A sneak peak at what I’m working on for 2023 (Non-Fiction)

Part of a book cover

The next Bolingbrook Babbler Story. March 7, 2023.

I’ve got a new novelette coming out in March. It’s Book 1.5 of my Bolingbrook Babbler Stories and follows up on Miriam and Sara from Pathways to Bolingbrook. I’ll be posting more details later on, including how to get an advance review copy.

In the meantime, you can take advantage of the Smashwords End of the Year Sale, which includes my novel The Rift: A Bolingbrook Babbler Story for 50% off the retail price. You can also get a free copy of Pathways to Bolingbrook: A Bolingbrook Babbler Story. The sale ends after New Year’s Day.

If you like Urban Fantasy/Sci-Fi stories with a humanist twist, gives by books a try! You can learn more at my author site as well.

The Bolingbrook Babbler’s Shocking Predictions for 2023! (Fiction)

Elon Musk

Will 2023 be a worse year for Elon Musk than 2022? (“Elon Musk” by dmoberhaus is licensed under CC BY 2.0.)

Our council of psychics nailed their predictions for 2022. Sen. Joe Manchin didn’t support the Build Back Better plan. Elon Musk suffered a disaster, and The Rift: A Bolingbrook Babbler Story was the top selling Urban Fantasy/Sci-Book set in Bolingbrook that didn’t mention Drew Peterson.

While Bolingbrook police officers didn’t stage a coup, we believe Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta read our psychics prediction and decided not to fly the Thin Bread Crust flag.

So armed with these successes, we’re proud to announce our council of psychics shocking predictions for 2023!

Mayor Alexander-Basta will announce that she will use an AI to “supplement” Bolingbrook’s current managers. Trustee Michael Carpanzano will hail the AI as an example of the “Bold, forward thinking that puts Bolingbrook first!” However, the AI will be shut down with no explanation. Anonymous sources will claim the AI’s advice amounted to “raising taxes and abolishing all villages services.”

J. K. Rowling will tweet, “Because the Y Chromosome is defective, all men should be imprisoned!” She will then release a 10,000-page novel in which the female protagonist discovers space aliens created men to stunt humanity’s progress. Professor Richard Dawkins will continue to defend her right to free speech, but add, “Yes, the Y Chromosome is a defective X Chromosome, but that doesn’t mean all men should be imprisoned. Only some men should be imprisoned, and I know I’m not one of them.” Her sales will plummet but then recover when she tweets that she’s being “canceled.”

Congress will debate a bill to ban TikTok in the United States become of the company’s connection to China. Supporters of the ban will claim it TikTok is being used to steal personal information from US Citizens.

An anonymous Chinese official will deny that the Chinese Government uses TikTok to spy on US Citizens.

“We wanted to create an app that would cause Americans to humiliate themselves willingly on the Internet. That’s the real goal of the algorithm. Though we’re pleasantly surprised by the success of #Booktok. When the time is right, we’ll use it to promote the Little Red Book 2.0.”

The Bolingbrook Village Board election will heat up when a First Party for Bolingbrook candidate is overheard praying for God to bring Bolingbrook Independent Party candidate Sheldon Watts “home.” When asked about the controversy, Alexander-Basta will reply, “I think Sheldon will need God to take him home after the voters declare their independence from him.”

Freethought Blogs member Abe Drayton will publish the best-selling Sci-Fi novel of 2023.

A judge in downstate Illinois will rule that the Democratic Party’s existence violates the state constitution and will order all elected Democratic officials to resign or face arrest.”

In his ruling, the judge will write: “Let’s be honest. There’s no way this ruling will survive an appeal. But it will secure lots of Republican votes when I’m up for reelection.”

The Edgar County Watchdogs will travel around Illinois demanding the resignation of all Democrats. An official will ask if a judge ordered the Edgar County Watchdogs to jump off a bridge, would they jump?

One member will say no because they know more about Illinois’s laws than any lawyer or judge in the state.

Elon Musk will insist on piloting Starship on its first orbital flight. At first, the mission goes so well, humanity will almost forgive him for bankrupting Twitter. Just before landing Starship, Musk will announce, “The technology that will guide my ship to a safe landing is the same auto-pilot technology used in Teslas.”

