Motion picture, baby

The Quarter Percent ūüĎąūüŹĹ is now live on Amazon – free with Kindle Unlimited

Blurb A
During thirteen intense days of summer, 2030, profit is territory, and the quarter percent wield influence and prestige to fight for more of it. Behind the screens, a reclusive entrepreneur is rewriting the rules of the game. As the rules change, a former social media influencer struggles to adjust. On the Continent, a popular and charismatic king works covertly to undermine his rivals. His younger daughter takes on an exciting new challenge while his youngest finds herself in his cross-hairs. His oldest daughter is heir apparent. She marshals forces in a bold scheme to burnish her brand. She will do whatever it takes to win.


Blurb B
It is summer, 2030. Truth is the weapon, and profit is the territory. Behind the screens, Marvin Stone is a wealthy recluse who uses powerful, cutting-edge technology to rewrite the rules of the game. As the rules change, Augustine Santa Clara, a former social media star, struggles to adjust. On the Continent, the popular and charismatic King Cordial of Vale works covertly to undermine his rivals. His youngest daughter, Costmary, is in his cross-hairs. Rue, his older daughter, takes on an exciting new challenge. Gala is the King’s firstborn. When she is named Princess Regent, she forges new ties and unveils her master plan.

Trailer created by Ateeb Khan.

Cover art by Emanuel Malu.

Sunday at the coffee shop

Some tumblers and reusable cups at a local Starbucks.
The top shelf of my “office”


This afternoon, I had the brilliant idea of attempting to upgrade my account. However, WordPress wouldn’t let me enter my postcode on their PayPal payment page. I switched keyboards twice and used the number pad. They were kind enough to ask why I was cancelling my order.

Why do I keep doing this to myself?

Dessert - strawberry mousse in a glass display case
Designer mousse – I ordered extra whipped cream instead

I see what the matter is with the new block editor. It literally depends on the time of day. At 11.00, 13.00 and 16.00, I couldn’t use the backspace key or CTRL + X to delete images or blocks of text. It’s 19.01 or two hours before this post goes live. Now, I can do all of those things. But the earlier function of accessing arrows on the left side of the block to move text around, has gone.

Social distancing notice in a Starbucks coffee shop.
Table top – a fifteen-minute visit turned into a two-hour battle

At first, I thought the editor was not iPhone friendly, but typing on a desktop is equally frustrating. It’s not that the block editor lacks functionality, it is that the removal of user control means that poorly rendered backend code can really ruin your day. I wanted to switch out the following two photos. It was impossible on my phone. When I got home, I found a tutorial online and was able to do that.

Screen capture of the block settings feature for images.
A “killer” app

Again, the block editor is rubbish on my phone. I uploaded medium-sized images but they were huge when I viewed them on my laptop screen. Searching through the side bar and finding the image resize tool was exhausting. I like to edit HTML because if there are any issues, I can always look at the code and fix it there. I’m not being stubborn. Look at this:

Some html code from the new block editor. Screen capture.
Okay …

Pretty straightforward. But the block editor returned an error message when I tweaked the code. I needed to do this to embed images from the Google Photos app. The app doesn’t give me a .jpg link so I used a different app to create an embed string. I could not embed that into this block editor. My workaround was to upload photos into the media library in WordPress. It will get full fast, so this workaround is not sustainable. Not that I could pay for extra space even if I wanted to.

Have a great Sunday.

Tear up that cheque

Rue et Cassidy

Cassidy looked at the cheque. It was written in the amount of ten million euros. The recipient’s name was Asparagus Saints, LLC. She looked at Rue with her mouth open. With a puzzled laugh and flutter of her eyelids, she asked, “Why are you giving this to me?”

“I think you mean to ask why I am not offering it to you through a representative,” said Rue. Her calm voice disguised her irritation. Cassidy‚Äôs tone was informal and they were not close friends.

“Well …” Cassidy said, while rolling her eyes.

“Let’s get some things sorted. You could take that cheque to a journalist and repeat everything we spoke about here,” said Rue. “However, as soon as someone rings my attorney for a comment, you will be thrown in jail for extortion, blackmail and money laundering.”

“What?!”

“The person who wrote that cheque runs the Kiev underworld. I asked him for ten million euros, and he gave it to me no questions asked. Do you have any friends like that?” It was a rhetorical question, but the princess waited for a response.

“No, Ma’am,” responded Cassidy, feeling put in her place.

“I also asked him to register that business in your name and open an account for you at a bank in Niue.”

“I didn’t ask for this,” said Cassidy.

“Your endgame was to spend the Count’s money,” responded the princess, referring to her first ex-husband. ‚ÄúHouse, car, boat, plane, diamonds, clothes, bags, shoes, skin, hair, nails, boob job, lip fillers, vitamin drips. This is more than you would get in a divorce. Doesn’t refusing this cheque make you a liar?”

“No!”

Image by Sebastian Coman via Unsplash

“Really? Do you love him?”

“Yes.”

“Yes? I handed you a cheque for ten million euros, threatened to have you locked up, and there you are, still holding it.”

“I’m trying to understand what this is all about.”

