Poles Apart

I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it.
Voltaire

America is lost, because of all the things that America already has lost – empathy, acceptance, sympathy, good manners, ego control, anger management, social justice, patience, understanding, and public civility and discourse.

It has become a nation of whining, exclusionist, pushy, cancel-culture, entitled, thugs.  The attitude is everywhere – in politics, religion and day-to-day social interaction.  The give-and-take is all gone, replaced by take! take! take!  They advocate #MeToo, but it’s all Me, Me, Me!

The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any.

No-one takes the time to consider others as individuals, especially ones with valid opinions of their own.  Everyone else is just reduced to labels.  It is far easier to shout names at people, than it is to critically think.  Tribalism runs rampant.

Woke: a selfish ridiculous attitude towards anything, by people who feel undervalued and have the need to express themselves obnoxiously without regard for others.

Their guiding principal is “never let a crisis go to waste.”  Only in times of a pandemic, a national quarantine, or volatile race relations, can the new, upscale, leftist revolutionaries use fear to push through policies that no-one could stomach in normal times.

They hate dissent.  They try to destroy anyone who questions their media-spun hoaxes.  Truth is their enemy, and fear is their weapon.  George Orwell warned about 1984.  It’s a little late, but 1984 is upon us.

A hundred years ago, politicians referred to members of other parties as, The Honorable Member, or, The Respected Mister ….  They were Opponents – equals; they just didn’t want to do things ‘our way.’   Soon though, Honor and Respect disappeared.  Those who had been Opponents, became Adversaries.  In the 1960s and ‘70s, Adversaries became Enemies.  There’s no Go along, to get along.  Death threats are now the accepted form of political statement.

Over at the Temple of Peace, Love, and Acceptance, things aren’t any better.  A Christian College has been denied accreditation as a school by the Department of Education, rendering any diplomas invalid.  Their publicly posted mission statement clearly states who they will discriminate against.  An Op-Ed letter quoted the president, saying that he loved everybody, but would not accept that Catholics, Muslims and LGBTQ+ views were truthful, and then ironically demanded equality and fairness.  I was going to fire off a superheated rebuttal, but didn’t, when I realized that I could boil my reply down to two words.  YOU FIRST!!

There’s another Civil War brewing in America.  This time, it won’t be the North against the South – exactly.  It may become a schism between the Red States, and the Blue States, or the Bible Belt against the Quietly Spiritual.  I would hate to see that happen, because the only thing that keeps public culture safely in the middle of the social bell curve, is the fact that each side balances the other out.  If there’s a split, no matter which side you opt for, with the best of intentions, the brakes are off.  It’s a long slide down that slippery slope.

We’ve lost the ability to disagree with one another, without trying to cancel each other out. Woke is the new religion.  Statues come down, and schools must be renamed.  It is the ultimate conceit to apply today’s truths retroactively.   Quite soon, a Theocracy or Oligarchy will form, which will make Nazi Germany or Communist Russia look like a day-spa.  It won’t be pretty, kids.  Be careful what you wish for.  Pandora’s box isn’t quite empty.   😯

Flash Fiction #274

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

ROSE COLORED GLASS

Anxiety and dissention are the unfortunate results of the Internet Age.  It was once comfortable to believe that we were all basically the same.

Rose-colored glasses are passé.  We now must view our world through kaleidoscope specs.  Freedom of information also means freedom of misinformation.  Every bright and shiny, sharp-edged sect demands its own recognition.

Tea Party and Trumpers separate from Republicans and Democrats.  Anti-vaxxers abound.  Flat Earth is a growth industry.  There are still Christian mega-churches, but more and more, worshippers are doing what they did two millennia ago – gather in groups of 10 or 15 in private homes.

***

If you’d like to join the fun, go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Fighting For One-Liners

I just won my first cage fight….
….The parrot didn’t know what hit him.

I was reading this book today, The History of Glue….
….I couldn’t put it down.

I hired a handyman to do some odd jobs around the house….
….He did every other thing on the list.

I made strawberry jam today….
….It was a jarring experience.

Snaccident….
….Eating an entire bag of chips by mistake.

Women only have two problems….
….Nothing to wear, and no room for all their clothes.

Life is like a helicopter….
….I don’t know how to operate a helicopter.

It’s probably just my age….
…That tricks people into thinking I’m an adult.

The Devil whispered to me, “I’m coming for you.”….
….I said, “Bring pizza.”

If you’re lost in the woods, start talking about politics….
….Someone will show up to argue with you.

When a clock is hungry….
….It goes back four seconds.

I often break into song….
….Because I can’t find the key.

I just sold my homing pigeon on eBay….
….For the 22nd time.

I’m not lazy….
….I’m just in Energy-Saving Mode.

