Who Is Mistral Dawn?

Mistral Dawn is a thirty-something gal who has lived on both coasts of the US but somehow never in the middle. She currently resides in the Southeast US with her kitty cats (please spay or neuter! :-)) where she works as a hospital drudge and attends graduate school. Taken By The Huntsman is her first effort at writing fiction and if it is well received she has ideas for several more novels and short-stories in this series. Please feel free to visit her on FaceBook or drop her a line at mistralkdawn@gmail.com

Monday, April 30, 2018

Something Worth Watching?


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. Everyone loves to shout about how awful the Russians were and how our last Presidential election was tainted by their interference, but no one ever talks about how our own corporate media's influence had a much greater effect than anything the Russians could have ever done.  After the revelations from Ed Schultz about how the mainstream media corporations in this country deliberately sabotaged Bernie Sanders's campaign, we can no longer pretend that this isn't a problem. So, take a few minutes to watch the video below and consider helping to spread the word about both Alison Hartson's Senate run and the overarching problem of mainstream media deliberately attempting to pull the wool over the eyes of the American public. Peace!




Sunday, April 29, 2018

Mushroom Cap #Pizza #Recipe!



Hey Everyone!! :-)

This is another great recipe for those nights when you're looking for a quick meal with little fuss. Enjoy! :-)

Ingredients:
4 portabello mushrooms washed
8 cherry tomatoes halved
1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
1/2 cup fresh basil chopped
1 tbsp dried oregano
4 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Remove the stems from the mushrooms, cut the hard ends off and discard them. Chop up the rest of the stems and mix them with the minced garlic and oregano. Set the mixture aside. Brush both sides of the mushroom caps with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet with the insides of the caps facing up. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper. Place four halves of the cherry tomatoes with the cut sides facing up on each of the mushroom caps. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil. Sprinkle the mushroom stems, oregano, and garlic mixture evenly over the four mushroom caps. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the four mushroom caps. Sprinkle the basil evenly over the four mushroom caps. Place the baking sheet under the broiler for approximately five minutes or until cheese melts and browns. Eat immediately or chill and enjoy cold, later.

Buon appetito!



Saturday, April 28, 2018

#Spring Into #Reading #Giveaway! $120 #Cash #Grand #Prize! #Free To #Enter!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new giveaway for Spring!  Please take a moment to check out the Spring Into Reading Giveaway!!  There are lots of awesome books and prizes!! :-)  It's free to enter, there are over 40 prizes, and the grand prize is $120 cash payable through PayPal!! :-)  Now isn't that worth taking a few minutes to check out? ;-)   Here are all the details:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much for stopping by today!  And don't forget to check back tomorrow for the next installment of Mistral Dawn's Musings! :-)




Friday, April 27, 2018

Tactics That Work And Those That Don't



Hey Everyone!!

A little over a month ago, now, the nationwide March For Our Lives took place. Teenagers across the country took the lead to bring about sensible gun legislation because the adults in this country have repeatedly proven ourselves incapable of doing so. It's an important movement that I think will have far-reaching implications, especially in elections over the next couple of years as these young people reach voting age. In honor of their work, and just as an aside to those who insist that we need to allow lunatics to have access to machine guns in order to prevent the government from becoming tyrannical, I'd like to point out a couple of things.

The Fourth Amendment guarantees protection against unreasonable search and seizure by the government. In spite of that, we have warrantless wiretapping, mass data surveillance and collection, civil asset forfeiture, and wide-spread confiscation of private lands under the guise of "eminent domain" for the sole benefit of private corporations. Incidentally, the ubiquitousness of guns in America has not had even the slightest impact on any of these violations of our Fourth Amendment rights.

The Sixth Amendment guarantees a fair and speedy trial. Despite that protection, it's quite common for low-income American citizens to spend months, if not years, in jail awaiting trial. These people haven't been convicted of anything, merely accused, and the government locks them up in spite of the supposed presumption of innocence. This year, the Supreme Court ruled that non-citizens, even long-term legal residents of the US who have broken no laws, can be detained indefinitely without charge. A ruling that essentially renders meaningless the principle of habeas corpus in this country, something that has been a cornerstone of justice in western society since the signing of the Magna Carta in the year 1215. And, once again, our overly armed populace remains incapable of defending ourselves against this kind of government tyranny.

My point? The Second Amendment won't keep the government from becoming tyrannical; the government is already tyrannical and most of us have been too distracted by Netflix and our smartphones to notice. If the US government, or the corporations that run it, was in any way threatened by high-powered semi-automatic rifles made fully automatic via conversion kits, those guns would have been confiscated long ago, Second Amendment or no Second Amendment. After all, as I've already pointed out, it's not as though the US government is shy about ignoring the Bill of Rights when doing so suits its purpose.

There are only two reasons those guns are still legal. First, there are a lot of people making a fortune off of arms sales. Those people are involved in running our government and they also control other people who run our government. And they're not about to let a little thing like murdered children get in the way of their profits.

