Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

Found a new blog

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

Well, it’s new to me, at least. Via Gerard Vanderleun.

Here is his post on why he moved from the political left to the political right. I’ve read several of these from different people, and they’re all interesting. The key paragraph for me was this:

This was the final straw, to see that all of the things that a kind must do in order to continue to persist are exactly what liberalism condemns. That if you have two groups, one of which refuses to do what it must in order to persist through time, and another group which does, the latter will inherit the Earth. In fact, the Earth will always be inherited by those groups who take the effort to persist. These considerations are detailed in “The Ultimate Guide to Cultural Marxist Genocide.” I wrestled with these implications for a long time, for over a year actually. But in the end I could not get over the conclusion that, whatever moral or political theory you prefer, it can’t, like the Shakers, lead to the extinction of those who practice it. Values have survival value. On the other hand, liberal values are “Deathwish Values,” they lead to the extinction of those who live by them, and can not endure through time. If you adopt liberalism, you go extinct (see “The Shakers, Deathwish Values, and Autonomy“). This is what is currently happening to all the ancient people’s of Europe due to their adoption of liberalism. The world will always be inherited by those who live by values that ensure the survival of their kind.

He also has a good post about the push to declare sexual differences to be “social constructs.” He’s responding to someone else who lists a number of abnormal conditions as reasons to discard the normal. Again, there is a paragraph I find key:

The problem is that biology does not work on this essentialist basis; it works on the basis of function/malfunction, normal/abnormal. The real lesson to draw from examples such as those presented by EvoX is that sex is a functional biological norm, and individuals can deviate from this norm in many different ways. “Biologically normal” means working as designed by natural selection, or being in the condition it is supposed to be in, where “design” and “supposed to” means that the item is in the condition its ancestors were in on those occasions where they actually were selected for by natural selection. I will use “design” and “supposed to” since they are more intuitive to grasp and easier than writing out “as happened historically when the mechanism was selected for” each time.

I’m looking forward to spending more time reading what he’s got on the site.

“We had to burn the awards in order to save them”

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

So, the 2015 Hugos have been awarded, and it’s now obvious that the in-group that has controlled the awards for a number of years felt that it was better not to make awards than to let the wrong people (or those supported by the wrong people) win.

I didn’t vote in every category – I won’t vote if I’m not conversant with the nominees. I feel that it’s a matter of integrity not to vote for or against things I haven’t read or watched. Given that half or more of the votes in categories dominated by Puppy nominees were for “no award” and a number of people stated that they were going to vote that way without reading any of the nominated works, it’s obvious that many people don’t believe the same way. I’d be very interested in seeing how many of the “no award” votes had only no award votes, and how many of them cast votes ranking nominees in one or more categories.

I watched the first two hours of the livestream, although I missed the opening skit. I must say, I was disappointed but not surprised by the sniggering about the asterisk being the official emblem of this year’s Hugo awards, David Gerrold’s little “happy dance” when the audience cheered that “no award” won in the Best Related Work category, and winner speeches that included statements that “Black lives matter” and “I’d like to thank The Patriarchy.” I went to bed around that time, but Mr. Gerrold apparently said at some later time in the ceremony that while cheering “no award” was acceptable, booing it was not.

As I said, I was disappointed but not surprised – this is the sort of thing I’ve come to expect from organized fandom. It’s a major reason why I’ve not been active in local fandom for a number of years, although whether I gafiated or fafiated depends on your point of view. I’ve talked about this before, but apparently only in comments on other websites. There is a widespread presumption in fandom that everyone in fandom is at least liberal, if not further to the left, and the people who aren’t are stupid, evil, or worse, and are certainly not due any consideration or politeness.

It leads to an environment in which people feel comfortable making statements denigrating conservatives, conservative ideas, and Republicans. The “logic” seems to be, “These are my views, and I’m smart, therefore I’m right, and anyone who disagrees is both stupid and incorrect, but there’s nobody here like that, right?” I don’t like arguing, so I prefer not to go places where I get stressed, but it’s been pointed out that abdicating the field in that way is the sort of thing that helped allow the SJW takeover of the field.

