Book Review #25

The status quo is not working!
The Republic is disintegrating!

And all of this was foreseen as far back as the early 1960s.  It is a wonderful, empathetic, humanistic thing for the government to help those in need.  The author saw how socialistic support needed to be overseen and controlled – but wasn’t.

Pay a farmer not to raise a particular crop, to protect the income of other farmers who did.  Pay a single mother, so that she and her child could be assured food, clothing and housing.  Pay welfare to a man put out of work by social or technological changes.

Soon, the farmer neglects the maintenance of his equipment, and can’t go back to his trade, even when it is allowed.  The single mother has another child(ren), to increase her guaranteed monthly stipend.  She feels no urge to obtain a provider (A man, in the ‘60s), an education or training, or a job.  The guy on welfare deals drugs or robs corner stores on the side, because it’s easier than getting a real job.

Human nature being what it is, millions of people get lazy, and get used to the new status quo.  There is no impetus to do for themselves.  They become comfortable letting the government provide a reduced, but assured, standard of living.

The book: Space Viking
The book: The Cosmic Computer

The author: H. Beam Piper

The review:

Originally titled “Junkyard Planet”

Born in 1904, Piper was too young for World War I, and too old for World War II, but he must have observed the mountains of materiėl that was left when peace was finally, suddenly, achieved.  In 1963 and 1964, after the Korean War, he wrote these two cautionary, laissez-faire tales.

In each of these books, both initially set on the same planet, after an interstellar war, the people – the society – are poor.  Despite Billions of (dollars) credits worth of goods and equipment being left behind, aside from the occasional prospector/scavenger, no-one bothers to look for it.  They are so used to Big Government taking care of them, that they don’t rouse themselves to improve their own lot.

The two stories are essentially the same, only in one, Piper offers a social/financial solution, while in the other he shows a more political/military answer.  It’s the Stone Soup Theorem.  In each case, an exasperated, instigator protagonist starts a cycle of getting individuals and groups off their lethargic asses, by promising them something for nothing – if they’ll just put some work into his plan.

His credulous followers do not receive what he promises them – they get something much grander and better.  Companies are started, jobs are created, construction and trade is stimulated, unemployment almost disappears, wages go up, welfare goes down, taxes are paid, and infrastructure is rejuvenated.  The people are given back their pride, self-respect, and an incentive to continue to improve themselves and their society.

If only this would work in real life, but it won’t happen until we get a real leader – an honest visionary – who can convince a populace of passive takers, and a government of enabling vote-buyers, that more projects like the TVA – the Tennessee Valley Authority – and the Hoover Dam, will ultimately give back far more than they cost.

’21 A To Z Challenge – H

 

There are many delightful, old, archaic and arcane words that I wish were still in use – like ‘snaithe,’ which is a single thread within a larger cord, or rope.  It was often used in reference to magic, and the alternate time-lines and reality-lines caused by invoking spells.

And then there are the words, and the concepts that created them, that we wish had disappeared, but sadly haven’t.  So it is with today’s terrible twins – the disreputable duo of

HOODLUMS

AND

HOOLIGANS

Hoodlum – a thug or gangster.
a young street ruffian, especially one belonging to a gang.

Hooligan – a ruffian or hoodlum.

These two are examples of the entitled worst of American society, who on January 6th, urged and led thousands of their brothers to take Government into their own hands, and invaded the Capitol building.  Victims of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, they didn’t know how dumb and gullible they were, but continued to forge ahead in Holy zeal, following a false prophet.

This is the world of Trump’s spiritual adviser Paula White and many more lesser-known but influential religious leaders who prophesied that Trump would win the election, and helped organize nationwide prayer rallies in the days before the Jan. 6 insurrection, speaking of an imminent “heavenly strike” and “a Christian populist uprising,” leading many who stormed the Capitol to believe they were “taking back the country for God.”

The (dis)United States already has more than enough ways that it is separated, one segment from another.  A new term has recently arisen – the Stained-Glass Divide.  It’s bad enough that there is constant friction between whites and blacks, citizens and immigrants, Republicans and Democrats, Red States and Blue States.  Now the vocal Christian Evangelicals are pulling away from those they don’t feel are Holy enough.

You guys better get your act together, or we Canadians will send down a couple of Mounties to straighten things out, and you’ll wind up being our 11th province.

Conspiracy Constipation

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Would you blindly take a pill or vaccine without knowing precisely what was in it, just because a doctor or “Professional Health Practitioner” told you to?

YES!
You see this??  Education teaches you this in chemistry and biology.  Knowing this, why the fuck would you think that you know more than someone who spent years studying and learning, and actually knows what these words mean.

