Five Things I am Into Right Now, February 2017

Snoopy Attempting The DreamEver since the election in November writing feels… trite.

It feels silly and, dare I say, hollow to worry about my next book or blog or even think about fiction. I can’t even name the last piece of fiction I read (maybe Neil Gaiman back in October?).

“Look at what is happening to reality!?!” A part of my mind keeps screaming.

Writing fiction is like being Nero with the fiddle while Rome (the real world) burns. And when you consider climate change, “burn” is not a bad word to use in that context.

But now it has been some time since the inauguration (even though it feels like freaking years), and if I don’t do something I will go stir crazy. I need to figure out my next step with my latest novel (Agent? Publisher? Furnace?), what I am going to create next, and, more vital, finding what feels important.

That’s the trick right there- “important.”

Of course, the irony of this is as I look over my latest five things I see a few time fillers there. I guess I would argue that for the last few months I just wanted to turn my brain off. Now I am ready to turn it back on and see what it can do. Today we need all of us to be active. We can’t simply wait for the next election.

No more fiddles. Continue reading

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What I want to see…

american-flagNow, please understand I am just a liberal writer with strong opinions. As you can imagine, this election has really shaken up those opinions. For the last few days, as every newscaster was declaring the doom of America, I began to wonder how Democrats and the left can turn this into a positive movement for change. For this new President and Congress can only find success if we stay silent and fragmented.

So here it is…

I want to see a national Democratic conference called. Maybe for as soon as next summer.

I’m not talking a little shindig. I’m saying something on the scale of a presidential convention. It has to be loud, big, and filled with so many celebrities, and musical performances that every news station would want to be there and it will be aired everywhere.

The evenings will be about three things:

  • Showing our diversity
  • Expressing what we will fight for
  • Introducing the next leaders to the public now

Sure, the Obamas, Clintons, Warren and Sanders will speak to the crowds. But their speeches have to be introductions to the next leaders. We need to put faces out there now (the Castro brothers, Booker, Harris, etc.). And the speeches they give have to be powerful, inspiring. Like Obama in 2004, each has to present the image of what we envision the potential of our country.

Finally, I would like the conference to end with an easy to follow 10-point agenda on what all democrats plan to do. These are very easy to follow, straight forward and hard to argue against. Health care, education, women’s right, equality, immigration, climate change, financial oversight, all have to be there. The plan can not disappear. It has to be talked about all of the time. It has to be talked about so often that everyone will be able to recite them, point by point.

After the conference, Democrats have to keep talking about it, sharing quotes from the speeches. Yes, it is like starting up the next election early, but it could help with the midterms and it would put everyone on the same page. We won’t be fighting inside our own circles like in 2016. We will be together. And really America needs our voices more now than ever.

While it feels good for me to write this, it is only an idea right now. It has to spread. So if you like this idea, write about it, share it, talk about it. 

My Favorite Article About the Election Result

clinton-kaine-yard-sign-in-yardAs many who read my site know I have a love-hate relationship with Garrison Kellor’s writing. Sometimes I find it lazy… and sometimes he knocks it out of the park. This is one of the latter.

He wrote this article about the election for the Washington Post and I wanted to share the link here. It helped relax me a bit.

Trump voters will not like what happens next

Typically, I would write more about the election myself, but I feel so numb from it. And it feels a little like shouting off the side of a mountain. It might be therapeutic for the screamer but really doesn’t accomplish or change anything.

Twice in my life now I have seen candidates that would be great presidents win the popular vote and lose the electoral college. And this one is more painful than the last.

This is what I wrote on my Facebook account at around 3 AM last night. I think it captures my confusion around this life changing event.

This means everything, and I mean everything, we know about elections can be wrong. Polls (all of them) can be inaccurate, debates don’t matter, commentaries and endorsements are worthless, conventions are nothing, tax returns aren’t important, political infrastructures and operatives are a waste, representing the majority is ridiculous, forget about being the best person you can be, and the truth… well… who needs it?

I worry for climate change and the environment. I worry for education. I worry about gun control and gender rights and women’s rights. And I worry for the world.

Actually, I think we should all worry about that last one.

Lawn Signs

clinton-kaine-yard-sign-in-yardI’m going to share with you my one real crime.

And I got away with it completely. There has never been an arrest or a warrant on this one. So the big secret is about to come out. Are you ready?

I once stole political lawn signs from neighbor yards!

