The Writing Walls are Crumbling.



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I have had a very hard time blogging over the past four years. It wasn’t just Donny and his insane cabal but his many followers. I have unfriended many people during this reign, and I have blocked many of them. And I did try to listen. I tried to understand the divide, not just in America but in Canada and around the world . I have teased and ridiculed not only Donny but these followers. I knew converting the mindless was not possible, but they were never my target. I targeted the middle-of-the road centrists, the non-partisan voters who see truth above party politics. Unfortunately, these people tend to be more laissez-faire and vote less than the indoctrinated [on both sides]. Biden winning the vote feels like a victory but a tainted one. We are not in a good place.

Now that we have a change on the horizon, can I dump the farcical memes and get back to arguing with logic? I hope I can. I hope we all can. I would much rather see far-righters and far-lefties write out what they believe and openly discuss their arguments. I would hope we can all sit down quietly, read others’ stances on issues, and work to some consensus. It is this back and forth playing with ideas that moves us forward. It is how I move my writings forward. I don’t write knock-out stories in one go. It takes many tries of pushing that theme or pushing this character or pushing that conflict. All of my best writing has come from pushing into areas I never ended up in. The same is true, I believe, for moving forward in social and political discourse. Life is story, and those of us who write a lot of story can attest that what we think is best almost always is not.

I could not write much about life these past four years because so many have adopted views of life I do not agree with. And no, it is not just the righties. I am anti-government. When governments in my Canada want to implement new programs, I cringe, because I know my government’s debts will rise with no compensating benefit. Too many pay no service at all to our enormous debts.

What do I want to Write About?

The list is long, and I don’t claim to be qualified to write about much of it. But the following is a quick list.

  • Socialism
    • what is it?
    • where should social policies fit in a capitalistic society?
    • what do Liberals really want?
    • what are Conservatives afraid of?
  • Competition
    • I am for competition, when it makes sense
    • when does competition not make sense?
    • how do we manage non-competitive units so everyone is happy?
  • Executive Accountability
    • this is currently a critical problem in not only America but in Canada and around the world
  • Taxation
    • does the low-taxation-of-billionaires model make sense?
    • what is the logical management perspective on achieving good government?
    • of course, taxation of expatriates and management of tax fraud.
  • Reading and Writing
    • I work at my writing every day. I have many ideas on making writing more interesting and relevant
    • reading is a forgotten skill. We have millions of experts who do not read anything more than Facebook posts or their favorite news headlines
    • how to correctly punctuate lists 😉
  • Racial Injustice
    • unfortunately, the list is endless!
  • My many other interests: books, fountain pens, inks, poetry, nutrition, diabetes, and more.

There is so much to write about and such little time to do it. I’ve been sitting on my hands for so long, I don’t really know if I can do this. Is Humpty Trumpty falling off the wall enough to get me back into this? But of course I have to write. The only way we’re going to move forward as a civilization is through discourse and debate. I remember when the Berlin Wall started to come down. It was the day my firstborn entered the world. I was so hopeful. The world really did seem to offer a brighter future. But of course we’ve erected replacement walls, and unfortunately we always will. I think the purpose of my writing and many other blogs has to be the dismantling of walls. These ideological walls need to crumble.

Black History Month 2021


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I try to read a black-authored book during February., and it bothers me. It bothers me because I have to even protest such nonsense. The nonsense: why we cannot treat everyone the same. But I do. It’s not so much to add my voice to any protest but to reaffirm in myself that racism is a problem and if you’re not part of the solution … I suppose this is my meager contribution to solutions. I have countered many many idiots who claimed I need to watch better news or buy a gun or whatever nonsense they were spewing with my advice, “try reading a book.” I am convinced if we all became regular and varied readers, we’d all by much better off.

