May 11th, 2014


I Can't Believe You Went There

There is currently a snit, a war, an angry online fight, concerning the Hugo nominations and voting this year. This blog entry isn't about that. But...

I looked at the comments on one post, and it was observed that a photo showed one guy with a fedora and a neckbeard -- BINGO on the checklist, that makes him a douche. I know, I know, you should never read the comments. But the piling on continued in this vein, except for a side issue regarding fedoras versus trilby and other hat styles.

It would be one thing, easy to dismiss, if I saw it once. But I didn't and so now I'm calling you on it. (And if you think that means I automatically am defending all the other mouthbreathing issues involved with the original trolling yahoos, maybe you should stop reading here.)

Take a good look at the icon for this entry. Dr. Phil at ConFusion in 2009. Hat? Check. Beard? Is it on the neck? Check. Check. I guess that makes me a neckbeard...? [ADDENDUM 5/12/2014: Nick Mamatas points out that "a neckbeard is a guy who can't really even grow a beard, so they just have scraggle on their necks and under the jaw" -- guess that explains some of the poser references. This negates a piece of a perfectly good rant. But the overall concept is still there...]

So that makes me a racist, homophobic, ugly-form conservative and Internet asstard, right?


I can't believe that these people have gone there. Basing your opinion and declaring one's political and cultural affiliation based on appearance. Really? REALLY?

I am white and something of an Internet mole. I sunburn easily. My left arm ends up darker in the summer.

So, I'm an Internet troll who lives in the basement at home with his mother, redneck, trucker... see how ridiculous this sounds?

I have a beard because my skin irritates too much that I stopped shaving. On 1 May 1981. Really.

I wear a hat because I wear glasses and I dislike getting glare and reflections off them. Also I am one of those people sensitive to the flashing of ordinary fluorescent lights and so need a brim indoors as well, or I get headaches. Really.

I am a writer and a professor of Physics. Computers are my tools. Really.

I live at home. My home. With my wife of thirty years. My mother lives six states away and given my leg and travel issues, there is the possibility that I may never see her again. I don't live in a basement. Really.

I'm also fat, wear suspenders. In fact, I resemble best-selling author George R.R. Martin. Which means... absolutely nothing. Doesn't it?

And anyway, the Hugos are a science fiction award. Who the hell are you to cast stones at geeks?

I really do sunburn easily. And when I commute to campus, I drive south on US-131 in the morning and north in the afternoon. So the sun is to my left. Hence the trucker's arm. Really.

So here's the deal. Don't you dare cast aspersions on a person based on their appearance in a photo. It makes you sound terribly stupid and shallow, as well as massively un-PC. You lose all street cred.

I haven't entered the fray about the Hugos. Fact is, you can nominate anything which is eligible. You can vote for anything on the ballot. If you want to be a jerk and try to skew the results with your minions, there's nothing to stop you, save basic human decency and professionalism.

I say judge a work based on the work. We tell new writers they are not their story, so they can better survive the inevitable and numerous rejections. It follows that the story is not the writer. Though if you choose to punish a story because of the author's actions and views -- go ahead. There is nothing in the rules that prevents it.

At the moment, I have no dog in this fight, other than the umbrage of being pigeonholed based on my appearance. I am thinking of getting a Supporting membership in Loncon, not to cast a negative or positive political vote, but because the entire Wheel of Time series, which my late father adored, is in the Hugo e-packet. Which accidentally makes it one helluva bargain. Anybody can play this game -- a membership compels you to vote no more than a U.S. citizenship does -- though voting is most definitely encouraged and I'm too cheap to buy a Supporting membership and not vote.

Make of that what you will.

Dr. Phil

A Pleasant Week

So last Sunday we got a call from my most excellent college friend Cole. His family has a cottage on the lake. Alas, his keys were locked in his car and cell phone reception is dicey out there. So we got him some help and offered him some dinner -- salmon stroganoff.

We sent Cole home with the last two of our Guiness brownies -- an annual St. Patrick's Day treat. Incredibly hearty and most thoroughly chocolate -- he had one already at dinner. These last ones were for Alice. Ah, but did she get them? Can you trust this man? (grin) (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Monday I photographed this lovely daffodil in a vase, backlit by the light from the sliding doors. I thought it one of ours, but Mrs. Dr. Phil said that Cole brought it from the cottage. How thoughtful! (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Monday after Physical Therapy, I thought I'd try for these power lines that I'd watched over the winter, when it was too gray and dark. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

The late winter, cool weather and some rain, have all made farmers anxious about when to plant. One field of grass. One field just plowed on the other side of the stream. Spring is coming. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Finally we have daffodils. In the matter of days we went from green leaves, to buds and suddenly daffodils, newly revived after a heavy rain. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

After seeing Frozen on Saturday, we drove over to G. B. Russo's on 29th Street in Grand Rapids. Sadly we haven't been there in years, since they expanded, because we just don't get on that side of 28th Street any more. Mrs. Dr. Phil stopped at the deli counter but they didn't have any headcheese. However, they had a dark, rich blood and tongue bologna. So our Sunday lunch sandwiches included that, some Munster cheese, Coleman's mustard and was quite delightful.

This is one of the fuzzy plum-apricot hybrids. We found one the other year and they were superb and tasty. They show up for a very brief time, if they show up at all. So when Mrs. Dr. Phil found them, she bought some. Funny, her still life pile seems to be missing four. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Mrs. Dr. Phil (All Rights Reserved)

Friday we had watched The Chew on ABC and Iron Chef Michael Simon was showing off a roasted chicken on a bed of root vegetables -- baby carrots, turnips, parsnips garlic. To which we added a bit of rutabaga and we had our Mother's Day dinner. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Dr. Phil