Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Logos



This is the perfect time for the rebirth of the hero. The birth of Christ is the birth of the logos—the word that extracts order out of chaos and eternally sets things right. That's what we're celebrating at Christmas. Welcome that rebirth into your heart and into your family. Let's manifest hope.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

A Quick Review of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

A few days ago, I watched another Brad Pitt movie -- Once Upon a Time in Hollywood by Quentin Tarantino. Now, I loved both Pulp Fiction and True Romance and I've have to rank them both up there among my all-time favorites, but I can't say I like everything Tarantino does. Seems like lately I haven't liked much of anything he's done.

Once Upon a Time... stars Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio and the absolutely stunning Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate as well as a bevy of other outstanding supporting actors who are fun to watch. No complaint there.

Most of the story takes place in 1969 Hollywood and follows two friends/partners around. One (DiCaprio) is a popular television actor, and the other (Pitt) is his stunt double, driver, and friend. It's fiction, of course, but the setting is historical and is nicely woven in and around other events of that time; most notably, events surrounding the Manson family and the subsequent real-life murders of Sharon Tate and Jay Sebring. For fear of spoiling the story, I'll cut it short at that point.

Somewhere in the midst of the movie, I decided I did not care for it, yet I was drawn along on the strength of the screen personalities. I hung in there and by the end I discovered I had changed my mind -- I liked the movie. I felt... satisfied. Although there is a particulary grisly, gruesome series of scenes at the ending, I approved and although it did not depict reality, I liked the outcome. I guess you'll have to watch the movie to see what I mean 'cause like I said, I don't want to spoil it for you.

Two thumbs up.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Egyptian Mummy Carries Girl!

After hearing disturbing political news, an Egyptian mummy literally turned over in his grave and left his sarcophagus taking a visiting tourist with him. Oh, the humanity.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Follow Me To The Stars

Jumping Jupiter! To The Stars by Thomas C. Stone has a newly designed cover, PLUS it can still be downloaded for free as an ebook. At Amazon! What's the catch? Well, you'll be hooked and probably want to purchase more of Stone's books. Get it today! And thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Pride


"Pride"

I got no frustrations playin' on my mind
No complications, I guess I'm doin' fine
I got no money, can't even pay my rent
I end up on one thing, and to me its heaven sent
I've got my pride, hiding inside
I've got my pride
Tell me tell me now
I've got my pride, hiding inside
I've got my pride

I saw a man this mornin' sitting both sides of the fence
Being diplomatic, had lost his common sense
If he had his wits about him, you'd know he was a fool
'cause if you can't find no solution, then you got to play it cool
I've got my pride, hiding inside
I've got my pride
Let me hear ya say it babe
I've got my pride, hiding inside
I've got my pride

I've got my pride, hiding inside
I've got my pride
I've got my pride, hiding inside
I've got my pride

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Stone's Getting Professional

Stoney's author site has had a makeover. Take a look here. There's a new Contact form on the "About" page and sample pages from each of his books. Nice job, hoss.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

A Review of Ad Astra

"You don't get anywhere when you're running in space. When you're running in space, you're running in place. You can quote me on that."

-- Thomas C. Stone
Ad Astra is Brad Pitt's new sci-fi vehicle to ongoing movie stardom. The movie also stars Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, and Ruth Negga (Who?) as supporting characters. The story is set in the near future and follows Astronaut Roy McBride as he sets out to locate his father, played by Tommy Lee Jones, who has gone whacko on a long distance space voyage of exploration and resides in orbit around Neptune. For some reason, which remained unclear to me, Tommy Lee has fashioned a type of space cannon and is shooting cosmic rays at the earth. We are told he'd better stop because if he keeps it up he's going to wreck everything and our little corner of the universe will be vaporized. Or worse. So, Roy is sent to Mars to send messages to his father, ostensibly to ask him to stop throwing the cosmic snowballs.

Tommy Lee channels Bela Lugosi as Astronaut Roy McBride's father.
All righty then, that's all I'm going to tell you because I don't want to spoil the story, just in case you decide to watch this two-plus hour yawner. The movie does have its moments, like the opening scene where Pitt (as Roy) falls from the edge of space off the tallest tower on the planet but is saved by his parachute. Or, the moon-mobile chase scene where unknown assailants attempt to stop Roy's clock on the lunar surface. Admittedly, there are some great action moments; however, Pitt plays a guy whose pulse never rises above 80 and so neither does mine. Roy McBride is portrayed as flat, unemotional, and uninvolved, although the audience is asked over and over during the course of the story to accept the inner tension of the character. Roy is on a mission to connect with his father who he hasn't seen in thirty years. Roy says he's mad about his father leaving both him and his mom as he deadpans the words unconvincingly to the camera. Then, through flashbacks, the audience sees that Roy is doing the same thing to his wife (and family) that his father did.

