Pixel Scroll 8/28/19 I’ve Scrolled Through The File On A Pixel With No Name

(1) CHECK YOURSELF. Cat Rambo’s social media advice. Thread starts here.

(2) HUGO MIA. Foz Meadows’ 2019 Best Fan Writer Hugo has suffered a misadventure in delivery.

(3) KEEPING HUGO. Amazing Stories’ Steve Davidson, in “On Renaming Awards”, tries to preempt an anticipated effort to take Hugo Gernsback’s name off of the Worldcon’s award.

…And now the other side of that coin is revealed.  Prior to and immediately following the Best New Writer award name change, some have suggested that the Hugo Award name be changed as well.  After all, Hugo Gernsback, for whom the Science Fiction Achievement Awards were renamed, had bad paying practices;  there are historical complaints from H. G. Wells, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H. P. Lovecraft, Jack Williamson and Donald Wollheim to name those who are known.

He took on airs and presented himself as sophisticated and superior and it may even be that he used his low word rates to help maintain a lavish lifestyle.

On the other hand, he didn’t reject female authors out of hand (encouraged them in editorials, actually).  He himself was Jewish, so it is unlikely that antisemitic thoughts were expressed and as for people of color, though I’ve no evidence, circumstantial evidence suggests that he would have encouraged them as well as he consistently operated in a manner that was designed to grow and spread interest in the genre.  If he had recognized that there was a new market to exploit, he’d have jumped right in.  His motivation was to grow awareness and acceptance of the genre.  How he felt about other social issues remains largely a mystery (but given that he also published Sexology, a magazine devoted to human sexuality in a manner that was extremely provocative and progressive in its time, suggests that the man was more progressive leaning than not).

(4) SHARING AND PRESERVING WORLDCON. Claire Rousseau retweeted a call to stream, record, and caption all of Worldcon and considered how to marshal the resources necessary to do it. Thread starts here.

(5) DOXXING. At The Mary Sue, Anthony Gramuglia interviews some people who have been targeted — “Alt-Right Fandom Circles Have Been Attacking and Doxxing People for Disagreeing With Them”.

The alt-right has taken root in fandom. Like any parasitic plant, once it takes hold, it attempts to strangle the life out of everything around it, drain them of energy until they perish. There are factions on the internet—be they GamerGate, the Sad/Rabid Puppies, ComicsGate, #IStandWithVic/Weeb Wars—who wish to fight a culture war against what they see as a liberal agenda to dominate media.

There are a multitude of individuals who have spoken against these alt-right groups.

And these individuals have been targeted in ways that put their personal safety in jeopardy.

In writing this article, I reached out to several individuals I knew had personally been targeted. In doing so, I talked to online media critic Kaylyn Saucedo (more famously, MarzGurl), artist Tim Doyle, comic writer Kwanza Osajyefo, and cosplayer/comic writer Renfamous about their experiences with online harassment. What they told me needs to be heard.

Trigger warning: The following article contains detailed accounts of sexism, homophobia, transphobia, threats of violence and sexual assault, racism, and a lot of harassment. Screenshots of harassment will be provided to supplement the information provided.

(6) SEE YOU AT THE FAIR. The poster for the Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair is pretty interesting. The event happens September 7-8, 2019.

(7) MASSIVE HARRYHAUSEN EXHIBIT IN SCOTLAND. “Ray Harryhausen’s Most Iconic Creatures Have Been Restored for an Exhibit Next Year”Bloody Disgusting has photos. The exhibit will kick off on May 23, 2020

The late Ray Harryhausen is the man most synonymous with stop-motion animation and for good reason. Harryhausen’s contributions to films like It Came from Beneath the Sea, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, Jason and the Argonauts, and Clash of the Titans immortalized him as a legend, his work paid tribute to by everyone from Chuck Russell in Nightmare on Elm Street: Dream Warriors to Sam Raimi in Army of Darkness. Next year, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art pays tribute to the stop-motion master with Ray Harryhausen: Titan of Cinema.

Reported by Creative Boom, it’ll be “the largest and widest-ranging exhibition of Harryhausen’s work ever seen,” including materials both previously unseen and newly restored.

(8) TRIVIAL TRIVIA.

