Thursday, June 30, 2016

Construction Time Again

I’ve been reading a lot, lately, about the Winchester Mystery house.

According to legend, the widow and heir to the Winchester fortune, Sarah Winchester, believed that she shared her home with the spirit of everyone ever killed by a Winchester rifle, and was compelled by this belief to continually add to her home. Rooms, wings, fireplaces, stairways, basements, elevators, beyond meaningful utility, beyond sanity, without rhyme, reason or any thought as to what purpose the finished building might serve her.

Because she did not intend that the building ever be finished, and so she had no conception of “finished” as far as the building went. Rather she worked to continually confound the spirits of the dead, hoping that they would become more and more lost as her home became more and more labyrinthine, hoping that they would never find their way through the maze she was continually constructing, to where she lived, like the Minotaur of old, at that maze’s centre.

In essence, she believed that if construction ever stopped, even for a moment, the ghosts would get her.

She was quite mad, obviously.

And yet, as I read, I couldn’t help but think about how much damn roadwork goes on here in Calgary.

Because it does at times seem as though the city’s constantly working on some major construction project or other and, while Mayor Nenshi doesn’t seem mad, the maddest among us never do.

Or, if he’s sane, perhaps he knows something the rest of us don’t, with regard to the occult.

I can’t off the top of my head think of anything that might have drawn the spirits of the dead to our town, but I suspect that were they here, among us, the roadwork outside my work right now would certainly confound them.

So perhaps there’s more rhyme and reason to the endless construction than I give my hometown credit for…

Although, if so, this would, in light of the fact that I’m not directly involved in planning or executing the construction myself, lead to a rather uncomfortable question.
 Am I living in the house? Or am I simply one of its ghosts?

Friday, June 24, 2016

#SexMarxists

...I recorded my Friday Flash this week, by popular request. I hope that you enjoy it! Sex Marxists! Dissolving the basis for social cohesion, erasing boundaries, thinking happily of the day retroprimitives are not in charge of dandelions. Young people are being sold, youth experimented upon like rats, they will be impoverished. The character of the damned is permanently fixed in rebellion. Sex Marxists! Locked in a danger vortex, the materialistic media exposing this most socialist regime. Two ungoverned passions intersected with deadly consequence in despair over millions wasted. The stupidly wicked lower earth dwellers scream volumes, tearing decent people apart over placating sexual perversity. Imagine the vulnerable youth listeners hearing. Sex Marxists! Those ingrown ingrates who prefer traitors to patriots, throwing a shovel full of dirt in the face of Jesus. Self-identified godless materialists, retroprimitive luddites with razor-suction knives, deny all cause and effect relationships despite intimidation and coercion. Someone put a cold cloth on the fevered brow of rampant socialist utopians, for my people have committed a double evil: Crimes against superior mobility. How socialist is the break-up? How long can we survive? This is not a safe world to be in. Sex Marxists! History books will record the unbounded aspirational hopes, generations of students schooled in infinite mischief continue to grow and prosper, driven by the forces that seek to suppress. If you want full potential in life, dynamic prosperity and smooth and noiseless functioning, it is our behavior which is the basis of our earned respect or loss of it. If we have not the virtue to sustain freedom, surely we shall not have the patience to endure servitude. Fight the ethical black hole. Sex Marxists! Malware bug in the Tower of Babel! The idolatry adults show to the young, a common technique of cultural Marxism, fill our youth’s heads, putting the vulnerable at risk to blow their mind and spirits, clearly pressured by demonic impetus to know weighty questions like where civilization came from. It should be made evident that this kind of servile, obsessive-compulsive bootlicking makes no sense. Extreme stupidity dominates, it is the biggest stick the greedy, animalistic pack killers wield. They have acceded to moral stupidity on the city’s slide to Babylon, a cesspool of corruption, and the envious continue to stagnate and wither away, reducing the returns from productive effort. And here, this charade should stop. Time to move on, to progress. Social conflict will be generated, sending disturbing signals of non-compliance. The powerful extension of personal agency feed minds oblivious to cultural Marxism a well-deserved warning to anyone who dares to challenge the powerful shapers of na├»ve perceptors of reality. Graft a tail on the man who thinks he is a dog. Balkanize fifth avenue. In the land of retroprimitives, it is morally superior to consume. It is our patriotic duty to mourn, daily. There are many regrets in hell, but never repentance. Sex Marxists.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Uber

Everyone agreed it was evil, but evil was kind of their brand by that point.

They were already applying nothing by way of background checks as part of their hiring practices, the pay they offered was, once you worked out the math and expenses, well below minimum wage for their drivers, and while we’d bitched about surge pricing we hadn’t actually stopped using the companies services, sorry, the app’s services, they’d made it very clear that they were an app rather than a corporation, and as such were not bound by labor laws or regulation the same way a corporation was.

So yes, they already provided a service where, for prices that spiked randomly through the day, a driver who earned less than the legal minimum wage would drive you to were you wanted to go, probably, and for all you know would murder you once you arrived there, with legal steps taken to distance them from any consequence of the results of their policies. They were evil, they were an evil company, sorry, an evil app, and we’d at some point just kind of accepted that.

In our defense, cabs are also horrible, so our standard with regard to this sort of thing had already been abysmally low.

Nonetheless, corporate malfeasance level evil is a completely different thing from actually sending suicide bombers out to blow up trains in an attempt to drum up business by disrupting public transit.

And we were shocked, at first, that they would do this. First because privately held companies had not, to that point, resorted to acts of actual terrorism, at least ones that were public knowledge, and second, because how did they even find people willing to blow themselves up and kill hundreds of innocent bystanders on behalf of an app-based rideshare program?

I mean, on behalf of a religion, or a political ideology, is one thing, it’s horrible but I at least get it, but on behalf of an app-based rideshare program? I found it, frankly, bizarre. And also horrifying, as at the time I took the train to work each day.

Watching bodies being pulled out of the wreckage, after that first attack, I was in shock, watching slack-jawed as cameras panned over bloody debris and pundits speculated as to who might have been behind this brutal, senseless attack.

We assumed it was a terrorist organization, because it was an organized act of terrorism, and that’s who generally tends to commit those. But before long, rumors started spreading….

And, when their CEO finally went in front of the cameras and explained that no, his company was not behind the bombing, because he didn’t own a company, he only owned an app that allowed suicide bombers to find their way to public transit hubs in exchange for significantly less than the legal minimum wage, I was furious. We all were. There were very clear laws against both this sort of shady business practice and murder, and I couldn’t even begin to process the fact that he thought so little of the people who worked for him, and also the people who’s remains were being pulled out of the wreckage he’d caused, sorry, facilitated.

We were all angry, every one of us, and we demanded that our leaders do something about this, arrest him, arrest the whole board of directors who’d signed off on this whole horrifying campaign, do SOMETHING to keep us safe. And our leaders did what they could, or at minimum claimed they were doing so.

Because, by keeping the attack at arms length, legally there was nothing to connect the company that owned the rights to the app to the actual terrorist attacks, they were two legally distinct entities, and the authorities’ hands were, from that point of view, tied.

I have zero doubt the sheer weight of campaign donations thrown around the previous election cycle had had something to do with the relative lack of response as well, but I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist…

“Well,” we told one another, “I’m at very least never going to use their service again.”

And, as we said it, we meant it genuinely. Though for most of us it was only a few weeks ‘til we were using their app (the rideshare one, not the suicide bomber one) once more.

I mean, what else could we do?

We have places to go, after all.

And it’s not as though we could take public transit, I mean people suicide bomb trains, public transit is very dangerous.


And really, sometimes a little creative destruction is just what an industry needs…

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Weekly Prompt Story: Multiple Prompts

http://oneadayuntilthedayidie.com/?p=31819

The Show
By Christopher Munroe

A single ferret, in the big city, trying to have it all.

Living, working, occasionally disemboweling other small rodents, life was hard, but she knew that as long as she remained virtuous she WOULD, in the end, learn how to balance work and her tempestuous love life.

As produced by David E. Kelly.

Long story short, the show was NOT good, and only made eight episodes before being cancelled. Frankly, it’s failure’s no surprise. What surprises is that it was greenlit in the first place. Who on this planet thought it MIGHT work?


Somebody at NBC is filled with regret….

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Gun Control

If anything, I was surprised that it took as long as it did for the gun control people to decide they were going picket NRA meetings whilst packing heat.

