Written by Fred Patten, and intended for Apa L, 2145th Distribution, LASFS Meeting No. 3593, June 22, 2006.
Golden State Colonial Convalescent Hospital, 10830 Oxnard Street, North Hollywood, California 91606-5098.
Telephone: hospital(818) 763-8247; personal (818) 506-3159 * eMail:email@example.com
|L.A.con IV in 2006!||Nippon 2007 in 2007!||Salamander Press #2628|
I missed last week's LASFS meeting because both fans that usually give me rides were out of town. Michael Burlake was in Pittsburgh at Anthrocon, and Rob Powell was in Tucson for a job interview. Marty Cantor brought last week's Apa L dist'n to me at my hospital on Friday morning.
Powell returned from Tucson on Saturday afternoon, just in time to take me to most of June's Cartoon/Fantasy Organization meeting, (We arrived 1 ˝ hours late.) The regular program was in abeyance because our usual programmer, "Red" Baron, was at the Anime Mid-Atlantic convention, so a substitute program of the first one or two episodes of a bunch of new anime series was brought by Kevin Jones, who also prepared a very attractive program booklet with plot synopses and color illustrations. This included the first two episodes of Black Lagoon, a type of drama that has been rare in anime up to now: the super-macho hard-boiled "blowing up lots of stuff" movies like Rambo and the Chuck Norris or Steven Siegel action thrillers. Lots of stuff gets blown up by a team of international daredevil mercenaries including Rokuro ("Rock"), a Japanese salaryman; Dutch, a hulking yet intellectual American Black; Benny, a Florida computer hacker/college dropout; and Levi, a trigger-happy psycho Sabra bitch (you will believe a PT boat can bring down an armored helicopter gunship). Akagi was a type of drama that has to be unique to Japan; the beginning of a tense life-and-death mah-jongg game among yakuza gangsters. This was hard to follow because the screen was filled with both subtitled Japanese dialogue and subtitled explanations of the mah-jongg moves. We saw the same episode of Ouran High School Host Club that was shown at the Cinema Anime meeting the previous week. Its homosexual humor was especially appreciated by the females in the audience. (Since we saw this the previous week, Rob took me out to the back-stair railing of the front building for therapy exercise.) Mai-Otome was a sequel to the popular Mai-Hime series, recycling the same plot and characters with new names, costumes, and monster designs. The first anime series was set in a modern high school; Mai-Otome is in a fairy-tale world that looks like it was designed as an excuse to give all the teen super-heroine student's individual ball-gown battle-dresses that will delight the teen female-costumers in anime fandom. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya II (a title obviously inspired by The Madness of George III) was another teen high school romantic comedy, as told by a very prosaic boy who develops a crush on a ditz who can't be bothered by normal humans; she is eager to meet one of the aliens, time-travelers, or espers that she is sure are hiding disguised among the other students. Sergeant Frog was for elementary-school kids, about obviously toy-designed cute alien invaders who become the pets of schoolchildren and are drafted into taking over their household chores. Why would a frog today want to disguise itself as John Travolta in the 1977 Saturday Night Fever? The evening's feature was xxxHOLiC: A Midsummer Night's Dream, a moody, artistically surrealistic "survive a night in a haunted house" drama by the CLAMP quartet that looked like an excuse to indulge in an orgy of European Post-Impressionist/Modernist/Art Nouveau/Expressionist set designs and costuming, in styles ranging from Georges Seurat to Georg Grosz (the ugly "revealed true souls" of the dilettante collectors) with an emphasis (I think) on Gustav Klimt (but no Alfons Mucha, to my surprise, unless I missed something). Art lovers should love it. Lady Yuuko, the time-space witch/psychic, drinks sake as though it were absinthe. CLAMP exaggerated their own popular anime style to give their characters nightmarishly elongated limbs. The movie has reportedly been popular enough in Japan that it has been followed up by an anime TV series, which the C/FO or Cinema Anime will presumably get soon.
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-- Comments on Last Week's Distribution:
Vanamonde #683 - (Hertz) Home is where the books are. I am very glad that I am able to begin building a personal library again in my hospital room. ## Postage stamps which showed both an artist's portrait and a sample of the artist's work would probably be too visually "busy". I will settle for just the portraits. Hubert Rogers is a reasonable choice, but if we are including foreign-born artists, then Frank R. Paul should have seniority in probably every category except artistic talent. (His s-f covers were almost certainly more influential, if not as good as Rogers' work.)
