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On the side of a hill in the deep forest green, tracing a sparrow on snow-crested ground,
blankets and bedclothes the child of the mountain sleeps unaware of the clarion call.
On the side of a hill, a sprinkling of leaves washes the grave with silvery tears,
a soldier cleans and polishes a gun.
War bellows, blazing in scarlet battalions, generals order their soldiers to kill
and to fight for a cause they've long ago forgotten

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

This is progress?

Pertaining to an earlier conversation on the existence of several sets of communities with their own laws (however we classify them as laws or "community standards"), the stay at home daughters movement. In this case, it's Vision Forum's version of "Biblical Law." Also pertains to arguments over how "subjective" and "punitive" Islamic/Sharia law in in regards to women (when actually it's nothing of the sort, and again, goes to community values that are given the imprimatur of Religion because, well, the majority of the community ascribes to a particular religion, even though the religion arrived after the practices were in place). Not as vile as genital mutilation, but still not anywhere near even pre-Enlightment thinking and really a degree of grayness (in this case, IMHO, the sexual slavery is still there, and scaring is mental instead of physical). It's also germane to my arguments on how the Right-To-Life Movement isn't actually about anti-abortion, but about rolling back feminism and the sexual revolution.

While the movement's numbers range into the tens of thousands (not very big), they are, by far, not the only group that espouse this tripe. So, yes, when people point outside and shout, "They're bad people," you now know why I refer to the beam in our own eye.

And, again, it's not religion. It's culture. It's a thousand year battle.

Monday, November 29, 2010

More for a Monday

Because twofers are for Tuesdays.

Some more on querying from Magical Words.

More data on the Tea Party. Sure it's Mother Jones and so is biased, but the Public Religion Research, not so much. (Tipped off by Sheila)

There's also the short story at Stranger Horizons, How to Install Linx on a Dead Badger. (Pointed to by Dan)

Also pointed to by Dan is the Five Times We Almost Nuked Ourselves.

It's a place where they take sick people, but that's not important right now.

Leslie Nielsen, February 11, 1926 – November 28, 2010. Thanks for the laughs.

Twofer Monday

Still suffering a little, but at work. Because I'm that way. So a short link post today.

Jim takes on the new revisionist history surrounding Thanksgiving. Also, let's point out this year was the first year I've heard about "The War on Thanksgiving" (it's a religious holiday, after all, don'tcha know, why have we taken God out of it?).

Mer is traveling around Europe on "research" for her novels. So is Camille. Damn, I've gotta get in the writing business. It sounds like a hoot.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The after Thanksgiving diet that works

Be so sick that you can't keep anything down. Not advised for the weak of constitution. Hope your holidays are going better.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dear NBC and Macy's,

I'd really to see a parade, the one you show on your opening and closing cuts around the commercials, usually with your full screen graphics layed over top. Also, I understand, NBC, that you pay a lot for these rights, however, I'm tired of your commercials only vaguely disguised as content. As someone who has marched in more parades than I care to remember, including the Hall of Fame Parade in August while wearing our full wool uniform (and my director felt that having people with water,etc, marching along side was a sign of weakness, so we didn't have those), if people aren't marching the whole length and entertaining the crowds along the way, I really don't want to see them. That means all the broadway show-tune crap has to go.

So I'm going to watch CBS. They're showing the actual parade, which is twenty times more fun that what NBC has.

Thanks.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Does anyone know where the love of God goes


When NE Ohio people say, "That sky looks like snow/winter," well, now you know what we mean.

Wednesday overstuffs with links before turkey day

A Buffy reboot sans Joss Whedon? Truly, Warner Bros, WTF? If, for the love of all that isn't holy, you do this, why not just give a call. "Hey, Joss, we're going to do a reboot. No, we don't want you involved. Just thought we'd let you know, though." What's next, a Serenity remake but this time more cosmopolitan?

Vince has a video on his blog on the repeal of DADT. Except that in Amurika, peoples is deathly afraid the gay cooties will gets on them if we treat the gays as normal. Relax, people, you're already infected. Business as usual. It's a slightly weird world for me to live in where our European and Asian allies are more advanced than we are.

Hypocrisy is the stuffing du jour this Thanksgiving week. We'll start with what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Or, besides the idiocy of Rep Andy Harris (new R-MD), many people want those who ran against Obamacare and government run health care to actually, you know, not take government run health care. Good luck with that idea, folks. And what people want the government to focus on in the lame duck session. Also, good luck seeing those things happen. I think it's hilarious that 56% of people want the estate tax to be extended, when it only impacts less than 25% of people. And the Democratic Party forms their infamous circular firing squad a little early.

And, how come the conservatives continue to elect the crazies? Really, Tom Hackbarth? You're giving us the choice of either thinking you're some crazy with a gun menacing a Planned Parenthood Clinic or buying your alibi that you're just some crazy checking up on a girlfriend you met over the internet while carrying a loaded revolver? So, you're a kook with what the story looks like, or to get yourself out of trouble you're going with that you're really a crazed stalker kook instead? That's our choice? Who the hell voted for you? Also, yet another argument against concealed carry.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tell me again why this industry doesn't need an enema

Just spent a frustrating amount of time on the member's website of my health insurer (and fairly large name, you know them) and I still don't know if I need a procedure precertified or not. Downloaded both the certificate (hey, at least they had that there, not easily accessible or saveable) and the benefits calendar. Each refers to the other. Then one page says to check your card. All that is there is a number for precertification, nothing on what needs to be precertified.

Wish we could reform this part of it as well.

And there it is

Huhn, went through some of my blog statistics just now. Seems SSgt. Guinta is a home run in search terms. Including this one, "nationality of salvador guinta"? Really? Really? He's frickin' American. Seems assholiness isn't reserves to prickish ministers.

