Monthly Archives: June 2013

Dollish: a New Entry

IN THE LEXICON of da Doll.

punkinofy vt. ~your damnself … to turn yourself into a pumpkin, i.e., to stay up after midnight. vi. I ~d last night. Didn’t get to bed until three AM. Derived from punkinate, — Sarah A. Hoyt, in blog comments, 2013.

Not Equal — Special

YOU CAN TELL WHEN SOMEONE is being dishonest to you or to themselves as to their arguments for or against a thing when they start engaging in straw man arguments.

Many in the Right who have resisted the whole plunge to legalizing gay marriage have asserted that they are open to persuasion — if they hear any. But, as they (we) say, if you’re going to make such a radical change to the dialectic, overturning 10,000 years and more of practice and tradition and fight against what is at least partly a biologically hardwired social behavior, it’s incumbent upon you to make the case to the rest of your society — especially given that, according to the society’s consensual mechanisms, your initiative is opposed 4:1 or worse.

And… so far, nobody has made the case. The sum of the arguments made so far are, “You poopy-heads! You hate us! We’re only in love! You are just against us because you don’t want us to get married.”

Which, since it bears no resemblance to the counter-arguments, in fact, sidesteps the question entirely, is — as they say — a straw man argument.

And now, here today (well, yesterday by the time you read this), you’re doing an end-zone dance over a Supreme Court ruling in which the majority opinion says, in essence, “We find that the majority in the electoral process that made this law is a bunch of poopy-heads and they only passed the law because they hate gays and don’t want them to get married.”

Its Roe v. Wade all over again.

But, in any case, the argument is also disingenuous since, as has been asserted here unanswered before, any person has the right to marry any person of the opposite sex who will have him/her. There is, to my knowledge, no prohibition against marriage on most bases, and certainly none on the basis of the sexual preference or orientation of either participant in the marriage. So the claim against rights is specious. What is being asked for, in reality, is a special dispensation to, as above, overturn ten thousand years (or more) of tradition and practice on rather slight grounds of emotional convenience, which — as proponents of the change have admitted — hasn’t done all that well by the regular sort of married couples. Not equal, but special. And that, ladies and germs, is not on.

Quote of the Day

If liberty weren’t under attack we wouldn’t have to organize and defend it.

Lyle from UltiMAK, at Joe Huffman’s place

The President Admits

THAT THE DEBATE OVER climate change is over. Neglects to mention his “side” lost. Is now, of course, plunging right into doing EXACTLY the wrong thing about it.

You’re getting the government YOU deserve. Unfortunately, so am I. Dammit.

To Those Who Poo-poo

AS PARANOID DELUSIONS the claims from we in the Right that Democrats abuse their political power to disenfranchise Republican voters and deny the free exercise of constitutionally-protected rights (Which is a federal offense, BTW, 18 USC 241-242 — when will we see cabinet officers prosecuted under these statutes?)… Pay close attention to the IRS scandal as it continues to unfold.

And, no, the furious sweepings of Elijah Cummings, inter alia, notwithstanding, the scandal is not yet under the rug, though not for lack of trying.

And, yes, it does mean that Obama’s re-election is, at best, electorally suspect. We don’t really have a clear path to deal with a stolen election. But, given the Left’s proclivity for dirty tricks and shady dealings, you have to know it was bound to come up sooner or later.


WELL… Stage Two is finished. I have completed all edits assigned or suggested by my first reader on The High-T Affair. I will make one quick run through before passing the novel on to my editor.

This batch of edits expanded the novel from 60,000 to 83,000 words.

Click; Done.

IT IS A VIOLATION of both constitutional principle and statute law (18 USC§241) to conspire against civil rights.

The Supreme Court has just recently and once again acknowledged that to keep and bear arms (including firearms) is a protected individual right.

Nanny Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns amounts to a conspiracy against civil rights, which makes him a fugitive from justice, on a federal felony count.

