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[links] Link salad slowly comes back online

The Acts of Whimsy cancer fundraiser and the Lakeside Kickstarter for the documentary about me, [info]the_child, and cancer are still live. Both have made goal, but additional support is always welcome. Please check them out if you have not done so yet.

How to Write Like My Dad[info]the_child‘s Act of Whimsy.

Bryan Thomas Sxhmidt with a take on Kalimpura

Featured Author Review: Kalimpura by Jay Lake

Saturday salmagundi — In which I am somewhat hilariously mentioned.

Timeline of the One Ring — Mmm. Filthy hobbitses. (Snurched from Andrew Wheeler.)

Scientists Build A Working Tractor Beam

Chinese Physicists Build “Ghost” Cloaking DeviceA working invisibility cloak that makes one object look like ghostly versions of another has been built in China.

Drill reaches Antarctica’s under-ice Lake Whillans

Dung Beetle Uses The Milky Way For Navigation, First Animal Found To Do So — I’d be more impressed if it was the other way around.

Nature Has A Formula That Tells Us When It’s Time To Die — This is fascinating.

The Happiness MachineHow Google became such a great place to work.

Why You Truly Never Leave High SchoolNew science on its corrosive, traumatizing effects.

The Preppers Next Door — Antisocial lunacy comes in many forms.

Feds: ‘Monsignor Meth’ dealt drug, bought sex shop — Really, how can atheists possibly have ethics or morals without religious guidance?

Mali rebels fleeing Timbuktu burn library full of ancient manuscriptsTown’s mayor says Islamist insurgents torched two buildings containing priceless books as French-led troops approached. I do not understand why people think religious values make for good government and society. Religious values just burned one of the most precious ancient libraries in the world. Religious values destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan. There’s a lot of reasons I’m an atheist, and these are some of them.

Why I Don’t Own A GunUltimately I choose to live without guns because, a) I don’t hunt, b) I’m not a police officer, c) I choose to live gently in a violent world. I choose not to help swell the ranks of the armed in our society. I want to contribute to a more peaceable and gentle society. Does that mean I’m unsafe? No, I don’t think so. But if I am unsafe, well, then I choose to be unsafe. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Growing Up With Roe: How a Trip to the Eye Doctor Created a Lifelong Advocate for Reproductive Rights — (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Texas, where science and history have become ideological battlegroundsPBS will show the story of the Texas State School Board’s assault on facts. This conservative assault on those liberal “facts” and “data” has been going on pretty much all my life, with little response from the reality-based community.

Jindal, courage is not enough — Good luck shedding that “stupid party” label, GOP. Until you stop trying to generate more angry white men as your basic electoral strategy, you’ve painted yourself into that corner.

Why the GOP Could Be in the Wilderness For a Long Time

QotD?: Did you miss me?


1/28/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (still in post-operative recovery)
Hours slept: 8.0 hours (fitful)
Body movement: 0.0 hours (post-operative recovery)
Weight: n/a (forgot)
Number of FEMA troops on my block enforcing disability rights: 0
Currently reading: The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks

[cancer] Surgery today

There’s a place I go right before surgery, in a mental and emotional sense. I become very hard and internal. Not mean or snappish or unloving. Just… focused. I’ve been there since yesterday. Drawing into my body, as it were, and concentrating on what is to come.

Nonetheless, [info]the_child and I managed to have a couple of productive conversations last night about my illness, my prognosis and my mortality. She also spent some time with Lisa Costello and with Mother of the Child. Processing, we’re all processing constantly.

Meanwhile, it is today, and I’m off to the hospital shortly. 6 am check-in time for morning surgery. I probably won’t even go into prep before 7 am, then likely be in the operating room five to seven hours. Recovery sometime this afternoon, then ICU for at least 24 hours.

