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November 13, 2006

Anthraces cargo scandal
Posted by Teresa at 10:14 PM * 213 comments

Charles Conrad Castagna, the recently arrested wanna-be anthrax terrorist who sent threatening letters laced with white powder to Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, David Letterman, Jon Stewart, and Keith Olbermann, turns out to have seriously stupid opinions about science fiction. He also turns to be a regular at Free Republic, where—no surprise—he says a lot of dumb things. Here’s his Freeper-bio:

I am a lifelong Conservative Republican .

I have an Associates Degree in the Science of Electronics .

Ann Coulter is a Goddess and I worship Laura Ingraham and Michele Malkin .

English is the langauge of the United States of America- - our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution are written in the langauge that expresses our civilized freedoms .

Spanish is the language of Banana Republics, beyond that it belongs in a European country.

And what kind of name is “Charles Conrad Castagna”, hmmmm?

(Come to think of it, I know the answer: it’s an anagram of SCARCE GONADS, CHARLATAN.)

I take it he doesn’t think that English belongs in a European country.

Sadly, No! has been having a fine time with this story—once, twice, and again—but so far my favorite writer on this subject has been David Neiwert at Orcinus. That’s because he says hey, this guy really is a terrorist, even though he’s not a very good one; and he points out that the pundits and websites that feed a constant stream of hate, lies, and eliminationist rhetoric to vulnerable losers like Castagna are very much at fault as well.

Granted, journalists aren’t responsible for the people who decide to listen to them. Neither can they control the reactions of everyone in their audience. All true—but also not the point. Castagna’s reactions are precisely the ones Faux News and Free Republic have been shooting for all along. We may think ourselves lucky that the guy who blew up this time is a terminal dork who couldn’t get an audition with the Legion of Substitute Heroes; but that’s chance, not exculpation.

And now it’s time to make fun of Castagna’s opinions about science fiction, as expressed in a letter to Science Fiction Weekly in late August of 2002. I’ll take my best shot at interpreting it:

SF Has No Space for PC

With the passing away of Lexx ends an intriguing albeit smarmy experiment in sci-fantasy.

Greetings, fraki.
One that breaks with conventions, or should I say, cliches of TV sci-fi of the ’90s. The politically correct pabulum, the multicultural indoctrination, the Bladerunner motifs, and not the least—the steroid mutated superbabes that can punch the lights out of men, but never get punched back in return!?
Does this guy have issues, or what? I take it some female character on an SF show makes him feel like his Favorite Thing is about to shrivel up and disappear into his body. He resents this, so he blames the liberals.

Here’s the script for his transactions with the far right: Castagna is whiny and resentful over the world treating like an unattractively whiny and resentful little git. He feels that someone else should be to blame for it. The far right, knowing that losers like Castagna exist, is perfectly willing to tell him that it’s the liberals who are at fault. He and his chosen masters have one thing in common: they don’t care whether the story is true or not. The right wants to tell it, and he wants to believe it.

I’m not sure which female character set him off. River Tam (punches but is not punched) and Starbuck (her cigar is bigger than yours) hadn’t appeared yet. He might have been ticked about late-season Buffy, but that show wasn’t science fiction. Perhaps it was someone on Star Trek. Or Babylon-5. Or something else.

And speaking of women who never get mistreated anywhere near as badly as they mistreat others, it’s got to be some kind of a hoot that this guy thinks Ann Coulter is a goddess.

How about creating a new sci-fi anthology with none of the puerile baggage of Rod Serling, Gene Roddenberry, Rockne O’ Bannon, etc., etc. It is time to end their reign of Left-wing innuendo, their anti-American, anti-mankind cynicism and fatalism.
Cynicism, fatalism, anti-Americanism, Gene Roddenberry? The man who did more to kill off cheap nihilistic post-holocaust SF than anyone else in the history of the genre? Who once wrote an episode which climaxes with the reciting of the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution? Whatever Castagna’s talking about, it’s not science fiction as we know it.

(Or, to steal a riff from Seth Breidbart: “Alexander the Great, Black Death in Europe in 1347, Neil Armstrong in 1969. And which timeline are you from?”)

Let us create a future of infinite possibilities devoid of the agenda of the social engineers who work their corruption on us through the one-way world of television (kind of how the liberal-left have always worked).
Liberals and leftists, fangs and horns and pitchforks, check. See above on blaming Faux News and Free Republic. That’s one of their favorite lies.
A world where anything is possible but not everything is possible. Anything can happen, but not all things can happen at once. That is what time is for, to keep all things from happening at the same moment. That shall be the only rule of our new fantasy world. That an event happens only once. What has been done, cannot be undone. There is no turning back the sands of time. You can review the past but you cannot change the past.
“We’re in power. We’re going to run things our way, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Resistance is futile. Furthermore, I want you to stop fighting back because it scares me.”

(Okay, so I’m guessing. You tell me what that passage means. I dare you.)

That a vision of a possible future, to the present, must be taken in the context of the present. A cosmos not governed by compassion or tolerance or equality, but common sense and merit. A universe of strange and totally new lifeforms and not distorted reflections of human characters in our present world, just to make some social allegory—that is the insipid barren road of Political Correctness that sci-fi entertainment has been a slave to for so many years. The future is not the current events of our world thrown into outer space.
If he were writing that today, I’d be sure he was upset about the recent Battlestar Galactica storyline; but given the date of his letter, I can’t tell what he’s talking about. Star Trek, maybe.
The future is not with the Liberals, not with the Multiculturalists (both hate America), …
Another lie from the far right’s Mighty Wurlitzer o’ Hate. If this were Germany in 1939, Castagna would be just as happy to explain that it’s all the Jews’ fault.

It’s like that thing I said once about Spanish Prisoner con games: not only is it not necessary for the prisoner to exist; it isn’t necessary for Spain to exist. The transaction is between the person who’s telling the story and the person who’s listening and believing it. You could substitute Venusians, or Muggletonians, or Walloons, and as long as both parties agree that those people are indeed the subject of the story, the transaction will work out exactly as it did before.

… and it is certainly not to be found in Canada!
That must mean he doesn’t read William Gibson, Cory Doctorow, Robert Charles Wilson, Candace Jane Dorsey, Rob Sawyer, Yves Meynard, John Clute, Geoff Ryman, Peter Watts, Donald Kingsbury, Judith Merrill, S. M. Stirling, Gordon R. Dickson, Spider Robinson, Phyllis Gotlieb, Michael G. Coney, or A. E. Van Vogt, and he definitely doesn’t read Elisabeth Vonarburg, Joel Champetier, Francine Pelletier, or Daniel Sernine.

Congratulations, Canada, on your national ice-igloo!

The future is not written, the future is unformed.
“I won’t, and you can’t make me.”

It’s been well established since time immemorial (1964) that you can’t actually kick someone out of science fiction fandom. Perhaps we can send Mr. Castagna many attractive and pleasurable works of mainstream fiction, and hope it sticks.

(Thank you, Protected Static.)

Comments on Anthraces cargo scandal:
#1 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 10:32 PM:

Maybe he has read Spider Robinson, and hated it.

My favorite part is "the Science of Electronics".

#2 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 10:34 PM:

TNH: I suspected that this was something you'd want to sink your teeth into. ;-)

#3 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 10:36 PM:

And then brush them afterward.

#4 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 10:42 PM:

I think you've nailed it, TNH. This is marginal man, angered at his marginalisation, and seeking a fantasy of power to justify his existence. I wonder if liberals, not to mention women, are actually real to him or just blanks onto which he projects his angers and inadequacies?

This is the 'Hitler' of The Iron Dream, impotent in reality creating the fantasy of his perfection and power. Only, of course, he went beyond this into crime.

I wonder what his fellow rightists have to say about this. Why do I expect that they will be eloquently silent?

#5 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 10:45 PM:

Teresa, I offer my prescription-strength antibacterial mouthwash. It's potent enough to make your gums ache, but in cases like this, the tears in your eyes are worth it to feel really, really clean again.

Bets on how long it takes this guy to show up, and how much candy there is in him?

#6 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 11:06 PM:

How about creating a new sci-fi anthology with none of the puerile baggage of Rod Serling...

A world where anything is possible but not everything is possible. Anything can happen, but not all things can happen at once.

How, um, Serlingesque :-)

#7 ::: Chris Lawson ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 11:14 PM:

Teresa, I think the show he was talking about was the one in his intro: Lexx. He obviously identifies himself with Stanley the useless cleaner whose only break in life was to fortuitously absorb the key to the most powerful spaceship in the universe...but still can't get girls to be nice to him.

And I think you misunderstand his point. He's saying that Gibson, Doctorow, etc., etc., don't write proper science fiction because they write about "compassion, tolerance, and equality" rather than the correct theme of science fiction, which is "common sense and merit." Gor books are SF, see, but not Le Guin. The reason why you miss his point is that you are not a deranged loser.

#8 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 11:17 PM:

The idea that SF can possibly be seen as "anti-mankind cynicism and fatalism" chills me to the bone. Then again, in my mind, fandom is and always will be the image in Fans!

Yes, I'm a hopeless and unredeemable optimist.

#9 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 11:24 PM:

Hey, let's take up a collection and buy him the Compleat Works of E.E. "Doc" Smith to read in prison!

