Blood-Splattered Banner

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so violently we lost at the early morning?
Whose bloodied stripes and stolen stars thru the prejudiced fight,
O’er the docks we watched were so jubilantly lynching?
And the gunshot’s powdery stare, lives bursting in air,
Gave proof through the day that our flag was never there.
Oh, say does that blood-spattered banner yet wave
O’er the land of the racist and the yards of black graves?



In dedication to Heather Heyer, who died in Charlottesville fighting white supremacy and for her country, like a solider.



Let’s meet a woman. Let’s say this woman’s name is … Marcy.

Let’s say Marcy is an accomplished sniper, with multiple successful deployments in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Marcy woke up this morning at the same standard time as everyone else. There were schedules and protocols to be followed, and anyone who lagged behind was at grounds for suspension and withdrawal of food rights.

Marcy went into the mess hall, expecting to eat the cafeteria glop, only to find her C.O and several of her fellow officers gathered around.

“Got some bad news for you,” her C.O said. “There’s … no good way to tell you this. Pack your bags. You’re going home.”

“What?” Marcy asked. “Why? Am I – am I being discharged? I’m not ready to retire.”

“You’re not … being discharged,” her C.O said. “You just … can’t serve anymore.”

“What? Why not?”

Her C.O looked at her for a long time before bringing himself to answer.

“Because the President just said you can’t,” her C.O told her.



And for hundreds, if not thousands of trans people, Marcy isn’t a story. Marcy is their life now.


But His Emails!

But her emails! cried out voters who didn’t even realize the depths to which they were being sexist

But her emails! cried out Republicans who were determined to keep a woman out of office.

But her emails! cried out the campaign of a crooked con man and his dirty underlings.

Then his son drops emails with incriminating evidence and what do they have to say?


Life Lessons From My Father (And Others)

  1. If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing it right. (What this says about jobs not worth doing is unclear.)
  2. Always keep a tool handy.
  3. Always keep a med kit handy.
  4. Pay what you owe.
  5. Be willing to lend a hand, but don’t let others take advantage of you.
  6. Sometimes, you have to go through several people to hear the criticisms you really need to hear.
  7. Never accept anything blindly. Always ask follow up questions.
  8. Be thankful for what you have.
  9. But you can work to have more, if you really want it, and are willing to put in the time and effort.
  10. Just because someone is a minority doesn’t automatically mean they’re a good person, or that they’ll get along with other minorities.
  11. I am worth something.
  12. If you see something that looks like abuse, call it out.
  13. Tell someone if you’re having problems. Don’t bottle it up inside.
  14. It’s good to cry.




(Editor’s Note: early draft versions of this were published by mistake because of technical difficulties, and there’s no political writing this week on account of personal troubles.)


Another One Bites The Dust

Another One Bites The Dust.

Tis a song by an old band called Queen,

In the days of rock’n’roll, with stage lights and flashing screens.

I have to wonder, and indeed, one must,

What they were referring to “Another One Bites The Dust.”

It seems odd a song so old

Could be so fitting

To a problem so unremitting.

Where badge-ed man so cold,

Pull out the weapons they more trust.

Bang! “Another One Bites The Dust.”

One by one by one, the bodies pile up.

The endless toll, the innumerable protests,

Are invariably never enough.

Politicians say it’s fine, let the problem rest.

They don’t understand the fuss,

When Another One Bites The Dust.

Insist there’s no problem, insist it’s fine.

Make sure to keep quiet.

Morality’s still behind that thin blue line.

You’ve no right to riot.

The courts and the cops

Insist we all shrug it off.

So what if a father or a daughter lost their life?

It’s their fault, the cops are certain.

They, after all, were the ones causing the strife,

Even though three years ago, they peeled back the curtain.

And we saw the bones piling up, collecting bloody rust.

And their red hands are not the hands of the just.


Another One Bites the Dust.




In remembrance of Charleena Lyles, Philando Castille, and all the other thousands who’ve lost their life to police brutality.

Black Lives Matter.


Tuesday Essay: A Meditation On The Use of Swear Words

About last year, I think, I came up with what I’ve determined is my best analogy for when, if, and whether to use swear words in writing.

“Swear words should be used sparingly, as if you were in a zombie apocalypse with a gun with limited ammunition – every shot needs to count, and to line up perfectly, or it’s wasted.”

This became quite apparent when I was catching up on the new things from E3 this year. As a – well, a man of ideas – I’m interested in other people’s ideas, whatever form they take, including books, comic books, graphic novels, television and yes, video games.


However, there’s a wee bit of a writing problem with the trailer.

Pushing aside the issues of unrealistic breast physics, and why an anthropomorphic pig keeps around a scantily-clad human woman, there is a problem with excessive swearing in this trailer.

At around a minute in, this pig man goes on a swearing tirade after the monkey swindles him. (Video games are weird, alright?) But since he’s swearing so much, the actual speed of his sentence slows down so he can work those precious curse words in.

This is poorly constructed, because at this point, we, the viewing audience, know he’s mad. We know he’s upset, because of his facial expression, body language, and the sound effect of him thumping his hands against the table. This is actually kind of insulting to a general audience, because we can see all of these things and tell that he’s angry, but the people who made this trailer still felt the need to make this pig man swear so many times, just to be sure we understood he was upset. And for that reason, it’s not off to a good start as a trailer; a trailer is meant to sell you on something and get you interested. Would you buy something that’s insulting your intelligence and ability to assess a situation, telling you something you already figured out yourself from contextual clues?

