Tuesday, August 30, 2005

When you look up Yea!

The Manuscript Is Done!!!!!

As of 4:48 pm. The extra exclamation points show the extra loopy I went.

Looking for an appropriately celebratory image on Google, I typed in Yea! and found among other things:

gay pride hammock shots, tote bags, sorority girls,
golf swings, conventioneers, knitting wool, boomerangs,
mayors, bulldogs, Venzuela, Australia,
kayaks, canker sores, dairy cows and Hilary Swank.

...also Ford Prefect and a bit of amateur smut.

In the path of Hurricane Katrina, things are not yayriffic at the moment, but maybe that's why I found it so nice to see all things everyday that make you say Yea!

And of course, to commemorate the completion of a second book- this one taking a year and a half instead of three- I'm celebrating with the Yea! that only robots can say. (Nigel Conway)

I'm headed to a mystery convention tomorrow, but my fabulous lodgings have internet, so posting will happen. I hated neglecting you. Let's never do it again. Until whenever.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Slush Pile Horrors and More

I abuse your patience, I'm sorry. Here's a pile of linky-linkies, but I warn you, it's somewhat bookcentric in keeping with my current OCD-like focus.

1) In updates to the contentious ivory-billed woodpecker story which I posted upon first here, the discovering ornithologist was called crazy and peer journals refused to credit the bird's existence until enough other citings came in. Well, they have- sort of, but enough for government work. It Lives!

2) Kids are going artless in California. As the Education Wonks point out, while these positions are eliminated, what we never seem to see fewer of are administrators.

3) Salon will make you watch an ad to earn access to this article, but it's worth it. After you watch the ad, click the link again and you'll be able to read the Confessions of a Slush Pile Reader. Learn the truth about the transom and the masses who send their heaps. I learned about this article from the more easily accessed blog of Agent 007 who has her own revelations about the Secret Lives of Editorial Assistants.

4) Jonathan Karp, who I saw speak in March as a senior editor for Random House, has jumped ship and joined a new imprint. Warner Twelve will release only one book per month to devote intense attention and budget to its success.

5) This free WSJ article mentions the many politicians who've dabbled in novel authorship. What's the difference between jobs when you're lying for a living?

6) The Pencil Revolution is blogging devoted to the devalued, unsung glories of the lead. The reviews are serious and comprehensive. It makes me long for cedar shavings and scribbles. (hat tip: Drawn!)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

TV Poet Beowulf Says Smartypants Hawaiian Pianist Owes Rent

(see the rest of Jan Op De Beeck's sketchbook here)

I'd love to be back to daily posting, but I'm not. In the meantime, here's some detritus without forethought or organizational context.

1) Story about Momzilla who wouldn't reduce failing student's TV viewing as it was their family's quality time.

2) A beautifully written (I must read poets' prose more often) account of an accomplished non-joiner who is hired to attend her first conference. It's accurate for fiction writing, too, illuminating the difference between the workshoppers and solitaries. Myself, I'm divided. Many of Kay Ryan's observations about her crotchety personality and solitary relationship to writing hold true for me, but likewise I enjoy the occasional conference and have several writers from whom I gain great value in critique. I'm a socially mercurial hermit.

3) A great Guardian article about the rigors of life in Zimbabwe, even for the professional classes, written by novelist Ian Holding whose novel Unfeeling is about the Mugabe-endorsed black takeover of white farms and its subsequent chaos through the eyes of a former 16 year-old heir who's now orphaned.

4) Hollywood is filming Beowulf. Having read and adored Seamus Heaney's translation, and having learned Robert Zemeckis is producing and Angelina Jolie is starring, I have not much hope.

