Saturday, March 25, 2006

Words to live by

From Orson Scott Card in Characters And Viewpoint:

Oh, you can have a major inexplicable change and have no one in the story remark on it, but you can't blame your readers for concluding that you're an incompetent writer and that the unjustified change was a mistake.

Worse still, your readers might conclude that the unjustified change was a practical joke you were playing on them, as if you were saying, "Oh, were you starting to care about these characters? Were you starting to take this story seriously? Well, here, I'll show you that it's all silly and I can do anything." Of course you can do anything. But your implicit contract with your readers says you won't do just anything-that your story will mean something, even if the meaning is that there is no meaning....

That's very much the feeling I get when watching or reading a story with crappy characterization; especially if it's seemed to be good in that department up till then. That the writer (or writers, if it's a group effort like most television series) has in essence pulled the rug out from under me, and laughed at my trust.

The trick (and I'm saying this as much to myself as to any of you, if not more) is to keep your characters' actions surprising yet somehow inevitable. Your audience should be in a recurrent state of saying "What...yeah, they'd do that," or "Why would they do that...I'd better keep reading (or watching, or whatever) to find out!"

That second one only applies to stories that are going to explain what may seem to be an at first unjustified change, of course.

Friday, March 24, 2006

I always like to hear what Walter Cronkite has to say here he is using the recent documentary Why We Fight as a stepping stone to talk about Vietnam, Iraq, their differences and similarities.

And the TV must always be set to Fox News...

Via Crooks and Liars, The Daily Show on Dick Cheney's travel requirements.


Remember that Republican blogger the Washington Post hired? Per AmericaBlog, he's resigned following accusations of plagiarism. So never mind.

How, indeed?

Matthews: "How can you not trust" Bush?
During a discussion about President Bush's recent public relations campaign to rally support for the war in Iraq, Chris Matthews said: "How can you not trust a man who says, 'I won't be able to win this war in my presidency; I'm leaving it up to other presidents in the future'?"

Media Matters

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I don't know exactly what it means either, but I like it

Saved by zero
I'll be
more together
stretched by fewer
Thoughts that
leave me
Chasing after
My dreams
disown me
Loaded with danger

So maybe I'll win
Saved by Zero

Words that teach me
I will
Space around me

So maybe I'll win ...

Saved by zero

The Fixx

Oh HELL no

Via Pink Is The New Blog....coming soon to a Saturday morning near you...Paris Hilton: The Animated Series.

A choice of responses

A lawmaker in...wait for it...Tennessee sez:
most gays and lesbians are unfit to parent because they have "emotional dysfunctions and psychological issues."

A choice of responses:

  1. Yes, I've certainly never known any straight parents who had any of those.
  2. I'd argue the point, but I've been watching The L's true, these people are sick!

Okay, the "Washington Post has hired a racist wingnut creationist to be their new official blogger" thing

As you may have seen around the ole' lefty blogs, the Washington Post announced recently that they were hiring a fella named Ben Domanech to be a new official blogger. His blog is called, and he's expected to be speaking for, "Red America."

They couldn't have made a better choice. As is being thoroughly documented throughout the aforementioned lefty blogosphere, Domanech is racist, scientifically illiterate, still obsessed with Communism some 14 years after it collapsed, and a chickenhawk.

In other words, he is red America. But I know what you're saying. You're saying...if only he were connected to Jack Abramoff in some way. Well, guess what. He's connected to Jack Abramoff in some way. See above link for details on all these accusations.

In a related story, Bill Sherman has some fun with this other Ben's recently proclaimed "greatest pro-gun movie ever!" and gives a shout-out to yours truly.

Now that's comedy

It seems a certain blogger was offended by a billboard one of those "ex-gay" groups put up. So he whipped up his own variation and posted it to his blog. Now they're threatening him with legal action and the ACLU has gotten involved.

