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Collected editorials

Tacky is not just a life style – it’s an artform

Upside down in Washington

On a bill to raise the minimum wage, the Republicans (the party of greedy fat cats) were in favor, whereas the Democrats (the party of sleazy welfare moms) were opposed. How could this be? It’s like this: The bill also has a provision to make the estate tax cuts permanent. It seems that the Republicans don’t mind helping the poor if they can help the rich even more, whereas the Democrats don’t mind screwing over the poor as long as they can screw over the rich. Now if we could persuade the Republicans to abandon their bombs for peace program…

The end result was that that the bill failed in the Senate. It won a majority of the votes (54-42) but the rules in the Senate are that good deeds require at least 60 votes.

Super Nerd

I came across a quiz that tests how nerdy you are. For those of you who just have to know nerdy they are, the URL is: http://www.nerdtests.com/ft_nq.php?im. Naturally I took the test. Who could resist? I dare say a lot of people, but certainly not me. I took the test and this is how I scored:

Overall, you scored as follows:

5% scored higher (more nerdy), and
95% scored lower (less nerdy).

What does this mean? Your nerdiness is:

All hail the monstrous nerd. You are by far the SUPREME NERD GOD!!!
Ahem. In truth I don’t take the test very seriously. I mean, come on, I’ve known lots of real nerds in my time. The besides of which, I cheated just a little bit – I don’t actually have a graphing calculator. I sure wish I had one though. (Our Lady of the Large Black Dog makes snide comments about “toys” from time to time. I really don’t know where she gets this stuff.) There is one little thing though. Notice that the 5 in 5% is green and the 95 in 95% is blue. That’s the way it was in the quiz result. When I cut and pasted the results the colors didn’t come through, so I viewed the page source and cut and pasted the HTML for the colors. Does that count as a computer nerd thing to do?

Crack squirrels

In London, crack addicts hide small stashes of crack in people’s front yards. The home owners are observing the squirrels hunting out the spots, leading them to suspect that the squirrels are addicted.


“Tacky is not just a life style – it’s an artform.” Don’t ask me what in the hell it means. It might have something to do with my neighbours.

Meat Cake

Ted Samsel sent me a link to a page that describes the making of a cake made out of meat and mashed potatoes. It looks quite tasty but I don’t suppose that it goes with my diet – or anybody’s diet.

Winston Churchill and George W. Bush

“The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgement of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totali- tarian government whether Nazi or Communist.” — W. Churchill, Nov 21, 1943

President George W. Bush disagrees.

South Dakota SF fandom

Tony Lewis claims that this incident happened. I don’t remember it, but it is just the sort of thing I might have said. On the other hand, it’s just the sort of thing that Tony might say I said.

I was at some SF convention, talking to someone. (How’s that for definite?) The chap I was talking to was taken with the fact that I was from South Dakota. He asked if there were any fans in South Dakota, and I replied ….

“Not this weekend.”

Westward Ho Yet Again

Not being content with rambling around Yellowstone in July, I went ahead and drove out to Los Angeles in August. Do you have some doubts about my sanity? Yes? I do myself. However there was madness in my method.

I did a lot of things on this trip. I visited Deborah’s sister Barb in the sand hills of Nebraska. Some people don’t know that Western Nebraska used to have sand dunes. For that matter it still does, only they have grass on them and they don’t wander about any more — for now. Barb and Ed have a ranch there. It’s a little bit out of the way. There are little stretches where the distance from one town to the next is 67 miles. The last five miles to the ranch are on a sand road winding across the dunes. It’s a little isolated. Nice country though.

I stopped in Palisade, Colorado, and bought a mixed case of local wines. I had bought a mixed case of wines when I was last there. In the fullness of time we will find out whether I chose well.

Once I arrived in the Los Angeles area I spent a couple of days with my nephew Mark Sisson and my grand-nieces, Emily and Kimberly. I didn’t actually spend much time with Kimberly. She was just a few days old. Emily and Mark and I made it to Disney Land. Emily wanted to go on the Winnie the Pooh ride. However it was closed because, according to the attendant, they had had a honey spill and it would take a while to clean it up. It must have been so; would someone at Disneyland lie?

