The unexpected Candidate

Marion, IA

“We don’t have a candidate.” Brown said, wiggling his fingers like bait on a hook. “With Howard lying in that hospital bed, we just don’t have a prayer.”

“End of the road for all of us. One little heart attack, in a healthy young man.” Green said, pursing his lips. “End of the gravy train, and we only had just begun. We spent all this money in advance, and for nothing. Nothing.” He threw a paper coffee cup at a wastebasket, missed. He didn’t retrieve the misfired missile.

“We could try and put someone else out there.” Brown said. “Might as well. Would help us all get on our feet while we look for other campaigns to jump ship into. Practice, if nothing else.”
“A sacrificial goat” Victoria said. “But who? Is the local theater company looking for work?”

“I’ve seen that movie. That’s not a good idea.” Brown said.

“What else have we got?” Green said. “One of *us*? It just has to be for a few weeks, right?”

In the corner, with a laptop in front of him, Ned looked up. This was the moment, the moment he had seen in the dream, when the winged figure told him that his sins were forgiven, that his fortunes were going to change, that he was blessed by the Lord. The angel had told him that the way would be made for him, opportunity for him to bring the Word to America, and restore it, in his Name. And she had called him by his real name, his birth name. That’s how he knew it was real. He hadn’t even thought of it in years.

The staffers for Congressman Howard’s campaign all looked at each other. A half dozen people, none of them willing to act. It was a sign, a signal. Ned could see it.

“I should.” Ned rose from the chair as he began to speak., He could feel the power within him. He could see it in their eyes. “I should be the one to carry on Mr. Hornsback’s campaign. We’ve got the money already spent, we might as well not let it go to waste. I’ll go out and talk to the people. I can bring them to us. Make them see the need for change.”

The stammer, the shyness were gone. The dark years, of alcohol and violence, were definitely gone. The angel had taken them all away, just as she promised, and left something strong, and pure. The room of consultants looked at him, rapt.

“We’ll change the banners tomorrow. We should start planning more events in this area, beyond the slate we already had up for Mr. Hornsback. Cedar Rapids tomorrow. Collegeville on Thursday. The Amana colonies next week. Eat up the counties, and march on Des Moines when we’re ready. And then the rest of the nation.”

“We’re with you Ned!” Victoria cheered. Ned saw desire in her eyes. He had always wanted her, and now he would have her. But he would do it properly. He would marry her, first, of course. And she would.

“Knock em dead, Ned” Green said, swinging a fist like a drunken boxer. “Hey, there could be your slogan!”

“My name is not Ned” the man said, walking past Brown, through the side door and onto the stage. And, quieter, to himself, “Not anymore”

Fifty people were sitting at the tables of the Pizza Ranch, puzzled by the appearance of the dark haired young man instead of the older Congressman. But it was his eyes, and his voice that mesmerized them, and held them. And mesmerized the 500 people who livestreamed the event. And the fifteen thousand who watched it when the video went to youtube. And when the video went viral, twenty times that heard his words, and his call.

“I am here to tell you that America can become the blessed and holy and sacred place it once was. A place where the liberals and the gays and the Muslims and the social justice warriors and Morlocks no longer can tell you how to live, who to love, and who is a sinner. A place that is devoted to our faith and is devoted to our God, not the false gods who those sinners hold in their hearts and corrupt our country. For they are sinners, my friends, spreading their sin, blackening and fouling this country. Our once blessed nation is nearly lost—but despair not! I am here to help end that sin, to purge it from this once great nation. But I need your help. I cannot do it alone. I hope you will stand with me and help me in the greatest project of all—the reconsecration of the United States of America.”

“My name is Nehemiah Scudder.”

Award Eligibility, 2015 edition

Here’s what I did in 2015, and how it would qualify in award categories – Hugo, Nebula, Locus, World Fantasy Award, etc.

Fancast

Skiffy & Fanty

Mad Max: Fury Road
Space and its Discontents (Gravity and Contact)
With Kameron Hurley (author) on Empire Ascendant

SFF Audio
A Voyage to Arcturus
The Man in the High Castle
Brave New World

Best Fan Writer
Reviews and articles at SF Signal (including Mind Melds and interviews!)
Reviews and articles at Skiffy and Fanty

Special Award – Special Award—Non-professional (World Fantasy)

I would be eligible for my podcasting and reviewing work.

January 11th

Today, David Bowie Died…and so did my Car Battery. And I foolishly celebrated the latter by walking 3 miles in -9F temperature (possibly a personal record) to get to work instead of a more rational,
sane option like a cab or calling a co worker.

Stubborn, that’s me.

I listened to a lot of Bowie this evening while trying to recharge the car battery after it got jumped.

Bowie was early among the musical artists that my brother introduced me to. And so I will miss him.

2015 in Movies

A post by request of the QT3 crew. I am a frequent and avid listener of their podcast.

