Saturday, June 20, 2020

Poem The Memory of Oblivion.

Poem The Memory of Oblivion.: Trying to use words when you don't remember what to say is a game of the mind that no longer wants to serve. She tries carefully to express her feelings or a memory of the past that has suddenly arrived, she comes to my aid wanting to communicate, to...

I worked with the elderly, including many dementia patients, for a cumulative of about 25 years. When it became personal after losing my own loved ones to dementia, I couldn't do it anymore. 
While watching her husband, the popular country musician Glen Campbell lose himself to Alzheimer's, his wife Kim said that it's better to die some other way. I agree with her.

Thank you for sharing this image and your thoughts of your grandmother.

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What Pegman Saw in R'lyeh + Blow Your Stack Saturday + Weekend Writing Warriors

Image found at Yanni's Inner Sanctum

While the battle for the souls of all sentient beings raged silently in the background of the lives of those too busy to even know whether or not they had a soul, Pegman dove deep into the South Pacific Ocean until he reached the nightmare corpse-city of R'lyeh. Pegman recalled the words from his friend H.P. Lovecraft's tale, "The Nameless City."

“That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die."

"Howard, you had no way of knowing how your words would impact the generations to come," Pegman thought as he reached the green, slimy vaults where dead Cthulhu waits dreaming. "You believed yourself to be a meaningless and forgettable man when you were anything but. You had the power to see and record incomprehensible and terrible truths. Oh, you gave credence to some ludicrous and unpleasant beliefs when you were alive, but this was driven by your fear of the unknown.

"Sadly, people in this time seem incapable of recognizing another's faults with compassion rather than disdain and see only your errors in judgment born of your strange circumstances rather than your better qualities. I wonder if it is possible for humanity to discriminate between right and wrong action without resorting to disdain or outright hatred in every case. As Martin Luther King said following the assassination of Malcolm X: 'we haven’t learned to disagree without being violently disagreeable.'"

~Cie for Naughty Netherworld Press~

Ornery Owl
Free use image from Pixabay by Open Clipart Vectors
Fat. Ornery. Nerdy. Basically me as an owl.

Sly Fawkes, my politically-minded alter-ego
Image copyright Julia Henze purchased from

What Pegman Saw is the creation of J. Hardy Carroll, who has stepped down as the host the Pegman blog hop, but you should check out his other work.
The logo was created by me using a stock image at

This graphic was created by me at using one of their stock images.
It is free to use, no credit required.

And now, the notes!
Cthulhu and R'lyeh are the creations of H.P. Lovecraft (1890 - 1937). They appear in his story "The Call of Cthulhu," first published in the June 1928 issue of Weird Tales.

The Nameless City is a short story by H.P. Lovecraft. It was first published in the November 1921 issue of The Wolverine.

The quote by Martin Luther King (1929 - 1968) comes from a press conference held 24 February 1965 following the assassination of Malcolm X (1925 - 1965). 

I was 9 days old at the time of this press conference.

 I was sad to see that J. Hardy Carroll will no longer be hosting the Pegman blog hop, but I certainly understand needing to take a step back from one project to focus on others. I made the decision a couple of months ago to dramatically restructure my blogging process and, let's be real, it's been a rough ride. 

I am unofficially adopting Pegman. I don't have the organizational skills or the energy to run a proper blog hop, but the Pegster has become an integral part of my world, so he will continue to appear here and I will always give credit to J. Hardy Carroll with a link to his blog. Visit him here.

I am no longer adhering to the 150-word rule that is traditional for Pegman prompts. Instead, I am adhering to the Weekend Writing Warriors eight to ten sentence rule. For the foreseeable future, I will be sharing my Pegman stories with Weekend Writing Warriors because I am working on numerous projects and my ADHD brain has a tendency to complicate things. So, we'll keep this part simple-ish. That being said, the notes will include Shameless Self-Promotion of my projects for Shameless Self-Promotion Saturday. However, Self-Promotion Saturday is being pre-empted today to accommodate a special broadcast from Blow Your Stack Saturday.

