Tales of Tadeusz

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Tennessee Writer: Man in a Black Trenchcoat

Ellen de Jarvis was desperate in her small suburban home. The walls stifled her, and her breath trembled and throttled in her lungs. Now it gusted out like some stark nor'easter wind.

Pacing about, in the half-dark living room and fluttering her arms while insubstantial shadows roamed outside her darkened windows and looked for a way to peep inside to the De Jarvis family's homestead took a couple minutes. Then she resorted to cursing her husband's absence. Just because he had his job during these hours was no excuse for him to be separate from her when she needed him the most.

Choking and gasping, she made her decision. They could throw her under the jail cell, they could put her in those awful orange jumpsuits, and they could even take away her soaps, but she was leaving right now. It made her feel better, stand prouder, until the reality of what she was risking sank home into her stomach.

Holding her stomach against the acid, she went straight forward down the hall until sher reached Macy's room, and got her ready which was not hard for Mach was a very docile child.

====ok, that's enough for now. I gotta go to bed.

Tennessee Writer: Posting Flash Fiction to ToT

For various reasons, which I may go into later, I'm going to try to post a piece of flash fiction to my blog...Man in a Black Trenchcoat is the story's title. I hope you enjoy.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Tennessee Writer: Death of a Blogger Excerpt

Prologue and Chapter One of the World's First Blogospheric Mystery Novel...

Previously goes to Chapters Seven...

And now for Chapters Eight and Nine...

Chapter Eight: Strangers

Sharon walked into the hospital, feeling sympathy for the crying family in the corner of the large waiting room with its dozens of soft, yet durable chairs, and yet registering their presence as another drain on her vital energies. Surprising herself, she prayed for them as she got on the elevator next to a man who had an arm in a sling, and leaned on a cane for the other arm.
Seeing her sideways glance at his assorted, he gave a crooked smile.

“Not a good idea to try to dance on the roof.”

“Dance?” She asked, not able to help herself.

“Yes, I was showing off to the wife, and well, like the fool I‘ve always been, a missed step, and roll and splat. Doctors said I was lucky.”

Sharon pursed her lips wanting to laugh, and wanting to shake her head in disapproval, and he burst out laughing from behind his black with gray streaked beard.

“My wife had the exact same expression when she came over and saw I was still alive. After she got calmed down and all.”

“It doesn’t sound like you are too repentant.”

“Nope, I’m a legend in my own time. I decided I might as well embrace my idiocy since it always seemed to catch up with me anyways. You’re Charlie Walker’s wife aren’t you?”

“Yes, how did you know?”

“I’m a techie believe it or not, read his blog a lot, seen your picture last year, mostly lurked, not talking, but learning a lot. He had a weird sense of humor when it came to politics, and really nice children.”

With a sense of unreality, Sharon turned to the fellow.

“And your handle is?”

“MaxtotheMax. The way I like to live. No brakes, just a gas pedal.”

“Well, small world indeed, and I’d say you have a few breaks now.” Sharon remembered his kind words suddenly from her second post. He’d been one of a crowd wishing her well.

The elevator stopped, and she made to go, but he reached out an awkward broken arm to touch the arm of the silk blouse she wore.

“He will be okay, ma’am. Like me, he’s got something worth living for.”

She brushed a tear out of her eye with the back of her hand, and tried to smile, but it came out very crooked indeed.

“Thanks, Max. You’re a knight in shining armor. Any woman would be glad to have such a romantic hero worshipping her.”

Max laughed, but only for a second, and with a kind expression tugged on his blue jean jacket as if disagreeing with the part about shining armor, and then gave her a short knightly salute with two fingers to his head over the heads of the other people who clambered on to the elevator. Sharon turned and walked down a long corridor, through a set of double doors, to the right, past a new receptionist who made her sign in, and another zag to the left, and another to the right, and she was outside Charlie’s room. There she leaned against the wall to absorb the moment, to recover her balance, or something.

The touch of a nurse’s hand on her elbow brought her head around, and the nurse looked into her eyes with a concerned and steady gaze. Sharon feebly flapped her hand in an attempt at saying that it was all right, and the nurse went. But not before patting her on the shoulder.
Stepping into her husband’s room that he shared with an empty bed, she spoke his name with sadness weighting it down. And then she heard her name in response, and for one half of a second, thought her husband returned to her, but then the door opened fully. Charlie’s older brother, by three years, Sam (whom they had named their eldest after) stood there with his gray eyes looking with keen understanding from across the room after he saw her crestfallen face. His wife, Leslie, and their three children, two girls and a boy, like her family, were standing in a cluster slightly closer to the bed of their fallen uncle.

Looking at Sam, with his more weather-worn face, for he ran a dozen miles each day to make up for his previous smoking, and both made him look nearly a decade older, she thought she might be almost seeing the future. The eye color was a bit different, and the height was several inches taller, the chin was larger and Sam had no beginning of a potbelly, but other than that this was her husband.

He came across and hugged her.

“Hey, kiddo. We just flew in and got a hotel.”

Sharon smiled into his shoulder. Ever since they had met in Charlie’s apartment, and she had wrongly guessed his age to be much higher, he had done his best to play the part of the old graybeard with her, even though only a handful of years separated them. Leslie had been grateful for her mis-perception. Said it had been the final straw that let him know the smoking really was affecting him.

“Hi poppa.” Sharon replied.

Leslie came trailed by her kids, the youngest was Samuel‘s age, and everyone hugged again.

“We don’t want you to have to take care of us. We want to take care of you. Let’s go to dinner. You look exhausted.” Leslie said.

“That bad, huh?” Sharon asked touching her hair with wry embarrassment.

“I want to stay awhile.” Sharon said, unable to leave right away. They nodded, and settled in for a quiet visit.

A nurse came in, smiled vaguely, and began to strip Charlie’s shirt.

“Time for a bath.”

“Time for me and the kids to visit the snack room.” Uncle Sam the Elder announced with quiet briskness. Leslie followed him a few seconds later, but stopped for a pat on Sharon’s shoulder, and a neck hug as Sharon sank into a chair.

To give herself something to do while a strange woman bathed her husband, she reached down beside the chair at the foot of the bed for the rumpled up black t-shirt she had yet to carry home. Folding it neatly took her a moment that allowed her to compose herself.

“Is your husband allergic to something?”

“Uh, well a bit of pollen, sometimes, rarely cats. I think that’s where our daughter Jenna gets it. But she has it much stronger.”

“No, this is not that. Probably not a big deal.” The nurse had Charlie laying on his right side. She pointed a long arm with elegantly tight fingers toward Charlie’s unclothed left shoulder. A rash, with some individual bumps of a reddish nature, and a general unevenness of the skin about a palms-width, lies on his shoulder.

Sharon shrugged her shoulders. The kids were always getting a little rash, here and there. The nurse nodded and agreed with her assessment. It was probably nothing, but still, just to be safe, she entered a note on it in Charlie’s medical records.

Reaching down, she pulled up off the floor a small metal pin, black, and curiously examined it before tossing it into the garbage can.

“Can’t have sharps laying about.” Nurse Carly explained. “Especially after getting dumped on the floor. Anything viral that can survive living on our floor after the extremely serious disinfectants we dump on it is a really tough little beastie that you don’t want visiting you.”
So saying she changed her gloves, and got another pair, and then continued to wash Charlie with Sharon’s help. A few minutes later, and they were done. Sharon smiled gently at Carly who nodded in mutual appreciation of the help, and shared moment of kindness before exiting to attend to other patients in need of a bath.

Sharon bent over and gave Charlie a lingering kiss on the lips, and for a moment he seemed to react with a flutter of his eyeballs. But then nothing else about him changed. Her breath thundering in her chest, Sharon turned to run for the nurse, and then paused.

“I’ll be right back, Charlie. Don’t go anywhere.” Panting, she sprinted from the room, and lurched out into the hallway looking left and right for a nurse, any nurse, but no such authority figure appeared. A few steps to her right and around the corner, and the glassed in nurse station was empty.

Only another female, a large box-like lady, stood in the hall, and Sharon turned a glance at her full of despair for she knew her from a talk by a vending machine. Kandy, “with a K”, was here for her grandfather’s liver transplant. The poor, dear man was charming to a fault, and had also drunk a fifth every day since he was sixteen.

Then Kandy waved a pudgy hand at her, and jabbed a finger to her own right, at a door, and suddenly Sharon, before she fully thought it out was scooting down the hallway, and with a flash of a smile to Kandy as she heard two nurse’s speak, she rounded a corner and came to a stop. Right in front of the two who had been discussing a case, and their arms were full of laundry.

“My husband, he, he…” She began and found that she was not able to string a clear sentence together. The lead nurse gently pushed her aside, and half-ran down the hallway, followed by the other who only took time to put her towels down on metal rack. Sharon stood there gaping wondering what now, and Kandy spoke from beside her after she had stepped forward.

“I think you’d better go with them, dear.”

This common sense jolted Sharon’s frazzled nerves back into working order, and she bolted down the hallway to her husband.

Entering the room, she saw them checking out his vital signs, and both wheeled to see her there with clear relief.

“What was the problem?” The lead nurse quizzed her.

“Oh, no problem. I mean. I did need you. He, his eyelids moved when I said something to him, I think, and maybe he’s…”

The lead nurse’s face went through several shifts which professionalism held at bay. She changed from annoyance at a deliberate false alarm to understanding and then to regret.
“Sharon, have a seat, why don’t you?”

