Author Archives: suburbanbanshee

Allan Drury EBOOKS!

Thanks to Baen Books, you can now buy a $7.99 ebook of Allan Drury’s greatest novel of American politics, Advise and Consent. Based on real events in the Senate during WWII, but timeshifted into the Fifties, this is the story of men and women who love America, work hard for her, but have very different ideas about her. How far can a president go in pursuit of his goals? How far can the Legislative Branch push back? Is it fair for people to consider your past when you’re considered for a job in the present? And what do you do if you are blackmailed about your deepest secrets?

Advise and Consent. It’s been unobtainium for years! If you’ve never read it, read it now.

Here it is at Baen, and here it is on Amazon. You might also keep an eye out for the acclaimed movie. Drury’s nonfiction book Senate Diary lets you know the true-life version; though of course those people are not the same people as in the novel, and don’t live in the same world.

Keep an eye out for further ebooks. Advise and Consent is the first of a long series about these characters. It turns into sf and alternate worlds along the way, even without deserting the world of political fiction, so Baen isn’t cheating on its basic mission!

If you would like some standalone fun, Baen also has Decision (his big Supreme Court novel) and Mark Coffin, U.S.S. (a novel about a junior US senator). Those ebooks haven’t been posted on Amazon yet. They’re also $7.99. Not superduper classics, but Drury novels are always fun and interesting reads. (Here’s Decision on Amazon, and here’s Mark Coffin, U.S.S. on Amazon.)

If you know you’re going to want all three Drurys and you also want some sf, check out this month’s Wordfire Press Bundle for only $37.94. Beside the Drurys, you’ll also get some Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert, and Kevin Anderson. Not my favorite writers personally, but obviously all very solid.

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Latin Vulgate Magically Turned into KJV by Louisiana Politician

Okay, so it’s probably both noble and misguided to name the Jean Prevel Bible held by the Louisiana State Museum as Louisiana’s “official state book.”

But then, the same guy who came up with the original idea, LA state Rep. Carmody, decided to change it so that any King James Version Bible would also count as Louisiana’s official state book.

The Jean Prevel edition of the Bible is a Latin Vulgate with Glossa Ordinaria notes based on the Venice 1495 edition printed by Albert D’ Castello, and text based on the best available Clementine “amended” versions of St. Jerome’s Vulgate and the Old Latin bits. It is French, brought from the old country, and represents Louisiana’s French Catholic heritage.

The KJV is a Protestant translation of the Bible into English that specifically rejects the traditional Jerome bits and the Clementine versions of the wording, translation, and glosses.

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Vinegar as a Reviving Drink

For some reason, this year I’ve heard a lot of people meditating on the Passion who thought that offering Jesus “sour wine,” or “vinegar,” was a cruel mockery.

Actually, in the old days, and to this day, vinegar was seen as something that revived and strengthened you. The smell of vinegar-soaked cloths was how you would wake up someone fainting. Here in Ohio, farmers drank “sprouse,” which elsewhere is called “shrub”* or “switchel,” vinegar mixed with sweet juice, as something to drink in the heat of the day. In the Middle East, it’s popular to drink “sekanjabin,” vinegar mixed with sugar syrup in various flavors (and closely related to the ancient Greek “oxymel”).

And Roman soldiers, being tough and cheap, drank sour wine, or the sour wine with health additives against scurvy that was called “posca.” It was seen as bad for discipline to let men on duty drink real wine, or worse, good wine! The Greek health drink called “oxymel” was honey wine, and thus no good for soldiers. But honeyed sour wine was okay, and became standard camp fare. Mixing vinegar with doubtful water supplies made it reasonably safe to drink, and vinegar and sugar both have a tendency to kill microorganisms (although I’m sure a lot of camp cooks spent a lot of time boiling water).

Now it’s possible that the reviving vinegar was offered to an obviously dying man as a joke. But sour wine was nothing worse or different than what the soldiers were drinking themselves; they probably offered it out of their own supplies for the long, hot duty day. Sour wine with hyssop mixed in it, or worse, with gall mixed in it, would not be my flavor choices. But they were pretty normal for Roman soldiers. They also liked mixing it with lots of coriander seeds (that’d be the seed form of cilantro, for those of you playing the home game).

Also, you could drink a fair amount of a sugar or vinegar-based drink without getting sick from it, whereas cold water with no additives has to be drunk slowly in summer to avoid making yourself sick. Vinegar-based drinks were essentially the sports drinks of yesteryear.

Also, most forms of vinegar were kosher for Passover, so there’s that.

