My wife Mia and I spend the past weekend in Chicagoland. Friday and Saturday we were at Windycon, a science fiction convention that we have frequently attended since the 1970s. This was first SF con we have been to since the world shut down for Covid-19. There was no Windycon in 2020. Covid, of course, has not gone away, but this year Windycon was back, with changes. There were very strict and detailed Covid policies. Proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid test were required for admission. Masks were required everywhere except “while … actively consuming food or drink in the consuite or green room” or for performers while performing and at least 6 feet from anyone else. Bill Roper has a positive con report, with which I completely agree.
Irish Class, October 24, 2016
Rang Gaeilge, 24ú lá Mí Dheireadh Fómhair 2016
|Is fearr filleadh as lár an áthe ná bá sa tuile.||Better to turn back at the middle of the ford than to drown in the flood.||Is cuimhin liom an t-amhrán Waist Deep in the Big Muddy le Pete Seeger|
|Bíonn súil le muir ach ní bhíonn súil le cill.||There is hope when [lost] at sea, but no hope in the graveyard.||Note le for agency|
For some ridiculous reason, to which, however, I’ve no desire to be disloyal,
Some person in authority, I don’t know who, very likely the Astronomer Royal,
Has decided that, although for such a beastly month as February, twenty-eight
days as a general rule are plenty,
One year in every four, its days shall be reckoned as nine and twenty.
Pirates of Penzance
Gilbert & Sullivan 1880
On December 8 Metro Transit added a new express
bus line to downtown Minneapolis, where I work. The northern
terminus of this bus line is about 1¼ miles from
my home. This is well within normal walking distance for me, and there are sidewalks along Rice Street, where traffic can be quite serious. So
I decided it was time to leave the car at home and do my normal commuting entirely by walking and public transportation like
mia_mcdavid and I did in Chicago until 1987. I have been doing so ever since.
This has both pros and cons:
I actually did have an iPod once, a sleek 30-gig number with a brilliant video screen and space for nearly half of my comically large music collection. I watched a video on it exactly once—Breaking Bad, season one—cringed with horror every time I dropped it and felt the $400 hole in my wallet for longer than I’d owned the thing when I inevitably lost it.
[My Coby MP3 player is] worth next to nothing so I’m virtually assured never to lose it—unlike apparently every iPhone prototype ever—and I don’t cringe at all when my toddler flings it across the room. And because the next Coby is sure to be just as mediocre, I’ll never need to upgrade—I’ve stepped off the escalators of feature creep and planned obsolescence, and all the expense and toxic e-waste that come with them. Crap technology, it turns out, is green technology.
On a related note, see All aboard, and hold onto your phones.
Via BoingBoing, with commentary.
ANY reasonable observer might have thought Bill Millin was unarmed as he jumped off the landing ramp at Sword Beach, in Normandy, on June 6th 1944. Unlike his colleagues, the pale 21-year-old held no rifle in his hands. Of course, in full Highland rig as he was, he had his trusty skean dhu, his little dirk, tucked in his right sock. But that was soon under three feet of water as he waded ashore, a weary soldier still smelling his own vomit from a night in a close boat on a choppy sea, and whose kilt in the freezing water was floating prettily round him like a ballerina’s skirt.
But Mr Millin was not unarmed; far from it. He held his pipes, high over his head at first to keep them from the wet (for while whisky was said to be good for the bag, salt water wasn’t), then cradled in his arms to play. And bagpipes, by long tradition, counted as instruments of war. An English judge had said so after the Scots’ great defeat at Culloden in 1746; a piper was a fighter like the rest, and his music was his weapon.