“I believe you’re hesitating because you think you can cash that cheque and keep sleeping with my ex-husband,” said Rue. ‚ÄúYou are an entry-level backstabber. If you had any real gold-digging skills, Karl would have married you already.”

“I’m not a gold-digger, or a grifter, if this is what you’re trying to prove,” said the woman.

“Did you earn that money?” Rue looked at the cheque, looked at Cassidy‚Äôs face and leaned her head to one side. She felt she was exercising a great deal of self-restraint.

“Of course not,” replied Cassidy.

“You’re holding a piece of paper representing an amount you haven’t earned. If you loved that man, you would have torn it up and stomped out of here.”

Cassidy calmly put the cheque on the table, hooked her arm through the handle of her purse and stood up. With a curtsy, she said, “Your Royal Highness, if I may be excused.” Her voice was trembling.

‚ÄúYou may not,‚ÄĚ said the princess, smiling. She leaned back in the sofa and looked up at the Cassidy. “Sit down.”

Cassidy obeyed. Tears were welling up in her eyes. She asked, ‚ÄúWhat do you want from me?”

Image by Rod Long via Unsplash

“I believe that in spite of your low aspirations, and uncouth behaviour, you think that you’re ambitious. However, you have misunderstood people‚Äôs opinions of you. You think they respect you for spending Karl’s money. But they think you are a sex worker. You would know how not to act like one if you had a good mentor.”

“Ma’am? Are you offering to mentor me?”

‚ÄúThat would be inappropriate, not to mention unpleasant, given how thick you are. Put the cheque in your purse. Accept it as a generous payout from a concerned third party. Consider that you would get nothing after the inevitable demise of your opportunistic coupling.” Rue inhaled deeply and glared at Cassidy with a glacial glare. 

Cassidy picked up the cheque and neatly tucked it into her wallet, which she had retrieved from her purse. Rue continued, “Now, I’m going to introduce you to a stylist.” She turned her head towards the doorway behind her and called out. “Harlowe?”

A petite, curvy woman with ankle-length, rose pink dreadlocks entered the living room from an adjoining room. She was wearing a white dress that looked like an apron over a blue silk jumpsuit. There were thong sandals on her feet. The straps were bejewelled.

Picking up a pen and notepad from the table, Rue scribbled something on a page, tore it off, and handed it to Cassidy. “When Miss Harlowe is finished with you, arrive at that address, on that date, at nineteen o’clock, sharp. No plus ones, thank you.”

“Ma’am,” said Cassidy. Now intrigued as well as confused, she curtsied to Rue again and followed Harlowe into the adjoining room. She didn’t hear when the princess exited the suite.

(o^  ^o)

Hello everyone and thank you for reading. This is a rough draft of a scene in my novel, The Quarter Percent. Context is everything, I suppose.

I am talking about books

Julie is a lifesaver. She asked me to answer some questions about my reading habits yesterday afternoon. Her timing was excellent because I tanked a ranty post. Some of you are sick so I would rather cheer you up. I have some options: (a) read this post (b) listen to the music (c) type any off topic comment. Or do all three.

I¬†had to keep my eyes closed for most of the¬†day because of a migraine, so I’m squinting and prepping¬†this.¬†And now, a word from our sponsor. Art of War, performed by Vanessa Mae, courtesy Ionna Pianissimo via YouTube.

(I am) talking about Books
The Q’s & A’s

You have 20,000 books on your iPad. How do you decide what to read next? That is impossible. I have tried to download every work from every classical French poet and novelist but there aren’t that many texts available. I regularly meet for after work tea¬†with a colleague who needs her French poetry fix, so I need¬†to have the works in digital format. Twangent allez tu? (I just made that up).

You’re halfway through a book and not loving it. Do you quit or commit? Toss.

The end of the year is around the corner and you are¬†far¬†from finishing¬†your GoodReads challenge. Do you quit or commit?¬†Why does everything have homework? You know there are¬†textbooks for married couples, so they can get a degree¬†in how to be married? I’ve even¬†read about a girl who has a breakup plan and a two month evaluation clause in her relationship contract with her boyfriend. (I’m not introducing you.)

Painting of Queen Victoria in full regaliaQueen Victoria. Image courtesy article on Victoria’s Scottish secrety,
via The Daily Beast.  Her biography, A Personal History, was a very good read.

The covers of a series you love DO. NOT. MATCH. I usually cover my books. I prefer to read the book rather than judge it by the cover.

Everyone and their mother loves a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings? My subscribers, who are very smart about hating on stuff and are more eloquent ranters. I once used my Amazon account for sharing feelings. However, no one cared that the autobiography of the Arab princess was fake.

You’re reading a book and you’re about to start crying in public. How do you deal? Cry. I like the runny eyeshadow look. I like to mix colours just in case. (Reliq Minerals aubergine and mud pie). Also, I would be completely invisible under sunglasses the size of my face.

Helena Bonham Carter via Vlad Rodriguez @ Pinterest

A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you‚Äôve forgotten a lot. Will you re-read the book? Highly unlikely I’ll read a sequel of anything. Unless Alexandre Dumas writes¬†a spicy follow up to The Count of Monte Cristo on his secret blog. I know what you’re driving at and no, I did not make it past chapter six of 50SOG.

