Pixel Scroll 1/15/18 Scroll Down, You File Too Fast, You Got To Make The Pixels Last

(1) KURT ERICHSEN’S RETIREMENT MAKES THE NEWS. The Toledo Blade has published a superb article about fanartist Kurt Erichsen, who is retiring from his day job as vice president of water quality planning for Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments after a 34-year career. I learned all kinds of things I never knew about his work on getting the Ottawa river cleaned up, and was pleased to see they also covered some of the fannish things I did know about the 2002 Rotsler Award winner —

Mr. Erichsen’s passion for environmental planning wasn’t his first calling in life, though. He was fascinated with drawing since he was young. He might have pursued a career as an illustrator if his parents hadn’t convinced him otherwise, but he never gave up his passion for drawing.

From 1980 to 2008, he produced a comic strip called “Murphy’s Manor.” It focused on the lives of gay men living in the fictional town of Black Swamp, Ohio. That series and others he produced, including “The Sparkle Spinsters” and “GLIB Talk,” appeared in as many as 70 publications marketed to homosexuals, resulting in awards from the Gay/?Lesbian Press Association.

“I was trying to be entertaining while making a point,” Mr. Erichsen said.

Mr. Erichsen also has produced artwork for fans of science fiction fanzines and conventions.

(2) COMES THE MILLENNIUM. Congratulations to James Davis Nicoll, who sent a link to his review of Elizabeth Hand’s Winterlong – captioned “And Rain Keeps Falling Like Helpless Tears” – with the note that it is his 1000th review.

Elizabeth Hand’s 1990 debut novel Winterlong is the first volume in her Winterlong Trilogy.

Nuclear war and germ warfare have left Washington a shadow of its once glorious past. A handful of administrators, descended from self-appointed curators, control the relics of America’s lost past, defending the remnants from the diseased, mutated, and simply unlucky inhabitants of the surrounding sea of ruins….

(3) VERSE AS SWORD AND SHIELD. Middle-Earth Reflections’ new post “On the songs of power” discusses how they work in The Silmarillion.

Among many powerful notions in the world of Arda few are more potent than music and language. Music is the essential element of Arda, its heart and soul, as the world was created and shaped by the majestic Music of the Ainur. And it was the word of Ilúvatar — Eä! — that brought the created vision to life.

The power of words in Middle-earth cannot be overestimated. If used masterfully, with subtlety and skill they can inspire others to do incredible things. It is especially prominent when words are put into verse: songs can become something a lot more potent than mere poetic recitals. I have already spoken about the songs of challenge in The Silmarillion: sung in the situations of dire need and despair, they bring hope and salvation against all the odds. A special place in the story is occupied by the songs of power. They are very effective verses able to create or destroy, be used as a weapon or for defence.

It is by means of a song that Yavanna brings to life the Two Trees of Valinor and, later, the last fruit and flower from them used for creating the Sun and the Moon after the Trees’ destruction. Finrod duels with Sauron on the songs of power. Lúthien sings an equally powerful song to make Tol-in-Gaurhoth tremble and be heard by Beren trapped in Sauron’s dungeons.

(4) HANDMAID’S TALE. Hulu previews the second season.

Whatever is silenced will clamor to be heard. The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 returns April 25.


(5) ATWOOD’S FEMINISM. Margaret Atwood answers her own question, “Am I a bad feminist?”, in an op-ed at the Toronto Globe and Mail.

So let us suppose that my Good Feminist accusers, and the Bad Feminist that is me, agree on the above points. Where do we diverge? And how did I get into such hot water with the Good Feminists?

In November of 2016, I signed – as a matter of principle, as I have signed many petitions – an Open Letter called UBC Accountable, which calls for holding the University of British Columbia accountable for its failed process in its treatment of one of its former employees, Steven Galloway, the former chair of the department of creative writing, as well as its treatment of those who became ancillary complainants in the case. Specifically, several years ago, the university went public in national media before there was an inquiry, and even before the accused was allowed to know the details of the accusation. Before he could find them out, he had to sign a confidentiality agreement. The public – including me – was left with the impression that this man was a violent serial rapist, and everyone was free to attack him publicly, since under the agreement he had signed, he couldn’t say anything to defend himself. A barrage of invective followed.

But then, after an inquiry by a judge that went on for months, with multiple witnesses and interviews, the judge said there had been no sexual assault, according to a statement released by Mr. Galloway through his lawyer. The employee got fired anyway. Everyone was surprised, including me. His faculty association launched a grievance, which is continuing, and until it is over, the public still cannot have access to the judge’s report or her reasoning from the evidence presented. The not-guilty verdict displeased some people. They continued to attack. It was at this point that details of UBC’s flawed process began to circulate, and the UBC Accountable letter came into being.

A fair-minded person would now withhold judgment as to guilt until the report and the evidence are available for us to see. We are grownups: We can make up our own minds, one way or the other. The signatories of the UBC Accountable letter have always taken this position. My critics have not, because they have already made up their minds. Are these Good Feminists fair-minded people? If not, they are just feeding into the very old narrative that holds women to be incapable of fairness or of considered judgment, and they are giving the opponents of women yet another reason to deny them positions of decision-making in the world.