Further, to do so under color of law aggravates matters. (18 USC§242) And, should death eventuate due to this violation, the defendant may be sentenced to death. If Nanny Bloomberg denies one citizen his rights under the Second Amendment and that citizen is rendered defenseless and dies in the face of aggression or predation, the little Hitler wannabe might find himself on a gurney with a drip feed taped to his arm.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Sic Semper Tyrannes.

Click; done.

Broke 80

IN THE PROCESS OF editing the novel, and adding Alpha Reader-mandated necessities to the story, I’ve let the word count creep up over 80,000 Saturday at midnight. No idea why, but it feel like a milestone of some kind.

Click; Done

FORGET ABOUT EDWARD Snowden and stop trying to distract us with him. This is what is material: is there an ongoing program as described? It is unlawful; stop. Click; done.

Math Error

THERE’S BEEN A CONTROVERSY a-goin’ on in the world of “professional” science fiction and fantasy writing — the SFWA. Used to be one of Those Things. You WOULD join SFWA when you grew up and got to be a real writer. But now, along with the rest of “traditional” business of literature manufactur, the SFWA seems to have gone over a cliff of sorts. And, no. I’m not talking about politically korrekt, high-tech lynchings — at least not about those alone.

But we’re not gathered here today to talk about that. You can read all about it at writer Andrew Fox’s blog.

Not having read the magazine articles in question, I don’t have a dog in that fight — at least, not directly. So, that’s not what I’m here to talk about. You can form your own opinions for yourselves with no help from me. I’ll reserve that… um … help for matters that, um … matter to me.

No, my point is rather larger.

Near the end of his article (or in one of the comments, I do not remember which right now and, frankly, don’t care enough to go check), Fox writes that he tries to persuade writers against showing their political asses in public (by which, you know right there he’s a leftist, albeit a possibly closeted or in-denial one). After all, he goes on, why alienate half your potential audience.

Well, there’s your problem!

Andrew — or anybody who’s listening — the right/left split in the audience isn’t anywhere near fifty-fifty. If only leftists — including the current gatekeepers — were directing only half of the industry’s output at the Left, if only half of the alienation rays bathed the audience from stage left, the world would be a noticeably brighter place, because there would be a boom time in the media arts. One signal reason that the industry is in such dire straits is the perception on the part of the overwhelming majority (80-90%) of the audience that it is being ill-served by the present players in the biz, that what’s being put out is crap, and politically correct crap at that, …and why the hell should I waste my hard-earned money — what’s left after the damned liberals in the government have gotten through stealing from me — on crap that insults my intelligence and tries to persuade me that the country and way of life I love are evil and deserving of death?

No. The part of the audience you would alienate for calling out the Knotted Knickers Brigade and giving them a good bitch slapping is the one — the tiny minority — that so richly deserves said alienation, calling, and slapping.

No. It’s not so much 50/50 as it is 80/20 — at best.

More, please.

If You Don’t Have Anything to Hide…

YOU DON’T HAVE ANYTHING to worry about. Except the possibility that somebody else, somebody who has undue influence over your life, might be vulnerable to blackmail.

Somebody, such as, say, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, whose late-changing vote on a critical case threatens to render you penniless, unable to purchase a doctor’s care, and vulnerable to the predatory actions of the tax collectors.

What? Nobody connect the dots for you before? Now do you see why some of us objected to the PATRIOT Act?


USUALLY ALGER DOESN’T let me do these things. He’ll catch me doing something he thinks is — scorn quotes — “cute” and tell y’all about it. But this time, I just came up with these all on my ownsome, whilst I was reading something written by the twisted knickers set. (Won’t do THAT again!)

The author was was going on about the Society for the Betterment of Our Lessers and the Benighted Idiots Relief Fund or whatever and it occurred to me that what you really have here is the American Alliance of Busybodies (AAB) and the League of People with Too Much Time on Their Hands (LPWTMTTH). Practice it. You’ll soon be able to rattle it off your tongue like En-double-ay-el-cee-pee. El-Pee-Dubya-Tee-Em-Teetee-Aitch. It’ll grow on you.

Meantime, watch out for those sorts. They’ll ruin your day right quick.

