Monthly Archives: May 2014

True Adventure

I just ran across this PDF file about a Korean missionary sister who passed away a few years back. It’s a remarkable story of guts, Korean family values, forgiveness of enemies, and living through some of the worst parts of history without whining or letting fear paralyze you.

Go meet Sr. Juliana Che!

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Awards, and Betraying SF’s Inner Reader

“This is YOUR magazine. Only by knowing what kind of stories you like can we continue to please you. Fill out this coupon or copy it on a sheet of paper and mail it to AMAZING STORIES, 53 Park Place, New York City.”

— Readers’ Vote of Preference ballot, Amazing Stories, Vol. 1 No. 7, October 1926

From the letter column “Discussions,” Amazing Stories, Vol. 1 No. 10, January 1927:

“Some time ago I read one of your issues and was greatly surprised to find such reading matter as is published in your magazine. Mr. Jules Verne’s story was one of the best. He is a very promising writer. You also have several other good stories in the October issue.”

— E. H., Indianapolis, Ind.
[Verne had been dead for many years, so the editor printed this as inadvertently funny but suppressed the reader name.]

“”I have always been an avid reader of pseudo-scientific stories, or, as you term them, scientifiction — a very good descriptive word, by the way, — and I have waited for years for something like this to appear.

“One gets loaded up on the western tales, and silly twaddle, as typified by the “sex” magazines; and a magazine such as AMAZING STORIES, with the unique, the bizarre — is a relief.

“I have, however, a fault to find with AMAZING STORIES. I can’t understand why you reprint any of the Verne stories. I have, for one, never liked them. They are dry, and to my mind, poorly written.

“The “Hackensaw” stories were ordinary, as were the “Fosdick” tales. I didn’t care for them, personally, nor for Poe’s stories.

“”The Moon Hoax” was — rotten! It does not belong in your magazine, if you intend to live up to “Scientifiction.”

“Stories by England, Wells, Serviss, by writers who can, and do, combine scientific facts and well-written fiction into an interesting and gripping tale, are what I want, and it is, I understand, your aim to give us that. If you do this, there is no reason why circulation will not increase to warrant the issue twice a month….”

— Harry V. Spurling, Elgin, Ill.

“….many of your authors are very amateurish in the use of words, and short on facts, as in the case of Mr. Windsor in “Station X.” … If my criticism seems harsh, forgive it on the grounds that I am interested in the welfare of AMAZING STORIES, and hope to see them truly great, and not in the class of cheap fiction.”

— Prof. Jack E. Edwards, San Francisco, Calif.

The whole reason sf has awards is that the sf magazines used to encourage reader comment and criticism on their choice of stories. The simple voting coupon quickly was overtaken by letter columns full of “letters of comment” including addresses, which then became fandom’s first method of finding friends who shared an interest in “scientifiction.” Many magazines (and later, fanzines) pooled the votes for the year and announced which stories were the year’s or the issue’s reader favorites. All the sf awards grew out of this.

The criteria for these awards were all about reader interest and enjoyment, not about the names on the masthead, or their sex and ethnicity.

From the letter column “Discussions,” Amazing Stories, Vol. 8, No. 12, April 1934:

“I have just finished reading “The Second Deluge” published in your last Quarterly issue of your superb magazine, and I can’t refrain myself from instantly writing to you, before I read the whole magazine.

“This story, to my liking, is the best I ever read of fiction in either English or Spanish languages. I would like to get acquainted with more of Prof. Garrett P. Serviss’ productions…

“The Second Deluge” is worth the money I paid for it fifty times over, and the entertainment I had from its reading is unequaled, although I had to stay up late at nights, unwilling to discontinue….”

— Rafael Villegas, P. O. Box 1419, San Jose, Costa Rica, C. A.

“I must tell you that I find Discussions so very interesting that it is the first thing I turn to when reading the magazine. It is almost like a story, showing us, who can read between the lines, the psychology of the people who write therein.

