Chatting with Senator Cory Booker

Cory Booker Twitter

I congratulated Senator Cory Booker on his election, and told him we’re counting on him… in my own way.


“Now, we are poor people, individually, we are poor when you compare us with white society in America. We are poor. Never stop and forget that collectively, that means all of us together, collectively we are richer than all the nations in the world, with the exception of nine. Did you ever think about that? After you leave the United States, Soviet Russia, Great Britain, West Germany, France, and I could name the others, the Negro collectively is richer than most nations of the world. We have an annual income of more than thirty billion dollars a year, which is more than all of the exports of the United States, and more than the national budget of Canada. Did you know that? That’s power right there, if we know how to pool it.

We don’t have to argue with anybody. We don’t have to curse and go around acting bad with our words. We don’t need any bricks and bottles, we don’t need any Molotov cocktails, we just need to go around to these stores, and to these massive industries in our country, and say, “God sent us by here, to say to you that you’re not treating his children right. And we’ve come by here to ask you to make the first item on your agenda fair treatment, where God’s children are concerned. Now, if you are not prepared to do that, we do have an agenda that we must follow. And our agenda calls for withdrawing economic support from you.”

–Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking to striking sanitation workers. Full Speech

Of the many challenges Dr. King made to the power structure, I believe this is what terrified them the most. It took down apartheid in South Africa twenty years after his death. Non-violence in the face of hate and brutality is probably the bravest thing I can imagine. Would you step in the ring, knowing you can’t hit back? Most won’t fight even when they can hit back. We still have a long way to go toward reaching Dr. King’s dream of being judged by the content of our character. It may be something beyond human ability, to put aside what our eyes tell us. But this man showed us that in the face of immense power eager to crush you down,  where raising your fist will only give them reason to destroy you, that we still have the power to make their violent means impotent and redirect it against them like a judo throw.



I’m out and about. Last post before BoucherCon.

The good folks at [PANK] interviewed me about my story in their July issue, “We’re All Guys Here.” We talk Chekhovian endings and guns that have to go off.

I am also at Julianna Baggott’s We Represent the 47 Percent blog, where writers put a human face to folks who have used government help. I went to college with assistance from a Pell Grant. My grandparents went on Relief after an accident. My great-uncle Jimmy is in a VA hospital right now. We all paid back the government’s investment in us many times over.


Mind Your Business

The first American coin, the Continental Dollar, was not emblazoned with the motto “In God We Trust.” Nor E Pluribus Unum, the unofficial motto of the 13 original colonies, “One of many, One.”

Treasurer Salmon P. Chase urged that “In God We Trust” be  put on coinage during the Civil War to suggest that God was on the side of the Union, and it was added to our paper currency in 1956 after lobbying by The Fellowship, the group that created the National Prayer Breakfast.

The original coin was labeled with “Fugio,” Latin for “to fly,” and a sundial meaning Time Flies, and more importantly, three words long forgotten from our lexicon:


Do we even know what that means anymore? Everyone’s business is our business now. We watch reality shows, to discuss the petty peeves and peccadilloes of otherwise unaccomplished people. “Mind Your Business” was not a finger-wagging phrase to chide you for nosiness. It stated a simple fact: if you are overly concerned with your neighbors’ business, you cannot adequately mind your own. The penny version, shown below, was designed by Benjamin Franklin, that coiner of aphorisms.

Other writers find me to be prolific. I consider myself rather lazy as a writer. I write one or two times a day, at lunch and after dinner, every day. Sometimes I only eke out 500 words, but I always write something. Where do I find the time? By minding my own business. I don’t care if two women want to get married. Or if some guy wants to hoard guns. Or if a has-been movie star went on a self-destructive rant again. This is not my business. Oh, I have political opinions, and I vote religiously. But unless someone’s basic human rights are being violated, I don’t care what other people do. Some woman wants to have 30 children to serve the Lord? Go right ahead, I’ll even pay taxes for their health care. A guy likes to rock climb and sucks at it, and we have to pay to put him in a cast every six months? Have fun, maybe you’ll write 127 Hours 2: Another 48 Hours.

