Monthly Archives: December 2013

Happy New Year — It’s Just Another Day

Tomorrow morning we’ll have to change the page on the calendar…again.

We do it every 30 days or so with no fanfare, unless you count paying the mortgage/rent as fanfare – So why is tonight so different?

calendar page

Oh, it’s a new year…that’s right.

Not only are we tearing the page off the calendar, we actually have to replace the calendar with a new one.

I’ve seen a lot of new years come and, inevitably, go…I still find it hard to get excited about it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve celebrated quite a few of them (some with a little too much gusto) and I enjoyed myself almost every time, but in all honesty, there hasn’t been one new year’s celebration I’ve attended that lived up to the hype.

Maybe it’s because I wasn’t in the right place.

I’ve never spent New Year’s Eve in Times Square, Paris or any other “A-List” location. It’s quite possible that my issue is with the locale…but I doubt it.

Times Square NYE

I know the problem has never (well, maybe once or twice) been the people I was with. In fact, the friends I’ve celebrated the changing-of-the-page with are the only reason I enjoyed the evening at all.

No, I think the reason I have an innate dislike of this particular holiday is…the hype.

Sure, every holiday in this country has its share of hype, but almost all of the hype surrounding the other holidays is “retail related”. It’s almost always about spending money – despite the best efforts of Madison Avenue to tell us otherwise.

The hype about January 1st is different.

New beginnings, new chances, out with the old and in with the new, better opportunities and most important of all…a better you!!!

resolutions

That’s all great…but it’s also a pile of fertilizer.

I hate to burst your bubble, but if you’re counting on the new year to bestow awesomeness on your life, get used to disappointment.

I’m not trying to be mean and I’m not trying to tell you that your life has no chance of improvement…on the contrary…I’m trying to tell you that the power to bring on positive change in your life, whether a new job or new body or the promise to be a better human being, is in you all year long.

Maybe that’s why I don’t feel anything significant on December 31st – because when I feel the need for change in my life, regardless of what the calendar says, I make it (or at least try to).

Scrolling through my facebook feed this morning I noticed way-too-many posts about how badly 2013 sucked and how people were counting on 2014 to, in essence, make life better.

My first question is this…Exactly WHEN did you realize that 2013 was sucking for you?

April? July? September?

Certainly, if it was that bad, you realized it before December 31st…so why didn’t you do something about it then?

Please don’t tell me your life was circling the drain in June and your solution was… “I’ll just wait for the new year, that’ll fix it.”

I hate to be a downer on a day geared around parties…but that’s just stupid.

life sucks

Let me sum up…It’s just another day, it’s not a magic spell to improve life – treat it accordingly.

If you choose to celebrate tonight, I hope you have a wonderful time, but when you wake up tomorrow remember, it’s only Wednesday.

 

As always – thank you for reading

8 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Reading Recommendations – a wrap-up for 2013

Friend and fellow author Susan Toy is looking for authors to promote on her new blog “Reading Recommendations” – if you would like to be featured, or if you know an author you would like to recommend, follow the instructions in this blog post.
This is a free promotional service and has one simple goal – to promote indie authors.

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

It’s been just over a month since I began posting to a new blogsite, Reading Recommendations, where I ask authors to reply to a list of questions, to tell us a bit about themselves and their work, and ask that they in turn recommend an author or book they are reading. I’m very pleased with the response I received from authors – some known to me, some recommended to me, and others who contacted me out of the blue – and have been happy to give all of them some promotion on this site. I thought that, since I was taking a break from this blog over the holiday season, it might be interesting to recap what’s been happening over there on Reading Recommendations, just in case you readers of this main blogsite have not yet gone over there to check it out. I’ve created some handy-dandy lists…

View original post 370 more words

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Banning Books is NEVER the Answer

It has been reported that Colorado school shooter Karl Pierson (Friday Dec 13, 2013) had been infatuated with the Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell.

shooting

Naturally, this has renewed the fervor of those who wish to do away with the 42-year-old book containing recipes for making homemade bombs and illicit drugs.

