Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I am my own Demon

"Yet it would be your duty to bear it, if you could not avoid it: it is weak and silly to say you cannot bear what it is your fate to be required to bear."  Charlotte Brontë

Every demon has a task.  Every demon has a purpose. Mine is to destroy every hope I have.  When I was born I was a bastard.  A child of rape.  I was never claimed by the biological father, since he was at best a sperm donor, and at worst a felon.  I was given life by the fact that my mother did not seek an illegal abortion.  Illegal, yes, since I was born in 1963 abortion was illegal.  However, should I have been a fetus in 1973 I'd have been vacuumed out.  Or given a saline bath.  I'd have never been alive.

"Accept the things to which fate binds you and love the people with whom fate brings you together, and do so with all your heart."  Marcus Aurelius

Since then, my life has taken a legendary tone.  I am a survivor of disaster.  I am also aware that the world does not view me as a valuable human, as a person who survived abortion, as a person without a father who gave him a name.

"No destiny attacks us from outside. But, within him, man bears his fate and there comes a moment when he knows himself vulnerable; and then, as in a vertigo, blunder upon blunder lures him."  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I was attacked in life for being sensitive.  I have been insulted, abused and bullied.  But now, at 52, I have seen and done things that I never would have imagined.  I have met, spoke with, and slew dragons.  I've seen beauty that cannot be described.  And I've been made whole by love.

"I shall seize fate by the throat." Ludwig van Beethoven

As a child I was adopted, and my parents were people who were good people.  They gave me a life that I would never have had if aborted, if kept by my rapist father or birth mother.  My parents were not exactly the sort who knew what to do with me.  And were not the sort who were good for my sort of personality.  But it wasn't as if it were their fault.  They tried their best.

“Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”  RUMI


As you walk through these magnificent images by Virginia Skeritt from the public domain, consider, I am living a life that beyond the ken of normality.  I am a Christian, living a life of honor, no matter who dislikes my code.  I am a warrior, speaking words that have power.  I do not lie, even if some do not like the truth.

“Moonlight floods the whole sky from horizon to horizon;
How much it can fill your room depends on its windows.” Rumi

So wait, aren't I a demon?  Didn't I say that?  Nothing anyone else has said, I haven't already thought, felt, and tortured myself with.  Am I crazy?  Not according to most people who I've told the real story to.  Am I insane?  I am not.  Am I a demon?  No.  I am a warrior, a Christian, a father, a husband, a brother, a poet.  Follow my journey, it has been an legendary.

“You have forgotten the One
who doesn't care about ownership,
who doesn't try to turn a profit
from every human exchange.”  Rumi

I was told by an artist that I was the reason he believed in abortion.  Let us hope he means for the health and safety of all women.  I ask for prayers for that person.  He needs them.

“Whoever's calm and sensible is insane!”  Rumi

"Failure and success seem to have been allotted to men by their stars. But they retain the power of wriggling, of fighting with their star or against it, and in the whole universe the only really interesting movement is this wriggle." E.M. Forester

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


TMI warning.  I am about to discuss my precancer diagnosis symptoms.  They include my health issues.  If you do not like hearing about such, don't tell me TMI, or that I am consumed with my own affairs.  This is blog is about the subject of my journey, so, kindly either cast your gaze elsewhere, or be prepared.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 
-Romans 8:18

When I learned I had cancer it wasn't the sort of cancer everyone who knew what I was going through thought I'd have.  I had near daily, at least 3 out of every 4 days, diarrhea to the amount of 20 or more runs to the restroom.   The most I had was 50 runs in a day.  I had some darker red blood happening too.  I was miserable.  I was not happy in any way.  The health issues were not limited to the bathroom.  I had hip issues.  I had spine micro-fractures.  I had sciatic nerves that were crushed and they never stopped being triggered and firing.  I lost MANY nights of sleep.

So, I was in pain, I couldn't sleep, and I was shitting myself silly.  Repeated trips to the doctor led to many scans, treatments, and nothing helped. After a clear colonoscopy and a clear lower GI, the doctor in question said I would've bet you had colon cancer.  But, she added, lets do a upper GI and a couple other scans to be diligent.  And the scans revealed I had several small peach sized lymph nodes.  I had lymphoma which is cancer of the lymph nodes.

My life was saved by my doctor, absolutely no question in my mind about that.  I received immediate care, and it was the correct course of treatment.  But, my body lost 80 lbs, and I couldn't stop shitting.  It was telling my doctor, something is wrong, and if you don't do something, who knows what I'll do next.  In fact, who knows, maybe this guy's dick will just fall off.

Thank goodness, it is still there.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Books to buy for the battle in the sky

When you research a battle, you have to turn to the professionals, and for me, those are found 

The Battle of Britain was one of the battles that decided who would win the Second World War, and did so by forcing the cancellation of Operation Seelöwe, the German invasion of Great Britain.

Decisive battles are rare, and decisive battles fought in the air almost completely are unique or nearly so. The air force of Nazi Germany, the Luftwaffe, was tasked with taking command of the sky.  It never happened.  While the RAF of the UK fought with tenacity, and courage, they were aided by radar, decoding enemy messages via Ultra, and changing strategies by the Nazi high command.

The Battle of Britain by Kate Moore is wonderful book with images and artifacts from the Imperial War Museum.  It is a general overview of the battle, and considers both sides, the leaders, the warriors, and the people on the ground who suffered the wrath of the bombing.

Spitfire vs Bf 109 By Tony Holmes.   Spitfires were fast and agile.  When bombers and fighters flew overhead from France and the Netherlands, the Spitfire crews flew up to meet them.  When they met the German Bf 109s they were on equal terms, whereas few other Allied planes did so at this time.  Since the RAF had Hurricanes and Spitfires to meet the bombers attacking London, and wartime industries, the best tactical choice was to send the Spitfires against the Bf 109s.  The Luftwaffe pilots were aware, though, of the unequal combat if the 109s could meet the Hurricanes.  This book is able to show the equal duels in the air, above London, and Britain.

