Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lot’s and lot’s

I was exchanging IMs with someone this morning and realized belatedly that I had written lot’s for lots.

I hate the way such crap has insinuated itself into my unconscious. It seems to be happening increasingly. Frequent reading of other people’s grammatical transgressions is damaging my brain circuits!

Monday, August 24, 2009

David’s Definitions for October 2009


This word has three meanings, and they're all closely related. It can refer to the pound, the unit of currency in the United Kingdom and some of its dependencies. It can refer to a grade of silver. It can refer to a high level of character, for example, "He is a man of sterling character." In Medieval England, a common type of coin was a silver penny. It was stamped with a small star - in Medieval English, a sterling. The coin itself came to be called a sterling. People who dealt in large payments would measure them in pounds of silver pennies. Eventually, a pound of sterlings became a standard unit of currency itself - a pound sterling. When the government standardized the amount of silver that the pennies had to contain, silver of that quality came to be called sterling silver, and anything of reliable, standard quality was said to be sterling.

(Will be published in the October 2009 issue of Denver's Community News.)

I'm collecting all of these at:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I wonder why the fundies aren’t going after SyFy

A lot of the movies shown on Saturday and Sunday nights on SyFy, whether made for the network or old theatrical/DVD releases, are reworkings of Greek mythology in which the gods are real and magical stuff happens.

At one point, the wackadoodles attacked Harry Potter, but then they backed off. I suppose they realized that that fan base was too large and devoted, and it would be a losing battle for them. I’d love to see them work themselves up into manufactured outrage over SyFy’s movies and end up looking like asses.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Three British soldiers died in Afghanistan today

Let’s hope some good poetry comes of this, at any rate.

And gentlemen in England now abed
Shall thank their lucky stars they were not there.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

There is a tide in the affairs of men

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries
And lack of single-payer universal health care.

You blew it, Barack. You coulda been a contendah.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Liberals are afraid of strong, smart, independent women!

And that’s why they’re so afraid of Sarah Palin and feel the need to attack her and tear her down!

This meme was popular on the right during the 2008 presidential election, and I’m seeing it crop up again – e.g., in Facebook, where Leonore sneered at Palin and bunches of Palin supporters jumped to Palin’s defense with variations of the above canned line.

And it is so obviously canned.

Years ago, probably in an attempt to wean black voters away from the Democratic Party, the right started repeating that social programs to help blacks were part of a sinister plot by the Democrats to keep blacks weak and dependent on them. Strong, independent blacks were the Democrats’ worst fear. I heard it said quite a few times in almost exactly those words.

Perhaps there’s a group of marketeers in a hidden bunker that comes up with this crap for the GOP. Then rightwingers all over swallow the latest party line and repeat it.

Let them keep deluding themselves.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Jesus hearing aid

One my hearing aids has been malfunctioning lately. I put it away in its little felt-lined tomb a few days ago. This morning, on the third day, I tried it again, and lo! it is risen! It works again.

Well, you’d need a rest, too, if you spent all day in some guy’s ear canal.


My agent is eager to see a sequel to Time and the Soldier (which won’t be known by that title, but I’m still calling it that till we settle on a new one).

When he said that, I told myself not to think about a sequel now because doing so might distract me from the novel I’m working on. But then a really cool idea popped into my head. It would tie into Time really niftily and would be fun to write. So now I can’t stop thinking about it. The cool ideas are the worst, that way.

You know, maybe I should try to do a synopsis in a really brief form, just a few paragraphs …

Alternet plagiarism

This is infuriating.

Years ago, I published an essay on our Web site titled The Surprising Benefits of Being Unemployed. It’s been getting lots of hits over the years, especially when someone linked to it on Slashdot.

Today, a copy of it showed up on, the online news and opinion publication, with a slightly modified title and with the byline of someone named Jeffrey A. Dvorkin.


Update, the next day, 8/2:

I got an e-mail from an Alternet editor apologizing for the mixup (Jeffrey D. was in the database, so someone assumed he was the author) and also apologizing for using the essay without permission. How that last thing happened will be looked into. The attribution has been corrected. I used to think it was always a good thing for an author to have an unusual name, but now I see that it can also be a disadvantage - when there's another writer around with the same unusual name.

I'll also get a payment to soothe my hurt feelings. As Dr. Johnson said: "No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money."