.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I've Resolved the Gay Marriage Dilemma

First let me say I’m not personally invested in the issue, being neither gay nor married. But having been blessed with a wide range of super-powers, I’ve feel it’s my duty to come to the aid of my fellow human beings in their hour of need.
Not long ago, when class warfare broke out between the job creators and the working poor over taxes, I took a break from being one of America’s favorite authors, worked out a solution and then forwarded it to New York Senator Charles Schumer via e-mail.
Although I received no thanks, recognition or parade in my honor, several weeks later, President Obama brought up a proposal virtually identical to mine before Congress. (You can read it by going to ‘Archives’ and clicking on the January 13, 2012 blog)
I still think a parade would have been nice.
So anyway, with this gay marriage issue polarizing this country, I’ve come up with a plan to fix it.
So here we go.
The issue is that the gay community wants to marry in the same manner as heterosexual couples and receive all the advantages and disadvantages that go with it.
Seems like a reasonable request.
However, the fact that more than 50% of all marriages end in divorce is like demanding the right to fly on an airline that crashes and burns every other time it take to the air. So it’s obvious the problem has nothing to do with the sex of the people wanting to marry, it’s with the institution itself.  
What’s wrong with marriage?
Since time began marriage has been a religious ceremony. That’s right, RELIGIOUS. Which means the state has no legal right to perform the service as it is a clear violation of the separation of church and state.
Second, modern day divorce laws are outdated, misogynistic, and seriously biased based on gender specific profiles that never had any scientific evidence to support them. For example, women are almost automatically awarded custody of the children, yet there is no proof whatsoever that women are better able to raise children than men. Alimony was created to keep the ex-wife, (who, in the old days, was rarely educated or taught marketable skills) from starving and becoming homeless. Today more women graduate from medical school than men. Also needing to be scrapped is the old ‘maintaining a life style to which one has become accustomed.’
Ever lose a high paying job and were unable to secure another with the same perks and pay scale? Was your former employer under any obligation to continue paying you that high salary until you got a new job? Ask any person over 40 working a fast food joint about that, odds are they’ll have a tale that will send chills down your spine.
What we need to do is scrap the entire process and start from scratch.
Here’s how it should be done.
The state discontinues performing marriages. Instead offers only co-habitation contracts to all couples, regardless of gender, wanting the advantages the former marriage agreement provided.
In those contracts, specific terms, conditions and personal responsibilities are laid out beforehand. Additions or subtractions could be inserted (similar to a pre-nup) according to the couples wishes. Then once the terms are agreed upon the co-hab contract would be registered with the state in the same manner former marriages were. At that point the couple would be allowed to check the ‘Married” box on any legal form, tax form or job application and receive the same benefits awarded to any religiously married couple. (Those who opt to be married in a religious ceremony would also have to apply for and receive a state approved co-habitation contract before being awarded that legal privilege.)
This way marriage gets redefined as a legal arrangement that provides the same benefits to all involved.
Seriously, a guy wearing a pointy hat, yarmulke or turban telling you in a loosely worded ceremony that you are now joined in matrimony does not a legally binding agreement make.
Going this route solves two problems. One, everyone gets equal treatment under the law and race, gender, religion are no longer factors. Two, any religious institution willing to marry same sex couples could do so and those whose religious tenets prohibit it would be exempt without penalty. 
This could be easily adopted by all 50 states, streamline the rights of all co-habituating couples and jettison the religious aspect without changing or involving the state in any of their rules and regulations. In fact, this process could easily be adopted by the entire world!
And if it is, well… All I can say is that there damn well better be a Zackary Richards float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade that year!

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Friday, May 11, 2012

How to Correctly Format and Upload your Novel to Kindle

   We’ve all gone through it. Uploaded our novels to Amazon Kindle only to see wrong spacing, wrong fonts, no spacing, no chapter separations and the final product looking nothing like the manuscript you uploaded on the Kindle preview. Well it took a long time but I finally got a handle on it and am going to show you how it’s done.

