Actual excerpt from actual terrible book

From Invitation Only by Kate Brian:

“I know. It’s not easy,” Ariana said, shaking her head. She hugged her notebooks to her chest and curled her slim shoulders in against the wind, her chin tucked down so it was almost hidden behind the books. “But if you’re going to put something on a page and ask people to read it, you have to be able to handle the criticism.”

“I guess,” I said as we reached the front door to Billings. “It just seemed mean.”

Not taking the bait.

Random excerpt from new book

“You feel chilled because you have no character. You’re a depressing assemblage of pop culture influences and cancelled emotions, driven by the sputtering engine of only the most banal form of capitalism. You spend your life feeling as if you’re perpetually on the brink of being obsolete — whether it’s labour market obsolescence or cultural unhipness. And it’s all catching up with you. You live and die by the development cycle. You’re glamorized drosophila flies, with the company regulating your life cycles at whim. If it isn’t a budget-driven eighteen-month game production schedule, it’s a five-year hardware obsolescence schedule. Every five years you have to throw away everything you know and learn a whole new set of hardware and software specs, relegating what was once critical to our lives to the cosmic slag heap.”

Says Douglas Coupland in “jPod”. He also keeps making references to himself, and really, it’s pretty annoying. Yeah, yeah, Coupland. You’re some kind of Generation X icon. Sure. You invented the term Generation X. Whatever. It’s still kind of… I don’t know which word I’m looking for. Sleazy is close, but doesn’t feel quite right. Tacky? Cheap? Anyway. I keep sneering at my book. Self referencing sure is… meta… or something. And by “or something”, I mean gay.

Other than that, though… pretty good book so far.

Happy Newtonmas

I do not understand all of this poo-pooing of Narnia by my fellow godless bastards. I haven’t seen the movie, and I haven’t read the books since I was a kid. But I was a precocious young atheist (thanks Bertrand Russell, Douglas Adams, George H. Smith, Erich von Daniken), and I was fully aware of the preachy Christian allegory way back then. At the time I found it mildly irritating at certain points. And I guess that, admittedly, some of the Aslan shit was semi heave-inducing (deus ex felina — I am particularly fond of this description), and I probably didn’t catch all of the apologist crapola at that age (although I do recall my bullshit detector going off often enough). But generally it wasn’t wincingly noticeable without searching for it, or terribly relevant to the plot as a whole. Vague references in fiction to other fiction… meh. Whatever. If I’m going to suspend my disbelief, I might as well suspend my tendency to hyper-criticize as well. I suppose. Save that shit up for bullshitting hardcore on university papers. All writing, especially fiction, (but especially non-fiction) embodies the bias of its author. I can overlook it, sometimes. If I’m not busy being cantankerous. And despite it all, the series remains one of only two pieces of fantasy writing that I can tolerate to any degree (the other is The Lord of the Rings). So suck it. C.S. Lewis is still the awesome.

Now. More nog! And chocolate!

Eating less means people consume less food!

The new issue of Skeptical Inquirer reprints Stephen Barrett’s “Analysis of Kevin Trudeau’s ‘Natural Cures’ Infomercial”. It’s like MST3K for skeptics. Stephen just wrote down most of the things I used to sit there yelling at Trudeau on 47 screens on Sunday mornings when I was working at Fox. Good times, those were.

I thought I’d link to it again because a) “Kevin Trudeau” is the number two search term used to find my website (second only to “nautical star tattoos” — and kids, bad idea = getting the new trendy symbol marked on you, because: do you know how long trends last? now, do you know how long tattoos last? compare your answers here…), and b) I still feel irresponsible for having access to a television station’s copy of this bullshit without so much as “misplacing” it when I quit. I feel a little bit better to know that nobody watched anything that station aired except for The 700 Club and American Idol. But somebody managed to get the book out of Walgreens, and I still feel compelled to write at least 47 letters of complaint. Maybe not until I acquire a typewriter and become at least 5% more curmudgeonly. I mean, I’m already curmudgeonly, but not so much that it overcomes my affinity for doing absolutely nothing…

One day I hope to become at least as curmudgeonly (er, pseudo-curmudgeonly) as Ted L. Nancy, Lazlo Toth (Don Novello) or these guys. So far, I have only one cat. I’m aiming to collect at least 27 more.



If only it was this simple…

I was watching the extras on The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy DVD last night. Included is the second half of the Guide entry about Babel fish that describes how irreducible complexity proves that God doesn’t exist. The logic is just about on the level of that used by Intelligent Design morons. Actually, I take that back. It’s at least several thousand times more advanced (okay, I’m just being snarky :) Can we apply this reasoning to eyeballs or flagella as well, plz?

Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mind-bogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God. The argument goes like this: “I refuse to prove that I exist”, says God, “for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.”

“But”, says Man, “the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don’t. QED.”

“Oh dear”, says God, “I hadn’t thought of that,” and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

Ah, Douglas Adams… He was very much ahead of the times.

But, wait. Nevermind. Intelligent Design has nothing to do with God, religion or faith. It’s a good thing, because if they screw up one of these days and accidentally stumble upon some real facts or evidence, it would denigrate their presupposed beliefs to the level of despicable, despicable science…

[EDIT]: Okay, well. Ack. Douglas Adams was ahead of his time, and is probably also rolling in his grave. I’ve seen people quote the passage above to make fun of Intelligent Design before, but a Google search reveals that these IDiots are also using it as an allegory to demonstrate their argument (they really don’t know a joke when they see one, huh). Asshats. Hands off! You have your Good Book, and I have mine.

Also, they struggle with the very issue DNA pointed out. What is God without faith? And OMG! What would happen if Intelligent Design actually did prove God! Wouldn’t that undermine Christianity? There are more than a few people out there that think this, and if they’re going to believe something stupid anyway, I fully support this viewpoint, because at least they’ll stop bullshitting about science. Because seriously. Proof is dangerous! Belief that isn’t based on irrational superstition doesn’t count, because faith should be enough, they say. And I’m sorry, but once I’m given facts, they’re going to take precedence over everything else. Therefore, evidence for ID would prevent me from ever having faith, and probably condemn me to hell. They don’t want that, do they?

Yeah, I’m not going to read any more about this right now. I hate the “we don’t need no steenking facts” argument. This is why run away from preachy religious types. Even if you finally get them to accept that there’s no way they’re going to convince you of anything without facts to back things up, and to admit that they really don’t have any facts, they just start ranting about how you’re being stubborn and shallow to require them in the first place. And how do you argue with someone who’s essentially saying “Hi! I’m full of shit, and I’m better than you because of it!”

I have to return that DVD now, anyway.

He sells books because it’s all he’s ALLOWED to sell.

Kevin Trudeau’s book of bullshit Natural Cures ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About is a bestseller? According to The Daily Show, anyhoo. People are stupidlyer than I thought. And I didn’t think that they were generally very smart to begin with. Even if it was rational for people watching the infomercial to believe that there were natural cures to diabetes/cancer/herpes that somehow hadn’t already been on the front page of the newspaper because there’s some sinister they keeping them a secret… shouldn’t it offend their sensibilities just a wee to have Kevin pretend to be the good guy (and he is not ), to hear him claim that they won’t let the secrets get out because “it’s all about the money”, and then to be asked to fork over $29.95 for the book (BTW, the cures aren’t even in the book — you also need to subscribe to the newsletter and mailing list for extra $$$ for those)? Let me tell you… I contemplated “losing” the copy of the infomercial that my TV station had more than a few times. Not only is Kevin Trudeau taking advantage of people, but he’s a complete and utter moron, and the infomercial is just bloody annoying. Possibly moreso than The 700 Club. Wait. No. Nothing beats The 700 Club. Not even Bill O’Reilly (speaking of Billy boy… I think I agreed with him for the first time ever when he spoke out against Kevin Trudeau recently).

This is my favourite part of the infomercial:

There are health freedoms in this country that are being taken away from us. There are more people sick today than ever before. There are more people that are overweight. There are more people that have diabetes. There are more people that have cancer. There are more people that have heart disease. There are more people that have migraine headaches. There are more people that have arthritis. There are more people that have virtually every major health abnormality.

Yes, Kevy. There are more people. Period. Point, plz? He sounds like enough of an idiot here even before anyone gets around to pointing out anything about better diagnosis or treatment of these diseases (i.e. nobody had epilepsy in the 16th century, when it was so obvious at the time that the symptoms were caused by demons (also the cause of just about every other disease, I’m sure), and that the cure was exorcism — that’s an increase in the number of cases of oh… infinity percent), or that people are also living longer than ever before… Yes, it’s so obvious. Modern medicine is failing us. Miserably.

Which reminds me how happy I am that I no longer work at Fox. I will never again have to watch 12 infomercials over a weekend, Fox News Sunday, or The 700 Club. We all know that I still will, because I just love getting myself angry… but I don’t have to anymore. I am doing a little dance of joy right now, but you can’t see it.