Pixel Scroll 7/1/17 When A Scroll Loves A Pixel

(1) THE FANS CANNA STAND THE STRAIN. The show’s not on the air yet and they’re already bumping off beloved characters? Here’s what io9 is reporting: Game of Thrones Inspired Star Trek: Discovery to Kill More Main Characters”.

So, which characters are most likely to attend the Red Shirt Wedding? Some online speculation suggests that Jason Isaacs’ Captain Lorca will be the first to go, possibly after turning on his crew; below-the-line comments for almost any article on the show are full of fans betting on Lorca’s death. Even Vanity Fair has come out and said the dude is probably a dead man walking.

Didn’t this actually start with The Sopranos? 

(2) REBOOT AND REVIVAL. SyFy Wire reports two Jetsons projects are in the works, one animated, one live-action.

Following on the heels of the announcement that The Jetsons was orbiting Warner Bros.’ creative platter as a new animated feature film comes new info that the futuristic family will soon grace the small-screen airwaves in a fresh live-action adaptation.

It’d definitely be interesting to check out a live-action version of the sparkly shiny future of Astro City, and we look forward to seeing how this project develops. According to the announcement, this fresh take on The Jetsons will be set 100 years from now and will have a comedic edge similar to the classic ’60s cartoon.

Sources have confirmed that Warners has enlisted the assistance of Family Guy executive producer Gary Janetti to put the polish on this reboot and will start shopping the project around to interested broadcast stations and major cable networks next month. Janetti will also serve as an executive producer, with Forest Gump’s Robert Zemeckis and Castaway’s Jack Rapke.

(3) SHATNER. In The Truth Is in the Stars, William Shatner “sits down with scientists, innovators and celebrities to discuss how the optimism of ‘Star Trek’ influenced multiple generations.” The show is available on Netflix, and was aired a few months ago in Canada.

(4) SAN DIEGO HOLDS ONTO CON FOUR MORE YEARS. “Comic-Con is here to stay — through 2021” – the San Diego Union-Tribune has the story.

Despite dashed hopes for an expanded convention center, Comic-Con International has agreed to a new three-year contract that will keep the always sold-out pop culture gathering in San Diego through 2021.

The new three-year deal, announced Friday morning by Mayor Kevin Faulconer, hinged, as it has in previous contracts, on persuading local hotels to keep a lid on room rates over the term of the contract. The current contract, which will expire after next year’s show, covered two years and also included provisions for controlling what are always high room rates during the four-day July convention….

As much as hotel rates matter, so too does diminishing space for the Con, said Comic-Con International spokesman David Glanzer, noting that negotiations for the contract extension had been ongoing for a year.

“We have had to cap our attendance for many, many years so our income level is different and we have to be aware of that,” he said during a morning news conference outside the center. “But again, with the efforts of the mayor, the Tourism Authority, the hoteliers, we’re able to make what we have work.”

Glanzer, though, wasn’t willing to guarantee that the convention will always remain in San Diego.

“We’ve made it very, very clear we would love to stay here, but the truth of the matter is we have operated shows in Oakland, in San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and in Anaheim,” he said. “If the worst thing were to happen, and that is we had to leave, we all can still live in San Diego and the convention can be in another city. That’s not what we want. And I’m glad we’re calling San Diego home for another three years.”

(5) THE BOOK OF TAFF. David Langford announces  TAFF Trip Report Anthology (unfinished reports) is available as a free download —

I’m rather pleased to have published this ebook at last on the TAFF freebies page, 130,000 words of chapters/fragments from abandoned TAFF reports and teaser chapters from several still in progress.

And at the TAFF freebies page you’ll also find some completed trip reports, as well as other items of a fanhistorical or mischievous bent.

(6) VISI-PHONE CALL FOR YOU. The Traveler from Galactic Journey will be calling from 1962 again on July 29, this time to discuss the Hugo Awards: “Take Two!  (Vote for the 1962 Hugos at the Galactic Journey Tele-Conference)”. Sign up so you can listen in and participate.

The 20th Annual WorldCon is coming, Labor Day Weekend, 1962.  Every year, attendees of this, the most prestigious science fiction convention, gather to choose the worthy creations of the prior year that will win the Hugo Award.

