Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Fourth of July Sale!

For the last few years, I’ve tried to have a free sale for my ebook of political stories, Political Pies, around the Fourth of July.  But this year – because of everything – I figured I’d include a few of my other ebooks as well.  So if you are so disgusted with real politics you don’t want to even read fictional politics, you have a few other choices.  All of these will be free to download from Wednesday July 1st, through Sunday July 5th.  So grab them before you get too drunk.

Political Pies

Everybody complains about politics, but does anyone do anything about it? My attempt to do something about it is to collect forty of my short stories with a political element into this anthology. The stories are either politically neutral or equally condemning of the national parties. Instead of trying to sway you to one ideology or another, my goal is to just get people thinking about politics in the hopes a rose might grow out of all the political manure.

A Man of Few Words

A Man of Few Words is a collection of fifty of my flash fiction stories. What would really happen if a “T-Rex on steroids” attacked a city? Why do science fiction writers make the best lovers? How does a company get to Second Base with VIPs? I explore these questions and more using less than 1000 words and in various genres from humor to horror and general fiction to science fiction.

The Moon Before Mars: Why returning to the moon makes more sense than rushing off to Mars

Over the last few years a lot of people have caught Mars fever. It seems a week doesn’t go by without a report of some new group wanting to send people to Mars, or some big name in the industry talking about why we have to go to Mars, or articles talking about the glorious future humanity will have on Mars. All of this worries me. In my opinion, a Mars base is currently not sustainable because there’s no way for it to make money. A few missions may fly doing extraordinary science, but if it’s then cancelled for cost the whole Mars Project may just be seen as an expensive stunt.

Fortunately, there are other places in the solar system besides Mars. While bases on the moon and amongst the asteroids won’t be as inspirational as one on Mars, they will have opportunities for businesses to make goods and services as well as profits, meaning less chance of them being outright cancelled. This will make life better on Earth and secure a firm foothold in space for humanity. The essays in “The Moon Before Mars: Why returning to the moon makes more sense than rushing off to Mars” allow me to describe my ideas on what can be accomplished on the moon and with the asteroids, and why Mars isn’t the destiny of humanity its cheerleaders make it out to be.

Duty

Who cleans up the mess when the time machine malfunctions?

A Cabin Under a Cloudy Sea and other stories

Hopefully, in the not too distant future humans will return to the moon. We will build bases and colonies, make farms and factories, and live, love and learn. “A Cabin Under a Cloudy Sea and other stories” contains five of my short stories that are all set upon the moon. They give the tiniest glimpse of the possibilities awaiting us there.


Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Register to vote/Check your voter status


It seems every four years the political talking heads come out and say that “This election is the most important election of the modern era.” And you know what, for 2020, they might actually be right.  Because whether you think everything is hunky-dory, or you think the best description of the country is a dumpster fire, there will be major repercussions whoever wins this November.

Now you could just sit back and say, “Why bother voting when the system is broken?” Well, one aspect of why the system is broken is because too many people don’t bother being a part of it.  The only way to have a government that reflects the country is if the majority of the people participated in choosing that government.  Our government is not perfect – it’s very, very far from perfect – but not voting is you saying you’ll just take whatever happens.  And if you don’t like what you’re given, well, you can’t complain because you had the chance to make your voice heard and chose not to.

The way to make your voice heard is to register to vote.  How to register should be laid out on your state’s website.  But even if you’ve already registered, you should take the time to check your registration status, which I think is an option on most state websites.  (You may also wish to double check on your polling place.)  An important reason to do this now, is that there are several reasons why your status could be wrong: you moved and forgot to update it, a clerical error, or maybe you were caught up in an overly enthusiastic purge.  Whatever the reason, if you check now and find a problem you can get it all worked out before Election Day.  Election Day is hectic enough without people waiting in line only to find out there’s an issue.

So register to vote, or check your status, so everything will be in order come November 3rd and you can make sure your voice will be heard, in this, the most important election of the modern era.

Monday, June 8, 2020

There’s no such thing as a bad cop

To some people, such a statement will seem like grounds for tar and feathering, but I hope they will actually read what I write before heating up the tar.

To me, a police officer is someone who maintains law and order, who protects and serves the public.  They are a necessary aspect of modern civilization and deserve respect, just like firefighters, doctors, teachers, etc. 

The problem is that there are also some people out there who either commit crimes or just look the other way while crimes are being committed who wear police uniforms.  Many will call such people bad cops, but to me, they are criminals – or at best impostors – in uniform.  It’s like, if I said that I hated Christmas many people would ask why I’m anti-Christian.  But I’d answer, “What does a three month orgy of consumerism have to do with Christianity?” We have these vastly different things – a religious holiday (which I am indifferent to) and a corporate orgy (which I’ve come to loath) – referred to with the same word.  To me, a cop is someone who protects and serves.  If you’re not doing that, then you’re not a cop.  We have a term for police officers, and a term for criminals, but we don’t have a term for where those overlap, although I’d say that criminal should be the term.

I will admit that there is a grey area between police officers and impostors in uniforms.  There are some slightly dirty cops, and they should be helped to clean up instead of letting fall further into crime.  Still, some actions are irredeemable and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. 

So how did so many non-cops end up in, or even running, police departments?  That is a serious issue that needs addressed.  But this is America.  The engine can be making odd noises for months, but it’s not until there’s flames coming up around the hood that we go, “Well, I guess I’ll have to see what’s wrong with it.”

