Wednesday, September 16, 2009

NANOWRIMO: STILL PRACTICING: Just not posting about it. Word count has been going down, though. I'm a little worried.

(Plus a bit of laziness, a sudden need to finish Saints Row, and a little disagreement my right hand had with my beloved cat Tiny. Tiny was having a bad day, due to a guest cat in the house, and let my right hand know all about it. With teeth and claws I mean--he didn't vomit on it, or worse.)

Friday, September 04, 2009

GIANT COMBINING ROBOT SCRATCHINGS (NANOWRIMO PRACTICE): Just thinking about, what would it be like to pilot vehicle Voltron's left kneecap? And an hour of brain pooping was done. Well--an hour ten, and only 1100 words again. Of course when you're doing something from scratch it's different from doing something with a proper outline and so forth. Anyway--scratchings do follow.

“Now you know we have an opening in left kneecap,” said Masterston, smiling, and baring a little of his perfectly white teeth. “I think you'd be perfect for that.”
Kasmeier sighed, looked away for a moment, but there was nothing else to fixate on; Masterston's office was dark and lit primarily by pulsing readouts, and was of course windowless. “That's not my kind of assignment,” he said. “You know that.”
“I don't see why not,” said Masterston, still grinning. “You have the requisite credentials.”
“I have an engineering degree,” said Kasmeier. “That's it. Fin. I've never piloted anything that wasn't a personal conveyance in my life.” And even with those, he thought, I was hardly an accomplished specimen. “I can barely park a car.”
Masterston sat back in his seat, chuckling lightly. “Now you know the job title is pilot, but it's really sort of a poor descriptor, right?” he asked. “It's just the job class. It hardly describes the nature of the work at this point.”
“Look, I'll be encased in a great big piece of machinery and be responsible for its movements from point a to point b, and all points inbetween,” he protested. “That sounds like piloting to me.”
“Come now, a combiner module doesn't have those kind of controls,” he said. “Once the join order is given, your job basically turns to monitoring: fuel pressure, nanotech linkup protocols, venous coolant flows, that sort of thing.”
“There's a steering panel smack in front of my chair,” said Kasmeier. “I know the schematics. But you're telling me—what--I won't be needing it at all?”
“Not for the crucial combining step,” said Masterston, who was beginning to lose his smile. “Every part knows where it has to go. It's predetermined. You will not have to manually fly the left kneecap onto the femur and fibula—they all connect themselves.” Like that old nursery song, thought Masterston. Knee bone connecting to the—beat--leg bone. Leg bone connected to the—beat--hip bone. And so on and so forth.
“And that's another thing,” said Kasmeier. “Isn't that fairly dangerous, working in a kneecap?” He swore he could remember news footage of a combiner robot doing a running kneelift on an attacking being. It looked painful for the latter party, certainly, but now Kasmeier found himself more concerned with the robot's well-being. Or with whoever was inside its knee at the time. What they felt as they were—for a brief moment—at the forefront of Earth's defense.
“The knee is a crucial area, which makes the kneecap a vital defense point—this is true,” Masterston acknowledged. “But there are few combiner modules more and better armored than the kneecap. Believe me, you'll be quite safe in there.”
