Chemical Warfare

Speaking from my privileged First World perspective, our, meaning the United States’, response to the Syrian war has always been a very conflicting and troubling issue for me.

Poor me, right, when there’s somewhere around 500,000 Syrians dead and over 10,000,000 displaced.

Poor me, indeed.

But since all pain is relative, all I can do is acknowledge/empathize with/pray for the atrocities external from me while focusing on finding some way to mitigate or at least reconcile with the conflicts and turmoil internal to me.

So far I’ve been unsuccessful…

Continue reading “Chemical Warfare”

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A World At War Just Like It Was Yesterday: HAWSER – A Review

BOOK | FICTION | LITERARY
HAWSER by J Hardy Carroll
RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★

To one who considers some of his favorite literary works to be those about World War II – SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE and CATCH 22 being the obvious ones – the war seems to be very present for me, when in fact it is now eighty years in our past. With it now so far removed from us, and with the space filled in by so many countless other wars, it really is quite an accomplishment that author J Hardy Carroll was able to bring the period back to us in such a vivid and entertaining way.

HAWSER, our selection for Volume 3 of the Indie Author Book Selection & Review (IABS&R), is a finely weaved, fascinating tale of Hawser (don’t bother asking him his real name) as he recounts his time as a B-17 bombardier during the Allies’s bombing campaign against the Germans.

We meet Hawser in a prisoner of war camp and it is from there he recounts for us all that has happened to him in the war before that point. We learn how he washed out as a pilot to become a bombardier, how he had to abandon his unit because of a murder, how he was abandoned as a child, how he met his arch nemesis, how he became trained in subversive warfare, how he became an expert bombardier, how he became burnt out and disillusioned by the war, and finally, how he tragically became a Nazi prisoner. From there we pick things back up from the present time in the story and we go along with him until the book’s conclusion.

Within that very rough sketch that I just laid out of the novel, there are so many – too many some may argue – different plot twists and sub plots filled with suspense and murder and love and passion and discovery and deceit along the way that several times throughout the course of my reading the book I had to stop to marvel at Carroll’s ability to manage it all so seamlessly and with such intrigue, all the while bringing out some of the larger and more poignant lessons learned from the war: mainly of the incalculable death and psychological and material devastation that the war wrought across the entire globe, as well as teaching us – or reminding us – that war isn’t always honorable and that not all people go to war to be heroes…some go to war simply because they want to kill.

And I was equally impressed with all the military and war jargon with which Carroll was able to flavor the story. It it his description of the B-17s and all their guns and ammunition and flight formations, and his knowledge of England during the war and its pastoral settings and its pubs and its quirky dialects that truly bring the story to life. Now I don’t know how much research Carroll had to do – my guess is a lot – and I don’t know how much of the detail he writes in the story is accurate – my guess is all of it – but I don’t really care. I don’t care because it all seems so real and so accurate that it significantly enhanced the story’s ability to pull me into that zen-like space of blissful verisimilitude.

In the end, the only flaws to be found with the book are in its ambition and achievement. At times the sub plots pull back the tempo of the story and I never really felt that there was that one thing, that one element of the story that had enough heft to bring an immediacy, an urgency of discovery, from the beginning to the end of the tale. But I see that more as a good problem for an Indie Author to have, as it is always better to have too much material to work with than not enough.

So I say congratulations and thank you to J Hardy Carroll for writing such a powerful story that both entertains and reminds us just how much effort and expense throughout history we silly humans have invested in our seemingly never ending quest to kill and conquer each other.