* * *

"and how much candy there is in him?"

Whoa. Saturday Morning Lazing on the Couch Flashback.

#10 ::: Anthony Ha ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 11:27 PM:

Cynicism, fatalism, anti-Americanism, Gene Roddenberry?

This made me choke. I guess he thinks that if you say it with enough force, logic doesn't matter. Gee, I've never seen that tactic used in political debate before ...

#11 ::: Karl Parakenings ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 11:29 PM:

I humbly accept Teresa's congratulations on behalf of all Canadians.

#12 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 11:30 PM:

Does anyone else get the impression that he doesn't like reading books?

Yes, he uses the word "anthology", and quite a few other long ones, but it's a sort of book that's thin on the ground these days. It's an odd word to use, and could refer to The Twilight Zone as compared to Star Trek, rather than anything written.

But I'm probably reading too much into this guy's babbling.

#13 ::: India ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 11:33 PM:

Oh, Teresa! Please don't write things like "it's an anagram of SCARCE GONADS, CHARLATAN." You made me pound on my laptop. I could have broken it, and then I wouldn't have been able to read the rest of the post until tomorrow, at work.

Okay, I guess you can write them, but maybe warn us, so we can take appropriate safety measures.

#14 ::: Peter Hentges ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 11:36 PM:

"And what kind of name is �Charles Conrad Castagna�, hmmmm?"

Once again, we see that conservatism is the philosphy of self-hatred.

#15 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 11:53 PM:

Good heavens. The sole letter I've ever written to scifi.com was a response to that nattering no-nads. (Also there are replies by Brian Patterson and Matt Frey.) It's not my most eloquent (Rush Limbaugh hisownself ranted for ten on-air minutes about an op-ed I wrote; truly, the pen is mightier than the OxyContin), but ol' Chad got under my collar. Though not with anonymous white powder, granted. May he find himself in a prison block where "anything can happen" ... but not all at once.

#16 ::: Annalee Flower Horne ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 11:58 PM:

oh man... Ms. Nielsen Hayden, many thanks for this post, but I think it might benefit from a beverage warning. SCARCE GONADS, CHARLATAN= V8 Splash all over the monitor. Sweetened carrot juice, yo. That stuff is dangerous (and streaky. Mostly just streaky).

Thanks for bringing the snark, though. If we all disown him, does that count as kicking him out of fandom? He doesn't seem to have too far to fall, what with how he seems to loathe all things fandom to begin with.

#17 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 12:06 AM:

Oh, and right now the phrase "the Republic of Chad" just makes me giggle.

#18 ::: Tom S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 12:31 AM:

Sigh. Keith Olberman just described this sad loser as a "sci-fi buff."

OTOH, it also turns out that Olberman was one of the targets, so I'll forgive him this time.

#19 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 12:44 AM:

I'm glad he said Sci-Fi and not SF.

I think of Fellers Like That as soreheads; perpetually, habitually, and neurotically angry and resentful.

#20 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 01:13 AM:

Castegna:
"A world where anything is possible but not everything is possible. Anything can happen, but not all things can happen at once. That is what time is for, to keep all things from happening at the same moment. That shall be the only rule of our new fantasy world. That an event happens only once. What has been done, cannot be undone. There is no turning back the sands of time. You can review the past but you cannot change the past."

www.timecube.com:
"Humans are educated stupid Word Animals,
creating a Word God and Word World, thus
inflicting singularity as mange upon Nature.
Singularity educators are unfit to even live.
Wisdom is a Cubic measure of Knowledge.
Via Cubic Wisdom, I am the wisest human.
Mind must see Cube eyes can't comprehend.
Time Cube impose 4 corners on Earth sphere.
Earth sphere is Cubic with rounded corners."

Seperated at birth?

#21 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 01:17 AM:

I am a lifelong Conservative Republican .
I have an Associates Degree in the Science of Electronics .

Hi, Avram, that "Science of Electronics" caught my attention, too. Whatever ever happened to e.g. "Electronic Technology." Was it paper out of a mail order diploma mill or something, I wonder... Note there's attribution of where it's from or how much he might have paid for it....

Ann Coulter is a Goddess and I worship Laura Ingraham and Michele Malkin . English is the langauge of the United States of America- - our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution are written in the langauge that expresses our civilized freedoms .

Does he think that the Bible's written in English, too, I wonder?

Spanish is the language of Banana Republics, beyond that it belongs in a European country.

ROLFMAO! Apparently it fails to occur to him that the Spanish came over before any British colonies got established in North America.

Perhaps he should be sentenced to watching Zorro reruns and allowed only books written by Joanna Russ, Chip Delany, Melissa Scott, Ted Sturgeon, Stranger in Strange Land, and maybe some Barry Malzberg novels...

#22 ::: Evan Goer ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 01:28 AM:

Very strange. In the timeline I'm from (Alexander the Great, Black Death in Europe in 1351, Apollo 11 exploded on takeoff) these hate-spewing eliminationist websites you speak of don't exist at all! And so in my timeline, Charles Conrad Castagna spends his copious free time pestering physics professors with his 486-page (and growing) manifesto about how General Relativity really works.

From what little I've heard, I must say I like my timeline much better than your timeline... even with the untimely loss of Neil Armstrong, Colonel Buzz Aldrin, and Colonel Jacqueline "Jackie" Cochran.

#23 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 01:45 AM:

Given his mention of Rockne O'Bannon, I would guess that Aeryn Sun is also on his shit list for being not only a strong woman, but humanity through the dark mirror.

#24 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 01:51 AM:

"Alexander the Great, Black Death in Europe in 1347, Neil Armstrong in 1966. And which timeline are you from?"

A timeline where the space programme paid off slightly later, it seems..

More seriously, I guess it was only a matter of time before one of the legion of the perpertually angry rightwing sf fans went and put one of their fantasies into action; I'm surprised it took so long. I'm also glad it's not a name I recognise.

#25 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 01:54 AM:

Sigh...y'know, Pohl & Kornbluth, unhappy ad-men both, described the practice of trolling for psychologically disabled people through the mass media, not exactly this--theirs was much scarier--but close, in The Space Merchants published in 1952 or so. Castanaga, the poor scary schmuck, is just delusional--what they used to call paranoid--, that's all. But he watched sci-fi (he doesn't seem to have read much), and we live in an sfnal world, so his delusions are science fictional in character.

As for the people who go trolling for psychopaths...I think that will be a crime eventually; it already is, sometimes. But crime or no it's an awesomely unethical thing, and deserves all the censure we can heap on it. And it occurs to me to wonder...how many of the al-Qaeda terrorists are more competent versions of Castagana? Isn't trolling for psychopaths what the mullahs do when they pound their pulpits, or for that matter what Haggard used to do?

Every now and again, I start feeling a sick sense of how horribly the world is fucked up. I'm feeling it now. It's not the cruel and competent ones who leave me feeling this way--they just get me angry--it's the poor ineffectual dangerous schmucks like Castanaga. The waste--!

#26 ::: Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 02:53 AM:

Congratulations, Canada, on your national ice-igloo!

...a phrase popularized by Rick Mercer on the show This Hour Has 22 Minutes, which was produced by Salter Street Films of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

That wasn't Salter Street's biggest moneymaker, though. Go on, guess what their big television success was. I dare you.

#27 ::: Glenn ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 03:14 AM:

I think Castagna's "not to be found in Canada" crack refers to the fact that a vast number of SF/F shows, from the '90's to the present, are made in Canada.

X-Files, Millennium, Highlander, Outer Limits, Welcome to Paradox, Stargate: SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis, Earth: Final Conflict, Andromeda, Smallville, Galactica and many others were all produced here in Kanuckistan. As was LEXX of course -- a German/British/Canadian co-production shot in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Do you think Mr. Castagna might feel a tiny bit threatened by this?

#28 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 03:24 AM:

Go on, guess what their big television success was. I dare you.

OK, now that's just damned freaky.

#29 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 03:30 AM:

I'm not sure what a "langauge" is (some piece of networking hardware?), but if he wants to make English the official one, it's no skin off my nose...

#30 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 03:32 AM:

Two thoughts:

1. He probably does read Steve Stirling and thinks the Draka are the heroes. If you've never seen Steve's screeds on what he thinks of such readers, you have missed a real treat.

2. Of course someone like this guy would hate Roddenberry. Never mind what they did on original Trek: Next Generation abolished money and treated its absence as a good thing, and put an empath in a position of authority on the ship's bridge. Then Deep Space Nine deepened the wound by treating the one dedicated commercialist as comic relief. None of the newer series are kind to capitalism, nationalism, or anything else a Freeper is likely to hold as fundamental values. And they would know that in interviews around the launch of ST:TNG, Roddenberry and some of the cast spoke favorably of socialism in real life as well as fiction. The horror, the horror.

#31 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 03:41 AM:

That is what time is for, to keep all things from happening at the same moment. That shall be the only rule of our new fantasy world. That an event happens only once. What has been done, cannot be undone. There is no turning back the sands of time. You can review the past but you cannot change the past.

If you skip his initial sentences, I think he's just saying that he doesn't like the sort of time travel story in which time travellers are able to change the past, and thus the present. It might be the only thing he said which falls into what I'd call the ordinary range of tastes.