Kasmeier sighed again, feeling increasingly trapped. How had it come to this, he wondered, that Earth's defense be maintained in such a preposterous fashion? By giant, human-piloted robots, each composed of tens to even hundreds (in the bigger versions) of human-piloted craft? “There's got to be a better way,” he said after a moment. “We used to fight with planes and ships, and tanks.” We certainly did not strap people into mechanical facsimiles of the human patella—he was damn sure of that.
“Come on, Menlo,” sighed Masterston. “You know the rationale. A ridiculous enemy requires a ridiculous response. If the aliens are going to send one hundred, two hundred foot tall creatures at us—well we have to respond. Respond in kind.” This was EarthGov's position, and his own personal belief, thought Masterston. It was the best way to continue humanity's survival.
“There have to be alternatives,” said Kasmeier. Alternatives to me getting into that module.
“Alternatives? The Combiner Corps is the best we have,” said Masterston. “Let me lay something else on you—something you have heard of as a rumor.”
“What's that?” said Kasmeier, uncertain. What had he heard about the Corps? Extra perks? Or a bit of hazard pay. But why, he thought mockingly, Masterston's already assured me the left kneecap is the absolute safest place to be.
“You heard of joiner's bliss?” said Masterston, leaning forward, voice low (though every word he said was being perfectly represented to a multi-dimensional recording device, for training and further quality control of the Third Human Resources Army, Combiner Corps Subunit Two.) “It's true. You're not just sitting back there in the left kneecap waiting for your robot to gore some giant alien squid. You're part of something a little more. The euphoria is breathtaking. In retrospect I mean—that's when you start to appreciate it.” Sometimes even now I wish I was back in my right radius-ulna, he thought. Chopping monsters in the back of the head. “You're your little part of the enterprise but you're the rest too. It's individuality and collectivity all at once.”
“I'm not exactly susceptible to bliss,” Kasmeier protested.
“As you join you become as fine as human can become,” Masterston went on. “Working for your own good and for the good of your team. Hell, your team is a new entity at that point. Humanity in miniature—our ideal state. That's why we're going to win, you understand? Because we're at our best as a species when we fight them.” Our finest selves, thought Masterston. He knew that to be true from personal experience. Never had he felt finer than when combining to form Fortressman Omega, defender of the moons of Jupiter. “You'll be at your finest too, Menlo. You just don't know it yet.”
This is going poorly, thought Kasmeier. “I don't want to be a part of this right now,” he said. “Send me to a monitoring station somewhere.”
“Well, that's the real kicker,” said Masterston, snapping out of his bliss-fueled nostalgia. “You've already been reassigned to patellacraft 2, Quantumtron Q.”
“Don't I have a right of refusal?” he asked. I've done enough for the service already, he thought. I know I have.
“Ordinarily, yes,” said Masterston. “But times are tough. We've had staffing issues.”
For an extremely safe position. “No choice, huh?” sighed Kasmeier.
“No choice,” said Masterston. “But you will enjoy yourself—take it from me personally.”
Kasmeier smiled, grimly. There was no argument left to be made.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