Hurricane I vs Bf 110 by Tony Holmes.   The Hurricane I fighter plane was dependable, and tough, but slow.  It was not an even match versus Bf 109, but against the Bf 110, the Hurricane possessed superiority.  This work is a great work considering the reasons for the strengths and weaknesses of both crafts, and the type of tactics needed to win in air duels.

RAF Fighters vs Luftwaffe Bombers By Andy Saunders.  In a desperate conflict between the fighter planes it is often forgotten the role of secondary planes from the RAF versus the bombers from the Luftwaffe.  While it was often thought that the Spitfires and Hurricanes were the bomber destroyers, in the earliest days the RAF sent into combat everything that could fight.  This included light bombers, light attack craft, and more.  When the Luftwaffe turned towards night raids, and solely attacking population centers, then radar equipped night fighters, and heavy fighter bombers were then facing each other, and specializing more and more. This book is quite a gem.  Sadly this is only in ebook format.  But well worth reading.

“What General Weygand has called The Battle of France is over. The battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization  Upon it depends our own British life and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of a perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour'”
                                        Prime Minister Winston Churchill  June 18, 1940

"Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few." Prime Minister Winston Churchill - September 1940

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Halloween Darkness with DC Vertigo Horror

Halloween is the month that people celebrate the dark tidings of human nature.  Originally it was the period of a pagan rite of the time when it was believed that the dead would return.  The night it happened the celebrants would celebrate by having a ritual of knocking on doors and giving gifts or treats to keep away the dead or keep them from killing the host of the home. 

Some ascribe it to solely Samhain but there are some other similar festivals and rites that are similar and are tied in with the harvest. 

Jack Kirby's DEMON is a character that has been done well in many versions, and that you can find most of the runs of the character from many of the series of the character is fortunate.  Unfortunately, a great run has been virtually ignored.  Alan Grant and Val Semeiks returned The Demon from some miswritten fuckery to a naughty bastich who preferred to kick demonic butt as much as anything.  He was also returned to being a rhyming Demon, whereas it was often only an off and on trait previously.  Please DC, PLEASE, collect this work.

Neil Gaiman rose to prominence with this take upon the character Morpheus, otherwise known to comic book readers as The Sandman.  Gaiman touched many new audiences, and his work was literary, smart and worth seeking out.  A number of other creations were launched out of this series, most notably DEATH.  (See below).  Sandman was marked as a mature readers product but it was not nearly horror, more simply, the setting was not every day and the characters were not afraid to be evil, if needed or part of their character.

Mike Carey's Lucifer on the other hand was perfectly comfortable with an evil lead character, but, more from a cosmological perspective than from his outright behavior.  Carey's work was more thoughtful and evocative  than most any comic work on a regular series before or since.  The Prince of Darkness was shown as negotiating his way through the politics of hell, and through the levels of earth and heaven as well.  The mature tag here was earned but, not for excess or gore.  You pretty well needed to be intelligent to catch the very well written and highly nuanced work.  

While Lucifer and Sandman were subtle, nuanced, intelligent works, written without any desire to be satire or droll parody, Preacher by Garth Ennis was a work that slapped the face of American culture's love of guns, god and patriotism.  In a post apocalyptic setting, Preacher was said to be a man of God, and he faced a world that burning, with hate, bleeding, and dystopic fear.  Racism, hate of outsiders, and simple lunacy were the currency of the moment.  Ennis is a brilliant writer and surely this was a work in which he demonstrated his writing muscles.  He was both extravagant and subtle, restrained and outrageous.  And those are hard to match.

And with Hellblazer you have a title that had many hands in the creating of a major legacy of true horror and amazingly solid year after year of writing and illustration.  I should simply begin with the work of Jamie Delano, who was the first writer of Hellblazer after DC split him from the pages of Swamp Thing. Some saw his work as dark beyond redemption, but what they missed was a writer telling stories of a character dealing with hell, the other worlds of the spirit realm, and surviving them.  Of course it would be dark.  In many ways Delano's work set the tone for the future writers on the book, and it was a great beginning.  Constantine was a cigarette smoking wise ass occult genius who got himself into dangerous situations all the time, he was hated in every realm but strangely could call on demons, angels and humans for help with past due promises of help owed him.  He was the perfect character for Vertigo.  Meanwhile the comic for the Swamp Thing was dark but never too dark for the mainstream and when it went to Vertigo it was nowhere near what the other comics were.  But, John Constantine was perfect.

As mentioned in the Sandman paragraph, Death was a character that became popular under the pen of Gaiman, and DC/Vertigo used her to connect with Goth culture, and to be a spokesperson for a number of public service messages about safe sex.  Death: Time of her Life and Death: High Cost of Living were smash hits.  The character was and remains a popular character as is evidenced by the cosplay at conventions.

Two different series of UNKNOWN SOLDIER pissed off a number of people who preferred the old Unknown Soldier who was a 1960s war story hero.  Both Vertigo series reimagined him and the stories were magnificent.  Garth Ennis took his Unknown Soldier into the dark world of Wet operations and cover ups, while Joshua Dysart wrote about the horrors of Child Soldiers and war crimes in Africa.  Both series were amazing, so, if you like the original, these aren't that, but they are good.

Tim Truman and horror writer Joe Lansdale wrote three different series of Jonah Hex.  They are not your typical western, not your typical horror story, nor are they typical anything.  The mojo here might be too powerful for most people but it is indeed worthy.