The MEDICINE award went to:
Steven Stack of Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA and James Gundlach of Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA, for their published report "The Effect of Country Music on Suicide."
Flipper needs a makeover. Here's a plot for your next novel: a killer dolphin terrorises a fishing village.
Forget the New Age hype, it turns out that dolphins are killers. From "Flipper has a whale of a time taming the neighbourhood" by Louise Evans:
Last week at Maria Island off Tasmania, where more than 40 pilot whales were stranded, a pod of about 50 dolphins could be seen behaving aggressively just metres offshore. At King Island, also off Tasmania, where 55 pilot whales beached, Rosemary Gales, senior marine biologist at Tasmania's Nature Conservation Branch made this telling observation: "Locals and police trying to deter the animals from stranding observed the dolphins herding the whales ashore and stopping them from going to open sea." Whales stranding expert David Pemberton said "we are for the first time looking at whether dolphins are part of the problem".
Sometimes the young killer dolphins get carried away and end up beaching as well, as they did at King Island last week. The godfathers of the gangster dolphin world regret losing some of their young guns but as the old saying goes "there are plenty of other dolphins in the sea".
It is hard to come to terms with the fact, especially after centuries of canonisation, that those cheeky, squeaky mammals have the same work place practices as TV mob boss Tony Soprano.
As a freelance writer, you don't have to travel to work (unless you have an office somewhere else), so you have more time available to you, because you've eliminated the daily commute.
This means that it's easy to work too much, or too little.
You may work too much, because you feel insecure. This pattern leads to stress and burnout.
You may work too little, because you have lots of time, so you procrastinate. This pattern leads to chaos.
The answer is to get into the habit of keeping time sheets for small projects, and daily word counts for longer projects, like books.
I'm wiping away tears (of laughter). Read Pave France's Pop Quiz: Atomic Poker post:
As the leader of the world's sole acknowledged super-power you are entrusted with the world's security, much to the chagrin of some lesser petty nations and bad guys with the nuclear itch. A whacked rogue state is caught building nuclear weapons. This rogue state, with a history of providing terrorist organizations with financing and conventional weapons and breaking its word to sucker diplomats, has already made several uniequivocal pronouncements about its intended mischief.
What do you do?
A) Call France. Leave a message for Jack asking him to please return your call at his earliest convenience. Give your cell number.
B) Call the UN. Make an appointment for elevenses with Kofi Annan sometime in the upcoming week. Purchase a pound of assorted tea cakes and stare at the nice Whitehall wall calendar.
(You'll need to scroll down the page, there's no direct link.)
Apparently US liberals are fleeing to Canada.
They've even got their own people smugglers.
Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals Near the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station wagons, drive them across the border and leave them to fend for themselves.
A lot of these people are not prepared for rugged conditions," an Ontario border patrolman said. I found one carload without a drop of drinking water. They did have a nice little Napa Valley cabernet, though."
Unfortunately, I haven't heard that any Australian Labor Party or Greens voters are heading for New Zealand. It's hard to impress sheep with how trendy you are. (Note, I mean four-legged sheep! I love New Zealand and New Zealanders. :-))
(If you're a new reader of this blog, this post refers to NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month.
It's the final week of NaNo. I'm lagging on the word count, now at 35K, but I'm happy with the novel. It's workable. The characters are interesting and the plot is taking shape nicely.
Onward, to 50K! :-)
In his piece "NOT SO DUMB THEN?" Christopher Hitchens skewers the deserving. Read the whole thing.
It may seem regrettable to you that these pious church-goers also have the right to vote but so they do. They had it when the British were living under absolute monarchy.
And it was prayer-muttering farm-boys from Tennessee and Vermont who came over to Europe in such large numbers, bringing their various chaplains along, and did us all such a favour a generation ago…
Of course, I would prefer that only secular humanists and believers in Darwin had been in the front line against first fascism and then Stalinism and now Islamic nihilism but one can't have everything.
My computer screen looks like a rainbow when I'm writing. I keep ideas, revision notes, and (some) research in the primary document, colour-coded. I used to keep all my notes separate, but it's not as efficient. Colour-coding helps remind me what my initial train of thought was through several drafts. :-)
I use blue, green and red fonts for additional material, black is for the work itself. Here's my colour scheme:
* Blue: general notes and ideas, thinking on the computer screen;
* Green: changes I need to make in this draft, stuff I'm not happy with but don't know how to fix, yet;
* Red: research info, anything important.
I also use the highlighting function in Microsoft Word with abandon.
Ian McFadyen calls leftist Western intellectuals who sneer at anyone who doesn't share their trendy beliefs "snerds"
Read McFadyen's article. You'll recognise the people he's talking about. :-)
Tom Wolfe calls them pseudo-intellectuals, which is what they are. Read this interview with him.
It reminds me of Pauline Kael, the film critic, who said, "I don't know how Reagan won - I don't know a soul who voted for him." That was a classic and reflects the reaction of New York intellectuals now. Note my definition of "intellectual" here is what you often find in this city: not people of intellectual attainment but more like car salesmen, who take in shipments of ideas and sell them on.
ALL THE RED STATE / BLUE STATE "VALUES" TALK puts me in mind of this passage from Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, in which he compares and contrasts the two styles:
Weirdly, the ones who adopted the sternest and most terrible Old Testament moral tone were the Modern Language Association types who believed that everything was relative and that, for example, polygamy was as valid as monogamy. The friendliest and most sincere welcome he'd gotten was from Scott, a chemistry professor, and Laura, a pediatrician, who, after knowing Randy and Charlene for many years, had one day divulged to Randy, in strict confidence, that, unbeknownst to the academic community at large they had been spiriting their three children off to church every Sunday morning, and had even had them baptized. . . .
Read the whole thing.
I've avoided Neal Stephenson's books. After reading this, I think I'll enjoy them. I'm putting Stephenson on my Must Read list. :-)
First a Howard victory in Australia, then a Bush victory in the US. :-)
Let the Healing Begin from Iowahawk is laugh-aloud hilarious:
First, keep in mind that this was a very narrow defeat, and could have gone either way with the right breaks. John Kerry would be planning his inaugural today if his campaign had not made a couple of strategic blunders, such as not getting people to vote for John Kerry.
Next, you've got to stop all this crazy talk about "suicide" and "that's it, I'm moving to Canada." C'mon people, just stop it!. Why? Because you are Americans too, and Americans are known for action, that's why! If you ever expect other Americans to treat you as a serious political force, you've got to get up off your duff, can all that jibber-jabber, and get cracking on the U-Hauls and tragic carbon-monoxide incidents, Mister Big Talk.
Keep in mind that following a crushing election defeat, any political movement is going to face a bloody period of disarray and intraparty power struggles. When the inevitable recriminations, purges, and cannibalism start up, remember -- it's not personal.
Above all, don't give into those negative urges to feel sorry for yourself, or to drive to the nearest Evangelical stadium church and relentlessly hack all the Biblethumping Bush freaks to death with a hatchet. This only brings you down to their level. For a great stress reliever, why not go to Perkins for a slice of their delicious pie? Pecan a la mode is my favorite.
Want some good news? With the election finally over, it will be easier than ever to get the word out about the illegitimate Bush Regime. Just this morning I was at Barnes & Noble, and they're running a great $0.39 per pound special on anti-Bush books! They make great stocking stuffers, and there's over 500 titles to choose from.
New readers: this post refers to NaNoWriMo, or, "write 50k words of your novel in a month, and have a blast doing it". Info here.
It's Day 4, and I've got 7000 words. I'm pleased, because not only do I have the words, I have a magnificent major complication/ resolution for my plot, and two good story people.
I'm writing first thing in the morning, which is my most creative time. I find that if I leave it until after I've read email and done other work, it's more difficult than if I write NaNo first.
The image shows my word tally on Erik Benson's spreadsheet. If you have a spreadsheet program, this post has the link to download it.
NaNoWriMo, or, "write 50k words of your novel in a month, and have a blast doing it" is exciting. It forces you to get words on paper.
If you're writing a novel for the first time, and feel completely confused, consider taking our Pro Write workshop, "Write Genre Novels (Commercial Fiction) For Fun And Profit" as you progress through this month. I wrote the workshop for beginning novelists, and for novelists who've written a novel or two, but are having a hard time getting published.
The workshop is in three lessons:
* Lesson One: Decisions and pre-writing
* Lesson Two: Your Characters And Guideposts
* Lesson Three: First draft
When you've done the workshop, you'll know why picking the genre is the most important decision you make, and why you make it IMMEDIATELY after you decide to write a novel that you hope to get published. If you don't know the genre, your chances of selling it are zero. :-)
What's a genre? Here's an excerpt from Lesson One of the workshop:
Genre novels are popular, commercial novels which fit into a clearly defined category, or genre.
The Encarta Dictionary defines genre as a "category of artistic works", and further as:
"One of the categories that artistic works of all kinds can be divided into on the basis of form, style, or subject matter. For example, detective novels are a genre of fiction."
The major fiction genres include: romance, mystery, horror, science fiction, thriller and fantasy. Take a walk through a local bookstore and look at the labels on the fiction shelves to see how many books the store stocks in each genre, and also who the most popular writers are in that genre. Make a list of these writers. If you're in funds, buy a couple of the books of your favorite authors, or just write down the names and get the books from the library.
It's important to read in the genre you're writing in, because you must know what publishing houses are looking for, and what editors are buying.
Yes, this "market research" starts before you write a word.
Within each genre, there are sub-categories, or sub-genres. The romance genre includes sub-categories like: sweet, passionate (or "hot"), historical, and suspense. If you can believe it, these sub-categories include even further divisions, but let's stop before we get confused.