November 18th, 2015

Driving home this afternoon, I caught the last ten minutes of the “Five O’Clock Favorites” show on KQMT. The theme today was, “Albums that you bought for one song.” One Elton John song was played during the short time I listened to the show, but it wasn’t the one that came to mind for me.

The first Elton John LP I bought was a live album of a performance he gave in New York City forty-five years ago yesterday, and I bought it for “Your Song.” Here is the YouTube video for Elton John’s album, 11-17-70.

It is Veteran’s Day

November 11th, 2015

There’s not much left of the day, here. I should have set up a draft post yesterday – I only sat down with my laptop a few minutes ago, and don’t have time to do anything substantial in the way of post contents.

In any case, if you know a veteran, thank them. You don’t have to do it on Veteran’s Day, you can do it anytime. Even if they’re embarrassed to hear it (and I know I always feel awkward when someone thanks me for my service), they do appreciate it.

This is why clocks are so scary

October 29th, 2015

Not Feeling Good

October 29th, 2015

I normally have two hours of dance classes on Thursdays, but I came home after one hour tonight. I thought it was just my lunch not having settled well, but I had half a dozen people tell me about a “six hour stomach flu” that “is running around” or that they’ve had within the last week.

I figured, why push it? So, I skipped out on the second hour of classes, and it’s starting to look like that was a good decision.

Not what I was expecting to find

October 28th, 2015

I was running around the web last night, while looking for lyrics and chord to a few songs, and went to Joe Bethancourt’s website.

I didn’t really know Joe, and I doubt he’d have remembered me. I met him at the 1997 Worldcon in San Antonio. Five minutes after we met, we were seated in one of the hotel hallways, and he was playing my banjo and giving me an impromptu lesson in how to play clawhammer-style banjo, as well as expounding on its advantages over 3-finger bluegrass picking. During his concert set, I saw several professional musicians amazed at watching him sing in 3/4 time while playing guitar in 4/4 time (or vice-versa, I don’t exactly remember).

Several of his CDs are available. I have a few of them as cassette tapes. I like his performances, and I like the songs he wrote. Like Mel Tillis, he had a stutter when speaking that disappeared when he sang.

I didn’t find the specific information I was looking for on his site. I did find out that he died just over a year ago. I’m sorry to know that, and sorry that I didn’t know it sooner than this. I hope his family members are doing well, and if there’s an afterlife, I hope he’s enjoying his.

That’s the kind of happy accident you like to hear about

October 14th, 2015

They may have accidentally found a cure for cancer.

“We had to burn the awards in order to save them”

August 23rd, 2015

So, the 2015 Hugos have been awarded, and it’s now obvious that the in-group that has controlled the awards for a number of years felt that it was better not to make awards than to let the wrong people (or those supported by the wrong people) win.

I didn’t vote in every category – I won’t vote if I’m not conversant with the nominees. I feel that it’s a matter of integrity not to vote for or against things I haven’t read or watched. Given that half or more of the votes in categories dominated by Puppy nominees were for “no award” and a number of people stated that they were going to vote that way without reading any of the nominated works, it’s obvious that many people don’t believe the same way. I’d be very interested in seeing how many of the “no award” votes had only no award votes, and how many of them cast votes ranking nominees in one or more categories.

I watched the first two hours of the livestream, although I missed the opening skit. I must say, I was disappointed but not surprised by the sniggering about the asterisk being the official emblem of this year’s Hugo awards, David Gerrold’s little “happy dance” when the audience cheered that “no award” won in the Best Related Work category, and winner speeches that included statements that “Black lives matter” and “I’d like to thank The Patriarchy.” I went to bed around that time, but Mr. Gerrold apparently said at some later time in the ceremony that while cheering “no award” was acceptable, booing it was not.

As I said, I was disappointed but not surprised – this is the sort of thing I’ve come to expect from organized fandom. It’s a major reason why I’ve not been active in local fandom for a number of years, although whether I gafiated or fafiated depends on your point of view. I’ve talked about this before, but apparently only in comments on other websites. There is a widespread presumption in fandom that everyone in fandom is at least liberal, if not further to the left, and the people who aren’t are stupid, evil, or worse, and are certainly not due any consideration or politeness.

