Gather the Daughters

I just finished reading another good book. I really enjoyed this one. Even tho it was more than a little upsetting. Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed is a futuristic novel about an isolated island where the descendants of a small group of men have survived the war- ravaged, burning wastelands the rest of the world has become.

After decades of life on the island, the people have created a fairly stable community, even if they have to live without most of the things we take for granted. Not just electricity, and all the nice things we can have because of it, but even simple things like a decent piece of paper.

They’ve kept an elite group of 10 “wanderers” who, like the original 10 founders of the island, can leave the island at will. No one else is permitted to leave, at all, ever.

The wanderers search the rest of the world for useful items (and possible immigrants) and report back on the state of the world. It’s never good.

Culture on the island is based on the twisted religious ideology of the original 10 founders.

 “When a daughter submits to her father’s will, when a wife submits to her husband, when a woman is a helper to a man, we are worshipping the ancestors and their vision.” 

It’s pretty much a paradise for the male population. Not so much for the women, although most accept it, one way or another.

This book reminds me of The Handmaids Tale. The same bleak outlook for society, the same lack of freedom and autonomy, the same religious based repression of (especially) women.

In Gather the Daughters, the men get especially ‘lucky’. They get to sleep with their daughters. At least until a certain age. More and more “defective” babies are born (and most are killed soon after), but the solution is to bring in fresh blood in the form of acceptable immigrants instead of reconsidering the edicts of the founders.

Of course the women have some misgivings about the situation, but they keep silent. Previous experience with ‘shaming’ has taught them to protect themselves as well as they can. Young girls have no other experience to go by, so they accept these goings on as ‘normal’, at least until they start growing up when a few start questioning their situation.

When they enter puberty and become ‘women’, they are expected to marry and begin producing healthy offspring (but no more than 2- population must be controlled on an island of limited resources). Woe betide those who object in any way!

It’s a frustrating and sad story. I wanted to wring the necks of the ‘Fathers’ every time one of them opened their mouths. Yes, there were a couple of decent ones, but because they were in such a small minority they kept their ideas to themselves too.

I was so proud of Janey! She was so encouraging, she even starves herself in order to delay menstruation. She fights to the death to avoid being forced into becoming nothing but a breed cow. Leading some of the other girls into self exile on the beach, Janey tries to convince the other girls to fight along with her. They build shelters and hunt for clams for a few short days before a disastrous sickness hits the community and brings most of the girls home in an attempt to help their families.

I wanted to cry for all the girls (and women) on the island. For their lack of choices, for their lack of opportunity, for their lack of freedom, for their lack of information. Their lives have been stifled and cut short in almost every way.

It really angers me that so many people still consider a womans’ life to be worthless unless she is submitting to some man and popping out babies at every opportunity. It sickens me that so many people think women are put on earth only to ‘serve’ men. We are nothing but sex objects, to be ‘seen and not heard’, to be somehow ‘pure’ receptacles for a mans sperm whenever he feels like depositing it somewhere warm!

It depresses me to know that the stories in this book are not just fiction. Things like this are happening to women and girls right now. Not in some remote, make believe island at some point in the future, but HERE and NOW.

Thank god it’s no longer supported by the majority of the population here in America, if it was it would probably be made into a ‘law’ (since so many people believe we are a democracy instead of the Constitutional republic that we are in reality).

BUT IT IS still happening here and all over the world regardless. Of course, there are still places where the community DOES still support these barbarous customs.

All I can do is hope people will somehow come to see there is a better way than to use half of the human race as nothing but breed cows and unpaid labor. I do support various charities to help women and girls improve their lives and take advantage of all the real opportunities to LIVE their lives, to follow their dreams.

One example is Women for Women. They help support and train women who have suffered through war zones, rapes, families killed, beatings, homes and crops destroyed. Women for Women helps with emotional support and gives them training to help these women make a new start on their lives. I wish I could do more.

I can’t change the world (tho I try), but I think I can help at least a few individuals change their lives for the better.

A Speck in the Sea

I’ve been reading some good books lately. A Speck in the Sea by lobstermen John Aldridge and Anthony Sosinski is one of them.

Subtitled “A story of survival and rescue”, it tells the story of how John fell overboard late one night and the subsequent search and rescue efforts.

I’ve always loved reading stories of disasters and survival. I like to see how people react to unusual circumstances and imagine what I might do if something happened to me. I read about nuclear wars and EMP attacks, alien invasions, the zombie apocalypse, global pandemics, environmental destruction and the more likely (for me personally) disaster at sea stories.

A Speck in the Sea is one of those.

As the Anna Mary motored out from Montauk late one night, John stood watch while his parters slept below. Instead of waking them up as planned, he decided to let them sleep a little longer and started to prepare for the fishing grounds instead.

One small ‘oops’ and he was over the side. In the middle of the night. In the North Atlantic. With nothing but the clothes on his back. With no one aware of his situation.

The book does a great job of telling the story from both sides: John tells what he’s thinking and doing while he’s bobbing around in the cold dark ocean. Anthony and the Coast Guard tell us what’s going on as they discover John’s missing and their reaction. The entire community gets involved. Yes, they would. The seafaring communities are still like that.

