Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be another poetry post. However, please humour me for a moment by reading this short piece and deciding what you think of it. You’ll find out why later.
Durer: Innsbruck, 1495 (published 1943)
I had often cowled in the slumbrous heavy air, Closed my inanimate lids to find it real, As I knew it would be, the colourful spires And painted roofs, the high snows glimpsed at the back, All reversed in the quiet reflecting waters – Not knowing then that Durer perceived it too. Now I find that once more I have shrunk To an interloper, robber of dead men’s dream, I had read in books that art is not easy But no one warned that the mind repeats In its ignorance the vision of others. I am still The black swan of trespass on alien waters.
Bookmark your thoughts. Whatever your opinion, the story behind this poem is a tale for the ages.
A Japanese labourer seeks solitude in a room that reeks of death. A scuba instructor volunteers for a bizarre experiment. Judas preaches his own gospel. Chinese scientists clash in a grim, winner-takes-all struggle. An outback miner’s attempt to raise money to return home ends in chaos. An old, African freedom fighter plots a daring murder. A kidnapped billionaire escapes across the remote highlands of Taiwan.
Tales From Captivity introduces you to scenarios which, while fantastic, are only one or two steps away from real life. It is these tiny little patches to the fabric of reality that lead to profound consequences. In it are placed normal, real, fallible human characters, and things unfold in unexpected ways. For almost all of these stories the ending was not what I predicted. Even in the most harrowing moments, I was captivated, and read on . . .
Tales From Captivity is aptly named, macabre, entertaining, and well worth your time and money.
You can read the first story on Amazon’s free preview:
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Thanks to Lemmiwinks, Deacon Blues and SR for their eagle eyes in spotting errors and for other feedback.
I’ve got a mate. He’s married with a kid. He’s okay with money but his wife is atrocious.
Each month he hands over all the money she’ll need for household expenses. Each month she ends up asking for more, saying she’s run out, even though he’s done the budget, gone over it with her a million times and figured how how much they ought to be spending on each item.
Tales From Captivity is about 50K words long (110 pages).
Please email me if you are a reviewer (i.e. you have a blog, Twitter following etc.) and I’ll send you a PDF version.
nvladivostok [at] protonmail [dot] com
I plan to retire my old Yahoo account but I’m still checking it for now if you want to use that.
I can also provide review copies to trusted, long-time commenters and correspondents upon request so long as you pinky-swear to (a) leave an honest review at Amazon, goodreads or a place like that, and (b) let me know if you spot any typos. A few always sneak through, no matter what you do.
Don’t join the military. Discourage your sons, nephews and others from enlisting.
If you’re in, get out when you can and do a half-arsed job in the meantime. If deployed, keep your head down. Don’t be a hero for a nation that no longer exists. Do the minimum you can get away with.
Let them fight their own battles from now on.
The game is rigged. In certain situations you know you can’t win and your life will be forfeit no matter what you do.
If you’re in, plan your exit.
If you stay for the pension, understand that you are rolling the dice. You’re one bad traffic stop away from being prosecuted for sainticide.
This might not apply if you serve in a local area where you enjoy strong support from the people. Your people.
Civilian readers should rethink how they assist police from now on. Previously you might have been the sort of upstanding citizen who would grab a fleeing thief, phone in suspicious activity or help a copper in need. We need to adjust to a world of arbitrary, who/whom law. Who is fleeing whom? Who is conducting the suspicious activity? Who is the copper in distress? These are salient questions now that blind justice and the rule of law are dead.
They make the rules, we just have to play by them.
It has been noted before that for the people who call themselves conservative and support the Republican Party, their best president was Bill Clinton. His was the most conservative administration since Eisenhower, according to the modern definition of conservative. The worst president was George W. Bush, the guy the Republican Party claimed was the epitome of conservatism. Conservative voters still hate Bill Clinton and mostly ignore Bush.
Veritas decides not to publish alleged diary of Joe Biden’s daughter, hands it to police, gets raided by the FBI anyway, their devices are seized and shortly after their privileged communications with lawyers are leaked to the NYT (which Veritas was in the middle of suing).
I do not necessarily endorse the content of these websites and books. It’s good to get another point of view.
[Edit: I’ve removed some of these links as they’ve become over-commercialized, feminized and/or pozzed. One was mostly about vaccines and climate change! They’ll be gone from the second edition of the book.]
Let’s finish by recapping each step and figuring out where you are and what you still need to do.
Review of the Introduction
Many people lack any level of financial freedom, even if they have a relatively high income, because they are unable to manage their money. They live paycheck to paycheck, borrow heavily, and an unforeseen incident can cause disaster. They feel that they are on a treadmill that they can’t get off, even for a moment. Many wealthy people have had to file for bankruptcy because they could not get their finances in order.
By following the steps in this book, you can achieve a much greater degree of independence and financial freedom.
In the dying decades of the Roman Empire, the Visigoths rampaged through the countryside. Goths had previously been allowed to peacefully settle within the Empire because farmers and soldiers were desperately needed following recurrent epidemics and low birth rates. However, these immigrants had been required to surrender their arms at the border and live in small groups, not as internal nations under their own leaders. In fact, this resettlement was often part of a punishment following a lost war.
Once the Huns began to attack Gothic lands from the east, however, these rules went out the window. So many Goths poured across the frontier that no Roman force could prevent them, disarm them or separate them.
The subsequent arrogant and callous treatment of the barbarians was not a clever move as by this time they were one of the few effective fighting forces still available in the West and the Huns were looming on the horizon.
Alaric I tried to find a place for his Visigoths within the Roman Empire. At one point, during a siege, he made a pretty fair offer: forget about the gold. Make me head of the Roman Army, I’ll take my people north to settle along the Danube frontier and we’ll guard it for you.
At this point Rome had no army to speak of to protect the border and no better way of getting the Goths out of their hair. This was a Godsend.