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Chris James

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Everything posted by Chris James

  1. ​The United States of America is still such a young nation and for that reason our history is dear to us. The Civil War has always been prime fodder for writers of many generations and so we should not be surprised to see that many authors on AD have used it as a background, myself included. ​What alandwight has given us is a love story that includes a war and not the other way around. Relationships where one character is handicapped are always tricky, but he certainly evened that one out in good measure. Without giving away the story I enjoyed the way he reached a conclusion and restored balance among his characters. Thank you, Sir.
  2. I did not watch the debate. I figure why bother when CNN will talk about nothing else for the rest of the week. Everyone will have an opinion about who did what to whom, who lied, who told the truth. As a nation we seem more addicted to scoring a debate than worrying about what was said. ​The Trump people won't care if he lied. They may have watched the debate through rose colored glasses, but they will not listen to the analysis afterwards if Dancing with the Stars is on. I have less faith in television news as the years go by and this has been a less than stellar year. ​There is a good reason that the Constitution defines the criteria for a U.S. President, especially the age limitations. But if the adults in our nation want another adult to lead us they don't want a Trump who seems to have more in common with a bunch of kindergarten students. In about five weeks America will make its choice. One of the candidates would move into the job with an ease and familiarity bred during years of government service. The other won't be able to sit still and listen to the sage advice of those who know how our government should work. If anything he will be screaming that the scissors on his desk don't have sharp points. We all know kindergarteners aren't allowed sharp objects, and that rule should apply to dimwitted presidents no matter their age.
  3. ​According to the researchers at JoeMyGod.com who quote articles that were posted on Politico, the Trump campaign (other people's money) has paid over 8.2 million dollars to Donald Trump Inc. The campaign was billed for rental on office space, food and beverages, and even Trump employee usage. Looks like Trump has discovered a way to make money as he runs for president. The website has dubbed this his Scampaign, a very useful term.
  4. ​So Rutabaga that private investigator I hired seems to have come up with a lot of good facts about your life. What, you think all my choices for locations in this story were random? Well, quite honestly, they were. ​I knew a math teacher at Landon, nice fellow and his wife. The stories he could tell about that place. ​Rehoboth was my beach of choice so I just gave Delaware a little stretch and made room for Farnham. ​As for Pittsburg, interesting town and Shadyside an interesting choice for the gay life. I promise to leave you out of my next story. Keep smiling.
  5. ​I'm sure everyone knows by now but the woman who uttered that line of dialogue was Estelle Reiner, the director Rob Reiner's mother. In interviews Mr. Reiner said he was concerned about such a salacious and suggestive scene with her present, but it seems Mom just loved it. A great film.
  6. ​I first came across this image on several gay websites, but now the mainstream media has picked it up. Still no word on who the boy is, but do we really need to know? The comparison to the Tiananmen Square standoff between a man and a line of tanks is valid, the images are confrontational in nature. For them both it took courage to stand up and be counted. One against eleven thousand, that was brave.
  7. ​I agree, Cole, and this from the man who seems to tell us in another thread that he lacks the skills of a fiction writer. Peter, don't self-denigrate your abilities. Fiction born from true events and people in life always read the best. What you have written above is worthy of becoming a short story...a place to start.
  8. ​Peter, your editing style sounds very practical. My editor generally proceeds with glee upon finding an error, marking up the page and dropping in a wisecrack along the way. I suppose I must put up with that since he works on my stories without a fee. Rules of grammar often elude me in the strangest of places so I tend to follow that if it sounds good then stick with it. In this world of people unfamiliar with the language they speak I don't worry too much about the quirky little details. Having said that I expect those of us here will be considered in the genius category very soon. This after listening to a group of teachers on NPR expressing distain for teaching students how to write cursive. Okay, this is one of those WTF moments. They want to stop teaching writing by hand? This is where I learned to use the grammar I was taught. We all have little moments of doubt until we see a word formed on the page and the brain says yes. What will these students of the future do if the power fails? They already can't spell worth a damn, and don't get me started on what we see on Twitter. Familiarity with language comes through repetition and writing the damn thing down. Offering a class in cursive as an elective sounds counterproductive to the learning process. I am sure there are many authors who would agree. I am sure you would be surprised at how many authors here have beta readers and hidden editors that don't get credit. But I am also sure that many of us self-edit our way through the first draft. I tend to write three or four chapters before I go back and reread to my stopping point. This tends to generate new thoughts, fix points like ages and birthdays, and finalize the physical details of a character. Thus by the time I have finished a story the whole has been read nearly a dozen times from stem to stern. We all try to create the most readable product and often that takes a second set of eyes. So here's to the editors who deserve our appreciation, and if I ever made a penny on something I wrote I'd split the money with them. (Where is that hacksaw?)
