... es no. 2214
Written by Fred Patten, and intended for Apa L, 2214th Distribution,
LASFS Meeting No. 3662, October 18,2007.
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
|Denvention 3 in 2008!||Anticipation in 2009!||Salamander Press #2697|
My sister Sherrill brought me to last Thursday's LASFS meeting, and got me the October 2007 Locus from the club library. There were at least two guests who had learned about the club from the LASFS booth at the West Hollywood Book Fair. The meeting was short and adjourned soon enough that the program discussion on What I Have Read Lately started while I could attend it, but I could not hear much of the discussion because of loud conversations at the back of the room, mostly by Jerry Pournelle; and I could not talk over them. So we left early anyhow. George Van Wagner was trying to review Jeff VanderMeer's City of Saints and Madmen, which (from what I could hear of his description) did not sound quite to my taste, but seemed intriguing enough that I may try it anyway.
On Monday I went to Sherry's apartment for an afternoon working at my computer there on new literary projects. I have noticed that it has recently become stylish for authors to list the mood music they listened to while writing their stories. For the record, I listened to the OST CDs for Serial Experiments Lain, Godannar, and His & Her Circumstances. We went for dinner to Marie Callender's in Burbank.
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Stone Bridge Press has sent me a new royalty statement for my book, Watching Anime, Reading Manga, for the period ending 6/30/2007. Total copies sold to date: 2,977. New royalty (12%) paid for copies sold during the first half of 2007 (148): $153.16. Not much, but the book is still selling after almost three years, which is nice for a non-fiction book.
My Best in Show anthology is sold out again. Sofawolf Press is undecided whether to produce a fourth printing or to leave it out of print. There is still no news on how the Furry! edition of it is doing, thanks to iBooks' still-ongoing bankruptcy proceedings.
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The discussion here over the last couple of weeks about cars that drive themselves has been upstaged by this week's advance publicity from Nissan about the Pivo 2 that it will debut at the 40th Tokyo Motor Show, October 26 - November 11.
Powered by advanced compact Lithium-ion batteries, Pivo 2 employs 'by-wire' technologies for braking and steering and features a 360 degree turning cabin and 90 degree turning wheels that makes reversing a thing of the past. In addition to advancements on this radical rotational design, the second generation Pivo uses a Robotic Agent to create a unique owner-vehicle relationship that is akin to that of a friend.
Where the first Pivo, with its fully rotating cabin design, made reversing obsolete, the Pivo 2 takes that easy mobility concept to a new level. Each of the four wheels are powered by Nissan's advanced electric In-wheel 3D Motor and can turn through 90 degrees to allow Pivo 2 to drive sideways as well as forward - making parallel parking in even the tightest places as simple as driving straight ahead.
Thanks to the highly innovative Robotic Agent, you are never alone in the Pivo 2. With conversations possible in Japanese and English, the Robotic Agent has been created to work with Pivo 2 to make every journey less stressful. It provides a unique interface through which to communicate with Pivo 2 on everything from basic vehicle functions through to the nearest available parking.
Pivo 2 will be on display at the Nissan Ginza Gallery in Tokyo, for an exclusive public sneak preview ahead of the Motor Show.
Technovelgy.com adds, with a reference to the robot taxi driver in Philip K. Dick's "A Present for Pat":
Adding to the fun, a little robotic companion embedded in the dashboard keeps an eye on the driver; its camera loads up on digital pictures of the driver, and analyzes them for signs of driver drowsiness.
In a recent test drive, it said "You look tired. There's a coffee shop 500 metres ahead on the left" to a driver with droopy eyelids. It also encourages drivers to fight road rage (by its outrageous cuteness, apparently). This sounds like much more fun than the Buddy On Demand Inflatable Friend To Women Drivers introduced last year by British insurers.
Here are a couple of publicity videos (basically the same video, but with different peripheral data) showing the Pivo 2 and its "friendly robot head" in action. But it is obvious that the Pivo 2 is a single-person car; no good for families. I assume that more than one person in the car to relate to would confuse the robot. Nice for Moms to drive for local shopping, but probably not for the freeway. It is also a "concept car"; not intended for production & sales - yet.
