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Friday, July 28, 2017

Under the Bed

Prompt:
You're in charge of assigning every child on Earth a monster under their bed.
One child, in particular, has caused every monster assigned to him/her to quit.
You decide to assign yourself.
--------------------

THUD.
The desk reverberates as the boss' voice explodes into the air.
"Kreblop! What is the meaning of this file?"
The folder is immense.
Flipping it open shows an astounding volume of work all for the same little girl.
Twenty-five.
Twenty-five reassignment requests: for a seven-year-old.
The pile is absurd.
The rule is that the 25th assignment for a child requires a managerial assignment to investigate so, number twenty-six had to be a Supervisor or above.
Glaring down at me are the nine glowing eyes of the boss. Floating there, suspended, at the end his invisible eyestalks.
"WELL?"
"I don't know, sir. The rule is that the 25th request triggers elevation to my level. It looks like the one we received this morning is the 25th. I'll look into it today."
"Yes, you will. I want a Supervisor on this TONIGHT! This rule was instated 350 years ago when a 15-year-old reached TWENTY requests. This rule was never intended to ACTUALLY BE USED! Take care of it!" The eyes blinked out in sequence until they were gone.
I wait an unbearably long time. The clock says it was a whole minute, but an eternity passed within it.
I exhale. "Fuck. Who can I assign to go find out what this is all about?"
All nine eyes suddenly apparate in front of me "Kreblop! TONIGHT. I mean it." They then disappear again. Flipping through the folder I see that the first monster assigned lasted two years. Each successive one lasted a shorter and short period of time until the most recent was a mere week from the one before.
"Aw, fuck it. I haven't been in the field in a century. I'll go."
#
The transition through the shadow is harder and colder than I remember.
"Hello, new monster" the tiny little voice trickles down from above, the double-l slightly warped into a w sound. Despite the cute tone and inflection, there is an immediate air of sinister in the cut to the words. "I've been waiting for you" she clips as the head of a doll hits the floor in front of my face, it's eyeless face staring at me with empty sockets gored out of it where the painted-on eyes used to be. She giggles and her face appears, upside-down, staring directly at me in the dark of the under-bed "can you last longer than the last one?" She drags the moment of eye contact out uncomfortably long before retreating above the bed, singing "la la la la la la la. Monster under the bed is dead. Dead monster under the bed. La la la la la la la la. Good night. Dollie. Good night pony. Good night unicorn. Good night monster."
She goes to sleep. There is no fear to harvest here. It is in the darkness waiting for dawn to come that I investigate the room. The floor is unusual for a bedroom - it's not a carpet. It's not hardwood. It's linoleum and there is a drain in the corner. I try to open the door and see what lies beyond and I cannot, it is locked from the outside. Everything else in the room looks picture-perfect for a little girl's room.
#
As the second night arrives I slide, again, into the under-bed of Lisa's room. "Hello, new monster, you came back I see." She knew the instant I arrived that I was here. She knew, despite the silence of the transition. "Yes, monster, I know you're here. I always know. Monsters can't hide from ME" her face appears at the edge of the bed as she says "ME."  "I have a present for you" she proclaims as she retreats from the bed. "Here it is!" she squees as a red blob splorts onto the floor in front of me. She bounces across the bed to announce "here's the rest!" as there are several other moist impact noises. I turn around to see five additional red blobs and a giant, fluffy tail. She bounces across the bed again. "Here's the last part!" She says, excitedly, and she hurls the remainder of a squirrel belt at me.
"Gonna come back tomorrow? I'll have a NEW present for you." She bounces on the bed again and drifts off to sleep.
#
I slide into Lisa's room and am welcomed, again, by "hello, new monster!" from above. This time, though, it's followed by "Here's the new present for you! I got it from Bobby down the street!"
A cat, with a shoelace tightly tied around its neck, drops to the floor in front of my face.
Her face appears next to the cat. "It's a KITTY! Or, it WAS a kitty. I like it better this way. Don't you?" Her gaze shifts from the cat to me "I think I will like YOU better this way, too.... or, maybe, like my squirrel friend from yesterday." A steak knife drops from the bed top to clatter on the floor next to me. Her feet appear as she drops to the floor. She gets down on her knees and picks up the knife. "Let's see what's IN kitty friend now!" She squeals in delight as she opens the dead cat up and scatters the parts across the floor in front of me. I can do nothing but watch. When she's done she looks back at me "what's inside you, monster?"

