21SEP2017 Update

So today is the last full day of summer.  Gahhh!  The horror begins soon so it’s time to have fun while we can.  Saturday I’ll have my two older grandsons over for a Lord of the Rings marathon.  I think the extended version comes to about eleven hours.  Breaking it up with grilled cheese sandwiches for them and corned beef and swiss for me, it will be a full day.  Dinner will be another fan favorite spaghetti and meat balls.  Camera Girl will do the cooking but abstain from the cinema.  She’s a Tolkien agnostic, heaven help her.

As anyone who faithfully reads my reviews knows I consider Justified the most consistently well written and actualized tv drama I’ve ever seen.  I have a theory that it’s because the source material is much better than that of the typical (or even superior) tv-show.  So, I’m putting it to the test.

Right now, I’m reading Elmore Leonard’s Raylan Givens novels and short stories.  I read the short story “Fire in the Hole” that was the basis for the first episode of Justified.  The other stories in the collection (of the same name) were all very good too.  Leonard has an enormous reputation as one of the most popular crime writers.  And he has had over twenty of his books made into movies (not counting the tv series Justified).  Based on all that I figure I’ll find out what all the hype is about.  So, I want to see how I like his stuff.  So far, I’m impressed.

The political scene continues to boil like the spaghetti pot I’ll be involved with on Saturday.  Trump continues to engage all important events in his typical iconic and bombastic style.  Of course, you’d have to be made of stone not to be nervous about all the various balls in the air.  But I’ve learned to give Trump some time to get things done in his own way.  After all he is herding particularly annoying cats (and rats).  The right-wing folks are going through some growing pains on the various sites.  Hopefully it’ll sort itself out sooner than later.  I take a sort of neutral position on these things and wait to see how things are settled.

On the photography front I’ve added the ability to embed photos in the comments so go ahead if something in a post inspires a photo of your own.  The plug-in that makes this possible has the following instructions:

This plugin embeds image links in comments with the img tag so the images are visible in your comment timeline.

Image formats supported:

  1. .jpg
  2. .gif
  3. .png

 

I’m not an expert on this computer stuff so I’ll do my best to get things to work but have patience if there are problems.

On the review front, I’m going to write something on my recent toe-dip into anime.  In addition to my recent viewing of Cowboy Bebop I watched Ghost in the Shell 2.0.  I’ll share my thoughts.

Other film ideas, I rented the second John Wick film and I’ll put together my thoughts on both films after watching it, maybe this weekend.

I haven’t decided what sf&f book to read next.  Suggestions are always welcome.

Camera Girl is Buying Goats

I think it is a sign of the coming apocalypse that suburban residents think they need to have farm animals on their property.  And women are entirely impractical about pets.

Now, coming from an individual who in the past has kept four of the six giant snake species in a Brooklyn apartment this might sound slightly self-serving and hypocritical.  In fact, it probably is.  But everybody always says a boy needs his hobbies.  No one ever says a girl needs her hobbies.  QED.

But I maintain that I am a reformed former animal horder.  For this reason, I feel that I have the right to pronounce judgement against this misguided practice.

Going through the various animal keeping proclivities of our marriage, it is obvious that eventually we would branch out from indoor menageries and end up in the barnyard.  And after the fiasco of the Great Quail Fail of 2017 (as it came to be known) it was inevitable that Camera Girl would want revenge.  But my actual problem with the new animal introduction is practical.  The winters in New England can be brutally cold and snow filled.  It occurs to me that during some prodigious snow fall when the goat enclosure is engulfed by some absurd 50” snow fall that I will be called upon at some god-awful hour to go out and clear a space for the goats to allow them to get at their food and water.  And based on my memory of Lovecraft’s description of Shub-Niggurath, (“The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young”), I believe there is a better than even chance that the critters will take advantage of my proximity and vulnerability to stage some kind of satanic attack upon my person.

Alright, I don’t really think it will be satanic.  But goats are jerks and they will probably butt me with their stupid horns and that will probably really hurt.  So, there’s that.  Plus, I’ll have to clean out their pen because let’s face it, men always get stuck with the crappy jobs.  So that’s why I hate the goats.  But Camera Girl does feed me and stuff so I guess it’s still a good deal.  I guess.

