“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.”
Here’s what I did in 2015, and how it would qualify in award categories – Hugo, Nebula, Locus, World Fantasy Award, etc.
Special Award – Special Award—Non-professional (World Fantasy)
I would be eligible for my podcasting and reviewing work.
Today, I am a guest over at Jonah Sutton-Morse’s Cabbages and Kings podcast, talking about Amber, and the works of Kate Elliott.
Go have a listen!
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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
Archaeological Areas of Pompei, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata
Villa D’Este, Tivoli
Hadrian’s Villa, Tivoli
Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura
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)
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):
Little Rock, Arkansas
Jefferson City, Missouri
National Parks (New):
Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.