Monthly Archives: March 2006

Snakes on a Plane!

snakesonaplane1.jpg

Is there anyone out there on the Internet who does not believe this film won’t make $50 million the opening weekend? Especially now that it’s added Sam Jackson bellowing “I want these mother——- snakes off the mother——- plane!” in reshoots. That’s $10 million right there. Hell, I’m going just for that line.

Snakes on a Plane! Man, you just never get tired of saying it.

Printilation

About five minutes after I noted in this comment thread that Amazon and BN.com seem to be in short supply of Old Man’s War at the moment, I got an e-mail from Tor letting me know that both OMW and The Ghost Brigades are going back for third printings. Nice to have a publisher who can read my mind, and act on my desires.

{[(imagines fully loaded Ford Mustang -- the V8 model)]}

Hey. It’s worth a shot.

Printilation

About five minutes after I noted in this comment thread that Amazon and BN.com seem to be in short supply of Old Man’s War at the moment, I got an e-mail from Tor letting me know that both OMW and The Ghost Brigades are going back for third printings. Nice to have a publisher who can read my mind, and act on my desires.

{[(imagines fully loaded Ford Mustang -- the V8 model)]}

Hey. It’s worth a shot.

Dear Asimov’s and Analog: Not to Complain, But…

The Web sites for Asimov’s and Analog have a “blogs” section that’s supposed to rotate between various science fiction blogs once a month but has had mine (and Jonathan Strahan’s) featured since November. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the attention, but five months is a sufficiently long time, and also, since both Asimov’s and Analog are owned by Dell Magazines, which sponsors the Campbell Awards, having my blog featured there (and not the blogs of the other five Campbell nominees) sends some potentially troublesome, albeit certainly inadvertant, messages.

Basically, this would be a good time for these sites to rotate their blogs. Might I suggest the blogs of Scott Westerfeld and Justine Larbalestier? Thanks.

Nomination Aftermath

I’ve had my day of feeling like a pretty princess with the Hugo/Campbell nominations (and also, went to sleep at 7pm because I’m sick, sick, sick and then slept for ten hours straight), but before I move on to blather about other topics I’d like to make post some other, general thoughts on this topic. This is going to get mega-geeky for those of you not into science fiction. Sorry about that.

* Toward my Hugo nomination specifically, the general response has been varying levels of surprise, to which I can honestly say, well, folks, join the club. Prior to getting the e-mail informing me that it was a Hugo nominee, my thought about the matter was “it’d be nice, but it’s not going to happen,” and then I’d think about something else. I like my book, you know, rather a lot. But I’m also a realist, and the realist point of view suggests that a first-time military SF novel openly patterned after Ol’ Bob’s work doesn’t get to the show. Which I suppose just goes to show you can be a realist and also be wrong. Clearly, I’ll never be a realist again.

* The largest amount of surprise seems to come from across the sea, from the British fen. This is entirely unsurprising to me because as far as I know you can’t really get Old Man’s War in the UK; aside from what relative few of them read the Whatever or remember me wandering through Interaction I’m entirely unknown. This was indeed one purely mechanical reason I suspected I wouldn’t be on the ballot: The nominating class consisted of members of the Interaction and LACon IV conventions, and when half your potential nominating class has not had ready access to your work, well, that’s a problem, isn’t it? So, to the UK fen who’ve not heard of me before: uh, hello. Nice to meet you.

* As for how OMW got on the ballot at all, much of the speculation centers on Web presence/popularity and possibly the nefarious influence of Instapundit, who has pimped the book pretty seriously. Well, I don’t know about the Instapundit thing, because I’m not entirely sure of the overlap between Instapundit readers and Hugo nominators, and in any event he’s also pimped Accelerando and Learning the World, so even if he were a factor, I am not the only one to benefit. I think my general Web notoriety doesn’t hurt. Ultimately, though, there are two other considerations which I think are more relevant: OMW has sold pretty well, particularly for a debut novel, so a good number of people have seen it. Also, if you don’t mind me having a moment of authorial pride, the book doesn’t actually suck. Basically, I think people read it, liked it, and voted for it. Simple enough.

