Friday, August 19

Everything interesting happens in the dead zone . . .

One of my favorite cartoons of all time has a physicist in front of a huge blackboard that is filled with this vast, intricate, insanely complex calculation, checking his work with obvious satisfaction. All the way at the bottom, right in front of the final "=1", there's a parenthetical notation that reads:

"Here, a miracle happens."

When I plot a novel, most of it is scenes that I can jump into inside my head: it's like opening them on a hard drive, or accessing them on DVD. I touch them, and I'm there. These are easy for me to write, because I'm literally inside the scene and all I have to do is transcribe what happens: what's there, what it looks like, sounds like, smells like, feels like, who does what to whom, whatever.

But in between those scenes there are always "dead zones." Places where I know what's supposed to happen, but I can't quite see it. It's only mist. I can't bring it into focus.

Now, I can carve that mist into workable shapes. I can make a quality scene out of just about anything. I've done it, and I can do it again. But, y'know . . .

I keep discovering those dead zones are there for a reason.

Those of you who read the Caine novels know that they tend to be Big Picture stories -- that even though they take place in short periods of time and are focussed on specific incidents and problems, the fundamental interconnectedness of reality in my personal universe means that a story about anything is also a story about Everything . . .

When I stare into a dead zone long enough, the mist begins to clear, and son of a bitch, y'know, what I knew was supposed to happen wasn't supposed to happen at all. Or not the way I thought. And the story gets better than I thought it was going to be.

Who's in charge here, anyway?

Where's Bakker? I need a Derrida expert, because I'm beginning to suspect that the author really is irrelevant.

Everything interesting happens in the dead zone . . .

Wednesday, August 17

Just when you thought it was safe to read this blog again . . .

Y'know, I was gonna leave the whole ID thing behind. I was bored with it. But those Onion guys rule.

That's all.

Thanks to Chris Billet for the above URL . . .

Friday, August 5


Shut up for a minute.

This is NOT about whether there is a Higher Power in the universe. Or more than one universe. Or whatever the fuck.

Personally: I do not believe in the "supernatural." Because the "natural" is plenty -- it is, in fact, everything. I am a pagan pantheist. To me, there is nothing that is not God.

Not even President Bush, but let that go . . .

I've been haunted by real, actual ghosts (as those who followed my RotS tour blog will recall). I do energy work; I have felt the power of kundalini and chi (which ain't the same thing, by the way -- and don't argue with me, I speak from experience), as well as reiki. I am, in fact, a reiki master. I have felt things -- and done things -- that science cannot explain.

I know things exist beyond the realm of current scientific verification.

Shit, that's why I write fantasy. Because novels without magick are not the truth.

However, none of these phenomena are supernatural. They are natural. We just don't have the science to measure them yet.


Get it? Science is not about whether something is true. Science is about whether something is verifiable.

You want to talk about truth, go study philosophy.

And Intelligent Design is the WORST thing we could be teaching in a public school science class, because it is an EXPLICIT STATE ENDORSEMENT OF A RELIGIOUS DOCTRINE.


Those of you who are interested in the politics of it might want to check out Paul Krugman's column in today's NYTimes.

[an aside to David Welch --

Holy Shit, dude -- doesn't a Major League pitcher make enough money to get a decent education? Or have the 'roids gone to your brain?

But thanks so much for playing. Vanna, show him his parting gifts.]

Wednesday, August 3

Just for a change of pace . . .

I'm NOT gonna bash Bush for being a moron.

He is, but this time I'm after the press.

So Shrub gets up on his hind legs and tells some TexAss reporters that he believes "the theory of intelligent design" should be taught alongside the theory of evolution in our nation's science classes, because students should be exposed to both sides of the debate.

So he's a moron. As is anyone else who thinks "intelligent design" is science.

I don't have a problem with the argument itself. It may even have some merit. I'm no atheist -- personally, I agree with Stephen Colbert that atheists are merely people who have chosen to abandon the worship of a higher being in favor of worshipping their own sense of smug superiority. [Sorry, Scotty -- but you've gotta admit it's a pretty good line. What do you expect from a guy with a Libertarian moustache?]