This piece went in a much different direction than I originally intended. I was going to have Pegman pay a visit to R'lyeh and maybe have a chat with Cthulhu, but then I remembered reading a post on Facebook where people were railing about what a horrible transphobic transphobe J.K. Rowling is, and, of course, someone had to jump on the "I Hate H.P. Lovecraft" bandwagon, stating that they "love the writing but hate the writer."

I have a lot of trepidation about doing what I'm about to do because I'm a very shy person with a high level of social anxiety who hates conflict. However, there comes a time when one must speak one's mind, and I'm about to speak mine for better or worse, knowing that it's probably going to be worse.

J.K. Rowling did not say that she hates transgender people. She said that women experience sex-based oppression. She denounced the use of dehumanizing terms such as "menstruators" and refuted the frankly ludicrous idea that people can literally change their sex. The conflation of sex and gender in recent years has led to a myriad of misunderstandings and a lot of unnecessary vitriol. 

Sex and gender are not the same things. A few radicalized trans rights activists started touting the erroneous idea that "biological sex is a social construct," and a plethora of W0KE souls wanting to prove that they are up in the now and super-duper not transphobic (unlike those transphobes who believe in equality and tolerance for everyone including trans people but know that biological sex is an empirical reality) jumped on that misdirected bandwagon. One can utilize medical treatments such as hormone therapy and surgery to alter their secondary sex characteristics to more closely resemble the sex that they identify with. One cannot, however, literally change one's biological sex. This statement is not hateful, it is simply a fact. 

I live with my son and a housemate who identifies as a transgender woman. My housemate comes from extreme poverty and was living in her car. She has not had any surgery or hormone treatments and does not dress in "women's clothing." She is a friend of my son's whom he met on Discord. When she introduced herself to me, she said "you can call me Sally, or you can call me Kevin, whichever you're more comfortable with."

I have no problem calling my housemate Sally or using the pronoun "her" when speaking of my housemate. My housemate knows that she is biologically male. There is really no reason why this should ever come up, except in cases where medical treatment is necessary. There are certain medications that are helpful to males but harmful to females and vice-versa. Further, medical personnel caring for a transgender person would need to have this information in order to avoid potentially devastating drug interactions if the transgender person is receiving hormone therapy. 

I am a gender-critical feminist, and this earns me a lot of hate on social media.  I get called names like "TERF c**t" and told that I should be raped or murdered.  (TERF stands for "trans-exclusionary radical feminist.") There are people who say that being gender-critical is "transphobic." There are also transgender people who are gender-critical, and they get hate and death threats heaped on them too. This includes transgender activists such as transman Buck Angel and transwoman Miranda Yardley, two intelligent and thoughtful people whose work I greatly admire.

For further evidence of the violent rhetoric directed at women who disagree with the radical "trans rights activist" agenda, check out This collection of screenshots showcases the misogynistic hostility that women who have been found guilty of wrong-think are subjected to. 

Here is what being gender-critical means to me.

I do not think that anyone should have to change their personality to fit their biological sex. I do not think that a man should have to act stereotypically "macho" or a woman should have to present herself in a stereotypically "ladylike" fashion. I think that if a man likes to wear dresses, put on makeup, and call himself Sarah, it's all good. Or if a woman wants to wear her hair short, dress in straight-leg jeans and cowboy boots with a white t-shirt, fix trucks and call herself Jimbo, that's perfectly fine. I will refer to Sarah as she and Jimbo as he if that is what they would like me to do. 

I also do not think that anyone should feel that they have to take hormones or have surgery to take on desired secondary sex characteristics. I have extreme trepidation about these measures being employed in the cases of those who have not yet reached adulthood. The idea that a girl who likes blue, prefers to wear trousers rather than dresses, and enjoys playing with trucks and building things is "actually a boy" or that a boy who likes pink, enjoys dressing up as a princess, and enjoys playing with dolls is "actually a girl" is regressive and destructive. 

To sum things up, this is what being gender-critical means.

