Saturday, May 21, 2005

Steal This Link

Mik was kind enough to post a link to the Writer's Blog Survey. If you would like to help generate some interest, please take one and pass it along. Thanks! If you do post a link, please e-mail me, so I can keep you up to date on when (or if, I'm considering a long-term trends analysis) the survey will end.

With enough responses (I'm shooting for 100 right now), I can produce some analysis that will help all of us use our blogs to best advantage. Please note that the survey is not just for writers, but for anyone who reads writers' blogs. Reader input is encouraged and welcomed.

Twisted Writing Prompt

Hold me closer, zombie dancer.

Have fun.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Weekly Weird News

If you've ever tackled a deer in WalMart...


ALIENS CLAIM JACKO IS THEIR SON And they want him back!
That would explain a lot.

I don't know...I kind of prefer the personal touch.

I Love the Sound of Wagner in the Morning

As I was looking for music this morning, Wagner: Greatest Hits (RCA Victor, 60847-2-RG) stuck to my fingers. It's been a long time. Tannhauser, Lohengrin (The Swan Prince, Debra :-) ), Die Walkure, Gotterdammerung, and coffee. That's a good jolt of energy to start the day.

So, I weeded the garden and mulched the okra. I did some much-needed cleaning around the house. Oh, and I sat down and wrote my first review for Green Man Review (Ray Bradbury's Driving Blind). Just sent it off. Hope they like it.

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

I steal them, of course, just like any self-respecting writer.

Thanks to Demented Michelle's conversation with her Hubs about necromancers and strippers for this one. One word: Necrodancer. That could go in a lot of interesting directions, heh heh heh.

Did you ever notice that writers have the oddest conversations?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Apparently Infectious

GAP, or Gay Agenda Paranoia, has apprently spread from Alabama to North Carolina. In this latest outbreak, Representative Walter Jones (R-N.C.) has introduced a bill allowing parents to censor school materials. Under his proposal, a board composed of 5 to 15 parents would review and approve or reject all materials intended for classrooms or school libraries.

Jones's specific target is the book King & King by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland. This is a book targeted at children aged 4-8 that tells the story of 2 princes who fall in love and marry. In the sequel, King & King & Family, they adopt a child.

Jones says: "Parents who bring children into the world should not feel there's a social agenda in their schools." Two things: what exactly is the Gay Agenda that gets right-wing flakes' panties so wadded up and isn't this bill introducing a social agenda of its own?

First, the Gay Agenda (or Homosexual Agenda). Is this it? Could it be that homosexuals want to live in a society that doesn't discriminate against them? Obviously, we can't allow that! What about the purity of our prescious bodily fluids? Good God, think about the children! If we let them think that homosexuality is a valid lifestyle, they'll all turn gay! They may even infect their parents with the notion of tolerance for other people's differing beliefs. That is certainly not what America stands for. America used to be for the WASPs, now we seem to be focused on the WHAMs (White, Heterosexual, and Monogamous, though that last one is kind of shaky).

Or maybe, just maybe, the Homosexual Agenda is really all about this. They want rights? They want equal protection under the law? Horrors! Git yer shotgun, Paw! Them queers is gettin' uppity, agin!

I must be really strange. Well, OK, I know I'm really strange, but I must be even stranger than I imagined. I just think that what consenting adults do amongst themselves is none of my business, as long as they are not harming anyone else. Is this really such a wrong attitude? Oh well, I've been wrong before.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Can't Hold it Any Longer

Reading Silent Bounce this morning, I ran head-on into this post about the Newsweek item about the Koran desecration at Gitmo. I've been stewing over this whole steaming pile of shit for a while now, and I just have to let loose on it before I explode.

Holly makes the point that anyone other than a journalist would face prison time if they were responsible for 17 deaths and over 100 injuries, not to mention how much property damage has occured. She also quotes Stan Lee: "With great power comes great responsibility". Absolutely true.

What Michael Isikoff and John Barry did was reprehensible and totally irresponsible, and they should be held accountable for their actions. Publishing a story so obviously inflammatory without being sure of the facts goes way beyond any bounds of good sense or good journalism. If you are going to write a story that will enrage a billion or so people, you should at least have the sense to verify its accuracy first.

Anyone who has read this blog very long knows that I am a rabid supporter of freedom of speech. However, even I realize that freedom of speech is not freedom to cause damage, injury, and death. The cliched example is shouting "Fire" in a crowded theater. This story is the equivalent of that. Not the "moral" equivalent, but the literal equivalent.