#25: Randolph--I don't think the mullahs (and "mullah" probably isn't a good word for that bunch--there are plenty of mullahs who don't do that sort of thing) troll for psychopaths, or at least all the research I've read about says that suicide bombers are sociologically indistinguishable from normal people, though the folks who talk them into being suicide bombers may not be.

As far as I can tell, being vulnerable to getting talked into killing and dying for your group (even if neither actually does any good) is solidly part of being normal. Maybe it shouldn't be, but that's the species we're stuck with.

#32 ::: A. J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 04:22 AM:

That shall be the only rule of our new fantasy world. That an event happens only once. What has been done, cannot be undone. There is no turning back the sands of time. You can review the past but you cannot change the past.

At a guess, perhaps he's irate with the idea that history repeats itself. He's right to be, I suppose. I would be, if I were in his place -- fascists, even armchair fascists, usually go out in ignominious implosions of bad ideas.

But remember he calls it a fantasy world.

#33 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 04:48 AM:

Hey, no badmouthing of Kara Starbuck! She rules.

As for that bizarre quote "A world where anything is possible but not everything is possible,"... well, it certainly sounds a bit schizophrenic. Repressed, and repressive.

#34 ::: Martin ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 04:52 AM:

I'm not sure which female character set him off.

Sounds like it was Dark Angel that got his goat.

#35 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 05:37 AM:

There is a way to kick him out of Fandom. A quorum of fans has to repeat the phrase "we reject him -- NOT one of us -- gooble, gobble" over and over until the deed is done.

#36 ::: Gag Halfrunt ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 06:54 AM:
As was LEXX of course -- a German/British/Canadian co-production shot in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Yes, Castagna somehow failed to notice that his favourite show was a nefarious conspiracy between the Euroweenies and Soviet Canukistan. No doubt his head would explode if he read the end credits.
#37 ::: Zander ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 07:01 AM:

Just because someone thinks compassion, tolerance and equality are bad things doesn't mean we shouldn't treat them with compassion, tolerance and equality. Indeed, I think it makes it all the more necessary that we do. Kicking this poor, misguided soul out of fandom, were it possible, would only give him something else to kvetch about. We should maybe cluster round him, offer him chicken soup, and make it clear that we want to understand how he went so terribly, terribly wrong, and help him gently back to the path of true wisdom. For one thing, he'd hate it. :)

I looked down the comments to the Free Republic post, and here for your edification is the self-confessed extent of his acquaintance with written science fiction:
_________________________________
I have only read the works and short stories of:

H G Wells
EE Doc Smith
Larry Niven
Robert Heinlein
AE van Vogt
Issac Asimov(Second Foundation, History of the Greeks)
Edgar Allen Poe(Facts in the Case of Mr Valdemaar)
John W Cambell Jr(Who Goes There?)
Arthur C. Clarke(Exile of the Eons)
Dean R Koontz (Phantoms)
____________________________________

Presumably he re-reads them a lot...

#38 ::: G. Jules ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 07:20 AM:

Actually, I'd put a vote in for Babylon 5 as the show that inspired parts of the batshit. The strong women (Ivanova!), the multi-culturalism, the aliens-who-reflect-aspects-of-ourselves... yeah, that'd be my vote.

Ivanova kicks ass. Too bad she's fictional, and therefore can't be convinced to kick this guy's ass.

#39 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 07:36 AM:

I have only read the works and short stories of: ...

How much has he really read by Wells? (And has he read ALL of Heinlein?)

Not that I have read everything by Wells, but all the scientific romances seem to be making "social allegories". Also, is he aware that Wells was a socialist?

I'm not even sure where to start with what he appears to have read (and misread) by Heinlein.

#40 ::: lalouve ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 07:37 AM:

He reminds me of a review of Buffy I read somewhere, which included the complaint that she was too itty-bitty a girl to kick the ass of adult men. My reaction was mostly along the lines of 'what part of "superhero" is untelligible to you?' but I am now struck by the horrifying thought that there may be two people like Castagna out there. Or maybe he just writes under different noms-de-plume?

#41 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 07:47 AM:

And what kind of name is Charles Conrad Castagna, hmmmm?

Maybe he's related to Carlos Castaneda. Then again maybe not.

#42 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 07:50 AM:

he definitely doesn't read Elisabeth Vonarburg, Joel Champetier, Francine Pelletier, or Daniel Sernine.

I've got to send this to Elisabeth, and she can pass that on to Joel, Francine and Daniel. I'm sure they'll all be quite hurt that Castagnettes doesn't read their prose.

#43 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 07:55 AM:

India, does that mean I shouldn't point out the title of the post?

Karl Parakenings: Thank you. I was hoping someone would get that.

Mark (15), I went and read your letter, and in the process was illuminated: Castagna favors "...a cosmos not governed by compassion or tolerance or equality, but common sense and merit," because he imagines that he possesses common sense and merit. He is of course a fool. In the kind of world his chosen masters would build, those that have would get, and common sense and merit would be rewarded meagrely if at all.

Steve (20): Dilute! Dilute!

Anticorium (26), what Michael Roberts said. And by the way, Rick Mercer's Talking To Americans made me laugh until my sides were sore.

Bruce (30), Patrick has a longstanding theory that Star Trek takes place in an alternate timeline in which the Soviet Union prevailed.

Serge (42), I figured they weren't exactly pining him.

#44 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 08:04 AM:

Oh, I agree, Teresa. I've known them, especially Elisabeth, for a long time and they definitely wouldn't be pining for him. I can well imagine what Elisabeth's reaction will be when I pass this on to her. Probably something along the line of...

Bwahahahahah!!!

#45 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 08:34 AM:

A cosmos not governed by compassion or tolerance or equality, but common sense and merit.

Sounds like a member of the Cult Of Ayn Rand to me. Care to take bets he masturbates to the rape scene in The Fountainhead?

#47 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 08:51 AM:

Fantastic post, T. I'll just be passing off your words as my own in talking about this guy elsewhere.

"The future is not written" means, I think, I don't have time to read books, and anyway it's too hard.

And that list of authors! Just as expected, only he left off Jerry Pournelle, who I was sure would be there. It's a pity that the guy is now in jail, or else I'd email him to point out that Isaac Asimov was a Socialist. On the other hand, he said he as reading "Issac Asimov", so maybe it's someone else.

And maybe someone should mention to him that English is a European language too?

#48 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 09:22 AM:

Evan @ 22 -- I reacted very strongly to your very short SF story there, which pushed all my buttons so well as it came out of left field that I genuinely couldn't tell if I was laughing or crying.

It's really bizarre that while what I have always loved about alternate history is the chance to get timelines like yours, yet when I wrote one it was an everything-worse one.

#49 ::: "Fair and Balanced" Dave ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 09:30 AM:

Actually, I'd put a vote in for Babylon 5 as the show that inspired parts of the batshit. The strong women (Ivanova!), the multi-culturalism, the aliens-who-reflect-aspects-of-ourselves... yeah, that'd be my vote.

Ivanova also came "out" in the third season (IIRC) of the show.

#50 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 09:33 AM:

Now, it would be wrong of me to write a sentence referring to the phrases "steroid-mutated" and "Ann Coulter is a goddess". So I won't.

But what, exactly, is an Associate Degree?

And, incidentally, the phrase "trolling for psychos" reminds me of Bruce Sterling's "Distraction" - the automated enemies list that had identified thousands of Net nutcases, and spammed them with encouragements to kill the people on the enemies list...

#43: Does that make Spock the political officer? Because I've always wondered exactly what his job was. It's supposedly something like "Science Officer", but he has way more authority than that suggests...

#51 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 09:34 AM:

I wonder how many nerdy girls turned him down... Hell, even nerds have standards.

#52 ::: lalouve ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 09:40 AM:

ajay, I think an associate degree is what you get after a two-year course at a community college - but then I'm not American so I could be wrong.

#53 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 09:42 AM:

You can still be wrong even if you are American, lalouve...

#54 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 09:45 AM:

#53: But in this case she's not wrong, ajay.

#55 ::: Maia Cowan ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 09:49 AM:

"A cosmos not governed by compassion or tolerance or equality, but common sense and merit."

Oh lawzy. I bet he worships Ayn Rand, too.

What a loser.

#56 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 09:49 AM:

The future is not the current events of our world thrown into outer space.

No, but that sure makes a good story, doesn't it? :)

#57 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 09:56 AM:

The future is not the current events of our world thrown into outer space.

They're thrown into space, not projected? His synonym-finder needs to account for context.

#58 ::: Francis ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:00 AM:

He probably does read Steve Stirling and thinks the Draka are the heroes.

O_o

If you've never seen Steve's screeds on what he thinks of such readers, you have missed a real treat.

Do you have a link? (I've tried googling but to no avail).

#59 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:11 AM:

The future is not the current events of our world thrown into outer space.

Well, I can think of one more current event, well actually person, I'd like to have thrown into outer space.

#60 ::: CD318 ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:11 AM:

The Travis Bickle of SF fandom. Eeeeew.

#61 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:13 AM:

Well, I can think of one more current event, well actually person, I'd like to have thrown into outer space.

In space, no one can hear you explode, Steve. That reminds me I haven't watched the DVD of Outland in a long time.

