I am too many people…

Some years ago, I was at a local author expo and over all the noise in the room, at some point, I realized someone was calling my name. But he wasn’t saying, “Dianna.” He was saying, “Dana.” When I finally heard it, I turned, wondering who there would be calling me by my childhood nickname? It was the author at the table next to mine. 

I’d completely forgotten that I write books under the name Dana Trantham!

I was born Dianna Dann Trantham II. That’s right, I’m a “second.” My mother was the first. Dann is a feminized version of my grandfather’s name, Dan, and it’s pronounced the same way. But because my mother was Dianna, and I suppose my parents foresaw problems with the name Dann, they called me Dana, completely unaware of the problems that name would cause me. I hated it. Even when I learned there was another girl named Dana at my school–probably not until 6th or 7th grade–I felt Dana was a boy’s name. In fact, I was often teased because of it. I think Dana Andrews, the actor, might have been popular at the time. We’re talking mid to late 60s. 

Anyway, I struggled for many years in school to get my teachers to call me Dianna. It only started working after elementary school when my mother no longer registered me or talked to my teachers.

When I was in early adulthood, I dropped the name Trantham and became Dianna Dann. I always knew I wanted to be a writer by that name. And no one could pronounce Trantham, anyway. I was Trant-HAM or Tranzam. Finally, I could just be Dianna Dann.

A couple of years later, though, I got married and became Dianna Narciso. Now I’m called Narcheeso, Narcoosee, and Nabisco. I’m not joking. For the record, it’s Nar-SIS-oh. 

The first book I wrote was on atheism. And I wrote it under the name Narciso, because I knew I would be writing fiction at some point and I had to save the name Dann for it. So, basically, I married into the Catholic Narciso family and proceeded to, as far as they may very well be concerned, trash their name with the shame of nonbelief. (Not that I’m ashamed of it; I just recognize that I may not have been very kind in my choice there. But what could I do? I consider myself Dianna Narciso. And it’s not like my husband isn’t an atheist as well, though I’m not sure his mother knows it. –Uh, hi Mom!– Even so, the Narciso family is one of those “Let’s pretend this thing doesn’t exist and never speak of it” gang. And there I was, writing about book about it!)

When I did finally write fiction, it was under the Dianna Dann name. But after I wrote my mainstream (or women’s fiction) book, I wrote a fantasy trilogy. So I used Dana Trantham for those three books. And then I wrote Zombie Revolution. Well, I thought, I can’t use my fantasy or mainstream name for a paranormal humor book. So I created D.D. Charles. 

D.D. for Dianna Dann and Charles because my brother’s name is Charles. He was a “second” too. But my dad was never called Charles, so my parents didn’t have to come up with an unlikeable, tease-worthy nickname for my brother. Still, nobody calls him Charles. He’s Charlie. (He writes books too, as C.E. Trantham.)

Anyway, then I wrote a couple of kids books and I was all, like, I need another name! And then I said to myself, “No way. I’m not adding another name!” Thank goodness I stopped the insanity. I wished I’d stopped it sooner. A lot sooner.

So I published the kids books under the Dana Trantham name with the fantasy books. And I’ve added the name Dianna Dann to Zombie Revolution. I’ll be publishing the next paranormal book, if I can ever get it written, under both names, too. I’m thinking that will help somewhat.

It’s still too many names. I’m too many people. It’s crowded in here.

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Binge Worthy Period TV Shows

I haven’t been reading much lately. I go through periods in which my brain just doesn’t want to let me concentrate very much. So, I watch TV. Sue me.

Here are some of my favorite period shows. These are totally binge-worthy!

Coming in at number 15!
The Indian Doctor

The Indian Doctor, about…well, an Indian doctor, played by Sanjeev Bhaskar, who sets up shop in a 1960’s Welsh mining town, has three seasons. I admit, fully, that I didn’t watch the third. I was afraid to. I might, one day. Maybe the next time I watch it, I’ll go all the way.

I didn’t go on to the third season because I felt like everything wrapped up so nicely at the end of the second. Happily ever after and all that. And the previews for the third season made me think it wouldn’t be so satisfying at the end. But I very much enjoyed the first two seasons.

