Tales of Tadeusz

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Hohenwald News: Aquarium of 2015

I just went with the wonderful family over to Chattanooga to see the Aquarium. Driving in, I see bright, gleaming buildings and happy, shiny people, and somehow I've slipped a cog in the wheel of time.

Because its that scene in Back to the Future II where Marty visits 2015. Everything is new, beautiful, and sharp. The only thing missing were the hover-boards.

And that my friends is a more realistic vision of the future than your typical cyberpunk dystopia. Bladerunner at least had the advantage of being detailed and energetic, but most of these types of shows don't even have that.

And keep in mind that likely both visions, Bladerunner and BttF II will have truth. The world's a complicated place. Its the cruddy dystopians that don't understand reality.

I'll consider the nature of the future more later, I think...

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Hohenwald News: Blogs as Justice's Sword

Roger Simon discusses a call to try to pressure the Syrian's to release the Attasy 8. I'm sympathetic, pretty much anyone a bunch of totalitarians like the Syrian Dirty Bathwater Ba'athists incarcerate is worthy of an initial presumption of hero status.

The question is can we, the blogosphere actually do something?

I touched on the question in my mystery novel, Death of a Blogger, and plan to deal with it a great deal more in the still being researched Codeworld: Anoniblogger. I have hope that yes, this is the case. If we can focus a burning bright glare of publicity onto a case, backed up with the threat that we will mobilize either American public opinion, or a tough hawkish Administration's opinion, then perhaps we can do maybe ten cases a year.

In ways this sounds so limited, but keep in mind that one effect will start to happen. As those we point to get destroyed, we will develop a danger in our enemies minds as well. Thus, it will require less effort, as Bush required less effort when he convinced Quaddaffi to back down, as compared to Saddam.

And, also, I think we can find ways to be more effective. After all, blogs are more capable of learning, disseminating, and utilizing new techniques than almost anything else on the planet.

Blog Update: Blogger Problems

I have heard that Blogger is having problems again, and perhaps that explains why not all my links in the Eric Net work right. If not, that's still my story, and I'm sticking to it!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Hohenwald News: Hang 'Em High

Iraq: In a move that I think a lot of my hardnosed neighbours could get behind, some Iraqi merchants and homeowners dealt in a permanent fashion with two terrorists who had come to their suburb to deal death.

They took them out in the street, and hung them.

Well, how about that?

I like it. A civilized society is built on the capacity of the pillars of society, the middle class, to deal out damage to criminals. Once things get organized, and brought down to a dull roar, then they delegate this job to professionals--police, courts, etc..

Hat Tip: Global Voices

Go here to read the account from an Iraqi. His English is a bit rough, but understandable.

Addendum: And what was the terrorists' response? Load up a dog with a bomb, blow him up. Nobody was injured except for Lassie who was sacrificed by the, as someone named it, the Mudogajeen.

Hohenwald News: Re-Understanding History

Political Essay: If you want to see why the Conservative movement triumphed over the last thirty years, then go here for a synopsis of the last sixty years of history. Truly fascinating.

Hat tip, Dean's World.

Hohenwald News: Robber Barons and Corrupt Congressmen

Everyone knows how back in the Gilded Age, the '20's, evil Robber Baron businessmen squashed their competition, instituted monopolies, broke unions with physical violence, and generally acted like jerks. What not so many people know is that this behaviour was abetted, and perhaps even made possible by corrupt congresscritters, usually at the state level.

Central Railroad moved into California before the local economy was ready for it because of government aid. And then to make the investment back, it requested and got a monopoly situation. Thus, the poor farmers of Central Valley got severely messed over when the monopoly transport due to its efficiency wiped out the older mule train carrying system, and charged them bankruptcy rates.

Why is this relevant now?

Senator John Ford.

He took 55,000 dollars in cash, it is alleged in order to help a FBI sting operation, E-Cycle, get some business. And one of the things he did was try to arrange that E-Cycle would have more exclusivity (i.e. more monopoly power) in the law. And he threatened to kill someone if they were working with the FBI.

Democrat John Ford, Villain of the Gilded Age.

Hohenwald News: Intermittent Reception

Following today, for a few days or so, the updates to this site will be less frequent, and I may skip a day. But I'll be back at full power soon enough, gentle listeners.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Weekly Update

Well, the Ladyfaire is sick, and abed, and Gigglebox was also sick. Not giggling for sure. Instead as the Stabbing Knives of Awful Pain from Colic jabbed him, he hollered in my ear. And then he racheted up the intensity. Got his puir Mommy up twice.

Now finally, I think everyone might be asleep. Peace and tranquility. Ah. Relief. But, despite the chaos, I wouldn't trade it for a fast computer with a DSL connection, and a private room with a view of a lake, and a lock on the door. Its the loud woof to my weave of the cloth of my life.

Now, lets just hope I don't get sick.

Hohenwald News: Small Town Weekly

Lets go to the Politics section first. Four Tennesse Legislators arrested with others by the TBI.

And then to Sports. Um, nothing right now. I could use a Sports correspondent. Y'know someone who is actually interested in this stuff.

Okay, here's a tidbit for the starving masses craving sports info. A Tennis sports league is starting up in my local area. Hat tip Lewis County Herald.

And to Foreign Affairs. A fascinating look into the history and prospects of the European Union by an expert. It looks like as I have expected that the EU will either be a non-starter, or a blimp of hot air not able to lift more than its governing body off the ground--like a day-old cheap balloon sagging from a chair it is tied to.

Environment. The Bahraini Gov't, a small Middle Eastern government, is having some difficulty sustaining its environment with the onslaught of development, and trash. Some nice pictures of Bahraini farms, and some rather sad ones of dead palm trees. Hat to Global Voices and Rebecca MacKinnon.

Internet. Mickey Kaus, described in the back of Death of a Blogger as scary smart, explains that the New York Times is self-marginalizing itself, and affirms the Republican notion that Democrats are increasingly limosine liberals when he reveals that the NYT wants you to pay 50 bucks for access to their online addition. Now, I can get a ton of really brilliant commentary by acknowledged, prize-winning experts in their fields, and local on the spot highly versed in their own environment witnesses to events for Free! And I should pay the NYT for non-experts and the view from the Upper East Side on what is going on elsewhere? Hmm, I'll have to think about that. Really, don't call me, I'll call you.

Editorial. On the Nature of Authority in a Connected World. Hat Tip Insty.

Cartoons. Extraordinary Circumstances by Cox & Forkum.

Tales of Tadeusz Blog Update:

I still want to find out how to do categories, and I'm investigating a workaround for my lack of funds for a decent video recorder of the digital variety.

Also, I'm considering a small town carnival of blogs to be limited to towns smaller than say twenty thousand.

And I'd like to be more of a daily paper for the Hohenwald area complete with pics, advertising, video links, a community bulletin board, email lists for the local pols and people of interest to use the Chicom phrase. Pauldin County Blog is a role model indeed for this.

I've considered splitting off a subsidiary Hohenwald News blog, but I need to keep the workload manageable, and I already have a lot of connections as ToT.

After all, blogging is supposed to come behind God, Ladyfaire, kids, house-cleaning, and novel-writing. Sleeping can come afterwards.

Anyways, I have some bright shining visions of what I can do to achieve success, and help people, and we'll just see, won't we? And this method that I'm testing is probably too long. I'll keep fiddling with the format until I find something that works well for the various needs I have of the blog.

And Original Reporting:

I heard a rumor today that the Super-center Wal-mart was not coming to Hohenwald. The explanation was that the closing of the Eaton plant had shut the economy down a bit, and shut the door on that possibility.

However, quizzing the cashiers, they affirmed that we would still get one. In June or July of this year, ground would be broken, and by the first of the year, we'd have a brand-new store. We are unfortunately not talking of a full-scale supercenter like L'burg or Columbia has. Those are 2-300,000 square feet. This will be 107,000 square feet, and will like our current one be "condensed" with no auto lube place. I wonder, if like our current one, will it be "condensed" in that it all the excess space will be boiled away?

But, the Ladyfaire wasn't bothered by this, and was just happy to have one that was better than what we have. I think the clerks agree. I know I do.

And on the way home, I saw three different places where some heavy-duty construction was going on. Doesn't seem like too much of a slump there for my sight.

And Literature and the Arts:
Nashvilleistalking.com added me to their local aggregator for which I am quite grateful, and in consequence I've ascended to a Flappy Bird in the TTLB ecosystem of blogs. I'll have to add N'ville to my blogroll.

Okay, that was fun, but too hard, I think. Hmm, well, it was an experiment.

Hohenwald News: Four State Legislatures Arrested!!

In a striking move, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has arrested the following four Tennesse State Legislators. Its seems instead of making the law, they've been breaking the law. Or more specifically, acting in violation of the Hobbs Act, which involves extortion, and taking bribes to help out businesses in the state. Seems like we have our own home-grown Chracs from Iraq, that is a politician who is applauded by numbwits for their principles while taking bribes on the side. At least our Chiracs don't cover up mass graves, they only loot the state.

The following have been arrested:

Ward Crutchfield D-Chattanooga
Sen. John Ford D-Memphis
Sen. Kathryn Bowers D-Memphis
Rep. Chris Newton R-Cleveland

The Sen. Ford is not the anointed champion of the Democratic Party, Sen. Harold Ford, Jr., instead he's his uncle. Which while it will hurt Senator Junior, I don't think it will come close to finishing his career. Frankly, I don't think it ought to. After all, many people have whacked out relatives, even though most of them don't threaten workers in restauraunts, and then the police refuse to deal with it, as it would only be a misdemeanor.

However, the Senator in Question, aka the Sicko, has threatened to kill anyone who squeals. So, I'd like to see the District Attorney take a large law book, and piledrive it into the Senator's face. Its extremely dangerous to allow conspiracy, and enforcement of conspiracy with death threats. Add in the fact that SiQ seems to be a bit of a loon, and you have more problems. Then add in that he is a powerful man, with very strong connections via way of his family, all the way to the top of the world, and you have extremely serious problems.

If this case proves out, and with a two year investigation, plus strange behavior, plus a sting, I think it ought to, then we need to make an example of the Senator in Question.

Hohenwald News: Sen. John McCain Does Not Understand

Senator McCain just went on to further destroy his chances of ever being President. He ushered in his own compromise with the Democrats on the Judges getting a vote, and the non-traditional filibuster by the Democrats. Now he's probably the most beloved of Republicans by the Mainstream Media. Fortunately, the New York Times does not elect Presidents. You do. Otherwise it would have been President Kerry.

