30 November 2020
21 November 2020
I confess I’ve never actually watched Fox News. It’s a channel for which I would have to pay extra. What I’ve seen I’ve seen through sound bites and segments uploaded onto the internet. Yesterday I drove a company vehicle with satellite radio and while I didn’t watch I did listen to FOX NEWS, CNN, and MSNBC for most of the day, but concentrated on FOX NEWS.
First take away, commercials run for almost as long as there is actual content.
Second takeaway, Fox News lacks any sense of human compassion.
Within an hour of listening, both CNN and MSNBC did pieces on the human toll of Covid-19 and the tragic personal losses people have suffered.
Fox not one all day. When they did talk about the pandemic it was usually how it was going to affect small business and how broad lockdowns were unconstitutional and wearing masks were not going to solve the problem so why bother.
In short, CNN, MSNBC and most other news networks report on the human toll of this pandemic. FOX NEWS, a reflection of those who watch often, only talks about the inconvenience it’s causing. They do not deny the virus exists, at least not anymore, but they don’t give its deadly potential any weight.
As far as the election goes, I suspect there is some dissention between the actual news people and opinion show hosts. Neil Cavuto gave what I thought was a fair conservative view of the election, as did John Roberts. They, and the people they interviewed, unanimously agreed that Joe Biden won the election and Trump and his Seal Team Sux lawyers (got that from Stephen Colbert) were doing more harm than good. They gave differing conservative reasons, but for the most part they agreed there was no fraud. I suspect these shows have low ratings because Fox viewers don’t want to hear that.
The opinion shows where just nonsense laden with bald-faced lying, misinformation, and just plain hate. The Five is a panel show that uses topics of the day to hurl vitriolic insults at anything left of fascism. One topic was a report that Biden was going to tax guns and ammunition. This sent all of them ballistic (pun intended). We need guns! How am I going to protect myself without my guns? I sincerely doubt any of these people live in neighbourhoods with high crime rates. The sad irony here is that while this segment was being broadcast there was a mass shooting in Milwaukee. It is to be noted that Geraldo Rivera was on the panel as the token ‘moderate’.
Another opinion show interviewed a kindergarten teacher who had been teaching kindergarteners way too long. Even the host kind of ushered her along when she realized the guest was a little loopy. Tucker Carlson, having burned himself the previous day by blasting Seal Team Sux conspiracy theories returned to an old hit: China created the virus.
The whole thing was exhausting. I got to a point I looked forward to the commercials. It was like that movie where the guy only ate McDonalds for a month and it literally affected his health.
Anyway, in the end I’m glad I did it. CNN and MSNBC might be left-leaning, and like FOX News, have their own agenda, but at least part of that agenda is humanity.
9 November 2020
I’ve been trying to put into words how I feel about the last US election, its outcome, and what’s happening now. I started from one angle, stopped, began again from another angle, that fizzled. Just now, as I scan through articles debunking voter fraud and other articles of right-wing protests and I realize why I’ve been having so much trouble.
My opinion doesn’t matter.
No one’s opinion matters.
It never did if you don’t agree with it.
In today’s internet world my views carry as much weight as Dr. Fauci’s. The man is the most learned expert on infectious disease, but half the world, and I mean that in a literal sense, HALF OF THE WORLD won’t listen to him, doubt him, want more evidence, blah, blah, blah. It’s disheartening, but it’s the truth.
Minds are made up and have been made up long ago. Personally, I don’t believe in the undecided vote. Oh, they might be swayed, but swayed infers a decision has already been made, and it would take an extreme amount of persuasion. Look at right-wing America. Corruption. Blatant racism. Overt misogyny. Impeachment. Insulting every ally while cozying up to former enemies. Ignoring a pandemic. Stealing and caging children. What does it take for an undecided voter to step back and say, hmm, maybe Trump and his Republicans have gone too far?
Apparently more than what has happened in the last four years.
So, here we are.
How did America get here? Some claim systemic racism. Others claim a declining education system. More blame a failing economy.
All are right, but I’m going to go back to the Vietnam War. Much has been made of the war, the US involvement, and more importantly, the treatment of soldiers returning from the conflict. They didn’t get the hero’s welcome that the vets of World War II or Korea. They got insulted and even spat on.
That kind of thing sticks. That kind of thing breeds hatred and that hatred gets passed down from one generation to the next. I suspect a lot of these Trump supporters have had parents or grandparents who served in Vietnam. Their dislike for anything leaning left runs deep, and likely that view will not change.
