Notice I didn’t say “Welcome, Fall”.

Sorry, folks, I’m a summer baby and a summer lover, and I need heat like a basking lizard. I like going to sleep to cricket song. I like the darker nights (winter nights seem so much brighter, even without snow on the ground). I like my long-ass days and warm nights.

Fall isn’t all bad. Okay, the pumpkin stuff is all bad; if you have to pick a fall flavor to obsess over, go with maple or apple. But other than that, fall is okay. Football is back. Hockey will begin soon

And usually it’s a good time for Comic Cons, but everything is being canceled or done virtually. That’s sad. I love to hobnob with my fellow wizards, see their art, their new projects. I like to show off mine. I have a ton of new artwork, and a mass selection of jewelry (some on the Etsy page) and new tiles.

Year of the Monkey image 0
Skullies image 0
Black Symphonic image 2

I was contemplating doing another coloring book of monsters from games, but right now book 3 of the Trials series takes precedence. By all means if anything on these pages catches your eye but you want to get it from me, or signed, IM me.

Just don’t IM me on Instagram. Apparently that is the pickup app of choice for divorced or separated or widowed men, and I have to block a couple a week. Kinda thought that was what Tinder was for, but maybe at my age I get my apps mixed up.

Enjoy your fall, pumpkin and all!

Why So Bitter?

You’ll be thrilled to know this isn’t a political post. I seldom do them anyway, and my feelings are that by this point, you know where I stand. Not likely to change anyone’s minds, nor are they likely to change mine, so onward and upward.

No, this is about social media and spreading hate again, but in a different format. I had to get this one off my chest.

Community pages. Great concept, but then filled to brimming with hateful, bitter assholes who have nothing to do but bitch. I’m not going to name my community, by the way. If you know me, you already know it. If you don’t, maybe you’ve had experiences with a Facebook page for your own community, because I hear they have a lot of this in common.

I was on a page for my community years ago. It wasn’t the same one I’m on now. It was more of a historical page. People found old photos of what the city looked like in days gone by. Here’s this intersection circa 1957, or here’s the old such and such building in 1942…you know this stuff. And it’s cool. I loved it. Or old pics of high school classes, trying to find your parents or relatives in the faces of events from decades ago.

But oh, the bitching. Even this page, mostly devoted to sharing neat photos, had more than its fair share of moaners, groaners, and overall crabs. Especially when the best-known church was demolished to make room for the local big supermarket (I may have given my community away with that). Yeah, ok, so a beloved landmark was taken down. I get it. Progress is painful like that, and for a supermarket? Maybe that wasn’t even really progress. But said landmark had a damaged roof that was $4 mil to repair. And like Hoffman’s Playland in another community, it’s loss was griped about by a lot of folks who hadn’t been there in years.

In short, people went on bitching about this incident (among others) well after it was over with. Too much negativity. It outweighed the fun of the old-tyme pics, and I left the page.

This page is more news-oriented, so I joined back up. There’s really good stuff, too. Water main breaks. Any changes to trash pick-up. Projects in the city, like National Grid replacing gas lines. And with Covid, the announcing of food pantries and free meals and other updates. Damn, this is a fine community page, right? This is what I signed up for, and I love it. A couple of businesses periodically showcase themselves, too.

But then. Then there’s the same old, same old.

“Why do the garbagemen throw my trash all over? They’re lazy.” “Everyone at McDonalds is rude.” “Why don’t the police do something about people speeding down the hill into the city?” “I saw 10 kids playing together and none of them had masks, where are their parents?”

Tip of the iceberg. Some of them are absolutely assinine. Someone started in with “why doesn’t the city do something about all the skunks?”. I mean, is that a joke? Skunks are natural creatures, and we’ve uprooted them from their homes, and they eat ticks and other pests…now you want the police, or who the hell knows, the garbagemen maybe, to run around and corral them up and then…ship them to another state? Or the ones who ask if there will be trash pickup on Labor Day. Has there EVER been trash pickup on Labor Day? Not to mention, 4 other people already posted the holiday schedule.

So, here’s some of MY suggested rules regarding community pages.

Don’t be a twat.