The #MeToo moment is a symptom of a broken legal system. All too frequently, women and other sexual-abuse complainants couldn’t get a fair hearing through institutions – including corporate structures – so they used a new tool: the internet. Stars fell from the skies. This has been very effective, and has been seen as a massive wake-up call. But what next? The legal system can be fixed, or our society could dispose of it. Institutions, corporations and workplaces can houseclean, or they can expect more stars to fall, and also a lot of asteroids.

If the legal system is bypassed because it is seen as ineffectual, what will take its place? Who will be the new power brokers? It won’t be the Bad Feminists like me. We are acceptable neither to Right nor to Left. In times of extremes, extremists win. Their ideology becomes a religion, anyone who doesn’t puppet their views is seen as an apostate, a heretic or a traitor, and moderates in the middle are annihilated. Fiction writers are particularly suspect because they write about human beings, and people are morally ambiguous. The aim of ideology is to eliminate ambiguity.

(6) VENUS IF YOU WILL. At Galactic Journey, The Traveler reports on the wealth of information collected by the latest (in 1963) Venus probe — “[January 15, 1963] Venus’ true face (Scientific Results of Mariner 2)”.

Getting there is half the fun

Before I talk about Mariner’s encounter with Venus, it’s important to discuss what the spacecraft discovered on the way there.  After all, it was a 185 million mile trip, most of it in interplanetary space charted but once before by Pioneer 5.  And boy, did Mariner learn a lot!

For instance, it has finally been confirmed that the sun does blow a steady stream of charged particles in a gale known as the “Solar Wind.”  The particles get trapped in Earth’s magnetic field and cause, among other things, our beautiful aurorae.

Mariner also measured the interplanetary magnetic field, which is really the sun’s magnetic field.  It varies with the 27-day solar rotation, and if we had more data, I suspect the overall map of the field would look like a spiral.

Why is all this important?  Well, aside from giving us an idea of the kind of “space weather” future probes and astronauts will have to deal with, these observations of the sun’s effect on space give us a window as to what’s going on inside the sun to generate these effects.

One last bit: along the way, Mariner measured the density of “cosmic dust,” little physical particles in space.  It appears that there’s a lot of it around the Earth, perhaps trapped by our magnetic field, and not a lot in space.  It may be that the solar wind sweeps the realm between the planets clean….

(7) LAST JEDI DOES NOT IMPRESS CHINESE. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “China Box Office: ‘Jumanji’ Clobbers Competition With $40M, ‘Last Jedi’ Crashes and Burns”.

Dwane Johnson’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle roared into China over the weekend, racking up a strong $40 million.

The Sony tentpole finally toppled runaway Chinese hit The Ex-File 3: The Return of the Exes, which earned $25.3 million in its third frame, bringing its local total to $272 million. Globally, Jumanji, also starring Kevin Hart, has earned $667 million.

Disney’s and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, meanwhile, didn’t even put up a fight. Only in its second weekend on Chinese screens, The Last Jedi pulled in a paltry $2.4 million — a 92 percent decline from its disappointing $28.7 million debut, according to data from EntGroup.

The Star Wars franchise, never popular in China, appears to be on a precipitous decline in the Middle Kingdom, the world’s second-largest film territory.

…The global picture is far better, of course: As of Sunday, Last Jedi had a worldwide haul of $1.264 billion, making it the biggest film of 2017.

Looper attempts to explain the disappointing numbers –

(8) BINTI ARC CONCLUDES. The B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog points out how Binti: The Night Masquerade Is the Epic Climax to a Deeply Personal Saga”.

Each of the previous two books in Dr. Nnedi Okorafor’s coming-of-age story saw Binti faced with tremendous change and exposed her to new truths that widened her world, and made it smaller. She’s taken on attributes of the (sometimes) murderous and very alien Meduse, and come to understand there’s more to the seemingly uncivilized desert people of her homeland than she’d ever imagined. The Night Masquerade is the conclusion of her journey, and the title refers to a spectre of change that appears to significant people at times of great crisis. It’s wonderfully evocative of the climactic nature of the story, and Binti will face a great deal more turmoil before hers is done.


  • Born January 15, 1935 – Robert Silverberg


  • Mike Kennedy says Pearls Before Swine showed him an excellent reason (or three) to keep the closet closed
  • John King Tarpinian discovered the consequences of making a Flintstones reference in B.C.
  • Mike Kennedy learned news happens whether you know it or not in this installment of Nonsequitur.
  • The Flying McCoys explore what would happen to Batman if a certain supervillain lived up to his name.

(11) WHAT GOES UP. The BBC talks to “The astronaut fighting to save our home in space”:

The International Space Station (ISS) is humanity’s most expensive structure – and in just six years’ time, it may vanish, plunging into the Pacific Ocean. BBC Future meets the man trying to save it.

… “I’ve been very, very, very, very lucky,” he says, laughing. “Most astronauts are very jealous of me, which is probably why I won’t get to fly in space again!”

Most famously, Foale was on board Mir in June 1997 when an un-crewed Progress supply ship ploughed into the station, smashing a solar panel and breaching the hull. With the master alarm sounding, air leaking, power failing and the station spinning, Foale worked with his two Russian crewmates to prepare their Soyuz escape capsule and close off the damaged module.

