Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Quest....

The schoolteacher peered in the looking glass, trying to imagine herself in the role of dragonslayer. Generally, she tried to avoid all contact with dragons, sickening, smelly, smoking sluggards, always looking to capture princesses and eat small children, but this time – ah, this time, it would be different. She intended to see the dragon die, no matter what the cost.

First, though, she would need to enlist help. A team – that was the only way to win. With one, there was a chance of failure but with the right three, a triumverate with the right strengths, the right skills, the right minds this fight could be won and triumph was guaranteed.

First she sought the lawkeeper. He was loud and brash, but sure and brave. He spoke more than was necessary but he brought laughter, as well as fairness, into the peasant’s lives. She outlined her plan, quietly, quickly and he agreed without hesitation.

Next came the songstress. She would be needed to lull the dragon, to lure him into the trap. She was more difficult. She had a family to think of, a husband who needed her, who would not willingly see her come into harm’s way. In the end, with the urging of the lawkeeper, she agreed to this strange woman’s plan.

The most difficult was yet to come. How does one persuade a king to join in a dragonslayer’s quest, especially when there is no treasure, no jewels, no gold, nothing to be gained but the safety of peasants who, as a general rule, mean nothing to a king.

Gaining entry to the king might be the tricky part, but once that was done, what to say? How to spin the right tale, sing the right song, wield the right weapon to force him to join them, to add his spirit and his power to the lowly group already joined in the quest. Surprisingly, on their arrival at the rather meager little castle of the king, they were shown immediately into the not-so grand chamber to face the king and tell their story.

He seemed amused at first.

“Sire,” the schoolteacher said, “we have come to ask for your company on a quest. A grand quest, sire, one which will make your name a legend.”

He snorted. “A legend, miss? Do not legends become legends because they have died bravely for their cause? I have no wish to die for your cause, or even for a cause that aids the kingdom. I like my life just as it is, and have no need of legend. Be gone, and take the lawkeeper and singer of songs with you.”

But the songstress, as planned well in advance, began to sing the softest song – a song that lured the king, entranced him and trapped him, without him even realizing how simple its tune had been, and how easily his will had been bent to theirs.

He called his pages and ordered them to bring horses, weapons, and food for their journey. He did not realize, perhaps never would, that his weapons, his glickety-glockety useless weapons would never slay this dragon. There was only one weapon that would end this dragon’s reign. There could be no compromise here.

The dragon’s lair was not far, but it was a perilous journey, and it could not be done alone. It would end with one of the three dead, but which – which would die in the jaws of the evil dragon, known as the Nevil? Which would not return to home, hearth and ham and eggs for breakfast.

The schoolteacher knew, but she could not change the future, she could only salvage the other lives that might be lost if the quest were not completed. Her weapon, her secret, her drive would be the ties that bound three of them to success and one of them to death.

And the dragon would die.

They mounted the steeds provided by the king and rode off, past cheering crowds, impressed, most of them for the first time, with the bravery of their king, who in another age and time might be known as a couch potato. Of course, no one would dare call him such to his face as that would cause severe damage to the offender. The king was not a forgiving soul and he tended to be cranky when his subjects disagreed with his needs and desires.

They traveled into the night, the songstress softly singing songs of faith and courage, the lawkeeper stolid and strong, the king trying to maintain his royal demeanor and the schoolteacher quiet, trying not to attract attention, lest questions should arise that she could not answer.

They stopped, they slept, they arose early and the schoolteacher led them to the dragon’s lair. Smoke rose slowly from the entrance to the cave and the songstress began her song. Sweetly it drifted o’er the ridge and seemed almost to float on the breeze down, down, down to the dragon and the smoke began to thicken and rise, sulphurous and ugly.

Suddenly, there was a roar, vicious, deep, almost tearing the clothes from their bodies as the dragon stirred and suddenly burst, screeching the dragon screech, the killer screech, the sound of death for one of the four. The singer sang, the lawkeeper drew his sword and the king – well, the king looked royal for as long as he could pretend to feel no fear, which was not very long at all in the scheme of things.

The schoolteacher drew back and to the right of the group, wanting a clear path between her and the dragon, trying not to be distracted by the manly posture of the lawman, or the beautiful song the songstress sung. The dragon flew overhead, swooping down, seeming to be ready to attempt to snatch the king in his royal robes, while the lawman stabbed and poked with his sword. He could not reach the dragon, though, and cried out in frustration.

If only the schoolteacher could lure him just a bit to the right, just far enough to avoid the risk of injuring one of the two who were to live. “Move,” she urged silently, “get out of the way, give me the space I need and I can save those who have been foretold and bring freedom from this dragon plague to the kingdom once and for all.”

