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While I'm sorry to see a well-paying short fiction market close up, I'm not surprised. I subscribed for the first year, but my subscription lapsed and I haven't been back since then because I'm not fond of reading on a computer screen. Sure, I browse websites and read news, and I spend all day (and most of my evenings) writing on one computer or another, but when it comes down to reading at length for pleasure, I prefer the printed page.

I have often thought these electronic-only publications are missing out on a key demographic, that being those of us who are technologically plugged in but still prefer a more traditional approach to reading. I realize the print magazine is dying a slow, painful death, but perhaps if they'd offered a print-on-demand option for those subscribers who wanted a print edition, I'd still be reading Universe -- and they'd still be publishing come next April.
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If you only read one Infernokrusher story this year, it should be this:

Let Us Now Praise Awesome Dinosaurs by Leonard Richardson in Strange Horizons.
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First this economy killed my favorite restaurant and my favorite car company? And now it might be killing my favorite breakfast cereal? I think I'm due to catch a break here sometime soon.
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I drive a Saturn S-series, my father and sister both drive Saturn IONs, and my mother drives a Saturn VUE. When it comes time to trade in my wife's car, she'd like to get a Saturn, too.

The stories I hear out of Spring Hill, Tennessee break my heart. The tiny sticker on the rear driver-side window reminds me where my car was built. Spring Hill had roughly 1,400 residents when Saturn came to town in 1990 and built their first plant. Today, the population stands somewhere around 24,000. Three thousand of the towns residents are dependent on the plant for their jobs.

As for the plant itself, they don't make Saturns there anymore. Instead, they've been making the Chevy Traverse. Production of that vehicle has halted, however, and is heading to a plant in Michigan. Spring Hill is, today, idled, and facing closure.

I dearly wish the Saturn idea had succeeded. I'm still hopeful that a buyer will be found to save the company -- and the Spring Hill assembly plant -- but I'm not overly optimistic.

All of which serves to reinforce my commitment to driving my Saturn until it falls apart. It is seven years old and have 48,000 miles on it. It should be good for at least another seven years and 100,000 miles. Perhaps my next car will be a Saturn. Perhaps it will be something else. But my car right now is a Saturn, and I couldn't be happier.
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NYTimes: To Protect an Ancient City, China Moves to Raze It

This story strikes a nerve with me. The Silk Road is a personal obsession of mine. As a pilgrim would travel to Mecca once in his lifetime, I hope one day to travel the length of the old Silk Road, from Istanbul to Beijing, passing through Damascus, Samarkand, Kashgar, and many other points between.

I'm also troubled by the political implications of destroying the Islamic heart of a city home to many ethnic Uighurs, a people whom the government in Beijing consider terrorists at best.
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I need my MacBook next week. I may need to use it for extended periods of time without an outlet. Unfortunately, my battery was the original and was therefore 32 months old. So I bought a new one, calibrated it, and have gone from about 15 minutes on a charge to around 5 hours.

Then today at work, I noticed a funny smell at my desk. A burning, plastic smell. It was then that I noticed the brown, charred marks on the wire into the power supply brick. Needless to say, I unplugged it immediately.

Since AppleCare covers my laptop for about four more months, I knew they'd probably replace it. Unfortunately, it was Thursday at 3:30 in the afternoon, I need to leave on Monday, and UPS and FedEx don't deliver to my house or the office on Saturdays. Living and working out here in the sticks like we do, our nearest Apple Store is three hours away. So I had to buy a new power supply brick at BestBuy. I did consider Amazon with next-day shipping, but that would be cutting it close. It would probably get here by Friday but that wouldn't leave any room for error.

I did call Apple tonight and they're shipping me a new brick. It will take 5-7 days to arrive but at least I will have a spare. And I won't burn down the Courthouse.[1]

_____
1: I have often been heard to say that "the history of Bellefonte is a history of fires," but I'd rather not become a part of that narrative.
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I'm pretty sure GM will be dropping the Saturn line tonight.

I'm okay with that. Mostly. The new models have just been rebadged imports anyway, at least on the low end.
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If you went to MSU College of Law and are considering solo practice, do yourself a favor and watch this video. (You'll need a username and password, so if you didn't get the email from your Career Services adviser, email him or her and they'll get one for you.)
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As the email, the flyer on my wall (pdf), and I'm sure signs all over campus say: "IT'S MOUNTAIN DAY!"

This year the first day of Fall is also Mountain Day at my alma mater, Juniata College. That means classes are canceled and there will be buses running all day to take everyone to a nearby state park for a picnic, games, music, and all manner of outdoor fun. It was one of the highlights of the semester.