But it might for our children. Look at the shit we are putting them through. School shootings. Climate change. A real estate market where you have to be a millionaire to buy a house. Covid. Those kinds of things stick. Those kinds of things breed change, and change is what we desperately need if the world is to survive.
I just hope we have enough time.
30 October 2020
It’s not pinin’! It’s passed on! This press is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet it’s maker!
It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! It’s pushing up the daisies!
It’s metabolic processes are now history! It’s off the twig!
It’s kicked the bucket. It’s shuffled off it’s mortal coil, run
down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!!
THIS IS AN EX-PRESS!!
If you hadn’t guessed, Bundoran Press, the small Canadian publishing house of which I was honoured to be a part, has closed. There were three of us. Hayden Trenholm, his wife Liz Westbook-Trenholm, and myself. I was a silent partner, so much so most people didn’t even know I was part of it. I didn’t acquire books or edit those we bought. That was Hayden Trenholm’s domain.
My contribution was mostly posting ‘commercials’ book trailers on our YouTube channel. They weren’t high-production, but they were creative and already more than what even big New York publishing houses did for their authors. I also sat at the table in cons and did the occasional panel to represent Bundoran Press. I got involved for various reasons. I just got divorced. I had some money in the bank I was looking to throw away…er…invest.
But most of all I was a writer myself, and like most writers I have a dream of having a novel published. I wanted to help make that dream happen for other writers. It’s that simple.
And we did.
Hayden and Liz are also writers. All of us have won awards for our work. Because we were writers we understood what is was like to be on the creative side of publishing. We paid our authors and gave them the royalties they deserved. We promoted them as best we could, given out limited finances. In that we can all hold our head high and say Bundoran Press was one of the good ones.
But publishing is a tough industry with very little give-back. Covid-19 hasn’t helped. Most of our revenue comes from convention sales and conventions are on hold during the pandemic. Bundoran was very much a labour of love. Unfortunately, the object of our affection tended to be jealous and very high maintenance. When you’re a writer who has a ‘real’ job and a family and a life, your time is limited. So it is with us. We all agreed it was time to move on.
Our books have either won or been nominated for countless awards. We are proud of our authors and the books we put out. Most of all, I’m happy to have made the dreams of a few people come true. When questioned they can point at their bookshelf and say, “Why yes, I have been published.”
Thanks to Hayden and Liz for putting up with me. Thanks to all those who helped make Bundoran Press happen. And especially thanks to all of you who bought or helped promote our books. It was fun, but I fear it is time to begin pinin’ for the fjords.
29 October 2020
The US election is less than a week away at the time of this writing. I’ve been pulling back from watching the news. I believe at this point the lines have been drawn, decisions made and in many cases, votes already cast. Short of some cataclysmic event, everything from now on is just hyperbole. This election is probably the most tense election I have ever known. And the most frightening. What scares me the most is not the Trump won’t leave office if he loses.
Scary, but not the scariest.
What scares me the most is that Trump will win, fair and square, or if he loses it is by such a slight margin. Not because such a result will be disputed in the courts forever, but because that would mean there are enough voting Americans who like Trump, who believe what he is doing is good, who are willing to let their country die just to “stick it to the libs.”
Yeah. That’s terrifying for me and for the world.
26 October 2020
The big question: how can extreme right-wingers be the way the are?
My answer: They can’t lose, at least politically.
Take for example what’s happening in the US. Trump is by far the most extreme right-wing politician in recent memory. The thing about Trump is he only fights for half the nation. Some may argue that he fights for a minority of the population. I hope so, but the fact is not matter how narrow a margin, enough Americans felt strongly enough to elect him president, and most of those people have not changed their views.
Why not? Trump has proven to be more of a liability than an asset. If I were American looking back on the last four years I’d say this guy is not worth the effort. He is openly hated by the democrats and secretly hated by half of his own party. He has gone into a trade war with just about everybody. So, why all this unexplained loyalty? Not everyone is racist. Not everyone is a conspiracy nut. Not everyone is unaware or unwilling to believe in the damage he’s done on the world stage.
Because US right-wingers are in a win-win situation. If Trump wins, he fights for right-wingers exclusively, going so far as to threaten holding back aid to states with democratic governors. On the flip side, if Biden wins, he’ll fight for all Americans and that includes right-wingers. Oh, sure, they will scream socialism and communism, but when they time comes they’ll take that government sponsored service, or that money, or whatever it is they claim to hate so much. Given enough time they will make them as American as apple pie.
Not so long ago unions were considered communist. Now some of your most ardent right-wingers or unionists. Go figure.
20 October 2020
12 October 2020