A few details about the surgery for new or recent readers:

  • This is my fifth major surgery since 2008, all in pursuit of cancer. That includes a colon resection, a lung resection, and two liver resections prior to this, my third liver resection.
  • As a side note, I’ve also had three day surgeries and two very minor outpatient surgeries in connection with this process. All of those were about placing chemo access ports in my chest and removing them again.
  • Today’s surgery has four primary goals:

    First is to resect or radiofrequency ablate all three of my known, existing tumors. This will return me to No Evidence of Disease (NED) status. NED is not a cure, or even a remission, it just means I have no detectable tumors.

    Second is to inspect the site of my fourth, suspected tumor which emerged during last fall’s chemo course. The determination of what that site actually represents may cause a change in my spring chemo course.

    Third is to inspect the rest of my liver for any areas of damage or emergent metastatic disease that may not have been in evidence on the scans.

    Fourth is to secure sufficient tissue samples for whole genome sequencing of my tumor.

It will be a few days before I am meaningfully lucid. I’ll be in the hospital likely through Saturday at least, then recovering at home for a while. Lisa Costello has the keys to both the LiveJournal and WordPress instances of my blog, and she will be posting updates as her time and mental energy permit. I shouldn’t expect any resumption of blogging on my part until the weekend at the earliest, and possibly not until next week.

People often ask what they can do to help me. Good thoughts and prayers (depending on your orientation) are always welcome. Here’s several other possibilities:

Regular wit and erudition shall return.

[links] Link salad heads for the hospital and goes offline

The Acts of Whimsy cancer fundraiser and the Lakeside Kickstarter for the documentary about me, [info]the_child, and cancer are still live. Both have made goal, but additional support is always welcome. Please check them out if you have not done so yet. Note that the next unlock goal at $44,000 is [info]the_child‘s video, “How to Write Like My Dad”. We’re almost there!

“A small, desperate act of hope.” — Waterloo Productions on me and JayCon XIII.

The Steampunk Megapack includes my Dark Town short story, “Midnight at Valdosta’s”

What Is a ‘Hacktivist’? — On lexical warfare. (Via David Goldman.)

Polynesians reached South America, picked up sweet potatoes, went homeTubers were spread from New Zealand to Hawaii before European contact.

It’s Always Chile in Norway: the Five Types of Territorial Morphology

Mars could have held watery underground oases for life — Much like myself.

Acoustic LevitationUsing sound waves to levitate individual droplets of solutions containing pharmaceutical drugs and drying them in mid-air. (Snurched from Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Son’s ordeal was our fault, say parentsFather says decision to refuse tetanus shot made without facts. Amazingly enough, an anti-vax denialist who learned from experience. At a terrible cost. Rara avis indeed, when a denialist lets data trump ideology. (Snurched from Scrivener’s Error.)

Suds for DrugsTide detergent: Works on tough stains. Can now also be traded for crack. A case study in American ingenuity, legal and otherwise. Wow. Weird shit, Maynard. (Thanks to [info]danjite.)

Bill Clinton to Democrats: Don’t trivialize gun cultureFormer President Bill Clinton warned a group of top Democratic donors at a private Saturday meeting not to underestimate the passions that gun control stirs among many Americans. “Do not patronize the passionate supporters of your opponents by looking down your nose at them,” Clinton said. They may be passionate, but gun culture proponents are also wrong. Deadly, morally wrong. (Thanks to [info]danjite.)

Piercing the Myths about Women and Guns — Gosh. Conservative intellectual dishonesty on a controversial topic. Who could imagine such a thing? After all, character counts.

The Speech — A Primer — Charlie Pierce on President Obama’s inaugural address. But, for an afternoon, anyway, a Democratic president reclaimed the language of freedom from those for whom it means merely lower taxes and more guns. He reclaimed government as a manifestation of a country’s aspirations, and not as an anchor on its progress. And he refuted, with precision and neatly camouflaged contempt, many of the most destructive ideas that have poisoned out politics for nearly four decades now. Ta-Nehisi Coates with more.

QotD?: Will you remember me when I am gone?


