Pixel Scroll 3/16/18 My Very Educated Mother Just Scrolled Us Nine Pixels

The Management regrets that a long day necessitates a short Scroll.

(1) PERFECT PITCH. Seanan McGuire’s Twitter sonnet is linked here too late to influence your Hugo nominations, yet you might enjoy it anyway. Jump on the thread here —

(2) SPEAKER TO KERMIT. Muppet Guys Talking is available today – see it for $9.97. (There’s probably some reason for that nice round coff number.)

Five of the original Muppet performers/innovators come together to discuss the creation of their iconic characters under the visionary leadership of Jim Henson.

(3) REBUTTAL. Will Shetterly airs his full and complete responses to File 770 comments in his own post: “Writers at File 770 validate my concern about the Fourth Street ban”.

For the record, I omitted the emails about planning the seminar before I was kicked off it, I omitted the emails we shared once it was settled that I’d be doing a panel at the convention, and out of consideration for Alex Haist, I omitted some insulting notes that she incompetently or maliciously left on the copy of the letter she sent me to answer my four questions. If there’s anything I left out that seems pertinent, I invite anyone from the Board to share it with the assurance that I have no intention of suing anyone.

(4) CANTINA SCENE. Io9 asks “Can You Name Every Alien in This All-Encompassing Scifi Cantina?” Artists Vance Kelly and Kevin M. Wilson have created a cantina scene filled with characters from different sf works, prints of which go on sale 21 March at the Hero Complex Gallery in LA. See the image at the link,

(5) HAVE YE SEEN THE GREAT WHITE SATELLITE? Thar she blows!: “Big harpoon is ‘solution to space junk'”.

Airbus is testing a big harpoon to snare rogue or redundant satellites and pull them out of the sky.

The 1m-long projectile would be attached, through a strong tether, to a chase spacecraft.

Once the target was captured and under control, the chase vehicle would then drag its prey down into the atmosphere to burn to destruction.

(6) KIRBY ADAPTATION. The BBC says “Ava DuVernay ‘to direct superhero film'”.

Ava DuVernay, director of Selma and A Wrinkle in Time, is in talks to direct a superhero film based on DC Comics characters, according to reports.

DuVernay, whose other films include the Oscar-nominated documentary 13th, has been linked to The New Gods, based on a comic book created by Jack Kirby.

DuVernay seemed to confirm the news by posting a photo of Kirby on Twitter.

The New Gods would be the second major superhero film directed by a woman, after Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman.

(7) JEOPARDY! TONIGHT. Andrew Porter says “In the category African-American Literature, the answer and the photo shown was: ‘This author of Kindred and Xenogenesis combined African-American literature with science fiction themes.’

“No one got the question: ‘Who is Octavia Butler?’”

(8) VIDEOS OF THE DAY. 2CELLOS, “Game of Thrones.”

And JJ assures me, “If you’ve never seen these guys before, they do an absolutely hilarious version of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck.”

[Thanks to Mark Hepworth, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bill.]

66 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/16/18 My Very Educated Mother Just Scrolled Us Nine Pixels

  1. “The Will Shetterly thing is like a TV show that all my friends are watching but which I keep missing.”

    Every little con
    Is afraid of the net you know
    Some big drama man they see
    And they shout despairing: ‘no!’

    Dra-ama dra-ama, the drama man,
    Drowning in words from our sealion fan
    If you start to read, your eyes will soon bleed
    Drama man!

  2. @Camestros

    Those friends may say “you had to be there” but actually you really didn’t.

  3. Huh, I posted my ballot over in the What did You Nominate thread and it’s gone into moderation. I’m now trying to work out which of the titles I nommed could be considered rude and/or spammy by WordPress. And I didn’t even mention Chuck Tingle….


    I’m interested to know what they do once they’re tethered to the spinning piece of space junk. The article says “You still have to bring the tumbling satellite under control using thrusters on the chase vehicle – but computer simulations show this should be possible” but that’s a bit handwavy. I’d be worried about ending up being reeled in with your own line.