Yes, I am a thief. Here is what I would say to a judge:

But your honor, I was young! Only 18! And it was a joke. A practical joke, honest! You’ve done bad jokes in the past, right? Well, that is what this is! Just a simple laugh.

See, I had this friend in high school who had very strong opinions about the election that year (she was one of those souls that has a strong opinion about everything).  She wouldn’t stop talking about it. It drove me crazy! If I wanted to get her goat about it, I would point out that she would not be able to vote, she was only 17. But I would be able to. It actually was my first time voting and I was pretty excited about it.

This was the first election of Bill Clinton, going up against President George Bush and Ross Perot.

The friend detested those who were considering voting for the President. While I was looking forward to voting for Clinton (even though my first choice was Paul Tsongas), that ballot felt like my first step into adulthood. I vote… then graduate from high school… and then enter college. A real American grownup.

Anyway, so one day I had heard enough about her opinion about the election; and after school thanks to a free hour, I went out and collected about half a dozen lawn signs from the yards of strangers. I stuck them all around her mom’s front yard.

That was my one crime and I was never caught.

Judge, can I plead the fifth? I already talked and admitted it? Damn…

Continue reading

3 Questions I Am Struggling With

Question MarkQuestion 1: Is it wrong to judge a person for supporting a racist candidate? Does that make me questionable as well for my own judging?

First off, I’m not going to go into a long discussion about who Trump is and his history. If you don’t know about him, well, I don’t know what to say. Personally, I’m a big fan of how the Huffington Post ends every article about him, listing that he is a racist, liar, etc. (All undeniably true.) The fact is we have NO idea how he would govern; all we have to go by on what he would do is his words. And his words are bat-shit crazy.

But Trump’s craziness is not my struggle. I can wrap my brain around that. There has always been crazy in this world.

The thing is I am I judging people when they say they support him. I hide friends left and right on Facebook, drop people on Twitter. Because I immediately think they are crazy and racist too. I mean, who you support says a lot about you, right? Continue reading

Running Shoes

Running ShoesWhen I was eight years old my family was hoodwinked by our local newspaper.

The journalist decided that he wanted to do a story about a runner and his family, so he collected three different families for interviews. It sounded fairly innocent, benign, but the first warning sign should have come to us when he had us pose for a front image for the story.

He had me and my little brother sitting on a curb, holding a sign (I believe it said “Go Dad”) and looking sad as my dad ran by in a blur.

A few days later the story came out with our sad expressions filling up almost an entire page. The journalist cherry-picked quotes, creating an image that runners when they run take time away from their families. Personally, we were all disgusted by the story, and to this day I like to imagine there is a ring in Dante’s Inferno for journalists like that. (I imagine it would involve them all interviewing each other and seeing their own words taken out of context.)

The fact is I never lost anything by my dad being a runner. If anything it taught me the importance of being healthy and exercise. Yeah, running was not my thing and my dad had to begrudgingly accept that (I lean towards biking more), but at least I do exercise. And as a teenager I would bike alongside him as he ran and talked. My dad was always known for talking while running. Continue reading

Say Hello to Mr. DeVere, I Mean Shakespeare…

The Lord of OxfordI don’t believe in conspiracies.

Some people may think this is kind of lame of me, like I am some kind of party pooper; the dude that doesn’t want to clap his hands to bring Tinkerbell back in Peter Pan. But frankly I don’t think it is in the nature of human beings to keep secrets. Heck, even Deep Throat from Watergate admitted who he was before he died, and that secret only involved three people. We love to tell secrets, and when we were children we each learned (quite easily and quickly) it is always more fun to share a secret than to… keep it.

So aliens, men in black, secret assassinations… yes, at all conspiracies I wag my skeptical finger and say “Nah, nah.” (In a very He-man masculine way, of course).

Yet, I admit I am addicted to one conspiracy, the biggest in literature. The same conspiracy that created doubters out of Mark Twain, Orson Welles, and many others. In many ways, it is a who’s who of readers and lovers of literature; making me feel anything but alone in my little basement filled with notebooks of random facts like a character from The X-Files.

Yes, I am talking about the dreaded Oxford Theory, the Shakespeare Authorship question. The one unjustly pooh-poohed by scholars every time it is brought up. (It doesn’t help that the first person who brought up this theory had the last name of Looney. Yes, you read that right. Looney.)

