Monthly Archives: October 2008

Election List X: Some of The Horrible Things That Will Happen To You If You Don’t Vote

This is all true.

Election List X: Some of The Horrible Things That Will Happen To You If You Don’t Vote

1. Your penis will fall off. If you are a woman, you will grow a penis, which will then fall off.

2. Your peers will point and laugh at you more than they already do.

3. You will have to listen to smug voters say “if you didn’t vote, you can’t complain” for at least two years.

4. You will be consumed by pillbugs whilst you sleep. They will leave behind nothing but your penis, which as you’ll recall, has already fallen off.

5. You will smell of sour buttermilk until the next New Hampshire primary.

6. Uncontrolled flatulence.

7. Cars will swerve to hit you, even when you are inside your own home.

8. Your World of Warcraft party will turn on you and smite you mightily.

9. Impotence. And not just because your penis has fallen off.

10. Stairs will rise to trip you.

11. Boils. In Biblical plague amounts.

12. Static cling that no amount of Bounce sheets will ever cure.

13. Your cat will take a dump somewhere in the house that you will never find, and the smell will be carried through the air vents for months, all the while the cat will stare at you with that “you’re a real asshole” look they sometimes have. If you do not have a cat, one will be provided for you for the length of time required for it to crap in said undisclosed location.

14. Your credit card will be canceled and your creditors will send someone to repossess your penis. Which has fallen off.

15. Your favorite TV show will be canceled and every time you try to buy the last season on DVD, retailers will be out of stock.

16. Your children will disown you. If you have no children, you will be summarily adopted by a family, and when you attend Thanksgiving at their home, you will be told how disappointed they are in you. For six hours straight. After which they will disown you.

17. Your cabbies will henceforth always take the long route to any destination to which you travel.

18. Zombies, and you without a shotgun.

19. Everyone on your street will win the lottery. You will get a rock.

20. I swear to God, I will learn your address, come to your house, and when you open the door, I will totally kick you in the nads. Which will hurt even more because they’re the only reproductive organs you have left. Because your penis has fallen off.

I trust now you will be sufficiently motivated to vote.

The election lists are now completed. Thank you for your attention.

Election List IX: The Rationales Each Party Will Give If They Lose The Election

Because it’s important to have an excuse.


Election List IX: The Rationales Each Party Will Give If They Lose The Election

Republicans:

1. The black vote

2. Also, the youth vote

3. And the elderly

4. And the hispanics

5. And the gays and lesbians

6. And the women

7. And the early voters

8. Jesus, who did we have voting for us?

9. White dudes with Sarah Palin MILF fantasies? Really, that’s it?

10. Give me that gin. And that Ambien.

Democrats:

1. Racism.

2. Diebold.

3. Karl Rove. Somehow.

Libertarians

1. Dude, we’re Libertarians.

2. We never win.

3. We can’t win.

4. And frankly, if we did win, we’d probably all pee ourselves in terror.

5. And so would you.

6. Now, let’s smoke a bowl and watch some porn.

Election List VIII: Instances of “[Name] the [Occupation]” That Have Yet to Be Used By McCain or Palin

This goes out to all the plumbers named Joe out there. I love you, man.

Election List VIII: Instances of “[Name] the [Occupation]” That Have Yet to Be Used By McCain or Palin

1. Brad the Milkman

2. Sid the Deli Owner

3. Bryan the Surly Indie Music Store Clerk

4. Kim the Overnight Wal-Mart Stocker

5. Hakeem the Halal Butcher

6. Aloysius the Chicken Sexer

7. Carol the Humorless, Cavity-Probing TSA Agent

8. Klaus the Eurotrash A&R Man

9. Craig the Porn Reviewer

10. Markos the Blogger

11. Jim the Former Securities Trader, Now Best Buy Appliance Department Sales Trainee

12. Jesus the Lettuce-Picker

13. Ted the Secretly Gay Televangelist

14. Patrica the Humanities Degree Wielding Starbucks Barista

15. Steve the Attack Ad Coordinator

16. Phil the Philatelist

17. Tom the Torturer

18. Sarah the Self-Serving Rogue Campaigner

19. John the Wholly Disappointing Top of the Ticket

20. Barack the President

Election List VII: Bombshells the McCain Campaign Has Yet to Drop About Barack Obama

Once these get out, the electoral map will run red!

Election List VII: Bombshells the McCain Campaign Has Yet to Drop About Barack Obama

1. Obama actually 63% black, not 50/50 as previously reported

2. Has not only started measuring the White House drapes, but has already sent them out to be dry cleaned (“to get rid of that horrible Dubya stench”)

3. Not just a socialist, but a Fabian

4. Feeds kittens to alligators, and then those alligators to pit bulls, then the pit bulls to sharks

5. Born not in Hawaii but in The Land of the Lost

6. Grandfather actually a Sleestak

7. Is so poor he only owns one house

8. While high on poppers, had a threesome with Jeremiah Wright and Rashid Khalidi, while Bill Ayers recorded it on video. The LA Times has the tape but won’t release it

9. Totally told the McCain campaign that he doesn’t actually like any of the voters in Pennsylvania or Ohio or Florida or North Carolina or Colorado, and that he’s only being friendly to them for right now, but when the election’s over, it’ll be, like, yeah, don’t even know who you are, so get away from me, losers. And that’s just not nice

10. Found the change he needed in the campaign bus seat cushions, used it to buy cigarettes

Election List V: The Contents of the Democratic Poll-Watching Kit

For when the Democrats freak out as the polls inevitably tighten.

Election List V: The Contents of the Democratic Poll-Watching Kit

1. Mr. Snuggles, the cuddly Democrat plush bear

2. A dime bag of skunkweed

3. An iPod Nano preloaded with Coltrane, James Taylor and Will.i.am’s “Yes We Can” video; also, Peggle

4. John McCain and/or Sarah Palin stress reliever whose eyes pop comically as you squeeze it and shout “you lost Florida!”

5. A special, personalized “don’t panic” note from Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight

6. Tollhouse cookies like the kind the TV you watched during your latchkey kid days told you were like mom used to make

7. Ritalin

8. An autographed photo of Rachel Maddow

9. A game card for the play-at-home version of Congressional Takeover Bingo

10. Suicide Hotline number (in case McCain wins Pennsylvania)

Election List IV: The Things I Think About As I Stare At This Picture of Joe Biden

Because I guess I have to write something about him, too.

Election List IV: The Things I Think About As I Stare At This Picture of Joe Biden

1. It looks like doll hair.

2. Men shouldn’t botox.

3. I bet Hillary’s still really pissed.

4. I think I drove through Delaware once.

5. Yeah, I did. They have a toll road that’s, like, a mile long.

6. Seriously, a mile-long toll road? That totally sucks.

7. All my credit card companies are incorporated in Delaware.

8. No, wait, that’s South Dakota. Delaware is where all the really big companies incorporate.

9. Like how all those cruise ships are registered in Liberia. Which makes Delaware the Liberia of the US.

10. It still looks like doll hair.

Election List III: Things Sarah Palin Has Shot Or Would Shoot From a Helicopter

It’s quite a list.

Election List III: Things Sarah Palin Has Shot Or Would Shoot From a Helicopter

1. Wolves

2. Coyotes

3. Arctic foxes

4. Deer

5. Giraffes

6. Tortoises

7. Dolphins

8. Salmon

9. Katie Couric

10. That son of a bitch that divorced her sister

11. Kittens

12. Whoever made that Photoshopped picture of her in a bikini, holding a rifle

13. Owls

14. Baby seals

15. Tina Fey

16. Andrew Sullivan

17. Levi (note to self: Only wound)

18. Donkeys

19. Elephants

20. John McCain

Election List II: The Verified Miracles of St. Obama

Because he’s not just a presidential candidate!

