Author Archives: Tao23
And unseasonably deep and cold Illinois, too. While we’ve been visiting family this last month, it has been more like December than November.
I haven’t gotten this much cold and snow all at once since my family left Wisconsin when I was 11.
It has been a nice walk down nostalgia lane, and great fun to watch my little ones experience it. 🙂
GenX and Boomer politicians — which is just about everyone in Congress — remember the old Soviets well.
The peddlers of fake history (looking at you, David Barton and Dinesh D’Souza), like, you know, just about any dictatorial head of state thug.
The ones who disenfranchised, imprisoned, and quickly began to murder political opponents for being political opponents (looking at you, GOP. You’re halfway through the first and simultaneously the second so far).
The ones quick to rattle the nuclear saber (Hello, Donald).
The ones quick to crack down on their minority groups and all who demand their human rights. With deadly force (have you been watching the news these last few years?).
The ones who boldly speak as Orwell had his villains speak in 1984. Who tell us, literally, that war is peace and poverty is wealth (Donald, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Limbaugh, Hannity, Alex Jones, Drudge, and too many more, again literally, to count).
You can point to politicians in general from those generations and see flashes of our leadership becoming what they hated and feared up until the Soviet collapse.
Hate and fear come in part from feeling threatened.
Feeling threatened comes in part from believing that threat could be fulfilled.
From fearing death.
Ever hear the old saying “fight fire with fire”?
It means “build a firebreak by burning a bare patch the bigger fire cannot cross”.
But, see, a lot of folks especially in GenX heard “wow the Soviet fire is strong. Get some of that strong fire and let’s use it ourselves”.
So you end up with a lot of GOP leaders running around acting like dictators.
Because the Soviets certainly espoused communism, but it was only for the little people.
Soviet leaders were oligarchic dictators first.
And the US right certainly cannot adopt communism, nor do they want it. (A few on the US left do adopt this crap along with the communism, but they are a bare straggle compared with the mighty river of neonazoid extremism Trump has nurtured on the right).
Since the GOP cannot become communist any more than the Democratic Party could, what is left?
Be oligarchic despots! Follow the example chose (the ideology they’ve chosen, uncontrolled capitalism, can be for the little people. The oligarchs, the dictators, feed off the people and ignore the state ideology — such crude things do not suit born aristocrats. They assume they deserve the support of the state to the tune of TRILLIONS of dollars in free stuff for billionaires. Socialism by another name, but only for the extremely rich. A safety net they begrudge the peasantry who they consider basically subhuman — as Mitt Romney put it, they won’t take responsibility for their own lives, apparently to be achieved by sending Mittboy a bunch of free money. He and all the rest think they’re entitled to feed on our blood and sweat as if we were beef steers ready for slaughter.
It’s no mistake that Donald has said again and again over the years that poorer (non-billionaire non-heirs of heirs like him) people are genetically inferior to the very rich. Hmm.
Who is the best example to look to, if you have become what you hate by adopting the most deadly and vicious tactics of your former greatest foe?
Why, the despot who rules the successor state of your old foe! Who better to teach you how to become what you once hated?
So here we are at the marriage. Please welcome Mr. Vladimir Putin and Mr. Donald Putin.
They will show us pigs to our trough, which is the same worn wood and thin slop whether it has “communist” or “capitalist” scrawled on the side by some talentless, unseen hack in the guts of the One True Party. The Aristocrats (link to VERY NSFW Gilbert Gottfried edition, which may or may not describe the Trump family’s private life but it’s probably pretty close in my opinion.
So, thank you for attending my political thingie, however you’d describe this. And feel free to chime in.
What do we have here? Opportunity for both whale prosperity and human fatness. Check it out:
I mean, isn’t it obvious?
Cultured meat has great potential; satisfying people who want to eat endangered animals is only a small, small part of that.
I have posted about it here before. And I’ve written several stories in which cultured meat is either a feature of the setting or actually important to the plot.
It’s fascinating to me. And I am an adventurous eater myself. I’d love to taste some no-harpoon, no-death, no-harm whale. But not otherwise.
BONUS: read the tags on this one. Read them any way you want.
Because I really wanna know.
It’s a gate. It’s a place to start, whether you’re describing a character or a place or an action. And you know more than you think.
Especially if you write science fiction or fantasy. Because then you’re free to make up the things you know from whole cloth in a few spots, maybe many. That’s a privilege other genres don’t have like we get in SFFPHM (Science Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror, Magical realism). Other writers might make up a town or something, but their worlds are expected to act totally like the real world.
Settings aside, writing what you know also doesn’t mean every character has to be a writer or a retail person or a middle manager or whatever variety of things it might be that you do with your lifetime. Doesn’t mean all your aliens need to know what it’s like to poop or vomit. Doesn’t mean that your orcs need to be the orcs you know from all those movies with the really short dudes and a jewelry fetish.
Write what you know is great for writing the human bit of your story, though it’s a damn good thing to remember that if you’re writing about a culture or subculture you’re not familiar with, it’s best to consult members of that culture. Unless it’s elves. You’re not going to find any real elves to consult about your fictional ones, I’m afraid. HOWEVER that said if you’re going to base your elves’ culture strongly on the culture of southern Spain, you’d better be familiar with southern Spain in some significant way.
