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February 23, 2010

When someone claims they were the double-secret pilot of the Enola Gay maybe you shouldn't just take their word for it

MOBYLIVES -- Talk about fraud The author failed to check out the guy's story and now everyone involved has egg on their faces and is tossing blame around.
It’s a publisher’s worst nightmare: A new book from Holt about the atom bomb attack on Hiroshima, Japan, The Last Train from Hiroshima by Charles Pellegrino, has gotten off to an amazing start, winning critical acclaim for “its heartbreaking portrayals of the bomb’s survivors,” landing on the New York Times bestseller list, and being selected by Avatar director James Cameron as his next film project. One reason for the book’s huge launch: a startling revelation of “a secret accident with the atom bomb that killed one American and irradiated others and greatly reduced the weapon’s destructive power.” Here comes the nightmare part: That startling revelation has proven to be a lie made up by an impostor who was one of the author’s key sources for the book, leading to a “national outcry,’ according to a New York Times report by William J. Broad. Joseph Fuoco described himself to author Pellegrino as “a last-minute substitute on one of the two observation planes that escorted the Enola Gay,” the infamous bomber on the run, says the Times. Fuoco, who died in 2008, said he replaced flight engineer James R. Corliss when he took sick just before take-off. All of which was quickly proven false by Corliss’ family, surviving flight crew members, other historians and numerous government photographs and documents.

February 20, 2010

Ten authors give ten rules for writing fiction

Ten rules for writing fiction | Books | guardian.co.uk These three are from Elmore Leonard. Click through for the rest and for rules from Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood and more.
3 Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue. The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But "said" is far less intrusive than "grumbled", "gasped", "cautioned", "lied". I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with "she asseverated" and had to stop reading and go to the dictionary. 4 Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said" . . . he admonished gravely. To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) is a mortal sin. The writer is now exposing himself in earnest, using a word that distracts and can interrupt the rhythm of the exchange. I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances "full of rape and adverbs". 5 Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.

February 19, 2010

Detroit Public Schools now straight-up training kids to work at Walmart

Walmart offers job training via DPS | freep.com | Detroit Free Press
The Detroit Public Schools have teamed up with Walmart Stores to provide job training and entry-level, afterschool jobs to students at four high schools. . . . Students will get 11 weeks of job-readiness training during the school day and 10 high school credits for the class and work experience. Sean Vann, principal at Douglass, said 30 students at that school will get jobs at Walmart. He said the program will allow students an opportunity to earn money and to be exposed to people from different cultures - since all of the stores are in the suburbs. Donna Stern, a national coordinator for the activist group known as BAMN, attended the assembly at Douglass and objected to the program. “They’re going to train students to be subservient workers,” she said. “This is not why parents send them to school, to learn how to work for Walmart.”

February 17, 2010

Flowchart: How to succeed as an Ayn Rand character

How to Succeed as an Ayn Rand Character Flowchart -- Cynical-C Blog

February 16, 2010

Students attack UC costs with Yes Men-inspired pranks

Students sharpen attack on UC costs with satire
It's also been a satirically dramatic year, thanks to the UC Movement for Efficient Privatization, a fledgling group of mostly grad students in business attire that uses humor tinged with sarcasm to lampoon UC officials. Their own name is an example. Many UC students believe leaps in tuition and reduced state funding are turning the public university into a private institution. The UC Movement for Efficient Privatization says, "Why not?" . . . On Thursday, UCMeP organized a dozen or so people into a Student Counter-Activist Brigade, or SCAB, to film an instructional video on better ways to cross a picket line than using police batons, widely perceived to have backfired last fall. Using a Trojan horse, for example. Or having Moses part the sea of demonstrators. The group expects such skills will come in handy on March 4 when students and faculty across California plan large demonstrations for public education.