Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Bitter Praise

Dear Kevin Camp,

First, thanks for submitting and for entrusting me to add my personal comments.

Your writing is good, but I'm having some trouble getting hooked into this story. It seems a bit detached and explanatory—the narrator almost seems to be describing someone else. He's so distant from his story that it doesn't allow for any tension, which means it's difficult for this reader to want to know what happened next. And so far (5 pages) I don't see anything really new or different about the topic that would make me stay with it.


Joe Ponepinto

Fiction Editor

Tahoma Literary Review

Please remember that these comments are the editorial opinion of one person, and nothing more. Joe's comments may or may not agree with feedback you have received from other editors, writers, or family members.

You can go here to view the submission:

Sunday, August 23, 2015

How I Totally Missed It

Women, I want you to know that I missed it, completely. You win, if there is any winning here, and I deserve to be viewed wrongly. I had the best intentions, and maybe that is the first sign of wisdom, but I had no clue what it was like to be something like a woman. It is something like complete transparency, even if you block it out, even if you try to laugh it off.

For the past two weeks, a rabid hacker and I have been having it out. That explains the crazy, truncated posting and lack of posting at all. When a narcissist with his own cult of personality takes aim at you, heaven help you. It makes me understand all the better the bad behavior of men at sci-fi and fantasy cons, as they can be demons with a total sense of entitlement to everything. Thank God all men are not like this, but in that environment it's easy to see it all as malevolent.

I can't get him to go away. I can alpha dog away most people, but not genuine psychopaths like this. Mental illness is the only motive I can think of for behavior like this. I had good motives. He'd had an interesting life. I wanted only to tell his story on Daily Kos, a win/win situation for both of us. I've had good experiences like this before, very mutual. But lord, had I known the hornet's nest I was about to walk into, I would have walked away.

I keep thinking that unless this guy was a raving psychopath, this could have been a good story, an inside look at Anonymous, the hacker collective. Instead, he got into everything, my phone, my e-mail, everything. My loved one thought I was crazy, and if I didn't have such rock hard defenses, I might have gone today crazy myself.

What does he do? He keeps his own domain and sells overpriced pornography. I guess some people have to make a living, but I have decidedly less renown for the Anonymous Movement now. This was until I ran into a squirrel running in a thousand different directions, none of which I can really explain or control. As is often the case with situations like these, he has his own autocratic followers and I have made it clear that I will not accept his foul behavior. For a time he backed off, but I am in correspondence with the local news to tell his story and I guess that set him off again. I've already reported him to the Feds and will do so tomorrow to the local cybercrimes unit.

This is not comfortable. I am not in control. I do not know what it will take to make him go away. I can scare him and bluff him but he pops up with insult text messages. These are what as known as evidence. And what he can't see if that every message is another piece of evidence. This man is crazy but would want nothing more than to be on MSNBC for the sake of being known, the way so many criminals are apt to be.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

One Request

Keeping Messing with My Opposition. It only increases my odds.

No, I'm Serious

Let's part ways and go elsewhere. I am not going to keep trying.


I can't reach an Anonymous person who has complicated my life. Let's just end it and go from here.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Quaker Lawyer

One of the peculiar issues among many are those that plague so many lawyers and Friends. Or, as Dorothy Parker put it, On hearing that another actress friend had broken her leg working in London: “she must have done it sliding down a barrister.”This could be a result of the numbers in Washington, DC. It may be that there is too much need in a capital city. Every single city has its numbers.

In the beginning, in the UK, certain people could not hold certain occupations, particularly the cleric and the professional. Many Quakers were shop-keepers. A UK man named Cadbury developed the first milk chocolate, called Dairy Milk. He was a believe in temperance, developing milk chocolate would be an adequate substitution for alcohol. The same was true with the development with root beer developed in the US by a man who made root beer for the same reason, a druggist named Hires who worked in Philadelphia.

One might think lawyers would shirk away from controversy and those particular occupations would seem not especially Quakerly. Lawyering is a fight and those who are attracted to it out of the love of the fight. If they don’t do it, they don’t do it. But better we fight our problems than grab swords.

It would seem to be a particular occupation that must be. I would rather us stick to peace and pacifism. I would rather move on and not worry about fighting. Otherwise, we seem very hypocritical as a culture. It is worthwhile that that we do not do our fighting like Game of Thrones and a more civilized culture, though it has many flaws.

