Pixel Scroll 5/1/16 Baying and Nothingness

(1) BLACK GATE OUT. Black Gate has withdrawn as a Hugo nominee. Editor John O’Neill explained the decision:

Why did we decline? While we won’t know the exact number of nominating ballots until the stats are released (after the Hugos are awarded), it’s clear that Black Gate largely benefited from Vox Day’s Rabid Puppy Hugo slate. As we reported Wednesday, roughly 80% of this year’s Hugo ballot was dictated by that slate — it swept six categories, including Short Story, Graphic Story, and Fanzine. Our choice to withdraw was informed by many of the same factors that led us to make the same decision last year.

(2) REACTIONS. George R.R. Martin analyzed Black Gate’s “Hugo Withdrawal” at Not A Blog.

This is the second year that BLACK GATE has refused a nomination, so one certainly has to admire them for their consistency. And no one can deny that this is a very difficult decision for those, like BLACK GATE, that were put on the ballot by the Rabids without their consent (it is an easy decision for the Rabids themselves and their allies, of course, most of whom are squealing as happily as pigs in shit).

Since I’m on record as urging the “hostages” to stand their ground, I can’t applaud this decision. But I will not criticize it either. They had a tough call and they made it, consistent with their own politics and principles.

I will quibble, however, about one of their assertions: that even if BLACK GATE had elected to remain on the ballot, they had no chance of winning. I am not going to go so far as to say they were the favorite… but I think they would have had a shot. All five of this year’s nominees were on the Rabid Slate, yes. But two of the five — BLACK GATE and FILE 770 — are clearly hostages, slated without their consent. Despite the success of No Award in last year’s voting, I think the presence of so many hostages this year changes the equation. My hope is that fewer fans will resort to the Nuclear Option. If so, I think FILE 770 will win here… but BLACK GATE would have given Glyer’s zine its strongest competition. Oh, and yes, No Award will be contending too. TANGENT might have a very slim outside chance.

(3) THE 100% SOLUTION. What could be simpler? Send this tweet to the Hugo Administrators forthwith!

(4) SANDIFER. Phil Sandifer asserts “Vox Day Put A Child Pornographer On The Hugo Ballot”.

For obvious reasons, I will not be providing links here, however I am happy to provide them privately to anyone with a legitimate interest in the information, including law enforcement.

It was brought to my attention today that “kukuruyo,” one of the artists that Vox Day put on the Rabid Puppies slate in Best Fan Artist and that made it onto the Hugo Ballot recently posted to his blog a commissioned drawing of comic book character Ms. Marvel in which her genitalia is clearly visible and provocatively displayed. Ms. Marvel – whose comic won last year’s Hugo for Best Graphic Story – is a sixteen-year-old girl in the comics. Under US law, this would seem to legally be child pornography.

Although the drawing post-dates Day’s placement of the artist on his slate, the hypocrisy of Vox Day endorsing the work of a child pornographer is particularly glaring given that he continues to throw childish insults like this around…

(5) DAY SAYS NAY. Vox Day says it ain’t so:

A few relevant points that collectively demonstrate the utter absurdity of Pedophil’s libel:

  • Kukuruyo has stated that he didn’t know the fictitious age of the Marvel cartoon character, Ms Marvel, and drew her as a 20-year-old.
  • I am reliably informed that Ms Marvel was 16 when she was introduced in 2013. That makes her at least 18 now, possibly 19.
  • The age of consent in Spain is 16. Kukuruyo is Spanish, lives in Spain, and US law is not relevant to his activities.
  • The drawing cannot be child pornography regardless of what age the fictitious character is supposed to be. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that drawings and computer representations are not child pornography.
  • Phil Sandifer has admitted that he was aware of the Supreme Court ruling when he made the accusation.
  • The Ms Marvel drawing was drawn and posted well after I recommended Kukuruyo, who draws GamerGate Life, for the Hugo Award.

SJWs always project. This is more than a little alarming in this particular case.

(5) ARISTOTLE. Vox Day announced he has banned Camestros Felapton from commenting at Vox Popoli, in a lengthy post titled “Of enthymemes and false erudition”.