It leads to an environment in which people feel comfortable making statements denigrating conservatives, conservative ideas, and Republicans. The “logic” seems to be, “These are my views, and I’m smart, therefore I’m right, and anyone who disagrees is both stupid and incorrect, but there’s nobody here like that, right?” I don’t like arguing, so I prefer not to go places where I get stressed, but it’s been pointed out that abdicating the field in that way is the sort of thing that helped allow the SJW takeover of the field.

Getting back to the Hugos, it also leads to the way the Puppy nominees and backers have been characterized by the gatekeepers. I’ve never met Larry Correia and Vox Day, but I have met Sarah Hoyt, and the widespread characterization of them and the Puppy nominees as being “straight white males writing about straight white males” can only be considered accurate if you say that the anti-Puppy forces are allowed to assign sex and ethnicity regardless of biology or consistency.

I’ll admit that, while I really liked and was impressed by many of the Puppy nominees, I don’t consider all of them to have been Hugo-worthy. However, even the worst of them was better than some of last year’s highly-touted nominees (“If You Were Attacked by Cardboard Stereotypes, My Love,” for example).

I’ve looked at a few of the Hugo roundup and response posts, and over at Vox Day’s site, some commenters are blaming the Puppy voters for voting “no award,” which is ridiculous to those who’ve been following what he and others have said. Basically, this year they played it straight; next year they’ll vote to burn down the awards, since the people afraid of the awards going to the wrong people have led the way. As Vox Day pointed out, the official announcement didn’t even mention the categories in which no award was made.

There were five categories in which no award was made this year. That matches the number of “no awards” in all of the prior history of the Hugos. Personally, I don’t believe that the nominees this year were that incredibly and historically bad. The gatekeepers have shown the extent to which they’re willing to go to keep control of the awards. It will be interesting, and likely disheartening, to see what happens next.

Reminds me of the stupid things I did

August 10th, 2015

Here we have an individual throwing (and batting around) gasoline-soaked flaming tennis balls.

When I was younger, back in the days when beer and soft drink cans were still made of steel, rather than aluminum, it was possible to cut the tops and bottoms from two or three cans, tape them together to make a tube, and add one more can with several holes in one end and a single hole in the other to act as a combustion chamber. This was known as a “coke can cannon.” Squirt a little lighter fluid into the combustion chamber, shake it around to increase the amount of vapor, drop a tennis ball in the other end, and launch it by holding a match to the hole in the bottom of the combustion chamber.

If you “wet down” the tennis ball with lighter fluid before putting it into the tube, it would come out flaming, which looked cool if done at night.

Of course, you did have to worry about the combustion chamber exploding. I never had that happen, luckily, but I did once put a significant dent in the garage door when recoil caused the cannon to jump from my hand.

As I said, one of the stupid things I did when I was younger.

It’s all rather amusing, really

August 1st, 2015

I’m watching a documentary I recorded on Turner Classic Movies, titled God Respects Us When We Work, But Loves Us When We Dance.

It’s a short documentary of the first Los Angeles love-in, which took place on Easter Sunday, 1967. No narration or dialogue, just film footage with a musical track. Lots of people with flowers, although overall the crowd was smaller than I would have anticipated. Given that it was only two years after the Watts riots, it’s interesting that there’s no apparent racial tension.

What struck me most, though, was how people were dressed. I wasn’t surprised by the men in casual clothes, tunics, and even loincloths, the women in everything from strategically-tied scarves and diaphanous nothings to maxi-skirts and minidresses, and children in what looked like serapes made from throw rugs. What I didn’t expect were the men wearing ties – I’d forgotten that there was still a fair amount of formality in dress back then, even in the counterculture. I kind of miss that look.

Something I didn’t see in the film were people who were fat. Overall, people didn’t weigh as much back then, and it shows when you see something like this.

It also shows when I look the mirror, but that’s another story.

I Voted!

July 31st, 2015

The exclamation point is a little much, I’ll admit, but I submitted my ballot for this year’s Hugo awards tonight. I didn’t vote in all categories, because I wasn’t familiar with all of the nominees. As an example, the only nominee in the category “Long Form Dramatic Presentation” that I saw was Guardians of the Galaxy. Then again, that’s not unusual for me.

I won’t vote in a category where I haven’t seen/read all the nominees. As a result, I voted in eight categories, and didn’t vote in ten. I’ll be interested in learning the results when they’re announced next month.