By holding his thumb to a station window and examining the movement of stars, Foale used his physics training to estimate the spin rate of the station, so mission control could fire thrusters to bring it back under control.

(12) MUST COME DOWN. Someone hit the center divider on the road, went airborne and crashed into the SECOND floor of a dental business —

Which inspired this Harry Potter reference from “Typical Girl” —

(13) MIXED MARTIAL ARTS. In “Bruce Lee Lightsabers Scene Recreation,” Patrick Nan asks, “What if Bruce Lee fought with lightsabers?”

(14) COMMITMENT. Laura Resnick continues a series about her volunteer work — “Cat Rescue, Part 3: Return to Sender”.

I’m writing a series of blog posts about my volunteer work in cat rescue with Cat Adoption Team (C.A.T.). Part 1 discusses how I got involved and outlines how it works. Part 2 talks about the happy endings that are so rewarding in this work, as well as the sad ones (and also the appallingly infuriating ones) that make some days very hard.

There is another kind of outcome to pet adoption, too. Despite good people trying hard, sometimes things just don’t work out. A cat turns out to be a bad fit for a family, or the family’s life changes in tragic ways that make keeping the cat impossible… and they return them to C.A.T.. This is sad for everyone, but it is absolutely the right thing to do in such circumstances.

I cannot stress this strongly enough: if family decides not to keep a pet, they should return the animal to us (and any responsible rescue group has this same policy). The most important thing to us is that the cat should always be safe. By rescuing the cat, we made a promise that we will never abandon this animal or allow it to return to the condition from which we rescued it, alone and forsaken in the world. Do not break our promise by abandoning the animal we entrusted to you at the time of adoption. Return it to us.

(15) CLASSIC WEIRD. Jared pays tribute to “Jane Gaskell, First Lady of the Weird” in a compelling review article at Pornokitsch. Here’s an excerpt:

The Atlan Series: The Serpent (1963), Atlan (1965), The City (1966), Some Summer Lands (1977)

Note: To keep things complicated, later printings split The Serpent into two volumes (The Serpent and The Dragon)

This series – Gaskell’s epic fantasy saga – is batshit crazy.

It follows Princess Cija, as she meddles in the politics of Atlantis. She goes from princess to prisoner to conqueror to spy to Chosen One to fugitive to back again… It is bonkers, risque and occasionally befuddling.

In a way, the Atlan saga is an even more extreme version of Strange Evil, exacerbated, perhaps, due to its epic length. Cija, like Judith, lacks agency. She is notable because she is desired, rather than possessing any strong desires of her own. She’s passed from hand to hand (to paw), partner to partner. Her bloodline is important, her presence is ‘destined’, but, again, we find in Cjia a distressing subversion of a Chosen One. She is one that has been Chosen, rather than having any control over her fate. This is the Epic Fantasy with the princess-in-the-tower as the first person protagonist, and it can make for harrowing reading: to be the prize and not the hero is, unsurprisingly, kind of dark.

Atlan also has an utterly ridiculous setting – packed with ‘SPACE AGE’ SF, mad science, dragons, monsters, death rays, lizard people, whatever. It feels almost deliberately pulpy, in a way that makes its sneaky-dark message all the more sinister.

Michael Moorcock included the series in Fantasy: The 100 Best Books (1988), and admires – slightly sarcastically – the over-the-top pulpy elements. He refers to the series’ “bewildering status changes” and “breathless peregrinations”, and his summary gleefully points out how silly the whole thing is. But he eventually concludes “Too much? Never! Stirring stuff, all of it.”

Others also (mostly) approve – John Clute describes it with lukewarm praise: “In genre terms the series – sometimes uneasily, but at points with real panache – marries sf and the popular romance; it is full of vigorous and exuberant invention and occasionally overheated prose.” (It is worth noting that late 1960s ‘popular romance’ was pretty bleak stuff – this isn’t a sappy love story, but a harrowing tale of self-actualisation [or… semi-reluctant acceptance].)

(16) ROBOTS V. FAIRIES. SF Bluestocking’s Bridget McKinney isn’t high on this new collection — “Book Review: Robots vs. Fairies edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe”.

Robots vs. Fairies is my first reading disappointment of 2018. I loved Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe’s first anthology, 2016’s The Starlit Wood, so I was very hyped for this one when it was announced. Unfortunately, Robots vs. Fairies is a bit of a sophomore slump for the editing pair, with a theme that feels more questionable the farther one reads into the collection, stories that largely feel a little too written to spec, and not enough that’s new and interesting to recommend it on those scores. It might work as sort of comfort reading for those who find its table of contents—filled with some of the hottest short fiction writers currently working in SFF—appealing, but if you’re looking for exciting, fresh, innovative work, there’s not much of that here.

(17) JDA TODAY. Jon Del Arroz tries to defend against the Jim C. Hines compilation without mentioning the author by name in “The Ever-Changing Narrative And Double Standards Show They’re Disingenuous” (link to the Internet Archive).

In the past couple days, with that Narrative being such bad publicity for the convention because of the double standard they applied over political affiliation, it’s shifted to “he’s mean on the internet!”  NYT Bestsellers have been swearing about me on their twitter, lower-selling midlist authors are cheering and congratulating each other over spreading rumors and gossip like this is a high school clique rather than professionals. This strategy is going to backfire as well, because first, being mean on the internet is not a crime. No one has been banned from conventions over being mean on the internet before. And it applies to these folk in a massive double standard way. I don’t go around being nearly as mean or cruel as they are.

