Don’t forget to look up!

4:51 pm January 30th, 2015
Ring around the moon

Halo around the moon!

(Brunette, here.)

OK, unfortunately the picture doesn’t really do it justice. I stepped outside last night, and could so easily have missed this — the biggest, brightest ring I’ve ever seen around the moon. It’s not unusual to spot halos around the sun, I’ve taken many pics of those … but this felt pretty awe inspiring. :)

So, next time you’re out — day or night — don’t forget to look up!

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Doug French reviews ‘Testament of James’

8:14 pm January 24th, 2015


Economist, banker and former head of the Ludwig von Mises Institute Doug French offers his take on “The Testament of James” at .

In part, Doug reports: “Peddling used books has a treasure hunt side that is particularly interesting for us bibliophiles and is not only made part of Testament’s plotline, but is included in many of book’s business anecdotes.

“The treasure in question is not an autographed copy of Wolfman Jack’s Have Mercy!, but an ancient manuscript written (or not) by James the Just, oldest brother of Jesus of Nazareth. Shadowy characters aplenty descend upon Books on Benefit after its manager dies under curious circumstances.

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‘Entertaining, funny, and thought-provoking’

2:35 pm January 11th, 2015

Copy Number 120 of the signed, limited hardcover edition of “The Testament of James” is shipping this weekend. Meantime, a few more reviews have arrived.

Oliver Del Signore, webmaster for Backwoods Home magazine, has weighed in with a review at :


“. . . Part of what’s ‘a little different’ about the book are the pace and tone. Both are more relaxed, as befits a story that plays out primarily in a bookstore. Add to that well-drawn, interesting characters, and dialogue that not only entertains but challenges you to think about things you’ve ‘known’ all your life, and you have a story that keeps you turning pages. And if you enjoy strong female characters, I think you’ll love Chantal.”

Meantime, award-winning journalist A.D. Hopkins offers his own take, filing the first reader review at: :

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Retail sales down, with one intriguing exception

4:19 pm January 8th, 2015

America’s remaining retailers were already pretty well shell-shocked after seven years of Great Recession administered by those geniuses from Goldman Sachs. But store owners got whacked again when they totaled up retail sales for the long Thanksgiving weekend — traditional start of the Christmas shopping season — and found they were down 11 percent from an already lackluster 2013.

Who would have expected otherwise? Investors in America today operate in a high-risk environment. Our overreaching federal government, run by socialist rabble-rousers who have never had to meet payroll in any enterprise as expansive as a corner yogurt stand, can now shut down any enterprise by deciding it endangers some previously unrecognized weed or bug, or somehow generates too much “carbon pollution.” (A term purposely chosen to make you think of black smokestack soot but which has now been redefined, a la George Orwell, to mean colorless, odorless, carbon dioxide — necessary to life on earth. Really. Every time you or the nearest cow exhale, it’s “carbon pollution.” The federal courts say so.)

Survival thus means knowing who to bribe. Of course, we’re not supposed to call it “bribery.” Let’s just say some big “campaign contributions” — and retaining a senator’s sons or sons-in-law to handle “lobbying” and “legal services” — might be wise.

If you wanted to encourage honest investors to open businesses and develop new products and build factories and thus create new jobs in this country, you might want to offer them a high rate of return to compensate them for these risks. Instead, the current policy of our Keynesian pals at the Federal Reserve is to keep rates of return on U.S. investments as close as possible to zero. Brilliant.

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E-book for $5.99

4:03 pm January 8th, 2015

A Kindle (e-book) edition of “The Testament of James / from the Case Files of Matthew Hunter and Chantal Stevens” is now available at .


Ebooks in other formats should follow shortly. As there are no immediate plans to bring out a softcover edition, it’s our hope that this will make the book available to those not yet ready to order the collectible, signed, hardcover edition.

‘The Black Arrow’ not forgotten

3:41 pm January 8th, 2015

Wally Conger, a California revolutionary market anarchist who remembers Ayn Rand, Karl Hess, and Jefferson Airplane — reportedly inspired by CW’s current “Arrow” TV series — was kind enough to post a favorable review of “The Black Arrow / A Tale of the Resistance” at , last month, finding it “an explosive, dizzying, libertarian cocktail of a story.”


Vin’s first, 2005 novel is still available here ; the signed, limited, numbered leatherbound here: .

Thanks, Wally.

Claire weighs in / Interview with Vin

11:12 pm January 3rd, 2015

Claire Wolfe, author of “101 Things to Do ‘Til the Revolution,” “The Freedom Outlaw’s Handbook,” and the ongoing chronicles of Hardyville, has weighed in with a review of “The Testament of James” at her Backwoods Home blog, here and (part II) here.

The review is followed by the first half of an interview with Vin on a range of subjects relating to his latest novel; the second half is promised for Dec. 5 or thereabouts.

2014 Vin Portrait

Reader comments always welcome here, or e-mail reviews or links to cat (at) .

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Here they come

12:06 pm December 31st, 2014


Even as we were proofreading the final draft, our old friend Ernie Hancock at Freedom’s Phoenix radio down in Arizona was good enough to chat with us on-air about the forthcoming novel back in August — .

By September, the redoubtable Claire Wolfe, blogging at Oregon-based Backwoods Home magazine, was advising folks that preliminary excerpts of “The Testament of James” had been posted here on the home site at ( .)

Coin-and-gun guy (and another old friend) Glen Parshall in Utah worked to keep folks up-to-date through the autumn at .

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Hilltoppers offer plenty of offense / ‘Testament of James’ is shipping

6:40 pm December 22nd, 2014

I suppose by now close observers have noticed the Great Swami’s crystal ball was clouded, a few weeks back, when it came to predicting the lineup for the inaugural Popeyes Bahamas Bowl, set to kick off at noon local time (closer to dawn, in civilized time zones) Wednesday, Dec. 24 at Tom Robinson National Stadium, somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle. I can only echo Rick Blaine, challenged on the claim he came to Casablanca for the waters: “I was misinformed.”

We had been unreliably informed the match-up would likely feature the Toledo Rockets (not the Mud Hens, that’s baseball) and the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, but the Blue Raiders lost a final game to the mighty Florida International Panthers (who knew?) in late November, 38-28, slipping to 6-6. And there was no joy in Mudville, nor in Murfreesboro, neither. Goodbye bowl bids.

Things went the other way for the Rockets, who crushed Eastern Michigan 52-16 in the final game of their regular season. Suddenly Toledo was too hot a prospect to take the slow boat to Bermuda; they instead return to challenge Arkansas State of the Sun Belt Conference at another GoDaddy Bowl in Mobile, Alabama on Sunday evening, Jan. 4. The Arkansas State Red Wolves (hey, they’re all household names in this division), being the defending GoDaddy champions, are slightly favored.

As for the Bahamas rice-and-beans bowl, look for the 7-5 Central Michigan Chippewas to take on the 7-5 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. (Should we call it the “Barely Made It Bowl”?)

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Revisiting “America’s proud heritage: ‘uneducated, illiterate, barefooted, gun-toting hayseeds’?”

11:56 am December 11th, 2014

Has it really been five years — Thanksgiving of 2009 — since I posted a “readers respond” column under this headline?

For those who’d like another gander at what passes for reasoned, well-documented debate among the defenders of today’s mandatory government youth propaganda camps, I believe it’s still posted at .

I had the chance to vote “No” for more government-school bond sales — and ongoing taxation to retire them, with interest, of course — last month. Take yourselves hence, therefore, and do likewise.

“But Vin, while we all admit the public schools have their flaws, won’t you work with us to try and reform them?”

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