November 30, 2010

What could go wrong?


(via Casey.)

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O'Brien is Tryin' to Learn to Talk Hawaiian

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November 26, 2010



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How Not to Get Your Mom to Get you Andromeda Klein for Christmas

From a King Dork reader in today's mail:

My favorite part of the whole book was the Rye Heck part. I also play the guitar. I don't make up my own songs, but I play stuff like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Metallica. Classic crap like AC/DC. ( A lot of people at my school are just now starting to like it. I started playing when I was six). I'm still trying to get my mom to get me Andromeda Klein for Christmas. But, when I read her those three paragraphs in Rye Heck, she said, " No, ah-uh, negative, negatory, zero, cero, none, zip, nunca, never-" I had to cut her off before she looked up how to say NO in 100 different languages.

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November 24, 2010

Don't Worry about the Government

This ham-handedly statist, pro-TSA article in the Nation reads like a parody of Glenn Beck's blackboard, but it is apparently intended as a serious argument that anxiety about intrusive TSA searches is some kind of libertarian plot.

(via Glenn Greenwald.)

added: I guess "it's on," if I'm using that locution properly.

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I didn't realize that my sobriety was hurting my family...

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November 22, 2010

Andromeda would be Stoked


Weiser's latest on-line catalog (#84) is devoted to A. E. Waite.

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Now that You are Gone

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November 21, 2010

Young Girl Talking about Herself

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Zack and Greg


It's hard to see, but the outside book is Techniques in the Organic Laboratory.

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November 20, 2010


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More notes from the culture war

From Ann Althouse, reacting to this article on the election's "triumph of stupidity":

Welcome to my world: Dane County, Wisconsin, home of people who tell themselves they are the smart people and those who disagree with them must certainly be dumb. They don't go through the exercise of putting themselves in the place of someone who thinks differently from the way they do. But how would it feel to be intelligent, informed, and well-meaning and to think what conservatives think? Isn't that the right way for an intelligent, informed, and well-meaning person to understand other people? If you short circuit that process and go right to the assumption that people who don't agree with you are stupid, how do you maintain the belief that you are, in fact, intelligent, informed, and well-meaning?

What is liberal about this attitude toward other people? You wallow in self-love, and what is it you love yourself for? For wanting to shower benefits on people... that you have nothing but contempt for.

I imagine Madison, WI and the SF Bay Area are pretty much evenly matched in the prevalence of the cultural tendency described here, and these unthinkable questions have certainly occurred to me as well over the years, even though articulating them can really make people hate you, and think you're stupid.

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November 18, 2010

Paper Dolls

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Like Everybody throughout the Whole Internet, I am Charmed by the Pictures of Creatures and Figures from the Cthulhu Mythos Drawn by Children


I'm old enough to remember when hardly anyone outside of what seemed to be an elite group of weirdos had the faintest clue as to what the Cthulhu Mythos was, and that wasn't that long ago even in my lifetime, to say nothing of the entire span of years since the stories were written. Now the whole world sees a reference to the Great Race of Yith and smiles knowingly at one another.

On the one hand, I have this feeing that "our side won" in an inadvertent ancillary skirmish in an unwitting battle in some undeclared culture war; yet, on the other, I am aware of a sudden, fated deflation of interest in the whole thing. Funny how that happens.

(Digest article here; full galleries here.)

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November 17, 2010


The Andromeda Klein paperback comes out next month, and I just got one in the mail:


They changed the front cover, obviously, but they did include the annotated charts that were printed on the inside of the original jacket as a fold-out.

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Red State and the Beast

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November 16, 2010

Sad November

The "seasonal affective disorder" described in this Washington Post article is only supposed to run one way, that is, the darker, colder seasons cause a depression that only increased light and intense heat can relieve. But googling around, I turned up this one on "Summer SAD." To the extent that pathologizing moods in such a way has any validity or use at all -- and I remain deeply, perhaps even ideologically, skeptical about that -- I suppose if anyone has it, I do.

For me it is mostly about the heat, but the sunlight that goes along with it has acquired an unpleasant association, and I continually curse it, like Gollum.