I don't even have any problem with Intelligent Design being taught -- but it should be confined to social studies classes, where it belongs. Unless you're in a religious school, in which case they can teach you whatever they want, as long as they're not using my tax dollars to do it.

This is why I'm after the press.

They keep saying "the THEORY of intelligent design" [caps mine, of course], sometimes in the same breath with the theory of evolution.

Let me say this nice and loud, so there is no misunderstanding, here:


Not in the scientific sense.

That pisses me off as much as the idiots who keep saying, "Well, Eeevil-ution's just a THEORY . . ."

Which is why I'm gonna take a minute here an explain to the morons -- which include, I'm sad to say, our national press corps -- what a theory is in the scientific sense.

It is, at its most basic form, a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena.

When one moves a theory into the scientific realm, however, one adds the element of testability.

Let me say that again.


That is: you can use the theory to generate new hypotheses about as-yet unobserved phenomena, which can then be investigated. If they prove to be consistent with the theory, then the theory stands. If they are not, the theory is changed until it is consistent with ALL OBSERVED FACTS.

With evolution, we can even observe its action in short-lived organisms in a junior-high biology lab. We see it in action every day. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, anyone? Anyone? Mr. Bush? Senator Frist?


Not one.

We cannot see Intelligent Design in action. It is BY DEFINITION mysterious and unknowable, occurring by the action of a deliberately-undefined supernatural force.

Therefore it is not a theory. It cannot be a theory.


Call it an argument. Call it an explanation. A rationale. Call it a Faith-Based Program -- the Bushitters love those. You're goddamn journalists, aren't you? Isn't it your job to get the facts?

The fact is: it's not a theory. When you call it one, you're engaging in partisan rhetoric, not journalism.

What does it take to get through to these people?

Sure, they don't have science educations -- but neither do I. My college degree was in THEATRE, for shit's sake.

Get it right.

Monday, August 1

Hey, everybody

Hey, everybody . . .

Haven't been around much lately. I'll try to get better. Too busy with the book, and with living my life . . .

Random thoughts from the meanwhile:

Been thinking quite a bit about Nixon lately. Y'know, it was the Republicans who got rid of him -- after the press finally got off their asses. Well, the American press is slowly coming to life, but there is no sign that the Republicans will ever turn against Bush.

This, to my view, springs from one fundamental distinction between the two presidents: Nixon was poor white trash. [Well, not trash exactly, but the point remains. By comparison, anyway.]

Bush comes from the WASP Mafia -- and the Bush Family is legendary for the vengeance it wreaks upon its enemies . . .

Watch Saudi Arabia now that Fahd's really gone -- Abdullah looks like an honest man, who honestly hates our guts. He's an actual enemy of Islamist terrorism -- the word is that most of the real SA progress against the Islamist whackos has come directly from him -- but apparently he also hates the whole "looting the country and funnelling the cash through American oil companies" way of doing business, too . . .

Our relations with Saudi Arabia are about to get interesting, I think.

Our relations with Pakistan will continue to be See No Evil, despite the fact(s) that Pakistan is a totalitarian military dictatorship that sold nuclear weapons technology to North Korea (now common knowledge), despite the fact that Pakistan airlifted Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters out of the siege of Kandahar (cf. Seymour Hersh's CHAIN OF COMMAND), despite the fact that any woman, in that nation, who reports a rape can still to this day be routinely prosecuted for adultery unless she can producce FOUR MALE WITNESSES TO THE CRIME (cf. Nicholas Kristof's recent reports in the NYTimes for case histories).

But they're an Important Ally in the Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism.

For shit's sake.

And, in an entirely non-political note, I just wanted to let all you Caine fans know that the way things are going, it looks like I will successfully achieve my goal of fucking off the whole multiple-third viewpoint for CAINE BLACK KNIFE.

That's right.

Those of you who thought that the main problem with BLADE OF TYSHALLE was that Caine just Wasn't In It Enough, well . . .

I'm gonna make you very, very happy.

And those of you who felt that there just hasn't been enough Balls-Out Asskicking?

You're gonna be happy, too.