Monthly Archives: April 2012

DRM and Pricing

SO TOR BOOKS HAS ANNOUNCED that they will stop locking up their ebooks with DRM (Digital Rights Management) and the publishing world is all a-twitter. (Pun intended.) And it appears that most of the legacy press is ignoring the fact that some publishers (e.g., Baen Books) have never had DRM at all.

Just for the record, I’m on the anti side. I think DRM stems from the mindset that the customer is out to screw the seller. This is every bit as witless as the seller is always out to screw the customer. Not so by half.

In the case at hand, I’ve seen a lot of prognostication that this move will enable piracy. Evidence doesn’t square with that (q.v., Baen Books above). But more to the point, piracy, like price resistance, is a marketplace signal — to put it shortly, your prices are too high. That is to say, your product is deemed desirable and yet your prices are not low enough to clear the market with all acquisitions being via paid exchange.

This is especially true with digital media, since the net marginal unit cost is effectively zero. That is, once capital costs to pay for development are met, there is no cost attached to selling the next copy, nor any others thereafter.

Now, since intellectual property — particularly books — are a high-value proposition, society sees nothing wrong with remunerating creators far beyond costs. Any level of profit is considered reasonable. Laudatory, even. Thus we admire J.K. Rowling or Stephen King. Still, there ought to be a price at which it is preferable even to truly piratical scofflaws to pay for an ebook as opposed to downloading it from a bit torrent site. And there also ought to be a point of equalibrium where an irreducible minimum of copies are pirated (albeit not zero), and the rest are willingly paid-for.

But that there is sufficient demand, yet also sufficient price resistance, for there to even be a traffic in a particular title ought to be a signal to a market-savvy seller.

Some of this is due to what Dean Wesley Smith refers to as the produce model of selling books — the assumption that a title only has value during a very small window and that that window must be ruthlessly kept clear of unsold product. Picture crate after crate of still-edible lettuce sitting out back of a grocery store and you get the idea. I don’t know how many books and records I have missed because I was broke at the exact moment they hit the market and not even looking for them, but would have enjoyed them immensely had they been available when I was looking.

They pulled it from the shelf because it wasn’t selling. But it wasn’t selling because it wasn’t on the shelf. That makes no sense at all. But it’s how the book business looks at things.

And they’re wrong. And if they don’t face facts soon, they’re going to get a rude awakening.

The Caturday Post

GREAT DAY FOR WRITING: cool weather, thunderstorms. No or few disturbances.

Big lightning strike close by, followed by earth-shattering ka-boom. All of a sudden, all of the cats — who had been piled on the bed in the other room — were huddled around me in the office.

Things have settled down, now. More work on It’s Dolly’s Birthday. Dolly gets a hairbrush from Tiko. Sorry: you’ll have to read the book to get that, but it’s big winnage for me right now.

To Hell With a Balanced

BUDGET AMENDMENT, how about a budget amendment. As in: the government may not spend any monies not budgeted. No tickee, no washee. You don’t produce a budget, with all line items appropriated and disbursed, or you don’t spend One. Thin. Dime.

Yeah. That’ll pass.

Ram it down their throats.

What I Wanna Know

IS WHY THIS PETTY tyrant hasn’t already received a .30 cal lead injection to the brain pan. Not for the sayin’, mind, but for the doin’.

I gave an analogy to my staff about my philosophy with enforcement. It was kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean. They’d go into little Turkish towns somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw, and they’d crucify them. And then, you know, that town was really easy to manage over the next few years. So you make examples out of people who are, in this case, not complying with the law. Find people who are not complying with the law, and you hit them as hard as you can and you make examples out of them. It’s a deterrent factor.

Al Armendariz, EPA Region 6 administrator.

Not that I’m advocating it. I certainly don’t welcome the prospect of American political discourse descending into violence, but … DAY-um! In a pool of his own blood with a silk ribbon strewn across the corpse reading “Sic Semper Tyrannis.” Seriously. What else can you say in response to that kind of shit?

What else are you gonna do when they back you into a corner like that? That this guy is still walking around (enough to apologize for his little gaffe) is to me prima facie evidence that EVERY person taking Federal salt — military, LEO, bureaucrat, elected official and all — is foresworn of his oath to defend the Constitution. Every. Single. One.

And I don’t care if Congress DID vote the law in. This country ain’t majority rule — specifically, explicitly, and on-purpose. And it says right here, you ain’t the boss of me and you don’t get to waive my rights.

Update: Video pulled.

Hey You!

ARE YA FUCKIN’ mental? Did I not tell you to go watch the video? And did you? Well, then what the fuck are you doing standing around here with your thumb up your ass? Go. Watch. The. Video. (!)


DID YOU WATCH the video? Get the fuck out. Just. Go. Away. Don’t come back until you watch it. I’m serious. Get out of here!

Go watch the video.

Got a Point for You

WHO SEEK TO MAKE slaves of your fellow citizens and render them defenseless in the face of predators — most especially state-sponsored predators: Al Sharpton’s mouth has killed more people than George Zimmerman’s gun.


WATCH THIS! Do not approach me again until you have.

Here’s a Pair of Prize Idiots

THE ONE WONDERING WHETHER the Can’t Keep It In Their Pants crew from the Secret Service might have been less inclined to truck with prostitutes (or get into an argument over payment, maybe?) if there’d been women on the detail. And then the other going on to muse that, on account of the incident with the working girls down Cartahena way, “we” (you and that mouse turd in your pocket, Congresswoman?) should “diversify” the SS — more women, more minorities.

