Sunday, November 26, 2017

Is the term House Elf racist? (weird thought of the month)

A few months ago, Bill Maher (Real Time) made a horrible joke that he was a House-N-Word, and the internet lost its collective mind. And ever since the following question has been disturbing me (pretty much on a daily basis): Is the term "House Elf" racist?

My first thought, after I heard what Bill Maher said, was "He should have said, 'House Elf'; it would have been funnier. I would have said 'House Elf.'" My second thought was, "OMG--am I a racist for making House Elf  jokes?!?"

And I make a lot of them. My favorite one is "It is just like being a House Elf without the job satisfaction." My second most used one is "Do I look like a House Elf?"

I would use the "A House Elf must be set free--Master has given Dobby a sock--Dobby is free!!!" joke, except my wife never hands me her dirty laundry; she just leaves it laying around.

I am fairly sure that I would have to explain the last joke to her...because I am a much bigger Harry Potter fan than she is. Then I think that she would roll her eyes at me, and call me "weird."

So is the term "House Elf" racist? Leave your opinion in the comment section, but please bear in mind that I am probably going to continue to make House Elf jokes because it amuses me to do so. For instance, have you heard about the one about the House Elf and the cat litter box...

Funny or not? Political incorrect or not? You decide.

Monday, November 20, 2017

The sexual misdeeds of Aleister Crowley (Creepy Uncle of Wicca and Golden Dawn)

The other day, some imp forwarded a Facebook notification to me--someone declared that it was time to reveal Aleister Crowley's sexual abuse of....


Seriously, is there any occultist alive today who does not know the legend of Wicca and Golden Dawn's creepy family member, the randy Aleister Crowley? Of the hearts he broke? Of the demons and drugs he ingested? Of the goats he touched?

It is not news that he did such things. In fact, I am fairly sure that he bragged about doing such things. I could be wrong about the bragging; I haven't read any of his works in over a decade.*

[*Yes, I know--I have to turn in my magical union card right now, for ignoring all the great things found in Crowley's works. But I have been busy: hexing Presidents; causing tires to fall off the back of trucks; cleaning litter boxes; debating about whether or not, I want to go back to university to earn my Masters degree; writing a horrible satire about the true history of the modern occult world--you know--unimportant stuff.]

My rule of thumb: Assume Crowley sexually harassed everyone he ever met. And that he porked everyone who didn't run away fast enough. If he was alive today, he would still be the creepy uncle saying, "You are sexy. Want to do drugs and make out?"**

[**It should be noted that there are a couple of people in the modern occult community that I think that even Crowley would say, "Thanks, but no thanks" to if the possibility of porking them ever came up. In fact, some of his greatest haters fall under the label: "So fugly that even Aleister Crowley would not do them."]

The wonderfulness about my rule of thumb is that I do not have to waste time wondering if he sexually harassed, and possibly porked someone. I can go directly to the question that his lifestyle always generates: "Could Creepy Uncle Al be right about the nature of the universe?"

And the question comes up a lot.

The genius occult leader who came out and shouted, "It is time to reveal Crowley's worst sexual misdeeds!!!" is a little late to the party.*** I understand that talking about powerful men abusing their positions and grabbing pussy while stroking their pickle is the hot topic of the month. Yes, let's hop on that flaming dumpster fire of a parade float, shall we?

[***In all fairness, the occult leader may have gone on to do something witty, like post pictures of cute goats--I don't know--I do not read his posts because: 1--I am not interested in Alt-Right politics, 2--He has been making up lies for nearly twenty years about all the greatest occultists, 3--It is more fun to clean out the litter boxes, and 4--I am banned and blocked from his Facebook group. The most important reason for not reading his stuff is number three; least important is four...because I could make a sock if I really, really wanted to read his posts.]

 That flaming dumpster fire of a parade float comes by once a day if you live near the intersection of MagicIsFun and CrowleyWasTheGreatestAdeptEver. And it has been running for years--it is more reliable than any bus or train I have ever encountered. At least once a day on the internet, someone says...

"Aleister Crowley was a sexual predator; and therefore, we should toss all his stuff into a dumpster and set fire to it because there is absolutely no way that a pervert could create a decent occult system with any merit in it."

Wait, that sounded too educated. Let me try again...

"Crowley! Sex! Drugs! Satan! Bad! Very bad! Run away!"

This is the type of person who does not listen to eighties hair metal because the musicians are indulging in Sex! Drugs! Satan!...and maybe Crowley!

Because nothing entertaining and interesting has ever been created from that evils of a rock and roll lifestyle.

And Aleister Crowley was definitely someone who lived a rock and roll lifestyle. It is expected that such people live such a outrageous lifestyle. If you met Crowley, you would be disappointed if he didn't offer you some candy and a ride in his van. (You don't want to be one of the fugly people, do you?)

