Go West, Young Man!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016
As most of you know, my on-line community (The UCF) lost one of our members last month. Dr. Phil was a mensch, and we wanted to do something to memorialize his passing.

So after working with members of his other communities and his lovely wife Debbie, we're fundraising for a "Dr. Phil Memorial Clarion Scholarship."

From the Clarion website:
Clarion is an intensive six-week summer program focused on fundamentals particular to the writing of science fiction and fantasy short stories. It is considered a premier proving and training ground for aspiring writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.
Dr. Phil was an alumni of this program, and made many friends there, and now we'd like to send other aspiring writers to UCSD in his honor.

If you want to contribute to this effort, feel free to donate our our GoFundMe Dr. Phil Memorial Scholarship page, or you can donate directly to Clarion on their donation site. If you choose to donate on the Clarion site, please note that the donation is designated for the Dr. Phil Scholarship, otherwise the money will go into the general fund.

We miss you, Dr. Phil.

The UCF at Chicon 7, The 2012 World Science Fiction Convention

Link Me Up, Scotty - Getting Older Edition

Monday, May 16, 2016

Author John Scalzi on what being in his mid-forties means to him, and why he doesn't feel old, just like an adult. I often feel like this myself.
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Cincinnati police free a gosling who was in trouble - at the request of its mother. Usually geese are disagreeable creatures, so this was surprising.
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Photos from The Invictus Games. I love this event, and now I kind of love Prince Harry, too.
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Pfizer has forbidden use of their drugs in lethal injection, cutting off the last supply line for this method of administering the death penalty.  So unless you're up for firing squads or the electric chair, we have to re-examine this issue.
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Video of the Week: Choir! Choir! Choir! with a rendition of When Doves Cry in Toronto.

H/T Kimby


Random Thoughts and Rules to Live By, Part 16

Friday, May 13, 2016

When someone says, "Well, you know what I mean," it often translates into "I'm being racist/douchey/hypercritical/judgey, but I don't want you to call me on it, so I'll pretend I'm not and will expect you to play along in order to keep the peace." However, I'm not obligated to stay silent, regardless of what others think, and the older I get, the less likely I am to do so. 

Link Me Up, Scotty - What a Mensch Edition

Monday, May 9, 2016

Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya proves that being a successful businessman doesn't mean you have to be a big, fat, douche. In fact, you can be a mensch and still rake in enough dough to last several lifetimes.
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Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green is a physicist trying to treat cancer with - I shit you not - laser activated nano-particles. I've worked in STEM my entire adult life, and I still gape with awe at what humans can accomplish with the powers of our minds. Amazing.
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There's a high school deep inside the JFK Airport in New York City, where kids can learn practical skills. This is SO COOL. 
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Outside the Beltway on Democracy, Demagogues and Populist Pandering. I need to try and do a better job of seeing things from the point of view of the angry, white working poor, and it behooves me to keep this in mind when I'm feeling particular judgey about Trump supporters.
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Fellow UCFer Tom takes on basic civics, a topic on which many people need a refresher.
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Traps that turn Atheists into Atheist Assholes.
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A fascinating photo project superimposing images of the London Blitz on photos of the modern day city.
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Video of the Week: In Paris, they're installed "doors" to other European cities.

H/T Kathee


America the Beautiful

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Loving America these days is like being in a relationship with an abusive boyfriend. As a private citizen, it doesn't matter how hard you try, how much you love your country, every once in a while it's going to turn around and punch you in the head.

Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican candidate for President. Donald Trump. The Trumpsicle. The man who has single-handedly brought the tone of American politics down to a level I never thought I'd see in my lifetime. A self-avowed misogynist and bigot. A hypocrite of the highest order, who touts his business success, while having no less than four bankruptcies in his business holdings. A classless goon, who urged his half-witted followers to physical violence in support of their candidate. He's tone-deaf, entitled, privileged, and rude. And most importantly, he's completely and utterly unqualified to hold the office of the President of the Untied States.

And he's the presumptive Republican candidate for the Presidency.

It's my opinion that this coup is exactly what the Republican Party has earned and deserves. They let the whackadoos and the bigots run away with their party, and this is the natural outcome. They sowed, and this is what they're reaping. The Tea Party idiots and bigoted scared white dudes brought them to this impasse, and I have no sympathy for them. Boo-hoo, you're now the party of unserious ass-clowns. You did it to yourselves, with your updated Southern strategy and appealing to the lowest common denominator.

Unfortunately, that leaves the rest of us a paucity of choices when it comes to the leader of free world.

I know a lot of people feel as strongly about Hillary Clinton as I do about Donald Trump. Some of these concerns are legitimate in my opinion, but many of them are the direct result of a concerted smear campaign by the Republicans that has lasted decades. People have the right to vote as their conscious dictates, and many people really, really don't want to vote for Hillary. I get that.

But at least she's a serious candidate. She's qualified. She understands international diplomacy. She has policy positions, and members on staff who are experts in their field, not inchoate ramblings about how "great" she's going to be.

For me, most presidential elections are a matter of holding my nose and selecting the candidate that makes me want to vomit the least. I've already made my decision, and it's a pretty safe bet that I'm going to judge harshly any citizen who chooses to hand the reins of our Republic over to Donald Trump. It says something about us, something that doesn't bear a close examination, that so many Americans think this is the best we can do on the world stage.

Populism makes my teeth hurt. Angels and Ministers of Grace, defend us.

Random Thoughts and Rules to Live By, Part 15

Friday, May 6, 2016

When I see older adults struggling with illness and injury, and I know they've not done the work necessary to ensure they entered their senior years as strong and flexible as possible, I feel sorry for them, because I know it didn't have to be that way. And then I go back to the gym.

Random Thoughts and Rules to Live By, Part 14

Friday, April 29, 2016

Chronic, professional lateness is disrespectful. It implies that the tardy person believes their time is far more valuable than mine, and they don't mind if I waste some of this very limited resource waiting on them, instead of being productive.