Friday, July 22, 2022

I'm rounding up my July thoughts all in one post. See you in August.

To finish off the week, I'm posting some random thoughts about things that have been on my mind this last week. But first, I will not be blogging all of next week. I plan on returning to this blog on Wednesday, August 3rd for the Insecure Writer's Support Group post.


I really want to be at San Diego Comic Con this weekend, because there is a Dungeons & Dragons bar. You can order Dragon Brew, which is made with fresh lime juice, orange extract, ginger beer, simple syrup, protective elixir essence, and some optional vodka. It sounded like something I'd order. But that isn't all, in this D&D themed nightclub there is a huge screen wherein an animated dragon looks in upon the crowd, expresses its displeasure, and then breathes fog all over everyone. At this time a fog machine swamps you in mist. That just sounds like too much fun.


I heard that the X-Men movie is in the works at Marvel, and they have decided to call the movie, "The Mutants," because "X-Men" was apparently not gender neutral. Look, I'm a democrat, but I guess I'm wondering why there are people who are offended by the term "X-Men" or who take issue with its inclusivity. It's a hyphenated word, and "men" is on the back end of it. Are we going to have to change "history" to "theystory"? Like this is a serious question, and I don't know if I can go down that path with the people who are pushing for changes like this to our language.


I got my property tax notice in the mail for year 2023. I was kind of stunned, but values of homes have been increasing anywhere. I have to pay an extra $70 a month, which pretty much (along with the increased Comcast charges and the increased phone charges) have completely destroyed the raise I got this year and put me in the negative. Then when you add gas prices and all the other things that cost more, I feel like my pay this year is several hundred dollars short of what I got paid last year (per pay period), even though I got a 3.5% raise. The cost of living is getting ridiculous, and I wonder how long this can continue. I mean...I feel like everyone who offers a service or who offers any kind of good that we all need is really hostile right now. As in...they hate us and they want to express their collective displeasure. Combined with extreme heat, the country seems bleaker than ever.


There is a new carnivorous dinosaur from the late cretaceous called Meraxes Gigas. It is named for Meraxes, the dragon ridden by Rhaenys Targaryen during Aegon's conquest (see Game of Thrones and its creator, George R.R. Martin). It was originally discovered in Patagonia around 2012, but it has taken years of preparation to finally excavate and analyze a specimen. That's quite the honor for an author, don't you think?

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Why does Namor the Submariner from Marvel get more respect than Aquaman or The Deep?

Today's post is less informative than my other posts, as it is asking a question of my fellow nerds out there in the hope that someone can provide me with an answer. Here is the question:

Why does Namor, the Submariner from Marvel get more respect than Aquaman or "The Deep" from The Boys for that matter? Here are a few observations:

They all have similar powers. Although "The Deep" from The Boys seems to have no connections to an underworld community of Atlantis (which probably doesn't exist in those comic books), Atlantis is a very real place for Aquaman in DC and Namor in Marvel. In fact, they both rule those places as kings.

Aquaman seems to have always been conceived as a hero-type, whereas Namor plays a villain quite often. This makes Namor land firmly in the anti-hero description. And The Deep just seems to be pure villain if not outright self-serving yet (ultimately) kind of spineless to stand up for things he clearly knows are wrong.

By leagues and bounds though, The Deep and Aquaman are ridiculed for doing certain things with fish (even though there is no proof that I've seen that Aquaman has sexual relations with fish). And the disrespect doesn't stop there, as he is frequently poked fun at by people who make these movies. I think the Big Bang Theory also took this route with the minority character, Raj Koothrappali, who was a punching bag for the other nerds throughout the series. It was one of the things I didn't like so much about The Big Bang Theory.

I wonder if it has anything to do with the old Superfriends cartoon in which Aquaman was essentially useless most of the time.

Anyway, if some of y'all out there can answer the question above, I'd appreciate what you could teach me about this phenomenon.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Amazon's The Boys may be about people with superpowers but it doesn't feel like fiction at all.

I just finished watching Amazon's The Boys season 3, and (on its surface) much of it feels like it is supposed to be some gross allegory about fathers and sons. And who knows...maybe toxic masculinity when it is wound up in fathers and sons is supposed to be gross. I don't have an answer to that particular question. What I do know is that upon finishing, I felt that The Boys despite its overflowing bucket of superpowers doesn't feel like fiction at all. There are spoilers ahead as I'm going to talk about the events in season three, so this is your chance to turn away and come back later.

