Sunday Night Ramblings – 12/02/2018


My whole life, I’ve been an advocate for equality. Quite simply, all individuals should have equal protection under the law. Period. Any person willing to work full-time should be able to afford the basic necessities and have access to adequate healthcare. As an educator, I taught people from every spectrum of society, and I tried my best to treat every student with respect and dignity, regardless of any differences we might have had. Even at my lowest, darkest points, I have remained true to and stood up for my convictions.

That said, I’m weary from all the hate and divisiveness and hypocrisy both political extremes espouse. If you believe any politician has your best interests at heart, you simply aren’t paying close attention. If you believe your political party is above win-at-all costs tactics, you are naive. Politicians and politics will not fix this country and advance our society. Only we as individuals can do that, and we can only do it through dialogue and interaction.

I’m weary from the butthurt brigade seeking daily for some new outrage to fuel their Twitter feed. You have no idea how easy you’ve had it, and most likely, if you ever encounter REAL difficulties you will learn that simple fact. If you are emotionally crippled by the depictions of fictional characters, you seriously need to go climb a mountain or swim a river and reconnect to the realities of nature. Emotional knee-jerk reactions to stimuli are a dangerous substitute for rational discourse, and hate is not the antidote for hate. Real love, tolerance, and forgiveness are the cures.

I’m so weary from Ivy League graduates telling me that I am privileged. I’m tired of being judged for my skin tone and gender yet told that’s not racism or sexism because I’m part of the powerful group. Hate is hate. Prejudice is prejudice. Opposite sides of the same coin are still the same coin, no matter how loudly one side screams that it’s the “good” side. Double standards are self-serving and only breed more animosity and resentment, and for the segment of society that wants an eye for an eye, no amount of retaliation will ever satisfy them.

That’s all for now.

Sunday Afternoon Ramblings – 10/28/2018


I haven’t blogged in awhile. There are a handful of reasons for that. First, my new business keeps me pretty busy, so finding the time to blog has been a challenge. Second, I just haven’t had a whole lot to say. Also, I’m not entirely sure anyone wants to hear the things I do have to say. Finally, the current climate in our country, the extreme partisanship and witch hunt culture and mob mentality, has so disheartened me that I don’t feel there is currently any room for thoughtful discourse, rationality, or even silly sarcasm.

To the readers of The Brotherhood of Dwarves, I offer my deepest and sincerest apologies for the delays in releasing book five. I had hoped to have the book out well over a year ago, but for whatever reason, I struggled to find an editor who would actually follow through with completing the work. Therefore, I ended up editing the book myself, which to me is not ideal. However, the final draft is now complete and ready for publication. Unless something happens, The Kings of Dwarves will be launched Wednesday, October 31.

Hopefully fans of the series will find this to be a satisfying conclusion to the story. Personally, I’m pleased with it. All of the major story-lines are resolved, and the emotional intensity of this book will take many readers on a fairly impressive ride. I’ve said many times over the years that Molgheon is one of the most underrated characters in literature, and the resolution of her story should prove that to be true.

That’s all for now.

Rocky Top Ramblings – 12/02/2017


Breaking News from sources close to the University of Tennessee. The Vols have finally landed their dream coach as Philip Fulmer has convinced Jon Gruden to leave the broadcast booth and take over the helm of one of the most storied programs in college football history.

“This is a great moment for the city, the university, and the state,” a source close to university officials stated earlier this evening. “Coach Gruden is the only man who can return this football team to its rightful place in the Citrus Bowl.”

Details of the deal are still unavailable, but insiders avow that Gruden will be the highest paid coach well into the next millennium.

However, even with this historic signing, controversy has erupted around campus as students, parents, and faculty are mobilizing to block the hiring of the lovable icon known as Chuckie for his unusual resemblance to the movie character.

“According to official documents, we have learned that Jon Gruden once shared a commercial flight with a man who is close friends with Matt Lauer’s neighbor,” claims Professor of Psychology Dr. Jen Touchyfeely. “Clearly, we cannot condone the university hiring somebody so closely linked to someone fired for being accused of inappropriate behavior.”

Not only that, a spokesperson for the university’s chapter of Young Feminists on Campus claims to have solid proof of rumors that Gruden occasionally watched Charlie Rose on PBS and once laughed at a joke by Louis C.K.

“Look, we are in the midst of a serious witch-hunt here,” interjects local talk radio personality Ima Deballer. “We are fueled by emotional knee-jerk reactions and mass hysteria over accusations against powerful men. There is no room for rational discourse or physical evidence. Anyone who questions these allegations clearly supports rape culture.”

However, some students are not convinced.

“Look, we have a tradition to uphold at this university,” states Slosh D. Frat III. “We have to loathe our coaches as scapegoats for the inadequacies of literacy rates and median household incomes in this state. We haven’t had a football coach to lambaste on talk radio for nearly a month. This [expletive deleted] university needs to hire a [expletive deleted] football coach to return meaning to my brief periods of sobriety or I’m transferring to a school with a real coaching carousel.”

Due to the turmoil surrounding the university and the national wave of copycat behavior by executives in response to allegations of improper behavior, the University of Tennessee has rescinded its offer to Jon Gruden and is contemplating hiring the first female football coach in NCAA FBS history.

