Margaret, I watched that jackass in Cleveland and lost my voice. I saw a Presidential nominee paint a picture of an America I don’t know and have never known. I tried to respond but I couldn’t find the words. I watched his wife lie to a reporter saying that she had written every word of her speech. When she hadn’t, I watched the media say it wasn’t her fault. I tried to respond but couldn’t find the words. I listened to children who have known only life’s riches praise a father who had made his riches by cheating others. I tried to respond but I couldn’t find the words. I watched an audience shout down a Senator when he told them to vote their conscience. I tried to respond but I couldn’t find the words. I watched amazed as Trump got more popular rather than less and truly I couldn’t find the words. But last night, I watched a battle-worn President who had been unjustly treated and unfairly maligned rise above it all. I watched Barack Obama, my President, paint a different picture, a beautiful picture of hope, kindness, forgiveness and humility. And now I am going to respond because I have indeed found my words. Screw you, Mr. Trump. You better give your heart to Jesus because your butt is mine and I plan to kick your ass from the bottom floor to the top floor of Trump Tower and then down again. As I live and breathe, you will never be President. Never.
I have always said that even when I watch my P’s and Q’s, I can still spell bullshit. Eight years ago, Sarah Palin walked onto the world stage and American politics hit a new low. I saw a bitch and I called her a bitch. She spewed hatred, fear and ignorance better than any hillbilly I had ever known. I have no regrets for calling her a bitch. Palin was a joke. Trump, however, is no joke. He is the real deal. He is the bitch to rule all bitches. Trump has an ego the size of my ass (and trust me when I tell you that is one yuuuuuuuuge ass). Everything he does is for selfish reasons, fueled by greed and motivated by power.
Salty language and a strong opinion don’t bother me. Saying what’s on your mind is usually a good thing. Usually. But what’s on Trumps mind isn’t fit for human consumption. It’s just hatred, fear and plain old racism. He put together a carnival in Cleveland to make the case that America has become a horrible place that no longer has time for political correctness. But I am here to tell you that speaking your mind and being politically correct are not mutually exclusive. Political correctness is having the emotional intelligence and decency not to use language, evoke images or take actions that marginalize, offend or otherwise insult people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against. Kind of sounds like something Jesus would support if you ask me.
The America he described is not the America I know. In fact, it’s not the America anyone knows. The rest of us know an America of hard-working, compassionate people who no longer have time to hate and who don’t aspire to harass and humiliate their fellow countrymen. The America we know wants to end poverty, end war, educate our children and take care of our elderly. We welcome diversity because we are and always have been the world’s great melting pot. Our America has been and always will be great. Trump sees America as some ugly girl just waiting for him to take her to the prom. It’s bullshit and we all know it.
Trump takes offense that President Obama and Secretary Clinton don’t use the expression Extreme Islamic Terrorist, suggesting, I guess, that all Islamic people are terrorist but some are just more extreme. Funny. Whenever another old, white man blows up an abortion clinic, I don’t hear anyone calling him an Extreme Christian Terrorist. Why? Because you don’t attribute the bad actions of a few Christians to the entire Christian faith any more than you should attribute terrorism to the entire religion of Islam. You don’t, of course, unless you are trying to stir up a bunch of ignorant mouth breathers that have been drawn to the talk radio/Fox News/Sarah Palin/Michelle Bachman brand of Republicanism that is today’s Republican base. Trump’s America seems to be one filled with roaming bands of brown gypsies raping and pillaging at will. I guess the view from Trump Towers is somewhat skewed when you watch Fox News and listen to talk radio all day. To him, there is evil in anyone who doesn’t bow to his perceived greatness.
Trump is partly right. Evil is indeed alive and well in America. It’s just not as widespread as he would like to scare us into believing. It seems to be alive and well in about 4% of the population – roughly equal to the number of votes cast for Trump during the primaries. Coincidence? I think not. And funny enough, the worst of them all decided to travel to Cleveland last week.
Donald. You sir are no Reagan. You are no Kennedy. No Clinton. You are no Obama. You aren’t even a Bush. You are a self-aggrandizing, hatred-spewing, lying sack of shit. And yes, I realize that my name- calling is just as bad as yours. But I am not running for President. You are. So be a man and act like it. Sadly, I sincerely doubt you can.