Source: AmericaBlog.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Why Holly Hunter is one of my favorite actresses (and James L. Brooks is one of my favorite writers), #6 or so in a series

PAUL: It must be nice to always believe you know better. To think you're always the smartest person in the room.

JANE (From her depths): No, it's awful.

Broadcast News

Our man Paul Cornell has been nominated for a Hugo (Updated)

Update: Paul Cornell has a blog. Who knew?

Original post: I'm delighted to see that three different stories from the successful-beyond-anyone's dreams revival of Doctor Who have been nominated for the Hugo Award in the dramatic presentation, short form category.

I'm especially pleased to see former Who novelist Paul Cornell recognized. He was the creator of the companion character Bernice Summerfield, original to the novels. She became so popular that when Virgin books lost the Dr. Who license, they continued publishing books for several years afterwards just about her.

Something he said in an interview has been coming back to me in recent years when I contemplate why I seem to be able to write women well. Asked why he thought Bernice had been so succesful, he replied that most men wrote the kinds of women they wanted to date (or maybe at least sleep with), and...

"I don't want to date Bernice. I want to be her."

Paul became something of a friend during my rec.arts.drwho days, though we haven't spoken in a while. We didn't have a falling out or anything, I've just moved away from active Dr. Who fandom.

That said, I think Steven Moffat's two-parter is (were? was?) the better episode; the story I'd most like to see win. (Sorry Paul if you happen to stumble across this)

Do you think the fact that all I can think of is... cool it would be to set some of this to a really great dance track is a sign that they've got their claws too deep into me already? AmericaBlog passes on some literature-and I use the word loosely-from one of those "cure homosexuality" groups:

The Creation of New Homosexuals
These warnings beg a very serious question: Can people, children in this case, become homosexuals by exposure to certain ideas and behavior? In other words, can a person who would not otherwise become homosexual start the behavior, come to prefer it and form a habitual addiction?

Can a society create more homosexuals? The answer quite clearly is yes. That is how current homosexuals, in fact, came to be.

I can hear it now, kind of an electronic thing..."Thumpa! Thumpa! Thumpa! Thumpa! 'The creation of new homosexuals...' Thumpa! Thumpa! Thumpa! Thumpa!"

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Muppets are dead to me

There's a song called It's Not Easy Being Green. Undoubtedly you know it; one of the Muppets most well-known songs, its status as something of a minor modern classic is testified to by the fact that both Ray Charles and Frank-freaking-Sinatra saw fit to record it.

And it is, of course, as goes without saying, not about being "green" at all, but about being different. Or feeling that you are. It's meant a lot to a lot of people over the years for just that reason.

And now it's the theme song to a commercial for some sort of off-road all-terrain vehicle.

The Muppets are dead to me. You know, Jim Henson certainly wasn't above commercial work; he knew the value of a dollar. But IIRC he seemed to make them without shitting in the faces of multiple generations.

By taking something that was made to tell kids it's all right to be different and using it to sell adults enviromentally irresponsible gas-guzzlers. A curse on every single member of the current Muppet brain trust who approved and/or worked on this.

And not the kind of curse that can be cured by baking the hall in the candle of her brain, either.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Whoa...this is actually really cool.

"Coffee Art." I don't drink coffee, but if I did, that's the kind I would drink. Sing us home, Frank:

And when their ham and eggs need savor
Coffee ketchup gives 'em flavor
Coffee pickles way outsell the dill
Why, they put coffee in the coffee in Brazil

No tea, no tomato juice
You'll see no potato juice
The planters down in Santos all say "No, no, no"

-The Coffee Song, written by Dick Miles/Bob Hilliard

It's times like this I wish the St. Patrick's Day parade wasn't so blatantly homophobic

Because by the look of it, I could have enjoyed watching this one go by.

But it is so blatantly homophobic.

My god, he's back

On Monday, September 06, 2004, I wrote in my old blog about an incident that took place at the Republican National Convention.

Video here of a WABC News story about the response a brave young Republican man had to a female protestor.

