Category Archives: irony

Conflict is Essential

The case has been made in an article by John Welford (https://owlcation.com/humanities/Did-King-Henry-VIII-Have-A-Genetic-Abnormality) that English King Henry the VIII may have suffered from a genetic disorder commonly known as “having Kell blood” which may have made having a living male heir almost impossible with his first two wives. The disorder causes frequent miscarriages in the children sired, something that happened to Henry seven times in the quest for a living male heir. If you think about it, if Henry did not have this particular physical conflict at the root of his dynasty, he might’ve fathered a male heir with his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Then there would’ve been no opening for the machinations of Anne Boleyn. It follows that Elizabeth would not have been born. Then no Elizabethan Age; no sir Francis Drake, Spain might’ve landed their armada, no Church of England, possibly no William Shakespeare, and then Mickey would never have gotten castigated by scholars of English literature for daring to state in this blog that the actor who came from Stratford on Avon and misspelled his own name numerous times was not the author of Shakespeare’s plays.

History would’ve been very different. One might even say “sucky”. Especially if one is the clown who thinks Shakespeare didn’t write Shakespeare.

Conflict and struggle is necessary to the grand procession of History. If things are too easy and conflict is not necessary, lots of what we call “invention” and “progress” will not happen. Society is not advanced by its quiet dignity and static graces. It is advanced and transformed by its revolutions, its wars, its seemingly unconquerable problems… its conflicts.

My Dick and Jane book,
1962

Similarly, a novel, a story, a piece of fiction is no earthly good if it is static and without conflict. A happy story about a puppy and the children who love him eating healthy snacks and hugging each other and taking naps is NOT A STORY. It is the plot of a sappy greeting card that never leaves the shelf in the Walmart stationary-and-office-supplies section. Dick and Jane stories had a lot of seeing in them. But they never taught me anything about reading until the alligator ate Spot, and Dick drowned while trying to pry the gator’s jaws apart and get the dog back. And Jane killed the alligator with her bare hands and teeth at the start of what would become a lifelong obsession with alligator wrestling. And yes, I know that never actually happened in a Dick and Jane book, except in the evil imagination of a bored child who was learning to be a story-teller himself in Ms. Ketchum’s 1st Grade Class in 1962.

Yes, I admit to drawing in Ms. Ketchum’s set of first-grade reading books. I was a bad kid in some ways.

But the point is, no story, even if it happens to have a “live happily ever after” at the end of it, can be only about happiness. There must be conflict to overcome.

There are no heroes in stories that have no villains whom the heroes can shoot the guns out of the hands of. Luke Skywalker wouldn’t exist without Darth Vader, even though we didn’t learn that until the second movie… or is it the fifth movie? I forget. And James Bond needs a disposable villain that he can kill at the end of the movie, preferably a stupid one who monologues about his evil plan of writing in Ms. Ketchum’s textbooks, before allowing Bond to escape from the table he is tied down to while surrounded by pencil-drawn alligators in the margins of the page.

We actually learn by failing at things, by getting hurt by the biplanes of an angry difficult life. If we could just get away with eating all the Faye Wrays we wanted and never have a conflict, never have to pay a price, how would we ever learn the life-lesson that you can’t eat Faye Wray, even if you go to the top of the Empire State Building to be alone with her. Of course, that lesson didn’t last for Kong much beyond hitting the Manhattan pavement. But life is like that. Not all stories have a happy ending. Conflicts are not always resolved in a satisfying manner. A life with no challenges is not a life worth living.

So, my title today is “Conflict is Essential“. And that is an inescapable truth. Those who boldly face each new conflict the day brings will probably end up saying bad words quite a lot, and fail at things a lot, and even get in trouble for drawing in their textbooks, but they will fare far better than those who are afraid and hang back. (I do not know for sure that this is true. I really just wanted to say “fare far” in a sentence because it is a palindrome. But I accept that such a sentence may cause far more criticism and backlash than it is worth. But that is conflict and sorta proves my point too.)