The Republican Party, the party that likes to think it has a monopoly on God, family values and patriotism, owes America an enormous apology. Palin was bad enough, but Trump is inexcusable. I mean it. Really.
Helen, you had better sit down for this. I have news. It’s happened and we’ve both lived to see it. After watching three nights of the Democratic convention, my Howard woke up this morning and told me that he, a dyed in the wool Republican, will be voting for Hillary Clinton in November.
Helen, dear, I have now seen it all and I am planning to wear my Sunday best everyday because i could now drop dead at any given moment. He’s with her. I couldn’t be happier. You should be too. Have some pie. We’ve got this.
The Daily Report
Yesterday was a bit disjointed, but I did accomplish two goals: wrote a piece of flash fiction, which I posted for my patrons, and wrote a new Sad Puppies Review Books. Both are things that I’ve been stuck on for a while.
My Patreon terms are flexible by design. I promise a minimum of one item each of several forms/genres. One of the items is flash fiction or poetry. I did this because I know I can’t write a poem every month. I’d like to. I really wanted to, this month. And so I kept sitting down and trying to do that, and not getting much of anywhere, and not doing anything with that time instead.
I think if I had taken the hint and written a flash piece the first time that happened, I would have likely had multiple flash pieces in the same time. And maybe even a poem, because creativity is funny that way. I’m not looking to lose any sleep over that, just reminding myself that there’s a reason the “or” is there in my checklist, and to pay attention next month.
The SPRB was blocked for a few reasons. One of them was that things that weren’t terribly funny and were more important than the alt-right’s entertainment media culture war. But I came to a realization last night that there’s not really a clean separation between this tempest in a teapot version of the culture war and the bigger one they’re waging outside it. The tempest is not contained within the teapot; the tempest envelops and includes the teapot.
At this point, there are only two remaining items on my checklist for the month. One of them is a big one: finish the zine version of last month’s output. The other isn’t: finish at least one new chapter/installment of my patrons-only serialized novel, Making Out Like Bandits.. The first one is just taking a lot of time because it’s a new thing I haven’t done before. Next month’s will be easier, because I’ll mainly be plugging stuff into a template. The second one is another thing I’ve been blocked on.
I actually started the next chapter of MOLB fairly early on in June, shortly after I put up the most recent one. But I got stuck on it, and I’ve been stuck on it. A little hung up on it, even. I think I’ve figured out my hang-up, though.
Again, I’d love to see more Patreon sign-ups before the end of the month. Since we broke a hundred pledges early on in the month, anyone that’s pledged when the month ticks over to August will be included in a drawing for my signed contributor copy of The Martian Wave 2016, which includes my Rhysling-nominated long poem “Observations From the Black-Ball Line Between Deimos and Callisto”, which may be my favorite of my poems. I believe the rights revert sometime in the fall, at which point I will put it up somewhere that more people can read it.
The State of the Me
I have been sleeping really poorly this week due to a series of misadventures with my phone. First malfunctioning earbuds meant that my sleep playlist was randomly interrupted by Google voice search telling me it couldn’t understand what I was saying. I replaced my earbuds, and the next night I kept getting pinged awake by submissions for Ligature Works. So I put my phone on Do Not Disturb last night, and somehow I turned on “Repeat 1”, which was distracting enough to rouse me a bit every time the track it was stuck on looped (it’s just under an hour long) but not wake me up completely enough to fix it.
None of this is quite as genuinely awful as an insomniac episode, and I tend to sleep a lot more shallowly in the summer anyway due to the heat. But it’s contributing to a low-grade general exhaustion that the heat and the humidity during the day don’t help.
Plans For Today
In terms of things with immediate results, I’m going to be working on Making Out Like Bandits.
Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write.
Partner took today off work, and we went over to Dulwich Picture Gallery to see the Winifred Knights exhibition, which is very good, though a bit thwarting that there seem to be more studies for than finished paintings, and that she died relatively young just as she was getting back into painting after WWII.
And her career seems to have been successful at the time - she won major prizes, got gratifying commissions, was highly praised - unlike so many women artists who seem to have operated in solitude until very late life brought recognition, but then she dropped off the radar. This may be to do with changing fashions in AHHHHRT, or it may be more sinisterly part of the How To Suppress Women's [Creative Endeavours of Choice]. One also wonders that if she had not died so young there might have been that Rediscovery of Grand Old Lady Artist thing working in her favour?