’nuff said. I’ve already harped on that enough and I hope you were listening.
Write what you know means the practical simple things around you, sure. Do use your memories, your pain, your joy, things that happened to you, places and people you’ve met (though tread lightly when writing a person who’s close to you lest ye complicate yer relationship).
Use the things that made you grieve. Use the things that made you weep with joy. You can choose not to reveal that those things came from within yourself if that’s what you want or need to do. Do use your writerly skills to file the serial numbers off them.
Write things you know you can feel. Because feeling (Hemingway would say, did say, bleeding) on the page speaks to readers. It can reach into your readers’ hearts where mere skill can only titillate their minds.
There are plenty of successful authors who do the latter. But the stories that do the former are remembered. They change minds and sometimes lives.
Don’t think it’s easy, though. No author succeeds at that every time. In fact, I think it’s an ideal that is rarely reached.
Do reach for it.
To begin let me clear up some ambiguity in the title: this is about making small schnitzel, not about how to make schnitzel out of babies. If you’re here for the latter, I’m sorry you have to leave disappointed.
So: I discovered today why my mom and grandma always made these little bitty schnitzel barely big enough to cover a store brand hamburger bun (which happens because cold leftover schnitzel makes AMAZING sandwiches).
I discovered today instead of the last time I made schnitzel because I am stubborn, stubborn, oh so stubborn.
When I usually make schnitzel, I aim to create something that will cover at least half of a dinner plate. I cut nice thick slabs of loin or tenderloin and carefully beat it into a nice big floppy pork blanket. If I’m working with tenderloin, which is a slender muscle that doesn’t make big thick slices, I at least make the schnitzel big enough to cover a large hamburger bun with some hanging out the sides.
Last time, I broke out the tenderloin and went for the meat hammer… but we’d lost it in the move. Okay, fine. I have a decent rolling pin… oh, also lost in the move.
Wanna guess where my last resort, a large stone pestle, went?
You got it.
So that’s when I learned an alternate method of making schnitzel without pounding it outHAHAHAHA no. I am far too stubborn to learn so quickly when I’m not learning on purpose.
Guess what I did.
Go ahead. Guess.
You’re probably wrong because I BEAT THE PORK TENDERLOIN SLICES FLAT WITH MY FISTS. I made schnitzel in a savage, unreasonable, beastly way.
I have German friends. I expect they will have me assassinated in reprisal for my crimes against schnitzelmanity.
But today, today! Today I learned.
And the learning made me realize why my mom and grandmom made little bitty baby schnitzel.
There have been Germans knocking around my mother’s side of the family line for at least a century and maybe two (family history is, sadly, not my strength).
Perhaps grandma’s mom or grandma said to themselves, eh, this Old Country business with hitting the meat with a hammer forever is for the birds. If I just cut the pork thin enough, I can work smarter instead of harder or whatever that dumbass ’90s business cliche was.
Maybe grandma was the one who took laziness to its logical conclusion and stopped hitting the pork with a hammer altogether. Maybe it was mom. Maybe it was great-grandpa, who motivated them to stop hitting the pork with a hammer out of spite because he was a fanatic about hitting the pork with a hammer the proper way, dammit, and would yell at you about it like a jerk.
But someone stopped hitting the pork with a hammer and just cut thin pieces of pork off a tenderloin.
Which is what I learned to do today so I didn’t have to beat my this post is over goodbye.
Things are already getting worse climate-wise. We’ve had a string of hottest years ever. The average global temperature is rising. Polar ice and mountain glaciers are waning. Tundra is melting, and releasing more greenhouse gases. The complex weather systems of Earth are becoming chaotic and less predictable–as climate change theory predicts (a theory is a evidence-supported premise and proposed set of conditions and results to be tested and changed according to new results, not a wild-assed guess as the “climate change is a Chinese hoax” crowd would have it).
Maybe the world will find the will to take the drastic action needed to keep things from getting much worse, or out of control forever leading to a greenhouse Earth that looks like a second Venus.
And maybe it won’t and Earth is already dead–we just don’t know it.
The next 500 years will tell the tale.
But, if the option is to flee, settling the Solar System WILL NOT save the bulk of humanity, though it may save the species.
Barring totally amazing technological developments like Blish’s “spindizzy” in his Cities in Flight series that can lift whole cities off the planet, there’s not a way to evacuate billions of people.
More likely is a The Expanse-type world in which there are settlements all across the Solar System, but they’re limited in carrying capacity and reproducing on their own. There won’t be a hell of a lot of room for Earthers.
Most of them, if things go badly wrong, will die desperate deaths.
Agitate for climate action if you want to avert that future.
(This post appeared on my Patreon 10 days before it posted here. If you’d like to see posts early too, and maybe even pick up some free ebooks and paperbacks, please come on over and join. I need all the support I can get–so do pretty much all authors who aren’t giant huge names, so please support some smaller names whether you support me or not!)