Thursday, February 23, 2023

Darkship Thieves: a book review

I never read Darkship Thieves while it was a Baen book.  Recently, Sarah Hoyt re-released it, as she got her rights to it back, and I pulled it to read via Kindle Unlimited.  I deeply regret not having read it before--it's a massively fun romp.  

Per the back cover: 

Athena Hera Sinistra never wanted to go to space.

Never wanted see the eerie glow of the Powerpods. Never wanted to visit Circum Terra. She never had  any interest in finding out the truth about the Darkships.
You always get what you don’t ask for. Which must have been why she woke up in the dark of shipnight, within the greater night of space in her father’s space cruiser, knowing that there was a stranger in her room. In a short time, after taking out the stranger—who turned out to be one of her father’s bodyguards up to no good, she was hurtling away from the ship in a lifeboat to get help.
But what she got instead would be the adventure of a lifetime and perhaps a whole new world—if she managed to survive….
A Prometheus Award Winning Novel, written by a USA Today Bestseller.

I can't say a lot without giving everything away, but I can say that the character development is spectacular, and the plot and pacing are incredibly well done.  I deeply enjoyed the book, and have snagged the second in the series to read. 

I will probably be buying this book when I can.  Because I will want to read it again. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Sample from my upcoming...

 This is the first part of the first short story from a collection I'll be publishing soon.  I'm in the final stages of editing, now.  Hope you enjoy it!

A Friend, Indeed

 “Momma, there’s a dragon in my wagon.” 

Zoe blinked awake, rubbed her eyes, and blinked some more. “What did you say, baby?” she murmured, voice rough and scratchy with the nap she hadn’t intended to take when she’d laid down.

Zoe hadn’t been sleeping well. Neither had Tish, her daughter. Since Duane had deployed, she’d been waking up with nightmares every few hours. Zoe don’t know what he did tucking the little four-year-old girl in that was different from what she was doing, but she’d never had so many.

“I said there’s a dragon in my wagon. In the back yard. I was gonna go out and play, but it’s there.”  She popped a thumb in her mouth, frowning worriedly.

The exhausted woman closed her eyes and sighed. A dragon. In her wagon. Zoe supposed her daughter simply wanted her momma out in the back yard with her, since she was feeling her daddy’s absence. “Is it a friendly dragon, or an unfriendly one?” she asked, humoring her little girl. Her daughter was only four, and this was the first time her daddy had been gone longer than his two weeks a year training. She wasn’t taking it well.

Hell, neither was Zoe. Even without counting Tish’s nightmares, she had trouble falling and staying asleep without the warm, breathing hulk of her husband next to her. Her eyes were drifting closed again, against her will while Tish considered her question.

“I don’t know, Momma, it’s sleeping. I didn’t go near it. I didn’t even open the outside door—I saw it through the glass when I opened the inside door to go into the back yard. It looks like it’s only about the size of my floppy dog.” She blinked big brown eyes at her mother, while Zoe tried desperately to keep her own eyes from falling shut.

“Tish, can you hand me my shoes?” Zoe forced her eyes open wide, trying to wake up enough. “We can go investigate.” 

“I have them already, Momma,” she said, holding out the canvas slip-on shoes Zoe kicked into for grabbing the mail from the box down by the street.

She sighed and sat up, shoving her thick, black hair that had escaped from her braid out of her eyes with one hand, taking the shoes with the other to set on the floor so she could shove her bare feet into them. “You said it was in the back, right?  What color was the dragon?”

“It was the same green as my juice,” she replied, reaching up and wrapping her small hand around Zoe’s index and middle fingers. “It was really pretty in the yellow wagon, on the red leaves.”

Zoe smiled down at her. “I bet it was,” she said, thinking of that yellow Little People/Duplos plastic thing Tish insisted had to go into the back yard. Duane really would have preferred her to have a little red, metal wagon, like the one he’d grown up playing with, but this one was what they’d found, and what she’d loved.

Since it was November, it was full of dead leaves that she’d been using it to transport from one leaf pile to another around the yard. “I wonder if the dragon is in your wagon because it wants to sleep in your leaves,” Zoe mused.

She looked up at her mother, brow scrunched and brown eyes thoughtful. “I dunno,” she said. “Could be, if it doesn’t mind how scratchy leaves are. They are soft.”

The back yard had a really high privacy fence surrounding it. It was one of the things Zoe and Duane had liked about the house when they’d moved in: with the gate closed and locked, it was safe for a little girl to go out and play by herself. Usually. And their little girl was very independent. Usually.

