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This Is The Life

So how are you all out there in Quarantine Land?

I’m not doing too bad, actually. As a friend recently told me, I live my life on lockdown, so for me nothing’s really changed. I work from home and I hardly ever go out, except to the grocery store, the gym (now closed and I’m getting fat) and occasionally for entertainment, like a play. Or a movie, if I get dragged along. I do miss my hair stylist and the lady who does my mani/pedis, though. Hair, nails and feet looking pretty rough these days, you know? Starting tomorrow, (the 18th) I can’t go out of my house without a mask. Governor’s order. If I do and get caught, it’ll be a hefty fine. I have visions of the county police cruising the streets in force, looking out for wrongdoers. Being black, I sure don’t want to give them a reason to stop me. Might get shot, and I have no interest in giving them some target practice.

So the masks are on order. I bought two kinds. One is just a cloth mask, and the other is one of those carbon filter things that makes you look like something out of a sci-fi horror movie. I bought the carbon filter after the cloth. Was just fartin’ around, and found a company that had them on sale–a twofer. So, yeah. They’re washable, so while one is drying, I can wear the other. I did find one mask I was so… Continue reading

I’m Ba-a-a-ck!

I thought my computer had died but it turned out it was just in a coma. Didn’t cost me my firstborn, either. Even if it did, I have no children, so the neighbor’s kid would have had to do.

Gawd…a week without my computer. Couldn’t access my bills (those that aren’t on auto-pay) couldn’t work on my manuscripts, couldn’t access my e-books. It’s kind of funny how much I’ve come to depend on technology for just about everything. I remember thinking I’d never get a desktop, those newfangled things…what’s wrong with paper and pen? Now my handwriting’s deteriorated so bad I can hardly read it. I don’t even use paper and pen anymore, except for writing the rare check, or when a document needs a wet-signature. And you know what? I said the same thing about microwaves. My housemate does all the cooking but before he came along, if I couldn’t nuke it, I didn’t eat it. In the 15 years I’ve lived in this house, I think I’ve turned the oven on maybe 3 times.

Have you noticed how life has come to a standstill because of this COVID-19? The silence is all but deafening. Haven’t heard from my attorney. The robocalls have stopped (thankyuhjesus!). Still, there are some things that are chugging along. I’m working as usual and my bills are coming is as usual. But it’s weird–for the day job, I’m supposed to find a victim to interview for a column the magazine launched a few months… Continue reading

The Upside Of COVID-19

Bet you thought there couldn’t be an upside, right?

There is–for creatives.

For us authors, now that people are basically housebound, they’re doing more reading. I don’t have evidence, but I imagine sales on the book sales platforms are going through the roof. Mainly e-books, I suppose. There might be a problem with delivery for print books. What I DO have is evidence from my newsletter signups. The last time I posted on March 26, I mentioned I had 287 subscribers. As of today, the 29th, that number is 308. Twenty-one subscribers in 3 days. Between editing and writing these welcome emails, my fingers are tired. Hey, no prob! It’s great exercise!

I’ve been doing some reading, myself. Now that schools are closed for the foreseeable future, there are lots of articles popping up about parents trying to cope with homeschooling their kids. Being the grump that I am, my first thought was “you had the brats, now you know what their teachers go through 5 days a week and why they’re always demanding more pay!” One article really caught my attention. A woman “unschools” her kids (she has 4). They don’t go to school; the world is their classroom. She doesn’t impose a schedule–they go to bed when they want, and get up when they want. Whenever her kids express an interest in something, like astronomy, she goes out and gets the books from the library. Her eldest son, who’s now 20, is a master blacksmith. No money in… Continue reading

Clouds

Have you ever felt like there’s a cloud over your head? And it’s raining?

Yeah–that’s me, right now. But it isn’t just a cloud. It’s a damned thunderstorm. And it’s been thundering for a long time. *sigh* I could go into the gory details but I won’t, except to say it mostly has to do with the tax man. If I did go into detail, this post would be waaay too long. But I’m feeling beleaguered. Yes. That’s a good word.

The Moreva of Astoreth is back from the betas. Both have given me great advice but one beta’s is spectacular. She’s a developmental editor in real life. She didn’t give me the whole shebang (I would’ve had to pay for that). Her remarks though–I’ve a lot of work to do on it. I mean, not a total rewrite, or anything like that. Move stuff around, explain stuff early in the book. One thing she pointed out was as a reader, she would like to see an example of a ritual other than Ohra (which is an orgy). Explain Tehi’s religion more. Stuff I never even thought about. So the revised version is going to come out much later than I wanted, which means the sequel, When Gods Die, is going to come out later, too.

The Final Victim is with my editor. I’m pretty optimistic it won’t come back dipped in too much blood. Then I can get it formatted and all that stuff–that reminds me, I need to… Continue reading

The Death Of America

America died today.

The U.S. Senate voted to acquit 45 (I can’t bear to call him by name) of the two criminal charges pending against him. Of course, this was a no-brainer. We all knew it was going to happen.

Even so, I’d hoped against hope that the greed and corruption that has sunk this country into the depths of a bottomless cesspool would be overcome by enough Senators with integrity to allow America to begin a slow rise back into the light.

Not happening.

Don’t get me wrong–I’ve never been a flag-waver. For me, America was never the shining city on the hill. I’ve lived long enough to see Columbia butt-naked, showing her ass covered with putrid running sores. The ugliness of the people who live here, and the ugliness they show to each other. America has always been divided. The spin that America is a melting pot of peoples of all colors and creeds, pulling together, lifting this country into greatness is nothing but sheer propaganda. A lie, a cover-up of the truth that “Americans” are not united and never have been, even before this country was founded. The Statue of Liberty notwithstanding, America has never welcomed immigrants. The first immigrants were criminals and other outcasts, and adventurers looking to make big bucks. They killed the Native people already here and took their lands. When more immigrants arrived, they were pushed west. They too, trampled the Native peoples. The adventurers among them searched for riches, and found “gold… Continue reading

State Of The Union

WHAT A FUCKING JOKE!!

One of my favorites was about lifting people off welfare. 45 got ’em off welfare, all right. He KICKED them off.

Nancy Pelosi’s ripping the speech in two was PRICELESS!

I’ll be laughing in my sleep.

Ciao.

First Seven Days

So Daisy Mae’s been gone a week.

Really, I’ve been too sick to grieve. Was finally able to drag myself to the doctor last Wednesday, because by then I knew damned well it wasn’t the flu. Doc says it’s bronchitis. Gah. Nothing to do for the cough except lots of cough syrup and drops. Well, lemme tell ya–you know you got it bad when your drink of choice is Nyquil. I must’ve drunk at least a gallon of the stuff over the past 10 days. And let’s not forget I’ve strained my back muscles from all the coughing. That’s really fucked up.

Maybe it’s better this way? I’ve been too busy trying to stay conscious to think about my loss.

Once I reached the state of semi-consciousness, I did some writing in between bouts of passing out. When I took breaks, I’d turn around, expecting to see her lying flat out on the floor. Got a little jolt of surprise to see she wasn’t there. One time, I’d rallied enough so that the brain was just pumpin’ along, and I heard these thumps in the hallway. If you know anything about Great Danes, it’s that their footsteps aren’t exactly quiet. Anyway, the thumping stopped and I turned. She wasn’t in the doorway. I’m like “shit!” and jump out of the chair, hobble to the door and peek into the hallway. Nothing. I walked all around the house, and there’s still nothing. Returned to my office and went back to work.… Continue reading

First Night

I was right.

My bed felt so huge and empty. Half-asleep, I wondered why I didn’t feel that spot of heat in the middle of my back. Then I’d wake up and remember. My puppy girl isn’t here anymore.

I stayed with her until she died. I promised her that. I kept my hand on her, massaging her neck. There came a point where I knew she couldn’t feel me anymore, but I couldn’t let go. And then she was gone.

These past two weeks have been from hell. The job–trying to get this new column put to bed. It was a profile/interview with someone, and what makes it hard is that you’re on deadline and they’re not. Last minute edits, “stop the presses!” stuff like that. The following week, trying to get your work done and you know something weird is going down. Then, on a day you have off, you develop a persistent, nagging cough that’s really annoying but you don’t pay it any attention ’cause you got work to do, places to go and people to see. And the next day…the shit totally hits the fan. Vertigo–can barely stand up straight. Head feels like it’s about to separate from your neck. Your five senses are totally whack. And that annoying cough? Your body is wracked with it. You ever cough so hard you throw up? Muscles clenching until your midsection feels as if someone has used it for a punching bag. Your neck, too. I threw my… Continue reading

So Far, 2020 Is Going…

It’s a bit of a mixed bag, really.

The writing’s great, full steam ahead. The Moreva of Astoreth is with the betas–sent it a full 5 days ahead of schedule–and The Final Victim zipping along. I’m close to finishing it. If it’s not finished next week, it’ll definitely be finished the week after that ’cause I’ll be on vacation. I’m doing a video shoot for a friend. Advertising for her, exposure for me. Win-win.

I have to let my sweet, lovable Daisy Mae cross the Rainbow Bridge. What’s hard is she’s not sick. She’s got plenty of spirit. But her body is failing her. Her spine and hips have deteriorated even more since November. I have to help her up the stairs. I usually have to help her onto the bed. She collapses a lot. I can get her on her feet, but it’s so painful to watch. Tonight I let her out, and went to let her back in about 5 minutes later. I didn’t see her. I stepped out onto the porch and saw her on the ground, struggling to get up. She managed to do it before I got to her, and I helped her up the porch stairs. A couple of weeks ago, I had to go out and my housemate did, too. I was gone for about 2 hours, and got home before he did. Daisy wasn’t on the bed, which was unusual. I walked into my office and she was on the floor with… Continue reading

A Little Something From The Day Job

I write about state and local taxes to pay the bills. Uh-huh. I see your eyes glazing over–yeah, you!

Actually, it’s kind of fun. I work at a high level–my scope is nationwide, and sometimes international. I never get down into the weeds. That would make my eyes glaze over, too. What makes SALT interesting is its complexity. There there are so many different taxes and so many different ways in which they’re applied. In some cases, of the states that impose a particular tax, no two states do it alike. Throw in the constitutional questions, like whether a state tax discriminates against interstate or foreign commerce (article 8 of the federal constitution and there are a bunch of other articles to consider like the import-export clause), what you get is a mind fuck of the highest degree. A mind fuck so mind-blowing you want to get up and make a sammich afterward.

So an opinion I wrote about one of California’s taxes appeared in Forbes magazine on the 19th. Editor’s pick, too. Enjoy.

Ciao.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/taxnotes/2019/12/19/californias-62-mile-high-taxes/#6f31f5052324