Saturday, October 14, 2017

Published Today!

A gallon of gas cost 60 cents — an outrageously high price in the inflationary mid-1970s. The Vietnam War had just ended, and the first videotape recorders were appearing in Japan. Bell-bottoms and teardrop eyeglasses were in style. Fugitive newspaper heiress Patty Hearst — who had joined her kidnappers in robbing a bank — had just been captured. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak would soon form Apple Computer Company. A year after that, the lights would go out in Manhattan for 25 hours. The following year, Egypt and Israel would sign an historic peace treaty. These were the newspaper headlines of the times. Against this backdrop, a teenage reporter sought his own headlines, interviewing the famous and the powerful, seeking new stories to tell while in pursuit of “the scoop”: the Holy Grail of all reporters. Starting at the age of 16, armed with only a pencil, a borrowed camera, and his trusty typewriter, this intrepid “cub” reporter covered some of the greatest stories and people of the era. This is his story... and some of the stories he wrote. 

What will you find in Cub: The Story of a Boy Reporter? In addition to some entertaining autobiographical anecdotes of my brief stint as a “cub” reporter (from college press and country journalism to turning down CNN), and contemporaneous articles I wrote during that period (like the inauguration of President Jimmy Carter in Washington, DC and the Spenkelink execution in Florida), Cub: The Story of a Boy Reporter also includes my interviews with and/or photographs of:

Reubin Askew (Florida governor)
F. Lee Bailey (famed criminal defense attorney)
Griffin Bell (U.S. attorney general)
Leigh Brackett (science fiction and mystery author)
Jimmy Carter (U.S. president)
Lin Carter (Conan author)
Steve Cauthen (Triple Crown-winning jockey)
Lawton Chiles (U.S. senator and Florida governor)
Midge Costanza (Carter White House aide)
Alan Dean Foster (science fiction author)
David Frost (British television personality and interviewer)
L. Sprague de Camp (Conan author)
Zsa Zsa Gabor (actress)
Dick Giordano (comic book artist)
Valerie Harper (actress)
Leon Jaworski (Watergate prosecutor)
Hamilton Jordan (Carter White House chief of staff)
Jeanette Kahn (DC Comics publisher)
Gabe Kaplan (comedian and star of Welcome Back, Kotter)
David Kennerly (Ford White House photographer)
Coretta Scott King (widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)
Charles Kirbo (Georgia attorney, confidant and advisor to President Jimmy Carter)
Jack Kirby (comic book artist)
The Amazing Kreskin (George Joseph Kresge, a famous mentalist)
Gary Kurtz (Star Wars producer)
R.A. Lafferty (science fiction author)
Keith Laumer (science fiction author)
Stan Lee (Marvel Comics writer and publisher)
Barry Manilow (singer-songwriter)
Eugene McCarthy (U.S. senator and presidential candidate)
Walter Mondale (U.S. vice-president)
Martin Mull (comedian and actor)
Noel Neil (“Lois Lane” in The Adventures of Superman)
Jody Powell (Carter White House press secretary)
Vincent Price (actor)
Helen Reddy (Australian singer)
Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek creator)
Robert Silverberg (science fiction author)
Jim Steranko (comic book artist)
George Takei (actor)
Jack Williamson (science fiction author)
Mike Zeck (comic book artist)
Roger Zelazny (poet and science fiction author)
Anthony Zerbe (actor)

If you’re a fan of television, movies, comic books, science fiction, politics, or the craft of writing then you will find something of interest in Cub: The Story of a Boy Reporter.

Publication Date: October 14, 2017

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Freedom Isn’t Free

The bravest thing I’ve ever seen was when an ordinary citizen in support of democracy and in open defiance of the Communist Chinese government stood up to a tank in Tiananmen Square. Alone and unarmed, in a tense situation in which the government had turned weapons of war on its own citizens to quell dissent, this one man blocked the tank’s path. The military leaders didn’t know what to do. They realized the entire world was watching and they knew what the optics of a 48-ton tank crushing a man on live international television would look like to the world. Finally, the tank commander blinked first, and the tank pivoted to swerve around the man. The man then rushed in front of the tank again.

One man can make a difference. Imagine if he had been joined by millions of others, not just the thousands protesting beside him, but millions willing to actually put their lives on the line for democracy and freedom.

Freedom isn’t free. No one gives you freedom: not the government, not the Founding Fathers, not the truisms you studied in history books in school. It has to be earned, and not just once but repeatedly like a license that must be renewed. Earning means you have to do something, not just sit on your ass, and sometimes it even requires sacrifice. Our generation has forgotten that. Ironically, we’ve had the luxury to forget because of the sacrifices of previous generations.

In the words of Janis Joplin, “Freedom isn’t free. You’ve got to pay the price, you’ve got to sacrifice for your liberty.”

It is shameful that members of Congress, and other employees of the federal government, all of whom swore an oath to protect democracy and the Constitution of the United States, are standing by doing nothing while the Constitution is being violated on a daily basis by a mentally unhinged man in the employ of a foreign hostile government.

The rest of us didn’t take an oath of office to protect the Constitution, but we did grow up pledging allegiance every day “to the flag and to the Republic" it represents. The future of that Republic, and democracy itself, is in jeopardy. One man cannot stop what is happening in Washington, DC. Those of us who speak out on public forums are standing in front of the tank. But I have to wonder, as I did watching that brave man in Tiananmen Square back in 1989, where are all the other people? Where are the ordinary citizens willing to stand up and march to Washington, not in protest, but to physically remove any and all threats to democracy? Drag them right out of office and don’t let them back in.