Thursday, April 30, 2020

All caught up in a landslide.

 Man, what in the hell is going on in Michigan? Don't they know these "protests" were AstroTurf by not just conservative groups, but conservative groups tied to Erik Price and Betsy DeVos? Is it just an excuse to cosplay armed loonies or what?

 Before we get started, I want to emphasize one thing because ammosexuals are the most delicate little flowers on the planet and cannot handle anything uncomplimentary said about their precious shooty-bang penis extensions. You may not believe it, but I don't care enough about your opinion to argue it.

 I don't have a problem with gun ownership. I don't have a problem with any reasoning one uses for owning a gun. You hunt? Fine, that's where my guns came from. You want to protect yourself and/or your family in this mean old world? Fair enough, it is a booger out there. You're defending freedoms from a government that's always just far from going full tyranny? Sure, pal, whatever you have to tell yourself. You just like guns and the noises they make? There are worse obsessions.

 That being said, I don't give a shit why you have guns, how many you have or what you do with them. I'd say all I care about is you making sure you store them properly and operate them wisely, but as long as you stay away from me, I don't really care. If I'm so inclined, I will make fun of you because I don't have any special respect for you and you will just have to suck it up, buttercup.

 I don't particularly care for people who decide they can't go to the grocery store without being loaded for bear, open or closed carry, but that's the world we live in. It's like knowing industrial companies will poison the environment for profit or that powerful men will use their weight to coerce sex out of subordinates. It's part of society and all we can do is legislation. Why we don't, I don't know.

 Frankly, gun worshipers, you pissed away your benefit of the doubt. The El Paso shooter, the Vegas shooter, the Sandy Hook shooter, all of them were behaving legally until they first pulled the trigger. And your reaction every time has been "don't take away my guns". Fair enough, that's what you care about. I'm just not obliged to respect you or act like you're anything but a joke. Deal with it and cry more. As the man said, you make no like it but you have to learn to love it. Besides, you're the one who's heavily armed, what are you crying for?

 Now that we've established that, I don't care about gun owners owning guns. The Second Amendment as interpreted by D.C. v Heller, I may not agree with it but it is the law of the land. Should there be more stringent gun control legislation? Man, we are way past the point of that in this country. When 20 preschoolers were gunned down by a guy mad at his mom and we had "serious political commentators" arguing that it was a "false flag" operation, that argument was done, son.

 I just don't understand why y'all get so butthurt about people thinking you bringing a high-powered instrument capable of dealing death on a large scale is a bit unhinged. If you're protesting the state's lockdown policies during this epidemic, why do you need to be heavily armed and wearing combat gear? And why do you get so pissy when someone suggests you're trying to intimidate your political opponents when there's no other reason to be so heavily armed for this fake protest designed mainly so rich folks can make even more money?

 You have the guns. Nut up, man. Quit your crying and convince me you're not a flea-brained dingbat. Or just deal with the fact that I'm going to point and laugh at you. Okay, well, enough of that. There are times when living far out in the boonies and fairly well set up so that I don't have to deal with the rest of this sick, twisted, pitiful, depressing culture. Glad I don't have kids, glad I don't have to interact with people to make my bread and salt, glad I'm not tied to anyone that would cause me to give more of a shit than I do.

 Yeah, I'm in a bad mood today. Sorry. Tried a new CPAP mask but still didn't sleep for shit. The weather's gorgeous, though, so me and my buddy Otis, the Jack Russell, had a pleasant constitutional. I've hit my groove with the XCOM games and have been thoroughly enjoying stomping a mudhole in it. I also just finished an enjoyable Weird Western called Skin Medicine by Tim Curran, which combined mountain folk magic with Lovecraft that worked very well.

 Anyhow. That's the night. Let's see what tomorrow brings. Keep the faith.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

It's easy pickins, ain't nobody here but us chickens.

 Otis threw up again. This is Momma's first experience with an inside dog in over 40 years, so it's difficult to get her to understand that if he eats cat poop just before he eats assigned food, bad things may happen. It is a journey, however, and not a destination.

 Got a programming note before we get too into it. I have some Actual Paying Work due Thursday morning. How this will affect the News or even this Gibberish, I don't know yet. I may skip a day or I may swap Wednesday out for Thursday. Or since this Actual Paying News is supposed to be a COVID-19 update, I may just re-purpose it. We'll see.

 Whichever it is, I'm going to try to make sure it's the one with the least amount of labor required. Since getting XCOM: Chimera Squad I've had turn-based strategy games on the brain. The previous XCOM's, Hard West, Rebel Cops, Phantom Doctrine, Invisible Inc., Distrust, and the Desperadoes series. I couldn't tell you what I find so attractive about them. Maybe it's how the game plays out after you make your choices. You're going to get from Point A to Point B, but the path always changes thanks to the Random Number Generator.

 I don't quite get the appeal of speed runs, or more specifically, playing one game to the point you can do a fair-to-middlin' speed run. Once I beat a game I'm done, especially if it's more linear than wide-open. That goes back to the Nintendo days. I don't get the appeal of Let's Plays, either, so it's probably not for me and that's okay.

 Moving on, I had sort of an interesting experience in what I can only call marketing. The Pentagon released videos yesterday of actual flying objects they couldn't identify or, more officially "unidentified aerial phenomena". I wrote about it, how although it was indeed a thing, it wasn't anything close to an admission of aliens from the deepest space coming by for a visit. Furthermore, the videos have been acknowledged as legit since 2017 and had been released to a private agency in 2018. The Pentagon just released them yesterday, probably trying to get the "truth is out there" ding dongs to settle down.

 All over Twitter, people are cracking that 2020 is so screwy the government owned up to UFO's and no one blinked. Well, I'd respond, I blinked and gave a link to my News. Then I went to bed and didn't think more about it. I woke up to over 30 hits and currently am sitting on 67. No comments, positive or negative. I don't know what I'm supposed to learn from all that, but I'm sure there's something there. I do wish I couldn't figure out a way to promote what I do - third-rate Will Rogers shtick that it is - and feel comfortable about it, but hey ho.

 If nothing else, I didn't get an earful "you're so arrogant if you don't believe in aliens" booshwah I usually get when I express the least bit of skepticism about aliens visiting Earth. To put it in a nutshell, I'm sure the infinite universe is teeming with life and I'm sure that given the space given for lightning to strike twice there is something we would recognize as "sentient life". And since we're just now coming to term with the sentience, even rudimentary, of cetaceans, cephalopods, canines, felines, other primates, and not a few birds, I wouldn't be surprised is there'd be more than a few that we wouldn't recognize as sentient. At least at first, anyway.

 I've just not seen any conclusive evidence they've been here or anywhere close to us. The distances are just too great and the physics are just too restrictive best I can tell. If we ever move out into space - and I'm not sold we ever will - I doubt we'll ever get past the gas giants if we get that far. Inexplicable actions by people lost to time, like the Nazca lines, may remain inexplicable since they didn't leave notes. Doesn't mean they were pretty pictures for aliens. I've long joked that the WOW! Signal was Elvis being called home, but when it was recently concluded by them that study this sort of thing that it was little more than space static, I wasn't too disappointed.

 People have a lot invested in the idea that "the truth is out there," when the truth isn't quite what they think it is. Being a skeptic doesn't mean one dismisses the possible nor does having an open, inquisitive mind means you swallow every goofy stroke that comes along. It's like ghosts, people are more upset than anything that you doubt them when it doesn't have anything to do with them, and shouldn't.

