“Never for Glory,” a work in progress, the sequel to “The Patriot Oath”

Never for Glory is the unfinished sequel of The Patriot Oath. With 25 completed chapters, there are about 10 to 15 left to finish the first draft. The first five chapters have already been presented to two of the four critique groups I belong to. One of the two groups has heard all of The Patriot Oath. The second group hasn’t, and I am getting conflicting constructive criticism from the two groups. One group is suggesting a lot of changes, and the other group familiar with the first novel in the series likes what they’re hearing with little need for massive revisions.

With this post, I’m inviting readers that have read The Patriot Oath to have a look at Never for Glory’s first chapter and, if wiling, to leave comments letting me know what works, what doesn’t. Thank you. If this early preview works, I have another four chapters I’m willing to add to this post later.

Chapter One

After their first HALO jump together in 2002, Josh and Cheéte vanished into the Hindu Kush Mountains, a rugged area covering 160,000 square miles. Their orders had been to search for targets of opportunity, and for weeks they worked alone with little or no support.

Now, in 2019, seventeen years later, they were doing it again. Still, this time their C-130 belonged to The Oath Group, and it was 30,000 feet over Venezuela.

Getting ready for the repeat was like déjà vu all over again. Back then, they were Marine Corps scout snipers serving in Operation Anaconda against al-Qaeda, Taliban insurgents, and members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. That had been their last mission together. Cheéte retired a few months later in 2003.

“I can’t believe my ghillie suit still fits,” Josh said. “It feels the same, hot and heavy. Too bad DARPA wouldn’t let me use that invisible, bulletproof combat suit for this mission. It was perfect last summer for our sortie in Montana.”

Cheéte grunted as he finished squeezing into his old camouflaged ghillie suit. Once he had it on, he looked like an unkempt yeti that needed to lose some weight. “Well, some of us don’t always get what we want. You’ve been out for less than a year so I’m not surprised your suit fits, but I think mine is going to eat me like it’s a starving anaconda.”

They were talking to each other through their helmet’s military-grade communication units.

Josh grinned as he fastened a g-suit around his abdomen and legs, covering most of the camouflaged outfit he wore underneath. Then he manually inflated the g-suit’s five air bladders. The pressure around the muscles would prevent blood from pooling in the feet and legs and push blood pressure up to the heart and brain. The last thing he did was to attach the oxygen mask and tactical goggles.

With a frustrating sigh, huffing, and puffing, Cheéte managed to do the same thing. Once they were on the ground, they’d ditch the gear required for the HALO jump. Their ghillie suits were designed to conceal them from prying eyes.

Like most Marine Corps snipers, they’d made their own unique disguises by hand and, when not in use, stored them in sealed, plastic boxes lined in cotton and kept dry with silica gel packets.

“I’m worried my Christian Crow wife knows about my two other common law wives,” Cheéte said, interrupting Josh’s thoughts.

Josh did a double-take and stared at his old friend. “Whoa! Where the hell did that come from?”

“Well, in case I don’t make it home, I wanted you to know what’s going on in my life. My Christian wife said the only reason for sex is to create children for God. When I said no more kids, she cut me off. There’s no way I’m going without. I refuse to let my demons have an excuse to mess up my nights. What about you?”

“I have nothing to confess to anyone,” Josh replied.

“Ah, … what about Rachel and Mia?”

A green light came on, signaling that it was time to jump. At the same time, the C-130’s ramp started to yawn open, depressurizing the cabin.

Josh stood, ready to go.

“Well?” Cheéte asked.

“I haven’t had sex with anyone since Rachel was shot in San Francisco and is still in the hospital. So, I’m not that desperate.”  Finished, he walked off the aft ramp and dropped from sight, falling 30,000 feet toward the ground.

“Sheesh,” Cheéte hissed. “That’s not what I wanted to hear.” Then he was dropping with his belly pointed toward the ground, his chin lifted up, and his arms and legs spread out for stability.

As Josh fell hard and fast, he thought about Rachel and Mia. He’d lied to Cheéte. He was desperate, explaining why he was losing a lot of sleep. But he disagreed with the crap that sexual frustration was normal. So, shrug and take it in stride.

