Monthly Archives: August 2011

Every So Often, I Have to Get Up

IN THE MORNING and bitch-slap Al Gore.* Because I can. And because he’s so bitch-slappable. Everybody ought to try it. It’s fun and therapeutic. In fact, I find myself wondering if, now that his global warming scam is falling apart to the point he has to engage in serial straw man and ad hominem arguments THREE days a week and sometimes Fridays, Al might be open to the idea of a Bitch-Slap Al franchise. As a way to keep the wolf from the door.

But he’s so bitch-slappable. And he’s been gettin’ pretty uppity here lately. For such a monumental loser.

I mean, he flunked out of — not one, not two, but — THREE institutions of higher learning, the last one being — for Christ’s sake — divinity school. Isn’t that one step above flunking out of teacher’s college? (Except for Jesuit divinity school, ’cause those guys kick ASS.)

And — I also mean — he has been wrong about Every. Single. Question. Of. Public. Policy. Since his dad voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (When Al was all of 16 and attending St. Albans. Where, Wikipedia reports, he graduated 25th of a class of 51.)

(I didn’t do much better, I should ad, in all honesty, being something like 175 of a class of 350 or so, albeit from a superior school to St. Albans, but I’m not presuming to tell the world how to run its lives — only to get the fuck out of MINE.)

And he’s wrong — at the top of his voice — on the question of climate change. (To paraphrase RAH: Climate is change. Therefor, the notion of climate change being an exceptional trend, or one that man can affect (or effect) is arrant witlessness.) So, instead of engaging in Reasoned Discourse, he seeks to demonize his opponents, and agitate that they should be shunned by polite society, ostracized, and even imprisoned in Soviet-style insane asylums as unfit for humanity.

As Steven Hayward observes at PowerLine, Gore has long exhibited a fascistic — even totalitarian — streak, one that brooks no criticism.

So, I just wanted to take this opportunity to remind the public at large not to give Gore too much credit. (I.e.: any at all.) He is, after all, the perennial loser with the anti-midas touch.

And I’m so glad he invented the Internet. Otherwise, smarter people, such as Robert Kahn and Vincent Cerf and Bob Metcalf and Leonard Kleinrock and David Mills and Tim Berners-Lee and the proverbial All-Star Cast of Thousands wouldn’t have had to take time from their busy work schedules to do it for him.

Just thought you might like to know.

* In the HIGH calling of our Daily Work.

Gotta Love Those Aussies

One Neat Thing About

STUDYING OTHER creatives is that you learn stuff you never expected. Sometimes you learn stuff you didn’t even know you didn’t know.
And, then, if you review what you do know in the light of the new knowledge (or, if you like, wisdom), you can expand both.

Even cooler is if the other creative is at a different development level than you are. Doesn’t matter if they’re further along the particular track or a few switchbacks behind you. It’s the perspective that matters. Just as greater altitude increases both scope and appropriation of detail; just as oblique light casts shadows that enhance detail and throws otherwise hidden information into stark relief; so, too can the difference in perspective — from either above or below, ahead or behind — can enhance your understanding of a given subject.

It’s why I love reading Sarah Hoyt’s musings on the mechanics of writing.

Monday’s topic was on href="http://accordingtohoyt.com/2011/08/29/a-flight-of-outline/"
target="_blank">outlining. And I found myself bouncing on my chair, going (like target="_blank">Gunther Toody) “Oo! Oo! I know!”, because I made this brilliant discovery some years ago. And, though I’ve never brought it to a successful conclusion, I still can’t escape the notion that it’s a useful thing, if I can only get it to behave the way I think it ought. I think some of what Sarah says in her post may help me do that.

I call it a fractal reiteration. In simple sum, you start with a stick figure plot and drill down. Say, Boy Meets Girl. Next level you reiterate, only with more detail. Boy (male, 43, international troubleshooter for a secret kiretsu of commercial enterprises by an alliance between gods and human beings) meets Girl (female, 21, newly-minted PhD techno-mage, virgin, lipstick lesbian, former lover of the Crown Princess of Faerie). And you realize that’s not much of a plot, so you add a few more feet of planking to this level: They have a mission from Aphrodite to collect an artifact that she had comissioned 150 years previously, and she intends to use in her millennia-old quest to create original life.
Another, hostile party of gods and men interfere. Friends are killed.
Betrayals are encompassed. Open warfare breaks out. Wackiness ensues and our Fun Couple fall in lust and it sticks to their faces. The two escape from a particularly nasty attack and flee from the Evil Queen of the enemy through the wilds of Attica, Greece. Gradually, their lust morphs to something approximating love. Evil Queen catches up with them and kills Girl. Boy barely escapes with his life and catches the Last Plane Out.
*

(Hey! It’s a fantasy! We’re Making It Up!)

And so-on until the high-level outline of the story takes something resembling a final shape. Then, you drill down another level, in another reiteration. And reiterate. And reiterate. The overall shape stays the same, but you are gradually adding more detail as you go. A fractal reiteration.

