War Room’s Hack Thirty – Salon.com

genial project by Alex Parenee.  these 30 need to be banned from public political discourse.

the top 30 political hacks in the country

War Room’s Hack Thirty – Salon.com.


Last and First Men: A Story of the Near and Far Future – NaBloPoMo 2010

a history

a timeline of two billion years

covering 18 human species, of which we are but the first –



Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon



Olaf Stapledon‘s Last and First Men: A Story of the Near and Far Future is science-fiction, science-fiction of a type not seen before Stapledon and unlikely to be seen again: science-fiction as a backdrop for a philosophical treatise on the reasons of Man.

’tis not an easy read – worth going through for the originality and breadth of Stapledon‘s vision:  mankind waxes and wanes, comes to the brink of extinction and back again, renders Earth uninhabitable and takes over Venus and then Jupiter, changes matter and form at every step yet remains essentially human.

CITY – NaBloPoMo 2010

The first question, of course, is whether there ever was such a creature as Man. At the moment, in the absence of positive evidence, the sober concensus must be that there was not, that Man, as presented in the legend is a figment of folklore invention.


CITY by Clifford D. Simak


the legend is a compendium of eight tales that are told as Dogs keep up the oral history of a far far away time and place before the time of Dog, a time of Man.

through the tales we are taken from the time when Man ruled the Earth, builds robots and Dog is man companion.  later Man is able to communicate with Dog, colonizes Jupiter and abandons Earth to the peaceful and pacifist Dog.



my favorite holiday.  what’s not to like about cook, eat, watch football, eat some more, and sit around while in a tryptophan coma?

someecards.com - I'm thankful for a holiday that doesn't require atonement or starvation

happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating it.  happy Thursday to those who don’t.

we are heading out to the folks for a couple of days.  we leave you with an amazing, blistering guitar solo:

aw fuck.  embedding is disabled.  go watch/listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9C91dQFxjM&feature=player_embedded

Allen Collins is sublime.

Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang – NaBloPoMo 2010

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 73

Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm

Kate Wilhelm‘s novel, Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, is about  how as doomsday approached the Sumners family built a fortified citadel in the Shenandoah valley and prepared to wait it out.  as deadly winds swept and polluted destroying plant and animal life, the Sumners were left sterile – so they turned to cloning in the hope that after a number of generations the ability to reproduce would return.



New Zealand mine: ‘No survivors’ after second blast

How tragic and sad.  All 29 miners are believed dead.

such a sad reminder that the joyous rescue of the Chilean miners was very much a rarity.

Supt Knowles said the second blast occurred at about 1437 local time (0137 GMT) on Wednesday. “It was extremely severe,” he added. “I’ve had to break the news to the families and they’re extremely distraught.”

The chief executive of the South Island mine, Peter Whittal, said his company would make every effort to retrieve the bodies of the men.

“We want our boys back and we want to get them out,” he told reporters.

Family members wept, shouted and fell to the floor after hearing the news, Grey District mayor Tony Kokshoorn said.

“It’s unbelievable. This is the west coast’s darkest hour,” Mr Kokshoorn said. “It doesn’t get worse than this.”

Prime Minister John Key called the disaster at Pike River “a national tragedy”.

“New Zealand is a small country, a country where we are our brother’s keeper, so to lose this many brothers at once strikes an agonising blow.

“Today all New Zealanders grieve for these men… We are a nation in mourning.”

via BBC News – New Zealand mine: ‘No survivors’ after second blast.

The Space Merchants – NaBloPoMo 2010

governments are so weak as to be irrelevant.  megacorporations rule the world. consumption is a virtue and advertising is a higher calling.  major shortages of water, clean air, natural resources.


or 2310?


The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth


The Space Merchants satirizes the beginnings of consumer culture; written in 1952, the authors would be amazed to see so many of their “300-years-from-now” concepts be commonplace by the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21th centuries.

the main character is Mitch, a “Copysmith Star Class” who has been given an almost-impossible assignment:  make volunteering to be a colonist to Venus (nasty, brutish, unbearable, short lifespan) an appealing option to the teeming masses of the overpopulated Earth.

Nashville is still trying to recuperate

from having Cranky, Creaky Geek, Myke, Kev, teh LK, and I all together.  whenever we weren’t talking we were laughing. a fantastic time with fantastic weather to match.

the LK took all the pics – I had a camera in my bag and never even took it out; Sailor Babo made it out of my bag on a couple of occasions.

pics of the “Nick at Nite” show are in flickr;  we didn’t get pics of Craig Ferguson but Cranky was there to save the day.

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the LK and I had met Cranky in person before, in Boston in 2008;  seeing her in Nashville was as if we had seen her two days ago – we immediately set to talking.  she’s the farthest away from Cranky one can imagine. sweet, thoughtful, and up for everything.

Kev is as sweet in person as he is online; he and teh LK have a lot in common, since they grew up in the same area and remember a lot of the same events.   Myke is as funny as he is here and then some.   Kev and Myke are also super thoughtful: they had gift bags for us and sent us out with lovely parting gifts.  and their house is absolutely beautiful and full of personality, history, and WIN.  we got to meet the lovely Tater (not-so-lovely at the time due to an injury, poor sweetie. but she’s better) and we got to see Millie run the heck away from us.

we didn’t get to spend a lot of time with Jan due to previous commitments – she’s fun and sweet and can’t wait to see her again.  it was she who tipped us about Craig Ferguson, who was awesome.  so thanks, Jan!

A Spectre is Haunting Texas – NaBloPoMo 2010

everything is bigger in Texas, right?


A Spectre is Haunting Texas by Fritz Leiber


well, Texans sure are thanks to hormonal treatments, in A Spectre is Haunting Texas, Fritz Leiber‘s post-nuclear war story.  unlike most after-the-nuclear-disaster novels, which tend to be somber dystopias, A Spectre… is a funny romp throughout a North American landscape where Texans are among the few survivors, thanks to the Houston Carlsbad Caverns-Denver-Kansas City-Little Rock Pentagram bunker, secretly built by Lyndon the First.

Bring the Jubilee – NaBloPoMo 2010

Ward Moore‘s alternative history of the US, Bring the Jubilee, begins with a contemporary America (1953) with a twist: the Confederate States of America had won the War Between the States and seceded from the U.S.


Bring the Jubilee by Ward Moore

the aftermath of the war had not been kind to the U.S.; impoverished and backwards it stands counter to the prosperous CSA that had expanded past Mexico and whose major cities were rivals to London and Paris.  slavery had been abolished thanks to the efforts of former President Robert E. Lee.

but what happens when a time machine allows a citizen of the U.S. to go back to, say, the battle of Gettysburg?