In the past few years for BHM I have read Samuel R. Delany’s Dhalgren, Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man, Henry Louis Gates Jr’s Colored People, W.A. Spray’s The Blacks of New Brunswick, Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, and the short story collection Children of the Night edited by Gloria Naylor. I read all but Dhalgren for the purpose of reading black authors. Last year it was the end of February and I said damn, I should really read a black author. Then I stuck my head back into that beast of a book and never minded who wrote it. That’s a good thing, right? When you don’t even notice who the author is? It wasn’t till I got to a part he talked about a gang with blacks and whites in it and nobody cared that I realized he was black and I laughed at myself.

Black authors I’ve read outside of BHM. I think this is an important point to make. I read books for many reasons, and except for BHM, I do not read or pan books based on the author’s demographics, values, politics, religion, or anything else. I read Ender’s Game knowing full well the author was a bigot. I read Ayn Rand knowing full well that she was a nutcase. I am sorry to say I have to search for black authors I’ve read outside of BHM: Andre Alexis’ Fifteen Dogs, Lawrence Hill’s The Illegal, Adwoa Badoe’s Between Sisters, Alice Walker’s The Way Forward Is A Broken Heart, and of course Toni Morrison: Beloved, The Bluest Eye, and Sula. I plan on reading more Morrison this year.

For 2021 I am reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun. This has been high on my TBR list anyway, and I think I can honestly say I am not reading this because she is black. I am reading it because she’s been highly recommended by a literary friend and it’s long past the time I gave her a go. I have also watched a number of her YouTube videos where I have learned things about racism that I did not know. For example, I no longer ask people of color where their ancestral home is. I only did that because of their skin color and accent, but I never did that for new white friends. I know Adichie is a very intelligent and gifted writer and I am really looking forward to this read, especially after reading the first page: … how the bungalows here were painted the color of the sky and sat side by side like polite, well-dressed men … Yeah, this author can write!

Andy Scheer, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, IRS Tax Target!


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So Andrew Scheer, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, is an American citizen. I don’t know the details, but it seems his father was an American citizen and Andy is too by way of birth. He’s a form of what we call an accidental American. Many others are persons born in the U.S. while their foreign parents were working or studying there and who then moved back home. Boris Johnson is one of those, and he got nailed by the IRS.

As an American expat who relinquished his American citizenship – I arrived in Canada in 1970 and will never live in the U.S., so why keep the burden? – I am somewhat familiar with the tax laws Boris and Andrew are facing. Somewhat. I am not a wealthy person like Andrew Scheer. I say wealthy because one internet site has his personal wealth estimated at $961,000 and I’ve seen references that It may be much higher. His government pension alone has him set for life.

That is until the IRS comes calling.


Yes, the American Internal Revenue Service taxes Americans no matter where they live. You might think it’s silly and wrong, I do, but it’s the fact. Andrew Scheer is required to file income taxes annually to the IRS as well as file FINCEN reports (Formerly FBAR) to the Treasury Department of all his foreign financial accounts and balances. And let’s hope he has; because if he hasn’t, he’ll be making the news for all the wrong reasons. How insane is that? If he becomes Prime Minister, he will have to disclose his entire financial situation to the American government or face severe penalties. He may even be arrested if he crosses their border.

Pause: these American tax practices are wrong simply because American colonists revolted for flimsier reasons, a silly little stamp tax. They claimed at the time it was wrong for a power in a different land to tax its people in another, yet this is exactly what America has done since Lincoln decided traitors fleeing the country could not flee his new income tax. Moving on.

I don’t know Scheer’s salary, investments, or the details of his pension. I’ve seen numbers of $259k, and undisclosed amount in three RELPs, and $3,000k respectively, but whatever they are, he’s still potentially in a mess. I’ll address each of these as parts one, two, and three.