But if you can’t make it to Chicago, don’t worry.  You still get to vote.

Galactic Journey is putting on its second live Tele-Conference via Visi-Phone for the purpose of gathering as many fellow travelers together in one virtual place.  Our mission – to select the best novels, stories, films, etc. of 1961.  Maybe they’ll make the official World Con ballot, maybe they won’t.  Who cares?  It’s what we like that matters.  And if you’re not completely up on all the works of last year, check out our Galactic Stars nominations for 1961.

To participate in the Tele-Conference, send in your RSVP …and you’ll receive a ballot.  Then sit tight, and on July 29, 1962 at 11am, tune in to the broadcast.

(7) SIMULATING MARS. On July 20, Moon landing day, KPCC will host “Red-hot real estate —Living on Mars” in Pasadena.

How will humans survive on Mars? No food, no free oxygen and no stepping outside to enjoy the view without a spacesuit. Mars makes Antarctica look like a tropical resort. Nevertheless, scientists have found water below the surface, where life might be hiding. Engineers and scientists are seeking solutions that will enable people to visit the red planet as soon as the 2030s. Will a permanent station or colony follow? Or should Mars be off limits to all but robots?

Join Planetary Radio Live host Mat Kaplan for a fascinating conversation with Mars experts as the Planetary Society returns to KPCC’s Crawford Family Forum. We’ll also visit with the crew of the HI-SEAS (Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation), a group of men and women who are simulating an eight-month Mars excursion on a Hawaiian mountainside. Their experience is one more step toward turning Earthlings into Martians.

(8) PADDINGTON BEGINS. Radio Times in its June 28 issue reprints “Michael Bond: how Paddington Bear came to be”, which originally appeared when the movie Paddington came out in 2014.  He discusses how he started as a writer, how Paddington is really a refugee and how his parents would have dealt with refugees, and how an American told him, “I’m so used to Paddington being the name of a bear, it seems a funny name for a railway station.”

At the time I was a television cameraman with the BBC, so my writing had to be squeezed into days when I was off-duty. One such day found me sitting with a blank sheet of paper in my typewriter and not an idea in my head, only too well aware that the ball was in my court. Nobody else was going to put any words down for me.

Glancing round in search of inspiration my gaze came to rest on Paddington, who gave me a hard stare from the mantelpiece, and the muse struck, along with what was destined to become the equivalent of a literary catchphrase. Suppose a real live bear ended up at Paddington station? Where might it have sprung from, and why? If it had any sense it would find a quiet spot near the Lost Property Office and hope for the best.

I knew exactly how my own parents would react if they saw it, particularly if it had a label round its neck, like a refugee in the last war. There are few things sadder in life than a refugee. My mother wouldn’t have hesitated to give it a home, while my father, who was a civil servant to his fingertips, would have been less enthusiastic in case he was doing something against the law.

(9) SANDERS OBIT. William Sanders (1942-2017), an sf writer and former senior editor of the now defunct online magazine Helix SF, died June 30 reports Lawrence Watt-Evans.

He published several dozen short stories of which the most famous was “The Undiscovered” (Asimov’s Mar 1997), shortlisted for the Hugo, Nebula, and Theodore Sturgeon awards, and winner of the Sidewise Award for Alternate History. A second story, “Empire”, also won the Sidewise Award.

About his books the Wikipedia Wikipedia says:

Sanders has written several novels, including Journey to Fusang (1988), The Wild Blue and the Gray (1991) and The Ballad of Billy Badass & the Rose of Turkestan (1999). The first two are alternate histories with a humorous bent while the last is a fantasy novel.

(10) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • July 1, 1930 Halloween producer Moustapha Al Akkad is born in Aleppo, Syria

(11) WE’RE HERE TO HELP YOU. Facebook drone in successful test flight.

Facebook has completed a second test of a solar-powered drone designed to bring internet access to remote parts of the world.

The drone – dubbed Aquila – flew for one hour and 46 minutes in Arizona.

On Aquila’s maiden voyage last summer, the autopilot system was confused by heavy wind and crash-landed.