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-- Comments on Last Week's Distribution:
Cover - (Patten) This was actually printed by June Moffatt. Thanks, June. I will try to refrain from bringing other rejected national flag designs to the LASFS. (This one was a parody from the start, but some that were seriously proposed have not been much better. In 2001, the Australian government published all the designs that had been submitted in a national contest for the Australian national flag in 1901. Most were reasonable but some were incredibly bizarre.)
De Jueves #1551 - (Moffatts) I got my flu shot at the Golden State Hospital a couple of weeks ago. I give jury duty summons to the hospital administration to fill out as to why I am medically unable to serve. ## Ah, but for a book worth crawling through thirty miles of tropical jungle -- Hmmm, how many books would you put in that class? The Lord of the Rings? Starship Troopers? Is there any book by Ron Hubbard that a Scientologist would say is not worth crawling through thirty miles of tropical jungle to get? (Especially if they could then get to bite a psychiatrist in the neck.) ## The fourth and latest Turing Hopper novel by Donna Andrews is Delete All Suspects. It was published in 2005, long ago enough that I hope Andrews has not abandoned the series since she continues to write an annual new novel in her Meg Langslow series (Revenge of the Wrought-Iron Flamingos; Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon; etc.). ## I have wondered for how long the Internet links that I cite in ˇRR! will remain active. The link to Taxi Tangle is still good, though; I just checked it. ## Gualala, Calif. is the location of one of the largest publishers in America specializing in books about anarchy and vampires, III Publishing. I don't suppose you saw their headquarters as you drove through it? ## It is good to know that Freff/Connor is doing so well.
Vanamonde #750 - (Hertz) The Nazi battleship Bismarck did not fight against rubber-suited monsters. If it had, it might have fared better. And ask Craig Miller about the giant robot Bismarck, the Star Musketeer.
Grand Canyon - (Cantor) I must have overlooked or forgotten your previous comments about growing tobacco in California. Thanks for repeating them. There have been news reports for the past decade about the value of nicotine for certain medical uses; would California-grown tobacco have any value for that? ## How sure are you that no Europeans discovered the Western Hemisphere between Leif Erickson and Christopher Columbus? If you mean "discovered" in the sense of publicizing their landings, you may be right, but most scholars believe that several other Europeans came to America before Columbus; they just did not publicize their voyages. The Wikipedia entry "Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact" says, "Even in Columbus' time there was much speculation that other Old Worlders had made the trip in ancient or contemporary times; Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés records several in his General y natural historia de las Indias of 1526, which includes biographical information on Columbus. [...] In 1472, the Portuguese navigator João Vaz Corte-Real was granted the title "discoverer of the Land of the Codfish". It is conjectured that he visited Newfoundland. The presence of Basque cod fishermen and whalers in North America, just a few years after Columbus, has also been cited. A Basque whaling station in Red Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador operated from 1530 to 1600. Others have conjectured that Columbus was able to convince the Catholic Monarchs of Castile and Aragon to support his planned voyage only because they were aware of some earlier voyage. Some suggest that Columbus himself visited Canada or Greenland before 1492, because he wrote he had visited Thule once. [...] German captains Dietrich Pining and Hans Pothorst are said to have landed on the coast of Labrador in 1473 at the head of a joint Danish-German-Portuguese expedition, possibly with a semi-mythical John Scolvus as navigator. Pining made two voyages to Greenland. The second one returned in 1478 via Iceland to Scandinavia where Pining was appointed governor for the Danish King Christian I, by then King of Norway as well as of Denmark. For three years Pining was the Danish King's governor in Iceland. In 1480 he and his co-captain Pothurst who had been sailing with Pining on both voyages to Greenland, resumed their pirate activities south of the Greenlandic waters. It seems as if Pining was what one could call a Crown-pirate since he later signed documents as member of the King's Council. During one of the voyages João Vaz Corte-Real the older and one of his sons participated as navigators on one of the ships. The documents on this topic can easiest be read in "Larsen Soren, the Pining voyage, The Discovery of North America Twenty Years Before Columbus, 1925". In 1476/77 during the voyage in Greenlandic water, Pothurst, Pining and Corte-Real were driven southward by the wind and had to stay the winter on the American mainland, as shown in the above-mentioned work."