But have you ever looked at goats.  They’ve got those weird eyes that are really weird and maybe they are satanic.  And they’re gonna eat everything they can get their teeth into so they’ll turn their pen into the Plain of Gorgorath where nothing can survive.  Plus, I’ll bet the pen will be under constant assault by the local coyote pack and they’ll be howling every night and I’ll probably have to defend the stupid goats as if I actually wanted them to survive.  It’ll be like that scene in Whisperer in the Darkness where the old guy is defending his compound from the giant fungus lobsters with his rifle and german shepherds.  Except that german shepherds are actually useful and goats aren’t.  And I don’t have a rifle.  And coyotes aren’t lobsters.  But it was in New England.

I feel that the only hope is if biological science makes rapid advances in genetic engineering.  If genetically modified goats that only grow to the size of crickets could be commercially available then my problem would be solved.  I could set up a pen for them in the kitchen junk drawer and they would be a very small problem to take care of.  So that’s what I’m banking on at this point.  The goats are supposed to arrive a week from Saturday so there’s still time.  I know it’s a long shot but my luck’s got to change some day.  Maybe this will be it.  So, come on you genetic researchers, stop being so selfish and put aside all this cancer jazz for a minute, and solve a really urgent need, the world’s cricket-sized goat shortage.  What color ribbon is still available for the cause?

The UN Speech

I just finished watching the entire speech.  I can’t remember the last time I heard an American president speak as honestly and effectively about the world we live in.  Trump blasted North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba and Venezuela.  He even threw a jab at the Ukrainian aggression and the South China Sea posturing.  He talked about sovereignty and the right of each country to differ from the cookie cutter requirements of our Globalist Oligarchs.  He talked about the United States’ history in the UN and the sacrifices it has made to aid its neighbors and he also said that he is not going to let the United States be the fall guy any longer.  Not in trade agreements, not in refugee resettlement, and not in UN finances.

It was a magnificent speech.  And of course, it was Donald Trump giving it so there was plenty of self-congratulation.  He started off by announcing that employment and the stock market were both at historic highs and that business was returning to the US in dramatic fashion.  He even took an indirect dig at Obama saying that the Iran deal was a disaster.  It was a lot of fun.

Of course, a UN address is a show piece with no actual effect.  But what it does is set the tone for an American administration’s relationship with the world.  So, when Obama went on his apology tour and bowed to every dictator in the Middle East it set the stage for the Arab Spring and the disaster that hatched.  It let the Iranians know that they could ask for and get whatever they wanted.  Alternatively, when Trump says that a nuclear North Korea that attacks the US or its allies will be totally destroyed this sends a powerful message to the North Koreans and the Chinese.  It also sends a different message to the Japanese and the other allies in the area.

And when President Trump forcefully stated that the welfare of the American people, and the middle-class especially, was his first priority that makes a big impression on the voters.  And on the Congress, that is always thinking toward the next election.  And on big business that gauges a president’s intentions before they commit on strategic business and financial plans.

So even though the speech is just a statement it was exactly the right statement for President Trump to make.  It had the right tone and it hit all the right points, globally and domestically.  Trump is no Reagan.  He is not a great orator.  His speaking style is workmanlike and methodical.  He reminds me of the executive in front of the board of directors.  Maybe that makes it even more effective.  It wasn’t just rhetoric.  There was a message and he even expressed that message explicitly.  He said “America first.”  For that I was truly proud of him.  He didn’t sell us out to make nice with the globalists.  Good for you Mr. President.

If you haven’t listened to it and you have the time and the inclination, listen to the whole thing.  It’s about 45 minutes long.  If you don’t have the time or interest, there are some excerpts.  Even that will give you a flavor of what was said.  Bottom line, Trump did himself and our country some good today.

Orion’s Cold Fire – The Origin Story

Now, you’re gonna have to bear with me for a bit.  This will be a rambling seemingly incoherent rant.  But I’ll try by the end to bring it back to the point.

 

Over the course of the last few years I have become aware of the range of “philosophies” and personalities that exists on the right wing.  I do not have an exhaustive knowledge of all the players, nor do I want or need to.  I think it would be fair to say these personalities run the gamut from extremely sober to raving lunatic.  And over the course of the last few years this has given me reason to pause and consider how or if I fit in with this spectrum of individuals.  Surprisingly, I have learned that not all the serious individuals are right and not all of the nuts are wrong.  Now, that doesn’t make it easy to commune with the lunatics.  In fact, most of the time you probably shouldn’t.  Lunatics tend to the mercurial and don’t always play well with others.  But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hear what they are saying.  And by the same token, the sober guys may be charming and polite individuals but listening to them may be counter-productive.  Especially if they are extremely clever.  Sophistry can be highly entertaining and unfortunately also highly deceptive.  To my mind that is kind of how we got where we are now.  Cheerleaders for supposedly conservative ideas convinced a lot of people that the Bushes and John McCain and Mitt Romney knew what the word conservative means.  That was sophistry.