IT CONTAINS MORE THAN 4,000 CHEMICALS, AND HAS SPREAD INTO EVERY HUMAN BODY ON EARTH

Among its components are formaldehyde, acetone, ethanol, ketone bodies, dihydrogen monoxide, tryptophan, urea, dehydroepiandrosterone, Hexosephosphate P, and at least 20 kinds of acids.

Nearly every chemical constituent will, in certain concentrations, kill children and adults.

Chemical compounds within it are used in yoga mats, explosives, warfare, and industrial applications.

It is now so pervasive, that every human baby is born with high concentrations of it in his or her tiny body.

Healthcare workers, pharmaceutical companies, and governments conspire to spend Billions of dollars each year, to maintain or increase its presence in ordinary citizens.

IT’S YOUR OWN BLOOD – DUMMY!

Don’t be alarmed by words you don’t understand, or people who want to scare you on Facebook, because they’re bored or stupid, or both.  Read!  Understand!  Reduce the stupid!

Science! It reduces the stupid.

So, get your head out of your a…. Get the shot – both shots!  Wear the damned mask to protect you and everyone else.  It’s not wearing one that makes you look stupid – and selfish, and inconsiderate.  Soon we’ll be able to go back to Shoney’s for Early Bird Dinner.  Don’t worry – Be happy.  Trust the experts.  They really do know more than your cousin Shelly on Twitter.  😳

Flash Fiction #260

                        PHOTO PROMPT © Russell Gayer

FLYING CAR-PET

I can’t believe that this van is flying.  There must be some kind of technology involved.  Anti-gravity is tough enough to accept – but MAGIC??!

It’s not MAGIC magic.  It’s just that some of us have learned to harvest and direct cosmic radiation.  Harry Potter’s car flew.  I often wonder if Rowling is one of us.

But people must be able to see us.  I’ve never heard even nut-case reports.

The diffraction field makes people view us as birds, or distant airplanes.  We might even be some of those government UFO reports.  We’ll need to wash the unicorn shit off later.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Gahh!!  I’ve Been Shot

Just found out that I qualify for the Pfizer vaccine….
….Apparently if you buy 20,000 Viagra a year, you’re a preferred customer.

Despite the incompetence and disorganization of the Canadian Federal Government, the Provincial Government, the Waterloo Regional Council, and the local medical association regarding COVID19 vaccinations – the wife and I each managed to get our initial shot on Easter Sunday, April 3rd.

The clinic was held at a new medical building, about a mile away.  This is where I took the wife last November, for her standard flu shot.  In the fall, they did a drive-thru system at one end of the building.  Since the main floor is not yet leased, with the volume of customers, this time we had to walk inside.

We were accosted by a greeter at the main door, who would not allow us in until we’d sworn that we were not suffering from a long list of medical ailments that I’m sure included leprosy.  I worry about the future of the human race.  There was enough hand sanitizer being splashed around to sterilize the entire next generation, not that it mattered to this crowd.  The clinic was for those over 70.  It looked like a false teeth and hearing aid sale down at Codgers-R-Us.

The bureaucratic duplication was thicker than usual.  The greeter directed us across the atrium, to a pre-screener, where we presented our health cards and gave our names, address, and birth dates.  This is something I learned to do long ago, when I received someone else’s dental anesthetic – plus my own.

We then proceeded to a screener in a large U-shaped room as big as half the building, which wrapped around the elevator shaft… where we presented our health cards and gave our names, address, and birth dates.  Following colorful dots on the floor that looked like the Easter Bunny had hopped through, the maitre d’ soon escorted us to a small table near the washrooms.

We were greeted by an Oriental man…. where we presented our health cards and gave our names, address, and birth dates.  He did not profess what medical training he might have.  He might have been the maintenance man, but he was quite quick and efficient.

We were given a cash register type of receipt, giving our names, Health Card number, date of injection, and the type of vaccine.  For the medically morbid, we did, in fact, receive Pfizer-Biontec COVID19 mRNA-PB.  He then directed us to a waiting area where we would be observed for any adverse reactions.

We sat for 15 minutes to prove that we could stand and move safely on our own, although there was a forest of canes and walkers.  Aside from possibly the hypo-wielders, most if not all of the attendants were volunteers – and there were a ton of them.  I don’t know how we maintained a 6-foot clearance.  The place looked more like the Wuhan wet market where COVID was born, than a socially-distanced medical recovery area.  It was like Jeff Foxworthy’s Grateful Dead Seniors Tour.  It’s Metamucil!  Take a hit. Pass it down.