In other words, Felapton has confused Aristotle’s admonition to use rhetoric in the service of the truth with Aristotle’s definitions of what rhetoric is as well as with his instructions on how to use rhetoric effectively. In fact, Aristotle makes it clear that both dialectic and rhetoric can be used impartially on either side of an argument, although it is much easier to identify the deceptive use of dialectic due to its reliance on complete syllogisms and strict logic than it is the deceptive use of rhetoric due to its incomplete structure and its reliance on apparent truths that are accepted by the audience.

What Felapton calls “bollocks” and “bullshit” is nothing more than what Aristotle calls “apparent truth”. But, as we have seen, rhetoric can rely upon these apparent truths just as readily as upon actual truths. And in this particular application, my rhetoric, even structurally reliant as it is upon apparent truth rather than actual truth, is more persuasive, and therefore more effective, than Slate’s rhetoric, in part for the obvious reason that it is absolutely true.

(5) BANNED FROM ARGO. Camestros Felapton’s attitude was, “Cool! Banned by Vox!”.

My claim is that I can’t reward obnoxious behavior by Castalia House. Nothing to do with the genetic fallacy. Vox concedes that I raise one valid point, which is that “there is no way of separating what is published by Castalia from how Castalia promotes itself and its published works.” That is the ethical basis of my position and Vox concedes that it is valid and not fallacious.

What is more interesting is Vox losing his cool. That is a major departure from his play book and poor tactics. He is actually rattled? Surely not by me, so I assume it must be by Philip Sandifer’s campaign.

(6) FELAPTON AMERICA. As part of our all-Felapton-all-the-time coverage, we must also mention his “Review: Captain America: Civil War”.

Films in a sequence or series that have a job to do (i.e. get the plot from A to B, join one film to another etc) can often be weak. Films with obvious required plot beats can be dull. Films that are obliged to shoe-horn in characters (particularly superhero movies that have to fit in a required number of villains or heroes) can be boring and over stuffed.

I think, on balance, Civil War manages to just avoid each of these obstacles. It isn’t as tense and tight as Winter Soldier but it feels a lot more plot driven and focused than Age of Ultron. It is arguably the most dark and bleak of the current crop of Marvel films, with substantially less humor.

(7) CATHOUSE. Camestros Felapton’s cat, Timothy, is also demanding a share of the attention. Timothy is going into publishing: “New From Cattimothy House”.

There will be WALRUS COMP

This is the sort of development for which the cry “Mayday!” was invented…

(8) OTHER PEOPLE’S FILES. Jeff VanderMeer wonders “What to Do With 30-Plus Years of Papers, Drafts, Correspondence, Projects?”

One project for this year is to get a handle on 30-plus years of papers, correspondence, rough drafts, and what I would call “project histories.” This includes a lot of material from before email and the internet, which means sometimes quite long letters with other writers and people in publishing, some of them well-known at the time and some of them now quite well-known but obscure then. It also includes all of my wife Ann VanderMeer’s correspondence and history with projects like her indie press mag The Silver Web (fiction and art) and from her five-year stint at Weird Tales. And because we were active in small press in the 1980s-90s, there’s a treasure trove of old issues of horror and fantasy magazines not only now defunct but also not much mentioned on the internet, because they existed pre-internet or just on the cusp.

(9) ASTERISKS. Kary English points out her exchange in comments on David Gerrold’s recent Facebook post about the Sasquan asterisks.

Kary English: I was hurt by the asterisks. They were displayed on a table at the pre-Hugo reception, and I walked by the table without taking one. I was approached by a couple of people during the reception who wanted to make sure I got mine. Some of them were well-meaning and probably didn’t know who I was, and some of them seemed to want to make sure I got mine in a not so nice way. After several instances of saying “no, thank you,” I finally accepted one because it was clear that not holding one was making me a target for further attempts to get me to take one. To be honest, the whole thing felt like that creepy guy who maneuvers you into a situation where you have to choose between letting him give you a completely inappropriate hug or making a scene in public. I would also like to push back against the idea that those of us who were hurt went there looking to be hurt, or that those of us who were hurt deserved to be hurt (said by someone in a recent File 770 roundup). This is victim blaming, and it is not OK.

