Saturday, December 9, 2017

Ideas about cover for Elves in Detroit, Book 2

This is a bit out of order, but I'm trying to document my cover thinking for the second book, like I did for the third.  I went through some different ideas about the dragon.  First it was bat-winged.  Then it was a pterodragon.  I'm trying to embed tweets here, but I'm not sure that's going to result in transferring the images into the blog, so I may have to try something different

The embedded tweets do seem to be working, but there's a slight delay, before the images come up.  So just wait a tad.









Sunday, November 26, 2017

Cape Stills

working on the cover for Elves in Detroit: Book 3. I got really dizzy trying to get these.







I don't know.  Maybe it's dumb to use myself as a model for this cover, when none of the characters in the book really look like me, but it's supposed to represent a generally elfin presence dashing off into the multiverse.

So here are some proposed covers.  



I've sort of been considering dark green a theme color for my books.  The cape is reversible. It can be green or purple.  Even though it's not the same green as my preferred theme color, somehow I feel that the green side looks better.

Here are some foggy & smeary effects -- but not trimmed yet





Ah, yes, with some help from my son, the genius



Monday, November 20, 2017

Farinelli -- and casting

I've long been fascinated with castrati.

Psychoanalyzing myself, I think this is due to things my mom said about my dad's unwillingness or inability to have sex with her after she was 40.  He also had a higher and higher voice as he got older, while she had a lower and lower voice.  It was very curious.  People calling in couldn't tell who was answering the phone.

I saw the movie about Farinelli.  Now there's a new Broadway play coming out.

I was, at one time, obsessed with the idea that maybe Michael Jackson was a castrato.  Now I don't think so. I heard him singing baritone and I heard him speaking with a low voice on a YouTube video, but at one time I was obsessed with that thought.

So it's been part of my sexual anorexia, being obsessed with men who are unable to have sex, like my dad -- be it gay men or men with emotional or impotence issues. I've been fascinated with that.

Of course, it appears from the historical literature that castrati could, in fact, have sex.  They just couldn't get women pregnant.

In any case, I've been frustrated with the casting: actors chosen to play Farinelli. Here are some portraits of him:


http://www.gettyimages.com/pictures/farinelli--singer-1988299#corrado-giaquinto-portrait-of-farinelli-italian-castrato-singer-picture-id122336133

Now it seems to me that a man who hasn't had testosterone since age 14 is not going to look at all like a man who has had.  He's not going to have as masculine a face. He's not going to have well-defined muscles, like a normal male body builder.  I think you see that in these pictures.  There is an androgyny about his appearance.

I think Michael Jackson cultivated that kind of appearance with his makeup and surgeries, as well.

Yet the actors that play Farinelli don't look at all androgynous


Also, in this photo, I think you can tell that the actor even has facial hair (well shaven, but still detectable, if only from the appearance of the skin and pores), which Farinelli would not have had.


I think they could do better with this casting. Maybe they could cast a trans-woman, or something.

For comparison, here are some other images of castrati:

Allesandro Moreschi







Carlo Scalzi: when I was obsessing about Michael Jackson, I particularly noted this posture, which was similar to one that Michael Jackson also took -- which I now suppose was a coincidence.



Francesco Bernadi


Monday, October 9, 2017

Meme about 2nd amendment and gun control

From a Friend. (PLEASE READ: If you're going to share this, copy and paste. I'd rather not be tagged so I can avoid trolls.)

"Dear Every Arabic-speaking US Citizen,
Please stop by a gun shop today, and ask about buying an assault rifle. While looking at them selection, make a phone call to a loved one (who should record the phone call) and speak only Arabic. Then, while on the phone, ask the sales person if there are any open carry rallies coming up.

Might want to have a friend with you...video the whole thing, you know.  In most of the gun shops I know, this would be a deeply unsettling event for them.  Reactions might be unpredictable.

Just thinking out loud,

Love, 
Me."

2nd, related, meme

From a Friend. (PLEASE READ: If you're going to share this, copy and paste. I'd rather not be tagged so I can avoid trolls.)

"What if on Thursday this week, every single black person in the US visited a gun shop. Just to see what was available. En masse.  Picture a shop in small town America, run by your average gun fetishist. Probably 95% chance it's a white man. Nearly 100% chance he voted for Trump. Just pack the joint with a wide variety of persons of color...all day....business people, doctors and lawyers, gang bangers and computer nerds, angry black women, fabulous drag queens. Maybe rent a couple hand guns and shoot a few rounds at the range. Sign up for the free classes. Ask for a NRA membership application.


I mean.....the 2nd Amendment isn't just for white people, is it?"

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Political meme

I didn't write this. I saw it on FB and agreed with it

(This. Stay woke. This.)

If sharing please cut and paste and attribute to Jennifer, not moi.