(18) MEDIC, I’M HIT! I was bitterly disappointed that Jim C. Hines showed in comments today that he reviewed the evidence with JDA about his doctored “Goodbye Jon” email conversation with me (which actually happened in this order) only to conclude —

The summary: We have several possibilities here.

  1. Jon is faking his screenshots.
  2. Mike is lying.
  3. Jon’s Sent Mail shows a different Sent Time than the email(s) Mike received from him.

(19) CHOPPAGE. At Pedestrian, Ben McLeay reports the latest antics of men’s rights activists – erasing women from The Last Jedi — “MRAs Make 46-Minute Cut Of ‘The Last Jedi’ That Edits Out All The Women”.

It is utterly tragic that MRAs aren’t given the respect they deserve. It’s truly galling that just because their entire worldview was formed around a profound sense of entitlement induced by watching thousands of hours of harem anime, no one takes them seriously. It’s heartbreaking to think that people dismiss them out of hand just because – instead of addressing actual issues like the rates of suicide and depression among men – they focus on dumb shit like editing out all the parts of The Last Jedi that aren’t centred around men.

If that last thing sounded too ridiculous to be true, you have clearly forgotten which time it is that we live in and the corresponding fact that pretty much nothing now is too ridiculous to be true. We live in the most aggressively ridiculous timeline. Accordingly, the self-described “chauvinist cut” of TLJ is very, very real, and exactly as dumb as it sounds.

Uploaded to The Pirate Bay yesterday by an anonymous user, the “The Last Jedi: De-Feminized Fanedit” is, according to their own description “basically The Last Jedi minus Girlz Powah and other silly stuff“.

(20) HARD-HITTING JOURNALISM. WIRED delivers a less-than-stunning revelation: “Cantina Talk: The Last Jedi’s Shirtless Kylo Is Proving a Problem for Cosplayers”.

So, About Kylo’s High-Waisted Tights…

Source: The Wall Street Journal, of all places

Probability of Accuracy: They did get a high quality still of shirtless Kylo, so there’s no denying that they know what they’re doing.

The Real Deal: Perhaps the most surprising Last Jedi story to appear in recent weeks is this Wall Street Journal piece about the high-waisted tights Kylo wore in that one super-uncomfortable scene of him Force-communicating with Rey. (Don’t pretend like you know know exactly which one we’re talking about.) For one, it was surprising because it was in the Journal, but also because it focused on how hard Shirtless Buff Kylo Ren was to pull off for cosplayers. The piece even quotes Last Jedi costume designer Michael Kaplan, who said, “The world of Star Wars is not our world… Kylo Ren is not some hipster in hip-hugging jeans. Think Errol Flynn swashbuckling coolness as a point of departure. Hide that navel!” So, now you know. (Also, let’s be honest: Kylo Ren most definitely is some hipster in hip-hugging jeans, even if his wardrobe doesn’t reflect it.)

(21) BLACK PANTHER. Ruth Carter “‘Black Panther’ Costume Designer Talks Tribal-Tech Inspirations” in The Hollywood Reporter.

Ruth Carter has created costumes for some epic films, Amistad, Malcolm X and Selma among them, but nothing prepared her for the size and scope of Black Panther. For the super-stylish superhero film opening Feb. 12, she imagined a new African diaspora with 700 costumes fusing futurism, indigenous dress and high fashion, using research that spanned from the Rose Bowl Flea Market to textile dealers in Accra, Ghana.

The Ryan Coogler-directed film brings to the big screen Marvel Comics’ first black superhero, reinventing the circa 1966 character for today. Black Panther is depicted as T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), who rules over the fantastical African country of Wakanda, rich with vibranium, a mythic metal that is woven into the superhero’s sleek black, repeating triangle-pattern suit (designed by Marvel’s Ryan Meinerding), and has allowed the population to make technological advances nearly a century ahead of the rest of the world. The fight for vibranium is at the heart of the story, with T’Challa defending the kingdom against Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger.

Carter worked with five illustrators, 14 designers, mold makers, fabric dyers, jewelry makers and more. “It was an army,” the costume designer says. On her mood boards were images of African dress from the Maasai, Tuareg, Turkana, Xhosa, Zulu, Suri and Dinka peoples (including a men’s glass bead, animal skin and cowry shell corset from the Metropolitan Museum of Art), as well as piercings and body art, and more abstract examples of drapery and beading. She also examined fashion by avant-garde pleating master Issey Miyake, African-style vintage pieces by Yves Saint Laurent and Donna Karan.

(22) STARTS TOMORROW. CW released a clip from Black Lightning — The Resurrection Scene 2 – a show that premieres January 16.

About BLACK LIGHTNING: Jefferson Pierce is a man wrestling with a secret. Nine years ago, Pierce was gifted with the superhuman power to harness and control electricity, which he used to keep his hometown streets safe as the masked vigilante Black Lightning. However, after too many nights with his life and his family on the line, he left his Super Hero days behind. Almost a decade later, Pierce’s crime-fighting days are long behind him…or so he thought. But with crime and corruption spreading like wildfire, Black Lightning returns — to save not only his family, but also the soul of his community.