* “Shrub” comes from the same Arabic word as “sherbet.” It’s just the root word for “drink”: sh r b.

An interesting reminiscence about a lady sitting around a table with her Iranian family, using sekanjabin as a dip for lettuce! Also includes some nice sekanjabin drink recipes, and a bit in the comments about Pakistani sikanjabeen with salt and pepper!

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Anime Stuff I’m Watching

Here’s some shows I may be following this anime season. They’re mostly on Crunchyroll.com.

Btw, I gather that Nadia: Secret of Blue Water is airing on Hulu. If you like steampunk on the ocean, this is a must-see from the late 80′s-early 90′s.

The File of Young Kindaichi Returns: Mystery! Adventure! Intrigue! Teenage detectives! What more can you want on Saturday morning?

Captain Earth: A boy is destined to drive a mecha and defend the Earth. Yawn. Except this time, the familiar story is being told in a stylish, mysterious way that promises a lot of new excitement. The characters seem very real and involving, and it’s beautifully drawn.

Chaika: The Coffin Princess: In the year 1604 in an alternate world, a short Russian girl princess/wizard wanders the world with her magical giant gun, strapped on her back in a coffin-shaped case. She finds help from brother and sister saboteurs-for-hire. The first ep features a terrifying fight with a crazy unicorn.

Mushi-shi (continuation of the original series) If you like Japanese folklore and a setting in a slightly alternate present, this is your show. The mushi-shi is a sort of monster (mushi) wrangler who deals with supernatural problems. In the first episode, we learn about how much mushi love good sake. (Unfortunately I’ve never seen the original series, but hope to fix that.)

Fairy Tail Season 2: The continuing adventure of an all-mage guild in a world full of mages with strange powers. This year, we’re apparently heading up towards another apocalyptic war with/of dragons, and the guildmembers raised by dragons are obviously a bit perturbed about this….

Baby Steps: The tennis adventures of a grind with no life, who’s never played sports or had hobbies… until now. Actually very good at showing the mindset of over-preparers, especially the way people assume they’re “just smart” when often their real quality is insane perseverance at learning what’s hard for them. Obviously there is something to be said for this quality in athletics.

Rowdy Sumo Wrestler Matsutaro: The retro 1950′s/1960′s adventure of the strongest man in Japan — basically, John Henry as a slacker. He doesn’t even bother to graduate from school despite advanced years, works a bit on the side, and terrifies everybody he runs across while also helping an old man he likes. But his mother can’t support him and all his siblings forever. So he apparently finds a career as a sumo wrestler sometime after the first crazy episode, but will have to learn to take sumo seriously in order to win the love of his crush, the beautiful schoolteacher Minami. Features a gorgeous enka song duet for the opening themesong.

The World Is Still Beautiful: A teenage island princess with rain powers is to be married off to an Alexander-analog who’s conquered most of the world, in willing exchange for her tiny country’s continued sovereignty. But the princess was overly optimistic about her welcome and has sent her faithful retainers home, the Alexander-analog is barely pubescent, the emperor’s advisors want the princess dead, and the Sun Kingdom doesn’t really have much rain for the princess to have power over. However, she also has the gift of making friends, so maybe it will work out.

No Game, No Life: The adventures of a brother and sister team who never go to school, sleep as little as possible, and use games to hold off the problems of life. But they’re really good at games — so good that another world’s god comes to fetch them to his world where all status is controlled by playing games for stakes agreed by the players. Suddenly these nobody kids are on course to take over another world… and they have no desire to ever go home. A surprisingly dark show, for what’s admittedly wish-fulfillment fantasy.

Continuing from last season:

Yowamushi Pedal: The roadrace cycling adventures of a geek who’s always biked a lot for utilitarian reasons but didn’t think of it as a sport. Until now.

Tonari no Seki-kun: The Master of Killing Time — comedy shorts about a schoolgirl who sits at the desk next to a boy who does crazy stuff. Just barely plausible stuff. It will make you feel that you wasted your time in school by being so uncreative… and whether the show’s artists were up to stuff like this.

There’s probably more stuff. Basically, I tend to watch some shows in batches or marathons, and other shows one-by-one.

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Murder Ballads Down by the River

One of the most popular themes of the murder ballad (English, Scottish, American, folk, bluegrass, blues) is that of the man who takes the girl who loves him for a walk down by the river, and kills her. There are various circumstances and reasons, but the river is where you do it. Instant body disposal, you see.