Suddenly, it happened. The songstress moved to the left, the lawman to the right and the king was busily scurrying to a small cave in which he hoped to hide. The dragon swooped, snatched the king in his hoary claws and began to climb to the sky with his lunch in tow. Or toes, as the case may be.

The schoolteacher swept aside her robe and pulled her trusty Heckler and Koch P7 (a fine Germanic firearm obtained through magic and witchery that would be best left unexplained lest she be put to death by some foul means by the populace, which had no great love of either witches or dragons!) and squeezing the grip, she found her sight picture immediately as all of her training came to bear. One shot followed another in the double tap pattern she knew so well. Again, again, and suddenly, blood flowed, both dragonly green and kingly red.

The plunge to the valley floor was immediate and brutal. It was obvious to all that both the king and the dragon had suffered mortal blows. There would be no recovery, no songs sung that King Jon would ever hear, but his legend would be great, as would all of theirs.

The lawkeeper would be known forever as He Who Brought the Law to the Valley. The songstress would forever be known as She Who Brought Sweet Songs and Safety to the Subjects and the schoolteacher – ahhh, the schoolteacher.

She had a new position in life. All had gone according to plan, all had resolved just as she could have foretold it had she wished to. She, who had delivered the valley, she who had brought those together that would save all who dwelled there, she would be the one of whom they spoke when they shouted to the rooftops, “The King is Dead, Long Live the Queen!”

So How's This King Thing Work?

Well, you don't get a prize, you do get judged and you have to watch yourself either be carried to the painnacle of success or go down, ignominiously, in flames. You're judged by three (and more) complete strangers and found either supreme or wanting.

On a whim, I decided to throw my name, or blog, as it may be, into the ring on
this site. What possesses me sometimes I do not know.

I had to submit a post (the last one done entitled Go Read a Book was mine) and agree to be judged by
Bad Example, News From the Great Beyond, and The SmarterCop. What I didn't count on was the challenge question.

I thought I might be asked to write on some politically current idea, or even some socially relevent issue, either of which would be fine with me becaue that's what I like to think I do anyway.

But, noooooo....

My challenge question is: Write a fairy tale set in the blogosphere. Include only two of the judges.

Well, great. Just my style. A Fairy Tale. I am doomed, I fear, but it's all in fun so what the heck. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 24, 2005

I want to WIN!

Ok, so it's blatant self-promotion, but I wouldn't mind taking the crown here....

King of the Blogs

Go, vote for me....

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Go Read a Book...

You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them. -- Ray Bradbury, U.S. science-fiction writer (1920-)

Reading is one of the pleasures in my life that I cannot let go of. No matter how busy everything else gets, I still find time to read, still need words and ideas and the time to explore others' ideas. Some of the books I've enjoyed:

  • Guns, Crime and Freedom - Wayne LaPierre
  • Guns and Violence - Joyce Malcom
  • The Bias Against gun - John Lott
  • More Guns, Less Crime - John Lott
  • The Federalist Papers - Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay
  • Anything by Carl Hiaassen or Isaac Asimov
  • Almost any mystery, especially a decent procedural
  • The Diaries of Adam and Eve by Mark Twain

I wish to share some of that last with you. If you love, or are loved, and did not come to it as if it were a bolt of lightning, that old "love at first site" thing, you may come to enjoy this as much as I do. If, perhaps, you came to love unevenly, with one loving before the other knew, you will value this. It begins:

This new creature with the long hair is a good deal in the way. It is always hanging around and following me about. I don’t like this; I am not used to company. I wish it would stay with the other animals. Cloudy to-day, wind in the east; think we shall have rain. ... Where did I get that word? ... I remember now—­ the new creature uses it.

Adam's story is one of exploration, frustration, surprise and, eventually, of love. Eve's is different. She loves first, knowing from the beginning that she is a part of him and always will be. Theirs is, as Twain is so capable of telling, the story of humans, their discovery of each other and of love, and their sharing of a life.

Early on, as my husband and I traveled down the eccentric path to finding each other, to coming to understand what love really could be to two people, I told him once that I felt as though I were a burden to him. That I had interrupted his life and that, much as Eve was to Adam, I was that "new creature with the long hair [who] is a good deal in the way."

He responded, "Wheresoever she was, THERE was Eden."

Buy the book. Give it to someone you love. Buy another and give it to two people who love each other.

Both Sad and Sick

Sometimes I see people doing things to children that make me sick. The latest example of this was when I went to go view a blog authored by an illiterate degenerate under house arrest for an undisclosed crime. Released from jail in August, 2004, his blog complains about being under house arrest, having to do community service, his filthy house, having to "piss in a cup" for his probation officer, paying his rent via loans from his mother-in-law (poor baby) and the sad story of his wife and son living in a house in a notorious drug zone on Spokane's West Side.

