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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sore muscles, Hot Water, McCarthy was right and Toffee shows off

Your muscles will tell you when you have done too much. And yesterday I did too much.

So the plan to come home from church and start digging in the garden was trashed. My legs feel tight and sore and my arms weigh too much. So I worked on one of the outside security lights, to no avail. Then I decided to go under the house and open the air vents, turn on the deck's water faucet and give everything a look see.

Durn.

The drain from the downstairs water heater's safety pan, which exits under the house, was dripping water. A trip to the water heater confirmed that it was leaking. So the question now is, can I get it replaced before the leak becomes terminal?

Maybe I can sell the idea to the History Channel. "Poker Player's Hot Water Needs." "Maybe a Flash of Drip??"

I hang out on some newspaper forums. They are really the National Enquirer of forums. And while the average threads usually become "You're dumb. No you're dumb," after a few comments, occasionally you see some good writing and solid logic. And of course the always present claim that the Right is a McCarthyite. That is supposed to shut down all discussion.

Actually McCarthy's base claim, that there were communists in the government, was proven. Try reading "Venona, Decoding Soviet Espionage in America," by Hayes and Klehr, Yale University Press.

It is the story of how the NSA broke the Soviet's diplomatic code and didn't reveal it for years and years as it was an valuable tool. It was finally revealed, long after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when pushed by Senator Moynihan (Democrat) and fleshed out with KGB files from the old Soviet Union. It is full of names, dates, places, lists, etc. It is not a political book, and is somewhat dry reading unless you are interested in facts rather than political positions.

McCarthy's problem was the method he chose, and a desire by the establishment Republicans to not rock the "good ole boy" system. (Kinda reminds us of the present establishment Repubs and the Tea Party, eh?) Plus many Democrats, fearful of being saddled with the fact that this had happened on their watch, defended anyone named or investigated.

But we now know the government was filled with some spies, fellow travelers and useful idiots. Not unlike now, only now they are more open.

As part of my self imposed rest this afternoon I flipped over to TCM just as it was starting to broadcast Woody Allen's "Sleeper."

Allen doesn't score with the premise that he has been frozen for 200 years and is then brought back into a world he knows nothing about. But he does have a few good lines that are more satire than jokes. And it is amazing how much the government of 2173 reminds me of the various things the Left is doing only 38 years later.

Humor has never worked well in science fiction. Saving civilization is serious business, whether from aliens, climate change or Republicans.

There have been attempts, though mostly centered on fantasy rather than scifi. Charles Myers gave us:


Imagination
October 1954

Toffee existed in Marc Pillsworth's imagination but had a habit of becoming real and causing more problems for Pillsworth than she solved. Perhaps she served as the model for "I Dream of Genie."

Myers wrote 15 Toffee stories, most with the same plot line. The humor was more Genie than Groucho.

The kicker in all of this is that under his pen name of Henry Farrell he wrote "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane," the screenplay "Hush...Hush Sweet Charlotte" and many other screen plays and novels. This is somewhat backward in that most authors used their pen names for pulp fiction and their real name for the slicks.

Imagination was founded in 1950 by Ray Palmer who had just started "Other Worlds." With issue #3 it was acquired by William Hamling who had been the editor of "Fantastic Adventures," the companion to "Amazing Stories" while Palmer had been its editor.

In September 1954 Hamling launched:


IT was, to my knowledge, the only scifi/fantasy magazine launched with the intent to feature "saucy" humorous fantasy fiction. Hamling gave up after 3 issues and the last 25 issues were standard space opera.

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"Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them." - Karl Popper

“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves.” - William Pitt

"Logic. There is little logic among the cultural elite, maybe because there is little omnipresent fear of job losses or the absence of money, and so arises a rather comfortable margin to indulge in nonsense." - Victor Davis Hanson