  • August 28, 1991 — First e-mail sent from space. Using a Mac Portable aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis, the first e-mail from space is sent to Earth. Two astronauts on the spacecraft, James Adamson and Shannon Lucid, wrote, “Hello Earth! Greetings from the STS-43 Crew. This is the first AppleLink from space. Having a GREAT time, wish you were here,…send cryo and RCS! Hasta la vista, baby,…we’ll be back!” The message was transmitted to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born August 28, 1749 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. I once saw a production of his Faust in the Seattle Cathedral some decades back where Faust came up the central aisle standing regally on a cart in his blood red robes dragged along slowly by four actors dressed as demons. Very fascinating. (Died 1832.)
  • Born August 28, 1833 Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1st Baronet. English artist and designer associated with the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Although the ISFDB says his artwork graces a mere dozen or so covers of genre books, I’m willing to bet that it’s a lot more than that. The 1996 Signet UK of Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow’s Black Thorn, White Rose anthology uses his artwork, as does the 1990 Random House publication of A.S. Byatt’s Possession: A Romance. (Died 1898.)
  • Born August 28, 1873 Sheridan Le Fanu. One of the most well-known Irish ghost story writers of the Victorian Era. M. R. James said that he was “absolutely in the first rank as a writer of ghost stories”. Three of his best-known works are “Carmilla”, “The House by the Churchyard” and “Uncle Silas”. If you’re interested in sampling his fiction, iBooks has a lot of his ghost stories for free. (Died 1914.)
  • Born August 28, 1896 Morris Ankrum. Numerous appearances  in the Fifties as he appeared in Rocketship X-M as Dr. Ralph Fleming, as a Martian leader in Flight to Mars, in Red Planet Mars playing the United States Secretary of Defense, in  Invaders From Mars playing a United States Army general, and as yet another Army general in Earth vs. the Flying Saucers. (Died 1964.)
  • Born August 28, 1916 Jack Vance. I think I prefer his Dying Earth works more than anything else he did, though the Lyonesse Trilogy is damn fine too. And did you know he wrote three mystery novels as Ellery Queen? Well he did. And his autobiography, This Is Me, Jack Vance!, won the Hugo Award, Best Related Book. (Died 2013.)
  • Born August 28, 1917 Jack Kirby. Responsible for a goodly part of modern comics from Captain America and the X-Men to Challengers of the Unknown and the New Gods. I’m very much looking forward to the New Gods film being worked on now. (Died 1994.)
  • Born August 28, 1925 Arkady Natanovich Strugatsky. The Strugatsky brothers were well known Russian SF writers who were Guests of Honour at Conspiracy ’87, the Worldcon that was held in Brighton, England. Their best-known novel in the West, Piknik na obochine, has been translated into English as Roadside Picnic. It is available in digital form with a foreword by Le Guin. (Died 1991.)
  • Born August 28, 1948 Vonda McIntyre. I’ve read a number of her works including Dreamsnake and The Moon and the Sun which are all phenomenal. The latter was based on a short story  of hers done as a faux encyclopaedia article “The Natural History and Extinction of the People of the Sea”, that was illustrated by Le Guin. Neat. (Died 2019.)
  • Born August 28, 1965 Amanda Tapping, 54. She’s best known for portraying Samantha Carter on Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis. She also starred as Helen Magnus on Sanctuary which I never managed to see. Anyone see it? She was in The Void which also starred Adrian Paul and Malcolm McDowell. 

(10) COMICS SECTION.

(11) KIDNEY DONOR SOUGHT. Longtime Phoenix fan Shane Shellenbarger is on dialysis and needs a kidney transplant. His wife has set up some webpages to help spread the word and widen the search for a donor. Filer Bruce Arthurs adds, “Shane’s a good guy and could use a break.” Learn more about Shane at the Kidney for Shane website.

Shane needs a kidney! He has been on dialysis and on the recipient list for over 650 days. The average length on the list is 2 to 5 years, usually waiting for an unfortunate tragedy leading to a cadaver organ. Many of his friends as well as his wife have tried to donate, but have not qualified for one reason or another. So, we need to spread the request far and wide!

(12) HIGH SCHOOL QUIZZICAL. “Debate Club: The 5 best schools in sci-fi and fantasy”. See the verdict at SYFY Wire. My choice was #1 – that never happens!

It’s that time again: Millions of folks are heading back to school, carrying with them varying degrees of excitement and dread. A new school year is filled with unknowns, which can sure be anxiety-inducing, so it’s no surprise that when movies feature characters hitting the books, it might stir up some old feelings of dread for audiences.

In this week’s Debate Club, we celebrate cinema’s most memorable schools and academies. (It killed us, but we decided not to include the boot camp in Starship Troopers since it’s technically not a school.) All five of our picks are way more exciting than your boring old trig class.

(13) CALL FOR JUDGES. Red rover, red rover, send a name for Mars 2020 right over! NASA is recruiting help from students nationwide to find a name for its next Mars rover mission. Starting Tuesday, K-12 students in U.S. public, private and home schools can enter Future Engineers’ “Name the Rover Challenge” to pick a name for a Mars Rover to be launched next year. One grand prize winner will name the rover and be invited to see the spacecraft launch in July 2020 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

NASA is seeking volunteers to help judge the thousands of contest entries anticipated to pour in from around the country. U.S. residents over 18 years old who are interested in offering approximately five hours of their time to review submissions should register to be a judge at: https://www.futureengineers.org/registration/judge/nametherover

Here’s the writeup for participating students:

K-12 Students

If you are a K-12 student in the United States, your challenge is to name NASA’s next Mars rover. Submit your rover name and a short essay (maximum 150 words) to explain the reasons for your selected name. Be sure to review the RULES for all challenge details and entry requirements, including the privacy requirement of NO PERSONAL NAMES in your submission so that your entry may be posted in the public gallery. The Mars 2020 rover will seek signs of past microbial life, collect surface samples as the first leg of a potential Mars Sample Return campaign, and test technologies to produce oxygen from the Martian atmosphere to prepare for future human missions. More background information about the Mars 2020 mission is provided in the education resources section below.

(14) AVOIDING THE LAST RESORT. James Davis Nicoll, in “SFF Works in Which Violence Is Not the Solution” at Tor Books, takes delight in beginning his list with a work that plays against type – the Niven/Pournelle novel Mote in God’s Eye.

Indeed, the violent solution is so expected that readers can be surprised by a plot that avoids it… Consider the venerable The Mote in God’s Eye. (So old that we don’t need to avoid spoilers, right?)

(15) POLL CATS. According to Psychology Today, “Dog Ownership Predicts Voting Behavior—Cats Do Not”. A shockingly unexpected fact about SJW credentials!