The last couple weeks in Dayton, there’s been a case of the disappearance of a woman and her little boy that’s been in the news. Last week, her body was found down by the river, and yesterday, they released the information that she’d been shot in the head. Her boyfriend was a felon, and the police went to talk to him; he fled and then shot himself. There’s a second girlfriend around, who apparently helped drain the woman’s account of money. The little boy hasn’t been found, but is presumed dead. You have to wonder if they were holding her son hostage to make her keep her mouth shut and give them access to her bank account.

Down by the river, just a little walk.

I’m pretty sure that this woman was (very briefly) one of my coworkers last summer, before she got a better job and left, and I got another job and left. If this was the same person I’m thinking of, she seemed like a very levelheaded young woman, not the sort to get caught up with a criminal. But of course plenty of people leave their problems at home and don’t bring them to the job. Her bakery coworkers also thought highly of her, when they spoke to reporters while she was still missing. They knew something was wrong when she missed a shift, because she was always on time, ever since she got the job last summer.

They’re still looking for the body of little Zaden. Please pray for the success of the searchers, and for the souls of everybody caught up in this sad little ballad.

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Red Moon Tonight!

A golden or orange harvest moon is widely seen as beautiful, but apparently some people get freaked out by a red harvest moon. Shrug. The ancients were more familiar with the vagaries of the sky than we are; not every red moon is supposed to mean something bad.

Anyway, for all your conspiracy needs, here is the shocking interpretation of prophecy by St. Beatus of Liebana, following the ancient Fathers!

“The Sun shall be darkened and the Moon made blood-red, and stars shall fall from heaven.” (Mt. 24:29, Vetus Latina)

All this is the pretense of holiness, by those who will have been detected in their pretense by the saints. And when they are separated from [the saints], they are said to be “darkened” and to “fall.”

Clearly, “the Sun” and “the Moon” and “the stars” is the likeness of holiness — that is, hypocrisy and false religion. But one sees St. John placed them all in our heaven — that is, in the Church. For stars that are under heaven cannot see into the higher heaven where He called them in the beginning. This is done in the Church, in a way. In the last coming of the Antichrist, truly, the Moon that he says is “made blood,” the Church of the Saints, is shown to shed [her] blood for Christ. He says that “stars” fall — that is, the disturbed faithful.

In other words, same as any other day in the Church.

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Sungenis vs. Mulgrew and Krauss

Robert Sungenis, once a mild-mannered Catholic convert and apologist/traditionalist, is now a sorta-schismatic, geocentrist, anti-Semite, and Holocaust denier.* Also, if I recall correctly, he attempted to take off with Catholic Answers’ name and reputation, many years back. You would think this would be enough in the way of misbegotten hobbies for one man’s lifetime.

But noooooo.

Sungenis decided to produce a film about geocentrism. Instead of finding some celebrity willing to do this (you know there have to be some — Muslims, mostly), he decided to hire celebrities by fooling them about the kind of movie he was making.

So in a fit of geek-eat-geek, he picked Star Trek actress Kate Mulgrew and physicist Lawrence Krauss. That Michio Kaku guy also.

Well, Mark Shea posted about this months ago and David Palm has been documenting the project as things were announced, but now the rest of the world apparently knows. I guess Mulgrew’s agent didn’t get right on that like he should have, although I’m sure Sungenis paid promptly and thus seemed honest enough.

Don’t expect anything more now or soon from Shea, because his mom has been dying and now has passed away.

* On the bright side, Sungenis isn’t a sedevacantist. He’s apparently always getting into fights with the “there is no legitimate pope now” crowd. Of course, knowing people weirder than yourself can make you think you’re more moderate than you are.

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30 = Youth and Inexperience?

In her recent interview with Wired, Elizabeth Bear claims that eight years ago when she quit SFWA in a huff, she was young and inexperienced and therefore she should be forgiven.

Elizabeth Bear was born in 1971. Eight years ago, she would have been 35.

You’re not “young” at the age of 35. If you’re inexperienced and have no judgment at the age of 35, it’s not something that excuses you with a light laugh. It makes it worse. “Why, yes, I managed not to grow up and have any sense, even when I had become middle-aged!”

However, it’s also pretty clear that it’s not really any kind of apology for youthful stupidity. Back in the day, SFWA resisted pressure from her far left faction. Now it doesn’t, so it’s okay to join up.

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Little-Known Biblical Expressions We Use #1

“till it’s coming out of your nose.”

“I have heard you say, “Who will give us flesh to eat? it was well with us in Egypt.”

