According to the New York Times, the Catholic Church and the Episcopal Church
are busily swapping members:

“It breaks my heart,” said Shari de Silva, a neurologist in Fort Wayne, Ind., who converted from Episcopalian to Catholic this year. “I think the Episcopal Church is headed down the path to secular humanism.”

Perhaps it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing religious Switcher commercials. “… It was a really good Church! But then I found out that they had, like, consecrated a gay bishop. It was kind of… a bummer.”

Hey, in case anyone was wondering: Reform Judaism has been ordaining gay rabbis for over ten years, and many rabbis are happily performing commitment ceremonies. (See here for summaries of the CCAR‘s and UAHC‘s official statements on homosexuality.) Of course, there are a few disadvantages to becoming Jewish. Gefilte fish, for instance: definitely an acquired taste. Chanukah gelt: almost invariably made from the crappiest grade of chocolate available. And then there’s the small matter of pretty much everyone in the world trying to kill us. But aside from that, being Jewish is a hoot! Our literature over the last century or two pretty much speaks for itself on that regard.

Linkdump: Cable Conspiracies, Crooning Killers, and Cranky Cossacks

Just a little flotsam and jetsam from my /tmp bookmarks folder. Some of this stuff has been sitting around for months. Phew.

  • While you were sitting around eating nachos and scouring the web for Return of the King spoilers,[1] Jacques Distler has been busy exporting his 21st-century, MathML-enabled, bulletproof XHTML weblog to his academic colleagues. My goodness, I think someone’s going to find a real honest-to-God use for this XHTML stuff one of these days.

  • The fabulous brunching.com is dead, but at least the Self-Made Critic lives on. It’s not every movie critic who has to deal with flame emails on web standards… fortunately, he’s hired a cranky Russian named Boris to handle his Inbox.

    [Reader Jonathan]: So, Boris, tell me: is the horrible scroll bar an evil Communist plot to annoy the hell out of SMC readers or what? Are our capitalist browser scroll bars not good enough for you people over at selfmadecritic.com, to make you implement your own mouse-over-driven scroll bar? For God’s sake, at least make it trigger on mouse click instead of mouse over so we don’t have to do a little cursor dance over the button.

    BORIS: Quiet, Dog! Or I unleash BLINK tag!

    Ah, Boris. A man after my own heart.

  • I’ve managed to bully Dave Shea into providing a (temporary?) RSS feed for “The Dailies”, http://www.mezzoblue.com/rss/2.0/dailies/. Sweet. Between Siliconvalley.com, Dave’s “The Dailies” and Mark’s b-links, I’ve got all the tech/geek info a growing boy needs.

  • Having problems with your cable service? Fuzzy TV signal? Cable modem losing sync? Well, don’t just stand there cursing your own rotten luck… you might actually be the victim of a conspiracy. A crude, bumbling, beer-soaked conspiracy, but a conspiracy nonetheless:

    Take that, nitwit neighbor fratboys. The lesson, I think, is that you’re less likely to be caught hijacking cable service using high-quality parts.

  • Let’s not forget Silence of the Lambs, The Musical! If you can’t empathize with poor, lonely Buffalo Bill as he sings about how hard it is to find that special someone (“I want a girl who will fit me to a T / a woman who’ll look good on meee…”), then I say you’ve got a heart of stone.

  • Finally, because it’s there: The Runcible Spoon Society.

1. Gollum bites off Frodo’s finger, falls into lake of fire with the ring, The End. Oh, and Dernhelm is a chick!

Shameless Self-Promotion

Recently I’ve been remiss in my postings, but never mind that. I return triumphant!

  1. This year for Thanksgiving I made the turkey, the stuffing, Grandma Goer’s gravy, and a pumpkin pie. All from scratch. All delicious.[1] With all due modesty, I rule.

  2. The Why I Hate Aliens anthology is finally out![2] The WIHA anthology includes my short story “Watercooler“, plus fourteen other crackling good SF tales. Here’s what our editor Marissa Lingen had to say in the introduction:

    You would think it would be depressing to read well over a hundred stories about hating anything, aliens or not. Actually, it was heartening, because I learned something very important.

    Science fiction writers aren’t very good at just hating people.

    Which works out just fine with me — I never intended for this to be a bitter anthology, and I hope you don’t find it to be one. Instead, there’s a lot of frustration, a lot of self-discovery, and a few chuckles. There are even a few evil, exploitative aliens lurking around corners, shooting humans with Nerf guns or worse. You’ll find out about someone very much like Rush Limbaugh, and someone inspired by David Bowie, and someone frustrated by Jerry Garcia. There will be pheromones and experimental subjects and interspecies politics and really, really, really bad dates.

    But we, we as science fiction writers and fans, seem to have moved away from the view of aliens as beings with whom communication is impossible, leaving only mutual annihilation. We may get really mad at our aliens, but we have the chance to yell at them, to negotiate, to learn from them, and even to
    become like them.

    Enjoy yourself. I know I did.

    So there you have it, folks. For a mere $3.00, this beautiful 60,000 word PDF can be yours — just in time for the holidays. Go forth and read it. You’ll be glad you did.[3]

Update 10-Dec-2003: Alert reader Luke Reeves has informed me that that our PDF distributor is using an SSL certificate signed by “SuperWebHost.com“… which is, shall we say, not a standard trusted authority. So if you try to buy the PDF, your browser will probably pop up a warning about this. Speaking personally, I’m not keen on purchasing from sites with certificates signed by unknown authorities. My editor has contacted our distributor, and we’ll see what they have to say about this. In the meantime, Luke has informed me that you can still purchase the eBook through PayPal. If you have a PayPal account already, I think that’s a fine way to go. Either way, my apologies for the confusion — and stay tuned for more information.

1. With the exception of the beta version of the pumpkin pie, which I managed to burn to a crisp. Fortunately, my lovely girlfriend managed to talk me down from this horrible experience over the phone. So I’m all better now, really.

2. Note that the “Aliens” in Why I Hate Aliens refers to creatures-from-outer-space, not immigrating-fellow-humans. If you’re looking for the latter stuff, you’ve come to the wrong place.

3. “But I’ve already read ‘Watercooler’,” I hear you cry. Sorry, that’s no excuse. Go read the Karina Summer-Smith’s “Marks of Ownership”, or “Sally and the Dead-Heads” by Timons Esaias. Right this minute. Go on, off you go!