You don‚Äôt want ANYONE borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people ‚Äúno‚ÄĚ?¬†I don’t mind lending my books out. Many people ask to have my books, so I sign and gift them over. If someone¬†finds my taste in books intriguing, I take that as a compliment. One exception is a Verdi (Requiem) libretto, which is an early edition. It’s stashed¬†away safely somewhere. (I have no idea where it is).

You‚Äôve picked up and put down five different books in the past month. How do you get over the reading slump? I don’t have a slump because I’m a voracious¬†reader.

There are so many new books coming out that you are dying to read! How many do you actually buy? Everything I want to read is so old, I can download them free from the iBook store.

After you’ve bought a new book, how long does it sit on your shelf until you actually read it? You mean, how long do books sit in the box until I stumble over it, while cleaning, only to realise that I bought a box of books and forgot to open the box?

** FIN **

Jagged ends (18 + only)

I might use florid language and possess a vivid imagination but I am¬†bashful when it comes to all matters romantic. I grew¬†up hearing soca¬†music on the radio. Those people do not mess around. I mean, when a song¬†tells you to¬†“Ride the big truck”¬†or “Come dig it,” just imagine the lyrical carnage¬†involved. I also did not dare go outdoors during Carnival weekend.


Jamaica Carnival revellers. Photo credit: Lahwego

I cannot write erotica, so I appreciate poets like¬†English Delicacy, who’s agreed to let me share excerpts from her work with you. I understand the point of¬†romantic gestures, like poetry, but I am practical to a fault, so please make me a table or shovel snow. I don’t know how I would manage a traditional wedding ceremony because slowly walking an aisle while holding a bouquet of flowers is a cannot do. Also, never do this:

 
Public proposal. Mortifying. Photo credit: Getty Images via the BBC.

Romantic poetry is fascinating even though I’m¬†pathologically squeamish. However, what I find is that I get completely¬†put off¬†at the end of some poems. They all start out with promise.¬†From Kiss (Redux),

Stubble grazes skin, soft lips clustered
Background fades into itself, time stops
Held tight, strong, unyielding touch

In the middle, most poems subtly invite readers to follow along in their imagination. From Natural Feel,

How you talk, and how I listen.
The way that your voice glides over me,
Winding and flowing around us,
Binding us like a charm.

Great so far, and I feel that most poets know what to do with their hands. However, after this point, quite a few poems get jagged. I wrote the following lines to illustrate how endings sometimes sound to me:

He slips swell dagger out of sheath
And belts her roughly underneath
Then with fell and merciless wrath
Chris jams¬†lancet…
up Anastaath

Exactly. It is scary and¬†quite sudden. If someone writes me a poem that ends like a scene from the 50SOG film, I’ll¬†switch into battle mode. And the only reason I’d¬†entertain him¬†after, is to see if he’ll say¬†that again to my face.

 Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil : Retribution
via UniFrance.

My preferred ending for a poem resembles a luxurious helping of¬†chocolate¬†powder over a¬†generous¬†mound of whipped mascarpone. That way, when I’m having my tiramisu, I’ll take a few extra seconds to lick my spoon. At the end, I should be Distracted:

Can’t keep my mind on anything.
Ain’t it grand?

Enjoy more¬†spoon licking¬†poetry at English Delicacy’s blog.

Leaving Melancholia

Bingo! A failed attempt, first time ever
Is it a great night if it hadn’t put you in melancholia?
No alternative in your mind
Guess I was delusional but we see
Vodka wasn’t helpful in childhood
Tequila ain’t into you, boss
Scotch really made me smile, at last
Not feeling egotistical
I am too lazy to evolve
But let me know a good reason
Still need some solid part of you to hate

Notes 5/3

There are no rules for blogging and I bear this in mind when visiting blogs. Even though I understand and respect this difference, I need to get something off my chest, so please bear with me. Basically, these notes highlight some things bloggers do to lose readers and alienate supporters.

After printing, reading and rereading (as well as completing an abstract¬†painting inspired by) a lengthy fiction story, the author has not responded to my comment. It’s still sitting there on his blog. I had to defend myself¬†the last time someone¬†got on my case about no feedback.¬†As you can imagine, this is a really frustrating situation to be in. I can’t win, no matter what I do.

One aspect of hygiene I’d hinted at was that¬†at times, authors and supporters might feel that a reader’s attention is romantically motivated.


If I visit a blog, do I want to make out with the author¬†and do stuff, provided they’re¬†over the age of 21, even though we’ve never met in person, have never spent any quality time together and I only know them¬†as aliases? Go ahead, ask me.

But let me comment on the sense making of having a public blog, with tags that are visible in reader, leaving the comments open and like buttons active, expecting people to read, being proud of our work and mislabeling support. If someone supports us, there is no need to rush down what I call the fantasy rabbit hole.