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Filed under humor, irony, old books, philosophy, strange and wonderful ideas about life, William Shakespeare, word games, wordplay, writing humor

Surprisingly Easy Fixes

I briefly thought this last Sunday that my writing life was over. I found my computer was dead after I had spent time doing household chores like washing the dishes. I couldn’t turn it on. And I found the battery wasn’t properly connected to the wall socket for recharging, a thing that had apparently been true for far too long. It was the third time that my faulty memory and my excruciatingly bad luck had conspired to completely drain the computer battery. That is, of course, about the worst thing you can do to damage a modern lithium battery, drain it completely. And I had done it THREE TIMES!!!

I briefly imagined my new Chromebook computer would become a stage for paper dolls the way my first laptop did.

So, naturally, I cussed myself as a stupid loser and decided to buy myself another laptop instead of paying the 300+ dollars it would cost to replace the electrical system of my Chromebook at Best Buy. My wife and daughter were in San Antonio visiting my sister-in-law and mother-in-law for the weekend. So, they were not around to talk me out of my evil plan. I bought a Windows 10 compatible HP Laptop at Walmart for about a hundred dollars more than I thought the repair of the other computer would cost me. And I was amazed as I got it home and started retrieving my essential apps and documents. It is much more compatible with my documents and writing habits than the Chromebook. I didn’t have to waste a lot of time learning new procedures and linking things up in a different way. I could even do Google Chrome on the new computer where the Chromebook doesn’t allow easy access to the Microsoft Edge I had gotten used to before the Chromebook. I was actually feeling quite pleased with myself.

This is either an old picture, or San Antonio’s weather is out of whack again.

On Monday, the same day I brilliantly replaced the Chromebook, my daughter came home from San Antonio. She heard the story of my tragedy and following triumph, and she immediately demanded to see the Chromebook. I had been keeping it on the charger since its death, and we still seemingly couldn’t turn it on.

“Wait a minute, how long did you wait after pressing the “on” button before you pressed it again?” she asked.

I hadn’t been timing it. But I had tried everything when it died.

“Try it again. But press it only once.”

I pressed the “on” button, not holding it down, just like she had advised me. A quick click followed by a long wait.

“See? The battery is truly dead.”

“Wait a moment more.”

As soon as she said that, the screen was suddenly prompting me for my password. I typed in, “bullwinklemooseismyheroandrolemodel989” (Not actually my password) and the computer was back from the dead!

“Amazing! I spent all that money just because I wasn’t turning it on correctly!”

“Well, you did have to fully reload the battery. And the Chromebook I had at school used to do almost the same thing sometimes when it didn’t feel like working properly. But now you have two laptops. One for watching Netflix and one for writing stuff.”

Genius! Pure genius. I now have two new computers, and my wife can’t even get mad at me for how it happened. Once in a great while, it pays to be forgetful and excruciatingly unlucky.

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Don’t Do What I Say…

If you tell a middle-school child not to do something, do you know what the only thing they are thinking about doing is? Yes, you know it. The thing you told them not to do is the only thing they desire to do. Republicans in general, old white guys with lots of money, and everybody who follows their lead will be exactly the same. If you want to see middle-school kids try coming to school naked, tell them the dress code specifically requires them to wear clothes. And it won’t be the pretty ones, the smart ones, or the poor ones who try to become in-school nudists. It will be the fat, ugly, wealthy ones. In fact, it is the reason private schools for the rich concentrate on telling them what they must wear, like ascots, diamond cufflinks, and polo shirts in school colors. And they never have a rule that states, “You must wear clothes.”

So, let’s see if we can really confuse the disobedient and contrary masses of the world by telling them not to do what we really want them to do. But don’t tell them we want them to do what we are telling them not to do. Make them figure it out for themselves. It’s the only way to get them to do what you want. Make them think it’s not what you want and forbid it.

(Is the king wearing his new clothes? Not if you can see them, peasant!)

Let’s start with the Governor of Florida, Ron DeSaniflush. Do not vote him out of office. Only support those ideas that benefit his political career no matter how badly they will hurt the people of Florida. Happily pay the extra tax burden he has laid on Florida residents because he rescinded the special deal Disney has as a major employer and corporate entity in the Orlando area. The Disney corporation is guilty of a terrible thing, not wishing to demean any of its LGBTQ employees by following his “Don’t Say Gay” law, and don’t deserve to have the special deal where they have the right to maintain their own roads and county services in the Disney World region of Florida. Those Floridians need to assert their rights by paying for those same maintenance and service issues with their own tax burden. That will show those Mickey-on-Pluto-going-at-it perverts.

