chris_gerrib: (Default)
2017-07-21 04:19 pm
Entry tags:

burglary myths

In my inbox, presented without comment:

Have you ever been duped by a burglary myth? There are plenty out there, and it could happen to anyone. But to truly outsmart burglars, you have to arm yourself with the facts. Read on to find out the truth behind 4 of the most common burglary myths.

MYTH: Most burglaries occur at night

FACT:
The majority of burglaries take place between 10AM and 3PM, while you’re at work

MYTH: Most burglars pick locks or use high-tech equipment to get in

FACT:
According to the DOJ, burglars most frequently enter through an open or unlocked door or window

MYTH: Most burglars have little to no experience breaking into homes

FACT:
According to a study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 82% of burglars are repeat offenders

MYTH: Burglars don’t target gated or restricted-access communities

FACT:
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, homes in gated and restricted communities have nearly the same burglary rates as homes with direct outside access

Take care,

Dave
SimpliSafe Home Security
1-888-957-4675
chris_gerrib: (Default)
2017-07-19 11:17 am

Weekly Update, or Many Marching Morons

I've been away from this blog for a while. Once you get out of the habit of posting, you're out of the habit. Herewith, various thoughts.

1) Writing: I have committed writing again, adding nearly 4,000 words to the mystery novel. Based on the comments at my critique session, they were generally good words. More (hopefully) to follow.

2) Marching Morons, Gun Division: Comes news that a Minneapolis cop shot a crime victim through the car door of his squad car. Moreover, the cop was in the passenger side and the victim was talking to his partner through the driver's side window. It seems like the cop had his gun out and finger on the trigger way too soon. Unfortunately, that's called "involuntary manslaughter."

3) Marching Morons, Politics Division: After months of assurances by Donald Trump that nobody from his campaign met with the Russians, we hear that his son, son-in-law and then campaign manager took a meeting with the Russians. Words fail me.

4) Marching Morons, health care division: the wealthy comedian Scott Adams has, in the wake of the failure of the Republican party to repeal Obamacare, been pedaling various solutions to American health care. Conspicuously they all seem to have been conceived in a vacuum, and are completely unaware of the fact that the rest of the world cracked this code a long time ago.
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2017-07-12 09:18 am

Travel Thoughts, Reading

It speaks ill of my current schedule that I look forward to long airline flights in order to read a book. Having said that, herewith are my thoughts on two short books (novellas) that I read flying back from Puerto Rico.

Breathe

The first book, Breathe by Douglas Van Belle, was pressed in my hands by a rather urgent fellow at last year's Worldcon in Kansas City. I now know that the fellow was the author, and the book was self-published. It languished in my to-be-read pile for some time, finally surfacing. I found the book merely okay.

The plot is this - a dozen or so construction types are building a habitat on Ganymede to support a larger follow-on group. Karl, the group's mechanic, highly socially inept, attempts to engineer a small disaster so he can get some alone time with Zoey, a woman he's smitten with. Karl's disaster gets way out of hand, two people die immediately and the rest are trapped in shelters running out of oxygen. Karl then tries to engineer their way out. His efforts lead to the humans being hunted by a swarm of killer robots.

The science in this book is hard, and the characters are more-or-less believable. (Some of the men are a bit wonky.) The real problem is that the last two-thirds of the book is a bloodbath, and nothing in the marketing or first third gives any warning of this.

All Systems Red The Murderbot Diaries

Martha Well's novella All Systems Red: The Murderbot Diaries has, like Breathe, murderous AI robots. Ironically, despite the title, All Systems Red is a much less blood-thirsty book. In this novella, the narrator, the titular Murderbot, is a security robot that has hacked its own governor and is self-aware. He also just wants to watch TV.

Unfortunately, he's been assigned a security gig with a survey team on a planet, and when the planet and other teams start trying to kill his charges, he has to actually do his job. Which he does in an entertaining manner. I was also taken with the ending, that's a bit of a twist.

Much has been said about the death of conventional publishing. These two novellas are the clearest case I've seen in a while for the need for conventional publishing.
chris_gerrib: (Default)
2017-07-10 12:34 pm
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Travel Thoughts

Over the past few days I had to travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico for a science fiction convention. Tomorrow (or next blog post) I'll share my thoughts on my in-flight reading material. Today, some random thoughts about the trip, the con, and San Juan.