And then there was the ""eustice". Stop it. Stop it now.

The other WTF?! moment was "bones sex stories". Sigh. As we say in Anatomy Class, "There's no bone there, kids. Get over it."

Three for a Tuesday

Wish that brain-interface was working. You'd have some killer posts by now. But, alas, it hasn't been invented yet and I still feel self conscious talking into my voice recorder. I guess I've seen to many guys talking to themselves (this is before bluetooth headsets made it all the rage).

This is why you never wear red on away missions. Not only a fashion faux pax, it's down right hazardous to your health. (Grokked from Elizabeth Bear)

It may mark me a juvenile, but this keeps me giggling. And it's for a good cause (literacy). I think I need to get a couple of those cans of "A Vague Sense of Unease."

Via Camille, someplace someplace I'd like to visit for the glass igloos and reindeer sledge rides. Now that looks like fun to me.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Resurfacing

So tonight brought a 46/50 on the practical and 100/100 (well, 104 possible, 52 questions, 2pts each) on the fourth test (skeletal system). Still an A, but that 46 has me worried. I only had quibbling on two questions, and I'm pretty sure I got those correct. Which means there were four questions I was pretty sure of the answer, but am wrong on them. I'm pretty sure of the two I got wrong on the main exam.

So, overall I have enough points that I'll get at least a C in the class. There's one more practical (50pts) and one more exam (100pts). In total I can miss 78 points over all, and I'm still carrying 3 bonus points over from a previous exam (513 out of 510 total points so far). So I only need to score 75 out of 150 points left to get an A. Not bad, but not the best position I could be in (there's been a total of 14 bonus point possible so far).

I blame the early Christmas Music on the radio.

So that's where I've been (besides trying to get caught up on the chores).

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Is Going to Dance With the Little Piggies

Staurt Jaffe on a plan to write a synopsis (something I hope to be doing over Christmas).

It might just bee my designer geekiness, bu cool business cards get me going in the morning. A flicker set of more. And then there's even more (even including Steve Wozniak's card).

Dan sends this link to one of the interesting nondurables in the universe. See, our galaxy has already absorbed many other galaxies (in fact, we're about do to collide with Andromeda in about 4-5 billion years from now), but now if the initial conclusions about this planet hold up, we have proof. The planet is orbiting a metal-poor star, which (supposedly) aren't able to produce planets.

And I will try to keep this to only one political link.

Bryan Fischer doubles down. Really? I think what you wanted to say, Bryan, is, "I'm getting a lot of support in the email." No, I did read your whole post. What I think is funny is that when people get "all up in your grill" over what you say, you think this is somehow a vindication that our culture has gone all "feminine" and doesn't honor aggressiveness. Really? Hey, dipwad, WTF do you think just happened to you? Yeah, we're being aggressive, you poor excuse for toilet paper. Again, you point to the "Scriptures" as vindication of your misguided perception of Christianity. Well, here, let me help you. It's called "The New Testament." It was a new beginning, a new covenant with God. You'd know that if you actually had read it all, instead of the truncated version or Cliff's Notes. Also, here's a thought that probably won't fit in the narrow confines of what you call your brain, Sgt. Giunta's patrol was taking the fight to the enemy, which he continued to do while rescuing his fellow soldiers. So, really, you're argument is as vacuous as your theology. But I'm sure they support you in the email.

Okay, maybe one more. Because then there is this whackaloon elected to government. Tell me again how it's not about the racism, 'cause these people keep getting into positions of power and there has to be a reason.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursdays Links for Lack of a Brain

This is the argument I've been making for nearly two decades now. The Myths We Tell Ourselves™. In this case, it's that little remembered GOP lunch where they invited the President to speak, hoping to cowl Mr. Obama and crow about their recent upset in Massachusetts. Only it didn't work out that way. Strange, when conservatives have to go up against a real person instead of their straw man, or more often the empty chair, their arguments don't actually hold water. But, hey, we don't have to worry, we'll just change history and say that Mr. Obama is a bad man who crashed the party and pissed in the punch bowl.

This is the party of supposed "intellectual honesty"? Bullshit. It's a collection of piss-ant, unreconstructed bullies. "Oh, no, you didn't punch me in the face, I laid down because I was tired." It's the party that stands behind "Oh no, intelligent Design was never found to be Creationism/Religion in a wrapper. It's true. It's real. We should teach the controversy!" Yeah. Thanks for making us the laughing stock of the educated world. (Seriously, can't wait for the Iowa Caucus Debates and all the people with Rs in front of their names fumbling over themselves to say how they think Evolution is wrong, and Global Warming is a grand conspiracy, hope the air conditioning is working for that last one)

It's also the party that spawned Joe "There's No Way I Could Ever Have Lost" Miller. Well, at least the Alaskans have (for the moment) regained their reputation as just whacked, instead of being bat-shit crazy. Once you finally jettison Sarah (which is the road you've started on, seriously big rebuke that in her home state her hand-picked Senator loses in a historic manner) you can have your "we're just odd" designation back.

Oh, almost forgot, this is also the party that venerates Reagan, while at the same time wanting to put the breaks on the New START treaty.

The more I see in this post election season, the more I'm convinced I've made the right choice by leaving the Republicans.

edit The hits just keep coming, now we have Gov. Rick Perry up at bat. "Perry said, 'we have to have use every aspect of law enforcement that we have, including the military." Um, Gov. Perry? It's called "Posse Comitatus." As a proponent of "limited federal government involvement" I think you would have been familiar with the concept already. Of course, I've forgotten, something must have gotten into the conservative's water supply lately.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Asshole

Dear Bryan Fischer,

With all due respect, go C7 S5 (that's a reference to spinal nerves C7 and S5, your middle finger and rectum respectively).