[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, ULTRAGOTHA, Carl Slaughter, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Michael J. Walsh, James Davis Nicoll, Dann, Will R., and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day John From GR.]

90 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/15/18 Scroll Down, You File Too Fast, You Got To Make The Pixels Last

  1. I used to be part of a Bad Feminists group on LJ (Created when one of the major feminist groups got painfully toxic – it does happen), and yet despite that origin story of leaving toxicity, I think Nicole has it right that it’s self-congratulatory and meant to evade criticism. The group spent a lot of early time soothing one another about how they really were good feminists, and while a few of the topics under discussion actually did lead to genuine thoughtful discourse, most topics fizzled if they weren’t all about the petting and soothing, and serious criticism was out, conflated with toxicity.

    There are aspects of feminism that are toxic, and others that are debatable, and others that are or should be open to constructive criticism, but this label is meant to shut a lot of that down.

  2. @Malcolm Edwards — It’s interesting (and sad) to hear about Gaskell’s dropping off of everybody’s radar. I’d be very happy were that to change.

    @Lisa Goldstein — I don’t have any specific Carter examples, but I seem to recall him occasionally making overly broad generalizations and sometimes fudging details. Which, hmm, seems to be exactly what I’m doing here in my turn.

    I will say that my reading life is immeasurably richer for having encountered the Ballantine Adult Fantasy books and some of the other anthologies he edited — Kingdoms of Sorcery and Realms of Wizardry in particular.

  3. 14) Of the kittens we’ve fostered, we had to bring three back early, one because of behavioral problems (he needed an older kitten to teach him that no, biting isn’t OK), and a pair because the brother was failing to gain weight. It was less traumatic than it otherwise would have been, because HSSV is a no-kill shelter, so we knew they would be taken care of.

    We’d like to foster again this summer, but we’ve moved to a new place, we’ll probably get a housemate, and oh yeah, WorldCon.

  4. After reading Atwood’s piece, I find myself agreeing with her more than not. She makes very cogent points, and has the temerity to point out similarities to other points in history.

    Personally, I would prefer that we have a sense of nuance. Making an awkward pass, once, at someone is NOT the equivalent of actual, serial stalking and harassment, nor is it the same as physical groping or rape. The law recognizes that there are gradations of offenses, with appropriate gradations in penalties applied.

    We definitely seem to be in the “to be accused is to be guilty” phase, and I suggest that is NOT a good place for #metoo to be, as it opens the situation up to charlatans and bad actors looking to discredit accusers as hysterical liars so they can continue to be harassing assaulters.

    For example, I thought that Senator Al Franken got thrown under the bus before an impartial inquiry could take place, and that the things he was accused of did not rise to the level of say, the things Roy Moore was accused of. I sent an email to one of the liberal female senators that signed on to the calls for him to resign and said so.

    YMMV, and I am by no means trying to diminish those women (or others) who come forward, even after many years, to say #metoo. Actually, I am concerned that falling into a trap of “accused == guilty” will drown out those brave voices and allow those acting in bad faith to say, “See? They’re all liars, like we said!”

  5. One of the sadder aspects of my dying repeatedly and coming back incident was that my hospital contacted the local police to have the animal control officer check on my three cats, (No idea how they knew I had cats.) Puck, my oldest, an eighteen year old male, was the only one she saw as the other two hid very, very well.

    Puck turned out to have a brain tumor which I did not thinking it was just an off and on low level infection. She rightly had him put to sleep as it had become serious in the weeks I was in hospital. She was the first person to actually tell me I had died as the hospital called her to tell her that any animals there should be moved to a shelter as I wasn’t expected to live.

    Needless to say I’m very, very happy that I stopped dying before that happened as I love my two remaining ones, Freya and Taliesin, the latter of which is curled up next to me on the bed. I will point out that he gave me cat scratch fever just months after we adopted him which was also when I was getting divorced. And that’s all I remember of that period now.

  6. @Rose Embolism

    There really seems to be an attitude among a number of 2nd wave feminists of “Well, we got what we wanted from marching, slow incremental change is fine from now on.”

    And now a parting on they left
    Is now a parting on the right
    And the beards have all grown longer overnight

  7. @Rose – I’ll stipulate having less knowledge of feminist history than you, but I took that bit about #MeToo being an ad-hoc response to mean that we *should* fix the legal system so that #MeToo was no longer necessary?

    I have no knowledge of the professor she mentioned, so I certainly may have missed important context.

  8. I was visiting a friend in downtown Newport News, in a neighborhood that was hanging on by its fingernails, and was (at that time) neither derelict nor absorbed by the all-powerful shipyard. I parked behind his place and there was a little kitten on the terrace, which surprisingly didn’t run off when I hopped up and proceeded to the house.

    At the end of the evening, we stood on his back porch, and this kitten came up the steps, one by one—each one taller than she was—and then she rubbed against my ankle and purred super loud, because there wasn’t much of her to muffle it. My friend explained that he’d taken a mother cat and six kittens to the animal shelter a week ago, and a day later this one (the image of the mother) appeared. She arched and hissed at him, and he gave her some food, and then she was okay with people.

