Eclipse

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When Mr. Trump won the election, I was disheartened that such an immature, impatient, cruel, myopic, and narrow-minded man was going to be president. I didn’t vote for him. Indeed, most of the country didn’t vote him.

I decided, against my better judgment, to give him a fair chance to mature or at least take his job a little more seriously.

But with Mr. Trump’s presidency heading into its sixth month, I can see that such optimism was vastly misplaced. Not only did he not mature, but sank his presidency into petty rants against US citizens he is supposed to defend against internal and external threats.

He lies about the crowd size at his inauguration, even when presented with photos clearing showing large empty spaces where the crowds were.

He whines about being the victim of the “greatest witch hunt in history”.

Yet one doesn’t have to go back too far to find even a more persecuted president. Obama was called a nigger on radio and bumper stickers, he was alleged to been born outside of the US (Mr. Trump, you certainly remember this – you were the one who was promoting this wayward, destructive, and ultimately fruitless, behavior), and of being a Muslim. All, or at least mostly, was due to Mr. Obama simply being Black.

Mr. Obama made jokes or simply ignored such false and ridiculous claims and got into doing his job.

You, Mr. Trump, on the other hand, get angry, throw a tantrum, and whine. Get with it and do your job!

 

Mr. Trump, by any standards is both an embarrassment and a concern to those who believe in the separation of state and religion to those to those who concerned our (read all) civil rights.

He states that the US should be first. But his statements, behavior and embarrassments are increasing America to isolation. We cannot afford being isolated as this is leads to falling behind other countries (examples abound in history).

 

Finally, its becoming more and more apparent he also guilty of obstruction of justice as well as the possibility of other impeachable crimes. I’m now having flashbacks to Nixon.

 

Some of you who might be reading this would call Mr. Trump a “snowflake”. I would slightly disagree and suggest calling him a “snowman”. It’s juvenile thing, with a carrot for his nose and raisins for small bitty eyes (all in an attempt to be more human). And when the bright sun beams down on it the snowman will melt taking many snowflakes with it.

 

Dylan Thomas’ most popular, and arguably his best, poem reflects how I am feeling now.

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Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

 

 

July 4 2017

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HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!

Go to the beach, watch a movie or fireworks, go on a picnic, read a good book, live out a fantasy. But enjoy the day!! =)

 

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EW!

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Most of you may know that I have written a Scrabble book. Or more precisely, a word book for US Scrabble (US), UK Scrabble (UK), Super Scrabble (SS), and Words With Friends (WWF).

 

A major challenge of this type of book is trying to keep current with the English language. The language morphs, changes, evolves. Added to the pot of confusing growth is the manufacturers, or at the people who write the official dictionaries, periodically update their dictionaries.

 

In August, 2014, US Scrabble decided to release their 5th version of the official dictionary, adding some 5000 (!) new words. The list was made mandatory in December of that year. So I had to redo the book.

 

In 2015, UK Scrabble, not wanting to be left behind the Americans, decided to update their official dictionary. They added not only the 5000 new words from the Americans, but added a few hundred more words of their own.

 

I had to update the book again. At least the US and UK gave enough time for everyone to make the change, and even graciously and thoughtfully provided their updated book for the general public (but you still have to buy it).

 

Earlier this year, I got word (so to speak!) that WWF had added at least one word to their dictionary. The word is EW.

 

It is defined as: EW [n. Short for Electronic Warfare; interj. An exclamation of disgust – WWF only]

 

Someone had apparently tried his word, and was accepted. I tried it and it worked for me too.

 

So once again, in 2017, I am updating the book. So why didn’t the nice people at Zygna send a notice to all their players who use their app? I don’t know. But it could have made them some money.

 

Meanwhile, I wonder how many more secret words there are in WWF.

 

The updated book (mine!) will be available in the first week of July.

 

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Memorial Day

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This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day, a day set aside to honor those who died while defending our freedoms.

 

Back in the 1980s, when I was still growing up, I had a conversation with a classmate of mine. I remember him as being (I’m going to be nice here) at least slightly misogynic and homophobic.

And I had the unfortunate experience of sitting next to him during class time and at least once he followed me outside the classroom (I don’t think he ever figured out why he wasn’t liked by most of his classmates). But back to the story, for it is short.

He asked if I had a problem with women serving in the military, calling them “weaker”. I told him I didn’t care if it was man or women who took a bullet for me.

Then he asked if I care if a gay guy (his words) was to serve in the military. I replied, “Why should it matter if a gay or straight guy were to stand up for my beliefs?”

He said I was gay because I stood up for them.

I told him I was not gay nor a female.

He went off to bother another classmate.

Congratulations to all those who protect my beliefs with their own lives.

 

Rob

There are many photos and wallpapers for Memorial Day one can download off the Internet. This one reminds of those who fought and died defending my rights before I was born.

 

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Letting Go

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I am thinking of a male friend of mine who is extremely good looking. He is almost six feet tall, with clear skin, and slightly wavy hair. He cites that this all due to his daily workouts, being a practicing vegetarian, and obviously good genes.

 

He has a gentle and healthy disposition gentle and he protests (non-violently) against animal cruelty and abuse. And he is very nice person.

 

One thing I also need to mention is that his first name is a derivative of my middle name. How much closer can two people be!? 😉

 

I am saying all this in the present tense as part of my memory of doesn’t want me to admit it is in the past.