#62 ::: Will A ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:21 AM:

Dumb question: What happened in 1964 to disgrace fandom? Was some whacknut shouting "Down with Ming!" in the streets and attacking Asian-Americans?

#63 ::: India ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:21 AM:

No, Teresa--the title of the post is harmless, as it does not contain the words "scarce gonads."

(On the Internet, nobody knows that you're a twelve-year-old boy.)

#64 ::: Evan Goer ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:31 AM:

It's really bizarre that while what I have always loved about alternate history is the chance to get timelines like yours, yet when I wrote one it was an everything-worse one.

Jo, you'll be happy to know that after reading your everything-worse one, I was sufficiently creeped out that I had to run off and read Tooth and Claw again to cleanse the palate. So if you're thinking of writing a some-things-better one, that sounds like a fabulous idea to me...

#65 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:33 AM:

Serge, for some reason the song, "Pop goes the weasle" is running through my head. I don't know why. :)

#66 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:37 AM:
Maybe he has read Spider Robinson, and hated it.

The sad thing is, if you took Castagna's opinions, gave them a shower and wiped the spittle off their face, Robinson would agree with a lot of them. Robinson is a peculiar historical anomaly, somehow managing to combine hippy-dippy big hug luv with Heinleinian authoritarianism disguised as libertarianism, and he certainly thinks sf is supposed to be positive and forward-looking and optimistic and all that. If you want to see Robinson descend to these depths (albeit with fifty more IQ points), read his reviews of Triton and We Who Are About To... .

#67 ::: Chryss ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:37 AM:

Of course he hates Rod Serling! Rod Serling went to that known leftie spawning ground Antioch College! A place that eagerly embraces the slogan "Bootcamp for the Revolution!" A place that values compassion, tolerance, and equality! A place where--at every graduation--they recite the words of known Leftist Horace Mann: "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity." MADNESS, I TELL YOU!

It's also my alma mater, and I just found out I'm on the alumni board. WHOOT! (Does happy dance)

#68 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:40 AM:

I'm reasonably sure that he really, really hates Farscape -- the date and details of his screed line up nicely, especially that Farscape is notably a setting "governed by compassion [and] tolerance [and] equality", a setting where lacking those qualities and laboring for "realpolitik", "common sense", or the sort of reductionist "merit" he probably means, makes you fail, fail, fail.

Also, if memory serves, Farscape started around the time of Lexx and did better timewise, critically, and fanbasewise. (Checking wiki shows I'm basically right, at least as far as US airings go.)

#69 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:43 AM:

#31 Nancy, that's my point...Castanaga's abnormalities may lie mainly in is being isolated and not that bright. Someone who's isolated has no-one to tell him he's buying into lies; someone who isn't bright has trouble recognizing lies. And the combination is likely to make a person ornery, too. Believe enough lies and, sure enough, that's delusional. The situation with the suicide bombers is a bit different, but only a bit; there the entire social environment is deceptive.

I don't see the point in piling on the man; he's no longer a threat and he's in all kinds of hot water. Unfortunately, he's likely to be out in a few years, and still a problem; there aren't legal or social devices for dealing with this kind of psychological disability. The people who trolled him, now, they're another matter. And as for his effects on the rep of sf...for some people he's just going to be proof that we're all delusional, and for them every attempt to distance ourselves is just going to connect us more. Oh, well. Personally, I like my castle in the air--how 'bout you?

#70 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:45 AM:

#62: Google "Walter Breen".

#71 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:51 AM:

Steve... You're insulting weasels.

#72 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:59 AM:

Scraps: Robinson is a peculiar historical anomaly, somehow managing to combine hippy-dippy big hug luv with Heinleinian authoritarianism disguised as libertarianism

I don't know that I'd call Heinlein authoritarian. He is at times, but he's anti-authoritarian at others. One of the things that makes his work interesting is the tension between Heinlein-the-elitist and Heinlein-the-populist.

Sadly, many of his fans just pick up on one of these. Robinson, in particular, has a strong anti-intellectual streak that he wraps up in faux-Heinleinian folksiness.

#73 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:03 AM:

Is there any relevance to the fact that 'castagna' is Italian for 'chestnut'?

#74 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:04 AM:

Is it true that Spider Robinson wound up in Canada to dodge the draft? That's not a criticism. That's what I had heard a long time ago and so could never understand the connection to Heinlein, who was big on one's military duty.

#75 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:11 AM:

Martin: Sounds like it was Dark Angel that got his goat.

For some reason, I was positive it was Xena.*


*Yes, Xena got punched back plenty. I'm betting his selective vision blacked out those parts.
Also that he easily mentally converted a fantasy show to "liberals' idea of SF." He just seems the type.

#76 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:13 AM:

Serge, could be worse, I could be insulting to weasles.

To all the weasles out there, I appologize for comparing you, only in my mind, to Charles Conrad Castagna. I clearly only meant to compare him to a fly infested, worm infused, molded, mildewed, scrap of rotten banana! Or a network executive.

What? What did I say now?

#77 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:14 AM:

Serge (@74): As I understand it, Robinson wound up in Canada partly because he fell in love with the Maritimes on first visit, while working a dead-end job on Long Island (NY state), and partly because he fell in love with a Canadian.

Scraps (@66): do you have URLs for those Robinson reviews, or do I ask Velma to tuck them in her bag when she comes up here for apple cakelings?

#78 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:15 AM:

Avram, you're right, I worded that carelessly.

#79 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:25 AM:

Thanks for the correction about Spider Robinson, Vicki.

#80 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:25 AM:

Come and meet nice Doctor Zaius, Steve...

#81 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:28 AM:

I don't know if the Robinson reviews are online. They originally appeared in Galaxy; I don't know whether they ever appeared anywhere else. So, um, I guess inviting people to read them wasn't all that useful. (I don't have most of my prozines anymore.)

#82 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:31 AM:

The sad thing is, if you took Castagna's opinions, gave them a shower and wiped the spittle off their face,

Scraps makes me laugh out loud. But that's also a good point, which is not to say that I think Spider is any kind of whack-job.

Chryss, Antiochians rule. Congratulations.

#83 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:35 AM:

And did you know that the late America-hater Rod Serling was involved in the campaign to take the Philippines away from Japan? I understand he didn't have a good time, especially when a supply drop fell right on top of one of his best friends.

#84 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:37 AM:

Does Spider Robinson have a problem with mutated superbabes? Maybe he'd like to meet Natasha Hentsridge.

#85 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:38 AM:

Serge, well, at least "Pop goes the upstanding, socially redeemable member of the Mustela family" is no longer going through my head.

It's been replaced by "I wanna be like you" from Disney's Jungle Book.

"Now I'm the king of the swingers, the jungle VIP."

#86 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:45 AM:

Now I'm the king of the swingers

Thanks, Steve. Now I have this image of Tarzan in a disco suit.

#87 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:50 AM:

Avram (@72) - That's almost what I wanted to say about Heinlein being on Castagna's list, but much better put.

Steve (@76) - I discovered the other day that half my DNA is the same as that of a banana. So I'm only half insulted.

#88 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:55 AM:

I discovered the other day that half my DNA is the same as that of a banana. So I'm only half insulted.

That, Neil, reminds me of a purposefully silly issue of Marvel's "What If" comic-book. It asked what if the Fantastic Four had been fruits instead of people. Instead of the Human Torch, they wound up with a Banana Flambe.

#89 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 12:02 PM:

Neil (#87), then I half apologize.

Serge (#86), if you wish to see John Travolta in "Saturday Night Fever" that's your own thing.

What? What did I say now? Oh bother.

#90 ::: Chryss ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 12:03 PM:

Serge (@88): Not Bananas Foster?

#91 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 12:06 PM:

I'd rather not see John Revolta in anything, Steve. Except maybe in Carrie, where Sissy Spacek blows up the car he's in.

#92 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 12:13 PM:

Through the miracle of videotape, I just finished watching Olbermann's segment on White Powder Man, and couldn't help noticing that the news camera shots that lingered on the door and window of the perp's dwelling place was showing what looked for all the world like a basement apartment. Who lives upstairs? Mom?

#93 ::: Northland ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 12:14 PM:

Darn, I was all set to humbly accept Teresa's congratulations and Karl (#11) beat me to it.

I will, however, say that I look forward to the cessation of time Castagna posits happening up here. Perhaps he read "Muffin Explains Teleology to the World at Large"?

#94 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 12:21 PM:

'87: I discovered the other day that half my DNA is the same as that of a banana.

Ah, a banana split.

#95 ::: colin roald ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 12:34 PM:

#26: Go on, guess what their big television success was. I dare you.

Hah! That would be Lexx.

Unless they count as having a hand in Trailer Park Boys, after having been swallowed up by Alliance Atlantis.

#96 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 12:35 PM:

ajay (#94), Dagnabit, there's another theme song going through my head now. It's like a crazy Count von Count from Sesame Street on psychedelic drugs.

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four."

#97 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 12:38 PM:

Steve... Remember the Hannah-Barbera show of the Sixties, The Banana Splits? Yeah, me too, unfortunately.

#98 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 12:58 PM:

Serge, yeah, I'm young enough to remember the Sixties, and Seventies (i.e. not old enough to have done things to block them out at the time).

