Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Warning About A Society's Purge and A Book Review

Photo: the paperback's cover, from it's Goodreads page

Vienna Secrets by Frank Tallis is a very good book, #4 in the series, that was nominated for an Edgar Award in 2011. The mystery involves a few decapitated men, all in one way or another seen as enemies of Vienna Jews--the last one also being Jewish himself. There are the typical cast of characters, all of whom seem guilty in some way, until the real murderer shows himself towards the end. Max Liebermann gets out of that mess, solves the crime, solves a male patient's pseudo-pregnancy, and walks out of a meeting with his job--in that order. Once again, Tallis seems to show that the crime is second-fiddle compared to the more normal things his character has to go through.

But the real purpose of this book, as with the first three and the following two (I don't know why I've read them out of order, but it's not proven to be a problem), is to show the growing anti-Semitic dissension in 1903 Vienna. The subject is integral to the plot, to the characters, to everything. The book ends with the sadly ironic statement: "Today, Jews may be insulted and abused, but they will never be consigned to the flames again." This was supposedly written in Dr. Liebermann's journal in Vienna, 1903. Hitler, who was born in Austria on April 20, 1889, and who spent time in Vienna, was 14. Since he moved to Germany in 1913, he could plausibly have been a part of Liebermann's 1903 Vienna, but Tallis apparently decided--wisely--not to go there. But the irony of that sentence is impossible to miss.

I've harped on this before, in my other Tallis / Liebermann reviews, and Tallis himself has harped on this in every single Liebermann book, but I'll harp on it again: These books were written long before this last year's election cycle, but the warning is not subtle:

Beware of the makeup of your society, and beware who rules that society.

A country's leader is a reflection of that society, not the other way around.

A woman-hater, for example, cannot succeed in a society otherwise void of woman-haters. A xenophobe who fears / hates Mexicans cannot succeed in a society that does not otherwise fear / hate Mexicans. Though such an aspiring leader may lose an election by garnering "only" 30% to 40% of the vote, such a percentage is still alarmingly high and must be seriously addressed by that society. Simply put, that's a lot of fear and hate. Even if that aspiring leader goes away, the fear and hate-mongering that he flamed will not. It'll be there, and it could, and probably would, get worse.

It's happened before. Europe, 1890-1945. Spain and England have had Jewish purges. America has had a Native American purge. Think about it: If the current aspirant could wipe out those he hated, would he? Even his allies would say Yes. (In fact, that may be why they're his allies.)

So watch out. Beware of the makeup of your society, and beware who rules that society.

This book shows that was true in 1903 Vienna, and it shows it's true in 2016 America.

Beware. Keep your eyes open.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Getting It Wrong -- A Clockwork Orange

Photo: from the MSN article linked below. You've got to see this movie. A disturbing masterpiece.

I recently read an MSN photoslide article of 40 movies that critics got completely wrong. (Click that to read it.) Some made me so upset that I had to vent--I mean, blog--about them. For example:

“Stanley Kubrick's 'A Clockwork Orange' is an ideological mess, a paranoid right-wing fantasy masquerading as an Orwellian warning. It pretends to oppose the police state and forced mind control, but all it really does is celebrate the nastiness of its hero, Alex.” — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Of all the movie critics I've read over the years, I agreed with Roger Ebert most. (Though I am most frustrated with his review of Dead Poet's Society, but that wasn't one of MSN's 40 here, so that's a blog for another day.)

But he got this one wrong. (See the movie if you haven't.) A Clockwork Orange is not paranoid right-wing fantasy. That's Trump-land, a country that Kubrick would never consider visiting. Though he had his share of really out-there thoughts (and don't we all), Kubrick did not feel Britian's (which is where he lived, let's not forget) police force was in danger of dominating his country with a tight fist.

It is an Orwellian warning, in a way, but not as criticized here. Certainly Orwell's lesson of "beware of who you elect to control you," and, for that matter, "beware of those who you let control you" is in play here--but that's not what the movie is really about.

A Clockwork Orange says to beware of a totalitarian police state (with the emphasis on the police), but it also says that we do need a large and controlling police presence, because human nature sucks, and left to our own devices, chaos will reign. That's the irony Kubrick was trying to show. Kubrick was all about irony, all the time. And so it is here.

