Sunday, November 30, 2014

see if you can guess this one.

Here we have Hannah Rothstein's vision of how various artists would handleThanksgiving dinner. I don't have much to add here. Maybe wondering why there's no George Grosz, but, well, his might not be too appetizing.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Scribbly Saturday Random Ten

Writing has been kind of slow lately and I've probably been more distractable. Not sure why. But today I had a burst of - don't want to say "inspiration" - activity at any rate. Just need a bunch more days like this. Maybe the tide is turning.

1. Paul Simon - Everything About It Is a Love Song
2. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - (I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea
3. Amy Winehouse - What Is It About Men
4. Tom Waits - Red Shoes by the Drugstore
5. Fleetwood Mac - That's Enough for Me
6. Imperial Teen - The Hibernates
7. Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley - The Old Country
8. Dave Van Ronk - Cruel Ship's Captain
9. Metric - Dreams So Real
10. Nellie McKay - There You Are In Me

Friday, November 28, 2014

Words of...

If you run out of dental floss, do without it for a day or two, and then go out and buy some just before the Thanksgiving holiday starts, well, that does help you be a little more thankful. This has been an FYI. Not sure how applicable it is.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

On the road

I came back home after work and saw my street blocked off to traffic. Not to foot traffic, thankfully. They were repaving. Then I went out, came back, it was dark, and they were still at it. So I congratulate my street on getting new asphalt and stuff through it. Probably was needed, although I'm sure somoene's hoping we remember this the next election too.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Lit links

While the author of this article does a decent job interviewing his main subject, Ursula K. Le Guin, I'm a little embarrassed for him. There's a little sidenote, see, about her attending the same high school as Philip K. Dick. Of whom Freeman says, "whose novels "Blade Runner", "Total Recall", and "Minority Report" have become enormous successes as films."

Oh man, zero for three! None of those novels exist. Blade Runner, as you know, was based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Total Recall was based on the short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale". The source for Minority Report is indeed called "Minority Report", but again, it's a short story. Maybe this doesn't have much impact on the central subject of the article, but so much could have been avoided with just a little basic research.

And here's something about H. P. Lovecraft that's kind of interesting.It deals with Lovecraft's racism, which some secondary fans - those who mainly know his work through movie adaptations and themed board games - might be unaware of, but that's hard to ignore when you read him.

He wasn't a lower class bigot, and it wasn't a prolish kind of bigotry. Reading reference books from the early twentieth century you can see how the ruling class, to which the Lovecrafts belonged until they didn't, was trained to believe in their own innate superiority and wield it over lower orders. At some level Lovecraft came to realize that he didn't have the skill set to be one of the masters of the universe, and that even his chosen field would only yield a meager living. This might be part of the reason he clung so jealously to ideologies that were already being discredited.

Of course Anglo-Saxons aren't innately superior to anybody. And Lovecraft wasn't the failure he probably thought himself to be in darker moments. To believe either of these things, much less both, is tragically misguided. But the effects on his work were interesting.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Deep-thinking Friday Random Ten

Can you get a more convincing performance out of a sockpuppet by operating it with your feet? Seems like it would feel more natural for it.

Happy Birthday to the best mother a boy could ask for. somehow that led to the thought above.

1. Gogol Bordello - I Would Never Wanna Be Young Again
2. New Pornographers - Dancehall Domine
3. Diana Krall - Why Should I Care
4. Sly & the Family Stone - Time
5. St. Vincent - Huey Newton
6, Nat King Cole - Mona Lisa
7. Tom Waits - Christmas Card from a Hooker In Minneapolis
8. Metric - The Void
9. Camper Van Beethoven - Too High for the Love-In
10. Fleetwood Mac - Ledge

Thursday, November 20, 2014


I took a trip to the East Side post office today. This is the one where they don't open their phones, ever. And yet it's far and away my favorite post office. Sometimes they play tuneful old records. Mor importantly they have some of the nicest and funniest postal workers I've ever met. As far as the no phone answering, no voicemail or anything thing, I guess it's not that bad if you know about it going in.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Panic in Detroit

With Detroit putting the hurt on its citizens and giving more leeway to tourist oriented businesses that could potentially be operating in a featureless void, you have to wonder. Does the city want to pull up roots and cease to be? Do they consider Robocop to be aspirational?

No washout

I took today off because I had the time and there were a few things I needed to do. Yesterday was a full-blown tempest around here, with flash flood warnings and the whole bit. So even though it's turned colder today, I'm overall glad that I didn't take yesterday off from work. Especially since one of the things I needed to do was laundry.

For some reason this video of Kate Beaton reading her Hark, a Vagrant! comics aloud feels apt.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

In prep Saturday Random Ten

Went grocery shopping today. Usually I do this Sunday. But once every few weeks I have a Sunday meeting of my writers group, and on those weeks it's more convenient to do the shopping on Sunday. It's a pretty good group, and an opportunity to talk to other aspiring authors. So anyway, the shopping wasn't too much of a hassle. The weather's getting colder, but I could still pretty much get away with my autumn coat as opposed to the winter one.

1. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - (I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea
2. The New Pornographers - Spyder
3. Heidi Bruhl - Luna Lunalu, Lieber Mond
4. Amy Winehouse - What Is It About Men
5. Fleetwood Mac - That's All for Everyone
6. Fats Domino - My Girl Josephine
7. Imperial Teen - Out from Inside
8. Gogol Bordello - Not a Crime
9. Tom Waits - A Sweet Little Bullet From a Pretty Blue Gun
10. Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley - Little Unhappy Boy

Friday, November 14, 2014


This will be a Saturday Random Ten week. I forgot about the FR10 last night and today, more or less. There was slightly more than usual to keep track of, albeit not really in a bad way.

