Stage Kiss

I almost didn’t get cast. I was friends with the director, Greg, who invited me to read for the part. Then he couldn’t decide whether he liked me in the role or just liked me. Luckily for me, his assistant director liked me too and told him to stop dithering.

As an aside, Greg had a better than average reason to be wary about me. The night we met almost destroyed his reputation on campus.

Get the rest of both stories at Quiche Moraine.

Trying to Kill Me

A friend of mine from college just posted this to my wall on Facebook. Aside from, “If I hurt, I share,” there’s nothing more to be said.


We can have play time in my little playroom.

Are You Reading?

Quiche Moraine, that is.

If you’re not, or if you only head that direction when I point you at something I’ve written, you’re missing out. You’re missing Ana collecting insights on the economy and things like Pokemon fetish wear. You’re missing Mike telling tales on himself and interviewing Minnesota politicians. You’re missing Greg telling stories about why he’s just not that into music and why a restaurant meal is never just a dinner out.

Then there are our guest writers. They’re telling more stories, about losing innocence and friends. Sometimes about Minnesota’s historical figures. They’re talking about living their art and their ideals. They’re asking and answering questions about the whys of the world. They’re the reason for Quiche Moraine, and they never disappoint.

We’re two months old this week and doing well for a young blog. To celebrate, we’re hosting our first roaming carnival today. Go check out the Four Stone Hearth. 4sh is always a cool carnival, and I never fail to learn something reading the entries that I would never have even thought to think of.

Enough Already

Because it isn’t enough that our governor is an airhead with a pleasant face. Because it isn’t enough that he took a stupid no-tax pledge years ago. Because it isn’t enough that when we had budget surpluses, he sent it all back despite the infrastructure that needed attention (bridges, anyone?). Because it isn’t enough that he championed corporate growth at the expense of local tax revenue with tax-free development zones. Because it isn’t enough that he tried to declare that Minnesota didn’t need any of the stimulus funds.

Because it isn’t enough that all that means every state agency is already strapped for funds and doing its best to find new spending to cut out this year too.

Pawlenty now uses his executive authority to spread out the cost of some of his employees. Currently, departments including corrections, agriculture and veterans affairs are helping pay for the head of Pawlenty’s faith-based initiative, five policy specialists, a director of legislative and cabinet affairs, two Washington, D.C., employees and a groundskeeper at the governor’s residence.

Under spending bills taking shape in the House, roughly $500,000 would reappear as gubernatorial spending.

The House agriculture and veterans finance panel worked Tuesday on a spending bill that would yank back $33,000 of Pawlenty staffing costs from the Veterans Affairs Department and $10,000 from the Agriculture Department. [emphasis mine]

The head of his faith-based initiative? Enough.

Is it 2010 yet?

Thanks to Brent for the link.

Tin Revolutionaries

Apropos of the discussion here and here.

If you ever have to rely on the Second Amendment to save you from a tyrannical government, you’ve left things too late. Several decades too late, in fact.

I don’t know whether you’ve noticed, but the world has changed since the days of the Revolutionary War. Most of these changes are improvements, such as the availability of clean, safe water and the ability to communicate nearly globally nearly instantly. Some changes, like a globalized food chain, are more a matter of cost improvements. Whatever the reason for the changes, they’ve come, and dragging behind them have come the changes in our infrastructure to support them.

Changes, not additions. We’ve dismantled the older, simpler structures that we used to rely on, abandoning redundancy for efficiency. How many people can still draw water from wells if they want to? How many have even a kitchen garden? How much commerce can we still support via unpowered water travel? How many people know what to do about a high fever in the absence of NSAIDs or how to know when a doctor is really needed without referring to the internet or a nurse line?

