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Guest Kit: Today in Joan of Arc and UFO History

By W.C. Swanson (aka Curmudgeon)

[Your blogger is in Rome and finally clamped onto the Internets...Sorry this is a bit late in the day....]

1456: Joan of Arc, 19, born in the village of Domrémy, is acquitted of charges of heresy after a re-trial by the Vatican. Unfortunately for Miss A, she'd been burned at the stake 25 years before. Her case was brought to the attention of Pope Callixtus III at the request of Inquisitor-General Jean Brehal and Joan's mother, Isabelle Romée. Callixtus had the case re-tried in an ecclesiastical court and on its recommendation, Callixtus decided she was innocent of the charges and declared her a martyr.

For the new trial, a panel of theologians called 115 witnesses, and ultimately decided the case was baseless. And the charges against Joan? She was accused in part of violating Deuteronomy 22:5, the prohibition against cross-dressing -- of which, ironically, she was quite guilty. ("The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so [are] abomination unto the Lord thy God.") The appeals court, however, decided (correctly) that the original trial court had ignored several doctrinal exceptions to the cross-dressing rule: Women were in fact allowed to wear men's clothing if they were doing men's work, if it helped to preserve chastity and prevent rape, etc.

She got her name, incidentally, from her father, Jack Black. (Well, Jacques d'Arc, the Domrémy tax collector.)

1863: The first military draft begins during the Civil War; exemptions cost $100.

1865: Lincoln assassins Mary Surratt, Lewis Paine, David Herold and George Atzerodt are hanged at what are now the tennis courts at Fort McNair, in Washington, DC. Surratt's boarding house is now the Wok and Roll Chinese/Japanese restaurant in DC's Chinatown, and her tavern is now a museum in the suburb of Clinton, MD. Little known fact: her cousin once removed was F. Scott Fitzgerald.

1928: "The greatest thing since sliced bread" is invented when it is sold for the first time by the Chillicothe Baking Company, Chillicothe, MO. It quickly replaced the earlier claim, "the greatest thing since bread was wrapped." True.

1947: Major Jesse A. Marcel, of the 509th Bomb Group Intelligence Office at Roswell Army Air Field, New Mexico, responds to a call from the local Sheriff's Department and drives out to the ranch of William "Mac" Brazel 30 miles out of town, where he recovers pieces of...something...which is said to be debris from a high altitude weather balloon. Or maybe it was a "flying disc" or "saucer," a.k.a. a UFO. Or maybe not. At any rate, this becomes the famous "Roswell Incident," one of the Big Three UFO incidents of all time. Were there alien bodies (stored, variously, at either Area 51 or Wright-Patterson AFB) discovered? You're reporter has put in a phone call to Scully and Mulder; stand by for their reply.

Happy Birthday:

1906: Satchel Paige (d. 1982), one of the greatest black baseball players of all time (and one of the oldest rookies ever to play in the majors, at age 50).

1907: Robert A. Heinlein (d. 1988), one of the "Big Three" of science fiction (with Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke), author of 32 novels, 59 short stories, and 16 collections; 5 more books and 4 collections were published posthumously. He won four "Hugo" awards contemporaneously, and three more "retro-Hugos" later on. In his final years was a dead ringer for John Locke in "Lost"; see this if you don't believe me. He also coined the adage, TANSTAAFL, an acronym for "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch."

1933: David McCullough, the great historian and "popularizer" (NOT a dirty word in my book).

1940: Ringo Starr, replacement drummer. [Hey, c'mon, NOT NICE...]


1890: Henri Nestlé (b. 1814), founder of Nestlé S.A., the world's largest food company. And as anyone can tell you N-E-S-T-L-E-S spells chocolate. In the Black Forest Swabian district of Germany, the name Nestlé means "little bird's nest." Go ahead, fascinate your friends with that one. And he changed his name from Heinrich Nestle to Henri Nestlé to sound like a Swiss. He invented the two products that women love above every other thing on earth: milk chocolate and
infant formula. That the Nobel Prize was never given to this man is simply shocking. An outrage.

1930: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (b. 1859), noted biographer and historian of the great English detective Sherlock Holmes.

