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KRAD's Inaccurate Guide to Life
ramblings from a mad fedora'd writer
McCoy relives a Jefferson Airplane song, Sulu fires a gun, Barrows plays dress-up, and Kirk has the world's longest fistfight. The TOS Rewatch goes on "Shore Leave."

An excerpt:
On top of that, the scenarios and things they get are so unimaginative. It’s all 19th and 20th century stuff (except Barrows’s medieval fairy princess and the black knight), but it feels like a missed opportunity. Why couldn’t Sulu have found an early laser pistol prototype from the 21st century? Why couldn’t Rodriguez dream up a super-villain from a current popular three-D drama? Why is everything they think of from the distant past? This was a chance to show a bit more of the life of people in this future and they blew it.

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: still the Yankees-A's game

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The Kickstarter for the flipbook superhero anthology The Side of Good/The Side of Evil. I'll be contributing an SCPD story for the anthology, and the other contributors include James Chambers, Kathleen O. David, Peter David, John L. French, Bryan J.L. Glass, Robert Greenberger, Neal Levin, Gail Z. Martin, Aaron Rosenberg, Janine K. Spendlove, and James M. Ward. Half the stories will be about heroes, the other half about villains (my story will be in that half), plus there are nifty stretch goals (including a free copy of my previous SCPD short story "Stone Cold Whodunit"). The cover is by the mighty Angela McKendrick (who also did the phenomenal cover to Without a License), and there will be interior illustrations by Jason Whitley (how many will depend on how much money is raised).

So go! Support it! It's gonna be a great book!

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: the Yankees-A's game on YES

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We got Scooter's ashes back today.


We actually went out to a local laundromat because our landlord is a bit of a greedhead. See, we used to have a free washer and dryer. Then after the old washer broke, our landlord put in a new one that you have to pay to use: $1.50 per load. (It's also a crummier washer.) We lived with that, but this past week, our landlord put in a new dryer (also a crummier one) that charges $2.00 per 55 minutes of drying. You can't do increments -- it's either 55 minutes for two bucks or 110 minutes for four bucks. Period.

It's actually cheaper to do it at the laundromat -- also faster, as we can use more than one machine and their machines are bigger -- and even if it was the same price, we'd be tempted to do it, just because this money-grubbing is yucky. (It doesn't help that the dryer came with no warning, and also has hard-to-understand instructions.)

Anyhow, the laundromat is across the street from the vet, so we also got to pick up Scooter's ashes.

Sigh again.

Miss the puppy dog.....

Current Mood: exhausted exhausted
Current Music: "Private Investigations" by Dire Straits

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It's a Muppet Monday!

Yesterday, we saw my old buddy (and former bandmate) Steven Rosenhaus conduct the Jefferson Heights Orchestra, who performed a bunch of patriotic songs for the holiday weekend. Among the songs on the set list was "The Stars and Stripes Forever." Here's the Muppets doing the John Philip Sousa song, specifically Sam the Eagle, joined by Beaker, Bobo the Bear, the Swedish Chef, Animal, a penguin, and two chickens.

While we were waiting for the concert to start, Wrenn, Meredith, and I made use of the nearby ice cream truck, and I started singing a song from my childhood. I was just the right age for Sesame Street, as it debuted in November 1969, when I was seven months old. One of the show's earliest bits was this song sung by two brothers and a sister in a December 1969 episode, and it's one I still sing often 45 years later. Look for the bit at the end with an early version of Cookie Monster.....

Current Mood: awake awake
Current Music: "Dance for Me, Samantha" by the Don't Quit Your Day Job Players

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Yesterday Wrenn and I went to our friend Peter's annual 4th of July party which conveniently happened right on the 4th of July, since Independence Day was kind enough to be on a Saturday this year. Meredith came up from D.C., and we picked up our friend Roger, and the four of us hied out to New Jersey for a fun afternoon and evening of food, friends, and fermented beverages. There were hamburgers and hot dogs, there were many wonderful appetizers (including the Italian bread and fresh mozzarella cheese we brought from Arthur Avenue), there was chicken salad, there was amazing sangria, there was beer, there was conversation and merriment, there was hilarity. What there wasn't was volleyball, as it rained in the afternoon, and even after the rain stopped and the sun came out, the lawn was all wet.