I looked at the picture of him and his child and up to that point, had been amused in a low level sort of way with this pinhead who thinks I should "die on public tv." But my focus immediately changes and I am no longer grinning at his stupidity and, in shock now, I have to wonder, "Why isn't anyone getting that child out of that environment?"

One assumes that the individuals involved in raising this child don't do it in a complete vacuum - that sometimes people go to their home and see the environment in which this child is being raised. Look at the picture "Daddy" chooses to share with the public. Even the little that one can observe shows trash strewn across the bed on which his child feeds him a piece of fruit.

Jailed for months, not allowed to drive for some unspeciifed reason, living off the wife's mother's contributions, functionally illiterate, certainly not employed (his part time job, he tells us, is trying to "sell shit on ebay"), evincing pride in being able to sit in his probation officer's office high as a kite -

so, i get more pain pills from the doc, and i take three of them before seeing d.o.c.. i was so high in there with my p.o. he knew it but he could not do a thing.

On probation and apparently heavily into drugs, living in a pig sty and this fellow is a "father." The child's grandmother would do well to find a way to get that child out of the hands of this sperm donor. Barring that, maybe she could offer to pay for a vasectomy. Heaven knows this guy doesn't need to be contributing any further to the gene pool.

I know a child advocate out in Seattle. If I could find out who this miscreant really is, I'd drop a dime on him in a heartbeat and see if she couldn't find anyone in Spokane to help this child out of that environment and into a decent life.

One of the saddest things about the direction of this country in the last forty years has been the cost to the children. Liberals cannot seem to understand what the cost is, in human terms, of people like this. They wring their hands, they wonder what can be done to help animals like this change for the better, but not once do they consider that perhaps, what might be best is simply to remove them from society.

Where is Darwin when you need him?

What Do People Want?

Back in 1969 a film and television critic, Clive Barnes, opined, “Television is the first truly democratic culture - the first culture available to everybody and entirely governed by what the people want. The most terrifying thing is what people do want.”

I wonder what he’d think of television in 2005.

According to the Nielsen Ratings, more than 27 million people watch CSI, which I am ok with – it’s a good show and I mostly enjoy it, which, of course, is why I am good with 27 million other people liking it as well. I'd like to see Vincent D'Onofrio replaced since, one, on a personal level, he's an idiot, and two, the character he plays is so tired, so overdone, so quirky, that it distracts from the show itself. I'll take any one of the Law and Order shows any time.

What doesn’t make sense to me, and probably never will, is that 24 million people watch Desperate Housewives and, even worse, although fewer people do so, is that 20 million people watch Extreme Makeover.

Extreme Makeover. There are people out there, 20 million of them, in fact, that lose an hour of their lives every week, in order to sit glued to the television, watching ugly people made… well, no different. Not that their looks aren’t changed, but who they are remains the same and I can tell you, that’s what makes the real difference in life.

David, a 36-year-old special education teacher for severely handicapped children from Highland, CA, always had a dream of becoming a rock star. With the help of his music idol, Tom Keifer from the '80s rock band Cinderella, David turns out rock hard and rocking. Not only did Tom surprise David with a meeting, but he also collaborated with David on a song written for his wife, Melissa. David had upper and lower eyelid lift, rhinoplasty, chin implant, neck sculpting, liposuction under chin and abdomen, removal of fat from lower eyes, mole removal, LASIK eye surgery, one porcelain crown, 15 porcelain veneers, tissue re-contouring of his lower gums and Zoom whitening.

Now, David’s apparently a really nice guy, doing good work, and was unhappy enough with his appearance to risk national exposure as an insecure guy, with some serious image problems. Well, ok, he does have Tom Keifer as an “idol”, and that does speak to some other problems with David’s psyche but what the hell.

So, two things.

One. David is going to find out, sooner rather than later probably, that appearance means nothing, especially to the person wearing the face. What does matter, of course, is what’s behind the face. David does valuable work, and I hope he does it well. The hands he holds, the hearts he touches, the minds he helps find growth, will never worry about David’s eyelids or droopy chin.

Two. If 20 million people have nothing better to do with their time, no higher ideal, no deeper thought than to sit and stare at a television screen while some near-middle-aged rocker wanna be with his priorities way the hell out of alignment with what really matters publicly humiliates himself, then it may be time for a purge.

Of course, I still like the movie Dogma, so who am I to talk….

And as an aside, if you ever do commit 135 minutes to watching Dogma on DVD, try this with Disc 1:

Select Scene Selections
Hit More until you're at the last page
Hit the number '3' twice on your remote control
Sit back and watch 'How Jay Thinks Kevin Directs' as acted out by the Jay and Silent Bob action figure theatre.

NOTE: You may have to hit 'ENTER' after each number on some players.

I love Easter Eggs.
I mostly hate network TV.