You, sirah, should reflect on the teachings of the person you think you're exemplifying and re-examine the road you're on. It's the one paved with the best of intentions, BTW. There's a parable about a camel, the eye of a needle, and your chances of making it to the Kingdom of Heaven. You might want to brush up on it. You also might want to brush up on that concept of a new covenant being made. God reformed. Maybe you should also consider doing likewise.

Warmest Regards,
Someone who has more charity in his little finger than you have in your entire soul.

Story Bone

Idea grokked from here. So this might have been done. Maybe to death.

It's your basic "Nazis find powerful artifact and try to use it to win war." In this case, the Nazis discover Dracula (un-beheaded, as so often happens in these kinds of stories) as they roll through (what became known as) Eastern Europe and revive him to create a troops of Super SS Soldiers. Of course, Dracula has his own agenda. Although he does have a grudge against the English (that whole Harker problem). So very "The Keep" meets "Indiana Jones" wrapped in an undead burrito. Heck, as I think of it, telling the story from Dracul's POV could be very cool. Last he knew he was fighting Harker and von Helsing with the Roma, and now it's 50 years later and there's all these people in uniforms. So, while some of their desires are aligned (invading England), Vlad most certainly has his own prejudices (as a creature of the night, used to hiding and preying at the edges, instead of full frontal Blitzkrieg) and goals. As well as knowing these soldiers will send him back to oblivion once they're done with him.

So, my guess is, yeah, this has to have been done before. Sort of like if the Hellboy experiment didn't happen at the end of the war. But could still be cool.

"He tasted the air. It's perfume was different. He knew it was no longer winter, and he was no longer in Transylvania. The taste of Harker on the air was gone. So to that Van Helsing and disgusting American. His mouth felt metallic, but not the taste of the ghurka Harker had with him. Something older and more like brass. The tang of sulfur and salt peter. He could hear the beating of five hearts nearby. Food. He was terrifically hungry."

Wednesday is wondering where it put its socks

Things are still crazy. Wish I could get back to writing and making more coherent posts than just links. But I'm also damn far behind in studying and I have a test on Monday. Do you know all the bones and their related joints or sutures? Neither do I.

Hey, you too can be a part of solving the deficit crisis. (that's a link to the NY Times interactive article where you select options and see how they play out). As Eric says on twitter, "Gee whiz, most of the deficit can be reduced by going back to Clinton-era taxes. Who'd'a thunk it?" (link is his solution) That's crazy talk, Eric. Crazy talk.

Catherine talks about why we write. What she said. (With the understanding I'm experiencing the "what happens when I don't write" right now, ugh. It's like I have constipation, but mentally and emotionally).

Shawn gives us some eating tips. At the doctor's appointment last week I had gained back everything I had lost in the past year. For me, 300lbs is my nemesis. I had been as low at 288 (my lowest recorded weight, but now I'm back to 306. Sucks. Sucks. Sucks. Then again, I haven't been able to WiiFit in five months (see earlier threads with just how much I'm doing these days).

And now for the politics.

I guess that whole, "we gotta work faster to help people" thing was all an election verbal fart. Dear Sen. McConnell, you're not getting it. You're first priority should be JOBS (not "make sure Obama is a 1 term president"). And work faster, damnit.

And no, Rep. Rangel, you can say the Ethics Committee process was "unfair" all you want, but the findings are pretty sound given the evidence.

And here I'll just repost a comment I've made elsewhere about the TSA "groping your junk or be irradiated" treatment.
If we adjust for every “possible” threat, 1) it can’t happen (unless we just go the whole 9 yards and just allow body cavity searches right now, because, really, you can hide a bomb in there - you know where-, and these new procedures won’t detect it) and 2) if I were the terrorist, I would game the system (I don’t need to blow up an airplane to gain my goals, because my goals are to make these rules overbearing to you the populace so you hate your own government). So as a terrorist, what I would do is make attacks that really weren’t intended to succeed, but had the possibility to do so, but the main thrust would be to adjust TSAs rules and screening procedures to make traveling a horrendous experience (like having officers “grab your junk”).

However, I’m solidly a bastard when it comes to cointel. If it were me, I’d increase “chatter” to phantom agents right before Thanksgiving (like this weekend) and Christmas (the two holidays that have the highest rate of air travel). I’d plant ideas in the heads of those likely to be captured to seed the paranoia of the US. But, like I said, I’m solidly a bastard. Good thing our opposition doesn’t have those ideas.

I'll also just point out here that many people in the 50s and 60s are having melanomas develop on their faces (really bad ones, and that's saying something for melanoma) because in their youth, they had a standard treatment for acne. That treatment was low-dose x-rays. Sure, it dried up those pores quickly (required several treatments). And at the time it was "perfectly safe." Feel better now?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I say ye, SSgt Salvador Guinta

"This We'll Defend"

Thank you, Staff Sergeant.

Tuesday Linkee-poos (edited)

Edited to add I love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning. It smells like... burnt popcorn. Hey, Tea Party, remember that whole "hold them accountable" spiel? Yeah, might want to see to that where it comes to Rep. Bachmann. Of course, there will be two years to beg for forgiveness. Or you can fall for the argument about how "for the righteous, all is pure." Strange how the morals change once someone thinks they're in power. And I'm serious. Or weren't you? end edit

On writing fight scenes. (Grokked from eBear).

And speaking of grokking things from Elizabeth Bear, there's also this. Which I think I need to make a daily mantra.

The production for the animation of Neil Gaiman's The Price. I have to admit, this is one of my favorite of Neil's stories. Starts off relatively light and turns incredibly dark at the end.

