Democracy, hope, parody … oh, yeah, and infomercials

Irony. Just yesterday I was contemplating whether to write a post denouncing fake advertisements posted on YouTube. It’s a point-counterpoint thing. To the one, YouTube is part of the great democratization forced by the internet, whatever the hell that means. To the other, that democratization also means a flood of really crappy art, scholarship, and commentary.

And I have thankfully repressed the memory of whatever crappy fake advert I was watching at the time, but I think it was for a non-existent product, as compared to the following, necessary commentary on a real product that is making the rounds:

And, no, that doesn’t mean there’s hope for us yet. I’ll try to let you know when evidence for that turns up somewhere.

(Hat tip: Thank you, Humpy.)

Buddy, can you spare an artery?

ipock-baconexplosionWell, if you haven’t heard about it yet, you’re not alone. Neither had I. So that makes us, I don’t know, troglodytes?

It’s called the “Bacon Explosion“, and Damon Darlin writes in The New York Times that over 16,000 websites have linked to its source.

Okay, add one more.

It weighs four pounds before cooking, two of sausage, and two of bacon.

‘Nuff said?

Thought so.

How to flush your home business down the crapper

You know, if he was selling to the cops, that would be one thing. But there’s no hint of that here. Hector Castro explains:

“A plainclothes sergeant and officer from the department’s training unit were in the bathroom when they heard the man answer his cell phone and attempt to make a deal for the drugs,” police reported.

The suspected dealer, apparently growing more desperate, made several more calls in his effort to sell the drugs, all while the sergeant eavesdropped on his conversations.

As the man left the bathroom, he saw the sergeant and asked if he worked for probation, in the mistaken belief that he was at the probation office.

When confronted by the officer about the dealing, the man reportedly confessed and surrendered his stash of drugs.

Write your own punch line, I suppose. The obvious is already taken.

SCWC … San Diego, baby!

Writers: Ever have those dry spells, when the words just won’t come? Okay, okay. Of course you do. And, yes, I’ve been experiencing one of those periods of late, but I’m not worried. On the one hand, these things usually resolve themselves as long as we don’t give up. To the other, though, I’m heading down to San Diego for the Southern California Writers’ Conference over the Presidents’ Day Weekend.

And, hey, there’s nothing like a long weekend getaway to refresh your senses. Hanging out with fellow writers, getting advice from established writers, agents, and publishers, and immersing yourself in a literary vibe doesn’t hurt either.

It’s one of those fun events where a good time is had by all. The professionals are accessible and genuine, your fellow conferees enthusiastic. And, well, there’s always a little bit of time for mischief, like the time I got drunk and fell down an embankment beside the road and lost my glasses. Stumbling into the hotel, what did I find but a cadre of fellow writers working and drinking well into the night. Naturally, I joined them and finished the job of getting properly smashed.

That was my first time at SCWC, though, and I was in a celebratory mood. Not everything there is drunken debauchery. It’s not even a prerequisite. Indeed, you’ll find it something of an aberration, but I mention it because, well, it was fun, and it’s not like anyone down there holds me in contempt for that episode. Well, who knows, maybe the couple of writers I ended up babbling to for an hour or so might have wondered who the hell the drunk guy was, but nobody told me to never come back. Indeed, the next time ’round, it made for a charming story, since it didn’t involve any actual crimes.

So beyond one moron’s night on the town, what wonders await you at SCWC?

Well, retired psychologist and mystery—ah, excuse me … crime fiction—author Michael Thompkins, brings his particular insights into character development with “Shrinking Fiction”. Pulitzer Prize nominee Caitlin Rother presents “The Art of Interviewing”. Laurel Corona, a professor of English and Humanities and the widely-acclaimed author of The Four Seasons and Until Our Last Breath offers a workshop on “Writing Fiction About Real People”. Columnist, poet, and excellent drinking partner Edwin Decker is on hand for one of his excellent “poetry crams”, this one entitled, “On the Page and In Your Face”. Val McDermid, Matt Pallamary, Andrew Peterson, Judy Reeves … the list goes on. The full list is available at the SCWC main website, with a few more tantalizing details expected at the SCWC blog over the next week or so. After all, time’s a-tickin’ away, and they’re behind on that. Okay, I’m behind.

And that’s an important point. Before you accuse me of shilling for the conference, well, yeah, I am. Because while I attend these conferences for my own education and rejuvenation, I’m also part of the blog team. And, yeah, I’m just as inconsistent for them as I am here for myself.

But, really, this is something I should have done a while ago.

And bring your manuscripts. Or, at least, a manuscript. There’s still time to register for the conference, and there’s a good list of professionals available to read your manuscript and give their best advice.

And don’t let the fact that you’re not from southern California put you off. Of course, if I’d posted this weeks ago, travel plans wouldn’t be so … er, I mean, yeah. Still, though, if you wonder how someone like me, squirreled away in the Pacific Northwest, ended up with this crew down in southern California, well, come to the conference and ask me. I’ll be happy to tell you. In the meantime, I’m hardly the most remote attendee. You’ll find fellows from all across the country and even a few from overseas. That’s right, we’re world famous. Or nearly.

So how about some links, then?

And it’s also worth mentioning that members of writers’ groups—including San Diego Writers Ink, Southern California Writers Association, Sisters in Crime, San Diego Writers/Editors Guild, Palm Springs Writers Guild, Pen, WGA, and others—get a $50 discount on their attendance registration. If you want to make sure your writers’ group qualifies, go ahead and email Michael Steven Gregory to inquire. You can tell him I told you to do so. And you can tell him I said he should say yes.