Getting back to the Hugos, it also leads to the way the Puppy nominees and backers have been characterized by the gatekeepers. I’ve never met Larry Correia and Vox Day, but I have met Sarah Hoyt, and the widespread characterization of them and the Puppy nominees as being “straight white males writing about straight white males” can only be considered accurate if you say that the anti-Puppy forces are allowed to assign sex and ethnicity regardless of biology or consistency.

I’ll admit that, while I really liked and was impressed by many of the Puppy nominees, I don’t consider all of them to have been Hugo-worthy. However, even the worst of them was better than some of last year’s highly-touted nominees (“If You Were Attacked by Cardboard Stereotypes, My Love,” for example).

I’ve looked at a few of the Hugo roundup and response posts, and over at Vox Day’s site, some commenters are blaming the Puppy voters for voting “no award,” which is ridiculous to those who’ve been following what he and others have said. Basically, this year they played it straight; next year they’ll vote to burn down the awards, since the people afraid of the awards going to the wrong people have led the way. As Vox Day pointed out, the official announcement didn’t even mention the categories in which no award was made.

There were five categories in which no award was made this year. That matches the number of “no awards” in all of the prior history of the Hugos. Personally, I don’t believe that the nominees this year were that incredibly and historically bad. The gatekeepers have shown the extent to which they’re willing to go to keep control of the awards. It will be interesting, and likely disheartening, to see what happens next.

I Voted!

Friday, July 31st, 2015

The exclamation point is a little much, I’ll admit, but I submitted my ballot for this year’s Hugo awards tonight. I didn’t vote in all categories, because I wasn’t familiar with all of the nominees. As an example, the only nominee in the category “Long Form Dramatic Presentation” that I saw was Guardians of the Galaxy. Then again, that’s not unusual for me.

I won’t vote in a category where I haven’t seen/read all the nominees. As a result, I voted in eight categories, and didn’t vote in ten. I’ll be interested in learning the results when they’re announced next month.

Boycott in progress

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

In relation to Sad Puppies, a boycott of Tor Books has been called for, due to the statements and actions of various people in charge at Tor.

I am not a sad puppy, but I am in sympathy with their position and their aims. I don’t buy as many books as I used to, but I have accumulated quite a library over the years, and Tor books make up a non-negligible portion of my library. One action that has been requested is for everyone who plans to participate in the boycott to submit a photograph of their Tor books. Mine is below. It only shows the books that were on the bookshelves in the house, however. I have more books than I can keep handy, so about half of my library is in boxes in the garage. There are about 85 Tor books shown stacked on the floor, and my books database tells me that I have about 50 more in the garage. Several years ago, I gave my daughter a few hundred books, and I’ve no idea how many Tor books may have been among them.

I also have two dozen or so Tor ebooks.

I won’t be acquiring any more, though. Tor gives every impression of having a corporate culture that despises anyone who isn’t wholly on board with the left-wing causes of the day, and is more than willing to demonize them. As that applies to me, since they despise me, I’ll not force them to associate with me any longer.

Some of the books published by Tor in my collection.

Some of the books published by Tor in my collection.

How’s that again?

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

This post over at Futility Closet reminds me of a similar anecdote. I have a friend who, years ago, ran a CD store. One day, a customer came in wanting a copy of The Sacred Tinsnips. It took a little while before he realized that the customer was actually wanting a copy of Le Sacre du Printemps.

Activity for the month?

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Not very likely.

Happy Halloween

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

And, to start off happy, we’ll begin with music. I was hoping to cover all of the classic monsters with songs I’m familiar with, but I couldn’t find “Mummy Shuffle” or “Truck-Driving Vampire” on YouTube. I don’t intend this to be a comprehensive playlist; it’s only a few songs for the theme.