The blogs affected by fantasy rabbit activity have a comparatively low subscriber count; low support per post compared to other bloggers with the same subscriber count; and limited variety in reader interactions. In other words, it is natural that bloggers will avoid hostility. Common sense, you say.


Prude close up
… support from “bras” (as opposed to “bros”) from Prude.

But don’t take my word for it, please experience Interview with Demandire¬†yourself while getting ready for work on a Saturday morning.¬†¬†What is gained, in actual fact? Approval:¬†One like per¬†him, per post, if he remembers.

Here’s one more way to chase readers from a blog with interesting¬†content, decrease peer support and reduce interactivity. Once, a¬†blogger warned me about his wife because¬†I typed xo at the end of a comment.¬†Misunderstandings are common, but that was taking it a bit too far. I did NOT¬†want to sloppy wet x and o him while moaning.

Another example? I read posts before and after publishing¬†and imagine what readers¬†might think I am saying. Otherwise, if I don’t know what I said, when¬†responding to a comment, I might¬†sound like¬†Tarzan:

Tarzan 2

To me, every reader’s eyeball on my Gravatar is a 25 carat conflict free pink diamond, offered with no strings attached. Continued support is the polished stone, set in white gold.

At this point, I ask myself: What would a professional do?

Infrared (B of B)

Marta
Bend your knees. Move your head slowly. Yes, got it. Do not move for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Lock!

Jemmes
Ready or not, Hobgoblin. Time to sell it.

Hex 
Uhhm… I can’t get money out of the machine.

Jemmes
Burgess, you have one minute to rendezvous with the busker.

Hex
I can use a pin? My hair is down today, but let me see if I can find one in my …

Jemmes
We have him for five minutes but let’s not bank on him, so to speak.

Hex
… What card?

Marta
We’re in, in and in. Nesting code for surveillance loop.

Jemmes
I told you the infrared sensors would be the way in. We just needed to beam it some candy.

Burgess
Hiya, it’s cold out, eh?

Hex
He asked me if I needed a card but I already had my Victoria‚Äôs Secret one…

Busker
Yeah, waiting for a friend, ya know.

Burgess
You look like you could use a shower and a hot meal. Tell you what, why don’t I … give you my last forty dollars and you can see to it?

Hex
Wait… Hulloooo! That’s Burgie, my date. He’s giving the poor fellow some money. It’s …

Marta
Nice work, Hobgoblin. We’re all set. Wrap it¬†up.

Hex
so … if it’s alright, can I hang up already?

Busker
Thanks, man. That’s solid love, man. Peace.

Burgess
Don’t mention it, brother.

Jemmes
Fantastic display, everyone. We now wait six hours to sell the decoy. In the meantime, gather on the fifth floor to prep for phase two.

Mathilda’s Corner (A of B)

Mr
Bay Bee Gott Bank call centre. How can I help you?

Hex
Uhhm… I can’t get money out of the machine.

Mr
I’m not seeing any transaction information here. Did you enter your PIN correctly?

Hex
I can use a pin? My hair is down today, but let me see if I can find one in my …

Mr
Ma’am a P I N is a passcode. Did you enter it?

Hex
No.

Mr
Was your card grabbed?

Hex
No… What card?

Mr
Your ATM card. Did you insert it into the slot?

Hex
OMG… When I opened my account, the banker guy said I could get money from an¬†ATM whenever I want.

Mr
Did you get a card for the ATM, ma’am?

Hex
He asked me if I needed a card but I already had my Victoria’s Secret one. So I said it’s okay.

Mr
Have you ever used an ATM to withdraw cash before?

Hex
No.

Mr
Do you have a PIN for your Victoria’s Secret credit card, Ma’am?

Hex
No, I just give it to the counter people. But I need come cash right now because this guy outside my building asked me for some change for coffee. I don’t jingle so he said I should get some from the machine.

Mr
I see. You will need …

Hex
Wait… Hulloooo! That’s Burgie, my date. He’s giving the poor fellow some money. It’s …so … if it’s alright, can I hang up already?

Mr
Yes, Ma’am. You should…

Notes 4/3

This is an update to Art of the Force, specifically about the entitled behaviour I called out.

I understand a blogger’s desire for activity in the comments section. I say again, the subscriber I wrote about should have asked me for a comment. Instead he attempted to coerce me with name calling. It’s hard for even me to ask for comments (and you know how I love to bother people). It is slightly¬†less pleasant than asking a stranger for bone marrow.

And now I will explain why I¬†don’t like to comment on other people’s blogs. I will say why I’ve abandoned comments midway. Or chickened out at the last minute.

I write fiction, but when it comes to accusing people of things, I use the evidence. So, I spent Friday night and Saturday afternoon testing the following assumptions: (a) Bloggers want me to comment on their posts. (b) Bloggers acknowledge my comments. I tested these assumptions with posts tagged art, beauty, life, love, poetry, romance and women. All had been published within thirty minutes of the start of the exercise; so only freshly published posts were included. Excluded from my assumption were posts published by subscribers to this blog.

Here is what happened. All 40 of my comments went to moderation immediately, as expected. I received only ten responses within half hour (including “x liked your comment”). After that, three more came in after two hours passed. Forty eight hours later, I¬†am still waiting for¬†27 further acknowledgements.