SOME SOULCALIBUR: BROKEN DESTINY COMMEMORATIVE SCRATCHINGS (NANOWRIMO PRACTICE): This is some nonsense about an idea I was having about fighting game characters gaining sentience combined with how a fighting game would actually look as a narrative (multiple winners and losers, with the same characters winning and losing in the same story.) More importantly--wrote it in an hour and ten minutes, and it's about 1100 words. Gotta get that word count up. Writing after work--I can tell already--is going to be a little tiresome. But that's what practicing is for! And knocking off a few pages on the weekdays is going to make the weekends go much easier, I believe.

Need to arm myself with an outline going into November, though. Can't do this without some idea of where things are going--I've been realizing that as I do these little on-the-spot exercises. Scratchings follow.

She had that feeling that day, like she was a supporting character in someone else's drama. And it was her turn to lose. She didn't like to lose, as a general principle. But she recognized its inevitability. Sometimes she would not be up for a victory—her strikes would not be precisely timed, or she would lose focus and stand there and take hit after hit until she fell. Other times her parries flew like water, her counter strikes were bold and varied. Those were the days it felt good to fight.
Today was not one of those days. She raised her bo staff (covered in ornate metal designs that both reinforced and added heft to the wood) anyway.
“Let' s make this quick,” she said, eyes gleaming, voice sharp, none of her countenance betraying the fact that she was going to lose this battle.
“Egotistical fool,” said her opponent. “You dare challenge me?” He was Zanzeroff, the Russian woodsman, with his golden jewel-encrusted axe and shield with his personal dragon sigil.
No, she thought, not today. Today I will not be a challenge. She drew back her weapon and rained down blows upon him. A mid strike to distract him, then two strikes to the head. Disoriented, he fell back.
Zanzeroff, she thought. You have opposed me before. Was it—countless times? No, that was not quite right. The potential, though, was there. But she could remember a time when she wasn't fighting. There was an origin point to her ordeals.
The woodsman's axe belted her at her side; the force of the blow drove her into the ground. The impact sucked the breath from her lungs. Always I fall, she thought. But never for long. My pains are always temporary. So too, she realized, were her victories.
When have I defeated him? she wondered. It was during those stretches when I defeated them all: Zanzeroff, the Valkyrie Elhundra, with her enchanted sword; Boscov, the rogue circus strongman with his dual hammers; Athenae, who claimed to have a shield and sword blessed by the entire Greek pantheon; X'ian Minh, with her cruel whip; Red Richard, who fought with mace and shield; Satsuko, who wore a dagger on every finger. There was even a creature who called itself Wendigo, and fought with a wooden spear as thick as a log. It claimed to come from a land far away. A land, she thought, she might like to see some day. If only she could cross the Wendigo's path again....
She raised her bo staff, trying to ward off the Russian's blows. It was futile, she realized; she was stuck. She had method of counterattack. A kick at his shins somehow exposed her head to the flat of his blade, and with a final strike she was knocked to the ground, crying in anguish as she fell. It was my time to lose, she thought. There is no shame here, exactly.
“Such is the fate of all who oppose Zanzeroff,” said the Russian. He posed, briefly, with his axe, resting with his weight on it like it was a cane. Then he bounded off. Off to fight again, she knew. Victory means you keep fighting. Those were the rules of their games. Until you fought that one person who possessed humanity's most powerful artifact: the God-Scythe. The thing that was so powerful it could not be allowed to fall into the hands of her enemies (or her family's enemies; she had inherited their assets and their liabilities, as it turned out.) Why did Zanzeroff want it? Was it an act of vengeance? Something like that, she dimly recalled. The Mongol called Qengke had done something terrible with it, to his native village or his wife, and was threatening more his homeland with it.
Which was it—his village or his wife? she wondered. I should really know that, it was so important to poor Zanzeroff. So much of his motivation was tied to that initial wrong. Unless he was just a vindictive person in the first place—it wouldn't matter in that case what the wrong was, exactly; Zanzeroff would find some reason to take revenge. And the God-Scythe would be his at the end.
She sat up and stuck her legs out, then drew them in to her chest. It was a beautiful day for a fight, she thought. For winning or losing. The grass and earth beneath her smelled rich and fine. A light breeze stirred the leaves in the trees. It was curious, she thought, the way the leaves moved. The sameness of their motion—it was the same every time she took the time to look at the world around her, which wasn't terribly often (when she had a contemplative moment, sometimes after a loss such as this, sometimes during the flow of a battle when time seemed to slow a bit, and she would notice the smallest things, like the way the leaves were moved by the wind.) If she stared at the leaves long enough they would take on an unreal quality. Like they were composed of glops of paint. Tiny glops, stitched together. If she stared long enough, she though, she could see each glop individually, and then the spaces inbetween them. The sights of my world, she thought, like dots of ink on paper.
She stood up, stretched. A loss didn't end everything, she knew. Neither did a win—a win simply felt better. Someday she would possess the God-Scythe. She had held it in the past! It had whispered virtuous thoughts to her, how she would clear her homeland of its occupiers now that she had the world's finest weapon. Her journey had come to an end and she was content. Maybe that was how, she realized, she lost the weapon to another combatant. To the fighting nun Evangeline, who wanted the God-Scythe buried under tons of rock.
Preposterous, she thought. That sword was her people's last best hope. And yet if it was that important—would she have lost it so quickly? Or wouldn't she have at least started to cast out the invaders before she lost it? I have failed, she thought. Failed my people and my ancestry.
I'll get it back, she told herself. The weapon will be mine again.
But the doubts were still there. The knowledge that even if the God-Scythe were in her hands very little would change. She would fight to keep it and then fight to get it back.
There would always be one more fight, she realized. That was the one true constant of her existence. The chain of combat—at least I'll have that.
It was some comfort to her. Checking the sun's position in the sky, she picked a direction, knowing it was a path she had followed before.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

