Maybe it's an omen?

Oct. 22nd, 2016 05:33 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

Rare fin whale stranding in Norfolk puzzles scientists:

“It should not be in those waters,” he told the BBC. “We see fin whales occasionally on the southern coast or more the west coast of the UK, so Ireland, right up to Scotland. But you never get them in the North Sea, so what it was doing there, we have no idea at the moment.”

Not the first instance this year of whales beaching themselves along the East Anglian Coast, but at least sperm whales are not unusual visitors. (I note there is actually a UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP)).

I do notice, when googling fin whales East Anglia, that it's not the first fin whale to come ashore in those parts, there was an incident in 2012: The body of a juvenile whale remained on a Suffolk beach yesterday as officials decided on the best way to dispose of the large mammal; and there have been infrequent sightings going back to 1842

So perhaps not A Sign?

And also in Dept of This is Not Unique and Unprecedented, I see that I am not the only person to have gone, actually Sir Rabindranath Tagore, Nobel Prize for Literature, 1913, was a songwriter (though not exclusively so - poems, novels, essays, etc).

Frankfurt Book Fair I

Oct. 22nd, 2016 05:08 pm
selenak: (Default)
[personal profile] selenak
This year's Frankfurt Book Fair changed several things in the layout, and in the security measures. Where in the past, only Hall 8, where the English-speaking publishers plus the Israelis used to be, had handbag-searching at their entrance, this year all bags get searched at the general entrance. Also the English speaking publishers plus the Israelis switched to Hall 6, which is much closer to the rest of the action, but meant that the Latin-origin languages moved to Hall 5. Which was when the Italians, who were supposed to get their stand in 5.0, protested that there was no way they were going to be placed BELOW the French who are in 5.01. I don't know whether these are long term Napoleonic scars, or what, but I have it from a publisher who was told by the President of the Frankfurt Book Fair. In the end, ruffled feathers were calmed, and the Italians were content with 5.0.

These territorial squabbings notwithstanding, the opening speeches at the opening ceremony started with strong appeals to European unity and fighting against the evils of nationalism in all our countries. Then they got self critical. The second speaker was Heinrich Riethmüller, President of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, and he offered a mighty "J'Accuse" in direction of not solely Turkey but also our own government (and the rest of the Europeans) for not doing anything due to Erdogan's refugee leverage. He quoted a letter the imprisoned writer Azli Erdogan (no relation) has written, representative of over 120 currently imprisoned writers and journalists in Turkey, which was a heartwrenching appeal, and lamented "the silence of politics". The next speaker was Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, who departed from his prepared speech by immediately addressing what Riethmüller has said. "'Politics' may be silent, but I won't be. I agree with you, Herr Riethmüller. The voice of Frau Erdogan says all about Herr Erdogan. Someone who seeks to silence his opponents by persecuting them and locking them up can no longer be a democrat. I join you in calling for their immediate release." Since he said this on a public occasion to an audience of hundreds and in the presence of two heads of state - the Kings of Belgium and Holland respectively, because this year's guest(s) of honor were Flanders and the Netherlands - it was hopefully a gesture not unnoticed. The rest of his speech was pretty good, too. He linked Trump, Le Pen and our homegrown evils, the AFD, and called for "an uprising of the decent", to speak against hate speech, because this is our test, the one we didn't think would come for our generation, where we truly find out whether we've learned better than our grandparents. He also used his bookseller background to connect reading to empathy, which I'm less sure about, given that there are plenty of books around which incite hate, but anyway. There is currently some talk about whether or not Schulz will replace Gabriel as the SPD's candidate for chancellor in the next elections, but so far it's not likely he'll give up being President of the European Parliament for such a candidacy.

As mentioned, the guest of honor isn't one country this time, but two, or rather, one and the linguistically related region of another. Two of their authors, Charlotte von den Broeck for Flanders and Arnon Grünberg for the Netherlands, gave us a new format for the traditional last speech, always by a writer from the guest of honor country. Instead of a speech about their country, they gave us a poetic dialogue about shame, writing, empathy, distance. By far the most "literary" conclusion the opening evening has had for a while.

