Sparkly Vampire Fan Fiction Apparently Allowed

In 2004, I mentioned that Bravenet singled out the works of John Norman in its terms of service:

Funny, Frank Herbert, J.R.R. Tolkien, and R.A. Salvatore don’t suffer from the literary persecution John Norman does. Here’s section 8d of BraveNet’s terms of service:

(d) Associate Bravenet and any Products and Services with any adult material of any sort. This includes, but is not limited to, such things as nudity, any site, page, image or service requiring any adult verification service, anything that users to be 18 or older to view or join or access, and any text, image or likeness suggesting sexual and/or inappropriate and/or illegal acts of any sort. Without limiting the foregoing, you may not use the Products and Services to store, use, contain or display pornography, adult novelties, adult toys, XXX material, escort services, Gorean, bondage, BDSM, bigotry, racism, hatred, profanity, or any material which may be insulting to another person(s) or entity;

No Counter-Earth fan pages for you, children.

Well, I see today that Lileks added Bravenet forums to The Bleat, so I went a-looking to see if Gor is still prohibited.

Yes.

Although it’s now in section 9, so someone has updated the terms in the last seventeen years, although nobody removed the Gorean prohibition. Probably they didn’t know what Gorean meant. Which, to be honest, is probably why few people post Gorean content using Bravenet widgets or services. Not because anyone but me reads these terms and conditions closely.

You can probably find all kinds of Fifty Shades of Grey knock-offs across sites using Bravenet components, though. Because that’s modern stuff and not really dirty like your grandpa might have liked.

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A Special Thank You To A Singapore Reader

Or bot as the case may be for answering a question I had in my report on watching Alien.

I noted that I had the first, third, and fourth movies in the series, but not the second, and I mused it was probably not at the place where I bought the films.

Well, a reader or some scrapping algorithm in Singapore led me to the answer.

I bought the movies at the Hope Church Relay for Life Garage Sale in 2013.

The three Alien movies I have yet to see. The Hope Lutheran Church sale did not have Aliens.

I have started haunting antique and thrift stores for films and have yet to see Aliens.

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Brian J.’s Recycler Tour

I can’t believe I wasted some of my best lines on Twitter and Facebook, making money for the Boy rather than as an attraction for you, gentle reader, to come here for the wit and make me money by clicking one of the (blocked) ads or the Amazon links, even though I was booted from the affiliate program when Amazon had tantrum about people making money in states that threatened to collect Internet sales taxes before they had a footprint in that state. Now, of course, Internet sales taxes are a fait accompli and Amazon has big footprints in the state, but when I applied for reinstatement, not enough people ordered through my affiliate link, so I got discharged a second time. Maybe I’ll try again when I get up to fifty readers a day consistently–they’re mostly search hits for old book reports anyway, the kind of place where an affiliate book link might make sense.

But I digress.

Apparently, I posted this gem on Facebook ten years ago:

Momma always said life is like a box of Kafka’s.

Now more than ever, ainna?

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Meanwhile, In The Powerline Week In Pictures, We Get My Area

This weeks Week in Pictures at Powerline features a meme from my area:

If I am not mistaken, that is Kearney facing east. North of Kearney, there’s only Interstate 44 and then non-overpass intersections north.

Of course, I hardly ever see the intersection going that way–when I’m going to ABC Books, I take US 65 north to Kearney and then turn west on Kearney to get to Glenstone and my favorite bookstore.

I have seen the sign on rare occasions when I have wanted to catch the highway from Kearney or when I have gone east on Kearney to a sports facility formerly known as The Courts, where my boys had a basketball camp and my youngest briefly played in a basketball league.

Not as weird as seeing a known intersection in a CAPTCHA.

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Sarah Hoyt Does Not Help Me Decide

The other day, I was torn about the proper catchphrase for this portion of the 21st century:

The Springfield area had rolling blackouts during the winter storms a couple weeks ago. I have been trying to get the phrase They’re not going to like the nineteenth century they’re voting for, but it might as well be They’re not going to like the third world country they’re voting for.

In a post Teenage Mutant Ninja Idiots, it sounds like Sarah Hoyt might favor the former:

Look, it took me a while to figure out things were going to h*ll. Mostly because…. well. I was raised in the 19th century, and some parts of it were not quite that advanced. Take toilet flushing: you take the full bucket in with you. Well, that’s how I first learned. I don’t know when grandma’s toilet had a flush installed if before or after we moved to my parents’ newly-built house which, d*mn skippy had a flush installed.