H/t Jennifer Reitman

While everyone is out there b******* because a woman wrote a book, here’s what else has been going on in the past couple of days:

1) Motel 6 in Arizona is turning in hotel guests to ICE.
2) The CDC has been instructed to NOT speak to the press.  Wanna know about diseases, too bad.  Trump and his cabal say nope, you aren’t allowed to find out.
3) Using the White House Press Podium, the spokesperson for the President* suggested that a journalist should BE FIRED for sharing her opinion of said fake president on social media. That's not authoritarian or anything...
4) The stolen seat of SCOTUS struck down Texas move to protect the state from gerrymandering. So, good going 3rd party voters - not like elections have long term consequences or anything.
5) We’ve learned that Trump officials met with the UAE crown prince and UAE previously tried to set up a Russia-Trump back channel communication
6) the water left from Hurricane Harvey is a toxic sludge of sewage, fuel, pesticides and other delights.  And oh, yeah, see #2 - the CDC isn’t allowed to tell you what diseases you may get from this
7) That swamp that trump claims to have drained, Steve “I’ll foreclose on little old ladies”  Mnuchin asked for a government jet for his honeymoon.
😎 Parts of the florida keys have been completed destroyed by nature, thanks to climate change.
9) Session’s DOJ won’t let the Senate interview FBI officials.
10) We learned that when he was running for office, fake president concealed a huge deal for a tower in Moscow.
11) DOJ has declined prosecuting cops for the murder of Freddie Gray

And that was just inside our borders...
but hey, a lady wrote a book so.....

Monday, September 11, 2017

About surrender in a 12 step program

E-mail that I just sent to a sponsee


I too find that surrender is not an easy proposition.  I know it's necessary.  It makes perfect sense to me.  If I'm trusting God, I will be calmer.  If I'm calmer and open to God's will, I will be more flexible and make better decisions.  I will be open to  possibilities I hadn't considered. I'll find a better solution. A lot of the things I worry about are things that I'm completely powerless over. It's absolutely useless to worry about them.

Yet I still worry, fret, beat myself up, rush around stupidly, etc.  

We have a saying in program, "While I'm in the rooms, my disease is doing pushups in the parking lot."  Stinking thinking is always waiting to come back.  Always.

That's why we have to keep working program.  It's iterative. We do step work: pray, inventory, tell, pray, amends.  Then we repeat. We keep repeating. It's a loop -- like a computer program, if you're familiar with those.  Over time, solutions appear.  Over time character defects improve.  It's like waves wearing away at a cliff.  Gradually the cliff erodes.

Once upon a time there was a fellow named Buddha, who claimed to have overcome all stress.  He said that desire was the root of all suffering and detachment would set us free.  He claimed to be completely detached.

I am not Buddha.  I may never become Buddha.  I don't have to be Buddha to be abstinent. I just have to keep working it.

Also, I have to be willing to feel my feelings.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Review of "A Doll's House Part II"

play review

A Doll’s House Part II

I went to see this play, because I got a free ticket.  I wouldn’t have otherwise even have noticed it, I don’t think.  I never saw the first play.  I had to quickly read a synopsis on wikipedia so that I would feel comfortable looking at a sequel.  The synopsis on wikipedia said something about it being the most performed play in 2006, but the sequel is by a different author from the original.

I saw afterwards that there are notices that the play is ending September 24.  I guess they weren’t getting enough ticket sales.  Maybe that’s why I got a free ticket.  Nevertheless, the theater seemed quite full. 

These theaters should be looking at the fact that it’s the week after Labor Day, so people aren’t traveling, and, moreover, some parts of the country are encountering overwhelming natural disasters right now that are impeding travel — and next week might be different — before making play closing decisions.

There were a number of interesting points about this play

No Intermission:

It's only 1.5 hours, so they don't do intermission.  There's an ominous warning in the program that if you leave to go to the bathroom you will not be allowed back in.  So be sure and go before the show starts.

Diversity:

1. There were 4 roles, of which 3 were for women.  This is great.  The vast majority of roles out there are for men, yet the vast majority of applicants for acting parts are women.  It’s wonderful to see a play with this ratio, which reflects the applicant pool.

2. There were 2 roles for older women.  This is also wonderful, as most roles for women are for younger women — and I’m an older woman into acting so I care about this.

3. One of the roles was filled by an overweight actress with grey hair.  That’s amazing — and wonderful.  Normally men who are performing are allowed to be overweight with grey hair, but women aren’t, seemingly

4. The husband character, despite allegedly being Scandinavian, was played by a light skinned mixed race actor — also a wonderful example of diversity casting.

Set
         The whole thing took place in one room with 4 chairs.  Very stark.  Sometimes the names of characters were projected on the wall, when those characters were more prominent.  The starkness of the set was part of what led me to believe that this was going to be a serious even tragic play, but that was a wrong assumption

Costumes:
         Nora’s costume was as amazing as the set was stark — absolutely beautiful.  The other performers were wearing fairly plain clothes, typical of that period

Acting:

         This was the part that I found most interesting — the acting — as there was something odd about it.  You may wonder, then, why I leave this for almost last if it was the most interesting.  That is because I was trying to figure out what I would say as I’m still puzzled about it.  There was something jarring about the delivery — funny perhaps, but jarring. 
    I guess because of the retro costumes I expected a kind of retro acting, where the actors would have some kind of accent, maybe an old movie star accent or maybe a Scandinavian accent — but they didn’t.  They sounded very contemporary American. The actor playing Torvald did contrast interestingly with the other actors, because he had a slight African American lilt to his speaking. 
    There was a comic aspect to the delivery as well, which contrasted with the rather serious/severe clothing and the stark set.  I guess I don’t expect people in Victorian clothes to be funny, maybe.  It was startling to see women, presumably in corsets, to be so relaxed.  Maybe they didn’t really have corsets.  Maybe they were just very skinny.  Maybe that was it. 
    Also, I would have expected the maid character to be deferential to her former boss, but she wasn’t.  Nora seemed to expect some kind of deference from the maid, but didn’t get any.