This is the wicked set of beliefs that many women, including J.K. Rowling, are being subjected to rape and death threats for espousing. There are numerous men and trans women who have told J.K. Rowling to suck their dick because they are offended by her beliefs. These words are sexualized threats directed at a woman who has dared to disagree with the screed that a very vocal minority has insisted that she must parrot or risk being silenced in a violent fashion.

Now, you may be wondering at this point what the hell any of this has to do with H.P. Lovecraft, who died in 1937.

H.P. Lovecraft and J.K. Rowling have more in common than being authors who use their first and middle initials in their bylines. Cancel culture prescribes that both of them are too problematic to exist. They and everything that they have ever spoken, thought, or created should be erased. For their Thoughtcrimes, they should become Unpersons.

(Thoughtcrime and Unperson are terms coined by British author George Orwell (1903 - 1950), appearing in his dystopian novel 1984.)

I realize that Lovecraft had xenophobic beliefs. I neither defend nor adhere to those beliefs. However, I do not deem it necessary to express hatred for him in order to prove that I am W0KE so I can obtain my Get Out of Cancel Culture Free card. 

I feel compassion for Lovecraft as a fellow tortured soul while refuting his xenophobic ideas. Lovecraft was raised in very peculiar circumstances and had a crippling fear of the unknown. Those who came to know him over the years describe a kind and gracious although deeply troubled man.

"I Am Providence" by S.T. Joshi is a well-written biography of H.P. Lovecraft. I recommend it highly.

In order to create a better world, we need to move away from the current trend of name-calling and thought policing. When fighting monsters, we need to be mindful of our own actions to ensure that we don't become monsters ourselves. We need to learn how to disagree without becoming violently disagreeable.


The Icky, Sticky, Nit-Picky Legalese, if You Please (Or Don't Please)

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Friday, June 19, 2020

Fat Friday: That Which Doesn't Kill Me Doesn't Kill Me

I wish I was like the woman in the above image: a tough badass who gave no fucks and who will kill your ass without remorse if you cross her. Unfortunately, I'm actually more like:

Image by Vicki Lynn from Pixabay

I am an unwanted thing that has managed to remain alive through a degree of resourcefulness but mostly fate or dumb luck. 

I am not stupid. I am well aware that most people see me as "other." They don't want me around because I am not pretty and not "normal."

I don't tend to encounter too many incidents of overt size hate in my everyday life. Most people keep their damn fool mouths shut. Store clerks don't treat me with derision. Your average person doesn't tend to see it as their business to say something shitty about my body to my face. I've found that as I've gotten older, people have been a little less directly awful about it. Older women are invisible anyway in this society, which affords me a little protection.

The "othering" is all around me, though, and don't even think about telling me that it isn't there. I see it in every shitty ad that pops into my Twitter or Facebook feed encouraging "intermittent fasting" (otherwise known as an eating disorder with a stamp of approval) or a "lifestyle change" (otherwise known as a diet.) 

I see it in every crappy "so and so lost weight and now they look amazing" bullshit clickbait headline. Because they couldn't possibly have looked amazing while fat. Only thin people look amazing. I see you.

I see it in the fact that advertisements never include fat people just doing stuff. There are no fat people just modeling clothes without it being pointed out that these clothes are for THE OTHER. There are no fat people just drinking a beer with friends. There are no fat people having a meal unless it's being pointed out that this is diet food to make their fat ass temporarily thin. There are no fat people walking without it being pointed out that if you exercise you might not be fat and horrible. Fat people never get to just BE.

You can tell me to "just ignore it" or to "love myself no matter what anybody else says." That's all fine and good, but I can't shut off the analytical part of my brain. I see the fact that I am "other," that I am reviled, that I am The Outsider

No matter how much I may want to, I can't not be aware of being THE OTHER. I'm fat, not stupid.

The answer is not for me to do whatever it takes to become what others think I should be in order to stop them from bullying me. The answer is for all of us to say NO to the bullshit, to not laugh at the shitty jokes made at the expense of big people, to call out the bullies rather than ignoring them.

"But Cie, that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger!!!!11!!!"

No, that which doesn't kill me just hasn't succeeded in killing me.

