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June 16, 2005

Rabbit’s friends and relations
Posted by Teresa at 12:05 AM * 22 comments

Er. It’s all the weblogging fashion, now, having multiple authors and guest authors and what-not. We’ve given an extra set of housekeys to Jim Macdonald for the joy of an occasional post, and for his expertise at killing spam and maintaining civil order when we’re not around.

(A fair fraction of what I know about moderating online discussions was learned watching Jim, then known as Yog Sysop, as he rode herd on the GEnie SFRT.)

The shorter Jim Macdonald: novelist, EMT, formerly Navy, permanently Catholic, married to co-author Debra Doyle, four sturdy children, lives ten or fifteen miles south of the Canadian border in the Great North Woods of New Hampshire. Fluent in Middle English. Takes the Scout Oath seriously. Has a sometimes startling acquaintance with armed mayhem. Teaches writing to the young at the Viable Paradise writers’ workshop on Martha’s Vineyard, and online during the rest of the year. Partner and Managing Sysop at SFF Net. Helps hunt down scammers who prey on naive writers. Was chief perpetrator of Atlanta Nights. Good writer. Separate skill: is an accomplished commercial writer-to-order, esp. on short notice. Once wrote a Spider-Man tie-in novel where the first letters of the paragraphs in one chapter spelled out, “The reason this book isn’t very good is that it was written in less than a week.”

Here he is doing something (probably wicked) with Esther Friesner.

We may have further sets of keys made. No hurry.

Comments on Rabbit's friends and relations:
#1 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2005, 04:28 AM:

"Spider-Man", darn it, with a hyphen and a capital M.

#3 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2005, 08:14 AM:

With all due respect to the estimable David Goldfarb:

Who cares?

#4 ::: JamesG ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2005, 08:28 AM:

Who cares?

Spider-Man? Other than that, I can only picture a pale pock faced youth sitting in a basement surrounded by every Spider-Man Comic, graphic novel, book, toy, etc. (and, yes there is a high probability that it is merely a flashback)silently seething as he tries to get past the little M in his heroes name. :)

#5 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2005, 10:02 AM:

My computer spell checker on that project kept trying to change the hero's name to Spider-Person.

#6 ::: Steve Eley ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2005, 11:21 AM:

In Jim news, although it's fairly minor compared to all of his other accomplishments, he and Debra Doyle also have the feature story in this week's Escape Pod.

#7 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2005, 11:37 AM:

I'm sure that Arachno-Dude's name was right in the book and all of the (limited) drafts. I suspect Mr. Macdonald has been beating interstitial capitals out of his name since he learned to spell it and is, therefore, sensitive to the issue.

#8 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2005, 11:45 AM:

Oh yes. I finally got to meet Yog in person at Writer's Weekend last weekend. I was handed a copy of a most magnificent book to admire. And when I put the book down and rested my head on the table because I was helpless with laughter, Debra, who was also there, said, quite accurately, "Chapter 34 strikes again."

#9 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2005, 01:13 PM:

Bill: Is not this community out of all on the planet one where pet peeves touching correct grammar, spelling, and typography may be aired and respected? Which is to say: I care.

(I suspect you may find some people at Howling Curmudgeons who do too.)

To paraphrase Data: "One is his name, the other is not."

#10 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2005, 01:32 PM:

In Steve Eley news, he's the one reading the story. Quite well, too. If only I could get it to download to my computer, thence to be enshrined on my iPod.

#11 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2005, 01:59 PM:

David:

I do respect your opinion, and your towering knowledege of comics. I can't bring myself to care about the hyphen in SpiderHyphenMan. I am, however, open to persuasive arguments.

My own hot buttons are "nucular" and "hacker." Like most people around me, I am likely to say "hot water heater," but I am aware of the redundancy. Teresa has taught me that "supersede" is more correct than "supercede," though I was betrayed by a dictionary long ago. She has also reinforced my convictions about the correctness of the Oxford Comma (with some help from my parents, Ayn Rand and God).

I am neutral on the question of "Batman" versus "The Batman."

