Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sologamy

Writers will have to soon break their pens.

At least those that seek to write about our modern world. How can you beat what is real now? Even writers of the weird and fantastic are challenged to come up with stuff more fantastic than comes out of “reality” nowadays!

I may offer further comment on this phenomena later, although it hardly seems necessary!


I Don’t Get It

Found this article over at STRANGE NOTIONS. I was an atheist until I read Lord of the Rings.

Wait. What?

I have heard this statement before. I do not understand it. Tolkein has God, and Christianity in particular, so far buried in his tome it fails to produce even an intimation of an afterglow of the cross in one’s eye.

I never played DnD before I read Lord of the Rings. Now that is a statement I understand. I never got into fantasy before I read LOTR. Got it. I became a Christian after reading LOTR.

Wait. What?


“The Matrix” (Part 1 of 2) Commentary by Fr. Robert Barron | Word On Fire

Source: “The Matrix” (Part 1 of 2) Commentary by Fr. Robert Barron | Word On Fire

I became a fan of now Bishop Robert Barron several years ago after stumbling upon his commentary on the Matrix and Bob Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower on YouTube. Hell, I even became a Dylan fan. That’s saying a lot because Dylan’s music is not in my usual sphere.

Before that I assumed priests to be quite removed from anything so earthly. Actually I didn’t know anything at all about priests outside of scenes from The Exorcist and The Amityville Horror. This clip is part one of two parts on the Matrix. If you want to see part two or any of his other stuff, he is not hard to find on youtube.

Happy Viewing!


Another Acquisition

Picked this up today

Because I like (some) poetry for one and I like to expand my understanding of language and use. Should be a fun read!


FEAST OF LAUGHTER 4!

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FEAST OF LAUGHTER 4!

[NOTE: The link is to AmazonSmile which is Amazon’s charity site. So pick a charity, you Scrooges, and buy this fanzine! Part of your purchase will go to whatever charity you choose. But choose something good, like St. Jude Children’s Hospital or mine, Compassion International. Not something lame like End Beef Now!  or World Proletariate! Oppressed Vagina League!]

And here is a link to Feast of Laughter itself and the contents for each issue. As you can see, number four is knocking it out of the park!

It took a while for this baby to come out, but out it is! This is the fourth installment of the Lafferty Appreciation series (you can’t call it a magazine at 386 pages – how about periodical? sounds a little stodgy for something so fun but, oh my God am I still talking?).

And this time there is a brand new, never before published Lafferty story, THE ROD AND THE RING! The first new story, I have heard, in fifteen or so years! The man passed in 2002 but he left an extensive, so I have read, collection of unpublished manuscripts. Manuscripts that I hope we’ll all see someday.

Issue four has some heavy hitters in it including Gene Wolfe (worth the price right there, well, I mean besides it being a Lafferty appreciation I mean…) Robert Silverberg, Gardner Dozois and many others.

There is Lafferty’s notes for DeepSouthCon speech The Day After the World Ended. This is important material for understanding a lot of what goes on in Lafferty’s stories. Put it this way, the title of the talk is about an actual event that really happened. Don’t remember that occurring? That is one of the symptoms!

Two interviews are reprinted in this issue: Cranky Old Man From Tulsa, and Maybe They Needed Killing & the Importance of Happiness (yes, in the same title!).

Oh, shit, I just saw Michael Swanwick is in this volume as well.

Works inspired by Lafferty is always fun. It’s fun to see what comes through various lenses .

Are you still reading this? Go get your copy!


If You Saw the Last Post…

I had a rather long rant against John Scalzi, a person I find extremely distasteful. If you read it, good for you, I retract nothing you read. However, I do not want it to stand as a record of the man occupying any of my mind or life, so I did remove the post. He already has the distinction of being the only writer I refuse to read based on his personality and views. Although I pulled the post, let me be clear, I believe the man a worm, a PC, Leftist ThoughtPolice, Moloch-worshipping, death-cult, worm.

I do not inquire into the views or personalities of writers or musicians or actors (nor their political opinions or whether they like split pea soup or the fragrance of their farts) however, I did discover his without ever reading him.

And based on that, I never shall. But fear not writers, that was a special circumstance. For the time being my policy is to steer clear of the person behind the performance. That, however, is subject to review given the current climate and absolute unwinding of the Left and their attempted takeover of all.


THE MAN WITH THE SPECKLED EYES

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As usual I am reviewing the introduction and, maybe, later reviewing some of the stories, or the book as a whole.

But probably not. I never do seem to get back to it.

And I usually see no reason to when I get into the book. It is a collection of Lafferty stories, nearly all I will enjoy immensely, and a few I will understand.

So far the only failing of this series (for me anyway) is in the choices for who writes the introduction. So far it is following the opposite of the Star Trek movie rule. The first and third introductions were good, the second and fourth were told by two men who mostly talked of themselves.

However Harlan Ellison had the advantage of having some relation to the man. And took a paragraph or two to relate something about Lafferty from his experience and not himself.

Richard A Lupoff spends most of his introduction talking incoherently about Lafferty being a practitioner of Orwell’s doublethink. And questioning how someone as smart and educated as Lafferty could believe in something as profoundly stupid as Catholicism. It should be noted that Lupoff has no real knowledge of Catholicism.

At the beginning of the introduction Lupoff confesses he only had a passing acquaintance with Lafferty – handshakes and a ‘how do you do?’ at conventions. At the end he goes into this bucket list fantasy about his friend Lafferty and Jack Vance.

I rarely, if ever, read introductions. No one buys a book for the introductions. But I read the Lafferty introductions because Lafferty is my favorite writer and I would like to read of the man. I hope, in future volumes of this series, they will get some writers (or editors or publishers) who had some interaction with the man – something real to relate.

And, perhaps, one who did not wonder how “someone so smart could believe in something so stupid.”

 


Sisson’s Synonyms, Setting it Right, Sad Face 2015

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One of my long time customers at my bar suggested this book to me a few weeks ago (I hate waiting for regular delivery!). Looking it over it seems the byline for the book is the real indicator for it and reads as follows (you can see above the author’s name): An Unabridged Synonym and Related Term Locator.

The related term locator is the real useful part; general entries start with common synonyms of the common usage of the entry term, but switch to other related uses as you go through the entry. It is not a general use synonym finder or thesaurus (especially since it was published in 1969 and we have only gone downhill since roughly that time), you have to have a decent command of English usage to navigate through a lot of entries. Thesauruses, usually the online types, give a lot of their synonyms through use in expressions – Sisson’s only gives related words.

For instance, if you are investigating alternative ways to express the concept of ‘focus’, you may come across the concept ‘cynosure’. Is cynosure another way to say ‘focus’? Or is it a related word? There is nothing wrong not knowing (there is in not being curious enough to look it up) so look up the term! There are probably hundreds if not thousands of words here I don’t know.

Some words just die out. I am of the opinion that if there is a thing as endangered species, the first on our list should be the richness of our language. Example: one of the entries under Fog is Brumous. I’ve never come across the word before. Maybe if I didn’t read so much lightweight space operas my vocabulary would be larger!

But we are all required to save the Space Princess!

Anyway, it now proudly takes a spot with my linguistic collection: Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern Usage, Dorland’s Medical dictionary, Foyle’s Philavery, two picture dictionaries (sometimes you need a visual cue – what the hell is that knobby thing at the top and bottom of a stair rail called? or if you need the names of the parts of a sail ship), C.S. Lewis’ A Study in Words, and (because I still love the thing) The Chicago Manual of Style.

Setting it Right

I have decided, although it causes me some trepidation, to disengage myself from this pursuit of medical coding. Even if I did land the job, I don’t know what else I would have time for – especially writing.

And even though I said I was getting back to the writing (or else abandon, out of honesty, the subtitle of my blog) I would not be able to do it with the medical coding. It was a bigger line of work than I had anticipated. So I am going to ditch it –

It drives me a little insane… scared even that I wasted more than two whole years on something like that only to walk away. I’ve never felt like that over the decades of (two of them anyway) drinking and getting ZERO done. I achieved a certification and blew through roughly five thousand dollars, but I am can’t think of myself also sacrificing even more time (because getting into this line of work is a nightmare) and perhaps never getting back to writing.

I’m sorry, I’d rather be a fry cook at McDonald’s (or a greeter at Walmart). Don’t laugh, those bastards will be making $15 an hour in Seattle soon. YOU BETTER NOT FUCK UP MY BURGER IN THE DRIVE-THRU!!!!!! OTOH, I don’t know where they are going to live because rent is going to do nothing but go up, up, up!

“Yeah, I’m a fry cook at McDonald’s. I’m make $15 an hour. I commute 2 hours into work and back home every day. The liberals that run the city may say they love the little man and minorities, but only if they are of a certain class. You can feed us and clean up our poop, but you can’t live with us!”

No matter. I’ll be moving to North Carolina next year anyway.

