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The dead grass there is Roundup's fault. There's a steep drop-off there that I can't hit with the mower. Shut up. Anyway, the drain side of the pool is now plumbed with PVC. After we get the pool to a swimmable condition, I'll also plumb the return side, but it's working for now, so it can wait.
When we bought the house we're now in, it had stood vacant for several years; it's way out in the country, the real estate listing online only listed half the square footage and neglected to mention many of the house's amenities, and the owners had moved to Oregon, so they weren't maintaining the property. 
Anyway, I got all that taken care of once we bought the house, but we bought the house in late autumn or early winter, so I didn't mess with the pool. 
Well, a thousand bucks later, let me tell you: mess with the pool as early as possible. 
The pool's winter top had slid off, and our property is loaded with trees, so the bottom of the pool had like a foot of rotted leaves in it, and the rest of the pool was brown like a swamp:
Dead squirrel, anyone? Yes, that was the water in the pool. The fragrance was sublime.

The pump wouldn't start, so I switched out the capacitor and got it running. 
Not the simplest of problems to track down.

Then the leaf trap next to the pump started leaking from a huge crack down the side that someone had sealed with bad epoxy. Then the seals started leaking. 
So I discovered the trap is hard to find, which meant I needed to fix the bad repair job, which I did. Twice. On the third repair, the flexible hose leading from the pool's leaf trap to the pump's leaf trap broke a fitting as I was tightening it. Fuck that shit. Frustrated, I went to Lowe's and bought a bunch of PVC pipe, which is what you see in the picture above. OK, that problem solved, now I just have to work in cleaning up the outside of the pool and letting the chemicals do their trick on the inside. I'm going to replace the other flexible hose with PVC later, but right now, everything's working, so I'm not jumping right into that one. 
I said all that to say this: Remember when I said all little boys think wieners are funny and posted a picture of my five-year-old pretending his corndog was a wiener? Well, my three-year-old was "helping" me plumb the PVC, but all he could think of to do was, you guessed it: 
That barn behind him, by the way, I think is hideous. But my wife loves the "patina", so red and silver it stays.
Anyway, apparently, if you find a piece of pipe laying around, it automatically becomes a wiener.
This is the pool's water this morning, which still isn't swimmable, but much better than a swamp with a dead squirrel floating on it. You can see about three feet of hose beneath the water there, which is a major improvement.
It has taken my wife and me working steadily for two weeks, tons of chemicals, lots of broken skimmer equipment and enough frustration to make Gandhi punch someone in the throat to get the water to a place where you can see anything beneath the surface. Hopefully, now that the filtration system is fully operational, it won't take much longer to see clear water.
The moral is dual: Wieners are always funny. And make sure you take care of your pool, because fixing it after neglect is a major pain in the butt.
AsaAxlCountry LivinDIYFamilyParenting PoorlyWieners
My complimentary copies of Robby the R-Word arrived today in the mail. So, of course, I re-read the book, which I've read like a hundred times to date.
My good friend, Jan Jordan, is reading the book now, and he mentioned today that he really loved Chapter 10, which is also my favorite chapter, which describes the world from Robby's perspective, and a surprisingly emotional memory of his mother, which chokes me up every time I re-read it.
This re-read, however, I also got choked up on a much later chapter, which I hadn't to this point been affected by. Honestly, I hadn't expected to be affected by the book after this many reads, but a much later chapter that describes ... well, I'm not going to spoil it for you, apparently ... also choked me up. I've never been affected by something I've written in this way, so I guess what I'm saying is, BUY THE BOOK
You will not regret it. Guaranteed. 
Robby the R-WordBuy My Shit
Fuck you, Calista Flockhart. 
You sit out the entire second season of Supergirl, and as a result, I decide I'm not going to buy the third season. 
And then, in the season two finale, you show up and make me remember why I loved this series. Emotional, personal, realistic, believable emotions crystallized in a hardass boss who has a heart of gold buried beneath the hardened surface.
Supergirl is shit without Calista Flockhart, and if she is in Season Three, I'll buy it. And fuck you, CW, for holding her back for an entire season. If she'd  been in the show more over the past season, I would have never complained. 
Realize a good thing when you have it, and pay her double, triple, to travel to Toronto and film the next season, because she is the only good thing about this show.
TVCalista Flockhart
My Three Year Old, just now: Daddy, let me tell you a joke.
Me: Okay.
Asa: Why is your butt around the corner?
Me: I dunno. Why?
Asa: Because you ran over it. (Cackles maniacally)
AsaBizarreComedy
The story below appeared on my news site.

Latest Leif M. Wright book launches tomorrow

Monday, May 22, 2017, 9:21 AM

Disclaimer: This story is about Leif M. Wright, the owner of MuskogeeNOW.com.

Robby the R-Word launches nationally tomorrow.