Hawser

jhardycarroll.com

 

~~~~

RATING SYSTEM:
★ = UNREADABLE
★ ★ = POOR READ
★ ★ ★ = AVERAGE READ
★ ★ ★ ★ = OUTSTANDING READ
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ = EXCEPTIONAL READ

 
 

Let’s give it a go, shall we…

I wasn’t planning on committing myself to another IABS&R round just yet; however, I made the mistake of picking up Indie Author J. Hardy Carroll’s novel HAWSER to casually leaf through it during a rare fit of nothing-to-do-ness. Well, you know how it goes – one thing page led to another and before I knew it I was hooked. Carroll gives us a very strong opening that pulled me right into the vibe of the story.

So, since there’s not much chance that I am not going to read Carroll’s book, we might as well go ahead and make it all official-like and call this the official IABS&R VOLUME 3 KICK-OFF post and away we go…

Any books that mysteriously appear in my post office box henceforth will be shelved until we complete this round and move on to IABS&R Volume 4.

I know, I know…I still have essays to write from my first commitment to Emerson. But, as I am not going to do any further Emerson reading until I feel I’ve said all I have to say about Nature, I am in need of something to read (other than the gore and bore of the daily news) so Carroll’s apparently interesting novel fills that void nicely.

If anyone else has reviewed or intends to review HAWSER, please let me know. I’d like to check it out and maybe reblog it here.

Righto, then. Off I go…

Wish me luck!

(It better be good, JHC…)
 

Hawser-bookcover

IABS&R Volume 3 Announcement
hawesescapes.com
Amazon

 
 

This would make for great fiction…

Global food poisoning? Yes, We’re maxing out. Forget Peak Oil. We’re maxing-out on Peak Food. Billions go hungry. We’re poisoning our future, That’s why Cargill, America’s largest private food company, is warning us: about water, seeds, fertilizers, diseases, pesticides, droughts. You name it. Everything impacts the food supply. Wake up America, it’s worse than you think.

We’re slowly poisoning America’s food supply, poisoning the whole world’s food supply. Fortunately Cargill’s thinking ahead. But politicians are dragging their feet. They’re trapped in denial, protecting Big Oil donors, afraid of losing their job security; their inaction is killing, starving, poisoning people, while hiding behind junk-science.MarketWatch

He says that over the next 50 years, if nothing is done, crop yields in many states will most likely fall, the costs of cooling chicken farms will rise and floods will more frequently swamp the railroads that transport food in the United States. He wants American agribusiness to be ready.New York Times

Among the future trends that will impact our national security is climate change. Rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels, and more extreme weather events will intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict. They will likely lead to food and water shortages, pandemic disease, disputes over refugees and resources, and destruction by natural disasters in regions across the globe. In our defense strategy, we refer to climate change as a “threat multiplier” because it has the potential to exacerbate many of the challenges we are dealing with today – from infectious disease to terrorism. We are already beginning to see some of these impacts.Pentagon

If it wasn’t already our reality…

And which is why I believe this and this.

 
 

If I Were Queen* of the World… [Thoughtful Thursday Selection]

Uneasy is the head that wears the crown…

Leadership is about convincing those whom you lead to do those things that they would not otherwise do. It is about setting an example you wish for others to emulate. It is about making tough choices, choices that oftentimes are not popular, and sometimes even painful…or life ending.

If I were Queen* of the World, the first thing I most likely would do is abdicate my crown as I am not sure I could handle such responsibility.

But fortunately for us, this is merely an exercise of what ifs where the consequences of our imagination propagate barely beyond the borders of this page…

All three of today’s responses to the prompt bring great value to this what if exercise of sort we just put ourselves through. For we find if one were QOTW, she would wipe out Evil in its entirety and bring about total global peace, if even for just one day. We find if another were QOTW, she would leave the status quo essentially in its existential place, for it is up to the individual, each of us, to want to choose the Good over Evil for the goodness to have any viable meaning and in order for Evil to, maybe not be conquered, but at least set back on its heels a bit. And, another, our selection for this first Daily Writing Prompt thingie, brings both the wish to wipe out Evil in its entirety and the understanding that, even if she were QOTW, her powers would still have their limits, and that perhaps her greatest power is the example that she can provide for others in how one should live a life of peace, of how one should choose compassion over anger, and of how she, as QOTW, by her example of peace and compassion could provide a less dangerous world for all of us to live and thrive in so that no one, especially our children, would have to become a refugee as a result from the failure of others to achieve peace.


 

IF PRIYANKI WERE QUEEN OF THE WORLD…
jollyprivy.wordpress.com