I saw the tension between Roy and his father as an archetypal quest of a son trying to understand himself as he tries to rescue his father who has both metaphorically and physically gone to the edge of everything that is known and is paying a price for the adventure with his own sanity. At another level altogether, the story is a tale of generations and how the old must pass away to be replaced by the new. I suspect it is yet another message from the almighty powers-that-be informing us all at a subliminal level that the previous generation has done its work, and it was good, but now it must move aside or else its methodology will destroy everything. This is a movie for progressives with a Leftist message.

On the material level, there are some great scenes but it barely keeps the lengthy tale from wallowing under the massive weight of darkness it carries. Indeed, there are parallax states to earlier stories, namely Conrad's Heart of Darkness, and Disney's 1979 sci-fi failure, The Black Hole.

Hey, if you have two hours to spare and a big bowl of popcorn, go for it, but don't expect your life to be transformed. I give this one three and a half stars for the cinematography but a thumbs down for believability and audience engagement.

Friday, December 13, 2019


“The dubious privilege of a freelance writer is
he's given the freedom to starve anywhere.”

- SJ Perelman

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Cane Patch Collectors on Audio!





The Cane Patch Collectors is now available as an audio book! In a day or so, it'll be available on Amazon and iTunes, but today it is live on Audible -- go here. George Johnson is doing the narrating duties and he is so smooth! But don't take my word for it, see for yourself. Enjoy! And happy listening!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Sunday, December 1, 2019

All Possibilities Already Exist


A Review of Impact by Douglas Preston

There are a number of writers In the action-adventure genre these days who really know how to fashion a story. Lots of them have an element of science fiction, but usually not too far out. Michael Crichton was one of the best. Robin Cook is another. Lincoln Childs and Douglas Preston, authors of the Pendergast series, write in a similar vein and I always like what they do. Last night, I completed Impact, a novel by Douglas Preston, sans Lincoln Childs and I'd like to tell you a little bit about it.

Impact, released in 2010, concerns the discovery of an ancient machine on Deimos, one of the Martian moons. The machine turns out to be a weapon of sorts that fires a bundle of quarks like a cannon fires a shell. The bundle of quarks is also referred to as a stranglet composed of strange matter.

A strangelet is a hypothetical particle consisting of a bound state of roughly equal numbers of up, down, and strange quarks. An equivalent description is that a strangelet is a small fragment of strange matter, small enough to be considered a particle. The size of an object composed of strange matter could, theoretically, range from a few femtometers across (with the mass of a light nucleus) to arbitrarily large. Once the size becomes macroscopic (on the order of metres across), such an object is usually called a strange star. The term "strangelet" originates with Edward Farhi and Robert Jaffe. Strangelets can convert matter to strange matter on contact and have been suggested as a dark matter candidate.

The known particles with strange quarks are unstable because the strange quark is heavier than the up and down quarks, so strange particles, such as the Lambda particle, which contains an up, down, and strange quark, always lose their strangeness, by decaying via the weak interaction to lighter particles containing only up and down quarks. But states with a larger number of quarks might not suffer from this instability. This is the "strange matter hypothesis" of A.R. Bodmer and Edward Witten. According to this hypothesis, when a large enough number of quarks are collected together, the lowest energy state is one which has roughly equal numbers of up, down, and strange quarks, namely a strangelet. This stability would occur because of the Pauli exclusion principle; having three types of quarks, rather than two as in normal nuclear matter, allows more quarks to be placed in lower energy levels.

Now, in Impact, Douglas Preston doesn't really go into so much detail, but he does have his characters state that the strangelet particle constitutes a threat not only to the earth and the rest of the solar system, but also our neck of the galaxy. Naturally, something's got to be done.

That's where our heroine enters. Abby is a college dropout from Princeton who lives with her lobster-fisherman father in a small town in Maine. She is a waitress in a diner as well as an amateur astronomer who likes to smoke pot and look at the stars while she hangs out with her best friend, Jackie. Abby is also adopted and apparently is the only person of color in her small town. Abby is portrayed as the smartest person in the proverbial room and this is indicated by the number of correct guesses she makes during the course of the story. At one point, Abby manages to guess a computer password on a highly-secured government disk drive. Later, she works out the trajectory of one of the strangelets and tracks it to an island where it makes impact (ergo, the title of the book). Abby's extraordinary ability to overcome all challenges, both physical and intellectual, stretches thin and gives an air of incredulity to Impact, far beyond running across a machine on a Martian moon that shoots hypothetical particles at the earth. All this talk of theoretical particles pales in comparison to the achievements of our dropout waitress.

Unfortunately, Impact is rife with a number of similar faux pas' that simply asks too much of the reader to accept. Personally, I was disappointed with Impact. As I stated earlier, I like the Preston and Childs books and the Pendergast series. Heck, I like other books by Douglas Preston, but this one just asks me to bend backwards a little too far. A Superman comic makes more sense. Come on, Douglas, you can do better.