Zoe opened the back door and looked out. And blinked.

Tish hadn’t been making things up to get her mother to go outside with her. There actually was a dragon in her wagon. It was about the size of a basset hound. Same general shape, too, with a long body. Just…there were also wings.

And it was looking at them, with golden eyes about as mournful as a basset’s.

“Momma…the dragon looks sad,” Tish observed.

“I noticed,” Zoe said absently. “Stay here.” 

“Okay,” she said softly.

She opened the back storm door and stepped out on the top step, closing the door carefully behind her. And really looked at the dragon, her arms crossed. She didn’t go any closer. It dropped its head and whined, wiggling in the wagon. The dragon was heavy enough to rock it on its wheels, plastic creaking ominously.

It sounded like the bassets Zoe had known—both the one she’d grown up with, and the one that they’d had until Tish had turned two—used to when they wanted scritches. That had to be why she went down and sat on the bottom step, about six feet from her daughter’s little plastic wagon full of dead maple leaves.

The dragon…the dragon hopped out of the wagon, and slunk over to her, creeping close to the ground even considering its short legs, and kind of sidling a little. As soon as it got close enough, it went belly down and crept the rest of the way before sitting up and laying its head on her knee. It looked up at her mournfully, then up at where Tish was standing, hands and face pressed to the glass of the door. And it whined again, and then nudged its head under her hand, just like a dog would, when it wanted to be stroked.

So, Zoe obliged, stroked its bright green snout, up to its brow ridges. The dragon’s jaw fell open, a bright red, forked tongue falling sideways out its mouth. Like a dog’s, just…forked. Its breath was hotter than she expected, considering she was currently petting and scratching a four-footed creature with scales. Not hot, like threatening fire, just hot like a mammal’s.

Even though it was clearly reptile-like, it was definitely not a reptile. Really lizard-like, low-slung with scales, just…warm-blooded. Maybe more like a bird?  But…birds had two legs and wings, not four. And feathers.

Zoe shook her head, trying to think past the exhausted fog as she looked at the creature begging for affection, and eyeing her daughter with longing. Not a bird. Not a lizard, either, despite the four legs and scales. And wings? So, six limbs, and warm blooded, but otherwise looking like a lizard. She really didn’t know what to make of it, but could tell it was happy with the attention.

“You like that, huh?” she said, rubbing around a weird, ragged-looking ear. Not like a dog’s, but not the exposed membrane of a reptile, nor the feather-covered membrane of a bird. Just…weird. Scaly and floppy. It leaned hard into the rubbing and…grumbled wasn’t quite the right word. One hind leg started thumping.

Zoe couldn’t help but smile. She glanced up to where Tish was dancing in impatience, but staying in the house like a good girl. “Come on out, honey, but go slow,” she said.

The dragon, after all, had very, very sharp predator’s teeth. And even if it was acting like a dog, it wasn’t one.

It whined again as the door came open, and closed very quietly. Trembled as she came slowly down the steps on the other side of Zoe from the dragon. And then, the dragon crawled across her lap to shove its head into her daughter’s arms, and try to cuddle with both of them at once.

And Zoe could tell why the plastic wagon had been creaking: the dragon weighed around half again more than her four year old.

Tish’s delighted giggle had the dragon jerking away to gallop around the back yard in sheer joy, which let Zoe get a better look at it. It was long and low, with short legs like a basset. It stretched its stubby wings out to help it keep its balance in the turns.

She wondered where it came from, and if it could fly.

It wound up crawling up under Tish’s arm and draping its front half over her lap, nudging against her cheek and chin with that smooth snout. And she cuddled the dragon, cooing happily as it blinked and smiled at her, bright red, forked tongue hanging from one side of its mouth. Zoe couldn’t help but smile, and reach down to scratch behind the dragon’s ear again. It grunted and started thumping the step with a hind leg, disarming Zoe further, the more it acted like a dog.

Tish smiled up at her, brown eyes bright, and dimples showing. “Momma, can we keep it?”

She hesitated. The dragon whined, climbing half over Tish’s lap to nuzzle Zoe’s arm and add hopeful eyes to Tish’s request. Zoe sighed. “I suppose,” she said hesitantly. “We can keep the dragon for as long as it will stay.” 

It licked her face. With raw meat-smelling breath. She sighed, wiping the rather slimy slobber off—there honestly wasn’t much—and pushed up to her feet. “I’m going to get a chair,” she said, “and a bowl for water.”