At some point, you get to where you’re actually writing scenes. But you have the entire story, like a miniature landscape in a model railroad
layout: all there, available for you to zoom in to any level of detail you need. “All” you have to do is fill in the blank spots. And it stays in place, where it belongs, until you have a complete story. Novel. I can’t see using this technique for anything less complex.

Now, you KNOW there are problems with this. For one, the method assumes you will know as soon as a fragment drops into your mind where it belongs, and that all of the connections from the new bit to all the other bits of the story will be obvious from the start.

(Stop laughing! It makes it hard to concentrate!)

Sorry. It’s just… so… nemmind.

One difference, I suppose, between art and technology is that, in technology, when you decide to make a change from the blueprint, you have to redraw the blueprint. In art, you can just wander off into the weeds at any moment and not notice for a few hundred pages. In fact, in a lot of ways, it’s better like that, no matter how frustrating it gets to the person in the driver’s seat. Shakespeare wrote (in Romeo and Juliet) “They say at lovers’ perjuries, God laughs.” I would analogize that in this situation, “If you want to hear God laugh, tell him how you plan to plot that novel.”

For an example of the bootlessness of advance planning a work of art, the character herein known as Girl was originally conceived as a redshirt. You know, the ones in classic Star Trek episodes (they always wore red shirts), who’d beam down with Kirk (or with the away team, in Next
Generation
) and get killed by the Alien of the Week almost immediately on landing. Disposable characters.

This character was originally conceived as one of those. As I filled in ever-more detail in her appearance, character, and back story, she sort of took over, until she became the Tragic Love Interest and pretty much the focus of the story. So much so that, in the Apocrypha story It’s Dolly’ Birthday, Drummond is still mooning over her. I give him a quote from Marlowe, “It was another country. And besides, the wench is dead.”

But characters will do that. So why shouldn’t plot do the same thing to you?

I keep meaning to get back to that novel — the Dolly Origin Story, Geppetto’s Log — which itself was supposed to be an allegory to the first chapter of Collodi’s Pinocchio for the Dolly saga.

Tell me stories don’t mutate like a Chrichton virus on steroids.

I took occasion today to look at a draft of Geppetto’s Log. It sucks. The whole present-tense thing just is not working. Which I see as a good thing. I’m able to get enough distance from it to see it at least SEMI-objectively. So it goes in the queue to be worked on.

*Is that a trope? If it isn’t, it sure ought to be.

Lyrics That Stick

IN YOUR MIND courtesy Shoes for Industry.

All two billion of us in the People’s Hippy Republic of China met in my hotel room to discuss this problem. We threw I Ching out the window. We are now unanimous. We, too, want peace. Of Nigeria.

–Firesign Theater, “Le Trente-Huit Cunegonde”

“The DOJ’S Position is That

WE [GIBSON] SHOULD just shut down and go away as a company.” — Gibson Guitar CEO Henry Juszkiewicz appearing with Big Journalism’s Dana Loesch.

As Tam alluded (and I quoted her) businesses persecuted by overweening government have long considered it less costly to just “…grab the fish and say “Duh, okay,” and trudge off into the forest to try and comply.” than to fight the government — even though the government is clearly in the wrong, and the government agents are operating in violation of both constitutional and statute law.

But, what to do if the downside risk is not a hit to the stock price, but the very existence of the enterprise?

Fight back. And do not seek merely to prove your case, thus bringing the government to a standstill, leaving it fit to continue its depredations again tomorrow. No. Fight fire with fire. If the government threatens your existence, then challenge not only the legitimacy of the government’s actions, but of the government agency itself. Start with the law in question, but do not scruple to go to the source — to the actual Constitution.

In the case at hand, the Federal government has no brief to enforce the laws of a foreign nation. In fact, one must argue that, far from being permitted to, it is forbidden from it.

Nor does the Federal government have the lawful authority to dictate the use or non-use of natural resources. Period. End of discussion. These actions, therefor, are first an infringement on liberty, and second clear violations of the government’s charter. The organization bringing the suit should face the same jeopardy its prospective victim faces — termination.

Gibson does not have the resources to fight the entire Federal government. But the company need not fight alone. If Apple Electronics has more cash on hand than the U.S. Treasury, how hard would it be for American business — united in defense of their very rice bowls — to overwhelm the office budget of one Federal prosecutor, one FBI Special Agent in Charge, one cabinet under-secretary?

Back in about 2007 or 2008, I posited a similar question to some fellow bloggers at an Indy blogmoot. We were talking about gun rights. And it has since been demonstrated clearly that, with the right strategy and tactics, it is possible to overwhelm the government in court. The principle applies here, too.

As a free people, we owe it to our business leaders to, as best we can, to encourage them and support them in this effort. For, if they do not hang together, they surely will hang separately — as the persecution of Gibson Guitar so clearly demonstrates.

