Archive for March, 2009

Bees are on the way

Monday, March 30th, 2009

It looks like my first batch of bees will arrive on April 13. That is a Monday.

Erica does not want to be left alone to handle the bees. I will try to coordinate to be there, but if I can’t, I’ll try to talk the guy into dropping the frames into my hives. The alternative is to just leave the nuc box on the walk and I’ll transfer them as soon as I get home. The nuc boxes cost $5 each so I would rather not have to pay for a cardboard box.

Edd Cartier Printers Proof

Monday, March 30th, 2009

I met Edd Cartier a couple of years ago. I’ve been collecting examples of his art ever since. This Printer’s proof is up for auction on eBay.

Unfortunately it is already out of my price range.

On Ebay

The Boy With the Green Hair

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

A while ago I read a Ben Barzman science fiction novel that I liked. He was a good writer, one of those that has a style as smooth as silk and lots of good ideas. Barzman was also a screenwriter and an anti-war activist. The Boy With the Green Hair has a strong ant-war message. I think that Barzman was blacklisted because of the movie.

The Boy with the Green Hair stars a very young (and bald for much of it) Dean Stockwell and a singing Pat O’Brien. (Erica’s Great Uncle was friends with Pat O’Brien and Erica had his autograph until her mother cleaned her room and threw it out. One of my great Grandfathers was an Irish Clog Dancer and appeared in theaters with Pat O’Brien. Small world.)

I remember this movie from when I was a kid, but all I remember was the green hair. I enjoyed it when I watched it last night, but I thought that the message was quite heavy handed.

If you can find it, try it out. I don’t think that it will ever come around into one of the cable movie stations. Just try to ignore that the movie is making its point much too strongly, and try to enjoy the good acting and the interesting premise.

Li'l Abner Classics free online comic strip library at

Friday, March 27th, 2009

In my “good morning” bookmarks group is Li’l Abner by Al Capp. The crew at has been screwing up the order of the comics and they jumped from a 1930s sequence to a late 40s sequence. I enjoyed the Fearless Fosdick episode where the comic within a comic manages to arrest a felonious Chippendale chair. The chair gets “the chair” for murder. It’s all very convoluted and weird.

Capp started a new story line (March 1948) involving the witch Nightmare Alice. The art and the story are just wonderful. I just hope that is able to keep their act together so I get my daily dose of Dogpatch.

Li’l Abner Classics free online comic strip library at

300 Days and Counting at the Heinlein Contest

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

301 days ago I submitted to the Heinlein contest. There has been no responses to my queries. It looks like a dead end. It is too late to publish a book as suggested in their press release. The website has not been updated in 4 months. There are going to be several hundred pissed off writers who wasted nearly a year with this farce.

It looks like the Heinlein Society is a dead end, also. I joined the Society last year out of my respect for the writer – well fool me once.

John Cephas has passed

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

March has been a bad month for my friends. I’ve been losing people left and right.

John Cephas was a friend that I met at Blues Week in Elkins, West Virginia about 15 years ago. His partner, Phil Wiggins, gave me my first lessons in how to play the harmonica. I have their CDs on my ipod and I always mist up when I think of those great days back in the early 90s.

John was 78, which I think is much too young to leave us. He will surely be missed.

5,000 words a day

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

I thought about it today and tallied up how many words I probably write in a day. I have several blogs that I try to hit almost every day. I get lots of email, both personal and business related. I have a job where I have to write reports, summaries and documentation. If you add it all up I am doing more than 5,000 words a day.

5,000 words a day is a good size novel every month. Of all the things I write, fiction, though, is at the bottom of the list. The kind of writing that I like the best is always pushed off because the other stuff I do pays the bills. Imagine if a writer could make money writing science fiction – think of it.

Somebody tried to count how many words a person speaks in a day. Supposedly a woman can say 20,000 words a day where a man says about 13,000 words. My own preference is to keep total daily words down to about 500 total, and that’s probably too many. When I teach my throat gets sore from talking after about 45 minutes. I don’t talk much and my vocal cords aren’t used to being used.

