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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Silly Searches Sustain Supercilious Security, Seriously

"So, the shoe bomber forced us all to take off our shoes now at airports....this guy is being called the underwear bomber....hum...I'm just saying.."

Thanks to Peggy from the Simple Living Network's Discussion Boards for this fine bit of wisdom.

Monday, December 28, 2009

I Was A Science Fiction Cliche - The Stolen Soul Trope

I finally got around to reading the December 2009 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

Readers, you should have warned my that this pulp publication has stolen my identity, and possible my soul, if those soul things exist.

They stole my person hood, ran it through an auto - style chop shop, and handed out the pieces to December's authors. I can't decide whether I felt violated or secretly pleased as I read the secrets of my soul exposed to the world.

Paranoid, you say, paranoid? I say it ain't paranoid if they're really after you. I caught them red-handed, holding the stolen goods:

Starting on Page 81, "Hell of a Fix", by Matthew Hughes features an unenthusiastic actuary who refuses to sign a contract with the devil.

So what , you say, "There are plenty of actuaries who have no truck with The Evil One". I agree, but read on. . .

The major character in "I Needs Must Part, the Policeman Said", by Richard Bowes (starting on page 225) combines tumor removal surgery with unusual results and an obsession with John Dowland .

Bowes story presents a fig leaf defense that his story is really a tribute to Philip K Dick (Cry My Tears, the Policeman Said).

Bowes' weak excuse concerns me doubly:

(1) Bowes' convoluted cover story is surely evidence of the depth and complexity of this plot against the most important person in the universe (that's me, not you, BTW).

(2) It is not comforting to realize that the secrets of my soul can be so easily tweaked to look like a Philip K Dick novel. I'm not sure exactly what to think of this.

Darnit, I'm not crazy! They really have stolen my soul.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

We've All Seen This Before

I stumbled on a great list of Science Fiction cliches from the editors of Strange Horizons, an online speculative fiction magazine. The editors post a running list of "Stories We've Seen Too Often." I was amused. Among my favorites:

"Someone calls technical support; wacky hijinx ensue."

"Technology and/or modern life turn out to be soulless."

"Visitor to alien planet ignores information about local rules, inadvertantly violates them, is punished."

"An A.I. gets loose on the Net, but the author doesn't have a clear concept of what it means for software to be "loose on the Net." (For example, the computer it was on may not be connected to the Net.)"

"White protagonist is given wise and mystical advice by Holy Simple Native Folk."

"Space travel is wonderful and will solve all our problems. "

It goes on and on. Interesting the cliches taken in whole provide a pretty good description of Discworld. BTW, when the world sucks, I think Discworld is the best place to hide.

After reading that, I looked at more of the "Strange Horizons" website. I thought this fanzine might actually provide something wiotrth reading. After all, the editors seem to be aware of what SciFi crap looks like.

Alas, I was proven wrong, again. The brief descriptions of stories in their recent issues show as strange parallel to their lost of "Stories We've Seen Too Often."

For Example, A featured plot element in the December 21 issue: ". . . She hears the soft calls of the mahouts, speaking the old language that only they and the beasts understand. . . ". Sounds like the hackneyed "Holy Simple Native Folk" to me.

Now, at absolutely no cost, here's my Advice to the Volunteer Editors of Strange Horizons:

(1) If you want to publish a magazine full of trite cliches, you might want to hold back from publishing derogatory lists of the same cliches that fill your magazine.

(2) Figure out a way to move out of your parents' extra room, if you haven't already.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Clearing The Air

Just to clear the air related to a previous post,

(1)I do not advocate anyone avoiding Mary Youngblood or her music. She is entitled to her opinions. She absolutely is an asset to our community, both the greater Sacramento community and the community of local and national musicians. I was disappointed to see a letter to the Sacramento Bee suggesting that we should not listen to her music. Youngblood's music builds on a tradition that is an important part of our shared American heritage.

(2) Here's the United Nations definition of racial discrimination:

the term "racial discrimination" shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.

Interesting that the U.N. chose to not define racism. The U. N. is smarter than me!

Thanks to Wikipedia for this citation.

I'll play any flute I want to play, and I expect to be fairly recognized for whatever good or bad noises I make. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Finally,Someone Tells Leibermman to Can It!

Al Franken - finally a Democrat who knows how to make Senator Drugmoney Leiberman shut up!

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Poetry in Letters to the Editor

The Sacramento Bee's website list of letters to the editor made a fine haiku,with only monor modification:

Dogs are running wild.
water, scheming Democrats.
Good Christmas fruitcake.

Here's exactly what the website showed:

Dogs running wild, water, scheming Democrats, fruitcake.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

The Sacramento Bee Advocates Racism

As a player of "flutish" instruments and "sacred music", I felt compelled to write this letter to the local penny-stock newspaper.

