Category Archives: books

Goldman Sachs Small Business Popup expo at Union Station in Washington DC

Today I visited the Goldman Sachs 10000 Small Businesses Market at Union Station, main concourse, in Washington DC. It’s also called “The Big Power of Small Business”.

There were about 100 pop-ups in the main concourse. Each businesses identified a city it was from.  Many were from Baltimore, a few from Detroit, Dallas, New York. Many were related to snack foods or cosmetics or personal care.

But there were two books related to books.

Deandra Bufo Novak from Orlando FL, “My Heritage Book“,  writes custom children’s books for families.

Undra Duncam’s “Well Read” has the tagline “Subscribe to Literacy” and offers monthly boxes of children’s books for a subscription, somewhat like a book club.

(Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at 4 PM EST)

Outwrite LGBT Book Festival (2017) in Washington DC today, footage on self-publishing conference

I attended the DC Center’s 2017 Outwrite 2017 LGBT Book Festival today.  Compare to a posting Aug, 6m 2016.  Today I did not set up a table of my own, but I won’t get into why just now.

Here are some videos from a presentation by a group of publishers of GLBT material, especially fiction.

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3 Doing self-publishing with your own print runs

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5 “Sea turtle authors” who publish but don’t try hard to sell books

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(Posted: Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 7 PM EDT)

CNN panel presents its book “Unprecedented” at Politics and Prose; a visit to Comet Ping Pong Pizzeria, after the fake news scandal

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I did visit the Comet Ping Pong Pizzeria today in Washington DC just as it opened.

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I also attended a book-signing party at Politics and Prose Bookstore (next door) with a panel from CNN for its book “Unprecedented” headed by Brian Stelter.

My apologies for calling them “Poets …” on Youtube — the right name for the bookstore is Politics and Prose. Some scrambled memory, maybe a senior moment.

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There was an introduction by the business owner on the fake news crisis in the neighborhood.

The panel follows.

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3 Question about the future of the Democratic Party

4 My question on Trump and social media v. libel, wartime concerns, and fake news

(Posted: Thursday, December 8, 2016 at 10:45 PM EST)

Pimping out my own DADT books at Outwrite DC today.

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I did set up an exhibit at the Outwrite DC in Washington DC today at the DC Center for the LGBT Community, in the atrium at 2000 14th St. NW (ha, ha, only about 5 miles from Nationals Park, a half-mile from Town DC and 930 Club, and Atlantic Plumbing, for that matter).

So I got to do a good interview.  I covered the narrative of my own William and Mary expansion, my own getting drafted during Vietnam, how that mixed with the debate on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and led to my first book in 1997, and how 9/11 complicated my proposals for a “Bill of Rights II”, leading to the second book in 2002, and how freedom of speech and the Internet led to the substance of the third book in 2014.  I did mention “open access”.  I mentioned that I have a draft screenplay for how you might film it.

The interviewer did get the idea that external pressures matter, and that even with a fight for liberation and equality (and the tension between those two concepts), individual moral compass, in reacting to the needs of others in any group one belongs to, matters.  That’s kind of paradox of identity politics.

I got three clips.  The people filming me were unfamiliar with my camera, so the sound is hard to hear,

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(Posted: Saturday: August 6, 2016 at 6 PM EDT)

Update: Aug. 10

Here are a few more videos (other than the QA for “Queer Brown Voices” which is here).

A “simple song” video

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Introduction 3

Introduction 4

Info on the Combined Book Exhibit (my most recent book is included in 2016)

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The Combined Book Exhibit allows an author’s book to be shown at library shows and book conventions.

A related service is PubMatch, which provides management for international intellectual property rights for book authors.

My “Do Ask, Do Tell III” book will be in the 2016 CBE cycle, as explained here.   I will be present at the Wshington DC exhibit July 1-3 2016 (venue TBD).

(Published Wednesday, April 20, 2015 at 10 PM EDT).

