If It’s Not Writers, It’s Lawyers

Maybe it’s lawyers I should fume about instead. Another story in the Globe reveals that a small number of lawyers steal an astounding amount of money from their clients. (You have to register with boston.com to read the linked article.)

In fact, to quote the Globe online: “Every state has a fund that reimburses people victimized by lawyers, and for each of the past five years approximately $25 million stolen by attorneys nationwide has been reimbursed, according to the American Bar Association….”

Is that cool or what? Theft by lawyers is recognized as a big enough problem that every state maintains a fund to reimburse people who have been ripped off by their attorneys. Oh yeah.

Teenagers Today!

We got some books about what makes teenagers tick. (I also got one for the girls about how to deal with the parents of teenagers: Yes, Your Parents Are Crazy!) The one I’m enjoying most right now is Get Out of My Life, But First Could You Drive Me & Cheryl to the Mall? It’s very funny and very truthful. But my favorite quote is from Why Do They Act That Way? Here it is:

Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.

The author?

—Socrates, 5th Century, B.C.

Links: Conspiracy Theories, and Others

But before I do that, let me take a moment to wish everyone a happy Palm Sunday, what little remains of it (at least in my time zone).

Oops—between my starting with that sentence and getting back to the computer to write this one, midnight has passed and we’re well into the next day. (Sigh.)

So I’ve been collecting interesting links that people have sent me. This first one is fun, especially if you wonder whether the FBI is tracking your use of the web (be careful what you say, and move your mouse quickly):
http://users.chartertn.net/tonytemplin/FBI_eyes/

If you’re really into conspiracy theories, this one about 9/11 is plenty chilling at first viewing. Given the amount of propaganda we’re exposed to on a daily basis, it’s an interesting exercise to look at this kind of thing and assess its truthfulness (if possible). Here’s the flash presentation: http://www.pentagonstrike.co.uk/flash.htm#Main

And after you’ve thought that over a little bit, here’s an analysis of the claim by snopes.com: http://www.snopes.com/rumors/pentagon.htm.

And some more responses: http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/blflight77.htm and
http://paulboutin.weblogger.com/2002/03/14

But enough of the conspiracies already! Here’s a really constructive video—literally—showing How to Build an Airbus 380. (It’s about 7 minutes long, and well worth it.)

President Bush is an Alien

Or controlled by one. That seems the best explanation, to me.

I just finished reading an SF novel by Timothy Zahn called, Night Train to Rigel, an entertaining yarn about mystery and intrigue aboard an interstellar train. At the risk of giving away a teensy bit of the plot, I’ll reveal here that one aspect of the story involves alien mind control over important leaders. Not in itself a new idea, but it works well in the context.

It also works well in the context of puzzling out the bizarrely un-American behavior of our current administration (and here I’m using “American” in the good sense—that is, standing for peace, justice, and equal rights under the law). Now, some of you probably think I’m just harping on the same old thing, and I suppose there’s some truth to that. But not without reasons. The most recent two are the failure of Congress to haul White House officials up on the illegal wiretapping of American citizens, and the recent article in the New Yorker about high-level condoning of abuse and torture of prisoners. Garrison Keillor, writing on Salon.com, has efficiently summarized the gist of the article, or you can read the entire article in the Feb 27 issue of the New Yorker. I couldn’t find the article online, but there’s an interesting Q&A with the author of the article, Jane Mayer.

It’s more of the same, of course, always more of the same. And now, today, from the Natural Resources Defense Council, comes news that Bush is yet again trying open the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, this time by putting it into the federal budget package. No matter how many times we knock this madness down, it keeps popping up again like a weeble.

So I’m almost right there with Garrison Keillor—there’s more than enough reason to impeach the sonofabitch. Except…that would leave Dick Cheney in charge. And he’s the head alien pod-person. So I guess the only hope is to go after the aliens themselves, before they take control of more of us.

Before they…ohno they’re coming after mew#$f^zzzzzzzzzzz…….what’s that buzzing in my ear…?

What was I saying? Oh, I remember now. I like our president….

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good

In case you haven’t heard, this is National Novel Writing Month. A group called NaNoWriMo.org exists to spur people on to write their long-delayed novels in just one month—this month—during National Novel Writing Month (which is really an international month, but never mind the nitpicks). The idea is to encourage people to run amok with their imaginations and write write write—full speed ahead, and damn the quality. I think it’s a great idea. If you’re a frustrated writer, check out their site.

Oh—today is NaBaUpYoNoDa—National Back Up Your Novel Day. “Know that your computer has been waiting a long time to get revenge for that half can of Diet Coke you dumped all over it last year.”

The Bad

The U.S. Senate has voted to allow drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, despite widespread public opposition. What’s this mean? It means that if the energy package isn’t stopped or changed in the House, the Congress will have voted to permit the despoiling of a great untouched wilderness area, with attendant harm to wildlife, all for the sake of a minor addition to our oil supply. It’s a fraud, though. The oil will be only a drop in the bucket compared to what we use, and despite the crowing in some parts about it being a movement toward energy independence, it’s nothing of the kind. It’s a Halloween handout to the oil companies. If we really want to move toward energy independence, we’ll start emphasizing conservation and efficiency, which will save us far more oil than this plan will give us.

Unfortunately, the current administration doesn’t give a damn about conservation, and doesn’t seem to give a damn about anything except making the wealthy oil companies even wealthier. If you agree with me, now’s the time to contact your U.S. Representative and urge him/her to stop the drilling in the Arctic Refuge.

See the National Resources Defense Council web site for more information. Or the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The Ugly

Okay, I don’t have an ugly. But I do have a weird, an unexpected, a pleasant shock. Last night I did a routine check of the web counter on my SF course, writesf.com. I’ve come to expect a daily increase of one or two hundred on the welcome page, less on the following pages. Well, last night I found the count up by over 5000 hits. Why? Well, I submitted a note about it to a site called BoingBoing.net, and they ran a short item about it. Just a quick mention, in a long list of notes. I guess a lot of people read BoingBoing.net, because when I checked the logs, I found that was exactly where a huge percentage of the hits had come from. Whoa. Today, it was down to a mere 2000 or so. I presume it will taper off back toward normality in a little while.

Freaky, though. I hope some of those visitors find it useful.

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