Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Never Gave It Much Thought Until Now

I decided to reread Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions, and was struck by something that I'd never pondered before... the action of the novel begins with protagonist Holger Carlsen, a member of the Danish resistance, involved in a covert operation to allow an important figure to escape from Nazi-occupied Denmark. I'd never given this portion of the book much thought, but came to the realization (after seeing the excellent BBC documentary Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives, about indie-rock musician Mark Everett of The Eels trying to find out more about his father, quantum mechanics researcher and "many worlds interpretation" promulgator
Hugh Everett III) that the operation described in the book involved the escape of physicist Niels Bohr to Sweden, and ultimately to the West. While it's never spelled out in the book, I can't imagine any other possibility, especially since Anderson explicitly mentions quantum mechanics in the introduction to the novel.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Down in the Hollow, Playing a New Game

A scary new game, if my sources are correct. This ad in Craigslist was pointed out to me by an anonymous informant. Seeing that Sleepy Hollow is the only village in the Continental United States to boast of a Headless Horseman, the residents have to do right by the Hessian horror.

The Village of Sleepy Hollow was named North Tarrytown until 1996 when a plebescite was held regarding the name change and the populace, spurred by the loss of the village's economic base when the local GM plant closed, decided to take on a name that would allow them to develop a tourist industry. The release of Tim Burton's movie three years later should have inspired the town elders to capitalize on the newly-name village's newfound cult status. Sadly, nothing was really done to do this, and the sensation-seekers who made the pilgrimage to Sleepy Hollow were greeted with indifference, if not contempt. Of course, there's a 17th-18th century plantation which boasts a working farm, staffed by farmer/historians in period garb, and an ancient church associated with a celebrated burial ground, but those attractions typically close in the late afternoon, and the sidewalks are rolled up by 5 PM. Even with the name change (which some residents, sporting "North Tarrytown Forever" bumperstickers, still refuse to acknowledge), the village has had problems figuring out what to do with their suddenly hot cultural property.

Here's hoping that this upcoming event will be a major success, and an inspiration for further creative endeavors.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ruh-Roh, Seems the Stars Are Right

Hmm... checkin' the t00bz, checkin' the t00bz...

Say, now, what's this? Seems some Spanish beachgoers have been attacked by a plague of "jellyfish" by committee. Sting-y tentacles... sounds all kinds of hurty.

Well, at least there are nice beaches on the other side of the Atlantic... EEP! Poor menhaden... we usually call them mossbunker, or just 'bunker. When we caught them on lazy summer days on Bronxtucket, we'd cut them into bloody gobbets as bait for juvenile bluefish, which we usually call snappers. We usually call a turkey a walking bird, but I ramble.

So, the beaches are a horrible disaster... how about a nice sail? Yelpin' Johanson, is there no safe haven?

Maybe I can distract myself with a little stargazing, the Perseid meteor shower is at its peak...

Checks calendar, sees date, reiterates, "EEP!"

Wow, cosmic horror seems to be the order of the day.

The stars are right, Old Ones delight, deep in the heart of R'lyeh.
Now is the time, to rise from slime, deep in the heart of R'lyeh.

Here's an amusing little trifle I found on the t00bz, an episode of a cartoon that eluded my nerdy notice when it appeared on the TeeVee machine, presented for your Friday the Thirteenth viewing pleasure.

While the references to "mythos" works and authors in the cartoon are manifold, the ending also hearkens back to the classic "creature feature"
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. My one quibble, a minor one, is the scene in which our intrepid heroes emerge from the subway- the Stillwell Avenue Subway Terminal is a huge elevated train station, not a hole in the ground. Of course, artistic license practically demands the portrayal of the station as an underground one, in order to evoke the image implied by the term "subway".

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Giant Rat Found On Dungeon Level One East Timor

It, may not be from Sumatra but, broadly speaking, it is "Indonesian" (East Timor gained gained its independence in 2002, but is part of the Indonesian archipelago). The preponderance of rats of unusual size in Indonesia can be chalked up to the island effect, which has also resulted in tiny hominids, dwarf elephants, giant monitor lizards, and the like.

Unfortunately, Ursula K. Le Guin didn't incorporate the island effect into her Earthsea series- a Sparrowhawk that preyed on turkey-sized giant sparrows would be quite a beast.