Fun with words and words for fun

Life, What a Concept!

Sometimes life really does get in the way. A few things have happened and I’ve been away from here. (I’d put a sad emo-gee, but I don’t know how.)

The good news:  All is well, mostly.

The bad news: Fiction Outtakes, Bill Wynn: The First Hundred will be delayed a little while, but not long.

So, Still Coming Shortly

The first volume of Fiction Outtakes, Bill Wynn: The First Hundred will be available on Amazon soon.  Thank you all for following the series and the blog.

BW 1st 100 cover 2

Please do pick up a copy of my already published works here: 

Books by Peter Weiss.

All of the outtakes are autobiographical fiction. The workhouse outtakes are especially autobiographical. Bill Wynn first appears as the main character of  The Kitchen Stories in 1979. The Kitchen Stories will be released later this year.

Enjoy!

Advertisements

The Consequences of Historical Ignorance

Reprinted from The Daily Signal Daily Signal 5.3.18

cropped-quill-pen-300x3001.jpgAmerica is suffering through a crisis in education, especially when it comes to history.

Many were horrified when a poll, released in April, showed that two-thirds of millennials don’t know what Auschwitz is, despite the fact that it was the most notorious Nazi death camp in World War II.

That was hardly the only worrisome poll of late.

Americans should be outraged that our schools have failed to teach even the most basic historical facts to the younger generations. Worse, the education they receive has often only turned into a justification for superficial social activism, lacking in depth and veracity.

Throughout history violence and war only creates more of itself for example WWI->WWII->Cold War ->Korean War->Vietnam and up to today. While nonviolent moments like Gandhi’s, the suffrage movement or Civil Rights movement lead to peace and long lasting change. Ours will too.

This is little more than bumper sticker history, demonstrative of Hogg’s historical illiteracy.

For one thing, it’s unlikely that Gandhi’s pacifism would have been of much use against the Nazi war machine. People willing to put other humans in ovens are unlikely to be moved by passionate pleas for peace.

It should be noted, too, that Hogg’s two examples of nonviolent movements succeeding—Gandhi’s Indian independence movement and the U.S. civil rights movement—were not exactly nonviolent.

The Partition of India was incredibly violent, and led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of people. And the civil rights movement certainly wasn’t an entirely nonviolent affair, either. The rights of many black Americans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were secured almost entirely by gun ownership.

These so-called nonviolent movements occurred in countries with a tradition of respecting the rule of law and individual rights, giving them an actual chance to succeed through ballots instead of bullets.

In China, nonviolent student protests in the 1980s were crushed by the state—literally in the case of the Tiananmen Square protest. Historically, repression has been the norm, not the exception.

For Americans, the right to speak freely and protest was only secured because young men, mostly teenagers, were willing to take up arms—arms that Hogg and others have so relentlessly crusaded against—and risk their lives to fight for their God-given liberties against the British Crown.

At one time, every American would have known this and would have acknowledged the blood and suffering of the Revolution that secured our freedom and independence.

War is a terrible thing, but it is often just and necessary, and it has certainly served to stop tremendous evil in this world.

To deny that is absurd.

Despite the clear gaps in his historical knowledge, Hogg hasn’t shied away from insulting the civic acumen of others and hectoring them. He once said, “Our parents don’t know how to use a f—ing democracy, so we have to.”

Not content to simply insult his parents’ generation, he then followed up in a later interview claiming that those who were against him were on the wrong side of history—a history that his generation would presumably be writing.

“Regardless of what your opinions are or where you come from, you need to realize we are the future of America,” Hogg said in an NPR interview. “And if you choose not to stand with us, that’s OK, because you’ll be on the wrong side of the history textbooks that we write.”

If that’s so, then future history textbooks will look more ideological and baseless than accurate portrayals of the historical record. But perhaps that’s because many current textbooks are, too.

Americans are free, regardless of their education or knowledge level, to use a public platform to espouse their views. At the same time, it’s hard to have a substantive and productive debate on the issues of the day when even the most basic facts of history are unknown to those doing the debating.

Platitudes begin to sound like profound insights when one has an extremely narrow view of history and world events.

It would be nice to see a little more humility from those who have such an incomplete understanding of that history.

Nevertheless, we have only ourselves to blame if we are not doing more to fix the increasingly deplorable state of American schools.

We must admit that the public school education model is failing our youths,despite how much money we’ve pumped into the system.

We should take it upon ourselves to improve our republic through better schools—perhaps charter schools, or even better, private schools funded by caring parents who increasingly can use vouchers or education savings accounts to escape the current institutions that have failed them.