Reid Ewing’s recent podcast interview ties a lot of themes in psychology and art together

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I found an interesting podcast recorded by Dr. Dave Verhaagen and his Champion of Mental Health award, of actor Reid Ewing.  The article is here, and the podcast, running 40 minutes (worth it to listen to in entirety) here.

Reid was known as the handsome, lanky and goofy character Dylan for some time on Modern Family. He has starred in several comedies, in the horror “Fright Night”, the web sci-fi comedy TV series “The Power Inside”, and has made a number of music videos, like “Traffic Jam”, and an intriguing three-part series of short films “It’s Free” in mockumentary style, but somehow tied up with a company Igigi Studios.

Reid, now 27, got media coverage in November 2015 with his essay in the Huffington Post disclosing a previous issue with body dysmorphia.  He also announced on Twitter, almost as an afterthought, that he is gay, saying “I was never in”, Advocate story.

The podcast is interesting to me for several details.  I’ll leave the reader to listen to Reid explaining his own account of the experience, as well as his situation now as a college student and his circumstances in the film world (toward the end of the interview). If I understood right, his father of the same name is a well-known professor of city planning in Utah.

Also, before moving on with my own perspective, let me note that some of this is not about Reid (or me),  It’s a biological fact it takes until around age 25-28 for the brain to be fully grown.  Chess players reach their biological peak at about age 30.  By the mid 20s, people often wonder how they were taken in and manipulated by others promoting certain ideas (about body image, for example) when they were teenagers.  He even mentions wanting a “conversation with his younger self”, right out of relativity.

Now, I did want to note that as a young man I experienced a kind of dysmorphia, but it was expressed in almost a flip-side manner of what he describes.  While I was sexually attracted to young men who fit a certain cultural stereotype of “masculinity”, I was surprisingly disconnected from awareness of my own personal appearance and of my own body most of the time.  By the time I started paying a lot more attention in later middle age, it was already “too late”, as I had melted away.  Reid’s own report of dysmorphia might seem surprising in light of his MF YouTube video “Imagine Me Naked” (2011), not as well known (also from Modern Family) as his song “In the Moonlight (Do Me)”, which actually works as a music prelude if you play the music alone by ear on a church organ (without the words). The “naked” does have telling lyrics, talking about never having to “fake it.”

His comments bear a certain relevance to the topic of psychological growth, the way it has been discussed at the Ninth Street Center in New York City, now known as a remnant, the Paul Rosenfels Community.  Rosenfels had developed the theory of character specialization or “polarities” (masculine and feminine, power-love, right-truth, objective-subjective, unbalanced-balanced, fun-pleasure, masochism-sadism, guilt-shame, and other axes).  Rosenfels’s analytic writing style follows from Eric Hoffer, and is best known for his 1971 book “Homosexuality: The Psychology of the Creative Process” (earlier review ).   In 1986, the Center made a black-and-white video “The Paul Rosenfels Video Anthology”, of which it printed a DVD in 1998, about an hour of talk-group footage.

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The Center opened in 1972 and remained so until 1991, between 2nd and 3rd avenues on E 9th Street in the East Village.  (I think Matt Damon and Anderson Cooper live somewhere in the general area and may be familiar with the history of the place.) The space had two basement rooms.  Originally, there were talk groups on Wednesday and Friday nights, and an acting class on Mondays, and potluck suppers on Saturday.  Over time, the talk groups expanded.

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Reid mentions acting as if it were therapeutic, as he can become someone else and leave his own issues with the self and body image.  I have heard other actors (mostly stage) say similar things, especially at the Center in NYC, and later hanging out with IFP-MSP in Minneapolis and later Reel Affirmations in Washington (and even when visiting Mark Parrish [“Jerome’s Razor” and “Mustang Sally”] one time in Boston).  Reid expresses a healthy skepticism of established authority, as to “what truth they are speaking to”.  (Moral “right” is complementary to human “truth” in the Rosenfels polarity system.)