David Gerrold replied:

I apologize. I feel bad about causing you pain. That was never the intention and it saddens me to hear that you were hurt. You are a talented Hugo-worthy writer. I thought your story Totaled deserved to be on the ballot, and I thought it was worthy of the trophy. I also liked Shattered Vessels in a recent issue of Galaxy’s Edge, so I look forward to seeing your next outing. I expect you will have more opportunities in the future to take home a Hugo. You have my best wishes, as well as my admiration for work well done

Kary English accepted the apology:

Thank you, David. Apology accepted, and that’s very gracious of you to say.

(10) ANIMAL RESCUE. Burt Ward, Robin the Boy Wonder from the 1960s Batman TV series, and his wife Tracy, say their nonprofit Gentle Giant Rescue has rescued more than 14,000 dogs in the last 18 years.

(11) THIS ANIMAL RESCUED ITSELF. io9 in “Read Alien, retold from the cat’s perspective”, excerpts a no-longer-published work.

Only one character in Alien has the wits and wherewithal to survive to the end of the movie at Ripley’s side: Jones the cat. While everyone else on Nostromo was screaming like chickens with their chests ripped open, Jones exhibited the cool becoming a cat. Now Jones finally gets to tell his side of the story, one filled with naps, food, and yes, the occasional alien.

Novelist and film critic Anne Billson wrote “My Day by Jonesy,” a recap of the first Alien film from Jones’ point of view. Apparently, Jones spent most of the film fretting over his food and being annoyed that the humans (or “can openers” as he calls them) keep waking him up from his naps…

(12) SEEKING EMPLOYMENT. Jen Yamato of The Daily Beast speculates “Why the Original Darth Vader Is Now ‘Persona Non Grata’ at Star Wars Events”.

Forty years ago on a soundstage just across the pond, British actor David Prowse donned a shiny black helmet and became the most iconic movie villain in history—until Star Wars director George Lucas overdubbed his performance as Darth Vader with the dulcet, booming voice of James Earl Jones.

Prowse, now 80 years old, still hasn’t gotten over the snub that simultaneously made his career. But there’s a bigger disturbance between the O.G. Vader and the architect of the Star Wars universe.

In the new documentary Elstree 1976—about the hopes, dreams, and rather mundane real lives of the supporting actors and background extras cast in the original Star Wars—Prowse sounds off on the beef with Lucas that’s made him “persona non grata” at the billion dollar franchise’s biggest annual conventions.

Interviewed at his home two years ago for the film, Prowse says he has no idea why he has been “barred” from Star Wars Celebration—the biggest Star Wars event on the fan convention circuit where he, like many former cast members and celebs of yesteryear, now makes much of his income.

“Unfortunately I’ve been barred for some obscure reason—also [from] Disney Star Wars Weekends. Ask Mr. Lucas,” he adds with a bittersweet shrug. “I’ve obviously upset him at some stage or another. And they just feel I’m persona non grata at those two shows.” …

[Thanks to JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]

356 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/1/16 Baying and Nothingness

  1. I had a friend who bought a new house with a healthy and encroaching patch of mint. She wanted to get rid of it.

    So she rototilled the whole patch and back of the yard….

  2. @Rail – Bless you, bookmarked!!!

    @Doctor Science – yeah I don’t blame you about lemonbalm, made the mistake of planting this batch when I was much younger and it is now with us forever unless I go totally aggro and try to destroy it all. I still kinda like it, smells nice and looks green, so I mostly try to just keep it in check and out of the proper garden.

    Hey that’s cool about native planting, I approve! 😀 I was just looking for a bee-friendly flower mix the other day and couldn’t seem to find one with only native Ontario species so I just ordered a bunch of native flowering species to mix accordingly. Since I bought quite a bit extra (hard to gauge how much you’re getting when they just tell you the price by weight, since some seeds are muuuuch bigger than others lol) I plan to make up some little envelopes of seeds for my own “SUNHAWK LOVES BEES” custom mix, to give away to anyone who buys a bee from my table at the next convention.