Election List II: The Verified Miracles of St. Obama

1. Restored Joe Biden’s hairline

2. Not only heals the sick but springs for their co-pay

3. Loaves and fishes for every family making less than $200,000

4. Smells intensely and deliciously of butterscotch

5. Offers hope, and also, Amway

6. That mole on the side of his nose? Made of concentrated awesome

7. Every child he hugs on the campaign trail becomes 10% smarter

8. Made Hillary Clinton stump for him

9. Every time he shoots one into the hoop from downtown, an angel gets his wings

10. Is the front-runner for president while being a black man named Barack Obama

Election List I: People/Things I Would Vote For President Before I Would Vote For John McCain

You know, for the last two weeks I’ve been trying to write a long, cogent piece about who I’m voting for and why, but every time I try I am filled with inchoate rage and just want to kick a puppy or someone who voted for Nader in 2000. So instead I’m going to write a series of short, punchy election lists, which will probably be more amusing and will at the very least keep me from beating on something with a hammer.

And so, to begin:

Election List I: People/Things I Would Vote For President Before I Would Vote For John McCain


1. Barack Obama

2. Bob Barr

3. A large, flat, warm rock

4. Hermann von Googlefleugel, the garden gnome under which I keep my spare house key

5. Arnold Schwarzenegger

6. A kitchen sponge

7. Zamfir, Master of the Pan Flute

8. Chewed gum you find under a desk at the DMV while you take the written part of your driving test

9. Toast!

10. A teratoma that vaguely resembles a pony

11. An incontinent monkey or lemur

12. A large order of McDonald’s fries, lightly salted

13. The reanimated corpse of Millard Fillmore

14. A mat of algae

15. A black velvet painting of Wesley Crusher

16. H.R. Pufnstuf

17. A glazed donut

18. That guy on the A train who shouts loudly about his penis from 23rd to Cathedral Parkway

19. A Lite-Brite

20. Fucking Ralph fucking Nader, that goddamned fucking fuck

And Now, A Discussion of Constitutional Import

Today’s discussions on state constitutional amendments reminds me that one of the things that frustrates me is that so many state constitutions — i.e., so many foundational documents of state legal systems — are so easily amended. One of the great strengths of the US Constitution to my mind is that it’s so difficult to amend: Amendments have to jump over two sets of very high bars, first on the national and then on the state levels, in order to be encoded into the Constitution. Whereas in California and other states (such as Ohio, where I am), a simple majority of voters can amend the state constitution.

So, for open discussion:

Proposed:

1. State constitutions should have a similar bar to amendment as the US Constitution; e.g., a state constitutional amendment should require a two-thirds approval of the state legislature, plus a two-thirds approval of the voting public.

2. All state constitutions currently extant should be tabled and replaced with constitutions that provide only for the mechanics of governance (i.e., definition of executive, judicial and legislative branches and the election of each), onto which amendments may be added per point one.

Discuss.

Something Worth Noting, Re: People Who Vote For Prop 8

In the comment thread to the previous post, I said the following:

Bear in mind that while I think Prop 8 is hateful, bigoted and wrong, I believe that lots of people who don’t see themselves as hateful and bigoted can see themselves voting for it because they think it’s the right thing to do. As noted, I do feel sorry for them and I hope in the fullness of time they learn to regret their actions, because they are, at heart, good and loving people.

I actually believe this. I think there are good, decent, kind and loving people who will vote for a proposition that is fundamentally bigoted and wrong and hurtful, and that they will do it out of the best of intentions, motivated by a belief in a particular religion, or fear of a changing world, or a perceived conflict in moral system, or because they want to plant a flag about the encroaching power of governments, some combination of any or all of the above, or for some other reason entirely. Good people do bad things for reasons they believe to be good.

This does not make their actions less wrong. It’s clear to me that Proposition 8 is fundamentally bad and that it would inscribe prejudice into the California constitution; it’s a stain on the law and an embarrassment for the state. People who vote for it will vote for hate and bigotry, whether of not that is their intent. But it’s equally clear that at least some of the folks who will vote for it don’t intend to vote for hate or bigotry; either they don’t believe that’s what they’re doing, or they just can’t conceive that’s what they’re doing.

This is why it’s important to talk to anyone you know who is voting for Proposition 8 and let them know that while they see themselves as good and decent people — and you believe them to be, too — that nevertheless what they do with their vote will reflect on them and will matter going forward. I firmly believe that people who will vote for Prop 8 will continue to be good, decent, kind and loving people after they vote for it. They will simply have made a horrible moral choice, and will have to live with the consequences of their actions… and have to live knowing others will have to live with those consequences as well, with fewer rights, fewer rights for their families, and marriages that would otherwise be strong torn apart by governmental fiat. I think that’s going to be a heck of a moral burden to bear going forward, which is why I pity these people.

Anyway. Keep this in mind when talking about the folks who will vote yes on Prop 8. They’re not all bad people, even if they will, through voting for it, be the cause of bad things. In time, some of them may come to regret their choice. If they do, I would say it would be kind to offer to help them with their burden, and to help them work to change their error.

What? Prop 8 Threatens Existing Marriages? You Don’t Say

The Los Angeles Times catches up with a something I’ve been noting, like, oh, forever: That if California’s Proposition 8 passes, the thousands of already-married same sex couples will find their marriages thrown into legal limbo, because Prop 8 outlaws California’s recognition of same-sex marriages, and doesn’t make provision for already-existing marriages. Here’s one little tidbit:

New York University law professor Kenji Yoshino, who favors same-sex marriage, concluded that the U.S. Constitution would offer few protections to existing gay marriages if Proposition 8 passed.

“My hope going into this was that I would find a smoking gun case that would say those marriages would be protected,” Yoshino said. “I kept looking and looking and looking, and when I couldn’t find one, I was astonished.”

He said the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly rejected due-process challenges to retroactive legislation. The Contracts Clause, which prevents states from passing laws that impair contracts, would also offer little protection because the court has ruled that “marriage is not a contract” protected by the clause, he said.

There are others, including Attorney General Jerry Brown, who suggest that the already-married same sex couples will be able to keep their marriage status, but with all due respect to Jerry Brown, he and these other people are high. The people who whomped up Prop 8 simply won’t allow that to happen, because their position is predicated on the notion that any same-sex marriage is a threat. If literally thousands of same-sex married couples continue to exist in California, then the state is still must recognize and protect same-sex marriage, even if no more are allowed to be created in the state. Which is, of course, explicitly against the newly-amended constitution of the state of California. Lawsuits to drive that point home would be imminent.

But more to the point, the continued existence of same-sex marriages would give absolute lie to the thinking behind Prop 8: That same-sex marriages in any way constitute a clear and present danger to the nature of marriage in general. Both the letter and spirit of Proposition 8 require the eradication of all same-sex marriages in California. To do any less destroys the whole point of Proposition 8. The people who thought up Proposition 8 will fight to wipe out every single marriage that doesn’t conform to their standard. Count on it.

This is why every single potential supporter of Proposition 8 should be looked square in the eye and asked if they are truly and seriously ready to say that that they personally are prepared to destroy already existing, already legal marriages — if they are truly and seriously ready to say that they know better than the people in a marriage whether that marriage should be allowed to exist — if they are truly and seriously ready to say to two married people, “you two don’t deserve to be married, and I intend to kill your marriage now.”

These people should not be allowed to squirm out of their moral quandary by suggesting that there will still be civil unions in California, or that the relationship two people have will continue to exist whether the marriage is invalidated or not — the fact they’re going to vote against these people’s marriages points out that they recognize there is something different and valuable about being married, as opposed to not. They shouldn’t be allowed to squirm out by making some argument that the government shouldn’t be in the marriage business anyway, because here in the real world, it is, and the theoretical must give way to the practical. Rights in the real world are on the line.

They need to recognize what it is that they’re doing, not to some potential marriage, but to a single, actual marriage that exists, now. I’m going to bold this next part, because I think it’s that important: If the people voting for Proposition 8 couldn’t stand personally in front of a married couple, tell that couple they shouldn’t be married, and say that it is their right and duty to destroy that marriage, they should not vote for Proposition 8. It’s really as simple as that.

Of course, there are people who could and would do such. The best one can feel for them is pity, and the hope that one day they will be ashamed to have done such a monstrous, horrible, hateful and bigoted thing. I suspect some of them will. I would feel further pity for those that won’t.