We say we are one thing and often are another. Yes, even we are hypocritical. That is to be expected. But how to go forward, even when we are not especially problematic. I have had to live with the violence. But we know when to call in the heavy guns when we need them.

We could well brawl with sticks and end up in the pillory. We could end up with punitive punishment. But instead we deal with stress en masse, which is almost as bad. Lawyers protect each other. I saw that in one of my father's good friends. I wouldn't know how to eliminate the profession, but would do it if I could. And what would we do next?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Trial Again

I head again for court in four months. This is my best shot. Mediation comes before a trial, but a trial takes 8 hours. Scheduling a busy docket will be not be easy. I am not expecting this, but it comes at maximum $5000. I will receive less than that, most likely. Those of you who are expecting an easy system should not.

A maximum middle aged woman insulted me in the grocery. The number is from Texas. She is alluding to the fact that I initially said I would sue for $25. This was before I had nothing to lose. And I did not.

One of my legal counsel does not give me good odds but I think the mediation system is in my system. Let's see what the sued parties say. Weird telephone number could mean good odds in my system.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Quote of the Week

"The idea that every nation ought to have an atomic bomb, like every woman of fashion ought to have a mink coat, is deplorable."- Clement Atlee

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Friday, August 07, 2015

Foot-dragging and the Conservative Mindset

One of the reasons I left my place of birth, among many, is that I could not convince anyone to end Capital Punishment. For them, it was just punishment for the ultimate instance of wrongdoing. They cannot believe any other way is possible. Much like the pacifism I profess, they see it as pie-in-the-sky, not feasible in today's world. We live in a violent culture and must be violent in return.

Now we see extreme conservative angst over a phony video from Planned Parenthood. Though my father is much more conservative than liberal, he was on the Board of Planned Parenthood when I was a child. My father is probably closer to a libertarian than a Republican, but many Alabamians are social conservatives, especially the governor. who is a strongly religious man, a Southern Baptist.

What we see reflected at us is what some would desperately like to see. And we on the Left have taken stock in fantasies of our own creation. In the height of George Bush's stranglehold on the White House, he was said to have mimicked Adolph Hitler's bluster about Chamberlain's so-called scrap of paper prior to World War II, the theory of appeasement.

As for Medicaid in red states, there are any number of rationalizations used to deny coverage. Single adults are nearly summarily denied coverage. Only those living until the age of 17 are covered, after which they are cruelly trimmed from the roles. Preference is given to those with children, the more the better. There are so many fallacies in these arguments which pass for logic, I'm not sure where to begin.

Medicaid, to some, represents federal government intrusion into state's rights, an argument as old as the Republic itself. It is present when we discussed flying of the Confederate battle flag on a state capital, our latest talking point. But as Herbert Hoover tried valiantly to advance and failed, houses of worship, charities, and civic organizations cannot feed the poor, house them, and attend to their medical needs. Jesus may have advocated for such things in this own way, in his own time, but he lived 2,000 years ago.

It is short-sighted to believe otherwise. Even liberals have their criticisms of government, this one included, but the inertia that works, with time, is better than the condescension that never professes to try. It is, of course, told to us that the poor will always be with us. And by this, Jesus speaks in both the real and the abstract. We can speak of those with need and the means to help them. Both must addressed as each is equally important.

But I return to Planned Parenthood, or the real issue, an anti-choice stance. We may never eliminate the charges of baby killing or infanticide. Though I wish it was as effective as it is in theory, we as Quakers have sought to eliminate majority rules in favor of the consensus model. I make a proposal to you now.

Quaker-based consensus is effective because it puts in place a simple, time-tested structure that moves a group towards unity. The Quaker model has been employed in a variety of secular settings.

The process allows hearing individual voices while providing a mechanism for dealing with disagreements.

The following aspects of the Quaker model can be effectively applied in any consensus decision-making process, and is an adaptation prepared by Earlham College, a Quaker college in Richmond, Indiana:

Multiple concerns and information are shared until the sense of the group is clear.

Discussion involves active listening and sharing information.

Norms limit number of times one asks to speak to ensure that each speaker is fully heard.

Ideas and solutions belong to the group; no names are recorded.

Ideally, differences are resolved by discussion. The facilitator ("clerk" or "convenor" in the Quaker model) identifies areas of agreement and names disagreements to push discussion deeper.

