Tag Archives: covid-19

Money for nothing and my books for free? It depends

So as I think I’ve already mentioned, I made my Smashwords short-story collection, Philosophy and Fairytales free as part of a promotion running through April 20. I’m quite happy that two people have already downloaded the book.I was much less happy to discover the Internet Archive had an ebook of Screen Enemies of the American Way available on its website for free reading. Camestros Felapton’s post alerted me that IA, in addition to storing old web pages, digitizes print books and lends them out, just like any other library — except, as Slate says, regular libraries don’t just digitize books under copyright and make them available (with exceptions such as services for the blind). Libraries actually pay for ebooks; IA doesn’t. So I asked the IA to take my book down (it appears to be the only one of mine up there) and they did. First time I’ve tackled a pirate site (and in my not-a-lawyer opinion, this does seem to be piracy) and it felt good.

My work on Leaf wrapped up Monday — one of their regular breaks in the work flow — which is good as Leaf articles seem to suffer from the distractions of TYG and pups in the current quarantine more than anything else I do. That’s probably because I try to keep to sharp deadlines writing them and there’s just enough distraction these days to slow them down. So maybe it’s simply more noticeable with Leaf than other work? But hopefully by the time they start up again, I’ll have a smoother process for the new normal.

I got plenty done this week. Two chapters of Impossible Takes a Little Longer. Final draft (subject to one more beta reader weighing in) of Death Is Like a Box of Chocolates. A good deal of work done on Undead Sexist Cliches. Finishing the second draft of Laughter in the Dark. And I participated in a Zoom-meeting of my Tuesday writer’s group. Damn, but it felt really good to see everyone’s faces.

As I woke up early this morning, I am now done. Bring on the weekend.

#SFWApro. Cover image by Lisa Wildman, all rights remain with current holders.

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Filed under Impossible Takes a Little Longer, Nonfiction, Personal, Screen Enemies of the American Way, Short Stories, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing

Pandemics and goal setting

I accomplished 45 percent of my goals for March, which unsurprisingly relates to being in the middle of a pandemic. Everything that involved going out, having people over, meeting people, going to places where people gathered — all that got nixed. Budgetary goals got nixed too because I spent so much: extra food, extra pet meds, cleaning supplies, etc. I didn’t finish the tax paperwork I’d planned on because we now have several months more to do them (state taxes too) so they slid down the priority list. Buying tickets for plays was kind of pointless, as was taking another juggling class (and I’d have delayed for budgetary reasons anyway).

I did do pretty well on writing goals. I completed as much of Impossible Takes a Little Longer and Undead Sexist Cliches as I’d planned, submitted six short stories, finished a short story first draft (untitled as yet) and made at least a stab at revising Laughter of the Dark. Given the demands of adjusting to the new normal and taking care of Trixie with her bad leg, I’m pleased.

For this month I trimmed out standard goals involving going out, dealing with people, weekend activities, etc. As Leaf is on one of its regularly scheduled hiatuses for the next couple of weeks, I’m planning to squeeze out as much writing time as I can and meet those goals. And keeping a very tight budget to make up for March. Modest, but achievable in our new environment, I think.

And I will not forget that TYG and I are so much luckier than some of our friends in our ability to work from home.

As a reminder why everything’s changed, here’s Neal Adams dramatizing what happens when you don’t social distance.#SFWApro. All rights to cover remain with current holder.

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Bonus news from the age of pandemic

A few links that didn’t make it into yesterday’s post —

Trump and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer locked horns. Now she says vendors who’ve contracted with the state to provide medical supplies are backing out. The right-wing is on Trump’s side.

Part of the deal reached on the stimulus bill was that it provided oversight for the billions going out to businesses. Trump’s just going to ignore that. And the EPA is going to help businesses by not enforcing environmental law.

Right-wing bullshit artist Candace Owens insists we should just accept “some people will die” instead of government doing anything. And Isaac Chotiner interviews law professor Richard Epstein about his theory that coronavirus is no big — because who knows better than a lawyer about this stuff, right? — and rips it to shreds.

It’s commendable that Trump sent personal protective equipment to China to help deal with coronavirus … except he did it while he was denying the problem here, and now we have a shortage.

And the AP debunks coronavirus myths.

And here we Superman social-distancing when he becomes contagious. Art by Curt Swan.

#SFWApro. All rights to image remain with current holder.

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More COVID-19 thrills and thoughts!

“The U.S. may end up with the worst outbreak in the industrialized world.” — From an Atlantic article about where the U.S. screwed up, what we should do now, and what the possible outcomes are. They’re not necessarily catastrophic. Yet. But they could be.