More on the Gibson Atrocity

IT SEEMS CLEAR TO ME from this article that the raid on Gibson is not only specious, but is politically motivated. In which case, the top officials involved are in violation of their oaths of office and ought to be impeached and tried at least for civil rights violations. I should like to see a protocol regime instantiated under which such behavior by officials elected or appointed is accepted as prima facie evidence of treason, with all the the due implications to that attending.

This. Crap. Must. Stop.

Quote of the Moment

ME, RANTING AT Dustbury. And it felt so good, I stole it back and brought it home and edited it some. Still a little inchoate, but I think it will serve.

You know, I agree with Luther. I’m getting heartily sick and tired of everybody not IN the BB generation dumping on the Baby Boomers. They’re full of it.

We didn’t set the system up. The pathologies of the Federal government, of income taxes and Social Security and the welfare state were instantiated by our parents and grandparents and their parents and grandparents. And, for what it’s worth, most of THEM got snookered, too.

I hear a lot of crap about a Boomer sense of entitlement. I dunno where you’re hearing this. The media? Noting that people (who have been promised all their lives that certain rewards awaited at the end of it, and, yes, the government wasn’t insane to insist it could make the magic happen) are wondering allowed where the money’s going to come from to honor the promises?

I can’t speak for everybody, but most people my age I know are quite well aware that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, and never expected to see a dime out of it. What most of us are objecting to is that the government, in relentlessly pushing the notion, has effectively foreclosed our pursuing any OTHER options. And that statists yes, even statists among our ranks, although please to notice that most of the leading statist pukes on the Left are NOT Boomers, including most notably, Teddy Kennedy, but also the elder statesment of the ’60s, metonymized by Hubert Humphrey, who locked us into this death spiral, then defended it to — well — the death, have burned so many clock cycles of the political discourse with baffling bullshit in defense of the indefensible, is hardly the fault of an entire generation.

And I should have it noted that, as soon as we judged ourselves mature enough, we REBELLED AGAINST IT. What have YOU done to bring down the leviathan state? Hmmm? (By “YOU”, I mean all the wittering pipsqueaks who apparently can’t take responsibility for their own actions.)

It was our predecessors who brought about progressivism and hollowed out the Democratic party only to fill it again with marxism mislabeled as liberalism. We Boomers kicked off a movement — these days wrongly derided as hippie-ism — founded in respect for individual rights, liberty, local control, and distributed action.

I should also point out that the rabid, marxist-captive leftists were never a majority of the generation, and their influence over events was wildly exaggerated by fellow travelers in the media — Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, et al — none of whom were Boomers, either. And, no, it does not say much nice that their Boomer successors followed on in their footsteps, but who was it told you not to trust them? Boomers. Again.

But, still again, I axe you, what have YOU done to change the way things are?

WE started the tech revolution, by taking an invention of the prior generation and making (against considerable inertia and resistance) microcomputers. We kept the social change that brought about libertarian in outlook, and enforced the same on the Internet when it happened — and then made THAT the most successful commerical enterprise in the history of mankind, in aid of liberty and prosperity all out of proportion. What have our successors done? Twitter? Gimme a break!

All I hear is a bunch of whining about how a previous generation screwed everything up. Sorry. Not buying. We were screwed by our predecessors, but I don’t notice you cutting US any slack. Why should you get it?

Baby Boomers brought you Ronald Reagan. No, he wasn’t one of us, but WE elected him President, and nobody else. We started as Young Republicans for Goldwater. Some of us fell by the wayside, seduced by our generation’s Senator Palpatines. (Yes, I’m looking at you, Hillary Rodham.) But more of us stuck, and the whole liberty movement in counter to the relentless long march to the left that began at the turn of the 20th Century came out it. Yes, we owed a great deal to our parents’ generation in this — to Barry Goldwater, and Phyllis Schlaffley and Taylor Caldwell and Whitaker Chambers and Bill Buckley and many, many more. You’re claiming we did poorly with their legacy?

You slackers so proud of your CCW’s need to thank a hippie that the almighty state our parents worshipped could be moved off the dime enough to GRANT you PERMISSION to exercise your god-given right. Now we’re passing you the ball.

WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO WITH IT?

Also posted at Eternrity Road.

I Had This Rant, See

ABOUT HOW UNJUST and horrific the Fed raid on the Gibson factory is. But it got bogged down in details and I had to go eat dinner, so I never finished it.

Then Tam came along and said what I was getting at only better. Especially the part about…

Federal laws get ever more ridiculous, like that scene in the Monty Python movie where the Knights Who Say “Ni!” demand that Arthur cut down the largest tree in the forest with a herring. Except where Arthur just flatly told them it couldn’t be done and he wouldn’t do it, we just grab the fish and say “Duh, okay,” and trudge off into the forest to try and comply.

So, because I still haven’t come up with anything even close, go read what she said.

It’s Our Anniversary

WEDDING ANNIVERSARY, that is.

Twenty-Nine years.

Me and Toni.

Heh of the Week

HELL, THE YEAR — Hell, the decade maybe even the century.

…[L]efties do not have principles. They have issues.