1/22/2013
Writing time yesterday: 1.25 hours of WRPA (further revisions “Monsters in the Mountains at the Edge of the World”, plus submittal)
Hours slept: 5.75 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.0 hours (pre-op prep)
Weight: n/a (scale still out of batteries)
Number of FEMA troops on my block enforcing disability rights: 0
Currently reading: The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks

[links] Link salad stares down the barrel of another week

The Acts of Whimsy cancer fundraiser and the Lakeside Kickstarter for the documentary about me, [info]the_child, and cancer are still live. Both have made goal, but additional support is always welcome. Please check them out if you have not done so yet.

Dog and Cat Dress-Up for Great Justice — Cherie Priest with a steampunk pet fashion show as an Act of Whimsy in support of the cancer fundraiser on my behalf. Hahahah.

My Terrible Surprise – The Dreaded High School Novel — Pat Rothfuss’ contribution. Ack!

In Which I, John Scalzi, Sing a Lost Bob Dylan Song For Jay Lake — A musical interlude from our esteemed Mr. Scalzi. As the man himself says, harmonica is the new cowbell.

Jay Lake cancer fundraiser: expect a 3D scan of my head while making a funny face originated by John Scalzi — Cory Doctorow on the forthcoming scan of his head.

A dozen good documentaries — Roger Ebert on 2012 films.

Human ritesRituals bind us, in modern societies and prehistoric tribes alike. But can our loyalties stretch to all of humankind? Refleshing? Really? Wow. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Mind over Map: the World Is What You Make It — Some interesting mind games with world maps.

In California, It’s U.S. vs. State Over Marijuana — I am strongly in favor of legalization, or at a minimum, significant decriminalization. Our drug laws are hypocritical at best in a culture that so strongly endorses alcohol, tobacco and caffeine. No dog in the fight personally (I’ve never even bothered to seek a medical marijuana card for my chemotherapy), just fairness and common sense.

IBM’s Watson Gets A ‘Swear Filter’ After Learning The Urban Dictionary — Heh. (Via David Goldman.)

Tetrapod anatomy: Backbone back-to-front in early animalsTextbooks might have to be re-written when it comes to some of the earliest creatures, a study suggests.

French WWI images found still in camera — Wow. (Via [info]danjite.)

NASA Awards $17.8M Contract For Inflatable Addition To Space Station — Sometimes the jokes just write themselves. For reals, this is cool and significant, but how can it not be funny?

Can This Man Save Pinball?An arcade entrepreneur has a plan to resuscitate the dying pastime—with a little help from the Wizard of Oz. (Via [info]danjite.)

Dick Armey dishes dirt accidentallyDick Armey had no idea he was speaking to the left-wing Media Matters organization during an interview last week, he told The Daily Caller Tuesday. Instead, Armey thought he was chatting with the conservative Media Research Center. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

?otD: Locked and loaded?


1/14/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (stress)
Hours slept: 6.75 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 220.2
Number of FEMA troops on my block enforcing disability rights: 0
Currently reading: The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks

[links] Link salad is easy like Sunday morning

The Acts of Whimsy cancer fundraiser and the Lakeside Kickstarter for the documentary about me, [info]the_child, and cancer are still live. Both have made goal, but additional support is always welcome. Please check them out if you have not done so yet.

Also, Jim C. Hines reads his very first story in costume as one of the unlocked goal achievements. Hahahaha.

The wrong goodbye of Barnes and Noble — Hmm. Another ‘death of the bookstore’ article. This one might have teeth though.

Saving Lives in Serenity: Can a Fanboy and Physics Change a Movie? — Hah! (Via Lisa Costello.)

Non-paternity event — Interesting term of art for a retroactively obvious concept. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Buy Bigfoot’s gravesite for $270,000 — Snerk.

Did homosexuality kill off the dinosaurs — Questions Christanists ask. Really, deeply stupid Christianists, apparently.

This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For — The White House responds to the petition to build the Death Star. Hahahahah.

“[There is] no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.” — Guess who said that? Noted Kenyan Muslim socialist activist Ronald Reagan in 1967. We have more guns today. Are we safer?

