Small-town kid from repressed respectable but impoverished background in the sticks has a cold and controlling father, leaves home to serve his nation, fights bravely but suffers in The War against The Enemy, goes to the Big City, becomes a charismatic leader and unites his People in a new empire with himself as beloved, charismatic leader against the secret evil cabal which seeks to destroy his Nation.
He wrote an article that's been reposted elsewhere titled, "Why Wikipedia Should Be Your New LinkedIn" (a title so repugnant to Wikipedia's ethos that it makes my skin crawl). When we refused to restore his self-advertisement, he sneered at the Wiki-nerds and violated Godwin's Law. When I blocked him from damaging the project further, he tweeted a declaration of war: https://twitter.com/Versability I tell ya, I'm just trembling in my boots.
7:01pm: Why SF is despised so disproportionately in the mundane culture
Science fiction is unique in that it is a literary genre almost invariably judged by ignorant people (including critics) unaware of the contents of the actual genre, but instead vaguely and a-historically confusing it with a hodgepodge of hazy memories of comic strips, cartoons, films and TV shows (many of them defunct and disdained within the field) which use SF tropes but are not informed with a science-fictional consciousness, not even of 1939 John W. Campbell vintage.
1:03pm: Father's Day
Remembering Jim Dandy Lowrey, 1922-1963. Younger son who picked cotton in the summer and dropped out of high school, left home after an inconvenient accident, banged around the country and ended up out West, did a stint in the C.C.C., joined the Army and then went A.W.O.L., ended up working in a defense plant (under the name of "Lucky Brocius").
He turned himself in after Pearl Harbor, fought in the liberation of the Philippines from Japanese imperialism (Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, injuries that decades later left him 100% disabled) and acquired a new respect for people of color as he fought alongside them. He married Sybil Blondell "Butch" Scarbrough while still in the hospital in Athens, GA recovering. They were the original bikers: post-war kids (the guys mostly vets) on Harleys, roaming around the country with their friends. Dad floundered around a bit, eventually became a newspaperman (reporter, photographer, outdoors writer) on a string of Southern dailies (he was editor for a while of the DAILY CORINTHIAN in Corinth, MS.).
They raised four of us kids, but his heart was weakened (not that the cigarettes and whiskey helped). His first or second heart attack got him fired (so they wouldn't have to pay health insurance); his third or fourth killed him. He was realistic enough to have prepared all of us for the event, but you never think it's gonna happen.
He was a flawed man (ain't we all?) and a harsh disciplinarian; but I never doubted and don't doubt his love for us all. Love you, Daddy! I only wish you could have met Kelly and the rest of your grandkids.
I've just gotten word that an interview with parkingprincessmy beloved and I</a> was broadcast on the BBC World Service programme Outlook last night. Due to the State's filter, I can't listen to it (streaming media blocked); but here's the URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p017cq6l
7:58pm: Chattacon XXXVIII - day two report
I wake up late and bleary a little before 10:00 a.m. local time (9:00 a.m. my body's time); but discover there's no programming until 11:00; and nothing I want to attend until 1:00 p.m. I type and post the first installment of this series, and head for the con suite. The Krispy Kreme donuts are all gone, but I grab some cereal and milk, and a few Little Debbie snack cakes, to go with my Dr. Pepper. I wander around aimlessly, greeting acquaintances and smiling at children. As has been happening all con, I get folks shaking my hands and saying things like, "I know it's Chattacon now: the orange guy is here!" I do take advantage of the free massage offer from the local chiropractor trying to drum up business; it aches afterwards, but in a good sort of way.
I drift over to the programming building (the Centennial Center) and wander the hucksters' room, which is more populated now (although a couple of tables will go unclaimed throughout the con). The Larry Smith operation has oodles of new books; there is one person selling "vintage" (i.e., used) books for excessive prices, and a few smaller publishers and self-publishers pushing their own wares, plus artist GoH William Stout selling a tempting array of collections of his own work over the years. Otherwise: dealers in clothing, glassware, jewelry, weapons, steampunk props, and t-shirts, plus one guy (apparently Japanese himself) selling an extensive array of anime- and manga-related stuff. I politely ignore the Dragon*Con booth.
