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Some people craft quilts or give soup to the homeless to feel better about themselves. I painted some miniatures.

Who you gonna call?

Believe it or not, it was not something I had done before. I wish I could explain how satisfying I found the experience.

I think maybe I need to paint more often. Not houses or canvases, mind you. Just tiny little pieces of plastic.

I'm sure it's what Renoir would have done if he'd known about Dungeons and Dragons.

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Because you demanded it, a Walter health update:

On March 4, I fell down the stairs and didn't die. I did, however, hurt my ankle. Four weeks later and I'm still not dead, but my ankle still hurts. Not as badly as it once did, but enough to keep me off the elliptical (but sadly not out of cutting the grass).

I took my symptoms to WebMD.com, and it very helpfully suggested that should have seen my doctor. That's not helpful. If I wanted to see a doctor, I wouldn't have gone to WebMD.

The problem is most likely what I self-diagnosed at the time. I probably have a lingering ankle sprain. Or maybe, because the residual pain is localized on the bone, it could be a minor fracture. In either case, it should resolve by itself in time for football season to start in August. I hope.

I'll keep you posted.

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This is an introductory paragraph telling you I'm about to talk about movies.

40. (1479.) Asterix and the Vikings (2006)
I first met Asterix in, as I recall, 1981 on the bookshelf of my friend, Greg. Greg and I grew apart after I skipped the 4th grade, but I've retained a nostalgic fondness for the comedic adventures of Asterix and company. This movie contained several dated pop culture references, though if this encourages viewers to hunt down a volume or two of the original comics, the dissonance is worth it.

43. (1482.) My Girl (1991)
After so many years of resisting this movie, I think I might have guilted myself into watching it. It's not bad. Dan Aykroyd reprises the well-intentioned but generally clueless character he played in Driving Miss Daisy, and Jamie Lee Curtis reprises the street smart, free spirit she played in Trading Places. Their protagonist is their daughter, and the film works best, as a sort of female Stand By Me, when the focus stays on her.

44. (1483.) Quicksilver (1986)
Someone said, "Let's make a movie where Kevin Bacon quits his lucrative stockbroker job to become a bicycle courier and runs afoul of a drug-dealing pimp." I wish it was as good as it sounds.

45. (1484.) Rabid (1977)
This is fundamentally a zombie movie where the outbreak is caused by experimental plastic surgery. Ugh. I don't think I like David Cronenberg films. One of these days, I'll probably force myself to watch Naked Lunch, but I really do think that will be the last one. They're just not for me.

46. (1485.) Mystery Street (1950)
Ah-ha! A great police procedural staring Ricardo Montalban. Highly recommended if you like that sort of thing (and judging by CBS's primetime lineup, most people do).

47. (1486.) John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)
Rubbing some of the mystery off of the original world teased in John Wick serves only to lessen the thrill, but I still liked it. There will always be room at my mental multiplex for stylish action films.

More to come.

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I was planning on going to a professional football game this weekend when the Atlanta Legends played the Salt Lake Stallions at Georgia State Stadium on Sunday. But now I will not be doing that.

Not because I've got other plans or because I couldn't afford tickets. No, I will not be doing that because the Alliance of American Football has taken its ball and gone home. The league "suspended operations" yesterday, which is a euphemism for "went out of business."

Unlike previous off-Broadway versions of the NFL, I had been enjoying the AAF games. I loved their tweaks to the usual NFL rules. (No kickoffs. All extra point attempts had to be 2-point conversions. Referees for the referees.) Alas, it was too beautiful to survive. By which I mean, obviously, the NFL had to kill it.

The Alliance had been struggling for capital since they started play in February. Attendance and television numbers were actually very encouraging, but behind-the-scenes backing was not. The nail in the AAF's coffin was the NFL and NFLPA refusing to play ball and allow young, signed NFL talent to crossover and make the AAF a true developmental league like the World League was in the aughts. I can't say as I blame them. There's only so much money to be made from professional football, and right now, they have it all. Why should they share if they can get away without? (Capitalism Rule #1: Business ethics is an oxymoron.)

Anyway, I'll be free this Sunday afternoon. Maybe I'll take in a movie.

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Whenever I used to hear old people say "life was better when," I thought they'd were full of shit. But now that I'm in my mid-40s myself....

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The National Safety Council says that the odds of an American dying from a fall are 1 in 114. That's about twice as likely as the chance of death from a gun assault (1 in 285) but five times more common than the chance of dying while going for a walk (1 in 556). The specific odds of dying from falling down the stairs is 1 in 1,662. Yesterday morning, I nearly became a statistic.

