Friday, May 25, 2012

Platform Shoes

So the Iowa Republican Party has issued their party platform; this is like a mission statement, but likely written in crayon on a piece of construction paper. This outlines all of their beliefs, neatly bundled in one little blackwhite package, proudly proclaiming how they miss the 17th century and how they're going to work their damn hardest to take us back.
I read this and I think about the Party from my novel, but that's nothing unusual. I modeled the Party on the political right. So naturally, there's overlap. Your pot can only get so cracked before it starts looking like every other crackpot. So let's gear up and follow this train over the edge, skydiving from reality into, to borrow a term from Ed Brayton,The People's Republic of Wingnuttia.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Spare Me Your Indignation

Christians - Real True Christians, anyway - shouldn't have the right to complain about anything anymore. Apparently they don't know how to use it, and it gets abused at every turn.

Case in point: Mt. Vernon, home of the crackpot teacher who burned a cross into their student's arm, John Freshwater, has had another religious dust up. Apparently, prayer was removed from the agenda of the city hall meeting. Because, you know, praying before a city council meeting doesn't exclude anyone at all. I'm sure it was one of those bland, faceless, religion-neutral prayers that satisfies no believer and is offensive to everyone. I mean, to do otherwise would be exclusionary. Not that these folks have a problem with exclusionary; why, special pleading is what they do best:
“I think it’s pathetic,” said local religious advocate Jeff Cline, who approached council members and demanded answers that night. “We keep kicking God out of everything.”
Boy, if only.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Oh... Now This is an Interesting Post

While running through the backlog of articles over at H+ (archive panic! I haven't been over there in a month or two, so there's a huge amount for me to sift through), I ran across this very interesting and this very relevant article.

John Galt is Homeless.

And I bet that selfish bastard expects us to take care of him, too...

The Palin Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree

There are few things I enjoy more in this world than watching right-wingers project their own sexist insecurities on the left. While the left certainly has its own problem with sexism, there's nothing quite like listening to someone say that you're guilty of criticizing Sarah Palin because "She's a woman". Because, as we all know, Palin is perfect and great and when she winks starbursts fall from the sky. Unicorns shit rainbows in her presence. Rich Lowery is reduced to half the quarter of a man he already was. No, we don't criticize her because she's a massive hypocrite. We don't criticize her because when she opens her mouth, the collective IQ of her audience drops by 10 points; because you as a liberal feel less intelligent just listening to her. Because aerogel has more substance than her beliefs and the only thing denser than her skull is a teaspoon of overdense neutron star. We criticize her because she's a woman, and as we all know, Republicans never say anything bad at all about women. Nuh uh. Never. And if you heard otherwise, it's a lie. Because I said so, and I rewrite reality, that's why.

Well, I think that I may have found something arguably more dense than Sarah Palin. While I was skipping through Pathos, I made a horrifying discovery.

Bristol Palin has a blog over on Pathos. And not only that, but she's even worse than her mom, if that was at all possible.
Let’s pause for just one second.  When Christian women run for high office, people inevitably bring up the question of submission.  Once, Michele Bachmann, for example, was asked during a debate, “As president, would you be submissive to your husband?”
People automatically assume that a Christian female President isn’t capable of making decisions without her spouse’s stamp of approval.  (I should add female Republican candidates –liberal women don’t get the same kind of questions.)
So are all those reporters who feared excessive family intervention in the White House all up in arms over the President’s announcement yesterday?  Um.  Not quite.
Liberals  everywhere are applauding him for his bravery and his wisdom.
So let me get this straight – it’s a problem if my mom listened too much to my dad, but it’s a heroic act if the President made a massive change in a policy position that could affect the entire nation after consulting with his teenage daughters?
Ah, yes. The "gotcha technique" that's so commonly used by the liberal media. You know, asking a conservative candidate if they honestly believe what they said. That's bad. Because the things they say are stupid, and they know it. So why don't liberals get asked these questions? Could it be because they're not espousing these bronze aged beliefs? Could it be because they're not constantly dragging out how it's the job of the wife to be homemaker and that she doesn't need or deserve a position of power? That she's a hood ornament for her husband? I don't ever recall a liberal woman saying that she believes these positions, so why should they get asked questions implying that they do?