But a deeper and far more troubling show of his lack of understanding is his championing of the McCain-Feingold Bill for the Restriction of Free Political Speech in the Service of the Incumbents and the Mass Media (which has no such restrictions). OK, that wasn't its official name. But evidently, the Senator does not understand that the remedy in adult life for bad speech is more speech. Instead, he wants to censor people.

Well, here's one reply, a bold and defiant one from a brave American to that type of unconstitutional and faithless misunderstanding of America. Can Arizona please do us a favor, and elect a Democrat? Please.

Hohenwald News: Hohenwald Daily News

I'm thinking of creating a Daily Newspaper effect with links to sports, pics, politics, an editorial, a business section, foreign affairs section, possibly a human rights section, and hey, even a classified maybe.

I might do this to some degree like a Carnival and accept entries.

Perhaps I should call this Tennessee Daily News??

Hmm, just thinking out loud here. Real Early in the Morn. Both boys got me up before four. Aargh. Well, at least it gives me a chance to make eggs and pastrami on toast for the Ladyfaire.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Hohenwald News Editorial: Racial Relations Reveal Republican Ridges

Or, how racial relations between black and white can stand as a metaphor for inside the Republican Party squabbles between Libertarians and Social Conservatives.

A while back, I came to some conclusions regarding the b/w divide in America. Now let me apply them to the Republicans. Full disclosure: I am a hard-core Republican who is mostly socon, and used to be libertarian (when I was fifteen). A lot of sympathy remains for most of libertarian policies. On rare occasions, like with Governor Bredesen I voted for a Democrat; lastly, if it comes down to Hilary vs. McCain, I'll vote for Hilary, and then I'll drive off a cliff.

There's passion on both sides of the b/w divide in America, but except for cranks, and occasional cause celebre' most of it is on the black side. The similiarity to the L/SC divide is strong. Most Libertarians are far more perpetually concerned about this schism than Socons. Most Socons don't see it as a big deal, or were even much aware of it.

Occasionally Black America would erupt in a fury, and I honestly think after a while that many White Americans were surprised. This is not talking of the Civil Rights era or even the decade after that. But after a while, White America had its conscience appeased, and had compassion fatigue settle in, and most importantly for this case, thought that some of Black America's claims against them were garbage.

So too, I think a lot of SoCons were surprised at the latest eruption of Libertarian fury. After all, most SoCons support lower taxes, are at least inclined to federalism, support very strongly Constitutionalist originalist judges, would love to see the Department of Education expelled, and the Department of Transportation fed into a car crusher, and a lot of them would love a flat tax, and so on, and so forth.

And its not just that Republicans agree economically, while Democrats agree socially with Libertarians. Reps are against PC speech codes, for free speech in all its tumultuous cacophony, for gun rights, for law and order. SoCons agree with Libertarians on a vast spectrum of economic and social issues.

Granted, we disagree on Abortion and Drugs. Well, first, I think most Libertarians can certainly agree that court-mandated law such as Roe v. Wade is a bad idea. This is a Republic after all, not an Oligarchy of Judges. All hail our robed masters and the like, feh, perhaps that was what Lucas was getting at with the Jedi Council, feh again.

I also wonder why Libertarians aren't out there with Operation Rescue. I mean, it follows straight from their philosophy. The fact that they don't see that heightens the suspicion that Libertarianism is less a serious political philosophy than an excuse for horny white geeks.

Drugs, well, we fear greater harm than the harm being caused already. And if you want to convince us, then it would be better to appeal as M. Simon does to an end to pain, and Christian charity rather than to rant about victimless crimes. 'Cause we don't believe that.

It would also be well to do as the Johnny Appleseed of Drug Reform does, and assiduously, patiently, keep working on your program, planting little seeds. A bold Gordian Knot slicing of the drug war is not going to happen; so stop appealing mostly to first principles. Its lazy. Some contorted, frequently illogical from your viewpoint, and sometimes outright daft process of compromise and experiment will produce a warped and twisted weave that will be exquisitely nuanced, and dreadfully clever (probably more clever than most people realize as it will hold deep wisdom). This weave will be drug reform, if you get behind it, instead of trying to snap your fingers, and transport yourself to Paris by force of will. This is politics. Its a mess. It always will be.

What Blacks feared was Racism. What Libertarians fear is Theocracy, the crumbling of the wall between church and state (never minding that it was Baptists who had a major role in the construction of such a divide), and the loss of Republican dominance (funny how that doesn't seem to bother them at most other times.) What both should have feared, and I think the more perceptive actually do was Apathy.

What should Libertarians do? Admit that SoCons are their best friends. Okay, you can stop laughing now.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Hohenwald News: Blog Update: Added What Can Brown Do For You?

This blog by a conservative college student has just been added to my blogroll. He's a fellow Tennessean, and a member of the Rocky Top Brigade, so why don't you check him out?

Tykes Update: Ups and Downs

Gigglebox woke his parents in the middle of the night with a plea for a new diaper. Not his usual style at all, but unbeknownst to his unsuspecting parents (insert Voice of the Narrator from a Superfriends cartoon) he had developed the Occasional Acid Squirts of Doom.

So he was doggone uncomfortable.

Then he woke me early, about seven, after the Ladyfaire was well and gone off to work. So food, rice chex and peas for breakfast for the both of us. And a bit later a bottle for him, which he interrupted with more OASoD.

At this point we get to the Downs. And not any fun horse-racing track thing either.

He proceeded to be a pill. Aargh. Plus I was sick, suffering from sinuses. He refused to be happy.

I tried to fix a shelf I'd broken in one of our Wal-mart Special bookcases. It wouldn't fix.

Finally, it was off to the Library to hear Miss Chrystal read to them, and help them make a craft project, a pocket of felt paper and string for Corduroy the Bear. Really cute. I liked how the C colored his bear.

This was an up. Gigglebox got to play with the puzzles, and listen to the stories. And despite having to change his diaper standing up in the bathroom as they had no table, it was still good.

From there, to the Columbia McD's with its indoor playground, and several hours of eating, playing, and Daddy reading Ripples of Battle. Which is quite good. Not sure what I'm going to read next.

And then Gigglebox's school lesson, and then home to blog about it all so that one day, I can come back, and read this. Probably laugh at myself.

Tennessee Writer Update: Immigration Reform

One question that writers frequently get asked is, "where do you get your ideas?"

For me, various sources. For Death of a Blogger, I noted that some of the moonbats out there were pretty freaky scary, and wondered what would happen if one of them won't over the line.

Then I go to a forum where the people talk about anonymous blogging, and suddenly, I have another idea for a blogging novel. Codeworld: Anoniblogger.

In putting together various bits in the current research phase for C: A, I wondered if I could re-task what I wrote of a Y2K novel to be used in C:A. And that got me thinking, perhaps I could use that instead for a novel on Immigration Reform.

Explain the various viewpoints, explain why GWB doesn't just close the border now...hint, it would destabilize Mexico, and we'd have a rogue nation on our border, instead of in the Middle East.

Have a problem with terrorists sneaking into American via way of Mexico.

Have a moral question of how far do you push a group to do the right thing when you know they might not respond favorably, and thus might end your chance to keep pushing.

Have some justifiably ticked off Americans enraged by the open border, and some private border patrols. Have MECHA.

Its a start of an idea.

Tennessee Writer Update: Codeworld: Anoniblogger

One issue in Anonymous blogging is using it as a whistle-blower, or as a vent at your corporation while in America. Naturally, corporations hate this. Someone reveals that the latest gizmo is only the last gizmo with a Brand! New! Varnish!, and if they can catch you, they'd use you for a pinata at the office Christmas party. So, you can use an anonymous blogging technique or three, and tell the tale without suffering the martyrdom that too often accompanies truth-telling.

But I also need an innocent company being unfairly maligned, but thats not now.

Now we discuss a company I know and hate. It will serve as inspiration for a whistle-blowing worthy company in my novel. As a Republican and a free market activist, I'm required to believe all companies are inherently decent.

But that's not reality.

Keep in mind that my source for this would be described in a company press release as a "disgruntled employee".

They promised a wage, and then gave two dollars less per hour without warning, and despite repeated attempts to get them to honor their agreement, they didn't.

They sold accuracy, and encouraged fraudulence.

They made a diabetic woman keep on working despite the fact that she was obviously sick.

They reprimanded a young girl for cursing at someone who banged her head with a loaded cash register drawer, not once, but TWICE. Now, me, I think most people would have yelled and screamed after the first time.

They changed hours in the middle of the shift, oftentimes by a great amount.

They expected people to work 23 hrs. straight, and threatened those who didn't.

They regularly used stoners as employees.

In individual, they seemed mostly decent individuals, but in sum, there was suddenly an emergent property which I was not used to smelling. An aura, you could say. Now, I'm not a guy who tends to slam people too much. Perhaps, I'm too understanding. But after a bit, I identified this aura...Evil.

Now, I might say Spiritual Corruption, or simply that the sum of the parts morally speaking was less than the parts by a large step.

In any case, they'll be a fine target in my novel.

Another concept to toss into the stew, and let soak and heat for several months.

Tennesse Writer Update: Storyblogging Carnival XIX

Tales by Sheya hosted the next Storyblogging Carnival here which looks very good indeed. I had an entry here, Death of a Blogger in the whole entirety can also be found. And this is what the hostess had to say about my novel...

[And a very good mystery novel is it, right from the start. I have a bad feeling about what will happen next...]

Well, thanks, Sheya. That cheers the heart.

Also, there's an interesting variety of other short stories, novel parts, and so forth over there, so do be sure to drop in. Tell Sheya I sent you.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Roleplaying Gaming Update: Stupid Quiz

Hmm, some parts of the response were surprisingly accurate...

Lets see how this works...

I am a d10

Take the quiz at dicepool.com

Hohenwald News: Rattler?

The other day, I'm stopping at Phillip 66 to get a fill-up, and there's a guy in a reconditioned Ford pick-up truck of fairly ancient vintage, and he showing off a snake he ran over. It was almost as tall as he was, and he wasn't small.

Turns out the snake was 68 inches in length. Thats 5 ft. 8 in. for all you liberal arts majors out there.

He said it was an Eastern Pine Snake, which brand I'm not familiar with. Any reader care to shed some light? The Ladyfaire said it had the coloration of a "kill first, ask questions later" variety, even if it was innocent. She thought it was a rattler, and she's usually a friend to snakes. Not like me, I tend more toward "Kill em all", unless I'm sure they're okay, like a black snake or an obvious garter snake.