5) In breathtaking, but sadly not unimagineable, municipal hubris following the worm-ridden Kelo decision earlier this year, the city of New London having prevailed now wants to charge the evicted homeowners rent for the time they remained on "city property" while challenging the eminent domain action in court! Read about the underwhelming prices offered on the buyout, too. This is a classic example of why not to give the first inch on such principles.(hat tip: the gypsy speaks and Overlawyered)

6) Since the previous entry referred to a post where I discussed the also rotten Native Hawaiians Act, here's my other Hawaii post and additional round up from Michelle Malkin here. I am not registered with any party and side on an issue-by-issue basis. The current GOP is a little better on security and trade than the Dems, but they're currently spending like drunken sailors, failing to use their elected majority to support their platform and bust the judicial logjam, and they're showing themselves inconsistently principled- what else is new in politics? President Bush should be ashamed for supporting American apartheid no matter what Democratic concessions he's been promised.

In a subscription-only archived WSJ article (sorry) from August 16th, titled E Pluribus Unum? Not in Hawaii former Senator Slade Gorton of Washington and former Senator Hank Brown of Colorado write that they voted against Hawaiian Senator Daniel Akaka's official Apology Resolution toward Native Hawaiians in 1993 which eventually passed. They further say that at the time of the Senate floor debate, Akaka promised the apology's approval would never be used as a wedge to open the door to special legal status for native Hawaiians. Times change, but politics doesn't, and Akaka's apparently using the '93 mea culpa as a foundation for his new bill. However, a commenter upon one of my posts (whom I suspect is Kyl's staffer) has pointed me to Arizona Senator Jon Kyl's position paper in pdf form Kyl is currently chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee and has the appropriate perspective on this issue as far as I'm concerned. Convince the rest, will ya, and some Dems of egalitarian conscience? I hope good sense and progress win this coconutty battle royale.

7) Thomas Sowell in Capitalism Magazine discusses how intelligent children have become the newest disenfranchised by public education. Afraid to make others feel bad, we're failing to maximize our best and brightest and turning gifted programs into meaningless duplicates of mediocrity. Is it so impossible to deal with each child's potential where they are and acknowlege the differences? Equally worthy does not mean equally gifted at everything, the primary reason I didn't sue to get onto an Olympics team. I'm a fine person and an inferior athlete. I'm sucking up the reality and making the most of it, I think.

8) The Piano man, upon whom I commented here, has been identified. We now know he's a troubled Bavarian man, but the controversy whirls about his piano playing which now ranges in reports from virtuoso to one note plinked in repetition for hours. I can buy that the medical staff aren't musical experts, but this extreme difference seems hard to explain. Was the staff embellishing or reporters crafting a better story? I'll admit I wouldn't have been as interested without the amnesiac genius angle, but will I ever believe another similar article? The BBC itself opens up the discussion here, which is a good bit of transparency, but the comments reveal that while people don't care to invade this man's privacy, they feel unresolved about the truth of the original stories.

9) This Telegraph story is free, but may require registration. I introduce it only with the facts as seem incontrovertible. A family that owns a breeding enterprise for laboratory guinea pigs is closing its farm in an attempt to recover the remains of a relative who was exhumed from her churchyard burial plot by animal rights activists.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Gone Completely Bookish and Slightly Artsy, Too

The slowest writer (and reviser) in the known world is still out of commission. The majority of you hounds for Aruba news won't care. To my fewer, but fiercely loyal intentional readers, I apologize. I'm bored, I'm nauseated, I'm past ready to be done, but I am NOT done.

So, there will be lazy linkiness of a theme primarily booky (shocking) with a dessert of art.

1) Tim Blair put me onto this article where Nat Hentoff discusses the latest blaze of bookburning, along with jailing librarians, in Castro's Cuba. Oh that Fidel, he's a caution! No wonder Hollywood can't suck up enough to this jocular guy full of high-spirited funny wunnies.

2) Why knowingly hire biased book reviewers? The editor at large of Slate makes the argument it yields better quality book reviews. "The point of a book review isn't to review worthy books fairly, it's to publish good pieces. Better to assign a team of lively-but-conflicted writers to review a slew of rotten books than a gang of dullards to the most deserving releases of the season." (hat tip: Grumpy Old Bookman)

3) Another nugget from Slate explains how Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, and Library Journal became the review powerhouses that help determine what we read.

4) The Guardian dicusses the much maligned editor as hero and endangered species.