Still and all, it was an absolutely fantastic party, we got to see people we hadn't seen in far too long, and a good time was had by all.

Today we're taking it slow and eventually heading down to a free concert in Jackson Heights conducted by my old friend Steve Rosenhaus. Then dinner with Meredith and Roger and then we take Meredith to her bus to hie her back to D.C.

Then it's back to the grind, as Book 1 of the trilogy is due 15 July. Cha cha cha.

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "St. James Infirmary" by Django Reinhardt

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"We hold these truths to be self-evident," they said, "that all men are created equal." Strange as it may seem, that was the first time in history that anyone had ever bothered to write that down.
---President Bartlet,
The West Wing

The Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
    He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
    He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
    He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
    He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
    He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
    He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
    He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
    He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
    He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
    He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
    He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
    He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
    He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
    For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
    For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
    For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
    For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
    For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
    For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
    For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
    For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
    For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
    He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
    He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
    He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
    He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
    He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

Happy Independence Day, everyone!

Current Mood: awake awake
Current Music: "Fourth Day of July" by the Washington Squares

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All good things must come to an end. Or something. After a decade, we reach the final season of the first TV series, as the Stargate Rewatch does SG-1 season 10.

An excerpt:
Nobody else has a personal stake in the battle, and that’s a problem. With the Goa’uld, everyone had something. For O’Neill and Jackson, it was Skarra and Sha’re being taken by Apophis. For Carter, it was her unwilling bonding with Jolinar and her father becoming a Tok’ra. For Teal’c, it was a fight for his people’s freedom. Even Mitchell had his personal desire to bring SG-1 together and learn from them, but at this point that’s played out and he’s settled in. The closest we come to a personal stake for a non-Vala character is Jackson’s (completely justified) frustration with how little interest most of the ascended Ancients have in actually getting involved in the fight against the Ori.

Current Mood: busy busy
Current Music: "He Was My Brother" by Simon & Garfunkel

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Back in 2007, Bruce Springsteen -- who had only recently become exposed to the music of Pete Seeger -- put together an album of folk songs popularized by Seeger called We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions. The album was done backed by a thrown-together band called the Seeger Sessions Band (later shortened to the Sessions Band), which only included two E Street Band members, Patti Scialfa and Soozie Tyrell, as well as members of the Miami Horns, who toured with the E Street Band in the 1980s. (Since then, Springsteen has added several of the backup singers and Sessions piano player Charlie Giordano to the E Street Band, the latter replacing the late Danny Federici.)

Anyhow, after the release of We Shall Overcome, Bruce did a tour with the Sessions Band, which included stuff from the CD as well as some entertaining reworkings of Bruce's own songs. This is one of my favorites, a doo-woppy jazzy version of the Nebraska tune "Open All Night," which includes some magnificent piano work by Giordano, superb brass, and an entertaining doo-wop-off between the male and female backup singers.

Current Mood: awake awake
Current Music: "The Heart of the Matter" by Don Henley

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Back in November 2006, me and all eight of my cousins -- the nine grandchildren of my grandmother -- got together for a raucous dinner at an Italian restaurant in the Bronx. Here's a picture:

The other eight of them are getting together this weekend in Georgia. I, sadly, can't make it, as finances don't permit a trip down south. However, in honor of the occasion, this graphic was created, which has all nine of us as wee tots:

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Current Music: "Jesus Gonna Be Here" by Tom Waits

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One of my favorite songs is "St. James Infirmary." I've got more than two dozen versions of it on iTunes, but I think the most hauntingly amazing one is this one by the great Dave Van Ronk:

Current Mood: awake awake
Current Music: "St. James Infirmary" by Trombone Shorty

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Yesterday, Wrenn and I went down to Central Park to try to get tickets to see the first of this year's two Shakespeare-in-the-Park productions: The Tempest, with Sam Waterston (of Law and Order and The Newsroom fame) in the role of Prospero.

This is kind of coming full circle for me, as the first ever time I went to Shakespeare-in-the-Park, I was six, and it was a production of Hamlet starring, yes, Sam Waterston. I have very little memory of that 1975 performance, though I do recall being scared to death by the ghost of Hamlet's Dad.