Today is Saba Saba Day in Tanzania (once upon a time known as Tanganyika and Zanzibar to us old timers, which we learned when people studied geography and before everybody started *&%$#^% renaming everything), celebrating the founding of TANU, the Tanganyika African National Union political party. Saba saba means "seven seven" (7/7, get it?) in Swahili. Always thought "Zanzibar" was such a cool, exotic word -- and then they went and abolished the place.

By Joel Achenbach  |  July 7, 2009; 7:50 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: When in Rome
Next: Guest Kit: Today in Mounties History



Posted by: -TBG- | July 7, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

While fanciers of dark chocolate may quibble, I think gin, jewelry and trust funds deserve mention.

And I'd gladly give up the first two for the third.

Posted by: -dbG- | July 7, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Pesky embedded CR codes.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 7, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, yello. It's like double spacing and adding big margins to your term papers. Looks like a nice, looooooong Kit.

Posted by: -TBG- | July 7, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Eugene Robinson is getting lots of flack from trogs in his comment section, over pointing out the irony of Palin disparaging quitters as she quits.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 7, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

But are the worthy of the Nobel?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 7, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Please send many photos! I can't get enough of that old patina look that Italy has perfected.

Posted by: mfigiel-krueger | July 7, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

*smiling* Just got off the fone with Timeslips and for some unknown reason, what happened yesterday (nothing worked at all! couldn't install anything!) worked deliciously just now. Two less things to worry about.

And actually yello (I think it was you in the last kit who told me that if Steve Jobs actually wanted me to find the file, he would have put it on my desktop -- that's more (in my experience) Bill Gates' MO.

Ah, well, I'll get used to it all soon.

I really liked Gene Robinson's column today, and Cohen's, too (even though I don't always for Cohen). Kristol's column was laughable. Gotta wonder about the kind of creme he puts in his Oreos.

Hey, TBG, what was that site you mentioned many months ago to activate various web site addresses put in our many postings? Right now I have to cut and paste.

Ah, yes. Feeling much better now.

Do carry on with what you were doing.

Posted by: -ftb- | July 7, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

ftb... It's called Linkification and it's an add-on for Firefox, my preferred browser (I like it much better than Safari 4).

Posted by: -TBG- | July 7, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I made it through the MJ memorial, although it went a bit long for me. I don't mean to sound too snarky - parts were quite moving. I thought Queen Latifah, who read Maya Angelou's poem, was quite good; Stevie Wonder was amazing; Brooke Shields made me tear up. Gene Robinson has a good take on it. I do wonder how long we'll have to endure the wall-to-wall coverage of the family's every move, though.

Posted by: seasea1 | July 7, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse


OK let's see if we can clean that up...

Posted by: joelache | July 7, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

And I guess at this point, I'd pick MJ over SP. Isn't Obama somewhere doing something important?

Posted by: seasea1 | July 7, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Don't know if the Kitchen Counter is still counting, but here's one more Palin mention. This is from Greg Mitchell over at the Huffington Post yesterday...

"...Ross Douthat, one of [Palin's] old boosters, in the Times this morning writes that her wacky I'm-outta-here speech disqualifies her from running for president for years to come -- but still manages to blast the media for coming to this conclusion months before he did. Douthat even suggests that the 'elite' takedown of Palin ruins it for any other folksy, non-Harvard candidate to run again -- and shatters the notion that anyone-can-grow-up-to-be-President. Of course, this is nonsense. For one thing, we generally insist that 'anyone' display some degree of brain power and judgment, and also not quit when the going gets rough."

Posted by: -TBG- | July 7, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Oops... sorry seasea!

Posted by: -TBG- | July 7, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

We (well, not 'we', but Palin-lovers) should remember that it's not "anyone CAN grow up to be President", it's "anyone COULD grow up to be President." A world of hard work and dues-paying is implied by the conditional nature of "could." SP did little of that. Abe Lincoln was born in a log cabin and all that, but his primary qualifications were his demonstrable intellect and his ability to persuade people that he had the right vision for the course of the nation and the ability to take it there. SP does not trouble herself with persuasion -- anti-intellectual condescension and sneering is her preferred style.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 7, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

So much of operating system preferences is what you're used to. I find the OSX file management defaults cryptic and confusing even if Finder is so much more user friendly than Explorer.

And I will never, ever, trust the ripping of my music to iTunes. I just don't trust how it does it and where it puts things.

Linkification is wonderful. I don't know what I'd do without it.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 7, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Reposting (accidently reposted to the McNamara kit - just one of those days)

"Tomatoes, apparently, now serve as tools for diplomacy."

