Dementia points out that without Davy Jones, David Bowie would have been David Jones, and there would have been no Pavel Chekov. You can sneer that he was the King of Bubblegum, but, hell, everyone needs a little bubblegum now and then.
On this day in 1933, the world saw King Kong climb the Empire State Building for the very first time. The story rips my heart out in all of its incarnation, though of course some are better than others. And it is a VERY sad story; its main message is that, when beauty and wonder conflict with greed and stupidity, greed and stupidity will win. But also: When you are lost and alone, beset by enemies all around, remember what is precious, and go down fighting.
Ireland just beat England against heavy odds in World Cup Cricket. Among the records set: Fastest century (50 balls) and longest successful chase (327 runs). GOOD game. (I am noticing that I have a tendency to enthusiasms that involve arcane terminology...)
So I'm sitting in my car, listening to a recording of one of my favorite stories, and my single favorite scene comes up, and by the time it gets to the capstone line, there are tears running down my face, and I am having trouble breathing. And in the middle of that, I realized that that was, for me, the most heavily freighted phrase in all of literature. It's seven words, and if you don't have the context, it makes no sense whatsoever.
"You make sure he gots a hat."
It rips my heart out. Context is everything.
I was emotionally strung out this morning. Seven weeks into the Cisco course, it was time to take the first actual certification exam, and I did not feel ready. Carpooled to the train station with classmate and former co-worker Rick, took the train downtown, took the test. As I hit the "Finish" button, I was pretty sure I had failed; I had had a feeling of doom stalking me for a day and a half.
Got 930 out of 1000, needed 832 to pass. So... I have a CCENT, and am on the board. Still a ways to go, though. (For what it is worth, seven members of my class took the exam today, and we ALL passed.)
An addition to the very short list of tattoos that Paul might consider getting, given that Paul will almost certainly never get a tattoo: The phrase, "With, or On." It is simple, it fits me well, and it has a nearly perfect balance of obscurity and transparency.
Matt Wagner is going to bring back Kevin Matchstick and FINALLY finish the "Mage" trilogy. For those of you who don't know (which is pretty much everyone), "Mage" is a contemporary fantasy comic that owns about as much of my soul as "Girl Genius" (and is ahead of "Sandman" and "Fables", which should tell you something). The first arc came out in the 80s, the second arc in the 90s, and the third and final arc is supposed to come out this year, and MAYBE it will all see print again. We can hope.
"It's a 1959 Corsair model Edsel. Best goddamned car ever made. Do you have a PROBLEM with THAT?"
No, Ma'am. Not in the least.
March 4. It's the ninth anniversary of three things that I expect to remember forever.
My mother left the home she shared with my father for the last time; she would be in hospitals or custodial care for the rest of her life.
E. Gary Gygax (acquaintance and father of my good friend Ernie) died.
My e-book, "A Brief History of Gnolls", became available at online gaming sites.
Nine years later, I still can't quite wrap my head around this day...
35 years ago today, I worked a midnight shift, then met my friend Don for breakfast. He talked me into following him to Sabbath School, which happened to be taught by a pretty redhead whom I subsequently almost married. Afterwards, I went home and got some sleep. That evening, my family threw me an early birthday party, and my brother Pete gave me a Warner Brothers Tasmanian Devil with the note, :"This is for your car."
The critter was christened, "Grishnakh", and he dutifully took up residence in my '71 Chevelle (the first car I ever owned). Over the years, he has migrated from there to the '74 Mustang, the '76 Celica, the '82 Civic, the '88 Civic, the '86 S10, the '93 Wrangler, the 2000 Caravan, and now the '08 Sienna. Along the way he has acquired a reputation as a stoner (due to spending a significant percentage of his life face down on the floor of his home), a hat, a shirt, a name tag, a pipe, and a couple of room mates. He only comes into the house when his home is in the shop, and on special occasions.
Like his 35th birthday.
Here's to you, Grish. Open roads, fair winds, and calm seas.
Thought I had stumbled onto an interesting but useless mathematical progression involving prime numbers; five perfect data points usually define a curve pretty well. The sixth datapoint failed to appear in the same county as predicted. Oh, well. (It was REALLY useless, anyway...)
"The day I stop flirting is the day they nail the coffin shut." C.E. Murphy in the character of Gary the cabbie, "Urban Shaman".
This strikes me as a pretty good theme for birthday 61...
Just went through all of yesterday's Facebook birthday greetings and "liked" all of them, 75 in all. The experience left me in tears. Thank you all. You are certainly a varied lot; ranging from lifelong friends to internet acquaintances I barely know. A number of you actually own a piece of my soul; I was surprised to see how many. I am very, very grateful for all of you.
Do you know where your towel is? (And do you know why I am asking?)
Stuff that gets said conversationally in this house: "A working definition of 'The Dark Ages' is, 'That period of European history during which literacy was controlled and gereally limited to the professionally celibate.'"
“The greater part of critics are parasites, who, if nothing had been written, would find nothing to write.”
-- Joseph Priestley, English chemist and clergyman, (1733-1804)
From the, "Let's cause some trouble," file: I was thinking this morning about the economics of teaching, and realized why there would never be any real money in it: Schools are job shops. That is, they are places where skilled workers add value to largely interchangeable components that they do not control. Across the entire economy, "component processing" can and generally does provide economic stability, it doesn't, and can't, lead to real wealth.
In the "Why do they bother?" category, I have just learned that the glass slipper in the current "Cinderella" was made of fine crystal, and was so delicate that Lily James never once actually put it on her foot. And you know what? It looks like a really nice polycarbonate casting.
Having the background to actually understand the context makes a BIG difference. Case in point; I saw "Kong: Skull Island" this afternoon. Here is a misquote from IMDB of an exchange between Samuel L. Jackson's character (Packard) and Brie Larson's character (Weaver):
Preston Packard: You did two years here?
Mason Weaver: I was in Saigon.
Preston Packard: You were in the shit. I respect that.
As I said, it's a misquote. The actual Weaver line was, "I was embedded with Mac Vee Sog."
For those of you who don't know, that is Milspeak for, "Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, Special Operations Group," better known as the Green Berets. As a matter of history, I don't think it was possible for a woman to be embedded with special forces in 1973, but that isn't the point. Within the context of the movie, the line was supposed to establish Weaver as a badass, and, given the misquote, it looks like it failed. Which is a shame.
Last night I went up to Lake Geneva to play in an AD&D 1st Ed. game, under the auspices of Mark Cmg. This was the first time I have actually played the game, in all these years, as it was actually written. (More on this elsewhere, and after GaryCon.)
In the meantime, a bit of linguistic foolishness came up that I am going to air again. Which is to say: As far as I have been able to determine, until D&D came out in 1974, there simply was no such word as "pegasus" with a lower case "p", meant to indicate a species of winged horses. Prior to that, "Pegasus" meant a specific winged stallion, and winged horses in general were called "winged horses". As a result of this, I tend to rail whenever anyone pluralizes "pegasus" as "pegasi". It is an absurd plural of a neologism. It would be more correct to refer to winged horses as "Pegasians", but I fear that horse has long since left the barn.