Category Archives: this time it’s personal

The day I’ll always remember

Only for my family it’s today, December 22nd, and not September 3rd.

Oct 25, 1949 - Dec 22, 1991

I am not sure how others may feel when losing a parent at a young age; for me, the absence is always there. In the beginning this was “standard” personal grief, five-stages stuff, but as I’ve grown older and become a father as well, it’s less overt. It strikes me more that I’m not just missing him, directly, but missing him in relation to everyone else I love. Things are subtly out of context because he’s not with us.

For example, my son has his Baba, my wife’s dad, and each loves the other dearly. It’s a blessing and a great joy. Watching them, sometimes, the absence will suddenly poke up from the background and make itself known: my son doesn’t have both Babas there. I have no doubt that Dad would have doted to distraction on The Lad, as he would have done to my sister’s son.

My father was not one to be uninvolved. I think he would have enjoyed talking shop with my wife’s father, chatting about families, retirement, politics. I picture him still drawing, only now putting the stuff up on Instagram; getting after me to write more; finding a part-time job somewhere to enjoy during his retirement. He’d be amazed if he came back now to learn that they made three more Star Trek series, five more Star Wars films, and that my Atari 2600 games had eventually morphed into near-photo-realistic experiences, influenced heavily by the mainstreaming of anime – which he only saw on the fringes of popular culture, or else in dumbed-down, highly-edited versions for children such as Battle of the Planets, Star Blazers, or Speed Racer.

In our family he was the “everyday” cook – Mom handled holidays for the most part, and the rest of the time Dad was playing culinary Frankenstein, cadging ingredients into an impromptu family dinner. It’s been a long time since we’ve done that, and not just because all three of us kids are adults now.

He’d be stopping by during the season, jibing me for going over the top with holiday gift-giving while steadfastly forgetting that he’s the source of that habit of mine; in turn we’d tease him because his normal gruff baritone became a Michael McDonald falsetto whenever he sang. And he would laugh and sing anyway, because he loved music and it was nearly always playing in our home. He probably would have bought one of the earliest iPods and kept up with the technology the whole time, while figuring out a way to get all his albums, cassettes, and 8-tracks digitized – because why should you pay for it all twice?

I am now two years and several weeks older than he was when he passed away, twenty-five years ago today.

Here’s to you, Dad.

Who doesn’t go Nazi?

Marvel Comics needs a refresher course on their Dorothy Thompson.

Read the article linked above first, if you’ve got the time, and then keep that in mind when you read all about Marvel’s decision to bring Steve Rogers back from the dead just to have him Hail Hydra.

There’s some speculating that this is a “long con” by the character to infiltrate and destroy them from within. My own thought is that actually killing Cap wasn’t enough for the Gatekeepers, who have decided that they have to desecrate the corpse as well by trying to kill his ideals.

It’s being passed off as a political commentary, of course, but whether through willful writer’s malpractice or a woeful lack of craft, they’ve only betrayed their own thoughts about America – and shock of shocks, it’s that America sucks. And I don’t buy for one minute that this has anything to do with the political rise of Donald J. Trump, official GOP nominee for the Presidency. They felt this way going into it, and they’d be doing the same thing if Ted Cruz took the nod. The writer has already gone on record in saying that the Republicans are all evil, so why not ruin their favorite freedom-loving symbol as well? It insults them AND ruins the guy who has (until now) unapologetically loved his country, to the point of punching Hitler in the face in his first comic.

Continue reading

Going down the valley one by one

I hate weeding through the blogroll, because it reminds me of great reads gone by, that are now bygone. Join me while I raise a glass to three more blogfriends who’ve moved on to bigger and better things:

Tracey of Beyond the Pale – a fine writer, a finer friend. Her honesty and skilled wordsmithing caused her real-life grief from small-minded busybodies, one of the many reasons why I have such a strong dislike of Gatekeepers, self-appointed taste arbiters, and buttinskies. One of my blog highlights (thankfully still there!) was winning a pound of (quite good) decaf coffee (I know, but IT WAS) and a commemorative to-go cup in one of her Best Thing Ever blog contests.

Her archives are still up, so read them. It was a great group of e-migos. Long live the Sudden Yurt Commune.

Cara Ellison – her personal blog went through a few iterations, one of which says that “after a day or two” she’ll be back. It’s dated September 1, 2014. But the lady is a professional writer, so will I gripe if we’re not getting tons of free content? Nope.

