October 20th, 2008


[links] Link salad for another work week

A reader reacts to Mainspring Powell's | Amazon thb | Audible ]

Typhoons bury vast amounts of carbon dioxide at sea — Xtreme Sequestration? (Thanks to lt260.)

APOD with an awesome image of Saturn

The past participle of “stride” — And more than you wanted to know about modals unless, like me, you’re an aspiring language geek. In which case, this post from Language Log rocks the house.

In case you missed this being splashed all over LJland this weekend: The presidential campaign as D&D — Snerk. (Thanks to willyumtx.)

In a Thousand Years by Hans Christian Andersen (1852) — “Yes, in a thousand years people will fly on the wings of steam through the air, over the ocean! The young inhabitants of America will become visitors of old Europe. They will come over to see the monuments and the great cities, which will then be in ruins, just as we in our time make pilgrimages to the tottering splendors of Southern Asia. In a thousand years they will come!” (Spotted in Fortean Times issue 241.)

Unholy row threatens Holy Sepulchre — “Disputes are not uncommon, particularly over who has the authority to carry out repairs. For example, a wooden ladder has remained on a ledge just above the main entrance since the 19th Century - because no-one can agree who has the right to take it down.” Um, yeah. And this faith-based thinking is what the GOP thinks we need in office in this country. (Thanks to danjite.)

tongodeon takes another crack at the falseness of opposition gay marriage — Not to mention the general issue of mixing the secular and the sacred. Well put, without vitriol.

Radio host Bob Grant asserted that Obama created an ” ‘O’ flag,” but the flag in question was Ohio’s — Yep, I am glad to see that rational thought continues to prevail among my friends on the right. (Thanks to shsilver.)

Juan Cole with a thoughtful analysis of the Powell endorsement — I almost certainly got this one wrong on my first take yesterday. It’s been so many years since I’ve seen a prominent conservative place principle over partisanship that I simply didn’t believe Powell. (Oddly, the last Republican I had any faith in was John McCain, rev. 2000.) Plus bonus conservative weirdness by way of response.

The real plumbers of Ohio — Paul Krugman on taxes, plumbers and candidate statements.

Body movement: 90 minutes suburban walk
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 230.6
Currently reading: Nation by Terry Pratchett

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.


[politics] Sore losermen

A relative has a friend who stated categorically that she was voting for McCain because of his character. My relative asked her friend what she thought about McCain’s treatment of his first wife. The friend had no idea McCain had been married before Cindy. Unsurprisingly, she gets all her news from FOX.

I have a prediction to make. If Obama wins — and that is very, very far from a foregone conclusion, given the Bradley effect and the McCain campaign’s strenuous efforts to exploit that — many, many conservatives simply won’t accept it. Even if he manages a landslide of Reaganic proportions, those voters will feel cheated. Certainly the GOP has already been setting up the case, with all the ACORN nonsense, for example.

Two years ago as of this writing, the Permanent Majority was still a going thing. The GOP had convinced themselves, and millions of voters like my relative’s friend, that both liberals and Democrats were at best irrelevant to the future of the country, and more likely traitors. The sense of triumphal entitlement generated by twelve years of political dominance and six years of absolute control of national politics was palpable. Hence, for example, the Senate majority’s efforts to get rid of the filibuster — an action that only made sense if you assumed the Republican party would dominate the Senate for the indefinite future.

If this election goes as the current trends seem to indicate, there will be a lot of very angry, frustrated people out there. Their fires are being stoked daily by the McCain campaign and its surrogates. And I will bet any amount of money that those same commentators who tut-tutted the “Sore Losermen” of the 2000 election will suddenly discover a very different view on the legitimacy of election outcomes. People like my relative’s friend will only be able to understand the election outcome in terms of theft and cheating, because that’s the only narrative they’ll be exposed to. The traitors will be in charge, so far as she and millions of other voters are concerned.

Republicans haven’t been graceful winners these past fourteen years. There’s no reason to expect them to become graceful losers.

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.


[process] Muddling past the middle

Well, I’m 143,900 words into Tourbillon, and I’m passing into the third act of the text, roughly speaking. As I may have mentioned before, I don’t consciously think in those terms, but sometimes it’s kind of obvious as the story shape flows by. I have bodies falling out of the sky, large scale scams going on, a World War in progress — pretty soon I’ll need to be wrapping some of them there plot threads, I’m thinking. Like, within the next 50,000 or 60,000 words. Given that the contract calls for 140,000 words, weeeeell…let’s just say there will be a lot of trimming in my future.

I’ve also overrun the outline a bit, and am genially mystified about the ending. This is fairly normal for me. Further, I’ve had a couple of big insights about the first two books that will drive this forward quite nicely I believe. Writing for me is a special case of reading — I discover the story as I go down the page, just like anyone else. It merely happens to be flowing from my fingertips as I go. (Which explains why I almost invariably write in reading order, incidentally, even with very layered or complex plots.)

As I say to everyone else, write more.

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.