   Okay, let’s start with the basics. First you’ll need to put your manuscript on Microsoft WORD. I’m sure it can be uploaded to Kindle from Apple or Corel programs but I don’t have those programs so I can’t help you if your work isn’t on WORD.
    Now first, create a copy of your manuscript. Go to the top scroll down menu and save your manuscript under another name, like MYBOOKCOPY for example. Then close out the original manuscript. You should have it on disk or flash drive in case your hard drive fails, (We will use the copy in case you run into problems with reformatting)

    Most likely you have a standard double-spaced manuscript on 8x11 paper with 1 ½ inch margins. First let’s simplify the manuscript so it can be better copy-edited. I’ve found that dropping the size down to 5.5 width X 8.5 length (this is trade book size) to have the least problems down the road.  So to your toolbar, click on Page Layout, then click on size. Then scroll down to ‘more paper sizes’ and click on that. Then replace the width with 5.5 and the height with 8.5 then click on OKAY
   Then click on Margins.  Scroll to the bottom and click on custom margins. Then at Top: set it at 1 inch Bottom: set it at 1 inch. Left: 0.7 Right 0.7 then click on OKAY

   At this point your manuscript should look similar to a paperback novel. Now click on HOME on the toolbar, go to the far right and click on Select, then Select All. That should highlight you entire text in blue. Once that happens, go to the center of the toolbar where the Paragraph section is. Click on that tiny box with the arrow next to it. That will bring up a box. Now, I must tell you that this is how I format my novels so they look like any novel you pick up in a store. If you are writing some tech manual with blocks and columns you may have to play around with this to get what you want (another reason why we always work with a copy)

   Okay so, under the Alignment dropdown, click on Justified. The go down to Special and click on First Line, then under BY you are choosing the indentation amount of every first paragraph in your book. Default is 5 but I have found that to be too much when read on a Kindle so I use 3. Then down to Line Spacing. From the dropdown, click on Single. then click on OK.
Next make sure at the end of every chapter you go to INSERT on the HOME toolbar and click on Page Break following the end of the last paragraph of each chapter. Also make sure you do it following the title page, the declaration page, and any other page where you don’t want the text connected to the text of the following page.

    Here where the fun begins. Make sure you are on the HOME toolbar and on the Paragraph section used earlier you will see a box that looks like a backwards P Click on that box. You will notice there are now those backward P at the end of every paragraph. If you see a line of dots before a word, with the exception of the ones surrounding PAGE BREAK……..Delete them and any arrow you see. The dots and arrows are indicators of where the text doesn’t match the format you’ve established, and will screw up your text when uploaded.

   Here is another important issue. If you want to create spaces between--say your heading chapter and the first sentence of that chapter, you will need to go to Page Layout on the toolbar, click on Breaks then on the dropdown menu scroll down to Continuous and click on that for each space you wish to create. For example: After the word Chapter One you hit ENTER on your keyboard then go to Page layout-then Continuous and click on that. This will also need to be done to create a space between your jump cuts (this is where you put in a space to jump to another character or to denote time has passed.) otherwise each paragraph will be directly below regardless of the spaces you inserted in your original text.

   When you are sure everything is the way you want it, click on the backward P again to turn it off. The click on SAVE
   Moving right along, the next step is to download a mobipocket creator. This is usually free, simple to use and necessary if you want your manuscript to come out looking the way you want it to.

   After downloading, click on the mobipocket icon then under Import from an existing file, click on MS Word document. At the choose a file box click on browse and go to your manuscript, click on it (remember to use the copy NOT the original) and mobipocket will import the document, convert it to HTML and place it in your Publications files. Then at the top of the mobipocket toolbar click on Build. This will open another box, there too click on BUILD and that will complete the process.
    Now you are ready to upload your manuscript to Kindle.

   Now this is very important. When you reach the part on Kindle where you upload your manuscript REMEMBER you will find the properly formatted document in Publications  (the file to use is the one with a little book shaped icon next to it) Don’t use the one in Documents. If you upload the one from Documents you will have wasted your time and it will come out like crap.      
    Fortunately you can reload it if your first attempt somehow goes wrong

   Now that it’s done, take the time to review you book in the Kindle Preview to make sure it turned out the way you wanted it to but don’t be overly picky or you’ll drive yourself nuts. There may be some small errors here and there but unless it’s really troublesome or screws up the story you’re better off leaving it alone  For example in my book When Long Term Marriages Suddenly Go Horribly Wrong there is a sentence that should be indented. It is at the beginning of a chapter and it annoyed the hell out of me but no matter how many times I went back and tried to fix it, it did not indent. So I learned to live with it. 

   One last note, if this helped you successfully upload your manuscript to Kindle please sample one of my books by clicking on the slide show at the top of the page and support your fellow indie authors. Please feel free to forward to anyone you think could use this information.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Truth about my Facebook Friends

You want to know the truth about my facebook friends? Well, here it is…
I like them.
You see my social skills blow, so getting to know people on line makes socializing a lot easier. And better still, its opened doors to many new experiences and ideas from people I never would have met or interacted with.

On facebook I’ve seen remarkable 3D sidewalk drawings. Photographs that took my breath away. Enjoyed images of beautiful women in various stages of undress. Learned of scientific breakthroughs that staggered me. (Was especially amazed at that device that can create in plastic, an actual 3 dimensional figure from a blue print drawing, also that artificial skin that heals burned human flesh) Also got to hear the last song ever written by Lennon-McCartney, ‘Just like old Times’. Written by the duo while Paul was visiting John in Los Angeles in 1974. It was never released.

I see biblical postings and positive affirmations from people trying to convince me their religion is the one true one. Read postings from atheists trying to convince me there is no God. Enjoy images of beautiful women in various stages of undress. See pictures of animals in cute or funny poses. Consider political opinions of people whose views are the exact opposite of mine. Am made aware of corporate shenanigans. Laugh at hilarious cartoons, comments and photos; ponder adages from famous people of the past. Enjoy images of beautiful women in various stages of undress. Download free books from Amazon. Trade ideas with fellow authors and songwriters. Learn how to dunk Oreos without getting your fingers wet. Watch videos of my favorite bands. Laughed at some of the most hilarious obscene comments that I’ve ever seen. Heard what a gun with a silencer actually sounds like (it’s still pretty loud.) Been startled by teens parading around dressed like Nazis and Klu Klux Klansmen. (WTF!)

I have made friendships with people from other parts of the country and of the world.  Have reconnected with old friends I haven’t spoken with in decades. Facebook has also made it possible for me to publicize my business www.aripublishing.com and my blog http://zackaryrichards.blogspot.com (but since you’re here you already knew that) Gave me the opportunity to announce that my latest book ‘Storytime’ has received 9 five star reviews. (It’s available on Amazon) and has provided the opportunity for endless, unashamed, self-promotion. For example, you should pick up a copy of my very popular novel ‘Noon The Rise to Power’ now at
before the sequel Noon 2 The Resurgence comes out this summer.

So, yeah, I’m a big fan. And here’s another thing. Even though I might not agree with what someone posted. Or find it offensive, I don’t report them or even unfriend them. I enjoy the freedom facebook provides and would rather be occasionally irked than have it policed by the hyper-sensitive, easily offended, prudish, schoolmarm squad. And frankly I do find it funny when someone posts a photo of a potato shaped like a penis and labels it the ‘Dicktater”
 Did I mention it also provides images of beautiful women in various stages of undress?

