Disruption to the cutest degree

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Every cat-owning writer is plagued with this disruption. Rex is too big to fit on the keyboard now, but he does insist on sitting on my lap when I write, or should I say, try to write.

Note the excellent choice of letters in the background. They’re better than some of mine at times.

Daily Post: Disrupt

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What is wrong with you people?

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A Trump supporter with logic is like a unicorn; it can’t be found. Today’s REAL Facebook comment reinforces this.

We have always known that the Democrat’s motto is vote early and vote often. You aren’t gonna change my belief no matter how many studies you do. If it occurs on ONE ballot it skews everything. It should never happened and I have no faith in our election system at all.

There are so many concerning issues with this comment:

  1. Vote early, vote often actually originated in Great Britain, but was used by John Van Buren back in 1926 with respect to organized crime activities. The origin of ‘vote early’ stems from the idea that by voting early you would miss the crowds. Nazi Germany was famous for packing the polling stations with their fanatics thus dissuading ordinary citizens from voting. The term ‘vote often’ could be interpreted as voting in every election possible but more likely implies ballot stuffing. This is now strictly prohibited in all liberal democracies, and to imply it is happening on a grand scale in America has been proven false.
  2. “You’re not going to change my belief no matter how many studies you do” is probably the scariest sentence I have ever read. Disregarding facts just because they don’t fit into your belief system is just plain ignorance.
  3. “If it occurs on ONE ballot it skews everything” is utterly false, and if you knew what math was, you would know that. Unless you’re talking about a race with only a dozen voters, then I suppose, yeah, one vote could skew the election, there were nearly 129 million votes cast in 2016. A New York University School of Law report lists several studies that debunk this myth including:
    • 2016 working paper concluded that the upper limit on double voting in the 2012 election was 0.02%.
    • 2014 paper concluded that “the likely percent of non-citizen voters in recent US elections is 0.”
    • 2014 nationwide study found “no evidence of widespread impersonation fraud” in the 2012 election.
    • 2014 study that examined impersonation fraud both at the polls and by mail ballot found zero instances in the jurisdictions studied.
    • comprehensive 2014 study published in The Washington Post found 31 credible instances of impersonation fraud from 2000 to 2014, out of more than 1 billion ballots cast.
  4. “I have no faith in our election system at all” but I bet you believe Trump won. If you have no faith, how can you legitimize his presidency? You can’t have it both ways.

 

 

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South Dakota Treasures

This is the beauty of South Dakota backroads. You have to go where the signs say “Dead End” or “Bridge Closed.” Meet the Belle Fourche River (pronounced Bell Foosh) near Vale, South Dakota.

Anybody know what year and make of the car? I’m guessing 1950s? It had a last wide ride. Hey, I feel a story coming on.

 

Daily Post Challenge

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My answer to the problem

Why is nobody running on this platform? It seems to me that these two measures would just about solve all our domestic problems: legalize pot and reform our prisons.

Part A: Legalize Marijuana

This is a win-win for everybody. Isn’t it time to give up on this prohibition? It’s just stupid and shortsighted. The only people who want it illegal are old, white folks like Jeff Sessions, who think it’s evil as the puff on a Marlboro, and the pharmaceutical companies that think it will cut into antidepression sales, which it will.

Not to mention:

  1. Pot is a tad lucrative, which is why people are willing to go to prison for it (see Part B.) No more teachers’ strikes, better veteran care, prop up our failing infrastructure, and can we even… dream of… universal healthcare? 

    Look at these Colorado Department of Revenue sales from medical and retail marijuana stores.

    Marijuana Sales Reports

    Calendar Year Total Marijuana Sales Total to Date
    2014 $683,523,739 $683,523,739
    2015 $995,591,255 $1,679,114,994
    2016 $1,307,203,473 $2,986,318,467
    2017 $1,507,702,219 $4,494,020,686
    2018 (Jan) $117,993,222 $4,612,013,908

    Over a billion dollars a year. That’s a lot of bud.

  2. Pot has medicinal properties which alone should be enough to delist it, but some folks, let’s just call them Republicans, would rather deprive a natural remedy to a veteran with PTSD or a kid with cancer.
  3. Pot is loved by the people who have no intention of quitting.

Part B: Prison Reform

Part A plays a primary role in the success of Part B. Get the disproportionately black, nonviolent, offenders out of jail. Provide them with job opportunities in a ‘budding’ new industry so they can support their families and get off welfare.  Overcrowded jails could be a thing of the past.

Now I don’t know much, but I know this kind of corruption and misuse of power is unacceptable. A New York Times article addresses the harm of fine and fees when it investigated Ferguson, Missouri, three years ago after the killing of the teenager Michael Brown by a police officer.

Ferguson used its criminal justice system as a for-profit enterprise, extracting millions from its poorest citizens. Internal emails revealed the head of finance directing policing strategy to maximize revenue rather than ensure public safety. Officers told us they were pressured to issue as many tickets as possible.

Even the local judge was in on it, imposing penalties of $302 for jaywalking and $531 for allowing weeds to grow in one’s yard. He issued arrest warrants for residents who fell behind on payments — including a 67-year-old woman who had been fined for a trash-removal violation.

At the time of our investigation, over 16,000 people had outstanding arrest warrants from Ferguson, a city of 21,000.

People are arrested, can’t afford representation, fines, or bail, the court systems are powerfully overwhelmed and understaffed so court dates are months in advance, people lose their jobs, can’t pay fines, lose their driver’s license, get more fines, go back to jail, and on and on. It’s a downward spiral with no hope of daylight for the offender AND their family. This shouldn’t be America.

Prison reform under Trump has taken a positive step, but then, he hasn’t had his tiny hands on it. According to a February 16, 2018, Rolling Stone Magazine article:

Criminal justice reform is now moving through Capitol Hill again. On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bipartisan bill that relaxes mandatory minimum sentences for some nonviolent drug crimes on a 16-5 vote. While that effort still faces hurdles – namely opposition from Sessions himself – it’s a significant step forward.

It’s an itty-bitty step.

It’s an easy plan, right? Who’s with me?

 

 

 

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Me and the blog-o-sphere

Related imageIs there anybody out there?

Just nod if you can hear me.

 

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Dream vs Reality

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I’ve been having some weird dreams. Unrelated, scrambled scenarios with no basis in reality, but last night’s dream fits into today’s onslaught of chaos.

I was in a small basement filled with people clustered around a table. Donald Trump was there. Yeah, I had a dream about Donald Trump. Upside, Barack Obama sat to his right. The room was packed.

And EVERYBODY was smoking cigarettes because Trump wanted it. Everybody, but me.

I couldn’t understand why they conformed to something so bad and against their best interests. I could barely see through the cloud of toxin, but they blindly puffed away. I started hacking. Somebody told me to stop, it was rude and insulting to the president. Of course, that made cough even more and feint retching. They made me leave the room.

I woke up and tried to put some meaning behind the dream, and for once, I could.

Donald Trump is cancer, a slow, malignant tumor in the heart of America. He has fed off the teat of discourse, milking it for his personal gain, sucking away at the morality of his office while dolling out promises to his like-minded followers. Just like cancer, his effects will be long-lasting and potentially irreversible.

Without treatment, his disease is spreading. The Republicans smoke their cigarettes ignoring the illness of nepotistic, good-ole-boy politics that engulfs Trump’s every move.

And the cancer spreads.

Hate crimes are increasing, the divide is deepening, our government is broken. How much longer are the poor and middle class going to shoulder this country’s burden?

I wish I would have had a different dream. Another one about not being able to find a bed when all I wanted to do was sleep. Come to think of it, maybe those dreams did make sense. To be able to fall asleep and wake up when Trump is gone… wouldn’t that be bliss?

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#EnoughIsEnough

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I went to the movie with my son last week, and as we waited for the trailers to begin, it went through my mind: What if a guy came in and started shooting?

I had never thought that before, but I really didn’t think it would happen.

Not to me.

But it could. It could happen to me. My son could be killed and I live. That random, insane, incomprehensible scenario is reality in America. While I feel safe because I live in South Dakota, there are parents in Chicago texting their son as he is on lockdown.

What would you do if your child was killed? This isn’t just about mass shooting; it’s about America’s romance with firearms. Just as this is a many-leveled problem, it should have many layers of solutions.

But do something.

Enough is enough.

March.

Vote.

Resist

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Broken Heart

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Consciousness taps on the inside of my skull, but something pulls me back into a dream that isn’t mine. I’m in a room, foreign yet familiar. I want to leave, but I can’t.

Dank air, ripe with mold, drifts across the room. Cobwebs droop from an ancient chandelier, a witness to countless travesties and transgressions. Faded wallpaper hangs in shreds clinging to a different era. A broken desk tilts, its top illuminated by light beams streaming through my legs. Hearts, engraved with a lover’s knife, litter the oaken top, a premonition of things to come. I can’t quite make out the letters, but I don’t need to. I know they belong to people who died in this room.

There is so much blood. Beautiful spatters cover the wall like a Jackson Pollack painting, some dark and dry, others bright and fresh. They haunt me, and I am drawn to their dance. A chaotic blend of memories storms inside me. Somehow I feel responsible, but I know that’s ridiculous.

A mirror leans against the far wall. I see legs. They must be mine. I hold a crowbar. It drips a thick liquid. I know what it is and who it belongs to.

A girl cowers beside the desk like a cornered mouse. She was beautiful once, I can tell. Her golden hair hangs in bloody strands over blackened eyes full of fear. Slashes crisscross her arms. Her clothes hang in blood-soaked ribbons.

“Please let me go. I won’t tell anyone.”

“Tell anyone what?” My words sound hollow and far away. What is this place? Where am I?

“I… I don’t understand.” Her doe-eyes drift over the darkening blood. “About… this.”

“Oh, I know you won’t, little girl. I’ll make sure of that.” My lips move, but it’s not my voice.

I claw through the mixture of memories but can’t put the pieces together. I want away from this gruesome scene. I want to wake up. Something’s not right.

#

The fierce hospital lighting pains my eyes.

“He’s waking up.” My wife’s words pull me the rest of the way toward the light.

I shouldn’t be alive, but the familiar ache in my chest is gone. I attempt to sit up, and the morphine soaked haze evaporates as the sutures pull at my skin.

They did it anyway, went ahead with the transplant. Damn them. I told them I would rather die than have a killer’s heart inside me.

I push the pain aside and reach for my wife. She’s the one I love, and the one who bore my children.

“Did you use his heart?”

“I had to save you, baby. I couldn’t let you die.”

#

They send me home with the new heart, the one that feels like a ticking time bomb in my chest. I spend my days trying to write, but the words don’t flow.

My wife brings me my afternoon tea.

“What the hell have you done to your desk? You’re never going to get that out!”

I drop the carving knife unable to recall picking it up. I trace the new etching with my finger. It’s a heart… with my wife’s initials inside it.

 

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Submissions!

Halloween, crackers, dirty money, heirs and spares, folklore, robots, the looking glass, over the rainbow, and many other themes!

18 Themed Submissions

Need more submissions? Check these out.

20 Free Writing Contests with CASH Prizes

Paying Submissions

 

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Kids Come First

This is one of my first flash fiction pieces, and it’s still one of my favorite.

I identified seven individual forms. They used my uterus for a playground; my own miniature rugby team kicking the shit out of my insides, jockeying for position. They were the size of ping-pongs when I first noticed them, when they first became active. Within a week I had plums. I wondered how thin my skin would stretch before it popped open like an overblown balloon.

I don’t know where they came from or how they got inside of me. Maybe I ate something, or maybe aliens visited and erased every sparkle of memory about my abduction.

I should have gone to the doctor when I first detected movement, but maternal instincts kicked in. My babies terrified me, but they contained my DNA, at least I thought they did. I guess I shouldn’t have assumed. If I went to the hospital they would have been taken out of me, killed, and sliced into sections to examine. I should have let the doctors do their job. I had visions of a melon baller removing scoops of bloody, squirming flesh from my belly. The revulsive thought gagged me and caused me to lay a hand on my massive belly and caress a churning bulge. I had to give them the benefit of the doubt and believe in their innocence.

One of them was bigger than the others and more aggressive, already asserting his dominance. I called him Alpha, my big, baby boy. Twice, his kicks knocked me to my knees and sent the air out my mouth like a blowhole.

My passengers got as big as softballs, which doesn’t sound that bad until you consider seven of them together in my womb. No wonder they fought for living space. They shifted continuously and reminded me of tadpoles worming around in its translucent cocoon. I wondered if they looked like tadpoles or something similar, but mostly I tried not to think about it.

My labor started this morning. Crushing pain screamed across my abdomen and ripped along my spine. I was crazy to think I could do this by myself. There was so much blood. A red streak across the linoleum and carpet marked the path where I dragged myself to the couch.

The first six popped out without much fanfare, slimy with my blood. As soon as they exited, they scampered to the corner, huddled together in a tiny, angry mob. They looked like premature babies, except the teeth, and the fact that they could run as soon as they departed my body. They bunched together staring at me with overlarge black eyes and rows of gnashing razor-sharp teeth.

Alpha came out last. Relief from the contractions flooded me, but my respite was momentary. With a guttural growl from Alpha, they descended upon me, attacked my bloody wound and soft gut, ravenous and insatiable. My babies devoured me; their first meal. I patted Alpha’s warty head lovingly, and he bit off my finger.

What else could I do? After all, kids come first.

 

Daily Post: Incubate

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