¡Rábanos Radiactivos!

Written by Fred Patten, and intended for Apa L, 2239th Distribution, LASFS Meeting No. 3687, April 10, 2008.
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 #2722


My sister Sherrill brought me to last week's LASFS meeting. The week's cheese samples were onion & chives flavored. They tasted more like real onion & chives than the flavored potato chips, which still taste like raw chemicals to me. Charlie Jackson invited me to review s-f books for the LASFS website. There were lots of announcements of committee meetings for forthcoming events like our 75th anniversary meeting and Loscon XXXV. The Marketing Committee's Joyce Hooper was very enthusiastic about its coming auditions for the LASFS' Childrens Reading Program readings at the Valley Plaza branch of the Los Angeles Public Library starting in June; also the adult s-f readings at Freehafer Hall. An important guest was Ann Totusek of Des Moines fandom, who pitched DemiCon 19 there on May 2-4 with at least two LASFen who had better be there, Author GoH Steven Barnes & Toastmaster Tadao Tomomatsu. Totusek was so important that she was invited to join the weekly money-gouge auctioneers. A 2008 Japan Film Festival was announced for L.A. on April 11-17 and Irvine on 18-20, with all its fantasy films being anime titles. Ol' wheelchair-bound me won't be able to attend; yarst! This makes me nostalgic for the Bĵo-organized LASFS theater parties in the 1960s (when the LASFS was in Central L.A.) to the Kokusai Theater on Crenshaw Blvd. whenever it had an s-f, fantasy, or samurai movie.

On Tuesday, Sherry took me to the Eaton Collection at the UCRiverside Library for the first time since February. Dr. Melissa Conway was extremely busy getting ready for the 2008 Eaton Conference, "Chronicling Mars", next month; on the same weekend as CaliFur 4, unfortunately. She said that the Eaton Collection definitely wants to participate in the LASFS' 75th anniversary celebrations next year. I did some work on a private s-f project, and helped the librarians sort through more of my miscellaneous papers. One especially cryptic stack was from the hodgepodge of photocopies I made from Forry Ackerman's fanzines in 1976 when I was researching fannish history; the poor state of 1976 photocopies is very distinctive. There were such pages as one from a 1935 fanzine saying that the SFL Chapter #1 in Brooklyn was not just dormant; it was dead, dead, dead! (after less than a year). Unfortunately, I could not afford to photocopy complete fanzines at the time, so these were just assorted random pages that I hoped to use for a history someday, which are probably useless by themselves. The Eaton Collection has dozen of boxes of random paper from me; I hope that I live long enough to help them sort it all out.

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Last week the most serious proposal in seven years was made to change the Ursa Major Awards by adding two new categories; fursuits and websites. Fursuits were considered and rejected as a category when the Awards were established in 2001, on the grounds that fursuits were only seen at one or two conventions, and therefore it would be impossible for international voters to fairly judge them at awards time. The new argument is that fandom has changed greatly since 2001, and high-quality fursuits are photographed by many people and those photos are posted on the Internet, so fursuits today are as readily visible as the average Published Illustration nominee.

A couple of websites have already been eligible during the last couple of years in the Best Fanzine category; Anthro and Spontoon Island. Several other websites that also feature stories, articles, and artwork have not been considered because they do not have clear-cut dates or issues; they just add new material as they get it. It is argued that this is a minor technicality, and either these other websites should be added to the fanzine category, or they should be in a new website category and Anthro and Spontoon Island should be transferred there. Another type of website to be considered is an author's or publisher's promotional website. Those that are devoted entirely to furry books such as Brian Jacques' Redwall website or Erin Hunter's Warriors website, or a furry specialty publisher such as Sofawolf Press or Bad Dog Books, would be eligible.

So far, the discussion is running slightly against the changes. It is pointed out that, unlike artwork that is usually by a single artist, high-quality/complex fursuits are often created by a team of designers and costume-makers, who may not include the wearer at all. However, a fursuit that gets the top accolades at a furry convention may be due to the body-language and acting of the wearer as much as the costume itself. Most s-f conventions have masquerades with high-quality costumes that win prizes, but are entirely separate from the conventions' literary or art awards.

As for websites, a more important distinction may be that Anthro and Spontoon Island have editors who approve or reject contributions, while the other websites are free for anyone to post their works on. Their participants comment on the postings; peer recognition is the theoretical reward for high-quality work. This is recognized as a significant difference. So it would be easy to maintain the distinction between Anthro and Spontoon Island and the others, but harder to argue that the websites - most of which have fancy headers and attractive layouts - as well as the furry authors' (or publishers') websites do not deserve a category of their own. A regular Hugo Award category for s-f websites has been debated for the past few years, so it is not unreasonable for the same thing to be proposed for furry awards. But are furry websites too amorphous to deserve a category? One of the strongest arguments against them is that so many are anonymous. They are designed to make it almost impossible to know who the webmasters are or where they are located.

