A box canyon

Writing a long story, a novel say, is like taking a world spanning journey but ending up in a box canyon. Or maybe it’s like walking an unknown trail but every so often you fling out a spool of thread letting it drag along behind you.

The point is, when you start writing a book you have the wide universe open to you. But as you go along you create these tendrils of story dependency that you must remain loyal to. Every new thread ties you to a logical canon you must not betray (or forget about or violate, etc.)

Say you want to write a story about a young man who meets and influences a famous person in history. So this person starts off as a child slave in Rome circa the year 500 CE. He’s got a limp from when he was very young, a wagon crushed his foot. But his eyes are lovely and his smile, a shimmer on a clear pond. His mother was a slave to a kind senator whose wife was ugly and hated the boy’s mother for her dark-haired beauty.

You see how easy it is to create a world where before nothing existed.

But let’s say that 50,000 words later this boy, now man, needs to make a journey on foot. Well, remember that he’s crippled, so whatever road he takes he must be crippled the whole way, it must influence his entire trip. He meets a woman who reminds him of his own mother, dead now for four years. Oh yeah, what did his mother look like? And who was that senator he slaved for as he can now mention his name as leverage? And what did that senator’s wife say to him when he was twelve, caught stealing honey, and viciously giving him that scar beneath his right arm?

A wide universe eventually turns into a box canyon at the end of the story. All those early decisions become a log of canons that cannot be violated. You must remember every one. Sure some will become natural characteristics of the story but others will be these threads that tie you to the core path of your plot. And tighter and tighter they bind you until at the end, you’re like a worm trapped in a cocoon and the only place left to write is that hole at the end of your tale.

 

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Taxes? Payment for privileges.

Who doesn’t like socialism? Well, if you consider all that society provides for itself already, nobody shouldn’t like socialism. That is, rejoice in Socialism — cuz’ we’re already in it.

Who likes paying taxes? Well, if you consider calling them payment for privileges then maybe they wouldn’t feel like taxes. Let’s say we DON’T tax anybody’s income anymore. But then everyone would be forced to independently purchase things like the following:

Protection from:
• Foreign nation states,
• Criminal activity,
• Medical catastrophe
• Fire,
• you know, all those things a national, state and local government setup of systems does for our protection.

And then there are the perks we would each have to pay for:

• A maintained and well marked road system,
• A system of education,
• A system of justice,
• A system of water delivery and sewage handling,
• An electricity system,
• Systems for managing air traffic, boat traffic, compliance for building, food safety…

If you examine that list you’ll come to the conclusion that, hell!, we already are living in a socialistic society. Without all that money (taxes) to pay for all those common good services, we’d be a helluva lot worse off.

Now how about upping the tax on the wealth? “Booooo,” all the wealthy will say, but wait a minute Mr. & Mrs. Oligarch, do you like having a trustworthy banking and investment system? You like being able to buy and own vast swaths of land, buildings, planes and boats? You like living in a safe, well protected and just system? Well, it’s gonna cost ya… Because, you know, you wouldn’t be wealthy if We The People weren’t here to provide all of that protection.

One would think that a natural algorithm would be that the more wealth you possess the more you owe it to society as the protector and provider of that wealth. The fallacious theory of “I’m a self-made man!” ignores the fact that all of one’s success is based on living in and working with a society that provides all of the protections and benefits previously mentioned. No one stands alone. The wealthy tend to think it’s they who have succeeded when in reality it is society that enable all of that success. No society, no success.

If the wealthy don’t like this theory well maybe they should consider that in the coming apocalypse, when society has collapsed, dissolved even, and they’re standing there, alone, having to protect themselves, feed themselves, clothe themselves, shelter themselves and they wonder, “how can we rebuild our wealth?”, and the answer comes that you, they, can’t because they’re spending all their time surviving. Then they might realize that only a society can support wealth. And that the more wealth one owns the more one owes society for the opportunity to have acquired it.

Is this wealth hatred? Bah! A certain dynamic of wealth in a society is necessary. Achievable betterment, the lifting of station through education, ideation, creation and hard work should always be possible and acknowledged. But even then, such betterment is a function of society and must be recognized. Taxation is one of the tools for that recognition.

Without a taxation system, throughout its history, to build all of the protection and privilege systems I mentioned above, no society would exist. Without taxes (historic and present) I couldn’t ever have written this blog — nor could you been able to read it. Which, by the way, thanks.


City Afloat – Part One – a teaser

When the waves settle, and the dappled sea shimmers like silver cloth, there are the tales of ages past…

Dave Cline - lost and found

City Afloat

Part One

~ Flood ~

barrelRaft“Baba, tell us again.”

The wee ones scurried about the woven planks like hermit crabs. Every night it is the same; Baba, tell us the story of how we came to be. Only the little ones beg so. The older ones, those more than seven or eight, slip like eels from the hut when I begin the story. They know better. They know the why of it. And that knowledge has settled in their hearts like stones. Stones to drown them.

“Once there was earth, rich and brown, almost black, like night, like a shadow beneath the high, bright sun. And this earth was like the sea; it stretched further than you could see. And on this earth, and in it too, grew the food. Life. Well, life of a different sort, life made from green not silver.”