SOME SCRATCHINGS ABOUT CATS (NANOWRIMO PRACTICE): Okay--timed myself for an hour tonight, actually went to about an hour and five minutes (or so) to bring things to whatever sort of logical conclusion I could muster. It's some nonsense about something somebody said to me a while ago about cats taking on the personalities of their owners, that may or may not be widely held folk wisdom or one person's little idiosyncratic opinion. More importantly--it's 1400 words in a little over a hour. My math suggests 50,000 words would take about forty hours at this pace. That's doing a couple pages on a work day at least, and then four or five more on the weekends, and that's only if your motivation holds out. Ugh. My poor pathetic stamina...

...still, it's a marathon, right? You gotta keep a steady pace without overextending yourself early on (<---- my completely imaginary perception of what running a marathon must be like.) Gotta practice forcing myself to write. Maybe slip some reading in too--I have a Charlie Stross book here, and something by Robert Charles Wilson, and my sister-in-law gave me some recent Michael Chabon. But writing is fundamental! Stupid practice scratchings below the fold. Wait--I don't have folds! But this is an actual 2001-era Blogger template, one of kind, very very valuable on ebay, and I refuse to change it. So--stupid scratchings follow.

“Cats take on the personalities of their owners,” she said, matter-of-factly. “It's just the way of this particular species-species interaction.”
Hogwash, he though. Bullcrap. She probably plays the lotto numbers on the back of her fortune cookie fortune too. “I see no evidence for that. Cats is cats. You're reading human behavior into theirs.” She's being—what was the word, he thought—anthropomorphic? Was that right?
“I've seen it too many times to ignore it,” she said. “I mean, look,” she said, gesturing, “ they're just dumb animals, right? No no—that's wrong. They're clever animals, but their desires are pedestrian. Food and the occasional warm body.”
“That's about it for them,” he reflected. As far as their human interactions went. “Maybe a nice bug to eat sometimes.”
“Or a nice mouse to deposit on your floor.”
“Or the occasional vomit on your rug.” Or the hardwood floor. He imagined his own floor with its persistent stains. Not all were cat-related, though, he decided.
“A bit of grass sometimes too, though that's mostly for the vomiting,” she said. “But basically the pie chart is, like, fifty percent food, forty percent companionship, and like ten percent other,” and she put air quotes around “other.” “That's ninety percent devoted to pretty base desires. And there's very little that could be considered high-minded in the remaining ten percent.” Curiosity killed the cat, she thought—the old cliché came to her as she talked on. “Exploration being perhaps the only thing that you could consider to be a noble or advanced activity.”
“You're being anthropomorphic again,” he said, glad he had remembered the word. Although nobility was not exactly a human trait either at this point, he told himself.
“I am not reading anything into cat behavior here,” she protested. “I'm just starting my argument. Cats are in the main motivated by very few desires.”
“They're not dissimilar to humans,” he said, thinking it clever, but not over clever.
“So you have these beings,” she continued, ignoring him, “organized around a tiny set of desires. A set of two desires a majority of the time. Their skillset in acting on these desires, however, is pretty robust. It's adaptable.” She paused, wondering where she was going with this. “That adaptability is key. A cat's personality is plastic. A cat's desires are not.”
“So the clearest path to food and companionship for the cat is to act like its master?” he said. “I'm not buying it.”
“It's not like a cat says to itself, hey, let me act like the tall creature that bring me food every morning—I'll stay on her good side that way,” she said. “But over time you slip into a routine with your cat. She knows your personality—she has to in order to get food out of you. Or to know when the right time it is to climb on your lap.”
“My cats never pick the right time,” he said. “It's always when I'm in the middle of something.”
“But they've figured you out,” she said. “They've picked up on your chaoticness and are giving it back to you.”
“I'm not chaotic,” he said, chagrined. “Hell—I'm probably high on the rankings of routine-bound dullards worldwide.”
“Steven, you're chaotic in the head,” she said, smirking. “The random shit you come up with.”
“Oh, and you're completely appropriate at all times?” he said. Helen from hell sometimes—that's what she could be.