Idiots in question being noted RINO Senator Susan Collins and Rep. Carolyn Maloney of (Name-that-Party) New York.

First, what the FUCK does a person’s sex, religion, ethnicity, or national origin have to do with his or her propensity to engage in risky sexual activity? And isn’t it rather bigoted of you to assume that, just because she’s a woman, any given female Secret Service agent might be a dryball buzzkill? Kinda sexist, there, innit, Senator?

And, for icing on the cake, this stupidity is reported with a rather bovine expression (i.e., a straight face) by the usual crew of idiots at CNN.

But, hey. You gotta take your opportunities to mock the self-handicapping anywhere you get them.

My “One Question” for the Industrial

RENT-SEEKERS on the subject of copyright is: When did Disney’s Nine Old Men (or their estates) receive royalty payments for all those classic cartoons?

Until they do — and the Chuck Joneses and the Tex Averies of the industry do as well, all the sound and fury you guys are raising in supposed aid of “protecting intellectual property” is so much persiflage and, yes, rent-seeking.

I would like to see a discussion around the question: should copyright ever vest in corporations?

Until then, you guys are only getting what you deserve. Come back and see me when you are serious about protecting the creators of intellectual property, instead of the patrons of those creators.

And, before you say the accounting would be an unreasonable burden, let me point out that Amazon does it just fine.

Piling On

‘CAUSE YOU KNOW when a topic in the ‘Sphere hits Instapundit, the next stop is the legacy media, and then it’s over.

But still, we need to work on this and keep on working: there is no reasonable oposition to voter ID laws. None. The whole disenfranchisement argument is one straw man after another from beginning to end. The ONLY purpose — Oh, En, Ell, Why — to the Left’s drive on this electoral fraud. You cannot have good faith intent, you cannot be but bent on mischief in opposing voter ID laws. Period. End of discussion.

That it was Stalin who said, “It doesn’t matter who votes, but who counts the votes.” does not reflect well on Democrats. And, to you myrmidons of the Left who think it doesn’t matter that your political leaders are as corrupt as the day is long, how do you know they will ever advance any of the causes you believe in if they never tell you the truth, never deliver on campaign promises, and ascend to high offices through fraud, trickery, and deceit? Hmmm?

And, just to forestall you, the difference between your crooks and ours is that, when ours get caught with their hands in the cookie jar, we force them out of office. Yours: not so much.

New Header Logo

AS MENTIONED IN the blogiversary announcement Saturday, I’m working on new site designs. And, while making drastic changes to the look of the site aren’t on the menu — at least not in the upcoming generation, in the process of finding tools to do the job and playing with them, I have messed around with some stuff.

With the idea in mind that there’ll be more stuff messed with down the road.

One of my current bees in my bonnet is an attempt to get as much as possible of the graphics used in the site into a vector format (.svg — scalable vector graphic). My reasoning has to do with speed and sprightliness of page loads, but also to do with the scalability of the .svg format and the rising ubiquity of ever-wider ranges of screen sizes, from phones to 25-inch monitors and beyond, and the need to ensure that all graphics look equally good on all screens. Vector graphics can do that, while bitmaps (JPEGs, GIFs, et al) can’t.

In aid of all that, I have acquired a free program (Yes, Virginia, there IS an app for that.), called Inkscape. And I can recommend it for those in need of vector creation and editing who cannot afford a real DTP app such as CorelDRAW or Illustrator. By all means seek it out, download it, get familiar with it. If you do, I’d advise you to get it from CNET’s Download dot com. I got a distro from Source Forge and MalwareBytes reported adware in the package. For what that’s worth, which may or may not be much.

And I unlimbered the trusty Nuptial font and set the title of the blog in camel case — BabyTrollBlog, all one word, with internal caps, please, it’s a trademark — and set about playing with it.

I got sidetracked messing with filters — which may or may not all be supported by various render engines in the .svg format — and, in the end, had to export the thing as a .png (Portable Network Graphic — a bitmap format). Not optimum, but satisfactory for the moment.

In The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Heinlein describes a pedagogic technique wherein the teacher barely stays one lesson ahead of the student. I am in the un|enviable position of having to tutor a colleage at the Patch Factory in using Inkscape. She does not have access to all the whizbang I do, and Inkscape and GIMP and suchlike must be her tools, but she’s going to be working on the Web site alongside us better-equipped designers, and it would be helpful if she could speak the lingo. So I get to play teacher. Toni can tell you how good I am at THAT. Actually, a lot of people can tell you.

And the header logo up there is my first attempt to do something with Inkscape. Staying one lesson ahead of the student. We’ll see where that leads.

A Couple of Images at Random

Earnie through the front window screen.

Irises (in our front yard) in a cold, April rain.

Ten Years Ago At This Hour

The male lead in the Dolly stories is a man named Mitchell Drummond. He starts out as a variety of spy in the employ of Hephaestus, the Greek God of Fire and Industry. Events and his own nature and loyalties lead him to a relationship with Dolly–he becomes her significant other.Hephaestus’s wife is, of course, Aphrodite–the Greek Goddess of Love, patroness of sailors, etc., etc., and so-forth.

In this fragment, which I cannot see ever using in an actual story, Drummond and Nana ‘Dite bat around ideas of Creation.

“It occurs to me that I have been acquainted with you and your kind for a quarter of a century. As my kind reckon life experience, that’s along time. But for yours, that’s one fourth of–how many centuries, Aphrodite?”