Anyhow, we followed the same template we did last year for Much Ado About Nothing and got on the standby line. This worked magnificently, as we got there at a bit before 2pm and we were third on line. I liked our odds...

We actually stopped at Alice's Teacup on 73rd Street to get some tea and pastries, then I dropped Wrenn off at the 81st Street entrance to Central Park while I looked for a place to park the car. I figured that would take a while, but we had time, so I figured I would drive around the Upper West Side in the vicinity of that entrance and see what turned up.

Imagine my surprise when I go all of a block and a half up Central Park West and see a spot across the street. I make a rapid U-turn, look around to make sure the spot is legal (I thought for sure there'd be a fire hydrant I just didn't see at first, but no), and then pull in. I was thrilled. I reached Wrenn before she'd gotten more than fifty feet into the park and declared, "King of the Motherfucking Parking Gods!"

Anyhow, we sat on the line, chatting with the two nifty couples (one in their early 20s, one past retirement age) behind us, Wrenn got some editing done, I got some writing done, we were joined by my father and Helga (who kindly brought sandwiches from Little Italy in the Bronx), and all four of us got tickets easily when the no-show tickets were released at 7.20.

As for the play itself -- it was fun. It's the second time I've seen the Public Theatre do what is generally considered to be Shakespeare's final play, the first being the one starring Sir Patrick Stewart in 1995 (also the only time I've failed to get tickets for the Delacorte -- we saw the subsequent Broadway run of the show). The Stewart version was stronger, I think, partly because of a better Miranda, partly because the version 20 years ago gave us a Prospero who was tempered and strengthened by his exile. Waterston's Prospero was more traditional, playing him as a tired, crazy old man. He was mostly strong in the role, particularly for the great speech at the very end (they put the house lights up for that, which was a nice touch), but he labored through the second scene of Act 1, which, to be fair, is a very challenging lump of exposition, and stumbled over his lines a few times.

Still, he had excellent presence and he conveyed Prospero's frustration and weariness quite well.

I wish I could speak better of Francesa Carpanini's Miranda, but she was a little too shrieky to work right. Rodney Richardson's Ferdinand was far stronger, enthusiastic and earnest in his love for Miranda. (He also did a great backflip from his knees after Miranda declared her love for him.)

The biggest challenges in The Tempest are Ariel and Caliban, and this production absolutely nailed both roles. Chris Perfetti was ethereal and wondrous as Ariel, hovering over the action constantly, drifting in and out and shadowing various characters perfectly. And Louis Cancelmi was a superb Caliban, with labored speaking patterns that bespoke someone who had only comparatively recently learned to use language, and the body language of a person who has repeatedly been physically abused. Just a bravura performance -- unsurprisingly, Perfetti and Cancelmi got the biggest applause at the end.

Though a close second in loudness of applause went to Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Danny Mastrogiorgio as Trinculo and Stephano. Ferguson's getting more press by virtue of his being in the ensemble of Modern Family, but in truth it's the pair of them that make it work with their superb Abbott-and-Costello dynamic. In particular both do an excellent job of delivering Shakespeare's dialogue conversationally, something others in the cast struggled with.

The production was a visual feast, with the titular storm in the first scene being fantastically realized, an excellent job by a bunch of dancers playing the spirits (particularly in Act IV, scene 1, the sorta-kinda wedding scene with Iris, Juno, and Ceres), and generally was a worthy production of one of my favorite Shakespeare plays.

The run ends Sunday, so if you want to go, you'd better hurry....

Current Mood: awake awake
Current Music: "The Obvious Child" by Paul Simon

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Check out this Kickstarter preview (it will go live next week) for a fun new flip-book superhero anthology called The Side of Good/The Side of Evil. Edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail​ (Bad-Ass Faeries) & Greg Schauer​ (With Great Power), with a spiffy couple of covers by the mighty Angela McKendrick (who also did the cover for my Without a License collection), it'll have a new SCPD story by me, as well as stories by Aaron Rosenberg​, Robert Greenberger​, Kathleen David​, James Chambers​, John L. French, Gail Z. Martin​, Janine K. Spendlove​, James M. Ward, and Bryan J.L. Glass, plus (if stretch goals are reached) Peter David​ and Neal Levin​.