Well, I guess I was just too good yesterday. Last night the idiocy exploded all over my nice clean "writing links" apron.

Say, here's one of those new "Don't Need No Stinkin' Government Healthcare" freshman wondering just why the hell he has to wait 28 days before getting into the congressional health system. "'This is the only employer I’ve ever worked for where you don’t get coverage the first day you are employed,' his spokeswoman Anna Nix told POLITICO." Really? Hmm, let me see, at my current employer I was covered after working 16 days AND that's the fastest I was ever covered by my new employer's healthcare. Normally we were looking at 3 to 6 months.

Dear, Andy Harris, please stop being a privileged dickwad. Maybe this time in Congress will actually expose you to some of the real life your fellow citizens have had to endure (and no, don't run the bull about your college debt and residency or I'll tell you about just what other people have to go through, who don't end up making $100,000+ a year). Have fun at your cocktail parties. Don't forget 1 in 5 children go to bed without a proper evening meal while you decide if you want to just make a meal of the hors d'oeuvres or order an actual meal. Don't forget to sign the paperwork for your retirement at full pay. And cut out the "Got Mine, Screw You" mentality.

And, no, I don't think I link to the Tea Party Patriot's memo which sent out the personal cell phone numbers of both incoming freshman (and some who lost their elections) because they felt they were being upstaged by another Freshman event (and then encouraged their members to call and complain if those reps didn't attend the TPP event). Hi, Tea Party, welcome to the crowd. You might want to pay attention to what really happens in government and stop making these mistakes if you want to be a player.

There was also the story about how some of the incoming Freshman were overwhelmed by every thing needed to get done (setting up their offices, hiring staff and doing all the proper reporting). Especially those who "ran their own businesses and were going to Washington to show them how it's done." Um, yeah. Hi, welcome to actually running a business/office. Be glad you get classes in how to do it.

And then there's the ever fun Deficit Commission report attempt to control the dialog before the Commission actually makes it's recommendations (read as, "Jumping the Shark"). Just one of many "Don't these people actually pay attention?" moments.

Finally, this person is a serious contender for the 2012 nomination? 1) Transparent (don't be around so you can get anything done, like sign any bills or anything) and 2) Obviously an idiot. Really, Obama should take the month off? No, he should be working his ass off to help turn this economy around. Please, Newt, STFU. Frankly, I'm damn happy this president isn't in the running for the "took more vacation than any president before him" award (aka Reagan and GW Bush).

Monday, November 15, 2010

Four on a Monday

The wonderful Elizabeth Bear on writing a novel. And just as a bonus, here's an interview with her for her stint at the Odyssey Workshop.

Miranda on freeing the Beast and taming the Editor.

Seems like everybody and his brother wants to make money off your writing (while not paying you a dime). Okay, well, Jim Frey will actually pay you a bright and shiny dime, but not much more than that.

And a slightly different take on plagiarism (which seems to be all the rage this fall), Teresa at Making Light talks about Ed Dante's article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Or, plagiarism for profit, with a dose of privilege thrown in for spice. Hey, there's a way to make money as a writer (you know, if you're willing to sell your soul for a small bird). Considering that even at the community college level kids do this kind of stuff (see the comment

Hey, look, not one political link. Hmm. Something must be up.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Weekend of the lost

Spent yesterday cleaning up the yard and getting it ready for the winter. Of course, today, except for having been mowed, it looks like I could go out there and sweep leaves again. And there are still plenty of leaves on the trees. Spent some time today on a bunch of little chores that had been piling up. Fixed the vacuum cleaner, fixed the dryer, cleaned out the laundry room, cleanup some paperwork, etc.

Did some studying yesterday. I'm sure I'll do more tonight.

And strangely enough, I feel like I haven't done much this weekend.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I listen to preachers, I listen to fools

Well, at the doctor's office yesterday, in six months I had basically gained all the weight I had lost. Bummer.

This weekend looks like a busy one because all the future weekends are busy. So I'll probably be out using the leaf blower, working out the snow blower, doing one last mow of the lawn, going up on the roof to clean off the gutter areas, and generally killing myself while not feeling like I'm progressing.

I'm getting an internal feeling of deep dissatisfaction with not writing. Really want to get moving on these projects that are languishing so I can get to the next thing.

And I know I can. I've been letting myself feel okay with coming home after a 7am to 10pm day and just vegging in front of the TV until I feel tired enough to go to sleep (commuting always gets my systems pumped). So I've identified time I could be writing and am not. Now comes the hard part of getting butt in chair and without the TV in front of me.

Joshua Palmatier talks about making time jumps. I haven't had time to read it all, but it looks good. So this is sort of my own bookmark.

Beautiful Absurdities (on miniature scenes that twist reality, some very dark humor here)

Tell me again about the high ground. Again, the difference between the left and right 1) we don't nominate our crazies to office and 2) we don't play the bully.

And another article on just WTF is going on as we head into a discussion over taxes and cuts. Yes, Mother Jones is biased, but again, refute the argument. The HCR Act reduces the angle of that top line in the chart (for Medicare and Medicaid). Not enough, but better than the Republican plan which would actually increase the growth of M&M spending.

Misty Morning Hop

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Four on a Thursday

Look! Jim Hines just got a fab deal on selling two books. You go, Jim!

The ever famous new shopping bag designs. This is a designer meme. Some of them are quite good, some fall into the "just WTF were you thinking" or "you think this is funny" category, some are of the "you have to hold it just right to get the effect", and some may not be work safe for you (YMMV), all of these might be seen on the street, so your choice.

