Monthly Archives: May 2021

I Find It Disturbing

That Elisabeth Waters has not been arrested for being Marion Zimmer Bradley’s accomplice. At least her accomplice. Possibly also a rapist of children. She could certainly be charged with assault and sexual assault on minors, abuse of foster kids, and the like. Let’s not even mention the parts when she lied to the court while on oath.

At any rate, she shouldn’t be appearing in anthologies or being able to sell novels, because she’s a dangerous unindicted criminal, and the sf/f field shouldn’t be overlooking that.

Elisabeth Waters, when given full financial powers over Bradley’s money, and over the money of the convicted pedophile, Walter Breen, did her level best to keep any of their child victims from getting any kind of settlement or legal closure.

And even with Breen and Bradley safely dead, and in a world where it’s financial death to espouse the wrong views, an actual violent criminal is walking around free.

Yay for us. So empowering.

But since she’s not in jail, let’s take a look at how her career is going…

RECENT PUBLICATIONS BY ELISABETH WATERS:

  • Valdemar short story anthologies from 2009-2020, as a contributor. Edited by Mercedes Lackey, published by DAW.
  • Elemental Masters short story anthologies from 2012 and 2013, as a contributor. Edited by Mercedes Lackey, published by DAW.
  • Sword and Sorceress anthologies from 2007-2019. Edited by Waters, contains stories by her, published by Norilana Books and by the MZB Literary Trust.
  • Chapbooks with Lackey in 2010 and 2011, published by the MZB Literary Trust.
  • Mending Fate. YA novel published by the MZB Literary Trust.
  • Magic in Suburbia. Short story collection published by the MZB Literary Trust.

It looks like Mercedes Lackey and DAW either bought a lot of stories from her at some early point, or have taken undeserved pity upon her. Otherwise, she’s self-publishing, because she runs the MZB Literary Trust.

So even the sf/f field has some sense of self-preservation, despite having claimed not to believe Stephen Goldin, Mary Mason, or Moira Grayson’s allegations. Sales don’t lie.

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Pentecost/Whitsun Customs

In England, it used to be popular for the town to make beer or ale, and then raise money for the poor by selling the beer on Pentecost, as part of the various festivities. So people would sit around and drink at these “Whitsun Ales.” This went along nicely with other events, such as dancing in the churchyard, playing bowls, shooting at the village archery range, and so on. Often these events would also take place on Whitsun Monday, aka Whit Monday.

Apparently there used to be a famous custom of running down some big hill at Greenwich, on Whitmonday. Hone’s Every-Day Book talks about it. I’m surprised there’s no race there.

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Ascension Thursday Customs

Apparently the snarky anti-Catholic author of “The Popish Kingdom,” a satirical poem about stuff Catholics do, went into a suspiciously exact amount of detail about pre-Reformation English Catholic customs for various holidays. The first volume of Hone’s Every-Day Book quotes this.

And apparently it used to be a thing to:

  1. Eat some kind of fowl on Ascension Thursday, after Mass, because of the general sky/heavens theme of the day.
  2. Make an effigy of Satan, throw him down from a height after setting him on fire, and then beat him up with sticks, as part of the post-Mass fun in the churchyard or at home. (This goes with the idea that Satan was bound and his Eden mischief reversed, by all of Christ’s actions during His earthly life.) Then pass out cookies.
  3. Tie bags of water to the rafters of your house, with quick-release strings so that you can douse whomever you feel like. (Water games are traditional throughout Europe, and were justified on holy days during the heat of the summer by claiming that they “reminded people of their Baptism.” Yeah, that’s a good excuse, and we’ll take that.)

The poem says, “With laughter great are all things done.” Well, we can’t have THAT.

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“Beware of Chicken”

A Xianxia webnovel like none other. Beware of Chicken, by Casualfarmer, is the isekai story of a modern Earthman whose soul travels into that of a cultivator of chi in a martial arts magic world — and who turns his back on that silliness in order to become a cultivator of rice.

Contains strong language and agricultural violence.

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Plantain = Slan Lus??

So I’m watching random videos, and they had this Irish herb garden lady… and she casually drops the info that “slan lus,” healing herb, which shows up in a lot of stories, is what we call plantain.

Mind. Blown.

What the Irish have as plantain, by the look of it, is not exactly the same species as we have here, but it must be really really close. And everything she described was stuff I’ve heard about US plantain. (It does grow in the US in many places, and is often called “buckhorn plantain.”)

But yeah, it’s apparently getting a lot of use from her, because you can make plantain leaf tea pretty easily. I mean, it’s a weed. Unless somebody’s using pesticide on it, you can get it everywhere temperate and use it most of the year, fresh. The kind of plantain we get around here never gets as big, but contrariwise, the leaves are always tender enough to be edible (although the taste is better when they’re small and young). They have a lot of vitamins too.

Plantain is usually used here (by those who use it) as just kind of a wild salad herb, honestly, although Chinese and Korean teas use plantains a fair bit. You see more about it in survival books than in herb books. It’s called Plantago major, Greater plantain, but it’s a lot smaller than that Irish kind of plantain.