I woke up early to take July outside to go potty before the bad weather rolled in. I didn't bother to change shoes and wore my slippers in the dewy grass. Returning to the house, I wiped her wet feet but not mine. Then we both went back downstairs to return to bed. Thanks to my slippery slippers, one of us went faster than the other.

Spoiler alert: I didn't die. But I do have an uncomfortably twisted ankle and abrasions on my elbows. And I've certainly learned a valuable lesson. From now on, the dog can go potty in the rain.

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This counts as news only to me, but I fixed my bedside lamp. The switch had worn out.

My bedroom aesthetic is 1970s yard sales

It's no antique, though it's no spring chicken, either. I "inherited" it when my college roommate graduated and moved to the west coast. (Hi, Jason!) That was only... fifteen years ago. I don't know how old it was then. (Can you shed any light on that subject, Jason?) If I've yanked that chain twice a day ever since, that's somewhere in the neighborhood of approximately 11,000 pulls. Maybe I should have been counting.

Anyway, thanks to a replacement switch found on eBay, I can now read in bed again. Sweet dreams, everyone.

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In honor of Valentine's Day, today's blog post is about abortion.

There's been talk here in Georgia that the state legislature has been working on a new resolution to finally pass the long languishing Equal Rights Amendment. The local paper reported that one of the resolution's sponsors recently withdrew his support after talking with "people I know and people I trust" (who are, presumably two separate groups of people).

Before we go any further, to refresh your memory, this is the whole text of that very controversial proposed amendment to the United States Constitution:

"Equality of rights under law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

That's simple enough. Why would someone want to go on record as being against that? To answer that question, I did a little Googling. You may be surprised to know that the Internet is full of opinions on the topic.

Some people say that the ERA isn't necessary because it duplicates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, which promises "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." If that were true, women wouldn't have needed the 19th Amendment to cast votes.

Some people say that the ERA would prevent women from receiving favorable bias in paternity cases. They say it could also force women into the draft. Are either of these such a problem? I would hope that women would have to prove their fitness to be a parent in court. If a war is so damn important that we have to force our citizens into the armed forces, it seems to me that women should serve their country just as men do. (If the thought of your daughter going to war makes you think twice about the need for warfare, all the better.) And God forbid that anyone should have to use a uni-sex bathroom.

Some people say that the ERA is bad because it is just another example of the federal government stealing rights from the states. That's true. Granted, the "right" it would be stealing is the states' ability to treat women like second class citizens, but it's the principle of the thing!

However, the "people" who talked our representative out of supporting the ERA didn't use any of those arguments. No, the persuasive argument against guaranteeing women and men equal rights was — you guessed it — abortion. They said that if we give men and women true equality, they can no longer tell women what to do with their bodies. Horror of horrors!

Frankly, that strikes me as a bullshit reason to deny or abridge equal rights for women. I'm no girl or priest, and I'm generally pretty good at "keeping it in my pants," so I try to have no opinion on the subject, but the logic seems simple. If abortion is murder as the bumper stickers tell me, it should be illegal whether a man or woman is carrying a child. If it's not, then what difference does it make what gender does it? Neither case should have any bearing on whether women should have the same rights as men.

But what do I know? I try not to have an opinion, remember.

If you ask me, the best argument against the ERA is the existence of Valentine's Day itself. If women and men are so damn equal, someone should be buying *me* chocolates today, dammit.

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I went with Dad today to look at a potential new house. New to him, I mean. The house itself was showing its age.

Peeping Walter

How much for that sticker in the window?

Obviously, the house had been cleaned out

I told him to take it.

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Believe it or not, I sold 190 books on Amazon.com in 2018!

The Central Kingdoms Chronicles: Book 1, The Wizards of Ranaloy The Central Kingdoms Chronicles: Book 2, Prince Thorgils' War The Central Kingdoms Chronicles: Book 3, A Quest Before Dying The Central Kingdoms Chronicles: Book 4, Specter of the Lich

To clarify, that "sold" number includes books that Amazon gave away for free to good homes (with my permission). I won't tell you exactly how many of them were free. I will only say that my total take-home revenue for the year was $9.92, which means that for a third year in a row, I can call myself a (marginally) professional writer.

And yes, I am currently working on another novel. The next one will not be in the same series but it still will be about wizards. Wizards who solve locked-room murders. Because even fantasy murders need solving.

I'll tell you more when we get closer to release, sometime later this year.

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To be continued...

 

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