TRUMP IS THE PRICE YOU PAY FOR NAIVETY

Did you vote? Did you think if you didn’t vote someone would do it for you … like maybe a proxy? You know we don’t do that in this country. No democracy allows proxy voting. You can vote by mail, but you are still the person voting. No proxy. You. Always you. So if you didn’t go to a booth or mail it in, you didn’t vote. No matter how many protests you go to now, it’s too late. You blew it.

Was there anybody with half a brain who did not know the Democratic National Committee was firmly committed to Hillary Clinton long before the DNC convention? Was there anyone shocked by this revelation — especially one being made by someone who was part of the problem in the first place?

If you were shocked, what dark hole were you living in before the election? Did you really believe deals for huge amounts of money to run gigantic, organized electoral campaigns — which go on for years — are made on a wish and a handshake? Seriously?

I’m not saying this because I’m so cynical. This stuff is obvious. Of course they were committed to Clinton. Obviously. Of the candidates to whom they could be committed, I was okay with Hillary. She had earned her shot at it over the years. Hard work and 8 years as first lady and another bunch in the senate. And she is one smart cookie.

How naïve are you? If you are so naïve, maybe it’s time you get it together with reality. The one in which you live. We are never going to like all the stuff that goes on in our world. We will always be making compromises between the ideal — and with what we can live.

I could have lived with Hillary Clinton as president. I am having the devil’s own time surviving Donald Trump. It never crossed my mind for a moment that there weren’t a thousand deals in place to put her up as the candidate. Given the options? I was fine with the choice. I thought she could make a pretty good president. I didn’t think Bernie would accomplish anything much even if elected. An old guy with head full of ideas and ideals — with little or no research behind them. Ideas are great, but the presidency requires more than good ideas.

It requires leverage. Connections. Enough dirt on the people you’ll need to bribe, beg, and bedazzle if you want to accomplish any of your goals. Even had he won, he didn’t then or now have the stuff he would need to lead.

He also didn’t do his homework. The numbers he put up to go with his ideas were about as realistic as Trump’s, which is to say NOT. We liked his ideas better, but that didn’t make them more viable. Bernie had zero chance of turning his concepts into reality.

But hey, what do I know, right?

I actually don’t know how you can survive in a modern environment with so little understanding of how the world works. It boggles my mind.

You know what I do know? I could never be president. Of anything, much less the U.S. Forget about ill-health. I couldn’t make those decisions. I couldn’t survive the oval office. Moreover, I do not know anyone who could do it better than me.

I know people who want power are supposed to be the last ones who should get it … but would it be okay if the people who do get it have the wits to manage it? The intelligence to understand it? The presidency isn’t anything like being mayor of a small town. Being President is a big deal — except we have an incompetent moron as president. He knows nothing. Will never know anything. Doesn’t care that he knows nothing. It’s all about the money and the power. He wanted to be god and we made him one.

Now, we are trying to live with it.

If you still think (a) not voting, (b) voting for some a third-party idiot, or (c) voting for the Orange Moron to express your displeasure with the status quo, was perfectly fine? You’re a moron too.

“SCYTHE” BY NEAL SHUSTERMAN – ARC OF A SCYTHE, BOOK 1

Scythe By: Neal Shusterman

Audiobook narrated by: Greg Tremblay
Book 1: Arc of a Scythe

Every day, Audible.com (part of the Amazon group), offers one book at a huge discount. Often it’s an older book or a classic which, if I missed it along the way, I may buy. Sometimes, I read it years ago, so listening to it in Audio can be a treat … like a movie with all the “action” in my own head. More often, it will be the first book in a series. Pay a few dollars for the audiobook, get hooked, and then you will buy the rest of them. I’ve gotten into a lot of really good series this way and I like it because I run out of books rather more often than I would like. Also, as the years have gone on, I’ve gotten pickier about what I want to read. The world has gotten so outrageous and kind of terrible, I’m looking not for great literature, but for entertainment. If it is going to inform me, it is also going to amuse me or I simply won’t read it.

Scythe is Neal Shusterman’s first entry into a series called, as it turns out, “Arc of a Scythe” and it’s about (you guessed it) the guys who go out and kill people for a living. Humankind, in this world, has perfected medicine. No one dies of disease or disaster. Whatever happens to you — including having your spine snapped or falling off a 120 story building — they can fix you. People age, but very slowly.