If you’re one of those nasty people who do nothing but look out your window and find fault with everyone else in the universe, don’t join. All you miserable shits can go make your own page. If they’re rude to you at McDonalds, or Walgreens, maybe check your own attitude. At worst, in either place, I’ve gotten apathy, but usually, if I’m nice, they’re nice. In all fairness, I can’t speak about going into McDonalds, since I haven’t set foot inside in years, but on the rare occasions I use the drive-through, those people are fine. Yes, people speed down the hill, and go thru stop signs, and yes, I wish the police would step that up, but there’s only so many of them, and it happens everywhere. The person who flew thru the stop sign and nearly T-boned you is most likely NOT reading your rant. The garbagemen do a decent enough job for the hurry they’re in. They hurry because you’ll also bitch if they fall behind and your trash doesn’t get picked up.

Everyone is also up in arms over a new bike path. That, I understand. It’s a project the city spent money on that probably wasn’t necessary considering the bike traffic we get, and the danger of narrowing a road. HOWEVER….if you all have THAT much to say about it, start a new page or group. It’s built, the money spent, making a new post every other day won’t undo any of it.

My point? Community. Get out, know yours. You have legit gripes, then say them constructively. Stop sitting behind curtains, finding fault every time you peek out. In fact, stop peeking out. If you aren’t involved, you don’t know what’s going on. Get to know people. Make an effort.

Stop spreading anger and hate when there’s already so much of it around.

Welcome, July…Maybe.

I don’t know, what will July bring? Fireworks? Too late, they’ve been blasting around several neighborhoods for weeks. The murder hornets couldn’t take it here and bailed already. Africa beat us to the locust game. Sahara sand is passing through, but overrated. Maybe August will bring a meteor. Right about now, humanity deserves it.

It sure as hell isn’t bringing a vaccine or cure, but keep bellyaching about masks. I’m not going to lie, it makes me uncomfortable after about 10 minutes, but knowing I could pass a deadly virus to someone trying to live makes me a lot MORE uncomfortable. I spent the good portion of my life dealing with PMS. 30-40 minutes of a stifling mask ain’t gonna break me.

Anyway, not my topic tonight. The anti-mask, all lives matter, anti-vaxholes are probably not the ones reading my blog (and if they were, HAH, bet they’ve stopped right about now). I wanted to spread some good news.

For me, at least. Employment has been good so far, and I’m feeling mostly better about life in general. Even anti-social ol’ me is enjoying some limited human contact. Spirit’s less than pleased that Mommy isn’t home all day, but until he gets a job, someone has to pay the rent and buy cat food.

I’ve returned to making jewelry. I put some on my Square site and some on Etsy. Any support you could give on that or Amazon is appreciated, since having Cons canceled or postponed for several months has hurt a bit. I still do commissions, and if you see anything on the Trials page, you can IM there for prices and availability. Jewelry, magnets, prints, books…it’s all for sale. If you’re local to Albany, you can even have it signed and maybe get it a lot faster by going thru me personally.


Work has slowed on book 3 again, although it’s finally plotted out in my head, and has a title. I get home a bit later, and I’m tired (but I’m sleeping better, so there’s a bonus), but still trying to get some done over weekends.

Black Symphonic image 0

Now, back to grandstanding. But it’ll be brief.

Enough with the goddamn “If you can blah blah, repost. I bet you can’t.”

I honestly don’t give a bag of duck shit if I can or can’t. Let me address the most common ones here (the “did you work during lockdown” I’ve already addressed). I have never watched Tiger King, don’t want to, don’t care. Yes, I’m old enough to know what that is. Yeah, that one they still make. No, I won’t repost. No, I won’t describe how I met you in one word. In fact, I won’t do it in thirty words. I won’t copy/paste, type “amen”, or give out a lot of personal information.

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I mean, shit, I got enough divorced horny twatmongers trying to message me on Instagram. I’m about my art, sharing a love of nature and beauty, and peace, and making beautiful things for the soul, and music. If I were looking for a soulmate, ok, honestly, I doubt I would try anything online, but I’d at least go thru a site meant for that purpose. Instagram and LinkedIn? ARE YOU KIDDING?

He may be a great person, but I’m an introvert, and don’t handle strangers particularly well, and interaction with strangers is downright painful for me (and yet I’m eternally lonely, yes, I get the irony of that, but it’s one of the intricacies of anxiety and depression where your brain is constantly arguing with itself). Seriously, you want art, email me, or use the Trials of a Demon Prince Facebook page, and if you’re interested in what I do, not even to buy, but to discuss methods or materials or inspirations, or you’re an artist, we can talk.

There we go, some good news, and a mini-rant. Gosh, that was like…multi-tasking?!! WOW.

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Tomorrow, we’ll try to address coloring the hair, and laundry. And taking out some garbage. Holy mother of crap, I’m tired again.

Enjoy your Fourth! (At a distance…bang bang!)