14.
Belgravia

I just loved Belgravia! Created by Julian Fellowes of Downton Abbey fame, it’s set in 1841 London and centers around a family secret. And it’s always a delight to watch Harriet Walter in action. She plays Lady Brockenhurst in Belgravia, but you may remember her as Fanny Dashwood in 1995’s Sense & Sensibility

13.
Bridgerton

Bridgerton is silliness, pure silliness. But it’s lusciously silly. The first season had so much sex—silly sex scenes, over-the-top, drawn-out sex scenes—that I hit fast-forward quite a lot. I’m not interested in watching people have sex. I’m like, “Get on with it!” The story, that is.

Luckily for me, and to the horror of trashy-romance-readers everywhere, Season 2 had, as I recall, only one or two ridiculously long sex scenes, one being so impossible to believe that I laughed all the way through it.

One thing I loved about Bridgerton was its diverse casting. Unfortunately, that joy was tinged by the “excuse” the show offered viewers. There’s a reason there are Black people in England’s nobility in the Regency period. This was done, I imagine, because the show is based on a series of books that I suppose are also diverse and that diversity is explained away in the same manner. (This leads me to wonder how, exactly, the author let the reader know what each character looked like.) If I’m wrong about that, and the show did it on its own, then shame on them. I much prefer the idea of the film Mr. Malcolm’s List: There are Blacks and Asians in the nobility of 19th-century England. Get over it.

Anyway, anytime I feel like giving my fast-forward button a workout, I re-watch Bridgerton.

12.
Downton Abbey

No list of period pieces would be complete without Downton Abbey. It’s not may favorite, though, obviously. It’s one of those that I’ve watched a couple of times, and one day will certainly watch again. It’s beautiful and fun, and a bit silly at times. But it’s also addictive.

Downton Abbey starts out in 1912 with the news of the sinking of the Titanic. The entire six seasons and two movies span only about fifteen years. But it seems longer. Not in a bad way, mind you.

The costumes and sets are fabulous, and the stars, notably Michelle Dockery, Lesley Nicol, Phyllis Logan, and Sophie McShera, are amazing!

11.
Victoria

Victoria was canceled after Season 3, a tragedy. There is talk that its popularity in streaming will bring it back for at least another season. I sure hope that happens.

Victoria, with Jenna Coleman in the title role, tells the story of England’s Queen Victoria and her relationship with Prince Albert, played by Tom Hughes. It’s rich, and beautiful, written and acted fabulously. I could watch it again and again.

10.
Mr. Selfridge

This show is very much like The Paradise, with two differences. First, The Paradise isn’t as good. And second, The Paradise was canceled before the story was concluded. That being said, The Paradise ended in a way that you’d be able to foresee a decent ending for the characters, and it wasn’t so bad that I wouldn’t watch it again. But I’d much rather watch Mr. Selfridge again. And again.

It’s not the greatest show ever. The plots and writing are okay, if a bit clichéd and the acting isn’t award-winning, in my opinion. Bit it’s fun. Lots of fun.

The show is about Mr. Selfridge, obviously, an American businessman who opens up a department store, the first of its kind, in London. It’s about the store, its employees, and his family. Definitely binge-worthy soap-opera-y stuff.

9.
The English Game

This six-episode, limited series is a fascinating take on the invention of soccer (or football, as they call it in the rest of the world). Created by Julian Fellowes, who also created Downton Abbey, it’s set in the 1870s. Kevin Guthrie stars as a great footballer up against the so-called gentlemen who control the game and don’t want to let the riff-raff have a fair shot.

8.
Lark Rise to Candleford

This show is so wonderful! Based on Flora Thompson’s autobiographical novel and set in 19th-century Oxfordshire, it stars Olivia Hallinan as Laura Timmins a young girl from the small village of Lark Rise, who goes to work for a cousin of her family at the post office in the nearby town of Candleford.

Lark Rise to Candleford is plucky and sweet, written and told fabulously. There were a few hiccups. For example, one character’s love interest was dropped with no explanation between seasons. Oh, well, I loved the show so much I just didn’t care.

7.
The Crown

We’re probably all familiar with The Crown. It’s pretty cool how they change the actors every couple of seasons as the Queen and everyone else ages. The acting and story-telling are fabulous. I was really pleased to see Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles in Season 4. He played Lawrence Durrell in The Durrells in Corfu, one of my all-time favorite shows and Mr. Elton in 2020’s version of Emma (not my favorite).