Sharon shook her head, wanting to be able to see the face of her husband. He lay so sweet, and now so still. But, there had been movement; it was a sign.

“Okay, Sharon. Lots of people in comas have movements. Nervous reflexes. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything.”

“Oh.” Sharon said feeling stupid and suddenly worn down. “Like when you chop a chicken’s head off?”

“Not the example I would have used, but essentially yes. But, it’s not always certain, and we really don’t understand what is going on in the mind of a coma patient. We do have stories of people related incidents happening to them in a coma, so we really don‘t know.”

Sharon nodded, and absorbed the rest of the nurses’ counsel, and the younger nurse hugged her as they left to go back to laundry duty, and Sharon could not decide if she hated them or if she wished never to have their job. It was hard enough looking a man in the face, and telling him the IRS was going to take his children’s college fund, but to be sitting somewhere, and folding laundry and then suddenly to be thrust into life and death would be too much for her stamina.
She already felt terrifically worn down, and so she bent over Sam, kissed him, and left the room.
The dinner was pleasant, and revivifying, especially for the children who loved seeing their older, and thus cooler cousins come over to play with them. Sharon found herself explaining the situation, and then confiding to Leslie what she was doing to figure things out. The blog. Both of the two looked at her like she had suddenly evinced signs of incipient insanity, but she kept explaining with a kind of convert’s zeal, and dropping names of important doctors and such into her conversation who wanted to help her on the Net.

Those only made them think that a bunch of people were lying to her, abusing her trust, which was a step up from “possible mental patient.” Now she was just “gullible idiot.” Annoyed, she lapsed into silence, and found herself surprisingly wishing that they had not bothered to come. The strength and intensity of the feeling worried her.

Perhaps I have become too enthused, she mused, as she found herself longing for the safe and sane haven of her blog, High Mountain Travels where she was powerful, respected, and had wise councilors in plenty. Out here, I’m just Sharon; there I’m Somebody Special, a celebrity almost. And so for one second, she found that she could begin to understand the perverted mindset of Munchausen By Proxy people. They would hurt others close to them to enjoy the sympathy this generated for their suffering since they were presumed to be so sad at the pain their child or husband must feel. And Sharon felt herself happy for all the attention, but then sanity and sensible priorities reasserted themselves, and the strange insight faded to be viewed with disquiet puzzlement, as it no longer made any sense.

But, she felt more balanced, and so she ended up enjoying the rest of the dinner. And seeing her calmness of spirit made the two inquisitors wonder if perhaps they had gotten it wrong. Perhaps there was something to these blogs after all?

She went home after dropping the kids off at the hotel with her brother-in-law’s family, which hurt. The unexpected pain was from how glad her children were to play with someone else. Perhaps, she had been making herself unavailable, but then she was hardly hanging on as it was. The thought of having to help another was just too much, and outside the hotel in her car, she slumped over her driving wheel. And then just gently banged her head on it for a couple minutes as she tried to find energy to drive home.

At home, she fumbled with the keys into the door which she had used ten thousand times before, and finally let herself in as a light went on outside down the street.

I didn’t drink that much, she moaned. Only one glass of wine. Inside, she tossed her keys and the shirt from the hospital on the table, and feeling truly haggard, she wanted to go to bed, but felt like she had to take just one look at the blog. Knowing it was probably unhealthy, she booted up anyways, and sagging sideways in her chair waited through the Windows bar scrolling back and forth until finally the machine announced its willingness to serve.

A rather long comment in one of her posts on Charlie’s medical condition had set off a firestorm of replies. Nearly two hundred replies from that post, and they covered the ground from the kindly…

We all at Hooper’s Doughnut Shoppe in Corpus Christi are praying for your husband, and your family. Do you need help with anything, medical bills, perhaps? Mrs. Hooper.

Thankfully, no. It was very expensive, but they had good insurance. Part of the reason she worked was to get that insurance. Charlie made more money, but his insurance as a private contractor would have been out of sight. She replied to Mrs. Hooper, and felt a little better.
To the odd…

Vitamin B12 mixed with sprig of spearmint will do wonders for such cases. Vitamin B12.
She ignored him, hoping that he wasn’t suggesting cannibalism as he sounded like mixing himself with spearmint would be helpful.

To the chatty and intriguing…

I had a kinda similar situation five years ago. Couldn’t think of anything that might have set off this intermittent fever I was having. Ended up that I washed my car every two weeks, and I was allergic to the soap in the car wash. Now my car is dirty, and I am well. Clark Hughes.

But there was nothing that Charlie had been doing that was out of the ordinary, was there? She racked her brain, but came up with nothing for her sweat. Getting up and walking two steps forward, spin about, uh, and one step back, spin about, and uh, what next, yeah, two steps again in the tiny room did nothing to help her remember either. They lived so boring, so normal lives, and she ordinarily loved it, but right now it made her want to scream. If only she had something to help out, but she was without a clue. And her mental model was still so barren.

She looked over at the questionnaire, and paused to begin to fill it out. But sitting down let her tiredness catch up to her, and suddenly her brain was in a fog, and she dropped it on the floor, and wandered off to bed with her feet stumbling on a half-dozen steps in the carpeted staircase before she got her rhythm. Then with a hand on the wall, and one on the step three steps in front of her feet, she proceeded upwards on a seemingly infinite staircase. At last she reached the upper hallway, and stumbled past the bathroom that had sung such seductive songs to her. But now she was just too tired to even hear such a macabre siren, even if it sung. Shoving her bedroom door open took an act of will, and then she walked across the master bedroom, and flopped on the bed in the last bit of drama she had.

Fully intending to get up in a moment, and get undressed, Sharon slept.

End of Chapter Eight.

Chapter Nine: Questionnaire

Upon waking, sore, and feeling skuzzy with her crushed clothing, and her hair all-astray like a bent ball of wires, she stared in dismay at the reflection in her bedroom mirror. She hadn’t done this since Sam was a colicky baby, and she and him would fall asleep on the couch after exhaustion finally put him to sleep. But at least she felt better than last night.
All things considered, she was surprised she had not crashed on the way home last night. Looking over at her antique seeming clock with its electronic guts, she noted that it was ten o’clock in the morning. The last time she had slept so late was on her honeymoon, which might explain why she glommed so hard onto the blog. It represented a vacation.

A shower, and new clothes, and some coffee, and she felt like a new woman. Since the kids were at the hotel, and Leslie had promised last night to get them to school, Sharon found herself with an utter oddity. It had been a very long time since it had happened; she had free time on her hands. Not knowing what else to do, she headed toward her husband’s sanctum and the blog.
The questionnaire waited on the floor where she had dropped it. Re-reading last night’s few responses brought home again how tired she had been. The first was dull-witted and rambling. It went downhill from there to the fifth and final question she had answered with “Peches, ;orange nd purple; bilke fr suppor.” Sheer nonsense as her brain collapsed from emotional exhaustion, she assumed.

Problem was that even in the fresh light of morning nothing really came up that she could see. He had not been in a foreign country in the last year. The mere thought of Charlie working at a chemical plant made her laugh. It was so, not him. There were no projects involving chemicals to strip wood, even though she had been after him for years to strip a hutch in the guest bedroom because its white paint was flaking off.

But then she wondered. Perhaps he had consulted at a chemical store or plant, and gotten exposed? But how would she find that out? She wrote down her concern, and pressed on, suddenly troubled instead of annoyed.

And then on to the questioning of those on the Net, which she had left off in the middle of last night…

A long list of questions, some seemingly close repeats of each other, issued from a humongously long comment by Mr. MAYOnaise. She would have ignored it, but he mentioned reading SoCalLawProf’s blog, and he casually, in passing, mentioned working at the Mayo Clinic. So she answered the questions, which were far more detailed than the questionnaire‘s. And then he bounced back a response before she got finished with the rest of the comments by other people. Asking for more clarifications that dredged up even more details. Then he went away to study the data, he said, and Sharon wondered if she had just given some freak satisfaction by giving him all her personal data. After all, he must have been just waiting by his computer for her to post.

A bit worried, she considered how to find out about Mr. MAYOnaise, and then hit upon emailing Morgenstern. While waiting for that reply, she got up and started her eggs cooking for a ham and cheese omelet. Worrying about her figure, and about the probable layers of fat the monster eggstravaganza was laying down in her arteries was so not her this morning. It was comfort food, and easy to make.

Then while it cooked, she ducked back down the hallway to check on the email.

“Its okay. I know the guy, not personally, but I’ve seen him around. He really does know his medicine, at least as far as I can tell because none of the other docs on the Net have exposed him as a fraud, and they’ve had plenty of opportunity.
He probably has your blog syndicated as part of an RSS feed which means whenever you make a new post, or for some of them, a new comment by the blog-owner, it will blink on his computer screen letting him know. Rather like Call waiting, if you think about it. Its what I do with yours and the others of my favorite blogs.
I can track down his IP if you like. Internet handles provide some privacy, but if someone really wants to find you, and has a minimum of skill, it’s not that hard. Not to brag, but I could do it in my sleep.
The Girl and I are praying for you,

She nodded thoughtfully to herself, and then Googled “IP”. At first it seemed nonsensical with some techno babble about the protocol for information being transferred over the Internet, but further study let her see that Morgenstern had engaged in the common human laziness of shortening what he meant to an almost indecipherable minimum. An “IP Address” was the street number and road, so to speak, for her computer on the Internet. Feeling triumphant, she leaned back, and then smelled the eggs.