Whatever the outcome may be, it seems healthy to have the discussion. The Hugos are publicly debated every year; the Ursa Majors have remained unchanged except for small tweaks like renaming the Best Fanzine category as Best Magazine since the Comic Strip and Comic Book category was split into separate categories in 2003. Making us think about the categories is probably overdue.

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The Cartoon Brew website has just posted a rare 1939 Warner Bros. cartoon pressbook for motion picture distributors that includes "Bugs Bunny" among its minor "Incidental Characters" like Gabby Goat, Spunky Squirrel, and Patrick Parrot. This is proof that WB was using the Bugs Bunny name as early as 1939, and disproves Mel Blanc's claim that he suggested the name while WB was recording A Wild Hare in 1940. WB's cartoon stars at this time, according to the pressbook, were Porky and Petunia Pig, "Elmer" (shown using the older Egghead design), and Daffy Duck. The 15-page pressbook can currently be seen at the Van Eaton Galleries, 13613 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks 91423, open 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

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-- Comments on Last Week's Distribution:

Godzilla Verses #185 - (DeChancie) I would have cited Limburger cheese as a better-known example than durians of something that everyone agrees smells awful but many people say tastes good, but June Moffatt beat me to it. ## Of all the unpublished novels that I have been asked to read and critique over the years, none have ever been published as far as I know. I do not know if any were actually submitted to publishers, including the few that I considered to be of professional quality. Roz Gibson may be the first to actually submit her novel, which I thought was great except for the many spelling errors that Roz says her mother is now removing and getting her manuscript into submittable shape. ## Okay, how did you get a cartoon of yourself from Matt Groening? And when? This looks like you several years ago.

De Jueves #1577 - (Moffatts) The Cartoon Brew website also reports the existence of a Scoopy Doo Canine Waste Removal service in Winnipeg, and a Booby Doo bra manufacturer in Cumbria, England. Scoopy Doo is apparently okay; Hanna-Barbera is threatening Booby Doo with a lawsuit over trademark violation for conflict with Scooby Doo. Doggy doo had better watch out. ## There are a lot of Fred Pattens who are not me. George and Frederick are favorite names among the Pattens. I suspect a Hanoverian background. ## I recommend Ralph E. Hayes, Jr.'s Tales of the Questor comic strip highly. It is a full page and in color, or I would reprint it in ˇRR! from time to time. He keeps his personal religious and political opinions out of it. You have to skip over them in his other comics, or read through them as fascinating propaganda even if you do not agree with them, like Harold Gray's Little Orphan Annie or Timothy Arthur's 19th century temperance novel Ten Nights in a Bar-Room. ("Father, dear father, come home with me now!") But REH gets into a diatribe less than half the time in his strips; they are usually quite funny &/or dramatic. I actually agree with REH's diatribe about the modern cynical trashing of costumed superheroes with the "revelation" that they are all flawed due to alcoholism or beating their wives or murderous psychotics or gay (being homosexual seen as a flaw), etc. It is why I stopped enjoying superhero comics years ago. ## I found an Albert in a parking lot at the Seattle Airport years ago, but it was a half-euro coin with the portrait of Albert II of Belgium on it. I would have preferred the Pogo doll.

Absorbent Giant Starfish - (Cantor) Named Patrick, no doubt. That sounds like it would go with Nickelodeon's SpongeBob Squarepants Musical Rectal Thermometer, available in drugstores for concerned mothers. ## ROTC was a required course at UCLA when I went there in 1958-1962. I got good grades in rifle practice - about the only part of ROTC that I did get good grades in, as I recall. I do not think I qualified for any special rank, though.

Fish Out of Water #269 - (Helgesen) The explanation that I was given was that frogs' legs have a very subtle taste, and the sharp taste of orange juice would cover it completely. I have never tried to eat frogs' legs to find out.

Vanamonde #775 - (Hertz) Let me add that Karl Lembke brings me books from the Los Angeles County Public Library, as one of the services that he provides to this LASFS member. ## I figured out that the flavored cheeses were not in honor of Purim when they continued beyond the Purim holiday. I have not found out what they are in honor of, though.

I Plead Gilty - (Gold) Okay, I have added Norman Spinrad's name to the list in the LASFS history of members who have been prominent authors, and sent you a copy so the LASFS website will have the latest update.

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