Conquest of Earth by Manly Banister (1957)

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Conquest of Earth reads like a first novel with a few fundamental problems with the plot and narrative, but is still a good read. I have other Banister books on the shelf and I will try them soon.

Read the review of Conquest of Earth by Manly Banister (1957)

6 From Worlds Beyond, ed. T. E. Dikty (1956)

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

6 From Worlds Beyond, is a good collection of some stories a little outside the Golden Age of SF mainstream and a very good read.

Read my review of 6 From Worlds Beyond, ed. T. E. Dikty (1956)

Speculations on the way back

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

One of the best places to get SpecFic gossip was at speculations. It was an elegantly simple message board system that allowed you to view messages in a variety of very useful ways. A year ago they folded under the weight of spam. They had unrealistic ideals about anonymity and the sanctity of the message and the spammers took advantage. The process of marking spam (but never deleting it) eventually killed the board.

I went to far as to duplicate many of the speculations features in a prototype system, but I never released it.

Now, after a long hiatus they are thinking about returning with a new functionality. I accidentally clicked on the link and found that they are creating a mash-up with twitter and livejournal. I don’t know how this will work. I don’t use my livejournal account and I am not a big fan of twitter. I don’t need to read more meaningless messages about what kind of bagel someone had at coffee break.

Twitter is not focused on a particular community. Twitter is very unfocused and I have dropped some interesting people (like Neil Gaiman) who suffer from the twitter “runs”. I am eagerly waiting to see what comes up. The old speculations had incredibly useful information. I wish that they would at least make the old messages as a read-only archive.

Coincidentally, John Shirley has dropped support of his discussion board. He took his name off of it. He was the object of political flaming and he found himself trying to moderate extreme left and right elements and just got sick of it.

This is unfortunate because Shirley seemed to spend a great deal of time on the internet and always had interesting links to odd news or important information. I think that the bbs was taking up too much of his time, especially in the act of moderating, and he should have been spending more time writing.

Speculations : For Writers Who Want To Be Read

What to do with the hat while waiting for the bees

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

Only a couple of weeks to go. I going to wear my bee hat to bed so that cats won’t lick my face.

The SLF persons of a certain age Writers Grant

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

I’m not happy with the name. I am not an “Older Writer”. I am a young writer (about 14) whose body unexplainedly has the appearance of a 50-ish person (although a young 50-ish).

I am going to enter this. I have my stories archived on a 250meg drive in the basement. I’ll have to hook it up to the network so that I can find one that will get me the $750 grant.

The SLF Older Writers Grant is awarded annually to a writer who is fifty years of age or older at the time of grant application, and is intended to assist such writers who are just starting to work at a professional level. We are currently offering one $750 grant annually, to be used as the writer determines will best assist his or her work.

The Speculative Literature Foundation Older persons with lots of life experience Writers Grant

First Day of Spring

Friday, March 20th, 2009

This is what it looked like out my front door at 7:15 this morning. We had some good weather and I told the people on the bus to expect snow up through the first week in April. They did not believe me. There will be at least one more day of snow flurries.

Letter from Corinna

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

I received this from cousin Corinna. Please read it. If you are from Rockland County you might consider signing the petition.

Hi all,

For those of you who don’t know, in 1981, my sister-in-law Paula Bohovesky was brutally raped and murdered a few blocks away from her home in Pearl River, NY. The men responsible were caught and convicted, however, since 2005, they continue to come up for parole every two years. So far they have been denied parole, but we believe that without our continued efforts, they may eventually have a chance of getting out of prison. We can’t let that happen.

Please download the petition at

Once signed, it can be mailed to the address that appears at the top of the first page to the attention of Barbara Tobin. Please let me know if you send it — I’d like to have an idea of how many signatures we get this time. Every signature counts.

Thanks to all of you who have helped in the past. With your continued support, we can keep the people responsible for the brutality commited on Paula in prison where they belong. I’ve included the latest Journal News article below.

Please let me know if you have any trouble opening, viewing or printing the petition and I can get a hard copy to you.