Part one: American persons get to deduct about USD$103.9k of foreign salary from their income. This only makes sense if the majority of your income is salary and if it’s within this modest range. Andy’s salary is roughly USD$195k , so using this deduction won’t help him. He will have to file the long form and deduct Canadian taxes paid from his taxes owed to the IRS. In Canada Andy will only pay taxes on his salary, maybe on some of these part two RELPs, and on none of his pension. Could be a clean wash and he’ll owe nothing to the IRS. Except nothing is ever a clean wash with the IRS.

Part Two point one: I don’t know anything about these RELP investments, but let’s assume the worst. First, Scheer has to include them on his annual FINCEN Form 114. Failure to do so incurs severe penalties. I don’t want to even think about what might happen to him if he’s noncompliant, but he can kiss those RELPs goodbye.

Part two point two: income earned in these RELPs is taxable in the U.S. as the tax deductions are not covered under the AmU.S.-Canada tax treaty. So Andy’s tax savings benefits in Canada are useless. Pay up Andy!

Part two point three: these RELPs are likely considered Passive Foreign Investment Companies or PFICs. I’ve never investigated the ins and outs and I don’t care to. What I’ve heard helped drive me to relinquish as I may wish to create my own corporation. Basically, and this is anecdotal from memory, Andy will have to pay 2% excise tax on the value of these investments biannually as well as pay the maximum 35% tax rate on all income, basically making the investment worse than worthless, if deemed PFICs. If not, he will merely have to add the full income of these devices to his American income.

Sigh. Not double-taxation, but clearly serving two masters inhibits one’s ability to minimize taxes and save for retirement.

Part three: pensions not registered with the IRS are likely considered PFICS as well. I don’t know these rules either, and it is possible, though not likely, the Canadian Federal Government pension plan is registered with the IRS, but in a worst-case scenario, Andy will have to include all government contributions as income, pay the 2% excise tax twice a year on the value, and 35% tax on all earnings. If the value of a government pension after 14 years in parliament is $3,000k, then basically Andy will go bankrupt to the IRS while serving our country. Oh, and he also has to include these in his FINCEN report or else.

There are other considerations too. His free living at Stornoway might be considered a tax-free benefit for a leader of the opposition, but is it under American laws? Tax, tax, tax!

Finally, Andy is planning on renouncing his American citizenship. Good call, but he will have to become compliant with the IRS before they will let him go. Then, any net worth over $5 million USD will be subject to a 35% exit tax. He might be there and suffer even more draining from his retirement funds. Renouncing will incur at least a USD$2300 charge from the State Department. Funny, acquiring citizenship only costs $700. Apparently the security risk of leaving America is three times that of joining.

Oh, by the way, I write for the satire magazine The Manatee, but this is not satire. This is the truth as I know all too well. A million American persons, many also Canadian citizens, live in Canada and are subject to these outrageous laws. And our (Canadian) government has done nothing to stand up to the bully. So far, the IRS has not come after private pensions. But Andy is a public figure. They have to press him. They can’t set a precedent for the rest of those to escape from this stupid net.

No wonder Andy has tried to hide his American citizenship.



Learning New Words

I pay attention to words, but I haven’t always. While my literary friends were tossing around vocabulary in high school, I was tossing around baseballs, footballs, and hockey pucks. My time would have been better invested in reading and writing, but what do kids know?

We learn many words in our day to day lives. Media mostly but also interacting with people. Or we used to, back when people used larger vocabularies. I cannot remember the last time I learned a new word from a person, or from television, or radio. I now learn my words from reading and studying.

Yes, I study words. It is not easy learning something you know nothing about. Yeah, we’ll just plunge into this forest and find our way through. Nope. To study words, chance does play a part. Read Mordecai Richler or John Cheever, and I can almost guarantee you’ll learn a new word.  Cheever throws words that don’t seem to belong, at least he did in his first story, Goodbye, My Brother: That beach is a vast and preternaturally clean and simple landscape. I have seen preternaturally before, but I couldn’t define it. I was not sure what the sentence meant. So, as a lover of words, I looked it up.