That turns out to be Musk’s final sentence. Starship will crash into the launch tower, killing Musk. An investigation will determine that the autopilot detected the ground but decided it didn’t need to stop because no one important would die in a crash.

Space X and Tesla stocks will plummet, and Musk’s fans will insist he faked his death to “trigger the libs.” Alleged photos of Musk alive and in hiding will circulate for centuries.

Also in the Babbler:

Happy New Year, from the Staff of the Babbler
Clow UFO Base bans high stakes dreidel games.
Bolingbrook resident revived from suspended animation to receive COVID treatment
God to smite Bolingbrook on 1/3/23

Note: This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.

 I am also the author of The Bolingbrook Babbler Stories. For book updates and a free ebook, sign up for my newsletterPathways to Bolingbrook, and The Rift are available at Amazon and elsewhere. You can support my work by buying one of my books.

Eight reasons for secular jews to celebrate Hanukkah (Link) (Non-fiction)

Paul Golin, executive director of the Society for Humanistic Judaism, recently posted his eight reasons his family celebrates Hanukkah. Among them:

In the Book of Maccabees, God is not a participant. All accomplishments were people-powered, though the Maccabees were certainly religious people, zealots even. Today, rabbis in all denominations outside ultra-Orthodoxy are willing to admit that the Hanukkah “miracle”—one day’s worth of Temple oil lasting eight days—was tacked on centuries later to downplay the military accomplishments of the eventually corrupted Hasmonean Dynasty. As far as religious miracles go, Hanukkah is about as awe-inspiring as seeing Jesus’s face in your toast. The real miracle was that a backwater province defeated a regional superpower in a fight for their religious freedom. It’s more the Jewish Fourth of July than the Jewish Christmas.

I became involved in humanistic Judaism after meeting my wife, and she introduced me to the candle lighting and songs.  So I agree with Paul’s reasons.

Rabbi Chalom wrote a post detailing who the Maccabees were, and how the roots of Hanukkah predate the Maccabee uprising.

Off to light another candle.

USA Today Bestseller list ‘suspended,’ Smashwords Sale, and a new book update (Non-fiction)

One of the few good things about USA Today was its bestseller list because independent and self-published authors had a chance to make the list. Granted, it required either being part of a multi-author anthology, or spending extra money on marketing, but it was possible. Until this week. USA Today has “suspended” publishing the list and laid off the editor responsible for it. USA Today’s parent company, Gannett, laid off 3% of its workforce this week as well. USA Today’s announcement also stated they would announce the future of the list next year. I suspect it will either be removed, or diminished in some way. We’ll see.

On a brighter note, Smashwords will hold their annual end of the year sale from 12/15/22 to 1/1/23. Smashwords was one of the first self-publishing storefronts on the Internet, and is still one of the best sites to get indie published ebooks. My novel, The Rift: A Bolingbrook Babbler Story, will be 50% off during the sale. Pathways to Bolingbrook will still be free during the sale. Plus hundreds of other books as well. If you don’t want to give your money to Amazon, or want another option, check out this sale. Note: These are not affiliate links.

Last, what was going to be a bonus short story for my newsletter subscribers has grown into a novella, which I will release early next year. It’s a direct sequel that bridges Pathways and The Rift, plus it offers a hint of what’s to come in the other stories. I’m going through another of editing, but I hope to be able to share some details starting in January. I already have the cover, and it looks great!

Eject? Eject? HJ wants all of us to get off Twitter (Non-fiction)

HJ Hornbeck posted about far right and anti-trans activists getting sensitive information from Twitter:

This screenshot, shared by Weiss, set my hair on fire. Just by looking at it I can tell it’s an internal Twitter dashboard pointed at the Libs of TikTok account. Most of the identifying information has been cropped out, though that still leaves a lot behind. I now know Chaya Raichik uses a custom domain as her private Twitter email, which likely changed some time between April and December and is probably [something]@libsoftiktok.com. The image itself is a crop of a photo taken on an Apple phone on the evening of December 8th, so Raichik hadn’t been back on Twitter since she’d posted a tweet a day or two prior. Raichik has two strikes on her account, including a recent one for abusing people online; she has at least one alt account; and she’s blacklisted from trending on that platform, which is a good thing. Parker Malloy points out that, despite was Weiss says, this screenshot is evidence conservative accounts are given special treatment. The banner up top says that even if a Twitter mod thinks Libs Of TikTok has violated Twitter’s policies, that mod is not to take any action unless Twitter’s “Site Integrity Policy and Policy Escalation Support” team signs off on it. In other words Twitter has given Rachik a few Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free cards for policy violations, even though she’s a repeat offender.

