The Daily Daily: Conversations and Connections Conference, Sponsored by the Potomac Review

When I started understanding that I wanted to be a writer, I had absolutely no idea how I could go about doing it.  I didn’t know what to write.  I didn’t know what to read.  I didn’t know what to spend my time on or what people wanted to read or nothing.  I just knew that I loved the feel of the pen in my hand, paper under my fist, and the words, words, words, coming out of me.  An education was my answer, which should be the answer of all writers.  But there are different roads, ladies and gentlemen.  There are different ways to learn about writing.  All of them valid.  All of them greatly needed.

My friend Zachary Benavidez at the Potomac Review and his friend Dave Hously at Barrelhouse are co-sponsoring with the Baltimore Review Conversations and Connections, a Writing Conference about writing with a nice, tight focus on building lasting connections.  It’s not free ($65), but nothing is. With admission, you receive, “the full day conference, a subscription to a literary magazine, a book (you choose from one of the four featured books, and one “speed dating with editors” session” And, honestly, you’ll meet plenty of people that will give you valuable insights about the craft of writing and the business of getting your name known. Going forth and mingling is a tough thing to do, a skill learned over the years.  I can’t think of a better way to learn it.  Details are here.  Go.

Cavemen could out run and jump us. But could they text?

Facebook?  Ill face your book.

"Facebook? I'll face your book."

Do you think you are tough because you can get up at five in the morning, work all day, drink all night and then make it the next day on four hours of sleep?  Well…yeah.  You are pretty tough.  But you ain’t as tough as our Dinosaur dodging ancestors, so says Peter McAllister, a guy who has studied some stuff and has went to school or something.  From Reuters.

McAllister sets out his stall in the opening sentence of the prologue. “If you’re reading this then you — or the male you have bought it for — are the worst man in history. “No ifs, no buts — the worst man, period…As a class we are in fact the sorriest cohort of masculine Homo sapiens to ever walk the planet.” Delving into a wide range of source material McAllister finds evidence he believes proves that modern man is inferior to his predecessors in, among other fields, the basic Olympic athletics disciplines of running and jumping.

Oh, yeah? I’d like to see a Caveman try and use Twitter, Facebook, IM, and text on the phone at the same time while he grades papers, reads a few emails, listen to music and watch Rachel Maddow.  Oh, not so tough now, are you Cavemen?  If you can keep up, don’t step up.  Hairy Punk.

Myspace to cut 400 jobs. Yeah, Myspace is still around. I know, right?

First there was Friendster, and Friendster was really stupid and nobody liked it.  Then, there was Myspace, and everyone liked Myspace because it was a new way to meet girls to have sex with.  Around the same time, Facebook popped up and no one liked it because a bunch of kids were on there.  Then, every band in the world realized that Myspace was a great place to spam people with their demos and their videos and their photos and everyone left Myspace because it was like a massive house party that was, at first, a nice little get-together with some good friends and a couple of cases of beer. Then Myspace turned into a raging kegger that was too loud and, you know, they were wrecking the place.  So then everyone went to Facebook, which is more like an after hour meet-up that sometimes runs long enough for you to be like, shit, I have to work in the morning!  What happens when a social-networking site, like Myspace, that earns revenue by ads, losses about, oh, half of the people that used the site?  Plus a recession?  Can you spell “lay-offs” boys and girls?  From the New York Times.

MySpace’s identity is closely associated with entertainment and music — a place where, for example, an upstart band would go to find a following. But Facebook has become the gathering place for users who want to share photos and connect with long-lost friends. “Right now, MySpace has been attempting to compete to be the biggest social networking site,” said Josh Bernoff, an analyst at Forrester Research. “I don’t think that’s been successful. If MySpace is about your entertainment life, Facebook is about your whole life.”

Myspace is going to cut around 400 jobs, and the reminder of the staff will be around 1,000.  Yeah, I know that’s not a lot.  But, hey, those are 400 people that won’t have enough money for skinny jeans.  Skinny jeans! Somebody might not be able to afford skinny jeans!  And, hey, don’t worry.  Facebook is about one or two new updates away from being completely annoying.  Facebook hasn’t jumped the shark yet, unlike some social-networking sites. Oh, snap!

Auto-Tune the News #4 makes the World better

They are the Gregory brothers, and no, that isn’t their sister.  She is the wife of one of the dudes.  Which, I mean, sadly, kills a few fantasies I’ve had.  They are sort of funny.  More than anything, I know in my dark heart that the world is better because of these people.  And, sorry, there are few people going around doing that lately.  When an angry Gorilla cries, who is going to try his eyes?

CIA Torture Memos See the Light of Day

The torture memos are out.  If you have no idea what that means, please keep hiding under that rock.  Ok, Ok.  I’ll explain.  There are some memos from the Bush Administration days that detail EXACTLY the techniques the CIA used to glean information from its prisoners held because of the “War on Terror”.  These memos are out there, flying around the Internets for all to see.  You can even download them PDF style, if you’d like.  The BBC, as always, have a great article on it.  Here are some of the commentaries the BBC collected from various other sites.  They stole them so I’m stealing them.  Welcome to blogging.

The memos’ matter-of-fact clinical descriptions belie the harsh tactics to which they gave a green light. But… it is not enough to say that when we have a president who does not believe in cruel and inhuman treatment and torture, the United States will not engage in such practices. We must formally acknowledge that what was done was wrong, indeed criminal. Georgetown University Professor David Cole, debating the issue at The New York Times

By repudiating the memos, the Obama administration has again seized the high ground and restored some of the honor lost over the past few years. Yet the decision to forgo prosecutions should not prevent — and perhaps should even encourage – further investigation about the circumstances that gave rise to torture. Editorial, The Washington Post

On the surface, the statement today looks like a big ol’ grant of immunity – or a concession – or a deliberate attempt to boost morale at the CIA… There are plenty of CIA officers who followed the rules and shouldn’t be prosecuted. They’re the ones who are a little relieved today… although they might have to explain some things to their priests and their families. Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic

Another major issue is lingering, however. Did the torture “work”?… Without a rigorous investigation into the alleged efficacy of U.S. torture, we’ll never know. But while Obama has turned the page, many others haven’t – including the people, and their allies, who think waterboarding was a good idea. Without a commission… we could start torturing all over again. Mark Benjamin,

What do I think?  I think there is no reason for anyone to torture anyone.  Period.  I know what it is like to live in a small, very tiny amount of fear.  I can not even think about what these prisoners went through.  It is horrible and completely upsurd.  However, it is war, and war is a very complicated thing.  Fighting monsters makes you a monster.  Yeah, I’ve heard that.  Is that saying a fact, though?  Or is it just a well crafted excuse?  Leave your comments.