Definition of preternatural
1 : existing outside of nature
2 : exceeding what is natural or regular : extraordinary
wits trained to preternatural acuteness by the debates—G. L. Dickinson
3 : inexplicable by ordinary means; especially : psychic
preternatural phenomena

I take Cheever’s intention to be exceeding what is natural, as in no ordinary beach is as vast and clean, no driftwood, no people, no garbage, now beach paraphernalia. The trouble with harvesting words from other sources like reading and television is you will never build your vocabulary unless you read vast amounts. I am lucky if I learn a new word in a story, and those stupid Facebook tests all say I know some 40,000 words. Sounds like a lot, but is it? Estimates are as high as 300,000 distinct English words. Sources say that fiction readers know more words than non-fiction readers – yeah! – but it is still too slow.

My primary means of study in at  Great, you might think. Just run through the tests and learn. That’s the theory. Inculcate yourself with various forms of questions, make your mind sort through meanings and possibilities, even force yourself to investigate further. I always have a dictionary handy, and I often search for new words in media. If I can read them in a real story, I have a much better chance of remembering them. At my age, my brain’s first order of business is forgetting, not remembering. Half the words I’ve learned — I have about 1.5 million points there — have drifted away.

Preternaturally won’t. I can almost guarantee that. There’s no better way to learn a word than to write about it. The same with inculcate. You can look that one up yourself, but recently learned it.I wrote a poem this morning called Learning New Words. I wanted to use this word, but I couldn’t remember what it was. I did write its meaning in my notebook, but I failed to write the word. Another sign of a slipping mind. But now that I’ve used it in a poem and a blog, I’ll not likely ever lose it. Enjoy!

Learning New Words

You cannot learn a new word by rote.
If all you had to do was inculcate,
an auto-play dictionary is all you’d need.
Your vocabulary would grow at incredible speed.

You need to live a word to understand it,
or you’ll end up a master of sublimate.
New words are fresh paint too easy to abrade.
You need to work them, feel them, tie them in a braid.


The fateful moment Walter Pidgeon and Louis B. Mayer both realized they were from the same far-flung town in Canada

Where I live.

The Film Colony ♛

Walter-Pidgeon-with-child-actor-Christopher-Severn A sweet moment between Walter Pidgeon and child actor Charles Severn on the set of Mrs. Miniver (1942).

Happy heavenly birthday to Walter Pidgeon who was born 120 years ago in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. The same city my great-great grandparents, Sarah and Jacob Mayer, settled in after leaving Ukraine in the late 1880s, and where they raised their children, Yetta, Ida, Louis, Ruben, and Gershon.

It is amazing to me how one far-flung Canadian community would create these two towering talents. Walter would go on to appear in well over one hundred films and Louis B. Mayer would, of course, head Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Both held industry leadership positions too and were recognised by their peers. Pidgeon was on the board of directors of the Screen Actors Guild for 33 years and served five as president. In 1974, the Guild gave him their…

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The Ray Bradbury Challenge



So we decided to try this challenge. Write a short story a week for 52 weeks.

It’s hard.

It’s very hard.

I don’t know how it can be done.

Sure, I can write a short story in a day, but we all know it won’t be finished. I have written several this year within a week. None of them were complete. Pick them upa  week or two later, a month later, and three months later and you discover how unfinished they are. I honestly don’t know how Ray did it.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say people of Ray’s ilk, writers in the 1920s, 1930s, and up to the 1960s were not inundated by television, computers, smartphones, the internet, and the global village. Their life was books, books, and more books. They read and wrote and read and wrote. Their skills at as writers 18 were light years beyond ours at the same age.

I work at my writing. I claim to understand most grammar. Yet, as I edit a piece for the fiftieth time, I still find issues. If was spelled of and I never saw it. Generalizations. Inconsistencies. Neoplasms. Weak verbs. Echoed starting sentences. Loss of agency. You name it, I do it.