Outsided the dealers room are tables for local cons, the local SCA barony, the AAA(!), and an anthropology undergrad doing a survey about "geek fandom". She explains that her professor said that fandom was about more than science fiction nowadays, so she shouldn't call it "science fiction fandom"; I lecture her about respecting the customs and self-definitions of the culture in which you are doing fieldwork, and tell her the old reservation joke about the basic Native American family unit.
At 1:00 o'clock a guy named Saylor whose first name I never caught gives a slideshow/lecture on the history of SF from Verne to Star Wars. He's earnest, touches a lot of the requisite bases, tries to put developments in cultural context, and is apparently a friend of Bob Madle's, but on the whole I'm definitely not impressed: sorry, friend Saylor. I catch one of the frequent shuttles (a vital necessity at the Choo Choo, which sprawls across a space bigger than some college campuses I've seen) back to the con suite, snack a bit more, and sit to read for a bit. A few folks say howdy, and one of the veteran bartender-DJs comes to my table to ask me if there's anything I want. He knows the answer before I speak; soon the dulcet strains of Frank Zappa and the Mothers fill the hall (they know me here).
At 3 there's the annual Baen Books traveling slide show (speaking of traveling, they're publishing the first novel by Frank Chadwick, the guy who designed the SF roleplaying game Traveler). I leave the room with more books than I came in with; this is a good thing for a book reviewer. There was some discussion, occasionally grumpy, about the whole Jim Hines vs. the Contortionist Art Directors issue of improbably postured people on SF book covers. Afterwards, I go to my room to lighten my load of books, drop off my jacket (which I no longer need since the temperature has soared above 34 F.) and check my e-mail; there might have been a quick nap in there.
There is no masquerade this year, but this doesn't stop folks from wearing a variety of colorful garb, from the WW2 re-enactor to a variety of the "two heaps of jelly squeezed onto a shelf" school of bosom enhancement and display. One woman wears a skin-tight pseudo-vintage-WAC outfit that (except for the pink streaks in her blonde hair) could be described as "Sluttina, the Andrews Sister nobody talked about". The "white kids from the Atlanta suburbs wearing the latex and leather fetish gear they bought with the 'rents credit cards" element seems to have passed on from Chattacon to some other venue Mommy and Daddy don't know about; not that such garb did not make an appearance, but there was a lot more of steampunk, pirates, SCA and pseudo-medieval, comic books and media costuming, from the Star Trek: Next Gen bridge crew (including a stunning Counselor Troi) to Jasmine to Drs. Who to Muppets. The fez was a common fashion accessory; I don't know whether Andy Hooper should be jealous or proud. (Ye gods! A Google Image search reminds me that there are fannish whippersnappers who've never seen Hooper in his once-canonical Major Hoople fez!)
There are very few parties: one by a local "party crew" (a fad I deplore; just not my style, and in my opinion not something to be encouraged in fandom), another a book release celebration by a new writer I haven't read yet (I took her card), and the third held by JordanCon 2013, which is hosting the 2013 DeepSouthCon in Roswell, Georgia, outside Atlanta. I will confess I have not gotten around to reading the last few doorstops in the Wheel of Time series; but I remember Jordan when he was just another local minor pro who came to Chattacons, like Karl Edward Wagner or Robert Adams (all now deceased). On the way from one party to another, a younger guy I vaguely recognize stops me to ask a question about the first Chattacon, which I answer to the best of my knowledge; he says that somebody told him I would know the answer if anybody did. He's been coming to Chatta for years, but knew not the name Irv Koch. Somebody else in his posse suggests that Chattacon should add a history section to their website where such tales could be told.
It's getting later, and I shuttle back to the consuite, where I people-watch (some folks have already changed hall costumes) and snack and read, again interrupted by very welcome conversations on everything from the SCA to what I (and they) are reading. (Have you ever tried to explain the Liaden Universe in half-a-dozen sentences, even to an SF fan?) After a while I return to the room, check e-mail and websurf a smidgen (I've been lent Cicatrice's battered old iBook G4, since she's now got a Macbook Air; free Wi-Fi in the room). I think about doing this report, and decide I'm too groggy and achy (I seem to have forgotten to pack my Indomethacin, and my joint pain is not forgiving me for this sin of omission) to do it now.