In the season finale, Homelander actually kills a guy at a rally in front of his supporters for heckling him and his son. The detractor from the crowd calls them out as fascists, and Homelander splats him with his laser eyes. The parallels to this rally and to a Trump rally are incredibly similar, down to the red hats and the vitriolic attacks on the press, and the violent chants to lock enemies up ("enemies" being code for non-whites and minorities who believe in democracy and accountability). Homelander just goes a step further (he is basically a Superman-type figure) and splats one of his critics, silencing him forever. For a moment, it looks like he's genuinely worried for having murdered this person so visibly. But then his fanbase screams, "F*ck yeah!" and everyone is super excited, and he smiles absorbing the adulation from a crowd that is now okay with murder as long as it is murder of people who do not agree with their opinions.

So basically, Homelander is now above the law (but lets not pretend that all of these superheroes weren't above the law the entire time). Out of curiosity, I looked into the comics, and I guess that at some point it ends up Homelander VS the government. This (then) seems like the first step in an outright dictatorship with Homelander at the top. I can't help myself but draw Trump parallels. Remember when Trump remarked at a campaign stop at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters." Wow...I just...I'm floored that this is so real. We live in a world where there was undeniable proof of Trump's illegal shit, an attempted insurrection, and no one's going to jail for it. So, in fiction, I don't think there will be any consequences for Homelander murdering the guy at the rally with his eye lasers.

And that's the awfulness of this show at its root, which actually makes it so I can't tear my eyes away. Like...I have to watch how gross it actually becomes because it feels just so real. For example, what do you do to Homelander exactly? How do you beat a guy that has Superman powers and the morality of a grandiose narcissist who is a serial killer whenever he wants to be? The roundup of season 3 seems pretty hopeless. Butcher is dying, Maeve is no longer a supe, Homelander has Ryan, Annie has officially dropped Vought, A-Train is wracked with doubts, the government has Soldier Boy's body, and a supe is poised to be in the position to take the presidency with a well-timed head pop. Ugh. But this feels very much like what it is like living in America right now. Anyone else watching this show see the similarities I'm pointing out?

Friday, July 15, 2022

The stress and horrors of 2022 feel eerily similar to things I experienced growing up in Idaho during the eighties and nineties.

After I graduated from the University of Idaho in 1994 and returned to my home community of Idaho Falls to transition to adulthood, I had a very difficult time becoming independent. Idaho has notoriously low wages, and they are often in a slugfest with Mississippi for the worst state to live in within the 50 states. Education is really bad, laws are straight out of The Handmaid's Tale and the Christian/Fascism Guidebook, and a population that views toxic masculinity and aggression as beautiful things can be found on every corner in every town. But for all that...there is good fishing. So if fishing is what you like, it may all be worth it.

However, I didn't care much for fishing. What I wanted was a car, an apartment, and independence from a father that (quite frankly) thought of me as free labor to work on his pet projects (namely a farm). He was a narcissist and very self-centered. He viewed his family as his property (that included the wife/my mom) and it was just like any other piece of irrigation equipment. Of the many things he said to me over the years (there are so many good quotes), he once declared that he couldn't get me an internship at the Idaho National Laboratory (like other men who worked there did for their sons) as he was ashamed that I was majoring in English at school and I was fat (being gay was probably another facet but he never brought that one up).

Not to judge my father too harshly on this, what he was really saying was that he valued the opinions of others so much that he did not want to take any risk that might jeopardize his standing in their eyes. Getting me a job at the INL? That was a risk, as it was a prestigious place to work. It would have been nice to have that on a resume. So I went to work at craft stores, gas stations, and retail. At one time I had three jobs, with the highest paying $6.25 per hour. Minimum wage (at the time) was $4.50 per hour and this was in the nineties (it wasn't that long ago). Meanwhile, interns at the site (INL) were making $15.00 per hour. But my dad had his reasons.