So the real issue is not that Aleister Crowley was a sexual menace to society, but rather "Does the work of Aleister Crowley contribute to our knowledge of the occult sciences and its history?"

And the answer to that is: Yes.****

[****More so than photocopying the same ritual fifteen times, and declaring it a masterpiece.]

Like it or not, Crowley contributed ideas and beliefs to the modern occult world. He is a source for what the early Golden Dawn looked like. His works have been raided for lessons and rituals by many modern occultists. He influenced a lot of people, including members of both modern Golden Dawn and Wicca. He is important.

And not liking his rock and roll lifestyle does not change that fact.


Next time you want the internet to go wild, I suggest posting pictures of cute goats.

If you do not find Aleister Crowley sexy, then there is something wrong with you have eyes.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Thankful for a working dishwasher (my cats are not house elves)

I am really, really thankful that I have a working dishwasher again. We did not having one for like, forever.* And that made me unhappy.

[*My wife says that it was not as long as I claim. It felt like years and years to me while she insists that it could not have been more than two years. Guess which one of us has to do the dishes.]

I mean really unhappy. I don't like doing dishes. Washing dishes is like being a house-elf without the job satisfaction.

And doing dishes has always been my job in this household. When we were dating, I would go over to her apartment at the end of the week to discover that there was a week worth of dirty dishes in her sink waiting to be done. (Seriously--every week!) So after having to do dishes at my job for five (or six) days in a row, I got to relax and do more dishes!

One of the things I liked about the house when we brought it was that it had a dishwasher. Having a dishwasher is just like having a house-elf without all the back-talk.

I was really sad when the dishwasher died--partially because I knew that the budget was tight. And there was a tree that needed cutting down, a death trap of a sidewalk that needed replacing, car repairs...the list was endless.

We didn't have a working dishwasher for so long that I thought we would never get a new one. (Ask me about how I feel being poor.) There was always something more important to deal with.

In the end, I think my wife only made room in the budget because she got tired of watching the dirty dishes pile up, the endless soaking in the sink (I could soak the same sink full of dishes for a whole week if I didn't feel like doing them), and me playing "how high can this stack get?" Turns out I have a higher tolerance for dirt than she does.

I really like our new dishwasher.

The previous dishwasher looked like the previous owner brought the cheapest floor model that he could find. It had absolutely no bells and whistles. Basically, it was a sprinkler in a box.

My new dishwasher is a nice one (and it belongs to me--I told her that what I wanted a dishwasher for Xmas last year). We went to the factory outlet store to find a "previously owned" or "comes with a dent" model. But I really, really liked one that was completely new. It was on sale (it was only fifty dollars more than a model without bells and whistles). And my wife actually allowed me to pick the dishwasher I wanted.

(It is a Kenmore Ultra-Wash, if you are curious.)

One of the things I love is that it has more than one cycle. My dishwasher, more or less, had two cycles: loud rinse, and loud wash (could not run the dishwasher after my wife went to bed). This new one has bazillion cycle options*: quick rinse, one hour wash, pots and pans, Smart Wash and a couple of others. And it is so quiet (except for quick rinse and one hour wash---but you would expect to hear complaints from elves whenever you needed a dish in a hurry).

[*Ok, I might be miscounting. But it felt like a bazillion options after my last dishwasher.]

I love the Smart Wash cycle. I can just load the dishwasher, no soaking of the dishes at all,* and just start it and walk away. Sure, it takes four hours, but considering I don't want to do even ten minutes of dishes by hand--it is so worth it.

[*My wife recently baked some sweet potatoes with marshmallows. To clean it by hand, you need a soak and a chisel. No rinsing, no soaking--and it came out perfectly clean. Have I mentioned I love my new dishwasher?]

The only issue we had with the new dishwasher is that after playing "Can I get this stack up to the ceiling?" for so long, I am prone to running the dishwasher once a day. Now, the poor person I am (my father raised eight kids on close-to a minimum wage salary), I feel guilty if the dishwasher is not completely full. Is it wrong to run the dishwasher when it is not a hundred percent full? And why is it, whenever I chose to wait that I end up with two full loads instead? (Please note that my wife is happier with me doing dishes everyday...I am not sure--that might be the only thing that matters.)

So yeah, I really love having a working dishwasher. Does that make me shallow?

If I eat the leftovers and lick the plate, does that count as "doing the dishes"?

Ceramic wall plaques (still available on Khari Wiccan Treasures)

Over at my wife's witchy Etsy shop, Khari's Wiccan Treasures, there are still three ceramic wall plaques still available. Buy now in order to receive by Xmas.