Fish Out of Water #175 - (Helgesen) I recall reading a news report, probably during the 1970s, about someone who filed a lawsuit against the McDonald's restaurant chain, back when it had the large constantly escalating signs stating "XXX Billion Hamburgers Served". The lawsuit charged that the quantity of hamburgers was greatly exaggerated. The judge dismissed the suit on the grounds that, even if the charge were true, there was no reason given why McDonald's should be financially obligated to the plaintiff as a result. A more serious case was the 1986 lawsuit by novelist William Peter Blatty (The Exorcist, etc.) against the New York Times for "injurious falsehood" by not including his latest novel in its weekly Best Sellers list, which Blatty claimed adversely affected its sales; since Blatty claimed to be able to introduce conclusive evidence that the Best Sellers lists are made up in advance based on a book's expected popularity (or on which books/authors the editors of the NYTimes Book Review want to promote) and do not accurately reflect actual sales. That case was dismissed by the court on the grounds that, 'such an action poses an unjustifiable threat to society." While it may have been true that a ruling in Blatty's favor would have resulted in chaos, with every author in America able to sue a newspaper if his or her book was not placed at the top of its Best Sellers list, a lot of people felt that the dismissal of the case avoided the main issue of whether the New York Times Book Review's lists of Best Sellers are legitimate or not. I was reminded of this earlier this year when Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, by Verlyn Klinkenborg, a literary novel narrated by a tortoise, briefly appeared on the Best Sellers list. I would not have thought there was that much demand for novels about the cynical opinions of humans by a pretentious tortoise (even if it did get excellent reviews), and I wondered if the fact that Klinkenborg is on the Editorial Board of the NYTimes had anything to do with it making the Best Sellers list.
Godzilla Verses #92 - (DeChancie) I agree about modern s-f illustration and art mostly leaving me cold. Where are the Freases and the Emshes of today? Most covers and interior illustrations look like art for aerospace and astronautical handbooks. I liked the original covers for the first couple of Honor Harrington novels by David Weber, which made the stories look exciting (they are), but the last few covers have been what I now call "generic Honor Harrington art" which look designed for the walls of a military museum rather than exciting prospective readers into picking up the books.
Nightmare In Waiting - (Gold) I am glad to know that you have taken care of my hospital payments through August. I should have another financial agent if needed by then.
De Jueves #1483 - (Moffatt) The fannish Marsha Brown who later married Eddie Jones, yes. ## Mockingbirds eat the same food as other common Southern California birds, so I would not expect a lack of food to affect them as long as the sparrows, finches, starlings and others can find plenty of seeds and bugs to eat. There are mockingbirds now around North Hollywood; I have seen a nesting pair attacking a crow. I do not know what could drive mockingbirds out of a neighborhood, unless maybe crows moved in in such great numbers that they overwhelmed the mockingbirds' ability to defend their nests before their eggs got eaten. ## I frankly have not noticed any improvement in my right hand during the last several months. It regained some mobility at first; I can now wiggle my fingers and raise my hand a few inches. But I achieved that around the beginning of this year, and there has been no progress since then.
What's My Zine? #2 - (Castora) I have never understood the attraction of gambling, either, but Las Vegas and Atlantic City have successfully based their survival on it. ## Parakeets and other members of the parrot family seem to instinctively recognize human ears as suitable for social grooming and chattering into. ## All of the comments on the Jarritos tamarind soda have been that it was very good, but not a favorite flavor. Jarritos advertises nine flavors; the others are Mandarin, Fruit Punch, Jamaica (I wonder if that could be Jamaican-style ginger beer?), Lime, Grapefruit, Guava, Pineapple, and Strawberry. Barrilitos also advertises nine flavors; the differences are Sangria, Apple, and Lemon instead of Jamaica, Lime, and Guava. It would be nice if someone brought some flavors besides Tamarind to the LASFS for sampling.
How Much Deeper Would The Ocean Be Without Sponges - (Cantor) Are there any soft drinks left today that are not carbonated, except root beer and ginger beer? I used to love the Bireleys non-carbonated grape and strawberry soft drinks when I was a boy, but I have not seen them since the 1950s.