Not to belittle the sacrifices and hardships of the American revolutionaries, but by virtue of their decentralized infrastructure and economy, they didn’t face the same kind of collapse that we would under a modern armed revolutionary scenario. There was a time when the question of who was in power made so little difference to the average citizen (i.e., peasant) that revolution was a game for only nobles and anyone unlucky enough to be drafted into their armies. That time is no more. Any militia that wanted to overthrow our government by armed force would have to be very well-organized indeed in order to avoid a massive humanitarian catastrophe.

They would need to have a plan in place to keep the water flowing, the lights turned on and supplies coming in from outside. (Napoleon’s problems in Russia were nothing compared to our global, just-in-time supply organization.) They’d also need to be able to communicate that plan convincingly to the rest of the population. If they didn’t, the population would–rightly–view them as nothing more than criminals willing to sacrifice everyone else’s lives to further their own cause. The revolutionaries would very quickly be fighting on two fronts.

In other words, in order to be successful, any revolution would have to be so well-organized as to be the thing it wanted to replace. It would have to be a true revolution of the people, even if it were directed from above.

What would a popular revolution look like? In fact, I’ve seen one take hold during my lifetime. The regressive movement that sought to undo the cultural changes accompanying our switch from an agrarian to an industrial economy and to roll back the economic regulation designed to keep industrialization from reinstituting oligarchy showed the true shape of a modern American revolution. The conservative movement, as they prefer to be known, seized power in this country through the perfectly legal means of making sure they had representatives at every level of government, from schoolteachers to city clerks to the Supreme Court. Nary a gun in sight.

Sure, political and bureaucratic takeover isn’t as sexy as a cold, sleek piece of metal that makes noise and holes, but it’s the reality. Eric Rudolph didn’t change anything for any length of time except his own address. Same with the mountain militias. Same with every idiot who ever shot a government agent performing their duties.

Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols did make a difference, but it was only to persuade others to allow more restrictions in movement around and access to government buildings. They ultimately increased the number of people and vehicles subject to government searches. That wasn’t what they were after. That isn’t what anyone who points to the Second Amendment is after.

No, the people who have done the most to fight the tyranny of the U.S. government in my lifetime have used other amendments in their cause. They have spoken. They have assembled. They have reported. They have filed suit over unreasonable search and seizure or over unequal treatment.

More recently, they have staged the beginning of a counter-revolution to remove the regressives from power. Again, it was done without guns. It did, however, provide a glimpse of what the American populace thinks of having its infrastructure and economy threatened. Ask McCain or the wave of retiring Republican representatives about the kind of political support offered to anyone associated with a person or movement responsible for jeopardizing people’s standard of living. They’ll tell you how quickly decades of popularity evaporates and how loudly the hounds bay for blood.

And that’s a lesson to which any would-be revolutionary should pay attention.

Position Wanted

DrugMonkey asked a question about fantasy races in the comments here that made me realize I’ve never really written that kind of fantasy. This story is, I think, the closest I’ve ever come to treating a standard fantasy race in a straightforward way. And even here, I mess with it a bit.

Position Wanted

Charlene stared at the man on the other side of her desk and swallowed hard to keep from drooling. Okay, so from what he was telling her, man wasn’t quite the right word, but it was close enough. The differences were only piling fuel on her already blazing hormones.

He was, well, he was perfect. He was tall, but not too tall. He had nicely developed muscles, without running over into the bulgy, veiny look so many men thought made them sexy. He wore his wavy, sooty black hair just long enough that it threatened to look unruly but never did. Even from across her desk, Charlene could see both green and a rich golden brown in his eyes, which were framed by lashes that went perfectly with the hair. His face, hands and wrists could have been molded by a skilled artist, although that artist would have to spend a fortune on materials to capture the living, warm amber of his skin.

He wore sex appeal like good cologne, just enough to be a constant undercurrent without knocking anyone over at ten paces. Human or not, he stood out against the backdrop of her sleek modern office of steel, leather and glass like a bonfire in a snowdrift.

