Category Archives: Miscellanea

Assorted links about writing and other creative fields.

What intimacy coordinators do.

It’s common to mock Very Special Episodes of TV shows but they have an effect on viewers.

Although largely, forgotten, W.B. Yeats’ sisters Elizabeth and Lily helped shape Ireland’s sense of national identity. The Porter Sisters, once titans of historical fiction, were likewise written out of literary history.

“As a legitimised vigilante, the bounty hunter as a character can sit in a kind of Lagrange point between the pull of the heroic individualist and the pull of authoritarian imposition of order.” — Camestros Felapton on the appeal of bounty hunter characters.

A 1953 ruling on the limits of parody using copyrighted material obviously didn’t kill parody, but it’s still interesting.

More recently, the Onion filed an amicus brief in a parody case.There’s a legend that Wonder Woman’s one-time mentor I Ching got his name from an error. It isn’t true.

How do we define Native American art? Who gets to make the call?

Ex-President Man-Baby has threatened to sue the Pulitzer Prize Board for awarding prizes to exposes about him. The board is unimpressed.

The ongoing decline of print newspapers’ comics sections.

Heck, an entire newspaper vanished from the Internet a few years ago. Or, as noted at the link, powerful people got it removed.

For some music lovers, Spotify is a flop.

“The problem is not so much the act of appropriation in and of itself, for what is a writer’s job but to imagine the lives of others … the problem is the system that limits who gets to do the imagining.”

“There is something about sex and sexuality that threatens to strip away the context of performance even as it strips the clothes off of performers”

“We dabble a little bit in the ‘90s—which sadly was such an awful decade for music. You have to cherry pick the songs because we don’t want to play a bunch of sappy ballads and we don’t want to play a lot of rap.” — from an article on why oldies stations don’t play 1990s music much.

Yes, recipes still matter.

Diversity comes to The Nutcracker.

One Journey band member wants a fellow ex-member to stop playing their songs at Trump rallies.

An AI-created comic does not qualify for copyright. The US Copyright Office that might change someday.

How do you define panettone and who gets to decide?

The history of unobtanium.

Gerry Conway admires the difficulty of creating a simple image.

Hollywood still keeps trying to adapt unfilmable books.The Vampires Everywhere comic-book in Lost Boys never existed —  but the publisher that produced it did.

Den of Geek strongly objects to the Ian Fleming Estate’s plan to rewrite offensive elements in the Bond books. A wheelchair-user says even if you change the language, you can’t eliminate Fleming’s attitude toward the disabled.

#SFWApro. Wonder Woman cover by Mike Sekowsky, rights to images remain with current holders.

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Filed under copyright, Miscellanea, Reading, Writing

The bird and the dog

Walking the dogs recently we discovered this fine fellow having lunch at a nearby intersection. A driver passing by said the bird and his mate nest not far away.Trixie parked herself down and didn’t want to move. I’m not sure if the attraction was the sight of the bird or the smell of the carrion.Eventually I got her to move along and we finished our walkies.


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It was a touch chilly last Saturday morning

As you can see here.And here.But I’ve grown attached to living in an area with four seasons so I’m not complaining.


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Dinosaurs, Elon Musk, belief in science and other science/tech topics

Were dinosaurs warmblooded or coldblooded? It’s both!

Reptiles are more social than we imagine, perhaps even falling in love.

It’s hard to get reproducible results in social science experiments, but that’s not always a sign the research is wrong.

“The Hyperloop, a concept Mr. Musk revived based on a proposal from the 1970s, calls for moving passengers through vacuum tubes at around 700 miles an hour. Despite an influx of investor interest, no commercial system has ever been constructed.” — from a Wall Street Journal article on Boring, Elon Musk’s tunnel-building, which the article concludes deals mostly in vaporware.

NYT looks at how OnX, an app that maps the boundaries of public and private land, has led to disputes over land access and property rights.

” “Believing in science” — in an appropriately nuanced and sociologically skeptical rather than naively credulous way — is in fact a left wing position in this country at this time. Anti-science pig ignorance and bigotry is in fact a right wing position in this country at this time.”

Here’s a weird bit of bad science: a couple of fundamentalists ranting that drinking beer is bad because it makes men effeminate.

How the consensus that tech platforms shouldn’t be liable for what users post shattered in the 21st century.

DNA testing makes it possible to breed more dangerous, harder-to-handle bulls for the rodeo, the New York Times says: “The improvement in bulls presents a challenge to riders, who are produced the old-fashioned way.”

“It’s actually impossible to buy the same bra I had in high school for the same price. It’s simply more expensive to produce now than it was then.” — a look at why everything from printers to lingerie has become more inferior, more disposable.

#SFWApro. Covers top to bottom by Jack Kirby, Bernard Bailey and John Romita; all rights remain with current holders.