Saturday Night Ramblings – 10/14/2017

For most of this week, a nasty viral infection knocked me out of commission. The lymph node on the right side of my jaw swelled up to about the size of a golf ball, and the pain from that was pretty severe. I’m on the mend,​ thankfully, and was able to get back to work today, but the illness put me pretty far behind where I want to be on clearing the new section of vineyard.

I’ve gotten back the first set of edits from my editor, so the book is that much closer to coming to life. Also, he is pleased with the quality of this book. Now that I’m getting over the infection, I will get on my part of the polishing. Sometime this coming week, I will reveal the cover, which is absolutely gorgeous and exactly what I want for the final installment of this series.

Finally, today my beloved Memphis Tigers knocked off the #25 Naval Academy. For the first time in team history, the Tigers have defeated two ranked opponents in the same season and have now beaten three consecutive ranked foes. When I was a student there, we were pretty much a basketball school, and I never dreamed I would see the day that we would legitimately be the best college football program in the state of Tennessee. Go Tigers go!

That’s all for now.

Friday Evening Ramblings – 9/29/17


Something happened last weekend that I feel like I need to share. For those of you who don’t know what I’ve dealt with for the last couple of years, please click here. For those of you who already know, my heart is broken right now, and I’m extremely hurt that someone I cared about would jump to a worst case conclusion without even talking to me.

The person is a former teaching colleague, a lady I adored and believed to be a true friend. Last Sunday, she posted something about having a pinched nerve in her neck and asked for home remedies. I’ve got a little experience with neck issues, so I commented asking if she had tried heat. After my comment, someone else told her to alternate heat and ice. In my experience, ice makes my neck feel worse, but I wasn’t in the mood for an internet argument, so I sent her a PM saying as much.

Not long after that, when I checked my notifications, I had a new friend suggestion for someone who had my former colleague as a mutual friend. I’m sure most of you have experienced similar on Facebook after interacting with someone. Because of my circumstances, I have been pretty judicious about adding new people, but lately I’ve been trying to open back up a bit more. I clicked on the profile, which had very little information, and virtually all of the profile pics were memes and positive affirmations. About all I gleaned from the profile was that she was a female in Johnson City, probably a college student, who liked to read. Because she was friends with my former colleague, I figured it was safe to add her.

A few minutes later, she accepted the friend request. I messaged her to say hello and try to find out a little more about who she was. We chatted for maybe 5-10 minutes, and at one point, I asked if she was a student at ETSU. She responded that no, she was still in high school. At that point, I stopped messaging her, and she never messaged me again either.

In my mind, I had done the right thing. I had extricated myself from the situation and had not allowed anything improper to occur. As far as I was concerned, the situation was over. However, the next morning, I got a PM from my former colleague blasting me for approaching her 16 year old niece online. She threatened to call the cops on me, deleted me as a friend, and blocked me.

When I woke up, I sent her a brief email explaining that I didn’t know the girl was 16 and had thought she was a college student. My former colleague responded that I had betrayed her trust by trolling her friends list for a young girl to contact. I can’t really describe how deeply that hurts.

I’m honestly crushed by her response and the allegation. Ever since my release, I have lived the most wholesome and honest life I can possibly lead. I don’t drink or take drugs, don’t lie to people, don’t use anyone, don’t bother anyone, don’t chase women, don’t go to bars, and don’t do anything that could be misconstrued as inappropriate. I live 100% in compliance with everything expected of me. I work 6-7 days a week and only want to get back on my feet, have time with my kids again, and redeem myself from this bullshit stain on my reputation.

It hurts to think that someone I cared so much about would think so little about me as to immediately leap to that conclusion. Not only that I had intentionally “trolled” her friends list for a young girl, but also the implication that the only possible reason I would ever befriend a woman is for sex. Most of my closest friends are women, and our relationships are  purely platonic.

It also hurts that my friend didn’t come to me one on one and have a conversation about what happened. She simply had a knee-jerk, emotional response and has probably been telling people what a horrible human being I am. I get that superficially it looks bad, but the reality is that I did not purposefully approach a teenage girl and removed myself from the situation immediately. If she had taken any time to discuss it with me and think it through rationally, we might still be friends.

I will share screenshots of the entire conversation below. I did not flirt, did not say anything inappropriate, and did not say anything that could even slightly be misconstrued as sexual. As soon as I found out she was in high school, the conversation ended. I truly do not know what else I could do other than remaining in an insular bubble for the rest of my life.

Anyone over the age of 40 who is single can attest to how hard it is to meet people. I don’t even mean people to date. Just people to interact with and have meaningful conversations with. For the last year and two months, I’ve not really attempted to meet anyone new. When I first got out of jail, my life was a shambles and really had no room for new people. Slowly, I have begun to build some semblance of normalcy for myself, and now I do want to start living fully again.

I know that there are people out there who will always think the worst about me. I can’t do anything about that. All I can control is how I conduct myself on a daily basis. The people in my inner circle, most of whom are women by the way, know the real me and see the kind of life I lead. All I can do is continue to work hard and live a decent, honest life. For the people in my life who truly matter, that is enough.

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