Me in Other Places

Because I know you love following links to other places online where I’m talking about stuff, here’s two, from yesterday:

* Over at SF Signal, I am one of many responding to the question “Is Science Fiction Responsible for the Lack of Public Interest in Space Exploration?” Because Buzz Aldrin says we are. And Buzz Aldrin went to the moon! So he knows everything.

* I participate in Reason magazine’s online polling of notables regarding for whom we all intend to vote for president. Inasmuch as Reason is a libertarian magazine, you’ll see Bob Barr being selected for president in disproportionate numbers, although, I confess, not by me. Also, it’s the first and I suspect last time I’m in a list of notables with Grover Norquist.

Vote! For, Uh, B-Movies

A couple of weeks ago on the AMC site, I asked people to nominate some of their favorite science fiction b-movies for an SF B-Movie Hall of Fame. I got over 100 comments, and from those comments I’ve selected 10 finalists. Now it’s your turn to vote which two of the finalists go on to the Hall of Fame. Go to the link, read up on the nominees, and then click on the “Vote in Poll” button at the end — AMC has set up a really ginchy poll thing where you can drag and drop any or all of the films into a ranking list.

Remember, your vote counts — there will be no poll challenges in this vote. So go over, find out about the films, and vote! It will change science fiction B-Movie history as we know it, I promise you. And as always, if you’ve got comments to make, make ‘em over on the AMC site. Comments are their joy.

Passing on a Note From Justine Larbalestier

Since I know there’s some overlap between readers here and readers of Justine Larbalestier’s blog, a quick note on her behalf: Her site is currently down because of a dispute she’s having with her ISP. You don’t need to send her e-mail about the site being down; she knows. Also, she’s open to suggestion for a good (new) (different) ISP, so if you have suggestions, by all means let her know. In the comments here would be helpful. Because her site is down, you see.

Why You Need an Agent, Foreign Edition

What you see before you, in no particular order, are the UK contract for Zoe’s Tale, the German contract for Zoe, the Portuguese contract for Old Man’s War, and the Japanese contract for The Last Colony. Combined, these contracts have a value worth slightly more than what I made working at a newspaper the first year I left college. And it’s free money, since I already did the work (i.e., writing the novels for US release).

But more importantly, it’s free money I could not obtain myself, because what I know about foreign markets could barely fill a thimble, and my interest in learning about said markets comprises an even smaller volume. My fiction agent, however, is apparently endlessly fascinated by foreign markets and is equally adept at convincing people in those markets to buy my books, since I’ve sold into fifteen of them so far, many of them more than once. He retrieves free money for me. He takes a bit off the top, to be sure. But considering I would not be getting this free money otherwise, that seems entirely fair.

I mention these contracts not necessarily to brag, but to offer up an object example for the writers I know who have wondered why they need an agent (if they’re new) or (if they’re already established) what an agent could do for them that they could not do for themselves. Well, they do this, for example. Admittedly, it’s theoretically possible that I myself could have chased down a lead for a publisher in, say, Estonia. It’s also theoretically possible that I could pilot myself across the United States in a Piper Cub aircraft, but all things considered it’s easier, cheaper and faster to let someone else fly. Equally, it’s easier, smarter and more convenient to let someone else chase down all these markets, leaving me time to, well, write. Which is what I’m good at.

Getting an agent is, of course, a real pain in the ass, so I entirely sympathize with the desire to skip that step if at all possible. However, I do suggest sticking to the process. The payoff won’t necessarily be immediate. On the other hand, when one day you’re looking at a contract that means within a year someone in Brazil could be enjoying your work in their own language — and you’re getting paid for it — you’ll giggle madly with glee and realize it was worth the trouble.

The Very Definition of “All Hat, No Cattle”

It’s here:

I could explain why it was I was wearing such a hat, but, honestly, now, would the truth actually be more interesting than the various reasons you might imagine? I say no. Suffice to say, it’s not my usual attire. Neither is the suit, come to think of it.

The lovely lady in the picture with me, incidentally, is journalist and noted body hacker Quinn Norton. In case you’re wondering, Krissy took the picture, which was no mean feat considering she was laughing quite a bit before and after the photo was taken.