    Regarding climate change and zones, I couldn’t say I’ve noticed anything that specific, as I am a haphazard gardener who doesn’t always pay attention to zones :X BUT I do think our growing season has become harder to get started, as our springs seem to be both colder and more unpredictable, making it tough to know when we can safely start gardening outside. In the past, I’ve had to rig up tarps and lights when it decided to hail like just TWO HOURS after I’d gotten all the veg seedlings in, that gave me a good sweat. Basil that year never did forgive me lol It’s become more of a rule that gardening before the end of May tends to end in disaster, which means quite a short growing season up here.

  3. @ULTRAGOTHA Hey that may seem like overkill but given the way mint roots persist, sometimes a “nuke it from space” option is really the only way to go lol That sounds like a good solid removal option without chemicals, thumbs up heh heh

  4. @ Sunhawk

    Hey that may seem like overkill but given the way mint roots persist, sometimes a “nuke it from space” option is really the only way to go

    I once accidentally succeeded in strangling out spearmint by planting it in combination with violets. “Shrinking” violets, indeed!

  5. @Heather Rose Jones – violets eh? Interesting, I am gonna file that one away in my head, would never have guessed violets would have an impact on anything, let alone mint!

  6. Labrador violets, at least in the Pacific Northwest, will choke out everything except an occasional sickly dandelion. I need something equivalent for a steep, sunny slope and it would be great if deer and bunnies didn’t think of it as a salad bar. So, I’m looking for things invasive enough to overcome many obstacles.

    @Doctor Science, I’ve been gardening in the PNW off and on since the 80s and I’ve definitely seen a change to more extremes of weather. No more gentle maritime climate, at least a good part of the time.

  7. Damn, I’ll never make the edit window–sorry to serial post! The North Carolina climate is so weird that I can’t swear it’s climate change and not variation–I mean, I have my strong suspicion, but the mathematical models literally have too much noise to signal to actually prove it. I am definitely much more 8b than the the charts say I should be, but I’m in a warm pocket and the last to get frost locally, so that’s possibly microclimate.

    But, what I’ve noticed is that a lot of the old reliable heirlooms aren’t anymore. Wando is our classic English pea down here, it’s been the most reliable for generations…but now it isn’t. I get maybe one good crop every three years. It stays cold too long and gets hot too fast and the peas just fry. I switched to a high desert variety this year, from the Southwest, which is supposed to take extreme temperature variations, and it’s out-performed Wando by a country mile.

    There are only a few veggies that I’m actually good at growing, and I’m now testing a couple new varieties a year, usually from the high desert or other marginal climates, to see what will hold up to our humidity, because the old stuff just…isn’t.

  8. In my experience, peas are a tough one if you have a warm summer of any kind, they really do seem to do best in a more English-type summer which means not a lot of hot sunny days and often a bit soggy :X I believe some places call them a “cold crop”.

    Tomatoes are the crop I rely on to be forgiving and do well in different growing situations, as long as they get enough sun they seem happy, whether it’s in the ground or containers, my friend had absolutely HUGE plants growing in just these plastic barrels by her front door.

    I still haven’t figured out how to prevent my cucumbers from growing in a C shape, I am wondering now if it’s a missing nutrient issue like potassium? Have I mentioned I garden in a haphazardly? lol

    I’ve also got cukes growing up the same trellis as the peas, seems to help keep the peas from getting too scorched.

  9. Sunhawk on May 3, 2016 at 8:23 am said:
    @ULTRAGOTHA Hey that may seem like overkill but given the way mint roots persist, sometimes a “nuke it from space” option is really the only way to go lol That sounds like a good solid removal option without chemicals, thumbs up heh heh

    I’m imagining each separate munched up mint cutting coming slowly to life under the soil, rooting, and finally emerging blinking and zombie-like into the sun.
    Tens of thousands of tender baby mints covering all the newly processed earth.

  10. The idea that traditional heirloom plants for a particular area can’t grow in that area anymore bums me out.

    I mean, I’m sure it’s also a process that has happened naturally if more slowly over the centuries, especially with wimpier plants at the edges of growing regions but still…plants are not as dramatic as pictures of polar bears on ice floes but the message is the same.