This time, the drone flew at an altitude of 3,000ft, a long way from Facebook’s intended 60,000ft goal.

(12) WEAPONS HISTORY. Visiting Peenemünde: “The German village that changed the war”.

Peenemünde looks out across the mouth of the River Peene where it drifts into the Baltic Sea. In 1935, engineer Wernher von Braun pinpointed the village, which offered a 400km testing range off the German coast, as the perfect, secret place to develop and test rockets.

Frantic building work began on the world’s largest and most modern rearmament centre. About 12,000 people worked on the first-ever cruise missiles and fully functioning large-scale rockets at the site, which spanned an area of 25 sq km. The research and development carried out in Peenemünde was not only crucial to the course of the biggest war in history, but impacted the future of weapons of mass destruction, as well as space travel.

(13) FAKED NEWS. Spotting patch jobs: “The hidden signs that can reveal a fake photo”.

Research suggests that regardless of what you might think about your own abilities to spot a hoax, most of us are pretty bad at it. Farid, however, looks at photographs in a different way to most people. As a leading expert in digital forensics and image analysis, he scrutinises them for the almost imperceptible signs that suggest an image has been manipulated.

One trick he has picked up over time is to check the points of light in people’s eyes. “If you have two people standing next to each other in a photograph, then we will often see the reflection of the light source (such as the Sun or a camera flash) in their eyes,” he explains. “The location, size, and colour of this reflection tells us about the location, size, and colour of the light source. If these properties of the light source are not consistent, then the photo may be a composite.”

(14) WU CAMPAIGN. Hugo-winner Frank Wu endorses a candidate for Congress. And the cost of winning will not be insignificant.

My wife, Brianna, is running for US Congress.

Election night on 2016 was a disaster, bringing many of our worst fears to life. My wife Brianna Wu decided to take a stand. She’d worked her whole life to build a software company, but it all felt hollow with Trump in the White House. Marching wasn’t enough.  Protesting wasn’t enough. So, she decided to run for US Congress in Massachusetts District 8. I know it will be hard on our family, but I believe in her. Our country will not survive on its current path.

 

(15) THE SMOKING LAMP IS LIT. Alexandra Erin wrote a series of tweets about Anita Sarkeesian’s handling of YouTube harasser Carl Benjamin at VidCon. Click this tweet it and it will take you to the thread. Here are some excerpts:

(16) TODAY’S PRO HEALTH TIP. From John Scalzi at the Denver Comic Con.

(17) ADVANCE LOOK AT WESTERCON. If you want to get an early start on Westercon 70, happening next week in Tempe, AZ, the souvenir book is already available as a print-on-demand publication through Amazon. The “Look Inside” feature also lets you peek at random pages – I got an eyeful of the filk program schedule, for example. (I hope that’s curable.)

(18) DIMMER SWITCH. And the country goes eclipse-crazy…. NPR says “A Total Eclipse Will Sweep The U.S. In August, And People Are Going Nuts For It”.

The mayor of Hopkinsville, Ky., says his town has spent more than half a million dollars preparing for the event since learning 10 years ago that the area would be in the path of totality.

The town even has an eclipse coordinator.

“It’ll look like twilight outside. You’ll be able to see stars. Four planets will be visible — Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Mercury. You’ll notice the temperature drop about 5 to 10 degrees,” the coordinator, Brooke Jung, told the AP. “You’ll notice that animals will get a little disoriented. Birds will think that it’s nighttime and go in to roost. Some of the flowers and plants that close up at night will close up.”

“If it’s cloudy, then we’ll just have to deal with that reality as best we can and help people get to other locations,” Mayor Carter Hendricks told the AP. “But, if somehow we overprepare and we’re underwhelmed by the crowd size, that’s a big concern for me.”

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Frank Wu, Cat Eldridge, David Langford, Danny Sichel, Michael J. Walsh, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day, the mellifluous Steve Davidson.]

83 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/1/17 When A Scroll Loves A Pixel

  1. @Rev Bob: please see my original post. I’ve shaken left hands as a gag, but never found anyone doing it for real; that forces the left hand to be the eating hand, which (as I said) is a problem for people who write (or at least autograph) left-handed. Yes, this varies with the trail mix — but most of the versions I’ve seen leave enough residue to make writing awkward.

