I’m ready! This morning, it was below sixty degrees for my morning “run.” Autumn ushers in peak intellectual productivity season – hence, novels and so forth. Thanks, Summer, it’s been great, really. Now, take the heat and go.
Made a major tech breakthrough today with The Substitute! Anything can be accomplished if one swears hard enough and long enough at a computer. How major is major? I (not you) can now read the beta version on my Kindle. This weekend, cover art unlike the crude thing over in the margin will take shape (I hope).
Get those card$ ready.
A new look at an old horror:
When Government Schools Kill
“Nobody is killing me, my friends, by treachery, not using any force.” – Polyphemus, The Odyssey
I’m sure it’s happened, but I am unaware of any direct homicide of any student at the hands of a public school. The indirect killings, however, are legion. There are murders of other kinds too, and numerous beyond count. The schools kill creativity. They kill interest. They kill intellect. They kill souls or parts thereof. They kill critical thinking. They exterminate freedom. Honestly, it’s why they exist.
Most United States residents and most Americans still find this acceptable. It’s only when one or more children get gunned down at a school that any semblance of outrage arises. And then, it’s usually, by design, twisted around into further hatred of liberty. A maddening cycle.
Such was the case at Stoneman Douglas High School, in Broward County, Florida, on February 14, 2018. The school system, Broward County, the State of Florida, and the Imperial US government, with the great assistance of gunman Nikolas Cruz, murdered fourteen students and three adults. The system, as much as Cruz, did this with great malice and tremendous planning aforethought.
One of the deceased victims was Meadow Pollack, an eighteen-year-old student. Her father, Andrew Pollack, along with Max Eden, published a new book, which sheds much-needed light on the matter.
Please read a few excerpts from a recent New York Post article. The system knew, for years, that Cruz was a dangerous, crazed sociopath. “Why did the school allow him to remain enrolled despite his daily, deranged behavior for a full year? Not by negligence, but by policy.” Multiple policies dictate that students like Cruz must be tolerated, even at the expense of the safety of everyone else in the schools.
Pursuant to these policies, records are kept. Pollack published notes from Carrie Yon, Cruz’s Eight Grade English teacher. I’ll relay two which, independent of everything else, scream out an alarm:
Sept. 11: After discussing and lecturing about the Civil War in America Nick became fixated on the death and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. He asked inappropriate questions and was making shooting actions with his pencil. Some questions he asked were “What did it sound like when Lincoln was shot? Did it go pop pop or pop pop pop really fast? Was there blood everywhere? After the war what did they do with all the bodies? Did people eat them?”
There’s much more to novel writing than I had imagined. Well, the writing is fine. The editing, formatting, etc. is a bear, especially with my (new) low-power computer. 400+pages makes for some awkwardness. I’ll make do for now. But! After The Substitute sells 10,000 or so copies, I’m upgrading to the fastest, most powerful thing I can find. Y’all can help with that. Thank$. – P
Hey! Finally, an “original” article that doesn’t involve me merely adding sarcastic comments to a news story! This one’s about fiction.
Yes, friends, it’s been a little over a year since I first delved into the genre with a few discombobulated short stories. Now, we’re getting VERY CLOSE to my first novel, The Substitute. I trust you’re debit and credit cards are charged and ready.
It’s kind of funny. The book originally started out as a non-fiction work about how bad the schools are – because we just can’t have enough of those, right? But then, along came Mr. Tom Ironsides and literally hijacked my idea. It morphed into a dramatization overnight. Honestly, it has been a little more than I thought I was ready for. But, then again, it seems there is no perfect time to do these things. The reader may find the final product, while I hope entertaining, a little amateurish? Your judgment.
My saving grace was the guidance of Thomas Moore, author of A Fatal Mercy, etc. He said kind things like: “You’ve got a great voice. And, a good ear.” I said, “YEAH!” – like I knew (know) exactly what those terms mean…
I read several books on how to write a novel and I consulted some of the copious (dubious) material all over these internets. In the end, I’m amazed at how close my work is coming (unintentionally) to following the conventional format.
