Nomenclature and new additions

A few things. One, there’s five new additions to the Reader Blogroll, (on the right, scroll down), so check them out if you’re so inclined. They are: Bulletproof Pimp, The Psyclop’s Lair, Exile From Hillary’s Village, Liberal Quicksand and the upcoming Guest Blogger of the Week, Animate Matters.

Two, Reader Blogroll is boring, and I’m thinking of changing it to a term I noticed on Desert Cat’s blog, namely, the Voxosphere, except that sounds a bit too possessive, even bordering on demi-derigence. Since, as a good libertarian, I exert as little control as possible over anyone, EVEN, NAY, ESPECIALLY INCLUDING MY ROBOT, this may not be the optimal term.

Share your feelings….

Also, I’m contemplating putting out a collection of short stories. Rowena has been kind enough to provide me with another very pretty cover if I do so, and I’m interested in getting a rough idea of how many people would theoretically be interested in buying a 250-300 page trade paperback for $15. The OC has turned me onto some of the new publishing technologies and so there’s really no concern about being stuck with cartons of books any longer. Two-thirds of the stories would be from the PDB, the other third would be new.

Share your feelings….

And finally, the good news. The new keyboard did the trick and my ubermachine is back in full E-F-F-E-C-T otherwise known as effect. The bad news, however, is that I somehow managed to lose a new short story I’d written recently in my previous attempts to access the partition.

Probably not a bad trade, actually, when you think about it.

Sex ed in Florida

A public school teacher provides a little too much help after class:

[Daniel] Cliatt is accused of raping a 13-year-old repeatedly after school, at school, every day for months. Cocoa police say the 29-year-old, 360-pound sixth grade teacher started by showing the boy pornography, then moved to sex acts, almost 100 of them. That didn’t stop until, police say, another teacher walked into Cliatt’s classroom Friday after school.

“At first, she walked in and didn’t know what she was seeing. But she ran out and grabbed a supervisor,” explained Detective Barbara Matthews, Cocoa Police Department.

Cliatt has been a teacher at Endeavour Elementary School for five years and he’s worked there for 10. The school district is already planning a termination hearing.

Too bad Cliatt doesn’t work in Detroit. He’d still have his teaching job. I’m only surprised the other teacher turned him in.

The not-so-affable Eva Braun

The NYT paints an unflattering portrait of Katie Couric:

Viewers – and most of them are women – like Ms. Couric’s cheeky, easygoing manner; affection grew into admiration after her husband died of colon cancer in 1998 and Ms. Couric made early detection her cause. (In 2000 she underwent a colonoscopy on the program.)

But “Today” has turned her popularity into a Marxist-style cult of personality. The camera fixates on Ms. Couric’s legs during interviews, she performs in innumerable skits and stunts, and her clowning is given center stage even during news events. “Today” hit a low point in July, when Saddam Hussein appeared in a Baghdad courtroom to hear the charges he will face when he goes to trial as a war criminal. All the networks interrupted their programming to show live images of Mr. Hussein – all except NBC. “Today” stayed on Ms. Couric swatting shuttlecocks with the United States Olympic badminton team.

A Marxist-style cult… how very apropos! As some of you may know, I am an anti-democrat as well as being against both the Democratic and National Democratic parties, and the fact that anyone cares even the slightest about what this woman thinks, says or does should suffice to prove the inadequacy of the concept.

I find the cult of the celebrity to be massively distasteful. It is a mistaken conflation; the fact that one of the SF writers I consider to be the most talented and insightful is a blithering cretin when it comes to politics takes absolutely nothing away from my admiration for him or my appreciation for his writing and ideas about the future. But the celebrity cult is a form of demigod worship, as we assign importance and values on the basis of what is often nothing more than physical attractivness or even just familiarity with a friendly fake smile on the television screen.

I hope that the decentralization of the media will lead to the reduction in importance and influence of these celeb-cults. I suppose that’s unlikely, however, since it has always suited the Imperators to make sure the eyes of the people are focused on what is happening in the Coliseum and the Arena, not on the Palatine Hill.

You can’t read this

Apparently those newspaper editors who said my columns were too difficult for their See-Spot-Run readerships weren’t entirely off-base. I ran today’s column through the Readability Index – courtesy of Bane – which rendered the following results:

Gunning Fog Index 14.07
Flesch Reading Ease 46.90
Flesch-Kincaid Grade 9.57

Which apparently means that my column falls somewhere between The Times and The Guardian, both UK papers rated at a Fog Index of 14, and academic papers (15-20). Time Magazine, on the other hand, was rated at 10.

This blog, however, is a rather easier slog, almost translucent in its clarity:

Gunning Fog Index 10.18
Flesch Reading Ease 67.49
Flesch-Kincaid Grade 6.87

Of course, it’s pretty clear that this boils down to little more than how many syllables are in the words one uses. I’ve been a little skeptical of this concept ever since being accused – in print – of showing off by using big words such as “nadir”. That’s right, all five letters and two syllables of it.