And the second reason is that those guns present absolutely no danger whatsoever to people in power. The US government has drones, missiles, chemical weapons, biological weapons, nuclear weapons, tanks, and the largest military in human history. Oh, sure, the odd politician might get picked off, here or there. But, realistically, there isn't even the minutest chance that regular people with guns will ever pose even a minor threat to the government. Anyone who tried such tactics would immediately be branded a terrorist and slaughtered. And the fact that those who dared to challenge the government chose violent means would give the government all the excuse it needs to claim that it only acted to protect innocent lives.

Do you know who is at risk from the kind of weaponry we're talking about? Me and thee, my friends. That's right, regular people are the only people who are under threat from the unregulated sale of firearms. And that suits the powers that be just fine. Why? Because if we kill each other off and then expend the rest of our energy arguing with each other about it, we're too busy to turn our attention to the real problem: the people pulling the puppet strings; those in power.

Because there is an effective way to wrest power away from the government and the corporations that control it, but it isn't through armed uprising. The only way that regular people have any chance, at all, to make their voices heard is to do what the marchers did last month: stand together, speak out, and refuse to be silenced. Non-violent demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience are tactics that the government has a hard time suppressing or combating because to meet non-violence with violence is difficult for them to justify. Pictures of dead protestors who were carrying nothing but signs make for bad PR when they go viral.

So, my hat is off to the people who marched. I'm grateful to them for doing their part to try to keep our people free and safe. It's people like them who are the real hope for this country and our future.

Peace!



Thursday, April 26, 2018

#APC #Spotlight: The Rite Of Wands By Mackenzie Flohr!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Mackenzie Flohr in my APC spotlight, today! Mackenzie is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her young adult, sci-fi/fantasy, coming of age novel, The Rite of Wands, looks great! Here's the description:
One boy…one Rite… And a world of deadly secrets that could change the course of history—forever
And so begins the tale of Mierta McKinnon. When a horrible fate reveals itself during his Rite of Wands ceremony, he must find a way to change not only his destiny but also the land of Iverna’s.
Forbidden from revealing the future he foresees to anyone, he is granted a wand and his magical powers, but still must master the realm of magic in order to save himself and those he loves.
But Mierta is not the only one with secrets…especially when it’s impossible to know who to trust
 If you think this sounds like something you might enjoy, go ahead and grab your copy here:


Thank you all so much for stopping by! Happy reading! :-)



Wednesday, April 25, 2018

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 732


Hey Everyone! :-)

Agent Thoth discusses more of the trials and tribulations associated with living with hominids. Incidentally, if you've missed Agent Thoth's earlier entries, you can find them here: Thoth's Journal


Department for the Preservation and Confirmation of Intelligent Life (DPCIL)
Agent Thoth's Personal Log

Day Seven-Hundred-Thirty-Two:
My hominid-servant is cleverer than I thought she was. I still despair of ever being able to state with confidence that hominids possess true intelligence. However, they do, on occasion, surprise me with their ability to be both devious and resourceful.

Per my previous entry, I did complete the mapping of the range of my hominid-servant's H2O delivery device. As a result, I implemented my strategy of staying just beyond its reach while conducting my investigative work. Unfortunately, this tactic, apparently, irritated my hominid-servant. Initially, the only consequence was an intensification of the verbal chastisement she hurled at my person, which was easily ignored. But it was not long before she escalated hostilities in our battle of wills.

My idea's success lasted a mere single planetary rotation before my hominid-servant procured a new, stronger spray device with a greater range. The new contraption can deliver a stream of H2O to anywhere within the living space of my domicile. I was so distraught by this betrayal by my hominid-servant that it has taken me several days to collect myself enough to report on this most recent development. The most galling part is that I am forced to conclude that my experiment has failed, and it is all due to hominid duplicitousness.  


Argh! Those tricksey hominids! ;-) You may have noticed that Agent Thoth has a new look. I hope you like his new picture as much as I do, but I'd love to hear your thoughts, either way. Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments. ;-) Happy reading, everyone!




Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Apathy Or Exhaustion?


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got a little more of Alyce's adventure to share with you, today! Enjoy! :-)

Excerpt from sci-fi satire novel:
"I still find it hard to believe that so many of your people are oblivious to such obvious societal ills," said Yax.

"A lot of people work really hard to keep it that way, not to mention the fact that most people in my society are just too exhausted to pay attention to much outside their daily lives."

"Why is that, again?"

"Well, like I said before, most people work really long hours, often at multiple jobs. They're tired and most of them don't have the energy to keep up with the latest outrages from the powers that be, never mind fight back against them. Unless what is being done has a direct effect on them, it's not unusual for working people to just ignore it. Even when they are personally affected, if the consequences aren't too severe or are delayed in any way, they still might not react. A lot of people are too distracted with just trying to survive to pay attention to anything else."

"That's a frightening place for any society to be," observed Squid-boy. "It makes it almost impossible to choose leaders who are worthy of the role."

I laughed. "Well, sugar, you're not the first one to make the argument that we've gotten exactly the kind of government we deserve."



Monday, April 23, 2018

Something Worth Watching?


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. Even though this story is about Chicago, lead-tainted water is a nation-wide problem and it's something that the mainstream media just isn't talking about. So, please take a few minutes to watch this video, and then think about contacting your elected representatives and letting them know that you'd like them to take action to identify all homes in this country where lead in the water is an issue and to rectify the problem.




