When “Experts” Tell Me I Must Blog Something.

I laugh and laugh.

‘Tis true, I care not what experts think—especially publishing and online marketing types—as most wrote a book or books solely for the purpose to sit on a perch and collect money from the rest of us without any guarantees whatsoever their methods will make your book a success.

Artists are makers surrounded by takers.

Don’t be a sucker.

If you are an author, in the name of all you consider holy, LEARN THIS BUSINESS before it rips you off.

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Bureaucrazy

The only business that has never seen a downturn is government.

Public servants my ass!

Government employees are a special kind of crazy—similar to academics—in that they are completely incapable of functioning in the real world.

You need only look at a ditch digging project where the white and blue hats outnumber the yellow hats—the only ones with tools—to see how far removed from reality they have become. Collectively, one blue hat, two white hats, and three yellow hats are costing the taxpayers about $350.00 per hour as they stand around talking while looking at the ditch.

two man holding white paper

Productivity and efficiency mean nothing to these people.

None are motivated to work hard or to get the job finished as fast and cost effectively as possible. Their jobs are secure for as long as they want them, and a significant pension awaits when they have had enough. In addition to their generous top-of-scale salaries, they and their families enjoy complete short and long-term disability insurance, medical, drug, and dental plans. . . all paid for by the taxpayers.

The blue and white hats decide to have lunch to discuss the hole in the ground further so they jump into three separate government vehicles which they pay nothing for, and they expense their two-hour $120.00 bistro “business lunch” back to the taxpayer. In a bizarre rationalization, they consider themselves to be taxpayers because they pay taxes, so they feel entitled to such expenses. To them, it is as though they are paying for their own lunch. With only an hour or so left in their workday, they all head home early to beat traffic.

Meanwhile in the real world. . .

Somewhere out there right now is a young guy with a family to support, driving a ten year-old pickup truck which he bought; paid to licence; pays insurance on; pays to maintain; pays to put fuel in, and who also bought the pick and shovels in the back with his own money.

yellow pick up truck on grey concrete road

He is digging a hole too.

He estimates one hard day of ditch-digging should get the job done. His hands will be blistered and his back will be sore come lunchtime when he gets to eat his brown-bagged mid-day meal, lovingly made by his wife from last night’s dinner leftovers. On completion, the customer, which he had to find by making calls and sending emails each night after work, will pay him $200.00 for a day’s work. He will set aside 30% for income tax; 11% for business taxes, and 20% to keep his business operating. He and his family will attempt to live and build a secure future on the remaining $78.00. He worries about how long he can keep up this pace. Last month’s dental bill for the kids wiped out their savings. Regular dental checkups for himself had to be shelved in favour of keeping up with his workers compensation insurance payments.

He has been called the backbone of America.

Sadly, this hypothetical taxpayer’s back only lasted into his forties. He called up the government-run workers compensation department for help when doctors said he could not return to his job. The bureaucracy seized the opportunity to kick him when he was down. To them, with every denial and penny-pinching move they were saving the government money while simultaneously justifying their own continued employment within the bureaucracy. They do not acknowledge who pays the government they work for. ‘Claimants are the enemy. We are not accountable to the taxpaying general public.’

These bureaucrats had the audacity to question HIS integrity.

They are oblivious to the hypocrisy which is all around them. They even went so far as to accuse him of being a scammer before finally sending $680.00 each month.

Pull your heads out of your asses America.

This level of inequity is not sustainable.

Why be a starving writer when you could be a starving naked artist.

I am so sick of computers and everywhere they take us.

Being a writer means being married to your computer. Things are made worse if you are a published author because you also have long term commitments to social media and publishing sites. My almost one-year-old Dell is an evil wife. She has melted down twice in the short time we have been together; a RED FLAG if ever there was one. So why continue to put up with the daily torment of weak WiFi, boggy performance due to updates and background processes, and the general stupidity of the online world when there is little or no money in it?

I can do other things.

The real question is: What other things can I do which don’t involve computers? I could reinvent myself once again as a post modernist painter. I might use my initials to create a new artist identity: Ethan Alfonso? It has an artsy ring to it. I could add a hook as well: All Alfonso’s are painted in the nude. Post modernist erotic portraits of lonely housewives and  divorcées, painted by a still pretty hot naked guy, should get me laid more than writers do. The fee for such commissioned portraits would certainly exceed what I make as a writer; perhaps several times over. For a tiny initial investment—far less than book publishing—I could whip off a bunch of samples to lean against the walls of my apartment for prospective clients to peruse; perhaps over wine, if they are hot. I could sell some works beach-side while working on my tan. Once summer ends here, I can move into a spacious van and travel to various beach communities down South, chasing the warmth of the sun, and making Canadian winters something I don’t do anymore.