  2. @Chip:

    Meanwhile, I consider anyone who places “which hand do I shake?” at a higher priority than “will this make someone sick?” to be a jerk who deserves whatever crud the con serves up.

  3. Cora, thanks for sharing the creepy pictures of Prora. It looks more like a prison than a resort to me.

    Well, Prora was intended to offer cheap mass tourism. The rooms were very basic by modern standards (here is a photo, not mine, of what an original Prora room would have looked like), but the target demographic were poor people who could otherwise never have afforded a seaside holiday. And compared to squalid flats in working class neighbourhoods, Prora must have seemed like a huge step up.

    Holidays via the Nazi’s Kraft durch Freude (Strength through joy) organisation were cheap or occasionally even free for “deserving” poor people to keep them happy and content and from asking too many questions. As propaganda, it was remarkably effective. My great-grandmother, a single mom of four, was given a medal for her “heroic motherhood” and sent on a cruise aboard a KdF ship (this one). As a memento, she was given a bracelet which spelled out the name of the cruise ship in the signal flag alphabet. I have the bracelet (and can post a photo, if anybody wants to see what it looks like). My aunt had the medal, but she died a few years ago and I don’t know what happened to it.

    Since I took those photos in 2009, several of the Prora blocks have been restored and now house a youth hostel and holiday condos among other things, though sadly the museum is endangered due to investors wanting out. Here is a video that shows what it looks like today.

  4. Strike my last. Mike informs me that WorldCon attendees do get word back of the nominees.

    If I’d ever shell out the two bucks for membership, I’d know these things. Maybe next year. In any event, if Mike comes to my panel, he can tell me who the nominees are!

  5. @Galactic Journey — Makes sense, otherwise the nominations would also be the voting, which seems wrong!

    I’m sure someone will drop you a note when they find out. 4 cents for the stamp, 1 cent for the paper and envelope — someone’s gotta have a spare nickel!

  6. @Cora – I have the bracelet (and can post a photo, if anybody wants to see what it looks like).

    Yes, please. I had heard of Prora, although without ever seeing photos, but this is the first I’ve heard of the Nazi holiday program (my WWII studies were a little one sided).

  7. Strike my last. Mike informs me that WorldCon attendees do get word back of the nominees.

    If I’d ever shell out the two bucks for membership, I’d know these things. Maybe next year. In any event, if Mike comes to my panel, he can tell me who the nominees are!

    Which begets the question, will we be seeing you time and space travelling to the Helsinki WorldCon in the far off future of 2017?

  8. @Cheryl S.
    Here is a photo of the bracelet my great-grandmother was given as a memento of her Nazi-sponsored holiday cruise.

    The middle flags are signal flags which spell out the name of the ship, “Der Deutsche” (The German – subtlety was not the Nazi’s strong point). On one end is the flag of the shipping line Norddeutscher Lloyd, on the other end there is the swastika flag, rendering the bracelet unwearable these days (I keep it pinned to a corkboard together with an original East German worker’s medal and a couple of other things). The fact that the flag of the shipping line Norddeutscher Lloyd is still included dates this bracelet to 1934/1935, when the KdF bought the ship from Norddeutscher Lloyd outright after first leasing it. I don’t know where the cruise went and everybody who might have known is long dead. But the KdF cruises mostly travelled the Baltic Sea and or visited Norway in the mid 1930s.

    I will probably donate the bracelet to the local museum eventually, together with a bunch of other maritime memorablia (I come from a seafaring family). But for now I don’t want to part with it, since it is the only thing I have of my great-grandmother (who died in 1949 after a motorbike hit her on her way home from work) except for a few photos.

  9. @Rev. Bob: tell you what — you try offering one hand or the other randomly, or even a left hand consistently, and see what kind of results you get — including stubbed fingers. As an additional test, see whether the results vary if you try to always get your hand out first. Or you could try washing your hands before eating (which I was taught but am not religious about), or “drinking” trail mix from a bag instead of dipping….

