Friday, May 27, 2011

The Not-So-Easy Part

Hello, Persevering Purveyors of Prose!

I finished a rough draft of the first book of  "Brother's Keeper" when I was still at Sears back in the late Nineties.  When I came to this natural stop, I picked up the manuscript, straightened the pages and then  stared at it for while.  What to do now?

"You should bring it to the Nova Scotia Writer's Federation!" someone at work enthused.  "I'm sure someone there would be willing to help out an emerging writer!"

I gamely took my little embryonic tome down to their offices, which used to be in a high rise on Barrington Street in Halifax (I understand that they're now in a well-appointed suite in the Seaport Market area next to Pier 21).  I remember taking the elevator up to their floor, going inside the office and speaking to a put-upon secretary.

"Hi!   I've written the first third of a book and I was wondering if I someone might be available to to go over it with me and possibly give me some feedback and advice."

She gave me a once-over as if I was about to start acting out parts of the book with sock puppets.

"Yeah, just take a seat for a moment and I'll see if someone's available to speak to you," she replied absently.

About twenty minutes later I met with a gentlemen who sat me down at an expansive desk and then took a seat in the opposite chair.  Now, at the time I was still just a skinny, shy, nervous kid and I really didn't have a lot of what might be called "presence".  Or "confidence".  Or "self-esteem".  So, when this guy smiled at me it seemed totally disingenuous as if he was barely concealing the thought: 'Well, let's hear what this twerp has to say!  It could be hysterical!'

"So, what can I help you with?" he asked, looking vaguely like the Cheshire Cat.

" wrote the first third of this book and I was wondering if someone could take a look at it and maybe give me some feedback or advice?"

"You said it's not finished?" he interjected.

"Well, yes.  I've got about two-hundred pages done..."

"Finish it first," he said abruptly.

"Um, okay," I stammered. "But I was kinda hoping that someone could read it and tell me if I'm on the right path and give me some kind of assurance that I'm not wasting my time here.  Maybe offer a bit of guidance..."

"No one is going to read it until it's finished," he barked, knitting his hands behind his head and leaning back in his chair.  "Finish it and bring it back when you're done."

"But, you see, that's just the point: I don't know if I ever will finish it," I railed.

"You will," replied the literary sensei.  "If you're motivated enough to write two-hundred pages, then you're  motivated enough to finish it."

Looking back, this was actually some pretty good (if not completely stone-cold) advice.

"Oh...okay," I managed, wriggling in my chair like a suspect trapped in an interrogation room with a busted security camera and only Vic Mackey for company.

"When I've got the book done, then can someone look at it?"

"Yes," replied the adviser.  "We can have one of our in-house published authors take a look at it.  Their rates are actually quite fair: $100.00 for the first two-hundred pages and then two dollar for each additional page beyond that."

I distinctly remember almost choking on my gum at that point.  The really weird thing is that I wasn't chewing any gum at the time.

"Oh, wow, really?  Yes, yes that's quite fair," I stammered.  I stood up and began to gather up my things like a madwoman in an attic.

For the first time, the Federation Commander finally started to betray a hint of concern that he'd said something wrong.

"Let me assure you that their services are invaluable.  Our stable of published writers will go over your manuscript with a fine tooth comb.  They'll root out spelling, grammatical, continuity and formatting errors.  They'll critique your characterizations, dialogue and plot.  It's quite extensive..."

"Yes,"  I said, leaning over the desk to repossess my ream-shaped baby, which was now sitting  uncomfortably close to the tin-plated Junta leader seated across from me.  "I'm sure it is.  Thank you...thank you for your time."

As I fled the office I could hear him calling after me:

"Good luck and happy writing!"

I clutched my book to my chest as I descended back down to ground level in the elevator.  Just when my fellow passengers in the lift were about to pat me down for nitroglycerin pills, the door opened and I hurried outside.

I couldn't believe it.  This "Federation" wasn't about fostering new local literary talent at all!  All it seemed to exist for was to act as a cottage industry for already-published authors.

So, after ten plus years, I never did go back to the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia.  Maybe it's changed.  Maybe it's better now.  I don't know, but my brief experience there really left a sour taste in my mouth. 

I went back home that day feeling quite depressed.

But not three days later I started work on Book II.  

EPIC   My Dad sends me emails periodically from the Writer's Alliance of Newfoundland.  Now these guys really seem to know the meaning of support and encouragement:

FAIL   Sci-Fi author A.C. Crispin exposes the bloodsuckers in the industry:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Easy Part

And a Kind Greeting To You, Incessant Reader!

