Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I Could've Saved Everyone on the Titanic. Here's How

   Because this year commemorated the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, there was a considerable coverage of that memorable event. In my previous blog I noted that, in the past, people were more polite and courteous. I’m beginning to believe however that it was our ancestors’ colossal pride and fear of being viewed as cowardly that got 1502 passengers killed that fateful day. It appears they decided drowning in icy waters was preferable to showing worry or concern about their predicament.

   I’m not a Titanic buff; there are those who can give an accounting of every minute, following the striking of the iceberg. In this case, such detail isn’t necessary. There was only one problem they needed to solve once the ship began sinking, and that was ‘How do we get all these people off the ship and onto another floating vessel.’ The nearest vessel, The Carpathia was reported to be 4 hours away. At the rate the ship was sinking, their rescuers would not arrive in time.

   Now here’s where the weirdness comes into play. We all know the Titanic didn’t have enough lifeboats to accommodate all the passengers, but it was reported that most of the lifeboats launched were only partially filled. 

   How in blazes did that happen? When offered a seat on the lifeboat did several hundred turn it down? Did someone say, “Thank for the offer, Hiram, but I’m going to wait for the next one. Don’t want to seem too anxious to stay alive and not drown in freezing waters.”

   And what was with those jackaninnie musicians who, as the ship was sinking, continued to play?

   Seriously? If I was on that ship and saw that, I would have stormed over and said, “You know, as much as I enjoy a rousing rendition of ‘Waltzing Matilda,’ Ephraim, I believe your time could be better spent helping me rip these bathtubs out of the first class cabins, plugging the drain holes and getting people off this sinking deathtrap!”
   That’s right, there were bathtubs in the first class cabins that could easily be converted into life rafts.

   “Okay, fine,” you might say, “but there weren’t enough to save all 1500.”
   “Au contraire,” I would reply, showing my mastery of the Spanish language.

   You see, the only way to save all 1500 would be to transfer those presently on the lifeboats to another vessel then come back for the others. There was sufficient time.    

   The Titanic took several hours to sink. The problem however, was there was no other vessel in the area to transfer them to.

   But there was. And I’m not talking about the SS Californian that was reportedly within range but hadn’t received the Titanic’s distress call.
   The other floating vessel I’m referring to was as big as the Titanic, was stationary and could accommodate all the passengers until help arrived.

   What is that vessel you ask?

   The iceberg.

   I’m amazed that no one thought of the iceberg as a safe haven. It certainly was big enough, and if you doubt that just remember, it was so large and stationary, it ripped a huge hole into the side of the thickest hull ever created.

   But perhaps the iceberg was totally submerged.

   Nope . Do the ice cube test. Fill your sink with water then take some ice cubes from the ice cube tray and drop them in. The widest part of the cube will always flip to the top and rise to the surface.

   And think about just how large it must have been! It didn’t give way when struck by the biggest ship in history. Instead it ripped the Titanic wide open.

   So to recap. Boat hits iceberg. Instead of pretending I’m not the least bit frightened, I step up, tell those in the lifeboats to take the passengers to the iceberg, drop them off, then come back and get the others. In the meantime, I’d have the bathtubs ripped out, plugged tight then set to sea to join the others.
   It’s a shame I wasn’t there. If I was, Leonardo DiCaprio would still be alive.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Musings While Sh*t-faced

   Whilst in my cups the other evening, I let my mind wander and lo, I did notice some peculiar things. For example, why, in the old days, were people so polite? While watching old movies or reading books featuring characters from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, I noted that everyone was so self-deprecating. There was a lot of ‘Your servant, sir.” and “By your leave, and “May I inquire?” Are we less kind than our ancestors?  Less polite? Less civilized?


   Why? Because the reason people were kinder and more polite back then was because if you accidently ticked someone off, they could challenge you to a duel. What’s more, you’d be honor-bound to accept. At the end, one of you would be dead.

   Seriously, the more history I read the more I’m convinced the world is packed with psychopathic lunatics. Imagine you’re living in the early nineteenth century, having a good time hanging out with your buddies, eating pizza and drinking tall boys when mid way through the conversation, a certain associate named Chauncey is mentioned.  Well, you don’t like Chauncey so, without thinking, you blurt out, “Chauncey is a dick.”  
   Suddenly everyone pales and their eyes widen because, little do you know, aforementioned Chauncey is standing right behind you.