  10. @Cora, thank you. It’s a fascinating story and a beautiful if unwearable bracelet. That the Nazis put so much effort into leisure is really interesting. Until I saw your photos yesterday, my mental understanding was “resort for Party members,” which will now have to be revised.

  11. I don’t know if my great-grandmother was a party member. I think not, since a poor woman like her wouldn’t have had money to spare for party dues. And since she worked as a cleaning lady, party membership wouldn’t have been required for professional advancement either. Besides, her errant husband, my great-grandfather who wandered the world, fathered children and founded shoemaker shops (last heard from in 1937, when he lived in New Jersey and promised to come back to Germany for his daughter’s wedding. He never arrived and we have no idea what happened to him. One theory is that the Nazis arrested him upon arrival) was apparently an active communist.

    The bracelet is beautiful and the design is also surprisingly modernist, considering the Nazis disliked modernism. The deisgn with the boldly coloured flags is a bit reminiscent of Mondrian. But then the Nazis frequently forgot that they were supposed to hate modernism, when it suited them. Witness the modernist architecture of the Prora blocks.

  12. @Chip: “you could try washing your hands before eating”

    Yes, because getting up to wash your hands every other minute is so practical when you’re sitting at a table signing autographs… 🙄

    (which I was taught but am not religious about),

    Congratulations on being one of the major reasons that con crud exists. If more people washed their damn hands more often at cons, “the crud” would be a much smaller problem.

    I will give you credit on the notion of “drinking” from the container rather than dipping into it, though. That was also one of my first thoughts when I saw the picture.

  13. The usual nickname for mister harasser above that I’ve been hearing is ‘Carl of Swindon’. Which has the advantage of being simultaneously true, a call-out to his assumed name, and a minimization of his importance.

  14. @Cora, that’s quite odd about your great-grandfather. I wonder if it would be possible now to trace what happened to him? Not that you would necessarily want to, just things are more possible now. My grandmother was orphaned when she was two and adopted by relatives of her father, who could tell her nothing about her mother. I’ve sometimes wondered if I could discover more about my great-grandmother, given the sparse information that I have.

    I went to an art exhibit of propaganda pieces about degenerate art many years ago. Not the art itself, just newspapers, posters and translations of speeches. It mostly seemed like an attempt to delegitimize the Weimar government (why no, I’m not seeing any parallels at all, why do you ask?), but there was probably more to it that I just didn’t get.

  15. @Rev. Bob: maybe don’t eat while signing? (Yes, I know Big Names get overused; while this is a concom error, writers also need to take responsibility to observe Dr. Bob’s 5-2 rule.) And you still haven’t solved the issue for left-handers; as someone who people attempted to break of lefthandedness, I consider your viewpoint … limited.

  16. @Cora: Other than the swastika (which you could maybe cover up?) that’s a pretty bracelet. And very modernist.

    Maybe your great-grandfather never left New Jersey. It’s a tough place.

  17. @Chip:

    The correct solution for lefties is the same as for righties: a little basic consideration. If you want to shake someone’s hand, and they’ve got food (or whatever else) in one hand, extend your other hand as a sign of recognition and courtesy. (“Hey, he’s eating with that hand. Maybe I should shake the other one so we don’t swap germs.”) Engage your brain instead of running on autopilot, and take the initiative in adapting to the more-burdened person’s circumstances rather than piling on a new “adapt to me” weight.

    That’s a pretty solid rule for most of life, actually. If you have more options than someone else does, take half a second and make their life a little easier by not making them adjust to you. It’s called being decent and considerate by default, rather than making people ask before you deign to be a civilized human being toward them.

    Look back at your messages on this subject. Every time, you’ve opted to either focus on your own comfort or blame someone else for the situation. I’m saying recognize that the situation exists and do what you can to make things easier in the moment. Don’t insist on shaking the food hand. Don’t blame the writer for needing food. Don’t blame the concom for the situation not being perfect. Do wash your own hands, and frequently, at a gathering with many people from several different places. Do spread the idea to others, and maybe it’ll metastasize and life will start getting a little better all around.

    Or, in short and as Wil Wheaton is famous for saying, “don’t be a dick.” Because that’s what this all boils down to: consider the other person’s situation and make it better instead of being a dick by insisting that they adapt to your special preferences. If you can’t make it better, then at least don’t make it worse.