The other amusing thing was that the Irish lady was sort of rubbing the little bitty flower things off the big plantain flower crowned stalk, and using them for extra salad roughage! Ha! Plantain seeds are kind of oily, and gooey when wet, so birds like to eat them. (The psyllium plants that are used for roughage are actually related to plantains, too.)

The important news is that plantain tea is supposed to be very good for respiratory issues and for sinus problems. So don’t say those weeds are totally useless!

Here’s another fan of plantains, who has both Greater and Buckhorn accessible around the place. The idea that “they want to be used” is based on how readily they grow back when browsed upon by animals, stepped on, ripped up, mowed, and what have you. They’re as happy in a city vacant lot as in the country. This person highlights the plantain as an impromptu bandage and as a drawing poultice for splinters, as well as the old-fashioned use of leaf fibers as a replacement for thread. The Irish lady says “spit poultices” of plantain are great for insect bites, and for drawing out pimples and boils.

But if you’re down by a stream and see this plantain, don’t mess with it! It’s the rare and possibly endangered heart-leaved plantain (Plantago cordata). Nothing dangerous, but it’s struggling to survive, because it likes pristine natural water.

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Peter J. Floriani Is a Writing Machine

Holy cow! I just stopped over at Amazon to check on Mr. Floriani, and he is up to Book 18 in his amazing epic of Catholic/boys’ adventure literature, De Bellis Stellarum. He’s also tossed off about five zillion other nonfiction science/philosophy/religion works in the last year or so.

He is a really good author and thinker, and reading him is an experience. Check him out.

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May Day!

This is the ancient feast of Ss. Philip and James the Less, apostles. They’re associated with red spring flowers: the tulip for St. Philip (so you know it’s not that old a tradition), and red bachelor’s buttons or campion for St. James the Less.

St. James the Less is the guy who was known for his camel knees (ie, he prayed so much that his knees got messed up), and who was murdered at the Temple in AD 62. Even a lot of Jewish people who didn’t like Christians were sure that James was a holy man, so this was a controversial move.

St. Philip was martyred in Phrygia.

This was the day when the English “fetched home the May” from the woods. Literally, a may tree is a kind of hawthorn that blossoms white in the spring. May was also a guy, and his bride was Flora (hence “the Floral Dance”). May was also sometimes the Maypole itself, although other towns kept a good Maypole all year round. (Obviously the right kind of tree might not be easy to find.) Dancing around the Maypole followed the fun of bringing back the May. The whole day was a holiday, so a lot of young couples spent the day together. You also brought home flowers from the woods, so leaving flowers or May Day baskets at the houses of older people was a thing.

May Day was also associated with “May games,” which were generally elaborate pageants s that might include skits, dances, sports, athletic contests, and games. They were often associated with Morris dancing, hobby horse dancing, and retelling of legends of Robin Hood and Maid Marian (who often presided over the whole thing). In other places, maskers in May outfits go to people’s houses to dance and sing.

Many Maypoles were destroyed or burned as “idols” by anti-Catholic or anti-dancing Protestants or Puritans, although some survived in rural places. In 1644, all maypoles were outlawed in the British Isles. But when King Charles II came in, maypoles returned, and they put up one 134 feet high in the Strand in London.

In a lot of places after Charles II, May celebrations were overseen by the Anglican clergy, to prevent Mayers being messed with. There were also versions of May songs which deflected criticism by adding LOTS AND LOTS of Christian content. (But not Catholic content! No!)

For example, here’s “The Mayer’s Song” from Hitchin, Hertfordshire, from Hone’s Every-Day Book.

Remember us poor Mayers all, and thus we do begin

To live our lives in righteousness, or else we die in sin.

We have been rambling all this night, and almost all this day,

And now return-ed back again, we bring you a branch of may.

A branch of may we have brought you, and at your door it stands,

It is but a sprout, but it’s well-budded out by the work of Our Lord’s hands.

The hedges and trees, they are so green, as green as any leek,

Our Heavenly Father, He watered them with His heavenly dew so sweet.

The heavenly gates are open wide, our paths are beaten plain,

And if a man be not too far gone, he may return again.

The life of man is but a span, it flourishes like a flower,

We are here today and gone tomorrow, and we are dead in an hour.

The Moon shines bright, and the stars give a light, a little before it is day,

So God bless you all, both great and small, and send you a joyful May!

There are a lot of May carol variants on this, and here’s one on Youtube.

In more recent times, May Day was taken over by the Communists in some countries, which led to Pope Pius XII making a feast of St. Joseph the Worker and moving it onto May 1, with Philip and James getting moved to May 3.

Of course May is also one of Mary’s big months, so you find people doing May Crowning of statues of Mary during this month. This year, Pope Francis has called for even more May rosary devotions than normal, so I’m sure that will be a thing. (Probably because we’re all worried about schism in Germany.)

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