Sad Face 2015

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In January of 2015 I wrote my last piece of writing before school. It was a vignette of a much larger idea being tossed around. Basically it was an end of time/universe story but based on a cyclical universe cosmology. No one knows they live in a cyclical universe while the world is ending.

I later introduced the idea of the last remnants of mankind being mercilessly hunted down by hordes of supernatural clowns while the heavens are descending in apocalypse. Then I came up with idea of  humans not knowing they live in a cyclical universe, but the clowns do. And basically the last man standing at the very end of the old universe and the beginning of the new one is the winner.

The whole project started to get away from me a little then so I decided to take the various ideas and do shorter pieces of them. I call it slap-dash writing. It goes a little like this: “Alright I have this idea for these evil clowns at the end of time – what are their motives, who are they? Go!”

This resulted in the piece below. Some have seen it before, but I repost it because it is my re-entry point and – just how much acid and glue-sniffing did I do growing up? No, soberly, anyone know?

While I work on slapping this piece into cohesion, I am wondering how I would execute my other vignette idea for the clowns. I had this wicked little alt-ending for the story called “Clown and Eve” where the clowns win. And the world is remade. There is a beautiful woman, alone in a garden of paradise. She is picking a fruit from a tree and –

over her shoulder rises a clown holding a knife high over his head (cue Psycho track ee! ee! ee!). Thought our current iteration started in tragedy? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

Anyway, I post the first draft of this again below. I’m going to work on it starting tomorrow.

Sad Face stood in the middle of the small room surrounded by his peers. The pasty white of his face was smeared with red and his frown was twice turned down. Sad Face stroked a large orange cat that he held to his protruding stomach. His inquisitors made a circle around him at tables too low and chairs too small. It was a classroom, a colorful classroom of rainbows and alphabets and numbers and construction paper cut-outs of various smiling animals.

Grimrole the Peeker, Curly the Cue, Puss in Boots, Laughing Lady, and Ralph formed the opposition to Sad Face on his right. They too were of pasty reflection and sour prism. But theirs was an arrow, an angry bow, and their frowns were for Sad Face.

Rascal, Galoshes, Hubris, and Candor the Gondor, formed Sad Face’s opposition to the left. They too were of pasty reflection and sour prism, but also of envious spectrum and malice aforethought. They were the strongest of any of the multitudinous factions that made up the group of 9. At last count there were no less than 36 factions among the group of nine, each in a war with the other. And many more factions with you let a faction consist of a single member.

The cat that sat aplomb on Sad Face’s belly was Nelly. She had lives for the each of them.

And she may need them this night.

“What have you to say for yourself, Face?” sneered Puss in Boots.

“Nothing,” said Sad Face. He petted Nelly absentmindedly and Nelly let him absentmindedly.

Hubris stood up and pointed a preposterously white and large finger in Face’s direction, “This clown is too old to be one of us! Look at the silly things he plays at! I say we dispose of him!”

There was a swell of snarling, conjecture, objection, bellowing and posing from both sides of the table. Sad Face stared at the floor. It was hard to tell if there was fear in the pancake or whether there was syrup to hit the floor. He just stood there stroking Nelly’s fur. And while Nelly may have enjoyed that absentmindedly, she did not enjoy the sudden gash of scarlet cacophony that splintered across the room and she raised her cackles and hissed at the rioters.

“Quiet!” roared Candor the Gondor. He rose as he said this and the bellow of his voice masked the breaking of both chair and table and the spilling onto the floor of his allies, Galoshes and Hubris. These two, their feet being of absurd size, struggled to get up; and their giant heads of frizzy, discolored hair bobbed up and down in their fight.

“Do we forget?” said Curly the Cue as he twirled one length of his long, green mustache, “Do we forget who Sad Face is?”

“What does that matter?” hissed Grimole the Peeker peering coyly from behind his woman’s scepter, a cream colored fan, and batted his exquisite lashes at Puss in Boots who turned away in mortal disgust (as did anyone). Peeker giggled. “We eat our young. Why not throw away the old?”

“Or eat them too!” Cried Laughing Lady and she broke into mad shrieks of laughter causing the others to cover their ears in anguish.

Ralph sprang up atop his desk and sang basso, “And just who is this Sad Face we speak of?” It was a serious question because Ralph could not remember anything that was not sung from day to day.

Ignoring Ralph except to answer his question, spoke Hubris. “He is the first of us. The first to put out a light because it lit. To dirty a puddle because it was clear.”