Since 1979, Firearms have Killed 120,000 US Children, Many more than Troops in Vietnam or Iraq & Afghanistan Wars (Graph) — As a society, we have agreed that this is a small price to pay for gun owners’ Second Amendment rights. Thank God for the NRA and the Republican party, because otherwise liberals would have worked to make sure those kid couldn’t water the tree of liberty with their blood. Are you proud of our country for this?

Change US tax law from citizenship based law to residence based law — Huh. I had no idea. I know many people this affects. (Via [info]danjite.)

The Window for Republican Foreign Policy Reform Won’t Be Open for LongIt is possible that the damage among younger voters has already been done such that these cohorts are lost to the GOP for many elections to come, but there is virtually no chance of winning them and future cohorts of voters if the party’s foreign policy remains what it is. Failing to reform Republican foreign policy will have effects beyond the relatively small portion of the electorate that votes on these issues, because the perception of incompetence and recklessness on these issues will sabotage the party’s efforts to repair its overall reputation. It’s not a perception of Republican incompetence and recklessness, it’s a stone cold fact substantiated heavily by the evidence of the Bush administration and the current GOP House, not to mention the 2011/2013 GOP primary season.

?otD: Are you free?


1/13/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (stress)
Hours slept: 9.5 hours (fitful)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: n/a (forgot to weigh)
Number of FEMA troops on my block enforcing disability rights: 0
Currently reading: The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks

[personal|cancer] Yesterday’s PayPal kerfuffle

Last night, I felt like a business school case study. Or possibly a character in the kind of folk song sung around digital campfires. In short, PayPal did something unfortunate to cripple part of the Acts of Whimsy fundraiser for my genetic testing and general health expenses. I mentioned this on Twitter. A classic social media backlash ensued, which eventually flowed up to the president of PayPal. All ended well about two hours later, with PayPal restoring my account, apologizing publicly, and making a donation to the fundraiser as a gesture of goodwill. See news story for the official details, including comments from PayPal Senior Communications Director Anuj Nayar.

PayPal made a mistake, and then they made it right. Credit where credit is due. My profound thanks to Mary Robinette Kowal, Tee Tate, and the legion of Twitter and Facebook denizens who spoke up, placing the public pressure on PayPal that caused them to escalate the problem to swift resolution. Likewise my thanks to both the company and to Anuj Nayar, as well as the PayPal social media manager who contacted me directly.

In long…

(more…)

[links] Link salad is still baffled about yesterday

Acts of Whimsy — The first two Acts of Whimsy from my cancer fundraiser. Mary Robinette Kowal reads classical literature as phone sex, and Paul Cornell (with special guest) sings the Kate Bush song “Wuthering Heights”. Put down your coffee before looking at these. This stuff is stupid funny. Also, last night, we unlocked Cory Doctorow’s head.

PayPal Apologizes For Freezing Science Fiction Writer Jay Lake’s Cancer Fundraiser, Promises Greater Transparency — Yes, this really happened yesterday. Things are weird in my life right now. Weirder than my usual background radiation of weird, I mean.

The Lakeside Kickstarter for the documentary about me, [info]the_child, and cancer. And of course, the Sequence a Science Fiction Writer fundraiser for a needed genetic test for me. Both have made goal, but are still open to extended support.

Doctors Turn to Genetics to Search for Cancer’s Achilles’ Heel — Wow. Very apropos. (Via several sources, including [info]daveraines and Shlom Ster.)

Why can’t doctors tell cancer patients the truth? Medical journals and physicians underplay what treatment is really like. And it hurts patients. (Via [info]shsilver.)

As Nurse Lay Dying, Offering Herself as Instruction in Caring — I understand this.

Harper/Voyager UK to Release SF/F Classics with Beautiful Minimalist Covers — (Snurched from Cora Buhlert.)

Why are images from space probes always in black and white?The Straight Dope is interesting today.

Assessing Exomoon Habitability

Gorillas Watching TVBehind the scenes at the zoo. Zooveillance? (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

No. 842 — The caption on this Shorpy photo from 1912 is a scream. (Assuming you find sex jokes funny.)