The boodle influence is incredible!

Posted by: dmd3 | July 7, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Hey everybody!

Posted by: slyness | July 7, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Reposting because I'm so confused about which boodle is THE boodle.

Very discombobulating, this dual kit business.

Ivansmom put it well for all of us who haven't been to Italy.

Absolutely perfect weather in Our Fair City this week. Highs 76-78, lows 48-54, sunny and dry.

Watched some highlights of the MJ memorial on BBC World News, heaven help me I started to giggle. Just have a hard time taking a gold plated casket seriously.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | July 7, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

The casket was not gold plated was it? As you can tell my boycott is continuing.

Posted by: dmd3 | July 7, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

dmd-Here's the scoop

"The same casket used to bury James Brown." made me start giggle all over again. I do hope they didn't just leave Mr. Brown's bones laying about.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | July 7, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Frosti, wonder how much that item set the estate back. When we picked out a casket for my mother, the funeral home had one in solid mahogany for $17,500. It was in a room by itself. We did NOT pick that one.

As I see it, you have two choices: rapid oxidation or slow oxidation. Embalming might slow the process some, but it still comes down to those two. I'm going for rapid oxidation myself. My children know I wish to be cremated and my ashes deposited in the scattering garden at church.

Human corpses always remind me of those exoskeletons that insects leave behind when they molt, and they are about as useful. Faster, easier, hopefully a little cheaper to burn the body and let it go back to dust. The rituals of grieving I am okay with; the decking of a body and spending of great sums to preserve it strike me as stupid.

Posted by: slyness | July 7, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

I've been to Rouen where Joan of Arc was burned to death... spooky place. I also remember a building where plague victims were brought in the 14th century with bones and skulls carved into the beams. Amazing to visit these places. They certainly have a ghostly aura about them. Rouen also has a spectacular clock in the main street.

Posted by: MissToronto | July 7, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

$25,000...and heaven help us, they still haven't decided *where* to bury him -
And yes, that is the headline...Most of the memorial was quite dignified, but I bet there's not much hope of that continuing...

Posted by: seasea1 | July 7, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

All that money and he had to have a second hand casket.

Posted by: dmd3 | July 7, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday Mr. McCullough.
and thank you to Sir Mudge for pointing this out.

I'm currently reading his Panama Canal book. My eyes give out way too soon and it is taking an age. I have looked at the John Adams audio book, but its hard to come by the full version, which clocks in at 70 hours of listening, IIRC. All I seem to be able to get up here from the library is a paltry abridged version. shudders. If I wanted an abridged version, I would get the book and skip pages myself, by diggity.

In honour of the lovely photos from Joel's When in Rome kit, I am listening to bits of Vivaldi via Wikipedia. I'd link you to it. It is really quite lovely, but it might be dangerous. I can't turn the darn music off.

Posted by: --dr-- | July 7, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Ah, finally. Ms. Music has completed her song. Does anyone know why a Java appletty type file would not turn off, or if I need to do something to make it go away other than saying stop?

Now Bach. I'd never turn off Bach.

Posted by: --dr-- | July 7, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Slyness-My family knows to follow frostfam tradition- cremation, then burial in the family cemetery, preferably in a container that signifies something special. One cousin was buried in a minnow bucket to honor his love of fishing.

dmd-good one

Posted by: frostbitten1 | July 7, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

dr, I have had that problem before, the NAC has a good free music box now, a nice full length selection of Bach and Vivaldi plus others.

Posted by: dmd3 | July 7, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Ha, dmd, very good. A pre-occupied casket, how gauche! I’m with Slyness, cremate me and toss me in the ocean please. I might have been more inclined to watch the MJ service coverage or recaps of same if we hadn’t been bombarded with MJ news for the past almost two weeks.

Just thought to check Trip Advisor for Cat ferry references and decided to take some motion sickness meds along, just in case. I cannot believe the amount of stuff we are taking on vacation but we have to be prepared for weather of almost any kind and then there’s the hiking gear. One more day!

Posted by: badsneakers | July 7, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about the football Mudge but we tried. Honestly we did.

Go down to the 82nd and 83rd cups. I am honoured to have been there when Baltimore won. It was freaking cold, the portable biffies froze up and we were far far far from the hot food places, but we stayed reasonably warm so long as no one in the row behind us moved out of place.

Posted by: --dr-- | July 7, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: --dr-- | July 7, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Hope you have a great vacation, Sneaks. You may wind up forgetting something, but it'll be ok. Make sure you have your camera(s) and plenty of batteries.

Posted by: seasea1 | July 7, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm working my way through that link you gave us the other day dmd. What a great site.

Posted by: --dr-- | July 7, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I think the main reason why Nestlé never won a Nobel Prize was because he died five years before Nobel himeself passed, and a full 11 years before the first Nobel Prizes (established in Nobel's will, and funded from his estate) were awarded.

Nominating a deceased person for a Nobel Prize is a big no-no, IIRC.

The question as to which of the inventions Nestlé and Nobel were each most famous for as being most destructive and/or beneficial to humanity, I will leave those as exercises for the reader.


Posted by: -bc- | July 7, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Whoops, reading the Guest Kit closely -"You're reporter" ?

Surely, Your (ahem) joking.

It happens to the best of us. Mudge-san.

And even me, who is far, far from it.


Posted by: -bc- | July 7, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Seasea, I have the batteries charging, extras in the bag, an extra memory card and the instruction book for good measure. There’s always the old saying about how if you forget something, just buy it when you get there, but I consider it a challenge to remember everything! I’ll have too many clothes (as usual) and cosmetics I’ll never apply, but that’s okay, I’ll be prepared for anything!

Posted by: badsneakers | July 7, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

I rarely watch local television news except for the local five-minute weather segment in the evenings. Tonight, I broke my habit of not watching and was majorly disappointed with a story teased "Mammoth Find" on the local ABC-affiliate station. Ursula Pari was at the anchor desk and Charles Gonzales was reporting the story titled by the station, "Archaeological Find at Fort Sam Houston."

Archaeology is the study of ancient cultures, not ancient bone remains, and mammoths are relatives to mastodons, but are not mastodons. Long story short, mastodon bones were unearthed very recently at Fort Sam Houston. Even the military reporter who covered the story for the local paper contacted, as an expert, a director of the "UTSA Center for Archeological [sic] Research."

What, are there no paleontologists in south Texas, let alone local media folks who know what paleontology means? Encountered a father of two young girls from Seattle at Ranger Creek Ranch who didn't know the difference either between archaeology and paleontology. That said, his family was at the Red Gulch Dinosaur Track site near Shell on the same Thursday morning almost two weeks ago as we were, where all six of us ran into two older couples who really knew what they were collecting off-path, uphill from the dinsosaur ballroom.

SCC from several days ago: Solnhofen limestones, not sandstones. There's a website that shows how these golden slabs are used in flooring.

Posted by: laloomis | July 7, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

For those who question the success of the Canadian infiltration, we are sneaky.

Posted by: dmd3 | July 7, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps paleontology is illegal in Texas, given its propensity to try to convince people that the Earth is more than 6000 years old, contrary to the school curriculum.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 7, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Good morning everyone and Happy 7/8/9
Nice kit Mudge,as stated in a previous kit,Mudge you are a wealth of knowledge.

I am glad the MJ Memorial went well,seemed so many people loved the man and his music.

Dr,I remember watching that Grey Cup and thinking,damn it sure looks cold there.But that is the beauty of football,somedays cold, somedays hot,just have to deal with it and enjoy all sorts of weather.I went to a MNF game a few years back,so cold and windy that a whole hotdog blew by.

Speaking of sports,did you see where Lance is in 2nd, 1 second behind the leader in the Tour de France. I tell you there are some great atheletes in the world, But Lance is Da Man!!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | July 8, 2009 4:52 AM | Report abuse

Ah, nice & linky now. Thanx TBG. (uninstalled an ancient form of it long ago - this one is better)

Now all you wannabe future crematees know not to contribute to global warming like that...

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 8, 2009 6:28 AM | Report abuse

Morning. Last day of summer school. Hoping that the heat upon us will stay and set some tomaters.

Like the Today in History kit. Give that Mr. Mudge a gold star...nah, the platinum one.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | July 8, 2009 7:01 AM | Report abuse

Greenwithenvy, you been to bed yet? Enjoy the ham biscuits on the ready room table before you leave.

Morning, all. That reminds me. Has anyone seen Al lately? He's been missing.

