Welcome to the Petting Zoo

Clever, beautiful, and heartbreaking at times

**A review of Bruce Taylor’s book Edward: Dancing on the Edge of Infinity**

There are two aspects to Edward: Dancing on the Edge of Infinity. They are very different aspects, but I love both.

First, the story. From birth to death, Edward is followed throughout his life, in each major moment,...

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An amusement park for grown-ups.

**A review of Lisa Deeter’s CD Just Comparing Notes.**

I was surprised by Deeter’s album Just Comparing Notes.

Oddly enough, the biggest surprise was that there were no lyrics. No songs. No poems. No words.

That, as it turns out, was perfect.

Just Comparing Notes offers a music experien...

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It navigates tricky waters very well!

A review of Noel Figart’s book At the Foot of the Throne.

I enjoyed At the Foot of the Throne.

That might seem a somewhat simple statement to make, but please let me clarify.

My reading tends toward technical stuff, and science fiction. I read very little fantasy. By and large, I find fant...

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A fun tour through a Lovecraftian minefield!

A review of J. T. O’Connor and J. Walt Layne’s book The Coming Of T’Loal.

O’Connor and Layne remind us that some of the trickiest bits of Lovecraftian horror aren’t the monsters or the rubber suits or the excess use of liquid latex on set.

One of the hallmarks of Lovecraftian horror is the cos...

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A haunting accompaniment

A review of Unknown Music from Dream Quest of Kadath.

Cyoakha Grace O’Manion’s soundtrack to The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath is a haunting and beautiful tapestry of music to accompany one of H. P. Lovecraft’s most beautiful and fantastic tales.

The soundtrack is a collection of highlights...

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Welcome to America!

**A review of Stan Ridgway’s CD Partyball.**

There’s something oddly magical about a Stan Ridgway song. I don’t mean magical like with pixie dust and Disney elements, but magical as in the gritty sort of street magic that you might have just missed if you had peeked around that corner sooner...

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The opposite of “backward” is “forward.”

I wonder if there’s a certain point in time in our lives when we stop adding new things to our brains.

I think about it this way – from the moment we’re born to a certain point, we are constantly cramming things into our brain. We are learning language and social interaction and mathematics an...

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Plan or Perish

I suspect a lot of people would be a lot less outraged if they considered two possibilities Very Seriously before they opened their mouths or acted:

  1. Whatever the contest or competition or discussion — they need to have a thought-out plan for when they lose.
  2. Whatever the question, they need to be...

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“Creepy, doll.”

I’ve been experimenting with the word “creepy” and what it means.1

My current experiment is that we use “creepy” when we’re afraid to say “predatory.” Maybe it’s because we don’t want to offend someone, or maybe because we don’t actually think the behavior is predatory, but we aren’t willing...

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Interface Clash

I have always known that people have interfaces. People have ways in which they model their interaction with the Universe around them. Sometimes it is their language, they way in which they speak to each other. Sometimes it is their body movements, they way in which they hold themselves. Sometimes i...

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The Simple Guide to Relationships… or Why Love is Simpler Than You Think

Introduction

Welcome to my half-assed manifesto. It’s a bit of a map of how I got to where I am, which is a place I happen to like. There’s an extremely slim chance you might find something interesting in here, which is one of the reasons I’m posting it online.

The other reason is that when I be...

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The Dumbass Trifecta

First, let’s get one thing straight. I call this The Dumbass Trifecta because I’m very hard on myself. If I engage in this behavior – in any element of it – I’m being a dumbass. I don’t care what you call it. Call it whatever you like. Call it “The Unfortunate Triangle.” Whatever it...

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The “Problem” With Love

The problem with love is this: love is wonderful, beautiful, terrifying, debilitating, painful, glorious, and a joy.

The reason that’s such a problem is because people often mistake wonderful things, beautiful things, terrifying things, debilitating things, painful things, glorious things, and j...

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The Fix Is In.

Fixing things is tough. Fixing social things is especially tough. People are dynamical meat systems, and capable of nearly anything.

The kinds of social things I’m talking about here are events, gatherings, groups, etc. Anywhere there’s a few people. Sometimes in these situations, unpleasant t...

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“It’s a PR problem” is the problem.

There is a value. It is a numerical value.

It is the number of children who have been abused. It is the number of incidents of an organization covering it up. It is the number of times a priest has been moved to a parish to avoid dealing with pedophilia. It is the number of times a priest who trie...

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Let There be Giants

I was joking around in another thread in response to “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants,” attributed to Sir Isaac Newton.

My joke was that giants are so darn nice.

But that tickled my brain a bit.

I started thinking about giants — specifically the kinds of...

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Phantom-fighting

Phantom-fighting is all the rage.

“I know a lot of people think saluting the flag is unpopular now, but I’m willing to shoot each and every one of them right square in the nutsack to prove I’m an American!”

“I know a lot of these guys just want to be able to take a bath in bullets, shoot forei...

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How to Communicate

I have seen too many people get screwed by being unable to communicate (myself included). The usual pattern of events ends in something that can best be summarized by “I didn’t know what was going on.” Now me, I hate being ignorant, so I started taking a look at social interactions, with an e...

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We all need mirrors.

It feels as if there’s an inverse relationship between a group’s claim at the efficacy of their self-policing and the actual ability for them to self-police.

Or maybe there isn’t. Maybe no groups are good at self-policing, but it’s so ubiquitous that we only really pay attention to the ones th...

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Power is a great fertilizer.

Power consolidation combined with opaqueness is the perfect hiding place for scoundrels.

Anyone in power discouraging or outright rejecting transparency does not have the best interests of those they claim to represent at heart. This applies to every power major power structure currently operating...

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