Pixel Scroll 5/25/24 If A Pixel Scrolls In A File And No Notification Goes Out, Is Yngvi Still A Louse?

(1) ANTHRO NEW ENGLAND LEADERSHIP TURNOVER. Anthro New England, a furry convention held in Boston, issued statements yesterday and today about the removal of two top officers, Remy and Scales. The specific reasons are not given. Comments in social media are speculative.

Statement May 24

Statement May 25

Remy, one of the officers, replied online:

The account identified with Scales also made comments.

An individual whose X.com account is @psykhedelos announced they have also resigned their position with the con.

(2) CARTOON BY TEDDY HARVIA. Here’s a character who can have it both ways.

(3) SHATNER TO RECEIVE ROBERT HEINLEIN MEMORIAL AWARD. William Shatner accepted the National Space Society’s Robert Heinlein Memorial Award last night at the ISDC: “International Space Development Conference 2024 beams up Star Trek’s William Shatner and more in Los Angeles” reports Space.com.

The stars of Star Trek are about to get a taste of real-life space exploration when they beam into the 2024 International Space Development Conference in Los Angeles this weekend, and you have a chance join them to get your space fix. 

On Friday (May 24), actor William Shatner, who originated the role of Captain James T. Kirk and launched into space on a Blue Origin rocket in 2021, will receive the Robert Heinlein Memorial Award “for his deep impact on public perception of the human expansion into space, which boldly highlighted diversity and inclusion previously unseen on television,” conference officials said in a statement. The award, which is given annually by the nonprofit National Space Society at ISDC, is just one event featuring Star Trek actors. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you can learn how to attend the ISDC conference at the at isdc.nss.org.

“Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” actor Melissa Navia, who portrays helm pilot Lt. Erica Ortegas, will host the 2024 ISDC conference. NSS officials have also recruited her fellow Trek alums in a May 26 panel “Science Fiction to Science Fact” featuring Nana Visitor (Major Kira Nerys on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”), John Billingsley (Doctor Flox on “Star Trek: Enterprise”) and other Trek and sci-fi veterans to discuss “how science fiction has, and will continue to, transition into our everyday lives, and ultimately, the exploration of space.” 

But real science fact is the main draw for ISDC, which is expected to draw over 1,000 attendees to its talks at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel near Los Angeles International Airport.

“ISDC 2024 talks will cover the exploration, development, and settlement of the Moon, Mars, and cislunar space; deep space exploration; innovative spaceflight technology; the commercialization of space and space infrastructure; life support systems; collaboration in space; living in space; space solar power; space debris mediation solutions; planetary defense; space law; and both national and international space policy, among others,” organizers wrote in an overview.

This year, the conference’s theme of “No Limits” has drawn in retired astronauts Susan Kilrain and Jose Hernandez, as well as Alan Stern (who leads the New Horizon mission to Pluto and beyond, as well as Vast Space CEO Max Haot, Mars Society founder Robert Zubrin and YouTube creators Isaac Arthur and Brian McManus….

(3) RETCON OF THE RINGS. Inverse compares J.R.R. Tolkien to George Lucas in “73 Years Ago, J.R.R. Tolkien Changed Gollum Canon Forever — It’s About to Happen Again”. – It burns! It burns!

…Published in 1937, The Hobbit transformed fantasy literature like no other book before or since. Presented as an intricate middle-grade children’s chapter book, The Hobbit tells the tale of Bilbo Baggins, the titular Hobbit, as he is pulled into a great journey beyond his cozy home in the Shire. Along with a company of Dwarves, and Gandalf the Wizard, this proto-fellowship encounters various threats, which all get scarier and scarier as the book progresses. The world-building of The Hobbit is shockingly vivid, and, nearly thirty years later, in 1954, when Tolkien decided to expand his world of Middle-earth into a larger epic with his trilogy of novels — The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King — very little adjustment to his landscape was needed. Only two elements had to be heavily revised to make the setting of The Hobbit click: The Ring of Power itself, and its bedraggled former owner, Gollum. And so, in 1951, three years before The Lord of the Rings was published, Tolkien published a new version of The Hobbit.

As extensively revealed by Bonniejean Christensen in the 1975 nonfiction book A Tolkien Compass, “Gollum’s function differs in the two works. In The Hobbit, he is one in a series of fallen creatures on a rising scale of terror. In The Lord of the Rings, he is an example of the damned individual who loses his own soul because of devotion to evil…”

Gollum is not the big bad of The Hobbit and is left behind by Bilbo roughly midway through the book. Crucially, in the original 1937 and 1938 editions of The Hobbit, Gollum is not a depraved maniac addicted to the Ring’s power. Nor is the Ring suggested to be sentient in the original Hobbit. All of those details were altered by Tolkien by 1951 when he changed the text and meaning of Chapter 5: “Riddles in the Dark.”

There are several examples of these changes, but the most relevant alteration is the later suggestion to the reader that Gollum is a crazed murderer and can’t be trusted to be bound by the rules of the riddle game. In the 1937 version, Gollum is just a weird creature.