“I'm not saying that,” she said, “but my inappropriateness is different from yours. It takes a different form.”
“Cats are different too,” he said. “Their quirks take on different forms too. One of my cats is noisy and friendly with strangers. The other is anti-social with everyone who isn't me.”
“Oh, there's still baseline cat personalities, don't get me wrong,” she said. “But they're still going to take on a lot of the stuff that's going on in the head of the person who's giving them the Nine Lives every day.”
“So why are my two cats so different?” he said. “They're opposed in temperament.”
“Two sides of yourself,” she said. “Look at my cats—Suzanne is quiet and stupid and George hides under the bed when there's a thunderstorm, but he's still great at escaping when I open the door.”
“So it's your stupid side and your side that wants to escape?”
“Something like that,” she said, drily. “Or my contemplative side and my restless side. Look, this isn't something you can exactly prove, all right? But I'm convinced it's there.” That it is there and that is helps me make sense of the world, she thought. A better life through cats. Cats as pets and cats as avatars, now that the technology existed to make the latter a reality.
“Let me get this,” he said as an old Sousa march interrupted them. “Wait—it's not a call. It's an alarm—we have to get to our arenas.”
Time already, she thought. “Okay,” she said. “Good to see you again. We should do in-person chat more often.”
“Absolutely,” he said. “But we should hurry, you know how expensive server space is these days.”
She nodded, though she thought he was exaggerating. Isn't that why the common house cat—felis catus itself—was picked for the first application of the Mammal Crossover technology? MaCro. Be Differently. That was their slogan, picking up on the echoes of previous slogans that had been passed on down the decades.
Helen stepped on into the rain, black boots clacking on the concrete as the tiny punctuations of the raindrops coalesced into a gentle buzz around her. “Umbreller, ma'am?” said an umbrella.
What the hell, she thought. I can afford the microtransaction. She coded her assent and it positioned itself directly above her head. It's only a few blocks though. Maybe it was a waste.
But I'm a big time cat crossover artist, she thought. Steven and I both. We're catbenders, as people liked to call them (though the union frowned upon such vulgarity.) People piloting cats.
It doesn't make us cats though, she thought as she walked. That's why my argument has some validity. A cat who is living with you is going to take on some of your traits—that's just the kind of animal it is. The only animal in human history to self-domesticate. A cat that has you running in the background of its own consciousness—that has a consciousness that can be supplanted at any second by one's own—that's not you at all. A catbender never became a cat. Science had proved it and philosophy had argued against it.
So I can still think what I want about my own cats. Suzanne and George—just a few more hours, guys. She hoped the storm did not turn too noisy. Hang in there, George, she thought, willing him some courage.
If George had the right receptacles in his brainpan I could wire him some courage, she thought. Or substitute my courage for his absence of bravado. But now I have to see what my assignment is tonight, she realized as she came up to the main window of the MaCro building. MaCro subarena VII.
“What's the word tonight?” she asked the window.
“KL-17,” it responded. “The arena is firefighting.”
“Okay,” she nodded. Perhaps it would be a quiet night. The rain would keep people in, and KL-17 would not need to be crawling into any spaces too small for a human firefighter. Maybe she'd—at worst—have to rescue a real cat from a tree.
KL-17 was real too, though, she realized. Just proscribed for a different sort of existence from the theoretical cat in the tree. One cat is a machine-thing; the other a protected form of life. Both were different kinds of chattel. Perhaps there was some truth to the teachings of the Felis Front, she thought. They who sought to bring intelligence to all cats, and thus equivalent moral standing with humans. But honestly I don't quite feel like dwelling on contradictions tonight, she told herself. My personal ones or my society's.
She hurried down to the arena entrance, hoping she wouldn't have to live in the cat's head all night.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

REGISTERED FOR NANOWRIMO TODAY: How many abandoned novels have I had over the years? Four? Five? So we'll see if anything comes of this. Maybe I've reached the point where desire to get something done overcomes the sinking feeling that what's coming out is crap.