Get what I really mean? Listen very carefully. Some of those words are dog-whistles and bell-ringers, and Floridians are too stupid to figure out what we really want them to do. They will never prove us wrong. Am I right?

This honorable gentleman, current Emperor of Texas, Greg “Gunslinger” Abbott, also should never be voted out of office. After all, he is the anointed successor to the former Emperor of Texas, Rick “I’m Smarter With My Glasses On” Perry. You don’t become Emperor of Texas by being voted in, but, rather, by preventing certain people from possibly voting against you.

You see, what Emperor Abbott wants to protect us from is something called Critical Race Theory. This is an evil cloud of educational ideas intended to make innocent white children, specifically rich innocent white children, feel guilty and ashamed by knowing about things like civil rights abuses, inequality, slavery, racially-motivated lynchings, the South losing the Civil War, and Jim Crow laws not being about birds. This will be achieved by accusing and firing teachers and principals, especially teachers and principals of color, for promoting CRT through books like the ones about Ruby Bridges.

Here are the kinds of books CRT police want to ban;

For the good of white children in America, regardless of how children of color will feel about it, you should not buy these books to read them and risk liking the story of how young Ruby passed the test as a kindergartner in 1959 that allowed her to integrate William Franz Elementary as a first-grader, the only black child in her first-grade class in the previously all-white school, escorted to and from school every day by four U.S. Marshals and her mother, running a gauntlet of foul-mouthed racist protesters that threatened her, and attended an empty classroom where white children had been removed by their white parents in order to break the color barrier in Southern schools as a sort of heroine for the ages at seven years old. No, you should only buy these books to use as evidence against teachers or to burn them in a public display of CRT contempt.

So, here are the things you should not be doing. (And remember, you are not supposed to do what I say in this article.)

  1. Do not develop tolerance for people and cultures that are different than your own. We are not stronger when we are diverse. That is a lie the bad guys tell.
  2. Conservative and Republican are words that mean, “the good guys.”
  3. Democrats, liberals, progressives, fascists, communists, socialists, and terrorists are all the same thing. They are all “bad guys” and all the same.
  4. It is more important to hate the “bad guys” than it is even to love the “good guys.” After all you never know when a “good guy” will develop a conscience and become a RINO, socialist, or some other kind of “bad guy.”
  5. “Bad guys” never have ideas worth listening to. What you don’t learn about can’t hurt you. So just ignore them… or better yet, hurt them.
  6. Loving one another without conditions only works for perfect people like Republican Jesus. Don’t try it. Hating everyone works better.

So, these are the things I am saying when I say, “Don’t Do What I Say.” So, now you should go out and NOT do them.

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Filed under angry rant, commentary, Disney, feeling sorry for myself, humor, irony, Paffooney, politics

Living Life as a Poem Written by a Fool

The field on which I have printed these supposedly poetic words is part of the farm that I and my two sisters have inherited. The land belonged first to my great grandfather, Friend Aldrich. His son, Raymond Aldrich, was my grandfather, the father of my mother. Now that my parents are both gone, one-third of this farm is now mine. But I don’t own the land. The land owns me.

I have endured with my roots in this land for more than 65 years. The old cottonwood tree on the corner has been there longer than that. You see the cottonwood in both of the pictures so far used in this post. They say that the total root system of this old tree is just as large and spread out as the part of it you see above ground.

Ironically, my roots are here where the ancestors who came before me planted them in the 1800s. Ironic because my life now blooms in the Dallas, Texas suburbs, almost 750 miles away from my roots. That is a deeper and larger root-connection than the cottonwood has.

I don’t farm the land myself. Another local farm-owner rents the land and farms it for us, increasing his yield and profits in order to keep his own farm producing food for the world. My own crop consists not of corn or soybeans, but rather words, memories, statements, stories, and meanings distilled from more than 65 years of brewing them from the things that formed me, the things that came from farm and family, and resulted in the poetry that is my life.