I am alive and I persist despite being told that I should bow down. But that doesn't mean that I don't hurt every day of my life, and that doesn't mean that my initial feeling about myself when I first wake up before my rational mind kicks in isn't utter self-loathing for something that should be considered a neutral attribute.

Fuck a whole lot of this shit.

Ornery Owl is Fat, Ornery, and Pissed Off 
(But I only have a picture of her pissed, so that will have to do)

Free use image from Pixabay by Open Clipart Vectors

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Blow Your Stack Saturday: Short and Salty

fuck the “medical professionals” who decide that physical and emotional abuse are the best way to treat my illnesses.

--Bard Against Humanity

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Blow Your Stack Saturday: An Ugly Tanka

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

you think it's a laugh
making lists of ugly folk
you show your insides
those who are truly ugly
are the ones who make such lists


I happened on a list of the "100 ugliest actors," and I wondered how anyone could possibly think it was in any way okay to create such a thing. Whoever spent time creating this mean-spirited list needs to get a hobby, and having a personality transplant wouldn't hurt either.

Something I noticed was that all of the actors on their list were middle-aged and older. Society has a real problem with ageism. 

Further, does the clown who made this list think that these guys owe it to them to fit into their narrow definition of beauty?

I only saw one ugly person associated with that list: the individual who created it. To be clear, there was no picture of this mean-spirited jackass. I knew from the fact that they had created such a hateful document that they were an abomination.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Tardy to the Party IWSG

Ornery Owl
Free use image from Open Clipart Vectors on Pixabay

First things first. Let's get this out of the way before the post begins. I swear. A lot. If you have problems with profanity, let this serve as your warning not to proceed with this post, 'cause it's about to get salty in here. So, strap on your life jackets, and buckle up, Bitches.

Okey dokey, now that's out of the way, so let's hit the Insecure Writers Support Group question for this month. (I swear, I'm always tardy to this party.)

Writers have secrets! What are one or two of yours, something readers would never know from your work?

Let me answer this by saying that I really don't know how to answer this. On one hand, I tend to be pretty transparent, although, on the other hand, I don't really feel like I owe anyone any explanations ever. Unless I crash through the front window of your house while holding a jug of moonshine in one hand and a bong in the other, in which case...well, there again, the explanation for my bad behavior, in that case, is probably pretty obvious.

Anyway, here's a list of the shit that's abnormal about me, in alphabetical order because that is the way I roll.

Attention deficit disorder
I didn't know this until I was in my 50s, but it explains a lot, and I have been very misunderstood because of it.

Bipolar disorder type 2
I was almost 40 before this was correctly diagnosed.

Diabetes type 2 
An ailment that is highly stigmatized, and fuck a whole lot of that. I think the name of the condition should be changed to hypopancreatism. It would be a more accurate description. Diabetes is an obscure Greek term that is kind of meaningless at this point.

Elevated Triglycerides
A common companion with diabetes. Other than this, my cholesterol levels are very good, which is neither here nor there.

Female Reproductive System Glitches
Endometriosis and fibroids, which have hopefully resolved now that I'm three years beyond menopause. 2018 was the Year Of A Lot Of Bullshit With My Reproductive System Which I Don't Even Use But Still Didn't Want To Undergo Major Surgery To Remove It. 

Doctors are very keen to do hysterectomies on older women, but the condition I was experiencing (simple hyperplasia with normal cells) only increases my chances of developing endometrial cancer by 1.6 (that's one point six) percent. I saw no reason to undergo the risks of surgery for such a slight increased risk. Sometimes hysterectomy is the lesser of two evils, but there are reasons to leave the business intact, even if it's dormant.

I also had polycystic ovary syndrome, but my ovaries are now atrophied, so I guess that problem has resolved. I was always told that I'd never be able to have children. Shows to go ya that doctors don't know everything.

I had horrible periods for 40 years, starting at twelve and ending at 52. I didn't bleed, I hemorrhaged. Other than the endometrial hyperplasia, menopause was a walk in the park. I was fortunate to have the longer-lasting but less intense "ember flashes" rather than the nuclear blast hot flashes that some women describe. I refer to menopause as my "red giant" phase. I am now a large white dwarf.