One beauty blogger specifically asked for questions so she could do a later blog answering those questions. I wrote three questions for a total of eight from other readers. She liked my comment and that satisfies the assumption. I hope her post went well. Of the 40, two bloggers received compliments about their sense of humour; only one acknowledged and responded. Both had published within minutes of each other. So, no it was not my attitude.

This is how I felt. I’m never doing that again as it was a horrible experience. I felt¬†that I’d wasted my evening and afternoon. I felt vindicated because I’d proved my point. If I went to a book launch and the writer spoke to me in a “yeah, yeah, this is all about me… buy my book… I’m too busy, yeah” tone of voice? I’ll write all about that on Amazon. I’ll print a copy and send it to the publisher. I’ll make placards and exhibit them in a gallery.

My favourite (fictional) publicists, Marcus and Storm, would tell bloggers to add value to their brand by offering some quality interaction around their product. It’s not necessary to use the Queen’s English or talk much. One lyrical gangster uses swear words in reacting to things I say. It’s how he talks and yet, I can tell he is a considerate, seriously well read human being. Informality defines his art. Rock on.

We have control over what happens on our blogs. I have turned off like buttons to encourage read only with comments; I have turned off comments when none was necessary.

There was a time when I wished someone would say something. Now, readers do. I warmly welcome longer comments and take them as a compliment, as affirmation that I’ve written something worth responding to with that much vigour. I’ve even published them as separate posts.

After I’ve used the Force and readers start joining the discussion, should I get super annoyed because they’re, like, writing comments on my bloaaaaag and I can’t with that?

Of course not. That’s ridiculous.

Art of the Force

I often wondered why people slap at the hand that reaches out in friendship and compassion. Why cordial relationships turn into bitter rivalries. I made it easy for Lim at the Pool to dismiss an abundant source of¬†information¬†that would have prolonged his life. As the reader, you knew the plan was fail safe and rooted for him but still he wouldn’t listen.

People often complain that their prayers aren’t being answered. Why, they ask, does God (or other Deity) not pour out His bountiful blessings?

We are experts at asking. We are not gracious receivers. We say no to the gifts presented to us because we don’t understand the math behind the magic.

I see people receiving exactly what they ask for. They feel hungry and just then someone will offer some bread. They say dismissively, “That’s¬†nice of you but I don’t like Wonder Bread.” Then in the same breath they say, “I’m starving.” Someone’s done this to you before and you felt bad about it.

„ÉĹ(*‚ČßŌȂȶ)ÔĺČ

I felt bad yesterday evening. A subscriber asked me if I was reading his posts because I have liked them. Apparently, he was also entitled to comments. Entitlement is passive and gets us nowhere. I wished he had asked me for a comment instead of accusing me and others of defacing his blog with our Gravatars.

There’s an artist¬†on WordPress¬†whose work I greatly admire and covet, but who has told me hates me and everything I stand for. Every time I show appreciation for¬†his new set of paintings, he sends a kind email to thank me. He is¬†professional. He does not accuse me of abusive behaviour. He knows that¬†I respect him because I have said so.

The person from yesterday has subscribed to my blog but does not support me. He has “sometimes” read posts. I read all of his and appreciated his work.¬†I now thank him for his complaint¬†because I removed his blog from one of the lists in my Reader. I will make time for subscribers¬†who appreciate me.

He’s not posting¬†a UN Security Council¬†report or parliamentary transcripts from New Zealand (lunch break hobbies, don’t ask). It’s not a calculus workbook. It’s prose¬†fiction. Nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions.

And how up yourself do you have to be to expect me to stop what I’m doing to write detailed critiques. Excuse me, subscribers have actual¬†problems. Like stroke recovery, empty nests, depression, cancer, fibromyalgia, affairs, divorce, bad romances and the loss of loved ones.

Just hours before that disaster, a lovely young woman from Indonesia submitted a comment on S/M. I had read her review of the 50SOG film and wanted her to add a positive appraisal of (the film) to the discussion here. I asked her to please read my post and write a comment. It took two days before she finally agreed, and then I had to persuade her to not worry about the level of analysis in other comments. I value her contrary opinion. I might watch the film now. Her beautiful heart changed my mind.

The process is simple: Ask. (Wait.) Receive. Thank.

A few months ago someone¬†published a photo looking¬†really similar¬†to¬†my rig, which¬†I’d¬†published¬†days earlier.¬†My comment answered the question¬†“What is art?” and explained the similarities in our posts. I was greeted with, “How did you find us because …” I got an eyeful. Did you not just ask a question? What is¬†wrong¬†with you?!!!

We are not gracious receivers and because of that, we punish people who are just trying to be nice.

„ÉĹ(*‚ČßŌȂȶ)ÔĺČ

Back to my point…

Wonder bread. Occasionally, a person will take the bread and grind it underfoot. You could say that such a person is ungrateful. I wouldn’t¬†worry about name calling. Instead, think about how many gifts you turned away yourself and try to be extra vigilant next time. Your sworn enemy could be His Ambassador. Your¬†arch rival’s hiccup gave you¬†a two point advantage. Warmly thank the person. You needed the win this time.

