Today Starts the Day

When I make a serious study of poetry, that is! I am using Laurence Perrine’s Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry Eleventh Edition. I went with a later edition for cost purposes, I hope I don’t regret that choice. As frequent readers have probably heard me say before – I hold older is better as we approach the terminal retardation levels portrayed in Mike Judge’s Idiocracy. It seems it retains one of the authors that was present on earlier editions with Perrine, and browsing through the list of poets, seems to cover mostly the classics.

I found no entries “analyzing” Ziggy Ho’ Doggs Where ‘Dem White Hoe’s At? Nor anything discussing the deep meaning of the “song” Pimp Juice (yes, kiddies that’s a “song”). They did oust the limerick in this edition, but I think we can get by.

This should be fun. I have read poetry in the past and have even dabbled in constructing a few. However I simply read them straight through, if it appealed to me, I liked it, if not, not. If I understood it, I would be prone to like it, if not, not.

This, I am sure is the most common approach to poetry. Life is short, etc, etc.

I finished the first little section earlier. It starts with a poem called THE EAGLE by Tennyson which is a great one to start with because it is quite straightforward, is singular in subject and it is short.

The next one is WINTER by Shakespeare. I found myself having to go to the dictionary on the second line. “And Dick the shepherd blows his nail.” He does what? So I had to look up and see alternative definitions for nail. Still not sure specifically what this means. It is supposed to be a winter image since the poem consists of a series of images of English country winter. Oh, and the hoot of the owl!

Poems this old represent a different level of challenge; greasy Joan keels the Continue reading

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?


[Note: As part of my resolution to focus my life and mind on my writing, so too will this site reflect that. Gone, for the most part, will be social commentary, and other buggerboos that really mean little in the great expanse of time. Occasional things that I find neat-o, book acquisitions and the like will still be included. Although I am cutting back also on the pics with the posts. I just don’t have the time to make it all pretty. Besides, the subject is writing, not pictures!]

I was reading a little article on the multiple third person subjective POV. POV is an inexhaustible subject. There are just so many applications and uses possible. It is almost akin to talking keys in music.

This is simple random thoughts on the subject.

Part of the gist of this article was how not to confuse the reader with multiple POV’s. This would be like switching unintentionally in the middle of a scene, or giving information in the middle of a scene that we could only get if the POV had switched but it didn’t. Or simply switching the POV so frequently that the reader gets lost keeping track of who he is seeing the story through.

All of that is pretty basic stuff. But it occurs to me that I haven’t seen much serious play with perspective. That could be my limited experience or writers don’t fool around with rules as much as they could. Comedy uses experimental devices in perspective for certain effect – like a skit on the Death Star cafeteria or Darth Vader’s shoe shiner – things like that.

But I wonder about other applications. How about a story told from multiple third person subjective with unreliable narrators. Let’s say each perspective is a narrator who is a liar. But each lie or omission of their story paints a truth that is greater than the sum of their accounts.

How about a normal story with a few MTPS’s but with scenes that suddenly move, at important moments, to the man behind the deli counter at a mob assassination.

I’m not suggesting experimentation for the simple acrobatics of it (although writing should be fun and if you want to try it, why not?) or to nihilistic ends. I can see a trap where this could be easily put to undermining ends. A romance seen from the perspective of a flea infested dog, or a habitually masturbating warlock in the closet.

Of course, the man behind the deli counter doesn’t have to remain a peripheral character either. Perhaps his introduction is as a peripheral character witnessing a central event that brings him gravitationally into the center of events or even the mover of events. And perhaps the central mover of events is cast out of orbit to be a deli counter man.

It suddenly occurs to me why most time travel stories I have read are either first person, or single third person objective. Can you imagine (and if there already is one please tell me!) a science fiction story with time traveling shape-shifters told from unreliable MTPS POV’s.


2017 Hugo Award Finalists

TOR has up the list of 2017 Hugo finalists. Stranger Things is definitely my choice in the Best Dramatic Presentation category. Good storytelling, classic style science fiction, little 80’s injection and a little X-Files. What’s not to love?

The boldest entry by far is ALIEN STRIPPER BONED FROM BEHIND BY THE T-REX by Stix Hiscock.

I need a screen guard for my computer as I had a mouthful of coffee when I was reading this list and came to this title. This is much more brave and daring than last year’s SPACE RAPTOR BUTT INVASION by Dr. CHUCK TINGLE.

It is further play upon the Hugo nomination (and win? I can’t remember) of IF YOU WERE A DINOSAUR, MY LOVE by Rachel somebody or other a few years ago. A nomination (or win? can’t remember) that was wholly undeserved. By its nomination practically anything qualified to be nominated. And ALIEN STRIPPER BONED FROM BEHIND BY THE T-REX by Stix Hiscock is living proof!

I fear that by next year IF YOU WERE A DINOSAUR, MY LOVE by Rachel Swirsky will be too far in the past and a newer title should be played upon. I personally like my idea of playing on John Scalzi’s newest, THE COLLAPSING EMPIRE. Mine would be THE COLLAPSING COLON by PETER POLYP.

