Category Archives: Fantasy

Last Witness

Nick Clifford, the last remaining member of the team of 400 who carved Mount Rushmore, has passed away. He was 98.  Clifford got the job as a teenager because he already knew how to use a jack hammer.

Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor behind the monument chose four presidents to symbolize key events in US history. Washington represents its birth, Jefferson epitomizes its growth, Lincoln illustrates its preservation and Roosevelt embodies its development.

Leaving aside the issue of defacing a lovely mountain, what four heads do YOU think should be jack hammered on Mount Rushmore?

Read It or See It?

In ye olden days, the LGMS was my radio anchor, beginning at home through my morning drive time. After the show’s demise, I did Trial Balloon at home and in the morning hours of work.  But since then, I haven’t really found a radio show that strikes my fancy and have drifted away from radio to…  I know this will be shocking for some of you… books.  The first hour or so in the morning, I listen to an audiobook and then in the car, books on CDs.  I sometimes run out of books on CDs and so spend some time browsing the audio shelves at the library.  This leads to some interesting results, sometimes fabulous, sometimes not so much.

I’ve admitted here before that I like the Hallmark Mystery Movies, so last week, while browsing, my eye was caught by the first Aurora Teagarden mystery sitting on the audio shelf. I had been a little curious about the books, especially since my favorite character left the series; I was curious if the movies were true to the books.   So I was a little surprised right off the bat that while most of the characters bear the same names, most of them did not bear the description or personalities.  The most disappointing was the main character, Ro.  In the book she doesn’t have any drive to solve the mysteries and in the final chapters is rescued by the men in the story.  This is completely different from the movies, in which Ro is rabid about solving the mystery and it is her ingenuity that not only solves the crimes but saves her life (and often the man’s) in the end.

This made me think about the few instances in which the movie better than the book.  So rare.  Princess Bride, Romancing the Stone, Julie & Julia, Clue, Bladerunner.

There might be more but for my determination not to see movies when I have adored the book. I don’t want Hollywood messing with the pictures in my mind’s eye (Wrinkle in Time, The Martian, Uprooted, ANY of the Louise Penny books).  And, of course, the number of movies much worse than their books is legend.  Including Legend!

When were you last surprised about how a book turned out when adapted to the big screen?

Armadillos!!!!

I am a calendar person. I love them.  I have multiple calendars at work: one online, my Daytimer, a year-long calendar on the wall so I can look ahead and a month-at-a-time –print out on which I cross off each day as it goes by.  I started doing this last year, to count down to a program that was driving me crazy and after the program was over, I just kept doing it (I assume one of these days I will decide I really don’t need to do this anymore.)

At home I have a pretty calendar on the fridge, a handmade calendar in my bedroom that attaches to a wooden pedestal and a birthday list in my studio that “says” it’s a calendar, but it’s just a listing by month of birthdays so I think that might be stretching it. I also keep a few things on my phone calendar.

In addition to having birthdays listed on the “calendar” in my studio, I also keep birthdays in my Daytimer. This means that once a year I go through the old Daytimer pages and copy the birthdays over to new Daytimer pages.  It’s a relaxing project; this year I used magenta ink.

As I was copying over the birthdays yesterday, I came across a notation on June 27 of this year that said “Armadillos”. It was written in big letters in the after-hours section of the day.  And it had several  exclamation marks and was highlighted!   I have no idea what this was about.  Was it a southwestern-themed bar that I was supposed to go to after work with colleagues.  Was it a concert that someone on the Trail mentioned?  Was it some National Geographic special I wanted to watch?  No clue.

Any idea why I wrote “Armadillos” in my Daytimer?

Sunken Treasure

In the news this week, underwater treasure hunters brought up close to 1,000 bottles of a rare cognac and other liqueurs. In 1917, the Kyros was sunk by a German U-boat on its voyage from France to St. Petersburg.  The crew all survived the sinking but the liquid gold went to the bottom. The wreck was discovered in 1999 but wasn’t accessible until now.

The treasure hunters, Ocean X Team and iXplorer spent over a week with submersibles and robots to salvage the bottles, 600 De Haartman cognac and 300 Benedictine liqueur, which have been sitting for the last 102 years beneath 250 feet of cold Baltic Sea water. The Benedictine liqueur brand now belongs to Bacardi and the explorers are working with them and researching the possible worth of their find.  They say most of the bottles appear to be intact.

Would you be Long John Silver or Jim Hawkins?

Among Us?

Photo credit: Miriam Espacio

Ten years after the UFO incident in Roswell, New Mexico, it was on this day in 1957 that the most impressive UFO sighting happened in Levelland, Texas; the impressiveness was due to the large number of witnesses over the short period of time. Ufologists continue to argue that the Air Force investigation was too short and that the phenomenon was NOT ball lightning.

A few days later, Jim Lee, who was the head of the Interplanetary Space Patrol (perhaps named after a popular TV show of the day “Space Patrol”) stated that the Levelland sighting was indeed a visit from outer space and predicted that UFOs would soon begin to come in large numbers, large enough that there would be no more non-believers. Lee’s group pushed the agenda that humans could work and collaborate with our visitors via radio waves.

“The days of the skeptics are numbered, and they had better find a good place to hide away for even the entire populations of our large cities will see these ships as they come in from outer space. They will soon come in large numbers for all to see and the skeptic will not have a leg left to stand on. There is no need for alarm over the situation at this time.”

While I try to keep an open mind about things I can’t prove or dis-prove, I’m pretty sure that if we are visited by extra-terrestrials, it probably won’t go well. Considering how many problems we have to solve just to get to Mars, any travelers that could get themselves here would be so far ahead of us technologically (or magically if that’s your bent) that they could squash us like bugs.  That’s just my opinion, of course.

But the bottom line is that Jim Lee was wrong… we’re still not seeing UFOs in great numbers, in all our large cities.

Have you ever had a prediction of yours come true?

Scary Bears!

Today is the anniversary of the premiere in 1974 of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”,  It was a great plan to premiere it on the day before Halloween.  I have never been a great fan of scary movies, but I remember liking the Alfred Hitchcock show and the Twilight Zone, sometimes. I like scary books better.  The stories don’t have to be so graphic like the scenes in movies. I think that our reading and imagining  brains are better at scaring us than just gore on the screen.

The last best scary book I read was The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. It is a vampire book that keeps a constant sense of suspense, but with very understated violence.  It is also a book about books. Dracula, in this one, is a real book lover with a special penchant for librarians and historians. What could be scarier?!

Tell about your favorite scary movie, story, music, or book.

Getting Deposed

I am being deposed. No, I don’t mean thrown out of office or my job. I mean that I will be soon sitting in a room at a court house with four lawyers, their assistants, and a court reporter. I have been subpoenaed as an expert witness in a case  related  to my work.  Three of the lawyers will ask me questions. One will try to discredit me and my testimony, while the other two will like what I have to say.  The fourth lawyer is sent from the Attorney General’s office, since I am a State employee,  to help me out if needed.

My lawyer from the AG’s office is a very nice man who sent me a list of helpful hints for giving testimony and  who will  provide all the documents that I was ordered to bring to the hearing. I have testified in court many times before and have given at least one deposition, but it was nice to talk it over with him.  I am not a difficult witness, and I know how to behave on the stand. This made me think, though, what a thankless task it will be for the poor lawyer or lawyers who will prepare 45 for giving testimony and answering questions on the stand.  I can’t imagine it will be pretty.

Have you ever had to testify in court? Imagine you are a lawyer.  Think of some historical or literary characters and tell us how you would prepare them to testify in court.