Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Have You Heard the News

Have you heard the news today?

Did you notice that the lights have changed?
or when?
seems we've all been driving for too long
and that's the song-
but it doesn't have to be
we can be free

If you'd just listen to the fool on the hill-
but you never listened to fools, did you?
and those experts
oh boy
so you kept your cents close
and spent profligately,

Yeah, well, that's a luxury
it's time to notice that your rights are gone
there's no flying on
when we cage the poor
no-one sings sweeter
when we throw our brothers, our sisters
off the cliff
it's not if

But who pays the piper -
to pick up the pieces.

A.J. Ponder

NB Yes, of course I acknowledge the influence of a couple of lines from The Beatles song. Comes from listening to their music in the car while thinking about current events.

Best wishes to all, and have a great week,

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

I Need my Dragons

I needed a dragon,
A very fine dragon
So I went to my bookshelf
To see what was there

I looked up Tolkien
And he had a dragon
A golden dragon
A dragon that didn't much like to share

I needed a dragon
but not that kind of dragon
I needed a dragon
to fly me everywhere

So I looked up Funke
And she had a dragon,
But the very best dragons
Should give you a scare

I wanted a dragon
A fine fiery dragon
Like George's dragon
Just not 12th Century fare

I found R R Martin
And he had three dragons!
But he hadn't a soul
Not anywhere there

So I picked up his book
And it had no dragons
Just some toys:
A piglet,
A kangaroo
And a teddy bear too

I opened the page
To the market square
And hidden in there
Someone was selling me

Now whenever I sit on a stair
There's a dragon at the bottom
And a dragon at the top

And when I'm walking
down the street
Others can watch where they
put their feet

'Cause I've been down
Past the end of the town
with my dragons

A.J. Ponder

A fun poem this week, after a bit of a silence.
Because who doesn't need dragons?

News from me - I really enjoyed the science march - although I had to try not to laugh as someone waved an anti-science fiction poster over my head, because to be fair, it was anti science fiction in policy decisions. :)

Also, I'm very excited because BlindSight, a horror story in the anthology At the Edge just made the Sir Julius Vogel Award Shortlist along with some other really awesome stories. http://www.sffanz.org.nz/sjv/sjvNominations-2017.html
Many of them are on the anthology At the Edge, and one is from Asimov's something I'm not sure has happened since Peter Friend. So good luck to Sean Monaghan, and everyone making their mark in NZ Science Fiction.

Have a great week, everybody
A.J. Ponder

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Sir Julius Vogel Awards

Love New Zealand Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror?

You can nominate works for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards by filling in this easy form online to help your favourite authors receive recognition for their work (published in 2016).

I have a short story called BlindSight in At the Edge, an amazing collection edited by Lee Murray and Dan Rabarts
You can find it here,or in bookshops.

All the stories are by New Zealanders and should be eligible for awards, including the anthology itself.

The 2017 Sir Julius Vogel Award closes 8.00pm on 31st March 2017 (NZST).
Into the Mist

 I'll just have to put off reading Maurice Gee's The Severed Land (published 2017) for a few more days while I look to see if there are any more authors I want to nominate - authors like Lee Murray with her great thriller/horror Into the Mist.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Dear Captain America

Pardon me, but your sword and shield are trampled in the dirt
they're a little broken,
a little rusty perhaps
but I know you can dust them off
and mend the cracks

I don't mean to intrude, but we're all being squashed by a golden elephant
maybe it's rude
not to all love gold and all
but the shit is toxic
and it only helps itself to the ball

My apologies, I know it's a hero thing, but really, do you have to
exhaust all alternatives
before doing the right thing?
surely the small problem of climate change
is enough embroiling?

So, please, if you wouldn't mind, my dearest, and most influential friend
pretty, pretty please
let the vote ring out fair and free
and mend your broken sword and shield
of justice and of liberty.

No need to hurry you, or anything, but children are dying
the air is poisoned
and the water too
but the problem can be fixed-
the only question is-
will you?

A.J. Ponder

Apologies for the couple of weeks off, had a touch of a seasonal cold, it's coming up to autumn here, but now the cicadas are out, the sun is shining, and it's been a surprisingly nice couple of days after a bit of a cold front and parts of the country under water.
Wishing everyone well, especially the kids who are fighting against climate change, for a better world http://www.ecowatch.com/trump-climate-change-lawsuit-2307504755.html


Friday, March 10, 2017

Fun new game, to educate and annoy :)

#YourLogicalFallacyIs the most fun I've had since I started twitter. Inspired by the Michelle Wolf of The Daily Show, and www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html, I found the slightly more interactive YourLogicalFallacy.com and invented a new way to waste time: trying to inform people about the types of argument they shouldn't use, and certainly shouldn't listen to. It's too easy to fall for common misdirects.