What do you call a person who studies soft drinks?….
….A Fizzicist.

If I eat 3 bags of chips, and drink 4 cans of soda, what do I have?….
….No self-control.

My wife said, “I’m going out for a couple of hours.  Do you want anything?”….
….I replied, No, that’s enough.”

I couldn’t sleep last night, so I started reading the dictionary….
….By 3:00 AM I was past caring.

To the two criminals who stole my calendar….
….I hope you both get six months.

Did you hear about the criminal who pick-pocketed a dwarf?….
….How could he stoop so low?

I’ve heard of a lot of dumb criminals….
….But bakery robbers take the cake.

I think I need professional help….
….A chef, a butler, and a maid should do it.

Did you know that 2 or 3 glasses of wine a day….
….Can reduce your chances of giving a shit.

Let’s talk again, after they find….
….A cure for your personality.

Tradition is….
….Peer pressure from the dead.

My New Year’s resolution is to procrastinate….
….I’ll start tomorrow.

Flash Fiction #263

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

EXCESS TO REQUIREMENTS

It’s a good thing I’m retired, and have nowhere to go and all day to get there.  They’re hauling the raw material for Trump’s wigs away.  It’s going to a carpet factory to make new flooring for Kamala Harris’s office. Perhaps when it’s delivered, someone could teach her how to pronounce her name correctly.

Her Father, Kamal, pronounced his name, kah-mahl, so, properly, hers should be kah-mahl-ah.  I wonder if the chicken or the egg came first.  Someone would have us believe that there is no connection to Islam, and she’s a white Valley Girl, with a name resembling Pamela.

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

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.

ROM

A blog-friend has asked me to read a book.
Okay.  I’ve got lots of experience; in fact, I’m reading three of them, right now.

Read Our Manuscript

She wants me to read Her book, Kevin: Murder Beneath The Pines.  Our fellow-blogger, the lovely KayJai, has published her third book, and wants me to read and review it.  I am honored and willing, if somewhat under-qualified.

This will be the sixth such book that I have read.  The first was for an author in Washington.  I did a terrible job, because I thought I knew what I was doing – but didn’t.  I have read four for BrainRants, who made it a lot easier, and more logical.  You can’t put colored pencil marks on a digital copy, so he sent all of his in a Word file with numbered lines.

Don’t ever attempt to do your own proof-reading.  Get someone else – preferably three other people.  When you read your own work, you will see what your mind expects to see, and errors that might irk readers can sneak through.

This book is not yet Great Literature.  She is still on a learning curve.  For what it is, the third attempt by a busy lady, it is a delightful little murder mystery, suitable to be discussed at a book club meeting, or a knitting circle.  It begins with a Dilbert-like glimpse at office politics, but soon devolves into a look at darkness, not only in the deep, piney woods, but in the hearts and souls of men.  Small-town characters have to learn to deal with big-city-type crime, and its after-effects on the survivors.

If you are writing, or thinking of writing a book, and need/want a Beta-reader, I am usually available.  My forte is the words, and usage, and construction, and punctuation.  I am not so insightful or helpful with plot, story arc or character development, although I often have some opinions.

Well, enough about me.  Now it’s your turn – to provide emotional support by returning soon to read my next post.

Flash Fiction #253

PHOTO PROMPT © Jennifer Pendergast  

FREE BIRD

It is so comforting to Know – to know no doubts – to have all the answers, even when they are not the right ones.

People feel safe when they can identify – apply labels to others – politics, religion, gender, language, nationality.  It gives the illusion of control of their lives.

Other folks, and their related social problems, are complex, and fully-formed.  They are not easy, one-dimensional, cookie-cutter simple.

It is usually better to make decisions and form opinions based on reality, rather than preconceived notions.  More people should try it.  They might find those feared – and hated – Others…. are quite sweet.

***

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

’20 A To Z Challenge – V

How can we miss you, if you won’t go away?

I hope, by the time I publish this, that the gunfire has died down, the fires are out, the smoke has cleared, all the Biden inauguration rioters protesters have been arrested, and Nancy Pelosi’s lectern has been returned – again.

This polar expedition into American politics is brought to you by the words

VAPID

Flavorless, tiresome, prosaic

VACUOUS

Lacking ideas or intelligence, empty, stupid, inane
– and

VAINGLORIOUS

Boastful or vain, ostentatious

I borrowed them from the Kardshians, to give to Donald (Here’s your hat – What’s your hurry) Trump, as a going away present.  Twenty years of Keeping Up With them produced less damage to the American culture than four years with him.  He didn’t even have enough class to attend his own going-away party, but snuck away to Mar-a-Lago, like the phoney Wizard of Oz behind the curtain.  He would not accept the inevitable, and step aside with grace and dignity.  How a man plays the game says a lot about his character, but how he loses says it all.