The biggest problem I have with The Crown is their handling of the royal cousins in “The Hereditary Principle.” It was a blatant lie, and seemed orchestrated to paint the royal family in a negative light (as if they’d need to fabricate things to do that). I get that these shows have to be somewhat, okay, greatly, exaggerated and changed, but this seemed over the top to me.

Still, it’s a great show and I’ll definitely be watching it again.

6.
Sanditon

Sanditon is based on an unfinished Jane Austin novel, so, the chances were pretty good I’d like it. I wasn’t completely down with the first season, mostly because of Theo James and his performance as Sidney Parker. Honestly, I can’t be sure how much of the problem for me was James, his performance, the direction of said performance, or the writing. I just know that I was rooting for the other guy.

The show was actually canceled after the first season, but it gained traction (shows aren’t given a lot of time these days) through streaming and the fans’ calls for more brought it back from the dead. Imagine my delight to find that Theo James (not to spoil it too much) wasn’t included in Season 2. And there’s definitely a Season 3 coming.

5.
Anne With an E

This adaptation of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables veers from the books quite a bit, but it’s a delightful retelling. Amybeth McNulty stars as Anne opposite adorable Lucas Jade Zumann as Gilbert Blythe. The show runs only three seasons and the ending was a bit rushed. It’s a shame it couldn’t have gone on a bit longer.

4.
The Queen’s Gambit

Set in the Cold War era, this limited series stars Anya Taylor-Joy as chess prodigy Beth Harmon. It’s gripping and fascinating and I didn’t understand any of the chess, but I’ve watched it a good three times and will definitely watch it again.

The show is based on the book by Walter Tevis but strays from it a little bit, most notably in one little aspect of the character of Jolene, played wonderfully by Moses Ingram. I recommend both.

3.
All Creatures Great and Small

This show is so fabulous I can hardly wait for another season. Nicholas Ralph stars as James Herriot who joins the Farnon vet practice in little Darrowby Village, Yorkshire. And to my delight, Callum Woodhouse stars as Tristan Farnon. Woodhouse plays Leslie Durrell in another of my favorite binge-worthy shows.

The show is sweet, and funny. The scenery is superb. I can’t think of a single thing wrong with it.

2.
The Durrells

Also known as The Durrells in Corfu, this show is about the real family of Durrells which produced naturalist Gerald, who revolutionized zoos all over the world, and also wrote the trilogy on which the show is based; author Lawrence Durrell; and author Margo Durrell.

This show is about their adventures on the island of Corfu when Gerald was just a boy. I just love it. I could watch it again and again (and I have). I often, however, skip the last episode, because it’s just too sad.

And the best show to binge watch is:
1.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

This is the show I watch the most. I probably watched Season 1 three or four times, the last in preparation for Season 2. Then I watched 1 & 2 a few times and once again in preparation for Season 3, and so on. Recently Season 4 dropped and I watched it twice, and then again from 1 all the way through once or twice, and then finally convinced hubs to watch it, so I watched it all over yet again! And when that was done, I was tempted to start all over again right away.

It’s that good.

For the uninitiated (and if you don’t have Amazon Prime and can’t watch this show, I am so so so sorry for you), Midge Maisel is a housewife in the late Fifties whose husband has aspirations of being a stand-up comic. When he dumps her the night before Yom Kippur, she gets drunk and goes to the coffee house he performed in, in her nightgown, and ends up on stage ranting about her life.

Career launched!

There are so many fabulous performances and moments in this show that it is a must-see.

I hope I haven’t left any of my favorites out. I left out some shows I didn’t care for at all.

Poldark, for one. I couldn’t even finish that show. I didn’t like the characters or the story, and at one point it just seemed to be rehashing plots over and over again barely disguised. So I quit watching.

Outlander is one that I never even watched. I read the first book and found it pretty silly. So, I have no interest in the show at all. I’m not sure it counts, anyway, as it’s more fantasy than an actual period piece.

And there are plenty of others that I just haven’t watched yet. I do spend too much time rewatching favorites. But with the world falling apart the way it is these days, I guess I’m due some comfort.

What are your favorite period TV shows?

