I spent most of the past few days with the muscled in my back tensed--ready for the horrible news that the state of Alabama elected a corrupt pedophile because he was running as a Republican. Things have been that squirrelly around here. I was starting to think that we'd reached the point of no return. I got even more stressed when I heard about some of the stunts that were being pulled to prevent black voters from voting. Nonetheless, Democrat Doug Jones won the Senate seat in a staunchly Republican state. I can't even begin to tell you how relieved and happy I am about this. (Mind you, its' taken a while to loosen the tension in my shoulders and back.) This is a good sign regarding the 2018 elections. I was almost as happy as I was when I heard about the indictments of Manafort and Gates in October. All of these are signs that we've a chance to seriously slow down this shit show in 2018. But it's clear an important message has got to sink in when it comes to the Democratic party. This, from the previous link: "Jones’s mobilization of African American voters was critical to his victory, and Democrats saw in his turnout emphasis a model for how the party must mobilize its essential voter coalitions in the coming year. In the final weekend of the campaign, Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) and other prominent black Democrats rallied for Jones."
That's right, black voters were key to the win. Let me repeat that: black voters were key to the win, not disillusioned white Trump voters--black voters. It's long past time we stopped focusing on whites who voted for Trump. I've long felt those articles were a form of racism. Why focus on 32% of those who bothered to vote and still support the scumbag when we need to shore up and unify the other 68%? Black voters are important to the political process and they outnumber white Trumpians. Where are all the heartfelt articles about their anxieties and needs?
Anyway, I'm thrilled to death about Alabama's special election results. Now, let's see if the Republicans pull out all the stops to prevent Jones from assuming his seat ASAP. There are already rumors that they will push for a wait until after the vile Tax bill is passed. Did I mention I'm sick to death of Republicans being lying, cheating, scummy bastards?
 Alabama recently instilled a photo ID law--one wherein voters are required to have a state sanctioned picture ID in order to cast a vote. It's one of the oldest means of preventing minority groups and the poor from voting. It costs money and time to obtain a driver's license or a state ID. And they have to be periodically renewed. The poor can't afford either. As it turns out, a lot of the stories about Alabama closing driver's license offices in primarily black neighborhoods were from 2015. (They decided against it after catching vast amounts of flack for it.) However, I did see reports of individuals traveling to the polls being held by police for minor traffic violations for up to an hour before finally being ticketed.
Good morning, y'all. Ready for some righteous rage, serious thought, and maybe a little laughter? Okay. Let's do this thing, shall we? Today's videos (sorry for all the white cis women, y'all. i'll do better next week.):
I'm going to complain again about YouTube. I subscribe to The Freq Show. Why the fuck do I need to see an anti-feminist barf her internalized bigotry all over the screen after I watch a Feminist video? Fuck Off, YouTube. Fuck. Off. (In other words, don't just let the video continue to play after it's done, folks.)
And now for the links.
Folks are gearing up their lists for awards-eligible work and well...mine's not much of a list. (As you can tell, I suck at this self promotion thing.) There's only Blackthorne, my 700 page Epic Fantasy novel and the sequel to Cold Iron. I really do need to start writing short stories. :) Oh! And today I got the following feedback:
"And holy shit guys. This is a HELL of an epic fantasy. Lots of women characters with agency. Queer rep. And serious critique of the shitty power structures of fantasy feudalism. AND a great yarn. Seriously impressed.
The last chapter contains the line. "Honestly, the stories people in power tell themselves to justify their station."
"heirs to a kingdom are heroes because they dismantle its power structures" is my dream fantasy plot."
Mind you, officially that's for Cold Iron, but it could easily be for Blackthorne too.
"I don't get it. Who was that little boy and what did he have to do with Bruce Willis?"
--woman who was obviously unclear on the concept of 'time travel story' in a theater restroom after having seen the film 12 Monkeys
This morning, I read an article about how the (male) producer of the movie Annihilation is at odds with its (male) director. This, because "After the screening, Ellison (the producer) became concerned that the movie was “too intellectual” and “too complicated” and wanted changes made to make it appeal to a wider audience." Okay. A couple of things here. First? Because one of the changes he wanted to make involved making Natalie Portman's character, the biologist, more 'sympathetic' I can't help feeling a lot of the issues involve men and misogyny. I read the novel. The biologist is a complex, even difficult character. She's not a happy person. Women are simply not allowed to be difficult on screen in mainstream America unless they're being categorized and dismissed. (see The Iron Lady) Secondly, SFF has never actually been a mainstream thing. It's niche. Most people who watch super hero films don't read comics, and most consumers of SFF media don't read. You can see this at ComicCons everywhere. The entire focus is on TV or film stars and buying media-related...stuff. The literary arm of the convention--even comic book art--is an afterthought. Better yet, compare the attendance numbers between SFF literary conventions (100-800 people) and ComicCons.
I'll say it again. SFF is not actually a mainstream thing. TV and film are.
This is the time of year when I want to be positive and hopeful about humanity in general. Needless to say, last year was a tough one in that department. This year has also been challenging--already, but so far, it hasn't been quite as bad. I'm over the shock for a start.
For the record, I'm a fan of "Happy Holidays!" People who insist on "keeping Christ in Christmas" are merrily attempting to erase every other belief system that exists. No one group has a monopoly on holy days in December, y'all. So, learn to share. That used to be a core Christian belief. Whatever happened to it?