Powell has gone on the record saying that his Cookbook should not be printed or sold anymore. He claims that it was the “misguided product of my adolescent anger”, but the current owner of the book’s copyright refuses to stop printing it. (Powell never owned the rights to the book)

anarchist cookbook

I understand his reaction, although I don’t agree with it – I cannot imagine a book as the sole cause of people carrying out horrific acts any more than I blame art, movies video games or music.

Mark David Chapman (the man who assassinated John Lennon) and John Hinckley Jr. (the man who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan) were both said to have been big fans of J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye.

It’s no surprise that many people called for that book to be banned as well. In fact, many high schools refuse to teach it and it has become one of the most censored books in high school libraries.

lennon glasses

Once again, I understand the emotional response, but I refuse to believe that taking a book out of circulation will eliminate, or even reduce violent acts.

I admit, ashamedly, that I’ve never read Catcher, so I can’t say, from personal experience, that it is capable of inciting a person to violence, but I can say this… it sells around 250,000 copies per year, and has sold more than 65 million copies since it was first published.

That’s a lot of books…and only a handful of them have been directly associated with violent crimes.

The math doesn’t work for me.

Similarly, The Anarchist Cookbook has sold over 2 million copies. How many bombers and assassins have been linked to it?

Again, we seem to have a mathematical anomaly.

Out of curiosity, I purchased a copy of The Anarchist Cookbook. I wanted to see what all the hoo-ha was about.

I was rather disappointed.

The first half of the book is a bunch of self-righteous, adolescent rambling which basically amounts to don’t let the man keep you down and the second half is a bunch of crude, (at best) free-hand drawings of how to make drugs, bombs & boobie-traps along with some more horrible sketches and brief background information about guns. There is also a little bit about hand-to-hand combat – again, accompanied by the worst sketches imaginable.

To be honest…there is not one single thing in the book that a curious 12-year-old can’t find on the internet.

For that matter, there is so much more information available at a child’s fingertips today that the Anarchist Cookbook wouldn’t even make up a tiny fraction of it all.

Why aren’t people calling for the banning of the internet?

 censorship

As always – thank you for reading

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Visions of Sugar Plum…Dr Sketchy Style

Ahhh…the holiday season!

Office parties, fruitcakes, Chinese gift exchanges, boring relatives and of course…shopping.

office party

Admit it…even though you wear your reindeer antlers or your Grinch tie while you smile and wish everybody a Merry Christmas (or whatever seasonal platitude you choose), what you really want is something different.

Something unique…naughty even.

Well, Timmy-Clause has the perfect suggestion.

An evening of fun, art and debauchery that you can’t tell your parents (or your children) about!

Come to the Jacksonville, FL chapter of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School to see The Sugar Plum Fairy AFTER DARK!

sugar plum

             Think of a cross between a burlesque show, a stand-up comedy show and an art class where artists of all skill levels sketch beautiful models in various stages of undress. There are contests with prizes donated by local and international sponsors too.  There may even be live music.

…and there’s drinking!

So – what is an evening like this worth?

How about $10 if you want to participate in the sketching and $12 if you just want to watch (hey – I’m not judging).

Where and when does all this wickedness happen?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 from 7pm-10pm at the Cuba Libre Bar, 2578 Atlantic Blvd. Jacksonville.

There are two full bars with themed drink specials, a full dinner menu until 9pm, and smoking on the patio.

In other woJax chapterrds…the full monty!

 

Okay – who (or what) is Dr. Sketchy?

Dr Sketchy's

Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School is sort of an underground movement to take some of the snobbery out of art. It’s the low art class you never knew you needed.

It was originally founded in New York City but has branches all over the world.

Check out the Jacksonville chapter here.

 

For more information contact the spokesperson for the Jax chapter of Dr. Sketchy’s…

Iphelia Johnson, Esq. through the Dr. Sketchy’s facebook or by email at drsketchysjax@gmail.com.

 Side effectDr Sketchys 2s may include: Sore muscles from laughing and/or drawing…Eye strain from ogling…The appearance of small prizes in pockets or purses and/or the urge to come back the following month for a new fix.  Check with your doctor to be sure you are healthy enough for this much fun.