“You used to call me Nana.”

“That was when I was a child. I’ve grown up in the last little while. Losing the love of your life will do that to a guy. I used to think you would answer to the Aspect we humans projected on you, that you really were the goddess of love. But you’re not, are you? You only use that as cover for something else altogether. It’s convenient to you, but not necessary. So why did you do it?”

“Because we couldn’t and you could. Because we could see the future and it locked us in. The oracle was power. Belief in the oracle gave us power. The price we paid for the power was the loss of our freedom. We couldn’t vary one iota from the oracular vision or we’d lose the power, and none of us — none of us who have survived, at any rate — was willing to throw the power away. It was our life, our being, our reason for existence. It was to us what Dolly is to you. There are stories — stories you might have heard — of some among us who could put it down. Walk away from it. They are all remembered in our secret legends, but we are the ones who endured. We are still alive while those who walked away from the power are dust, dead and gone aeons ago. But life is too tricky, too indeterminate. Life likes to take the chance encounter, to choose on the roll of the dice. We can’t do that, so life — the creation of life — is forever beyond us. But the idea … the dream of creating new life … it drives us on. It is the one thing we have not been able to do. And we think to hoodwink Fate and steal the secret from you. From mortal beings. From beings who have free will.”

“And that’s it? You did all of this because you wanted to do something that everybody thinks you can do anyway? You turned the whole world upside-down, arranged the affairs of humanity, the Trolls, all of Faerie, so you could — maybe — create life?”

“Don’t you? Isn’t that what all the songs say, ‘Love makes the world go ‘round.’? You don’t suppose the songwriters actually mean love, do you? No. Of course not. They mean sex. They mean life. They mean the rage that life has for itself. Sex is just DNA’s way of making more DNA. You and your kind turn the world upside down to — maybe — create life.”

“But don’t you get it? That’s the joke, and it’s on you. You can make life the same way we do. You do it all the time. Hell, you’re the result of sexual reproduction. Well, no, you’re not. You’re some kind of a mutation of a giant mollusk. But a lot of the gods are children of elder gods. And you have children. It can be done.”

“Oh, yes. We can reproduce, just as you do. But where’s the accomplishment in that? Our desire — our need — is to create from nothing a wholly original being.”

“But … what makes you think it can be done?”

“The fact that we can think of it. Dream of it. That makes us certain it can be done. That and the fact that it has been done. Else where did we come from?”

“So there has to be an uncaused prime cause somewhere, is that it?”

“How can you look at the stars and say that they just happened?”

“How can you be so certain they didn’t? Sounds to me like a failure of vision.”

“What caused the big bang?”

“Heat, pressure, a kid from another universe striking sparks with a cap pistol. Who the hell knows? How can anybody know?”

:: Mark Alger 8:41 PM

Ten Years Ago At This Hour

This is a bit of dialog between two characters. I have no idea which–if any–among my cast of dozens might voice these thoughts.

The line of conversation grows out of a frustration with the manifest evil that is Islamofascism. It seems as if people of putative good will around the world refuse to take on this evil and its avatars–men like Osama bin Laden and Yassir Arafat–for fear of… what? Appearing to be bigoted? Is it racist to call a spade a G**D***** shovel?

There seems to be a fear that action may stain one’s soul. All killings are not necessarily murders, but who judges which are and which are not? God, of course, or some other manifestation of the the indifferent Universe. OK, so it may be a sin to take action. Is it more of a sin to stand by and do nothing, or to take action and–maybe–get your hands dirty in the process?

“Jesus died for the sins of the world, yet evil still walks the earth. How better to follow Christ’s example than to take on one’s self the sin of rooting evil out wherever it might be found? Who will take on the blasphemers of the Virtue Police in Arabia? Who will fight against the slavers in Africa? Who will stand with the widows forced into suttee in India? Who will witness for the millions of aborted baby girls in China?”

“Let you who are without sin cast the first stone.”

“What a cop-out! Just because I’m imperfect, I’m not capable of seeing and judging evil, of taking up arms against it?”

Can’t remember who it was, but some wise guy somewhere somewhen said, “All it takes for evil to win is for good men to do nothing.” Or something like that. {sigh}

Somebody is bound to take me to task for not pointing out the sins of the West. Maybe the abysmal faithlessness of the United State government in dealing with American Indigenes. Perhaps the poor choices evidenced by America’s treatment with dictators who are allies of convenience against perceived “greater enemies.” I might go along with some of those, for myself. (Probably not many, though.) But the characters who would be speaking here are themselves Westerners and not given to self-flagelation. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be having this argumentin the first place.

:: Mark Alger 8:24 PM

Ten Years Ago At This Hour

STILL MESSING WITH THE META I fine-tune the blogroll.

I’ve added a link to the Online Writing Workshop Web page. If you’re not a member, this isn’t of much use to you, since it’s a closed site.

Howsomever … if you are a writer in need of a community of likeminded souls, you could look far and wide and not find a better one.

I’ve also added a link to another online workshop–Critters.

I belong to both and have found each of value. I suspect that, in this day and age, and given the Xtreme Darwinian nature of the sport of writing–particularly in the field of speculative fiction–it may be nigh well impossible for a writer to develop his or her skills to a professionally-publishable level without the aid of a workshop or similar venue.

There are of course live, face-to-face workshops, with intense curricula, which allow rapid growth on the part of an author. Attendance at some would seem a virtual guarantee of publication.

But these online venues permit the neophyte, (or the developing old-timer), to develop at a more relaxed pace, even to work such development into and around an already-full life. Something which I daresay a prospective attendee of, say, Clarion workshops, would find it hard to do.

:: Mark Alger 8:08 PM

The OWW site isn’t entirely closed. There is, for example, a Hall of Fame — a brief precis of some of the accomplishments of alumni. One of the first members listed, and I was unaware of this at the time, although I was a member then, was Jim Butcher. There’s a notice of his first sales of the Dresden Files, which — at least early on — were workshopped at OWW.

Ten Years Ago At This Hour

SOME CRACKER barrel philisophizing:

A lot of folks on the kneejerk Left seem surprised when conservatives and libertarians exhibit non-knuckle-dragging intellectual development. I would say the quote below, from the Vice-President’s wife, is closer to capital-T Truth than anything the pomo primates have ever uttered.

“Without the idea that we live in reality… compassion is impossible and so is any other virtue one could name. Nothing beyond the gratification of the moment matters in such a world, not fairness, not justice, not responsibility, not honor. None of them matters because in such a world none of them exists.”

–Lynne Cheney Telling the Truth (Simon & Schuster, 1996)

And what does this have to do with La Muñequita? Simple: Dolly’s world includes Real Live Gods. Olympians. Middle-eastern orgiasts. The Egyptian mystics. But it is manifestly our world. What’s up with that?{eyebrow bounce}

The idea of reality-bending being central to the setting, we must consider in full the ramifications. If a man is without memory, how can his life have meaning? If reality derives from consensus, is not absolute and objective, how can good and evil have any meaning? Is the straining of the individual to realize his or her own life the only Truth?

Dolly’s life is a journey in search of Love. How can Love have meaning without an objective, external framework by which to define it?

I promise these matters will be handled with a light touch and that the story will not be subordinated to philosophical maunderings.

:: Mark Alger 6:37 PM

Ten Years Ago At This Hour

GETTING META and the birth of the blogroll.

I’ve changed the template — discovered Blog Skins, and so may do even more in the future. This one is called The Sandbox at Night, which I like almost as much for the title — dark and romantic–as for its appearance. It’s designed by Eliza Wee, who ought to get the credit for it.

But it has provisions for links, which I like. I’ve added two of mine. Andrew Sullivan’s blog is a place I visit daily for news and attitude. AS also provides a touchstone of what can be done with sufficient talent and will and a blog. Dollspace is someplace I discovered by accident, (some notes on that in a bit). I have no idea what it’s about, since I don’t read Japanese. (Did I mention that the site is in Japanese?) But the images there of the dolls–startlingly human-like–are hauntingly beautiful. The fitting serendipity of finding the site when I am engaged in writing a story about a doll come to life is … magic.

Part of my intention with this blog, (here he goes getting serious again–get out the nerf bats!), is to share these moments of serendipity-doo-dah with … you. You being anybody who stops by.

:: Mark Alger 5:59 PM

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Used to be the Daily Dish was on everybody’s blogroll. Then Sully got his fallopian tubes in a knot over DOMA and, now, I couldn’t even tell you where to find him in the ‘Sphere.

Fallopian tubes?

It’s a metaphor, Dolly. Go with it.

WHAT. Everrrr.

Ten Years Ago At This Hour

An interesting — I hope — log of a journey of discovery going on in parallel with the writing of a novel.

A Baby Troll is Dolly and Dolly is the Baby Troll.

Thought you’d never ask. Dolly is Gabrielle Dolly — the central character of my magnum opus. She is a a created being, born of the accidental casting of a soul into a plastic Gabrielle Dolly — an action figure, a merchandising tie-in to Xena: Warrior Princess, a Barbie-Doll-like toy. Like Pinocchio, she quickly conceives the desire to become a Real Grrl.

Dolly’s story started out as fan fiction. It quickly became apparent to me that–if I were up to it–she could entertain a wider audience than the few hundred or thousand who read her stories on the Xenaverse. So, a little while ago — too long, it sometimes seems [And even longer, now, ten years later, but we’re still working on it — Ed.] — I started out on the weird odyssey of bringing Dolly to a wider audience.

I’m an impatient sort. I want so badly to publish something every day. But, of course, Dolly’s stories don’t come complete or fit for public consumption that quickly. The current one, called Geppetto’s Log, has been in the works in one form or another for over a year, now, and even the plot is only three-quarters done.

So the blog. What I intend to post — right now: obviously subject to change — are the little nuggets I discover along the way: bits of wisdom or fascinating knowledge, the little raindrops of inspiration that don’t seem to fit, the exciting fragments and bits of the story that come out of sequence or subject to extensive change. It is my hope that this will aid my mental processes, but also that it will entertain and — perhaps — delight.

And who knows? Maybe, having been exposed to Dolly this way, you may some day be moved to buy a story about her. {evil grin}

:: Mark Alger 3:39 PM

Ten Years Ago At This Hour

AT LAST! Some real bloggage. Zero to — well, you decide — in 30 minutes.

Down to business. It’s a rainy Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati and I have finally ginned up the courage or whatever to get this started. I’ve been thinking about it–doing a blog–for a long time. I’ve been thinking of keeping a journal for longer and have never somehow gotten around to it.

So–you say–f***ing what?

Good question. I’m a writer. I AM a writer. That is, all my life, whenever somebody’s asked me, “What are you?” I’ve answered — if only to myself — I’m a writer. It’s my self-image. And, like many writers, I’ve searched forever for ways of organizing my thoughts external to myself. I’ve gone the spiral-bound stenopad route. I’ve gone the excrutiatingly precious blank book route. And now, in the digital age, I’m trying various electronic storage methods.