 For the record, I don't believe in ghosts. I've done way too many hallucinogenics to accept that human senses are that infallible. Seriously, take a heroic dose of LSD and you'll spend all night talking to dead country singers. Trust me, I know.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

This won't take too long.

 I just want to get something off my chest and I can't find the proper medium to do it with, really, so this will have to do. It's going to go a little dark, probably, so fair warning.

 We've topped 52,000 deaths due to the coronavirus novel and COVID-19. It's affecting old and young. I've seen more than one story about how someone's sibling died in the 1918 Influenza epidemic for them to die because of COVID-19. The four-month-old daughter of a first responder in New York died of it the other day, and undoubtedly he brought it home. There's been reports of people in their 20s hospitalized with it on the way to recovery to suddenly die of stroke even though they had no prior flags.

 We still don't have a handle on what it is, where it came from, how it spreads, how it affects different people in different ways, how to heal it, how to deal with it or, really, much of anything about it. We were caught flat footed with this. Worldwide, but particularly in the U.S., a country that brags about being the wealthiest and most advanced, it's embarrassing how easily this caused us to stumble around.

 Sure, part of it is the complete moron we have in the White House, the flaws in government that allows the people to put such a dipstick in total charge, the character failings of a voting populace that thinks letting Donald Trump possibly win another term as president, and a media that's more interested in maintaining the Status Quo and lets all this shit happens. That being said, we're seeing some countries with their shit seemingly together, like Vietnam and South Korea, and have kept their numbers down. They've done so through some very demanding requirements, Vietnam more so, but even South Korea's seeing a resurgence in numbers.

 We're not going to come out of this well. Fifty thousand deaths in a country of nearly 330 million may not seem like much, but the first death in Itawamba County was a friend from high school. It shows no signs of slowing down, much less stopping or taking a break for the summer. The economy is stumbling, too, and regardless of how much state and federal governments "reopen," it is going to be a long, long while before we see life moving around like it did this time last.

 And if you're blaming them, you're just being an asshole. "Live in fear because I won't," you hear some of the chodes say until someone close to them goes down with COVID-19. And even then, you won't have much choice. No one owes you their bravery just for your comfort. For that matter, no one owes you their life for your haircut or extra glass of iced tea or profit margin. In the past week alone, just due to the resurgence in the stock market that was caused by the initial crash, the top 15 or so billionaires in the country collectively made somewhere about $580 billion doing absolutely nothing of worth or value to anyone. Just stock whatnots.

 Like I said, these guys were billionaires to begin with and had the stock market not gone in their way, they'd be billionaires still. Kelly Loeffer, the senator from Georgia who got caught insider trading based on knowledge about COVID-19 she gleaned from closed-door meetings that went on well before the U.S. populace was hip to the trouble, was worth 500 million dollars on her own and has that much money still.

 I'm sure there's something about this I don't understand, but you can't convince me that there isn't enough ready cash in this country that everyone can hunker down until at least we figure out a decent vaccine for this, even if it takes a year. I know what you're saying, "there's nothing in the Constitution that says they have to." With that same logic, there's nothing in the Constitution that says they shouldn't or, for that matter, they "deserve" it, whatever the hell that means.

 But we won't do much to change that, just like we as a people and a culture will deny our God-given right to a weekly visit to the stylist to touch up our roots because we might spread a killer virus or horde all the toilet paper because if society collapses, think: do you want a gun or do you want to wipe your ass? I'm just kidding, of course. If you're the type to hoard toilet paper, you're the type to own more guns than you or your family could possibly ever fire if push really came to shove.

 So, people will get sick and die. They'll go broke, become homeless, and die. The rich won't so much. Oh, sure, they can pull a Masque of the Red Death, but the point of that story was that sort of thing really never works. They'll suffer; not as much as you or me, but they'll suffer. And we'll let them live that life of less suffering because we've pounded it into our heads they deserve to live better and longer while our children die in the street like rats. And we'll support not only the damn fool in the White House but also black-hearted little shits like Mitch McConnell who thinks states' having to raid pensions after going bankrupt is a good thing, because we think we deserve it.

 We're not going to come out of this clean, even if that were possible after putting 50,000 of us in the ground. More death and desperation are on the way, and anyone who thinks otherwise, well... let's just say I admire your optimism. I don't share it because I've been paying attention to America for the past 30 years, but I envy it.

 And me? Well, I'll be fine, really. Whether I get sick or not really doesn't matter as I've long tired of being here. In any event, I probably have little more than 30 years at best left in me and, unless something seriously drastic happens - no really, more drastic than what's happening now and what I'm outlining - I'll be okay for a place to stay and food to eat for that time. I have nothing invested in the future and don't plan on changing that. I'll be here as long as I'll be here and after that, well... it's all good.

 It's you poor bastards I feel sorry for.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

All my friends are wearing worried smiles, living out a dream of what they was.

 Man, it's been a weird week. Don't deny it, this is just not right and keeps getting dumber. Not only did the President of the United States of America in front of God and everybody asked one of his advisors if injecting disinfectants into COVID-19 cases would cure them, but he, his office and the general wingnut collective tried to shove it off three or four different ways. That might be scariest of all.

 But before we get too deep into it, let's serve up this week's News.

 I think Friday's offering is particularly worth a look, as I go into one of my deep dives on just what he said, why he said it, why it's worrisome and why, no matter how they try, is it going to change a mind one way or another. The Base is unshakable.

 This is a milestone week, though. I got zero hits for the News. I mean, not a sausage, and I usually get at least three or four. I did pick up a new follower, so I don't know how that works but there you go. Got a lot of activity at the Tumblr site, though it was all for older stuff. Check out that Otis Spann tune, though, it's pretty good.

 Ah, the damn internet is dropping in and out again. Apart from lack of access to good smoke, that's about the only downside to living out here in the boonies. Dodgy internet and even when it's running, it's sometimes slow as Christmas.

 I just got back from a two-mile walk with my buddy Otis, the Jack Russell, and he thinks he wants to go out again. He's sitting under my chair sighing loudly. Every day he does this. We go for a walk for a mile or two, just long enough for him to get wore out, and after a short rest he's ready to go back out. And he'll keep doing it until past dinner, sleep for a while, and then spend another hour being a pain in the ass before calling it a night. It's getting on my nerves.

 Okay, enough of all that. No one wants to hear me gripe and I don't particularly want to, anyway. As weird a week as it's been, it's also been an okay one for me. The Actual Paying Work is going well and keeping me busy. The Bossman is happy with what I'm doing and it's nice to have something "serious" to show potential clients apart from this gig. It's boring as hell, but what are you going to do. I do get to write up a COVID-19 update and can have a little fun with that.

 But, like I tell the Bossman, it's good to have to occasionally write to someone else's rules. One of the biggest problems with today's media world is far, far too many writers are allowed to run loose with too little editing. And, no, I never thought I'd say that 20 years ago.

 It's keeping me busy and since it's Actually Work it's wearing me out. I'm kicking around the idea of dropping a day of News or Gibberish, and both of this week's offers of the latter reflect that. Goddammit, there goes the inter... hellfire, it's back. Anyhow, I thought about dropping a day, so what'd I do? Started another blog, of course.

