Sunday, December 2, 2012

PiBoIdMo 2012 is over but Creativity goes on

Tara Lazar's Picture Book Idea Month is officially over but I just can't stop. The original challenge was to come up with 30 ideas for a children's picture for every day in November. I did it. I actually hit #30 on Nov 26. I ended with 39 separate and unique ideas.

Now the real work begins. Over the next year I will take those ideas, sift through them,(okay all aren't gems) and work to actually publishing the best. And I think I have a few that might work.

In some ways this was more difficult than NaNoWriMo. There the challenge is 30 days and 50,000 words. But also there the goal is speed writing and quantity. You can be, and probably are, writing the worst piece of crap in the world, but if you the amount then you win. Here you are actively pursuing quality ideas. If you wanted just quantity you could complete PiBoIdMo in about an hour. But as the ideas came I sifted, thought about each one, judged it on first impressions alone, really what an agent or publisher would do if I sent these on

But the best thing about doing PiBoIdMo was the feeling of creativity I had all month. I was on the look out for ideas everywhere, in the shower (hard to take notes), walking the dog (I'd repeat my idea over and over in my mind until we got home, at work (taking out my notebook when no one was looking as an idea popped into my head during a complex wall detail), you name it, I thought it. And the ideas came to me. 

And I'm not stopping now. I've got a new notebook with Tootle on the cover. I'm filling this sucka up. I'll let you know my progress.

Thanks for reading me.

Monday, October 29, 2012

November is PiBoIdMo!

Greetings, citizens.

November is challenge month. And I'm up to another one.

A few years ago I tried NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writers Month challenge. Thirty days = 50,000 words. I was successful. It wasn't easy, but it worked. I believe what helped me the most at that time was I was traveling a lot to Tampa on business. Instead of reading on the flight I wrote. It mostly worked. (Other than interested row mates on the plane and making one young woman cry when I told her my story.)

Unfortunately my novel still sits waiting for me to complete it, for in NaNoWriMo the goal is speed and not quality. Someday I will. Laurie hopes it is soon.

Children's writer Tara Lazar a few years ago began something similar. She calls it PiBoIdMo or Picture Book Idea Month. Thirty days = 30 ideas for a children's picture book. The key here is that they are ideas not fleshed out publisher ready manuscripts. After the month there should be some good ones in there that might be worthwhile pursuing.

And wouldn't a published picture book be awesome.

Yes it would!

I have ideas bubbling, frothing, popping, trampling over each other trying to get out. November is almost here. Bring it on. PiBoIdMo, I'm ready for you. (Check out the cool badge on the right.)

Check out Tara's website at

Wednesday is Halloween! Yeah! If you want a great read check out my middle grade novel, "Dr Zombie Lives Next Door." Go to Amazon or click on the link on the right.
Or my short story "The Wrong Side of the Rainbow" currently in the October edition of Stupefying Stories!

As always, thanks for reading me.

Monday, October 8, 2012

"In Your Eyes" live

On Sept 25 I had the great pleasure of seeing one of my musical idols in concert, Peter Gabriel. It was amazing. It lived up to every expectation I had and surpassed it. I am still in awe.

While it doesn't do the experience true justice Peter posted this link on his Facebook of "In Your Eyes" from the Hollywood Bowl concert. Here he did have a little help from John Cusack.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Stupefying Stories and I'm one of them!

This just in! The adventures of the ultimate detective team, Ramses II and Bernie Clayberg, have officially begun. "The Wrong Side of the Rainbow" was published today in Stupefying Stories: October 2012.

It's their Halloween Edition! Check it out! Only $1.99 on Amazon. (currently only for Kindle, but more editions coming soon)

Monday, August 13, 2012

"Agenda 22" wins at NECON Ebooks

Friday night my wife, Laurie, and I returned from a week in Door County, WI. We had a fantastic time hiking, kayaking, climbing to the top of a lighthouse, sailing, eating wonderful meals, and just relaxing. It was well timed break and we both returned feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and a bit overwhelmed right now.

In my inbox was a note from Matt Bechtel at NECON Ebooks. He wrote, "In the spirit of the Summer Olympics, welcome back to the medal stand!" My story "Agenda 22" was one of this month's winners.