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A visit to Ballard Park

Years ago, in the 90’s I think, I was part of a homeschooling group that met at Ballard Park once a month. I’m not very good with time so I can’t say how long it’s been since I’ve been to Ballard Park, but let’s just say I was surprised I found it again. I guess the memory isn’t as faded as I thought.

It’s too hot to go outside this summer. But I did it anyway. I met a nice lady who was sitting on a bench looking out at the lagoon. And a guy asked me if I knew anything about the houseboat on the water. (It actually looks like two houseboats hooked together.) He said it’s been there for about a week. I admit it does nothing for the view. It wasn’t until I got home and could zoom in on the photo that I saw it’s supposedly a “Marine Living Research Center.” And it has the acronym UNISYS on it. According to Wikipedia, UNISYS is an American multinational information technology services and consulting company headquartered in Blue Bell, PA.

What are they doing on a dinky houseboat on the Indian River Lagoon in Florida? Very strange.

Below are a few shots from the video.

Bottlebrush flower with bees
Lizard watching me. I bet he lives in that rusty fence railing.
I have a thing for rusty metal.
Squirrel with nut.

I already know where I want to go next. But it’ll be a longer outing. I may have to wait until it cools off a bit.

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Scrumptious Earthquake Cake

Did you catch the Moby-Dick reference in the video?

Earthquake cake is also known as upside-down German chocolate cake because to make it, you put coconut and chopped pecans on the bottom of the pan and then pour German chocolate cake batter on top. But, if you ask me, that produces nothing at all like an upside-down German chocolate cake! The coconut and pecans of German chocolate cake are part of a gooey, sweet frosting, not toasted, which is what you get with earthquake cake.

It’s called earthquake cake because, if it’s done well, you end up with craters that make it look like your cake has suffered from an apocalyptic earthquake. It’s pretty cool.

This is right out of the oven. The craters sink even more as the cake cools.

I chose the following recipe that I watched a lady make on YouTube:

Original Recipe

1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
1- 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 German chocolate cake mix, prepared
1 8oz. pkg cream cheese at room temperature
1 stick (1/2 c) of butter at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar

The results of this recipe were disappointing for me. The cake part itself was dry and bland. Now, I did have to use Betty Crocker instead of Duncan Hines. I prefer Duncan Hines overall. I’ve found that their flavors are superior and their cakes and brownies are always more moist. So, that may have been the problem with the cake part.

Still, even though I managed to get some Duncan Hines German chocolate cake mix, I decided to make changes to the recipe anyway, to be sure to produce a really moist, chocolatey cake,

When you put the coconut on the bottom of the pan, it comes out toasted, even though you pour cake batter over it. I like toasted coconut as much as the next guy, but I didn’t think it went well with the cream cheese mixture.

And speaking of the cream cheese mixture, it was more cheesy than sweet. Maybe that was the problem. Maybe if I just changed the sweetness level of that, it would have paired better with toasted coconut.

But I’m not the kind of person to change one thing at a time in an experiment. I’d make a terrible scientist.

So, I changed the cream cheese mix, too. The original was really dense and the lady who did the video I watched dragged a knife through the dollops you’re supposed to put on the cake batter once it’s in the pan. But it was so thick, that didn’t work for me.

To make it lighter, I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese, and margarine instead of butter. I also prefer the taste of margarine, so there’s that. And to make it a tad sweeter, I added another 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Now, the lady who did the video making the original recipe did say that some recipes use more powdered sugar and she was right. I saw one that called for 4 cups! That was a sugary bridge too far for me.

So, here’s my new recipe:

Scrumptious Earthquake Cake

1 box German chocolate cake mix, prepared*
1 c chopped pecans
1 1/2 c flaked coconut
1 12 oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 8 oz. pkg. Neufchâtel cheese or 1/3 less fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick (1/2 c) margarine, at room temperature
2 1/2 c powdered sugar

*You will need 3 eggs, oil, and water for the cake mix

Preheat oven to 350°

Spray 13×9-inch pan with oil

Prepare the German chocolate cake mix as directed on the box. Stir the pecans and coconut into the batter. Add most of the chocolate chips. (I didn’t measure, but I’d suggest setting about 1/2 c aside.) Stir to mix, and then pour into the pan.