As always – thank you for reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Dog Fighter – an Interview with Gordon “Shotgun” Shell

“You think dogs will not be in heaven?  I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.”

~Robert Louis Stevenson

 There isn’t much I wouldn’t do to help dogs, but for all of my efforts I must admit that I have found somebody whose devotion to man’s best friend makes mine look inadequate.

His name is Gordon “Shotgun” Shell.

Shell is a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter from Detroit who was forced into early retirement in 2010 due to a heart condition.

Now he fights a different battle – he has waged war on dog fighting.

Dog fighting is an abhorrent activity that is much more common than many people know.

Here are just a few statistics about it:

  • Over a thousand arrests were made for dog fighting in the U.S. between 2003 and 2008
  • An estimated 40,000 individuals are involved in professional dog fighting in the U.S.
  • While exact amounts are hard to pin point, a top bet in a professional dog fight can go up to $100,000
  • Dog fighting is a felony offense in all 50 states

The most publicized case involving dog fighting was that of NFL quarterback Michael Vick, who, along with three of his associates, was convicted on federal and state charges related to illegal dog fighting.

Gordon Shell wafight me mike vicks so outraged by Vick’s involvement with dog fighting that he challenged Vick to a pay-per-view cage match with the proceeds going to animal rescue groups.

Vick has yet to respond to the challenge.

Shell has left the offer open in case Vick changes his mind, but in the meantime he has decided to continue fighting for the cause.

Despite his heart condition, Shell stepped into the ring one more time to raise money and awareness. His story was chronicled by film maker Douglas Schulze in a pay-per-view film called (appropriately) The Dog Fighter.

dog fighter 3

Every three months new shelters and rescues will be selected to receive a generous portion of the revenue generated from the film’s release.

You can watch the film for $5 by clicking this link – and in my opinion it is $5 that is extremely well-spent.

You can watch the trailer of the film here

Check out the facebook page too

Gordon’s passion and dedication has quickly made his name synonymous with dog advocacy. I first heard about the project a few months ago on facebook – and have followed it very closely. The support continues to grow, it is truly inspiring.

Now, I am proud to bring you this interview with the man himself…Gordon “Shotgun” Shell – dog’s best friend.

dog fighter 2

Tim Baker – Can you give us a brief history of your fighting career?

Gordon Shell – I started in formal martial arts (isshynru) in 1992, I fought in weekend tournaments and began fighting in no holds barred fights around 1995 (this was the early days before the UFC). My cage fight record since that time is 13-1 with my one loss coming at the Palace of Auburn Hills in 2010 for the IFL

TB – When did you first become interested in the dog fighting problem? What brought it to your attention?

GS – I have always been an advocate and have done on and off volunteer work with different groups since the mid 90’s when I adopted my first dog, Samantha (German Shepard). The Dog Fighting portion really caught my attention with the Vick story and I have wanted to make a difference since the story broke.

TB – You made quite an impact with your “Fight Me Mike Vick” campaign…did you ever get a reply from Vick or his representatives?

GS – My initial invite to him was thru emails to every manager, agent, PR person, Vick email etc. I received a Cease and Desist notice via a time delete email from someone that claimed to be his attorney. The email auto-deleted after I read it, I’m sure this was done so I would not run to the press with it. Earlier this year Vick’s agent was questioned by the Huffington post about my offer. He replied with “Mike is concentrating on the Denver game and has no time to think about this fight.”  Vick lost to Denver 54-20 J. Vick is aware of who I am and my campaign, but is careful not to reply.

TB – How difficult was the decision to go into the ring one more time “for the dogs” even though the doctors advised against it?

GS – I really wasn’t as concerned about the doctors as I was my wife’s concerns. She supported me in my efforts, but feared the training I was going through. During the training for the last fight I tore the meniscus in both knees, sprained and fractured both ankles, broke my ribs, broke my nose, right orbital cracked, detached bicep, torn tendons in my toes on my right foot, torn oblique and a mini stroke.

