Monthly Archives: January 2010

On the Bright Side, Paksenarrion Is Back

“Paladin, Paladin, Where do you roam?”

Er… I meant the other kind…. The ones with swords and healing powers….

Coming soon in March, Oath of Fealty by Elizabeth Moon.

Chapter One over at Del Rey, in which we return to Verella of the Bells, and Bad People Doing Bad Stuff What Needs Paladins (as written by an ex-Marine) To Stop Them.

A largish snippet over at one of Moon’s blogs.

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SF/F writer Kage Baker just passed away

Quick-moving cancer is really nasty stuff.

I never really got into any of her oeuvre, but I’m not really into horror-y stuff. I know she was highly thought of by many, and that she was pretty prolific for such a brief career.

May light eternal shine upon her, and may St. Thomas More greet her at the gates.

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Because Chariot Racing Wasn’t Fast Enough.

More power!

I think we know what Emperor Dale Price is doing this summer, because clearly Detroit needs the Byzantine-X version of this. The only question is whether the Emperor will cheer for the Blues or the Greens. 🙂

Via Lawdog.

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Not to Speak Ill of the Dead or Anything

But just because I choose to say nice things about a reclusive short story writer, doesn’t mean that I have softened my stance toward that other thing he ‘wrote’, Catcher in the Rye. Honestly, I’m about to lose my cookies, running into all this praise for a book I only finished by dint of sheer willpower, desperately fighting sleep with the force of my contempt for the main character and the school system that made me keep reading about him. I earned my grade on that one, sure that some literary value must be in there somewhere. But no, it really was stupider and less funny than Catch 22.

I would say I hated that book, except it wasn’t as bad as stupid Earth Abides. It stunk and it was overrated, but there are worse books out there. Like Stranger in a Strange Land, although that actually has some entertainment value. Just not many that are universally acclaimed as classics, and which some people actually claim to like, the dear Lord knows why.

However, the constant insistence that it’s still an edgy book? That’s delusional. Nobody’s impressed by a bad word here or there, and they haven’t been for the last thirty or more years. This book is jawdroppingly naive. There are fundamentalist Christian homeschoolers who do edgier stuff than this for service projects. Maybe now that the author’s dead, the Baby-boomers will finally acknowledge that it’s an old man’s book, far behind the times, but not in a charming way.

Any one page of Boswell’s Life of Johnson will teach you more about humanity and life.

That includes pages composed entirely of bibliographic footnotes.


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Eat This, Webster!

My clan has its own dictionary. In two editions. So there.

It’s really very useful for reading Gaelic/Irish stuff written before all the modern spelling changes. There are also entries for famous clans and people and landmarks, and a lot of gratuitous but enjoyable commentary.

I have to say that I find the 1768 first edition more relaxing, though. The font is prettier, and there’s none of that switching back and forth to Irish font. (I can read Irish font, but it’s not really uncial and I don’t really like it. Dots are very easy to leave out, too.)

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From the Files of “Never Trust a Reporter”….

One of the altos in our choir has a lot going on in her life. Her daughter got the swine flu. Her husband the tenor got sick, too. His mother has Alzheimer’s and was just in the hospital with severe cardio problems. Etc, etc.

So she talked to one of her friends about it, and her friend talked to another friend, and that friend was a reporter for the Dayton Daily News who wanted to do a story on health care as a lead-up to the State of the Union speech this week. So my alto friend talked to the reporter about her troubles, got her picture taken, and so forth. Apparently they had a nice chat about health care, about which the alto is knowledgeable, and about financial stuff, which is her business.

Then the reporter asked her whether she supported ObamaCare, because it would help out her situation. She said no, she didn’t support ObamaCare; and that even if she didn’t have ideological problems with it, none of the provisions actually would improve her situation, and would actually make the money tighter in some instances. Again, she provided examples in detail. She’s that kind of woman — studies up and likes to tell you all about it. And why not? You need to be a detail person to do financial work.

Well, the newspaper story came out this week. They got her town wrong. They said her daughter lived with them, when she’d told them all about her daughter’s nice condo; she’d only stayed with them during the swine flu episode. They told everybody how old she was in the lede. They made it sound like she was starving to death, simultaneously panicking her friends and her customers into endless calls and offers of money and help. They didn’t say her husband the tenor makes a really good chunk of cash, working directly for the Ohio Supreme Court at their facilities, and that she’s doing pretty well herself, which is why they can manage care for two chronically ill people in the family. And they said she would benefit from the health care bill, even though she’d documented that she wouldn’t, with figures down to the last penny; and they didn’t say she didn’t want the bill as it stands.

It was a good story just by giving the facts. The “contradictions” would have made the story stronger, and it would have interested people regardless of their politics. But once again, you got a reporter who wasn’t interested in fact-checking, but was interested in puppeteering.

All the reporter had to do was do a good job with the basics, and everything would have been fine. (Though including her true age as the third word in the first sentence… was not… well-thought out.) Instead, he tells a whole bunch of people not to trust him and that he doesn’t care about other people’s ideas; and makes more trouble for a lady who’s already got plenty.

The really sad thing is that the guy who wrote the story was not a cub reporter. He’s written books. He ought to have known better. But he didn’t. (I believe the word is “putz”. Though I’m sure I could think of some worse ones.)

Anyway, here’s the moral of the story. There are folks out there with good work ethics and journalistic morals, but you probably won’t get interviewed by one of them. (Murphy’s Law.) So… no matter who you are or what opinion you hold…

Never trust a reporter: always bring a recorder. Be prepared to broadcast what you really said.


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Handy Lent Words

I just found an interesting book online of Irish language expressions from Donegal and points north. This is very handy for my Danta De project, because some of the old poetic expressions used in the hymnal are a bit hard to find.

Anyway, a few words for Lent coming up:

Aifreann: Mass. In the north, the F can become silent. 🙂

Beigligh: Abstinence from flesh. “Tá beigligh ar an lá seo.”: This is a day of abstinence. Donegal. In the official government Irish from down south, it’s trĂ©anas.

Caisc or Casc: Easter. (From Pasch/Pesach, “Passover”.) Domhnach Casc = Easter Sunday, in Donegal.

Cáitín: The Lenten fast.

Carghas: Lent. Down south, there’s an expression “an Carghas a dhĂ©anamh” — to keep the Lenten fast.

CiallanaĂ­: Fasting.

Troscadh BrĂłnach: ‘Sorrowful fast’ — a severe fast, a ‘black fast’.

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