Archive for January, 2013

Words in a Cage
January 30, 2013

The other day I decided to drop by a bookstore and see if maybe there were a couple of books I might want to pick up.  I was rapidly closing on the end of “A Dance with Dragons”, and needed some new reading material.

As I perused the shelves, I noted with disappointment that they lacked a couple of books I specifically had on a list of books to buy.  Damn.  I could order them, but that takes a couple of days, and it’s easy enough to order them on Amazon and have them download to my Kindle instantly.

Maybe some classic books, or new books by authors I trust?  I reviewed and found those shelves bereft as well.  My favorite author, Gene Wolfe, as an example, was not represented AT ALL in their science fiction / fantasy section, which I consider to be a travesty of justice.  Others had few to no books in stock.  Oh well, I thought, easy enough to see what’s available in their Amazon catalog.

In fact, the more I thought about it, the less I liked the idea of buying these clunky old things with their pages and glued together bindings.  They have to be carried around, singly or in bags to contain multiple books.  They have to be stored, on shelves or in boxes or stacked hither and yon.  Occasionally you have to go through them and decide what to keep, what to store, what to sell, what to give away.  When you move, they have to be packed up and carried and unpacked and put in order again.

What a hassle.

Maybe books weren’t a good purchase, I thought, looking around at the other areas of the store.  But that thought was dashed as I glanced around.  Magazines and periodicals, who really reads them anymore?  You can get those digitally or read internet content.  Calendars?  I have a calendar on my smartphone.  Various instructional manuals and how to books? All replaced by websites and phone apps.  Even the music and movie section was useless to me.  CDs and DVDs?  I get all my music either on MP3s, or streaming through sites like Pandora.  DVDs have long since been replaced by streaming movies through Netflix or other sources.

The entire store was an anachronism, a temple to ancient commercial gods, a shrine where artifacts of the past are proudly displayed.  My gaze turned to the customers, white haired, wrinkled old people, and young children, presumably their grandchildren, dragged by Grampy into this strange land of antiques, made to hunt through forests of dead trees and headstones of molded plastic.

I have conversations every day with people who cling to these things, like drowning people clutching at a raft.  “I’ll never let go of books,” they say.  “I love the smell, the texture.”  Fair enough, but it makes me wonder if there were similar people who refused to switch to the printed word when the presses were invented: people who swore they’d relinquish parchment and ink from quill pens with their dying breath.  People like these, who surrounded me in the store, unable or unwilling to escape.

I left the store that day, and I’m still leaving it, trying to let go of the past and its grip on the imagination.  Moving forward, taking the words and the sounds with me, as they stream through the cloud, or someday, to chips in our heads.  Liberated from the page, released from their cages to roam free.

I’m taking them with me.

Buy “The Rubberband Man & Other Stories” eBook only 99 cents!
January 27, 2013

Available in digital eBook format for ONLY 99 CENTS!

“The Rubberband Man and Other Stories” 10 short stories from the strange corners of the imagination.

In “Green” a young girl forms a bond with the great old tree in her yard.  In “Onion Street”, lovers find their relationship tested in a little Texas Cafe. In “Quantum Theory and Tube Socks”, a down and out television producer goes on a metaphysical voyage of iffy science, bad television, and salvation of self.  In “The Rubberband Man”, the tenuous nature of power is explored when a new student is called before the court of the reigning school bully.  These tales and others from the mind of J.David Clarke play out unusual scenes from the strange corners of imagination.

Buy the Amazon Kindle version here.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Rubberband-Other-Stories-ebook/dp/B00B1IP60Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358784840&sr=8-1&keywords=the+rubberband+man+and+other+stories

Buy the Kobo eBooks version here:

http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/The-Rubberband-Man-Other-Stories/book-5l6KWWb7_0-0IlC1tXF9IA/page1.html?s=2MNORGp8cEyDx6y38ucDbw&r=1

Buy the Barnes & Noble Nook edition here:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-rubberband-man-and-other-stories-j-david-clarke/1114224943?ean=2940016028651

Smashwords page here:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/278747

Quote: Betty White
January 23, 2013

Why do people say “grow some balls”? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.

Quote: Socrates
January 18, 2013

Once made equal to man, woman becomes his superior.

Quote: Doug McLeod
January 17, 2013

I still say a church steeple with a lightning rod on top shows a lack of confidence

To Boehner or Not To Boehner, and Why It Really Doesn’t Matter At All
January 4, 2013

The 113th Congress was sworn in yesterday, and it was almost sickening to watch them all pat each other on the back and make grand speeches about their sacred duty and what an honor it was.

The 112th Congress was one of the least effective and least popular in history, and I hold out zero hope of this Congress being any different, and in fact I think it will probably be worse.  The phrase “double down” is used far too much in punditry, and I’m sorry to have to repeat it, but all this House GOP seems willing to do is double down on everything they did before the election.  Understandable, in a sense; after all, they were reelected to control of the House of Representatives.  However, they did lose the Presidential race in somewhat grand fashion, and have been in a sort of squabbling freefall ever since.  Nonetheless, the Tea Party (read, RWNJ) arm of their caucus seems determined to dig in their heels and change absolutely nothing.

The cherry on top? Reelecting hapless John Boehner to a 2nd term as Speaker of the House, after he managed to do nothing at all in negotiating a deal to avert the so called “fiscal cliff” with Democrats.  Not only did he seemingly have no involvement with the final deal (it was negotiated by Senator Mitch McConnell and VP Biden), he failed to even get his own leadership to support it, which would presumably appear to the Senate as a complete breakdown of his control, if he ever had it, of the House.

From the Insult-to-Injury Department: Mere weeks after Boehner stated that the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare” was now “the law of the land”, and rightly so, the first bill filed in the new congress was, you guessed it, the 34th attempt to repeal Obamacare, filed by batshit crazy Michelle Bachmann, no less.

So, the new Congress right off the bat proves they are going to stick with the same useless, do-nothing shell of a leader they had last term, and they are not going to stop wasting taxpayer money filing bill after bill to repeal a law which has already passed SCOTUS review and proved popular enough to re-elect the President.  Not only that, but they’ve also proved they don’t care a whit for anything said by Boehner, who they ostensibly have elected to speak for them.  Why would anyone put any trust in such a gathering?

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter who the Speaker is.  Boehner is little more than a figurehead.  The Tea Party wing of the GOP is a collection of rabid extremists, racists and conspiracy theorists beholden to no one, not even their own electorate.  In the end, they’re going to do whatever they can to tear down government, which is their overarching “philosophy”, if it can be called that.  We are in the sorry position of having our chief legislative branch run by those who oppose all governance.

Our only hope is to survive it, and turn out en masse to the 2014 elections.  We cannot have another 2010, where sensible folk stay at home and allow the foxes to run the hen house   That has already earned us our first credit downgrade, constant filibuster, and stalling recovery at every turn.  From now until the mid-term elections, the absolute first priority of everyone reading this should be a never ending and constant attention to the effort to get out the vote.

Too many more of these elections, and the Speaker of the House will not be the only thing that doesn’t matter anymore.

Quote: Sonia Ibarra
January 3, 2013

Truth is my god, and I will have no other gods before it.