Edmund Fitzgerald

The Edmund Fitzgerald

My first encounter with Gor­don Lightfoot’s clas­sic song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzger­ald” was actu­al­ly read­ing the lyrics pub­lished as a poem in a high-school Eng­lish read­er. (I had a sim­i­lar expe­ri­ence with Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence”, though I think I’d prob­a­bly heard that one on the radio, my dad being an afi­ciona­do of the ’60s sta­tion KY58.)

So for Throw­back Thurs­day, please, enjoy this tale of human woe and the sink­ing of a mas­sive freighter in a storm on (spoil­er alert!) Lake Supe­ri­or.

Head­er image from Wiki­me­dia Com­mons, CC-Attri­bu­tion-Share­alike, orig­i­nal­ly by Green­mars.

Green Things

Gene Cernan in the Lunar Rover

For the first time in my life­time, there are liv­ing things on the moon.

Con­sid­er: Apol­lo 17, the last crewed mis­sion to the moon, left the lunar sur­face in Decem­ber 1972. (I was born the next year.)

And now? Now, right now, in Jan­u­ary 2019, seeds have sprout­ed in a Chi­nese rover on the far side of the moon.

Head­er image: Gene Cer­nan in the Lunar Rover. Tak­en by NASA, and in the pub­lic domain.

William Gibson: Grand Master

William Gibson

It’s got a nice ring to it.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to William Gib­son, one of my favourite authors, on the announce­ment that he has been named the lat­est Damon Knight Grand Mas­ter by the Sci­ence Fic­tion Writ­ers of Amer­i­ca.

The Damon Knight Memo­r­i­al Grand Mas­ter Award rec­og­nizes “life­time achieve­ment in sci­ence fic­tion and/or fan­ta­sy.” Gib­son joins the Grand Mas­ter ranks along­side such leg­ends as C. J. Cher­ryh, Peter S. Bea­gle, Ursu­la K. Le Guin, Isaac Asi­mov, Ray Brad­bury, and Joe Halde­man. The award will be pre­sent­ed at the 54th Annu­al Neb­u­la Con­fer­ence and Awards Cer­e­mo­ny in Wood­land Hills, CA, May 16th-19th, 2019.

Via Tor.com, here’s the offi­cial announce­ment.

Head­er pho­to by Nik­ki Tysoe, used under a CC-BY license.

Bye, Flickr

tl;dr: "Buy a Pro account or we'll delete over 2,500 of your photos"

I’ve been a Flickr mem­ber since almost its incep­tion. I signed up some­time in 2004. I’ve been there through it all, and most­ly enjoyed my time.

But when the new own­ers (ie, Smug­Mug) tell me they’re going to start delet­ing my pho­tos if I don’t pony up for a Pro account, well, that’s it. I’m out.

Bad move, Smug­Mug.

(Aside to Mr. Pen­sato: I’ve been doing a bit more work on Blinky.)

PS: I’m in the process of mov­ing my pho­tos off Flickr and onto my own per­son­al site (ie, this one). So I’m not going to lose sleep over the whole “your pho­tos are get­ting delet­ed” thing. Let me know if you’re inter­est­ed in the sim­ple Word­Press plu­g­in I’ve built in order to pull my pho­tos.

Sunday morning police blotter

Police Car -- from Unsplash

This past Sun­day I had to run a cou­ple errands. As I left the house, I noticed there was a police car parked fac­ing the wrong way on the street in front of the house a cou­ple doors down.

When I returned there were about four police cars. I went up the back alley, plan­ning to loop around and park in front of my house. But there was police tape strung across the back lane, and anoth­er police vehi­cle block­ing the way. I backed out and parked fur­ther up my block. I made a men­tal note to check the police web­site lat­er, to see if there were any details in the dai­ly media release as to just what was going on.

Well, there were:

On Sun­day morn­ing at approx­i­mate­ly 07:52am, Police were request­ed to attend to a res­i­dence in [my block] for a female who had been stabbed mul­ti­ple times in the arms, legs and mid-sec­tion. Police learned sev­er­al items includ­ing the victim’s vehi­cle were stolen at the same time. Police believed two male sus­pects were involved [note: turned out it was a sin­gle sus­pect] and may be armed with firearm. […] At approx­i­mate­ly 6:10pm, the sus­pect was observed leav­ing the res­i­dence on [anoth­er street]. Police con­duct­ed a high risk vehi­cle stop and the sus­pect was arrest­ed.

—Police media release

So yeah. Wow.

Pho­to by Tam­my Gann on Unsplash. Not rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the police cars around town.

Stairs

You go up, you go down.

I saw this stair­way on Twit­ter, and thought it looked, well, amaz­ing. It made me nos­tal­gic for the stairs in my child­hood home, to wit:

Dad made the ris­ers. They’re var­nished wood, crazy slip­pery in sock feet, shaped like the end of a canoe pad­dle. The cen­tral col­umn, if I recall cor­rect­ly, was weld­ed by a close fam­i­ly friend, Gilles.

Man, I loved those stairs. They were the best.

Unfinished Stories

The Grove cartoon by Steve Groves

A friend of mine, Steve Groves, was a tal­ent­ed writer and an amaz­ing car­toon­ist. I think he had a hard time believ­ing it, though.

For a while he drew a week­ly strip for a local news­pa­per, called The Grove, that fea­tured humans and ani­mals in a small town. The main char­ac­ter had moved home from the big city and would often ques­tion just why. The humour veered between gen­tle and bit­ing, as all the best satire does.

A sam­ple car­toon is at the top of this post. I often told Steve that The Grove remind­ed me, in tone and in exe­cu­tion, of Bloom Coun­ty. He’d always mum­ble some­thing in an embar­rassed voice about how it “can’t be that good”, but it was.

(He would some­times tell me that he found my suc­cess in writ­ing inspir­ing, and I’d mum­ble some­thing in an embar­rassed voice, because I know how much rejec­tion I’ve col­lect­ed, how much fur­ther I feel I have to go. So I guess that par­tic­u­lar knife cuts both ways.)

Steve died last year after a bat­tle with can­cer. A mutu­al friend, one T. Kei­th Edmunds, set about on a project to gath­er some of Steve’s work into a memo­r­i­al col­lec­tion. Mine arrived on Thurs­day, and it’s gor­geous. 96 pages of car­toons, draw­ings, sketch­es, and notes for projects that run the gamut from “kid’s book” to “night­mar­ish mon­ster hunter”.

Thanks, Kei­th. And of course, thanks, Steve.

Unfin­ished Sto­ries: The Art of Stephen Groves is avail­able for pur­chase, as are select prints of Steve’s work.