However, I have no idea of the quality of Scalzi’s novel, so I can’t in justice mock it.

Comment #15 in the comments section below on the TOR finalist link shows just what is wrong with a vast number of people in the field. I’ll reproduce the comment below.

Just realized:

Best Novel – One male, one transgender, and four female authors. That’s impressive!

Why is that impressive? According to this person the goal of the Hugo award is not to represent the best that the field has to offer in a single year, but the widest cross-section of possible “genders” “sexual orientations” and races.


That sentiment is a sweltering heap of shit. I personally don’t care if every single nominee every single year was a regular at a San Fransisco bathhouse as long as the stories were the best stories out there. As an honest patron of all things science fiction and fantasy (and of anything else for that matter) I don’t care two donkey shitz about the author I read. I don’t care if you are male, female, gay, have an attraction to used jogger’s socks. I care about the story. If that resulted in year after year of all white males winning, so be it. If it resulted in all black females winning year after year, so be it. To actually know whether an author I am reading was once a man and is now a woman, is a level of detail that I am likely not to find out on my own.

That comment above is a declaration that the person is not interested in science fiction or fantasy, but in political ends. That person is not interested in the best story. What is impressive about one male, one transgender, and four female authors? What is inherent in that in relation to the quality of the stories? Can I judge, at all, the quality of the works from this sort of consensus line-up? What if they were all white males?

No! This is pure drivel. These are the same biased douchebags that get all in a snit if there are too many white males (or just males) in a category. How do you know that is a bad thing? Since there is no correlation between the sex of the author, orientation of the author, or the race of the author and the quality of a work, then it is simply racism, sexism, orientationalism, transgenderism – i.e., biased political correctness.



The first painting hangs in the Museum of Bad Art. The second hangs in The Institute of Contemporary Art.


{Note: I have edited a portion of this material as I was pursuing a couple trains of thought simultaneously. Also I miswrote that I have heard critics deride the technique of wet-on-wet painting, what I meant to say as I have heard critics dismiss Bob Ross as an artist. Critic being a deceased profession entirely without meaning in the realm of art for about a century now.]

I have always needed the television on to fall asleep. Otherwise the wheels keep turning and I’m tossing all night. The wife and I decided that 2017 would be murder television free – no crime shows, real or fictional. That leaves out a lot of sleeping material. Easiest thing is to stream shows that have fifteen thousand episodes and most cop dramas have about that many!

A couple of months ago my wife finds this show, The Joy of Painting, on Netflix streaming (do they still do DVD’s?) and so we give it a go. Man, you talk about drifting off to sleep. Forget Lunestra or any other sleeping aid. All you need is Ross’ soothing voice talking about happy trees and clouds with friends and… ZZZZZ…ZZZZ

Not that it is boring, mind you. Painting was one of the first things I had ever wanted to do which is one reason why I had never watched The Joy of Painting. It is quite fascinating to watch what begins as a real mess take shape in such a short time (yes, we all know he had a reference painting he painting before the show). I swear he can start with a blue smear, I turn to adjust my pillow or something – hey! where did that stream and forest come from?

It should be noted that as mesmerizing as it is to watch the process, Ross only applied it to limited number of settings and styles, basically those that interested him. Mountains, trees, clouds, streams, beaches, what they call landscape painting. Any man-made objects usually consisted of old cabins, never was there a skyscraper, jumbo-jet or any harsh modern object of industry. No, this was John Denver country here.

Ross’s technique, wet-on-wet, or Continue reading


Man, in some ways I really hate writing. On Sunday I decided that I would start something fresh and let my other stuff lie where they will until they call for me. I was fidgeting with some of my projects here and there but nothing new was coming off of it.

So I decided that I would start something new, and, since I was reading a ton of fantasy at the moment, it would be fantastic… with a little horror thrown in as I am not a big sword and sorcery guy. I prefer fantasy that is more weird and ghostly.

Another thing I hate is these sorts of posts where I have to say “I” all the time!

So I sat and nothing. Monday – nothing. Tuesday – nothing. Today – nothing.

It is hard to explain to someone who has never experienced it. It is not as if there is not the world in front of you, but that you become blind to it. The mind seems to keep polishing its own empty bowl of void and you cannot get it to let something in.

So, today I had my Scrivener open and I just started doodling, but it just started being another doodle of distress…Idea! Come on! Something just a kernel!

I just decided not to pursue something I went to school two years for so I could sit here and suffer in front of the dreaded white nothing?!?!!? I had better convert to Catholicism quick, I have a lot of suffering in store for me!

So, I am sitting there and then I see something next to my printer a few feet away. It is a picture of my sister and I from one of our two trips to Jamaica in ’78 and ’79. Jamaica? Wasn’t there a famous haunted house on a hill there, haunted by some voodoo witch or something like that? Who cares! Enough for me! Ah, and there are the endless banana groves that create a canopy down the river that we rafted on.

Then the race is on, but a little less time on the voided crucifix would be nice!


