Duck, Duck… Winner!

After much delay, I’m happy to announce the winners of the duck contest are An Eric, for his always-timely recasting of Animal Farm, and Alex Jay Berman, for an answer that is (you should excuse the pun) a little blue.

Both these gentlemen will be receiving an ARC of Subterranean Press’ upcoming The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox, an omnibus of the three delightful Master Li novels by Barry Hughart. You may recall that we folks here at Whatever were in some way responsible for this new edition of these works, so I’m delighted to be able to send off a couple of these ARCs as prizes.

So An Eric and Alex Jay Berman, e-mail me your addresses, and I’ll get these in the mail. Congratulations, and thanks everyone for playing. It was ducklicious.

And Now, Another Installment of Cheap Amusement Theater

Zeus + laser pointer = crazy delicious.

Extra points to the folks who recognize the music in the background.

Apparently This is All My Fault

Over at Salon, there’s a piece up on Bacon Mania, and why cured, fatty pork belly is such a cultural and online phenomenon these days. And guess who gets pegged as patient zero for the online bacon fever?

Blogger Sadie Fox, who also goes by the name Miss Cellania, wrote about the online bacon bonanza in a post for Mental Floss last summer. She dates the burgeoning phenomenon back to September 2006, when blogger John Scalzi momentarily captivated the blogosphere by taping bacon to his cat. If there is a better example of the sublime pointlessness of Internet memes, I cannot think of one. Oh, wait: Yes I can.

Yes, well. What can I say. I cannot deny this. And this at least explains why, when anything relating to bacon happens online, people feel compelled to let me know about it: Because it’s all my fault.

For those of you who enjoy it, you’re welcome. For those of you who despise it, I apologize. It’s a burden I will carry for the rest of my life. Fortunately, a tasty, tasty burden.

(Art, incidentally, by the superawesome Theo Black)

A Truly Stupid Amount of Money

Well, shucks! Looks like the Scalzi family stimulus check has arrived! And look at the riches our government has poured upon us, to help stimulate the struggling national economy:

Yes, that’s right: six dollars and ten cents. As Athena put it, after I explained the concept of the stimulus checks and the fact that most people who got a check received either $600 as an individual or $1,200 as a couple: “Did they make a typo?” Indeed not! The more money you make, the less Bush Administration economic panic bribe stimulus you need. And apparently the US government had decided that we here at the Scalzi still need something to keep up from freaking out that our economy has gone swirling… just not a whole lot. I’m pretty much of the opinion that once you reach the point where your stimulus check is less than $50, the government should in effect say, “you know what? You’re fine,” but I guess that’s why I’m not president now, isn’t it.

Of course the problem is that getting a six dollar, ten cent stimulus check merely highlights the fact of all the things six dollars and ten cents can’t help me with. It’s at best a fraction of what I need to get anything of any actual use either to me or the economy. It’s one tenth of a gas tank, one half of a DVD, 90% of a movie ticket here in rural Ohio (or half of the same movie ticket in New York), three quarters of a hamburger combo at Steak & Shake, and so on. Hell, it doesn’t even buy a month of online porn. Six dollars and ten cents is a truly stupid amount of money to send as a stimulus; all it does is stimulate in me a reminder of just how wrecked the economy’s gotten under Bush and his pals.

So what do you do with a stupid, frivolous amount of stimulus money? Well, you spend it on something stupid and frivolous, of course!

Bob Barr has about as much chance of being president as I have in getting a tomato plant to spontaneously erupt out of my forehead, but he does have a teeniest bit of a chance of peeling off just enough disgruntled GOPers to be a pain in John McCain’s ass come the general election, which at this point works for me as an ersatz protest vote and the GOP economic stewardship of the country (note that this statement will undoubtedly cause some delusional conservative/Republican to opine in the comments that it will be Obama whom Barr will peel voters off of, not McCain. Dear delusional conservative/Republican commenter: Just because you’re apparently huffing acetone from the inside of a paper bag doesn’t mean the rest of us are). That said, I don’t actually want to spend real money on Bob Barr; I don’t want anyone to get the idea he’s actually my guy, presidentially speaking. I mean, really. Speaking of huffing acetone. For what I want to do here, six dollars and ten cents is almost exactly the right amount to send the dude. So that’s what I sent:

I’d tell Bob Barr to spend that six dollars and ten cents wisely, but then, I didn’t, so who I am I to talk. Let him spend it on gum for all I care. It’s honestly what I think of my particular stimulus check, and the administration whose economic fumbletypeg helped get us to the point where “stimulus checks” somehow seemed like a necessary thing.

Tom Easton on Zoe’s Tale

Tom Easton, who has written book reviews for Analog for three decades, is also putting up book reviews on his own site, and today turns his attention to Zoe’s Tale. The review has a couple of minor spoilers but ends nicely: “if enough young people read this book, it could have a salutary effect on the next generation.” I agree, and recommend a copy of the book be issued to every single member of the next generation, preferably via their local bookstore.

(PS: yes, actually am still busy today and won’t be back until later this afternoon. But this was a nice find and I thought I’d share it quickly.)

Chauncey, The World’s Most Adorable Giraffe, Has a Special Message For You

And it is:

“Hello! John Scalzi has several very important things he needs to do today before he can come and play with you all, so he told me to tell you that he’ll probably be out for most of the day. He sent me because I’m so adorable that you can’t help but be winsomely amused by whatever I do or say. See how I’m cocking my head? Adorable!

“Anyway, Scalzi says to feel free to talk amongst yourselves and he’ll see you probably later this afternoon. Okay, bye now!

“Oh! And I almost forgot: The reason my head is adorably cocked? I’m looking at that thing you got stuck between your teeth. Really, man. You need to, like, brush or something. Just saying.”