The theme for July was Trending Now. I had just finished reading an article about recent Tea Party protests in certain southern states against any bill or law with the word "sustainable" in it. This latest conspiracy theory is gaining real steam. It cries doom and gloom over the UN's Agenda 21, a nonbinding set of proposals to make the world more green and "sustainable." These proposals were written in 1992 and supported by then President George Bush the First. Now as President Obama supports them these proposals are a threat to our freedom.

"It all starts with bike lanes. Next they take away our private property and make us live in penitentiary style housing."

Here's my  take (in the usual 100 words or less) on the real conspiracy. These stories will be up for the month of August.

As always, thanks for reading me.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

New Story Online! "Godzilla Takes A Vacation"

Just up to today is my latest tiny gem for NECON Ebooks.

My regular readers will know the name of online publishing house, NECON Ebooks. They host a monthly writing contest where they post a theme and you have 100 words with which to tell your story. Each month it's different. Each month it's fast, it's fun, and challenging. The winners are published online and stay up until the next contest winners are announced.

I have landed a place on their website a number of times now. So much so it seems I'm almost becoming a fixture there. Check out how Matt Bechtel, Production Manager for NECON Ebooks, began his email to tell me I was awarded an Honorable Mention in this month's contest.
Some constants in life are reassuring ... you know, like the sun rising in the east, setting in the west, and the quality of your submissions ...  :-)
Now that will certainly put a smile on your face in the middle of the day. They like me, they really like me. Now if they were only a paying market.... but that's asking a lot for 100 words.

Check out the winners of this month's theme, Classic Movie Monsters, and my favorite "Godzilla Takes A Vacation". Come on, you had to know I'd write about my favorite actor. It's at for the month of July.

And while your there, check out their ebook "Best of 2011 Flash Fiction Anthology". Only $2.99. You'll be surprised at the depth and variety 100 words can bring.... with a little imagination. I've got a few in there as well.

Before you go, leave a comment below and tell me your favorite movie monster. I'll see how it stacks up against my guy. I'm not saying you can convince me but you can try.

Thanks for reading me.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bucket Lists are always a Work in Progress

Recently my wife Laurie came to me and said it was time that we each made our bucket lists. A bucket list, for the uninformed, is a list of things a person wants to see or do before they die. I thought it was a rather strange request. I felt fine. I'm only 57 (am I really that old now?) Did she know something that she wasn't telling me? What was going on here?

She stopped me the other night and rattled off a number of items, most of which I already knew. Then she waited. "I haven't started." She moved on, slightly disappointed that I was taking this seriously.

So one day at lunch I opened the Notes app on my iPhone, thumbed in "Bucket List", and began. Right now it's a short list but that will change as my life changes. Bucket Lists are fluid creations. Hopefully I'll be able to cross some things off as time goes on.

It turns out my list was over run with places I'd like to see such as Washington DC, Ireland, a rocket launch at Cape Canaveral, Roswell/Area 51, and Italy (that's really tops on Laurie's list but it made my list too because I want to give it to her).
There's the hot air balloon ride and the road trip down Route 66 (before it disappears and is forgotten) in a convertible preferably red.
There are events that made the list perhaps because they are topical right now. Attending the Olympics (preferably the winter ones as I enjoy watching those the most) and attending the San Diego Comic-Con, the United States' largest tribute to the excesses of pop culture especially movies, comics, toys, you name it and for 4 days the strangest place on Earth.
Musically I do get to cross one name off the list. In September Laurie and I will travel to Chicago and see Peter Gabriel in concert. I .am very excited about that
Of course, finally, there are the two big ones. Selling a real book, one that people actually read and enjoy, and eventually earning enough to retire.

I sat back and looked over what I had typed. Then it hit me. I realized the reason Laurie brought this all up was that just a few days ago she got to cross something off of her list. I guess she had to make the list first before she could cross it off.

What's on your Bucket List? Leave me a comment.
And as always, thanks for reading me.....

Monday, June 25, 2012

Gone, But Not Forgotten

Hello again.

Yes, I'm still here. I'd like to say that I had spent the last month on the International Space Station observing the Earth below. Or maybe swimming the Amazon River. Or meeting with President Obama? Or bowling a perfect game. (Wait, bowling? No. How did that get in there?)

The truth is that none of those happened. I was distracted. The beginning of summer, the wedding of our nephew, just enjoying our grandson. I have been writing and have sent off a couple of stories. One I'm especially proud of and hope to have news soon.