Also, yay for her surrounding influences, which included an aunt who was active in the suffrage movement, women's trades unions, and the Fabians, and introduced her to Edward Carpenter!
We then walked across Dulwich Park - part of the Green Chain - where wildlife spotted included heron, coots (yay: coot AND hern!), moorhens, ducks, ducklings, geese and parakeets.
This took us, by way of some fairly dreary main roads, to the Horniman Museum - which was a bit noisy with family groups, but that goes with the territory I guess. Last visited over 12 years ago and I think it had had some doing up in the interim.
Still didn't manage to get to the gardens, as it came on to rain at the point when we might have contemplated these.
1866: Washington, DC - Vinnie Ream is commissioned to sculpt a statue of Abraham Lincoln. Ream is the first, and youngest ever, female artist to receive a commission from the US government.
1868: Washington, DC - Certification of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. It's an interesting mishmash of five basically unrelated clauses: it guarantees citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the US, repeals the 3/5 compromise (while leaving "Indians not taxed" out of the count), forbids (by a somewhat complex formula) many rebel government officials from holding Federal office, and denies all claims of compensation for the South.
1915: Port-au-Prince, Haiti - 300 US Marines land, marking the beginning of a 19-year US occupation of Haiti.
1932: Washington, DC - President Hoobert Heever orders the US Army to forcibly evict the "Bonus Army" of WWI veterans who have gathered in the city.
1942: Moscow, Russia - Joseph Stalin issues Order #227, the Ni shagu nazad! ("Not one step back!") order. Essentially, it provides drastic punishment for any soldier or officer who retreats before the Germans.
1943: Hamburg, Germany - RAF/USAAF Operation Gomorrah results in a massive firestorm, killing 42,600 civilians and wounding 37,000 more.
1945: New York, NY - A B-25 bomber piloted by William Franklin Smith, Jr., becomes confused in zero-visibility fog and crashes into the North face of the Empire State Building, between the 78th and 80th floors. One engine plows through the South face and onto a nearby rooftop, starting a fire; the other engine and part of the landing gear plummet down an elevator shaft. The fire started in the ESB is extinguished within 40 minutes, the only fire at such a height ever to be brought under control. Fourteen people die and an elevator operator is injured.
1965: Washington, DC - President Lyndon Johnson orders that the number of US troops in Vietnam be increased from 75,000 to 125,000.
1996: Kennewick, Washington - Discovery of the prehistoric fossil known as Kennewick Man.
2005: Northern Ireland - The Provisional IRA announces the end of its thirty-year armed campaign against the British and Orange Irish.
1804: Ludwig Feuerbach, philosopher (The Essence of Christianity).
1844: Gerard Manly Hopkins, poet ("Pied Beauty").
1856: Ballington Booth, founder of Volunteers of America.
1866: Beatrix Potter, writer-illustrator (The Tale of Peter Rabbit, The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck).
1874: Ernst Cassirer, philosopher (The Myth of the State).
1887: Marcel Duchamp, painter and sculptor.
1902: Karl Popper, philosopher (The Logic of Scientific Discovery, The Open Society and Its Enemies).
1907: Earl Tupper, creator of Tupperware.
1909: Malcolm Lowry, writer (Under the Volcano).
1915: Dick Sprang, comix artist.
1927: John Ashbery, poet.
1929: Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, first lady and publisher.
1932: Natalie Babbit, writer (Tuck Everlasting, Nellie: A Cat on Her Own).
1945: Jim Davis, cartoonist (Garfield).
1947: Sally Struthers, who was Gloria Stivic.
1954: Hugo Chávez, who stood up to W.
1960: Jon J. Muth, comix artist-writer (Moonshadow, Sandman: The Wake).
It's also miserable outside. There was a lovely drop in temperature as a storm came through, but by the time work was over, the tempts had regained ten degrees. I've really grown to appreciate doing things outside after work. It's just that even though it's five degrees cooler by 7 pm, the heat index was still 107 °F.