There has been no shortage of famous writers, German and international alike, at the Book Fair this year, but by far the most famous author came from another industry. No, Bob Dylan didn't make it to Frankfurt. (Though every publisher who had Dylan lyrics or biographies about him in their backlist included those at their stand.). But Bruce Springsteen did. Alas for most of us, he didn't do so in public or announced. Instead, he presented his memoirs to a select audience of ca. 60 journalists, and the rest of us only learned about it the next morning. However, it WAS a traditional reading/presentation - just two minutes for photographs, then he read an excerpt from his autobiography and answered questions. The invited journalists loved it (and were v.v.v smug the next day, let me assure you; one said that "Bruce looks more Irish the older he gets", while I tried very hard to pretend I was only jealous on [personal profile] likeadeuce's behalf.

Some famous authors I did meet and listen to: Donna Leon, whom I'd met earlier this year in February, and who, as an American living in Europe, was inevitably asked the T question, which led to this bit of dialogue:

DL: You know, I think the rest of the world should get a say in US elections as well, seeing how our decisions affect all of you. But unfortunately, nobody listens to me.
Moderator: Will you vote?
DL: I've voted already.
Moderator: We all agree that Trump is unspeakable, but is Hillary Clinton really a better choice? I've got a Republican cousin in New York who says she's just as bad, and...
DL (interrupting him, first with mock horror, then with real verve): Argh - Republican relations! No, she's not "just as bad". And by the way, I didn't vote for her because she's a woman, either. I voted for her because she's incredibly smart, she's disciplined, and she gets things done.

That told him. Then there was Ian Kershaw, of British historian fame, presenting his book about what he called "the 30 years war of the 20th century", i.e. The time between 1914 and 1949. The original English title is "To hell and back", I hear, but the German one is simply "Höllensturz" (no "back" optimism), and of course Kershaw's moderator gloomily asked whether we're falling into hell again right now. Kershaw didn't want to commit to this exactly, pointing out that in the 30s, two thirds of Europe was ruled by various dictators, whereas now, most countries have had decades of experience of democracy behind him, imperfect as they are/were, but he wasn't exactly vibrating with optimism about the future, either. Interestingly, he thinks the European project peaked in the late 70s, not the 80s or early 90s, which would have been my choice, but didn't elaborate, as most of the conversation was obviously about the decades his book covers, in which "everyone always made the worst of all possible choices". When the moderator congratulated Kershaw for his fluent writing style, Kershaw said: "Well, I've always had a very low boredom threshhold as a reader, and so as a writer I try not to challenge my readers to feel they need to explore theirs."

Turkey didn't stop being an urgent subject, never more than when Can Dündar, the editor of the now defunct Cumhürryet, spoke; he urged us all not to treat Erdogan as the sole voice of Turkey, to remember and support all the other voices Erdogan is trying to erase. He also pointed out the not-newness of Erdogan's behavior, quoting something Erdogan had said when Mayor of Istanbul in the 1990s - "Democracy is the train which will carry us to our destination; then we won't need it anymore". Deniz Hüzel, a correspondant who'd actually been in Istanbul during the night of the attempted coup, described his experience and chilling it was, too.

In terms of "books I'm putting on the 'to check out later, they sound intriguing' list": German translation of the correspondance between Paul Cezanne and Emile Zola, published apropos the movie "Cezanne et moi" (which I've watched and found frustrating because to me it was as if it kept being on the verge of something better, more interesting, and then didn't manage), German translation of Mary Beard's "SPQR", and a new biography covering the young Erich Honecker. Which I hadn't thought would interest me, but I caught the presentation of the book almost by accident, and Martin Sabrow, who wrote it, made "Erich Honecker. Das Leben davor." (The Life Before) sound fascinating. He talked about how it had been his goal neither to redeem or deconstruct Honecker, but to look at his youth not least because it had been rewritten quite differently once Honecker rose to the top, but also in terms of how it relates to the era; Sabrow was a good out loud narrator (which not all authors are) as he wryly told his anecdotes about young Erich Honecker, undercover Communist resistance member, managing to escape the Gestapo in an action movie worthy chase only to be arrested the very next day because he'd forgotten he had given the driver of the taxi he'd jumped out of when noticing the cops were on his trail his intended destination, which was near where he was hiding. He also drew a connection between Honecker's stubborn refusal to face realities in the late 1980s and that arrest in 1935 followed by ten years of prison (in Nazi Germany): "A deep distrust towards one's own people. Remember, he starts out wanting to free them, but then he's arrested and does he get applauded? No, of course not. He's reviled and spat at while everyone he sees cheers the Nazis. And that's when you start the mental division between "the true people", who need to be led by the (Communist) party, and the unreliable mob."