Still not quite done with this book yet but…

I have a few more observations. First is the bleakness of it. In this world there are two opposing forces Chaos and Law. The reign of either spells the doom of man. Chaos is winning and Elric the “hero” (and, comparatively, to today’s standards he passes as one – he’s basically Conan with albinism who draws his power from his runeblade’s ability to suck out the souls of its victims) must defeat the forces of Chaos and establish the reign of Law. The reign of law will also spell the end of man. This would be the end of magic basically and the warrior man and bring about common man like us.

Something like that.

But either way, Elric and his race are fighting for their own doom. He does not save the girl she dies horribly, etc, etc.

The other observation is I believe Moorcock wrote this either on amphetamines or close to lethal doses of caffeine. The pace is relentless nobody stops for anything. And this includes the author who often did not check to make sure to carry through his character’s action through exposition.

There is one sea battle scene where three of the heroes are treading water amongst the debris of wrecked ships and dark Chaotic forces. Also one of their number is unconscious and is being supported in the rough waters by the other two. In comes their “guide” in some sort of bubble craft. He starts to “info dump” and they are having a page and a half discussion.

After a while I was thinking, “Why doesn’t this jerk let them into his craft, they’re going to drown gabbing away like this.” A few sentences later the writer has them exiting this bubble craft back at the guide’s lair (sorry, I don’t have the book in front of me I don’t have all these names on recall) in Nahrain (I think that’s it).

Hold it. What? But they never left the water! And – before any one contradicts me, you are wrong! If you do not take them out of the water, they stay in the water. It is not my job as a reader to, when they suddenly exit this bubble-craft I did not know they were on, to backtrack in my mind, “oh, well, they were on it the whole time!” No, you have just thrown me out of the story.

Another instance was merely clumsy. Elric comes to his wife Zonizoria (its close something like that) who is hiding from the forces of Chaos that have almost taken the whole of the earth. He tells her he must leave, he cannot stay long. And then proceeds to make sweet love to her and to stay all night until the next morning. And the next morning when he is getting ready are his three (or two?) war companions simply waiting for him as if they instinctively knew that even though he had to leave soon, that meant at least a full night’s sleep and making whoopee. Are these characters or things that are just there when they need to be? The way it is written makes it hard to feel anything or care when they later die.

Later on in the book they have to go steal a magical shield from some giant that protects against the maligning forces of Chaos so Elric can get in there and kill the baddies. The giant has known for eons, through prophesy, that Elric would one day come to slay the giant, himself, for this shield. When Elric and gang fight through the giant’s defenses and confront the giant himself, the giant, sad and resigned to his fate (he had been immortal, made mortal and spent eons fearing the encroachment of his death) he asks Elric mercy and lays the sword at his feet.

Elric agrees to let the giant die by the passage of time at not by his soul-sucking blade, and so the giant walks off and Elric picks up the shield and turns to leave. Oh, hell no, thinks one of his compatriots and murders the poor giant from behind – because? Prophesy. Oh, and Elric killed one of his own fighting through the giant’s defenses (and not entirely by accident) so the giant has to die because Elric couldn’t control the power and passionate rage that courses through him when he and his sword are slicing through the flesh and sucking up the soul of their enemy in battle.

That did get a reaction out of me. I felt sorry for the giant, and I thought “man, Moorcock, you dick. you had a nice moment there, but you had to ruin it for a little more blood.” Seriously, I bet George RR Martin worships this guy.

Anyway, that is probably all I’ll write about this book. I will remember some parts of it, but as you can see I can barely remember some of the names as I am reading it. It is not, by far, the worst book I have read in recent years. That still goes to Ann Leckie’s terribly galactic letdown.

“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!


I am only about halfway through this book but I feel safe in calling this one. This book is stupid. The writing is inept while at the same time having pretension. I wish I had written down some of the stupid phrases I have read in this work so far. At one point Elric stands up from a sitting position followed by the phrase “his eyebrows lifted.”

What? his eyebrows lifted him out of his seat? His eyebrows lifted why? In relation to what event?

In another scene two warriors are having a discussion about a runesword. The main character, Elric, holds out his hand – “Give it to me,” Elric said quickly.

And then they proceed to stand there and talk a while longer. Why did he have to say “Give it to me,” quickly? It is out of place, there is no action requiring him to ask for it quickly. He just stands there holding it for a few more minutes of conversation.

The book is full of such disjointed, out of context writing.

It is also the sort of work that could not be put into film unless all parts were acted out by drunken cross- dressers. No one else could pull such laughable melodramatic seriousness. And the action, first this and then that, the world ends if you do this, the world will end if you do that. Literally the world will end. Within the first 20 pages we are buzzed into a full blown world war and extravagant backstory of Elric’s warrior ancestors and the rule of Chaos and blah, blah, blah.

I will finish it. It is not a hard read, and the book doesn’t let you vest any emotion in any of the characters so you slam through it. Can’t remember a character (ah, and it comes with numerous lands, people and gods that share a single characteristic – goofy names that are hard to retain or pronounce, and they are made up so you can’t go look in the dictionary) who cares! Just pay attention to the albino hero, Elric. He will succeed or he won’t – screw it on to the next book!

Not bad if you know you are going into pretty much worthless cheese.