* Having said that, I wonder what lurks below the cut. You know, I voted for Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys and was more than a little surprised it didn’t make the ballot, and I gather that a number of others were as well. If it comes to pass that OMW nudged ahead of Anansi by a couple of votes, I can see myself being stabbed to death by a clutch of very cute goths. Dear very cute goths: I’m a Gaiman fan from way back. I once did a newspaper article on graphic novels just to have an excuse to interview him. And I even have a character named after him in OMW (one for Dave McKean, too). Please don’t stab me.

* Do I think I can win the Hugo? Well, now. I wouldn’t mind getting that rocketship, and it would be stupid and disingenuous to suggest otherwise. But it’s not up to me; people have to read the book and decide if it works for them. I will say this: I feel exceptionally fortunate that there’s no one on the ballot I would mind losing to. Charlie Stross is a friend and Accelerando was the first book I put on my own Hugo ballot; I would whoop and holler if he won. Robert Charles Wilson and Ken MacLeod write books that are both mind-stretching and human-centered, and both Spin and Learning the World are excellent works — not just for science fiction, but for fiction, and I would be proud to have either represent the genre in which I work. I’ve not read A Feast for Crows so I can’t speak to it specifically, but GRRM is a fine writer and a good fellow. Also, come on: Feast sold more books in its first week than OMW is going to sell in the next three years, even with a Hugo nod. #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List is not a trivial factor.

Everyone says “it’s an honor to be nominated,” but you’re never entirely ready for the moment it actually becomes a true statement. But it is true: I’m positively giddy to be mentioned in the same breath as these guys and their books. As an author, I’d be happy if my book won; as a reader and all-around skiffy geek I’d be happy if any of these books won.

* I’m equally pleased with my class for the Campbell, and it’s my sincere hope you’ll check out the other nominees. I’ve heard rumblings that I’m the presumptive front runner in this category, but Brokeback Mountain was the presumptive front runner, and look what happened there. These folks are too good as writers to discount in any way; I don’t and I hope you won’t either.

* I’m struck at how substantially different the Hugo and Nebula ballots are this year; even in the short story categories there’s not a whole lot of overlap. This is no doubt significantly due to the differing ways in which works become eligible for consideration for each award; only one of the Nebula nominees for Best Novel was even released in 2005; indeed of the literary categories, only the Short Story Nebula category had the majority of its nominees from the 2005 calendar year. I’ve already noted my opinion this makes the Nebulas somewhat stale as awards go, so there’s no need to go into that again.

However, even factoring the 2004 Hugo awards into the mix, there’s not a lot of overlap; only one book, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, is on both the Hugo and Nebula lists the last two years, suggesting that even if the awards had the same temporal window, there wouldn’t be too much in common between the slates. I’m perfectly good with this — in fact I like it this way, since SF is varied field and there are many excellent books which deserve recognition for different factors. I have my problems with the Nebula Awards, but quality of the finalists is not one of them.

* Yes, I’ll be going to LACon IV and will be on hand for the awards ceremony. I was planning to attend anyway, because among other things I grew up in the Los Angeles area. Yes, I’ll be representin’ for the East San Gabriel Valley, yo — a shout out to my homies in Azusa! Glendora! Covina! Claremont! San Dimas High School football rulez! A Worldcon in my hometown (well, my home major metropolitan area, anyway) was not something I was going to miss, nor an excuse to eat Double-Doubles until I barf. So should I win the Hugo or Campbell, winning in LA will make it doubly sweet (or doubly-doubly sweet, as I may take my Double-Double on stage with me). So, yes, you’ll see me there. Hopefully I’ll see you there, too.

Nomination Aftermath

I’ve had my day of feeling like a pretty princess with the Hugo/Campbell nominations (and also, went to sleep at 7pm because I’m sick, sick, sick and then slept for ten hours straight), but before I move on to blather about other topics I’d like to make post some other, general thoughts on this topic. This is going to get mega-geeky for those of you not into science fiction. Sorry about that.

* Toward my Hugo nomination specifically, the general response has been varying levels of surprise, to which I can honestly say, well, folks, join the club. Prior to getting the e-mail informing me that it was a Hugo nominee, my thought about the matter was “it’d be nice, but it’s not going to happen,” and then I’d think about something else. I like my book, you know, rather a lot. But I’m also a realist, and the realist point of view suggests that a first-time military SF novel openly patterned after Ol’ Bob’s work doesn’t get to the show. Which I suppose just goes to show you can be a realist and also be wrong. Clearly, I’ll never be a realist again.

