Friday, June 16, 2017

Open Letter From Arlo C. Hips



Well, it was Republicans who got shot so no big deal, right? We will continue to say terrible things until the mobs on both the left and right act out . And nobody on cable news (Chris Matthews said of Ted Cruz "He's sub-human.") will hold themselves accountable. Neither will any congress man.

For some reason we have gotten to the place where political disagreement is grounds for hatred, where it is acceptable to call names and accuse one opponents of the most despicable crimes and to do so without accepting any responsibility for one's own actions.

It started before Trump and before Obama. It started with Clinton. When fellatio  becomes fodder for public discourse the angle of the slope increases. The O.J. trial and the Clinton Impeachment did an awful lot of damage to the public life of this country: it got cable news off the ground.  They made it possible to accuse your opponent of ANYTHING. And they began referring to the political opposition as "The Enemy". That means I am justified in any attack on them, right?

The tow truck driver  in North Carolina who refused to tow a woman with Bernie Sanders stickers on her car did not break the law. At all. He did nothing illegal. But if we are going to use legal standards as a guide line, we will have a difficult time having a society. We now have politics as a religion: the other side is an arm of the Satanic Church and kills babies.

I watched Rachel Maddow and she acted like the shooting was a mere unfortunate circumstance. Chris Matthews acted like it did not happen. Well, no surprise there. I am certain the Republicans will milk the shootings for their own political purposes.

As far as the wealthy in this country are concerned, they own the government. They own the congress, senate, courts, Wall Street (Barak Obama, champion of the little guy just got paid $400,000 for a speech so you tell me it isn't for the money.) owns both parties. The fix is in. The last real man to sit in the White House was Harry Truman. He drove himself back to Missouri. In his own car. The sign on his desk said "The Buck Stops Here." There is nobody remotely like him in D. C. today. Bad news, Kat. The contributors own the political class.

None of what is going on now with Trump has anything to do with the well being of the country. There are going to be states with no insurance companies participating in the exchanges. And the Democrats will blame the Republicans who will reply, "Well you guys passed this without a single Republican vote. This is all your fault."

What you detailed about the rust belt is what got Trump elected. When he said that area of the country had been neglected, he was correct. No argument. What he didn't say was he was from Queens and had no idea how to fix the problem. I am not certain the vote was for Trump. I think it was a vote against the snotty, arrogant superior attitude of the media in New York and California. I think it was a giant finger to cable news.

Part of what is happening now is a result of the public being misled about the election. It was in the bag. Hillary was destined to be president. The Gods had anointed her. Every single significant media organization endorsed Hillary. ALL of them with the exception of Fox and they are the most successful cable broadcast operation in history. They are about profits and nothing gets in the way. Not that the others are paragons of virtue. They are just not as good at generating profits as Fox. So Trump got elected. The media got the finger and there was nothing they could do about it.

The people you talked about only have one thing left.
Their vote. That is the one thing that cannot be taken from them. When they go into that booth they answer to nobody. Not Wall Street, the congress, the senate, the supreme court, their family, their friends, nobody. It is the last thing they have. They are no longer middle class and they see the $250K speeches, the homes, the security, the life time pensions and they think (rightly so) that Carlin was right. "It's a big club, folks! And you and I ain't in it!"

We now have an oligarchy. You and I and others of our ilk survive. We will get enough table scraps to keep us from really going off the rails, but just barely.

Another reason for the election of Trump is the education system which has succumbed to the nonsense that school should not be difficult and that we will NOT  teach critical thinking skills. No authority figure wants citizens capable of critical thought. They want loyalty. They specifically do not want "principles before personalities."

Trump wants personal loyalty before law. We've been a country of laws and not leaders. The constitution comes first. I think Barack dislike the constitution but was willing to tolerate it. Trump dislikes it but is willing to ignore it. But they both have massive egos and nobody will make me change my mind. "My mind is made up, don't try to confuse me with the facts."

Have a good day.  Say yer prayers. And bless yer little red head.

Arlo C. Hipps.

There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worry about things which are beyond the power of our will.  Epictetus.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Middle Class Didn't Just Vanish



What frustrates me the most about the country right now is the mental gymnastics The Far Right media has trained Citizens into performing whenever certain words or phrases are spoken or seen.