Sunday, April 22, 2018

Roasted Veggies And Pasta #Recipe!



Hey Everyone!! :-)

This dish is a really easy, and delicious, way to incorporate more veggies into your diet. Enjoy! :-)

Ingredients:
3 cups pasta (your choice of shape)
2 cups broccoli chunked
2 cups cauliflower chunked
2 cups sweet potatoes chunked
2 cups zucchini or yellow summer squash chunked
2 cups carrots chunked
1 large onion chopped
2 cups kale chopped
1 12 oz package button mushrooms sliced
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup olive oil
4 tbsp butter
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp harissa paste
8 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp ginger minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp oregano
2 tbsp flour
Salt and pepper to taste

Put all the chunked vegetables, half the chopped onion, and the kale into a large zip-lock bag. Add half the olive oil, half the wine, the harissa paste, the soy sauce, the ginger half the minced garlic, the oregano, and salt and pepper to taste to the bag and seal it. Squish the bag around to coat all the vegetables with the seasoning and put in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

Dump the contents of the bag into a buttered baking dish and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft and starting to brown. Add the pasta to salted boiling water and cook until nearly soft. Drain the pasta and mix the roasted vegetables with the pasta and set aside.

In a large skillet, add the rest of the olive oil, 2 tablespoons of butter, and the rest of the onion. Saute until the onion softens and starts to brown. Add the mushrooms and the rest of the garlic and continue sauteing until the mushrooms soften. Add the rest of the butter and the flour and cook until the flour starts to brown. Deglaze the pan with the rest of the wine and simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the tomato paste and the vegetable stock and whisk continuously until the sauce combines and starts to thicken. Add the roasted vegetables and the pasta to the pan and stir until everything is coated with the sauce. Serve warm with a side of crusty bread.

Bon appetit!



Saturday, April 21, 2018

#Spring Into #Reading #Giveaway! $120 #Cash #Grand #Prize! #Free To #Enter!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new giveaway for Spring!  Please take a moment to check out the Spring Into Reading Giveaway!!  There are lots of awesome books and prizes!! :-)  It's free to enter, there are over 40 prizes, and the grand prize is $120 cash payable through PayPal!! :-)  Now isn't that worth taking a few minutes to check out? ;-)   Here are all the details:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much for stopping by today!  And don't forget to check back tomorrow for the next installment of Mistral Dawn's Musings! :-)




Friday, April 20, 2018

An #Invisible Woman?



Hey Everyone!! :-)

Today, I thought I'd help you start your Friday off with a little mystery. Enjoy! ;-)


Excerpt from Rainbow Dreams:
A train pulled up to the station, but two low-level enforcers who Petri recognized from Abracadabra were on the platform. Fortunately, they didn't see her in the shadows. She stayed where she was as they boarded the train, deciding that it was safer to wait for the next train.

Her wait wasn't long, and she found a seat at the back of another empty car. She hugged the wall as close as she could, not wanting to be seen through a window. The trains ran directly to and from the transfer station. The only reason they were maintained so well and ran so often was to facilitate the movement of Upworld citizens through Under City.

But something told her that getting to the transfer station wouldn't be as simple as staying on the train long enough for it to get there. She wished her face wasn't so distinctive. Half-breeds weren't common, and even her cover of a Paka/Human hybrid was unusual. To her knowledge, she was unique in the Southern sector.

The next three stations were deserted. But when the train pulled up to the fourth station, a crowd was waiting. Petri's heart sank as she slid lower in her seat. She was trapped.

If she got off the train, she would be spotted immediately. If she stayed where she was, they would see her as soon as they boarded the train. There was no way someone wouldn't recognize her.

Not knowing what to do, she froze. She turned her face toward the wall as the sound of feet tramping across the metal floor filled the car. Closing her eyes, she whispered to herself, "They can't see me. No one can see me. I'm small and still, and no one will notice."

As the train set off for the next station, Petri had yet to be confronted. She didn't dare open her eyes or move a muscle. The sound of conversation from her fellow passengers swirled around her, and she listened as they talked about her. But none of them came near her or spoke to her.

Their words were hate-filled and fierce. If this crowd laid hands on her, she would never see a house rep. They would tear her apart. And the houses would be just as happy with that result as they would if they killed her themselves.

They planned to meet up with another group searching for her and make their way back toward the central part of Southern sector. None of them thought it likely she had made it this far toward the outer areas yet. As she listened to them talk about what they wanted to do with her before they killed her, Petri's gorge rose. It would almost be more merciful if they turned her over to a snuff house. At least then she'd probably only be tortured by one or two people before she died.

The seconds ticked by and the beating of her heart sounded loud in her own ears. When the train reached the next station, the lynch mob disembarked. But Petri was too scared to open her eyes or sit up. It was only after the train had arrived at and left five more stations, and silence continued to fill the car, that Petri dared to look around. She was alone.

Somehow, in spite of all probability, they had missed the fact that the woman they hunted sat right behind them. It defied logic. If it hadn't happened to her, Petri would never have believed it. How the hell had they missed her?