 I'm not sure what, if anything, I'm going to do about it. Spread across three blogs on three different sites at vastly different times, what I have going now is sort of sloppy. As of right now, it's going to be a place to dump links of articles or pieces of writing I find interesting but aren't inclined to read when I first come across them. Might do it with YouTube vlogs and whatnot, I don't know. I have a fairly dark take on the COVID-19 virus that I've gone back and forth on where to post it. It occurred to me today that the new site could be the "professional" site; that is, the one where I don't cuss like a sailor and call the president a moronic dirtbag who leads a horde of complete dirtbags. I don't know yet. Anyhow, it's here if anyone's curious.

 Dammit, there goes the... shit, it's back. You know, between this and Otis's constant whining, I'm developing a headache. Bah. Sometimes he gives in and goes in his box, but he is particularly petulant tonight.

 I broke down and bought XCOM: Chimera Squad yesterday, and though I've only given it an hour, I'm pretty pleased with it. It's a fun little game with a neat premise. If the first game is Independence Day and the second is Battlefield: Earth (for lack of a better reference), this one is Alien Nation, if anyone remembers that little gem. Five years after XCOM 2, the big bads are defeated, and the Earth is full of either alien POW's or formerly enslaved soldiers now dealing with freedom.

 You run a sort of military-slash-police group that's part of the XCOM organization. At least one of the characters from the second game, Jane Kelly, works as sort of a liaison between the Chimera Squad and the larger organization. The crew tries to keep peace in a specialized city populated by humans, various aliens, hybrids, and what all where someone is trying to disrupt the fragile peace.

 Most of the game mechanics are the same, though the turn-based part of it is less like the original games and more like something found in Divinity: Original Sin. You do a little door kicking, a la a SWAT team, called "Breaching" that's a fun little new addition to the game. Rather than trying to keep countries or continents from panicking, you're trying to keep neighborhoods from falling into anarchy. It's less than ten bucks until May 1 and well worth that price. It bumps up to $20 after that, and is still worth a buy.

 Because Fanatical was having a sale, I also picked up Breach & Clear, an XCOM-esque game that uses real world military groups, and The Long Journey Home, a space sim rougelike that has sort of the same backstory as Star Trek: Voyager. The player controls a spaceship made up of four crew members with different skills trying to get back to Earth from the other side of the galaxy. I'm not really familiar with either game, but since I'm a complete sucker for turn-based strategy games and off-the-wall outer space science fiction that aren't military based. I can add that to the backlog of games I haven't finished or need to give another shot. Good thing I've got nothing better to do.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Look how far I had to come to get back where I started from.

 Another programming note. I have some more Actual Paying Work due tomorrow. It's going to take a little research and thought, more so than the usual APW takes. So, I might not get past this before the night's out. The sleeping situation's been a booger and I just don't have the energy.

 Not a whole lot to get into anyway, stuff that won't go to the News. If this pace keeps up, I may have to pick a day to take a break. Probably one of the weekend days. In any event, Otis is fussing so we'd better hit the road. If I come back to this, I'll come back to this.


 Well, the walk was pleasant, although Otis doesn't appreciate it. He'll take a quick nap and thinks he's ready to go on another one. He'll stand at the door and cry like he's being beat. I appreciate that he enjoys the little constitutionals but it can be very annoying indeed.

 I've yet to start on the APW apart from doing a bit of research, saving some links and outlining in my head where I'm going with this. Long story short, I'm doing a COVID-19 update blog for a law firm in another state, which is about as interesting as this gets. Still, I enjoy it and it's a challenge to do it straight. That is, no smart-ass remarks, just uncut journalism. I keep telling the Bossman that it helps to have someone else's thumb on things.

 I've been waiting on supper to get done, which is why I haven't actually started the work. I hate to be interrupted when I'm working on a piece. It just completely throws me out of whack. I never developed good outlining habits, though, so even the smallest disruption could ruin the whole thing. The other problem is I've smoked my memory to hell, so unless I write it down it is gone. I'm getting better at it, though it's always been an issue. It's like never learning how to properly type, which I never did. I can hunt-and-peck like a beast, but that has its downsides.

 Okay, supper's done. Again, maybe I'll come back to this and maybe I won't.

UPDATE: 10:20 P.M.

 Well, that's that. Done with the update and when my brain cools down, I'll give it the going-over. I'm just under 400 words with this, so let's see if we can't finish it off.

 I'm sure we've all seen the daily Trump Dump where he asked if maybe using disinfectant or UV lights could get rid of COVID-19, all the while claiming super-genius status. Amusingly, the base didn't wait 30 minutes before claiming "that's not what he meant" before moving onto "he was just asking questions," apparently not realizing there's a time and a place for that which isn't in front of a national audience. It's merely latest in a long line of rock-stupid shit said by a rock-stupid man who's never been told he's rock stupid or had to suffer for it. And if anyone's surprised the Base is defending this and insisting that he is indeed a super genius, well, you haven't been paying attention the past three years.

 There is nothing that will shake them loose. Nothing. Give up. They're a lost cause. All the Trump voters who're going to peel off by November are long gone and even there most of them will vote for the dingbat because Joe Biden is a socialist or some dumb shit.

 I will defend the media, though. A bit, anyway. "Why do the networks keep showing this?" Because he's the president and that's their job. That's what "reporting" is, repeating what important people say. Is it a drag that they don't do more fact checking? Yeah, it is, but at the same time that's really not the job, not at that level.

 Some people should be fact checking the dopey bastard and people are. Daniel Dale, for example, has been doing a superlative job reporting on Trump's dopiness and why it's all horseshit. Another thing to keep in mind is the media at that level - the networks, New York Times, Washington Post, etc. - are owned by either extremely rich individuals or business concerns that are made up of extremely rich individuals. They have a vested interest in keeping the Status Quo and for all his dopiness, Trump does not threaten that. He might be a danger to its stability, but he's making the same money they are.

 It's the height of naivety to believe the ownership doesn't have influence on the in-the-trenches reporting. That's just a fact no matter how much we try to pretend it isn't. The Deadspin business last year when they canned all those writers for, and let's be honest, their political opinions not meshing with the bosses' should be the final word on that. I never was a reader but all reports say the rejuvenated Deadspin is less than zippy. But they're not going to buck the bosses, I bet you.

 That's just life and it is a booger. It's also one of the reasons I'll never go back to straight journalism. I've dealt with that shit more than once in almost every publication I've worked for, and it's not always been my fault. As I've said, I do consider what I do at the WordPress site anyway as "journalism". And as much as I'm soured working for them, the ongoing slow death of newspapers isn't something I enjoy seeing. I don't care about networks, for what it's worth, because I've never had much truck with them.

 Anyhow, we're pushing midnight and this is plenty. XCOM: Chimera Squad is released tomorrow and I'll probably pick it up before the weekend's out. I've read a few reviews which have, for the most part, been okay. It's a different beast than the first two games, but that's fine. I'm also thinking of picking up The Long Journey Home, which looks to have a neat premise. Need to do some more research first.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Programming Note.

 I have some Actual Paying Work to get done by tomorrow, so tonight might light if not non-existent past this right here. If you'll recall, the goal is to top 500 words a day and both of the bad boys I have to pound out will be at least 600 words. I'm dealing with a bad case of the too-goddamn-sleepy-to-sit-up-for-too-longs, and I'm not terribly into the idea anyway. However, as has happened before, a little Work gets the juices flowing and I might hear something that sets me off and can't wait until tomorrow's news.

 So it all depends on what sort of mood I'm in. Make a note of that if necessary.

UPDATE 9:15 P.M.

 Okay, I'm done. I wrote two pieces and now I'll let them sit and simmer for a bit before jumping on the editing train. I don't want to go into too great detail, but basically what I'm doing is writing "call us so we can sue the shit out of someone for you" pages for lawyers in different parts of the country. All very basic stuff, really. You have an accident, you call the cops, you call your insurance company and, if you think necessary, call a lawyer because the insurance company will do its damnedest to not pay out. I trust the Bossman to not get involved with anything shady, plus he occasionally lets me do stuff that's a bit more "fun" like a COVID-19 update for one Florida firm.

 I'm going out of my way to be circumspect about all this because, quite frankly, I don't think it'd do anyone any good a'tall to come across this or The News at the WordPress site. One never knows, but common sense tells me it's a good idea to keep "boring business Matt" separate from "foul mouthed, psychedelic-loving, cynical borderline anarchist Matt". Fun's fun, but there's no need to let it get in the way of business.

 I don't really need the money or the clips, but this has been very good. For one, writing for someone else's eye keeps me sharper than writing for myself probably would. As much fun as I have, it's very easy to disappear up my own ass and the writing will suffer for it. Secondly, this shit is dull as flies fornicating, so just to keep engaged is a bit of a challenge. Plus, the Bossman - admittedly a buddy - has been very easy with his praise and gratitude at having a "real writer" on board. Frankly, I need that as much as anything.

 Plus, having a little money coming in would be nice. Hopefully, I can put together enough to buy a new laptop, perhaps a gaming console (leaning towards a PlayStation so I can play Spider-Man) and maybe some needed upgrades on my PC. Maybe when this whole COVID-19 business blows over, extra money to do some traveling would be welcome, too.

 Beyond that, I don't have much to go on. This sort of writing definitely tires me out, much more so than it used to. This really isn't much different that doing the classifieds or obits back in the day, and I used to spend six hours some days doing that. Hate to think of doing that now. As I said above, the sleeping's been a bit of no good lately, CPAP or not. I have an appointment with the pulmonary nurse to follow up and I may try to make that one, just because this shit ain't working. I don't mind sleeping as much as I do - though I do miss the dreamless sleep of living in a green haze - but I don't think I should feel as tired as I do all the time regardless how much sleep I get.

 Okay, I think that's fair enough for tonight. I'll save the latest COVID-19 outrages for the news tomorrow, but I will say this. I do appreciate the Republican Party and conservatives in general ripping the masks off and showing themselves to be little more than the greedy, racist, authoritarian little shits I'd thought they were.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

I may be blue forever after, but life can't always be diamonds and dreams.

 I need to knock something out, I guess. I'm just not switched on today for whatever reason. One of those days where I woke up in a bad mood and stayed in a bad mood. I don't know why but there it is.

 As I think I've said, I had some paying work this week and that's cut down a bit on my fooling around. I didn't do anything over a Tumblr but did keep up The News. Nothing great, granted, but all solid stuff. Sort of a solid B outcome that makes, if for nothing else, a nice baseline.




 One of the reasons I've stayed in a bad mood is the country's attitude concerning how we're dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak. All over the country, AstroTurfed "protests" against governors' stay-at-home orders have popped up with goddamn Trump egging them on. It's gotten seriously dumb, too, with people claiming everything from communist-backed plots to dark warnings of Satanic influences pushing humanity towards the Armageddon.

 And frankly, this is all just too stupid for me to deal with. The media's laziness is helping the rather small group of loud yay-hoos with financial backing from the same people who own Blackwater, making it seem larger and more influential than it really is. In his daily rallies, Trump's gotten increasingly unhinged, not just in this area but in general. However, since most of these protests have taken place in states governed by Democrats - except one in Austin, Texas, led by Alex Jones for some reason - this has played into his stirring up the people as well as stroking his ego.

 It's so dumb and I've got to the point where I say damn the torpedoes and let the humanoids "go back to work" if that's what they want. There's enough liquid wealth in this country that we could keep everyone comfortably afloat well past the time it'd logically take scientists, medical experts and epidemiologists to maybe figure out something to actually deal with this epidemic that's caused the deaths of over 38,000 people. However, the wealthy class apparently cannot tolerate even a slight loss in the never-ending flow of cash into their dragon horde-like piles, much less throw in a little dosh to help the people that actually do all the labor that makes them rich.

 Those same scientists, medical experts and epidemiologists are saying that while this "social distancing" and "stay-at-home" orders - the very thing these peckerwoods are "protesting" - are actually working and giving folks a much needed breather. These same people are also screaming about hospitals artificial inflating numbers for governmental funds or, even dumber, Bill Gates is trying to slip in some sort of tracking device into any potential vaccinations.

 Of course, this is pulling in not just the anti-vaxxers nutters and Sovereign Citizen goons as well as the Q dingbats and Second Amendment clowns. Plus Alex Jones, so just plain old conspiracy grifters. Sort of a Justice League of the most embarrassing ideologies in the United States with the added bonus their actions will probably lead to more COVID-19 cases and deaths, and the President is wetting himself in glee as he explicitly gives them the nod and goads them on.

 If it weren't for my friends and family that could die from this, including my 70-year-old mother, I'd say to hell with them. They shriek about their Constitutional rights being trampled by state tyranny, when none of that has happened, mainly because they have no idea how that's supposed to work. At the same time, Trump's people are making money off this hand over fist while they actively work to dampen the people's ability to influence their government. And these wingnut dipsticks are hoping the federal government trounces the states' sovereignty because if you didn't know conservatives weren't hypocrites already, I can't help you.

 And don't get me started on the "I refuse to vote for Joe Biden because I really don't care what Trump represents and what he'll do with another term because it doesn't affect me" Left. Left to swing in the wind by Bernie Sanders - a fine example of why the hope of a Great Man to come and fix everything is a dumbass stance - they've now turned on Noam Chomsky because he's endorsed voting for Biden to get what he calls the "gangster in the White House" out. It's sort of funny to watch the Twitter political science brigade twist themselves in knots over this while still claiming their voices are worthy of my attention. "Punishing the DNC" is more important than any harm Trump could do and if his election basically kills any progressive moments for the next two generations, it's worth it if the Democratic party knows they don't like them.

 Ah, me. I'm just in a bad mood, like I said, and I've actually had a fairly quality week. I got some great feedback from my Editor at the new Freelancer gig. It's only going to score me around $70 or so, but the ego boost is worth its weight in gold. Furthermore, it wasn't the distraction and disruption I worried it might be. It all came along easily like in the old days, and that's an even better boost to my self-esteem. I don't know quite how to explain it, but losing that little skill staggered me pretty badly for quite a while. But here we are and that's good.

 Plus, I'm still pumped about the upcoming release of XCOM: Chimera Squad next Friday. More I look into it, the more pumped I become. I went back and played a little Rebel Galaxy Outlaw last night and it's still a fun little mess if a bit grindy. Still working on From Eternity To Here and starting to finally get out of the "here, we have to explain quantum mechanics/Einstein's relativity/basic cosmology first" weeds to get into the good stuff. Something else worth noting is that was the book I had on deck way back when I quit reading for whatever reason I quit reading, so again, another nice ego boost.