Theme (spoilers)
    There wasn’t really an ending the way one thinks of an ending in a more traditional musical theater piece, where you come out with some message.  There’s just these people being in their space.  I hoped maybe the maid and Torvald might get together, but no.  There wasn’t any kind of resolution.
    All the way through I was wondering whether the play was glorifying Nora and her having abandoned her children to go off and have a more fun life for herself.  Ultimately, I think not.  I think that was just her character’s point of view.  Still, I spent a lot of the time thinking that no it’s not ok to abandon your children to indulge yourself, and no they’ll never get over it and no feminism doesn’t justify it at all.
    Also, the strange daughter who comes off as pleased at having been abandoned, I guess being sort of self-rationalizing, like her mother, which she fit in well to the atmosphere of the play, seemed inauthentic and unconvincing to me.
  
   
Conclusion   
    I can’t say I really enjoyed this play.  Still, I thought it was a good thing for me to see: an interesting example of the sort of thing I would never go see on my own, and therefore educational. Normally, my speed is more Marvel Comics movies. This might be too high brow for me. I feel like, while I followed the thing literally, it might have been over my head.

Trying to summarize: oddly jarring, yet sometimes funny; strangely familiar, yet alien.
   
P.S. to the actors who played Torvald and the Maid:  I really recommend that you visit this website: oa.org
   
   

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Meme about love and kindness

I got this from FB. I didn't write it myself.

While the world figures this all out, I'm going to continue being kind to all races, holding doors for strangers, letting people cut in front of me in traffic, saying please, thank you and you're welcome, saying good morning, or have a great day, and smiling at strangers, as often as I am provided the opportunity. Because I will not stand by and let children live in a world where unconditional love is invisible. Join me in showing love and respect. Find your own way to swing the pendulum in the direction of love. ❤️ Because today, sadly; hate appears to be winning. Positivity has to start somewhere and love overpowers hate.
Pass it on! Copy and past to your wall if you agree this. LOVE STARTS NOW! ......HAVE A GREAT DAY!!!


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Movie Review: The Mummy

There could be spoilers in here.  You might use caution if you worry about that.

I’ve been a Tom Cruise fan for a while.  My second book was a sort of fan fiction, based on fantasies about him — though I changed the name to make clear that this novel was about my fantasies, not about him.  I did get a bit turned off, because he left Nicole Kidman just at the time when my ex announced he was going to leave me. This was too close for comfort. A lot of my anger at my ex got transferred to him.

Still, I do sometimes like to see his movies.

I liked this one.  It got poor reviews, but I still liked it.  I’m not even sure it showed at my local multiplex.  I looked around for it. I had to see it in NYC. 

It was an old fashioned horror movie, with a mummy, zombies, plagues of vermin — and Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde thrown in.  That last was a bit strange — what was he doing here? But — hey — why not.

The mummy is fun.  She manages to be beautiful and hideous at the same time.  She vomits mercury.  Vomiting is gross, but mercury is beautiful.  She has a lovely body and parades around mostly naked — but pieces of her face are missing.  And she has the power to reduce buildings to dust — very cool — and summon the vermin.

This isn’t a really scary horror movie.  It’s not like I was ever tempted to scream, for instance.  It’s more of a fun horror movie — like “Wow!  Look at all our cool special effects!”

I think we’re sort of jaded about special effects.  If we had seen this movie 20 years ago, we likely would have been more impressed.  We shouldn’t be jaded.  The special effects are still amazing.

So Tom often gets bad reviews.  Critics sometimes accuse him of not being able to act.  Now that I’m acting, I’ve been thinking about this.

Watching this movie, do I really believe that Tom Cruise is a scuzzy scavenger who steals antiquities in the Middle East and callously hurts women with one night stands? No.  I think he’s a gorgeous, rich guy who lives in luxury, beams a million dollar smile, and mostly keeps his nose pretty clean — but who likes to pretend he’s a scuzzy character. 

Do I think seriously that this guy can single handedly fight off a half a dozen zombies simultaneously while driving a vehicle? No. It’s obviously ridiculously fake.

Does it make sense that he suddenly risks his life for this one night stand lady who he snuck out on leaving her asleep?  Does it make sense that he’s suddenly in love with her?  No — though I think guys do fall in love with women who they feel they can successfully rescue.

Does it makes sense how long he swims vigorously under water without breathing?  Probably not.