Here's my apple, now here's your apple. Now throw out your apple and we'll compare my apple with this chair. Welcome to the world of Bristol Palin - where apples are compared to chairs.
Sometimes dads should lead their family in the right ways of thinking.  In this case, it would’ve been nice if the President would’ve been an actual leader and helped shape their thoughts instead of merely reflecting what many teenagers think after one too many episodes of Glee.
 I've never watched Glee, but I've heard some positive things about it. I'm just not hip, I guess. If you haven't guessed by now, this is in response to the President's "evolving views" on the issue of marriage equality - that is, his expedient political shift to try and win the GLBT vote this election following the Republican party handing it to him with the passage of Amendment One in North Carolina.

Wouldn't it be nice if the President had been an actual leader and just agreed with my position, rather than taking a stance that 50+% of the nation now supports. I have to admit it wouldn't be out of the norm for a politician to take a stance opposite to what the rest of the nation wants - see the issue of defense cuts and the hissy-fit that the MI-complex is making of the very notion we'll spend less than 50% of our GDP on military weapons and productions. However, in this case, Obama managed to read the political weather-vane and adopted the position most in-line with what the majority of Americans now believe.

Which, as Palin is finding out, is the exact opposite of what her painfully vapid mother raised her to hold. Your kind are a dying breed, Ms. Palin. With each passing generation, there are fewer and fewer of you. Soon, you'll look around and realize that there's nobody there to support you. Society marches on. The last thing you want to heave on your kid is for them to be known at school as the kid who's mom still believes the world is flat.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Blue Pimpernel At A Discount

Attention readers! As of today, Lulu announced a new code that you can use to save up 20% of all your purchases through them. This means that The Blue Pimpernel is now 20% off, until 18 May (this Friday). This is all of the purchases; the 8.5x6.5 ($9.99USD +tax and shipping), the ebook ($2.99USD), and the 6x9 ($17.95USD +tax and shipping).

If you've been meaning to buy the books, enter TENYEAR as the coupon code at the first checkout screen.

And as always, if you email me at with interest in reviewing my novel on your blog/live journal/tumblr/whatever I'll send you a free copy of the ebook. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Names the Same

(Anthem, chapter 1)

Last time, I sat analyzed Rand's foreword and took a close look at the environment that Rand grew up. Those types of literary theory - historical and deconstruction - are good for analyzing and attempting to understand why Rand is where she is, and how she got there. I should say that I'm just as vulnerable to the whole "death of the author" thing as the next person is, but I'll try to stay impartial (pfft. Like we know that's going to happen). I'll try to keep with the historical and deconstructive methods of analysis - unlike how the term is used, I'll really be using deconstruction, but this won't be a deconstruction proper since I'll be using other literary analysis methods, too.

So anyway, having analyzed Rand's foreword, we now hold our nose and plunge headfirst into the novel proper. I promise you that it's not as heavy-handed as Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, but that's like saying, oh, I dunno, that the sun isn't as hot as AB7. While both are clearly hot, there's a bit of a disparity between the degrees of hot that we're talking here.

So, let's get started.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Understanding Anthem

It's been a while since I've done a philosophy post, so I think it's long over due. So today, I'm going to do what seems to be the thing that all the cool kids in the blogosphere are doing: take a look at a book.

Back when I was doing my student teaching, I had the cruel irony of getting stuck with an English teacher who, that year, was going to use Anthem as a teaching tool. Now, for those of you who don't know the kind of person I am, I'm an open socialist. I'm a techosocialist; a progressive in the purest form who sits in the very far bottom left hand corner on the four-point politics chart. By contrast, Objectivism and Ayn Rand sit on the diametric opposite of me - in the far upper right hand corner of the chart. I'm afraid I probably wasn't as impartial as I could've been, but I was teaching an ideology that was not only totally alien to me, but also anathema to everything I stand for. Think about a life-long NRA member trying to impartially teach about why we need to make guns illegal and you're getting close.

But, I swallowed my ideology for the sake of the students (and prayed to god - I wasn't an atheist at the time - that none of them adopted it as their own personal philosophy). This actually had the unforeseen benefit of allowing me to get to know Rand's "philosophy" in depth, and it gave me the foundation that I stand on today in order to criticize her beliefs. Unlike most everyone who criticizes Rand on the internet, I actually studied Objectivism. I know all the ways in which it really fails.

