Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Milkman comes from McDonalds

I love this article by George Monbiot about McDonalds, globalization and the decline of democracy. It reminds me that I may not, in fact, be a total Chicken McNugget Little for writing The Milkman. Some smart people think the rule of corporations is less far-fetched than aliens, killer robots and self-lacing sneakers. (OK, not so much on that last one.)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Connecting a Dot

I’m buying a six-pack of Amazon Echo Dots today. If you are unfamiliar with them, allow me: You plug these hockey puck things into a stereo or a lamp or whatever you like that’s got a plug and then you can tell the Dot to perform that thing's function. Like a Clapper that understands words. You can make your house listen to you. In my case, that means at least something is listening to me.

The wife and kids hear slightly less than a third of what I say, regardless of volume or topic. Which can be very unproductive. I make an announcement like, "I’m going to the store for milk and eggs" and hear back "What the hell is a milk egg? And why do you store them?" Now this could mean I’m terribly boring two out of three times, but that’s no excuse. There could just as easily be a real pearl in there amongst the bivalve, if you get through the goo. I want someone – something, at least – to listen. Always.

So I’m putting a Dot in every room. When I say things like, "Maybe the press is wrong about vampires, too?" or "I'm going to write a short-story about a meatloaf that runs for an open Senate seat" I’ll know, on some level, I’ve been heard.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Milkman comes to the Whitehouse

There has never been a president with no experience outside of the business world. From Washington to Obama, every president served in either public office or the military, a good portion did both. The business world was never considered a solely acceptable preamble for heading the executive branch of the government. Until now.

I’m not making a judgement call here, though I’m tempted. I am saying the corporatization of America has been steady, relentless and increasingly overt. We have taken one more step towards U.S.Inc. The steps are getting close together and hopping much more quickly.

Which is great if you write books about it. As to whether it’s great for anything else? It’s a matter of point-of-view. Like when you’re in a human pyramid. The view is awesome from the top.

Monday, November 7, 2016

If you dont' feel like listening to election returns:
Just Joshing Episode 63 with the graet  is live!   

Friday, November 4, 2016

Bud Writing Lesson

A commercial for Bud Light comes on the TV, showing cans with different football teams. I laugh and say out loud that there’s nothing they can put on a Bud Light that would make me want to drink it.

Nina the daughter says, “Really? Nothing?” and disappears. She returns a few minutes later with a picture showing a penguin, on a bus, writing on his Mackerel laptop.

So, aspiring writers, be careful with absolutes, as in ‘nothing would keep me from downing that penguin Bud’ or ‘I’m always wrong’ or ‘never give writing advice.’

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Milkman is coming . . . with apples

Canada is about to sign a trade agreement with the European Union. Don’t stop reading. Really. This is the economic equivalent of hearing a creak from your attic on a stormy night. You need to grab a candelabra and investigate. Climb those stairs with me. Climb on.

Most people do not ever care about international trade deals. And they shouldn’t because they are confusing to the point of being boring. Trying to prove they either worked or didn’t is like finding the causative link between cell phone use and quinoa consumption. (They’ve both been rising over the same time period. There’s got to be a connection!) The fact is, there are too many factors in play at any given time to clearly assess these vast agreements.

The North American Free Trade Act, Trans-Pacific Partnership, Canada’s Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, the US version – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership all have one thing in common: They slide power from governments to multinational corporations. If farmers from Poland want to sell apples over here, the agreement says fine. No more pesky regulations and tariffs. Let the market decide who has the tastiest Gala for the tastiest price. They give the market more control of markets.

The control is taken from governments. Whether that’s good or bad is for you to decide. I can tell you for sure it makes governments less relevant. It puts a few squares ahead on the Chutes and Ladders of human history, closer to the free world of The Milkman, on sale wherever finer books are sold.

Reduced government, lower consumer costs, more market sensitivity – it’s all gift. Like a Polish apple. From a witch.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Run With Me

I’m kicking around an idea for new novel: The plot is full of political intrigue. Two presidential candidates make a secret pact to get one of them elected. One positions himself as the alpha-male leader of America’s right wing, the other slides left. They agree that after the alpha male has solidified his leadership, he will throw the campaign, leaving no time for the right to recover and his old friend can more easily walk into the presidency.

The protagonists have agency. They are smart, make plans and carry them out. They are not billiard balls waiting for the next knock, hoping it finally puts the other down a hole.

You know, a fantasy utopian novel. There hasn’t been much of market for that kind of thing lately, but I’m thinking that might change. I’m calling it Run With Me. There might be more than few people looking for a little escape.