But that’s the fun of it. I see his basic enthusiasm coming through.  He’s having fun.  He loves doing this.  He loves the character.  He loves the special effects.  He wants to do scenes with rats crawling all over him.  He wants to get caught naked and act embarrassed (tho we suspect he isn’t at all embarrassed) == and he still looks remarkably good naked, BTW.  He wants to get to fight zombies.  He wants to meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, even though it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for them to show up here.  He just wanted to cram it all in — an old fashioned horror movie with modern special effects.

There were fairly young boys in the theater.  They weren’t scared.  They were eating popcorn & having a good time, watching Tom do all this fun stuff.

Also, there were the mandatory running scenes.  I guess he’s not really running as fast as he looks as he’s running, because the beautiful actress running with him doesn’t seem to have that much trouble keeping up — but Tom runs with total commitment.  You think he’s running fast. There are YouTube videos devoted to him running https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8Q2MgdMskQ He’s very graceful when he runs.  There’s smoothness to it.  You see feet off the ground a lot.

Let’s contrast this movie with “The Revenant.”  I was recommended to see that other movie by an acting professional — a guy who teaches acting.  He loved it … it was so well done from a professional point of view.  The acting was superb.  The cinematography was gorgeous.  Professionals loved that movie

I hated “The Revenant.”  You really believed that Leonardo DiCaprio was this dying nut, slogging through the freezing wilderness, seeking vengeance for his dead son.  You really believed that he was in pain, dying — that the wilderness was harsh, unforgiving.  You could feel it.  It was awful.  It was so long — so painful — so convincing.  Blecch.  Not fun.

I go to the movies to be entertained, not tortured.

Then there was this whole interchange with the critics.  Where Tom says he makes movies for fans not critics.  And critics say that's the wrong attitude. But I can see his point.  Critics like movies like "The Revenant."  That movie is art.  It appeals to the refined tastes of people who taste movies like fine wines.    The Mummy is a movie -- a movie where you go hang out and maybe eat popcorn -- not a movie for critics.

Anyway, so, yes.  Bring those pre-pubescent boys, not really young ones, not under 8, but ones who want to see a lot of chasing and punching — or maybe early teens.  This is likely right for them.

And just relax.  Don’t expect to actually feel like you’re going through this with a real person on screen.  It’s fun.  It’s a show. 

I liked it. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Reading signs

I see a pretty moth on the trail. It gives me quite a show, flapping its wings, allowing me to film it,  and even comes by my feet and again flaps its lovely wings for me. Should I be honored at this display? Or should I regard it as an ominous sign, because the predominant color of the moth is black? Or will I be accused of being racist for even asking this question?


Monday, June 19, 2017

flyer


I made my first promotional flyer for my books




***********

I got the first volume of Elves in Detroit up on Kindle.


Please note: you do not need to have a Kindle device to read a Kindle book.  You can use an app in your browser.

I'm also trying the beta paperback process on Kindle

Monday, June 5, 2017

Cherokee

I accidentally found myself visiting the Cherokee Indian Reservation near Asheville, North Carolina this past fall (2016). I was in the area.  I intended to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I found out that it starts in Cherokee, North Carolina, so I went there.

The lady at the info center there told me the Parkway was closed due to forest fires, which turned out not to be true, but I ended up loitering around in Cherokee, doing some Christmas shopping for the better part of the day.

I was also curious, because I remembered that -- at least in the past -- some very distant cousins were Cherokee.  While I was at the reservation I managed to find a register of Cherokee people in the gift shop of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.  That book helped me I discover that my relatives were in the western reservation, in Oklahoma, at least back in the 1920's.  They weren't in North Carolina.  

There are a lot of touristy shops in Cherokee, North Carolina, and a gambling casino.  Many of the shops are not run by Cherokees and much of the merchandise is not local, though you can find a bit of local craft work.

I did learn to recognize the local people.  They seemed to be predominantly of mixed race, part white, often obese -- but, mostly, they seemed weighed down with great sadness.

It makes a lot of sense that they should be sad.  Their history is tragic.  If you go to the Museum of the Cherokee Indian you see that.  The museum really emphasizes the huge loss of life, territory, and culture that these people suffered.

Yet -- just outside the museum -- I saw Cherokee men, very gently, and sensitively, teaching white tourist children to do Cherokee dances.

Coincidentally, in my social activities here in NY, I met a fellow who I later found out is Cherokee -- and related to people on that reservation in North Carolina.  He was very nice -- gentle, chivalrous -- and very muscular and handsome.

When I first met him, I was puzzled, because I thought, by his coloring, that he looked Italian.  Yet, his name didn't sound at all Italian, and his mannerisms seemed very different from those of typical Italian Americans I have met.  He was more reserved, hesitant.

And, there was a sense of sadness about him.  

I didn't learn he was Cherokee until about six months after my return from my trip.  Then it all made sense.  He wasn't Italian American at all.

I'm still thinking about his eyes -- haunting, deep eyes. 

Researchers have found that we inherit epigenetic trauma memories from our forebears. Those sad eyes might actually be watching loved ones drop dead in forced marches -- enormous territories stolen and occupied -- the memories still as fresh as if they had happened yesterday instead of over a hundred years ago.

It's a lot for a young man to be carrying.

I shall have to write a poem about his eyes.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Is Family Planning Responsible for the Election of Donald Trump?

