Books. Music. Programming. Publishing. History. Purchase. Interviews.

Leif M. Wright is author of true crime thriller
Deadly Vows, murder mystery novel
Minister of Justice and the upcoming novel
Robby the R-Word.

This, from the Tahlequah Police Department:

It never gets old, the craziness around here.

The image above is a screenshot of the best writing app I've ever used. Let me explain.

Writing apps are a dime a dozen. When you're writing a novel, you need a different set of features than the average word processor, such as Word or WordPerfect. In writing books (I've written more than a hundred, including the books I've ghost-written), I've tried them all. Most of them offer dozens of features I never use, and the parts I do use don't work that well.

I needed a few little things that no app seemed to do right:

  • I need to be able to write on my computer, my phone, my iPad or whatever device I'm using at the time
  • I need that device to operate on the most recent version of the document (most apps have horrible syncing issues)
  • I need the app to get out of the way and just let me write

As simple as those needs sound, I have NEVER found an app that has them all.

So I wrote my own. I'm right now deciding whether to call it WriteEverywhere or AnywhereWriter. Basically, it's a web app that stores the documents in the cloud and lets the user create books, which are really just collections of individual documents, including chapters, notes, etc. Because the documents are stored in the cloud and not on individual computers, I'm always working on the latest version of the story.

In addition, every time a document is saved, my app saves a brand new version of the document, meaning no changes are ever actually lost. The user can go through all the versions of a document to find something they wish they hadn't deleted.

So, on May 8, 14 days ago, I decided to create the writing app. On May 14, I actually started coding. Seven days later, I have the best writing app I've ever used. That's kind of amazing for such a short period of time. To be sure, there are still things to do, but to have a completely functioning writing app that beats the pants off every app I've ever tried in a week - that's kind of amazing.

Programming isn't a linear process. I didn't set out to create a writing app, but in the process of creating an app for a client, I hit on the idea: this client's needs mean they need a WYSIWYG editor (a text editor that lets you see formatting as you create it), and that editor could also be used in a writing app.

So I'm pretty proud of this one, because it helps me solve a client's problem while solving a LONGSTANDING problem I've had with every writing app I've ever used.

As soon as I decide on the name and make a few tweaks, I'll post a link to it.

So my wife sent me this.

Man, talk about knowing your audience.

Budweiser - the "beer" for those who hate beer but want to get rowdy with their friends at the cookout anyway - understands who its primary constituency is. Rednecks.

So they have pulled off the smartest move I have ever seen in marketing. They renamed their beer America.

Every gun-toting, Trump-quoting, Bible-thumping, homo-dumping, lawnmower-driving Billy Bob from here to Atlanta will be guzzling the swill that passes for Budweiser, shouting in ever-more-slurred speech, "God-damn right, 'Murica!", one hand raised in the air, the other choking out a commie Muslim.

Mark my words, someone's going to get their ass beaten for crumpling an empty can with the word America on it, disrespecting the American beer. It will happen.

And Budweiser will be filthy rich.


Fourteen-year-old step-son, who got his first working email address with his new iPhone today:

"So was email like texting in the 1950s?"

(And I think that may win the award for longest headline)

This guy was arrested for two crimes, one a felony, one a misdemeanor. Sure, truthers may say "there are three crimes listed", but I'm only interested in the two that are blue. I guess that makes me illuminati (which, as a 32nd-degree Freemason, I guess I technically am).

Anyway, Justin Hill of Fort Gibson was charged with a felony for possession of controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute. That's a fancy way of saying "we think this guy is dealing drugs." And that's a felony. Having enough drugs to share. Felony.

Meanwhile, his second crime is a misdemeanor. Must be minor, right? Yeah. Assault and battery. Meaning he assaulted someone. No biggie.

So, under our laws, if you have a baggie full of your favorite recreation aid, you're committing a serious crime, but if you punch someone, well, doesn't everyone punch someone once in awhile?

It's been documented that the "War on Drugs" is really a war on black people, but I think it's a war on poor people of all color, because if you're rich, you're not really pissed about race as much as you are the unwashed masses. So you set up the legal system to put as many of them in prison as you can, because you own stock in a prison, so you make money for putting those without money in the jail.

And then you punch your butler for not rewiping your fork after you take a bite. It's just a misdemeanor, after all.