#99 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 01:34 PM:

On Wait, Wait last weekend, the answer to one of the Not My Job questions was that Bob Marley took part of Buffalo Soldier from the Banana Splits theme song.

#100 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 01:36 PM:

Will (62), that's a very long story. The short version of it is that some fans -- a group which unfortunately included some of that year's worldcon committee -- had heard rumors that a prominent fanzine fan living in their area was gay, or a pedophile, or a gay pedophile. They didn't do the sensible thing:

IF:

There's hard evidence of illegal activities.

Report it to the police.
There's no hard evidence, but there are firsthand accounts and/or physical indications that point to a possible problem.
Report it to social services.
There are stories circulating via word of mouth.
Ask your informant why they haven't reported the matter to social services or the police. Suggest that they do so, if they think the matter warrants attention.

It somehow slipped their minds that convention committees are neither law enforcement nor social services nor a part of the judicial system. They sent out a fanzine in which they proposed the "surgical separation" of this individual from fandom. They also cancelled his worldcon membership.

Not surprisingly, this brought on the most catastrophic set of feuds to ever hit fandom. If you want to read more, go here. The "advice" that they quote from their "legal advisor" (they never said "lawyer," and I don't think he was one) is particularly unconvincing.

Years later, the most prominent and vocal member of that faction, who'd been gafiated for most of the intervening time, came out of the closet. It's a funny old world.

#101 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 02:11 PM:

Serge (#83):
And did you know that the late America-hater Rod Serling was involved in the campaign to take the Philippines away from Japan?

And then there're the actions of that oh-so-anti-American Roddenberry. How dare he fly B-17 bombing missions against the Japanese, and earn medals while doing so? What kind of patriot is that, I ask you?

#102 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 02:15 PM:

Really, protected static? I wonder what the Swift Boat Liars for Truth would say to that.

#103 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 03:33 PM:

Isn't trolling for psychopaths what the mullahs do when they pound their pulpits, or for that matter what Haggard used to do?

I drew a pair of Haggards- Merle and H.Rider.

I'm going to lose at Celebrity Poker to three Whitmans (Christine, Walt, and Charles), aren't I?

#104 ::: Scott ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 04:58 PM:

Sandy - Obviously you missed the 4th Whitman I tucked up my sleeve - Slim

(grinning, ducking, and running)

Scott

#105 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 04:58 PM:

By the way, the the AP consistently spells the guy's name Castagana. Bleedin' terrorists with their furrin names.

#106 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 05:00 PM:
Well, I can think of one more current event, well actually person, I'd like to have thrown into outer space.

In space, no one can hear you explode, Steve.

Buh-buh-but NO FAIR! Didn't I just have, like, practically the entire readership of Making Light inform poor misguided me that PEOPLE DON'T EXPLODE IN OUTER SPACE?!
#107 ::: Laurie ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 05:01 PM:

re: #41 #73

What I think of when I see a name like "Charles Conrad Castagna" is that a bunch of British public school types, finding out all the "good places" to ski were already taken, decamped for Abruzzo for a long weekend of drinking and semi-successfully falling down hills, ol' Charlie meets up with one of the locals at one of the "don't we look like a American place? Really!" cheap wine and oddly interpreted burger bars. Nine months later, said local names the kid after the one-night stand, figuring he might be able to track down papa someday, if only that said papa hadn't given the real name of a US Astronaut he saw on an old Nat Geo cover pasted on the restaurant wall.

Okay, maybe it's just the Vicodin (minus an appendix since a couple back)......

#108 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 05:04 PM:

Sure, Nicole, but they definitely did explode within the Reality established by Outland. I know, I know, that Reality also features elite assassins who stop right under surveillance cameras to put high-powered rifles together, and who then proceed to shoot at everything that moves. At which point exploding bodies don't seem like such a big goofup.

#109 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 05:05 PM:

From The Voyage of the Swift Boat:

"There once was a boy named Charles Conrad Castagna, and he almost deserved it."

#110 ::: Michael Maggard ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 05:09 PM:

Regarding “forcible separation from fandom”, see also Walter Breen’s Wikipedia entry, including the discussion portion.

#111 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 05:13 PM:

I think there's limited value in examining the ideas and comments of lunatics to understand their motivating ideology. You might as well read the Unibomber's manifesto to discover the evils of left wing ideology.

The isolation thing is creepy. People evolved as social creatures, and we tend to evaluate our own beliefs and actions and plans based on those of our friends/communities. The potential for a very isolated real-world life, and the way the internet can bring wackos with shared beliefs and ideas together, makes it possible to really amplify a specific set of beliefs--to go from a mild, background anti-black prejudice to a more and more intense hatred of blacks as the root of all American social problems, or to go from a concern about the treatment of animals in labs and factory farms to a willingness to assault people and destroy property to stop it. There's a kind of feedback process that goes on sometimes, where you adjust your sense of "what's a reasonable way to think" based on those around you, and a whole group of you drifts toward more extreme points of view.

This is the flipside of the wonderful ways that the net lets you find communities of interest.

#112 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 06:28 PM:

Oh, well. Outland, outer space, same diff, right? It's all, y'know, out there.

#113 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 06:31 PM:

Yup, Nicole. And it's set on Eye-o. Or is it Ee-o?

#114 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 06:42 PM:

Serge writes in #113:

Yup, Nicole. And it's set on Eye-o. Or is it Ee-o?

After the fashion of most planetary scientists I've heard, I pronounce it "Eye-o." Brother Guy Consolmagno, a planetary scientist himself, pronounces it "Ee-o."

I resolved the inconsistency by explaining to him that "How you pronounce it depends on what part of Io you're from."

#115 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 06:47 PM:

Francis, I'll have to see if I have any of the Stirling rants about Draka lovers archived. Terms like "moral cretins" are abundant.

Patrick's theory about Trek history has much merit, but I most love Mark Jones' claim that US culture was rebuilt after WW3 around the nucleus of senior FEMA officials and their families, who of course survived in their special bunkers.

Albatross, that was really well said about isolation and communities of interest. I think there's a basic responsibility to sometimes ask questions like "What would I do if I'm wrong?" and "How would I tell?"

#116 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 06:55 PM:

Bill Higgins... I myself pronounce it Ee-o because that's how most Latin languages pronounce it. But I like your explanation better.

#117 ::: hamletta ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 07:07 PM:

Serge, yeah, I'm young enough to remember the Sixties, and Seventies (i.e. not old enough to have done things to block them out at the time).

Oh, yeah? Well, I saw them live, man....

#118 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 07:14 PM:

I'm old enough to remember DJ's telling us about new songs by the Beatles. Unfortunately, my mom prefered having the radio on the Guy Lombardo Orchestra.

#119 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 07:24 PM:

# "You say Ee-oh, I say Eye-oh.... " #

#120 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 07:28 PM:

Mitch Wagner... Say, that sounds like a good idea for a masquerade presentation, with Fred Asteroid and Ginger Rotors dueling thru songs while gracefully dancing around the stage.

#121 ::: Den Valdron ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 09:46 PM:

To tell you the truth, I can't actually tell what his stance on Lexx was. He seemed to think it was a good thing. On the other hand, he seemed to be objecting to steroid mutated hyper-babes punching out men without consequence... which was a running theme with Lexx... Ellen Dubin, Eva Haberman, Xenia Seeberg and Louise Wischermann all played mutant, two fisted predator women.

The series was all about frustration - the James Bond super-stud super-man who was both a eunuch and absolutely without ambition or motivation, the underachiever gifted with ultimate power who continues to underachieve, the turbocharged love slave who remains a virgin, the ultimate weapon... ultimately useless. It was the fantasy landscape of a twelve year old, seething with desires but no idea what to do with any of it.

I could almost accept it was one of those shows he hated, except that he doesn't. Or does. I can't imagine that he wouldn't realize the show was Canadian.

As for that stuff about a world based on achievement and merit, I can only report what Jeff Hirschfield, one of the key writers, told me once: "The impulse to heroism is the same impulse to bumbling off a cliff." Lexx in a nutshell.

Everything about the first three seasons seems profoundly antithetical to everything he seemed to believe.

#122 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:02 PM:

# "Ee-yo, Eye-oh, potato, po-tah-to. E I E I O." #

#123 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:04 PM:

Jumping off from # 111.
I like what Pratchett said in Men At Arms about Edward d'Eath:

Individuals aren't naturally paid-up members of the human race, except biologically. They need to be bounced around by the Brownian motion of society, which is a mechanism by which human beings constantly remind one other that they are . . . well . . . human beings.

It's easy to lose perspective if you're surrounded by people that always agree.

#124 ::: JBWoodford ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:09 PM:

Sharon M (#123) wrote:

It's easy to lose perspective if you're surrounded by people that always agree.

Oh, absolutely.

(Someone had to do it....)

#125 ::: sara ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:11 PM:

This is slightly OT, but it's been bothering me for a while.

I liked Tony Daniel's short stories, such as "A Dry, Quiet War" and "Grist," but the novel series developed from "Grist," Metaplanetary and Superluminal, became more and more unreadable.

