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And no one sings me lullabyes
And no one makes me close my eyes
So I throw the windows wide
And call to you across the sky.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Linkee-poo is getting ready for the weekend

One point three million signatures to put SB5 on the ballot. And they only needed 250,000. The most of any ballot initiative in the state, ever. Than you, Ohioans.

Cry havoc! and let slip the clowns of war. The Colbert Super PAC gets the green light. Making a better tomorrow, tomorrow.

LEGO Barad-dûr. KEWL! Including the Nazgul. Wow, makes my childhood starships look like the amateur creations they were. (Pointed to by Dan)

Chuck Wendig on more writing myths that need to die. I'm not in complete agreement with all he has in there, but it's another viewpoint. And yes, writing is not harvesting smiling bunnies and farting unicorns. And while I know there is that part of the subconscious that does a lot of heavy lifting, it sounds a whole lot better to talk about the Muse.

Eric on The Beatles and taxes. Hmm, I think I just made a new saying there. There's nothing more certain in life than the Beatles and taxes.

Darrel Issa, the bulldog of the conservative House, the person who stated they would flood the "corrupt" Obama administration with subpoenas to stop them from doing any work, may have his own troubles concerning his action against the SEC while they were investigating Goldman Sachs while he was buying top level Goldman Sach's shares. Yeah. If that isn't at the very least an ethics violation, I don't know what is. Frankly, if the reality of it is close to what is presented in that article, it may be criminal corruption. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

An article on the new found skepticism on climate change in GOP circles. That last paragraph can be summed up with, "because of the Tea Party, the GOP presidential candidates must lie and obfuscate their positions to actually have a chance of winning office." Thanks again, TP.

Looks like we might get an out of town preview of what our nation will look like come this August unless MN politicians can finally realize a compromise.

Ah, and trust our American Corporations to come to our aid in the time of fiscal crisis. Not.

And it seems like people of all political stripes and positions just can't control themselves. Welcome to the coarsening of discourse.

And then, fresh off his gaff in front of a company when he said the Obama Administration (the NLRB) was going to lose the company jobs, only to have the leaders of the company come out and say, "not so much," Mitt Romney's campaign did the smart thing and set up his next plant visit to a shuttered factory. Nobody can refute his talking points there! Seriously, if that isn't a metaphor for the conservative economic plan (shouting into the void, because reality refutes their arguments) I don't know what is. Only then to have the former governor of the state come out with, "'The fact that they closed had nothing to do with president's policies… In May our unemployment rate was 7.4%, 1.7% better than the national average of 9.1% and the lowest of any large industrial state,' (Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell (D)) said. 'That wasn't an accident, it came from investments.'" Ah, investments. Sorta like stimuluses, but really the same thing.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How carbon offsets work

There's this perception that Greens are these ultra far left, unrepentant return to the Earth, long-haired hippy tree huggers and believe modern civilization should be torn down and humanity should return to its Gather roots (not so much Hunter because we should all be Vegan).

This is pure, unmitigated, bull. Are there some people like that, sure there are. Then again, there's also the Sovereign Citizens movement which is given as an example of nutbags on all ends of the spectrum.

A former boss of mine, a Glenn Beck and Ayn Rand love-child and ultra-conservative, took advantage of the cash-for-clunkers program (a Progrom he railed against vociferously, but was first in line to use, and I am being literal about that, he had the dealership hold the car he wanted for a week before the program started) to buy a hybrid SUV. And as he told me, he did it because of the economics, not because of the Green value and impact (he was real big on "economics"). He was surprised by my response (you know, other than to call him a hypocrite).

It's always been about the economics.

The vast majority of us Greens aren't PETA members, makers of home-made granola bars, anti-industrial, (popular culture's opinion of) Amish values, chain ourselves to whales, vegan zombies. We personally like a lot of modern conveniences, including indoor plumbing and central heat. We also eat meat. Mmmm, meat.

But we understand that what we do has consequences both for us, for our neighbors, for our nation, and for our world. And so that we try to minimize the impact we have. And that's what it's really about, making smart choices.

An example, I mow my lawn with a gas lawn mower. Not very environmental, at least to some people. However, I've used a push (non-powered) mower before when I was young and a client didn't have gas money. I'm too old to do that. My mower is quite ancient, also not exactly good for the environment. However, my mower is now nearly 20 years old (which means I'm not buying a new one every 5 years like my neighbors, that reduces my carbon footprint). I maintain it very well to make it as efficient as it can me. And over half my property is wooded (carbon sink, no need to mow, lowers the ambient temperature of the yard and my house, etc). It's a trade off.

This is why electric cars work. Sure, they also pollute (pollution to make, pollution at the power plant to charge, tire waste, and other incidental pollutants that all cars incur). Sounds like not too good of a solution. Except that the pollution to charge is less by a factor of 10, it starts looking better. That most cars would be charged overnight, when electrical use is at its lowest (that might seem counter factual because of lighting, but it's true because of lower air conditioning use, cooking, etc). So, while not perfect, electrical cars are better.

Even cars like the Volt which includes a small gas engine. That engine will produce less pollution to throw the same amount of weight down the road as an efficient 4-cylinder. The argument about how the best selling truck outsells all hybrids combined falls apart at this point because 1) hybrids are still a minority of vehicles produced, and 2) the truck platform would be perfect for a scheme like the Volt. Electrical motors have full torque at low speeds, trucks are sold on their torque. Trucks have the space and weight characteristics to hold the tech necessary. Why they aren't there yet is because of the entrenched beliefs of car execs/engineers, and their previous campaigns against electric vehicles.

So now that you understand at being Green is a series of conscious decisions and trade offs. Is it the best option we could think of? No, often not. However, we know we live in a modern world. The solution is to minimize the impact (because even living like a hermit off the grid incurs a carbon cost, it's never free). We have to do things like fly for our businesses, we have to drive, use electric, heat our homes, etc. But we can choose options that lower our impact (fly coach on direct flights, use fuel efficient cars/carpool, choose energy saving appliances and turn off things we don't need or put them on switches, and have high efficiency heat plants and a well insulated home).

There are times when the choices are all bad. And when that happens, you can mitigate your impact by doing offsets elsewhere. Now, you may not be able to fully offset your use individually, or you don't have the time, or the opportunity, whatever. But you do have money. And you can pay someone else to make those offsets for you. It would be nice if the offsets were local. But pollution is global and if your money helps another place not have the same problems that your causing to your local environment, that's better than nothing. I may not be able to buy green energy in Ohio anymore, but if my offset payments can buy solar powered items (or put together with other people's offset payment) that keep another power plant from being built in another country (while also bringing modern conveniences, like the "light mat" being sold in rural India), that is still helping the world.

And that's how offsets work and why they're available. I have to increase my carbon footprint to do something I need to do, I can pay someone an amount that offset that carbon use elsewhere in the environment. And all the small payments together can make big differences.

You can't always get what you want

In class the other night, the phrase, "Looking back on it, you can see you got what you needed when you needed it" was spoken out loud. This was in context of the discussion on how to stop worrying (how this fits into Effective Personal Communications is a bit too long to explain, let's just say I don't believe it does).

It rankled me then as a simplistic tautology similar to "That which survives, survives." It was thrown out by the instructor as a "humanist" way of saying, "Let go and let God" (although there followed a discussion on who was what religion).

I could go into the various subtextual meanings about "what you need" and "when you needed it" and how that differs from what you want and what would be sparkly. But instead it's the very ignorance of the phrase that galls me. It's an argument of privilege that gives succor to the living and ignores a vast ocean of troubles. It is the mantra of those who live the unexamined life. It's an excuse to not go beyond yourself and stay behind your wall. It's the battle cry of those who skate through life.

What bothers me most about this simple minded, asinine concept is that I know people for whom this isn't true. And in my future career I expect I will meet scores more.

