Friday, May 31, 2013

Good Times at Pottersville, 5-31-13

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Good Times at Pottersville, 5-30-13

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Good Times at Pottersville, 5-28-13

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day, 2013

     This is a post I'd written four years ago for Memorial Day 2009. At the time, I didn't think anything would change, certainly not under Obama, who, just as Bush had with Iraq, had his little surge in Afghanistan, an 11½ year-long boondoggle that by conspicuous relief almost makes Iraq look like the Revolutionary War.
     Even moreso than avarice and racial prejudice, the one facet of humankind that has remained unaltered is our propensity for waging war on each other. When even armchair liberals at the Rand Corporation or elsewhere tell us that war is a regrettable but necessary fact of human life, they speak in purely nationalistic terms, through the prism of national security.
     Let's get one thing straight: War is not a necessary part of human existence nor should it. It is ugly, destructive, unnatural. When I say this, I mean that all nations should reject war in favor of diplomacy, that we should all stop waging war on smaller, weaker countries simply because the indigenous people are standing between us and whatever we want and creating excuses such as "spreading democracy" as a risible fig leaf to rationalize those blatant rapes and pillages.
      The only significant difference between the original post of 2009 and this version is that now we have to contend with drones over our own airspace. We can expect to see these James Cameron abominations over future sporting events and parades such as the ones we're now having across America. Because of a small handful of malcontents that the FBI knows about yet does nothing about until they strike, we will have to endure countless intrusions of our privacy. Our fearless leader is now asking Congress to create "kill courts", essentially Star Chambers, that'll give or so he thinks a legal fig leaf to kill whatever American citizen he likes overseas. There's only a very thin ethical membrane of separation between this and Obama or some future psychopath from asking for permission to do this over American soil.
     I will never, ever back down from my assertion that in many ways, shapes and forms, Barack Obama is the worst president in American history until the aforementioned future psychopath assumes that mantle. Just as Bush had no problem with handing over cartoonishly bloated Unitary Executive powers to his Democratic successor, so Obama does not seem to mind handing over even more cartoonishly bloated Unitary Executive Powers to what could be a Republican successor.
     Aside from Constitutional powers alarmingly expanded to suit the police state government at the same time its protections are contracted for the rest of us to the point where the First Amendment and many others have ceased to exist, the only other things that have remained unchanged, and will always remain unchanged, are the flag-draped coffins coming off the transports at Dover AFB in Delaware, the Memorial Day parades and the grief-distorted faces of the families and friends as those coffins are about to be lowered into the ground.
     General Smedley Butler told us 80 years ago that war is a racket, designed to bloat private industry. Since at least the Civil War, it has always been a rich man's game and the poor man's bane. Eugene Debs once famously defined a bayonet as a weapon with a worker at either end.
     That, too, has not changed and never will.

     Some of the other people whom we'd liberated from an oppressive dictatorship as well as from their families...

     So, when will you go to the funeral of one of our war dead, Mr. President?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Good Times at Pottersville #8

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Prologue of Tatterdemalion

          While I understand it, it troubles me that, historically, my so-called readers have been at best apathetic on the relatively rare occasions I post my fiction to this blog. I understand it because this is primarily a political blog and perhaps I'm overestimating the size of my dwindling readership who may actually care about other things I'm doing.
          In what's necessarily my spare time, in between job hunting, bill-paying, shopping, laundry, trips to the garage and all the quotidian minutia comprising a human life, I've been piecing together 1000-2000 words a day (which, when inspired, I can toss off in 30-60 minutes even in longhand) a novel you may have heard whispered about in this forum. Last year sometime, I got it in my head that it would be a hell of an idea to assemble Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley and her husband, Arthur Conan-Doyle, Sitting Bull and Sigmund Freud and have them hunt Jack the Ripper in 1888 London. After doing some preliminary historical research, I realized the timelines were somewhat compatible (with a little literary license) and their motives for being in London's East End were even more plausible and compatible. My first novel, written in 1994-5, was a sci fi tale about Jack the Ripper so it was just a matter of brushing up on old research.
          I'd tossed off a prologue and brief first chapter then it sat in mothballs for several months while I was working on my Joe Roman trilogy. Then I met an English author and asked him if he wanted in, since I thought having a co-author across the pond wouldn't be a bad idea since he'd have a better idea of how the Queen's English is spoken and may have better insight as to what Victorian London was like. After showing him the first eight chapters and getting some tweaking from him, he'd decided a couple of weeks ago to drop out of the project, citing scheduling conflicts and wanting to earn enough money from his book royalties to quit his day job. He'd actually said he wasn't too keen on splitting the royalties of our book, even though he'd known since early March we 'd be doing so.
          He was supposed to do the publicity and marketing while his cover artist was to do the cover while I would pitch it to literary agents since I have much more experience doing that. But now, with him out of the picture, I'm free to write this book any way I want, one which was my vision, to begin with. One of the first things I did was to turn the existing prologue into the first part of Chapter One and to write a new prologue, which you see below. I'm already on Chapter 13 and, even in first draft, it's coming along pretty well. Virtually the entire book is narrated by my fictional character, Scott Carson, a young pioneer cinematographer who actually shot the first motion pictures in 1887 when Buffalo Bill and his Wild West show was in London doing a command performance for the Queen's 50th Jubilee.
          Remembering Bill's gallantry and sense of honor, Queen Victoria is more than amenable to Inspector Fred Abberline's unorthodox idea of bringing in Bill and his troupe back to London to investigate the Ripper murders since one of his own Indians (and this is historically true) has been blamed for the Whitechapel killings of Jack the Ripper. This is Scott Carson beginning his tale as a disillusioned 55 year-old Hollywood cameraman in 1922.

