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Tag Archives: Harry Potter

Nose Hair, Evolution, and String Theory: The Three Legs of Reality’s Stool

Yesterday, I had to replace my dead CRT television with a new flat screen.

Messed up TV image

The CRT's mode of failure inadvertently tapped into the military transmissions of a cartoon intent on taking over the world.

This naturally led me to thinking about nose hair.

The old TV was heavy and awkward and old, possibly like me, but I won’t confirm that for sure, even if my wife is making me run with her three times a week to improve our health.

When I dropped the TV, and it made that strange sproingy, hissy sound, well, it reminded me of all the odd noises my body has started to make lately over the course of a normal day.

Which made me start to think about nose hair.

You know how when you’re young, your nose hair is all neat and black and not trying to creep out of your nose and repel members of the opposite sex?

Yeah, I remember those days. Sigh.

Fortunately, I managed to get married before the nose hair went crazy.

(You get ear hair too when you’re older, though I’m not there…yet!)

It’s also a cruel irony that as men develop this … excess … nose (and ear) hair, they tend to develop a … deficit … of head hair at the same time.

I started to wonder why on earth men get crazy nose hair (and ear hair (and who-knows-what-else hair I have in store for me)) as they get older. Then I figured it out.

Immunity.

As we get older, our immune systems start getting weaker, more susceptible to things. Well, things we aren’t already immune to (like scathing irony). To compensate, our body tries to make it harder for germs and such to get in our bodies. The approach is two-fold.

Physical protection: the hair in our noses (and ears) gets thick and unruly to filter out any of the larger nasties bouncing about in the air. A ‘None Shall Pass’ approach that only a deftly handled sword could penetrate.

Social un-networking (or decoupling): these rats’ nests hanging out of our noses (and ears) make us physically repulsive, so polite people shy away from us and less polite people run screaming in the opposite direction.  An excellent barrier to contracting STDs, among other things.

This nose hair immune system ‘shield’ is a rather brilliant design, stunning in its simplicity and effectiveness. Therefore, evolution is real. Q.E.D.

Wow. I just proved evolution is fact. I have ensured my place in history.

(And on a few hate lists too, no doubt.)

I would think women have the same issues with nose (and ear) hair, though if they do, they’ve certainly circled their wagons and ensured I never hear anything about extraneous hair issues affecting the fairer sex.

I think this is terribly unfair. Men have to get these awful, noisy nose (and ear) hair clippers as they get older, or wrestle with these tiny, impotent little scissors, and have to primp and pull and pick while standing at awkward angles in front of a mirror.

But women? Nothing! They just gracefully fade into old age.

It is so not fair.

Oh sure, I’ve heard the rumblings. The physicists positing that nose (and ear) hair plays a critical role in String Theory (and therefore men, being the only carriers of nose (and ear) hair, play a critical role in String Theory). I don’t care if it’s true (and the evidence is quite convincing thus far).

It’s still unsightly.

It’s still ghastly.

It still causes my children to retreat from me, wailing and screaming, if I approach before my morning ‘shave’.

Therefore, I demand justice! I demand the doctors and pharmacists of the world start looking for a cure for excessive male nose (and ear) hair. I demand governments put aside vast amounts of research monies to fund this search! There must be a cure! If Hair Club for Men can give me (er, I mean, men in general, ahem) a full head of hair, there must be a way to give men a neat and trim nasal passage!

Only then will I be able to breathe easy.

On a slightly related note, I’ve also discovered that you cannot snort Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (hardback or paperback). Not directly, mind you (nose hair, remember?), but through a third-party. I have pictorial evidence of this, but thus far have been utterly unable to obtain the necessary releases to post the picture. But I assure you, it cannot be done!

(At least, if the book is intact).

 
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Posted by on 1 September 2011 in Conspiracies Out To Get Me, Life

 

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Fanfic is DESTROYING America! (Sam/Dean/JWatson/SHolmes/HPotter/HDresden)

Sam wiped the lamb’s blood mixed with demon’s blood from the silver knife and looked at Dean, whose breath heaved with the recent exertion of killing the monster. But when Dean looked in Sam’s eyes, he realized he was ready, nay, needed a little more…exertion.

