It is random Friday

A Friday Haiku

Friday Friday Yay!

Friday Friday Friday Yay!

Friday Friday Yay!

Weigh-In Friday

Damn you, Easter candy! Damn you, Cadbury mini eggs! Why must you be so tempting and delicious?

The only consoling fact is, now you’re gone for another year and there is nothing else out there that is an adequate substitute.

Hey hey you you get offa my floor

There’s this guy from a different floor, from a completely different division, who literally has no reason to be on our floor, yet he comes up every day to use our restroom.

And every single time he leaves it smelling like the sewer backed up.

Which, unless I miss my guess, is probably why he does it. He has most likely been banished from his own floor’s restroom.

I’ve been seriously contemplating buying several cans of Febreeze and attacking the room with double-barrel action like that commercial, it’s that bad.

Maybe if I do it every time he’s in there, he’ll find another floor to terrorize.

What a maroon

Can anyone believe what a moron the orange turd is? In his attacks of Amazon (because Amazon is owned by Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post, which is critical of the orange turd), Trumpy the Clown has shown that he has no idea how the United States Post Office works. He thinks Amazon uses the Post Office as their personal delivery boy.

Well, first, that is their job. They are America’s delivery boy.

Second, Amazon pays them for the service (just like the rest of us do), they don’t get packages delivered for free (ever hear of postage stamps, Donnie?). In that way, Amazon is actually supporting the Post Office.

Third, Trumpy the Clown hates Jeff Bezos because, as I said, he owns the Washington Post, which is critical of Donnie. In other words, it tells the truth about what a lying, crooked piece of orange shit Trumpy is. But more than that, Trumpy is jealous of Bezos’ success because Bezos was named the richest man in the world sometime in 2017 while Trumpy is always declaring bankruptcy, ruining businesses, and destroying lives.

The second ignorant thing Trumpy the Clown said was when he admitted he had no idea what a Community College was. Seriously? Out of touch much?

And lastly, Trumpy tweeted this:

showing that he has no clue how our economy works, or how the commodities market functions.

You just signed the fucking bill yesterday, you dope!

Can he become more ignorant?

The answer is: Yes, daily.

He’s also a lying by omission. Yes, aluminum decreased 4%, but that’s after they skyricketed in March after he first announced the tariff.

Last Word

As you can tell by my haiku, I’m pleased as punch that it’s Friday. It’s been a long week, but we made it to the weekend.

And as always, I leave you with a song:

Keep resisting.

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What do you do

Most of you read that headline and immediately thought, “I’m an accountant.” “A fireman.” “A secretary.” Or, “I work on an assembly line.” “I’m a postal worker.” and so on.

Most Americans, for whatever reason identify with, and get their self-worth from, the job they do.

And for many, when they lose that job, they lose who they are. They sink into depression and feel like they’re less than human, half a man (or woman).

Why do we associate who we are with the job we do? Why do we place so much of our personal value upon such a transitory, ephemeral thing as employment?

I’m not saying having a job isn’t important. It is. We need to have an income to pay our bills, feed and clothe our family.

But it shouldn’t identify us.

Especially when it can be ripped away so easily leaving us feeling vulnerable and naked.

When answering the question, “What do you do?” we should think of the real things that make us who we are, the things we do that make us happy, make us feel alive. The things we’re passionate about.

So instead of what do you do, how about we ask each other, “What excites you?” What energizes you?

Do you enjoy reading? You’re a reader. Be proud. Talk about your favorite book, your favorite author. When asked, “What do you do,” reply, “I’m a voracious reader. I’ve finished 10 books this month. My favorite was Such and Such because this happened and the writer hit me right in the feels.”

Any hobby is what you do. Do you do Knitting? Crochet? Painting? Craft-making? Baking? Are you learning a musical instrument?

I’m learning the trombone. It’s what I do.

I also write fiction. Not enough to make a living at, but it makes me feel alive to create new worlds, to put my characters through hell and bring them back.

I also run. So I’m a runner.

Ask me what do I do and you’ll get those answers and I’ll also tell you I collect comic books from the Silver Age. I enjoy collecting and listening to vinyl records.

In fact, I probably have far too many things I do and I could discuss each at length if I wanted to.

The one thing I’ll never answer to the question, “What do you do” is my job.

I mean sure, I used to be a documentation specialist and a technical writer. Then came the Great Recession and I became unemployed.

But none of that defined the real me. Your job is just a means to earning a paycheck so you can continue to do the things you really enjoy, the things that matter, the things that make you happy.

And because of that attitide I didn’t lose who I was when I lost my job. I didn’t feel I’d been cut adrift, that I no longer had an identify, or I had lost my self-respect.

Did I worry about where our next meal was coming from? Did I worry about losing the house? Hell yeah.

