Saturday, March 27, 2010

Why should I care? Am I my brother's keeper?

Why should I care if people don’t have health care?  I did my pro-life duty by seeing that a seed planted in the uterus has a chance to grow and create a new life.  What happens to the child afterward is not my problem.  I’m not my brother’s keeper.  Children are born with equal rights.  Just because they grow up and can’t get a job to support themselves, is not my problem.  If they get sick it’s because they didn’t take care of themselves.  They deserve what they get.  To care for them is socialism. To give help to those in need is socialism.  We’re a capitalist society.  You make your own way.  We can’t protect everyone. Why do we need a police force?  People can get a gun and protect themselves.  We must protect our freedom to do what we want to whomever we want.  Why would a country take care of its citizens?  That is socialism and socialism is evil. 
Then there’s the fairy tale about a man who healed the sick. Why would he want to do that?  Then he went so far as to feed the hungry.  Why would he do that?  Did he not know that was socialism and socialism is evil? 
Health care is for those who can afford it.  If you can’t, that’s just tough. Am I my brother’s keeper? 

(Sarcastically posted)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Flashing My Shorts

Flashing My Shorts by Salvatore Buttaci is a collection of 164 flash-fiction stories that runs the gamut from humor to horror with everything in between.  These quick but thought-out writes have become quite popular today.  They tend to accommodate readers on the go who lack the luxury of sitting down for long periods of reading.  Like patrons at a smorgasbord, they can taste a little of this fine dish and a little of that and not go hungry.  The stories Buttaci flashes in his book can, on one page, make readers laugh, and on the next, cry.

    Years of hard drinking had driven him to seed.  He slept under cardboard  on the coldest New York City nights, and his days were taken up begging for spare change. 
    One morning a passerby stopped to look at him.  He turned his unshaven, toothless face away.  But the woman continued staring.  “Is your name Thomas?” she asked.  He shook his head.  “Thomas Cole?” she persisted.  Again he gestured no.  He could see the tears wetting the woman’s face.  She could not see his.
    Leaning against the streetlight, he watched his daughter lose herself in the rush hour of pedestrian traffic. 


These Stories Are Short, But They Pack A Punch

Salvatore Buttaci masters the short form in his new collection Flashing My Shorts. The stories here are spare but powerful, and each is injected with Buttaci's quick wit, sharp insight, and the sort of emotional depth that causes a reader to pause, for just a moment, before reading on, wanting more.

Buttaci has a delicate touch with his pen and he's fantastic at telling stories, stories with wide range and the commonality of insight, humor and strong resolution. Buy the book for yourself, buy a copy for a friend and get ready to enjoy what a strong short story collection can offer: utter entertainment in bite-sized bits. I like to think of these stories the way I think of those portion-controlled, pre-packaged desserts: when I'm done with one, why not another?   (J.L. Knox, Musical Chairs)

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Motherless Soul by Steve Lindahl

Motherless Soul is the story of Emily Vinson, a woman whose entire life was impacted by the loss of her mother when she was 2 years old. At 82 Emily contacts a hypnotist hoping to draw out hidden memories and to discover as much as possible about the short time she spent with the woman who gave her life. Glen Wiley, the hypnotist, teaches her more about herself than she had expected. He helps her bring out memories of many past lives, including an experience that took place on a smoke filled battlefield. All of Emily's lives have had the same tragic outcome, the loss of her mother at a young age. Her soul is caught in what Glen calls circularity, meaning that the tragedy will occur again and again unless she can break the pattern. She and Glen must revisit her past lives and use what they learn to find the other souls who are part of the circle. They must use the past to change the future. Emily's stubborn desire to know her mother is realized in intricate and unsettling ways no one could have imagined possible.

Excerpt (from Chapter Four)

Glen asked her to count backwards from one hundred. When she passed fifty-nine he started to guide her saying, “Go back, back further to a time before you were Emily Vinson. Keep going back.” His words seemed to run right through her body, like a shot of whiskey. Glen seemed to be growing distant, although she knew he was right next to her. She kept counting toward zero, even as he spoke.

Emily lost track of the counting. She was certain she’d repeated some numbers, but she tried to keep them coming. She knew she had to do what Glen told her to do. She closed her eyes. Shortly after that the dim light she could make out through her lids faded into absolute darkness.

“You’re slipping through time and space into a place that’s been buried in your heart for ages upon ages. Something important happened to you in this place. You’re starting to remember what it was like: the smells, the sounds, the texture of the world around you.”

Her eyes started to burn. Memories were flowing into her head after a period of nothingness and those sensations were different from what she’d experienced the day before. This time it was as if she were two people. The person she had been before the session began, the old woman nearing the end of her life, was now watching someone else from inside that other person’s body. The other person was very young, but in trouble.