How does one train for NaNoWriMo? Do you read a lot, or do you write a lot? The latter I'm guessing--I mean you wouldn't watch football games to practice for the upcoming season. Reading should be supplemental, like watching film in the coach's office.

Sunday, May 03, 2009


Monday, April 20, 2009

HIPSTERS OF THE WORLD UNITE: No, not a Kari Ferrell post (she's still on the lam it looks like, and maybe she'll stay that way now that her 15 minutes of Internet celebrity are up.) It's this probably-was-in-The-Onion-at-some-point-except-it-turned-out-to-be-true nugget: Chinese getting tattoos with nonsensical Roman characters. (Article does not actually say that, but it's close.)
SOMETHING THAT'S BEEN NAGGING AT ME ABOUT THE ROXANA SABERI SITUATION: How the heck does one become a dual Iranian/American citizen? Particularly when you're from freaking Fargo? It's not like we and they have anything like normal diplomatic relations.

From what I can gather (answering my own question) Iran says she is a citizen because her father has/had Iranian citizenship. I am curious if she sought Iranian citizenship, or if it was forced upon her for the purposes of locking her up.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

WHEN YOU'VE LOST LITTLE GREEN FOOTBALLS: What is going on here? Charles Johnson is finding his internal John Cole?

EDIT: Maybe never mind? And JC never did a day full of updates about people talking about him becoming less crazy.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

MAKING ME LAUGH ABOUT THE UPCOMING CHINESE SOCIOLOGICAL DISASTER: China Becoming a Total Sausage Fest. Just one of the many headlines of the fairly disturbing news that China has 32 million more boys than girls. Million!

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Have I mentioned that the evolution of DougJ from spoof poster to Balloon Juice front pager is one of the greatest things I've ever witnessed on the Internet? No? Because that would be true.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

THE SECOND TIME, BUT AS FARCE: Thoreau draws our attention to the Obama administration's version of the Hainan Island incident. Really--this one paragraph is all you need to know:

"Because the vessels' intentions were not known, Impeccable sprayed its fire hoses at one of the vessels in order to protect itself," the statement said. "The Chinese crewmembers disrobed to their underwear and continued closing to within 25 feet."

"Cap'n--they're giving us the skivvies!" "Blast--the hosing wasn't enough! Courage, men! Launch the fool moon salute!"

Friday, March 06, 2009

THE GEITHNER TIPPING POINT: Yeah. This here is the last straw of the Geithner hate stuff I've been reading lately. It's probably a bit of a stretch--it blames Geithner for mishandling the Asian financial crisis, which leads to East Asia shunning the IMF (which they have little control over or say in) and building up their foreign currency reserves, which directly feeds into the current debt-fueled nightmare. But in concert with the dithering and lack of imagination and all around lack of response months into Great Depression II: Even The Homeless Have Cellphones? There's got to be somebody better, Barry. And someone not a total high finance thrall either (though that's certainly asking for too much. But just someone who might consider putting the national interest first at some point.)

(This cellphone other thing is yards of silly, by the way. Like cellphones are any kind of a wealth marker, or like every destitute Somalian doesn't have a cellphone at this point.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"FUCK THE HAWAIIANS. THEY DIDN'T VOTE FOR US ANYWAY:" I mean I don't watch 30 Rock so I can't enjoy that particular bit of Internet fun about the Jindal response last night. And the ridiculousness of the Republicans continuing to repeat the wasteful spending part of their catechism goes without saying. But picking on volcano monitoring? And putting it in scare quotes, as if the very idea that somebody in the United States of America could possibly have a legit interest in volcanoes was just obviously preposterous? They have nothing left, does the GOP. And if Mount Redoubt blows there'll be less GOPers!