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Everything’s strange if you look at it a different way

For no particular reason, I snapped a shot of the spare bedroom in the early morning dark.In a movie this would probably be the start of something very creepy, but happily this is real life.

Not so happily, I was thinking this week of how many people I know who lost someone last month. A mom. A son (two people posted about that). A sibling. One blogger I follow has a wife in the hospital with pneumonia. A friend of mine passed earlier this week, though it still hasn’t sunk in. Yet TYG and I had a great Christmas.

Thinking about that is just so jarring to me. How can we be happy when other people got it in the teeth? Conversely how can bad things happen to people who are every bit as deserving of happiness as me and my spouse? Not that these are new questions — indeed they’re so old and endlessly debated I know I’m not going to find the answer.

All I can think is that even when life is good, it’s more fragile than we think. If yours is good right now, appreciate it. Hold those you love close. If it’s not good, accept a virtual sympathy hug for whatever that’s worth.


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Elf on the shelf? How about the cat on the shelf instead?

So last week, when the bomb cyclone plunged temperatures here into the single digits, TYG decided we needed to keep Snowdrop in, even though it freaks him out to be inside with the door closed. It wasn’t easy — he’s very wary of anyone getting near the door — but we succeeded. He was not happy.

TYG suggested I go to bed and take an Ambien rather than endure his high-pitched panic whines. I did, and so missed Snowdrop’s eventual freak-out, including pissing on one of the couches and climbing out of reach.On the plus side he let TYG brush some mats out of his fur and snuggled next to her on the couch. That made her very happy. And he’s come back inside since so we know a)he’s forgiven us and b)he can survive the cold. We still want to get him adjusted to at least short periods with the closed door — it’s a lot more practical for us not to endure the cold (or later in the year, the heat) but obviously we’re not going to turn him into an indoor cat.

Despite the freezing weather, Christmas was great. Last year, TYG had a lot of work and felt way stressed; this year, she was more relaxed, so I felt the same. I made German apple pancake (a tradition) and Dutch cheese and potato soup (not a tradition but a favorite of hers) and, of course, we exchanged gifts. Mine was much heavier on books than usual — TYG picked several items off my Amazon wish list — but that suits me fine. And she had several specific asks so I bought her more stuff than usual, which I loved doing.

And we even put a ribbon on Wisp.

A Merry Christmas, as they say, was had by all.


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For anyone who celebrates Christmas—

Well, Merry Christmas! Have a wonderful day with your family. Or your friends. Or by yourself. I hope it’s good, whatever your situation.For those who don’t celebrate, I wish you a happy Festivus, Kwanzaa, Yule, Solstice, Diwali, Hanukkah,  Saturnalia (I’m not aware of anyone who celebrates Saturnalia any more, but you never know) or any alternative holiday I’m not aware of. In the darkest time of the year, let’s find reasons to embrace the light, and each other. May your holidays, whatever they are, be happy. And speaking personally, I’m glad it’s not 200 years until Christmas!#SFWApro. Top cover by Nick Cardy, bottom by Ed Veligursky, all rights remain with current holders.

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Adventures in baking

Last month I got more of an itch to bake than I have in a while. I made vegan, gluten-free chocolate-chip cookies——and ciabatta, though they came out smaller than I’d expected. Still, easy enough I might try it again when I’m having sandwiches.Last weekend I made a peppery squash bread though with sweet potato instead, as I had some of that left over.Last month I also checked a book, Bread Head out of the library. I’ve only gotten around to trying one recipe, a buckwheat flour sourdough banana bread, but it was most tasty.I hope to try a couple more before I send the book back (I’ll give it an actual review then) but overall I don’t think it’s for me. The authors, Greg Wade and Rachel Hotlzman, are into sourdough starter big time. I like sourdough but not os much that it’s worth keeping a pot of starter around all the time. Still the book did serve as a useful reminder on things like checking water temperature for my breads — possibly that’s why the ciabatta came in undersized.

The other recipes came, top to bottom, from Vegetarian Times, 100 Great Breads and a book called Country Baker: Breads and Muffins from Country Living magazine.



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The art of the long-playing record

As I think I mentioned a while back, TYG and I are now one of those couples who schedule regular date nights (or date days depending on the event). Between the pandemic and the brutal demands of her old job, we’d gotten out of the habit of doing stuff together and we both want to change that. So our date a couple of weeks back was to hit Whole Foods — we usually go to a closer supermarket — and then visit a couple of thrift stores. It was fun and I came home with several books and DVDs.

I also stopped to browse the vinyl for sale. Not that I have a record player, but I do love the art on the old album covers. So here are some photos.#SFWApro. All rights to cover images remain with current holders.

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Reflect on this!

TYG and I went to the North Carolina Museum of Art, which reopened after its recent remodeling. And the first new thing we encountered was this outdoor exhibit:It’s like Lady of Shanghai, where Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth have a shootout in a hall of mirrors! Only, you know, not.


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