As a fisherman myself, with a brother who’s still trying to make a living out there, I could immediately relate. I admire John’s resourcefulness and will to survive. I’m not so sure I would react like he did. I have a much more pessimistic outlook on life. Still, it’s nice to know that it IS possible to survive.

If you’re into sea stories, or in how to survive the unexpected, you might like this book. I recommend it. 🙂

Who Likes Horror?

I just finished reading “The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 22” (ed: Stephen Jones). I’ve had it sitting around the house here for quite a while and finally got around to reading it.

I do like these anthologies of short stories every once in a while. This one was pretty good. I could’ve done without the long introduction (105 pages!) giving the rundown on “horror in 2010). Lots and lots of information on all the new writers, books, movies, magazines, games, etc published in that year. If you’re into that, it’s great additional information. If you’re not, it’s a waste of real estate. (I’m not that into that stuff, but I don’t like skipping over things either). 😉

They did the same at the end, with a “Necrology” of another 84 pages. Long, long pages of everyone involved in any way with horror (and even sci-fi) who died in the year 2010. Movie actors, screenwriters, actors, writers, musicians, etc. They list pretty much everything a personality was involved in.

I was surprised to read some of the things people I remembered had been involved in. Meinhardt Raabe played the ‘munchkin coroner’ who declared the Wicked Witch of the West was dead in the Wizard of Oz worked for the next 30 years for Oscar Mayer as “Little Oscar, the World’s Smallest Chef”. I remember the Beaver’s mom, Barbara Billingsley.  She was great in “Airplane!” (hilarious!). She was also in the movie “Invaders from Mars” in her early days.

Even so, I would have preferred them to just skip all the extras and get right to the stories. Most of them were pretty short, but they still packed a punch. There were 23 in all. Most written by people I’ve never heard of.

I can’t say there was a bad one in the book. Lots of ghosts, zombies, demons and just plain weird goings on. I especially liked “The Lemon in the Pool” by Simon Kurt Unsworth,  “Lesser Demons” by Norman Partridge and “Fort Clay, Louisiana: A Tragical History” by Albert E. Cowdrey.

If you like horror and weird stories, you might like this book. It’s a little long, at 575 pages, but if you skip all the extras and just read the actual stories, it’s a pretty quick read. I finished it in only 3-4 days.

I enjoyed the book, now I need to figure out what to read next. I just got a couple of new ones. I’m really looking forward to “Sleeping Beauties” by Stephen & Owen King and “The Fireman” by Joe Hill. I love both of those writers. Stephen King has been a favorite for decades and the 3 (“NOS4A2”, “Horns”, “Heart-Shaped Box”) I’ve read so far by Joe Hill have all been excellent. What a talented family!

Has anybody read them yet? Which would you read first? 🙂

Happy 4th of July- Really?

I made the mistake of looking at Facebook earlier today. I probably shouldn’t have. I saw way too many posts and videos of the LACK of freedom here in the USA. This country that we say is the “land of the free and the home of the brave”.

Where are they? All those free and brave people? Why aren’t they standing up against the horrible abuses of our constitutional rights that happen every day? Abuses we’ve ALL suffered since 9-11 gave the powers that be the excuse they needed to trick us into giving up our most valuable resources. We gave up our freedom. For tricks and LIES.

All I see is a bunch of thugs in uniform, running around like they own the place. They work for US, not the other way around! They’ve been harassing the hell out of people who are NOT doing any harm to anyone. These thugs spend all their time and energy on this sort of shit and then expect us to show respect and be grateful to them. It honestly makes me want to puke.

Seriously. Last week, while I was driving to work up at SanJac, KPFT was reading George Orwell’s 1984 on the radio. I don’t know how many of you have read it. I have read it a couple of times now. It would hope it is still required reading in school (but if it is, no one has paid a lick of attention to it).

I was crying. I felt shriveled up inside. I was hurting. Sad and angry and frustrated and humongously pissed off!

ALL of the things Orwell wrote about in that book ARE happening. Right here! Right now!

In fact, the real truth is that things are already much, much worse than George Orwell ever dreamed when he wrote that book. Yeah, really! Orwell’s Big Brother only watched you through the TV screen. You could find ways around it.

OUR big brothers (NSA, TSA, etc, etc), are watching your every move! They may not watch you through the TV screen (but then again, they may), but they keep track of every phone call, every email, every dollar you earn, every dollar you spend, your complete medical history, everywhere you go, and on and on and on and on.

And just like in the book, the vast majority of the people around me just go on with their lives. They continue to ignore the reality. They ALLOW the sick, power-hungry, vicious bastards to get away with it! Many of them are cheering it on. 🙁

WTF is wrong with these people?

Just like in the book, we are at continuous war. Who are we fighting this year? Does it matter? Nope. They’ll manipulate the news and the truth until nothing really matters any more. Nobody cares. And it goes on.

People ask, how can you argue about loss of freedom when our national security is at stake? It’s not, but it doesn’t really matter, does it? The powers that be have convinced enough of us to trade away our freedom for their promises of security. Shame on us for falling for it!

