Release the Virgins!

Okay, time for a commercial break.

Announcing a kickstarter campaign for a new anthology (edited by me!) where the only requirement is that each story must contain the line “release the virgins” somewhere within. We have commitments so far from award-winning authors David Gerrold, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Jody Lynn Nye, Allen Steele, Steve Miller, Sharon Lee, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Gail Z. Martin, Cecilia Tan, Patrick Thomas, Shariann Lewitt, Alex Shvartsman, Hildy Silverman, and Daniel M. Kimmel. More will be added (especially if we raise enough from the kickstarter).

Pledge and reserve your book today (and/or get other goodies)!:…/667435382/release-the-virgins

I was wrong about medical marijuana

I’ve always been a skeptic and a cynic, so when I saw all the people saying marijuana was a miracle drug, I didn’t believe them — especially when they’d make outrageous claims like it cures cancer. (It doesn’t.)

I just assumed it helped with pain in the same way drinking enough wine kills the pain, and that people who wanted medical marijuana were just looking for excuses to use it legally.

Mind you, I always thought (and still do think) that marijuana should be legal for recreational use anyway. I just didn’t believe all the hype.


Now let me tell you about my wife, award-winning artist Heidi Hooper. Heidi studied metalsmithing for her Master’s Degree and taught courses at the Massachusetts College of Art. Her work was shown in galleries all over the country.

Then she got a cancerous tumor that ate away her right arm muscle. After years of operations and radiation treatments, they saved her arm but the muscle was removed completely and in order to keep the bone from being exposed, they took a muscle out of her back and laid it over her arm, just for protection. She doesn’t feel a thing on that flap of skin, but for a dozen years or so now, she has been in constant pain overall and has to get into a lymphedema machine every once in a while or her arm swells up and we have to rush her to the hospital.

Since the operation, they’ve had her on gabapentin which deadens the nerves. It still doesn’t help when the weather is bad or when she uses her arm too much. She’d often have to drink wine or rum on top of it just to kill it enough to get some sleep at night.

However, she refused to give up her artwork and eventually found her niche with dryer lint art. She’s won awards for it, sells it for thousands of dollars, has it in galleries, and is in Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museums (and their books). She’ll be a guest on a network TV show soon but we’re not allowed to talk about it yet.


Here she is with Mel Brooks on that show I can’t tell you about yet

But here’s the thing: Medical marijuana is now legal in Pennsylvania, and if anyone is eligible for it, it’s someone like her. The doctor put her on marinol pills and then she has a vape that she uses when the pain is really bad. They weaned her off the gabapentin and there were a few weeks of withdrawal where she did little but lie in bed because she said she felt like she had the constant flu.

The withdrawal symptoms have subsided but not left completely, but the amazing thing is how well the marijuana is working without making her feel high. As someone explained to me, when you’re at -5, it raises you to zero so you feel normal. And that’s what she says — she hasn’t felt this “normal” in years.

Even better, she’s thinking clearer, as if a cloud has lifted. “I used to lose my train of thought in the middle of a sentence, or walk into a room and not remember why I did so. It’s so great to be able to be aware and clear.”

I know, I know, that goes against the pot cliche, but it’s true — and compared to the other medication she was on, it’s practically a miracle.

So I’m a convert. I was wrong. It doesn’t just make you high to the point where it kills the pain. It really works.

Now let’s hope the Governor can convince the legislature to legalize it. Although her marinol pills are covered by insurance, the vape is not and it’s expensive!

(Coincidentally, I’m traveling to Colorado tomorrow for a business meeting. No, seriously. Pure coincidence.)

(Plug:  If you want to support Heidi and encourage her after all she’s been through, why not become a patron of her art? Even a dollar a month means a lot to her!)


This is 3 feet by 4 feet and made entirely out of dryer lint

The difference between the bar and the bakery

What’s the difference between that bar that was allowed to kick out someone wearing a Trump hat and a baker not baking a cake for a gay couple?

Well, for one thing, the bar isn’t just selling items like a baker is. A bar is a place where you stay and drink and possibly cause arguments and fights. It’s more like a club, where they can have a doorman who decides who gets in (as long as it doesn’t violate protected classes like race and sex).hate hat

This guy went there looking for a fight, according to witnesses. It was just after the election and out of the thousands of places to go in Manhattan, he went to a gay bar where he knew he would be unwelcome and sure enough, caused a scene. In other words, it’s less about the hat and more about whether a bar can kick out someone who will clearly be disruptive.

A store or a bakery is completely different. There’s no reason to stop someone wearing a Trump hat from going into a Target. However, if you go into a cake store and start arguing with the people there and causing a scene, they can ask you to leave, too.

Further, the baker who refused to bake a cake for the gay couple was not discriminating against the gay couple for anything political the couple had said. The couple was not causing a scene. The couple simply wanted the same product that the baker would sell to a straight couple. That’s the very definition of prohibited discrimination, and is the same thing as saying to a black person that you won’t serve them at the lunch counter.

Discriminating on the basis of political speech is not the same as discriminating on the basis of prohibited categories such as race or sex or sexual orientation. You chose to have that speech and to do it publicly.

And “symbolic speech” is treated the same as actual speech. Think of it this way:

If someone walks into a gay bar and loudly say “I am against everything gay people stand for and want to take away all your rights, you terrible people” would you have the right to kick that person out?

If they’re wearing a t-shirt that says it, how about then?

What about a hat that pretty much says the same thing?

Just because you’re not speaking it out loud doesn’t mean you’re not conveying your hate. A hat like that in a bar like that is pretty much the same as going to a women’s rights meeting wearing a shirt that says “Bitch, make my sandwich.” You’re there to antagonize.

This guy was there to cause a scene, make a name for himself, file a lawsuit, and get popular on Fox News.  And it worked! He’s suddenly a hero to those people who think it’s perfectly fine to be an asshole to others and face no consequences.