Last time I talked about the initial spark that inspired me to write my first novel.  Little did I know that my initial approach to tackling the book put me in direct opposition with the greatest contemporary author of horror, suspense, fantasy and sci-fi....none other then Stephen King.

I wouldn't know it until years later, but Stephen would have chastised me for my initial approach.  Before I began to write in earnest, I sat down and meticulously plotted out every single chapter of my book right down to the very end.

Years later, after I'd finished the first draft of my book I read the following passage in King's amazing memoir On Writing:

"I won't try and convince you that I've never plotted any more then I'd try to convince you that I've never told a lie, but I do both as infrequently as possible.  I distrust plot for two reasons: first, because our lives are largely plotless...and second, because I believe plotting and the spontaneity of real creation aren't possible."   

Well, this might be all well and good when King produces a situational book like The Shining or Misery (two genre masterpieces, BTW) but as a voracious reader of his, it was also easy for me to detect when this anti-plotting stance failed him, resulting in the literary equivalent of being painted into a corner in the end.  Anyone who's ever read the novel IT likely knows what I'm talking about.  Here's an actual transcript of my thoughts in reaction to that book's finale: 

"Wow, I'm really digging this book.  I love the characters, I love the flashbacks to the 50's with them as kids.  That friggin' clown is totally creeping me out.  Oh,'s not a creepy clown after all it's actually some kind of a...a  Um, okay.  Okay, sure, we'll go with that.  I guess.  But, oh yikes, now the kids are all lost underground and starting to freak out, I wonder what King's gonna do to get them out of...*Whoa!*  Really?  She's doing that? Really?!  With all the boys?  Yikes!  Man, I wish there were girls that accommodating to boys without self-esteem back when I was hittin' puberty!  Cripes!"    
Actually, in spite of IT's lame ending,  I actually totally agree with him.  If I was writing some slice-o'-life novel, like my own Atlantic Canadian version of James Joyce's Ulysses, I certainly would have taken the "plotless" tact.  But I'm sure that even Mr. King would have to admit that a certain amount of mercurial navigation would be required for what amounts to a fantasy love letter to classic works of tragedy such as Oedipus Rex or MacBeth.  After all, since so many of those classic plays feel like an inexorable march towards certain doom I really wanted my hapless readers screaming at the page "ABORT!  ABORT!  ICEBERG 'ROIT AHEAD!"  

So, before I sat down to write any new segment, I would start with a one-line synopsis such as:  "Justinian Gets Sacked", "Tyranis Seeks Fafnir", "Valarius Confronts Couris" or "Tyrian En Route To Darkfrost".  As such, I tackled each new chapter like the equivalent of your Language Teacher giving you a milquetoast topic like "What I Did Last Summer" except that instead of detailing my family's boring trip to Rainbow Valley, I could make all kinds of crazy shit up!

Now, that's not to say that I kept my characters confined within the restrictive rubber walls of these one-line playpens..oh, no.  They were more then free to run riot within the chapter, often spawning more one-line sequels just from their actions alone.

This is best typified by the so-called villains of the piece, the Rogue Pirates.  In the realm of Brother's Keeper, this notorious organization is born when an angry young war veteran named Tyranis gathers a pack of unemployed ruffians together to attack his adoptive home Norrvik while it sits virtually defenseless.  He organizes and leads the sneak attack for two reasons: seek revenge for the loss of his father who died at the hands of Northerners and raid the town's prodigious coffers.

Amidst all the treachery, betrayal, loss of life and virtual destruction of the town, Tyranis has no qualms about robbing everything of value and exiting stage left.  Then something weird happens: in an action of either mercy or guilt, Tyranis spares the women and children of Norrvik!  Not exactly the actions of a vicious, bloodthirsty pirate, eh?

Years later we come to realize that despite how nasty the initial raid might have been, Tyranis really isn't that evil.  He just came up with what he thought was a good (though selfish) idea and followed through on it.  Problem is, he now finds himself at the helm of a truly nasty bunch of professional criminals.

To make sure readers could get a feel for this, I made the decision early on to allocate almost as much face time to the antagonists as I did to the protagonists.  These two concurrent story lines alternate back and forth until both factions meet at the end for the inevitable war of attrition.