1) For years, TSA checkpoints have been providing plastic bins into which one dumps your stuff, to include your laptop. At both checkpoints, I got sent through a line where not only did the laptop stay in the bag, but no bins were provided. The contents off one's pockets were to be put in your bag. I had a bit of a problem with that because I have loose change in my pockets and didn't want to scatter it in a large pocket.

2) In the flight over, I had a layover in Orlando. I was amused to see at my gate two teenage girls that had to be Central Casting's idea of "Puerto Rican teenager." Big hair, too much makeup, too tight and too skimpy shorts and tops, all while radiating waves of attitude.

3) The Old Town of San Juan is quaint, but with the heat and humidity I faded fast. I did have a Pina Colada and a nice grouper filet at Barrachina, the birthplace of the Pina Colada.

4) The convention itself was sparsely-attended. Despite a big production about making sure everything would b bilingual, there were hardly any locals present. Pretty much everybody there was from out of town.

5) Speaking of bilingual, apparently I look like a gringo. Everybody started talking to me in English.
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2017-07-07 08:28 am

Let's Make A Deal, or Walk in the Other Guy's Shoes

Scott Adams, the gift that keeps on giving, dashed off a blog post on his lunch hour in which he solves the North Korea problem. Like much emanating from the Alt-Right at the moment, his idea is at best half-baked. Scott, like many of the alt-right, is completely unable to understand what the various groups want. So, he makes an assumption about what they want, then follows that assumption down a logical path. But because he hasn't walked in the other guy's shoes, his understanding of their goal is so far out that his proposal makes no sense.

In this particular case, Scott assumes that China wants a peaceful Korean peninsula. Well, they'd like and would take a peaceful region, but what they absolutely don't want is for North Korea to collapse. That would spark a massive refugee problem and other political and economic heartburn. China also doesn't want a well-armed and Western-sponsored nation on it's border. China likes buffer zones. As a bonus, North Korean antics distract the US, giving China a freer hand in the region. This means China can't and won't push too hard on North Korea.

Scott assumes the North Korean leadership is interested in personal financial gain, so his plan gives them time to move their money overseas to hide it. Maybe, but it's entirely possible that the Kim family are psychopaths who just want people to be scared of them. It's also possible that they think Communism is "right" and the current poverty is character-building. Lastly, something is keeping the army from just taking over. Perhaps if one removes the "threat" of invasion from the South, the army will see that as a green light to take over.

At any rate, the failure of the Alt-Right and Trump to understand this is part of a whole. Somebody once said that for every problem there was a solution that was simple, obvious and wrong. The Alt-Right has a platform full of such solutions.
chris_gerrib: (Default)
2017-07-04 01:57 pm
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In Congress, July 4, 1776

THE UNANIMOUS
DECLARATION
OF THE
THIRTEEN UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
WHEN, in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's GOD entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the Causes which impel them to the Separation.

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their CREATOR, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate, that Governments long established, should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security. Such has been the patient Sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The History of the present King of Great-Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World.

HE has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public Good.

HE has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing Importance, unless suspended in their Operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

HE has refused to pass other Laws for the Accommodation of large Districts of People, unless those People would relinquish the Right of Representation in the Legislature, a Right inestimable to them, and formidable to Tyranny only.

HE has called together Legislative Bodies at Places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the Depository of their public Records, for the sole Purpose of fatiguing them into Compliance with his Measures.

HE has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly Firmness his Invasions on the Rights of the People.

HE has refused for a long Time, after such Dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining, in the mean Time, exposed to all the Dangers of Invasion from without, and Convulsions within.

HE has endeavoured to prevent the Population of these States; for that Purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their Migrations hither, and raising the Conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

HE has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

HE has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the Tenure of their Offices, and the Amount and Payment of their Salaries.

HE has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harrass our People, and eat out their Substance.

HE has kept among us, in Times of Peace, Standing Armies, without the Consent of our Legislatures.

HE has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

HE has combined with others to subject us to a Jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our Laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

FOR quartering large Bodies of Armed Troops among us:

FOR protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

FOR cutting off our Trade with all Parts of the World:

FOR imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

FOR depriving us, in many Cases, of the Benefits of Trial by Jury:

FOR transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended Offences:

FOR abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an arbitrary Government, and enlarging its Boundaries, so as to render it at once an Example and fit Instrument for introducing the same absolute Rule into these Colonies:

FOR taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

FOR suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with Power to legislate for us in all Cases whatsoever.

HE has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection, and waging War against us.

HE has plundered our Seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our Towns, and destroyed the Lives of our People.