Bull shit! he thought. He couldn’t remember ever being celibate this long before.

The temptation to keep both of his lovers, as Mia had suggested, was almost overwhelming. But, when he thought about going through with it, he heard Dr. Tate’s voice telling him that would be wrong. Then there was the Christian guilt his mother instilled in him as a child with the Seventh Commandment, “Thou shall not commit adultery.”

He still didn’t understand why his mother started preaching that to him when he was seven. It couldn’t have been because of his crush on Rachel in 2nd grade. He never told anyone about that. There was no way his mother could have known.

To escape the jumble of depressing thoughts stirring up trouble inside his head, he gave himself over to the plunge. Jumping from 30,000 feet felt more like flying than falling. It was windy, loud, and intense. Josh’s senses became wildly alive. That’s why he had an obsession for HALO jumps. The thrill lasted about three times longer than a basic skydiver’s altitude.

With a stable belly-to-earth position, the fastest speed he’d reach was 120 mph. If he wanted to fly faster, he’d shift position so his head was facing the ground and his feet were pointed up. Then he’d drop at 180 mph. Josh had always wondered what it would be like to die like that. Every time he jumped, he’d been tempted to find out.

Checking out of life like that also offered him an easy way to avoid deciding between Rachel and Mia. Because this was a high altitude low open insertion, the main chute was programmed to open automatically at 1,900 feet. If that failed, the reserve chute deployed at 1,000.

The best way to bail out of life would be to use one of his keen-edged combat knives and cut the straps that held the two ‛chutes to his body.  He had about a minute left to make that decision.

Was there a better way to die if you were doing something you loved? He started laughing and thought he sounded possessed.

Still, there was Damian Bran, the man they were hunting. He was the one responsible for Rachel living in a hospital, trapped in a coma. Wasn’t that a good enough reason to hang on?

Bran had been a heartless CIA agent for thirty years who left the agency in 2009. He was also known as the Strawman because of his tall, thin stature. Soon after he retired, he’d joined a white supremacist neo-Nazi militia in Montana and ended up working for a ruthless libertarian billionaire, a match made by Mephistopheles.

Josh had been hunting Bran since Rachel had been shot. His efforts to find the former CIA agent had started by putting the man’s wife under surveillance. There had been no calls or texts in or out. Instead, she hadn’t budged from their home in a remote area of Minnesota and didn’t seem to care if she ever saw her husband again.

After The Oath Group’s successful raid in Northwest Montana on that neo-Nazi training camp, Charles Tweet, the billionaire that financed the militia, revealed it was Bran who introduced him to the profitable sex trade. It turned out that the former field agent had started trafficking children years before he left the agency.

Most of the young sex slaves Bran sold to Tweet had ended up working in massage parlors spread across the United States. But some of the most beautiful had suffered a worse fate. If one of them was unfortunate enough to catch the billionaire’s eye, they were doomed.

His last intended victim had been a seventy-six-pound thirteen-year-old Ukrainian girl. The billionaire had slipped a plastic bag over the child’s head while he was raping her. When Cheéte had burst into the underground room where it was taking place, the girl was being suffocated by Tweet, using a method known as erotic asphyxiation.

Later, during his interrogation, Tweet revealed that Damen Bran had introduced him to that risky erotic method. When the billionaire accidentally murdered his first victim, Bran had shrugged it off and said, “Females were created for two purposes. To give men pleasure, and if they survive, to make babies. Besides, when you’re kidnapping children and selling them for a profit, expect to lose a few. Think of it as collateral damage, a business expense.”

Tweet accepted that justification as gospel and had gone on to murder more than a dozen young girls over the years that followed. Now, the billionaire was in court, fighting to avoid spending the rest of his life in prison. The judge had not approved bail, but his lawyers were claiming the evidence was inadmissible.