Both were just inside the back door. If either had been much further away, she’d not have gone for them. Because she’d been raised knowing you didn’t leave a child unsupervised with any animal for long at all.

They had the supplies to get a dog—they’d had a dog for a while, and then she’d passed. She’d been a great dog. Zoe wished, in a way, that Tish had been old enough to remember her, but in another, she was glad that Tish didn’t miss her dog for long. They’d either thrown away or donated most of the things they’d had for the dog, but not all of them. The things they still had would be about the right size for a basset-hound-sized dragon…she thought.

Zoe still wasn’t convinced she wasn’t hallucinating. Dragons weren’t real. Couldn’t be real. Because it was scaled like a lizard, but warm-blooded like a mammal. Or bird. Just with four legs. And a pair of wings, so six limbs, total. It acted like a dog, but she couldn’t quite get past the differences. The critter was strange.

The phone rang, while she was getting the bowl and the umbrella chair next to the back door. There was a handset and charger base just inside the kitchen, next to the stove, and she ducked in to grab it and answer. “Coffman’s residence, Zoe speaking,” she said, pinning the handset between her shoulder and ear.

“Zoe, it’s Mom.”  She hesitated. “I hate to ask you this, but has there been anything…strange…going on?”

She thought wryly of the dragon in the back yard. “Not much, no,” she said. “I do have a four-year-old with a vivid imagination who’s upset that her daddy’s been gone for a month, and has no idea when he’ll be back, and a bad case of prego-mush-brain, but other than that?  Nothing terribly strange.”

Just the dragon in the back yard that shouldn’t exist, she thought.

Her mom hummed. Then realized what Zoe had said. “Prego-mush-brain?  Are you pregnant?  Again?”

“You make it sound like I’m pregnant so often,” Zoe said drily. “This is only the second time.”

“But…but Duane isn’t there,” she said.

“He’s not been gone that long,” Zoe replied tartly, offended.

“That wasn’t what I meant,” she lamented. “Does he know?”

Zoe carried the bowl and chair and phone out in the back yard. Set the bowl down, and filled it with water. “Mom. He’s been gone a month. I just started the second trimester. He was with me for the first appointment, and saw and heard the bean’s heartbeat, and saw it jumping around on the portable ultrasound screen they brought in when they couldn’t find it with the Doppler. I am not scheduled for the big sonogram for another two weeks.” 

“Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” she demanded.

Zoe sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose. “When did I tell you about my pregnancy with Tish?” Tish was bouncing around the back yard, giggling, and jumping into the piles of leaves she’d gathered. The green dragon bounced around behind her, moving like an extra-large ferret, and piling into the leaves after her, shoving its head down and flipping leaves into the air.

It was so cute it damn near gave her cavities. And it was one of the first times in the past two weeks Tish had played so happily and enthusiastically.

“Halfway through your second trimester, when you had started showing and couldn’t hide it anymore,” she replied acidly.

“No, Mom. Halfway through my second trimester, when the dangers of miscarriage dropped to nearly nothing,” Zoe pointed out. “You know. When you wouldn’t have your heart broken by losing another grandchild, like you did with Steve’s wife’s baby they lost right after they told you?”

She went silent for a moment. Then, “Oh. I see. Well. I guess that teaches me to make assumptions.”  Her voice was apologetic—Zoe knew that was probably all she’d get, since she wasn’t her mother’s darling youngest son who was perfect in every way. In her mother’s sight.

But only there. Everywhere else, Zoe’s little brother was a flaky twit, who should thank God every day he’d managed to marry so far above his worth.

“What kind of strangeness were you calling about, anyway?” she asked, after she’d let her mother brood a bit.

“Oh. Not much, really,” she said hesitantly. “Only…your brother called, and swore up, down, and sideways, he’d seen horse with a horn, running around with a herd of deer. I was wondering if he was on something, or if he’d actually seen something…unusual.”

“You mean mythological,” Zoe said flatly. “I’d say it was safer to assume he was on something until you get verification otherwise.”

“It’s one of the reasons I called you,” she explained, matter of fact. “You always have your head on straight, and you’d be more likely to know one way or the other.”

Zoe sighed. “Mom, Tish is in the back yard. I really need to go.” 

“Call me later, and tell me how you’re doing,” she demanded.

“Tired as hell, but the queasy is fading,” she said. “I’ll call sometime soon, when she’s gone down for a nap.”