I still can't decide whether he meant his Napoleonic Wars / Second World War rip-off, with politics that echoed present memes of "appeasement" and "take the war to the enemy," to be ironic in Colbertian fashion avant Colbert, or actually right-wing (libertarian stream).

In any case, it all became less and less real. In RL, Daniel is / was a theatre person, and the artist characters of "Grist" were convincing. The novels are that kind of SF that showcases the technology (worked out in great detail) with cardboardy characters.

#126 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:12 PM:

You nailed it, Mitch.

#127 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:20 PM:

Hamletta (#117), so did I, see it live that is. But as the old quote goes, "If you remember the sixties, you weren't there." Well, I was born in that there decade, and I had an early waking. They sky was bluer then. I remember the smell of pot then, but wasn't old enough, or hip enough, to smoke when I was kindergarten.

Bill Higgins (#114) "I resolved the inconsistency by explaining to him that 'How you pronounce it depends on what part of Io you're from.'"

Ahhh, dagnabit. There's another song!

"I thought you all preferred I-O-Wah."

"We do, but we like to say it I-O-Way."

"Oh, there's nothing halfway about the Io way to greet you, when we greet you, which we may not do at all... So what the heck, you're welcome, glad to have you with us, even though we may not ever mention it again."

#128 ::: Painini ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:28 PM:

I never turn down a dare, so I have to try this paragraph:

A world where anything is possible but not everything is possible. Anything can happen, but not all things can happen at once.

He does, actually, prove the first sentence with the second here. You can't have anything but not everything possible. Words don't, in my (admittedly limited) experience, work that way. Anything allows for everything. Everything includes anything. Perhaps he meant, 'A multitude of possibilities, but each occuring in their order and place.' (It is more likely that he meant, 'I am verrry deep. Go me!')

That is what time is for, to keep all things from happening at the same moment.

Because without time, things would be happening, like me moving the stapler on my desk in the next five seconds... oh, wait.

That shall be the only rule of our new fantasy world. That an event happens only once.

He really prefers one-night-stands?

What has been done, cannot be undone.

He's afraid to take his shoes off, because he may not remember how to retie them. Thus he justifies the smell.

There is no turning back the sands of time.

Metaphores to mumble... mix 'em and cook 'em up in a pile like gumbo.

You can review the past but you cannot change the past.

Since what he's just written was written in the past, he can't go back and fix it in an attempt to make more sense. That's what time is for: to justify letting pseudo-stream-of-consciousness unintentional sophism.

#129 ::: Painini ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:30 PM:

Er, letting... sophism stand. Oy gevalt.

#130 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:42 PM:

That is what time is for, to keep all things from happening at the same moment. That shall be the only rule of our new fantasy world. That an event happens only once. What has been done, cannot be undone. There is no turning back the sands of time. You can review the past but you cannot change the past.

This is actually what I find to be the most lucid and comprehensible paragraph of the rant.

Just watch Voyager for a while until you are ready to hurl the TV, or at least select episode writers, across the room for writing YET ANOTHER episode where at the end of the episode someone goes back in time or fails to go back in time or something so that the whole story never "really" happened.

Any long-running science fiction show gets to do that once; maybe, if the primary focus of the show is time travel they can get away with once every other season, but that's it. I can think of three such Voyager shows off the top of my head.

(You know, excessive Voyager exposure might also explain some of the rest of his rant)

#131 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:01 PM:

What Daniel Said.

I'll add to that: Parallel universes with evil versions of the protagonists, characters who become "out of phase" with their fellows and walk invisibly amoung them until the last scene, characters immured on escape-proof prison planets, Holodeck games gone awry . . . owwww, I'm getting myself depressed.

I'm glad that Trek Brand Comfort Food is out of production. It has nothing to do with political correctness, lady warriors, or the interstellar liberal conspiracy.

#132 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:20 PM:

I'm bothered by that sentence, "There is no turning back the sands of time." The proverbial "sands of time" are contained in hourglasses. You can't prohibit their turning back without making hourglasses into single-use artifacts.

#133 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:31 PM:

Furthermore, I give up: nobody is ever going to notice that "Anthraces cargo scandal" is another anagram of "Charles Conrad Castagna."

#134 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:33 PM:

Oh, Teresa! I did. You already told us. You said "Then I shouldn't point out the title of the thread"—and I kicked myself for not noticing before, but I thought that was the giveaway. Never thought to mention it.

#135 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:34 PM:

Damn. With that last image, Teresa, you have the opening to Days of Our Lives -- which I have never watched! -- in my head. (I saw the opening more than a few times, because my best friend's mom watched it when I was growing up, largely at their house, lo these thirty years agone.) Is there a parallel word to "earworm" for a repeating track that includes video?

#136 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:55 PM:

teresa,

i registered it as soon as i saw the other anagram (cause the da vinci code thread makes me giggle every time the book or movie is mentioned, & really feels like all i need to know about either*).

i just figured everyone is even smarter than me & keeping their knowing silences.

*well, that and "possibly the first incidence in cinematic history of someone speaking latin into a cellphone."

#137 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:58 PM:

also, i still periodically get the phrase "ace dindon lavoir" stuck in my head.

#138 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 12:00 AM:

"steroid mutated superbabes" of the 90s:

gotta be Xena, Warrior Princess, doncha think?

#139 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 12:13 AM:

Teresa writes at #43:

> Steve (20): Dilute! Dilute!

Sorry - was I incoherent?

Just pointing out how Castagna's writing resembles canonical crackpot rantings - and www.timecube.com is the most inspiring crackpot site on the web for me - it's been going forever, it's frequently updated, and it *never* makes a scrap of sense.

The "separated at birth" bit was a reference to an old feature which used to run in Private Eye.

Oops - no, Wikipedia tells me the feature was called "Lookalikes", and that when the American magazine Spy copied it, *they* called it "Separated at Birth".

Who do I trust - wikipedia or my memory? I wouldn't put big money on either, frankly.

#140 ::: nona ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 12:34 AM:

There's nothing *inherently* wrong with using the Official Sci-Fi(TM) Brand Mandatory Plots: evil twins, body-swapping, repeating days, inescapable prisons, and the always-popular It's A Wonderful Life-style what-might-have-been episode. Every genre show worth its salt has done them, and some quite well. Buffy's "The Wish" is a *fantastic* what-might-have-been; Stargate's "Window of Opportunity" is one of the funniest takes on the repeating day I've ever seen, and therefore one of like three episodes of Stargate I'm willing to watch to the end.

The trouble is when *every* episode has a Mandatory Plot(TM). Voyager does not do well, by this measure.

#141 ::: hamletta ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 12:47 AM:

Well, I was born in that there decade, and I had an early waking. They sky was bluer then. I remember the smell of pot then, but wasn't old enough, or hip enough, to smoke when I was kindergarten.

Dude, neither was I. I was talking about the Banana Splits. I saw them live at a race track in the 2nd grade--�Pimlico, I think.

Sorry, shoulda made it clearer what I was talkin' about.

Oh, and about our pal, Mr. Castagana, Radar has the FBI affadavit with all the gory details:

One of the Stewart letters featured a "picture of a recently deceased tsunami victim with a condition known as Priapism, an erect penis on a cadaver." Handwritten on the picture were the words, "Jon Stewart, Fuck Your Wife."

Stay Classy, Katherine Harris supporters!

I will never make that "L" sign on my forehead, ever, ever again!

#142 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 12:48 AM:

On the subject of Repeating Day:

There's a show premiering this week -- "Day Break" -- that I saw a preview of several months ago. (They ran it on an obscure home shopping channel . . . strange business that.) It's an entire show based on the repeating day. Episode after episode of a cop trying to figure out why he's been framed for a crime.

The pilot was pretty good, but I took pains to tell the person who called to get my opinions that I would resent to death a phony and contrieved central mystery, or one that wasn't definitively revealed at some point.

#143 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 01:11 AM:

Steve (139), I understood that you were talking about Castagna as a canonical crackpot, and agreed with your assessment of him. "Dilute! Dilute!" is a major repeating motif in the writings of ur-crackpot Dr. Bronner, a soap manufacturer whose product labels are always densely covered with rants set in crowded nine-point type.

#144 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 01:18 AM:

Stefan @ #142, I've seen that blasted promo about six zillion times while watching "Lost." In fact, "Day Break" is taking "Lost's" timeslot while the latter goes on hiatus till January or February.

One of the myriad of things that's annoyed me about it is that it continually shows the pretty girl but only gives the star's name as a hook to draw you in. What, her name's not recognizable? Neither is his!

(Well, that and I see no particular reason why "Lost" should take 12 or 14 weeks off; I'm already losing my enthusiasm for the show, and I may not come back to it next year. I wonder how many other viewers feel like me.)

#145 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 01:38 AM:

Teresa wrote in #143

> Steve (139), I understood that you were talking about Castagna as a canonical crackpot, and agreed with your assessment of him. "Dilute! Dilute!" is a major repeating motif in the writings of ur-crackpot Dr. Bronner, a soap manufacturer whose product labels are always densely covered with rants set in crowded nine-point type.

Oops. I understand now. I have once been shown a Dr Bronner's label by a friend who brought one back from America, but I neglected to read it all!

I note that you replied to me in #143, EXACTLY 100 POSTS AFTER YOUR FIRST REPLY. I'm sure this has great crackpot significance.