This resonated not least because of current day events, and the painful awareness that "deep distrust" isn't just something crusty old ideologues who have their people fenced in by walls and shooting orders feel. I've felt it myself.

Now for some visual impressions from the fair:

Below the cut )

Tomorrow the book fair ends with the presentation of the Peace Award of the German Book Trade. Stay tuned.

(no subject)

Oct. 22nd, 2016 11:26 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] catdraco and [personal profile] gryphynshadow!

More Links Than A Bag Of Sausages

Oct. 22nd, 2016 03:04 am
petzipellepingo: (more links by eyesthatslay)
[personal profile] petzipellepingo
Buffyverse icons by [profile] scarred_loretta.

Storywonk podcast talks Bargaining Parts 1 & 2 .

Bufferingthevampireslayer podcast talks The Pack .

Soundcloud podcast talks Bad Eggs.

Hypable podcast talks The Prodigal & The Ring .

USAToday includes Fear, Itself in their "20 TV episodes to get you into the Halloween spirit".

Screenrant lists "15 Stars You Forgot Appeared On Angel".
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

Spotted in the street this evening: somebody walking their ferret. Awwww, cute ferret. Aaaargh, ferret-walking hipsters taking over the neighbourhood.


I don't think I have ever managed to be fashionably late to any event unless there was a transport crisis.


Book launch held in turn of the century hall of institution for educating the lower orders, now embedded within a post-92 university. A dado (?dado; or would it count as above the dado?) of murals illustrating (I presume) great episodes from English history of some relevance to the location. The only one I could make the slightest guess at was the one with, surely that must be EIR? The one with a cat in the corner did not otherwise recall Dick Whittington.


Good conversations.


As a result of the foregoing, I may have revived a 'Research This' Thing I have been thinking about for several years now, which impinges upon the general ballpark of my scholarly interests, but Not [Quite] My Period and probably requiring getting up to speed on a load of peripheral matters for that reason. On another paw, for Other Reasons it has a certain relevance.

More Links Than A Bag Of Sausages

Oct. 21st, 2016 03:09 am
petzipellepingo: (more links by eyesthatslay)
[personal profile] petzipellepingo
Like a Cancer and Spike's Trick or Treat Game, Spike/Buffy by [personal profile] katleept.

Chapter Fifteen of The Soul Lies Down by [personal profile] the_moonmoth.

Imdb lists BtVS characters by their screen time.

UK.complex talks to Joss about Spike & Buffy and doing a Star Wars film.

A Gen Thing

Oct. 20th, 2016 03:02 pm
rebcake: Dawn: sqeeeeeee (dawneeeee)
[personal profile] rebcake
I won an award! Whee!


I am amused that a story (still a WIP, until next month) about slayer sexual response research would win "Best Gen", but it's true that there's very little actual sex in it. Poor Buffy.

So many wonderful friends also won awards, and can I just say, "Keep it up, guys! You're doing great!"

I'm pleased that a story that I beta'd won an award in the Angst category: [personal profile] shapinglight's Third Wheel, a fascinating look at what would have happened if Darla was the "lady" Buffy became in Halloween, and what that might mean when she and Angel get together. Another fun one is the other winner in the Gen category, [personal profile] st_salieri's Desert Wonderland. Check 'em out!

Tonight, I'm headed to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, drag!

By default

Oct. 20th, 2016 03:58 pm
yourlibrarian: MERL-MerlinArthurSneak-kathyh (MERL-MerlinArthurSneak-kathyh)
[personal profile] yourlibrarian
1) For those who have opened Imzy accounts but haven't really been on the site, you may want to know the following about upcoming changes as they prepare to exit beta:

"If you don’t want your profile to be able to show up in search results or you don’t want people who are logged out of Imzy to be able to view your profile, you can go edit your profile" and there will be a checkbox allowing you to opt out.

Because my profile appears on my account page, which compiles all my comments and posts made anywhere on Imzy, I asked the following: Read more... )

2) Speaking of sharing content, my guess is that well targeted sharing works better:

"A widespread assumption is that the more content is liked or shared, the more engaging it must be, the more willing people are to devote their attention to it. However, the data doesn’t back that up. We looked at 10,000 socially-shared articles and found that there is no relationship whatsoever between the amount a piece of content is shared and the amount of attention an average reader will give that content."