Alex isn't the criminal, the movie says. His society is criminalizing, and he is a criminal as a byproduct. Though Alex is individually responsible for his own actions, the bureaucracy that tries to "civilize" him just makes him worse. This movie is definitely an attack of that bureaucracy. Remember the scenes of the guard transferring Alex? Remember the bureaucratic forms that had to be filled out? Remember how long that took, especially that ingenious shot of the guard separating the perforated portion after that's signed? Who wouldn't be driven to anger or mindlessness in that nihilistic setting of dominant mindlessness? When the bureaucracy is all that matters, we're all lost.

The insinuation here is that we are all Alex, or at least potentially so. So the movie doesn't pretend to oppose the police state. It does oppose the police state--as depicted as a mindless bureaucracy. It's not paranoid at all--often, human nature does suck, and at our core, no matter how much we think we're civilized, we're all still baseless and base. (That was the point of 2001, too. Remember the million-year flashforward bone-flip? Despite all our technology, all our civilizations--on Earth and on the moon--we're still just a base, bone-loving species. Some of us are okay with that, but some of us strive to be more than that, a new species, maybe, capable of so much more.) Burgess's novel somewhat says the same thing, and this movie beats it over our heads.

Since we're all capable of being Alex--some more so than others--we do need a heavy police presence. But too large a police presence (and it's mind control) is just as bad, if not worse, as having too many criminals. So it's bad to have, but we do need it, to some degree. What degree is that? Well, in the movie, it was too much. In the beginning of the movie, it wasn't enough. So where's the line? Kubrick didn't know, and he's saying we don't know, either. Recent events in America since Ferguson show we still don't know. (Art imitates life, right?)

And so the movie doesn't celebrate the nastiness of Alex as much as it uses that behavior to prove its point. In very broad strokes, written large, the movie showcases the all-too-human negative "celebration" of the nastiness in us all. Kubrick (and Burgess) say: We're all potentially that nasty. Which is why mind control and a police body politick aren't the answers. The answer has to come from within us, individually. In only that way can we create a "civilized society," which is a Nietzschean umbrella term that really doesn't exist--another point that Kubrick makes here. The movie is all about that irony, painted with very broad strokes to the point of satire and farce--but, let's face it: Isn't civilization, society, and other umbrella terms all a farce anyway?

Look around you. Look at American politics right now. Look at what we call our civilized society--a culture that actually does celebrate the dehumanization of women, minorities, LGBTs and, really, anyone else who is not a self-satisfied, arrogant, pompous, self-loving rich white male. (We don't seem to understand the difference between self-serving "facts" and actual facts, either.) And, by the way, our American society is still one of the best, most stable ones out there in the whole world.

That's the reality right now. It's that million-year bone flip in 2001: Despite our technology, despite what we call our civilized society, we're all still a bunch of bone-wielding, power-wielding, blood-loving savages. And no matter how we're trying to control ourselves--with prisons, politics or mind-control (and those last two are often the same thing, by the way) we're always going to be like that.

Because we're human, and that's our human nature.

That's not a very negative, twisted farce?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Before and After The Walking Dead's Season 7 Premiere

Photo: from the Walking Dead Season 7's Wikipedia page

You can find more blog entries about Season 7 (and past seasons) of The Walking Dead by clicking on the tab for it at the top of this blog. I post this here just to introduce that separate blog. Thanks!

Just Before the Episode Airs

So, Season 7 is upon us, and I'm back for a blog of The Walking Dead since Season 5. Been busy!!!

Who will Negan be bashing with the baseball bat? Since the premiere starts in half an hour, there isn't a lot of time to get into it, so I'll present options and pick, and we'll see how right I was. (Or, wasn't.)








Okay, so my picks. Glenn gets it in the comics here, and in an interview, Lauren Cohen cried about this episode and said it was very depressing and difficult. In the comics, after he dies, she miscarries and then kills herself, but I'm guessing not all of that will happen.

But I think Glenn goes. The showmakers have veered from the comics quite a bit, but I don't think they will here. Plus, Glenn's arc has crested.

I also think Eugene and/or Abraham will go. I wouldn't be surprised if both do, but if I had to pick one, I'd go with...both. Eugene's character has definitely crested and there's not much more for him to do. Once he found his bravery, there wasn't anything else. And Abraham...well, he's basically been another Daryl lately, and that can't go on. His character has more to still do, but...I can't choose between them.

The same can be said for Michonne, and for Daryl, but I'm not ready to pick them yet. Frankly, the showmakers can't be that dumb to cast Daryl away, and Michonne has maybe crested, but has too much of a fan base, especially among women. I mean, she's basically a female Rick, and I mean that in the kindest of all possible ways. Seriously, that's a compliment. Either one would be a logical choice, but I'm not ready to go there.

I am ready to pick Rosita and / or Sasha, but I feel that there would be something interesting between them once Abraham goes. But I wouldn't be surprised if one of them gets hit.

And Aaron is just sort of there. Those guys don't last too long. He goes.

So now I've boiled it down to:

Aaron, Eugene, Abraham, Glenn, with a few maybes. I mean, if the showmakers really want to be mean, they can make it Maggie herself, but that would be...shocking, though not surprising, if you know what I mean. I've only recently been talked out of saying she was one of the ones tonight.

But I have my doubts. (Before the previews, I've even said that Carl could get it. But Rick would've been more insane in the previews had that been the case.)

But I'll say No for now. So four is too many. I'll pick two.

I'll say: Glenn and Eugene or Abraham. Maybe all three. Aaron gets away because he's so irrelevant.

And I don't expect Negan himself to last too long. Certainly not all season. Maybe a few episodes.

My guess is that they won't show who it is until almost an hour in. (The show is an hour and six minutes tonight.)

If you're reading this, what do you think? Make a guess in the comments if you'd like, and I'll be back to this blog with another entry to wrap it up and see how I did.

After the Episode

Well, I didn't want to be right, but so far I was: Abraham and Glenn.

Both deserved better. Glenn especially didn't deserve to go like that, with one eye bulging out. He got in a promise to Maggie, and showed he loved her, least Abraham got a few choice words and attitude in there.

I was just asked why I felt Abraham would get it. One: as I mentioned before, he was essentially another Daryl, and that wouldn't last long. Second, he was listed as one of the stars at the Rhode Island Comic-Con, which is often an indicator that one's role has diminished--as Father Gabriel's last year--or that it has ended. His role wouldn't lessen, so it had to be that it was ending.

Now I'm watching The Talking Dead, so let's see how that goes...I'll watch that now...

Touching tributes to the departed. Hard to believe it's been six years for Glenn! And for all of us watching the show. Cool that Yeun said it was an honor for the end to come to him, as it's the catalyst for everything else that happens, and apparently there's quite a bit. Great attitude! I'm watching Michael Cudlitz and going to bed. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

All (as of 10/16) of Trump's Bullying and Biased Quotes in One Place and with Links 2

Photo: from a Wall Street Journal article about what a "sane Donald Trump" would be like. But, it says, when it comes to Trump ignoring a tally on November 8th that says he lost, "...Does he know he's playing with fire? No. Because he's a nut."

Just like the title says. You can find #1 through #5 at my last blog entry--just click here.

Again, the following quotes come from a recent Washington Post article that outlines its closing statement about the Presidency. Well, as of 10/16, anyway. Each point has its own link back to the article and the appropriate YouTube video, for your reading and viewing convenience. To finish up:

6. "Written by a nice reporter. Now the poor guy. You ought to see this guy." November 24, 2015.

This is Trump mocking and mimicking a physically disabled New York Times reporter. You have to see this to fully appreciate how horrible it was. Click on this link to go to the article, then scroll down to #6 to see the video.

I never thought I would see a candidate for President of the United States mimicking a handicapped person. I'm talking arms flailing, body twisting, stuttering--everything. Again, this is bullying, plain and simple. And it's behavior that, frankly, a President should not have. We're above this, aren't we? By the way, this reporter's crime? He wrote an article negative about Trump. Is this what a grown man does in response to such a thing, mimic and mock another man's physical disability? A teacher wouldn't tolerate this behavior in a classroom, but we'd tolerate this behavior in the President?

This is also unforgivable. We do not mock and mimic those less fortunate than ourselves. And we learn to control our adolescent behavior, especially when we're running for President and speaking to the world. If he can't do that in a press conference for his own campaign, how is he going to be appropriate during a meeting with a leader from the Middle East, or from Russia, that's not going well?

7. "Putin's running his country and at least he's a leader." December 18, 2015.

Putin is also guilty of more civil rights violations than any other Russian leader in recent memory. His critics have a bad habit of mysteriously and permanently disappearing. He is undoubtedly behind the hacking of the Democratic (and probably Republican) Party's computers--and Trump openly suggested that he hack into them again. I can't recall the last time I heard an American politician openly asking a foreign (and possibly antagonistic) leader for aid in bringing down his political opponent--to the point that such an attack would be espionage and a major attack on our government.

This is careless beyond belief. And his cozying up to Putin is gut-churning and worrisome. If Trump is as much of a puppet to Putin as he is to his two (thuggish) sons and to Steve Bannon, then there's something very, very wrong. Even as a candidate, an alliance with Putin is treason, as Trump is right now privy to our nation's secrets and plans. Think about that last sentence for a moment.

8. "I'm going to open up our libel laws." February 26, 2016. AND "This judge is of Mexican heritage. I'm building a wall." June 3, 2016

Besides the obvious racism and bigotry (and isolationism, always a bad thing) of the second statement, what we have here is a classic case of Trump not knowing what he's saying. He would fail a middle school history class. The fact is, he can't, even as President, change any laws or build any walls--especially one that would cost billions and strain an already strained relationship with a neighboring country. Now, understand, he doesn't even mean these things. But even if he did, he has to get both of those policies through Congress, and that's not going to happen. The point is, he doesn't know that. He thinks the Presidency is a tyranny, and he'd be the King. But our democracy is purposely designed so that's not the case. No one person can declare War, or spend billions of federal dollars, or suddenly and drastically change judiciary laws. Congress does the first thing, and the Supreme Court does the last. And there's 9 judges there, and he only gets to place one right now.

Many of his supporters don't know this. Many racist people will vote for Trump because of this wall that he cannot possibly ever put up, and they're as ignorant of that as they are of anything racial.

But we're not. America needs to show it's not racist, and that it's not ignorant of how its own government works. We need to show that a politician cannot use fear, hatred and racism (the three always go together) to win the Presidency.

9. "Look at my African-American over here." June 3, 2016See above. Need I say more?

10. "I alone can fix it." July 21, 2016.

This is how Fascism can come to America. I used to wonder how a country like Germany, a country that had the most brilliant universities, scientists, philosophers and writers of its time, all in one place, could ignore its intelligence and put someone like Hitler in power.

Now I know. Now I get it. We're one step away from doing that ourselves. I just said that. Out loud.

But so has The Washington PostThe New York TimesUSA Today, and even Dubya Bush, for God's sake. (This is the first and last time we'll agree on anything.) Millions, thank God, have spoken out.

But this is how it's done. An egomaniac, a hater, a bully, a tyrant, a Democratic old-lady stage-stalker convinces enough like-minded folks to put him in power and then he does all those crazy things. He says that he is the only one who can fix everything. Him. That's it. The only one. The demi-god. The God-in-his-own-mind. This is what Hitler did. He took a very angry nation, simmering in rage about its defeat in World War One, and he told it that he alone can make everything right again. He gave them someone to fear and hate (Jews) like Trump has (Mexicans and women). Like other tyrants, Trump said that everyone who disagreed with him (political figures, newspapers, television reporters, and even parents of fallen soldiers) were in secret conspiracy against him. And that's why there's no proof, because they're all in secret conspiracy. (Many of his supporters have to believe in secret conspiracies.) According to the latest poll, 40% of the country is like this. (This is scary in of itself.) He riles them all up, appeals to their base emotions and then he bullies everyone else into submission. Those who don't submit--like his political opponents--he threatens to throw in jail, or he threatens violence against them. Sound familiar? Trump has done both against Clinton. That's what other countries do, not us. That's what America has always prided itself in--we don't act like the tyrants of other countries, especially after Election Day. This is the sole reason Ford pardoned Nixon. If elected, with all that power, is it so unreasonable to suggest that Trump would go one small step further and actually do those things he's threatened? His supporters, of course, want this. They want a tyrant.

America and Britain let Hitler do this, even though they knew the danger. I don't see powerful countries sitting by this time and watching that happen. Britain has already banned Trump, and NATO and the United Nations have already passed policies in advance of our election--just in case.

The rest of the world is looking on in horror. Trump would shrug that off, and say that the rest of the world doesn't matter. But it does. Look at history. Look at what happened to countries that elected a tyrant and then isolated itself. Didn't turn out well, either for that country or for the world in general.

I'm not normally like this, especially politically. (I'm not normally that political in general.) I don't normally think the sky is falling. I don't live my life in fear.

But it has come to that. Again, I'm not the only one saying so. And I'm not some moralist, a guy who judges everybody, or someone who thinks you have to be a saint to be President. I voted for Bill Clinton, after all, though I wouldn't want any daughter of mine to date someone like him. But Clinton, for all of his (many) faults [the largest of which was to ignore the Cole attack, by the way], was not a world-wide danger. Countries didn't ban him. He wasn't racist, or bigoted, or a bully. I didn't worry that he knew where our nukes were because I didn't think he'd want to use them. Trump, for Heaven's sake, would use them on Mexico, or perhaps on the next national NOW meeting. (I'm kind of exaggerating there--I hope.)

And that's the problem. I'm not sure I'm kidding. Seriously. The comparisons are too obvious and real to ignore. The examples are too frequent and too crystal clear. He is that much of a hater, a bigot, a racist and a tyrant. The U.S. and the world can probably survive him, but are we totally sure? Do we want to put the world at risk to find out?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

All (as of 10/16) of Trump's Bullying and Biased Quotes in One Place and with Links

Photo: Trump (left) and Alec Baldwin (right) from this MSN article about Trump dissing Baldwin.

Each of the following examples has a link to a page that has the YouTube video appropriate to each item. This is from a list from an article outlining The Washington Post's closing statement about Donald Trump's candidacy. The comments, of course, are mine. But click the link to see the YouTube videos. Seeing Trump mimic and mock a physically disabled reporter really has to be seen to be believed.

1. "When you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the -----. You can do anything." October 2016

That's the infamous Access Hollywood tape. He called it "locker room talk," but as I've blogged before, it isn't. It's sexual assault talk. The laughter you hear in the tape is Billy Bush, formerly of NBC. He's getting a $10 million buyout from the network--which means that NBC would rather give him $10 million for free, than to have him work for them and earn it. If a network distances itself from Billy Bush, who only laughed and egged Trump on, shouldn't America distance itself from Trump, for free, simply by voting for somebody else?

By the way, having been in plenty of locker rooms--both as a former ballplayer and as an older guy--I can tell you with 1000% certainty that A) that isn't locker room talk, and B) guys who talk like that also think like that, and they do so all the time, not just in locker rooms.

2. "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best...They're bringing crime. They're rapists." June 16, 2015

If you believe this, you're as racist as Trump is. I don't know how else to say it. Besides bias, this shows a shocking lack of historical perspective. From the 1920s to the end of WW2, millions of European immigrants came to this country. Italians, Germans, French...millions. Assuming all of the Mexicans were criminals is like assuming all of the Italians were mafia figures or mobmen wannabes. They weren't. My grandfather wasn't. Your ancestors most likely weren't, either. Were a few of them? Of course. Trump's ancestors gave birth to someone who sexually assaulted women and somehow slithered his way around tax fraud--both federal crimes. So who's the criminal now?

And do you want a President who will obviously be biased towards Mexicans, women and plenty of other demographics? Do you want a biased President at all, towards anyone? If you do, vote Trump.

3. "I like people that weren't captured." July 18, 2015

This is Trump talking about John McCain, who was a prisoner-of-war for a number of years--and a popular figure in his own party. This is unforgivable. I didn't vote for McCain (Palin also had something to do with that), but I had no problem with him as a person--with what little I knew about him. He won points with me for telling a woman at his rally that Obama was not a terrorist, that he was a decent family man with whom he had political disagreements. That's class. Trump wouldn't have done that. He instigates such falsehoods and then blows them up. But you don't slander an American war veteran, especially one who was tortured for his country for many years. The lack of respect shown here proves he will have the same lack of respect for anybody. As we have seen...

By the way, Trump evaded the draft five times. And I like people who don't criticize war veterans for being captured.

4. "You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her, whatever." August 7, 2015.

This was the first warning shot before his full-front verbal assault on women. (The physical assaults apparently started over 30 years ago.) But, yeah, a candidate for President mocked a woman's period, and the entire world heard it. A woman he thought was against him. A foe. He didn't respond with a logical argument, or stats about something relevant, or even a witty comeback. Nope. Like a four year-old, he went right for the lowest denominator. I grew up with a mother and two sisters, and I can tell you I would've gotten my block knocked off if I'd ever disrespected a woman like that. This was the first hint for some of his complete disregard (and fear) of women in general.

5. "Thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down." November 21, 2015.

This was Trump saying that he somehow saw thousands of Muslims in a New Jersey city cheering on 9/11 as the buildings fell. This is a scary lie, because it says he believes that somehow every Muslim in America knew that the attack was on. (Similar to how racists used to think that every black person had a mysterious method of communication with every other black person during the Civil War and during slavery.) They didn't. And not every 9/11 attacker was Muslim. And blaming all Muslims for 9/11 is like blaming every Christian for each of The Crusades. Not logical. But worse, it's hate-mongering. And it's teaching that hate and bigotry are okay. And it's teaching that facts are irrelevant. The lunatic fringe will think, speak and believe lunacy, but the rest of America shouldn't.

Do we want a President who thinks these things? Do we want a President who Hates close to that red button?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Four Good and Different Stories -- Book Review of The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century

Photo: from Random House's website, here.

Very entertaining collection of 14 stories that offer a different view of history, or a view of a history yet to come. Though I found 2 or 3 of them to be clunkers, the others are more than worth your while.

My preferred ones, in no particular order, are:

In "The Lucky Strike," the pilot of the Enola Gay does not drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Though the U.S. government uses his punishment to send a message, a new feeling of hope and peace arise, and the bomb never has to be dropped at all. This Kim Stanley Robinson tale is rightly popular in the genre, and constantly referenced.

Ward Moore's "Bring the Jubilee" is more a novella, but it reads as quickly as a short story. The historical change here is at the end, and almost an afterthought, as it takes up about 2% of the story time. Instead we get a very well-written and engrossing take on what America would be like today if the South had won the Civil War, but it doesn't bog itself down with politics and stereotypes. In our current political climate, this is a welcome change. Very well-constructed story with believable characters. This one is considered a masterpiece of the field.

"Dance Band on the Titanic" is an interesting little story that will stayed with me afterwards, more for the thoughts the story inspires than for the story itself. It's about a loner who works on a ferry that carries passengers and products over several time rifts, several alternate realities and possible some parallel universes. Throws it all in there. The core of it is a girl who commits suicide many times over, in the same way. But many times, because there are many of her in all of the alternate and parallel realities. But if he's able to talk her out of it, all of the "hers" will not do it, as well. Rather well carried out, but I laid on my bed last Saturday, ready to write a short story that I thought would be better. I stopped writing 6 hours later, and I found I had a new novel on my hands! That's how a lot of my ideas come, which is why writers say you should read a lot if you want to write. You'll see something you like, but you think could be better, and then you try to do it. I've never written in this genre before, and I was actually in the middle of two other novels when this one hit. But I'll finish this one first.

"The Death of Captain Future" is a really good short story. It's not alternate future fiction as I understand it, because it all takes place in the future, and there's no history or time change in it. A little confused about why it's in this collection, actually...But it's a good story that's more about heroism and courage (and spin) than anything else. The female character in it looks and talks and acts like a female character in one of my short stories, written months ago, long before I knew this story existed, that I'm also making into a novel. So I wasn't happy to see that...

These are my four favorites. A few others were good, but not worthy of review here, and, like I said, two of them I thought were clunkers. A couple others were...meh. One story was about Shakespeare hitching aboard a ship that lands in present-day Virginia. His crewmates get killed, but he's so entertaining that he's allowed to live. Because of his stagework, he's a good fighter with a pole, too. He writes Hamlet, but the tribe laughs at it...Meh.

In another one, time and history get severely screwed up, as Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and Mozart and a general for Genghis Khan are all thrown together. Good story, actually, but really out there, which is the whole point of the story. I could've given this one more review time.

There's a long one, the last one, in which Hitler comes up with the bomb just before America does, and so there's a stalemate and Germany is allowed to move on. Hitler lives a lot longer, as does Goebbels, who tells the story. Hard to get through; difficult because both are so correctly reviled. Meh.

In another one, a good one, two Nazis stop at a cottage because they're lost. A witch / crone tells them their unfortunate future. One almost shoots her but thinks better of it. Popular story in the genre. I could've covered it more, but it's mostly allegorical, rather than a story. Still good, though.

Another good one, very short, is about a guy who realizes suddenly all of the "hims" that exist in all of the alternate and parallel realities, and it drives the story's "him" into suicide. Not all of the "hims," though. I'm torn about it. Interesting concept and understandable conclusion, but I still feel it was bungled. Good / meh.

But get this book to at least read the four I described above. Or find them somewhere and read them. Well worth it. Enjoy!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Even More Reasons Not to Vote for Trump -- The Tape and the Looming

[By the way, is anyone else getting DONALD TRUMP WON THE DEBATE--VOTE HERE ads from his campaign, and then--right beneath it--seeing an article about how his wife is offended by his remarks, or about how women were aghast at his attempt at physically intimidating Hilary, or about how Paul Ryan (the leader of his own party) won't support him or campaign with him? I wish I could do a screen grab of that and just post that here. Anyway...]

Recent blogs about why you shouldn't vote for Trump are here, here and here. If you need more, here you go:

--Women really bother him. He really hates and fears them.

There's the tape with Billy Bush, of course. Won't go there. You've probably read it or heard it already.

But what's really scary about the tape isn't just that he said what's on it--which is bad enough. It's that he--

1. Refuses to apologize for it; and
2. Dismisses it as "locker room talk."

First, he refuses to apologize for it. This is incredible because--even if he doesn't mean it--it's the politically correct and politically appropriate thing to do. You know his daughter, who's very smart, and his wife, who's very embarrassed, told him to do so. You know Paul Ryan told him to. You know every Republican and every woman he knows told him to.

And he still didn't.

Which tells me that, in addition to the myriad of his mental health issues I've already gone over (Narcissism, misogyny, xenophobia, paranoia, denial, tunnel vision, hatred, fear, bullying, closedmindedness, delusional behavior, self-deluding, and sociopathic lying), we can now add Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Yes--he'll not do something, even if it's in his own selfish self-interest, simply because you told him to do it. If he's not the one to tell himself to do something, he ain't doing it. Even his daughter (who he should listen to), his wife and his political advisers have no power.

Secondly, his comments on that tape with Billy Bush are NOT "locker room talk." And it's disturbing that he thinks it is, and that he can so easily dismiss it as such.

Trust me: In high school, in college and while being a former bad ballplayer, I've been in my share of locker rooms, and I've heard lots of stupid guys say all sorts of bad things.

But not like this. Locker room talk involves lots of f-bombs, and maybe an inappropriate remark about someone's body part. (Not necessarily a woman's.) Maybe in a very immature way (especially in college, surprisingly) there would be a sophomoric reference to someone's sister or mother.

And, if Trump is referring to locker room talk in workout gyms...well, those often involve such riveting subject matter as "reliable babysitters," "Does anyone have some Tylenol?" and "You have a great chiropractor? Can I have his number?" But usually there's no talk at all. Guys are quickly changing up to go home or to go to work.

That's not what was in the tape. The tape was him bragging to (an incredibly stupid and social- climbing) Billy Bush about how he has fantasized about groping married women under the pretense of taking them furniture shopping.

Yes. Read that again.

Does that sound like "locker room talk" to you? It isn't. It's sexual assault talk.

By the way, Trump really means the locker rooms of CEOs and other priveleged, above-it-all rich white guys. Guys who've had too much to drink and who're basking in their own glory. Guys who feel trapped by their wives or girlfriends, who they might not even like. Those are the locker rooms Trump means. To be frank.

While we're on the subject of his attitude towards women--which is downright scary and insulting, and I can't understand why a single woman would vote for him--let's look at the way he was stalking and looming over Hilary Clinton during the second debate:

For my job, and just by knowing a lot of women and hearing their stories, I can tell you that this is a sociopath's way of intimidating, scaring and bullying women. Men who abuse women do this. But don't just take my word for it. I'll end this blog entry with words from women themselves, taken from the address below, which you can just click to see a short article:

 #FreeBresha @prisonculture

Honestly Trump stalking behind Clinton is making me feel super uncomfortable. Like knots in my stomach discomfort.

Trump is trying to physically intimidate her by standing behind her and I want to vomit