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Saturday, October 21, 2017

AUDIBLE and GREED





When morality runs up against profit, 
it is seldom that profits loses.



I wanted to give one of my audio books as a gift to a lab tech at a local hospital.

I have given not only my own audio books but those of authors I think friends would like 

from Craig Johnson to Patricia Briggs

 to John Steinbeck {Travels With Charley}.

 (Narrated wonderfully by the actor Gary Sinse)

Imagine my surprise when I discovered Audible would no longer let me 

give a single audiobook as a gift!


The company line is that it's to focus on the more popular gift memberships!

More popular to whom?

Audible obviously.

No customer believes the gift subscriptions are more popular. 



I don't want to spend $45 to send someone a 3 month subscription. 

I want to use a credit I have or spend $20 sending them a single book. 

I now have to spend $45 and send a “gift” 

which requires the recipient to sign up for a membership that they didn’t ask for 

when they only may want to listen to the one book I want to send them? 

Nothing says "You are my friend" like sticking her or him with a bill for a 9 month book subscription! 

This hurts the Indie Author who promotes by buying his audio book and gifting it to friends.


But it also hurts the Indie narrators, like the excellent Robert Rossmann

who promote their work by doing the same thing.



The only one who benefits from this is Audible (owned by Amazon) --

Another example of why monopolies are bad for the consumer.


WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS?

ARE YOU AFFECTED BY THIS?

Monday, October 16, 2017

WEP_Dark Places_THE KEEP



 Once Again, the WEP gives us a chance 
to answer a prompt.

Why not give it a try?

Here is my attempt.


{1000 Words}

I was alive only because I was a doctor and knew German.   

The Nazis surprised us in the forest.  We gave as good as we got.

Almost.

I was the lone American.  Five Nazis limped behind me.   

Ahead slowly walked their Carpathian guide.  

 In the mists ahead, I could barely make out an ancient structure, a Keep of some kind.   

The guide stopped.

The captain called out, “Why do you stop?”

His voice lingering haltingly over unfamiliar German vowels, the guide said, 

“We must turn back. This place is … evil.”

Swearing under his breath, the bloodied captain limped up to the guide and aimed his Luger at him.    

“That chapel will provide shelter from this damnable rain and a place to make a fire to warm our bones.”

The guide said,  “This is no place of worship.  It is a prison.  To enter is to die.”

The captain shrugged.  “No, peasant.  To deny the Reich is to die.”

 He shot the guide.  I shivered.   

There for a moment in the moonlight, it seemed as if the guide’s face looked relieved.



The captain shoved me towards the Keep.   

Amerikaner, you will make a fire for us and tend our wounds.“

His smile flashed like the strike of a snake.  "Perhaps you may live out this night.“

His promise was as phony as his smile. 

“We need to bury that guide.  Wolves will be drawn to the body.“

He laughed, "Predators need to eat, too.“

All the branches outside were soaked.   

The two privates still able to use both arms broke the rune-etched structure that acted as a barrier to the rest of the huge Keep.

As soon as the strange wall was down, a wind moaned from the darkness.   

Fear was bright in the wide eyes of each Nazi. 

The captain snapped, "Fools!  Are you children to be afraid of the night?“

The night. 

It calls to the frightened child in all of us.   

It seems to welcome the horrors with which we once peopled the darkness.

There's power in the night. There's terror in the darkness.  

The caveman knew.   

There were deadly things in the dark he did not understand.  That caveman awakens when the sun sets.

As a physician, I knew all too well how much science didn’t know about the body, 

why things went wrong with it, and how much Man still had to learn.

I did what I could to staunch the flow of the soldiers’ wounds.  

 My oath did not let me differentiate between ally and enemy.

The captain pointed his Luger at me as he put his back to the Keep’s cave wall and slid to the spot closet to the flickering flames.

“You will continue to feed the fire.  Should it die, I will awaken.”

His smile didn’t reach his eyes.  “Then, you die.”

I nodded and started to pick up the remaining pieces of the shattered barrier.

The captain growled, “What are you doing?”

“Collecting all the pieces now so I won’t awaken you doing it later.”

He grunted, “You grovel well, Herr Doctor.”  He pronounced it däktər.

“I plan to live,” I said truthfully.

I reminded myself that a sneer was the weapon of the weak, but his Luger put the lie to that.   

He fell asleep with the sneer still twisting those thin lips.   

He slept the sleep of the exhausted.

The rain pelted the forest outside.   

With prickling scalp, I saw the rain stopped inches from the Keep’s entrance.   

It could just be a trick of the weather.

The wolves who hungrily eyed the guide’s body but refused to approach it 

(and the Keep entrance) 

made me think otherwise.

I started to piece together the remains of the barrier on the rock floor.   

The two Nazis had been so weak they left huge chunks of it intact.  

 I made a passable mosaic of the barrier between me and the sleeping Nazis.