One of the reasons I have a strict GOYA policy (I’ll explain on¬†March 30) is this. The genius mathematician upstairs doesn’t care that you want a pastrami sandwich on whole wheat bread with the ends cut off, coconut spread instead of butter, black cheddar thinly sliced, dill pickles and a dollop of sour cream, served by a tall redhead in a tight shirt.

He hears you yelling at the top of your lungs, “Please give me something to eat RIGHT NOW.”

Let’s play a game, Jedi Knights. Pay closer attention next time you use the Force and answer¬†these questions from¬†Bj√∂rk’s song, All is Full of Love:

  • Are you receiving?
  • Is your phone on the hook?
  • Are your doors all shut?

Blogger wins war against Free Speech

Blogger wins war against free speech
By Demon Barbra Politrix
Last updated: March 24, 2015
3,333,333 Comments

At an awards ceremony in New York last night,¬†WordPress blogger¬†Manco Pride was announced as the winner of the 2015 Bastiat Prize for Online Journalism for his essay: I don’t get it: I hate poetry, art and one subject only blogs and you should unfollow them.

Book burning ceremony in honour of Pride’s achievement.

This is great news. Pride’s¬†complaints about blogs with poetry, art and colourful backgrounds started the debate over whether bloggers should in fact publish whatever they like on their blogs. Manco’s “I don’t get it”¬†campaign essay raised questions about the intelligence of artists, poets,¬†fiction writers,¬†people who don’t speak English, whiney bitches and lonely girls who can’t stop¬†blogging¬†about how much their lives suck.

His essay started the Free Speech Apocalypse. Also, it is fair to say, his¬†work gravely damaged the reputation of WordPress for allowing millions of foreigners,¬†artists, poets and free thinkers around the world to form friendships across time zones. The Social Research Unit at the University of¬†Deadbeats was praised for manipulating data in order to exaggerate the extent of bloggers’ whiney behaviour.

Black macarons. Courtesy Guardian UK.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said that “double standards is the name of the international human rights game” and that we all have to suck it up¬†or Manco will get upset. China, Russia, Mongolia, and North Korea are defiant. They have called out the United Nations for allowing art and literature to be destroyed at the whim of a miserable¬†blogging dictator.

Black chocolate and marshmallow cookies. Courtesy Poires au Chocolat.

Bjork eats squid ink pasta. Courtesy pixgood.com viaTumblr.

Artists, poets and writers worldwide were happy to sabotage their careers to make Pride feel like the smartest dude on WordPress.

Oxford University, founded in 872,¬†has announced that it will close after a 1143 year history¬†because Pride doesn’t “get”¬†why academics¬†write essays. Before closing, the university¬†will assist the UK National Archives to white out from historical record,¬†poets such as William Wordsworth. Philosophers and non sports loving aristocrats will also be erased.

Starbucks logo in black and white.

Starbucks wants him to keep buying their coffee, so the company is¬†changing the green mermaid logo to black. The company’s 70 million customers will only be served milk, water, vanilla macarons, black cookies and black sesame paste on a plain piece of white bread.

Image courtesy Harley Vasquez on Google + Elephants march off to warmer climates for winter. They have escaped the global backlash thanks to their grey colour.

Raf Simons, head designer at Christian Dior, said Manco’s revolutionary stand made him a “champion for limited expression and lazy attitudes, both of which make¬†the¬†work of designing so easy because we only need to cut out holes in sheets.”¬†

White fajita wrap dress from Gareth Pugh.

Vogue Editor in Chief Anna Wintour has said she will never again publish an edition of Vogue without¬†Manco’s approval. The last three editions featured models covered in white sheets. They also had over 200 blank white pages. Wintour approved of Manco’s ignorant¬†behaviour by removing all the words. She has said she desperately¬†wants¬†Manco to like her.

A model wears a creation from Marko Mitanovski.

The Bastiat Prize is a heavy-hitting award by the free-market International Politics Network, given for both print and online journalism. Judges in previous years have included the Nobel Prize Winners James Buchanan, Milton Friedman, and Margaret Thatcher.

Envy‚ĄĘ The Food Drink of Glampions

Matcha Green Tea Latte For Two
Image: Green tea latte via Green Tea Guide

Ralph Waldo Emerson once¬†said, “Envy is the tax which all distinction must pay.” He’s probably never met a Glampion. A Glampion’s envy is the heavy tax which innocent bystanders are forced to pay. When someone picks on you, they might be living out a fantasy life inspired by someone famous, real or imagined.

Is it reasonable to say that these people have a twisted opinion of themselves? I think we each have different measures for our self concept. However, it is important to maintain a balanced perspective.

The theme¬†of this post is “envy”. It could¬†have been insecurity or defensiveness because often these three form a triad.¬†Envy happens¬†when¬†others¬†can’t be happy with what you have. Insecurity is most likely the trigger. Defensiveness is the easiest¬†remedy: We measure our this with their that.

Power envy happens when Glampions secretly wish they could be as influential as [name a celebrity]. Their desires thwarted, they turn on someone they believe to be weaker than they are. People of this mindset either lack the capacity to face up to their own inadequacies or they don’t have the self confidence to thrive in the presence of others who are doing well. Many¬†of the people we envy¬†struggle in some way¬†and would be fortunate to be in our shoes.


Why be so nasty and so rude, when I can be so fierce, so fabulous and so successful.
Nene Leakes, Sunday March 15, 2015, via her Twitter account.

Sometimes I really want to sock it to people who get it twisted. In doing so, I am mindful that there’s a difference between being fierce and being rude.

We can thrive in a world of talented, shining stars. It is hard to remember that because mediocre people dominate our news feeds. I believe we should set high standards for ourselves. Sometimes we will be discouraged. I think we should do as much as we can, and drop that when we want to try something else.

We work hard to become champions raised up by substantial wins. Sometimes, however, we might get distracted by two-dimensional tokens of achievement. This is where a balanced perspective plays a role. It allows us to measure the weight of our trophies before using them to browbeat others. When we do that, it is hard for Glampions to crush our spirits with their own paper-thin trophies.

For the benefit of others who¬†lack perspective: Shine your own light.¬†They don’t need to comprehend your brilliance for you to be a star in your own right. If¬†you burn brightly enough, the blind may never see you, but your rays might penetrate through the skin.

Note: Updated November 22, 2016 @ 08.04. This post was originally published on March 17, 2015.

Thus, a good deed is punished

Have you ever tried to do something nice, only to have the recipient of your consideration slap you in the face? Well, it happens to many of¬†us all the time. Instead of saying “Thanks”, people question your integrity. Why do good deeds get punished? ArsTechnica has a probable explanation.

Some people, I’d concluded, cannot receive help. I had¬†written the following fictional dialogue for the 2014 Bartleby Snopes¬†6th Annual Dialogue Only¬† Writing Contest. However, I don’t think they’ll read it, so instead of submitting it for rejection, I buried it. But today, I’m¬†publishing it here. Good luck to all the contestants of the Bartleby Snopes Contest. The title is “Thus, a good deed is punished.”

Thus, a good deed is punished

Quince:
It’s too dark and spooky. Why aren’t there any windows in here?

South:
What are you saying? You already know why there are no windows on the ship.

Harvey:
Even a kindergartener knows the effects of cosmic radiation on the human body.

Quince:
I’m so excited.¬†I don’t know if I can do drones later.

Harvey:
No-one here comes with hands on experience. It’s all theoretical.

South:
It’s kind of far to have hands on experience, don’t you think?

Quince:
What do you mean, “far”? Oh, okay…right.

South:
Is she always this oblivious to context?

Harvey:
Hmmm. Did you review the schematics for the robots and drones we’ll be operating today?

Quince:
What’s that?

South:
Did you use any of your ten days in physio to reread¬†the manuals for any of the machines you’ll be operating?

Quince:
No… I didn’t look at that.

Harvey:
Them. Look at “them.”

South:
She’s talking really fast and seems agitated. Perhaps a bit of shock after decompression?

Harvey:
Have you got full medical clearance to work? Do you have memory loss?

South:
You might be dehydrated. Have you been taking a lot of fluids?

Quince:
Why, why? What do fluids have to do with that? Are you a medical doctor?

Captain:
Peeps, listen up, we deploy five two-ton transformer catchment tanks to Titan at oh five hundred hours. Remember your simulation training? All of¬†that is utter shagging bullocks once we’re in the atmosphere…

Quince:
What?! I’m not going into the atmosphere.

South:
“Right,” said Fred.

Captain:
…so, use. Your. Head. Miss Quince, I would like to know why you’re shouting when I’m three feet away from you.

Quince:
They said we were using robots to go into the atmosphere.

South:
Miss Quince might be dehydrated.

Captain:
Miss Quince, did you rehydrate? Dehydration can cause disorientation.

Quince:
Yes, yes, yes. I don’t have any of that.

Captain:
Did you roll your eyes at me just now? Did she roll her eyes at me, Harvey?

Harvey:
I…

Captain:
Even then, you cannot have forgotten your basic training. You received 300 hours of simulator training so, don’t make pointless…

Quince:
No, it wasn’t 300 hours.

Captain:
…statements. Excuse me? It says that in your mission documents.

Quince:
Wha-what mission documents?

Captain:
I am talking about your curriculum vitae!

South:
The training requirement is at least 300 hours, which is in your …. I give up.

Harvey:
It was in your contract.

South:
Did you read your contract? Do you even know where you are right now?

Quince:
I know, I know.

Captain:
Fine. What did you mean by “minimum training”?

Quince:
I did a twenty hour video game course at Omni Signum Theme Park, and the drone operation thingy.

South:
You put a theme park gaming marathon on your resume as qualification for a mission to Saturn? This is better than I thought.

Captain:
Harvey?

Harvey:
Miss Quince told me she would complete the minimum training requirement when I hired her, and Professor Wong Ken …

Captain:
Nobel Prize for Physics, Board of Trustees Member Professor Wong Ken?