3) I'm pretty surprised than in this article about visual prejudice in making choices that they don't bring up why blind auditions were instituted in the first place -- to neutralize gender-bias in selecting orchestra members.

4) Wow, I knew that Halt and Catch Fire had been losing viewers but I didn't realize it was this bad. I doubt many other networks would have granted it a final season after a drop off like this.

Also interesting is that for all its chatter and Emmy nominations, The Night Manager only did better than Halt and a few other shows on the network. Of course, it had 6 episodes compared to more of the others, but if anything I'd expect that to bump its ratings because people didn't have to stick with as many. Read more... )

Ran and found out

Oct. 20th, 2016 08:36 pm
oursin: Illustration from the Kipling story: mongoose on desk with inkwell and papers (mongoose)
[personal profile] oursin

Sort of.

Went to the British Library the other day to do some research for this biographical article I am supposed to be writing.

I had preordered some things that were on 48 hour access, all of which turned up.

I also, while I was there, ordered some things that were on 70 minute access (this was an entirely remarkable prospect to someone who remembers the old Bloomsbury days), and got those.

One was actually Not What I Ordered, but it turned out that the reference had been misread, and they managed to get me the right item most expeditiously.

I had had some concern that I might not readily find a seat, but the reading room at least was a lot less chokka than I'd anticipated, though outside there were vast swathes of people looking at laptops (on-site only digital resources, or just social media?).

I didn't find out very much - or rather, the evidence was negative - but I did come across one thing, a descriptive phrase, which in the light of other info on my subjects was very suggestive.

I still have to go back - one thing I thought I could order on the day turned out to be 48 hour access, and there is a microfilmed (AAAAAAAARRRRGGGHHH) periodical I need to consult.

And I found myself really knackered after a day there, perhaps because I am somewhat out of training?

Hearing but not seeing

Oct. 19th, 2016 04:04 pm
yourlibrarian: Howard Stark lowers his sunglasses (AVEN-HowardSunglasses-famira.png)
[personal profile] yourlibrarian
1) Rather interesting, though I can't say I'm particularly surprised -- after all, few people are in worse financial circumstances than single mothers and Trump certainly isn't speaking to them:

"Earlier this year, primary exit polls revealed that Trump voters were, in fact, more affluent than most Americans, with a median household income of $72,000 – higher than that of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders supporters. Forty-four percent of them had college degrees, well above the national average of 33% among whites or 29% overall. In January, political scientist Matthew MacWilliams reported findings that a penchant for authoritarianism – not income, education, gender, age or race –predicted Trump support." Read more... )

2) I heard a story about Subaru marketing and the following caught my attention:

"One ad campaign showed Subaru cars that had license plates that said “Xena LVR” (a reference to Xena: Warrior Princess, a TV show whose female protagonists seemed to be lovers) ... “It's Not a Choice. It's the Way We're Built” could refer to all Subarus coming with all-wheel-drive—or LGBT identity." Read more... )

3) Fanfiction writers alert: Do people smell different by age? Yes. Read more... )
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Shock horror: I don't seem to have finished anything in the past week, unless you count samples of ebooks. A little idle rereading.

On the go

Still on the go are Queer Domesticities (v.g. - from late Victorian aesthetes to the Brixton squatters and beyond), and Words Are My Matter, also v.g.

Though perhaps both are a little on - no, I don't think I'd describe them as heavy exactly - the thought-provoking thinky side, and perhaps I should have interspersed them with something a bit fluffy?

Up next

? Something fluffy? Have lately downloaded two novellas in Diane Duane's 'Young Wizards' universe.

More Links Than A Bag Of Sausages

Oct. 19th, 2016 03:32 am
petzipellepingo: (more links by eyesthatslay)
[personal profile] petzipellepingo
The winners of the No Rest For The Wicked Awards have been announced. Congratulations to all.

Buffyverse and AtSverse icons by [personal profile] teragramm.

Feeling acomplished

Oct. 18th, 2016 09:29 pm
fresne: Circe (Default)
[personal profile] fresne
 Behold my triumph… well, not behold, because you can't see me, but yeah verily know that it occurred. Anyway, today I dropped my car off for servicing and rode my bicycle 13 miles to work. Worked. Did stuff. After work, rode home and got my car.

Tomorrow I will no doubt regret that. Currently, feels good. Plus, no more glowy yellow light from my car asking to get a tune up. So, win, win. 


