Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Martin Tuesday!

If you have an iPad, you can read Chapter 10 of Broken Slate, now available on Crossed Genres, on your iPad!

I'm just saying!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Book Review: Coal: A Human History, and More!

So for my Hanukkah present I got an iPad.

This is totally inappropriate for two reasons.  (1) I am not 10 years old, and Hanukkah presents are for children and (2) Hanukkah presents are supposed to be tiny things, like, well, a book, or a box of chocolates.

But Herr Dr. Delagar, that is how he rolls, and he knew I wanted an iPad (I have been visiting the iPads at BestBuy for the past six months), so voila!

I love it.  How much do I love it?

I don't think I can go back to reading books the other way.

And you know me, I love books.  If you had asked me two years ago whether I would give up physical books, HA!  I would have laughed at you, HA!

But I have now spent -- what? fifteen days?  Reading books this way?  HA!  I am never going back to reading books on paper.

When I do have to -- as occasionally I do, because not all books can be accessed via iBooks or Kindle (the iPad comes with a free Kindle app!  How cool is that???) -- it's just so dragggy!

Books on paper have to be held open!  Their pages shut if you aren't keeping them braced EVERY MINUTE!  You can lose your place in them!  With books on paper, if you don't know a reference, like what a "negus" is, or where Catalina Island is, and you don't happen to be right next to a computer or dictionary, why, you just have to STAY IGNORANT!

With the iPad?  You tap the page, and two seconds later, you're in a dictionary or on Wikipedia, or on the net, and you know!

Also!  You can take notes on the text, type them right in.  You can sort of do that with a paper book, but you have to write it in the margin, and maybe there is room and maybe there is not, and it's your awful handwriting, and if you change your mind about the note you can only erase so much.

Also!  All my books can go with me everywhere!  In one tiny little skinny folder.  

(Also -- and this is the dangerous part, I admit -- with the iPad, if you want a book?  You tap STORE, you look the book up, you tap BUY BOOK, and TWO SECONDS LATER, you have the book.)

Best Hanukkah present ever.

I'm reading on it, at present, London Labour and the London Poor, a couple of Terry Pratchett novels, a book of short stories by John Kessel, and another by Robin McKinley; I just finished reading Coal: a Human History, which I highly recommend.

Written by Barbara Freese, Coal travels through history, from the first use of coal, as jewelry, interestingly enough, to our modern era, when coal was instrumental in buying George W. his presidency, on through what effect coal is having in staving off any effective action against global climate change.  It's a relatively short book, packed with detail, and very readable.  Kept me up, engaged, more than one night until two or three in the morning.

Highly recommended, even for those who aren't, like me, in love with rocks.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Icy Weather Here

...is making me think of this poem by Auden, one of my favorites.

I love these two stanzas, even though Auden later cut them.

Time that is intolerant
Of the brave and the innocent,
And indifferent in a week
To a beautiful physique,

Worships language and forgives
Everyone by whom it lives;
Pardons cowardice, conceit,
Lays its honours at their feet.

Sometimes poets shouldn't be let near their own poems.

The Kid Writes a Guest Post

Here is the first blog appearance ever from kiddelagar:

Gender Constrictions in Our Society; or: My Fear of Public Bathrooms

As you may or may not know, I have very short hair. Coupled with my wearing comfortable clothes (i.e. Boys clothes since girls must be put in tight, itchy clothes) this makes for awkward situations in places with public bathrooms.

Essentially, I stand outside the two bathrooms, a scene replaying in my where I walk into the girls bathroom and there’s some one there and they say ‘This is the girls bathroom’ and I say ‘I am a girl, I just have short hair’ but they insist I’m a boy and then I have a psychological breakdown and murder them with a switchblade.

That last bit with switchblade and the breakdown didn’t actually happen. 

However the rest of it happened once, leading me to want to shop for ‘girly’ clothes.

This led to the Shopping Trip Of Awkward Doom.

It can be summarized as:

My Grandma: We need to find some clothes for her.

Shopping Assistant Lady: You mean him?

Grandma: No, her.

The rest consisted of me follow SA Lady around the girls clothing section, all the while getting strange looks. Eventually I found a purple sweater that I liked. 

But when I tried it on a few weeks later because we are going to see a movie, the neck was way to low-cut, and it was tight and itchy. 

So the Shopping Trip Of Awkward Doom was for nothing.

Perhaps in the future we will have unisex bathrooms. Until then I will have to get over my fear of public bathrooms. 

It's Not Rudolph, But...

This is MY kind of holiday movie!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Two-Fifths of Americans Think the World Is Made of Air

Every time I mention evolution in class -- which I don't do that often, but it does come up, usually when I'm teaching WLIT and we hit the 19th century -- I get students, like the students I mentioned in my previous post, who just shut down.

They know evolution is a lie.  

Now they haven't studied evolution, mind you.  It wasn't covered in their science classes, neither the home-schooled students and usually not the public school students either.  What was covered, if anything was, was *why* evolution was wrong, and how to explain to their lying liberal professors that evolution was wrong, and the mistakes Darwin made.  What they know for certain is that evolution can't be true, because if it is true, then the Bible is a lie.

And this, at the root of everything, is why they can't ever really believe anything their professors tell them.

They know we know evolution is real.  Since we know that, we must hate God.  Since we hate God, we're filled with the enemy (SATAN!!).  Since we're filled with Satan, ergo ipso fact QED, we're after their souls.

How are we to get them to learn algebra, then?  Or the best way to construct an essay?  Or what the Corn Laws have to do with Victorian literature?  Or why it matters that they read the actual novel and not just Sparks Notes?

Never mind why they should study what the text says about evolution.

Contrast that attitude with this story.

You'll see why I'm depressed.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Okay, That Explains A Lot...

...of raging paranoia and ignorance.

I had some suspicion about this, based on the reaction I get from my students when I teach the second half of WLIT at my rocky little university.  That's the semester we hit 18th and 19th century American texts, and I have to talk a bit of American history.  Certain homeschooled students always want to argue with me about what "really" happened in American History -- or, worse, they don't argue; they sit smirked, clearly having been warned by their parents that this would happen: that their socialist liberal professors would be feeding them these warped liberal lies about America.

Since I never am, you know -- since I'm always giving them the bare-bones straight-up version of what happened -- it's a lit class, I don't have time for interpretation, I barely have time for the facts -- this has always puzzled me.

But that's because I didn't know that this sort of crap was what they were being fed.

Having been fed a steady diet of propaganda and preaching, I suppose they don't know how to hear anything else.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's Martin...uh...Wednesday!

Yeah, I got occupied yesterday, dealing with that child, and didn't get to post this.

But Look!  Over at Crossed Genres, more Broken Slate!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I am grading and grading and grading.

This time of year, and again in the Spring (commencement-time), I get a bit sad.  

Students I have formed serious bonds with -- I'm not sure I can communicate how strong these bonds are: it's a bit like that between the parent and the child, a bit like that between really, really good friends, a bit like that between you and, oh, a singer, or song-writer you love more than light itself, only that singer visits your house twice a week and asks your for advice, and TAKES that advice --

And here's the bad news:  it's been two years, or maybe three?  And now they're moving on.