What’s the worst that could happen?

It’s possible I might be killed by a jealous husband, but this has always been my preferred check-out plan anyway.

Sounds like a worthwhile endeavour to me.

Where is that art supply store?

I’d Google it, but this hunk of junk Dell—soon to be ex wife—sucks harder than the vacuum of space during a hull breach on the Enterprise.

Dear Elites,

You know who you are . . .

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Photo by Vladislav Reshetnyak on Pexels.com

and so do we.

You are the 1%–the morally bereft industrialists, bankers, spiritual leaders, and mega-corp board members who view the world and its people as THINGS to be exploited and controlled. You are not likeable, but we labour not for the 50% we give to you, but for the remainder which allows us a few simple pleasures. You limit what we can know, and yet we still manage to find out more than you would like. YOUR scientists and politicians put on quite a show through YOUR media. They keep many of us spinning, but not all of us. Your arrogance has blinded you to a few simple truths.

We tolerate your presence among us because we crave security and peace of mind in our small work-a-day lives.

We see you destabilizing economies. We see your security states. We see how you cultivate conflicts. We see you attacking our Constitutions. We see you passing laws to benefit only yourselves. We see you feverishly working to divide us. We see you killing. We know you envisage a world without us, but we also know you cannot DO for yourselves. We know about many of your safe havens. Who do you think built them?

You need us . . . or at least some of us.

And herein lies your problem. NONE of your assets are maintenance free. Not a single one. If you examine each of them closely, you will see at least a small crew of work-a-day people who possess specialized skills and knowledge that you do not. Your architects, designers, builders, and landscapers create your dream, but they don’t maintain it. There are the lawn and garden people; the pool, sauna, and hot tub people; the chimney, fireplace, roof, and eves people; the security, cable, satellite, electronics, electrical, plumbing, and appliance people; the driveway, patio, helipad, and tennis court people . . . You get the idea, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

You are surrounded by us and always will be.

We are the working class and you cannot maintain your lavish lifestyles without literally hundreds of us. You are reliant on each of us. We feign friendliness and loyalty, but never assume you can buy all of us. Each of us share a different morality than yours. We still feel sympathy and empathy towards our fellow humans despite your attempts to program these out of us on YOUR social media sites. Yes, we picked up on this too.

You are grossly outnumbered and scared of us. We get that.

Perhaps, it is time you consider how easy it would be for us to get to you if we were to be incensed by the loss of our friends and loved ones. You can vet us all you want–hand picking us–but there will always be one of us near you who is waiting for the right moment.

Sleep well.

Sincerely,

The Huddled Masses.

Nonfiction Blows Sometimes

I TOTALLY get why people read escapist fiction.

 

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I am a seeker. I read nonfiction to find answers to big questions.

One big question of many that perplex me when it comes to the State of Israel and Jewish people is: Why are 14.2 million people more newsworthy in the West than the other 6.86 billion people of the world? Is there more to this than media control, ownership, or the claimed disproportionate number of Jewish people working in Western media? I don’t know. When I don’t know something, I read, and keep on reading until I find answers. This tiny segment of the world’s population endlessly reminds us of their stories of persecution; some of these stories are based on historically documented facts, while others have so little empirical evidence they border on the mythological. A media spotlight affords a tiny state some protection from transgressors, but in doing so, it can also cast a shadow on any freshly dug graves.

If you want to truly get a handle on a culture, you must dive into their indoctrinations.

The world’s religions mastered indoctrination long ago, so this, I thought, would be a good area to acquire a better grasp of a people without diving into the more volatile areas of politics and economics.

Yesterday’s read began with enthusiasm as I found a book which was touted to be: A Guide to Jewish Wisdom; something that appealed to me on a couple of different levels even though I am not Jewish, and have—putting it mildly—a general dislike of almost all religions for their exploitive,  for-profit business model which excludes aid to anyone who is not a paying customer. Firstly, this book appealed to the researcher inside me as I am usually forced to open dozens of books over several days just to find puzzle pieces which I then have to make notes on and later assemble into something that makes sense. It’s a good day when you find an author who has done all the work for you. Secondly, I have not given Judaism its due, relative to the volume of reading I have done on all of the larger religions. Oh sure I have skimmed the Tanakh and read the greatest hits of the Torah in my fact-finding missions to compare stories from other religions, but I really did not have a “feel” for this group’s beliefs. I really hoped this book on the mystical side of Judaism: Kabbalah, would give me a better understanding of the big picture.

A great many authors should thank their lucky stars I don’t publish reviews or ratings below three stars on a five star scale.