I don’t know if this year’s efforts will yield publication credits, but I sure have grown. Not only am I writing short stories [all the time] but I am reading them too. My current collection is Joyce Carol Oates’ Telling Stories, an anthology for writers. The two biggest activities writers can do to improve their skills is write and read. That’s what 2018 is for me — the year of the short story.

And I have grown. It’s hard to explain how. A sense of agency in a story might be the biggest thing. And I don’t recall anyone or any book ever teaching it. This year I discovered the concept in Alice LaPlante’s The Making of a Story and then later at a writing workshop. Maybe I just missed it before; maybe it has been worded differently; but it’s now something I try to feel in every story I read and write.

The second thing is this nebulous concept of imagery. I have written a story called Grandpa’s Hat. It’s about my grandfather cheating on my grandmother. Complete fiction, no real names. “The end isn’t logical; the middle doesn’t lead up to your ending.” Interesting; because in my mind it did. Oh, those mid-west, small town values I included but barely showed. Oh, those things I see but nobody else did. Oh … I see now. I can’t explain any better than that, but now when I read it I feel the ending and say, “Oh my!”

So I am busy writing. I am getting there. I can feel it. I am writing stories — I wrote a new one this morning — at the rate of about one every ten days. I have returned to and find myself writing down a new story idea about once every three days. And I have a collection started. I have a theme and many of my stories are falling in line. Need maybe six more, depending on a decision. This is a collection I never would have dreamed of writing two years ago. Thanks to keeping one’s eyes and min open. Thanks to social media. Thanks to Ray Bradbury.

Going to try to write more blog posts, but it’s hard. I’m scared of what I might write about the political scene.




National Poetry Month, PAD #7.


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This is my seventh year of writing a poem a day (PAD) during National Poetry Month, April. I wrote a poem every day; though I think a couple times I didn’t post until the next day. I participate at Writers Digest Poetic Asides blog run by Robert Lee Brewer, the poetry editor for the magazine.

Robert usually gives a one-word prompt every morning. Often they will be posted at 6AM or earlier; though some days he obviously sleeps in until noon. As poetry editor, he certainly has the right. He at least has my permission. Robert likes us to name our titles after the prompt: pick a bug, title your poem with its name, and write the poem. I of course ignore such direction. For me a prompt is a trigger. I let it trigger a memory, an image, or a vague sensation, and once a word, a phrase, or an entire line takes hold, I write. It usually takes me about ten minutes to write my poems.

This was not a productive year. This is my year of the short story; which is largely why I haven’t posted in a while.. Also it’s because of #45, for I am afraid of what I might write. But back to important things: poetry. I wrote maybe 33 poems, and I did write every day. The thing is, my wife and I bought a new home in late March. We hadn’t planned to, but a house we had our eyes on dropped significantly in price. We said what the hell and bought it. We closed within two weeks, before our rent was up, and we took most of April to move. Our furniture arrived April 20. The house is a mess, and it may be years before we’re settled. It’s 29 years old and needs work. The electricians have been in and will be again. Plumbers replace all the copper tomorrow. New dishwasher, washer, and dryer have been ordered. A new Fridge might be ordered. We painted the entire place. We floored the basement (was cement). We ripped the basement steps carpet up and the steps still reek. The NB Power inspector comes this week to see if we qualify for rebates on improvements — the air exchanger is shot, the ducts need cleaning, and we want a heat pump. Not much time available for reading and writing. Not like I want.

here is a poem I wrote from two prompts. The first was the senses (one or all six) and the second prompt was write a response poem (to an earlier poem if possible). This poem is about a non-believer (in God/Jesus) who tries this nonsense and ends up staring at the ceiling lights while convulsing; the response is the pastor’s version (who we are led to believe in part one has no faith himself) who paints the person as a hopeless case as only the faithful can be slain (and evidence suggests that being slain is nothing but a self-fulfilling prophecy). But God has other plans, and both are humbled. Enjoy!

