Erin Does It Again. Dammit.

Well, hell. I’ve been thinking a bit this week about writing about the whole Craig / gay / Republican / hypocrisy ball of maggots.

I spent a couple of decades living in the Montrose in Houston, which is probably the third largest congregation of gays in the country, now that New Orleans is no more. I didn’t think I had anything all that unique or brilliant to say, but I do have some thoughts on the subject.

But Erin O’Brien just ruined it all for me with this post. It’s damn near definitive. And sad as can be.

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As proof that, like Larry Craig, but completely unlike him in every way, I Am Not Gay, I’d like to offer that I really get a thrill out of this pic of Erin’s puppies. Hey, even if I was gay, I’d certainly respect them.

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(So, maybe you’re thinking it’s unseemly to have a pic of Erin’s puppies on the dignified and scholarly front page of EOB. I have lots of pics of cute pussies – that Steve took! – that I can post instead.)

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…Like A Shotgun Kills A Duck

helm.jpg Stavinoha, a middle-aged man with a shaved head, said, “It’s certainly better than we can get from this solar system.” Stavinoha was the last person off the Planet Earth, launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in a converted ICBM six weeks after the earth’s mantle was breached at Teheran and, miraculously, snagged at the peak of his ballistic arc by an American Epsilon Class Orbital Tug. Unlike the rest of them, he knew first-hand how bad conditions were on the planet.

The temperatures at earth’s equator hovered around 4 degrees Centigrade. Snowstorms and high altitude dust clouded the planet.

Herrin continued. “There are seven thousand humans on the moon in facilities designed for six hundred. If we don’t do something about reducing the load on our current resources, everyone will die. Given our current status, we might die even if we do reduce the load.”

One of my lines is that “Science Fiction predicts the future like a shotgun kills a duck.” In other words, out of all these little pellets flying around, only a few hit a target. My 1998 novel Helm (excerpt from the prolog above) starts with seven-thousand people on the moon and none left alive on earth.

Now this is the sort of pellet I don’t want hitting any ducks, but it seems the idea is out there. Here’s an article at National Geographic that proposes our moon base become a “Lunar Ark” in the event of a catastrophic impact event destroying the earth’s biosphere.

Huh.

Me and SFWA

Once upon a time I was an unpublished author. What time? Well, looking at my bibliography you could tell that this was about 27 years ago, this month. (The September issue of Analog showed up in late August of 1980.) I was mumbledy years old. Uh, okay, I was 25, though the sale happened while I was 24. It was Analog/Astounding’s 50th anniversary so they’d commissioned a bunch of special stories and “The Touch of Their Eyes” had to wait for a slot.

It took me a couple of years after that to sell the two more stories that let me become a full member of the Science Fiction Writers of America. (Quite a bit later, the organization’s name became the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America but the single F is understood to have another F right under it. How’s that for fantasy?)

We all wanted to join the club (though it isn’t a club, though it often acts like one; the sort of club with a sign that says “no gurlz aloud.”) If you were in the club, you were an honest-to-god writer. You got to get into the cool parties at WorldCon. You stood around and listened to heads older-and-wiser (and often drunker) than you.

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Mackris v. O’Reilly (An Oratorio)

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Mackris v. O’Reilly is an oratorio for 28-piece chamber orchestra, 26-voice chorus and three soloists (soprano, tenor and baritone) set to the original court complaint filed against pundit, Bill O’Reilly, on October 13, 2004 and O’Reilly’s on-air settlement announcement given on October 29, 2004. The style of the piece is a traditional neo-baroque that makes the most of the oratorio format. Its 31 parts include seven chorales, two madrigals, three choruses (parts of the chorus matched up with components from the orchestra), four stand-alone recitatives, two instrumental entrances and numerous arias. All of these parts add up to a two-plus hour running time.

Libretto. Some audio samples. The Background of this Sexual Harassment case.

Not the (Deliciously Fragrant) Droid You’re Looking For

 “No, I’m BRIAN of Nazareth!”

Is there anyone out there for whom Life isn’t a never-ending series of embarrassments and misunderstandings – and, especially, embarrassing misunderstandings?

If you’re like me (and I know I am), that sort of thing occurs every time you venture into the world that lies beyond the end of your driveway. This is why my dream home, which I shall build someday, will include thirty-foot-high stone walls, a gator-infested moat, and an automated shock-collar system that will zap me unconscious every time I attempt to leave.

This week, for example, I made the mistake of going out to my local hardware store, which I had been lulled into thinking was a safe haven. After all, it’s not one of those hulking Lowdown Home Despot warehouses, but a small, sleepy, cluttered joint about the size of my house.

In other words, going there is almost as good as staying home.

Usually. This time –

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Human to Human Transmission has Occurred: Avian Flu Update

I just came across this news article. A 2006 outbreak of avian flu in Sumatra has now been confirmed as involving human-to-human transmission.

H5N1 virusAs folks are aware, the flu virus H5N1 is widely regarded by public health experts as a serious threat. It originated in birds (hence the “avian,” though in fact, most flus are avian flus), and bird populations in many locations around the world have it. Humans are susceptible and it is extremely deadly, although fortunately, current forms are not easily transmitted from human to human. Yet. H2H, as they call it, is one of the main mutations the virus has to make, in order for a pandemic to occur.

Many companies and organizations are racing to understand how the virus works, and develop a vaccine. There is no guarantee that H5N1 will become the pandemic that so many public health officials fear. But there is a real risk. The flu has a greater than 50% mortality rate. Of the eight people who were infected in the Sumatran outbreak in 2006, seven have died.

This is a very dangerous flu. If a pandemic comes, it hits a lot of places and people at once, and could take down local infrastructure. Think about Katrina. How would your community deal with 30% or more of its population sick, many hospitals overwhelmed with large numbers of severe cases and deaths?  Preparations at the personal level could mean the difference between life and death for you and your family.