I was disappointed in the Sacramento Bee's Parroting, without judgment, of the following racist statement by the otherwise excellent Sacramento Musician Mary Youngblood:

From the 12/18/09 Sacramento Bee:

"She's also become a bit of an activist. One name on the list of nominees for the 52nd annual Grammy Awards, which takes place Jan. 31 at Los Angeles' Staples Center, has her up in arms. Michael Brant DeMaria is a contender in the Native American music category for his album "Siyotanka."

"We have a situation this year," Youngblood says, shaking her head. "A non-native is nominated, and it dishonors the category. Right now the Indian community is reeling, and I'm kind of at the forefront of that. I don't mind speaking out about this not being right.

"The rules don't say you have to be native, but we have just always honored that. There are so many talented Indian people out there who live their culture, and now this. I feel pretty strongly about it. We're a small community, and it's just not right.""

Ms Youngblood is advocating that only Native Americans be recognized for playing Native music. To quote Ms Youngblood, her brand of racism "is just not right". Using her racist principle, perhaps classical music should be recognized only when created by white Europeans, and perhaps Jews should be banned from performing Wagner,etc.

This is racism in its most vile extreme and it is wrong. It is equally wrong for the Bee to tacitly approve such hateful speech.

The Bee should print an apology for tacitly endorsing such hateful racist speech.

This kind of racism needs to be left behind with the rest of the 20th century.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

And Now, For Something Completely Different

As I have often said,why settle for real when surreal is so much more fun?

peta protesters
see more Political Pictures

There's got to be a story behind this. The guy in the hooded sweatshirt,holding a PETA sign, doesn't seem alarmed in the least. Actually,he looks like he's wondering if he knows chicken man well enough to bum a drumstick. I think hooded sweatshirt guy got involved in all this business With the hope of meeting some of those hot PETA girls. The dreadlocks kid looks like he's just enjoying the show.

As long as we're on the subject,you don't need to sit on your hands. you can use those well honed Super Mario Brothers skills to rescue Pamela Anderson from the Colonel. Really, I mean it.

Play Super Chick Sisters!

I haven't been able to get through level 2 so far.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Helicopter Ben Bernanke Sings His Own Praises

Now we're seeing Bernanke get Time Magazine's Man of the Year Honor, putting him in the same league as Stalin and Hitler. It'stime for every talking head to put him down.

Expect to hear every talking head from here to Timbuktu run poor Helicopter Ben down.

In order to give Helicopter Ben a fair hearing, watch this video. Don't let those nattering nabobs of negativism tell you Helicopter Ben was wrong. Why rely on the talking heads, when Ben will tell it to you straight.

See Helicopter Ben talk.
Talk Ben talk.
See Ben get it wrong, again and again.
Wrong Ben, wrong.
Can you count how many times Ben was wrong?
See The President try to reappoint Ben.

Message to Ben: I'm not supporting you reappointment until you fly your money - filled helicopter over my house and let it rip. BTW, I don't live on Wall Street.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Of Hash Browns and Jelly Doughnuts

Hanukkah! That other December holiday is upon us.

The holiday where we celebrate the victory of a guerrilla uprising that freed Jerusalem from it's occupiers , and eat a lot of fried food. Seems like this is something some Palestinians would want to buy into. Discuss amongst yourselves.

In my life, I have seen some changes in the the dominant Hanukkah paradigm. Really it's just about the food. The food is important, because if it weren't for the American necessity of inflating Hanukkah so our kids don't get too confused in December, all we'd have would be candles and fried stuff. So, boichiks and madels, the food is important.

What has happened to latkes?

Latkes, which I had been taught was a nice Hebrew word for potato pancakes, have evolved into something more like caked hash browns than any kind of pancake I've ever seen. I can't extract any meaning from this, but I'm just saying.

Jelly doughnuts. All of a sudden, jelly doughnuts have become a traditional part of Hanukkah. I swear that when I was a kid, nobody except middle eastern immigrants had jelly doughnuts for Hanukkah. Perhaps this is another example of Sephardic versus Ashkenazi culture gaining more acceptance in America. That's OK with me.

I don't support jelly doughnuts for Hanukkah. In Milwaukee, Jelly donoughts are called Bismarks. No kidding, Bismarks. No way am I celebrating any Jewish holiday by eating a pastry named after a German nationalist. That's just creepy.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Our New Correspondent

Hangininsac is proud to present a guest editorial, written by our new corresponent, Arthur Le Chat.

Arthur wrote a holiday editorial that has doubled as our holiday letter.