I was amazed by how readily these characters came to life: how they began to breathe, speak and do things for themselves.  Valarius goes from milksop to master of his own destiny to someone slightly unhinged.  Tyrian, like many ne'er-do-well kids who think they know everything, begins to realize that he's not so bad-ass after all.  Syrach, their father, spirals down from nominal leader to a mental train wreck after he looses track of his exponential pack of lies.  Their mother, Cassandra, initially seen as a dizzy stereotype, rises to the occasion when her husband falters.

I also had to immediately make the call as to how these characters would speak to one another.  The producers of the recent movie Thor must have had the same thoughts I had on the matter: no-one on earth will possibly relate to characters pontificating in Olde English medieval-speak.  As such, the characters in my novel speak quite informally but nowhere close to the conversational nadir that was on display in such dreck as The Adventures of Sinbad T.V. show from the late Nineties.  Sin-BAD, indeed.

In fact, I took great pains to give all of my characters their own unique voices.  Older characters such as Syrach, Fafnir and Urland speak in reserved tones when compared to younger characters and Valarius and Tyrian as kids.  Here are a few examples:

Tyranis (To Fafnir): “Obey me, old man, or I’ll split you open and smear your carcass across this deck!”

Tyrian (shaking a textbook in his brother's face): “Val, how many times do I hafta tell you these things?  You’re playing right into Syrach’s hands.  I know you better than that; you’ve got less interest in this than I do!”

Calvin (noting Fafnir's prominent absence): “He said he had pressing matters to attend to, but if you ask me, he has more brains than all of us put together.”

Valarius: (addressing a hostile heckler in enemy territory) “I am heir to the House of Aligheri, you ill-bred dog!  Now take me to Couris before I imprint this ring’s crest between your beady eyes!"

Fafnir (to Tyranis) "“I’m sick and tired of watching children steal from the bodies of unarmed merchants.  I hate this coward’s enterprise we’ve fallen into and I don’t want any part of it anymore.”

Gideon (chastising Syrach for lamenting only his own son's battlefield injuries) "Every man that died out there was someone’s son.”

Cassandra (to a recovering Valarius):  "Now that you’re getting better, you and I are going to have a little talk.  I’ve been nice to you so far because I’ve been worried but now that I know you’re going to be alright, I’m thinking about turning you over my knee and giving you a good beating!”

Now some may argue that the dialogue is a bit too informal, but my reasoning is that everything you're reading here is a translation of some language.  Since folks have a tendency to speak very informally with one another in their native tongues (with colloquialisms thrown in like the conversational equivalent of "Mrs. Dash"), this is eventually what comes though in my "interpretation".

One thing that Stephen King and I really do see eye-to-eye on is description.  After reading Sir. Walter Scott's Ivanhoe I always promised myself that I'd never subject a reader to the sort of anal-retentive color commentary that Scott was notorious for:

"His dress was a tunic of forest green, furred at the throat and cuffs with what was called minever - a kind of fur inferior in quality to ermine, and formed, it is believed, of the skin of the grey squirrel."

I won't bore you with the rest, but just suffice to say that Scott book-ends this with endless, gratuitous details about this character's temperament, stature, body type, facial features, hair, as well as every aspect of his wardrobe right down to his golden-clasped sandals.  I mean, c'mon, dude!  Give our flabby imaginations a chance to fill in the blanks!

As Stephen King wisely observes: "I find wardrobe inventory particularly irritating; if I want to read descriptions of clothes I can always get a J. Crew catalog."

I prefer just a few quick impressionistic brush strokes which affords the reader just enough clay to mould the image in their own, unique mind's eye:

"Calvin, on the other hand, was in his forty-third year and his prime was slipping behind him.  His once thick blonde mane was thinning badly, leaving his fuzzy crown gleaming in the light.  His lean, ferret-like frame was beginning to paunch, showing mostly in his face and mid-section.  Too many years of carousing, driven by coffers that knew no bottom made Calvin besotted before his time."   

And yes, then there's the ending.  Given my inspirations, the finale of the book was never in question.  Nevertheless, it was very difficult for me to pull the trigger since I knew it would likely alienate some readers who were vainly hoping for some sort of network dramedy eleventh hour miracle.  But the novel's original ending has always been what it is and, frankly, if I'd altered it in any way it just wouldn't have been true to the story, the characters or myself.   It would have been like Old Yeller, minus the inevitable double-tap. 

When the first draft of Brother's Keeper was completed I set it aside and let it go to fallow for a bit.  It's during this time that I read Stephen King's memoir about his life's work.  Despite being at loggerheads with him RE: meticulous plotting, I was actually kinda relieved to find out that I was already doing a lot of things he was suggesting.  

