Who’s Dumber? The Student or the School?

Every high school class has a kid in it who plays really dumb tricks because he thinks he’s just so unbelievably cool. You remember him, probably, as a tail-less monkey without much hair. Or, at best, the Klass Klown–and how wonderful it is that you haven’t seen or heard from him in 30 years!

One such klass klown got into the national news recently–yes, you read that right: “national news,” like presidents and movie stars–when his Pennsylvania high school had Miss America as their guest at an assembly ( http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/pennsylvania-teen-suspended-america-prom-school-assembly-article-1.1761713 ). School administrators got wind of his plan to ask Miss America to be his prom date. They took him aside and told him not to do it. Heck, the gag has been pulled a zillion times already: Joe Nobody gets his 15 minutes of fame by asking Ms. Celebrity for a date.

Of course the klown didn’t back down. He’s way too cool and way too stupid. So he went up to the stage and handed Miss America a plastic flower (some people have no class at all) and asked her to come to the prom with him, and she tee-hee’d her way out of it… and the school administrators gave the klown a three-day suspension.

They could have ignored him; there was no harm done. They could have kept him out of the assembly in the first place, kept him busy cleaning erasers in the janitor’s room until Miss America had come and gone. But, no, they had to suspend him–and they played right into his hands. Now I’m writing about him and you’re reading about him. That’s what he wanted.

As I’ve observed before, fame ain’t so famous anymore. You don’t have to do much to earn it, and there’s no way you can keep it.

Maybe when I wake up tomorrow, this shameful age in history will be over.

 

 


Can Fantasy Be Reformed?

Today is Good Friday, a holy day. Although I have already been exposed to more disgusting and infuriating news stories than I can easily count, I will report on none of them today. All they prove is how desperately the human race needs salvation, how utterly incapable we are of providing it ourselves, and the magnitude of what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross.

And so, I think, a few words about the art of writing fantasy…

It should be easy to write fantasy. Just put the imagination into gear and let ‘er rip. Only it doesn’t often seem to work out that way, does it? Somehow, some of the most unimaginative and unoriginal writing you’ll find anywhere is found in fantasy.

In the interest of forcing fantasy writers to be more creative, and interesting, I propose the following changes to the genre.

1. Expel these stock fantasy characters: the wizard, the lusty tavern wench, the resourceful thief with a heart of gold, his hulking barbarian sidekick, the invincible female warrior, the helpless damsel in distress, dragons, dwarfs, and elves. Begone! Take a long sabbatical. You have been so overused, that you are now no more exotic than the bank teller, the checkout clerks, the boss who is a pain in the neck, or the guy who’s supposed to come and fix your cable and somehow never gets there. When the uncommon becomes common, it’s time to look elsewhere.

2. No more super-powers. So much of fantasy is tailored to the Young Adult market; but teens are the last readers in the world who need to be titillated with images of cool kids who are like the superheroes in comic books. Please try to make your novel look less like a video game or a comic book or a Dungeons and Dragons game.

3. That goes for “magic,” too. I mean, really, is it too much to ask that characters in a novel get things done by using their brains, rather than just reciting a magical spell or flying around or reading minds,whatever?

Well, if we’re going to get rid of all these routine elements of fantasy fiction–what’s left?

Achtung! Nothing about fantasy should be routine!

Let’s see if we can actually surprise our readers, shall we?


‘Authority’ Exercised by Idiots

In the latest of a virtually infinite number of examples, wooden-headed school officials in Ohio are poised to destroy a student’s future because he had a penknife in his car. (Source: One News Now, April 16, 2014, “Attorney: School’s overreaction to pocket knife my destroy teen’s future,” by Bob Kellogg)

Because the presence of this three-inch long utility knife in his car violated the school’s robotic “zero tolerance policy for weapons on campus,” the 18-year-old spent 13 days in jail–think about that, please–and has been fitted with an ankle monitor. A real enemy of the people, eh? He has been charged with a felony and will go on trial in June.

Oh! But this is to protect the kiddies at the school from being massacred! Didn’t you see what happened in Pennsylvania earlier this month, when some crazy kid went on a rampage with a kitchen knife and stabbed and slashed a whole slew of his fellow students?

Only school policies didn’t stop him from doing that, did they?

Homicidal maniacs don’t hold back from shooting people because they see a “gun-free zone” sign.

These “educators” with their heads of stone are typical statist imbeciles and bullies, who think that if they can mangle and shred some harmless individual who has no intention of breaking any law, they’ve justified their existence for the day. For some reason real criminals simply ignore them, and real psychos are never going to pay any attention, anyhow.

The “zero tolerance” policies are only good for terrorizing the innocent.

They are also typical of the thinking behind the entire public schooling enterprise.

Please, please, please! If you have kids in the public schools, pull them out now! Don’t wait for the “educators” to have their way with them. You’ll be sorry if you do.