Anyway, we bought our tree early this year, and Dane and I decorated it together. (I prefer live trees. I love the smell.) I also enjoy watching the Macy's Thanksgiving parade, and this year I even got to see Santa arrive. Usually, I'm too busy in the kitchen and miss that part. For me, the holidays aren't The Holidays without seeing Santa at the end of that parade. I blame Miracle on 34th Street. (Doris Walker, Susan's mother, works for Macy's and manages the parade.) I prefer the 1947 version for the record. The reason why is because there are little details that don't hold the same punch when you don't have the freshly dead specter of WWII hanging overhead. For example the following scene has a lot of power when you understand that that kid is a war orphan. This film premiered in 1947--just two years after the end of the war.
Happy first Monday of December, y'all! Ready for those links? Let's do that thing. First up, today's video:
2017's main themes seem to be horrible, terrible, awful politics and ALL THE GREAT TV IN THE UNIVERSE. It's as if the entertainment world has said, "Holy crap. Reality is a steaming pile of shit right now. Let's have a little something to save you from existential nuclear dread and sanity damage, shall we?" You know what? I'll take it.
Which brings me to today's offering.
I'm a Gilmore Girls fan. (The show helped me through my HRC-losing-the-election depression. No Joke. Also, I'm so not Team Dean. Rory makes the worst decisions when it comes to men.) Amy Sherman-Palladino is an incredible writer. She has a gift with dialog. Dialog is tough. Great dialog is tougher. It's like ballet. It requires talent and a LOT of training and in the end it must appear effortless or it doesn't work at all. Sherman-Palladino is amazingly amazing and this show from what I've seen--I watched the first episode--is no different. It's brilliant, funny, and nails so many issues around being a woman in a world where CIS white men's needs, dreams, and problems are always center stage. I'll follow her anywhere...but...
FFS, is there any way to watch the show without signing up? Because I'm okay with paying for episodes. I've done it before. However, I refuse to pay $70 for a service when I only buy 3 or 4 things on Amazon a year. Fuck that.
I've talked a bit about personal health issues. Largely, I do it so that those starting out as writers understand that life isn't going to stop throwing obstacles in your path once you become published. As Rosanna Rosannadanna used to say, "It's always something." The idea is that you don't let it stop you. Fight the good fight, my friends. Anyway, let's talk about something that happened yesterday and how it's pretty disturbing.
I got a phone call from my insurance company yesterday. It seems they have a "new" program that they wanted me to take advantage of--one where they've hired a registered nurse to interface with their clientele. I was instantly alarmed. Why? Let's travel back to a time before Obamacare. Around a year before Obamacare.
I broke and dislocated my elbow in martial arts class.
Good morning, y'all. I've got some catch-up writing to do. (Thanksgiving was pretty great. It was also pretty lazy which, you know, is what it's about--after all the mad baking, that is.) So... ready for that steaming cup of righteous anger? Let's do this thing!
First up, let's discuss listening to women--particularly women of color. Also? Let's stop with the 'Who would've thought?', 'We didn't know!' 'If only someone had known!' bullshit. It's a form of rewriting history. Many groups knew there was a resurgence of white supremacy, and they were actively vocal about it. Women knew the GamerGate movement was a problem. (There's a direct connection between Steve Bannon and Gamergate.) Dear White Men, we--the whole rest of the planet--need you to wake the fuck up and listen.
And Godless looks interesting. I haven't seen it yet. I understand the episodes dropped over the weekend.
Let's talk about the importance of net neutrality and trusted news sources. Combined, they are an essential part of the American political process. In the case of net neutrality, it is directly connected to free speech. (You know, that thing that conservatives go on about being an absolute right.) Net neutrality is also essential to the existence of small businesses--a big part of America's economy. In the case of trusted news sources...well...we all know the problems around allowing opinion to taint news. Don't we? And yet, conservatives are all about stripping these things. Particularly the current head the FCC: Ajit Pai.
Let's start with this article: Ready for Trump TV? Inside Sinclair Broadcasting’s Plot to Take Over Your Local News. That should give you the heebie-jeebies. How many of you have brainwashed relatives who subsist on Fox News? How much more difficult are our lives going to be when all news is Fox News? Even more importantly, YOU ARE NOT IMMUNE TO FAKE NEWS.
I've seen a number of laments along the lines of "the success of Fake news is the result of a failure in the average American's education. Americans are too gullible and stupid now." Horse shit. Intelligent people are not immune to conspiracy theories. This is why we used to have laws designed to prevent opinion from bleeding into facts reported on the news. I remember a speech Ronald Reagan gave in the early '80s. It was around the same time he was spouting that lovely Welfare Queen myth and the $500 toilet seat story. (I think it was a toilet seat. It may have been a hammer.) I remember Reagan saying that he was abolishing needless Federal laws like the one restricting the news. "Because Americans are smart. Smart enough to discern the difference between fact and opinion." You know what's wrong with that statement? Human beings can be manipulated. They can even be successfully lied to. Intelligence has nothing to do with that. We all fucking know this. Can we stop telling ourselves otherwise? Every successful con starts with a mark who thinks they can't be fooled. If it were easy to sort the difference, Google, Twitter, and Facebook wouldn't have a fake news problem.
We also need anti-trust laws. Specifically, we need FCC anti-trust laws that prevent the consolidation of media and the influence of foreign powers.
As if that weren't bad enough, Ajit Pai is proposing to gut Net Neutrality.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.