Zoe found herself holding a phone giving her a fast beep as her mother hung up without saying goodbye, like she always did. She had this superstition that actually saying goodbye was bad luck, and would end with someone’s death.

She rolled her eyes, and leaned the umbrella chair against the house, thinking about what else they still had for a dog that might work for a dragon. Or what it might need. Shelter. A food dish. A collar?  Probably not that. Beds, bedding. Probably not a kennel for the house, either.

Shelter first. Zoe frowned, scratched her head while she tried to think, and then remembered where the dog house was: in someone else’s yard after they’d set it on the curb. She would have to either build or buy a new one, if the dragon decided to stay with them for long. And if the dragon spent much time outside.

The pillow, bedding, and toys would need to be replaced. They’d tossed the old stuff since it’d been old and worn when the dog had passed away. So Zoe would need to buy everything new.

The dragon galloped along after Tish, using its wings, now and then, to help it make a turn, or to keep it on its feet after a jump over a toy. Tongue hanging out of the side of its mouth, just like a dog.

Tish finally got tired, and went over to her favorite spot to sit, over in a small hollow beneath the spindly little maple tree, and flopped down. The dragon followed, curling around behind her with its head under her hand, and sighed as she started petting it. She scooched down to lay against the dragon, twisting over onto her side, murmuring to it. Zoe couldn’t hear what she was saying, but the dragon seemed to be listening intently.

Zoe got up, then paused and squinted toward the sun, thinking about the time. “Tish, it’s time to go in for a while,” she called.

“Can I bring Buddy?” she called back, climbing to her feet.

“Why did you call it Buddy?”

“Buddy isn’t an it,” she said firmly. “Buddy’s a boy. And it’s his name.”

Zoe looked down at the dragon. There wasn’t any visible cue of sex, so she had to ask. “How do you know that?”

“He told me. In my head.”

“Of course,” Zoe murmured to herself. “How stupid of me.” She eyed the dragon’s feet. The talons were blunt, and didn’t look like they’d damage the floors any more than the dog’s had, so she shrugged. “Why not. We’ll see if Buddy can be a house-friend.”

She squealed, hugged the dragon (apparently named Buddy, now) around its long, scaly neck, and scampered for the house, the dragon happily gallumphing behind her, pausing to look up at Zoe as she held open the door. “It’s okay,” she said, nodding toward the interior of the house. “You can go in. Just no crapping on the floor.”

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Learn something all the time...

I have always hated beans.  Pintos, in particular.  

When I was growing up, my grandma made beans all the time.  Pinto beans, in water.  She added nothing but salt.  

I always HATED beans.  But I loved the days when she'd make beans.  Because she always made cornbread (and set out orange marmalade), and sides could include fried ham (sliced thick), pickled beets (home canned), mock apple rings (pickled cucumber rings, but done with apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, brown sugar, and a few other things you'd find in pie), and a lot of other things.  

Grandma's beans were...gross.  I'd choke them down first, then fill up on sides.

So I thought I hated beans.  Turned out, I hated how Grandma made beans.  

I don't make beans like that.  Ever.  Because they're absolutely nasty, plain.  So, I've started experimenting.  And thus far, I have discovered that they're decent when you add the right things: cumin, garlic, and onions, for a start. And salt.  Enough salt is an absolute must (I add it after a half an hour under pressure). Chili powder's pretty good in them, too, when the whim strikes.  And...a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar when the second cooking cycle's done in the instant pot.  Right before serving (or added to the beans before you dump them in the blender for refried beans to add to tacos).   

The instant pot just beeped.  Time to go add the vinegar to the beans before we turn them into tacos.  

(And I'll be making soft tacos for the other half to take for lunch for the week.)

Thursday, February 16, 2023

What are you reading?

Here, let me make some recommendations.  All of these are available as Kindle Unlimited, so that if you're a subscriber (at $10/month), you can borrow and read these without risking something you don't enjoy.  

Dyce Dare--cozy mysteries.  Massive fun.

This one is one of my favorite comfort reads.  The book form of curling up in a blanket with a cup of something hot on a chilly, rainy day. 

This one was massive fun, but be aware that it's 1st person POV throughout, but switches which head you're in between two characters. 

LOTS of fun.  And yes, I do read Westerns with fair frequency.  Between J.L. Curtis and Peter Grant, the genre's really not dead. 

Sort of modern Western/law enforcement type story.  It's really interconnected shorter pieces that set up the characters and world that goes for several more books.