Yes, it is poetry written by a fool and a notable terrible poet. But it makes people laugh and sometimes cry and reaches out from the center of my soul to communicate the wisdom of a life that has been lived and is now almost done. How is that not poetry? A poem written by a fool.

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Why Wizards Write Writing That’s Wonky

To be a wizard is to be wise. Look at the word origin if you don’t believe me.

wizard (n.) early 15c., “philosopher, sage,” from Middle English wys “wise” (see wise (adj.)) + -ard . Compare Lithuanian žynystė “magic,” žynys “sorcerer,” žynė “witch,” all from žinoti “to know.” (Wisely plagiarized from http://www.etymonline.com/word/wizard)

Mickey, the old fool that he is, thinks of himself as a wizard

Mickey is a wizard. He writes down foolish things like that because he knows that the beginning of wisdom is to recognize that you are no more than a fool. You can laugh, but it’s true. Some wise guy that I am paraphrasing here said so. (Probably Socrates.) So, that makes it true

Don’t believe me? Want to debate me?

Have you taken the step yet of recognizing your own foolishness?

How can you be wise if you never take the first step down the path to wisdom?

And what defines a wizard, is that a wizard writes. He must write his wisdom down. Otherwise, there are no fruits of his wisdom. I tend to write mostly strawberry wisdom. That kind of fruit is tart and sweet in season, but sours easily and spoils in hot weather and dry kitchens. Blueberry fruits are probably better. They become tarter and sweeter with dryness, kinda like good humor and subtle jokes. But enough of the fruit-metaphor nonsense. The best fruit of wisdom is the Bradbury fruit. I confess to having eaten often of Bradbury Pie. Dandelion Wine and The Illustrated Man leap to mind, but there are far more Bradbury Pies than that.

My latest published Beyer-berry Pie. (but only if you go back in time to 2020)

So, if Mickey is a wizard, and wise wizards write wisdom, then where do we get Beyer-berry Pie?

The strawberry-flavored pies are found in the My Books page of this blog, though the author’s page on Amazon is a more up-to-date list.

Here’s a link https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Beyer/e/B00DL1X14C/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Recently the fool of a wizard, Mickey, planned to set up a free-promotion weekend for A Field Guide to Fauns. But because he cast a time-warp spell and leaped from 2020 to 2022, he now is offering a free copy of Sing Sad Songs until the end of May 2022. Honestly, as Mickey Books go, Sing Sad Songs is one of his very best.

The foolishness begins below..

Of course, I probably can’t sell a single copy of A Field Guide to Fauns. Potential readers will see that there are naked people in this book about nudists and automatically think that Mickey is too weird and crazy to be a good writer. But good writers like Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut can be bizarre in their writing too. (I wonder what Vonnegut-berry Pie would taste like? I must read Cat’s Cradle again, for the third time.) Probably at least blueberry-flavored, if not gooseberry.

But even failed wizards can write wizardly writing if they write with wit and, possibly, with real wisdom,

If I have any wisdom at all to share in this post about wisdom, it can be summed up like this;

  • Writing helps you with knowing, and knowing leads to wisdom.  So take some time to write about what you know.
  • Writing every day makes you more coherent and easier to understand.  Stringing pearls of wisdom into a necklace comes with practice.
  • Writing is worth doing.  Everyone should do it.  Even if you don’t think you can do it well.
  • You should read and understand other people’s wisdom too, as often as possible.  You are not the only person in the world who knows stuff.  And some of their stuff is better than your stuff.
  • The stuff you write can outlive you.  So make the ghost of you that you leave behind as pretty as you can.  Someone may love you for it.  And you can never be sure who that someone will be.

So, there you have it. The full measure of the wacky wizard’s wisdom was written down by the wise-fool-wizard Mickey.