Reason number one why you should learn your history correctly. So you don't make an ass of yourself. Dear Senator Barton, Davy Crocket was killed at his Alamo. Did you really mean to say you'll be a martyr for your cause? You do know Christian martyrs don't get those 70 virgins, right? (Actually, neither do Muslims, it's a corruption of the Assassin/Hashshashin legend where the Old Man of the Mountain would get his agents high on hashish, show them a "Garden of Earthly Delights" and promise if they did die, they would be rewarded in the afterlife).

Oh, so those were the programs the conservatives wanted to cut. Well then, we're good to go. Sigh.
,br>

On doing the right thing?

I don't have much to add to the whole Amazon defending "The Pedophile's Guide" except to thank Amazon for finally coming to its senses and removing the book (there is some dispute on if it was withdrawn by its publisher/author or dropped from Amazon). Amazon was in the wrong, they weren't defending free speech as "speech" that incites one to commit a crime (directly as compared to "the devil made me do it" argument) is not protected speech. Considering part of the description of the book included a phrase similar to "how to avoid harsh criminal penalties," I think it's fairly lumped in that category.

Also considering Amazon's policy of removing other "offensive" materials for "pornographic content" (read "homosexual" and "kink" books). However, it's not like Amazon doesn't have their own red-light district (look under health and personal care/sexual health… there's more than condoms down there).

But here is the difference (for those who like to shout the "but it's censorship and if we allow that then we'll also allow removing Ulysses" - which Amazon has done with their Kindle store IIRC - or the "but homosexuality was once considered offense…"), a child can not consent (by law). And not just in the matters of sex, they can't consent in many other areas according to the law; sign contracts, engage in business, be hired )although that's now only below 16 in most states), purchase restricted items (porn and sexual content being one such area), join the military, etc. So the sex here isn't consensual by definition (and here is where I differ from some of the current mores of society, I still think that the concept of "Jail Bait" is valid, and that "Romeo and Juliet" laws are very misguided).

This isn't an argument on maturity (as in "but some kids are more mature…"), yes, I know some kids who have more maturity than some people my own age. However, the law/society can't discriminate on that bases, so yes, a magic wand is waved over the head of those who reach majority on the day of their birthdate.

So I go back to the fact that one half of this "relationship" is not consensual. What adults do with/to each other with their free consent is their own business. Work of some literary value is different (say if this book had been written as a "work of fiction" I would be uncomfortable with it, but would have a different conclusion, or I detest his "stories" that he included, but would be willing to argue that yes, they may be protected speech, "may be" being the operative clause here).

Add on top of this the power differential in any such relationship (yes, I know there are one or two in which the younger member of the "couple" is the one driving the relationship, but in the vast, overwhelming sea of the opposite, they don't even come close to a rounder error percentage wise) and you can see just how troublesome this is. No, the other side does not have "a choice" in this. And if you don't understand how co-dependent relationships work, well I say, "Happy you." I recommend the book "Co-dependent No More" to either break out of such a situation or to learn more on how they work.

Therefore these relationships by definition are always 1) predatory, 2) illegal, and 3) statutory rape.

I've removed all items from my wish lists on Amazon. And I was in the process of removing all my "shopping cart on hold" items. I also have enough credit cards that I could drop the Amazon one and not have a problem. Now I'll need to think of how far I want to go to sever my connections to Amazon.

11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month

In arduis fidelis. Semper paratus.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

On break from learning the holes in your head

But we call them "foramen" to be nice.

And I gotta ask, what's up with the roll-on luggage as bookbag? I can understand part time profs using them (office on wheels), but students? I mean it just felt like I was going through O'Hare Airport just now.

Morning Mind




Wednesday's Heinous Linkee-poos

Before I forget for another day, fellow VPXIII ("The Fightin' 13th") Miranda Suri has a new blog. Miranda is seriously fun to know, and she's going to be one of those kick-ass new SF/F writers you'll be hearing about soon.

Jim Hines has a post with contacts and links for "what to do if you're sexually harassed at a SF/F convention. You may remember the complete idiocy of "open source boobs" last year (or whateverthehell they called it). To anybody who wants to put up a fracas, understand there is a difference between what two connecting adults do, and what happens when one person takes advantage of another. While sexual (or any) harassment at a social event is just total douchebagness, when you add in the perceived power differences between an author and a fan, or an editor/publisher and a writer, it becomes a field of land mines. And just as a reminder, setting of land mines is never good for anybody; not the person who triggered it, not the person who set it, and most certainly not for the land mine itself.

Here's a Gallup poll on the differences between the Ds and Rs on compromise. Can't say there's much surprise there, at least from my experience. Heck, you don't have to have my experience, just do a roll of the political conversation from the time of the election.

Speaking of elections, is it me, or is this year full of "newly elected but not sworn in" officials trying to direct the course of the outgoing administrations? Um, yeah. While I would think it's just a "we're chomping at the bit to get started" I'm also taken aback by the presumptiveness of it all. But then, it also feeds into the (false) public perception about who was responsible for TARP.

Here's another "after election" poll. This one on what voters really want (short notes, they'd rather tax the rich than cut Social Security). Of course, before Cassie makes the comment, the PPP poll and PCCC aren't exactly non-partisan players. However, their results to track to other exit polling stats I heard from election day (on various news outlets) and was part of my earlier comment on how it only took 24 hours to go from "we know people were voting 'against' more than 'for'" to "we have a mandate!" (Which, BTW, I continue to hear a ground swelling of the "mandate" echo chamber effect).

