Monday, March 26, 2012

Woot: Outside Review for Rock of Aeons

I have been submitting Rock of Aeons to review blogs and the very kind and elegant Nicki J. Markus was interested enough to write a review.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Things what I should have done more with

At some point, I thought about narrowcasting my most ill formed opinions in the form of a political blog. While poking through some of the junk in my flash drive, I came across the few posts I wrote before I got bored. I am very much an armchair liberal.The entries are dated, but I actually thought they were kind of funny. So I am posting them as one article, here. The file this was saved under is titled Angry Little Fat Man.

Statement of Purpose

Ever since the end of the Clinton administration, I have been ballooning with bile. I didn't feel Clinton was a highly ethical president. He made and broke campaign promises, and was very selective in the wars he chose to enter. However, it seemed like he got his rewards from life, whereas the current administration is focused on the afterlife, which I will avoid for as long as I can. I am hoping this administration does not "save" me along with the other Charismatics they entertain, who are, of course, welcome to the kingdom of heaven.

I tried to give George the benefit of the doubt. I really did. At the very least, I was sure that the forward momentum of human history couldn't be halted by one eight year administration. I'm still pretty sure. But that thin sliver shaved off my optimism is enough to keep me in heart burn, and so I need a release valve. My blog will be that valve, I hope, with the stated purpose of deflating the hyperbole and anal sack expressing that serves as fact checking for conservative pundits.

The Devil’s Dictionary, vol. 2

Definition - Creation Science: A new name for charming peasant folklore. The science comes from a firm denial to see the possible origins of life, as with Behe's theory of irreducible complexity, which states that the inability to see an event, like the evolution of flagellum or the transferal of the soul into the afterlife, eradicates the possibility that it could happen, and the fact of it's existence does not hint at the probability that it did.

Creation Science is often supported by alternate history, for instance, the current prime promoter of creation science, Anne Coulter, fantasizes a reality in which one of the discoverers of DNA repudiated Darwin and embraced Raeliansim (1), which would be considered a lie if it weren't so wittily inobservant (2).


(1) As I describe in my book, Cambridge astrophysicists Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, as well as Francis Crick, winner of the Nobel Prize for his co-discovery of DNA, didn’t believe in God, but realized Darwin’s theory was a crock.

(2) In a retrospective article[38], Crick and Orgel noted that they had been overly pessimistic about the chances of life evolving on Earth when they had assumed that some kind of self-replicating protein system was the molecular origin of life. Now it is easier to imagine an RNA world and the origin of life in the form of some self-replicating polymer besides protein.

see also

This compelling argument was shattered by Charles Darwin, who believed that the appearance of design is due to the process of natural selection.

Definition - Debate

Usually a discussion in which such topics as weight, personal appearance, and trust-worthyness determine the usefulness of an individual’s point.

Definition - Good Economy

A good economy is one in which wealthy individuals are making money, which is almost always, as the only rich people who lose money are complete fatheads. Job security is not a measure of a good economy, because wealthy people rarely have jobs, but plenty of security.

The Devil's Bibliography

State of Fear - A technical manual by scientist Michael Crichton, who's central thesis is that extinction is healthy for the ecosystem. "Ecologists are Nazi's." Crichton states in chapter 594. "Greenpeace has plans to feed hundreds of thousands of poor Africans to whales. I've seen the documents, but they were all destroyed in a freak Tornado manufactured by super humans working for the Gnomes of Zima."

Crichton recommends DDT as a refreshing health beverage, and proves with chaos theory that bald eagles would eat human beings if they could, especially if genetically engineered with frog DNA so that they could breed in the water, so they should probably all die, anyway.

Godless - A book in which Ann Coulter refutes the usefulness of empirical evidence over faith and reason, an underlying theme in her fiction. The central theme of Godless is that Jesus loves her, although she recognizes most other people don't. States that Christians should convert to Judaism, because there is no real difference between the religions. States that biblical literalism is on a par with Darwinian evolution.

"My faith and reason tell me that God created the world and I’m not particularly interested in the details."

The Devil's Hagiography

Anne Coulter - One of the New Victorians, who has stated that she is unaccountable to anyone but God. The few people safe from her anger are fetuses, for whom she is unable to imagine a pastime that she can portray as a crime, although the Catholic Church would disagree.

Has often been on The New York Times bestseller list, a fact of which she very proud despite wishing their staff would die. However, all of her works together have not been on the bestseller lists longer than The Da Vinci Code. Has suggested that marriage inevitably leads to divorce (1). Ann Coulter believes that personal comments are inappropriate (2).


(1) Assuming that’s true, probably because marriage is more popular in the red states than in the blue states and because of all the blue-staters living in the red states.

(2) As a journalist, do you long to have a sense of decorum? Or do you see your life’s vocation as primarily asking strangers utterly inappropriate personal questions?

Mel Gibson: An actor exempt from the general conservative principle that all celebrities are idiots. Brought love to the hearts of Christians everywhere with depictions of the brutal beating of a wrongly convicted political prisoner, thereby convincing most Christians of their own central importance in the drama of the universe. Passion of Christ was gratuitously attacked with ad-hominem accusations of anti-Semitism.

Luckily, he was able to correct his imprecision by making anti-Semitic statements to an arresting officer. Scored a striking victory for victimology when conservative pundits agreed that he shouldn't be held responsible for his opinions because he was drunk while having them (1).

(1) "[t]he guy was drunk, for heaven's sake. We all say and do dumb things when we are drunk."

Friday, March 02, 2012

11 PM Book Review: Zoo City

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes is about Zinzi December, down and out in Johannesburg. Zinzi has a tree sloth for a familiar and makes her living by psychically finding lost items and writing email fishing scams. Most zoos, people with animal familiars, have committed some kind of murder to be “gifted” with their familiar in the first place. Zinzi also just so happens to owe gangsters a lot of money for her ex crack habit.

She doesn’t like tricking people out of their money, so she takes a job to find a teenage pop starlet for the starlet’s controlling manager. Did she run away? Was she kidnapped? Zinzi uses her former contacts as an entertainment writer to follow a trail through drug and alcohol treatment centers, nightclubs, and ex boyfriends. All the while she is negotiating her own problems with gangsters and her lover, who’s missing family shows up in a refugee camp in another country. Eventually she realizes that something far more horrible than she expects is in store the starlet and the starlet's brother.

Zoo City is a very gritty noire urban fantasy set in South Africa, amongst an underclass of magically talented people marked out by their familiars. I liked it because Zinzi’s voice is spare and cynical without managing to lose all of her emotions. The supporting characters, especially their animal familiars, make for a great series of dialogs.

I like the author’s voice, too, which is dry and witty. “Nzambe azan a zamba te,” says a witch Zinzi consults. “God is not in the forest. Maybe he is too busy looking after sports teams or worrying about teenagers having sex before marriage. I think they take up a lot of his time.”

The plot was a little hard to follow in places, but kept you guessing, and kept Zinzi moving, and the end is a really grand guignol horror show that manages to preserve Zinzi’s heart despite staying true to the gritty magical and noirish aspects of the book. I’m a big fan of this book, and will go back and find Lauren Beukes other book, Moxyland.