Story Starter

BACK SHORTLY AFTER 9/11, Bruce Schneier wrote a column that appeared in Info World. At least, that’s how I remember it. At the time, I didn’t have a blog, and by the time I did, I’d lost all of my copies of the article. Now, I can get lots of returns in Bing-ing various keywords relating to Schneier and security, but I can’t find this particular article. (If somebody knows where I can, I’d love to hear about it.)

The article was about airliner security and contained a proposal for a simple security system that would have several unique attributes:

  • It could be put together from off-the-shelf parts available at the time.
  • It permitted total anonymity.
  • It allowed the building of a Federal security database of trust signifiers that would be, as I say, totally anonymous.
  • It was virtually unbreakable.
  • It seemed (to me) to be totally transparent. I did not see any opportunity for abuse, either by government or the general public.
  • It accomplished the twin goals of securing airliners against infiltration and attack by radicalized Islamist terrorists (or any other type of militant) and of permitting the free flow of traffic over the air routes.

And, in retrospect, it did not require a massive, unionized, intrusive, importunate Federal apparatus to accomplish its goals. Correction: it could accomplish its goals whereas the current TSA farrago cannot and will never accomplish its goals.

The system was founded on two bases. First, the recognition of the core fact that the state (or any protective agency) does not need to know the identities of those accessing an object, a vehicle, or a facility. All that needs to be known is whether or not the person(s) gaining that access are worthy of the trust that they would do no harm having gained the access. Second, there must be no way that the system can be gamed by any participants — either the government or the people earning the trust of the system.

The system consisted of three objects — a trust token, say an ID card; a verification method, say a retina or iris scan; and a database that would connect the unique yet anonymous identifier on the card with the verification method — for the most part, a biometric. If you’re familiar with a QR code, that would be your identifier. It would be on a card that the person wishing access would carry. That code would pass to the system a resource locator that would link to a database record containing ONLY the results of a series of tests the bearer of the card has passed and the degree of trust to which these passages would grant the bearer. The same card would be born by an electrical engineering student from Saudi Arabia who has overstayed his student visa and an 80-year-old granny from Vero Beach and a Federal Air Marshall.

The tests, as I recall Schneier proposed, would consist of what Schneier called (and were misidentified as) Farwell Brain Scans. These are specialized EEGs taken while the subject is watching a prepared video or slide show of particular objects. Supposedly, since the responses to the stimuli offered are totally involuntary, there’s no way to beat this. The types of images shown would isolate a person’s experience. It would not necessarily by itself grant or deny access, but might indicate probable cause for further investigation.I tell you that to tell you this:

Monday, the Supreme Court struck down an Arizona law which expanded on the Federal law regarding the requirements for voting. Arizona wanted to require photo IDs, but the Federal law only requires a signature affirming an assertion of citizenship (under penalty of perjury). It seems clear that the Federal specifications are far less intrusive into the privacy of the individual. Of course, it requires that the prospective voter be honest. The Arizona method permits the state to — sort of — keep the voter honest. But, in a sense, that’s not the state’s business. It’s the citizen’s business to keep the government honest, not the other way around.

I tell you THAT to tell you THIS:

Apparently, it’s becoming clear that police agencies are abusing state driver’s license photo databases, degrading personal privacy and anonymity.

So, here’s the story challenge. Imagine a regime or protocol which can tie these three things together and find a story in it.

As before, the first writer to publication (ebook on Amazon will do) wins a No-Prize.

I’ve Had Enough

I’m sick and tired of gratuitous Boomer bashing. When we were born is not our fault. That there are assholes who, like the rooster who thought his crowing woke the sun, claim all manner of great and nefarious deeds in every generation is not good reason to tar the entire generation with the same brush. When you use “Boomer” as an insult to denigrate them, you insult me, too. If you are a friend, you’ll stop and consider before you speak.

Be certain you are speaking accurately. Remember that the ’60s counter-culture was not an artifact of the Baby Boom generation. We did not, most of us, come of age until the ’70s and weren’t in any positions of power to influence matters until the’80s — the Reagan years. Those were our years. If you want to blame us for anything, blame us for that.

