Right Thinking From The Left Coast
Adventure is worthwhile - Aesop

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

by JimK

Here’s a little work of fiction that popped into my head just about wholesale.

This was it. The last day. After this, nothing else would matter. The new law will take effect at midnight. As far as Cain Michaels was concerned, it was the end of the world.

“But you can choose one of the new training courses!” his wife pleaded. “It’s not actually, you know, the end of the world.”

Cain stared at his wife, trying to figure out exactly when they stopped understanding each other. “That’s not choice, Melissa. That’s the government telling each person what they are allowed to dream to become. Born short? IQ ten points too low? Welcome to ditch digger school, and that is all you’re ever allowed to become. No. I won’t do it.”

He paused for a moment, the decision he’d made earlier firmly visible in the set of his jaw. “I worked for seventeen years to build this business. You watched me do it. I worked what, fifteen, twenty hour days in the beginning? I knew people would eventually want custom, that the off-the-shelf robot-built from WalTech would eventually lose the charm of being so cheap. Remember the Chigurts? Molly said we’d be back at at the PubAssist office within a year, but it turned out Charlie was the one who couldn’t get anything going. Remember how proud we were when the hovercar took them away to the work camp? Maybe we shouldn’t have been, but we were glad it was them and not us. Remember how proud you were of me for making this work? What happened to that, Mel?  How do you not see this as the end?”

Melissa sobbed and shouted. “Because it’s not the end! We don’t get taken to the camps anymore! They told us we can take the test and learn a skill and then they would give us food and a house and everything!”

“Give us? Give us? How do you think they even have the right to give us anything? It’s already ours in the first place! We worked for it, not them!”

“But you could be killed!”

“Yes. I could. But if I don’t do this, I’m already dead.”

She looked at him, tears spilling out of her eyes as she sobbed and choked out her words. “Stop saying that! Dead is dead, and you won’t be dead, you will be with me. Why isn’t that enough?”

“If you have to ask, Mel, then I can’t explain it to you. I though you would be by my side on this. I really thought you would want to do this.” Cain reached around his shoulders and fingered the blue cloth draped there. “When you brought this old flag home I really thought that was a sign that you felt the same way.”

“It’s just a stupid old flag from a stupid old state from what used to be this stupid old country! It doesn’t mean anything! It’s not even the real one they used, it was a proposed design!” Melissa slumped against the wall and let herself slide to the floor. “It’s not even the real one. I just thought you would like it.”

Cain stared at the floor in front of him, hoping the right words would somehow appear there and he could just say them and everything would be like he imagined it.

“I do like it, Mel. I love it. It’s the single greatest thing anyone has ever given me, and not because it says “Live Free Or Die.” But because it gave me courage. You gave me this courage. When the Community Organization Officer came to the house and threatened to shut me down, I went to the workroom and stared at this flag. I wondered what it must have been like 300 years ago, those men searching for a symbol, a phrase, ideals that would inspire and unite a people. I thought about their sacrifices, and the sacrifices of every man and woman who fought to preserve those ideals throughout the centuries. And I thought about the men who destroyed them, who willfully and intentionally turned us into what we are now.”

“I can’t do it, Mel. And until today I really believed that you couldn’t either. I’m sorry, but I have to join them. This?” Cain gestured broadly as if to signify everything in the world around them. “This isn’t worth anything. It’s not worth the tears you are shedding for it.”

“But you are. To me, you are worth these tears. Why don’t you get that?”

“Oh baby I get it. But what I don’t get is why you can’t understand this. I can’t be what they told me I have to be. I can’t sit in a room forever and tell people they can’t be something they love with all their heart. I will not report to the Public Trust building in the morning and spend the rest of my life handing out ditch digging jobs to artists and craftsmen and mothers. I will not tell a woman she isn’t allowed to have children because 22% of her demographic needs to be sanitation workers and the quota for moms is already full for the next three generations. I won’t tell Thom he can’t write those amazing books anymore because his classification is now ‘food technician.’ I can’t be a ‘Decision Impartment Officer,’ whatever the hell that is supposed to mean.”

Cain picked up the bag at his feet. He stood a little taller, straightened his shoulders and took a deep breath. “Melissa, stand up. Please. I’m going to go now, and I would like the last thing that happens here to not be me leaving you on the floor, begging me to submit to them.”

Melissa stood. She wiped her eyes. “Okay. I do understand, Cain. I just thought maybe you’d....”