Is Family  Planning Responsible for the Election of Donald Trump?

I’ve always been an advocate of family planning. I used contraceptives for years during sexual encounters until I got married and had 2 kids. 

Those kids turned out to have Asperger’s Syndrome.  I later learned that older fathers (my ex was 36 and 39 at their conception) and older grandfathers (my father was 40 when I was conceived) are more likely to have kids with these disorders, along with ADHD — which my younger one also has —and bipolar disorder.

When I learned about this connection between older fathers and mental health, I started questioning the thinking I had about when to have children.

However, I’m now seeing something else.

I’ve been taking acting and improv comedy lessons in New York City.  I’ve been meeting a large number of really wonderful young adults.  These people have completed college.  They are intelligent, idealistic, creative, and likable.  They are making a choice to pursue a dream in acting.  This might not be a lucrative pursuit, but it’s an admirable pursuit. Yes, most of them will give up and go into something else, but not without first having learned a great deal about themselves and others — and also having likely met the person of their dreams in an acting or improv class.

But many of these people are not so very, very young.  They are often in their thirties. 

When these wonderful young people start talking about why they haven’t had children, they will often say that they don’t think they could be good parents.

I try to explain that the brain goes through neurological changes in once you’re a parent and you become a good parent, because of those changes, but, seeing as they haven’t experienced that, they can’t have confidence in it.

It recently struck me that the people who are having children are all the wrong people. These are people who aren’t responsible enough to use birth control. These are people who aren’t responsible enough to question whether they can be good parents.  These are people who see someone attractive, and then rush into unprotected sex.

When I talk, particularly to women, about what they like about Donald Trump — something I don’t understand, given the many stories of his being sexually abusive to women — I sense between the lines that they find him cute.  He is cute.  That isn’t often discussed. 

Alpha males, and he is an alpha male. have a certain braggadocio, a certain swagger, a certain way of smiling that just make them irresistible for straight women.  It’s hard to understand.  These men are often total jerks.  BUT they’re cute. 

In Trump’s case, the aura of wealth and power makes him even more attractive. Those things do attract women. Women instinctively want to be near someone who has that.

Those same characteristics tend to make beta males and lesbians hate alpha males, but then they’re really jealous.

This is iMHO, all biology.

It appears, from what I can tell about the men who voted for Trump, that other alpha males respect other alpha males.  They get a kind of catharsis from hearing him express their rage.

So he can’t speak coherently; he doesn’t understand foreign policy; he is operating businesses in conflict of interest with his position as President; the whole Russia and obstruction of justice thing; contractors complain that he doesn’t pay debts; women and girls complain that he has sexually assaulted them; he reveals classified information; he doesn’t understand or respect the constitution; etc — so what? If all you care about is that he’s cute and alpha, then you vote for him.

These are just the sort of people who don’t use family planning.  These are just the sort of people who are likely the children of people who don’t use family planning. 

Very unsettling to me, as an advocate of family planning: my attitude may be anti-Darwinian.  Family planning may be dumbing down the human race.

So, please, if you think you aren’t good enough to be a parent, re-think.  You are precisely the person who should be a parent, because you care.  No parent is perfect.  No parent fails to make mistakes. No parent fails to induce neuroses in their children.  Please stop leaving the business of having children to people who don’t care.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Ransomeware attacks

So there was a massive worldwide ransomeware attack, holding computers hostage, demanding money.

The malware is alleged to have originated in North Korea, exploiting vulnerabilities uncovered using hacking software developed by the US government, and leaked. 

Microsoft was aware of these vulnerabilities and issued patches, but many users, especially non-USA users did not install the patches.

Why don't people install patches?

My experience is that every software update introduces new bugs.  Moreover, the operating system becomes more and more bulky and runs slower and slower until the one has to upgrade one's computer in order to get a reasonable response time.

I feel this gradual creep of the operating systems to be bulkier and bulkier is a form of planned obsolescence to force users to buy new hardware -- a type of conspiracy against the consumer.

I would like to see the FTC and various state consumer protection offices investigating this phenomenon.

Similarly, online adhesion contracts become unreasonably long, so that it is unreasonable to expect that users have read them prior to installing software updates.

Software updates necessary for security should not cause the performance of the computer to deteriorate.  Adhesion contracts should have page limits.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

meme about Trump Russia and real estate

Sorry I've doing this a lot, but it seems important.  I didn't write this.  This is a copied meme.

Tonight another story links POTUS to Russia's dirty underbelly.

Federal prosecutor Preet Bharara was investigating a case in which big ticket properties in Manhattan were being purchased by Russian investors with possible links to decades old tax corruption scandals. In the midst of his investigations, he was told to resign by President Trump. At the time it seemed like a preemptive house-clearing of Obama appointees, not surprising after the judiciary blowback regarding the White House's half-cocked attempts at religious profiling hiding unironically under the veil of immigration reform.

Now the motives seem more connected to the Russian election corruption investigation than ever, as news comes out that a key witness to the Bharara investigation plunged from the fifth floor of his apartment building in Russia. So many Kremlingates to keep track of, right?

