My "Home Again, Home Again"

My friend Emily's zine Kiss Machine reprinted my story, "Home Again, Home Again," a novellette that originally appeared in one of the Tesseracts anthologies of Canadian sf. It's available, full-text, no DRM, online:
The reason that Chet can't pinpoint the moment his mother sealed her lips is because he was a self-absorbed little rodent in those days.

Not a cute freckled hellion. A miserable little shit who played hide-and-seek with the other miserable little shits in the bat-house, but played it violently, hide-and-seek-and-break-and-enter, hide-and-seek-and-smash-and-grab. The lot of them are amorphous, indistinguishable from each other in his memory, all that remains of all those clever little brats is the lingering impression of loud, boasting voices and sharp little teeth.

The Amazing Robotron was a fool in little Chet's eyes, an easy-to-bullshit, ineffectual lump whose company Chet had to endure for a mandatory hour every other day.

"Chet, you seem distr-acted to-day," The Amazing Robotron said in his artificial voice.

"Yah. You know. Worried about, uh, the future." Distracted by Debbie Carr's purse, filched while she sat in the sixty-eighth floor courtyard, talking with her stupid girlie friends. Debbie was the first girl from the gang to get tits, and now she didn't want to hang out with them anymore, and her purse was stashed underneath the base of a hollow planter outside The Amazing Robotron's apt, and maybe he could sneak it out under his shirt and find a place to dump it and sort through its contents after the session.

"What is it about the fu-ture that wo-rries you?" The Amazing Robotron was as unreadable as a pinball machine, something he resembled.

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Now, *that's* parody!

Parody is a fair use. That means, in a nutshell, that you can use something to make fun of itself without infringing on its copyright. This principle exists so that authors can't use copyright as a club to stifle criticism; without it, Mad Magazine wouldn't be able to use caricatures and exaggerated plotlines to show how bad a movie is, etc.

Now, satire is another thing altogether. A satire is a humorous work that uses one thing to make fun of something else, like Weird Al Yankovic's "Like a Surgeon." Weird Al has a bone to pick with the medical profession, not Madonna, so using her copyrighted "Like a Virgin" without her permission is an infringement. Think of it like this: Madonna isn't responsible for the excesses of the medical establishment; why should the fruit of her labor be used in a ridiculing manner without her permission?

It's amazing how many people just! don't! get! this! Once you've got the distinction, it's pretty easy to grasp. Here's a perfect example: The EFF has just released an high-larious Flash video of "Tinseltown Club," a parodical musical animation that uses the Mickey Mouse Club themesong to draw attention to Disney's involvement with the Hollings Bill, which will put Hollyweird's technophobic studio heads in charge of all new technology. This is a parody (we actually had to go back to the drawing board once or twice and make this more like Disney's own song and iconography, otherwise, the parodical link wouldn't be clear enough). Read the rest

New and improved RSS

Thanks to BloggerPro's latest features, we've got a new and improved RSS feed. If you syndicate Boing Boing, this URL will give you much cleaner file. Link Discuss Read the rest

Hanging a moon on the Web

Ass-O-Tron: Feed it a URL and it will load the page with a guy hanging a moon superimposed on it. Strangely and fiercely compelling. Link Discuss (Thanks, Joey!) Read the rest

Jack Vance, curmudgeon

Jack Vance interviewed on He's old, he's blind, he's cranky, but lovable for all that:
I don't read other science fiction. I don't read any at all. I haven't been to a movie since somebody gave me free tickets to Star Wars, which I went to. It's just I have an utter revulsion to being part of an audience. Sitting there in an audience and everybody sniffling at once and everybody laughing at once. Everybody's valves being turned on at the same time. I just feel like I'm going to some mass prostitution. I feel soiled sitting in an audience.

I do read books. I suppose it's more or less the same thing, but at least I'm alone and I'm an individual. I can stop anytime I want, which I frequently do. But I just despise mass media. As I say, I never ever look at science fiction. I don't even know what's going on. I know [Robert] Silverberg, of course, but I haven't read any of his stuff. And Poul Anderson, who was a dear friend of mine, I read one of his stories once because he happened to be in a little book produced by Ballantine. There were four stories in it. One was by me. But essentially the book was Poul's and mine, and Poul had a very good story in there. It dealt with some mermaids and his command of the underwater life was beautiful to me.

