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A public conversation about our worlds.

  • Monday: Morgan J. Locke
  • Tuesday: Madeleine E. Robins
  • Wednesday: Maureen F. McHugh
  • Thursday: Bradley Denton
  • Friday: Steven Gould
  • Saturday: Caroline Spector
  • Sunday: Rory Harper

Brain Activity



Death by Tiny Invisible Pig

April 25th, 2009 by Rory Harper


Hey, guys – Go visit any of the major news web sites. Cool stuff today. According to the CDC, the Swine Flu Pandemic is going to slam into us sometime in the next few weeks, slaughtering the population and destroying civilization as we knew it.

 

Finally.

 

I mean, just between you and me and the pigs, I was beginning to doubt that civilization as we knew it was going to end at all. It sucked to find myself being pessimistic about my pessimism.

 

Some days, I just wanted to smash my forehead into something, hard enough to hurt, but not hard enough to actually damage my brain. You know?

 

That Bird Flu thing just never seemed to be able to get off the ground. And it looks like Apophis is going to stubbornly refuse to smash the earth into molten flinders.

 

The Global Warming thing was coming along nicely, after we convinced Bush and his crew that it was all a liberal conspiracy against Hummers – and you know how insanely freaked out they were with Clinton and his hummers in the Oval Office. Then we messed up and elected an administration that actually believes in science. Who knows what the hell they’ll do to demonize GW the climate like they demonized GW the Bush?

 

Nuclear war? Well, the Soviets were a great disappointment to me, personally. They had the capability for about thirty years, and could never sober up from the vodka binges long enough to push the red button. North Korea and Iran are just laughable wannabes.

 

I’ve got a small bet going that Pakistan will fall into the hands of the Taliban next year and, maddened by the presence of infidels somewhere on the rest of the planet, will launch their hundred nukes at somebody. If they hit India, then my job is less likely to be outsourced, so this is a two-fer. They’ve got enough bombs to trigger at least a Nuclear Autumn.

 

But that’ll be offset by the damn global warming that we’ve been trying so hard to cause. Unless Obama or Steven Chu or Paul Krugman fix it first.

 

I’m immensely cheered by today’s news, though.

 

I went out this afternoon and bought my survival kit. Here are my top ten items:

 

  1. Three boxes of Kleenex – Will need them if I get the flu, and the allergies have been really nasty all year anyhow.
  2. Three containers of Crystal Light no-cal drink powder – I already got a bunch of iodine pills for purifying water, at Rachael’s insistence. Now I can drink both safely and deliciously.
  3. Three boxes of wet kitty treats – Little Tex and Secret Kitty are likely to get grumpy while trapped in the house for a month or so, and this will help. I’m contemplating buying some more catnip toys tomorrow, before there’s a run on them.
  4. A pound of Kraft Mild Cheddar cheese – It was on sale, and I like cheese.
  5. Two pounds of Skinner Vermicelli – Yummy and nutritious and would survive a nuclear war, I think.
  6. Two glass containers of Ragu Roasted Garlic spaghetti sauce – To make the Vermicelli taste even yummier. Also, the Ragu has catsup in it, which, as Ronald Reagan taught us, is an essential vegetable.
  7. Four pounds of Folger’s coffee – Life isn’t worth living if I don’t get my coffee in the morning. Also, it’ll be worth its weight in hummers after the apocalypse.
  8. Lots of cans of Dinty Moore beef stew and microwaveable plastic lunches of various types and brands – I think I forgot to get crackers to go with these. Dammit.
  9. Four pounds of Imperial Pure Cane Granulated Sugar – Screw the Splenda if civilization ends. I want real sugar in my coffee.
  10. A 1.75 liter bottle of Bacardi Gold – Should make a great internal antiseptic to help me avoid getting infected. I forgot to get the Coke that potentiates its healing effect. Dammit.

 

***

Personally, I think I did pretty good, considering how off-the-cuff and panicky this was. I already had plenty of toilet paper. And you can use the Kleenex that way in a pinch, in case you didn’t know.

 

I think I’ll be able to survive in my apartment all through the Great Dying. Surely they won’t disconnect the Internet. It’s all satellite communications these days, anyhow, and the satellites will keep on working fine for years and years.

 

Then I can come out and the glorious dream of my childhood will begin – me, being one of the last ragged inhabitants in a post-industrial nightmare wasteland. Kind of like moving to Detroit, only more fun.

 

I’ll have my gun with me. I bet I can find some bullets for it, somewhere out there. Unless they’re all buried in some Teabagger’s back yard.

 

Rachael and Jesse will survive, as will all of you, and my sister and her husband, and all of my Goddam Neopagan Tribe™. We’ll form the nucleus of a new and intrinsically pessimistic society, as I’ve always hoped for. With motorcycles.

 

It’ll be great!

 

We should all meet at that filling station right outside Bastrop, where you turn to go to or from Austin, depending on the direction you’re traveling in. You know the one.