Harry Dresden ran his withered, burnt hand across his bare, sweat-glistening chest, and glared at them from the other side of the prone demon body. “Please, you two, get a room.” A thoughtful expression came over his smoldering, lonely eyes. “Unless you’re willing to share…with me.”

The boy wizard leapt up in the air, his wand already at half-staff. “Me too!  Me too!” shouted Harry Potter. He waved his wand and shouted, “Snuggigus Fantasticus Sexicus!” and a plush king-sized bed appeared in the room of the abandoned old cabin. The four heroes fell into it at once, their clothes seemingly falling away as they tumbled into one another.

“Oh, I love you my sweet!”

“No, I love you more my shmoopy boopy toopy!”

“Wait, who are you talking to?”

“Not possible, Harry dearest! I love you the mostest. Just look at me when I look at you! No, look lower!”

“So you weren’t talking to me, you cold, heartless bastard. That makes me want you more! MOAR!”

“I see the game is afoot,” the young, modern-day Sherlock intoned as he burst into the cabin, followed a moment later by the erstwhile John Watson.

“My god, Holmes,” ejaculated Watson, “there are four naked men in that bed!”

“Your powers of observation fail you yet again, my dear John,” said Holmes, languishing atop the other men. “There are five naked men in this bed, and I predict that before this sentence is over there will be si- Ah, I see I deduced correctly.”

“Oh shut up and kiss me,” said John, his hungry mouth finding Sherlock’s and kissing it hungrily. “I’m ravenous for your love, old man.”

“I don’t think Mycroft would approve,” mumbled Sherlock between gasps of sheer pleasure. “He hates when I start without him.”

“Rick! Rick! Where are you!”

“Minmei!” shouted all six men at once. “What are you doing standing there when you can be here in bed, naked, with the rest of us?”

“Oh my,” said Mr. Sulu, beaming into the cabin, sword swinging, just in time to join the festivities.

Fanfic is destroying America. And I’m not talking about the paper-thin plots, the laughable sex scenes masquerading as character development, or the wanton intellectual property theft that fanfic represents.

I’m talking about England reclaiming us.

“Wha?” ask the naive Americans out there reading this. (“Who cares?” ask the nonchalant Canadians out there reading this.)

Fanfic is undergoing a British invasion. Doctor Who, Torchwood (which is practically fanfic in its raw form anyway), Sherlock (modern AND gaslight), Harry Potter(/Snape – eew!). The fanfic sites are being overwhelmed by the British newcomers. These ‘illegal immigrants’, as it were, are robbing American fanfic stories of valuable slots on the fanfic sites.

Even our old enemy, Japanese anime, is contemplating an alliance of convenience (no-strings-attached-allies-with-benefits?) to thrust off the new threat.

How do I know this? How did I detect this saucy, saucy threat?

I looked at the numbers (all from a prominent fanfic website on the net (ahem) I refuse to name because it employs so many non-American fanfics).

Greatest American Hero: 119 (Yes, the pinnacle of American greatness, the Greatest America Hero, has only 119 stories.)

Harry Effin’ Potter: 542,277 (And I’m not kidding about the effin’ part. Holy crap, remind me to never send my kids to a British boarding brothel school!)

Knight Rider: 52 (52!!!! Come on! It’s KNIGHT RIDER AND MADE OF AWESOME! KITT/Michael fanfic practically WRITES ITSELF!!!!)

Sherlock: 4509

Buck Rogers: 3 (3!!!!!!!! You can’t get MORE AMERICAN than Buck Rogers (and we all want MOAR MOAR MOAR Buck!))

Clearly the Americans are under threat from our supposed allies across the pond. The slimy limeys are taking over, and we, in our highly aroused and distracted state, are allowing them.

It’s a damn shame.

If you’re American (or if you’re Canadian but think Americans are awesome, as we are), it is your patriotic duty to stop whatever it is you’re doing right now and write a fanfic based on an American book/movie/TV series. Unless you were already in the process of doing just that, in which case, in the name of all that is holy, DON’T STOP!

Need some ideas?

Puff the Magic Dragon is woefully under-represented in the genre. Where else can you find a more American folklore opportunity?

Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn/Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. Freaky deaky!

Any characters created by Tom Wolfe or Tom Clancy. (And how about created by Wolfe AND Clancy? Tasty tasty.)