Joe Huffman

On the Recent Mob Action

IN THE CHEESEHEAD State, Madison reporter David Blaska “this is not what democracy looks like.”

Actually, David, it is what democracy looks like. Which is why the founders gave us a republic.

Just Goes to Show

THAT THE POWERS OF government should be subject to an emergency conditions exception. Doesn’t seem as though the government does much good in emergencies, but it surely does fuck things up.

Men of Peace and Goodwill

WILL STRIVE MIGHTILY to persuade you that this nation or that people “is not the enemy.” Men of Peace and Goodwill thereby demonstrate that they are fools.

When a man tells you, as China has, that he is your enemy and that he will strive to bring about your demise, a wise man will take him at his word.

Leftists Like to Claim

THAT THEY’RE THE “side” of things that takes its cues from science.

I’m throwing the Barbra Streisand flag on that play, here, folks.

If the Left accepted the objective evidence of scientific inquiry on topics such as global warming, gun control, economics and markets, human nature and behavior, child rearing, astrophysic, and evolution, there would be no leftists. They’d all recant.

Instead, whenever you mention actual — you know — facts to a liberal, you get a reaction like Linda Blair in The Exorcist — the head spins around and it projectile vomits a split pea soup of neo-lysenkoist talking points at you.

OK. Who the Fuck Are These Idiots

WHO AREN’T EXPECTING economic indicators to worsen and why is ANYBODY paying any attention to them?

And Then There’s The Idiotic 20%

WHO APPARENTLY can be counted on to swallow anything.

Such as…?

Well, in this case-in-point, that government anti-poverty programs have, do, will … CAN work.

Aw! Bless their pointy little heads!

It’s Dolly’s Birthday Progress

FROM MY PERSPECTIVE, the first Five scenes — approximately 23 pages of 99 — are edited to what I’d consider final edit condition and ready to go to the betas. I’m locking them down and moving on. I’d hoped to get the thing to Kindle by Labor Day, but it’s looking like notsomuch. I may have it in beta-able condition by then. Anybody interested in sniping at an author should take a look at their plans for the week after Labor Day. I’ll put a call out to betas from past projects when I’m close to done and, if there’s insufficient response, I’ll solicit new … er … suckers to help me Tom Sawyer this here fence.

Quote of the Day

Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness.

–Penn Jillette

For a Lot of People

“THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED” was February 3, 1959, when a small-plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, killed three American rock and roll pioneers: Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. But I was only four years old then. I remember this day a lot better — having seen this next band live myself (and on the same tour).

So, for me, TDTMD might better be typed as August 22, 2011, when both Nick Ashford and Jerry Lieber passed, as both Lieber-Stoller and Ashford and Simpson have had a far greater influence on my musical life than have “the three men I admire most.”

The performance above probably was one of the seminal moments of my high school years, and that’s no exaggeration.

Da Doll Missed Again

SUNDAY WAS GO TOPLESS Day, on which babes the world around were supposed to unite in opposition to silly laws mandating that women cover our breastesses. The organizers have on their site a side-by-side comparison, a Buddha-like male and a silicon babe — both topless — asking why one is allowed to appear in public (the male) while the other (the babe) is not.

In da Doll’s not-so-very-humble opinon (IDDNSVHO), that right there explains the whole thing in a nutsack.

Shell. Nut SHELL, Dolly.

Eh?

The expression is “in a nut shell.”

Potayto/potahto.

Yyyyeah.

So da Doll sort-of has a dog in this fight, since, were moi to expose moi’s magnificent tits in all their effulgent glory, moi would blind all within sight of moi.

So you have to cover up as a matter of public safety?

Right. And to ease the pain, I dress in stuff that shows off what I got, but without actually… bein’ nekkid. But the Go Topless dot org site has that side-by-side up, ‘n’ that ‘splains the whole thing. That guy, while no doubt a pleasant — even jolly — fellow, is surpassingly ugly. And that’s the problem. Lots of young babes — dare I speculate even jailbait — might be found to be a … an aesthetic improvement to the visual environment, the possibility of less-pleasant sights forces the state — the gummint — into the position of an aesthetic judge. A nice pair? Or jiggly man-boobs? Young babe, or withered granny? And some may find either attractive or obscene. Better to err on the side of caution. Less…
Less…

Invidious?

Yeah. That.

So… less … cleavage?

The Public Policy

DEBATE IS WEIGHTY freighted with consequence, full of great pith and moment.

And all the Left can come up with is, “Leave Obama Alone!”

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allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true">

Pro Tip to Webmasters

AND SITE OWNERS: with very few and notable exceptions, you are providing CONTENT, not an application. DO NOT take over my interface. (Yes, I’m looking at you, PowerLine.)

Fans Will Be Pleased to Note

THAT SHADOW UNIT is back for Season 4. The first episode, Walking Back to Houston, by former OWW-er Chelsea Polk.

The Park Service Announces

THAT THE EARTHQUAKE earlier today did no damage to the monuments in and around DC. Orrin Hatch and Charlie Rangel are just fine.