“…No matter how absorbing planetary stories may be, they do get boring when there are too many. Thus, it is not asking too much to give us psychology readers “a break” and print more stories like the “Pellucid Horror,” “Master of Dreams,” and the “Lost Language.”

— Miss Rea Ash, 1001 East 167th Street, New York City, N. Y.

“….As for the stories, well I’m not throwing any bricks because almost all of the stories you have published so far, have been in my estimation excellent, each in its own way. Although the kinds which I prefer above all are the ones dealing with time-space traveling, the past or future and about the different planets of the universe.

“And now, Mr. Editor, I’d like a word or two with some of our readers. I wish many of your who throw bricks so lavishly at some poor author would stop to think that even though he can’t please everybody, after all he is only human, and a flower or two and some words of encouragement would do far more good than a ton of bricks….”

— Miss E. M. C. Poppe, Box 727, W. Brownsville, Pa.

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Kitten Rescued from Tornado Debris by Meteorologist

When you get the meteorologist out of the studio and make him do location shots, sometimes he notices things that other newspeople don’t.

This one had a nose for mews.

Also, this tornado gives new meaning to “airmail.”

The Cedarville tornado left a track five miles long; but it was almost entirely through farmland, and no crop damage was done because the farmers haven’t started planting yet. The Dobbins family lost their house and barn, and another family lost a house; but it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been.

Cedarville is a very rural area except for a small old evangelical Protestant religious college. South Charleston (the town where the airmail landed) is also pretty darned rural, albeit it has more Catholic people. They had their own serious tornado at one point.

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Nereus Unmanned Research Sub Lost on St. Nereus’ Day?

Yesterday was the feastday for Ss. Nereus and Achilleus, martyrs, as well as for St. Pancras and others.

Yesterday was also the day that Woods Hole announced they’d lost their deep sea unmanned exploration submarine, the Nereus, thanks to water pressure and a really deep sea trench. (But it was Saturday May 10th in NZ time.)

Btw, St. Pancras is one of the “Ice Kings”, but his old feast day was later in the month, so don’t blame him for any frost!

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Francis + Fellay

Rorate Coeli has an interesting report that, sometime in the last 6 months or so, Pope Francis had an official (but unannounced-to-press) meeting with SSPX leader Fellay.

Of course this is what we would expect from any pope, but it’s good news.

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XKCD Is Wrong

Freefall is right.

“Freedom is more than being able to say what you want without fear.

“Freedom means you can also listen without fear.”

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Your Nightmare Fuel Translation

Rev. 4:2-3

“….upon the throne one sitting. And he that sat, was to the sight like the jasper and the sardine stone.”

Sard! Sard! Is that so hard?

“….on the Throne was seated One Whose appearance had a gemlike sparkle as of jasper and carnelian.”

I’m pretty sure I never thought of the Lord as sparkly.

“The one sitting there looked like gray quartz and red quartz.”

That would be the no-geology-in-the-soul translation.

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Saturday Morning Slow Jams

A nice showcase for the songwriting chops behind cartoon themes.

Here’s Duck Tales as R & B.

The same band does Postmodern Jukebox, a collection of modern songs done as vintage jazz and swing. I like their instrumentals, and the singers are workmanlike (or workwomanlike!).

But as usual with these experiments, I don’t believe the singers as vintage singers. For some reason, something usually rings false. It’s like they dress up and look picture perfect, but they haven’t internalized the era in themselves. Of course, this is probably more a function of making YouTube videos five seconds after the arrangement is done, rather than being a fair reflection of singers’ capabilities. The ladies doing R & B cartoon music have the luxury of just singing R & B.

The same singer who doesn’t convince for the 1940’s does a good job imitating doowop. (Although as usual, you can’t possibly picture the subject matter being treated that way at the time!) I think it’s a matter of being more relaxed. She’s a darn good singer when she relaxes and isn’t squinched up.