5) Unfortunately, this WSJ article is subscription only, but the gist is that Amazon will begin selling dowloadable short stories for 49 cents apiece. "The new program, called Amazon Shorts, is starting with 59 authors, which include well-known names such as Danielle Steel and Terry Brooks. Their submissions range in length from about 2,000 to 10,000 words, which the company expects to translate into an average about seven pages each. Customers who purchase a piece can read it on the Web, download and print a copy, save it in a digital locker, or send the story to an email address." Will this lead to a legit new market for individual pieces of short fiction? Observation and reportage to follow.

6) This WSJ article is a freebie (huzzah), and provided the old catalog page above. The other pic comes from The Vincent Price Film Site.

When Costco recently began selling Picassos, it reminded Terry Teachout of a similar successful campaign run by Sears Roebuck in the 1960's and guided by the unerring taste of art collector and epicurean Vincent Price. Having long been a fan of the bon vivant and king of horror, I found the following sentiment particularly nice.

"It's just endless what you can learn from a single work of art," Price once said. "You can fill up the crevices of your life, the cracks of your life, the places where the mortar comes out and falls away--you can fill it up with the love of art."

Friday, August 19, 2005

Vacationing Bulgarian Wizard's Pet Chinese Lion Piddles in Library

This post is the metaphoric necklace of collected skulls I promised yesterday, but the pictured item from Milagros was so much more more aesthetically appealing than the aforementioned jewelry. Today challenged even my prodigious ability to craft stupid titles of mismatched topics. And though I know I could do better, I feel myself aging as I type.

I always try to link where I found things if not from the primary source, but some of these have become a blur. Sorry about the lack of attribution if it was your site where I found any of the items below. I have a couple from the NYTimes, proving that, while troubled, they are still preeminent. I was also going to site nature.com's article on how military exercises benefit endangered species by creating land turnover, but they've moved it to the subscription only section. Fine Nature, doom theyself to electronic irrelevance. I need thine content not! Also please pardon the hokey foreign phraserie that follows. Happens more when I'm punchy.

1) Taking care of my dogs even when I don't wish to is part of the committment I make to enjoy them, and thus, they force me to be a slightly less selfish jerk, I think. There are situations in which a temporary pet is probably a glorious thing. But for me, this article about the rent-a-pet phenomenon is primarily a demonstration of a culture that undervalues faithfulness, consistency, and sacrifice.

2) Hexenschule operates as an actual school of magic in Klagenfurt, Austria, prompting Victoria Coren to Observe that the practice of occult magic directly contradicts the necessary conformity of the schoolroom.

3) The NYT covers one of Fortune magazine's most popular features in its Ethiopian edition. Where eating with the hands is de rigueur, the savvy traveler's question is, "How are the restrooms in Addis Ababa?" If they'd only bring that coverage back home. It's shocking how many tony eateries have lousy loos.

4) Urine-powered batteries are being made from paper the size of credit cards. How much Gatorade will I need to guzzle to power a Thunderbird?

5) I learned about the band BloodHag (sorry I lack umlauts in this font) from Bookslut. This article explains the long relationship between metal and scifi/fantasy literature, how the band throws books into their audiences and demands to see library cards while they blast the crunchy decibels of EduCore in their performances within the stacks. The link under the band's name goes directly to their website where you can listen to the short bursts of bone crushing- as it should be- and the tasty, busy drumming- just as I love it- and read their lyrical homage to the genre's greatest authors. Fantastico!

6) If you drive through the safari park in a Mini Cooper, the lions may mistake you for a sardine treat in the can.

7) Archaeologists in central Bulgaria have discovered a golden treasure from 5 millenia ago composed of (so far) 15,000 ornaments and rings so finely crafted that the weld marks elude examination by microscope.

8) BloodHag's efforts aside, it ain't cool to read in Kashmir.

9) Gateway Pundit reports China's gas crisis as their endemic price fixing hoists Guangdong on its own petard. They'll do something about it, though I couldn't guess what. After unhitching the yen from the dollar already, I doubt they'll introduce any more reality into their markets this year. Whatever they do about this situation, I bet I won't like it.

10) Color France the winner in the obstinacy stakes- hands down. They all get tons of time off, but their economy is so poor that fewer and fewer people can afford to take their customary vacation. The answer to the growing phenomenon is so Gallic, and you can bet it doesn't involve re-examining policy. Simply truck sand to the Seine and have idle, unsatisfied loafers grousing around Paris all August. Tre jolie!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Pushing My Own Hot Buttons

(Pic from Watchmen blogged here)

I hope I don't go blind. Sorry for not posting yesterday. I'm tired of saying it, and you must be tired of reading it, but it's this darn manuscript riding me like a pony. Soon, so soon, it will fly away to Canada and I'll celebrate. Until then, there were some wicked juicy updates on subjects of at least my continued interest.

1) Please bring DDT back! I've said it before, I know. John Jalsevac's article on Life Site is wonderfully attributed (with the tiny exception of using a fact from Wikipedia which I just can't feel solid about without corroboration) and recounts the history of DDT's development, use, and unwarranted disgrace. Differing estimates place the death rates from malaria since the ban anywhere from 50 to 80 million. Meanwhile...

One study saw volunteers consume 35mg of raw DDT daily for a period of two years with no short or long-term ill effects .(7) One anti-DDT-ban scientist began his every lecture on the subject by ingesting a teaspoon of DDT powder.(8) Of the workers who applied thousands of tons of DDT without any protection, none have shown an increased risk of cancer or any other illness. Even the alleged thinning of the eggshells of raptors that environmentalists now tout as a last and desperate reason for continuing the archaic ban has been proven false.

The author also details how DDT's rating as a carcinogen is lower than women's birth control pills, and what liberally minded person wants to see those withheld from the developing world? I can only hope that people keep raising the issue and that a whirl of activity and words around it can reopen the subject for the permanent debunking it deserves.

The seventies were an era drunk with free love, rock-n-roll, ecology, anti-traditionalism, and anti-authoritarianism among other things. Under the influence, great music was made, the drumbeat for women's rights became inescapable, and the 70's gave Uncle Sam a punch in the shnozzer he probably earned. However, it wore a couple of embarrassing lampshades, too. The continuing DDT ban is something compassionate people must oppose. It was a tragic victory of situation over substance that doomed millions to death.

2) Per Gateway Pundit, my other least favorite outrage is crapping on his country and people again. I freakin' hate that guy. Not to be all Henry II about it, but will no one rid us of this meddlesome Mugabe?

3) Re: socialized medicine or my disdain of same, here's a small pilot program in Colorado where the seriously disabled are in charge of spending their own Medicaid funds. Quality of service and satisfaction have gone up, and the participants have been allowed to use the cost savings to make approved purchases that will further their independence. One MS patient bought voice-activated phones. A quadripalegic bought art supplies for his mouth painting. This combination of enhanced bugetary accountability, efficiency, and direct patient choice to favor their individual priorities is exactly the kind of program I can get behind.

Like a magpie, I've been gathering attractive links of the odd and revolutionary. Tomorrow, I will display my necklace of skulls.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Until the Caged Bird Sings

Pic from Bastich blog

My problems with multiculturalism and Islam as it is practiced in the largest hunks of the world it predominates are wonderfully explicated here by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born woman in the Dutch parliament who lives under constant threat of assassination for what she dares to say. Her friend and collaborator in a short film about women's oppression under Islam, Theo Van Gogh, did not survive his opinions.

My arguments for the inferiority of current Islamic culture begin with the failure to use half its population's potential through consideration of them as chattel, through enforced ignorance, and through physical, sexual, social, political, and financial oppression. They spend more time policing religious conformance than developing anything beneficial for themselves, and, as I am also informed, this lack of progress in which they can take pride just makes them more rage-filled. Thanks goodness women are around to catch the blows otherwise how would they vent their righteous spleens? Is it really surprising that meaningful contributions and advancements have not come from those lands and people in centuries?