This is not an argument about, "I didn't get the pony I wanted for Xmas." This is about, "My friend didn't get a heart in time for a transplant." This is about, "My friend didn't get enough space to avoid the car that ran over his moped." This is about all my friends who have experienced (and some are still experiencing) the deepest, darkest realms of their souls. It's even about friends who just never seem to get a fair shake in life.

This phrase waves a hand at their suffering and tragedy magically immunizing the speaker from guilt or empathy and a need to help.

This is also about that person who did get a heart transplant in time, because the person who donated it didn't get what they needed when they needed it. It about that person who didn't see my friend on the moped until it was too late. It's about those who may have had a hand in pushing my friends into those pits and may have done it from their own fortress of pain.

To be fair, my instructor who put it out there has had some tough times in the past. My guess is that those times for her are magnified by the life of relative privilege she grew up in. Of course, I'm sure there's much more to her story than what she's shared. And everybody's personal pain is the greatest pain in the world, and you really shouldn't compare them to others (the "buck up, you could have it worse" arguments).

There are legions, however, who didn't even get the chance, for whom there were no real options. The nations of individuals for whom the cavalry didn't arrive in time.

"You get what you need when you need it." What a stupid, fucking, moronic aphorism.

At least I now know why my blood boils when I think of it.

Linkee-poo lives in an ASAP world

Some real numbers on ebooks and their potential. Sometimes those of us on these here internets get caught up in the bubble and believe the froth that "everybody is online" and "everybody uses Facebook" or all the other tripe. Not really. And it's only magnified by yelling into the bubble that is the internet. It's a big bubble, to be sure, but not big enough for everybody (say, remember the term "Digital Divide"?). (Grokked from Jay Lake).

The gaffs just keep coming (Romney makes a speech at an Alcoa plant saying with the NLRB ruling they'll lose jobs, company replies, "We won't.") I would make an excuse, but actually this just points out the conservative mental break with reality. Dudes, we'd really like you all to help us with problems, but when you just make shit up, it's kinda hard to do. At least, you know, talk with the people you're making a speech in front of to see if your talking points actually work.

I'm not going to point to the ongoing gaffes of that other front runner, because, frankly, she worries me. A lot. Why? Because I remember another candidate that did similar things, had similar appeal, and similar numbers at this time. That was GW Bush. And we all know how that turned out. Bachmann is making a similar argument (likable, you could have a beer with them, ordinary people, and, oh, she's anointed by God for this, BTW). That she may have a chance to get real power is frightening in its implications (not so much for her political ideals, but her theocratic leanings which can be politely described as extreme right wing social conservatism).

Because it points to an earlier conversation, if Congress fails to act on the debt limit (and it's the House of Representative's baby, Constitutionally), things get very bad. But what I want to most point to is the last paragraph.
"Since '09 there's been no increase in nominal dollar spending," (Moody's chief economist and former McCain economic adviser Mark Zandi) said. "There's significant fiscal restraint in the current budget, and any additional fiscal restraint… would be I think a mistake. That the economy is going to have to digest the fiscal restraint that's already in train and added to that would be at this point probably too much for the economy to bear."

Or, in other words, we can't cut our way out of this.

On the persistent myth that Obama is the "Me, Myself, and I" president. A bit of tabulation regarding the use of the first-person singular pronouns in announcement speeches of the current crop of conservatives. Yep, that would be your liberal media at work. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Linkee-poo is convinced they're out to get him

Benjamin Tate on editing experiences (working with an editor). Real examples from the real world.

I'm so glad this kind of shit doesn't happen in the US. Oh, wait, it does. Gee, criminalizing pregnancies that don't go well. Who could have thunk it would have lead to women being prosecuted for miscarriages, drug abuse, non-viable fetuses? Well, practically everybody with a brain, that's who. (Grokked from Ticia42)

Why won't the Pulitzer give the Onion their prize? The Onion is very good to us genre people. And here's a little of us giving back. Just give them the damn Pulitzer already. Do it, and nobody needs get hurt.

Betty Bowers on Marriage in the Bible. Hilarious video. Yep, we should all read our Bibles. Apparently there's a whole lot going on in there. Much of it conveniently ignored by those who admonish us to read our Bibles. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

A Dutch man build's a Noah's Arc replica after having a vision. Uh, yeah, Bob. (Pointed to by Dan)

And another example on why regulation works. I remember running behind the DDT trucks when I lived in NJ. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Linkee-poo is in a rush

I like these shirts. He said, now engaged in two different "free" jobs (don't worry, I'm not burning the midnight oil for them either).

An international comparison of work leave policies. Yes. America is soooo anti business. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Don't miss these charts on labor and pay. Those were linked in the previous article, but I just wanted to point them out separately.

And now for something completely different. (Pointed to by John)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Linkee-poo of one, because it is awesome

The Rolling Stone article on Climate of Denial. (Grokked from Jay Lake) There's a lot in there about the ongoing political struggles regard climate change and the deniers. Also a lot about modern politics and news coverage. Some will mark it off as it's by Al Gore.

I've heard people knock Al Gore because, "with his investments he stands to gain" by this argument. They say this as if it were deep wisdom, and a crushing insult to his character. Really? Let me see, a person sees a trend coming and positions his investments to profit by future events. Sounds like smart investing to me. Isn't that what we all try to do? As to the subtext of, "He'll make money", let's see, just how much profit did Exxon-Mobil, BP, Massey, and all the rest post last year? Who has the most to gain from this discussion?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Oh, just one more thing

So, I wrote the joke about Columbo yesterday afternoon. And then tonight I hear about the passing of Peter Falk. I always enjoyed his performances, which include a wide range of characters in movies from Columbo to the Princess Bride. I might have to watch The Cheap Detective and Murder by Death.

I promise in the future to only use my powers for good.

Linkee-poo doubles up before the weekend

Jane Friedman with five things more important than talent.

Hmm, strange, if we let the Bush Tax cuts expire, and actually allow the Medicare cost adjustments to go into effect, no deficit within 5 years. Yeah. Like that will ever happen.

And another chart of the day showing support of Republican Governors dropping. Just something to keep in mind when you hear the mantra of Obama's popularity dropping.

Tweet of my heart @matociquala: Elise Matthesen on how to critique effectively: "Be on the side of the story." #4thstreet

Engineering Fail


Hmm, I wonder why people aren't using those spaces? Whatever could it be?

Linkee-poo just wants the day to be over

Sigh. It appears we're about to go through another segment of "New Technology is Magic" trope. So long nanotechnology. Welcome gene therapy that continues the long line in SF, starting with the Steam Engine and reached it's frantic pace with the dawn on the nuclear age.

Jay Lake muses on what is more important in story. So, do you like a Ms. Marple mystery, or Columbo? (Yes, I like both, actually)

Pottermore now looks to be like a web analog to some of the ideas surrounding ebook extensions (of what will make ebooks so much better than print books). Or, "we call it riding the gravy train" (while the site will be free, I expect they're looking to continue the sales of the books at the very least - I'm sure some marketing idiot has somewhere said that with the final movie out, interest will fall off). No disrespect meant. JK has a great franchise with Harry, and I expect there will be a lot of business for Pottermore. However authors can get more out of their work, they should try. You should watch the video. I love that animation.

It ain't a jet pack, but I'll take it. A very small electric plane. Wants! (Pointed to by Dan)

The Tea Party Vacation PSA via Vince.

Oh look, the McKinsey study that continues to be cited by conservatives is now thoroughly debunked. Who could have known?

Slactivist with musings on Hell in the modern church. Relevant to the next book, so I don't want to lose the link. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Think Americans ask too much to work menial labor? Think again. We go the lowest in this experiment. I'm sure that will come as some succor to the representatives in Georgia who passed their anti-illegal immigrant law only to find their largest industry suddenly bereft of enough workers to bring in the crop. (Grokked from Catherine Shaffer)

L.E. Modeste with some books written by women that men should read. Damn, I don't have any of those. And a follow up here.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Story Bone

Okay, this is probably the most tenuous story bone I've posted so far, but it feels like there's a lot there. Just waiting below the surface. And it's more of a character motivation than anything else.

So many stories that have doctors who have left the medical profession use the crux that they lost the wrong/too many patients. Have a doctor who left because they saved the wrong person (no revenge fantasies, please, ie. the patient killed or has killed the doctor's family, as I believe that's been done as well). With that conflict between their feelings and the Hippocratic Oath, they don't feel they can continue in the profession.

I'm not sure the patient they saved would really be in the current story line. In fact, I don't think they should be, except as a ghost in the doctor's mind. Their own, personal, Fury/guilt. I'm not even sure this would go to the other theme that they have to do something to save somebody and so overcome their reluctance to practice medicine (also done before).

Linkee-poo doesn't need any more, we're all full up on crazy today

An early post, 'cause we have a full slate already.

Jay Lake's link salad is a wonderfully delicious spring mix of goodies today, not all of which I'll repost here. They include some faked science (medicine, again), Amish, some religious context, and some politics. Really, too much to repost here.

Some emergency writing motivation techniques. (Grokked from Elizabeth)

An immense over simplification of Gutenberg's invention and financial ruin to say something about the advent of e-publishing. The real story is much more complicated. And it wasn't Papal Indulgences that made the press profitable (although that's what the people who got Gutenberg's actual press did), it was political tracts which ignited the Reformation (printed by the people who stole Gutenberg's idea) that did it. Gutenberg's downfall was precipitated by his attempt to break a market that wasn't ready for change (he actually tried to sell many Bibles as manuscripts, because "printing" wasn't acceptable for the Holy Book, yes, there was printing before Gutenberg), charging too little for his product (he undersold much of his stock), and his choice of people to whom he became over leveraged and indebted. Add in a fire that destroyed much of his stock and required expensive repairs, and viola. Ruination. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

I am Abe Lincoln of the Borg. Prepare to be tattooed. (pointed to by Dan)

Tobias Buckell muses on the historical nature of corporations regarding colonization and government. Add to your deliberations this NPR report on Bopp, the lawyer who brought Citizens United to the Supreme Court and is currently working to further undermine campaign finance laws (allowing more corporate sponsorship - I still say we do it like NASCAR and have the politicians wear patches on their suits for each one). The curse of history is about to strike again.

On Amish and technology. Yeah. For those of us who actually have lots of contact with the Amish, this isn't news. In Ohio, the community that has the highest installed base of solar power is the Amish in Sugar Creek. I do work for an Amish cabinet maker. When he needs something emailed, it gets emailed. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Charlie Stross on his argument about an imminent Singularity. Grokked from John Scalzi, who has his own thoughts here. I've said it before, I'm a heretic to many SF tropes. One of those is human artificial intelligence. One, a computer is not a brain (or vis a vis). And two, until we recognize the hubris of wanting a human intelligence in the machine, we won't make much progress toward a real AI (which, if and when it happens, won't be human, and probably won't worry about us much if it even notices us). Until then we'll continue to make Punch and Judy simulacrums like Watson and Deep Blue.

On my recurring posts on the limits of science, another researcher is caught cooking the data. Again, medicine, quelle suprise. These people do not help the cause. Also note that even though the paper was withdrawn within 3 months, it caused another researcher to basically blow a year and their doctoral thesis out the window. This is often how bad research is discovered. Someone either bases their research on a previous finding, or someone is working laterally on another issue and doesn't see the same results, not from people trying to actually replicate the initial research. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The AMA reiterates its support for the ACA (and the individual mandate). It wasn't unanimous, and, as the report states, in the past 2 years since the first vote 12,000 members (5%) quit the AMA (although their motives aren't known). So much for the "but Doctors don't want it either meme. You might remember, a slightly larger than plurality of them wanted either a single-payor system or the "Public Option" (a watered down version). Why? Because they know it'll 1) improve healthcare outcomes, and 2) even doctors are tired of dealing with insurance companies.

Speaking of, this summer is seeing another major battle with an health insurance company (involves a relative) that refuses to pay. I'm not sure how far I want to talk about it here, but let's just say there's a major push by some involved to have the person moved to Medicare (because they'll get paid more, and more frequently) - see earlier link to man robbing a bank to get health care. It really shouldn't be our issue, but it has become ours by default. (We're told the insurance company has finally agreed to pay what they should have done initially, any takers on how long it will be before a check is cut?)

And in other news, Sarah Palin quits her own bus tour halfway through. There's a bunch of speculation, what I haven't heard and I expect is really the case is that reports stopped following and constantly reporting on her. On the Good News™ side of it, if she ever wins a national office, we now know she won't fill out the full term.

Do we all have to learn this again, conservatives? People have video cameras. So when you start spouting idiocy about the whys and were-fores you'll be called on it. This is about comedian Reggie Brown's Obama impersonation at the Republican Leadership Conference.

A critique of the election campaign coverage so far. When reporters outnumber voters at campaign stops (in this case for Huntsman, who IMHO would probably be a good candidate for the right, except that he comes out of the gate hamstrung by being a moderate - which in the old days would have qualified him for "solid right wing"). Your liberal media at work. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

First cutting

Linkee-poo welcomes shorter days

NPR is asking your opinion on the best SF/F books.

Okay, is it me, or is the new Conan trailer mostly splatter porn? Sure, I've criticized movies in the past for not showing enough of the real damage done by combat (like a total lack of blood), but, uh, blood doesn't behave that way. It's not like we're bags filled with blood. The closest you get is if you cut some artery. The other way is to do massive tissue damage. A sharp sword shouldn't do that. What's next? Are we going to pump the scent of shit and burned or decaying flesh into the theaters? 'Cause when you cut someone from groin to sternum, there's going to be a smell to that (not to mention that just like tauntauns, we don't smell so good on the inside).

Disruptive Technology. Yeah, I believe that's the definition if the D-Dalus, a new concept in both aircraft and aircraft engines that's on display at the Paris Air Show, proves out. Understand, that's a working prototype. I wish they had a video. (pointed to by Dan)

In case you think you only need to thank our military for their service, you might also want to thank them for being guinea pigs for medicine. That's a story about just one of the advances made during these wars, the regeneration of muscle tissue. Most of modern medicine owes it start to battlefield, including the rise of allopathic medicine and the basis from which it drew from. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Speaking of medicine, only in the "Greatest Country on Earth with the Best Health Care System" are there people robbing banks to get free health care in jail. Originally though the guy was a whackjob, but reading his quotes, he seems entirely reasonable. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

And another in the long line of now discredited Tea Party "ideals." Ohio looks to enact a strict voter id law in the face of no actual problem. Said law looks to disenfranchise nearly 1 million Ohio voters of their right to vote. So, here we have unnecessary government regulation and an actual stripping of Constitutional Rights (and consumer rights). Where's the Tea Party outrage? Oh right, they're for the law. Note to TP and the conservatives in the Ohio Legislature, proving voter fraud is not "proving a negative" (which they rightly say can't be done). It is a positive and quantitatively ascertainable issue. It's just that there is no wide spread fraud and you're having difficulty wrapping your head around that. Oh, and providing "free" IDs, (besides the mechanics of getting one) you know that's coming out of your taxes and adding to the state's deficit, right?

You know, people I take seriously walked me back from completely trashing the Tea Party and made me think, "Hmm, maybe they have something here." All your work is being washed away by the hard reality of your movement's actions. I believe in the sincerity of my friends, and that they had good intentions and motivations (I actually believe in some of their stated reasons for the movement, which is why they tried to recruit me so hard). Your movement is betraying you. Those you helped win office are working hard on everything but your stated goals (about the only thing left is the fight over the debt ceiling, which is beginning to look like it's an attempt to keep the US economy down to gain seats and the presidency in 2012). You promised to hold them accountable, but now your movement is adjusting their stance on issues to try and keep to the ideals of the fringe you helped elect. The social conservatives have hijacked you. And they don't give a shit about the Constitution and fiscal management except to give it lip service to get your vote (this is what I realized about the Republican Party back in GHW Bush's presidency, and one of the reasons I left the party).

Like reality had anything to do with it. It seems to be the conservative mantra these days that if a rumor can be halfway around the world before the truth has enough time to get its pants on, they'll be on the side of rumor. Because once people get something into their heads, it really is nearly impossible to dislodge it (for most people).

I think I mentioned it earlier, but Gov. Rick Perry, traitor to the cause. Please, conservatives, nominate this nutbag. I look forward to seeing you twist into knots trying to explain how you love the country and the Constitution so much, you're willing to dump it all, take your little red ball and go home. That would be an interesting debate. Of course, only if the "liberal" / "Lamestream" media were actually liberal. I'll agree with the lameness in this issue. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Just another sinner in the sea of fates

Forgive me, Robert Heinlein, for I have sinned.

It's has been over 90 days since I last committed new writing. And that was a poem I didn't finish. Adding word count to a revision or entering notes on an outline doesn't count. Or at least it feels like it doesn't count

In the past year I have started several short stories and poems, but haven't finished more than a few. I had good intentions, but we all know what is paved with good intentions. A few doesn't cut it. I should have been more diligent on finishing all that I start.

I am rewriting parts of the book I'm editing. While the edits are (mostly) based on the comments of beta readers, I have also added more and adjusted things that weren't commented on. So I have committed rewrite, not to editorial order.

Also in this last year I have let my regimen of submissions lapse to where nothing is in submission at the moment. And I have stopped submitting stories when I reach the end of what I considered markets that could either help my career or bottom line and I haven't had a sale. My trunked folder grows by leaps and bounds.

For all of these and more, I am truly sorry for my transgressions.

Linkee-poo is dancing sky clad beneath his clothes today

Scott Lynch talks about the Big D. "Let me assure you, it is easier than you can imagine to spend years assuring yourself that you're merely feeling blue, and not seriously ill." Yes, that. Been there, done that. Let it go on too long and now I think it's put me into a cycle where it's more likely I'll get Big D than not. And this is why I'm still taking Welbutrin. Although last week I went the whole week without a dose and didn't feel Big D's tentacles sinking in. Okay, well, one tentacle. And old nemesis. (personal reminder to write post on writing progress) (Grokked from Sarah Goslee)

Of relation to my posts on the limits of science, Phil Plait on the supernatural not existing. I agree with everything he says, even though the main argument is a tautology (ie. everything in existence can be studied scientifically, therefore it becomes "natural", therefore it is not "supernatural", and that which science can't prove, does not exist). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

A discussion on the brave new world of e-books. Some of this goes into the category of "wouldn't it be great if advertisers know where we were and could customize ads to places? It would be great as you're walking/driving past a great bagel shop you never been in and all of a sudden you get a half-off two coupon for that shop?" Or shopping, "Wouldn't it be great if you just filled up your cart and then walked right out the door of the store, and the store would just bill your credit card for the amount." Or the latest I saw this weekend, "Your cupboards or refrigerator could contact your smart phone, which would realize you were in a supermarket and query them, and as you walked down the aisle the products you need would light up to remind you to buy them." To which I look at my compatriots and say, "A dream for you, a nightmare for consumers." Some people are in love with tech. And I'll admit here, I am a little bit too. Hey, I own an iPod Touch and an iPad. But I'm now old enough to have seen plenty of promise of tech turn to ashes in our mouths.

Tobias Buckell with the true cost of gas. It's those "externalities" that get you every time (and much of my support for the HCR/ACA is because of those, it's also how the argument of "failure to buy insurance is an economic activity" works, ie. they don't buy, so we all pay for their choice).

I'll sleep better knowing that we reduced and changed safety standards at our nuclear reactors just so they could keep working. Also a nice introduction on why reducing regulation is not good for the common cause, ie. your health. (pointed to by Dan)

They say they want their America back. The song from NetRoots. Video okay, but words are NSFW. Asking the question I've been asking for over 2 years. (pointed to by Dan). Video and lyrics at Vince's place.

Besides the radical shift to the right, yet another reason I'm no longer a Republican. Serious. That trend started with Reagan and just accelerated with every Republican gain since then.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Investors of the World, Unite

Once again I reach out to the great internet brain to ask a question.

I'm re-evaluating the funds I place my 401k into. With the (at least Wall Street) economy in slightly better shape, I think the prospectuses are a little more truthful on how funds will perform going forward. Unfortunately, I don't have access to my preferred funds (from American Funds).

When I signed up last year, I went with some funds that I thought were good. And I did pretty well. However, I'm now looking at performance vs. fund fees and thinking of switching two funds to lesser well known names (but performing just as well) funds that have about half the administrative fees (0.8% average to 0.4% average, in case you want to know). The fund mix would remain the same (growth and index funds).

But here is the question, should I keep my existing amounts in the original accounts (the returns more than cover the admin costs, so I won't lose money), or transfer the balances into the new funds (as well as direct withholdings to them)?

I'm of two minds. On one hand, for simplicity (and lower fees) I should transfer the existing account amounts. On the other hand I like having diversity to spread risk (and these funds are solid, or I wouldn't have picked them in the first place). These are both about equal in my mind at the moment. Any other ideas I should take into account?

Linkee-poo goes on internet safari

Ken McConnell finishes Draft 1 of his latest novel. Congrats, Ken. Good luck with wrestling it to the ground.

Tobias Buckell points us to this article on the Aerotropolis. Very interesting city planning nepery going on in there. If you write futurism, have spaceports, steampunk with active blimp transports, or want to have some interesting grist for the world building mill, here it is.

Madeleine Robins on ur doing it rite. A little on my often repeat refrain for gaining wordcount, do the process that works for you. Listen to all the advise, immediately dump the ridiculous, try the rest, keep what works for you. She links to this blog post by Janni Lee Simner. What she said. All writing advice (include that which I impart, and I hope you've seen I've even passed on advice that didn't work for me, but it might for you) should begin with the disclaimer, This worked for me. It might or might not work for you. Give it a try. If it works, great. If it doesn't, don't worry about it. Move on. Yes, that. As the Buddha says, all are rivers which lead to the same ocean. (Grokked from Steven Gould)

Jay Lake has another comment contest. (Vote for Me!)

Janiece starts her own summer reading contest.

Because it was brought up at work, I looked up the Touchdown Jesus (aka, Buddy Jesus) only to find out… "It was destroyed by a lightning strike and subsequent fire on June 15, 2010." If that isn't a sign I need to be writing the next book, I don't know what is.

So much for the publishing industry is dead. (Grokked from AbsoluteWrite)

An NPR story on inattention blindness. This is a form of cognitive filtering which I believe I discussed before. So much goes on around us, so much data comes filtering in to the brain that for us to function at all, the brain shorthands what it can, brings what is important (at the moment) to your cognition, and dumps all the rest. This is where Sherlock Holmes worked wonders. He noticed all the little things and had enough prestored information to categorize most of what came in. You can train yourself to do better at noticing more of what goes on around you, but it is a training regimen. And you have to practice. (BTW, this is also probably why "guys don't see dirt" and "wives don't see the lawn needs mowed")

Because there's been a lot of talk lately about violent language and much of the right has talked about death threats against them, they aren't the only ones. Yep, people making death threats because of climate science. This isn't exactly new. There's been plenty of death threats and intimidation around the subject of evolution. Glad we live in such a world. (pointed to by Dan)

Too big to sue. Or, "Too many notes, Mozart." First Citizen's United, now Wal-Mart. So glad the courts are on our side. Dear Supreme Court Conservative Justices, this is exactly the reason why we have class action lawsuits. Thanks for gutting that law.