Want to find out how Petri became the invisible woman for a few minutes? Go ahead and grab your copy of Rainbow Dreams here:



Happy reading!! :-)


Thursday, April 19, 2018

#APC #Spotlight: Distant Time: An Electric Eclectic Book By Karen Mossman!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Karen J Mossman in my APC spotlight, today! Karen is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her young adult, time travel, adventure sci-fi short story, Distant Time, looks great! Here's the description:
Imagine visiting a village that has just been invaded by German WW2 soldiers. Now imagine you are no longer invisible.
What would you do if you woke to find yourself in a strange place not knowing who you were? Running outside, you find yourself caught up in a war. Not only that - you run for your life and come face to face with yourself.
Julie is time travelling and something has gone drastically wrong. Read this thrilling adventure where the future needs evidence from the past
If you think this sounds like something you might enjoy, go ahead and grab your copy here:


Thank you all so much for stopping by! Happy reading! :-)



Wednesday, April 18, 2018

#April2018 #IndieBooksBeSeen #Indie #Author #Books #Monthly #BookReview!



Hey Everyone!! :-)

It's the 18th again, so time for my #IndieBooksBeSeen monthly indie author book review!! Enjoy! :-)

Dragon Lightening by JS Burke:

After the events of Dragon Dreamer, Arak and Scree travel north in search of the fabled ice dragons. On their journey, they meet Drakor, a young ice dragon with a talent for making lightning swords. After finding Drakor and hearing his tale, Scree dives into the abyss to check on their new friend's volcano. What she finds there may change the course of history in three realms. Will these three unlikely comrades be able to ward off disaster? You'll have to read to find out!

Once again, Ms. Burke has created a wonderfully vivid story full of adventure, danger, and lessons for her characters. I loved how skillfully she wove so much of the natural sciences into her fantasy tale, and I also loved how, like in the first book, the characters grew during the course of the novel. As enlightening as the look at the world under the sea was, I think I liked the fact that readers are taken on a journey of personal growth just as much. The messages in this book -- those of friendship, loyalty, kindness, determination, cooperation, and learning to consider other people's perspectives -- are perfect for anyone from 9 to 99. And the delightful descriptions and entertaining dialog are sure to hold your attention. Five stars, and I very much hope there's a third installment in this series.




Tuesday, April 17, 2018

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 728


Hey Everyone! :-)

Agent Thoth discusses more of the trials and tribulations associated with living with hominids. Incidentally, if you've missed Agent Thoth's earlier entries, you can find them here: Thoth's Journal


Department for the Preservation and Confirmation of Intelligent Life (DPCIL)
Agent Thoth's Personal Log

Day Seven-Hundred-Twenty-Eight:
My hominid-servant routinely uses a spray container filled with H2O as a means of forcing me from the pursuit of my studies in venues of which she disapproves. I have endeavored to explain to her the necessity of my accessing the locations she has deemed off-limits, but my attempts at reason have fallen on deaf ears. Despite my pleas, my hominid-servant continues to loose streams of H2O in my direction at seemingly random moments, which saturates my fur and destroys my concentration. To be fair to her, she did try verbal dissuasion methods first, which I naturally ignored, but it didn't take her long to resort to the underhanded tactics she is using now.

I believe my hominid-servant's main motivation for employing the H2O strategy is that she does not wish to rise from her seat in order to physically remove me from the target I am pursuing. On the theory that I can use her inherent laziness against her, I have decided to test the range of her H2O deployment device. If I can determine exactly how far away I need to be to evade the spray, I may be able to concentrate my research efforts in those areas.

This does, of course, mean that I must repeatedly allow myself to be doused with H2O as I systematically record the places where the dreadful substance does and does not land. It's quite a sacrifice on my part, as wearing H2O isn't nearly as agreeable an experience as drinking it. Especially, since the means by which my hominid-servant delivers her deterrent is engineered to penetrate through all my layers of fur, which causes unsettling trickles of the liquid to course along my skin.

However, once I have successfully mapped my hominid-servant's range with her squirting apparatus, I believe the resulting peace in which I will be able to continue my work will prove my efforts worthwhile. I must admit, it does give me some satisfaction to think that I have come to understand my hominid-servant well enough that I am able to use her own natural inclinations against her. I will report back once I have completed this experiment to inform you of the results.

Ugh! Hominids can be so unreasonable! ;-) You may have noticed that Agent Thoth has a new look. I hope you like his new picture as much as I do, but I'd love to hear your thoughts, either way. Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments. ;-) Happy reading, everyone!




Monday, April 16, 2018

Something Worth Watching?


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. John Oliver is world-famous, so there's a decent chance you've already seen this. But I think it's important so I'm sharing it anyway.  Peace!




Sunday, April 15, 2018

Quick And Easy Mini #Pizza #Recipe!



Hey Everyone!! :-)

This recipe is great for a quick meal when you don't have time to mess. Enjoy! :-)

Ingredients:
1 English muffin cut open per person
1/3 cup mozzarella shredded per person
2-3 grape tomatoes halved per person
1 tbsp basil chopped per person
1 tbsp oregano chopped per person
1 tsp olive oil per person
Salt and pepper to taste

Lay the English muffin on a small baking tray. Place the tomatoes on the muffin with the cut sides up. sprinkle the basil and oregano over the tomatoes and then drizzle the olive oil over them. Season with salt and pepper according to your taste. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over both halves of the muffin. Pop the baking tray in a toaster oven set to broil for 2-3 minutes or until cheese melts and starts to brown. Serve warm or refrigerate for later and serve cold.

