Snapshots 73 Sheldon’s Favorite Number

Here are 8 developments of interest to fans:

(1) I’m sure the decision to ban ketchup will feature prominently is Thomas Cahill’s next book, How the French Saved Civilization:

First France built a wall around its language to protect it from pernicious Anglo-Saxon invaders. Now it is throwing up a shield against another perceived threat to its culture and civilization: ketchup.

In an effort to promote healthful eating and, it has been suggested, to protect traditional Gallic cuisine, the French government has banned school and college cafeterias nationwide from offering the American tomato-based condiment with any food but — of all things — French fries….

Moreover, French fries can be offered only once a week, usually with steak hache, or burger. Not clear is whether the food police will send students to detention if they dip their burgers into the ketchup that accompanies their fries.

…Gallic gastronomes view it with the same disdain as American television series, English words and McDonald’s: unwelcome cultural impostors.

(2) Between Nimoy and Elfquest, pointy ears have been with fandom for a very long time. But nothing lasts forever. Now Leonard Nimoy has bid farewell to fans at his final Star Trek convention:

The 80-year-old actor, best-known for playing Mr. Spock in the original TV series that began in September 1966, formed four fingers into a V for Vulcan sign and intoned to fans Spock’s most famous phrase: “Live long and prosper.”

…Creation Entertainment organizes the “Star Trek” conventions. Company CEO Adam Malin says the company has toured and collaborated with Nimoy for nearly three decades and that Nimoy “will be missed.”

(3) But Star Trek is still inspiring advances in civilization:

The X-Prize Foundation is offering a ten million dollar prize to whoever creates the first working medical tricorder, with all the functionality seen in the device on STAR TREK.

(4) Ursula K. Le Guin despairs about governmental policies that repeatedly resort to the same unsuccessful metaphor:

It’s as silly for me to write about economics as it would be for most economists to write about the use of enjambment in iambic pentameter. But they don’t live in a library, and I do live in an economy. Their life can be perfectly poetry-free if they like, but my life is controlled by their stuff whether I like it or not.

(5) Be on the lookout! Light fingers have been busy at the National Archives:

Among the things stolen from the National Archives are the Wright Brothers flying machine patent and the maps of Hiroshima and Nagasaki prepared by the Army Air Corps to plan the dropping of the atomic bomb.

(6) John Scalzi found “Six Reasons It Sucks To Be a Jedi”. You didn’t know that, did you. For example, their hairstyles are a big problem:

The coolest-looking Jedi of all time is Mace Windu, who was bald, presumably because he looked around at the hair choices available to him and thought, “to hell with this, I’m really Samuel L. Jackson, and Sam L. ain’t wearing no m#$#%&#$@#$%g mullet.”

(7) Christopher Robin’s Dartmouth bookshop has closed. Of course, Christopher Robin sold it to new owners years ago, and has since passed away. There’s almost no reason to even report this. Yet I still can’t help feeling a little sentimental:

Harbour Bookshop, a bookshop once owned by AA Milne’s son Christopher Robin, is to close at the end of September, due to falling profits.

Immortalised by his father in the beautifully illustrated ‘Winnie the Pooh’ children’s books, Christopher Robin Milne founded the bookshop in Devon with his wife in 1951.

The town’s only independent bookshop was regularly visited by Winnie the Pooh fans who wanted to meet the original Christopher Robin, but Milne would often hide from them, preferring not to talk about his fictional alter ego.

(8)  Someone pointed out that Texas is so big El Paso will still be eligible to bid for the 2015 Worldcon even though the site selection vote in 2013 will be held at the newly-selected San Antonio Worldcon. There’s a 500-mile exclusion zone — the distance from San Antonio to El Paso as the crow flies is about 503 miles.

This is the sort of trivia that inspires fans to bid for a Worldcon just because they can. But why be worried? We’ll happily go to their bid parties, eat all their food, drink all their booze and vote for whoever we like just as we have always done.

[Thanks for these links and tidbits goes out to David Klaus, Andrew Porter and Ed Dravecky III.]