Her food was a little overdone by the time she scrambled out there, and so she scraped it out of the frying pan, and surveyed it. It still looked edible if a bit dry and black in spots. Not anxious to redo her effort, she grabbed a fork, and headed back to the computer to eat in front of it.
Eating her breakfast, she saw her answers explode across the Internet igniting other questions in a near dozen other minds. Almost frightened, she saw numerous theories tossed back and forth, many involving horrific diseases of extreme rarity with no known cure, or so it sounded.
When prompted, she answered still more questions. The clot of doctors and nurses and an occasional layperson used her blog to have a real-time conversation. Those who had an inane comment were quickly ignored, and finding themselves embarrassed left. Ideas were tossed out, and obscure facts were touted as rebuttals.

Finally, the general consensus was that the doctor’s group needed more data. If she could get her hands on his medical records, and photocopy them, that would be helpful. Some of the doctors felt bad about looking over a colleague’s shoulder, and jogging his elbow as it were, but a couple tart comments from the laypeople disabused them of this over-tenderness for the abused feelings of another doctor.

So Sharon called up the hospital, and tracked down her husband’s current nurse.
“Um, would you mind photo-copying his medical files, and faxing them to me?”

“Its not regular ma’am, but if you give me some identification, and an e-mail address, I can just send what I have on my computer as an attachment.” Nurse Ramirez replied, and Sharon enthusiastically gave her Social Security number, date of birth, and her house’s address before the nurse broke in to tell her that that was more than enough.

The attachment arrived a couple minutes later, and she had some difficulty transferring it over to her blog. Her sudden euphoria at a possible diagnosis evaporated, and she shook with fear and exhaustion. Surprised, she looked at the clock. It was past noon.

Queries from a doc as to where the files were got her reply that she did not know how to transfer them. And then Vitamin B12 spoke up.

He gave her precise directions after ascertaining her computer model for completing the shift.
You are quite good at the computer stuff. Sharon.

Thanks, but what you mean is you think I’m a flake about my Vitamin obsession. Maybe I am, and maybe I’m the unreasonable man that progresses the world. Time will tell. Vitamin B12.
Sharon still thought he was way wrong, but a nice guy with a sense of humor about his own obsessions, and definitely an expert with desktops.

Then the doctors and med students and others tore into the file.

To their disappointment, and occasional curse, the laboratory findings were non-specific. They had limited it down to an environmental effect, when a diffident voice spoke up, and mentioned that he was a herbalist, and had eaten some wild cherries one day about ten years previous. The soft, apologetic words fell like a thunderbolt into the clear sky, and lit up minds across three continents for one of her helpers was an Englishman, a research chemist, and another was a missionary doc in Zimbabwe.

So about a dozen people in the space of thirty seconds asked her if “the patient” was known for taking long walks in the woods. Another added orchards since that seemed a hobby in his neck of the woods to go strolling in the mini-orchards. But she did not think so, that was not Charlie’s thing. Besides, he was too busy.

Did he drink fruit teas, or especially teas made from the bark of a tree? Mr. MAYOnaise.
She shook her head, and then realized a bit dopily that no one could actually see her. Sharon replied, and then added her thought that brought back some laughs.
Dear Lady, on the Internet no one can tell you are a dog, not that I believe you are. Mr. MAYOnaise.

Besides, we all wear pajamas when we blog. And I’m pretty sure, she’s a fox. Kid Vicious.
That sparked the telling of a story of a Mainstream Media guy who had protested at being brought low by people who typed in their PJ’s. The blogosphere had laughed, and adopted the insult as a badge of honor. It was typical behavior for these boisterous intellects, she gathered.
I think you ought to go back to bed. Your spelling is getting as bad as a med student’s. Professor Vincennes.

She nodded to herself. He was right. A throat-cracking yawn, and she swayed in her seat with her butt sore and prickly from staying in one position too long. So she signed off, but the conversation continued through the day, in log cabins in the Alaskan Outback, and in tiny labs with a window mostly blocked from which you could see, if you really tried a beautiful if wounded skyline of glory, and in college dorm rooms with keenly imaginative pre-med students, and in small towns where retired doctors riffled in their minds through the decades of experience with human frailty while sitting at their dining room tables while she slipped back into her bed, and slept much of the day away feeling both depressed and exhausted.

End of Chapter Nine.

Hohenwald News: An Interesting Take on Love Songs

Its not that they are essentially bad, for indeed they can be good, but they are a temptation to exalt the notion of romance over the actuality of actually loving a specific person. Rather like D&D players trying to argue what class of character Merlin is, instead of recognizing that Merlin is the actuality their games are trying to model.

For more, go here. He's not a Christian, but he has some wise insights, and reminded me of some useful things.

Tennessee Writer: Lucky Thirteen

Once I send my vampire story, Generation Gap, out today to an online magazine, and I send my wife's story, The Hornet's Nest out as well, our household will have reached the state of having thirteen short stories out in the ether.

Plus, one murder game rough draft.

Plus, a novel entitled Death of a Blogger.

Plus two D20 adventures, Temple of the Dying Sun, and Countercoup and a Multiverser(r) Referee Aid entitled Placeholder Worlds for Desperate GM's.

Kewl: I own the phrase "Placeholder Worlds Multiverser" which yielded results I had put up in its top three slots. And "Temple Dying Sun" had me in positions #1 and #3. Also kewl. High Forest Games (my company) is taking over the Web.

Ok, I've been busy.

Weekly Update

We're searching for a used and cheap toddler bed for Gigglebox. Anyone know where I can get one? Drop me an email.

Hohenwald News: Air America Crashes Morally

The liberal talk show meant to take on Rush Limbaugh at his own game is struggling because liberals aren't that funny, or because they don't understand reality, or because the Illuminati has it in for them , or some reason.

Amusingly enough, Air America shares a name with the Vietnam era CIA airline. Less amusingly, they took a loan from a government funded Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx to help themselves out.

Why a gov't funded agency should be making loans, even with the claim of interest to be repaid, to a private company is unclear. Especially when the agency is supposed to be taking care of the elderly and the children.

I think a criminal investigation should be mounted.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Hohenwald News: Metro

Two items of interest in the proposed Metro-ization of Hohenwald and Lewis County...

1. The Hub Committee supported this action, but its vote has been challenged on the basis that it was a secret vote, and governing bodies are not allowed such (unlike the ordinary citizen). This seems correct to me, and indeed there is another public vote scheduled.

I imagine it will go the same way, but it would be most amusing if it did not.

Also, I see this as another reason not to be Libertarian. The logic behind the Sunshine Law is that governing bodies need to be intimidated by the voters, while the logic behind secret ballots for voters is that voters need to be protected from intimidation. In other words, gov't is sticking its finger in, and changing the balance...and its a good thing!

2. I've seen an anti-Metro sign the last two days on Hwy 20. Now, I am a Metro supporter, but I'd be curious why this family is against it. Might drop by there and ask.

Hohenwald News: Patterns in Life

My previous post edged toward a thought. There are certain patterns, niches in the floor of probability where the rolling steel marbe of actuality is more likely to come to rest. Each phenomenon etches the floor a little bit, but it seems as if certain phenomenon group together to create a deeper niche which results in a more stable society.

Thats the problem with a lot of half-good ideas. They don't conduce to stability because they are all out there by themselves, or they require much of the rest of society to act based on other social codes.

The Silly Sixties with drugs, loose sex, and Up Against the Wall, Man!; or the Sharks of Wall Street seem to me to be examples of that. Variant moralities that don't meet teh test of time.

There are other moral structures which do meet the test of time by surviving, and reproducing on their own, but are frankly horrifying. Dictatorships, Fascists of both the Left and the Islamofascists variety, and so forth can be quite stable, but its a stability of evil.

So Christianity, hard work, treating women with great respect are part of one niche. And as a side note, homosexuality tends to imply disrespect for women and children which makes it non-viable for these reasons as well as others where Christianity and Family hold solid ground. I think the best the homosexuals can hope for in a successful society is tolerance.

I wish with my liberal sympathies that it were not so, but thats life. You don't get everything you want.

Hohenwald News: How to Win the Terror War

There is a number of active steps we can take to win the war against the terrormasters. Some of these are things like incarcerating unlawful combatants at Gitmo (or following the Geneva Convention, and executing them after they are captured). Other things include changing the basic structure of the society for the better such as empowering women.

After all, the terrorists are scared of their own women.

But here we have another method of disempowering terrorists. Christianity is spreading in Muslim Indonesia. Some of its islands have half the population being Christian.

The so-called Muslim moderates want the government to crack down on the Christians. We the West, as a political goal, need to resist this with great power. People will flee a group that they recognize is not good for them, such as one dominated by suicide bombers, unless they are forbidden by force of arms from fleeing.

Plus, while this is not a Islam vs. Christian War, it is difficult to avoid noticing that practically all the people we are fighting are Islamic. (Or secular humanists who apologize for terrorists while being scandalized at having a Manger Scene in the city park.)

And that's strictly from a realpolitik point of view.

As a Christian I have to support my brothers.

And as a side effect, this will also be good for women which will then further weaken the terrormasters hold on their captive populations.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Hohenwald News: Who Killed Theresa?

A blogger has been investigating the murder of his sister, and in this post he suggests that an anonymous tip placed on his blog, and subsequently passed along to the authorities may have yielded the capture of the serial killer responsible.

This holds up the point that was made in my mystery novel, Death of a Blogger, that the blogosphere can function as a very powerful solution generating mechanism for a wide variety of problems, and that one of these is definitely helping the victims of violent crime.