America, wake up. This is no longer about the knee-jerk reaction of the left to the election. Where do you want to remember standing when it became inarguable that our administrative branch was being headed by a halfwit who has only the interests of his Russian backers at heart? Take your Republican hat off. Hell, take your Libertarian, Green Party, or whatever other hat off - and start thinking like a patriot. Call your representatives and voice your fears and ask them to make public their support of any investigations into the Russia link to POTUS. If it's all smoke, what do you or they have to lose?

Friday, March 17, 2017

Yet another meme -- about Trump lying

I did not write this.  I copied it from someone else

Remember when the so-called President said he was going to donate his salary? Well he just accepted his second paycheck.
Remember when he said Mexico was going to pay for the wall? He has asked Congress to appropriate the $25 billion of taxpayer money to cover costs.
Remember when he said he was going to divest from his businesses? Changed his mind.
Remember when he said he was going to release his tax returns? Changed his mind.
Remember when he said he wasn't going to go on vacation or play golf? 5 of the last 7 weekends he went on vacation and played golf, costing taxpayers $11.1 million.
Remember when he said he was going to use American steel to build these dangerous pipelines? Russian steel arrived last week for the Keystone Pipeline XL.
Remember when he said would defeat ISIS in 30 days? He still doesn't even have a plan.
Remember when he said he was going to appropriate money to HBCUs? He lied to get a photo-op.
Remember when he said he was going to drain the swamp of Washington insiders? His cabinet is filled with lobbyists, oil and Wall Street executives.
Remember when he said he wasn't going to cut social security and Medicare? The Republican bill does just this.
Remember when he said that nobody on his campaign has any communications with Russian govt? 7 of his people have now admitted they spoke and/or met with Russian officials, after they lied and got caught.
Remember when he said that the Obamacare replacement would cover more people at lower cost? The AHCA that the GOP and 45 are now pushing; they now admit will cover fewer people at a higher cost.
Share so everyone can remember what a liar this so-called president (45) truly is.
And please don't tell me about something Obama did or try to live on the margins of his statements to spin it.
He is a liar and I'm at a loss why the Democrats don't shout it from the mountain top with a bullhorn 24 hours a day.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Meme about Trump

 I did not write this. This is a meme. I copied it

Someone else's response to a post, too accurate and well written not to share

Ladies and gentlemen,

The dismantling of the United States Government is happening right before our eyes.  It cannot be denied. The current president has appointed virtually every director to oversee departments for which they have clearly demonstrated an aggression towards.  The healthcare plans for millions are soon to evaporate just so millionaires and corporations can get more tax breaks.

The EPA, Energy, Education, Health and Human Services, Justice and State Departments - ALL of these departments are currently headed by people who have stated a willingness to either destroy the department, or severely disable its ability to function as designed.  This is the goal of the Trump Administration - to destroy government as we know it - including those programs for which millions of people have come to depend upon.

Additionally, this President refuses to release his tax returns which speaks volumes. Who is he indebted to, and why?  What concessions will he make to those debt holders as President of the United States in exchange for leniency, or complete absolution of his debts?

He will disparage virtually any person on the earth who disagrees with him, to include world leaders EXCEPT Vladimir Putin. In fact, this president has praised Putin many times over - a man who has had people killed to further his stranglehold on Russian power.

Further, this president has leveled serious charges about many issues - illegal wire tapping, voter fraud, Muslim crime, and much more - without providing a scintilla of evidence to prove his claims.

This president has surrounded himself with known white supremacists and nationalists - people whose worldview excludes virtually anyone who isn't white.  These people, with offices adjacent to the Oval Office are shaping government policy at present.  He regularly watches rightwing news reports then tweets about those reports as if they are fact, when all evidence proves otherwise.

This president's representatives have zero problem going on television to spew the latest propaganda, "alternative facts," and outright lies, to deflect their culpability, and that of this administration, in wrongdoing on a scale for which will likely be mind-blowing if ever we, as a country, are afforded the whole truth.

Throughout all this, the Republican Party has remained virtually silent, going about their day intent upon ignoring the voice and will of the majority as they work in concert to assist in the destruction of 70+ years of progressive change.

The Party of family values, "Freedom," and the Constitution - the Party who claims the United States military veteran is as revered as the god they claim to serve, shows us all on a daily basis this is all hyperbole.  For the facts truly show, this Republican Party is hell-bent on hurting the average American much more than they are concerned with doing anything which would make their lives easier to live.  Their followers claim the Democratic Party is "just as bad," and yet, I cannot remember a time in my lifetime where millions worried as much about their futures under any Democratic president, as they do today, in 2017. The Democrats have their problems, but they hardly compare to what we have under Republican rule.

It's a false equivalency to claim that Hillary Clinton would have us in a similar situation. The facts do not bear this out.  While Hillary may have her own problems with many trusting her, legitimately or not, she hardly compares to the freewheeling, dangerous, and dictatorial Narcissist-in-Chief currently dismantling the country - a man who tweets inflammatory things on a daily basis as a means to distract the public from the real stories he is involved in.