 

See you all in a couple of months!

 

*

*

*

 

Hey….

 

….I just had the inevitable thought…

 

The CDC says the Swine Flu is mutating. Maybe we’ll get lucky and it’ll mutate into —

 

Zombie Apocalypse Virus !!!!

 

Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

 

:

Posted in Dammit!, Environment, Food, Health and Safety, Politics, Rachael is Awesome, Rory, Zombies | 14 Comments »

Op zoek naar Maria – Dans in het Centraal Station van Antwerpen

April 3rd, 2009 by Steven Gould

This is what I said on Twitter:  Oh my god, OH MY GOD, OMYGHOD, OMIGHOD!

I saw it when Rachel Maddow twittered it. (Yes, I follow Rachel Maddow slavishly.) I’ve watched it six times and every time I end up with a big grin on my face.

Posted in Music, Steve | 3 Comments »

New York Times Opinion Piece on AIG “Retention”

March 22nd, 2009 by Steven Gould

A piece by Simon Johnson (a professor at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management and a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund) and James Kwak (a student at Yale Law School) examining the lessons learned by the financial disasters in Asia in 1997:

The argument that A.I.G.’s traders are the people that we must depend on to save the United States economy is as weak and self-serving as it was in Thailand, Korea or Indonesia. A.I.G. is essentially advocating survival of the weakest. Thankfully, the American people are not buying it.

Essentially the countries (Korea and Thailand) that rejected the argument [that the traders who got them into the collapse were the only ones who understood it enough to get them out] ended up with banks that recovered more quickly and are handling the current economic crisis better.  Indonesia, which bought into this argument, ended up with failed banks.

Read the whole thing here.

Posted in Daily Life | 4 Comments »

2009 Viable Paradise XIII Applications ARE open…

March 1st, 2009 by Steven Gould

… and will be until June 30th! Details here.

Posted in Steve, Writing | 5 Comments »

We Gotta Get the Latest Sh–Stuff, Right?

February 11th, 2009 by Madeleine Robins


Okay.  So this is vulgar.  This is profane.  This is is funny.  Cause when it comes right down to it, don’t we  love our shit? Don’t we all want to have the latest shit? And don’t we all swear as we’re trying to get the goddamn technological shit to work the way the commercials and shit have led us to believe it would?

This made me laugh.  The fact that it was sent to me by my husband, the original Shit-O-Phile, made me laugh harder.

Posted in Daily Life | 6 Comments »

Iron Chef Pear or What I Did On My Birthday

February 8th, 2009 by Steven Gould

I’m in Chattanooga, Tennessee (the ‘nooga as us hep kids call it) at a combination writer’s retreat and birthday celebration (not mine, but our host’s, Mary Robinette Kowal.) It just so happens that her BD is one day (and fourteen years) after mine.

I was supposed to be the offeeeeeecial photgrapher for the following event but one of the Team Mary’s sous chefs came down sick and I was roped in.

Nobody really lost, especially all of us who got to eat it.

Posted in Fantasy, Food, Horror, Science Fiction, Writing | 5 Comments »

Changing All Those Changes

February 5th, 2009 by Bradley Denton

 Here They Played, and Still Play, Rock and Roll

At midday on Friday, June 19th, 1987, while en route to a convention in Minnesota, Barb and I stopped in Clear Lake, Iowa. I had just started writing my second novel, Buddy Holly Is Alive and Well on Ganymede, and Clear Lake was a logical place to take some pictures and do a little research. It was the town where Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson had played their last concert on February 2, 1959.

At the Clear Lake Public Library, a helpful librarian told me a story about Buddy’s glasses. It seems that someone (the county coroner?) from Mason City (the county seat) had taken the glasses from the site of the plane crash . . . and as far as the librarian knew, they were still locked up in a desk at the courthouse. Buddy’s widow, Maria Elena Holly, had even asked for them – and had been refused. The county, for some odd reason, thought they should hang on to them . . .

Read More »

Posted in Barb, Bob Y., Brad, Fun, History, Maureen, Music, People, Personal History, Pop. Culture | 10 Comments »

Play Like the Big Kids

February 3rd, 2009 by Madeleine Robins

It’s an actual toy.  The Playmobil Security Checkpoint*. Probably made to work with the Playmobil airport (now with extra delays and no in-flight meals!) and the Playmobil terrorist detaineecenter.

Actually, they do have a Playmobil Police Checkpoint and Playmobil Safe Crackers advertised on the same page.

I don’t know which is scarier.  The fact that this exists, or the fact that they’re charging $62 for the set.  I realize that Playmobil toys don’t come cheap, so maybe I shouldn’t fret about that.  But the fact that we’re now elevating All Fear All The Time to the same bracket as playing grocery or school makes me queasy.

But don’t just take my word for it.  The Customer Comments on this page are to die for.  Just note how many people have tagged the product under “Facism!”