A Newish Not-Rant

I decided I really shouldn’t call them rants. I get angry, but it’s still low-key. I usually still appear calm. Ok, not always, but usually. Things have to build for a while before I do the splutter-red-faced-curseapalooza thing. But I do have to speak up when things set me off. Today, a meme set me off.

“I worked through the whole lockdown. Can you say the same? Repost if you can!”

Well, fuck you, Martha.

First off, if you know me, I don’t play the “repost”, “type amen and share”, “copy and paste on your wall” games. It’s like chain letters. If that’s your thing, enjoy. But don’t be upset if I don’t participate, because it’s not mine. Second…I’m not sure what this is even trying to say, but no matter how I interpret it, I don’t like it. No, I didn’t. I can’t. Should I be ashamed? I didn’t work because I was already unemployed, and with lockdown, the places I applied to changed over to work from home, and put hiring on freeze. They couldn’t train new folks outside the office environment. Some of them had to let people go, not take on more. So…should I be ashamed that I wasn’t working? I also wasn’t living on unemployment for most of it. I had a severance, that adequately provided for me, but I was terrified.

What was I going to do once the severance ran out, as it was soon to do? What if the lockdown lasted weeks or months before my only income stopped? So, during the whole lockdown, I cycled daily through anxiety and depression. I laid awake at night, trying to envision a future and where on earth I could get money from. I was petrified of my sugar being high, or somehow hurting myself, or doing anything that would require a doctor or dentist. Having no family, and living alone, I was more strung out by the lack of human contact. Who could I talk to without sounding like I was complaining, or whining?

I wanted to work. So, what’s your point?

You worked, goodie for you. And I’m grateful for the essential folks. A lot of you didn’t have a choice in the matter, because if you left your job, you’d be in my boat, or maybe worse, if you had others to support. I still respect that you stuck with it. I don’t know if I could have, especially with other people getting in my face for stupid, self-entitled reasons.

But don’t belittle me. Or anyone else. While this rant isn’t about racism, there’s a common core to it: stop judging others by your experience. I’ve never had a run in with a bad cop (some scary ones, absolutely….there was one in New Lebanon that reminded me of Desperation from Stephen King) but that absolutely doesn’t mean they aren’t out there. I’ve never used food stamps, but I don’t know why the woman in front of me is using them, or how she got them, or why or if she needs them. I don’t know her situation. I was bullied a little in grade school, but never because of skin color, and never to the point where I feared for my life.

I haven’t lived it, I can’t judge others for it. Do unto others…seems many “Christians” have forgotten that one. Or, in my rede, “an’ it harm none, do as ye will.”


So, yeah, I didn’t work during lockdown. You did. By your own admission later in the thread, you were venting, but you annoyed others besides me with a “better-than-thou” attitude. Venting is understandable, but FFS think before you post instead of using that stupid meme.

Oh, and likewise, yes, I hate cancer, who the hell doesn’t? But I’m not going to cut and paste and say “amen” to show I hate cancer. Maybe I’ll donate to the American Cancer Society and do something useful instead of being a twat on social media.

Wow, More Shiny Things!

As you may or may not know, I’ve had an Etsy site for a while, even sold a few things off it, but not a lot. The intent was mainly to keep an online presence during the winter when Cons wound down.

Now, an online presence is a must. But Etsy does charge for a listing, so I’m not sure how much longer I’ll hang onto that site. It’s nice to have, for sure.

All along, I’ve also used Square, and I had a site there, but I didn’t publicize it much. Square is now streamlining and their sites have been updated, and therefore I took some of this ENORMOUS downtime to start revamping and making more use of it. Visit now, to discover jewelry, new artwork, or old artwork I haven’t put out, or things that simply got buried at Cons because I can only put so much out on an 8′ table. Tiles got damaged in my car, and were’t initially waterproofed, so they have ALL been redone (and only a few are on the site, I will update as they sell, but I like to keep those in reserve for live shows).

Likewise, jewelry and magnets got bashed around in transit, and I am revamping, repairing, retooling…and creating a system where I can find anything ordered quickly. (I had one incident where an item was sold at a Con, and not marked off, and then ordered on Etsy a week later…at least it was a print, but not gonna let that happen again!)

So please, check out the site, and keep checking back, because over the course of the weekend, I’m going to keep adding to it. The only things not found there are the books. Those go through Amazon, or me (and I’m out of all coloring books, but do have limited supplies of Break, Scales, and Oz on hand for signing). And as always, if you see a piece on Facebook, on my page or the Trials page, that you want but isn’t listed in either shop, IM me.


