Precious Cargo

Refreshingly Bitter And Twisted Observations On Life's Passing Parade.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008 HarperCollins' Virtual Slushpile

Officially, Authonomy is a "social network for writers and book-lovers alike". The idea is that aspirant scribes can upload up to 10,000 words to the site and then have their masterworks judged by what HarperCollins refers to as "keen, talent-spotting readers" - other people, that is, who have registered on the network.

Being realistic, I think Authonomy may end up being a nice polite way for the publishers to say that they're not accepting unsolicited submissions anymore. If the launch goes well, I'd wager that anyone asking about submissions will be directed to hit the site, keeping editors' (and editorial assistants') desks clear for them to get on with the books agents have sent them, the ones they are genuinely interested in.

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Who Can Take Tomorrow, Dip It In a Dream?

From NBC/NJ's Athena Jones
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. -- As the West Virginia primary race came to a close Tuesday, Obama held a town hall with garment workers here, another sign he was shifting his focus to key general election battlegrounds.

Clinton was expected to win the West Virginia primary handily, and it appears she has.

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, an Obama supporter, introduced the Illinois senator at Thorngate Ltd., a men’s suit manufacturing plant with about 500 employees. The roughly 100 guests in attendance were invited by the campaign and the company.

Yesterday, in a speech he gave at a clothing manufacturer’s factory, Barack Obama proved he’s just as adept at making fantastic promises as anybody else running for high office. In only a few minutes, he promised a universal health care system that would reduce by $2,000 premiums for workers already enrolled in an insurance program. Then he promised a $1,000 income tax cut to middle-class workers. And then, he promised that Social Security recipients making $50,000 or less in income would no longer have to pay any taxes on their social security benefits.

I think that the Obama campaign should adopt as it’s song the old Sammy Davis, Jr. crowd pleaser, The Candy Man.

Oh, who can take tomorrow, dip it in a dream
Separate the sorrow and collect up all the cream
The Candy Man, oh the Candy Man can
The Candy Man can 'cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good

The Candy Man makes everything he bakes satisfying and delicious
Talk about your childhood wishes, you can even eat the dishes


Einstein: Religion is Childish Superstition

One of the argumentative ploys used by Dennis Prager in trying to trap atheists is to ask them if belief in God is stupid and therefore a sign of stupidity among believers. If Prager's respondent says "Yes," Prager then asks them if they think Einstein was stupid, because Einstein said, "God does not play dice with the universe." This is supposed to prove that highly intelligent people can also believe in God.

Well, today we have a nice story that will deprive Prager of his Einstein proof.

"The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish.

"No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this," he wrote in the letter written on January 3, 1954 to the philosopher Eric Gutkind, cited by The Guardian newspaper.

"For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions," he said.

Previously the great scientist's comments on religion -- such as "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind" -- have been the subject of much debate, used notably to back up arguments in favour of faith.

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