I'll say in the last week or two, I've seen several snakes traipsing across Claude Carroll. I avoided them, or tried to as I figured they were doing no harm.

Tennessee Writer Update: Two New Games

At the storefront, I have a brand-new to the world role-playing adventure for d20, Coup and Countercoup d20, and my Temple of the Dying Sun d20 setting with adventure. The Temple is available at RPG.now, but at this new storefront, you can get it printed which I did not have the other site set up for.

Now, for some reason, the computer took the fact that Ed Carroll co-wrote Temple of the Dying Sun to mean, he also co-wrote Death of a Blogger: An Internet Murder Mystery Novel, but nope, the blame or credit for that one goes to me without him. Not a big deal, and I'll get around to fixing it sometime.

I need to go into Hohenwald today to mail off a copy of my novel to a reviewer. Hopefully, it will be soon, but he has expressly said that he might not get to it, so I can only hope and pray. My other reviewer, Wicker, has received Temple, but considering how long it took me to get it to him, I have no cause to complain.

Blog Update: EricNet Still Not One Seamless Garment

I've added some links between the various blogs that make up this site, and for unknown reasons, some of them, particularly the ones on the Tennessee Writer site don't work. But, you can link to the TW site, and then directly back to Tales of Tadeusz with smooth ease which is way cool. It seems like some sort of magic, and in actuality it is. The wonders of the technological age do not exceed the glories of the Fiat, but they are quite awesome in and of themselves.

I suspect EricNet is going to be like Nashville Hwy's...in a permanent state of flux.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Hohenwald News: Mr. Anti-American, Gerhard Schroeder in Trouble

As they say, couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Gerard of Germany, the man who gave Bush fits, along with Chirac, just had his last regional government get trashed by the voters, and he is now calling for a new election, early.

This is one of the odder parts of parliamentary democracies from an American point of view. In America, one serves their four years, even if, like President Jimmy Carter, one is incredibly unpopular. In other countries, one is entitled to throw in the towel with much greater ease, or to try to schedule elections so that it benefits your side.

The last is what worries me. Is Gerard really beaten, or does he have a card still yet to be played? Here's hoping that he loses.

Check out Medienkritik and his comments for more on this story.

Then with the Australian re-election of John Howard, the humbling of Muammar Quaddaffi, and the hoped for loss of Germany's leader, there will be a trifecta of examples on what happens to you when you either support the obvious necessity of the neo-con project, and George Bush, or you try to mess with him to save your petty bribery schemes with dictators. People like a strong horse, an evil man said truthfully, and it does look like Mr. Bush is just that.

Tennessee Writer Update: Codeword: Anoniblogger Research

Here's a fascinating link to Daily Pundit via Insty with pics of his Blogger Reporter Kit. Its a bit expensive for me at 1700$, but I could see giving this set-up to one of my characters in Codeword: Anoniblogger.

And, mmm, a felicitous spelling error makes me wonder Codeworld or Codeword? Which is better? World does speak to the idea of a worldwide net of secrecy; word sounds like something out of a spy novel, and that may be good, or it may be cheesy.

Hohenwald News: The Huns are Coming to New Yawk

Insty has a piece on the condescension shown to Nascar, and wondering if Nascar were replaced with "hip-hop" if the same sneering attitude would be shown. Myself, I enjoyed the article linked, even if I see his point. Of course, I'm not a Nascar fan, so I might be missing something.

Weekly Life Update

We wanted to go to the Pink Cadillac, but with Monster-in-Law :)ugh, showing, and Man of the House, we decided to stay home on Friday night. We re-watched Kiki's Delivery Service, which is a charming anime about a young witch starting up a food delivery service in some European country. Having a flying broom does come in handy.

The next day was the yard sale at PCA in Columbia (or Mommy's Town as I tell Mr. C). We got Gigglebox an electronic sound machine with a mirror which should help him out, and a couple stacks of books that my ladyfair is rereading to the boys right now, and a whatnot shelving system for doll teapots and the like which I'm going to screw to the wall in the kitchen.

We went to Wendy's for lunch, and I had a Mediterranean Salad which was quite good, although the Ladyfaire recommended more feta cheese. Of course, more cheese is almost always good. I may have to buy some feta next time I'm in the store. Mr. C had nuggets and a fruit cup, and a pizza slice which he mooched at the yard sale, and Gigglebox ate chicken and a whole cup of Mandarin Oranges which he really liked.

Gigglebox is getting chubby. Mr. C, we have a hard time getting to sit still to eat, and he runs it off. He's in the normal weight distribution, but unlike most kids his age, he's not chubby.

Then we went off to the Delvingrim meeting of the SCA to be held at Village Pizza. Not only did the owner, originally not know what we were talking about at all, but it turns out that there was a typo in the email, and the event is actually on Sunday. Oh well. It reminds me of the struggles I had at BlogNashville Con trying to find the place, last month.

Tennessee Writer Update: Murder Mystery Project

I'm working on a project for a murder mystery game. Converting a Multiverser bound game, probably still headed that way, to a Murder Party Game has been interesting. I've made it goofier, and simpler, and more egalitarian. See, the Multiverser game has one hero, could take twenty hours of game play, and was pretty serious (even if with a touch of the funny with all the characters being scrambled up names from famous mystery authors.) The Party game has twelve heroes, is supposed to take 2.5 to 4 hrs. roughly, and has heroes with names like Ambassador Larry Laserblaster who's response to stress involves lots of whimpering.

So I think that I'll be able to use both since they are going to end up considerably different, and they are intended for different niches in the market. But I'll have to clear that with another person or two first.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Hohenwald News: Edward Carroll

My friend and business partner, Edward Carroll, is leaving next week Monday to go to the Naval boot camp. From there he is set to become a submariner. I'd like to thank him for doing something I could not do. Merely climbing aboard a sub floating on the surface would be bad enough for me, but actually spending months below the surface in a hollow metal can?

Its a sad thing that a brilliant and energetic young man like this finds no outlet for his talents in our area. And now that he is leaving, we, the remainder are poorer for it. For doubt not, but people produce more than they consume. Numbers of people are a strength to a community, not a weakness.

Especially, such a man as Ed. Brave and forthright, tough enough to walk thirty miles in a day, a devout Christian, and a fine gamemaster are some of his qualifications. He co-wrote Temple of the Dying Sun d20, helping with the math and as a freelance editor. And he has other projects in the loop which we will continue onward with, in between his spending time in the Abyss guarding against madmen who would disrupt our peaceful Sanctuary, the Arcadia called America.

I'll miss him showing up on my porch to brighten the day with his keen wit, cheerful personality, and forceful arguements. But while we will be poorer for him gone, it is better for the nation as a whole that he goes. And I feel it is better for him as well. Perhaps in the years to come, we can offer more of a choice to the young men and women of this community. A chance to strive for greatness here, or if they choose, to serve elsewhere.

But let that rest for now. Let me just say, thanks Ed, and Vaya con Dios.

Hohenwald News: Library Book Sale Today and Tomorrow!

Go now, buy lots of books.

Hohenwald News: Added "Local" Reporter to Blog Roll

I've added Bill Hobbs to my Blogroll to the right under Links. He covers the Mid-state area, and his reporting will be a fine addition to this news portal.

I've met him once, well twice, at BlogNashville Con, a general meeting of bloggers from all over the United States. I believe we had New Yorkers, and a Californian, a fellow from the reality-free zone inside the Beltway, and many others including a number of famous Tennesseans such as Glenn Reynolds, Donald Sensing, and so forth.

Bill is tall, very tall, and since I'm six two, that's saying something. He's thin, and energetic in manner, with intelligent eyes. My first time I was introduced, I was startled and blurted out that I had read his website. He modestly joked to another standing by that he was still getting used to that, meeting his readers, that is.

I have to say, it adds something to the experience of reading a site, to be able to place a mental image of the writer with the site. Hopefully, there will be a Blog Nashville next year.

The second time we met at the very nice Freedom Forum, he gave some helpful advice about selling my novel Death of a Blogger: An Internet Murder Mystery Novel. So here's some helpgul advice in return, keep writing Bill, we'll keep reading.

Hohenwald News: Tenn State Surplus

Yay! The State of Tennessee has a surplus. Let the party begin! Throw hundred dollar bills out the door. Bring on the wine and the dancing women.

There's two possible courses I might recommend at this point. And one to avoid.

One, send a reminder to the state capitol that we in Hohenwald would dearly like our share of the pork. Pork BBQ sandwich with all the fixings, please...

Consider instead, for plan #2, getting rid of the sales tax on food which would strongly benefit everyone in this community, not just a chosen and lucky few who have connections. This was floated some years back when people were for shackling the still-free citizens of Tennessee into income tax slavery. Lets raise this one tax so we can lower this other.

Well now, my friends, we have a chance to gain even more freedom. Lets abolish the sales tax on food. Help the poor, help the economy, help the puir, pitiful government which doesn't know how to spend the money.

For more info, check out Bill Hobbs.

Addendum: One major advantage of the Blogosphere is that if one makes a mistake, it is easily and prominently corrected. So, the course I do NOT advise is for our city leaders to do nothing. Don't press for a sales tax; don't try for a ladle of gravy...just sit there, and watch the money flow to other municipalities.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Hohenwald News: Some Fascinating Essays

Here we have Tom Gray-Liberty Dad explaining how Harry Potter relates to the crisis in Iraq, and floating the idea that the high-freedom less-protection method we are using in Iraq may be a neccessary goad to get the Iraqi's to step up to the plate, and defend themselves.

Here Dean Esmay explains that Conservatism Won So It Died, But Its Feeling Fine.

The Reverend Donald Sensing, a fellow Tennessean, explains how to give a speech to Indra Nooyi of Pepsico. She just recently went out of her way to tell a bunch of grads not to be "ugly Americans" while demonstrating her own point with a ham-handed quality in her own speech. She encouraged Americans to be wary of giving the middle finger to the world. Now its true that some, few Americans can be outright jerks, and that reminders to do right are often useful, but there does pass a point where it becomes an accusation more than helpful advice. And one is wise to balance helpful advice with more positive imagery.

I don't know. I'm not that upset with her, but then I'm pretty laid-back. On the other hand, I'm not that impressed with her either. And the thought that this lady makes 5.5 million dollars a year working for Pepsi does not inspire confidence in Pepsico's corporate management.

If this ticks you off, then feel free to drop by Pepsi Boycott Blog or Hugh Hewitt and scroll down.

Hat Tip Bill Hobbs.

