New Book on Robert A. Heinlein

Sep. 25th, 2017 08:34 am
fjm: (Default)
[personal profile] fjm
I think most people who used to follow me on LJ are now on facebook but I am cross posting just in case.

After my book on Heinlein went beyond a length that most academic publishers could manage (it may be around 500 pages) I decided to go with a Crowdfunding publisher called Unbound. They can keep the price down to affordable levels.

Of course I would love it if you bought the book:

ebook £12
ebook and hb £35

But what I really need is signal boosting. Please copy and paste.
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Posted by Brenda Clough

by Brenda W. Clough

 A rainy day means museum. The museum at Millau is pretty small, but because the Romans had a famous pottery works here they have more pottery than you would believe possible. The factory shipped all around the Med and seems to have produced at high volume — molds, a standard set of shapes and decoration. The little cups in the photo are mass-produced offering cups, for use in temples. Millau is surrounded by the most startling crags, very dramatic and steep, but otherwise seems to be the most ordinary French city I have been in yet.

 It quit raining long enough to explore Severac-le-Chateau a little more. There’s some amazingly well renovated medieval buildings here; people have garages, satellite dishes, gardens — quite a lived-in space. Have a look at that narrow little domicile in the angle of the other buildings. Three new windows of the utmost magnificence, double-glazed, and with iron balconies.

This surely must be a great town for writing novels. The Marquis de Severac not only built the citadel, but he set up a monastery lower down into which he immured female members of the family who annoyed him. And there were two later changes of dynasty, the third set were the people who decided to renovate by adding a huge 17th century wing. They light it up at night, with great golden halogens which make the entire citadel look like ET is descending into Averyon. The novel practically writes itself, doesn’t it? I am tell that the elder Dumas did write about le seigneur de Severac, but there must be more gold in that mine.



Poem Written in 1991

Sep. 25th, 2017 06:00 am
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Posted by Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin, photo by Marian Wood KolischPoem Written in 1991

When the Soviet Union Was Disintegrating

by Ursula K. Le Guin


The reason why I’m learning Spanish
by reading Neruda one word at a time
looking most of them up in the dictionary
and the reason why I’m reading
Dickinson one poem at a time
and still not understanding
or liking much, and the reason
why I keep thinking about
what might be a story
and the reason why I’m sitting
here writing this, is that I’m trying
to make this thing.
I am shy to name it.
My father didn’t like words like “soul.”
He shaved with Occam’s razor.
Why make up stuff
when there’s enough already?
But I do fiction. I make up.
There is never enough stuff.
So I guess I can call it what I want to.
Anyhow it isn’t made yet.
I am trying one way and another
all words — So it’s made out of words, is it?
No. I think the best ones
must be made out of brave and kind acts,
and belong to people who look after things
with all their heart,
and include the ocean at twilight.
That’s the highest quality
of this thing I am making:
kindness, courage, twilight, and the ocean.
That kind is pure silk.
Mine’s only rayon. Words won’t wash.
It won’t wear long.
But then I haven’t long to wear it.
At my age I should have made it
long ago, it should be me,
clapping and singing at every tatter,
like Willy said. But the “mortal dress,”
man, that’s me. That’s not clothes.
That is me tattered.
That is me mortal.
This thing I am making is my clothing soul.
I’d like it to be immortal armor,
sure, but I haven’t got the makings.
I just have scraps of rayon.
I know I’ll end up naked
in the ground or on the wind.
So, why learn Spanish?
Because of the beauty of the words of poets,
and if I don’t know Spanish
I can’t read them. Because praise
may be the thing I’m making.
And when I’m unmade
I’d like it to be what’s left,
a wisp of cheap cloth,
a color in the earth,
a whisper on the wind.

Una palabra, un aliento.


So now I’ll turn right round
and unburden an embittered mind
that would rejoice to rejoice
in the second Revolution in Russia
but can’t, because it has got old
and wise and mean and womanly
and says: So. The men
having spent seventy years in the name of something
killing men, women, and children,
torturing, running slave camps,
telling lies and making profits,
have now decided
that that something wasn’t the right one,
so they’ll do something else the same way.

