Friday, May 23, 2008

I'm baaack!-- links & previews

Spent the last couple of weeks doing a proposal, outline, and sample chapters, for a book I hope will take me back to Kazakhstan. Let's hope that this turns out better than the last (still in limbo.)

But despite brokeness and worry some good stuff has been happening, to say the least. Not only have my readers kept me in books, but more or less by accident I have gotten-- free!-- both a dream bird and what may be the best shotgun-- quite literally-- yet.

I have books by Harry Crews, Peter Matthiessen, Colin Simms, J. P. S. Brown, from readers and bloggers and writers-- Matt, Doc Hypercube, David Zincavage, Lauren the eagler, and more. I have dino books and poetry and memoirs and falconry books. All will get at least a short discussion here soon.

(A couple of things have vanished from my Amazon list and not shown up, by the way-- Monster Hunter and the James McMurtry album. If anyone has sent them, let me know.)

And here are a few links to tantalize or infuriate.

Writers Life: New Mexico science fiction writer Walter Jon Williams has just posted what may be the best description of contemporary publishing I have yet seen. It is hilarious but it ain't funny. Sample:

"One of the things they teach you at Toyota Camp is that for every step in the process in which something can go wrong--- for every committee, or editor, or art director, or copy-editor, or distributor--- that stands between the writer and the reading public, the odds of something going totally, hideously, horribly pear-shaped somewhere in the process does not increase arithmetically, but geometrically.

"So if there are, say, seven potential roadblocks between the author and the reader, the effective number of roadblocks aren't seven, but forty-nine. Because friction begets more friction, basically.

"(I have to say, as a personal note, that this theory explains the fate of my last seven novels rather well.)"

There is a LOT more-- RTWT of course.

More Writer's Life, passed on by Chas; a quote from Betsy Lerner: "The great paradox of the writer’s life is how much time he spends alone trying to connect with other people."

Writer's Life in contemporary New York? This glimpse of narcissism with nothing behind it is terrifying. If that is what it takes to be a writer today I am in even more trouble than I think...

Natural History, science & such. Why are the huskies that run the Iditarod fatigue- proof? I suspect other dogs are too, or can be-- tazis in their native lands, for instance, where they are hunted from horseback.

There once was a giant legless hedgehog. If this post had appeared on 1 April I would not have believed it!

Jonathan Hanson writes re Arizona jaguars: "Did you know that the male that was videotaped in the Baboquivaris while we lived there was subsequently tracked via camera for ELEVEN years? And that up to 20 percent of the feces of jaguars in AZ comprises cougar?" !! More on this later in the week I hope.

Moving not quite away from natural history but toward gastronomy: in England, eat an alien gray squirrel to preserve the red ones (who probably taste fine too.)

Environment: while we wring our hands and weep over how we are the worst, the Han Empire continues to foul its nest and everybody else's. (Nor is the source some right- wing anti- commie rag.)

The Atomic Nerds explain a hard truth:

"Grain is easier and more economical to grow, transport, store, and process than healthy fruits and vegetables are, which is why more people farm it, which is why they are the biggest and meanest section of the agricultural lobby, which is why getting the USDA to use food stamps to twist the arms of the poor into healthy choices is like getting the Crips and the Bloods to spearhead an effort to stamp out crack."

Could our side finally be getting the word out? Mike Spies notes the first Mainstream Big Media story AGAINST mandatory spay neuter!

Pluvi wants to get some ink. I think it's a lovely design myself, but some readers are not so sure.

Maybe they are thinking of tattoos like these. Some of these just might be the worst on earth. I mean, it is a tossup between the smoking unicorns having sex and the tattooed dolphin with the bong, though the wookie with the bad Chewbacca on his shaved arm has a certain je ne sais quoi.

Enough of this madness! I'll post preview pix of hawk and gun soon, the get beter ones and some tales.


Sled Dog Action Coalition said...

All Iditarod dogs aren't capable of great endurance. Newspaper articles and musher books often tell about tired dogs and dogs who are too worn out to race. During the 2007 Iditarod, the Associated Press reported that eyewitnesses saw Ramy Brooks kick and beat his dogs with a chain when they were too tired to run. In his memoir, "Chasing the Wind," Steve Fossett said he bit his tired lead dog's right ear when he stopped to rest.

The dogs are exhausted by numerous afflictions, including bloody diarrhea, ulcers, viral diseases, pneumonia, lung damage, torn muscles and tendons, frostbite of the penis and scrotum, dehydration and anemia.

Dogs aren't machines.

Margery Glickman
Sled Dog Action Coalition,

dr. hypercube said...

I loved the bong-hittin' dolphin - the smoke out of the blowhole was a nice touch - perhaps a mashup: hot dope-smokin' dolphin on cigarette smokin' unicorn action! (With fuel injection... fuel injection... fuel injection - thank you, Mothers).

Tech note on Ms. Glickman's comment - she may or may not circle back to look at replies. I was a bit curious and plugged the NYT article into Technorati. Similar (in at least 1 case dupe) comments from Glickman here, here and here. Not quibbling with her desire to advocate for what she thinks is right - just wanted others to know that it may be less of a dialogue than you might think.

Mark Churchill said...

I hesitate to even dignify Ms. Glickman's comments with a response, but I'm not sure that silence is the best option. Her group's statement (from their website) that "the dogs get little rest or sleep" is simply not true. Most Iditarod teams match rest time to running time (e.g., six hours running, six hours rest). As for the claim that mushers "force" the dogs to run and that "no dog wants to run so far and so fast", that simply doesn't match what I've seen of working sled dogs. Dogs enjoy what they're bred to do; mushers don't have to force their dogs to run any more than I have to "force" my dachshunds (or Steve his sighthounds) to pursue rabbits.

I notice also that Ms. Glickman only told half of the Ramy Brooks story, leaving out the part about his being banned from the Iditarod and largely shunned by his former competitors.

I do agree, however, with this statement: "Dogs aren't machines." In the case of Iditarod dogs, they are elite athletes—subject to injury and illness like their human counterparts, but also capable of overcoming these obstacles. Most mushers (and I suspect all of the good ones) are in awe of their dogs' capabilities, and consider them partners and, yes, friends rather than "machines".

Moro Rogers said...

The China article was interesting, although I didn't like how it seemed to implicate Confucianism for all this crap.

Steve Bodio said...

I agree Moro-- I suspect Mother Jones is uneasy about its former complicity with Maoism.