Maybe they were superstitious, but the two Nazis had not fed any of the wood carved with runes into the fire.

I survived medical school by having a memory for detail.   

I managed to fit all the wood runes in the order I remembered.

I no sooner finished than the wolves started whimpering behind me.  

 I turned on my knees to see the wolves slinking away, their ears down and their tails between their legs.

I turned back around and believed in Evil.


In the gloom, I spotted … something. 

My voice strangled in my throat.  Something was tottering from the darkness beyond.

A strange whistling sank and rose.  There was a low fire behind it.   

I could not see from what source the dim glow came. It seemed to emanate from no central focus.

But I saw a vague figure shambling toward us.

It was made of such blackness as I had not dreamed existed this side of the grave.   

The oily blackness had the musty feel of antiquity to it. 

It looked like a woman, but no human woman ever walked with that skulking gait, 

and no human woman ever had that face of horror, that leering grimace of lunacy.

A part of me wanted to scream at the sight of that face, at the glint of nails in the uplifted claw-like hand. 

Flabby lips turned up in hunger and ecstasy, it bent over the four enlisted men.   

Their wet screams were cut short as their writhing bodies blurred into mist …

 and were absorbed into the black Something.

The captain started awake, his eyes wild with terror.   
 He emptied the Luger into the thing that shambled for him.

It snared his wrist and kissed him as he gagged.

It shambled towards me but paused as it glared at my makeshift barrier.

I scrambled out of the Keep and into the freezing rain, taking my chances with the wolves.

The captain screamed after me as the Something dragged him back into the darkness.

“Don’t leave me!”

I called back, “Remember? Predators need to eat, too."

Sunday, October 15, 2017

ACCUSTOMED TO THE DARK


Once we saw the world as a child ...
the best of us still do.


Enter the Halloween costume labeled
 'The Upside Down Honey.'

That the makers of said costume thought it would be popular 
 
should come as no surprise in an entertainment world

which not only tolerated but aided the sexual predator, Harvey Weinstein 

as long as he made Hollywood money.

Nissa has written an intriguing post on what we find entertaining these days:
https://myantimatterlife.wordpress.com/2017/10/15/the-devils-in-the-entertainment/


We no longer believe in a personification of evil which is why we blithely make a hero of him on TV


After all only the uneducated and old-fashioned believe in evil anymore, right?

Evil is in the eye of the beholder.  

What you call evil, I might call emotional free thinking.

God is not dead, for He never existed.



To be adult is to put away childish things,
to shrug off superstitious nonsense,

to embrace the thrill that comes from 
living life fully
unfettered by the dusty restraints of last century.


Have you noticed that the longer you sit in a dark restaurant, the better you can see?  

The room has not become brighter ...

Your eyes have just become accustomed to the dark.


 I still prefer CASABLANCA 
 to 50 SHADES OF GREY.  

I believe I have become a dinosaur


Do you think our culture's eyes have become
accustomed to the dark?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

LIFE IS TOUGH, BUT SO AM I


{Courtesy Gage Skidmore}

A mantra for Patti Jenkins all her life
has been
"Life is tough, but so am I."

It was her mantra while filming 
Wonder Woman, too.

Her father, William T. Jenkins, was an Air Force captain.

He fought in Vietnam, earning a Silver Star 
and later ran maneuvers out of a military base in England; 

his family joined him on all his adventures overseas.

In interviews, Jenkins has talked a lot about how the heroism of her dad shaped “Wonder Woman.” 

She even has a dedication to him in the film’s closing credits.

Do you know what the hardest scene 
for her to shoot was?

No, not the No Man's Land sequence

though it was bitterly cold and sprawled over so much territory.

(A scene that the not-so-smart studio heads wanted to take out!  

It proved to be the heart of the movie is a very real sense.)
No, not the Amazon Battle Sequence 

although it was filmed separately on three different locations 

for all the stunt work and special effects and close-up's.

It was a true logistic nightmare.


It was Steve Trevor's sacrifice in the plane 
filled with deadly gas bombs.


Not because of the logistics, 
the special effects, or the stunt work.

It was a more personal reason.

Patti doesn’t talk much about how her father died, at 31, when she was only 7. 

“He passed away after taking off from a runway exactly like the one that Steve Trevor takes off on,” 

“He crashed in the ocean.” 

She’s still not sure exactly what happened.

 “Nobody knows. He was in the middle of a NATO mock dogfight. 

They crash a lot. You’re doing a tricky maneuver.”

 Gal Gadot says she thought of Jenkins’ dad when she saw the film for the first time, 

especially during the climactic scene where Steve makes the ultimate sacrifice for the woman he loves. 

“I think that even in the short time that her father was present in her life, 

he had a lot of effect on who she became,” Gal says.


DO YOU HAVE 
A PERSONAL MANTRA 
OR MOTTO?

FROM WHOM DID YOU TAKE IT?