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I’ll mention a couple other things.  Reid is passionate about animals, and adopts dogs, and his twitter feed shows life with dogs and at least one very venturesome cat. Actor Jesse Eisenberg is mentioned in Wikipedia as having a similar interest in rescuing cats.  (Dogs and cats both learn to recognize the unique electromagnetic signature of the heartbeat of their owners, and find it stimulating.)  His Twitter feed has always contained a lot of drawings and mentions of literary subjects, and lately has been communicating a lot of material from Japanese manga, especially Danganronpa, where he adopts the names of some characters.   The podcast, toward the end, mentions the Japanese film ( 2000)  “Battle Royale”, which anticipates “The hunger Games” but that has some unusual storytelling structures (my review   has already attracted unusual volume of hits).

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With Danganronpa, as with other PlayStation games, people make “movies” or “web series” out of games played out with the characters.  I suppose a movie distributor or theater chain could buy a license to offer some of these in game film festivals.  I’m not a gamer myself, simply because there isn’t time in life for everything.


A lead good guy in “The Event”  Sean Walker (Jason Ritter) is a gamer who doesn’t know that he is actually an extraterrestrial alien with powers and who will not age.

I do mean this as a complement (or complment?)  Could Reid host SNL on NBC?  As Dylan?  As Mikan or Reba?  Maybe do a satire on how so many people want everything in life to be “free”?  But the problem is, that sounds like satire that would please conservatives (or maybe pseudo’s like Donald Trump as well as the “little Rubio’s” of the world).  Or maybe libertarians, best of all.  It’s hard to get tickets to SNL if you do the Amtrak Acela routine.  I’d love to get the same hotel room in the Yotel or Iriquois.

(Published Saturday March 19, 2016 at 11:30 PM EDT; some photos come from my just-moved train set, which is supposed to model the rama-like space station for my own screenplay, “DADT Ephiphany”)

ABC’s series’s on Herman Wouk’s World War II novels

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I do recall being somewhat “swept” by the two big ABC miniseries on Herman Wouk’s massive novel duet, “The Winds of War” (1983) and “War and Remembrance” (1988)., giving a complete chronicle of World War II.  I even recall the majestic D Minor opening theme by Bob Cobert, and the montage of images from around the world subsumed by the War.

The first series aired in 1983, while I lived in Dallas.  It ran for 15 hours and was divided into seven episodes.  The first episode was titled “The Winds Rise”, and the second was “The Storm Breaks”.  The final was “Into the Maelstrom”.  The hero is commander Victor Henry (“Pug”), played by Robert Mitchum. He learns of the Hitler-Stalin pact, and travels the world meeting world leaders. His middle son, the idealistic Byron (Jan Michael Vincent) works for a member of the Jastrow family that will always be fleeing the Nazis. The series ends with the attack on Pearl Harbor, the way the 2001 movie by that name begins.

The second series started in late 1988, which I could watch shortly after I had moved back to Arlington VA from Dallas, with a downsized lifestyle.  Mitchum continues as Pug, but Vincent is replaced by Hart Bochner.  For Aaron Jastrow, John Houseman was replaced by John Gielgud.  I remember the entire series being rebroadcast in the mid 1990s, around 1996, when I was living in a larger place in Annandale and working on my first book.  The mood of the series often inspired me.  I would sometimes watch an episode before going out on a weekend evening (like to “Tracks”).  The series is much longer, with twelve episodes.  As it progresses, the plight of the Jastrow family gets increasing emphasis. There is a long sequence in the “Paradise Ghetto”, Theresienstadt, in Czechoslovakia, where Aaron participates as an elder running the artificial “colony”.  But eventually, starting one chilly afternoon in late October, all are transported by train to Auschwitz. The journey takes longer that it should according to geography, and encounters early snow.  When the prisoners arrive, the scenes resemble those of the 2016 Academy Award winner “Son of Saul”. The women’s hair is cut (and the men’s bodies may have been shaved).  The next to last episode ends in a gas chamber.

The series also dramatizes the assassination attempt on Hitler.

Wouk’s earlier novel, “The Caine Mutiny” (Edward Dmytryk, Columbia), became a long-running film in 1954, at the RKO Keith’s in downtown Washington. I remember “hating” Lt Commender Queeg (Humphrey Bogart) who takes over command of a ship and is tried for mutiny (a touch of “Billy Budd”).