I went outside just before bed. Either it's too hot for the fireflies or they have all settled down: the light show has drawn to a close. The concert, though -- i wondered if it was louder than earlier this summer.
I've just found several websites that may act as guides for me to sort through the katydids, crickets, and tree frogs that make up the massive chorus.
The Maskmaker's Apprentices
In a land far-shadowed by mountains of ice and iron, a youth and a maiden grew to adulthood in an unmapped town. The two were apprentices to the town's maskmaker. Beyond that, they spent their free hours together, and swore that nothing would keep them apart until death came for one or the other of them.
Every autumn at the harvest festival, the youth and the maiden fashioned a matching pair of masks for each other so that they could find each other amid the crowd of celebrants and dance together before being whirled apart. One year they might be sunbird and moonbird hunting each other beneath a sky speckled with guide-stars and banner-clouds; another, two fox-priests scattering handfuls of rice to bless the land they trod; yet another, the ghosts of drowned children, with tangled manes braided with beads of coral and driftwood imported from the faraway sea.
The youth and the maiden might have continued that way for years, except a sorcerer-of-the-storms rode out of the night upon a dragon the color of cracked bone. The people of the town sent out their militia, but ordinary bows and spears and halberds were no use when the wind turned the arrows aside and ice froze the companies in place. The dragon feasted well after that skirmish.
"I require a servant for my tower, and the tribute of your lorekeepers," the sorcerer said to the cowed townsfolk. "The small magics of your harvest dances have not escaped my attention. I would have them for my own."
"I will serve in your tower," the youth said. The maiden cried out in grief, but they would not be dissuaded. "Take me now, and kill no more of my people."
The sorcerer looked at them with eyes as old and terrible as the earth's hidden chasms. "Then let this be your first lesson," she said. "When I wish you to speak, I will let you know." And the youth bowed their head and spoke no more, but climbed up behind the sorcerer so that the dragon could bear them away from the village to the sorcerer's tower.
After they left, the maiden began crafting a new mask, that of a revenge-knight in red and black, with an accompanying sword of bamboo from which skulls of carved gourds swung and clattered. She knew that even if she could find a sword of steel cold and true, it would have no power against the sorcerer or her dragon.
The maiden departed the town when she had finished her mask, and left no farewell for friend or family, for she did not wish to bring trouble upon them. She followed the dragon's labyrinth-trail, marked amid the scatter of stars. Although she encountered bandits and mercenaries, those who dared stand against her red-black visage were driven mad by the clattering of the gourds.
A year and a day later, much worn by her travels and by the demands of the mask she wore, she arrived at the tower. At the top of the tower she saw a lone figure wearing a visage of dragonbone and rain-jewels and cloth woven from the thread of clouds. Dread woke in her heart, for she knew there was no guarantee that her friend yet lived, but she held her head up high and called out, "I have come to claim the friend you took away from me."
The figure took off their mask then, and despite the haggard eyes, she recognized the face of her friend. "Then claim me before I disappear behind this face," they said in a voice hoarse with disuse.
"What became of the sorcerer?" she asked, still wary.
"For a year and a day I waited in silence, serving as the sorcerer demanded," the youth said. "In all that time I learned her secrets, and in the still hours of the night I carved them into this mask. It was with her own powers that I slew her. Or did you think I would wait here for rescue? But I am done with her powers now." And with that they flung the mask of dragonbone to the base of the tower, where it cracked. As it did so, the great doors of the tower creaked open.
"Then come with me, and we will go home together," the maiden said, taking off her own mask and leaving it beside the dragonbone shards. She went halfway up the stairs, and the youth came halfway down, and as they met the tower's walls crumbled around them.
A reader named Romy alerted me to the Harry Potter Alliance, bringing fans together for good causes. Here are just a few of their accomplishments over the past decade or so, from their website:
- A partnership with Walk Free that engaged over 400,000 fans and resulted in Warner Bros. changing the sourcing of their Harry Potter chocolate to be 100% UTZ or Fairtrade.
- Raising over $123,000 for Partners In Health and sending five cargo planes of life-saving supplies to Haiti.
- Donations of over 250,000 books across the world through HPA’s Accio Books campaign.