Seventy years for nothing.

And the dream that came before the betrayal,
the justice glimpsed before the murders,
the truth that shone before the lies,
all that is thrown away.
It didn’t matter anyway
because all that matters
is who has the sayso.

Once I sang freedom, freedom,
sweet as a mockingbird.
But I have learned Real Politics.
No freedom for our children
in the world of the sayso.
Only the listening.
The silence all around the sayso.
The never stopping listening.
So I will listen
to women and our children
and powerless men,
my people. And I will honor only
my people, the powerless.

–Ursula K. Le Guin


Studies in Frustration

Sep. 25th, 2017 05:36 am
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Posted by Diana Pharaoh Francis

Based on my title, you might be forgiven if you think that the studies in frustration came from writing or the publishing business. Both can be very very frustrating. However this time it’s about knitting. I’ve been working on socks. Mostly I just have been making up the pattern because everything but the heel is pretty easy. But the heel? OMG. So annoying.

This is the foot of the sock:





This is the heel:






I sense it may be hard to put on. What do you think?

I have not made a lot of socks. This one is an effort to play with stripes and also use some of my stash. I also  wanted to try something a little new for me that would give me a less gappy heel than I’ve done before. I found this tutorial, and it looked really doable. I proceeded to do the first half of making the heel cup. That went well. Then I started picking up the gaps to finish it and I got something might fit a heel, if the heel was shaped like an alien yam. Not a good look. So I ripped out (couldn’t tink because frankly, I couldn’t sort out that mess) and now am back to the foot of the sock and a pile of spaghetti yarn in place of a heel. I still want to attempt the heel, but right now, I’m just ready to have a tantrum.

This is my second attempt at this heel, but the first time I wasn’t really concentrating, so I get some slack.

So now I move on to some easier like . . . plotting a novel.

Somebody kill me now.





I would have thought lawful

Sep. 24th, 2017 11:59 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
I Am A: Chaotic Good Human Paladin/Sorcerer (4th/3rd Level)

Ability Scores:







Chaotic Good A chaotic good character acts as his conscience directs him with little regard for what others expect of him. He makes his own way, but he's kind and benevolent. He believes in goodness and right but has little use for laws and regulations. He hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do. He follows his own moral compass, which, although good, may not agree with that of society. Chaotic good is the best alignment you can be because it combines a good heart with a free spirit. However, chaotic good can be a dangerous alignment when it disrupts the order of society and punishes those who do well for themselves.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Primary Class:
Paladins take their adventures seriously, and even a mundane mission is, in the heart of the paladin, a personal test an opportunity to demonstrate bravery, to learn tactics, and to find ways to do good. Divine power protects these warriors of virtue, warding off harm, protecting from disease, healing, and guarding against fear. The paladin can also direct this power to help others, healing wounds or curing diseases, and also use it to destroy evil. Experienced paladins can smite evil foes and turn away undead. A paladin's Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that they can cast. Many of the paladin's special abilities also benefit from a high Charisma score.

Secondary Class:
Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

fadedwings: (bird love)
[personal profile] fadedwings posting in [community profile] common_nature
I love these beautiful noisy birds. We have a few that come to the yard. It's hard to get pictures though because they're a bit shy. I had to take this between the railing on my porch.
Read more... )

Saturday 24 September 1664

Sep. 24th, 2017 11:00 pm
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Posted by Samuel Pepys

Up and to the office, where all the morning busy, then home to dinner, and so after dinner comes one Phillips, who is concerned in the Lottery, and from him I collected much concerning that business. I carried him in my way to White Hall and set him down at Somersett House. Among other things he told me that Monsieur Du Puy, that is so great a man at the Duke of Yorke’s, and this man’s great opponent, is a knave and by quality but a tailor.

