Sunday, January 11, 2015

Whitewashing Outrage

Seems that Dreamworks studios is headed up by a bunch of gasbags who ignore writers and original material. Not to mention the fact that what they're doing is offensive, racist, and outrageous.

In an effort to make money, the studio thinks it's okay to cast Scarlett Johansson in their upcoming flick "Ghost in the Shell" -- not just in any role but in the role of an Asian woman, the protagonist of the series, Major Motoko Kusanagi in the Masamune Shirow mega manga hit set in a Japanese city in some future era.

Fans are, of course, upset. But the oh so liberal and reliably PC Hollywood crowd is silent. Crickets. Nothing but crickets.

This is nothing new as many flicks which came from original Asian American material use caucasian actors instead of following the author's intent.

This guts material in a way that is not just offensive in political terms but also in artistic and cultural ways.

The Media Action Network for Asian Americans ( has a few things to say about this and we should chime in, too.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Crimes on Latimer

The new book is here and available:

Before he dealt with that Murder On Camac.
Before he found A Body On Pine.
Marco Fontana was investigating Crimes On Latimer.

Six of Fontana’s early cases show some of the forces that helped shape the young P.I. In high school, Fontana discovers he has a knack for crime solving. Not only that, he likes it. When his English teacher is accused of murdering the school disciplinarian, Marco takes it upon himself to investigate. Some years later, after having explored his options, we find Marco in his first office on Latimer and Twelfth. Trouble easily finds him there. From dealing with a stolen DaVinci sketch, to uncovering a blackmailing murderer, to having a trip to celebrate Pride in NY turned into a nightmare, to presiding over a murderous leather competition, Marco develops his investigative skills and techniques for solving difficult cases. Crimes on Latimer presents just six of Fontana’s early cases. There are other mysteries in his past which will be explored in cases to come. These tales open a window onto Marco Fontana's world before he found himself dealing with Murder on Camac.

You can find it at Amazon

or Barnes & Noble

And others.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I've experience earthquakes twice before here in Philly. Both quite some time ago. One woke me in the middle of the night. I thought someone had rammed a truck into the side of my house. I noted the time because I felt it had to have been a quake. The next morning, I listened to the news and sure enough it had been.

This afternoon, as I sat on the sofa reading, my building began to bounce and sway. That's right bounce! I was bounced off the sofa. Twice. I saw things in the apartment swaying back and forth, dishes rattled. And the whole building felt as if it were moving.

For some reason, the idea of an earthquake didn't occur to me this time. I thought maybe the building was shuddering prior to collapse. So, I put on some shoes, grabbed my flash drives, took my bag with notebooks and glasses, and left as fast as I could.

I live on a very high floor in one of the taller buildings in the city. I wasn't about to take chances.

WHen I got to the ground floor, everything was chaos. People all over the lace. The building manager told me there'd been an earthquake. A big one in Virginia.

I left the building and the streets were packed with people. All the surrounding buildings had evacuated. People stood all about trying to get through to others on their cell phones. I did the same things and at first got no signal. But finally got through but only to some of those I wanted to contact.

I headed for a nearby cafe to sit and write and think and as I walked couldn't help but look up at the tall buildings all around. I wondered what would happen when the aftershocks came.

For the first time, I think I experienced what people in earthquake zones must feel. My sense of security in the safety of things was shaken. Just as the quake had rumbled through my building, it had also temporarily rattled my sense of security.

It's taking time for it to return.

Sunday, May 01, 2011


The next installment in the Marco Fontana series is launched and available in paper and e-book formats.

Here's a little teaser:

When Marco Fontana enters his friend's spa on Pine, he doesn't find the peaceful retreat he expected. Brad, the masseur, is missing. The spa is splattered with blood and a dead client lies sprawled on the floor. After a thorough search turns up more questions than answers, Marco calls the police. They find Brad's body a short distance from the spa and before long Marco understands that what appears to be a simple case of murder is anything but. The police want Marco off the case. However, when the body of a popular journalist is added to the death toll, Brad's case gets sidelined. Marco refuses to allow his friend's death to be ignored and convinces an overwhelmed young police detective to bring Marco into the hunt for the killer. He finds plenty to keep him busy. Abusive ex-boyfriends, stalker clients, politicians, scheming businessmen, and Eastern European mobsters swirl together in a dangerous mix which finds Marco in some of the most serious trouble he's encountered so far. Life at home doesn't stop for Marco, either. While he searches for Brad's killer, Marco's stripper troupe, StripGuyz, brings him face to face with a stripper's abusive boyfriend and, with Jean-Claude, a new member of the troupe who innocently comes between Marco and Anton, upsetting the fragile balance existing between them.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Murder on Camac is here!