“Talk to me, Emily. Let me know what you’re feeling.”

Emily started to cry. She wasn’t able to hold back. Her cry was the loud wail of a hungry baby. But Emily knew what she felt wasn’t only hunger. Something was very wrong.

Review: Jen Knox (Author of Musical Chairs)
This is a profound work about the cyclic nature of pain and one woman's desire to confront it and move on. The story begins with Emily's search to demystify the mother she never knew, the figure whom she believes to hold the secret that will break a cycle of discontent. Where this leads her is on a journey of self-discovery that begins with a trip to a hypnotist and introduces Emily to generations past. Emily's journey is filled with realizations that grow exponentially, and ultimately lead to a philosophical and spiritual awakening. This book is phenomenal. The chapters are short and engaging, and the writing is fantastic.

For a video reading of an excerpt go to -  Motherless Soul

For more information about Steve Lindahl go to

To purchase Motherless Soul go to Amazon, All Things That Matter Press or
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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Musical Chairs - by Jen Knox

Musical Chairs explores one family's history of mental health diagnoses and searches to define the cusp between a '90s working-class childhood and the trouble of adapting to a comfortable life in the suburbs. In order to understand her restlessness, Jennifer reflects on years of strip-dancing, alcoholism, and estrangement. Inspired by the least likely source, the family she left behind, Jennifer struggles towards reconciliation. This story is about identity, class, family ties, and the elusive nature of mental illness.


Throughout the summer of 2003 I repeatedly underwent what psychologists have since diagnosed as post-traumatic stress and panic disorder. A spiritually-inclined friend refers to the same summer as my rebirthing period. Still others, who claim to have had similar experiences, tell me that such episodes were probably a warning, my body’s way of telling me to adopt healthier eating habits, exercise more or quit smoking. At the time, all I knew was that the onset was swift.

Review: Alvah’s Book Reviews (to read the entire review, click here).

“[Musical Chairs is] well-written, which means Jen Knox knows how to string words together into comprehensible sentences. And her ‘voice’ is honest, unapologetic and – vital! – likeable. In other words, she’s like the Apostle Peter in the Bible. She’s a weak, frail, vulnerable human being, who makes lots of mistakes. Which means – thank God – that she is human. Which means that despite all her flaws and failures, she is not a fraud or a charlatan. She’s not pretending to be someone who has their ‘shit’ together.
Jen and most of her family are gloriously dysfunctional – just like most families. And they have a tendency toward mental illness. And – shockingly – she talks about it. Which is what makes her story and her book so wonderful. It’s downright refreshing to read a book that acknowledges what most people know is true, but are afraid to confess: Most people are one brick short of a load. Which is what makes them and life so interesting.”

To watch the Musical Chairs Trailer, go to Knoxworx Multimedia.
To purchase Musical Chairs, go to Amazon, ATTM Press, or Barnes & Noble.
For more information about Jen, go to or

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Is it time for Revolt?

Is it time for Revolt?
Are Global Warming and Health Care Reform issues politically related?

In discussions about Global Warming, the far right doesn’t buy into the notion that pollution is the cause. In discussions about healthcare reform, the far right doesn’t feel change is needed. There are thousands of scientists who have studied the causes of global warming. Scientists have seldom, if ever, been in total agreement on any issue and it is easy to find scientists that will support one’s political agenda. There are doctors and insurance companies that want things to remain as they are and find political support.

Past arguments to delay implementation of pollution controls on industry was purported that it would hurt the economy. It would require corporations to spend much money to reduce emissions.

Past arguments to prevent controls on financial markets and institutions was that it would inhibit a free market economy. The freewheeling of the financial institutions, without controls, led to the crash on Wall Street, and that hurt the economy. The freewheeling of insurance companies to insure only healthy people, exclude pre-existing conditions and maintain high profits, are fighting to block change with political support.

The middle class is declining as more slide into the poor category. These same people, many without a healthcare program or one that is adequate, support political views that benefit the rich. Why? Brainwashing by highly paid public relations firms know how to tap into the psyche of Middle America. They talk about long waiting lines and substandard care if government controlled. They use terms like communism, socialism and other isms as scare tactics to keep the poor in their place, and people succumb to this propaganda.

In the preamble to our constitution it states, “…promote the general welfare…” It did not mean the general welfare of the rich, but of all Americans. Abe Lincoln expressed in his Gettysburg Address: “…a government of the people, by the people and for the people…“ Not having a government “for the people” is part of the reason 13 colonies revolted. Is it time for another revolt?