First up the writing posts.
Fellow Hamster Ferrett has been doing post on the Clarion Blog on five things about Clarion. For those of you who don't know, here's the Clarion website. If I had the time and money, or was young and dumb (as in, willing to take risks without having much to lose), I'd do Clarion. It's six weeks and from what I hear, fantastic if you can make it. I didn't have 6 weeks to blow, and wouldn't be able to fit it in (cue the "but you must sacrifice for your art" crowd in 3… 2… 1…), but I did have 1 week and instead went to Viable Paradise. You don't need either to have a healthy a full writing career, but they certainly help. If not for the actual information you get out of it, but for the camaraderie and kinship you can develop. Writing, like Death, is a lonely business. It helps to have friends that are doing the same thing you are. It's also why I like listening to the Writers' Almanac when I can (it's only 5 minutes, and includes poetry).
And, yes, I enjoyed writing, "Fellow Hamster Ferrett." It tickles the writing wonk in my head.
Jim Hines with the writer funny. 'nough said.
And then to politics
Well, the verdict on the financial crisis is in. Guess it wasn't all those bums taking about bad loans after all or the government "encouraging homeownership." As you read that article, you can see how some people's world views don't change easily. Take heart, that in reality, nobody leaves the table unscathed. But we don't need no stinkin' regulations I can hear the shouts from here.
And speaking of regulations, there seems to be a renewed attack on them (if only government would just get out of the way we could all be living shorter lives and eating fingers with our dinners). So, here's a story of just why we have them. It's also a story about how "trial lawyers" really aren't the bugaboo certain conservative cyclists want you to believe. One of the earliest (and some considered onerous and idiotic) regulations concern food product. There are regulations for everything, like how many tomatoes are needed before you can call "sugared red sauce" ketchup. See, there's also regulations on just how much cow you need before you can call something "beef." It's 70%, in case you're wondering. To call something "spiced taco meat filling" it needs to be 40% beef (or "flesh of the cow"). Seems Taco Bell's beefy filling is somewhere around 35%. If so, they can't use the words "beef" or "taco meat filling." And yet they use "beef" in their advertising, while internally calling it "taco meat filling." When it's neither. But, you know, we don't need any regulations to keep up, the consumers, safe.
And facts just destroy political theater. Although, Michelle Bachmann is that "magic projector" kind of theater anyway (with an under current of the "suburban horror" genre). While watching her rebuttal of the rebuttal of the SOTU, I started doing a mashup of her and the Church Lady. It made her speech much more tolerable. Dear TP, please get leaders who are both reality based and have a brain so they don't embarrass themselves on national TV. I want to take you seriously.