That said, Ashlee (who sings the Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers theme) sounds like a jazz singer from the 1920’s to 1940’s. Her range and approach is very similar to some of the greats. She should be doing that vintage stuff.

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Premature Burial or Tabloid NYT Reporting?

Reposted from Over the River and Into the Tiber:

I’ve never heard this one before, but it’s an old Dayton doozy!

A February 8, 1884 story from the New York Times noted the premature burial of a Miss Anna HOCKWALT of Dayton.

It was the morning of her brother’s wedding at Emmanuel downtown, to a Miss Emma Schwind. Right before 6 AM, “the young lady was dressing for the nuptials and had gone into the kitchen. A few moments afterward she was found sitting on a chair with her head leaning against a wall and apparently lifeless. Medical aid was summoned in, Dr. Jewett who, after examination, pronounced her dead… The examination showed that Anna was of excitable temperament, nervous, and affected with sympathetic palpitation of the heart. Dr. Jewett thought this was the cause of her supposed death.”

The Nuptial Mass went on as scheduled, but it was a sad occasion. (And in case you’re wondering why the early hour, remember that back then, the nuptial pair had to fast from midnight on, in order to receive Communion in the morning at their wedding.)

“On the following day, the lady was interred in the Woodland. The friends of Miss Hockwalt were unable to forget the terrible impression and several ladies observe that her eyes bore a remarkably natural color and could not dispel an idea that she was not dead. They conveyed their opinion to Annie‚Äôs parents and the thought preyed upon them so that the body was taken from the grave. It was stated that when the coffin was opened it was discovered that the supposed inanimate body had turned upon its right side. The hair had been torn out in handfuls and the flesh had been bitten from the fingers. The body was reinterred and efforts made to suppress the facts, but there are those who state they saw the body and know the facts to be as narrated.”

Of course, the “suppress the facts” pretty much means this is the 19th century version of a tabloid newspaper story, so take it with a grain of salt. In fact, there’s an earlier wave of stories from January 11, 1884, in the Indianapolis News and the Cleveland Herald, saying that Miss EMMA Hockwalt was the one who passed away the day of her brother’s wedding (without any hint of premature burial). So you can see there’s not exactly genius reporting going on.

Anyhoo, whatever really happened, the lady officially died on January 9, 1884; and she is buried at CALVARY Cemetery as Anna Mary HOCHWALT.

(I suppose it’s possible that she was initially buried at Woodland, but Calvary has been the Catholic cemetery for Dayton since 1872; before that, it was St. Henry’s from 1833 on. Being buried at Woodland was for Protestants. So as for where the girl was buried, it sounds like the New York Times needs to issue a correction.) (And her dad originally spelled his name Hochwaldt.)

The brother who got married that day was Edward Andrew Hochwalt, and his bride was Emma Teresa Schwind Hochwalt.

Emma Schwind was a daughter of Edmund J. Schwind, the vice-president of Dayton’s Schwind Brewing Co., aka the Schwind Brewery Co., founded by his father, Celestine Schwind, in 1854 and incorporated in 1893. Edward Hochwalt also worked at the company, as its secretary and treasurer. In 1895, the company made 60,000 barrels a beer a year, all of which was consumed in Dayton and the surrounding area. In 1904, the company merged with several other breweries (still putting out their own distinctive brands and running their own businesses) as the Dayton Breweries Company.

(They did very well, but then Prohibition came in; so they shut down on January 16, 1920 and liquidated all their property by December 1920. Adam Schantz, the mastermind behind the Dayton Breweries Company, passed away on Jan. 10, 1921, apparently out of sadness and exhaustion.)

There are Hochwalts and Hockwalts still living in Dayton, btw. There’s even a Hochwalt Avenue.

Dr. Gustave A. Hochwalt, another one of Anna’s brothers, was Dayton’s first city bacteriologist. There’s a nice picture of him on the next page of the book. He looks very normal and Dayton-ish.


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Sean Bean Trains!

Joy’s probably already seen this, but I think everybody will appreciate it!

Found via Wonderduck.

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