Thursday, April 30, 2015

Jones, the author

Writer B. C. G. Jones is a riddle wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a conundrum wrapped in something else. Maybe a waffle. But as such multiply wrapped persons go, he seems like an okay guy.

I suppose I'm acting as his unofficial publicist as of now. In that capacity I should point out that Jones has a page on QuarterReads now. Currently featured is the short story "I Contain Multitudes", about creatures we have inside our minds and a technology that allows you to bring those creatures out. You might say it's a bit of a crapshoot.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Amazon cruise

Has Wonder Woman ever quite been an iconic character on the level of Superman and Batman? Not really. There are a few reasons for that. Superhero comics were always a boy thing, even if now a lot of the boys who read them don't look so boyish. So a female hero is swimming upstream.

But there's also the fact that DC, in their finite wisdom, has aggressively rebranded the character every few years, at least in recent decades. So there's little to grab onto. Superman is a benevolent alien and Batman is a noble vigilante, but their identities extend beyond themselves as individuals. Superman as Clark Kent has the Daily Planet crew. Batman has Alfred and Commissioner Gordon. Wondy's supporting cast, by contrast, always seems to be subject to fire-at-will.

This, aside from Joshua Middleton's nicely etched artwork, is what I like about Convergence: Wonder Woman #1, Sure, the plot is a tie-in to one of those convoluted crossovers both of the majors do on a regular basis. But it's nice to see the old Wonder Woman with her old support system. Steve Trevor is back to being a glorious and absurd flyboy hero, now snuggling with Diana. Etta Candy, drawn to look a little like Beatrice Colen, who played her in the seventies TV show, is again her regular gal best friend, even after sorta joining a cult. (Etta's basically Wondy's Jimmy Olsen.)

Odd side-fact about Wonder Woman. Samuel Delany briefly wrote her comic. It was in the early seventies, the white jumpsuit era. From what I recall he only completed one issue before they changed editorial directions and he was let go. Still, some interesting times.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Linking not a compliment in this particular case

Okay so what annoys me about this article? Let me count the ways.

First off, if social scientists want to be taken seriously, they need to acknowledge that their gig is different from physical science. Some humility about final conclusions is needed in both, but much more so in social science. And coming to broad conclusions about decline in the ancient and modern worlds based on no more than a less-complete-than-you'd-like-to-think genome record is remarkably inane.

Second, the scientist appears to be kind of a quack, definitely one with an ax to grind, but he's taken seriously and treated as an authority here.

And last but not least, this article in short order attracted some world class jaw dropping racists. It may seem unfair to blame the Telegraph or Penman for this, but the comments are strangely in tune with the article itself.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Little feet

The lady downstairs from me has a cat. From the looks of things I'm pretty sure it's a male cat. The walls and ceilings/floors here are relatively solid, but sometimes late at night I think I can hear him pad about, if I'm in the right place. I like that, the fact that cats keep their own schedule, finding that four AM and twelve PM are equally good for sleeping, or hunting.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Expansive Friday Random Ten

What's is been, three days? I've gone through longer hiatuses, I guess. In this case I think I had some ideas for posts, but none of them made it out of my head. The action is brutal up there.

To make matters worse I may start a new blog on this service soon. Probably not that high a volume one, but who knows?

1. Sonic Youth - Hallowe'en
2. Dave Van Ronk - Samson and Delilah
3. Yo La Tengo - Watch Out For Me Ronnie
4. Sarah Vaughan - Baby Won't You Please Come Home
5. The Kinks - Afternoon Tea
6. The Who - Rael 1
7. Rasputina - Hunter's Kiss
8. Metric - Lost Kitten
9. Pink Martini - Ich Dich Liebe
10. Morphine - Buena

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Just heard this

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis. A British sibling band. I just heard about them yesterday when I read a review of a show they'd done in Boston. Figured I'd take a listen to some of their songs. Like this one. And it also shows that the oldest special effect in the book - shutting the camera off - still has some juice in it.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Down with the sickness

There's a difference in degree at least between eating something that disagrees with you and eating something that shouts down your every attempt to reason with it, seizes your wallet, and throws you down a flight of stairs. My Saturday morning was the result of the latter. I have a pretty firm idea of what the culprit was, so it's not something I plan to ingest again any time soon.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fast-changing Friday Random Ten

This morning when I left for work it was coolish and rainy, necessitating boots, an umbrella, and a heavier jacket. When I was on my way home the jacket felt suffocating with the day's warmth and the boots and umbrella were relics. The great guessing game has begun.