The outline and all the notes were originally geared towards a factual expose. A few short stories emerged, became chapters, and Ironsides took the thing and ran with it. Yet and still, it has three acts. There’s a hook in the first chapter. Those turns, challenges, and critical events magically showed up on their own. Climaxes – plural – fell into place without my realizing. Towards the end, there is a resolution of a kind. It’s not total. In fact, it can’t be, given the subject matter. Yet, I think it works and well.
So, when writing a novel, or anything really – do it. That’s about the best I can offer. My Afterword includes an appropriate quote from Clausewitz. That, and the rest will be along before long.
And, I have some more books in various states of preparation. If I discover anything worthwhile as those grow, I shall report it.
Okay, The Substitute: I’m thinking maybe $7-8 for Kindle and $16-18 for a high-grade paperback. In the event of decent interest, a hardcover isn’t out of the question ($35?).
A Global Failure, Not a Progressive Collapse
Given my headline (mine, unless editorially altered), one might assume this column regards the accelerating economic decay or the impending general political cataclysm. It does not; my apologies. An alternative, or modifying, title might well be “The Demise of World Trade Center Tower Seven.” You will, I trust, remember that event, occurring eighteen years ago, this week.
It is well known that the United States DOES NOT negotiate with terrorists. That is why, following the longest and least successful war in American/United States history, “your” government is currently negotiating with the Taliban regarding the surrender (to the Taliban) of Afghanistan. USA! USA!
The Afghan Taliban, along with Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussien, perhaps Mossad, SIS, and the CIA, and possibly even elements of SPECTRE, may have been the proverbial “some people” who “did something,” in the parlance of an elected official I don’t think I’m any longer allowed to reference. That said, on September 11, 2001, the United States was attacked in spectacular fashion. (Those over forty may vaguely recall). Thousands died and prominent buildings were destroyed. One of them – the one you’re supposed to have completely forgotten, if ever you heard of it in the first place – was WTC7, aka the Salomon Brothers Building (alt., 1988-2001). You may also recall that it was embarrassingly announced collapsed IN ADVANCE of the actual event and despite obvious video evidence to the contrary.
So much more to the contrary…
It’s no secret that exercise can be beneficial from a psychological perspective. A session at the gym or jog around the neighborhood can help us clear our mind, reset our thoughts, and improve our mood. Now, a team of German scientists have discovered that keeping oneself physically fit is also associated with better brain structure and functioning in young adults.
The research team believe their findings indicate that if a person can improve their physical fitness, it may lead to improved cognitive ability, including elevated memory retention and superior problem solving.
This correlation suggests the opposite is also true. Hence, Westerners have grown fatter and dumber in conjunction. Both ways, it’s not just for the young. Join the slim, smart team.
Next week, I will publish a MAJOR national affairs article concerning the anniversary of 9/11 and WTC 7. I expect that interest in the matter, as opposed to football season, will be nonexistent. Stay tuned…
PS: The slightest rumors on an FP revival have surfaced. More on that if something materializes.
Not (directly) a TOM Ironsides story! You’ll see:
Just Another Ordinary Fencepost Hole
Larry’s Small Farm in New Hampshire, Saturday, August 31, 2019, 9:04 AM…
Bert watched his mother and his sisters ease down the long driveway to the road. He listened until the hum of the Sequoia’s V8 faded away. Then he ran down to the barn, finding “Little” Larry (all six-foot, three inches of him) digging around under the F-250’s bed cover.
‘Lar! They’re off. Bet they won’t be back until the mall closes.’
‘Kay, Bubba. I got everything we need. Let’s go find dad.’
Larry, Jr., recently turned eighteen, and his younger-by-three-years brother rolled gently into the back field, headed towards the distant clump of firs and junipers in the far corner above the woods and just uphill from the creek.
‘They changed the story about the Texas shooter. Again.’ Bert read headlines from his phone. ‘Now, they say it wasn’t random and he spoke to the FBI first. No white supremacy links either.’
