Ah, my dear friends, I have a terrible dilemma before me. Both Olga and Natalia wish to be my wife; each has written several times to me of their passion. They are equally attractive; both are looking for love, but neither appears to be able to do laundry.
Well. That's really not a dilemma at all, is it?
So, today was an odd day. One of those days where Things Got Done, but they were Entirely the Wrong Things. On the other hand, a day that includes a milkshake and an unexpected ride in the country can't be too far awry.
At least, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
I did make it to gym and waked for miles. My "gym book" this go is a Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, winner of the 1963 Newbery Medal, and a buncha other awards, soon, I'm told to be Major Motion Picture. Again.
AWIT was published when I was 10 years old. Despite this, I didn't read it (the first time) until I was an adult. It was sitting on a table in EJ Korvette's in...damned if I remember -- Towson, probably. Anyhow, remainder table, one among many of its own kind, and many others, not necessary of its kind. I was waiting for my then-boyfriend to finish up doing something or another, and started to read AWIT, as the most interesting looking book on the table, and by the time he re-appeared, I'd tessered once already and wasn't about to miss the rest of the story. It was a buck I never regretted spending.
I read AWIT a couple times since then, but not for 20 years or so -- found the sequels, but none of them held my interest beyond the first two pages. . . So, yanno, life goes on; so many books, so little time; and all like that.
But AWIT is going to be coming out as a movie next year; this time, so the hype goes, done right, which means that lots of people who read it as kids, and who imprinted on it, are re-reading. And some are being disappointed, and blogging about their disappointment (one more time from the choir: What an age we live in). Now, by the time I'd read AWIT, I'd read. . .a buncha books, many of them science fiction/fantasy (Back when I started reading sf/f, you could easily read the monthly titles, and still have room left over for others kinds of books. It just wasn't possible, if you were any shakes of a reader at all, to read only science fiction.). I thought AWIT was a good enough book. Certainly, the Mrs. Whatsit, Who, and Which have pleasantly improved my inner life. Meg irritated me -- but Meg was supposed to irritate me. Partly, after all, this was a story about Meg coming to terms with Meg, and if she could stand it, so could I.
I did have some reservations about the sudden appearance and utter acceptance of Calvin, especially the part where he liked Meg straight off. Otherwise, he seemed like good enough kid.
Charles Wallace was being set up either as John the Baptist, or the new Christ figure, but I'd already read Perelandra, and Out of the Silent Planet and whassis -- That Hideous Strength. Plus, I'd been raised Roman Catholic. All of which meant I was pretty good at ignoring the God-stuff and following the story along.
So, anyhow. I read it back then; liked it well enough. Read it a couple times more and liked it on rereads.
This time, I'm still liking it. Meg perhaps annoys me less, but, then I know how the story goes, more or less. I find that I misplaced a couple things on the timeline, but no big surprises so far. . .The Happy Medium, surprisingly or not, irritates me more than Meg does this time. Hmm.
One of the reviewers I read was saddened by the fact that AWIT didn't sing for them anymore, and blamed -- the 60s (given a 1962 pub date, and its long history of rejection, AWIT was probably written in the late 50s). The 60s, said the reviewer are just too unbelievable to a person of modern sensibility, and the story therefore suffers from its setting.
I will go on record here as saying that the 60s setting doesn't detract from the story at all, for this reviewer. OTOH, I lived through the 60s.
After gym, I ran the rest of the errands on my list -- sadly, neither CVS nor Agway had any of the bug repellents I had pinned my hopes upon, so I wound up ordering from the internet, rather than shopping locally.
Agway did provide me with a ginormous lacy yellow day lily, a hug pot of bee balm and a
Jimmy hosta with white bells (the hosta on the other end of the property have blue/purple bells). I have probably under-bought, but the wallet gets a vote, and this will at least start a Cat Garden Renaissance.
For those keeping score at home, I remain Utterly Delighted with my new fountain pen, which has scarcely been out of my hand since I bought it. So delighted am I, that I have purchased another Pilot Metropolitan, this is the formal White Tiger color scheme, and blue ink, so I will have a fine signing pen at Confluence.
And that? Really is all the news that's fit to print.
Everybody stay cool, or warm, as appropriate.