 

So, the people you agree with logically aren’t the same as the people you enjoy listening to.  What that means is that you tend to have to compartmentalize your relationships.  Some people you can discuss your political beliefs with easily and other people you can’t.  Some people are fun to discuss zombie movies with and others only want to discuss the actual apocalypse.  It’s not the most comfortable arrangement imaginable.  It’s sometimes annoying.  And it’s the way things are going to be for the foreseeable future.  Trying to avoid this reality will lead to trouble.  For example, suppose you have a good friend who likes the same sports you do.  The two of you can go to a ball game anytime and sit up in the stands and talk all day about Joe Dokes’ batting average or who the best relief pitcher is.  It’s great.  But if you try discussing politics with him you’ll end up in a shouting match and probably won’t want to get together for months.  Very not great.  And alternatively, you might know someone either in real life or on the web who you agree with politically almost completely.  The two of you can discuss politics and even cooperate on political action and other projects.  A mutually beneficial relationship.  But otherwise you have nothing in common.  You like country music he’s a gangsta rap enthusiast.  You like science fiction he reads books on playing golf.  Absolutely no common ground.  What about these two scenarios?

What about them?  There’s nothing wrong with either one.  They reflect the reality of the world around us.  You accept that division.

 

Now, of course, the best case scenario is when both spheres align.  Now you can talk about baseball and the revolution at the same time.  Better still, you can start a fantasy baseball league for right wingers!  And for something like baseball or hockey or NASCAR you might do quite well lining up people who fit both sides of the equation.  No problem!

 

But what if your interest is photography or science fiction?  Now it’s not so easy.  If you happen to be a photographer and also happen to not be a left winger you’re probably aware that the majority of photographers both professional and amateur skew pretty hard left.  As with a lot of the “creative” professions these people seem to be steeped in a bohemian, urban culture that is extremely hostile to right-wing values and individuals.  When I first got interested in photography I experienced this hostility over and over at a number of photography websites.  It was both on a subliminal level and also on a purposeful, even confrontational basis.  Whenever anything in the news offended the denizens of these sites it inevitably was dragged through the forum pages in the most strident and challenging terms.  Basically, it was a public challenge to deny the libel being foisted.  And interestingly if you succeeded in presenting a logical argument that was too convincing, the powers that be on the site were very likely to step in and either erase your posts (or force you to erase them) or ban you from the site altogether.  To say this was a sorry state of affairs would be an understatement.  The only way to coexist (what a loaded word) in such an environment would be to keep your mouth shut and ignore these virtue-signaling spasms.  You can only imagine how much fun that would be.  But there was no other way.  Eventually I found one website that had a policy that I found commendable.  They specifically forbade divisive discussions that involved non-photographic topics.  So, no political, racial, religious or ethnic discussions were allowed to drift into an argument.  It could be a little restrictive but it totally avoided the type of nonsense I was discussing above.  Interestingly, I could still tell which individuals would be the worst offenders if it was allowed.  They were always the ones being censured by the moderators.  And it never was anyone on the right being stopped.  Always rabid leftists.  You could tell they thought it was highly unfair that they were not allowed to lecture us all on the topic of the day.  I have to confess I took a good deal of delight in posting complaints against the worst offenders whenever I could.  But it was still only a grudging allowance of what was obviously a despised minority opinion.  I believe the site owner was a right-wing guy who found that, to avoid alienating the lefties, the best he could do was try to avoid all flash points.  He knew that the demographics were against him and he settled for this uneasy truce.  I still have great respect for the way he maintained that arrangement.  It was the best environment that existed for right-wing photographers that I ever found.