I took the photo below as we left, during an unusual lull.  There were twice this many people when we sat down.  We then had to proceed to a liability-waiver, after-mission debriefing…. where we presented our health cards and gave our names, address, and birth dates – to prove that we were as hale and healthy leaving as we were when we arrived. We’re scheduled to go back for our second shot, and play this game again on Sunday, July 25th. 😯 For as many Stations Of The I-Was-Cross there were, it still moved though quickly and smoothly. Including the 15 minute cool-down period, we were in and out in half an hour.

If/when you get your chance, take it.  If I can do it, any wimp can do it.  The only reaction that I got was that the next day, I felt like the school-yard bully had punched my bicep.

Canadian Gun Nuts

SHOOTINGS UP, AS TRUDEAU’S GUN BAN MISSES TARGET

When Justin Trudeau announced his massive gun ban, back on May 1, he told the country that he was doing it to tackle gun violence, and to make Canada safer.

“Every single Canadian wants to see less gun violence, and safer communities. So today, we take another big step forward.” Trudeau said.  “Enough is enough.  Banning these firearms will save Canadian lives.” Trudeau’s Public Safety Minister, Bill Blair stated emphatically.

TOO BAD IT ISN’T WORKING!  😯

Between May 1 and Sept. 6, shootings were up in Canada’s largest city.  So were the number of people killed by guns.  In total, between when Trudeau announced his ban and Labor Day weekend, Toronto saw 208 shootings with 92 people injured, and 14 people killed.  In that same time period for 2019, there were 185 shootings, 92 injured, and 12 people killed.

Did Trudeau forget to take aim at criminals, when trying to tackle the gun crime that is the real issue in many cities across Canada??

When Trudeau banned 1500 guns, or variations of rifles that he described as “military-grade assault weapons,” he wasn’t banning guns that are used in crime; he was banning guns used in hunting or at the gun range by licensed owners.

Since May 1, hundreds more firearms have been added to the banned list, even though they are shotguns or bolt-action rifles.  These are firearms that are used for hunting, not by criminals.  “Zero impact” is how Marcell Wilson summed up Trudeau’s gun ban on the gang violence plaguing our biggest cities.

Wilson should know; he used to be part of that world, smuggling guns and running his own organization.  Now he’s turned his life around and operates One By One, an organization that helps people get out of the gang life.

He said banning these rifles won’t stop the shootings, because gangs rarely – if ever – use them.  “Definitely handguns of small calibre in my day was ideal.  Easy to conceal and easy to throw away if need be.”  Wilson said.

Former Toronto Police Detective Mark Mendelson, who spent 14 years as a lead investigator on the city’s homicide squad, said he agrees with Wilson when it comes to Trudeau’s gun ban aiming at the wrong target.  “These are not the guns used in crimes that involve the gangs.  They’re running around with Glocks, Smith and Wessons, semiautomatic pistols.”

What Trudeau has banned were the guns with no history of crime in this country, claiming that it would stop the shootings.  The numbers show that is not the case.  Shootings are up 12.5% this summer compared to the same period in 2019, and 24% higher than what was recorded in 2018.  Compared to summer of 2015 – the summer just before Trudeau was elected – shootings are up 83% in Toronto.

This was never about keeping Canadians safe or reducing gun crime.  This was about Trudeau looking like he was taking strong action when he wasn’t.  Shootings have been up during his entire tenure in office, and he hasn’t been able to deal with it.

Gun crime is a very real issue in Canada, but the Federal Liberals seem to forget the crime part, and only focus on the gun part.  Tracking down criminals and getting them to hand over their guns is difficult.  Tracking down licensed gun owners is much easier.

The Government plans to spend more than $600 million – could be more than $1 Billion – to pay legal gun owners to hand over their now-banned rifles and shotguns.  Rather than spend this amount of money on something that has no chance of reducing gun crime, just a portion of it spent on groups like Wilson’s could go a long way towards dealing with the root problems.

C’mon Justin, it’s time to aim your efforts at the right target.

Involuntary Loner

Grumpy

I lost my brother recently. Thanx for the condolences, but he’s still alive. I just don’t know where the Hell he is.

I am content to be surrounded only by immediate family, and a tiny group of online friends. This is a cautionary tale about seniors growing older, isolated and alienated from society. (Visit your Grandma in the home!)

My grandson is getting married, and we tried to invite my brother to the wedding. His landline number had been disconnected, and his cell phone number had been assigned to someone else.

My daughter contacted his daughter through Facebook, and a sad, protracted tale of woe came to light. He had turned into a grumpy old man with no friends, although it wasn’t clear whether he was grumpy because he had no friends, or had no friends because he was so grumpy – perhaps a bit of both.

His wife left him and divorced him some years ago. He moved 25 miles, to a small village, to be near his older daughter. Within a year, she disappeared, moving out without telling anyone where she went.