The information that pinpointed Bran’s location in Venezuela had come from Mia Belle-Chanson, one of Josh’s best friends and a former lover. To her fans, she was a singer-songwriter and a documentary producer. What her followers didn’t know was what she did away from a studio or stage. Because she’d been kidnapped in Haiti at the age of fourteen to become a sex slave, she now operated a secret network that rescued abducted children all over the world. Josh had met Mia when he and Cheéte had rescued her and several other girls soon after they’d been snatched.

Venezuela was the perfect country for a brute like Bran. After Venezuela’s President, Nicolas Madura’s rise to power in 2013, sex trafficking and child sex tourism had become common, and it was getting worse.

The intel from Mia’s rescue organization reported that Bran was living on an isolated cattle ranch located in Venezuela’s savanna southwest of the Rio Apure River.

Having second thoughts about dying, Josh checked his altimeter to determine how much time he had left to decide one way or the other.

AMAZON US

What if the U.S. Had Not Invaded Iraq? A Counterfactual Surmise

This post is about the wrong choices a U.S.President and Congress made soon after 9/11 – the invasion of Iraq.

Diane Ravitch's blog

The Washington Post published a remorseful article about the negative effects of 20 years of was in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hindsight is sometimes useful. Many books will be written about “lessons learned” from these past 20 years of warfare.

There’s a scene in the 2014 film “American Sniper” that sums up the country’s post-9/11 war lust. Chris Kyle, the late U.S. Navy SEAL played by Bradley Cooper, watches a newscast of the twin towers crumbling before his eyes. The camera fixes on Kyle’s steely yet stunned face as he holds his shaken wife, before cutting to an image of him in full military gear, glaring through the scope of his sniper rifle in the middle of an Iraqi town. (He goes on to gun down a woman aiding Iraqi insurgents.)

The film, which some critics panned as proto-fascist agitprop, spends no time interrogating this implied connection between the events…

View original post 1,140 more words

The End of the Forever War, leaving Afghanistan in 2021

I’m a former U.S. Marine and was sent to Vietnam in late 1965. I returned home to the states in December 1966.

At the end of the Vietnam War, according to History.com, about 7,000 people were evacuated by helicopter from various points in Saigon. And “Inside the South Vietnamese capital, U.S. ambassador Graham Martin rebuffed repeated calls to even consider an evacuation, let alone execute one.” In 1973, the president was a Republican. His name was Richard Nixon, and he was a much better human, regardless of his flaws, than Traitor Trump will ever be.

Before anyone climbs on the blame Biden wagon for what happened at the end of the Forever War in Afghanistan, click that History.com link above and read about the end of the Vietnam War. While reading, don’t forget that I was sent to fight in that war when I was 20. What happened over there changed my life.

Because of those changes, I don’t think like most Americans that never served in the military let alone fought in one of this country’s endless wars.

Pew Research reports, “There are around 19 million U.S. veterans as of this year, according to data from the Department of Veterans Affairs, representing less than 10% of the total U.S. adult population.”

And not all of those veterans served in combat. Combat Wounded.org clarifies the number of combat vets vs veterans that did not end up in combat. “There are more than 2.5 million post 9/11 military veterans that have served our nation, which is less than 1% of the population. 80 percent of those spent some time in an overseas combat zone. Over 2 million served in Afghanistan and Iraq, spending 1 out of 3 years serving overseas. 60% are under the age of 34.”

Because of my experiences in Vietnam, I belong to two PTSD support groups. One through the VA and the other at a Vet Center, and I have never met one single combat vet that doesn’t think more like me and what I’m going to say in this post. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any. I’m sure there are some that will disagree with me.

Reuters reported, “Pulling the numbers from the daily updates shows that more than 100,000 people have been airlifted out of Afghanistan since Aug. 1. The White House refers to this total as the number of people the United States evacuated or whose evacuation it ‘facilitated,’ referring to those nonmilitary flights. The most evacuations happened in the 24-hour period ending Tuesday morning, when 21,600 people were evacuated. In the 24 hours before Thursday morning, the number was 13,400.”

Probably because I’m a former Marine and combat vet, I have been following the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since the beginning.

It was apparent to me early on that both wars were lost the day they began. The U.S. should have never invaded Iraq. After 9/11, once we knew who was behind the attack in New York, all of our military efforts to stop an attack on the US like that from happening again should have been focused on Afghanistan, not Iraq.

