Category Archives: logos addict

Scream, clap, laugh, win: Humor makes a great molotov cocktail

Luke McKinney's new article — a follow-up to his infamous piece on "straight white male" being sexuality's lowest difficulty setting (you may remember John Scalzi's still-famous article expanding that idea) – on 5 Gamer Comments That Give Straight White Guys a Bad Name had me screaming and clapping while simultaneously laughing coffee out my nose.

As Scalzi points out in his blog today, this IS written on, so it's got a marvelous left-handedness where you know that some of the people being called assholes in this article — in lovely metaphor-laden smackdown style — are going to be reading and commenting on it…and boy, do they.  I've stayed off the comment thread myself, mostly because all I really want to say is fuck yes, Luke.  Way to hit a second home-run just to prove you can! 

…It's really impossible to pick a "best" part of this to quote, but…

"People want to bang you = easy life" is the worst sexual equation since David Carradine's work with knot theory.


But seriously?  I think it's incredibly important that topics like this one be handled with loud, raucous, stabby humor whenever possible.  It's hard to speak accurate truth to power, sure; but it's even harder to make power hear it, and those people who can take truths and wrap them in you-can't-ignore-me linguistic molotov cocktails are treasures of humanity.  It's precisely why comedians and satirists are so vitally important to every movement, and I'm chest-burstingly proud that the No More Forced Pregnancies-related movements have voices like Luke (and Scalzi) on their side.  <3!

Word Junkie

To remind you who you're dealing with:

the allusive is my everything
(oh lovely self-slogan, all I need and a t-shirt too)

the illusive makes me sick 
(show 'em or go home, gods; this ain't dice)

and the elusive lifts me up 
(mind is the first floor, no buttons needed)

So remember:  They're not puns,

They're pulled punches.


Give Me A DRM-Free World

Lulu Blog » Living in a DRM-Free World.

Count me among the authors who feel that DRM did nothing to benefit us, and who're frankly relieved that it's on the way out.

Has the book been torrented?  Yup.  Does this upset me?  HELL no.

Think of it this way:  The Internet is the biggest communications medium in the world.  If you were an author and you went to the biggest public library in existence, where everyone was talking about and handing around books 24/7, and you found that yours hadn't been mentioned or shared at all, what would you think?  That it must suck, right?  

As an author, or really any kind of artist, you get attention and money and rewards for your work when people like it and tell other people about it.  Being that they're talking to each other in the real world, they have a much better idea how much of your work should be shared, and what should be said about it, to interest the person in front of them, than you and a zillion marketers could ever have.  If they think loaning a copy to their friend is the best way to make you a new fan — or that thumbing through it themselves is the best way to determine if they want to be your fan — then who the heck are you to argue?  

It's a sort of Taoist truth of sales:  Let people do their thing, and only intervene when needed.  I intervene, usually by being nice about it, when I run into someone who's borrowed by not bought my book, and almost always they turn into a buyer.  If I intervened by being a jerk, or prevented them from getting ahold of my work in the first place, guess what they'd be?  Yeah, not a fan, for sure.

Fortunately we're not alone, we authors-who-pay-attention; as this article demonstrates, publishers like Tor and distributors like Lulu are catching on that penalizing readers – especially penalizing all readers for something a tiny percentage of them do — is just plain stupid, and a world without DRM is hopefully right around the corner.


NGrammatical Fun

Oooo, if you haven't messed with Google Ngram, you shooooould!  Instant pretty graphs of the occurrence of any words and phrases in tons of books over time?  YES PLEASE!

Here, for example, you can see that the phrase "in the beginning" was used a lot in 1800 and has been in steady decline ever since, while "in the end" has been on the rise during the same time-period; and the phrase "in the middle" has remained steady and qualitatively in-between the other two.  

Have you ever seen anything so squee-worthy??  I'm not sure I have.  I may need to sit down a minute, actually.  Whoo…

(YES, okay, I heard about the Ngram corpus lookup feature of Google Books and immediately headed over and devised a goofy philosophically-meta search for it.  Because that is me, and data that speaks to me gets me hot.)

The Perfect Square Has No Corners

I love this passage from the Tao Te Ching (chapter 41):

The wise student hears of the Tao and practices it diligently.

The average student hears of the Tao and thinks about it now and then.

The foolish student hears of the Tao and laughs out loud.

If there were no laughter, the Tao would not be what it is.

Hence it is said:

The bright path seems dim; and going forward seems like retreat;

The easy way seems hard; the highest Good seems empty;

Great purity seems sullied; a wealth of Goodness seems inadequate;

The strength of the Good seems frail; real Good seems unreal;

The perfect square has no corners; great talents ripen late;

The highest notes are hard to hear; the greatest form has no shape.

The Tao is hidden and without name.

The Tao alone nourishes and brings everything to fulfillment.

Eris v. Atlas: The Throwdown!

Ooooh, I can't not put this up:  So wonderful!  An excellent fellow named JMR Higgs (and points to you, sir, for the spiffy three-letter first name…very nice in the Age Of Acronyms) has written a comprehensive side-by-side of two of my favorite books to talk about*:  The Illuminatus! Trilogy and Atlas Shrugged.