No one has to work particularly hard because a giant computer — the Monsterhead (it was a cloud, but it grew to godlike proportions) has taken over the care, feeding, and entire management of the human race. Also mankind was feeling a bit hinky about it in the beginning, the giant computer has been a pretty good god … rather a lot better than the old-fashioned ones from “The Old Days.”

But death … that was a problem. What with medicine having been perfected and no one dying of disease or age or accident, something needed to be done to keep the population in check.

And so a group of men and women were created to take care of this problem. Monsterhead — as a machine — did not feel equipped to handle killing people. He — or really “it” — felt this was a human job for humans to manage. The Scythes were born. A set of rules was created and people were scythed as needed. There wasn’t any particular reason for the reaping. Crime was gone because no one had any reason to be a criminal. Sometimes people who behaved dangerously or just badly were reaped because they were the kind of people who would have done themselves in anyway. More often, it was just … your turn. No reason, but your file came up and a Scythe came to your house and done you in. Quickly, with no fuss or mess.

Even in the most perfect of scheme, the can be “issues” and the Scythes are not perfect. They are Scythes now, but they were people first and a few of them are perhaps “over-eager” and enjoy killing too much. Some of them, in a need to make themselves eve more godlike than they already are — which is pretty godlike — grant too many favors. Reprieves, given for a year or sometimes forever for families of the Scythes themselves.

Being a Scythe is a powerful position not only because it brings death, but also because Scythes have essentially unlimited wealth to go with their power — and therein lies the rub.

This has turned out to be an interesting story and a pretty good mystery. I wasn’t expecting much. I love science fiction and fantasy, but so much of the newer material is the same old stuff. Tired old plots and tired old characters. This is something new and a little different. The plot is a standard mystery of who killed who and I’ve seen it before on a lot of cop shows over the years. But the setting is quite different and the world in which it is happening is nicely unique. I’m also glad it’s a series. Many of my favorite series seem to have run out and I’ve been looking for something new.

This is new. It’s nicely ghoulish, a tiny bit sexy (not much — don’t go looking for the hot parts because there aren’t any), and the world creation is not absolutely original, but pretty close. Actually, it reminds me somewhat of the world in “City” … but it takes place entirely on earth.

If you are intrigued by the idea of a horde of reaping Scythes as the wild card that will send you to whatever may lie on the other side, this is a good one. Well written, nicely narrated too. Available as a hardcover book from Amazon and probably other booksellers as well. A nice, well-written fantasy. No magic … just really super advanced computers which might just as well be magic.

Because:


British science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke formulated three adages known as Clarke’s Three Laws:

  1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
  2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
  3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

 

NOVEMBER EVENING

So I was sitting and looking out the big window. The light was lovely.

So I hustled outside and took a few pictures. The colors on the trees have changed. You can see all the bronze of the oaks beginning to show up now.

The most colors remain in the underbrush in the woods. Which is funny, because that was also the first place we saw any color.

 

NO CHICKENS IN OUR COOP

When my granddaughter was nine, Garry and I and her parents took her to Coney Island. Garry and I grew up in New York, so we loved it. Yes, we knew Coney Island was falling apart. It has since been significantly improved, especially the big wooden Cyclone which is now being preserved for future generations.

As a kid, though, watching parts of the  coaster fall while riding was part of the experience. Kids are fearless.

It’s about a four and a half hour drive to get there. We left early so we’d have a whole day before heading home. I expected Kaity to be awed by the entire experience. She was, after all, raised in Uxbridge, not exactly action central of the eastern. Thus we suggested some of the tamer “kiddie” rides, which Kaity eyed with one eyebrow up in the air. She gave a couple a quick tries and look bored.

Then, she stood next to the huge, white, wooden Cyclone. She looked at it. Walked around it. Looked at me and said: “I want THAT one.”

I said “Don’t you want to maybe work your up to that ride? It’s a really big ride.”

“Nope,” she said “THAT one! And YOU are going with me.”

Not that I objected to the Cyclone. I was her age, maybe a year younger, when I first rode it with my little neighborhood friends. Once, we rode it all afternoon and we had whiplash for a week. But that was me, after all … and this was my granddaughter.

We rode the cyclone six times that day. Four times in the morning, then twice more in the middle of the afternoon. By then, my legs were wobbly and I just couldn’t do it again.

Kaitlin laughed the entire time. She had the biggest grin on her face. She giggled the entire way. Did I mention she also had a broken arm — in plaster — and I had to hang on to her so she wouldn’t fly out of the car?

I am grateful that her driving is less enthusiastic than her hysterical, laughing roller-coaster experience.