* The largest amount of surprise seems to come from across the sea, from the British fen. This is entirely unsurprising to me because as far as I know you can’t really get Old Man’s War in the UK; aside from what relative few of them read the Whatever or remember me wandering through Interaction I’m entirely unknown. This was indeed one purely mechanical reason I suspected I wouldn’t be on the ballot: The nominating class consisted of members of the Interaction and LACon IV conventions, and when half your potential nominating class has not had ready access to your work, well, that’s a problem, isn’t it? So, to the UK fen who’ve not heard of me before: uh, hello. Nice to meet you.

* As for how OMW got on the ballot at all, much of the speculation centers on Web presence/popularity and possibly the nefarious influence of Instapundit, who has pimped the book pretty seriously. Well, I don’t know about the Instapundit thing, because I’m not entirely sure of the overlap between Instapundit readers and Hugo nominators, and in any event he’s also pimped Accelerando and Learning the World, so even if he were a factor, I am not the only one to benefit. I think my general Web notoriety doesn’t hurt. Ultimately, though, there are two other considerations which I think are more relevant: OMW has sold pretty well, particularly for a debut novel, so a good number of people have seen it. Also, if you don’t mind me having a moment of authorial pride, the book doesn’t actually suck. Basically, I think people read it, liked it, and voted for it. Simple enough.

* Having said that, I wonder what lurks below the cut. You know, I voted for Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys and was more than a little surprised it didn’t make the ballot, and I gather that a number of others were as well. If it comes to pass that OMW nudged ahead of Anansi by a couple of votes, I can see myself being stabbed to death by a clutch of very cute goths. Dear very cute goths: I’m a Gaiman fan from way back. I once did a newspaper article on graphic novels just to have an excuse to interview him. And I even have a character named after him in OMW (one for Dave McKean, too). Please don’t stab me.

* Do I think I can win the Hugo? Well, now. I wouldn’t mind getting that rocketship, and it would be stupid and disingenuous to suggest otherwise. But it’s not up to me; people have to read the book and decide if it works for them. I will say this: I feel exceptionally fortunate that there’s no one on the ballot I would mind losing to. Charlie Stross is a friend and Accelerando was the first book I put on my own Hugo ballot; I would whoop and holler if he won. Robert Charles Wilson and Ken MacLeod write books that are both mind-stretching and human-centered, and both Spin and Learning the World are excellent works — not just for science fiction, but for fiction, and I would be proud to have either represent the genre in which I work. I’ve not read A Feast for Crows so I can’t speak to it specifically, but GRRM is a fine writer and a good fellow. Also, come on: Feast sold more books in its first week than OMW is going to sell in the next three years, even with a Hugo nod. #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List is not a trivial factor.

Everyone says “it’s an honor to be nominated,” but you’re never entirely ready for the moment it actually becomes a true statement. But it is true: I’m positively giddy to be mentioned in the same breath as these guys and their books. As an author, I’d be happy if my book won; as a reader and all-around skiffy geek I’d be happy if any of these books won.

* I’m equally pleased with my class for the Campbell, and it’s my sincere hope you’ll check out the other nominees. I’ve heard rumblings that I’m the presumptive front runner in this category, but Brokeback Mountain was the presumptive front runner, and look what happened there. These folks are too good as writers to discount in any way; I don’t and I hope you won’t either.

* I’m struck at how substantially different the Hugo and Nebula ballots are this year; even in the short story categories there’s not a whole lot of overlap. This is no doubt significantly due to the differing ways in which works become eligible for consideration for each award; only one of the Nebula nominees for Best Novel was even released in 2005; indeed of the literary categories, only the Short Story Nebula category had the majority of its nominees from the 2005 calendar year. I’ve already noted my opinion this makes the Nebulas somewhat stale as awards go, so there’s no need to go into that again.