The original word has been hijacked -- to the point where people automatically start foaming at the mouth when that word is used. It's called Dog-Whistle propaganda. A word or phrase is used, creating a Dog-Whistle Word. Say the word and the human blanks out everything but the propaganda about that word.

I'm gonna hit the edge of this with the phrase 'Vanishing Middle Class' because The Far Right has really done a number on us.

I grew up in a middle class community, all my friends and family were dyed-in-the-wool Middle Class. Then the economic woes of the Nixon years, hit and all the jobs dried up and blew away in about 10 years time. By 1979, when I graduated, the economy of our small town had tanked and about 20k families left town in search of jobs.

We, the children of the Middle Class and our parents, didn't "vanish" we didn't fade away like ghosts. We struggled with increasing and ever more crushing poverty, unable to get jobs that paid Middle Class wages, unless we had family connections that could get us one of the few 'good' jobs in town.

Many of us fled -- some more than once -- heading south or west until we found someplace where we could settle. But thousands didn't have the means to flee, or their family ties were too strong, so they stayed and suffered the long agonizing slide into soul-crushing poverty and despair.

Women struggled the most, because one of the first things that happens when the local economy tanks is that couples stop getting married -- a girl gets pregnant and the father, (aka the Baby Daddy), bolts like horse in a thunderstorm. Any support from the government, no matter how badly needed puts them at risk of being labeled with a Dog-Whistle Word, so many women don't dare apply, unless they work for Wal-mar; there it's company police to Fleece The Beast and sign their workers up for government benefits in lue of wages.

Wal-mart replaced GM as the #1 employer in the USA decades ago. That company is owned by the richest family in America, a family that pays less taxes than any other in the 1% richest in America. Their company also pay wages well below the poverty line -- but no one calls the Waltons Welfare Queens -- that Dog-Whistle Word is for the single mothers who work for them.

This is where Generational Poverty moves in and takes over Fly Over America. Just as predicted in the 1970's, when the economy tanked the first time, the wages of the Service Economy couldn't sustain Middle Class, so an entire social class slid down the economic razor blade into the burning vat of poverty.

So here we are, 40 years later and once bustling small towns are now Fly Over Zones, or The Rust Belt, and the people scraping a living in these places are Red Necks, Hillbillies, and Pillbillies; frightening degenerates who are Dog-Whistled by The Far Right like attack trained pit bulls.

And the attack word is 'Liberal'.

The rage that helped put a completely inappropriate human in the White House stems from the fact that these Pillbillies were raised in Middle Class families, without Middle Class jobs. Their TV networks are filled with propaganda that enrages them. They KNOW they've been shafted, over and over again, by the same asshats who programmed them to respond to Dog-Whistles.

Everybody knows that Washington kisses the asses of the 400 richest families in the USA, like the Waltons, and pees on fallen middle class families, as well as the veterans leaving the military.

Education, health care and jobs (i.e. Hope) have been stripped from most Fly Over Zone communities and everybody is expendable as soon as they are injured or get sick. Big Pharma moves in with pain-pills and people who's souls are wounded by poverty and inflamed by propaganda eat opiods by the handful and wash it down with cheap booze.

Meanwhile, the GOP answer to Health Care is still: Die Faster Dammit!

So why is Congress so stunned that somebody went hunting Republicans on their home turf?

After all -- school shootings didn't effect Congress, their kids go to private schools. Church shootings don't effect them either because Congress is full of fake-Christians and outright Anti-Christians. (Somebody once said "You know the tree by it's fruit" so yes, they are Anti-Christians.)

Nothing is going to change -- the Anti-Christians in Congress will continue to kiss the asses of The 400 Families who donate while killing Social Security, Medicare, Health Care, VA Benefits, Education and Science because those all benefit the impoverished former Middle Class and Veterans.

The best that Fly Over America could do was send a mad pseudo-Billionaire to the White House and hope that 'shaking things up' would get them a break of some kind.

Too few people voted in 2016 and we all got the shaft as the result.

There is more reason to vote now than ever.

More need for voters and fresh faces running for local offices, because parts of the system are rigged and we need to tend our backyards while Congress and the White House thrash like a giant beheaded snake.

We need to get rid of Zombie Senators and Congressmen who have grown old and senile during their decades in office. We need to un-do the Gerrymandering that returns these zombies to office when they haven't had a pulse in decades.