“I know, baby. I know. But you know I can’t, right? And that we will win this? We have to. We’re right, and that goes a long way.”

A sound caught Melissa’s attention. A low buzz of fast-moving air, coupled with a high-pitched whooping sound. “Oh God it’s them!” she shouted. “Okay we have to get you out of here.”

“Melissa. Wait.”

“Cain we have to go now!”

“That’s what I mean. You said ‘We.’ That’s what I want. Come with me.”

“But I can’t shoot. And I don’t know anything about guerrilla tactics.”

“Revolutionaries never do, baby. You’ll learn just like the rest of us. And you know first aid, CPR, all that. You can be my own personal medic. And you can teach others. You are needed, Mel. By the cause, and by me. I need you to come with me.”

“Can we discuss this while we run?” She pulled him toward the closet.

“So you’re coming?” A smile touched his face. It felt like the first time he’d smile in months. Turns out maybe he still knew this woman after all.

“Yes. Yes, I get it. Live Free Or Die. Don’t Tread On Me. These Colors Don’t Run. I know I said they were just words, but they’re not, are they?”

“No. They’re not.” He opened the access panel in the floor of the hall closet and dropped the bag inside. It hit the ground with the clank of metal and the rattle of brass shell casings. “They never were.”

He reached out his hand to her. “Shall we?”

She took his hand. “We shall. You know I’m going to kick your ass for this, right?”

Now that’s my baby, he thought. “I know, baby. I know.”

The sirens grew closer as they closed the access panel behind them.

ed. - I edited the last line for those that read it earlier. It was too hokey!

Posted by JimK on 08/05/09 at 10:54 AM in Decline of Western Civilization   Deep Thoughts   Etcetera   Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, June 04, 2009

On This Spot In 1989, Nothing Happened


Twenty years ago today, the Chinese government killed—as far as we can tell—a couple thousand of its own people for the crime of peacefully demanding reform of their authoritarian government.  At the time, it seemed like this was part of a wave of anti-Communist protests that was sweeping the world and tumbling empires.  The Chinese government survived and remains powerful, but I like to think that what progress they have made has been an indirect result of the explosion of dissent.

Read Kristoff’s searing account of that day.  And remember.

Update: Hong Kong remembers.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 06/04/09 at 10:50 AM in Etcetera  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New writers
by JimK

Please join me in welcoming three new writers to RTFTLC: Rann, Section8 and HeartlessLibertarian. Apparently my supplication was effective. :)

Gentlemen, I thank you. I have a good feeling about this.  Up next: I begin to publicly beg Para to consider making a post a month or so. ;)

Posted by JimK on 05/26/09 at 12:53 PM in Etcetera  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Changes at Right Thinking
by JimK

I sent out some editorial guidelines early yesterday and was going to post them tomorrow night to let all the readers know what was going on. I never got the chance to let the authors sit with them before making them public...as you can see, WVR flooded the site with his usual barely-written quote-fest posts from the same blogs on the same dead-horse subjects...again. After the first two I emailed him a warning which he promptly ignored. After today’s performance...my patience is simply non-existent. I have heard the cries, and I agree with them, so WVR, I’m sorry but you clearly wanted this to happen for whatever reason. So now it has.

WVR is no longer a contributing author. He is not banned, but he no longer has posting privileges.

I’m looking for two more people to become authors, so if you have suggestions or would like to give it a shot, please let me know. That’s not a response to removing WVR from the front page, BTW...I was looking for two people anyway. See the end of the quoted text below for more detail.

Here’s the text of the email I sent out yesterday…

1. No more quoting the majority of your posts. Long pull quotes are sometimes unavoidable, but it will no longer be tolerated as the primary style of writing. Your original material should at least equal the material you are quoting.

2. No more cutting and pasting from the same three blogs every day. If we want to read every word someone else writes, we can go to their blogs.

3. No more flooding the zone. This has two parts:

A. No more posting three or four posts in a row on the same topic on the same day. If you have more to add on a topic about which you have already posted, update your original post. Unless something truly groundbreaking that could be called NEWS happens, an updated post is all that is required.
B. No more posting multiple posts in a short period of time. I’m not really interested in limiting how many posts per day anyone can make, but I AM tired of seeing good posts pushed far down the page by flooding the zone. A good guideline would be if you’ve made three or four posts already today...maybe you’re done until tomorrow. Remember, you can always schedule posts to go live at later times as well to help space things out and give all voices a chance to be heard.

