¡Rábanos Radiactivos!

Written by Fred Patten, and intended for Apa L, 2216th Distribution, LASFS Meeting No. 3664, November 1,2007.
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

Denvention 3 in 2008! Anticipation in 2009! Salamander Press #2699


Last Thursday evening, my sister Sherrill took me to the LASFS meeting. It was the first time I had been out of the hospital in almost two weeks, and the reek of the Southern California wildfires hit strongly as soon as I got outdoors. The sky was dominated by a huge golden Hunter's Moon. (I wondered whether it was particularly golden because of all the smoke in the air.)

The LASFS meeting was pleasant if undistinguished. There was disappointment that George Van Wagner had to work late that night, and was unable to set up the scheduled tribute program to Don "Mr. Wizard" Herbert of Mr. Wizard-type science experiments; it was postponed until the next week. Brad Linaweaver attended to sell his magazine's latest issue, Mondo Cult #2. He kindly gave me a copy for free. It looks like The Phantom of the Movies' VideoScope (which interviewed me as "Anime Man!" about five years ago), for those interested in new video/DVD releases of cheesy sci-fi & horror movies and TV series like Rocky Jones, Space Ranger and The Tingler, plus some more recent titles like V for Vendetta and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Zombies, blood-dripping ghouls, and Ray Bradbury. John DeChancie is one of the reviewers. Hours of reading fun. Thanks, Brad.

On Sunday Sherry took me to her apartment for an afternoon of working on my computer while listening to anime music CDs, and a very nice Chinese takeout dinner.

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-- Comments on Last Week's Distribution:

Cover - (Jackson) Stylishly appropriate.

De Jueves #1554 - (Moffatts) Oh? Which Pivo-2 link wanted you to register? I just tried both of the two that I cited in ˇRR!, and they both opened up the appropriate pages on ZerCustoms.com and Technovelgy.com without requiring any registration or passwords. ## Amazon.com lists Andrews' Delete All Suspects in a Berkley paperback edition, September 2006 for $6.99. ## Yes, Prince Valiant's homeland was Thule. In Columbus' time, Thule could have been Iceland, Greenland, or any land further west. ## I find it hard to believe that all the opossums in Downey have migrated into Los Angeles, but L.A. is certainly full of opossums now. Ralph E. Hayes, Jr.'s Nip and Tuck funny-animal comic strip has recently emphasized Thelma Possum's bosom, which a female opossum would not have since their breasts are all inside their pouches. ## Columbus tried to get sponsored by King João II of Portugal during the 1480s, but João was more interested in finding a route to the Indies by sailing south and east around Africa. He demanded good record-keeping and reports from the explorers he sent out. Many scholars believe that he was uninterested in Columbus' proposals because he already knew America was in the way. Wikipedia says, "The complete record of the Portuguese exploration voyages is unknown. Much was kept in secret due to competition with the neighbours of Castile. The archives of this period were destroyed in the fire after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and what was not destroyed during the earthquake was either stolen or destroyed during the French invasions, the British dictatorship and/or by pure negligence. Modern historians are still debating their true extent, suspecting that Portuguese sailors reached the continent of North America earlier than Christopher Columbus by approximately 1470 and also Brazil by as early as 1480." It was not until the potential riches of the Americas were realized that João belatedly got interested in claiming as much as he could get for Portugal, in the Treaty of Tordesillas of 1494.

Godzilla Verses #162 -- (DeChancie) Yes, "realistic technology" magazines like Popular Mechanics and Popular Science kept showing variations on "the car of the future" on their covers from the 1940s onward. Automobile shows have working models that never get into mass production. When I was a librarian at USC during the late 1960s, the Batmobile from the Batman TV series was brought there for a demonstration. The driver said that, aside from the body copied from the comic book design, it was built over an existing experimental turbojet engine & framework bought from one of the major manufacturers; I forget whether Ford or General Motors. Advantages were that it would run on a wider variety of fuels than gasoline, including cheap alcohol and some perfumes. Disadvantages were an extremely low mileage per gallon, under ten; and that they could not design a muffler that kept it from screaming like a jet engine, which made it much too loud for a family car. ## Yes, "pivo" is "beer" in Russian. Also Czech, Serbian, and most Slavic languages. If it looked like the Pivo-2 car might actually go into production, I might have thought that it was so-named to increase sales in Eastern Europe. In 1991, when the Soviet Union fell apart, Kyrgyzstan celebrated its independence by changing the name of its capital, Frunze (named for Mikhail Frunze, a Red Army hero), to Bishkek, emphasizing what is really popular there. "The name is thought to derive from a Kyrgyz word for a churn used to make fermented mare's milk (kumis), the Kyrgyz national drink," says Wikipedia.