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Picking Pictures Pusillanimously

Does it take courage to post a picture like this? Or is it cutsie-smoochy safe for work? She almost has an indication of breasts. Is that not evil? Maybe I shouldn’t post this.
Is this picture too violent? If you are not looking closely, the rat might seem to be inside the dog’s bloody red mouth, instead of riding on his back as he gives a stupid, rat-friend grin.
And is this picture racist? Why is she blue? is that some goofy type of BLM statement about not caring what color a person is? Or is it intended to belittle Space Smurfs?
Should I be ashamed of posting this portrait? The girl is actually a transgender character. That’s frowned upon where I live. Should I be trying harder to avoid frowny people commenting on my posted pictures?
This portrait could be ageist! Am I making fun of old white guys in farmer’s overalls? Is it supposed to be a joke about conservative old coots?
This portrait looks demonic! His eyes follow you no matter where you stand or flee to. One should never post such a picture in the Bible Belt.
So, I guess I’m in big trouble posting this. Just because I think it is innocent nudity and basically beautiful does not mean that it is not offensive and wrong in the eyes of some viewers. And some will seek it out for entirely the wrong reason. So, should I be pusillanimously afraid to include it? Probably.
I guess Mickey is not pusillanimous. But then, did you even know what it means?

Definition of pusillanimous

lacking courage and resolutionmarked by contemptible timidity

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Being Prosaic

Untitled

I admit it.  I am prosaic.  I think in sentences.  I speak in paragraphs.  I write in 5-paragraph essays.  I should stop with the repetition of forms and the parallel structures, because that could easily be seen as poetic and defeat my argument in this post.  I write prose.  Simple.  Direct.  Declarative.  But those last three are sentence fragments.  Does that fit the model of prose?  How about asking a question in the middle of a paragraph full of statements?  Is that all simple enough to be truly prosaic?

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Prose is focused on the everyday tasks of writing.  It seems like the world thinks that the mechanical delivery of information in words and sentences should be boring, should be functional, should be simple and easy to understand.

I don’t mean to be pulling your reader’s mind in two directions at once, however.  I need to stop confusing you with my onslaught of sentences full of contradictory and complex ideas.  I should be more clear, more direct, and more to the point.

So here is my thesis, finally clearly stated; The magic of writing prose, it turns out, makes you the opposite of prosaic.

20160705_214055Ah, irony again!  It ends up being anything but simple.  You can write in simple, adjective-and-adverb-free sentences as Hemingway did, and still manage to convey deeply complicated and thoughtful ideas.  One might even suggest that you can create poetic ideas in mere prose, dripping with layers of emotion, conflict, theme, and deeper implied meaning.  You can also write prose in the intensely descriptive and convoluted style of a Charles Dickens with many complex sentences and pages-long paragraphs of detail, using comic juxtapositions of things, artfully revealing character development, and idiosyncratic dialogue all for comedic effect.  Prose is a powerful and infinitely variable tool for creating meaning in words.  Even when it is in the form of Mickian purple paisley prose that employs extra-wiggly sentence structure, pretzel-twisted ideas, and hyperbolically big words.

Simply stated; I am a writer of prose.  I am too dumb about what makes something poetry to really write anything but prose.  But I do know how to make a word-pile like this one that might just accidentally make you think a little more deeply about your writing… that is, if you didn’t give up on reading this three paragraphs ago.  I find it useful to examine in writing how I go about writing and what I can do with it.  I try to push the boundaries in directions they haven’t been pushed before.  And hopefully, I learn something from every new essay I write.  What I learned here is that I am prosaic.  And that is not always a bad thing.

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Science-Fiction Rules for Real Life

God finally finished the last episode of the radio comedy “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” on an old cassette recording from the BBC brought to him especially from Heaven’s out[-of-date AV department at his command. He hadn’t listened to it when it was new even though Saint Peter kept telling him how funny it was and he really ought to make himself aware of the works of Douglas Adams. And he needed a new comedy writer for the Sacred Stand-up Comedy Review next Saturday.

“Make it so, Peter,” God decreed.

“Um, Lord, I fear our lend-lease agreement with the Bad Place has expired.”

“You mean, the writer of that radio play is not in Heaven…?”

And then God, being all-knowing, remembered that humorists, comedy writers, and satirists had lost favor since the Middle Ages. If only Dante hadn’t made that snippy comment about Deus ex Machina moments in real life. Writers should not assume God has a sense of humor.