This is a pretty good variety of genres, I know, but I have read and enjoyed (or, in the case of the first, am reading and enjoying) each of the above books, and highly recommend them.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Been busy.

REALLY busy.  

As in: I finished a book (in second draft form) busy, and got it off to my less-busy beta readers (one is too busy, and has another one of my pieces he's working through).  I've also put new covers on my Kindle versions of my Legends series, and got them linked together.  

I think next year, I'm going to start pulling and revising my books, one at a time.  

I've also been busy with the kids--the imp has an extracurricular club at the library on some weekends (but not others), and the pixie has an anime/manga club she's been hovering around the edges of at the library. I need a good calendar because I'm having a hard time keeping up with who's doing what when.  No, I can't just use my phone, for a few different reasons: I don't know how to set it up, I hate it, and I tend to ignore it when I'm not picking up groceries.  I don't use the calendar on my laptop because I refuse to allow that much free data out there for other people.  

No, I just need to...get a calendar.  A good desk calendar.  Because what I tried doing last year ended up...well.  Mostly destroyed.  Because it didn't stand up well under getting something slid over the top of it.  And then it had something spilled on it, and I gave up.

Hmm.  Maybe a vinyl folder cover for a calendar would work...This takes some thought.  


Sunday, February 5, 2023

Ugh, what hit me?

I spent a lot of last week in a fog.  It was a little better yesterday and today, but I could not get my brain to function on more than a minimal level while I was up and trying to do housework from about Wednesday through yesterday.  It was deeply unpleasant, as you can probably guess...

All I did was make two cups of coffee in the Keurig Wednesday morning.  Not even something I hadn't done before, but that was  Knocked me on my ass for the rest of the week.  

During that time, I did manage to get some things done, including a couple of blog posts that...honestly, were better than my brain could manage without help.  I'm pretty sure Someone took my brain fog and used it to transmit something that He wanted said.  

It's a good reminder that everything I have and am comes from Him, and that the gifts I have are from Him.  And that they need to be used.  

It was pretty clear, after all, in the parable of the talents: use what you've been given to better your life, don't just bury it.  

Now, I just have to figure out how to use what I've been given for the sake of my family a little better.  That's gonna take more than a little bit of thought: I am going to need to do some cataloguing of my abilities and looking for marketability. 

Friday, February 3, 2023

Might wanna rethink things, there, morons.

I'm gonna write this for the atheists out there.  The ones screeching about the "evils" permitted by the Judeo-Christian God.  

I want to draw to your attention, guys, how hard you've been working to destroy the culture of over a thousand years, one shaped by Christianity and based in the Mosaic laws laid out in the Bible.  It's been hard, and you've been working at it for over a hundred years, patting yourselves on the back that you're the smart ones...

You spent a hundred, hundred twenty years working to infiltrate the way we teach our children (lots of success, there), the way we socialize, the way we entertain ourselves during our leisure periods, everywhere.  You're in the stories, you run the stories.  You've taken over movies, TV, music, everything.  

You've infiltrated the churches.  I don't know how you managed that, given how much you profess to not believe in God in the first place, but you did it.  

Except.  You haven't succeeded.  Not really.  Not anywhere that culture had taken root and flourished.  

People have quit going to movies.  People have quit reading.  People have been quitting paying attention to your mouthpieces in the media.  People have been pulling their kids out of the schools and denying you access there.  

You...are flailing, trying harder to destroy things faster so that the Paradise of the Noble Savage can return to the face of the earth.  

What you fail to realize is that the savage is not, and never has been, noble.  Savages are just that: savage.  They live for the moment, and they destroy whatever they can't claim as theirs.  Savages enslave each other, savage each other.  

And they die young, of horrible things that modern medicine could have treated, if only modern medicine weren't in your sights to destroy (and, indeed, have succeeded in destroying a lot of levels of).  

And you've still failed.  Because we are working against you.  

We are those who still follow the way of The Book.  Because we know who is behind the destruction of everything God has led us to create.  

Thing is, He does create.  He reshapes things that are good into things better.  He found, four thousand years ago, a few who could still hear Him, and He led them out of a civilization built on and by savages.  He led them out, and He spent hundreds of years reshaping the culture they'd held onto.  He led them to reject the savagery, the banality, the evil of the culture of the Savage.  

It took a lot of really nasty hardship.  It took a slow, steady approach.  It took redefining cultural practices, bit by bit.  Little by little.  Incremental improvements.  Building good habits to replace the bad.  

