What’s Happening?

So, in fact, I have been largely avoiding the news — actually not so much avoiding news as it is not having a whole bunch of time to read it. What I’m trying to say is I have no clue what is going on out there in the rest of the universe.

So: Anything you think I should know about?

Yeah, I totally trust you not to lie to me.

63 Comments on “What’s Happening?”

  1. Let see…

    The biggest news in my little world is that Congress passed the Iraq bill, which is going to vetoed immediately. They also gave Gonzales’ assistant immunity and approved supenas for Rice (which she is ‘not inclined’ to follow).

    I didn’t see the Democratic Debate yesterday, but from what I’m reading…neither did anyone else. I’ve heard nothing about it. And I’m looking.

    Ummm…otherwise, I don’t know. Kobe Bryant scored a whole bunch of points last night, but you dont’ care about that.

    Its actually been a pretty slow week, so its worked out pretty well for you.

  2. Let see…

    The biggest news in my little world is that Congress passed the Iraq bill, which is going to vetoed immediately. They also gave Gonzales’ assistant immunity and approved supenas for Rice (which she is ‘not inclined’ to follow).

    I didn’t see the Democratic Debate yesterday, but from what I’m reading…neither did anyone else. I’ve heard nothing about it. And I’m looking.

    Ummm…otherwise, I don’t know. Kobe Bryant scored a whole bunch of points last night, but you dont’ care about that.

    Its actually been a pretty slow week, so its worked out pretty well for you.

  3. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, for rizzle.

    Richard Gere. Shot. Jack Valenti.

  4. Squat’s happening, that’s what. Down at the general store, Mabel caught the Peterson boy trying to steal some gumballs and a pack of firecrackers. Mrs. Michin’s peach cobbler gave the pastor an upset stomach. And Stan Armond left the Tap Room three sheets, went off the side of Route 29 and killed one of Old Man Stoddard’s pigs. Otherwise, nothing.

  5. As I live in Virginia, there still doesn’t seem to be any news happening in the world apart from VA Tech. I’m as interested as you are.

    Though this is good: On the Fountain Bookstore site, they have listed your upcoming tour stop thusly:

    “5/9 John Scalzi – Bigshot SF Writer!”

    I thought that was an amusing description.

  6. A scam has been uncovered where a company was cashing in on the Japanese fashion for toy poodles by giving lambs a poodle cut and selling them to unsuspecting rich women as poodles. “When my new poodle didn’t bark and refused dog food I took him to the vet” explained one famous Japanese actress. Another took hers for a poodle pedicure only to be told that it had hooves.

  7. In the rest of the universe?
    If astronomers discovered that 20 light years away in the direction of Libra, an earth-sized rocky planet orbits in the habitable zone of its star, a star already known to have Neptune-sized planets, would you consider that great news or big great news or not news?Just wondering.

  8. I know you don’t want us to lie to you, but this one is too amazing to believe on the face of it.

    From metro.co.uk:

    “Thousands of people have been ‘fleeced’ into buying neatly coiffured lambs they thought were poodles.

    Entire flocks of lambs were shipped over from the UK and Australia to Japan by an internet company and marketed as the latest ‘must have’ accessory.

    But the scam was only spotted after a leading Japanese actress said her ‘poodle’ didn’t bark and refused to eat dog food.”

  9. Bearing in mind that I’m on the wrong side of the pond for accurate, timely news:

    -Kusinich is filing Articles of Impeachment against Cheney for lying about Iraq. It seems to be a stunt, though– he doesn’t seem have the party leadership behind him (Pelosi dismissed it as a waste of time).

    -Rudy Guliani’s apparantly making a bit of a dick of himself with the ‘vote republican or the terrorists will kill you’ rhetoric. I haven’t read up on the specifics yet, but a bunch of people seem annoyed about it (and by a bunch of people, I mean my livejournal friends list and Keith Olbermann).

    -On this side of the pond, the Northern Ireland Assembly is set to begin sessions in two weeks. It’s a landmark occasion and a hefty step forward for the peace process. Unfortunately, it’s forcing the DUP and Sinn Fein to form a mandatory coalition, which is unlikely to lead to an efficient and smoothly-run government (Think Lyndon LeRuche splitting executive power with Strom Thurmond–that’s a bad analogy, but the level of ‘oh dear gawd’ is about the same). Also, a smoking ban in all public buildings, including pubs, goes into effect here in three days. But this probably isn’t what you meant when you asked for news.

    -BBC Reporter Alan Johnston, who was kidnapped by a paramilitary group in Gaza, is still missing, but word now is that he’s still alive.

    -A pie shortage has taken the east coast by storm. Prices have skyrocketed as the populace makes a run on the remaining pie.

  10. Turns out our troops used the Japanese Comfort Women after WWII also. The word ‘used’, while a good descriptive in this headline, really gives me the creeps when I think about what the sentence means. (Link above in URL).