Her Amazon author’s page suggests a couple of other ways to look in on Ms. Cara. The Twitter option seems to be a no-go now, however. Searching for Cara Ellison leads to a Scottish lady who also writes and who I do not think is the same person.

The Judge Report – Robert Going, Red Sox fan and author, kind enough to send along a signed copy of his book The Eagle Has Landed to my Ladybug. He wrote a long series of livejournal posts on notable citizens of his hometown, Amsterdam NY, who had served in the US Armed Forces – a passion project of his – but has posted nothing online that I can see since November of 2014. He also did a podcast with friends of his, but again, I see no activity on that front either, unless I have snafu’d my searches (and that is a distinct possibility).

Stepping into these breaches in the sidebar are:

Don at Zoopraxiscope – his original site was in my original sidebar at Hive 1.0, so I’m glad I came across his trail again.

John C Wright – why yes, he is another professional author. Currently he’s part of some ginned-up notoriety, since his works were championed as quality science fiction writing by All The Wrong People, which led no less than George “Not J” R.R. Martin to counter-campaign in favor of torpedoing the entire Hugo Awards last year. I wrote about the whole moronic business, directly and indirectly, several times over the past year. (Have I mentioned my strong dislike of Gatekeepers?)

Do check them out, and thanks for the few faithful holdouts who still stop by.

Pleasant surprises

It’s always interesting to me to stop back to check on my cobwebby domain and see the occasional spike in visitors. To all – thank you, sorry there’s nothing new, and I think the new year will bring about a bit of a change on that front.

Simply stated, I’m annoyed that I let it go for so long. I’m active online, just not here in my own forum, and that’s silly at the least – and unkind at the most. Some would argue that I owe nothing for neglecting this, my free blog that people read for free. My heart says otherwise. I owe a courtesy to visitors to find something of merit, even if it’s just a link to a bunch of old posts, or a notice saying that I’ve taken down the shingle. Sure, it’s more important to me, in the same way that mowing my lawn and raking my leaves is more important to me than to random passersby, but their concerns still have a rank, even if that rank is last to all others.

Besides, I’ve been blogging for eleven years now, five of them here in The Hive 2.0, and the whole while I’ve wanted what any writer likes to have: readers. I enjoy when people are interested enough to comment, I like to see that visitors have spent a few minutes searching through the archives, and I enjoy that I reach an audience, however small. But I can hardly expect anything other than a shrug from someone who’s sought out the blog to see a four-month-old post.

And anyway, I don’t want to see the whole thing just wander into the sunset. Beyond whatever I owe to whomever may stop by, I owe it to myself and to the effort I’ve put in up until now.

No more shrugs. Is that a promise? Well, having the blog itself is already somewhat of a promise; or at the least, its creates a reasonable expectation that I’ve failed to satisfy recently. To quote one of my own subject tags, I “can’t ignore my techno.” Let’s call it “conscience,” and conscience should be obeyed.

See you soon. In the meantime, please do check some of the archival stuff. Comments will be closed but I daresay some of it has held up.

The Code

A wonderful discussion over at Sarah Hoyt’s place got even better when the duplicitous weasel in question returned… and promptly demonstrated exactly what Sarah was complaining about.

The example of “Marquess of Queensbury” that I’m most familiar with goes by the unofficial name of The Code, and it describes an ideal for how people deal with each other on a hockey rink. Arm a dozen guys with clubs, strap razors to their feet, and toss them into an enclosed space, and it becomes a very practical matter to regulate their behavior – and rulebooks can’t do this alone. You have to have a system of social pressure passed down from veteran to rookie, teaching them “the right way to play” and “respecting the game” and all the other phrases that sound like cliché, but describe real concepts that are the only things making the game itself possible.

Despite some disagreements, there are things about the Code everyone understands – and the biggest thing is that if you disregard the Code you don’t deserve to be protected by the Code. Guys who square up and fight have a respect for each other that is never accorded to a guy who hits from behind, who fouls on purpose and away from the play, and then refuses to answer for himself.

To apply it to boxing – though I am not a fan either, I get why the sport (and similar, such as MMA) exists despite periodic attempts to outlaw it. It is an elemental test of mettle, courage, and strength. As such, it has a compelling quality. Those who do it have to have a core respect for their fellows. One of Ms. Hoyt’s commenters embedded the fight scene from The Quiet Man, so you can click that and watch a living, breathing example.