However, even factoring the 2004 Hugo awards into the mix, there’s not a lot of overlap; only one book, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, is on both the Hugo and Nebula lists the last two years, suggesting that even if the awards had the same temporal window, there wouldn’t be too much in common between the slates. I’m perfectly good with this — in fact I like it this way, since SF is varied field and there are many excellent books which deserve recognition for different factors. I have my problems with the Nebula Awards, but quality of the finalists is not one of them.

* Yes, I’ll be going to LACon IV and will be on hand for the awards ceremony. I was planning to attend anyway, because among other things I grew up in the Los Angeles area. Yes, I’ll be representin’ for the East San Gabriel Valley, yo — a shout out to my homies in Azusa! Glendora! Covina! Claremont! San Dimas High School football rulez! A Worldcon in my hometown (well, my home major metropolitan area, anyway) was not something I was going to miss, nor an excuse to eat Double-Doubles until I barf. So should I win the Hugo or Campbell, winning in LA will make it doubly sweet (or doubly-doubly sweet, as I may take my Double-Double on stage with me). So, yes, you’ll see me there. Hopefully I’ll see you there, too.

Hugos and Campbells

The Hugo and Campbell nominations are out, and it appears that Old Man’s War has been nominated for Best Novel, and I’ve been nominated for the Campbell. Here’s the entire slate of nominees:

Best Novel
Learning the World, Ken MacLeod (Orbit; Tor)
A Feast for Crows, George R.R. Martin (Voyager; Bantam Spectra)
Old Man’s War, John Scalzi (Tor)
Accelerando, Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit)
Spin, Robert Charles Wilson (Tor)

Best Novella
Burn, James Patrick Kelly (Tachyon)
“Magic for Beginners”, Kelly Link (Magic for Beginners, Small Beer Press; F&SF September 2005)
“The Little Goddess”, Ian McDonald (Asimov’s June 2005)
“Identity Theft”, Robert J. Sawyer (Down These Dark Spaceways, SFBC)
“Inside Job”, Connie Willis (Asimov’s January 2005)

Best Novelette
“The Calorie Man”, Paolo Bacigalupi (F&SF October/November 2005)
“Two Hearts”, Peter S. Beagle (F&SF October/November 2005)
“TelePresence”, Michael A. Burstein (Analog July/August 2005)
“I, Robot”, Cory Doctorow (The Infinite Matrix February 15, 2005)
“The King of Where-I-Go”, Howard Waldrop (SCI FICTION December 7, 2005)

Best Short Story
“Seventy-Five Years”, Michael A. Burstein (Analog January/February 2005)
“The Clockwork Atom Bomb”, Dominic Green (Interzone May/June 2005)
“Singing My Sister Down”, Margo Lanagan (Black Juice, Allen & Unwin; Eos)
“Tk’tk’tk”, David D. Levine (Asimov’s March 2005)
“Down Memory Lane”, Mike Resnick (Asimov’s April/May 2005)

Best RelatedBook
Transformations: The Story of the Science Fiction Magazines from 1950 to 1970, Mike Ashley (Liverpool)
The SEX Column and Other Misprints, David Langford (Cosmos)
Science Fiction Quotations edited, Gary Westfahl (Yale)
Storyteller: Writing Lessons and More from 27 Years of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop, Kate Wilhelm (Small Beer Press)
Soundings: Reviews 1992_1996, Gary K. Wolfe (Beccon)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
Batman Begins Story, David S. Goyer. Screenplay, Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer. Based on the character created, Bob Kane. Directed, Christopher Nolan. (Warner Bros.)
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Screenplay, Ann Peacock and Andrew Adamson and Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. Based on the novel, C.S. Lewis. Directed, Andrew Adamson. (Walt Disney Pictures/Walden Media)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Screenplay, Steven Kloves. Based on the novel, J.K. Rowling. Directed, Mike Newell. (Warner Bros.)
Serenity Written & Directed, Joss Whedon. (Universal Pictures/Mutant Enemy, Inc.)
Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were_Rabbit Screenplay, Steve Box & Nick Park and Bob Baker and Mark Burton. Directed, Nick Park & Steve Box. (Dreamworks Animation/Aardman Animation).