The younger daughter admitted that she had been preoccupied with kids going into teenage-hood, and a small, retail business that she runs. His old buddy, “24 beers in a case/24 hours in a day” Norm, hadn’t stopped in to see him in over 5 years. We didn’t improve things, because, despite the wife’s nagging gentle reminders, I hadn’t phoned him in almost 3 years.

He had a lady friend-with-benefits for several years, but he was retired, with time to drive to Florida, and spend some time there in the winter. She had just started a home-cleaning business, with a growing list of clients, who she couldn’t leave hanging, so she also left him.

He had a guy that he’d gone to school and worked with, who would split on gas and motel rooms to attend curling bonspiels in Ottawa, and North Bay. But he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, and brother finally called him a God-damn asshole, and dumped him.

There was a pair of male twins his age who used to give him some time, but neither one was interested in curling, and no longer wanted to car-pool and drive 500 miles to watch a NASCAR race. He never read, and he didn’t own a computer.

There was mention of “some trouble with a neighbor” (or neighbors), and apparently what passed for a village council, couldn’t, or wouldn’t, solve his problem. Suddenly, one day, he put his house on the market, sold it and just moved away.

His younger daughter says that she knows physically where he is, and has a telephone number. When she found out about his decision, she tried to contact him. He felt betrayed and abandoned. He said, “Screw all of you! If you weren’t there for me when I needed you, I’m not going to be there for you. The Government knows where I am. The rest of you can go to Hell. I don’t want to be bothered. Don’t give my contact information to anyone.”

My Mother used to say, about his sulking moods, “He just wants to go out in the garden and eat worms.” I am sorry that he feels betrayed and abandoned, and the situation that he’s in. He and I have led very different lives. For obvious reasons, we were never close, but I’ll still miss him.

Flash Fiction #196

Oy

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

OY

Trump doesn’t govern well because he has poor advisors – not that he listens to anyone. The guys who really know how to run the country are all cutting hair, or driving taxis. The difference between a good haircut and a bad one, is two weeks. The difference between a calm cab ride and a butt-clencher, is prayer.

What was the DMV thinking, licensing these guys?? They drive like they were still in Beirut or Mumbai.
AAAHK – WATCH OUT FOR THAT BUS!!

I’ll just cover my eyes and hope for the best. I picked a fine time to be an Atheist.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

’19 A To Z Challenge – D

Mission Impossible

Good morning Mr. Archon. As you can see from the morning news, rogue governments, like those of the fat little North Korean, and the cheesy-headed fool in Washington, are causing the peoples of the Free Blog-World much distress.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to amaze and amuse, educate and enthrall, to bring harmony and joy back to WordPress. Remember, if you or any member of your Impossible Blog Force are captured or killed, the Secretary will

Disavow

any knowledge of your actions. If you are successful, this Internet series will be made into a bunch of second-rate movies, starring some pint-sized, Bible-thumping fool who jumps on couches while on television, and delights in the pain and suffering of women having babies. This blog post will self-destruct in 30 seconds.

I didn’t sign up fer nun of that capchered or killed shit. I jes wanna sit at this here computer-thingy with a cold beer – or 17.

Secatarie??! I ain’t got no damn secatarie. I gotta type this shit out all by myself. ‘N what’s this ‘disavow’ thing? Do that mean the old lady ‘n I ain’t married no more? I called my spawn, bastards offen enuff. Serve ‘em right if they really was. The wife don’t see thuh irony in calling one of ‘em a ‘son of a bitch.’ I guess that ‘disavow’ thing is kinda thuh same as ‘cover yer ass.’ Typical Guvmint.

I doan wanna git capchered urr kilt, so I’m gonna go do sum research fur a word startin’ with E. I’d like this ass-hindment to go to a second season. Ah know yoo wuz amazed thet ah kin put two words in front of th’other. Howz this fer amuzed??

Happy Place

See ya again soon. 😉

Flash Fiction #189

Signs

PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L. Hays

I’VE SEEN THE SIGNS

When the Europeans came to North America, the natives did not own the land. They felt the concept to be silly. Land was like the air – ever and unending. Groups might squabble about who could live or hunt on some portion of it, but The Great Spirit had put it there for all to share.

The White Man soon taught them about ownership and possession. Corporations and governments, which also didn’t “own” the land, sold chunks of it to groups and individuals. Soon, the walls went up, and then the fences – first stone, then split rail, and finally, wire fences.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

***

After the fences came the signs – signs meant “to keep all the other people out, and to keep Mother Nature in.” Click to hear the Five Man Electrical Band decry the restrictive commercialization of our land and society.

Friday Fictioneers