*if you don’t know what Slain in the Spirit is, watch this

You can feel it inside you
The command of God to fall and flail

You can smell his cologne wafting
Strong enough to knock you over

You can taste the after-service sandwiches
Eggs whipped to a frenzy, held together with mayo

You can see the fear in his eyes
For he knows neither of you believe

You feel his push and you laugh
Was he expecting miracles?

You stare at convulsing lights
In that fashion that says you missed something

A Gentle Touch

You stroll up here full of doubt
Want to see what it’s all about

No expectations to fall or speak
Slinking through life with no left cheek

All you really want is to turn and leave
To mingle with the women on this summer eve

Your eyes are empty distant shells
Your fingers caress your Samsung cell

I touch you gently for your fear is real
You fall and flail, and I bow and kneel



NAFTA – Financial Services Excluded


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International financial services need an overhaul. The first North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) did diddley for competition in this area — any restriction already in place was to remain in place. Fine. Makes sense to some degree. Nations should have control over their own tax systems, retirement programs, and investment incentives. Unless of course it is deemed as an unfair restriction of U.S. sales, then it’s evil.

Some examples.

  • Americans cannot buy Canadian mutual funds.
  • Americans cannot buy Canadian Life Insurance
  • Americans cannot buy Canadian stocks
  • Americans cannot participate in Canadian private pensions
  • Canadians cannot buy American stocks unless protected by a registered plan
  • I am not sure if Canadians can buy American mutual funds. I think we can, but generally such investments are hidden from us as those of us who purchase such things tend to bury them in registered plans and buy them through management companies. My financial advisor is Sun Life, and I have no idea which funds I own. Some of everything. But as they live in an RRSP, the IRS cannot touch them.

These might seem abstract concepts and do not affect you as a Canadian or American. After all, why would an American want to buy life insurance from London Life or participate in a provincial government pension plan?

In reality, these policies do not affect the everyday Joe or Jane, but they do affect at least one million American Persons living in Canada, maybe more, maybe double that. We do not have an accurate count of active Canadian citizen green card holders (those people who were resident in America but returned without cancelling their card. And why would you cancel it as they are so hard to get in the first place, especially if you have any hints of non-white or non-Christian ancestry.) now resident in Canada.

It affects us because the U.S. taxes its citizens and green card holders no matter where they reside. A cash value on a whole life insurance policy that is not registered in America is treated as a savings account, and it does not grow tax free. That private pension plan we may participate in (often we are required to as a condition of employment) is nothing but a savings account, It does not grow tax-free in the eyes of the IRS. Investments into non-American mutual funds are subject to harsh PFIC taxation rules making them prohibitive. Dividends of American stocks by Canadians and Canadian stocks by Americans are exempt from favourable dividend tax credits*; so if you want to invest your millions in foreign dividend generating companies for whatever reason, you won’t because there’s no way to benefit as much as even a marginal company of your own country, For Americans in Canada who are subject to both the CRA and the IRS laws, what one grants the other takes away. We cannot benefit from any dividends. Again, RRSPs grow tax-free, so as long as your money is buried in one (not a private pension plan) these laws don’t matter much. *I won’t get into the mechanics of dividend tax credits.

What this all means is

  • the majority of people do not have a full range of choices. These are protectionist policies and only the major corporations benefit. Individuals do not.
  • Americans living in Canada are severely restricted when it comes to investing, protecting their families, and saving for retirement.
  • The major financials are in no way impacted.

Let me rant about the banks. Canadian charted banks operate in the U.S. They are major financial players. The services they offer in Canada are offered in America. They can sell American things to Americans and Canadian things to Canadians. They are happy and are not raising a stink.

The real people impacted here are Americans living in Canada, and we are being hurt by the U.S. policies.