 Okay, it's getting late and the internet's being a pain, so let's go ahead and pinch this one off.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

My words are all true. I'm lying to you, but the words that you hear are all mine.

 I think all this is going well, this Work and Fun business. After knocking out last night's News, I wound up writing one of my assigned pieces of Work in the wee hours and laid down the other one this morning. I'm still getting the flow of things but I do think they came out well. It is pretty dry stuff, but one of them at least let me have a little fun.

 Anyhow, the world moves along at the dumbass pace this reality finds itself in. Rolling off the president's incompetence, mendacity and constant flip-flopping, another group of states have gotten together to work out their "reopening" amongst themselves. The governors of Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, and Kentucky have signed a multi-state agreement to coordinate strategies for reopening their economies, and why not. The president proves on a daily basis that he is indeed playing favorites, his favorites still manage to suck at their job, and his goons actively organize AstroTurf organizations to make things harder for "disloyal" governors for some damn reason, probably because they're bastards.

 Apparently he's still pushing for May 1st as the day the country is supposed to "reopen," whatever the hell that means. I don't see why it's such a hanging manner. Apparently thanks to the recovery of the stock market, the 10 most billionaire billionaires made an additional $51 billion by doing what appears to be absolutely nothing. As I've said, I don't really grok the stock market or why it's necessary for mankind's continued survival, but that's nice work if you can get it. Why we can't tax a modicum of that extra $51 billion they weren't hurting for so other 327,999,990 million of us can eat is beyond me.

 Speaking of rich rat bastards, Georgia's nepotism Sen. Kelly Loeffler - best known for being given her seat and making a shit-ton of more money thanks to insider trading at the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic - has been assigned to the "task force to reopen America" because why the hell not. I refuse to believe Trump has that much wit to do something like this as a cruel twist. He's just a dumbass who doesn't give a shit.

 Let's see, what else... well, Elizabeth Warren finally came out and endorsed Joe Biden, which for some reason set the rabid ding dongs who can't accept Bernie Sanders wasn't just given the nomination by the party leadership he's been flipping off for the past five years. He, of course, readily endorsed Biden just a few days after he dropped out of the race, but Warren's endorsement opened those days-old wounds.

 So they've spent the day howling about "scorched earths" and Warren's obvious treachery against Saint Bernie. Where all this comes from, I don't know and really don't understand. Maybe it's just how my brain works, but this "Great Man Who Will Save Us All" is quite possibly the most dangerous and distracting aspect of American politics.

 For one, it's too much to lay on one person's shoulders. The ding dongs would have lost their minds if Sanders had actually won the nomination and found himself in the position of making the sausage of politics. That would have happened. And had he actually become president? Hoo buddy, to get anything done he would have had to do some serious shucking and jiving to get Medicare For All passed. Their heads would've exploded like popped zits if Warren gets them this het up.

 Look, y'all. There are no Saviors. There are no Great Men. Trump's loony followers think he's the Great Man, their Savior. If you think that's the way things should work, how society should run, then neighbor, you have been drinking some bad buttermilk.

 We see this so much lately, and not just from conservatives who you kind of understand they act that way. Liberals, leftists, socialists, communists, hell, even some anarchists for some goddamn reason. I really don't get it. I thought we'd left all this sort of thing behind when we collectively decided "divine right" was a bullshit stroke. Ah, well.

 I believe that'll do. I've written a good bit in the past 24 hours and I think that is plenty. Still looking forward to XCOM: Chimera Squad and will probably plop down the bread for it when it's released. Maybe give it a day to see what the "critics" say about it. I've already broken my rule with Rebel Galaxy Outlaw and that worked out well. Besides, between my birthday the other day and recent Work joys, I'm due a reward. And hey, if the Work blows up in my face, I'd need a treat to sooth the burn. Winner all the way around.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

You cannot win if you do not play.

 I have two assignments this week to get done by Friday. Since I'm still figuring all this out, I figure it'll take me two days to properly research and write about it. Luckily, the writing isn't really all that hard, either in mechanics or creatively. It reminds me of the day-to-day grind back when I did weekly newspapers, doing pages and pages of obits or classifieds or legal proclamations papers have to print. Dull as hell but easy to do, just put on some music and go.

 The downside is, of course, I don't know how much of this or The News I'm going to be able to get accomplished. This is easy, really, just ramble on for 500 words and call it "art". The News is a little bit more of a hassle, but even then, I could shmooze it if I wanted. Basically, the news is every day "people are dying from a virus we don't have a solid grasp of yet, we're not doing what we need to do and what we are doing we're not doing well, and the President is a big ol' tittybaby", if maybe not in that order.

 He really is showing his whole ass here the last couple days. Between losing his cool with Paula Reid and Kaitlan Collins just being reporters causing him to melt down before announcing that he had "full authority" over when states re-open, sounding awfully authoritarian in the process. It's almost every day at this point that he pitches one of his little fits, when he's not blaming everyone else to distract from his own fumbling.

 It's got to be chaffing him so many governors giving him the finger and doing it for themselves are seeing success, and the ones that do toe the line can't do anything right. It's been sort of entertaining watching the right-wing media twist itself in knots to keep up with Trump's almost daily changing of the narrative, especially when they can catch his pitched bitch as easily as anyone should they show disloyalty.

 Speaking of pitching fits, the Sanders dead-enders are in day two of their wail-a-thon. It's even louder and poopier after Bernie Sanders himself came out and said working against Joe Biden winning the presidency was "irresponsible". A small but loud contingent of Twitter, they do little more than prove how little they know about how politics works. Sanders would not have endorsed Biden if something he wanted wouldn't come out of it.

 Look, y'all. Politics is an ugly business but it's a serious business. It calls for deal making, and if you can handle that, leave it to people who can. Organize and agitate, sure, but recognize it's a different ball game. The more they talk about Biden's legislative choices from 20 years ago or objectionable things the Obama administration did, the more they show they really, really don't care about anything but the "bending of the knee". Which is just stupid, but that's what you get when people convince themselves that Twitter and Facebook was equal to a political science degree.

 Maybe the most amusing thing that's happened in the past 24 hours is Florida increasingly obsequious governor Ron DeSantis announcing that WWE was an "essential" business during the shut down. What that boils down to is they'll be filming wrestling matches in front of an empty auditorium in Florida. They already held their yearly homecoming Wrestlemania in front of an empty house. All this comes off the heels of Vince McMahon's XFL football dalliance declaring bankruptcy for the second time. It also comes just after Linda McMahon's announcement that her Super Pac was dropping a tidy $18.5 million into the "Florida For Trump" re-election push.

 Now, I used to dig wrestling as a kid but bailed out before McMahon admitted it was all scripted to save his ass during the 1993 steroid trial. And, for whatever it's worth, I was more a fan of the NWA stuff than the WWF stuff, which was decidedly aimed towards kids. That being said, I've long been fascinated with the history of professional wrestling and its place in American Culture. I maintain that it's one of this country's truly unique contributions to world culture and a full grasp of the American psyche is impossible without an understanding of how pro wrestling developed alongside the ubiquity of television. Later, it pushed closed-circuit television, pay-per-view and internet development, second only to pornography in its influence.