Robby the R-Word, the latest novel by Leif M. Wright (me), launches nationally tomorrow, May 23. The book follows the story of Robby Turner, who has been trapped for 40 years inside a body that won’t move or communicate with the outside world. Now, however, he has received a special computer that lets him communicate for the first time, and people around him start falling victim to a mysterious attacker.

The book is important to me, because it’s dedicated to my cousin, Cydney Cox of Norman, and her toddler son, Maddox, who was murdered earlier this year. It was formerly dedicated to the late Kristi Fry of Muskogee and his youngest son, who suffers from physical ailments similar to Robby’s.

In the novel, which was written more than a year ago, Robby is severely handicapped after being traumatically beaten as a child. In real life, Maddox was killed in the same way, and, feeling helpless to do much else, I wanted to honor Maddox by changing the dedication.

The book had already gone to press when Maddox died, but I asked the people at Promontory Press, its publisher, if there was any way we could change the dedication page. The publisher didn’t even flinch. They rearranged everything so the dedication could change, even so close to the book’s release date.

The book is now available at Amazon.com, and will be in bookstores nationwide tomorrow. 

A boxful of the books is en route to me, and as soon as they arrive, we will have a launch party and signing. Keep posted here.

Here is the press release Promontory sent out about the book:

MUSKOGEE, OK – Promontory Press is pleased to announce the publication of Robby the R-Word, a chilling new murder mystery by award-winning author Leif M. Wright. The book is scheduled for North American release on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.

Robby Turner has been completely paralyzed for forty years. He’s a vegetable in a wheelchair — at least, that’s what everyone thinks. Then he receives a special computer that allows him to communicate. 

Now, brutal assaults and murders by a clumsy assailant have Detective Bain determined to catch the perp while struggling to keep her messy personal life from ruining her chance — and career. Meanwhile, Robby has been watching and hearing everything, and he’s been doing his own detective work. But can Bain trust Robby? After all, the clues are starting to point toward him.

“The plot has enough twists, turns and unearthing of unexpected connections between the characters to keep readers guessing,” says Publishers Weekly, adding that the novel “has a lot going for it.”

Leif M. Wright is the author of a previous novel, Minister of Justice(2015) and a true crime book, Deadly Vows (2014). A longtime journalist, computer programmer, professional musician, business owner and former ghost writer, he lives on a ranch near Muskogee, Oklahoma with his wife, three children and too many animals to count.

Robby the R-Word is available for order at Amazon.com and at fine bookstores everywhere.

For more information about Leif M. Wright, please visit: Website: http://leifwright.com Facebook: LeifMWright

