Monday, December 24, 2012

Not all is Shadow, Plato.

What a paradoxical culture we have. We pride ourselves on a consumer engine where you can buy almost anything you need or want. And yet we go through this ritual every year where we try to buy each other stuff when we could just go out and get it for ourselves.

Strange, isn't it?

There are still a few items that you can't pick up  at Wal-Mart, though. They're rare and wonderful and infinitely more special than the latest machine with i in front of it.

The first of these treasures came to me earlier this month and was unrelated to Christmas. Many of my northern relatives are accomplished deer-slayers and love to share their bounty every fall. This year it was venison summer sausage, shot by an uncle and packaged by a professional butcher (though "meat-artist" might be a more appropriate title for the man who created this). Pardon the expression, but it blew away the store-bought stuff.

The second treasure was not quite as exotic but was tasty nonetheless: homemade date bread. I loved it so much that I was sent home with a loaf.

I suppose there is some kind of deep truth here, a connection between me, the deer, and the people who fixed the food for me, a beautiful universal axiom about life and death and love, but I'll leave it unwritten because the deepest truths are beyond the reach of words, like trying to describe the taste of homemade date bread.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Happy Holidays

You read that right. I actually said it. I’d like to take a moment to defend this humble greeting—though God knows why it needs defending.

Happy Holidays is awesome. It’s like the e pluribus unum of greetings, the most pragmatic thing you can say this time of year. I always liked it—even as a kid—because it covers all your bases. Happy Holidays is the ultimate condensed seasonal greeting, like saying HOPE-YOU-HAD-A-GOOD-THANKSGIVING-ENJOY-CHRISTMAS-AND-HAPPY-NEW-YEAR’S in two very simple words. More importantly, it just sounds better than Season’s Greetings. I never liked that one. Give me two hard H’s any day.

Then there’s the whole multicultural aspect. America has always had Jews kicking around, which was good because it reminded the rest of us that there are other religions here besides ours. I didn’t learn much about Hindus or Muslims or Buddhists growing up (well, maybe a little, but I never met any until I was much older). Having Jews around was good practice for when I grew up and got to know people of many faiths.

Which is the part that puzzles me. Some people are actually angry that Happy Holidays is so useful, that you can say it to anybody and it covers all your bases. That isn’t political correctness, friends. That’s called being polite. Maybe you should try it sometime.

But the truth is, even if you stick to ‘Merry Christmas’ (or whatever your flavor is), very few people are going to be offended because they know that just by saying that, you are trying to be nice. Richard Dawkins isn’t offended by ‘Merry Christmas.’ That has got to be some kind of Christmas miracle. Like many people, he loves being offended by what goes on in other folk’s heads.

When I started the Quantum Rumba, I more or less decided that I should stay away from politics. I felt an exception in this case because frankly, this shouldn’t even be political.

So Happy Holidays.

What's really weird is that "holidays" itself is derived from 'holy days,' which is clearly an acknowledgement of  the sacred nature of the time, but I left that out of my main argument because semantics are the doldrums of philosophy (you can spend all your time there and never get anywhere).

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Quantum Santas

'Tis the season to change my banner. And ponder what Kris Kringle would look like in different realities.

As always, I decided to go with a Punksthetic original.

Christmas is coming up, so if you know someone who is a fan of both Harry Potter and the Hunger Games, there is a design you might want to check out on Redbubble. There's some other cool stuff too, all by the one and only Jamie Stone.

Monday, December 3, 2012

No More Hints

Here it is, a sneak peak of the cover copy Carina produced for Vacant Graves:

"Book two of The Magnocracy Series

Donovan Schist's current job was supposed to be an easy one: grab Phoebe Mosey before pimp and murderer Stanny Slash does, and drag her back home to Ohio—kicking and screaming if necessary. But when a blazing river halts their steam train in the middle of nowhere, the veteran turned detective starts to wish he had stayed in New York.

With a homicidal Stanny hot on their trail—maybe poisoning Stanny's man was a bad idea—Donovan needs to get Phoebe out of Juniper Junction fast. Even if that means taking a few jobs for some quick cash.

He doesn't expect to find a mining company on the brink of war with a union, or bloodthirsty strike-breakers itching to use a steam tank and other weapons he hasn't seen since the War of Southern Secession. Or that underneath it all lies something much darker—an unspeakably diabolical conspiracy…

For more Donovan Schist mysteries, check out Cruel Numbers"
Look for it February 2013.