Pretty simple. It all boils down to the idea RTFTLC should be a place for _some_ original thought in reaction to the news of the day. If you don’t have any original thoughts to add to a story, maybe you should reconsider whether it needs to be posted or not.  The exceptions to all of this, of course, is fun/diversion stuff, like if you find a great viral or something and you just want to post it for fun. That kind of thing is always welcome.

As for enforcement...well that’s basically just my judgment.  I will be watching closely, and if people can’t stick to these basic standards...well then they won’t be posting.

Also, I would love to get one or two more people involved. I’m looking for a Republican...that’s right I said Republican with a capital R. I think it would be interesting to see what happens when yo take a bunch of libertarian-minded people and have them co-authoring with one of the faithful. Also, I’m looking for a conservative (small C, like some of us are small L libertarians). If you have any suggestions of folks who fit the bill and would be willing to do it, please let me know.

Posted by JimK on 05/23/09 at 08:37 PM in Etcetera  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday mental health break: Your interests
by JimK

Obviously, we spend a lot of time sniping at each other and arguing over politics and generally creating an atmosphere of animosity and bile.  And that is awesome. under the right conditions. BUT...often times we forget there are people on the other end of these internet thingies. Commenters (and authors) here get so entrenched in positions they forget that these arguments have real-world applications for the living, breathing human beings to whom they are talking.  And the simple fact is, 99% of us have more in common than we have differences.

To that end, I would like to start finding out what we have in common in an effort to weave a tighter community.  The idea is of course to find out things we all love that may fall by the wayside during these heated debates we have.

I have two simple rules for this little experiment:

1. NO POLITICS WHATSOEVER. First one to say anything political gets ass-raped by the barbed cock of Satan.
2. You need to list three things you love joyfully, like a little kid loves mud. They can be anything, from a brand of pants to a novel to a model of stove you use to cook with. Don’t care what it is. A website, your keyring...whatever. Just tell us three things you get happy over.

I’ll start.

1. I love pulp science fiction/mystery-crime books. I mean LOVE them. S.M. Stirling‘s T2 books are a great example. Decently written, but not literary by any means.  Pulp scifi that turns my crank.  T.A. Pratt’s Marla Mason books too, although that is more pulp urban fantasy. Oh and I worship the ground that Charlie Huston walks on. The man is a master at NoirSciCrimeUrbanFantasy pulp. And I will also confess to a serious obsession with J.D. Robb‘s Eve Dallas books. I’m like a junkie for that shit.

2. Defense Grid. I have beaten every level of this game eighty ways from Sunday and I still keep playing, to the exclusion of my Xbox 360, which has many things on it I need to play.

3. Fall Out Boy‘s new album Folie’ A Deux. FOB gets a bum rap due to Pete Wentz’s penchant for douchery, but these guys are a tight band with tremendous energy and well-constructed pop/rock/emo/powerpoppunk songs, and the new record is on never-ending repeat in my car.

That’s right, I posted publicly that I love Fall Out Boy. Fuck you all. ;) And now it’s your turn.  What exactly are you people into, and if anyone says “sex with cats” that bit was already done better than you could do it (SITE AND VIDEO NSFW!!). ;)

Posted by JimK on 05/16/09 at 09:36 AM in Etcetera  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, May 14, 2009

…and then the world imploded.

Not strange: A bank is robbed.

Strange: By a government economist.

Stranger: By an economist at the FDIC, the agency tasked with insuring bank deposits.

Strangest: ...because he wanted to reject the free health care he’d get in prison.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 05/14/09 at 09:38 PM in Etcetera  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Saturday tension breaker
by JimK

Thought it might be fun to pick a topic that we can all get down with and have a little fun. I think I might do these as a series, just as a way we can...wait, this is totally going to devolve into a Thunderdome argument series who the hell am I kidding?

Okay, first topic/question: It is up to you to build the perfect burger, using nothing but what you can get in your average American grocery story. No Kobe beef or white truffle bullshit, just, you know, regular cow. You can be as simple or as detailed as you like.

Mine?  It’s pretty simple. From the bottom up:

Onion kaiser roll (bottom)
Thin layer of mayo
Thin layer of mustard. Something deli-style or spicy
Thin slice of mild cheddar
Meat, seasoned with salt, pepper, Worcestershire and garlic powder. 1/4-to-1/3 lb. patty
Thin slice of American cheese
Round of onion
Slice of tomato
Thinly sliced pickles
1 leaf of lettuce
Onion kaiser roll (top)

SImple, classic, awesome.