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
Battlestar Galactica “Pegasus” Written, Anne Cofell Saunders. Directed, Michael Rymer. (NBC Universal/British Sky Broadcasting)
Doctor Who “Dalek” Written, Robert Shearman. Directed, Joe Ahearne. (BBC Wales/BBC1)
Doctor Who “The Empty Child” & “The Doctor Dances” Written, Steven Moffat. Directed, James Hawes. (BBC Wales/BBC1)
Doctor Who “Father’s Day” Written, Paul Cornell. Directed, Joe Ahearne. (BBC Wales/BBC1)
Jack-Jack Attack Written & Directed, Brad Bird. (Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation)
Lucas Back in Anger Written, Phil Raines and Ian Sorensen. Directed, Phil Raines. (Reductio Ad Absurdum Productions)
Prix Victor Hugo Awards Ceremony (Opening Speech and Framing Sequences). Written and performed, Paul McAuley and Kim Newman. Directed, Mike & Debby Moir. (Interaction Events)
(There are seven nominees due to a tie for fifth place)

Best Professional Editor
Ellen Datlow (SCI FICTION and anthologies)
David G. Hartwell (Tor Books; Year’s Best SF)
Stanley Schmidt (Analog)
Gordon Van Gelder (F&SF)
Sheila Williams (Asimov’s)

Best Professional Artist
Jim Burns
Bob Eggleton
Donato Giancola
Stephan Martiniere
John Picacio
Michael Whelan
(There are six nominees due to a tie for fifth place)

Best Semiprozine
Ansible edited, Dave Langford
Emerald City edited, Cheryl Morgan
Interzone edited, Andy Cox
Locus edited, Charles N. Brown, Kirsten Gong_Wong, & Liza Groen Trombi
The New York Review of Science Fiction edited, Kathryn Cramer, David G. Hartwell & Kevin J. Maroney

Best Fanzine
Banana Wings edited, Claire Brialey & Mark Plummer
Challenger edited, Guy H. Lillian III
Chunga edited, Andy Hooper, Randy Byers & carl juarez
File 770 edited, Mike Glyer
Plokta edited, Alison Scott, Steve Davies & Mike Scott

Best Fan Writer
Claire Brialey
John Hertz
Dave Langford
Cheryl Morgan
Steven H Silver

Best Fan Artist
Brad Foster
Teddy Harvia
Sue Mason
Steve Stiles
Frank Wu

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer of 2004 or 2005
[Not a Hugo, Sponsored by Dell Magazines]
K.J. Bishop (2nd year of eligibility)
Sarah Monette (2nd year of eligibility)
Chris Roberson (2nd year of eligibility)
Brandon Sanderson (1st year of eligibility)
John Scalzi (1st year of eligibility)
Steph Swainston (2nd year of eligibility)
(There are six nominees due to a tie for fifth place)

Naturally, I’m very happy about my nominations, and it’s neat to be nominated for both the Campbell and Best Novel in the same year. I figured that was not the usual thing, so I went back to see how many times it’s happened before. The answer: once, legitimately, in 1984, when R.A. MacAvoy did it with her novel Tea With the Black Dragon. It also happened in 1989 but as I understand it there was some issue with ballot stuffing, and the book in question was withdrawn from consideration. I didn’t stuff any ballots. I swear. Anyway, it’s a fun bit of trivia. I’m the Buzz Aldrin of Hugo/Campbell whammies!

I’m also chuffed about the company I’m keeping, both with the Campbell and with the Hugo. In the Campbells, I know Chris and Sarah personally and couldn’t be happier for them, and will now hie myself to the bookstore to catch up with Bishop, Swainston and Sanderson. As for the Hugos — well, you know. I’ve been pushing Accelerando on people all year, so I can’t say I’m surprised to see Charlie there. He’s earned this, and so has Accelerando. GRRM and I had an autographing session together at Boskone which was a lot of fun (it’ll be no surprise for y’all to learn he signed more books than I). And both Ken MacLeod and Robert Charles Wilson did me a mitzvah by providing wonderful quotes for Old Man’s War which went on the cover; I’m delighted and genuinely humbled to be in their company.

(The third SF writer who provided a quote for OMW, Cory Doctorow, is also nominated for a Hugo, in the Novelette category; Donato Giancola, who gave OMW its hardcover art, is up for the Hugo in the Professional Artist category. Coincidence?!???!???!? Well, yes. But a lovely coincidence it is.)