Please check out the preview, feel free to leave feedback, and make sure you get alerted when the project goes live!
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G. Kendall of the Not Blog X blog, which reviews comics and related materials published in the 1990s, has done a nifty set of reviews of the stories in the X-Men Legends anthology from 2000, including one that covers both Brian K. Vaughan's Angel story in the anthology and my own Changeling story, "Diary of a False Man."

Money quote:
As ridiculous as the Xavier/Changeling swap premise is, DeCandido does evoke a hint of tragedy with the story. When Jean reflects that even after the Changeling died doing the right thing, someone else’s name will be on his tombstone, I could almost forget how absurd this concept actually is. DeCandido does try his best to work through some of the continuity issues and logic problems present in the original comics, but there’s only so much anyone could do. The best moments of the story are the ones that transform the Changeling from a plot device into a believable character; the rest is an attempt to justify a lame comic from the late Silver Age that I would rather forget.

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Current Music: "Wind Up" by Jethro Tull

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I'm going to be at two conventions in 2015 that I've never attended before: Myths and Legends Con (a.k.a. MALcon) in Denver in mid-August and EnigmaCon in Daytona Beach, Florida in late October.

I mention this mainly because Examiner.com's Colleen Bement (billed as the "Denver Geek Culture Examiner") has written a piece on MALcon, one which very generously name-checks me as one of the special guests, and also because EnigmaCon has released their promotional poster:

(I'm in the lower right....)

Here's the money quote from Bement's Examiner.com article:
The schedule is still in the works, but if it is anything like the past few years, there will be too much goodness to squeeze in one weekend. Special Guest Keith R.A. DeCandido will be joining Myths and Legends Con this year. Among many other things, Keith wrote the ‘Serenity’ novelization, several ‘Supernatural’ novels, and multiple ‘Doctor Who’ short stories.

(It's rare for me not to be identified by my Star Trek work. Not complaining, just mentioning it as a curiosity....)

Very much looking forward to both shows!

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Weathercock" by Jethro Tull

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At the funeral for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of the victims of the Charleston shooting, President Barack Obama delivered the eulogy, and ended it with an impromptu, rousing rendition of "Amazing Grace." I can't think of a better way to end this roller-coaster of a week.

Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music: still the Yankees-Astros game

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Contact with Earth! Ford's out, and Caldwell, Ronon, Lorne, and the Daedalus are in! McKay blows up 5/6 of a star system! Michael! And other stuff as the Stargate Rewatch does Atlantis season two.

An excerpt:
Best episode: “Trinity.” My favorite episode of Atlantis in general, one of the best stories in the entire franchise, and a fantastic story on every level. The entire episode is about the theme of mistakes and their consequences, starting simply with Ronon messing up Teyla’s negotiation, and continuing to Kell paying for his mistake in sacrificing the Satedan people for his own survival with his life, and Ronon damaging his friendship with Teyla, all the way to the huge mistake of the Ancients not being able to make the power source work and McKay’s even huger mistake in not only thinking he could fix what they screwed up, but refusing to listen to Zelenka’s (wholly accurate) warning and blowing up most of a solar system as a result. So many great moments: Caldwell’s refreshingly unapologetic assurance that he is indeed eager to use this energy source for a variety of reasons (including as a weapon, but not limited to that), McKay’s citing of Harry K. Daghlian Jr. of the Manhattan Project as a reason to keep working after Collins’s death, Zelenka’s warning to McKay (a speech completely filled with real physics rather than technobabble), McKay’s snotty response, and Sheppard’s impassioned plea to McKay, citing pilots who refused to eject from a damaged plane until it was too late.

Current Mood: geeky geeky
Current Music: the Yankees-Astros game on YES

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The Supreme Court is 2 for 2 this week. In the ruling on the Affordable Care Act, they kept the tax credits -- which is the main reason why that first word in the act's name applies -- and then today they ruled 5-4 in favor of making all marriages legal regardless of the sexes of the two people involved.

Part of me is disgusted that a Supreme Court decision was needed for what should be fucking self-evident (from the Fourteenth Amendment, if nothing else, which was the cornerstone of the majority opinion), and another part of me is disgusted that it was such a close vote.