Posted by JimK on 05/09/09 at 12:42 PM in Etcetera  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Happy Birthday, you big sonofabitch
by JimK

Lee would’ve been 39 today. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to hold an alcoholic beverage, or a non-alcoholic one if you don’t drink, and shout “TO LEE!” at the top of your lungs before midnight tonight.

I’d love to see pics posted of people doing this, BTW. ;)


Well, I may be sweaty and greasy, but screw it.

For my friend Lee on his birthday. Miss you, man. on Twitpic

Posted by JimK on 05/02/09 at 12:54 PM in Etcetera   Lee in China   Tooting My Own Horn  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mental health break. Sort of.
by JimK

It’s like they climbed into my brain and made a song about what they found there.

I’ve always played the fool around here
I’m starting to worry that
I rush through life forgetting to breathe
We all need some time to adapt
No one understands
No one understands
What it’s like

I had high hopes of silver and gold;
I thought this could change for the best
My mom always said I was named for a saint
but I never felt I was blessed
No one understands
No one understands
No one understands
What it’s like

I got your cure right here
Is that what you want to hear?
I’ve played the fool too many times
I’ve been catching up
For all my life
And it seems
It gets harder to believe it gets harder but
Be honest
If the sun don’t shine tomorrow we’ll survive

I turn this up as loud as it goes
And it ain’t doing much for the pain
It’s up to me and the heart on my sleeve
That hasn’t quite been the same
No one understands
No one understands
No one understands
What it’s like

I got your cure right here
Is that what you want to hear?
I’ve played the fool too many times
I’ve been catching up for all my life and it seems
It gets harder to believe
It gets harder but
Be honest
If the sun don’t shine tomorrow we’ll survive

I’m in a field of landmines
A cruise ship to hell, Oh
but I don’t think about that
It’s so hard to find help
these days
When everyone’s counting on me
But I’m burnt already

I got your cure right here
Is that what you want to hear?
I’ve played the fool too many times
I’ve been catching up for all my life and it seems
It gets harder to believe
it gets harder but be honest
If the sun don’t shine tomorrow
If the sun don’t shine tomorrow
If the sun don’t shine tomorrow
then we’ll survive

Posted by JimK on 04/30/09 at 07:47 PM in Deep Thoughts   Etcetera  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Friday, April 24, 2009

Update about Lee, including memorial info
by JimK

I’ve been putting this post off for what i think are obvious reasons, but all that has done is make me feel worse, so...Like Lee always quipped at me, “band-aid, one motion, right off.” Yeah, we spoke to each other in TV and movie quotes half the time, what of it? ;)

This is a long post, with information about a memorial service at the end, so it’s going behind the cut. Hit the “read the rest” link to see it all.

Posted by JimK on 04/24/09 at 03:17 PM in Etcetera   Lee in China   Tooting My Own Horn  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Sunday, April 19, 2009

New writers for RTFTLC
by JimK

Join me in welcoming back Aaron, and in welcoming Harley and The Contrarian into the fold.  This is going to be fun.  Gentlemen, please feel free to jump in as the muse moves you.

Posted by JimK on 04/19/09 at 06:17 PM in Etcetera  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Unbanning (Also new registrations!)
by JimK


I just discovered that registration for this site was set to manual approval.  There were 465-odd accounts, and I just couldn’t sort them all by hand (I would have to try to guess who was real and who was a Russian spammer), so I deleted EVERYTHING.  If you’ve tried to register for the site in the last two months or so, please try again, you will get a self-activation email to prove you aren’t a bot and then come on in.

*Update 2*

Yeah, umm, I just remembered *I* was the one that set registrations to manual to stop any possible trolls after the news about Lee.  Sorry.  It just completely slipped my mind.

Original post:

So let’s say someone was interested in a little test, a test where say, almost everyone who was banned from this site was unbanned.  Except for a very, VERY select few, one of whom should be obvious to anyone who saw his exchange with Clayton and is now He Who Shall Not Be Discussed as far as I am concerned.

Are there any others that any of you can think of who are just too frigging annoying or can’t comport themselves like rational people?  I’m not looking to let a lot of haterade flow around, but I would like to give people a chance to, I dunno, bury the hatchet I guess.  Life is fucking short, people. We got shit to do, you know what I’m sayin’?

So lay it on me.  Who should we swing open the doors for and who should the banhammer continue to smash in the balls?