1. Mose Allison - Groovin' High
2. Yo La Tengo - Point and Shoot
3. The Kinks - Lazy Old Sun
4. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - From a Whisper to a Scream
5. Sonic Youth - Satan Is Boring
6. Diana Krall - East of the Sun (and West of the Moon)
7. Dave Van Ronk - You've Been a Good Old Wagon
8. Fitz & the Tantrums - Spark
9. Les Baxter - The Shrike
10. Sun Ra - The Beginning

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Some thing good

I just discovered an artist named Stuart Ober today. Well, discovered him for myself, anyway, if not the world. The world could stand to learn of him, though. The website for the gallery that represents him in Boston seems to be the only place online that shows his work.

I love a good still life, but I especially love a good still life that shows hints of character, even if there are no people in sight. Ober's paintings show objects with a lot of personality.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Rendering unto Caesar

I just e-filed my tax returns tonight. It's only in the past couple of days that it hit me how fast the clock was ticking on that one. So there was some anxiety beforehand, but not so far beforehand that I got them done early.

Afterwards I felt kind of exhilarated. And I had a shot - well, a thimbleful - of brandy, to honor my North Country English roots.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Tonsorial Saturday Random Ten

I just got a haircut on Thursday. In a black barbershop, which is a first for me, and is something every man should probably try sometime in his life. Anyway, I'm still getting reacquainted with my scalp. No, that sounds creepy, forget I said it.

1. Rasputina - Thimble Island
2. The Magnetic Fields - The Flowers She Sent and the Flowers She Said She Sent
3. New Pornographers - Brill Bruisers
4. Les Baxter - The Medic--Theme
5. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Shot With His Own Gun
6. Metric - Dreams So Real
7. Mose Allison - Strange
8. The Kinks - End of the Season
9. Smiley Lewis - I Hear You Knocking
10. Yo La Tengo - I Feel Like Going Home

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Post-hijacking post

Even though I'm not a member of the apposite organization, I've followed the story of the Hugo Award nomination ballot and what the hell is that all about with sinking fascination all week. It was probably inevitable I'd blog about it.

Because this is going to be a relatively brief post, I'll refer you to more in-depth takes here and here,

First of all the bloc voting strikes me as in really bad faith. While nobody reads everything except for the people that do, the idea is to at least do some comparative reading and vote for books that strike your fancy over books that don't. If you have 2,000 voting pretty much in unison, the odds are great that some of them haven't even read the stuff they claim to like.

Also, the issue here isn't that a bunch of right-wingers have entered the picture. If only it were just that. Way back in the Vietnam days an ad ran from a number of science fiction luminaries who were against the war on one page and pro-war people on another. The pro-war side has some distinguished names on it, and while not all of them were necessarily down-the-line conservatives, surely some were.

No,, by their own account this is a vote - a bunch of votes, obviously - for reining in abstract ideas and weirdness. And anti-intellectualism is never really a sign of good times to come

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Putting this up not so much for the aww factor - well, maybe a little of that - as the wow factor. Caring for baby bats would seem to present some big challenges. Mainly that they're like regular babies, only smaller, a little toothier, and with thin membranous wings you have to be careful of. My hat's off.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sparky Easter everyone!

I played cards tonight with a friend who'd woken up at 1:30 AM and been up ever since, except for a short catnap. Understandably made him a bit cranky. Well, actually, that's sort of his thing.
Have posted this link elsewhere but This Charming Charlie is just such an ingenious idea for a blog: The Smiths + Peanuts. What's amazing is how well many of the lyrics fit.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Musing on Friday Random Ten

Many times I've heard people say that as they've gotten older they've stopped reading fiction. Philip Glass said something like this in an interview published last Sunday, although he made exceptions for a couple of authors he knew personally. (Must be nice...) Maybe it's a matter of having different expectations of reading. Robert frost said, "I never dared to be a radical when young/For fear it would make me conservative when old." By the same token I haven't read fiction exclusively in youth, so it's unlikely I'll drop it entirely in age.

1. Lou Rawls - Groovy People
2. Diana Krall - Do It Again
3. Les Baxter - All the Things You Are
4. St. Vincent - Prince Johnny
5. Rasputina - Remnants of Percy Bass
6. The Magnetic Fields - Torn Green Velvet Eyes
7. Yo La Tengo - The Story of Yo La Tengo
8. Broadcast - America's Boy
9. The Who - Odorono
10. Mose Allison - Autumn Song

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Spring harvest

Welcome to what TS Eliot called "the cruelest month." A little overdramatic, perhaps, but I can see where Thomas Stearns was coming from. Anyway, we deal with it one day at a time.

This is a funny little filmlet. The lone fingerling rolling around on a sheet pan is something to behold.

150 Calorie Meals with Lasso from Secret Story Film and Video on Vimeo.