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Perception and Being Wronged

A bit less than 13 months ago I ended a relationship. I killed it. I put it down.

It was the right thing to do. The relationship had been in a stable place of undeadness for nearly five years after a rapid courtship and more than four years of decline from the initial relationship energy into a stable, cohabitative friendship.

About the time that it crossed over into being undead my (now) ex approached me about making out relationship open. There is a lot more to the story than that simple statement and, maybe one day, I will write it all out, too (or, maybe, I have... I don't really go back and review my old posts). This post is not about all of that.

This post is about today.

Facebook is an interesting place. There are meshes and interconnecting networks of people who carry differing levels of loyalty to their connected contacts. Facebook is filled with secrets and it is filled with spies. Some of the spies do their espionage to generate drama just as some of the secrets are kept for the same reason... but, others... others do their spy work because they feel they are doing the right thing.

Today I was asked if the right my ex was selling was the engagement ring.

I, of course, new nothing about it as I unfollowed my ex years before we actually broke up (for reasons that are better-suited to the other post that may or may not exist). I popped over to her feed (as we are still Facebook friends) and did not see any post about it. Obviously, it was a secret being kept from me.

This secret did not bother me terribly much. My spy friend sent me a screen shot and I verified that it was the engagement ring to appease my spy friend's curiosity. This generated a mild annoyance.

What created the anger that I am currently experiencing was when a second friend inquired about the related post. The post where it was implied that I valued our relationship very little based on how little I spent on the ring initially. This lit a fury inside me for several reasons.

FIRST - I bought the ring for her despite our financial situation being very tight and difficult. Our situation was difficult because she had quit work and gone to school and I was supporting her during this process.

SECOND - I also supported her participating HEAVILY in the SCA. I supported her when she took stops all over the Kingdom that we live in (which included leaving the country) and I supported her when she travelled across the continent to events that were far away. I provided the financial support for her to do this.

THIRD - The ring I bought was aligned with her aesthetic choices. It was not price-gouged as an "engagement" ring because it was not all diamond. It was amethyst because that is what she wanted.

FOURTH - One of her spies gained word that I was planning a proposal and told her because, at that time, she was planning to LEAVE ME (I discovered this later). It ruined the proposal but, when we discussed what I had planned for the proposal later, she accepted the ring anyway (I still did not know she had been planning to LEAVE).

FIFTH - She NEVER wore the fucking thing anyway.

All of this enrages me but it pales in comparison to the main reason I ended the relationship. That reason is that, amidst all of her travels that I paid for, she didn't tell people I even existed. I am re-entering the SCA and I am meeting people she has interacted with for YEARS who have NO IDEA who I am. They don't seem to have any comprehension that my ex HAD SOMEONE AT HOME funding her activities; someone at home who was staying with HER dog so that she could go. Someone at home who was being discarded and abandoned so that she could galavant around the known world and have the fun she wanted.

I am angry not because of the ring. I am angry because the only time anyone heard of me was when she was complaining. I am angry because she was never truly grateful for what I gave her. I am angry because I was used without any sense of remorse.... but, more importantly, I am angry because she is unable to see and acknowledge ANY of it.

I'm angry and there is nothing I can do to fix it. Actions in the past are what they are. Actions in the past cannot be undone.

I'm angry and it's my right to be so.

I'm angry.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Right vs Left / Conservatism vs Liberalism

Earlier today this image appeared in my Facebook timeline:



The second half, the response, to this is the type of bullshit that allows right-wing extremism to think that are in the right.