I am the MediaRobby the R-Word
OK, I've seen a lot of episodes of Iron Fist. Turns out, I was right. It's a good show, complete with lots of great fighting, martial arts porn and zen, chi and buddhism.
So good. I think the critics who have disparaged this latest Marvel TV show are probably not comic book fans, because Iron Fist is a comic brought to life.
Thank you. That is all.
Critics are full of shitTV
Ok. Disclaimer: I'm only two episodes into Netflix's Marvel series Iron Fist. But it took me this long to watch it because reviews of the series were universally bad.
And I'll be honest, when the show first started, I thought, "Come on, this is just a rehash of Green Arrow: Rich guy gets stranded somewhere, learns to be a badass, comes back as a super hero."
But the truth is, Iron Fist is so much more nuanced and fun to watch than Green Arrow. For one, there's an actual plot (rich guy doesn't care about being rich, just wants to reconnect with his childhood friends), and the writing and acting are solid.
I loved the fight scenes in Daredevil, and I thought I wouldn't love Iron Fist if I didn't see the same. Especially since it's a series about a super martial artist. But I was wrong. I love this story—the story of people who illegally took over a massive corporation and now don't want it's legitimate 51 percent owner coming and taking away their gravy train, even though he couldn't give a shit about the money or the corporation. So they use legitimate avenues to lock him in a mental ward, where medication ensures he doesn't cause them any more trouble. Man, that's a good story!
And Iron Fist tells it well, at least in the first two episodes. So I reserve final judgment for later, but for now I think the critics have a stick up their asses and just hate this show because it dares to tell an engaging story rather than jumping right into the ass kicking. We'll see as it progresses.
TVCritics are full of shit
I'm not sure how a Goodreads reader got a copy of Robby The R-Word to read before it's released, but as I was perusing the publisher's Web site while offering suggestions on the press packet they're preparing, I noticed that my book had indeed been reviewed. And it's good. 
"A captivating thriller that kept me questioning my commitment to the main character," reviewer Talya says. "This book uses modern technology and deceit in clever ways that will keep you reading for more!"
I'm flattered. And I'm fascinated by how different people take away different things from the book. I'm glad she was questioning her commitment to Robby during the book, because that's what I wanted readers doing—after all, there's a chance that Robby himself is the bad guy (I can't tell you whether he is or not until you read the book). And the idea that she picked up on the technology I've smattered throughout the book is nice, too. And the deceit, which I think would be better termed "misdirection," but still, you say potato, I say tomato. 
Either way, I'm proud to have this book's first reader review from someone I don't know and who doesn't get paid to review books. That's better, in my opinion, than anything.
ReviewsRobby the R-Word
Pete Holmes is both tragic and hilarious in Crashing on HBO.
There could be a whole psychological study on why I love standup comedy.
For some unfathomable reason, my parents got me the Los Cochinos album by Cheech and Chong when I was like seven years old.
Pretty sure I've figured out why I think drug humor is so funny.
It was filled with drug humor, and even as a little kid, I got it: two dudes smoked something and it made their minds weird, and it was hilarious. I loved that the album cover was cut to the shape of a Volkswagen Beetle and there was all kinds of graffiti on the back side, but what I really loved was the impeccable timing of the greatest comedy duo (yes, even including Abbot and Costello and the Smothers Brothers) in the history of comedy.
From that time to this, I have always been a fan of standup comedy, and (forgive my rape-forgetting nostalgia), even including Bill Cosby from the '60s. 
The man is a bastard. And what he did to like fifty women is unforgivable. But I didn't know any of that when I was laughing to his albums in the 1970s, imagining Junior Jones getting a mouthful of spit, or Fat Albert solving the ghetto's problems, or a traffic jam in San Francisco turning into a used car lot, or a tree biting a car, or a student asking a coach teaching a science class "why is there air?" Howard Stern swears he never understood why people thought Cosby was funny, but I really did, when I was a kid. Maybe that's the problem, Howard was an adult when Cosby hit.
Fast forward to 1983, with Eddie Murphy in a pleather zoot suit, pacing back and forth on a state like his idol Richard Pryor, commanding his audience like a demented conductor, making what now would be considered unforgivably homophobic and racist jokes that made a multicultural audience lose its shit in laughter. 
Or in the modern day, my favorite comedian, Patton Oswalt, making me laugh so hard I thought I might literally die of an aneurism while making fun of Holocaust victim Anne Frank's story. Or Louis CK making me spit out my gum while mowing the lawn and listening to him talk about how horrible people his children are. Or, and God forgive me, Daniel Tosh and pretty much everything he has ever said. The man makes me want to pee my pants—even if I don't have to pee—because his humor is so WRONG.
So, when Stern is not producing new shows for four days of the seven-day week, I tune my SiriusXM radio to the four or five comedy channels there, and in the last year or so, I've been loving a comedian named Pete Holmes, who is mostly clean, but whose Christian background makes for some biting and insightful humor nonetheless.
So you can imagine my joy when I saw he had a show on HBO called Crashing, which co-starred two of my other favorites, TJ Miller and Artie Lange (Stern show alumnus). 
Also, and this is a side-note, if you ever hear Artie say "Don't come back until you have Hepatitis C," you're watching a show worthy of the title "Wrong, but fucking funny."
In addition, if you hear the protagonist answer the hooker responding to that by asking "what do you like" and the respondent saying "I love free wifi and breakfast for dinner," you know you've stumbled onto a great show.
What I found, besides an over-the-top indulgence of my passion for stand-up comedy, but also a poignant and sometimes-sad telling of the true lives of struggling comedians, paying to perform at open mikes, hawking flyers on the streets of New York City in the hopes of maybe getting five minutes of time if they are able to draw in enough paying customers to the club. And the self-inflicted tragedy of loving comedy so much that they estrange everyone else in their lives, much as an alcoholic or drug addict does.
It is the perfect balance of sadness, humor, hope and despair. It's one of the best-written shows I've watched in awhile, and that's a pretty big compliment, coming from a self-centered guy like me who believes he is a great writer. 
Pete Holmes is a great comedian, and I think he may be even a greater writer. Because the show is on pay network HBO, it may not get the kind of viewership it deserves, and that's a tragedy, because it touches all the bases in the best forms of entertainment, while keeping me laughing through all the tragedy and drama. That's a hell of a tough balance to strike. 
Did I mention Dave Attell? I've talked about him before—he's one of the best comedians you've never heard of. Scratch that. He's THE best comedian you've never heard of. If you haven't heard Dave Attell's standup, you haven't heard standup. Do not argue. I'm right about this. But Crashing features Dave Attell. So there's a reason to watch it, all by itself. Oh, plus, one of my longtime celebrity crushes (no, not Natalie Portman, at least not in this series), Sarah Silverman. She is a pivotal character that furthers Pete's career, plus, she's also ... um, Sarah Silverman.