Does this rant matter? Not int he least. President Obama was the American Expat’s worst enemy; Trump is too stupid to understand the problems (and he has other, more important problems); Prime Minister Trudeau is a two-faced ******* who promised to help us fix these problems but now brushes us off; and because the financial institutions are not really impacted, they couldn’t care less. After all, it’s all about their money, not ours,



Trump and Climate Change


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So the Donald has pulled out of the Paris agreement and the world is doomed. At least that’s the initial reaction I see from many. If you believe in science — how anyone can not believe in science baffles me — then you already realize this hardly makes any difference. Climate change will happen regardless of how we try to stall it. Say goodbye to the east coast of North America.

Before we all drown, we will become poorer. At least Americans will, the populace anyway. The rich will keep on getting richer. I am talking about oil. Trump is committed to maintaining fossil fuels as America’s fuel: oil, coal, and gas. No need for all these windmills and solar farms. No need for more dams. No need for new alternative fuels like algae oil. No need for clean, safe nuclear power.

The world is moving to new fuels. I now see wind farms in my remote corner of the continent, and “net-zero” solar homes are making the news here. Some countries, like Germany, are targeting 60% of their energy from renewables in the very near future. One day in 2016 they achieved 95% and even hit a point of negative cost where they paid people to use electricity. Current estimates have the USA meeting their energy demands from only 19% renewable energy sources.

What’s amazing is that the economics are so clear. It costs a hell of a lot of money to extract fossil fuels, and it’s only going to get more expensive. New coal is deeper than old coal was, and new oil is in more hostile environments. Can you imagine drilling in the arctic where the oil runs as thick as tar? Can you imagine American workers revelling in -40c conditions to ensure their muscle cars run cheaply? While the rest of the world moves to alternative fuels, the economies of scale will make it cheaper. In summary, economic growth is in renewable fuels, whether America gets on board or not. I can see a future in the not too distant where the only major oil production is in the middle east and the American arctic. And of course Russia. They sail the same model of idiot boat that America’s alt-right does.

But corporations understand this. Oil companies are all engaged in algae research: algae oil can theoretically plug into much existing infrastructure like pipelines and refineries. It is a direct replacement for fossil fuels, a renewable fossil fuel. We are all moving forward to combat climate change anyway, regardless of anything President Trump does. And it’s because that is where the money is now focused.

So why all the opposition to the new money-making machine? Can the alt-right not bear to engage in change? Change is what made America supposedly great. My answer is, in part, American exceptionalism. I fight for tax freedom from American extra-territorial taxation, a practice completely at odds with its raison d’être — taxation without representation. But there are other areas America refuses to change. It sticks to its backward imperial measurement system; because, you know, it was devised by Americans. The USA refuses to consider changes to food guidance, despite the overwhelming evidence that sugar kills, not fat; because, you know, that will mean less money in their pockets. The country refuses to control guns, yet every other advanced country does. It refuses to supply universal healthcare, despite it making economic sense; because, well, it’s socialist, and we can’t have socialism. Fascism is fine, but fuck socialism.

What this decision comes down to, in my opinion, is power. The religious, alternative right thrive on slanting reality, and the only purpose is to achieve and maintain power. The attacks against the press, against the judiciary, the dismantling of institutions (like education), is nothing but megalomania. And this walking away from the Paris Agreement feeds into the alt-right propaganda machine. All the little Trumpian rednecks out there are ejaculating wildly over this victory, over the proof they are right and the lowly libtards are once again proven wrong. It’s a propaganda dance, and it’s dangerous. The danger here is not the planet being wiped out by the climate but being wiped out by our loss of freedoms. Donald Trump, the alt-right, the religious right, and any group who tries to impose their ideals on humanity is our real enemy. Anyone who cannot think, assess alternatives, and make decisions based on fact rather than stupid ideals (and yes, this includes much of the left wing, but they don’t hold the dice right now) is our real enemy.

Wake up and smell the real threats.