Oct. 18th, 2016 01:53 pm
selenak: (Elizabeth - shadows in shadows by Poison)
[personal profile] selenak
As has been pointed out to me after I posted my recent book review, the tv series Versailles is now available, and thus I could finish marathoning it (all ten episodes) just before leaving for the annual Frankfurt Book Fair.

So, as historical series go: on a scale from cheerfully ahistorical teen soap a la Reign to show beloved by critics, historians and viewers alike a la John Adams, Versailles is... Somewhere on a level with The Tudors (though it has more authentic looking costumes). Which is to say: mixes the occasional clever historical detail/interpretation with lots more blatantly invented stuff and historical nonsense, firm emphasis on the soap opera and the sex, but no such howlers as worshipping pagans and religiously tolerant Mary Stuart in Reign. The original characters don't carry cheerfully anachronistic names, either.

Spoilery musings follow )
oursin: image of hedgehogs having sex (bonking hedgehogs)
[personal profile] oursin

Jenni Murray has caught a lot of flak for saying that young people should be shown porn in the educational context in order to open up discussion of what messages it's sending and is it a realistic representation of sexual activity.

And while that is very likely a discussion that should be happening, I think that, really, you need to start a whole lot more U-certificate type media representations before going straight to the hard stuff.

Has it not been extensively pointed out how romcoms often manifest the noxious motif of 'stalking works, really it does, keep bothering her until she realises that you are destined to be together!'

Not to mention all those narratives in which the girl/woman, however talented and competent, is the sidekick of the (usually much less awesome) male character?

And while, being much of the same generation as Jenni (I've met her, we've talked about sex on radio, I think I may be familiar), what I recollect of this

As a Baby Boomer who grew up during the sexual revolution, I’ve always laughed at the idea that a woman’s lot was to “lie back and think of England”. Our sex education back then tended to concentrate on fear of pregnancy, infection and loss of respectability – as, I’m told, is often the case today.

But we had free, reliable contraception, Aids was unheard of and we made it our business to find out about our pleasure. Books like Our Bodies Ourselves gave us the information, and the Women’s Liberation Movement encouraged us to become familiar with our genitals with a mirror and a torch.

is that a) it mostly affected older, well, post-adolescent, women b) I'm not sure much of that really became widespread c) there continued to be sex ed controversies, including over the Family Planning Association booklet, Make It Happy, which tried to get away from the Awful Warnings narrative, not that sex ed in schools was anything approaching universal anyway.

More Links Than A Bag Of Sausages

Oct. 18th, 2016 03:00 am
petzipellepingo: (more links by eyesthatslay)
[personal profile] petzipellepingo
To Sleep, Perchance , Buffy by [personal profile] evil_little_dog.

The Pitfalls, and Potentials of an Office Friendship., Vi/Rona by [personal profile] kerkevik_2014.

Starting at midnight GMT on October 27 (6 PM EST in the U.S. on Oct 26) [community profile] buffyversetop5 will be celebrating Halloween through all the time zones until midnight November 1. Five days for you to bring your all-time favorite recs of fics, vids, graphics, anything and everything fandom has produced in all the Whedon fandoms! All time periods before 2016 are eligible for posting and, as always, crossover content is A-OK, so get those lists ready!

We've also reopened the The Wishlist. Take a look at what recs people are hoping to see and put together a list. You can also leave your own request for recs.

Call for banners at [community profile] seasonal_spuffy.

I cannot work out the criteria here

Oct. 17th, 2016 06:45 pm
oursin: Books stacked on shelves, piled up on floor, rocking chair in foreground (books)
[personal profile] oursin

The London Review of Books Bookshop Blog: The [Hypothetical] Booker Prize Winners, 1900-1968.

And I think, firstly, that if you are judging by present-day Booker criteria, how often, if ever, have you seen books that are funny, or genre, making the cut even on to the short list? I yield to none in my admiration for works such as The Pursuit of Love but it is so very much the kind of book that endures but does not win the Big Bow-Wow Prizes.

And I think, secondly, you are listing books that are still remembered today, at least among people who read litfic, which is a very uncertain guide to what would have won in the past, when I think we would have seen the names of e.g. Galsworthy, Hugh Walpole, Charles Morgan feature a lot more prominently.

And, in terms of personal taste WOT no Arnold Bennett and no Rebecca West? Take it away, Kenneth Williams!


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