Can airliners really fly upside down? — I’d prefer not to find out personally.

Golden to frozen: California faces epic cold snap — Nothing to see here, citizen, move along.

Climate assessment delivers a grim overviewA draft version of a national report details the accelerated effects of climate change across the U.S., describing battered coastlines, devastating rainfall and drought. I’m sure the GOP will find a way to kill this report, the same way they killed reports on white conservative terrorism and the abject failure of supply side economics, the same way they suppress Federal information gathering and research on the effects of gun violence. As our friends on the Right have proven over and over, when reality doesn’t match conservative ideology, ideology always wins. Me personally, I’d die of embarrassment from the wholesale lack of intellectual honesty, but intellectual dishonesty is demonstrably a cornerstone of the conservative movement these days. That’s what epistemic closure is all about: keeping the minds of conservative voters safely closed to new information and inconvenient truths.

False balance: Fox News demands a recount on US’ warmest year — Ah, the glory of epistemic closure. Darn those liberally biased “facts” and “data”. What’s a good conservative propaganda organ that lies daily to masquerade as news supposed to do?

When Christians argue that Jesus Christ has no religious significanceThis is why the separation of church and state is vitally important for Christians. When Christians are standing around arguing that Jesus Christ has no particular religious significance to us, then something has gone horribly wrong.

Biden says ‘no silver bullet’ exists to solve the problem with gun violence — Really? You had to use that term?

Yeager Releases 2nd Video: No Murders ‘Unless It’s Necessary’ — That’s the kind of responsible gun ownership that gives me warm fuzzies about gun culture in America. Really, gun owners of America, possessing an instrument of summary execution doesn’t give you the power to dispense justice as your sole discretion. We have this little thing called the rule of law (not applicable in Stand Your Ground states, so I guess the gun culture won that debate.)

State Suspends Handgun Carry Permit Of Tactical Response CEO — Huh. Somebody in a Red State is actually doing the right thing about gun abuse. Walkback to the usual gun culture murderous insanity under conservative pressure in 3, 2, 1…

?otD: Do you use PayPal?


1/12/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (stress)
Hours slept: 6.75 hours (very fitful)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 217.8
Number of FEMA troops on my block teaching critical thinking skills to the children of conservatives: 0
Currently reading: The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks

[cancer|personal] The fundraisers

I hardly know where to begin. Perhaps at the beginning?

In the past three days, almost $50,000 has been raised in my name in two separate fundraisers. Both have made goal, both are still ongoing with stretch goals and level bonuses.

The first is The Lakeside Kickstarter to support continued filming of the ongoing documentary project. Waterloo Productions has been very generous with its time and resources, but the twists in my healthcare journey have thrown kinks into their budget. I really want to thank everyone who contributed to keeping that project afloat, because I think this is an important atory to tell.

The second is the Sequence a Science Fiction Writer Acts of Whimsy fundraiser, which made its initial goal in five hours and as I write this is closing in on its second stretch goal. There’s some pretty hilarious level bonuses in this campaign. Th Acts of Whimsy fundraiser is intended to pay for genome sequencing of my tumors, an expensive procedure not yet part of the standard of care nor covered by health insurance. We’re running out of treatments for me, and such a test may provide new insights into treatment direction. (This is explained in detail at the fund raising site.) Again, I cannot possibly thank everyone who participated and continues to participate.

That such a process in the middle of this very hard week could take place has amazed me. Boggled me. I had no idea there was this much support out there. So many people have given, almost 800 as I write this, some of them so obviously at a stretch it makes my heart ache. People I know for a fact are out of work and looking for jobs, people I know for a fact are living on limited budgets, as well as friends, fans and strangers from all walks of life and economic circumstances, each as generous as they can be, some generous beyond reason.

Likewise the Internet support, from blogs and Web sites and tweets, all the way from individual writing blogs to Boing Boing, Whatever and supportive tweets from the Bloggess. That signal boost has been amazing.