    I went home and told Cathy about the kitten. It rained that night. The next day we went and got her. We went to the vet before we came home. She was tiny, and about a third of her weight seemed to be fleas. We battled those for half a year. Our other cat, who we’d gotten a month or so before from the shelter, battled her, but they eventually realized that they were adopted sisters, and got along for the next few years, before Beulah succumbed to cancer.

    So I guess she was a rescue, and one of the sweetest kitties we ever had. From losing her mother so early, she had an unrequited need to suck on something. She used to go for our earlobes, but we finally convinced her not to, so she would suck one of her hind toes instead.

    I still miss her: twitchy as a squirrel, but brave as a lion.

  9. @PhilRM: Norman was discovered by combat to be a better writer than Carter. (This was not surprising, even though Carter’s partisan had choice of weapons; for those who don’t remember that far back, the usual reaction to someone introducing El was “shorter than who?”) However, no action was taken to determine where Norman was better than any other authors.

  10. @ John Arkansayer:

    So what did the previous owner do? Take back the new rescue cat? Heck, no. She put her old cat out on the street, in winter.

    I want to see behavior like that become a felony in every state before I die.

    @ Cassy B: Yes, your first responsibility was to Dante, who (for whatever reason) obviously found the situation unendurable. And I’m glad Cordelia found her happy ending in the end.

    @ Arifel: What a heartbreaking situation. The first step to solving this, and it takes years and a lot of will and money and community engagement, is a feral spay/neuter program. That’s part of what has helped get cat euthanasia in the US down from about 10 million per year to where it is now (I think the current figure is still a holocaust of about 3 million per year). Here in Cincinnati, we have several spay/neuter programs. At the rescue clinic my group deals with a lot, they did spay/neuter on tens of thousands of cats just in 2017. It’s a huge job, and a very important one. Ultimately, even if people don’t give a sh*t about animals, they should at least consider how completely unmanaged feral populations affect human quality of life, and support s/n programs to substantially reduce the problem. One feral dog is just ONE feral dog if spayed/neutered, but soon become 50 ferals dogs if NOT spayed/neutered.

  11. @ Lis Carey:

    It feels so good to teach a dog how to be a successful indoor pet, and tthen find them their forever home.

    That’s a wonderful way of putting it! 🙂

    I have fostered a couple of puppies for a local service dog organization. I would like to do it again, but because of my schedule, next winter currently seems like the soonest I might be able to. They start off MUCH differently than rescue dogs. They’re already well socialized, confident, and healthy when they arrive. Their big challenge while growing up in a foster home is that they have to learn to live human lives, since they will be constant companion, 24/7, to a disabled person when they finish their training. It was really hard to take my first one back to the training center when he was grown up and ready for his skills training; but very rewarding to see him fulfill his potential and become a seizure alert dog for a little girl–he completely changed her life and freed her from so many restrictions she had lived with before him.

  12. I’m ridiculously allergic to cats, but I can’t stand meeting homeless animals and not taking them in, which is why I’ve had eight cats in my lifetime. I acquired my first a few months after coming back to the US after living in a Middle Eastern city that had a heartbreakingly large feral cat population. I apparently broke the cycle of cats showing up knowing I’d give them a home in 2001 and while I miss cats, I don’t miss asthma attacks.

    I found a tiny kitten on a street corner one rainy night. She had fleas, mites and a mild neurological disorder. She sucked buttons, her own toes, kitchen towels, carpet fibers, my pillow, catnip mice, and the tails of her adopted siblings when they would let her, and never managed to learn how to successfully use the litter box 100% of the time.

  13. @Laura Resnick A spay/neuter programme would have a huge effect for sure. There have been some attempts, including a government pilot scheme and some voluntary work, but it doesn’t touch the scale of the overall problem. The Guardian ran an article on the subject (not a pleasant read for those sensitive to animal cruelty) almost a year ago – sadly, I’m not sure anything has changed since…

  14. @Rose Embolism
    There’s definitely an age split among women regarding the #metoo debate, since I’ve seen quite a lot of older women dismiss the current debate as “Well, Weinstein was obviously a scumbag, but today’s young women are just too sensitive.” Margaret Atwood, Catherine Deneuve and in Germany, Jutta Speidel are all examples.

    I find this very frustrating, for though no one denies that sexual harrassment and assault was much more common in the 1960s, that doesn’t mean that the milder forms were all right and that women shouldn’t speak out.

    Really enjoying all the animal rescue stories BTW. Unfortunately, I’m very allergic to cats and have had bad experiences with dogs, so I’m petless.

  15. (15) Sure, I suppose it’s possible that JDA is getting what he wants by getting people to talk about him (with his tiresome combination of whining, fabrication, gloating, and trolling, I am disinclined to guess what he wants), but I don’t equate his getting what he wants with his achieving any sort of victory.

    “Victory” would be if, for example, he gained so much public support that WorldCon was damaged by its decision to revoke his attending membership. He comes across as so ludicrous, it’s difficult to picture rational people taking him seriously… but what if, indeed, no one rational talked about him? And thus his version of getting his m’ship revoked (“they are racists! etc. etc.”) was the only version of events being circulated?