But ultimately, that doesn't matter, because the decision is made, as it really kinda had to be. The toothpaste was out of the tube the moment the first state allowed same-sex couples to marry.

And, to be blunt, all the arguments against this boil down to bigotry. The religious argument is total horseshit, and remains horseshit unless the person making the argument also thinks laws should be passed to make stoning the punishment for adultery, to forbid the mixing of wools and linens, to outlaw tattoos, and to force men to cover their heads at all times. As I've said many times, you don't get to cherry-pick the parts of the Book of Leviticus that suit your preexisting prejudices and call yourself righteous, you just get to be called a bigot.

In any case, "It's God's will" is not only horseshit, it's also not any kind of basis for rule of law in a democratic republic. The other argument is that it will harm opposite-sex marriage, which is also horseshit, because if the true concern was the "sanctity" of marriage, they'd be agitating to outlaw divorce. Which nobody is, because that would be ridiculous. As are all the arguments against same-sex marriage, which pretty much boil down to "I think it's yucky" -- which is also not any kind of basis for rule of law in a democratic republic.

So bravo to the Supreme Court -- well, five of them, anyhow. In particular bravo to Justice Kennedy and my fellow Cardinal Spellman High School graduate Justice Sotomayor, Catholics both, who I suspect felt some pressure from the authorities in their chosen religion on the subject of how to rule here, and good for them for not succumbing to it.

It's funny, we went down this road with the military, and it's following the same pattern: the arguments against homosexuals in the military were the exact same ones (to the letter) being made against having black people integrated with white people in the military. The arguments being made against same-sex marriage now are the same ones made decades ago against interracial marriage. And all four arguments were, ultimately, horseshit and based solely in bigotry.

Today was a victory against bigotry. Any day with that is a good day.

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "The Weight" by The Band

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Back in 1999, my then-wife Marina Frants took my first ever bio photo. She took it in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney, Australia. It served me well until 2004, when I realized I needed a photo that looked more like me. (I had different glasses, plus my beard looked different -- in '99 the beard was only a year old and hadn't settled yet.)

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Current Music: "For a Thousand Mothers" by Jethro Tull

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The Irish band Clannad has long been a favorite of mine -- I was fortunate enough to see them at the Beacon Theatre in the 1990s, too. Here's one of their standards, the Irish love song "Riu," as performed in 1977.

Current Mood: busy busy
Current Music: "Riu" by Clannad

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On the Read Star Trek Books blog there's a new post listing the top five action sequences in Star Trek novels. I'm pleased to say that the Hirogen-Jem'Hadar fight from my 2001 DS9 novel Demons of Air and Darkness -- which I remain a decade and a half later quite proud of -- nabbed the top spot. Click this paragraph for the whole list, which also includes work by Dafydd ab Hugh, L.A. Graf, and my dear friend David Mack.

Money quote:
When a Jem’Hadar Soldier meets a Hirogen Hunter in a one on one battle royal who wins? While reading this incredible game of cat and mouse I had to remind myself to breathe more than once. Most of the air that did reach my lungs came in the form of gasps. Despite my lack of oxygen this action sequence sticks in my mind with great clarity. All I can say is, “bravo sir, bravo.”

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "How Can I Be Old" by the Don't Quit Your Day Job Players

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Here's the full table of contents for the upcoming X-Files anthology Trust No One, edited by Jonathan Maberry, coming out in July from IDW (Amazon | Barnes & Noble):
    "Catatonia" by Tim Lebbon
    "The Beast of Little Hill" by Peter Clines
    "Oversight" by Aaron Rosenberg
    "Dusk" by Paul Crilley
    "Loving the Alien" by Stefan Petrucha
    "Non Gratum Anus Rodentum" by Brian Keene
    "Back in El Paso My Life Will be Worthless" by Keith R.A. DeCandido
    "Paranormal Quest" by Ray Garton
    "King of the Watery Deep" by Timothy Deal
    "Sewers" by Gini Koch
    "Clair de Lune" by W.D. Gagliani and David Benton
    "It’s All in the Eyes" by Heather Graham
    "The House on Hickory Hill" by Max Allan Collins
    "Time and Tide" by Gayle Lynds and John C. Sheldon
    "Statues" by Kevin J. Anderson

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Yakety Axe" by Chet Atkins & Mark Knopfler

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We have an official pub date at last! The X-Files: Trust No One, an anthology of stories based on the 1990s TV series, edited by Jonathan Maberry, will go on sale from the fine folks at IDW on 28 July 2015. I've got a story in the anthology, which is the first of three that IDW will be doing. My story is a late-second-season tale called "Back in El Paso My Life Will Be Worthless."