Link Discuss (Thanks, Stefan!) Read the rest

Teacher displays porn during exam

BBC story about a math professor who was caught looking at pornographic websites on his computer while he was giving a test. How did anyone know? because the professor forget to unplug the large screen projector from his computer first. Link Discuss Read the rest

New issue of Animation Blast

Animation Blast is my favorite magazine, and it keeps getting better. It is about one thing -- animation artists, and the editor, Amid Amidi, always seems to pick my favorites. This is the first issue that has interior color pages, and they're put to great use. There's an interview with Gary Baseman (Teacher's Pet), a review of a 1956 book, Walt Disney's Our Friend the Atom, and a must-read interview with Hanna-Barbera character designer Ed Benedict, including an appreciation by John Kricfalusi in which he explains why Benedict is his favorite animation designer. The magazine costs $6 and you can read more about it at the Animation Blast web site. Link Discuss Read the rest

Even shorter than

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into this:
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Punk rock aerobics classes attact pudgy alternapeople who want to skank to CBGB's Golden Hits.
"We were trying to take moves that people would do in clubs — like pogo and skank — and put them into our workout, as well as having it be effective and actually have the heart rate go up, have this be a workout," said Punk Rock Aerobics co-founder Hilken Mancini, who is also a singer and guitarist for Boston's Fuzzy. "So it's sort of this fine line between choreography and chaos."
Link Discuss (via New World Disorder) Read the rest

Mozillafest 2002

Mozilla 1.0 is almost upon us; there's a host of parties in cities around the world on June 12 -- I'll be at the DNA Lounge with bellzon, gettin' my browser on. Link Discuss (via /.) Read the rest

Identity theives strip-mine home equity

Indentity thieves in Detroit are targetting senior citizens with paid-up mortgages, stealing their identities and mortgaging their homes. Link Discuss Read the rest

Toaster toasts its own image

Neat mosaic of a toaster made from pieces of bread, toasted to different shades of brown. Link Discuss Read the rest

The WalMart of CAT-scans

Great NYT piece about CAT Scan 2000, a fleet of CAT-scan vans that cruise the back-roads, trading hyper-detailed full-body scans for cash on the barrelhead, calling themselves "the WalMart of body-scanning."
"That's where science, the marketplace, and patients are caught in a bind," Dr. Kessler said. "This is a pretty heavy-duty exam that seems to have sort of escaped into the marketplace. We have a technology that's gotten caught in the gaps between the scientific agencies, the regulatory agencies, and the payers who pay for health care of all sorts. The fair evaluation of these procedures is no one's province. That's the gap here."
Link Discuss (Thanks, Steve!) Read the rest

Radio controlled helicopter with tiny video camera

An article about the Draganflyer, a strange-looking remote-controlled helicopter which weighs 17 ounces and has gyro-stabilizers so anyone can fly it. Apple is plugging it because the digital videos can be edited with iMovie. It's expensive, though: $750 plus $200 for the video equipment. Link Discuss Read the rest


These hand-blown glass rayguns from Joe Blow studios are fantastic. Link Discuss (Thanks, JimWICH!) Read the rest

Bugs 0wn the weather

Brit scientists have received funding to examine the hypothesis that the weather is manipulated by cloudborne microbes that have evolved the ability to influence climate to their survival advantage. Link Discuss Read the rest

"I am the very model of a Usenet personality"

Charlie's reposted a brilliant "Modern Major General" pastiche about Usenet trolls, lovely, especially apropos of "Joo Joo," Boing Boing's latest empty troll:
I am the very model of a Newsgroup personality. I intersperse obscenity with tedious banality. Addresses I have plenty of, both genuine and ghosted too, On all the countless newsgroups that my drivel is cross-posted to. Your bandwidth I will fritter with my whining and my snivelling, And you're the one who pays the bill, downloading all my drivelling. My enemies are numerous, and no-one would be blaming you For cracking my head open after I've been rudely flaming you.
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