Hey, Gang, Let's Put On A Show!

And when your name is Josh Whedon...

...you can actually end up putting on a show!

Coming to an Internet near you, beginning July 15th!

[click image for official Dr. Horrible website]


Cool Art: Stephanie Hans

I've been spending far too much time over on ConceptArt.org, ever since I learned about it (curse you, Irene Gallo, curse you!). CA is a site where artists and illustrators meet to talk, exchange information and techniques, and challenge and critique each other in numerous ways.

One of those challenges is a "Character of the Week" (CHOW) forum where a theme or brief description of a character is posted, and participants submit their personal riffs and renditions on that theme.

One fairly regular CHOW participant, whose work has particularly impressed me, submits her work under the name "Ryuloulou". The art up above, which reminds me strongly of Charles Vess' work, is from one of the CHOW challenges.

Looking at Ryuloulou's profile led to a link to her home page, where I found her actual name is Stephanie Hans, an artist in France who's apparently done quite a bit of work for French YA bookcovers.

(It would be nice *coff* *ahem* *hint* to see some of her work on US bookcovers.)

Her home page has a nicely negotiable gallery section, where you can see more of her work. (If you read French, there's also a link to her blog.) Enjoy.


A Movie I'd Really, Really Like To See


(via Lucius Shephard) (Ummm... "Shepard") (As if brainfarts weren't embarassing enough when they're not made in public....)


It's Been A While..."

...since I've posted any pictures of the household cats:




(Not shown: Tia and Rikkus, who will apppear at a date to be determined.)

As an extra bonus, glads and iris from our garden:

Fuligin Stew

John Scalzi takes Fox News to the woodshed in "Fox News Would Like To Take a Moment To Remind You That the Obamas Are As Black As Satan’s Festering, Baby-Eating Soul”

Along the same line, Yahoo! News featured this juxtaposition of photos and subhead a few days ago:

Someone at Yahoo! News thinks they have a sense of humor.


Dr. Beckett's Mom Cuts Up His Food For Him

From Britain comes the news that hordes of kill-crazy, knife-wielding young people are slaughtering the people of England left, right, and a deep cut down the middle.

Well, not so much:
...experts differ strongly on whether this is a sudden phenomenon that is taking the country into perilous new territory, or just a blip that is generating a disproportionate response from the authorities.

The data is inconclusive. Government figures show fatal stabbings hover at just over 200 every year, with occasional spikes above 250. This time appears no different, despite shrill headlines warning of "blade-mad Britain" each time another teenager dies in a public altercation.

"There have been a number of high-profile incidents and that gives the impression that the problem is more widespread than it actually is," says Enver Solomon, deputy director of London King's College's Centre for Crime and Justice Studies. "There hasn't been an underlying increase in the number of people murdered by sharp implements."


Some even argue that this is not an epidemic of knife crime, just an epidemic of press stories about knife crime. "The BBC now puts any murder in the national news," said Simon Jenkins, a prominent commentator. "The effect of this nationalization of social panic is that you get knee-jerk policy reactions," he told BBC radio.
Roger Matthews, a criminologist at London South Bank University, says that surveys of youth show that a "very significant percentage of young people routinely carry knives." He attributes knives' increased popularity to Britain's strong anti-gun legislation. [...] "The great attraction of knives is that they are enormously accessible and can be acquired from different places. Very often they aren't machetes, they are just kitchen knives," he says.
So, Britain has a growing problem with knife-based assaults, except that the problem isn't actually growing. And a lot of these attacks are being made by people carrying kitchen knives.

I. Don't. Think. So.

If I want to carry a knife around with me, I'm NOT going to say, "Oh, I'll just take this unsheathed, sharp-pointed knife from the kitchen and shove it into a pocket." Yeah, someone would likely end up in the ER with a knife wound, but he would be an idiot, not a victim.

If you want to carry a knife around with you, the overwhelming odds are that 1) it will have a sheath of some kind, or 2) it will have a folding blade. Like, oh, the folding pocket knife I usually carry (which also has a belt clip, which is not only more convenient, but saves worries about accusations of "carrying a concealed weapon").

My bet is that the overwhelming majority of "kitchen knife" attacks, in Britain or elsewhere, are the results of domestic violence incidents where someone goes over the edge and grabs the nearest household weapon available, usually the one on the kitchen counter.

But the newspapers say there's a problem, so obviously we need to find someone with a solution to it. Enter Dr. Michael Beckett:
Another medical expert, Dr. Mike Beckett, argues that it is time to remove sharp knives from kitchens altogether. He says there is no need for the pointed tips that make knives fatal. "What people want in a kitchen knife is the edge," he told the BBC. "The point on the end of the knife actually serves little culinary purpose, but it is the point that kills people."

Ay, caramba. No doubt when Dr. Beckett clips out the news article for his scrapbook, he'll use the round-pointed "safety scissors" he saved from his days in kindergarten.

The mental image that comes to mind is of a young British tough getting into an argument, pulling a "Beckett-Special" kitchen knife from a pocket, staring at the rounded front edge, crying "Damn! DAMN, DAMN, DAMN! This won't work!" and getting so depressed that he goes home, runs a hot tub, and slashes his wrists.

Can I be treated like a competent adult now, Doc? Thanks.

(photo from Geekologie)


Two Skilled Gentlemen...

I'd like to recommend Michael Chabon's short novel GENTLEMEN OF THE ROAD, a rollicking "Jews With Swords" story set in the Khazar empire of the 10th century.

On its own, that would be plenty to enjoy. But as I was reading it, I came to the sudden realization "Oh my god, Chabon's main characters are Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser!"

The names may be different, the weapons they carry may be different, Amran may be a giant African instead of a red-headed Northerner, but the flavor, the banter, the style... if Chabon isn't a big fan of Fritz Lieber, I'll have to bake an edible hat and eat it.

Short take: If you miss Fritz Lieber's work, read GENTLEMEN OF THE ROAD.

(Side note: Looking at the Wikipedia entry on Fafhrd and the Mouser, I found that the very first appearance of the characters in a comic-book form was in a 1972 issue of... WONDER WOMAN?!?!?! An issue written by... SAMUEL R. DELANY?!?!?!?!?! Pardon me while my head explodes.)


My Retirement Cake

This is the cake I had made for my last day at work. The decoration is based on a drawing by JayDee Faire named "March of the Happy Mailman" that I came across on deviantart.com several months ago. I was so tickled by the drawing that I wanted to put it on a cake. (Used by permission. Thanks, JayDee!) The original drawing can be seen here.


News, With More To Come

Last Saturday, May 31st, was my last day with the US Postal Service. I am officially retired.

I've been busy since then emptying our rented storage room, going thru the backyard sheds to clean, sort, trash and re-organize the stuff in them, and consolidating it all. BIG pile for bulk trash pickup next week, plus smaller piles for Craigslist, Freecycle, and Good Will.

Then comes similar work on the inside of the house. (Retire... you'll work your ass off!) And then emphasis on job-hunting to make up the difference in income between my regular USPS paychecks and the retirement checks.

More details to come, with pictures of retirement cake, etc., and hopefully more extensive posts on more extensive subjects. Right now, just time for this short post, and the occasional "Snarkaption" photo.

Snarkaption Nation #7