Archive for February, 2004

Apocalypse Explained!

Through the No Shame Theatre archives, I’ve found the definitive analysis of the apocalypse as described in Revelations. Shockingly, not only was Ronald Reagan the Antichrist, but he is also the reason that the Rapture will never come. Somebody should tell the religious Right.

Reagan was the Anti-christ, and he knew what we had never considered…that the best way to discredit God, to keep the 2nd coming from occuring was to read ahead in the script and not do what it says to do.

Don’t rebuild the temple on the mount. Don’t walk in and declare yourself a god among men.


Saturday, February 28th, 2004

It had to happen.

MyWay News reports:

Rosie O’Donnell married her longtime girlfriend Thursday, taking what she called a proud stand for gay civil rights in the city where more than 3,300 other same-sex couples have tied the knot since Feb. 12.

“I want to thank the city of San Francisco for this amazing stance the mayor has taken for all the people here, not just us but all the thousands and thousands of loving, law-abiding couples,” the former talk show host, holding a large bouquet, said after she and Kelli Carpenter emerged from their brief ceremony inside Mayor Gavin Newsom’s office.

The couple were married by Treasurer Susan Leal, one of the city’s high-profile lesbian elected officials.

Yes! San Francisco has just performed what is – to the best of my knowledge – the first legal (well, with papers and all…), gay, celebrity wedding!

Congratulations to Rosie and Kelli, and wishes for many happy anniversaries.

Thursday, February 26th, 2004

The height of technology!

The (apparently) blogless yet nevertheless Divine Miss M(arinelli) has sent me a link to perhaps the greatest simulator ever programmed.

All we need now is a controller that mimics the tactile experience, and we need never worry about packing materials again!

Thursday, February 26th, 2004

This Man’s Navy

Another reason why we love Japan – their Navy is completely comfortable with its sexuality.

TOKYO (Reuters) – Seven actors dressed as sailors strut across the deck of a ship singing “Nippon Seaman Ship, Seaman Ship, For Love…For Peace.”

The ad begins with a close-up of the navy’s rising sun ensign, then shows the singing sailors gyrating.

“I Love Japan, I Love Peace. The Maritime Self-Defense Force,” says a voice-over at the end.

This reminds me of that horrible, horrible line from Zorro: The Gay Blade:

“Father told me to join the British Navy. He said they made men. (pause) They certainly made me.”

Thursday, February 26th, 2004

And All That Hooptedoodle

Over at Making Light, you’ll find a pointer to Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing, most of which are just plain good sense. But the one I’m glad to see that made it in is one I’ve always stressed to the writers I know.

3. Never use a verb other than ‘’said’’ to carry dialogue.

The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But said is far less intrusive than grumbled, gasped, cautioned, lied. I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with ‘’she asseverated,’’ and had to stop reading to get the dictionary.

“Finally,” he concurred.

I refer to the verbs people use to replace “said” as “Tom Swifties.” They put you in mind of the old Tom Swift novels (older – like Tom Swift and his Motor Cycle) where nothing is ever “said” – it’s “yelped,” “yodeled,” “admonished,” or – on occasion – “ejaculated” (all together now, “ewwwww”).

Coming through a college Creative Writing program, I had a lot of friends who were very fond of their Tom Swifties.

“Yeah,” said one of them. “You’re right. I do that a lot. But it’s just because I find the word ‘said’ to get boring after a while.”

See, that’s kind of the point. “Said” is a word that – in writing – is used to tell the reader to whom they should attribute the accompanying line. It’s a “blip” word – one that our eyes get used to just blipping over as we read.

You replace “said” with something else, however, (”’Look out!’ Tom ejaculated.”) and you make the reader stop. They have to stop and see what word you’ve put in place of “said,” because it might just be important. But in this example – as is almost always the case – “Look out!” is already forceful enough on its own and not the sort of thing that somebody on a speeding motorcycle would just mention casually. Add to that the fact that it’s accompanied by an exclamation point (another good Leonard point – you’re only allowed one exclamation point per 100,000 words), and there’s absolutely no reason for Tom Swift to be ejaculating anywhere near the reader (ewwww).

Wednesday, February 25th, 2004

It’s a Front.

Mac at The Go Fish has links to petitions and campaigns that are worth checking out. But there’s also a mention of BlogBinders – a company which seems to stand ready to make a buttload of money by offering to turn blogs into books.

Odd. Their page reminded me of somebody else:

Design and Sell Merchandise Online for Free

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s CafePress!