#12 ::: Steve Eley ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2005, 02:05 PM:

TexAnne wrote:
In Steve Eley news, he's the one reading the story. Quite well, too. If only I could get it to download to my computer, thence to be enshrined on my iPod.

Thanks, Anne! I won't try to turn this into a podcasting thread, but as a quick aside, if you're having technical problems (and this goes for anyone) please drop us an e-mail any time. Losing listeners because they don't like our content is fair. Losing listeners because the technology is a pain in the ass is unacceptable, and we'll do our best to prevent it.

#13 ::: Steve Eley ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2005, 02:09 PM:

Bill Higgins:
My own hot buttons are "nucular" and "hacker."

When I was but a wee lad dialing into BBSes, I used to pronounce "sysop" with a long "i," even after I learned it was wrong. The word always reminded me of "Cyclops," and I wanted to celebrate the similarity.

#14 ::: Greg Morrow ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2005, 03:45 PM:

Bill:

Though I don't speak for all Howling Curmudgeons, I will have to chime in on David's side: It's "Spider-Man", one hyphen, two capital letters, and it matters.

To be perhaps a little grandiose about it, I think that it's a basic human dignity to be called what you choose to be called. Mormons are, for example, Christians, because they call themselves Christians, even if most other Christians would call them non-Christian.

My friend Pete Vonder Haar's last name is another example: If you don't spell it with that particular spacing and capitalization, you've simply gotten it wrong, and that is disrespectful to him.

Extrapolating the principal to fictional characters is admittedly more marginal, but even as the claim to human dignity wanes, the call of orthodox orthography remains at least as strong.

Plus, it's a fact thing; David and I happen to be expert comics nerds, so we know certain details, which, when wrong, stand out to us. A beam jockey would notice and care if someone mistypes some fact about the Main Injector just the same, I would expect.

#15 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2005, 04:12 PM:

Good thing that musical group "The The" never became superheroes, or spawned a graphic novel. Maybe because their name is so hard to properly google.

#16 ::: Steve Eley ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2005, 04:17 PM:

JVP:
Good thing that musical group "The The" never became superheroes, or spawned a graphic novel. Maybe because their name is so hard to properly google.

It also breaks Wikipedia.

#17 ::: Steve Eley ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2005, 04:21 PM:

(Oh, wait, it doesn't break Wikipedia, that was a sporadic server error. My bad.)

#18 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2005, 07:37 PM:

Steve Eley: When I was but a wee lad dialing into BBSes, I used to pronounce "sysop" with a long "i,"

I've heard of under-read D&D'ers who speak of "die-tees" and "geeses".

Given the expression in that photo, it's almost certain they're doing something wicked; given Esther, my question is whether the proper response would be a howl of anguish or a butterfly net.

#19 ::: S. Dawson ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2005, 08:27 PM:

(with some help from my parents, Ayn Rand and God)

You did that on purpose, right? I've never seen the potential confusion between the appositive and listing functions of commas demonstrated quite so well, though I could've done without the mental image of the Annunciation of Ayn Rand.

#20 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2005, 09:21 PM:

... the Annunciation of Ayn Rand.

"Please, lady, no smoking next to the manger."

#21 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2005, 05:13 AM:

S. Dawson: Of course it was done on purpose; this phrase is the classic argument in favor of the serial comma. Originally it was a book dedication -- at least supposedly, as nobody I know has ever managed to track down the title and author of the book.

Rob Hansen once spotted a TV listing in The Times of London which contained a reference to "Nelson Mandela, an 800-year-old demigod and a dildo collector." This is more baroque than "my parents, Ayn Rand and God" but has the advantage of being known to have really been published.

#22 ::: S. Dawson ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2005, 07:29 AM:

Thank you for introducing me to it; I'd never seen it before, but no, I didn't seriously think it might have been accidental.

"Please, lady, no smoking next to the manger."

Yeah, something like that. Think a medieval altarpiece with a black-and-white photo of Rand's head (preferably oversized) and a cigarette mentally Photoshopped in.

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