TB – Would you consider more fights in the future?

GS – The only fight I will accept is Mike Vick for charity in a large venue. My heart is healthy and I am cleared to fight again. I would also accept DMX as he is also a known dog fighter.

TB –Now that the film has been made, what other plans do you have to keep this issue alive?

GS – I continue to make appearances across the country educating on animal abuse. I am going to appear beside Comedian Rebecca Corry for the Million Pibble March on the Whitehouse in May 2014. I am also signed to star in a film starting in 2014 called Conversations With A Pit Bull by LA director Foster Corder. I have been approached by 2 different studios regarding a reality show based on what I do and I continue to sell the Fight ME Mike Vick shirts to support my efforts. I have spoken, and will continue to speak, at schools across Michigan and possibly the US about dog fighting. I am one of the administrators on the FB page The Anti-Dogfighting Campaign as well as the Barking Army reaching close to 300,000 followers between the two. I will continue to keep my offer open to Vick until we get a formal response or acceptance.

TB – Whose idea was it to make “The Dog Fighter”?

GS – The Idea was a mutual one between Douglas Shulze and myself. I approached Doug to make a highlight film on me for my last fight. After hearing about all the other drama surrounding this fight (heart, dogs, wife, age) Doug said “There’s more drama in your story than all the Rocky movies put together. I want to make this a feature film.” I agreed and the project was born. The movie actually started with a script, written by Douglas, after one day with me Doug scrapped the script and just decided to film everything that was happening around me and the fight. The film is 100% accurate except for the part about my opponent’s support of dog fighting. Mike Guindon is a great guy and has rescue dogs, we asked him to take that stance to add to the excitement of the fight.

dog fighter

TB – Short of eradicating dog fighting altogether, what is the one thing you hope this film accomplishes?

GS – Awareness about the issue. Many people do not know, or believe, that dog fighting happens in their cities and states. We hope to change the Breed Specific Laws (BSL) so that real families can own these dogs and they are not exclusive to the bad guys as status symbols and/or fighters. I am also hoping to show the huge differences between MMA fights and Dog fights. A lot of ignorant people, including Senator Steven King, think they are the same and think dog fighting is okay.

TB – Were you surprised at how your campaign has grown?

GS – Yes and No. I knew that there were millions of animal advocates, and I knew they would support my efforts, but I am pleasantly surprised and sometimes baffled on the celebrity status I have been given. I have been recognized in airports, malls, restaurants, etc. and people want my picture and autograph. I have been invited to major events with A-list celebs, I have received twitter and FB messages from Chael Sonnen, Frank Trigg, Sylvester Stallone, I have spent phone time with Pat Millitech, been asked by Mark Coleman for a spot in the sequal and trained with Ken Shamrock in the film. I recently appeared on the Red Carpet with Moby, Rebecca Cory, Kaley Cuoco, Whitly Cummings, Bill Burr, Cheri Oterry, Moon Zappa. The Barbi Twins (Playboy, and animal advocates) and Ken Wahl (TV Star of Wiseguy) have both written me and continue to retweet about me. I love every minute of it and look forward to doing more in the entertainment industry with films and/or shows that will support my efforts.

TB – How can people donate to the campaign?

GS – Donations for my direct efforts can be sent via paypal to gshell661@yahoo.com, those funds are used for travel costs to educate, vet bills for dogs I work with or dogs I donate to via FB, equipment in my fight against dog fighting (such as bullet-proof vests), equipment and hopefully one day a transport vehicle for the dogs.

Donations for the film efforts can be made in care of:

The Dog Fighter Movie LLC

MPI Studios 2040 Crooks Rd., Ste. B

Troy, Michigan 48084

or www.thedogfightermovie.com

These funds will be used for our 2014 theater tour with the film and myself as well as a possible follow-up film or TV show.

TB – Thank you very much, not only for this interview, but for your efforts on behalf of dogs. Any final thoughts?

