sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Monday, December 17, 2018

Crib Notes

Fictional Shorts: A Retrospective from 2014

I was chopping out these shorts on a regular basis in 2014. It was a tough time for me. Events had me thinking too much - never a good thing. Kipling's Vampire, and all that.

Encounter in Zamboanga - April 29, 2014 - Nonfiction - Response to request by Jonathan H.
The Monkeys have no tails in Zamboanga - US Navy Sea Shanty

Requiem - April 24, 2014 - Nonfiction
Sometimes things suck. And a lot of the time, you just have to roll with it and embrace the suck.

Loose Ends - May 5, 2014 - Nonfiction
Everyone wants you to tie up loose ends. 

Vampire Zombies from Venus - June 19, 2014 - Fiction
You take one down and pass it around

Her Garden - April 26, 2014 - Nonfiction
People were left behind.

Moving on to your international update:


For a fifth consecutive Saturday, yellow vest protestors clashed with police in Paris and some other cities. The BBC reported fewer protestors showed up because of rainy weather. No news service reported looting.

The police deployed 69,000 personnel. The BBC reported no more than 66,000 yellow vests protested. The yellow vests do not appear to have evolved a political organization, which must occur for a movement to continue. The government’s responses, the weather and the holiday season are likely to encourage a decline in political activism in the next two weeks. During that time, some key members of the crew may begin to create a more organized effort, but the present composition of the dissatisfied includes both the communists and the anarchists.


Encouraged by the French yellow vest protests, about 250 people in Basra protested the poor condition of public services, official corruption and to demand jobs. Security forces used live bullets and teargas on the 14th to disperse protestors, but no injuries were reported. Protesters threw rocks at riot police vehicles

It's a gesture on the part of the protesters, but deep seated unrest remains throughout Iraq based on a wide variety of completely valid issues. There isn't anyone who is reading this blog who would want to move to Iraq. (or Honduras, Guatemala, Syria, Yemen or anywhere in Africa) In fact, I can't understand why a woman would want to be Islamic, and therefore chattel.


On 16 December, clashes renewed in Hajin in the middle Euphrates River Valley when Islamic State fighters counter-attacked the newly-established positions of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) inside the town. The US-backed SDF said that its fighters had repelled the attack, despite suffering some minor loses.
“The terrorists attacked the front positions of our forces, our fighters repelled them … following this, the terrorists began shelling from a far distance, they targeted the positions of our forces with mortars and artillery shells,” the SDF media center said in its daily press release.
US-led coalition warplanes conducted 50 airstrikes on Islamic State positions and vehicles in the Euphrates Valley in order to support SDF forces. Local sources said that one of the airstrikes on the village of Bukhatir, in Hajin’s countryside, killed more than 17 civilians including women and children.

71 fighters and commanders of ISIS were killed in the Euphrates Valley in the last 24 hours.

On 14 December, SDF fighters claimed they liberated Hajin, which was another Islamic State strong point. Reports on the 16th indicate most of the town has been destroyed. The Islamic State fighters have no where to retreat, so they fight on.

Ghosts, Tamales and Dangerous Women

Writing Shorts

Since I'm on a retrospective bent with fictional shorts, you can drift by this one if you have time on your hands. Finding Miss Right, from back in 2015. Some women have your name on them - like a bullet or a nail in the road...The concept is explored in this short.

I enjoy writing shorts because they're one-topic usually, a few paragraphs to convey emotions, some complexity, and then I'm off and on to something else. 


The problem with writing true stories is that nobody believes them. You have to fictionalize to make some things acceptable, or drift into science fiction where you can write what you want in the name of fiction and have the action taking place somewhere other than Earth. A mirror reflects, but not precisely, because of the reverse effect that it gives you and the two-dimensional nature of the polished glass. That notwithstanding, I like including mirrors in stories. 

I knew a crazy woman once, who kept rubbing soap on the mirrors in her house so that she couldn't see herself distinctly. She could have broken the mirrors, but that wasn't the effect that she was after. You will ask, "What is crazy, LL?" Now that is a question for the ages isn't it?

A Season of Ghosts

The holiday season is a season of ghosts (father, brother, close friends, etc) for me, because I lost a lot of my family and those closest to me during this particular time of the year, where days are short, the darkness pervades, and there is an expectation that everything is merry and bright. fa-la-la. So it's not unusual that I throw myself into work, and the distractions that work can bring. But there is still the night, isn't there? Unless I bounce across the equator, and I'm not doing that this year. 


Enough of the morose, this is also the season of the tamale. They take a lot of effort to make and they're more likely available at this time of year. It's not easy to find good ones. I know of a family restaurant who takes on a "tamale lady" (a crone from the Mexican interior) in December to manage their tamale production. I think that's the secret of great tamales. You need somebody who has been making them all their lives and absorbed every single secret recipe they came across. They also whip the lard that goes into the masa, to make it lighter. They're careful in the selection of meat and they are even more cautious in the choice of seasoning. The gentle flavor of chili has to be there but in such a way that you don't even know that's what it is. All you judge is that the tamale is perfect. Is there such a thing as a perfect tamale? Likely not.

But there is no such thing as an imperfect sky. That gives hope, doesn't it?