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

How Not to Get Tasered

    As we commemorate the 10th anniversary of Rodney King getting lumped, the L.A Riots, the premier of the first reality shows and our slow descent as a civilization into hell, I believe now would be a good time to teach you, the local idiot, how not to get tasered.
    Now, on the oft chance that you’re not the local idiot you can stop reading here. And if you are, well then, I’m here to help.
    I need to point out that I am a tad biased when it comes to the police as many of my family members and friends work in law enforcement. Overall they are good people who want to serve and protect their community. But lately I’ve seen several articles claiming the police were tasering people without cause. So I asked them about it and they said just follow these few simple rules and you’ll never have a problem.
1)   When the cops show up it means you have lost control of the situation and that they have been summoned to reestablish it.
2)  You can best facilitate their efforts by sitting down, answering their questions politely and keeping your hands in plain sight at all times. By showing that you aren’t a threat, the overall tension will lessen and the situation will be resolved quickly.
3)     In many cases one or two people will be instructed to leave. If you are one of those people, do so. You can always come back tomorrow.
4)    Remember that every police officer has his/her name and the city/state they work for on their uniforms. If you feel the officer exceeded his or her authority you can go to the precinct or municipal center the next day and file a formal complaint. You may also contact your local ACLU or law firm.

The point is 99 times out of 100 if you follow the above instructions you will never have a problem.

On the other hand, if you are one of those jackaninnies who rebels against any type of authority, who knows his rights and refuses to take crap from The Man, here’s how to get lit up like a Christmas tree.

1)    When the police arrive, confront them right away. Tell them you know your rights and no, they can’t come inside unless they got a WARRANT.
2)    Refer to them as effing pigs, make oinking sounds and let them know that if they weren’t carrying a gun you’d kick their asses up and down the block.
3)    If dealing with a female police officer, grab your genitals and approach her defiantly. Yeah, cause what’s she gonna do about it?
4)    And last and definitely least, if a male cop gets up in your face, shove him, puff out your chest and ask him what’s he’s gonna do about it.

Bottom line… Douche-bags get zapped.

What people too often forget is that the police are just people. And although highly trained, they are just as susceptible to anger, fear, anxiety and every other emotion the rest of us feel, often more so because of the pressure of their job.
Keep in mind these are the people that run into situations the rest of us are running away from. They walk the streets in dangerous neighborhoods wearing a police officer’s uniform. They come to your rescue when criminals break into your home and threaten the lives of you and your family.  
They run into burning twin towers and are never seen again.

So let’s cut them a break. If a cop shows up at your doorstep your first question shouldn’t be, ‘Why is this cop picking on me?’ It should be, ‘What did I do to bring him here?’

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The 5 Women You Meet in Hell

 It’s been reported that although divorce is decreasing for most of the population, it is steadily increasing among Baby Boomers. Also noted is that over 2/3rds of these divorces are initiated by the woman.
 If you read my book, ‘When Long-Term Marriages Go Horribly Wrong- The Middle-Aged Man’s Survival Guide,’ you already know this. So if you are crawling from the wreckage of a long term marriage and are preparing to dip your toe in the dating pool, here are 5 personality types to watch out for:

The Goldigger

She’s the younger hottie who will find you utterly amazing. She’ll gaze in awe when you tell her of your accomplishments, she’ll laugh at your jokes, tell you you’re a fantastic lover and no, you don’t need to use a condom because she’s on the pill and doesn’t want kids anyway.
My friend, to her you are merely a future divorce settlement pay off, for which she’s willing to marry you, put in the prerequisite three years and squeeze out a child, (I guess she forgot to take her pill that day, oops!) then divorce, and saddle you with alimony and child support for the next two decades. What’s worse, you’ll be perceived by society as a ‘dirty old man’ who deserves to be punished for ‘forcing her to have your child’ at your age.
Why you contemptible old pervert!
Up next:

The Revenger!

 Women your age, who never married, are usually unmarried for a reason. Take the case of the Revenger, this poor victim spent her youth and decades in an affair with a married man, then for reasons she cannot fathom, he dumps her and takes up with a much younger woman!
The Revenger can’t wait for some poor sap to fall in love with her so she can make him pay for what that other guy did! It’s an established fact that the abused often become abusers. Don’t be a victim, proceed with caution.