To be a refugee means to be displaced. I wish nobody on this planet be affected by wars of any kind, which forces them to leave their shelter. The thought of “children being refugees of war” gives me goosebumps, more so because I’m a mother myself & anything related to a child makes me think in a motherly manner. It hurts deeply to read about what all trauma they face being refugees, that too being oblivious of what’s going on?

When I think of the people behind these wars & wonder the kind of mental state they have, often leads me to lot of frustration. They are not aliens, they are people like us, we call them inhuman, but that does not change the fact that they are human beings.

We all wish & Pray to God to make this world a better place. We wish for change.

I think a child is like a seed. You need to take care of it well. Nurture it with love & care. Instill in them from the very start, the value of kindness, value of love & let them know what is acceptable & what’s not. If each one of us will do our bit, then every house will produce a kind adult.

Imagine the fragrance of the world with so many kind flowers blooming then.

If the queen propagates kindness maybe the world will follow the suit. All this may sound unimaginable in today’s world. But if we’re talking about me being the queen, I will talk about my ways. Yes! That’s what I believe. Everything can be fixed with love. Hatred only leads to grudges & war. Love & words of kindness have immense healing power.

The queen will let it’s people know…
1. Be kind to those who are kind to you.
2.You don’t always need weapons to convey your point, use your words instead.
3. Anger always takes away people’s balanced thinking power.
4.Only a calm mind has the power to think wise.

A very tough & sensitive situation to deal with. The queen will have to be strong too. Stand tall & face it all. Last, but not the least –

Believe that she can make this world a better place to live.


Thank you very much to all who responded to this first Daily Writing Prompt thingie. Pretty cool.

Priyanki, if you are interested in a digital copy of one of my selections available at Amazon, please let me know your choice via the Contact page.

Write on! And see you all tomorrow…#FFF

 

*non-gender specific

 
 

If I Were Queen* of the World… [Thoughtful Thursday Prompt]

Welcome to our first Daily Writing Prompt thingie. Since today is Thursday our announcement post tells us this day is all about making this pretty yet petulant planet of ours a better place to live. The literary form (poem, essay, flash fiction, etc.) you use to instruct us in is up to you, but it must contain the words “children refugees of war.” If submitting a visual piece (artwork, photograph, video, etc.), then it must somehow speak, sing, or visually convey the same.

With so many innocent and helpless children refugees of war, please tell us Queen* of the World how you can make our planet a better place to live?

The selected submission will be posted at 8PMish tonight.
 

*non-gender specific


This is germane.

 
 

Let the Games Begin! The IABS&R Volume 3 Games, that is…

A while back, I made notice that we were going to manage IABS&R Volume 3 a little bit differently than we had the previous two. Seeing how I am knee deep into my Emerson Commitment, and I am slowly, very slowly, putting together a collection of my short stories and flash fiction, I thought it best not to commit to a moderation of submissions and all the this and that it entails and just invite authors to send me print editions of their work directly…

And lo and behold, someone did send me a book directly. How about that…

I am very pleased and privileged to introduce to you the novel HAWSER, a, what looks to be very compelling, work of intrigue and adventure from an author with a name that I happen to think is a very cool and catchy authorial-type-name and one to be reckoned with – J Hardy Carroll.

Now, as I am chock-full of things to do in the present and beyond, it will be some time before I make the determination as to whether to actually read and review the book. In the interim, I will post it on my sidebar for you all to view and consider in a blatant effort of mine to coax and convince you into purchasing it so that you yourself may do the most honorable thing a reader can do for an Indie Author, which of course is to review it!. And during this lag of time between now and when I make my IABS&R Volume 3 determination, as opposed to “selection” since I have but one book to choose from, I invite you to send – as in mail – as in postal service mail (see Contact page for address) – me a polished and ready for prime time print edition version of your book, which may include just about any genre except Erotica and Romance. At which time, once received, I can then properly reclassify this IABS&R volume properly as a “selection” vice “determination.”

You dig?

So, without further ado and nonsense from me, I present to you J Hardy Carroll’s novel, HAWSER.

HAWSER by J Hardy Carroll
A little package of a self-contained world of alternate reality delivered straight to my PO Box doorstep courtesy the author and via CreateSpace and the United States Postal Service…

 

HAWSER by J Hardy Carroll
Despite this poorly presented picture of mine, this is a very eye-catching cover and one that conveys the intense vibe that one would expect a cover for a story about a world war to convey

 

HAWSER by J Hardy Carroll
The back cover is also sharp and blurb-appropriate

 

HAWSER by J Hardy Carroll