Frosti, loved your story of the cousin buried in the minnow bucket.

Today's the busy day, I'd better get started.

Posted by: slyness | July 8, 2009 7:01 AM | Report abuse


Wow, things must really be tough all over if Ivansmom has to rehearse in a motel.

At least this is the last day of contractors (hopefully), so much vacation fun is on the horizon. Although NukeSpouse is inclined to take NukeSpawn elsewhere today and I can't disagree with that plan.

Should I be posting this in the last Kit?

*confused-as-always-even-with-proper-caffeination Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 8, 2009 7:05 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. This is confusing. Back at home the last kit included the nice pics and now it's splitted in 2 kits.

Hello CqP!

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | July 8, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

That should make the Canuckistanis smile. One of the leaders in today's leg of the Tour de France is the Russian Mikhail Ignatiev.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | July 8, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Good morning everyone!

I took me a moment to figure out that "Firenze" referenced in the last kit is Florence. Why those foreigners insist on using them funny names is beyond me.

A fun parlor games is "guess the correct name." I mean, everyone knows that it is totally gauche to refer to Sri Lanka as "Ceylon" but if you refer to Germany as Deutschland you end up on a special list.

And don't even get me started on that whole Burma/Myanmar bit.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 8, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 8, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Altho insured
Remember, kiddo
They don't pay you
They pay
Your widow

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 8, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

I really hate to say this...but Kathleen Parker has a realy excellent column about Palin.

And we were all complaining about computer glitches yesterday, not only at the Post, but here at work, too. Now we know why.

Glad to see CqP back among the fold.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 8, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

The Sun Done Riz
The Sun Done Set
And We Ain't Out
Of Texas Yet
Myanmar Shave

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 8, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Parker usually has fairly cogent stuff, 'Mudge. And she's spot-on today.

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 8, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Parker says Palin is out to fatten her purse. Maureen Dowd claims that Palin is already running for president.

They aren't mutually exclusive theories.

Posted by: Mo_MoDo | July 8, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Good morning, friends. I hope this is working today. We're heading out the door for the radio program. Slyness, boy do we need rain. Everything is so dry. I hope no one throws a lit match.

I watched some of the memorial service, not all, because I had a date with the laundry room. The daughter's very emotional goodbye did it for me. I wish the best for the children. Small children suffer so at the death of parents, especially a single parent that has been such a force in their lives. I hope America will be kind to the children. Whatever their father was to us, to them he was the best daddy in the world.

Mudge, good writing as always. Scotty, Martooni, Yoki, and everyone here, have a great day.*waving*

Posted by: cmyth4u | July 8, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

jkt, I have been collecting extra Periods and Paragraph marks to donate to the Palin cause.

Posted by: russianthistle | July 8, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Hey, nice point on the Exemptions costing $100. I would think that, as the Union troops were marching into the Wilderness region that many of the troops would have been begging to stop at an ATM.

Posted by: russianthistle | July 8, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Those will help, but Sarah also needs some sort of sorter to get the verb objects closer to the verbs.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 8, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

The other thought that comes to mind is that if exemptions only cost $100 during the Vietnam War, Dick Cheney wouldn't have had to become so smart.

Posted by: russianthistle | July 8, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

"Tonight, I broke my habit of not watching and was majorly disappointed..."

How did I know in that second sentence that the post was from Loomis? Try to look on the bright side of things, Linda... you'll be amazed at how well it works!

Morning all... and Al, too. Dr G is heading down to LindaLoo's part of the world today; Son of G is coming up to keep me company.

Did someone mention Myanmar? (Remember the line in Seinfeld when Kramer said, "Myanmar? Is that the new discount drugstore?")

Posted by: -TBG- | July 8, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Parker is not the first to comment on Palin's mild case of venality. The Daily Beast had something earlier this week.

With McNamara's death this week the Cochinchine war was all over the news again.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | July 8, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle! Slow start today, woke up with grumblings of a migraine coming on and hope to keep it at bay until I can have a bit of a lie down.

In honor of CqP's summer school conclusion-tall meadow rue is going to seed with their chandeliers of influorescences glowing like in the evening twilight. Daisies (actually wild asters) have popped up in the bits of the shade garden that get a couple hours of sun-worth leaving for their sunny dispositions. Hosta about ready to flower, columbine and Jacob's Ladder cut back to encourage reblooming. Cosmos and zinnias, started late from seed, budding and ready to fill in for spent bearded irises. Peonies all done, but clematis will be in full flower by Sunday (at the latest). Poppies popping everywhere-still a few weeks off from flowers but already looking like the best self seeding I've ever had.

