Mar 25, 2006

"i" before "e", as in "thief", one decrees...

The blogs have been abuzz with the hiring, and quick firing, of Ben Domenech, former conservative blogger for the Washington Post and now accused plagarist. While the controversy points to issues such as so-called media "balance", there's another fairly obvious point that struck me.

Simply put, young Ben does not respect writing as an art or a craft.

When I was Ben's age, ten years ago, I was working my first job out of college and by then I had been writing about two years. My goal was to work the regular job until I could make it as a fiction writer. There was one slight flaw in my plan.

I sucked.

Not that I was the worst in the world; people enjoyed what I had wrote, and I had certainly enjoyed writing it. But they weren't publishable, and those rejection slips piled up. After five years of attempts, I eventually lost interest and stopped. I still dabble from time to time, but haven't submitted anything for publication since 1997 or so.

And no matter how badly I wrote, how frustrated I became, or how many times I had to start again with an idea, plagiarism was never an option. And to professional writers, aspiring professional writers, or noodling doodlers like myself, it's not even something that appears in the thought process. Why? Because it's something that real writers simply don't do. And anyone who's ever tried writing for fun or a living would immediately realize it.

Now perhaps Ben's being wrongly accused (although the circumstancial evidence is pretty compelling), but if he ever tries to make it professionally again, I would hope he'd understand that writing is work, and to cheat the process is to do a lot more than merely be lazy.

I've always thought of writing as brain-translating; turning thoughts into words. Sometimes, it's a little mechanical. Other times, it's intimate. I've smiled and laughed out loud at what I've wrote. I've also cried, and learned unpleasant truths about myself. Every writer can talk about what the process of writing has done to him/herself.

To steal that is to steal someone else's soul. And to make money off that theft just means that you couldn't hack it in used car sales.

Mar 21, 2006

Well, it's television, so it MUST be good, right? RIGHT?

My minor disappointment about the 26 episodes of Futurama not coming to pass after all is tempered by the 100 episodes of the Star Wars television series. Really. Oh, my heart's not in it.

It would cover the 20 years in the life of Luke Skywalker growing up that remains a mystery to most film-goers.

The Slashdot posters pointed this out: so, will it be 100 eps of Luke Skywalker whining, farming dirt, and pinging womp rats?

He added that it was unlikely any of the stars of the movies would be involved in the TV series.

Well, that's good news.

Star Wars creator George Lucas has just completed writing the script for the next Indiana Jones film and will then begin work on Red Tails, about African-American pilots in World War II.

Following completion of that film, work will begin on the Star Wars TV series.

Lucas is involved?

Mar 19, 2006

Odds and sods...

* Good news everyone! Billy West announced that 26 new episodes of Futurama are going to be made! Take that, causality!

* Hung out w/my cousin and his wife this weekend, who treated their visitors to the ultimate nirvana. Fried turkey for dinner. Fried Twinkies for dessert. And in between, college basketball and endless beer. Life is pretty good. Except for this huge stabbing pain in my chest.

* I caught this on Salon's Video Dog: A TV commercial featuring a quarter million Superballs bouncing down empty San Francisco streets set to a haunting acoustic tune. It's my new dandelion break site (click on the extended version, it's much better).

Mar 16, 2006

*whew* I feel better now.

I know that I'm often critical of our administration, but I didn't realize that they were working on an army of cybernetically-enhanced insects.

Shit, guys, why didn't you tell me sooner? I would have chilled out if I had known...

Mar 15, 2006

Who's more selective: credit card companies or crack whores?

If for some reason you didn't already hate credit card companies with the white-hot intensity of a nuclear reaction, check out this article. A consumer, for shits and giggles, ripped up a credit card form, taped it back together, then filled out false info and sent it in, to see if ripping up credit card applications (per the issuer's suggestion) would deter an identity thief.

You can guess what happened.

To quote the article:

It's time credit card companies were told to stop slinging 5 billion credit card applications around the country every year.

Five billion? That's a crime just based on the number of trees used...

Mar 13, 2006

Whaddya know? Moron made a funny!

What surprised me about this joke by President Bush at the recent Gridiron Dinner was that I genuinely found it amusing.

"By the way, when Dick [Cheney] first heard my approval rating was 38 percent, he said, 'What's your secret?' "

That's actually pretty good, and I gotta give Bush credit for that.

Of course, I'd like to think that this jest illustrated the depth of contempt he has for the vice president, for making him work all the time and slapping the X-Box controller out of his hand, and when he said it the thought of such prior humilations made his fresh gin blossoms itch even worse.

And when Cheney laughed, I'd like to think his stomach blossomed into acidic contempt, bringing sharp stinging bile to the top of his throat, as he thought about the hard work he had done in his life profiteering off wars and now he was forced to babysit a dullard as his weakened, necrotic heart ticked away his declining, uncertain days.

I'd like to think these things because, well, I have issues too.

Mar 12, 2006

Odds and sods...

* Picked up via Slashdot, yet another article about people infinitely smart getting together to talk about warp drive. When will some rich geek throw guys like this a few million just for shits and giggles? I'd like to see if we could get to Mars in my lifetime, assuming my lifetime isn't cut short by my horrible, horrible diet...

* Oh please, please, let Bill Frist win the nomination for 2008. Even the Dems couldn't screw that one upYES, I KNOW THEY CERTAINLY COULD.

* Forget The Devil's Rejects or Hostel. You want scary? Tell me this poster isn't creepier than Blair Witch and Un Chien Andalou combined.

Mar 9, 2006

Buy me some peanuts and HGH...

I have to admit to feeling just the slightest twinge of empathy for Barry Bonds.

Not because I think he's done nothing wrong. Sure, maybe MLB hasn't caught him, but I believe he's marinated himself with steroids to the point of where he's a walking Superfund site.

My empathy comes from the recently published theory that he started his chemical regimen out of jealousy towards Mark McGwire.

Now, I'm not saying that I understand his need to don a Doctor Octopus-like network of syringes and IVs to handle his constant Borg-like flow of nutrients, but I do understand what it's like to feel inferior and have that little worm of jealousy gnaw away at you. That little nagging can be pure misery. It must've chewed away at him, not unlike his glowing bloodstream will eventually chew away at his joints.

(Besides, in retrospect, McGwire was so clearly on the gas that I wouldn't be surprised if professional wrestlers whistled at him in admiration. Those Popeye forearms were sickening.)

It's a little sad, to see how the power of jealousy can affect even multimillionaire atheletes.

On the other hand, it's funny to imagine a graph charting Barry Bonds' hat size over the years.

Mar 6, 2006

Oh man, this is good...

I wasn't going to post today (the whole laziness thing) but I caught this Kos diary with a pro-choice framing that's so brilliant you'd swear a Republican coined it:

If a fire breaks out in a fertility clinic and you can only save a petri dish with five blastulae or a two-year old child, which do you save?

WOW. That's some potent argument mulch...

Mar 4, 2006

A little soap will clear that right up...

Found through Slashdot that Jupiter's got a new red spot. Now, if they start finding featureless black bricks floating around it, maybe NASA will get those extra funds...

Mar 1, 2006

Dandelion break.

I keep forgetting that when I'm reading the news and see crap like this sometimes it's good to step back and take a breather. CmdrSue gave me a couple of great links, Cute Overload and The Ultimate Showdown. I also found Centauri Dreams, a blog dedicated to science and stories regarding astronomy and interstellar travel, which gives me my recommended daily allowance of geek.

I'll try to get more dandelion break sites in there, as it's a welcome change from my all-sputtering-in-rage-all-the-time format...