Hohenwald News: Cubans Dance to Freedom

In what is possibly the largest mass defection of Cubans in history, all but two members of a fourty-nine member dance troupe decided to give up their "Free Health Care" in Castro's Paradise, and embrace a new country...America.

Could we just free Cuba now?

http://ridingsun.blogspot.com/2005/07/cubans-flee-to-dead-country.html is where the Gaijin Biker tells the world of this historic event.

Tennessee Writer: Explanations and Stories

I haven't been doing much blogging because I just stumbled on to how big the online, paying market for SF and Horror is, and I've been writing, revising old stuff, and so on in quite the flurry of productiveness.

Let us see...
Monkey Singularity...Vingean superhumanity crossed with humor and Creationism
The Copyright...flash fiction making fun of the excessive copyright protections we have today.
No Safe Harbor...flash fiction dealing with China's crackdowns on bloggers
And I wrote an "excerpt" for the Unwritten Library.

Those are sent out, and yes, sending out is an endeavour.

I also have Generation Gap in which a modern vampire confronts an elder vampire who was also a concentration camp guard. Not sent out yet.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Hohenwald News: Writer On-Line

EarthCore: A Podcast Novel is the world's first podcast novel. That means that an audio file is uploaded to the internet, and then downloaded to various people who want it. And EC is the first novel of this kind.

Rather like Death of a Blogger is the first Blogospheric Mystery Novel. So we're in the same club, but with 7500 regular readers, he's the president of the Cutting Edge Tech Book club, and I'm just the janitor.

Still, he's struggling to find a publisher which is a shame. You'd think he would be able to go, and say, look, dudes, I got 7500 people reading this already, lets go out and do some business!

But so far its not happening. Perhaps he's moving too quickly for the Publishing Houses. I published DoaB the Lulu way partially because I wanted to get it done in the Year of the Blogger. Not two years from now. The Pub houses really need to get into gear here.

Reading his story, and seeing his decisions reminded me of many of the attitudes and decisions I 've been involved in over the past couple years. Should I try the NY Publisher route, or should I go for speed, and the Internet? Thats just one question.

I also like his attitude that he's a blue-collar worker. Same here. Only difference is that I like to toss in a message, but it does need to come second place to the story, generally (there are very few hard and fast rules in writing, at least at the superficial level most writers operate. A really great genius might be able to discern the rules, but most writers don't have much of a chance of that.)

Anyways, an interesting interview with him right here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Hohenwald News: Storyblogging Carnival

Dave Gudeman is hosting the storyblogging carnival this week at his place. Thanks Dave. And he gave Death of a Blogger, a nice prominence, and said some good words about it too. Which I specially appreciate.

Weekly Update: More B-day News

We had a very good birthday, even if not quite what I expected. Rain interrupted, drenching rain denied, rain realligned my envisioned possible reality of the kids bathing in the exterior pool. Still they both had a nice bath courtesy of Ladyfaire just before time to lay down.

Mr. C got to play Dora Candyland which Da won, and PB&J card game, and a 6-in-1 aquatic block puzzle which was quite hard with his beloved to all mother.

Plus, he got to talk to Grandma BJ, and to Grandma and Baba.

He was well pleased with the presents, although Gigglebox seemed a bit bummed about big brother getting all that and Gigglebox only getting two toys.

Saw some more ants, due to the cake, and I'm going to have to place out some traps since with a crawler who places stuff in his mouth we are not real eager to bomb the house, but still, I wonder how toxic that stuff really is. Gigglebox has seemed to have mostly gotten over his spate of bug bites, but we need to do something to deal with the bugs more effectively.

Between teh Ladyfaire's fear of insecticide and the bugs, I'm caught in a rock and a hard place. I've wondered if I should just be a man, and do it. Bomb the house and have done.

I better check out the toxic effects of the stuff first.

Anyways, we also watched some of Zooboomafoo, and the Powerpuff Girls Movie, and he's watching Theodore Tugboat right now as he quiets down to go to sleep.

The house is mostly cleaned up after teh party, adn the day is generally regarded as a success. Although, I'm sure Mr. C will be ready to do it all over again tommorrow. We won't.

Plans for the Day

1. Clean house. Have you ever noticed how a clean house seems to generate a dirty house? Mine was clean recently, but it became dirty very quickly. I think a clean house generates ambition, such as the ambition to fix something (which causes debris), or make an especially nice meal (which generates dirty dishes). See clean=dirty. Perfectly logical.
2. Wrap gifts. We're getting him a toddler video game, and he's getting this weekend from his Baba and Grandma a bike. Other stuff as well.
3. Tend the Gigglebox.
4. Read lots of books today to them.
5. Bathe in the pool outside with plentiful low-level Deet protectant on because we live in a temperate rain forrest, and ze bugs is plentiful. This year seems like a boom year for spiders. Wonder what next year will be, or will we get lucky? These things do go in cycles actually.
6. Birthday party.
7. Watch the last two episodes of Teen Titans with him so we can return that video to Netflix.
8. The Ladyfaire is coming home early today, after shopping for the cake so that will be good.
9. I'd like to get a story sent out, and a setting, Grim Futures approved for release by the editor on my pinkie finger, teh one that hits enter, and then gulps wondering if he made a mistake. We'll see. Kids come first, especially today.
10. Spend more time with the kids.

Weekly Update: Gigglebox's Eating Habits

Gigglebox, usually and contrarily to Mr. C, has voracious eating habits. As exemplified by our park visit with the shire of Delvingrim a few days past where he chowed down on some nice black park dirt, probably loaded with oil and pesticides. Then today, as he was "helping" me fill the dishwasher, he pulled out a kid's fork laden with remnants of peanut butter from the rack, and into his mouth it went.

I promptly grabbed it with a horrified yelp, but still...
He's my portable black hole.

Hohenwald News: Mr. C is Four

Across the land, bells chimed, and choirs sang for my firstborn son, Mr. C is now four. Ah, where has the time gone? He's a darling little fellow, well-liked by almost everyone, and already I can see he is going to be too popular with the ladies for his
Da's comfort.

Plus, he's well-spoken, and prone to logic, and he thinks his Da is funny. He's also very good at cleaning up once you get him motivated.

Happy Birthday, Pumpkin, I love you.

