Coffee Shop Review in Booklist


Hey! Booklist reviewed You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop: Scalzi on Writing, and it’s a really positive review. Aside from calling me “One of sf’s most inventive rising stars,” which is always nice, the review says:

Whether advising how to handle rejection or debunking concerns over online book piracy, Scalzi writes with irresistible panache, making his insights into the writing business as entertaining as they are instructive.

Awesome. Also: Thank God. If the Booklist review of Coffeeshop had said something along the lines of “clearly Scalzi hasn’t the slightest idea what he’s talking about,” I think I might have slit my own throat. The good news here is that Booklist is the magazine of the American Library Association, which means that now the book might pop up on library purchasing radars, which would make me very happy. On the flip side, this is a limited edition — 500 copies — so if you’re wanting your own copy, you might want to hurry with that order. February will be here sooner than you think.


White Castle = Not Hamburgers

“Chuck in Chicago” went to an In-N-Out Burger store in Arizona and was disappointed in the fare he received, which is unfortunate, and something I suppose could happen, although I personally have yet to be disappointed with the service and food I got at In-N-Out. But when he left a note about it here on the site, he crossed a line. What line is that? Well, it’s best I let the comment speak for itself:

I was in Scottsdale recently and made a trip to In ‘n Out burger after I read your comments touting their burgers. What a disappointment! I could make a better burger at home with ingredients from any supermarket. I doesn’t come close to White Castle, Steak and Shake, Fuddruckers or any other decent burger place. It is cheap, which may explain some of the attraction to those with no taste buds. And the service sucked as well! Please stay away from trying to be a food critic in the future.

This was my response:

White Castle is dog food on a tiny bun, Chuck, and the fact you think it’s better than an In-N-Out suggests there’s something seriously physiologically wrong with your tongue. You might want to get that checked out. Also, you have my pity.

Your admonition to not be a food critic in the future is also hereby ignored with prejudice, since any claims of the superiority of White Castle to any other burger, much less an In-N-Out burger, suggests something medically wrong with the claimant. This is because by any objective standard the White Castle slider is the appalling and degenerate tail end of the burger family, and is lesser than all other burgers ever created, up to and including a half-eaten microwavable burger purchased at a gas station and left rotting for seven days in the hottest July on record in the liqueur that marinates at the bottom of a slaughterhouse dumpster. Seriously, dude, you need an MRI or something.

Look, Midwesterners. Let me speak as one who lives among you and knows your sometimes incomprehensible ways. The rest of us know you love your White Castle, and, really, we’re content to let you have it. But the very second you claim that those vile, dwarfish patties of indeterminate origin are good by any other definition than the “this is something my intestines won’t quite reject,” or, possibly, the “we’re doing our part to clean up Mother Earth by recycling all those dead possums you find on rural highways” sense of the word, you lose. White Castle is as far from being a good burger as it is culinarily possible to be, a sort of anti-burger, if you will, that if it were to ever meet a real burger, would annihilate itself, not in a physical “anti-matter meeting matter” sense, but out of pure and simple shame. Claiming a White Castle slider represents a good burger is like pointing to mole rat and saying it’s an excellent example of a giraffe. You’re just so wildly wrong that all the rest of us can do is stare, agog, at the wonder of people who are actually capable of confusing the two.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Chuck in Chicago enjoys his White Castle. I just feel sorry for him that those insidious little squares of minced rodent and sawdust have so disfigured his tastebuds, so crushed and denatured them and inured them to a life of deprivation, that when they were confronted with an actual burger, a superior burger, his brain simply couldn’t decipher their joy. It’s like the burger equivalent of the Stockholm Syndrome. You can’t argue with that. You can just try to understand.

In any event. Midwesterners, it’s okay if you like White Castle. Just don’t expect any of the rest of us to go along with the theory that they’re actual hamburgers. And for God’s sake don’t suggest to us that they’re better than other hamburgers. You’ll never recover your credibility, not just on matters of food but indeed on any other subject which requires critical evaluation. Because someone who is that wrong on something that obvious is simply not to be trusted. Pitied, yes. Trusted, no.


Sunset With Venus

Say hello to the first sunset picture of 2007, and look! As an extra added bonus, there’s Venus, saying hello. This is the first really clear sunset we’ve had in a while, which is kind of frustrating for me, since I had been hoping to see Comet McNaught earlier in the month. I suppose I may have a chance again once the comet gets a little bit of a distance from the sun again. In the meantime Venus is putting on a pretty nice show.

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