I really like the name of the publishing imprint – GRAPNEL BOOKS, with its logo picture of a grappling hook…awesomeness

 

HAWSER by J Hardy Carroll
Weighing in at 337 pages, all of which promise intrigue and adventure

 

Please visit and follow J Hardy Carroll at
hawesescapes.com

 
 

Crossing One Thin Line After Another

History shows us there is a thin line between outrage and unrest, between unrest and riot, and between riot and revolution. And it seems lately that we are constantly crossing these lines, that we are constantly on the edge and on the verge of being pushed to the limit, that every day, somewhere in the world, individuals, families, communities, countries, and regions are fluctuating and transitioning from one point of frustration to the next, even more frustrating point.

From the economy, to the environment, to intractable politics, to intolerance, to technology, to terrorism, to any number of other issues, who knows what will trigger the next outrage, unrest, riot, or revolution.

While there will always be multiple known and unknowable factors behind any tumultuous event, historians and analysts have come to a consensus that it was increasingly rising food prices, and, more specifically, the high cost of bread that pushed a region over the line and triggered the Arab Awakening.

And there is evidence showing that throughout the ages it has been the rising costs of basic food staples that pushes even the most civil minded citizens into becoming violent revolutionaries for change.

As the most cursory of searches reveal, the cumulative effect of the world’s many crises, coupled with the continuance of extreme weather patterns and resultant droughts, flooding, and other climate change unknowns, 2015 may be a year of severely rising food costs.

If so, it may prove to be quite the year, indeed.

 

☠☠☠☠

Hercules Gone Mad

Hercules Gone Mad – Part One
Rebels for Love

Read an Excerpt

 
 

TOTAL WAR OR TOTAL PEACE – A Relating to Humans Political Issues Feature

I do not have much to say as an introduction to this powerful topical essay by Paul Xylinides, our IABS&R Volume 2 selectee, other than to compel you to go take a look at today’s headlines. There you will unfortunately witness once more what brutality we humans are willing to inflict upon other humans in an effort to further our own goals, be they political, religious, or whatever cause it may be that motivates us into a frenzy of fanaticism and murderous hate.

My prayers are with Pakistan as I mourn the lost lives of all the innocent children.

Paul will also be contributing a guest post for us tomorrow.
– 8:00pm (EST), Wednesday, December 17, 2014


TOTAL WAR OR TOTAL PEACE
by Paul Xylinides

The concept of total war has been especially widespread in execution in the twentieth century. It means just what it says, that is, the decision by one or both sides in a conflict to use all and every means in order to prevail. War crimes become unavoidable and are a matter of course under these scenarios. Moral and legal concerns are completely set aside. Intended to prevent or, at best, minimize carnage directed towards the innocent, the rules of war are effective only so long as one side enjoys vastly superior capacities and thus the luxury of choosing how to conduct itself in an engagement. Recent comments by Vladimir Putin as to his country’s continued possession of a nuclear arsenal illustrate what recourse a threatened nation feels justified to employ. Today, the United States is able to act militarily within the rules of war. Should the day come that a figure such as the present Russian leader were to carry out his veiled threat, it is not conceivable that the United States would not respond in kind.
Continue reading “TOTAL WAR OR TOTAL PEACE – A Relating to Humans Political Issues Feature”

Untitled no. Zero

it doesn’t matter
it doesn’t matter
it doesn’t matter

but it does

it doesn’t matter what is heard
it doesn’t matter what is seen
it doesn’t matter what is felt

but it does

it doesn’t matter what is read
it doesn’t matter what is studied
it doesn’t matter what is learned

but it does

it doesn’t matter what is wanted
it doesn’t matter what is needed
it doesn’t matter what is neglected

but it does

it doesn’t matter what is played
it doesn’t matter what is worked
it doesn’t matter what is earned

but it does

it doesn’t matter about sex
it doesn’t matter about abstinence
it doesn’t matter about monogamy

but it does

it doesn’t matter about the laughing
it doesn’t matter about the crying
it doesn’t matter about the ennui

but it does

it doesn’t matter about the mind
it doesn’t matter about the heart
it doesn’t matter about the soul

but it does

it doesn’t matter about peace
it doesn’t matter about war
it doesn’t matter about surrender

but it does

it doesn’t matter about right
it doesn’t matter about wrong
it doesn’t matter about indifference

but it does

it doesn’t matter about purpose
it doesn’t matter about meaning
it doesn’t matter about truth

but it does

it doesn’t matter about belief
it doesn’t matter about non-belief
it doesn’t matter about un-belief

but it does

it doesn’t matter about was
it doesn’t matter about is
it doesn’t matter about shall be

but it does

it doesn’t matter about birth
it doesn’t matter about life
it doesn’t matter about death

but it does

it doesn’t matter
it doesn’t matter
it doesn’t matter

but it does
and just it doesn’t matter

 
 

Heroes of Dystopia – A Serial Saga

