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Windycon Schedule

I will be attending Windycon, my local SF convention right here in River City Lombard, IL, on Friday November 11 - Sunday November 13. Herewith is my schedule, which I assume is more-or-less firm.

The Star Wars Universe
- Saturday, 11-12-2016 - 11:00 am to 12:00 pm - Junior Ballroom BC
A discussion on how side-stories like Rogue One, Clone Wars, and Rebels add rich details to the universe, as well as help bridge the gaps between the main movies.
J. Betts (M)
T. Bogolub
C. Gerrib
J. Taylor

Windycon Writer's Workshop - Sunday 9-11 AM
Advance registration required - closed session

Where Did Those Words Come From? - Sunday, 11-13-2016 - 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm - Lilac B
English is notorious for borrowing words from every source possible, and etymology studies where those words originally came from. Join our panelists in an open discussion on the origin of many of the words we use today.
A. Collier (M)
C. Gerrib
S. Murphy
F. Pyter


Trump as Lounge Act

I vaguely remember and may have blogged (but can't be arsed to find) where somebody said that Donald Trump was like a Las Vegas lounge act. If you're a lounge act, you're competing with all the other action on the casino floor. To be successful, you need to do anything you can to get noticed. But once you move from lounge to main stage, or from "free" to "people paid to see you" you need a much more showmanlike routine.

Also important in understanding the difference between lounge and main stage is time. People don't spend hours at the lounge in Vegas. They nip in for a break or to kill some time before doing something else. A nice 30 minute set is optimum. The main stage, on the other hand, needs 90 minutes of material.

Last night at the debate, Trump showed that he's a lounge act. His first 30 minutes was reasonably competent. He said stuff I don't personally agree with, but he presented standard Republican policies in a calm and competent manner. Then he started to run out of steam, and by the end of the debate was flailing. The man doesn't have 90 minutes of material, and it showed.

He's not ready for the main stage, let alone the Presidency.


For The Record (Trump)

For the record, I don't think Trump equals Hitler. I do think he's mercurial of temperament and overly fond of using force to solve problems, domestic and foreign.

I'm sure Trump doesn't think he's a racist. I observe he's done very little thinking about race relationships, and has shown little or no empathy to pretty much anybody.

I'm told Trump is a great businessman, and that would make him a great President. First, being good at one thing does not make one good at another thing. Second, "business" is a very broad term, and being good at real estate is not good at consumer goods. (The difference between a surgeon and a doctor.) Third, I've not seen proof that Trump is a good businessman. What I have seen is just under a billion dollars in losses that mysteriously did not personally impact Trump.

I'm told that Trump is "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring real change to a government that is bloated and self-serving." (Scott Adams) Trump says he will do that. He hasn't said how, and his long history of working within the system does not suggest he will be a change agent.

I'm told that Trump will be an advocate for the little guy, such as coal miners and steelworkers. What I've seen in his business dealings is at best a lack of interest in the little guy (Trump could certainly insist that contractors use US steel in his buildings) to at worst a willingness to stiff anybody he thought he could.

I'm told Trump is intelligent. What I've seen is that for many things, be it ISIS or health care, he is unable to articulate a plan ("it'll be great!" is not a plan) at even a very high level.

In short, I find Trump manifestly unqualified to be President.


Pause for the Cause

Here's a friendly marketing reminder - I write books! Mars, pirates, space adventure! Please share and if you've read one or more, an Amazon review would be greatly appreciated.
All books available here in electronic or dead-tree form.





Doing It Wrong

So, Donald Trump released a 5-point plan to "drain the swamp" of Washington corruption. As plans go, it's not bad, although given the amount of shit Trump gave Republican congressional leaders, getting Congress to play along will be interesting.

At any rate, Scott Adams tweeted that Trump's plan was The Miracle Snake Oil That Would Guarantee Victory. He then blogged that he was shadowbanned on Twitter, ending the post with calling Twitter corporate traitors who don't understand the 1st Amendment.

Various denizens of Twitter found that amusing, especially since he spent the next hour or so tweeting every few minutes. Scott's tweets were almost entirely "look at this paid Clinton operative attack me!"

Apparently I'm doing it wrong, because I'm not getting paid.


Writing Update

As previously mentioned, the current work-in-progress is a contemporary mystery novel with the working title of Eastville. Over the relatively uneventful weekend, I got about 3,000 words in on the novel. Objectively, that's fairly quick for me. It doesn't, however, feel quick. I'm still figuring out this mystery thing, especially with regard to clues. The fact that I've got an amateur detective as lead isn't helping, because I keep needing to concoct reasons for him to stick his nose in things. Fortunately, he lives in a small town so there's a certain amount of stumble-into-stuff going on.


Three For Friday

In order not to be "all Trump, all the time" herewith are three links of interest.

A) Via the fascinating show Air Disasters I got the full story on Helios Airways Flight 522. This is the flight where, due to a cabin pressurization failure, all passengers and crew were killed. Of especial note is that one of the flight attendants attempted to save the plane but waited an extremely long amount of time before doing so.

B) Actor Mike Rowe, who's made a name for himself as the star of TV's Dirty Jobs reality show, has interesting thoughts on who should or should not vote.

C) I have to admit a personal preference for revolvers. Having said that, I found this article recommending that the USAF use revolvers as their service pistol interesting.

Lord Haw-Haw

I am watching with amazement at Trump's decision to attack Hillary Clinton for her husband's sexual exploits. Does Donald Trump truly not remember groping all those women? Does he not remember taking strolls through the changing room and ogling all the naked beauty contestants? As somebody said, this is a "reverse Rove" - attack based on your weakness not on the opponent's strength. With a few exceptions (see the blog of Wily E. Coyote, SuperGenius at Large) even Trump's supporters are realizing that the light at the end of the tunnel is an express freight train coming at them. See Scott Adams, a new "friend" of the blog (more on him below).

In WWII, the Germans hired Brits to make propaganda broadcasts into Britain. One of the more notable broadcasters was a guy named William Joyce, AKA "Lord Haw-Haw." On April 30, 1945, eight days before the formal end of the war in Europe, Joyce got drunk and made a final broadcast. I've heard a snippet of that broadcast, and Joyce whines that "you just don't understand what we were trying to do here."

So today I see that Scott Adams has decided that Hillary will get elected and "everything that goes wrong with the country from this point forward is women’s fault." I guess we just don't understand what Trump was trying to do here.

For the curious, things did not end well for Joyce. He was tried for treason, appealed to the House of Lords, lost the appeal and was the second-to-last person to be hung for treason in the UK. Despite Scott Adams' concerns, I suspect things will end better for him.


The Birth of a Nation

Over the weekend, I saw the new movie The Birth of a Nation, which is the story of Nat Turner and his slave rebellion. The movie theater I saw it in was practically empty (myself and two others) and I'm told that attendance at this movie in general was low. That's a shame, as the movie is quite good.

Although it's advertised as the story of Nat Turner's slave rebellion, the actual revolt doesn't happen until the last quarter of the movie. The first three quarters are about Nat's life in particular and life in the antebellum South in general. One scene I found particularly enlightening.

Nat is standing outside a store by a wagon, waiting for his master to return from settling up with the owner inside. As he's waiting, a small white boy walks by and drops his doll. Nat calls out (respectfully) to the boy's mother and returns the doll. The father of the family immediately shows up and starts hitting Nat with his stick for "talking to my wife." His wife, attempting to explain, is immediately silenced and ignored. Fortunately, the beating stops when Nat's master arrives.

The moral of the little scene was clear. The antebellum South was organized, directed and structured to the benefit of white men, preferably those of property. Everybody else was at best a second-class citizen.

Blind Squirrels and Acorns

I mentioned that Sunday's Presidential debate was just this side of a WWE event, probably because of the age and athletic ability of the principals involved. I think I've been pretty clear that the only way Trump should get in the White House is if he buys a ticket for the tour. Having said that, Trump did say something I agree with.