Aside from the nominees mentioned above I’m chuffed to see other friends and acquaintances up for awards this year, particularly James Patrick Kelly, Kelly Link, David Hartwell and Bob Eggleton. I’m disappointed to see that Patrick Nielsen Hayden is not nominated for Best Professional Editor; he only edited two of this year’s Best Novel nominees, after all. But what are you going to do.

Again, I’m delighted and humbled, and I thank those of you who nominated me for these awards. I’m going to have fun with this. And, of course, congratulations to all the other nominees. I hope you guys have fun with this, too.

Bow Down to Her Queenly Queenliness

Athena, practicing the withering squint of derision that will undoubtedly get her through her teenage years. Unless she tries it on her mother, whose paralyzing stare of outrage rather handily trumps this particular look (the best I can manage is the quirky look of amusement, which is not feared by anyone).

And now she’s done practicing and back to her normal self. She does in fact look a lot like me, especially around the eyes. Far cuter, though. And you know, I’m good with that.

Bow Down to Her Queenly Queenliness

Athena, practicing the withering squint of derision that will undoubtedly get her through her teenage years. Unless she tries it on her mother, whose paralyzing stare of outrage rather handily trumps this particular look (the best I can manage is the quirky look of amusement, which is not feared by anyone).

And now she’s done practicing and back to her normal self. She does in fact look a lot like me, especially around the eyes. Far cuter, though. And you know, I’m good with that.

Snow is Here



Ahh, now the snow is here.
Really, one minute there’s not a flake on the ground, and the next, it’s as if the clouds have taken a big white dump on my lawn. I took this picture about fifteen minutes ago, and since then the lawn has largely disappeared. The snow’s return will be brief, however; it’s going to be in the forties tomorrow. Yeah, I’m not going to miss it.

Here’s a picture of some buds in my yard that are currently being frosted in snow:

Hopefully this won’t kill them. I don’t suspect it will. It’s winter’s last gasp.

Snow is Coming

snow0321.jpg

Clearly Mother Nature believes not in the concept of tidy demarcations between seasons. The heaviest snowfall we had in the winter was actually in the late fall; now on the second day of spring we’re expecting up to six inches to fall sometime during the night. I’m expecting to wake up to a blanket of white and a snow day for Athena (she won’t mind). Personally I wish Mother Nature had gotten the memo: Spring, damn it.

Take the Hit

You know, articles like this make we wish that it will be my generation that decides to be the grown-ups and takes the hit with things like Social Security and the national debt and what have you. I wouldn’t mind waiting until 75 to collect a Social Security check, if it means not saddling my kids with ridiculous Social Security-related taxes; even better, I wouldn’t mind converting my Social Security benefit into something that wasn’t so obviously a pyramid scheme based on gulling the young for my advantage. Likewise, I wouldn’t mind paying a little more in taxes now to work down the national debt to reasonable levels so my kid and her kids don’t have to pay for the stupid wastefulness that’s been happening for the last several years and today, plus all the interest the debt on that stupid wastefulness will accrue.

Yes, it would suck to have to clean up other people’s messes. But from a moral and economic point of view, it would suck worse to refuse to clean it up and to leave it for the next generation. Taking responsibility for things is what makes people grown-ups, and why as far as I can see grown-ups are mighty thin on the ground in Washington. The Bush folks are excellent, even primal examples of people who are not grown-ups economically or morally, but to be clear there seems to be a bipartisan lack of grown-ups in government right about now. It’s not just the Bushies who are the problem here.

I’ll be 37 in a couple of months, and this means that my generation of folks are now beginning to enter the political sphere in a serious way. Here’s a hint for all of them: I don’t care if you’re a Democrat, a Republican or something else — I want you to be a grown-up. I want you to say to us that we have to be the grown-ups and that we need to expect something other from our government than for it to be a never-ending, cost-deferred teat for whatever it is that we want — and that we shouldn’t expect our children to pay for the things we’re not willing to pay for ourselves. That’s a politician I’m going to be inclined toward.