The KKK was, in fact, started by people of the Democratic Party. This cannot be disputed and no one really wants to (ok, lots of people WANT to, but facts are facts).

BUT....

The same people, like "Greg Curtner" above, refuse to acknowledge a VERY important fact: after The Civil War the platforms of the Republicans and the Democrats reversed polarity. Any Democrat from pre-Civil War was, by today's platform, a Republican, and vice-versa.

This means that the PEOPLE who brought us the KKK are more similar to TODAY'S Republicans than to today's Democrats.... regardless of the party names.

The blurry time between ~1900 and WWII generates a lot of confusion as to which platform was trying to accomplish what... but, it doesn't really matter. They were dealing with massive industrialization roll-outs, the "War to End All Wars" and then the Great Depression. There was plenty for everyone to be distracted by without the need for political party finger-pointing.

The New Deal is what cemented the rolls of the parties in the direction they are currently heading.

So, Republicans, OWN it. Your PLATFORM brought us the KKK even if the Democratic Party was the group running it at the time.

Now let's get into the concept of the weekend.
For starters - the earliest use of the word pre-dates Henry Ford. So the concept existed before him, thus IMMEDIATELY proving Mr. Curtner wrong.
BUT, if we're going to go with the idea of the weekend as we know it now and date it to Henry Ford's time - Mr. Curtner is STILL wrong. The concept started in New England textile mills in 1908 to allow Jewish workers Saturdays off for religious observance (that's right - thank the Jews that you get Saturdays off).

Now, if we're going to look at the 1908 era, and examine the labor movement from that time (from which things like the weekend, 40-hours work weeks, the ability to Unionize, etc come from) we get MANY examples where THE PEOPLE fought for the additional rights AGAINST capitalism.
The Coal Miner's Strike was about working conditions, time in the mines, time off, pay rates, and the ability to collectively bargain....
The machinists strike was similarly motivated..

Pretty much ANY strike... EVER... was based on the laborers demanding better treatment from those who owned the resources/job providing agents.

Randomly look up any of them. Wikipedia has tons of links on them, all of which have linked resources in their bibliography.
Google can point you toward other resources.

And guess who is fighting for those same things today? The Left.
Guess who is fighting AGAINST higher wages and shorter hours and greater benefits? The Right.

That's it. End of story. The political party names are completely worthless - it's the IDEOLOGY that matters. The LEFT is filled with people who want the elite oligarchies and aristocracies to NOT have all the power and for the people to be treated fairly. It's contiguous throughout all of recorded history.

If you want people to get paid fairly for their work - and fairly being defined as enough for a full-time job to live on: you're supporting a view that is "on the left." If you feel that ANY jobs are not worth paying people a living wage then you're "on the right." You're saying that those jobs need to be done but whomever does them doesn't deserve to be paid enough to live on.

If you feel that the rich have enough and shouldn't have it all - you're "on the left." If you feel that the rich deserve whatever they can take because they built the businesses then you're "on the right."

There are other traits that correlate to the sides of the spectrum.... and, of course, both sides have extremist idiots... but those are the core stances that HAVE ALWAYS BEEN.

End of story.




Now - for the claim on Henry Ford...

Henry Ford did, in fact, have a HUGE impact in raising the standard in this country.

He did it NOT by giving time off, but by giving high wages.

The legend has it that he increased the pay of his workers so that they could afford the very automobiles that they were making. If it were that simple them everyone who puts up this example should be fighting for EVERYONE to be paid enough to consume the goods/services they provide. For example: McDonald's workers should be paid enough to eat McDonald's for every meal (do the math - they're not).

When workers are paid enough to consume they do - this grows the economy. When workers are paid NOT enough to consume they starve and the economy does, too. If the legend of Henry Ford is true, and he is to be used as an example then EVERY Capitalist of today should be honoring that Legend by fighting FOR higher minimum wages.... Like.. DOUBLE. That's right, Henry Ford DOUBLED the average worker wage. What's that like?