So that’s a vote for the first one, which to be honest is the one I prefer, too. But she also says:

Except that even there, you know, it was an European flush. I honestly can’t tell if Europe is just more advanced than us on the war on things that work — my best friend growing up lived in a Victorian that had perfectly functional elevated flush tanks, with no problems — or if — since friend’s house was built by an English consul — most of Europe (and the world) just cosplays modernity without any clue how it should work. I do know that my parents’ flush was low water before low water was fashionable (in a region of the world that has problems rather with too much water and back then when our water came from a well and was therefore “free”.) So, you know, you still had a bucket standing by just in case.

Also, the dishwasher was high water (but low hot water, because that cost money) and got done as soon as I was done scrubbing and rinsing the last pan. Ditto for the washer. We had a tank outside. I actually love hand-washing clothes. At least in summer. In winter, when your hands become painful from going in the water and you find out what “instant arthritis” means, it’s not so fun.

So, anyway, you see, in the states any level of “this is easier” was an improvement. I remember a day in the late eighties, when I sat down and went “The dishwasher is going. The washer is going. And I have time to write.” It was like…. trumpets sounded, I swear.

Which sounds like it could also be a vote for the latter.

I’m still on the horns of a dilemma. Rest assured, though, gentle reader, that I shall overuse the “C’mon, man” formulation in posts for the near future. At least until the lights go out.

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Ackshually Patrol

Tam K. misquotes Carlin:

Remember, everyone that drives faster than you is a maniac and everyone who drives slower is a moron.

Ackshually, it’s….

Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?

I am pretty sure the bit is on What Am I Doing In New Jersey, which I got on audiocassette when it was fairly fresh. I listened to it whilst driving back and forth between St. Louis in Milwaukee every couple of weeks after I finished up at the university in the great northern land and returned to Missouri for what, seemingly, was forever.

This quote has been top-of-mind because, yesterday, after maybe contemning another driver but without any of the seven words you cannot say on television, I explained the quote and the perspective of each driver makes the other drivers seem crazy, but that I was likely as crazy as they were from their perspectives.

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Better Than My Attorney Bernie

My accountant and his wife have a podcast. You can see them on YouTube for the nonce, but given that the podcast is entitled “Right From Us”, perhaps not for long.

I spotted it when I hit his wife’s blog today because I was looking for something to read that would not be too newsy because, brother, I’d rather not right now.

Funny story: He’s actually my accountant because I spotted Mrs. C.’s blog on an old Springfield blog collection when I first moved to town (and got myself on that blogroll). She posted that he had just gone solo as an accountant right as I learned that the woman who did our taxes had retired–and I parted ways with our St. Louis tax advisor right about the time the firm was getting heavily sanctioned by the IRS. Not that my parting with that firm meant that they did not still try to send us intermittent invoices for years afterwards.

When I first met the accountant, Mrs. C. was in the other office, and I mentioned reading her blog. It was an awkward moment, as meeting someone whose blog I’ve read for a while without commenting or anything makes me feel like a cyberstalker a bit.

An awkward moment that I’m sure to recreate in a month or so when I sit down with my accountant after having watched their podcasts and learning a lot of cool things we have in common.

(Oh, and as a reminder, my attorney is not really named Bernie–it’s a song I heard again recently on WSIE and recognized immediately.)

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Researching A Comment, I Discovered…

As you might know, gentle reader, I attended a nominally Catholic, a Jesuit, university, and I am half-Cath (which is all bastard according to the summary of Catholics marrying outside the faith found in So What’s The Difference), so I have had some exposure to Catholic teachings. But not a lot of formal theological training in that regard.

Over twenty years ago, I got the phrase Ex Cathedra in my head, and I “remembered” from my university days (twenty years ago, my university days were already memories, but fresh memories, unlike today where I am not entirely sure about most of my university education, including why? and why there?) that Ex Cathedra means the instances where the Pope spoke infallibly, almost as though Jesus and/or God were speaking. I thought the Pope had done so twice, the divine incarnation and the assumption of Mary into Heaven. Shortly thereafter,I was out to lunch (gentle reader, you might think that I still am, metaphorically speaking) with a Jesuit initiate, so I asked him, and he told me that those were not Ex Cathedra pronouncements. And I believed that for twenty plus years.

Until I was researching a comment I wanted to leave on this post (I wanted to make sure I spelled Ex Cathedra correctly).

Which lead me to the Wikipedia entry on papal infallibility which indicates that the Pope spoke Ex Cathedra not twice, but seven times.