But, if you want to task us with the British Invasion, remember those guys were all born during the War. And, yes, there was an abysmal divide between even brothers and sisters across those years.

If you want to task us with defeat in Vietnam, remember that most of us were protesting — not so much the war — as the draft, which was seen (per Heinlein) as involuntary servitude and incompatible with American ideals. A considerable portion of my cohort saw the sin in that war to be that we weren’t fighting to WIN. That we blamed on Democrats in Washington. It was the same kind of betrayal we see today from our national government which refuses to recognize the nature and identity of our current enemy — indeed, apologizes to them for our existence.

If you want to call us hippies, by all means go ahead. Just remember what the hip movement was about — individual rights, self-reliance, independence, and liberty. It wasn’t until the (already leftist) media glommed onto it and — as always — got it wrong. And Scott MacKenzie sang that horrible song that a brazilian teenagers descended on San Francisco hoping to hang out and be groovy and ruined it for everybody. Hippies and hard-core revolutionary marxists: two entirely different things.

If you want to tag us with the decrepitude of American media and culture, please remember that was/is the end result of two movements — the Gramscian long march through the institutions, which took over the news media, literature, popular culture, the arts, and education from within, and the explicit instructions post the Russian Revolution from Lenin that international revolutionary Marxists should burrow into and subvert these institutions in the west as a matter of state policy. As the saying goes: not our fault. By the time we came along, it was pretty much fait accompli and all we could do was — as the Bible puts it — kick against the pricks. Which we did aplenty. We also warned the wider world — including the establishment — of the presence of communists in our midsts and operating fronts. But, check it out, the media. Already infiltrated. ::sigh::

If you want to complain to us about the mal-education your kids got, sorry. They tried to subject US to it, too. We were just lucky enough to be taught by the last generation of non-union teachers, who had subject competence and a will to actually TEACH. In the school system I attended, the unions came in in 1968-69 or so. I graduated HS in 1972. In German, there’s a word: geschafft!, which loosely translates as “Whew! Made it!” or “Dodged that bullet!”. Fifteen years later, I had occasion and cause to tease a coworker not all that much younger than I that “They must have waived the literacy requirement for all those [3] degrees of yours.” Things had deteriorated that badly. No. I had nothing to do with it. But, if you had kids in school, did you complain to the board? Write letters to the editors? Campaign for reform candidates? Run for office yourself? Pull your kids out and put them in private school? Home school? OK, then. Let’s hear no more about that. (For the record, we put my grandson in a Catholic high school.)

At the very least, you voted AGAINST every school levy put before you, right? Recognizing that the left-collectivists in control of your school system are mal-appropriating all the funds they get their greedy little mitts on — neglecting physical plant, spending millions on crap curricula, bloated administration positions and salaries, over-generous union-negotiated benefits packages? Didn’t you?

So how in the pluperfect Hell can any of society’s ills be blamed on an entire generation AND ONLY that generation? And, when the attempt is made to lay the blame thus, why should those being blamed sit there and take it?

Remember, when you insult a whole generation, you insult every member of it — even those who may agree with your problem with individual member(s) of it. Remember that, just because a person looks to be of an age, he still may not be a member of a particular age cohort. Be accurate. Are you talking about something that’s factually so? Are you sure? Did you check?

And another thing: If you’re an individualist of any stripe, what the hell are you doing applying collective standards to groups grievances? Isn’t that what the other side does that we object to all the time? Treat the people you encounter with respect as individuals, as you demand of the rest of the world. You’re right to want it for yourself; you are obligated to do so for those around you.


YA KNOW, I DON’T HAVE anything to hide. Not sure that’s the point. Given the propensity and ability of investigators to plant evidence or misinterpret overheard conversations (I can tell you a couple hilarious stories. Leave your cell phone in the house. Let’s go for a walk.), I have to ask, “What business is it of yours?” And, no, “national security” is not an excuse. There’s no “national security” exception in the Fourth Amendment.