It's a fun, dead-on accurate and really thought-provoking comparison.  A short sample (with some links added by me, for extra surfing fun – and sorry if the formatting doesn't work quite right here):



Superficially a sci-fi tinged mystery novel, but really the philosophy of Discordianism in fictional form.
Superficially a sci-fi tinged mystery novel, but really the philosophy of Objectivism in fictional form.
Views the world through the metaphor of the Greek Goddess Eris.
Views the world through the metaphor of the Greek Titan Atlas.
Has been known to turn previously sane readers into paranoid schizophrenics.
Has been known to turn previously sane readers into sociopaths.
Portrays hierarchical systems abstracted to the point of absurdity, although some readers find that absurdity plausible.
Portrays individual liberty abstracted to the point of absurdity, although some readers find that absurdity plausible.
Portrays powerful men as utterly deluded about their influence on world history.
Portrays powerful men as utterly pivotal due to their influence on world history.
Characters who lack a sense of empathy and connection find sex devoid of meaning.
Characters who lack a sense of self-interest and purpose find sex devoid of meaning.
Author never makes things simple for his readers.
Author never makes things difficult for her readers.
Has the ability to make those who haven’t read it bemused.
Has the ability to make those who haven’t read it extremely angry.
Completely unfilmable.
Completely unfilmable (see the 2011 film Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 for more details)

…So if you're surfing today, definitely go check that one out.  Made my morning.  

(And just for fun/context…I was a rabid Discordian in my youth; in fact the nickname "Puredoxyk" is a derivation of the badge of office I used during my holding-high-masses-in-donut-shops days.  I own a legitimately stolen copy of the Principia and my people-who've-known-me-forever nickname is "Kallisti".  RAW was before my time, but I'm pretty sure I've read everything he's ever written, and enjoyed well over 85% of it — stellar guy.

I'm also a properly trained philosophical thinker and therefore, if I had a time machine, it isn't Hitler I'd go back and kill:  It's Rand.  What that woman did to logic ought to be in the same category as what Catholic priests do to unlucky alter boys, and she did it to millions of people.  Ew and ew.

So yeah, this is like an Epic Battle of Good And Evil IMO.  ::huge grin::)

*That is, one when I'm sober and happy, and the other when I'm angry and drunk.

My shit is a little bit narrow (fix my apostrophe!)

I'm awesome at grammar, but it's a talent, not a skill:  I do it in my guts, and I have to go back and think it through in order to tell you why something is right or not.  

(I can usually do that, because I soaked up all the grammar I learned very easily, since it was just attaching rules to things I already knew — though my early education was pretty horrid, so I wasn't exposed to a lot that people who went to better schools were.  …And no, this doesn't mean that every bit of English I write has perfect grammar; sometimes I get "entitled" about knowing how it should be, and change things because I feel like it; plus I like to experiment — especially with punctuation and word-formation — and sometimes I just go fast (ahem, quickly) or am lazy, like most people.  That said, though, this post and my general disposition totally does give anybody the right to nitpick at me for any grammatical errors they may find in anything I've written, and yup, I'm okay with that.)

(Also, excessive parentheses are a stylistic mistake, not a grammatical one.  ::sticks out tongue::)

So here's my conundrum:

  • the phrase "a day's worth of stuff" contains a possessive form of the singular noun "day", which therefore has an apostrophe.  The apostrophe goes in front of the "s" rather than behind it because "stuff" is a collective noun, I think, referring to the heap or chunk rather than the many items that compose it, and therefore gets treated as singular.
  • the phrase "a day's worth of things" contains a possessive form of the singular noun "day", which has an apostrophe before the "s" even though the object-noun "things" is definitely plural — which is normal, so okay.  But this establishes that when "day" is plural in this phrase, there's an apostrophe-s regardless of whether the object-noun is singular or plural
  • both the phrase "many days worth of stuff" and the phrase "many days worth of things" seem (intellectually) like they ought to have apostrophes following the "s" in "days"…but "many days' worth of things" just looks wrong to me (a good sign that it is wrong!).  Furthermore, Googling produces about a 80/20 preference for not using the apostrophe, including in well-respected publications!  SO WHAT IS THE DEAL?

Ah, life mysteries.  If only they were all so tiny as the waveform of an apostrophe….

Today’s difficult-to-sustain-in-public joke is…

"Well I guess there's a reason that truth-functional propositional logic is called zeroth-order logic, now, isn't there?"

[Not that complicated of a point, and barely even a pun...but a bit of a mouthful to keep your righteously-witty face on while telling at a subway stop.]

::adjusts collar nervously::

(By the way, on a similarly no-I-swear-I'm-just-a-nerd-not-an-alien note, the category on this site called "logos addict" refers to the Greek word logos, not to the plural of "logo".  And it did not occur to me that this could be interpreted as anything other than the Greek until someone brought it up to me in person, is the sick thing.  ::sigh::)

The Tyranny of the Ten Thousand Things

There are approximately ten thousand posts backed up in my brain right now, but I've no idea when I'll get a chance to write them, so instead you get one of the (many!) good bits from the Tao Te Ching:

In dwelling, be close to the land.

In meditation, go deep in the heart.

In dealing with others, be gentle and kind.

In speech, be true.

In ruling, be just.

In business, be competent.

In action, watch the timing.

No fight: No blame.

-Chapter Eight