But in the meantime, to hold you over until I get this thing up to speed again, I have a few curiosities for you to peruse.

Time lapsed photography from the ISS

Don Petit is an amazing astronaut. He has a blog that is simply put, wonderful. When he is not talking science in a straight forward fashion and in no way condescending. He writes simple, clear, and is always fascinating. But what makes Mr Petit so special is that at times he slips in some poetry he has written or experiments with photography. The above photo is part of a set of time lapse photos that are so beautiful they are literally breath taking.

The photos are here:

His blog is here:

The Amazon

Martin Strel is crazy. In 2007 he became the first person to swim the length of the Amazon River. He fought parasites, sickness, and even his own hallucinations. His journey is captured in the documentary Big River Man. I recommend it. It will scare you in ways you had not anticipated. And it's all true......

An interview with the man:,8599,1920907,00.html

The documentary:

President Obama

Vote for him. 'Nuff said there.

The Grandson

He's got the Right Stuff.

Til next, which will be much sooner, I promise.
And as always, thank you for reading me.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Success! "The Wrong Side of the Rainbow" accepted!

Many know the story so far. I originally wrote "The Wrong Side of the Rainbow", a detective story featuring Ramses II and Bernie Clayberg for an anthology that was to be published by The Library of Horror Press. Last year in a surprise move they decided to kill all of their anthologies and concentrate solely on novels. All rights were released back to the authors.

I was very disappointed at the time. I love these two characters. Ramses II, a centuries old pharaoh and self-made living god now mummy, and Bernie Clayberg, a golem made by a team of artisans and mystics. Together they solve mysteries for MCSI, Mythical Crime Scene Investigations. Theirs is a world were mythology sidesteps into ours, the two coexisting, mixing, and oft time clashing. Whenever there is a crime involving mythics, MCSI is called in.

The search for a new publisher began anew. Yesterday it ended. The wonderfully named Rampant Loon Press has happily accepted "The Wrong Side of the Rainbow" and it will appear in a future volume of the ongoing series anthology Stupefying Stories. Ramses and Bernie live!

And this may be just the beginning. When I thanked them and said I had planned a series of stories, perhaps a novel based on these characters, Bruce Bethke, editor of Stupefying Stories, said to send them his way.

I'll be sure to post when "The Wrong Side of the Rainbow" will appear, but in the meantime check out Stupefying Stories and show them some love. And as always, thanks for reading me.

Monday, May 14, 2012

When Superheroes Are An Architect's Best Friend

Ah, the summer disaster movie season is upon us. According to the latest box office reports I just may one of the few people in the entire world who has still has a pulse and has not yet seen "The Avengers". Let me clarify quickly that I plan to. I've been a Joss Whedon fan since Firefly which I regard as possibly the best sci fi series ever. My Star Trek fans are crying "Sacrilege!" But then he created the world of Dr Horrible. So I know "The Avengers" is good, and I will get there. Just not right now.

But I'm getting off track. Again. (Look! A puppy!)

One element that every big blockbuster action flick has is the major climactic battle between the forces of good and the evil forces of evil. "The Avengers" does not disappoint in this. Or so I'm told. In every article, or from every person I talk to. In this motion picture a good portion of New York City is destroyed. But that is just a small price in order to save the world. Or is it?

Last week The Hollywood Reporter asked that very question. They turned to a noted disaster assessment company, Kinetic Analysis Corp, to determine what exactly was the cost of the damage inflicted upon the city during the fight to save it. Their determination? $160 billion.
For context, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks cost $83 billion, Hurricane Katrina cost $90 billion, and the tsunami in Japan last year washed away $122 billion.

Is it worth the price? I think so. I love New York, have visited there a number of times. It is vital to the strength of this country, financially and culturally. Plus I have some very good friends that live and work in the area. They alone are worth that to me.

Professionally a city with that much destruction to its buildings and infrastructure, given that the $160 billion could be found, would be a dream for architects and contractors. Think of all the work! And could we use it. According to the New York Times architecture as a profession is suffering one of the highest unemployment rates of any professional service in the country.  $160 billion would turn that around in an instant.

Where's an evil alien invasion when you need one?

