Phrase o’ the Day: Ectoplasmic Tommy Gun!

Hrm…  Okay, so I’m still playing catch-up on posts, which means I think it might be time for the writerly equivalent of the puzzled shrug…that old slacker favorite, the list:

  1. I read a few news bits over the last couple of days about the State of the Union.  More specifically, about postponing or cancelling the thing because of the government “shutdown.”  To these pieces — and to the concept of delaying/cancelling — I say, “Well, duh.”  Is there a more pointless or pathetic example of kabuki theater than the freaking State of the Union?  For a long, long time the damned thing was just a letter sent to Congress, not the spectacle of imperial excess and extravagance that we have now.  Shit, all the Constitution requires is “notification” to Congress of the state of the union (note the lack of capitals!).  coronation_of_nicholas_ii_by_l.tuxen_(1898,_hermitage)What it does not require are speeches carefully scripted and crafted with *wait for applause* moments.  What it does not require is the expenditure of millions of dollars on something we already know will be cheered by one team and booed by the other, regardless of content or message.  What it does not require is empty pomp and circumstance and ceremony from 500+ people who can’t even do their fucking jobs.
  2. Ahem.  Rant over.  Thanks for your patience.
  3. Britain and the EU.  Oh, Britain and the EU…  As a history-nerd, I absolutely love the political maneuvering and shenanigans on display.  As an English history-nerd, I am completely appalled by the sheer incompetence on display.  I mean…shit…how in God’s name can you make the US Congress look like freaking workaholic geniuses?!?!  winston-churchill-with-tommy-gun_a-g-7613085-0Churchill isn’t turning over in his grave, he’s off getting pass-out drunk.  Every single person at Westminster — both government and opposition — should be happy his ghost is just doing that, by the way…otherwise he’d be stalking the halls with an ectoplasmic tommy gun, taking them all out.*  Look, I love both England and Europe as a whole…but the EU is an idiocy.  As a trade union, it’s great.  As a common market, it’s perfect.  As the “ever closer union” trying to force 27 very, very different nations/peoples/societies/cultures to turn into some bastard-mutant-child of the worst parts of France and Germany, it’s nothing more than the rankest insanity.  Unfortunately, like every single example in history of “technocrats” and “elites” who “know better,” who know “what’s good for you,” they won’t — they can’t — let even one single person slip from their control…
  4. *Churchill 2: He’s Back, And He’s Pissed! — hey, I’d pay to watch it!
  5. It’s gonna snow again in a couple of days…and I can’t freaking wait.  After the last dumping, I took off for a moderate off-trail hike.  Now, it can be hard in Colorado to find “untrammeled wilderness” without having to go deep into the mountains, but a nice knee-deep coating of snow with no footprints from anything or anyone but the wildlife is a nice freaking start. I’m getting the itch again, by the way, for one of those 6-month jaunts off to…err…well…nowhere in particular.  Go back to Krakow or Tallinn or Prague as an illegal alien, working tour gigs and bartending…or hike the Pacific Crest Trail…
  6. Yep, there’s a song for #5 too!:

How Much For Just The Kidney?

6BA433B2-B88E-431E-8FF6-D167B7A87E8FOkay…so, most of the time, writing a “list” post happens because a blog writer — not me *cough, cough* no, never me *cough* — can’t come up with anything better.  A list is a “Get Out of Posting Free” card…

Other times, however, the lists come up because…well…there’s too much shit to talk about for any one post. Today is one of those…because, of course, I would never ever do a list for the first reason!

Shit, not even my mother bought that one.

Ahem.

Never mind.

So, anyway…a random list of squirrel-moments:

1) Why the hell do we get so worked up about Supreme Court appointments? I mean, honestly, no one gave a shit until the late 80’s(ish), so why get so freaking insane (for or against) now? Because Congress willingly gave up all but a tiny vestige of its power, influence and credibility decades ago, that’s why. They shifted the intended three-way separation of powers into a two-way one when they got on their knees and refused to take a stand on anything. When the Founders put together the Constitution, they envisaged the tension between the branches — and the loyalty elected officials had to their respective branches — outweighing factional or party interests. What, after all, did a popularly elected House member have in common with the “landed gentry” of the Senate? Sorry Jefferson and Adams, but y’all missed on that one. As much as those guys wanted to avoid the bullshit of Britain’s Parliamentary system, and the concomitant supremacy of party over everything else, we still ended up at a point where loyalty to team trumps loyalty to nation and people. And, in spite of how much we complain, we voters keep voting for the idiots (on both sides) who contribute to the general level of incompetence and bullshit. *sigh* Sometimes I wish I hadn’t studied the fall of the Roman Republic quite so closely…

62AF9E94-D55D-4A73-A611-3EEE37F19CAA2) Last Friday’s post got me to thinking that I should probably explain what I mean by “flash fiction”. Umm, well, I actually meant to add such an explanation to that post…but I forgot. Sorry ‘bout that. So, a bit of explanation: when I use the “flash fiction” tag on a story, it means I gave myself an hour to get it done. That’s it. An hour to come up with an idea, write the story, edit it, then import it into WordPress and post it to the blog. To use that particular post as an example: I sat down to start working at roughly 9:15 AM, with no idea at all as to what I wanted to write. At 10:00 AM, I hit the “Publish” button for The Dark. An extra hour or two — let alone an extra day! — would have made that little story much better…but then it wouldn’t have fit under my personal definition of Flash Fiction.

3) Why the hell are we as humans — and especially me, as a writer — so self-limiting? “Oh, I’ll do X when I have money…” is an excuse we all too often use. It is also one that all too easily becomes “Yeah, I can afford it, but I’ll wait and do X when I have the time…” as soon as circumstances change. Bah! Harrumph!! Just how much shit can I/we put off, anyway? I think I’m going for a World Record on that particular topic… Remember — all the way back to Wednesday! — when I talked about putting yourself into your writing? Hobbies and interests and the like? Yeah, maybe I should take my own stinkin’ advice from time to time: I’ve had this concept for a nonfiction book half-researched and outlined for…oh…three years or so, now. It’s an area that is a passion of mine, and one in which I actually am an expert (rather than my usual fake-it-‘til-you-make-it BS), but still the thing sits in Scrivener unattended and unwritten… *yet-another-sigh*

64AEF2C6-4026-4B25-8284-5FA441864A9A4) Another of those things I’m putting off is travel, and that itch is starting to strike…bad. Since I made the (semi-poor) decision to come back from Yellowstone, I haven’t really gone anywhere. Freaking Denver is the most exotic place I’ve been recently…and that ain’t particularly impressive for someone who lives all of an hour away from Denver. New countries are calling to me, places I’ve never seen: Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Turkey, Georgia… Old countries are calling, too, favorite places: Italy, Croatia, Czech, the Baltics… I feel almost like I did when I posted a rant a few weeks back: “…cannot get out…”

0F30B67B-CACC-4A28-AF2F-D6890D0AE4715) To go with #4 above — I had my photo gear stolen a while back.  $15,000 worth of camera and lenses, gone in a poof because I’m an idiot who can’t lock his truck.  The insurance payout was…err…not good, so I despaired of even trying to get back into pro-level gear.  I finally started shopping for cameras the other day, however.  I started shopping and stopped almost as quickly as I started.  Just to get to a decent starting baseline will run a minimum of $3,000.  THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS.  Anyone need a kidney?  I got one for sale: one owner, lots of miles…