Ooooh Those Experts!

Before you get your panties in a twist, this isn’t really a political post. Those are very rare to come from me, mainly because politics polarizes us like nothing else, and leaves a horrific taste in my mouth. I see way too much of it on social media, and choose not to contribute to the chaos.

No, I’m pointing out…EXPERTISE!

It started with sports, but you had to work for it. The devoted fan learned every stat there was to know, and sucked up numbers like there was no tomorrow.  They may not know how much to tip on a restaurant check, but damn, they can tell you any player’s RBIs, or the score differential in every Super Bowl back to 1971, or how many managers have touched the Stanley Cup.

Then along comes both reality TV and the internet, and now, we’re all masters. Pick a topic, and its fanatical master is somewhere among your friends. A few hours of Paranormal Telly…oops, I mean Travel Channel…and now ALL of us can decipher those pesky EVPs. Yes, I listened a few times, it’s a male voice, saying “help me please”. Or is it “too much cheese”? Or is it a ghostly dog complaining of fleas? You can actually get EMF detectors on Amazon (handy for finding electrical issues in the home, too).

A little Jackson Galaxy and we’re all cat experts. Well, ok, maybe Jackson’s not to blame for that. But I’m in a black cat group on Facebook, mainly to look at pictures of my favorite kinds of kitties, and…yeah, stick to looking at pictures, because stopping to read most of the posts is an exercise in hair-pulling. Any given post starts with the simplest question, and quickly devolves into the “go to the vet why are you asking the internet” vs “I have 36 cats and I am telling you the problem is he needs a friend, get another cat”. The squirt bottle is bad. The squirt bottle is good. Use double-back tape to make your cat stop scratching. No, you ass, if you love your cat, you’ll let him scratch whatever he wants. Don’t let your cat out. Yes, let him out, into the condo you’ve built.

Yeah, the things we do for furry love.

Then Food Network. Hey, I can’t knock it. I’ve learned a lot from there, and I use it. But for the love of Pete, suddenly everyone and their brother are food critics, and every sentence is either “this protein is cooked perfectly”, or “needs more acid”. Fine. Ten points if you can explain why it needs more acid, and what exactly is acid. Hydrochloric? Sure, some is legit, but some is also opinion. A professional chef judge can tear a dish apart because the protein is undercooked, but myself, and a few other people I know, will eat rare steak, even blue, in a heartbeat. I like pasta al dente, to others, it may underdone. Yes, I salt the water, and no, I don’t break it. Oh, wait….I’m Italian, so I didn’t need Scott Conant to tell me any of that. Also, watching Gordon Ramsey spew f-bombs all the livelong day, and Robert Irvine spit out food while looking like a dyspeptic turtle do nothing to increase my food knowledge.

The internet does the same thing. It’s good that so much knowledge is at our fingertips. It’s also bad that so much knowledge is at our fingertips. Not everything on the intrawebz is true, kids. You have to work at it. Investigate. Sometimes as careful as you may be, you may read too much on a topic, and (it happens to me too, I’m not being accusatory) little bits of article A stick with you, and a paragraph from article B, but then there’s one factoid from article C that really caught your eye. You go to post, or comment, and suddenly, you aren’t accurate, either, because your brain has jumbled all those bits together. It’s like the old game of passing along a story, and seeing how it changes after it’s gone thru fifteen or twenty people.

Now we’re all experts on viruses, and the flu, and what masks do. But I’m not pursuing that any further, because over the past few days, some of what I’ve read has aggravated me to no end. I’m just pointing up that exposure to info does not make us experts. If we’re lucky, it does educate us, but we still have to sort truth from semi-truth from fiction from propaganda from flat-out lies. Spit out the undercooked protein (IT’S RAW, YOU DONKEY!). Debunk, debunk, debunk (not an orb, it’s a moth, it has fuzzy antenna). Save the sports stats for trivia night (I have a hatred for numbers in general, but percentages give me aneurysms).

If you want to be an expert, put the work into it, and look beyond the internet and cable channels.


An Excerpt

As most of you know, being out of work, I’ve tried to ramp up efforts on the third book, and even though video games, depression, anxiety, and a dozen other things keep interfering, I’ve gotten a lot done, and have the rest of it mapped out in my head. So, to tempt you (and possibly get you to read the first two books, if you haven’t), here is part of a scene from the third, aka Sorrow’s Aid:


Even this four, standing apart from the others, make a stunning palette.

