Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Road to Mount Evans


We were driving up the bare, winding road that leads to the peak of Mount Evans. The passenger by my side was from another country, although her English was quite good. Looking at the granite boulders strewn all about us, I observed, “All this granite was imported from Italy.”

“Really?” she said before realizing that I was joking.

This wasn’t my first trip up Mount Evans. Although it’s familiar, it’s also unpredictable. It could be sunny, cloudy, or even snowing in mid-summer. You’ll probably see a marmot or two, but you may, or may not, see bighorn sheep or mountain goats.

Monday, September 08, 2014

The right attitude

Moving from one urgent matter to the next, it's easy to develop an inflated notion of self-importance.

Consider that the Earth was here long before you arrived and will be here long after you're gone.

Consider, too, that the Earth is only one of the Sun's planets, and that the Sun is only one star among the 200 billion in our galaxy. Our galaxy is only one among 200 billion galaxies.

I sat down on a rock to rest after a steep climb in Rocky Mountain National Park. A camera dangled from my neck. A ground squirrel stood near my feet and ignored me.

Perhaps it was too busy to be afraid of me. I'll never know. I took its picture. It neither knew, nor cared. Within moments it was called away on urgent business.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Israel 172, Hamas 0



In the latest round of fighting, Israel has scored 172 fatalities. Hamas has scored zip. It looks like Israel is winning. Hamas fires rockets. Israel shoots them down. Then they retaliate by bombing buildings.

Living space is at a premium in the Gaza Strip. The last thing the Palestinians need is fewer buildings. Yet Israel keeps knocking them down. Israel claims to defend itself in a humane manner. Hell, Israel even warns the Palestinians before they knock down their buildings.

But humane is not a word that fittingly describes life in the Gaza Strip. It's cramped, unemployment is high, travel is restricted, and goods are scarce. While the Palestinians are not blameless, neither are the Israelis. Knocking down buildings and killing innocent non-combatants is not helping things. Maybe it's time for Netanyahu to try something new—something constructive instead of destructive.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

For whom the bell (ringtone) tolls

Political pollsters phoned me five times in the last two days. So far, I‘ve refused to answer their questions. But they‘re starting to wear me down. I hope I can hold out long enough to deliver a warning.

One must not answer questions asked by political pollsters. Should you do so, they will hunt you down, brainwash you, and force you to vote for idiots. They may even get you to contribute to the campaign coffers of those same idiots.

If you feel you must answer their questions, then by all means, lie. The nature of their questions provides hints regarding what they want you to believe. Tell them what they want to hear. If they think you’ll be voting for their idiots, they may leave you alone. If you receive follow-up calls asking for money, tell them that you’ve already contributed the maximum amount allowed by law. They may believe you. If they don’t, ask, “Are you calling me a liar?” That always makes them defensive. No one likes to be called a liar, least of all liars. If you follow this advice, you may survive the next election. Good luck.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Tastier than rhubarb pie

Legitimacy
M.H. Van Keuren
Fiction 650 pages
CreateSpace, 2013

At 650 pages, a story becomes too lengthy, unless it’s skillfully told. And this book is very skillfully told. The characters and the future setting are believable and the story is interesting.

Part of this novel is set in space, however no light sabers are drawn and no ray guns fired. Indeed, the only instances of violence occur not in space, but in a Bangkok boxing gym and over breakfast in a refugee camp. Large battles are planned and fought, but the action doesn’t occur on battlefields. And the enemies do not readily show themselves. They mostly lurk unseen in cyberspace.

In some ways, Teague Werres, with his robotic lemur, reminds me of an early William Gibson cyberpunk. However, Teague is very much his own man, not Gibson’s. Son of American missionaries and self-raised in Bangkok, Teague is street smart and ambitious. Presented with an opportunity to study far from Earth, Teague finds himself among the wealthy and influential. If he is clever and lucky, he’ll survive with his integrity intact and avoid becoming their pawn.

Compared to Teague, Rob is less complex. He is somewhat naive, under-ambitious, and loves liquor too much. Yet his heart is pure. Before the two are through with each other, Rob and Teague will interact in complex ways leading to unexpected conclusions for both. The book ends where it should, however there remains much to learn about the fate of the two men. I hope there’s a sequel, and soon, because I really want to know what happens next.

I liked Van Keuren’s first book, Rhubarb very well. However, I enjoyed Legitimacy even more. While Rhubarb is a satirical romp, Legitimacy is wholly serious. While Rhubarb describes a simple man’s desire for romance and escape from a dead-end job, Legitimacy is more fleshed out and philosophical. Both books involve conspiracies. The one in Rhubarb involves space aliens, while the conspiracy in Legitimacy involves humans. You can imagine which conspiracy is more frightening. That’s right, people can do really scary things. What’s worse is that they can be subtle in how they go about it. This was an intriguing book. Like rhubarb pie, Van Keuren is addicting.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Another hit for the Supremes

The Supreme Court ruled today, defending the constitutional right of donors to spend as much as they want when buying political influence. Although, donors remain limited in how much they can spend on buying individual politicians, there is no spending limit when purchasing variety packs.

Some people won’t like this decision. But, that’s too bad because the constitution says so. If you don’t like the constitution, you’ll just have to change it. If you do decide to change it, here are my suggestions:

  1. Government has grown too big and wasteful. We should abolish Congress. Half our congressional representatives don’t do anything anyway except complain, obstruct, and obfuscate issues.
  2. Convert the Senate into a senior recreation center. Those old farts need something to keep them busy and a recreation center would keep them safe and off the streets.
  3. With both Congress and the Senate out of his way, the president will be able to do pretty much whatever he wants. That’s why he should be elected by large corporations. They already do a good job of ignoring laws, spouting falsehoods, and doing pretty much whatever they want.


There are additional advantages to corporations electing the president. Voters won’t have to miss work in order to vote. This decrease in absenteeism will benefit corporate profits. News channels will no longer have to pretend to deliver news. They will be able to concentrate on the more crucial tasks of entertaining viewers and persuading them to buy crap. Lastly, those who worry about having an informed electorate will be able to stop worrying. It won’t matter. And most people won’t even notice the change. 

About Me

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David Loeff (pronounced Lef) is an author and graphic designer. His freelance services include conversion of manuscripts into eBooks, photo retouching, book design, etc.

Dave worked domestically in the sewn goods industry, before he became a buyer in Taiwan. He subsequently worked as a mental health clinician, technical writer, computer technician, and graphic designer.

In addition to fiction, Dave writes about graphics, travel, and other topics. His website is  http://truthandtalltales.com.