This is not the same thing as a Grover Norquist-esque plan to strangle the federal government in a bathtub; Norquist and those of his cheaply petulant ilk who infest Washington thinking are the least grown-up people in several generations, and we’re suffering the penalty for that fact. I think the government can do good, interesting and occasionally expensive things for the overall benefit of the nation. But this thing of pulling debt out of our ass and putting Band-Aids on programs that are structured on a series of data that have nothing to do with the current state of reality has really got to stop.

It’s not too much to hope my generation is the one who decides to actually do it, even at the risk of taking the hit ourselves. My kid’s future is worth me being a grown-up now; so is my nation’s future.

Take the Hit

You know, articles like this make we wish that it will be my generation that decides to be the grown-ups and takes the hit with things like Social Security and the national debt and what have you. I wouldn’t mind waiting until 75 to collect a Social Security check, if it means not saddling my kids with ridiculous Social Security-related taxes; even better, I wouldn’t mind converting my Social Security benefit into something that wasn’t so obviously a pyramid scheme based on gulling the young for my advantage. Likewise, I wouldn’t mind paying a little more in taxes now to work down the national debt to reasonable levels so my kid and her kids don’t have to pay for the stupid wastefulness that’s been happening for the last several years and today, plus all the interest the debt on that stupid wastefulness will accrue.

Yes, it would suck to have to clean up other people’s messes. But from a moral and economic point of view, it would suck worse to refuse to clean it up and to leave it for the next generation. Taking responsibility for things is what makes people grown-ups, and why as far as I can see grown-ups are mighty thin on the ground in Washington. The Bush folks are excellent, even primal examples of people who are not grown-ups economically or morally, but to be clear there seems to be a bipartisan lack of grown-ups in government right about now. It’s not just the Bushies who are the problem here.

I’ll be 37 in a couple of months, and this means that my generation of folks are now beginning to enter the political sphere in a serious way. Here’s a hint for all of them: I don’t care if you’re a Democrat, a Republican or something else — I want you to be a grown-up. I want you to say to us that we have to be the grown-ups and that we need to expect something other from our government than for it to be a never-ending, cost-deferred teat for whatever it is that we want — and that we shouldn’t expect our children to pay for the things we’re not willing to pay for ourselves. That’s a politician I’m going to be inclined toward.

This is not the same thing as a Grover Norquist-esque plan to strangle the federal government in a bathtub; Norquist and those of his cheaply petulant ilk who infest Washington thinking are the least grown-up people in several generations, and we’re suffering the penalty for that fact. I think the government can do good, interesting and occasionally expensive things for the overall benefit of the nation. But this thing of pulling debt out of our ass and putting Band-Aids on programs that are structured on a series of data that have nothing to do with the current state of reality has really got to stop.

It’s not too much to hope my generation is the one who decides to actually do it, even at the risk of taking the hit ourselves. My kid’s future is worth me being a grown-up now; so is my nation’s future.

Before I Forget –

– A nice review of TGB in the Flint Journal today: “John Scalzi dispels any notion he’s a one-hit wonder with ‘The Ghost Brigades,’ a thrilling follow-up to last year’s ‘Old Man’s War.'” I’m a two-hit wonder, at least!

Proof We Need Better 1st Amendment Education

Some morons are suing Google because they don’t like the way Google’s search algorithms mess with their ability to make money (which, apparently, relied almost entirely on high page rankings on Google). This would be an idiotic suit anyway, but this is what really makes me wish I was a judge, so I could penalize someone lots of money for filing frivilous lawsuits:

The complaint accuses Google, as the dominant provider of Web searches, of violating KinderStart’s constitutional right to free speech by blocking search engine results showing Web site content and other communications.

My mind just boggles every single time I read that. I literally cannot imagine a lawyer incompetent enough to craft that argument actually passing the bar in any state in the nation and finding profitable work in the world. Clearly some must. But I try not to sully my beautiful mind imagining who they might be, or alternately, who would be stupid enough to employ them. The idea that being unhappy with one’s Google page ranking somehow equates to a constitutional restriction of speech just makes me feel like my head needs to explode.