You people are amazing. But I think I said it best in this video from yesterday.

Thank you. I love you all.

[links] Link salad looks back on yesterday in agape wonder

The Lakeside Kickstarter has made its goal — Waterloo Productions has some stretch goals as well, so if you’re interested in the documentary film about me, [info]the_child, and cancer, click through to see the trailer and check out the fundraiser.

The Sequence a Science Fiction Writer has made its goal, funding a needed genetic test for me — Actually, it’s blown the doors off its goal, did so in the first five hours. You guys are amazing. Organizers Catherine Shaffer and Mary Robinette Kowal have provided some unique giving level bonuses, including stretch goals as the fundraiser remains open.

The video of me reading beloved classics like phone sex for the Jay Lake fundraiser — Speaking of giving level bonuses for the genetic testing fundraiser, here’s the first one to be made public. Screamingly funny, but put your coffee down somewhere away from the keyboard before you watch this short video. Work- and child-safe, mostly.

Featured Author Review: Endurance by Jay LakeLitStack on my novel Endurance. Very positive, and from my perspective, spot on.

The Hobbits: Misty Mountain a capella cover by Peter Hollens — Wow. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

The Beauty of Decayed Daguerreotypes — Wow. And yes, I am one of those people fascinated by decay. (Via Lisa Costello.)

Clock made from a single atom could lead to a precise mass measurementCompton frequency of the atom is made accessible to experimental measurement. Nanoclockpunk?

Let’s Put An Asteroid In Orbit Around the Moon — Because SCIENCE! Who needs reasons?

Newfound planet is best candidate yet for life

Heat, Flood or Icy Cold, Extreme Weather Rages Worldwide — Nope, no climate change here. Just liberal propaganda and 99% of climate scientists in a secret conspiracy supported by nothing but “facts” and “data” and so-called “trends”.

Love is not a victory march — unless you’re Marvin OlaskySlacktivist Fred Clark on a Right wing rewrite of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. For reals. Out. Of. Their. Minds.

Gun-toting soccer mom found shot deadCops: Pa. woman’s 3 children were home during suspected murder-suicide. I can’t possibly snark on this story because it’s so tragic. The moral here should be obvious, but sadly won’t be.

Agnotologic capitalism — Yeah, that term would pretty much describe America’s conservative base with their epistemic closure and their faith in the sideshow fraud that is supply side economics. (Snurched from Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

?otD: How thankful can Jay be?


1/11/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (stress)
Hours slept: 6.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 216.2
Number of FEMA troops on my block teaching critical thinking skills to the children of conservatives: 0
Currently reading: The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks

[links] Link salad peers into the future, sees the past

Various comments about the Lakeside Kickstarter: Fund ‘Lakeside: A Year with Jay Lake’ and SF/F Crowd Funding Roundup For 01/10/2013 and A Kickstarter Project That Needs to Be Seen. As of this morning, the project is less than $1,000 from goal.

The Lakeside Kickstarter gets a nice mention from Cory Doctorow on Boing Boing — Thank you, Cory.

Dark Faith: Invocations Devotional — Jay Lake — In which I am interviewed regarding my story “The Cancer Catechism”. See also some discussion of the story here.

24 Useful Words From Laádan, a Language Invented to Express a Woman’s Point of View — Oooh. An article that points back to one of my favorite books. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

LinguicaScrivener’s Error with some interesting (as usual) thoughts on language and publishing.

Cancer Drug “Holiday” May Extend Patient Survival — Hmmm.

Why Americans are dying earlier than their international peers — This is exactly why Sarah Palin’s Real Americans want to repeal Obamacare. Because we’re number one, and damn those liberal “facts” and “data”.

Quebec community makes urgent request for help saving trapped killer whales

Your Gadgets Are Slowly Breaking the InternetThe Internet isn’t robust enough for the ongoing explosion of connected devices. Now labs around the country are scrambling for solutions.