10:29am: Chattacon XXXVIII - day one report
(For those of you who don't know the story: I was membership #3 at the first Chattacon, which was attended by less than 100 people; so when I moved from Nashville to Milwaukee, I vowed not to break my streak. For probably a decade now, I'm the only person left who has attended every single one. parkingprincess (Cicatrice) understands, and has occasionally come with me, with or without Kelly, when finances permitted. This, alas, was not one of those years.)
Up at 4 a.m., with the temperature approximately 4 degrees (F) outside. Cicatrice bids me a farewell that does NOT embrace getting out of a warm bed in this kind of cold, and I drive to the airport. (She'll pick the car up later.) I get on my redeye flight and sleep through most of it, as well as the connecting flight out of Detroit (I was up late the night before, proofing her MilwApa zine and doing preparatory stuff for my trip).
In Chattanooga's tiny airport, I encounter a local fan who is on his way OUT of town, since he's got a paid gig; he expresses his regret at missing Chatta this year (it doesn't help that he no longer lives in East Tennessee). The shuttle driver and I discuss the hardships of civil service (he used to drive tanker trucks for the city's vehicle fleet, which can be a really fun gig during a major snowfall event). I learn that everybody locally is dreading an announced "freezing rain" storm, which can leave quarter-inch thick coats of frozen ice on every road, wall, pine needle, twig and power line in the region, and mere fear of which has already caused cancellation of schools, etc. [Anti-climax warning: it didn't happen, and I expect the usual clueless mockery by people who think weather is not a chaotic a system as it is. The hysteria, however, may cut into walk-in memberships for the con.]
I'm amazingly early, but also amazingly tired; I check in and grab a brief nap, rather than explore the town in my usual token way. When I get up, registration has opened, but the line for pre-registered is non-existent, so I grab my badge and wander over to the meeting rooms after cruising the registration line for old familiar faces (the faces are fannish, but no especially familiar ones swim into view). In the meeting hall, I run into a couple of folks I recall from prior Chattacons: we discuss SF and tastes; I recommend a title for his wife, who likes books about the Fae (after she reads Terry Pratchett's Lords and Ladies, she'll never look at them the same way again). Based on the glowing accounts his friend and I give of Discworld in general, I suspect he's going to be buying some Pratchett for himself as well.
The dealer's room is open, and (as expected) light on books, heavy on garments and tchotkes. I have a limited budget, and buy nothing as yet. I haven't eaten all day, so I go for the hotel restaurant's buffet: it's their usual mediocre offering, with nothing bad enough to whine about (except the pecan pies were made with crusts that had been sitting in a freezer long enough to acquire that odd stale flavor) or good enough to recommend it, and nothing to indicate that you're eating in the South, a region where good cooking is prized. I overeat, trying too hard to get my money's worth, and come away a bit bloated.
Opening ceremony is nice enough: Wendy Webb is toastmistress, and has done the "google for your guests' names and see what has been done by people with the same name" bit. William Stout and Tim Powers speak briefly but amusingly. Cherie Priest does as well, but ribs the con committee for not realizing that this "Seattle writer" they've invited as a guest is a former Chattanooga resident and Chattacon attendee who is in the process of moving back to Chattanooga! She says she wants to get away from the cold wet weather; it's 33 degrees and raining as she speaks. As it is breaking up, I walk over to a tiny girl who's there with family: the mom tells me, "You played with her at WorldCon! She looked over and said, 'I remember him!'" I don't remember this specific small person (under 5) from Chicon last, but I am a total sucker for children, and at cons I always go out of my way to acknowledge them as people who are welcome to the con and whom I hope to see again.