To graduate school.  To the Rhode Island School of Design.  To Yale Law.  To New York, to be actors.

Which, well, this is excellent.  I don't *want* them to stay in Fuck Smith and work as checkers as Wal-Mart.  Shit no!

But -- serious bonds?  Remember?

I remind myself -- every winter, every spring -- that new students will show up, that I will love them just as much as I loved these students.

Every year I wonder if I will ever believe that.

Do well, all y'all.

Don't come back.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Um, Well, Yeah, About That...

So my kid is visiting her grandparents, up the hill in FayetteNam.  

She was torn about this visit.  She wanted to see them; but on the other hand, it meant leaving The Kitty.  

(Last night The Kitty slept with me.  I woke several times with The Kitty walking on my face, or butting her head into me, going, insistently, ammrwworw! in The Kitty's own special way, which is to say, a curdling yowl that will peel skin off the inside of your ears.  Kitty is lonely without her girl.)

Anyway, she (the kid, not The Kitty) called last night, when she had been gone for approximately five hours, to explain how much she missed me and her daddy and The Kitty.  We also held a lengthy conversation about what each of us had been doing.  (Me: grading finals.  Her: Nothing.)

Toward the end of the conversation, her voice dropped to a whisper.  "Grandma says she's going to buy your book when it comes out in print."

"Well," I said, wondering about the whispering.  "That's good."

Pause.  Then, lower whispering, "Does she know its full of hot gay sex?"

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Overheard in the Local Harps Grocery Checkout Line

So, this was charming.

Guy: (Speaking to a young woman wearing a Hard Rock Cafe Munich teeshirt): So, you been to Germany?

Woman: Uh, I was born there.

Guy: (A slight considering pause.) You Jewish?

Woman: (Outraged.) No!

Guy: (Nods, as in, well, okay, then.)

(Random coversation about wonders of living in Germany ensues. Meanwhile dr. delagar is restraining herself. Though just now she cannot remember why.)

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


The Crossed Genres Y2 anthology is now available.

And -- why, yes! -- that's my story in the TOC.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Doing The Happy Dance!

I just heard from Strange Horizons -- they're taking one of my stories.

Oh yeah, I'm dancing!

(Happy dr. delagar busts a move.)

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Grammar in the Slammer

This one comes to you from one of my students.

Very slightly NSFW.  (Cartoon vulgarity!)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dead Tropes

So we are lying in bed, the kid and I, as we do on Sunday morning, not getting up, and the kid is ranting to me about her Sims adventures, as she is wont to do, and she is explaining how she can't get two of the characters married, due to some "glitch" I am not precisely following.

(I do not play Sims.)

Me: Can't they just live in sin?

The Kid:  Live in Sims?  They do live in Sims.  What--

Me:  No.  Live in sin.

The Kid: ---

Me:  Live in sin.  

The Kid:  What does that mean?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ah, Parenting!

Woke up this morning to the kid crying out in alarm because something was wrong with the kitten.

Turns up she was coughing up her first hairball.

It's these Kodak moments that make parenting so worth it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Jobs, jobs, jobs

There's a job in Bangor, Maine, and another in Dickinson, ND, which I am considering applying for.  The Dickinson job looks most attractive, being an actual Creative writing job; but I have always wanted to live in Maine.

Meanwhile, I have spent the day cleaning house, writing, making pies, mowing the lawn, and dealing with my 12 year old and her BFF.  It is 73 degrees and muggy here in Fuck Smith, and no marmalade is available that is not crap marmalade, filled with corn syrup.

I am going to make a rum mojito and sulk.

Tomorrow, y'all.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wow! Big News!

I got my first fan mail yesterday (from someone I didn't previously know, I mean.)

Like, rockin'!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


It's Opposite month at Crossed Genres.  

We want "stories in which two opposites butt heads. Or inexplicably work together perfectly. Or cancel each other out!"

What have you got?

Win a Free Nook

...or other eReader!

Contribute to The Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund via the Carl Brandon society.

See the rules here.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Kid's First Movie

It's called Hermit Crab.

It cracks me up.

It's Not the Economy, Stupid

Katha Pollit gives us another reason why our newly-elected Teabagger overlords are a serious problem. (Via LGM.)

Senator-elect Rand Paul and incoming Representatives Mike Fitzpatrick and Tim Walberg oppose most common methods of birth control, in vitro fertilization and stem cell research, and join Marco Rubio and Pat Toomey in opposing abortion even for rape or incest; Toomey supports jailing doctors who perform abortions.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Oh dear...

Once when I was a fledgling professor, years ago, still capable of being shocked -- this was so long ago the internet was still in its first years, and students didn't believe professors knew what it was -- I received an essay that was, word for word, a copy of an article from an online encyclopedia.

It took me about 20 minutes, even in those ancient days, with their ancient search engines, to find the article.  As was my standard practice, I printed a copy of the article, paperclipped it to the student's essay, and sent the student an email (we did have email in those days, oh my best beloved) saying I would like to see him in my office as soon as possible.

He arrived, all wide-eyed and innocent.  When I confronted him with the evidence, first he claimed that "it wasn't fair," because I had been "trying" to catch him.  (Apparently he thought of my acts as a sort of entrapment?) But then he claimed he was innocent because he had not thieved the essay off the internet.  

Oh, no.

See, he had not had time to do his assignment; so he asked his girlfriend to write the essay, and she had thieved the essay off the net; so really --

"Dude," I said, wincing.  "Son."

All of this, by way of saying, to the latest revelations concerning George W. Bush's "Memoirs" -- dude.  Son.

Nothing To See, Move Along...

November 12th and nearly 80 degrees here.

But we're just hysterical lie-brals and besides Al Gore is fat.

Monday, November 08, 2010

How Much Now?

I still, from time to time when I'm lurking RW blogs, hear about how Clinton's team "trashed" the White House and stole all the W's off the keyboards of the computers before they left the place for George W.'s occupation.

How much do you want to be this story, how Obama took a 200 million dollar a day vacation in India during our great depression, will become a similar lie repeated over and over by the Wingnuts?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Writing Work for Those Who Do Reviews

Bart Lieb of Crossed Genres needs you!

If you write genre book reviews, that is.

I’m looking for a few people who have experience writing reviews for genre fiction. This is for a new project that’s being developed. Review experience with short or long fiction is welcome.

It's for a new project he's at work on.  Go here for full details.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Martin Tuesday!

A new installment of Broken Slate is up at Crossed Genres.

Chapter Seven: one of my favorites, I don't mind saying.  The first appearance of Dallas Winston.

Monday, November 01, 2010

What's This?

The latest issue of Crossed Genres is out!

And not only is it the long-awaited Characters of color issue, not only is it a double issue -- twice the stories!--not only is there a can't-miss interview with Tobias Buckell -- but, oh, my: a new story from me.

Dangerous Terrain. Hot diggity.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Living in the Future

Me: (Snerk)

Kid: (Passing through the room): What?

Me: Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.  Did you see today's?

Kid:  Ah.  No.  I'm doing an Archive trawl, so I won't be reading current comics for awhile.