He said, regarding Syria, that "Aleppo has already fallen." Now, I think it's the case of the blind squirrel finding an acorn, but I do agree with him. There's really nothing we can do in Syria, and I for one don't want to fight Russia for the place. If they want it, have it with my blessing. A few years of dodging IEDs would do the Russian Army a world of good, and would greatly boost Putin's popularity.

If you believe that last sentence, please contact me about some oceanfront property I have in Nebraska. Hurry - supplies are limited.


The Real Problem

This article claims Trump is a final warning to elites. Specifically, the (Canadian) author says elites need to come up with policies that "play to Peoria." He cites NAFTA and the "war on coal" as examples, and asks what is somebody who gets "C's" in high school supposed to do.

Here's the dirty little secret. First, coal. What's causing the coal-mining industry to collapse is methane, AKA natural gas. Thanks to fracking, natural gas is cheap. It's a fluid, thus easier to work with, generates no ash and very little stack pollutants. In short, coal is on the way out.

Second, factory jobs. US industrial output is up and has been increasing for some time. But the number of industrial workers hasn't been going up as fast. Simply put, more and more factory jobs are automated. The biggest industry not automated, garment making, is running offshore. (That's why your skivvies are made in Bangladesh.) A change in trade policy can bring some of those garment jobs back, but its only a matter of time before automation hits that industry.

In short, many of the employment problems facing the working class are structural, and the market forces are all oriented to making these structural problems worse. As a species, we'll have to fix the problem, for some value of "fix." But it's not going to be easy.
So I watched the "Presidential Debate" last night. All it needed for a full Jerry Springer show was some flying chairs and stray boobage.

Trump and his supporters (see Scott Adams, if you can) are convinced that if you keep repeating an allegation enough, it will become true or at least believable. So, they trotted out a bunch of Bill Clinton's old laundry, and to nobody's surprise it didn't work. And that was the high point of the evening.

For the record, threatening to jail your political opponents if you win an election is a guarantee of ending democracy. If the price of losing an election is jail, there will never be an election.


So, audio tape of Donald Trump being an ass (or being Donald Trump, but that's redundant) was released. It reveals nothing new, but does pop Trumpishness into the minds of those voters who are just now turning their attention to the race.

Scott Adams of Dilbert fame (about whom I wrote here) is on vacation. Despite this, Scott decided to write a few hundred words on how this will actually help Trump, about whom Scott is 98% sure will win the election.

Scott says: That opens the door for Trump to attack in a proportionate way. No more mister-nice-guy. Gloves are off. Nothing is out of bounds. It is fair to assume that Bill and Hillary are about to experience the worst weeks of their lives.

To which I say:Are you smoking dope? How can Bill's infidelities be held against Hillary? How does a man on wife #3 attack a couple on marriage #1? Please proceed, Governor Mr. Trump.

Scott Says: I assume that 75% of male heads of state, including our own past presidents, are total dogs in their private lives. Like it or not, Trump is normal in that world.

To which I say: Wasn't Bill Clinton a head of state?

Scott says:But if the new battleground is spousal fidelity, you have to like Trump’s chances.

To which I say: Three divorces.


I Grow Weary...

I read and/or skim a wide variety of blogs from various political points of view. This means I see large amounts of BS, mostly from right-wing sites. Whether it's the Bundy clan claiming their God-given (in their own mind) right to Occupy All The Land or Rush Limbaugh's claim that hurricane Matthew is a government conspiracy, the bullshit is thick.

I grow weary of reading said bullshit, so have a cartoon.



I missed 90% of the Vice-Presidential debate last night, but I did catch the last bit on radio while driving home from writer's group. It was about abortion and Tim Kaine asked Mike Pence "why don't you trust women to make this choice for themselves?" He did not get an answer.

Kaine also pointed out that Trump (in my view logically, for an anti-abortion person) called for punishing women who get an abortion. Pence lied about what Trump said. What I didn't know is that Pence signed a bill that in fact punished women for getting abortions.