Fish Out of Water #244 - (Helgesen) Kellogg's use of the "Snap, Crackle, Pop" slogan and characters since the 1930s is well-known throughout America. I admit that I have not associated with any adolescents recently, but is there anyplace besides that greeting card commercial that shows "Snap, Crackle, and Pop!" to be current teen slang? I agree that if it can be shown to be generic slang, and especially if Kellogg has not legally tried to enforce its trademark, it is too late to start now. The fact that all three words are standard English words may not save them from Kellogg's proprietary combination of them. Several decades ago some company lost a lawsuit brought by the Time-Life Corporation for trademark violation for advertising that its products had "a lifetime guarantee", with "lifetime" in the advertisement shown as the combined Life and Time magazine logos. ## Flying cars have been built several times since the 1940s, but most of them have required wings that can be dismantled for street or highway driving. Those that have not have seemed indistinguishable from helicopters. Only in magazine or comic book pictures could a "car" convert from road driving to flying mode at the flick of a switch. (Although the LaBiche Aerospace FSC-1, developed last year but not yet flown in a full-scale model, claims to do this.) Also, unless the car is a helicopter or autogyro that can take off straight up, it would need taxiing space to get airborne - good luck in the midst of a traffic jam! Wikipedia says in its "Flying car" article, "In the 1950s, Ford Motor Company performed a serious feasibility study for a flying car product. They concluded that such a product was technically feasible, economically manufacturable, and had significant realistic markets. The markets explored included ambulance services, police and emergency services, military uses, and initially, luxury transportation. Some of these markets are now served by light helicopters. However, the flying car explored by Ford would be at least fiftyfold less expensive. When Ford approached the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) about regulatory issues, the critical problem was that the (then) known forms of air traffic control were inadequate for the volume of traffic Ford proposed. At the time, air traffic control consisted of flight numbers, altitudes and headings written on little slips of paper and placed in a case. Quite possibly computerized traffic control, or some form of directional allocation by altitude could resolve the problems. Other problems would also need to be resolved in some ways, however, including intoxicated drivers or motorists that drive without a license. [...] Today, there is an active movement in the search for a practical flying car. Several conventions are held yearly to discuss and review current flying car projects. Two notable events are the Flying Car forum held at the world-famous EAA Airventure at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) conventions held at various cities." ## Now that I am paralyzed and bedridden, I have no use for pocket calendars; but I will remember that they are still available at Hallmark Card stores. My MacBook Pro has an automatic iCalendar built into it. ## Southern California drivers need cars that will not hit opossums. When I could drive, I used to see possum roadkill in the streets almost every day.
Godzilla Verses #160 -- (DeChancie) I would expect the exclamation "Holy Moly!" to be used by superhero fans across America if at all, not as any regionalism. ## The NYC popular TV personality, Tex Antoine, notoriously got fired immediately and permanently in 1976 for quoting that "relax and enjoy it" quip after a news report of the rape of a five-year-old girl.
Toony Loons #61 - (Zeff) As far as I know, there is only one Three Stooges short that contains their "NIAGARA FALLS!! Slooowly I turned..." vaudeville routine, Gents Without Cents. It is from that that the Internet link showing the whole routine that I cited in ˇRR! #2212 is taken. Yes, Gents Without Cents is the one Three Stooges short that even people who do not like the Three Stooges usually enjoy.
I Qualmishly Horripilate - (Gold) There are some anime titles with the word "gundan", notably Blocker Gundan IV Machine Blaster, or Machine Blaster: Blocker Corps IV, a minor 1976-1977 TV cartoon series only remembered by giant robot completists (never shown in America). ## I do not have access to what you e.mailed my sister two months ago, but if it said that events at ConChord started at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, and Tanya Huff's only scheduled event was at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday (by which we would have had to leave to return to the hospital for its 10:00 p.m. curfew), that sounds like what convinced us that there was not likely to be enough that we were interested in to justify going all the way to Woodland Hills and buying two memberships to get in.