After both countries were invaded, the Bush administration focused on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan became an orphan. From the beginning, almost every decision by U.S. presidents was focused on nation-building in both countries and those efforts failed just like they did in Vietnam.

The American Taliban, Traitor Trump’s dangerous and violent MAGA mob says President Biden blundered and should resign or be impeached.  To all those armchair generals and REMFs, I say, “Bull Shit!” If you want to know what REMF means, Google it, or just click the link and/or watch the video.

Those who have fought in war, like Civil War Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, who coined the phrase, “War is hell,” know it better than the fools blaming President Biden for not conducting a perfectly organized withdrawal from the Forever War in Afghanistan.

There was never going to be a perfect ending to that war. There has never been a perfect ending to any war. Someone always loses. Own it.

Now, I’m going to make a few comparisons:

Kabul in 2021 was not the same as Saigon in 1973. In Kabul, the US evacuated more than 100,000 people in a little over two weeks. How many did the U.S. evacuate from Saigon? The answer is mentioned earlier in this post.

Kabul in 2021 was not the same as the Kuwait airlift by Air India of 170,000 Indians in 1990. That airlift was carried out before the U.S. started the Gulf War the same year.

Kabul in 2021 was not the same as the U.S. military evacuation of 91,000 people out of a North Korean port by the U.S. Navy in 1950.

Kabul in 2021 was not the same as the Berlin Airlift (supplies not people) in 1948 – 1949, and that happened during the Cold War. I wonder how many people know what the term Cold War means.

It’s so much easier to plan an airlift when no one is shooting at you or threatening to attack if you don’t leave by a certain date.  It’s so much easier to  complain and assign blame when you are a member of Traitor Trump’s American Taliban, an armchair general, or an REMF.

******************

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and combat vet. He’s the author of the award-winning novels My Splendid Concubine, Running with the Enemy, The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova, and the memoir Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé. His short story, A Night at the Well of Purity was named a finalist in the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards.

His latest novel is The Patriot Oath.

After 24 years, Special Forces legend Josh Kavanagh has retired from the military and is going home. But his oath to the Constitution didn’t end there. His sister Suki wants Josh to help her get revenge. He still loves the tough girl he left behind, but can Rachel trust him?

The Patriot Oath post I should have written 8 days ago.

On August 8, my latest novel, The Patriot Oath, was published and released. The e-book is still on sale for $0.99 until Monday, August 16, ends at midnight.

The Patriot Oath’s launch is the best I have ever experienced.

When My Splendid Concubine came out in December 2007, it only sold 221 copies its first full year in print. However, over the next 13 years, this historical fiction thriller and romantic suspense novel would go on to sell more than 24,000 copies — not counting the 41,243 that were given away free during a Book Bub Promotion in  2015.

Running with the Enemy has been out since December 2013 and has only sold 320 copies.

Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, was published in June 2014 and has only sold 405 copies.

The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova arrived in February 2015 and has only sold 142 copies in its first six years.

What makes this book launch different from the others?

The Patriot Oath has sold more than 290 copies in its first nine days, and the Kindle Countdown Deal doesn’t end until midnight on the 16th.

Here are the first three reviews, the only reviews at this time. The other three are only ratings with no reviews.

 Daniel Pyle

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read

Reviewed in the United States on August 8, 2021

I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Great story and unforgettable characters!

wdnleg

4.0 out of 5 stars good book

Reviewed in the United States on August 10, 2021

Verified Purchase

excellent characters, interesting moral ambiguity. sad ending. but one of the best books of its type that i have read in a long time.

 

Joe D

4.0 out of 5 stars I hope this is just the beginning

Reviewed in the United States on August 15, 2021

I really enjoyed this book, particularly the characters. I will be disappointed if this not book 1 of a multi-book series.

For Joe D: I’m working on the sequel to The Patriot Oath. The title is Never for Glory and there are 24 chapters completed with more to come.

The Patriot Oath is the first book I’ve written that started from a prompt in a Veteran’s Administration PTSD support group. Writing helps combat vets manage the trauma that followed them home from war. Some groups use music, others rely on horses or dogs, and then yoga and art.

