Five Things: July 22, 2020
Having spent my morning plugging away on the web site, I now turn my attention to what’s going on (waves abstractly) out there:
Ohio’s Speaker of the House is in some deep shit: Turns out you’re not supposed to (allegedly) take bribes! Which I suspect Larry Householder probably knew, but I guess he thought that maybe just this one time either no one would notice or that they wouldn’t care. Turns out, maybe they do? Almost as a side note, the bribery scandal is about Ohio helping to prop up old and/or dirty energy sources at the expense of newer and cleaner sources. I am not so naive that I do not think Democrats cannot get caught with their hand in the cookie jar as much and as often as Republicans, but certainly the dynamics of this particular bribery scandal seem ready made for the GOP. There are calls for Householder to resign his speakership; I’m curious as to how long he’ll try to hold onto it.
Speaking of the fair state of my residence:
Ohio finally gets a statewide mask order: As of tomorrow at 6pm, if you’re out in the world, or at least the Ohio part of it, you have to be wearing a mask. I gave Ohio Governor Mike DeWine a fair amount of praise early on, and then slack later, for how he handled the plague crisis here, but honestly he should have made a mandatory mask order a long time ago. The state’s infection numbers have been headed up for a while now. I live in the part of the state where mask use has been, shall we say, spotty at best, so I’ll be very curious as to a) how this will be taken up, and b) whether there will genuinely be any enforcement of it. I’d like to think that between retail outlets like Kroger and Walmart requiring masks and the state itself backing them up, we’ll finally get more than 50% of people masking up. I guess we’ll see.
Author bulk buys his book to get on a bestseller list, gets dropped from the list: Which is not a real surprise, since the organizations that create the bestseller lists (in this case the Sunday Times in the UK) frown on people so very obviously gaming those lists for personal gain. Personally I’m mildly surprised that the bulk buy worked at all; over on this side of the Atlantic the list-makers have been hip to that tactic for years; you have to really work at it more than just buying a whole bunch of your own books from an obliging local retailer (and then talk about it in public almost charmingly guilelessly, as this author apparently did).
Back in the day, when my haters were particularly exercised about me, they liked to pretend that I got on bestseller lists because Tor bulk bought my books; aside from being wrong, it was charming how little these dudes knew about how the listmakers are on the lookout for nonsense like that.
Volcanoes on Venus, maybe: This is cool because all the smart scientific money was on Venus being volcanically dormant, but it appears that maybe it’s not, or wasn’t fairly recently (“recently” in this case being within a couple of million years of the present). This is a reminder that even now we’re learning new things about celestial bodies we already thought we knew so much about. The universe keeps throwing us curve balls, and it’s great. Venus is even more of a hellish deathtrap than we thought! How awesome is that?!?
Whatsername (Susannah Hoffs): For honestly and genuinely no reason whatsoever, this mashup popped up in my head, mixing up “Whatsername” from Green Day with “Manic Monday” from the Bangles. It’s tremendously good. And now it’s also more than a decade old, because Internet Culture isn’t new anymore, folks, for better and for worse.