I wonder who wound him up and set him loose on the unsuspecting public.  Perhaps he is a self-made megalomaniac.  At least when George W. Bush’s lips moved, you could see Dick Cheney’s hand stuck up his ass.

Speaking of an ass…. There’s another word I’d like to pin on this donkey as hee-haw sulks off into the sunset.

VINDICTIVE

He is so full of ego – and other substances – that he really thinks that the entire American population idolizes him.  He truly believes that someone – somehow – stole the election, and the second term, from him.  He has loyalty only to himself.  Anyone of his political confederates who fails to completely and immediately agree with him, gets tossed under the bus.  In fact, he’ll drive the bus.  We couldn’t hear it, inside the White House, but he brought his trademarked phrase – You’re Fired – with him.  He ruined more political careers than compulsory lie-detector tests.

Words beginning with the letter V are not much more common than X, Y, or Z.  I’ve used so many to roast Trump with, that next year, we may have to drop in at The Stag Shop, and purchase a Vibrator.   😉

Flash Fiction #243

PHOTO PROMPT © Trish Nankivell

IT’S OVER!!

You probably wouldn’t remember
I probably couldn’t forget

The year that shouldn’t have been – but was!

Good-Goodbye 2020!  Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on your way out.  We are looking forward to the arrival of your rich, handsome replacement – 2021.

You’ve had many of us looking for brain-bleach, to erase an annum which took Mister Jeopardy! – Alex Trebek from us, but gave us COVID19, and a petulant ex-president who won’t admit defeat.  We’ll see who Secret Service believes is the real President.  tRump may get some 9MM help moving out.

I forecast a warm, rosy future.

***

Click above to hear The Steve Miller Band sing about Jungle Love.
Steve wrote the song about a girl, but the sentiments could easily apply to the present social and political situation.

But lately you live in the jungle
I never see you alone
But we need some definite answers
So I thought I would write you a poem
The question to everyone’s answer
Is usually asked from within
But the patterns of the rain and the truth they contain
Have written my life on your skin
You treat me like I was your ocean
You swim in my blood when it’s warm
My cycles of circular motion
Protect you and keep you from harm
You live in a world of illusion
Where everything’s peaches and cream
We all face a scarlet conclusion
But we spend our time in a dream

***

BTW:  The whistles that you hear, like the ones in Jackson Brown’s Loadout/Stay are a language all their own, based on whistles used by shepherds to control their herd-dogs at long distances.  The roadies (and their boss) need to communicate across large arenas and amphitheaters, where voices will not carry.  One short – one long – two short, one long – one long, shrill, sustained screech – these, and a little pointing,  all convey information.

***

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

Jesus!  More One-Liners??!

I found $20 in a parking lot today, and I thought, What Would Jesus Do?….
….so I turned it into wine.

You know what borders on stupidity?….
….Canada and Mexico

My wife bought me a 2021 calendar….
….My days are numbered now.

Neutering your pets….
….makes them less nuts

Helvetica and Times New Roman walk into a bar….
….”Get Out Of Here!” shouts the bartender, “We don’t serve your type.”

Hear about the new restaurant, named Karma?….
….There’s no menu.  You get what you deserve.

How do you drown a hipster?….
….Throw him in the mainstream.

Why did the hipster burn his mouth?….
….He drank coffee before it was cool.

What kind of exercise do lazy people do?….
….Diddly-squats.

I got my wife a fridge for her birthday….
….I can’t wait to see her face light up when she opens it.

Don’t try to write with a broken pencil….
….It’s pointless.

I was gonna tell a pizza joke….
….but it’s too cheesy.

My wife complained that I didn’t buy her flowers….
….To be honest, I didn’t know she sold flowers.

I’m a social vegan….
….I avoid meet

My math teacher called me average….
….How mean!

Pilates??!….
….I thought you said pie and lattes.

I told my wife that a husband ages like wine.  We get better with age….
….Then she locked me in the cellar.

I’ll tell you what often gets overlooked….
….Garden fences

Don’t start any vast projects….
….with half-vast ideas

Ever wonder if illiterate people….
….get the full effect of alphabet soup?

How was Rome split in two?….
….With a pair of Caesars….
….Nope!  Unintended.

What happens when you play a country song backwards?….
….It gets even more annoying

Be strong….
….I whispered to my Wi-Fi signal

I ran out of toilet paper and had to use newspaper….
….Times are rough

I have a split personality….
….Said Tom, being frank

I failed Math in high school so many times….
….I can’t even count

I used to have a handle on life….
….But then it broke

Don’t you hate it when someone answers their own questions?….
….I do.

It takes a lot of balls….
….To golf the way I do

People who use selfie-sticks….
….Need to take a good, long look at themselves.