Now when we turn to the effect of cat ownership we find that it has virtually zero predictive value when it comes to national voting trends. For those states where the percentage of cat ownership is highest, the average election results were 52.5% in favor of the Republican candidate over the 4 elections tabulated. This clearly does not represent a meaningful bias in voting behavior. When we look at those states where the percentage of cat ownership is lowest we get a similar indication that there is no predictive value of feline ownership, with an average of 60% voting Democratic. Neither of these results is different enough from the expected chance effect of 50% to be statistically significant.

(16) SHORTS ATTENTION SPAN. NPR: “These Experimental Shorts Are An ‘Exosuit’ That Boosts Endurance On The Trail”. These shorts are made for walkin’…

               Say the word “exosuit” and superheroes come to mind — somebody like Tony Stark from Marvel Comics, whose fancy suit enables him to become Iron Man.

               But scientists at Harvard University have been developing an actual exosuit — a wearable machine that they say can improve a mere mortal’s strength and stamina. This new prototype is novel because it improves a wearer’s performance while walking and running — just one example of progress in what’s become a surging field.

               This suit looks kind of like bike shorts, with some wires and small machines around the waist and cables down the legs. When it’s turned on, a person expends less energy while moving.

(17) ANOTHER SMALL STEP. “‘Starhopper’: SpaceX engine testbed makes minute-long jump” — includes video.

The American rocket company SpaceX conducted a successful flight of its “Starhopper” testbed on Tuesday.

The vehicle lifted 150m into the air, moved sideways and then gently put itself back down onto the ground.

Starhopper is part of an effort to develop a new engine that will burn liquid methane in contrast to the kerosene in the firm’s current engines.

This motor, known as the Raptor, will power SpaceX’s next-generation Starship and Superheavy rockets.

Tuesday’s one-minute test, which took place at Boca Chica in Texas, was the second hop for the vehicle after a modest 18m jump in July.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) licensing had previously limited activity to no more than 25m above the ground.

(18) POSH ACCENT? I say there — “BBC to launch digital voice assistant”.

The BBC is planning to launch a digital voice assistant next year, the corporation has announced.

It will not be a hardware device in its own right but is being designed to work on all smart speakers, TVs and mobiles.

The plan is to activate it with the wake-word Beeb, although this is “a working title”, a spokesman said.

BBC staff around the UK are being invited to record their voices to help train the programme to recognise different accents.

Analyst Ben Wood, from CCS Insight, was among those who have expressed surprise at the news.

(19) ANOTHER RECORD. This one doesn’t disappear after adjusting for inflation: “Avengers: Endgame breaks digital download record”.

Avengers: Endgame has become the UK’s fastest-selling digital download film of all time.

The Marvel movie debuted at the top of the official film chart on Wednesday with the highest-ever opening week of digital download sales.

In July, the finale of the super-hero film series became the highest-grossing film of all time at the box-office.

Now it’s racked up 335,400 downloads in its first week – smashing the previous record held by Bohemian Rhapsody.

The Queen biopic entered the history books in February with 265,000 downloads in its first week.

Endgame’s prequel Avengers: Infinity War is the third fastest-selling download, having claimed almost 253,000 downloads in its first seven days.

In this week’s film chart, fellow Avenger Captain Marvel also sits in sixth place

(20) INSTANT MASTERPIECE. Camestros Felapton in comments:

Picture a clause in a strange constitution
With fantasy prizes for make-believe guys
Some one amends it
The motion goes slowly
A clause about mustard in pies
[dum, dum, dum, dum]
Throwing mustard pies at Worldcon
Throwing mustard pies at Worldcon
Throwing mustard pies at Worldcon
Ahhhhhh, ahhhhhhhhh

[Thanks to Steve Davidson, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Hampus Eckerman, ULTRAGOTHA, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, mirotherion, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Avilyn.]

100 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/28/19 I’ve Scrolled Through The File On A Pixel With No Name

  1. @Bravo Why think you! They’re not my immediate favorite (I’m more of a mammal person and they are tiny dinosaurs and I’m pretty sure they have a collective unconscious memory of ruling the earth and aren’t quite over it), but they’re growing on me. There’s also a Yorkshire terrier in the house that they don’t mind at all, but then, she spends her time chasing the rats that live under their hutch so maybe they recognize that she’s providing a service.

    @Cassy A song about science fiction chickens? Excellent. I’ll have to listen to that when I’m not at work

  2. BrovoLimaPoppa notes Add in that I’m convinced they’d eat us if they were large enough. And as is, I’ve got one hen that has the dog completely intimidated and has ambushed the dog at least once that I’ve seen.Add in that I’m convinced they’d eat us if they were large enough. And as is, I’ve got one hen that has the dog completely intimidated and has ambushed the dog at least once that I’ve seen.

    The most aggressive and for their destructive fowl I’ve seen are Guinea Hens. It doesn’t help that they fly up into trees so they can escape any predators that could cull their populations down.. And they really terrify anones for some reasons. Give them the flower garden of a summer in a coastal Maine community and they’ll attempt,Hell succeed, in destroying a flower bed, in hours.

  3. Michael A. Rothman: If we’re going to slay the beast of racism, Hugo Gernsback is problematic as well.

    And who said Puppies couldn’t be a SJW credential?

  4. (4) I mostly agree with this thread, though I have some qualms. There are some people who (for legitimate legal reasons) do not want their image shared online, but who would still like to fully participate in Worldcon through being on panels.