Another of my interests is (or was and now is again) science fiction and fantasy stories.  Growing up in the nineteen sixties and seventies I can remember finding all the classic books by the Golden Age authors and just eating that stuff up.  And there was all kinds of range to the quality of the stories.  Some were great and some were pretty bad.  And even as a kid I knew that.  And yet, I could still enjoy even the bad ones because at least they were of a kind.  They involved science and adventure and space flight and alien creatures and time travel and inter-dimensional mumbo-jumbo and especially cover art involving scantily clad green-skinned women.  Who could ask for anything more?  But as time passed and it moved into the late seventies something started to change.  Fantasy books weren’t about orcs and dwarves.  They were about nature spirits fighting back against modern western civilization to protect Mother Gaia.  And science fiction wasn’t about humans exploring the galaxy but sexually confused individuals exploring their various orifices.  And along with all these “improvements” was the overarching message that the most important problem that science fiction and fantasy needed to solve was how can we make books that no straight white men would want to read?

And I’ll be the first to admit they succeeded with a vengeance.  For a few years I still picked up new books and gave them a try.  But without a doubt something bad had happened.  It was like all the nit-wits who had made the sixties into a stinking hippie nightmare went off and got MFA’s and started writing sf&f.  And worse still they had taken over the publishing houses and the awards ceremonies and only allowed their own kind of stories to make it to the bookstore shelves.  Well, eventually I stopped trying and gave up on the genres.  I figured it was me.  I was no longer a child and I had to put away childish things.  But a few years ago, I read about the Sad Puppies.  I think the link was at PJ Media.  After reading about the Hugo Awards and the way nominations were only handed out to those who fit the club and wrote only right-think it all clicked.  I read all I could about the Puppies and started picking up some of their books.  And they were good!  Of course, not everything was great.  Some was just okay.  But all of it was recognizable as sf&f.  And there was a community of people who believed in writing stories and not social justice agit-prop.  And they had websites where like-minded individuals could talk and discuss writing and stuff they liked without having to get approval from the better sort.  And I heard them talk about what it used to be like before the Puppy movement, how everyone had to kowtow to the better sort and if you wanted to get ahead you had to like the right sort of stories and hold the right kind of ideas.  And how even if you went through this kabuki act you still had to wait your turn and if you had the wrong plumbing and skin tone chances were you wouldn’t ever get a shot at the brass ring.

But what really sounded familiar was how everyone had to hate the same things.  There was an orthodoxy and if you didn’t hate George Bush and the military and straight white men, then you were cast out.  And that I recognized.  It was the same group-think I had seen on the photography sites.  These were the same people.  The Artists.

And it got me thinking.  If the Puppies could do it for sf&f why couldn’t I make a photography site where right-wing opinion wasn’t something you had to hide.  Now I wasn’t looking for some kind of gated community where only right-wing right think was allowed.  But a place where I wouldn’t have to hear a two minute hate every time Donald Trump’s name was in the news.

So that’s kind of my whole reason for making this site in a nutshell ( a very long 1900 word nutshell).  I wanted this site to allow me to discuss right-wing issues both seriously and with a little humor.  That’s for all those folks who agree with me politically but don’t speak my language on hobbies.

And for those who happen to also have an interest in either sf&f or photography it’s a place where I could talk about those things.  And other general things like tv and movies and other culture topics with like-minded people.  So, if any of those things interest you stop by and have a look and leave a comment.

And finally after the revolution when I am elevated to the highest circles of the new order, hopefully in the movie version of my life story I’ll be played by Ryan Reynolds and Morena Baccarin will play Camera Girl.  And they really should include “Angel in the Morning” in the soundtrack but absolutely nothing by Wham!  They really suck.

See I told you I’d bring it all back in the end.

Trump vs Photog – Part 3 – WTF

 

Scene 1: West Wing of the White House, Monday at 7 a.m.

President Trump (PT) – Bannon. Bannon!  Where the hell are you Steve?

Vice President Pence (VPP) – Mr. President, please stop shouting.  You fired Steve Bannon a few weeks ago.

PT – I did?  What the hell was I drinking?

VPP – I believe you were cold sober sir.

PT – This is awful.  I’m negotiating tax and policy priorities with Cryin’ Chuck Schumer and Crypt Keeper Pelosi.  And I don’t have anyone with the cajones to warn me when I’m being played.

VPP – Well, Mr. President I’ve always tried to give you good advice on policy.

PT – Nothing personal Mike, but you’d bring a slingshot to a gunfight and I need someone who’d tell me to bring an RPG.

VPP – Well I don’t think Steve is in the mood to help right now.

PT – Then get me someone who is outside the Washington circle.  I need a man of the deplorables.