Turquoise green owl wall plaque.
Handmade owl on spiral pattern porcelain wall plaque, turquoise green, mounted on copper wire hanger, ten inches tall by three inches wide. $22.50 USD plus shipping and handling. Buy it now to get it by Xmas.

Ceramic owl wall plaque with bone beads.
Handmade owl on a branch porcelain wall plaque, painted with a snowflake white glaze with brown, black and blue underglazes, and fired to 2230 degrees F. Ten inches high by three inches wide. $22.50 USD plus shipping and handling. Buy now before it is gone.

White and purple "So mote it be" Wiccan saying wall plaque.
Pansy purple and snowflake white "So mote it be" Wiccan saying wall plaque. Hang on a copper wire, and decorated with gemstones and ceramic beads. Eight inches tall by five inches wide. $28.00 plus shipping and handling. Buy now for Xmas.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Halloween candy emergency!

Attention! Attention! Urgent! Call the authorities! It is an emergency! The emergency is still going on!

Where did all the Halloween candy go?!?
I am out of Halloween candy.

Well, I think it is an emergency. I wanted some of that candy.

[My wife brought a couple of bags of mixed snack sized Halloween candy just before Halloween. For ourselves, that is. We don't do Trick-or-Treat-ers because our front yard and sidewalk (like much of the house) is unfriendly and accidentally bobbie-trapped (as in it came dangerous, and we have never scrapped together the money to get it fixed). When she brought it home (the candy, that is), she said that it would last us awhile. I asked her what house she was living in because I know that in my house, candy does not last long. Now, we are out. Guess who ate most of it...yes, that is right--my wife.]

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Hobnobbing with the rich and famous (NaNoWriMo Great Gherkin)

A big selling point of Great Gherkin's Order was the sheer number of wealthy CEOs, widely popular country western singers, honest politicians, and other successful people who belonged to their esteemed Order.

These success burdened members attended popular Order events, and even occasionally hobnobbed with the elite of the occult world, those Secret Chiefs whose names we are not allowed to utter for fear of breaking our oath of secrecy.

Given the general disapproval of the occult held by those course people that we call the common people, the more successful members of Great Gherkin's Order insisted that their identities be kept secret from even those who swore oaths to the Order. Still their presence was hawked to the less-successful applicants as a benefit of joining the greatest occult school that the world has ever seen. "Come hobnob with the rich and famous at our Order's private events. Network. Make new friends. Get access to apply for interesting jobs. Send me all your money now!"

Interestingly enough, those members making minimum wage, or its near equivalent, only ever met with other minimum wage members; none of them ever met such exalted members like the Great Gherkin bragged about having in their Order.

A sad pitiful cynic might be suspicious, inclined to believe that the more successful members were merely the product of the Great Gherkin's fevered imagination; if not, an outright lie told for marketing purposes. Such a sad person, such a suspicious person would be utterly wrong, for the Great Gherkin only told the truth, and never lied even when their pants were on fire.

If you join the Order of the Great Gherkin, you will not need to read this book.

How is the writing going (NaNoWriMo update)

As my regular readers know, November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)--that delightful time when ambitious crazy writers attempt to hack out fifty thousand words in the space of thirty days. My regular readers also know that this is my eleventh year of doing NaNo. My regular readers may even know some of the signs that the writing is not flowing as quickly as it could.

For instance...

This is the cleanest that the stove has been in an year. cleaning the stove is a sign that the writing is not going as well as it should be going. It is also the sign that I am struggling with a plot problem.

It is normal for me to do some extra cleaning in November--cleaning that I did of my own free will.

I am basically that breed of human being that is a-okay with a dirty kitchen, moldy leftovers in the fridge, dishes stacked to the ceiling, mountains of laundry, cobwebs hanging from the ceiling, a layer of dust on everything, unvacuumed floors, and piles of books everywhere.

Please note that I am not a complete slob; I do clean the litter boxes daily...basically my level of dirt tolerance is on the same level as a cat.

So it is a red letter day whenever I do some cleaning. And often it happens when I am working hard on a project and having one of those days when the words are coming at the glacier speed of one per hour.

I first noticed the habit when I was managing restaurants. I would take "vacation days" where I was in the store, but the employees were going to deal with everything except emergencies (such as fires) because I had no desire to deal with customers. And the employees better be okay with it because otherwise the cleaning that I was doing would become their job. Cleaning such as scrubbing out the oven, cleaning the air vents, degreasing the walls and fan chutes--you know, the fun stuff that would never get cleaned under normal conditions.

When I quit restaurant work, so I would not kill anyone, the habit of "vacation days" taking the form of cleaning stuff that had been dirty forever followed. As a result, my friends can tell when I am seriously working on a project, but having a day when the words are just not coming (typically because of a plot problem).

So here is to my much cleaner house.