‘Yeah. They do that. They’ll change it again. Next, he’ll be a black zionist working for the FBI. Then, they’ll move on to the next one. Dad says they need better scriptwriters.’
‘Is that a red flag or a false flag?’
‘False. But, one leads to the other. Or, it will. That’s why we’re doing our um, fence work today.’
Larry, Jr. slowed as he passed a row of newly dug post holes and a stack of heavy timbers. Behind a large cedar, the boys caught a glimpse of their father, already at work. Big Larry, Larry, Sr., was raising the auger out of a new hole when he noticed the truck approaching. After carefully clearing the PTO assembly, he pulled the John Deere 4052M out of the way and shut it off. He met his boys at the tailgate.
‘I take it the women are off and shopping?’
Junior answered, ‘Yes, sir. They left about five minutes ago.’
‘Good. We’ll have plenty of time. We can even get another section of actual fence up.’
Bert was still a little puzzled about the logistics and the secrecy. ‘Dad, why can’t we tell mom or Brooke or Liv? Kind of feels like we’re sneaking around.’
‘Well, son, we are. For this operation, the fewer who know anything, the better. Women have a way of … talking about things. We’re not asking for permission or forgiveness. We’re men. We do what we have to without resort to pointless discussion. Especially with something as critical as this.’ He paused as Larry, Jr. pulled the bed cover back. ‘Well, men. Let’s see here. Larry, for your brother’s benefit, why don’t you walk us through what we have? Kind of explain as you load ‘er up’
‘Okay, dad.’ Junior lowered a large black plastic tube to the ground, standing it upright. He unscrewed and removed the lid. ‘This is the Mono Vault. The big one. Now, all we do is fill it with goodies. Start passing me those long flat bags, Bubba.’
‘Are these the new guns we just shot last week?’
‘Why are they sealed up now?’
‘We cycled ‘em to make sure they work. Then, I cleaned the heck out of ‘em. Dad and I soaked ‘em in Cosmoline and vacuum-sealed them last night while you distracted the women. Wicked good job, I’d say.’
Junior lowered the arsenal into the tube – an H&K 416 A5 chambered in 5.56mm, a 417 A2 in 7.62 x 51 NATO, and a Benelli M4 tactical 12-gauge shotgun.
‘The bags keep them dry?’
‘The vault should do that. The grease and the vacuum will keep them from rusting. Thanks, brother, those smaller bags too, now.’
Two H&K pistols, both in .45ACP and both similarly protected, were added. Then came the ammunition – 1,000 rounds of 5.56, 400 rounds of 7.62, 100 rounds of buckshot, and 400 rounds of .45ACP – all neatly packaged. Everything fit perfectly with room to spare.
‘Where’d all this stuff come from? And, whose idea was this?’
Larry laughed. ‘Same answer for both questions – your uncle Thomas. He says that with all that’s happening, it’s time to start caching. He provided the Mono Vault and the guns. Amazon sells the tubes in all sizes and… PVC pipe will work too if they start banning more than guns. And the guns, any good store has. Uh… Tom kindly provided all these, sans any contact or paper trail. He says it’s best not to have any trace of the purchase or ownership. Period.’
‘Well, how’d he get them?’
‘Son, I learned a long time ago that it’s better not to question Tom’s methods. Okay, let’s add the rest now.’
A few more bags and a coffee can rounded out most of the space. Junior continued the explanation. ‘That’s a cleaning kit, magazines, some spare parts, slings and holsters, and a few survival items. Knives and water tablets, etc. Not sure what was in that black bag. Dad?’
‘Another gift from your uncle. Probably auto sears or something for the rifles. A grenade? Better not to know sometimes. Oh! And, I have a few more little things to top it off!’