Currently, many of our schools don’t meet even the basic requirements of what Americans need to be informed citizens. Worse, the education students are receiving, especially in civics, is heavily skewed toward left-wing politics.

As my wife, Inez Stepman, wrote for The Federalist:

 If education reform is going to be about more than ticking up the United States’ score on international exams, and if school choice is also our only opportunity to break a left-wing ideological monopoly on public education, we must deliver meaningful, universal education choice to parents now, while Generation X parents are still the majority of those with school-age children.

We must give all parents the opportunity now to choose education options that align with their values, or the values we cherish will continue their slide into extinction.

Historical ignorance and cultural disintegration are only going to become more pronounced until we find a way to expand the net of education that works for the youngest generation.

School choice can no longer be treated as a back-burner issue.

Our future and our freedom depend on it.

Coming Shortly

The first volume of Fiction Outtakes, Bill Wynn: The First Hundred will be available on Amazon soon.  Thank you all for following the series and the blog.

BW 1st 100 cover 2

Please do pick up a copy of my already published works here: 

Books by Peter Weiss.

All of the outtakes are autobiographical fiction. The workhouse outtakes are especially autobiographical. Bill Wynn first appears as the main character of  The Kitchen Stories in 1979. The Kitchen Stories will be released later this year.

Enjoy!

Coming Shortly

BW 1st 100 cover 2

Announcing:

The first volume of Fiction Outtakes, Bill Wynn: The First Hundred will be available on Amazon soon.  Thank you all for following the series and the blog.

Please do pick up a copy of my already published works here: 

Books by Peter Weiss.

All of the outtakes are autobiographical fiction. The workhouse outtakes are especially autobiographical. Bill Wynn first appears as the main character of  The Kitchen Stories in 1979. The Kitchen Stories will be released later this year.

Enjoy!

Fiction Outtakes 225: Bill Wynn 211

kitchen-4

Hindsight is 2020, so they say. Even though his  fiancé’s father would never loan them money, at one point just after they were married he gave Bill a stock tip. The stock was sure to skyrocket overnight and Bill should put every penny he had into that stock. That would’ve been great if Bill and his wife had had any money. They took the hundred dollars that they could spare and put it into that stock. Literally, overnight the stock jumped from 5 to 40.

So there were problems festering. In retrospect, Bill would think later in his life he should have seen them, should have understood them, should have anticipated them and dealt with them. But he was only 20 and what do 20-year-olds know? He was 20, abusing substances, a boy in a man’s body whose life had already been upended twice. That meant that two times already his railroad track, whatever track it was supposed to have been, had been switched. Twice already he’d been taught that no matter how hard he tried he would never have control over things. Later in his life Bill would come to the conclusion that control is an illusion, something we all try for but few of us ever get. It was like the girl game. The more you tried to get a girl the less she wanted you. The more you grasped at control, the less control you had.

So there were problems festering. The one he would not see for many many years was the one with his fiancé. The ones that would surface more quickly were there at Suburban. The first had to do with Jim, the dishwasher who always wanted a beer, the dishwasher who’d been kicked in the head by a horse and was not quite right. The second was with Bea. Bea was more tricky than Jim. Jim was blatant. Every time he would see Bill drinking a beer, he’d say it would be nice to have a beer. Bill would tell him he couldn’t give him a beer and Jim would say that Bill really thought he was something. Sometimes Jim would tell Bill he had no clue of what being something really was. At one point in his life Jim really was something.

Control. Jim got kicked in the head. He would’ve been killed if one of the stable boys hadn’t been able to pull him out of the way and calm down the horse. There was never an explanation as to why the horse did what it did. It simply went out of control.

Bea was more in control than Jim. But at least Jim was who he was. Bea was the wolf in sheep’s clothing, all sweet and caring when she wanted to be, when she wanted something, when she wanted Bill. When she was horny she would do anything to have Bill take her downstairs to satisfy her itch. When she was feeling threatened by Bill’s liking Mary, she would be sweet and make sure Bill got everything he needed from her. Well, almost everything. But like almost everyone, Bea made the simple mistake of thinking that she was in control.

And so one day, not long after the new year, not long after Bill’s fiancé was wholly immersed in her UDC spring concert preparations, wholly immersed in her schoolwork and active in all the evening activities that the dancer’s attended, some of them not because they wanted to but because they were obligated to, Bill found himself approached by one of the dishwashers.