Once we get back to the story of the murder itself, however, it turns out: IT'S BONKERS. The principals in the case are two pirate radio impresarios in 1966. Oliver Smedley, An Ardent Free-Trade Capitalist, was running a station called Radio Atlanta on a boat off the coast; Reggie Calvert, A Dance Hall Impresario, had taken over an entire abandoned British navy fort called Shivering Sands in the Thames Estuary and staffed it with a rotating encampment of youths running a station called Radio City. At one point Smedley and Calvert were going to have a merger, but then they had an ACRIMONIOUS BREAKUP spurred on in part by:
- the fact that Smedley was supposed to give Calvert a shiny new transmitter and instead provided an old one that never worked
- the fact that Smedley never paid all the bills he had promised Calvert that Radio Atlanta would pay
- the fact that Calvert got sick of all this and decided to merge with another station instead
The reason for all these pirate radio stations on boats and naval forts, by the way, is because in 1966 there was no legal pop radio in the UK (as explained, extensively, via the history of radio and Keynesian economic theory etc. that makes up the first half of the book). Because the pirates were technically outside of UK territory, on the other hand, they could technically get away with doing whatever they wanted, or at least the government like "it will be way too embarrassing to launch a huge naval raid against a bunch of youths on was a fort with a radio transmitter, so let's not."
HOWEVER, the fact that everything was happening outside of territorial waters where British laws and police had no jurisdiction BACKFIRED when:
- Ardent Free-Trade Capitalist Smedley decided he was so mad that Calvert had made a deal without him that he was going to MAKE SURE that the deal could never go through
- he was going to GET BACK HIS PROPERTY [the transmitter that had never worked]
- so he sent an ACTUAL OCCUPYING FORCE composed of out-of-work dockworkers to Shivering Sands, stole a bunch of key broadcasting equipment, took a bunch of it back to the mainland, and left a bunch of toughs to hold everybody who was on the station at that time hostage!!!
- (when they met the invading force, the hostage broadcasters were like 'welp' and made everybody tea)
- ("the vessel had to return briefly to pick up [the contractor who recruited the gang], who had been left behind drinking his tea")
- and then Smedley went to Calvert and his partner, an actual professional broadcaster, and was like 'I will not let you broadcast from there again or finish making your deal unless you pay me FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS'
Naturally, everyone involved was like 'wtf????' and refused to pay Smedley a dime; Calvert threatened to involve the police but the police were like 'ummmmmm technically we can't do anything for the same reasons we haven't been able to stop you from broadcasting;' Calvert then made a whole bunch of other even wilder threats; and all the hired dockworkers sat around cheerfully charging Smedley for hostaging operations which he was rapidly running out of money for.
Anyway, in the middle of all this, Calvert drove out to Smedley's house in the middle of the night and started screaming at him, and Smedley shot him and then claimed self-defense and that his HOSTILE OCCUPATION OF A POP RADIO STATION was just a little joke gone wrong! No harm no foul if only Calvert hadn't been so UPSET about it! It did help Smedley's self-defense case that Calvert happened to be carrying A FAKE PEN FULL OF NERVE GAS at the time, which apparently, according to his family, he always carried around just for safekeeping.
...so the author's point in writing about all this seems to be that a.) this incident was crucial in getting the pirate radio boats shut down and the formation of the current BBC radio system that includes actual pop radio, b.) that this is all a forerunner of later copyright battles and offshore data centers and so on, c.) pirate-radio-on-boats in the 1960s was a WILD TIME. About the latter, at least, he is most surely not mistaken.
(This has nothing to do with the main brunt of the book but I have to spare a mention for Radio City's chief engineer, who later was hired by the mob! to perform an assassination attempt!! using a spring-loaded hypodermic needle full of cyanide!!! in what it turns out was ACTUALLY a sting operation by the U.S. Treasury department who picked the hapless Radio City engineer to act as the assassin because "he needed the fee while being clearly incapable of killing anybody"!!!! This whole incident gets two pages in the book because it's somewhat irrelevant to the author's argument but seriously, where is this guy's movie?
For the record, the same mobsters then tried to intimidate Reggie Calvert's widow into selling them the remnants of the station and she was like 'lol no' and they were like '....well, when a lady knows her own mind, she knows her own mind! No hard feelings.')
We begin a new tractate, Sanhedrin, which discusses court cases. Unlike in many secular court systems, the judges are active participants (they're the ones who question witnesses) and the ultimate decisors; there are no lawyers or juries.
A court is made up of some number of judges, depending on the type of case (at least 3, sometimes 23 or 71 or occasionally other numbers). Here are some of the cases listed in the first mishna of the tractate (this is not a complete list):
Various types of monetary damages are judged by three.