From the original Hobbit (1937):

“But funnily enough he [Bilbo] need not have been alarmed. For one thing Gollum had learned long ago was to never cheat at the riddle-game, which is a sacred one and of immense antiquity.”

From the revised Hobbit (1951, 1965, et al.):

“He knew of course, the riddle-game was sacred and of immense antiquity and even wicked creatures were afraid to cheat when they played it. But he [Bilbo] felt he could not trust this slimy thing [Gollum] to keep any promise at a pinch. Any excuse would do for him to slide out of it. And after all that last question had not been a genuine riddle according to the ancient laws.”

Tolkien tinkered with “Riddles in the Dark” up until 1966, making him something of a George Lucas; continually modifying his story to fit with his other books. This retcon of Gollum’s character was so entirely successful that if you read The Hobbit now, you will only find the latter text. The 75th anniversary of The Hobbit, published in 2012, acknowledges the changes to “Riddles in the Dark,” briefly, in a section toward the front of the book, but the only way to get your hands on the first version of “Riddles in the Dark” — short of buying an extremely expensive 1937 or 1938 Hobbit — is to read Douglas A. Anderson’s The Annotated Hobbit, where he elucidates some these changes.

(4) DEEP DICTIONARY DIVE. Greg Cwik reviews a new Ellison compilation edited by J. Michael Straczynski: “Beamed from Within: On Harlan Ellison’s ‘Greatest Hits’” in the LA Review of Books. Harlan’s polysyllabic vocabulary is contagious but not fatal.

…In 1996, the year he won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association, Ellison defined his writing for us: “What I write is hyperactive magic realism. I take the received world and I reflect it back through the lens of fantasy, turned slightly so you get a different portrait.” Ellison wrote like a man suffering from perpetual fever hallucinations, his stories governed by an inimitable eerie logic….

… Ellison’s writing has the electric shock of a malfunctioning machine, words like sparks spraying out. Yet there is humanity—bitter, yes, and often mean, with lust for life unrequited by the vicissitudes of fate, but Ellison’s best work is endowed with the spirit of man with a big, bruised, beating heart. He was a man fascinated by and disappointed with the society roiling around him, and thus his characters are also often denied penance and peace. Ellison is that rare beast, a writer who suffuses his work with smart-man musings without the boring, masturbatory listing of dead philosophers to boost intellectual credit. Except when he did do that (I’m not judging—I’m doing the same thing). In his nonfiction, he bemoans, with avidity, elitists’ tendency to intellectualize everything, while doing so himself, which he undoubtedly knows, just another layer of irony in the madman’s spiritual coils. He was a complicated, even hypocritical man of singular style and insoluble beliefs. (He also dressed real snazzy.)…

(5) RICHARD M. SHERMAN (1928-2024). “Richard M. Sherman, who fueled Disney charm in ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘It’s a Small World,’ dies at 95”. The AP News profile lists many of his credits, work done with his late brother Robert.

…Sherman, together with his late brother Robert, won two Academy Awards for Walt Disney’s 1964 smash “Mary Poppins” — best score and best song, “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” They also picked up a Grammy for best movie or TV score. Robert Sherman died in London at age 86 in 2012….

…Their hundreds of credits as joint lyricist and composer also include the films “Winnie the Pooh,” “The Slipper and the Rose,” “Snoopy Come Home,” “Charlotte’s Web” and “The Magic of Lassie.” Their Broadway musicals included 1974’s “Over Here!” and stagings of “Mary Poppins” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” in the mid-2000s.

…They wrote over 150 songs at Disney, including the soundtracks for such films as “The Sword and the Stone,” “The Parent Trap,” “Bedknobs and Broomsticks,” “The Jungle Book,” “The Aristocrats” and “The Tigger Movie.”

“It’s a Small World” — which accompanies visitors to Disney theme parks’ boat ride sung by animatronic dolls representing world cultures — is believed to be the most performed composition in the world. It was first debuted at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair pavilion ride….


[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

May 25, 1939 Ian McKellen, 85. Now remember that the following are roles are the ones that I like, not all the roles that he’s done. 

For me, that’d be him playing a nearly ninety-year-old retired detective who’s a beekeeper in Mr. Holmes who given the title of the film is obviously intended to that Holmes. He’s played as an individual who is struggling to recall the details of his final case because his mind is slowly deteriorating. He plays this with considerable dignity. 

Ian McKellen at San Diego Comic-Con 2013. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

Yes, I think he made a magnificent Gandalf the White in Jackson’s telling of Tolkien’s story. Note I didn’t say Tolkien’s story as it’s Jackson’s story. Now McKellen pulled off that role as he did not wear a wig or any prosthetics at all. His website detailing the shooting The Fellowship of The Ring says he had very little make-up time either. 

A film that I think that doesn’t get as much love as it should get is The Shadow which I’m very, very fond of. He played Dr. Reinhardt Lane there and did a very nice job of doing it. 