There's a very fine crackpot generator at:

http://contraintes.inria.fr/bin/dada?crackpot.pb

but it's actually more fun to read the script that drives it, at least if you have geek-nature:

http://contraintes.inria.fr/bin/dada?crackpot.pb;m=SRC

#146 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 02:26 AM:

Once again, as I look over this guy's ramblings, I suspect that simple untreated mental illness (that is, genuine biochemical disfunction) underlies a lot of recurring subcultural behavior. The obsession with minutiae and the inability to establish a useful scale of priorities, the deep despair and anger and the conviction that one is seeing more clearly than the happy deluded saps in the world at large, the erratic hours and constant fatigue...I would bet good money I can fill in a lot of other aspects of this guy's life. He needed medication and counseling. But then so do the people he's getting life advice from.

The Unabomber demonstrated the same phenomenon at work in a left-wing subculture: if you find yourself drawn too strongly to constant rage and get stuck in an anhedonic feedback loop, sooner or later genuine violence is going to follow. And is no more an insult to say "part of your body is broken and needs treatment" to that than it would be to someone trying to run marathons with broken legs.

#147 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 03:45 AM:

Apropos of not much, Stirling + crackpots + timelines turned up this association:

In his series that starts with Dies the Fire, he describes a world in which something or someone fracks with the laws of physics so that, long story short, things no longer go boom, zap, or critical in quite the same way on our planet after a certain moment in March of 1998. As the cover blurb for the paperback version puts it, "The lights go out--for good." The survivors take off in all kinds of weird directions.

For one thing, the Unabomber is the revered prophet of a large and powerful religious movement (offstage in the first three books).

It's thumping good storytelling, BTW, and I recommend it to anyone who likes to get lost in fictional worlds.

#148 ::: Gag Halfrunt ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 07:10 AM:
The "separated at birth" bit was a reference to an old feature which used to run in Private Eye.

Oops - no, Wikipedia tells me the feature was called "Lookalikes", and that when the American magazine Spy copied it, *they* called it "Separated at Birth".

That feature, which still exists, is called "Lookalike". It takes the form of a letter, sometimes from a real reader and sometimes from a name that is a running joke in the magazine. The letter always ends with "I wonder if they could be related?" Photos of the two people in question appear above the letter, with the captions swapped.
#149 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 07:32 AM:

Linkmeister... I lost interest in 'Lost' a long time ago. It just seemed to go nowhere and we never seemed to be getting any worthwhile payoffs to this or that big mystery. Meanwhile, stuff like the 4400 gets little attention. At least it's been renewed. Interesting how its season finale could have served as a series finale, with lots of things left open and yet with others resolved. Like Life is.

#150 ::: lalouve ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 07:51 AM:

ajay @ 53 - well, I've tried to tell Americans that myself but it doesn't sound good coming from a European.

#151 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 09:20 AM:

Try prefacing it with "I beseech you in the bowels of Christ" to get their attention...

http://www.olivercromwell.org/quotes1.htm

#152 ::: Martyn Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 09:53 AM:

I realise this is one deeply disturbed bunny here, but one phrase of his rant sticks in my mind. "That's what time is for . . ."

Perhaps he'd like to enlighten us as to what sunlight is for, or gravity, or the colour blue, or anything else on the endless list of 'things' and 'concepts' that are 'for' nothing except their mere existence.

Of course, he could be talking intelligent design here, and giving us all the benefit of his long conversation with God. When I say 'conversation', I mean monologue. When I say 'monologue', I mean relentless diatribe. When I say 'relentless diatribe' I mean I wonder whether God is really that good a listener.

#153 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 10:10 AM:

Allow me to second the recommendation of Dies the Fire. Its sequels are out now, so you can get a whole story, and the first book of the next series comes out next August. It's good stuff (and it has sympathetic pagans, which I am highly in favor of).

#154 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 10:29 AM:

Some of you will already have seen this, but today the San Francisco Chronicle's TV reviewer has a column about Day Break.

#155 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 10:33 AM:

P.S. (for Teresa): Han Scarlet Dragon Caca?

#156 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 10:39 AM:

Thanks for the link, Faren. I still haven't decided whether Goodman's column made me want to see "Day Break" or avoid it like the plague. Besides, "MythBusters" is on tonight, and "Medium" is FINALLY back. True, there is this awesome device called a VCR.

#157 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 10:48 AM:

"That is what time is for, to keep all things from happening at the same moment."

Isn't this just an awkward re-phrasing of the old joke "Time is Nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once"? (Usually attributed to Woody Allen, I think.)

#158 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 11:01 AM:

I thought the time-for-not-everything-happening-at-once was from Buckaroo Banzai...

#159 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 11:41 AM:

a terminal dork who couldn't get an audition with the Legion of Substitute Heroes

Didn't DC once have a group formed by Subs rejects (like Eyeful Ethel, Polecat, and Arm-Fall-Off Boy)?

#160 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 11:45 AM:

Arm-fall-off Boy, Jon? Rather limited possibilities for a crimefighting career. The again, that reminds me of the character in the movie version of Mystery Men whose power is that he can turn invisible, but only when nobody is looking, and that actually came in handy.

#161 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 12:02 PM:

I just watched last night's "Countdown," and my speculation is confirmed. He lives with his parents. The visual is of a basement apartment. "Mom! Did you get me Cheez Doodles? MOM??"

Teresa: I noticed the anagram, but since I only noticed it after something you said (somewhere before #90), I figured the gaff had been tipped already. And because I don't poke in here often enough, I'm a day late and a gaff short.

Why, oh why, oh why, oh? Why did we ever leave Io?

#162 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 12:58 PM:

"Hay-o" is probably how Harry Belafonte would say it.

#163 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 01:37 PM:

I miss anagrams every time. (Another county heard from.)

#164 ::: lalouve ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 02:00 PM:

ajay: like the nice hymn that starts "blessed is the man whose bowels move and melt with passion for the poor.."

#165 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 12:28 AM:

Hello,

I'm sorry, I am short on time and have had no time to read the comments yet. If I duplicate earlier ideas, I most humbly apologize.

But I just HAD to respond to this now.

Let us create a future of infinite possibilities devoid of ..
Okay. To start right here, he obviously doesn't understand "infinite." Infinite is, by definition, unable to be limited.

A world where anything is possible but not everything is possible. Anything can happen, but not all things can happen at once.
All right, everything happening at once is a nifty concept, I can't guarantee that no one has written a story about that, but if they have, it's not one I've heard of ...

On the other hand, could it simply be (based on his other postings) that as he is unable to think and chew gum at the same time, that intelligent storylines with a plot baffle him, and make him think that everything is happening at once?

That is what time is for, to keep all things from happening at the same moment. That shall be the only rule of our new fantasy world. That an event happens only once. What has been done, cannot be undone. There is no turning back the sands of time. You can review the past but you cannot change the past.
(You tell me what that passage means. I dare you.)

Again, just guessing, but I'd say it might mean he wants simple, linear storytelling because he gets confused by flashbacks ...

That a vision of a possible future, to the present, must be taken in the context of the present. A cosmos not governed by compassion or tolerance or equality, but common sense and merit.

On the plus side, we now have confirmation (not that it was needed) that "compassionate conservatism" ain't.


But hey, since he is guilty of (admittedly incompetent) terrorism maybe we can send him to Gitmo and read Eye of Argon at him until he gives us the name of his Conservative co-conspirators ...

#166 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 03:01 AM:

Castagna's reactions are precisely the ones Faux News and Free Republic have been shooting for all along.

I think they learned it from Operation Rescue... who in turn got it from Henry II, I think. "Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?"

He obviously identifies himself with Stanley the useless cleaner whose only break in life was to fortuitously absorb the key to the most powerful spaceship in the universe...but still can't get girls to be nice to him.

And I will bet a steak dinner that he thinks the REAL reason he can't get a date is that he's "too nice, and women only want to date assholes". Never mind that a genuine nice guy wouldn't be sending fake anthrax bombs to anyone. (Or real ones either, for that matter!)

#167 ::: inge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 03:46 AM:

I don't know...

either I'm suffering the deja-vu from hell, or that guy was a lot more influential in fandom that it seems, because things like making a distinction between "anything" and "everything" being possible (as a shorthand for "Make up your world's rules and play by them"), or critizing the lack or imagination shown in just taking some "here and now" and having it take place in space[*] -- those seem very common in criticism of speculative fiction, and I have rarely seen them mocked before.

And the quib "Time exists to keep everything from happening at once." is likely no younger than the one about reality being a crutch for people who can't cope with science fiction.

On second thought, I take option c) The guy's writing is simply highly derivative.


[*] I believe this critique is so common as to have spawned its own ironic typographic conventions, which, unfortunately, I do not remember.

#168 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 07:30 AM:

Lalouve (164): Good one! I'll swap you for "By the light of burning martyrs, Christ, Thy bleeding feet we track."

Inge (167), I myself have made the distinction beetween "anything is possible" and "everything is possible" in a critical essay (the intro to one of Patrick's anthologies), and I was hardly the first to do it. Taking something mundane and and transplanting it unchanged into space -- known as "false exoticism," a.k.a. "calling a rabbit a smeerp" -- is universally derided. What makes Castagna's version nonsensical is that all his sentences happen at once.