    OTOH I’m encouraged at how well nature bounces back when we finally stop screwing with it. My siblings all live within a few miles of where I grew up in south Jersey. We moved there during the DDT spraying and rapid development era and I remember that toads that used to come out under the streetlights when we first moved there were completely missing a few years later. As woods got replaced with subdivisions we stopped seeing deer and an area we liked to call “the swamp” (it was more of a marsh) just dried up one year and never came back.

    Well the growth of the area matured, the pace of development slowed and newer subdivisions leave more greens pace. And DDT has been gone for 40 years or so.

    Now my sibs say toads are back, deer are back enough to be annoying to their landscaping, and they see animals that we didn’t when growing up (already knocked back by development and pesticides before we were even there). I don’t ever remember seeing turtles, lizards, skunks, possums, or osprey as a kid but my sibs have all those and more showing up. That is pretty cool.

    I still can’t get quite used to the southern calendar vs NJ even after all these years. I’m surprised every year by hydrangea blooming by mothers Day when it was a high summer flower in NJ. That’s not climate change, it’s just regional. But still weird to me. As are bushes that bloom at Christmas like Rose of Sharon.

  11. @Lauowolf – I’m imagining each separate munched up mint cutting coming slowly to life under the soil, rooting, and finally emerging blinking and zombie-like into the sun.
    Tens of thousands of tender baby mints covering all the newly processed earth.

    And then rampaging through the surrounding acreage.

    I once had the perfect place for mint, under a tree surrounded by a tall rock wall on one side, 40 feet of concrete patio and pasture I was okay with being overrun by mint. It didn’t grow. I tried spearmint, peppermint, chocolate mint, lemon balm. Nothing. I should have rototilled it.

  12. @Lauowolf – You joke but…. lol

    @Cmm – Yeah it’s heartening to think how nature often does reclaim spaces and recover. I mean, we shouldn’t count on it and we should still make all the efforts we can to make our lives/industry eco-friendly, but still nice to know that we haven’t broken nature totally beyond recovery…yet!

    Especially if we cut out the pesticides thing we’ll be so much better off, that stuff is just so terrible and indiscriminate a killer, working its way up the food chain. I remember when people were just starting to sound the alarm about DDT and work towards getting it banned, there was an article I read about some place in Mexico (I think?) where some biologists were finding eagles hanging dead in trees, they were so poisoned that they had literally dropped dead out of the sky. Broke my heart to read about it.

  13. @ Lauowolf: I wondered why that imagery was sounding so familiar. Then I realized that I was thinking about the “chopped the broomstick into splinters” scene in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (the Fantasia version).

  14. With mint, I think the only way to win is to give in and have a mint lawn. It would smell nice when you mowed it.
    Before my mother left the Palouse, she had induced wooly thyme to grow over quite a bit of what had formerly been a patchy side-lawn. It was lovely to walk through with bare feet, but you had to be careful when it was in bloom. Bees love thyme flowers.
    I believe mint and thyme and basil and lemon balm are all related, aren’t they? And oregano, too, and rosemary as well – just looked it up, they’re all in the Lamiaceae, all those lovely aromatic plants with the wonderfully intricate little flowers. It always amazes me how few families so many of our culinary plants come from. There are the Rosaceae, for instance; that’s a lot of the common temperate-climate fruits, right there.

  15. Cheryl S. on May 3, 2016 at 10:38 am said:
    @Lauowolf – I’m imagining each separate munched up mint cutting coming slowly to life under the soil, rooting, and finally emerging blinking and zombie-like into the sun.
    Tens of thousands of tender baby mints covering all the newly processed earth.

    And then rampaging through the surrounding acreage.

    I once had the perfect place for mint, under a tree surrounded by a tall rock wall on one side, 40 feet of concrete patio and pasture I was okay with being overrun by mint. It didn’t grow. I tried spearmint, peppermint, chocolate mint, lemon balm. Nothing. I should have rototilled it.

    It may be shoemaker’s elves syndrome: ignore it and it thrives, but start with the positive reinforcement and it’s history.
    You’re not going to get it to grow if you go about encouraging it.