  5. @Lela E. Buis: Parker is an English surname meaning “keeper of the park.” Of course, his mom might have been Jewish.Or his surname line might have
    * chosen to assimilate; cf Isidore Rosenberg becoming Dore Redmont in Heaven Help Us!, or a Weisslitz I know who came Wesley so PA systems wouldn’t mangle his name (he’s a senior MD at a hospital);
    * been … persuaded … to take an English-looking name (I knew a Roberts whose line was named Rogow until an immigration official objected)
    * just been handed a last name having not had one previously. (I asked a Brill whether the Brill Building was related, and was told there seems to have been a large group of people ?sponsored? by rabbi L-something (ben R L — yes, I know “ben” most commonly means “son of”; this is what I remember being told.)
    In other words, making assumptions about names in the US can lead one astray. (As in, I thought grandfather Lloyd Singley was Welsh — but the Lloyd is somebody’s randomness; the name was originally Zwingli. Damfino whether I’m related to the unCalvinist reformer.)

    @Goobergunch: interesting — I’ve never seen that, but I’m not even glancingly acquainted with canon. (And I doubt it tells us who her mother was….)

    catching up to a comment with @P J Evans: it’s definitely sweaters, according to someone who was there.

  6. @Becca, to be fair, the song isn’t only about chickens, but chickens do figure heavily in the plot…

    The first verse starts:
    When I pulled old 307 out of Marsport
    The weather station said storms all the way
    They stuck me with a cargo of live chickens
    A dozen drunken miners,
    And five hung over Shriners…

  7. @Michael and @Lela —

    Davidson overlooked Hugo Gernsback’s racism….

    If you expect people to get excited about dumping Hugo’s name, you really need to do more than just dig up a stray racist thought. You need to establish that Gernsback was actually outside the norm for his time.

    As Davidson has noted, Gernsback was apparently actually progressive for his time. In contrast, contemporaries of both Campbell and Lovecraft realized that they were egregiously racist even for the milieu in which they lived. Big difference.

  8. @all you fowl folk —

    Sometimes I love you all. 🙂

    Incidentally, I’m also getting a shipment of chicks tomorrow, and more duckies next week. I’ve kept poultry for years — in fact, the ability to do so here was one of the determining factors in buying this property — but raising youngsters in the fall is unusual for me. Exciting times!

    Incidentally — I would like to have guineas and would love to have peacocks, but I don’t hate my neighbors that much. 😉 And I have had a couple of geese, but they were too mean to my ducks.

  9. @Contrarius,
    I think the only things meaner than geese are swans. Pity there’s no season for them.
    Why, yes, a swan and I had an encounter that left me badly pecked and with a sprained ankle. I had to be talked out of returning at night with a net and club. Mom thought it was further proof that I’m closer to my poacher grandfather than many on her side want to admit…

  10. @Bravo —

    I’m a fan of swans, meanness and all. They know who’s boss, and it ain’t us!

  11. I”m just laughing at all of the drive-by Whataboutism trolls…. some of whose time would be better spent in training courses in parenting skills and book-reviewing skills.. 😀

  12. @Goobergrunch: Mary Parker (Peter’s mom)’s maiden name was Mary Fitzpatrick, I believe.

    Irish.

    @ Chip Hitchcock: chosen to assimilate;

    The melting pot at work. However, when a surname has a meaning in a particular language, that strongly hints at the origin. It’s a stretch to assume someone carries it because of a name change at immigration.

  13. FWIW, Glorantha ducks are grim, cursed, death-worshipping creatures that could have been written by Howard or Moorcock, as opposed to Barks. They sneer at the elvin “dying race” shtick.

  14. Oh!

    It just occurred to me — one of my favorite book-quotes of all time is from a fantasy, AND it mentions chickens.

    :::::
    “Why?”
    Kieran grinned. “‘Cause you can’t dance, it’s too wet to plow, and it’s a little windy to be stacking chickens.”

    Jesse Hajicek, The God Eaters
    :::::
    ;-D

  15. “I can definitely see the case that Steve Rodgers is of Irish ancestry, but Peter Parker? Most commentaries seem to think he’s Jewish.”

    He is a christian protestant as has been shown several times in the comic and there a few specific storylines about it. But he quite often use yiddish phrases and in Into The Spider-Verse, the older Peter Parker is shown as stomping a glass in a jewish ritual at his marriage.

    The irish ancestry is shown in that his aunt May’s maiden name was Reilly (which I knew, but hadn’t really connected to Ireland).

  16. @Liz Carey: I’m basing dogs are easier in the country on my nine. Yeah, I’m insane. Every neighbor I have contact with has at least one dog. (And usually multiple outside cats.) Even with dog walkers and doggy daycare, I don’t see as concentrated of dog ownership in town.
    But I agree, the methodology is sloppy on both the OP and my take.

  17. @C.A. Collins–

    @Liz Carey: I’m basing dogs are easier in the country on my nine. Yeah, I’m insane. Every neighbor I have contact with has at least one dog. (And usually multiple outside cats.) Even with dog walkers and doggy daycare, I don’t see as concentrated of dog ownership in town.
    But I agree, the methodology is sloppy on both the OP and my take.

    How much time do you spend “in town”? Really in town, in an urban environment?

    Would I be wrong in suspecting that all nine of your dogs are either big dogs or “working terrier” breeds? (Whether or not you have terrier work for them.)

    I’ve been active in dog rescue for years, and until the last couple of years, I fostered dogs. I’ve had as many as five dogs in in my home at once. which is not nine, I admit, but it isn’t one, either. All of us who were active in fostering tended to refrain from adding another permanent dog that would put us over our reasonable capacity to take in another foster.

    In the city, the dogs all live inside with the family. Depending on the dog(s) and the family, they may share the owner’s bed. For several years after the 2007 pet food poisonings, I and quite a few others cooked for our dogs with nutritionist-approved recipes.