I look back on it now, and all of those reasons seemed like a high social price to pay. Especially now in 2022. My father is still alive and relatively healthy for his age. I visit him three times a year. And when I go visit him he tells me how no one ever comes to visit, and how he is consumed with days on end of loneliness (mom died back in 2016). So all of these people whom he tried to please and literally threw his family under the bus him no payoff at all. They don't visit, they don't call, they don't stop by. These are the things that he has sowed in his barren earth. He's now a man in his late eighties, and when his mind isn't clouded with memory loss and recognition, he's probably filled to the brim with regret.

Idaho was a terrible place to grow up in. Everyone was so passively abusive. Boys and young men around my age who were doing well were nearly always living in apartments that were paid for by rich parents. But I didn't realize this at the time. When I inquired or tried to find out, my questions were always deflected into some shortfall that was due to me not working hard enough. Back then...I wasn't so pointed with my questions. I'd say things like, "How is it that you and your girlfriend can afford this place? It's $600 a month. You guys seem to have so much free time." The answer: "Well, starts with a good work ethic. Also, you could probably lose some weight. The reason why you're fat is because your lazy..." and the conversation would go something similar to that the entire time. But here's the thing: I listened. I took these to heart, learned to hate myself, and sometimes worked three different jobs to try and afford a new car. Over and over and over, I learned that if I wasn't succeeding, it was because I was lazy. It was all my own fault. Society wasn't to blame. America was (in fact) the greatest country on earth. And so on and so on and so on. The brainwashing is strong in Idaho.

Now, I look back on all of that, and I see that I wasn't the lazy one. I was talking over and over with peers whom I thought actually liked me and could not for the life of me see the immense amount of privilege that was present that allowed them tons of free time to socialize, have sex, get great looking bodies, and work on relationships. These people had parents that actually loved them and had vast resources. These people were straight (it's easier to pay bills when you have a partner helping with whatever little they can) in a world that rewards "being straight." These people were also not minorities of any kind. Idaho Falls was a very white town. I never put all these things together. All I knew was that I was the person with a bachelor's degree that was worthy of being a secretary for someone who was younger, taller, stupider, and had only a high school diploma. And I was too busy trying to live the American dream that I had no idea that the game I was playing was set on "nightmare mode" while the one everyone else was playing seemed to be set on "easy mode."

But the thing is...nightmare mode was always coming for everyone. It just hit me (and others like me) first, so I learned to deal with it and play this awful game of capitalism, which for lack of a better explanation, always starts out easy. In the beginning deals are plentiful, whether it is for goods, services, or housing. But these things were difficult to get for me playing on nightmare mode. But I still managed. And now, in 2022, nightmare mode has arrived for everyone, because a hundred years of locust-like behavior has consumed all the resources and the country is now full of people. All of the straight, white males who could have gotten by living in apartments paid for by parents in the nineties suddenly discover that their parents (even though they are rich) cannot afford $2500 a month for a one bedroom apartment. There's a certain perverse joy in seeing this happen to the children of people who I might have looked at twenty years ago when they were young and abusing people like me and laughing all the way to the bank, because the only reason poor people exist is because they are lazy. I might say to them, "And look who thinks they knew so much. This is the world that you voted for all those many years, and now you have it. Maybe it's your children who are lazy? Why aren't they able to move out? Are the bootstraps not good enough? Big disappointment, isn't it?"

However, I also know they'd never take responsibility for it. They'd blame Nanci Pelosi or demonize some liberal or democrat for destroying housing and making it impossible for their children to move out. They will rage, grab their guns, and point fearfully at brown people or gay people and scream, "You did this! How dare you burn our future to the ground!" But really, the harshness of our modern world, the shocking little that our hard-earned money can buy, and the aggressive and toxic insults that everyone is enduring is just Idaho. It was achieved step by step through right wing fear mongering to a certain cadence and beat with one goal: to make it hard for their enemies to succeed. The only thing is, making it hard for their enemies with such broad sweeping changes also ended up salting the earth for everyone, including their own children. I feel like the whole nation knows now what it is like to live in Idaho. So if you are feeling stressed, if you are feeling angry, if you are feeling punched and kicked... now know what it was like to live in Idaho in the eighties and nineties. I do feel sorry for you in one aspect though: there probably isn't the quality of the fishing that can be found in Idaho to help you through these tough times.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Let's talk about a particular kind of body count I've been noticing in MCU movies for some time now.

