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August 27, 2011

Novelist Has Whole Shitty World Plotted Out

Yeah, this hits a little too close to home. Novelist Has Whole Shitty World Plotted Out | The Onion - America's Finest News Source
GLOUCESTER, MA—As he neared completion this week on his latest novel, By The Water's Edge, author Edward Milligan marveled aloud to reporters how he was able to flesh out, in meticulous detail, every single corner of his book's vast and stunningly shitty world. According to Milligan, he spent seven months conducting in-depth historical research in order to conjure, as if out of thin air, the fictional and entirely bullshit universe of Connor's Cove, Massachusetts, including its utterly uninspired lighthouse, the predictably dark underbelly lurking beneath its quaint exterior, and its painfully trite main thoroughfare known as Chance Street. "As an author, my job is to use my gift for detail to construct a sense of place so real that readers will almost feel as though they can step inside of it and walk around," said Milligan, who spent weeks mapping out the entire genealogy of the fictional founders of Connor's Cove, from their completely uninteresting origins all the way to their somehow even more mind-numbingly dull present-day progeny. "Every shop, every house, every inhabitant has a function within this little microcosm I've dreamed up." "I believe that, by immersing themselves fully in the story, readers will actually become a part of Connor's Cove, in a sense," the author added incorrectly. . . .
*Thanks, Jeff!*

It's disgraceful when public schools depend on handouts

When Schools Depend on Handouts - NYTimes.com
. . . At least 23 states have made huge cuts to public education spending this year, and school districts are scrambling to find ways to cope. School foundations, parent-teacher organizations and local education funds supported by business groups and residents contribute at least $4 billion per year to help public schools throughout the country. In New York City, families and philanthropies are asked to pay for classroom supplies and music and art lessons. In Lakeland, Fla., a church provided $5,000 worth of supplies for an elementary school’s resource room, and paid for math and English tutors. The board of the Los Angeles Unified School District voted in December to accept corporate sponsorships and to allow the placement of corporate logos on cafeteria walls and in ball fields. Many schools that have already reduced hours, increased class sizes and eliminated electives are also now charging fees for workbooks, use of lab equipment and other basic instructional materials; extracurricular activities long considered essential are now available only to students who can afford them. In Medina, Ohio, The Wall Street Journal reported, it now costs $660 for a child to play on a high school sports team, $200 to join the concert choir and $50 to act in the school play. High school students in Overland Park, Kan., pay a $120 “activity programming fee” and a $100 “learning resources fee.” In Naperville, Ill., they are charged textbook and workbook fees, even for basic requirements like English and French, according to The Chicago Tribune. In some cases, students from impoverished backgrounds are exempted from these payments if the class is required, but must pay for Advanced Placement courses or sports and other extracurricular activities. If they can’t pay, they miss out. . . .

August 25, 2011

The Frank Miller test, women in fiction, and the role of prostitues in Sci-Fi

Worth reading, but I will only excerpt the test bit because it is inspired. Also, I totally disagree with her regarding the Iron Council. That book is pure shit. aaru tuesday: 1958
I would like to propose a measure called The Frank Miller Test. It will test how much male sci-fi writers are obsessed with whores; if the proportion of female sex workers to neutrally presented female people in his story is above 1:1, he fails.

Mark Twain on the French Revoltion and unforgivable state of affairs that preceded it

'That Older and Real Terror' - Ta-Nehisi Coates - Personal - The Atlantic
Why, it was like reading about France and the French, before the ever memorable and blessed Revolution, which swept a thousand years of such villany away in one swift tidal-wave of blood--one: a settlement of that hoary debt in the proportion of half a drop of blood for each hogshead of it that had been pressed by slow tortures out of that people in the weary stretch of ten centuries of wrong and shame and misery the like of which was not to be mated but in hell. There were two 'Reigns of Terror,' if we would but remember it and consider it; the one wrought murder in hot passion, the other in heartless cold blood; the one lasted mere months, the other had lasted a thousand years; the one inflicted death upon ten thousand persons, the other upon a hundred millions; but our shudders are all for the 'horrors' of the minor Terror, the momentary Terror, so to speak; whereas, what is the horror of swift death by the axe, compared with lifelong death from hunger, cold, insult, cruelty, and heart-break? What is swift death by lightning compared with death by slow fire at the stake? A city cemetery could contain the coffins filled by that brief Terror which we have all been so diligently taught to shiver at and mourn over; but all France could hardly contain the coffins filled by that older and real Terror--that unspeakably bitter and awful Terror which none of us has been taught to see in its vastness or pity as it deserves.