(What’s this?! A new Biggerboat post? No, your eyes do not deceive you!)
Talk about being late to the party. For the first time, at the hoary old age of 29, I finally read a Doc Savage story.
Doc Savage, along with the Shadow and the Phantom and an assortment of other pulp heroes, are the ancestors (fathers, really) of the modern superhero.? And yet, while many people might recognize the name “Doc Savage,” few people–including, until recently, me–knew anything about the character.
I’d been meaning to track down some Doc Savage novels for a while, but I wasn’t in a hurry. While I’m a fan of pulp literature, I’ve been burned by too many experiences with poor writing.
While H.P. Lovecraft (creator of the Cthulhu Mythos) and Robert E. Howard (creator of Conan the barbarian) were good writers as well as good storytellers, other pulp authors have disappointed me. I was never able to get into Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars series, and I just couldn’t get through Armageddon 2419 A.D., the first Buck Rogers novel.
The problem may be the science fiction setting as much as the writing; all the pseudo-science and antiquated ideas are too much at odds with what we’ve learned about the universe since. It becomes distracting, particularly when a character goes on and on about some scientific concept that’s been completely discredited since. (more…)
My friend Kate and I have started a new webcomic over on Points of Articulation called “The Toybox.” Check it out!
Man…drear, drear and more drear. Rain or snow, a sky covered in clouds–whatever, it’s awful.
I’ve been sleeping an average of one to two hours every evening, between 5pm and 9pm (I work 8am-4pm). I then sleep a full seven hours. It’s a particularly odd situation for me since I spent the last fifteen years being unable to sleep well at all.
I’m pretty sure it’s a mild case of season affective disorder. I’m not really depressed–no more than anyone is during weather like this–but I am exhausted all the time.
OK…just had to vent for a second.
Rotor Magazine has posted an article on their website about the 1955 Disney short film “Men Against the Arctic.” My grandfather, Captain Hank Cassani (ret.), helped fly the helicopters used in the filming of the short. It went on to win an Oscar for Best Short Subject Story in 1956.
But the story behind the scenes is just as interesting, featuring a helicopter being forced to land in Arctic waters and a run-in with a polar bear. You can read the article here (PDF). In the photo, my grandfather is standing third from right.
Roy Scheider, the actor who spoke the immortal line in JAWS that gave this website its name, passed away yesterday. He was 75.
In the last act of JAWS, Scheider’s character, Chief Martin Brody, is ladling chum out of the back of a boat when the giant shark pops his head out of the water for the first time. A shocked Brody backs all the way into the cabin, where he turns to Captain Quint and says, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” The line was an ad-lib by Scheider and was #35 on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 Years…100 Movie Quotes.
Scheider had many other memorable performances in other movies, such as The French Connection. But for me, he will always be Chief Brody. Rest in peace, Chief.
And so, with that wonderful send-off (that’s sarcasm, folks), we officially enter the long, dark period when New Englanders just grit their teeth, turn their faces away from the freezing wind, and pray for spring. Sometimes it starts as early as mid-January, when the post-holiday glow wears off, but it was held off a bit this year. Well, not anymore.
(And don’t remind me the Wonder Twins Manning can now put their rings together–which, combined, still don’t match the number on Tom Brady’s hand, by the way. So there.)
February and March are tough months in New England. I’ve often thought Garfield got it right when he referred to February as “the Monday of months,” but now I’m not allowed to say that because DG’s birthday is in February. Of course, DG is also currently on a trip to Los Angeles, which, despite some inclement weather, still promises at least some sun and warmth.
Last summer and fall were pretty warm, even hot, so it’s only the last week or so that I’ve actually started to miss it. But now I wouldn’t mind some sun and, more importantly, some green on the trees.
But that’s a long ways off. Until then, I’ll just have to turn my face away from the wind and–DAMMIT! If they’d just lost ONE freakin’ game, like that one against Baltimore they had no business winning anyway, this wouldn’t be so painful…
…it’s going to be a long couple of months.
Just wanted to point out the new blog chronicling the upcoming nuptials between DG and me:
Jason and Karen Get Married
This editorial perfectly articulates my position on man-made climate change.
An Inconvenient Question
The write creates an analogy between smoking and man-made climate change. The tobacco industry successfully suppressed or cast doubt on evidence that smoking caused cancer for years. If you’d read a report of such evidence in the 1960s, would you have kept smoking–a luxury habit–at the risk of dying of lung cancer later?
Of course, the answer is very often yes, for reasons related to the nature of the human brain. The question is whether humanity has enough imagination and willpower to overcome these inherent mental and emotional obstacles.
On the same topic, here’s a great guide to the candidates’ positions and records on environmental issues.
First off, apologies for the long lack of posting. Between the holidays and my birthday, things were pretty busy in December.
The holidays went well. My fiancee, DG, and I remained here in Massachusetts and spent it with my family. We made an effort to mix our family traditions–we all exchanged pajamas on Christmas Eve, as her family does, and then we watched a Christmas movie, one of my own family’s traditions (this year it was the critically acclaimed classic Ernest Saves Christmas–which, I have to say, doesn’t have nearly as much Ernest in it as you would expect. Whether that’s a good or bad thing I leave up to you).
Of course, the real reason I’ve neglected this blog is because of the new kid in town. I posted daily–sometimes more than daily–over there all last month. I’m really enjoying it–as I told my Web designer, it’s my favorite new toy.
But it does leave me wondering what to do with Biggerboat. I always had trouble trying to decide what to post here–I didn’t really want it to be a purely personal blog, but on the other hand, my plans for it to be the home page of “speculative science fiction author Jason F.C. Clarke” hasn’t really panned out either.
I suppose it will end up morphing into a mainly personal blog, a way for my friends and family to keep up on what I’m doing–not unlike my cousin’s site. After all, I will occasionally want to post something not toy-related.
Speaking of which, 2008 is going to be a banner year for me. DG will get her Ph.D; the two of us will tie the knot in August; and I will turn the ripe old age of 30 before year’s end. How crazy will I be driven? Wait and see!
Anyone else wonder how many people who defended the officiating at the Pats-Colts game are complaining about it regarding last night’s game? Maybe that’s unfair, but I’m pretty sure you could find a few people–at least among fans, if not sportswriters–who thought nothing of the Colts game, but are now acting like the NFL is the WWE and is deliberately rigging the games.
I don’t buy it–if the NFL were the WWE, the Pats would be heels and the Ravens would have won the game on that last pass.
I admit I’m being unfair here–I haven’t actually caught anyone in the act of doing this. But the general air of the sportswriters over on ESPN’s website is that the Pats caught a lot of breaks, and the site is happily printing all the Ravens’ players complaints about the officiating.