Mix the cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar together with a spoon or mixer and dollop globs of it onto the cake batter. Top the cake with the remaining chocolate chips.

There on the left you can see the famous cooking gloves!
And don’t you just love my adorable garlic jar?

Bake at 350° for one hour! (Yes, it’ll take an hour)

Enjoy hot or cooled.

This cake freezes well. So far, I’ve enjoyed a chunk of it after a two-week freeze and it was just as moist and delicious as ever. Wrap each chunk in wax paper or plastic wrap, then wrap it in aluminum foil to freeze.

Let me know how it turned out for you!

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Netflix’s Persuasion vs. Other Adaptations

This post contains spoilers!

I watched the Netflix adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion…so you don’t have to.

Okay, it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen, but I was definitely disappointed with it. If you’ve never read the book, or seen the other films, maybe you’d like it. In fact, I’d probably watch it again, now that I know it’s not Persuasion at all. It’s a silly romantic comedy about two people obviously still in love, even though she ditched him years before.

Here’s what I liked about the Netflix version:

  1. The diverse cast.
    Finally, a diverse cast that simply exists, that doesn’t try to explain itself a la Bridgerton.
  2. The guy who played Wentworth.
    He looked just the right age and had the right amount of grizzled-ness for a sea captain of eight years.
  3. It was fun and funny.
    The use of today’s vernacular by people supposedly living in 1800s England was hilarious. (Supposedly, because this film was not at all historically accurate.)

Here’s what I didn’t like:

  1. Anne.
    It’s as if the filmmakers just didn’t like the main character so they changed her completely, thus making the story inane. If Anne never misses an opportunity to speak her mind, as Wentworth claims, why is she in this situation in the first place?
  2. Wentworth’s behavior.
    Wentworth was constantly mooning over Anne every time she walked away from him. It was clear he was still in love with her. Well, there goes all the mystery. The whole point of the original work is that we don’t know if Wentworth still loves Anne and in fact, despite a few moments of kindness, we’re pretty sure he’s over her.
  3. The writing.
    The story doesn’t work all that well and the dialogue is so silly at times. The characters lacked any of the charm they had in the 1995 version.
  4. Mrs. Smith is entirely missing.
    But of course she is. If Mrs. Smith were there, we’d see a side of Anne–selfless, caring, and kind–that doesn’t fit with this Netflix “Bridget Jones” version. Even though Wentworth says she’s all those things, her behavior says quite the opposite.
  5. Mr. Eliot
    Don’t even get me started here. His gig is up almost immediately, because he tells Anne what he’s up to!
  6. The ending was ruined.
    Am I to believe, seriously, that Wentworth just left the note to Anne on the table? Just left it there hoping she’d find it? What if she hadn’t? And then…where was the great scene in which Wentworth asks for her hand in marriage in front of everyone and we get to see the look on Elizabeth’s face?
  7. The final scene
    So, Anne has found the letter and she’s running after Wentworth and, I guess to wrap up the whole Mr. Eliot plot line, she catches him smooching with Mrs. Clay and wishes them well. Wait…what?
  8. I just can’t even.

All of that being said. It was fun. Sure, you’re caught off guard a few times. Anne Eliot shouting Wentworth’s name out the window? It’d never happen. Anne blurting out at a dinner party that her brother-in-law proposed to her before marrying her sister? Impossible to imagine. Anne entertaining Lady Dalrymple with a story about an octopus sucking her face? Wha? And she’s saved by Mr. Eliot offering up a sexual innuendo, to which she replies, “In your dreams.” But, Lady Dalrymple makes it all just good fun by saying “In mine, too!” But then refers to a bite of moldy cheese.

Fun. Yes. Ridiculous to a point. Not a great film by any means.

But how does it stack up to the other versions? I know what most of Jane Austen’s fans think–they think this is the worst version of Persuasion ever made. I’m not so sure. If I had to rank them…

The 1995 version with Amanda Root and Ciarán Hinds is, hands down, the best. Root plays the subdued, spinsterish Anne to perfection. Her subtle reactions to Wentworth, her determined dignity, and her quelled anguish are perfect.

The other characters are charming and delightful, especially Mrs. Smith played by Helen Schlesinger.

