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- Oct 10, 2013: Updated e-books
- For those who may be interested: I finally updated the "Tales of Starscream" e-book package on my website to include the latest story, "Revelations".
- Aug 2, 2013: Post-Apocalyptic America
- Imagine, if you will, that pandemic diseases sweep across the Americas--diseases that the Americans have no resistance to. More than 75% die in each successive wave--because it doesn't stop coming. A civilization supporting millions collapses, because there are not enough people left to sustain the arts, the government, organized religion, other fundamental institutions of society, the infrastructure, or even food production. Those who survive the disease often starve. All that are left are small bands of barbarians, eeking out a hard-scrabble, stone-age hunter-gatherer existence, who avoid the decaying ruins filled with unburied bones.
To foreign travelers visiting the Americas, the land appears a pristine wilderness, untouched by human hands save for a few hostile "savages". They never know of the great civilizations that once stood there; the ruins have fallen into unrecognizable mounds. To their eyes, the land is empty, and ripe for the taking.
The year is not 2100 or some far future date; it's 1620 A.D., and the foreigners are English settlers.
I am reading "1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus" by Charles C. Mann and it is an amazing, eye-opening book. Everything I ever learned about Indians as a schoolgirl was wrong, pretty much. Modern archaeology and related studies have completely changed the picture of the pre-Columbian world from the old stereotypes.
I'm only part way through the book; I'm having to sit back and digest the chapters on what happened when Old World diseases got loose in the New World. The diseases raced far ahead of any contact with Europeans, up and down the trade networks; whole peoples died out and civilizations vanished before any white man ever heard of them. Some were never heard of, save as archaeological mysteries centuries later.
Smallpox and other diseases broke the backs of the great civilizations we did know about: the Aztecs, the Incas, etc. Even while they were fighting the Spanish, they were dying in droves from diseases they had no resistance to. That's why the common language of Mesoamerica and South America is Spanish, now.
The settlers who founded Canada and the U.S. did not come to a "pristine wilderness"; they landed in recently-emptied, post-apocalyptic land. The dystopian sci-fi scenario is not from our future; it's from our past.
- Jul 8, 2013: re: Paula Deen
- The main lesson I'm taking from all the media circus is this: if you are ever asked under oath, in a court of law if you ever said or did something that was normal and socially acceptable 50 years ago but is now considered offensive to some people: lie. They probably can't prove it if you did, and perjury is apparently less of a crime than having been a normal white Southerner 30-50 years ago.
Personally, if a freaking BANK ROBBER had stuck a gun in my face, I'd have called him a lot worse things than 'n****r', and not ever apologize for it. This kind of over-reaction is the reason many of us refer to "political correctness" with a sneer. It's also the sort of thing that makes the privileged (who haven't had the personal experience of being on the receiving end of racial slurs and abuse) have trouble taking seriously the genuine complaints of minorities who have been oppressed. Or more colloquially, worst case of 'crying wolf' I've seen in a long time.
Now, the whole racial slurs/sexual harassment lawsuit is a whole other matter, but it's ongoing. I'll wait until the evidence is in and the court or jury has ruled before jumping to condemn or exonerate.
- Jun 18, 2013: Tweets re: Dark Shadows eps 3-5 on Netflix...
- Watching the original Dark Shadows on NetFlix #darkshadows
— Dragoness Eclectic (@Dragoness_E) May 29, 2013
Fortunately, NetFlix skips the early season 1 crap when the show was still figuring itself out & starts with the 1st Barnabas Collins ep.
Ep 3. Creepy handyman hasn't been seen since he opened the wrong coffin. However, 'Cousin' Barnabas has just shown up.
Gotta wonder where he found the modern suit & tie if he's been stuck in a coffin for the last 180 years or so.
Barnabas, for someone who supposedly grew up in England, you're missing the accent.
Barnabas, did you get a crash course in 'how not to sound like an antiquated dork' from Willie? You are far too smooth here.
Victoria, did you just send the kid out to play? Barnabas is in the study. That means it's dark out. You hate the kid, right?
Oops, he still sounds antiquated to the kid. Needs to work on those modern English lessons.
Time for #darkshadows ep. 4...
— Dragoness Eclectic (@Dragoness_E) June 18, 2013
Victoria, you sound stoned whenever you're narrating.
Caroline, if you need to take a taxi to get home from the pub, how did you get there? Teleport?
Meh. Thought we were going to find out why Blackmailing Git is blackmailing Elizabeth. Nope. Just hints and relationship angst.
On to ep 5
'That door was shut tight! How did you open it?'
'With a little technique & practice'.
Yes, Barnabas knows about doorknobs.
Context: 'the wind' blew the double door shut. Victoria tugs hard on the doorknobs, can't open the door. Barnabas steps up to the door, turns the doorknob, and the 'stuck' door opens.
Old Collins House should be on the Historic Register. And ought to be restored, if everything Barnabas says is correct.
Enter Uncle Roger. Egads, that suit is hideous!
Barnabas, you've noticed the rest of the Collins household is oblivious, so you're making these sly hints to us, aren't you?
"Dear viewers: I am undead. Thus my quips about 'the house not being INTENDED as a tomb' & how living the other Collins are.
Victoria is still boggling over Barnabas's skill at turning doorknobs.
Apparently, Barnabas does drink... wine.
- Jun 7, 2013: Why I'm Cynical about Politics...
- ...When Obama talked about change, I really didn't think he meant "Bring back the Nixon White House" (and the Hoover-era FBI).
As someone who is old enough to remember Nixon's heyday, the parallels are disturbing:
- Enemies List
- Illegal surveillance of U.S. Citizens
- Use of federal law enforcement agencies to harass political enemies
- federal intelligence agencies that consider themselves above the law
- a "Justice" department that makes up the law as it goes along....
Even Nixon didn't use the military to assassinate U.S. citizens, though. That we know of.
- May 23, 2013: Feel the Hate
- I still hate Buck Moth Caterpillars and would like to see them all drown in DDT.
Today, while trying to pull a weed, I failed to notice the big fat poisonous caterpillar wrapped around the stem. I pulled a handful of poison-spined caterpillar instead.
The fingers of my right hand are all swollen up and have I mentioned the excruciating pain of these stings? This makes typing difficult and uncomfortable as well.
Yeah, me and Phylum Insecta are at odds again.