    Oh, and I have shaken left hands on various occasions. There was no earth-shattering kaboom – just, usually one of us had something in our right hand, so we shook left hands instead. Nobody said anything, the local Purity League didn’t condemn us for unnatural behavior, and we all went on with our lives as if nothing significant had happened. Because, y’know, nothing did.

  18. @Cora, that’s quite odd about your great-grandfather. I wonder if it would be possible now to trace what happened to him? Not that you would necessarily want to, just things are more possible now. My grandmother was orphaned when she was two and adopted by relatives of her father, who could tell her nothing about her mother. I’ve sometimes wondered if I could discover more about my great-grandmother, given the sparse information that I have.

    We have tried to find out what became my great-grandfather (well, my Mom and I tried). The official version of the story told in the family was that my great-grandfather wanted to come back to Germany for his daughter’s wedding, but never arrived. A passenger liner sank in the Atlantic at the time, so they assumed that he was on board and died and that’s why he never showed up. However, that story is definitely false, because there were no maritime disasters involving any passengers ships in the Atlantic during the time frame in question.

    My great-grandfather was originally from the Alsace region in North East France. All we knew was that he was from Hirschland (deer land), which we assumed was the name of a region. However, when we visited the Alsace region, people there told us that Hirschland was actually the name of a village. So we went there and asked around whether there were any people called Biber (he’s my great-grandfather on my mother’s side) living in the village. And this is how we found two surviving cousins of my grandmother’s. One of the cousins actually remembered my grandmother, since she had visited her French relatives as a young girl (which none of us knew). The other cousin told us that the family had received a letter from my great-grandfather in 1938/39, i.e. after he’d presumably drowned in the Atlantic, written from a German prison and that his father had said this meant death. This was the first time we learned that he might have made it back after all, only to be arrested. However, the man who told us the story was very old at the time, so we don’t know how accurate the memory is. The letter was long gone and he didn’t remember the name of the prison, but thinks it was in Hannover.

    Afterwards, I talked to a labour and migration historian at the university and told him the story and he confirmed that the Nazis tended to arrest and question emigrants returning from abroad. I also learned that there actually was a prison in Hannover where the Nazis imprisoned Communists and others.

    That’s as far as I got twenty years ago. Maybe I should try the emigration archive in Bremerhaven sometime or see if there are still inmate lists of the prison in Hannover.

    I went to an art exhibit of propaganda pieces about degenerate art many years ago. Not the art itself, just newspapers, posters and translations of speeches. It mostly seemed like an attempt to delegitimize the Weimar government (why no, I’m not seeing any parallels at all, why do you ask?), but there was probably more to it that I just didn’t get.

    The campaign against “degenerate art” was intended to delegitimize the Weimar Republic, but also to denounce anything that did not meet the Nazi’s narrow definition of “proper art” (nope, no parallels there at all) and also to purge Jewish artists.

  19. Maybe your great-grandfather never left New Jersey. It’s a tough place.

    I actually hope he never left and stayed in New Jersey to repair shoes until he died of old age. It’s better than the alternative.

  20. Cora, your story keeps getting more interesting. At the very least, you have the core and outline of a fascinating mystery set during a notable time in history.

  21. Cora, what is your ancestor’s full name? I can look him up on ancestry.com and other sites and see if I find anything about him (they list a bunch of immigration and travel records). If you’d prefer not to name him here, I can contact you offline.

  22. @Rev. Bob: Look back at your messages on this subject. Every time, you’ve opted to either focus on your own comfort or blame someone else for the situation. From what I’ve read, ~10% of the people in this country are left-handed, and it’s speculated that at least that many more were pushed out of it as infants. (I suspect that’s less common now; e.g., the infamous spoon was a museum piece when discussed in the 1970’s.) I did not personalize this until my last response; I think you are the person trying to blame someone else. You’re also distorting the discussion; try what happens if you offer your left hand because your right was encumbered previously (rather than visibly encumbered at that point) and see what reaction you get.

    In short: take your own passed-through advice.