Really, we want to see you there. San Diego, baby. February 13-16, 2009.

Random thought for the day: Toothbrushes

Okay, here’s one: Electric toothbrushes.

Presently I have a Sonicare something or another, and before that one of those Crest things with AA batteries. And for some reason, I can’t help but keep noticing—even though I’ve noticed so many times before—that the automatic motion of these things is inadequate to clear the excess water. That is, you might think you can simply rinse it out, and then run the thing for a couple of seconds to spin or vibrate out the excess water, but no, I still have to shake the damn thing like an old-school toothbrush to get the water out.

Random enough for you?

Abortion doughnuts?

Two words: Abortion doughnuts.

Two more: Mmm … doughnuts.

This might require some explanation, of course. And if you think it is somehow a bad joke, well, yeah I can see how you might. But, no. This would appear to be real.

The next time you stare down a conveyor belt of slow-moving, hot, sugary glazed donuts at your local Krispy Kreme you just might be supporting President-elect Barack Obama’s radical support for abortion on demand – including his sweeping promise to sign the Freedom of Choice Act as soon as he steps in the Oval Office, Jan. 20.

The doughnut giant released the following statement yesterday:

    Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. (NYSE: KKD) is honoring American’s sense of pride and freedom of choice on Inauguration Day, by offering a free doughnut of choice to every customer on this historic day, Jan. 20. By doing so, participating Krispy Kreme stores nationwide are making an oath to tasty goodies — just another reminder of how oh-so-sweet “free” can be.

Just an unfortunate choice of words? For the sake of our Wednesday morning doughnut runs, we hope so. The unfortunate reality of a post Roe v. Wade America is that “choice” is synonymous with abortion access and celebration of ‘freedom of choice’ is a tacit endorsement of abortion rights on demand.

President-elect Barack Obama promises to be the most virulently pro-abortion president in history. Millions more children will be endangered by his radical abortion agenda.

Celebrating his inauguration with “Freedom of Choice” doughnuts – only two days before the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision to decriminalize abortion – is not only extremely tacky, it’s disrespectful and insensitive and makes a mockery of a national tragedy.

Yeah. Abortion doughnuts.
Continue reading

Terror in America?

Sometimes, things get so insane that you actually hope the guilty party is one of your allies. That statement, of course, will require some explanation. Let’s start with the story out of Seattle; Dan Savage posted today at Slog:

Eleven gay bars in Seattle received letters today addressed to the “Owner/Manager” from someone claiming to be in the possession of ricin, a deadly poison. “Your establishment has been targeted,” the letter begins. “I have in my possession approximately 67 grams of ricin with which I will indiscriminately target at least five of your clients” ….

…. According to the CDC’s website, someone who has ingested “a significant amount” will develop vomiting and diarrhea within the first 6-12 hours; other symptoms of ricin poisoning include hallucinations, seizures, and blood in the urine. There is no antidote for ricin but ricin exposure is not invariably fatal ….

…. A letter also arrived in The Stranger’s offices, addressed to the attention of “Obituaries.” The letter’s author said the paper should “be prepared to announce the deaths of approximately 55 individuals all of whom were patrons of the following establishments on a Saturday in January.” The listed bars are: the Elite, Neighbours, Wild Rose, the Cuff, Purr, the Eagle, R Place, Re-bar, CC’s, Madison Pub, and the Crescent. “I could take this moment to launch into a diatribe about my indignation towards the gay community,” the letter concludes, “however, I think the deaths will speak for themselves.”

The Re-bar letterQuite obviously, stay tuned. Perhaps suspects or bodies will start turning up in the near future. To the other, we can only hope that Roland, who manages the Madison Pub, is correct when he says, “I don’t think it’s anything to worry about.”

That is not to say the threatened establishments are not taking precautions. At the Eagle, a sign has been posted advising customers to remain vigilant. But nobody’s going to close their doors over this, and local promoters and DJs are discussing a pub crawl as a show of solidarity with the bars.Customers at the Eagle are warned to be vigilant.

Meanwhile, the Seattle Times reports that Savage told them the lack of religious references makes him wonder whether the author is an embittered homosexual. And, indeed, we come back to the point made at the outset.

I would, in fact, prefer that this is the outcome. Or maybe even a cynical ploy by bar owners or employees to increase business during a period of reduced custom by rallying the community around a political cause. This I can better deal with. Hell, I’d take a disaffected teenager with a warped sense of humor. The thought that the letters are genuine? I would hate to believe the situation has really come to this.

Don’t read this

Um …

An Australian woman accused of setting her husband’s genitals on fire because she thought he was having an affair has been charged with murder ….

…. Prosecutor Lucy Boord said Narayan told neighbors she was a “jealous wife” but she hadn’t meant to kill him when she doused the sleeping man’s genitals with an alcohol-based solvent and then set him on fire.

Boord quoted Narayan allegedly saying: “I just wanted to burn his penis so it belongs to me and no one else. … I didn’t mean this to happen.”

The husband jumped out of bed and knocked over the bottle of alcohol, causing the fire to spread and resulting in 1 million Australian dollars ($711,000) of damage to their town house and an adjacent property, the Adelaide Advertiser reported.

… yeah.

(AP via AZ Central)