I went and saw Thor: Love and Thunder this weekend. I did enjoy the movie, and I want to talk about something that is a spoiler for those who haven't seen it. So here is your SPOILER WARNING.

Got that?




Captain Marvel and The Wasp should watch their backs. Seriously. I think other than Pepper Potts, she's the only major female superhero lead who hasn't sacrificed herself and died so that a male superhero can go on to save everyone. Let's look at the female body count thus far in these MCU movies.

1) Black Widow. She sacrificed herself/died so that the Avengers can get the soulstone.

2) Gamora. She was killed by Thanos so that he could get the soulstone.

3) Jane Foster. She was killed by cancer. A wish could have brought her back, but it was used on the bad guy's daughter (to bring them back).

4) Scarlett Witch. She was killed when a mountain fell on her and crushed her to death.

5) Peggy Carter. She died of old age, but she's still dead.

6) The Ancient One. She was killed by Kaecilius and his murderous zealots, but not before setting Doctor Strange on the right path.

7) May Parker. She was killed by the Goblin Glider. It's arguable that she sacrificed herself for Peter Parker, and put him on the path that he is on today.

Lots of women making the ultimate sacrifice so that the boys can shine. I don't know what's up with the writers in the MCU, but this shit is glaring. Like is. Do you think it is sexism? Or is it coincidence? Please weigh in if I'm making "too much of a mountain out of this molehill."

Monday, July 11, 2022

Doing the right thing is an outdated trope that makes no logical sense yet guides our everyday interactions with each other.

What does it mean to "Do the right thing?" Here in Utah, our governor, Spencer Cox, was often on television during the pandemic asking Utahns to "do the right thing," but not mandating that you needed to wear a mask to help cut down on Covid spread. We soon learned that people do not do the right thing. And this makes me wonder...why do we even say this useless phrase? Why is it even in our vocabulary, this idea that people will somehow figure out what "the right thing is" (without spelling it out to a person) and then they will somehow act on this out of some sense of responsibility? Where does this concept come from? I have one idea.

Honor. Good old fashioned honor. But what is honor? Honor is tied up in self-esteem and an adherence to what is right or to a conventional standard of conduct. In medieval Japan, honor was elevated to a code called "Bushido." Honor, then was a primary value in the life of a warrior. It entailed self-respect and staying true to one's principles. Samurai fought for their good name starting from their early years, and they strived to protect and reinforce it throughout their lives. Therefore, any stigma or loss of that warrior's honor and dignity made the life completely pointless. "Shame" became like a scar on a tree. Rather than disappearing, it grew with time. This led many a warrior to commit seppuku, or ritual suicide.

In other areas of the world, honor meant pretty much the same thing: an adherence to a prescribed code of conduct by which one shouldn't deviate. But what does that mean in a country where every person is an individual, and they are encouraged to rely upon no one and to celebrate their own personal power? What it means is that there is no prescribed code of conduct that is recognized by everyone. People all have their own codes of conduct, and it can be as different from one person to the next as black is to white.

I think if we just assume that no one will ever do the right thing anymore (or that no one has any honor anymore), the world makes a lot more sense. We like to think (for example) that a person getting a year's worth of SSDI payments would do the right thing with their welfare check and either deposit it or put it in the bank for a rainy day. We don't like to think that the person took the year's lump sum payment and blew it on renting a theater out for a private showing of Thor: Love and Thunder. Yet, this kind of thing happens, and it infuriates the watchdogs who are already eye-twitching at welfare fraud.

And yeah...they won't have a rainy day fund and will probably need more government assistance in the future. Removing the judgy nature that might be inherent on me seeing this kind of thing happen and just observing it objectively...all I can say is, "This person didn't do the right thing." But then I feel a great deal of relief, because I learned that no one does the right thing anymore. No one wears masks. No one in charge of a company decides to forego a price increase to save a consumer money. No landlord anywhere decides not to charge "market rate" and raise the rent out of the goodness of their hearts. NO ONE DOES THE RIGHT THING. It's an outdated trope that no longer makes sense in a society that...for lack of a better way to describe it...has no honor.

But whether we like it or not, "doing the right thing" and "honor" are concepts that define how we live every day. Want an example of this? If a person "doesn't do the right thing," they are villainized. For example, let's say you are faced with a temptation to lie to your boss to take credit for something that will get you a raise. And then you do exactly that, and I find out about it. I'm likely to condemn you for being a liar and a manipulator to anyone who will listen.