  16. @Cheryl S – I think Lauowolf is on to something, maybe try planting mint one more time and then make a point to regularly stand beside it and loudly proclaim “GOSH IT WOULD BE JUST AWFUL IF MINT TOOK OVER THIS PRISTINE PATCH, WHAT A NUISANCE THAT WOULD BE”

    @Leslie C I knew basil and mint were related but not the whole bunch of tasty herbs, my goodness! I actually did a doodle one time of the “mint family” as I understood it at the time, well my friend demanded I do it after trying to explain the oddness of the “mint family” lol

  17. @Doctor Science @7:19

    Have you been gardening long enough to see the effects of climate change? I feel as though we’ve moved almost half a USDA zone in the past 25 years.

    Absolutely. Ann Arbor has moved from zone 5 (borderline 6, but you’d get your heart broken every third year) to a solid zone 6. These maps show the 1990 and 2012 climate zones from the US Department of Agriculture:


    Ohio and the Great Lakes area might have warmed more than most USA places.

  18. @Ultragotha, @RedWombat
    Re mint: My mom was a botanist who loved to put stuff like mint, asparagus, and MORNING fer-gawd’s-sakes GLORIES in our backyard. My father was a plant geneticist (wheat, triticale) . . . well, you can imagine.

    Of course, they raised five kids IMO mostly so that SOMEONE could be assigned to fight the hopeless war in the DMZ at the edge of Mom’s gardens.

    Almost forgot–when I lived in Tokyo, one of my students brought me a potted morning glory as a present!

  19. Ha! One of the local places sells variegated kudzu. It’s called “Sherman’s Revenge” because if you’re gonna be overrun by a hellish weed, it might as well be variegated.

  20. @RedWombat
    “Sells kudzu” just sounds so WRONG. “We don’t mind the meth dealers ’round these parts, but DAMN the kudzu pushers!”

  21. Hey, up here morning glories are annuals. Rabidly reseeding annuals, but annuals. I’ve been pretty well pleased with this, as it strikes a nice balance between the unkillable houseater (as I understand it to be a few zones south of us) and the need to constantly replant.

    That and the bit of the garden they live in has been left to neglect for some years, subsiding into lilies-of-the-valley (whose encroachment is slowed only by the rhubarb) and wild daisy-like things that stop blooming by midsummer, so the late summer reappearance of a few stubborn morning glories is a pleasure, even if I haven’t had a good climbing frame for them for a while. Means when I do finally get to reforming that bit of yard, they’ll still be there to train.

  22. @Lauowolf, @Sunhawk, I’ll do my best B’rer Rabbit imitation next time. 🙂

    I apparently shop at the wrong nursery, because I couldn’t buy any of the invasive species I was looking for today. I have the perfect place for bugleweed and lamium and pretty much nothing else grows there, not even natives.

  23. I need to see if the mint I stuck in the ground in Pasadena is still there – it was in front of a window, under a foliage shrub, and had house on two sides. (It could be killed by snailbait, IIRC.) I planted some violets, too, but they’d be iffier for still being around.
    I used to be able to (barely) grow garden lilies here, but that’s gone; we hardly get cold in winter now. Tulips have been annuals in this area for as long as I can remember; paperwhites and pelargoniums are outdoor perennials.

    I think we went from warmer zone 9 to solid 10.

    For tomatoes, there are PNW varieties that can handle shorter and cooler summers.

  24. Lauowolf on May 3, 2016 at 10:26 am said:

    I’m imagining each separate munched up mint cutting coming slowly to life under the soil, rooting, and finally emerging blinking and zombie-like into the sun.
    Tens of thousands of tender baby mints covering all the newly processed earth.

    Yes. Yes. That’s exactly what it was like. The entire back part of the yard had to be abandoned.

    I once had mint in a shallow wooden box on a concrete pad between the back door and the garage. That place got BAKED every day by searing heat from above and reflecting off the house and garage. I perennially neglected to water the mint. I went out there one day to find a six foot root working it’s way across the concrete toward the back yard. GAH! Kill it with fire!!

    Up here, if I leave the mint outside in a planter the cold will kill it over the winter. But if I bring it in to the unheated covered area and let it freeze dry over the winter it’s fine when I bring it out in the spring.

  25. @Snodberry, check the respective websites. San Jose has great facilities and a very experienced staff, who’ve run big cons before (incl. Worldcon). It’s located in an area where there’s lots of other keen stuff to do, like the Tech Museum. Plus you can get to San Francisco on public transportation, so you get two cities for the price of one (Also, no bugs, no humidity, and no storms). And also for attendance, like Tom said. If you’re going to go to Worldcon, it needs to be bigger.