          Buffalo Bill bursts from the London fog like a rawhide cannonball, .45s blazing, his horse’s hooves striking sparks on the cobblestones. On either side of him is Chief Sitting Bull, both hero and villain of the Little Big Horn, Annie Oakley and Frank Butler and Arthur Conan-Doyle. Looking down on this vivid milieu from some metaphorical coign of vantage is the man who redefined Humankind’s inner universe, Dr. Sigmund Freud.         
          Of course, it was rarely if ever actually that romantic. I will leave such dramatic imagery to any publisher of dime store novels what may find this account worthy to be put between covers.          
          However, it is human nature to apply layer after another the patina of nostalgia over our actual memories of more quotidian events what, for better or worse, alter the largely capricious trajectory of our lives. Bill and Sitting Bull, sadly, are now no more. The once pretty and sprightly Annie Oakley has never been quite the same since her automobile accident (Though her legendary aim, I am happy to report, is actually sharper than ever.). Frank Butler and Conan-Doyle are now stiffly-moving old men and Freud’s not doing so well himself these days.
          Yet as parents persist in thinking upon their children at their most adorable and vulnerable, so I tend to imperfectly recall my old, dear friends at the height of their powers and during the first of several defining times of our mutual amities. I see them still, God save me, certain characteristics, phrases or looks etched in sharp relief as with a coroner’s scalpel or Jack the Ripper’s knife, a forgivably, I will hope, intrusive palimpsest superimposed over a factual history.
          The fall of 1888 was just such a time, one of palimpsests and faulty revisions of the hideous actual, an age of false narratives, illusions, delusions, lies, prejudices and subterfuge. And while Bill, Annie, Frank and I had at least one other subsequent adventure together what could be termed grand, our relationship in London during the last of the Whitechapel murders was taken at times beyond the breaking point just as surely as Saucy Jack had successfully tested 8000 London policemen.
          Ours was an ad hoc investigatory body what would forever change law enforcement throughout the English-speaking world and perhaps beyond that. And this was brought about because our unsuspecting, more innocent world had never seen anything like the Ripper killings, or, as Freud had written to Conan-Doyle, “the Caesarian birth of a new pathology setting latter-day psychology on its bloodied ear.”
          Ergo, please permit me my persistent romantic recollections of a singular event of multiple murders what had taken place across five weeks in the autumn of ‘88. As long as my memories endure within this failing brain, I will always think of Buffalo Bill, his gold and silver hair flying behind him as he barrels through London fog atop his steed Isham, Annie “Little Sure Shot” Oakley at one side, her infallible rifle tucked into her shoulder, Sitting Bull on the other side, bow and arrow at the ready, both taking aim at an elusive evil that even now, with the benefit of decades of hindsight, cannot be adequately explained or even defined.
          However much you may choose to believe or disbelieve, this is how these great men and a great woman detoured from their path to posterity to pursue and vanquish an evil rendering redundant the necessity of embellishment or dramatization.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Good Times at Pottersville, 5-23-13