That PTSD writing support group meets once a week. Back in March 2018, in one Wednesday morning session, I didn’t have anything new to share, so I decided to write to one of the prompts (long forgotten) we were offered at the end of every session.

My short piece for that forgotten prompt was about a Special Forces combat vet on his way home after being in the military for 24 years. That’s when Josh was born as the main character. After sharing my first piece with Josh as the main character, I featured him in every weekly prompt. That worked great for about five weeks until Josh, and the other characters in his story took over. At the time, I had no idea what was going to happen to Josh and the others. I didn’t know their stories would turn into a novel with The Patriot Oath as its title.

Fast forward to today, Sunday, August 15, 2021. The Patriot Oath has been featured in an author interview by Many Books., established in 2004. The interview starts here: Lloyd Lofthouse – Thriller and Romantic Suspense Inspired by PTSD. The interview explores the story behind the novel.

If you are a reader, you might want to stop here, but if you are an author, too, keep reading to learn a bit about how I promote my work to find readers that might be interested.

 Many Books is ranked at #24,842 by ALEXA, out of more than 30,000,000 websites and Blogs. Founded in 1996, Alexa is a global pioneer in the world of analytical insight. Alexa’s traffic estimates are based on data from its global traffic panel, a sample of millions of Internet users using one of many different browser extensions. Its global traffic rank measures how a website is doing relative to all other sites on the web over the past 3 months.

You might be curious why I’m mentioning ALEXA and ManyBooks global traffic rank.  When I’m setting up a book promotion, I use ALEXA to determine if the sites I’m using are doing better than most sites on the web. I don’t want to invest my time and money in sites that have little or no traffic. I also promote through BookBub and Amazon. BookBub ranked at 8,511 by ALEXA. Amazon is ranked #11.  As a flexible rule, I usually promote my work through sites ranked less than #500,000.

Underground

Poetry as PTSD therapy continued.

In 1965, three Marines
barely out of high school
invaded a World War II Japanese bunker
hidden in an ancient Okinawa cave

Japs placed their machine guns here
marks on the rock revealed
where napalm scorched
that killing turned American soldiers
into hometown heroes

At the back, that rocky nest twisted
vertical to a horizontal gap
like acrobats, we three twisted like worms
to go deeper underground
crawling through mud
sandwiched between thick slabs of primordial rock    
It was tight in that damp, narrow space
beneath the surface.
we three cockroaches crawled
through that volcanic vice
that an earthly shudder might seal

Okinawa was home
to deadly snakes lurking in dark places
one by one, our WWII issue military flashlights flickered
died
the darkness absolute
there was no dripping water
no echoes
just the sound of ragged breathing surrounded by silence
with no way to discover the way out

Panic was not an option

We three shoved with our feet
and clawed with our hands
there was not enough room to lift our heads
between the slabs of hoary rock
while plowing through muck
surrounded by the starless midnight

A spot of light appeared
signaling an end to our journey
witnessed by the stars and a full moon
we tumbling out of a notch
into the gully outside Camp Hanson,
swearing never to return
to that natural dungeon

We were still young
when we shipped out to
set boots in Vietnam a month later

Buy and/or Read Now

Managing my PTSD started with Poetry

“The term posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has become a household name since its first appearance in 1980 in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-lll) published by the American Psychiatric Association, In the collective mind, this diagnosis is associated with the legacy of the Vietnam War disaster. Earlier conflicts had given birth to terms, such as “soldier’s heart, ” “shell shock,” and “war neurosis.” The latter diagnosis was equivalent to the névrose de guerre and Kriegsneurose of French and German scientific literature. This article describes how the immediate and chronic consequences of psychological trauma made their way into medical literature, and how concepts of diagnosis and treatment evolved over time.”  – US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health

Then the VA’s National Center for PTSD was created in 1989 by an act of Congress.

Even most of the Hollywood movies that deal with PTSD didn’t start to come out until the 21st century.

What about Life with PTSD?