Tennessee Writer: Monkey Singularity Short Story

Monkey Singularity
By Eric R. Ashley
Dedicated to the wacky people at Dean’s College for the Logics
I stepped through ripples, and dapples, and whipples in the space-time continuum, traversing lightyears like a lollipop being licked with grace and good cheer. There’s nothing quite like a walk on a Monday morning to set the Universe to rights. It threatened rain as I rounded Vega, gamma radiation from an unstable star, but I had my solar sail slinking along softly behind me, all of me, the mass of small simply ignored moon of Mars, Phoebes or Deimos trekked in an out of the vacuum slush of quantum reality, with the sail ready to be snapped to, put in place, and there it would shield me from the inconvenience of small energetic particles flipping electrons in my city-sized brain.
But the rain did not come, and indeed the day stayed brisk and blustery with a flux in the gravimetric fields that made you sway on your feet, so that at first I did not notice the new building being put up across the street. A fine large thing, but with an odd irregularity about the edges of its mass that corresponded to no recognized principle of pattern that I recognized, and if I did not recognize it, a brain with more data in it than elementary particles in the Universe, and an intelligence that dwarfed what I had when I was merely human, before the epochal change, before the event, the explosion of enlightenment when Humanity became Superhuman, and then went Beyond that limited conception to something altogether more to the place where we could choose what we wanted to be, change our natures and desires, and then fulfill them all.
It turned out that most of us wanted to be English villagers strolling in a green and pleasant land with frequent rain showers. Odd that. Perhaps it was because the megalomaniacs tended to kill themselves off. One still sees the occasional explosion of distant galaxies, after all. But here in the Pleiades galaxy far from the decimated and disintegrated and decayed deliberately and now permanently dim as only five percent of its stars still function Home Galaxy, Milky Way Candy Bar Galaxy, we prefer a peaceful civilized life, as does most of the Universe.
Does make one wonder though. Perhaps we had all we needed back on, hmm, dredge the data files, dust off the digital-ness, and in picoseconds present a name, Earth, yes, Earth it was, and thus so say some. Others say we have all we need in deep space, which is true, for what we need, the descendants and daughters of Mother Earth is lots of room to roam, and stars to sling around like beads on a Mardi Gras string. Since no other indigenous intelligent sapient species have been found in this, that, or any of the nearby galloping galactic clusters, it makes one wonder, it does. Perhaps this was all made for Humanity and for Us.
Approaching the rising edifice, I mused upon such things which is the proper preoccupation of a walk by oneself. If one is with another, one may catch up on gossip, or share such portentous and perilous thoughts. I was of a mind to be social, and so I was glad to see another of my kind in orbit of this vast new structure.
He was yelling at the general contractors, the nanogods whose minds were nearly as ours, but without sentience. They could understand, but it meant nothing to them. Corrupted, debased things, I rather did not like them. But it was hard to convince others that they were an insult to our greatness, a glare, a flaw in our grandeur, rather than simply a useful tool. It did make it easier than running the computations necessary to directly alter space-time in one’s subconscious, but I also worried that one day our technology might fail, and then here we would be, moons of mind, without the ability to directly control the universe because we had left such to our servants.
Pathetic paranoia, I’m quite sure, but still it quizzes me at nights when I visit cousins carousing in far galaxies, in the depths of intergalactic space one can come upon some very strange thoughts indeed. Perhaps this is why I limit my perambulations mostly to just the local village of Pleiades.
I sent a message, faster-than-light, far faster than faster-than-light, instantaneous interruption of the field of fair reality to cause another irruption else when before I sent the message if I were in a hurry, but I wasn’t, so I didn’t.
The query of my neighbour Mike was what type of shed was he building. So he sketched in a reply, and showed me around the property. It was a vast Dyson Sphere, large enough to hold several star systems inside, with a central red super giant as a space heater, and a dozen miniature black holes as combination vents, and disposal units, drains that is. Inside it was a structure, a scaffolding, a primitive structure so simple, so inelegant that I first appreciated it only as art, for otherwise it seemed totally useless to any sensible system of reality rearrangement.
Mike eerily and airily informed me that it was about a higher level of continuum control. Deeply he desired to find out the true nature of reality. He had his highest level processors focused on it, indeed he seemed distracted I re-miked, and he was since most of his brain was watching effort. As each layer of hundreds of lightyears long scaffolding grew toward the central space heater, by the rather simple and mechanistic means of pico-technology, an organic figure was birthed from each bar as well.
A dip into the data, and up swam a picture of a monkey. A small one, but I was uncertain of the type. Perhaps because Mike had made his own version, or perhaps because I had not downloaded all available Earth data when I was young and goo-goolishly trusting in Humanity, and some Supers had gotten into a squabble over a game and disseminated the Earth to the four corners of the Universe by engaging a rapid particle decay function, and thus made all knowledge on Earth gone, and passe’. So despite being smarter than all the humans who had ever lived, I could not tell if it was an orangutang, or a chimpanzee. It was monkeyish.
The vagueness bothered me since I was used to knowing everything, but still, unless I wished to go to the bother of constructing another time machine, I would have to let it be for now. You see, I had no limits, but my own limits which I had chosen, and fundamentally, I chose to be lazy. I was like the God of the Humans. Omnipotent, but I would not be untrue to myself, so there were things I would not do.
So saying, let me return from my divine digression to Mike the Monkeymaker. Each of his monkeys was typing on a keyboard which for some reason, I found hilarious. Ah, yes, there were 57 to the 14th monkeys per lightyear level. Very amusing indeed. Hmm, don’t you get it? Ah, well when you master the math for Tran-dimensional Irregular Vortices, you’ll realize it’s a very funny joke. I slapped Mike metaphorically on the shoulder, or in actuality pumped a small nuclear bomb into normal space near his left side.
He told me that he had to have some jokes to keep the tedium away. For he intended to stay here until the monkeys wrote the whole of Shakespeare.
I was aghast at this worrisome weirdness, apopletic at being dragged up for something so stupid, annoyed that my good friend was succumbing to our one flaw…insanity. If he did not pull out, he would have to be put down. A deranged godling was just too gruesomely dangerous.
No, he said, he intended to put an end to the disputes that still plagued space/time. Were we created? Were we accidental? Were we seemingly accidental, but actually the accidents part of a Divine plan? I paused, and then nodded. It was a good idea. Whole galactic clusters of dozens of nice galaxies, including one small fixer-up galaxy I had been thinking about buying as an investment, had been laid waste by the arguments between the Creationists and the Evolutionists. Now most of the Evolutionists of the hard-line type had already gotten themselves dismagadgerated very painfully, or decayed very quickly, but that still left hundreds of billions of beings like my friend Mike who wasn’t keen to force anyone to his views, but had his views, and wouldn’t mind some peace and quiet from the incessant bickering. Most of the hard-line Creationists had built in moral boundaries against blowing up galaxies so they still showed up holding seminars occasionally, and they contributed mightily to this state of chatter. In fact, some beings suggested that such arguments plus gossip was the true source of the background chatter of the Universe, and that this was evidence of aliens. Hope never dies despite having some of us traveled to over ten thousand galaxies looking (a terribly obsessive and rather dull witted bore in my opinion the fellow is) and finding nothing.
Me, I was a quiet Creationist. But I was willing to be convinced by logic, and Mike’s experiment seemed promising. So we waited a billion years, and nothing happened. By this time, he was having significant problems messing with the local gravity gradient to avoid the creation of a Monkey Singularity, a black hole of monkey ness, and the poop factor was something that I had totally managed to forget about when dealing with primitive biological creatures. So I spent the latter part of the day studying my memories of being human, and all the little petty annoyances that I had to put up with. It made me feel better about being a god.
Since the day was passing, I decided to head back home. Mike was sunk into either intense study or deep gloom. Probably both since we Beyond the Biological Beings are able to have more than just one emotion at one time. His experiment seemed a failure. Creationists Universe-wide would use his garage puttering to buttress their case so that it would seem they were flying high. We do so hate to be shown up. I felt bad for Mike, and then I noticed him pounding the substrata of reality with a terra-tonnage fist.
Its not working right, he told me. I knew that terrible trifle already, and then I looked. Every monkey was typing in a message. Over and over again.
You’re wrong, buster boy.
Mike ranted and raved about how his experiment had been perfect, and should have worked. I waited to see if he saw that it had worked. Just not in the way he thought it should. He did not see it. And then I realized Mike was not a reasonable person at all. He was a hardliner. He reached for his weapons, for the substrata base of the gravimetric fields, and tapped into the black hole at the center of the galaxy.
Shocked, I realized he was going to burn down the village to cover up his shame. So I deftly added two more monkeys to the nascent monkey singularity, and when it went to a black hole, I tipped him into it. Of course, this wiped out the proof, but then the whole sad experience made me wonder warily.
Just how many of my seemingly reasonable friends were actually reasonable? I mean, I would have accepted it if it went the other way. Oh well, it hadn‘t, and the sheer pleasure of being right in one of my guesses got me quickly over the grief of executing a friend for being a mad pschyopath.
But more good things do come of this event in my life. A new neighbour moved in on Tuesday, and began cleaning up the mess Mike left of his property. She has a very nice pair of moons orbiting her, and I think I will visit her for High Tea, sometime this billenia. Perhaps we can become special friends, and then we could grow old together as the Universe slowly cools. But I run ahead of myself; have to play this cool…

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Weekly Update: Gigglebox and Mr. C

Its almost Mr. C's birthday. Time does fly, and I so wanted to never say that phrase again. It makes one sad it does. Birthday number four already.

Gigglebox stood again today, perhaps his longest. He climbed up on the bench of a McD's picnic table next to me, and pulled himelf up with the tabletop, got his milk, and then stood for almost a minute as he tried to also figure out how to drink the milk at the same time.

Mr. C says that he is hungry, and so I shall have to stop. Seeya'

Hohenwald News: SKBubba Retires

South Knox Bubba, who started the RTB group for Tennessee Bloggers, and got in a spitting match with Metropulse has decided to quit blogging.

I'd like to thank him, a liberal, for welcoming this conservative blogger into his club. It was a gentlemanly thing to do.

More, data, a little anyways here.

Hohenwald News: Talkorigins and Irreducible Complexity
--Science News
I've been arguing over on Dean's World that Evolution is silly. I'm a I don't know person as to whether Intelligent Design or the stronger Young Earth Creationism is true. ID allows for the possibility of evolution, just guided by somebody.

I think IDers did a fair job on that forum of smacking around the materialists.

I got recommended by the brilliant and widely learned Dean of the Dean's World College for Liberal Arts and Logic to try out the Panda's Thumb website which would help my worries about Irreducible Complexity. IC is another arrow in the string of the IDers.

IC says certain things are useless in simpler form, and could not have come about via way of Evolution. For an example, the eye...what good is an optic nerve without an eye?

All of these things have to happen at the same time which stretches even Evolutionists capacious acceptance of lucky chance to its limits.

But in nature, such an arrangement as an optic nerve does occur.

But still, I see this as a minor oases in the Darwinian Dessert. The arguements of Talkorigins which attempted to explain away the ICNotness of the eye were not all that convincing.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Hohenwald News: Shire of Delvingrim Picnic

The local SCA club for medieval re-enactment had its monthly business meeting at Lion Park in Maury County. Various issues were discussed, but since your humble correspondent was playing boffer sword-fighting and pushing swings with the tykes, I didn't catch most of it.

The food and the company were great. We had an onslaught of bees which were attracted by the cinnammon rolls and the sweet and artificially sweet drinks. Spent almost as much time batting them away as eating. Gigglebox had a bee land on his lip. But despite the plenitude of threat (including one lady who is deathly allergic) no one was stung. Thank You for Your Mercies.

Mr. C met a balloon maker who made him an "Egyptian kinked tail cat" which is furless since Mr. C asked him why his balloons were not furry which a cat balloon must need.

There were almost as many kids as adults. Too bad the ice cream truck didn't roll by. He would have found fruitful grounds.

Hohenwald News: TDOT To Be Questioned by Citizens at Open Forum

The Highway 412 project is an issue of some concern to the citizens of Lewis County. Its a long-running project (more than a decade) that seems to go from one economically depressed area to another.

It seems to be bad from almost all perspectives.

So, I'm glad to announce that TDOT officials will be coming to Lewis County Memorial Park Community Building at 6:30 PM on Tuesday July 19, 2005. Perhaps I should wander out there to edumicate myself, and to ask a few pointed questions of TDOT.

I've already asked one elected official why we are doing this. His response was that other counties had gotten their bit, and it was now Lewis County's turn. In other words, it might be called "Pass out the Pork."

Hmm, makes me wonder if they'll have free BBQ at the meeting. Probably not. It'd make for too many jokes.