“I was wondering,” he said, “if you’d be interested in making a little money. I see you’re quite popular with the girls here. There are a couple of ladies who live in my rooming house that would like to meet a guy like you. They’d be willing to pay handsomely if you were to meet them.”

Coming This Week:

BW 1st 100 cover 2

Pick up a copy of my published works here: Books by Peter Weiss.

Fiction Outtakes 224: Bill Wynn 210

kitchen-4

Like any underlying problem, like any problem that is not addressed, it festered. Bea became more demanding in her sexual wants. The more it seemed to her that Bill liked Mary, the more she wanted to get in the way. If under other circumstances it might have been because of jealousy for Mary, in this particular case it was due to a power struggle, a power struggle only she seemed to feel.

For his part, Bill could care less. For most things in running the kitchen, he was happy to have her take the lead and let her have the responsibility. Most things she directed regarding the way the kitchen worked had little to do with the actual putting up of the meals. But there were times that Bill felt her judgment was skewed. It generally had to do with how she treated the dishwashers. Having been a pot washer, then a dishwasher, and being a college-graduate cook, he was painfully aware of the notion of being looked down upon. He compensated for this with the dishwashers by making sure they had everything he could possibly give them. This included steaks to eat, unlimited sodas to drink, and even cigarettes when he could give them to them. He also made sure that Drenovis didn’t bother them when they rested between rushes.

Bea didn’t always see things like he did. In fact, Bea saw things less the way he did the more he was with Mary. Bill’s liking Mary was a sore spot for Bea. Bill’s being able to do his job with ease also was a sore spot for her. So like Alfreda, Bea was becoming more and more a powder keg. Bill could see it. Mary could see it. Henry Lee could see it. And they all knew that sooner or later given the right circumstances powder kegs exploded.

Out in the hall Bea made sure to always sit opposite Bill and higher up. She made sure to always sit with her legs spread wide and a fat-ass grin on her face. At one point Henry Lee took to making comments to Bea, telling her to close her legs, telling her to leave the boy alone, telling her to go on and get some at home, telling her he was going to drop a dime to Mr. Bea.

That of course was a two-way street and Bea reminded him she could always drop a dime to Alfreda. Bill had been with Alfreda once, and Alfreda was wanting more. For the life of him, Bill could not understand why. He did not fancy himself as much of a lover, and when all was said and done, later on in his life he would come to realize that his desirability was based upon two things: first, he was white, and second, he was young. His being white was simply a matter of what would later be known as jungle fever. His being young simply meant he was ready at a moment’s notice.

For both Bea and Alfreda there was no power issue. Bill did not have control over whether or not they ate steaks or drank beer. What they did regarding everything in the kitchen was on them.

With waitresses, it was a different story. Bill had power over waitresses and he controlled what they had for dinner. So for them, giving some to Bill meant eating better and that was what they wanted. Bill had little regard for these types of waitresses. Bill had great regard for Lorraine and those waitresses who were working hard to support their children. After all, that was how he had started in kitchens, to be able to support his wife-to-be.

Regarding his fiancé, she was wholly immersed in the spring concert series even though it wasn’t even near spring yet. There, at home, with her, something was already festering too, but what was festering there would not come to light for some fifteen years.

Coming Right After Mother’s Day

BW 1st 100 cover 2

Pick up a copy of my published works here: Books by Peter Weiss.

Fiction Outtakes 223: Bill Wynn 209

kitchen-4

Purple. Bill liked Mary most in purple. Purple lipstick, purple nails, purple toenails, purple stockings. He liked it when she wore purple lingerie and purple shoes. He liked the shoes high-heeled and open-toe.

The first time Mary dressed up for him she was embarrassed. She wasn’t used to dressing up for anyone. She was used to only getting dressed up to go to church.

Bill had been insistent. When Mary balked, he had gently coaxed her, told her that she should try it. She had asked why and he had told her just because, because he wanted it, because it would make her feel sexy. She was quick to tell him that she wasn’t sexy. He was quick to tell her that she had no clue as to how sexy she was.

It was a mid-January night that she dressed up the first time exactly as he wanted her to. The other times they had been to The Upper Room Mary had selected her own outfits. She was not one to have fancy underwear and she was not one to have fancy dresses. Her fancy dresses were church dresses and under them she wore regular underwear.

“What you want from me boy?” she asked one time.

“I want you to be sexy for me,” he said.

“What you know about this stuff?” she asked.

“Apparently more than you,” he said.

“You don’t know squat,” she’d said.