(For the record I watched nothing last night, some of us have to work for a living. Barry needs to ditch the Summers/Geithner bankster cabal he's got working for him.)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

EMBRACING MY INNER GLENN REYNOLDS: Or why I think I'm becoming a fake libertarian. Two reasons:

1. Most of the posts on Hit & Run about the financial crisis just annoyed the crap out of me, especially anything having to do with the auto bailout. Seriously--in the midst of a global meltdown and after giving bajillions to the people who actually caused the meltdown you're against keeping our manufacturing sector alive? Is "Austrian" Randite for "Hooverite"?

Comments about how much people enjoyed their Toyotas were particularly hard to take. As if the quality of their product was anywhere near the biggest reason the Detroit 2.5 are in trouble. (Or 1.5 as it turned out, Ford obviously put a priority on managing their company over managing the Lions.)

Sometimes I think I am still libertarian, but I think the unit of competition should be the nation-state, not individual companies. I mean do you think Japan or Germany would let their automakers fail? Of course not--they'd get in there and muck around because they know their national prosperity is at stake. And yet it's a big debate in this country. Maybe our nation-state needs more government intervention in business and such to stay competitive with the other nation-states, you know? It certainly works for the rest of the world.

Other time I think the big gaping hole in libertarian economics is there is no conception of finance--that is, there is no conception of how money actually works, I guess because it's a practical, pragmatic field that you can't just yell "GOLD STANDARD!!!" at and explain anything. The only libertarianish thinker (she was in Reason once) I've enjoyed during this whole megadebacle is Yves Smith, who was in the big money business and is absolutely nondogmatic about this stuff. More libertarians need to get into the sausage-making business, I feel like, even if they become less pure by their exposure to the messy way things actually get done.

2. I am completely on board with government intervention to bring down the BCS, like the Utah AG is trying to do right now. The BCS is as clear an example as I can think of of the free market reaching the worst outcome possible. And yet you hear people say "if the government gets involved think of how bad it could get!!!!!!" How could it be worse than what we have right now? We have the worst of all possible worlds right now. It's not really a poll-based system anymore, since the final poll isn't allowed to vote anyone other than whoever wins the BCS Championship as number one. You can still split a championship but only if you're somebody who's on the AP's radar from the beginning, those dudes are not going to say to themselves "you know what, Utah? We were wrong all along" (even though they were wrong all along, of course) and give them half the title. And it definitely isn't a playoff. I remember reading somewhere that the BCS sort-of made sense coming out of the late 90s when it was always clear who #1 and #2 were (not sure if this was true or not, but it's a nice idea.) But now? No sense whatsoever. There is no legitimacy in a 1-2 matchup today, but especially this year.

And yet ESPN has bid to broadcast this system through 2014? Are you serious? Five more years of anticlimax? Of national media peoples pretending anything was settled on the field? Ugh, and ugh again. The people in charge of college football have shown no inclination to change their ways, and they're not going to, even if everybody's (on ESPN) favorite coach, Pete Carroll himself, thinks they're full of it. The conference commissioners are in charge and will be in charge until somebody takes power away from them. The networks and advertisers don't seem like they want the power, even though they have the money. (I've never understood why no one has tried to set up a competing system yet. Fox gets outbid for the BCS? Okay--flash some cash at the non-BCS schools, try to peel off a few BCS programs for added legitimacy--USC can't be happy about Rose Bowl after mindnumbing Rose Bowl--instant Counter-BCS! Or playoffs even.) The government is the only entity capable of rectifying this situation. And antitrust seems a perfect way to do it, as we really do have teams excluded from championships based purely on what conference they play in. But no matter how they do it, they're the only ones who can.

And so my libertarianism gets faker. Next I'll be writing sympathetic portrayals of how THE LEFT!!!! destroyed poor Alberto Gonzales. But I'm not a Republican!

(Sorry no links in the above, you need a blog that updates more than twice a year for that kind of attention to detail.)