Hohenwald News: I Love Capitalism

Particularly, I loved our visit to Big Lots. Its a serious discounter's paradise, but its also a place where you have to buy it now, because good luck finding it again.

I got tons of clipart for SF and Fantasy that I can use in my game designs for a few bucks, plus a thousand brilliant classics for a buck, plus a game to take my mind off the serious business of writing aka when my hair is about ready to be yanked out, I can noodle around playing at being a ninja.

And I was able to get a Rainbow Fish game (since we are an aquatic interest family--makes sense living in the mountains, right?) which will teach Mr. C some useful lessons, and a Dora puzzle which is also good.

So I'm pretty happy with my capitalist overlords right now. Their gewgaws and trinkets to amuse the simpleminded, and distract them from the real issues of power and privilege are working fairly well at the moment.

Hohenwald News: Childrearing Basics

Friends, Stay-at-home Dads, Mommies it is a fundamental rule of the universe. A toy left out is uninteresting. But a toy that is put up is interesting, and should be pulled out. This is doubly so for a toy that a father just put up.

They, that is the little rugrat in your life, wants a clean house...so he can mess it up.

My recommendation? Take your digital camera with you when you clean up. Take a quick snapshot as soon as you are done so you can show your Other Half that you actually did do work today.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Hohenwald News: Let Freedom Ring!

A journalist and editor in the land of President-for-Life Saleh, that would be Yemen, has had his building and press taken over by a guntoting group who then claim to run his political party, and then distribute his paper.

Its as if the RNC sent SEAL teams in too take over the NYT's and then published their own Times.

The gall of it all astounds one who is used to something resembling sanity. But then Yemen is not a place listed on many tourist destinations, and it has friends with AQ. In other words, let's kick over another domino, President Bush.

Let Freedom Ring!

Tennessee Writer: Death of a Blogger Excerpt

Prologue and Chapter One of the World's First Blogospheric Mystery Novel...

Previously goes to Chapters Five and Six...

Next goes to Chapters Eight and Nine...

And Now for Chapter Seven...

Chapter Seven: Grace

After spending several hours with Samuel, and a half hour with Charlie, the nurse tending Charlie practically ordered Sharon to go home, and get some rest. Secretly rebellious, and planning on doing some work on the list of questions, but also glad for she felt drained past any thing she might ordinarily feel, Sharon assented. The drive home was a blur, and she remembered some screeching tires, but could not recall why.
At the semi-Victorian house, at least on its exterior, Elizabeth Camwood was gone, but she had left a note.
“Dear Sharon, the Alderson’s, up the street, are having a slumber party, and they hope that your girls would be able to attend.”
Nodding to herself, Sharon called Mr. Alderson who was nose-deep in cleaning the house for his upcoming guests while Lucille Alderson went shopping for party supplies. He never came out and said it, but it seemed pretty clear they had made this party for her family as a way to help. So she agreed, planning on taking the girls over after having them visit their brother for an hour in the afternoon.
Then she rummaged in her refrigerator, and found a plate of taco dip made by the Julian’s across the street, and if she had not been so exhausted she might have made it to the chair before collapsing on the floor and weeping for nearly half an hour. Then prosaically she scooped up food to maintain her strength, avoided the wine because her daughters were coming home, although she considered it for later tonight, and took a jug of milk back with her and the bag of chips that had accompanied the dip back to her husband’s sanctum.
How she missed him. Here his presence was almost tangible, and the enclosing walls were like a womb, or hands wrapping around her like the way he had held her after the miscarriage between Sam and Veronica. Dawn, she still called that one, at least to herself.
Wondering why there was so much tragedy in the world, she scarfed down the rest of her taco dip, and feeling a faint twinge of curiosity almost drowned by the heavy tide of her darkness, she opened the blog.
Something new caught her accountant’s eye. Before, she had been listed off to side of the computer screen on a thumbprint-sized insignia for something called the TTC ecosystem as a Nubile Newt, and now she was a Terrible Tadpole. Curious, despite herself, she clicked on the icon to the right of her screen, and a website came up.
Across the top it said in large, orange day-glo colors, “Truth Told Clearly Ecosystem”. And it showed a ranking of pretty much all the blogs, ranging from Day Old Egg to King Frog of the Seven Seas. To her surprise, she found her husband’s blog was about halfway up the list, and more startling still, under her care, it had raised a rank. The next rank up was “Baby Frog”.
Pursing her lip, not sure she liked this, or not, she wavering went back to her blog to find a miniature storm brewing in the preceding post she had laid out. The question was, did she have legal right to act for her husband in the matter of his business, and specifically in giving Morgenstern the right to handle things. A fair number of responses went round and round without conclusiveness, and the whole thing worried her.
Since the rise in divorces the automatic assumption of the wife’s power of attorney had come into question somewhat seemed to be the general idea of the doubters. And these doubters sounded like they were genuinely seeking to be helpful, but all they did was give Sharon a headache.
So she put up an open question on the matter in another brand-new post.
Some laundry work, and folding of clothes, and she came back to find that her post had generated something called ‘trackbacks’, and clicking on these led her to other blogs, some run by her commenters. MomofFive wrote a “Motherly Thoughts” blog on “motherhood, sex with five chaperones around, and a hunt for some really good drugs-once a month” as she put it, and for a moment, Sharon felt like breaking out in laughter until she remembered her current tragedy, but she really felt like she would like this irreverent, but reverent at the same time and about the same thing woman if they were to meet. And VampHunter wrote a blog dealing with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and role-playing games and moaning about not being able to get a date for the prom who was willing to dress in black.
But both talked of her problem with empathy, although VampHunter’s empathy had a lot more swear words in it; it was still obviously heartfelt, and they referenced her legal problem.
And so she went back to her post to find a half-dozen new nicknames on it, including LawSchoolGuy, Raymond Durbin PHD, Professor Wine and Song, and SoCalLawProf. The upshot was that the worry was invalid unless certain specific problems existed, which did not apply to her. It got sufficiently arcane that she had to reread several comments to be certain she fully understood. Relieved, and grateful, she posted her thanks.
Glad to help, ma’am. I’m sorry to hear about your troubles. I’ll check back every day just in case you need something I can help you with. SoCalLawProf.
I don’t think there are any legal issues. The big question right now is what is the cause of this? Sharon.
Oh? SoCalLawProf.
Yes, the doctor, a good doctor, hasn’t been able to figure out the cause. He’s stuck to treating symptoms. Sharon.
Let me get back to you. Don’t mind if I trackback this do you? That’s how I heard of your problem. From VampHunter’s blog. SoCalLawProf.
Sharon laughed just a little.
No, go ahead, and I’m surprised to see a law prof looking at VampHunter‘s blog? Sharon.
What can I say; I’m a Buffy fanatic. I’m praying for you. SoCalLawProf.
The two girls came home, and she forced herself to let them eat before telling them of the incident with Samuel. But they could already tell from her hovering, and her gray face that something was bothering her.
She began by asking them obsessively if they were well, and had they felt at all ill today. Repeating the question, and her voice rising when Veronica countered by asking her what the matter was brought a satisfactory response. But then she felt terrifically ashamed of herself, for she had been working her way up to slapping the girls as they sat at the table.
Crying, and trying not to, she left the room, and hid in the bathroom, which seemed to sing to her of a late night bath and slit wrists. Thinking she was going mad, Sharon stood up, breathed deeply, and mopped her face with water before opening the door to greet her two concerned daughters who had followed her upstairs.
“I’m, I’m sorry, Veronica, Jenna. Mommy’s a little upset. Your brother got a little sick, and had to go to the hospital.” She hastened to add to the stricken little faces. “He’s fine. He will be fine.”
Then she bent down as they began to weep, and gathered them in her arms, and held them sitting in the doorway of the bathroom as they all wept together. And there she found more strength, for now the abhorrent song of the bathtub seemed an utterly ridiculous thing, and slapping these two little angels was almost impossible to comprehend.
A while later, she got them in the car, and across town in safety, noting that having children in the car radically improved her driving and concentration, and they visited Sam and Daddy.
Daddy was unchanged, and Sam was still being medicated, but it seemed to be taking hold. Despite his troubles, he was brave for them, and made a number of jokes, and demanded she bring Chocolate Oatmeal No-bake Cookies the next day. It was his way of saying “Mommy work will be good for you.” She did not feel like she had any time in the day to spare, and that surprised her for was she not off from work, and yet she felt rushed?
After dropping her daughters off with many protestations of love, a careful warning to the neighbors of telling her if any sign of sickness arose (which worried them a bit, but since the doctor had not seen fit to isolate them, it must be okay, everyone hoped.), and assurances that Mommy was just down the street, and would come running if needed, and she was free to go home to her empty house.
Mrs. Camwood had been by, and left a note saying she had “cleaned a bit, and left a roast in the oven. Timer will ring.” That left her thirty minutes, and so she listlessly turned on the television only to find reruns of her favorite shows, and so she turned it to music, and left the room.
With the house clean, she migrated to her new haven, wondering if she should check on some of the earlier posts of her husband’s. The blog called with a fascination, and she looked it up. A couple posts to explain the day’s events in response to inquiries, and she breathed deep before confessing her wild almost actions this afternoon. She was not sure whether it was healthy confession and hope that sunlight would banish the demons, or it was shameless exhibitionism.
Might want to check out Mark Feeling’s blog at Pastoral Koan’s. It’s in your trackbacks. Simon the Sorcerer.
Sharon pursed her lips, what an odd name. It reminded her of someone.
Why? And why do you call yourself “Simon the Sorcerer”? You’re not actually a magician are you? Sharon.
Pastor Mark’s one of the stars of the blogosphere, and he’s got quite a few insights about things of the heart and the soul. Of course, trackbacks are at the bottom of your post. There are lots of other people on other blogs referring to your story. It’s spreading fast. Just click on them, and you’ll go there. MacDonald Street.
Another poster explained part of the answer, which Sharon already knew, but it helped remind her from her experience with VampHunter’s blog. So many new things to learn and recall; it was enough to make one dizzy. But at the same time it was exciting. Sharon knew that if she weren’t so terrified for Charlie, she would be having the time of her life.
As McD said, and hey dude, surprised to see you over here. I thought you were trying to get your book finished. Sharon, why “Simon”, well lets say like the Biblical Simon the Sorcerer, I had a tendency to try to put a dollar sign on things that weren’t meant to be sold. It is a long story which if you want I can email you, but suffice it to say I never want to do that again, and so I remind myself with my nickname. Besides, my real life first name is Simon. Simon the Sorcerer.
Sharon replied, and watched the two friends badger each other about projects not completed. One was some sort of radio personality, and the other looked to be a Christian advice author. So she took their advice, and visited Pastoral Koan.
A scroll down a previous post on her blog to the bottom, and below the extensive comments, a long list of trackbacks, nearly twenty waited. The list was much longer than just a few hours before, and many seemed spiritual in nature. She sorted past Frothings of a Fundamentalist, and Scribals’s Scrabbles® Scribbles, and smiled at the jokes of them, and the sight of her friend VampHunter’s blog; wondered in passing what Dollars to Doughnuts blog had to say, and settled her mouse’s arrow on Pastoral Koan.
It had a short fragment of the post below the link.
“Sharon Walkins, and her family need our prayers…”
So she clicked and was transported to an Army chaplain’s blog. It mixed heavy doctrinal disputes with prayers for those in need with rooting for a UM sports team (of some sort, Sharon skipped those posts), and issues specific to Army life. She found herself reading more than she expected, while avoiding the post that dealt with her. It embarrassed her to see her name prominently in a post by someone she did not even know. It was like she was a celebrity or something.
Scanning around, she found it fascinating as she learned a half-dozen facts about Army life that she would never have heard elsewhere. To her surprise, he seemed to be quite optimistic about the on-going war against terrorists, or at least more so than the television news she watched each night. And in his comments on the war in Iraq he had nearly eight who claimed to be currently in country, and agreed with him. Some stated even more vehemently than he did that the MSM was deliberately mis-portraying the reality on the ground.
MSM? Sharon thought wondering what kind of peculiar military acronym that was. She knew that men, even her husband had some sort of warped attraction to such things, but it was annoying to her to find herself missing a key part of the story. But then someone spelled it out in a rant, (she could imagine him red in the face as he pounded at the keyboard) about traitors in the media, the mainstream media.
And suddenly it clicked. MSM, mainstream media. The big boys like CBS and NYT, and CNN must be what they were talking about. Happily, she noted the other posters while somewhat agreeing with the ranter preferred to blame laziness and stupidity rather than deliberate malice. It was her opinion as well from accounting. The truth was that most people made mistakes not from deliberate evil, but because they were tired, or frankly just not that bright when it came to money.
It always surprised Sharon when people did such stupidities with their money, but then she had long ago accepted that understanding compound interest and being able to follow detailed instructions was not all that common, as easy as it seemed to her.
She hesitated at the keyboard, and then decided to try to help a little bit.
Perhaps, its because they don’t understand the military. I mean I just read some of your posts, and I never realized, well quite a few things about the military. And its not like I’m uneducated. I have a Master’s degree in Accounting. And the name’s not Sharon Walkins. It’s Walker. Sharon.
And then she turned to read the post on her family. A simple and heartfelt prayer for her family’s health and peace of mind was followed by some well-organized thoughts on why tragedy occurs. She was not sure she agreed with his contention that tragedy was inherent in a finite universe, for all of us are frail and prone to mistakes, and that only in an infinite universe, or one in which we were not human would we be free of such taint. The idea that followed struck even harder that God had to allow human evil with its horrible consequences or else there would be no true freedom. For a long second, she paused wanting to swear and curse at his unfeeling words and stone-cold heart, but then he passed on to mention a tragedy of his own, and how he had spent nearly a year refusing to pray afterwards.
More comments followed, many from people suffering as she did, and many worse. Mates dead of cancer, children slaughtered by drunk drivers, a house fire that consumed one man’s whole family while he went out to get Chinese take-out, and yet many found a way to keep their faith in the goodness of God. More than a few told of their anger, their rage, their need to stay away from bridges because of the certainty that they would jump if given half a chance.
There were a few who cursed the lot of them, calling them fools, and raving at God, daring him to strike them down. Strong arguments were raised against them, but the one that struck her the most was an odd note in the mix of faith and furor.
I am an atheist, but unlike some of my more, frankly obnoxious brethren. We do not generally acknowledge any group of us, for all of us who are alike are individuals or so we say, but I join them for I don’t believe in the Pastor’s deity. I wish I could. But to me, the balance of the evidence is against it. But to my brethren who shout that the Christians and the Jews and all the Wiccans and all the others represented here are duped idiots, I would say. Pax. Let it be. One would think you are like the lady who protests too much. If they need to believe, then let them. I face the abyss, and while it occasions some fear, mostly I’ll just be glad as I die for the fun times and the friends I had while it lasted. So, enjoy the time you have. It’s all you know for sure you have. For those who have lost, my heartfelt sympathies, and yet you have beautiful memories. QuietAtheist.
Sharon still disagreed with him, and wondered how one could live without any faith, let alone her faith in Christ that she firmly believed was the correct one, but she began to see some of what to her was an extremely odd point of view. And he seemed a very nice man. Contrary to say Jerry Wright at the office who let everyone know, quite loudly, just how oppressed and disdainful he felt by “being forced to see” an eighteen-year-old new hire praying before her meal at her desk. The poor girl had wept for nearly an hour in the woman’s rest room before she could come out again to continue her work. She quit the next day to go work across town where she was now a manager.
“And we’re still saddled with Mr. Wright.” Sharon muttered to herself. “First thing, I’m going to do if my ‘apprentice’ George is right, and I’m a shooting star into management is get that creep fired.”
Sharon flipped open her “List of Future Plans” Word file, and began to type the plan down with uncommon agitation, and then with her fingers shaking; she gave up, and began to weep. Trying to hold it together against the litany of the world’s woes had done nothing for her, and so she read the stories again, this time with a heart open to grieve, and she found instead of pain repressed and rage at jerks; she found sympathy and love.