And isn’t he just too f***ing serious? Sorry. I’m going to go eat lunch.

:: Mark Alger 2:46 PM

Ten Years Ago At This Hour

THE SECOND post. And, already, self-referential.

I’m sure every blog startup in the history of the Universe has shown the earmarks of a confused blogger at the keyboard.

:: Mark Alger 2:14 PM

It might be of some slight interest that this may have actually been before the coining of the term blogosphere.

Ten Years Ago Today At This Hour

THE FIRST post. Already, something was going wrong…

OK … I missed something, here. Where’d it go?

:: Mark Alger 2:13 PM

Blogiversary Number 10

WITH THE DEMISE of CompuServe as the epicenter of Cyberspace (well, for me, it was), we who had lived there for years were suddenly cast out on the wider Internet. It wasn’t exactly new to us. We had, after all, participated in the initial growth and formation of the Web, put up with all the teenagers from AOL and the annoying silver ponytails of the Well. But it was uncomfortable. It didn’t work as well. It was slow and clunky and irritatingly irrelevant.

Then, sometime around 9/11, I heard Rush Limbaugh talking about these things called blogs. He mentioned Andrew Sullivan and a few others. I started reading them. And, in seeming no time, got the bug myself.

And, ten years ago today, I signed up for a Blogger account and started this blog. It’s still there. babytrollblog dot blogspot dot com. I keep it as a backup, although I haven’t used it as such since February 7, 2004, when a change of hosts took the site off the air for a latency period. I posted the explanation for my — approximately five — readers.

So about then was when I went to professional hosting and a paid-for content management system (Expression Engine, if you care). Since then, Sitemeter claims a half a million visits, though it was stuck at 300,000 for about five years, so I’m dubious. Engine Hosting, meantime, reports five million page views. It doesn’t bother me enough to fight with Sitemeter to fix it, so I suppose the lower number stands as — scorn quotes — “official.”

I haven’t had an Instalanche, but I have had a couple of Kim-a-lanches and linky love from other Big Name Bloggers. I’ve been a Large Mammaried Individual in the TTLB Ecosystem, so BTB isn’t exactly chopped liver, albeit without the bag of chips. And I’ve been stalked for fifteen minutes by Media Matters, so I guess, in some small way, I arrived awhile back. And I’m content with the slow-and-steady approach to growth.

Of the nearly-a-thousand registered members (and even that is a modest number, I’m given to understand), there are more than a lot who are spammers, I’m sure, but also more than a mere handful who are faithful visitors and readers of varying intensity, and they are, I believe, gems beyond price, so represent some success, even if my own terminal laziness might hold me back from greater things.

And, not least of all, I’ve made some good friends along the way. Even met some of them. Ain’t cyperspace grand? Connects you with people you’re simpatico with but would never have encountered in meat space.

Going forward, I’m in the process of changing over to WordPress for my CMS. It seems both simpler and more complex than Expression Engine, but it also seems better suited for my style and size of site than EE. And I think the folks at Ellis Labs would agree. At least, it seems so from their behavior. Once I get comfortable there (I’m practicing by helping my employer get set up in WordPress, as well as sandboxing new designs at markphilipalger dot dreamhosters dot com), this blog will move to the new system and host and become the center of a modest media empire centered around my writing and artwork. Stay tuned. Watch this space. More to come.

Don’t I know how to have fun.

In aid of which, and to celebrate my first decade blogging, I’ll be echoing posts from that first day throughout today, timed to appear at the same time they were originally posted, ten years ago.

So, pop open a virtual cold one, sit back, and enjoy.

Hashtag Headline (2)


…which, when you put it that way, should muster a hearty, “so what?” I guess.

But there’s another thing going on, here. In business, they tell you should be ready to eat your own dogfood. It’s commercial suicide for the executives of GM to drive BMWs. Or for lab rats at P&G to wipe their bums with AngelSoft.

So, maybe, in their own left-footed way, the O’s are following that advice. Sort of.

By the way, I’ve had this song running through my head. Who did it? “I was in the kitchen, Seamus my dog was outside.” Was that Pink Floyd?

Hashtag Headline:


You know, back when I was a young punk, when somebody executed a spectacular, world-class FAIL, we said of him that he had “bit the big one.”

These days, it’s more as though Da Prez has weenied out and bit the little one.

Can’t even get that right, eh?

Quote of the Day

…[I]n indie publishing, the writer does not give over control of his work to anyone.

Dean Wesley Smith

I have been persuaded of the virtues of independent publication for some time.

Well, then, why don’t you?

I’m a world-class procrastinator. I’m working on that.

But, coming from the community I do, (the Online Writers Workshop), it is a matter of course that a lot of my friends and acquaintances will be trad-pubbed, or seeking trad publication. (Of course, there are a few who are indy — Hi, Lindsay! — it’s a mixed bag.) And I listen to the trad-pubbers and, in some cases, have to accept what they say for lack of countervailing evidence — or even anecdotes.

But I must confess myself dubious.

And I realize here lately that this parallels my attitude toward the state: I will accept and stipulate for the sake of discussion that there are things that government can do better, at lower cost, or more efficiently than private enterprise. It only seems logical that there must be some. Somewhere out there. I just haven’t encountered any, yet.