Vanamonde #752 - (Hertz) The 1982 movie version of Campbell's "Who Goes There" may have looked closer to Campbell's story than the 1951 movie, but the modernization of the setting to 1982 destroyed one of the basic plot points of the 1938 story. It was credible with 1938 technology that a blizzard could have rendered an Antarctic base incommunicado from the rest of the world for a week or more. That was no longer convincing with 1982 communication technology. ## What I wondered about that demonstration of the Pivo-2 robot's helpfulness, "You look tired. There's a coffee shop 500 meters ahead on the left," is how the car is supposed to recognize when it is approaching a coffee shop. Could a s-f fan who buys the car have it reprogrammed to call out when it is about to pass a bookshop? To me, that is a giveaway of showroom demonstration technology that would be unworkable in practice for the foreseeable future.

Fish Out of Water #246 - (Helgesen) Thanks for the confirmation that "Snap, Crackle, and Pop!" is not genuine teen slang; which would make that TV commercial seem even more open to a lawsuit for trademark violation. ## But did Kay Tarrant make any other changes in George O. Smith's story that he might have wanted to restore when it was later reprinted? So far, the arguments have all been about why George O. Smith should have theoretically wanted or not wanted to change the 1982 reprint of his 1947 short story. Nobody has yet compared the two printings to see whether they are in fact identical or not.

Oh, Moo - Help! Beef Panic Proving Nasty! - (Cantor) You are not the only one to argue that America was discovered when the first humans migrated into it across the Bering land bridge 16,000 or more years ago, and that nobody later should be given the honor. ## I am sure that I read a newspaper report during the 1950s, which I have been unable to find again, that Frank Sinatra wanted to get a personal helicopter but the FAA would not give him a license because it did not want to set a precedent for personal ownership of helicopters which would lead to chaotic aerial traffic. But it is easy to find references to news reports of the 1960s & later about how Sinatra liked to travel by chartered helicopters. New flying car prototypes keep being demonstrated at automotive conventions & exhibitions. ## In the Kitty Norville werewolf novels by Carrie Vaughn, Kitty is described as a mid-20s "blond" woman.

I Resplendently Iridesce - (Gold) I have been trying unsuccessfully to get Stone Bridge Press to record two addresses for me; my hospital address for free review books so you will not have to forward them to me, and your address for my royalty payments so I will not have to forward them to you. The publisher seems to keep changing my address back & forth for both purposes. The Medi-Cal guidelines about how much my account is allowed to have each month is why I have been trying to convince other publishers to accept any writing that I may do for them as a gift without paying me, especially regarding nominal sums of less than $100. ## My Best in Show is still in print in its Furry! edition. Since the book is an anthology of short stories by different authors, I would not be able to republish it in any new editions without getting everyone to sign a new contract.

Oh, All Right!!! - (Lembke) Yes, some of the 32,823 designs submitted for the Australian national flag contest in 1901 did include kangaroos. Interestingly, there have been many designs submitted since 1901 to change the Australian national flag, both with and without kangaroos. When I was in Australia for Aussiecon III in 1999, I collected several books advocating the change of Australia to a republican government before the 21st century started, getting rid of the Queen and the flag with the British Union Jack in its canton. About half of the republicans argued that it was ridiculous for Australia to have a red-white-blue flag when the country's national colours were gold & green, while the other half wanted to either keep the red-white-blue colours in a new design, or wanted to combine them or replace them with the red-black-gold of the Aboriginal flag. Most of the proposals for a design featuring a kangaroo seem to have been smothered by the popularity since the 1980s at sports events of a "boxing Matilda" flag (and T-shirt) showing a gold pugnacious kangaroo with red boxing gloves on a green field. According to news reports, this may have been more visible than the national flag at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. These are sold at most Aussie sporting goods stores, with the result that any proposed kangaroo design since then for the national flag has been dismissed on the basis of, "we need a national flag, not a flag for sports events". The boomerang is also a popular "uniquely Australian" design.

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