I didn’t watch as many movies in the theater in 2015 as I usually do. This has limited my list making somewhat, but here are my favorite/best movies of 2015:

7. Dragon Blade: It came out in the US in 2015, anyway. A weird fantastical mashup, Chinese versus Romans on the Silk Road, with Jackie Chan, Adrien Brody and John Cusack. It’s gorgeous to watch.

6. Ant-Man: The better of the two Marvel movies by a decent shot. Its a story we’ve seen before, but well told. Could have been better, but was lots of fun.

5. It Follows: I’m not a horror guy, but I was encouraged to see this one by a lot of people, and boy I was glad I did.

4. Star Wars: the Force Awakens: The movie that brought me back into Star Wars. No small feat. Seen it three times.

3. Sicario: The Drug war on the Mexico border, with Emily Blunt as an agent in over her head, and a really good performance from Benicio Del Toro.

2. Ex Machina: AI, the nature of consciousness, ethics, the male gaze, hidden agendas. And so much more. Its a gorgeous film, and the three leads carry the film and make it work beautifully.

1. Mad Max Fury Road: I was blown away by this film. The Skiffy and Fanty crew loved it too. and I also wrote about it as an RPG.

Happy New Year. Jan 1,2016

2016 is here already. Yikes.

Tempus Fugit, and I am not getting any younger.

2015 was very up and down. I went to Rome at last! I came back to work to layoffs. I got entangled fully into the Puppies and the Hugos, which made more people pay attention to me–for good and for ill. I worked at being a better photographer, better reviewer, better podcaster. I then tried to disentangle myself from the Puppies, for my mental health

On Christmas, a Google Alert brought home to me the idea that even if I don’t pay attention to certain individuals, like James “Feminism is destroying SF!” May, they still pay attention to me. And I’ve gotten another new one, to start the new year.

Good.

oderint

(Okay, that’s Trajan, not Caligula)

But my life is my own. I hope to travel more, do more, be more. We’ll see how it goes.

End of 2015: UNESCO World Heritage Sites visited

Since I’ve visited a few of them by now, the UNESCO World Heritage Sites I’ve visited.

Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, Illinois
Mesa Verde National Park
Yellowstone National Park
Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks
Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites
City of Bath
Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church
Tower of London
Maritime Greenwich
Archaeological Areas of Pompei, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata
Villa D’Este, Tivoli
Hadrian’s Villa, Tivoli

Vatican City
Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura

The Journeys of Paul, 2015 edition

2015 was a banner year for travel for me, highlighted by crossing off the biggest thing on my bucket list, Rome!

So, the Stats:

Multi Day Trips, 2015:
Driving Trip to Arkansas
Flight to Rome, Italy

Places Slept, 2015:
Roseville, Minnesota (home)
Lawrence, Kansas
Sherwood, Arkansas
Hannibal, Missouri
Rome, Italy

Cardinal Directions:
Furthest North (North America): Cascade River State Park, Minnesota
Furthest North: Schiphol Airport, The Netherlands
Furthest East (North America): JFK Airport, New York City
Furthest East: Pompeii, Italy (all time furthest East reached)
Furthest South: Hot Springs, Arkansas
Furthest West: Topeka, Kansas

State Capitols Seen (New):
Topeka, Kansas
Little Rock, Arkansas
Jefferson City, Missouri
Springfield, Illinois
Madison, Wisconsin

National Parks (New):
Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

{Photography} Ostia Antica

On the Sunday of my trip to Rome, I took the subway and a commuter train to the ruins of the Port city of Ostia Antica. It was easy to get to, and it was less crowded than Pompeii. Aside from an Ugly American tour guide participant who got in my face because his tour was loud and I couldn’t help but listen.

But forget him.

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Ostia Antica was THE port for Rome during the Empire. You wanted to sail to Rome? You’d put into port into Ostia and travel overland from Ostia to Rome. So a bustling port town had it all—night life, people from all over the empire and beyond, foreign gods, and more. (Before Christianity went to Rome, it certainly came to Ostia Antica).
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There are a few places marked off, and there is a “straight shot” of some of the highlights, but there are acres, near square miles of stuff to wander through and explore. On a quiet Sunday, away from the main crowds, you can believe you are alone amongst the ruins.

Other places, like the Theater, are much more popular.

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There is a sense of deep time, wandering about, seeing what’s left.
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So what happened, do you ask? Unlike Pompeii, it wasn’t a volcanic eruption. Instead, the river changed course, and the harbor silted up. Ostia was no longer a good port. And so as the marshes moved in, the people moved away, and left the buildings, the statues, the inscriptions, the mosaics, and the ruins behind.

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So, if you visit Rome and don’t have the time for Pompeii…step back into time at Ostia instead. You won’t regret it.

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A Reality-Based Blog for Paul Weimer's interests, including but not limited to Science and F/SF, books, Movies, NFL Football, Role Playing Games, Photography, and why 6*9=42. "Living in the Science Fiction Present", Proudly supporting Anti-Mundane SF, and aware of all internet traditions! I'm just this guy, you know?