But I still had a lot of work to do. 

Next time out: the editing process can sometime be cruel, but after subjecting myself to it's cold auspices, I now consider it to be cathartic and liberating.  Stay tuned, kiddies: lots more tips and tricks I learned from Stephen King (and my own nominal experience) in the next entry!


FAIL: I'm really, really hoping these are fake but, sadly, they probably aren't...

MONDO FAIL  Ah, Zen Gesner, where are you now, you blow-dried pretty boy?  Cripes, he's about as Arabic- looking as Steve Buscemi...

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Greetings and Salutations, Loyal Literary Loiterers!

"The warship Midgard plowed through the frigid, churning sea towards her quarry: the hamlet of Norrvik.  The distant village lay nestled around a narrow, mist-shrouded harbor of barren stone.  Jagged, ice-covered cliffs shouldered the small town, sheltering its inhabitants from the killing winds.  Sparse vegetation dotted the cruel terrain, while small wind-stunted trees stood twisted towards the sky.  Despite the howling wind and blinding sleet, one could still determine the conspicuous absence of Norrvik’s proud fleet."

So begins the first paragraph of my first, full-length novel: a paragraph that's been in existence for about half of my lifetime.  Frankly, if I was still twenty years old, that really wouldn't be very impressive, but considering that I'm now ten years beyond the point of euthanasia in the world of Logan's Run, that's a long friggin' time. 

When I wrote this first passage back in High School I could scarcely conceive of where it would ultimately lead me.  If I could hop into a time machine and go back to tell Young Dave that these words (and a host of others) would one-day see physical incarnation in the form of a paperback book, the reaction wouldn't be pretty.  In fact, I'm convinced that my extra-scrawny self with the port-hole-sized spectacles would have told Future Dave in no uncertain terms to stick my wild claims "where Paddy stuck the dough-ball".

And yet, here we are.  What was the germ of inspiration that resulted in me writing a five-hundred page novel?  What was it like to craft all those imaginary people, the world they inhabit, and their dialogue?  What was it like to guide this Rogues Gallery of characters through a plot that only ended when it ended?  After this initial paragraph was scribbled down on loose leaf, why did it take so damned long to finish it?

Cripes, those are a lot of questions.  Go 'way, willya?  Can't you see that I'm tryin' to watch Terry Jones' Medieval Lives in peace here? 

Okay, okay...I'll talk!  Just stop starin' at me like that, it's friggin' creepy.

For the purpose of ensuring a reasonable amount of brevity, let's just start from the beginning.  Where did the idea for the book come from in the first place?  Now, I'm not talking about the book's influences, since I've already documented that as nauseum right here.  No, I want to explain where the germ of the idea sprang from and how it seemed natural to spin it into a full-length novel.

Brother's Keeper is the first volume in a potential nine book, three-volume, arc.  The first (totally self-contained) volume introduces readers to the characters of Valarius and Tyrian, two brothers who are born into a life of inherited privilege as sons of the High Governor of Galadria, a fictional nation that resembles Medieval Italy.  As sweet as this "jackpot-by-birth" seems to be at face value, the two brothers are restless, bored and also harbor serious trepidations about the Machiavellian dealings that their father must engage in to retain his power.

This leads the elder son Valarius to turn his back on his inheritance in lieu of pursuing a life of unnecessary and potentially deadly hardship as a warrior.  As a wannabe pretender to the throne and official Black Sheep of the family, Tyrian goes one step further by falling in with a pack of hardened, notorious pirates.

Okay, so where the hell did that all come from?  I don't have any siblings, my Dad isn't a wealthy governor and I'm about as Italian as John Lithgow.

Well, as I've documented in previous posts (handy-dandy link provided right here) as a kid I was a huge fan of fantasy stories and role-playing games in particular.  The great thing about hobbies like this is that it practically forces your imagination to percolate.  Not only do you start making up characters, you start thinking about who these characters are, where they came from and what their motivations are.

Also, as an only child, I've always unconsciously wanted a sibling.  In a way it's kind of a shame that my parents had me and were then forced to declare: "Well, there you go, total perfection on our first try!  Not bad!  No sense having another one since it's just gonna end up feeling inferior  in comparison..."


Regardless of whatever my parent's reasoning was for not breeding again ("Eeeeeeewww."), a part of me has always wondered what it would be like to have a sister or brother.  As if my folks sensed this, somehow, I was very privileged as a kid to have my younger cousin Jason live with us for awhile. Although there's no specific reference to this in the book, that priceless experience certainly helped me to reproduce the sort of unique sibling rivalry and banter that Valarius and Tyrian often exhibit.