Including the two I thought were the only two.

Interestingly, the Pope spoke Ex Cathedra once about beatification, twice about Jesus Christ, twice about the Virgin Mary, and twice about…. Cornelius Jansen? That’s not a heresy with which I was familiar, and it’s interesting that Wikipedia includes these as infallible.

However, the Wikipedia entry on Ineffabilis Deus, that is, the Immaculate Conception says:

Ineffabilis Deus (Latin for “Ineffable God”) is an apostolic constitution by Pope Pius IX. It defines the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The decree was promulgated on December 8, 1854, the date of the annual Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and followed from a positive response to the encyclical Ubi primum. Mary’s immaculate conception is one of only two pronouncements that were made ex cathedra (the other in Munificentissimus Deus regarding the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin) and is therefore considered by the Catholic Church to be infallible through the extraordinary magisterium.

Which is what I said, what the Jesuit denied, and not what Wikipedia said in the infallible Pope entry.

Which is why Wikipedia is a good starting point for interesting research but should not be considered the final word.

Unlike this blog or Friar’s comments thereupon, gentle reader. These you can take to the bank.

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Brian J.’s Reading, Listening Habits: Under Fire

I kind of feel under attack from various sources lately as I am known to read less-than-high quality poetry, cheap men’s adventure paperbacks, and artist monographs from artists that I don’t like and who lack basic technical skill if not fine motor control.

First, Friar tries to stage an intervention by linking to a First Things article. Friar says:

Writing at First Things, Leah Libresco outlines why bad art may not be the best thing for us. It’s an interesting piece and one item stood out because it’s an opinion I already held: The CGI Yoda from the Star Wars prequels, despite its ability to hop all over the place in a lightsaber duel, is not as good as the simple puppet voiced by Frank Oz in the original trilogy.

Come on, you know who he’s talking about.

Second, Severian tackles one of my musical crushes from the 1990s, Jewel:

In case you don’t remember, or were too young / old to be aware of her, that’s pop singer Jewel, in retrospect the most Nineties of all 90s poseurs. Trust me when I say that if you had any interest at all in college girls in the 1990s — prurient or otherwise — you can probably still recite the entire track list of Pieces of You (which, not coincidentally, is also the most Nineties possible album title). If you really want to give a guy in his 40s PTSD, play that and Jagged Little Pill back to back outside his bedroom window. After five minutes, he’ll either start shooting at you, or dig out his old flannels and Doc Martens and start kicking around a hacky sack…

Ow, that stings. I got Pieces of You after a epic quest evening of hitting record stores looking for it in that pre-Amazon and mostly pre-Internet era. I even bought her book of poetry, for Pete’s sake (which is the young person equivalent of grandmother poetry; a few nice moments, maybe, but mostly a nice pat for trying). I bought Spirit and even 0304 in this century (I was not impressed). And that was it. A couple of years later, she switched to country (as a lot of pop stars tried), but I haven’t really paid attention in the last fifteen years (how long?).

Also, on a side note, I also had Jagged Little Pill on CD back in the day; I got it before Pieces of You. But I got tired of Morrisette’s schtick and got rid of it sometime early this century. I still have Pieces of You, though, and the iTunes counter shows that I have listened to Pieces of You and Spirit once since I swapped computers a year and a half ago and 0304 twice.

Okay, so the Internet has been targeting me (I am the center of the Internet, gentle reader–everything on it is about me). What about the great masters?

Matthew Arnold, in his address entitled “Milton”, which was given on the dedication of the Milton window at St. Margaret’s Church:

It appears to me difficult to deny that the growing greatness and influence of the United States does bring with it some danger to the ideal of a high and rare excellence. The average man is too much a religion there; his performance is unduly magnified, his shortenings are not duly seen and admitted. A lady in the State of Ohio sent to me only the other day a volume on American authors; the praise given throughout was of such high pitch that in thinking of her I could not forbear saying that for only one or two of the authors named was such a strain of praise admissible, and that we lost all real standard of excellence by praising so uniformly and immoderately. She answered me with charming good tempers, that very likely I was quite right, but it was pleasant to her to think that excellence was common and abundant.

You see? Even late nineteenth century poets were gunning for me.

Although that last sentiment in the Arnold quote, gentle reader, might be a bit more than I truly believe, I am in favor of reading not only excellent things, but also things that are not excellent so as to develop a better understanding of what things are not good and perhaps why. Also, I come from a university English background, where at workshops we’re supposed to find at least something nice in the worst tripe. I didn’t do so well at it when I was in the university, but I have since mellowed.