  9. Somehow I doubt the veracity of this statement, Cole. I have the feeling that like me you have dozens of story ideas rattling around in your brain. I think the proof of this is the length of what we each post now...a dozen chapters and the story wraps up. Why spread the story too thin when enough can be said in smaller amounts? That usually means something, some other idea, is begging for attention. Perhaps you won't write a story with dozens of chapters, but I'd bet you could knock the hell out of a bunch of short stories. I think we both seem to find the possibility of a story in everything we see and hear. You could start posting two paragraph flash fiction and I am sure the readers would pounce on them. It is the entertainment value everyone seeks and you offer a great deal of that. Never surrender your talent, it would be missed. .
  10. ​Wonderful story, BiJanus. I enjoyed the construction, moving the reader back and forth between past and present. But the topic is timely considering where we are as a nation. Just proves that not all gay stories have to be soft and cuddly. Thanks.
  11. ​My thanks to all of you. Stories are fun to share and sometimes I wish I could do nothing but write all day and post something new when I was done. But it will definitely be October before I have something else finished.
  12. ​Thanks Mike, Pertinax has given us a wonderful short course in Islam with this document. I'm not sure many of us would endure the long course since it not only involves the religion but the cultures of various Muslim nations. My own knowledge was gleaned from the series of historical books written by Will and Ariel Durant which I started to read in high school. Published in the late 1960's, their Story of Civilization comprised a dozen books that left me breathless and overwhelmed with facts that covered just about every historical subject you can imagine. Islam creeps onto the scene in about Book 4, aptly titled The Age of Faith, and after their discourse on the Romans and Christ. This is where I discovered the origins of Islam was rooted in the tribal culture of Saudi Arabia. The book was filled with facts about the lives of the various rulers and religious figures. Especially interesting were the descriptions of the bloody battles between the caliphates, at least to a high school boy. The one thing that stands out in my mind is something Pertinax stated about the intellectual roots of much of our mathematics and science which originated in the Muslim world, and then they destroyed it. The reasoning behind such a foolish endeavor is rooted in the religion and it doesn't take a great leap of learning to see that Christianity did much the same until the Reformation. The Durant series still sits on the library shelf near my little office...always at hand to research a topic or check a fact. I know, I know...there is Wikipedia, but do you know how absurd that sounds? To my mind the internet disguises the pleasure of reading words in books, and good authors will always reveal more than the distillation of thought found on the internet.
  13. ​I doubt if there is anyone here who doesn't know the name. A comedic genius, a crazy man who made us think before we laughed. Teamed up with some of the greatest comedy actors and writers America had to offer, Gene could steal a scene just by standing in it. Mel Brooks is the last of that breed​ we all enjoyed in those over the top comedies. Gene will be missed and I hope a new generation will seek out his work, if only for a laugh.
  14. ​Thanks for the tip, larkin. I recall seeing the film when I was in college, and remember thinking "that's not me." Well of course few of us in the small gay crowd I knew at the time acted like these men. I thought perhaps it was just a New York thing. ​But someone had to break ground and this was my first gay film. By growing older and accepting the camp style presented in many gay films I grew to find them immensely humorous since they represented the outlandish nature of many parts of the gay scene. Now we have boys kissing on television programs which was something I could not have guessed would ever happen. ​I enjoyed the shock of John Water's films, La Cage of Follies, and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. All the fun stuff leading up to Brokeback Mountain which I saw in a small art house theater in DC. Been a while since I saw a decent gay film. maybe I would still get a laugh out of Boys in the Band.
  15. I know some people think all this information hacked and recently posted on the internet by Wikileaks is necessary and very cool. But Julian Asinine (spelling intentional) has not been careful and the revelations have intruded in the private lives of people around the world. Take for instance the Saudi man's private medical records that reveal he is gay, and in a country like Saudi Arabia where homosexuality can bring the death penalty. Other instances of medical records revealing names and addresses of sick children, clinical patient records of private psychiatric meetings....where does it stop? Should Wikileaks be responsible for the death of anyone I would call for the arrest and murder conviction of Mr. Asinine. Drag his butt out of that embassy and shoot him in the street. He doesn't care what this hijacked information reveals, it's all ego food to his sick mind. He likes to claim the moral high ground and tell everyone he is just exposing evil government actions. I would support an international legal prosecution and a stiff penalty for hackers of all stripes. Or take a page from the Saudi playbook and just cut off their hands so they can't use a keyboard.