For those that don’t know Edward DeVere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, supporter of the arts, beloved poet of the queen, may have done more than just survive the back-stabbing courts of his day; he might have also created the greatest catalogue of literature we may ever know. He might have been the pen behind Hamlet, Juliet and Macbeth…

Except he did it in secret, all in secret. And if it is true, it is a conspiracy that would have involved the highest members of the British court, famous writers, publishers, and an entire theater company.

Back up little aliens, now that is a conspiracy! Continue reading

My Reasons… Election 2012

I have only written two political posts on this site. Here are the links to both of them:

Whenever I go to vote I always think first about what kind of a world I want to create for my children. So when I vote tomorrow for President Obama it is going to be about more than one issue. I’m voting for him because of the environment, good education (for all), women’s rights, civil rights, gay rights, social security, health care, and, yes even the economy (for all, not just those on top). Yet, to be honest, I have no idea how Governor Romney will govern. I bet you I could find two conflicting statements by him on any subject; YouTube is a wonder for that. The only thing we really have to point to about his true beliefs is his choice of Rep. Ryan as his running mate. And the idea of being 80 someday and having to find my own insurance via a voucher system terrifies me.

So there you go… there are my reasons for voting for President Obama summed up in only a few sentences. New post on Wednesday and I promise there will be no politics included in it.

Oh, yeah, and save Big Bird!

I Love PBS

Sometimes I feel guilty when I write something.

It happens. I am only human, but whenever I write an editorial it is coming first and foremost from a good place. Usually my negativity, when it is presented, is because I believe there are better ways that things can be done (the bad in a way acting as an introduction to me explaining why I am giving the advice in the first place). I have never written a negative post for the sake of attacking. I’m not wired like that.

Basically, I just want to put in my two cents … Which, in a way, is the entire point of having a blog, right?

I’ll get to my apologies in a bit.  Let’s start with the love…

I would estimate that when it comes to TV, PBS makes up 85 percent of all of the television my family watches. From PBS Kids in the morning (my son loves Super Why, Dinosaur Train, and especially Wild Kratts) to History Detectives, Masterpiece Theater, Great Performances, Ken Burns documentaries… Well, the list can go on and on and my DVR is full of just that one station.

Yes, PBS owns my DVR. Continue reading

Reposting Political Article

I’ve been dying to write about politics this entire year, but since I just started this site really this year, I wanted to avoid the controversial stuff. This early article, where I compared the election to a story and why that is important in our American worldview (actually, even though some of this is dated I still believe much of it), is one of the few times when I had no choice and gave in. And, to be honest, I still stand by a lot of what I say in this post and believe the result will still be in Obama’s favor.

Here are other things I have considered:

• I wanted to write about truth and how it really, really bothers me that people could justify changing the truth for the sake of the result and how others can go along with that untruth fully knowing that it is a lie. Without truth, what do we have?
• I even started work on a comedic piece about why I think conventions are usually structured like a bad high school award night. (It’s why I was inspired to reblog this post for those curious.)
• I even had to fight myself from at one point comparing Romney—and the fact he has run away from his past and old beliefs (pro-health care mandate, pro-choice, supporting gay rights, believing in global warming, etc.) to achieve his goal—to a Greek tragedy. Think about it: when you abandon everything you have done in the past and changed all of your beliefs for the sake of a victory, who are you in the end since you are no longer yourself…. See classic Greek tragedy. God, it could be one heck of a play! You would just need someone next to him telling him that he is making a mistake (probably the narrator of the play, maybe the character can be one of his sons?) and he would have to abandon that person… and after he loses that one person comes back to remind him that it is gone, and no one (including himself) knows who he is anymore.

Who knows? Before November they might appear on the site. For the time being, they are on my list of possible future topics.

The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

As children we are raised to think of our history as a story.

I’m not sure when this way of teaching American history began, but it was definitely prevalent throughout my education. Textbooks would present events, not as simple linear moments but as stories with beginnings, middles, and endings; each with their own book or chapter.

Consider, for example, how we look at the Civil War: The Civil War has a beginning with the election of Lincoln and Fort Sumter; a middle with Gettysburg; and an ending with Lincoln’s assassination. Everything else that occurs is seen in the context of that storyline. You can do this same trick with other wars and major events and you will see how it has affected your view on history as well. We all do it, we were taught to do this; we probably just didn’t realize it at the time that is what…

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