Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Family Dog Felt Peckish Yesterday

My mom made meatloaf yesterday, and then for some reason she left the meatloaf out on the kitchen counter in the metal bowl.

Rue decided to help herself, which is pretty easy when you’re an Irish wolfhound. But when she took a few bites, apparently the bowl did something to scare her (probably moved or hit her nose), because she ran off like a scalded cat. My parents wanted to see what had startled her… so they backtracked and found the remnants of dinner.

Later that day, still not full (hey, everybody gets hungry in Fall weather), the dog was patrolling the house while Mom and Dad were gone on errands. My mom had been doing something with the boxes of instant oatmeal packets, and had left them out on the kitchen counter.

Did I mention that this dog likes bread? And apples? And apple-cinnamon oatmeal was among the packets?

The dog picked up one whole box of oatmeal, carried it out to her normal afternoon guard area, opened the box (probably by shaking it open), got into each packet of oatmeal, ate the contents without eating the paper, and then licked up every last spilled bit of oaty goodness. She is a very neat eater, if nothing else.

And no, no ill effects from her day of mischief. Our previous wolfhound ate a whole loaf of white bread with no ill effects. Rue has eaten whole packets of Fisherman’s Friend without ill effects. She has a pretty good digestion.


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Biographies in Sound: Ticket to the Moon

Biographies in Sound was a radio show from the mid-Fifties, giving the biographies of various famous public figures, often through interviews with people who knew them. However, Episode 64, “Ticket to the Moon,” was something completely different: a “biography” of science fiction as a genre, written as an introduction for newbies. (And as an advertisement for two upcoming radio adaptations of Ray Bradbury stories, “Zero Hour” and “There Will Come Soft Rains.”)

It’s pretty remarkable even now as an introduction, sports some truly horrible puns (“gazing into their novelettes”), and features the voices of many of our dearly departed: John Campbell, Isaac Asimov, A.E. Van Vogt, Ray Bradbury, Forrest J. Ackerman and his wife, Willy Ley, and many more. It was very touching to hear those people, so influential to my life, whom I never got to meet.

It’s also pretty interesting as documentation that sf did take its literary pretensions pretty seriously, especially after Ray Bradbury became an accepted literary figure and was popular reading too. There’s a faint air of desperation in some of the magisterial comments, while others seem perhaps overly confident, expecting Hemingway and Faulkner to start writing sf. There’s very little talk of sense of wonder, oddly enough, and a good deal of denigration of adventure tales by everyone except Mrs. Ackerman. (There’s also some fun with Asimov codeswitching back into his New York accent as he talks to the unheard New York radio interviewer.)

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Hobbit Menu at Denny’s?!?

I’m really, really torn about this.

On the one hand, Denny’s is the antithesis of the Shire, because it’s a non-alcohol-serving American chain restaurant, and has absolutely nothing to do with English inn cuisine or with homemade goodies and homebrew.

OTOH, the dwarves would have absolutely no problem eating breakfast at Denny’s, because there are big portions. And Denny’s is a reasonable facsimile of a hometown diner, in most American towns these days.

But on the gripping hand, the idea of Radagast Red Velvet Pancake hushpuppy cakes, for the wizard of woodland animals? That seriously suggests drug use among the Denny’s meal developers, and yet it’s hysterically funny and oddly fitting. Because we’re Americans, and we come up with this kind of kooky stuff, which actually makes it seem authentic in a backhanded way. Ditto the Lonely Mountain cream cheese with lemon poppyseed seed-cake French toast snow, or smoke, or white lava. Or creamy Arkenstone center. Whatever the heck that’s supposed to be.

So yeah, I’m thinking that Tolkien would see the humor in this, rather than be offended. He might not want to eat any of this stuff, but he’d probably not be offended.

Here’s more extensive coverage. The Hobbit Hole Breakfast actually features a strange cheesy version of Toad-in-the-Hole, so there’s actually some English cuisine! And that seedycake of some nature, so there’s that. (English seed cake is usually caraway-flavored, though lemon rind does come into it.) Also, lots of eggs and bacon and sausage, and pot roast. So it’s not too hateful, and would definitely fill your belly.

Where do the dwarves get turkey, a New World fowl?

Same place they get tobacco and potatoes, both New World plants. Toby Longbottom’s journey brought stuff back. (No, pipeweed’s not pot. Read the foreword to LoTR, where Tolkien tells you all about tobacco in Middle Earth.)

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Ann Romney Buys Her Own Dang Clothes; Michelle Obama Gets Them Free

Naturally, designers are reluctant to claim their good customer, but happy to claim their living billboard, to whom they also donate money.

Designer Alfred Fiandaca did admit that Mrs. Romney wears his clothes, but was quick to claim that she buys them off the rack and doesn’t get any personal fittings. And he’s a lifelong Democrat. And he doesn’t agree with the Romneys. Etc.

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“Naruto SD: Rock Lee” takes on Halloween

The Naruto spinoff, Naruto SD: Rock Lee and His Ninja Pals, where all the Naruto characters run around doing comedy cartoon stuff in chibi form, just did a Halloween episode.

Actually, the first part is a Fall festival of ninja safety, cracking on driver safety programs in Japan. In the second part, the Leaf Village throws a “Western-style” Halloween party. In a classic cross-cultural moment, they describe Halloween as “an American O-bon.” And later on, we see exactly what they think that means. (Which incidentally goes to show exactly what kind of similarities and differences lie between a natural-law or pagan feast about the dead, and a Christian one. Comedy has a way of showing people the uncomfortable truths about their little platitudes, like unthinking comparisons between Halloween and O-bon.)

Anyway, the true sticking point turns out to be recreating Trick or Treat, as traditionally raised Japanese kids aren’t supposed to pester adults or beg them for goodies. So they try reallllllly hard with the whole Beggar’s Night thing, which leads to the inevitable crossover with the Little Match Girl. (The Japanese love “The Little Match Girl” and all the other sad Andersen stories. I guess because Hans Christian Andersen is also totally into the dying protagonist thing.)

It was a very bizarre piece of anime, but also a revealing one. It’ll be available to all viewers next week, just in time for Halloween!


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Never Torque Off a Fannish Guy’s Mom

She’s the mother of a man known worldwide (albeit among a small circle of diplomats and gamers) for being able to organize people and get things done.

Why the heck would you try to obfuscate her?

Transcript of Rush Limbaugh talking about Mrs. Smith’s interview on CNN Includes video of her being interviewed by Anderson Cooper. (And I give Cooper props for that.)

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New Saints Posts!

“Saints Among Us” — a nice post from a Syracuse, NY newspaper.

“State of Grace” – a story about all the saints and blesseds from New York.

“Saint Kateri” from Salt + Light. Has some new points about the saint’s life. This is a Canadian Catholic cable network, and they’ve filmed a show about her life called “In Her Footsteps.”

“Lewiston Family Heads to Rome” — This story from a Buffalo, NY newspaper shows how the Vatican canonization-miracle standards are so rough that plain old ordinary miraculous healings don’t count. And in St. Kateri’s case, we’re talking hundreds of years of miraculous healings.

A nice updated page about St. Kateri.

The triumphantly updated page at

Kateri has become a fairly common given name for young US and Canadian Catholic girls. Here’s one lady who bears the name.

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