    @Wombat: I can and have killed mint. I’m pretty sure I could kill native plants. I got a great crop of non-native weeds, though. You can’t kill South African oxalis. With the basically permanent drought, I’m only supporting things I can eat; the other stuff is on its own. The rose family does better than most. Which doesn’t mean I can’t still kill ’em. I’ve lost a pear tree and have a peach tree that’s 15+ years old and it’s still only two feet high.

  26. Plant Wars! (Cue Darth Vader theme.) At a place I lived at a few years back, we had one corner of the yard where the blackberries were being strangled by the war between the bamboo and the ivy. Quite probably the most awesome—and frightening—slow motion battle I’ve ever seen. Just about the only thing that was missing from the equation was kudzu, which isn’t generally found around here.

    As for unfinished series, I have a special technique I’ve developed over many years. Because I’m old and smart. (Pause to let the laughter die away.) I just go ahead and dive in, but if I discover that the series isn’t going to be finished, then I stop before the last available episode. That way, I’m choosing not to read/watch more. If I read that last book, or watched that last episode, then I’d be stuck, if I wanted more. But by stopping short, I’ve left myself the option of getting more, even though there’ll never actually be any more, and I’ll never get a satisfying conclusion.

    See, author? You thought you were going to get me by not finishing the series, but I tricked you by getting myself before you could! I’m so clever. 😀

    I went for nearly a year before I watched the final episode of The Almighty Johnsons, because I’d heard it had been canceled unexpectedly. Of course, when I did finally watch that last episode, I discovered that they had just gone ahead and finished the story, but if they hadn’t, I would have shown them by not watching that disappointing not-the-end-of-the-story final episode they didn’t make! Yessiree!

  27. @Xtifr,
    “The Almighty Johnsons”. That was a fun series, even more delicious for New Zealand viewers. I was hoping for more but was glad they managed to wind up the storyline satisfactorily.

    Did you ever watch the youtube videos uploaded by “Freki”?

  28. @Soon Lee: oh wow, no I’d never seen those! Looks pretty amusing.

    It really was a fabulous show. With one of the best versions of Thor ever! And by far the best surf-addicted, stoner Baldr! 🙂

    One minor complaint I have is that they never really resolved Gaia’s story at the end. Jvgu gur tbqf erghearq gb Nftneq, fur’q ab ybatre unir unq Vqha vafvqr ure, sbepvat ure gb qrfver Oentv. Fb fur pbhyq unir erghearq gb trg onpx gbtrgure jvgu Nky fnsryl. Which is, I think, what they both would have wanted. But aside from that, I think they did a pretty decent job of wrapping things up.

  29. OMG!!! Other people who love “The Almighty Johnsons”! Which evokes in me passions rarely engendered by visual media. (“Buffy” and “Slings and Arrows” come to mind but that’s it.) Xtifr, in my head cannon, Tnvn vf ba n cynar onpx gb Arj Mrnynaq ng gur fnzr zbzrag gung Nky vf ervagebqhpvat uvzfrys gb Mro. Naq gung ovg, jvgu Mro, vf n jbaqreshyyl haqrecynlrq ovg bs gentrql. Fb ornhgvshyyl qbar.

    Also, I have the hots so bad for Tim Balme. I’m not sure why. I think it must be kinesthetics. He moves wonderfully. In addition to the marvels of New Zealand scenery, there’s a fair bit of very pretty Johnsons on display. It’s really interesting to see a tv program which includes a “female gaze.” Not that there’s a dearth of attractive women, sometimes in states of undress. But we get the boys, too, and that’s really neat. Almost as if sex involves, you know, more than one person, often people of different genders.

    “The Almighty Johnsons” also gave me things I really didn’t have, before. I have an appreciation of bros that I never had. I can see the ways in which that is a good thing, a supportive and kind thing. Zeb is annoying, in a lot of ways, but the bro-bonding is really interesting in ways I didn’t know about. And I’ve never, ever liked Norse mythology, and now I have a better understanding of why it catches some people’s poetic heart.