Hercules Gone Mad

It’s been over a year since I released my first novel The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor and I am excited to be able to finally announce my new project — Heroes of Dystopia – A Serial Saga.

There are many reasons I am excited about this project.

For one, it is an opportunity to for me to explore political, societal, technological, war, mental, and many other issues important to me in a serious and, hopefully, an interesting way.

I am also pleased to be releasing it as a serialized saga, which means that the saga will be realized as a series of books, and each book will be released as a series of parts. Writing a serialized saga enables me to think long term and in strategic ways, while also being able to stay tactical and keep the writing fresh and, again, hopefully, moving quickly along.

The first book in the saga is Hercules Gone Mad. The first part of the book, Rebels for Love, will be available soon. Meanwhile, you can read an excerpt of it here.

If you have any feedback, and I hope you do, let me know about by leaving me a comment here or on my facebook page.

History As Our Guide?

By: drakegoodman

It is my assumption that most of us are probably more familiar with World War II history than the histories of most other wars. As most historians don’t consider something as history unless we are at least fifty years or so removed from the event, I am not considering the world’s most recent wars when I make this assumption.

Consequently, I have been doing a little research to brush up on my World War I history. I was fortunate to find a wonderfully produced ten-part documentary on youtube fittingly entitled “The First World War.”

What I relearned from my research, and I know that this is not a new revelation by any stretch of the imagination, is that we as humans were utterly brutal and merciless during the twentieth century. It’s unfathomable to me how many millions were killed during World War I. And to top it all off, just as the war ended, the Spanish Flu pandemic infected the globe and killed another twenty million or so people.

Unimaginable.

You’re probably familiar with the saying “misery loves company.” Well, we at least can find some solace for what seems like our present day madness of global wars and revolutions and piracy and economic depressions and disregard for human rights by looking back through history and finding just about any point in time when it was much, much worse.

A Super Sad True Look at What May Lie Ahead

BOOK | FICTION | LITERATURE
SUPER SAD TRUE LOVE STORY
by Gary Shteyngart

RATING: ★ ★ ★

Gary Shteyngart
Gary Shteyngart

In Gary Shteyngart’s SUPER SAD TRUE LOVE STORY, the state of the union is dire. The country is bankrupt and so are its morals and values. It is at war both abroad and at home with itself. Its fall from grace and global dominance is near complete. Its citizens are vacuous, intellectually dead, and have ceded their free will and persona’s to ubiquitous technological devices and the killer apps that power them.

While this may sound like a description of the America of today with its battered and disaffected citizenry, insane debt and out of control spending, and an even more insane and dysfunctional political environment that is preventing any type of resolution to any of its problems, we don’t know exactly when all of this is happening except that it is sometime in the near future.

Within the midst of this dystopian future is love-stricken Lenny, a shlumpy, less-than handsome, middle-aged romantic, first generation Russian, lover of his past-its-prime-and-glory city, who still reads those anachronistic, smelly pressed wood pulp things with ink-stained letters called books, attempting to court Eunice, a vibrant, young, superficial first generation Korean beauty who is repulsed by nearly everything about Lenny–he is old, naïve and weak, he has the face of a battleship, and the smell of his dirty old books make her ill–and who consumes her time and mind by shopping and live streaming on her all-consuming apparat.

Theirs is an unstable and unbalanced love affair that seems destined to collapse, as does just about everything important in Lenny’s life: we see America’s empire collapsing and the corpornation of China’s rising; we see the rule of law collapsing in his city as contractor military forces impose martial law in an effort to contain and control veterans returning from the war with Venezuela who are protesting and plotting against what’s left of the government because they have not received their promised combat pay; we see the collapse of his professional a life because he, a man more comfortable in second hand clothes and who still enjoys long, slow walks through Central Park, just cannot meet the rigors and sales quotas associated with having to sell Kurzweilian-like, eternal life plans to rich elites. Things look pretty grim for poor Lenny.

Things look grim because Super Sad True Love Story is a grim, despondent story; but fortunately for us, the readers, Shteyngart is a talented writer who tells the story in clever, humorous ways that take some of the sting out of its biting, bitter message…but not all of it.

I recommend you read Super Sad True Love Story, if not for its creative, literary value, then for its glimpse into what might become if we don’t soon figure out a way to work together in a common interest of saving our country from becoming a super sad true story of collapse and ruin.