Larry proudly added a travel humidor full of Cuban Cohibas (also from Tom), a cutter, lighter, and matches, and a bottle of 18-year-old Oban Scotch Whisky. With everything in place, they closed the primary lid and carried the vault to the waiting hole. Larry explained it’s creation,
‘Boys, I’m glad I didn’t have to switch to the backhoe. No big rocks, luckily. I dug out five adjoining holes to match the diameter of the vault with some extra space on the sides. There’s a little dirt down at the bottom. If you could get that, Bert. Thanks.’ He watched as Bert manually lowered some post hole diggers into the ground. ‘Should be a perfect fit. The vault is forty-five inches deep, or tall, and my bit is forty-eight. I bumped it a little deeper with the hydraulics for a margin. Anyway, it all worked great.’
Bert finished routing out the hole and they lowered the vault into place. Next, they backfilled around the edges, adding several bags of gravel at Larry’s instruction.
‘It’s very important to keep good drainage. Water can cause these things to buoy up and float. It shouldn’t be a problem with our good soil. Anyway, my going a little deeper will keep the frost away from the lid.’
With the fill added, they lowered and sealed the heavy outer shield lid. That, they covered with about two inches of dirt.
‘Scrap time, boys.’
The trio started scattering rusty scrap steel and iron in and around the hole. Over the lid, Larry placed a partially bent railroad track plate.
‘What’s all this for?’ Bert asked.
His brother answered, ‘To foil metal detectors.’
‘Yeah,’ added Larry, ‘Not that anyone’s going to be looking way back here. But, if they do, then this junk should throw them off. They’ll just figure it’s old trash and move on. They’d have a hard time finding it anyhow.’
‘How will we find it again in a few years, dad?’
‘Placement is everything. The tube is set equidistant between that large rock and the corner fence post. It’s exactly twenty-one feet between them, so it’s ten and a half feet from the rock to the tube. Remember that. I notched the rock on the right line just to be safe. No-one would ever notice that or understand what it means.’ He pointed to the granite boulder, jutting out of the ground amid the evergreens.
They worked a little more and covered the hole well, blending it with the surrounding ground. In a few weeks, it became undetectable. Later that day, a decent section of the new wooden fence was erected. That evening, while waiting on the women to return, the three lounged around just outside the barn doors. All three enjoyed a few beers, and the Larrys smoked two of the Cohibas, a pair saved from burial at the last moment.
‘And again, men,’ Larry expounded, ‘Who do we tell about this?’
‘Nobody.’ They answered in unison.
‘That’s right. Okay, I’ll tell Tom later. Show him, in person, rather. He said not to even mention this in code on the telephone.’
‘He’s really serious about all this, isn’t he?’
‘He really is. He expects some sort of gun ban before things get really bad. And he expects the bad part in a decade or so. He’s used the term civil war a few times. Hate to say I trust him, but he does know war. Says if it comes, it will be short, but very bad. Not much that common people can do for the duration. It’s surviving the getting there and the aftermath that matters.’
‘Our little cache will help if it comes to that, dad, Bubba. But, what about … you know, heavier weapons?’
‘Well. The advice from the pro is to stay out of the way while the big actors duke it out. But, he told me that maybe the next time we’re together – sometime soon – he’ll explain in detail how to go arms shopping, for free, courtesy of the government. Again, that’s another subject he’s extremely well versed in.’
‘Dad, speaking of shopping – I see headlights.’
‘Alright! Remember to act impressed by the shoes and purses and so forth.’
They all laughed. It felt good to start a Labor Day weekend with responsible preparedness. For the moment, it felt pretty good finishing those brews and smokes.
Formatting… Anyway, this story gave me the spark! – things have been a little rougher the past four weeks than I’ve let on – to get back into the FICTION! Just this afternoon, I have powered through the first 102 pages of the novel – maybe the final edit. Getting there! And, soon, friends.
Also, the above featured “prepper” lessons – in dramatic format – for dealing with the coming (it is coming) attacks on the 2A. Be ready. Dig deep. I’ll have … Tom Ironsides will have more suggestions soon. Cheers!
Soon. Expecting a TPC post sometime – a different kind of Ironsides story. The fiction is all I feel like doing. Even with the recent slowdown. Trying to recapture that “spark.”