Now let's look at an example of a person doing the right thing. Let's say a person, realizing they are in a drought, goes through extra steps to cut way down on their water use and then posts about it on social media. Well, that person is going to be attacked for "virtue signaling" and for being all "high and mighty." They are likely to be ridiculed for "doing the right thing" because "You think you are better than me and that your shit doesn't stink." Okay then. See how this is a Catch-22?

So, even though we live in a society where no one does the right thing, we in fact live in a society that very much expects it. We know that many fail and are deserving of ridicule, and those who don't fail should be torn down because they think they are better than everyone else. So there really is no right answer. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't. And maybe that is the single thing that makes the most sense in 2022 right now.

Friday, July 8, 2022

Added to my goals of 2022 is the acquisition of the new Alex Ross comic book recanting the origins of the Fantastic Four.

Alex Ross is probably my favorite comic book artist that is still alive. The late George Perez was my favorite comic book artist of all time...but all good things need to end I suppose. RIP George Perez. I learned that (just yesterday) Alex Ross is going to be at San Diego Comic Con this year, and he will be seated at booth #2415.

If you are one of the lucky folks who attend the convention, and you happen to also be one of the lucky folks who get to meet Alex Ross at his booth (I'm sure it will have like a three-hour line that will rapidly run out of product), you will be able to purchase his new comic book called Origins: Fantastic Four. Yes, I want a copy of this book desperately (as soon as I heard it was going to be available). And I can also just put my name on the waiting list (which is what I'm doing) that you can find at his website HERE.

Given that money is sloshing everywhere in our economy, I'm sure the $195 price point will not deter any of his fans (especially since Brandon Sanderson had fans that contributed $45 million to his platinum-lined coffers for books that they know nothing about). That's why inflation is running amok. People in this country appear to be loaded, but unequally so. The haves got money running out of their arse. The have nots...well...they are really struggling.

If you are unfamiliar with Alex Ross, he has a photo-realistic style that I really enjoy. Not only are his comics fun to page through, but pages of them are quite honestly frame-worthy. If I had full-sized prints in frames, I'd put them on the wall of my game room. This stunning, realistic style is in contrast to a lot of other kinds of comic book artists, who use line art with coloring to bring their heroes and stories to life. For lack of a better example, Ross paints his heroes and villains with the kind of passion as a renaissance painter. This serves to capture the emotion and movement and power of a scene in a different way. To look at his work technically, he uses gouache and wash paints (think of watercolor) but gouache is more opaque and wash is less opaque. The effect is to produce layers of color that have no clear brushstrokes. Below is an image he did of the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz, and you can immediately see what I'm talking about.

There are complaints of course. Some people think that Alex Ross's art is too good for comic books. In other words, they feel that it is just so damn good that when you are reading, it loses that comic book feel to it and starts to feel more like a literal picture book, which shakes you out of your suspension of disbelief. Others say that his commitment to realism and using models hurts him, because it emphasizes how silly these costumes would look like in real life. See below for an example of Ross painting the Flash and you'll see what I mean.

I think it manages to be both beautiful and goofy at the same time, which is probably not what many comic book nerds want. Additionally, word balloons do kind of look out of place in his comic books due to the jarring effect that they tend to have. Again...a minor complaint. Ross also tends to draw people in statuesque poses. This makes his art look a little out of place in a comic book. "Dynamic posing" is a staple of comics, and any tutorial will talk about energetic posing to a great degree. Anyway, none of that matters as it is all subjective to any collector. This collector (me) likes Alex Ross a lot, and I'm going to be happier when I get my hands on his new book. In the meantime, check out this panel that I got from his website. It exudes the Alex Ross feel I love from his previous publications.
Click to Embiggen

Have a great weekend. I'm seeing Thor: Love and Thunder tonight, so I'll probably be reviewing that movie on Monday.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

What setting would you choose if you could live in any book universe?

Well, we have all reached mid-year (and summer up here in the states). Temps are hot, and grass is dying out here in the West (and we've had our first wildfire on the mountain just north of where I live). With the 4th of July behind us, it's now time to do another post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. This is a monthly blog fest started by Alex Cavanaugh, a widely-read science fiction author. If you'd like to sign-up for this blog fest to connect with the writing community online, you can go HERE and do so. Here are a few other things to note about this:

What is the purpose of the IWSG?: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

When do we post?: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! Otherwise, when you leave a comment, people can't find you to comment back.