“Well, if I cannot get the comedy writer I need to write my monologue, I will use some cosmic humor of my own and just change all of reality to satirize how things work in science fiction.”

“Oh, my!” said Saint Peter. “What are the rules going to be?”

“First of all, if you ignore small scientific rules for too long, they build up problems and cosmic tensions to a point where they create world-ending catastrophes. Like having too many cows farting on farms leading to global warming and the atmosphere eventually catching fire. Methane burns, after all.”

“Well, that could never happen. People on Earth would never value hamburgers over being able to breathe without inhaling fire.” Saint Peter had a smug smile of satisfaction on his face for that faulty realization.

“Don’t bet your afterlife on it, Peter.”

“What’s rule two?”

“Anything mysterious or inexplicable found by archaeologists was done by alien beings in flying saucers.”

“But that could be true, couldn’t it? There are planets capable of life and civilization that are millennia older than Earth, possibly even millions of years older. If interstellar travel is possible, then some explorer-type civilizations have probably already visited Earth. Maybe even announcing themselves as gods. After all, we haven’t really figured out how the pyramids were built.”

“Peter, be careful how you blaspheme! And don’t let Zeus hear that I have created this second rule.”

“Sorry, Lord. Forgive my misspoken ignorance, and tell me the third rule.

“Well, time travel is possible. And because it is, it has already been invented somewhere in the universe, and therefore it exists in all times and all planets. There are nearly infinite time travelers watching everything happen.”

“Won’t they mess up the time lines of events that happen in their past?”

“They cannot. A time traveler is part of the history they visit. Therefore they might cause the event to happen. But they can never change it. Anything they do is part of the history that already exists.”

“So, is David Tennant from that show a real time traveler?”

“That is for me to know and not for you to question… Though I can reveal that David Tennant is not the real-life Scrooge McDuck, only his cartoon voice.”

“That is good to know.”

“And the final new rule I will create for my humorous monologue is that all alien civilizations will speak and understand English, but we will all know they are alien because of strange little alterations to their neck, nose, or forehead.”

“Will you nickname that one the Star Trek rule?”

“Is Gene Roddenberry in Heaven or Hell?”

“Good point, Lord. At least he won’t be embarrassed when you spring this new reality on the angels at the Comedy Review on Saturday.”

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The Sum of All my Fears

Let me be clear. I am not afraid to die. I am not afraid of the end of life on Earth. Even though I am just atheist enough that I don’t believe in an afterlife or rewards for being good after I am dead. I am also not afraid of turning evil in old age. My life is centered, peaceful, and grounded in a positive, life-affirming moral philosophy. So, why would I choose to write about fear if I am not afraid of anything?

But, that’s just it. I am not immune to fear.

I am sometimes afraid to watch Cardinals’ baseball games. It seems like, during playoffs and playoff runs, if I watch the ballgame, the Cardinals lose. I am afraid of being the cause of them losing important games, as if they would’ve won if I was not watching.

Of course, I listened on the radio the night Bob Gibson pitched a no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 70’s . I watched the day Mark McGuire broke Roger Maris’s single-season home-run record. I watched the Cardinals win the World Series in 1982, 2006, and 2011. I followed the series in the newspaper in 1967. So, my fear is really a matter of being determined to overcome superstition. 1985, 2004, and all the other lost playoff series were really not my fault.

But a more real fear is my fear of stupid people winning the War on Ignorance that I have been fighting all my life, especially from 1981 to 2014, my teaching career. I am concerned that our education system is intentionally being driven into a dogma of only producing docile, controllable adults that will work hard and not demand a living wage, fair treatment, and equal rights with the privileged and wealthy minority. I labored for years to promote creativity, critical thinking, research skills, and reading-and-writing skills in students who come from poverty, Spanish-speaking homes, and who sometimes misbehave because they are not treated as well as their white, wealthy peers. Those are the hardest things that a teacher needs to teach. But the stupid people are demanding that we ban books and eliminate any idea or literature that might make privileged white kids feel the least bit guilty about racial attitudes, historical treatment of Native Americans, Slaves, and their descendants that their own ancestors might have had something to do with. And the feelings of those kids descended from those same oppressed peoples are disregarded. Stupid people would prefer that events like lynchings. the actions of the KKK, and other outrages committed in the name of racial hatred just be completely ignored and forgotten about. That is not how culture flows in a positive direction in a free democratic society.