Donald J. Trump does not serve every American.  In fact, he serves few.  He is an oligarch whose mission is to further enrich himself, and those like him.  He has not given a day in his life in the complete service of others but has only dedicated his life to growing his vast empire through screwing over contractors, vendors, and workers who have contributed to his success.  The records clearly show this.  In fact, the federal government, in the 1970s, filed suit against Trump for discriminations in rental practices, for he would not rent apartments to black people.  He is a criminal who recently paid $25 million dollars to settle his Trump University fraud case - these things without a conviction of wrongdoing, as any average citizen would most surely have received for doing the same.

He has mocked handicapped people and disparaged prisoners of war. He claims to stand for all women, even though he has been caught on audio admitting to assaulting unsuspecting women by grabbing their genitalia.  He has bragged about trying to have sex with other women while he was married. He has verbally and publicly attacked virtually every woman who has claimed assault against him.  I could go on and on.

Folks, I truly believe we, as a country, are at a crossroads.  Good, decent, honest and intelligent people can either fall victim to the bullying tactics of the Trump followers, and fall in line behind them, or we can question every damn thing this president, and his administration does where our freedoms, rights, and Constitutional protections are being trampled upon and obliterated.

It is past time to RISE UP, SPEAK OUT and FIGHT - for our country, for our rights, for our children and grandchildren, AND our planet!  For if we allow the Alt-Right, and those who are blinded to the evil clutches of authoritarianism and white supremacy to reign supreme upon this land, it will likely be centuries until we can recover, if ever.

The Republican Party and Donald J. Trump have clearly demonstrated their affinity for helping the rich continue to grow their wealth, at the expense of the rest of us, and the planet in which we live.  Today, more than ever, we need to send a loud and sustained message to these people that WE are the true power in this country and we will not let them destroy it any longer.

Please join me.  Do not normalize this man, nor his administration. NOTHING currently occurring in government is normal.  Question everything.  Fight back.  #Resist.

SHARE at will, everywhere and anywhere.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Trump breaking promises

As you know, if you have been reading this blog, I am not a Trump supporter.

However, there were some things that he said that I liked.  I liked that he sounded less hawkish than Hillary.  He didn't want us to be the international police. He wanted to be friends with Russia.

Hillary sounded more like business as usual.

On the international front, business as usual hasn't been very good, please see my former blog at Iran Bitter Harvest

I even had a more tolerant view of Russia than most Americans and liked his stance on being friends with Russia, please see my former blog at Russia v Ukraine a dissenting view

Hillary's hawkishness was one thing that I really didn't like about her. I often found myself arguing with my fellow Hillary supporters, who felt that Trump's mercurial temperament made him more likely to get us involved in a war than Hillary, who seemed relatively calmer.  I said that Trump had repeatedly criticized our war efforts.  It seemed very unlikely to me that he would be more likely to get us involved in a war than Hillary.

Then I see this budget.  He's increasing military spending.  That's so disappointing from someone who was anti-war and who was supposedly a business man who was going to help us get into a fiscally sounder position.

Of course, also, he said that he was for clean air and water, but then he's slashing the EPA.  He seems to have a vendetta against the EPA -- and the FDA -- seemingly unaware of how these two agencies protect all of us from being poisoned.  That's very disappointing as well. 

He's just sounding more and more like a traditional Republican, which is not, I don't think, what people voted for when they voted for him.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Republicans defunding federal public education programs -- meme

I did not write this.  This is a meme.  I am cutting and pasting from social media

And so it begins: the attempt to dismantle the public education system in the USA. Please read this! And, if you are a friend of mine in this forum who utilizes private education and you don't understand why strong funding and federal protections need to be in place to ensure equal access for all children in a public system, please pm me, and we can talk! We kind of figured out that separate isn't equal. And federal protections for students have been created BECAUSE they were needed.

House Bill 610 makes some large changes. Inform yourselves!

This bill will effectively start the school voucher system to be used by children ages 5-17, and starts the defunding process of public schools.

In addition the bill will eliminate the Elementary and Education Act of 1965, which is the nation's educational law and provides equal opportunity in education.

ESSA is a big comprehensive program that covers programs for struggling learners, AP classes, ESL classes, classes for minorities such as Native Americans, Rural Education, Education for the Homeless, School Safety (Gun-Free schools), Monitoring and Compliance and Federal Accountability Programs.

The Bill also abolishes the Nutritional Act of 2012 (No Hungry Kids Act) which provides nutritional standards in school breakfast and lunch.

The bill has no wording whatsoever protecting students with disabilities, no mention of IDEA (theFederal special education law) and FAPE (a guarantee of a FREE and APPROPRIATE education for special children).
Some things ESSA does for Children with Disabilities
-Ensures access to the general education curriculum.
-Ensures access to accommodations on assessments.
-Ensures concepts of Universal Design for Learning
-Includes provisions that require local education agencies to provide evidence-based interventions in schools with consistently underperforming subgroups.
-Requires states in Title I plans to address how they will improve conditions for learning including reducing incidents of bullying and harassment in schools, overuse of discipline practices and reduce the use of aversive behavioral interventions (such as restraints and seclusion).

Please call your representative and ask him/her to vote NO on House Bill 610 (HR 610) introduced by three Republican reps.