Oh, right... that's like paying people in minimum wage jobs now $15/hour.

But, let's move onward to the real reason. The REAL reason was turnover. The grueling conditions of the plant, coupled with the pay, had men walking off the job to get other jobs that were easier for the same average wages. Since the job of manufacturing automobiles was training intensive and required a "ramp up" time for the workers to be productive enough to be profitable the high turnover rate was hurting the company.

The turnover rate was 728% at the average pay rate.

When they doubled the pay the turnover rate went WAY down and the production went up 32%

That's how Ford contributed... and why. It wasn't the goodness of his heart - it was because he was treating workers so poorly he was losing money....
And he put tyrannical and excessive authoritarian stipulations on anyone who received the higher wages; restricting their freedoms. That's NOT fighting for their rights and betterment.

So, in conclusion, check your history before you make claims that are WRONG.

Also - who gives a shit what history says about which party did what?
Look at what they are doing NOW to determine who is right:

Conservatives:
Trying to rescind healthcare for 20M people.
Backing a tyrant in office who is subverting the very pillars our country was founded on at every turn.
Actively working to crush workers' rights and give tax breaks to the rich.
Actively working to suppress the rights of anyone who is different under the guise of it being a threat to their way of life.

Liberals:
Trying to boost the middle class by raising wages for the middle class and the poor.
Trying to make healthcare affordable for everyone.
Trying to ensure everyone has equal rights based on their skin color and gender and whose genitals they want to (or not to) touch.



As if to really highlight my points on current PLATFORM stances we have the Governor of Missouri, a Republican, working toward removing basic, common-sense protections for women. Should this new law pass it will be legal for employers to fire women for getting pregnant out of marriage, for using contraceptives, or for getting an abortion. Likewise, if this law goes into effect, it will be legal for landlords to evict women for any of these "offenses" as well.

That's right. The Republicans of Missouri are trying to make it legal for a woman who doesn't want to get pregnant, who is being responsible by taking the pill (or other contraceptives - OR is taking the pill for non-contraceptive medical reasons) to be made homeless and unemployed for the audacity of the decision... AND they are, literally, trying to make it legal to fire pregnant women and throw them out of the street JUST FOR BEING PREGNANT. THIS is the PLATFORM of the Conservative side of the spectrum.
This is the PLATFORM of the CURRENT Republican Party.

Current actions speak louder than history. If you take steps to reform yourself and be a better person people notice; likewise, if you take steps to abuse, offend, and demean others they will take notice.








REFERENCES:
Ku Klux Klan
*Wikipedia is no worse than any other encyclopedia. Yes, anyone can edit it - but the number of eyes, and the tracking done on it, keeps it pretty accurate. It cites primary sources and secondary sources constantly. MULTIPLE tests have been done of it that show it is a AT LEAST, if not MORE accurate than World Book and Encyclopedia Britannica.
So, Yes, I will use it as a basic resource.

Why Did the Democratic and Republican Parties Switch Platforms

Where Did the Five Day Workweek Come From

Timeline of Labor Issues and Events

The Machinists' Strike, 1900

The Story of Henry Ford's $5 a Day Wages: It's Not What You Think

Annual inspections of abortion clinics, pre-empting St. Louis ordinance part of House proposal








Spoiler alert:

Liberals always win in the end.... if they didn't there would be no progress.

Another spoiler alert:
When the conservatives take too much and upset the balance of rights and wealth too greatly it leads to violent revolt, pushing the pendulum too far in the other direction. History shows us this over and over again.... the reverse is never true.

When the pendulum goes too far it flips the polarity on what LOOKS like conservatism and liberalism....

Militantly enforced socialism is NOT liberalism - it is the few controlling everything at the expense of the many....
Militant communism is also not liberalism - it is the few controlling everything at the expense of the many.

Liberalism is the equitable distribution of resources and wealth so that the many have enough.... after that anyone can work their asses off to get more.

Conservatism leads to the few having all the power and all the wealth for their own luxury.