  11. Ian – Dallas, Texas – I'm a freelance writer and editor in Dallas, Texas. I focus my writing mainly on speculative fiction, but I edit just about anything. You can find my CV at http://www.visualcv.com/isbspup.
    Ian

    If you’d like to see Olbermann go after Rudy for his comments, a good editing of the show is here. It’s definitely worth watching.

    Aside from the alien race of giant ants taking over the space station and making the astronauts their laboring slaves, nothing much is going on. I think we’re expected to launch missiles to bring down the ISS and its new Ant overlords around tea-time.

  12. Ian – Dallas, Texas – I'm a freelance writer and editor in Dallas, Texas. I focus my writing mainly on speculative fiction, but I edit just about anything. You can find my CV at http://www.visualcv.com/isbspup.
    Ian

    If you’d like to see Olbermann go after Rudy for his comments, a good editing of the show is here. It’s definitely worth watching.

    Aside from the alien race of giant ants taking over the space station and making the astronauts their laboring slaves, nothing much is going on. I think we’re expected to launch missiles to bring down the ISS and its new Ant overlords around tea-time.

  13. Intrepid investigative reporters have finally uncovered the truth: http://www.snopes.com is operated by a small girl and her pony out of their attic bedroom using the neighbors wireless internet service illegally. They decide what’s true or not using a Magic 8-Ball.

    And the word “Tiv-over” is officially going in the dictionary to refer to all the shows you’ve recorded on Tivo, but can’t stand to watch because they aren’t as good as they used to be.

    Speaking of which … Ronald Moore let loose with a startling spoiler … Starbuck is not a Cylon, but it turns out she was actually a man all this time. Lee is a little disappointed.

    Otherwise, you haven’t missed much.

  14. Thaumaturge/Professor Stephen Hawking, one of the
    world’s leading experts on gravity and 4-dimensional spells, has taken off on a flight which lets him experience weightlessness without a levitation spell on his own frail body.

    The renowned theoretical magician-physicist, who is almost totally paralysed by a motor neuron curse, abandoned his wheelchair to float freely in a spherical ghost-glass sphere attached to specially modified Flying Carpet.

    A similar carpet, nicknamed the “vomit comet” is used by the American space agency Celestine to train astral voyagers, and which simulates zero gravity by taking a steep dive and going into “freefall”.

    A nurse lifted Professor Hawking’s arm so he could wave to news cameras before he boarded the flight. He was carried aboard the plane by a worker-gorilla in his wheelchair, which was then returned to the ground.

    Professor Hawking’s flight was made possible by Zero Gravity Consortium, a celestial tourism and
    entertainment company based in Area 52, Nevada.

    Before the flight, he said, through his magicked
    talking parrot with its eerie mechanical/operatic
    voice: “As someone who has studied gravity and black holes all of my life, I am excited to experience, first hand, weightlessness and a zero-gravity environment.

    “I am thankful to Zero Gravity Consortium for making this experience available to the general public, especially for disabled individuals.”

    The carpet, G-Force One, took off from the Rose Bowl parking lot, near the California Institute of Thaumaturgy, in Paradena, California, under a
    commercial agreement with Celestine.

    On his return, he was hosted at a banquet by
    Thaumaturge/Professor Richard Feynman.

    [sidebar]:

    After the success of QMD (quantum magicodynamics,
    Feynman turned to quantum gravity. By analogy with the photon, which has spin 1, he investigated the consequences of a free massless spin 2 field, and was able to derive the Einstein field equation of general relativity. However, a calculational technique that Feynman developed for gravity in 1962 — “ghosts” — later proved invaluable. Besides sheedding light on previously unsolved mysteries of thanaton-photon
    interaction in hauntings, this led, in 1967, to Fadeev and Popov quantizing the particle behaviour of the spin 1 theories of Yang-Mills-Shaw-Pauli, that are now seen to describe the weak, strong, and psionic
    interactions, using Feynman’s warpath integral
    technique. At this time he exhausted himself by
    working on multiple major projects at the same time, including his Lectures in Physical Spells, and his famous self-activated bongo drums. He also became interested in forensic magic, much to the annoyance of the Paradena Police Department…

  15. Well, apprently they are shooting a sequel to the ’80s computer flick Wargames (ok, that is old news really, but I just found out about it) and in the upcoming Scottish elections it looks like we are going to be giving Tony Blair a right good kicking (figuratively speaking anyway, sadly).

    Oh and as the row about Wolfowitz and corruption gets worse and a senior US army officer critisies US policy in Iraq, the Pentagon annouces the surprise capture of another senior al-Qaeda leader. Oh and a police cheif in Wales showed a decapitated head in a road safty campaign. Well a picture of one anyway.

    And president Putin threatens nuclear war.

  16. Dinosaurs invaded Delaware. But then they were all given credit cards which they immediately maxed out, and now they’re in debtor’s prison.

  17. Boris Yeltsin died. No need to embalm as his body has been soaked in alcohol (vodka, in particular) for such a long time. They just have to keep an open flame away from it, otherwise, it might just burst into a big ball of fire.