People always scoff when I get overheated and miserable in relatively temperate weather: anything approaching 70 degrees will almost always ruin my day, even though the people I encounter during these ruined days will relentlessly taunt me with homilies on how "gorgeous" the unbearable heat is, or even, if they really want to twist the knife, talk about how cold the unbearable heat is.

Apart from the heat, though, like those quoted in the article, I feel attacked by the sun, generally. My heart sinks when I wake up to see its rays invading through chinks in the blinds. On the other hand, a cloudy day can be like a little trip to Disneyland. I come alive in shade and semi-darkness (or in air conditioned spaces) as anyone who knows me can attest.

Anyway, scoff all you want, but this foul, summery November we're having now has really got me down.

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November 15, 2010

Don't Call 911

Yet another miscarriage of justice that began with a misguided 911 call.

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November 14, 2010

In Spammy Skies

There's another massive spam-bot attack in the comments going on, and I've batch-deleted huge chunks. It is possible that some legitimate comments got mowed down in the process, and if that is so, I apologize.

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November 12, 2010



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He'd Get My Vote

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November 05, 2010

Don't Steal Stuff

Good grief:

Honestly Monica, the web is considered "public domain" and you should be happy we just didn't "lift" your whole article and put someone else's name on it! It happens a lot, clearly more than you are aware of, especially on college campuses, and the workplace. If you took offence and are unhappy, I am sorry, but you as a professional should know that the article we used written by you was in very bad need of editing, and is much better now than was originally. Now it will work well for your portfolio. For that reason, I have a bit of a difficult time with your requests for monetary gain, albeit for such a fine (and very wealthy!) institution. We put some time into rewrites, you should compensate me!

-- Judith Griggs, managing editor of Cooks Source magazine, in an email to a writer whose on-line article she had lifted and reprinted without permission.

The web is wreaking vengeance, of course, turning up a great many other apparently unlicensed articles, many lifted from sources that are quite well lawyered-up, so it's likely to be quite a painful lesson.

(via Scalzi.)

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Juliette and Tricia


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Don't Play Poker in South Carolina

More SWAT team over-reach, via Radley Balko.

I can't tell for sure from this whether or not private poker games are ever okay in SC (though it seems unwise to risk it) but it does appear that playing any type of game at all "on the Sabbath day" is forbidden, a law I'm pretty sure I must have broken on tour a time or two; but then again, maybe chess, Civilization, and nethack don't count.

Man, this is a scary country.

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BBC Segment on Austin Osman Spare

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November 04, 2010

My Irish Love

For some reason, quite a few attendees at my recent appearance at the Berkeley, IL public library asked me to sign books that had nothing to do with me other than the fact that I was being asked to sign them. Patrick snapped this shot of me signing a romance novel:


I remember signing a couple of Harriet the Spys, a cookbook, and a Rand McNally road atlas (as well as some phones and shoulder bags.)

Of course, in a commercial sense I would far prefer that people purchase my own books for the purpose of acquiring that kind of memento, and in an ego-gratification sense there is nothing like the shining eyes of a trembling fan when you write something like "hey, thanks for [unintelligible scrawl trailing off into a barely legible signature]" in your own book rather than in someone else's. But in every other sense, I really do love the whole concept of inappropriate autographed items.

My own favorite one, and the first I ever collected, came about by accident when I was on a school band trip to Los Angeles. We had a couple of hours free time to wander around on Hollywood Boulevard, most of which I spent record-shopping. Somewhere along the way, I encountered a throng of people surrounding someone who was clearly a celebrity, thrusting pieces of paper for him to sign.

I had to jostle my way past several rings of fans before realizing the celebrity's identity: it was Wink Martindale, most famous at the time for being the host of the game show Tic-Tac-Dough.

I had nothing for him to sign except the records in my bag. Which is how I wound up with a copy of Black Flag's Jealous Again 12" signed by Wink Martindale. It said "regards, Wink," and he drew a little picture of a smiley face winking next to it.

Sadly, this item has since disappeared, probably lost in a breakup like so many records over the years, though it is possible it is still around here somewhere, lying underneath something or other. Nevertheless, whether or not it exists anymore, it's an ideal to aspire to.

Maybe next time, I'll tell you about the time I almost got beat up by Maureen McCormick's security goons for trying to get close enough to ask her to sign a rubber lizard.

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