Me: ---- ---- ----

Kid:  (Kindly) : Is it about engineers?  He doesn't like engineers much, does he.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Amazing Essay

In reply to the horrifyingly depressing essay on the Apex blog the other day, here is Athena's essay, which I cannot even begin to encapsulate -- and so will not -- but I will say this:  it was worth being torqued over that "PC Parrots" crap, if it propelled Athena to write this.

One of my favorite bits, a teaser:

Our curiosity and inventiveness are endless and our enlarged frontal cortex allows dizzying permutations.  We shape the dark by dreaming it, in science as much as in art; at the same time, we constantly peer outside our portholes to see how close the constructs in our heads come to reflecting the real world.  Sometimes, our approximations are good enough to carry us along; sometimes, it becomes obvious we need to “dream other dreams, and better.”  In storytelling we imagine, remember, invent and reinvent, and each story is an echo-filled song faceted by the kaleidoscope of our context.  To confine ourselves to single notes is to condemn ourselves to prison, to sensory and mental deprivation.  Endless looping of a single tune is not pleasure but a recognized method of torture. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Um, nine times what now?

So as part of the great homeschooling, I am teaching the kid math.

Since she is better at math than I am, you can imagine.  But we are making progress, especially now that Heebie-Geebie and one of my homeschooling students have hooked me up with some books that actually make sense.  (Thanks, y'all!)

OTOH, as I discovered recently, the kid has not ever learned her times table.  Or "times facts" as they are apparently called now.  In fact, when I drew out a times table for her to fill in, she was mesmerized. 

"What is that?" she demanded.  

I showed her how it worked, filling in a few of the squares.

She yanked the table from under my hands.  "Look," she said, filling in more.  "Look!  It's all patterns!"

"Uh," I said.  "Yeah.  That's the cool part.  But--"

"Look!  Diagonals!"

She sees patterns in numbers where I see nothing at all.  "Okay, but--"

"And look what the nines do!"

"But you still have to memorize them!"

"Oh, Ma.  You're no fun."

Where's Fall?

It's almost November and we're still hitting the 80's or mid-seventies every day here.

I had to put on the AC this week.  

Come on, Winter.  

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Patriarchy? What Patriarchy?

Men are just better workers, that's all!

I occasionally talk about feminism in my classes; and generally my students (my male students nearly invariably, and nearly always also my female students) aren't interested.

Male students shut down, turn off, or respond with contempt. Female students will occasionally argue with me. "Of course women are equal, but someone has to be in charge, and God said it should be men, so--" "Well, maybe women just aren't interested in those jobs!" "Women don't either make less money than men!"

And hardly ever do they want to call themselves feminists. Feminists are evil.

Sometimes I will point out that they are only in that classroom at all because feminists put them there. That gets me blank stares. Whatever can I mean?

Even after I explain, they shrug it off. Well, that was years ago (yeah, right). Now they have equality. Why should they care about feminism now?

Why should they?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More Martin!

Gack!  I forgot it was Martin Tuesday!

(Go here to start at the beginning.)

Parenting Nightmare

The kid keeps singing this song to me.

I may have to kill her.

Oh dear...

Christine O'Donnell is an easy target, I know.  But, really?

Coons said private and parochial schools are free to teach creationism but that "religious doctrine doesn't belong in our public schools."

"Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?" O'Donnell asked him.

When Coons responded that the First Amendment bars Congress from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, O'Donnell asked: "You're telling me that's in the First Amendment?"

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fred at Slacktivist

Fred at Slacktivist is why I haven't quite given up on Christians yet.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


What is with these short unbelievably dull posts lately?

I've been booked solid, that's what.

(1) Midterms.  Which I am almost on the other side of, but still.  Only one class, my English Grammar class, had an actual midterm, but the other three classes, two of them First Year Composition classes and the other, Fiction Workshop, both require heaps of time, especially Fiction Workshop.  I love Fiction Workshop.  I do keep giving them assignments, however, which means I have to read and comment on those assignments and get them back again, and eighteen students are in the workshop (For those of you who have not taught a fiction workshop, this is Too Many.  The class was capped at 15, and THAT was too many -- it ought to have been 12, probably -- and I foolishly let three extra into the class because I knew them and they were wonderfully talented students and oh well how much extra work could it be, HA!)

(2) Crossed Genres. We're doing a double issue this month.  Wonderful stories, so I'm deeply enjoying the editing work, but still it's a heavy load.

(3) Broken Slate.  Editing chapters as they come in.

(4) Writing/Revising In The North Country, the sequel to Broken Slate, to get it ready to send out to agents/publishers.

(5) Sending out short stories/writing short stories.

(6) The APA convention this past weekend.  Which I may blog about yet.  I gave a paper ("RaceFail, or Whose Future is this?: People of Color, Science Fiction, and Cultural Appropriation in the 21st Century") and coincidentally the keynote speaker gave a speech all about how English professors and English departments focusing on issues of race, class, and gender were PRECISELY what was destroy not JUST English departments but Western Civilization, nay, Civilization in toto!

I think he actually slid into Latin at several points, the better to make his point to the great unwashed among his audience.  (His pronunciation, I noted, was high church.)  He had a degree from Princeton.  He taught Chaucer and other medieval works, not (as he noted) comic books.  (Btw, I am teaching Chaucer in the spring, so I've got nothing against teaching Chaucer, per se.  In fact, during a recent faculty meeting at our university, I became quite violent in the defense of keeping both Chaucer and Shakespeare as required classes in our curriculum.)  

"The Lolitas," he said, "have become our focus these days, not Lolita."  This was after his remarks about how students these days are not as educated as "high school girls" were in the 1890s.  

Ah, dear. Ah, me.  

In any case, besides the fulminating I had to do to get over that brief episode, the APA took up a great deal of my time.

(7) The continuing home-schooling of the 12 year old.  Man, this is a ton of work.  Maybe we should send her to a boarding school after all.

(8) Kitten!  Why didn't y'all tell me a kitten was so much fun?  All this time I should be working, I'm lying on the floor playing with the kitten.  We play get the kleenex, we play chase the cork on the string, we play where's the catnip mouse, when I'm trying to grade midterms, we play sit on the test and look innocent.  I love the kitty!

(9) Laundry, dishes, vacuuming, putting books away, etc...oh, well, actually none of these get done.

(10) So that is why none to light blogging lately.  But possibly more soon!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

President Does Not Have Unlimited Right to Kill You

Um, Yay ACLU?

As with other Leftist around the 'sphere, I'll mention I'm glad that the ACLU is arguing this case, and at the same time I'll say that, wow: we're really arguing about this one?

Or I would say that, I guess, if I hadn't gone through the past decade, in which I got to watch my fine fellow citizens argue with apparent sincerity that torture was just nifty if we had a good reason to torture, or if we were torturing someone who wasn't an American citizen, or if it was battlefield torture, or if it wasn't "really" torture (I never did parse that one out); where I got told it was fine to attack a country that had not attacked us because "they did it first," or else because attacking the terrorist over there was better than them attacking us here, or because otherwise it showed we hated America; or where slaughtering thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people in the Middle East in order to show that we're tough on terrorism (or something -- if anyone can figure out what that fucking war was or is over, please, please, let me know) is a good and serious and necessary act by a righteous and virtuous and moral country, but building a civic center in NY City is wicked and evil, an act of depravity; or where trying to provide health care for your fellow citizens shows you're the anti-Christ, or maybe Hitler/Stalin in stealth-armor, but robbing senior citizens of their pennies via a gold-marketing scam, why, that makes you a fine upstanding Xtian!


Thursday, October 07, 2010

The New Anthology is Here!

Those of you who have been dying to see me in print, here's your chance!

Crossed Genres has announced the selections for the Year Two anthology, and my story, "Lunch Money," is one of the stories.  (Yay me!)  Other cool stories include fiction by Cat Rambo and Polenth Blake.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Saturday, October 02, 2010

New Issue

New stories up at Crossed Genres.

Go read!

Also: If you're a science writer?  See this!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Yo! Coolness!

It's a class M Planet!

And one vampires would like, too.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Take the Quiz!

Take Pew's religious knowledge quiz!

(I got a 100%.  I love how atheists, btw, are very nearly the highest scoring group!)

(Update: Former link did not work for some people, so I've linked to another page.  Scroll down a bit to find the link.

Or try here.)

Sunday, September 26, 2010


...a poem!


 Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
If I could just get my hands on you,
Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O'Brien,
they seem to say,
I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.

Other comments are more offhand, dismissive -
"Nonsense." "Please!" "HA!!" -
that kind of thing.
I remember once looking up from my reading,
my thumb as a bookmark,
trying to imagine what the person must look like
why wrote "Don't be a ninny"
alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson.

Students are more modest
needing to leave only their splayed footprints
along the shore of the page.
One scrawls "Metaphor" next to a stanza of Eliot's.
Another notes the presence of "Irony"
fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal.

Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers,
Hands cupped around their mouths.
"Absolutely," they shout
to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin.
"Yes." "Bull's-eye." "My man!"
Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points
rain down along the sidelines.

And if you have managed to graduate from college
without ever having written "Man vs. Nature"
in a margin, perhaps now
is the time to take one step forward.

We have all seized the white perimeter as our own
and reached for a pen if only to show
we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages;
we pressed a thought into the wayside,
planted an impression along the verge.

Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria
jotted along the borders of the Gospels
brief asides about the pains of copying,
a bird signing near their window,
or the sunlight that illuminated their page-
anonymous men catching a ride into the future
on a vessel more lasting than themselves.

And you have not read Joshua Reynolds,
they say, until you have read him
enwreathed with Blake's furious scribbling.

Yet the one I think of most often,
the one that dangles from me like a locket,
was written in the copy of Catcher in The Rye
I borrowed from the local library one slow, hot summer.
I was just beginning high school then,
reading books on a davenport in my parents' living room,
and I cannot tell you
how vastly my loneliness was deepened,
how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed,
when I found on one page

A few greasy looking smears
and next to them, written in soft pencil-
by a beautiful girl, I could tell,
whom I would never meet-
"Pardon the egg salad stains, but I'm in love." 

Billy Collins 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Grrf. What now?

Jon Stewart.

People still are voting for the GOP, esp. in Arkansas.  But I gotta ask -- why?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Teach the Controversy: Obama: a Cactus?

I have to say, Mitch makes an excellent point for once.

"If the president says he is a human being, I'll take him at his word," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday on Meet the Press. "Though I've never heard him complain about being thirsty. Not once. That could be a coincidence, I suppose, but it's really not my place to say."

New Broken Slate Action!

Chapter Three of Broken Slate is up.

Go read! You know you want to!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Here, on Strange Horizons,


Saturday, September 18, 2010


If I'd known how charming kittens were, I would have caved into the kid's wheedling long ago.

This thing is seriously cute.  Mind you, we're all covered with tiny scratches, from where it has pounced upon us a bit too enthusiastically when it's showing us its Jasper The Mighty Hunter skillz; but none of us actually mind.

Today, when Herr Dr. Delagar and I returned from Harps, I called the Kid in to the kitchen.

The Kid: What?

Me: Look! (I showed her the new cat toy I'd bought, a little felt ball with a tail.)

The Kid: (Rolling eyes):  Every time you go out you come home with a toy for Jasper!

Me:  Yes, well.  He's my grandkitten.  Just wait until you have an actual child.

The Kid:  She.  She.  SHE is your grandkitten.

Me:  Sorry.  You should have given her a more girly name.

The Kid:  Don't be so heteronormative, Ma.

Me:  Are you going to bring the kitty out to play with the new toy or what?

Friday, September 17, 2010


Kit Whitfield (you'll remember she wrote the excellent werewolf novel Benighted) has put out a new edition!

He's adorable.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wal-Mart, Target, Oh My

Here in Arkansas big signs festoon our world, explaining how Wal-Mart saves money for American families.

Some signs explain just how much money Wal-Mart saves American families -- this many dollars a year, or this many dollars per family since 1965, or this many total million dollars for the American family, blah blah blah.

These signs make me want to throw rocks, given that I have students who work at Wal-Mart, like the student in my office yesterday, or the one last year.  Wal-Mart signs them on, works them, usually, 30-35 hours a week -- refusing to work around their school hours (the one last night was telling me how she could not make it to our night class, despite the fact that she was not supposed to have to work nights, because her supervisor wanted her to stay late to do inventory.   "I'm getting paid for the extra hours, but..."  "Did you tell her you had class?"  "Yes, but she says I either stay or I quit.") or students who are worked at physically destructive jobs until their bodies are wrecked and then fired when they can't do the job anymore, told they "can't" file workman's comp -- of course they don't have health insurance, they can't afford it on Wal-Mart wages -- and set adrift. 

Not to mention this, which is even worse in my mind.  Wal-Mart might be selling us cheaper - slightly cheaper -- milk and blue jeans, though frankly their blue jeans are crap; but they are doing it by destroying the country.  They're wrecking the infrastructure.  What good are cheap jeans when no one has a job, when all the chickens are raised by farms like Tyson farms, when everyone's wages are so low that the government (that would be, in fact, you and me, folks) has to step in to provide supplemental health insurance and food stamps and housing?

You realize, in fact, that you and I, in the form of taxes, are making it possible for Wal-Mart to pay those low wages?  That, in fact, our taxes are a kind of grant to the Wal-Mart heirs?  Talk about socialism!

I used to shop at Target, so that I could avoid giving any money to the Wall...but now!  Now Target has started giving its money to Anti-Gay candidates.  So how can I keep giving my money to them?

So now where can I shop?

It's not like Pork Smith has any independent stores left, thanks to the Wal.  

I guess I shop online.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


We have achieved kitten!

Her name is Jasper.

Sadly, I do not know how to post pictures (:<) but this image, stolen from google.images, is very close to Our Jasper.

The kid says I should tell you that Jasper is so cute!  And smart!  And cleaner than any dog we have ever had!  

As for me, I have to tell I have never seen anything make the kid happier than getting a kitten has.  She's like a kid on crack cocaine.  

Kittens = crack cocaine for 12 year old girls.  Who knew?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Other News

Thanks to relentless pleading from the kid, some of it in Latin (she knows my weak spots), we are getting a kitten.

A tiny, six-weeks old ginger kitten.

I am not entirely thrilled by this news.  I have always been a dog person.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Bad Portents

I've been laid low by some nasty virus, or perhaps it's a bacteria, who knows.  Vomiting and fever, malaise and exhaustion.  This bodes not well for the New Year.  (Happy New Year, btw, for all those who were well enough to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. I staggered up from bed long enough to stare sadly at the chicken and matzo ball soup, apples and honey, challah, and kugel Herr Dr. Delagar had put together.  Then I staggered back to bed.)

Today I was well enough to do a little work in the afternoon.

Maybe tomorrow I will feel like living again.

It could happen.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Monday, September 06, 2010

Living In the Future

My 12-year-old, when she wants to mime someone writing, holds her right hand up my her head, more or less level with her mouth, and wiggles her fingers rapidly, as if typing on a keyboard.

Often she does this when she wants to mimic someone talking, too -- as in, "And she's like, No! You cans not have that pairing!  It is not CANON!" fingers rattling away up by her head all the while.

I suppose because so many of her conversations take place linked up.

These kids today!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

And While I'm Whining...

...my new doctor has told me I should quit drinking for awhile.

Some "slightly off" numbers with my last blood test.

So I've been cut off for the past month, and two more weeks to go yet.  No rum!  Six weeks!

It's barbaric.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Time for Whining

It's a little early in the semester for it, but okay.  It's whiny pants day early at the delagar house.

I've got all great classes this semester.  Those of you who teach will know what I mean -- generally there is at least one class on your work load that drags or is clunky, usually the one just before or after lunch, or the early morning class, or some class like that.  Your other classes will be great; this class will be sullen and moody, low-energy, set like wet cats against you.  Every day you walk into the room, there they sit, glowering and sulky: Go ahead.  Teach me something.  I dare you.

Well, this semester all my classes love me and want to learn.  Yay!

And we are learning things!  I've got two sections of freshman comp, one of English grammar (I love teaching grammar), and a Thursday night Fiction Workshop that is packed full and cooking with gas.  I'm giving them truly vicious assignments & getting great work out of them.

So that's all good.

OTOH:  WTF!  Have the public schools just quit teaching reality?  Just quit teaching?  What?

No one in either of my freshmen English classes (ages ranging from about 16 to about 28) had read anything by William Faulkner.  Most of them didn't know who he was.  "I thought you meant that Faulkner guy on TV," one of them said.  (Who?  Apparently I am missing some hot new TV show.)

No one knew who Jesse James was.

No one was really sure what a liberal was, or a conservative.  (No, I'm not kidding.)

I am told, however, that "most," that is, "almost all," of the Founding Fathers were ministers.  Apparently this is something that is being taught in at least one or two of the local schools.  I hope it is not being taught in the public schools, but it wouldn't shock me.  As we know, the religious right just makes shit up these days.

"You know that's not true, right?" I said, about the Founding Fathers, a little winded.  (This wasn't actually in class, this was with a student after class.)

He looked stubborn.  "My history teacher says it is."

I told him he should do some research.  "Remember what I told you.  Authority is fine, but check his sources."

I feel like I'm turning into one of those get-off-my-lawn geezers.  But surely the education systems wasn't always this bad?

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

New Stories

It's new issue day at Crossed Genres!  Check it out.

And, while I'm posting, our next month's genre is one I'm revved up about: Characters of Color -- science fiction stories with characters of color as main characters.  It's also a double issue, so we'll be taking ten stories instead of five.  You have until September 30. Submit!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Broken Slate

...my novel, begins!

Or here!

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

Why, it's my novel!  About to start running at Crossed Genres!  Any moment here!

Stayed tuned for further details!

Monday, August 23, 2010


Glenn Beck is about to find out what it means to live in that America he's been trying so hard to build.

Big shock: It's not just Muslims, Jews, Atheists, Liberals, Gays, Democrats, Mexicans, and Feminists they hate, Glenn.

It's Mormons, too!

Guess you missed that bit of the Klan rally, huh?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Terror Bird!

As part of her home-schooling, I'm making the kid do a research project on biospheres.  (Science in my Fiction, among other sites, was extremely useful for this project!) We linked it with her creative writing project, which was to create five possible alien life-forms, and to describe, as if she were a xenobiologist, their habitats, ways of making a living, childcare arrangements, governing rituals, etc.

Anyway, one of her invented lifeforms, the kerata, had evolved from birds, and, alors! looked sort of like these giant terror birds I found at i09 this morning.

She was very pleased.

Although, sadly, it doesn't look like these prehistoric terror birds were intelligent.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Charming, charming, charming...

I've been reading about the Haitian Revolution lately.  It's mighty depressing, as most things historical tend to be.

Here, as an example: From the Code Noir: 

We desire that if a male slave has married a free woman, their children, either male or female, shall be free as is their mother, regardless of their father's condition of slavery. And if the father is free and the mother a slave, the children shall also be slaves. . . .

Please, someone, cheer me up.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Being The Kid's Literature Teacher

Well, it's interesting, that's all.

I started out with a nice simple book, The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman.  She read it -- not to my surprise, she loved it -- we discussed it, with me luring out the main metaphors and themes -- she wrote a paper, she did a presentation.  

Now we're reading The Hunger Games, by Susan Collins.  Why did I choose this text?  Obviously I was INSANE.

I had read it myself, over the summer, both it and its sequel, Catching Fire, and I knew it was an engrossing book, right up the kid's alley so far plot and such.  She'll love this, I thought.

And man, does she.

But OTOH -- wails of grief, demands that I come comfort her when something wretched is happening to the characters (but I can't tell her that things are going to get better -- "No!  Ma!  No SPOILERS!"), sobbing fits when something awful has happened.

If you're thinking of giving this book to your sensitive twelve year old?  Maybe not.

That Obama, He Hates The Little Guys...

This sort of thing has been happening  here in Arkansas too.

I had a student during one of my summer sessions bring me her TAA form to sign, and say, shaking her head, "I don't know why I'm bothering, though.  The folks down at the Unemployment Office told me Obama's cutting off my unemployment benefits."

I held back my pen briefly to give her a long look, because, you will remember I am certain, this was right during that period when it was the Republicans who were refusing to vote to extend unemployment benefits.  "Obama," I said.  "Really.  You do know it's the Republicans who are refusing to vote to extend your benefits?"

She smirked and shook her head.  "No, it's Obama.  That's what they're telling me down there."

"I can send you some links," I said, "or you can read the paper.  It's actually your Republican Congress and Senators.  They're voting against the extensions."

"Well, Obama's the man in charge, isn't he?"

Review of Arnason

Look here, my review of Eleanor Arnason's new work is up at Strange Horizon.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I'm drinking coffee and trying to wake up.

Wait...this should be a facebook post.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Rand Paul, Ayn Rand, Now What Now?

Every so often I get a student who read Atlas Shrugged when he (somehow it nearly always is a male student) was fifteen or sixteen.

He's nearly always an otherwise bright student, a kid I want to like, and try hard to teach.  But his critical acumen has been blunted -- well, destroyed -- by his encounter with this philosophy.  I supposed we can call it a philosophy?  With this crack-pipe of a book.  

In any case, I sometimes try, mildly, to point out the errors of the Randian position (If a fast food company poisoned its customers, who would eat at that restaurant?  If Wal-Mart treats its workers unfairly, surely they would all quit?  If people are injured at the steel mill due to its unsafe working conditions, why, they can always sue!  In civil court, of course.  Or, I suppose, their survivors can...and if enough people sue...and their lawyers are better than the steel mill's lawyers...and the steel mill has not happened to have bought the judge, being vastly richer than the mill worker who is making two dollars a day, why then...) --- it's like arguing with a Pentecostal, though.  Nowadays I mainly smile and say, Ah, Rand.  And move on.

Here, though, at the Washington Monthly, they're still fighting the good fight.  Which pleases me.  Someone needs to.

As Paul envisions the system working, just so long as everyone honors the free market above all, "no one will apply for those jobs" if a mine's operators don't do a good job protecting worker safety.

Tony Oppegard, a Kentucky attorney and mine-safety advocate, called Paul's statement "idiotic." He added that underground mines are already offer dangerous working conditions, and if Paul successfully eliminated safety mandates, "there would be a bloodbath," he said.

As for the notion that coal-mine workers would just get jobs somewhere else if they weren't satisfied with the safety precautions, Oppegard concluded, "There's no other job opportunities."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

It's The Money That Matters

I've been reading The Black Jacobins, by C.L.R. James, over the past week, a fine socialist history of the Haitian slave rebellion; among other interesting details, he gives a reading of the British abolitionist movement which makes much more sense than any other I have every heard put forth before, which is that it is spurred not (or not entirely) by Xtian charity (which always struck me as odd, b/c where had all that Xtian charity been for the past several hundred years?) but by flat economics.  

James points out that, having lost their American colonies to the American Revolution, Britain is no longer getting rich (or as rich) from the Americas.  They still have a few islands; but whereas they used to be able to market slaves by the thousands in the Americas, and get cotton, sugar, and rum in exchange, now they have to pay steep tariffs for the the same privilege, and the U.S. is getting most of the profit.

Meanwhile:  they have colonies in India that are capable of growing cotton and sugar, and they do not require slaves to do so.  Indian workers will work, says James, for pennies a day, and don't have to be enslaved to do so.  Voila!  Ending slavery begins to seem like a fine idea, particularly if England can cause trouble to America and France (now embroiled in its own Revolution and at war with England) by doing so.

My point, and I do have one:

Why this sudden desire for immigration reform, when our immigration troubles are actually in decline, and have been for years?

Well, as always:  check the money.  Who profits?

With conservative politicians, even more than most politicians, you can tell they're lying when their lips are moving.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

My President

Well, yeah.

I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are. The writ of our Founders must endure.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Don't Be So Touchy

Dr. Laura Schlessinger tells Black Woman.

B/c when you're a rich white Republican woman you know The Rules, including who is allowed to use what language with whom.

I think what irks me about this most is that everything Dr. White Woman lectures her caller about is exactly the problem with her slice of our country -- they're convinced people, especially black people, voted for Obama only because he was black (yet clearly none of them voted for Bush or Reagan or were going to vote for Palin simply because they were white, oh no); they claim to see no difference between language being used by people in power and people who are disempowered, yet they would be the first to get all pissy if someone spoke disrespectfully to a judge or a police officer or a teacher, or, fuck knows, to them (note how Dr. Schlessinger jumps all over the caller for interrupting her); and they pull that "no sense of humor" like a fucking knife.

Yeah.  Because it's funny when people continually attack your race or your sex or your disempowerment.  I know it always cracks me up.

More on the good doctor, if you can take it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It's Just the Taxes They Don't Like...

...Brown people are fine.

Study shows that Tea Baggers are twice as racist as your general Republican, which, wow.

(Amanda at Pandagon has started calling them Tea Crackers, which kinda cracks me up, I gotta say.)

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Home Schooling

Well, I might as well break the news to you.  You're my friends! You won't think I'm a loon!

We're home-schooling the kid this year.  But not for religious reasons!

Well.  Kind of for religious reasons.  A tiny bit.  It's rough being an atheist Jew in the Bible belt, especially when you're only twelve.  She was getting a little weary of constantly having to defend not just herself, but Charles Darwin, James Hutton, and the entire spectrum of Enlightenment Thinkers, throughout not just science class, but literature, geography, history, and music class as well, not to mention recess.

Also, she was bored numb.  It was a good school, but it's a school.  Even at a Montessori school, it develops, there's a lot of you-have-to-do-this-because-the-class-has-to, or -because-the-curriculum-says-you-have-to, rather than because it's actually necessary.

Well, the kid is like HDD and me.  If she's not interested in the work, she won't do the work.  We met with the head of the school several times, since at Montessori the deal is, if the kid's not interested, the curriculum is supposed to shift toward the kid; but we couldn't get the school to shift, or at least not enough.  The kid started to feel like a loser, started hating school, started begging to stay home every day.

So now we're going to teach her. We know nearly everything she needs to know at this age.  (Pre-algebra and biology look a little scary, I admit.)  We filed the papers last week, and actually started teaching her in July.  She's studying Latin, World History, World Geography, Writing (creative and comp I), Literature, Biology, music, Aikido, and Art.

We're not teaching the last two -- Aikido she has at the dojo, and a friend of ours is giving her private lessons twice a week with the art.

Year-round schooling.  That's my favorite part so far.  No more spending her entire summer playing Sims.

Sadly, Yes

Don't I wish I'd never heard crap like this before:

[T]hey said on the back of your Social Security card, there's a number. That number indicates the bank that bought you when you were born based on a projection of your life's earnings' -- I'm gonna try and not laugh here -- 'and you are collateral. We are all collateral for the banks. I have this look like, 'What the heck are you talking about?' I'm trying to hide that look and look clueless. I figured clueless was better than argumentative. So they said, 'You don't know this?! You are a member of Congress, and you don't know this?!'"

Frequently I'll get some student who wants to write on a topic nearly as, ah, interesting as this one.  Luckily, I'm also teaching the art of evaluating sources and the necessity of citing sources, so I can put on my serious face and say, well, you can certainly choose that topic if you like, but bear in mind...

Sadly, however, most people in this country are not being made to investigate or evaluate their sources.  Which totally explains the Tea Party.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Back to the Dark Ages




Who needs all that, as long as the richest .o1% can continue to get even fucking richer?

It's the American way!

Who Asked For This Weather?

It's been over a 100 here for nearly a week straight, with several days where we hit the 103-105 range. According to the weather guy, all next week is more of the same.

You know who I blame.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

My Students Show Me Things!

I bet all y'all knew about this already.

We're living in the future!

Sunday, August 01, 2010


I suppose I can see why social services decided they needed to investigate in this case -- an infant born to two blind parents; maybe I can sort of see that, if I squint and hold my lens at the right angle -- but the way this was handled was just wrong.

Because, you know, investigating is one thing. Yanking custody and refusing to allow the parents to see their newborn for more than a few hours a day a few times a week -- and then only under supervision -- because they're disabled?

Because disabled is what? A crime?
(Edited because, ah! Typos! I should not blog late at night.)


New issue of Crossed Genres is up.  Invasion month!  We've got Cat Rambo this issue, among other great writers.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Oh Noes! Bitches!

I don't know if you've heard about the latest Right-Wing Hissy Fit, but Amanda at Pandagon has an excellent analysis (and the comments are instructive too):  seems Obama appeared on the View.

Well, now, of course through the lens of the RW that is Evil, since anything Obama does is Evil is you are in their camp.

But why it is evil, that is what may flummox you, though only until you think it over.

It's evil not just because he's on a talk show, and that talk show is run by (ick) girls; but also, oh, also, because he could have gone to speak the Boy Scouts instead.

Well, see, that's just wrong.  Pick speaking to adult women over talking to male children?

Tsk.  Where are his priorities?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Uneasiness With Right-Wing Writers

The kid has been re-reading Jack London again.

Specifically, Call of the Wild and White Fang.

Call of the Wild has been one of her favorites since she stumbled upon it in her school library when she was six; White Fang she scarfed up a few years later.  Just a year ago, she located a fat book at the public library which had, along with Call of the Wild, about fifteen short stories by Jack London.

Well, you know, I'm not opposed to this, exactly.  I mean, it's not like she's reading Atlas Shrugged, is it?  Or Orson Scott Card?  How much harm can a little violence porn/Social Darwinism actually do?  I read them when I was a kid and I'm (mostly) okay...

When she was six I said nothing.

When she was ten, she had to do a report on an author for school.  She had been re-reading Call of Wild at that point too, and beginning to notice London wasn't exactly accurate on wolf or dog behavior.  WTF, she asked, though not exactly in that language.  I explained a bit about what London was up to.  I explained a bit about Social Darwinism.  Racism, I said.  Politics of the time he lived in, I explained.  Eugenics movement, I explained.  Not the brightest man who ever walked the earth, I explained, although clearly....

Moo, she said, which has evolved to be our code word for when she has had enough of this particular lecture, Professor Mama, please.

So when it came time to do a report on some author, I ever so casually suggested, hey, why not do Jack London?  Then I fiendishly found a couple of excellent (leftist, or as leftist as were available in Pork Smith, Arkansas) kid's biographies for her.

Then I did my best to drop hints while she was writing the report: "Did you read this part in the book?" I would ask.  "Did you see this section?  What do you think this means?"

So she's reading the books and stories again.  And she's asking me questions.  

One of the questions she's asked twice now:  "Is it okay for me to read Jack London even though he believes racist things?  Even though he's writing about eugenics and Social Darwinism?"

"Yeah," I tell her.  "Yeah, you can read him.  You should read him, in fact.  You need to know what he's saying.  But you shouldn't forget what he's trying to do to you.  And you shouldn't forget he's wrong."

After a moment, she says, "He's wrong about wolves.  That part really bothers me.  Wolves don't act that way."

"Well, what does that tell you?  If he'll misrepresent those facts, what does that mean?"

"Maybe he thought that was how wolves acted.  Maybe they didn't know any better back then."

"Maybe.  He misrepresents how dogs act too, though, you said.  Right?"

She frowns.

"Which he's doing to make his points about Social Darwinism and Eugenics and which race is superior and how breeding between the races is doomed.  He's ignoring facts to score his points," I said.  "That's what it should tell you.  So, well.  You can read the books because they're fun.  Just don't forget they're also lies."

Which, well, that's the harm of all porn, I guess: it's based on lies, in order to promulgate some whacked theory, some alternate reality its creator wants to exist.  And if he can get enough people to believe it with him -- as the Social Darwinist/Eugenics people did for awhile, as these Teabaggers are doing now -- well, you've got trouble.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Thanks, Heebie.

will make my 12-year-old very happy.

Accidental Penis.

Winners in the SIMF Contest Are Up!

The winners in the Crossed Genres Science In My Fiction short story contest have been posted.

Go here to see the results.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

More Fun With Teabaggers

I've got three or four of these people in my, ah, I guess you'd call it social circle.

And, you know, they're "not racist."  They just care about teh country!


I don't argue anymore.  Way back like a year ago when this Teabagger shit started, I could give them some space to learn.  I could think maybe they were just naive, Fox-News watching toolkits who didn't know better.

But at this point?  If you're still subscribing to this filth and you still have a Sarah Palin sticker on your SUV or in your heart?

You're a hater and a racist.  Give it up.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Woke up at two this morning to find the entire kitchen and living room flooded.  Herr Dr. Delgar decided it was the AC leaking & shut it off (to be fair, we have had AC leaks before, though not quite to this extent) and I mopped up and we went back to bed.

Woke again at seven to find the entire kitchen and living room flooded once again.  And the garage.  And the street.  Argh.  Further investigation determined it was the pipe to the hot water heater (very near the AC in the layout of our house, designed by a fucking moron) that had the leak.

I am attempting to mop up once more, instead of working on my new short story, while HDD and the plumber discuss What Is To Be Done.

But at least teh AC is not busted.  I cannot tell you how pleased I am about that.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fun With Geography

This game is occupying me while I drink rum at night, even though mostly it is proving to me that I am a geographical idiot.

(Scroll down).

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mel's Racist, Misogynistic Rant

I'm probably the last person to hear this, but yikes.

I'm not so much surprised by what he says, given what everyone except the Right-Wing Xtians already knew about Saint Mel, as I'm appalled by the comments being made on the page defending him, which are basically to the tune of bitch set him up, bitch had it coming, bitch is a money-grubber.  Yeah, you know what I blame.

WTF Sparkly What Now?

Amanda over at Pandagon has found a clue as to why the Twilight series has captivated so many!

I think she’s on to something here---feminists look at the patriarchy that Twilight serves up and we wrinkle our noses in disdain.  But it’s still absolutely a more fun and exciting form of patriarchy than the one where you don’t have awesome sex and have to cook all the time, and there’s never any exciting adventures at all.  Being the passive victim of exciting adventures is better than being the passive victim of your boring ass ordinary life. 

Hmm!  I think she might be onto something.

Read the whole thing, as they say.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Just Getting The Rules Clear

Apparently it is okay in America to shoot people, even unarmed people, even restrained people, in the back if

  • you are a police officer
  • you are scared of those people
  • you only meant to taze them*
  • they don't give you instant obedience
  • they do give you instant obedience but the situation makes you tense
  • it's a big crowd around
  • they are black people

*Can we please get rid of tasers now?  How much more abuse do we have to wait for?

Sunday, July 04, 2010

No Jobs

This article details exactly what's happening everywhere around me.  

I know so many people caught in this wrecked economy (not just me and Herr Dr. Delagar, in other words--although, yes, us:  he hasn't had a full-time work in over three years).

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Hey! Look!

My story, "Drafting Zoe", is up at The Future Fire.

Light Blogging Lately

I know!  But:

(1) My world is smashed full.  It is finals for Summer I, so I have been grading & grading; and Summer II starts on the 6th, so I have to prep for that.  (I'm teaching a full load both sessions, b/c we are even more broke than ever, as, I realize, so is everyone else in the country, except the rich motherfucker who broke the country.  They are richer than ever.  Don't get me started.  Where's my damn pitchfork?)  Besides teaching, I am at work on writing because

(2) It is nearly time for Broken Slate to begin running at Crossed Genres, so I have been working with my editor, Kay Holt, oh how I love this sentence, on the final revisions of that novel, smacking it into shape for publication; and

(3) two more book review for Strange Horizons; and

(4) I think six separate short stories currently getting revised; and

(5) an English grammar class I'm teaching in the fall I need to start prepping for; and

(6) we're going to homeschool the kid this year, so we're learning how to do that; and

(7) I think that's it, except the massive depression that overwhelms me all the time these days, due to the destruction of my beloved country and planet by these horrible people.  Who surround us.  And won't shut up.  I don't know what to do about that.  Drinking more rum is not, so far, really helping much.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Oh Boy!

Winners are posted for the Crossed Genre Flash Fiction contest.

Watch This!

AWB posted it on her facebook.

I loves it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

In Russia, The Joke Laughs At You

I think this bit of racist crap Joel Stein published in Time is supposed to be funny.

Sadly, I am a humorless socialist who can't get the funny.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Oil Spill

I have not been blogging much about the Deepwater spill.  Too depressing.  Also, what is there to say?  We are fucked, and no one is doing much to fix it.  No one seems to know how to fix it, from what I can see.  And BP?  Well, BP seems to think if they can just keep the spin managed, like by shutting their executives up (by sending them to yacht races, I guess), for instance, or stopping the press from seeing just how bad the situation is, well, then the situation won't actually be that bad.

What sucks is that even with an administration that's supposed to be pro-environment, very little is being done.  I know, I know:  Obama:  Get Disappointed by Someone New.

Also:  What Fred says here (Scroll down -- not what he says about McChrystal, though, yeah, that too-- what he says about BP/drilling.)

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Rain, finally.  Maybe it will cool down some now?  Please?

Meanwhile my kid is gone to visit her grandparents and I am having separation anxiety.  I wander the abnormally silent house (abnormally clean house, too) wondering what to do with myself.  I probably ought to write something.  Maybe I will drink a nice rum mojito instead.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


We've got thunder...please bring the rain!


A new book review by moi at Strange Horizons!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

If There's a Weather God...

It's been a 100 degrees or over here all week.  Tonight the storms are supposed to hit (and by my migraine I believe it) and starting tomorrow the heat will break -- this is what the weather page says.

I wish there was a Weather God I could sacrifice something to.  (Yes, we are reading American Gods in my Mythology class.  Why do you ask?)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Oh, Yeah, Except...

...I promise Tony Hayward is not being sent to the benches without pay.

When you fuck up like this--destroying the entire Gulf of Mexico--it's not like fucking up as a bagboy at Wal-Mart or an adjunct at a university.  We had an adjunct who screwed up a few years ago, up the hill.  Had a crisis in his family, told his students just to take the rest of the semester off, he had to deal.  All right, that's bad.  But you know what happened to him?  He got fired, and he has not been able to find work in his field since.

When Tony Hayward fucks up, he gets his life back, and goes to yacht races, and is filthy rich forever.  The rest of us, and hundreds of thousands of people who were barely scraping by down there on the Gulf?  We're fucked forever, because he wanted BP to make what was essentially (in relation to what they were already making) a few nickels extra.

Tell me again how capitalism is such a splendid system, cause I want to hear that bullshit some more.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Read & Vote!

Crossed Genres' Flash Fiction contest is up & running.  Go, read, vote!  I won't say which is my favorite, though I will say it was a tough call.

You have to register to vote, but it's free & easy.  

Also!  Very soon my novel will start running at Crossed Genres.  So you want to get to know the site anyway.  You know you do.

Monday, June 14, 2010

They're Not Racist!

More Charming behavior from our fellow citizens: A Latino student in TX was mocked and tormented by his English teacher for wearing a jersey from a Mexican sports team. She pulled him up to the front of the class and delivered a long lecture about Mexicans, while repeatedly pointing at him -- Mexicans being the real racists, Mexicans always wanting handouts, and so on.

Hey, but at least she devivered her racist diatribe in a nice clear American accent!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Movie Review

I just watched Lord, Save Us From Your Followers on Netflix.  Worth watching.  The narrator is an Evangelical Xtian, but he's one of the good ones, and it's an honest & interesting look at the Religious-Cultural wars in America today.  (My favorite bit is a mock-game show where the Young Conservatives don't know anything about Liberal Elites, while the Liberal Elites wipe the floor with the Young Conservatives -- it's that cultural bubble they're kept in, yikes.)

Anyway, three parts funny, two parts appalling, five parts deeply interesting.  Have a look.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ah, Bliss

This is the sort of heart-warming story I wish my students would hear more often.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Just to Cheer Us Up

Simon's Cat again!

Also this guy, Alex Day, who I have just discovered TNX to Unfogged, has posted a chapter by chapter summary of Twilight which is just cracking me up. 

And!  This comic, SMBC, which I discovered b/c Tree of Knowledge at Cheese&Responsibility can do links, which I cannot, is so fucking funny!  (I believe it is her fault I got hooked on QC, so she is why I am not writing that Chaucer paper I keep meaning to write.  I totally blame her.) 

And!  This blog!  I, Asshole.

God, I love the internets!

Feel free to mention your latest most cool of internet discoveries in the comments.

Well, Yeah...

See, at my kid's school they wouldn't let her mention any criticism of America -- they did a "study" of Columbus each year, only of course it wasn't a study at all, but a simple recitation of the buffed-up story that's been created around Columbus. The kid knows all the rest of the story (not, interestingly, from us, but from a big fat book she bought on her own, one of those books kids love, Ten Thousand Wicked Facts You Never Learned in History Class, some title like that, I was leafing through it the other day, it's appalling good on child labor and union-busting and what got eaten in the Middle Ages, too).

My point here, and I do have one, is violent determination of the Right in this country that America be beyond reproach -- that the Left are traitors because we dare to criticise our nation -- it would go down a deal better if the Right were not, while insisting it was evil to speak ill of the country, also destroying everything this nation stands for.

Not to mention the nation itself. Hell, doing their best to destroy the world.

All the while living in deep denial about it.

Because if they don't say it, it's not happening, apparently.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Hi! Guess Where I've Been?

The first summer semester (Summer I, as we call it) has started at my university.  I'm teaching a full load -- two classes, back to back, two and a half hours each, four days a week, with a daily office hour for each, for five weeks straight.  Then prep each night on top of that.  I'm teaching Mythology and the first half of Freshman Comp.

So that's where I've been.

See you in July, when I will get two days off before starting Summer II.

(Hey, but at least we can eat this summer!)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Flesh of my Flesh....

...bone of my bone, indeed.

The kids at my kid's school were insisting to her that men had one less rib than women did, recently.  Nor would they take any evidence she presented as proof to the contrary (anatomy textbooks, Wikipedia, her suggestion that they consult a biology professor -- she knows a famous one, who works at our university).  Nope.  God says it, they believe it, that settles it.

I suggested she send them this link.

"Ma!" she said.