December 17th, 2005


slogging ahead

There's a nice article at debunking a number of Bill O'Reilly's original "Xmas under siege" anecdotes (those he made back in December '04). I don't normally watch Fox News (or any other TV news, except occasionally the Weather Channel), so a lot of this dren is "news" to me. The following, for example, from O'Reilly's December 7, '04 "Talking Points Memo":

Secular progressives realize that America as it is now will never approve of gay marriage, partial birth abortion, euthanasia, legalized drugs, income redistribution through taxation, and many other progressive visions because of religious opposition. But if the secularists can destroy religion in the public arena, the brave new progressive world is a possibility. That's what happened in Canada.

I knew there was a perfectly good reason why I want to move to Vancouver, I just needed Bill O'Reilly to tell me what is was. Oh, and thanks to wishlish for this (I see some of Tom Tomorrow's strips in Creative Loafing, but I hadn't seen this one):

I want to say that there's good news, that the good news is that the Senate has blocked renewal of the Patriot Act which is set to expire at the end of the month, but I'm a little overwhelmed by the bad news — that the vote was 52-47 and that even if Congress allows sixteen of the act's provisions to expire on December 31st, "the act provides that all of its powers continue in effect with respect to any particular foreign intelligence investigation that began before Dec. 31, 2005, or with respect to any particular offense or potential offense that began or occurred before Dec. 31, 2005. In effect, Patriot Act powers would expire Dec. 31 only for new investigations of people whose criminal activity began after Dec. 31 and who were not associated with anyone who was under investigation before Dec. 31." (AP). So let's not all start thinking we're anywhere near out of the woods just yet. There's plenty more fun and games still to come.

The beginning of "Bainbridge" is eluding me. It's the last thing I expected. I thought this story would come with ease. I thought going back to Dancy would be like slipping on a comfortable pair of shoes I'd not worn in a while. Wrong. I think part of it is that I'm afraid of writing "Waycross" all over again, so I'm looking for something more than the frelling plot, some facet of the character I've not yet explored, some new insight. This may well be the last time I write about her, so I want it to be true, I want it to be genuine. Not something I banged out to meet a frelling deadline or because I need to get the story out of the way because I only have a month left to pretty up Daughter of Hounds before it goes off to my editor.

I finally gave up trying to write yesterday, after my second Bailey's, and eventually ended up at Border's on Ponce. And let me tell you, for what it's worth, Xmas certainly isn't under siege at Border's, and more's the pity, too. We were barraged by Xmas muzak. And not just the Santa Claus and Frosty secular crap, either. I'm talking about Jesusy Xmas muzak. There's nothing quite so surreal as browsing through Alestair Crowley while some unseen speaker is coughing up a particularly treacly rendition of "The Little Drummer Boy." But I did pick up a very cool book from the Weta Workshop, The World of Kong : A Natural History of Skull Island. Which is just what it says, a fictional natural history compiled by a number of scientific expeditions to the island after Carl Denham's discovery of it and before tectonic forces dragged it to the bottom of the sea. The artwork is gorgeous, the beasts are grand, and this book is going some ways towards satiating my desire to see more of Skull Island. I still say the best part of the movie was the middle. We also picked up the most recent Harry Potter novel, and Spooky got the latest installment in Sang-Sun Park's marvelous The Tarot Cafe manga (TokyoPop). I just wish I could enjoy bookstores the way I used to, before I was a writer.

My thanks to everyone who's taken the time to e-mail or comment in the LJ about Sirenia Digest #1. Clearly, "Madonna Littoralis" was a hit, though no one's mentioned "Untitled 13" yet. I want to remind subscribers that there will be a drawing this month for a free monster doodle sculpture (MDS #5) and that I'm now taking suggestions for the second vignette in Issue #2. It's sort of like taking requests. Is there some subject you'd like to see treated in a vignette? E-mail me at and I might take you up on it. And in reply to the reader who wrote to ask if I'm spending as much time on these vignettes as I did on the vignettes in Frog Toes and Tentacles, yes, of course I am. Actually, "Madonna Littoralis" got a little more attention than most of the FT&T pieces. It took me about four days, all told.

Okay. Let's see what happens next. Open the frelling airlock.

Addendum: something I forgot

We watched The Island last night. On the one hand, this is one of those very rare instances where critics ought to be allowed to employ the word "derivative." The list of films from which The Island lifts everything from plot to design to dialogue are far too numerous to mention. Start with Metropolis, move along to Logan's Run, then Coma, then The Fifth Element and The Matrix, and you start to get the picture. And yet, on the other hand, recognizing that it lacks even a scintilla of that overrated commodity originality, it was still quite enjoyable as the Big Dumb Action Film that it was. I cannot deny that I had fun watching The Island and will not try. It's worth a rental. However, I stand astounded at the fact that films like this have such budgets lavished upon them. Do producers actually watch movies or do they only listen to "high concept" pitches? One must wonder, especially after seeing The Island. Someone thought this was a very intelligent film, and I have to wonder about that, as well.
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