Children love their mothers. It twists little boys' psyches to learn that the price of manhood is contempt and abuse for the one they loved. It twists girls' psyches to discover their beloved mother will in turn beat them, betray them, and encourage their coerced marriage into similar abuse. A society that kills its women at will, and uses minor transgressions on the part of a family's men as a reason to sanction group rape of its women as the accepted receptacles of punishment and shame is not worth celebrating or preserving. On this point, I admit to being utterly closed-minded. All things are not relatively good. Both in morality and outcomes, some things are better than others.

There are Stockholmed women who claim to feel cherished as they swaddle in the heat like overcooked mummies lest the sight of their kneecaps cause some man adequate justification for rape and assault. They seem to agree that women's beauty is some cruel joke inflicted upon them out of hate by God to make them easier targets. Well, I say let's give them the freedom they say they don't want or need. Let's protect their rights to personal safety, property, and pursuit of happiness. Let's open the cage door wide, give it a minute, and see how many of the lovely budgies will choose to live inside.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Forensics and Fancy: Mystic Tiki Crime Lab

Click pic to enlarge and here for Vampirahna's other boards.

I love the sweet sciences both natural and supernatural, so I won't make you choose either. Have it all today in variety and abundance!

1) Here's a link to the Crime Lab Project, that wants your phone calls or e-mails to support the cause.

The Coverdell National Forensic Sciences Act was named in memory of Senator Paul Coverdell, who fought tirelessly for better support for forensic science labs. In the 106th Congress in 2000, both House and Senate unanimously passed the Coverdell Act, which was then signed into law by the president. In effect, however, the law only created the bank account for crime lab funding, without actually depositing anything into it -- each year, only a small fraction of needed federal funds have been spent on Coverdell.

Federal funding requires both authorization and appropriation. Of the $135 million authorized for the Coverdell Act, only $15 million has been appropriated. Divided between public crime labs and medical examiners offices in all 50 states, this amount barely begins to address the needs of labs. Currently, some members of Congress are focusing only on DNA backlog funding. While DNA funding is important, labs must have Coverdell funding to meet their overall needs -- even to process DNA.

The American Society of Crime Lab Directors conducted a survey in 2003 of state and local forensic laboratories, which pointed out some of the critical needs of our nation's forensic community. These included:
- 9000 more forensic scientists needed
- $1.3 billion needed for facility modernization and construction
- 26% of forensic laboratories do not have basic computer systems to track evidence
- $285 million needed in equipment by laboratories.

As a crime writer, I care, just like the other author-types who support this project. But also as a person who cares about justice, I give a darn. I think this, unlike some other boondoggles, is a worthy use of our public funds. And students, get your science education buffed up, we have jobs for you to do!

2) From the realm of Fancy, here's a link to the clear-headed and comprehensive Museum of Talking Boards. (hat tip: Semiskimmed whose post has links to other great eclectic collections like wrestlers and tornadoes)

At the MofTB site, there are wacky graphics, but also ample history, competing theories, and lots of pictures from different styles and eras, even movie reviews from films containing Ouija themes. The lustrous inked and lacquered all-wood version above combines things both occult and Tiki! Do I smell phantasmic banana fritters from beyond? I like it like it like it.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Defying Hopelessness With My Own Futility

After returning from the PGA which was experientially cool if climatologically effing hot, my internet and half of the TV cable channels went kablooey. They were returned to service late yesterday after calls and appointments, blah, blah. So , here we finally are... back again.

I read this book in high school. The alternate review is more indicative of my impressions reading it. It wasn't purely about population expansion, but more about the rights of the individual in a dystopia of 8x12 living spaces where all is controlled and every tyranny has "good reasons". This leaves the protagonist, Sam Poynter, to conceive the previously unthinkable request for more space, eliciting both breathtaking admiration and hostility from the other people in the epic line where he awaits his chance to debate his petition. At some point, the futility of his request doesn't matter. What matters is puncturing the myth of homogeneity without oppression and the benevolence of the paternal society. And I recalled it when I considered why I keep asserting my positions in the hostile landscape of Manhattan.

