October 25th, 2007


[links] Link salad, weird and cheesey, much like myself

Brewster Rockit on (copy) editing

What to do if you're attacked by monkeys


Cheese Enforcement Agency — (Thanks to AH.)

A Culinary Guide to the Texas State Fair — "A fair is a veritable smorgasbord orgasbord orgasbord!" (Thanks to garyomaha.)

Nanowire Makes Own Electricity — Some very cool implications. (Thanks to rosefox.)

[contest] Amuse me prizes!

The amuse me poll is now closed. The winner is danjite, with eight votes for "Uh, 'Cos I published it and don't own one?". He wins a copy of my limited edition dark erotica chapbook, Loving Julius, published by, erm, him.

Judge's special mention goes to kehrli, who had the most non-publisher votes with:
I sat in the breakroom, minding my own business, attacking my mathematical physics homework with an orange mechanical pencil. I didn't look up when she sat across from me. I am a bit of a snob. She was one of the people brought in for inventory, and spot checks had determined that the inventory service people could not count, nor could they tell black from blue.

But I am nothing if not polite, so when she asked me what I was doing, I answered, "Calculus with complex numbers."

She looked at me with a blank, cow-eyed stare. She asked, "What are you studying?"

"Physics," I said.

"What's that?" I assumed that I had heard her incorrectly, or perhaps she just hadn't heard me.

"Physics," I repeated, and then I reiterated the quip about how I study it just to write science fiction.

"Science fiction," she mouthed back. "So, you mean, fake stuff? Like it's not real? Aliens?"

"Yeah," I said, secretly horrified. "Science fiction is fake."

"So you gotta have a lot of imagination then."


A light goes on, somewhere deep in her skull. Recognition. "So you must watch a lot of those crime shows, huh?"

I have no idea what she's talking about. "Um..."

"Like, you know, like C.S.I."

"I... don't actually have television at home."

"So you don't get the imagination from C.S.I.? It's just you have imagination? Yourself?"

That was about when I realized that if I had been reading something sufficiently dark and inappropriate I might have avoided the conversation, or perhaps just frightened her off.

If I win a copy, I'll be sufficiently armed for next time.

Finally, another judge's special mention to rarelylynne, because I'm mortal feared of kamikaze librarians.

I already know how to get stuff to danjite and rarelylynne. kehrli, drop me a line and let me know how to ship something to you. That's three chapbooks, coming up, once I get back from my next round of travels.

[politics] The Reagan archipelago

I've just lately been contemplating the echoes between this administration and Soviet Russia, especially Stalinist Russia. The Republican party under Bush has given us:

  • Fixed elections decided in secret, as in Bush v. Gore

  • Secret gulags where prisoners are sent without trial or appeal and detained indefinitely

  • Political oversight and "correction" of scientific research, pace Trofim Lysenko

  • Uniformed officers of the state ensuring that no one travels without papers and authorization, in the form of the TSA

  • Showpiece military projects which are meaningless except as propaganda, as in the ABM shield

  • A rubber stamp legislature without authority or courage to challenge the excesses of the leadership

  • Aggressive yet profoundly inept foreign military adventurism

  • Blatantly counterfactual economic orthodoxy

  • Loyalty pledges

  • Party loyalty universally trumping public interest

  • Purges (apparently non-lethal in our case)

The comparison is facile, to say the least. Yet for many conservatives, the great figure of recent history is Ronald Reagan, and his great victory was overturning the Cold War. Under the "leadership" of his successors, we have become what we once stood against.