Freedom of speech carries with it the personal responsibility of the speaker for his or her statements. Blaming the misinformation on an anonymous "source" is not acceptable. The journalist is responsible for presenting accurate facts. Negligence and not exercising due diligence have ramifications. There are consequences. Isikoff and Barry were negligent in not verifying their statements and are personally responsible for the consequences. Not just the immediate consequences, either. The shockwaves from this incident will continue to reverberate for a long time. How many American lives will we have to pay with for these men's indiscretion? How many new terrorists have been recruited over the past week? How much will the violence against our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan increase? Charge these costs, too, to the accounts of Michael Isikoff and John Barry.

Newsweek has printed a retraction. This piece is a mealy-mouthed evasion of responsibility that leaves me even more enraged. In it, Editor Mark Whitaker says that "We were as alarmed as anyone to hear of the violence". He then goes on a little later in the piece to try to lay the blame on "extremists and unhappiness over the economy".

Mr. Whitaker, it has been a lot of years since I learned the difference between shit and Shinola. You cannot expect me or any other even slightly reasonable person to believe that you did not know what was going to happen when you published this story. You told Muslims all over the world that American soldiers AS A MATTER OF ROUTINE desecrated their holy book and mocked the religion that shapes their lives and thoughts. Any moron who can put three words together into a coherent sentence could see this coming. Violence? Death? Destruction? Well, DUH!

So what will happen now? Isikoff, Barry, and Whitaker will hide behind two screens. First is the defense, already in place and being actively pursued, that they were misled by their source. That's not good enough. When a story is going to cause such obvious damage, then it is the responsibility of the journalists involved to be sure of their facts. This is not just malicious gossip about a movie star's infidelities. This is serious. This affects the stability of a major part of the world's population. This affects people's lives. This defense is inadequate to say the least.

Secondly, they will use the First Amendment as their shield. I believe I have already made my position on that clear.

The upshot is that Isikoff and Barry will get away with incitement to riot and 17 counts of involuntary manslaughter (so far). Not only is that not fair or just, but that fact by itself will escalate the violence and death sprouting from this mountain of dung, and that stinks.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Web Site back (maybe?)

Just came back up. Maybe it will be with us for a while.

Survey links should work now.

Top 10 Latest Search Hits

Here are the last 10 interesting queries that found Noise in the Attic:

You have to supply your own drum roll.

10. i hear voices in my attic using AOLSearch. I do too; that's why I opened this blog. NitA came in at #3 on the results list.

9. sri rajneesh + photo from Google. #15.

8. Last Girl dancing on Google Denmark. #2 (Just behind Holly).

7. What dreams may come the book on Google. #7.

6. "his abs ached" from Google Liechtenstein. #1! Actually the ONLY ONE! Liechtenstein?

5. vagina appearance on Google. #9. Top 10 on vaginas, huh? They must think I'm some kind of expert.

4. are vampires alive or dead on Google UK. #1 again! Ok, I AM an expert on this.

3. emotional scars of handguns on Yahoo!. #4.

2. noises in attic on Yahoo!. #4. I get this one and similar all the time.

1. don't go into the attic "cover art" on Google UK. #7.

A never-ending source of amusement mixed with nervousness. At least no dangers of nair or naked teenage girls this time. I didn't mention the one that came up last week. It had to do with vomit things. Gross. I guess I can truly claim an eclectic audience.

This Week's Garden Update

Broccoli harvest continues. 8 heads plus side shoots so far, nearly 5 pounds. That crop, at least, has paid for itself.

Corn continues to shoot up like weeds. Now waist-high. This variety is only supposed to get around 4' tall. At this rate, it'll hit that before the end of the week. My mouth's already starting to water. Fresh corn on the cob. Yum!

Tomatoes, peppers, squash, and cucmbers are all blooming. Hoping to get squash and cukes in another week or so.

Pole beans have started running, so they should bloom soon. Limas are up and growing well. Okra has come up and is starting to get its first true leaves. I set out some sweet potatoes (for the wife, I'm allergic). We'll see what happens there.

Weeding, watering, and mulching continue, though with intensive bed gardening, none of them are nearly as strenuous or time-consuming as with traditional row gardening. Gardens always do well in May around here. We'll see what it looks like come August.

Web site fried

My Web site has been gone since some time this morning. I am bugging my host about it in hopes they will get me back going agin soon. This also include my e-mail, so if anybody gets messages bounced back, just bear with me, please. For those who have tried to take the survey, but couldn't get through, thank you and please try again later.

This is the cost of using a free hosting service, I'm afraid. Theit 99% uptime guarantee obviously doesn't apply to the freebies, and there's just not much I can do about it except whine. I hope to be able to afford a real (and reliable) hosting service soon.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

A New Gig

I have joined the staff of Green Man Review as a reviewer. It's a non-paying gig, but it comes with enormous exposure and all the reads I can review. Feels like a win to me. I will post notices of my reviews as they are posted so you can share in GMR's recognition of my wisdom and, insightfulness.