I'm one of the lucky ones. I have low-grade, widespread chronic pain rather than excruciating pain. I can do a lot of things that fibromyalgia sufferers with severe pain can't. However, people like me get misunderstood and passed off as "lazy" or making excuses. Being in constant pain drains a person's energy and causes brain fog. I sometimes joke that if I did have dementia no-one would know, because walking around in a fog is my normal state of being. 

In truth, neither dementia nor fibromyalgia is funny. My joke is a bit of gallows humor. I've lost people to dementia, and I will top myself if I am ever diagnosed with it. I don't want to go out that way.


Hypertension (idiopathic)

My thyroid burned itself up when I was 15. Oh, bliss. Oh, joy.

I'm usually fine as long as I take Lactaid before eating ice cream or pudding and as long as I avoid foods with MSG or Splen-don't. It really helped to stop taking Metformin. I was kind of tired of having explosive, uncontrollable diarrhea.

Not diabetes-related. I have neuropathy from back problems and a severe injury to the median nerve in my left arm. I was in such severe pain for a month that I considered suicide to find relief. If it hadn't been for the fact that I knew Medicaid was going to kick in at the beginning of December 2017, I don't think I'd be here writing this. I didn't have insurance, so I couldn't afford to get treatment.

Here is the fun of being a member of the working poor. I had a job. I often worked more than 40 hours a week. I was a contractor. I couldn't afford insurance on my salary. This is the job that fucked up my arm. I had to wait a month for Medicaid to kick in. In the meantime, I was in excruciating pain. Every time I went to sleep, I hoped I wouldn't wake up.

The thing about harshly judging people who become addicted to pain medication is this. When you are in severe constant pain, you will do ANYTHING to stop that pain. Both chronic pain and addiction are conditions that are stigmatized. 

I have lived with low-grade chronic pain for most of my life. It tires me out and a lot of the time I feel like I'm operating in a fog. 

Obsessive-compulsive disorder
For some reason, everyone always thinks that OCD = germophobe neat freak. It actually has a broad spectrum of presentations. Hoarding disorder is a subtype of OCD, and I really have a problem with exploitation shit shows like Hoarders. Next up, what will those whacky Schizophrenics do, amirite, Kiddies? There's nothing like ridiculing people struggling with a major mental illness! Yeehah.

I was going to say there's your answer to what people would never know about me from reading my stories, but I actually do address it. Now, here's the plain truth. While struggling with severe depression and still holding a full-time job, my hoarding problems got severely out of hand. I have never hoarded animals, only items. In all honesty, becoming unable to work a normal job is one of the best things that ever happened to me. I was finally able to address my very serious hoarding problem. 

My old mobile home has taken more than six months to deal with because the only ones working on it are my son and me, and I can't do any heavy lifting. My son is high-functioning autistic. He lives with a degree of agoraphobia (which he can manage as long as he is able to maintain control over the situation), anxiety, and major depression. He's always gotten a ration of shit from my family for not being able to hold a regular job. They refuse to believe that he's autistic because he is able to engage in normal social interaction. My mother says that my son is just "timid" (he isn't timid) and my brother thinks that my son needs to just pull himself up by his bootstraps and "man up." 

If you ask me, my son is a goddamn rock star. Hell, he's better than most rock stars. He's the most humble person you'll ever meet. He puts other people's needs before his own all the time, and when he sets his mind to something, it will happen. Maybe not on someone else's timeline, maybe in a country minute rather than a New York minute, but on one thing you can rely; if he says it's going to happen, it's going to happen.

My love for my son is obvious in my stories. Most of my major female protagonists have sons, nephews, or young male friends whom they would die for if it came to that. Sometimes I throw in a daughter as well, just to mix things up, but if people read between the lines, it's probably obvious that I don't have a daughter. The character tends to be an adjunct.

Moving on with Cie's Health Bullshit...