(The Hollywood Reporter article and Kinetic Analysis Corp report can be read here:

I wrote a short story on the theme of monster aftermath for an unfortunately defunct-before-it-was-published anthology. The story is called "Clean Up On Seventh Avenue" and features the brave men and women of MIS Disposal. It was bought, ready for print, and then the rug was pulled out from the anthology entirely. The whole mess was detailed in earlier posts on this blog.  "Clean Up On Seventh Avenue"  is now being considered by another publisher. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

To Really Know Your Characters Kill Them Off

As some of you know, and I wish more of you did and were of the purchasing kind, I like to write. I have a number of published stories, had an agent, a wine label, and even self-published an ebook, my novel for middle aged readers "Dr Zombie Lives Next Door." (Now only 99 cents.) If you follow this blog you've heard about every one of those and you'll hear every hit on my rocky road to success. I promise. Why do you think I have this blog?

But as I'm still novice, at least that's how I look at myself until I get that big time publishing contract, I am continually on the lookout for tips and tricks of the trade. I haven't found the magic formula. But I might have something that will help.

Today let's talk about characterization. How do you create a really moving and deep character for your story or novel? Stick with me and you'll learn a unique and quirky way that just might be the key.

There are hundreds of ways to develop a strong character. If you've read the magazines and books, attended the conferences, and watched the webinars, they all tell you to write your characters biography. Get to know them. Where were they born? What was their family life like? Do they have any talents? Would make anything? And on and on. I have a list of over 50 questions that I've gathered from numerous sites and classes. If you'd like to see it, drop me a line and I'll send it to you.

But everybody does it that way. What if you bored or tired of doing it that way? Want to try something new?

A few days ago I got an email from AARP, their daily news digest. (Yes, I'm a member and have been for 7 years. Do the math.) An article caught my attention. It was called "The Do-It-Yourself Obituary" by Elaine Appleton Grant.
 "When you die, what will your obituary say? Leave it to others and you might get boilerplate: cause of death, biography, survivors and where to send donations. Wouldn’t you rather have your life story told the way you’d like it?"
The basis of the article is simple. Large numbers of narcissistic Boomers can't leave their memory to chance, so they are taking care of their obituary themselves. The author of the article tells how they are doing it.

Some are hiring professional obit writers. Some are writing it themselves. They are taking classes, yes, classes in writing your own obituary.

There are even kits. The article talks about Obitkit. One workbook is $20 but if you buy 10 you get one free. Wow. The only people that might need 21 obituaries are Doctor Who or the members of an apocalyptic cult. (How fast can you write after drinking the Kool-Ade?)

All of this got me thinking. Yes, it does happen. I can apply this to my writing. Instead of writing a biography of a potential character, what if I write their obituary? I'm not talking the daily newspaper variety which gives you only a couple of brief paragraphs. That's fine for minor background characters. For your main guys and gals I'm talking the New York Times variety, feature article stuff.  It has all the pieces required of a good bio, a brief life story, survivors, with the addition of what other characters might have thought of the character.

One of the truest notion of a quality life, or lack of in some cases, is how we'll be remembered by others. Why else would so many people be wanting to write their obituary themselves? Is it to help those left behind or an attempt to rewrite history?

An obit also tells how they die. That tells a lot about a character. Is it at a ripe old age? Or is fast and young? Is it violent or from sickness? Was it expected? Don't be afraid if your character's death is a surprise in the story. Go ahead and write that obit. You know how they'll die anyway. It's no surprise to you.

Give it a try. It's a great writing exercise. Instead of writing a stogy biography, write a front page article. Have fun with it.

And if you get carried away you can join the team and write your own. Maybe buy an Obitkit. There's only one thing to remember, the Obitkit doesn't come with and that's a guarantee that your loved ones will actually use what you've written.

I'll read you later. adios

UPDATE: After posting I realized this was my 100th post on this blog. Thank you to everyone who has supported me and remember: Keep reading. It makes your brain juicy.

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Merry (or Lusty) Month of May

Tomorrow begins May! And I just want to sing! But which song? The merry merry month of May according to Stephen Foster. Or if you prefer the lusty month of May as according to Lerner and Loewe (from their musical, Camelot). I know which I prefer. Either way May is an interesting and mixed up month, and my singing would just mix it up even more.

It's a month of opposites. It starts off cool and often wet as it is right now, to end hot and steamy as the beginning of summer races in on Memorial Day. It's National Hamburger Month AND National Salad Month. It's Foster Care Month AND Older Americans Month. Maybe that explains with it's National Blood Pressure Month.