The 1% families, like the Waltons, need to start paying 20% of their income in taxes, just like the rest of us. That money needs to go to Healthcare, Education and VA Benefits because working class America pays for their own Social Security and Medicare.

It might be late in the game, but it's not too late. We must tend our back yards in the next four years, to make sure we don't get fooled again.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Back to the Business of Writing


The old bull has been ridden to a standstill by the sheer bloated weight of Uncle Sam, broken to harness and hitched to the huge wagon that is Congress. I’ve allowed myself to be distracted by the shrill voices of the political Henny Penny types cackling “The Sky Is Falling!” long enough.

The world is not a China Shop, Skylab fell decades ago. Kentucky is just as safe as it has always been. If I don’t stop looking at the sky for falling debris, I’m never going to get anything finished in time for the next Reading Season.

The Hoard is gone. My parent’s little farm was sold on last August. I took time to mourn for those I loved and lost. For the first time in years, I can take care of my farm without feeling pulled in a dozen different directions.

The porch is breezy, the trees have leafed out, and the lawn is mowed by a lawn service. It’s time I got back to the business of writing.

So, here’s what’s been going on with my books:

I goofed up and lost the URLs of KAJordan.net and IcyRoadPublishing.com. The Chinese have squatted on the two names and it would cost me $3k to get either one back. So I’ve dropped those names and will get back to that silliness later.

There are 18 I. C. Talbot short stories published. After over two years of zero sales on the other vendor sites, I started moving all the Talbot short stories into Kindle Unlimited.

They got a just few pages read, mostly for “Turned Out”until March when I released “The Hide Out” which got picked up and reviewed on Goodreads. That started a surprising burst of interest in I. C. Talbot short stories that has lasted all of March and April. Today on May 1st, “The Hide Out” was read again, kicking off the month on a positive note.

The halo sales and reads increased as I set up free dates for the other short stories. In March there were a couple thousand pages read and hundreds of e-books given away for free. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that Amazon pays less per page read this year than last year. More like $0.004 per page instead of $0.005. So a couple thousand pages read is less than $20. Since I have to pay for the pictures that make up the covers and I have someone else run an editing pass, I’m still in the hole for the short stories published before “The Hide Out” and “Ill Wind.”

This doesn’t count my own e-books, with 3 brand new covers, which were lackluster as freebies. “Let’s Do Lunch” has caught on, with respectable freebie numbers and almost $2 in pages read. I hope
 that "Swallow the Moon" and "Impressive Bravado" will follow suit.

It’s a good thing that I didn’t get into this to get rich, isn’t it?

There is something that I’d like to point out – I published the first of the I. C. Talbot short stories in 2009, when I published my own. We had respectable runs which peaked 2011 and fell off to nothing thereafter. The market changed then and apparently it has changed again. 

This time it appears to have changed in my favor. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Meal Kits and Lessons Learned


Not long ago, I was utterly sick of cooking and equally sick of eating fast food. Cookbooks don't work for me, and I can't find a cooking class.

So I found a meal kit system to try. After all, I do know a little bit about cooking, but it's all foods from the previous century. I figured right - hand me the recipe and the directions and I can figure it out.

This is what I observed after about four weeks.

The meal kit had me pan frying a lot of meat, something I've never done before, and don't like doing as a rule. I've found stainless steel pans didn't do all that well with it either. I didn't like the way the food burned on the outside and stayed raw in the middle. Now there are ways around that, but they don't work with meal kits. The rest of the food gets cold while you wait for the meat to cook.

It was frustrating. I guessed it was because the copper bottom wasn't really doing it's job - which is to distribute heat and hold it. So it takes a lot longer to fry meat, because it has to be done at a lower temperature.

Also, my stainless steel cookware, with plastic handles, isn't up for going in the oven. And many of the recipes call for putting the food in the oven and under the broiler.

So we needed to get a pan that would survive the broiler, and was heavy enough to pan fry meat faster without burning the heck out of it.

We looked around in the stores, and frankly the price of iodized aluminum cookware is crazy. The cheaper stuff is garbage and the expensive stuff is insane for what you get.

Plus I've been hearing for years that Alzheimer's is caused by aluminum - so why spend big bucks on something that might just rot your brain? So as an experiment, we bought a 10" Lodge cast iron skillet, for $20 at Walmart.

