January 4th, 2008

graffiti-smiling

[links] Link salad, Friday cutie

Architecture of the SublimeThe Edge of the American West on the Brooklyn Bridge and veneration of the built landscape. That's a pretty interesting blog, btw, might be worth adding to your bookmarks.

FDA Set to OK Cloned Meat — For once, I think I agree with this administration on something.

Don't forget the latest caption contest — Still in its entry phase, which I'll probably close tonight due to high participation.

Open thread is still open — I am a bit slow to respond due to some obvious distractions, but I'm paying attention.
politics-report

[politics] The Iowa caucuses

I don't have a lot to add to the news stream and commentary available on every medium right now. For what it's worth, here's my viewpoint:

Democrats

I've been uncomfortable with Hillary for a long time. My sense of history would love to see a woman run and win. I'm just not sure Hillary is the right woman. She's not a liberal-progressive, rather she's running from the post-Reagan Centrist playbook. That makes her a conservative in historical terms. And her name on the ballot would be the most effective fund raising and get-out-the-vote tool the GOP could possibly have. Bashing her in the press and in the punditosphere would be all too easy, because those scripts have been in the drawer since the early 1990s. Edwards is still in the race, and he represents perhaps the most genuinely progressive thread in the campaign. His mere presence draws the others to the left. Obama, well, I'm not completely comfortable with some of his stands, but he represents significant change. Sometimes that's good. He certainly tweaks my sense of history. He'll also be harder to attack than Hillary, because while naked misogyny is fairly acceptable in our mainstream public and political discourse (especially if the woman's name is Clinton), naked racism in the mainstream is fairly hard to pull off outside of talk radio. Note that Obama's had Secret Service protection for a while. There's a lot of individual white conservatives out there with guns in their hands and Truth in their hearts for Team Obama to be concerned about.

Republicans

Guiliani tried to out-Bush Bush. McCain's Straight Talk Express has long since gone all pretzel logic. Ron Paul is the same brand of idiot as Ross Perot, from that school of thought that makes Bush neocons look like stone-cold realists. As for Romney, I've been the most worried about him, because he has the combination of media presence and money that makes for electability in a drooling stooge, viz Reagan. Huckabee's victory in Iowa is the Republican party showing its true colors. And good for them, quite frankly. Instead of an Establishment baby in a cowboy hat like Bush 43, their front-runner for the moment actually stands for all things the Republicans have pretended to stand for in the post-Nixon era. As ye sow, so shall ye reap. Of course, I'm fairly certain the GOP power brokers will work hard to crucify him over the next few rounds, but that's politics, baby.

The Electoral Process

Neither party's "front runner" ran in front. We didn't get Clinton on the [D] column, nor Guilani or Romney in the [R]. However this shakes out, I think it's good for everybody. I'll be keenly interested to see what happens in New Hampshire next week.
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writing-bookshelf

[process] Short stories vs. novels (more of)

Back here in the open thread, jeffsoesbe asked:

So in general, what do you think are the differences between "short fiction writer's mind" and "novel writer's mind" based on your experiences as a prolific generator of both?

My answer (edited for clarity in response to dthon's comment):
I think that short fiction writers have to see around corners very quickly. They get invested in the telling detail, in pithy exposition, and in a certain very tightly structured narrative pattern.

Novel writers are not only able to be looser and more expansive, to some degree they must be so. A novel has to have rhythm. Where a short story can be a heads-down sprint, in a novel you need to digress, let the reader (and character) breathe, provide wide angle views of the world and the story.

It's like the difference between growing a bonsai and planting a forest. Millimeters of wire might be critical in a bonsai. If you have 5,000 Douglas fir saplings, their spacing and positioning isn't nearly as critical. Except when it is, of course.
sanguine-rc

[links] Link salad afternoon update

One Million Monkeys Typing — A community story-telling site.

Glow-in-the-Dark Cats Cloned — What a headline. Are we living in the future yet?

Chocolate rabbit meltdown — You'll never look at Easter Bunnies the same again. (Thanks to willyumtx.)

What the world eats — (Thanks to goulo and willyumtx.)

The tall man in the white hat — Photos of French nuclear tests on Flickr. I remember having a dream as a kid that Austin, TX was being attacked with microyield French tac nukes, which went off in color coordinated hues much like the umbrellas of Cherbourg.

Estimating dinosaur intelligence

jimhines on process

jimvanpelt on process as well, and with some good news