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Journal: The third time wasn't a charm.

Journal by mcgrew

I've hardly logged on to the internet at all this past week, too busy correcting a mistake software houses frequently do: Trying to rush a project out the door. The fact is, I'm tired of The Paxil Diaries, but I don't want to ship a flawed piece of crap.

The first copy had a messed up cover; my printer's "cover generation wizard" has an interface almost as bad as GIMP. I fixed it and ordered a corrected copy, and a day later as I was converting the .odt to .html I discovered that some of the chapter numbers were wrong and there were no page numbers. I fixed it, resubmitted it and thought "This time it'll be right."

Number three showed up bright and early Thursday morning. I started going over it with a fine toothed comb. Almost halfway through and I started to think I'd be able to release it. The weather got really nice so I decided to read it in Felber's beer garden.

I discovered I was far better at proofreading when I've had a few beers than sober. When I'm sober what the words are saying distracts me from the words themselves, and I read too fast and miss errors.

It was full of errors, many of them whoppers. I marked them drinking, and finished correcting this morning while sober and sent for copy #4. It may be available in a couple of weeks depending on if I find more errors when it comes. I'll upload the book's HTML and PDF versions as soon as I decide I can release it.

Meanwhile, I can get back to Mars, Ho! this week.

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Journal: Democrats playing the race card? Surely as the sun riseth 20

Journal by smitty_one_each
George Will:

"Liberalism has a kind of Tourette Syndrome these days," Will said. "It's constantly saying the words racism and racist. There's an old saying, 'If you have the law on your side, argue the law. If you have the facts on your side, argue the facts. If you have neither, pound the table.' This is pounding the table. There's a kind of intellectual poverty now. Liberalism hasn't had a new idea since the 1960s, except Obamacare, and the country doesn't like it."
"Foreign policy is a shambles from Russia to Iran to Syria to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," he added. "And, the recovery is unprecedentedly bad. So, what do you do? You say anyone who criticizes us is a racist. It's become a joke among young people. You go to a campus where this kind of political correctness reigns and some young person says, 'It looks like it's going to rain.' And, the person next to him looks and says, 'You're a racist.' It's so inappropriate. The constant invocation of this that it is becoming a national mirth."

What does Will mean?:

Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, whose major role is the get House members re-elected, told CNN's "State of the Union" that not all of his Republican colleagues are racist.
"Not all of them, of course not," he said. "But to a significant extent, the Republican base does have elements that are animated by racism."

If Israel isn't dropping specific names/instances, then I don't take him seriously and think he's less than forthright.
In defense of Israel, this is the sort of squishy rhetoric that brought you the ruin of ObamaCare, so at least he's consistent with his party.

And of course the usual sycophants will claim that the URLs go to Unapproved Sites or something. Before you bore me: get a life.

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Journal: Interested in seeing Colbert in a !Report mode 24

Journal by smitty_one_each
I've always liked Colbert. Taking myself too seriously has never been among my otherwise multitudinous shortcomings. Otherwise I couldn't deal with some of the jokers around here at all. Thus, I've always enjoyed Colbert's skewering of his mindless conservative strawman. The strawman certainly isn't real, so what's the harm?
More to the point, Colbert has actual talent. His interviews display a mind that plays chess three moves ahead of the victim, throwing out delightful inversions all over the place.
I think he'll surprise a lot of people on Letterman. I may even try to TiVo an episode, and even watch a couple of minutes.
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Journal: Benghazi 14

Journal by smitty_one_each
Mighty nice of Boehner:

The administration has not told the American people the truth about Benghazi.
We've been going through all of these hearings, having to hold people in contempt, because they've made it impossible to get to the documents.
They have not been forthcoming. They owe the American people the truth.
And when it comes to Benghazi, we've got four Americans who are dead, and their families deserve the truth about what happened. And the administration refuses to tell them the truth.

Well, I sure am glad that I didn't waste any time on a fool's errand reading Pravda on the Hudson (NYT) or "Dingy Harry's Tale of the Fairy" on the topic of Benghazi.
Not that I doubt that Boehner, himself, doesn't know more than HE is telling, too. If he REALLY had his panties abunch, he might have brought HR36 to a vote.

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Journal: Facts are not evidence, to some 25

Journal by smitty_one_each

Hank Aaron equated Republicans who oppose President Barack Obama's policies to the KKK.
Aaron implied that conservatives are racists who now wear "neckties and starched shirts" instead of hoods.
In an interview with USA Today's Bob Nightengale on Tuesday, "Hammerin' Hank" lamented that the country has not progressed far enough on race relations, saying that though the nation has a black president, "President Obama is left with his foot stuck in the mud from all of the Republicans with the way he's treated."

Correlation is not causation, however; the evil Republicans could have been after Hank with the Orbital Mind Control Lasers and forced him to say that.
Also, a vast swath of public figures elected and otherwise who make idiotic statements does not a conspiracy make.
Let's just not go there.

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Journal: Propaganda 'Truth': Opposition to Obama is Racist 62

Journal by smitty_one_each
Emphasis mine:

A few weeks ago, the liberal comedian Bill Maher and conservative strategist and pundit Bill Kristol had a brief spat on Maher's HBO show, putatively over what instigated the tea party but ultimately over the psychic wound that has divided red America and blue America in the Obama years. The rise of the tea party, explained Maher in a let's-get-real moment, closing his eyes for a second the way one does when saying something everybody knows but nobody wants to say, "was about a black president." Both Maher and Kristol carry themselves with a weary cynicism that allows them to jovially spar with ideological rivals, but all of a sudden they both grew earnest and angry. Kristol interjected, shouting, "That's bullshit! That is total bullshit!" After momentarily sputtering, Kristol recovered his calm, but his rare indignation remained, and there was no trace of the smirk he usually wears to distance himself slightly from his talking points. He almost pleaded to Maher, "Even you don't believe that!"
"I totally believe that," Maher responded, which is no doubt true, because every Obama supporter believes deep down, or sometimes right on the surface, that the furious opposition marshaled against the first black president is a reaction to his race. Likewise, every Obama opponent believes with equal fervor that this is not only false but a smear concocted willfully to silence them.

