Friday, February 28, 2014

It Didn't Hold Water!

When I wrote The Wrong Sword I assumed, like about a million other writers of historical farce/fantasy/drama/baloney, that folks back then preferred beer and wine to water because water could be "iffy." Turns out that's not true! Our ancestors were NOT morons. And here's the blog post to prove it:

It makes sense if you actually sit down and think about it. Contaminated water is a bugaboo of human occupation, especially settled, urban-ish occupation. We have a tendency to crap where we eat (and drink), after all. And in Medieval Europe, with far fewer people and far more untended land and unpolluted watersheds, the likelihood of finding clean water - from a spring, a well, a stream or even a sufficiently clean pond - was that much greater.

And there it is!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Harold Ramis, 1944-2014

Damn it.

One of the great funnies died today - Harold Ramis...aka Dr. Egon Spengler. He collaborated as a writer on some the best comedies of the '80s, from Animal House to Caddyshack to Ghostbusters, and he directed movies like Groundhog Day. Ivan Reitman, who directed Ghostbusters, credited Ramis with adding the best parts of the story - the romance between Billy Murray and Sigourney Weaver, the irony, and "all the adult writing." He also added that Ramis was the one who was responsible for the film's story structure.

I mention this because when I, like all film students, was struggling to wrap my head around the nuances of three-act structure, Ghostbusters was my go-to script. It hums along perfectly, like a freshly lubricated electric motor, so efficient that it seems effortless and you almost don't notice the transitions from act to act, the planting, the payoff...the mechanics. And, of course, funny. FUNNY. And I know, deep in my heart, that it was Harold was responsible for the two best lines in the movie:

"Your girlfriend the corner penthouse...of Spook Central."


"When someone asks you if you're a god, you say...YES!"

What were your favorite Ramis lines?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Map Day - Pangea

Just found this map over at
- the supercontinent of Pangea as it looked about 200 million years ago, but drawn up with modern political borders to give us some idea of what went where. Don't know why, but for some reason the rift valley/fault line/river/inland sea separating the Americas from Africa is particularly intriguing to me.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snow Day

It's worse than it looks. Click on the image and see.

Some Gorgeous "Red Mars" Artwork

This is a beautiful concept-art view of a colonized Mars taken from a space elevator leading down to Pavonis Mons. The white cable is the massive elevator cable. [N.B. According to the artist, Ludovic Celle, the cable's curve is an artistic choice, not some unexpected visual artifact of an alien environment - we could expect the cable to appear straighter if we saw it in reality.]

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Ham on Nye - the Dessert

If you're expecting an analysis of the debate between Average Joe Rational Guy Bill Nye and Creationist Power Suck Ken Ham, I'm sorry, I can't oblige. I didn't watch the debate.

Those of you who know me in person know that this isn't because I don't care; rather, it's because I care so much that hearing Ham come up with yet more warmed-over nonsense to support his erroneous interpretation of a sacred metaphor, instead of looking at the tangible physical evidence and being willing to revise his opinion as new data emerges, drives me freakin' loopy.

Yes, I have intellectual anger issues.

That said, the debate has spawned some fun stuff like this.

Monday, February 3, 2014

On a Personal Note-

- it sucks to have leftover business and emotional crap from childhood; it sucks almost as much to try to clear it away with the people involved; but every now and then, you gotta. Tonight wasn't as bad I'd feared...I just hope that the folks on the other side handle it well.

And there's still more to do. Sigh.

Would it were bed-time, and all well.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Science Strikes Back

If you're like me, you have a minor, low-level burn whenever you hear yet another denialist parading his or her ignorance. Climate deniers, evolution deniers, anti-vaxxers, the whole sad, neurotic crew who demand, day after day, that the world be the way they want it, instead of accepting it for what it is...and trying to drag the rest of humanity down with them. If they were the only ones affected by their abandonment of reason, it would be one thing; but their craziness is guaranteed to harm the rest of us.

So it's nice to know that - every now and then - science, logic and reason strike back. Read about it here.