I recently met with several other writers of various sorts who live here in New York, and pleasant, intellectually engaged folks they were, too. The conversation was diverted as often happens, and not by me mind you, from writing to politics. There were the typical assertions that "people" (I'm assuming the unwashed masses between our coasts) ought to pay attention and care more about deep issues. I believe, as usual, my peers underestimate the amount of curiosity and erudition in flyover country.

The historian in the bunch was willing to half-agree with me that those intimately interested in world-shaping policies and players (as opposed to the smaller ambits of their own families and subsistence) is probably a relatively fixed and minor percentage of the populace, much like the slivers submerged in their concern for ballet or birding. However, he said Thomas Jefferson had intended we should have a widely informed populace. I said Jefferson had never envisioned the modern scope of goverment legislation and budgetary control that would challenge any citizen's capacity to be well-informed. And though I found my companions less well-versed in several topics of worldwide blight than I'd have predicted from those who bragged of superior knowledge and caring, I don't fault their minds or hearts for it as much as their insulation. Funny as that may sound when I'm writing from the modern center of empire.

Of course, we slogged into the topic of the environment, the clanging Armageddon of human-caused global warming that is too far gone for any to be saved, according to my companions. One cited the many terrified environmentalists she's spoken to in her role at a national nature program. Though one may be passionate about a cause, passion itself doesn't demonstrate the rightness of an argument. In extreme examples of this phenomenon, many today are passionate about stonings as appropriate punishment for wayward girls and homosexuals or they may be passionate that killing innocent schoolchildren is laudable under the pretense of political dissent. Too fatigued for angst today, I calmly and cold-bloodedly assert they're wrong. Is it the raw emotion or the justice of the position that ought to matter most?

As to the environment: I argued that unbalanced media coverage minimizing the true amount of dispute among worldwide climate experts, our still imprecise measurements, and incomplete knowledge of the world's past climatological cycles means it still isn't adequately substatiated that human efforts, not astronomical events for example, are the engine of global warming. And if we didn't cause it, even perhaps if we did, what can we realistically do about it? What about adapting? I also pointed out the tremendous fertility and human advancements of the Middle Ages, another geologically recent hot spell. I really hate the sweltering, but the fact is human systems survive it better than cold. Flora and fauna, too.

I followed up saying that even if I doubted the human causes of global warming, I still saw benefits to developing alternative energy and decreasing pollution. If I want some of the same end results for reasons economic and strategic and quality-of-lifewise, couldn't we still be pals even if I didn't embrace the doomsday? We were almost nodding together, then I had to say if this planet became unfit, which I'm far from agreeing upon, then all the more reason we should be investing in the forward technology of space travel and the feasibility of continuing human life in space or on another planet.

Of course, I allowed as how we'd most likely disagree on the methods by which those goals ought to be encouraged, i.e. odious taxation by hidebound central planning authority versus competition among sprightly private concerns. One self-professed socialist (herself apparently as undeterred by decades of international bloodshed and failure as I am by a couple years of long-eyed stares over dinner) agreed that we'd probably disagree. Another person chimed in with kindly dismay on my behalf for the ostracism that my views must bring. I said I'm used to it, but that I was most pleased we could talk about such topics without ad hominem attacks or anyone unstrapping their nines, since I see civil disagreement as a more reliable hallmark of civilization than hypersensitive conformance to a party line.

Most New Yorkers, a la Pauline Kael, feel their positions are so popularly held and unassailable that any appropriately sophisticated and/or educated person would share them. Therefore, they feel no natural reticence about broaching a controversial topic in polite conversation among new acquaintances. These topics seem to them settled points for bonding over high-fives, though never a chorus of Amens since religious belief is viewed as amusingly backwards but unecessary since the advent of art-house fashion and self-help.

So, why must I always raise an index finger to say, "Well, actually...." in response to questionable facts and flabby or fallacious arguments? My pathetically contrarian streak, I suppose. I can't let such assumptive positions go unchallenged. Besides, what use is believing that individuals are the drivers and defense of worthwhile society if I'm afraid to publicly exercise my own individualism? So, at the risk of losing others' esteem, I remain willing to attest, without hope of convincing a single soul, that certain widespread opinions around here are: 1) unbolstered by current facts, 2) highly questionable under the illumination of history, and 3) implicitly demeaning of the capacities and rights of fellow humans.

