Let me be upfront. I do not like guns. I am very proud of the fact that I have never touched a real gun in my life.

Yesterday morning on February 15th, I laid in bed with the news on and cried as I heard the aftermath of the Parkland school shooting. I am devastated by the tragedy that the families have had to endure.

I struggle to understand where we are as a society. How can it be acceptable that it is possible for a child who is not old enough to legal buy a beer can have access to an assault weapon.  Let’s be clear. Assault weapons are made to kill PEOPLE. They are weapons of war?  There was no war going on in those hallways of learning until the child brought the weapon of destruction there.

When children die, we have an obligation to try to figure out how such a thing happens and what we can do to prevent it. When I was a child, seatbelt laws were not a “thing”. I sat, stood, slept in the front seat. It was acceptable. We learned that it is safer for people to be seatbelted, and my children don’t know what it is like to not be wearing a seatbelt. We evolved. I have seen other people make this point, but I want to restate it to show we can learn and change our behaviors.

I have seen some information in the aftermath of Parkland calling into question the outrage of the approximately 30,000 gun deaths per year in America.  The counter argument is along the lines of: “That is really a small percentage of the population.” “Many of those are suicide.” “A lot of the deaths are justified Police shootings.” “More people die in medical accidents.”  These arguments are facts. I don’t dispute them. However, they do not invalidate the fact that access to guns is too easy.  The people who die due to criminal gun violence cannot come back. There lives end. Everything that those children could have done in there lives is now gone.

Why can’t we try to prevent the deaths? Why is it necessary for semi-automatic weapons to be available for public consumption? Why is it necessary for a private citizen to be able to carry a handgun in public? By the way, the only purpose for inventing handguns is to kill PEOPLE.

I believe in people. I believe in the goodness inside all of us. Too many are damaged by horrible circumstances, often times malevolent circumstances. I have seen many Congresspeople discussing how we need to improve mental health treatment in America. HELL YES, WE DO!! We also need to do more to prevent people from hurting each other.

There are simple things that need to be done. Mandatory background checks for EVERY gun purchase. Gun license testing is something we should look into. How about raising taxes on guns like we do on cigarettes and alcohol? We determined that those substances damage our health, and we tax them to discourage consumption and help to fight the after effects. How about using increased gun taxes to fund mental health treatment enhancements?

We need to be having these discussions, and not just for today or tomorrow. We need to have them until change is made. We live in a civilized, self-governing society.  Our representatives in Congress need to reflect what we want. Hold your representatives accountable. Check their gun control policy, and make sure they hear that we want our children to be able to go to school without fear of guns being fired while they are there. Make sure that they know we do not want to worry that when we send our children to school that they will make it home without bullet holes in them. Tragically, parents who sent their kids to school at Parkland won’t be able to hold them or tell them they love them ever again. A very important reason why that is the case is that a child was able to have access to a weapon of war and lashed out in anger at innocents.


Review: Mister Miracle #5

Mister Miracle, published by DC Comics and written by Tom King with art by Mitch Gerads, is, in my opinion, one of the best monthly comic books of 2017, and it is only five issues into a twelve issue limited series.mm5gerads

This take on characters from Jack Kirby’s Fourth World, particularly the title character, is especially timely. If you have not been reading it, you are missing something amazing. The story is not locked to a specific era or comic timeline, but it feels like “the present.” So far in the story Scott Free, Mister Miracle, is challenged with waging war for his homeworld, being accused of treason, and sentenced to execution, all while maintaining a livelihood as an escape artist performer. It is an emotional ride for sure.

In the most recent issue, there is a clear focus on the relationship between Scott and his wife Barda. Reading the issue, there are plenty of events that the couple have to endure while waiting for the execution day. While these events have meaning and are important to the story in their own way, they can almost be seen as white noise that surrounds the metaphorical heart of the matter. This issue is nothing if not a marvelous demonstration of the love that these characters share for each other.

Scott and Barda have always been a traditionally striking visual couple. Their sizes are at odds with old-world thinking and stereotypes, but it is never any sort of problem for them (nor should it be). King and Gerads take the time to show the reader that these fantastically powered beings, who have been thrown into a ridiculous set of circumstances, complete with Funky Flashman making appearances, are completely in love with each other is the purest and most ordinary ways.

As is the norm with this series, the beginning and ending sequences have tremendous importance in moving the story forward. In this case, it is an emphatic exclamation point to everything that is shown throughout the issue. Because of the ending, the next issue is setup to change the tone of the series. Until this point, Scott has been going along with all the twists and turns that he did not quite understand. He has simply played the role that others requested of him. However, Barda’s request now requires him to make a stand up for his own needs.