(Published Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at 3:30 PM)

A series on sexual orientation in the 1990s with a curious moniker

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Back in the 1990s there was a sequence of two books that constitute almost an antithesis to my work.

These are two items from Routledge, authored by Bob Powers and Alan Ellis.

The first is “A Manager’s Guide to Sexual Orientation in the Workplace”, for which I have a hardcover dated 1995.  The second is “A Family and Friend’s Guide to Sexual Orientation”, dated 1996, paper.  I actually purchased these in paper copy in 2000 at a Barnes and Noble in Minneapolis.  Today, the first of these is a collector’s item on Amazon; the second appears unavailable.

The books do make up a real series, because the subject matter of each book is different (unlike the “Healing our World”, last post, which has multiple editions of essentially the same material).

I had previously (in 2000) reviewed these on a legacy site here. http://www.doaskdotell.com/books/bguide.htm

A couple of aspects of the series still seem noteworthy in today’s discussion.  One of these is simply the authors’ viewpoint.  The authors treat sexual orientation as an immutable trait that invokes no need for any existential (or “essentialist”) moral debates on personal life courses, choices and actions.  And there is relatively little attention to the political issues of the time (military, marriage, and the like) now so well known. That is in marked contrast to the tone of my own “Do Ask, Do Tell” series that I commenced in 1997.

The second is that the authors treat these works as practical, didactic “handbooks”, especially the second of these, where there are empty spaces for consumers to write down notes, as if at a weekend hotel symposium.  The books have many testimonials or accounts of various people in workplace or familial situations.  To me, this approach is hyper-commercial, and tends to “talk down” to the reader.  But in some contexts, this method (like the “for Dummies” series) does sell a lot of books and makes money. I’ve seen it done with religious matter.

The books have each have a red button with a white “Do Ask, Do Tell” text on the cover art. Page 14 on the first book has a little sidebar conclusion “Do Ask! Do Tell!” and mentions little novelty items with the slogan being sold, but I don’t recall seeing these anywhere in the 1990s (I lived in the DC area then but visited Texas, California, Nevada,  Washington State, New York and Minnesota during that period).  The phrase was not included as part of the formal title of the books.

Mary Ruwart’s “Healing Our World”

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One concept of a “policy concept” series of books is like mine, to have a series, where successive books add new subject areas.

However, Mary Ruwart has taken a more vertical approach, with “Healing our World”, which has three editions, in 1993, 2003, and 2015.  The new editions add new coverage on the same 22-chapter, 5-part structures.  The first two editions have the subtitle “In the Age of Aggression”, but the most recent version had the subtitle “The Compassion of Libertarianism: How to Enrich the Poor, Protect the Environment, Deter Crime and Defuse Terrorism”. Edition Two has a Foreword by Frances Kendalll and Leon Louw.  The third edition has a foreword by Ron Paul.

I had reviewed the first two editions on my legacy site, here.  The author’s site is here and her publishing company is SunStar Press, in Kalamazoo, MI.

The books (especially the first two) have a much more tutorial style than do mine.  There are many illustrative notes in the columns.   The earlier books were distributed partially by an education company called Pinnacle.

The books also confine themselves to economic and (especially in the latest edition) international non-intervention issues, rather than the “moral” social issues.

However, the terms “non aggression” (a lynchpin of libertarianism) and “compassion” to address the tendency of governments to use force to force individuals to bow to group norms, at some risk to themselves (as in the self-defense issue), or to practice crony capitalism, encouraging established and politically connected businesses to overrun individuals and entrepreneurs.  The Internet has indeed allowed small businesses envisioned by individuals to break out and become powerful (look at Facebook).  Ruwart especially gives many examples of where over-regulation and over-licensing interferes particularly with minority small businesses.

The recent debacle with water supply in Flint, MI (and other communities) illustrates her ideas well.  So do past Jim Crow laws.

(Published: Friday, Feb. 19, 2016, at 12:30 AM into Sat AM EST)