    You won’t find as many three dogs and more households as in rural areas, because there is less space and they are less likely to be dogs with jobs. And they are likely to be smaller dogs, or dogs, like greyhounds, who like to run once or twice a week, and otherwise are happy couch potatoes. (Although my nine-pound Chinese Crested does have a real job.)

    What you will find, though, are a lot of households with 1-3 dogs, and some with more than that. Note, please, that having “only” one dog doesn’t make you “not a dog owner.” Those of us with one dog are still dog owners. Small dogs are not any the less dogs because they’re small.

    And small dogs can actually be more effective as alarm bells than big dogs. They’re great at scaring off would-be intruders because they’ve done the important part–ensured the humans are awake, turning on lights, and calling the police if it remains necessary. Often it doesn’t, because burglars aren’t necessarily real smart, but they’re not vegetables, either.

    And those dog-oriented businesses not only exist but keep growing and multiplying because there’s a demand for them. People have dogs and are willing to spend money on them–and not just the rich or the upper middle class, either.

    The theory that dogs are in rural areas but not in urban areas is counter to reality.

    Also, my name is Lis. Not Liz. 😉

  18. If anyone here is interested in what Gernsback actually said about whitening skin: it was published in the July 1964 issue of his magazine Sexology, reprinted there from an annual “Report from the Future” pamphlet that he evidently sent out to friends and associates around Christmas every year. The pamphlets were full of various predictions for future tech, framed as “reports” from the year 2084.

    The full text, just a few paragraphs, can be found at the Modern Mechanix blog — just scroll down this page til you see “Report from the Future”.

    He was envisioning the technique as a cure for racism. Silly and naive, sure, but certainly not evil.

  19. Contrarius – fair point on swans. If you can accept em warts and all (and stay or of the way), more power to you.

    @JJ – Did I miss something?

  20. Does… does anyone actually think that the Hugos have strong ties with Hugo Gernsback? Sure, named after him, but they’re not the Hugo Gernsback Awards, they’re the Hugo Awards. It reduces the connection to trivia and in-group reference rather than tribute or honouring, and if it isn’t honouring him, then there’s no problem. However bad he was at paying his authors.

    I’ll chalk it up to certain fannish groups’ weird Hugo hangups.

  21. I am now eagerly awaiting / fearing the wolverine/goose/duck hybrid someone is BOUND to create, now that the idea has been mooted.

  22. I grew up near the house where LeFanu and his family lived before moving to Dublin. It was a fairly fraught time in the Irish countryside between faction fighting and, especially if you were a Protestant clergyman, the Tithe Wars. I recently discovered that one of his stories was set in a house that is now a ruin right behind the cottage where my grandparents lived, and which formed one end of their chicken shed.

  23. Kirby is an English name associated with a church or a kirk. Buy Jack Kirby was definitely Jewish. Perfectly plausible to think that Ben Parker’s ancestors had their names changed on Ellis Island.
    Forest Hills, Queens, where they lived does seem to have been a middle class Jewish neighbourhood. There seem to be quite a lot of subtle references in the Ditko stories suggesting a Jewish background.
    All the stuff about Peter’s mother is 1990s retcon. (Then again, so is the idea that Ben Grimm is Jewish, and nobody bats an eyelid about that)

  24. BravoLimaPoppa: my partner went to a college which had a pair of swans known as Fred and Ethel. She reports that Fred would charge the riding lawnmower if he thought it was encroaching on his territory.

    @Lela E. Buis: However, when a surname has a meaning in a particular language, that strongly hints at the origin. [citation needed] (particularly for names that look like they belong to the ~dominant or once-dominant ethnicity in a nation whose population largely came from elsewhere recently (compared to the original inhabitants).

    @Ingvar: why would you want to weaken geese by crossbreeding them with wolverines?

  25. @ Chip Hitchcock: For the claws and teeth. And maybe to get them to wear cool yellow spandex?

  26. Lis, sorry. I will have to remember that
    I have a Anatolian, a Pyr, a Lab mix, two sharpei mixes, an Aussie/German Shepherd, two English Shepherds and a mix-mix. Neighbors have everything from hunting dogs to Pomeranians. A surprising number of the big working dogs nearby are also family pets
    Does Kansas City count as urban? The greater metro is mostly sprawl, but there is a core of cement. Lots of dog friendly places, parks bakeries, but I’m still willing to bet that as percentage of households, less dog ownership than rural KS. Sheer numbers, yeah KC has more, but I’d still put money on percentages.
    Rescue is cool. I’m bad at it–see the list of dogs for the reason why. I do occasionally do breed assessment’s for ESD rescue, but no fostering.

  27. @Ingvar

    I am now eagerly awaiting / fearing the wolverine/goose/duck hybrid someone is BOUND to create, now that the idea has been mooted.

    Graydon Saunders has his mad sorcerers from the deep distant past make nigh indestructible giant swans which his heroes in the Commonweal novels have to deal with. Yeah, it’s one intensely messed up ecosystem.
    I think those swans could deal with your wolverine/goose/duck hybrids for a snack and the people of the commonweal would probably hunt them to extinction as a source of food…

  28. A few more suggestions for “Great Science Fiction About/Involving Chickens (and maybe also Duck):
    – Fred Saberhagen’s Berzerker story involving the tic-tac-toe-playing chicken.
    – Howard Waldrop’s story, The Ugly Chickens
    – Fred Pohl’s short-short, “Punch” (I think, and arguably as a plot device rather than for the duck(s) per se)
    – Heinlein’s “Mrs. ‘Awkins” in METHUSELAH’S CHILDREN (see http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?bnum=1002 for more on this sub-topic)
    Not a topic match, despite the name: Eric Frank Russell’s story, Allamagoosa 🙂

  29. @C.A. Collins–

    I have a Anatolian, a Pyr, a Lab mix, two sharpei mixes, an Aussie/German Shepherd, two English Shepherds and a mix-mix. Neighbors have everything from hunting dogs to Pomeranians. A surprising number of the big working dogs nearby are also family pets

    Yes, that’s a collection of dogs you could perhaps keep two of in the the city, if you had the right lifestyle for them.

