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You Need More Books

ellen_kushner is helping to raise money to move Terri Windling's books and papers. To this end, she is having an auction at her post here (which also has more details about the move). Basically there are four boxes of books to bid on, categorized as Biographies, Native American authors, Poetry, and Short Stories. There are pictures of the books.

Bidding ends this Monday at Noon, EST.

(Via and thanks to elisem.)


... that my (very mild case of) OCD kicked in.

It has to be placed just right! It's a combination of where the smoke is likely to drift vs. how easily it could be heard (plus not sticking out like a sort thumb).


Asteroid Discovery 1980-2012

A graphic showing asteroids discovered by time, circling the sun.

Note that the sparse beginning starts at 1980. Not 1920, 1980. Then see how the area past Mars goes from "speckled" to "smeared". Not to mention the rapid increase of dots intersecting Earth's orbit. The narration gives some details as to why.


The First Catalogue Order

To Jung Seeds:

3 Cherry Cola (Heuchera, a.k.a. coral bells)
3 Ruby Bells (Heuchera)
1 Miracle (Heuchera)
3 Toscana Hybrid Fragaria (Alpine Strawbery)
1 Baby Joe Eupatorium

The alpine strawberries I grow in containers. The "Miracle" coral bell is a good-leaf-insignificant-flower variety that I'm going to put in an indoor pot.



No, "polar vortex" isn't a made-up phrase

And because some of my friends haven't seen this yet (I thought it was everywhere): Polar vortex causes hundreds of injuries as people making snide remarks about climate change are punched in face.

Yeah. Not much more needs to be said about the past couple of days. Actually, it was the days before the temperature plummet that was more concerning to me, as the multiple inches of snow were a real hazard.

Still, at least we're above zero degrees Fahrenheit. It's an arbitrary number in either temperature scale, but there does seem to be something about dipping below -17.78 ° C that affects me, even if it's only psychological in nature.


When they demand a retraction of a factually accurate story.

I kicked in for the film Citizen Koch; I can't wait for the film's release this year.


That's not necessarily a bad thing, of course

Prairie Sunrise Rose

The plant catalogues are coming fast and floriferous to my mailbox now, and since I pretty much let the garden slide the past two years, there's some empty spots that will need filling. And like any endeavor, the first question I ask myself is, "am I in a rut?"

I'm definitely going to order more coral bells, although finding the types I want is getting a little tricky now. The ones with unusual leaf colors are very popular now, but unfortunately most of those have these uninteresting whitish flowers, if they have flowers at all. On the other hand, I discovered by accident that coral bells make pretty good house plants, so I may buy a few purple or red-leafed ones for indoors.

Now to think about carnations...

(Picture is of my rose shrub Prairie Sunrise, developed by Griffith Buck.)


Leslie S. Klinger, editor of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, and Laurie R. King, author of the Mary Russell mysteries, sued over the Doyle literary estate's attempts to get them to pay literary fees.

(The estate's point of view -- the one that let them justify their action, that is -- was that since one of the Holmes books was still under copyright in the U.S., having been written after 1923, that all works based on Holmes must therefore be licensed even if they never refer to or make use of characters or their situations in the last book.)

Judge Rubén Castillo rejected that "novel legal argument".

The New York Times's March 6th or 7th article (the URL date doesn't match the "published" date) covers the issues in some detail (there's some hurt feelings involved too).


Yusef Lateef, 1920 - 2013

Yusef Lateef, saxaphonist and flutist, passed away December 23rd. I was fortunate enough to have heard him at least twice, and was always happy whenever he had a new CD out.

The Detroit Free Press link above has its own link to Youtube videos for some of his audio tracks, which I'm embedding here:


Go Blue Plasma!

CATs in Space!

It looks like the Kickstarter campaign CAT: Launch a Water-Propelled Satellite into Deep Space, a project to fund a propulsion system for cubesats, will be more that successfully funded in a little over thirteen hours.

This is basically the "small, cheap, easy" side of space exploration, but even smaller, cheaper, and (maybe) easier than NASA ever envisioned. Right now cubesats are basically dropped in whatever orbit the launch puts them in. With a propulsion system, they can get sent out to orbits of other planets (for some reason I thought that Mars's orbit was the current limit, but I can't find a reference now).

A Little Conflicted

Legacy, by James H. Schmitz, is now on Project Gutenberg.

I liked Schmitz's writing, even the psionic stuff. I still feel funny about an author's works going into the public domain when there are surviving heirs.


Exactly what it says, by Rick Perlstein.

We've been having a bit of municipal sell-off over the past few years. The most notorious was the handing over of the city street parking (both overseeing it and collecting fines) to a private company for, it turns out, a small fraction of what it was worth.

The lesson learned from that mistake was more on the order of "We should do that again! Only with minor tweaks!" instead of "Oops. Don't do that."