HE is, at this Time, transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the Works of Death, Desolation, and Tyranny, already begun with Circumstances of Cruelty and Perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous Ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized Nation.

HE has constrained our Fellow-Citizens, taken Captive on the high Seas, to bear Arms against their Country, to become the Executioners of their Friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

HE has excited domestic Insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the Inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known Rule of Warfare, is an undistinguished Destruction, of all Ages, Sexes, and Conditions.

IN every Stage of these Oppressions we have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble Terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury. A Prince, whose Character is thus marked by every Act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the Ruler of a free People.

NOR have we been wanting in Attentions to our British Brethren. We have warned them, from Time to Time, of Attempts by their Legislature to extend an unwarrantable Jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the Circumstances of our Emigration and Settlement here. We have appealed to their native Justice and Magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the Ties of our common Kindred to disavow these Usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our Connexions and Correspondence. They too have been deaf to the Voice of Justice and of Consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the Necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the Rest of Mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

WE, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in GENERAL CONGRESS Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political Connexion between them and the State of Great-Britain, is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that as FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of Right do. And for the Support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of DIVINE PROVIDENCE, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honour.

John Hancock.

GEORGIA, Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, Geo. Walton.
NORTH-CAROLINA, Wm. Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn.
SOUTH-CAROLINA, Edward Rutledge, Thos Heyward, junr. Thomas Lynch, junr. Arthur Middleton.
MARYLAND, Samuel Chase, Wm. Paca, Thos. Stone, Charles Carroll, of Carrollton.
VIRGINIA, George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Ths. Jefferson, Benja. Harrison, Thos. Nelson, jr. Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton.
PENNSYLVANIA, Robt. Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benja. Franklin, John Morton, Geo. Clymer, Jas. Smith, Geo. Taylor, James Wilson, Geo. Ross.
DELAWARE, Caesar Rodney, Geo. Read.
NEW-YORK, Wm. Floyd, Phil. Livingston, Frank Lewis, Lewis Morris.
NEW-JERSEY, Richd. Stockton, Jno. Witherspoon, Fras. Hopkinson, John Hart, Abra. Clark.
NEW-HAMPSHIRE, Josiah Bartlett, Wm. Whipple, Matthew Thornton.
MASSACHUSETTS-BAY, Saml. Adams, John Adams, Robt. Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry.
RHODE-ISLAND AND PROVIDENCE, &c. Step. Hopkins, William Ellery.
CONNECTICUT, Roger Sherman, Saml. Huntington, Wm. Williams, Oliver Wolcott.

IN CONGRESS, JANUARY 18, 1777.
ORDERED,
THAT an authenticated Copy of the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCY, with the Names of the MEMBERS of CONGRESS, subscribing the same, be sent to each of the UNITED STATES, and that they be desired to have the same put on RECORD.
By Order of CONGRESS,
JOHN HANCOCK, President.
BALTIMORE, in MARYLAND: Printed by MARY KATHARINE GODDARD.
chris_gerrib: (Default)
2017-06-28 10:50 am
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In Answer To A Question

Posted elsewhere, in response to a question on how America can "fix healthcare."

This really isn't rocket science. Most of the rest of the world has figured it out years ago. The solution, in broad strokes, is:

1) Get everybody to pay into the healthcare system, whether via taxes or private insurance. Actually, taxes are cheaper because private insurance has marketing and profit overheads. But everybody is important, in that you don't want some freeloader rolling into an emergency room, especially for something that could have been managed cheaply had they been able to see a doctor sooner.

1a) Everybody in is also important in that, just like auto insurance or homeowner insurance, those that don't file a claim subsidize those that do.

2) Allow the large payers (in our case Medicare / Medicaid) to negotiate pricing. In every other country, they do so, and get meds and equipment at a fraction of the cost. For example, in Belgium, if you need an artificial hip joint, you get the same one you do in the US (both made in a factory in Indiana) but the Belgium one cost $800 and the US one costs $20,000.

3) Pay doctors on performance, not activity. Right now, my doc has every financial incentive to order every test I'll take. Penalize hospitals for things like hospital-based infections. Again, the financial incentive of a hospital is to keep you in. These changes will force the health-care system to get more efficient.

