What, Seriously America?

O say can you see, by the dawn's early light, What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming, Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight O'er the ramparts we watch'd were so gallantly streaming? And the rocket's red glare, the bomb bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there, O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes, What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep, As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses? Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam, In full glory reflected now shines in the stream, 'Tis the star-spangled banner - O long may it wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave! 
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In Support of Hugo and Jake (10 Ways Writers Are Just Not Normal)

I thought about recording a quick Youtube video. But for all the time I've had that channel, I've put up three videos, and they're all just illustrated versions of written stories. Seriously. I don't feel all that comfortable in front of the camera. I like to talk, but no one wants to see that. Nobody. I'm not funny in person. (At least not intentionally.) I'm not terribly funny in writing. I wish I had money to send to support all the wonderful content makers on Youtube, from Adam the Woo toHugo and Jake. But I don't. All I have are words. For whatever it's worth guys, good luck on your lawsuit, you have my support.

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The First Amendment, Great Art, and a Shitty YouTube Video

The First Amendment is not reserved for newspapers, books, and political candidates. The First Amendment applies to the best and the worst arguments, good art and hackneyed commercial bunk. It hasn't always been honored, nor evenly applied. Right now I fear we're entering a period in which there are two Constitutions, one we rely on for our own rights, and one we ball up and toss into the wastebasket when it comes to others. I'll use a couple egregious examples in art as an easy comparison.

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Scientists Develop 99% Effective Male Birth Control Pill? - Prove It!

I have a Pinterest Page that is fast filling with all the false facts contained in the WTF Facts photoplasty memes that are plastered all over the internet. No matter how many you shoot down, more appear daily to annoy, mislead, confuse, and titillate. Some of these are true, but trivial. Some a true and interesting. Sadly, a head banging lot of them are just plain wrong, or just wrong enough to cause confusion. These get added to my Pins, Posts, Memes and Hooey board. I share these on Facebook from time to time. Today I went to Pinterest looking for an old pin, and there it was... a claim that Indonesian Scientists had created a male contraceptive pill that was over 90% effective. Wait, what? That's huge! Why haven't I heard of this? Why isn't it all over the news? Why isn't Bob trying to sell it to me between the beer and insurance commercials? Clue number one, that you've step into a big old pile of grade A hooey. I have to find out, though. Who knows? There may be something to it. Usually, I waste my own time doing this, and it prevents me getting my book writing, blog posting, video making, and gardening done. I decided to kill two birds with one stone this time. If you want to learn how to write a headline that grabs people and makes them click, and you have no ethics to speak of, this sort of nonsense is a writer's hat trick. I'll take you step by step so you can see what a pain it is for your readers, hoping maybe you won't be quite so tempted to do it. So, let's go on this ride of discovery together, shall we? 

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Compromise and Corn

So I finished my blog post on Vermont’s new labeling bill and thought I’d done a fair job of analyzing it. I was all ready to start debating. Then the Senate went and passed their compromise bill. Before we celebrate congress finally being able to put aside their differences for a moment to actually accomplish something, let’s just recognize that a lot of people don’t like this new bill. I’ll try to touch on the things most people don’t seem to like about it, and where the differences are.

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Solitaire - Ten Life Lessons in the Cards

When I was in the Army, I spent a lot of long, boring stretches with nothing to do but stare at my sector of fire, or mess about on a computer. And that’s why, like a lot of other people, my Soldier and I figured out how to reinstall solitaire on our work computer. See, the Army higher ups, in their infinite wisdom, figured no one ought to be playing games on the government’s dime, or on an Army computer. This completely ignores the vast numbers of bored clerks who are really present in their offices only because someone has to man that phone, twenty-four hours a day, seven days per week. There’s only so many times you can sweep the floor, empty the shred box, or check the flight schedule. After that, boredom sets in. Now I don’t know if you’ve ever had a young Soldier reporting to you. I don’t know if you’ve ever been stuck on a twenty-four duty so boring you bet on which ant would get the crumb first. I don’t know if you know much about human behavior. If you did, I suspect that, like me, the last thing you want is a bored Soldier sitting all alone in a government office in a combat zone with nothing to do. This is how that incident that shall not be mentioned ends up on YouTube. It’s bad, bad, bad. It’s also just annoying and teeth grindingly dull for us older noncoms.

When my boss came for a visit, it didn’t take him long to discover the bootleg game on our computer… and to play a game. Yeah, senior NCOs get bored too. And here’s the thing, an occasional game of solitaire not only isn’t harmful in the least, well, it can teach you some valuable life lessons.

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