    No, it’s not surprising that working dogs, or working breed dogs, are also family pets.

    Does Kansas City count as urban? The greater metro is mostly sprawl, but there is a core of cement. Lots of dog friendly places, parks bakeries, but I’m still willing to bet that as percentage of households, less dog ownership than rural KS. Sheer numbers, yeah KC has more, but I’d still put money on percentages.

    You’d put money on it, but you have no data. And you do still seem to be equating “fewer dogs per household” with “less dog ownership.” No, nine dogs does not make you nine times as much a dog owner as I am. There’s also the likelihood that in your visits to Kansas City, you’re overlooking an awful lot of dogs. No one overlooks Anatolians, Pyrs, shar-peis, German shepherds. Maybe a very well-trained black Lab can pass unnoticed.

    But Dora is my service dog, goes everywhere with me, and it’s not uncommon that she’s only noticed when I’m leaving a business, by people who didn’t actually see us come in. In rural areas, dogs need to not harass the livestock. In urban areas, dogs need to not wake the neighbors. And yes, it’s easier to fit your preferred number of dogs, whatever that is, into urban homes, if they are small dogs.

    Despite the invidious stereotype beloved of big dog true believers, you’re a lot less likely to be harassed by a chihuahua or Maltese or mini poodle, that by a Golden retriever who believes that EVERYONE LOVES ME, and whose owner also believes that everyone loves that Golden retriever.

    Just as more dogs does not make you more of a dog owner, greater size does not make a dog more of a dog.

    And there’s that awkward fact of both total number of owned dogs and percentage of dog owning households being on the rise, at that the same time that population is draining out of rural areas and into urban areas, which is not best or most easily explained by rural households increasing the size of the dog packs to previously unheard-of numbers. Really!

    I will never forget the otherwise not-stupid guy who, from tone of voice and body language, apparently thought he was expressing friendly interest in my dogs (whom I had mentioned but he had not so much as seen a picture of), when he referred to them as “ankle-biters.”

    Rescue is cool. I’m bad at it–see the list of dogs for the reason why. I do occasionally do breed assessment’s for ESD rescue, but no fostering.

    Foster failure is a menace to everyone who loves fostering. 😀

    But, honestly, I loved taking a scared, confused little dog, teaching them how to be a normal pet, and sending them on to the right home. It’s sad not to be able to do that anymore.

  30. @Lis —

    Just as more dogs does not make you more of a dog owner, greater size does not make a dog more of a dog.

    Ooh, but it does, it does!

    LOL — Sorry, I couldn’t help it. Large dog snob here!

    I did doberman rescue for about 10 years, and grew up with my mom doing rescue-anything-she-sees my whole life. One of the reasons I moved to my current property was so I’d be away from all the city idjits who were afraid of dobermans and didn’t like people having large dogs in “the city” — and so the dogs would have room to run (I now have six fenced acres). I moved here with SEVENTEEN rescue dobermans that never got adopted for one reason or other, who have slowly died off over the years I’ve been here. I lost one of the last two just last week, at about 15 years of age (truly ancient for the breed). So now I have only three dogs left — one aged and crippled dobe, one immensely large Anatolian, and one lab mix. I’ve already started haunting the pages of Petfinder, ’cause three just ain’t enough. 😉

    No comment about whether more people by percentage own dogs in the city or the countryside, ’cause I just don’t know — but I bet I do know where there are more pounds of dogs per home. 😉

  31. @Leia:

    I know, and know of, plenty of people who aren’t of English (or other British) descent and whose surnames are common English words. For example, Ashkenazi Jews named Stone, which their father shortened from Rosenstone (which in turn may have been “Rosenstein” a generation or two before that).

    I can’t think of any reason why immigrants would be less likely to shorten or translate “foreign-sounding” names to a word like “Stone” or “Brown” than to something short and inconspicuous like “Wilson” or “Powell.”

  32. C.A.Collins, Lis Carey, Contrarius – the town where I live is as urban as a New York City residential neighborhood. I don’t know the percentage of dog-owning households here, but there are a number of dog parks (another just opened to great rejoicing), dog-walking and other services, and if I am out walking I usually pass and say hello to several dogs being walked. I enjoy going to the nearest dog park to watch the dogs play. In my small five-flat building, at least two apartments have dogs, one I am not sure, one (mine) has cats, and one or two have neither. And there are both large and small dogs. The dog parks often have a separate section for the smallest dogs, but the larger section will have some smaller dogs mixed in with a lot of big ones running around, plus a dog water fountain, and benches for the people.

  33. @Daniel Dern – Although it’s a great read that’s highly recommended, The Ugly Chickens turns out not to actually be about chickens.

  34. Some years ago Bjo and John Trimble were involved in efforts to get a dog park opened nearby. My daughter and I took her dog there.

  35. @Contrarius–

    @Lis —

    Just as more dogs does not make you more of a dog owner, greater size does not make a dog more of a dog.