Buon appetito!



Saturday, April 14, 2018

#Spring Into #Reading #Giveaway! $120 #Cash #Grand #Prize! #Free To #Enter!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new giveaway for Spring!  Please take a moment to check out the Spring Into Reading Giveaway!!  There are lots of awesome books and prizes!! :-)  It's free to enter, there are over 40 prizes, and the grand prize is $120 cash payable through PayPal!! :-)  Now isn't that worth taking a few minutes to check out? ;-)   Here are all the details:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much for stopping by today!  And don't forget to check back tomorrow for the next installment of Mistral Dawn's Musings! :-)




Friday, April 13, 2018

Your Freedom To Swing Your Arm Ends At My Nose


Hey Everyone!!

Today, I'm going to share with you something that I wrote a little while back regarding the way certain people in this country seem to think that because they have the right to make certain choices for themselves that automatically translates into their having the right to force everyone else to adhere to those choices, as well. I hope the following metaphor helps clear things up for those people.

Okay, let's say that you and I are friends and we decide to go out and have lunch together. We go to this great burger joint and the server comes over and asks for our order. And let's say that I'm a vegetarian, so I order the veggie burger. But you're not a vegetarian, so you order the double bacon cheeseburger with a side of extra bacon grease and chicken fries.

No problem so far, right? I mean, I have the right to be a vegetarian if I want to be. And I have the right to order any damn burger on that menu, including the veggie burger, that I choose. And when that veggie burger is brought to me, I can eat and enjoy it. Hell, I can compose sonnets to it, if I want to. "Ode To The Veggie Burger." And you have the right to not be a vegetarian if you don't want to be and to order and enjoy the burger of your choice. So, no problem.

And maybe the experience is even deeper than that. Maybe I'll decide I need to learn all the mysteries of the veggie burger and take part of it home and put it under a microscope and dissect it into its component parts. Still okay, right? Maybe I'll decide I need to tell everyone I know about the awesomeness of the veggie burger. I mean, they're not under any obligation to listen, but I certainly have every right to speak my mind. So everything is still hunky dory, right?

If I wake up every day blessing the veggie burger and whisper my gratitude for being my personal savior to the spirit of the veggie burger before I lay my head on my pillow each night, that's okay too. Maybe I'll even decide to write books about the veggie burger. "Living Life In Accordance With The Veggie Burger" and "The Veggie Burger And You: What Does It Mean?" And then hire Morgan Freeman to narrate the audiobook versions. Still perfectly fine, right?

But, see, here's where we start to have a problem. If I decide that since I'm a vegetarian and I think veggie burgers are awesome, I try to prevent you from ordering your heart attack on a plate and force you and everyone else in the restaurant to only eat veggie burgers. Not just then, but for the rest of your lives. Because that's what I think is moral. Not so okay, right?

And while I have the right to gather some of my vegetarian friends together and have us all stand outside the restaurant with signs warning about the dangers of rejecting the veggie burger, provided we stay on public property and remain peaceful, I don't have any right to prevent you from going into the restaurant. Or to grab your arm as you walk by me, ignoring my signs, and refuse to let you go until you tell me what you intend to order. Definitely not okay, right?

I also don't have the right to decide that since I pay taxes and some of those taxes go to support agriculture, that means that all farmers must cease and desist from all raising of livestock for meat. And it's completely unacceptable for me to track those farmers down and harass and threaten them if they decline to accede to my demands. And, it would be beyond horrific if I decided to punctuate my point by harming some of those farmers or blowing up some of their farms. Right?

It would also be completely unacceptable for me to demand that public schools stop teaching about the digestive process in biology classes and how meat is broken down into amino acids, which can then be used by the body in various ways. Nor would it be okay if I insisted that the science I found inconvenient be replaced with Meat Is Murder propaganda in those classes. Would it?

And if I was a doctor, it would be completely unethical and immoral for me to refuse to aid you if you came into the ER where I worked because you were having a heart attack because, in my opinion, you deserved that heart attack for eating meat. Or, if I was a pharmacist, it would not be in any way acceptable for me to refuse to fill your blood pressure or cholesterol prescriptions because I thought the only reason you'd need those medicines was that you weren't living your life the way I thought you should. Right?

So, basically, what it boils down to is that I have the right to hold whatever opinions I damn well please, no matter how odd others might find them, and to act on those opinions for myself. But so do you. And you can't be free to exercise your right unless you are simultaneously free from having my opinions forced on you. Right?

