Shaken and Stirred
bond, gwenda bond

sunny bicycles, seussian dreams & nebulas
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Yesterday was a lovely day: sunny, warm, full of people but you don't hate them. I think they call it spring. Only it's not really, it's a little early for that even here and my nemesis Chief Meteorologist Bill Meck (who I also refer to as The Liar-in-Chief, not to be confused with the Commander-in-Chief) says the weather will likely turn cold. Meck tends to be right about miserable weather, if wrong about the details. (This is why he is my nemesis -- oh, promiser of snow, you know it's just a pack of filthy lies!) Oh, the treachery of local weathermen!

Anyway, we found ourselves home relatively early in the evening and decided to follow the Cinetrix's Schwinn and take our cruisers out for the first ride of the year. We went further than I have before and even abandoned my comfort zone, aka the sidewalk (I know, I know), by the end. Now, Mr. Rowe promises me a better, beautiful bicycle in the near future. Yay! (The cruisers will be retired to my parents house, so we have bikes to ride out there. We do not send old bicycles to the glue factory, oh no.) Anyway, an exquisite afternoon and just the slightest twinge of soreness in my legs today. Alas, Meck made with the rain today, and so there was no repeat performance. (Psst... go check out that Cinetrix link for her top 5 bicycle movies; I would come up with one of my own, but I'm still mulling.)

Looks like it's Kerry. I hope the running mate is someone with a pulse. I'm trying to get excited about this. It's just happening verrrrry slowly. Anybody But Bush time. (And you know, our primary system really does suck, if with far less than half the electoral college decided the votes of people in the coming primary states essentially don't matter anymore. And we wonder why voter turnout is always low.) (Feeling very parenthetical today, did you notice?)

An amateur astronomer in his 30s discovered a nebula the other day, while staring through his telescope in Paducah. Sadly, it turns out this isn't the chick magnet one would expect (which says only bad things about our sex):

For the 32-year-old McNeil, the discovery is the payoff of a passion he's had since he was a teenager and saving money to buy telescopes. "It didn't do much to attract the girls," he said. "But this is something permanent. It's just what I do."

Am halfway interested in Kingdom Hospital, so if any of you watch it and it's good let me know please. Our VCR (you know, the old-fashioned TiVO) is on the blink and no way I'm missing Angel since it's actually good this season. I'm a fan of the original Kingdom and its sequel, and will probably force them on Christopher in the near future -- once we make the VCR work again. Despite being a fan of the original, I'm really only interested in whether this version works at all. Most of the TV reviewers hated it, but most of the TV reviewers don't seem to get genre shows -- especially when one can just employ the term weird.

NYTimes article on Borders new POD service. The only one of these things I've heard of that sounds like a good idea is the one you buy at target for 20 bucks for a kid and the kid draws a children's book and gets a copy back bound up in hardback. But the future is now and all that. Worth reading. The vanity press scammers who charge people a fortune to print their books must be shaking in their ink-stained booties, which is a nice result if nothing else. Conglomerates can wipe out small evils too, I guess.

The SF Chronicle had a great piece on Dr. Seuss, on the occasion of his centennial. Two bits I'll pull out just to encourage you to read it in full:

Dr. Seuss created the words "nerd" and "grinch" (there was an obscure 17th century usage for grinch, but Seuss made it mainstream), taught millions and millions of children to read, and almost single handedly kept the tradition of poetry alive in this country. Nel, in fact, calls him "America's most famous poet," and it is hard to think of a better choice.

But what we tend to forget is that the Seuss books were often opinionated, outspoken and even controversial. Some even started rampaging arguments, which probably would have delighted Geisel. "If we met him today," says Nel, "and I should say that he didn't like public appearances, tours or book signings, we would probably find him to be fairly outspoken, irascible and really funny. He was someone who had little patience for hypocrisy or people who stand on ceremony. I think you see that in his books. His characters don't play by the rules."

SO, R's don't like him. It gives me great pleasure to picture all those Republican governors out there putting on the tall hat to read to kids for a photo op. And I had no idea there was a link between Seuss and Frank Capra:

The relationship between Jones, creator of the Road Runner cartoons, and Geisel was a quirk of history. In the service during the Second World War, they ended up working on an Army cartoon called Pvt. Snafu. At the time, Nel says, it made good sense to show a cartoon to the GIs because many of them were poorly educated or could not read at all. Pvt. Snafu, who got everything wrong, was a good way of showing the recruits how to be good soldiers. They just had to do the opposite of Pvt. Snafu. Geisel and Jones included plenty of humor, which made the Snafu reels extremely popular.

Oddly enough, the film group also included director Frank Capra. Geisel and Capra made propaganda films. But even then he couldn't avoid putting his stamp on the product. Geisel's film "Your Job in Japan" was supposed to inspire the fighters. But some of those who saw it thought that it was too sympathetic to the Japanese and that it shouldn't be shown.

And last, Britain's "Lit Idol" has advanced its first round of writer contestants. (Link via Sarah Weinman.)

earworm: "Lost in Space," Aimee Mann

rec: Secret Identity: Superman (mini), Kurt Busiek

namecheck: Gavin "Kaboom!" Grant

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