By the way, any writer that tries to tell you that their characters aren't a reflection of themselves is either lying or embarrassed by what their creations reveal.  Even if it isn't a conscious decision, I really believe that our opinions, experiences and dispositions just naturally bleed into our creations through a process of passive osmosis.  As I told someone in an email recently, personal strife usually translates into passion and passion typically equates good art.          

So, as much as I try to pass Tyrian and Valarius off as two separate and fictional entities, the real truth is that both of them are actually, to a certain extent, me.  At first Valarius is shy, socially awkward and retiring and Tyrian hides his lack of self-worth with brash, bravado and self-fulfilling failure.  Despite these flaws, both of them have strong passions and unwavering convictions to pursue their own unique ways in the world.  As their wild surroundings and uncontrollable circumstances begin to have an effect on them, the two brothers experience a transitional arc in their personalities that I believe all of us must endure.

Although my Dad could never be perceived as vastly wealthy, he was very successful doing his own rebellious thing as a visual artist.  So much so that everyone I spoke to as a kid would ask me: "Sooooo, do you paint or draw as well?" as if they were obsessed with proving their hypothesis about creative genetic inheritance.  Yes, I dabbled with both those things in the past, but it was almost a disappointment to people when I told them that I liked to write instead.

So I suppose a compelling case could be made that when Valarius and Tyrian turn their backs on expectations just for the sake of doing something stupid, this is actually a metaphor for my desire to pursue something creative, impractical, and outside of my artistic pedigree.

I know!  Deep, huh?

And this brings me to how I was able to write this book to completion.  By the time I'd mapped out the back-story of these two disparate siblings, I was staring at the framework of a pretty elaborate little yarn.  Something that incorporated tidbits of my own unique experience set filtered through the framework of the fantasy novels and Greek/Shakespearean tragedies I was ravenously devouring at the time.

But, ultimately I wrote it because it was the kind of book that I wanted someone else to write so I  could  read it!  I didn't think that such an animal existed: a fantasy novel that spoke to the universal human experience.  In fact, if I had a dime for every fantasy novel I've started to read and then abandoned just because it had nothing going on thematically or any modern relevance...well, let's see...I'd have about four or five dimes...      

Now, I don't want to completely spell out all the themes of the novel, what fun would that be?  People are more then free to enjoy the book's many pitch battles, family dramas and historic details on a completely superficial level and go no further.  That's fine by me.  But the really diligent reader who likes to prospect for hidden meanings and subtext will have a veritable field day with each re-visitation.

In my next entry I'll go deeper into the nuts and bolts of writing of the book.  I'll try and talk about how I managed to eke out the time, how I plotted the thing, and how the characters magically came alive and often stubbornly refused to do what I told them to do.  I'll also talk about how navigating through a full-length novel improves your skills as a writer and how the initially painful process of self-editing can be totally liberating.

Until then, Happy Reading, folks!  .

EPIC (If only due to my Dad's amazing artwork):

The DeathQuest Saga: Brother's Keeper (Volume 1)

EPIC VIEWING:  I'm an easy mark for this series, which features Monty Python alum Terry Jones.  Terry's a devout medieval historian who has a blast exploding myths about the Middle Ages while consistently bringing the funny:

Terry Jones' Medieval Lives

FAIL:  What I didn't want the cover to look like...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

♪ ♫ Ding! Dong! The Witch Is Dead! ♪ ♫ But Which Witch?

Greetings, Vigilant Viewers at the Vanguard!

Well, the world is all abuzz with the news that Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama Bin Laden was gunned down in his phat, palatial Pakistani mansion on Sunday.  Ever since that happened we've been treated to Tom Clancy-flavored press conferences,  jubilant celebrations, approval rating bumps, and groups of drunken frat-boys screaming "USA!  USA!" as if they're at an 80's era WWF wrestling match featuring Hulk Hogan vs. The Iron Sheik.

There's also a small but vocal outcry from a passionate and vigilant segment of the population that believes that Bin Laden actually died ages ago or more to the point, he ain't dead at all.

And frankly, they do have a bit of ammo to work with.  We've been told that there's now no impending video or photos and the body itself was dumped quicker then a 7-2 off suit in a game of Texas Hold 'Em.