There have to be journeymen and midlisters out there making a good living with traditional publishers. Logic would dictate. It may even be that the overwhelming majority of full-time employed writers of fiction are published out of New York and environs.

I can’t even say, “Just nobody I know,” because it would be a lie.

But, even so, it seems the anecdotes line up on the opposite side.

For whatever it’s worth.

Anent Roger Clements

I AXE YA: why is it illegal to lie to Congress? Is there an exception clause in the First Amendment that somehow got left out of my copy? Otherwise: what part of “Congress shall make no law” escaped notice? It seems to me that, given Congress’s very existence is an affront to Liberty, that august body would do well to trample more lightly when making importunate demands of its sovereigns.

You Just Know Liberals Love

POOR PEOPLE; they want to make so many of them.

Just Love All These Statists

WHO WHEN CHEERING ON government predation on business in the name of so-called “anti-trust” whinge about “predatory” pricing. That is, pricing lower than the competition can or will offer.

That is, the crowd that which thinks profit is a dirty word love it when cronies of the party in power use the power of the state to protect their profit margins.

And screw the customer.

::wobbita:: Wait just a second! That’s a bit of a jump!

Really? You think so? Riddle me this, bat-girl: For whose benefit does the market exist?

(Sensing a trap.) Erm… the buyer?

The customer?


And, yet, who benefits when profit margins are maintained?

Um… the seller?

NOT the buyer, then…?


So, coming back around to my leapt-to conclusion, who is getting screwed when the low-price leader in a market is brought to heel?

The customer?

Still leaping here?

Uh… no…?

Progress Report

AFTER TOO LONG letting it lie fallow, I’ve taken up It’s Dolly’s Birthday again for more than mere nibbling around the edges, and done a solid day’s work on it. I got about 3,000 new words, spread out over all chapters (rather than in a single, contiguous block). Re-ordered the scenes and chapters once again, for what I doubt will be the last time. Made a good start on a to-the-minute timeline (which — trust me — is necessary in some sequences). Figured out some puzzles that have been bothering me, made solid progress on others that still remain to be out-figured. I feel for once like it was a Saturday well-spent. Would there were more.

Hillary Rosen

CRONY CAPITALIST TOOL… and the Democrats double-down on the hate.

Mothers: do you support this crap? Really? Political hacks who think you’re not a real woman assert that they and their cronies are fit to run your life?


For the Longest Time, I Have Said

ABOUT THE SO-CALLED global warming phenomenon that the best we can say is that WHEN we’ve looked WHERE we’ve looked, the (ADJUSTED) data APPEARS to show a slight warming trend — WHICH GETS LOST IN THE NOISE. EIB Network official climatologist, Dr. Roy Spencer, of the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) and the super-whatsis of the NASA’s satellite temperature measurement lashup has done some analysis of the data sets. He confirms at least half what have been my main suspicions from the beginning — 1) we don’t know — CAN’T know the real, true temperature of the earth to within plus-or-minus the noise, 2) all adjustments appear to add to warming, which makes no sense whatsoever, no matter what the liars-who-figure say. All of your recording equipment and processes CAN’T be biased the same direction.

His conclusion is that ALL apparent warming over the last forty years (in short, for the entire period the “problem” has been being panic-mongered by Hansen and that ilk — since when the sky-is-falling bit flipped from The Coming Ice Age to The Coming Meltocalypse) is due to “adjustments” to the data sets. All.

Yes, Virginia, Global Warming is man-made — it’s been made up of a whole cloth by the scammers in the climate establishment to advance the adgenda of an anti-American, anti-human death cult.

Looks Like Friday the Thirteen

COMED OF A FRIDAY this month.

Didn’t Have the “Luxury” of


Yeah. Right.

‘Cause it’s really hard work being a rent-seeking parasite.

Doncha know…

Hillary Rosen Says, “What?”

SO RICH PEOPLE take no thought for the economic future of their children. They’re not worried with rapacious leftists slavering after their hard-earned wealth? Hmm. Interesting.

So put Rosen on the shelf next to Debbie Blabbermouth Schultz as being textbook cases of liberal stupidity. It’s a long shelf and growing.

A-a-a-and… the party of Occupy Your Shorts hires as a spokesmodel the ultimate tool of greedy corporations. No. No situation ethics there.

I Guess This Is Just a Matter of Opinion

AND A THOUSAND years of experience in book design and readability goes out the window once engineers get their hands on it. A thirty year career as a world-class designer similarly goes out the window because only twenty of that has been aided by computers. Oh. Excuse me. All thirty has been computer-aided, but only twenty has been “aided” by art-illiterate engineers.

Don’t think so? Try getting usable PostScript output from Microsoft Word. Or MS Publisher. Fah!

So, when people try to tell you that there should be a line space between paragraphs of text in online media, despite all contrary advice from other people who — oh, I don’t know… KNOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING — you, of course, should listen to them.

I think Joel Friedlander is too kind to the idiots in his comments.

You don’t think you’re being a tad … er … dogmatic?

Not when it comes to vehemently rejecting page design advice from people who think that hypertext is a sensible protocol for conveying linear information, or that layout rules for scientific matter and for fiction should be the same. No. I don’t.

I Hope the Story is Wrong

THAT MITTENS WILL pick Ohio’s own Rob Portman as his Veep. Yes, it would be a brilliant maneuver. Yes, it could presage a Portman run for Prez in 8 years — a Good Thing for the Country, to be sure. The fly in the honey would be that Ohio would have to replace Portman in the Senate. Now, we do get to replace Sherrod Brown, the commie-symp moron from the north, this year. But we don’t need to have to replace Portman, too.