The story is told with greater and greater intensity until the end when Wentworth makes a point to show her he’s left a letter for her on the desk…until we hear their voices reading the letter! The perfect kiss (never mind the strange circus coming down the street). And the get-even scene at the party where the stunned family learns that dashing Wentworth wants Anne of all people! It’s just a wonderful telling of Jane Austen’s last story and a great depiction of her most mature heroine.

Then there’s the 2007 version with Sally Hawkins and Rupert Penry-Jones.

I love Sally Hawkins…but she wasn’t enough to help this film. Penry-Jones was so young and fresh–hard to picture as a sea captain. The other characters were less appealing, their parts lacking the subtle humor and wit found in the older version.

While they kept Mrs. Smith’s role in the film, she was not at all as charming as Schlesinger’s portrayal. And in the end, she was out running after Anne. Mrs. Smith running? She’s supposed to be something of an invalid. She’s got a nurse after all.

They left out the whole scene when Wentworth wrote the letter, after overhearing Anne talking about her sex loving the longest when all hope is lost. I mean…why? Instead Captain Harville just hands her the note while she’s running around Bath looking for Wentworth.

So…about the running. The running and running and running. Where is Wentworth, Anne? Is he here? No? Let’s run to the next place. So much running. And I’ll grant that the few moments in which her breath echoes over Charles’ bantering once she’s found Wentworth is lovely…that kiss. Egad. Give me a break. That kiss was ridiculous. What did it take? Three minutes for their lips to finally connect? Kill me now.

Worse, not only was there no get-even scene with the family, there also wasn’t an Anne on the ship scene with Wentworth as captain. Instead, we got this fabulously impossible scene in which Wentworth has somehow managed to purchase the Eliot estate for Anne. Somehow, I don’t think that would be possible in that era–and even if it was, I’m supposed to believe that Mr. Eliot sold it to him? Sold his birthright? I just can’t even.

But what truly ruined the 2007 version and I mean completely, inevitably, turned it into mediocre melodrama, was the giving away of the ending completely before Wentworth even went to Bath.

So, we, the audience, know that Wentworth isn’t going to marry Louisa before Anne does. And we know that Wentworth actually loves Anne. So, naturally, when he shows up in Bath, we already know why. I guess we’re supposed to worry that she won’t reach him in time and he’ll be off on a sailing ship and their love will be forever doomed. Give me a break.

Here’s the thing. Of course we know he loves her and they’re going to end up together. But still, watching the 1995 version, every single time, you are living Anne’s anguish because you’re able to suspend your disbelief, forget what you know, and wonder how these two people could ever find their way back to one another. And that happens because it’s a great, well-made film.

So there we are. Considering which versions I enjoyed the most (despite many obvious flaws in some) and which I can imagine myself watching again and again, I’ve ranked them in order of worst to best:

#3 Persuasion 2007

#2 Persuasion 2022

#1 Persuasion 1997

Now I suppose I should read the book again…

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A visit to Turkey Creek Sanctuary

There’s always something different to see at Turkey Creek.

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Canova Beach Park Photos

I took a trip over to Indialantic with my camera.

Here is the video I posted to YouTube. You can check it out on my TikTok page, too. Or just enjoy some of the pictures below.

Here are some selected photos:

Thanks for taking a look. I haven’t decided where to go next…

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Rock n Roll Crossword Puzzle Solution

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Free crossword puzzle!

I’ve been having a lot of fun recently creating puzzle books. Right now I’m working on a book of crossword puzzles that should be published later this year.

Here’s a downloadable freebie that’s not in the book.

You can find the solution here.

Rock n Roll

Check out my current puzzle books, too!

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On Abortion

Posted on March 22, 2022 by catspah

This essay was originally posted on the old Atheist View website in 2014 or thereabouts and reposted to this new blog a couple of months ago. It bears repeating right now.

So here it is again…

Warning: Contains talk of sex and cursing. Lots of cursing.

This is going to be a very short essay.*

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, how could an essay on abortion be short? Abortion is a volatile, emotional, controversial, difficult, and multi-faceted issue. To say you’re going to be brief is appalling. Clearly, you might be thinking, I’m not going to give this issue the attention it deserves. But you’re wrong. I’m going to give it just the amount of attention it needs.