Hohenwald News: Videolog Update

I still want to start video-logging, and put up pictures of my beautiful and charming community up on the web. I can do this with my Olympus D-390. The Veo Advanced Connect web camera triggers a scary warning from Microsoft that this might destabilize my system now or in the future. Since my system is very important to me, I'll take the cautious route, and the Ladyfaire has tried to contact Veo.

We'll see how that goes.

But even if I use both, I still cannot do true videos. The Olympus has no sound, and very little memory. The Veo is non-portable. The kind lady Ryanne at Freevlog.org suggests I go online at Yahoo shopping, and buy a sd200 Canon and a 512mb flash memory card which a friend got for $250. But thats a little steep right now.

So, right now, at the reasonable best, I can take still pictures. That, after writing it, seems like a good idea. Does that happen to you? You have no plan, you write about that fact, and bang, up springs a plan to ambush you!

More vid

Hohenwald News: News Portal Updates

One goal of Tales of Tadeusz is to serve as an information portal to the area, and the wider world beyond it for the local community. This is similiar to how I use Instapundit.com for keeping up to date on world-wide events, and the general blogosphere.

One way of looking at this is to see Hohenwald News as a local newspaper. And indeed, I've considered spinning the Hohenwald News segment off to make its own website, but I think I would prefer if I could manage a category system rather than another blogsite.

In any case, to help with this goal, I've added around eight new websites in the local area so that if you need to find out information about Hohenwald, you can simply come here, and then branch out from this central location. If anyone wants to be added to this site, drop me an email, and I check your site out.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Role-playing Gaming Update: Like Having a Real GM

The possibilities with DaveTV and the like could run into Online Role-playing, and produce a very interesting idea. Its been done before, and fairly successfully, but never by a no-capital outfit. Instead, its been done by a huge company.

That is, create a Choose Your Own Adventure style video. Each segment of the Adventure would have its own download which would then end with a screen telling you a few choices that you could download from the service provider (say DaveTV or one of its competitors), and these downloads would, of course, be the next segment for you with their own choices at the end.

As you can see, the decision tree, gets immense pretty quickly.

If you have five minute segments with three choices at the end of each segment, to get to an hour length program (which seems like a nice goal), in one branch alone you'd have thirty-three choices. Now you could cut that down by having roughly half the choices be binary.

Binary choices would work best for "Walking along the trail, and it splits"; "See threat ahead, confront or slip around"; and "Face monster: Flee or Fight".

But still, the number of video segments an hour long program would necessitate would be in the hundreds, and frankly, thats totally impracticable for me.

Perhaps, I could get the people at Freevlog.org to help out by everyone creating their own five minute videos according to my script? I could write up a script, and a general set-up for each person, and have that person do an encounter, and the end results of that encounter.

Also, Border Raids would be a great place to run up some vids. Might have to promise half of the profits go to the SCA somehow (I can see Delvingrim, the Cumberland Centre, and the Kingdom all arguing for their share.)

I could get some horse charging vids there. Perhaps some dog vids. Definitely some merchant vids. Perhaps a romantic storyline vid too. Sword attack vids...

Keep in mind that you need a setup segment, two-three choices, and then the corresponding results segments.

One problem would be not being able to buy things (unless a merchant lends them to me for credit in the story), and thus display them later in the story. After all, how do you show the hero carrying a sword when you can't afford one? One solution is to use my cheap katana.

One problem is naked steel. Its dangerous. Can't exactly be coming close to our NPC targets with it. I may end up by making the hero have a sword which is cursed, my cheap katana, that is, and it cannot be drawn. That way, he has to fight with it sheathed like Musami??

And that could be my explanation for why he doesn't buy any of the swords he finds...his sword hums in warning when he tries it.

Also, if I could get a cool story, or that Druid guy to "make me a Druid" that would be cool. I could have it necessary to enter the woods, and without that blessing, you just wander back and forth hopelessly just short of your target.

Would need release papers, and signed name cards to attach to the vids because that would be teh sole recompense of fame...could probably print out such sheets on my printer.

One side idea is to do an "Evil" PC path. It would draw attention, and yet, to be true to my ethics, it would not last long, I think. And it would be cool to have a special "Evil Game Over" where the Darkons come to drag you away...

Thats another thing that can cut down on the amount of taping to do. Make the game moderately lethal. That way, perhaps half of the major branches of the decision tree would stop at "Game Over".

I'm not sure if I have the right camera gear for this. I need something with video and audio. It needs to be portable as in I can carry it around in my hand. And it needs sufficient memory to hold say, at a minimum, twenty-five minutes of memory (that is, one five minute set-up, and three 2 minutes or less results...hmmh, maybe I could actually work a ten minute memory like the Olympus is supposed to have with this.)

But then I'd need a place to download memory, or spare mems. Perhaps, I could talk to the Baron Akim or one of his friends into letting me use their computer. Or perhaps, Andy or Ricardo have a laptop they would let me use...

Now, the Ladyfaire was quoting really low prices on video cameras, and acting like she would not mind buying one. Well, she is the more techical minded one of our Dynamic Duo, and she likes tech simply for the kewl factor. So I need to check this out.

One worry is that I would get a lot of great effort, and the camera or the cameraman(moi) would not be up to the skill needed, and all that effort would be wasted. So I would need to practise before Border Raids to be sure.

Hmm....Did I mention that I have two other projects (converting a murder mystery to party game style, and writing on a novel, and a familial emergency, plus the typical glorious family life--and I mean the 'glorious'. Its great. One does not want to short-change one's kids or spouse for a great idea. Might mean I get less sleep, tho'...

I have my Veo Advanced Connect which doesn't fit the portable. I'm not sure the Olympus D-390 fits the audio.

Tennessee Opportunities: Video Camming for Internet TV

I've been playing a bit with my Veo Advanced Connect web camera today. I've almost got it set up. So this link really strikes home.

...North Carolina cook's program — self-described as an "all-day, whole-hog class edited down to 45 minutes on how to find, select, prepare and serve whole hog from the man who cooks several hundred per year" — will be available for a $1.99 download as early as next month on something called DaveTV.
It's the type of show — niche programming to please any taste or whim — we'll be seeing much more now that broadband Internet has finally become a more reliable conduit for the delivery of broadcast-quality video.

DaveTV out of Atlanta, and several other start-ups are interested in providing a central place where the customer and the video maker can meet, and a small amount of money can change hands. Now, if you already have a digital video camera, and lots of you do, and you have some special competence at a skill, and a reasonable (greatness is not required) vocal delivery then you have a chance to be an Internet TV producer.

Explain the proper way to cook baked beans, or make BBQ, study for a test in geometry, plant hay, catch a fish, skin a deer, or replace a sparkplug. Just please don't do like those morons who jump out of balconies onto tables to demonstrate for one and all suicidal risk-taking. After all, once you make one, and its a hit, the fans will demand a sequel.

Hat tip Insty.

Hohenwald News: Involuntary Self-Employment

Instapundit has a very interesting article for Lewis Countians & area here in which he discusses the rise again of the cottage industry, and involuntary unemployment to use the NYT's term.

Last week, I wrote about the way changes in technology are sparking a return to "cottage industry," with all sorts of work that used to be done in offices returning to people's homes -- the traditional place for most kinds of work, back before the Industrial Revolution.

Now, as it appears that many jobs cut during the recession
won't be coming back, it also appears that many workers are starting their own businesses, often at home. In fact, quite a few formerly unemployed people are now reporting that they're self-employed. Though an economist quoted by the New York Times discounts this phenomenon as "involuntary entrepreneurship", it seems likely that -- voluntary or otherwise -- we'll see a lot more of this sort of

As Slate's Mickey Kaus notes:
If we're entering a new economic era -- one in which traditional cyclical employers won't start rehiring, . . . isn't it likely, even, that workers will adjust by pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities? And if entrepreneurship is real, what does calling it "involuntary" mean? I might prefer to have a full- fledged "job" at Microsoft, complete with stock options, health insurance, etc. Instead, I'm a freelance contractor. Calling my entrepreneurship "involuntary" might be accurate, but it doesn't mean I'm not working and feeding myself. In the "newer" economy, you'd expect such self-employment to increase, no?

This goes to the point I made in an earlier HN post titled "Opportunities". We can, and indeed have to, generate our own economic growth.

Hohenwald News: Syria is the Latest Domino

Beset by U.S. attempts to isolate his country and facing popular expectations of change, Syrian President Bashar Assad will move to begin legalizing political parties, purge the ruling Baath Party, sponsor free municipal elections in 2007 and formally endorse a market economy, according to officials, diplomats and analysts.

Assad's five-year-old government is heralding the reforms as a turning point in a long-promised campaign of liberalizing a state that, while far less dictatorial than Iraq under Saddam Hussein, remains one of the region's most repressive. His officials see the moves, however tentative and drawn out, as the start of a transitional period that will lead to a more liberal, democratic Syria.

Hat tip to Dean's World; Source at Washington Post.

Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya giving up its nuclear program, Lebanon, and now Syria--the dominoes are falling, and Democracy is on the March.

Hohenwald News: Lewis County Public Library Book Sale

The library could use more books to sell (even though it has a ton, but who ever has enough books?) so that it can finance buying more books for its regular collection.

Just recently they added Ripples of Battle by Victor Davis Hanson. VDH is one of the most knowledgeable, and persuasive spokesmen for the neo-conservative viewpoint, and that, even if "neo-con" is an epithet in your world, makes him one of the most important writers of the day.

They also added Isms by Stephen Little which looks like a Guide to Understanding Types of Art for Dummies. I look forward to expanding my knowledge of the visual arts from pitiful to modest after reading this book.

The book sale to help the Lewis County Public Library is on the 20th, and the 21st of May, so be there if you can.

Blog Reconstruction Update

This is likely to be a semi-major category for a while as I keep mucking about with my site design while learning how to better manage HTML, and duplicate the cool features I see on other sites.

I wish I knew how to make categories, then if someone wanted to read ToT strictly for the Tennessee Writer Updates, or the Hohenwald News or even the excerpts from my mystery novel Death of a Blogger, they would be able to without having to skip past all the other dreariness.

But for now, I've figured out how to keep the "Home This Way", a nice vertical line, and "About Me" on the same line. Now I can have a neat line of links across the top of the page when I decide what I want there.