~~~~

Rating System:
★ = Unreadable
★ ★ = Poor Read
★ ★ ★ = Average Read
★ ★ ★ ★ = Outstanding Read
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ = Exceptional Read

National Nervous Breakdown

Maybe it’s just because I’m off work recovering from cancer and have more time to pay attention to current events, but it seems to me that insane violent crimes are happening almost daily. Just this week, a doctor at Johns Hopkins hospital was shot by the son of a patient. The son ended up also shooting the patient, his mother, and then himself. The week before that, there was the Discovery building hostage situation, and several weeks before that there was the mother who drowned her children. I could go on and on with all the insanity that has been happening in the past year or two but this post has already depressed me enough so I won’t.

Instinctively, I want to say that it is the bad economy and the stress that it has been inflicting on our nation as a whole that is responsible for all these insane violent crimes; however, after a quick search of the topic, I’ve found that, according to the FBI, violent crime has actually been decreasing, even during the economic crisis.

I’m no expert, but after thinking about it for a bit, it seems to me that violent crimes—murders, rapes, assaults—which are tragic enough, are not the same as these insane violent crimes—shooting a doctor and then your mother in a hospital, taking hostages because you hate people for killing the earth, drowning your children and then making it look like an accident, or dressing up as Santa Claus and going on a killing rampage—so maybe the FBI statistics don’t really apply here. Maybe, but I really don’t know.

What I do know is that as long as we have a significant portion of our population raised and socialized in violent, abusive, poverty-ridden environments, then we’re going to continue to have a portion of our population suffering from the violent crimes that are committed as a result of this environment and socialization. And as long as these violent crimes are isolated to just a portion of our population, then the majority of the population will, unfortunately, be able to easily turn a blind eye to most of it.

But when the entire population is suffering under economic stress, debt, ineffectual national leaders, divisive, vindictive politics, perpetual war, nuclear brinkmanship, excessive military buildup, constant threat of terrorism, and an increasing feeling of no hope of change for the better, like it is now, then we all are going to suffer from it, no one is going to be able to turn a blind eye toward it, and, if things don’t change soon, the entire population will eventually have a national nervous breakdown from it.

Perhaps all of these insane violent crimes that have been happening recently are the first cracks in our national psyche.