¡Rábanos Radiactivos!
... es no. 2206

Written by Fred Patten, and intended for Apa L, 2206th Distribution, LASFS Meeting No. 3654, August 23,2007.
Golden State Colonial Convalescent Hospital, 10830 Oxnard Street, North Hollywood, California 91606-5098.
Telephone: hospital(818) 763-8247; personal (818) 506-3159 * eMail:fredpatten@earthlink.net

Nippon 2007 in 2007! Denvention 3 in 2008! Salamander Press #2689


Last Thursday was a busy day for me. My sister Sherrill visited me at the hospital with the program schedule for ConChord 20 so we could decide which day to go. Instead, we decided to not go at all. I have never been to a ConChord, but I had assumed that there would be some kind of dealers' room, and Sherry & I enjoy browsing & impulse buying. But all that was listed was various filk-singing groups and activities. We felt that our interest in listening to filking was not enough to justify the trouble & expense of loading me & my wheelchair into Sherry's minivan, driving all the way to Woodland Hills, and paying $20 each to get in for one day.

Sherry was just leaving when Dr. Alan Cholodenko arrived, with a UCLA animation grad student who has been his chauffeur around L.A. during this trip. Dr. Cholodenko was the professor of animation studies at the University of Sydney (he has since retired) who invited me to come, all expenses paid, to Australia's Second International Conference on Animation in Sydney in 1995 and read a paper on the then-current Lion King versus Kimba the White Lion controversy. My paper was supposed to be published in a book of the papers at the conference which, as I have described in ¡RR! during the following decade, kept getting delayed. I met Dr. Cholodenko again when I visited Sydney after Aussiecon Three in 1999, and when he later visited Los Angeles a couple of times during visits to animation conferences in the U.S. His book, The Illusion of Life II, was finally published this year. I was delighted that he made time to see me during this trip.

The UCLA doctoral student who was driving him around was Victoria Meng. We had a busy three-way conversation until my dinnertime, on student animation at UCLA, USC and CalArts; anime (especially Satoshi Kon's films); Soviet animation (especially Gerri Bardin's wire-sculpture animation); and I forget what all else. I told Dr. Cholodenko that I have been having trouble reading his book because it is so thick & heavy that I cannot hold it for long in only one hand. I did not mention that any two pages tend to put me to sleep. He gave me a printout of the only review his book has gotten so far, which praises it for its comprehensive coverage of animation's "extremes - of the lowest culture mixed with the highest theory [...] Neither the cruddiest TV cartoon nor the most abstruse Derridean play on words occasion any defensiveness [...]" Citing two definitions of cinematic animation from what the reviewer thinks are the finest essays in the book, William Schaffer considers animation to be "a 'control-image' (après Deleuze): it's all about the social techne [sic.] of defining, mapping, determining, controlling a movement". Philip Brophy defines it as "the hysterical unleashing of dynamic movement resulting from the willful animation of the inanimate." Yeah, tell Frank Wu that his Guidolon the Giant Space Chicken has been officially defined by an Australian university academician as "the hysterical unleashing of dynamic movement resulting from the willful animation of the inanimate." Guidolon flaps around pretty hysterically, all right.

Michael Burlake took me to the LASFS meeting. Somebody (people will insist on talking to me from behind my wheelchair where I cannot see them!) gave me a cell phone for my donation fund. Glen Wooten in San Diego has been collecting these on my behalf (he knows how to cash them in for my benefit) so I will get this to him. Arlene Satin brought Penny, her Myers parrot. The meeting was rushed through again to start the program early; the movie The Last Mimzy which is expected to be a Hugo nominee next year. Neither of us were interested in watching just the first half of the movie, which was all we would have time for, so we left the LASFS early to have time to go to Los Burritos at Lankershim & Burbank Blvds. which I have wanted to try out for some time. It was deserted at 8:45 p.m., so we got waited on and served immediately. I had a green burrito (which is spicy, but there were many other burritos on the menu that did not look spicy at all) and a Mexican Jamaica (hibiscus)-flavored soft drink. Yum!, except that I eat so slowly since my stroke that even with the extra 45 minutes, Burlake had to keep warning me that we were running out of time to get back to the hospital by 10:00 p.m. I hate having to rush through a good meal. I hope that Sherry will be able to take me to Los Burritos after Burlake leaves for Roseville, at times when I have more than 45 minutes to eat.

Sherry took me out on Saturday. Instead of going to Conchord 20, we went to a beverage specialty market near Eagle Rock that advertised my favorite brand of ginger beer, D&G Geniune Jamaican Ginger Beer, which I had not been able to get since Juan Alfonso stopped coming to the Comic-Con from Miami with a supply for me, about five years ago. The Beverage Warehouse in Culver City did not carry it, so I had to make do with other brands. An Internet search showed that D&G was available at Galco's Soda Pop Stop, only about 15 miles from my hospital, so Sherry took me there in the early afternoon. We were going to buy two cases (24 bottles), but they only had 11 bottles on hand, so we browsed and also got sample bottles of several other brands (including one whose label says HOT HOT HOT ginger), plus a variety of black cherry sodas and some Dr. Pepper made with the original sugar-based recipe, only available from the original Dr. Pepper bottler in Dublin, Texas. The clerk warned me that the D&G ginger beer might not taste the same as the D&G from Miami (it does - yum!), because the D&G in Florida is actually imported from Jamaica while the D&G sold in California is bottled in Canada. Anyhow, I got enough gourmet soft drinks to keep me happy sampling for the near future. We saw a lot of other soft drinks including Moxie, and a bottled egg cream soda, and Nesbitt's that I haven't seen since it was commonly sold throughout Los Angeles in the 1950s. I asked about Bireley's, another favorite from the 1950s (you fished the bottles out of big coolers of icy water, freezing your arms in the process); the clerk said that Bireley's might actually return to America soon, but that since the 1960s when it was crowded out of stores by the soft drink giants like Coke and Pepsi, it has been selling exclusively in Southeast Asia, especially Thailand, where North American non-carbonated fruit-flavored soft drinks like strawberry, grape, apple, and orange are very exotic and popular. Besides the shopping itself, it was a pleasure to chat with an obvious expert in the field of soft drinks. Sherry picked a couple of bottles with intriguing labels to sample herself.

After our soda pop shopping expedition, we returned to Sherry's apartment for a relaxing late afternoon & dinner. Instead of writing, I loafed and read Lawrence Watt-Evans' The Ninth Talisman, which the L.A. Public Library just got. Unlike Watt-Evans' other novels that stand on their own, it ends on a really dramatic cliffhanger - grrrr!

On Tuesday the Hospital's wound specialist said that my pressure sores are getting worse again, and that I have to stay in bed and not go out for the next two or three weeks. Yarst! I hope that I will be able to attend LASFS meetings again in time for the annual voting for the Forry Award, which is usually in late September.

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Last week I announced D. C. Simpson's need for money, and all of his attractive Ozy and Millie merchandise that is for sale. This week I have a similar announcement that is a lot closer to home for me.

I have been writing reviews of anthropomorphic books for the bi-monthly Anthro magazine for the past couple of years, which I hope LASFen have been reading. Anthro has published twelve lengthy issues, with #13 due to go online at the beginning of next month. But Internet magazines are available to readers for free. They are supposed to support themselves through getting paid advertising, sales of merchandise, and getting a fraction of any sales of books from Amazon.com and a few other bookstores that are ordered through the links on Anthro.

To be blunt, people are reading Anthro but they are not buying anything through Anthro. Editor Quentin Long says that unless the magazine's financial status improves soon, he will have to discontinue it. That will be bad enough, but Internet magazines, unlike paper magazines, exist only in electronic form. Unlike Delap's F&SF Review, Science Fiction Review, The Comics Journal, WittyWorld, Yarf!, and other magazines that I have had reviews published in over the past four decades, which are in libraries someplace, once an Internet magazine disappears from the Internet it is as thought it had never existed in the first place (except for the few copies of ANTHROlogy One in existence). I do not want that to happen to Anthro and all of my writing for it, so I am trying to stimulate its sales.

Anthro is at http://www.anthrozine.com/ . It has published two trade paperback books at its Anthro Press. One is the viii + 592-page ANTHROlogy One, a compendium of most of the best of the first six issues of the magazine - a sampler of fiction, poetry, articles, editorials, and almost a hundred pages of my reviews, for $19.99. The other is a novel, New Zealand furry author Greg Howell's 581-page The Human Memoirs, for the same price. Kelly Davies, a U.S. soldier, is transported to a world of anthropomorphic felines where he becomes a military advisor to one of its medieval-style kingdoms. Recommended, if you like good adventure fiction in the style of Burroughs' Barsoom and Pellucidar series but more realistic, where an American soldier-of-fortune finds himself in a strange world and becomes involved in the medieval-style politics and warfare of an alien culture, in this case humanoid cats. Might I recommend that the LASFS Library purchase these?

There is also a downloadable filk song, poster and T-shirt versions of several of Anthro's front covers, and lots of other stuff (see the "art" and "mall" links). The "Books" link connects to several hundred anthropomorphic novels (by editor Quentin Long's definition, which is more liberal than mine; I would not call such as Poul Anderson's Brainwave or the Oz novels anthropomorphic just because of a few talking animals in brief scenes) for sale through Amazon.com, Powell's Books in Portland, Barnes & Noble, or Alibris, for which Anthro will receive a fraction of the sale if ordered via these links. The "Library" section has even more book links, to all the books on my Feline Fantasy bibliography given out at L.A.con IV last year, and to the books that I reviewed in Yarf! between 1990 and mid-1997. (The next Anthro will add my Yarf! reviews from late 1997 to 2003.) Take a look at the Anthro site and especially the book links if you are interested in building up your s-f libraries with novels with talking animals in them. If you want some recommendations, Lives of the Monster Dogs by Kirsten Bakis is deliberately somewhat frustrating in being told entirely from the viewpoint of a narrator (human) who is clearly less intelligent than the intellectual dogs (very 19th-century Prussian aristocratic) around her. It reads like a literary experiment that is flawed but still very worth reading for its picture of bizarreness intruding into Manhattan's upper-class society. New Coyote by Michael Bergey is a blend of s-f bioengineering, magic realism, Native American folklore, a Northwest Pacific nature novel, and hippie counterculture, in which Coyote asks a group of friendly humans to help disguise him as a seeing-eye dog so he can pass among modern American society. Waiting for Gertrude: A Graveyard Gothic by Bill Richardson is a high-society novel featuring the notables interred in Paris' exclusive Père Lachaise Cemetery (Molière, Proust, Bizet, Rossini, Chopin, Balzac, Oscar Wilde, Sarah Bernhardt, Maria Callas, Edith Piaf, etc., etc.) who are reincarnated as the feral cats that infest the cemetery and, in Richardson's bawdy novel, carry on intellectually yet cattily after the cemetery closes each evening. Ask me about these & others. Hmmm, I admit that a lot of the books purchasable through Anthro ought to be already in the LASFS Library, like Robert J. Sawyer's Quintaglio Ascension trilogy about a civilization of intelligent dinosaurs; and if they are not, why not?

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-- Comments on Last Week's Distribution:

Cover - (Moffatt): Are you sure that isn't a giant galactic Frisbee?

Oh, All Right!!! - (Lembke): One of my favorite Stupid Media Tricks was a report a couple of years ago about a vicious squirrel that was attacking humans for no reason. (This apparently happens fairly frequently, though not so frequently it is considered too common to be worth a news report when/wherever it happens again.) There was speculation in this report that it was mating season and the squirrel was overly macho. He was eventually killed when he attacked an animal control officer who had come out to investigate the complaints. The reports included a close-up photograph of the squirrel supposedly taken while he was charging, just before he was killed. Not only was the squirrel in the photo sitting up and not charging, it was such a close-up you could tell "he" was a nursing female.