VPP – Are you looking for the lunatic fringe?

PT – No, someone without the tattoos and MRE stockpile.  Or at least with a minimum of either.

VPP – Well how about that guy with the blog.  What was it camera guy at Big Dipper something?

PT – You talking about photog at orionscoldfire.com?

VPP – Yeah, that guy.

PT – I threw him out last time.  He always ends up pissing me off.  But you know, his advice is usually pretty good.  And he was from Brooklyn in the day.  Alright get him down here.  And hurry, Schumer is trying to get me to put in transgender bathrooms in the West Wing.

 

Scene 2 :  West Wing, outside the Oval Office  Tuesday 10 a.m., photog is knocking tentatively on the door, while a marine eyes him suspiciously

PT – Come in photog, and close the door behind you.

Photog (PHT) – Good morning Mr. President.

PT – Sit down and have a pastry.  I have them flown in from an Italian Bakery in Queens.  They’re the best.

PHT – Thank you sir but I’m not hungry.

PT – Don’t be such a stiff.  You’re an Italian.  You know nothing important gets decided unless bread is broken.  Have a sfogliatella.

PHT – Sure, thanks.

PT – And have some coffee.  It’s the best in the world.  I have it cold brewed fresh every day.

PHT – Thanks I will.

PT – Alright, now that I’ve put you at ease, I need you to give me some information and maybe advice.

PHT – What do you want to know?

PT – What are the real people thinking?

PHT – Mr. President, they’re confused and worried.  They’re seeing how useless the republicans in Congress are and they don’t know if you can make them do the right thing.  Ryan and McConnell are either useless or working against you.  McCain is actively siding with the Democrats and you’re mending fences with Chuck and Nancy.  Plus the White House seems to be pushing for amnesty for illegal aliens and now you even seem to be reneging on the Paris Accord decision.  A lot of people think you’ve lost your nerve or are being blackmailed by Mueller.

PT – What about you?  Is that what you think?

PHT – I was willing to wait until you actually committed on some of these things.  But it does seem like things are getting a bit confusing.

PT – Boy, I gotta say.  You people are a bunch of rabbits.  You can’t win a negotiation if you don’t even get the other side to come to the table.  Don’t you think I know how the optics look when you’re courting the victim, I mean partner?  You’ve got to speak their language a little to loosen things up.  It’s not like I’m gonna let Cryin’ Chuck get what he wants.  I just want him to think he got the best deal he could.

PHT – Well, I sure hope you’re right. I’d hate to go into the mid-terms without the country feeling like you can get the country moving in the right direction on immigration.  After all you said there was gonna be a wall and so far there isn’t.

PT – Look I’m working all the angles and I’ll have a policy in place that will satisfy the anti-immigration agenda.  But it’s going to take time.  What I need to know is what can I do short-term to keep the natives from getting restless?

PHT – I’d say the best thing you can do is stomp on all of George Soros’s zombies.  Go after Antifa and BLM and Sanctuary Cities with everything you’ve got.  Make’em squeal and get their leaders in jail where they belong.

PT – That’s pretty strong medicine.  It’s gonna be tough to get the FBI and the DOJ to work with me on that.

PHT – Well. You asked me what would get you some street cred with your voters.  That’s what it’ll take.

PT – You know it’s funny.  You never have any good news for me.  Only lousy jobs to do.  Why is that.

PHT – Because you say you want to be the greatest president.  That means you have to save the United States from the cancer that’s been allowed to metastasize throughout the country for a century.  Chemotherapy isn’t fun and no one smiles at the doctor when he starts the infusion.

PT – Man, are you grim.  Look, thanks for the information.  But do me a favor.  Before you come back here next time, make sure you’re on your meds.  Your brand of industrial strength pessimism is too much for even my self-confidence.

PHT – Well Mr. President, you know, “a prophet is not without honor, save in his own country.”

PT – Okay, Nostradamus, you’re done.  Don’t let the Oval Office door hit you in the butt on the way out.  And don’t call us, we’ll call you, maybe.

PHT – Goodbye Mr. President.