  23. @Chip:

    There you go again. Do you think your attempt at misdirection and avoidance was clever? It was not. You’re still making it about yourself, and that’s still being a dick.

    I would consider going on, but I have to go get this tooth taken out.

  24. Whoa, whoa, calm down, guys.

    Let’s remember this discussion was generated by John Scalzi trying to eat trail mix and sign at the same time.

    The problem with trail mix is that it’s a finger food. You have to pick it up a piece at a time, or maybe several pieces if you have nimble fingers.

    So what we need is to replace that trail mix with something that can be eaten hands-free.

    The solution is sitting right on Scalzi’s Twitter profile: “I enjoy pie.”

    Give Scalzi a pie at his signings. ( I suggest key lime; the green color will be a shout-out to his Old Man’s War soldiers.) Between signatures, he can do a face-dive for a bite of pie. (This would also be a nice homage to the pie-eating-contest scene in Steven King’s “The Body”/Stand By Me.)

    Man, I don’t know why other people don’t see this solution, when it’s so obvious to me.

    Tomorrow, I shall tackle global warming. (Eh, why wait? Everyone leave the freezer compartment on their refrigerators open.)

  25. @Bruce: “it’s a finger food”

    Not, as Chip and I have agreed, if one puts the mix into a cup that one can then “drink” from. That way, you touch the cup and not the contents.

    I am now back from the dentist and pharmacy. Extraction successful, Percocet and ice pack acquired, apple juice tasty. About time to snooze.

  26. @Rev Bob, glad you finally got the bastid out. Such a relief.

    I’ve shaken hands left-handed when the other person has no right hand or it’s otherwise unusable, like in a cast in an odd position.

    @Bruce Arthurs: But then one has the prospect of globs of pie falling off Scalzi’s face onto the books being signed. Nobody wants that.

    I suggest some sort of clamp or skewer which holds a churro at mouth level, possibly with a built-in crumb wiper-offer.

  27. Is anyone else reminded of the industrial efficiency drive in Chaplin’s Modern Times?

  28. @lurkertype:

    I was kind of taken aback when I looked more closely at my Percocet prescription. “One to two tablets every four to six hours as needed.”

    I mean, it’s been about eight and a half hours since the extraction, and I’ve been following the directions – except that I’m overdue to put the ice pack back on. I’m sore, don’t get me wrong, but I ain’t that sore; two tablets is a lotta painkiller.

    One bonus of having a beard turns out to be not needing to worry about being too cautious with the ice pack. The directions say not to apply the pack directly to skin – well, lucky me, I’ve got that layer of fur in place. One of the first things I did when I got home was dig out my supply of artificial ice cubes (bought over a decade ago, but still usable!) and toss ’em in the freezer along with another gel pack; they should both be ready by now. I’ll get one or the other and put the spent pack (which lasted a good while) back in, then it’s time for some more apple juice and a hearty meal of Jello. Hopefully I can deal with chicken noodle soup and mashed potatoes tomorrow.

    What I don’t look forward to is the saltwater rinsing on Friday. Getting it right’s a hassle.

  29. Rev. Bob on July 5, 2017 at 5:40 pm said:
    I have a bag of white rice, in a ziplock, stashed in the freezer for this sort of thing. Doesn’t melt, fits to curves, etc. (Some people use corn or peas, but I’d rather not waste good veggies.)
    (By Friday, the saltwater rinse shouldn’t be too bad. I’ve had several teeth removed for braces, including the upper wisdom teeth.)

  30. @P.J. Evans:

    I’m actually feeling a lot better already. Woke up a few hours ago, had some chicken noodle “soup” that was more like “lots of noodles with a few carrot pieces and a hint of broth,”* and have been chugging from a jug of apple juice as the need strikes. I’m not exactly up to solid food, but I don’t anticipate having any problems with some mashed potatoes or mac and cheese later.

    I did have a bag of lima beans in the freezer as well, just in case all the other “ice pack” options fell through, but I think I’m solidly past that stage. It may be that living with chronic neck and upper back pain has an upside…

    * Okay, technically it was condensed Double Noodle soup that I didn’t bother adding water to. Or heating up. Why complicate things? 🙂

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