Waves in AirglowDuring a thunderstorm over Texas, atmospheric ripples were visible in the faint emissions of light of the upper atmosphere.

The Absurdity of U.S. Air Travel: Baggage Fees — Yes, this.

Generation LGBTQIA — Going mainstream?

Rules for Christian sex and rules about rulesSlacktivist Fred Clark on the dead-end of the Christianist approach to sex.

2012 was hottest on record in the US, warm everywhere else — Thankfully, climate change is a liberal hoax. Otherwise these so-called liberal “facts” and “data” might be something to worry about, and Rush Limbaugh knows we can’t have that.

Toward a More Badass History — Ta-Nehisi Coates with more on race, Django Unchained, and the antebellum South.

16 Tons and bricks without straw: Christianity Today wants to bring back the company townSlacktivist Fred Clark with more on the cruel lunacy of religious conservatives in America.

The War Against Women and The Violence Against Women ActI want to be charitable and believe that the Republicans who spent the summer dismantling legislation that helps thousands of abused women and children, that the GOP who spent the summer saying the stupidest victim blaming Rape crap imaginable, don’t actually hate women. I imagine that they have wives and daughters that they love. I really do think that they don’t actually want women to be raped or battered. But if this is the case, then I’m really failing to understand why they do things like this. Because that’s what conservatives do, duh. The modern Republican party doesn’t stand for anything except political vandalism in the name of self-valorizing paranoia, which GOP political and media strategists have been carefully nurturing for decades in the name of generating more angry white guys so the GOP could stay in business. (Their own words, not my liberal snark, hence the link.) Witness the recent Senate vote on the disability rights treaty. Like gun owners, these vandals consider themselves moral people and patriotic Americans. That self-image doesn’t mean their delusions of ethics are any less destructive or morally bankrupt.

On my honor, I will do my best — Steve Buchheit with a long and worthwhile reflection on portrayals of violence in the media.

Second amendment supporters strolled through SE Portland neighborhood with assault rifles, police say — Further demonstrating the finely honed sense of social responsibility found in gun owners. After all, if 80 deaths a day are perfectly acceptable to the upright moral citizens who constitute America’s gun culture, what’s wrong with spreading a little panic to make your point? In a neighborhood close to mine, by the way, and not far from the recent Clackamas mall shootings, no less. So proud of my fellow Oregonians for their theoretical defense of their essential liberties.

8,775 Firearm Murders a Year in US, Equiv. of 290 in UKThe international comparisons show conclusively that fewer gun owners among civilians per capita produce not only fewer murders by firearm, but fewer murders per capita over all. Yet bizarre;y, most US gun owners consider themselves moral people and good citizens, despite being primary enablers of the slaughter of thousands of their fellow citizens by supporting the gun culture as it were somehow a social good for which all those deaths are a worthy price paid.

Why I’m giving up my gunsWhile Piers Morgan and Alex Jones were having a gun control debate on CNN, I was having my own internal debate. I am an avid hunter, but the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. made me realize that as a gun-owner, I am unwittingly abetting the narrative of American violence. Slowly, a few gun owners are awakening to the fundamental immorality and horror that they enable by being part of gun culture. This is what most of us will eventually feel, when our society matures to the point that widespread violence is viewed with the same historical distaste as institutionalized racism and gender discrimination.

?otD: What do you most want to remember?


1/10/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (stress)
Hours slept: 6.0 hours (fitful)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 216.0
Number of FEMA troops on my block teaching critical thinking skills to the children of conservatives: 0
Currently reading: The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks

[movies|cancer] Lakeside Kickstarter

The Lakeside documentary [ imdb ] Kickstarter fund raiser has begun. Waterloo Productions has been deeply involved in my story for almost the past year, and the various reversals of fortune which have afflicted me have correspondingly driven their production costs up well past the original budget.

The film is the story of my life with cancer, and quite possibly my death. We’re working within the experience of my daily life, including things I don’t talk about much or at all here on the blog — the reactions of my family members (their privacy, after all, is not mine to breach here); my responses to those reactions; some of my own end-of-life thinking and the planning that has begun for that series of terminal events. It’s a bigger story than even this blog can tell.