To the Tangier Committee, and there I opposed Colonell Legg’s estimate of supplies of provisions to be sent to Tangier till all were ashamed of it, and he fain after all his good husbandry and seeming ignorance and joy to have the King’s money saved, yet afterwards he discovered all his design to be to keep the furnishing of these things to the officers of the Ordnance, but Mr. Coventry seconded me, and between us we shall save the King some money in the year. In one business of deales in 520l., I offer to save 172l., and yet purpose getting money, to myself by it.

So home and to my office, and business being done home to supper and so to bed, my head and throat being still out of order mightily.

This night Prior of Brampton came and paid me 40l., and I find this poor painful man is the only thriving and purchasing man in the town almost. We were told to-day of a Dutch ship of 3 or 400 tons, where all the men were dead of the plague, and the ship cast ashore at Gottenburgh.

Read the annotations

A leaf

Sep. 24th, 2017 04:57 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Taken from a couple of angles over about a minute.

Read more... )

I am taking care of someone's cats

Sep. 24th, 2017 04:45 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
As one does, I keep a log of my visits.

The cats expressed their appreciation for my record-keeping.

Read more... )

(no subject)

Sep. 24th, 2017 12:53 pm
jhetley: (Default)
[personal profile] jhetley
We don't have any problem with convicted felons on the NFL field, but political dissent is right out.

Sunday Sweets: Stained Glass

Sep. 24th, 2017 01:00 pm
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Posted by Jen

"Color is to the eye what music is to the ear."

- Louis Comfort Tiffany

What does "stained glass" make you think of? Church windows? Fancy light fixtures?

How about gorgeous cakes?

(By Queen of Hearts Couture Cakes)

Ooh la la! So soft and pretty; I love the watercolor feel to those colors.


(By Paige Fong)

This cake practically glows, it's so vivid. And I like how the flowers are mirrored in the artwork.


(By Maggie Austin Cake)

I can't imagine the time it took to pipe and paint even one of these layers, much less four.


(By Corrie Cakes)

These cookies look like sun catchers! Doesn't the blue background look like a cloudy sky showing through?


(By Melissa Alt Cakes)

One of my personal favorites today! There's a great little Tiffany museum here in Florida, and this one reminds me the most of some of his windows there. Something about all those glowing greens and rich orangey-browns... Just lovely.


(also by Queen of Hearts Couture Cakes)

Both are amazing, but that blue! WOW.


(By Bittersweet Pastry)

Perhaps more of a mosaic than stained glass, but I'm blown away by the 3D flowers! Such a great design.


And another tile mosaic:

(By Passionate Cakes)

So much detail! Can you imagine how long it would take to place all those tiny pieces?!


These flowers look like they're bursting out of the glass design:

(Also by Maggie Austin Cake)

So. Cool.


And finally:

(By Vinism Sugar Art)

I take it back; I think this is my favorite. The balance of dark and light, the perfectly blended colors, that butterfly...! It belongs in the Tiffany Museum! Or my belly. One of the two, anyway. ;)


Hope you guys enjoyed! Happy Sunday!


Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.


Sep. 24th, 2017 07:24 am
jhetley: (Default)
[personal profile] jhetley

Air temperature 58 F, dew point 56, calm, clear. Back to scraping paint. Old people and old houses . . .

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Posted by Jill Zeller

It all started with Aubrey Beardsley, (1872 – 1898, England) in early studies when I thought I wanted to be an artist. Pen and ink drawings were my oeuvre, so to speak. So, I endeavored to copy him—below (his, not mine) was my favorite accomplishment. The Narnia illustrations by Pauline Baynes seemed to reek of Beardsley, to my un-studied eyes.

Edmunc Dulac was born in 1882, in France. (d. 1953) His elaborate, colorful, dreamy paintings decorated the published tales of Hans Christian Anderson, Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat, and The Comedy of the Tempest by William Shakespeare.

Another Englishman, Arthur Rackham, (1867 – 1939) is best known for his fairy tale work, however he also illustrated The Tempest.