Hey, more "non-politcal" links. Maybe I'm having a break through.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tuesday Twofer

Alternative histories of what might have been. That's a fairly long article on the evolution of the Apple Tablet computer (now known as the iPad). I remember those heady days of seeing where computers were going and being jazzed about it. All before computers became the ubiquitous beige boxes that sat on people's desks, frustrating them in trying to get them to work "as promised" and fueling the boom in IT department staffing. It's actually a little of what I had to tackle with Bladesman. Having demolished California and its economy, Silicon Valley never took off, so where did computer development take place? In upstate NY and based around the cell phone (via Motorola and IBM's labs up there). So in my novel, computing looks very different than it does today. (grokked from Dan)

Gazpacho is best served cold. Revenge, however, is a business of applying heat.

I was beginning to miss Crazy Uncle Pat, good thing Crazy Uncle Bryan has stepped up to the plate. (also sent by Dan)

Tuesday morning, trying to be more hopeful



Here's some views of the morning commute. The cattails came out better than yesterday, but there was less ice this morning. The ability to stop and take a good photo provided curtesy of ODOT, which has somehow forgotten that Labor Day means the end of orange barrel season/

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fed Up with Rick Perry

Well, besides making a point by point critique let's just hit the comment I'm hearing where ever he is promoting his book.

Texas don't need no stinking Federal EPA because with their "flexible permitting process" they've cleaned up Texas' air. So that shows that local (ie. state) control is better.

Really?

Hmm, let me see, just how did Texas' air get to be so bad that you can show such a dramatic improvement? Oh yes, that would have been that same flexible permitting done under the Bush Administration (when he was governor of Texas). So, yeah, you had a lot to improve. And let's see, I wonder if it has anything to do with a shift of refining to Louisiana? Or maybe the collapse of oil production along the panhandle. Or the lost of manufacturing across the border to the Maquiadores, India, China or Vietnam. That those companies moving from California are mostly corporate offices and financial firms (who are not big polluters). No, I'm sure it's all about how having state control helped.

And that state control, looking after state interests, is a better solution.

Because, you know, the midwest states were all over that preventing Sulfur Dioxide from getting into the atmosphere. You know, except they weren't being effected by it, so they didn't care. Of course, SE Canada and the NE of the US were having a hard time with all the acid rain we were sending their way. But screw them, because we have state's rights and they can't force us to do shit. So if Texas sends Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, or Georgia some high level particulates that precipitates in their states, destroying their health, crops, rivers, infrastructure, economy, etc, well, it doesn't matter, because Texas has clean air. Don't you feel better now?

So, state's rights, huh Mr. Perry. Secure your own damn border. After all, the National Guard is commanded by the Governor except in times of war. Surely you don't want us to declare war on Mexico. You know, your major trading partner? So, you want them on the border? I agree with our Sec. of DoHS. Pay for it yourself. You know, with your lower tax rate. After all, you think the 16th Amendment is so terrible.

Two for a Monday

Dan sends this link to a daring fireball comment on the inequity of pay basically throws America into the banana republic realm of inequities. I think I've talked about (and linked to articles) showing this point (although, not in those terms). So, if you don't want to read the articles, I'll just quote this juicy tidbit:
The richest 0.1 percent of taxpayers would get a tax cut of $61,000 from President Obama. They would get $370,000 from Republicans, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. And that provides only a modest economic stimulus, because the rich are less likely to spend their tax savings.

To point out the inequity, let's restate that the $370,000 is the tax cut, not their income level. At the end of the fireball blurb, he asks how so many can support policies that support so few. The answer is easy. I've linked before to an article on how out of tune with reality most people's perception of pay and income is, and everybody believes they'll be rich someday.

It's being floated around in the twitter-verse, Non-Sequitor nails it. That is, talks about the current talking points (well, shouting points) and shows just how incredibly bad it would be if those talking points were implemented. History, it's a bitch. No wonder the Texas School Board went on a rewriting campaign last year. Also, speaking of rewriting, along a similar vein there's this story that basically shows the point of "only the treacherous suspect treachery." Remember my comment about how a whole bunch of things would only come out after the election? Like how Ohio had the 5th fastest growing economy last year, but Strickland still was pilloried as not doing anything for the economy. Or how employment finally reached a level of "treading water" unlike how the economy was portrayed in the election. And here, I'll admit, the turn around isn't going fast enough, but it's a lie to say it's not there.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Talking Heads

On the "repudiation" - I call bullshit. The people have said, "we're tired of nothing happening, we'll try the other side. Fix it and move faster." With the jobs report this past week, the conservatives will start with an improving economy. Their policies, IMHO, will pretty much stop that in its tracks. There will be some improvement in the next two years, but I doubt with the conservative policies, that we'll get above 2% GDP growth.

There's two arguments going on that are just idiotic on the face of them.

On the tax "increase" (actually, roll back to the Clinton Era rates, which were low compared to the Reagan Era rates). There's a whole bunch of words being thrown around, and it's time to make the argument clear.

If the "richest 1-2%" were actually increasing payrolls, that would be an expense, not net revenue. You are taxed on net (yes, you start with gross on the forms, but then you subtract all the expenses and work you're rate after all those expenses are taken out). So, if you're actually hiring more people, your net taxable income is less. If taxes are low, you have a disincentive to hire (that is, you can bank more of your money, and if you're an S1, that can be money in your pocket). If taxes are higher you have a greater incentive to hire so you can increase your expenses and lower your taxable income.

Of course, if your sole goal is to maximize your income (and here, just to remind everybody we're discussing if you make $10 million a year or $15 million a year), the tax rate going from 28% to 32% won't mean crap in regards to hiring. It does, however, mean a great deal to the person being taxed in regards to their income (if they're able to make that $15 million instead of just $12.5 million).

Second there's the "devolve to the States" (or State's Rights). Yeah. Anybody live in a state that doesn't have their own fiscal problems? About the only one is Texas, and there growth isn't better than anemic (and I'll just point out the hidden costs of that, higher than average poor, lower than average academic performance, and a looming environmental problem). How well do you think the states will do with the added responsibility? Here in Ohio, the incoming republican "wave" is talking about cutting what we already have. If we add more, guess what will happen to your state taxes?