Now he was the narrator of Stardust based somewhat loosely off Gaiman’s novel. And he made a truly magnificent narrator here. Now him narrating an audiobook of that novel would be as delightful as the one Gaiman did which yes I wholeheartedly recommend. 

I’ve not seen it, though I very much want to, but forty-five years ago, the Royal Shakespeare Company production of MacBeth was filmed by Thames Television, and it featured Ian McKellen as Macbeth and Judi Dench as Lady Macbeth. That sounds awesome. It’s available on DVD. 

Well those are my favorite roles by him. What are yours? 


(8) AI LEAVES EGG ON GOOGLE’S FACE.  Or would if Google had a face. “Google AI Overviews Search Errors Cause Furor Online”. (This is an unlocked New York Times article.)

Last week, Google unveiled its biggest change to search in years, showcasing new artificial intelligence capabilities that answer people’s questions in the company’s attempt to catch up to rivals Microsoft and OpenAI….

…The incorrect answers in the feature, called AI Overview, have undermined trust in a search engine that more than two billion people turn to for authoritative information. And while other A.I. chatbots tell lies and act weird, the backlash demonstrated that Google is under more pressure to safely incorporate A.I. into its search engine….

… [T]hings quickly went awry, and users posted screenshots of problematic examples to social media platforms like X.

AI Overview instructed some users to mix nontoxic glue into their pizza sauce to prevent the cheese from sliding off, a fake recipe it seemed to borrow from an 11-year-old Reddit post meant to be a joke. The A.I. told other users to ingest at least one rock a day for vitamins and minerals — advice that originated in a satirical post from The Onion….

(9) ONE WRITER’S FAVE. Chowhound is going to tell you “Why Peanut Butter And Onion Sandwiches Are Named After Ernest Hemingway”.

… Ernest felt onion sandwiches were the perfect meal to enjoy while fishing. Exactly when he began adding peanut butter to the mix is uncertain, but the writer memorialized the PB&O in his novel “Islands in the Stream,” which came out after his death….

…During the Great Depression of the 1930s, an onion stuffed with peanut butter was just one of many fascinating foods, along with dandelion salad and water pie, that was commonly eaten. So a variation on these food combinations isn’t all that out of the ordinary. And, as it turns out, science is on the side of this sandwich. As Marie Wright, chief global flavorist for American food processing giant ADM, told The Takeout, peanut butter and onion complement each other because they both have sulfur-containing compounds…

(10) THE MUNSTERS’ LUCKY NUMBER. SYFY Wire reports “James Wan Eyeing New Take on The Munsters Titled 1313 From Universal”.

The Munsters might be moving back to 1313 Mockingbird Lane. Variety reports that Universal Studio Group is developing a reboot of the iconic monstrous (but friendly!) family from the 1960s sitcom. 

The Munsters, which premiered in 1964 and ran for two seasons, followed the titular family. There was Herman Munster (a Frankenstein’s Monster-type), his wife Lily (a vampire), Grandpa (elderly Count Dracula), daughter Merilyn (a normal-looking young woman), and little Eddie (a werewolf). Despite their monstrous appearances, the Munsters were just as normal as any other red-blooded American family… well, almost as normal. 

The new series — which is still in the works with no details announced yet — is being developed by James Wan of SawThe Conjuring, Aquaman, Furious 7, and M3GAN fame. Lindsey Anderson Beer and Ingrid Bisu are also listed as developers, per Variety, and Beer will serve as the showrunner and executive producer along with Wan. 

According to the official logline, the upcoming take is described as a horror series that “lives and breathes within the Universal Monsterverse” — suggesting that these new Munsters might not be as cuddly as the original ‘60s incarnation. 

The tentative name for the reboot is 1313, after the family’s address at 1313 Mockingbird Lane. …

(11) THEY’RE THE TOPS. “NASA Earns Best Place to Work in Government for 12 Straight Years”.

For the 12th year in a row, the Partnership for Public Service named NASA the best place to work among large agencies in the federal government. “Once again, NASA has shown that with the world’s finest workforce, we can reach the stars,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Through space exploration, advances in aviation, groundbreaking science, new technologies, and more, the team of wizards at NASA do what is hard to achieve what is great. That’s the pioneer spirit that makes NASA the best place to work in the federal government. With this ingenuity and passion, we will continue to innovate for the benefit of all and inspire the world.” The Partnership for Public Service began to compile the Best Places to Work rankings in 2003 to analyze federal employees’ viewpoints on leadership, work-life balance, and other factors of their job.

… Read about the Best Places to Work for 2023 online.

(12) MIGHTY MAKEUP. Paul Williams paralyzes Johnny Carson when he arrives straight from filming “Battle for the Planet of the Apes” in this clip from a 1973 episode of The Tonight Show.

(13) VIDEO OF THE DAY. This week How It Should Have Ended reposted “MAD MAX Fury Road”. It may be news to you!

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Steven French, Teddy Harvia, Kathy Sullivan, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jim Janney.]