Two “personhood” amendments were soundly defeated in the mid-term elections of 2014, one in Colorado and the other in North Dakota. Religious conservatives were trying to make “unborn” entities into people so that their “rights” can be “protected.” So far, they’ve been stopped. But as we know, as we have unfortunately witnessed, they won’t let a tiny thing like the will of the people stop them. Through oligarchy and gerrymandering, the conservatives may very likely, in the future, have their way. But I’m not going to talk about politics, because politics so often gets it wrong. I’m going to talk about what is right.

It’s really very simple. It’s so simple, it shouldn’t have to be said. There should be no argument. No protests. No signs with supposedly aborted fetuses carried around town. No doctors shot. No women harassed. Here is it:

It’s none of your god-damned, fucking business.

That’s my abortion argument in a nutshell. (And I do mean nutshell because let’s face it, the so-called pro-life nuts are all too often men.) It’s like this. I have sole right to my body. I have a right to do with my body whatever I want, so long as my rights don’t interfere with another person’s. Religious conservatives say, “Aha! There, you see! If you’re pregnant, another person is involved. And you do not have the right to MURDER!!!! that person.”

Bullshit.

Complete and utter bullshit. A clump of cells is not a person. A blastocyst is not a person. An embryo is not a person. But that doesn’t even matter because it’s none of your god-damned, fucking business if I have either one of them inside my uterus at any given time. Until I give birth, so far as everyone else need be concerned, I’m carrying around a parasite. (Wait, but no…nobody else needs to be concerned because it’s none of their god-damned business.) That’s right. It’s a parasite–an entity that uses my body for survival.

par·a·site**
noun: an organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host’s expense.
derogatory: a person who habitually relies on or exploits others and gives nothing in return.

If I want it, it’s a baby and I’ll do my best to nurture my body, so that it’s born healthy. (Or not. Maybe I won’t take prenatal vitamins. Maybe I’ll smoke and drink and do drugs. None of your business.) If I don’t want it, it’s a parasite. And it’s nobody else’s business whether I have it, or whether I want it. You have no right to interfere with my bodily functions. Absolutely none.

When I was pregnant with my third child, our little family went to the mall and at the food court, I ordered a (gasp!) Diet Coke. Do you know that the little shit behind the counter had the nerve to hesitate, and to tell me that caffeine was not good for my baby? It’s fortunate for her that I’m actually a very nice person…in person. Because otherwise, I’d have handed her her ass and done my best to have her fired. But you know what? That’s just the sort of world a lot of people would like to see us living in. A world in which pregnant women are no longer in control of their own bodies. A world in which other people decide that women are vessels and when that vessel is full, they get to deny her her rights. Well, fuck that.

What goes on between a woman and her doctor is nobody else’s business. That’s right. Nobody else. Abortions are safe, routine procedures that do not require undue oversight by the ‘government’–i.e. a bunch of nosey people. What goes on between a woman and her doctor is also not the business of the sperm donor. I’m sorry, dudes. But the fact of the matter is that your donation of the sperm does not entitle you to any say whatsoever about what your partner does with her body (unless she grants you an opinion on the matter). You can not (no one can) force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term. It’s not your right to do so. Why? Because she is a living, breathing, sentient being and her rights absolutely trump any so-called rights of an embryo. And they sure as hell trump any rights you think you ought to have over her body. Woman are not slaves to men. (Not any more, at least.)

Abortions should be simple procedures done in family practitioners’ or OBGYN offices as a matter of routine. There should be simple procedural codes that allow pregnancies before a certain point to be aborted in doctors’ offices and those past a certain point aborted in hospitals. There should be facilities available in free clinics. Sure, there should be a code regarding viability–if it is determined the fetus is able to live outside the womb, the abortion becomes a birth. Problem solved. See how easy that was?

This is not a big deal. It shouldn’t be a big deal. Do you get it, yet? It’s none of your business and it’s not a big deal.

Why are religious conservatives always frothing at the mouth over abortion? Well, there are a couple of reasons.

First, yes, there are some conservatives who get all googly eyed about babies. They think of them as gifts from a god; and that gift is precious and they truly feel that abortion is equivalent to murder. They are so blinded by the emotions that this issue calls up within them that they are unable to see that other women’s bodies are not their business. It’s not enough for them to refrain from having abortions themselves. They feel they must save all the babies! But, if they really believed in that god of theirs, if they really had faith in him, they’d realize that nothing can be done that is not according to his will. The idea that the almighty god of the universe needs their help to ‘save the babies’ is beyond absurd. But that’s the way religion works. God does nothing, so people do it ‘in his name.’ Egad, what a mess that’s led to throughout history.