So What, Another Year,

by Arthur LeChat

Steve and Kathleen remain in good health, and are glad to report the same for Peggie, Kathleen’s mom. They asked me to wish you Joyous Holidays and a Happy New Year.

Steve and Kathleen started the year with another momentous event; their Honda Civic hit 100,000 miles. In recognition of the car’s loyal service, Steve has taken to washing it once in a while. I’m pleased, because I hate seeing other cats’ footprints on my car.

Kathleen continues to work for the City of Sacramento. This year the City introduced monthly furlough days. Kathleen and Steve have enjoyed these days with adventures small and large. I don’t know why they don’t spend the days at home entertaining me.

Steve and Kathleen took several trips around California this year. They took some day trips in Northern California to see missions, hike in the Desolation Wilderness near Lake Tahoe, and attend Steve’s Niece Claire’s High School Graduation. They plan their trips with the eventual goal of visiting all the California missions. I think their goal should be to keep my bowl full at all times. They went away for an entire week in spring, to see flowering deserts and missions near San Diego, followed by a few days by the beach in Santa Cruz. They had a great time, while we had to settle for mere twice-a-day feedings from the neighbors. Did I mention we never get canned food?

Steve visited his parents and sister in Madison, Wisconsin for a week in the summer. The Madison relatives are going strong, and they filled Steve with cheese, bratwurst, ice cream and beer. Steve saw about 20 aunts, uncles and cousins when everyone gathered for a day in Appleton.

Kathleen has been spending a lot of time at the computer doing genealogy research while I walk in front of the screen and sit on the keyboard. Kathleen still sings and has taken on librarian duties in Schola Cantorum, her choir. Steve keeps on waking me by blowing in those noisy sticks that he calls clarinets and recorders. He plays with two early music groups in Sacramento and Oakland, as well as the Sacramento Concert Band.

That’s all the news I have to report. I will continue to spend hours a day staring at my humans so I won’t miss anything next year. Happy Holidays, and don’t forget the tuna.

That's our correspondent's story, and he's sticking to it.

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Day Microsoft Saved Music , I Guess

Early in 2009 Microsoft released yet another "well designed and Hell inspired" application to improve our lives, Songsmith.

Now, according to Microsoft, everybody is a musician,even if your areas schools don't bother teaching music. No music class,no problem. Just sing in your computer's microphone, and, golly gee, Microsoft does the rest. Seriously, the background music just comes out of this program. It picks the style and everything!

This totally kicks ass,but don't take my word for it. Look how awesome the Ramones would've been if they had songsmith!

It looks like everybody is getting into the act.

From looking at some tech sights, it appears that songsmith bombed pretty bad, and the only uses you can find are these japes where pranksters lift vocals from albums and see what comes out of the digital genius that is Microsoft.

Sorry, I couldn't resist this example.

For years,I tell you, years, I've been thinking that Stairway to Heaven should've been done calypso style. What I can't figure out is why the singing sounds minor key and the added backup sounds major key. WTF is that all about?

It's like Windows Vista, the Musical.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Another Virgin Mary SIghting

The Virgin mary appears to be diversifying.

After several appearences on on grilled cheese sandwiches, she has taken to appearing on pancakes.

Here's the whole story.

At the risk of sounding like a my-virgin-is-holier-than thine-virgin type, I have to say that my miraculous aapparition was a far better likeness.  Make up your own mind.  Hers didn't even havethe exploding cardiac thingy.

 That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Why Settle for Real When Surreal is so Much More Fun

Comcast will "reshape entertainment"!

Thanks to Comcast, fun will never be the same.

Yahoo! news lead today with this headline. Although I spent most of October writing a science fiction story, Comcast's marketing dweebs went way beyond my abilities in coming up with harebrained speculative fiction. Their press release was dutifully parrotted by Yahoo. Gotta love the corporate media.

That's right folks, fun will never be the same. Comcast has reshaped it.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Hubris Rules Washington

The muckety-mucks in Washington once again show their hubris by ignoring the wisdom of hanginsac.

Let's Protect Marriage Now - For Real This Time!

Those Proposition 8 supoporters in California are a bunch of weenies.

They did the easy job, they "protected marriage" from those two ladies who live around the corner and wear comfortable shoes.

Well, what about the full frontal attack on marriage we see every day, in every courthouse. How dare those law-school-elitist-liberal judges excercise their judicial rule to grant divorces, each day chipping another pebble away from the sanctity of marriage, the basis of our Jesus-loving city on a hill.

Now ,Red Blooded, Jesus Lovin' Americans in California have the opportunity to do something that will really protect marriage.

Stop this judicial attack on our fundamental values. Heed this warning! Bear the standard!

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

About Me

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I must enjoy shouting into a vacuum, but I think about getting my act together one of these days. My mom says I am very handsome and intelligent.

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