Saturday, November 22, 2014

Pedophile parliament

(Trigger warning.)

The paedophilia story in Britain is wending its way slowly upstairs. For forty years we were assured nothing was wrong, then it was just Jimmy Savile (A Bad 'Un ™), then it was a bunch of other BBC DJs, and a few pop stars and TV hosts. But that's as far as it went! Close down that bolshy BBC and everything will be fine!

Now we hear this:

The two ex-officers even said that they were aware that boys were being killed by the 'Westminster paedophile network', but were unable to take any action because the perpetrators were so powerful.
From Exaronews.

Holy shit.

Exaro may be a little out there, but the regular papers are on it too. (And yes, the Mirror's a tabloid but it's a tabloid in England, where libel cases are routinely won by the plaintiffs.)

A victim of the Westminster paedophile abuse scandal has claimed he saw a Conservative MP murder a young boy during a depraved sex party.
The Mirror

Today we get this:

Two newspaper executives have told the Observer that their publications were issued with D-notices – warnings not to publish intelligence that might damage national security – when they sought to report on allegations of a powerful group of men engaging in child sex abuse in 1984. [...]
The other said that his newspaper had received a D-notice when a reporter sought to write about a police investigation into Elm Guest House, in southwest London, where a group of high-profile paedophiles was said to have operated and may have killed a child. Now it has emerged that these claims are impossible to verify or discount because the D-notice archives for that period “are not complete”.  
The Guardian.
I'll bet they're 'not complete'.

Anybody who has been paying attention has heard some of the names, obviously. Cyril Smith, safely dead and therefore with no rights to sue, has been named repeatedly (though not in connection with any deaths, as far as I know), and other names have been put forward from Parliament. The allegations also include ones against people who are rather coyly described as being 'at the very top', i.e. in the Royal Family.

The current government has been running a second-rate Keystone Kops routine pretending to hold an inquiry into the allegations, but up to now they haven't found anyone to chair it who doesn't hobnob with the people alleged to be perpetrators. The whole of the British Establishment is so tightly intertwined that the ruling class can't get fair hearing, i.e. they can't get a hearing that's not chaired by one of their hunting/dinner engagement buddies.

Of course, I don't think Reg 'the whippet fancier' Trotsky of 3 Closed Mines Road, Salford has been asked to chair it. If we all get a vote for the chairperson, I'm voting for him.

At times during the investigation - not to mention the god-awful Rotherham thing - it's seemed like there isn't anyone in Britain who isn't a sex criminal. At first, during the pile-on phase after Jimmy Savile's death I was thinking back to the 'Satanic Child Abuse' of the eighties, which wasn't all it was cracked up to be. But these men and women aren't being coached (accidentally or purposefully) by guidance counsellors while ostensibly asking them about their experiences - they're just ordinary people, unmediated, coming forward in droves to report things that happened in their past.

Not that the atmosphere in the US is any cleaner. Bill Cosby? R Kelly? Sheesh.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

NaNoWriMo progress and advice for other writers

NaNoWriMo has coincided with major roadworks in our town. And by major, I mean that there are only two roads to speak of, and one is completely closed. Everyone's using the other one, and so the three minute trip into town is now a 15 to 20 minute trip into town.

So between the two time sinks, I'm not really doing much of anything else.

I'm halfway through the 50,000 word goal of a Nano book, which is good, because I'm halfway through November. It feels odd to write something in such a linear fashion. I have an outline and know where I'm going, it's just that it takes forever to get there, much like going into town. (It would have helped if I'd written the outline before the beginning of November - I might be three quarters of the way through if I had.)

Everybody is supposed to have advice for other writers about this sort of thing, so here's mine so far:

1. I once heard an actor* talking about doing Improv. He said the most important thing in a sketch was to say "yes". If the other person gives you a line like, "I hear your wife is an alien from Arcturus," you say, "Yes, and..." and go on to supply something of your own. You don't say, "No, actually she's just from around here," because that will shut down a lot of possibilities.

I find myself shutting down possibilities in first drafts all the time. "Raymond asked her if she wanted to go to the all-nite diner and she said no, she was too tired." Nope, you can't do anything with that. Either she says yes, and the story goes in that direction or Raymond never brings it up in the first place. Who wants a story about people who are too tired? I have to go back and take all these things out.

2. Something that may be related to #1.  I used to be wishy-washy about some things when I was writing.  Janice wasn't sure if she liked the decor. Jim had not made his mind up about buying the motorbike. Inigo put off making his mind up about the party until later.  After a long while (i.e., not during this month, but after examples over many years) I realized that it was because I, as the writer, had not made my own mind up about whatever it was. And if I didn't care either way, who else would? I made an effort to have an opinion on things ready before the character had to think about them.  This seems to be a close relative of the infamous "she woke up in a white room" scene and the equally dreaded "she looked out of the window but could only see fog" scene, both of which are telling me that I've failed to imagine the character's environment, so I just called it featureless instead and hoped my inner editor wouldn't notice.

* I think it was actually a comedian but I couldn't think of a funny line. It's late and I've been writing, and/or stuck in a traffic jam all day. How about "No, actually she's from Poughkeepsie."

Poughkeepsie is always funny.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

New: Die with Zeke: the paleo die-et

I have a dragon called Ezekiel J Emanuel; he's called that because I found a Hah-vahd name-badge for him lying in a Cambridge, Mass. parking lot. He's worn the badge for the last twenty or so years.

(His polar bear friend is Scott of the North West corner.)

This means that every now and again, when the "bioethicist" Ezekiel J Emanuel (Zeke to his friends) comes up in the news, I have a look to see what he has to say, and I let my dragon know.

This week he's in the news because he's decided that when he's 75, he  does not wish to receive any life-prolonging medical care. He wrote an article about it in the Atlantic, and was subsequently interviewed on video by James Hamblin, M.D. who is something or other at the Atlantic. Hamblin looks way too young to be an M.D. and is nervous at interviewing the "most famous" person he's ever interviewed (hear that, Dragon Ezekiel?).

So this was my first look at the famous Original Ezekiel J Emanuel. Thinking that life is more or less over at 75 is hard to justify even from a historical standpoint. (In the written article he gives historical life expectancies at birth, which is a biased and pushy way to present the data.) He's also, weirdly enough, against people with terminal illnesses choosing for themselves when to die. He gives the date he will be 75 as 2032, which means he's around my age: He looks mid-sixties. He's really rich-looking in a very off-putting way. He can't stand cats. It may be just me, but he rubs me up the wrong way.

But most dislikeable of all, there's a bit at the end where they bet each other whether he'll change his mind when he's 75. If he changes his mind, he'll buy Hamblin dinner. If not Hamblin buys.

"We'll go to Per Se in New York, is that a deal?" says Zeke.
"I don't even know what that is," says the teenage M.D.
"You obviously don't have enough money and you don't take a serious enough interest in food," says Zeke, cementing my dislike of the man.

You can afford dinner at Per Se and you'll kick it in the head when you're 75?

I hereby append the Immortal Words of Dave Barnaby. *

(* "Well, fuck off then." - Dave Barnaby.)

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

NaNoWrimo - not many words, but at least the right ones

I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year, and the goal is to write 1,660 words a day for the whole of November. Unfortunately, all 1,660 words are supposed to go into the novel in progress (because NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth), and all the words I write in places like here do not count. Overall, by the end of November this will come to 50,000 words, or the length of a short novel.

Since I didn't sit down to write a synopsis until November 1st, I'm only just starting to put the actual text of the novel down, so I'm a little behind.

However, I'm writing this here instead of there to get a month's jump on one particular word out of the 50,000. One of my characters owns a publishing company and has come out with an e-reader device for those of its customers who prefer the 21st century way of perusing books. I was trying to think of a name for such an e-reader and after less than 1/10 of a second the perfect name roared in and screeched to a halt in my brain.

That name is the ╬╝Tome. Pronounced microtome. Lightweight, obviously, but capacious.

Brilliant isn't it? :) And I couldn't find it being used in that context on a brief Google search. So I'm writing this to see if anyone has laid claim to it as an e-reader name. If not, it's mine! And I get to use it in the book.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Coconut Octopus in all its finery

Gorgeous photograph of a Coconut Octopus.

The site I got it from, All That Is Interesting, had no attribution details. It's a beautifully composed picture so kudos to whoever took it.  The rows of little blue glow-in-the-dark Jelly Babies along the edge of the tentacles are so even and precise. (Yes, I know they are suckers seen edge-on, but they look like Jelly Babies to me.)


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