Remember when the Tea Party was all about fiscal conservatism and fighting all these socialist initiatives? Yeah, me neither, but that's what they like to tell themselves. Well, I think we can say they've jumped the shark by realizing electoral necessity. So much for the ideals. Yet another initiation into the Republican Party.

There's talk of Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, entering the Presidential Race. Oh please, please, please be true. I can't wait for someone to question his stance on his state's succession (of which he made favorable comments, I'm being nice since he tried to walk them back) and how those are not the actions of a patriot. Yep, the right is clamoring for a traitor to the cause to run for President. Oh, and did I mention that Texas has the second largest budget shortfall/debt to GDP issue of all the states? Yeah, that's the guy we want to be President.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sum Sum Summer Time

Psst. Hey, you read, right? I'm sure you do. Remember back when we were kids there were summer reading programs that had great prizes. Okay, great prizes for how old you were.

Well, Todd Wheeler is running his summer reading contest, again. Great cause. Great community. Great idea.

So go forth and read (oh, and tell Todd what you're reading).

Friday, June 17, 2011

Photo Blogging

But not actually from today. But you can always use a rainbow.


Sorry I missed the unicorn. Have some rocking clouds instead.



Linkee-poo gets it, do you?

Oh please, JK, don't. (although her PR people have said it is not a new book)

Jim Hines on plateaus. Oh yes. Been there. Done that. Have the mental scars to prove it.

On a similar vein, Mette Harrison on trying too hard. (Grokked from Mer Haskell)

Practice does not make perfect. Practice makes permanent. Practice with improvement moves you closer to perfect.

They're dropping like flies. Now Janeice needs your help with content for her blog. It's like a virus it is.

Sometimes, it's just the little things we take for granted that mean the difference in mortality rates. That's an article on recycling used soap bars from hotels in the US for reprocessing in poorer countries. Here's the fierce website of the project, Global Soap. While it's a heartening human interest story about people making a difference, it's also a very interesting sociological commentary (which touches on privilege, advantage, and product lifecycles). (Grokked from John Scalzi)

Another in the all right for me, a sin for thee, crowd. The anti-abortion, but we had one when we needed it, but you shouldn't have that option and we'll make damn sure the doctor won't give you one, crowd has another candidate for President. Oh, and he's the spiritual founder of the Tea Party. Quelle surprise. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Hey, look, actual election fraud (well, crime I guess). Oh wait. It's another Republican. Nothing to see here, citizen. Move along.

Tweet of my heart.
@jamesrocchi: If only people willing to riot over sports would be willing to do so over campaign finance law. #breadandcircuses (rt @ChiaLynn)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Weiner goes flaccid

There you are, News. You have your headline; little good may it do you. Now report, damn you!

Linkee-poo did not have kidneys for breakfast, but will hoist a pint later

Another reminder that when you get a novel idea (as in, you're writing a novel and have a great idea), you better write it damn quick. The world has a way of scooping you. That's an article on the yakuza and "Chinese crime syndicates" (known as Tongs) winning the contracts to clean up the debris from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and their potential windfall from reconstruction (pointed to by Dan). "Those lining up to profit… include homegrown gangs and Chinese crime syndicates, according to… Sentaku, a respected political and economic affairs magazine… 'The yakuza are trying to position themselves to gain contracts for their construction companies for the massive rebuilding that will come,' (said Tomohiko Suzuki)." Yeah. For those of you who have read Bladesman, that should all sound very familiar.

Cheryl Morgan gives some more ammo on the ongoing discussion in SF over gender balance issues. She hits on a lot of the hot button topics including cultural ignorance, selective memory, precedent, and privilege. (I can't remember who pointed me to this, sorry)

Because I'll want to point to it later, the Shelf-Pod. I think I may be able to fit all my books and doodads in there. (Grokked from Chia Lynn)

Following up on the link yesterday about how those who love the flag often desecrate it, five myths about the American Flag. Especially that last one. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Lalalalalalala, can't hear you. Glad Rep. Issa at least has a brain and knows when someone is about to give testimony that won't reflect well on his and his party's dream-like delusions hard core philosophies.

Yet again, privatization saves absolutely nothing. Instead it increases costs and reduces accountability. That's a story on Gov. Jindal's plan to privatize a self-run government retiree insurance program. What is disclosed is also of importance to the (unfortunately) ongoing debate over the health care reform act. "Chaffe's valuation of the agency assumes that a purchaser will increase premiums to maintain a pre-tax operating margin of 4.5-7%. The premium increase in 2013 would range from 4.8% to 7.6%, depending on the operating margin the private company was seeking, the report's analysis states." Say, anybody know a for profit insurance company that accepts an operating margin, let's be generous, of less than 10%? Neither do I. But, hey, then we have the Pawlenty Google Test for government services. And nobody laughs him off the stage. Hmmm, that Kool-Aid must taste nice.

The Tea Party Camp. You know, sometimes the jokes come prepackaged.

Why Do Republicans Hate Clean Water? And excellent rant on the conservative mindset. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Really, Discover

One of the first credit cards I ever got was a Discover. It was brand new, back then. And it's the card I've had the longest. Although I hardly ever use it (too many times they sent those checks after I asked them to stop, too many questionable "related" deals, etc). And now I get a mailer that I can earn an extra $150 cashback bonus (cashback bonus, btw, stands for "biggest scam ever") if I spend more that $1000 (or more) each calendar month for July to September. But first I have to call a number to register for it.

Really?

If I put $3000 on any card within any 3 month period, the CEO of the card company should fly out to my house and personally kiss my ass in gratitude.

When I lost my job over a year ago, I started putting more things on credit cards than I had ever done before (for various reasons, as we always, always, pay off the balance every month). I used to like to use cash as much as possible before that. But now getting cash has become a little harder, so I like to keep the hard cash as much as possible. It's sort of like the opposite of what I used to do.

But you know what? I still don't put $1000 on the card within a month. And I have a 44 mile (one way) commute. I also do a lot of grocery shopping and errand running. Not to mention completing several home improvement projects this past Spring. Still, not at $1000 a month. I think I did go over one month. But that was when I bought the iPad, a 25 anniversary gift for Bette, and her birthday presents.

The unfortunate thing is I expect this will be a successful promotion for them.

Linkee-poo does not feel spritely

Well, it's now about a month until the Harry Potter world all comes crashing down and JK Rowling will have to give all that money back. Man. It was a good ride while it lasted. What? You'd think that was the case with all the headlines surrounding the release of the final film. Dudes, kids will be reading these books for a long time. And, yes, I will go see the last film. In a theater.

Because all the cool kids are pointing it out, John Scalzi on you not having his writing career (or really any other writer's career). That doesn't mean you can't be as successful, or write in a similar vein, etc, but yeah, everybody's path is at the very least a little different. You can learn a lot by studying other's careers and to see what has worked, and what didn't, determine why in both cases, and then go forth and do likewise, but in a wiser manner. Careers, any career in any discipline, isn't a paint-by-numbers set. They're all off the board excursions to where dragons lurk.

Catherine Shaffer shares more of her journeys through the private health insurance market. Having had our own family issues with insurance this week (which ended in the phrase, "But we don't have power of attorney, or health care PoA, just what do you expect us to do? Insurance companies deny claims regularly for no real reason, refile the claim. Trust us, we've done this before."

Toys for geeks. (Pointed to by Dan)

Elizabeth talks about making a magnetic whiteboard. Hmmm.

Every wonder why you need to clean out scrapes and cuts and probably use all that horrible burning stuff? This is why. As per the Neil DeGrasse Tyson lecture, the world is out to kill you. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

I know people often wonder what I mean by my scoffing at current trends and the implication of the general populace that "all is as it ever was and ever shall be. Witness this pre-Twiggy ad about sensuality.

Remember when I made the comment about how Republicans, after complaining about spending in WI, just added a bunch by running fake candidates? We'll, here's a partial total (notice there's some big holes in that estimate). Almost half a million and counting.