WOW! I never, ever, thought it would actually come to this the first time I read that book.

Like Winston, all I can do is cry, and try my very best to find some small hidey hole to keep a tiny bit of freedom for myself.

Happy 4th of July. 🙁

Maritime Monday for March 27 2017

Another week’s flown by! Here’s to more interesting maritime news from Monkey Fist. I really liked reading about the Irish this week…

ORP Piorun (G65) was an N-class destroyer used by the Polish Navy during the …

Source: Maritime Monday for March 27th, 2017 – gCaptain

NOS4A2

Today’s prompt for the Just Jot It January is: Mendaciloquent.

Oh hell yeah, I had to look that one up! Turns out, it’s not in the dictionary. So I have absolutely NO idea what it means. Sorry.

I’ll just have to write about something else.

Read any good books lately?

I have. I just finished NOS4A2 by Joe Hill. It’s a pretty fat one, at almost 700 pages. But it does a great job of keeping you interested. I had a hard time putting it down.

I’ve read a couple other books by Joe Hill. The Heart Shaped Box was the 1st one I read. I thought it was really good. I also read Horns, which I liked even better.

His writing reminds me a lot of Stephen King. Maybe because that’s his dad? I don’t know. But they both write long stories, even over 100’s of pages you can hardly put the book down. They both write a lot using kids and a lot of real, day to day, details that bring back what you were doing as a kid. Puts you right there in the scene.

They both have a sick sense of humor (weird maybe, but I like that). Here’s a story going along where everything’s perfectly normal, it could be taking place right next door. And then, all the sudden, everything’s really weird. That turns into totally fucked up pretty damn quick. 😉

I like how Joe writes a lot about how people get along (or not). A lot of psychology in his writing, maybe in the background, maybe not. His characters (the ones you’re rooting for) are all like-able, even if not ‘normal’. It’s easy to relate to them.

NOS4A2 is kind of a vampire story. It’s like a cross between Stephen King’s Christine, Dracula, and Dorian Grey. In this one, the super-duper special car sucks the life out of all the little kids it can catch and transfers it to the predator driver. Add in a rapist Renfield in a gas mask and a tribe of little monsters, and you’ll get what the hero’s up against.

They drive from reality to a fantasy land where it’s Christmas all the time. Til one little girl shows up and screws things up.

It’s a good story, it’s at the library. I don’t want to ruin it for you. Maybe they’ll make a movie out of it. It would make a good one. 🙂

Making a Living Without a Job…

“…Winning Ways for Creating Work that You Love”. That’s the full title of the book I picked up at the Fund Your Life Overseas conference put on by International Living.

I went to Phoenix in November for the conference. I had high hopes to find some way to finance my highly desired move overseas. I spent 3 days there, listening to the speakers, talking to other hopefuls, collecting literature, entering contests for prize give-a-ways, soaking up the information. 🙂

One of the speakers I got to meet was Barbara Winter. The one who wrote the book. I had actually read the 1st edition of her book years ago. I figured there would be updates (and there were), so I bought a new copy. I love her ideas of being “joyfully jobless” and would really, really love to join her fellow travelers, but I still haven’t found my way.

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I like Barbara’s ideas about having multiple sources of income. I’d actually been working on that before I ever read her book. I have (had) my job, rental properties, investing in the stock market, vending machines (not making any money), blog (still trying), writing (sold one article for $250), photography (sold 4 photos for a total of $2).

I’ve been reading “Making a Living…” off and on since I got home, working through some of the exercises, thinking hard about a lot of things. What are my goals? What do I really want to do? What do I really like to do? What do I need in my life? What can I do without? What are my skills? Could I learn some new skills?

Barbara talks a lot in this book about finding your passion. She asks questions like “What were the things you loved to do when you were a kid? What would you choose to do with your life if money was no object?” She helps you visualize. She helps motivate.

Then she talks about all the things that could be holding you back from pursuing those ideals (fears) and how you can get past those obstacles. She’s very motivating and inspiring. But a lot of the things she talks about just don’t seem to click for me, I don’t really want to work online, I’m not a computer geek and not really interested in becoming one.  I don’t want to start a business so I wind up working harder than I ever did at a job!

I want to RELAX. I want to spend my time doing things I enjoy: reading, writing, painting, making music, hanging out with interesting people, exploring new places, cooking, eating, sailing, hiking, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, beach combing, etc. I read the book, I still can’t figure out any way to make a living from one or any combination of those things. Maybe a beach bar? (If I had enough money, I could think seriously about that idea, but I’m broke!)

Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. -Confucius

I totally believe that! My stepmother always used to tell me when I worried so much about something not working out “do what you love and the money will follow, the Universe is in divine order”.

Well, it always worked for her. It DID work for me when I was young and I LOVED working on those boats, before the accountants and insurance companies managed to screw it all up!

I wonder if there’s anywhere left at sea (or anywhere) where you can still just do your job, without all the extra pure bullshit they bury you in? Yeah, I’m still dreaming of that kind of life. The life of a seafarer 30-50 years ago. That would be perfect! 🙂

Another Just Jot It January post. 🙂