Jim Steinman

Jim Steinman has died at age 73. He’s best known as the progenitor – music, lyrics, production, schmaltz – of Meat Loaf’s songs. Bat Out of Hell. Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad. Paradise by the Dashboard Light. I Would Do… well, I’m getting tired of typing out those lengthy titles, but you know the…

RtBC, Part 4

Reasons to Be Cheerful, part 4. This, from the deck tonight: Hang in there. Spring is coming.

The Origin of Plastic Bags

I figured it out. Plastic bags originated on the planet Krypton. Well, maybe not the individual bags. But the material itself? Invulnerable. To be clear, I’m not talking about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, or microplastics, or those six-pack rings that strangle baby turtles. Rather, it’s plastic packaging. Seriously. Try and open one with your…

RtBC, Part 3

Reason to be cheerful (RtBC): Will Shortz. He’s the puzzle editor of the New York Times. My wife and I love crossword puzzles, though we’ve learned we can’t work on them together. (I’ll take the blame here.) And the Thursday through Sunday New York Times puzzles are generally wonderful. They are well clued, they are…

RtBC, Part 2

Reason to be cheerful (RtBC): Spring. Yeah, it follows winter, most of the time, most years. (I have a friend in Arizona who swears the past few years have gone directly from winter to summer, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.) And yet, in the human condition, all us folks who fail the…

RtBC, Part 1

Reasons to be cheerful (RtBC): Vaccines take a decade, give or take, to develop and test. Except this past year. With everyone – scientists, governments, big and not-so-big pharma, and even Dolly Parton – pitching in, we developed a Covid-19 vaccine in just over a year, and are now producing and distributing it not in…

Torture

I just finished the first draft of a torture scene in the novel I’m working on, Innogen. I want to vomit. It’s graphic. And it’s necessary for the book, which is told from the standpoint of the person being tortured. It’s 1606, and they did that kind of thing. A lot. Maybe in revision I’ll…

Dissing the Mildly Competent

I’m mildly competent at a number of things. [“Mildly competent: can do pretty much all basic stuff, a fair number of midlevel tasks, but not an expert.”] For example, I’m mildly competent at putting a web page together. I’m no pro, for sure, and my sense of design is about what you’d expect from a…

Today’s First-World Problem

Printers. Specifically, why do printers and Windows fight? You get a printer working, you take the computer somewhere, you come back, you’re on the network, and… the printer appears offline. It only happens sometimes, of course. It happens with Brother printers. With Canon and HP printers. With pretty much every printer I’ve ever owned. It’s…