Let's see. In the past year we extended the Bush Tax Cuts, ended the stimulus, rolled back the Fed's "stealth stimulus", cut the budget, and have done pretty much all the conservative talking points about what it takes to get jobs going. How's that working out so far?> A "great deal of pain ahead." Quelle surprise. Seriously, these policies only work in the drug addled fantasies in conservative's heads.

I've said it before, for people who claim to love the flag, conservatives often desecrate it. Seriously Rep. West, there's a reason that with burials at sea, the flag is only held over the body, not attached. The flag never leaves the ship.

But then, what do I expect from a party that not only ignores actual history, but is so in love with the "fight on communism" they see enemies everywhere. When all you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Don't mess with me

Apparently my bullshit bucket is full at the moment. My tolerance for anything remotely smelling as such being shoveled my way is being shut down before it can get too close.

Just fair warning.

Thanks for peddling your wares, we're all full up at the moment.

Linkee-poo girds for battle, again

Some non-scientific poll results of non-scientific ideas. Things like ghosts, paranormal events, etc. (Grokked from Stewart Sternberg)

Pill Hill Press open horror anthologies. (Grokked from Absolute Write)

Holy Frack! HBO is now developing American Gods as a series (6 seasons worth). With Game of Thrones and now this, I may have to upgrade my cable. BTW, if you love urban fantasy fiction and haven't read American Gods by Neil Gaiman, just WTF are you waiting for? It's ten years old now.

A chart of the share of national income going to workers. Wow, look at that line since the 80s. Gee I wonder what happened in the early 80s? Yeah. Nothing to see here citizen, move along. Don't forget to look at the corporate profits chart. Just how many more times do we need to say this and in how many different ways? (pointed to by Dan)

Another story on global climate change and the limits of science. Also a little on the misunderstanding of those limits in regard to waiting for statistical relevance. And here I should point out that my perceived knocking on science with this thread isn't to degrade science, but to help people understand what science can say and how they say it. Sometimes people like to use science as a Loving Club of Correction (on both sides of many issues), which it isn't. So, global warming is now statistically significant (ie. it passes the 95% certainly level). Cue the disbelievers (and here's another thing about science, when it's done properly, it doesn't require your belief in it to affect you) saying "But just last year he said blah, so he's flip-flopping because of pressure," in 3.. 2.. 1.. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

You must resist making connections. Droughts and crop failures are all part of the natural cycle. Tipping point? What tipping point? But, shhh, no, see really the increase in food prices are all about using corn for ethanol. Except for, you know, the US dumping all their corn in Mexico at below cost driving their own corn producers out of the market. I do believe in spooks, I do believe in spooks. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Apex Books has scored a good deal with a "major distributor" to get their books out. Which garners a big "Yippie" from all us horror type folks. But now they need to raise capital to ramp up their business and print runs. It's a modest fund raising goal, and I need to think about what level I'm going in for. (Grokked from Stewart Sternberg)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Crow, it's what's for dinner

Eating lot of crow with the various fallout regarding the class. Sigh. Too much work for a 3 credit hour course that I could sleep walk through and that isn't directly related to the major.

This class has the feeling of too much "make work" to make it seem like a real class. Sort of like overcompensating for too small an idea. Like midlife crisis guys driving Ferraris. Seriously, it's a 100 level speech course.

But now we'll put the life on hold, again, and soldier on. If this was for a majors class, I wouldn't feel so bitter about it. Also up, WTF is a 3 credit hour course doing taking up 4 nights a week for 8 weeks?

Edit 06-13 4:15pm Just caught a break. Was checking schedules, etc, writing down numbers so I could get through registration easier (as I needed to get an override slip to have the prof sign) when I saw someone dropped the class I wanted in. So went into the online registration tool and dropped my other (backup) class (8-10pm) and registered for the earlier class. Now at least I don't have to go through the override system and get signatures and have two or three trips to registration. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.

Linkee-poo is out of sorts

Tobias Buckell posts a video take on the Global Climate Change op-ed by Bill McKibben. Yes. That. Before I had originally read his op-ed I had commented to friends that I we certainly were in the new century considering all the 100 year events we've experienced in the past few years. See, I remember a time when the yearly flooding of the Mississippi wasn't news (at least to those of us not in its path).

Huhn, new to me (because I haven't looked at Harley's or gone to a bike show in almost five years), Harley Davidson rejects chrome for it's latest line. It's going to take a bit to wrap my head around that. If you want to know why, Chrome is practically a religion for some HD enthusiasts.

Living cells with lasers. Skipping the sharks with frickin' lasers jokes, some cool post-human nepery in there. (Grokked from Jay Lake and Dan)

In regards to "the stories we tell ourselves", this quote about history that makes the point of how distractive they can be. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

And finally, because I find them cool, gargoyles and grotesques.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Linkee-poo didn't do what he wanted

Instead I spent the day working out a change of class. The professor of the 6-8 class has agreed to sign an override (her section is full). Then I spent the time coordinating the rest of my life. Unfortunately I'll have to miss the second class because of council stuff. But then I'll also miss a month plus of council stuff. And I really needed to be hands on this summer. Fargle. Who knows, maybe I'll get my wish and just resign early (but I hate being a quitter). So, still some things to work through, but right now I have something of a plan. Next up, explaining it to work. Who, they don't have any direct plans, but they we're awfully happy I wasn't going to be having to run out to class at the end of the day.

Nathan kind of wraps up my feeling about weinergate. Which, you know, I think ever since we started adding "-gate" to any scandal the media has been waiting for just this scandal.

Jim Wright with an awesome Constitution, or as it would be if it were written today by the various people screaming and jumping about at the edges.

Online Classes

Dear Colleges,

If your online course selection and instructor requires students to meet with them on campus for an in person skills assessment, this isn't an appropriate course to be taught online. No, really. Do I need to explain this to you?

I appreciate your overwhelming greed focus on the student that you want to offer as many courses online as possible while not increasing your staff. However, many of us online student take these courses because we have jobs (note plural) that make taking classes difficult and so appreciate the online form whenever possible.

Requiring us to either come in to campus, or be online, during certain times (say, like between 8am and 5pm) is exactly the type of thing we were trying to avoid. You know, because it interferes with aforementioned jobs.

Oh, and waiting until the Friday before classes start to inform us of this requirement? Really not cool. In fact, it leads me to the conclusion that you suck.

Please see to this.

KTNKBIE!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saturday with one Linkee-poo

Overworked on the yard. I told my doctor when he asked if I exercise, I do yard work. It involves wheelbarrows, chain saws, weight lifting. Oh, and blood. If you're not bleeding by the end of yard work, you haven't been working hard enough. Bleeding from ears optional.

And speaking of bleeding from the ears, Dear Sarah Palin supporters, bullshit. Also, all this breast beating, and "oh, the media is so mean, and they should have vetted Obama the same way (because, you know, he's as crooked as the day is long, it's just the media loves him and never criticizes him, because if they had they would have discovered that he was, you know, a Kenyan born socialist sleeper Manchurian candidate). So, to Fox News, Limbaugh, and all the other whiners, here's the thing. Anybody can file a freedom of information request for records that qualify. Go fucking do it. Or shut up. I'm tired of it. Hey, even Maggie Thatcher can see through her. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Linkee-poo is surfing the minefields of work on a Friday

A "My, is that a windturbine in your pocket or are you Congressman Weiner?" update (about the wind turbine at Lincoln Electric, not Rep. Weiner).