It's just stupid. Once someone is arrested for a drug crime as minor as possession of marijuana, they're in the system - a system that is unfairly weighted to keep them in it by imposing fines they can't pay and then throwing them in jail for not paying them - and imposing more fines, ad nauseum, until they're suddenly lifelong criminals, having done nothing more serious than smoking a joint.

I'm not suggesting Mr. Hill is in that category; I just picked on him because his arrest highlights both kinds of crime: drugs is a felony, punching someone is a misdemeanor.

We could make America much simpler if we revert to the Thomas Jefferson impression of democracy (which I'm paraphrasing): Your liberty extends until it infringes on someone else's liberty.

Simple, right? Smoke your drugs, as long as you don't rob my house to get them. What do I care? Get high, as long as you're not selling to my kid. No harm, no foul. And you're free to swing your fist - until it connects with me.

I should run for president. I mean, I can't be worse than the shmoes we have left.

Autocorrect is great when you're typing a quick text message and not looking at your screen because you're driving, eating with the other hand, listening to the radio and talking on the phone while you text.

It saves you from dumb mistakes like "teh" instead of "the" and "taht" instead of "that".

But I write books, and those include lots of names and other things that may not be in the autocorrect dictionary. And I publish online newspapers.

Today, I had an exclusive story about country music star Kacey Musgraves appearing in my hometown to honor the late Merle Haggard, and autocorrect changed her name to Maousgraues - just in time for my program to catch the headline with the autocorrect-induced misspelling. What makes that worse is that my program uses the headline of a story as its permanent link online, so once it's immortalized, even if you change the headline, the link is always misspelled.

Here's a suggestion, people who write the software I use: suggest correct spellings. do the squiggly red lines under words you think are misspelled. But don't fucking change the shit I type unless I tell you to.

Tahnk you.

My wife volunteers with Carrie Underwood's mother at an area animal shelter. So when Carrie played in Tulsa tonight, we had great seats. I'm not really a country music kind of guy, but I have to say, Carrie throws a great concert, and she won me over.

Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about the street preachers who were outside the BOK center, protesting the concert and yelling at people to repent.

Repent, by the way, means "turn around." So I did.

Now, I've been to lots of concerts at the BOK by people like Kiss, Tom Petty, Garth Brooks, hell, even Justin Bieber (don't ask). Never have I seen a church group protesting a concert there. But apparently, the "Jesus, Take the Wheel" singer is worthy of a protest.

"Carrie Underwood just said publicly that she supports gay marriage," one of the preachers shouted through his portable PA system. "She was raised in a Baptist church, so she knows what happens to gay people after they die - they go to hell."

Oh. Well I get it now. They were protesting because someone they viewed as their own had the balls to have an opinion they didn't support.

One of the preachers was 350 pounds if he was an ounce, so as I was walking by him, I casually shouted "Gluttony is a sin."

He furiously turned to me and shouted through his portable PA system "What verse in the Bible is that? Mr. I don't know the Bible. That's Mr. I don't know the Bible Guy."*

I promise I'm not making that up. If I was, the dialog would be better.

Since I've read the Bible at least 15 times - several of those in its original languages - I briefly thought about letting him have it with both barrels. But I was with my wife, and she abhors such displays. So I let it go.

Well, not entirely, because I'm going to tell you now how to deal with similar situations in the future, should they ever come up:

How to win an argument with a stupid-head

PREACHER: Repent! Only if you repent of your sins can you be allowed into heaven.

YOU: You're a hypocrite.

PREACHER: I'm not a hypocrite for telling you what the Bible says. (I promise, his or her response will be right along those lines)

YOU: The Bible says in John 8:7 that he who is without sin should be the first to cast a stone.

PREACHER: (Starts to say something about how his sins are all forgiven)

YOU: (Interrupting) Jesus also said in Matthew 5:28 that if you think on a sin in your brain, it's exactly the same as if you committed that sin. So while you're telling all these people here that they're going to hell unless they repent, the truth is, your sin is worse, because if you want to do a sin yet preach to others that they should repent for it, you're a hypocrite and Jesus said in Matthew 21:32 that whores and tax collectors will go to heaven before you.

PREACHER: Why yes, you're right. How could I have been so wrong?

(That last part will never happen)

Anyway, that's how I would have handled the fat preacher if my wife hadn't been there. And how you should in the future.

As a brand-new Carrie Underwood fan, I have to say she didn't deserve that bullshit for just speaking her mind. And neither did her fans. And neither did the two double-cheeseburgers the preacher wolfed down before preaching - and the third he ate afterward, because winning souls sure do work up an appetite.