 


Saturday, May 30, 2020

A long awaited day

With the successful launch of SpaceX’s Demo-2 mission, we’ve finally gotten to a day I’ve long waited for.  Several years ago, I came up with a list of four things I was waiting for SpaceX to do.  I wrote a blog about them a couple of years ago when they achieved two of them.  And today, they’ve completed all four.  You can read about them in that blog if you want, but the basic point of my list wasn’t some grand stunt of flying to Mars which seems to be what most SpaceX fans talk about.  These were simple, basic steps needed to get my dream of making humanity a spacefaring civilization a reality. 

Anyway, this started as a simple “Congratulations to everyone at SpaceX,” but then I kept going into how this could build up a space society.  I went off the rails a bit.  But if I can get my derailed train of thought going again, you should see a long post about my thoughts on how today’s event could lead to orbital tourism, which would lead to Zero-g Football stadiums in orbit, and how that might be necessary for us to be a spacefaring civilization.  As I said, I went a bit off the rails.

But for now, congratulations to everyone at SpaceX.


Monday, May 4, 2020

Short story – “Failure to Communicate”


“Failure to Communicate”

Stopping in the hallway, Joe took a minute to straighten his halo and take a deep breath.  Letting it out, he walked into God’s outer office.  “Good morning,” he said to Esther, God’s secretary. 

Esther smiled.  “Good morning.”

“I have the monthly prayer report.  Is He in?”

“He’s always in, but now is not a good time.”

“Oh?”

Esther slowly shook her head.  “In the past year He’s sent countless hurricanes, earthquakes and blizzards across the Earth, but people still haven’t gotten His message.  He’s debating whether He should unleash locusts.”

“Oh.” Joe frowned for a moment.  “You know, just before I died they had just come out with these things called cell phones.  From what I understand, just about everyone down there has one now.  Why doesn’t God just call everyone and get His message out that way?”

Esther shot up from her chair with her face red with rage.  “How dare you question the Lord’s methods of communication.  Leave this office, now.”

***

I first wrote this back in 2011 because it seemed that after ever earthquake or hurricane, some braindead, religious nutjob came out and said it was God’s wrath for gay marriage, or whatever.  I posted it on this site Ficly, which is still up, but their coding is messed up.  I came across it recently, and given how some idiots think the Coronavirus is God punishing us for impeaching Trump – so why did it start in China? – I figured I should polish it up and repost it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Short story – “Naive Thoughts”


“Naïve Thoughts”

The old man stood up behind the podium and raised his snifter of brandy to the score of gentlemen seated around the conference table.  “As Prime,” he said, “I welcome you to the 417th Annual Meeting of the Cacumen Society.”

As one, they all took a drink.

The Prime smiled, then stated, “Before we get down to business, I wish to welcome Jonathon Lowe, son of the late Benjamin Lowe, to our ranks.”

The men nodded to a young man at the back of the room who smiled and returned several nods.

“Jonathon,” the Prime asked, “would you care to make an introductory speech?”

Jonathon stood and, after clearing his throat, said, “Yes.  Thank you, Prime.  I would very much like to make an introductory speech.”

The Prime stepped aside and waved to the podium.

Jonathon smiled then holding himself straight walked up to the podium.  He nodded to the Prime and said, “Thank you, Prime.” Turning to the room he began, “My fellow members.  When my father explained to me that we were members of this illustrious Society that controls the majority of world affairs, I frankly thought he was telling a joke.  But as I’m sure you all know, my father was not known for his sense of humor.” Several of the men gave smiling nods to that.

After a brief smile, Jonathon went on.  “I reviewed the information he gave me, and I came to the conclusion that there is indeed a secret society that controls worldly affairs.  This revelation surprised, pleased, disturbed and confused me.  The disturbed and confused part comes from the fact that, okay, we control the world.  But you have to admit, we’re doing a pretty poor job of it.”

There were a few grumbles from the room.

“On one hand,” Jonathon continued, “I understand how – by fomenting wars, for example – we can ensure a large profit from our companies manufacturing arms.  But I have to wonder, can’t we make just as much money – if not more – by selling dishwashers and computers to the Third World instead of guns.

“I brought some of my ideas up to my father, who explained that by keeping the population worried about war and crime and such, it keeps them from trying to better their lives, keeping them better sheep for us to control.  But to me, that seems like it would have the opposite reaction.  If we want docile sheep, then we should make them fat and content.  Instead of having them worried about crime, or losing their job, or where their next meal will come from, we should stuff them with quintuple cheeseburgers, give them movies filled with explosions and nudity and video games filled with violence.”

Jonathon looked around the room.  “In my opinion, what’s the point of ruling over a cesspit of a world?  Yes, we have our estates and private islands, but we have to keep bribing politicians and hiring security to keep them.  If everyone lived like we did, there would be nobody for them to rise up against.  I mean, with every assassination or rigged election, we run the risk of someone noticing our actions.  If that ever happens, then the hungry, snarling masses will come after us.  But if we just had them fat, content, and docile, we’d never have to worry about them again.

“Thank you for hearing me out.” Jonathon then stepped back from the podium.

The room was silent for a few heartbeats, then it exploded in laughter.

Wiping his eyes, the Prime stepped back to the podium.  He put a hand on Jonathon’s shoulder and said, “Ah, the naivety of youth.”

“What?” Jonathon asked.

“Your thoughts are not new,” the Prime explained.  “But in a few years, you’ll come to understand why we do things the way we do.

“Now, be a good lad and take your seat, so the meeting can begin.”

***

I first wrote this story in June 2013 under the title “Hmmm.” It began after I saw a comment online about how things can’t be fixed because “the ones in power” don’t want them to be fixed.  I recently came across it and figured I should repost it.  But I wanted to rework it first and one of the things I wanted to change was the title.  It took me some time, but I think “Naïve Thoughts” works pretty good.