Here's a story about high mileage plug-in cars that's getting some media play and proves my point about the failure of long-term predictions and the nimbleness of human innovation. If everything's hopelessly hopeless, why should we bother? But just in case, let's keep up the good work and get some traction on a seriously efficient clean energy source that we could cheaply export around the globe for the welfare and freedom of all. Personal gyroscopes, anybody?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Return of Sir Links-A-Lot

I'm so crazed this week, I've got to layer the meaning. (click to enlarge pic courtesy of Ciruelo Cabral) I will not only be serving up aggregations of linkage, but I'll miss tomorrow's posting because I'm attending the first day of the PGA championship at Baltusrol. They have this funny policy of no phones, organizers, or electronic doodads on the grounds which sounds at first inconvenient and then incredibly appealing.

I've also got an unspecified number of houseguests coming to stay at the tiny hovel on Friday, so I must scale the crust off public areas and guess how much salami and Michelob to acquire. When does the manuscript get finally revised, printed, duplicated, and shipped to Canada, you ask? (or I'll pretend you did) Who can say. I'm living like a fruit fly at a pace that kills.

A 28 year-old South Korean man quits job to spend more time gaming, then dies after a 50-hour session. Tragic, yes, but even though I'm not a fan of battle simulations, aren't you itching to know what game is that good? In more tech meets South Korean news, they've got the first cloned Afghan hound, a dog they admit is dumb but easier to produce given its genetic purity. When they move on to humans (as people protest they won't and we all know they will) we may have to bodily defend our genetically simple hillbillies from becoming their ideal lab victims, no-captives, oops- organ farms, I meant willing subjects in the advance of human potential if not humanity.

In Nigeria, scammers are finding new ways to score internet cons and new cars while an admirable woman is called "trouble" for making sacrifices to make her country less financially corrupt.

An artist has returned (on the public's dime, of course) to correct the 11 misspellings she inserted in a educational mural for the Livermore, CA public library. Pictures are attached to the story. Don't give me the old artists can't be expected to know writers or scientists line, because she screwed up Van Gogh and Gauguin, too, folks we might have expected her to have known, although given the look of the thing... I have my doubts. And the city who should have approved the final design pieces and caught it at the first "Eistein" let it go for a year. Welcome to the glories of municipal planning. Why would I not want committees of the well-meaning meddling and managing every detail of my human life? That was supposed to read Advil for my head, not anvil!

I got this from Ann Althouse subbing for Instapundit. She's posted it before, but I forgot where it was, a fact which will reveal me as extra lame when you see the blog's name. Reading the computer-generated blog by Eggagog, you'll dig the nonsensical, poetical grooviness of synthetic communication. Soon my cloned dog and I will be able to talk politics while our android serves us jerky and I await my new hillbilly-grown kidney.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


What Would Buddha Do? I like to think he'd laugh with his belly like a bowlful of jelly to know that some beauty escaped the destruction of the Taliban. Undiscovered Buddhist murals have been found in a cave near the previous site of the giant Buddhas of Bamiyan.

In other Bamiyan developments, a Japanese artist proposes using lasers to project figures of light into the now empty alcoves. I not only applaud the idea, but the artist's approach to his work. Hiro Yamagata is quoted as saying, "I'm doing a fine art piece. That's my purpose - not for human rights, or for supporting religion or a political statement."

When appearance is subverted to the message, it's a recipe for work which is neither aesthetically valid nor meaningful. Hurrah for a modern artist for whom the art comes first.

Monday, August 08, 2005

You'll Never Make it as a Star-Effer in This Town

I'm back from my trip, and had a fantastic time. I do, however, feel physically odd, have manuscript revisions to tackle, and surprisingly little to say for myself. So, I count myself lucky a something worth noting found me in the elevator today. Actually, I should say a notable someone: John Turturro. I looked for an online picture that captured him as the casually well-dressed and groomed New Yorker I saw today, but none satisfied, so here's a photo from one of my very favorite flicks to which he contributed, O Brother Where Art Thou? Apparently, he has recently finished directing a musical film he wrote to be released sometime in 2005 called Romance & Cigarettes .