But it's also is National BBQ Month. Yum! Next to pizza it's one of my favorite foods yet my home town is seriously devoid in great BBQ. What is it about Madison, WI that great barbecue restaurants never last? Maybe I should clarify that slightly. Why is it great BBQ restaurants never last on the West Side of Madison, close to my house?

The Capital seems to be the great divide. On the East Side there is Smoky Jon's , a favorite hole in the wall, mainly carryout, near the airport. It's well worth the trip but yet I rarely make it. There are also the chains like Fat Jack's. Downtown there is Brickhouse BBQ, a chain as well and fine, not great but it's more of a campus bar. There's a Famous Dave's on Park St and it's fine too.

Here on the West Side a number of BBQ establishments have tried and all eventually failed as today there are none.


The Best BBQ I ever had...
was in Memphis at The Rendezvous. Amazing ribs, so tender, so moist, I can see them flaking off the bone. [Damn, I'm drooling on my new laptop!] I am told that when Bill Cosby was doing his tv show he would fly in their ribs once a week for cast and crew. That the Rolling Stones would request their ribs when performing within the area. The Rendezvous even does mail order. Packed in dry ice they are flown overnight to wherever you want, but at $99 for 2 racks of ribs I'll have to wait a bit more. Maybe when I get rich and famous I'll fly some in for a book party. I just have to sell more than a dozen copies first.

What was your favorite BBQ ever?

Beside BBQ there's a lot happening in May. Here's a few of my favorites:

1 Mother Goose Day
3 Lumpy Rug Day
4 International Tuba Day and National Candied Orange Peel Day
6 No Diet Day (here we come Gigi's Cupcakes!)
8 No Socks Day (I'll really looking forward to this day because it must be pretty wild because the next day is...)
9 Lost Sock Memorial Day 
11 Eat What You Want Day (here we come Gigi's Cupcakes!)
12 Limerick Day (dedicated to that talented Lady from Nantucket)
15 National Chocolate Chip Day (here we come Gigi's Cupcakes!)
16 National Sea Monkey Day (
20 Be a Millionaire Day
23 Lucky Penny Day (maybe that's how you get to be a millionaire?)
27 Sun Screen Day (I hear the parade is fascinating)
29 Learn About Composting Day (the jokes here are all too obvious)
31 National Macaroon Day (here we come Gigi's Cupcakes!)

Now you'd better run away because I feel like SINGING  >>>>>>

Tra la! It's May
The lusty month of May!
That lovely month when everyone goes
Blissfully astray.
Tra la! It's here!
That shocking time of year
When tons of wicked little thoughts
Merrily appear!
It's May! It's May!
That gorgeous holiday
When ev'ry maiden prays that her lad
Will be a cad!
It's mad! It's gay!
A libelous display!
Those dreary vows that ev'ryone takes,
Ev'ryone breaks.
Ev'ryone makes divine mistakes
The lusty month of May!

(from The Lusty Month of May from Camelot)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Does Watching TCM Make Me... Republican?

Everywhere we look on the Internet, everywhere we buy something with a credit or debit card, everywhere we look someone somewhere is collecting that data. In a world of electronic convenience and quick and easy payments we are being targeted more specifically than ever before. Amazon recommends items for us based on past purchases, Google provides answers to our searches that it thinks we'll be most interested in based on past searches, our phone rings with electronic messages from candidates based on past contributions.

It's all getting too much.

An article in today's New York Times, "Let the Nanotargeting Begin", is a frightening display of just how specific this data collection has become, targeting specific groups, very specific groups that might swing more Democrat or Republican. Check out some of the charts. Many stereotypes are confirmed. But there are just as many surprises.

The first chart concerns information and entertainment. Democrats like The New York Times, MSNBC, and Comedy Central. Republicans like Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and the Golf Channel. But it gets more interesting toward the middle. Can you guess the great unifier, the ultimate bipartisan television station? It's HGTV. I guess House Hunters International carries across the aisle.

Now let's look at it another way. Add if they vote regularly or not and the mix changes a bit. Democrats that rarely vote like to watch VH1, while big turnout voters like CNN. Republicans that stay home on election day are probably watching CMT, while steady voters like TCM. Now this just surprises me to no end. Turner Classic Movies is my favorite channel. But I'll never turn. Maybe it's because they show Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead?