CNN is still American. Why limit ourselves to fiction? In this war on Britain, let’s draft ourselves some (American) fannonfic. Mmm, Anderson Cooper/Bernard Shaw. Yummy.

So yes, help us stop the British fanfic menace. And once we put the Brits down, we can start worrying about those cheap Chinese import fanfics. We can’t compete with their lower cost knock-offs, but we can erect a proud, tall barrier by using more and bigger penises in our fanfic.

And if you’re worried that plot will take up too much space, crowding out the giant genitalia, don’t. Plot in fanfic is like use of a condom in fanfic – totally unnecessary and rarely seen.

And once we have a perfect world of American fanfic devoid of plot or meaningful character development, free for our impressionable youth and adults to read, people will come to expect less of loftier works, such as books you buy online and at the bookstore or peruse at the library. Those can be devoid of depth and meaning too.

That’s when we’ll know we’ve won.

And now, a word from our sponsor: me!

Marlowe and the SpacewomanClick here to check out my forthcoming book, Marlowe and the Spacewoman, coming out January 9th, 2012 (Balloon Ascension Day)!

 
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Posted by on 24 August 2011 in Fanfic, Other Blogs, Story

 

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Daddy, where do ideas come from?

I must look like some sort of Idea Man, because strangers keep coming up to me and asking where I get my ideas. (On the other hand, people who know me or have read my work tend to back away slowly when they see me. Except for my children, but only because I keep them on leashes.)

But back to the question: Where do I get my ideas?

I used to buy them, but now I steal them.

It’s a dirty little secret in the book world that all ideas these days are bought and sold. Idea futures (seems dumb now, but might have merit later), idea derivatives (this is where sequels and cheap Chinese knock-offs of Harry Potter come from), idea mutual funds (a well-balanced mix of good and great ideas, with minimal exposure risk to stupid ideas), and idea investment trusts (don’t ask me, even my lawyer can’t explain those to me).

It’s complicated. And, it turns out, expensive.

The problem is pricing. You can get ideas really cheap, but those are the crappy ideas. The lame rehashes. The eye-rolling clichés. Or the just plain dumb. The better the idea, the higher the price. Yes, that’s right, ideas have a price scale.

Best Seller grade ideas are at the top, often commanding six or seven figures (the Harry Potter idea, I’ve heard from someone who failed to put in the top bid, was into eight figures and, with hindsight, worth every cent). There are various levels of Career Sustaining ideas found in the middle of the scale, the sort of concepts that will cost you the equivalent of a new car, and keep your career, while not exactly thriving, humming along well enough to pay the bills. Of course, at the bottom of the scale is the Airport grade, for those who can’t afford anything else (named Airport grade because these ideas are for books only people trapped on the secure side of an airport terminal would be desperate enough to buy).

Like most things in life, this means only the rich can afford to get the ideas that will make them richer. It’s not about what you can do, or even who you know, for that matter. It’s about how much idea you can buy. That said, who you know can help get a loan approved, increasing the amount of idea you can obtain.

I poured tens and tens of dollars down the drain buying used (yes, there is a used market) Airport grade ideas, because that was all I could afford. What did it get me? A stack of form rejection letters and my car repossessed.

Then one day, my once modest bank account drained completely dry by the Big Idea Industrial Complex, I couldn’t take it any more. Still a complete unknown, now I couldn’t buy any ideas, brilliant or crap. I found myself in that most untenable of situations: forced to think for myself. This was an exceedingly uncomfortable period of my life, but I soldiered on until I had my very own, moderately brilliant idea.

Why pay for ideas when you can steal them?

You’ll be amazed by the lack of security savvy you’ll find amongst the larger, Fortune Five Hundred idea repositories. It’s like they’ve never heard of the internet and its tubes, script-kiddies, or Anonymous. I didn’t even have to try very hard to hack into them. A little ftp’ing here, some social engineering there, and boom, I was in. The sheer scale of idea storage is breathtaking, and let me tell you, based on the volume of Best Seller grade ideas I found, prices should be a lot lower. There is definitely some market manipulation going on here.

