Thursday, June 29, 2017

Blog: Recycling


I noticed my town asked for the shredding to not go into single-stream recycling bin. What's up with that? They want us to take it to shred day. Really, who has time for that?

Turns out they have great reasons:

(1) Shredding breaks up the paper into very short fibers which downgrades the quality of the paper and they get less money for it. Since it is mixed in and clings with all the other paper, any bundle with shredded paper now is the lowest quality. Towns are trying to lower taxes through recycling, and so the shredding is money out of the taxpayer pocket, out of your pocket.

(2) Remember I just mention shred clings? Yeah, it clings to the machinery doing the separation of all the single-stream recycling, breaking them down more often, kicking paper dust in the air as an environmental (and fire) hazard to workers, and really screwing up everything the minute it gets wet. All this means the machinery is stopped more often for maintenance and needs replacing more often. Where does the maintenance and replacement money come from - well, hopefully the selling of the recycling materials. But it also means that less money gets put back into the tax bucket so the bucket has to be filled by other means, like property taxes. Again, money out of your pocket.

We all have learned plastic bags don't go into recycling - for the same reasons as shred. Now I need to add shred to the list of "no-go's" in my head and take it to the special shred day.

A really good video on recycling is below. It taught me crushing cans and plastic bottles is also undesirable.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Flash: I am Not the Crazy One

Image acquired from the Internet Hive Mind

Many people complain about morning people - us "perky" people who get up during daylight hours and function like it's something humans have been made to do through hundreds of thousands of years of evolution. Truly the weird people are the night ones.

True life story:

*ring, ring*

"hhhello?" I ask, my throat scratchy.

"Let's go to the Beach," the perky person on the other end states.

"Beach?" not really understanding the word. I peer at the glowing red numbers on my nightstand, squinting. "It's 11:45 ... at night."

"Yes, we can get there in an hour. No traffic. It will be great - the boardwalk is open, lots to do."

.... Real conversation ... what I remember of it.

And I did go to the beach that night. When the dawn came in, I woke up enough to drive us home. *stupid night owl friends* - love you guys, but sometimes it is really, really hard.

(words 157, first published 6/25/2017)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Flash: Political Suicide

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at

The staffer ran after the Republican state senator as she approached the legislature floor still arguing his case in urgent whispered tones. “Please don’t do this ma’am, it’s political suicide.”

“Brett, shhh.” Grabbing his arm, Senator Evans stepped into one of the many side room surrounding the main floor and pulled her chief of staff after her, a man who represented her entire staff located in the capital office. She had two other loyal people operating out of her offices in the county seat and the largest city within her district.

Brett, Margaret, and Corrine had been with her since she first ran for office after her husband died. Twenty-one years later they still were with her; their careers and hers were indistinguishable. What she was about to do might mean they were all unemployed in three years. She hoped the window was enough to prove her right, but some members of the party would never forgive her for crossing the line. It was practically guaranteed someone would run against her in the primary if she did move forward with presenting the bill; just how big a someone and how much they are supported by "grass-roots" and backed by money would depend on how angry the state party was.

“We’ve been over this.” Rebecca hissed quietly adjusting her briefcase strap.

Brett raked his hand through his thinning blonde hair. “We talked about it Friday in general terms, but now you are going full steam with it.”

“I talked to a lot of people this weekend Brett, when I went home.” Rebecca gripped Brett’s shoulders. “It needs to be done.”

“Were the constituents for or against it?” Brett asked, knowing Rebecca didn’t always talk to the same people he did.

Rebecca shook her head then met his eyes. “I didn’t talk to any of the constituents, per say. I did my research. It’s what people pay their representative to do; research things they don’t have time to investigate.”

He deflated and dropped his eyes, knowing nothing would change her mind. “We need to explain to people, get the word out, before you support the bill with Senator Wilson.”

“It’s more important to stand united with the world now than to wait for the news to trickle to our people.”

“Even if it means going against the stated policy of our President?” Brett lifted his eyes a moment, bringing the Big Elephant into the room.

“Yes, yes it does,” she dropped her hands.

Brett repeated, “It’s political suicide.”

The senator gave a half-smile. “Good thing I am not a politician then.”

Brett blinked. “Ma’am, you’ve been in politics for over two decades.”

“Let me let you in on a secret, Brett.” Rebecca leaned forward for a moment. “I may be in politics, but I am not a politician.”

