Plug for a Magazine

P.S., if you like the fantasy genre, I can’t recommend a magazine more highly than I do Realms of Fantasy. It’s got nonfiction about the genre, about threads in folklore, and about other subjects slightly fantasy-lovers might find interesting. It’s also got some speculative fantasy fiction in each issue. Don’t just browse the Web site, buy the magazine. It’s available at the Borders on Olive, fellow Creve Couer geeks, and you could always subscribe.

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From our Department of Irony

I received two unsolicited e-mail messages this afternoon, on my home account no less, from some punk outfit calling itself DarkSoft Group wants me to give them twenty bucks for an anti-spam remedy! Here’s the message, courtesy of some other guy who thinks as highly of them as I do.

The ad claims you can download the product from the #1 download site on the Internet. Let’s be frank: I don’t know how to discover any psuedo-scientific rankings, but I’ve always been a doubting Thompson, and I doubt that whoever is, they get a lot of casual traffic from people who type sil00001 into the Address bar to find software.

Let me see, give my credit card number to one or more punks collectively known by a name more suited to some 733t h4x0rz than a software company, and probably then provide them with the names and passwords to all my e-mail accounts? What’s not to like about that deal?

I just don’t have the twenty bucks.

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Tester’s Creed

At work, I do a little testing, and I just wanted to let you schnucking developers know where we testers stand:

Here is the ultimatum of our camp: what can be smashed, must be smashed; whatever survives a blow has value, whatever flies to smithereens is rubbish; in any case, smash right and left, it will and can do no harm.
(Dmitry I. Pisarev)

That Russian nihilist guy most certainly described ad hoc testing!

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Crazy 94-Year Old Runs Riot in Norway

I don’t know what havoc the police thought this 94-year-old jogger was seeking, but they got right to the bottom of it. Turns out she had not garrotted the night orderly with a jump rope, flailed the nursing supervisor with an un-Velcroed one pound ankle weight, and choked the nursing home warden by feeding him his enterprise’s own Ensure in her Buy-It-Now for freedom and the start of a new crime spree.

Nope, she was just jogging.

But you can never be too careful.

To alleviate any confusion, and to put our municipal authorities at ease, I shall remain in the recliner. Thank you, that is all.

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Point-Counterpoint: Neo Good or Neo Bad?

Okay, Matrix fans. Is Neo good, or does Neo sux?

Personal verdict: You can take the Neo out of the Matrix, but you cannot take the Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan/Johnny Utah/Eddie Kasalivich out of the Neo. The producers knew GIGO, but also knew AIGOK (Anything In, Garbage Out of Keanu), so they spent the extra money they would have paid to a scriptwriter on leather futures. And made a killing.

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My Gear

My beautiful wife has elucidated on her exercise equipment collection. Because I am a materialist, too, I want to acknowledge that I have acquired a number of things to keep myself in shape:

  • 20 ounce schooner. With beer, it’s 32oz. The key is not so much the weight, but the repetitions of lifting that are the key to fitness.
  • A 14 ounce all-in-one remote control. A good stretching workout device, particularly when the batteries diminish and you need to find the precise angle to switch from Bill O’Reilly to an independent film.
  • A variable resistance, multi-muscular recliner. Work the right arm going up and the calves going down. If you’ve been repeating the exercise with the schooner, you’re repeating this exercise quite a bit, too.

Between naps, I think I am in the best shape of my life.

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I Am An Elitist, Too

Steven Den Beste has elaborately posted about the meaning of his blogroll. You know, the list of links running down one side of the Web log page, much like that weird, currently-styled-with-checkboxes thing you see to the left. Den Beste describes his philosophy of his blog roll: he links to things he likes, his friends, and some start-up blogs he likes. That is to say, he puts thought into his list of recommended sites and does not just tat-for-tit exchange links to play link farm for people who reciprocate. He reads, vets, and really recommends the sites he lists. In short, he’s an elitist.

Hey, I know the feeling. It reminds me of a time when I was young, back in 1994, when I tried to start a little literary magazine (a little literary magazine is redundant, I know). Yes, the St. Louis Artesian. I’d started magazines in high school (Pen and Palette and in college (The Scream), so when I got out and wanted a handy dream, I seized upon it. So I gave it a go. No advertising? No problem. Labor of love, you see. No content? Uh oh.