            Lucifer, golden Lucifer, with eyes of garnet. Satanas is boldly crimson, with black-tipped pinions making up his great wings, his eyes deepest jet. Pazzuzu, the only female of them, is the rich, velvety blue of twilight while her eyes sparkle the yellow-green of peridot.

            And he, he is unblemished, purest white from head to toe, with turquoise for his eyes.

            Before the Creator they stand, the host gathered behind them in curiosity and just a little unease.

            The Creator does not wear the form He has shown to a few mortals. This is not Random, the befuddled man that Frank Rhoades, and a few others, have met.  Today, in the midst of His beloved companions (never servants, they are far more to Him), He is the blazing column of iridescent energy. He is the raw power of Creation.

            He is the Balance. And He loves this host, and the four, as deeply as they love Him.

            But now the four have hurt Him. Four have brought dissension to the host.  Four bring jealousy, and ambition. These four would leave His side, and their brethren, to become gods. To rule Worlds.

            He is the fourth. As events unfold, he shifts uneasily. This is a feeling he’s never known. Never has he gone against the Creator’s will. A disagreeable thought has never before entered his head.

            Then along came Lucifer, and Satanas, and Pazzuzu.

            Pazzuzu is reluctant, also, he senses. But Lucifer has ever been a persuasive one, with glib tongue and words of honey. Satanas has always been too clever, and he chose to follow this course as soon as it was offered. Between those two, who else could resist? It must be so.

            “We have ever been true, unfailingly faithful,” Lucifer insists. “Is’t so much we ask? Wherefore wouldst Thou hold us back?”

            “Even as gods we would serve Thee,” Satanas is quick to add. “’Tis an insult to Create new beings to raise above us.”

            “If Thou makest these gods, I shall not bow to them,” Pazzuzu vows.

            He says nothing, but shuffles his feet again, mantling his wings to resemble a downy white cloak. Over and over has he heard these arguments, for they were rehearsed and debated. They sounded so reasonable. Now, bathed in the Creator’s all-encompassing glow, the words sound feeble. They are petulant children, pleading to a benevolent parent.

            Nor does his silence go unnoticed by the Creator. Although He is only light and energy, and wears no face in His true form, this one knows he is now the object of scrutiny.  Beneath the cloak of his wings, he shudders, cringes ever so slightly.

            **And thou, Singer? Where is thy chord in this disharmony? Dost thou stand with them?**

            He knows shame, now he knows doubt. Indecision. He hesitates.

            Aye, he thought he would be a god, but still? Upon reflection, was it worth leaving the Master’s side? Worth leaving the host? Would he still be part of the song?

            What would happen if the Master denied them outright?

            “I do.” His trembling voice was barely a whisper. “’Tis wrong to spurn us so.”

            **Spurn thee?** There is no recrimination in His voice, nothing but love, and that makes his heart hurt that much more. **Mine grief is great that thou seest not the truth. I adore thee, and would keep thee by My side. Always.**

            “Yet neither wilt Thou entrust Your Creations to our care?” Satanas, always the stubborn one.

            The Creator’s focused remained on the silent one. **Ne’er did I claim I would place the gods above thee.**

            “But must we answer to them?” demanded Lucifer. “Where must we fall in the new order? Not equals, not servants, but what in relation to Your gods? If we are not to be keepers of Your Worlds, set us free.”

            **Dost thou think thou art not?** There is genuine shock this time.

            Meanwhile, the song has subtly changed, slipping into a minor key. Not a reflection of joy and unity, but a dirge. Sorrow, unknown here, starts to take over the host.

            It should serve as a warning, but ever headstrong Satanas presses on. “We are bound to Thee, Thou knowest this. To allow us to become caretakers wouldst take us out from under Thine eyne!”

            The accusation chills him  They have gone too far, surely  He should speak up. He should deny them, and rejoin the host, before he has nothing left but regret.

            But he cannot move. Still he stands with the four. He has made his choice, and it would be weakness to stand down now, no matter how badly he may want to.

            **Yet for the love of thee, I shall grant thy wish.** The Creator has made His decision. **I know thou wilt come to to repent thine haste  Still, for thy pride and thy greed, for the discord thou hast brought, thou shalt be gods aright.**

            Lucifer actually laughs  Pazzuza also makes a noise, but it sounds more like dismay.

            The Creator continues as if He hasn’t heard. **Thou shalt be the dark gods, lords over abominations and horrors. Mortals shall shun and fear thee, and quake at thy names  Thy dominion shalt be over the lowest of creatures, the hate-filled misshapen who creep within shadows  Those of bloody minds and murderous hearts, they shall grovel at thine altars.**

            He trembles violently. He had not anticipated this terrible outcome, not at all. He can never take the words back, and so he is subject to this swift, merciless judgement.

