Daily Archives: October 16, 2008

Archives Imported

With the invaluable assistance of Ryan Boren and the folks at WordPress, I am tickled pink to be able to announce that the full archives of my Whatever Movable Type install, going back to March, 2002, have now been imported and are fully readable and searchable. The only things missing are the only things that weren’t in the MT install to begin with: entries prior to 3/02, and the entries of July/August 2007, which were under a different MT install entirely (i.e., the one that didn’t work (through the fault of my host provider, not MT) and prompted my switch to WordPress in the first place). I’ll bring those entries in, uh, eventually.

This install brings the site up to 3,900 entries and 111,000 comments total. Which is, you know. A lot of words.

Note that in the short run, old links to MT-era pages will still go to those pages. As time goes by, however, I’ll start redirecting most of the frequently visited pages to the new install. I’ve already done that for “Being Poor,” which was good timing because apparently it’s been linked to quite a lot in the last couple of days. More will follow in the next couple of months, so that by the end of the year I’ll have most of the popular pieces fully redirected. Go me!

Anyway, enjoy the archives.

When Quoting

This has come up a couple of times in the last couple of days, so a quick comment on quoting articles, etc in comments:

Generally speaking, it’s not kosher to cut and paste an entire article from somewhere else and put it into your comment here, and also generally speaking, if you do it and I see it, I’ll probably excise the whole bit. That’s because it’s generally a copyright violation to post the whole of someone else’s work. So: if you’re tempted to just cut and paste a whole article from somewhere else, please don’t.

Instead, do this: Excerpt one to three paragraphs of the work (generally the opening three, but whatever’s directly pertinent is good), and then provide a link back to the whole article. That way, you’re probably not violating a copyright (three graphs of a longer piece pretty easily fits into fair use), and those folks who want to read the whole thing can do it. Everybody wins. 

(If it’s a really short piece — a couple hundred words or less — just excerpt a couple lines.)

Likewise, if you’re quoting a poem or song, usually one stanza/verse and a link should do it.

Exceptions to this are if you know the work is public domain or licensed under Creative Commons, or if you’re engaging in a critical response to the piece (known in Internet circles as “fisking”). But when in doubt: Three graphs and a link. Thanks.

Ghlaghghee Tires of the Fame

As you can see, Ghlaghghee is less than entirely impressed that she was within the hour the subject of discussion on nationwide radio (that nation being Canada). It’s all become so tiresome to her. Yes, she is famous, and what of it? What has fame ever done for her? Seriously, what has fame ever done for her? It’s not like she accrues any benefit from having been in the New York Times, or on CBC radio. She’s a cat. It’s not like when she goes outside and disembowels a shrew, the shrew thinks, well, at least I got eaten by someone famous. Really, it’s a whole different world down on that level.

Final (Thank God) Debate Comment Thread

Presidential historians like to note that people who listened to the 1960 Nixon-Kennedy presidential debate on the radio thought Nixon had won it, but the rest of America, who saw it on TV, took a look at the pale and sweaty Nixon next to the handsome and collected Kennedy, and gave it to the Massachusetts senator hands down. This debate was sort of like that. Everyone seems to agree that McCain gave his best debate performance yet, pressing Obama on issues and even getting some good lines — but on the split screen, he looked angry, agitated and a little weird. Whereas Obama did his Obama thing: stayed calm, stayed cool and stayed looking like he wasn’t going to go off on an uncontrollable spasm of anger. The end result: in a whole bunch of snap polls, Obama carried the debate by close to 2-to-1 margins.

The big difference between this debate and the Kennedy-Nixon debate, mind you, is that back in 1960 there was no YouTube, which allows people to make their favorite “angry, unsettled McCain moment” mashups from now until election day. McCain has totally lost control of his image; it’s in the hands not of pundits but of sporky college sophomores, uploading little videos long the merry day. That really is the new wrinkle (so to speak) of this particular presidential cycle.

I’m not going to say “it’s hard to see how McCain comes back from this,” because three weeks is three weeks and who knows what’s going to happen, and I’m superstitious about smugness and hubris and counting one’s chickens not just before they hatch, but before the eggs are laid. There’s still an election to have, and Obama and everyone else has to work for it. I don’t think Obama needs to be told that; I think many of his triumphalist pals might have to be taken aside and to keep their mouths shut and heads down until November 5.

However, I am going to say that I don’t think McCain gets out of the hole from here. Pro pundits say that this last debate didn’t change the dynamic of the race, but when you have one candidate snap polling at a 2-to-1 advantage to the other, that’s an odd thing to say. The dynamic changes, it just changes further to the advantage of Obama and to the Democrats generally. At this point, I don’t think the question is whether Obama’s going to win; the question is how big he’s going to win, and whether his momentum gets him 60 Democratic senators going in.

The comment thread is now open to your thoughts about the last debate; I’m also particularly interested in whether you see a path for McCain out of his particular hole, after this last big chance to make his case to voters. I can’t see one, but maybe I’m missing something. Let me know if you think I am.

Pick Your Favorite SF B-Movie

I’m doing an audience participation post over at AMC today, asking people to nominate their favorite science fiction B-movies for inclusion into an upcoming “Science Fiction B-Movie Hall of Fame.” I also explain why B-movies are so much fun, even when we know going in they’re probably gonna suck.

You know you want to nominate your favorite science fiction B-movie, so head on over and give a shout out to your favorite. Because when you do, somewhere a b-movie angel gets its wings.