The wee ones knew that…

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My Five Stars

Are we the same?

Of course not. So, why would my preferences have any influence over your choices in life? They shouldn’t. Unless of course, we’ve established some sort of commonality between us.

When we see this somewhere on the web:

FiveStars

We think to ourselves, “hey, it must be good!” right? But, who are those people who liked that thing, whatever it might be (book, movie, electronic device, candy bar, restaurant, car, etc.) Are they like you or like me? Doubtful. What if everybody who really liked “X” were all penthouse-owing, world-tripping, elitist oligarchs, a bunch of self-declared aristocrats? Or what if they were all children in an Icelandic grade school? How much do you have in common with either of these? (You might, I don’t know, but that’s not the point. Or rather, that IS the point.)

Or what if you see some sad item for review with no stars. Some poor, dejected thing which nobody liked, everybody hated:

NoFiveStars

Again, who were these people to have rejected, outright, the efforts of whomever created or offered this item for review? Maybe it was wicked great, but reviewed by a whole slew of folks who had NOTHING in common with the creator. Nor did they have ANYTHING in common with you. Maybe YOU would love whatever that thing is.

And maybe you’d HATE that thing the kids in the Iceland school loved.

My point here is that reviews are treated as omniscient, but in reality they should be treated, organized in such a way that when you examine a reviewed item you see the reviews of ONLY those people who are as similar to you as contextually possible.

Who are these people? See, that’s the problem. That’s the golden prize at the end of all of this sociality. If you had a tribe of cultivated, curated people around you, people who held similar tastes in a high percentage of topics and ideals, you could trust those people’s reviews, their opinions would come much closer to yours.

This is what’s missing from facebook, twitter, google, linkedin, instagram, snapchat, et al. These “friends” or associates you have gathered in your time online, they do NOT represent a reflection of you. They’re a hodgepodge of people you’ve collected over time with vastly disparate views and morals, likes and dislikes.

Five stars? Zero stars? They mean nothing without knowing WHO rated them; without knowing if those people were anything like you.

Solve this problem, and you create a truly successful social experience.


A Hot Beverage

How about a spicy soda?

I was daydreaming, again, and came up with these, what do you think? (my lame Photoshop skills at work…)

Cap Cola

Which uses capsaicin — the same chemical in chilies or peppers that make them hot.
“A volcano in your mouth”

CapCola

Pepper Pop

PepperPop

Which uses piperine — the chemical in black pepper.
“A spicy dance in your mouth”

 

Waz’ UP soda

That uses  allyl isothiocyanate from the Wasabia Japonica,
“A punch in the mouth”

WazUp

 

And lastly (no image)

Ginger SNAP Soda: with gingerols from, well, ginger root of course.

 


Courteous Email Habits

If someone you know well, a close friend or family member, sends you an email do you reply? Answer truthfully now.

Do you reply every time? When to you shine them on? Do you ever ignore requests?

“Hey Reginald, could you read this bit and tell me what you think? I’m curious about this website, what do you think? I’m asking all my close associates, what do you think about me moving to New Zealand? Do you have any recommendations for the type of car I should buy?”

What I’m referring to are questions which might be solicitations for your opinion, or recommendations. Or just broad questions regarding what you may or may not know anything about.

Do you answer them?

Me? I always reply. Even if that reply is a “Received — will take a look and reply if I can contribute.”

Others? Well, that’s the prompt for this essay. I’ve been looking for beta readers for various writings of mine. Recently, when I’ve offered the pieces to those I’m sure would be courteous enough to at least reply — nothing. Silence.

What is wrong with you people? Has the world taken the concept of email and turned it into junkmail? Just because email has the word MAIL in it doesn’t automatically mean you treat receipts as trash if you don’t care for the subject matter.

Email is more like a single duplex communication channel. You know, a Walkie-Talkie.

“Reginald, come in Reginald. Over.”

“……”

“WTF Reggie! I know you’re there. I know your radio is turned on. Why won’t you reply? You’re still my brother, cousin, close friend aren’t you?”

Do you treat email like a discard-able communication medium? Like, most email, even from friends and relatives, is junk, trash you can cast into the rubbish bin?

 

 


Sheesh, Capitalists!

“Here’s What Stocks You Want to Own in the Event of a War With North Korea”

https://www.thestreet.com/story/14316270/1/north-korea.html

What a load of aristocratic horse hockey! Cramer’s TheStreet is trying to tell you “Hey, here’s how to make money on the up coming end-of-the-world — get in now while you still have air to breathe!”

  • Do these people even realize how like human scum they are?
  • Is there a more despicable slice of humanity than capitalists?
  • Do capitalists even have souls?
  • What do you call 1,000,000 capitalists at the bottom of the sea?
    A good start. (an oldie but tasteless joke).
  • Are there conscientiousness capitalists? I guess… I’ve never met any. They “say” they are but most likely would read an article like that and, if it made sense, take financial advantage of the information.
  • Do I despise capitalists? No. Only those who own capital.