An Interesting Read on Pricing EBooks

FROM J.A. MARLOW with regard to Amazon’s 47 North imprint, with a spicing of some RWA research. Food for thought — and confirming ideas I’ve had for awhile, now. If you price your work too low, less will be thought of it. This in on all fours with my experience pricing commercial artwork. Sensitivity to price cuts both ways.

RTWT, as well as following the outlinks.

Happy Birthday


I See No Reason

NOT TO GO WITH THE STRAIGHT talking points on this one.

The Buffet Ruse is a lie.

Given that the top whatever percent of taxpayers pay whatever percent of all income taxes, anyone who backs the concept of the Buffet Ruse with a straight face ought to be given no further credence on any subject.

You should not listen to them on matters political. You should not even accept their recommendation for summer beach reading. They are witless tools, with no connection whatsoever to reality.

Their employers, creditors — hell, their churches — should look at them askance and not ever trust their word on any subject from now til Kingdom Come.

Nor should anyone accept any statement at face value from anyone who believes them on the Buffet Ruse.

And, you, gentle reader, should stand at the sharp point of all this distrust. After all, the lies are aimed at you — at shamelessly trying to arouse bigotry, envy, covetousness in your heart. And, after all is said and done, why should you trust them? If they are willing to lie on this subject, how can you ever believee anything they ever say ever again?


Remember, my friends: friends don’t let friends vote Democrat.

Spotted at Maggie’s

AND PROBABLY a part of a post on a different subject altogether, but this list seems to me a pretty fair precis of the left’s positions on life, the universe, and everything.

  • Food isn’t about Nutrition
  • Clothes aren’t about Comfort
  • Bedrooms aren’t about Sleep
  • Marriage isn’t about Romance
  • Talk isn’t about Info
  • Laughter isn’t about Jokes
  • Charity isn’t about Helping
  • Church isn’t about God
  • Art isn’t about Insight
  • Medicine isn’t about Health
  • Consulting isn’t about Advice
  • School isn’t about Learning
  • Research isn’t about Progress
  • Politics isn’t about Policy

I could add a few more:

  • Taxation isn’t about revenue
  • Regulation isn’t about safety
  • Sex isn’t about reproduction
  • Adulthood isn’t about responsibility
  • America isn’t about freedom
  • Freedom isn’t about what’s good for people
  • Law isn’t about morality
  • Morality isn’t about behavior
  • Responsibility isn’t about consequences

Add yours in comments.

Quote of the Day

Lie after lie after lie after lie.

–Sen Edward M. Kennedy D-MA (dec)

Trying to fisk Obama on the Supreme Court, on Constitutional law, on the economy, on commerce, on the budget, on regulation’s costs and effects — on anything — is a fool’s game. Simpler to say that the man is incapable of telling the truth.

And, if you recall that this same thing has been said of Democrat politicians of all levels and stripes, perhaps there’s a lesson to be taken from that. (See below.)

Obama on the Supreme Court

AS RUSH IS PUTTING IT he’s trying to get the meme planted that “The Supreme Court is going to take away your health care.” And, if you know that’s not so, that the President lies through his teeth, and you’re certain that no reasonable American could possibly swallow such a load of codswallop, remember this: Selected, Not Elected. The American Left has dined out for 12 years now on the lie that Al Gore really won the 2000 election and the Supreme Court forced George Bush on America. Never mind that, using the count Gore was suing to get, Bush won. Never mind that, counting every ballot possible, Bush won. The closest Gore got to winning would have been using the count that Bush wanted. But, objectively, Gore lost. Which is why the Right saw the whole, sordid affair as an attempt at electoral theft and called it Sore Loserman.

And, no, nobody on the Left is specifically smart or prescient enough to know that, twelve years later, yet another illegitimate power grab would be threatened by a Supreme Court operating within its constitutional limits and requiring the same of Congress and the President. But they did know that an honest Supreme Court, an uncorrupted Supreme Court would be a significant roadblock to their illegitimate aspirations. That what they (the Left) want to do is, to put it flatly, against the law. And, in order to get around the protections the Constitution emplaces around liberty and the rule of law, they’d have to dirty up the Supreme Court.

They’ve known it for decades.

And so, they’ve set about meticulously corrupting the Supreme Court, by running right up to the line of treason and dancing away before serious charges could be leveled, by nominating jurists and forcing their confirmation by barely acceptable and barely constitutional methods that nevertheless were born of bad faith intent, jurists who, well in advance of their nomination were clearly not suited for any seat on any bench, let alone on the Supreme Court, jurists nominated if for no other reason than to dilute the minimum standards of acceptability for Supreme Court Justices, by seeking at every turn to delegitimize in the eyes of the People both the actual text of the Constitution and the role of the Supreme Court in its defense.

That alone should be enough to cause you to withdraw your support from Democrats and to look askance at everything they stand for and propose. After all, if they’ll lie, cheat, steal to get what you and they claim to want, how do you know you can trust them when it comes to your cherished dreams and aspirations?

To put it flatly, you can’t. In fact, I will guarantee you that, if they ever achieve their ultimate aims — totalitarian power — you, their supporters, will be the first put up against a wall, your family charged for the bullet used to kill you. That is, if they’re not liquidated along with you.

Bank on it.

Bizarro President

THE O IS OUT THEREwaa-a-a-ay out there — with statements, seemingly everything out of his mouth, that refuse to comport with reality. In fact, reality is running down the street, screaming in terror, trying to escap the distortion field.

