Friday, October 18, 2019

Better frame of mind today, despite the grayness of the sky. It’s cool and there’s a bite in the air. We’ve got another storm, Nestor, brewing in the Gulf and rain’s a-coming. Batten down, y’all.

The weekend’s starting up, but that doesn’t mean much to me. Hasn’t meant much in years, frankly, and the only thing I got to look forward to it a little time to myself come Sunday. I need to try to commune with the front yard, just to see if I can with Mendocino gone. That being said, it’s supposed to be pretty cool come Sunday.

Oh, where to start. Like I said yesterday, I spent most of it checked out. I’m over it, but the thing about being checked out is that it takes me a little while to get back in gear. I have some ideas for today’s ruminations even before I get to the News, I just can’t seem to lash them together in a way that makes any sense or sings to me.

Perhaps I should just dive into it. I finished Make Me No Grave last night, and while I thought it was engaging and well written, I must say it left me sort of cold. All together, it struck me as more a Western romance with shades of Weird West rather than the other way around, which is what I prefer.

To be honest, I don’t have much truck with romance in fiction. A little bit is fine, I guess, if it moves the plot – frankly, the best I can think of is Han Solo and Princess Leia – but for the most part, the less there is the better. Now, granted, that’s all on me and I am a hopeless grump with, as my ex said, “no romance in [his] soul”. Same reason I really don’t do nostalgia despite my preference for older music, movies, books, etc.

But beyond that and finding the main protagonists tedious, borderline unlikable by the end of the book, this is worth a read. Like I’ve said, it maybe could have been better served as a novella or series of interconnected short stories. Again, consider my own prejudices against too much romance but I’ll be keeping an eye out for more by author Hayley Stone and this was a very solid Western, so check it out.

I also knocked out a quick short story collection by Scottish-Canadian author William MeikleThe Weird West: Three Weird Western Short Stories. Ironically, I do think these three stories could have been expanded into longer pieces, maybe novellas if not full-blown novels. The three stories were engaging and interesting, but all three seemed a bit rushed and hurried. As an author, I like the very prolific Meikle. He’s written a number of Lovecraft-inspired Mythos tales and a passel of stories featuring William Hope Hodgson’s occult detective and ghost breaker, Thomas Carnacki.

Little bit on Carnacki because he’s a favorite of mine. Hodgson was an early 20th century author who dabbled in poetry and sailor stories (based on his own experiences), but he’s best known for horror and “fantastic fiction”, notably The House on The Borderland and The Night Land. Both of which are as engaging and chilling as anything in Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle. He also created the character of Thomas Carnacki, the Ghost-Breaker; sort of a Sherlock Holmes-inspired detective but one that concentrated on hauntings and the supernatural.

Interestingly, not all of Carnaki’s cases turned out to be actual ghosts or Things From Beyond. Some were just plain old Scooby Doo-esque frauds to scare someone away from property or what have you. He also used what was then the cutting-edge science along with ancient mystic rituals to solve his cases, notably the “Electric Pentacle”. All the stories had a similar set-up: Carnacki would invite several friends, including an author surrogate, for a fine dinner followed by his most recent adventure, ending the night with an “Out you go,” shooing his guests away.

Most of the nine stories were published in the magazine The Idler and they’re in public domain. Unfortunately, Hodgson died at the age of 40 in World War One. Meikle’s take on the sleuth is pretty faithful to Hodgson’s original creation and the stories are always a bit of fun. They do tend to get a bit dull after you’ve read a couple dozen, but it beats the tar out of anyone’s attempts at revitalizing Sherlock Holmes.

One of these days I’ll go into more detail about “occult detectives” and why I’m so fond of them, but today’s not the day. In any event, after finishing the above two books, I’ve started When Gravity Fails by George Alec Effinger. Seems to be a cyberpunk-type thing with, interestingly enough, what appears to be a Muslim protagonist. I like cyberpunk, for the most part, but I have some issues with the genre. Again, though, today’s not the day.

Now, let’s look at the News. One thing I want to throw out is this story from Hattiesburg, where some douchebag at a country club was pictured in blackface. The to-do was for a red-carpet event at the Canebrake Country Club, it’s annual Member Guest Golf Tournament Oct. 11. Now, y’all, it’s 2019 and we all know blackface isn’t cool and it does nothing but make you look like a racist shithead. You might not mean any harm, but you’re still being a racist shithead, so cut it out.

Like the with things going on in Virginia, this is all upper-class dorks pulling this mess. I think there’s something to that. Just why do the wealthy and connected feel the need to mock African-Americans and pretend to be shocked when someone calls them racist shitheads, I don’t know.

What else. No-hope candidate for the 2020 Democratic nomination Tulsi Gabbard is pitching a fit because Hillary Clinton said she’s basically on the path to be a third-party spoiler and get Trump elected. Me, I don’t care for Gabbard. She’s had some weird things to say about homosexuality that she hasn’t sufficiently explained away and she’s kind of hinky on certain Middle Eastern topics.

My biggest problem, however, is her tendency to go on Tucker “White Supremacy Gets Me Hard” Carlson’s show to boo-hoo that the DNC isn’t handing her the nomination on a silver platter. I ain’t got time for that shit from anyone, especially after three years of Trump crying that not everyone loves him, and I don’t think it does anyone any good. I’m no Hillary stan, but Gabbard can nevertheless go skip rope.

One thing I find hilarious is the current kerfuffle about Trump wanting to hold the next G-7 summit at his filthy, vermin-ridden Doral golf course-slash-hotel in Miami. Naturally, the sycophants in the GOP are praising Trump’s “tremendous integrity” in only charging “market prices” for the conference, noting he wouldn’t be “making a profit”, which is, of course, painfully stupid.

Anyone who doesn’t think Trump and his foul crotch spawn aren’t making a killing off the doofus’ presidency is so clever and not at all naive that I wish they’d contact me, because I have a killer real estate deal to pass their way. Seriously, call me. You’ll make a killing and there’s no danger of it falling through.

Okay, I think that’s good. If I don’t talk to you before Monday, stay dry and enjoy the weekend.

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