Treks and Tricks Galore in Lee Duigon’s New Bell Mountain Book, The Palace

Check out Forrest Schulz’s review of The Palace

A Review of Lee Duigon The Palace[Book 6 of the Bell Mountain Series] (Storehouse Press, 2013)
321 pp $18.00 ISBN: 978-1-891375-64-4

Reviewer: Forrest W. Schultz

If I were to sing, instead of write, this review, the first verse would be “whole lotta trekkin’ goin’ on” followed by a second verse “whole lotta trickin’ goin’ on”. Read it and see if you can make up an appropriate third verse. The trekkin’ is similar to the treks in the previous stories — military movements, abductions, people sneaking around, and the like. What really stands out in this, most recent, Bell Mountain book is the two examples of “trickin”. The bad guys keep talking about a Thunder King (who actually does not exist), who supposedly is ordering them to do certain things and send (in his name) various decrees. And the good King, Ryons, who actually does exist, has two people impersonating him, leading us to say, as they used to on that famous TV show from days of yore, “Will The Real King Ryons please stand up??!!”.

As with the previous stories, this one moves along with fast-paced exciting action and dialogue and is suffused with various Biblical principles and analogies. And, as with the others, it is written for juvenile readers but is also interesting, perhaps even more so, for teen and adult readers. Jack and Ellayne are back, and it has now been two years since the beginning of their adventure and some time is spent by them looking back over them. The picture on the front cover shows Jack’s most hair-raising experience in this tale, climbing up the outside wall of a palace to escape from the room in which he was being imprisoned.

I highly recommend this story as I have the previous ones.

http://newsciencefictionandfantasyreviews.blogspot.com/2014/04/treks-and-tricks-galore-in-lee-duigons.html


A Wonderfully Scary Little Movie

M.R. James was the best ghost story writer of all time, and among his very best stories is Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come to You, My Lad. It’s been published innumerable times in various anthologies.

What’s it about? Well, I don’t want to spoil it for you. Let’s just say it’s one of the scariest ghost stories ever written.

You can also watch it on youtube. Whistle and I’ll Come to You is a 40-minute adaptation of the story, made in 1968. It stars Michael Hordern (he plays Marley in the famous Alistair Sim version of “A Christmas Carol,” Scrooge) as a university professor on a short vacation by the sea.

Hordern gives us a character who is the epitome of the academic fat-head–there’s no fool like an intellectual fool–so in love with his supposed intelligence, so convinced of his vast superiority over everybody else, that he can’t even talk straight. To display his own cleverness, he twists and mangles every straightforward question put to him by anyone.

His vanity leaves him totally defenseless against the horror that is to come.

On one of his rambles, he finds an old grave partially exposed by erosion, and in it he finds some kind of metal cylinder. When he cleans it, he discovers it’s a whistle with a Latin inscription on it that says, “Who is this that is coming?” So of course he blows the whistle, and finds out.

I mustn’t tell you any more of the plot. If you enjoy a really good scare, you gotta see this!

It’s a short film, beautifully shot in black and white. One version has a very nice music track added by a fan. The original does not. Both are excellent.

By the way, there’s no sex, no blood ‘n’ guts, no cussin’ and swearing, no bodies flying all over the place.

It’s a very quiet little film, and it will creep you out but good.


At the Doctor’s Office

I had to go to the eye doctor today, for a 10:00 appointment. I was on time, so naturally I had to wait for an hour or so as people strolled in late for their 9:00 appointments and got pushed right to the top of the line.

Does it seem wrong to you, as it does to me, to reward people who come in late and punish those who come on time? More culture rot.

As if that weren’t bad enough, they had The View on television. That show really bugs me.

They had Morgan Freeman come on to plug his new movie. The guy is as old as the freakin’ Parthenon, and yet he comes out with earrings in his ears. I couldn’t help thinking, “You old ass, you.”

They asked him about another movie in which he played God, and he took the opportunity to dispense a bit of pop theology. It wasn’t at all hard to play God, he said: anyone could do it. Why? Because, he explained, “Each and every one of us is God.”

Sheesh. Personally, I’d be rather stuck if I had to create the heavens and the earth. Maybe he knows how to do it, although I doubt it.

I wonder how much you get paid for coming on TV and blathering.


How Democrats Maul Nature

I’ve lived in the same town all my life.

When I was a boy, there was a spring 200 yards from our house. The whole neighborhood drank from it, and no one ever got sick.

When we wanted corn on the cob for supper, I got on my bike and pedaled 15 minutes to the nearest farm. Blackberries? They grew wild on every vacant lot in town. We had a woods to play in, a village in the woods–the people would bring you home if you got lost–a downtown section full of stores that had been in business for decades, ponds and swamps and fields… In short, it was very nice!

We have lived under Democrat rule, uninterrupted, since the mid-1960s. You would hardly recognize the place. Farms, springs, woodlands, villages, berry patches–all gone! As if they’d never existed. As if I’d only read about such places in fantasy stories, or dreamed them.

It’s all paved over now. High taxes make for a high turnover in businesses and residencies. It’s as if the sight of an acre of living plants incenses them, and must be wiped out at once.