As things do in life, everything happens at once. I believe another, separate medical fundraiser is launching shortly to help me pay for a rather expensive genetic test which will be completely out of pocket, as well as possibly meet additional medical expenses. This is a strange, strange time in my life, as I am not accustomed to asking for help this way. People and institutions have been very generous to me already these past few years. All of you who read and listen and hold the image of my struggles are generous with your time and your hearts.

Anyway, go check out what Donnie is doing over there. Whether you can give hope or money, it will help.

I will never get to heaven, but this film will be part of both my life and my afterlife.

[links] Link salad feels like Leisure Suit Larry

The Lakeside Kickstarter has begun — The complications in my cancer have created complications in the filming process. The producer needs to extend the budget a little further.

imdb with the listing for Lakeside — Still being built, but there’s a movie poster there, and acting credits for me and [info]the_child.

Lord of the Strings: The Influence of Tolkien on Heavy Metal Music — Um? Wow. (Via Cora Buhlert.)

Faster, Quentin! Thrill! Thrill! — Roger Ebert with a lot of interesting things to say about Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchainedimdb ].

Closed off tunnel now sheds light on Portland’s sordid past — A squib about Portland’s Shanghai tunnels.

Round Trip — I love this 1943 Shorpy photo of a railroad roundhouse.

The US And New Zealand Secretly Tested The First Tsunami Bomb — Wow. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

The Sarcastic Fringehead — Really? Curious video of undersea life. Also possibly the name of my next rock band. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

Captured deep beneath the waves: Giant squid filmed in natural habitat — I’ve seen the specimen on display at Te Papa, the national museum in Wellington, NZ (though I think that one might have been a colossal squid). These things are amazing.

Release the kraken! 2,000 years of tall tales (and a smattering of truth)veryone from Pliny the Elder to Tennyson has written about giant squid.

Earth-Sized Planets Widespread in Galaxy — The rate at which our knowledge of the universe changes amazes me.

Consumption of sweet and diet drinks could lead to depression — Huh.

The Reverend Hall, America HeroComes word that the National Cathedral, an Episcopal Church, will start to perform same-sex marriages. Good. The public face of American Christianity needs to be about something more than bigotry, hatred and willful ignorance. Everything from evolution denial to the Mormon Church’s shameful support of Proposition 8 to practically every word that comes out of the mouths of Evangelical leaders further stains the image of religion. Nice to see some movement in the other direction

Can Forgiveness Play a Role in Criminal Justice? — A wrenching piece on murder and forgiveness. Though given current events, I was quite struck by this line: “If that gun had not been in the house, our daughter would be alive.” There’s a lesson here, that no one in the gun culture will ever acknowledge, let alone learn. The rock solid truth of the fundamental immorality of wholesale death is incompatible with gun owners’ view of themselves as good people. (Courtesy of [info]wild_irises.)

Alex Jones Pitches Government by Boxing Match[T]he fact that Jones responds to a disagreement over government policy by telling his interlocutor “well how ’bout we take this outside” is illustrative. Jones spends much of the interview ranting about the evils of government use of force, without much attention to the kind of individual violence with which he threatened Morgan. That’s one of the deep problems with our gun culture. It valorizes violence that the gun owner sees a defensive, just or retributive. Do we really want 100,000,000 people with powers of summary execution which depend on their casual judgment regardless of mood or circumstance or the objective facts of the situation? Because that’s what this country has with widespread private gun ownership.

Giffords and Kelly: Fighting gun violence — An important effort that will sadly most likely be a failure, as Americans’ love of guns trumps any number of deaths. As a culture, we prefer killing machines to the morality of life, and make endless excuses to maintain the illusion that this is the right thing.

?otD: Ever been to the Land of the Lounge Lizards?


1/9/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (stress)
Hours slept: 8.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 217.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block teaching critical thinking skills to the children of conservatives: 0
Currently reading: The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks