Not quite enough time to write an articulate post, so …
And then Robert Gibson Jones
A photographic cover by Paul Bacon.Powers!
And a nicely stylized cover, art uncredited.#SFWapro. All rights to cover images remain with current holders.
So last Tuesday was anniversary number eight for me and TYG. It seems we’ve made it past the seven-year itch without any trouble.
We had two dinners this year. Saturday we ate at Sage, which is one of our favorite restaurants. It is, however, enough of a drive that we’d sooner go there on a weekend than a weeknight. Tuesday we went out to Bocci, which is an Italian place within walking distance (though given the heat we didn’t walk). Both meals excellent.
The anniversary gift options are pottery and brass, but we didn’t really come up with anything good. I framed a copy of TYG’s high-school photo (the last one she has, so she wanted it protected), she bought us tickets to the North Carolina Zoo, which is what I’d asked for. Actually she bought us season tickets, so we don’t have to worry about her schedule derailing the day she bought tickets for. Smart wife!
And that was it. But it was enough.TYG is my amazing, intelligent, funny, remarkable angel and I love her to pieces.
Below a shot of me dressed for the wedding back in 2011 (TYG doesn’t want photos of herself posted, so I don’t).
It’s cover art time! The first one is surprisingly restrained for a 1950s paperback about adultery.
Here we have a cover that’s just a head shot but it works for me. It’s a Gothic romance so I’m guessing the handsome Baron isn’t a vampire, but I don’t know for sure.
One I first posted last year. The cover makes it look like a Gothic romance when it’s actually contemporary horror.
Bob Pepper does this eerie cover for a terrific book.
This one always fascinates me for the “you know what you’re getting, folks” cover copy.
Finally this cover for Jirel of Joiry perfectly captures a scene from the story Black God’s Kiss. I don’t know the artist.
#SFWApro. Art is uncredited except where noted otherwise.
THE POISONER: The Life and Times of Victorian England’s Most Notorious Doctor by Stephen Bates recounts the story of the once infamous William Palmer, a Victorian medic put on trial for poisoning his best friend with strychnine and suspected of dozens more cases. Although Arthur Conan Doyle name-drops Palmer as a brilliant doctor and criminal in The Adventure of the Speckled Band, Bates shows that he was neither — more a desperate man, under water on his gambling debts, who resorted to poisoning a friend (and possibly a couple more people) to get money. Part of the public’s morbid fascination with the story was the use of strychnine, a new and hard to trace poison (up until the early 20th century, poison was close to undetectable), partly that Palmer was precisely the kind of dignified middle-class chap who ought to be above such behavior (as Black Swine in the Sewers of Hampstead discusses). Its cultural impact aside, like the shooting of Stanford White this former Crime of the Century isn’t that startling by today’s standards; Bates does a good job making it interesting even so, but the trial really bogs down in detail (as usual, I don’t blame him for getting into more detail than I was interested in).
I had the same reaction to the third volume of SAVAGE DRAGON ARCHIVES as I did to Savage Dragon: A New Beginning, that auteur Erik Larsen’s way too fond of recycling Jack Kirby to no purpose. This wastes a lot of space on New Gods/Thor-style deities engaging in Kirby-style conflicts and it all felt canned, with none of the passion Kirby showed for that kind of storytelling. On top of which, the sheer number of dramatic moments — Dragon’s dead! No, he’s alive in a new body! Now his Great Love is dead! Now someone else he loves is dead! OMG, he has a son! — and the lengthy exposition about past continuity made the whole thing feel like a parody, except parodies are actually funny (and if Larsen was trying for ironic meta-commentary, Astro City does that a lot better)
IT TAKES A WITCH: A Wishcraft Mystery by Heather Blake didn’t work for me at all, but I guess that’s not surprising: I’m not particularly a cozy mystery fan and I’m not a fan of complicated magic systems. And this book is full of multiple magical paths, each with its own elaborate rules (it feels very much like D&D specialists or subclasses); the protagonist is a “wishcrafter” who can grant wishes but only if they meet a variety of rules (no killing people, the wish must be sincere, you can’t grant another mage’s wishes — and you can’t tell anyone you’re a witch or you lose your powers). The first couple of chapters are very info-dumpy and the protagonist’s attraction to a studly cop felt canned (I will discuss this more in a later post). That said, this has become a successful cozy series so obviously a lot of people who are not me like it.
Finally, if anyone wants to click over to Atomic Junkshop, I reviewed the Joker’s 1975 solo series, recently TPB-ed as JOKER: Clown Prince of Crime.
#SFWApro. Top cover by Erik Larsen, bottom by Dick Giordano.
So I’ll mark it with these images from Michael Moorcock’s Swords trilogy with its themes of Order vs. Chaos. Details of the personal chaos in this afternoon’s post.
Bob Haberfield did the art. I found these on a visit to England in my tweens and was instantly captivated by the weirdly alien imagery. I still am (if I didn’t have so much to read, I’d whip them out right now).