I really wanted to say Teddy Kennedy and Strom Thurmond are just fine, but … well… they died.

Public Service Announcement

IF YOU VOTED FOR OUR president in 2008 to prove you aren’t a racist, please consider voting for someone else in 2012 to prove you’re not an idiot.

–Stolen from Rodger, the Real King of France.

Isn’t the Congressional Black Caucus

BY THE VERY FACT OF ITS existence invidious, and therefor un-American?

Too Easy

IN RETURN OF THE JEDI Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader are sparring on the Death Star. Vader springs a techno-magical trap on Luke with a dark-side magical pass of one hand. “Too Easy,” Vader says, almost sotto voce.

Janeane Garofolo has recently been sound-bitten raving about the manifest imaginary sins of the Tea Party. The cap-down on her is almost too easy, as she comes acropper of her own ignorance and bigotry.

Oh, well.

As I say, nice tits.

Top 100 SF/F Books

BOLD THE ONES you’ve read.

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert (Well, Dune through (I think) Chapter House Dune IIRC. The cheap Hong Kong knockoffs, not so much.)
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
6. 1984, by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman (Seen the movie lots, though.)
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore (Just saw the movie, thought the ending was all wrong.)
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood (Not SF, according to the author.)
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King Not SF, according to me.)
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke (Also “The Sentinel,” which is the short the movie’s actually based on.)
25. The Stand, by Stephen King (Did I mention I can’t STAND Stephen King?)
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny (Much prefer Lord of Light.)
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley (SO Disappointed in it.)
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien (SO Disappointed in it.)
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
74. Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks (Hated it. Much prefer Banks’ detective novels to his SF.)
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony (This was actually when I STOPPED reading Anthony. His earlier stuff was brilliant. Xanth and after, he got formulaic.)
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis

Seen at Leeann’s and then later at Tanker’s.

I gotta say that, for a Top 100 list, this is preetty spotty. Top 100 of what? The day? Certainly not all time. It reads like people were jsut spitballing books off the tops of their heads, and ran out of titles before they got to 100. There’s stuff included that should nver go anywhere near a top-anything list, and really glaring stuff missing for an all-time list. No Gordon Dickson? Philip Jose Farmer? Spider Robinson? Samuel R. Delaney? C.J. Cherryh? Sprague de Camp? H. Beam Piper? Poul Anderson? Frederick Pohl? E.E. “Doc” Smith? You’re going to include two by Wells, but no Burroughs? Frankenstein, but no Gernsbach? PRactically nothing from the Golden Age and a mere handful from golden age authors in the ’50s and ’60s? And where’s the New Wave? Harlan Ellison? Norman Spinrad? J.G. Ballard? OK, there’s Le Guin and Moorcock, but where are the rest? But you have TWO by horror author Stephen King? And… If you want younger, more recent authors, what about Elizabeth Bear? Emma Bull? Kristine Smith?

And people wonder why the country distrusts NPR.

Lady, I Don’t Know You

FROM LILITH, BUT I want to have your children, just for this post.

Bless you!

ONBTW, I found you via Dustbury.

Cory @Doctorow

TWEETING FROM #WORLDCON blathers, (quoting Con GOH Tim Powers along with a brazilian retweeters) “Literature is hostile to ideology.” Like this is something Really Deep, Man.

Which sounds a lot to me like a doctrinaire, blinders-on leftist trying to hand-wave away the ideological gnats who contradict his worldview.

At the same time, he gets to define what “literature” is — in order to shelter himself from those wascawwy ideologues.

I think there’s a clue here: if you have to engage in strawman arguments to defend your ideology (or to protect yourself from hearing it being debunked), maybe you should re-examine your premises.

But, WTFDIK?

For Once, There Really Ought

TO BE A LAW that, when you can’t get a straight answer on a subject out of the government, that renders anything the government has to say on the topic null and void — other laws included.

What the burden of proof would be on that, I have not a clue.

When Are People Going To

FIGURE OUT THAT Islam is like mental rabies for humans.

Baba Ram Dass

WROTE IN THE SEMINAL text Be Here Now that money is green karma — green energy. It’s what you need to get things done. Without money, dreams are just random brain farts. With it, they have at least a modicum of a chance of realization.

The Left knows this very well. They have BIG dreams. Nevermind those dreams are nightmares to the rest of us, the Left has them, and they. Are.Big. And they know they need money — badly — to reify those dreams.

Which is why they’re always after yours. They have none of their own, and little capacity to earn it, but they have this almighty need for it, so they get it the old fashioned way — they steal it.

But, if you’ve earned even one paycheck in your life, you knew that. I tell you that to tell you this:

Remember that, when you hear a rich guy wittering on about the brain fart that “at some point, you’ve just made enough money” (Can any notion be more odious?), you should pity him, because his dreams are too mean, too small, too petty, too picayune to match his means. Poor little rich guy. How sad it must be to live in so small a mind!