  16. ​Story on NPR radio yesterday: A display of American history in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania covers 15 major battles of the Civil War in diorama form. 2000 small figures sculpted to represent soldiers on the battlefield, complete with accurate uniforms for each unit. Viewers marvel at the displays and soon discover that each figure is actually a cat. Will wonders never cease?
  17. ​Handsome devil you are, Des. Enjoy the holiday.
  18. It's easy to have kids...just forget the condom. It is hard being a parent, and the mother and father of these boys know nothing about being a parent. What is unsettling is that no one seemed to notice. How do you have a cesspool of a home in any neighborhood without the neighbors noticing? Starving children are noticeable...weren't they in school? Hungry kids in schools act out, fall asleep in class, and are fairly obvious to any trained teacher. ​The parents are in jail, for the moment. When they are released we should have a watch list for idiots like this just as we have for terrorists. Those kids should never be returned to their parents...never, ever.
  19. ​I picked up on this very sad story yesterday and realized that I left Catholic school in fifth grade because of bullying. But I fought back and that was deemed inappropriate so they kicked me out. It was the best solution for everyone concerned. Stupid nuns. Spent the morning looking for further information on Danny's story and ended up reading so much negative information surrounding cases just like his. The school year started back up here this morning and I hate to think what some poor kids will have to endure. Suicide is not the answer, but until adults start listening and acting on situations like this some kids will try that avenue to end the pain. On a brighter note: In Atlanta today they have opened the new Pride High School for LGBTQ kids, article in the Washington Post.
  20. ​I agree with the comments, Cole seems to have shaded his plot with a little darkness. Since most of his story lines are about conflict leading to resolution I am not saying this is a bad thing. Just seems we may have to accept some negativity before the characters bring us back into the light. ​I love a good character study and each of the boys in this one are awash in detail. Good going, Cole...is it time for another chapter yet?
  21. ​The Vatican does not contribute to the upkeep of churches around the globe, that is the duty of the parish and the congregation. The Catholic Church is the largest land holder in the world, including owning some of the worst slums. The only thing they seem to get right on a consistent basis is their hypocrisy.
  22. In a new NBC poll, it seems that 72 percent of Republicans still support the birther argument started by Donald Trump over six years ago. That says a lot about the intelligence of the average Republican...they are ignorant and refuse to believe Obama is a U.S. born citizen. ​Perhaps the lies perpetrated by Trump on this issue should have warned us about how the man would run his presidential campaign. I have yet to see a glimmer of intelligence that might qualify Trump for the office of president...it's just not there. The lies he spins would not stand up on the world stage and because of that American foreign policy will suffer.
  23. ​And now at a campaign rally in Wilmington, N.C. Trump said that Hillary will use liberal judges appointed to the Supreme Court to take away everyone's Second Amendment rights. He suggested that perhaps the only solution for that is for the Second Amendment people to stop her. ​Even jokingly suggesting that someone should assassinate a candidate for president is beyond the pale. In the next 24 hours Trump will assure us this was all just a joke on his part, but tell that to the idiots who support him.
  24. ​I am sure that many of us here have only seen Billy Elliot the movie, a wonderful and emotional tribute to the life of a young lad. The stage musical has been out for some time but I have yet to see it since it has not been produced anywhere close to where I live. Casting youngsters in any staged musical is fraught with risk. My only experience with kids on stage was with several productions of Oliver, the musical. The kids didn't dance as much as appear to brawl their way through the musical numbers...and a rowdy time was had by all which seemed to fit the script. But from what I recall of Billy Elliot, the very nature of ballet enforces discipline even in the jazz dance scenes. That would mean the casting looks to find some intense and serious dancers for the leading roles. For a young boy looking to make his mark dancing on the stage being cast in this show must be a dream come true. Damn, they look so young to be so serious, but I wish them well. The future of stage performance begins with lads like this, and from what I see that future looks bright. I was also unaware that there was a PG version of the show without all the harsh language. Of course with the English language being what it is I would probably miss some of the words they cut out. But the show is about dreams and achievement, they could never take that away.
  25. Not trying to get caught up in the humor evidenced here, but I did enjoy the story. bi_janus seems to have mastered the short story, something I find immensely hard to do. There is so much we don't know about the chemicals our doctors encourage us to use, the reactions are uniquely individual. All you have to do is view the drug ads on television, and specifically the disclaimers they publish, to know we are all being used as guinea pigs for the pharmaceutical industry.
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