I can only plead my life, having served with Americans of all stripes: I'm not racist. I don't think you can find substantial actual racism much of anywhere (though somebody is always willing to carry a Confederate Battle Flag for a few bucks, I'm sure.)
No, the race card has just been a convenient foil, no more. A bin into which all legitimate criticism can be swept. In a way, one must confess it's been a handy device.

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Journal: An old, ex-liberal, on the state of the Left 27

Journal by smitty_one_each
Roger Simon is a great American:
Interestingly, Simon assumes the "born that way" position on sexuality (I guess his son is gay).
As noted elsewhere, I think that's a rationalization. Then again, we'll see if either of my sons falls prey to this modern deception. I doubt I'd love them less, but I'll likely take it as a personal failure.
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Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Fourteen

Journal by mcgrew

As I was floating back to the pilot room, Tammy was waiting outside her quarters, hanging from the doorway with one hand. "Is Destiny OK?" she said with a worried tone.

"She will be," I said. "A little anoxia." They'd warned us about anoxia in Captain's training and I'd seen it before. "She's in the infirmary getting oxygen. You can see her if you want but she was still unconscious when the robot took her."

"Thanks. I would have thought you'd have stayed with her."

"God knows I'd like nothing better, but I have to make sure we get to Mars alive. We're off course and I have to inspect the ship to make sure it isn't about to blow up or anything. Look, I gotta go," I said as I continued to the pilot room.

We were even farther off course than I'd feared. Now it was a matter of juggling speed and fuel usage to the company's specifications.

Back in the old days, way before my time, these boats weren't so automated. Crews were human rather than robot, and the Captain had to calculate all this stuff by hand, with their primitive computers helping.

Captains had to go to college back then, and some of the crew, too. The Captain had to figure out all that shit almost by hand; he needed to know calculus. Hell, I ain't even took algebra even though I could have in high school.

I made the adjustments the computer read out, and we had gravity again and were going the right way. I didn't look at what gravity was, and it was hard to tell since we'd been so heavy before weightlessness.

The empty crew's quarters were first, then cargo pens. I wondered why they call them that.

"Who is it?" a voice said at my knock. Presumably Kathy, which was the name on the doorplate.

"Captain Knolls. Ship inspection, you girls should be used to this by now."

"Yeah? You should be used to us telling you to fuck off, too."

"Door, open. I can lock you up any time I want, you know. I don't even need no excuse."

"I ain't got no drops, bitch."

I suddenly realized why they called them "pens". They were designed to house any species of animal, and a word Destiny had teased me for using came to mind.

Feral. From what I'd read of Tammy's book, some of these whores were more animal than human, especially when they didn't get their drops. It had driven Billie wild enough that she'd wound up blowing her quarters up, with her in it.

I sighed. "I hope you're lying. From what I found out I'm better off when you have them."

"Well, cough 'em up, Joe!"

I laughed, and replied "I ain't got no drops, bitch!"

I did wonder why they hadn't run out. Where were they getting them? They shouldn't have been able to get them onto the boat in the first place.

Billie's quarters were next. She, along with some fifty odd fellow cargo were confined for the duration. Of course, I just opened the door and entered, taser in hand. This would have been a "brig" back when Captains had diplomas.

The robots had done a good job, but they always did. Except for making coffee. They suck at that. But you couldn't tell that she'd almost burned to death. Well, except that her hair was really short and frizzly.


"I ain't got no drops, bitch."

"Whatever," I sighed, and inspected the quarters. It was obvious she was lying, her eyes gave her away. I wondered again where the drops were coming from.

After hearing "I ain't got no drops, bitch" so many times I didn't even hear it any more I went to inspect the infirmary, the one part of the inspection I looked forward to. I wanted to see how Destiny was.

Tammy was sitting there talking with her. "John!" Destiny said. "Tammy told me you saved my life."

I blushed, and grinned sheepishly. "It's my job."

Tammy laughed. "Bullshit, any other 'cargo' wouldn't have made it. Destiny almost died, and she would have if you weren't moving so frantically. God but you're fast!"

Destiny pulled me close and kissed me. "Thanks, Johnnie," she whispered, then said in a normal voice "go ahead and finish your inspection, I should be able to go home in half an hour. I'll meet you there."

I walked back to the starboard generator and wondered why in the hell I had to do this. I mean, I don't know anything about a fusion generator. There was a stairway to get there, as the generators and engines were on the "bottom" of the boat. It was the "bottom" because the ion engines pushing against the ship pushed everything else the other way. Something about "three laws of thermoses" or something but I think I was hung over that morning's training and don't really remember. Something about actions and opposite reactions or something.

I went over the checklist and checked the first engine. These things were huge and there were a lot of them. A hell of a lot of electricity went through those things.

I had two more engines to go when an alarm went off. "Damned whores, not now!" I thought.

But it wasn't the whores, it was the port generator and I couldn't get in; the computer said it was an inferno in there. Hell, that damned thing should have shut down automatically. I pulled the breaker and there was a sort of thump. Damn. Another trip to the pilot room, we were going to be off course again.

It would have to cool before the robots could start repairing it, if it was repairable at all. Damn, if the other generator went out...

I called Destiny. "Honey, I'm really sorry but this is going to take a while."

"Just Say No." - Nancy Reagan "No." - Ronald Reagan