Photo by Harold Mendoza on Unsplash

I’ve seen many people over the years argue that the US is not a democracy, and so the electoral college doesn’t really take anything away from voters. At best, it is an oversimplification to say we aren’t a democracy. A direct democracy, no. But we are a democratic republic, which is most certainly a type of democracy.

In a direct democracy, the electorate actually is the government. They vote on legislation themselves, rather than having representatives legislate on their behalf. Think about everything that happens just legislatively in a country this size and broken up into sovereign states. …

Continued from ‘Those Who Share Skin’

Photo by Zach Kadolph on Unsplash

You can read part one of this story here:

Illian was tired of feeling her own hot, moist breath on her face. It got to her more than the constant darkness. She even thought it was worse than the bronze spikes that went through her ribcage, bound her neck on one end, and shackled her wrists at the other end. Being permanently pierced through the torso was uncomfortable, but the swampy exhalations blasting her face every few seconds was torment.

Sometimes she’d hold her breath for as long as she could. She was sure she could manage minutes by now…

Defense of a skeptical philosophy

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I consider myself a skeptic, and while many people are concerned about what skeptics don't believe, I think it's more useful to talk about a skeptic's criteria for belief. I see skepticism as antonymous with credulity. Whereas a credulous person is liable to believe assertions as soon as they hear them, a skeptic requires evidence, particularly with regards to extraordinary claims.

In reality, it's often a matter of practicality. If someone claims, "So, I was in the store the other day..." It's highly impractical and unreasonable to respond with skepticism. "Were you? Were you really?" …

Medusa, by J. A. Goguen
Medusa, by J. A. Goguen
Medusa — Original Digital Art by J. A. Goguen

It’s coming.

That time of year again. I felt my stomach drop when I realized how soon it would be. Maybe it didn’t make sense to be so nervous about it. I’d won every duel for the last three years, even though I was too young to fully appreciate the danger. But there was something about this year.

Adolescence was on the horizon, and with it thoughts borne of a new maturity of mind. I would no longer be just a child soon. Well, assuming I didn't die in the upcoming combat.

It was a tradition among my people. Something…

Each cell, a new horror…

Kratos — Original Digital Image by J. A. Goguen

Thick arm around me. The smell of roofing tar cooling in the night air. The pulsing of light sources shining against my eyelids as I was carried past. My eyes cracked open to observe a dimly-lit shed growing bigger as we approached. I saw the old man open the door in front of us.

In the center of the shed stood a tall metallic box with a numeric display on top and a button on one side of the front. It looked like an elevator door. Indeed, when the old man pushed the button, the doors slid open.

“Put him…

What would you think?

A row of flat-roofed triple deckers in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Author: Dr.frog at English Wikipedia

At first, I thought it had to be some kind of kinky sex club.

I mean, what was I supposed to think? A triple decker with a privacy fence on the roof already seemed a little odd. But when I saw that man up there. That clinched it.

He was huge. He was this hulking mass with almost comically large muscles. His head was bald. He wore nothing except shorts, a collar, and a strange gold mask over his mouth. …

Or, that time I blundered through talking to a depressed friend

Photo by Raul Popadineți on Unsplash

It was a late fall day, and the sky was overcast. The coolness and shade was a welcome respite from the nearly year-round glaring of the Florida sun. I parked my car on a grassy spot near the first hole of the local park's disc golf course and hopped out. I waved to my friend, Mike, who was already there waiting.

"Hey, man, how's it going?" I asked out of habit.

"Good," he lied.

I knew it was a lie. He knew I knew. I knew before I asked. It's the whole reason we were hanging out. I stepped up…

Photo by Arisa Chattasa on Unsplash

And the LORD took up all the righteous in His creation and presented to each of them a dwelling that He had made in His heavenly kingdom, Zion, the new Jerusalem. To all the faithful He gave lavish gifts, and they wanted for no object, for there was nothing the LORD could not provide. So, He sent them all to live in His city in heaven, and His followers rejoiced in the fulfillment of His covenant with them.

Then the LORD turned his eye to earth and saw the wicked that remained and those who had made war against him…

Photo by Kai Dahms on Unsplash

As Dienno stepped solemnly down the dim corridor toward the towering doors ahead, his pulse quickened. He could already hear the echoes of deep, guttural chanting from the central chamber. He wasn’t sure how much he really believed in all this “gods” business. To him this ritual was merely a formality to placate the people over whom he would soon rule. Still, being here in the temple, approaching the ornate doors, smelling scents, and hearing sounds, it was hard not to get caught up in it.

The ritual had started two days ago. The priests were working themselves into altered…

Photo by Joel Burgess on Unsplash

“Let me borrow your nose.”

Cenzarra rolled her eyes. “You have a closetful of parts. Why do you always want the ones I’m using?” she complained.

“Really?” Illian asked innocently. “When was the last time I borrowed something of yours?”

“Last week,” Cenzarra huffed. “Remember? You asked for both my hair and eyebrows.”

“Chenzie,” Illian cooed sweetly, “it just means I think you have excellent taste. Someday I’ll have a great collection like you. When that happens, you can borrow anything any time you like.”

She was met with a stare. “I built my collection up from nothing, and I…

Jeff Goguen

Writing when I can catch my breath. Forever chasing that breath. Every year stealing some velocity. Endurance is my strategy.

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