Fortunately, Twitter hasn’t provided unfettered access to DMs and other personal information. But with Elon in charge, who knows how long that will last?

Thing is, despite Irwin’s claim that there’s no personally identifying information in those photos, I’ve already shown there was. Not a lot, admittedly, but it doesn’t speak highly of Twitter’s new Trust and Safety head that she didn’t realize how much a photo can reveal. On top of that, remember that Weiss and Irwin were communicating with one another. Irwin could have explained what the photos actually showed, but either did not do that or did so and was ignored by Weiss. If the latter starts asking for Twitter DMs, I’m not convinced Irwin will give much pushback.

HJ strongly recommends people get off Twitter now. (Sanitized version). I’ve already left Twitter, but I can’t tell you what social networks to use or not use. So check out the post, and decide if you should eject from Twitter too.

Despite record-breaking hospitalizations, Clow UFO Base’s Holiday Concert declared a ‘unqualified success’ (Fiction)

By Reporter X

Despite hundreds of injured attendees, and a controversial closing act, Bolingbrook Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta praised the organizers of Clow UFO Base’s annual holiday concert.

“This concert was an unqualified success,” said Alexander-Basta to the interstellar media. “Anyone who says otherwise doesn’t love Bolingbrook and doesn’t put Bolingbrook first.”

The concert opened with a performance by the Clow UFO Base Visitor’s Choir. In keeping with tradition, nothing terrible happened while they were on stage. When they left the stage, some aliens turned on their personal force field or changed into body armor.

“You never know what will happen next,” said Plocdoc, a visitor from Free Komet Worlds. “That’s part of the fun.”

During the second performance, six 60’ tall Gundam Mobile Battle Suits stepped on stage. After standing still for several seconds, they performed a dance routine to the song “Gangnam Style.” The jets on three of the suits malfunctioned, sending them dancers flying into audience. Eight hundred attendees were taken to Clow’s medical facilities. The incident broke the record most hospitalizations from a single performance since 1996 when two hover trains collided during the Quad City DJ’s set.

Alexander-Basta praised Clow’s medical staff. “Thanks to their tireless work, no one died, and the injured were able to watch the concert on holoscreens.”

The last scheduled performance ended in a riot. The band Merry Christmas 5 took to the stage. Due to an erroneous press release, most of the audience thought the infamous counterculture band MC5 was headlining. The audience rioted as the band played a cover of “Last Christmas” by Wham!

Petrogre claims she traveled over 200 light years just to see MC5. “Yeah, I should have kept reading after I saw ‘MC5’ on the Quantium Screen But still, they should have known better than to have ‘MC5’ in any of their publicity transmissions. That’s why I stormed the stage. Your mayor can sentence me to watch the Star Wars Holiday Special, but she will never take away my freedom to riot!”

Alexander-Basta again said it was not a problem. “No one died, and we used a new brand of riot foam that dissolves after 24 hours. You should be praising our security for saving the band. Not the several thousand visitors trying to storm the stage.”

She added that Clow will always host a holiday concert. “It just wouldn’t be Clow UFO Base without our annual holiday concert.”

Also in the Babbler:

Authorities close wormhole along the Winter Walk
Village of Bolingbrook looking for sister galaxy candidates
Bolingbrook police arrest Krampus
God to smite Bolingbrook on 12/9/22

Bolingbrook United closes Clow UFO Base office before disbanding (Fiction)

The logo of the now disbanded Bolingbrook United Party.

By Reporter X

In its final act, the Bolingbrook United Party closed its office at Clow UFO. Bolingbrook United’s final statement to the interstellar media praised their volunteers and apologized to their fans across the galaxy. Part of the statement read: “When we united against Trump-loving dictator (former Mayor Roger Claar), we started a new chapter in Bolingbrook’s history. Now we must end our chapter, and others must write the next chapter.”

