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Month: February 2014

Oh my. I have been struck by another random act of kindness.

I just retrieved this from the post office. It arrived straight from Godiva, nested between still-frozen coolpaks. I think once in my life I may have had a Godiva chocolate. One. A whole box of them is beyond dreaming. The box (which I haven’t opened yet because I’m still admiring it) came with this note: “What better to accompany the best wines in the world than the best chocolate!” Somebody has been reading the blog. Somebody knows how to impress a woman. Somebody is extravagantly thoughtful. Somebody … didn’t sign a name. I have my suspicions. I also have a…

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Friday links

Since we’ve been on the subject of writers lately: here’s Megan McArdle on why writers are the worst procrastinators. This isn’t really just about writers, but about fear of failure and the recent “special snowflake” self-esteem generation. And this column about how to get a job at Google isn’t really about how to get a job at Google, either. It’s about creativity. Adaptability. And other good things. Good news for all you who listened to (or played) too much loud rock-n-roll. A cure for noise-induced hearing loss may be on the horizon All hope is not lost. Hungry cougar stalks…

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A tale of truths. About writers. And other strange happenings, part II.

Where were we now? Oh yes, back on the job in California, shortly after my trip to Ireland. Dealing with writers.

I hope not to disappoint after yesterday’s cliffhanger. But this really is about writers and not about defiance and resistance — though it is possible that my old friend Maurice could make another appearance before this story is done.

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Not long after returning, I was making my way down the pile of short-story manuscripts when I ran across another from one of those “two percent” writers — the almost-wonderful ones.

This manuscript told a charming tale, perfect for the kind of magazine we were working on.

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A tale of truths. About writers. And other strange happenings

Let me tell you a story.

This may ramble a bit because it goes both into the ancient past (well, my ancient past) and into places far away. But it begins with Ms Lynn Shepherd, she of the infamous “JK Rowling should get out of the way so no-talent hacks like me have a chance,” HuffPo journalistic fart.

I never told you, but for a very short time, I was a magazine editor. I mean a very short time. We quickly ran out of ways to praise the airline whose magazine it was and the CEO lost interest.

But in the moments it lived, it took fiction submissions. And paid decently for them. Even then, fiction was dying out in magazines. Had been for decades. The golden days with golden pays of the 1920s-40s were long gone. Nobody wanted made-up stuff anymore. They wanted relevance. But we took fiction submissions.

Boy, did we ever. After our birth announcement appeared in a major writers’-market magazine, we took nothin’ but. Two-foot-tall heaps of it.

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That stuff broke my heart. It freakin’ broke my heart in ways I’ll never forget.

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This month’s best fisking

I usually ignore self-important little whiners (like this one, for instance) who think the world would be a better place — for them — if it would only run on their agenda. I mean, seriously. Life is just too short. Anyhow, Ayn Rand, for all her personal and literary faults, said all that ever needed to be said about such types in Atlas Shrugged. Still, it’s fun to watch a master tear self-righteous losers to pieces. To wit: Here’s successful writer Larry Correia savagely fisking a HuffPo whine-a-thon by unsuccessful writer Lynn Shepherd. Shepherd thinks that the world’s most successful…

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Anniversary autographed book special from JPFO

JPFO has just announced a 25th-anniversary classic book package. It includes: A copy of RebelFire: Out of the Gray Zone personally autographed by me to you (or the person of your choice) A copy of The Mitzvah personally autographed by L. Neil Smith. The actual 25th-anniversary JPFO pens used to sign your books. (Two books, two pens.) A JPFO 25th-anniversary tee-shirt featuring a message directed at our First Amendment friends who may not understand how important the Second Amendment is for them. The package is $72 postpaid and only 25 will be sold. Neil and I send the books to…

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Monday links

Open carry = fewer guns on the street? Um … maybe its because that “art” actually was trash? NSA will allow us to laugh at it, after all. Or rather, after discussion with its lawyers. Glenn Harlan Reynolds says Americans are taking up “Irish democracy.” Which has nothing to do with v*ting. This guy is lucky police didn’t kill him. The crazy is strong with this one. “Obamacare and my mother’s cancer medicine.” This is insane. This is cruel and unusual punishment. This is becoming too typical. Despite being a government school initiative that PBS praises, restorative justice is a…

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Good-bad attitude; good-bad reasons

Good bad attitude

Thursday, I went to that place I inaccurately refer to as The Big City. Mostly it qualifies as The Big City only if you’re used to places like Chicken, Alaska, or Rabbit Hash, Kentucky.

Still, despite not being as cosmopolitan as Casper, Wyoming, or as bustling as Pocatello, Idaho, our Big City has its metropolitan moments. Not all of them good.

To wit, we were at a stoplight, third in line to make a right turn, when an elderly gent started hobbling across the street with the aid of a cane. He was moving at a pretty good clip for a bent old guy. But that wasn’t good enough for the jerk whose truck was first in line for the turn.

Honk! Honk! Honk!

Said cretin laid on the horn. Hoping to accomplish what, I can’t imagine. Did he expect the old guy to hop on his cane and fly the rest of the way across the street?

My friend L. and I were indignant and feeling very bad for the harrassed octogenarian. But he didn’t need our sympathies. As he stepped to the curb, he raised an arm high over his head and gave the truck jerk an emphatic “friendly finger” before striding onward.

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Bad good attitude

The occasion for the Big City expedition was birthdays. Two friends are about to have them and a third missed hers a few months ago because she was in the hospital wishing she were dead.

So I told the three I’d take them to lunch at a lovely winery near the Big City. We’re blessed to have a gorgeous winery in this otherwise dreary working-class area and it’s always a treat to go there.

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Friday links

Oh yeah. Absolutely nothing could go wrong with this “smart” gun. And I’m sure there’s just lots and lots of consumer bureaucrat demand. (H/T PT) Question finally answered: Is Ted Nugent an interestingly loud-mouthed a**hole? Or just a loud-mouthed a**hole? (Hey, Ted. That’s how genocides get justified.) But it would have been perfectly okay — and the truth, too! — to call Obama and his minions lying creepazoid tyrant wannabes who, among other things are getting even creepazoidier in their cravings to control speech and the press. Yep, that would be just a-okay and probably even a service to the…

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“No, Sire, it is a revolution.”

And that’s not a good thing. Simon Black on food, revolutions, and other matters. (Nothing you don’t already know, but some good reminders, nevertheless.) The main difference is that Westerners have been brainwashed into believing that the civilized people voice their grievances in a voting booth rather than doing battle in the streets. It’s a false premise. Unfortunately, so is violent revolution. As my dictionary so perfectly defines, “revolution” has two meanings. First, it can denote an overthrow of a sitting government, whether violent or ‘bloodless’. But in celestial terms, ‘revolution’ denotes a complete orbit around a fixed axis. In…

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