* By the way, douchenozzle, gluttony is called out in the Bible at least 30 times, including in James 5:5, Isaiah 22:12-14, Philippians 3:19, Zechariah 7:4-6, Colossians 3:5 or Proverbs 23, which says "Do not be with ... gluttonous eaters, for the ... glutton will come to poverty." or Proverbs 28:7, which says "He who is a companion of gluttons humiliates his father." Or proverbs 23:2, which says "put a knife to your throat if you are a man of great appetite." But I forgot, I'm Mr. I don't know the Bible Guy. Personally, I don't think being a glutton is a sin, it's just stupid. But if you're going to use the Bible to pound people over the heads, at least have the decency to fucking read the whole thing first, not just the parts that make you feel superior.

On a sad note, Patton Oswalt lost his wife this week. She died in her sleep.

I'm just going to admit something up front: Hi. My name is Leif. I am a Kiss fan.

There. I've said it. That's the first step, right?

I grew up in the 1970s, and in the mid-to-late 70s, there was no band as big as Kiss. And I was a card-carrying member of the Kiss Army.

Ace Frehley is the reason I learned to play guitar. Paul Stanley is the reason I learned to sing. Gene Simmons is the reason I only play bass guitar when I have to.

And Peter Criss is ... um... the reason I don't like cats?

Anyway, Kiss was a great band for a preteen boy who was into superheroes, comics and pretty much everything testosterone-related. Their makeup made them superheroes. Their music was nothing but sex, sex, sex, which also played into the preteen mentality. In other words, in the 1970s, Kiss was everything.

So tonight, I was programming (I've been programming like a madman for months now, and it wears on you after awhile) and I needed a brain break, so I started watching one of the concerts that later became part of their 1978 album, Alive II. Overall, it was a fairly weak album, because the public was demanding a new live album after the gargantuan success of 1975's Alive, but they really didn't have the same quality of music to put on the new album. In fact, they only had enough songs for three album sides, so they put a bunch of new (and mostly horrible) studio music on the fourth side of the double album.

In any case, the concert was illuminating. And here's why. I, as a fan of Ace Frehley, am largely disillusioned with his guitar playing these days. In fact, I'm better than he is, and that's not bluster, it's just a fact. But in the 70s? He was a beast. Watching the concert, several facts are clear:

  • The pyrotechnics that became part of their later shows were still kind of sparse in the late 70s. And that made the concert much better. I saw Kiss live with Def Leppard last year (with my father-in-law), and the pyrotechnics really took over the show. In fact, Def Leppard blew them off the stage. And I don't think anyone could have done that during the 70s.
  • Paul Stanley has always struggled to keep his voice concert-ready. I thought maybe that was something that was just happening to him in his 60s, but he was losing his voice in this show, and he was I think something like 26 or 27 at that point.
  • At some point between then and now, Paul really started to buy into the hype that he was a great frontman. In the 70s, he was a great frontman, really getting the crowd riled up as he occasionally - and that's the key word, occasionally - introduced a song and threw in some banter. But these days, he's just grating and feels like he needs to shout about every song before they play it. The difference is really stark, and not for the better.
  • Gene Simmons is a surprisingly competent bass guitar player, and a better singer than I remember. He plays some pretty complicated bass parts while he's singing, and that's a mean trick.
  • Ace Frehley was like a virtuoso compared to the rest of the band. In this concert, there's a total of one guy who sounds like he can actually play the shit out of his instrument, and that guy is Ace. The rest of the guys make mistakes, play sloppily and generally sound like guys who need makeup to get gigs. But Ace saves every single song. Every. Single. Song. And this is coming from a guy who thinks Ace is a lazy butthole who designed the Kiss logo to make two Jews parade around as a band with the SS logo from Nazi Germany as part of their brand. Which, come to think of it, is actually kind of hilarious.

The fact is, Ace Frehley was really, really good for the 70s, and that kind of surprises me, given what he's done since then. In fact, since then, I think Paul Stanley has surpassed him as a guitar player, and even though he was always a better songwriter, Paul became a great songwriter in the years after the 70s, while Ace stayed stuck in the "I'm going to write another metaphor for my dick" songwriting school.

After watching the Gene Simmons reality program on TV, I can't like that guy at all, and Peter Criss is just a drugged-up homeless guy who just happens to have money for stumbling on a good thing in the 70s. But in this one concert, there is a star, and his name is Ace - he reminds me why I started playing guitar, and that's a cool thing.

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