You can preorder the trade paperback from either Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Here's the full author list, alphabetically: Kevin J. Anderson, Max Allan Collins, Peter Clines, Paul Crilley, Timothy Deal, Keith R.A. DeCandido, W.D. Gagliani & David Benton, Ray Garton, Heather Graham, Brian Keene, Gini Koch, Tim Lebbon, Gayle Lynds & John C. Sheldon, Stefan Petrucha, and Aaron Rosenberg.

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It's been a rough time for The Chronic Rift podcast, as real life has interfered with our ability to get episodes out, but executive producer John S. Drew has been getting back on the ball. Including getting our look at each of the people to play the title role in Doctor Who back on track.

So our latest Spotlight is hosted by John and talks about the Fifth Doctor, as played by Peter Davison. Join John, me, and Krissy Myers as we talk celery sticks, the Black Guardian, "The Caves of Androzani," Adric's death, the 20th anniversary, Kamelion, and a whole lot more.

Current Mood: geeky geeky
Current Music: "Furry Sings the Blues" by Joni Mitchell & The Band

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As y'all know, I offered everyone who contributed to our GoFundMe a free short story in exchange for their generous gift. (I'm not linking to it -- we shot way past our goal, and our lives are much better now, so there's no need to keep flogging it. *wry grin*)

Not everyone said yes, but those who did requested one of the stories I control the rights to. (I wasn't comfortable giving away any of my tie-in stories, since I do not control the rights to those.)

Here's the list of stories in order of the number of people who requested them. I think it's an interesting insight into what folks want to read:

"Ragnarok and Roll"—10
This is kinda the first Cassie Zukav story, featuring Cassie having to stop Loki from bringing about Ragnarok, for which he's building power by fronting a rock and roll band. The true first Cassie story is "How You Can Prevent Forest Fires...," but that's an embryonic Cassie story that doesn't have all the elements of the usual -- most notably, she isn't in Key West yet. "Ragnarok" was the first "proper" Cassie story to see print, in 2011's Tales from the House Band Volume 1, reprinted in Apocalypse 13 in 2012 and in Ragnarok and Roll: Tales of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet. It's actually chronologically the second "proper" Cassie story, the first being "Down to the Waterline," which recently appeared in Buzzy Mag.

"Stone Cold Whodunit"—10
To my surprise -- given that the Super City Police Department novel The Case of the Claw isn't exactly a top seller for me -- this SCPD short story that appeared in the With Great Power anthology edited by John French and Greg Schauer is tied with the most requests. It's about the joys of tracking a weird murder in a world where superheroes -- and dimensional travel -- exist. I'm actually rather gratified, as The Case of the Claw is a novel that I think is one of my better ones, and I hope this will drive another sale or three.....

"A Vampire and a Vampire Hunter Walk Into a Bar"—5
This delightful little short short was actually written for a Van Helsing anthology that was to appear around the same time as the Hugh Jackman film in 2004, but the story was deemed too frivolous -- not that that's a bad thing necessarily, but all the other stories in the anthology were heavy and serious, and my story would've stuck out like a sore thumb. So I submitted it to Amazing Stories, who printed it in what turned out to be their final print issue under Paizo in February 2005, issue #608. The story was reprinted twice (in The Town Drunk in 2006 and in Without a License: The Fantastic Worlds of Keith R.A. DeCandido in 2015) and also made into an award-nominated audio by Gypsy Audio in 2012.

"Editorial Interference"—5
I suspect that this story has gotten requested mostly on the basis of its title. I wrote it for an anthology that never actually happened, it wound up being printed in a very early online zine called The Fedoras Literary Review in 1996, reprinted in Circles in the Hair in 2006 and Without a License in 2015. The story derives from my many years of experience working as an assistant editor who does all the work and gets none of the credit....