The Fugitives – Apologies to David Janssen, Harrison Ford and Quinn-Martin Productions

Quail Fail – A Cautionary Tale

 

No this has nothing to do with Dr. Richard Kimble, The One-Armed Man or Tommy Lee Jones’ famous dragnet speech.  Although I did paraphrase it when I gave Camera Girl instructions during our manhunt (er… quail-hunt).  “Now listen up, Camera Girl, our fugitives have been on the run for a month. Average foot speed over uneven ground, barring injuries, is 4 miles-an-hour. That gives us a radius of 3,000 miles. What I want out of you is a hard-target search of every henhouse, outhouse and doghouse in that area.  Your fugitive’s name is anonymous semi-domesticated quail.  Go get them.”  She shook her head derisively and went back to her mystery novel.  So, I was on my own.

Two years ago, I received a game camera as a present.  I decided to set it up near where the feeder/lure station is located.  I left it for a week.  When I recovered it, I had some very exciting shots of me on my riding lawnmower.  There were also a couple of clear night vision shots depicting some grass moving right underneath the camera location.  I’m guessing a field mouse.

Things were looking pretty bleak for the quail project.  No sightings for a week or two.  And only that stupid lure to provide any quail related phenomena.  But then on Wednesday afternoon during a walk around the property with Camera Girl we both heard it.  The unmistakable annoying call of the bob white quail.  It was on the other side of the property close to a small pond that we heard it.  I tend to avoid that area because it’s quite swampy around the pond.  A grown man can sink up to his knees in mud pretty easily.  But I have decided to set out the camera somewhere near the pond and see what shows up.  I’ve captured shots of deer, coyotes, turkey and fishers (or fisher cats as they are called locally) in that area but with any luck I’ll photograph the fugitive quail gang.

In retrospect, I feel that releasing the quail without first acclimating and imprinting them on my property was a mistake.  Next year when (or if) I try again I’ll set up a quail house in the back field and allow them to become established and used to finding food there before giving them some freedom.  But even though releasing them wasn’t optimal, it has given me a chance to see if quail can fend for themselves around my area.  If this group survives the winter even marginally that will make it much more likely that a long-term presence is not an unreasonable expectation.  Plus, they are kind of interesting looking little buggers.  I’m really hoping I’ll have the chance to see them foraging on their own in the area.  And sure, I’ll even enjoy hearing their pathetic wimpy call.

Every henhouse, outhouse and doghouse…  Boy that was a fun speech.  Too bad Tommy Lee Jones was a friend of Al Gore.  That really kind of ruins it.

An enjoyable article over at American Greatness – She’s Had Her CloseUp , We’ve Had Enough- by Julie Kelly

Here’s a link to an article I enjoyed.  https://amgreatness.com/2017/09/15/shes-close-weve-enough/

It starts out “If the nation weren’t already in a foul political mood, it would still be a special kind of hell to have to suffer through the Bitter Betty Book Tour.”  That got a chuckle out of me so I read on.  Kicking Hillary when she’s down is always fun so enjoy!

Trump vs The Time Hag – Episode 6 – Finale

Trump vs The Time Hag – Episode 5 – Trump Martel

 

Scene 1- May 1787

Philadelphia, PA

George Trumpington (GT) – Take that, Time Hag and that and that!  I, George Trumpington will not allow you to exclude the Second Amendment from the Constitution.  I hereby transfer you to the Salem Massachusetts jurisdiction where you can be summarily burned as the witch you are.

Time Hag (TH) – But they haven’t burned witches in a hundred years.  This isn’t the dark ages.  It’s 1787.

PT – For you they’ll make an exception.  Take her away.

Scene 2 – Present day 4:30 a.m. -White House – Presidential Bedroom

President Trump (PT) – (writhing agitatedly and mumbling angrily) – Take that, Time Hag and that and that!

Melania Trump (MT) (shaking the president to wake him) – Schmoopy, wake up, wake up!  You are having the night horse!

PT – Where am I?  Where is Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson?  And Dolly Madison?  She was actually kind of hot.

MT – You were having the bad dream and you kept the yelling something about the time.

PT – Could it have been all a dream?  Did I not travel back in time to Ancient Greece and Rome and saved the world from Hillary Clinton?

MT – Schmoopy, if you say these things out loud I will have you impeached myself.

PT – But it was so real.  And I was so great.

MT – Yes, yes. Of course, you were, but there are bigger problems.  The republicans in Congress are bad men and they want to make you look bad.  They will only do nothing.

PT – Nothing new there.

MT – But the people are growing angry. Something must be done.

PT – You’re right Schmoopy.  I must end this nightmare once and for all.  Now let’s get back to sleep.  Time travelling is exhausting.