Do yourself a favor, and stream or subscribe to HBO and watch every episode of Crashing. You will not be mad at me for suggesting it.
Artie LangeComedyDave AttellHoward SternPete HolmesSarah SilvermanTV
In the history of television, there has never been a better show than Boston Legal. The premise is simple: A group of lawyers practicing in Boston. One is a passionate, deeply flawed, yet painfully honest advocate, played by James Spader. Another is an eccentric, yet impressively brilliant and deceptively crazy founding partner, played by William Shatner. The friendship between the two is sublime, and uncoincidentally reminds me of my friendship with my friend, Jan Jordan.
At the end of every episode, they ruminate on a balcony in the gilded tower that houses their successful firm. Shatner, the conservative, and Spader, the flaming liberal, find common ground in the kind of platonic love men in America never really share with each other.
But the common thread that makes the show so great is the freedom of honesty most of the characters display in spades. Don't like someone? They say it without fear of the response. Think someone is stupid? They don't mind telling them. Shatner, in one episode, goes to court to defend the idea of someone "sounding black" on the phone, yet has no racism in his character at all. The show at once tears down the political correctness that has castrated American discourse, while defending the sensitivities that inspired that political correctness.
It is, in a single word, flawless. 
You can, according to the show, be a feminist, while still understanding the male evolutionary prerogative to ogle. You can defend the equality of all races and creeds while still understanding the innate humanity of categorizing people by their races and creeds. 
Something about the show makes it okay for people to be honest about their prejudices (not racial, not gender, but all prejudices) while defending the idea that prejudices are not okay when they affect other people's rights. 
I have long said that I'm a Jeffersonian democrat, and by that, I mean I adhere to my paraphrased version of one of Jefferson's most powerful quotes: "Your liberty is absolute, and extends until it infringes on my liberty."
You're free to swing your fist until it connects with me. 
I may not agree with why you're swinging your fist, but I really don't care if you do it. Until it hits my face. THEN, I care.
Honestly, I think if America reverted to that simple an understanding of freedom, we'd be a much happier place. And Boston Legal makes that ethos an entertaining exercise in understanding.
Alan Shore, the character played by Spader, is an extreme liberal. And Denny Crane, the character played by Shatner, is an extreme conservative. In the final wash, the show puts to lie the idea that extremism in either form should be tolerated. I obviously identify more with Spader's liberal character, but the show helps remind me that extremism is the enemy of actual and positive change. I'm a socialist. I'm a big-government liberal. But there are valid ideas on the conservative side of the spectrum as well. The show helps remind me that my point of view is absolutely extreme and has to be tempered with compromise if ALL of America is to be included in its idealistic tent. Idealism is the enemy of actual change. I have to be willing to compromise on my views if shit is actually going to be done.
Where else in entertainment can you find such a tempering view? Where else can you get an obviously liberal viewpoint challenged by the same writer from the conservative point of view? It is, and I say this without reservation, perfection in socially conscious entertainment. Liberals can love this show, and so can conservatives. What other show can you say that about?
One character, Crane, worries that in the afterlife, he will carry the ravages of Alzheimer's with him. Shore assures him that in the afterlife, we remain as we were in the best of times. With depthless love, Crane looks at him and says, "Like now?"
How can a show that makes me laugh so hard make me also want to cry? It's amazing, brilliant writing of which I am boundlessly jealous. Robby the R-Word makes me want to cry in several chapters, but I envy a writer who can so effortlessly make me want to laugh and cry in the space of two minutes. 
Can I tell you I'm terrified of Alzheimer's? I've always had a problem associating names with faces. I have always seen people and known I should know their names, but I just don't. Never have. But what if that is one of the precursors of Alzheimers? What if the fact that you have to tell me who you are and why I should remember you is something to be alarmed about? I've been locally famous for 30 years, meaning tons and tons of people know who I am, and I have no idea who they are. But what if I should? What if that's all a sign of diminishing memory? 
Boston Legal deals with those fears in a fearless way. It sets out on a path to face that reality without flinching—and make it funny at the same time.
The fact is, David E. Kelley is the creative force behind it, and Ally McBeal and The Practice and Picket Fences. It really only proves that he is an amazing writer, and I envy his ability to effortlessly weave entertainment and social commentary together. I find absolutely nothing in Boston Legal to nitpick. And I kind of hate Kelley for it.
I can only get the final season on iTunes, but even though I don't own a DVD player, I'm seriously considering buying the rest and buying a DVD player, simply so I can re-watch all the episodes I miss so much. I've watched them all before, but I want to watch them again.
And if you know me, you know that's the best endorsement I can make for a TV show.
I Was RIGHT!TV
When you're building a project in the garage, it's impossible to avoid the occasional three-year-old, who feels like he's helping if he wears the welding mask.
Plus, he keeps all the sparks from trashing my glasses, which I've been wearing since my new contacts started frying my eyes.
I'm just glad my babies are so interested in what Daddy is doing. Makes the time pass more quickly.
DIYProjects in Progress