I couldn’t get quality content. I said early I would never publish my own short stories or poetry since I wasn’t doing it as a vanity thing, and remember Brian J = quality (and scientists are now working on a new theory to prove that Brian J. >= quality). So I hit the coffeeshouses looking for the slam poets, contacted local universities for creative writing students, posted on the fledgling Internet, and sent press releases to every peer literary magazine, local paper, and media outlet I could imagine. And when the manuscripts started trickling in, they were bad.

I didn’t expect a thick magazine to start, but I had to stretch to find poetry or short fiction I would publish. I found myself writing feature articles and publishing my assistant editor’s sheet music to fill enough pages to call myself a magazine. I mean, I found some real quality material that I was thrilled to publish, but it wasn’t much. (Speaking of which, I googled my old magazine name to see if they had its home page cached, oh-but no, but check it out: one of the poets published in it has the Artesian on his C.V.).

An art editor, who had visions of the Artesian as a photocopied underground Goth zine, brouight in some submissions in his vision, but it wasn’t where I wanted to go, so he went. It was my dime, (or $400 every two months, almost fifty percent of what the real world paid my English-degreed self), my effort, and my name on the masthead, so I was not going to put in mulch just to fill in the flower garden and hope something came up. After a year and a half, I gave it up.

So I understand where Den Beste’s coming from, although I imagine copious numbers of blogger courtiers don’t.

Rest assured, when you click a link over there to the left, I do go to the sites listed as frequently as I say, and I shape my ideas with them. They are Brian-approved, and not just a underground-economy equivalent of a “Ad Space Swap Booked As Revenue” scam.

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Sometimes No Means Yes, Boys

In Wisconsin, the Joint Finance Committe has passed a budget amendment designed to thwart the state’s no call list, which has been in effect for all of five months now. The new budget amendment, small companies with fewer than 25 employees can call you even if you’re on the No Call List. Of course, the amendment comes out of committee with a straight party-line vote, with “small government” Republicans all voting for it.

Let the loophole lassoin’ begin!

(As heard on Weber and Dolan this morning).

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Cold as a Razor Blade, Tight as a Tourniquet, Dry as a Funeral Drum

After a climber gets pinned under a boulder for five days, he cuts his own arm off with a pocket knife, puts on a tourniquet, rappels to the floor of a canyon, and walks up to his rescuers.

Most of us men would like to think we could do the same thing, but I am not so good with setting anchors and rappelling. Of course, this sort of thing keeps me off of mountains in the first place.

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Big Money Pundit Sez

David S. Broder of the Washington Post sez (registration required for full column):

The next question came from a man wearing the campaign button of Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich. Edwards had salted his speech with a Reaganesque line expressing the hope that the United States would once again be seen by the world “as that shining city on the hill, a beacon of freedom and democracy.”

Mr. Broder, but wasn’t Mr. Reagan, Esq., quoting Johnny Winthrop, who was really quoting Matthew 5:14?

Life must have been so much easier when you were writing for un-educated, non-Googleabled rabble, wot?

(Thanks to Dr. Thomas Prendergast at Marquette University for the pointer. Because my section of Early American Philosophy came early in the morning, I was still awake, and because Winthrop came early in the semester, I was caught up in the reading before I gave up the struggle.)

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As I Tell Them During Morning Harangues….

I often discuss politics with the people with whom I work, when I am not dogmatting religion and gender issues in a thought-provoking mixture to create the proper subtle, yet tranquil Hostile Environment. And when I do, serving up my traditional lemon harangue pie complete with elaborate hand gestures and occasional white board diagrams or full costume reenactments of elections, I often strike the point echoed elsewhere in the blogosphere: the time has come for the rise of a Third Party to become a leading contender in state and national politics and possibly even supplant and existing participant in the Two Party System.

I, too, think that the libertarian impulse, if not the Libertarian Party, will make itself felt in politics in the future as the the younger generations of more tolerant (and let’s face it, morally relativistic) Americans arise.

I disagree with Robin Goodfellow, author of the piece hyperlinked above, in the timing. This shift won’t occur in the next ten years. This country’s, with its aging and greedy Boomer population, is not going to give up their Social Security benefits until their retirement ends (the Wall Street Journal’s Complete Lifetime Guide To Money‘s euphemism for slipping the Barry Bonds of earth). They’ll fight false tooth and press-on nail for continued big government regurgitance of workers’ indentured contributions into their pockets.