Trust. It should be a fundamental conservative value to trust people to decide for themselves about their bodies.


Links, Rotary Tuesday Edition

It's Tuesday, so have some links:

A) My book The Mars Run is featured on eBookSoda. Please share the love.

B) In regards to Black Lives Matter, a great video: Tolerance is for cowards.

C) Point Roberts, USA - An American city stranded at the tip of a Canadian peninsula.

D) Barack Obama on 5 days that shaped his Presidency.

Hope is not a plan

Over the weekend, I took in the new movie Deepwater Horizon, about the disaster on the oil drilling rig of the same name. I found it well worth my time, and highly recommend it to everybody.

The movie takes place on the few hours before and during the blowout and fire. In a quiet scene before The Big Kaboom (tm) Mark Wahlberg's character is talking to a senior executive from BP. Wahlberg says that (of the rig) "your plan is to run out of gas when the wheels hit the runway. That's not a plan. Hope is not a plan."

Words to live by.


What Planet Are These People On?

Periodically, in my wanderings on the Internet, I find myself asking what planet people are on. Today brings a bumper crop of these questions.

1) Donald "The Orange Rage" Trump posted several Tweets overnight about Alicia Machado. Now, here on Planet Earth (3rd rock from the sun), an overweight 70-year-old man with three wives, the most recent of which is younger than some of his children would (at least) shut up about Machado. He might even apologize. He would not launch a 3 ayem rant about her on Twitter. Talk about not being ready for the "3 AM phone call."

2) Related to the above, the commentary on several conservative sites has been "Hillary set Trump up." This may be true, but here on Planet Earth (3rd rock from the sun) if you know something's a setup you don't fall into the trap. Actually, that's true even on Admiral Ackbar's planet.

3) Over on the site ran by Wily E. Coyote, SuperGenius (tm) (just ask him, he'll tell you how smart he is) I see a lengthy post about how Trump "avoided the minefield of defeating Hillary Clinton in the first presidential debate." Spanking is involved. That may play on some planets, but here on Planet Earth (3rd rock from the sun) it's not.

4) Also on the Coyote's site, there's a long post about how the US couldn't impose a no-fly zone in Syria but how Hillary's supporters want us to. Here on Planet Earth (3rd rock from the sun) I see no real appetite for any expansion of our (modest) role in Syria.

Three For Thursday

Three thoughts, one head, one day.

Thought #1

I'm shocked, shocked I tell you to hear Trump said X and did Y. How Donald Trump's company violated the US trade embargo with Cuba.

Thought #2

On Facebook, somebody was saying that Scott Adam's endorsement of Donald Trump was the realization that Adams thought Dogbert was the hero of the strip. No, Dilbert is the hero. But Dilbert is the "angry white male" who likes Trump. In Dilbert's (and Adam's) mind, if people like the pointy-haired boss would just get out of the way, Dilbert would be great. What is missed is the answer to the question "if Dilbert is so good why isn't he the boss?"

Thought #3

Today is the last day to enter and win a free copy of my novel The Night Watch. You can also read an interview of me at the link.

Sorry, No

At Monday's Presidential debate, Donald Trump was taken to task for fat-shaming one Alicia Machado, a former Miss Universe in Trump's beauty pageant. After the debate, Trump did his usual doubling down on his statements. Various of his supporters have been accusing Machado of being a porn star and/or a murderer and/or facilitating illegal immigration. Sorry, but as this site says, "Alicia Machado could be the worst person on planet Earth, but the fact remains that her behavior has nothing to do with the Trump's character or lack thereof."


Comment Policy

This is the personal blog of Chris Gerrib, and all opinions expressed here are solely his own. Commenters are welcome; however please be polite to me and my other readers. I reserve the right to delete comments that are rude, inappropriate or otherwise objectionable at my sole discretion. The opinions expressed in a comment are not necessarily mine, and if I do not delete a comment that should not be construed as my agreement with the commenter.

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