#ThinkAboutIt


Thursday, April 12, 2018

#APC #Spotlight: Maggie's Gravy Train Adventure: An Electric Eclectic Book by Ann Barnes!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Ann McBryant Barnes in my APC spotlight, today! Ann is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and her children's short story, Maggie's Gravy Train Adventure, looks adorable! Here's the description:
When a young girl takes a ride on a gravy train with her mother, she finds unexpected adventures and mysteries waiting for her as they glide down the cookie track. What happens to the track, and why do the biscuit wheels crumble at one point, and turn to mush near the Ferry Land station? Who is behind the mayhem in the land of Eat-a-Lot? Find out as this charming children's adventure unfolds before your very eyes.
 If you think this sounds like something you, or a munchkin in your life, might enjoy, go ahead and grab your copy here:


Thank you all so much for stopping by! Happy reading! :-)



Wednesday, April 11, 2018

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 723


Hey Everyone! :-)

Agent Thoth discusses more of the trials and tribulations associated with living with hominids. Incidentally, if you've missed Agent Thoth's earlier entries, you can find them here: Thoth's Journal


Department for the Preservation and Confirmation of Intelligent Life (DPCIL)
Agent Thoth's Personal Log

Day Seven-Hundred-Twenty-Three:
My hominid-servant possesses a device that the adolescent felid finds terrifying. I must confess, I, too, was intimidated by this machine the first few times it approached me. But, I've since come to realize that, as loud as it is, it is not a weapon, but a tool used for the purpose of sanitation.

My hominid-servant uses this appliance to clean the floors of my domicile and, while the noise produced by the contraption makes thinking nearly impossible, it creates only a temporary disruption to my work. So, I endeavor to endure the interludes when this piece of equipment is in use with equanimity. Though, I must admit that I do bat at the thing with my paws if my hominid-servant infringes on my personal space by bringing it too close to my person.

My young compatriot, on the other paw, flees in terror from one part of my domicile to another throughout the entire time my hominid-servant employs this gadget, creating nearly as much commotion as the source of his fear. It appears to me that he may be under the impression that the hygiene implement is chasing him, though that is clearly absurd. If it were not for the distraction inherent created by the use of the apparatus, I would consider this a good opportunity to study the effects of panic on the native fauna of this planet. With things as they are, however, I regard the little idiot's reaction to be more irritating than enlightening.


'Ware the evil vacuum of death! ;-) You may have noticed that Agent Thoth has a new look. I hope you like his new picture as much as I do, but I'd love to hear your thoughts, either way. Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments. ;-) Happy reading, everyone!




Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A Very Tidy Little #Trap...


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got a little more of Alyce's adventure to share with you, today! Enjoy! :-)

Excerpt from sci-fi satire novel:
The large alien heaved a sigh and ran a hand over one of his horns. "Be that as it may, none of it explains why people in your society receive health insurance from their employers. If, as it seems, your people have decided that this type of insurance is a necessary commodity, why can you not purchase it on the open market like any other consumer good or service?"

"Well, people can buy health insurance on their own, but there's no free market for it."

"Why not? I thought the philosophy your society valued was that of free-market capitalism. Why should there be an exception for the health insurance industry?"

I looked at the handsome devil for a few heartbeats and then dissolved into hysterical laughter. Squid-boy wandered over and gave me a quizzical look, which just cracked me up even harder. The two aliens looked at each other and Yax said, "I believe this is a sign that we have misunderstood something fundamental about their society, once again."

The short alien made a gurgling sound and responded, "Hardly surprising. Their society seems determined to be manically irrational."

Wiping tears from my eyes, I sobered and said, "Bless your hearts, y'all don't seem like you've understood anything I've told you."

"In what way have we misapprehended your meaning?" asked Yax.

"Isn't it obvious? Has anything I've said indicated that there's anything resembling a level playing field in my country? There's no free market for insurance because the corporations that run our government don't want there to be. The same way there's no free market in a lot of industries, and for the same reason. And there hasn't been anything resembling a free market in my country for decades. The corporations that run our government find it much more profitable to form monopolies, so people don't have any choice beyond purchasing from them or not purchasing at all."

The tall alien made a disgruntled sound in the back of his throat. "More examples of the corruption you told us about."

"Yep."

"But there is an option for your people to buy health insurance without going through an employer?"

"Yes. But it's expensive. A few years ago, a law was passed that makes it easier for people to buy their own health insurance, and some people can qualify for government assistance to pay their premiums if their income is low enough and if their employer doesn't offer health insurance. But it's still expensive and a lot of people can't afford it."

"That would seem to make little sense. Why would the corporations that run your government want the expense of having to provide health insurance for their employees? Wouldn't it be more cost-effective for them to have your government pay for the medical needs of your people?"

"Well, first, most companies don't pay the entire cost of health insurance for their employees. Usually, they only pay part of the cost and the employees have to pay for the rest of it. What they do that does help their employees is negotiate with the insurance companies to secure a lower premium for their employees by guaranteeing a large number of new customers for the insurance companies."

"But such negotiations would seem to favor large corporations much more than small companies," observed Squid-boy.

I nodded. "Yep. And guess which kind of companies give more money to politicians?"

The short alien snapped his beak at me but made no reply.

I turned back to his taller friend. "And, second, can you think of a more effective way of controlling the workforce? If you want to virtually guarantee a ready labor pool, what better way to do so than literally holding their lives hostage?"

Yax uncrossed his arms and looked at me thoughtfully. "You're right. That would seem to be an exceptionally efficient lever of control for the authorities in your society to use against the populace. But, it would seem to have the side-effect of stifling innovation and entrepreneurship."