So I grabbed them all. Every single idea at Career Sustaining Level III and above (including the idea for this article). The best part of all? I’m untouchable. These giant idea brokers can’t afford the negative publicity that acknowledging a break-in would generate. Sellers would flee. More people would hack them, and a black market in stolen ideas would begin to flourish, undercutting their monopoly. So they stay silent about my electronic trespass and thievery, and since I have the ideas now, they won’t (and can’t, due to the terms of their warranty) sell them to anyone else.

These ideas are mine now. Carefully stored away in a locked filing cabinet in a secure vault at an undisclosed location. Whenever I need an idea, I pay a visit and flip through the pages, looking for an idea that catches my eye. And then I come home and start writing.

I think I have enough ideas to write comfortably for the next decade at least, with enough ideas left over that I could sell them for extra income. And I’m not talking Airport grade, if you know what I mean.

Anyone want to buy an idea?

 
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Posted by on 12 May 2011 in Other Blogs

 

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Beethoven’s influence on contemporary literature

It is a well known fact that Ludwig Van Beethoven was deaf by the time he died, most likely due to the high lead content in his ear trumpets (ah, it was a vicious circle, that).  What is less well known is that Beethoven was completely illiterate except when it came to writing music.

Beethoven hated literate people.  There are numerous documented reports of him walking through a Vienna park, walking stick in hand, and when he came upon some Bohemian-type (the beatniks of his era) stumbling along the path, nose in a book, he would thrust his walking stick between the fellow’s legs and trip him.  One police report shows Beethoven arrested for actually clubbing one of these Bohemian readers with his walking stick after the man had the gall to complain about being tripped.  If doctors had stitches in those days, it is estimated that Beethoven’s victim would have received at least twenty.

These facts make the strong influence Beethoven has had on contemporary literature all the more surprising.

Jane Austen, widely rumored to be one of Beethoven’s lovers, wrote in a letter to her sister Cassandra on 9 March 1814 that the character of Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice owed more than a few of his attributes to the strong but distant manner of “that dear friend of mine, LVB.”  Most scholars agree that LVB referred to Ludwig Van Beethoven.

Who can read Arthur Conan Doyle’s haughty portrayal of Sherlock Holmes and not think of the great composer?  Acerbic, craving intellectual challenge, and completely indifferent to the needs of the criminal class. Am I talking about Beethoven or Holmes?  Who can tell!

While Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer is widely (but erroneously) believed to be autobiographical, the theory has been put forward that in actuality, Miller’s approach to creating his protagonist was to imagine Beethoven had lived in 1930s Paris, and was an author instead of a composer.  Certainly the protagonist’s legendary sexual prowess is in line with what we know of Beethoven’s romantic dalliances.

Samuel Beckett commented privately to several close friends that in the first draft of Waiting for Godot, Godot actually arrives at the very end, and is, in reality, Ludwig Van Beethoven.  Beckett claims that his inability to articulate the reason for making Godot Beethoven is the reason he eventually bowed to pressure from his publisher to change the ending.

J.D. Salinger confided to a close friend that Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of Catcher in the Rye, was his imagining of what Beethoven would have done had he been a teenager forced to attend prep schools in the 1940s and 50s.  Such was his fear that people would realize this connection, that after the book’s publication, Salinger avoided the public eye on the off chance someone might confront him about it.

It is even rumored that J.K. Rowling’s character of Snape in the Harry Potter series is an idealized version of the great composer (which makes sense given that Voldemort is clearly based on that vilest of composers, and a man Beethoven would have hated had they lived at the same time, Gustav Mahler).  This Snape / Beethoven connection is less clear cut, however, and is included in this list only for completeness’ sake.

When all is said and done, it is quite amazing that a man so renowned for his hatred of letters and written words should have such a profound impact on Western literature.  His royal status in the music world is unquestioned and uncontested (and rightly so), but few are cognizant of the lasting influence his life and the way he led it has had on the books that make up the very fabric of our society.  One cannot help but wonder what future literary masterpieces will be created in the shadow of this great, great man.  It makes you want to go out and buy all of his CDs again, and spend a month floating in an isolation tank, alternately listening to his music and listening to audio book versions of the aforementioned titles (except for Waiting for Godot – it’s an absolutely awful play that even the presence of Beethoven could not have saved).

What books have you seen the influence of the Great Master in?

 
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Posted by on 19 April 2011 in Music, Other Blogs

 

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