I didn’t know what was going on about PTSD in the 1980s. I was too busy teaching in a community based public school district 1975 – 2005, often working 60 to 100 hours a week.  If I wasn’t teaching, I was planning lessons, calling parents, and correcting the school work my students turned in.

During those years, the PTSD was still managing my life in devious ways, playing a role in my first two divorces.

Maybe it was a survival mechanism that kicked in that stopped me from drinking too much booze on a daily basis and often being hung over the next day before I started drinking again. I crossed that threshold in 1982, the year I stopped drinking booze of all kinds and drastically changed my lifestyle from fast-food and alcohol to become a vegan.

Thirty-nine years later, I’m still a vegan and haven’t been drunk once.

During that drastic lifestyle transition in 1982 where I lost 60 pounds and turned orange from drinking too much  organic carrot juice, I was working days and earning an MFA in writing nights and summers.

The summer of 1982, I took a poetry workshop and most of the poems I wrote that year explored the  mental and physical damage caused by war.

This post is the first of many. I am going to dust off those decades old poems, update and revise them, and publish them here on my Soulful Veteran Blog.

Chocolate in the Mud by Lloyd Lofthouse

Dark is better
Magic black
Spiritual money
Treat yourself to a truffle
Buy a bon-bon

Discovered in the rain forests
Two thousand years ago
Maya and Aztec royalty
Drank it frothy
Spicy and bitter

Mom baked
Mouth-watering
Chocolate cakes
Along with pecan
Chocolate chip cookies
Heating the savory
Kitchen scented air

Hanging around like a puppy
Scraping the frosting bowl clean
Licking the spatula
Was more fun than playing
Front yard pirates

Rainy days still trigger
Left over memories
Of that long ago kitchen
Bringing desire
A craving for something creamy and dark
Like a chocolate fudge Sunday
Smearing lips with sticky
Lip clinging excellent mud

When I was a U.S. Marine
No longer a child
It rained hundreds of inches in Vietnam.
Slogging in from a recon patrol or ambush
Surviving another day after too many close calls
With mucky fudge clinging to our weapons

That mud was a reminder of younger days
Raised in a country
Where pampered children
May be a protected alien species
Living a fantasy life filled with
Chocolate treats

Today, when some turn eighteen
They join the military like I did
Take the Loyalty Oath
Washington was the first to take
Before shipping out to Iraq and Afghanistan

Will those troops dream of chocolate in the bloody Sand Box?

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran,

retired public school teacher, journalist, and award-winning author.

What is Russia doing to get Traitor Trump reelected in 2020?

Lloyd Lofthouse

When I Googled this topic, why were the first two sources VOX and the BBC? Why not the New York Times and other major traditional American news sources? To be fair, the NYT and the Atlantic was mentioned on the first page of the search but they were near the bottom of the page.

VOX is a general interest news site and in 2019, readership was estimated to be 33.4 million visitors to its website, less than 10% of the US population. Vox is an American news and opinion website owned by Vox Media. The website was founded in April 2014 and is noted for its concept of explanatory journalism. Media Bias/Fact Check rates VOX as Mostly Factual for its reporting, a bit lower than the BBC’s rating.

The BBC’s global reach is 468.2 million people a week and it is one of the most trusted news sources in the…

View original post 604 more words

RAGE! Trump RAGE! Trump RAGE! Trump

Soon, Donald Trump may be responsible for more deaths when his followers start a Civil War to keep him in power.

Lloyd Lofthouse

Have you seen the recent 30 minute documentary about COVID-19 and Trump? The documentary says that 90% of the U.S. deaths from the virus could have been avoided, and Trump is responsible for those deaths.

Here’s the link to American Pathogen, the documentary. I had to stop at 21 minutes because I could feel the RAGE growing inside my chest like and H-bomb ready to explode.

Then there’s “Rage”, the new book by Bob Woodward.

President Trump is defending himself after interviews from a new book by legendary reporter Bob Woodward reveal that Trump acknowledged the deadliness of the coronavirus in early February and admitted in March to playing down its severity.