And in all that time, not a day went by without our Democrat rulers–they see themselves as rulers–warning of the “environmental destruction” that would ensue if Republicans ever got in. What more the Republicans could do, by way of destruction, short of dropping an atomic bomb on the place, is inconceivable.

So the next time they tell you they’re only seizing a rancher’s land because they want to protect a turtle or a smelt, please bear in mind that you are listening to people who would pave over their mothers’ graves and annihilate any and all wildlife at the drop of a hat. Or at the drop of a bribe.


Why Did Columbo Wear a Raincoat?

Rest on the Sabbath day–whichever day you recognize as the Sabbath–and be at peace. The Lord will fight for us.

So I lay down my sword for a day, and to demonstrate my peaceful intentions, write about Columbo, of all things.

Peter Falk’s humble detective, placatory body-language and all, was a huge hit in the 1970s. In fact, it was an international hit. We watched some episodes on Amazon Prime. For some reason, I didn’t see that much of Columbo when it was fresh and new on TV.

Well, it’s still fresh and new, and watching it 40 years later, I feel like I haven’t missed a thing. We’ve ordered several seasons’ worth of episodes for our library.

By comparison with what we have today, it’s hard to believe American TV ever generated anything as good as Columbo. But that’s what you get when you’ve got a great star who’s really into his role, guests stars who are esteemed professional actors, great scripts, original music by top composers, and spectacular sets.

Not only that: but the plot of any Columbo episode is a fairy tale as old as man himself. Big-shot villain, smart, rich, powerful, good-looking, thinks he can do anything he pleases, even murder–and this little guy in a shabby raincoat brings him down. Yeah! Give me more of that!

Just don’t ask me why Columbo wears a raincoat all the time (and I do mean all the time), when he lives in Los Angeles. Maybe it’s to clue us in that this prosaic little cop with his crummy car and his ridiculous raincoat… is not a human being at all, but rather an avenging angel who does the job that Nemesis and the Furies used to do in pagan mythology.

Whoa! Did I just figure something out? Betcha I did.

Let Us Give Thanks

Father in heaven, we are grateful to you that none of our fellow citizens was killed in that showdown in Nevada, this past week. We are a long way from knowing the true story of the incident, but we do know that no blood has been shed.

O Lord, who has given us our freedoms–which we make such poor use of, to our shame–guard our freedoms for us from those who would take them away. Amen.


Our Gangster Government

I don’t know all the ins and outs of this mess in Nevada, but I do know what force and intimidation look like, and I certainly know hypocrisy when I see it.

The government claims the rancher’s cattle are trespassing onto federally- owned land. Why does this make me think of claims that Polish troops violated Germany’s border in 1939? But just for the sake of argument, let’s say it’s so: the cattle are grazing where they shouldn’t. As unlikely as it is that the feds are telling the truth, let’s just say they are.

In that case… who are they to insist that citizens be law-abiding? We have a mystery man occupying the White House, who openly boasts that he will not execute laws that he doesn’t like. We have a US Attorney General who advises state attorneys general not to enforce the law, whose management of his office over five years has been unrivaled for lawlessness and scandal.

An administration more lawless than this one can scarcely be imagined.

And so we see videos of fat, hulking government goons with attack dogs and tasers, standing against angry citizens who have had just about enough. They seize a rancher’s cattle, destroying a family livelihood that has been on the same land for well over a century.

And they set up a little-bitty “free speech zone” where, supposedly, you can say what’s on your mind without fear of being beaten up by “law enforcement officers” or subjected to a lifetime audit by the IRS.

Remember when there was only one free speech zone in this country, and it was called America?

I won’t even discuss the reports that the reason Nevada’s US Senator, the loathsome Harry Reid, won’t protect the people of Nevada is because he’s arranged to transfer the land to a Red Chinese company that intends to set up a “solar farm” there. I mean, really–who ever heard of a senator protecting the people who elected him?

Waco, Ruby Ridge… Would you be surprised if the goons shot somebody today in Nevada?

At what point, if ever, is this administration to be brought to heel?

 

 


Do I Want Skydiving Lessons?

Someone emailed me an ad today for skydiving lessons at the nearest airport.

I can think of any number of people who would want me to take them, preferably with a defective parachute; but I think I’ll take a pass on this.

Risking one’s life for God, family, or country is sometimes necessary. But to risk it because it might be entertaining? I don’t think so. No, I’d rather watch Columbo episodes.

Julius Caesar was a brave man, physically. He always fought in the front line, with his troops behind him. But he would have thought it folly to climb a dangerous mountain just because it’s there, or swim with sharks, or go skydiving just for fun. I’m with him there.

Because, you see, my life is not my own to do with as I please. God has a claim on it first, along with my wife, my family, my friends, and those causes which seem right to me. It’s not mine to hazard by jumping out of an airplane just for fun.

So,no thanks–but I think I’ll stick to basketball. That’s hazardous enough for me.

I’ll leave the extreme sports to the libs ‘n’ progs. May they never get enough of them.


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