            **Each of thee has a spark of Creation within. Henceforth that spark shall be Destruction. Thy magic canst only work ill, and so let outward appearances reflect thine twisted, o’erweening desires within. BE GONE!**

            Suddenly, he is falling. His wings will not respond; he tumbles helplessly.  The last thing he hears is the Creator’s voice, rife with sorrow, inside his head.

            **Thou hast chosen rashly, Singer. I forgive thee  Traitor thou seemed, but ne’er in thine heart. Thou shalt not change, and in thy purity, remember the love I bear thee. Thou shalt eternally serve as reminder to the others of what they have lost.**

            And then he feels his bond with the host, and the Creator, break, as he plummets through darkness.


“Lucifer! Thou hast ruined us!”

The scream tore Frank’s throat raw as he jolted upright; liquid sprayed from his mouth to spill down the front of his shirt. “Holy…what the…who?”

That last was directed at a man who’d been kneeling over him, trying to pour something into him as he’d broken from the dream. Now the man had tumbled back onto his backside, the bottle on the ground.

“What did you say?” the man demanded.

A fit of coughing grabbed Frank before he could answer; sparks exploded in his vision and he fell back again. His head was pounding, he was vaguely nauseous, and there was a metallic taste in his mouth that didn’t help matters.

What the hell was that crap he was trying to make me drink?

            When the coughing stopped and he could catch his breath, the man repeated his question. “What did you say?” He gripped the front of Frank’s shirt, knuckles white.

“I…I don’t know.” He didn’t. He knew he’d shouted something, but now, for his life, he had no idea what. And the nausea grew so strong that he feared he would vomit if he said much more. “Gonna…puke.”

He tried to bat the stranger’s hand away so that he could roll over, but the man kept him pinned tight.

“Fight it. The antidote won’t help if you sick it up, and I don’t have the supplies to make more.”

Frank nodded, although his brain twitched at the mention of an antidote. He closed his eyes and concentrated on his breathing: in through the nose, out through the mouth, a meditative technique to take his mind off his twisted stomach muscles as well as slow his heart rate.

As the diaphragmatic breathing began to take effect, he studied the man beside him. He was pale, although not in a sickly way; it was just a very fair complexion. His face was narrow, with sharp angles and a slight hook to his nose.  Thick black hair swept back from his face, with white and grey wings at the temples, while an equally thick mustache obscured his upper lip. Intensely green eyes stared out from under heavy brows.

He was handsome in a refined way, as if born to the upper class.

Except that doesn’t happen anymore. There aren’t royal family lines that interbreed and create stunning lunatics these days. You can be born into a rich family but it doesn’t really give you a distinct look.

Although…the lunatic thing…he does look like he might be…less than stable?

            Antidote? Antidote for what? Snakebite?

            That got his heart pounding again. He managed to prop himself onto his elbows.

A cemetery. It wasn’t quite dark yet, but close enough that the gates were probably closed. How had they not gotten thrown out?

Why were they in a cemetery?

Why did this man look vaguely familiar?

The Current State

Coronavirus. COVID-19. The Plague.

Call it what you will. It’s here, a lot of people tried to prevent it, but a lot of people botched it. I’m not going to get into the political side of things, because that’s mostly over and now it’s all about patching up the damage already done.

I’m addressing what the Everyman, ie, you and me, can do.

I get it, you may be holed up for 2 weeks. So buy sensibly. Unless you’ve got a family of 12, or you use 1/3 of the roll in a sitting, you don’t need 144 rolls of toilet paper. Be sensible about it. Panicking is the exact thing that will make the horror-movie aspect of this real. It doesn’t have to be that way.

On the flip side, be careful of being blase. It’s quite clearly NOT the flu (which is a bad enough entity on its own). It is a virus, like dozens of others out there, that good hygiene and common sense can keep in check. Don’t be dumb (I mean, I can tell you that til I’m blue in the face, but if you’re dumb, you’re dumb, and therefore probably too dumb to realize you’re dumb). Live your life, give consideration to others, and be reasonable. Most who read this blog are personal friends of mine and I know that’s not a hard call. If I don’t know you…I implore you.