    “Victory” would be if he harassed and cyberstalked people with complete impunity, rather than being steadily exposed and criticized for such behavior. If his version of his interactions with Cat Rambo and other people he’s trolled were the only version told of those incidents, and if his interpretation of those events were the only interpretation available. If he got away with ranting his silly claims and accusations on his social media accounts, without the actual facts being discussed anywhere else. And so on.

    Yes, perhaps he may feel he wins by getting attention—even very negative attention. But actual winning would be if he got to be the only voice in the various matters he shrieks about and the various people he shrieks at.

  16. “I want to see behavior like that become a felony in every state before I die.”

    I’m happy that our government, just one week ago, has proposed a law with regards to this in Sweden. Our current law is 30 years old and does not cover abandoning your pet. The new one will.

  17. Malcolm Edwards on January 16, 2018 at 11:05 am said:

    The reason there are no Jane Gaskell ebooks is that she has vanished from sight. Even her agent has lost contact with her. So there is no one with whom to negotiate a contract. I’m posting this in the hope that if I drop a pebble here a ripple may somehow reach someone who knows where she is.

    I asked around in 2015 and was told — by a small publisher who knew a personal friend of Jane Gaskell — that this author had for some years been a “total recluse” refusing all contact, even from (former) friends. And, apparently, her own agent.

  18. Our third cat, the quiet one, has just peed on a bag of sweet potatoes. Bless her, she’s not the brightest.

  19. @Laura Resnick:
    Regarding feral spay/neuter programs, there’s one here in Toronto, on the city’s official website, with links to a coalition of organizations involved along with the municipal government:

    I know some of the people involved with some of the other organizations.

    There’s a similar program up in Ottawa, though the big ‘Parliamentary Cats’ colony was eventually closed a few years ago once they got all the cats adopted out.

    (It should be no surprise that humane societies, no-kill shelters, and animal rescue organizations tend to be common charities at furry conventions.)

  20. 18) I don’t understand Hinds’ possibilities at all. There’s no conflict in the date stamps. All that happened is that JDA left out one of his own e-mails, the one that Mike was responding to.

  21. I love all these animal rescue stories. We have two rescued cats at home, and both of us volunteer at a local shelter. Recently at said shelter a cat was adopted and returned within a few days. As annoying as the situation was (the adopter did some very foolish things and alienated their brand new cat), I’m very glad the cat is back in the shelter and doing well. We hung out yesterday.

  22. Our third cat, the quiet one, has just peed on a bag of sweet potatoes.

    It’s funny how memory works. Other mentions of sweet potatoes might make me think of recipes and other food-related things, but [pets+sweet potatoes] brought this to mind, 11 years old now, and still a classic : I Has A Sweet Potato.

    Has anyone not read it?

  23. @Laura Resnick: Hooray for spay/neuter! Our last cat came as an out-of-season (born ca. 1 Sep) feral kitten caught in a live trap used by a local spay/neuter program; we paid for neutering on principal (and wondered afterward what a chocolate half-Coon would have produced) and had 8 sociable years (none of this let-them-adjust-to-the-new-environment — he wanted to see everything right away) before his kidneys quit. I miss Truffle, especially the dammit-where’s-my-lap look he gave me whenever he saw me near my normal reading spot.

    @Cora: comparing Atwood and Deneuve is stretching; Atwood never made unseeing/ignorant comments about “gallantry”. But it would be bitterly amusing to me to hear young people dismissing Atwood et al as insensitive due to age, given the we’ve-made-it-what-are-you-on-about? attitude that was floating around in the 1980’s.

    @Owlmirror: I remember it well. Similarly, is anyone unfamiliar with Dogs in Elk? (Many versions found by Google, including some with illos, but this credits the original.)

  24. @Owlmirror, that’s one of my favorite stories ever. Belly laugh funny.

    “Dog, sadly: I was badly brought up.
    Me: Yes. Yes, you were.”

  25. @Chip – (struggling not to type this in all-caps) I’ve been looking for that Elk story for years! Well, I mean, I was looking for it a few years ago and couldn’t find it, and now bam! there it is! One of my favorite blog(?) posts of all time. Thanks for posting this.

  26. I’m loving all of the cat tales that folk are sharing. Here is one of mine:

    Our first cat, Ramses, appeared shortly after we moved into a new apartment. He yowled at us and demanded to be let in. When he came in, he limped around, sniffed everything, gave us the “What’d you do with my stuff?” look, and settled in. We’re pretty sure he had been abandoned by the previous residents of the apartment when they moved. We watched for “Missing Cat” signs for weeks after he moved in. According to the vet, he was about six months old. He was a cantankerous cat, and every vet who ever examined him sacrificed a bit of blood in the process.

    The best example of this was when he needed X-Rays for a limp when he was about 12 years old. He was eighteen pounds of almost pure muscle at that point. He’d been limping, and so we took him in. They thought it might be arthritis, but they couldn’t tell for sure without the x-rays. The vet needed to sedate him to take the X-rays. “You may just want to leave him here,” we were told. “Come back later to pick him up.” So we did.

    When we came back, we learned that it’d taken three techs to hold him down for the X-ray. While sedated. When we got there, and announced at the front that we were there for Ramses, they brought his carrier to us. “He’s in the back,” the receptionist said. “I’ll take you back so you can collect him.”