But that’s different. Those worries are always there, even with having a job. Money worries are different from feeling you lost yourself when you lost your job.

I heard someone say they have no hobbies. I bet you do. Do you do crossword puzzles? You’re building your vocabulary. Do you do those adult coloring books? That’s a relaxation technique; you’re fighting stress. Do you follow a sports team? You’re a fan. Do you have a pet? You’re an animal caregiver. Do you watch daytime soap operas? That’s a great memory exercise keeping up with all those lives. Do you workout at a gym? Do you eat healthy? Are you vegan, paleo, or a paleoveganista? Are you liberal or a socialist?

You see, everyone has something that makes up who you are. Sometimes you just have to look harder for what that thing is.

So the next time someone says, “What do you do” don’t go for the knee-jerk response and tell them what your job is, tell them, really tell them, what you do. And say it with pride. “I’m a stamp collector! You know what my favorite stamp is?”

You’ll feel better and maybe it’ll open up a whole conversation of discovery.

“You do? I collect beer steins! I have this really interesting one from Germany, when you look through it while holding it up to the light, it has a picture in the bottom.”

So really, what do you do?

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There was a time

Back in the olden days, and I’m talking the distant past, like the ’60s and ’70s, there were these places, and they were everywhere, every street, every corner, in every town, city, and village, across this great land of ours, where people went when they needed something, anything really, and they’d go inside these places, find the thing they were looking for, hand real money to a real person, and take that thing home that very day!

I think they called them “stores.” There were specialty stores and then there were also department stores.

The specialty stores sold all sorts of merchandise, from music, to books, to musical instruments, to radios and stereos, and so on.

For example, at one time there were all sorts of stores that just sold musical instruments. One such store was called, “The Brass Bell,” and they had locations all over including within many of the malls (a mall was this giant complex filled with all manner of stores, honest).

If you were at the mall to buy a book, or a record, or a clothing item, and suddenly got a hankering for a trombone, well, there they were, all brassy and shiney, on display at the Brass Bell.

This was in a time before the Internet, before Amazon, or Wayfair, or Overstock, or eBay. Before you could order anything you wanted over your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

In fact, and here’s the really unique part, you could go into these stores and touch the items! Seriously. You could try it out IN PERSON before you bought it. Back then, when you walked out of the store with your purchase you knew it was exactly what you wanted, that it fit you exactly, that it worked exactly the way you expected, that it smelled or tasted exactly how it was supposed to.

You didn’t have to wait for your item to ship, it was in your hands already. And there were no surprises back then.

Sure, you often had to drive around town stopping at different stores until you found the item that you wanted, but you knew right then and there as you plunked your money down that that goddamned item was exactly what you wanted.

There were no hastles of trying to return imperfectly fitting garments, or items of the wrong color, or that were damaged, or anything like that because you had in your hand as you walked out that door the exact thing you had been searching for.

I know, right? Crazy.

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Friday and the week in review

A Friday Haiku

Seventeen shot dead

In another school shooting

Thoughts, prayers, useless.

Another school shooting

You would think after Columbine, we’d have done something. Wasn’t that a horrific enough tragedy?

But no, nothing was done. And Sandy Hook, where innocent grade schoolers were killed. America was sick to it’s stomach by that one.

Still, nothing was done.

Now 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Members of Congress shed their crocodile tears, send their thoughts and prayers, but do nothing while cashing their bribes from the National Rifle Association.

How many more children need to die before the parents and survivors finally rise up enmasse to confront the spineless members of Congress and demand action?

What will it take to wake up our government to the gun epidemic in this country?

It only took one mass school shooting in 1996 for Australia to do something.

Trump sent his thoughts and prayers, then dared to blame the school, the families, students, and law enforcement for doing nothing, knowing the shooter was mentally unstable.

Actually, you orange turd, they did do something. They notified the FBI, but because you rescinded the Obama-era initiative aimed at helping keep the guns out of the hands of the mentally unfit, the FBI couldn’t do anything and the shooter was free to legally purchase the weapon used to commit this heinous crime.

Blood is on trump’s hands, as well as the hands of every congressperson the NRA has bought and paid for.

In fact, trump is also to blame because he is such an intolerate, hatefilled asshole, his attitude has has given the green light to every bigot, racist, mysoginist, homophobe and the like that their type of behavior is now not only tolerated but encouraged. They are out there openly spewing their hate and invoking trump’s name.

The shooter, as it turns out, was a member of a white supremacist group and was trained by them.

He was a homegrown, trump-approved domestic terrorist.

But rest assured, the outrage over this new tragedy will soon pass, nothing even resembling gun reform will be proposed, and the NRA will keep sending out it’s blood money.

Then we all get to pretend we care when the next mass shooting happens.