Apart from our differences, maybe it's the similarities that surprises me the most. Democrats and Republicans alike both enjoy Cadillacs, Wendys, looking on the internet for movie listings, and the biggest surprise to me, while Democrats favor Budweiser and Republicans favor Miller Lite both prefer a nice pint of Guinness. Maybe the best thing we can do to settle things down in Washington DC is to tap a keg, send the pages out for some Wendy's burgers, and watch House Hunters International together. Maybe if we concentrate on our similarities the differences won't matter that much. Let's start with the biggest one and work up from there. Number One: We are all Americans.

Now I'm off to get another pint.

Another selfish attempt at coercion: While you're here, please click on one of my sponsors. Every penny helps and I'm getting closer to my goal every day. 
And most importantly: Thanks for reading me!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Kurt Vonnegut is in Heaven

If there is one thing I wish you all have the opportunity todo it is to meet your idol, or at the very least see them and hear them speakin person. I'm not talking about this week's musical "phenomenon" orlast week's winner of the big game. Those people are here one day and gone thenext, only to live forever as the answer to a trivia question or in the back pagesof an out of date record book. I'm also not talking about your loved ones, yourspouse, partner, or friends. True, they can and often are heroes in your life,but you interact with them every day, you are on familiar terms,you need and expect their support.

No, I'm talking about that one person outside of your circlethat may have influenced you deep inside, that made you think about things youhadn't before, that may have shown what was bad and what was good with theworld, that may have lifted up an ideal of something you wanted to aspire to.It may have been a teacher, a coach, an author, an artist, or, yes, I can thinkof a few, a musician. Whomever they may be knowing about them and what they didfilled you with such respect and awe that you said to yourself, "I want todo that. I want to be like them."

Last summer my son, Shaun, had the opportunity to see,listen to, and even meet for a few brief moments his idol, the author TerryPratchett.It was at NADWCON 2011 and it was great fun. I've written about it earlier in this blog. I won't do it again here. Just know I will never forget Shaun's face during that weekend.

I never got to meet Kurt Vonnegut but I did hear him speak. He came to the UW campus in 2003. The lecture was free and Union Theater was filled to capacity that night. My wife, Laurie, expressed some curiosity and came along. We found seats in the balcony in the middle of hundreds of college students. I found this encouraging that not only did they know him but were reading him as well. It was in college I first discovered him as well. It was wonderful to see that same appeal in the students around us.

It was noisy in the balcony. You might have thought we were waiting to see a rock star rather than an author. Then the lights dimmed and everyone got very quiet. I held my breath, and Kurt Vonnegut walked out on stage. There he was, a man, an author, who had spoken to me through his work for over 30 years. He did exist. He was real.

He walked to the edge of the stage, looked out over the audience, and said, "Wisconsin. Huh? I thought there'd be more blondes." And he smiled.

With that single comment he won over everyone in the house that night, devotees and skeptics, even my wife. We were in for an unforgettable evening. I still have the program from that night.

In looking for pictures for this post I stumble across something magnificent. It was an article Mr Vonnegut (what do you call your hero? I can't call him just Kurt) wrote for In These Times the day after he gave that speech in Madison. It contains a partial transcript of what he said the night we saw him. Reading it over I can picture so clearly again. It is here:

Amazing luck to find that today. Or was it luck?

Five years ago today he passed away. It bothered me a great deal then, and still does. Your heroes aren't supposed to die, they aren't supposed to be mortal just like me, they are above that. I miss his writing, his voice, his understanding, his anger. I believe reading his work, fiction and non-fiction, has made me a better writer and perhaps a better person.

In his talk in Madison he explained what it meant to be a Humanist and told us the funniest joke he knows.
"I am honorary president of the American Humanist Association, having succeeded the late, great science fiction writer Isaac Asimov in that functionless capacity. We Humanists try to behave well without any expectation of rewards or punishments in an afterlife. We serve as best we can the only abstraction with which we have any real familiarity, which is our community.
We had a memorial services for Isaac a few years back, and at one point I said, ''Isaac is up in Heaven now.'' It was the funniest thing I could have said to a group of Humanists. I rolled them in the aisles. It was several minutes before order could be restored. And if I should ever die, God forbid, I hope you will say, ''Kurt is up in Heaven now.'' That’s my favorite joke."
 Kurt Vonnegut is in Heaven. It's selfish but I wish he was still here.