De Jueves #1544 - (Moffatts): Ice cream sodas in my childhood were 75¢ or $1.00. I don't think they were as cheap as 25¢ anywhere during my lifetime. Ah, for the days when every dime store like Woolworth's or Kress' and drugstore like Thrifty's or Rexall's had a lunch counter-cum-soda fountain where you could order a cheap sandwich & soda or milkshake. ## Hmmm, but was that a chocolate ice cream soda, or just with chocolate flavoring and soda water? ## Solley's Restaurant & Deli is at 4578 Van Nuys Boulevard in Sherman Oaks. It looks like a standard restaurant/coffee shop like Coco's or Marie Callendar's; I saw no indication of a soda fountain. ## Surely; movies during the 1930s were only available on 35 m.m. (double-check with CLJII on this), so anyone offering to show a movie for the LASFS would have had to provide the projection equipment as well. Or invite the LASFS to come to a studio projection room. But if the LASFS had been offered the opportunity to have a movie screening at one of its meetings, I'll bet it would have tried like anything to accept, rather than declining because there would not have been time to discuss the movie after the screening. ## We didn't have monarch butterflies near my house when I was a boy. We had lots of gulf fritillaries, which are also big and orange. Their caterpillars, which are very colorful, infested the passionflower vines that grew all over our next-door neighbor's back yard fence. I was allowed to catch all the caterpillars I wanted, and pick the leaves to feed them; so most of my elementary school nature projects involved raising gulf fritillaries from caterpillars to butterflies. The gulf fritillary butterflies were common around the neighbor's passionflower vines, presumably laying their eggs, but I could only rarely get them to light on me. They seldom came into our yard, presumably because the "friendly" mourning cloak (as I thought of it, because it - there was only one of them at a time - would light on my hand to eat the jelly on my finger) kept them out. Our neighbor also had tomatoes that were infested with tomato worms, which are even more dramatically colorful, but unfortunately they were much harder to raise, and the tomato sphinx moths were nocturnal so they hid during the daytime. ## Asa Sweet has not appeared in the Lackadaisy comic strip often enough to get a good idea of his personality, but as a midlevel manager of the Marigold bootlegger gang, presumably he is a "jovial killer" sort. His lean, rather dour companion in the two strips reprinted here a few weeks ago is Mordecai Heller, the Marigold gang's main enforcer. The glowering cat with the eyepatch in the same picture as Asa Sweet is Viktor Vasko, a Slovak immigrant with the Lackadaisy gang. The two lady cats are Mitzi May, who runs the Lackadaisy gang, and Ivy Pepper. Read the comic strip for further details. All of the comic strips reprinted in ¡RR! are selected primarily as filler, but also as recommendations of my favorite comic strips, which I think LASFen would enjoy. ## As I say above, the menu at Los Burritos had several dishes that looked as though they would be non-spicy. You can ask the waitress.

Godzilla Verses #153 -- (DeChancie): Actually, I can ask the librarians at UCRiverside to send me a photocopy of my 1975 review of Seeds of Change, and reprint it here; if it is not in the LASFS Library. Or if there is enough interest in a review of an obscure, long out-of-print s-f novel to be worth the trouble of retyping it into ¡RR! ## Have I said that the editors of furry fanzines have been lamenting the dearth of fiction submissions over the last five years or so? Amateur writers used to be eager to submit their works to the furry fanzines to get them into print. Now the writers are posting their stories on their own websites, to get them into print immediately and to avoid dealing with editors who may reject them or ask for improvements that they don't want to bother to write. (I have not yet heard whether this is true for the one furry fanzine that actually pays its authors, the new (started January 2007) Renard's Menagerie.) The new respectability of self-publishing book services (don't call them vanity presses) means that amateur writers can see their unedited novels published as "real books" just as easily. I will have a review (unfavorable) in the next Anthro of a self-published novel whose author revealed to me in a cover letter that he almost bankrupted himself paying for BookSurge's publishing fees. It is about a likeable human nerd who, by the end of the novel, is able to read minds, has thousands if not millions of beautiful women in love with him (but he is only interested in the centauroid furry feline alien babes, in lengthy, graphically-described steamy sex scenes), can teleport himself across the galaxy in an instant, has become incredibly handsome and immortal, can cure any diseases or injuries including reattaching decapitated heads onto their bodies - I suspect that there is more than a smidgen of personal wish-fulfillment in this. ## Life may be everywhere throughout the universe, but I still do not believe in jungles in the Asteroid Belt.

W*O*N*D*E*R*L*US*T - (Frame-Gray): I remember Troubled Star, even though it has been four decades or so since I read it. Dusty Britton of the Space Patrol! When the movie Galaxy Quest came out, I wondered if its writers had "borrowed" the plot from Troubled Star or reinvented it on their own. Yes, George O. Smith, who was also the author of the Venus Equilateral stories, would have known about 1920s homemade radio crystal sets using Quaker Oats round cardboard containers with copper wire wrapped around them for the solenoid. I think you need copper or silver wire to carry the electric current, not just any wire.

This Space Is Empty - (Cantor): It is too bad that the LASFS only had time to show one of the Hugo nominees before the balloting closed. Hopefully it can do better next year, though I semi-agree with you that there should be discussion, too. The club should schedule each movie to be followed up by a discussion of it at the next meeting. ## John Purcell said that he attended LASFS meetings in 1985, so presumably he contributed to Apa L at the same time. I apologize for carelessly referring to this as "thirty years ago".

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