Posted by JimK on 04/18/09 at 11:05 PM in Etcetera  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Some truly awful news about Lee
by JimK

*UPDATE (4/15/09) I un-stickied this post...I don’t think Lee would want the site fixated on this for very long. As far as I can imagine, I think he’d want the thunderdome back in full swing ASAP.

Original post below:

This is JimK.  I am posting this just to let everyone know, the news that is flying around about Lee’s passing in China is probably - at this point - true.  I will try to gather as much information as I can and post it here.  If you hear anything or see any news reports or get confirmation from anyone reliable, please post it in the comments.

This is about the worst thing I can imagine ever having to post on this site.  Lee is...and will always be...100% unique, a force of nature and someone we are all better off knowing.

I’m also going to ask that we leave the politics at the door temporarily.


Well, as far as I know - and I will not pester his family for info, so everything I am getting is second and third hand - Lee passed in the night. I got email from him a couple of days ago, and he was online as well, so the timeframe seems to be overnight Monday, Beijing time.

I believe his mother and brother are going to China to bring him home.  Harley I know you have contact with Clayton, so please keep us updated. 

Posted by JimK on 04/07/09 at 07:27 PM in Etcetera  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

When Chimpanzees Attack

This, children, is why you should never keep jungle animals as pets.

The chilling screams of a crazed chimp mauling a Connecticut woman were captured on a 911 tape - along with the animal’s owner begging, “Send police with guns!”

The 15-minute recording captures the bizarre horror of Monday’s attack, which left a 55-year-old woman critically injured and the 200-pound ape dead in a hail of police gunfire.

“Hurry, please! He ripped her face off,” the ape’s frantic owner, Sandy Herold, 70, is heard telling the dispatcher on the tapes released Tuesday night.

“Listen to me, you have to shoot him.”

The terrifying screeches of Travis the chimpanzee are heard as he mercilessly pounces on Herold’s pal, Charla Nash.

“He killed her!” Herold told the dispatcher. “He ripped her apart. He tried attacking me. How fast can you get here?”

The dispatcher sounds incredulous as Herold describes how she had to stab the burly ape and only aggravated him.

“He’s eating her,” Herold screamed. “Please have them go faster.”

The attack was no doubt terrifying enough, but then there’s this little bit of information that makes me question the woman’s judgement:

Fighting back tears Tuesday, Herold mourned the death of her beloved chimp and expressed concern for her friend.

“He was all I had,” Herold said outside her home.

She painfully recounted how she stabbed her 15-year-old chimp with a butcher’s knife, trying to stop the attack.

Cops shot and killed the rampaging primate when he cornered them in a squad car.

“To do what I did, it was the worst thing in the world,” said Herold, a widow whose only daughter died in a car accident.

“He was my kid ... I never left the house without kissing him goodbye.”

Er, no, he was an animal with the strength of ten men, something set him off, and he had to be put down. Even Roy was attacked by one of his own tigers. I’m sorry for this woman’s loss, but it does seem that we tend to anthromorphize animals a little too much in our society.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 02/18/09 at 09:45 PM in Etcetera  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Fire Down Under

Australia is burning.

The death toll from fires in southern Australia has reached at least 108, the worst in the country’s history.

Thousands of firefighters, aided by the army, are battling several major bush fires, and the number of dead is expected to rise as fires are put out.

Arsonists responsible for lighting the fires could be charged with murder, police have said.

Entire towns in Victoria state were destroyed as fires were fanned by extreme temperatures and wind.

Temperatures are dropping now, but officials fear they will not be able to get the fires under control until there is substantial rain.

“We could still have a lot worse,” said Sharon Smee of Victoria’s Country Fire Authority. “There’s still hot spots out there and there’s a lot of people who are really exhausted and tired.”

The BBC’s Nick Bryant in Sydney said police suspect that in at least one case fires have been restarted by arsonists after being extinguished by firefighters.

New South Wales Premier Nathan Rees said arsonists faced a maximum 25 years’ jail.

“We will throw the book at you if you are caught,” he was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

“Some of these fires have started in localities that could only be by hand, it could not be natural causes,” Victoria state Police Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe was quoted as saying by AFP.

He said there would be a “full, thorough investigation”.

Anyone who has lived in California will understand what the people of Victoria are going through. And I will never understand the sickos who think it’s fun to start these blazes.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 02/08/09 at 01:47 PM in Etcetera  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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