Holy cow! I had no idea what a difference it would make. I could get the meat fried with very little oil, on time. Yes, cast iron is tricky to live with. No dishwasher for that pan! It's hand wash and oven dry. Can't leave tomatoes in the pan, they have to come out before the acid eats the coating.

What I never counted on was the difference in flavor.

The more I cook with it, we are talking just two weeks, the better the food tastes. Part of that is the oil coating - it holds flavors like salt and sweet. So once we cooked a sweetened sauce with thyme, I can still taste the sweet and the thyme. Salt and seasoning seems to linger as well. So there's a complexity of flavor in the pan itself that goes into the meat or sauce, or whatever.

It's weird and it takes some getting used to. But I've talked to someone who's used cast iron cookware for years and that's normal.

So if you decide to go with the meal kit service, consider getting a cast iron pan. Just remember, these puppies are HEAVY and require hand washing.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Chaos Continues - On And On



Tranquility - something we won't see as a nation for at least 4 years.

I've been listening to the news, sometimes all day, and I've got an inkling of what might be going to happen next.

Another shoe is gonna drop. The another and another and another...

Meanwhile - all over the world, shit is happening and the American people will never hear of it because -- The President.

I've got things to do and people to talk to. Blogs to write, books and short stories to publish.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Reason for the Rodeo

via GIPHY

Just heard Senator Maxine Waters blow the whistle on the Great Shell Game that is now taking place in our White House.

She says it's obvious to her what's going on with the Kremlin Klan and 'those scumbags from the oil and gas industry'.

"They're going get the sanctions lifted so they can get the oil in Russia."

Billions and billions of dollars in oil and gas money - enough money to explain the need to get Trump in the White House at any cost. The reason he says "Wouldn't it be nice to get along with Russia?" The reason Tillerson. CEO of Exon, is in the State Department. The reason Trump won't put his assets in a blind trust. The reason he's installed so many billionaires in his cabinet who appear to be there because they want to destroy the agency they've been put in charge.

This is even the reason for going after immigrants,  closing the borders and building that damn wall, though not directly. They need a smoke screen - something to distract the voters while this shell game goes on.

As more immigrants are rounded up and deported, there will be low-level jobs open as well as high-level jobs. Without changing a thing there will be a labor shortage of staggering proportions. Everything will be disrupted. There will be protests, reactions and terror.

And the resulting chaos will prove to be the perfect smoke screen. The immigration drama will be enough to enthrall the entire country. This will keep the media busy covering the deportations and protests - while the sanctions go away and the oil companies pay massive bribes - and certain people swoop up the money and get filthy rich - the 1% of the 1% who will rule the USA and the reborn USSR.

This is it, folks, the end game.

Oil - and blood for oil.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Send In The Clowns

via GIPHY

We are still in the first 100 days...wasn't it just a month yesterday? How time flies. The press conference was interesting to say the least. It's not the kind of thing you want to see alone, don't let the kids watch it. It does answer one important question: How much manure can one bull sling? 

Quite a bit.

But it appears the old bull has lost some of his momentum . He's been spinning in circles for a month and getting bogged deeper and deeper in the -- mud -- he's churned up. But the old bull is spinning himself into a corner, and Uncle Sam might be in trouble. 

Count on the folks from the alphabet soup agencies to continue to investigate just how deep the ties are between our old bull and Mother Russia. Think of them as the rodeo clowns - who are also know as bullfighters. These are the guys who jump in when the bull-rider is thrown and is about to get two feet of horn where the sun never shines. 

Like this:


This is just the first month of a four year ride. Luckily, Congress has yet to lose it's lethargy and make any moves - they've been bingeing on hate for so long they can barely twitch a limb. It must be like one long Thanksgiving for the GOP -- feasting on the carcass of their victory only to find they can't stand up any more. 

Lazy vultures.

Without a Democrat to kick around, the bloated GOP is unable to function. They've been the opposition for so long that now their collective spine has become (cranberry) jelly. 

Of course there is an exception - John McCain - pickup rider for this long rodeo event. He's back in the saddle and is swinging a catch rope to throw a loop over the old bull if need be. He can afford to make himself a target as long as the bullfighters are doing the close work. His job is to scoop up Uncle Sam if he stays on until the buzzer. 

We've got a long way to go.