He keeps talking lying about people who don’t have insurance, who would be able to get it under his plan (read: be required willy nilly to purchase it), but couldn’t otherwise.

My first reaction to that claim, almost as an aside, is that the key reason they couldn’t is that they couldn’t afford a policy with all the government-mandated coverages they neither want nor need. But that’s just an aside.

He conveniently ignores those who have already lost their coverage because, in anticipation of the massive and unpredictable market distortions any such plan (not just Obamacare — ANY socialized medicine scheme) would bring into place, insurance carriers increased their rates for several years running.

In fact, when you hear about the increasing costs of health care, you need to realize that those increases are largely — if not totally — related to increased insurance cost, whether for individual or group coverage or for medical liability and malpractice insurance. Trust me, I know. I pay cash for services. And, with the exception of a few medications where the power of the government actively prevents price reductions (ask a pharmacist why you can’t get generic insulin, for example, even though none of the current brands is under patent), my costs are FAR lower than what insurance companies pay. Those same insurance companies that claim their confiscatory rates are justified because they can negotiate lower prices on your behalf.

But the facts remain that 1) my employer found he could no longer afford coverage and had to stop paying for insurance (although he did give me a raise equivalent to most of what he formerly paid for my coverage). 2) I cannot get even catastrophic coverage because, due to the requirements Obamacare put on, no commercial carrier will touch anyone in my age cohort with insulin dependent diabetes (and the state pools are A)government insurance, with all the issues inherent thereto, and B) means-tested and Toni and I make too much money to qualify). And 3), as I say, even with a five-figure hospital stay in there, made out far better last year paying cash for services than I would have buying first-dollar coverage.

So, on balance, are more people being hurt or helped by this law?

Based on past history — true, no accurate predictor of future performance, but still — and a good dose of horse sense, I gotta believe that more harm than good is all that can come of Obamacare.

Doncha Just Love It

WHEN THE ENEMY GIVES YOU tips on how to beat him? I mean… does it insult your intelligence, or merely amuse you when a Democrat opines on what the Republicans should do to win?

Omaba’s former watermelon czar*, Vann Jones averred as how it would be a brilliant maneuver for Romney to pick Condi Rice for his Veep.

But, Vann! You don’t get it! Condi is a RINO squish. We don’t need TWO of them on the ticket!

Or maybe he does know that.

Oh, fersher, Dolly. Remember what I always say about “unintended consequences.” They don’t happen. All consequences are intended. If they’re not, the person eventuating them is incompetent. Same thing with bad tactical advice from the enemy. It’s not intended to benefit you; it’s item(s) from a wish-list.

(*That’s green on the outside, red on the inside, as the global environmentalist wacko movement is the new home for international revolutionary marxism. Nothing to do with fried chicken and collard greens. Why is it your mind always goes there? Nothing to see. Move along.)

They Tell Writers of Fiction

NOT TO USE THE PASSIVE voice because it’s — well — passive. Weak. Some critters will even go so far as to tell you you should never use any construction with the verb to be.

As liars go, fictioneers have nothing on politicians.

So, the head of the GSA resigns under an ethical cloud. “Ethics are a big issue for me,” she said upon ascending to the office. Now we learn she actually mean she has issues with ethics. “Taxpayer funds were mis-spent,” she admits. Not, you will notice, “I mis-spent taxpayer funds.”

Mistakes were made. There were ethical lapses. Monies were mal-appropriated.

Please note the lack of an actor in each statement. Who made the mistakes? Whose ethics lapsed? Who mal-appropriated or mis-spent monies? These are questions that need to be asked, and sharply, repeatedly, until satisfactory answers are forthcoming. No. Shift that from passive to active voice. Until the miscreant in question fesses up.

She’s Ba-a-a-a-a-ack

IF YOU’VE ONLY BEEN reading blogs for a year, you may not be aware of one of the long-time gems of the blogosphere, Darling Rachel Lucas. No, “Darling” isn’t part of her name, but it should be. Because she is, of course, you silly person.

Anyway. She’s been busy, well — having a life, I suppose — and not blogging much for the last … wow! It’s been less than a year? Seems like a century we’ve been without our Rachel fix. So she’s back. Go show her support and encouragement. These things matter.

Big Doin’s

FOR THE FORSEEABLE FUTURE there will be parallel development going on here and at my new DreamHosted WordPress site. Right now, there isn’t anything to see. Generic template, limited content. As time goes on, there will gradually appear the contents of the present Apocrypha site, and then… more. My intent is to accomplish the changeover seamlessly. We shall see.

One thing is pretty much for certain. The heirarchy between this blog and the Apocrypha site will change. I will probably also go back to the model I used when I first started blogging, that of maintaining a site about writing and my writings, and another for bloviating about current events. We’ll see how that works out.

As Roo put it, a lot of we’ll-seeing, but nothing ever happens. So … we’ll see.

It is possible to register and comment over there, though there won’t be much to comment on, and I may purge comments before the “real” site goes live — depends on how things shake out. One of the issues that has given me pause has been the problem of transferring my Member base from one system to the other. If regulars here wish to help out and register over there, well, it would be appreciated, but I for one will certainly understand if you’d rather not bother.

Sometime in the future, once members HAVE been transferred — or given the option to migrate on their own — I will probably shut down new registrations here. But that’s a long way off. I’m just getting started. No way of knowing how big this thing is going to get.