Then came the first major event – the world science fiction convention. Although it was called LACon IV (the 64’th such event) it was actually held in the Anaheim convention center down the road a piece from Disney land. This ran from a Wednesday to a Sunday. Science Fiction conventions are major zoos, utterly undescribable. Mostly I bought books and magazines, a T-shirt with the periodic table on it, and jewelry for Deb. I also visited with lots of people and attended program items. I didn’t have my picture taken in the Batmobile.

Late Sunday afternoon Deb appeared. Her story is that of course she would have been delighted to attend the convention with me, but that she couldn’t take the time off from work. That’s her story and she’s sticking to it. Monday morning she and I and Tony and Suford went out for breakfast. Alice wasn’t at the convention (nor at breakfast). Tony claims that Alice says that SF conventions are for old people. Tony is so proud of his daughter.

Transitions being taken care of, it was time for events two and three. Event two was a drive up the coast of California to Monterey where eldest sister dwells. She had arranged for us to stay at a Best Western beach resort. Excellent eldest sister. We watched the ocean do ocean things and listened to ocean noises. On Tuesday eldest sister (Lynn) and middle sister (Nanci) appeared and the four of us had a delightful lunch. If perchance you are in Monterey dining there would be an excellent idea. Staying there would be even better.

The next transition was a drive from Monterey to Pollock Pines where youngest sister, Lois, and her partner, Anna dwell. Pollock Pines is on CA highway 50 somewhere to the east of Sacramento. The drive had two highpoints. The first was a stop at a garlic emporium in Gilroy where we purchased many condiments. Richard also purchased a set of olive patterned pasta bowls, matching horse dovers plates, a olive oil dipping dispenser, and dipping plates. (The latter is particularly something or the other since I’m not into dipping bread into oil.) Silly, silly, Richard. The second highpoint came when I missed the turnoff to Rte 50 in Sacramento. After a bit of scrambling we ended up on I80 east. To get back to 50 and Pollock Pines we had to take CA 49 through some mountains. The mileage is 26, which is a tad higher the average speed limit. We went up and down and back and forth in a bit of serious mountain driving. I was driving and thought it great fun. Deb said something afterwards about her stomach being in knots.

Event three was a visit with youngest sister. On Wednesday she and Anna and Deb and I went wine tasting in the local area where we found much good wine – and good olive oil and vinegar as a bonus. On Thursday the four of us went on a paddle boat on Lake Tahoe. Youngest sister and Anna are seriously into house decorating and remodelling. Deborah is an HGTV junkie – she didn’t quite drool but I am sure that that is only because she has excellent manners.

Friday and Saturday were devoted to driving back to that favored land, that centrally located paradise, the state of South Dakota. Er, well, something like that. Friday we made it to Wendover Nevada. We stayed at the Rainbow Casino and Hotel. I cannot really recommend it as a place to stay but it certainly was an experience. The rooms come in black velvet, malomar, and serious mirrored walls. Eating in the cafe was like being in the interior of a juke box. The entirety was retro 70’s, the decor reminscent of black light glow paintings on black velvet.

On Saturday we drove across Utah and Wyoming, and on up to Rapid City SD where Our Lady of the Large Black Dog had stashed our favorite animal. I am desolated to report that much of our return was through lands that were, well, desolated. We arrived late (it is hard to drive for thirteen hours and arrive early) and put up at the historic Alex Johnson hotel. It was not our first choice; it was our only choice. It seems that the motels fill up to overflowing on Labor Day weekend. On Sunday we did sundry shopping, retrieved the Large Black Dog (who was excessively glad to see us – and the cars), and drove the last 240 miles to Highmore. Deb had driven to the Rapid City airport and had left her car there; in consequence we made the last leg with two cars. It felt very good to get back home.

On the trip Matilda logged 3859 miles; she averaged 44.3 miles per gallon. My total outlay for gasoline was 270 dollars. Eat your heart out.

This page was last updated September 1, 2006.

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