  4. 3) Given I was in the Antipodes when the seminal events occurred at 4th Street last year, I came home to the aftermath of all that and went “Bwuh?!” and had to start learning what happened, and what it all meant, and felt flat footed. (I do go to 4th Street every year, you see, so I am part of that community)

    7) :sigh:

  5. 3) I don’t really have all the background to this one, but… if I were involved in an argument around here, and the only person on my side appeared to be JdA, I might start to think about reconsidering my position.

  6. Camestros: if you mean the kerfuffles, skip ’em.

    Some of his fiction is pretty good.

  7. (3) Does Shetterly bother to share the stuff he previously omitted, or are we just expected to take his word for it about the supposed “insulting notes” on the letter he received?

    No, I’m not going to go look.

  8. (1) Sonnets take a five-beat line
    McGuire’s verse, four, like these of mine
    Further, as the book explains,
    A sonnet’s not express quatrains
    But fourteen lines, deployed just so
    (Its rhyme scheme has more options, though;
    The interweb has pages on it)
    It’s decent verse, just not a sonnet.

    I’m always surprised that anybody knows “Yama Yama Man,” which I found, sung by Ada Jones, while harvesting 78s from Internet Archive a dozen years ago. I saw it more recently sung by Ginger Rogers in a movie on Turner Classic Movies. I was thinking it might have been picked up in something more recent, but I’m not seeing it. Is it better known in your locality, or are we both just lucky? The verses, after the first couple, differ from source to source. I believe my sheet music differs from the Victor recording, for instance, and Wikipedia says that the stage version never got past the first two, because the artiste (who was known ever after as The Yama Yama Girl) had to encore it so many times.

  9. 4
    Isn’t that Harry Mudd way back at the back, in the doorway left of center? (One of the few I recognize.)

  10. Lis Carey, would you like the entire email dump? I’ll happily provide you with the original text of everything that was sent between the Board and me, and you may then point out any relevant bits you think I omitted. Email me at shetterly at gmail.

  11. @8: cute idea, beautiful photography, but I wonder whether they used stunt cellos for the on-the-shoulder shots. I also wonder how they got Dubrovnik that empty; now that’s known for GoT, it’s overrun with tourists. Maybe they were playing in weather too cold to be outdoors? If so, more power to them

    @Andrew: good one!

  12. Isn’t that Harry Mudd way back at the back, in the doorway left of center? (One of the few I recognize.)

    Yes. Here is my crack at the IDs. I have 33 that I think I’ve identified correctly.

    (And immediately after posting this, I noticed one more–a Dalek just behind the Ferengi.)

  13. Meredith Moment:

    The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip is on sale at Amazon US (Amazon Daily Deal) for $1.99. Fantastic novel!

  14. 8) Loved the Thunderstruck one — thanks for posting that! Though that one poor guy had hardly any hair left on his bow by the end!

    But for both of these — how do these guys make enough money that they can afford to pay for these productions? Looks like they’d be expensive!

  15. (3) REBUTTAL.

    Ah, yes, it’s a shame when people make assumptions about your current behavior based on your actual past behavior, isn’t it? 🙄

  16. Contrarius: But for both of these — how do these guys make enough money that they can afford to pay for these productions? Looks like they’d be expensive!

    2 Cellos is actually a hugely popular performance group. They have 4 albums, did a World Tour last year, and are doing another this year.

    Their YouTube Channel

  17. @JJ

    Hmm, thinking about it, it might have been my choice of One Weird Trick by Ursula Vernon, or maybe Cheap Canadian Meds by Robert Sawyer.

  18. JJ: Now I’m dying to know which work is triggering the moderation filter.

    Did you figure it out? I can’t.

  19. It is probably worth mentioning, re: sonnets, that iambic pentametre has not been a requirement since at least the days of Gerard Manley Hopkins. Here’s one of his that I love. It’s got the line division and the volta, but scoffs at the idea of metrical restrictions.

    (All that said, I was not nearly clever enough to phrase my argument as poem. Well done!)