Re: Sarah Palin. As much of a mess as she now seems, I think the train wreck is yet to come. Not some revelation of ethical lapses past (face it, she's only had small temptations up to now). No, I'm thinking something $ or $ex related yet to come. Sadly, once she is truly a victim even the sympathetic will have moved on having been burned by the faux victimhood.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | July 8, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Joan d'Arc wuz done in.
Mark Twain wrote it up long ago;
critics panned the truth.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 8, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

SCC: glowing in the evening twilight

Posted by: frostbitten1 | July 8, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Hmm. Before wrapped bread
They said "Best thing since tables.."
"They" not being dogs, natch.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 8, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Bury chewed-up toys
In the desert somewhere, then
Ufo nuts steal 'em.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 8, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse


I have grown to look at the posts as an art form. The author has her own distinct style and structure. The point of view, while not always predictable is always enjoyable... if appreciated as a style just like da da, grunge or rococo.

The best part is indeed that the view of life--one of classic disappointment in man.

I suggest that we all try to compete to capture the essence of this art form ... the No NO NO style of blog posting and post our efforts on 9/9/9.

Maybe we could give away a coffee with Joel at Starbucks as the winner's prize.

Or, maybe discuss their favorite street hot dog stand with Sietsema.

Posted by: russianthistle | July 8, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Frosty! At least they have stopped running the same swimsuit contest video whenever they (those they people) talk about her.

Posted by: russianthistle | July 8, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Sci-fi authors great?
Color me cynical, Mudge.
They wrote worlds sans dogs...


(First in space? A dog.
Not men, not aliens, nuttin.
.. R.I.P. Laika.)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 8, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I prefer "Serendip" to newfangled notions like "Ceylon". I'm old-school, that way.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 8, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Ivansdad says "6 is nervous because 7 8 9."

Read it aloud.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 8, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Padouk, didja ever wonder if back a few decades ago Italians used to watch "il Brady Groupo," starring Firenze Henderson?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 8, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

What, you're not serendipitious instead, SciTim?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 8, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrodog, please note that I included poor old Laika in one of my history blurbs a few weeks ago.

But yes, you're completely right: the total absence of poochkind in sci-fi is a shocking lapse. Shameful. ("What's that, Lassie? Timmie fell into the event horizon?")

Problematic headline: "Chinese Troops Blanket Strife-Torn Western City." That's all we need: Feng-shui at the OK Corral.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 8, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

It should come as no surprise that Oil mogul Harry Sinclair was willing to help Barnum Brown with the funding of excavating Jurassic dinosaur fossils from the Howe Dinosaur Quarry in Shell, Wyoming.

Sinclair was a fellow Kansan, the son of a small-town druggust. The young Sinclair trained to be a druggist himself but lost the family business in a speculation. He made his living selling small oil properties in Oklahoma and eventually became one of the top independent oil producers in the country, ultimately verticaly integrating his operations to become even richer and more powerful.

Sinclair was no stranger to Wyoming, since he and President Harding's Interior Secretary Albert B. Fall were at the center of the 1922-24 Teapot Dome scandal, Teapot Dome not far from Casper. Fall would be the first Cabinet officer convicted of a felony; Sinclair would serve six and a half months for contempt of both the court and the Senate. For more information, about Sinclair, see Yergin's book "The Prize" or other books about Teapot Dome. Yergin, BTW, will be a guest on the second hour of the Diane Rehm show today, the subject is oil.

The lack of compensation from neither Brown, his American Museum of Natural History in New York City, nor Sinclair for excavating dinosaur fossils on their land stung the Howe family, disillusioned and disappointed them. It did make the family smarter a lot faster.

Barker Howe was in his early 80s when the big dig took place on his property. When widow Howe sold the ranch in May 1942, she sold the land but retained for the herself and Howe descendants all the mineral and oil rights, and all rights to the fossil and dinosaur deposits and dinosaur beds. In the intervening years, the ranch was sold to Press Stephens, whom Swiss paleontologist H.J. "Kirby" Siber contacted in 1989, asking for a lease to reopen the the Howe Dinosaur Quarry.

Posted by: laloomis | July 8, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Heinlein had dogs in at least "Starship Troopers" and "Friday," FWIW...

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 8, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Kibble kibbitzing
Not a slur on reporting,
But the news itself...


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 8, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

And "Time Enough for Love," now that I'm thinking about it...

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 8, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Repost from (two?) kits back when I got kitted just as I posted

I think I'm pretty high up on the marriage list. 49 3/4th continuous years, less one day. Of course spread over two wives. The first turned out not so great. Married the second wife the day after the marriage first was finally legally settled.

I owe Mr. McNamara about three years of employment. When I got out of the Coast Guard 1-'65, I landed a job at McClellan AFB, Scramento, CA as a 'management engineer.' A job category Bob invented I think at Ford, where we would go around and work sample people and try to tie the labor requirements to some function of the volume of responsibility so if the volume responsibility changed the work force would be porportionaly adjusted. There were five air force logistical bases at the time but no correlation could be statistically linked to such things as acreage, miles of runways, number of building etc for the base civil engineer and the number of busses, truck drivers, etc for base transportation (the studies I worked on) between the five bases. Anyway, I parlayed my job there to one I Hawaii with the air force, first as a 'management engineer' trying to make air freight to and from Vietnam more efficient and then got into HQ PACAF as a manpower planner for the civil engineer. While we applied Mac's formulas to add base civil engineer forces as squadrons were deployed around Vietnam and Thailand, we also accessed all the other base functions 10% of their manpower to build houches. While the army was living in tents the air force was to housed in air conditioned houches and even multi-story concrete apartments. After a while I was invited to top secret briefings to prepare for the 'long haul.' There I lost confidence I what I was doing. My son was only three and plans were being discussed that would have still had us in Vietnam when he would be eligible for the draft. Also the powers to be didn't like my suggestion on how to end the war. We were getting daily reports on the tons of bombs dropped, which didn't seem to deter the Viet Cong much. The Vietnamese are very entrepreneurial, so I suggested we drop dollar bills. That way the Viet Kong would all be walking around looking at the ground to find the dollar bills and not be looking up to shoot down our planes. And in a few months they would have enough money to go back home to start a noodle shop and the war would be over. Some smart officers reminded me of the military-industrial-complex and suggest I go back to San Francisco and join the hippie movement.

Posted by: bh72 | July 8, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Oh? Well, good for him. (Tell the haikudog to stand down, please. He's still growling and got that look in his eye.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 8, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrodog -- not sure why you're back on science fiction authors ("sci-fi" is an evil mutant whelp of a word, that deserves no respect), but do not forget that classic of dog-related science fiction, "Sirius" by Olaf Stapledon. Dogs also play a major role in Clifford Simak's "City".

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 8, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

*not telling SciTim about the name change for a certain cable channel* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 8, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Great story, bh. There are a lot of situations where dropping dollars would be far more cost effective than dropping bombs.

As for canines in SF, try the rather advanced variety in 'A Fire Upon The Deep' by Vernor Vinge.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 8, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

You don't like the term "sci-fi," Tim? Why not? It always seemed reasonably serviceable to me. I admit it doesn't withstand serious parsing, but it has come to be its own independent entity, and everyone knows basically what it encompasses.

And I've never heard a good alternative word/phrase, although I guess there are some floating around I'm not aware of.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 8, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse


That name change makes the official channel name no more disingenuous than MTV or Headline News. Neither of which feature much of their original mandate.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 8, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

For those like me who are stone ignorant of what Scotty and yello are discussing, it appears the Sci-Fi Channel is now the SyFy channel. That's an abomination beyond contempt.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 8, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I think they've dropped the "channel" Mudge. It's just plain ol' SyFy, which is even stupider.

Maybe PsyPhy?

Posted by: -TBG- | July 8, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Four hundred years after Joan, women were still being hassled on that Deuteronomy cross dressing thing. Mary Edwards Walker was arrested several times for wearing men's clothes, which she did for the simple reason that it seemed to her infinitely practical. And who was Mary Walker? She was an American physician, author, and feminist. She served in the Union Army in the Civil War as a surgeon, was captured as a spy by the Confederates and held as a POW in Richmond for about six months until her eventual exchange, and was awarded the Medal of Honor, the only woman ever to be so honored. Along with Walt Whitman she is the namesake of the Whitman-Walker Clinic. Mary was quite a gal. There is a nice photo of her in top hat and tails wearing her medal here-

Posted by: kguy1 | July 8, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I'd really love to know the reasoning behind SyFy. "By George, this channel doesn't have enough Ys in its name"?