Second, there is in this country, for the conservatives, a deep and shuddering fear of sex. Sex is, let’s just get it out there, perverted. It’s smelly and kind of gooey. There are noises. It’s weird. I mean, you have to take off your clothes and be naked in front of someone and then…you know. But by god it feels good, doesn’t it! It’s perverted as shit but we really like doing it. Religious conservatives have to wrap all of that up inside a moral code somehow. A code that will allow them to do it–because, well, you have to do it–and still be able to, on Sundays in church, act like nobody is really doing that. How in holy hell can you look your preacher in the face every week knowing what you and the missus did the night before? Easy. You make sex a necessary evil. There’s only one real purpose for it: procreation. Having babies!! Yay, babies!

So, you see, if you let women have abortions, then, well, why are they having sex? You mean…women are having sex just because they enjoy it? That’s just not right! For religious conservatives, women are vessels for god’s most precious gift. They must not have sex until they are married (to a penis). Only then can they do it, and maybe enjoy it. Men. Well, it’s always been different for men. Men have to ‘sow their wild oats,’ which means have a little sex before they get tied down to one woman (oh, for those days of polygyny in the Bible they secretly yearn). But not women! No. Women must remain pure. And by pure, we mean virginal. Like Mary. Jesus couldn’t be born through a canal that had some guy’s penis in it, right? And you don’t want your kids traveling into the light of day through one that had some other dude’s penis in it. Am I right? Like, gross. Sex is dirty, remember? Once a woman has sex, she’s dirty, degraded, used, tainted. And if she likes it and has a lot of it, she’s a whore, a slut.

What do we call a man who loves sex and has a lot of it? He’s a stud. A playboy. Isn’t that sweet? We’ve shortened it nowadays to simply, player. Because sex for men can be a fun game. The women players use are then tossed away like trash. Because that’s what women who have sex outside of marriage are…trash. Men can send dick pics to young women and we wink and giggle and tease them. Women who flash men are ostracized, hounded, bullied, and told they should just kill themselves.

That’s what religion has done to us. We need to stop it.

They say there are secular reasons to be against the right of women to have abortions. Those reasons are based on the idea that life is life and there is no more moral reason to abort a fetus than there is to kill a toddler. Bullshit. There are moral reason to abort a pregnancy. 1. There are too many people in this world and to bring more into it because you think human life is so precious it must be protected is immoral. 2. To bring a child into a life of poverty or extreme suffering is immoral. 3. For a woman to sacrifice her life to care for a child she is not prepared to care for is immoral. 4. To force women to have children they do not want is immoral.

Oh, and 5. It’s none of your god-damned business.

What are you even suggesting, people? You don’t even understand your own positions. Are you prepared to monitor women’s menstrual cycles so that they can be watched to be sure they do not get abortions? Will you enact laws to force women to eat right, refrain from drug usage, etc. while they’re pregnant? (They’re already trying to do that, aren’t they?) When a woman miscarries, is she a murder suspect?

No. Actually you’re not suggesting that, are you? None of you are. What you’re suggesting is making safe abortion illegal and/or unavailable so that women will resort to homemade drug concoctions, intentional ‘accidents,’ coat hangers, and compassionate doctors putting their freedom on the line working out of hotel rooms. Great job busybodies, great job!

[Update: Except that they are now suggestion that. Example: Louisiana Republicans have advanced a bill that would make abortion chargeable as homicide. ]

This is absurd. Women are not chattel. We are not vessels for male sperm. We are not vessels for children. We are sentient human beings who have bodily autonomy. We will fight for it. You can not take it from us. Get out of our reproductive organs and give it a rest. Creeps.

Let me sum up.

It’s none of your business. It’s not your right to force women to carry pregnancies to term. It is a woman’s right to have an abortion. Nothing more should even have to be said.

Mind your own fucking business.

*Okay, so I’m long-winded.
**That definition is from that little pop up box on Google. Nobody knows from where the pop up definition box comes… Nobody.

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