(On a bright note, I think I figured out this particular plot problem. Too bad, there are sure to be at least three more. Well, at least, it will make my wife happy that I did some cleaning.)

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Opposition looks at witches binding Trump and the brave Christians who oppose them

October 31st's episode of The Opposition with Jordan Klepper (Comedy Central) included a segment where Citizen Journalist Laura Grey went to Baltimore and interviewed Michael Hughes (and some other witches binding Trump), and then talked to David Kubal, president of Intercessors for America, a Christian group that is using prayer to protect Trump from the evil witches.

You can watch the clip here on SplitSider.

The moment I groaned the most was when David Kubal tried to blame the turnout and violence in Charlotteville on witches, "How did people know to go there?" Because in Christian minds, all bad things in the world is the fault of witches (never mind that the internet exists). I guess Kubal also thinks that the Alt-Right are nice people, and not the f***ing Nazis I think they are.

Of course, the silliest moment was when Kubal defined prayer, “A prayer is asking the Lord to change things that I want to see happen”; and then defined a witch spell, “Well, a spell is certain words that are spoken with the expectation that supernatural forces will accomplish something that you want to accomplish.” I guess that the only reason witches are evil is that they don't believe in the Christian god (Jesus) and that President Donald J. Trump is going to bring about the arrival of the Messiah (though it should be noted that I have heard some Christians say that Trump is the Messiah).

An useful chart to determine if something is good prayer or evil black magic.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

What is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)

For those who are curious, National Novel Writing Month is basically a bunch of writers (both professional and amateurs) who attempt to write fifty thousand words without any editing in the space of thirty days in order to create a rough draft of a novel.

The preceding sentence was forty-five words. That's like 2.9 percent of the 1667 words one needs to write on average every day to hit that goal. Or in other words, I would need thirty-eight more sentences of that length to complete today's word count goal. Provided that these were actually words that belonged to the horrific novel that I was working on.

But I would never do that; I would never count the number of words that I used to explain NaNoWriMo to pad out my rough draft and hit my goal. That would be cheating.

No, instead I would write "The Great Gherkin has a small pickle" two hundred and fifty-four times to make up my daily word count. Do that thirty days in a row, and behold a novel that is as intelligent as anything a Big Name Occultist/Magician/Witch/Shaman/KarmaCoach has ever said.

In fact, if you read the sentence "The Great Gherkin has a small pickle" out loud seven thousand one hundred and forty-three times, you will become enlightened. You can trust me on that one, for I am a novelist and not the Great Gherkin.

Or so you would think.

You keep telling lies and tall tales (dont you worry about losing readers)

Every once in awhile, I will be asked the question, "Ain't you afraid that you are going to lose readers (followers, friends, fans, etc.), if you continue to write things that offend?"

Or one of it many variations, such as "If you don't quit telling lies about the Great Gherkin, I am never going to read another word that you write," and the ever famous, "Sister Seuss is on our Order's banned reading list."

[For those who are curious, why I list fictional characters that have yet to get a full novel to themselves, just bear in mind that November is NaNoWriMo {National Novel Writing Month}, so someone is sure to complain by the end of the month that I have accidentally based characters on themselves, or someone that they worship as a Master Incarnate, or someone who should die a fiery death by being burned at the stake for disrespecting the most powerful wizard in the other words, some people don't think that you can tell the difference between fiction and non-fiction.]

Honest answer is that I used to have some concern over losing readers; but a couple decades worth of writing and social media experience tell me that such concerns, if paid attention to, merely shackles oneself and serves no useful purpose.

This is especially true in the current political and magical environment. At the moment, if one expresses the wrong opinion about someone's favorite politician, one loses "friends" and followers on all social media platforms. Plus one gets labelled as a member of the enemy party even if one has no idea what they are (I kid you not--I had to look up Antifa). There is not a day that goes by that the slow tickle of defriending and defollowing does not drop my friend count down another notch.

Please note that this slow drain will eventually bottom out, simply because there are people who are my friends and followers because they agree with my opinions, value my writing, and enjoy the many cat pictures that I share. It is these people that my core audience comes from, not the many people who disagree with me so much that they put me on banned writer lists.

I have a vivid memory of the first time that someone decided to quit reading my stuff. The reason that they loudly declared that they were no longer going to read my stuff? Oh, because I decided to put ads up on this blog...because a real occultist never advertises, nor needs to pay bills, nor desires to make a living doing anything other than flipping burgers.

Quite honestly, that incident led me to the conclusion that the pro-bloggers were right, and that there was no way to make everyone happy--and therefore, I don't bother to try. Either you are one of my readers or you are not. My job as a writer is to get people to respond to my writing, and sometimes that response is getting someone to hit the defollow button.

Controversial Cat is controversial.