And gunnuts everywhere get to caress and fondle their handguns and rifles secure in the knowledge that no one is ever going to take their murder machines away.

Weigh-In Friday

I gained a pound, although my phone app for our scale didn’t record it, so we’ll pretend the gain didn’t happen.

If anyone is looking for a poster boy for yoyo dieting… right here.

You did What?

I pulled a shoulder muscle while sleeping. Don’t ask me how, but I woke up Sunday morning with pain shooting through my shoulder blade.

It still throbs today. I’ve been using rubs and taking pain meds (something I rarely do), yet I can’t get comfortable trying to fall asleep and the pain wakes me up when I finally do.

I haven’t done any arm exercises because of it and even when running, because you swing your arms, it hurts.

I don’t know what I did but I wish it would heal already. It’s making me cranky and I suspect because I’ve been sleeping poorly, it is responsible for the weight gain.

The Winter Olympics

I’d be remiss if I didn’t throw a shout-out to all those great athletes from every country joining together in the spirit of athletic competition.

I believe the Olympics should be free of political distractions, so it angers me when pence and his wife refused to stand when the Korean delegation entered. That just made America look petty. His stupidity reflects on all of us internationally.

I guess when he protests by not standing, that’s all right, that’s different when black athletes don’t stand.

I’d also like to point out to everyone who kept reposting a pic of the North Korean leader’s sister throwing eye daggers at pence as if they all approved of it because pence, the fact is, her hate isn’t directed at pence the way ours is. She probably doesn’t even know pence from Adam. She’s glaring at what he represents: the United States of America.

She’s glaring through a lens of hate that has been indoctrinated into all North Koreans since birth that America is evil, the Great Satan, out to destroy their lives, their country, and their very way of life.

She doesn’t know a thing about his hateful beliefs, his prejudices, his anti-gay stance, his belief in conversion therapy, not any of that.

She’s just an evil product of an evil totalitarian regime glaring at her country’s enemy.

In fact, if she knew pence like we know him and how he is part of a great fascist movement bent on destroying the America we all know and love, she’d probably be high-fiving him instead of glaring.

Consider that the next time you feel imclined to share her glare.

And finally, I should point out that Chloe Kim, who won Gold in the Women’s Halfpipe, is the daughter of immigrant parents.

Last word

Go have a great weekend. Monday is President’s Day. Go buy some furniture on sale or whatever it is we’re supposed to do on President’s Day.

I leave you, as always, with a song.

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The simple truths found in fiction

I’m currently reading, Have Space Suit-Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein for the first time.

So far, it’s very entertaining and it makes me wonder why I haven’t read more Heinlein since I enjoyed Stranger in a Strange Land some decades ago.

The protagonist is a young man, Clifford “Kip” Russell, fresh out of high school, who wants to go to the moon. He works for the moment as a soda jerk in a pharmacy (the story was published in 1958 when pharmacies still had counters where customers could order fountain drinks and sometimes burgers and hot dogs, like a tiny diner).

He has a run-in with the town bully, Ace Quiggle, who verbally abuses Kip. Kip’s boss comes over and Ace leaves.

Heinlein writes:

The boss and I were alone shortly after. He said quietly, “Kip, a reverence for life does not require a man to respect Nature’s obvious mistakes.”

“Sir?”

“You need not serve Quiggle again. I don’t want his trade.”

“Oh, I don’t mind. He’s harmless.”

“I wonder how harmless such people are? To what extent civilization is retarded by the laughing jackasses, the empty-minded belittlers? [Emphasis mine.] Go home, you’ll want to make an early start tomorrow.”

As I read that, I was struck by how relevant that thought is today, some 60 years after it was first written.

I believe today we are seeing to what extent civilization has been retarded by those laughing jackasses and the empty-minded belittlers.

Those laughing jackasses and empty-minded belittlers have managed to elect one of their own, the biggest laughing jackass, the most empty-minded of all belittlers: trump.

Heinlein predicted the rise of the deplorables!

This is why I love fiction. Hidden within the action, the adventure, the exotic situations, while the characters are weaving their way seductively through the plot, the author sometimes inserts some very provocative philosophical points of view.

Ofttimes the message is covert and you need to do some analysis to find it, but sometimes it is overt and waves it’s little hand at you saying, “Here I am. Underline me and spend a little time thinking about what I have to say.”

Or am I the only one who reads with a pencil at hand, ready to underline any line that strikes my fancy?

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Yes America, there is a Santa Claus

In these dark times, with the constant assault upon our human dignity by the current fascist regime, as every day brings more bad news of them foisting their evil agenda upon us, when hope seems lost, I think now would be a good time for me to repost that most famous of all editorials, “Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus,” because we need to be reminded that this too shall pass and there is good in the world.

To me, this editorial speaks most eloquently about the magic of Santa and why we should believe, now, more than ever.