The complex variety. I've endured a lot of abuse in my life. It took me a lot of years to come to the point where I know I may never be able to "love myself," but I sure as hell am going to respect myself enough to not let people abuse me anymore. If you're the sort of person who thinks that I, or anyone else, deserves to be shit on for having a body that you don't find attractive, fuck you. What the hell makes you think I care if you find me attractive? Believe me, I ain't into you.

Then there were all those great guys who preyed on me because they wanted someone with low self-esteem that they could treat like crap, that they could belittle or hit or rape to their shriveled little heart's content and I should consider myself lucky for the abuse. Because crazy chicks are great in bed, amirite? And for anyone who feels the need to tell me that "not all men are like that, and there's a great guy who will love you just as you are," please stow that noise. I'm simply not interested.

I had PTSD after my car was hit by a wave of water washing over the road during a flood, and I eventually overcame it. I don't think I'll ever be over the PTSD caused by bullying and abuse. Hell, let's call it what it is. Bullying is simply another term for abuse.

It took me a lot of years to be able to say that I have been abused, that I did not "ask for" the abuse, and to take a stand that I will not put up with further abuse.

Abuse, particularly sexual abuse, is a common theme in my writing.

In the past, I would have put "borderline personality disorder" on this list, but I have come to the belief that "borderline personality disorder" is a sexist diagnosis, like "hysteria." It is overwhelmingly applied to women. "Borderline personality disorder" is actually a subtype of PTSD. 

People who are given this diagnosis are people who have been abused, often sexually. The tendency for self-injury in women diagnosed with "borderline personality disorder (a problem that I struggled with from my early teens) is a tell. 

Suicide Ideation
Part and parcel of the other mental health stuff. I've had less of it since moving to a little rural town in the middle of nowhere with my son. Sometimes I even feel hopeful and inspired.

And now, the big reveal.

Urinary incontinence
Yeah, I just love this. It started when I was in my late thirties and by the time I was forty, I was using the Ultra Maximum size of incontinence pads. It was great when I had my period, and by great, I mean it really sucked ass. Between the heavy bleeding and the urine leakage, I had to wear Depends plus an Ultra Maximum incontinence pad. It felt like I was wearing a mattress. 

It's not clear why I developed this lovely problem, but it's probably a combination of neurological and physiological fuckery. Anyway, I have it, and I think that it's one thing that I don't write about, not out of embarrassment but because where the hell would I fit it into one of my stories? 

There are a lot of adults who deal with incontinence. We aren't emotionally immature or losing control of our functions on purpose. I count myself lucky to only be dealing with urine loss. Metformin gave me a taste of what it would be like to have bowel incontinence, and that's a whole other beast. 

Here's the thing: incontinence isn't a joke, and people who live with it still deserve respect. That's why I'm honest about it. 

Those things that you may think it's somehow your birthright to ridicule people for, like their size or their health problems either physical or mental? If you're doing that, you need to be asking yourself why you need a scapegoat. Chances are, you're dissatisfied with yourself and are looking for someone who has it worse to make yourself feel better about your own lousy lot in life. That's called schadenfreude, and it isn't a good look.

So, there you have it. I came to the party. I brought it. And now you know that pretty much the only thing I don't write about is incontinence. 

Ornery Owl is Round and Real and apologizes for nothing
Free use image by Open Clipart Vectors on Pixabay

The Icky, Sticky, Nit-Picky Legalese, if You Please (Or Don't Please)

Content copyright 2020 by Cara Hartley

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FOAD Thursday: Fuck Everyone Who Can't Think of a Better Insult Than "He's Fat."

I'm unfollowing anyone who uses the Orange Anus' weight as an insult. Ad hominem insults are the lowest form of attack & size shaming makes life misery for literal millions of innocent people. With all the horrible shit he's done fat jokes are the best you got? If so, you suck.

Some of the people doing this on Twitter were so-called "mental health professionals." Size shaming makes life miserable for literal millions of innocent people on a daily basis. Size-shaming promotes self-loathing and excuses abusive behavior against big people. Fuck a whole lot of that shit.

Fat and Ornery
Free Use Image by Open Clipart Vectors on Pixabay