"Getting the Chair"—5
"Partners in Crime"—4
These two are Dragon Precinct stories, high fantasy police procedurals. "Getting the Chair" was the first short story I wrote in the milieu, and it actually was published in Murder by Magic edited by Rosemary Edghill around the same time as the first novel, in 2004. It's about a wizard who animates furniture being killed -- but the three pieces he animated tell contradictory stories about the murder. "Partners in Crime" is the Precinct story I wrote for Without a License, and is one of only two Precinct short stories (so far) that wasn't printed in Tales from Dragon Precinct in 2013. ("Getting the Chair" was reprinted in that collection.)

"How You Can Prevent Forest Fires..."—3
The first Cassie story I wrote, this was inspired by the urban legend about forest fires being put out by helicopters with big scoops that pick up water from the ocean and dump it on the fire -- later they find the charred corpse of a scuba diver in the fire. Some of the elements of later Cassie stories are there, from the scuba lore to Cassie's spectacular smartassery. It first appeared in Urban Nightmares, co-edited by me and the late Josepha Sherman, an anthology of tales inspired by urban legends published by Baen in 1997, and was reprinted in Ragnarok and Roll.

This is my only thriller to date. Steven Savile conceived the four-part Viral miniseries about the ripped-from-the-headlines story of the CIA using humanitarian aid in Third World countries to do covert DNA testing to find terrorists. My story was the first, published as a standalone novella, focusing on a New York journalist who stumbled onto the story and has to figure out what to do with it -- and also stay alive. The story was reprinted in Without a License.

"Sunday in the Park with Spot"—2
This little trifle about cats, squirrels, dogs, and pigeons keeping the world safe from chaos. I wrote it for Furry Fantastic, edited by Jean Rabe, in 2007, and it was reprinted in Without a License.

"The Stone of the First High Pontiff"—2
The first of what I hope to be many science fiction stories about Jin the Human Finder. It was published in the fifth Defending the Future anthology Best Laid Plans in 2013, and reprinted in Without a License.

"Gan Brightblade vs. Mitos the Mighty"—2
One of two Precinct stories I've done via Kickstarter (with a third on the way), this one is a bit of a sequel to Dragon Precinct itself, picking up on the band of heroes who were the victims of that novel, and the story of one of their finest battles. As yet, the story has only been released to Kickstarter supporters, and also to two GoFundMe contributors.....

"Fish Out of Water"—1
This is one of three Cassie Zukav stories that do not appear in Ragnarok and Roll, as it was in 2014's Out of Tune, edited by Jonathan Maberry. The story is inspired by Childe Ballad #289: "Mermaid," and has the usual blend of scuba diving, music, and Norse myth.

"The Ballad of Big Charlie"—1
This story first appeared in V-Wars, edited by Jonathan Maberry, a shared-world anthology series in which people are turned into the vampires from their ethnic heritage. "Charlie" is about the Bronx District Attorney who announces in the midst of his reelection campaign that he has the virus that changes people into vampires. The story was reprinted in Without a License: The Fantastic Worlds of Keith R.A. DeCandido, and its semi-sequel "Streets of Fire" will appear in V-Wars: Night Terrors this fall.

"Fire in the Hole"—1
"Blood on the Water"—1
"A Clean Getaway"—1
"Heroes Welcome"—1
"Catch and Release"—1
"When the Magick Goes Away"—1
These are all Precinct stories that appeared in Tales from Dragon Precinct in 2013. "Fire in the Hole" was first published in 2011's Dragon's Lure and includes an interrogation of a senile dragon. "Blood on the Water" is a Dru-and-Hawk story that is also the first vampire story I've told in the milieu. "A Clean Getaway" was written for Jean Rabe & the late Brian M. Thomsen for the Pandora's Closet anthology in 2008 about a closet that contains a great deal of filth. "Heroes Welcome" is, like "Gan Brightblade vs. Mitos the Mighty," a look at the surviving members of the heroic band from Dragon Precinct. "Catch and Release" is an Iaian-and-Grovis story where two old cases come back to haunt the Castle Guard (I actually think this is the best Precinct story I've written....). And "When the Magick Goes Away" is the first Precinct Kickstarter I did in 2012, telling the story of Torin and Danthres's first meeting and first case together as partners.

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Current Music: "No Particular Place to Go" by Mos Def

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