He kicked her. While she was being held on the ground. By three secret service agents.

dig the absolutely delicious look on the kicker's face when he's informed that the reporter has him on tape kicking a woman.

I suppose I always wondered what happened to that angry young man, Scott Robinson, so full of the spit and fire that comes from knowing that your party, virtually on its own, has plunged the country into painful, unending war.

Well, good news! He's still serving his country. Not by actually oh, what is the phrase, joining up and fighting in that painful, unending war. Because, you know, Iraqi insurgents are just a little spunkier than people who are being held down so you can kick them.

No no, he's taking on a really important issue of the day: The announcement that Jodie Foster will be the Commencement speaker for the class of '06 at Penn, where he attends. And why? Well, his opinion piece written for a "libertarian" student newspaper begins with this quotation:

"Jodie Foster is an eminent Ivy League graduate who has achieved tremendous success and influence in the powerful entertainment industry.? - A star-struck President Amy Guttmann upon announcement that Jodie Foster will be the not-so glorious commencement speaker for the Class of 2006.

Apparently, Mr. Robinson disagrees with that statement. Now me, I would say that as an actress, Jodie Foster has a solid record of critical and/or box office successes and has won the Academy Award twice. She's one of those few former child actors to successfully navigate an adult career. She's an acclaimed director and producer (side note: Waking the Dead, which she produced, is highly underrated). And she is on the very short list-I think it's just her and Sigourney Weaver-of women who can open a movie that is not considered to be a "chick flick."

I'd say President Amy Guttmann, star-struck or not, is well within her rights to say Foster "has achieved tremendous success and influence in the powerful entertainment industry.” So well you may wonder: What really gets on Mr. Robinson's tits about Foster's selection as speaker?

Could it be that he is upset with the intrusion of a mere girl into a man's world?

Why yes, yes it could. Because he further goes on to say:

Gutmann raves about Foster: “In addition, she has used her tremendous talents to bring before an international audience such weighty social issues as violence against women, parent-child relationships and the challenges faced by women in traditionally male professions." Thanks but no thanks, President Gutmann -- the pomp and circumstance of my graduation ceremony should not be a forum for your half-baked social theories about the plight of women.

For starters, any fraternity men at Penn who, as newly initiated members, has been compelled by the University to sit through the patronizing and commense“’don’t rape women or put drugs in their drinks speech”, knows what I mean. Furthermore, whoever allowed Amy Guttmann’s Marxist theories (which insist on examining everything in the public realm through very narrow prisms of race and “gender consciousness”) guide the process should be ashamed.

Stupid buzzkilling feminazi dykes. Don't they know frat boys gettin' it on and convincing a 19-year-old to have her first threesome and/or bisexual experience on-camera is a much greater challenge than women ever face? Especially those who are unlucky enough to get knocked around, stupid enough to get knocked up, or uppity enough to knock on the glass ceiling.

I mean, that's just commense.

(And a flip of the chapeau to Mon Generale)

Happy Anniversary!

Three years ago tomorrow night was when our news channels filled with images of bombs exploding in Baghdad. 9:34pm est. time will mark the anniversary of the actual start of the invasion.

So where have we gone since then? Well we did make it to Baghdad with little effort. We did find Saddam Hussein. That’s about it for the good points..

Now here we sit 3 years later and where are we. We have lost 2,318 soldiers, over 30,000 Iraqi citizens; spent over half a trillion dollars (increasing by $200 million a day) and we sit here, isolated from the rest of the world.

In January of 2003, Saddam Huessein vowed to give the Americans “a war like no other they have fought before”. Many people laughed at that comment. Well there are 2, 318 families not laughing now. In fact Saddam has given us exactly what he vowed. The insurgency is that war which Saddam vowed.

In retrospect, it almost makes the fact that three years ago I was sitting in a hotel in Tennessee gradually coming to the realization that I was perfectly capable of taking the life of another human being seem somehow insignifigant, doesn't it?