Lessons Learned

*sigh* Signed up for a writer’s email list in order to get a free “prequel” to a giveaway novel. That’s two freebies–coulda been pretty sweet, but. . . Read the prequel. *meh* So-so. Too many places where it was skimmed by incompetent (or no) editing, after having been written by a Dunning-Kruger-ite who thought he knew what too many words meant that he did NOT know them meanings of (well, either that or he was just intentionally writing gibberish in those places).

Got my first list emails. Yeh, incompetent writer goes on and on about how he’s trying to “change the world” with books that “mean something” (whatever THAT means). Yeh, didn’t read the freebie novel. The freebie novella was enough to convince me, but a fiction writer who isn’t FIRST concerned with being a good storyteller and writer is only, at best, going to change the world for the worse if his writing succeeds at anything at all.

Takeaway: sometimes “freebies” are more costly than they at first seem. I’ll never have back the time I spent on the novella or reading two of this writer’s emails.

Shoulda known, though. He refers to himself as “Author [So-and-so]”–an almost sure sign of an unconscious insecurity (based on REAL incompetence) covered over with a casually assumed expression of self-importance.

Law Enfarcement in America’s Third World County™

Just another *cough* typical *cough* interaction with putative “law enforcement” in America’s Third World County™. . .

[Phone rings]

Me: Hello.
Caller: This is [some redneck] with the [Third World County™] Sheriff’s Department. What can I do for you?
Me: You called _me_. What do you want?
Caller: Dispatch gave me your name and number and told me you requested a call.
Me: What name?
Caller: Junior [Redacted].
Me: Junior [Redacted] lives two miles from me. What number did dispatch give you?
Caller: [recites my landline number]
Me: That’s not Junior [Redacted]’s number.
Caller: Sorry.
Me: *click*

I should have asked if dispatched was referring to Junior [Redacted] or Junior [Redacted] Junior, his son, although they live (lived? Is Junior [Redacted] still among the “quick”?) in “manufactured homes” catty-cornered from each other. . . (and Junior [Redacted] Junior now runs the family business).

“Solutions” for all the sturm und drang in the passing scene?

For “the passing scene,” I got nuthin’.

My “solution” to the passing societal scene (politics, media, wacko people all around) is to take care of my own business, and, when interfered with by a “gummint” busybody, do whatever I can to distract, befuddle, redirect, frustrate, bar (yeh, even to relying on a junkyard dog of a lawyer, if necessary, the meanest one around), etc., them from messing in my stuff that’s none of their business. If TEOTWAWKI does come about in my lifetime, I want to have plenty of (well-preserved and protected from marauders) “popcorn and beer” and a (relatively) safe (well, well-defended and as secure as can be effected with my resources) place from which to watch the show.

Of course I’ll do whatever low-key things I can to ameliorate problems on a local and neighborhood level, but I’m pretty much limited to everyday politics and prayer (though that’s unlimited *heh*) when it comes to affecting things further afield than that, so just making as sure as I can that “me ‘n’ mine” are as well-provided for as possible seems. . . prudent.

OTOH, being “a voice in the wilderness” crying out, “Repent sinners! Make way for the return of the Lord!” seems like something to do, too, eh?

*meh* What Do I Know, Anyway?

Confession: I saw “It’s a Wonderful Life” once, when I was 18. Didn’t like it. I found it to be too artificially manipulative and full of stereotypes. The plot was also dissatisfying.

It’s a lousy Christmas movie.

*shrugs* What do I know, anyway. . .

Stupid Book Blurbs (for Stupid Books?) Level: Grandmaster

Here’s one that starts badly with the first word and goes downhill from there.

“Shalthazar the dark wizard came to Llars seeking power beyond imagining, and got more than he ever imagined.”

*doh*

I’m almost sorry I missed this book. (But, I wasn’t really aiming, anyway.)


I’m also unimpressed by blurbs that mention an “affirmative action” award–you know, one reserved for some ethnicity or whatever “disadvantaged” multi-culti “lit-ur-airy” Balkan state group author who can’t write well enough to win a legitimate award.

Oh, heck. ANY award not decided strictly by everyday, ordinary readers of the book is bogus. In that vein, book awards should be based on (actual, real, legitimate) sales, and, in fact, the only awards that really count are those that go into the writer’s pocket.

Ah! Those Dumb, Cheesy 80s Shows. . .

Sadly, even the naive cheesiness of most 80s TV shows is revealed today as simple “dumbitudinousness.”

McGyvver’s ingenious “inventions” are just as unworkable and stupid today as they were then. For me, McGyver was always moderately enjoyable as an exercise of my “suspension of disbelief muscle.” Things really, really do NOT work “that” way (whatever way most of his improvisational devices were supposed to work). . . *heh*

Star Trek TNG is still as dumb as it was then, though it lacks even the appeal of any serious cheesiness.

Etc.

The one 80s show that holds up even today is The Greatest American Hero. It’s just as dumb and cheesy today as it was then. Culp at least gave it a wee bit of (cheesy, of course) campiness. Oh, and it did have the picturesque (though lackluster acting of) Connie Selleca. There’s that. G-rated pinup girl for The Greatest American Hero.

But. . . there’s not much else that I find appealing about 80s shows today. In that, they share my evaluation of almost all contemporary TV shows: Stupid, without even the appeal of mockable cheesiness.

Too bad the Rockford Files stopped in 1980. If it had not, I’d have an 80s show to watch for something other than mockable stupidity or cheesiness.

Maybe I should only watch movies on our TV. Oh, wait. Stupid movies, too.

Oh, well. Perhaps I’m not meant to own a TV? No, wait. There are still good movies to watch, just not many made nowadays. Some Bruce Campbell “B” (or “C”) movies for camp. Archived copies of “Matilda,” “Johnny English,” etc. IOW, real classics. *heh*

Talking to the Dead

I have fun reading book blurbs of books I’ll never read. Take a recent blurb about a “cozy paranormal mystery” featuring two young women, “One a baker, the other a mortician’s assistant, and both blessed (or cursed) with the gift of talking to the dead. . . ”

OK, even leaving aside the stupidity of the supposed “gift/curse,” methinks the blurb writer should go back to Remedial Blurb Writing 101. ANYONE can talk TO the dead, or pretend to (or delude themselves into thinking they are). I’d not expect any real two way conversations, but imagining one is talking TO dead people is something many folks do. Not me, but others seem to do so.

But, if I were dead and just hanging around (although I rank that as happening somewhere around the Twelfth of Never), I wouldn’t stand for being talked to by some flesh puppet. Nope. Wanna talk to me? Buh-bye!


More seriously, what’s the appeal of necromancy, eh? I mean, #gagamaggot.

Med Services as an Example of What Is Wrong With Society

After my Wonder Woman’s recent adventures in things medical, where every person asked the same questions over and over, in order to fill out yet another form (when multiple times the same questions had been asked, answered and entered into electronic databases), I am thinking of having a “medalert tag” made that says something on the order of,

“No known allergies to any medications. Severely allergic to being asked the same questions over and over. Will charge $100 for each time the same question is asked when it has been previously answered.”

I understand the “cover your ass” aspect of our current med system, brought on by stupid legal practices that are counterproductive for everyone but lawyers, and by (mostly) “feddle gummint bureaucrappic” interference in medical services, but really? Assholes asking the same question that has been asked by someone else and answered IN THEIR PRESENCE?

OK, maybe I can abate my charges a bit and only charge $50 for every 15 minutes of bullshit. *heh*

Pop Culture Is “Misunderedumacated”

Two simple examples:

Geographical “illiteracy”: time after time on “remodeling” or “house flip” shows, folks referring to a peninsula as an “island.” Sometimes, folks’ll refer to the same feature as both. Folks who have no concept of the difference between a peninsula and an island are illiterate.

N.B. “Material literacy“. . . ain’t. Literacy, that is. Having common, ordinary, everyday words in one’s (written or verbal) vocabulary and not knowing what those words mean? Yeh, “misunderedumacated.”

Here’s another very simple example, though just one of many in the long, long list of words people use without even knowing what they are saying: lay vs. lie:

“Lay” takes a direct object: one lays down a book. “Lie” takes a subject: I lie down on the sofa.

The (simple) past tense of “lay” is “laid.” The (simple) past tense of “lie” is “lay” or when “lie” is used in the sense of “wittingly utter a falsehood” the (simple) past tense is “lied.” At least the past participles are easier: lay?[has/had/have] laid; lie?[has/had/have] lain; lie (utter falsehood)?[has/had/have] lied. *heh*

Ain’t English fun?

If you ever have trouble remembering which to use–lay or lie–just remember: Bob Dylan got it wrong. “Lay, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed. . . ” would have had red pencil through each of the “lays” had he submitted it in an English class. . . if the teacher had been literate, that is. 😉

BTW, the “subject/object” issue raises its ugly head all over the place, but it’s especially glaring when people use the first person personal pronoun,”I,” in an objective position, when “me” is called for.

It’s just people who aren’t really literate showing their “misunderedumacation.”