 People forget that up until the mid-Aughts, Trump was stuck in tabloid hell. His biggest cultural impact came from his feud with then-daytime talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell and nobody cared after they passed through the grocery store checkout line. This all changed in 2007 when he popped up on WWE television opposing the "Mr. McMahon" character in the "Battle of the Billionaires" as a baby face. That is, he was the good guy you rooted for against McMahon's heel character, or bad guy.

 Long story short, he "won" the conflict and soon after became the Twitter tumor we all know and loathe/worship. Again, study the history of pro wrestling. In the process you'll learn what kind of absolute bastard Vince McMahon is, both personally and business-wise. Given that, it's sort of understandable how the U.S. could degrade to such a point that we'd allow a bit of media fluff like Trump to be president. Inevitable, really.

 In any event, I got work to do so I don't know how it'll affect this. If nothing else, I'll post quick updates. But, for the most part, I'm a happy camper because I'm getting paid to write and there's a new XCOM game coming out by the end of the month. Sweet.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

I've had all that I've wanted of a lot of things I've had, and a lot more than I need of some things that turned out bad.

 It's been an interesting week. But before we get too deep into things, let's lay out some links. Of course, most of it is about the coronavirus galloping through the world and particularly here in the U.S. of Good Ol' A. But that's the news, and it's so commanding that it overtakes just about everything else, especially the nasty shit the Trump Administration is trying to get across. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

 I'm particularly proud of Wednesday's entry. It deals with Bernie Sanders dropping out of the race for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States of America and how it changed the landscape. It goes well with Thursday's Gibberish, which deals with how badly the loudest section of his loyal followers have been dealing with it. It's a good one-two punch, I think, and does a good job of laying out the whole stroke. But that's just me, check it out on your own.

 There's also a good bit at the Tumblr site about singer-songwriter John Prine who died Tuesday due to complications from COVID-19. I was a fan and I'm not going to lie, this one gives me the blues more so than an average famous person's death. He wrote some great songs, always put on a charming performance, and everyone I've talked to who'd know says he was a phenomenal human being. So it goes.

 COVID-19 has ramped up to the point where the United States leads the world in both confirmed cases at 532,000 and deaths with 20,000 plus. Unfortunately, we're fifth when it comes to recovery at just a little over 31,000 cases. It's taken off here in Mississippi, too, with 2,642 cases and 96 deaths. Right now, only Issaquena County has no reported cases, but that's probably more to do with it's sparse population, poverty and high percentage of African Americans. Indeed, it's the poorest county in the poorest state and the way we've addressed how COVID-19 is treated in the black community is just shameful.

 We're supposed to get some extremely foul weather here in Itawamba County tomorrow. They're calling for fierce winds, driving rains and a possibility of tornadoes. The family's planning on battening down for it, too, and they're not given to rash behavior. So I'm not sure how much I should put here, since there's no telling what sort of mess this place will be this time tomorrow night. There is a lot of news going on and I don't know how to squeeze it all in or do all the work for it.

 I need to look into how the Trump Administration is using the virus to fulfill the longtime conservative dream of dismantling the United States Postal Service, because that is happening. The reasoning we're hearing is that it's due to his "distaste" for mail-in votes and desire to tamp down the turnout for the November election. I'm sure there's something to that, but conservatives have had a hard-on for shutting down the mail for years, mainly just because they're dicks. "Use UPS or FedEx" they bleat, conveniently those two companies not only use the USPS but there's some places they won't go because it isn't profitable.

 Another particularly evil stroke from the Trump White House is a plan to allow the farming industry to use foreign labor as labor to keep down wages. You heard that right. The Administration that ran on the Brown Horde and spent the first two years screaming that "caravans" of dirty Central and South Americans were heading to the U.S. Border to take our jobs, corrupt our children and stare luridly at our women wants to bring in people not covered by U.S. laws so agri-business conglomerates can not pay anybody what they'd be due for picking the very food we eat. Amusingly - but not really - the reason we're given why this is "necessary" is because the industry is hurting due to the tariff fight with China, which has more to do with Trump waving his dick at Xi than anything sensible.

 But, again, this is why he was elected. You hear people say "Trumpism has taken over the Republican Party," but the truth is the GOP has always been full of bastards and a guy like Trump is the logical outcome of the past 40 years of development by them. They may have not planned on landing someone with such a pitiful need for worship or inability to take any amount of criticism as Trump, but that's a bug more than anything else. He's doing what they want, though, so he can tweet all he wants about how mean the press is to him and the daily nonsense in his televised briefings keep everyone occupied and depressed knowing what kind of lump we have with the nuclear codes.

 And so much for all that. I do have some good news. This has been brewing for a bit, but I haven't said anything because I'm a neurotic mess and worry about bragging on something that could easily blow up in myself. But all the i's have been dotted and t's have been crossed, so I feel confident in letting the cat out of the bag.

 I have a regular paying gig as a freelance writer. It's nothing special or fancy at all. I'm doing "content creation" for a buddy of mine who's based out of Atlanta. He started the company a little over a year-and-a-half ago and wanted to bring me on board when they got some solid ground under them. Back in Athens, he was a "fan" of my writing for Flagpole and we got to be friends because we share a mutual close friend. Good kid and I'm friends with his wife, as well.

 Well, I appreciated the offer but didn't push on it. However, the conversation was one of the little sparks that got me back to writing on a regular basis. So, anyhow, week before last, he touches base and says his company's getting a little more work than they can handle and was I still interested. I had to jump through a couple of hoops, understandably enough, but I got the gig.

 It's not exciting subject material, true, but having an editor to please again can't be anything but helpful to everything else. Furthermore, it's not going to pay too much but it's something "official" I can point to for other work. Most of my published work is over ten years old, and I doubt this blog would convince anyone I'm anything other than a borderline anarchist and hallucinogenic drug enthusiast. Which I am, sure, but that's not a way to get work.

 But more than anything else, this is just good for my mood and self-esteem. This is fun, but this new gig is work and that I'm wanted for this work is validation, which is something I do need. Since starting back writing, I've been plagued by doubts and recriminations. No one pays attention, is there any point to this, why do I bother, yadda yadda yadda. That's not helpful, believe you me.

 I don't know how this extra work is going to affect this or The News. It won't have much impact on the Tumblr stuff, as that's generally off-the-cuff fun. Way my buddy talks, he might throw me two to three things a week, and that'll be around 600-900 words. I may drop back to doing one regular blog that combines Gibberish and News, but I don't want to drop either because both are satisfying for their own reasons. We'll see how it all works out.

 Beyond that, buckle down for the weather and keep up the "social distancing" deal despite the fat cats screaming because they're not getting as disgustingly rich as they think they should. They don't give a shit about you.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

I ain't trying to get into, I was just swingin' on your gate.

 Before we get too deep in the big muddy today, I want to post a link to this superlative piece of journalism from Caleb Bedillion, Tina Campbell Meadows and Blake Alsup of the North Mississippi Daily Journal. Less than a month after Gov. Tate Reeves initially pooh-poohed the very real threat of COVID-19, especially to the people of Mississippi who're more poor and less healthy than the rest of the nation, Tippah County finds itself going under and sinking fast.

 Long story short, this county of 22,000 on the Tennessee line has the among the highest per capita infections in the state with 14.1 known cases for every 10,000 people. There have been three deaths so far, as well, and I know that doesn't sound a lot to y'all what live in the civilized world, but you have to understand what kind of place Tippah County is. Small, rural, close-knit and known for one helluva Labor Day party.