GS – Just hoping to get more followers at Facebook-Gordon Shell (personal page), The Dog Fighter Movie, Gordon Shotgun Shell (fan page), Gordon Shell Vs. Michael Vick Fight for the Dogs (Fan Page), Twitter @gordonshell and Instagram @gshell661.

Thanks to everyone for their amazing support, please watch the film on www.vimeo.com or soon to be released on Amazon and Itunes.

I can’t thank Gordon enough for taking time from his incredibly busy schedule to grant me this interview.

Please share, ReTweet or ReBlog this interview and help spread the word – and PLEASE watch the film.

“A man may smile and bid you hail
Yet wish you to the devil;
But when a good dog wags his tail,
You know he’s on the level.”
                                                  ~Author Unknown

As always – thank you for reading

14 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Another Year in the Books – 2013 Year in Review

Another year is in the books, let’s recap…

In short, 2013 was awesome.

As the year began I was still riding the wave of success brought by Pump It Up (released in late 2012). Pump was a fun story to write, and judging by the responses, it was fun to read as well.

I released Unfinished Business in June and the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. This was especially satisfying when you consider the fact that I was hesitant to release it because I wasn’t sure you’d like it (read about my concerns here). It seems as though every person who reads it says the same thing…this would make a great TV series or movie.

UB cover

I take that as very high praise.

Several people also suggested a sequel. As I stated in a previous post I’m generally not a big fan of sequels, but in this case it might be warranted because there is so much potential. In fact, it could almost become a series.

I’ll take it under advisement for sure.

After Unfinished Business was released, I dove into my next project, which I am tentatively calling Protect This.

The idea for Protect This came about while I was watching the TV show In Plain Sight which is about people in the Witness Protection Plan. I thought what if somebody wanted to get into the witness protection plan, but they hadn’t really witnessed anything?

The more I thought about it, the more I loved it, so I started writing. At this time I have about 40,000 words written and I figure I’m about two-thirds complete. Look for that (probably under a different title) in mid-2014.

I worked on two other projects this year (both completed!).

Both projects were collaborative efforts with my friend Armand Rosamilia.

The first was the sequel (there’s that word again) to our 2012 zombie story Dying Days: The Siege of European Village – and it was called Dying Days: Siege 2.

Siege 1&2

I’m not a horror/zombie author but Armand and I have so much fun writing together that I couldn’t say no.

Finally (as for writing projects) Armand invited me to contribute a short story to his anthology of zombie short stories called Still Dying 2 (yet another sequel!). I was honored to contribute when I saw the list of names included in the book and I’m not ashamed to say that my story is among the weakest in the book.

2013 saw one other big, new development in my career.

Back in the spring Armand and I met Vern Shank, local DJ/musician/writer/entrepreneur, and he told us about his latest venture…he had purchased a radio station.

Before I knew what was happening Armand and I (along with Becky Pourchot) had a weekly radio show devoted to writing and other artistic endeavors. Becky has since left the show, but Armand and I can still be heard Friday nights from 8:00 – 10:00 EST on www.flaglerbeachradio.com.

cover4

In addition to that show, I also have a show of my own, airing Friday nights from 7:00 – 8:00 called Tim Baker’s B-Sides and Deep Cuts. For a music lover like me, this is a dream job!

I’d say that any year where you can claim 3 new releases and land 2 awesome gigs on the radio is a really good year.

blimp

And of course I owe it all to you – thank you all for buying and reading my books. You are the ones who make it possible for me!

Let’s hope that a year from now we’re still doing it!

As always – thank you for reading

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

“Still Dying” Review And Giveaway

Reviews are very important to Independent Authors…

ARMAND ROSAMILIA

stilldying2correted

GIVEAWAY for the event…

I will give away 1 Print version of the first Still Dying zombie collection (signed) to an Amazon reviewer (good or bad review, it doesn’t matter) for every 10 reviews we get for Still Dying 2!

And if we hit 50 reviews for the book someone will win the Dying Days Collection 4-in-1 novella print set as well!

Reviews really, really help authors, so I wanted to give everyone some incentive to not only read the books but to take a moment to review it on Amazon, as well… 

Still Dying

View original post

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized