Trigger's Brush

Mental health funding is being cut in the UK.
"You've got the stress of the exams, you've got the stress of the bullying together. Young people find it easier to hide behind a computer screen and they can do whatever they want."
-A victim of bullying who came out the far side now training to be a counsellor at 19, speaking on C4 news.

You ever notice how bullies try to turn something into a trigger for their victims? Inflict someone to an hour of bagpipes to induce a fear of Scots, for instance.
PUT IT AWAY, yeh dirty aul bully!

My idea is an abusive father who sits in front of his toddler child in his high chair. And he just repeats "Mind...the gap!" over and over, and slaps the kid in the face. Two decades later, after getting away from it all, the son has rising anxiety on the London tube when he hears the same repetitive announcement. And he has no idea why he's having the panic attack.


Continued from Chapter 27.
In my day, if you were self-medicating as a teen because of your “issues”, your parents wouldn’t hold an intervention. Instead, what they’d do is pretend you had a mental condition that was worse than the problems you were already facing, and they'd keep pecking at you like a pair of eejits over the course of years and years, when really - in all fairness - it was outright viciousness. 
This is often what happened to my more bibulous or opiate-addicted siblings, such as Larry. 
He got off the drink - he didn't like being observed drinking his beers, or masturbating or whatever else, even in the comfort of his compound beyond the colony of the Tuberculoids with his harem of wives - and he got off the phone with the recording company, who gave him castiron guarantees, and he penned a few number one smash hits in the end, his Summer Cantatas reaching across the oceans to become hits in MNET Korea and elsewhere.

But as the sole heir to the family crockery – if it was extant, back in blown-up Ireland – I was damned if I was going to be classed as a similar lunatic by any man. 

These were the rather ungracious views I held as I climbed out of the well-pool sewer at Camden Market and found myself at the stall of a Pretend Antique Dealer. 

Just as I pulled aside the man-hold cover – so called because it kept the men in at their work on the shitty facilities provision – who should cross my path – or rather her foot planting atop my head – only Ai Bang Mi Fa Kin Ni her very self.
I caught her off-balance on my emergence from the ground, and she leaned for support from the man with whom she was holding hands – with whom the self-same man I’d seen her in the boat in the Irish Sea, whom with.
“Paddy!” she screamed in delight, hugging me. “This my husband!”
I looked at the man – and recognised him twice! – for not only had he been in the rowing boat with Ai Bang, but I now realised that he was – in point of fact, seeing the same groany deadness about him – that he was in fact the zombie Chinaman from my movie trailer in Tír na nÓg!
“Talk about continuity! He was dead?” I asked her.
“How you know?” Ai Bang’s eyes scrunched up.
“"Well, you did tell me he was undead. But I saw him…in…” I frowned and counted on my fingers, face strained in recollection, “…37...and carry the 3... in Cloud Cuckoo Land.”
The Pretend Antique Dealer stepped forward. He had an Asiatic appearance about him too.
"Can I interest you in some Réal Dootle?" he asked in a Spanish accent.
"Is that like Royal Doulton?" I asked.
"Yes. The same."
"No it's not," I insisted, dusting off the acumen I had acquired climbing out of the sewer in preparation as I picked up a gravy boat. 
"Wait, Paddy. We need this man's help," Ai Bang said.
Continued in CHAPTER 28 PART 2, so it is.

The Wyndermyre Memoirs by CeDany

CeDany has a web presence from where you can download a fantasy book series, The Wyndermyre Memoirs, featuring a family from a different realm.
That star's system and its calendrical similarities and differences to Earth's are outlined, and (at least some of) the residents on that planet appear to have more in common with the Ancient Greek or Scandinavian gods than with us mere mortals. The fantasy elements feature something of a genealogy.

Further background is detailed, linking our own blood types (A, AB, O, etc) to what could closely align with a clever "Twelve Tribes of Israel"-type concept.
It doesn't explain why we have blood types, but the assignation of a deity and descendants to each blood type is a nice touch.
The series is told from multiple perspectives, with an epistolary form that stretches back half a millennium, featuring raids on villages from a slightly prochronistic "Viking" class underpinning a modern-day setting featuring a college-bound heiress.
The laws of the period are invoked for making and staking claims on women, and full moon dates cited with an exactitude that suggests what goes on above has something to do what goes on below.
There's lots of entertaining back-story and mythos revealed in this epic, and the work appears to be inspired by the legends of multiple cultures, primarily European.
You can get the books free here.

Dear Mr Mace

Dear Mr Mace,
I appreciate that your name is the start of the word "Mason" in the phonetic alphabet I'm familiar with. 

WTF, like?
I was however most surprised to see some very wacked out, dervish-like esoteric bliss from some of your other clientele.
I only visited your store to have a look around for some tasty conventional product you'd expect - not quinoa-and-tofu shape-throwing.
I's outrageoused.
Voucha for Trauma

Dear Msrsrs Trauma,
I see from your name and, indeed, your non-pink hue, that you're clearly one of these blummin' innagrins. If you come over here, you must assimilate.
I think you have, Mrserzs Trauma. I think you have. Why so?
Because we CAUGHT you on the CCTV no less than five seconds later, providing your OWN support on KEYS.
Not only that, but ACCEPTING A BLESSING, NO LESS, from our tiger god, KEWLTONY, pointing down at you from a hole in the blummin' ceiling with his paw! What's THAT about? No, seriously. I have NO idea!
Talk about the fingers of the gods indeed, if you want to. We would be most amenable because we're all so very eso-tastic.
So that's all. 
If I hear from you again, I will live up to my name's ACTUAL meaning, and give you a blast of the pepper-sprays!
Yours etc, etc, etc
Mr. Mace.

You're His Auntie!

Well, winter is here, everybody! Here's my new song -

YOU'RE HIS AUNTIE!!! (Lyrics below.)

Oh Dany girl, the wights, the wights are coming
From glen to glen and down the mountain side
The summer's gone and all the flowers are dying
It's you, it's you must go on Drogon’s hide
But come ye back for your unknowing nephew
For he is kin, tainted, not white with Snow
Tis he'll be there in sunshine or in shadow
Oh Dany Girl, oh Dany Girl,
you’re his aunty!
You’re his aunty.

Mad scientist to destroy planet: Breaking ClickBait

A scientist uploaded a photo of his wicker chair's pattern to Stanford University's Online Encyclopedia of Philosophy and claimed it was an atom. What happened next will likely cause the deaths of many billions.
Paleoanthopologists had been conducting research into the age of a piece of anal bone that is thought to be an early modern human, the oldest fossil of its kind. The rectal area was found at a site in South Africa where there were other skeletal remains - thousands of them avian, and hundreds of them elephantine or mammoth-like. But there was only one piece of human remains - now known as the "Leakey Gickerbone".
A mad scientist decided to prank the Stanford-based professors in the course of his research into world domination. Using the pretext of a discussion on a forum at Stanford's online encyclopedia, he uploaded a close-up shot of the seat of his wicker chair, alongside a paper claiming it to be a photo of an atom taken under ultra-high magnification, insisting that the scientists' testing methods were wrong and their dating of the prehistorical human asshole questionable.

Philosophers shared this information, highlighting how error-prone science can often be. However, once the paleobiologists got wind of the criticism - something the rogue scientist counted on, given that one of the philosophers was a close friend of one of the fossil scholars - they insisted that their methods were not flawed. Following the mad scientist's logic, they nevertheless accepted his suggestions and undertook further testing.
But what the paleoanthropologists then unlocked was a virus that will likely destroy dozens of species across the planet - including at least half of the human population.

Through Fluorine, Uranium and Nitrogen experimentation - which scientists describe as being similar but more accurate than carbon dating - they inadvertently "interfered with" a long extinct virus's RNA strands that had been lurking within the ossified marrow - exciting it back to life.
How did this happen? The mad scientist certainly knew what he was doing: He claims to have already developed a vaccine for the virus, which he says will cost world governments many billions if they want to save lives.
But first some background: For more about Fluorine, Uranium and Nitrogen (FUN) testing, and how the mad scientist came up with his devious scheme, have a look at the original FUN test that revived the virus.

Snowden and Trump and the Grey Area

“We’re living in a time today where journalism is occurring in an environment of extraordinary threat. As official sources of information for the American citizen, the American voter, begin to dry
up, confidential sources, people in government who know the reality of what’s going on, particularly when the actions of government start to go out of bounds, are critical now. This is America. When something goes wrong, don’t we want somebody to stand up and say something about it?”
~Edward Snowden, pre-Trump
Trump has called Edward Snowden a traitor.
Snowden once said:
“Every decision I have made, I can defend.”

I'm really confused. I know the president's only allegedly RAPED a few CHILDREN, or got babies to piss on his head or something, but you know the way they got Al Capone for tax evasion instead of
-extortion, etc?
There are a lot of grey areas in the hypocrisy of this Trump chap and his team. 
There's the standard politics that's par for the course.
Like his campaign promise to keep Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security? He is failing to keep that.
Meanwhile, profiting from his White House staff and security staying at his own resorts is a grey area because he has temporarily handed management of his businesses over to his kids. 
When Obama played golf, he had to pay the clubs. The clubs did not pay him. Still, grey area. Emolluments schellmell... schmell you later.

Trump's treasonous collusion with Russia is a grey area because no one's actually at war with Russia.
Trump advocated the hacking of Hillary's emails in public campaign speeches before the election.

Does that not suggest that he wanted to show how all-powerful he was? That even the Russians were taking orders from him? He in effect said If they are hacking into things, they should hack Hillary's emails.
And he calls whistleblowers like Snowden - who would speak out against Russia, even from Moscow, if the Kremlin needed to be criticised - traitors? 

Sacking Comey and others is a grey area when Trump HIMSELF ADMITS he has sacked people because of the Russia investigation. He wanted people fired because they were investigating the interference of Russians in the election, and Russian links to his campaign. HE has SAID THAT.
Is that not perverting the course of justice? Grey area how?
People on the campaign team like Jeff Sessions, Jared Kushner and Don Jr all said or swore that they had NOT been in contact with the Russians, when they had. The questions put to them did not relate to "improper contacts" - as Kushner has spun it.

The questions related to MEETINGS with RUSSIANS.
Jeff Sessions said he had had no contact with Russia when he had met the Russian ambassador more than once. When you've been caught in a lie like that about meeting them bad Russians, you can't backtrack and say "Well I just mean no improper meetings." And they were improper. Trump's team discussed the possibility of setting up a secret channel of communication with the Kremlin from New York. So the Trump administration-elect wanted a channel of secret communications with the most powerful and dangerous government in the world when it comes to acting against US interests, and in spying on the United States and its citizens, over the last 80 years.
The Trumps have completely undermined the US intelligence services by siding against them with Russia, regarded (often by the same Right who affiliate with Trump) as the biggest threat to US and world freedom since World War 2.
Obama pointed out that Snowden's whistleblowing revelations helped to improve US intelligence services.
But how is any or all of the Trump administration's collaboration with Putin a GREY AREA?

Ashby Holler by Jamie Zakian Book Review

Jamie Zakian's Ashby Holler, available at Amazon, features the intrigues and political machinations of a transport company that is a front for a criminal enterprise. In more than one sense, Ashby Holler's a lot like Game of Thrones transplanted to an American subculture. It seems at times as subtle, sex-filled and brutal.

The equivalents of earning of stripes, gang-hazing, and rising up through the mob are here, just tweaked with a wonderful originality that has evaded this reviewer in the past. I have yet to see Sons of Anarchy, for instance, and if there are similar ideas in other entertainments, they've passed me by.

Sasha Ashby is one of the younger members of this family-owned business, keen to become Sergeant-at-Arms. If she's to enforce order within this group, however, she has to overcome prejudice against those who know she got a severe facial beating a few years previously from one of the other employees/gang members.

This bunch parties like the Irish, with drunken scraps playing side-show to main-character sexual interactions during birthday celebrations or other events. Characters end up in bed together after sidestepping such brawls on the way to the bedroom. Sasha has to contend with her own bisexuality which will not be tolerated if made public knowledge. Alongside Sasha's sapphic fun, there's a love triangle involving brothers. Relationship status? It's complicated.
Adorable quote: Audrey Hepburn meets some stabby madwoman!

All the while, agendas are being woven into a delicately-plotted narrative that involves trucking, shipments and cabin conversation that explores the often-changing dynamics of a rich cast of characters.
Get this book here.
Follow Jamie Zakian on Twitter.

Trump and Golf Carts

"I wouldn't leave the White House. Obama always leaves the White House."~Trump, pre-election, on one of the many occasions he criticised Barack Obama for taking too many vacations.

How about Trump walks around the golf course instead of forcing the Secret Service to spend $60,000 on golf carts?  
At Mar-o-lingo (or whatever it's called), the Secret Service has spent more than $34,100 on golf carts, according to CBS. That's many times more than what the Secret Service refused to pay for Colombian prostitutes under Obama.
They should refuse to pay for golf-carts at resorts owned by Donald Trump, given that he's 
1. the owner of the resorts at which he vacations.
2. has a reputation for refusing to pay for services he's already received. 
It's like a karmic tax.

Like the rest of us, Trump's getting very fat. He needs to do one of two things to lose some weight: 
1. Start walking around these golf courses so that the Secret Service doesn't have to put in purchase orders for golf cart rentals, or
2. have a stroke (no golf-puns intended).
With a stroke, he could look more like the disabled journalists he likes to take off in his onstage skits, and the weight would fly off as he wouldn't be able to feed himself. 
[Post-stroke Trump reaching for chocolate.]
"Goo goo gah gah!"
[Nurse pulling candy away.]
"No no no, Mr President! A pinch on the lips is an inch on the hips!"

A stroke is unlikely. His NY doctor claimed that Trump was the fittest potential president EVER before he won the election. 
Given that FDR was probably in better shape than the gorgeous real-life billionaire Tony Stark, is that not a false medical document that Trump submitted? 
Could the Democrats look into that and maybe impeach him?

(And it doesn't sound like the doctor wrote that pre-employment fringe-science medical report. It sounds like Trump told him to write that while he waited outside the doctor's surgery in a limo. Because that's what happened. Trump was probably too busy at the time explaining to the Russians how it's very probably a criminal offence to hack into the DNC email servers.)

Has Trump taken a salary yet? Can he be held to his promise that he wouldn't take a salary as president? Apparently he donated his first quarter salary of $70K to the National Parks - but he cut funding to the Department of the Interior (which runs the National Parks) by billions. So it's swings and roundabouts - but if you find them in a National Park, don't use them as they cannot be maintained.

So while Trump's time is taken doing all of his AMAZING work (not) criticising torch-throwing Nazis, withdrawing from climate change agreements, organising press covfefes, explaining how he's going to kill terrorists in Afghanistan, gutting services to battered women's refuges in the states where lots of folk voted for him (which Obama maintained funding to despite being SO terrible, from the White House AND the golf course) and banning transgender people from the Armed Forces, he also needs to WALK from hole to hole, and waive the costs of golf-carts for his own staff.

Tina Fey and JOKES

“I hope [the demonstrating Nazis] get the ham salad kicked out of them by a bunch of drag queens. Coz you know what a drag queen still is? A six foot four black man.”
-Tina Fey on SNL

The joke here has been parsed as offensive to people of colour because it plays into the notion that black men are a threat.

But what if I suggested that that joke is offensive because it conflates the struggles of the transgender and the African-American communities? Can I say “struggles”?
Are African-Americans more homophobic than society more broadly? 
You hear it in the rap. 
They tend to be more church- or mosque-going, as a group. 
Many of them may regard homosexuality as a sin. 
Some have spoken out of their distaste about such conflations, that the fight for marriage equality should not be equated with the civil rights fight of African Americans. And here’s Tina, implying that many tall black men dress up as women, or that the majority of drag queens are tall black men.

Do the thought police have insight into how wide of the mark they sound when attacking Fey’s comedy?
(Because it's as wide as I am here now. Or maybe you think these are valid points?)

Perhaps Fey is uncomfortable in her own skin. She can make such a joke about people she regards as allies before the morality police wheel out the guillotine.
She hasn't done enough? You don't see her protesting?
Who’ll be left though, to protest?

This same thought-police force of angelically decent human beings, and their soapy-mouthed scruples who scream blue murder when Benedict Cumberbatch uses the word "colored"?
Am I missing the point? 
Maybe. But am I not wasting everyone's time? 
Because it’s exhausting listening to suggestions that the work of Tina Fey, Frankie Boyle or Sarah Silverman is problematic.

These thought-police seem hellbent on alienating their allies.
And they're certainly not going to win over people from the far side if they're that wide of the mark on this side.
The McCarthy-era HUAC crap ended the careers of writers and artists and actors and filmmakers.
Do these intolerant people not feel - if and when they gang up on a target for using gallows humour, for example, under the belief that they might shut him or her down - do they not feel a rich sense of self-disgust, shame and embarrassment for destroying the careers of people who aren't actually racist or misogynist?
There is no place for such people in their worldview.
These censorious people - who come from a place where there's an assumption that we don't stand in judgement - are entirely judgemental. 
They go hunting, like a flock of rabid sheep, through the historic tweets of Trevor Noah.
They're not calm. They're not rational. They ought to be avoided whenever possible.
They seem bellicose, embattled, and hyped-up in a way that makes them lash out at the nearest, easiest targets for their nastiness: People on the same side.
They're the panicked, cliquey rabble in the aftermath of a Revolution that has not even begun. And if they can live with themselves, it’s still summertime.