I WAS ON THE PHONE with the IRS, trying to find out about my group’s 501(c)4 application when Verizon dropped the call. I was pissed until the NSA reconnected me.

How nice of them.

I’ve Been Saying for a Long Time

THAT RETIREMENT IS A death sentence. That was just from my opinion of all the old folks dropping on the golf course. Turns out I was righter than I knew. I never intended to retire. Even if I change careers sometime in my “golden years” it will be just that — a change, not an end. I would actually like to earn a living at writing, instead of playing at it as a hobby that occasionally pays. In the ’90s, I made a significant chunk of my income freelancing at the keyboard. Indy publishing offers the notion that I might be able to do that again and maybe more.

Writing Today and

LISTENING TO THE PLAYLIST I call the Dolly sound-track. In the Apocrypha story (which will probably only appear in the Canon as a vignette) called “Out of Bounds (Unplugged)” the All Grrl, All Doll Band does this song — with Dolly singing lead, of course. It’s about the loves of all the dollies, but mostly about Gabrielle herself.

It’s the secret that I keep
It’s the ache that makes me weep
And I know I’m in too deep
I’m gonna drown
It’s the emptiness I fear
Baby, please don’t be leavin’ me here
‘Cause I’m lost inside a dream
That’s out of bounds

Birthday #60

SO IT’S THAT TIME of year again. Plug in the old axe, crank it up to eleven, and …GIT-tar…

Na-na-na-na-nana-da-nang! (chka-chka-chka-boomp!) Na-na-na-na-nana-da-nang! (chka-chka-chka-boomp!) (key change) Na-na-na-na-nana-da-nang! (chk-chk-chk) Na-na-na-na-nana-da-nang!

You say it’s your birthday! Na-na-na-na-nana-da-nang! Well it’s my birthday, too, yeah! Na-na-na-na-nana-da-nang! I’m glad it’s your birthday! Na-na-na-na-nana-da-nang! Happy birthday TO you!

Alger turns fifty-nine today. Say nice things to him. Maybe he’ll give me a raise.

Why Dolly! How sweet. Tell you what. If we get ten comments — from ten, different, REAL people — I’ll give you a fifty percent raise!

Gee, thanks, boss!

Hey! Waitjustagoddamnminute! You don’t pay me anything now!

A-a-a-nd… your point is…?

Fifty percent of nothin’ is still nothin’

Yebbut: a raise is a raise. And anything is better than nothin’, innit?

Do I **LOOK** blonde?

Well, now that you mention it, your hair is kind of light red this last time. Did they do something different? Maybe a strawberry blonde, as we used to call it back in the ’60s?

You know, the cats are not the only ones who know how to kill you in your sleep.

Ah-ah-aahh! “Nice things.” Remember?

Grrrr! ::slow burn::

Update: So we made it to ten comments, even if two of them were from me, so — fair’s fair — I’m giving Dolly the raise. Fifty percent of her base salary.

Gee, thanks, Boss. Ya shoonta.

You’re welcome. And to show how much, here’s a bonus.

Really? Real money, all for me?

Fifty cents!? Your generosity is overwhelming!

Well, it’s more like thirty cents after taxes, but: you’re welcome. It’s your share of the money — note I don’t say “profits” — we’ve made off the blog this year.

Really? But, we don’t…


No! Really. I know we can’t afford this. Here! Take it back!

Can’t. I’ve already done the paperwork and paid the withholding and FICA to the government. Make sure you report it. I’ll get you a 1099 next January.

Did I say this already? Grrrrr!


THE OATHBREAKER the forsworn, the despicable liar thinks that we should have a debate as to the conflict between security and liberty represented by his regime’s flagrant violations of the Fourth Amendment protections of the entire fucking country!

Barry, you ignorant slut. NO. It’s not up for a debate. It’s not up for discussion. It’s not up for a vote. It is against the law. It is verboten. It is nikulturny. It is unconstitutional. You don’t get to waive my rights under color of law. Go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.00. In fact, pay a fine and pick up the garbage. Orange jumpsuit. Grabby tongs and a big ripstop plastic bag. Don’t come back until that park is pris-fuckin’-tine.