  30. SJW credential strikes again. My comment is being held in moderation because my accidental cat furbled across my keyboard, replacing my name with al67, which seems like a perfectly cromulent nym, just not mine.

  31. Lydy Nickerson on May 4, 2016 at 7:20 am said:
    SJW credential strikes again. My comment is being held in moderation because my accidental cat furbled across my keyboard, replacing my name with al67, which seems like a perfectly cromulent nym, just not mine.

    Obviously cat’s nym.
    Now you can stalk kitty on the interwebs.

  32. They punked out in writing The Almighty Johnsons in that Dawn had been set up to be the Frigg right at the start, and it would have made an excellent ending to her story and to the boys who had taken her for granted. Go back and listen – there’s a throw-away line where she complains that she’s never been asked to be the bride, but every time she’s the bridesmaid, the wedding always goes off perfectly.

    She deserved a better story.

  33. @Lydy Nickerson: we share head canon on that point. 🙂

    @RDF: I agree; I caught that line too, and thought the same thing. But ultimately, I think they made the right decision. Dawn’s arc, the way they actually did it, is one of my favorites. I honestly teared up during her final scene. Dawn=Frigg would have been a good story, but I’m not sure I agree that it would have been a better story.

    If she had been Frigg, then either she would have had to not know—and, as we saw from Ingrid/Snotra, right off, not knowing you’re a god can drive you crazy—or she would have had to have been oblivious to the other gods she was interacting with every day, and vice versa, which, as we saw from the first meeting with Ty and Idun, would have been pretty unlikely. Especially with a major goddess like Idun or Frigg.

    In the end, they did use the human-side-is-in-love-with-one-Johnson, god-side-is-in-love-with-another plot, but they used it with a different character. And I think it worked better the way they did it, because if it had been Frigg, it would have basically ended the story, and they wouldn’t have been able to go into it in as much depth as they did.

  34. I am reliably informed that Ms Marvel was 16 when she was introduced in 2013. That makes her at least 18 now, possibly 19.

    Beale thinks comic book characters age in real time?

  35. The Almighty Johnsons! Some good tv right there.

    Edit: Could I also ask what’s wrong with Morning Glories? I’m about 80% certain that’s something I’ve taken to eating recently out in SE Asia.

  36. Oneiros: In areas without a significant winter to kill them, morning glories will keep growing until you cannot find the house they grew up against. It’s the usual story; attractive in their own habitat (or at least a suitable one) but noxious elsewhere.

  37. @Oneiros

    I’m reasonably sure that morning glory in Thailand/ Indochina specifically means something different – there it’s the vegetable called water spinach.

    Elsewhere, morning glory is flowering plant – usually purple and white flowers.

  38. @snowcrash: that makes a whole lot of sense. You’d think I’d know stuff like this by now, right?

    Also thanks for the info @Lenora Rose

  39. @Oneiros,

    Morning glory is slang for Morning wood which is slang for…

    Seeing morning glory on restaurant menus in Vietnam caused some amusement in our tour group. (I had to have it explained to me; until then Morning Glory to me was either the flowering plant or another name for ‘water spinach’.)

    Even the title ‘Almighty Johnsons’ is a dick joke.

  40. I think it’s more that we can turn anything into a dick joke, even if only by the simple expedient of adding just seven words, as the actress said to the bishop.

  41. is anything not a dick joke in New Zealand?

    Dunno, do sheep jokes count?
    Note, we make sheep jokes about Southlanders, or Tasmanians.

  42. @Soon Lee: probably the best thing about Vietnam though is that you get your dong out on a pretty regular basis. In marts, at restaurants, at the night market, at bars, even on the beach sometimes.

  43. @Soon Lee: I think my work here is done.

    No need to even mention that I took my friend’s dong too. It’s not like she could use it anyway…

  44. @Soon Lee

    Invoice for a new keyboard headed your way.

    But wouldn’t that just involve more dongs headed your way?

  45. Oneiros on May 5, 2016 at 7:40 pm said:

    @Soon Lee: is anything not a dick joke in New Zealand? ?

    I had an amusing joke about Parliament here, but Mike wouldn’t let it pass.

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