This book dodged a bullet. When we choose a nonfiction book to read, we are encouraged to pay attention to the credentials of the author as though only a credentialed person can put forth a valid thought—or so the publishing world a.k.a. print media would have us believe. The author is a Rabbi and an educational psychologist so I expected a balance of theology with logic and reason. What I got was a heavy dose of mysticism, magic, and the supernatural with a smattering of references to empirical research that, at best, offered a weak endorsement of how the magic worked. The spiritual mumbo-jumbo, of course, told the believer how to think and live “correctly”:

‘You must be a giving person.’

In fact, there was an entire paragraph on how to appropriately greet and compensate a Kabbalist or Hassidic rebbe if you were ever fortunate enough to garner their attention.

‘You must not be an egotist.’

And yet the author saw fit to publish a photo of himself with the Dali Lama instead of one where he was feeding or counseling “displaced” Palestinian children.

In fairness, I expect hypocrisy in all books from theologians, however once you strip away the nonsense, there were about fifty pages of good reading where the author succinctly explained: The Ten Sefirot, the meaning of the Star of David, and he interpreted a number of commonly used Jewish religious terms while passing along some insights into Judaic “philosophy”. The book was just 200 pages so I’ll give it a 1.25 star rating.

Every book will give you something.

What did I learn? Nothing Earth shattering, but it would appear that Judaism:

  • Is a very complex belief system which requires significant interpretation.
  • Has a significant number of teachings related to self.
  • Places women closer to men in terms of equality.
  • Has roots in Zoroastrianism.
  • Is open to different planes of existence, science, and multiple universes.
  • Believes they have all the answers.
  • Believes Hebrew is the Holy tongue—necessary to enter a higher reality.
  • Believes their religious men are above the average follower.
  • Believes the Torah contains a hidden spiritual code supported by mathematics.
  • Codify beliefs into law in much the same way Muslims do.

This lackluster book did however point me at a new target of inquiry. It seems that in the 1700’s a scholastic elite were the only ones with access to Jewish literary works. This wreaks of potential tampering akin to Constantine or King James. I’ll let you know if anything interesting turns up once I have chased down this lead.

Gather ’round kids, so cocky uncle E. A. can tell you a story.

Cocky? Cockier? Cockiest?

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While I don’t live in the United States of America, Canada and most countries in “the West” do share common legal approaches. My OPINIONS should not be considered legal advice, but should make for a good starting point for those of you who have been witness to the latest travesty in indie-authordom. Unless the reprobates currently running the U.S.A. have completely flushed America down the proverbial turlet, then what I am about to share with you will probably still be upheld in their courts.

What is a Trade Mark?

I rarely use Wikipedia as a source, but they did offer a sound definition in this case.

“A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a recognizable sign, design, or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others, although trademarks used to identify services are usually called service marks. The trademark owner can be an individual, business organization, or any legal entity. A trademark may be located on a package, a label, a voucher, or on the product itself. For the sake of corporate identity, trademarks are often displayed on company buildings.”

IF some poor misinformed soul did want to Trade Mark the word cocky, they are completely within their legal rights to do so. HOWEVER, as no person or corporate entity may hold title of a commonly used word, the Trade Mark office requires that the word in question be presented in an original form, a.k.a. artwork and even a custom font or in an existing font USED WITH WRITTEN PERMISSION.

You can Trade Mark a LOGO containing a word, but not the word itself.

We might as well cover all the bases while we are on this ridiculous topic.

What  is a Patent?

“A government authority or license conferring a right or title for a set period, especially the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention.”

So unless the individual in question INVENTED the word, they can’t go down this road.

What is a Copyright?

“The exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same.”

Every time a writer PUBLISHES, they are protected by Copyright law. HOWEVER, we live in an age where everyone sues their neighbor over the slightest thing. Thanks for that America. This translates into a shit pile of lawyers making money on every tiny fender-bender or slip-and-fall. Authors would be well advised to actually get Copyright protection in their own country at the very least, as it carries a bit more weight than a mere publishing date.

Can you Copyright a word?

Yes, if it is the title of your work and no one has ever used it before. HOWEVER, this only protects the Copyright holder from having others use the EXACT SAME TITLE. It does not give the Copyright holder EXCLUSIVE rights to the word.

pexels-photo-726478.jpegWhat is a frivolous lawsuit?

They are not called “sharks” for nothing.

“Is the practice of starting or carrying on lawsuits that, due to their lack of legal merit, have little to no chance of being won.

Yes kids, this is probably what is going on here. Some law firm is exploiting this poor author knowing full well the case has no chance.

So why is Amazon allegedly pulling down books with the word cocky in the title or in the key words?

