Basic human decency or ground rules


Photo by Pixabay on

In this era, so much of what we say seems preposterous to have to say. Combinations of words you never thought you’d have to utter aloud, let alone to a bunch of adults.

Yet here we are.

And now here we are on this blog. As you may know, on Thursdays, I post a photo prompt for a 10 word story. This week, someone made a comment about tiresome, boring things “across the pond” and linked to a 10-word story that, at best, poked fun at sexual assault survivors; at worst, called into question their integrity.


Absolutely not. I deleted the comment, replaced it with my own, and blocked that user from this blog. No second chances, no explanations, no “lighten ups” and no “it was just a jokes.”

Utterly unacceptable.

If you cannot treat other people with dignity and respect, I do not want to play with you. And that means treating everyone with respect, regardless of race, religion, orientation, gender identification, all of it.

This is a fun place, a respite and all are welcome here. If you think it’s fun to make people uncomfortable or to poke at people’s pain, you are not welcome here.

I know statements like this tend to bring out the trolls who want to test the system. In fact, I suspect that story was the work of a particular troll who doesn’t think I see him.

Oh, but I do.

So let’s continue to have fun and treat everyone with dignity and respect. I know that seems to be going out of fashion, but not here.





This unicorn llama has nothing to do with my post, and it’s kind of silly, given the serious tone today. But we have to take the sweet with the bitter or we’ll choke. By Amberbunting from Wikimedia Commons.

So by now many of you have read my Sensitivities post about my terrible restaurant experience on Friday. Got a call this morning from the health department, the nice guy went out to Uncle Julio’s yesterday to talk to them and make sure the manager was aware of a new law requiring training on food allergies. He also explained the dangers and required practices. Which is wonderful, and I’m so glad all of this may have prevented real injury.

I still got a headache, but that’s not why this post is titled unfair.

Yesterday you may have heard about Chikesia Clemons,  a woman from Alabama who, after complaining about a $0.50 charge for plastic eating utensils at a Waffle House, was brutally arrested. In the video, officers were heard threatening to break her arm, and her clothes were ripped from her, exposing her breasts.

I cannot get Chikesia out of my head.

On Friday night I complained and complained vociferously; never once did it even cross my mind I’d get anything but an apology. Never once did I think police would be called. Never once did I question my reaction, my right to have it, or my right to express it publicly.

Chikesia complained at a restaurant on Saturday, she ended up surrounded by three white officers, her body bared as they threatened her with further harm. Because she complained.

Because she complained and someone at that restaurant decided it was a police matter. Because she complained and the police decided it was a police matter, one that called for incredible violence and an apparent sexual assault.

This is not OK. Those words are the only ones I have left about it. This is not OK. Everyone deserves to be treated with basic dignity and respect. Chikesia’s story should not be so disparate from mine when the thing that divides us is the color of our skin.


Never Again is Happening Right Now. Right Now.


Heather Heyer, one of the three victims murdered by the Charlottesville, VA domestic terrorist (photo by Heather Heyer)

Today I have no light chatty post about editing or writing or what I saw this weekend. Because what I saw this weekend was the slimy underbelly of society slither from beneath its not-heavy-enough rock to attack the very fabric of America. In blood and violence and ridiculous tiki torches.

No. No fun posts today.

Today should be a day of mourning for all of us, for what we’ve lost, for what these nazis–yes, nazis, yes literal nazis in the correct usage of the word literal–want to do here. There is no OK.

It is coming to pass. It hasn’t yet, but it is rising, surely as hitler’s spittle-spewing brownshirts rejoiced in the government condoning of violent bigotry and raised a wave of hatred, death and destruction. That is what those people with their Home Depot citronella lawn-candles mean. That is what they want. That is their version of utopia.


So yes, I’ll go back to editing a book started years ago, a humorous space-romp that is suddenly far too close to home, far too on point. And yes, I’ll write today. Because it’s Monday, and the world marches on.

But I will not pretend this weekend wasn’t an ominous turning point. And neither should you.

For more on my thoughts about Charlottesville and rising bigotry, please read An Open Letter to My Friends of Color.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Authors I Love Category Had to Begin with This Author


I’m adding a new category to books called “Authors I Love,” and there is no better inaugural author than the late, phenomenal Kurt Vonnegut. No one can distill the complexities of the human condition the way he did, and yet still make you laugh while slicing you clean with his words.


I met him once, and as you’ll find is a common theme for me when meeting my favorite authors, became a babbling idiot. I managed to ask him, when I became somewhat coherent, how he felt about being labeled a science fiction writer back when that kind of a label was meant to sting.

In a perfect display of Vonnegutesque on the fly, he told me he wrote about science because he was a chemist and that’s what he knew.

So it goes.

Here is one of my favorites, which is little off the beaten path of his body of work.

Hocus Pocus (Kurt Vonnegut Series) by Kurt Vonnegut. Amazon for $5.99. Eugene Debs Hartke (named after the famous early 20th century Socialist working class leader) describes an odyssey from college professor to prison inmate to prison warden back again to prisoner in another of Vonnegut’s bitter satirical explorations of how and where (and why) the American dream begins to die. Employing his characteristic narrative device–a retrospective diary in which the protagonist retraces his life at its end, a desperate and disconnected series of events here in Hocus Pocus show Vonnegut with his mask off and his rhetorical devices unshielded.

Debs (and Vonnegut) see academia just as imprisoning as the corrupt penal system and they regard politics as the furnishing and marketing of lies. Debs, already disillusioned by circumstance, quickly tracks his way toward resignation and then fury. As warden and prisoner, Debs (and the reader) come to understand that the roles are interchangeable; as a professor jailed for “”radical”” statements in the classroom reported by a reactionary student, he comes to see the folly of all regulation. The “”hocus pocus”” of the novel’s title does not describe only the jolting reversals and seemingly motiveless circumstance which attend Debs’ disillusion and suffering, but also describe the political, social, and economic system of a country built upon can’t, and upon the franchising of lies.