I snorted. "Of course it does. People don't dare take a chance on starting their own businesses because they can't risk what might happen if they or someone in their family gets sick. But do you honestly think big companies think that's a bad thing? Of course not; it just means there will be less competition for them. Plus, the fact that people are afraid of what might happen if they quit a job they don't like and then get sick means that companies can treat their employees badly with impunity. Because, no matter what they do to them, their employees probably won't go anywhere."

"A very tidy little trap," mused Squid-boy.

I shrugged. "What would you expect when it's been so well designed?"


Monday, April 9, 2018

Something Worth Watching?


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. This time, it's some good news, for a change. These teacher strikes are brilliant, and I only hope they're a harbinger for more to come across the nation in all industries. I also love the fact that the Teamsters union members are refusing to cross the teachers' picket line, and so are also effectively on strike as well until the teachers' demands are met. But, no matter what happens next, this strike is great news and I think it's important to help spread the story about what's going on as far as possible since the mainstream media is doing its best to hide it. Peace!



Sunday, April 8, 2018

Tomato Bean #Soup #Recipe!



Hey Everyone!! :-)

This is one of my favorite soups. It seems like it would be really light, but because the cheese is so rich, it's actually very filling. Enjoy! :-)


Ingredients:
4 cups vegetable stock or water
2 cups pasta (your choice)
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
2 12oz cans white beans
3 onions diced
6 cloves garlic minced
3 cups fresh basil chopped
1 cup fresh oregano chopped
1 cup pecorino romano shredded
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a stock pot, add the onions and olive oil and saute until onions start to caramelize. Add the garlic, oregano, and half the basil and stir until the herbs wilt. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper, and stock or water and stir to combine. Add the beans and stir to combine. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for an hour or two, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Add the pasta and continue simmering until the pasta is almost cooked. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese and the rest of the basil. Serve hot with a side of crusty bread.

Buon Appetito!


Saturday, April 7, 2018

#Spring Into #Reading #Giveaway! $120 #Cash #Grand #Prize! #Free To #Enter!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new giveaway for Spring!  Please take a moment to check out the Spring Into Reading Giveaway!!  There are lots of awesome books and prizes!! :-)  It's free to enter, there are over 40 prizes, and the grand prize is $120 cash payable through PayPal!! :-)  Now isn't that worth taking a few minutes to check out? ;-)   Here are all the details:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much for stopping by today!  And don't forget to check back tomorrow for the next installment of Mistral Dawn's Musings! :-)




Friday, April 6, 2018

#Animal #Rescuer's #Guide To #Staying ( #Relatively ) #Sane! #Free! :-)



Hey Everyone!! :-)

Just a reminder, for those who haven't checked it out yet, I've collected all my animal rescue/care posts together and published them as a small book.  If you'd like, you can download the book for free from Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, Kobo, and iTunes.



Thanks for stopping in today, and don't forget to check back tomorrow for the next installment of Mistral Dawn's Musings! :-)


Thursday, April 5, 2018

#APC #Spotlight: Miriam's Hex: An Electric Eclectic Book by Paul White!


Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Paul White in my APC spotlight, today! Paul is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and his young adult, horror fiction short story, Miriam's Hex, looks great! Here's the description:
A dark tale of greed, selfishness and latent curses, laced with black humour, in a light-hearted way.
Although there could be lessons learnt from Miriam's Hex, it is intended to be a simple, enjoyable tale of witchery and mischieve...or not.
If you think this sounds like something you might enjoy, go ahead and grab your copy here:


Thank you all so much for stopping by! Happy reading! :-)



Wednesday, April 4, 2018

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 718


Hey Everyone! :-)

Agent Thoth discusses more of the trials and tribulations associated with living with hominids. Incidentally, if you've missed Agent Thoth's earlier entries, you can find them here: Thoth's Journal


Department for the Preservation and Confirmation of Intelligent Life (DPCIL)
Agent Thoth's Personal Log

Day Seven-Hundred-Eighteen:
I believe the adolescent felid and the canid may be conspiring against me. Lately, they have been spending an inordinate amount of time together, and I cannot determine the reason for this sudden amicability. My young compatriot has even taken to curling up with the dumb beast to sleep, much of the time. This alone raises my suspicion because the canid, while warm and soft, carries a strong, distinct odor, which is almost impossible to divest oneself of once it has permeated one's fur. I will keep an eye on this situation and report back on any further developments.


Conspiracies afoot! ;-) You may have noticed that Agent Thoth has a new look. I hope you like his new picture as much as I do, but I'd love to hear your thoughts, either way. Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments. ;-) Happy reading, everyone!




Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Completing Our Toolkit


Hey Everyone,

There's something I've been thinking about for a while that I wanted to share. It has to do with the number of mass shootings we have in the US. Particularly, the shootings that take place in schools, but also in general. And isn't it a testament to a horrendous failure on the part of our society that the previous sentence even makes sense? This post isn't about gun law reform, though I agree that's necessary. Instead, I wanted to consider other contributing factors. Because I think working to solve a problem from multiple angles is generally more effective than putting all your eggs in one basket, so to speak.