And so she closed her Word file. In passing, she noted that Pastoral Koan had added an addendum acknowledging its mistake in spelling her name. And correcting itself. She still felt uncertain if it was right to do as she planned for Mr. Wright. Sitting there, not sure what to do, she considered an experiment, and went back to her own blog, and outlined in a new post the Mr. Wright scenario as a hypothetical, and with other disguises and lastly the identifying details shaved off. Now what should a person do? Sharon.
And then she staggered off to bed.
End of Chapter Seven.

More Weekly Update

The next-to-last bedroom is transformed from its original, yucky brown panels to a nice Lagoon Blue courtesy of my Dad's efforts. Thanks Da'!

And since I helped, my fingers are going totally spastic, and I've found myself doing something like eight spelling errors so far. Not a good night to type up a short story, methinks. I just need to post the novel excerpt and email the link for the story excerpt to the next Storyblogging Carnival, and then lay back, and accept all the warm accolades, and briefcases full of money coming my way.

Oops full scale delusions setting in, need ice cream desperately, plus an rpg game....

Friday, July 15, 2005

Weekly Update

Well we just had the repairman out to look at our malfunctioning refridgerator. It seems some heater that is supposed to keep the drain unblocked was not working so water flowed where it was not supposed to, froze, blocked cooling channels and caused the fridge to overheat.

So for a lack of a heater the fridge did not cool.

I think thats called ironic. Heh.

I also heard about something called the Hillbilly Carnival which I might participate in. And I need to make sure I put up my Storyblogging Carnival piece tonight or tommorrow afternoon.

Did a lot of cleaning this morning waiting for the repair guy to show up, and now I'm a tired puppy, partially because I didn't get enough to eat.

Lets see if I can get some writing done before Gigglebox gets up, and if I can get Mr. C to go to a nap, or at least fake one.

Tennessee Writer: Magazine Writing

I've recently become aware of just how vast the markets are for on-line and print SF and Fantasy and Horror Magazine writing. So yesterday, I wrote up two pieces, and sent one, a bit of flash fiction, off already to hopefully earn me a few bucks.

The other could use a bit of polishing, and then be sent off in a couple days.

Meanwhile, I also have other stuff that I might be able to re-use laying about.

And happily I just mostly got permission to press on full speed with my Multiverser writing.

So, it looks like if I can sustain the energy, and keep the focus, and find the time that this next month might be very productive indeed with a flurry of publishing.

Hohenwald News: VDH Analyzes the Left's Mindset

There's a false narrative behind the Left's understanding of the world.

Victor Davis Hanson explains it. Here's a taste of his article...