Great for English teachers, as well as social studies or politics classes, because when it comes to media manipulation, the next generation will need to be more awake than ever. You can try and find as many different types of misleading statements as you can on social media, and even tally them. Or, if you're like me, you can make sure everyone knows of the misstep, so that others won't fall into these surprisingly common traps. Maybe try politely at first, because most of these people are victims, but some are just trolls. When the abuse has nothing to back it and exists solely to discredit a person's agency, disengage with "That's ad hominem, but thanks for playing #YourLogicalFallacyIs"

Logical fallacies come in many different and exciting forms, running all the way from appeals to authority to another Kellyanne Conway favourite- tu quoque (you too), but the one whose description is unmissable is "Begging the Question," mostly because we all know of a Zorbo the Great.

So there you are, congratulations, and thanks for playing #YourLogicalFallacy. I hope you have fun too. And maybe, just maybe, the conversation will turn to facts.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The horror I am facing (not a poem)

Here I am, trying to write a thriller, but it's near impossible. Every time I think to settle down, back to my run of the mill - I really can't be bothered with politics, progressivism - along comes another egregious assault to human rights and civil liberties. Assaults that are designed to turn back the clock to an era nobody wants except the would-be-lords-of-all-they-survey. It's scarier than anything I've ever contemplated writing up to now.

So it comes to this. A fight for head-space between fictional demons vs the real-life morally undead. People who think it's literally okay to kill people in the pursuit of money, and power. Who, no longer content with pulling the strings from a distance, are elbowing in with a power play of epic proportions.

Dammit, but never in my life has real life been fringed with such fear and suspicion. But as many Americans are saying normal service will be resumed shortly. I can't be sure when. So I'll paraphrase Douglas Adams - I'll be restoring normality just as soon as I'm sure what is normal anyway- (to be fair, this isn't strictly true. Sureties are not for times like these. And I've never really been a fan of normal-more a live and let live creative chaos.)

But aside from persnickety details, the important message is I want my brain back, away from the dreadful contemplation of how close we are to the precipice - minutes to midnight. Not that I needed that awful clock to tell me the danger, the evidence is everywhere and it's inescapable for thinking people. Either people win, or corporations do, or nobody. And if it is not the first option, the world will be facing horror worse than any we've faced in my lifetime - or worse.

But this is a long game.
And I'm a tiny piece. But if we all do something, maybe, just maybe we'll come out of this with a near utopian society that is so close the millennials can almost reach out and touch it. There's no wonder they feel cheated. But they're fighting because they also have hope. So should we all.

Apologies for no poem, but do have a great week, and please feel free to share any good ideas. Especially if you have a good alternative to Amazon. We can't all do everything - but we can all do a  little bit and consider we are all together in this little ship called Earth. :)


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Battle Hymn of the Resistance

Public domain image from the Project Gutenberg archives
I went to see the truth about the changing of the guard
(After it was over because watching was too hard)
They'd sugared it through serpent's fangs and covered it with lard
And the lies kept marching on

Glory glory, what's it to ya
Glory glory, what's it to ya
Glory glory, what's it to ya
And posttruth keeps marching on

Women's rights were gutted with a scribble from his pen
He's happy to risk women's lives, and so are all his men
Right to life's an awful lie - and now thousands will die
And the lies kept marching on

Glory glory, what's it to ya
Glory glory, what's it to ya
Glory glory, what's it to ya
And posttruth keeps marching on

Then he asked Guiliani to impose a Muslim ban
But one that protects his companies, and so they hatched an evil plan
And now they have the gall to say it's not a bloody ban
And the lies keep marching on

Glory glory, what's it to ya
Glory glory, what's it to ya
Glory glory, what's it to ya
And posttruth keeps marching on

Will America be gutted on the altar of his greed?
From Goldman Sacks and lobbyists the US should be freed
And taken to a place where there's respect every race and creed
Let's stop the lies from marching on

Glory glory, time to free ya
Glory glory, time to free ya
Glory glory, time to free ya
Stop posttruth from marching on

For too long your rights to work and vote have been twisted heartlessly
To the right to work for nothing, and to vote provisionally
But you can stop your lives and votes being thrown in the bin
Join a local human rights organization!

Glory glory, and good on ya
Glory glory, and good on ya
Glory glory, and good on ya
Keep #posttruth from marching on

A.J. Ponder 

My goodness, it's not easy to stay current and keep accurate! Also there's heaps I haven't covered eg #NoDAPL, so please tell me if you manage a verse or two and I'll link to it.

Have a great week! Breathe! Democracy is a long term objective, it's not perfected anywhere yet. All we can do is keep working toward a society that gives everyone the best opportunities to achieve-without stepping on the rights of others.