“But I, I was the first to stick a knife in a baby’s eye because it enjoyed its sight!” This was Rascal whose full name was Rascal Animus.

“That is all well and fine, Rascal. And surely we would not have come as far as we have unless you had brought us to such ghastly refinement. But Hubris is saying you did it because of Sad Face. He was our father.”

“Bah!” Lashed out Rascal and pulled a long knife out of his drooping drawers and plunged it into Sad Face’s belly – and through Nelly in the process.

“My Nelly!” cried Puss in Boots.

Sad Face looked up at Rascal through shaggy red eye brows, “That was uncalled for, don’t you think?” Nelly’s body sagged against the long shaft of the blade. Sad Face grabbed the handle of the knife, pulled it out of himself and tossed it ringing onto the floor. Nelly fell to the floor and Puss in Boots rushed to her side sobbing.

“Are you not going to die?” asked Rascal.

“No, I think not. I haven’t dirtied my last puddle, nor shed my last mocked tear.”

“I’ll hold a seance, a rite, a ritual, or find some patch of earth for you to spring from, my sweet.” Puss carried her off to her seat, sat down, stroked her bloodied fur and glared at Rascal with enough venom to make a coven run for cover.

“It is so odd she cares for something. Goes against our most basic objectives, does it not?” asked Rascal abstractly to no one in particular.


Lafferty!!!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the fourth volume of R.A. Lafferty’s short fiction is now available for purchase! I may, actually, be a few days behind on this one. I already own one of the best stories of this bunch (in fact, I think I already own 99% of Lafferty’s published short work) Ishmael Into the Barrens. Great story.

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The Contents are here:

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These usually go quick!


Certified and Cast Upon the Archipelago

[I just realized the title for this post makes no sense. Upon the Archipelago? It is not a singularity. Can you be “upon an archipelago?” You can be upon one of its islands, but you can never be upon ‘it’ in the singular. Cast Amongst the Archipelago? No, that doesn’t work either. Into? That would be closer. Just as you are not “upon” America or Europe (unless you are talking specifically of being on its soil) but are in America or Europe.

Thus, you can be cast amongst the islands of the archipelago as you are cast amongst the states that make up America. But you would be cast into the noun or proper name that stands for its constituents.]

 

I got my CPC-A certification certificate (diploma certificate? sounds fancier) in the mail today. So I am technically qualified to work in the field. Seeing postings on the AAPC website of people frantically posting about having the same qualifications as I and getting nowhere, leaves me no less anxious.

Now all I got to do is find some work. That will be the hard part. From what I have heard, it can be the very hard part.

I did, however, take the exam a month after graduating my course and I have absolutely no medical experience. 50 – 60% (or so a variety of sources tell me) fail this test on the first attempt. And that includes people with years of experience in the field of coding and billing.

I hope that counts for something.

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I started this most interesting tale Sunday night. As usual, I am at a lost to explain this work thus far. It may be far too early to grasp what is going on. So far we have had introductions to several characters, some conversations, and a legendary drinking contest (you never enter a drinking contest cold, mate!)

As usual the prose is a delight in itself, and Lafferty is pulling no punches in toying with etymologies. It is a little more restrained (mature?) than the unbridled flair of other works; earlier or contemporary with the Argo series.

I am hoping I will not be too distracted with other things (like the continued study my new “career” demands) to pay this the attention it deserves. Lafferty is subtly metaphysical writer. You may think you are reading a simple paragraph describing a man’s walk to the market, but you can actually be knee-deep in the ontological speculation.

Also present here as elsewhere in his work is tiny excursions of historical fact (usually delivered as quips from a character) that you wouldn’t ever think to look up or even question.

For instance early on a character over coffee remarks how the beverage was Christianized under Clement VIII. I have consumed copious amounts of the beverage in my lifetime. I even grind my own extra dark roast beans and brew in a press – I even make cold brew coffee (yummy!).

But it never occured to me to look up a single historical fact about it. It was simply something existing in the constellation of the plenum. But the sentence was so off the wall. How do you Christianize a drink? And before I knew it I was again, thanks to Lafferty, acquiring another piece of arcana.

Is it arcana?

I find the value of knowledge to be a little scrambled today. If it has no direct, physical application, or monetary value – why bother? Or without the flair of shock and awe. After all, no one would actually watch The Mythbusters if they were really doing science. They do the scientific method in spirit, but science (most science) isn’t about blowing stuff up. Like every job, there is a lot of BORING you do not see.

So arcana. Is it?