Archive for November, 2009

Texas 49, Texas A&M 39

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Texas survives a shootout against A&M. Rivalry games are frequently closer than the betting line, but Will Muschamp can’t be pleased with a 6-5 (now 6-6) team lighting up his defense for more than 500 yards. Give the Ags credit: they weren’t given a chance going in, but they made a very close game of it. They have some players, especially Jerrod Johnson at QB. But A&M simply gave Colt McCoy too much time to work his magic, and Marquis Goodwin’s 95-yard kickoff return broke the Aggie’s back.

This was only one game, but Texas can’t expect to win a National Championship with defense like that. They have to do a better job against a more dangerous Nebraska team in the Big XII Championship, and then hope they don’t face another mobile quarterback in the National Championship. (Gee, I wonder who that might be?)

On the other hand, Colt McCoy only had a middling good night for him, and the Horns still put up 49 points.

You’ve got to hand it to the Aggies. They’re a young, aggressive team with some real players among their Freshmen and Sophmores. Next year they could be pretty dangerous, especially with Colt going off to whichever NFL team is smart enough to draft him. (God help him if it’s the Raiders.)

The Big XII South could be very interesting next year…

As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

The classic “Turkey Drop” episode of WKRP in Cincinnati, in its entirety, via Hulu.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

The Top Ten Books on my “Books Wanted” List

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

I may have mentioned that I have a large library. I started out collecting “hypermodern” (which in my case meant “post-Neuromancer“) science fiction (with some fantasy and horror works and authors thrown in for good measure), and once I had collected everything I wanted there, I started going after every important post-World War II SF work. That collection is by no means complete, but I’ve made considerable progress toward it.

With that in mind, I recently compiled a list of the top ten hardback first editions on my (considerably larger) want list that I was most interested in picking up. Here it is:

  1. James Blish’s A Case of Conscience (Faber & Faber)
  2. Robert E. Howard’s The Sword of Conan (Gnome Press)
  3. Robert E. Howard’s The Coming of Conan (Gnome Press)
  4. Alfred Bester’s Tiger! Tiger! (Sidgwick & Jackson)
  5. Philip K. Dick’s Dr. Bloodmoney (Gregg Press)
  6. R. A. Lafferty’s With Horns on Their Head (Pendragon Press HB)
  7. R. A. Lafferty’s Funnyfingers & Cabrito (Pendragon Press HB)
  8. Jack Vance’s Book of Dreams (Underwood/Miller)
  9. Manly Wade Wellman’s Giants from Eternity (Avalon)
  10. Richard Matheson’s Born of Man and Woman (Chamberline Press)

These are all books that I not only want, but think I have a reasonable shot at picking up at a price I can afford. There are lots of first editions priced like Unobtanium (Stanley G. Weinbaum’s Dawn of Flame, H. P. Lovecraft’s The Outsider and Others, the Unwin-Hyman true firsts of all three books in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, etc.) that i would pick up if I saw cheap, but don’t expect to come across.

Anyway, if you have nice copies any of the above, and if you’re willing to sell it to me considerably cheaper than can be found on, drop me an email at and I’ll consider it.

Today’s Firefox Irritation

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Opening every window at maximum sizes after I already re-sized every previous one and quit.

Version 3.0.15. (And don’t tell me to go to 3.5.x; I tried that, it was ten times as annoying and it broke FireFTP, which I need, to say nothing of the default restore madness… )

Megan McArdle on Dave Ramsey on Personal Finance

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Here’s an interesting article on Dave Ramsey by Megan McArdle. I actually hadn’t heard of Ramsey until fairly recently, but I’ve been following a lot of his ideas (have an emergency fund, pay off debts, etc.) for quite a while. I would say I’m about 70% there, for good or ill. I have a much larger emergency fund, I have a 30-year rather than 15 year fixed mortgage, I have a car loan (though mostly paid off), I pay by credit card and pay off the balance at the end of the month for most purchases rather than paying cash, and I don’t give anywhere near 10% for charity. But over all, this is pretty sound financial advice, especially if you’ve had trouble with debt in the past. I had a little, but less than 1/10th the $100,000 the author racked up in student loans…

Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans on MNF

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

I have been known to watch football upon occasion. (I know, rooting for laundry.) Like most sports fans, I root for my hometown team, in this case Houston, and my alma mater team, the Texas Longhorns. (Who are doing very well indeed behind Colt McCoy this year. Thanks for asking.)

Of course the team I used to root for, the Houston Oilers, doesn’t exist anymore. The Oilers were a hard-nose, blue-collar team whose misfortune it was to have their heyday (late 70s/early-80s) during the reign of another hard-nose, blue-collar team in their division, the Pittsburg Steelers, who would win four Superbowls while the Oilers won squat. And the reason the Oilers never won anything, or made it to the Superbowl is (at least we bitter ex-Oilers fans like to think) due to owner Bud Adams.

