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Trick-or-treater in awesome robot costume, ca. 1971

Totally awesome kid trick-or-treating in totally awesome robox costume, ca. 1971. From Bill Owens, Suburbia. (Bill Owens’ site)

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Cross-posted from Old is the New New. Comments welcome.
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My whole life has led to acquiring this book:

Robots and Donuts: The Art of Eric Joyner

Originally posted at (the all new) Old is the New New. Leave a comment there and make me look popular.
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I don't know if all you scruffy nerf herders have seen this yet or not, but in case you haven't: The Continuing Adventures of Benjamin Kenobi, Space Knight of the Future!!

Hee. Great minds think alike. All that's missing is the Dark Yodel of the Sith.

For consideration: How much worse than the actual Episode III could this be?
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"See all that stuff inside, Homer? That's why your robot never worked!"

A quiet Sunday reading the paper, and books, and other nonelectronic things, and copying Season 2 of MI-5 from TiVo to VHS for [ profile] jeregenest, who was in a scary and freakish and random accident. It sounds like he's going to be OK, mercifully, but he will, I assume, be convalescing for a while. (On reflection, odds are good that Jere's already seen the MI-5s, but it's nice to have a project.)

I was amused by this quote in the Sunday Book Review:

Here's the problem with 'Write what you know': What too many aspiring writers know, it turns out, is that a suburban American adolescence causes vague feelings of sadness—especially when one's formative years include a dying grandparent or housepet.

Yes, indeed. Substitute "Canadian" for "American" in that sentence and I know that problem all too well. (See, Homer? That's why my novel never worked...) The review in question goes on to say "It's the lucky writer whose story is familiar to himself and exotic to his readers," which then made me think of The Russian Debutante's Handbook, a bit of a trendy must-read novel a few years ago that I had somehow missed. L gave it to me over the holidays, and it was great. Highly recommended. One of the funniest books I've read in a long time. The feckless Gen-X hipsters therein reminded me an awful lot of me and my own friends in the PC 1990s, at least until the Russian mob shows up and starts breaking their kneecaps. That didn't happen to me and my friends as far as I can recall. (See how my uneventful Canadian adolescence has prevented me from being a literary prodigy? Oh the pain.)

I posted another rambling essay today about Ben Franklin and the Turk and 18th-century robotica over at my big boy website. Halfway through that post I mention that I have "another cool anecdote about the Imperial Academy of Science in St. Petersburg in the 1700s that I want to tell you." I know, I know, most people would be content with just one such anecdote in their life, but you are blessed with me as a friend, so you might as well enjoy it. Check this shit out: Peter the Great, Tsar from 1682 to 1725, was a passionate collector of monsters. In the 1690s, he began assembling a collection of anatomical and zoological monstrosities and abnormalities, living and dead. In 1704, he ordered that midwives throughout Russia were strictly forbidden to kill or hide newborn children with deformations. All "monstrous" births were to be turned over to the clergy, who would deliver them to his Cabinet of Monsters in St. Petersberg. After Peter's death in 1725, the Cabinet came under control of the Imperial Academy of Sciences.

"Cabinet of Monsters." Nice ring to that. Well, I doubt I have to tell you what I'm thinking: If those "monsters" were not giants and hermaphrodites and hydrocephalic kids but actually, you know, monsters... you could have a crazy 1700s Russian League of Extraordinary Gentlemen adventure, or some very cool backstory for the Russian version of the BPRD in a certain long-threatened Soviet Hellboy Delta Green game.

What else? Oh yes. [ profile] bryant's Best Movies of 2004 post is up, which is great, and relieves me of having to write one. I spent a lot of 2004 passing off a combination of Bryant and Anthony Lane's opinions about movies as my own, so it seems appropriate to just link to his Best Of list now. My only gripes with his list? I'd drop Sky Captain. I found it dull and disappointing, and I can't help thinking that caffeine and a sense that "I should like this" is deluding Bryant and my other geek chums who still champion the film. And where is the love for Napoleon Dynamite? But other than that, yeah, yeah, yeah.
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(two, three, four...)

Somebody bring me a flower, I'm a robot
Somebody bring me a flower, I'm a robot, yeah
I'm all metal and plastic, wires and elastic
Somebody bring me a flower, I'm a robot

Jesus Christ he told the robots to play some music
The robots played their music with a stick, yeah hmmm
Robot sang about how Jesus gone so long
All the other robots loved that song

Somebody bring me a flower, I'm a robot
Somebody bring me a flower, I'm a robot
I'm all metal and plastic, wires and elastic
Somebody bring me a flower, I'm a robot

I'm a robot, I'm not a Power Ranger
I'm a robot, feel like a coat hanger
I'm a robot, I'm not a country singer
I'm a ro-o-bot!

Kev Russell, "Somebody Bring Me A Flower (I'm A Robot)" (Audio sample here.)


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July 2014

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