The closest thing to this in my personal experience was when I was the editor of the Maroon, which was the student newspaper at my school. The editors-in-chief and business managers of the newspaper previous to me and my business manager had done a really tremendously poor job of actually getting advertisers to pay for their advertisements, and as a result the amount owed to the newspaper by our advertisers was in the six figures (I don’t remember the exact amount at the moment, but I think it was something like $250,000 or some such). We told the advertisers in arrears that they needed to pay up before they could advertise again, which was serious threat since the Maroon was actually a cheap and effective way to reach bunches of college kids with disposable incomes.

But some advertisers were appalled that we suddenly expected to be paid; one actually called up and screamed in my ear that my refusing to let him advertise until he paid up was limiting his constitutional right to free speech. I was literally struck dumb by the sheer stupidity of the statement. I seriously considered telling that man that he was too stupid to advertise in my newspaper at all. I did not — I had a business to run, after all — but the temptation was mighty.

Back here in the present day, it is my sincere hope that when this lawsuit gets in front of a judge that first she will have a nice, hearty laugh, and then she’ll drop the filing attorneys in jail for the weekend for wasting the court’s time in such an asinine fashion. These morons’ difficulties with Google are not the Constitution’s problem. Sadly enough these days, the Constitution has enough problems of its own without these people trying to whip one up because their business is in the crapper. Jail time! It would not be too good for these lawyers.

Proof We Need Better 1st Amendment Education

Some morons are suing Google because they don’t like the way Google’s search algorithms mess with their ability to make money (which, apparently, relied almost entirely on high page rankings on Google). This would be an idiotic suit anyway, but this is what really makes me wish I was a judge, so I could penalize someone lots of money for filing frivilous lawsuits:

The complaint accuses Google, as the dominant provider of Web searches, of violating KinderStart’s constitutional right to free speech by blocking search engine results showing Web site content and other communications.

My mind just boggles every single time I read that. I literally cannot imagine a lawyer incompetent enough to craft that argument actually passing the bar in any state in the nation and finding profitable work in the world. Clearly some must. But I try not to sully my beautiful mind imagining who they might be, or alternately, who would be stupid enough to employ them. The idea that being unhappy with one’s Google page ranking somehow equates to a constitutional restriction of speech just makes me feel like my head needs to explode.

The closest thing to this in my personal experience was when I was the editor of the Maroon, which was the student newspaper at my school. The editors-in-chief and business managers of the newspaper previous to me and my business manager had done a really tremendously poor job of actually getting advertisers to pay for their advertisements, and as a result the amount owed to the newspaper by our advertisers was in the six figures (I don’t remember the exact amount at the moment, but I think it was something like $250,000 or some such). We told the advertisers in arrears that they needed to pay up before they could advertise again, which was serious threat since the Maroon was actually a cheap and effective way to reach bunches of college kids with disposable incomes.

But some advertisers were appalled that we suddenly expected to be paid; one actually called up and screamed in my ear that my refusing to let him advertise until he paid up was limiting his constitutional right to free speech. I was literally struck dumb by the sheer stupidity of the statement. I seriously considered telling that man that he was too stupid to advertise in my newspaper at all. I did not — I had a business to run, after all — but the temptation was mighty.

Back here in the present day, it is my sincere hope that when this lawsuit gets in front of a judge that first she will have a nice, hearty laugh, and then she’ll drop the filing attorneys in jail for the weekend for wasting the court’s time in such an asinine fashion. These morons’ difficulties with Google are not the Constitution’s problem. Sadly enough these days, the Constitution has enough problems of its own without these people trying to whip one up because their business is in the crapper. Jail time! It would not be too good for these lawyers.

Crawdads

For everyone who’s asked “What the hell is that thing over there in the photo strip?”, the answer is that it’s a crawdad, which I found in my yard last weekend, when we had heavy rains and a bit of flooding. Apparently there are a lot of them in a nearby pond, and when that pond overflows, it makes a stream in my yard and from time to time one of the crawdads escapes the pond and makes it to the stream. It always amuses me to have crawdads in my lawn. A couple of years ago, after a particular nasty flooding, not only did we have crawdads, we had fish. That was interesting.

And here you thought life in Ohio was boring.

Spring Look

Times change, people change, the look of the Whatever changes. The Whatever is now sporting spring-like colors (or early spring-like colors, in any event), and I’ve also changed the photostrip and the body  font. Feel free, of course, to comment and/or complain.