At the meet-the-guests party afterwards, I speak briefly with Priest, and more at length with Stout. I'm an old fart, and remember him from the glory days of underground comix with titles like Bicentennial Grossouts (he tells me he's seen that one in a Bicentennial Museum collection) and the immortal Slow Death; we don't talk about Bizarre Sex. We talk about the people who are fans of his era from one era or another, and don't connect the dots to other stages of his career. (That's one of the things I love about doing a good Wikipedia article: connecting the Montana pioneer to the Wisconsin Greenback legislator; or the labor leader to the old-time YPSL activist; or the fanzine fan to the noted poet.) I see and greet old acquaintances, and run down Chattacon's official historian, to whom I give a printout of the article from Die Welt written about Chattacon. I am still overfull, and unable to give the marvelous hors d'oeuvres at the party the attention they so emphatically deserve. (Local fannish foodies make them in quantity, and they are inevitably a gustatory highlight of the weekend.) I get into my second conversation of the weekend about the 1632 series with somebody who's spotted the book I'm carrying, and I suspect I've made another convert.
I head over to the Con Suite, which is actually in another building, a former ice skating rink. Unfortunately, the heating is on the fritz, although the temps are not down to ice-forming levels. I eat the token Little Debbie Swiss Roll (it is Chattacon), and a few slices of tangerine. I run into younger fans who remember me from prior Chattacons where we've talked fannish history, and a local reporter whom I helped with a Chattacon story a while back (he says his boss prefers "sci fi" in a headline, although he understands my attitude on the term), and the reporter introduces me to his wife, who's there for the first time. I sit and read for a while (1635: Papal Stakes, then head over to the section of the hotel where the few parties are. Neither has started yet, so I sit in the lobby and read the local paper (not a long process) before returning to find the LibertyCon party now under way. I have heard good things about LibertyCon, but can only afford one long trip to a regional con per year; I keep hoping that some year they will invite me as a fan G o H ("Chattanooga's most familiar face you only see once a year, here in June for a change!"). After a while, I move on to the other party, a steampunk event billed as a stag party for one of their own whom I don't know. It's crowded and I don't stay long.
I return to my room, map out this report in my head, and collapse with it unwritten.
11:53am: Donated blood yesterday, side-by-side with Kelly parkingprincess sat patiently and waited for us to finish being tapped. The stick was pretty easy for me (given the needle phobia thing); they had to tourniquet Kelly's arm with the blood pressure cuff in order to get it full enough with blood to do a good draining.
5:45pm: A tale of Christmas week
Last Thursday, right after Christmas, we had a mother come into our office to get her authorization for subsidized childcare renewed. She’d recently started working again, and we’d given her a provisional authorization until the checks started coming and we could set her up permanently. This was vital: the daycare provider, to whom she already owed $Xk, was going to refuse to take the child the next day if the mom didn’t get reauthorized.
Normally, this would be easy-peasy; but the complication arose: she didn’t know the FEIN for her employer, so that we could verify employment on the online databases. “Oh, I work for Alpha Corp.” but no “Alpha Corp.” or “AlphaCorp” had an FEIN, at that address or any other. The mom called her colleague at work (she’d had to take off work to come do this), and the colleague didn’t know from FEINs. “We have a ‘tax number’ of xxxxxxxx”; but that was useless (hint: if you want to hinder a bureaucrat AND make it difficult for them to help you, refer to any and all of seventeen different identifying numbers from FEIN to Sales Tax Exemption Number generically as your “tax number”). “Aren’t we part of Beta Holdings or something?” (no “Beta Holdings” or “Beta Corp.” with an FEIN, at that address or any other). The colleague suggested that the mom call “payroll” at different location.
When the mom reached “payroll”, she was stopped cold: “We don’t divulge that number! What do you want it for? I know you need childcare, but we don’t do that!” (this, about a number which will be right there on the mom’s W-2 within the next four weeks). The mom was getting panicky now, but “payroll” was deaf to her pleas. When she hung up, she started to cry, since if she couldn’t take her child to daycare, she couldn’t go to work, and she’d lose the new job she is so desperate to keep. From the little tables by the window, a small voice piped up, “Mommy, are you okay?” The mom visibly pulled herself together and said mendaciously, “It’s okay, honey; mommy’s all right.” (None of us behind the counter believed it for a minute; but we all sympathized with the desire to make sure the child wasn’t scared.)
