America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, December 6, 2017

There’s a cliché in competitive sports like gymnastics and swimming that you never want to go first because the judges won’t award a perfect score to anyone until they’ve seen all the favorites perform. The same principle applies in reverse to negative outcomes.

Thus, we’re always reluctant to say things like: “This is the last straw.” Yet, there comes a time when we think, the hell with it. Sure, something worse might happen tomorrow, but we’re not likely to see anything worse than what’s facing us today. For the two-thirds of Americans who are not part of Trump’s base, which is down to 35% according to this week’s polls, that time may have come.

The Russia investigation and our president’s hard to fathom infatuation with Vladimir Putin have pushed an even stranger relationship into to the background for months, but Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem…

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Saturday, December 2, 2017
2:00 PM


Rickert & Beagle Books

I’ll be signing Star Touched.

Chocolate, Prizes, Fun

Tell all your friends to stop by.

Rickert & Beagle Books
32333 West Liberty Ave
Dormont, PA 15216
(Pittsburgh area)

Startouched front cover2

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, November 23, 2017

Trite as it may sound, I really do think about what I’m thankful for on Thanksgiving. In this era of Trump, many of my friends and family have been struggling to identify the good things that have occurred this year, so overwhelmingly depressing has been the Year of the Blowhard.

The main thing for me is that we’re all thankful for being together, a wonderful extended family of people who have been doing this together for many years despite having migrated all over the country.  We need it more than ever this year, as we are reminded daily of how our country’s values are being destroyed one tweet at a time.

In case we’d forgotten (since yesterday) our president reminded us all of what a narcissistic jerk he truly is today. On the face of it, a world-spanning broadcast thanking our armed forces for everything…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, November 18, 2017

I’ve always liked Al Franken. As a comedian he was smart and funny. As a Senator he’s been a refreshingly level-headed voice supporting decency and progressive values. That said, it’s hard to have sympathy for him in light of the accusations by Leanne Tweeden, just as it was hard to feel sympathy over Bill Clinton’s indiscretions. The viral photo of him aping for the camera with his hands appearing to be about to grope her while she was asleep tells a disturbing tale.

But exactly which tale does it tell? Clearly, in the photo, Franken is acting manically on a flight home from a long tour in Afghanistan entertaining the troops. Clearly, he’s acting like a jerk and behaving inappropriately. If it winds up costing him his Senate seat it’s his own fault, but as it was with Clinton’s impeachment trial, the big losers will…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, November 14, 2017

Jake Novak of CNBC thinks Joe Biden “is the exact opposite of the kind of candidate voters in both parties proved they want in the 2016 election.” He cites a lot of facts, like the populist appeal of both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, and the clear anti-establishment sentiment that characterized that election. He also talks about the democratic base shifting leftward toward Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. And then there are Biden’s inglorious attempts to run for president in 1988 and 2008.

Novak may have his facts straight, but I think he might be completely missing the point. Yes, voters at both ends of the political spectrum went for populism in 2016. And the success of the Trump and Sanders campaigns came from convincing people that the establishment of both parties had failed them, much the way Barrack Obama did in…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, November 11, 2017

Aretha Franklin belted it out loud and clear.

The president’s Asia trip has more than anything been a test of how much powerful foreign leaders respect him. The media has been filled with reports and opinions, almost since the day Trump was inaugurated, that they were shocked by him and personally viewed him as an unqualified buffoon. That doesn’t mean they could disregard him. One year into the current administration we’re still the most powerful nation in the world militarily, and he is the Commander-in-Chief.

There’s an interesting parallel with North Korea here. Most leaders consider Kim Jong Un something between crazy and irresponsible, but they don’t deny that he’s capable of doing a lot of damage if he chooses to. Kim may well be playing an exaggerated version of the game Trump loves so much. Act crazy, say anything that comes to mind, and…

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081Welcome to WOLF NOTES, where interview questions stray from the rest of the pack. It’s nice to know the usual stuff like where an author gets their inspiration and why they write, but sometimes we need a little fun in our lives.

Photo credit: Robert SalerniThis week I welcome DIANNE K. SALERNI. Dianne is the author of the Eighth DayMG fantasy series, described by Kirkus as “an exciting blend of Arthurian legend and organized crime.” The first book in the series, The Eighth Day, has been on state lists in Maine, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Minnesota, and Indiana. Dianne has also published two YA historical novels.  The Caged Graves is a Junior Library Guild Selection and has been nominated for reader’s choice awards in Vermont, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania. We Hear the Dead was the inspiration for a short film, The Spirit Game, which premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.


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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, November 6, 2017

The United States State Department has more than 30,000 employees. Most of them are dedicated professionals with no political affiliation. Many have narrow specialties which they’ve been honing for twenty years or more. Many speak multiple languages, have served in the foreign service, and have advanced degrees from major universities.

Why do we need so many of them? Because knowing and understanding the subtleties of foreign cultures is essential to a successful foreign policy. In some cases being able to speak their language can make all the difference in resolving disagreements. Not because they don’t speak English or because they might be offended if we don’t bother to learn their language, but because a language often tells us a lot about how people think.

I learned that when I used all my elective points as an undergraduate to study Russian, back in the Cold War…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, November 2, 2017

Immediately after Robert Mueller announced the guilty plea of George Papadopoulos and the indictments of Paul Manafort and Richard Gates, I received an email asking (rhetorically) if this was the beginning of the end. The end of what, I wondered. The end of the Trump Presidency? Possibly, but I wouldn’t bet my mortgage on it.

More likely, it could mark the beginning of a protracted period in which the president’s ability to get anything done is greatly reduced. That same morning, a quick Gallup poll reported that the president’s approval rating went from an all-time low of 38% to a shocking 33%, which suggests that no one outside his hard core base still supports him, and that base might even be shrinking.

Combined with recent leaks and reports that most of his support in Congress is based on a temporary alignment to pass tax reform…

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081Welcome to WOLF NOTES, where interview questions stray from the rest of the pack. It’s nice to know the usual stuff like where an author gets their inspiration and why they write, but sometimes we need a little fun in our lives.

This week I welcome Alan Zendell

AlanCreateSpaceAlan Zendell spent more than forty years as a scientist, aerospace engineer, software consultant, database developer, and government analyst, writing really boring stuff like proposals, technical papers, reports, business letters, and policy memoranda.  But trapped inside him all that time were stories that needed telling and ideas that needed expression, so with encouragement and cajoling from a loving baby sister he plunged into fiction.

Since then, he has written mostly science and extrapolative fiction, the genre he loved since he was nine.  But his stories are about more than aliens and technical marvels.  He creates strong, three-dimensional characters a reader can care…

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Our books

Star Touched
Wednesday's Child
The Portal
Thief of Hope
Critical Focus by Alan Zendell


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