My new book: Murder on Camac, published by Lethe Press is available now.

In Philly visit Giovanni's Room where they will have copies on hand.

Murder on Camac

Gunned down in the street, author Helmut Brandt’s life ebbs away and puts a chain of events in motion placing P.I. Marco Fontana on a collision course with Church and community.

Brandt’s research into the decades old death of Pope John Paul the First made him serious enemies within the Catholic Church. As Fontana digs into the case, he finds Brandt also had rivals in his work and in his love life. Rivals with motives for murder.

Dueling with the Catholic hierarchy and combing through seedy gay hangouts, Fontana encounters dangerous characters and powerful forces intent on stopping him.

When Fontana himself is attacked, he knows he must find answers before any more lives are lost. The web of intrigue and deceit is intricate, tangled, and deadly.

Will the solution uncover a decades old plot to kill a pope or will Fontana find that jealous rage or academic rivalry caused Brandt’s death? The only thing Fontana can be certain of is that Brandt's enemies have killed once and won't hesitate to murder a private eye who gets too close to the truth.

Fontana deftly balances his work as a P.I. with his position as owner of StripGuyz, a troupe of male strippers; he must also negotiate the intricacies of love and relationships which he has been avoiding all too long.

Along with Anton and Luke, Olga his secretary, a host of male strippers, and other denizens of his world, Fontana manages to navigate his way to a surprising conclusion.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

FOXX is a Bigot

See, Rep. Virginia Foxx from North Carolina is a perfect example of why the Republican Party finds itself in the declining position it's in.

During the debate on the bill to extend coverage of the US Hate Crimes statutes, Ms. Foxx said that the idea that Matthew Shepherd was murdered because he was gay was a hoax. A hoax!

And now she's in hiding, ducking the press and voters, refusing to explain her idiotic statement. And she certainly doesn't want to apologize for it -- although she issued one of the more lame apologies; said her office in a statement:

“The term ‘hoax’ was a poor choice of words used in the discussion of the hate-crimes bill. Mr. Shepard’s death was nothing less than a tragedy, and those responsible for his death certainly deserved the punishment they received.”

Is that some apology or what?

And why does this otherwise tough-talking, filled-with-bravado woman refuse to deliver her statement in person? She certainly wasn't ashamed to make her original statement in person on the floor of the House.

This is why Republicans have garnered the hateful reputation they have -- if they'd stick to their financial issues, their less spending, smaller government talk, they might have a bigger following.

But they also embrace the Hate -- and do they hate. Anything that comes down the pike that might get them a few votes from haters such as themselves. But that isn't any longer a large group of people.

And neither are Republicans.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Battlestar Galactica

Watched the series finale of Battlestar Galactica Friday night and it was mostly wonderful. I say mostly because there were some flaws but not serious ones. With one exception.

Why didn't Gaius Baltar, that sleazy, traitorous, slimeball get what was coming to him? Why wasn't he shattered like the rotten-to-the-core creep that he was? On the other hand, I've come to think that maybe Baltar is the personification of evil -- oily, destructive, and without a good intention in his being. And there he is at the end, ready to destroy all that humans have built, again. ANd just like evil, he's there and never leaves. Stilll, I'd like to have seen him get his.

Jennifer Godwin of E! Online says of Baltar and Caprica Six: "There was a sense that they worked in service of something else—you could say a higher power or you could say another power—that was guiding and helping, sometimes obstructing, sometimes tempting the mortal people in the show. The idea at the very end was whatever they are in service of continues and is eternal and is always around. And they too are still around, and they too are still here with us, with all of us who are the children of Hera, and in one way, shape or form they continue to walk among us and watch, and at some point they may or may not intercede at a key moment."

I have to agree that there was this sense that they are the good and evil that Baltar spoke of as coming from within us. I have always felt that evil, not necessarily good, is a human creation. The Devil is the self we fear, the self that does the unthinkable, the self we want to expunge but can never seem to get rid of entirely.

Maybe that's why they allowed the slimy Baltar to go on -- he's not him, he's just the personification of a concept. A concept that lives in each one of us and that we'd rather not think about.

But, on the whole, I enjoyed it. It was a triumphal, joyous ending -- upbeat in many ways, sad in others, philosophically complicated and simple at the same time -- as was the show during all of its run.

I liked the musical touch near the end of the echo of the theme from the original BSG as the fleet finds earth and settles in.

I didn't like the phoney hooey about Hera being the mitochondrial Eve (and didn't they find other mitochondrial ancestors -- there wasn't just one Eve. How could there be? Or, maybe that explains the monumental stupidity endemic in the human race.)

BSG ranks up there with Babylon 5 as one of the very best science fiction television shows ever. The writing, the story arc, the characters -- both BSG and B5 have all of that and all done well.