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I must respond to this article at the BBC site.

“But it will also show whether someone inside a house is looking to harm you, because if they are, their heart rate will be raised. And 10 years from now, the technology will be much smarter. We’ll scan a person with one of these things and tell what they’re actually thinking.”

He glanced at me quizzically, noticing my apprehension.

“Yeah, I know,” he said. “It sounds very Star Trekkish, but that’s what’s ahead.”

That doesn’t sound “Star Trekkish.” Star Trek was rather utopian. Or did you think reality TV invented this term “Big Brother”?

I can’t wait ‘til the first time they shoot someone in a house for having a high heart rate, and find out he or she was masturbating, can you? Temptation to join ACLU...rising….

One of my favorite quotes

Wednesday September 12, 2007 @ 07:39 PM (UTC)

If there is one quote on this Earth that I constantly think of (and all too rarely say out loud) it is this one, from the inimitable Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE:

“You always were a fatheaded worm without any soul, weren’t you?”

It’s so universally applicable, you see. Whenever anyone disagrees with me on any really pressing matter of taste, it is likely to float through my brain. However, I do realize it might not go over well, so tact refrains. In context, you may see why the quote’s charms are so multifaceted:

“I say, Bertie,” he said, after a pause of about an hour and a quarter.


“Do you like the name Mabel?”




“You don’t think there’s a kind of music in the word, like the wind rustling gently through the tree-tops?”


He seemed disappointed for a moment; then cheered up.

“Of course, you wouldn’t. You always were a fatheaded worm without any soul, weren’t you?”

Somehow, it both admonishes me in a comforting and amusing manner that my opinion is daft, subjective and irrelevant, (much like the speaker, Bingo Little) but allows me at the same time to dispense with the daft, subjective and irrelevant opinions of others quite breezily. In addition, it summons some of the world’s most pleasant literary companions to mind, which can’t fail to buck one up when one has been told that Mozart was a hack or sci-fi can’t be literature.

Quotes from “Jeeves in the Springtime”.


Tuesday September 11, 2007 @ 09:04 PM (UTC)

It’s September 11th again. Today we are told, over and over, never to forget 2,998 people that most of us did not know. ‘Never forget,’ I read, and wonder. How do you forget, or hold in your memory, someone you do not know? How can you value them, or their memory, except as individual lives? Those lives are precious both despite and because of their commonness, the humanity we all share and by virtue of which we all claim value, dignity, rights.

I can’t forget these dead, nor can I remember them. They are not my dead, and they cannot live in me as my dead friends, as my dead relatives, as even dead strangers whose words I’ve loved can and do. Why then am I asked to remember them?

Why should I remember those three thousand, and not the hundreds of thousands dead in Darfur, just as unnaturally? Because of patriotism, or of proximal ethics? If I should remember those dead, rather than the 70,000 dead civilians in Iraq, because the innocents killed in 2001 were closer to me, or shared my nationality, why should I remember them rather than the over 6,000 American women and men who have been murdered by their spouses or partners since the attacks?

What if this act of memory to which we are invited isn’t really about those 2,998? About their names, faces, hopes, or families? What can it accomplish? I can only imagine, as I see another string of Photoshop tributes, that their creators and consumers must get a feeling from them, perhaps akin to what I might feel listening to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony or, perhaps more aptly, to Holst’s “Mars, Bringer of War.” The heart expands, and the body floods with primal energy—with passion. Is it to feel that passion that uninvolved people refresh their horror and stoke their anger up with public acts of memory and grief?

Or is it the clarity that passion brings them? The dead I’ve mentioned are victims of domestic violence, of our own colonialistic folly, of racial hatred and economic powerplays. Systemic problems that evolve and worsen over time. Problems that can only be solved with forethought, deliberation, and reason; often by changing the situation that gave them rise. We as a society, perhaps even as a species, don’t like systemic problems. We like our villains centralized and clearly labeled, our courses of action smooth and broad. America’s straightforward charge against a complex terrorism problem has taken us deeper and deeper into confusion and remorse. Perhaps on September 11, 2001, the way lay clear before these passionate rememberists. Perhaps they want to feel that way one more time.

For myself, on that day, I felt sorrow and a sick foreboding about what would happen next. I need no prompting and no Photoshopped towers to feel that way again.