NPR reports, “This is deadly stuff,” the president told Woodward in a Feb. 7 conversation, according to the book, which is called Rage. “You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed. And so…

View original post 67 more words

Will the Tech Industry’s Obsession for Disruption End my Blogging

Disruption: disturbance or problems which interrupt an event, activity, or process

Last Saturday, July 18, 2020, my blogging was disrupted by WordPress, and my temper, calm for months, exploded.  Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I had lunch with friends every week and joined others in group meetups. Thanks to the virus, I have lived alone since March 13. No one has visited me, and I have visited no one. Zoom, e-mails, phone calls, and WebEx help but cannot replace face-to-face visits.

Back to July 18 when I logged onto my iLookChina.net blog to schedule three new posts for August, my first thought when I saw the new editing page for WordPress was, “What the FUCK!”

I complained to WordPress and the little help they offered did nothing to end the stress from the disruption they caused.

I learned that WordPress was changing the Classic Editor I had been using for a decade to a Block Editor (whatever that is).  From what I saw, I did not like the Block Editor and that feeling has not changed.

I was comfortable using the Classic Editor. I have better things to do than being forced to learn something new that stresses me out.

On Sunday, July 19, I wrote an angry letter expressing my frustration to Matthew Charles Mullenweg, the Founder, and CEO of WordPress.  When I write an angry letter, I never mail the rough draft. I wait a few days and then revise to filter out the worst of my anger. But that rough draft will never be revised and mailed to Mr. Mullenweg. Instead, that letter has been added to this post.

Matthew Charles Mullenweg, Founder, and CEO of WordPress

WordPress Corporate Office Headquarters Automatic, Inc.
60 29th Street #343
San Francisco, California 94110-4929

Dear Mr. Mullenweg:

This morning I attempted to start scheduling the August 2020 posts for my https://ilookchina.com/ blog [806,254 hits/visits], and ran into an “alleged” improvement to the page where bloggers like me create their posts and schedule them.   The changes to the WordPress editing page were so drastic that I couldn’t complete that task.  I did not know what to do. I was lost. All the old menus were gone. I did see how I would upload a photo from one of the files on my desktop. I am not in the mood to learn how to use the new and disruptive Block Editor that is replacing the Classic Editor.

I always write my blog posts offline and copy and paste them into the Classic Editor that I have been using for a decade for all four of my WordPress Blogs.

Here are my other three blogs:

https://lloydlofthouse.org/ [92,621 hits/visits]

https://crazynormaltheclassroomexpose.com/ [121,597 hits/visits]

https://thesoulfulveteran.com/ [238,261 hits/visits]

Why do I want the Classic Editor back?

WordPress just became the flaming straw that set off the fuse to my explosive anger. Somehow I managed to stay calm since March while billions of people around the world (including you) are struggling to avoid dying of COVID-19. Last month, when the electrical circuits in my garage blew out, I still managed to stay calm. Then last week, my HVAC system stopped cooling my house in the middle of a heatwave. That HVAC was a new system installed in 2017 for $18k, but I still did not flip my lid.

Then along came WordPress with its NEW Block Editor.

Why change something that was working? Why not set up an easy to find a button where we are allowed to keep the old design over the new one? What is wrong with you guys? Keep it simple. Do not change the old so drastically that it becomes stressful to deal with.

In the short term, stress can leave us anxious, tearful and struggling to sleep. But over time, continuously feeling frazzled could trigger heart attacks, strokes, and even suicidal thoughts. “In short, yes, stress can kill you,” – The American Institute of Stress

In case you don’t know it, change is not always good.

Sincerely (not really, I’m too angry to feel sincere),
Lloyd Lofthouse


High levels of cortisol caused by stress over a long period of time wreak havoc on your brain.

A few days after writing the letter to Matthew Charles Mullenweg, I read a piece from The San Francisco Chronicle. There’s a name for tech’s attitude problem: toxic positivity, Silicon Valley’s obsession with disruption and destruction of the existing order and evangelical embrace of the new. It’s better on the other side of the river, we promise … in recent years, that’s become its own kind of orthodoxy, where the only appropriate response to new technology, according to the insiders of Silicon Valley, is cheerleading. Criticism of technology isn’t viewed as rational skepticism by those for whom innovation has become a religion; it’s heresy.”