In the meantime, here's something kind of cool. A commenter posted this over at Alicublog in a thread about great cover versions. I'd say it qualifies.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

This is my crib

A lot of blogs - not naming any names - have been pretty much murdered by Twitter. The owner takes up a second line dopping bon mots of 140 words or less. Gradually they find they have no time for anything longer.

I have no plans for that at the moment. I can be plenty fragmentaty here, but, well, that's just a style.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It's about time...

... to talk about Doctor Who.

As of recently I've seen all of series eight, made up of the following episodes.

"Deep Breath"
"Into the Dalek"
"Robot of Sherwood"
"Time Heist"
"The Caretaker"
"Kill the Moon"
"Mummy on the Orient Express"
"In the Forest of the Night"
"Dark Water"*
"Death in Heaven"*
* two-parter

This is a very good slate, overall. Some of it is better than others, but none lack at least an identifiable good idea.

If there's a flaw to this series it might be trying too hard for the big statement. Both of Capaldi's immediate successors had an episode based on a deconstruction of their characters, an enemy from within rather than without: David Tennant in "Midnight" and Matt Smith in "The Girl Who Waited." Capaldi is faced with at least three of these just in his first season. "Listen", "The Caretaker" and "Kill the Moon" are all statement episodes along those lines, psychoanalyzing the new Doctor, Clara and her boyfriend/Doctor skeptic Danny. Maybe "In the Forest of the Night" too.

Since thsi could be a little overwhelming in the aggregate, "Mummy" (pictured above) kind of became my favorite. There's a little self criticism in this one too, which is healthy. But it takes place in the context of an entertainingly insane story set on a space train, with 20s period costuming and a mocking computer as well as the mummy. A full meal, in other words.

The two-part series finale - for those wondering, series means season in the UK - is a very close second. This is the story in which writer/producer Steven Moffat SPOILER brings back the Master SPOILER BONUS as a woman. Since this establishes the changing of sexes among Time Lords as a thing that actually happens as opposed to a mere theoretical possibility, it clearly sets up the Doctor himself to become a herself down the line. And while body changing has been a constant on the show since 1966, a huge number of Doctor Who fans regard a woman Doctor as the Great Hell No.

For this reason, Moffat had to up his game and tell the best story possible around this idea. He pretty much succeeds. Since the story begins with Danny dying and getting sent to an afterlife of a sort while the Doctor and a stricken Clara follow him, it puts the characters through the wringer and kind of leaves them there. On the way is some inventive action and spookiness. As "Missy", Michelle Gomez makes a frightening and charming villain.

Okay, so that was long but it was kind of fun to write.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Your avian moment of Zen

Owls are fascinating creatures. Those massive eyes of theirs and the ability to turn their heads all the way make them highly effective predators. Apparently they have a playful side too.

The second video shows this owl's response to the caw of a crow. A visitor from another bird culture, you might say.

When I looked these videos up on YouTube, both were preceded by a brief ad for the upcoming 50 Shades of Grey movie. I'm not sure what to make of that.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Friday Random Ten: Backstory

I'm reading a novel now that's about 600 00 pages. I mean that it's approximately 600 pages, not that that's the book's subject. Anyway, it could be and probably should be shorter. The first half is a lot of talking to people about things that happened years before while nothing much is happening now. Things pick up noticeably in the second half of the book. Still, the editor should have been more of a martinet, I think.

The author handles prose pretty well. She's got a vision too, I think, it's just that it wasn't fully realized this time around. So there's a good chance I'll check out what she does in the future.

1. Gogol Bordello - Sally
2. Nellie McKay - Pink Chandelier
3. Imperial Teen - It's You
4. Fats Domino - Valley of Tears
5. Dave Van Ronk - I Buyed Me a Little Dog
6. Tito Puente - Take Five
7. New Pornographers - Wide Eyes
8. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - No Action
9. Broadcast - Corporeal
10. Fleetwood Mac - I Know I'm Not Wrong

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Ideas of North

Got this huge coffee table book from the librar, Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska. There's a lot of art from both the Native American and Inuit people that can really open your eyes.

Words too,  This is a passage from Beverly Faye Hugo, a member of the Iñupiaq tribe.

We believe that a whale gives itself to a captain and crew who are worthy people, who have integrity - that is the gift of the whale. Caring for whales, even after you've caught them, is important. They love to be in clean ice cellars. Every January before the whaling season we haul out any leftover food stored there, such as walrus or seal, and we give it away. Then we reline the ice cellar with fresh powder snow. That's the kind of place a whale wants to rest and where it will feel welcome. Cleaning the cellar is one of the traditions.

After a whale is caught and divided up, everyone can glean meat from the bones. Each gets his share, even those who don't belong to a crew. During spring whaling, elderly women wait alongside the trail that leads across the ice back to the village. If they want some part of the whale, they ask for it and will receive it. Elderly people always receive foods like fresh fish, tuttu (caribou), ducks, geese, and even whale. No one is left out.

Certainly I wouldn't want to give a broad-based defense of whaling. There are good reasons why it's frowned on now. Still, the Inuit approach does have a kind of respect and beauty to it. These peoples have also taken jealous care of their resources.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Tomorrow I might blog about something else. How's that for commitment? For now, know only that it was CRAZY cold down here in RI. Through much of the country, from what I hear. But yeah, second day of November and we had freezing rain mixed with snow. I was out in it more than I would have liked to be.

Leaving me to wonder what it felt like on the east coast of Canada.