“Donald Trump’s response has been so predictable. He has not changed. He has not grown. He has not admitted errors. He has shown little humility.” — the BBC on what COVID-19 reveals about America. As I’ve said to a couple of people, “apocalypse” in the original Greek meant a revelation. It’s going to show a lot of people for who they are. Of course it’s not much of a revelation when right-wingers decide God is punishing America for the same things they don’t like (in this case The Gays — Arizona conservative Rep. Andy Biggs likewise voted against the coronavirus package because some of the benefits apply to gay couples). Or that Ann Coulter lies.

But on the other hand, there’s Kent Taylor, CEO of Texas Roadhouse: he’s foregoing his salary and his bonus and using the money to support restaurant staff. And a few Trump devotees have had the sense to challenge him on this; they’re still scum, but I’ll give them credit for getting one thing right.

•”Panic never helps. Panic implies that you lose your mind, and that in a war — even a war against a microscopic enemy — gives aid and comfort to the enemy. When you panic, you don’t think rationally, and in times of crisis, rational thought is the greatest weapon you could possibly have.” — from an interview with author Max Brooks.

*I wrote this morning about why blaming China is inaccurate and racist, but I’m not surprised that concept is taking hold on the right. In some people’s eyes it absolves Trump of blame; I’ve had a couple of people Trumpsplain that closing the borders proves he was on top of things from the first. And for others it gives them an enemy to punish, which makes them happy, happy, happy. Tom Cotton (who believes that if someone violates the sanctions on trading with Iran, we should be able to imprison their families without trial) now says ““China unleashed this plague on the world and there will be a reckoning when we’re on the back side of it.” Bigots are likewise unsurprisingly jumping on the hate-China train.

However the sudden swing of the right to declare it’s better if some of us die than the stock market drop any further did startle me some. Apparently Trump is freaking out about his election chances (and possibly that his hotels are now hemorrhaging money) so he wants social distancing over by Easter. The federal government can’t override states that impose stay-in-place orders but of course Trump saying it’s no big might undercut them. And it will let him blame the states when the economy tanks, a tactic he’s using already.

Like good little toadies, multiple politicians and pundits have taken it a step further, declaring it’s better we lose a few million people than make the economy slump any further. Of course there are alternative approaches, like having the government help people, but that’s anathema to conservatives: better people die than turn to the government! While some of them say they’d willingly sacrifice themselves, I take it as a given they’re lying, or confident they have the money and connections to get medical care (like these guys).  It’s the little people who must sacrifice. After all I know they’re  lying about how us older folks are willing to sacrifice ourselves so Trump’s hotels can get back in business. Though as Jeet Heer says, if these folks’ grandparents are living, they’d better watch their back.

Then we have Christian publisher Steve Strange declaring earlier this month that the coronavirus would end March 28. Antisemite shitbag Rick Wiles declares COVID-19 is targeting Jews. And megachurch pastor Rodney Howard-Browne blaming it on Jews (“globalist … money cartel“), Bill Gates, China, the communist controlled media, Big Pharma and by implication Satan (he strongly implies that a vaccine would be the Mark of the Beast). Or it’s simply that Americans have sex before marriage.

To end on an upbeat note, here’s a Sheldon Moldoff cover that shows the importance of self-quarantining even back in 1962.#SFWApro. All rights to image remain with current holder.

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We fight pandemics with the government we have. Too bad.

In the UK, “he United Kingdom’s Conservative Party unveiled a plan to keep British workers paid and employed for the duration of the coronavirus crisis. The Tory proposal would effectively cover 80 percent of sidelined workers’ salaries, while forbidding employers who accept the government’s help from laying off staff. The policy closely resembles one implemented by Denmark’s Social Democrats, except that Boris Johnson’s wage-replacement rate is slightly more generous than the Danish left’s. Although the Conservatives have a well-earned reputation for sacrificing Britain’s vulnerable on the altar of deficit reduction, even they recognize that social welfare must take precedence over budgetary concerns in the context of a historically sudden and deep economic crisis. On Friday, Tory chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that there would be no limit on the funding available for covering workers’ wages.”

In the US, the Republicans aren’t offering anything that generous, or that will guarantee firms that get money from the government don’t just lay off workers anyway (it could, however, be great for corporations). Trump wants to end social distancing as soon as possible so the economy can restart. And Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick told Tucker Carlson that if 70somethings have to die as a result, that’s okay — he’s in that age range and he’d gladly do it to keep the economy running for his grandchildren (left unsaid was that in his position, he’ll have considerably better care than millions of people, and that the economy is increasingly shitty for people who aren’t rich).

I remember when Republicans denounced Obamacare because it would set up “death panels” that would ration healthcare and condemn seniors to death. I’m sure we’ll see the same outrage now … oh, who am I kidding?  This is what we have taking point in the pandemic. It’s in Republicans’ own interest we have neither mass deaths nor economic collapse, but their opposition to government actually helping ordinary people runs to deep. God help us all.

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