Saturday, February 23, 2008

Fudge and Retirement

Fudge recipe.

I just made a batch and absentmindedly skipped the whipping step. Now it's not hardening, which may answer the question I've always had: Why is the whipping step necessary? This is great fudge, by the way. If you don't skip any of the steps.

And retirement. Still a long way away.

Friday, February 22, 2008

David's Definitions for April 2008


(Will appear in the April 2008 issue of Community News)

A restive person is resistant to being controlled. It can also mean that the person is impatient or unhappy when an attempt is made to control or restrict him. The word comes from the French word rester - which used to have the meaning to resist. Restive is a nifty word, but it's easy to confuse with restless, which has nothing to do with being controlled and comes from an entirely different root - the old Germanic word rasta. One could lead to the other, though. For example, parents whose restive child refuses to go to bed will end up restless. Both will probably get whiney, which comes from another Old English word.

I'm collecting all of these at:

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dangling and Squirming

Ew, that's an awful image! But, anyway.

I think it's now been about a month and three quarters since I sent the requested partial to the agent. According to the advice given here by the always amusing Nathan Bransford, the proper prodding period is one month.

The agent I want to prod would be a great match for what I write, so I don't want to be too proddy and annoy anyone. (And there's also that damned Britishish upbringing nattering in my ear about not annoying people.) What complicates things is that he's part of an agency that says in numerous places on its Web site that they don't want e-mail queries. I did the query and partial via snail mail, but what about a prod? Wouldn't e-mail be okay for that? Or would an e-mail be, just, you know, rather too too? (I never knew anyone who actually spoke that way, but the voice in my head does sometimes.) (I mean, it's a metaphorical voice! I don't really hear voices!) (Stop saying that!)

I feel like one of those divorced middleaged people who's trying to get back into the dating game, and all the rules have changed.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Explanation of Benefits

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

I just got two of these from the so-called medical insurance company regarding dental work Leonore and I had done. As is always the case, the forms are in fact a list of how much isn't covered and how much we have to pay ourselves (oodles).

They ought to at least be honest and call the form Itemization of Exclusions.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dangling Man Syndrome

That's what Leonore calls it when I get like this. She's referring to the Bellow novel, which I've never read and don't intend to, but the title is useful.

As I mentioned here before, an agent requested a partial of Time and the Soldier. I sent it and have been waiting with zero patience for the response. Another agent has the whole book (he wanted it as part of the original query) and recently asked for a full bibliography and sales figures. A third asked for a partial, but on an exclusive basis, so I can't send him anything pending the response from the first agent (which of course I hope will be a request for the full ms.).

So now I'm dangling. And unable to do anything productive at all.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Bush deserves prison in this life and the lake of fire in the next

Prison in this life for what he's done to America and the eternal lake of fire* in the next for what he's done to Iraq.

In reality, though, come January 20, 2009 he'll smirk his way out of the White House and into a plush life in Dallas. I hope the next president will be a Democrat, and I assume that Democrat will be either Obama or Clinton, but what are the chances that the next president will order a full, aggressive investigation of the Bush Administration's evildoing? What are the chances that Dubya will ever suffer anything for what he's done?


Fucking depressing.

* I'm an atheist, but I fully understand the appeal of that idea.

I first voted in 1964

LBJ vs. Goldwater.

I was a college student of the 1960s variety. I hated (and very rationally feared) the Vietnam war and the draft, but I voted for LBJ because I was sure Goldwater would be worse. I'm still sure I did the right thing.

So I've voted in a lot of national and local elections by now, and in the vast majority of them, my preferred candidate wasn't on the ballot. But I chose the least of the evils, or the best of those available, as the case may have been. I don't regret any of my votes.

My fellow liberals often rejected that position and either didn't vote at all or voted for a third-party candidate. In 1968, that gave us the vile Nixon. In 1980, that helped give us the viler Reagan. In 2000, that contributed to giving us the vilest of all, Bush.

I'm more convinced than ever that I did the right thing in the past, when I voted for the best, or least objectionable, Democrat. I'll continue to do that.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Stupid Stubble

Since I ranted, a few months ago, against women wearing high heels, it's only fair that also rant against something men have been doing that's no less absurd: not shaving.

I don't mean growing beards. I mean growing stubble. The unshaven look.

To be fair, I almost never see that on actual, human, three-dimensional men but rather on the strange versions of men depicted in certain TV shows. Oh, and also on some actors when they're not acting, to the extent that they're ever not acting.

The first time that look showed up, to my memory, was on the Sonny Crockett character in the TV show Miami Vice, a show I remember as being often great and often laughable, frequently in the same episode. For a while, there was even an electric shaver for sale that would give you the same unshaven look at Sonny Crockett. It was called the Miami Device. That name is almost as clever as the idea of selling men an expensive electric shaver designed to not shave them.

That silly look was okay for the Crockett character, though. He was a recovering alcoholic vice cop who was always on the edge of a breakdown of some sort, and the street-bum whiskers helped get that message across.

But why in the world are we seeing that absurd look on modern TV characters who are supposed to be ordinary middle-class folks? "Middle class" in the movie sense, that is. I.e., they live in huge houses and drive expensive cars and never worry about the monthly bills. Despite that, they apparently can't afford a good razor.

Of course styles change constantly, and most of the time they're weird, especially in the eyes of older people. That's the only constant. So my objection to the stupid stubble look is on a par with the objection of one generation to beards and of another generation to clean-shaven faces. ("They look like chamber pots," someone said of the latter, a couple of hundred years ago.) I can't even make a safety argument against the stupid stubble, the way one can against high heels. Or a noise argument. Or a damage-to-floors-and-legs-and-feet-and-hips-and-lower-back argument.

But it looks so God damned stupid!