The following editorial was printed in the September 21, 1897 issue of the New York Sun. Though the editorial was unsigned, it is now accepted that it was written by Francis Pharcellus Church and is probably history’s most reprinted newspaper editorial.

DEAR EDITOR:
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.” Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

VIRGINIA O’HANLON.
115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET.

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, VIRGINIA, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, VIRGINIA, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

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Mightier than the sword

Have you ever heard of tactical pens?

I mean, were you even aware that tactical pens were a thing?

I only just became aware of it. As I’m becoming more interested in the burgeoning concept of Every Day Carry, which for most of us simply means we carry a wallet, a comb, a handkerchief, a pen, a notebook, and keys (and maybe two or three knives) while for others it means carrying personal defensive items, such as knives, heavy keychains for striking, tactical flashlights to blind or confuse an attacker, expandable batons, and the like.

Because of my interest in knives (mostly for utility use and the occassional curiosity piece), my Internet research has plunged me deep into the abyss that is survivalist paranoia, and that’s where I came upon the phrase “tactical pens,” and of course I was like, “What the fuck is that?”

After all, as a writer, I’m all about pens. The more, the merrier, in fact. One can never have too many pens. All my jacket pockets are full of pens — fountain pens, ball point pens, rollerball pens, pens with smartphone styluses, and even mechanical pencils — and of course notebooks upon which to apply said pens.

I have pens that twist to write, click to write, pull off the cap to write, move a ratchet on the side to write.

I have pens that were gifts, fancy pens, cheap pens, pens imprinted with business logos (given away as free advertising or which I just pocketed because that’s how I am).

But tactical pens? I didn’t even know what that meant.

So I Googled it and I learned that a tactical pen is basically a self-defense weapon. It can trace it’s roots back to the 1960s, when Sōke Takayuki Kubota, a Japanese-American who founded the Gosoku-ryu style of karate, invented the Kubotan, a keychain weapon about the size of a marker pen used to strike vulnerable areas of an attacker (for example, bony, fleshy and sensitive parts such as knuckles, forearms, the bridge of the nose, shins, temple, ribs, groin, neck, eyes, and so on).

The Kubotan is easy to conceal and when properly used, effective in warding off an attack.

The tactical pen, therefore, was influenced by the Kubotan. It is useful as a writing implement, but can be used as a weapon when a dangerous situation arises.

They are made of various materials, from hard durable plastic to metal, such as aluminium. Often the non-writing end comes to a hard point which can also double as a glass breaker if you are trapped in your car.

Let me state that in today’s society, you don’t have to be a paranoid survivalist to understand the need for situational awareness — to always be aware of your surroundings. But that doesn’t mean you have to live every moment in fear (like those gun-toting types), only that you are prepared for any eventuality. Crackpots are everywhere and even a quiet walk in the park can turn into a life-or-death struggle.

Your first response to any attack should be flight. Put as much distance between yourself and the attacker as possible.

Also make a lot of noise to attract anyone’s attention and possibly scare off the attacker.

Fighting shoukd be a last resort, but in the event you do need to fight, having a tactical pen handy could be the difference maker.

Sure, would a gun, knife, mace, or a collapsible baton, or even a sword be a better choice? Of course, except there are many places and situations which preclude carrying any of those items. (Not to mention many people don’t even like those things.)

Therefore, a pen might be all you have on you and, if that’s the case, wouldn’t you want to have a pen that won’t shatter or break when you need it the most?

Think about it. As writers, we always have a pen with us. Always. We jot down ideas, make notes, plot, and so on. Doesn’t it make sense to have a pen that can also kick ass?

Here’s a video demonstrating using a tactical pen:

And here is a woman’s self-defense video using a Kubotan, but a tactical pen will work just as well (I like this one because she beats the crap out of the instructor):

If you’d like more information on purchasing your own tactical pen, follow this link to a Guide to Tactical Pens courtesy of Blade HQ, to help you get started.

I saw that Schrade made a tactical fountain pen and I was all over that until I discovered it is unavailable, out of stock, and possibly never to be seen again. *sad face*

One thing I read is that the ballpoint pen ink cartridge used in the Smith and Wesson ballpoint pens (as well as Schrade) is less than desirable for writing, which sucks because a pen that can’t write is just a stick. AmIrite?

Many users it seems, however, found the ink cartridge for the Fisher Space Pen is a good replacement, which means you’d not only have a kick ass life-saving pen, but in a pinch you can write with it upside down in zero gravity while underwater!

How cool is that?

Just be careful taking one on a plane. Those anal bastards at TSA consider them weapons! How absurd.

 

I hope you enjoyed this little primer about tactical pens. I’m off to search eBay for a fountain pen.

kubaton strike areas
Don’t forget: These strike points work on Nazis as well

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