 

You see, for most of his life, my friend didn’t feel normal. It took him years of therapy in order to figure it all out. And support(ed) his decision when he made it, as I promised I would, and still would.

 

Towards the end of 2014 he began his treatment to become a woman. There was an element of shame he felt towards his male body and I am not exactly sure why.

 

But nevertheless he began hormone treatments, electrolysis, and everything else that precedes the operations. It was tough and I know he was often in pain after long electrolysis sessions.

 

My friend is not the first transsexual I met. I had a roommate once (F/M) who lived with me for six months. And I didn’t know this person was a transsexual until the last day. His revelation answered some questions about his behaviors that seemed forced rather than natural. And I find myself not caring if this person was a male or female. Just wished he had told me earlier.

 

The transformation of this more recent friend is more personal and more intimate. No doubt due to I was able to watch him slowly change into a more beautiful female. And we had discussions about his transformation, not just in body but in his overall acceptance of his own body.

 

Let me share a couple of things with you. One of our discussions included whether he should get “B” or “C” breast size. How many people can honestly say they had this discussion with a friend? I suggested a “B” size but he went with a “C”. I think he made the better choice.

 

We talked about his hormone treatments and how they affected him. He almost laughed that he felt like shopping more.

 

And I had to tell him he needed more sway in his hips when he walked. It takes time to learn how to walk gracefully!

 

Sadly, I have not seen him (her!) this year. He didn’t want to tell me, but he did it, with everything else, with kindness. I was one of those people he knew that reminded him of his past shame (he mentioned it to me more than once) and he didn’t want too many people know that she was previously a man. This I understand. There are so many people (and mostly men) who want to physically harm a transsexual. And obviously she wanted to walk away from potential harm.

 

So she gently, and with kindness, asked me to walk away. There was no demand or threat; I just knew why.

 

So I walked away from her. I still care about this person. I even cried. But I understand the reluctance and the fear and the want for a new beginning.

 

 

To my friend, the door is always open for you.

 

 

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Wednesday Nite Story 2

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I was driving to my SF meeting for a Foundation series talk when I saw a man standing on an island in the middle of the street.

The island was large and long enough to provide him safety from the traffic that was coming from both directions. He was carrying a large cardboard sign with him that I could not read. And when I got closer I noticed he was leaning into a car that had stopped because of a red light.

At first I thought he was a panhandler and his sign said something like, “LOOKING 4 WORK”, “HOMELESS VET”, “NEED FOOD”, “NEED MONEY, “NEED FOOD AND MONEY”, or even “NEED MONEY FOR COLLEGE”.

But as he backed away from the car, I was finally able to read his sign. In bold, orange and red letters, the sign said, “FREE HUGS”.

What a wonderful message! There are some things better than literature, even SF. Not many, but hugs are.

 

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ANOTHER GRATEFUL PANHANDLER?

 

Wednesday Nite Story 1

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On Wednesday night I attended the Orange County Science Fiction Club.
During that night I had two divergent and separate inspirations. Meaning I am writing two posts.

Here is post 1.

 

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I’ve always loved Science Fiction (SF) and Fantasy.

I own a pair of dragon necklaces which I occasionally wear, and they (dragons) make up a large part of screen savers I use on my laptop.

Of SF, I have seen all of the Star Trek episodes and movies and all the Star Wars movies to date (new one coming later this year).

Of course they also make a large part of the literature I’ve read. I immensely enjoyed the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Foundation series.

And that is where I want to start this post.

 

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The Foundation series was started by Asimov and there are seven books that make up the collection. It is considered by many, including myself, to be the best series of either SF or Fantasy.

 

But to get the full effect, you have to read not only the seven books, but a number of earlier robotic short stories by Asimov as there are references to the subjects and themes in the stories, esp. in the supplementary books in the series.

 

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(A good place to start?)

 

Anyway, everyone had an opportunity to talk about his or her thoughts and conclusions about the series. There were 7 or 8 people at the table. And this is where things get interesting.

Most of the people there liked that series and told of how inspiring or entertaining the books were to them.

But two of the people thought the dialogue was boring, esp. in the first book, as there was no action (space ships fighting, etc.). It was apparent that these two people were stating, or at least inferring, that all dialogue in literature was boring.

Surely it is not.

Dialogue can be dramatic. We have Hamlet’s soliloquy and Anthony’s speech in Julius Caesar, both considered great pieces of dialogue in literature. We even have Inherit the Wind, in which most of the play is dialogue.

 

For those of you who prefer short stories, try Animal Farm. After the animals have driven off the famers, there is still drama. But by diving deep into pigs’ announcements and pronouncements during and after the Revolution, we find the main theme of the story is NOT the fight against a repressive farmer.

 

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The main character in the Foundation series is Hari Sheldon. However, to call him a protagonist may be reckless or careless as it’s hard to figure out exactly what he fighting against.

But in the first book he is on trial for suggesting the Galactic Empire is on the verge of collapse and this collapse cannot be prevented.

During the cross-examination by prosecutor, it appears that Hari Sheldon is playing with the prosecutor and that he, better than the prosecutor or anyone else in the courtroom, knows more about the future that he is leading them to believe.

In the end he banished to an outer world. Where he continues his work.

 

So what is wrong with dialogue? Nothing! Maybe so many of us are so used to fast moving events at the movies and the speed of the Internet we forget about the other forms of drama.