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

And Now, a Word From Cyril Blubberpuss, Esq: Athletics edition

     Dear St. Charles Borromeo Seminary:
     I have read with great relief and strictly manly shedding of tears of your program that starts tomorrow and lasting through the 26th and seeks to purge hale, all-American heterosexual young men of the bane of same sex attraction through your sporting camp. Because if manly virility cannot be vouchsafed by celibate, androgynous men wearing robes, funny shoes and hats, then to whom will the task fall?
     In fact, speaking of banes, I was saying to Mitt Romney the other day as I'd just shoved my freshly-shined size 10 wingtip into the bootblack's face that I greatly admired his Olympics held at the family compound of Lake Winnipesaukee every July 4th holiday. Rather than mere athletics, the Mittster offers the family spirited semi-athletic games designed to let him win every time in order to foster the spirit of competitiveness. Indeed, with the troublesome possible exception of grandchild Twig, not a single homosexual in the 497 members of the last three generations of Romneys has ever emerged and, I think, its close relation to actual athletics has everything to do with it.
     And the idea of putting young, virile men in close quarters, with no women being allowed near to distract them from their natural inclinations, is a stroke of genius. After all, when you place sweaty, half-naked men in constant close proximity to each other, encouraging them to manfully grasp, tackle and otherwise touch each other and have them share in the male bonding ritual of showering together, it will necessarily thrust, thrust and keep vigorously thrusting impure thoughts from their impressionable heads.

 Cecil Blubberpuss in much happier days.
     Oh, if only my brother Cecil and I had such a tackle-the-gay-away camp when we were young. Cecil, my moon-faced kid brother, had always worried me and our late father, Ambrose Blubberpuss. Cecil was never one for sports and would dream aloud of becoming, on attaining 21 years of age, a male underwear catalog photographer. So in 1961, Father had packed us up and sent us to Monsignor Gassalasca O'Herlihy's annual Retreat For Nancy Boys With Impure Thoughts. As with the Romney Games, it offered little in the way of actual athletics (although Father Gas, as we called him, partly because of his rather unfortunate flatulent condition), would prevent children drowning in the lake from struggling to shore with a rowing oar until they learned a proper stroke. Amazingly, we'd lost only one little asthmatic boy that summer.
     Yet, when one warehouses boys aged 6-13 together, making them eat, sleep, make leather purses for Singapore and shower together, the devil will surely gain a foothold somewhere. So Father Gas got an ingenious idea that nowadays some liberal naysayers and fag-enablers would call "child abuse": Every time a boy was caught embracing another or even looking at him for more than three seconds, Father Gas would whip the boy's bare posterior with a freshly-cut switch from the woods and then with his own two hands smear the juice from jalapeno peppers into the lesions, sometimes spending up to two hours at this harsh but loving form of discipline.
     (Sidebar: After nearly 20 years as headmaster of this camp, Father Gas was then suddenly reassigned by His Holiness and then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Last we'd heard, he was made the gym teacher and locker room attendant at Boy's Town before abruptly getting relocated again and put in charge of personally dressing the singers of the Vienna Boy's Choir.)
     No doubt, since it appears as if you'll be catering to fully-grown men, that particular form of comeuppance will no doubt be optional at most (depending on the convictions of your men of the cloth). Well, Cecil, despite being a Blubberpuss, was always of a delicate constitution and had somehow run afoul of Father Gas's strict but fair code. Well, on this fateful night, Father Gas, an otherwise erudite and judicious man, had nonetheless exercised some horrendous judgment as he had my little brother bent over his lap, stripped to the waist but not the way you think, near our roaring campfire. The combination of the humiliation plus the potent juice of the jalapeno peppers forcefully smeared into his posterior was too much for my brother to handle. He'd let loose with a flatulent blast what would have ordinarily done Father Gas proud but in this case produced a geyser of flame that had burnt two boys and singed off their eyebrows. This was followed by a somewhat semi-fluid release of what we'd had for dinner that night.
     In a strange way, this proved most efficacious as any boys who were still afflicted with impure homosexual thoughts were by this time forever cured (In fact, at the 30th reunion held at the camp doubling as my corporate retreat, we'd learned two of those boys went on throw away God's greatest gift rather than live with the shame and stigma of such impure inclinations.). Upon returning from his summer-long cultivation of Swedish industrialists and several members of their patriotic National Socialist movement, Father forbade us from ever going back to Father Gas's camp. Cecil, fortunately, did not make good on his dream of being a catalog male underwear photographer, even though he became an interior decorator in the Soho district.
     My point, however, is that if we had during the godless, hedonistic Kennedy years the same camp as will begin tomorrow in Pennsylvania, perhaps my little brother Cecil could've been saved from a life of pastel and swatches. Perhaps, unless your athletic program is set in stone, you could include as a further inducement to more manly thoughts a regimen of Turkish oil wrestling or something from Greco-Roman times, as I cannot think of a sport least likely susceptible to homosexual thoughts as an import from ancient Greece.
     I remain, most manfully yours,

     Cyril Blubberpuss, Esq.

Good Times at Pottersville, 5-22-13

KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

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