“So the Lord may give you flesh, and you may eat — not for one day, nor two, nor five, nor ten, no, nor for twenty, but even for a month of days, till it comes out at your nostrils, and becomes loathsome to you; because you have cast off the Lord, who is in the midst of you, and have wept before him, saying, “Why did we come out of Egypt?”” (Numbers 11:18-20)
In Latin, it’s “donec exeat per nares vestras.”

In Hebrew, it’s pretty much the same thing, except in Hebrew. Very exact translation.

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Spring Anime 2014!

KINDAICHI IS BACK! Woohoo!

For those of us who like mystery animes and mangas, the longrunning comic Kindaichi Hajime Jikenbo (The Casebook of Kindaichi Hajime) is a big favorite. It’s written by the same brilliant comics and anime writer who brought us Detective School Q (Tantei Gakuen Q) and then figured out that writing a fine wine comic would let him drink obscenely expensive bottles on the alcohol industry’s dime.

Kindaichi Hajime is a descendant of one of Japan’s most famous fictional detectives, the post-WWII sleuth Kindaichi Kosuke (usually found dressed in a shabby kimono and a Western hat, busily trying to be underestimated — and yes, he came before Columbo). The modern Kindaichi and his childhood friend roam around Japan finding grotesque murders and bizarre thievery wherever they go. Of course he’s always underestimated, because he’s just a high school kid. There’s been multiple volumes of manga in Japan, and about 20-some were translated into English. There’s also been a live-action show or two, and an anime I’ve never gotten to see.

So yes, you’re darned tootin’ that I’m going to be watching Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo Returns (Kindaichi Jr.’s Casebook Returns).

I am also going to be watching Fairy Tail‘s continuation, because it is awesome and fun, and I’ll probably start watching the continuation of Mushishi because I’m a sucker for traditional Japanese monster legends. Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei looks interesting, as it’s adapted from a light novel series about a world where kids go to special vocational schools to learn to be “magic technicians.” Captain Earth Knights of Sidonia, and Black Bullet all sound like decent sf fun, and The World Is Still Beautiful is a lighthearted fantasy romance, with a princess of the Rain Kingdom moving to the Sun Kingdom to marry its too-young, too-obnoxious king. Gokukoku no Brynhildr is by the same person who wrote Elfen Lied, but apparently doesn’t feature the carnage and such; so I may actually watch it. There are several other action/adventure shows that look okay, too, and a new spinoff of the popular Soul Eater. There’s even a sort of Friday the 13th TV series remake, with a girl ghost directing living detectives to find her murderers, by carrying out a global scavenger hunt to find her lost or hidden treasures.

Also, there’s going to be a rare sumo wrestling sports anime, Akarenbou Rikishi! Matsutarou. I’m so excited to learn more about the sport! It’s also supposed to be something of a comedy, as the genial slacker Matsutarou gets some fire in his belly to become a better wrestler and move up the ranks in the sumo stable. It’s accompanied by Baby Steps, adapted from a well-loved tennis manga; Ping Pong from the guy who made Tekkon Kinkreet; and Haikyuu, a volleyball anime.

There’s a fair number of shows I might watch, but which I probably won’t. Kamigami no Asobi is an unabashed dating game adaptation for girls. It sends an ordinary high school Shinto shrine maiden into a simulated high school for cute male gods with flowing hair, so that they can get more connected to humanity by learning to love said high school shrine maiden. Yeah. Talk about dating older guys, eh? There’s also a music school dating game adaptation for girls, so anybody who wants to watch anime about male violinists with long flowing hair, who fall gooily in love with the girl protagonist — yep, you’re in luck. OTOH, there’s nothing like the sheer chocolate-covered amusement of watching older guys with impossibly good looks all busily wooing the normal girl protagonist.

There’s something for everybody, this spring!

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Pope Given a Beatus Facsimile

The Archbishop of Santander, Spain presented Pope Francis with a facsimile edition of a Beatus during the archbishop’s ad limina audience with him. The visit lasted an hour and a half.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I’m home sick, but I’m still grateful to the Apostle of Ireland!

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Galbitang Is Magic.

The Korean equivalent of chicken soup is “galbitang,” or short rib beef soup. Little beef bones with a little meat still on them, daikon and/or radish, glass noodles, green onions, and a whole bunch of beef broth.

Seeing as I have a bad cold, I am in a position to tell you from yesterday that it is startlingly effective. Made me feel human, anyway.

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Possibly the Sweetest Star Wars Fanvid Ever.

“Happy (We Are from Tattooine),” by the Tunisian Star Wars club. :)

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