So, almost appropriately, Osama Bin Laden's death is now cloaked in as much secrecy as his life.  With the assumption that the mainstream media might not be telling us everything about this boogyman-like character, what follows is:


(1) He was never indicted for the 9/11 attacks even though both the Bush and Obama administration keep pushing the two of them together like grade school kids at a Spring Formal dance...

(2) On the day of 9/11, the mainstream media told all of us, in no uncertain terms, who we should be blaming: a billionaire genius who hates us, lives underground and used to work for the good guys until he learned all of their secrets and switched over to the Dark Side.  A man that they often come close to capturing but always mysteriously gets away and leaves behind a threatening tape!   To paraphrase Joe Rogan, it's like an 'effin comic book, people!

Wow, can you think of a more appropriate James Bond/Ernst Stavro Blofeld type of character to blame for the epic super villainry that was 9/11?

As a corollory for #1, it's interesting to note that at the end of this vid even "Tricky" Dick Cheney himself says that "we've never made the case or argued the case that somehow Osama Bin Ladin was directly involved in 9/11.  That evidence has never been forthcoming."   Really?  Then who told the media to finger him constantly after 9/11 and, more importantly, why?

He also inexplicably keeps getting mixed up with another recently-deceased Middle Eastern boogyman:

(3)  We've all heard rumors about Bin Laden being trained and funded by the C.I.A. to oppose the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, but how many of us know that this relationship indirectly goes back a lot further then we originally thought?  In this segment we learn that Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor (and current Obama Foreign Policy Advisor) Zbigniew Brzezinski worked with Bin Ladin and Al Qaeda predecessors the Mujahideen as early as 1979 to try and goad the Russians into a Vietnam-type scenario.

(4) The previous vid actually touches on this a bit at the end, but here's more about how the very term "Al-Qaeda" is actually an American construct:

(5) To take things one step further, if it's a proven fact that Bin Laden worked in close conjunction with the C.I.A., is it completely outside the realm of posibility that he and his cronies were card-carrying operatives at one point?

In fact, these young Pakistanis seemed to be totally convinced:

(6)  His identity in the so-called 9/11 "confession video" released by the C.I.A. is still seriously dodgy, IMHO...

Look, I understand what poor video quality and a screwed up aspect ratio does to an image, but I gotta say, the dude in this video bears as much of a similarity to the real Bin Laden as Ryan Seacrest does to James Earl Jones.

Hell, even his own son doesn't think it's him...

(7)  Then there are reports of Bin Laden being treated at an American military hospital as late as July 2001:  (WTF?!?!)

(8) That he toured around the United States under the alias of  "Tim Osmond"?   Jesus, didn't he play second base for the Orioles around that same time?

(9) That a slew of people thought he was already dead a long time ago:

(10) His death seems to be cloaked in as much mystery as his life. It's only been a few days and there's already enough discrepancies to feed conspiracy theories for years:

Also interesting to note about that last clip, the date of 2001 keeps coming up over and over again relating to Bin Laden's death.  This time his will is actually referenced!

When this story first broke, President Obama said he'd provide conclusive evidence that Bin Laden was dead. Now they've pulled back on that promise:

Human shields vs. no human shields? Unarmed or not?  My tax return this year was less confusing...

And why was his body dumped so quickly in the first place and in such a conclusive manner?  Since he's the modern age's equivalent of Adolph Hitler, wouldn't it have made more sense for the Americans to lord over his death in no uncertain terms before doing so?

Look here, folks, I honestly don't know what all of this adds up to, if anything.  But I have a sneaking suspicion that, like me, you may have had a gut reaction to this story which told you "something here just don't add up".  I'm not a Politcal Scientist, but when taken together, the connotations for all of this stuff is pretty unnerving...

The older I get the more I've trust my intuition.  I'm sure the official story is spot on, but if just a cursory search through alternative media reveals all these oddities and discrepancies then it's only gonna get worse.  Photos, video, DNA results and total, concrete evidence needs to be released as soon as possible or what you see here is just the tip of the iceberg.

What I do know for sure is that we need to unplug ourselves from the pablum IV drip of mindless entertainment and ready-to-pop Infobitz that mainstream media tends to feed us.  Should we blissfully swallow everything we're told and just assume that there is no shades of grey to the story?  Of course not.

We need to be vigilant, nosy, and willing to put everything we're told under scrutiny.

After all, as historian Howard Zinn once said: "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."

EPIC  Joe Rogan neatly sums up for me just how ludicrous all of this is:

FAIL  "Osama"..."Obama"...whatever!