Most of the rest of the world accomplishes this by having a government paid-for (Canada) or government-ran (UK) system that relies on private insurance for supplementary things, like private rooms or other upgrades. In fact, in Canada, they call it Medicare and it works like US medicare except you buy in at birth. I'll say it because somebody will comment on it, but even when Canada has to ship somebody to the US (which they do, at government cost, because it's cheaper than having Canadian specialists) they deliver quality health care at a fraction of the cost.
chris_gerrib: (Default)
2017-06-27 09:04 am
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Guns, Fictional and Real

Guns, Fictional

One of the writers I follow, Tanya Huff, recently released a new book A Peace Divided. It's pseudo Mil-SF, in that the lead characters are ex-military who serve as a SWAT team for the interstellar police. It's an entertaining read.

However, in Huff's fictional world, civilians are completely disarmed. I've had issues with that before, in that a society that can repair toasters can make guns. Here, she's gone to even more extremes - her ex-military types literally do not have the word "pistol" in their vocabulary! All guns are long guns. I like the story, but this I don't buy.

Guns, Real

Readers of this blog know that I recently purchased a Ruger LCR. This "light carry revolver" is, as advertised, light. With full-power .38 ammunition, it's frankly painful to shoot. At my dad's recommendation, I purchased some Hornady Critical Defense bullets. These have lighter recoil and are designed for light carry guns. I shot some last night. My LCR still bounces, but it's gone from painful to unpleasant.
chris_gerrib: (Default)
2017-06-26 08:44 am

"Learn Your Craft"

"Learn Your Craft," or how to show one's ass in public.

I was at a neighborhood restaurant over the weekend, and the lady near me ordered Oysters Rockefeller. They were served with Tabasco sauce, as per the menu. The lady found this highly unacceptable, a manager was called, and when Hollandaise sauce or an (in the mind of the customer) substitute was not immediately available our customer told the manager to "learn your craft."

To the great relief of all concerned, the customer left shortly thereafter. There are times and places where getting in high dungeon over a meal in a restaurant is appropriate. When a menu item is served in a timely manner and exactly as described on the menu is not such an occasion.

Writing

So, I got some fiction writing done today. I added a new scene in which we get some backstory about a major character and some unanswered questions. Go me!

Hugos

I have cast my final votes for all Hugo categories I care to vote in. I'm not a graphic novel guy, so I didn't vote there, and I had no opinions on the fan artist, so no votes.
chris_gerrib: (Default)
2017-06-22 08:41 pm
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Politics

Two political thoughts:

1) Trump lied. (Yeah, I know, and water's wet.) Those jobs he "saved" at Carrier before his inauguration? They are leaving.

2) John Scalzi is wise on the lack of benefits of tax cuts to rich people.
chris_gerrib: (Default)
2017-06-19 08:45 am
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Clarification and Research

Clarification

Some people understood my Friday post to read that I had missed a flight. No, somebody else in line had missed their flight.

Research

So I mentioned that I'm traveling to The Old Soil in August. One of the pre-travel questions I had was "where in Lithuania exactly was the old soil?" Fortunately, my great-uncle Walter went back to Lithuania for a visit circa 1927. This meant he had to formally get naturalized (I don't think my great-grandfather bothered to do that) and get a passport.

In the process of doing this, two (at least) separate government forms were generated, asking Walter where he was born and where his parents (John Gerrib, who had returned to Lithuania) were residing. The answer to the first question (birth) was Laukuva and the second was Rietavas.
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2017-06-16 05:14 pm
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It's a Friday, Throw me a frickin' bone on a title here

Randomness that's accumulated from the Week That Was:

1) If the departure time on your ticket says 9:05 AM, it is 9:04 AM, and you haven't cleared security, there's really no reason to try and jump the security line. The flight has been missed, and you need to go to the airline ticket counter to see about rescheduling. (I let the person in ahead of me anyway, just because.)

2) One of my high school classmates died. (Obituary here). I'm going down to Westville for the day for the visitation.

3) The convention I was attending was held at the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC). That collection of buildings is every bit as big as McCormick Place in Chicago, and we had to transit the building the long way every day for our sessions. I got a lot of walking in.

4) Related to #3, the GWCC was on five levels, and our meetings were mostly at the lower-most level. I was struck by how narrow and constricted the escalators were. It was as if nobody had expected to move 40,000 people up and down them at one time. They were congested enough that security people were stationed by the emergency stop buttons. If somebody had tripped coming off the escalator, disaster would have struck.