#169 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 07:35 AM:

'Call a rabbit a smerp'... That came from Damon Knight, right, Teresa?

#170 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 07:38 AM:

Inge (#167), I think one problem is that he's unclear*. Sure, you can read that into what he said. Or you can read what Teresa did at the top. Or you can read it as a complaint against over-use of time travel.

Or, if it's the introduction to the next paragraph, then it might be saying that we can't fix the mistakes of the past, so why worry about it?

Pedantic Peasant (#165) Infinite is, by definition, unable to be limited.

You're almost certainly right in the way that he uses it. I'm not going to get into set theory and transfinite maths here. But he may be riffing off the Larry Niven quote:

The ways of being human are bounded but infinite


*I'm being polite

#171 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 08:26 AM:

Serge at #169:

I think "calling a rabbit a smeerp" is Blish/Atheling, but I also think Knight quotes it. They were buddies, of course.

#172 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 09:00 AM:

Thanks, Bill. I just did a google search and both Blish and Knight came up as the "smeerp" authors.

#173 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 09:02 AM:

Teresa @132:
I'm bothered by that sentence, "There is no turning back the sands of time." The proverbial "sands of time" are contained in hourglasses. You can't prohibit their turning back without making hourglasses into single-use artifacts.

No, he's recommending that you turn them forward, or perhaps sideways...it's the same control-freakishness as people who insist that there is only one permissible way to hang a roll of toilet paper.

(And @133 - I noticed it. I never commented because I noticed it embarassingly late, and no matter how you turn your hourglass, you can't go back and post a comment in the past. Drat you and your read-only past!)

#174 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 10:10 AM:

TNH @ 133:
I noticed it, too, but half the fun is waiting for someone to make a remark about it. Besides, how often do you get to see a plural of 'anthrax'?

#175 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 10:27 AM:

A cosmos not governed by compassion or tolerance or equality, but common sense and merit.

Why, oh why, do these people always place themselves among the meritorious despite logic and evidence to the contrary?

Oh, that's right.

#176 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 10:31 AM:

Teresa... How do you generate those anagrams? The old-fashioned way? There's probably a web site for that. I'd be curious to run my own name thru and see what comes out.

#177 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 12:57 PM:

175 Aconite:

Yep. I, like all of us, am more-informed, more public-spirited, kinder, and smarter than average. Also better looking, wiser, better-dressed, and a much better driver. We're *all* above average. (Except some of the other people aren't so great at math, but don't tell them I said so. I pride myself on being more tactful than average.)

#178 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 01:44 PM:

Serge - I don't know how Teresa generates her anagrams, but when I need one, I use the Internet Anagram Server. (Which anagrams to I, Rearrangement Servant.)

I just checked, and Making Light will anagram to Gingham Kilt.

#179 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 01:53 PM:

Oliviacw #178: It does work well. I'd recommend it also.

Sincerely,
FORAGED INTEGRALS

#180 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 02:21 PM:

Gingham kilt, oliviacw? My favorite anagram of my full name is "a sexier glum lo". Hmm... What is a 'lo'?

#181 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 02:54 PM:

Serge #180: Hmm... What is a 'lo'?

A poor Indian, obviously.

#182 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 03:08 PM:

Joe Lieberman --> A BOIL JEER MEN

#183 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 04:27 PM:

Serge - your anagram is just not ordered or punctuated properly. Obviously, it should be "Lo! A sexier glum."

#184 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 04:45 PM:

"Lo! A sexier glum."... Much better, oliviacw.

#185 ::: lalouve ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 04:57 PM:

THN at 168 - thank you, I didn't have that one.

Is there something wrong with me for reading 166 as "Will no one rid me of this meddlesome past"?

#186 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 05:31 PM:

I wish I hadn't seen how my name anagrams: WOAD THY JOT!

Eeew.

#187 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 05:48 PM:

...but what of the tittle? What do you do to that?

BAA HINDER LUST (sigh)

#188 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 05:51 PM:

Sheep hinder lust, abi? What was that line from Blazing Saddles? I think it talked of the Wild West as an era when men were Men, so were the women, and the sheep were very afraid.

#189 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 05:54 PM:

I heard that about Australia ("where the men are men and the sheep are scared"). Or maybe Yorkshire.

Naturally, there were many more anagrams, but that one seemed sufficiently silly.

#190 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 06:01 PM:

Actually, the one that I like best is:

HAIR AND SUBTLE

#191 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 07:50 PM:

The most accurate for my name is RENAL JAIL MAY ME

#192 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 08:05 PM:

I do indeed use the Internet Anagram Server. I don't have any clever anagrams of my name because it breaks anagram generators.

#193 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 08:35 PM:

Teresa (#192) writes:

> I don't have any clever anagrams of my name because it breaks anagram generators.

My name (in full form, "Stephen Taylor") is an absurd playground of good anagrams, from
Tory Elephants to Horseplay Tent to Phony Starlet to Telephony Tsar...

I was surprised to find that my daughter, "Hannah Ben" is completely un-anagramable. Not even stupid ones. Perhaps this protects her against certain obscure wordplay based forms of magic...

#194 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 08:57 PM:

I'm bothered by that sentence, "There is no turning back the sands of time." The proverbial "sands of time" are contained in hourglasses. You can't prohibit their turning back without making hourglasses into single-use artifacts.

Oh! I suppose you're right. About the hourglasses, I mean. Huh.

I honestly never thought of that. I always thought of the sands of time blowing through the desert, and covering over ancient civilizations, old ways, most of Ozymandias, you know.

Perhaps that's because of the song in Kismet: "...and over the sands, the silent Sands of Time, they go..."

#195 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 02:07 AM:

By way of sorta steering this back to the original topic (hah!) - Dave Neiwert has posted a nice piece about Ursula Le Guin.

#196 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 06:10 AM:

I don't have any clever anagrams of my name because it breaks anagram generators.

Teresa has a Name of Power.

#197 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 09:28 AM:

There are, of course, dozens and hundreds of anagrams of 'Teresa Nielsen Hayden'. I only looked through the first few hundred, but I have some favorites already.

"See, ye sin, Neanderthal!" That's kind of what Teresa does when she points out how stupid certain people are being...like that guy who wrote all about how the problem is that men need to be meaner to women—while living in his mother's basement.

"These adrenaline yens" speaks for itself.

"Seer analysed the Nine" makes me think of Teresa gazing in a crystal ball with Nazgûl on the couch, talking about their unfortunate childhoods.

#198 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 09:35 AM:

"See, ye sin, Neanderthal!"

I didn't know that Teresa was such a harsh editor...

#199 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 09:50 AM:

Serge: That "Lo!" anagram of your name is quite good, but I've come up with an alternate: "Moxie urges all." No online anagram generator involved, just paper and pen (and a brain steeped -- or pickled -- by years of solving cryptic crossword puzzles).

#200 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 10:36 AM:

"Moxie urges all."

Makes me sound like a Fearless Leader, Faren. I like it. Not a true description of me at all. But, yes, I like it.

#201 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 10:52 AM:

Taking 'Faren Miller' thru the Anagram Generator yields quite a few things about some mean elf. Lots too about frills.

#202 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 11:07 AM:

Gee, what I came up with after a few minutes of doodling was these variations:

Mall Refiner (if I got into Real Estate)

Lean Firmer (insert comma, use in BowFlex ad)

Fallen Rimer (how tragic!)

#203 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 08:22 PM:

The list of anagrams for my full name is too overwhelming for me to contemplate right now, but it did cause me to realize that I really like my full name: Mitchell Seth Wagner.

#204 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 08:34 PM:

Whew. Limiting to 4 words, the best I get for my full name is "Craven Lenten News Banner."

#205 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 11:41 PM:

Cool! If I skip my middle names (Mary Louise) I get 'Argon orb bard' - an intimation of internet immortality, surely.

#206 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 12:59 AM:

hmm, makes me want to search CDs and find the old old old Mac anagramer, it would take whatever you input and output anything it could come up with. Most of it was gibberish, but it was very efficient.

Not sure if it would work on OS X anymore.

#207 ::: Harriet ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 02:58 AM:

Consulting the internet anagram thingie about my full name, I was served up with the title for my new bestseller:

A Thrice Vile Slur, Or
A Chillier Rove Ruts.

[punctuation added]

I consider that, despite its somewhat Victorian flavour, the title alone should guarantee wild success, (who needs book proposals and outlines and suchlike?) and if traditional royalty-paying publishers should scorn my offering, I now know where to find publishers that will treat an author with proper respect. ;-)

#208 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 06:12 AM:

Harriet... I'd rather not think of Rove rutting, no matter what his body temperature.

#209 ::: Harriet ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 11:28 AM:

Serge - LOL! the very notion is clearly A Thrice Vile Slur. Or -- well, just plain Unthinkable ;-)

#210 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2006, 11:35 AM:

Today's Opus gets into the anagram name game.

#211 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 01:47 AM:

As injures I
or
As injuries

Is it a veiled threat?

#212 ::: Stefan Jones suspects spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 07:01 PM:

First timer posting a link? Hmmm.

#213 ::: Lee sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2014, 10:45 AM:

Not even trying, @213.

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