In a word, this version of events brings spiritual calm for millions of troubled though affluent and blessed Westerners. There are three sacraments to their postmodern thinking, besides the primordial fear that so often leads to appeasement.Our first hindrance is moral equivalence. For the hard Left there is no absolute right and wrong since amorality is defined arbitrarily and only by those in power. Taking back Fallujah from beheaders and terrorists is no different from bombing the London subway since civilians may die in either case. The deliberate rather than accidental targeting of noncombatants makes little difference, especially since the underdog in Fallujah is not to be judged by the same standard as the overdogs in London and New York. A half-dozen roughed up prisoners in Guantanamo are the same as the Nazi death camps or the Gulag.Our second shackle is utopian pacifism — ‘war never solved anything’ and ‘violence only begets violence.’ Thus it makes no sense to resort to violence, since reason and conflict resolution can convince even a bin Laden to come to the table. That most evil has ended tragically and most good has resumed through armed struggle — whether in Germany, Japan, and Italy or Panama, Belgrade, and Kabul — is irrelevant. Apparently on some past day, sophisticated Westerners, in their infinite wisdom and morality, transcended age-old human nature, and as a reward were given a pass from the smelly, dirty old world of the past six millennia.
The third restraint is multiculturalism, or the idea that all social practices are of equal merit. Who are we to generalize that the regimes and fundamentalist sects of the Middle East result in economic backwardness, intolerance of religious and ethnic minorities, gender apartheid, racism, homophobia, and patriarchy? Being different from the West is never being worse.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Hohenwald News: New Theory for World Peace

There is a well-supported theory called the Democratic Peace which holds that democracies DON'T make war on each other. To me this provides a strong justification on realist grounds for GWB's democratization project.

Even a good war is no fun, and what we can do to restrain it is a good thing.

So, lets hear it for Democracy! And if you need some more pro-democracy boosting or more theory on this then go here.

Hohenwald News: Daily Mirror Link

The previous story was missing its link, so its in the headline of this one.

And I'm not sure I want to bomb a mosque over this, but I'm not certain I don't either. I think most mosques that such men come from are supportive of such efforts, and should thus be considered enemy HQ's.

Hohenwald News: How to Recruit a Suicide Bomber

In the Daily Mirror today, a young Muslim man describes how he was subject to a potential recruitment to be a suicide bomber. He was devout and respectful of the imam, and he had just lost his father so he was grieving. And he was young, fourteen years old, and two older men approached him.

They told him that he would never amount to anything, and that he could see his father again real soon, and they told him of the supposed 72 virgins that await an Islamic martyr (way to sway a teenage boy, right?), and they showed him harsh executions by Russians of Chechnyans.

But he considered his father, and could not see this pious man agreeing, and so walked away.

Wolves in sheep's clothing, perhaps? Ravening wolves. And remember, the devil goes about like a roaring lion seeking lives to destroy.

Note that these older, bearded men did not volunteer themselves, but sought a young impressionable sucker. I'd like to make suicide bombers of them, tie them to an American bomb, and drop it on the mosque they represent.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Hohenwald News: Border Problems

I think that it is disgraceful the way that Big and Small Business combine with the Identity Politicking Left to prohibit Americans from securing the border with Mexico. There is a distinct likelihood that the next serious attack will be supported by infiltrators who brought jihadi and/or supplies (such as explosives and guns) over the border, hiding out in the midst of the masses of illegal immigrants.

However, keep in mind that Mexico is an unstable country, and that the US has only so many resources. If we immediately stop the immigrants with a fence patrolled by shoot-on-sight guards, then very likely Mexico gets seriously destabilized.

The possible result is Iraq on the Border.

But its clear we need to do something. We should at least start building the fence, and putting some more pressure on Vincente Fox to straighten things out further.

According to one source, the capital inflows have recently exceeded the capital outflows in Mexico. Which is very good news. Its awful hard to industrialize an economy when all the money flees the economy as fast as it can ahead of the robbers (who are often related to the ruling power structure). This is one of the key problems in Africa--it makes no sense to invest because the cousin of the current Premier for Life is just going to steal what you create. It makes better sense to get the money out of country, and into a Swiss bank account where it can't be so easily stolen.

Granted this doesn't help your neighbours who you should be hiring for good wages in your factory, but why build the factory if it just gets stolen? So the fact that this process seems to be partially reversing itself in Mexico is very good news indeed. Its like when a baby decides its time to give up on all that crawling, and start walking.

A time of rejoicing. But we need to keep raising the expectations on our Mexican friends, don't let them rest on their laurels. Too much to do, and too little time to do it.

Hohenwald News: Pink Cadillac

I hear that the Pink Cadillac, at least last week, was running one show during the weeknights (except for Friday when they ran two). Hmm, pretty cool. I wonder if they charge half-price for one...that would mean watching a movie for 3$ an adult which is no bad thing in this era of outrageous movie prices (the movie houses are making up for stupid stuff, hence declining sales, by raising the price...but they are going to end up destroying their market by doing this, and reducing Hollyweird's influence to those with lots of bucks who think they are better than everyone else anyways. So Hollyweird is going to get more Lefty, and less relevant over the next decade. Hmm, perhaps this is not such a bad thing. Besides it does offer an opportunity for independent film makers with digital cameras and streaming video on the Internet to take back films from the wrong-headed elite.)

Anyways, Pink Cadillac outdoor theatre will be hosting Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Johnny Depp (whom I like, and the wondrous one does not), followed by Fantastic Four which I also liked, even if as the wondrous one says, it is not a blockbuster.

Lets do another post.

Tennessee Writer: Holy Text of the Libertroids

Your basic Libertarian is nuts, in a good way. Probably comes from reading Ayn Rand. Because after reading a 57 pg. speech by the hero, who wouldn't be screaming ka-razy?

Find out more here where the author says that Atlas Shrugged, and then I hit him in the head with a piece of pipe. Me, I think that was uncommonly generous.

Lets all do the Libertarians a favor, find for them another saint rather than Ayn Rand or Robert Heinlein.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Hohenwald News: Humor and Sen. Ted Kennedy

Scrappleface, a noted humorist, explains his take on the Democrat's opposition to "whomever" President Bush puts forward for the Supreme Court. He satirically claims they are handing out opposition papers with 'fill-in-the-blank' for the name area after Bush nominates.

Yep, that sounds like the Dems. We don't need no stinking principles, we just oppose Bush!

Hohenwald News: Stop Watching the News!

Here's why with both negative (the news media is lefty, and incompetent), and positive (the blogs have a lot of experts, and offer better information, including boots on the ground in the situation).

Today, victory in the war on terror depends upon an informed and well-connected citizenry that can mobilize information and public opinion to defeat global terrorism. War--according to Clausewitz--is not fundamentally about killing the enemy but about breaking his will to resist. The weblogs are essential to the information flow necessary to win the war on terror and energize the national will.This role cannot be played by a mainstream press led by reporters who know little or nothing about war, don't speak Arabic, don't understand Islamic culture, and simply aren't qualified to cover the important events of the war. The alternative is the network of weblogs:

For more, go here.

Hohenwald News: VDH Explains the Terrorists' Strategy

I'll have to think about this one more to see my real take on it, but nevertheless, its a good piece, as are most Victor Davis Hansen pieces.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Hohenwald News: Bush Bashing Stations

Perhaps we should rename the gasoline stations as "Bush Bashing Stations" where one can freely gripe and complain to other long-suffering citizens about the price of gas.

We saw 2.25 the other day. Incredible.

But I'm still not for turning. I talked with a fellow the other day who wondered why we paid so much when we had liberated Iraq. A good question, and I'm not sure of the answer. But his solution, while it might work, is not for me.

He wanted to bomb the lot into submission, and just take their oil. As he said, he's not a nice guy.

Well, I, like President Bush, am mostly a nice guy with a ruthless streak. Perhaps we need to crank up the level of violence, and I would certainly have dealt with the Mullahs of Iran by now, but mostly I think Bush is on target. Mostly I think we need to stay the course.

But just in case I'm a little too nice, a little too calm, there's always guys at the Bush Bashing Stations ready to make up for my lacks.

Hohenwald News: Ebay Questions

One of the benefits of something like ebay is that it allows us, those in a low-cost area, to sell to those in a high-cost area. Both sides get happy, but I'm mostly focused on the "us" here since one of the goals of this blog is to offer means of my local, economically depressed community to find a way to make some cash, err, generate a positive, continuing revenue stream.

I've heard a lady sold some stuff around her house for a thousand bucks last month, and while I don't have a great deal of stuff that I want to sell, I do have a few things I want to get rid off, and I wonder...

Anybody out there have any knowledge they want to share?

Weekly Update

We have a new lawnmower, more powerful than the last (especially toward the end of the poor, abused machines pitiful life), and so I got out in the heat today, and sweated enough to get a headache. Plus, I had to do brainsweat trying to guess, err, figure out how much oil the thing needs, being careful not to put too much in it.

Did I mention that the lawn had gotten really high seeing as the Lawnmower Soon to go to the Thrift Store wasn't working well? No, well it had. And in Tennessee we get LOTS of water.

Fact is, Hurricane Dennis is on its way to drop more buckets of water tommorrow, and all next week.

I also fixed a couple shelves in one of the black bookcases stationed around a window overlooking the porch. Overloaded the poor bookcase, and it had collapsed a couple shelves.

Gigglebox and Mr. C are playing together very well in the playroom. Yay!

And the Ladyfaire fixed a toy power drill after Mr. C showed her that it needed a battery. The Ladyfaire repeatedly says that she didn 't think she was that smart, that logical, or that inquisitive when she was three. I don't think I was either, and we're both above average so who knows, the little un might be a little genius?