 As of last night, the only county in Mississippi that doesn't have any recorded cases is Issaquena in the Delta. However that county has barely 1,400 people - down from the 2,700 noted on the 2000 Census - a per capita income of just over 10,000. Furthermore, it's mostly African American, and we're learning that of everything that's being shut down, racism in America is still going strong. I've no doubt when the state gets around to it, they will find sufficient.

 So, read that piece. It's pretty good. Also check out this New Yorker interview with Fran Lebowitz. She's a hoot.

 Another link I want to share is this piece I wrote for the News yesterday evening concerning Bernie Sanders dropping out of the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination for President of the United States of America, how it affects the upcoming election as well as the legions of soi-disant leftists left out in the cold, and Just What It All Means. It's not quite as good, but I think it's a pretty solid slice of uncut journalism, but check it out yourself.

 I will say this. Since yesterday, a large number of those aforementioned "soi-disant leftists" have been gnashing their teeth and rending their garments that Sanders wasn't just given the nomination by the party he's been telling to suck his dick for the past five years. For his part, Sanders isn't being obnoxious about all this and hopes to use the delegates he has won (and could continue to win, since he'll be on the ballot for a while) as leverage to get more of his ideas into the party's platform for the election come November. As we say back in the Hills, "that's politics, baby."

 But because not running the risk of being slapped 'cause you're an asshole brings out the worst in people, Twitter's been full of The Faithful - both random dickheads and people whose opinions are supposed to matter - being tedious bores about the whole thing. If they're not demanding Joe Biden personally get down on his knees and perform fellatio on them for their vote, they're declaring their intention to take their ball & just note vote, which will certainly show the Democratic Party, since it worked so well in 1972, 1984 and 2004.

 Hold on, I want to show you something.

 See that? That's my brother, the tail-end of a very good thread of his as to why this whole "I can't in good conscious vote for Biden and another four years of Trump wouldn't be so bad (for me)" is just so irrevocably, undeniably stupid a stance to take. Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer - two of the four leftist voices on the Supreme Court - are both getting on in years and will probably have to retire before 2024 comes around. If you don't think a 7-2 Supreme Court with four Trump judges all in the same vein of Brett Kavanaugh but worse if he could get away wouldn't put give a death blow to any hope of any even slightly liberal rulings for the next two generations - as well as active attacks on contientious things like abortion, privacy laws and right to sue corporations - you are far, far too stupid and myopic to pay any attention whatsoever when it comes to politics.

 Now, I posted that picture of Baby Brother's gracious admission for a little context. For a good two decades, I was the guy that gave you shit and mocked you if you didn't vote. I was the guy who called you small minded when you said things like "politics doesn't matter" or "both parties are the same". I was the guy that worked registration booths and irritated you at work because of your bullshit reason why you didn't bother to take any sort of active participation in deciding who gets to tell you what goes and what doesn't, and why you were a ninny for giving that.

 That was then and this is now, though. I still think voting is important, even necessary, and I firmly believe that not voting as a protest is one of the dumber aspects of American culture. I do think that if we could get more than just maybe 40%, if we're lucky, of the voting age populace to actually take part in the process we wouldn't have to be dealing with, for example, a half-bright effete fancy lad who's never accomplished anything on his own except trading on his name and stirring up the worst aspects of the American psyche. This is your life. You have a say in how things go. You should take it.

 Except I really don't give a shit what you (the royal "you") do anymore. Vote or don't vote, I could give less of a damn but I'd have to be dead. This may be a facet of middle age, cynicism and nihilism taking over, or merely an aspect of my chronic depression, but I don't feel this is my world anymore. I will be 45 come Sunday and I doubt I'll see past than 30 more years on this, the third rock from the sun. I don't have kids. Indeed, I have nothing really invested in the future. I cherish my cousin's little ones, but I am not taking responsibility for them. I'm one of those sorts who has little sympathy if you decided to bring another human being into this veil of tears and it turns out to be a tough row to hoe.

 Much as I hate to say it, I'll be okay. For one, I'm a middle-class straight white guy and it's going to be a long time before we start feeling the cold and hearing the wolves howl. Furthermore, I have a good bit of land in my name and enough investment in such that so long as nothing drastic happens, I'll have plenty to keep me fed for the next 30 years. Even if that falls through, my extended family really likes me and would probably let me put a trailer in their backyard. Plus, I have guns in case shit really goes south.

 But this is your world. You're the one with kids. You're the one who has something invested in the future. You're the one who's choosing to live in this cold, cruel world and sharing the ride with 300 million of your nearest and dearest. You're the one who has to make a decision to boil that frog or do the very least to pull everything back from the Abyss. Read a little history and you'd be amazed at what human beings can pull off once they put their minds to it.

 Finally, I got to say it again. If all it takes for you to throw in the towel and give into pigs and bastards of the world is that the guy, the only guy, you put all your hopes and dreams onto didn't win the race he agreed to run, I have to be frank. I really don't think you really care beyond your ego and I certainly don't think you've got it in you to do the actual work it would take to move this world to what it should be for everyone.

 Prove me wrong or piss off.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

They say that murder ain't the cause of the weapon

 I had to shut it down today. Woke up from yesterday's nap in a foul mood that only got worse as I knocked out last night's News. Woke up this morning even gloomier, as bad as I've been in a while. Just one of those days, you know?

 Thankfully, today's nap seems to have shaken things loose. I'm not exactly dancing on the ceiling but at the very least I don't have that black cloud sitting on my face. Every little bit helps, I suppose. Part of the reason I'm in such a squirrelly mood is because I am, at best, a neurotic mess. I may have mentioned it here, but I've got a possible job opportunity I'm working on. Long story short, I haven't heard back whether I have the gig or not and I cannot stand having to wait to hear back from people.

 It's perfectly natural I haven't heard back after a day, as they no doubt have more important things to worry about than my mood. The one thing I have learned from this whole big nothing is how much of my own mental well being I have wrapped up in being able to consider myself a writer. Whether that right there is healthy or not, well, that's the issue.

 For what it's worth, this whole blogging thing and all the different types of things I do, from this Gibberish to the News to whatever I wind up calling the Tumblr stuff, ain't really giving the rush I need. Back when I was a working journalist, I got a little buzz out of seeing my name in a byline or even when I wrote something anonymously. Knowing people seeing it was enough.

 Ego is one of the greatest reasons any sort of artist (writer, musician, dancer, etc.) does what they do where someone else can see it. It's not the sole reason but if anyone tells you otherwise, they are lying. Sure, people see this, or so the viewer counts tell me. I still haven't managed to garner more than 10 readers a day apart from once or twice. I don't know if I even have any regular readers. I'm not sure how to get them. By nature, I am not comfortable advertising myself.

 There's no reason to be blogging, really. I could just bang out some stuff on Google Docs or a writing app I've downloaded. Since getting back into writing, I've read a lot of stuff on the mindset of being a writer, how you're supposed to think of yourself to be one. Frankly, the best advice I've ever seen still comes from Billy Crystal's character in Throw Mama From The Train: "A writer writes. Always."