Then there is:

Jekyll and Hyde

These women are walking time bombs. They are nice, personable and make you feel that you can tell them anything. But before you do, find out how many friends she has. If her only friends are relatives and she has absolutely none at the work place…
Jekyll and Hyde women build up anger and store it like gunpowder over days, weeks and sometimes even months, then when full, she waits for you to say something she can intentionally misconstrue as an insult, then fires both cannons in the form of verbal abuse.
In that explosion she’ll sadistically rip you a new one. Reveal everything you told her in confidence, then ridicule your every shortcoming.
 After completing her verbal evisceration, she’ll break down into tears and run off as if she is the injured party.  Meanwhile you’re standing there in shock trying to figure out what the hell happened.
When you ask for an explanation you’ll be bombarded with ‘You just don’t understand’s’ amid hysterics and crocodile tears in the hope they’ll convince you this was somehow all your fault.
Remember the Jekyll and Hyde doesn’t care that she humiliated you, revealed your confidences and sadistically lashed out to hurt you. All that matters is she feels better now.

Now let’s visit: 

The Damsel in Distress

You meet a woman who is witty, friendly and fun to be with. You’d like to date her but she tells you she’s in a troubled relationship that she can’t get out of because of (fill in problem here, doesn’t matter what it is, it doesn’t figure into the mix)
What matters is she’s yearning to be free but that (monster, ogre, bully, again it doesn’t matter) she’s living with won’t let her go.
Well just before you don your Knight in Shining Armor personality and set out to resolve all her problems, here what lies ahead.
After meeting clandestinely for a certain amount of time, you fall in love with her and want to bring your relationship out into the open. No more of this sneaking around.
She wants to, needs to, but can’t. She doesn’t make enough money to get a place of her own, her job pays little to nothing, her car is on its last legs and she needs him to keep it running, and of course, she doesn’t want to burden you because she cares about you too much!
He’s where you take her into your arms and insist she move in with you. You’ll get her back on her feet, why you’re The Knight in Shining Armor!
Fast forward.
You now understand why the person she was living with made absolutely no effort to convince her to stay. In fact, he damn near packed her bags.
Why? Because in order for her to solve her problems, some effort is required on her part. You found her a good paying job. All she needed to do was show up every day for the paid six-week training period. Unfortunately, her sister got sick and she took it upon herself to go over there every day to feed her dog, and therefore washed out of the training course.
Well, she couldn’t let the dog go hungry till after she got home from training now could she? 
You set up a payment system on her computer that will automatically pay her bills when they come due. This way she can avoid the late charges she is accruing.
Oops! She forgot to deposit the money in her account. She was going to but a friend called and she ‘lost track of time’
You keep trying to straighten out her life and she keeps screwing it up.
Guess who she is describing as an (monster, ogre, bully) to a guy she just met?
And last but not least

The Searcher

As mentioned earlier, if a woman has never been in a serious long-term relationship, there is probably a good reason. When women talk about men, they often say “All the good ones are taken.”
This applies to women too.
In the case of the Searcher, she’ll claim that she ‘almost’ got married a couple of times but the plan fell through for some reason or another, (that part is never made clear.) What’s so dangerous about the Searcher is, as you fall in love with her, it’ll appear she’s in love with you too.
You’ll take cruises, go to great restaurants, see plays and make passionate love.  For months things are fantastic. You start seriously thinking about a future with this woman.
Then, out of the blue, she dumps you.
The reason she gives is a hodge-podge of new age blather that doesn’t address the question. Nonsense like, “I realize now that I’m not ready for a real relationship, or I need more me time so I can better find out who I am.” Then just shrugs and walks off.
The Searcher is an emotional sociopath. She did enjoy the time you spent together, loved the lovemaking and the adventures you shared but now that it’s clear you are becoming emotionally attached to her, she needs to cut and run.
Tootle-ooo, lover, it was fun while it lasted. Don’t call me, I’ll call you.

The above is an excerpt from my non-fiction novel, ‘When Long-Term Marriages Go Horribly Wrong. And if you’re in a long term relationship, I strongly urge you to download a copy (It’s only $2.99) Following my divorce I did considerable research on the recent Baby Boom divorce phenomena and you’ll be stunned at the lengths some women will go to get rid of a husband they feel has served his purpose (Husband, Father, Provider) and is no longer needed. It’s a real eye-opener and somewhere down the line you just might be crediting it for saving your finances, your health and your sanity.
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