Posted by: schala1 | July 8, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I know, TBG. I often think that marketing and advertising people all have advanced syphilis, that their brains have rotted. Some moron somewhere thought of that change, and then had the clout to make it happen.

I can think of a thousand corporate names that have changed, for no apparent good reason. What the hell is a Lucent technology, anyway? What was wrong with Bell Telephone or AT&T? WTF is wrong with the people at M*cy's, fer cryin' out loud? Are they nuts? Did the freaking asterisk give them market share?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 8, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

No one calls literary fiction "LiFi" do they? Nor romance novels "RoNos," short stories "ShoStos," period pieces "PePis," nor do they call the Holy Book the "HoBo."

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 8, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

SciFi is a phrase in the public domain and cannot be trademarked. SyFy is both proprietary and impossible to pronounce correctly.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 8, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

laloomis, I'm confused. Whose American Museum of Natural History? I don't think you can call it anyone's, unless you make the leap that the founding meeting was held and paperwork was signed in TR Sr's parlor.

About the lack of compensation from neither a nor b nor c...huh?

Posted by: LostInThought | July 8, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Found it.
" 'The name Sci Fi has been associated with geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements with video games and stuff like that, as opposed to the general public and the female audience in particular,' said TV historian Tim Brooks, who helped launch Sci Fi Channel when he worked at USA Network."

...yes, ok. Surely the way to gain a larger female market share is not simply having good shows or encouraging writers to create more complex female characters in those shows. It's gotta be that the network's name isn't soft enough. Blaaarf. Why don't we paint the logo pink as well, that'll really bring the wimmens running.

Posted by: schala1 | July 8, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

It's also a Trekkie/Trekker type of thing. SciFi as a phrase connotates the schlockier end of the genre which the more literary types want to be disassociated from.

Even the term science fiction rankles some. A lot of fiction is based on science. Most of the works of Robin Cook, Michael Crichton and even Patricia Cornwall if you want to get into it. Also, as Kurt Vonnegut once remarked, too many critics mistake that drawer for a urinal.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 8, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

New Kit, BTW...

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 8, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I am just all excited about that whole

12:34:56: 7/8/9


Really, it's been that kind of a day.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 8, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Not too solid an argument, jumper. There is Chick-lit. Granted most genre categories aren't abbreviated or truncated, but a few are. PI novels, "procedurals," etc. yello is right: "sci-fi" is in the public domain, and has been for quite a while.

While "pulps" or "the pulps" isn't an abbreviation, it refers to an early category that applied to both early sci-fi as well as a lot of "noir" detective/crime stuff.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 8, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I think Jumper has pretty much covered the issues surrounding the wretchedness that is the phrase "sci-fi." I understand that I, and my ilk, have lost this battle -- even folks at the Balticon, normally the most obsessive of weenies, seem to feel comfortable with the term -- but I consider this to be a Noble (Albeit Lost) Cause, and I shall maintain my genre-terminology tetchiness to my last breath.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 8, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

SciFi Channel has become SyFy in order to break with their past as the favored genre of pimply boys in the basement (and to obtain a name they could make a registered trademark). Similarly, sort of, Esso changed its name in the 70's to the modernistic and undefinable Exxon, in order to break with their past as a mere fragment of the once-mighty monopoly, Standard Oil. After the Exxon Valdez "incident" I wonder why they didn't change the name again, to something more environmentally friendly and socially acceptable. For example, Nixxon. Or Pukes-On (think of the advertising value they could have gotten from clips of George H. W. Bush!). Or, maybe, Death-to-Amerixxon.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 8, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

CriFi, I guess.

Anyway, the abovementioned Brooks was probably in on the meeting that named it SciFi Channel in the first place. I think guys such as him are dysfunctional anti-intellectuals who lead the pecking parties against people who passed high-school algebra and stuff, and try to pass themselves off as adults by dressing up in grownup clothes and mocking those they are not mentally equipped to comprehend. But that's just me.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 8, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I don't get it they get rid of Frooklim for this idiot to have his posters write in code....



Posted by: danson1 | July 9, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

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