Lightning Bugs Hang Out All Night Long

So I decided to get off drugs.

Sleep aids, actually, because I live a roguishly rough and tumble life. They haven’t been completely successful and they often leave me sluggish in the morning, requiring more drugs, morning drugs, which for me is pronounced “tea” because I live a roguishly rough and tumble life.

To reduce all of this serious narcotic behavior, I skipped the nighttime drugging, and, by way of declaring my complete victory over pharmaceuticals, woke up at 1:20 a.m.

Undeterred, I armed myself with a paperback (good idea) and an iPad (phenomenally bad idea), and an estimation that I would be up for about 20 minutes.

At 4:45 am, as I stumbled back to bed, I had learned three things:

1) reading a paperback at night gets you relaxed and sleepy;

2) following that up with a peek at the internet wakes you up, and eats hours of your life better spent asleep;

3) Lightning bugs hang out all night long.

It is going to be a long day, but at least I didn’t rely on drugs.

Except the morning tea. And I need more.

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Washington, DC or Local Schools: Which is America?

I had two diametrically opposed experiences today. One was the Jeff Sessions Session. The other was a local high school academic awards dinner. And it struck during the dinner that I had witnessed staggeringly different expressions of America within hours of each other.

D.C. World was full of cameras speed-snapping so fiercely they sounded like a swarm of ominous mechanical bees. Then pleasantries gave way to dueling show boaters, spinners, twisters, and contorters torturing the truth into whatever mutated “facts” suited their political agenda or scored points for their team in what Dr. Hunter S. Thompson was fond of calling America’s favorite blood sport. 

Whatever really happened over the last few months, the truth was slaughtered as a result, and I fear we may never find the body. Political ideologies are so carnivorously preying on each other these days that neither peaceful coexistence nor productive leadership seems remotely possible anymore.

Between the behavior of our alleged leaders of all persuasions and the relentless, grinding autopsy that is the 24-hour news cycle, hope in the American ideal would seem nothing more than dying embers.

Or so I thought.

As I watched vibrant young smart people approach the awards podium each full of radiant hope and fertile dreams of the future,  I realized I hadn’t been watching America on TV, I had been baring withness to The Lost. 

Congress isn’t America.

Washington, D.C. isn’t America. 

They now seem to form a level of Dante’s Inferno where those who put ambition before service and greed before community and ego before humility are damned to attack each other regardless of oath of office or the good of the country in nightmare news cycles that erode the souls of all who see this maelstrom.

But America is not this savage circus.

America is people giving back to their community. America is students rewarded for dedication to expanding their knowledge and elevating their lives with ideas and ideals, concepts and hard work. 

America is adults contributing to the uplifting of the community be investing in our greatest resource – the minds of the young. America is not telling them what they must think, rather just telling them that they must.

America is the astonishing sight of a student presenting a classmate a scholarship to memorialize a family member who has past, honoring both the memory and the recipient by helping to finance the future.

America is not lost, it is living in communities that take the time to care for each other. And I will stand with the young and hopeful dreamers over the jaded manipulators any day.

Congrats to the classes of 2017 all across America. You just might be the saviors of the American ideal.

Posted in #POTUS, #Trump, America, education, Faith, High school, love, parenting, politics, pop culture, Spirituality, teaching, teenagers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Tell The Damn Story – Book Recommendations

So, this short video recommends two books I am hot on right now, one about writing fiction, the other about writing comics.

I hope you find this helpful. Let me know in the comments section.

Posted in comics, digital publishing, ebook publishing, education, fiction, independent publishing, Marvel, pop culture, Pulp fiction, self-publishing, writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

150 Words on The Daily Show: an Oral History

Jon Stewart changed television, and possibly the country, with his 16 years on The Daily Show. Love him or hate him, his impact persists. And this engaging book demonstrates why.  

Retold almost entirely in quotes from the participants, the book chronicles the program from just prior to Stewart’s arrival to a bit after his final show, and in the telling reveals Stewart as a mensch who was dedicated to the honesty of the performances, recruiting the highest caliber talents available onscreen and off, and, most importantly, challenging all (including himself) to engage in the national discussion. Each of these have had lasting impact, with the first two creating a legacy of voices, some still on the show, others (Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Samantha Bee, and many others) who are still challenging authority, and the latter arguably expressing itself in among the largest demonstrations in American history.

Highly recommended, especially now.

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100 Words In Defense of Hannah Baker?

Some commenters are claiming that while they cannot stop watching 13 Reasons Why, they hate Hannah Baker and believe all the characters are “privileged assholes”.

I suspect this the point. In this country of immense wealth and power, where many are well-fed and indulge whims easily, the sad truth is that suicide is the second highest cause of teen death.

That only makes sense when viewed as existing in a deeply flawed society, one that produces the traumatized thinking of a Hannah Baker too often. 

Our society needs to rediscover its humanity.  13 Reasons Why seeks to start that process.

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100 Words on 13 Reasons Why

The highest praise that can be properly placed on the Netflix hit “13 Reasons Why” is that it lets no one off the hook. Not the characters. Not the writers. Not the producers or directors or anyone else behind the camera. And definitely not the audience. 

And that is to be praised highly. 

This 13-part show (with a must-see 14th part) takes risks, keeps its eyes – and ours – wide open, and pulls no punches. The result is an experience that stays with you long after the show is over. 

Very highly recommended. Might be mandatory viewing for high school students. 

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100 Words on Colassal

Anne Hathaway and Jason Sedekeis take on an interesting mash-up of film styles with “Colassal” — an apt title in many ways. What starts off as the break-up section of a rom-com quickly morphs through a “can’t go home again” stage to an “Iron Giant” light comedy before doing a simultaneous plunge into dark comedy and darker drama concerned with mass destruction, relationship abuse, and a hero’s rise, all with an indie feel.

Pretty impressive.

And like some indies, a moment or two are a slightly off, but overall, this outrageously far fetched premise works better than you might expect. 

Recommended


Posted in fiction, film, Independent film, pop culture, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment