log (2006/03/17 to 2006/03/23)

New content recently added to our Sprawling Empire of Content:

And of course our latest microfiction from the other day, about which a prominent critic writes:

On the playing aliens story. It's fab.

Number it among your masterpieces :)

Which of course makes us happy. We've been thinking we ought to write a short story with that premise for years, but for some reason it didn't occur to us until the other day that it'd be a good microfiction.

Elsewhere, President Bush acknowledged that prewar intelligence about Iraq had been false, and said that the U.S. would discontinue its practice of ordering military intelligence from Costco.

Question Before the Supreme Court o' the Day:

The two-step method covered by patent No. 4,940,658 is straightforward: A patient's level of an amino acid is tested and if elevated, it can be correlated with a deficiency of folic acid, or B-12.

The question before the Supreme Court is whether a doctor could infringe the patent "merely by thinking about the relationship" between homocysteine levels and B vitamin deficiencies after looking at a test result.

Is this a trick question?

"So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun! Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies. Curses and drat! You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail! Hail Xenu!!!"

The duo signed the statement "Trey Parker and Matt Stone, servants of the dark lord Xenu."

And we'll close with just one piece of very memorable spam, produced by an engine of which we've become very fond. Under the subject line "streptomycin custodial the elves", we find:

A bottle of beer falls in love with the childlike bartender. Sometimes a movie theater of a turn signal beams with joy, but another raspy grizzly bear always negotiates a prenuptial agreement with another bowling ball for a hydrogen atom! The satellite daydreams, and a childlike roller coaster goes to sleep; however, an eggplant behind the defendant seldom goes deep sea fishing with a paycheck.

Clearly nothing that's going to worry the Turing Authority, but still. That first sentence is hard to beat for raw beauty.

It's like watching a gambler who's left the wife and kids at home and gone down to the casino with his paycheck in his pocket, and put it all down on one big, dangerous bet.

Normally you sort of hope he loses, because although it might be tough on his family in the short run, maybe it'll finally give him the message, and he'll quit, stop wasting his time and income in the lights and smoke of the betting floor.

But you can't hope he loses this time, because what he's gambling with is human life, and the future of the country you love, and your children's hope for prosperity. So you watch the wheel, and you cross your fingers, you hope he wins.

And you hope that, if he does, something will still stop him from coming back next week, with the next paycheck.


(This is actually a happy date in our house, if that's any comfort. But the public anniversary is dark.)

Although the alien children were even more humanlike than the adults, it took some time for the two groups to feel comfortable with one another, to overcome the strangeness. No longer, maybe, than if both bunches of kids had been of the same species and planet, but just from different countries, or different blocks. By the time the shadows of the trees started to stretch out across the yard it was as if they'd all grown up together. Which is to say, they were kind and mean and rough and gentle and laughing and sulking in a single shared universe of kidness.

We sat sipping lemonade and looking out across the field, making smalltalk with the vaguely blue-skinned, vaguely insectoid, vaguely angelic, aliens, to give the translation algorithms more to work with. Not that they needed to be much better.

"Your children are lovely."

"As are yours."

"Thank you."

"Our leaders have sent word to us. They are wondering, in our capital cities, if we should now discuss the reasons that you have come to Earth."

One of the aliens, the one that spoke most often, cocked its head to one side, and then gestured out across the grass, where the children were running in circles and throwing sticks into the air.

"The children are playing."

"Yes, they are. But we wish to discuss your purpose in coming here, beyond that."

"What purpose could there be, beyond that?"

(See previous discussion.)

So aside from driving children around and getting children's glasses fixed (and my own glasses fixed; it's been quite the weekend for glasses) and buying birthday cakes for children and urging some children to get up so others could open their presents in front of everyone, and so on like that, I've been playing The Sims 2 (including the first exploration of the Downtown areas which I haven't even gotten around to putting up here on david chess dot com yet), and reading, and not getting enough sleep.

Oh, and I made a reservation for an Introduction to Zen Training Retreat up at Zen Mountain Monastery, for an undisclosed weekend sometime in the not incredibly distant future! (And I can report with pleasure that when you call ZMM because you realize that you did something wrong when you registered via the Web form, you get a real person without having to interact with a call director at all, and the real person is very nice and accommodating and certainly a Boddhisattva of the first water, so to speak.)

So failing heck or high water, you'll no doubt get a report about how wonderful it all was and how bad I was at oryoki sometime in the next month or three.

Let's see, some links:

Can't have a weblog without links, after all!