A Final Memorial Day Link

A story about “Taps” and the people who play it and why.


Oasis 21 Wrap-Up

As most of you know, I spent Memorial Day weekend in Orlando, Florida for the Oasis 21 science fiction convention, at which I was a special guest. I’m happy to say I had a really good time. Oasis was intimately-sized, and I tried to make myself available as much as possible just by hanging out, so I got the change to have a bunch of nice long conversations with a number of guests and fans, which is always neat. And I got to meet a whole bunch of fans and writers I’d not had a chance to meet before, which is a benefit of going to a convention in a part of the US I’d never been to before.

The organizers and staff of Oasis took excellent care of me the whole convention, although I would single out two particularly helpful fellows: First, Jay Eichelberger, who picked up me and my family from the airport and also dropped us off, and in the interim period also kept an eye on me just in case there was anything else I needed — like, for example, chocolates, which I did in fact need, for reasons that you had to be there to understand (Jay was also the only con staff member — indeed, the only person at Oasis save Guest of Honor David Gerrold — who actually saw either Krissy or Athena, since they were off at Disney/Universal/Atlantic Ocean the whole time). The other fellow was “Scruffy,” who presented me with a cooler of Coke Zero, which instantly made him a Hero of the Convention, as far as I was concerned.

I also got to spend time with Glennis LeBlanc, Mark Wingenfeld and Dan Foster, the booksellers at the convention, who suggested me as the convention’s special guest, and who were a heck of a lot of fun to hang out and gossip with. I’m glad they suggested me (and the suggestion was accepted).

Among the guests and fans, it was a kick to be able to spend some time with David Gerrold; he and I have crossed paths a few times before, most notably at the Heinlein convention, where we shared panels, but this was the first time I got to have some serious quality time with him; he’s a marvelous conversationalist and a generally excellent person. I also got some quality time with Deanna Hoak, who is my favorite copyeditor ever (no offense to the other excellent copyeditors who keep me from looking like an ass) and got to meet both Adam Troy-Castro and Gennita Low in the flesh for the first time. Gennita came up as a visitor to the con but I managed to dragoon her onto a panel I was on (about sex! Who-hoo!). She was excellent. Con organizers, take note.

I also want to take a moment to thank congoers Athena (a different one), Brian and Melinda for absconding with me and getting me out of the hotel for an hour, which was just the bit of decompression I needed, and also Christopher and Melissa for excellent conversation. And beyond them there were many excellent conversations with the con-goers, so many of whom seemed really pleased to see me. Which, you know, is what you want.

In all, a lovely time, and I’m glad I came. Thanks, Oasis, for having me.


RIP, Syndey Pollack

Oh, hell. Sydney Pollack has died. He was among other things the director of Tootsie, which with The Philadelphia Story is my favorite comedy of all time. Pollack played a role in the film as well (Michael Dorsey’s agent), and his chops in front of the camera offer some suggestion why he was so good behind the camera as well. In one of life’s little ironies, my wife just finished watching Tootsie less than an hour ago, and Athena was watching it with her and seeing it for the first time ever. Athena’s verdict: very very funny (she loved it when Dorothy revealed herself as Michael — but then, who doesn’t?).

I don’t imagine Sydney Pollack would or could have possibly known his work had made a new fan even as he said goodbye to this world. But there are worse way to be sent off. I thank him for the movies, and for the laughs, and hope that if there’s an afterlife, he discovers God’s a big fan.


Various & Sundry 5/26/08

Bite-sized things for your consideration:

* First, look what arrived while I was out:

It’s the ARC for Agent to the Stars (in case you couldn’t guess) and it looks great, and it’s out waaay ahead of the October 28 release, but like I care because now I have a copy for myself. I’m greedy that way, I am. I only have two copies so I’m not doing any contests. If I get any more I might, though. We’ll have to see.

* I feel vaguely guilty I was not on top of the Phoenix landing on Mars, but Phil Plait’s been on top of it over at the Bad Astronomy blog, so you can just go over there and see pretty much what I would say if I had been at all paying attention this weekend. In particular, a “what he said” to this entry.

* Shorter Hillary Clinton: It’s Obama’s fault people are focusing on the fact I said I’m hanging around just in case he gets popped. Well, no. The reason people are focusing on the fact that Hillary Clinton invoked political assassinations as even a tangential factor in why she’s still in the race is because it’s was an appallingly tone-deaf thing to say, particularly in the context of a presidential candidate that Fox News commentators feel comfortable casually suggesting that it would be cool if someone could take him out. As with Clinton, it’s nice the commentator apologized for her dumbass remarks, although it’s worth noting that in neither case do the apologies appear to extend to Obama himself, i.e., the guy who would actually, you know, die.

In any event, it’s not too much to hope that we can get through the rest of the election without people suggesting how cool it would be to have Obama murdered and/or imply even tangentially that his assassination would be a real boost to another candidate’s election hopes.

To get back to the original thing here, though, I don’t think Clinton’s attempt at blaming Obama for her own asstardery, or the subsequent blow-up, is going to fly very well, particularly since Obama’s comment about it is that he takes her at her word about the whole assassination thing. Which makes him look good (and even, dare we say, presidential), and makes her look calculatingly petty by trying to whack on him further. She’s trying to kick him while she’s down, basically. It calls attention to their relative positions.

Also, let’s face it: If you say something so stupid people pay attention to it all through Memorial Day Weekend, and of the great, abyssal sinkholes of the entire news year, you’ve really stepped in it. Trying to scrape it off on the other guy isn’t going to work particularly well.

* Married for 80 years. I wouldn’t mind beating that record. I also think this couple’s advice for a marriage’s longevity is both simple and correct. It’s pretty much what we do, too.


Back at Home

And here’s Ghlaghghee, having a good laugh about the “surprise” she’s left me in the house as a “reward” for being away for four and a half days. I fear to see what Lopsided Cat’s left me. It’s probably a deer.

Flights back surprisingly painless: Both left on time, both arrived on time. Can’t ask for more than that. Of course, later in the week I have a connecting flight through O’Hare, so I imagine my flight karma will be back with a vengeance. Look, don’t yell at me for routing through O’Hare. Someone else made my flight arrangements; I just show up to fly.

Anyway, nice to be back. Hope your Monday was restful.


Heading Out

Back to Ohio. We’ll see if we can get there without any delays.

Have a good Monday. While you’re taking the day off, remember why you’re being given the day off, and remember those whose lives Memorial Day commemorates.

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