I mean, if a legal right is truly protected, it’s protected for the people who think it’s bugshit insane just as much as it is for the people who support it, so there’s never been anything actually stopping anti-gun protestors arriving where the National Rifle Association was hosting its big annual convention with AK47s slung over their shoulders and signs reading “Why am I allowed to do this?” or “Surely this can’t possibly make any of you feel any safer!”

The news networks had a lot of fun with the story, it’s a fun story to cover, and the anchors bordered on gleeful as they reported the heavily armed people protesting the fact that they were allowed to be quite so heavily armed. Watching from home, even I had to admit that the whole thing was at minimum faintly amusing.

I kept watching the coverage, at the very least, for most of the afternoon, giggling offhandedly to myself at the irony of the juxtaposition.

Until the NRA people came out to remind the protestors that they, too, had brought guns.

Nobody’s entirely sure who fired the first shot...

Anyway, dozens were killed and steps are being taken as we speak to make sure that similar tragedies are, in the future, prevented happening ever again.

The steps, I have no doubt, will include even more guns for even more people.


That ought to work…

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Weekly Prompt Story: Your Earliest Memory

http://oneadayuntilthedayidie.com/?p=31809

Memories
By Christopher Munroe

It’s said that your earliest memory’s the one that matters most. It’s the one that shapes you, going forward, turns you into the person you eventually become. It’s the memory you can’t escape, because it’s the one that, more than any other, IS you.

That’s why they’re called “Formative Years.”

For me, it’s my aunt, in the early eighties, dressed as though she were Boy George, singing Blondie to me in the crib.

One way, or another…

I’m going to find you…

I’m going to get’cha, get’cha, get’cha, get’cha….


And that is, essentially, everything you need to know about me.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Text

You never know when life will test you.

You could be going about a perfectly ordinary day, expecting nothing at all of note to happen when, out of the blue, you’re faced with a character defining decision, the sort of decision that sets you forward on a path from which there is no turning back, and you might, caught flat footed by this decision, not know how even to begin facing up to the challenge that’s ahead of you.

For example, here’s a text I received while at work earlier today:

“Hello there…

We need Kenton’s jersey # to send in for team picture information. Can you please text it to me tonight if possible.

We confirmed all the jersey #’s at the game last night. Did you get the emails about the pictures this Sunday?

Thx so much.

Jennifer.”

And it is in moments like this where you learn who you truly are, if you are a good person or not, how well you can be trusted when the chips are down and the stakes are highest. Because how you respond to a text such as this truly is who you are in the dark, it’s a chance to hurt a stranger with zero consequence, if you’re the sort of person small and mean enough to take it.

What I wrote back was:

“I’m afraid you sent this to the wrong number. Sorry.”

What I did NOT write back was:

“Yes! Sorry, for some reason I thought I’d responded to that email, I guess I must have forgotten.

Kenton’s jersey number is 47, I hope I got back to you in time.

See you Sunday!”

And I’m sure I could have pulled it off, too, if I’d been committed at all to the conversation. After all, Jennifer, whoever the hell she is, would never actually have to look at me, and would be unlikely to follow up with an actual phone call. Via text I could easily “Yes, and…” any questions she might have and, in the end, convince her that whoever she’d meant to send that text truly had been the person who’d received it. She’d pass my made up number on to the photographer, and be genuinely shocked on Sunday when Kenton didn’t show up for the team pictures.

I, meanwhile, would have gotten my few moments amusement out of hurting a stranger and then gone about my day, never to think of the exchange again, confident that my moment of pointless cruelty would have no meaningful consequence of any kind for me.

I could have done this thing, just to be a dick.

And I’m the first to admit that it was tempting.

It’s a very human instinct, I think, to mess with somebody just because you can, for the sheer amusement of doing so. It’s something primal within us that makes us want to reach out and flick someone, either metaphorically or literally, across the back of their head, and I think it’s something we’ve all, even the best among us, experienced at some point in our lives.

But I am not a being of instinct, I do not let instinct control me. I am a man of intellect, of empathy, of compassion, and today when the chips were down I proved it. I could have fucked with Jennifer, but I didn’t. Today I proved that I am, above all else, an honest man.

I was not a total bag of flaccid cocks to a complete stranger earlier today.

And yes, I would like a damned medal.


I would like one very much...