Cross-posted at Eternity Road

Da Doll Has Been

APPROACHED BY A manufacturer of target="_blank">Datch waifu (Dutch wives), who want to make castings for molds of da Doll’s … soft parts.

Moi can’t decide whether moi is turned on by the thought of providing all that comfort and joy to all those merry Japanese gentlemen, or squicked out at … well, you do the math.

One of My Favorite

PIECES PERFORMED in a manner — street theater — dear to my heart. Yeah, they’re calling it “flash mob” now and pretending it’s something new and hip and happening, but I should remind people that Larry Niven wrote at least two stories around the phenomenom in the ’70s. The EARLY ’70s.

I’d love to see this video mashed up with one of Torville and Dean in Sarajevo in 1984.

Chunkee Munkee

SO JANE AND Earnie went in for a weigh-in and checkup Thursday. And it turns out Earnie now weighs more than older sis, Jane.

Quote of the Day

He can’t even run his own life; I’ll be damned if he’ll run mine!

–Jonathan Edwards, “Sunshine”

Somewhat Distracted

WITH TWITTER I’m anticipating the need to have the tool in the box and I’m going through the throes of learning how it works. Figuring out how to get it to do what I want it to. What its limits are. How much I can force it, how much I need to use ju-jitsu on it, and how much I should just go with the flow. But I’m told Twitter can be an invaluable tool for promoting ebook sales, so I’m trying to learn about it. AND… it must interface with the blog and Facebook, so there’s gonna be some hiccups.

But you can follow me: @MarkPhilipAlger, and Dolly @GFE_Dolly, if you’re of so a mind.

Why Is It So Threatening

TO PEOPLE FOR unions to go after better working conditions? Asks a caller to the Rush Limbaugh show.

There’s no threat. No perception of a threat. There’s a reaction to the breach of fair play.

Unions are unamerican. Freedom — especially freedom in commerce — includes the right and the responsibility to walk away from a bad deal. It’s not cricket to use force, violence, coercion, and threats of those things, along with the possibility of economic ruin to force the other party into a deal that favors one or the other parties to it.

Unions use force, violence, coercion, and threats of those things, along with the possibility of economic ruin in order to extort that which they can’t get by fair and voluntary negotiation.

As I say, this is un-american.

So… There’s no threat. (And, because someone opposes you does not mean they feel threatened by you, but it is quite telling that you think they might. Reveals more about your mindset than anything else.) It’s more like a disgusted reaction to uncivilized behavior.

Cross-posted at Eternity Road

Was Jeff Greenfield Born Stupid

OR DID HE TAKE an AP course in it? Or does he think you were?

In this article at Politico, he blathers…

Before there was a federal government, the Confederation Congress passed in 1787 the Northwest Ordinance — from which came the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Apart from forbidding slavery in those states, the act also provided that revenue generated from the sale of a portion of each township in the state would go to fund public education. It was, in other words, the first instance of federal aid for education.

Jeff, you ignorant slut. Any schoolchild actually in the Northwest Territory between, oh, say, 1803 (when Ohio was admitted to the Union as the 17th State) to … oh, now … could tell you just how stupid that assertion is.

Oh, sure. The land was nominally owned by the Federal Government — and, of course, there were no settlers in the land grants beforehand — and therefor one could say that the school sections in each township were a donation by the Federal government to education.

If you were a total tool.

The purpose of that ordinance and that provision of it was to ensure local control of universal schools. And, from the admission of Wisconsin to 1979, when Jimmy Carter ::spit:: signed the Federal Department of Education into existence, the Federal Government had virtually nothing to do with education. (Practically the lone exception would be the forced desegregation of public schools — and we know how well that’s turned out. Don’t think so? Take a walk through any public school campus and observe the wholly voluntary associations of the children.
Really effective, wunnit?)

To this date, the Department of Education has educated: Not. One.
Child.

Since approximately mid-20th-Century, there has been relentless pressure to increasingly direct funds from central governments — at state and Federal levels — onto the schools, along with mandates (of course) as to how the money was to be spent.

Since approximately the same time, people have been more-or-less forcefully pointing out that a main purpose of the organization of public education in the Northwest Ordinance was to ensure that local schools would be independent of government meddling. (Take a ride through the area and note how many school districts still call themselves Your Town INDEPENDENT School District. Ever wonder why that is? BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS, YOU IDIOT!)

Since approximately the same time, the costs of public schools in inflation-adjusted dollars have spiralled ever higher. The performance of the schools’ graduates has deteriorated. The condition of the physical plant has been degraded. The fatuous misdirection of funds has fed un-american unions and their relentless left-leaning meddling in politics. The condition of public schools has come to parallel that of liberal-run cities, such as New Orleans and Detroit, with hollowed out city cores, a mere shadow of their former selves, with populations fleeing as far from those cores as they can get as fast as they can get, city services deteriorating, even as ever-more-corrupt politicians hare off after vote-buying schemes, while neglecting core responsibilities such as police, fire, trash collection, road maintenance…

THIS is what Federal meddling has gotten us.

And Greenfield thinks it’s wrong to protest? He thinks, perhaps, we should want more of it?