Harvey:
He signed off on her training before the  mission. I mean, she told me she was about to start her training under his supervision, but after she signed her contract, Miss Quince refused to communicate with me.

Captain:
What was she doing for Professor Wong Ken?

Quince:
I was…

Captain:
I’m talking to Harvey, Miss.

Harvey:
He said she was building his course for particle physics. So, when I asked the Professor to confirm that she had completed her training, he said that she had. As you know, the mission preparation was done in four different countries, so the oversight is disjointed.

Captain:
Harvey, you should have done your job more thoroughly. Liesel!

Lt. Liesel:
Yes, Ma’am.

Captain:
We have a stowaway on board. She might have mad cow.

Quince:
I don’t have mad cow.

Captain:
You misled a prominent member of this organisation about your training and preparation. As its primary trustee, I am inclined to file criminal charges. When you return to Earth, you will give back your one million euro salary and then go to prison.

Quince:
I didn’t say I didn’t have minimum training.

Captain:
Three hundred hours of simulator training are what you agreed to when you signed a contract with us. Twenty hours of video games at a theme park is not enough for a mission like this. You travelled a billion miles from Earth without the proper training. You endanger your life and the life of every person¬†on this vessel if you do not know what you’re doing.

South:
She just asked about windows.

Captain:
Exactly what I mean. You edited a textbook on physics and you don’t know that the EMR coming off those rings would fuse the¬†cone cells in your retina?

Harvey:
By the time you finished taking pictures, you would be completely blind. By the time you uploaded them to your blog, you’d have Stage III brain cancer.

Captain:
As Miss Harvey has demonstrated, you’re not only irresponsible, but also irretractably dumb.

Quince:
And what are your qualifications?

South:
Oh, boy.

Captain:
You do realise, you insolent slagbag tartamundo, that I’m in charge of this operation? My brain had a child and from it you collected one million euros and a¬†¬†prestigious assignment. You should already know my credentials, since I am your boss, you ignorant insufferable buttsore hag.

Harvey:
Ma’am? Please.

Captain:
Liesel, if she looks at me sideways, or attempts to speak again, eject her cremated remains from the cargo bay. To the left, you slagging shart gas.

Lt. Liesel:
Come with me, Miss.

Captain:
Did you hear what she just asked me, Harvey? You had one task, and that was to find me a replacement for Dr. Xi Bei. Can you believe she stood there asking me for my credentials after saying she committed fraud?

Harvey:
I accept full responsibility for this. I offered her the job because I felt sorry for her. She was n a student visa in Spain and everything she earned went home to pay bills. She was sleeping in a bunk bed in a youth hostel and living on breakfast cereal to save money.

Captain:
This is not a homeless shelter, Harvey.

South:
She has a custom-made sports car and a couture wardrobe.

Harvey:
I was of the firm opinion that we should have a representative from…

Captain:
Affirmative action does not apply to my six trillion euro space exploration project. This project is based in the Republic of France. We are the first¬†humans, and the first all-woman crew to arrive, alive and well in the far reaches of our solar system.¬†We have to work at a much higher standard than this. Also, why does someone with training in ¬†physics know so little about … physics?

South:
Ma’am.

Harvey:
I apologise.

Captain:
Ultimately, it’s my responsibility. However, I do not want to have to say that we did not do our due diligence with crew selection.

Harvey:
I have a way to fix this.

Captain:
Speak.

Harvey:
We place her in a cryogenic coma, monitoring her vitals closely. I will adjust the registry so that she will not have awakened from her coma, effectively    indicating that she was immobilised for the entire trip.

South:
What about her blog? She is babbling about being a pioneer.

Harvey:
We can erase those entries right now. The system is on a delay and we have a lot of electromagnetic distortion this close to the rings, so they’re still buffering ¬†in the cloud. We probably won’t start transmitting data back to Earth until we leave Saturn’s orbit fourteen days from now. She’ll need eighteen months of¬†rehabilitation after re-entry. By the time she recovers, the press will be ¬†uninterested in a person who slept through a fourteen year round trip to Saturn. Also, ¬†we should change her status to junior research fellow, here to collect and analyse data, which she is already qualified to do. The breach of contract should be ¬†a civil suit and not a criminal one.

Captain:
Not bad, Harvey. Go¬†“write” your wrongs.

Harvey:
Ma’am.

Captain:
Barande!

Barande:
Yes, Ma’am.

Captain:
We’re delaying the deployment of catchment tanks for forty-eight hours. Our log¬†will say that one of our junior research fellows did not wake up from stasis and we’re putting her in cryostasis to reduce organ damage. Then, inform all robot and drone operators that starting at oh five hundred, there will be a ¬†sixteen hour simulator test covering every single stinking minging part on every barfing machine we have on this rig. An eight-hour organic chemistry¬†practical exam will follow immediately after that. Anyone who loses consciousness or passes with less than one hundred percent of the total marks will be ¬†literally frozen out of the mission. I want the best of the best on this deployment, so everyone better buck up.

Barande:
Yes, Ma’am.

Captain:
Welcome to Titan, bitches.