After firing the winningest coach in team history and trading football legend Earl Campbell to New Orleans for a sack of doorknobs, Bud wasn’t done tormenting Houston football fans. After getting Houston taxpayers to pony up $67 million for upgrades to the Astrodome, Adams turned around and said that wasn’t enough, and Houston had to build a new football stadium for him. Houston told him where he could stick it. So Adams took his team (and carpetbag) away to Tennessee, where they became the Titans. (Or, as we in Texas like to call them, the Tennessee Traitors). The Titans promptly got to the Superbowl…and lost. The old Bud Adams magic was still alive!

In fact, I wrote a little song to celebrate the occasion:

The Ballad of the Tennessee Titans
(to the tune of “The Beverly Hillbillies”)

Come listen to a story about a man named Bud
Orneriest football owner ever chewed a wad of cud
His Houston Oilers were as bad as they could be
So he loaded up the team and moved out to Tennessee
Nashville that is. Country music. Grand Ole Opry.

In their Houston days the Oilers were a disgrace
When they weren’t breakin’ hearts they just stunk up the place
To con the Nashville rubes, Bud had to change his game
So he sucked in his pride, and gave them a new name.
Titans, that is. Evil giants. Greek myth.

Well come Y2K, and they’re in the title game.
Reverting back to form, the Ex-Oilers come up lame.
Hey Bud, the Superbowl just ain’t where you oughta be!
Next season they’ll be back to mediocrity.
Don’t come back now, ya hear?

Not long after this, Houston gets an expansion franchise, the Houston Texans, who proceed to suck much of the decade. (They’re in the same division as the Indianapolis Colts, the Jacksonville jaguars and, yes, the Titans.) However, after ditching the inconsistent David Carr for Matt Schaub, and firing Dom Capers and putting Gary Kubiak in his place as coach, the Texans have been on the upswing. Meanwhile, the Titans went from having the best record in 2008 to starting the season with six straight losses in 2009.

Which brings up to the present, when the Texans will be playing the Titans on Monday Night Football. This is by no means a slam dunk (pardon the mixed-sport metaphors) for the Texans, since the Titans have won three straight after putting former Longhorn Vince Young in as quarterback. (“Hey, our team is winless and we have an inhumanly gifted quarterback sitting on the bench. Do you think we should play him?”)

It should be a great game…and another chance to humiliate Bud Adams. (Once he gets over the sting of that $250,000 fine for, ah, digital manipulation.)

And Nashville? Bud is YOUR problem now. No backsies…

Fire. Fire! FIRE!

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

How not to deep-fry a turkey. Not once, not twice, but eight different frying disasters. The first one is long and lame, but the rest have varying degrees of satisfying flamey goodness. (Or, more to the point, flamey badness.)

Do not try this at home…unless I’m in your will.

Hat tip to Instapundit.

If you happen to run a Worldcon…

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

…maybe you should consider, oh, I don’t know, actually paying artists the money you owe them? (I know, radical idea. That’s me, clumsily stepping all over fannish tradition…) Because artists, much like writers, really like getting paid the money you owe them. In a timely manner, even.

Just a crazy thought…

In the Mail: Michael Shea Gets His Cthulhu Mythos On

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Added the following to my library (and copies are also available through Lame Excuse Books):

Shea, Michael (S.T. Joshi, editor). Copping Squid and Other Mythos Tales. Perilous Press, 2009. First edition hardback, one of only 750 hardback trade copies, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket, new, still in shrink wrap. All the Cthulhu Mythos tales by the excellent, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Nifft the Lean. I expect this to be very popular. $30.

How to make sure you won’t represent me

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

By sending out mass-shotgunned letters based on dumb keyword searches like this:

Subject: (#263-MH1392) App Support Eng. needed!!!
Date: November 18, 2009 10:01:03 AM CST

Hello [firstname],

We have an Application Support Engineer need for our client located in Boston, MA. (permanent full-time engagement) We found your profile online, and thought this opportunity might be of interest to you.
Sigma caters to more than 40 clients across the country, so hopefully we can work together to place strong candidates, such as yourself, in the ever growing IT industry.

Thank you very much for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Alexander P. Shafer
Recruiting Associate
Sigma Systems, Inc.

1. Yes, it was sent out that way, “Hello [firstname]” and all.
2. I’m a technical writer, not an application support engineer.

No, Mr. Shafer, if this the quality of work Sigma Systems does, I don’t want you representing me…