I do think it’s coming, though. It will require two things of the Libertarian Party, though, for them to capitalize upon the opportunity. The Libertarian Party needs to stop letting the hedonistic side of the party dictate its terms of debate. Sure, it’s okay to legalize drugs, prostitution, gambling, and all the other human vices, but the mainstream of America has not been convinced, especially as its culture has not emphasized reason, individualism, capitalism, and the other prerequisites for human advancement. Instead, the Libertarians need to identify, most vocally, what separates them from the current dominating parties’ platforms.

As far as government spending goes, Libertarians make the Republicans look like tourists at Disneyland. Laissez-faire capitalism? The Republicans are Keynesians pikers compared to Libertarians. When it comes to defending the neat parts of the Bill of Rights, the Libertarians make the Democrats look like the Catholic Church in Seville circa 1550. Unfortunately, when it comes to advancing their own party line, the Libertarians look like San Franciscoans, circa 1970 and after a fruitive trip to Mexico.

When they grow up, the Libertarians will be a powerful force.

(Pointer from Instapundit)

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Ladies, Open Your Little Black Books!

The personal of the day from the Chicago Sun-Times for April 30, 2003. His profile name is Anubis78. Doesn’t that scream, meet me on the Internet?

Remember from your Egyptian mythology that Anubis is the jackal-headed god of transit to the cities of the dead. “Anubis” is Egyptian for “Charon Who Barks.”

Who wouldn’t want to meet a guy who bills himself as the being in charge of ferrying you to the afterlife, preferably somewhere dark and secluded where you two can be alone? Anubis is not the god of death, after all, he’s just a guide; you have nothing to fear from him. No, it would be Mr. Happyshiningblade, that you should fear. Is that a banana in his pocket, or is he happy to finally meet you after all those e-mails?

Advice to someone who’s met a hottie on the Internet: don’t make your user name more creepy than you really are. Fortunately, stlbrianj is not as creepy as I am in real life.

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Somebody Sue the Media for Negligence

The Washington Post today contains an oped piece by the hysterical widow of one of the Beltway sniper’s victims. Her beef: Congress has begun to pass laws to indicate gun manufacturers are not responsible for the misapplication of their products.

I won’t go too into detail with this piece, except to perhaps excerpt the first paragraph, which says:

With little public notice, the House of Representatives voted this month to give an extraordinary level of legal immunity to an industry whose negligence helped kill my husband. Now the Senate has the responsibility to stop this atrocious bill from becoming law.

An extraordinary level of immunity? But, lovey, no one’s even tempted to sue Hostess for a misapplication of its products if someone chokes a victim by stuffing pink Sno Balls(tm) down the deceased’s gullet. The gun industry needs extraordinary immunity because Litigating A Left America (LALA) people are extraordinary eager to use lawsuits to slap America into the safety-from-violence Renaissance such as Great Britain is experiencing, as well as into a lawyers-rich-from-industrial-trough Renaissances that grant an extra ski cottage in Vail.

Oh, yeah, but:

I am confident that the criminal justice system will work to punish the people who killed my husband. But the civil justice system must also be allowed to work. Those who share responsibility for my husband’s death must also be held accountable.

Message: Show me the money! We’re not only out for justice, we’re for making sure that we can have bodyguards licensed to carry to shuttle our newly-enriched selves around while the Middle Class and below are easy marks for any whack job with a piece.

I and families of other sniper victims have sued these gun sellers. I hope that by holding them accountable, we can cause others to behave more responsibly, and that future tragedies such as mine will be prevented. I understood when I filed the case that I was not guaranteed victory, but that’s okay. All I wanted was my day in court. But if S. 659 is enacted, the courthouse door will be slammed in my face.

So enact it, already. Close the door slowly, but firmly. Otherwise, we’re going to have to sue all manufacturers whose products are used in unintended ways. Detroit will get theirs for hit and run deaths, Ginsu and Cutco for stabbings, Louisville Slugger for all baseball bat beating deaths, ad absurdum.

And then when We The People have survived the federally-mandated detoothing and declawing programs and have only our piteous mewlings to protect us from human nature as demonstrated by predators who’ve never even studied Hobbes, perhaps we can sue the media and the unthinking tanks that made it all possible.

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