Forbes also published a piece on this topic. “The Myths of Disruption: How Should You Really Respond to Emerging Technologies? Disruption may be the most overused term in the business lexicon today. Every startup wants to disrupt the established order. Every incumbent is scared of being disrupted. Disruption is a rallying cry or a bogeyman, depending on where you sit. And no one is immune: if an executive dares to suggest that their industry is free from the threat of disruption, they are accused of being short-sighted or in denial, and heading the way of the Titanic or the T-Rex. I find this obsession with disruption a little disturbing. “

Years ago, I started rebelling against technology’s forced disruption.

I bought two Kindle e-readers. Then a couple of years later, I returned to reading books printed on paper and my kindles have been gathering dust ever since. Old fashioned books do not have batteries that need to be recharged and do not have software to update. This is ironic since the novels I have published have sold more than 60,000 e-books through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other bookselling sites.

The new should always be easier to use than the old.

I had a smartphone once, and after a couple of years I turned it in for a dumb phone. I do not text. I do not run around taking smartphone videos and photographs of myself. My dumb phone gets used about five-minutes a month. That smartphone was a fucking pain in the ass, always demanding attention to keep working.

Fuck that shit! If you want to replace something old with something new, keep it simple!

When I bought my first tablet computer, it lasted a day before I returned it, because it wasn’t easy to set up and use.

I have an HP laptop locked in a safe. I update the laptop once a month. If my desktop gets hijacked again by ransomware, that laptop will be my backup while the desktop is in the shop being unhacked.

The last two times I bought new cars, I refused to sign the contract unless the dealers replaced the satellite-linked, streaming radio with the fancy touch screen with a CD player that was easier to use. The only new shit I liked was the backup camera and the chirping thing that warns me when another car is in one of my blind spots.

I plan to do the same thing with the next car I buy.  If the dealer wants my money, they have to replace the irritating new crap with a CD player, or I will start looking for an older, used car that predates the annoying disruptive tech.  If I can afford to buy a new car every few years, I can afford to rebuild an old one when it wears out and even have someone add batteries and turn it into a plugin hybrid. I’ve read about people that have done that on their own.

I have news for disrupters like WordPress, Microsoft, Apple, and all the other tech geniuses. I do not want anyone else disrupting my life. I do that just fine by myself, and when it comes to learning new things, I want to make that decision and not have it forced on me.

This might be my last post for all of four of my blogs if I cannot get the Classical WordPress Editor back. There is enough stress in this world without Donald Trump and Silicon Valley companies like WordPress generating disruption.

Will this be my last blog post? I do not know. I have been blogging for a decade. I have written and published 2,455 posts for iLookChina, 614 for LloydLofthouse.com, 1.444 for Crazy Normal, the classroom exposé, and 269 for The Soulful Veteran. That is a lot of writing, research, and reading. Those posts have generated more than a million reads or visits.

Ω

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat vet living with PTSD. He went to college on the GI Bill and earned a BA in journalism followed by an MFA in writing.

Discover his award-winning books:

My Splendid Concubine

Crazy is Normal: a classroom exposé

Running with the Enemy

The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova

There is No Return to Normal for the US Economy

The struggle to survive COVID-19 is a war, and any mistakes by President Donald Trump will increase the casualties.

Lloyd Lofthouse

According to a piece published on March 17 by Popular Science, when the COVID-19 Pandemic is over depends on our actions in the United States.

“Nobody knows what the coming months are going to hold. When asked when life might go back to normal by ABC News on March 15, Fauci stated that it will likely be ‘several weeks to a few months.’ So COVID-19 is going to be with us for a while.”

Today, March 25, we are about 7 months from the November 3, 2020 election, and President Trump has been talking about going back to the way it was to save the economy. In fact, since he made that announcement, the average of all the reputable polls, according to Real Clear Politics, Trump’s unpopularity dropped more than half from a minus 8.5% to a minus 3.5% in a couple of days.


This YouTube video is…

View original post 456 more words