    Ooh, but it does, it does!

    LOL — Sorry, I couldn’t help it. Large dog snob here!

    Yeah, lots of Big Dog people seem to think cracks like that are funny.

    And can’t understand why people with small dogs tend to be watchful and suspicious around them and their dogs.

    About a decade ago, I had a dog, the one in my profile pick who was a rescue (a story in itself, but we’ll leave it at that rather than go off on yet another tangent) who came to me almost literally scared of everything. I was working hard to make the world less scary for her, and expose her to new fun, experiences, and one of the places we went was to a local nature preserve that allowed on-leash dogs. We’d been there before with good results, and we went to the top of the hill which had a good view of Boston in the distance, and a large rock to sit on, and other neat stuff.

    This time, there were a bunch of people and dogs there, including a family with two Labs (on leash), and one Golden. The Golden was off leash Of course the Golden was off leash. Never mind the rules; he was friendly.

    The hell of it is, he was. He was very friendly. This idiot Golden loved everyone. And couldn’t believe that maybe not everyone, human and canine, loved him.

    He came rushing straight toward my scared rescue dog. She had reached the point where she was in control enough to use normal dog body language to say she wasn’t comfortable. She did. She deployed every signal in the canine repertoire to say, “No, please, I’m not comfortable, I’d rather you didn’t.”

    Golden did not stop. Golden did not slow down. My dog finally pancaked, the last-ditch “please don’t bother me” signal.

    Golden did not stop till he was standing over her. While his idiot owners kept saying “He’s friendly!” as if that were the point.

    Finally, with him standing over her, she jumped to her feet, and started yelling at him. Barking. Just barking. Not growling, not snapping, not biting. Just yelling at the rude idiot.

    His rude owners finally retrieved and leashed him, all the while saying, “Really, he’s completely friendly,” as if my dog were at fault, and me, not their oblivious idiot of a dog and their own failure to observe the posted rules.

    And everyone present started laughing and talking about my “Tasmanian Devil Dog.” Again, as if my dog, who didn’t do anything inappropriate even when the social encounter was forced on her despite her very clear requests to the contrary, had caused the incident.

    So I stayed for a while, so as not to be driven from the preserve, or look like I agreed with their judgment about my dog, and let them, especially the idiot Retriever Family, see my dog interacting properly with dogs who didn’t rush up on her so rudely. Of course, they were mostly small dogs, too, because when you have a small dog, and there’s an incident with any larger dog that isn’t a pit bull, you know whose dog is going to be blamed, no matter what the facts. (Pit bulls are the only dogs more likely to be blamed than small dogs, regardless of actual events.)

    After I felt that was sufficiently demonstrated, even if no one understood what they saw, we left.

    And that lovely nature preserve, so close to our home, was permanently spoiled for me. I never went there again without another adult human, preferably larger than me. It no longer felt safe.

    On top of all the people who think it’s cute to call small dogs, all of them, “ankle biters,” or worse, think that’s a reality-based description of them, and make “cute” remarks about them not being real dogs, or small dogs all being “purse dogs” owned by people who wouldn’t know what to do with a “real dog,” who think it’s cute to make “jokes” about my dog being a nice snack for their “real” dogs, nope, sorry, not funny, and I’m not willing to pretend that such threatening or demeaning remarks are good-natured or funny.

    I did doberman rescue for about 10 years, and grew up with my mom doing rescue-anything-she-sees my whole life. One of the reasons I moved to my current property was so I’d be away from all the city idjits who were afraid of dobermans and didn’t like people having large dogs in “the city” — and so the dogs would have room to run (I now have six fenced acres).

    I grew up in the era when the dog that was going to suddenly turn on you and eat your kids was the Doberman, not the pit bull.

    In the neighborhood where I lived with my dogs for nearly twenty years, for just a couple of years one of the nicest, sweetest dogs in the neighborhood was a Doberman. And well-trained, too. Only a couple of years, despite being a puppy when he arrived, because he was, of course, a Doberman, and hit the jackpot, unfortunately, on Doberman health issues.

    There was another Doberman in the neighborhood, for a longer period, and I think from my one encounter when he got out of his yard, that he was basically friendly–but completely untrained. Got me completely tangled up in the leashes of my own dogs and the fosters, and when his owner came out and retrieved him, he didn’t so much as acknowledge me, much less apologize for his dog getting out and creating a problem for me.

    There were big and little dogs in that neighborhood we were friendly with, because their owners put in enough time and effort training them so that they didn’t create problems even when they were being friendly.

    I moved here with SEVENTEEN rescue dobermans that never got adopted for one reason or other, who have slowly died off over the years I’ve been here. I lost one of the last two just last week, at about 15 years of age (truly ancient for the breed). So now I have only three dogs left — one aged and crippled dobe, one immensely large Anatolian, and one lab mix. I’ve already started haunting the pages of Petfinder, ’cause three just ain’t enough. ?

    Yep, both the “right dog” and the “right number of dogs” can, especially in combination, be different for every dog lover! And you’re ready for the next dog when you’re ready, not when other people think it’s appropriate for you to be ready.

  36. Lis,
    Its educational and heart wrenching reading your experiences in the preserve. The lab owners were complete idiots.

    In the past I’ve had Bouviers des Flandres (really big dogs) and now, I’ve got Lola – 8 lbs of Cockapoo. The differences are there, but still a dog. What the makes the difference with her is making sure she’s treated like a dog, not a toy (her previous owners’ mistake).