Tool!

Dear Cincinnati

CITY COUNCIL;

As someone who travels Columbia Parkway between downtown and Taft Road/Torrence Parkway four times a day, I welcome the putative initiative to study ways to improve safety on the road. (Still, please to note that the really serious accidents seem to mostly happen outward from the Taft/Torrence intersection.)

Might I suggest that a good start would be regular police traffic patrols along the pass from Town to Delta, with an eye toward actually — you know
enforcing the laws that are supposed to govern the use of the thoroughfare.

For example:

When did they change the rules about commercial vehicles using parkways and boulevards? I don’t read the paper every day (take a look at the daily paper to understand why), so might have missed this vital piece of information — the repeal of the rules about no trucks on roads where the signs say “No Trucks.”

And, for extra credit, I would argue that, if you have Truck plates, (so you can park in loading zones), then you’re a truck — even if the vehicle in question is actually a Mercedes 280 SL — and you’re not allowed on the parkway.

$500 fine. (Or whatever.)

Also:

Why is it OK for deadheading school busses to use the Parkway? Hell, why is it OK for a full yellow schoolbus to use the Parkway? If the road is that damned dangerous, why have sardine cans full of Your Previous Snowflakes bouncing around on it, barely maintaining lane clearance?

And, for that matter:

How about slapping a few radar fines on the assholes who jackrabbit out from the light at 5th and Pike, are hitting 80 by the time they reach the apex of the viaduct, and don’t slow down until they back up 30-50 deep at the lights at Kemper and Taft? I mean… the speed limit is 45, innit? Why tolerate an average of 60, then? If 60 is OK, then raise the damned limit. If it’s not, keep a motorcycle patrolman in the lot at Baines Place with a conspicuous radar gun. I’d bet there’d be a double-digit percentage drop in accidents if you did.

And:

Why the Hell are Metro busses exempt from the width and weight rules? I mean, if they’re running full, they have to be exceeding the 500 pounds-per-inch of tire width rule. If they’re not, why are our tax dollars being wasted to run empty busses over routes where they increase the danger to motorists by whatever percent?

LOL of the Day

[I]t seems the ABC* sought out the one person who knew the least to ask … the question he [a warmist MP in Western Australia] was baffled by. With this technique of interviewing the people who don’t know the answers, it’s obvious why the ABC are ten years behind on climate reporting.

*Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Seen at Jo Nova’s blog.

First Page

SARAH HOYT posts a mini-clinic on openers.

It stimulated me to take a critical look at the opening of “It’s Dolly’s Birthday.”

THIS IS ACTUALLY about a page-and-a-half, or so.

Drummond was seated at his computer, headphones on, listening to Queen’s first album at high volume. He treated it as white noise to eliminate distractions from the outside world. In that moment he was living in inner world and attempting to describe that world for an imaginary group of readers. The words poured from his mind out through his dancing fingers on the keyboard and onto the computer’s monitor screen. He was writing his report of Dolly’s most recent adventure — her brief sojourn in Michigan.

In the pause between tracks, Drummond thought he heard something. Muffled and distant — almost at the edge of hearing. He stood suddenly, whipping the headset from his ears. The phone on the wall opposite his desk. He picked up the handset.

“Hello?”

“Doctor Drummond,” came a calm voice with a trollish accent. Drummond could hear hushed noises in the background. Chattering machinery. Shuffling papers. Quite voices. Interface beeps and gongs.

“Yes?”

“This is Rei Ling at the TAT watch center.” Drummond drew a mental picture of the young female operator from his mental card file. She was a billilaalu — like most of them, 18 or 19 years old. She’d sent her hair home barely a year ago, and now she was immersed in the Man world. Drummond couldn’t help drawing the comparison with young Mennonites, away from the family farm for the first time, living among the English for a wanderjahr.

It wouldn’t do to react with too much sympathy for what must be a lonely, homesickening, weltschmertz-filled existence. There was a great deal of pride invested in the accomplishment of simply having made the grade in a regiment.

“Yes, Specialist,” he answered. “What can I do for you this morning?”

“Chief… Sir,” she corrected herself — only officers and senior NCOs were permitted the privilege of such familiarity with Drummond.
“Oracle Watch reports a high-probability incident building to a cusp right about now, sir.”

“Very good, Specialist. Notify the alert Action Team and have them…” Then again, why was she calling Drummond at home on his day off? The situation as she’d roughed it out was hardly urgent enough to demand his personal attention. “The officer of the watch…”

“Yes, sir. That’s the point, sir. The officer of the watch is Petra Alexandra. She’s in a chopper enroute.”

“Enroute where, Specialist?” Drummond was beginning to lose patience. He could understand some shyness. The Trolls weren’t as acculturated to assertive behavior as Men were. But their training was meant to obviate any of their diffident shilly-shally.

“To you, sir. The incident is building to take place there. In your house, sir…”

The noise that had driven him under the headphones — Callisto’s amplified guitar emanating from the basement music room — had fallen silent. The whole house was like a giant void in the atmosphere where silence reined supreme. What was it that he had heard? He willed the sound to repeat.