But what really set me off was someone I know posting this:

People who repost false info piss me off. If you genuinely want to be helpful, it takes a minute to verify facts. It’s not hard. This one set me off because not only are you passing along wrong info, you’re passing along wrong info THAT COULD KILL SOMEONE. Gargling with anything short of bleach isn’t going to kill a virus. Just like holding your breath for 10 minutes doesn’t mean you don’t have it. Just like you can get pregnant in a swimming pool and plastic bottles in your car cause breast cancer.

Other people don’t verify articles, either. They are sheep. But if they follow this, it could mean LIFE OR DEATH. Don’t be the asshole who passes this one without checking.

In fact, let me put it this way. There are no shortcuts. There are no miracle cures. There are no easy dodges (although how hard is washing your hands and not picking your nose?)

My two cents. YMMV, but be safe, be considerate, be well.

TV, Old Style

I’m not a fan of sitcoms, not anymore. This may come across snobby or arrogant, and it’s not meant to be, but I find them all to be so contrived. Maybe I’ve lost my sense of humor (it’s very possible), or maybe real life has left me so damn jaded that I’m immune to any effort to cheer me.

But I used to like some sitcoms. I loved Cheers. I loved Frasier. I think maybe because back then (meaning the 80’s and early 90’s) shows weren’t trying so hard to have a message. Sometimes these shows did, but sometimes, they were simply silly, and a lot funnier for it. Isn’t the idea of a sitcom to take you away from reality for a bit? Life is heavy enough without being bombarded in what little leisure time we leave ourselves. And often, those the messages are intended for, aren’t the ones who get it.

That said, I like the old tv shows, but having a lot of free time, and watching more of them lately, I realize they’re almost the opposite of today’s shows. They fly in the face of everything politically correct. Which isn’t always bad; political correctness has honestly overstepped itself, but it also reminds us of things we’ve rightfully left behind.

Take I Love Lucy. Lucille Ball was a talented comedienne, and beautiful, and I still enjoy the show, but every so often something pops up, a joke, or a subplot, that’s like a slap in the face. Things that would never go over today. For example, a lot of references to Ricky hitting her. Some are in jest, but some…don’t quite come across that way. There’s a lot of sexism. A lot of her cute little schemes are downright nasty, and would probably get her arrested in real life, at least today. But hey, it was the 50’s, and that was the mindset back then, we accept it like we accept married couples sleeping in twin beds. Still, I find it interesting to watch shows like this and weigh the differences in my head. It’s an escape from reality not because that was a time of innocence, but because we can see how far we’ve come.

But then there’s Family Affair. I can’t wrap my head around that one. It’s disturbing. Some of that is probably the sad stories associated with it.

Anissa Jones, aka Buffy, fatally overdosed at the age of 18. As usual with child stars, mistreatment and typecasting led to the downward spiral. She auditioned for The Exorcist, losing out to Linda Blair because America couldn’t bear to see a possessed Buffy. She was invited to audition for Taxi Driver, but declined. Look it up…a really tragic tale. Oddly enough, her brother also died of an overdose, and the doctor who prescribed her seconal died. Look up the songs “Buffy, Buffy, Come Back to Me”, and “Uncle Bill, I Took Some Pills”.

Brian Keith committed suicide via gunshot, suffering emphysema and lung cancer 10 years after he quit smoking. He was also presumably depressed; his daughter committed suicide 2 months before. While another celeb insisted that it was more likely an accident while cleaning his extensive gun collection, he did leave a suicide note.

And Mr French. A long, illustrious career, but he was plagued with illness, to the point where he took a leave of absence from the show. He died in ’77 of a stroke, his second in 3 years.

Now, watch the show with all this in the back of your mind. Yeah, a lot of shows we watch today have lost most of their stars, simply because of the timeline. But for some reason, this one hits me harder. I don’t remember watching the show as a child, but I must have, because I do remember having a Mrs. Beasley doll (and I was not a fan of dolls). Watch it now, and holy smokes, it’s just bizarre. As I pointed out earlier, most sitcoms from this time period are light and silly. This show slams some heavy shit on you. One episode has Buffy making friends with a dying girl (Eve Plumb…yes, Jan Brady). They never say she’s dying, just that “she’s getting more tired”, and the last scene is Buffy laying in bed crying. There’s an episode where Uncle Bill is in Italy, planning to get married, and the kids think he’s going to abandon them. Your brain is like, “that’s ridiculous”, and it is, except that we find out when he’s talking to his Italian fiancee, that’s exactly what she wants him to do. Another episode has Mr. French (who really comes off as an arrogant, obnoxious bastard more interested in being an upperclass dick than in his young charges) deciding that he’s a valet, not a nanny, and being pretty horrible to the children until he decides he loves them again.