    Anyway, love to everyone’s pooches. Scritchies behind the ears if they’ll take ’em.

  37. Lis: Ah, no, when I try to insult people I’m not particularly subtle. This wasn’t for real dog whistling about me being more doggy than thou, it was me misremembering how the AVMA calculated dog and cat ownership. I thought it was total animals over human population, not percentage of households owning at least one animal.
    https://www.avma.org/News/PressRoom/Pages/2018-top-and-bottom-states-for-pet-ownership.aspx
    But anyone who owns a cat is a cat owner, anyone who owns a dog is a dog owner. A person who’s splitting custody of an animal with an ex is a animal owner as far as I’m concerned.
    Anyone who works in as a foster is a hero. It’s not something I could do. I’d end up with even more dogs than I have. I know my limitations.

  38. I’ve seen the slogan “It’s not about the size of the dog in the fight, but about the size of the fight in the dog”

  39. Regarding chickens and ducks in SFF, in Rachel Bach’s Paradox trilogy, the pilot of the ship (and probably the one crew member in addition to the protagonist who really has zero idea about the conspiracy he is involved in) is a bird alien who is described as a giant chicken. A couple of other members of his species show up over the course of the trilogy, though they’re probably the least important of the alien species featured.

    As for ducks, I wrote two somewhat silly SFF stories featuring ducks, which are collected together with a story featuring a fluffy rabbit, in “Operation: Rubber Ducky”.

  40. @Lis —

    And can’t understand why people with small dogs tend to be watchful and suspicious around them and their dogs.

    Oh, yes, I absolutely DO understand. I grew up with dogs of all sizes — from about 8 pounds on up. One of my favorite dogs ever was a chihuahua/min pin type mix, about 8 pounds, who was so delicate that she actually fractured her elbow just jumping down from one stair to the next. We called her Tiny Tot for obvious reasons.

    And remember, I’ve had tons of experience with dobermans amongst other breeds. I know all about high prey drive, high play drive, AND high dominance drive, all of which can be very bad news when you’re talking about large dogs around small dogs.

    OTOH, it isn’t always the large dog that’s at fault in these situations. Just one example — my father has a sibling pair of cairn terriers (terrorists) that my mom rescued long ago when they were pups. One day the female went up to a dogo argentino that my mom was fostering and decided to tell it that she (the cairn) was the boss of the yard. You can imagine how that turned out — and no, it wasn’t the big dog’s fault. But at least the cairn survived, even if she looked like Frankendog from all the stitches for a while!

    I grew up in the era when the dog that was going to suddenly turn on you and eat your kids was the Doberman, not the pit bull.

    Oh, absolutely — and a lot of them deserved the reputation, because there were even more bad breeders of them then than now. Being in fashion can ruin any dog breed, large or small. Let me rant at you about albino dobermans sometime!

  41. @Cora —

    Thanks! I like some of Rachel Bach/Aaron’s writing a lot, some not so much, but I’ll look that up — and your stories as well!

  42. I believe we have forgotten Daniel Pinkwater’s The Hoboken Chicken Emergency. Which is, indeed, about a chicken.

  43. @Contrarius
    The Paradox trilogy is probably my favourite of everything Rachel Aaron/Bach has written and I do hope she writes more science fiction someday. And apropos current debates, the trilogy is very much a rebuttal of Campbellian science fiction (“No, we do not throw girls out of the metaphorical airlock. Also maybe don’t just assume those aliens are evil, when you haven’t even tried to communicate with them.”) with a bonus swipe at the New Wave (“No, walking away from Omelas and gazing at our own navels is not the answer either.”). I’m still sad that the various SFF awards completely failed to recognise it, even if it would have been up against Ancillary Justice.

  44. @Daniel Dern: – Fred Saberhagen’s Berzerker story involving the tic-tac-toe-playing chicken. Did he reuse that stunt? I remember a game like small-board checkers, played a ~simian while his human ~owner was being mindbeamed by a Berserker, in “The Life-Hater” (1964, says ISFDB).

  45. Re: dog breed reputations

    I have a number of friends who have pit bulls and are very … energetic in promoting the positive points of pit personality, and how awful it is that people are afraid of pits. But the aspect that always gets overlooked is, I guess you could call it “stochastic dog temperament.” At any given time, if the sort of people who want to own an aggressive dog (and these people definitely exist) believe that breed X is the best breed for aggression, then those people will tend to acquire breed X and train them to be aggressive. This means that–regardless of “natural” temperament–if it is the case that breed X is popularly believed to be an aggressive breed, then any random specimen of breed X that one encounters has a higher than random change of having been trained to be aggressive. (And if breed X is physiologically more suited than average to turning aggression into damage–which is typically the case with breeds anointed as “aggressive breed of this generation”–then the consequences of guessing wrong are higher than with a random breed.) It sucks for the individual members of breed X and those who love them, but it isn’t a matter of irrational prejudice eithr.

  46. @Heather —

    Yes, absolutely.

    Both pits and dobes are great dogs, for somewhat different and somewhat overlapping reasons. Both of them can be very dangerous in the wrong hands — a combination of nature and nurture that wouldn’t be nearly as consequential with, say, a chihuahua with a bad owner. And sadly, it’s not only “owners who train them to be aggressive” that can easily create dangerous dogs — it’s also “owners who don’t know how to be in charge”, and there’s WAAAAAY too many of that kind of owner.

  47. Late to the party just to say I’m tickled that RuneQuest/Glorantha Ducks came up in this thread! 😀 Glorantha has a lot of interesting and weird stuff, and silliness (intentionally or not), too.

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