5) In Atlanta, I took MARTA to and from the airport. It was clean, cheap and at least during reasonable hours safe.
chris_gerrib: (Default)
2017-06-13 03:31 pm
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The Magic of Rotary and Other Good News

The Magic of Rotary

I have been spending the afternoons here at the Rotary Convention in Atlanta doing tourist-y stuff. Today’s outing was to the Georgia Aquarium. The trip is worth it, although I was a bit distracted because my iPhone decided to completely die. It had plenty of power but just locked up. As this would be highly inconvenient to say the least, I decided to find an Apple Store and get it fixed.

When I exited the Aquarium, I asked a cab driver to take me to one. $25 later, we pull up to a mall well outside of walking distance to my hotel. This was a tactical error on my part – I should have gone to the hotel and had them at least check for a closer store. But here’s where the magic of Rotary came into being. While I’m in line waiting for a tech to look at the phone, I see a guy wearing a Rotary hat. I say hi, and I discover he’s from Nigeria. I also discover that he’s been taking MARTA (Atlanta’s version of the EL) to the con, and there’s a MARTA station at the mall. Money saved!

Even nicer, when I get to the MARTA station, I’m approached by a couple wearing Rotary gear and, in German-accented English, they ask me where the mall was. (It was behind an office building, and not immediately visible.) So I helped them out. That’s what Rotarians do.

Other Good News

In other good news, it appears that I will be on programming at Worldcon. They’ve sent me a draft schedule which they’ve asked us not to share so I won’t, but that does suggest I’ll get something. Go me!
chris_gerrib: (Default)
2017-06-09 03:31 pm

Friday Link Salad

Like the label says, links!

A) The Advantage of Being a Little Underemployed. From the link: Before 1900 the average American worker worked more than 60 hours a week. A standard schedule was ten-hour days, six days a week. The only structural limits to working were lighting and religion. You stopped working when it was too dark to see or to go to church. Or shorter, you worked from "can" to "can't."

B) A bit late, but still good - the story of D-Day on Omaha Beach.

C) Wonder Woman: How real-life athletes united to populate the film's badass Amazon nation.

D) A more humorous take on Wonder Woman - Alamo Drafthouse Apologizes for Starting Manpocalypse With Women-Only Screening.
chris_gerrib: (Default)
2017-06-06 08:35 am
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Trump Lies! (In other news, water is wet.)

I haven't said much on President Trump of late, but today brings two whoppers which I feel the need to address.

Whopper #1 - On the recent trip to Saudi Arabia, Trump announced a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia. Well, nope. Basically, he and/or his staff took (from the article) "a wishlist: an itemized list of things the Saudis might be interested in if the price of oil ever recovers, if they start more wars and things the US would like to sell the Saudis."

Whopper #2 - On the Sunday talk shows, Trump's administration was touting "we added 50,000 jobs in the coal sector." Well, nope. Again from the article: "there were only 51,000 coal-mining jobs in the entire U.S. in May. Last month, 400 coal jobs were added—not 7,000. It was the overall mining sector, which includes oil, gas, and metals mining in addition to coal, that added 7,000 jobs in the month and 50,000 since last 2016."

These are both bald-faced lies, delivered unto the US with a straight face.
chris_gerrib: (Default)
2017-06-05 08:47 am
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Woman of Wonder and other updates

Saturday was a quiet day at Casa Gerrib Norte. The excitement of the day was my attendance at an early-evening screening of Wonder Woman. It was a very enjoyable movie, although the last few minutes of the epic battle between the Big Bad and Our Heroine was a bit tedious. Overall, I highly recommend seeing it.

Sunday was for me also quiet, although one of my downstate relatives had a (very minor) heart attack, so I was getting several updates during the day. In part due to the miracle of modern medicine and the nature of the attack, said relative was sent home after less than 24 hours of hospitalization. Go modern medicine!

Now, if I could just find some time and energy to write, all would be well in the world.
chris_gerrib: (Default)
2017-05-31 08:35 am
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NASFIC Programming Schedule

Herewith is my subject-to-change programming schedule for NorthAmeriCon '17 to be held in (hopefully) sunny San Juan Puerto Rico.

TH 18:00 - San Cristobal Military realities and Science Fiction


What series in the Spec Fic portray military life and decision making with the most accuracy.

Kevin McLaughlin, Jonathan Brazee (m), Chris Gerrib


TH 19:00 - San Cristobal Off-world Vacation Hot Spots


You're the travel agent - sell us your best vacation package to the stars

Chris Gerrib, Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ, Tyrell Gephardt, Jan S. Gephardt, W. A. (Bill) Thomasson (m)


FR 12:00 - San Geronimo How Fandoms Evolve (or Don't)

How do they grow? How do they die?