Also, I want to be clear up front that I'm not trying to excuse people who engage in violent behavior. Personal responsibility does exist, and people are responsible for the choices they make. Both good and bad. If someone chooses to murder other people, no matter what their motivation is, they deserve to be punished under the law. This post isn't meant to dispute that. But, just like the calls for the reform of gun laws are meant to prevent tragedies from occurring, I wanted to explore other possible solutions to achieve that same goal.

 In his book, 1984, George Orwell talked about Newspeak and how the government was removing words from the English language because people have a harder time expressing dissent if their vocabulary doesn't contain the necessary words to convey the thoughts in their heads. It occurred to me that something similar has been happening in our schools with the increase in standardized testing and the resulting limiting of flexibility in curriculums.

Adolescence is, by its very nature, a time of strong emotions, frustrations, and new experiences. Teenagers are often faced with adult-level stresses and problems, but it's not unusual for them to still have the coping mechanisms of children. Not to mention the physical changes inherent in puberty and the resulting emotional turmoil that comes with them. It's no wonder that, for many teenagers, their maturity level has often not caught up with the needs posed by their daily challenges.

The teenage years are not an easy time in anyone's life. One thing education is supposed to do is expose students to the thoughts and experiences that other people have recorded and shared throughout time. To provide them with ideas and practical examples of how to process and engage with concepts and situations that might be unfamiliar to them. In other words, schools should be teaching children how to think, not what to think.

Subjects like philosophy, literature, history, and debate teach students how to examine problems from multiple angles, think about non-obvious solutions, consider alternative perspectives, and express disagreement through civil verbal exchanges using thoughtfully crafted and articulated arguments supported by evidence. When subjects like philosophy and debate are cut from curriculums because they might offend someone or because there's no money to support them, some of the training children receive in how to effectively interact with the world is lost.

When subjects like literature and history are reduced to dry lists of facts that can be presented in multiple-guess formatted tests, the context, motivations, human emotion, and consequences that give value to their study is lost. To truly appreciate history, students must delve beyond lists of dead men's names and dates. While geography is often important to understanding historical events, studying history means more than just memorizing the names of places. One must learn why people did the things that they did. What the details are of what happened and what the outcomes and ramifications of those actions were. It's also vital that students learn how people accomplished their goals and if the goals they ended up accomplishing were the same goals they started out with.

The arts, including literature, are how people throughout time have sought to communicate their experiences. They go hand-in-hand with the study of history because they provide a wider range of perspectives. Official history books are generally written by those with some stake in the power structure. But art can be created by just about anyone. The arts also do a better job of conveying emotion, which gives historical events context.

There's a reason that art, music, philosophy, literature, debate, and history are all listed among the humanities. They help us understand and define what it is to be human, and give us insight into the thoughts and feelings of others. Which often leads to the inevitable conclusion that we have more in common than in difference with our fellow Homo sapiens. And by removing these subjects, or severely curtailing the parts that we allow students to be exposed to, we are denying them a vital connection to our shared human experience.

What I'm trying to say is that none of these subjects are more important than the others. Just like they aren't more or less important than mathematics or the hard sciences. Every subject is just as important as the others, each one giving children a different set of skills to use to meet the challenges their lives present them. And together making up a complete toolkit. But instead of acknowledging the importance of each of these areas of study, instead we've played politics and been stingy with our pocketbooks. Isn't it funny that when the President of the United States says he wants to arm teachers with guns, no one is asking how we would pay for such a thing? But let a teacher ask for paints and brushes, and suddenly there's no money.

By denying students the opportunity to be exposed to more flexible and comprehensive curriculums, I think we might be denying them the tools they need to express their concerns and frustrations in constructive ways. By increasing class sizes to the point where teachers barely have time to take roll, never mind engage children with deeply meaningful lessons, we eliminate the opportunity for them to get to know their students and identify the ones who might need additional support. And, yes, parents also play a role in this, but there will always be some parents who, for whatever reason, are derelict in their responsibilities.

Schools could be a safety net, and I'm sure they still are in some cases, but we, as a society, can't seem to resist unweaving the strands of that net. I think it's time to stop allowing our government to take funding away from our schools. I think we need to limit the size of classes so that teachers are able to get to know their students on a one-on-one basis. I think we need to provide teaching assistants in each classroom to help address the non-academic needs of students and to better allow teachers to focus on teaching. I think that art and music programs need to be reinstated and bolstered. I think that teachers need to be empowered to bring thought-provoking and, yes, even "controversial" material into classrooms and to encourage students to learn how to present and defend their viewpoints in non-violent ways. And I think we need to support our teachers, through paid sabbaticals and tuition assistance programs, in pursuing their own continuing education so that they will be better able to design and implement this kind of enriching curriculum for our children.

And, before anyone accuses me of "just wanting free stuff," I'd like to point out a couple of facts. First, I have no children of my own, nor do I plan to have any. Second, I pay taxes. So, this isn't about me or what's good for me, personally. This is about building a society of people who know how to solve problems, find information for themselves, and who understand how to interact with each other in positive ways. This is about living in a country with people who are granted equal opportunity to pursue their own destinies because they all have the tools necessary to make those journeys. This is about making America great.

Peace!