Murder in the City – The Man Who Saved Two Notch’s song

Ever since a young reader by the name of Jeremy James asked me what the theme song was for The Takers, I’ve tried to assign a song to all my books.  The Takers’ song is Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd.  In fact, all The Oz Chronicles books are Pink Floyd songs.  My new book, The Man Who Saved Two Notch is different.  First of all, it’s not a Young Adult novel.  It’s a post apocalyptic novel for adults.  Yay, adults!   It’s full of violence and profanity and my attempts at dark humor.  It also has an Old West feel to it, and that’s where the theme song issue takes root.

A few years ago, a friend introduced me to the Avett Brothers.  I believe they are what’s known as a New Grass band.  I love their music.  In searching for a song for The Man Who Saved Two Notch, I found one of their songs to be exactly what I was looking for.  Its soulful and macabre and sad and funny and moving, everything I want TMWSTN to be.  I give you Murder in the City, the theme song for my new book.  (Unfortunately, Sony Music won’t let you watch the video on my blog.  You’ll have to click on the link provided on the video window to watch the video on Youtube.  Don’t blame the Avett Brothers.  Listen to the song.  Buy their music.)

Ain’t Gonna Pee Pee My Bed Tonight – Greatest Song Featuring God as a Backup Singer

This song wins on so many levels.  The lyrics are catchy.  The composition is sublime.  The music is inspiring.  And, the singing?  The singing is weird and melodic in a bizarrely brilliant way.   And don’t get me started on the choreography.

Give to the Puppy Rescue Mission

Two of Lee's friends and associates raise a flag for Neda!

A dear friend of mine lost a puppy yesterday.  This was no ordinary friend or puppy.  Lee works in the Middle East mostly in hostile territory.  He’s far from his family most of the year working in high stress and dangerous situations that most of us would do anything to avoid.  He’s been doing this kind of work for years.   Through the magic of Facebook, I’m able to keep tabs on Lee and monitor his situation safely from my home office. 

Since November of 2010, Lee has been frequently updating all of us on a new friend he met during his current assignment.  It was a puppy, a stray that was rescued in an unfriendly zone.  Lee fell in love with this little dog he named Neda.  She was a beautiful white puppy that clearly adopted Lee as much as Lee adopted her.  Over the months, Lee posted updates and pictures of this growing pup and the bond between the two was palpable through both their smiling faces.  Neda provided Lee with tiny moments of tranquility in otherwise tense days. 

Apparently this is a scene that happens over and over again in regions throughout the Middle East. American soldiers and workers find these canines wandering amongst the chaos and they latch on to each other.  Through the help of an organization called the Puppy Rescue Mission, they bring their “battle buddies” home with them.  The Mission provides medical care for the pups, gives them all their shots and arranges for their trips back to the states.

I’m afraid this is where my friend Lee’s story turns tragic.  On the day he was to ship Neda to his home in Tennessee, the vets determined that she was too sick to travel.  She had contracted an unknown illness.  A few nerve-racking days later, Neda died of the mysterious illness.  Lee lost his “battle buddy.” 

All of us who follow Lee on Facebook share his heartbreak and now his new-found cause.  He wants to raise awareness, and in turn money, for the Puppy Rescue Mission.  They need money to help fund for the care and transportation of these animals.  I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that these dogs in a very real way help save American lives.  They truly are the calm in the storm for most of these men and women. 

So, I ask you to join in the effort to give something back to these animals.  Join their Facebook group. Send them money.  Tell your friends.  Help these pups.

Here’s a link to their Facebook Group: Puppy Rescue Mission

In defense of Rebecca Black

There I was just sitting around growing old, minding my own business perusing the Interwebs, and I kept coming across this girl’s name – Rebecca Black.  Frankly, I’ve never read such hateful things about a person.  Gadhafi gets better press.  I began to wonder what she had done.  Had she gassed a litter of puppies?  Did she rob little old ladies of their Social Security checks?  Perhaps she pantsed the Pope in front of a cathedral full of nuns (does the Pope even wear pants?).

It turns out she didn’t do anything that crosses the moral lines.  No, she had the audacity to record a silly pop song and make a video.  The song is inane and irritating and asinine… basically it sounds like 98% of the crap that passes for pop music these days.  Her talent it marginal… again, pick a pop star today and you could probably hang that adjective around their neck.  She’s a 13-year-old kid that’s just being a 13-year-old kid. 

As I understand it, she didn’t write the song.   According to Newser, her mother paid Ark Music Factory to write and record the song and video.  It sounds like a self-publishing model for the music industry, which is totally cool.  The girl’s real crime here is that she seems to have struck a viral chord.  Her video has over 42 million hits.  Her song’s in the top 20 on iTunes.  In short, she’s made money with her music.  And she’s doing so by being either slightly less or no less talented than most the musicians making music today with a song that’s just as silly as most the hits today.   

Here is an example of a huge pop hit:

Hello, hello, baby, you called? I can’t hear a thing
I have got no service, in the club, you see, you see
Wha-Wha-What did you say, huh? You’re breaking up on me
Sorry, I cannot hear you, I’m kinda busy

K-kinda busy
K-kinda busy
Sorry, I cannot hear you
I’m kinda busy

Talk about inane!  And that’s Telephone, a gigantic hit by Lady Gaga. 

By comparison here is the first part of Rebecca’s song Friday.

(Yeah, Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ark)
Oo-ooh-ooh, hoo yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Seven a.m., waking up in the morning
Gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs
Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal
Seein’ everything, the time is goin’
Tickin’ on and on, everybody’s rushin’
Gotta get down to the bus stop
Gotta catch my bus, I see my friends (My friends)

One is an idiotic description of bad cell service and the other is an idiotic description of someone’s morning.  What the hell?  Neither one of them give me hope for the future of music. 

I know, I know, I was supposed to defend Rebecca Black not bury her music.  I’m not here to defend Rebecca’s song.  I don’t care for it, but I hate Telephone just as much, so it’s not a personal attack on the 13-year-old crooner.  Today’s pop music just doesn’t do anything for me.  I am offended by the vicious attacks on Ms. Black.  She’s very clearly a victim of online bullying.  People have threatened her.  They’ve encouraged her to commit suicide.  They’ve treated her horribly.  It doesn’t make sense to me.  She’s thirteen!  She’s a kid!  Let her have her fun.  Be critical, but back away from the hateful comments, my friends.  Christ almighty, it’s a song about Friday, not a call for genocide!  Get a little perspective. 

Okay, old man rant over.  Have a good FRIDAY!

I’m getting closer….

When the world ends, the lawless old West will rise again!

… to new book nirvana.   I’ve gone through the first draft, made my initial edits, and now, I’m ready to hand it over to my first reader (Mia) to get her input.  Who knows? I might be able to get a little sleep now…. Nah, who am I kidding!  But this isn’t a bad sleeplessness.  It’s a hyperfocused lack of sleep.  I tend to lock onto the story at night and look for holes.  Oh, those maddening holes.

Still a celebration is in order.  Maybe a weekday matinee.

One guilty dog and lots of rewrites

I’m working on rewrites of The Man Who Saved Two Notch, and I have to say I am pleased with the story after the first read.  That’s not the norm for me.  The last time it happened was after The Takers, and even then it was only about 75% pleased.  I’m hovering around the 90% mark on this one.   I’ll divulge more about the plotline at a later date, but on a completely separate note, here’s a video of a very guilty dog.  My theory is that the cat set him up.