PLEASE copy and paste, don't just share. That limits it to friends we have in common. Thank you.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Media and Trump

Please do not mistake me for a Trump supporter.  I am not.  I am very concerned with his business not being in blind trust and why Russia intervened on his behalf in the election.  I am horrified at the suggestions that the EPA and FDA might be completely eliminated -- as these are necessary for our lives and health.  I am very concerned that Republicans are going to use this administration as an excuse to cut Medicare and Social Security, when Trump clearly stated from the outset that he wouldn't touch those things. I am very concerned about his attitude toward the free press.

On the other hand, his statements that the press is "lying" are, I believe, being misinterpreted by the liberal press.  It's not that they have individual facts wrong.  Nor, I think, was his word "tone" quite correct.  It is that the media distorts the big picture.

The news media is a business that sells negative drama.  Positive, normal, boring things don't get reported.  What gets reported is sensationalism.  This is distorting.  It does not give a complete picture of what is going on.

Moreover, it does not give a broad scope of even what might be sensationalist.  Only a few stories ever rise to national attention.  It's like triage in an emergency room.  News gets screened for how much it will grab our attention.  We hear that.  The rest ends up on the cutting room floor.  You really have to do a lot of research to try to get the big picture.

I see the news media as being a bit like a horror movie.  You go there to get scared. The movie theater encourages you to eat mountains of popcorn, slathered in butter substitute, to deal with your fear -- so you can also get fat.  The news is like that.  You watch it and you get scared -- and you probably eat in front of the TV and get fat.

I do find the characterization of yesterday's speech as being a "rant" as misleading.  He seemed calm and coherent to me.  I do agree with him that his supporters will watch that speech and not find that it was a rant.  They're going to believe him that his administration is a well-oiled machine.

He's very slick and convincing.

I don't know if his administration is a well oiled machine yet. I doubt it.

I still fear that he is a corrupt, totalitarian, foreign agent.

But the media is distorting that press conference for sure.  What that press conference was was a slick piece of propaganda which in fact made Trump look smart and the press look like a crowd of annoying insects.

This is also what Kellyanne means when she says listen to his heart and not his words.  He's not a lawyer.  He's not an academic.  There are always going to be things that he says that can be picked apart.

But his followers are also not academics or lawyers.  They are, by and large, less educated, less intellectual, and lower income.  They are going to listen to tone.  They are not going to pick apart facts.  They are going to find the press harping on minor factual errors annoying.

I want to resist Trump.  I want him out as soon as possible. I feel he is hugely dangerous for this country.

However, he has a point about the press, and he does know what he's doing in terms of PR.

If we want to defeat him, we have to be less stupid about it.  We can't engage in petty insults and name calling.  That's weak.  We can't do sensationalist distortion of rumors.  That's not going to work.

We have to keep our attention on real issues: corruption, ties to Russia, totalitarian tendencies.  We can't look like a bunch of annoying insects attacking a person who knows how to present himself on camera.  He is, after all, a professional performer and comedian.  He knows how to get ratings.

I don't know if he's a successful businessman.  His finances are not transparent.  We hear stories of huge debts, bankruptcies, unpaid contractors, defrauded customers.  Personally, I doubt his claim that he's been successful as a businessman.  The fact that his name and face are used to promote hotels does not mean that he is a successful businessman.

However, as a performer and as a propagandist, he's hugely successful.  That's where he excels -- and we have to be smarter at responding to that.




Story of S______ list of variable names

I was at one time a computer programmer.  In computer programming, we had variables, and usually a program started with a declaration of the variables, or comments explaining them. I had this idea that it would be fun to write a book that was like a compute program in this way, where the characters and places all had variable names.

In fact, in other fiction books, the character and place names are really variables as well, since they're just fictional names that represent the character.  However, in this book, the variable names were more explicitly such.  I have a list of the variable names, or abbreviations, as I called them near the start of the book, after the forward.

Someone brought to my attention that if you're reading this book in e-book format, it's hard to refer back to the list of abbreviations; so I thought maybe it would be helpful to just put the list of abbreviations in a blog here, to make it easier to refer to when you're reading the book


S. F-R, Jr. — the male lead
W. F-R — wife of the male lead
W. F-R, Jr. — daughter of W. & S.
WS1 — first son of W. & S.
WS2  — second son of W. & S.
S* — deceased mother of the male lead
S. F-R — deceased father of the male lead
A. M. — the female lead
A* — husband of the female lead
A3 — first son of A. & A*
A4 — second son of A. & A*
CityOne — where S. lives
StateOne — as state distant from CityOne
Rivertown — where A. lives, lesser suburb
MountainOne — where S. has a vacation homes
ShoreOne — where S. had another vacation home
Mountain Twenty-five — where A. has a vacation home, a much lesser resort area
J. — a 'friend' of S.
WarmIsland — location of the estate of S.'s stepfather
SuburbOne — where W.'s parents live
V. — a friend of A.
AirportSix — a small airport near CityOne
A. D. — one of S's former girlfriends
C. J. — another of S's former girlfriends
Ms. F. — an attorney
CountySeat — a small city near Rivertown
BigPharamceutical — C. J.'s employer