*Found via Making Light

Posted in Daily Life | 2 Comments »

Songs of the Undead

January 31st, 2009 by Madeleine Robins

Over at Making Light it appears to be Zombie day, and people have been writing songs and poems to celebrate.  I just thought y’all ought to know.

Posted in Braiiiiinsssss, Daily Life | Comments Off

Fear My Cuteness

January 27th, 2009 by Steven Gould

The new puppy has arrived. Click the pic for the full Flickr set.

Posted in Loa the Puppy, Steve, Tasha the Wonder Dog | 12 Comments »

Post Snark?

January 22nd, 2009 by Steven Gould

Pablo Defendini pointed me at this:

I’ve been thinking a lot about internet snarkiness lately, and what I keep coming back to is that snark was a defense mechanism that evolved perfectly in the truth-deficient, cynicism-rich compost heap of the Bush era. [emphasis Steve's] When most of everything that’s told to you is bullshit, it’s easier to treat everything with suspicion. Genuineness is met with skepticism. Enthusiasm with ridicule. Optimism with derision. It’s easier to keep things at arm’s distance that way – keep them where they can’t hurt you.

A Post-Snark Era?  From Enter the Octopus

Posted in Politics, Steve | 1 Comment »

My Inauguration Post

January 21st, 2009 by Steven Gould

NOBODY MESSES WITH THE CONSTITUTION!

You should also go see the picture of him fighting Darth Vader.

On a less satirical note, click the pic below to see an incredible interactive panorama of the swearing in.


Do try it the full screen option.

(Action figure seen at BoingBoing.  LDA sent me the link for the Obama-rama.)

And finally, seen from Janice Gelb, but we’re not sure who wrote it:

Dear World:

We, the United States of America , your top quality
supplier of the ideals of liberty and democracy,
would like to apologize for our 2001-2008 interruption
in service. The technical fault that led to this eight-
year service outage has been located, and the software
responsible was replaced November 4. Early tests of
the newly installed program indicate that we are now
operating correctly, and we expect it to be fully
functional on January 20. We apologize for any
inconvenience caused by the outage. We look forward
to resuming full service and hope to improve in
years to come. We thank you for your patience and
understanding.

Sincerely,
The United States of America

Posted in Disaster Relief, Dreams, Steve | 6 Comments »

No Words Necessary

January 19th, 2009 by Steven Gould

And I don’t even drink beer (though I cook with it.)

Posted in Politics, Steve | 1 Comment »

Soylent Green is Angelfood

January 15th, 2009 by Madeleine Robins

I think I’ve mentioned that I’m into cake decorating in a big way.  It’s an expensive hobby, but not as expensive as cocaine or skiing, so I indulge myself within the limits of reason and my budget.  But I’m not yet good enough to do something like, well, this:

That’s right.  Courtesy of cakewrecks.com, my favorite morning giggle, it’s–wait for it–a cake brain.

Cakewrecks also shows a kidney (rather squarish to reflect my understanding of anatomy, but hey…) and a seriously gorgeous, gory heart with all the wiring and veins and stuff.  Also a set of intestines.  But you’ll understand why the brain is my fave.

Now, where’d I leave my spork?

Posted in Daily Life | 8 Comments »

Backyard Sex, Part Deux

January 15th, 2009 by Bradley Denton

Dinosaurs 

We live in a semi-rural area. Well, mostly rural. We have houses and running water, but no streetlights, fireplugs, police officers, or Britney Spears sightings. (One good ol’ boy at the local hardware store actually swears that “Britney Spears” is something a spaniel does during a duck hunt.)

Another thing we don’t have is zoning restrictions. So even though we may look like a residential neighborhood from some angles, other angles will reveal that various folks have stocked their back yards with chickens, geese, sheep, goats, and donkeys. And they’re perfectly welcome to do so – ‘cause here along the Travis-Hays county line, a man’s home is not only his castle, but his Little Reata. (Just hit Netflix and rent “Giant.”)

Here at Casa Ramrod, all we have in the back yard are dogs. Or at least, that’s all we intend to have. In practice, at one time or another, we’ve also had squirrels, opossums, and armadillos (visually confirmed) as well as raccoons, bobcats, and skunks (otherwise confirmed). The occasional family of deer hops the fence. Plus, our veterinarian’s bulletin board sports a few too-curious-for-their-own-good doggie photos that provide direct evidence of porcupines in the vicinity.

But all of that’s not enough animal life for one of our nearest neighbors, who has gone the aforementioned chickens-geese-sheep-goats-donkeys route. He has even expanded his own Little Reata by fencing off some of the utility-easement alley behind our properties. All of which is cool with us, by the way. The more fur and feathers, the merrier. (Or at least the furrier and featherier.)

Our dogs Lucy, Linus, and Tillie were cool with it too . . .

. . . until the day the emus showed up.

Read More »

Posted in Barb, Brad, Daily Life, Dammit!, Dogs, Personal History, Sex | 7 Comments »

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