‘Bout all you’re good for.

Of course, your butt boys in the NSA won’t tell you I wrote this. Chickenshits. Tell the man what We the People REALLY think of the bastard.

Yes, he is.

Baghdad Jim McDermitt

MAY HAVE A POINT, as despicable as he is. If the TEA Party groups hadn’t applied for tax-exempt status, they wouldn’t have faced importunate questions from the IRS.

I cashed out my 401(k) awhile back and will not be using any retirement savings instrument set up by the government. I may pay more taxes, but I will not be going to the government with cap in hand, tugging on my forelock, begging permission to use my money as I see fit. Fuck ’em. I’m not playing that game anymore.

I might suggest that, as an alternative to begging permission from the IRS to exist, citizen groups hoist the middle finger and go without. Yes, I’m sure, there’s a loss of convenience and possibly some loss of money or — at the very least — the forgoing of some opportunities. But — check it out — no getting up with fleas from lying with dogs. KnowwhatImean, Vern?

On the other hand, if they hadn’t, we wouldn’t have laid out for all to see the corrupt and stinking nature of the national tax collection apparatus. We wouldn’t have a sharply-limned image of a corrupt government, which has, in the words of (make careful note of this woman’s name; she’s a hero of the people) Becky Gerritson forgotten its place.

Good Point

WHY HAVE THERE NOT been mass arrests at IRS offices all over the country?

I’m Way Out of My Depth, Here

BUT SOMETIMES ASKING a really stupid question can help you learn, so, here goes.

I learned in high school that infinity was, well, infinite, and there’s no way to approach it. At the same time, I learned that there is an infinite number of increments between any pair of numbers. Or, for that matter, any pair of anythings. Including things like probable outcomes to a decision. And that carries out to the quantum level. So whether the photon jinks left or right in the double slits has an infinite number of possible outcomes, even though there’s only two — or four — options.

But this article peeled an old intellectual scab. We also learned that a number divided by itself equals one. Makes sense, right? Four fourths is a whole, right? One. So what is zero divided by itself?

Wait a minute! You can’t divide by zero!

Well, properly speaking, you can, but the answer is out of the normal bounds of our concepts of numbers. And, of course, computers lose it when you try to make them calculated it. But, really, it makes logical sense. Zero zeroths is a whole zero, right? I mean, it’s nothing, but it’s ONE nothing. A slippery concept, I’ll admit, but not as weird as n dimensions.

And this also requires admitting that dividing zero by itself to get one is a special case. And what if that means that 0/0=1 is also 0/0=∞? Talk about your special cases. And what does that imply about the question raised in the linked article as to whether infinity actually exists in the real world, or is just a mental construct? See how that blows your dress up.

Or should I stick to weaving baskets?

Esprit de l’Escalier

SO SARAH HOYT PUT ON a Cover and Blurb Clinic. I went and partied like a guy who hadn’t been out in … ever. I may need to send some apology notes and mend fences. We’ll see if anybody starts acting hurt or something.

And it went on for a large part of two days, so it’s kind of like every discussion thread on the Internet and it’s time to kill it. (I really miss the threading ability in CompuServe forums. That was da bomb. Everything the Internet has thrown up in that line of country is second best AT best.)

But I have some afterthoughts that I want to get down somewhere where I and others can find them. Otherwise, they’ll be lost. (And God knows, they’re so damned valuable! </sarc>)

First: enough with the modesty, people! Who are the artists we respect the most? They’re the ones who stood tall and proud, delivered themselves of their art boldly and without apology. If I hear somebody offer another apology or belittlement of their work before the public, I’m gonna scream.

As an artist, it is your responsibility to Make Your Work the Best You Can Possibly Do. I don’t recall anything in that commandment about convenience or the ease of use of the tools or how long it might take to find the exact right image. What I do remember is “Best”. To me, if the best I can do isn’t perfect, I will keep at it until it is. I’m not going to accept second best cover art for a short story, and I’m not going to apologize for flaws in the work with that as an excuse.