Brett ran his hand through his hair again. He had been an intern helping with her first campaign, just a freshman in college trying to grab some extra credit working for an old lady of twenty-five burning for justice after her husband died in combat. He had watched her raise three children alone while serving in the State Senate. He supported her, fought with her, cried with her; he knew her. He 
waited for the other shoe to drop.

“You see a politician worries about his job first, being elected the next time and the time after that. To me politics is only a tool.” She shrugged. “If I lose the tool, I will be disappointed, because I can do a lot with the tool but in the end what is being built with the tool is more important than the tool itself. This …” she patted her briefcase “… needs to be built.”

She continued, “What is the point of all this if I am too scared to act?”

The man nodded his capitulation. This is why he had followed her for twenty years instead of breaking off for his own political career. He watched her rush out of the room 
because of the delay he caused, hurrying to make the session before it started. 

He followed a statesman, not a politician, and that terrified him as much as made him proud.

(words 699, first published 6/18/2017)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Editing Rant: Distance

Image courtesy of nitinut at

Check the simple stuff.
If you have internet, check distances and dates. People know this stuff.

A book I just read - the main character has "lived her entire life within a seventy-five mile radius of her small town" according to the blurb on the back. Two locations were named - the small town and a well-known third-tier city. I searched these two locations because passing off someone as a country hick that lived for an extended period of time with over a million other people annoyed me. Turns out the locations were 110 miles apart.

The book has a bunch of other issues with fact-checking and continuity. But this, THIS, inability to get distance right really, REALLY bugged me. All they needed to say was one hundred miles, not seventy-five.

Fact checking previously have been discussed

1. Rosemary / Know your topic
2. Other Cool Blogs / Futurama date check
3. Distances

Hint: If I keep coming back to a topic in the Editing Rants, (A) It's Important and (B) People Keep Getting It Wrong.

Other Cool Blogs: Pictures

Image acquired without permission from (multiple) Facebook postings

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Book Review: The Big Bad 2

Book Cover from Amazon

The Big Bad II, an anthology published by Falstaff Books.

Everybody loves the bad guys, and this second edition of The Big Bad brings you more to love! A collection of best-selling fantasy and horror writers brings you twenty-four all-new tales of vampires, demons, ghosts, zombies, and the most terrifying monsters of all - humans. Crack open the pages, if you dare, and explore two dozen tales of humor and horror by some of the brightest names in the business!

Much more consistent in story quality than the first book (but slightly less daring), Mr. Hartness and Ms. Leverett seem to have their strides with their second anthology of Big Bad.

So often we see the put-upon minority, the bad guys, get trampled, locked up, even killed by good guys and government agents (unless, of course, those are the bad guys). It is a pleasure seeing them not only survive, but thrive ... I think.

Feels like Justice to Me by Edmund R. Schubert may be one of the best justifications I have ever read for someone doing something unusual. An amazing character piece! This one is a five star. It's about half-way through the anthology.

And Stuart Jaffee for his Portrait of a Psychopathic Man wins the "what was I thinking reading this anthology at midnight" award. Really I was reading this anthology at midnight - WHAT was I THINKING?

Quick rundown on some of the other 24 stories

A Family Affair - by Selah Janel - So nice to see a son take after his mother. I can see him growing up to be just like her ... she should be worried.

Old Nonna - by Gail Z Martin - A lovely twist of an ancient Russian story transferred to mountain folk everywhere.
A Day in the Life - by James R. Tuck - Some days are better than others, even for the fiends of Hell. But you know, a good working environment can help make the difference.
Overkill - by Sara Taylor Woods - Word of advice, don't make a Southern waitress from a redneck bar angry. She will bless your heart.
A Fitter Subject for Study - by Sarah Joy Adams - All in the name of science. (I can soooo see this as the first stage of a Call of Cth game. ... Little surprised the editors choose to have two letter-based shorts, but they are both horrific fun.)
Ghost and Sands - by Jay Requard - Another short about Mr. Conjer whom we met in the first Big Bad Anthology. Pleased to see him still in business.
The House on Cherry Hill by Emily Lavin Leverett - Some old houses are more than just money pits.
Phone Home - by E.D. Guy - A sci-fi! So much of the horror genre is historic or contemporary; so nice to see one proving bad guys continue to destroy humanity in the future.
I Think of Snow - by J. Matthew Saunders - This author's beautiful language perfectly capture a love interest (ummm, maybe not the right description).
and finally ...
The Cully - by D.B. Jackson - A Sephira origin story ... enough said, if you like the Thieftaker series.