The facilitator articulates the sense of the discussion, asks if there are other concerns, and proposes a "minute" of the decision.

The group as a whole is responsible for the decision and the decision belongs to the group.

The facilitator can discern if one who is not uniting with the decision is acting without concern for the group or in selfish interest.

Ideally, all dissenters' perspectives are synthesized into the final outcome for a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Should some dissenter's perspective not harmonize with the others, that dissenter may "stand aside" to allow the group to proceed, or may opt to "block". "Standing aside" implies a certain form of silent consent. Some groups allow "blocking" by even a single individual to halt or postpone the entire process.
This is one model, but a more civilized approach, to these eyes. Majority-rules encourages foot-dragging and acrimony. If truly successful resolution of problems is what we seek, our system must be revamped entirely. As it stands now, it is all or nothing, and that has led to a whole lot of nothing.

Thursday, August 06, 2015


One of my dreams for the past three years is to be published by The Sun Magazine. Like many publications, there is no style manual. One has to just figure out from observation and practice what the editor wants. I think I may have reached that apex, but that still doesn't mean how many hundreds of people are in the queue before me.

But they pay well. Extremely well, especially for fiction. When you don't need writing workshop anymore to motivate you, then you're halfway there.

The big project I mentioned a few days is speaking to an Anonymous member. As expected, he's been pretty cagey, unsure of our motives, slow to trust. I tracked him down this far and wish I could tell you more than that. It's a fascinating story. Now I just have to get him to tell him his. It's possible that he wants to be left alone, and not have this writer and local lawyer hot on his trails.

It's been a relatively mild summer, and this Alabama native is happy for the break. DC in August is notoriously dead, dating from an era before air conditioning where it was simply too hot to hang around and most people took vacations. The tourist season is largely over too, though I've learned how to avoid the big crowds. What mostly bother me are the perpetually high strung residents harboring notions of worst-case scenario.

I'm not the Type A sort. I have my times of fear and anxiety, but I try not to take myself too seriously. But everyone who lives here is competitive to the bone, especially the ones who deny it.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Apologies for the Delay

I'm working on a massive project that could be considered investigative journalism. A criminal defense lawyer has employed my services. I can say no more.

In other news, I've finished the "Dry Drunk" short story and have sent it along to eight publications. at this rate, I probably have 2 in 10 odds of being published. This one turned out to run 5,000 words, which is unusually long for me. I decided to scramble the order of the finished draft, just to do something novel. There are three submissions in addition that can be submitted, but not until September.

The last winning story, which received Honorable Mention, had to be submitted 100 times before one of them won accolades. This is why I know how difficult it can be. As it turns out, my creative writing CV has currently four substantive columns included. One never knows how to define quality. What I consider my best work of all has been rejected at least 60 times, enough so that I have put it on the shelf for the duration. Should I be published, it might be ready to be read.

I found a new Quaker Meeting, one that seems to be highly functional and friendly. I am one of the youngest there, as I knew I would be, but that scarcely matters. Compared to what I came through, I'd take almost anything if it was cheerful.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Quote of the Week

"The relations between parents and children are certainly not only those of constraint. There is spontaneous mutual affection, which from the first prompts the child to acts of generosity and even of self-sacrifice, to very touching demonstrations which are in no way prescribed. And here no doubt is the starting point for that morality of good which we shall see developing alongside of the morality of right or duty, and which in some persons completely replaces it."-Jean Piaget

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Saturday Video

Follow me into the desert
As thirsty as you are
Crack a smile and cut your mouth
And drown in alcohol

'Cause down below the truth is lying
Beneath the riverbed
So quench yourself and drink the water
That flows below her head

Oh no there she goes
Out in the sunshine the sun is mine

I shot my love today would you cry for me?
I lost my head again would you lie for me?
I left her in the sand just a burden in my hand?
I lost my head again would you cry for me?

Close your eyes and bow your head
I need a little sympathy
'Cause fear is strong and love's for everyone
Who isn't me

So kill your health and kill yourself
And kill everything you love
And if you live you can fall to pieces
And suffer with my ghost

Just a burden in my hand
Just an anchor on my heart
Just a tumor in my head
And I'm in the dark

So follow me into the desert
As desperate as you are
Where the moon is glued to a picture of heaven
And all the little pigs have God