Along with that is the "privatization" call. Really? We've had now 15+ years of experience of privatization that disproves all the arguments for it (lower costs, faster service, greater customer/tax-payor satisfaction). Privatization raised costs (student loans, medicare advantage, IRS processing, food inspections). It increased the time for processing (IRS, food inspections, Medicare). And it lead to greater dissatisfaction (IRS, and do I need to mention the failure of food and product inspections).

In the real world, these ideas don't work. But, I bet if we clap harder this time, they will. Oh. I'm sure they will. Irony, it's what's for dinner.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Weekend in the rain

Spent the day packing up the Halloween stuff and getting it into the storage shed. Also emptied out the rain barrels and put them away for the winter. All while dodging the rain drops. While I needed to clean up the yard and my leaf blower is rated for "wet leaves," I don't think they meant, "leaves wet from 3 days of rain, and it's still raining."

This week ended with finding out I need to be in Virginia the full week before classes. Joy. If it were one week later, I could probably work out to take the test early. But being the last week I miss the last two classes, the review, the practical review, and the last lab/paper chase.

Finished some paperwork. Slept in first. Got some things done that needed to be done and had been waiting for a few weeks.

All in all, a product Saturday, even without some writing. Although last night I got up around 2am and wrote two pages (long hand) of a story in my head.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Golden Morning

Not this morning. This morning was early enough the sun hadn't risen by the time I was in to the office. This was yesterday.


And just in time for the annual screwing up of everybody's clock, and to make sure I get to commute through deer country during dusk and dawn yet again.

Linkee-poo nods to Jay Lake (mostly)

The Fantasy Novelist's Exam. Bwahahaha! (or what's known in SF circles as "cliche lists"). (grokked from Jay Lake).

Here's another article on just how weird our world is. With bacterial colonization and the revelation that our gut is home to over 40,000 species of bacteria. (grokked from Jay Lake).

An actual historian talking about the historical context of our founding documents and their supposed Biblical origins. Just checked again, nope, bicameral legislatures, executive and judicial branches still not supported by Bible (they were more of a monarchy model in biblical times). The Myths We Tell Ourselves™ takes another hit. (grokked from Jay Lake).

Some labor history in a letter from Wm. Frazier resigning form the Labor Relations Board (in the late 70s). Food for thought. (grokked from Jay Lake).

Slacktivist with an interesting take on the Tea Party's origins (started by an article on HuffPo, which, BTW, I don't read). The more I see and dig deeper, the more I see those social conservatives driving the Tea Party (from the back or the driver's seat is yet to be seen). Also part of why the TP explicitly avoids talking about social issues, but help nominate all very deeply social conservatives for office. (grokked from Jay Lake).


Hey, remember all those dire warning about voter fraud and "stealing" elections so popular in the weeks leading up to the election. Yeah, not so much with the reality. Of course, the "it only didn't happen because they knew we were watching" excuse making has already started. Here's an NPR story on it (hopefully they'll post the transcript so you can read about how one of the "watch" groups is asking for the list of voters in minority districts to "verify" their citizenship - sounds innocuous, but then so did making people pay a tax or take a test before voting, until, you know, most people realized it was just ingrained harassment).

I've talked a lot about the Myths We Tell Ourselves™, mostly on the political front (see above). Here's a blogpost about the social/sexual front (that article is about transgendered individuals and sexual identity and has some concepts that some people may find unsettling, the post is about exactly that). There's plenty of those myths about sexuality especially. Besides the effect of Trans Erasure (the societal process of sticking your fingers in your ears going "lalalala" when someone's physical sexuality doesn't match up to their sexual identity). Here's an NPR story on transgendered children and the pressure to identify with the dangly (or not) parts we have. There's a whole slew of articles I can point to showing how people who are trans are forced into our Myths because our society can't accept that there's more than 2 options. And that's without adding in the bisexuals in our society. But I wanted to point out some examples of how those MWTO are destructive to individuals and society. It's really a pernicious problem.

And it just doesn't pertain to sexuality. Growing up in the 70s with divorced parents wasn't fun (it wasn't the "norm" like it is now). So many questions about the morality of the parents (mostly my Mom), and the dire predictions of how my brother and I would be when we grew up. The only reason do don't hear (much of) that anymore is that many kids have parents who are divorced. Saying those things is no longer safe. And it's something you can't "force" people back to "normality" with the comments, because divorce is now the "normality."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thursday Linkee-poo

It's a little too "rah rah, go and buy", but here's a trailer for the new Star Wars art book. Looks nice (although a few too many "nudes in the background" shots in the video, probably work safe, but YMMV).

Well, plagiarism seems to be the theme of Teh Internuts these days.

We have the ongoing David Boyer (and all his aliases) continuing to provide amusement over at Rick Moore's place. Seriously. That link it to some resources Rich and friends have developed to search for, find, and protect against plagiarism.

To all the plagiarists out there, the internet is not your friend. It's the exact opposite as many college students have discovered, much to their chagrin.

And then we have this. A case of someone lifting a piece for their commercial publication, and then getting the internet wrong. Fail. You really need to read the editor's response to being caught out. It's like he's begging to be taken to court.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Well, that only took a day

Paraphrased.

Last night: "We've barely won some elections and weren't able to take back the Senate. We understand this isn't a mandate. Exit polling told us that while the American people have returned us to power, they have a low opinion of both parties, and they voted for us because they were voting against the other guy. We'll work hard to change their opinion of us. We feel humbled that we have a second chance to prove we can govern."

This morning: "We're humbled the American people have given us a second chance."