It took a couple hundred years of slavery.  Generations of being slaves, then being freed slaves, before He could push improvements for slaves.  And honestly, redefine what slavery is, and how slaves are to be treated.  

The Mosaic laws--the laws that God handed directly to Moses on Mount Sinai--defined an entire culture.  It had to: the culture that the Israelites hung onto through generations of slavery was a foundation, but only that, and what those people had was enough for slaves, but not enough for a free nation.  The instant Moses turned his back, they fell into the idolatry and worship of the wickedness they'd been surrounded by, because they only had the foundation, not the walls, not the habits to be better.  

It took a full generation wandering in the desert for Him to build that culture in His people.  Forty years going in circles in a desert that could be walked straight across in a couple of months, because of how long it took for the new habits, new patterns of thought to be built in a people who barely had a foundation to build on.  

Before that, slavery was...well.  It made what we've been told the black slaves our Southern states held look benevolent.  The slave owner could do literally anything to his slave, including starve them to death, work them to death, or just kill them on a whim.  It never ended.  Slavery from birth to death, with death being the respite for most.  

The Mosaic laws redefined slavery: the masters were given a list of things they could not do.  The period of slavery was defined, and the masters had to offer their slaves freedom every set period of years, and had to take them in as a family pet, basically, if they refused their freedom, to ensure that they weren't thrown out as useless when they couldn't work any more.  

 Those laws set the foundation for an entire culture that rejects slavery in all its institutions.  Our culture--the Judeo-Christian American culture--has fully rejected slavery, hard.  To the point we often don't recognize chattel slavery practiced in secret in front of us. 

And that...that is the culture you atheists are denying exists, and what you aim to destroy. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

The shape of the thing

This nation is under attack.  Harsh, unrelenting attack.

Actually, that's wrong.  It's not the nation.  It's the culture.  And it's the assumptions and values that underlie the culture.  

It's not new.  It's been under fairly constant attack from the very beginning.  It's gotten more blatant, and the attacks are really, really obvious, now.  Unfortunately, I think most people are misidentifying the assailant.  

No, it's not the left, not Marxists, not feminists, not any of the other -ists, villainous though they may be in and of themselves.  They're just the tool.  The weapon.  

The antagonist we're looking at is...

Well.  Better to illustrate.  

Thousands of years ago, there was a tiny group that heard a still, small voice.  That voice led them away from a land where raping and sacrificing children and animals to bestial, evil ideals in the hopes that they'd leave humanity alone was the norm.  Sound familiar, yet?  No?  

The god of money demanded the sacrifice of infants; today, he calls for the sacrifice of the unborn.  

The god of fertility demanded unrestrained sexuality; today, he calls for the same, and insists that it's "normal." 

Judaism was founded on a rejection of those ideals; Christianity built on that rejection, and on the culture He shaped with His rejection.  We, the United States of America, are a Christian nation.

God Himself
is a rejection of those ideals, and He calls for us to reject them.  To follow a better, healthier, more stable way.  We do not murder children.  We do not rape children.  We do not look at the things our neighbor has, get angry that he has them and we don't, and destroy his things; we work for our own.  We don't lie about each other to ruin each other's lives.  We don't murder each other for fun and profit (but we defend ourselves from those who do).  

The Bible is a guide, yes, but it's also an illustration of a deliberate, ongoing shaping of culture, and an illustration of what happens when people turn away from His ideals.  

The shape of the attack on the United States today is the same shape as the attacks humanity has undergone from day one, in the Garden.  Nihilism writ large.  It is lies, it is envy, it is destructive of all that is good and healthy.  

It is angry that we have that which it does not: a soul, and the freedom to choose, gifted to us by God.  With those things, we have creativity, we have the capacity for growth unparalleled in nature.  

And that which attacks us, attacks our culture...does not.  

And that which it cannot claim, cannot possess, it will attempt to destroy.  

Marxism imitates it, but is only a very, very pale shadow.  It's a handy tool, though, because it's not obviously the same as every other attack.  And it's had more success as a tool, a lever, a pry bar, in the last hundred years than anything else.  

But Marxism is only the tool.  It's not the antagonist.  

We the people, the nation, the culture need to recognize the antagonist.  And we need to reject it, its so-called culture, its "normal," and its ideology.  

Refuse to participate in what it wants.  

Turn your back on it, and turn to He who wants what's best for us all.