But she’d complied with what he wanted and when they were all settled, when the bed was made and they’d smoked a joint, he’d asked her to undress for him. She told him he was crazy. He just smiled and asked her to humor him. Bill could sense that she had a rough time with what he was asking. Doc to the rescue. He pulled out two Quaaludes for her, two for him and they popped them while drinking a full glass of red wine. That done, they smoked a second joint and by the time they had finished that Mary was in just the right frame of mind.

The next day at work Mary reminded him that she still had her purple underwear on. Bill replied by telling her it was good to be young. Just the notion that she was still wearing the purple under her kitchen dress turned him on. They met first in the party room where Bill put her up on a bar stool and went down on his knees. Mary, having gotten more used to what the Quaaludes did to her, asked if he had more. He told her always for her and got some. That led to a second meeting inside the staff ladies room.

Tommy was a fair man. He did not hold it against Bill for not taking the manager’s job. In fact, he understood clearly that Bill could be of more service continuing as he was than wasting their time being trained as a manager and then not having more than several months to work at it.

Drenovis, in his usual way, was a prick about it. He razzed Bill, and razzed him more, and made sure Bill was always painfully aware of the fact that he held a higher position. Bill, having become a seasoned broiler cook, having learned his lessons well from Henry Lee and from Robert, took no crap from Drenovis. As much as Drenovis gave  him, he gave back more. Bill would never start anything, but he made sure nothing went unanswered.

Bea was the one who became most out of sorts. The stronger Bill became in his position, the weaker she felt in hers as the kitchen manager. One day, without her having realized it, Bill could see more about the running of the kitchen then she could. That was a problem.

Coming Right After Mother’s Day

BW 1st 100 cover 2

Pick up a copy of my published works here: Books by Peter Weiss. 

Fiction Outtakes 222: Bill Wynn 208

kitchen-4

The day he met with Tommy to turn down the manager’s job, he was relieved. His fiancé didn’t seem to care much. Bea was happy. Henry Lee told him he should do whatever the hell he wanted and not pay any attention to anyone except his fiancé. If she didn’t care, then it was all on him and his choice alone. For his own part, Henry Lee said, he was happier Bill was staying one of them.

The winter so far was particularly cold and dreary. Before he’d been busted, while Bill was just a regular student, there had been many times when he and his fiancé had gone together to some of the things she went to. Many of them, like mime, made Bill uncomfortable. Anything touchy-feely put Bill ill-at-ease. Some of them piqued his interest as a writer and he was able to sit somewhere off in the distance and observe. More than anything else, Bill liked that.

Those days, the days of he and his fiancé doing things together, were over for now. What replaced them was his working all the time and paying off their debts. His hope, even without the manager’s salary, was to have the car paid off before the beginning of spring and then to be able to bank the money being deducted from his paycheck. His hope was to have enough money to be able to finance a new apartment wherever they moved to. That discussion, where they were going to move, was a difficult one. The most logical choice was to go straight to New York where his fiancé could pursue her dancing career. The safest choice was to move up to Cleveland where she could get a job teaching dance and choreographing then use that as a stepping stone for the move to New York.

Bill could not see it then. In fact, Bill would not see it for many, many years. But hers were kind of high-class choices. He had no choice at all. Wherever they went he would work in the kitchen and support them while she pursued her career.

They had had this discussion several times. Bill was the logical one. He reasoned that he could always write but a dancer had to dance while she was young. Looked at from this perspective, there was very little choice for Bill although at any moment she could have told him no, that they would find a way for both of them to pursue their careers. In retrospect, Bill would think later, maybe she did say these things and maybe he just wasn’t open to hearing what she had to say. Maybe what stopped him from becoming a manager also stopped him from pursuing his career. Maybe, he would think later, he was just plain afraid.

Bill got better and better at meat cutting, better and better as a line cook, more experienced as a prep cook. Lorraine hung around as a waitress. Having to support two daughters, she had little choice. Lexi, Norma, and even Victoria left and were replaced by new girls. The new girls were just girls, just waitresses. Most of them were a little older than Bill and most of them were eager to work there because the waitresses there made really good money. They had to work hard and they had to put up with Drenovis, but such was life. Those days, no matter where they worked there was always a manager like Drenovis, someone in power looking to get into their pants and having no reservations about using position to do it.

When all was said and done, after some 25 years in kitchens, at least Bill could say he never used his position to get in somebody’s pants. He could also say that he rarely pursued a waitress. What he actually did was wait for them to pursue him and then either accepted or not.

Coming Right After Mother’s Day

BW 1st 100 cover 2

Pick up a copy of my published works here: Books by Peter Weiss.