MT – Oh Heaven help us.

Scene 3

Broadcast TV – 6 p.m.

Announcer (who sounds disturbingly like Don Pardo) – We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a message from the President of the United States.

PT – Good evening my fellow Americans, sorry to disturb your reality TV binge watching but put down your bong and try to concentrate and understand.  This is kind of life and death.  The idiots in the congressional republican majority have joined the criminals in the democratic congressional minority in doing absolutely nothing to help me save this country.  And the FBI, CIA and the other bureaucrats are conspiring with the Fake News Media to stall our efforts to do the people’s work.  Therefore, I have no choice but to appoint a special counsel to investigate the malfeasance of all these groups and use the law to break this logjam of losers.  I am appointing Sheriff Joe as special counsel with authority to subpoena and request grand jury indictments for anyone who is proven to be working against the legally elected President of the United States (that’s me).  So thank you for trying to listen and understand through the haze of reefer madness you cultivate.  So go back to watching your namesakes on the Walking Dead and I’ll get back to doing something useful for you.  Trump out.

The Pod People Strike Back

Google is in the news.  They are demonetizing and de-platforming the haters.  And who are the haters?  Whoever they say they are.  And so is PayPal and Patreon and GoFundMe and on a less important front so is Facebook, Twitter and all the other leftists who are still smarting over Trump’s win.  If you make money from monetizing your website through Google advertising then this can be a big deal.  If you have a YouTube channel you could find a stream of income that you’ve depended on shut off.  And it’s not something you can appeal.  If they shut you down, that’s it.

I’ve been reading on a few sites that alternative sources for monetizing and funding are coming into being.  For instance a payment site to replace Patreon ( amusingly named Hatreon) now exists.  Stripe and Square perform similarly to PayPal but haven’t been banning rightwingers (yet).  WeSearchr and Counter.Fund also provide crowdsourcing to the right.  Gab provides a Twitter alternative.

So, problem solved?  Probably not.  Google is a behemoth of a company that controls the lion’s share of internet advertising.  They also dominate the search business.  And this is the way to control what gets seen and what doesn’t.  If they think your site is guilty of thoughtcrime all they have to do is make it invisible and it will dry up and wither away.  That is a big problem.  There are other search engines like Brave and DuckDuckGo and, and, and …  But most people google things they’re looking for.  What’s a deplorable to do?

Well, mostly wait.  We should start using all the alternatives because we need to make a start.  But don’t fool yourself into thinking you can move a mountain with a teaspoon overnight.  There’s no magic bullet for 100 years of ignoring the problem.  These institutions are entrenched and they don’t like you and they want you to go away (meaning drop dead).

One thing we can and should do is network.  Find like-minded folks and communicate and support each other.  If they sell stuff, look at it.  If it’s as good or even almost as good as stuff from the pod people buy it instead.  And when you do buy from them let them know why.  And if you have stuff for them to buy let them know and maybe they will.  Support these alternative institutions and spread the word.  Put links on your site if you find something good.

And it’s not all gloom and doom.  Look at the Dragon Awards.  Only two years running and already it is a fantastic alternative to voting in the fully converged Hugo Awards.  I used to waste money voting in that thing.  And that money was then spent on feeding SJWs at the WorldCon.  Instead I can vote in the Dragon Awards for free and have a much greater impact.  And that is a direct result of the puppies (sad and rabid) standing up to the pod people and saying we don’t believe you and we’ll go our own way.

So, there are cracks in the wall.  And if you apply pressure at these weak points damage can be done.  And don’t forget, Trump isn’t a friend of Silicon Valley.  They don’t like him and he doesn’t like them.  If he sics the anti-trust dogs on them Google will grovel pretty quickly.  It will be interesting to see if the investigation into search algorithm tampering is resurrected.

So be of good cheer and go out and deplore with a smile on your face and a song in your heart.  Somewhere out there in the bowels of Google the pod people are beginning to fear you.

End of Summer Blues – Postscript

http://orionscoldfire.com/index.php/2017/09/02/end-of-summer-blues/

I was reading through some blogs this morning and found a differing opinion on the end of summer on the TheZman’s site http://thezman.com/wordpress/?p=11398#respond  . Well, to each his own but I will add that it’s easy to say you like snow and cold when you live in Baltimore.  Of course, it makes sense to say that you don’t like hot weather when it’s as sticky as it is down there in August.  Nuff said.