   “Odds Bodkins!” says one buddy.

   “Zoot Allures,” says Frenchy.

   Your other buddy cocks an eyebrow, then says, “What’s a dick?”
   Meanwhile Chauncey is overcome with rage. He hurrrmps a few times as he removes his white glove, slaps you across the face with it and says, “I am deeply insulted and must have satisfaction. I hereby challenge you to a duel!”
   To which you replay, “Awww, crap!” Because now, for simply expressing the fact that you’re not particularly fond of Chauncey, you must either murder him or be murdered by him.

   Seriously, if I had to kill everyone who’s ever called me a dick, I’d have bodies piled to the ceiling.
   Here are some fun facts about dueling:

   Between 1798 and the Civil War the U.S. Navy lost more officers to dueling than battles at sea. 

   Both Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain participated in duels, (and no, not with each other) fortunately, their seconds (people honor-bound to take their place should the original guy get stuck in traffic) managed to work out acceptable compromises that got both parties off the hook.

   Dueling came into disfavor after the Civil War, probably because everyone capable of participating in one was already dead, missing a major body part, or had seen enough death during the war to last them several lifetimes.

   At least that’s what one would think, however dueling regained its popularity by simply morphing into the much beloved gunslinger showdowns of the Wild West.
   I have to hand it to our murderous ancestors. They certainly knew how to adapt!

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is.

Although I've written a number of books, I believe the opening chapter of the Dead Machine is so good, all I have to do is convince someone to read the first 3 pages and they'll be hooked.
The problem was getting them to read those 3 pages. I understand. Nobody knew if I was any good and time is valuable.
In less than a year my blog has had 5400+ readers who return again and again. They e-mail me because leaving a comment requires numerous steps and verifications.
They tell me they love my blog posts and look forward to reading them. Well, if you like my posts you're going to love this. The first 3 pages of The Dead Machine. Go on,  I dare ya.  