  20. Mike Glyer: Did you figure it out? I can’t.

    I see that there were several which went to moderation (they have all appeared above my post, but weren’t there before), and what they all have in common is “The Secret Life of Bots”. 😀

  21. Yes, I figured it out — but now of course, my post with The Big Reveal is in moderation. 😉

  22. Came here to shout out the Meredith moment Robert Reynolds brought up already, and figured I may as well point it out again (I was maybe a little over-excited to see that deal this morning). So, yeah, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip is on sale cheap-like at Amazon. And thanks, Robert, for verifying it’s an excellent novel. I’ve loved almost everything I’ve read of hers so far, and liked anything I didn’t love.

    Non-SFnal cat welfare report:
    In local (to me) SJW credential news, some *grumblemumblegarblemurf* kinda person broke two of the huge plate glass windows at the Cat Town cat shelter in Oakland. He broke the windows in the big room where all the cats hang out and you can see them fleeing in terror afterward. Two of the cats went missing. One was found by a construction worker next door when they started up some loud machinery and startled her. She ran into a mud pit (don’t ask, I don’t know) and was retrieved by a handsome young construction worker. The other cat was a new tenant, recently a semi-feral forgotten kitten (he’d swatted the phone out of the hand of one of the founders of Cat Town when she was interacting with him at the Oakland Animal Shelter). He’d been doing very well but was still a bit skittish at times. Searches were organized between 9pm and 1am (a compromise between quiet times in the neighborhood and the fact that people have a hard time staying up and vigilant much later than 1). The searches entailed volunteers spaced out around the block sitting in folding chairs quietly and watching for errant cats. At least, that’s what I heard – I didn’t attend my shift at 11 because they found him – inside the shelter, on top of one of the custom-made cat rooms in another room. He’d apparently been quietly scrambling away all day long as people searched for him. I’ve seen video evidence of his safety and apparent happiness.

    Here’s a video of the cat who was found by the construction worker as she’s being cleaned up:

  23. JJ: Yes, I figured it out — but now of course, my post with The Big Reveal is in moderation

    LOL! I forgot that for no particular reason I had added “bots” to the moderation list. I’ve taken it off for the duration.

  24. “You still have to bring the tumbling satellite under control using thrusters on the chase vehicle – but computer simulations show this should be possible” but that’s a bit handwavy. I’d be worried about ending up being reeled in with your own line.

    Been thinking about this on and off through the day. The system would stabilise with the two satellites rotating around each other linked by the tether, but between the harpooning and then there’s a danger of collision and several hard jerks that could dislodge the harpoon. If the target is spinning tension on the line will start to move the two satellites together, the whaler will need to move sideways to avoid the collision and reel in the line but also be ready to start paying out line as soon as they pass. Repeat until stable, then reduce the mutual spin and reel in the line.

  25. Emily Fleming:
    Hopkins seems to have made up his own forms and called them what he wanted, but I don’t see that these were picked up by anyone. I don’t think he changed the form, but no harm has been done by him in creating unusual beauty. (See also: Curtal Sonnet.)

    There are self-styled versifiers out on the net who can’t even manage limericks. (“Long, long, short, short, long? IT’S JUST TOO COMPLICATED! But here are five that I just dashed off anyway, tee hee.”)

  26. Lis, I just made a new post so you may stop wondering what I omitted. So you don’t need to visit my site, I’ll share the entire thing here:

    For Lis Carey, Hampus Eckerman, JJ, or anyone who has said I must have held back relevant information about the Fourth Street Kerfuffle

    With two conditions, here’s my offer to end part of the whispering:

    Write me—shetterly at gmail—and I’ll forward the raw email discussions that I drew on for Positively Fourth Street, or On being banned for … vague reasons about nearly indescribable things? That’s easy to do in Gmail and it will show what I thought was unnecessary. If there’s something you think relevant, you’re free to share it.

    The conditions:

    1. This offer isn’t open to everyone who’s curious because life’s short. It’s only open to people who have said in public that I must have left something important out.

    2. Some of the material in those conversations, like Alex Haist’s gmail account, is private and must stay private. The only things I am giving permission to share are things that the Board said officially (which, I suppose, would include the comments Alex Haist accidentally or maliciously included at the end of an official letter) and anything that I said.