Now I work for Provider Services, not Authorization; but all this was going on to my immediate right at the window in the glass booth. I was like my colleague in wishing to figure out a way that this working mom could take care of her little one. I interjected, “What name is on your paycheck?” The mom didn’t know (didn’t care as long as the check cleared) – “But you guys have my check stubs…” (scanned into the system to verify income). “Eureka!” – my colleague in Authorizations accessed those files, and saw that the mom’s paycheck was issued by – Gamma Partners LLC! And we did have an FEIN for Gamma at the very address where the mom works. Authorization issued, mom enormously relieved, tearful thanks all around, and a couple of bureaucrats delighted to have been of help in a situation that could have come straight from Schmaltz Central.
4:36pm: Call their bluff
Call their bluff. Don't back down. Don't extend the Bush tax cuts for the 2%, not even temporarily.
Don't agree to the gimmicky "chained CPI" as a way to cut Social Security on those who need it most; or to raising the Medicare eligibility age; or to cutting Medicaid funding in any way.
You were right; YOU WON; they lost.
Don't surrender our country's finances to these bluffing Norquisters and Randroids, Barack Obama: be a Harry Truman Democrat, not a Taft Republican!!!!
11:08am: We must hire consultants and do a study!
Do you find it as hilarious as I do that the Republicans need to run focus groups to figure out why they lost an election in which they positioned themselves as the party that: hates gays and Hispanics; thinks rape may be okay and government should have control of women's lady parts; and wants to keep pot illegal: then wonder why they lost the youth, women and Latino voters?
10:45am: Call me a bleeding heart leftie!
Call me a bleeding heart leftie: I just made my latest blood donation. I've got a pathetic needle phobia, but since parkingprincess can't donate, I've been doing it on her behalf anyway, for over a decade now.
I'm proud to say that Kelly Lowrey did the same thing herself [for the first time] a week or two ago; and will repeat over and over how proud we are of her for doing so!
10:13am: Alternate reality boy?
I've always respected the right of people to have different opinions and ideologies than my own; but I see no reason to grant a specious "right" to have different realities than actually exist.
Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh just went full Todd Akin. He told reporters that abortions are "absolutely" never medically necessary to save the life of a mother, or protect her health, thanks to "advances in science and technology." He doesn't believe in science, of course, when it tells us about evolution, or global warming.
He is, of course, a Tea-Party Republican. (In all fairness, he once campaigned as a moderate but later went full Tea-Party.)
Walsh, an ex-actor, is running for re-election against combat veteran Tammy Duckworth. At a July 2012 campaign event, Walsh accused Duckworth of politicizing both her military service as a helicopter pilot and her Iraq War injuries which cost her both legs and the partial use of one arm. He sneered, "my God, that's all she talks about. Our true heroes, the men and women who served us, it's the last thing in the world they talk about." (She's Asian-American, AND a woman, AND a Democrat; I'm not sure he thinks she should be allowed to vote.)
10:20am: Disrespecting women
Last night, Mittens Romney kept interrupting the female moderator of the debate, with a condescending smirk on his mug, in a way he didn't try to pull with the male moderator of the last one. This August, Congressman Todd Akin sparked national disgust by claiming that victims of "legitimate rape" do not usually get pregnant "because the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down"; and some of his fans still insist (against all science) that he was right.
Last week, Wisconsin Republican Assemblyman Roger Rivard, who has said repeatedly in interviews that "some girls rape so easy", got to be so embarassing that most major Republicans (including Walker and Ryan) grudgingly revoked their endorsements of his campaign, although they've loved him in the past.
But Roger Rivard and his Republican homies still don't get it. Just last Saturday - in spite of everything - the Republican Party of Washburn County held a rally to support Rivard and other right-wing candidates. When asked by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel why they are still supporting Rivard, the chairman of the Washburn County GOP said that he saw no reason to make any changes to the event. "I don't know what the issue is here," he said. "I don't know why people are even making an issue of it."
Republicans in Wisconsin and across the U.S. have proved time and time again that they don't respect women's rights. They spent the last two years waging a war on women - they've limited women's access to preventative healthcare, cut programs for sexual assault victims, and eliminated basic equal pay protections.