*Mister Miracle, Big Barda, Funky Flashman are characters created by Jack Kirby

2018 Tentative Con Schedule

3/1 – 3/4 Emerald City Comic Con, Seattle, Washington (Dreaming)

3/30 – 4/1 Awesome Con, Washington, D.C.

4/27 – 4/29 East Coast Comicon, East Rutherford, New Jersey

5/24 – 5/27 MegaCon Orlando, Orlando, Florida

6/8 – 6/10 New Jersey Comic Expo, Edison, New Jersey or Indy PopCon, Indianapolis, Indiana

6/15 – 6/17 Heroes Convention, Charlotte, North Carolina

8/10 – 8/12 FanExpo Boston, Boston, Massachusetts

8/17 – 8/19 TERRIFICon, Uncasville, Connecticut

9/28 – 9/30 Baltimore Comic-Con, Baltimore, Maryland


Bold are definite plans









Poem: A Wonder

She brings light with her everywhere
The world is a witness to her smile
Infectious laughter flows from her
Deceptive power is hers
She defends others with unexpected ferocity
Her shoulders are rest for the weary
Arms open, waiting to embrace all
Always exceeding expected limits
My heart swells in her presence
The tightness in my shoulders falls near her
Yet, she is fragile
Her strength is unknown to her
She needs to be held, and I will cradle her
Tenderly, securely, lovingly
I will protect and cherish her
I will love her all of my days
For she is a Wonder

Didn’t have a great day. Had a blow up with my ex. She never fights fair. It hurts when the attribute you care most about is questioned and insulted and attacked.  The argument is about money and her expectations of how and when I should give it to her.  The weapon she uses is the children’s opinion of me as a father.  It felt good to raise my voice at her a little. To let her know that her words are unacceptable.  But also makes me feel weak to let her know how to get a rise out of me.

I spoke to someone who knows us all and he let me know that her behavior is seen by others. But also let me know that my greatest fear is coming true for the time being. She is turning them against me. I do not blame them. They have no choice but to appease her and ingratiate  themselves to her. Living on her bad side is hell. They are smart enough to know that.

Listening to soft folk music calmed me down and got me emotional.  I will end this little rant by saying I could listen to Joan Baez’s beautiful voice all day long.

Here is hoping for a better tomorrow.

On Methods, Tone, and Direction. (And some other stuff too..)

This post is a short housekeeping discussion.

I have been thinking about this blog a lot lately. Thinking about things like what I get from it, what I want from it, and what the point is. So I thought I would share that with the readers and put it down so I can remember it as well.

The purpose of this blog is for me to write. That is the first and most important purpose. It is the only creative and expressive thing that I do well, and I need to be creative and expressive. I enjoy writing in ways that I can’t quite put into words but I will try. Writing for me is a method. It is therapy (beyond my in-person sessions with my psychologist). When I am feeling particularly sad, depressed, anxious or some other negative state of being, I find that if I write, then I feel better. It organizes my mind and mood. The topic is not important, just the act of putting words in a keyboard that is organized into a narrative brings me peace. That is the primary purpose of this blog.

The topics that I write about are also an important reason for the blog. I have some deeply personal topics that I need to write about. For me, expressing the emotions that I feel and detailing the events that caused those emotions is a method of dealing with those events and emotions. So at times, there will be posts that are particularly emotional.

In truth, someone commented on the content of my blog, and that is a significant reason for me writing this post. The comment questioned the events that I have shared. Please understand that I love any feedback good or bad, and I am eternally grateful to the forever unnamed commenter for the questioning. After reading what I had written, I realized that there was so much that I haven’t said. So many things that I need to put in writing, that I thought I had gotten out but did not. I will be rectifying that. In some more personal posts, I try to express events in my life that have had a significant impact; however, not all details are included for practical as well as stylistic reasons. Every artist, deep down, hopes to please those who experience their art, but realistically it never works that way. I am happy that anyone reads and ecstatic if anyone comments. “This Sucks!!” would probably make me grin all day.

I also took the time to look at the tone of the blog, and it is significantly more Alas than Hurrah. This is something that I need to correct as well. People who know me well may say that I can find dark places but those are places that I need to visit and not live in.

I have spoken about the reasons for the blog and the tone; now, I need to touch on the direction. I am going to be more prolific. My goal is to put out something at least once a week if not more.

I am trying to really move my life forward in 2015. I am searching for total health and peace. I am very lucky in that I have found love in my life. I just need to keep it alive forever. As part of my pointing forward decisions, I quit smoking on New Year’s Eve. Most people who knew me before the turn of the century did not know that I even smoked. Well, I don’t anymore. I am proud of that. I also joined the local Y to help me lose weight and get stronger. My lifestyle is too sedentary and I need to keep moving forward. This blog is the mental fitness technique that I am using to help my soul and mind get stronger.

