Friday, April 23, 2010


Saturday Night Live was never funny. You were just sleep-stoned or otherwise addled enough to laugh at anything said or done with a knowing smirk.

Oh, and "The Moderate Voice" has become horrifically orwellian and echo-chamber nuts. Avoid at all costs.
The irony here, if I understand the thesis, is that the robust, pugnacious, resilient pioneer types whom Robert Heinlein idealized, are precisely the opposite of the actual subjects of a hypothetical Ira Howard Foundation project. Namely, that the heredity which is selected for in marginal and harsh environments - most of human existence prior to the late nineteenth century, in the formulation of the linked essay - is for fast-burners, short-lived members of the species who are capable of surviving deprivation, disease, stress and predation through their youth & long enough to reproduce. Supposedly the removal of such environmental stressors due to the onset of late modernity is allowing slow-burners to reproduce more effectively, thus increasing the average lifespan of the species.

Given that late modernity also presents an increasingly low birth rate to parallel the increase in average lifespan, I rather suspect that this theory is bollocks. I just was amused by the thought of Heinlein rolling over in his grave at the thought of a real world equivalent of his Lazarus Long being an uncoordinated, impractical, hollow-chested, introverted, under-sexed Last Man.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Big to-do with people stuck in Europe because of Eyjafjallajokull (everybody's joking that the volcano's name looks like the result of letting your cat crawl off your lap onto the keyboard, btw). I was talking to my company's president last night, and he mentioned in passing that our CEO, who hasn't been in the office recently, is stuck in France right now. I joked about him getting a berth on a ship back to the States, and the president rather seriously noted that everything's bought up for months in advance along those terms.

I speculated that there's somebody converting freighters for the passenger trade as we spoke.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Terrible news - John "Sco" Scofield, an old Otakon hand who was con chair in 1998, has died of cancer. I hadn't seen him in years, and had no idea he was sick.

Sco worked for the NSA. He was an old-fashioned tech guy, but he worked in the guest relations department at the con. He was the first chair of the convention who wasn't part of the old "PSSFS-Alumni" clique. He lived in Maryland somewhere between Baltimore and DC. We had a couple of planning meetings at his condo; I remember he had a small pachinko machine in his living room.

The last time I saw him was at a "ComCon" winter gathering back when I had come back to the convention to work as a nameless goon in the registration department. That must have been February 2003. This is kind of a shock, he was far too young for this.
Sadly, the America of new frontiers and bright mornings was long ago. Today we live in Hospice America, where caretakers with first-class temperaments and sharply creased trousers make us comfortable in the face of inevitable decline… and forward the bills for our end-of-greatness care to our children, who will go bankrupt paying them.

Ouch. He gets sharper-tongued as he builds momentum through the following paragraphs. I've been reading Luttwak's Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire. It will soon be important to know and advocate those stratagems which have proven themselves over the long run for the weakened and enfeebled hegemon which has lost her strategic depth and has little muscle left to confront threats directly. We operate according to the maxims of Western modernity, of vigour and direct confrontation - the time may soon be coming where our bankruptcy will require we learn the vicious arts of diversion, conspiracy, discord, and careful, parsimonious bribery.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Thanks to everybody who came on up to Bellefonte for our big alumni gaming get-together & skeet shoot this weekend. It was great having everybody over, I look forward to hosting one of these little get-togethers again.

I'll try to get the kitchen a little better-stocked next time, I promise! ^_^

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The new company blog.
There was a little Tea Party protest in front of the Bellefonte courthouse, about two dozen folks clustered in and around the Civil War monument around the feet of Statuary Andrew Curtin. I bought a little Gadsden flag from their donation-table, but I didn't hang around. Today's a work day, right?

There was a two or three-man electric geezer-rock band playing a set over by the courthouse steps. I assumed they were with the protesters. No sign of griefers, but I didn't really bother reading all the signs. If there were any troublemakers, in a "crowd" of twenty-some people, I'd have expected to have heard or seen something. There were at least three people with cameras - possibly more, I passed a woman carrying a tripod the other way when I went over to the square from having dropped some mail off at the post office.

Monday, April 12, 2010

This whole "crashing the Tea Party" business is a little goofy. The one party I actually went to - in State College on April 15th of last year - had a guy in a tea bag costume whom I was pretty sure was making fun of the gathering. Nobody paid him any mind, because he was a fifty-year-old hippie wearing a man-sized tea bag. "Griefing" is at the same time older than folks give it credit for, and less serious.

Don't get excited until the guys in the black ski masks show up. And it shouldn't matter if the guy holding a blatantly racist sign is a griefer or for real - you still should ask him to go home & leave his racial hang-ups in the closet with the white hood, regardless of whether his klan drag is meant ironically or in dead earnest.

(I should mention that I haven't run into or even seen pictures of these legendary, mythical anti-Obama racist protesters in the actual flesh. It can be hard to tell the mobys from the actual David Dukes online.)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Thought for the day:
Rock smashes scissors
Scissors cut paper
Paper wraps rock
Rock crushes lizard
Lizard poisons Spock
Spock disassembles scissors
Scissors decapitates lizard
Lizard eats paper
Paper refutes Spock.
Spock vaporizes rock.
-the Big Bang Theory's game expansion for "Rock Scissors Paper"
On a walk through town this morning, I discovered two things. Firstly, there's a new used-book store opening in the Crider Exchange, the signs are very cryptic as to when they're actually opening the doors, but it looks like they're still organizing.

Secondly, there was a parade scheduled through town for a welcoming-home ceremony for the State College company of the 112th Infantry. So I got a little flag & watched. For some reason, they put the company's flatbed at the front of the parade, later on I realized that it was because they were going to meet up with their families at the armory and watch the rest of the parade when it wound its way out to the edge of town, but while I was standing down at the courthouse, all I could think was "why isn't the band in front?"

They really need to stop throwing candy to the children at these things. I kind of think it breeds the wrong attitude in the young'ins. Also, it seems kind of hazardous, what with all the scurrying around in the presence of moving vehicles. And the lost bits of candy in the gutters will attract vermin long after the parade is over.

But yeah, welcome home, gentlemen. I understand there's a party for the families out at the armory until 6:30 PM today. Have fun!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

You know it's a strange night when you dream about real estate & you aren't even in the market. It eventually evolved into a nightmarish bar-crawl through a peculiar imaginary version of Chicago where they'd built grain-elevators-cum-seawalls across the slums of the South Side to protect against - what, tsunamis from Lake Michigan?

I suppose it was set off by noticing the flocks of for-sale signs springing up all over Bellefonte. Prices look to be going down, too. There's a foreclosure sale over in the neighborhood I used to rent in. There are *two* houses around the place on S. Spring that I almost bought until I came to my senses & realized it was a structural disaster; one of them just got their listing price cut by 5k. I'm queasily wondering how much value my place has lost since my closing...

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Yeah, everybody's having fun with Rep. Johnson's befuddled brain-fart about Guam "tipping over", but folks ought to remember that this guy was the lesser of two evils for conservatives a while back when he primaried Cynthia McKinney. I'm not kidding, he got support from Red State. He's *still* the sanest congressman to grace that district this decade.