                                               Chapter One

“Virgil? Good heavens, Virgil, is that you? Is that really you!?”         
Virgil’s eyes widened and his heart leaped at the sound of her voice. His hand trembled on the dials as he fine-tuned the transmission.
When the hissing lessened he replied with unrestrained excitement, “Yes, yes it is me! It’s Virgil!”
There was a moment’s hesitation, then she asked, “How…how is this possible?”
He stared at the speaker, imagining her face, longing to see it again. He paid no attention to the cold or to the steamy vapor escaping his mouth as he breathed. Nor the drafts that bit into his fingers and snaked up his pant leg. He even ignored the acrid smell permeating every inch of the barn.
Nothing mattered, nothing but this moment, this incredibly special moment.
 Shaking with excitement, Virgil leaned into the microphone. “Do you remember, just before you were taken away, me telling you that no matter what, I would find you, and that we’d be together again?”
Through the crackling static came a reply. “Yes, but that… many years ago. And in th…situations people say things, knowing that… comforting things… lessen the hardship, to lessen…pain. I never thought that …”
“That I’d actually find you?”
The static grew louder and panic gripped Virgil. He jumped from his seat and scanned the computer screens, recalibrating and synchronizing the feed.
“…have found me. Oh, Virgil, somehow you‘ve done the impossible!”
“Nothing is impossible!” Virgil shot back. “They all scoffed. They ridiculed and dismissed my work as a delusion, as fantasy. My grants dried up, my investors backed out; even the military gave up. But I never gave up! I made a solemn promise and today, that promise has been kept.”
“Virgil, I don’t know what to say, I…”
Virgil interrupted as he scanned the computer screens. “What are your surroundings? Describe them for me. Can you see the stars?”
The static increased. The reply broke up. All four computer screens flashed Recalibrating…
“…The horizon in the morning…when I look out…the lights are always on… when we gather as a group…”
The hissing overwhelmed the rest of the sentence.
Virgil’s hands flew over the controls.
 “Mostly, we have a…”
Some background noise seeped into the transmission, then a stranger’s voice. “Virgil…? Lillian, did I just hear Virgil? Where…it coming from?”
“Bert, this is…private conversation and…”
The man ignored her. “Virgil? Is that you? Where are you? It’s me, Bert Langley. Remember me? I…science teacher…down…block? You used…newspaper to my…when you…kid. And I… tip you a whole…”
“Get out…here, you bastard,” Lillian bellowed. “Virgil doesn’t…about you! He wants…talk to me!”
Virgil heard a grunt, a huff and a shuffling of feet.
“Okay, he’s gone, and yes, we... several times a week… socialize and talk about ….back home.”
Virgil felt a lump in his throat. “You still miss us? Even after all this time?”
“Of course, Virgie! It’s knowing that your… care for us is…keeps us together. You are… thoughts each and every day.”
Tears spilled down Virgil’s cheek. “You are in mine each and every day too and…”
Virgil stopped when he heard Bert Langley’s voice again. It grew louder as he moved into the transmission field. “Over there, see? I told you! Lillian is…with the outside. What? No! She’s not sending signals, she’s receiving them! See for… apparently…is possible…”
Lillian’s voice broke through in sharp hushed tones. “They’re coming Virgil! Disconnect! I don’t want them to know what you’ve accomplished. Get…to me in…few days!”
“Who’s coming? What are you talk…”
“Disconnect! Disconnect!” she shouted.
Virgil did.
He bowed his head and his hands fell into his lap as the level indicators on the array of computer screens slowly dropped, then flatlined.
 A few moments later, when the shock started wearing off, he said in a shaky voice, “I did it! After eleven years of ridicule from those jealous miscreants, I did it! We actually spoke.”
He wrapped his arms around himself, breathed deeply, then shot his fist into the air. “And this,” he said, bursting with confidence, “is just the beginning!”
Virgil rose from his chair at the control panel, walked over to his desk, reached down and picked up the framed photo that accompanied him everywhere he went. He gazed at the picture, smiled, kissed it and placed it back on his desk.
The photo was of his mother, Lillian.
A woman dead for the past eleven years. 

See? Didn't I tell you? You can download the rest of The Dead Machine to any electronic device for only $2.99 AND it comes with a 30 day money back guarantee (USA residents only). Click on this link

If for any reason you don't like it within 30 days of purchase, e-mail me with Amazon's or Barnes and Nobles Proof of Purchase and I'll send you your $2.99 back

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I Could'a Been a Porn Star!

    It’s odd that I would remember this now, so many years later but yes. I could have been a porn star.
   I’ll explain.
   Our story begins years ago when I was young and pretty.
   Yeah, I said pretty!
   Anyway, I was the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for a rock band. I was in great shape because I had a part time job busting wooden boxes with a sledge hammer for a freight company. I had a very definitive six-pack and wore revealing shirts and tight pleather pants. (Yeah, you read that right, real leather pants were too expensive.) For a while we were working steadily and were getting a following. I had this signature bit where we saunter out on stage and when we were ready to start, I would grab the microphone, our sound man would raise the volume and I would shout in my deepest voice “SILENCE!!”
   Well, that would startle the sh*t out of everybody and in the few silent seconds that followed, we would kick off with one of our heavier songs like Red Alert or Bringing Down the Thunder. Half way through the set I’d open my shirt revealing my aforementioned six-pack along with my ‘come-hither’ swagger as I sang and played.
In previous posts I have mentioned that I possess two distinct personalities. One is a smart-mouth, sarcastic, egomaniac I call Stage-show Johnny. He's the guy who struts across the stage, all confident and full of himself.  He tells jokes, flirts with the ladies and is usually the life of the party.
   Then there is the other personality. I call that one, The Dullard. And unfortunately, The Dullard is my default personality. He’s the person I am 95% of the time. He’s the guy who does all the work. He’s the one who writes the songs, the novels, designs the logos, creates the book trailers, basically, he’s the guy who runs the show. Stage show Johnny, is the guy who PUTS ON the show.
   Late one night, after finishing our set, I was getting ready to head home when this guy comes up to me. Said he enjoyed the show, liked the way I worked the crowd etc. I nod but am wary. This wouldn’t the first time some guy chapped me up while his buddy sucker-punched me from behind because he thought I was coming on to his girlfriend.
Then, the guy made his point. Said he was producer and asked if I would be interested in being in an adult film.  This being the mid 1970’s I wasn’t quite sure what he was talking about. He made it clear he was talking about porn. Said the girls were beautiful and that I could make some good money while having a lot of fun. Said I could use an alias if I wanted as most of the people in the industry did.
   Frankly, I didn’t know whether to sh*t of go blind. I had never been in such a situation. He writes down the filming location’s address on his business card, and invites me to stop by. 
   Keep in mind I’m in my early twenties and the offer is damn tempting. Stage show Johnny has chosen ‘Bolt Upright” as his porn name and can’t wait to get started.
   The Dullard has reservations.
   You see, although I have spent a considerable amount of my life on stage, performing in front of people, I never enjoyed doing it. Never. Not once. After seeing Stage show Johnny perform, I strongly doubt you’d believe me, but it’s true. The only reason I performed on stage was to generate interest in the songs I had written. You see, the real me, The Dullard likes creating things, likes recording, likes producing, likes playing most of the instruments, loves the process of making the finished product.
   Hates selling it.     
   After a lot of thought and to Stage show Johnny’s dismay, I decided being a porn star wasn’t for me. If I wasn’t comfortable singing and playing guitar fully dressed in front of the cameras, I sure as hell wouldn’t…
   Well, you get the picture.

   If you’d like to see a picture of me when I was ‘Pretty’ and you’re on Facebook, go up to the search box and type in Ari Publishing. While you’re there please click the LIKE button

Monday, October 1, 2012

Me and the 7 Deadly Sins (Part 2)

         So where were we? Oh that’s right Sloth and Gluttony.  Now don’t tell me you haven’t committed those 2 sins one time or another. Who among us can honestly say they haven’t spent an entire Sunday, sitting on their dead ass, stuffing their face with crap while watching football?
        And ladies, don’t pretend you’re in the clear because you aren’t sports fans. I’ve yet to meet a woman who hasn’t spent an entire afternoon wrapped in a comforter,  with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s famous ‘Chocolate, with slivers of dark chocolate, with chunks of fudge ice cream’ in hand while watching the Lifetime Channel.
        Seriously, what is it with those people? Is their motto, ‘We Beat the Sh*t Out of Women so You Don’t Have to?’
I remember when I was married, coming home after a day spent out with kids and finding the Missus curled up on the couch, all teary eyed, surrounded by wads of used tissue.
Oh crap! I’d say to myself, she’s been at the Lifetime channel again!
I’d barely have time to hang up my coat when she’d start with the “Why are men so cruel?!”
Curse you, Lifetime Channel!
Anyway, since we’re on the topic of the 7 deadly sins, I’ll mention a theory that was brought to my attention over the internet. I did not create this theory although I wish I had because it’s really clever. Some of you may already be familiar with this and if so, you can leave now without hurting my feelings. (Feeling my ex claimed I didn’t possess following a day spent watching Oprah, the Lifetime channel and reading Cosmopolitan. )
Curse you evil triad of women’s entertainment!
Anyway, the theory is called ‘Gilligan Island and the 7 Deadly Sins.’
The premise is that each member stranded on Gilligan’s Island represented one of the 7 Deadly Sins.
We’ll start with The Professor. He represented Pride because he was always showing off by inventing stuff and being a know-it-all.
Mary Ann represented Envy because she was always whining that she wasn’t a pretty or as desirable as Ginger.
Mr. Howell represented Greed. I believe the reasons for that are obvious.
Mrs. Howell represented Sloth. She did nothing other than sit around and expect to be waited on.
Ginger represented Lust. Again for obvious reasons.
So that leaves Gluttony and Wrath with the 2 remaining members being the Captain and Gilligan.
Now here’s the rub. The Captain is awarded both Gluttony and Wrath because he is fat and is always hitting Gilligan with his hat.
So where does that leave Gilligan?
He is the Devil, which explains why every plan they make to get off the island is foiled by him and why he always wears a red shirt. 
Clever, huh?

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