“Right, so you’re, ah, looking for a job, you said?” Of course he was; why else would he be at a job placement agency? Charlene felt like an idiot, or a thirteen-year-old with a bad crush, for all the difference there was. “Well, um, what kind of, uh, experience do you have?”

The creature across from her smiled, a long slow smile that told her everything she needed to know about that experience–and maybe more than she was ready to deal with. She shivered, not unpleasantly, and noted with fascination that his teeth were pointed. She wondered what that would mean for…

“Look, we just don’t have what anyone would call ‘useful’ experience. That’s our problem.”

Charlene shook herself and turned gratefully to the woman, Danielle, who was sitting next to…oh, dear, she hadn’t really been paying attention when he told her his name. Tyrell, that was it. But Danielle was still talking.

“There’s only one thing we do really well. We were made for it and we’ve been doing it for centuries. But you humans have developed this sex-on-demand society that’s really cutting into our core business.”

“No offense, but I find that hard to believe.” Charlene gestured across the desk. “I mean, look at you.” Danielle was every bit as breathtaking as Tyrell, and Charlene was glad she didn’t go for women, or she’d have been completely incoherent dealing with the both of them. Well, there had been that one night in college, but she didn’t think it really counted if you were drunk.

Danielle smiled at her, a look very similar to the one Tyrell had just worn, and Charlene felt her cheeks getting warm. She hoped very hard that mind reading was not one of the secondary skills of a succubus.

“I won’t say we’re not worth it, but we’re expensive. How many people do you know who would trade their souls for sex these days,” Danielle’s smile got broader, “even really good sex, when sex is everywhere?” [Read more...]

Atheists Talk–Jerry Dincin

Jerry Dincin, “Final Exit Network”
Atheists Talk #0064 Sunday, April 5, 2009

The mission of the Final Exit Network is to serve people who are suffering intolerably from irreversible conditions that have become more than they can bear. The Network was recently raided and their funds confiscated by the State of Georgia under the false accusation that they have been assisting suicide. This is something they most emphatically do not do. Jerry Dincin is the president of the Final Exit Network and is the Minnesota Atheists’ scheduled speaker for our April 19th Monthly Members’ Meeting.

Jerry will explain the purpose of this educational organization, their goals and the circumstances leading to this false legal accusation. George Kane, the Secretary of the Minnesota Atheists, will ask Jerry for keen insights into the ethics of exit education, the interference into the right-to-die by the religious “moral” organizations and about plans to fight this legal persecution.

Produced by Minnesota Atheists. Interview by George Kane. Hosted by Stephanie Zvan. Directed by Mike Haubrich.

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Listen to AM 950 KTNF on Sunday at 9 a.m. Central to hear Atheists Talk, produced by Minnesota Atheists. Stream live online. Call the studio at 952-946-6205 or email us at radio@mnatheists.org.

Negotiables

Having been mostly away from the internet for the last couple of weeks, I’m late to the party as usual, but I still think there’s something that needs to be said about the reception that Sheril of The Intersection received at Discover Blogs. Well, not so much about the reception itself. Sheril said just about everything that needed to be said about that. Scicurious’s take on the incident is well worth reading, as well, as is DrugMonkey’s commentary on why this should and does matter to men too.

So after all that, and everything else that’s been said, what’s left to talk about? Maybe the fact that every single time a discussion like this occurs, someone wants to know when compliments are appropriate. Sure, the temptation is there to dismiss the questions as distractions from the discussion at hand, but it is a real question for many people. Some of those comments are honest cris de coeur. And the conflicting responses, plus the occasional “never outside a relationship” aren’t helpful.

The real answer is both blindingly simple and incredibly difficult in practice: it’s negotiable.

Head on over to Quiche Moraine to see me opine on the subject and to find out when and why I repeatedly told a coworker that he was hot.

Trust in Me

What could be better than Siouxsie Sioux singing the best Disney song ever? (‘S okay. Video is Dr. J-safe.)

Trust in Me

You can sleep safe and sound, knowing I am around.