Archive | September, 2010

>A Likely Story

30 Sep

>Couple of days ago, I spent over ten minutes in a dead stop on College Avenue, a street not noted for traffic jams, or at least not at the times I usually commute.

Eventually, I could see police car lights up ahead, so I figured it was a bad accident — and at an intersection with a police station and a firehouse on adjacent corners. Oh, dear.

We crept on up and as I got close enough, I could see a TV news truck parked ahead on my right, with a camera set up and a crowd looking across the street. I glanced over and– It was a house! Filled the street curb to curb and overlapped a little on each side.

Yep. They were moving a house down the cross street. I had to call my boss and ‘fess up I was going to be late ‘cos traffic was stopped for a house in the road. …There some some skepticism at first….

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>War On Nouns Leads To…

30 Sep

>Bad stuff, that’s what it leads to. Seems the Executive Branch is arguin’ in court that they have a right to [State Secrets!] declare a U. S. citizen a bad guy and then [State Secrets!] put him to sleep like a mad dog. Well, actually, they’re not even sayin’ that; near as I can figure out, they want the court to forget anyone even asked about it, ‘cos it’s a [State Secret!].

As it happens, the rat in question is a genuine POS. The world would be made a better place if he was dead. But one of the things that distinguishes our government from a gang of thugs (or at least it used to) is that we have rules and we stick by ’em, especially when it comes to our own. How effin’ hard would it be for FedGov to at least convincingly fake it, instead of putting his name on the semi-sekrit Better Dead list and then tellin’ anyone going through proper channels that they — and the court they sued in — can just sod off, ‘cos it’s a [State Secret] and the bastid is gonna get the bum’s rush outta his mortal coil, no questions to be asked by nobody nohow, no trial no nuthin’.

Like I said, he’s an infected boil on the backside of bad guys in a bad part of human society — but if they can do him at whim and argue [State Secret!] when that niggling little quibble about due process is mentioned, who’s next? Who else is in Teh Gummint’s “terrorist” files? H’mm.

Heh. “…Includes people who ‘Make numerous references to US Constitution,'” does it? Gun nuts? Libertarians?

I said it during the second Mr. Bush’s Presidency and I’m saying it now: I am not comfortable with our Government having that kind of power — and I am even less comfortable with their overtly claiming it.

Alea iacta est. If Luck’s a Lady, let’s hope she’s in a nurturing mood.

>Motto

30 Sep

>

“Neither Blood nor Tears nor Gloom of Dreadful Night shall Slay these Couriers in the Swift Depletion of their Anointed Rounds.”

I dunno why. It just seemed kewl. Interesting to build a fantasy around.

>Pana-Placebocea

29 Sep

>Do you feel insecure? Are loud, overbearing neighbors making you fret? Have experiences in previous decades left you without reserves? Try the wonder drug Maginot!

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Warning: use of Maginot may lead to overconfidence. Some users of Maginot have experienced lengthy periods of loss of control, in some cases lasting over four years. This product must not be used in conjunction with Belgium. Maginot and the related treatment, Eben-Emael, have not been tested for success against shaped charges or glider assault. Consult modern strategists before using Maginot. Use only as directed and don’t forget, there’s always surrender followed by collaboration, with underlying determined resistance until side-effects abate; direct application of American, British and Commonwealth forces may speed relief.

PS: Once again, Italy wins on style points! Way kewl. Didn’t actually see a whole lot of use.

>Robert A. Heinlein Bio: Book Report

28 Sep

>It’s got me re-re-re-to the nth-reading The Green Hills Of Earth and wondering where my copy of The Past Through Tomorrow* has got to: and it’s only the first volume of William H. Patterson, Jr.’s massive Authorized Biography, Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century, subtitled Learning Curve|1907 — 1948.

Time and money very well spent. The book walks the line between scholarly tome and pop bio, steers a difficult course between gossipy tell-all and adoring whitewash, and by the end of this volume (with the Colorado Springs house, let alone Bonny Doon, not yet in sight), the guy you know as an entertaining storyteller, a father-figure with a puzzling, even contradictory backstory, has become a three-dimensional human being. Not quite the guy I expected — but very much Heinlein.

It’s a particular insight into Leslyn and Ginny Heinlein, too. While the latter’s a familiar figure to most serious RAH fans, the former, not so much; they were married rather longer than you probably think and her influence was greater than I had gathered it to be.

Their circle of friends is fascinating; I knew about the DeCamps and Kuttner/Moore households and even Elron H. (shhh! Don’t wake the dragon’s spawn), but Willy Ley, Fritz Lang and Jack Parsons were surprises.

My only complaint is that it ends half-way through — and now I’ve got to wait until Volume 2 comes out! (Oh, one other: Mr. Patterson doesn’t recognize RAH’s space-going contractor “Five Companies, Inc.” as an allusion to the then-familiar Six Companies consortium that built the Hoover/Boulder dam; but I suppose you’d have to be both an RAH fan and a history-of-technology fan to catch it nowadays).

Highly recommended. Well-written and answered a lot of my questions about just who RAH was.

(Want a copy? Buy it via the Amazon.com link at Tam’s and help out a starving artist!)
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* One of the very few places you can find RAH’s short story Let There Be Light, in which you meet the inventors of the Douglas-Martin sunpower screen — and they almost don’t meet one another. Wrong!

>Whirled Poly-Ticks

27 Sep

>Tam’s favorite spinning bloodsucker, Hugo “Pugsley” Chavez, has had his legislative majority shrunk, despite aggressive gerrymandering redistricting. H’mmm.

What’s next, a rash of terrible shaving accidents among the winning opposition-party candidates? Or will it be false accusations and show trials?

Whatever happens, he’ll blame the United States; you can count on it.

>20 Questions, Quoting Myself

27 Sep

>Self-defense, like privacy, freedom of association, freedom of conscience and freedom of thought [and expression], is an inherent human right. The only people who think it is a matter for debate are those who do not recognize that right — and they are no better than book-burners, witch-burners and cross-burners.

I don’t debate commies, klansmen, nazis or anti-gunners, ‘cos there is no debate: they’re wrong and I don’t give a fig how many trains — or sheep — they make run on time.

Wrote that in reply to a commenter in an earlier post. Decided I’d be happy to put it on the front page.

Joe Huffman finds debating an anti less than productive for another reason. Although on second thought, his reasons aren’t all that different after all; what was witch-burning or herding people off to concentration camps but the practice of irrationality? Who fears ideas and their free exchange more than those whose power and self-image is based on illogical thinking, unquestioned beliefs?