The “rules” exist in that context in the same way the rules and the Code do in hockey – to keep it a contest of will, skill, and technique. In a sport where one may legitimately damage one’s opponent during the normal course of play (it is indeed the entire point of a prizefight), it becomes even more important to have strong restrictions about low blows and such. I have seen a clip of an MMA fighter, for example, tapping out to save his opponent, who was essentially out on his feet but still trying to continue.

It was a magnificent gesture that only works because a referee then stops the fight and holds up one fighter’s hand in victory; then they hug and part as respected foes. In an alley fight it would be fatal. That brings us back around to the rules, right? They’re silly in a life-or-death fight, but without things like them, every fight must be to the death, or else to the boredom of the strongest fighter there is.

This is a big reason why the Geneva Conventions are binding only when all parties are signatories, and only when all abide by them. There may be very good moral and practical reasons to afford some of those protections in situations where they don’t apply – for example, the humane treatment of those who have been captured or who have surrendered – but on a battlefield doing it will get you killed. And too many times, those who merely disagree about politics or culture have turned that disagreement into a battlefield… and not in the figurative sense, either. Real people have really died when one subgroup has decided to stop regarding them as people at all. And this country and this culture, in this time, doesn’t get a pass. Real people really die here, too. The ones who merely have their reputations and businesses ruined are in that sense fortunate.

Our would-be elites are, of course, well aware of this, but they are at heart fantasists, and their primary fantasy is, “We will be the ones who ultimately decide what is done to anyone we choose whenever we like.” They never dream that someday they may find themselves the ones to whom other people choose to do whatever, whenever.

They know full well that behaving this way as an equal opponent will ring down the curtain on them, so they don’t actually do that – they invest their time, not in playing skill, but in become rulebook experts, exploiting this knowledge to corrupt the game itself. In effect, they seek to replace the referees, to be the ones with the power to enforce the rules, to control all outcomes and by so doing “win” every single time. That’s why they go in for the high-profile, high-influence spots: they all go into government, the media (either news or entertainment), education – seeking power itself and the means to acquire more. On a smaller level, it’s why all the really dirty players in my league are always the ones who squeal loudest about “calling it both ways” and “what about what HE just did?” It’s one of their most potent weapons. They know we care about such things, and exploit it so that we’ll let them off the hook. They will even lie and say that opposition to their cheating is opposition to rulebooks – as if they were engaged in making the world a fairer place and we’re the ones with the problem.

That’s the sign that playing against them as if they were still just one of the teams will be a losing strategy. They need to be removed, entirely, just to be able to have a game in the first place. They don’t actually care about the rule of law, much less the larger Code that any rulebook is a mere facet of. When they howl their protests, they are lying, trying to make us tap out so they can shiv us.

Once they’ve gone that crooked, we’re in a tough spot. Recall that it was Cromwell who eventually flattened the law in the case above, and as the movie itself reveals at the end, he wound up quite blown over by the winds he’d loosed upon England. How ought we to behave in such a situation? We’re not talking about theory, either – Thomas More was a real man who lost his actual head; there is no guarantee that such persecutions will not visit our shores the way they have been visited upon so many of our martyred brethren across the world in these times; and it may not just be the faithful, either, who are getting sent to camps and put to the sword. A world like that must be fought against, those who mean to build it must be stopped.

In Scripture, one of the hardest teachings is in Matthew 5:38-48. The Church has always held that this is meant to curb our appetite for revenge. Christ does not forbid us to protect our lives and our liberty. And if nobody ever stood against evil it would trample the world.

Just as certainly, if charity is never extended to those who may exploit it, true charity is impossible. The grace of God doesn’t work that way, and everyone is richer for the Father’s extravagance in this regard. In the admittedly-terrible movie, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, for example, there’s a spot where Henry Hyde saves the day, and Dr. Jeckel, in response to thanks, says, “Let’s not make a saint out of a sinner.” But this is foolish – there is no other material out of which to make them. If faith didn’t baptize, there’d be no faith. And likewise, if civilization didn’t seek to make civilized people out of enemies, civilization would perish… which is why we can never wholly fight on their terms. We have the ultimate goal of saving our enemies. Dropping the civilized rules of ritual combats is not the same as simply becoming like the beasts of the field and savaging each other, because then the fight becomes unwinnable. There will be nobody left to enjoy the fruits of civilization if no civilized people remain.

And people call being the good guy “easy”!

And your little Joss, too

So Joss Whedon’s been chased off Twitter by these petty-minded scolds, these would-be tyrants of the human mind.

JOSS WHEDON.