Rape, seduction, and libel require three according to R' Meir, but the sages say libel requires 23 because it could involve a capital charge. (A note suggests this comes up with adultery but doesn't connect the dots. Also, rape and seduction can involve capital charges too, so I don't know why they only call out libel. Perhaps it's addressed later in the g'mara.)
Capital cases, as implied in the previous bullet, require 23.
Cases for which the punishment is flogging require three, but according to R' Yishmael, 23.
Calendar decisions (witnessing the new moon, adding a leap month) are judged by three, though R' Shimon b. Gamaliel describes a more complicated scheme.
A tribe charged with idolatry, a false prophet, and a high priest can be tried only by a court of 71.
The following require 71: authorizing wars of free choice, adding to the temple courtyards, establishing small sanhedrins (of 23) for the tribes, condemning a city, condemning frontier towns.
Why is a great sanhedrin 71? Because Moshe was commanded to gather 70 (other) men. And why is a small sanhedrin 23? It's complicated. (I don't completely follow their math, sorry.)
This is all from 2a. The mishna continues onto 2b before the g'mara starts there.
(Today's daf is 4.)
Having downloaded a bunch of public domain books, I then went looking for the proper cover art. Interestingly, although I am convinced I owned mid-1970s editions of both Blackman's Burden and Border, Breed nor Birth, I can find no evidence those editions actually existed.
Another interesting thing. This is the list of science fiction books on PG and this is the list of science fiction works by women on PG.
My (Android) phone alerts me when traffic is bad near me. This can be handy at the end of the day because I work downtown. Except... it's telling me about traffic on roads I don't use to get home. Sure, there's spillover so it's not unhelpful, but it'd be great if I could tell it -- maybe by gesturing on a map -- what paths I care about, so it could tell me about those ones.
Does anybody reading this know of an app that does that, or a way to get Google Maps to do it? It needs to be fire and forget; I don't want to have to open the map app to look for red lines on it.
It feels like all the information is already there, if only my phone were making use of it.
(This would also let me know before I leave in the morning if traffic is still bad at the other end. At that time I don't really need extra information about traffic near my house; I need it 3-5 miles away.)
So! My new fountain pen arrived. It's gorgeous, and! it writes sooooo smooth on the gritty old yellow so-called "legal pad" paper which is my preferred paper. The pen came with a converter, which I hadn't realized, or I would've bought it a nice bottle of purple ink, instead of a box of black cartridges. Maybe later.
What's that, you say? Picture? How about a link, instead?
I went shopping after doing the gym thing this morning. Since I had been putting this off for a while, I had rather a Lengthy List and only accomplished about half. I fear that I am no longer the Lean Mean Shopping Machine of yore. . .In any case, I'll try to finish up on Thursday.
One of the things I'll need is! Bug repellent. Bugs find me very tasty (it's like mosquitoes somehow know I have a lousy immune system) and I have it in my mind to be out in gardens and zoos and suchlike things, so bug repellent has moved to the top of the (remainder of) my list. Can anyone recommend a good, not-hideously-poisonous-to-all-living-
The other things I'll need on Thursday are replacement plants for the Cat Garden, which, under the combined efforts of the neighbor's chickens and the lawn guy's assistant, has mostly become a Weed Garden. The dragon flowers are still doing well, but the bee balm was ruthlessly cut off last year by the LGA, and did not, as I had. . .kind of hoped. . .come back. The garden is now well under the limbs of the red maple, so I'm thinking some hosta (called Jimmy here at the Cat Farm, because I can never remember what the damned thing is called, and Steve said that The Murdered Teamster sounded more like a rock band than a plant), or maybe some more bee balm, if the LGA can be educated not to cut off their heads, or some other shade-loving plants. And there's one REALLY sunny corner where some day lilies might profit...
You see, I think, why I decided to Put Off Until Thursday what I did not finish today.
While I was shopping today, I must've seen about eight displays of those little three-sided spinner things, whatever they're called. Not having kids, or grand-kids, either, I hadn't until recently realized that these were A Thing. Back when I was a kid (and dinosaurs, &c), I used to have a continuous steel-link necklace that I used to spin while I was reading and/or studying, because -- though I couldn't've told you that at the time -- it helped me concentrate. My mother took it away from me, of course, because back then such things were Weird and Not Normal and therefore Not Done.
What an age we live in.
I also learned, just today, that I live in a teensy-tiny-vanishingly-small-
Anyway, home now to find that Steve had started the laundry, and is even now putting supper together. After the meal, it's -- time to go to work, with a promise from the local weatherbeans of thunderstorms, maybe, this evening.
And on that note -- y'all have a fine afternoon, 'k?