    We went back there, worried that something had gone Horribly Wrong and we would be down a cat. But no. He was in a kennel that was sized for a medium dog (larger than a Cocker Spaniel, but smaller than a German Shepherd). The kennel was at shoulder height, and he was half-covered by a blanked in the back corner. Baleful green eyes glared at the room – but when he saw Steph and I, his eyes softened, and he trilled at us, yawned, stretched, and made his way to the front of the kennel.

    I reached to open the kennel, and suddenly the room fell deadly silent. Every single employee of the vet’s office was there, watching us. Intently. Holding their breath.

    “Hey, Buddy,” I told him as I scooped him into my arms. “Let’s get you home.” He cuddled up against me and purred at me.

    We put him into his carrier and closed it, which allowed every member of the staff to breathe again, because I heard a collective sigh of relief.

    “He wasn’t too much trouble, was he?”

    “No,” we were told, “He got a little feisty, but it’s nothing that won’t heal.” I found out later that he’d drawn blood from at least three of them.

    I’ve been to many vet’s offices over the years. I’ve seen a lot of animals put into (and removed from) kennels, and RamRam drew more fearful respect from those half-dozen folks than I’ve seen given to ANY animal before (or since).

    It wasn’t arthritis, by the way. The vet flinched as he did so, but he prescribed a mild steroid for the Damncat to heal his shoulder (which he though had been injured somehow). RamRam lived another six years and terrorized two more vet’s offices (we moved, and were dissatisfied with the first vet we found post-move) before passing in January of 2017 at the ripe old age of 18. It took two cancers, hyperthyroidism, and liver failure to take him down, and I still miss him dearly.

  27. @in re sweet potato —

    Oh, people. You have not LIVED until you come home an hour or so after your dog has eaten an entire pound bag of semisweet baking chocolate.

    Chocolate vomit and diarrhea ALL over the house.

  28. My sisters cats are rescues – one was adopted from an animal shelter, years ago, as a flea-ridden (and anemic) kitten, by friends, and given a home much later by my sis. The other is a feral she took in, who probably had been abandoned, given the way he took to living with people; he’d been trapped and neutered (one of his beautiful ears is clipped). That one looks like he has Maine Coon somewhere in his ancestry: long hair and about 14 pounds (one vet tech described him as “the Brad Pitt of cats”).
    (All our cats were adopted, from friends or neighbors. Most are still missed.)

  29. Warning: overly-lengthy cat descriptions.

    My last four cats are all rescues. Shadow, whom I still miss, was rescued by a friend of a friend, and I was his second adoption attempt. He was too energetic for the elderly lady who first took him in. I knew her daughter, who brought Shadow to church with her one day. He was good as gold, and I was smitten. I hadn’t really planned to adopt then, as I had just lost another cat, and was still mourning. But I couldn’t say no when I saw him, and over the years he became my best buddy. (Even my husband got jealous occasionally, when Shadow would push his way between us on the bed.) He also cost me a lot in vet bills. He was a black bobtail or Manx, and seemed to be vulnerable to all kinds of stuff. He was a survivor, though, and lived to be nearly 20, seeing me through my husband’s cancer and death and for five more years after that.

    The three I have now are Betty and Maggie, both tuxedo girls (who hate each other, sadly), and Pogo, a male ginger tabby and white. We got Betty from a nearby shelter when we were down to just one cat, Shadow, who was clearly lonely. They became very close. It was sweet. Pogo and Maggie were both from a rescue group connected to my vet. Pogo and Betty get along fine, though they don’t cuddle like Shadow and Betty did, but Mags should probably have been an only cat. I couldn’t bear to return her, though. They worked it out eventually (very eventually), but it was painful, and they’ll never really be friends.

    I could go on, but I’ll restrain myself!

  30. Mike, I love the new site header image.

    Rocky and Bullwinkle are in their fourth season on my local Channel 9 (and when I say local, I mean the TV station that broadcasts out of my house..)

  31. Catching up. . . .

    (1) KURT ERICHSEN’S RETIREMENT MAKES THE NEWS. Kurt Erichsen is a groovy dude. He was a guest various Gaylaxicons, and drew a page of fun random cartoon stuff for me one year when I ran the dealer room and just gave it to me, which was super nice of him!

    (13) MIXED MARTIAL ARTS. Whee, this is great! I posted it to a “for fun” chat channel our department has at work; thanks! I know at least a couple of people who’ll get a kick (ahem) out of it.

    @Niall McAuley: Hehehe! Thanks, I’ll post that one to my department, too.

    (17) In Re. JDA: Oh, he’s still whining about? /s /yawn

    (19) CHOPPAGE. Wut. I, uh, this makes no sense. A lot of the movie wouldn’t make sense if they edited out Rey and other women, but especially . . . REY! I mean she’s the star of the movie! Who would Kylo Ren talk to? Why would Luke even be in the movie? I refuse to download it to see how they could make anything coherent, so I’ll just say WTH?!

  32. @Lenore —

    “@Contrarius, uuuuguugh. I hope your dog was okay?”

    Sorry, I lost track of this thread a coupla days ago. Yup, she got over it just fine. Ended up dying of recurrent thyroid cancer several years later.

  33. 19: I suspect it may be a prank, and fear it may not be. It seems that little bit over-the-top to me.

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