It did. A scream, full-throated and meant to sound an alarm. There was no fear in the note it struck, only rage and frustration. Drummond recognized the voice and grinned with savage pride at his beloved’s courage.

Dolly was both brave and foolhardy at times. She was inordinately proud of her ability to take care of herself. Drummond knew what self-sufficiency meant to her stubborn pride. In her own mind, she saw herself as “The Tough” in the old saw, “When The Going gets tough, The Tough get going.” She would see a scream as an admission of failure and feel ashamed for having uttered it, no matter how justified.

The sound also galvanized him into sudden action by the realization of what might be happening downstairs, and who it was in danger — his inamorata and life-partner.

“Specialist,” he said into the phone with what was left of his adrenaline-free calm draining away. “I have a situation to deal with. We will be back in touch. Get that chopper here. NOW.”

He didn’t even wait for the girl to say, “Yes, Sir!” He threw the handset into the cradle, strode to the door to the upstairs hall and took up the Henry .30/30 lever action rifle that was kept ready and leaning in the corner behind it.

As he exited the bedroom, he nearly stumbled over the discarded tray from Dolly’s breakfast-in-bed where it lay on the hall floor. Sitting on the corner of the tray was the little velvet jewler’s box, with a gold satin ribbon still tied around it. Dolly’d never opened her present. He stooped suddenly to pick it up in passing, then stuck it in the pocket of his jeans.

Then he heard the muffled sounds of blows struck without rhythm, some of them sounding as though they were the impact of flesh on the artificial flagstones of the house’s entry hall, the scuffle of shoeleather on stone and wood flooring, the squeak of bare feet on polish surfaces, the thud of impacts on floors and walls that shook the entire framework of the house.. As he stalked along the passageway, he worked the rifle’s action to feed a round into the chamber. He rounded the corner at the head of the stairs just in time to see Dolly dragged out the front door, kicking and screaming.

If I use this, it would require rewriting the front part of the story to accomodate having this grafted on in place of the above. But I’m inclined to do it anyway, rather than couch this back in mid-story, where it’s been.

Obama’s Bus Tour

REMINDS ME OF nothing else so much as that scene in one of the Star Wars movies, in which the Millennium Falcon’s star drive flamed out, and Han Solo is bouncing around all over the back wall of the cockpit, flipping switches and turning dials, going, “It’s not my fault! It’s not my fault!”

Dammit, I Wish Somebody

WITH A LOUD ENOUGH VOICE would just come right out and say it: “Warren Buffet. Put your money where your mouth is or STFU.”

If you’re so ashamed that you pay a lower tax rate than your secretary, THEN PAY IT! Tell your accountant to figure out what it would be and cut the check to the Treasury.

Trust me, they’ll take it.

But quit it with the smarmy holier-than-thou calls for OTHER people to have THEIR taxes raised.

And, by the way, you can’t be so stupid as to believe that, when the Democrats promise they’ll only raise taxes on — scorn quotes — “the rich” that only the monied classes — or EVEN the monied classes — will be short a freaking dime.

Yes, Your Eyes ARE

PLAYING TRICKS ON you. We have not altered our default column width by increasing it 200 pixels. We have not changed all of the left positions of the right side elements. We have not expanded the widths of all of our graphic decorations to match.

This has been a figment of your imaginations, collectively and individually.

Thank you for your cooperation. Your divine webmistress…

Progress on “It’s Dolly’s Birthday”

GOOD PROGRESS so far. have finished the second language editing pass. No significant cuttage. Have started a structural pass to implement some ideas. Have added about 3,000 – 5,000 words so far and will probably add about 2,000 more, from the looks of things. I am shooting to have this ready to upload as an ebook by Labor Day.

A Twbleg: Is It Wise or Possible

TO TWEET AS A FICTIONAL character?

Call His Bluff

THE PRESIDENT bought him a bus (well, two) — (at taxpayer expense). (<FlipWilson>The Secret Service made me buy ‘dis bus. </FlipWilson>.) (Wonder if he’s discovered that the seats in the back of the bus are usually the most comfortable.

And now he’s out there pulling political drive-bys on the Republicans.

And he keeps urging people to call Congress and demand action on a laundry list of Obama’s initiatives.

I say we call his bluff. The White House switchboard is: (202)456-1414. Call him up. Tell him to cut spending. Repeal Obamacare. Hell, propose a freaking budget!

Spread it around.

What Is It With

THE INSTANT THAT somebody has a good idea, encompasses some great deed, or says something ineluctibly clever, we want to run him for President.

Look. We don’t want our best and brightest to be President. We want them being inventors, captains of industry, entrepreneurs developing new ways of doing business. As one great man who probably should not have been President once said, “The business of America is business.” And we ought to have our best and brightest doing business. Not screwing things up for everybody else.

So, you guys pressuring Paul Ryan to run: KNOCK IT OFF!

Sheesh!