Chris Gerrib, Paula Smith, Isabel Schechter, Diana Pho (m), Tyrell Gephardt


FR 14:00 - San Cristobal The Future of Local/National/Planetary Government in the Information Age

Our current government structures arose in the age of face-to-fact communication. With individuals able to "talk" instantly to people anywhere on the globe and governments able to share information effortlessly, does either representative to geographically defined government fit the emerging paradigm. How long before things change. Or will they?

Chris Gerrib, W. A. (Bill) Thomasson, David Manfre (m), Tanya Washburn, Pablo Vazquez


FR 15:30 - Bahia Reading - Chris Gerrib

Mars, Pirates, Cookies.  One of these is not like the other.  Come hear Chris Gerrib read from his novel The Night Watch and snag a cookie!


SU 10:00 - San Cristobal Forgotten Books

Panelists (and audience members) discuss the books they've loved that have gone out of circulation, and thus the merits of used bookstores.

Evelyn Chimelis Leeper, Chris Gerrib (m), Lee Billings, Daína Chaviano
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2017-05-30 08:44 am
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Ah!

For budgetary reasons, I did not go to ConQuest in Kansas City this year. (NASFIC will cost twice as much as ConQuest.) Thus, I went downstate for my Memorial Day weekend and visited the parents. It proved a very relaxing weekend, and I'm glad I did.

Last night, I read the Hugo short story nominations for this year. Yea gods and little fishes was the John C. Wright offering bad! As per Sad Puppies Central Command best practices, Wright took a collection of right-wing strawmen, dialed them up to 15, and used them to beat the reader vigorously about the head and shoulders. I'm sure he thought he was clever in casting himself as the boogeyman and a nubile naked "girl" as the heroine, but I found that in particular and the story in general as the failure mode of clever.

I found the Jemisin story a bit too opaque, and have no strong opinions either way on the Wong. The other three I felt were pretty strong contenders. In the novel category, I haven't read three of the six (Jemisin, Anders and Chambers) and bounced hard off of the Palmer. It looks like I've got my work cut out for me.
chris_gerrib: (Default)
2017-05-26 09:19 am
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The Ex-Smoker Problem.

Ben Carson, current HUD Secretary, opened his mouth recently and said that poverty is a "state of mind." To be fair to Carson, he was born poor and got himself out of poverty. John Scalzi, another guy born poor who's no longer financially challenged, had thoughts on Carson's comments.

John rather correctly noted that being poor means not having money, which results in a lack of margin of error. To shorter his post, poor people drive old beater cars which, when they break down, they may not have money to get fixed. All the positive mental vibes in the world won't replace a busted timer belt.

I would like to focus on why Carson said what he did. It is a truism that you will find no one more demonstratively against smoking as somebody who quit smoking after developing the habit. I would submit that the act of successfully quitting smoking requires a certain mental attitude.

The same can be said for getting out of poverty, especially in one generation. It's hard work, and requires a certain mental attitude. Unlike quitting smoking, getting out of poverty also requires luck. Good luck in terms of getting opportunities and in avoiding pitfalls.

Unfortunately, recognizing that "there but for the grace of God go I" requires self-reflection and humility. Ben Carson is not noted for possessing either of these traits. It's the very lack of those traits that led him to his current position.
chris_gerrib: (Default)
2017-05-22 08:39 am
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Productive Weekend

Over the weekend, I reviewed my European travel plans. After checking with the travel people that any flight out of Hamburg after 2 PM on the day the cruise ship arrives should be safe, I found a 5 PM Lufthansa flight to Lithuania. I still don't get to Lithuania until nearly midnight, but that's better than my previous arrival time of 4:30 Sunday afternoon. Since I have to fly into Kaunas, as Vilnius airport will be closed, I went ahead and booked myself for 2 nights in Kaunas. That gives me 2 days to do other explorations.

My next stop is the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture for some research. Hopefully I can get some clue as to where the old Gerrib stomping grounds are. Right now I'm flying to Finland on Wednesday, although if I get some useful information I may make that Thursday instead. The preliminary business meeting at Worldcon will have to do without me. Frankly, other than being a minor member of the Best Series committee, I really don't have any business for the Business Meeting.

Also over the weekend, on Sunday my Rotary club volunteered for the Darien Dash, our annual 5K and 10K run. The weather forecast said mostly cloudy, so I left my hat in the car, then the skies turned blue for a good two hours, so I'm red-faced today. Oh well.