No, seriously – I don’t mean they offer a service like CafePress, and I don’t mean that they’ve stolen their color scheme and some of their graphics from CafePress – I mean that they are actually using Cafepress’ publishing service to print up their books. As near as I can tell, the only thing they really offer you that CafePress doesn’t is the “wizard” you can use to automate the process of turning your blog into a book. Which, admittedly, is a big selling point.

Of course, it would take a lot more work to do it, but you could just sign up for your own free CafePress store. The books their publishing service produces are pretty sweet, if a little pricey. Plus, with your own CafePress store, you could create your own “Best Of” quickly with a word processor and a PDF creator instead of doing the whole “Content Set” thing. Then you could get the books at the base price without the BlogBinders mark-up, and also design a snazzy t-shirt for your blog.

It’s all a matter of whether you want to pay extra for the ease of use or do a little bit of work to get the discounted price – and the free store.

If you care to see CafePress in action, there’s always my own Dry Goods Floor, which includes a couple of books for sale, as well. My store differs from the free store slightly – for one thing, I’m allowed to have the same product in my store with more than one design – so I can have ten t-shirt designs instead of one, and five books instead of one. For another – free stores use the CafePress template and their look can’t be modified.

Your choice. All I ask for is informed consumers.

Wednesday, February 25th, 2004

“Bark once for ‘no,’ and twice for ‘I’m a filthy communist hippie.’”

After reading my father and Stu Savory, I am now confident that I am not the only American who wants to know – What did Spot know and when did Spot know it? After all, the Bushies have been so frantic to stop assisted suicide and prevent people from removing permanently braindead loved ones from life support that it’s shocking – simply shocking! – that they found euthanasia to be the humane option for Spot. Who was Spot talking to? And what papers did Spot train on?

The people want to know.

Tuesday, February 24th, 2004

See the amazing wriggly cat!

I’m pet-sitting for my parents for this week while they’re out of town. That means that when I’m home, I’m spending my time cleaning the cat box and trying to catch and hold the world’s wriggliest cat (a wonder considering that – by cat standards – she’s an octagenarian) long enough to brush her.

In the meantime, however, Mildred (the cat) has decided that I am the surrogate “Dad.” So she’s holding me to my father’s schedule. My father usually goes to bed at eight o’clock. I usually go to bed at midnight or one on nights when I’m not suffering from an attack of insomnia.

The cat follows me around everywhere meowing at me because I’m not keeping the proper schedule, and every chance she gets she tries to herd me into the bedroom to go to sleep. Hey – I’m the surrogate dad. I should be asleep by now.

And yet, I still can’t manage to hold onto her long enough to brush her.

Tuesday, February 24th, 2004

Apathy and the City

Despite the fact that I have a very good friend who looks an awful lot like Sarah Jessica Parker, I just can’t get swept up in the hype over the end of Sex and the City. I realize that being a big, dumb male I was never the target market, but I’m into a lot of things that I’m not the target market for – like, say, Amy Tan novels.

It’s not that I hate the show or can’t stand it – it’s just that the writing never grabbed me.

So you’ll excuse me if I’m not joining in the tearful chest-pounding and wailing going on all over the entertainment news world. As far as I’m concerned, Sex and the City may have been a good show – it was just one that I didn’t really care for.

On the other hand, NARAL Pro-Choice America has used it to make something truly inspired.

Wednesday, February 18th, 2004

On the weedwatch

As you may know if you’ve been following the adventures of the ArtMachine, I’ve recently gotten into Weedfiles. I’ve had an album set up in the format, and I’ve been dowloading and listening to other artists. Now you can get my files and the work of other artists that I’ve added to my collection on the Weedfile Archives. It’s not so much a comprehensive listing or any such thing as it is a listing of my tracks and the tracks I really like.

I know I’m not alone in liking the melodic folk stylings of Mische Eddins’ “Called To Say” – somebody’s already bought it off of the page. And everybody loves Sir Mix-A-Lot. Everybody. So those have been up for a while, now, and I’m pleased to present two new additions – both from the land of Oz.

First is the band Hot Rubber Glove – “Jam Wichu” is a sweet little piece of reggae-influenced funk rock with a touch of rap that got stuck in my head from the very first listen. I liked it – and I think you will, too.

Second is Velma – an acoustic songstress from Queensland whose voice hovers somewhere in between Ani DiFranco’s growl and Tori Amos’ vocal acrobatics. “Second Hand” is the one track I’ve managed to find from a musician I hope to hear more from, soon.

More weedfiles to come.

Wednesday, February 18th, 2004