As a retired teacher, I wish this meme had better spelling and was less true.

Stupid people are not only enacting racist book-banning crusades against straw men like CRT, Pro-Gay and Antifa terrorists, and liberal pedophiles, thus succeeding in firing black educators. banning the books of Alice Walker, Malcolm X, and James Baldwin, and preventing teachers from answering questions about sex. But also in getting stupid and violent radicals elected to offices they have no ability to handle only so they can do hateful things to the people their voters hate… mostly the poor minorities and marginalized immigrants, LGBTQ people, and even liberal educators like me that FOX News and Mark Levin tell them to hate.

I definitely fear having to live the final years of my long life under the rule of Trumpists, racists, narrow-minded stupid people, and Ted Cruz.

Oh, and I am afraid of being watched by ducks. Beady-eyed, soulless mallards, pintails, mergansers, Muscovies, and other kinds of ducks. Even though it was actually a goose that caused my preschool trauma and current phobia, it is a mallard with teeth that haunts my nightmares.

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Stranger Dings

Yes, Singing Bare has no message on his chalkboard. He is clearly nonplussed by the dozens of strange small things that have been happening for which he can find no cause… rhyme or reason.

One of the reasons he is nonplussed (here meaning confused and disoriented, not the new, controversial definition of nonchalance) is that Mickey is having trouble actually getting writing done. And yet, Mickey is definitely not suffering from writer’s block. The ideas still come in a flood that, if anything, drowns out older ideas that didn’t get written down before the brainstorms increased. There are currently three complete novels in my head waiting to get written down, and I added to none of them yesterday.

Poppensparkle is threatening to do to her novella what her sister, Derfentwinkle, did to her novella, turning it into the novel The Necromancer’s Apprentice.

The barrier is, of course, 30,000 words. More than that is a novel. Less than that is a novella. So, how do you do necessary world-building with a world of three-inch-tall fairies and keep it spare enough to fit into the shorter novella length? One can’t let such conundrums paralyze your writing. And yet, one can’t rely on the details in the previous book not needing to be repeated in this one to build a consistent fantasy world.

The problem with the primary WIP (Work in Progress for non-writers) is completely different. I left off in the middle of a Canto, as I often do to keep the flow going from one writing session to the next. And that normally is something I can just pick up and write the next time I sit down to it. Three weeks later I still haven’t finished the scene where Valerie is in the hospital and has to explain why her cousin Tim did something stupid to land him in the hospital in a coma… to Tim’s father, Uncle Rance. It is already written in my head. Just not in the perfect words. And I know it is stupid to wait for perfect words to magically appear. But I did… and they haven’t.

But the strange little thing that has Singing Bare nonplussed is actually a nudist thing. Both he and I share the problem of wanting to be a nudist, but not quite being able to cross that barrier. For him, as an imaginary turn-of-the-century Native American boy it is the inability to cast aside the loincloth, not because he’s shy, but because that sort of nakedness can get your ads canceled on WordPress. (Not that Mickey has ads.) For Mickey it is a matter of not being able to join a local nudist club because, although they allow single men to join, and married men with supporting wives can also join, but men with objecting wives are barred from applying. My wife is okay with me being a nudist as long as she doesn’t have to get naked herself. But she is unwilling to give any kind of written or verbal consent that will be observed by anyone besides Mickey himself. She would be embarrassed for anyone else in her religion to know that it was true that she was okay with her husband spending time naked socially.

So, I am not ashamed that I like the naturist-nudist way of life. I am sad that it took me so long to embrace it as a fact in life. And my wife has known about my belief in nudism since before we got married. She has only ever been opposed to nudism because she believes her religion tells her it is a sinful act. Yer, the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Adam and Eve were perfect when they were in the Garden of Eden. and the Bible says they were naked when they were perfect. So, since Witnesses believe they will all become perfect after Armageddon, they must also believe they will be naked after Armageddon. Right? Ah, well, that’s just one of those little dings life puts in the enamel of my being. One of those Stranger Dings.

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