The Twitter handle if you use that platform is @TheIWSG and the official hashtag is #IWSG.

The awesome co-hosts for the July 6 posting of the IWSG are J Lenni Dorner, Janet Alcorn, PJ Colando, Jenni Enzor, and Diane Burton!

Every month, a question is announced that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

The question is always optional. However, I've been doing this thing for so long, that I nearly always answer the question. With that out of the way, here is the July 2022 question of the month:

If you could live in any book world, which one would you choose?

Oh, this is an easy one. I'd live in the Star Trek universe. Admittedly, Star Trek is mostly a universe that exists on television and in the movies. But there are plenty of Star Trek novels, so I think this is fair game. The Trek universe is my version of heaven, and it's pretty much a liberal utopia (my politics). Differing views are respected, diversity is honored, people are working together toward a common goal, the society is post-scarcity, and there is exploration throughout the galaxy with tons of interesting races to interact with and places to see. I would want to be a part of a crew, maybe a science officer or a medical officer of some kind. The ship's counselor sounds like a pretty good gig, and a nice role to have. Also, even being the bartender on a starship might be kinda fun. Anyway, that's where I'd land if I had a powerful wish that could make it so. 

Friday, July 1, 2022

Dungeons & Dragons is exploding in popularity and I think it is being driven by a mental health crisis.

I had a somewhat strange experience on Wednesday evening. A couple friends I made at the local game store invited me down to what they call a "session zero" designed for people to talk about the content of a tabletop roleplaying game like Dungeons & Dragons, and to discuss woke topics like 1) representation, 2) sexual content, 3) pronouns, and 4) things that trigger people. I'd never attended one of these, and I was surprised to find the table completely packed with over ten people (way too many for a game) all outlining their expectations for a tabletop RPG.

This was something I had never seen before, and at the risk of sounding like an old fart who yells at cloud, I thought it was kind of disturbing. I'm a liberal and a democrat. However, I'd be considered far right to some of these folks. It's very strange to see how sensitive people are in their interactions with others, and how much expectation they heap upon someone who just wants to get a game together with another person for the purpose of having fun. Folks, making friends has gotten very complicated.

The other shock of the day was that there was literally no room for me to play. So I'd have to look elsewhere to find a game. This puzzled me for a little while, and then I realized I'd been noticing this phenomenon more and more since the pandemic. Additionally, it suddenly hit me that the grocery stores I've been shopping at have not been as crowded lately. It's a combination of high prices (out of control inflation) and a crisis in mental health.

People (I believe) are scared, and they can't afford to go on vacation. They can't afford a lot of things, and so they are seeking out free entertainment like someone running a D&D game at a game store. Dungeons & Dragons has always been escapist. This latest phenomenon of tons of people overwhelming what few Dungeon Masters there are to go around looks a lot like, "I need something to escape the world in which I live." In other words, these tabletop RPG's have become a kind of therapy, similar to smoking mushrooms when you have PTSD. 

And in case you are wondering why this might be necessary, I have a friend who is on a waiting list for a therapist that is 8 months long. Given the amount of trauma being visited upon a large portion of the United States in the form of authoritarian edicts from the Supreme Court, coupled with climate crisis, gas prices that are the highest I've ever seen, and housing prices that are in the stratosphere, I think I can completely understand why people are seeking to flee...anywhere that they can. These are very strange times. I've never seen so many homeless people. They are everywhere in my city in places you would not expect. There are huge tent cities on sidewalks all throughout downtown, and there is litter and needles tossed on concrete and asphalt to just bake in the intense sun (everything is hotter and drier too). 

Anyway, it's just another hypothesis caused by another observation that I've made. I have no idea what it all means. The bigger picture is elusive, and I feel like I may paint things with too broad of a stroke. But I think that Dungeons & Dragons is exploding in popularity, and I believe it is being driven by a mental health crisis from which many people have no escape.

I'll be taking the 4th of July (Monday) off from blogging. Have a great weekend. I'll see you back here next week for the Insecure Writer's Support Group post.