Monthly Archives: February 2012

People with Too Much Time on Their Hands

Some Anonymous folks tried to attack the World Youth Day website last summer, and it didn’t work or even get noticed by the outside world. But it did provide some info on how this kind of attack is put together.

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George Macdonald Fraser’s Nonfiction Scottish Border Book on Sale

The Steel Bonnets: The Story of the Anglo-Scottish Border Reivers is a great book for anyone wanting to understand UK history, or the sorts of things that certain Scots-Irish and English Border families have tended to do in America.

It’s a brief history of the Border Marches between Scotland and England, and of all the raiding, marrying, and general ruckus that went on up there. Fraser (best known for his humorous historical fiction and a few good movie scripts, but also a WWII Burma veteran) is exactly the person to make it understandable and fun, without softening it up too much for truth. (There’s some useful correctives about Rob Roy, for instance.)

And since a good chuck of us Americans, and our presidents, have Border ancestry, it’s probably got more personal relevance to you than you think. (Is your name Taylor, Graham, Armstrong, Scott, or Elliott, for instance?) Fraser has some extremely cogent remarks on Andrew Jackson and the Jacksonian tendencies of US society in relation to Border ethics. Also, the original meaning of “blackmail”!

Don’t forget that, nowadays, you can instantly look up and hear the Border ballads referenced in the text. They made good music up on the Border, too.

Anyway, it’s $2.99 right now, so check it out!

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The Instapundit on SCA True Love

There are a fair number of SCA fighter men who date or marry SCA fighter women, and even more if you allow for “mixed marriages” involving fighters or fencers or archers of various types. It’s an athlete thing.

The Instapundit knows at least one of these couples.

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Why Julie Would Do Better Photoshopping Than This

Photoshop turns out to be obvious fake. The Internet that’s paying attention to nitpicky stuff can see that the 1 isn’t properly kerned to the 3.

So it’s lucky that Julie uses her powers for good and not for evil.

The comments on the Smoking Gun site are pretty funny… Apparently some people are totally unaware that a restaurant keeps the merchant copy more than five minutes, or that receipts are often numbered and dated, just so they can check them if something comes up.


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For Female Watsons, Will the Third CBS Pilot Be the Charm?

With the success of the BBC’s modern-day Sherlock, and before that, the success of the American modern-day Holmes versions in House, M.D. and The Zero Effect, it’s inevitable that we go back to another US version of Holmes.

On the upcoming CBS series Elementary, Holmes is a respected criminologist, formerly a consultant for the Yard but now a recovering addict fresh out of rehab. The NYPD hires him as a consultant, but makes him take on a “sober companion” to keep him on the straight and narrow. The one he gets is Dr. Joan Watson, a gifted surgeon who lost an influential patient on the table and her license, in quick succession. So she has to ride herd on him during cases, whether either of them like it or not.

Holmes is played by English actor Jonny Lee Miller, the grandson of actor Bernard Lee (the original M).

Dr. Joan Watson is Lucy Liu.

This is going to be awesome.

Anyway, the folks behind the upcoming CBS show, Elementary, have announced that there’ll be a return to the female Watsons of two failed television pilots for CBS: The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1987 – Michael Pennington, Margaret Colin), set in Boston with a revived olden days Sherlock Holmes and Watson’s private eye descendant, Jane Watson; and Sherlock Holmes Returns (1993 – Anthony Higgins, Debrah Farentino), with a revived Sherlock Holmes in San Francisco, helped by Dr. Amy Winslow.

(For other female Watsons, there’s also the Mary Russell series of books by Laurie R. King; and there’s Robert Forward’s Marshal Bravestarr spinoff cartoon with a female Mycroft descendant, “Sherlock Holmes in the 24th Century” (not to be confused with the female Lestrade of Sherlock Holmes in the 23rd Century) and the female Mycroft version, Michelle, in Heinlein’s The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, for that matter. You get the idea.)

But this time, it’s not about suspended animation or cryogenics. Everybody’s contemporary, just like on House. (And that obscure BBC miniseries thing.) 😉

The female Watson concept has always been cool, even if Rex Stout came up with it as a rather misogynistic joke. (In his paper for the Baker Street Irregulars, “Watson Was a Woman”, which “revealed” a sort of Shakespeare Code in the stories.) It’s like fate, to see it turn up again on CBS.

Three times makes the charm… I hope, I hope, I hope….

Apparently nobody gave the BBC the memo about all the previous US versions of Holmes, so one of the Sherlock producers attempted to get nasty this winter. So sad. 🙂

The guy who wrote The Return of Sherlock Holmes is now a California prof, so media take note!

Pictures of Sherlock Holmes Returns at an Anthony Higgins fan site.

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The Spinrad Star Trek Episode That Never Was

Norman Spinrad is selling his old unfilmed Star Trek script, “He Walked Among Us”, on the Kindle. Bit pricey, but he knows what the Trekkie traffic will bear.

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Beyond Gut Instinct

Dangerous Instincts is a new book by an FBI profiler. It’s all about how to suss out creepy people who have learned not to seem creepy.

Now, after meeting these kinds of people and finding out they’re creeps, you might be able to suss out other creepy people of the same type. But honestly, that’s the kind of experiential knowledge you can do without. (At best, you waste your time and energy on jerks, and at worst, you don’t get to have more experiences in this life.) Also, your psychological makeup may give you issues that cause you to ignore stuff that would be a red flag for other people.

But mostly, for everyday safety, you really ought to use your noggin and your eyes and ears, instead of waiting on your gut to give you emergency warnings. Especially if you have kids, or other people you need to watch over.

So if you don’t want to be working next to Ted Bundy all day while thinking he’s a nice guy, just because he’s never been mean to you (like the crime writer Ann Rule once did), this sounds like a good book to find at the library and stomp into your head, or to buy and keep handy. (I’m being cheap until I find a job, so probably the library for me.)

Review at Blackfive.

Here’s another book that sounds similarly useful — In Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People. Just because they’re not psychos, that doesn’t mean you need to put up with it.


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