This was not the first time I've been in the presence of a person whose identity I well knew but who didn't know me. Usually, I ignore them out of reticence on my part or consideration for their privacy. Sometimes, it's merely because of an unwillingness on my part to submit when they're trying hard to be noticed. It would be unthinkably rude to confess any ugly truths of my opinions, especially since they haven't seen enough of my self-professed talent to fire back insults in kind. I also admit being disinclined to craft polite falsehoods. Therefore, mostly I forestall engaging the well-known in even one-sided discussion.

However, John Turturro is an actor for whom my praise is lavish and sincere. But during our too-long and too-warm trip in the falling metal box, I had time to weigh the pleasantness of fulsome compliments from a stranger versus peace in coming and going as one pleases. Perhaps since I'm a hermetic sociopath, I placed the premium on being left alone. Mr. Turturro, if you would prefer the soft soap, let me know for next time.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Sweet Smell of Success

Before Finishing MS

I couldn't post until I was done, but now I am. As we speak, respected fellow authors are checking the new pages for crappiness. I'll delouse as possible next week and send it out.

I will be taking a mini-vacay starting tomorrow, and I'm going to see the ponies, so there's some method to the racing on my brain recently.

But the Before photo also has a tie-in. Unfortunately, Don Knotts isn't well enough to attend the upcoming festivities in his honor in Morgantown, VA. That is sad news, but considering I mistakenly had assumed he'd passed on, this reminder of his sparkling existence and his immortal work made me happy. If you need more Knotts, try the shrine at World of Cheese.

In other happy news, Newsweek noticed me! Sort of. (See the 7th on this list) They've added new blog-friendly features, including lists of recent blogging on their articles, and it even links to Technorati tracking- which is wrong as usual. Rereading my post, it isn't too bad if some of the verbiage is clunkier than necessary. But if Newsweek thinks this is going to encourage online conversations about their articles and linking to them rather than other sources for similar stories... well, it will. Get my CFMs, I'm becoming a link whore!

In other tweaky word news, here's a blog dedicated to the widespread abuse of the word Literally.

I want robots with excellent penmanship, vacuuming trunk noses, squeegee feet, and little fridges in their bellies. The Japanese like theirs all creepy androidy.

Have a great weekend. If I'm somewhere postable, I'll do it as lamely as usual. But otherwise, as it seems the NH/Aruba search traffic has finally dwindled, my intimate cadre of readership won't mind, will you?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

A Life of Lies

For those who care, Success is running a sweet eight lengths ahead, but we don't count the cabbage until the nag comes in.

Mmmm, just look at that Apple Brown Betty. Wait, I'm getting off topic. For fiction writers, lies are stock in trade. Freely confessed and in fact assumed, they're spun to provide entertainment. For guys like the ex-Gerry Thomas, life itself is a deception, a claim to brilliance he didn't possess. I had considered linking his obit here when he died in mid-July, and I'm now righteously smug that I didn't. For this scheming heretic and shameful pretender lied for years about inventing the TV dinner. (ht: Jeff Jarvis)

I can only imagine how many posh restaurant tables Thomas scored, how many gorgeous mistresses he bedded, and how many keys to cities adorned his rec room wall during his harvest of lies. Still I must leave him and the crimpy foil bastards of his untruth to return to crafting my own falsehoods. The kind of dishonesty I will be proud and delighted to have publicly exposed.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Porcutragic Writer Hoist Upon Own Quills

Well, I feel as if I've been kissing Spiny Norman, at least existentially speaking. Hat tip to April for the pic and story of a bull terrier who tangled with a porcupine and wouldn't let go. Fret not, the dog will recover. I hope to as well. I can't post much, since upon the next three days' efforts ride success or ignominy. At the moment, ignominy is running three lengths back, but I'd like a wider margin than that into the last straightaway.