You want to make snarky comments about someone’s lifestyle choices, cluck your tongues and shake your heads? By all means, have at it. But don’t expect me to take you seriously.

Time flies; do your work.

That’s my two cents… or $1.01, actually. On another note, I collected coins as a kid, until my collection was stolen by movers. I never owned a real Continental coin, they range from thousands to hundreds of thousands. If I am ever shamefully rich, I will buy one of these and keep it in my pocket. 

© 2012 Thomas Pluck
I post on Twitter as TommySalami ~ My Facebook Page

D*cked in a world of sh*t

Some writer friends got together and wrote an anthology of stories inspired by everyone’s favorite snarling political wildebeest, Dick Cheney:

Contributors include Eric Beetner, Jed Ayres, Ken Bruen, Jimmy Callaway, Hilary Davidson, Matthew C. Funk, Keith Rawson, Kieran Shea, and Steve Weddle, and many more. Writers I truly enjoy, and seeing them tackle ol’ Dick will be a blast… of birdshot to the face, of course.

It is available in a nifty print-on-demand copy, which I bought, for $9.99 or on Kindle (link at end of post)

On their blog promoting the book, they asked for 250 word contributions, and I wrote this one on the fly.

A World of Shit
The lawyer showed the lead nurse the writ. “The living will is contested. The feeding tube stays in. And the morphine drip stays out.”
“He’s in nothing but pain. On the edge of consciousness,” she said.
“The family is concerned that the drip could be construed as assisted suicide. On religious grounds, it stays out.”
She nodded, and the lawyer left.
The old man was little but a bag of wrinkles and tubes, a mottled gray octopus with a strip of iodine down his chest from the heart transplant.
A suit with sunglasses and an earpiece sat by the door. Many people hated this man, and he needed protection.
It would be kinder to let someone in with a gun or a knife. Kineesha wished she was stronger, someone who could forget to erase the “Do Not Resuscitate” notation at the foot of the bed. But his daughter’s wishes would be satisfied. Kineesha wiped the board clean, and taped the lawyer’s writ next to it. She added back the demerol, but thinking of her unemployed brother back from Iraq, and his nifty new arm, neglected to notate the laxative that would alleviate the opiate’s constipating effects.
She leaned in and whispered. “I know you can’t hear me over the millions who suffered in your name. Your daughter wants you suffering to the last second, but you’re gonna drown in your own shit because of me.”

© 2011 Thomas Pluck

True Crime

Found at the local Barnes & Noble (look lower right)

© 2010 Tommy Salami

The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

Firecracker and I went to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s Rally this weekend in D.C. Neither of us are very political except for the basic American concept of leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone, but that seems long forgotten these days. I used to collect coins when I was a kid, and one of the first, known as the Fugio Cent, designed by Ben Franklin, read “Mind Your Business” instead of “In God We Trust.” That motto got on the currency after the not-so Civil War. But we don’t mind our business much anymore.

The show had a long warm-up by The Roots, John Legend, and the Mythbusters guys who had us do the wave all the way down the National Mall. It took almost a minute! The park service planned for 150,000 people to be there, and everyone seemed well behaved. There were a few political extremists and wackos on the fringes, but the center where we were consisted of fans and people tired of the hyperbole and news focusing on the fringe wackos. They had many, many guests. The Mall was shoulder to shoulder until a block from the Lincoln Memorial. Sanity defeats wackos, easily.
Yusuf “Cat Stevens” Islam and Ozzy Osbourne played dueling versions of “Peace Train” and “Crazy Train” until the O’Jays came out to play “Love Train” instead. Sam Waterston read a poem meant to inspire fear by Stephen Colbert which was hilarious. Tim Meadows did his P.K. Winsome act, Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow did a duet, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar showed up to show us that we’ve cheered and loved a Muslim, who’s just like any other sports star. New estimates count 215,000 at the rally vs. Glenn Beck’s 96,000… mission accomplished.
Here are my photos from the rally.

Hitler is Hitler… one is enough

Adam Savage of Mythbusters

I love bacon

You’re entitled to your opinion but not your own spelling.

© 2010 Tommy Salami