The man responsible for Buffy, for Firefly, and for Dollhouse, is now the latest target of a Two-Minute Hate from these oh-so-tolerant and oh-so-loving leftists.

None of them is fit to sharpen the man’s pencils. They could barely write a bloody greeting card but they see fit to level their mindless shrieks at Joss Whedon, who is as close to the King of Geekdom as you are likely to find today.

None of us is safe. Not in our works, not in our words, not even in our thoughts – not if such as these have their way over the culture and over the world. They want the power to veto other human beings, to so commandeer us that we will be incapable of doing, expressing, or even believing anything of our own – to drain us, to hollow us out and make us mere puppets of their own will. We will be made to agree, to approve, to admire.

Pardon my salt, folks, but fuck that noise.

I have had it beyond all reckoning and patience with this anti-human codswollop. God Himself permits us this autonomy – it is in fact one of the favorite accusations of skeptics against Him, that He does suffer our sins and doesn’t make them impossible to us. Simply hating Him for that isn’t enough for some folks, apparently; they want to take on that job themselves.

So I appeal to all and sundry – don’t fall for this. Think twice, especially if you find yourself agreeing with the silencers, much less joining in. You may think you’re safe because you’re in the midst of the mob today; but crowds shift and tastes change, and you may look up and suddenly, uncomfortably find yourself facing a very large group of very angry people – the same ones you called friend and ally. The innocent jokes you all told yesterday will be People’s Exhibit A in your show trial tomorrow.

Freedom means the freedom to disagree, and the freedom to get along with each other despite disagreeing, and not being ground into a monochromatic paste. I will call “brother” and “sister” whomever stands with me on this fundamental point: that any individual deserves individuality, personhood, a unique voice, and a free will – not subject to any veto power over that will.

Gatekeeping!

So the fur continues to fly over the puppies of the world, sad and otherwise.

The insularity of the TrueFans, the Gatekeepers, is no accident. The thing they truly love is not scifi itself, but the Status of True Fan – and the more-closely held that status is, the smaller the Inner Circle, then the greater is their own self-assigned status among the great unwashed.

Honestly, this almost isn’t even about whose thinks are thought properly or who’s having “wrongfun” (to use Larry Correia’s delightful coinage). It’s all about who gains access to the outer courts, where dwelleth the official adoring masses of the Inner Circle. The criteria used are just a convenience that serves all needs: it’s the natural creed of the SJWs, so they don’t have to stop and think about who qualifies; nebulously-defined so accusations based upon them are impossible to truly refute; full of jargon to flatter their flabby and under-exercised minds. But it could just as easily be about anything, as you can see from all the times when they all dart off in a different direction like a school of fish: “THIS is the true definition of what we believe – do the opposite of what we did last Thursday and never let it be remembered among us (or mentioned to us) that it was ever otherwise.” And of course anyone slow to that change proves they aren’t Inner Circle material, so this habit makes the necessary purges much simpler.

It explains so much. It shows why they are forever accusing others of behaving the way they do – they behave in no other way and can’t even begin to imagine that someone else could ever have a different motive. It’s why splits in the ranks take on the fervor of holy war – schisms in a church are always among the bitterest of quarrels. It serves as a suitable pretext for thinning the ranks when they get too large to properly manage – again, the fuzzy borders of the definition gives them almost the obligation to clarify that when they said DO THAT, it didn’t mean YOU could. It explains why such groups are generally so hostile to other people’s accomplishments, especially through unapproved channels – it robs them of their precious control while simultaneously exposing how they’ve rigged the system to reward flattery of the Gatekeepers, rather than real skill.

NOTE – this is NOT to say that some of the Gatekeepers aren’t skilled themselves; they often are, and use that fact to reject accusations from outsiders that they are merely interested in maintaining the clique – valuing control of the subject rather than the subject itself. But true lovers rejoice to find one who also truly loves; they do not and this gives the game away. They have lost the good in exchange for some illusion of controlling who gets to enjoy that good. Whatever robs them of that illusion becomes the enemy that must be destroyed and banished at all costs.

It doesn’t just hold for scifi, of course. It can happen in churches, in companies, in local homeowners’ associations; it can and has permeated hobbies of all description from gaming to sports; it’s greatly affected what we’re allowed to do in our leisure time and what we see in movies and television; and of course the politics of the land are infested with this kind of lousy behavior.

This is a bell I was ringing last year, and the only thing that’s changed is that this time, the Gatekeepers noticed how many more people were ringing along, and they want to shout down the bells.