 I used to think - and still pretty much do - that three things define a writer: a need to tell a story, having a story that needs to be told, and just being enamored of the physical, mechanical process of writing. Somewhere in there, it becomes a way to make a living, and you become either a newspaper reporter (or content creator or medical transcription writer or what have you) or Philip K.Dick. When I got burnt on writing back years ago, I lost the third aspect. It got painful and caused much misery. I like telling stories, but I've always dug putting words together to make something coherent.

 And, as it turns out, when I stopped writing, I lost sight of what it meant to be me. I just drifted through the world. This all ties together, because once I quit writing and once my last relationship ended, all I did pretty much was work, sleep, smoke pot and start it all over again. The last four years in New Orleans are a serious blur and all I remember is working jobs I hated.

 So, now I'm thinking of myself as a writer but the total lack of success or feedback is an issue I need to figure out how to crawl over. I don't have to do this to make a living anymore. It's just for fun, and it has been a lot of fun. I keep telling anyone who pretends to care that this right here is the best part of my day. It occupies my entire interest for the day, what to let out for the Gibberish or what to pay attention to for the News. I'm having a good time, it'd just be nice if I was helping someone else have a good time. Ah, well.

 That's enough bellyaching. The lovely weather we've been having turned to rain this afternoon and it's supposed to get cooler, with more rain peeking in once in a while. I'm still working on the goddamn From Eternity To Here because it asks a whole hell of a lot. Last couple of days I've been revisiting Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen and it is a barrel of monkeys. Your standard high fantasy hack-and-slash third-person RPG, it's got some weird aspects that set it apart from the pack as well as a really fun combat system. It's a couple years old and starting to show it, but if you're into games like Skyrim or The Witcher, it might be worth checking out. I'd wait until it's on sale, though.

 Okay for now. I think that's enough. Sorry for the bellyaching, but sometimes it's necessary. Thanks for putting up with it.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

I can't call her "sugar", sugar never was so sweet.

 I'm just posting a quick round of links. I have some actual paying work I'm going to try to get done tonight and don't want to tap myself out. Long story short, all three WordPress links are about the United States' continuing struggle with the COVID-19 virus, how bad the federal government is handling things and how the states are having to pick up the slack, with varying results.




 I was fairly active over at the Tumblr site, as the Jukebox In My Mind did a lot of work. Here's something about Dallas band The Old 97's and here's something about John Prine. He's currently battling the COVID-19 and we wish him a lot of luck. I'm a fan. I haven't yet wrote about Bill Withers yet, but I'm a huge fan of his and want to remember his passing.

 A couple of times I got clever about the vocation and, if you will, art of journalism. It's super easy to hate on the "mainstream media" but most folks do it in a way that manages to blind them to not only the good and necessary journalism brings to the party but obscures the actual real flaws that mustard up the whole affair. So here's a riff on a Twitter thought and a pair of quotes, one from Kolchak: The Night Stalker by Jeff Rice and the other by Hunter Thompson's second book of letters Fear & Loathing In American: The Brutal Journey of an Outlaw Journalist. For the record, both books are recommended.

 Maybe more tomorrow, we'll see. Wish me luck.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Don't you never cuss that fiddle, boy, unless you want that fiddle out of tune.

 Though we're just now getting into the change, I'm really trying to keep the news and politics stuff over at WordPress for the News while keeping the Gibberish over here. Sure, there's going to be some bleed but I do want to keep it to a minimum. If for no other reason that separation of strokes being good practice.

 That being said, it's tougher than I thought it'd be. Granted, one reason is my life is pretty dull and won't change much since I like it that way. I don't remember who asked, but the only thing holing up due to CORVID-19 is keeping from doing what I enjoy is traveling. I love to ramble from here to there without a set schedule, getting there anyway whims take me. Otherwise, I haven't left the house in two years except to go to the gym and see whichever doctor I have to check in with.

 Nice thing is, though, I haven't been in the mood to do much rambling since last year's Big Trip and even if it weren't for the pandemic spreading like wildfire, I'd probably still be staying put for the time being. So it works out just fine. Beyond that, though, politics and the media have been so much a part of my life for the past 20 years I can't just shake free. It is baked in.

 As an aside, so many people who spent the past two decades telling me to stop worrying so much about politics are the ones who're full-throated roaring with indignation with the latest pig-eyed bullshit the President and his GOP lackeys are pulling. I'm glad for it, as it takes some of the load off me, and I try my best to not remind them that if they had been listening to me for the past 20 years, we might not be in this mess. I still get a bit of a kick out of it in any event. Anyway.

 I must admit, though, this is all starting to get to me. Not the "social distancing" part or even the changes in society that's popped up. It's the mendacity and pettiness of the president, Republicans in Congress and Republican governors, especially ones in the South. Worst of all is the Base, the people who hoot like seals for Trump and will slit the throat of anyone who crosses him. I am completely convinced they will drown in their own juices rather than go against their Idiot King. The rotten bastard has even owned up that if we do everything from here on out and we're extremely lucky, we're looking at least 100,000 dead.

 They're still calling it a hoax. They're still demanding the president "reopen the country." They're still saying that the doctors and experts calling for more caution and the media reporting on them - which is doing a fine job, apart from a few instances - are just trying to bring down the president. They're still saying it's Democrats alone who're clamping down on civil liberties and wrecking the economy just because they hate Trump.

 They are, in essence, pretending nothing is happening. Mississippi's unemployment claims jumped over 1,500% from last week with 31 million people applying. Percentage-wise, Mississippi leads the nation in hospitalization for coronavirus. We're having over a thousand people nationwide dying from it, with their families separated from them and dying alone. We've topped a million cases worldwide in less than three months. And they still say it's all a big con to make Trump look bad when the dopey shit gibbers through a daily rally that does it well enough.

  Six million people have filed for unemployment across the country. When asked if he'd open Obamacare to help the uninsured, Trump's claiming that the one-time $1,200 check coming maybe in three weeks will take care of that. I guess, though, if nothing else this rips the mask of a number of social shibboleths we've long taken as axiomatic.

 People who stock shelves and cook deserve a wage that's enough to live on and more because they're one of the most important segments of the economy. We can do most of our work via teleconferencing and don't have to keep coming to an office to kiss a boss' ass. We can pull up two trillion dollars in less than a week to bail out the airliners, so the idea that we don't have enough money for, say, single payer or Medicare for all is horseshit. Making the rent each and every month isn't as big a hanging matter as we thought.

 I wonder if it'll stick. I know the average MAGAt is a lost cause, as is most hardcore conservatives and the average libertarian. I'm seeing my own mother, who is very conservative, starting to question things that were considered gospel two weeks ago. I'm not seeing this on Twitter, which is the first bastion of the truly wacky, but I'm seeing it here in Mississippi, which is not liberal at all. We are at a "boiling frog" moment, like with FDR and LBJ, and the strain is starting to get to us.

 Well, it's getting to me, that's for damn sure. I will say I am extremely glad I don't have kids or anything really invested in the future, nor do I have any real reason to interact with the world outside this hill apart from getting groceries and seeing doctors, barring unforeseen circumstances. Anyway.

 I really haven't done much the past couple of days except for the News. Still not sleeping for shit, still reading on the same book - science books take a little more time to dig through - and taking the daily constitutionals with Otis. The wound on Bounce's back is getting better. I woke up with an Old 97's song in my head this morning, so I wrote about it for the Tumblr site. It's pretty good, I think.

 Beyond that, I just don't know, man.