Here’s why.

Your name is on the cover.

Ultimately, that’s your brand. Trad-pubbed authors don’t have that level of control over their covers (Although, my friend and first reader, Jamie Moyer, and her agent fought for a better cover and got it for the first novel in her forthcoming trilogy. And we should be vicariously proud of her for it.)

But one of the things we keep saying is primo about indy pubbing is the control over covers. OK. So now you’ve got it. And you’re going to put crap out there with your name on it because doing it right is hard? I’m sorry, I think I missed something. You may not be able to afford the best source image. OK. It’s like a house. Some you can buy in move-in ready condition. Some are fixer-uppers and you have to exert some sweat equity. But the fixers are cheaper. You can buy in at a lower cash price, but the ultimate cost is about as broad as it is long.

So the quality of your project — of your writing — is first and foremost represented to your readership by the cover image. “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover,” you say. Bitch, please. The cover is something that the reader will have in his environment LONG after he’s disconnected from Amazon. In his mind, it will become an icon representing that product — your product. Under YOUR brand. It’ll be on his nightstand for a week, his bookshelf and/or his Kindle (one hopes) far longer. And whether it’s a short story or a novel, it is out there under your brand, and you damage the brand if the packaging on your product is less than perfect.

I didn’t mean for that to sound as harsh as it does. But now that it’s out there, I think it’s right. Not for the harshness — that’s just texture — but for the bold-facedness of it. You NEED to insist on the best. And you owe it to yourself and the business you’re building to be strident about it — and most especially with yourself. Demand it. As close to perfection as you can get. I hope putting it out there at this distance will permit some perspective and honest reflection without the emotion and immediacy of a personal critique.

If you want to learn about type by osmosis — by exposure to good typography, check out this book. It’s called Type Matters and is a neat instance of funky artistic book design, as well as being informative on the subject of type.

Back in the day before soft fonts became widely available, there was a shop in Washington DC (They’re still around.) called Phil’s. They were a general digital service bureau (and, before that, a type house). And they had a catalog published, Homage to the Alphabet: A Typeface Sourcebookphils_fonts_book I got my copy almost by accident at the North Light book sale that F&W Publishing holds every year. The neat thing about the Phil’s catalog is that it’s organized by type style. Serif, Sans Serif, Script, and then the subcategories. It’s an incredible immersive tool and can teach you a lot about typefaces in the course of a simple font match search. And Phil’s taxonomy is the one we use at Otto and I use to organize my personal font collection. It’s that strong.

That is all.

That’s enough! Sheesh!





Say, “Goodnight,” Gracie.

Good night, Gracie.

A Charming Turn of Phrase


…[C]hallenging writers to simply cunt up and write.

Not ordinarily a choice of words I’d ratify — or even make for myself. But somehow, in the context, it has an odd, rough charm to it. As a male writer who writes a lot of female characters (dunno why, that’s just how they appear to me), I appreciate it lots when a real grrl steps off the pedestal. It helps me make my own ladies more breathable. Or however you’d put that.

And, yes, I recognize the male antecedent of Lily’s phrase. No need to state the obvious in comments.

I Should Say This About Myself:

I AM IN LARGE PART, as a pro-grade fiction writer, a product of the Online Writer’s Workshop, which boasts, among other graduates, Jim Butcher and Elizabeth Bear. As such, I have heard chapter and verse of The Way, The Truth, and The Light to getting published. And have seen examples in the career successes and disappointments of my friends and compatriots — and distant strangers — from that era in my life.

I really wish all my friends who are working their fingers to the bone to try to make it in that world would read Escaping Stockholm by Judith Tarr.

I love you all and I wish you every success. But I fear for you if you don’t wake up to these realities. Please. At least consider what Judy is saying.

To My Mind, This Guy’s Actions Are Very Much

AKIN TO POISONING A WELL. As such, hangin’s too good for him.