Truth is hard in a special-snowflake world

Film screenwriter, director and producer Christopher McQuarrie sent a string of tweets a few days ago that encapsulate how he sees the industry, and how to achieve success in it.  He’s blunt (almost brutally so) about how nobody’s going to do the work if you don’t, and how you can’t expect the Success Fairy to alight on your shoulders and sprinkle you with magic dust, or something like that.  Here’s an excerpt. 1.  I‘m receiving a lot of questions from writers asking where to submit scripts or how to sell them. Others ask how to sign an agent, attach directors or producers, etc. You

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Flatness is as flatness does

Courtesy of a commenter at Alma Boykin’s place yesterday, I was led to this informative (?) article. In a survey conducted by the American Geographical Society, almost a third of all respondents said that Kansas was the flattest state. Some people even call it “flatter than a pancake.” But what does science have to say about that? The first, and only, study that we know of that directly compared the Sunflower State to a pancake was done by a trio of geographers in 2003. For their tongue-in-cheek analysis, they acquired a pancake from IHOP, cut out a sample slice and made a topographic

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Ridiculous!

I had to laugh at an article headlined “The 25 Most Absurd Job Titles In Tech“.  Examples include: Innovation Evangelist Dream Alchemist Time Ninja Security Princess Software Ninjaneer There are plenty more at the link.  Go read, and boggle your mind at the pretentiousness of it all! Peter

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Doofus Of The Day #1,057

Here’s a graphic illustration of why you shouldn’t use gasoline in combination with matches to clear an ant or termite nest out of your back yard. Must have been fun explaining that to his wife! A common practice in many parts of Africa was to soak the offending nest with a couple of gallons of gasoline, but then leave it alone for the gas to penetrate fully and kill off the ants or termites by poisoning them.  We didn’t toss lighted matches at the gas-soaked ground, for obvious reasons, as illustrated above. I can still recall (with some glee) the

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An historic way of life to a different, slower drumbeat

Courtesy of Old Salt Blog, I was interested to come across a novel, centuries-old method of shrimp fishing – on horseback. Intrigued, I looked for more information, and found this longer, more detailed view of the same “industry” in Belgium.  I found it equally interesting. It’s fascinating to think that such an ancient method of fishing has survived so long;  and it’s good to know that the number of mounted fishermen in training has actually increased in recent years.  I imagine the occupation is a lot less stressful than much of modern living, which is an attraction in itself. Peter

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Tugboat meat in a dockyard sandwich

A tip o’ the hat to GCaptain for finding this video clip of a harbor tug in San Francisco being ground between Pier 27 and the cruise liner Star Princess. They’ll have to inspect the pier for damage, as well as the tug.  Did you see how far its stern went underneath the pier?  I reckon that will have taken out more than a few uprights and the bracing between them.  The building on top of that section might be a bit rickety for a while . . . Peter

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I’m surprised his foundation didn’t collapse .

Last week I came across isolated reports of a (very) corrupt official in China.  Here’s an example from Zero Hedge: Chinese police searched the house of Zhang Qi, 57, the former mayor of Danzhou, and found a large amount of cash, as well as 13.5 tons of gold in ingots in a secret basement of his home, according to local media. According to unofficial reports, in addition to the $625 million worth of gold, cash worth 268 billion yuan ($37 billion) was discovered. There’s more at the link. The figures seemed kinda high to me (particularly the cash), but then video reports surfaced. 

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Remarkable Bronze Age weapons and craftsmanship

While doing research for a future book, I was fortunate to stumble across the Web site of Neil Burridge, who makes authentic replicas of historic Bronze Age swords, spears and other artifacts, mostly based on archaeological discoveries of actual weapons.  His craftsmanship is remarkable.  Here’s an excerpt from his Web site, interspersed with photographs of some of the swords he’s made (reduced in size to fit this blog). My name is Neil Burridge and this site showcases my work as a bronze sword smith. Over the last 12 years I have been fortunate enough to work with some of the leading

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Saturday snippet

I’m going to try to post more of my writing from time to time, as many of you seem to enjoy reading it.  It’ll be drawn from work(s) in progress, to give you something to anticipate. This morning’s snippet is from the sixth volume of the Maxwell Saga, to be titled “Venom Strike”.  The protagonist in this chapter is a former Spacer and Warrant Officer in the Bureau of Security of the Lancastrian Commonwealth Fleet, now a private detective.  He’ll later work with Steve Maxwell on what he discovers. The rain grew steadily heavier as the autobus moved out into the

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Book news and updates – and please vote for a cover

After publishing or participating in three books over the past two months, I’m catching my breath and assessing the situation.  So far, so good! “Gold on the Hoof“, my latest Western novel, is doing well after its first week on sale. It’s attracted nine reviews at the time of writing, all of them 5-star, which is very gratifying.  I’m glad you like it.  Westerns are by no means my biggest “earner”, because that genre is a lot smaller than science fiction or fantasy.  With fewer readers, one gets fewer sales by default.  Even so, I enjoy writing Westerns, so I

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