Staffers found out about the closing when former Village Trustee candidate Jose Quintero addressed the staff in person. “I have bad news and good news,” he said. “The bad news is our merger talks with Bolingbrook Independent Voices broke down. The good news is that I will be one of the First Party for Bolingbrook’s trustee candidates. Who’s joining me?”

An unidentified staffer kicked her wastebasket, then started crying as she dropped to the floor. “You sold out to Roger and betrayed (Will County Board Member Jackie Traynere)!”

Quintero denied he was selling out by running with Claar’s former political party. He insisted the party had changed since Claar resigned. As proof, he said in the last quarter, Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta donated more money to the First Party than Claar. He added, “Look at Bolingbrook today. Roger is no longer the mayor. We have garbage toters. Bolingbrook now has two village managers. We’re going to have a cannabis dispensary, and Bolingbrook Commons is getting a long overdue makeover. Think about it. Most of our candidates lost, but, in the end, we got what we wanted!” Quintero later added, “At this rate, Jackie will be on the First Party ticket in 2025, and all those Facebook trolls will suddenly love her.”

A representative from BIV arrived and offered job interviews for positions at their interstellar consulate. All but one former staffer, Joel, accepted the interview offer.

Joel, who asked not to have his last name published, said he wanted to help Quintero reform the First Party. “I did as much as I could as a member of Bolingbrook United. Now that I’m a member of the First Party, I’ll work hard to make it a pro-democracy and anti-fascist political party. I dream of the day Trump demands Roger denounce the First Party because it’s too woke.”

Patricia Z. Baker says she hopes she’s hired by BIV: “If (Trustee Sheldon Watts) won’t join the First Party, neither will I. Besides, BIV is cooler abbreviation than FPB. Doesn’t FPB sound like someone spitting?”

Traynere denied ordering the closure of the Bolingbrook United office. She added she would help the staffers get new jobs, and that it was time for her to move forward. “As the administrator of the DuPage Township, I’m proud that the Edgar County Watchdogs haven’t posted about us for over a year.”

A receptionist for Alexander-Basta said she was out of town.

In the background, a man who sounded like Watts said, “Oh no. Let me do the talking.”

A woman who sounded like covert social media operative Charlene Spencer said, “Hey. I can’t wait to meet the BIV ticket.”

“Charlene, this is Matthew, my fellow running mate for village trustee.”

“Hi, I have a book!” said the man who sounded like Dr. Matthew Glowiak. 

“Who doesn’t?” After a long pause, she asked. “And?”

“And?” asked the man who sounded like Watts.

“Where’s the other candidate? There are three trustee seats up for election next year. Surely, you recruited a third trustee candidate. Right?”

“I only need one running mate.”

“Dude! That means you’re guaranteeing the First Party a four seat majority on the board, and that’s assuming both of you win. Did you even ask Inez, Meraj, Patti, or Faith to run this year?”

“None of your business. Besides, I don’t believe in power games. I believing in working together to serve Bolingbrook.”

“Dream on, Sheldon. If you win reelection, you’re going to get Jaskiewiczed.”

“Don’t take Bob’s name in vain. Besides, why don’t you do something positive for a change?”

“I am, but it’s taking a while. You don’t realize how many strings I’m pulling just to get Bel Biv DeVoe to consider performing at your first campaign event?”

“You’re not serious. BBD?”

“Yeah! I’ve even asked them to change the lyrics to Poison, so it’s about Mayor Mary—”


“Excuse me,” said the man who sounded like Glowiak. “Why are you letting her work for us?”

“Because it’s better than having her work against us.”

Also in the Babbler:

Trump to have dinner with Satan at the Bolingbrook Golf Club
Clow security arrest alien crew for flying too close to Artemis I
Pathways to Bolingbrook and The Rift books are Amazon’s highest ranked books featuring Bolingbrook.
God to smite Bolingbrook on 12/2/22

Note: This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.  

I am also the author of The Bolingbrook Babbler Stories. For book updates and a free ebook, sign up for my newsletter. Pathways to Bolingbrook, and The Rift are available at Amazon and elsewhere. You can support my work by buying one of my books.