Noon: "The American people have given our ideals a second chance and repudiated Obama's agenda."

Late afternoon: "The American people have spoken and told us that lower taxes and smaller government should be given a second chance."

Dinner time: "We have a mandate from the American people!"

Clap harder guys. Tinker Bell is still on the ground.

A Linkee-poo of One

Here's something interesting, a video on the McGurk Effect. You need to watch the video (the McGurk effect is a visual versus auditory effect). This is part and parcel of the Myths We Tell Ourselves. Your brain can lie to you. (grokked from Jay Lake)

A New Dawn, Same Crap As Yesterday, Shiny New Wrapper

I've been on this ride before.

Remember when I said that the incoming class would start to blame Obama because they weren't able to keep their promises. Well, they're not even back in Washington and the excuse train has started.

"Of course, the agenda is set by the President," said John Boener in his acceptance speech last night. Really? So what was all that talk about the Pelosi/Reid Agenda then? Oh, right, political garbage.

Welcome to Back-peddling 101. I'm sure the first thing John will do as Speaker is reverse that horrible rule that was keeping America from being Prosperous and Safe and allow smoking in the Congressional Lobby again.

There was discussion last week about how the Tea Party was going to be feeling it's power, and would come out of the election stronger. There was talk about how they would hold the representatives', whom they helped elect, feet to the fire. Good luck with that.

I did type, "Let us know how it all works out," but then I remembered I have to live through this with you.

In Ohio the conservatives swept all the state races. They're in charge now, with a Governor who stated that he'll make his plan once he sees the revenues (hint to conservatives, 1) it's public record all you have to do is ask and 2) it's illegal to wait that long to submit your budget and appropriations, as in "go to jail/do not pass Go" illegal).

Franky, I think we're boned (like I said, I've been on this ride before). But I'm willing to be proven wrong. Let's see how it's working in two years.

Oh, and welcome to the 2012 race. If you haven't formed your re-election committee by now, you're behind in the race.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Just a Question

So, now that you've got it, what are you going to do with it?

Oh yeah, blame Obama for not getting anything done. Sorry, forgot.

Election of Linkee-poos

Paul Krugman with some moralizing on the moralizers. As a friend said over the weekend, "You can't be a fiscal conservative and support Medicare D." Or as I say, "You can't be a fiscal conservative and not want to end the Bush era tax-cuts." Neither were paid for. Both caused massive damage (the first by funneling legislative overpayments to the insurance sector - ie. Republican lead congress instilling fraud within the system, fabulous, and second by taking us from surpluses being used to refuse the debt to record deficits in record time).

Hey look, statistics in the wild! That's a technology review article on the use of fake Twitter accounts to simulate "political grass roots movements."

And, it may be a bit late for you, but I remember. Part of the reason I am no longer a conservative (that, and being driven out by the whackaloons). Thanks, Jeff, I remember too.

Jim Hines talks about the still prevalent caveman philosophy of business. It's almost as if the 90s never happened. Seriously, if your company hasn't gone through sexual-harassment training by now, several iterations of with, you all just aren't up to speed with the 90s. When going to work, turn on telencephalon, turn off the limbic system (except hippocampus). Can you tell I just had a test over the neural system? In plain talk, switch on the upper brain and ignore the lower/base impulses. Or, when putting on a tie, it shouldn't cut off the big brain and allow the little brain to rule.

And linked to from Cherie Priest, I'm Going to be a College Professor. One of those talking head videos. OMG, how farggin' true. Bangs head on table laughing so hard. "So, will you write me a recommendation?" I'm going to have to show this to Bette. I don't know if she'll cry or laugh.

Take another shot of courage


Because everybody publishes sunset photos along with their cats, have a sunrise. Specifically, have this morning's sunrise.

I Made a Difference - So Can You

Go vote.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Vote, damnit

Just a reminder, if you haven't voted yet (absentee or preliminary voting), and you are registered, go vote tomorrow (Tuesday, November 2nd). No matter what your position is on the issues (and I hope you did your research and have thought about the issues).

The Test

For those of you playing our at home game, tonight was good. We scored a 30/30 on the practical and a 110/100 on the test (5 extra credit questions). Out of all of this prof's classes, I was the only perfect score (although in our class we had 6 who had 100% or more, in the other two the highest grade was 98%). So, for total points that we have a grade locked in, we have 366 points out of 360 official points (374 total possible points), or 101.67% (97.86%). There's a total of 660 points in the class (other than "Paper Chase Assignments" of which we don't have a point total, although it's "5% of our final grade" - I'll do the math later). So that means I've locked in 55.45% of the total already, only 4.45% (or 29.37) to get at least a D. With 2 practicals (50 points each) and two tests (100 each), I think I'm pretty good to get a passing grade (594 points needed for an A, or 228 more points).

Likee-poo is tired of politics, aren't you?

Trying to process World Fantasy. Don't have much time for it. Tonight is another exam and I'm kind of focusing on that.

Before I forget, go vote tomorrow. Everybody.

A commentary about the clap harder version of conservative politics (from the American Conservative). Dan Larison vocalizes some of the fears I have over this election. Namely that conservatives will feel empowered that the reason their Tinker Bell dreams didn't work last time was that they didn't clap hard enough. So this time they'll try harder to force the changes that brought about economic ruin before. (grokked form Jay Lake)

Water is wet. Fox News? Distorting? Really?

Here's a take on "bucket lists" that is mirroring some of my internal thoughts. I'm also struggling with changing my views from "we'll do that when we retire" to adapt to the reality of, "nope, probably not going to be able to do those things when we retire, better get them done now." It's also one of those Myths We Tell Ourselves™. It's something I'm really working hard to overcome. (retweeted from Tobias Buckell)