I may just add my new Eric Net links to that, moving them from their just established position to the right and top of my links. A lot of people seem to put XML feeds up there, but I like my honking big Feedburner button. It adds color to the drab green (green is the color of Tennesse, and the general color of Eric Net, but not all the same tone of green--Tennessee Writer is far more sparkly). Also, I assume some of my readers are like me, and that means not so technically adept, so if they want a feed, a direct line to my brilliance, I need to make the path to the guru's shack clear and bright.

I've also added a local links area, and moved the Chamber of Commerce site from the regular links to that. I'll add more later. Folks, Lewis County needs more websites. Its free, and relatively easy. Look buy my family a meal at Rio (i.e. drop me a twenty), and I'll get you started with a doggone nifty blog which you can use to advertise your store, work on genealogy with, let your relatives in far distant lands know what you are up to, and so forth.

Enough for now....

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Hohenwald News: Omar from Iraq on the Newsweek Riots

Iraq the Model is an Iraqi blog, a chance for people in America to hear directly from the man on the street in Iraq, instead of getting their information filtered through people with really good hair-dos aka the Mainstream Media. At the link he discusses the recent Newsweek story (which they have apologized for) of Gitmo soldiers flushing the Koran down a toilet, and the lack of reaction to the story in Iraq. This lack of reaction, I consider the most important and promising part of the story.

Hohenwald News: Opportunities

About ten percent of Hohenwalders are unemployed. This ain't good, but in a perverse way, its an opportunity. I don't know if you would consider me employed.

My hats include the next:
1)Run this blog which may turn into something self-supporting.
2)Write Novels such as Worldwalker and Death of a Blogger.
3)Do Game design like the Temple of the Dying Sun d20.
4)Raise the kids as a SAHM.

What does that mean to you? Well here's an article on the Do-it-yourself economy about people with some skill, lots of time, perseverance, and an idea changing the world, and perhaps making a little money while they are at it. I think the article is unnecessarily downbeat on the making money bit, as I certainly intend to try to make not a great deal, but enough from my efforts, if I can.

Perhaps, for Fortune Magazine, a few tens of thousands is nothing much. I don't think that's it, but whatever it is, I have hope that people can produce their way out of a hole.

The point is, being unemployed is an opportunity to make that "wouldn't it be neat if I could...?" a reality. Granted, finances are almost certainly tight, and so you'd be wise to try to stick to things which don't cost much at all.

But there's a surprising amount of programming on the Net which is absolutely free. This blog is but one example.

It really wouldn't be too hard for a crafts maker to become the #1 Google search on say "antique wooden rocking horses"; or for a town to spread its fame as the "junk capital of the South". Most of it would be a cheap computer, a paltry Net connection, and time and skill to type presentably and directly.

There's more silver ore in this seam to mine, but for now that's it.

Recipe from Hohenwald: Mr. C's Waffles

1. Instant waffle, preferably flavored.
2. Toast it, but on a low setting so it doesn't get to hot for a toddler.
3. Smear on peanut butter.
4. Slice and drop on banana pieces.
5. Serve.
6. Break into smaller quarters.
7. Explain how to eat something as big as a half-dollar.
8. Chase child from playroom back to table...

Weekly Review Update

We are still cleaning up the house. Its amazing what damage a toddler and a baby can do to the floor in a short period of time.

I just cleaned that up! The cry of parents everywhere as peas and carrots fly from high chairs and get donated to the cat underneath the table, and then smushed beneath busy feet on the way to another cleaning errand.

Another errand was trimming the tree branches with my nifty electric 2.5 hp chainsaw. Its easy to use, and I prefer not having to start it with a pull cord, and I don't go that far afield that I usually need more than one long extension cord. However, its been a real long time since I've been climbing in trees. So with great caution I step off the ladder.

Back in the day, I would have been merrily trying all sorts of things, including hanging upside down forty feet off the ground, but now SUPERCAUTIOUS. And then it turns out I have to go back to the ground and get the saw because the limb I was trying to work loose, after cutting it, needed more cutting.

And of course, all this is near power lines, and threatens my roof (otherwise, I would not have bothered, natch.) But happily, despite my endeavors, I am not cooked, and the electricity still works, and the phone still connects.

Boy, after a bit, the thrill of chain-sawing starts to get to you. Snip, and thump. A huge limb is dropped from the tree, and leafy chains which had threatened the house are gone. Besides, its destruction, power, and with a possibly similiar mood as my three-year-old when he breaks stuff because its fun, I chop limbs off.

Except of course, when I'm wondering if I'm going to be dancing on and perhaps off the roof edge. Or when something unexpected like the snapping of a branch of a tree limb I had been pulling on to make another part of the limb accessible to my saw, and the sudden change in one's balance...but nothing happened except I decided to sit down on the roof's peak, and later saw that it was best I was down for the day.

There will be more limbs to cut another day. I'm kinda looking forward to it.

And Mr. C has been enjoying his waffle with p.b. and banana slices...let me post that recipe.

Tennesse Writer Update

Off and on, I've been working on a murder mystery as a setting for a role-playing game. It would be a SF murder mystery which makes it unusual. I still hope to make that setting, but for now I have an opportunity, not a promise, but a chance to re-purpose it as a party game.

That could be pretty cool.

So I have a deadline I've given myself of three weeks. I'm still going to be posting here, and running my games, and writing Worldwalker, and doing the dozen other things I'm responsible for; its just a new project.

"About Me" Page Added

I've added an "About Me" blog with the hyperlink of

http://aboutmetalesoftadeusz.blogspot.com which is a rambling mess touching on my personal history, writings, and current life. I'll try to add some more links laters, and make it more edible for the mind of the discerning reader.

But honestly, it was written in a dead rush, so its a shambles right now. But it does have some cool stories.

And the link is near the top of the page under the "Home This Way" link. I still haven't figured out how to put the two links side by side, separated by a nice vertical bar like a lot of blogs and web pages do...

Oh, well Tales is a work in progress.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Hohenwald News Editorial: Lucas and Republican Presidents

According to NYT's review of Revenge of the Sith:

Mr. Lucas is clearly jabbing his light saber in the direction of some real-world political leaders. At one point, Darth Vader, already deep in the thrall of the dark side and echoing the words of George W. Bush, hisses at Obi-Wan, "If you're not with me, you're my enemy." Obi-Wan's response is likely to surface as a bumper sticker during the next election campaign: "Only a Sith thinks in absolutes." You may applaud this editorializing, or you may find it overwrought... Hat tip to Professor Bainbridge.

I find it overwrought. I also find it in character.

After all, Lucas did not find Ronald Reagan's Defense Department nicknaming the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) "Star Wars" to be at all acceptable, and he sued over such usage. But worse, according to an article on a Skywalker Ranch Tour by George Perry...

Ronald Reagan, then President of the United States requested a tour of Skywalker Ranch but was denied.

That, my friends is some serious rudeness. And a general disrespect, or great animus. I wasn't that fond I'll admit, of William Jefferson Clinton, but if he asked to visit my home, I would certainly have assented. I guess its comforting in a way. In America, one can be a perfectly wrong about many things, and still become a massively successful and rich man.

Hohenwald News: Graduations of People I Know

I'm not blogging about the many fine candidates who graduated that I don't know, but only the rather limited pool I do know. Brenda Setback, a former classmate of mine, and a nice lady, got her Microcomputer Specialist Diploma. Yay! Way to go Brenda. And presenting it was Steve Lewers, my long-suffering former teacher who endured many traumas at my hands as he tried to pound data into information inside my brain.

I learned a number of things in that class, but the two greatest were probably finally learning to type which took me forever as I am not remotely coordinated, and realizing that computers are doable if you are willing to wade through it while not being afraid of breaking it, because unlike a lawnmower you probably won't.

So congrats to both, student and teacher.

Hohenwald News: Sen. Jackson's Bill

The Democratic Senator for the 25th District (Dickson, Giles, Hickman, Humphreys, Lawrence, and Lewis Counties) demonstrates yet again why I have to occasionally pull the lever for a member of Michael Moore's party. It hurts to vote for Bredesen, or Sen. Jackson, but its the right thing to do, and I have to take my medicine like a man.

His bill will make the killing of an unborn to be the legal equivalent of the killing of any other human being for the purposes of murder and manslaugter. He references two tragedies to explain his view. One a pregnant woman was gunned down in the streets of Nashville, and she and her baby died. But the men were only tried for the killing of the woman.

He says that getting them for the baby would have lengthened their sentences. True. Of course, I'm wondering why they didn't swing from a rope for the initial crime, but thats just me.

The other example is a woman who was hit in her car by a vehicle fleeing the police which caused her to have a stillborn baby. The other driver got off on lesser charges, and this law would have made that vehicular homicide.

I think this is a law that pro-life and pro-choice can get behind. Pro-lifers want to protect the baby, and pro-choicers want to protect the woman's choice which is being taken from her by criminals. So feel free to send an email to Doug Jackson at sen.doug.jackson@legislature.state.tn.us, and tell him that Hohenwald News and you support this bill.

Hohenwald News: Perren for Plan B

A regular columnist, Mary Perren, in the Lewis County Herald (which needs a real website) supports a law that would enforce Plan B emergency contraceptive information being given to all women who suffer rape. The problem with this is that Plan B is a "morning-after pill" that may prevent a pregnancy or abort a pregnancy.

There's various hand-waving, an appeal to rural resentments against the city folk getting better medical care, a high-flown appeal to protect women, and a lot of dodging the issue that this is very likely abortion that we would be supporting. Indeed, Ms. Perren says that it is not fair to make women in this emotionally fragile state have to choose to carry the child or have an abortion, but this is her trying to slip past the facts.

Now, you may find abortion to be acceptable, at least in the case of rape, but lets honestly face the issue of what we are doing. And here's a link to the FDA page which discusses Plan B, if you doubt my interpretation.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Forget Roto-tiller Blogging, Swingblades are Brutal! Should I be Bush-hogging?

The lawnmower was broken, as I said.
After some efforts token, I just gave it up as dead.
So the grass grew. The rain fell, often and hard.
This is Tennessee after all, pard.
And this you could see, as I in my words of woe do shew.
So, the Lawnmower was fixed, but I was still atwixt for now green was high,
and it was time for the sigh.
Oh, the swingblade, so-called the sigh in sounds,
for sigh does the man who faces grass mounds to the sky.
Oh sigh,
You dreadful thing
You make my arms sting
My back ache
If only the lawnmower hadn't brake
And now I stop for my reader's sake

Tennesse Writer Update: A Few Points

1) I've decided to rename the Book Updates to Tennesse Writer Updates.
2) You really ought to try John Ringo and Hell's Faire (which is the capstone of his Posleen 'trilogy' of four) if the idea of man-eating aliens invading the Tennesse Valley, and Franklin, Tennessee getting nuked strikes your interest.
3) I still am completing Worldwalker's last chapter; its looking good. I'm happy to say.
4) I'm researching for the book after the next book I write. Its tentatively titled Codeword: Anoniblogger. Its a modern-day thriller about white-hat hackers and bloggers trying to topple repressive governments. And here's a link (Belmont Club) that I need to keep in mind about the camera requirements for a secretive blogger in a foreign land. And here's another link (Insty) for the same purpose. Anyone have any interesting stories of adventures in foreign lands, feel free to post them here.

Hohenwald News: PCA Yard Sale

It is on the 21st as I thought. Scroll down a little bit for more details.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Free Will and the Sovereignty of God And Oh yeah, Why Evil?

God, the Christian God, is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. He is infallible. He is perfectly good. He is in total and complete charge of everything to a level far deeper than every single atom.

So where does that put free will?

I'm informed that this is good Baptist orthodoxy, even though I got it from C.S. Lewis. God is in Eternity, and outside, at least in part, of Time/Space. To Him, yesterday, today, and tommorrow are the same thing. He can flip to the back of the book, read the last page, and then shift to the middle of the book, and read a page there. But the reader of an ordinary book no more controls the actions of the characters than does God, even though this hypothetical reader would also know the future equally with the present.

Then why does God allow Evil?

Human freedom is close to the most valuable thing in the cosmos with exceptions like the Blood of Christ. Freedom is more valuable by a longshot than human happiness. In order to have Freedom, you have to have a choice. In order for it to be a meaningful choice, you have to have consequences.

Take away consequences and you take away freedom.

Then why do bad things happen to people?

1)They do something bad. You drink to excess, and you have a hangover.
2)Someone else did something bad. The other guy drank too much, got in his car, and ran you over. Thats a consequence of his ill choice.
3)Someone else did something bad way long ago. You grow up poor because your great-grandfather who was on his way to the patent office with a brilliant invention was run over by a guy driving drunk in his carriage. Your grandfather was overwrought at the loss, and raised his kids poorly, and so now you have a line of children raised in neglect and poverty when if one guy hadn't taken the stagecoach out for a drunken spin might have been a family line of wealth, love, and talent to help the world.
4)Its a finite world. You make the best choice possible on the available information, and its the wrong choice. Only God is infinite, has perfect information, and no character limits. So in my view, even angels can mess up, even though they cannot sin.
5)Someone chooses to do evil.

Hohenwald News: Middle Ages Extravaganza

There are three events in the area for those interested in the Middle Ages. I'm well aware that this is a huge swath of people.

One there is the Rennaissance Faire on each weekend in May with more details on the website linked. Which gentle reader, was a bear to find. I don't know why, but Google and Yahoo were hating me, but eventually I disciplined my two ethereal hunting dogs back to obedience, and they got over their snit, and found what I sought.

And a huge Medieval Event is being held in our backyards. Your humble correspondent hopes to attend Border Raids as hardly any major driving is involved (it is Middle Tenn. after all, and to get anywhere requires some decent amount of driving.)

Come enjoy war the fun way: with your friends!
When? June 24-26, 2005.
Where? At the Cumberland Centre for Medieval Studies
3409 Gillespie LaneColumbia, TN 38401

The website is here. Let me say, I went to one of the huge Society for Creative Anachronism events for my honeymoon. It was a blast. When you come back to the real world, you're first impulse will be to wonder why everyone dresses so funny.

If you like parades, this is frankly better. If you pay $35 bucks at Gatlingburg for a meal and some guys on horseback charging up and down--you're getting gypped. For a SCAdian, this is a labor of love, and of great, patient art.

The first time you see a lady in full court costume curtsy "Milord?", while in the distance you can hear the smack and thwack of wooden sticks smashing into armor, and the thunk of arrows flying to target, and the lady then explains in response to your question that the feast tonight is five courses...Well, you'll be amazed.

Lastly, the local and largest SCA shire (the 'county' in the grand social club that is the Society), Delvingrim is hosting an event at Martin Methodist College in Pulaski on June 18th. There will be a garage sale. (Yay! We plan to donate a large, nay huge needlepoint?? frame, an autographed print of a teddy bear facing off against a monster, a sarong, and some other stuff. Ah, the house is cleaner feeling already.)

There will be mayhem with armored fighters slamming each other around outside, and inside in the air-conditioning will be movies, a children's room, a game room (hmm, wonder if I can run Multiverser?), and a chess tourney. Here's the link.

Hope to see you in the Current Middle Ages.

Hohenwald News: Community Events

I'll get the precise date later, I think its May 21st, but anyways, PCA on Hatcher Lane in Columbia is having a yard sale. They've encouraged all their employees to bring or is that donate, whatever, five items.

This is good because it gives us another excuse to get rid of some stuff.

My Life Update

Gigglebox is doing well with picking up new skills, and our teacher is wondering how much more help he is going to need.

We are considering putting Mr. C into 2-day-a-week daycare to give the Stay-at-Home Parental Unit, that would be moi, a chance to revive and clean the house. Then revived I would be able to play more games with the tykes.

Of course it would help if I stayed away from the sugar. Crashed into bed last night after the Ladyfaire got home. Low blood sugar is a pain in the neck. Good side is that it gives me a good excuse to be a major carnivore as protein helps stabilize sugar in your bloodstream--at least for me. I'll talk about that in another post.

The house is getting a massive 'de-clutterization' which makes me, the primary cleaning agent, happy. Too much junk, too little space to put it. And of course, it hurts because some of the stuff we give away is not junk. But if you're never going to use it, or if you have two of something, then why are you keeping it?

Baba aka Grandpa came up today to fix my lawnmower. I'm a real big guy, and I tend to believe that More Force is Better when Dealing with the Stubborn Mule aka the Wal-mart Special Lawnmower. So I snapped the cord. And I broke something in the spinner. And I didn't have it tightened on properly.

So that's why they have all those bolts! Whod'athunkit?

Now it works, and he brought up the roto-tiller. And yes, it has a speed control, and its big and powerful, and I wanted to use it even in the pouring rain. Vroom!

Thanks Dad.

Friday, May 13, 2005

New from Hohenwald: Pink Cadillac Movie Reviews

Monster-in-law sounds in this review even worse than I feared it would be. The women won't like it, and neither will the men.

Son of the Mask looks to be a lot of goofy fun. But someone wanted to know why Ben Affleck hadn't taken the role? Excuse me, the good-looking but rather blank Mr. Affleck is not right for a role requiring wild energy.

And that's the Pink Cadillace Drive-In Theatre this weekend.

Hohenwald News: Senator Frist Counsels Small Delay on Judicial Nominations

Our Senator Frist, the Republican Majority Leader, is suggesting that we wait to this week, or next week until we have the Shootout in Filibuster Canyon with the Democrats. One does not become President by vacillation.

The question is, does the Majority have the right to force a vote? If they want to have a vote, they are going to have to do some sort of basic rule change unless the Democrats back down. I don't see that happening as the Democrats see the Republicans as the Source of Evil. Silly Dems, everyone knows that Mini-golf is the SoE. Even theMovement for a Restoration of the Nostalgia Filibuster aka Making Senators Read the Telephone Book, and Sleep at their Desk in Pajamas would require a rule change.

The odd thing is that it requires sixty votes to get "cloture", or end the debate and get a vote. But it only requires fifty votes to change that rule so that perhaps "cloture" only requires a majority vote in the future. This is what is meant by the "nuclear option". I don't find it that fearsome.

Frist had a conference call the other day to a thirty-ish group of conservative activists in order to calm them down. But the Conservatives are getting pretty hot under the collar, and one can see why. They have the Majority. Their favorite candidates are not even getting a vote. It looks like an almost unprecedented use of minority power, (Abe Fortas being the sole exception in the past, and his had more to do with outright corruption.) and if they don't break the logjam then it will be years before they get the sixty vote minimum to do the job, and understandably they don't want to wait that long.

Here's an excerpt from the article in Free Republic...

Conservatives and political observers say the stakes on ending the judicial filibuster are particularly high for Frist because he is widely anticipated to be planning a run for president in 2008. Conservatives say that he must end the Democrats’ filibuster of the nominees if he is to have conservative support in a GOP primary.
A source familiar with the Senate GOP leadership’s strategy said there has been no delay in the timing of the option.
“Bill Frist and his leadership have built to this moment very consciously and wittingly; they could have [done the constitutional option] at the end of last year or the beginning of this year,” the source said. “They were hoping that there would be a change in the minority’s behavior.”

As the Blogosphere says, read the whole thing.

Hohenwald News: Pajama News Service

I plan on joining this news service to the PNS run by Roger Simon, another mystery novelist. This will provide a greater chance for the world to hear of Hohenwald, and for advertising to float my way like a gentle silk scarf drifting in the breeze.

Just as soon as I get a Round Tuit which are minted in the Land of the Lazy and the Lax.

Book Update: Death of a Blogger and Worldwalker

I'll be putting up excerpts from my mystery novel on the Storyblogging Carnival. This is currently being run by Sheya, a talented writer of a Christian allegorical novel. The most recent Storyblogging Carnival is here, but I'm not there yet.

And of course, I hope to finish the rough draft of my last chapter of Worldwalker, today, or manana'. And I really mean Friday, not whenever.

Hohenwald News: Rural Voices

Once I get my digital video camera working, more accurately, once I learn how to use it, I hope to start a new project titled Rural Voices and Views. This would involve me video-taping various locals who were either doing something interesting, or had a fascinating bit of history to share, or even had some news they would like to impart to the wide world.

I went to Tennessee Technology Center at Hohenwald, and met a gentleman who builds gazebos, and octagonal tables. I think that getting a video of him putting together a table would be fascinating. And a local mechanic explaining how to do a few little things on your car, such as change your spark plugs would be pretty cool. I'm sure there are other ideas out there as well. Feel free to email me at ericrashley@yahoo.com if you have one.

More about this later...probably me screaming and raving about how evil my digital camera is...

News Editorial from Hohenwald: Human Rights Focus in Iran

Iran is in crisis.

1)Approximately seventy percent of its population is young people. This is an unstable mixture waiting to explode in some way or another. And the Mullahs are preventing more calm explosions; thus building up pressure for a later and larger explosion. Don't believe me? Go to a high school classroom five minutes before it lets out for the day on a spring morning.
2)The gov't is massively unpopular with its own people and the world.
3)The gov't of Iran is scaring people who have really big sticks laying about. That is, threaten the United States and Israel with nuclear weapons, and they will do something about it. And whoever is in the way is not going to be real happy. If I was an Iranian, I'd move out of any town where the authorities were making nuclear weapons. Even with American hyper-precise weapons, the nature of the target may well spread radiological hazzard about.

But this is supposed to be about Human Rights. Why though? From an American point of view, Human Rights offers a chance to let the Iranians fix Iran for us. Its better all around. Even as good as American wizard weapons are, there will still be tragedies. And its cheaper in our expense in blood. Because inevitably some brave American soldiers will die if we invade. And it preserves our forces for dealing with truly intractable problems like North Korea.

So lets not forget Human Rights in the midst of our fear over Iranian Nuclear Weapons. Indeed, they may be the strongest weapon of all since they offer the best help in defeating the Nuclear Afrit.

See Regime Change in Iran for a very good piece on Human Rights.
Hat Tip to Dean's World.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Writing Update: Back to the Salt Mines

I've been hammering away at promoting my book (here's the inevitable link), and that takes time and energy from finishing up the next book. My editor, Gabby Girdy, told me that I needed another chapter stuck in the midst of the book to let everyone know what the Nemeses, the bad girl, was into. And it wouldn't hurt she implied if this gave some more clues of the overall plot behind the scenes.

OK, I'm being an obedient writer. The chapter is half-done. Have a spectacular arrival, followed by a thousand foot fall to granite valley floor. Then we go on to solving the problem of how does someone who is innocent of a space-capable rocket, kidnap another person off a Space Station...

Hopefully, within two weeks, this book will be post-editor polished, and the add-on chapter, stuck-on. And then we only wait for the game company I wrote it with permission of to straighten out a few things before I publish again.

Please Don't Stop Me Before I Publish Again...

Tyke Update

Look over at Gigglebox slumped in his high chair, holding his empty Tony the Tiger bowl canted up, and take the bowl, and say.

"Would you like some more?"

Brilliant smile. Yay! Daddy's smart. I got through to him. Good Daddy, here have a smile.

Its an especially cute smile with gaps in the teeth as only two teeth on the bottom have yet come in, and about four on the top.

News from Hohenwald: Practical Jokes

Fred, from the Columbia Daily Herald's website forum, had him a fine time. He's evidently a regular commenter, and he told the group that Williamson County was set to build a 45 acre theme park. He gave details, even if some of them were a bit fishy, and the other commenters bit hard. Much rejoicing.

Even if it was not in Maury County (our sister county to the East), still it would be a boon for jobs and for entertainment of the good kind. I was happy as well.

But then Fred revealed the joke, and most everyone revealed in good humor how they had been had.

And most people wished it had been true. I wish it had been true. Could we make it true? After all, we have this ridiculous highway suited for thousands of cars.

Gaming News: World A Week Hosted Here

My Multiverser(r) gaming column devoted to showing different worlds that could be created for the system, and the varied problems a verser could face is located here. However, you will probably have to register to read them.

Most of the Fifty-three, I think, series are free. Whoa, hold up, you say, you're using jargon. Quite true.

Oh, a verser is the player character(PC) in the Multiverser tabletop roleplaying game---Multiverser, get it? It comes from the PC travelling from different universe to different universe.

And series, well, it was a weekly column, hence World a Week, but often enough I did not meet that suggested promise. Most times, it was Part One of World A, then Part Two of World A next week. So P1 and P2 of WAW1=WAW 1 Series 1, unless of course it went up to something like five or six weeks, which I did on occasion.

Anyhoo, I got 53 series done so that I could say, "Now you have a year-week of World A Weeks."

These tales are of Tadeusz, not me, but a doppleganger, an alter ego, I'd say a madman, but well that might characterize me better. And I intend to turn them into a book, I, Tadeusz, but thats another post.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

News from Hohenwald: Meta-analysis of MEK

Dean Esmay points to Regime Change Iran. This pro-democracy in Iran website objects to the reclassification of MEK by the United States State Department from terrorist to non-terrorist. I'm sympathetic to their aim of a free and democratic Iran, but well, let me analyze their comments and draw some data from them.

1)MEK is Marxist-Islamist. This charge, if true is troublesome. Basic US policy should be aligned with helping our friends, and sticking the shiv in our enemies.

2)Someone said this question #1 collection of philosophies was impossible as systems of thought don't combine so readily. Well perhaps, not for the serious student of philosophy, but the average person has no problem believeing six impossible things before breakfast. And lest people think I'm elitist, often this is a sign of greater grounding in reality. For as Cicero said, and my brother re-discovered independently, there is nothing so silly that a philosopher will not believe it.

3)It is charged that MEK worked for Saddam, and then worked for the US. OK, they're opportunistic. There are worse problems.

4)They are a bunch of old people who have been doing this a long time. Hmm, sounds like a leadership core, to me.

5)They don't have widespread support. Well, usually "Mr Ideal Unnamed Candidate" can beat the choices offered, but the problem is that in the real world, only some people try, and we have to choose from them.

6)They proved they are not good by giving up their weapons to the US to try to curry favor. They are a bunch of kiss-ups to America. Well, you have to understand that from the point of view of the American State Department, this might be regarded as a positive. And this goes a long way to reassuring Americans that they are not a bunch of terrorists.

7)They make married people divorce. Again this is troublesome. Yes, it sounds cultic.

8)They were involved in killing Americans decades ago. Again, a problem.

This Regime Change in Iran website's owner seems to object mostly to MEK getting the interim presidency, but admits that MEK will be at the table. Hmm, I still%2

Open Post for Wicker

Feel free to tell me why Bush is evil, and rescuing fifty million people from totalitarian fascism was a bad idea. Or whatever else strikes your fancy.

Welcome to the Michelle Zone

The question occurs, just what percentage of Michelle's regular visitors are Enterprisers. I am, are you? Check it out with this online quiz, and then report back.

What books and/or thinkers do Enterprisers appreciate?
I like George Gilder, even if my favorite book of his does not really hit the Enterpriser mark. Men and Marriage was a lightbulb experience. But I think he fits this group well.

And what percentage of Enterprisers own their own business, or are otherwise self-employed?
I have a game company, and I'm a writer.

Last question: Would that be better put as the "Michelle Mall" for the alliteration, or since we are all part of her reading network, the "Michelle's Mailroom", or should I just stick to the typical "Zone"?

Hohenwald News: Highway 412

Highway 412 is sloooooowly being improved. Its been over a decade. Perhaps thats because its not a very good idea.

The improvement runs from the town of Mt. Pleasant to Hohenwald instead of from Columbia to Hohenwald. Mt. Pleasant is a fine community, to be sure, but it is not the hub of the area. So we push this expansion like a knife straight at Columbia, and then turn aside to hit the lesser target.

Also, Hohenwald is a great little village. I love it, but I really cannot claim that we need a five lane highway with speeds approaching fifty (wouldn't want to go too fast as it might scare the one other driver in sight) leading into downtown Hohenwald.

Hopefully, I can get up some videologging, and next week you can see the true ridiculousness of the situation. No, I'm not sure what I would do.

Okay, two things. One raise the speed limit. 412 is a major artery for Lewis County. Two, run the line's expansion down to Columbia. And we did not need quite so fine a road as the five lane 45 mph monstrosity we have near the town. Four lanes would have been plenty.

Death of a Blogger
By Eric R. Ashley

…posting from an alternate universe near you…

Dedicated to my darling lady wife who made it possible, my children who provided me with reasons to work and to live, and to the blogosphere for illumination and conversation.

All characters, nicknames, handles, websites, etc. are posted from an alternate reality, and thus are fictional and creatures of the author.
The novel is Copyright Eric R. Ashley 2005 ©.


The Troll existed in an apartment that overlooked the Snake River, and the shadow of the great ironwork bridge fell across his balcony from ten to ten-thirty in the morning. He told himself regularly that he would greatly enjoy his view of the river, a largely unspoiled mass of water, but for the cruel iron chain Mankind had placed on it, in the form of a royal road for polluters. He rather wished for a return to days of yore when ferryboats were pulled across the river, by hand. And when he voiced such a viewpoint, at an infrequent meeting of acquaintances for someone else’s birthday, someone would always with a touch of incredulity point out that “they” lived in the suburbs, and such a plan would therefore not work.
The Troll used to be able to muster a minimum of politeness at such
stupidity, while slipping the dagger in, but yesterday night, he had gone off on the poor fool for nearly half an hour. He explained that cities needed to be dense to avoid urban sprawl, and that fleeing the city was “White Flight” and ipso facto, proof of racism. At first, his friends had thought him “joking” on the boyfriend of one of his officemates, but then the intensity of his speech got through to them, and man, it had been good to see the fool with his mouth trying to open and close; physical action trying to stimulate thought.
Granted, the “birthday girl”, Abby, had given him a harsh look, but that did not really bother him, not really. Besides, she had sat there, laden in her conspicuous consumption, covered in an expensive sweater that hung gracefully on her, and had not one, or two, but three guys offering her jewelry. Later she had yelled at him, when they stood out in the parking lot amidst the snow, crusty ice, and chill wind.
“Why couldn’t you just let me have one night, just one for a nice party?”
Because there are people starving, oppression is rampant, he had wanted to say, but could not. He’d said as much before, too many times to count. Even he got tired of saying the obvious. People just did not listen.
Finally he reached for his trump card.
“These are not your people, Abby, they are a bunch of Nazi’s. Trying to seduce you by giving you jewels and junk. How many poor people could that…?” He had begun to ask when someone dared to lay hands on his too thin for the weather jacket, and spun him around demanding that he look at the dork’s arm.
Finally surrendering to the idiot’s insistence, he saw a string of numbers up the man‘s thick, brutish forearm. It meant nothing to him, and he said as much.
“Those are my grandfather’s numbers. He died at Auschwitz. I got tattooed to remember him. I gave her a diamond pendant, you want to call me a Nazi, you freak? Say it to my face.”
The first words that sprang to mind was a crack about too bad he hadn’t been croaked before spawning you, but the Troll sensed that that was too far, even for him. And so he looked aside in the dark parking lot littered with the chunks of dirty, crunched bergs, remnants of once pure snow.
“I thought so. You know nothing. Nothing.” The Jew sneered in a low voice, and walked away to help Abby into her car. Typical male chauvinist garbage. It all meant nothing.
The Troll looked up from his cup of espresso in which he had been seeing memories of last night, and considered the drink again which he had brewed in his very nice machine atop the cracked countertop, and then considered his computer. Oh, he knew plenty of Nazi’s; they littered the Internet. He knew plenty. In fact, he had all the tools he needed right now to show Them. He’d show that Jew, and Abby, she would see too, but later after he‘d proven his point, why he might catch the two in bed, and weird fantasies of using a burning smoke from poisonous plants on the both of them ran through his mind, but he dismissed those for was not Abby a friend from the old days? Now he had some more brewing to do, of an altogether different, and more dangerous kind than espresso.
Lucky for him, he had tried a Botany major before giving it up as too arduous, and settling for a Computer Science major. Both sets of skills would be most useful. And the fantasy came back to entertain him, and soothe his hurt.

End of Prologue.

Chapter One: Pursuing Love

Charles Walker got out of his station wagon parked in his short, straight driveway, smoothed down his khaki pants, and scooped up a soft brown package left on his front steps by the UPS man. Vaguely curious, as it was at least a month before Jenna, his youngest daughter of three children had her birthday in August, he let himself into the two-story quasi-Victorian that he, darling Sharon, the three kids, and Cooper the Golden Retriever called home, and tossed the package onto the pinewood kitchen table next to the pile of bills. The stack of “friendly reminders” creased his high forehead capped by thin, straight blonde hair. Thankfully, Sharon was the one with the Accounting degree, and the designated bill payer while he helped companies install new computer systems, or on the side gave them advice on whatever they wanted to know. Because otherwise, he would have a permanent headache.
He had a Trivia Pursuit sort of mind. In fact, he had long given up playing the game because it embarrassed him to win so often. The most amazing collection of unimportant facts was stored in his head, along with dozens of theories trying to make some sort of sense of it all. But occasionally, some of those facts gelled with some other facts, and fit a theory, and it all became very useful indeed. When that did not happen, he crawled around on the floor, or under the floor, connecting cables, and subsequently sub verbally begged computer systems that should run by all that he could see in the manual to actually run.
His two careers and Sharon’s accounting worked well enough to keep them in groceries, and Veronica’s orthodontistry, but not well enough that he looked with any degree of gladness toward the inevitable fate of college bills that would arrive in ten to twelve years for Sam, his eldest.
A quick step around the pile of Loc Blocs® scattered on the cream oval-shaped room rug that filled the living room nearly to its brim, and down the short hallway, lined with pictures of children, and relatives, and the former house, and a special picture; at it he turned to face the picture and gave a warm smile to the redhead in the wedding dress. Passing that guardian, he attained his sanctuary from Which He Was Not To Be Disturbed, but he frequently was.
The small room had a bright light mounted in its tilted roof under the stairs to make reading a computer screen easy, a dingy dark brown carpet that would not object to another Coke can seeping out on it, a large computer desk with a suitable, and leather covered spinning throne, and several dressers full of fabrics that his wife had considered glorious, and to be used in a project when bought, and which he felt sure would still be there when he got toted off to the Old Folk’s Home. He did not want them there, but they were not too much of an imposition, and since she tentatively let him have his “office” without too much objection, he took his half of a crust, and was moderately grateful for it.
And then with a flicker of a smile, he fired up his PC, and began checking the blogs. Blogs, short for “biographical logs” or “web logs”, were another innovation of the Internet era which had taken the world by storm, as had email, and web pages before them. A single person, at a keyboard, could type an opinion, and lay it out for the entire world to see at a cost that to begin with could be nothing but time as plenty of free services existed. It took worldwide publishing from a high-capital intensive business to an almost no-capital business.
Unlike the mainstream news such as CBS, or the New York Times, they the bloggers, a burgeoning cloud of pundits and experts and diarists, did not pretend to be objective. Each blogger had his or her own take on reality, and quite openly acknowledged this up front which made it easier to evaluate their analysis if you knew what biases they had going in.
Another advantage of the forum over what was called the “dead-tree press” was the hyperlink. A simple click, and the reader could jump to a source document to decide for herself if a speech was as damningly stupid as a particular blogger thought. Or that link could take you to another with a totally different opinion, which was a common enough practice.
And most bloggers had comment sections which, while frequently beset by trolls, also offered a quick chance for different takes on the data. Trolls, and flame wars were a new peril of the age. A troll baited people, not seeking reasoned argument, but wanting to provoke rage for malice’s sake. And such creatures often beset the more popular bloggers because there they could find the attention they craved, and enjoy the fuming remarks of their offended targets.
“Don’t feed the trolls” was common policy on most sites, but it could be hard, after a supposed Nazi posted on a Jewish site, denying the Holocaust, or some such atrocity of words, for the regulars to resist the urge to use a metaphorical cluebat on the troll’s head.
And all this activity happened at the speed of electrons. Trolls dangled bait. New stories were posted. Data got sifted, analyzed, and fact-checked by dozens of people before the mainstream news even realized a story was in existence. And worse from the mainstream media‘s point of view, many of those people who did the analyzing had directly relevant experience, or were experts in the field.
People came to Charles’ blog for three things. It served as a clearinghouse for computer maintenance experts; produced odd but eerily insightful political comments; and for the stories of his and other parents strivings with young kids. But a few trolls came to bother him because they disdained his views, or for sheer childish mischief.
His most recent post, occupying the position of honor, top-most and in the center of his computer screen discussed the problems of double-standards, and their inherent inevitability with an eye to finding some solution to minimize their abuse while keeping in mind that loyalty was a necessary virtue to inculculate. Below the five hundred or so word post was a link to a comments section, and a number which revealed that “32” people had commented.
Below that going down the screen was another post. To the left was his blogroll. It held permanent links to other blogs and websites that he found worthy of notice and support. To his right, in another column running down the screen lay some advertisements.
Recently, he had started running BlogMachine® to help defray the cost of his bandwidth. Earlier, it had not cost him anything to run his blog, but with increasing fame and status he had around four thousand regular daily readers. This made him pretty small fry still, but the cost for bandwidth from his server host company was going up. Why just last week, he had a Blogalanche, a hyperlink from the top political blog in the Blogosphere run by the so-called Blogfather, which had shut his server down from overload, but not before pegging over a hundred thousand visitors.
He shook his head, not sure that he really wanted that level of fame. Of course, when he started two years ago, he would have thought the idea of four thousand daily readers the sheerest fantasy. He’d just been venting about stupid Windows this, and dumb political that, and posting pics of the crayon drawings that Veronica had then been drawing.
But even at this level, there were headaches. After sifting through the stories on other blogs, and finding a few he might comment on, he went back to his own blog, and looked through the comment section for “ ‘Ol Diablo”. The guy had started out as funny, but off-kilter, but then as he saw his political viewpoint losing in the late election, the guy had become less funny, and more a ranting madman who screamed “fascist”, “oppressive”, “police state”, and “AmerKKKa” at the top of his lungs. So after nearly a dozen warnings, Charles had decided to ban him from his blog.
No doubt you’re going to ban me, just like you fascist oppressor promised too. That’s one good thing about you AmeriKKKans, you can always keep your word about being a jerk, too bad you can’t keep it about anything else, what with your lying president, and his Uncle Tom toadies in his Cabinet.
Charles read the comment, which went on in like fashion for some time, mangled English and all, and feeling a headache coming on, he sighed, and deleted all Ol’ Diablo’s comments, and banned the moonbat from the electronic premises of his blog.
Within five minutes, he saw a message from Elton Too, another frequent poster.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m surprised you took so long. What’s that, like the third troll you banned in the last couple months? Price of getting popular.
Charlie considered, and then replied rattling out a message on his ergonomically enhanced keyboard, a gift from his children on his last birthday.
Yeah. I hate to do it, but it is my property, and all they do is spray graffiti.
Another message came on.
True, but then you get an echo chamber effect where everyone agrees with you.
It was Morgenstern. Another regular.
Morg, I agree, but there is a line. Tamlin, my first troll, insinuated that I was a, well I can’t even say it, but I would have broken the nose of anyone who said it to my face. It was vile. ShadowlordXXIV threatened to find me, and run me over with his truck, and Ol’ Diablo just can’t seem to finish a sentence without at least one “fascist oppressor” in there. I just had had enough. I know you and I disagree about politics, a lot, but you’ve never called me a Nazi.
Charlie paused, and then pushed the send button on the screen with his mouse control. He was surprised to see his right arm was literally shaking. And his stomach hurt. Really, he hated to be so rude as to slam a door in these peoples’ faces, but enough was enough.
True enough. I’m just worried about the slippery slope, but some people are absolutely beyond the pale. BTW, I wrote up a possible solution to that synchronicity problem you were describing in hooking up the portable electrical meter readers to the company database. Its over on the other thread.
Morgenstern replied. And Charlie checked on the comment section of a post on political violence and its relation to non-political violence where he had been trying to argue that a pool of regular criminals offers a resource to unscrupulous political actors who might seek to influence elections by intimidation, or by vandalism of property. He glanced at the post describing his current conundrum at his this week’s workplace, and soon got himself buried in the intricacies of merging Cobol, for the company’s ancient mainframe, and the barely year-old computer language of the new meter readers. His planned for posts on current events would have to wait. Many of the ideas listed were off base, but held a glimmer of insight. And Morgenstern, while not quite right, had most of a solution for half the issue in one post. All together, his problem looked mostly solved except for the fine details, and the actual implementation, which is usually a bear. In the computer field, the first ninety percent of the problem took ninety percent of the time, and the last ten percent took ninety percent of the time. He was now down to the last ten percent by reading the post and its associated comments.
Charlie clicked his tongue on his teeth. Whoever, Morg really was, his politics might be stupid, but he really knew his way around computers. From occasional comments, Charlie figured the man had to have been in on the ground floor when Windows took over the world. It was one of the nice things about blogging; he’d met more genuine experts here in the last couple years than in his whole life previous.
The sound of the SUV, necessary with three kids, going up the driveway roused Charlie, and he quickly scanned up a painting by Veronica, his budding artist, and cut and pasted an amusing story about Sam’s baseball game from yesterday, and then asked if anyone knew a good way to explain to Jenna that since she seemed to be allergic to cats, that petting the neighbor’s five cats was not a good idea.
They had taken the child to the emergency room last week, and still his wife Sharon complained this morning over a hurried breakfast that she spotted Jenna encouraging the cats to come across the wooden fence to play with her. A quick reply from MomofFive told him of some new allergy treatments which path he had not really considered, being fixated on his solution of banning the cats.
Scratching his chin, he turned to get out of the chair, as his wife walked into the room...

Next Segment: End of Chapter One and Two