I mean, this is every episode. Each one is like a ton of bricks, although in true sitcom fashion, all is well again within 30 minutes, with a lot of close ups on the smiling Buffy and Jody (forever etched as Johnny of Sigmund and the Sea Monsters) and cutesy lines. Good lord, no wonder it was too much for Anissa. You try being perky and cute and beaming with those scripts. Fortunately, since the horrors these folks go through are so improbable, its still an escape from reality (Uncle Bill build bridges, and clearly has a metric crapload of money, so not my reality) and so I watch it, strangely drawn in despite the disturbing undertones.

Thank you, Decades. The Hallmark channel, this ain’t.




My Platform

Let me start by stating what I really hope should be obvious: this is a joke. I’m kidding. But, if I ever were to run for public office, here are a few pet peeves I have, that I think maybe others share. I doubt any of them are actually addressable.

  1. Spammers and scammers. Not so much the email ones, but the phone ones. All these car warranty places, and credit card consolidation assholes. ALL OF THEM. Because I’m job hunting, I actually do answer my phone, hoping for it to be a potential employer, which makes these calls that much more irritating. And whether I ask nicely, or curse them out, they hang up on me. So, if you or anyone you know works for one of these shitbags, pass this along: no matter how desperate I may get for either a car warranty or a debt consolidation loan, I’m never going to use a company that pushes itself down my throat unsolicited, or hides behind other phone numbers, or blatantly breaks the law by ignoring my request to go on the do not call list. Your business model is garbage to me, so if you keep calling, know that somehow, somewhere, I will get your info and I will sic the Attorney General and the BBB and the Winchesters on you.
  2. Channels that lie. You want educational TV? Don’t try The Learning Channel. Unless you want to learn how to be an angry bride or run a pawnshop or something.Want to see sites of the world? The Travel Channel ain’t for you. The only place they travel is apparently the Astral Plane. And once upon a time, MTV played music videos. Maybe we could get some fraud charges to stick. I mean, you don’t see OTB playing old game show reruns, right?
  3. Volume, volume. People on their phones in public is certainly normal, if a little sad. Less socializing is probably not a good sign for society overall, but it’s not going away anytime soon, and hell, I’m guilty of it,  too. I think maybe part of it is that conversation, or being alone with our thoughts, has become uncomfortable and it’s much easier to be constantly distracted. My beef is people who have the volume SO jacked on their phone that I can plainly hear what they’re listening to, even several feet away. I don’t quite remember where I was the other day, waiting for a friend to show for a movie? Or dinner? But there was a young girl there, maybe 8 or 9, and I could plainly hear every single cat video. She wasn’t next to me. She was about 10 or 12 feet away, and she kept showing her mom the videos. And did mom have the good sense to advise her to turn the volume down? Well…I wouldn’t have asked if it wasn’t an issue. It’s simple courtesy, and I think I’ll fine your ass for every video I’m forced to listen to.
  4. Food Network Snobbery. Maybe it’s me, living paycheck to paycheck, and the rest of the world is doing considerably better. And I love Food Network. I’ve learned a lot. I simplify it for Spirit, who cooks for me, and my numbers are so much better than when I was eating out all the time. But riddle me this: how many average households are using caviar, saffron, and truffles? I remember on last season of MasterChef Junior, when one kid remarked that him and his father cooked filet mignon and lobster once a week. WHAT? Must be nice. Pricey enough for me, one person. Imagine a family of 4, or 6, living that well. Yes, I’m jealous. A lot of the stuff on these shows, even if it were in my price range, are nowhere to be found in this area. The most likely ingredients from Chopped to be found in my kitchen are probably salmon (one of those bourbon portions), some form of green, beer, and gummy critters.

That’s enough for now, but it’s plenty to start a campaign. OH…and those lawn signs. Holy crap, I don’t think any of you can comprehend my hatred for political lawn signs. They’re a blight on the landscape, a waste of paper/cardboard/whatever…why, why, why? Put your energy and money on something CONSTRUCTIVE. So yeah, you won’t see them in my campaign, either. My money will go to shelters, because I want the animal votes.

Lastly, for those following for book/art info, yes, I fell behind on the writing again. I have ramped up on the artwork, though, producing a lot more D&D monsters, and coloring the existing ones. The only upcoming Con I have set in stone is Saratoga, the first weekend in May. I am waiting to hear on a couple other opportunities, so y’know, if I don’t get elected to whatever I was running for, I still have something to occupy my time.