  27. Kathodus, how awful! Did they catch the burglar, as well as the cats? I’m glad the cats are okay.

  28. Kip W:

    I collect strange music and found it sometime 15 years ago. I think it was on Audio Galaxy in a group for Incredibly Strange Music. There is something in the lyrics that made it stick.

  29. Hopkins is a singular example — the point I was attempting (unsuccessfully!) to make is that variations have been going on a long time. You’ve got Lowell, who stuck to the metre but didn’t rhyme it, Ted Berrigan in 1964 who didn’t rhyme or metre things, Lee Ann Brown’s “Quantum Sonnet,” which is lovely but doesn’t appear to be on the internet in a non-irritating form*. Scads of others; I’d venture to guess that there’re more variant sonnets being published at the moment than Shakespearean or Petrarchan.

    (If we’re going to adhere only to strict formalism, we could argue that Shakespeare wrote no sonnets, because they didn’t stick to the original rhyme scheme! That would be silly, though. Also, his Sonnet 145 is in tetrametre.)

    *I did locate a webpage which slowly displays a line at a time, and never shows the whole poem, which is possibly a quantum thing, but alas, no plain-text.

  30. Poor kitties! Glad to hear all were corralled safely, and I hope the malefactor gets smothered in shed cat fur for punishment!

  31. Hampus Eckerman on March 17, 2018 at 12:45 pm said:

    I collect strange music

    Do you have Insha Allah by the Egyptian band NASA? It is the strangest thing I ever ran across at a local used CD store in the 1990s. Here are the Internet Archive samples and here is the whole thing on Youtube. (There is even one SFnal song–UFO over Cairo.)

    They kind of suck, I suppose.

  32. @JJ

    You mean I got botted?


    Very clever – but I still wouldn’t like to design it!

  33. Hampus Eckerman on March 17, 2018 at 1:24 pm said:

    Not sure what was supposed to be strange?

    Our respective “strange” meters are likely calibrated to vastly different tolerances.

  34. I feel almost derelict in my Hugo reading this year.

    It’s been a busy year, particularly since Thing #3 was born in November, but before that too.

    My Hugo ballot is almost discouraging, because the vast majority of my picks feel absurdly unlikely. Most of my favorite short fiction was from F&SF which is nnnot Hugo-optimized in any way.

    I’m thinking of this year maybe cooling down from Hugo focus, and instead focusing on some of the great recommendations and classics I’ve picked up ever since joining the File. The Hugos have been an awesome way to get me seeking out material that’s new and intriguing, but I think I’m due for a shift into non-Hugo reading priorities 😛

  35. This might be news that folks already know, but Joe Bussard’s radio program, which is available as a podcast, is a great source for old recordings of 78rpm records. I also listen to Shellac Stack, which plays a more eclectic mix of 78rpm records. Both are a lot of fun. As for odd music, has anyone heard the recordings of Harry Bertoia, who has made a number of recordings using the resonance of the metal sculptures he has made over the years? Here’s an example. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfQ3624z36Q

  36. @Standback

    A good lesson I’m taking from the noms thread is that plenty of people nominate well under the five, and only in some categories – and that’s okay.
    I’ve really enjoyed getting into lots and lots of short fiction over the last few years, but this year I did more novel reading and my shorts dropped off bit. I’ve been feeling a bit guilty about that, but need to realise I shouldn’t – reading fun is where you find it!

  37. Emily Fleming,
    You are right. This is why it takes so long to describe a sonnet. You can give the Platonic form of it pretty quickly, but then Willy did this, and Lizzie did this, and the exceptions are what really take up the time. It comes down to “If it does several of these things, it may be a sonnet… if the author agrees to the apellation.”

    I’m still attached to the pentameter, but that’s top-line description, and it can be excepted from in the smaller print. Geniuses do whatever they like (as do fools, but let’s stick to the geniuses*), and the prescriptives freak out while the descriptives take notes and chuckle softly, then go home and drink. Me, I just want to be Poetically Correct. Also, thanks for the recommendations.

    * “The exact opposite of genius is genius.” —me

  38. @Mark: Strong agreement.

    I think my Hugo-focus has done a marvelous job helping me figure out what I do and don’t like — and where to find it 🙂

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