It’s also inefficient. It takes 30 seconds for him to express his statement when, without the 4 2-syllable swear words, three of which are the same word repeated over and over, for him to express a something that could’ve been said in 20 or even 15 seconds.

Some examples of other ways:

“I want every man after him.”

“I want every cop on payroll after him.”

As a matter of fact, the sentence could be greatly improved just by dropping two of the F-bombs he drops.

And that goes back to the main point (which I admit I let myself get sidetracked from) is that swear words are best used for their impact. Much like the bullets in this analogy, they’re not of any use less they hit something hard. This trailer isn’t doing that, because by cramming so many swear words into so short an amount of time, it blunts the impact of all of them, so the whole thing just sounds juvenile, less like something put together by competent adults who’ve been working steady jobs (reminder if you’re not aware that animation takes a lot of work)  and more like what a teenager thinks an adult setting is like, and had the idea for a great cussy world with anthropomorphic characters and slapped it together.

So the question is, at the end of day, how do you, the audience, feel hearing all of these cuss words uttered while clumped together? Because, at least for me, the answer becomes ‘numb.’

And ‘numb’ is not a result most people who write would want from their audience.


Every now and then, I get this feeling. Like I’m heavy. Like I’m tired. And as I’m whittling away the day, trying to post this or retweet that, or thinking about about what I’m going to post next week, or streaming this or that trailer … or even just binge-reading this shiny new webcomic a friend linked me to.

There’s a little voice in my head. It’s very loud and attention grabbing. It say things like,

You should be doing more.

You should be driving already.

You ought to call this person.

You need to get a ‘real job.’

Maybe you should apologize to that one guy on the Internet you were rude to that one time.

And basking in the light of warm sum today, I had an epiphany.

People say you catch more flies with sugar. And metaphorically, that’s true. You can get a lot of people to do things for you much faster if you’re nice about it.

Today, I realized that the voice telling me all these things – reminding me what to do, about all the work I need to get done, all these little tasks that needed to be done, organized and squared away, and trying to keep me on task …

Is the same voice that’s been holding me back.

Today I realized I needed to give myself more sugar.

Last Week In Haiku

Sessions testifies

Talking thorough nonsense,

Poor memory, he claims.

Kamala Harris

Just wants to get the answers

But Republicans don’t

Meanwhile, in D.C

Cowardly men pass bills

On Health in hiding

If this New Bill Is

So great, then why don’t they show

It to us? The cowards.





The lights were all on. All the colors of the spectrum, blue, red, yellow, orange, flashing, flashing and strobing, panning around the dance floor. Men, women, and people who were in either both or neither, mingled freely on the dance floor, with wines and drinks in their glasses, held up high, the alcoholic beverages spilling over the sides of the cups as they were tossed and juggled around. The mood was light. The air painted a rainbow color. It was going to be a good time for all involved, as long as they minded the rules of the club.

Then he came in.

And the mood changed faster than anything.

People ran screaming, scattering like lambs crammed together in a barn for slaughter. Friends, family, loved ones, all gone in the blink of an eye. Bright, hopeful people, full of potential, snuffed out in a single day after years of positive living, targeted for the crime of being born different. The panicked, fearful crowd did everything they could to get away, under a fearsome, repeating chorus that echoes to this day.

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang.

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. 

Bang. Bang. BANG!

The police arrived and shot the racist with a gun, but it was too late to those people.

But by far the biggest slap to the face to the community was when Congress was assembled off session for the express purpose of doing something about this … and didn’t. Because those men were privileged to be straight and white, for whom this was an oddity and a rare occurrence, not an everyday fear. They could go home and not be afraid of this happening to them.

These people do not have that luxury.


In honor of the Orlando Pulse Nightclub Shooting,

One bang for every life lost.

Power Imbalance

The former FBI director tapped his fingers against the podium, his nerves wracked, his body tense.

“You’re big, you’re strong,” one of the Republican Senators asked, a woman, no less. “Why didn’t you say something?”

“If I could do it again, maybe … maybe I would have done things differently,” the ex-director answered. She didn’t understand. She refused to. The fear that comes from being in that situation. The heart-pumping anxiety of being alone, in a dark room. with someone who has more power than you do, more strength … the ability to fire you at any time if he has reason to dislike what you’ve said, or what you wore. The grooming, the expectation of loyalty because you’ll supposedly get something of it … and the inevitable punishment and rejection if you came out against him, as happened to that news reporter from the conservation. Kelly, the director thinks her name was. As happened to numerous other women before him. As was happening to him now.

So the director played his cards carefully. He paused. He thought about what to say. He answered the President’s questions as best as he could, always keeping in mind the power imbalance. Trying to do his job to the best of his ability without commenting on anything he couldn’t say for sure. Trying to hold onto his position and perform his duty.

Yet, he was still fired. Not only fired, but had his name dragged through the muck, and raked before an investigative committee that was more interested in shaming him or talking about the loser of the last election than anything to do with the actual subject matter, not to mention one of the older Senators had gone completely off his loopy meds and wasn’t making sense, even by the low standards most of his party had set for themselves.

All because of a power imbalance that they would never understand.




Comey’s experience isn’t equal to a rape victim’s. But they’re not dissimilar either.