#SFWApro. All rights to cover images remains with current holders.
We took the pups to Petropolitan for grooming this week.
Here’s Trixie before—
And Trixie after getting her spring/summer cut
Here’s Plushie, before
And the Plush one afterwards
Had we known when we booked (well in advance) that temperatures would drop back below freezing this week, we might have held off. Then again, Plushie had so much matted hair, with one mat inside his ear, it’s probably just as well.
#SFWApro. Images are mine, not for commercial use, please credit if you use.
First, for various reasons, I wasn’t working the whole week. And when I did work, it was another case of being nibbled to death. Enough distractions, spaced the right amount apart, that I couldn’t focus very much.
Tuesday morning, for example, I’d figured out a new approach to Only the Lonely Can Slay and was about to try it when the electrician arrived to fix our side-of-the-house floodlights. When he was gone the pups were freaking out (human! We wanted him to pet us! Why weren’t we petted?) and by the time they’d calmed down I had to call our alarm company with a couple of questions. By the time that was resolved, it was time to walk the dogs. And in the afternoon, I worked on my Leaf articles. So the new draft remains unwritten.
Tuesday night, I went out to the writers’ group and got thwarted there: instead of going out to eat afterwards, there was sleet in some parts of the area, so I thought it safer to go home. Initially I told myself I was probably worrying over nothing, then I saw there was ice on the car windshield. Not so nothing. Happily the trip home went fine.
So not much to blog about. But most of the current contractor stuff is done so next week should go a lot better.
Women talk about seeing their lovers turn misogynyist and racist under the influence of right-wing videos. The Outline looks at how believers in the far right’s extremism convince themselves they’re completely logical. Which is not a new thing; I remember an article by one sexist years ago explaining that since his critique of feminism was perfectly logical and feminists disagreed, that proved feminists weren’t logical!
“Patriarchal Christian masculinity is a powerful drug. It makes many church men believe that the world desperately needs their perspective on everything. It makes their followers believe that asking such men to step aside from leadership is somehow tantamount to cruelty.” Stephanie Krehbiel.
Bilgrimage on the argument churches simply can’t rein in sexual abusers effectively: “let a church leader or congregation make a statement proposing ordination of women or acceptance and respect of same-sex marriage and LGBTQ people, and watch how quickly the supposedly ‘loose’ and ‘disorganized’ church structures act.” (hat tip slacktivist)
I’ve heard how reluctant doctors are to say yes when a woman wants her tubes tied, but the article at the link really puts everything in perspective.
Neomi Rao, Trump’s nominee to replace Kavanaugh’s appellate court position, wrote in college that a woman who gets drunk is partially to blame if she’s raped.
Fred Clark points out that when people talk about #metoo and how we didn’t know how bad it was before, “A third of all women worldwide were the victims of sexual assault and harassment. Those women all knew. Billions of them.” It’s more accurate to say we didn’t acknowledge what we knew. Case in point, despite lots of accusations against Jon Reese, a Georgia journalism teacher, he’s still teaching.
A judge blames a pair of tween girls in a Kansas case for being sexual aggressors in a case involving a 67-year-old who paid them for sex.
Pro-choice terrorism hardly exists, but the FBI’s very worried about it.
Specifically a chocolate zucchini cake with semisweet chocolate chips for the topping. I made it for last weekend’s vegan potluck from a recipe in The Good Breakfast Book, but replacing the carob powder with cocoa.
Very chocolatey and most satisfactory. I had barely a handful of crumbs to take home, which is always flattering.
Reading Documentary led me to watch THE MAN WITH THE MOVIE CAMERA (1929) in which Russian director/cameraman Dziga Vertov chronicles a day in the life of the USSR: trolley rides, industrial workers, sports competitions, a magician at a kids’ party, young women with parasols and crowds rushing two and from work. Vertov hoped to create an international language of pure visuals, without the use of intertitles; an impressive job, though constantly filming his camera crews at work undercuts the realism.
Given Woody Allen’s nostalgic streak I’m surprised the 1950s-set WONDER WHEEL (2018) isn’t a Radio Days-style tribute to Coney Island’s past. Instead, it’s a Tennessee Williams-style psychodrama in which lifeguard Justin Timberlake narrates how he came to have an affair with Kate Winslett, only to have the arrival of her stepdaughter Juno Temple (fleeing her mobster spouse) throw everything into chaos. Not only does Timberlake fall for Temple, Winslett’s husband Jim Belushi finds himself siding with his estranged child over his wife, all of which culminates in tragedy and heartbreak. A hamfisted drama with characters who are way too self-aware and dialog too self-consciously theatrical (Timberlake explains that away as his fallible memory but it still doesn’t work. And like Blue Jasmine this has echoes of Allen’s affair with Mia Farrow’s daughter and not in a good way (once again everything would have been fine if the Mom wasn’t such a bitch).“What power — to tell a tragic story about the human condition and how we have to lie to ourselves to live!”
#SFWApro. All rights to image remain with current holder.