The SAD month of MAY

April was poetry month, and now May is short story month. That’s a short story a day, every day, for 31 days. I’ve done seven NaNoWriMos and eight NaPoWriMos or equivalents. I don’t want to try to name this month. NaSsWriMo?

I sat at my desk on Monday, May 1, 2017, having written 54 poems and a blog post about it, wondering what to write next. Do I pull out 2012 and commit three or four months to fixing it? Do I continue salvaging parts of 2016 to make a short story collection? Maybe I should pull out 2010 or 2014 and have a second go at those unfinished novels. 2016 called the hardest and I’d all but settled on it. That would mean skimming the 50,000 words looking for nuggets. I have pulled the first three scenes as stories already, but where to next? Always the question.

So I did what any good writer would do: I opened Facebook. Almost immediately I found a post by my friend Andrea about a contest in May to write a short story a day. We talked about this in the past on our Sunday morning write-ins, I’ve participated in 15 other x-a-day events, so I didn’t need to think about the implications very much. I went to the Story-A-Day site, signed up, took the first prompt, and wrote a 1489 word story.

Bang. #1 done. It felt great.

\The story had nothing to do with anything I’ve written before, but it was based on reality. For that reason alone, I will not share it. Especially where fiction is weaved in, and some of that fiction is not nice. Sorry I had to kill you off, X.

May 2’s prompt fit almost perfectly a scene/story for 2016 I had been pondering. I sat and wrote. I took a break at 500 words to think, ponder, and write nasty political tweets — Even though I gave up my U.S. Citizenship, I still fight for Americans living abroad. And I’ve been quite acerbic lately towards the liberal shills out there supporting #FATCA and calling people like me tax cheaters.

I could not fit today’s prompt into any existing project, which is no concern, but I could fit it into a potential 2017 NaNoWriMo story. I’ve been pondering writing Science Fiction instead of my social conscious urban literary stuff.  I only invested 313 words in it, but I think it is full of theme, conflict, and potential. The conflict is implied: we’re all becoming the same, and what does that mean for humanity. Could be my backbone theme for my seen-book series *grin* It is a very thin piece, trite, but I actually love it. I will try to write more around this piece and other ideas this month and through the busy summer ahead of me. NaSsWriMo might just make NaNoWriMo very productive.


Prompt: People called him The Doll Maker. Nobody ever wondered aloud why every doll had the same face.

“Did you guys see Doctor Davis’ new robots?”

The lunch table paid no attention to him. Jared set down his tray and pulled in his chair.

“He can choose any face he wants with a few clicks but he picks the same face, the same physical features for every one of them. You guys don’t find that odd?”

“Jarrod,” Emily says. “You had a busy morning? You’re late.” She stuffs a roll of California Gold into her mouth.

“You haven’t heard a word I said.”

“Sorry,” she says as she crunches on the crusty, green roll of processed unknowns the government has certified as optimally nutritious for young scientists. She chases it with a glass of fortified water the color of the noon sky as displayed in the wall monitors. “We were just discussing Doc Davis’ new robots. Did you know he ordered them to all look identical? Why would he do that?”

Jarrod picked the gray New Jersey Jets roll up from his gray plate. “It makes no sense. You’d think he was building an army or something.”

Emily inspects her mint-green plate for crumbs but finds none. “I know. It’s so creepy. We’re not going to be able to tell which is which.”

“They’re all fucking robots,” William chimes in with his usual cheer. “Who cares what they look like? You ask for a Solar Coffee, they get you a Solar Coffee. It’s not like you’d have sex with one of them.”

“Speak for yourself,” Emily says.

“They’re all male,” Jarrod says.

“So?” says William.

“They’re all so…unremarkable,” Emily says and smiles.

“He could have selected at least some variety,” Jarrod says.

“They’re robots,” William says.

“What does he have planned?” they all say simultaneously. They stop but don’t laugh.

William picks up his blue Florida Fish Roll from his light-blue plate and looks at it. “Why are they all the same?”