We’ll start with werewolves, with the song “Silver Bullet Blues,” by Michael Longcor:

Next, we’ll play “Frankenstein,” by the Edgar Winter Group (one of my favorite highway songs):

No vampire or mummy songs, so we’ll move into zombies with the Kingston Trio’s “Zombie Jamboree:”

We’ll follow that with a ghost song – Red Sovine singing about “Big Joe and Phantom 309”:

And, staying with the dead for a moment, we’ll finish with “Dead Man’s Party,” by Oingo Boingo:

Moving on, Eleanor Barkhorn has a problem with the idea of “sexy Halloween costumes,” particularly with respect to younger women and girls. Given my glandular bias, I have little problem with them, although I might make an exception for this one.

This, on the other hand, is one impressive costume.

Metafilter had a number of links to appropriate reading material yesterday. I’m giving the Metafilter links in all cases rather than directly linking to the stories, because at least one of the target websites is trashing the link and going to a generic backup site because of the aftermath of Sandy. Also, the commenters often have interesting additions to the topics.

First, a scientific paper on the feasibility of the events in The Call of Cthulhu.

Next, a pointer to an io9 article on spooky webcomics.

There was apparently a horror and fantasy radio series in the early 1980s.

Another link to io9, this one to the 55 scariest scenes from fantasy, SF, and horror films. I don’t know about “the” as the modifier, because these lists are always subjective, but they’re usually interesting, anyway. Besides, I’m not much of an aficionado of being scared, so I’m not one to make such a list myself.

Here’s one to scary stories selected by writers at The Guardian. When it comes to Crawford, who wrote the first story listed, I’m more inclined to select “The Upper Berth.” Another story from that era that I like is, “Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come To You, My Lad,” by M. R. James.

Don’t forget to make all appropriate preparations for the evening.

Finally, I haven’t carved a pumpkin for this year, but I did run across these instructions that I like. The last one I did came out quite well – not only did my daughter like it, she took it to a party and it was stolen. These earlier ones also came out pretty well.

UPDATE: Some interesting anatomical concept art here.

Happy Birthday to …

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

… Charles Addams, who would have been 100 years old today.

He’s one of my favorite cartoonists. I have most of the books that collect the Addams Family cartoons (Black Maria, Nightcrawlers, Favorite Haunts, Drawn and Quartered, Creature Comforts, Monster Rally, The Groaning Board, Addams and Evil), as well as a book that provides a lot of information about the Addams Family TV show (Addams Family Revealed). I’ve used a couple of the cartoons on housewarming invitations in the past. Perhaps that’s why very few people showed up?

And how is your daughter, Dr. Rappaccini?

Friday, October 7th, 2011

I thought of Hawthorn’s story the moment I read this.

Via Ghost of a Flea.

Miscellany 17

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

There’s not quite an hour left in the 52nd anniversary of Hawaii becoming a state (in this timezone, anyway). Time to clear out the browser tabs.

Andy Firth believes that people who code for a living aren’t learning enough about the abstractions they use and what those abstractions are hiding. I happen to agree with that. My list of things that coders should study/know would be somewhat different than his, but that is likely to be just because of our differing backgrounds.

The economy is going to hell in a handbasket. My company isn’t exempt from problems; our customers have taken to using us as a bank that provides no-interest loans – customers on net 30 terms have been taking 90 days or more to pay. Here’s a good roundup of poll results with respect to the economy and the government’s handling of it.

Perhaps this chart explains some of the problem. Pay particular attention to the last two lines.

Accounting rules have, of course, contributed to where we are today with respect to manufacturing.

Oh, for the days when farming was fun!

While we’re on the subject of dynamite, I’d like to suggest this as a problem that can be solved with a suitable application of high explosives.

I don’t agree with Fred all the time, but he’s almost always worth reading. He’s got a sobering take on the London riots.

The closest I can come to matching this customer service story is to note that I used to be a regular-enough customer at a local Mexican restaurant that the staff knew my usual order. Nowhere near the same thing. I’ll have to get to a Morton’s sometime when I feel as though I can afford it; such service deserves reward.

I need to find out more about this. There may be nothing there, but, if there is …

Free online classes in AI. Might be fun. Here’s more information about other online education sources.

I saw an interesting documentary on burlesque a couple of weeks ago. This song was in part of it, but never sung in its entirety. I looked it up because it sounded fun. Note: the page automatically plays a MIDI file of it.