Also, for those who know me personally, this won't come as a shock: to kick the unit off, I let the students play Bioshock, and we studied Ryan's speech, and if I had the chance to do the lesson again, we'd look at the different ways in which Objectivism failed in that game. That's right. This Bioshock:

They were seniors, by the way. So I wasn't letting my 7th graders bash splicer skulls in. I did mention I had difficulty staying unbiased, right? (It begs the question as to how I would introduce the students to socialism is I was teaching, say, Sinclair. I'm not sure, but not with Bioshock 2. I'm not a very good teacher.)

The book that we studied was Anthem. Anthem was also the first book that Rand wrote, and it was also the first book by her that I ever read. It was also the last book by her I read, too - Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged are somewhere in my house, acting as doorstops. I started Fountainhead but I never finished it; we watched the movie and, surprise surprise, it was every bit as boring as the book was (and the female lead... gawd. There was something wrong with her. She had some sort of personality disorder). But Anthem has the upshot of being short (I know. A Rand book that's short) and being not being as blunt about her ideology. And by that, I mean rather than stamping it into your forehead with a 2 ton truck die, it "merely" brands it on a baseball bat and beats you with it.

Meta: From Ancient Greek, Meaning "Beyond", Not "I Have No Clue"

Amazing, isn't it? Here's another piece of tripe out of the liberal media. Watch as this woman doesn't even let Tim Curry doesn't even get a word in edge wise, even when he's trying to call her out for her media tricks.

I've never been more proud to be a liberal. Especially when he got thrown off the air. I didn't expect her to do that. I'm really impressed; Tamron Hall is currently my hero. She cut his mike right there on the spot; she didn't let him try to change the subject, she didn't let him try any of the usual right wing tricks to undermine a real story and the people who present them. Take a close look at what we saw of Curry's "debating" style. He was invited on to discuss the Romney Campaign's to a particular issue. Most mature, responsible and respectful adults would discuss it. But Curry, like most in the right wing claptrap, is not a mature, responsible and respectful adult. Like most people who take their marching orders from FOX news and the modern oligarchic gerontocracy that runs the right-wing noise machine,  he takes the follow steps:

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Blue Pimpernel is Available at B&N!

Here it is, dear readers - The Blue Pimpernel is now available for the Nook, through Barnes & Noble. You can find it here:

The Blue Pimpernel for the Nook.

I'm in the big times, now :P 

A shout out

This is a shout out to all the readers of my blog:

If you're interested in reviewing my book for me on your blog, then get in contact with me at I'll send you a free copy of my ebook. I know that it doesn't sound like a lot, but...

Also, speaking of the Blue Pimpernel, it should be up for sail on Amazon any day now.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Dark Energy Exists!

Somehow, this find managed to slip past me last year.

Back in May, right around the time that the Circus Republican Primary was kicking into overdrive, a the results of a major astrological survey came in. Living in America like I do, I never get interesting news like this when it happens. After survey 200,000 galaxies across the known universe, it was proven that dark energy really exists. The WiggleZ Dark Energy Survey, conducted across 14 countries by 26 astronomers, using the latest spectrographic technology, proved the Grand Old Man of Physics right once again: Albert Einstein's cosmological constant is a very real thing.

This is incredible. Perhaps it speaks to my imagination that my first train of thought was, "Negative pressure = harnessed energy to hold the throat of a wormhole open therefore allowing interstellar and intergalactic travel", because that's the first thing everyone thinks about when they hear something like this.

The studies confirm that at least 73% of the known universe is made up of this negative pressure stuff called dark energy. The remaining ~23/25% is made up of a mix of hypothetical dark matter and distinctly non-hypothetical baryonic matter. While good news for potential wormhole physics, this is bad news for the eventual fate of the universe. Dark energy is what's causing the increased acceleration of the physical universe; it will expand until it can't expand no more and then keep on expanding. Within a few hundred trillion or so years, the universe will be about as barren as the Bootes Void is now. Beyond that, we're looking at terrain so sparsely populated that it becomes a true vacuum, with all the interesting physics involved in it. It also gives us confidence that, once again, we can rely on Old Man Einstein when it comes to matters of physics.