In case you are wondering, Rivard's opponent is Stephen J. Smith, a businessman. Smith's website is right here. As you can see, he's more conservative than I am; but he's no Roger Rivard.
2:03pm: Wisconsin is under attack this year; probably your state is too
Group - Attack ad spending reported to end of September Crossroads GPS (Karl Rove's group) - $3,939,029.00 U.S.Chamber of Commerce (not WMC [our local Chamber]) - $2,047,863.00 Americans for Prosperity (backed by the Koch brothers) - $1,998,067.00 National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) - $1,717,581.00 The 60+ Association (whose spokesperson is Pat Boone) - $520,800.00 NFIB - $145,587.00 TOTAL OF THESE (TOP 6) -$10,833,445.00
“Outrageous, Dangerous, Unassimilable” Experimentation and Second Wave Feminist Literature
Second-wave feminism has been dismissed for being theoretically unsophisticated, essentialist, racist, earnest, and just not funny. Yet the complex cultural interventions and formal experimentations of Seventies feminism belie this characterization. This critical collection of essays builds on ongoing critical work, like Lisa Hogeland’s Feminism and Its Fictions and Kathryn Flannery’s Feminist Literacies, to investigate second-wave feminism’s sustained engagement with aesthetics. The literary was central to Seventies’ feminism: critical studies by feminist scholars such as Kate Millett, Elaine Showalter, and Judith Fetterley challenged traditional notions of the literary and called for rethinking and multiplying aesthetic categories and standards; drama, poetry, and the novel experimented with form, with gender and sexuality, roles and power, and crafted utopian visions for change and practical guides for living. Feminist writers created a dazzling array of texts, forms, and genres because they believed that literature could change the world. Our reductive and somewhat embarrassed characterizations of this period have not accounted for the scope and originality of its vision and its literary production. We seek a wide range of essays investigating the literary interventions of second-wave feminism in the Seventies and early Eighties, including well-known consciousness-raising novels like Jong’s Fear of Flying, French’s The Women’s Room, Piercy’s Small Changes, Walker’s The Color Purple, and Brown’s Rubyfruit Jungle, and experimental novels, science fiction, romance, mysteries, short stories, poetry, and drama that interact with and expand our understanding of the literary legacies of second-wave feminism. Feminist formal experimentation was central to the larger explorations of identity that increasingly occupied second-wave feminist writers, including writers like Bertha Harris, Joanna Russ, Isabelle Miller, Kathy Acker, Tony Cade Bambara, Michelle Wallace, Germaine Greer, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Gloria Anzaldua. We are also interested in the larger feminist print culture that enabled these literary experiments—feminist publishers, feminist bookstores, feminist scholarship, magazines and mimeographed newspapers, feminist readers, reading practices, distribution systems, and relationships with mainstream publishers and paperback reprints. Please email 500-word abstracts or 25-30 pages articles to Jaime Harker, Associate Professor, University of Mississippi (email@example.com) and Cecilia Konchar Farr, Professor, St. Catherine’s University (firstname.lastname@example.org) by January 10, 2013. Final essays are due by June 15, 2013.
When FAUX News asked him why he didn't bother praising America's troops in his speech, Romney responded:
When you give a speech you don't go through a laundry list, you talk about the things you think are important.
His excuse is that he spoke in favor of "a strong military". That dog won't hunt, Mittens: "a strong military" is code for throwing money at defense contractors for programs that even the brass hats don't want or need.
Do you know ANYBODY that served in either of the Bush wars? Do you know anybody (besides your servants) who has a son or daughter over there? Do you know anybody who's lost a brother, mother or even grandchild over there? I don't think so. People like us, the poor whites and the people who don't have to put on facepaint to be "people of color": we're the ones who go and die; and that's obviously not one of "the things you think are important", Mitt.
3:25pm: National Book Week meme "The rules: Grab the closest book, turn to page 52, post the 5th sentence on that page. Don't mention the book's title in your post, but please do include a copy of the meme's rules."
The closest book:
"The most recent involved shooting his way out of the Castel Sant'Angelo while rescuing the pope."