The last bit of housekeeping that I wanted to discuss with my readers is this. I won’t be publishing everything to Facebook in the future. If you choose to read the blog there is a short registration process that will give you new content alerts. I will post to Facebook at times, but probably not the more deeply personal stuff. So part’s 3 and 4 of the “Fathers and Sons” story will most likely not get posted to FB. If you want a heads-up, without registering, Messenger me and I will let you know when there are updates.

The fact that people read what I write is amazing to me. Thank each and every one of you for taking the time. Here’s to pointing forward for 2015.

Remember and appreciate

I am a very lucky man. I live in nice home that I rent. I have a very good job. I have three wonderful sons whom I adore, and they love me right back. I am in a committed relationship with an absolutely amazing angel of a woman. These thing make me happy. I say this because at this time of year it is good to remember what we have and recognize what others do not.

I grew up in a very low low middle class family. At times it was below that. My parents separated when I was four years old, and my mother raised my little sister and I on her own. She worked as many a four jobs at a time. There were times that we were on “welfare” as well. My school lunches were subsidized. (I used to get a book of green lunch tickets to use). We lived in several different places that my mom could afford. Some were owned by other family members and that made it easier. It was tough at times, and I did not always have all the cool toys and clothes that I wanted; I knew that my friends had more than me. But I had food and shelter and love. These are truly the most important things that children need.

My mother has triumphed over poverty. She lives in a nice home that she owns and is able to do the things that she wants now. She is not rich but she is no longer poor. I applaud her for her perseverance and the success she has achieved.

As I look back at those times, I do not resent anything. We found the ways to make the best of everything that we could. Whether it was hand-me-down clothes, or hand-made presents. I was incredibly lucky to have a family that loves each other so much. My greatest hope is that my children will think the same thing. In this season of joy and giving, I often find myself remembering that things were not always as easy for me as they are now, and I that there are too many others in this world that are in tough situations not of their making. Please remember them, and appreciate all that you have.

Happy Holidays to all.

I will close this with the lyric to a song by 10,000 Maniacs. It is from the highly socio-politically charged album Blind Man’s Zoo. It is a song that always reminds me of my mother and what she must have been feeling in those darker times.

Dust Bowl
– Natalie Merchant, Robert Buck

I should know to leave them home
They follow me through the store with these toys I can’t afford
Kids, take them back, you know better than that
Dolls that talk, astronauts, t.v. games, airplanes
They don’t understand and how can I explain?

I try and try but I can’t save
Pennies, nickels dollars slip away
I’ve tried and tried but I can’t save

My youngest girl has bad fever, sure
All night with alcohol to cool and rub her down
Ruby, I’m tired, try and get some sleep
I’m adding doctor’s fees to remedies
With the cost of three day’s work lost

I try and try but I can’t save
Pennies, nickels, dollars slip away
I’ve tried and tried but I can’t save

The hole in my pocketbook is growing
There’s a new wind blowing they say
It’s gonna be a cold, cold one
So brace yourselves my darlings
It won’t bring anything much our way
But more bust bowl days

I played a card in this weeks game
Took the first and the last letters in three of their names
This lottery’s been building up for weeks
I could be lucky me with the five million prize
Tears of disbelief spilling out of my eyes

I try and try but I can’t save
Pennies, nickels, dollars slip away
I’ve tried and tried but I can’t save

The hole in my pocketbook is growing
There’s a new wind blowing they say
It’s gonna be a cold, cold one
So brace yourselves my darlings
It won’t bring anything much our way
But more dust bowl days

Society’s Response to Violence

In the past couple of weeks an incident in the private life a professional athlete has become part of the national media landscape. It was an incident involving horrible actions on behalf of the athlete. Much of what has been said by media and other public figures feels to me to self-serving, hypocritical, and bombastic. 
I feel that what is most important to remember is this. We are too intelligent a species to resort to violence against man, woman, or child under any circumstances to solve problems. This tenant holds true in so many arenas that many have ignored while the national media is focused on one man’s egregious error. Let me repeat it in another way. It is never acceptable, in today’s society, to raise your hand or sword or gun to another human being in an act of aggression. If someone is raised above others for their talent or skill and commits such an act, they lose the right to be viewed in such a fashion. Let us remember this and apply it in all areas of life. Let us live our lives in peace and harmony with each other.

I am sorry if this offends anyone in any way. I did not mean in any way to belittle anyone’s situation. I wanted to take this moment in a media and social firestorm to remind everyone that we are an evolved intelligent species capable of wondrous things. When we resort to violence to solve problems, we betray all we have achieved. While I recognize that much of our world societies have been built on violence, I believe we are more enlightened today and capable of finding more peaceful solutions to our problems.