Wednesday September 05, 2007 @ 05:55 PM (UTC)

Normally I’d say that I can’t believe I didn’t know about these critters, but the plain fact is that you could spend your life finding these things out and not know them all. After all, there are doubtless things just as strange about which no human knows.

How often we as humans think that life is ‘meaningless’ or that the world is ‘doomed’. If beauty is meaning, if the breadth and insistent diversity of life is sufficient Mystery, then such pessimism is not only silly, but so is our entire view on life. How can we think to give up on a world that is too large for us to have?

Is asperity quantized?

Sunday August 05, 2007 @ 01:34 PM (UTC)

Yesterday I heard Edith Wharton’s “Roman Fever” on NPR’s Selected Shorts. She uses, as so many writers before and since, the phrase “a touch of asperity.” Why is it always a touch of asperity? Not a generous helping, or a tablespoon, or a sprinkling? Does asperity only naturally occur in the amount ‘touch’?

I’m the first to admit that I <3 Threadless. A quick estimate would indicate I have at least ten T-shirts from them, and I always want more. However, I recently bought a new one, and have discovered a problem.

I always knew that there were problems with buying the ‘girly’ version of a Threadless tee. For one, they’re made by sickening progressive-poseur brand American Apparel. (link is to an article touching on AA’s union-busting, exploitative advertising, sexually harassing work-environment, et cetera—PDF) For another thing, because AA is so devoted to their skinny nymphette images, the largest size of ‘girly’ tee Threadless can offer is extra-large, and that extra-large is smaller than a Gap large. I’m seriously considering ripping the sleeves off some of these suckers so I can expand the arm hole. Anyway, all that was known. But such is my <3 of Threadless that, when the populace has consumed all the medium ‘Guy’ shirts on offer, I occasionally pop for the XL ‘Girly’.

Well, I may have to recalculate. I bought this shirt recently:
A Dark Night - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever
Perhaps the picture is a bit small, but take a look. Click through if you like. Now, imagine the helpful model picture isn’t there. How long would it take you to understand the conceit of the design?

And how long would you be comfortable staring at that design to figure it out when it’s stretched over my non-nymphette frame on a protesting background of nymphette-friendly American Apparel cotton?

Exactly. No one gets the shirt because they don’t want to stare at my bosom that long. This constitutes a huge flaw in the Threadless girly tee system.

Dictionary depression

Saturday July 28, 2007 @ 11:51 PM (UTC)

Yet another word can be found at Click here to start your free trial!”

My kingdom for an OED Online subscription.

Rejection letters: the saga continues

Friday July 27, 2007 @ 04:47 PM (UTC)

Got another rejection letter today. While it can’t compare with my latest rejection letter — my first ever personal rejection, and rather nice at that — it does have its charms. There are slight scribbles of personalization on the form letter, viz. “it didn’t hook me fast enough” underlined in the list of possible offenses, and “Do try again. Thanks!” scrawled at the bottom.

Of course, the offense indicated is somewhat humiliating, as it may mean that the editor didn’t finish my story. CRINGE! On the other hand, I can’t imagine that the chap scrawls “Try again, thanks” at the bottom of every one, so there must have been something he liked about it, so maybe he did read all of it! On the other hand, it might just have been my spelling and grammar in the few paragraphs he did read. On yet a third hand, the form letter text indicates he feels bad for using a form, so perhaps he feels so guilty that he scrawls the phrase at the bottom of each as penance! So much to analyze and consider.

And then there’s the question of whether this is ‘form’ or ‘other’ when reporting the response type and time to the fabulous duotrope. So much to ponder.

Tell me you don't see it.

Wednesday July 25, 2007 @ 10:36 PM (UTC)

My kitten and I were outside yesterday. Since her return to indoor living, she has regained more of her bravo spirit, and she likes to climb trees when allowed.

Doesn’t she remind you of something?
Tazendra up a tree


Tuesday July 24, 2007 @ 06:05 PM (UTC)

First you make a beloved scene, then you trample all over a beloved scene, then you wear a shirt expressing [y]our indignation at the trampling YOU did? You play with our emotions, Mr. Lucas!

P.S. The title of this blogget should be read in manner of Star Trek II Kirkism. That’s right, Star Trek. Chew on that, Lucas!

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