And, as you might expect, I listened to a Rebecca Black EP, for crying out loud. Without Dustbury continuing to promote her, where will her career go?

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I Have Followed Politics Too Long

When discussing this past week’s Monday Night Football game featuring the Kansas City Red Packers against the Baltimore Poe Poems, I told my wife it was a good matchup because the Ravens quarterback, Lamar Alexander, was also a running quarterback who can throw.

And then I thought, Wait a minute. Lamar Alexander is the Senator from Tennessee who ran for president 20 years ago with signs that said simply Lamar!

The Ravens quarterback, Lamar Jackson is only a few years older than this blog.

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Revisiting Old Predictions

In a Good Book Hunting post in July 2018, I predicted:

The real question is, which of these books will I read first (aside from Hundred Dollar Baby)? Probably the cartoons. How many will I have read by this time in 2020? Probably the cartoons.

Analysis: FALSE.

I’ll have to figure out where that collection of cartoons is as it’s football season, so I have time to review cartoons between plays. I’d thought I’d already read it, but I don’t see it on the list.

Perhaps I should consider not buying so many books since I tend to buy more in a given year that I actually read–and that’s about a hundred–so I am doing nothing but falling behind.

But I have this real fear about not being able to find a book to read that I’m excited about–it’s been a while since I’ve had to wander aimlessly by my bookshelves because nothing really appeals to me in the moment I’m looking for something to read–but the memory of that fear keeps me going.

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The Winningest

Tam K. asks:

What kind of loser still writes a blog in 2020, anyway?

Basically, people who took Hugh Hewitt’s 2005 book Blog too much to heart or someone who has heard a business coach in 2020 say You’ve got to have a blog! You’ve got to have a brand! that, with diligent work and a proven track record over decades of fresh content will enable you to sell a hundred or so copies of your novel, one copy of your play (not a typo; it was to Charles Hill, PBUH), and a handful of copies of your poetry collection even though each is only $.99 on Kindle. Well, okay, the business coaches say the first part; the latter part of it comes from my own experience (and the thousands of words on this blog could probably have been better developed into a habit of writing actual books instead so maybe I could have eventually sold maybe five hundred books total.

All daily for the three or four regular readers and to keep my site fresh for search engines so I’m still a relevant hit for reports on obscure books.

Maybe Ms. K’s question was rhetorical, but I certainly explained one of the kinds of loser still blogging.

(Also, note, although I say decades of experience, this blog with its Blogger origin story are only seventeen and a half years old, so clearly I am using hyperbole.)

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I Know That Feeling

Kim du Toit had a drawing (for a rifle, natch), and in announcing the winners, he says:

Like the last time, I was terrified that someone I know very well would win. Happily, I’ve never met the man in person, so it’s all good.

A while back, I was a tester for a consumer-facing Web site that ran a couple of contests to drum up interest. The prizes were good: early comic books with values in the thousands of dollars. And although the company bought some banner ads and whatnot to promote it, the contests were both won by friends of mine–actually, a married couple who bore my godson. Well, they had me sponsor their fourth child. But they won both of the contests, partly because the number of entries was kind of low, but still.

I recused myself from participating in judging the contests because I knew the entrants, but the boss man still wondered if I was somehow rigging the game. Aside from getting my friends to enter, not at all.

I wonder what they did with their comic books. They didn’t loan them to me for sure.

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I’m Glad I Said Something Nice

As you know, gentle reader, we bloggers are a vain lot and we watch our stat trackers very carefully. Personally, I’m vain and disappointed as my traffic is not what it was in the early part of the century when the blogosphere was young. So I can see very clearly who’s coming to the blog (Korean Web crawlers mostly).

Every once and again, I get a search engine hit for a small collection of poetry followed by one or more direct hits to the same page from a different IP and device:

Yesterday, a couple of visitors went to my report earlier this year on The Country Roads and Other Poems.

I assume that a family member of the author searched for his or her relative, found my book report, and shared it with someone else in the family.

Which is why I am glad that I had something nice to say. You might have noticed that my book reports have mellowed over the years, especially when it comes to smaller books or poetry chapbooks. These are real people, you know, and it’s likely that some of them or their descendants might someday stumble across a book report here, and I’d like for them to find nothing but joy in finding that their books or their relatives’ books are being read decades later somewhere across the country.

As it happens, I have seen this visit pattern more than once for As Autumn Approaches, too.

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