Archive | July, 2010

>Just Like Elvis

31 Jul

>What is it about dead, famous Southern-born folk? Why won’t they stay dead, or at least have the consideration to show up as shambling, decomposing zombies?

Truman Capote (September 30, 1924 – August 25, 1984) is alive, well, and gives every sign of having a wonderful time on his sojourn in this dreary, Midwestern hell:Here he is at the intersection of College and 54th, enjoying our quaint local miltaria shop. I was on my way to the Fresh Market; looks like his native guide is taking him over to Butler student/yupster hangout Moe & Johnny’s, diagonally across the intersection.

(Looking up Mr. Capote’s biography, I was reminded why even though I loathe most of his political and personal views, I enjoy hearing Gore Vidal speak every bit as much as I liked listening to William F. Buckley. Sayeth Mr. Vidal: “Truman Capote has tried, with some success, to get into a world that I have tried, with some success, to get out of.” Woosh! Is there anyone else left who can fight in the same weight class?)

>Saturday Morning Munching

31 Jul

>…Corned beef hash “supercharged” with a can of plain corned beef (gotta rotate those emergency rations!), eggs cooked atop it and garnished with a lot of fresh red bell pepper plus a finely-diced skinny, bright-red $HOT PEPPER surplused from our neighbor’s garden, toasty warm when you leave in the seeds, washed down with good hot coffee with just a dash of cinnamon. Yum!

There’d’ve been a photo but it didn’t last that long. Stick around; I’ll add a snapshot of Wednesday’s fare, Hoosier-fried rice. (Plus, A Famous Dead Visitor: it’s not just Elvis any more!)There ya go: “Caribbean” rice mix, fresh mushrooms, green onions, tiny sweet peppers from Locally Grown Gardens (cut into decorative rings!), eggs and bacon. Delightful!

>Not A Coat Of Arms

31 Jul

>It can’t be a coat of arms, ‘cos only the Royal College of Heralds can draw ’em up and U. S. citizens — if found worthy and you do have to be just a teeeeny bit special to rate the honor — can only ever receive an honorary grant, anyway. Plus, the War of the Roses-GI Bill grant of arms my maybe-ancestor got had an expiration date; that naturally-colored rose on a silver background ran out long ago. –But while I’m playin’: Greatly tempted to adopt the motto A Subterranibus Venio, dog Latin for “I came from the basement.” Where all the kewl toys are!

>Overheard

31 Jul

>Tam’s looking up state mottoes and reading them out loud — but not very loud:

TK: “Arkansas! Re- (inaudible) -nek Populus!”

RX: “‘Redneck Populace?’ Aw, c’mon!” (snickers) “That’s just mean.”

TK: “No, regnat populus. –‘The people rule.'”

RX: “Whew!” (Spends next ten minutes occasionally muttering, “redneck populace?” to herself and giggling).

Arkansasians, my most sincere apologies; your motto truly is a lot better than “The Crossroads Of America.” But please, never, ever drop elocution from the curricula of your schools.

>What I’m Reading

30 Jul

>Friend of mine described a book — a pair of books — as having an unusually large and assorted cast and a broad narrative sweep in a well-developed setting of unusual depth and scope. I asked if it was, perhaps, Melissa Scott (possibly one of the most skilled worldbuilders presently writing science fiction, as in, she makes [or made, the website’s gone] money teaching the art to others) and he wasn’t sure, but offered to loan me the books.

Peter F. Hamilton is not a pseudonym for Ms. Scott; among other details, he’s British and it shows in subtle ways. He is, however, quite a worldbuilder himself and appears to have set out to hit as many SF tropes as possible while telling an entertaining and original story. His novels Pandora’s Star and Judas Unchained (link goes to Tam’s blog; follow her sidebar to Amazon.com, if you would) have the size and scope of an early John W. Campbell novel or something from E.E. “Doc” Smith. Did you like the travel concept behind Tunnel In The Sky or (somewhat) Crawford Kilian’s “Chronoplane” novels? It’s in there. Long life, in the manner of Heinlein’s “Howard Families?” Check. Big Science, Big Capitalism, the struggle for the little guy? Check. Well-integrated direct brain-to-computer interface, realistically used? (Akin to Cherryh’s use in Hammerfall and Forge Of Heaven) You’ll find it. Strong heroines and stronger heroes (even a Kimball Kinnison analog — which reminds me of the used of bugs for “bugging,” another bit of business you’ll find in both Hamilton and Doc Smith). Let’s see, what have I missed? A highly-critical little something from Olaf Stapledon‘s First And Last Men, a visit from elves (! so to speak) and a walk down their paths (!!), a side trip through a leftover Andre Norton ghost world, at least two angles on a Kim Stanley Robinsonesque Mars, an Investigator whose birthworld and person seem strikingly U. K. Le Guin-worthy and a couple of smart-alec inventors who could sneak right into most John Varley novels.

That’s just the beginning and yet the work is neither derivative nor parodical. These books are well-written, freewheeling Space Opera (complete with Girl Reporters Gone Wild, Dashing Romantic Heroes and Desperate Struggle Against Impossible Odds — oh, and chase scenes). I’m about seven-eighths of the way through the second book and I highly recommend them.

(Up next, steampunk epic Boneshaker, thanks to a very kind reader who sent me a copy!)

>Stupid Quote Of The Day

29 Jul

>In an interview about guns seized from teens, GIMPD Chief Paul Ciesielski doesn’t hold back: “Every gun in the hand of — someone, is a potential homicide.” Even mine, I guess. Wonder if the State Police realized that when they did the background check and granted me that lifetime carry permit?

“Every gun is a potential homicide” in the same way that every penis is a potential rape and every woman a potential prostitute. So it’s chastity belts for the lot of us, ey, Chief?

[There was a video here. The hosting site has yanked it].

Note, too, that Officers of The Law finding, in teen hands, between 7 and 18 guns over the course of a month is an “enormous number” in TV-land, not to mention the assertion that today’s youth have an easier time acquiring firearms than any prior generation — including all those kids who, before GCA ’68, could walk into the hardware store and buy a gun….

Also note that guns are blamed for teen violence. What, the unfortunate little choirboys are just dragged into it all by eeeeevil guns? Riiiight. Now, about that swampland y’had for sale?

Indy doesn’t have a gun problem. We have a teen violence problem. And as long as there’s rebar and brickbats for the taking, we’re not going to fix it by making firearms the focus.

>And Then There Were Two

29 Jul

>Limax has a girlfriend! Limax has a — well, actually, slug relations are both more and less complicated than that (slugs have only one sex, Utility Infielder); but it’s the principle of the thing. I noticed them when heading back into the house from working in the garage. I have been trying to keep an eye open for the critters, wondering if the one I saw lived nearby or was just passing through….

Asked and answered: For scale, the round pods next to them are hackberries, almost as big as green peas.

Are these slugs fast? They were both in plain sight when spotted, elephant-gliding across the walk. In the time it took to me to get indoors, cross the kitchen to the library, grab my camera and race back out, the Number One Head Slug In Charge was ducking under the downspout. For slugs, they’ve got game. Not sure if this is the same Great Gray Slug I spotted soloing earlier — markings are close. The caboose one looks very different. Pretty fair sidewalk-patterned camo, though.

Sure wish I could get ’em to hunt ants. We have a surplus.