Get educated, be prepared, and stay up-to-date.

Classmates

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One of the places I routinely get Spam from is Classmates.com. I admit, I clicked on a banner ad to see what in the hell it could be. Classmates is a website where people who attended a certain school in a certain year can leave messages and photos and even send messages to other classmates who have joined the service. It’s a kind of primitive facebook class reunion.

The thing is, I hated high school. Continue reading

Buses In Need of Authority

Mussolini, we are told, made the trains run on time.

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So maybe San Francisco needs a little targetted fascism. Just in running the damned Muni–the San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority.

Lemme ‘splain. Yesterday was Younger Girl’s first day of middle school, and she has a 45 minute bus ride to get there. So, bright and early, the girl (and I, in my capacity as keeper of children on track) got out of the house and arrived at the bus stop by 7:50–15 minutes early, thank God. The scheduled 7:52 #44 bus never showed. At 8:03 a #44 arrived and we, with several thousand of our neighbors, piled on. Joy! We were still on schedule. Except that half way to our transfer point the bus went out of service–too far away to go home and get the car, too far away to walk, and the bus driver informed us that the next #44 was perhaps half an hour behind us. Fortunately another bus–going north and east, rather than north and west, but at least going somewhere!–arrived. We piled on that one and arrived at Geary Street, where we caught the #38 bus. Arrived in front of YG’s school just as the bell was ringing; so much for the 15 minutes of early.

This morning, while the buses appeared to be running on time, the bus was again pulled out of service at 6th and Judah. Another #44 followed immediately afterward, and all seemed well, but the driver had to pull over in Golden Gate Park and throw a fit about something or other until a woman on the bus reminded him that he was making people late for work. (I am not making this up.)

The afternoon commute appears to be going more smoothly.

Look, I realize: entropy and stuff. There’s traffic, and unpredictable numbers of people getting on and off buses, and people loading their bikes on the front of the bus and people getting on in wheelchairs and all that. But there has to be some way to get the buses to run a little closer to on-time, or at least discourage drivers from throwing fits. Don’t you think targetted fascism might be the solution?

Social Dominance + Power = Hell in a Handbasket

Gang, I’m sorry to be so lame lately, but I started a fulltime job last week**, while having some non-serious but really persistent and annoying health issues. I missed my post last Monday, and yesterday as well. Lame lame lame-o.

But I thought I’d at least share this interesting tidbit. Moonbat at The MahaBlog, one of my favorite political/culture blogs, had a post recently regarding the research of psychologist Robert Altemeyer, the guy who has done landmark research on the authoritarian mindset. There’s a ton of good stuff both at the MahaBlog and also at Altemeyer’s own site, but here is a sampling:

Authoritarian followers…support the established authorities in their society, such as government officials and traditional religious leaders. Such people have historically been the “proper” authorities in life, the time-honored, entitled, customary leaders, and that means a lot to most authoritarians. Psychologically these followers have personalities featuring:

  • a high degree of submission to the established, legitimate authorities in their society;
  • high levels of aggression in the name of their authorities; and
  • a high level of conventionalism.

There is a ton of more good material—check out both sets of links for more. What particularly fascinated me was moonbat’s description of an experiment Altemeyer performed.

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Spamalot

spam-c07.jpgSteve and I, and perhaps others here, kill a lot of spam daily. It’s boring. I just killed Spam Number 15,511.

Spam has no value at all. No cleverness, no surprises, no genuine information, just mind-numbing, endless links to places you don’t want to go to, to see things you don’t want to see, and buy things you don’t want to buy.

Last week, I spotted one that I found mildly amusing. It stuck out like a Ferrari in a landfill. It was a genius on the short bus. It was a plea for help, and a selfless offer to assist us in making our site better. Here it is:

Hi, I’m novice here. Your forum is full of usefull information. But I can’t undestand, what is wrong with my messages – when previewing it I see some URLs that leeds to adult pages.

Yes, sites seem to be very intersing, but I’ll better use google to find such a sites.

Could you please advice me how to recover the problem. Maybe it’s a virus? Or maybe it’s a feature of your forums?

Please, do not delete my message. Maybe you advice me something and it will help others if they have the same trouble.

And then the message proceeds to hot-link to about 30 pron sites as examples. Whoever wrote this one has at least a rudimentary sense of whimsy.

I think my finer sensibilities have been totally degraded by this daily chore.

Despite its redeeming literary qualities, I killed it anyhow.

But I felt guilty, so I’m presenting it you now. It achieved publication on our site. Sort of.

Aw, Shoot. Then Reshoot.

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From the Edmonton Sun:

Even Samuel L. Jackson, who as an NSA agent tracking Christensen’s teleporter, doubts cameras are truly done rolling.

“I don’t know what they’re doing,” Jackson says. “I’m probably going to have to back and shoot more. I understand that’s how Doug Liman works. I understand he did the same thing on Mr. and Mrs. Smith and The Bourne Identity — he went back and did massive reshoots after he’d assembled it and looked at it.

“Maybe that’s his process. I’m just waiting for the call.”

link.

In the same article:

The Time Traveler’s Wife finally gets underway next week in Toronto under the aegis of New Line Cinema. And as they say in the theatre, for this performance, the parts of Henry and Claire — formerly belonging to Pitt and Aniston — will be played by Eric Bana and Canadian girl Rachel McAdams.

Hitler

Oh, also — Steve interrogated my computer’s file structure while he was staying with me a couple of weeks ago. Among all the pron on my hard drive, he found this picture that he thought was funny, damn if I know why. He’s a pretty twisted individual, you know. He said I should post it here sometime.

Since I’m a frail old man, with no will of my own, I’m doing it just to please him.

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