I’m particularly enchanted by the annual Accio Books campaign. And I love that the different houses compete to see which can collect the most books. (Ravenclaw was the winner last year, which seems appropriate somehow.) The whole thing just sounds like fun, collaborative work to make the world a better place.
J. K. Rowling herself has spoken about the group, saying, “I am honoured and humbled that Harry’s name has been given to such an extraordinary campaign, which really does exemplify the values for which Dumbledore’s Army fought in the books.”
I love seeing fans come together like this. I love the hope and the optimism … and I’m always happy to see how stories can inspire people to change the world for the better.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
Reviewed by John Z. Upjohn, USMC (Aspired)
When this book opens we are introduced to a peddler. I began to feel a sick sense of dread when the book told me that he was not an ordinary peddler. The need to be a special snowflake is ingrained in the sick psyche of the Social Justice Warrior. It is what drives them. It is what makes them all they are.
This peddler walks around with a stack of caps on his head, red caps and blue caps and brown caps and gray caps, and then his special snowflake checked hat that I guess isn’t for sale because how is anyone going to know he’s Mr. Special Cap Guy if he doesn’t have his special cap?
A head-based cap delivery service is so woefully inefficient that it is no surprise he does not sell a single cap all day. “Not even a red cap,” he laments, which suggests that he knows that red caps are best, even if he insists on wearing his ridiculous checked one. Yet they are the ones at the top of the stack, where no one can reach them. SJWs don’t believe in simple market forces like supply and demand. If he knows that red caps are the caps preferred by the majority, there’s no financial reason for him to stock anything else. It’s okay for people to like other caps, but they can’t just expect to be pandered to!
But of course the same radical feminists and I-dentitarians who demand that honest milliners and hardworking haberdashers cater to their every whim lest they be called “offensive” never actually seem to have any money to buy caps! So no one but our poor little cuck of a peddler is surprised when he doesn’t make any sales, boohoo.
He gets no sympathy from me. Should have thought that before you insulted your audience by offering them choices!
So he tramps out into the countryside and sits his lazy ass down beside a tree and falls asleep. Maybe he should just get a Patreon, if working a real job tires him out! It’s when he wakes up that this so far too-predictable tale takes a turn for the interesting: acting individually, a number of unrelated freethinking monkeys have all decided to take it upon themselves, as individual sovereign citizens of the tree, to take one of his hats.
Of course he massively overreacts.
The way the peddler goes off on them, you’d think they’d all taken all of his hats, but each monkey took no more than one. This is also the first time any living creature in the story showed any interest in his hats. He failed to sell them at 50 cents. He communicated no reason to the monkeys or anyone else why they should pay him such a price, or any price. The market has spoken. The hats are worthless! Taking one is no more unethical than pirating a movie that you don’t even want to see in the first place.
Rather than dealing with each of the monkeys as an individual, he generalizes them, which according to Social Justice Warrior logic, is the worst thing you can do. He calls them “YOU MONKEYS”. They freely sell this book to children, and yet I have been banned from many forums online and offline for using those exact words to refer to people. Why is it okay for him to say it but not me? Creeping moral relativism at work!
So the guy gets entirely bent out of shape and he tries to impose his will on the monkeys, the way leftist authoritarians always do, but he finds that they, like all freethinkers, are immune to his only weapon, the feelbads. They won’t be shamed into compliance. They mock him and his beta impotence, each and every individual monkey a shining example of an alpha male, and then in the beautiful, glorious finale, after trolling him so hard that he throws his ridiculous checked cap down at his feet, the monkeys all throw his stupid caps down right at him, too.
It’s a powerful display of defiance and individuality.
They don’t have to give him back his caps, no matter how many times he shakes his fist or stomps his feet, no matter that he pulls out every stop from the Sal Alinsky playbook. He has no power over them. They give him back his caps because they choose to. It’s like they’re saying: it is only through our benevolent forbearance that you have any caps at all, you pathetic mangina.
They have shown they can take his caps anytime they want. And he knows it. They have nothing left to prove.
Does he learn, though? Of course not. If he could learn, he wouldn’t be a leftist. Just like if there was any demand for caps in the village, the market would already have provided a solution rather than waiting for some “wandering peddle” to happen by.
But he goes right back to it, still haranguing passersby to give him fifty cents for caps that the invisible hand of the free market has already rejected.
Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write.