There are any number of possibilities. But first, why am I not worried about using the word Amazon in this piece? It’s simple, they don’t own the word—just the presentation of the word as a Trade Marked corporate logo in context with a certain type of business. The Amazon river was there long before the company, and it will be there long after the company is gone.

  1. Indie authors are not that important to Amazon as they represent only 16% of the company’s total book sales. (See the Publishers Weekly article.)
  2. Lawyers are expensive; even to a corporate giant. There is no upside for Amazon to challenge the alleged letter sent from this author’s law firm. It is easier, and w-a-y cheaper, to just piss off a few inconsequential indie authors than it is to wage a legal battle on their behalf.
  3. A less likely, but plausible reason might be that some middle manager panicked when the legal notice arrived on their desk, causing them to make “an executive decision” without running it up the flagpole first.

Smashwords and Ingram Spark are looking better and better, aren’t they?

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If and when . . .

. . . I get a cease and desist order telling me to take down this blog because it contains the word cocky, I will have my lawyer fire one back telling them what a cocky prick I am, and that I suggested ‘they should all have intercourse with themselves’. Of course what I would actually say to my lawyer in this hypothetical instance would be: Tell them they can all go f*ck themselves.

And here kids is the moral of the story.

A frivolous lawsuit is there to incite an EMOTIONAL RESPONSE. My lawyer is there to START A NEGOTIATION, as is the lawyer of this author. My lawyer will water down my message to make me appear more reasonable so A RESOLUTION CAN BE REACHED.

Both authors pay.

Both law firms get paid.

Amazon was the only one to make a good business decision.

As usual, my mind is questioning the motivations involved here. Is this a PR stunt? Did the-powers-that-be create a new distraction just for indie authors so we won’t pay attention to a US administration just itching for a war with anybody? I guess time will tell. Until then, stay cocky everyone.

 

 

Manifest Destiny? How is this still a thing?

portrait of beautiful young woman over white background
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Man·i·fest Des·ti·ny

noun

the 19th-century doctrine or belief that the expansion of the US throughout the American continents was both justified and inevitable.

Back in the day:

You fought.

You lost.

You got over it!

Well, mostly.

Germany and Japan did, and look at them now. They are shining examples of “team players” who became allies, and as a reward they get to share in the “American dream” just a few generations later.

Conquered peoples need time to adjust to their new reality. This is best done by firstly assisting them in rebuilding; it keeps them busy and takes their mind off what being conquered actually means.

  • Of course, rebuilding does not come cheap so the first order of business is to infuse the conquered country with the necessary cash—enter the international banking cartels. An indebted country is a “team player”.
  • In order to do all this building, they will need a great many automobiles that burn fossil fuels—enter the automakers and oil companies.
  • A conquered populace is likely to be malnourished and in need of medical attention—enter the food, drug, and water purification companies.
  • Next, you will want to indoctrinate them into Western culture a.k.a. The New World Order. This must be done VERY SLOWLY so as not to alert them that it is happening.
  • Of primary importance is letting the conquered people BELIEVE their culture has remained intact. You allow them to keep their religious beliefs; language; a form of government which seems familiar; a carefully controlled perception of freedom and national identity; national sports, and other forms of entertainment which help to keep them distracted when they take some time off to recuperate from their building job.
  • You will want to “stimulate their economy” by investing in building projects, and what better way is there than to build new types of houses of worship, new sporting arenas, and foreign owned places of business—not to mention banks—so many banks. Do not underestimate the need of all these different houses of worship as there is no better way to keep the populace divided than through religious ideologies.
  • Schools are the key to producing the next generation of “team players” and legislation should be drafted which makes attendance in public education mandatory. The last thing we want are unindoctrinated free-thinking individuals.
  • All these building projects acclimates the conquered people to the idea that foreign investment and control means steady employment. Being conquered doesn’t seem so bad when you have some extra money in your pocket.
  • You will want to encourage other forms of escapism as well. The very first imports should be alcohol and drugs because, as everyone knows, addicts are not capable of, nor interested in, civil uprisings.
  • In just three to four generations, everyone who was present during the war will be dead from natural causes. If you wish to expedite this, just keep veterans impoverished by red-tape and over-priced medications, while delaying medical procedures for as long as possible. The sooner they are gone, the sooner a new version of historical events can be introduced without any opposition from first-hand witnesses. Do not worry about the tiny number of aware researchers who came later as they can be branded as conspiracy theorists by academics and media loyal to the system. Eventually, we will have our publishers remove these old “outdated” history books from their catalogs.

This has an eerily familiar ring to it.

Was western civilization conquered economically without a fight and nobody told us?