Born in 1870, in Philadelphia, an American broke into this esteemed clan of illustrators. Maxfield Parrish (d 1966) illustrated numerous books and magazine ads, and designed for Tiffany. One of his most well-known images was painted for a lamp company. One of his designs for a chocolate box was based on the Rubaiyat.

All of this male talent makes me wonder where the women were. Chicago-born Margaret Brundage (1900 – 1976) comes to mind, with her title “Queen of the Pulps”. In the 1930s she produced beautiful and of course, highly-sexualized illustrations for Weird Tales.

In researching tarot decks, I came across Pamela Coleman Smith (1878 – 1951), who not only illustrated the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot, but many books and magazines and produced 100s of images.

These two very talented female artists are, I am sure, only a tiny fraction of female illustrators working at the turn of the last century and beyond. My own lack of knowledge was partly from ignorance but also partly from the lack of female representation (except as subjects) in the reference books I had at the time. Beatrix Potter, Jesse Wilcox Smith, and many more appear in my research.

Who can name others for me? Women who drew for money, and preferably, for other than children’s stories?


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Posted by Brenda Clough

by Brenda W. Clough

 Ah, the medieval villages of France! We are staying in Severac-le-Chateau, in the central Averyon district on the central massif. It is almost unbelievably picturesque — the only American equivalent may be found (I regret to say) at Disney World. Behold, the portcullis over the portal in the ancient walls — we are staying in a gite (a modestly-price hostel) just around the corner inside this gate.

 We have a front terrace, and here is a view from it. The other photo is of my husband opening the door into our impossibly period suite. Many steep crazy steps, nothing is square or on the level, and some of the windows let into the eighteen-inch thick stone walls are but a foot square. I will see if I can get enough daylight to take a picture of the steps, which are original to the building and surely over 500 years old. But there is the WiFi of the gods, and a bathroom that could have been designed in Switzerland yesterday. Also a wood stove! Which (it is late September) we will need tonight. It’s not going to freeze but it’ll get pretty chilly.

It is rural here, nothing like the big cities. We are so high up it is utterly quiet. A few cars can trundle through these streets (believe it or not they can get through that gate — French cars have a button so that you can flip your side mirrors in, to squeeze through tight places) but there is no traffic really. And the main tourist season is over. It is (except for that magnificent shower) almost like it was in the 1400s. Well, and the WiFi.





archersangel: (jedi sheep)
[personal profile] archersangel posting in [community profile] books
At the same time Adolf Hitler was attempting to take over the western world, his armies were methodically seeking and hoarding the finest art treasures in Europe. The Fuehrer had begun cataloguing the art he planned to collect as well as the art he would destroy: "degenerate" works he despised. In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unarmed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Monuments Men, risked their lives scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture. Focusing on the eleven-month period between D-Day and V-E Day, this fascinating account follows six Monuments Men and their impossible mission to save the world's great art from the Nazis.

It's the book the movie was based on. I really wanted to see the move, but couldn't get past my dislike of movies with George Clooney and/or Matt Damon.
A note about the movie: Among those leaked e-mails from Sony studios was one from Clooney (who directed as well as acted) apologizing for the movie not doing very well. My brother saw it on one of those "entertainment news" shows where they tried to make it seem like it was a bad thing, but my brother said: "If anything, it makes him seem like an even nicer guy than you hear about. that whole "gentleman George" thing,"

The book was interesting, if long & is one of those forgotten stories of World War 2 that more people should know about it. To that end, they have an official site about the real men (& women) behind the story. And there's a monuments men foundation to help preserve art that is in danger from armed conflicts today. they are also looking for info on missing cultural objects from WW2 & other wars.

I've read several books about little known or forgotten people & stories of WW2 & am convinced that if a movie studio just did movies about them, they could put out movies for at least a decade.

Mission Statement

Reading, writing, plant photography, and the small details of my life, with digressions into science and computing.



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