Perhaps I'll see if the other Juniata grads around here (I know three) want to join me for lunch in the park. Is anyone else interested?
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An 1870 mansion on Curtin Street has been destroyed by fire today. It housed seven apartments. Everyone was safely evacuated, but the building is a total loss.

Updated: Some photographs taken by Mark Houser, via Bellefonte.com.

Updated: Bellefonte fire history: Bellefonte has lost four historic buildings in as many years. On July 14, 2005, the Bellefonte Academy was destroyed. On February 8, 2006, fire destroyed the Bush House. On April 2, 2007, the Victorian Manor Bed & Breakfast, and now, September 19, 2008, an historic mansion on Curtin and Allegheny. (I'm still trying to determine if it had a proper name, as many of our historical buildings do.)

I'm also making inquiries as to whether we'll be examining what went wrong with the fire hydrants. Specifically, why two were non-functional and not marked as such. I doubt there will be a public outcry over it, but perhaps there should be.
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This is what I want for my birthday cake.
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Posted for those with an interest: a press release from our local National Guard unit.

NEWS RELEASE
PENNSYLVANIA ARMY NATIONAL GUARD
COMPANY C, 2nd BATTALION 112th INFANTRY (STRYKER)
1081 EAST ZION ROAD
BELLEFONTE, PENNSYLVANIA 16823-2399

Pennsylvania Army National Guard in Bellefonte to March to War

On Wednesday, September 24, 2008 at 10:30am the Pennsylvania Army National Guard will be marching in Bellefonte from the Armory on Bishop Street to Allegheny Street down High Street and ending at Talleyrand Park. This march will recognize our soldiers prior to their deployment to Iraq. Join us in celebrating this monumental event as this is the first time since the Korean War that the Bellefonte National Guard unit as a whole has been mobilized for combat. Unit commander, Capt. Paolo A. Sica of Company C, 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry (Stryker) invites everyone to attend.

"The 2-112th Infantry is part of the only Army National Guard Stryker Brigade Combat Team (the most technologically advanced units in the Army)," said Lt. Col. Samuel E. Hayes III, Battalion Commander. The Army National Guard has strong community ties to Bellefonte, and has marched to the train station for every major deployment since the Civil War. "This is an effort to honor all veterans, regardless of their branch or period of service, as well as those currently serving," said 1st Sgt. Michael Swartz, the senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Unit.

These are the things that remind you that you live in a small town, when you know several of the people involved. It should be interesting to see.
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It is still distant enough to require a day trip, but Park City in Lancaster, PA is a bit closer than King of Prussia or Pittsburgh.

Updated: I understand there will be t-shirts for the first 1,000 customers. Hmmm. Perhaps a weekend trip to visit Ruth's mother in Lancaster is in order.

Gob lives!

Sep. 17th, 2008 09:30 pm
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Will Arnett on Sesame Street:

Clip 1:

Clip 2:

(via The Edge of the American West).
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Pennsylvania's smoking ban went into effect today. The law allows several exceptions, including this odd one:

The law forbids lighting up in most workplaces and public spaces, including restaurants, train stations, office buildings and sports arenas. But it also authorizes the state to grant exemptions for certain operations, including private clubs; casinos; nursing homes; bars where food accounts for no more than 20 percent of annual sales; and as many as 25 percent of the rooms in hotels and motels. (emphasis added)
I guess this will apply to all of those nursing homes in which oxygen is not is use.
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I'm unveiling my Secret Project today. A little over a year ago, while we were still living in Michigan, I started planning and developing a website. It was put on hold several times, both for the move back to Pennsylvania and so I could study for and take the bar exam. Twice. But now, with all of that (hopefully!) behind me, I can share what I've been doing: I've started a blog about food and cooking here in Central Pennsylvania. I call it The Centre Gourmand.

I'll be writing about dining, locally raised and grown meats and vegetables, and the hidden culinary treasures this area has to offer. It'll also feature some of my favorite recipes I've been collecting, both adapted from others and of my own creation, as well as wine reviews from my own cellar. As the "About" page says, The Centre Gourmand is "dedicated to the proposition that fine dining can be found anywhere." I hope you'll agree.
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This journal is "friends only," mostly because I need somewhere to write about things that I'd rather not share with a general audience.

If you would like to read it, add me as a friend and I'll either see it and add you back (if I can figure out who you are) or you can drop me a note and I'll add you that way. Either way, I'll want to know who you are. Otherwise, what's the point of friends only? If we aren't already friends (and what is a friend, anyway?), say hello and we can be.

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