Selling fiction is not for wimps by Jay Lake hosted over a Shimmer. Very true. Even the part about "not every writer is the same and what worked for me may not for you" (paraphrased, in other words, YMMV). And I'll go a little father about his commentary on Heinlein's 3rd rule, "You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order." This worked for Bob because at the time he was writing editors had time to be editors (instead of acquisitions, paperwork, publishers, layout keyliners, and chief bottle-washers on Tuesdays like they are now). In his day, an editor had the time to work with an author they found promising. That is no longer the case. Your story needs to be as perfect as you can get it (that's a moving target, BTW, hopefully on the positive side). Don't give an editor the opportunity to reject your great story because of sloppy writing or slow start (once you have a readership, that can change, a little, you can be more "individualistic", you still have to have a great story).

Macmillan becomes it's own distributor. Huhn. Well that's interesting. You may remember my previous arguments about how distribution agreements (and business processes) were killing book sales. This, if I'm reading it correctly, constitutes a sea change. With B&N struggling (recently purchased, BTW), I wonder if such a deal with Ingram is already in the works here in the US (the difference is, Ingram is still in good fiscal shape, IIRC).

JABberwocky has two of their agents open to queries. Jabberwocky represents some kickin' people, like Tobias Buckell (how I first heard of them). (Grokked from Miranda Suri). Damn it, I was supposed to be done with edits and have the synopsis and query letter done by now. Oh, Fortuna!

Jeff VanderMeer with interview questions he never wants to be asked again. Good luck with that, Jeff.

Jim Hines creates a scale for Genre Bashing Dumbassery.

Nathan has also hit the wall and needs your help with coming up with a catch phrase. What is it with my blogger friends lately? "Yeah, yeah," I can hear you say, "WTF is up with all these Linkee-poo posts instead of real content on your blog?" To which I can only reply, "Shut up," in a whiny voice.

Louis CK on Conan with everything is amazing and nobody is happy. A little perspective from a man of a certain age. And get offa my lawn! You dang kids. (pointed to by a coworker)

Flower Pron Friday







And what's a Friday photo post without a cat?



Thursday, June 9, 2011

Linkee-poo says you dropped a bomb on me

Okay, here's the part where the Klingon tap dances. A duet with a Klingon, brought to us by Vince.

Hey, remember the sub-argument in Obamacare (I'm debating using that term for marketing purposes in the next election) about how some people are locked into jobs because of heath care insurance? I think I gave a few examples of that from my own friends (and how it affected my life). Well, here's another. I know that wasn't the purpose of Jim Hine's epic whine, but it is a major crux of what he's whining about.

Eric has hit the blogging wall and has begun the "ask me questions" death spiral. Okay, well, his feet hurt. I'm sure that has a lot to do with it. Feet hurting = Game Over. Seriously, Eric is a smart guy. Go ask him something. I've got nothing, but then my feet hurt too.

And blog post by a doctor ranting about why most men don't seek medical attention until they are forced to do so (often resulting in either major medical intervention or death). (Grokked from Kelly Swails)

Depleetable willpower (what I typically refer to as "Brain Space") and the poor. Very interesting article that touches on a lot of social context, social privilege and economic justice. "… if you have enough money, deciding whether to buy the soap (in an experiment) only requires considering whether you want it, not what you might have to give up to get it. Many of the tradeoff decisions that the poor have to make every day are onerous and depressing: whether to pay rent or buy food; to buy medicine or winter clothes; to pay for school materials or loan money to a relative." Yes. That. This is one of the reasons I talk about when I say the playing field is not level. It's part of the reason I'm a liberal these days (I wasn't always one). See also John Scalzi's "Being Poor" blogpost. And if you think they're lying, please see my previous posts where I go on about spending money on products. For what most people would find no-brainers, I agonize. Sometimes for days. Often for what are considered "trivial" amounts, or "very good deals." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The Wisconsin recalls just gets sillier and sillier. See, this is the mind set of conservatives, "It's all right if we do it, but a crime when you do it" made plain to see. Senate Leader Fitzgerald said, "Recalling senators for taking a tough vote is just wrong." Really? No, that's the process, dude. They did something their constituency feels is worthy of them saying, "Um, let's retry that election." And now we have former GOP Party Leaders and long time activists changing their party affiliation to run as Democrats to force another special election. Say, remember when the conservatives were bemoaning just how much the state was in debt? Know how much money it costs to run an extra special election?

Of relation to yesterday's "We're a Christian Nation" post, the Louisiana House of Representatives gets a case of the stupids by approving a 10 Commandments Monument on capital grounds. Do we need to do this? Again? "Our laws are based on the Ten Commandments (said Rep Patrick Williams - D). In fact, without them, a lot of our laws would not exist." How do I say this nicely? Bullshit. That's about as nice as I can get. So, Rep Williams, which Commandment sets up 3 branches of government, each holding equal power, with a bi-cameral legislature? I forget. As I'm sure you forget just what the 10 Commandments say.

And since we're talking about the ethical problems of party bulldogs, how about serving on a board for a hospital that has multiple judgement and investigations into medicare/medicaid fraud while being a conservative champion. Oh, this election season will be particularly nasty. I might have to upgrade from hip-waders to chest-waders. Maybe ad a respirator.

Let the hoisting on their own petards begin. When I heard Rand Paul's idiotic quote on subversive speech, I knew it was only a matter of time before someone did the foot work. Also, notice how while the Tea Party, and all the anger they represent, like to give the impression it has nothing to do with Obama, just his policies, they seem awfully focused on just the man himself.

Tim Pawlenty speaking out of his arse when it comes to economics? Why, that's just unbelievable. I mean, he keeps touting the conservative line about how lower taxes and regulations would just be a huge boon to the American economy (you know, despite all historical evidence to the contrary). What could be wrong with that?

And, a round up of some recent past sexual scandals of politicians. The big difference in my mind between who should be forced out and who should just be ashamed of themselves is that those that go on the campaign trail and stump for family values, the sanctity of marriage, and against homosexuals only to be caught in embarrassing situations that involve their pet social issues should be driven out. It's the same for those who rail against economic policies that they believe are socialist or driving our country to ruin, but are first in line to get that government cheese (or, in the case of politicians, crowing about how much pork they brought home).

Random thoughts on a commute

Is there some reason we're driving this slow? Nope, just pokey people this morning.

Really? Putting out a sign that says you're open July 4th? Um. You do know that will drive some of us away. How often do I need an oil change on the 4th of July? How about you give your employees the day off (with pay) to celebrate, I don't know, our nation's founding?

Okay, so you're in a F-350 hauling a trailer with what looks like either a discing machine, or really huge mowing outriggers. And you're pulled off the side of the road. As two cars come up behind you, you pull back out into the lane to move forward 50' only to pull off to the side again. This causes the 2 cars to not only have to slow down even more, but closes off their ability to pass you until they wait for the line of on coming traffic to pass (which, if you had staid where you were, wouldn't have been an issue). Please surrender your operators license to the next police officer you see. If they ask why, just say someone handed you a sign.

Hi! Yeah, I'm over here in the opposite lane. Thank you for waking up long enough to not cause a head-on collision. Sorry to make you swerve like that.

There's so many leaves on the ground, it looks like up is down. Is there grass on the sky?

Were did all these Amish come from and why are they all on the road this morning?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Linkee-poo cuts out for lunch

Jay Lake is holding a caption contest for an ARC of Endurance. (Grokked, obviously, from Jay Lake)

On-set photography of historical films. A look behind the magic. (Pointed to by Dan)

John Murphy on the writing axiom, Kill Your Darlings. Having had to explain this a few times to other writers, but haven't really talked about it here, I figured this might be helpful. His waffling is something we all do (and, yes, it would be great to pull all the text up to the level of the Darlings, but that often isn't possible). This is a different concept than "The Price of Magic" (aka, Hoban Wash Must Die), where you may have to murder your darling literarily. I'll also point out that in Graphic Design, "extraneous Ornament" is also an anathema. (Grokked from Miranda Suri)

Some more pictures of Joplin. (Pointed to by Dan)

When the religious creationists try to use science to disprove the old earth theory. What do you get? A chronic case of face palm. (Pointed to by John who said, "Worth it for many reasons, but not least for the phrase 'bronze-age goat molesters'")

I just wanna say, "Bronze-Age Goat Molesters"? Yeah, that is soooo the name of my next band.