    Bush caught on tape dancing with the natives – looks like he has been inhaling something or back on the drink.

  18. I don’t know what’s going on either… I’ve spent the entire week at my mom’s house, trying to get her new goddamn poodle to eat its Kibbles ‘n’ Bits.

  19. I don’t know what’s going on either… I’ve spent the entire week at my mom’s house, trying to get her new goddamn poodle to eat its Kibbles ‘n’ Bits.

  20. Consu have indeed taken over Claremont, California. The Governator doesn’t want to do anything about it. I think it was always part of his plan.

  21. There was a media bruhaha over allegations that Curt Schilling’s bloody sock at the 2004 World Series was a publicity stunt.

    Top Republicans introduced a bill to abolish term limits so Bush could run for a third term. Democrats dithered about how to counter it and it accidentally passed.

    In a shocker of an episode, American Idol “Gives Back” and no one is kicked off the show.

    And apparently human beings have a genetic tendency towards confusing sheep and dogs. Explains Wallace & Grommit’s A Close Shave, doesn’t it?

  22. I haven’t been following the news closely myself. But apparently, Don Imus shot a bunch of people at some school? Something like that.

  23. Apparently all pet food is now deathly poison.

    http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/petfood.html

    It’s now wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate, some of which is not appearing on the labels of affected food. Menu Foods is suing Chem Nutra. Chem Nutra is suing Menu Foods. A couple of small pet food companies claim the manufacturer put rice protein concentrate into their food without their knowledge or permission. Pet Connection’s self-reported database (bear in mind the problems with self-reporting) is around 4500 pets dead. The CFO of Menu Foods dumped his stock a couple of weeks before the recall. The Chinese say it’s not their fault they didn’t do it. Companies that process veterinary medical tests are raking in the dough (Idexx Labs earnings are up 15.1%). The poison could be in pork sold for human consumption, too, and they’re investigating whether it’s in chicken feed as well.

    The ASPCA advises against the dangers of home cooking for your pets. Have a nice day. Don’t order the pork.

  24. It’s been discovered by researchers that if you are cornered by a boring person at a function you can get rid of him/her by intoning the word “potrzebie” a number of times or asking in a bright voice “Do you know that its crackers to slip a rozzer the dropsy in snide?”

  25. Apparently all pet food is now deathly poison.

    See, that’s how it began. All the dogs and cats died and then the apes became our pets, then servants, then our masters. I saw in Beneath the Return to Children of the Planet of the Apes, the one with a bunch of monkeys, a circus, and Ricardo Montalban.

    Apes! Dammed dirty apes are taking over the world. For the love of the Lawgiver, John, turn on the news!

  26. It’s taken a while (distance, donchaknow), but Pluto finally heard about being downgraded from planet status. It’s left orbit and is now headed toward somewhere, it will, presumably, find love.

  27. News to me (and maybe to you):

    “It could be worse. Howard Hendrix could start writing crime. 8D

    Now if John Scalzi would like to start writing crime… Well, he openly admits copping Hiassen in his most recent book.
    Comment by Jim Winter — April 25, 2007 @ 6:28 pm”

    Context here:
    http://www.edrants.com/?p=5937#comments

  28. It turns out “Carbon Credits” are a scam.

    I guess the only real news about this is that someone actually looked into it and confirmed what most people already knew.

    Of course there is this tiny, but very wealthy minority who were shocked.

    Just shocked.

    And will continue to buy (and sell) them anyway.

  29. Apparently all pet food is now deathly poison.

    Yeesh. Imagine my relief upon reading this.

    The ASPCA advises against the dangers of home cooking for your pets.

    Is this the fairly well-known “if you don’t know what your pets’ nutrition needs actually are you could end up with malnourished and/or poisoned pets” danger, or is this some sort of “warning! cooked human grade meats are BAD for cats! (who knew?) Feed them processed byproducts and preservatives that may contain traces of melamine instead! (This warning paid for by Menu Foods and the pet food industry.)” ?

  30. Since melamine has been added to pet foods, some pets who have developed tolerance for the chemical have now developed a taste for it. These pets are now starting to chew melamine dishes and countertops and will eventually start eating all furniture with melamine in them. So much for evolution.

  31. I spend a far amount of time away from TV, newspapers, and the INTernet, and when I do finally get back to civilization and connectivity, I found that a quick sweep of headlines indicate I have not missed much at all.

  32. Woah. Two other folks who’ve been to Claremont? Now there’s something you don’t see everyday.

  33. Nicole–

    The ASPCA warning was basically the “If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can have a malnourished pet” warning. Okay, that’s fairly reasonable, except that it came out when the FDA was refusing to name which pet food companies had the poison rice protein concentrate (even though they knew). In light of “There’s poison food out there, but we won’t tell you where. Have a nice weekend!” I really think my attempts to whip up cat food without the benefit of a team of veterinary nutritionists advising me at every turn was really the lesser of two evils.

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