The Worst Music Ever

I first heard the worst music ever when I was still in elementary school. There were hints for homemakers-type shows on the TV back then, and one of them used about six seconds of this terrible close-harmony string piece. As far as I could tell they were all violins, rapidly plucked in unison, but without any real movement in the melody, making the plucking pointless (no, it did not add anything rhythmically).

I'd hear it every ten years or so. From it's use, I guessed it had been popular once, and it stuck in my mind as one of those inexplicably popular tunes.

I finally found its name and composer. An a capella group put out a CD of Christmas music, and a snippet of the worst music ever came through my speakers. I finally had a clue that led me to...

David Rose. Who, not surprisingly, was a successful composer (it takes talent to misfire and compose something that bad). The music in question is "Holiday For Strings". Don't bother looking it up. I've never sent you Rickrolling, I've never linked to sites that played "The "Hokey Pokey," so believe me when I say you will curse the minute you lost to find and listen to the thing.

But I feel better now. Thanks.



Canada to Stop Delivering Mail to City Homes Over 5 Years notes The New York Times last Thursday.

I've been reading about the interesting times various Canadian institutions are going through under Canada's current administration, thanks to the Canadians with Live Journal accounts. Still, I've heard tales of woe regarding Canada Post for so long that I think this is a cross-administration problem.

“Canada Post to stop delivering mail to save costs?” Paul Nixey, a communications consultant in Vancouver, British Columbia, asked on Twitter. “Isn’t that a bit like Starbucks no longer serving coffee because it’s expensive?”

Point. I anticipate articles about police and fire protection cuts, on the theory that they act as magnets toward muggers and improperly snuffed cigarettes.



The New York Times printed a quarter-page review of Howard Waldrop's Horse of a Different Color and Catherynne M. Valente's The Bread We Eat in Dreams in last Friday's Weekend Arts section (December 13th). Short of getting reviewed in Sunday's NYT Book Review, that's as good as it gets. Both get positive mentions.

That both books are issued by small press publishers (Subterranean and Small Beer) is just icing on the cake.

As pleased as I am for both authors, I'm especially glad for Waldrop, who is genuinely under-recognized.



Admittedly this is made for people with more disposable income than I have, but... well, look at it!

The Nixie Tube Chess Set


Which player the pieces belong to are distinguished by their bases, not the color of the tubes. And the tubes are lit by the board via induction.

It's a Think Geek item, but it's in "limited quantity" (I'm guessing due to the nixie tubes, the chess piece symbols are probably adapted from something else), so I'm not bothering with a direct link that may expire soon.

Hmm. If it weren't for the nixie tubes, I'd think this could be open-sourced.


Superman vs. The Klan

I knew of this and heard snippets before, but I had never heard the full broadcast (still haven't, I need to start listening). For those who don't know, Stetson Kennedy infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan, and uncovered quite a lot of damaging information about them.

But at first he couldn't get authorities (I don't know at what level, either state or federal) interested. He did know people involved in the Superman radio drama though, and not only did they have Superman take on the "Clan", they broadcast the secret pass codes the Klan was using at the time.

Youtube link to the sixteen episodes of "Superman vs. The Clan of the Fiery Cross".

For those who want the pure audio experience, Archive.org has the episodes here.


H. Tanya Gilham

has passed away, probably Friday night, probably of a heart attack.

My last correspondence with her was in fact that Friday. I've been putting off writing this, as though not writing it would make it less real. She was one of my best friends, she was fearsomely intelligent -- more than one person found out to the dismay of their ego that they weren't as well-read in their subject as she was -- and was able to communicate that without crushing anyone, which is a fairly rare talent.

For those of you near enough to the West Lafayette area to travel, there will be a memorial service sometime after the holidays. I'll pass along more information as I get it.


Or maybe even Lives of the Necromancers

The Shelley-Godwin Archive will provide the digitized manuscripts of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, William Godwin, and Mary Wollstonecraft, bringing together online for the first time ever the widely dispersed handwritten legacy of this uniquely gifted family of writers.

They have (or will have) digitized versions of the hand-written manuscripts, which should be interesting. Unfortunately, their server was down when I tried to check it out today. I presume though, that they'll have multiple versions of Frankenstein, including the unedited version by Mary Shelley


Unique Titles Will Be Law When I'm Emperor

It took me forever to find out that Mabel Scott composed "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus".

There's at least one and maybe two other songs with the same name.

(What? Don't you fill in the Composer column when burning CDs?)


It's Performance Art

That's what I'll say when people visit me, and ask about the unplugged refrigerator in the middle of the kitchen.

(I decided to have an electrician look at the outlet the past and future refrigerator will use, because I don't believe electrical fires are as exciting as we've been led to believe. Even if they're only hypothetical.)

Mmmm. Those Tasty Bite packages sure are yummy.


Why Aren't the Leafs Hiring Her?

Margaret Atwood knows her goal tending.