And here is another difference of science vs faith, when new data comes in even songs are updated to reflect the new data. That's a YouTube of the new They Might Be Giants update to "Why Does the Sun Shine." We go from "the Sun is a mass of incandescent gas" to "the Sun is a miasma of incandescent gas." And that's why we love TMBG! (pointed to by John)

And yet another in the long line of proofs of how "conservative" journalism is really propaganda. That story doesn't even touch on the internally generated "it looks like" or "sounds like" or "I suspect" or "ZOMG, Obama is going to take our Guns!" kind of reports. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

A new take on the old saying, "It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

And why shouldn't you patent protect your Godly powers? (Pointed to by Dan)

The Stories We Tell Ourselves, Our Christian Founding

On the myth of "America (ie. the United States) was founded for religious freedom."

I think I just read this canard one too many times today. Nothing. Nothing. Not one thing could be farther from the truth.

Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492 for religious freedom? The Spaniards came to pillage and rape the Caribbean, Meso-America and South America for religious freedom? De-Soto traipsed about the American South from Texas to Florida for religious freedom? English traders came to the East coast to pillage and raid (not to mention spread diseases), taking Native Americans as slaves back to England for religious freedom? Jamestown was founded in Virginia swampland for religious freedom? Georgia was founded as a debtors/penal colony for religious freedom? The Dutch swindled the local indians (who actually may not have been local at all, but on a fishing trip) to found New Amsterdam (which they later sold to the English who renamed it New York) for religious freedom? The colonies of South and North Carolina introduced the concept of "transportation", indentured servitude, and fueled the trade in African Slaves for religious freedom? Maryland with her verdant fields of tobacco, Delaware with her banking interests, New Jersey because, well, because it was between England and Pennsylvania (Jerseyites, I kid, I'm one of you, but, really, the state is a sand bar with pretensions), these were founded on religious freedom?

Pennsylvania and WIlliam Penn... okay, he pretended it was for religious freedom, but did you notice how rich he got from selling the land? Also, please note that because of his Quaker hauteur the colony of Delaware was formed to get away from "teh Crazies" in Pennsylvania (btw, while Penn was back in England cleaning up his own and his son's mess, the Pennsylvania colonists revolted and replaced his charter with their own). So you get a barely true with that one.

Next we have Massachusetts, which was, for the most part, founded because the Puritans didn't want their children to speak that evil language, Dutch. And the King of England didn't want them in his country. So he gave them some leaky boats and sent them West. So you can say they were religious refuges. They, however, intended to land in NY when they were blown off course to Plymouth. Not having a lot of money and seeing it was "God's Providence" they petitioned to start their own colony of which the King was glad to do something with that land, and really, anything to keep them from returning (Want to know why? Look up Oliver Cromwell, Lord Defender. Now you know.). So, okay, you have Massachusetts. However, good ol' MA people then went on to found New Hampshire as a place of refuge from the religious fervor of the Pilgrims (as they were now called). Connecticut was founded to kick the Calvinists from MA. And Rhode Island was founded for good Connecticut people to get the hell away from those Calvinist crazies, avoid the Dutch, and not return to MA. So while two of those colonies were founded in an effort to get away from religion, I guess you could say all four were founded based on religious freedom. Let's not discuss the religious intolerance of the area.

Tell you what, I'll throw in PA as a gimmee.

So you get 5 out of 13 colonies founded for "religious freedom" of one sort or another, or 38%. Now that's just raw numbers, like an electoral college and doesn't represent actual land mass or population.

Next up, so you're saying that the colonist revolted against the English Crown after what, their religious freedom was threatened? The battle cry was "No Praying Without Representation"? The Stamp Act revolt was about having to buy religious stamps for Advent Calendars? The original Tea Party dumped Anglican Bibles into Boston Harbor to prevent standardization? I don't seem to remember that part.

This isn't meant to say that one of our greatest freedoms is not religious freedom (which includes the right to not be religious, and no where in the 1st Amendment do you see the word "Christian"). By all means, it's one of the reasons why it's in there with the other number one rights (speech, press, assembly and association). But even there, it's 20%.

So no, this one fails the reality test. Sorry.

As a linkee-poo, there is also this post on if "In the Year of Our Lord" as referenced in the standard issue of the Constitution was actually a scrivener's (printer's) addition. And as they say, referencing the date that way was a standard of the time, much in the way we say AD (which is the abbreviation of Anno Domini, which is "Year of our Lord"). See also, consternation over the use of C.E. (common era). It's as much a nod to Christianity as when people these days say, "Bless you" when you sneeze. Which is, it's a part of the background culture that most people don't even think about enough to even either take offense or claim evangelical pride in. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Huhn

Well, meeting went better than I expected. While doing interviews, I've found that I tend to make a judgement early on in the process. Then I try to give those who interview the benefit of the doubt, but I tend to see my initial judgement reenforced. I can't remember being surprised late in an interview, ever.

I don't know if that means that I'm jaded, or not.

I will say about the current interview cycle, it certainly makes the interviewer's job when all the candidates are good candidates.

But I am glad I didn't need to be a dick about Robert's Rules of Order.

Linkee-poo girds for battle

Catherine Shaff-Stump gives some more WisCon goodies. This time with realistic injuries vs super characters.

Did we tell you the name of the game, son? We call it riding the gravy train. The new Halo is actually the old Halo, with a Halo code on top giving better rendering. If you want it. (pointed to by Dan John)

Well, that solves that mystery. A short comic trailer on why George Lucas made such terrible prequels (hint, it wasn't really him). Bwahahaha. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The politics of food and fair trade right here in the US, land of the exemplary. (Grokked from Steve Gould)

Because minimum wage is just too much to pay. So, whenever another conservative touts the whole, "But the people have spoken and they want…" tripe again, know it for the tripe it is. Ohio passed a constitutional amendment setting our minimum wage and defining who should get it. Now our legislature is trying to redefine just who would qualify. Proud of the conservatives and their Tea Party fueled victories yet?

Dear Florida Governor Rick Scott, You're right. Taxpayer money should not pay for someone's drug addiction. That's why I'm sure you'll agree all elected officials who receive salaries or payments for their work in government (ie. tax payer money) should submit to a drug test upon election and to randomized testing there after and make all results public record. And as to the sale of your urgent care clinics to remove any taint of conflict of interest. You should have done that before the bill became law. As it is now, you'll receive a higher price for your interest. That's a direct benefit. That's corruption. (Because of the State of Ohio laws, we do random drug tests and yearly training for our employees, however our elected officials are not included in that, which, yes, I disagreed with.)

Really? Editing a wikipedia page post screwup to "make" what you said true? Didn't any of these people actually read Orwell's "1984"? Fuck all. Next are we going to be photoshopping people off the dais? Hey, Palin fans, you do know that wikipedia keeps the history of page revisions, right?

And Fox News doesn't get all huffy about the mixups of the past (including identifying Republican congressmen involved in scandals as Democrats, or some of the completely off the wall crawlers, or quoting Onion stories as if they were real), but let someone mess up the Sarah Palin graphic and it's "Off with their heads." Now, to be fair, Fox News has said they regret some of the earlier errors and would do their best to stop them. But I don't remember them using this language before. Hmm, I wonder who they're backing in the primaries?

And finally, some context between "their" (al Jazeera) and "our" news. Similar articles could be written comparing even Canadian news and the US, not to mention European and Asian news versus ours. "And I channel surf over to the American cable news and mostly find fluff or de-contextualized reports…" Yes, that. Bread and Circuses, folks. Can I get a loaf of sour dough? Ha, look at those clowns. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

And before anyone comments about it, yes, I know Roman Circuses were a different animal than modern circuses. The line was used for comic effect and satiric comment.