February 8th, 2008


[personal] Health Neepery — Making an effort to live a little longer

I have this goal of living to be old. I want to yell at kids to get off my lawn. (Or possibly my cyberlawn.) I want to sit in the bar at Cons and mutter darkly about how the newest generation of writers just doesn't understand literary values, and by god a story was a story in my day.

Like a lot of people, I love food and hate exercise. Bad combo, that. Like a lot of writers, I don't have enough time to read. Bad career move, that.

Collapse ) Since I respond so well to metrics, I think I'll be doing daily weigh-ins and weigh-outs.

Here you go:

Time in saddle: 25 minutes
Last night's weigh-out: 277.2
This morning's weigh-in: 272.6

[links] Link salad for a Friday

basfa has posted their best novel Hugo recommendations at hugo_recommend — I'm pleased to see they liked Mainspring Powell's | Amazon | Audible ].

Philip K. Dick’s YA Novel

Calvin and Hobbes on the true nature of librarians

Minds on Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0 — A different approach to post-primary education. (Ganked from Guru's Handbook.)

Shorpy with a 1938 photo of Omaha

Shariah-compliant hedge funds on the rise

The Mac and Cheese index is up — Apparently an indicator of recession. (Or possibly expanded college enrolment?)

Christians Wrong About Heaven, Says Bishop — He's an Anglican, what does he know about Christianity?

Rush Limbaugh considers fund raising for Hillary — When self-parody descends into self-parody. (I shudder to say that his underlying point is one I actually agree with — no one in America could unite the Republican party like Hillary Clinton.)

Time in saddle: 25 minutes
Last night's weigh-out: 277.2
This morning's weigh-in: 272.6

[fiction] Friday Flash — "Feghoot in Uruk"

Feghoot in Uruk

by Jay Lake

In the fall of 1936, having recently come into possession of a time machine, Ferdinand Feghoot, gentleman-adventurer, decided to combine its use with his secret passion: jazz.

"I shall take myself back to a suitable point in prehistory and introduce this highest form of human artistic expression," he wrote in a letter to the New York Times (which the Gray Lady rudely refused to print). "Upon my return to the future present, our time shall have been rendered into the future perfect."

Witticisms fully engaged, he hired several of Joe Bonanno's footsoldiers to assist in procuring a suitably talented jazz musician. Mikey "Marbles" Miglione, Festus "Fearless" Palestini and Maria "Don't Call Me Maria" Benevutto were dispatched with large sums of cash, a fast car and a steamer trunk well stocked with jelly sandwiches and gin.

The steamer trunk, of course, neatly fit into the rumble seat of Feghoot's time machine.

Marbles, Fearless and Don't Call Me Maria returned to Feghoot's New Jersey estate two days later minus a considerable amount of cash and sporting two black eyes and a cigarette girl. The steamer trunk, however, was filled with lounge singer.

"I am away, boys," said Feghoot. "Try not to pee in the pool." Strapping on his goggles, he perched on the saddle of the chronomobile and dialed himself into history.

As any student of time travel knows, displacement through time equals displacement through space. Else one would quickly wind up breathing vacuum at some distant point on the galactic ecliptic. Feghoot, having determined that prehistoric New Jersey, however otherwise salubrious, was not a suitable location for propagating his beloved lounge music, instead set his coordinates for Uruk, seat of the ancient Sumerian hero Gilgamesh. It was, after all, one of the earliest seats of recorded civilization.

The journey itself was unremarkable, a tiresome assortment of special effects not worthy even of Ed Wood. Feghoot soon found himself and his machine in a dusty street beneath a brassy sun. Naked children of color played nearby, paying his appearance little mind. Low mud buildings lined the street. Ahead of Feghoot was a temple or palace, the obvious architectural focus of the town. It was fronted by tapered pillars with something of the profile of pregnancy about them, topped by a flat roof, and faced with half a flight of irregularly spaced steps.

A vast man emerged from the building to confront Feghoot. He was larger even than that fellow Conan — or was it Conan Doyle? — muscled like a stevedore, and carried a bronze sword that could have spitted a St. Bernard.

Could it be the mighty Gilgamesh himself? Feghoot's heart raced.

"Dingir mesh!" bellowed the huge man.

Feghoot, alas, had lasped in his studies of classical Sumerian some years earlier. Music, however, was the universal language. He quickly scrambled to the rumble seat of his time machine and undid the straps holding the steamer trunk shut.

A very drunk Jimmy Durante -- badly in need of a shave -- clambered out, stumbled to the front of the machine and took a long stare at the mighty Gilgamesh. "Calabash!" he said.

The mighty Gilgamesh stared back.

History is being made, thought Feghoot with glee.

"Gim sumun bi shà-thir-ma u ba-rì!"

"Inka dinka doo," said Durante. Then he belched.

Gilgamesh smiled, spread his arms, and walked down the steps to embrace Durante, shouting, "Enkidu! Enkidu!"

◊ ◊ ◊

© 2008, Joseph E. Lake Jr.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

[links] Link salad afternoon update

Stardust and Ashes — Alexis Glynn Latner talks about her mother and Alzheimer's. Very moving, very straightforward.

justinelavaworm is wise concerning blurb etiquettescalzi expands on the question. Pay attention, people.

Frozen Grand Central Station — Video of performance art on the street. Pretty cool. (Thanks to BillM.)

Photographer and Goliath Grouper — This picture is amazing on several levels.

Space art — This site is made of awesome.

The mother of all telephoto lenses

How do you grow a glacier? — This is pretty wow.

Birds flew over the dinosaurs — Maybe. The most interesting thing about this article, to me, is the discussions of competing techniques of dating evolutionary events.

Ray Vukcevich reminds us that Tuesday, February 12th is Charles Darwin's birthday — Don't forget to kiss an EVIL-utionist that day! (Those of you not descended from monkeys can stay home and count begats.)

Elephants 'ditch tusks' to survive — Must be that Intelligent Designer reaching into the everyday world.

New details emerge in NRCC scandal — Good government. Check. Moral values. Check. Fiscal responsibility. Check. Yep, it's your Republican party with their hand in the till again!

Vice President's Remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference — Once again Republican self-parody descends into self-parody. This one's full of gems. For example, "As conservatives, we believe in a government that takes up a smaller share of the national income" Snarf! "The United States is a country that takes human rights seriously. We do not torture -- it's against our laws and against our values." Wow, and here the White House was just a couple of days ago fessing up to CIA waterboarding. Like I said before, it's so cute what conservatives believe about themselves. (About like me believing I'm a 60 foot fighting robot in the shape of Isaac Newton.) Or it would be cute, if the consequences of conservative self-delusion weren't so disastrous for Americans and the world.