April, 2012

Apr 12

Whose Bubble Am I In?

Bill Maher says Republicans live in “a bubble”; certain information is not allowed in through the bubble, he says. Kind of true, yeah. Naturally, if you suggest this to a conservative they’ll say, “No, it’s liberals who are filtering out facts.”

Still–someone conservative recently said to me, “Obama lied when he said he’d go over budgetary items line by line and eliminate unnecessary ones.” But actually Obama did go over the the budget that way–and he eliminated unnecessary items. This person simply took Fox News’ (or Breitbart, Newsmax, etc) word that Obama didn’t do what he said he’d do. But it’s documented–he did do it. And he is still doing it.

It’s about your information source. Yes, I do think the New York Times is usually fairer than right-wing news sources. Usually is the best we can hope for in a free society.

Apr 12

Purple Brains, Purple Brains

I was in a store recently and they were playing Prince’s “Purple Rain”, a song I know well. Too well. It stuck in my head. Earworm. Something in the brain, really. What’s up with that phenomenon? It’s just another glitch of human brain 1.0 (starting with Homo Sapiens).

I started singing it to my dog but amusing myself by singing, “Purple brains, purple brains” instead of purple rain. Now THAT is stuck in my mind. I’m hearing “purple brains, purple brains” over and over to the tune.

HELP ME I’M TRAPPED IN MY BRAIN. My purple brain…purple brain…

Apr 12

Good Shows Chewed to the Bone By Hungry Hounds

I really suspect there are so many people with the job (or, “job”) of media criticism, that the corrosiveness of over analysis and blind critique can destroy good television shows, undermine perfectly okay movies, killing those projects in the cradle. The internet and cable tv and the plethora of media-fixated publications has created an excess of “critics”. Most of them are just bozos. I’m not opposed to critics. There are smart ones around. I’m opposed to people who are using the position for asshole reasons and don’t really take it seriously. They don’t care what damage they do as long as they made (or think they made) an impression. There’s a whole spreading phenomenon of “off the top of my head” Attention-Deficit media crit out there. . .

Some guy trying to make his name as a media critic, trying to get a job watching things, which is all he’s good at, takes cheap shots at an HBO show, or some other, and if he does it in an infectious way people pick up on it and they say, “Oh I heard that one was a one-trick show.” Or, “its characters are two dimensional.” This is after *one* episode. Shows GROW. Really, a lot of the criticism amounts to, “While this show delivers [four great qualities and entertainment], it fails to deliver pizza.” That is, there’s ONE THING it’s short on.

Well it’s Chinese food, dude, it’s not pizza

Apr 12

To make billions, market a thing as its opposite

When they market smartphones, they suggest, in the ads, that they allow you to connect with life, with the world, where you couldn’t have before; you never have to be disconnected from “the world”, they say, if you buy these things. I see people using them constantly, on street corners, in parks, in stores, around their children. I never saw more disconnected people.

But marketing something as its opposite is an American tradition.

Yes I’m on a computer now. But going out in the world, one should have a relationship to the world, or one shrivels inside.

Apr 12

Obama will Make Mistakes. But HE is not a mistake…

Obama will make mistakes. Sometimes he takes bad advice–Hell he’s got way too much information to sort through. He has been, I think, persuaded to be too tolerant of Monsanto and he’s into Natural Gas as a replacement for other fuels since it pollutes far less…so he listens to the wrong side on fracking. So far he does not seem to be getting the real data on fracking…

But here’s your choice for November: Obama may make mistakes but he is a good man. Romney is *not* a good man. Make your choice.

Apr 12

The Man in the Restaurant

Went into a restaurant for cappucino & light breakfast. . .A man there had a grubby baseball cap, grubby leather coat, hadn’t shaved in three days, looked grumpy, grizzled middle aged. Waitress asked him was he ready to order, he said shortly, “Ain’t ready yet.” Pretty easy to judge this guy as an older working class Republican, not much educated–except for one thing. The man was me.

Apr 12

“EVERYTHING IS BROKEN” except for this review in SCI FI Magazine

From the new SCI FI MAGAZINE review of EVERYTHING IS BROKEN, my most recent novel. Review is by Adam-Troy Castro.

“That staple of cautionary science fiction, the near future, becomes especially ‘near’ in this disaster novel from one of fantastic fiction’s most hard-hitting talents….EVERYTHING IS BROKEN emerges as a violent, vivid, viscerally upsetting and wholly unflinching nightmare of a novel, which profoundly illustrates the very point of having a civilization in the first place, and the risks we undertake by dismantling infrastructure in the name of short term savings. It’s not just a compelling read, but an important one. GRADE A.”

Apr 12

A SONG CALLED YOUTH: The CYBERPUNK TRILOGY. Revised, Updated–all in ONE Volume

A SONG CALLED YOUTH: Eclipse, Eclipse Penumbra, Eclipse Corona by John Shirley…

…Now out as a big fat physical trade paperback, from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and all the usual suspects. Also available, damned cheaply, as an ebook on Kindle, Nook, and so on.

“Avid cyberpunk fans will appreciate this updated edition of a cutting-edge classic.”–Publishers Weekly

“Vivid, dense, powerful imagery…hard to put down!”–Washington Post

“A complex, bizarre, and unique vision of the near future, with a kaleidoscopic mix of politics, pop, and paranoia.” –Bruce Sterling

“John Shirley was cyberpunk’s patient zero, first locus of the virus, certifiably virulent. A Carrier.”–William Gibson

“A Song Called Youth might very well be John Shirley’s signature production, still ringing with the clarion call of a bygone era.”–Asimov’s

“The ‘Eclipse trilogy’ by John Shirley is one of the finest examples of cyberpunk ‘war’ novels available. A mesmerizing dark future setting, coherent intrigue, heavy-duty warfare and lots of characters you care for…it will keep you awake at night.”–Transputer Qasar”


Apr 12

Citizen’s United in Dishonesty

Something chilling on NPR yesterday. Researchers found that the Supreme Court’s “Citizen’s United” decision has spurred congressmen, lawmakers generally, to spend far more of their time stumping for donations; they’re worried about pacs who might come from anywhere taking them down so they’ve got to spend all their time raising money which means more cosiness with lobbyists, more of them basically selling their votes. And more fear of who they might anger if they stand up for principles.

And that’s more proof that “Citizen’s United” is not pro democracy, it’s anti-democracy.

Apr 12

Trampled on at the Easter Egg Hunt

“Mama, I’m scared!”

“You will get out there and you will have FUN! I got up early for this and my head is killing me after that party last night!”

“No Mama don’t push me out in the…aiiiiiieeeee!”

An annual Easter egg hunt in central Georgia has been canceled after organizers say parents became violent while trying to collect eggs for themselves and their children in past years.The Bibb County commissioner says that liability concerns led to the cancellation. In past years, one woman was injured and several children were “trampled on,” he notes.