Archive for January, 2010

It seems the Florida plan is not working out too well, in that we’ve been here for 5 months, and in all that time the only employment action either us has had was a three-week temp assignment for D.

So it’s back to the hunt. We’re specifically targeting a move to the DC area or back to NY.

If you – or anyone you know – might be aware of a job opening for an IT guy (specializing in web design, network admin and social media marketing) in either of those places, please let me know.

At this point, I’m not too proud to beg.

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First Dana Perino, then Mary Matalin… and now Rudy Giuliani?

Today on Good Morning America, Giuliani said:

“We had no domestic attacks under Bush; we’ve had one under Obama.”

Let me revisit the first half of this comment.

“We had no domestic attacks under Bush”

Is there anyone out there reading this blog who has forgotten that the following small matter ever took place?

Anyone remember the guy who was supposedly such a big hero for his handling of that particular crisis? The guy who subsequently got an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II? You know, that Giuliani fella?

In Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler wrote that people will more readily accept a big lie [“Große Lüge“] than a small one, because “they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”

Is this what the GOP is reduced to now? It seems unlikely that three prominent conservative figures could coincidentally make the same colossal mistake within a short period of time.

Or – and here is the still more sinister idea – is this an implication that 9/11 was not in fact a terrorist attack? The conspiracy theories have been flying since about 9/12/2001, suggesting that it was an inside job of some kind. Could it be that a big reveal is on the way, and certain out-of-power figures are going to become the fall guys for it?

Giuliani surprised a few people by announcing that he would not run for any office in 2010. Is he intentionally distancing himself? Will he storm back into the 2012 field like a knight in shining armor to save his party?

Something a little odd is afoot.

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In a 1993 essay, author Michael Crichton wrote, ” […] along with many other American industries, the American media produce a product of very poor quality. Its information is not reliable, it has too much chrome and glitz, its doors rattle, it breaks down almost immediately, and it’s sold without warranty. It’s flashy but it’s basically junk.”

All too often, legitimately newsworthy events go unnoticed, especially if they happen during (for example) the third or fourth day of coverage after the death of a famous notorious pop culture icon. I’m not saying that Michael Jackson’s passing was not news, nor that it was not tragic, but I believe that even he would have been embarrassed by the sheer quantity of glitz and glamour that was troweled onto his grave by the mass media.

Here are a few items which I believe went sorely under-reported during 2009:

1. Possible cure for MS (multiple sclerosis)

I think we can probably hazard a guess as to why this one didn’t make the news; major pharmaceutical companies make a great deal of money from the drugs used to treat MS – approximately $25,000 per patient per year.

2. Northeast Passage opened

The continuing thaw in Arctic sea ice has opened the northeast passage for trade; while this has some positive implications for international business, one can only imagine that Moscow is not thrilled with a commercial shipping route running so close to some of its main oil and gas fields. On top of that, the new drilling opportunities being created by the vanishing ice cap are being fought over quite fiercely already, and this can only intensify – leading, in all likelihood, to further destruction of said ice cap.

3. US Patent Application 20090010962 – Genetically Engineered Swine Influenza Virus and Uses Thereof

This might be totally benign, but one has to wonder exactly what the deal is.

Got any more? Drop me a comment and let me know!

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A number of you out there in Readerland are writers, and I thought I might share a notion which came to me along with a new plot idea.

There is a long-standing piece of advice given to writers which states: write what you know. I would like to make a rebuttal.

Of the various writings I have produced, very few have been a case of ‘writing what I know’. Indeed, the vast majority have been on subject matter I very much do not know. This approach has benefits for both the casual-storyteller writer and the nitpicky-fact-checker writer.

For instance, a casual storyteller writing what he or she doesn’t know does not have to have his or her creativity constrained by what is and therefore can perhaps better imagine what could be or could have been. A fact checker, on the other hand, will not be relying on any preconceived notions regarding what they think they know and can be sure of turning in a well-researched manuscript.

I won’t deny that writing what you know has been an excellent tool for some authors; nobody would dispute that Khaled Hosseini is writing what he knows, and doing it extremely well. However, I would also be willing to bet that Yann Martel has never been adrift on a boat with only a 500-pound tiger for company – and Life Of Pi is nevertheless a remarkable work of fiction. Similarly, some of the best science fiction and fantasy writing has come from imaginations so far-fetched as to defy any notion of writing what one knows.

Having said all that, there is one area in which writing what one knows is sound advice for all, and that is character development and interaction; unless one is writing robots, aliens, vampires or other non-humans, a thorough understanding of human nature is essential to a well-rounded character.

So here’s my tip for the writers out there. Pick something that interests you, but which you know very little about it, and make it the centerpiece of a new story. I think you’ll find it a worthwhile exercise.

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