The View from Entropy Hall (Online Archive) - From Ed Meskys - RR2 Box 63 - 322 Whitter Hwy - Center Harbor NH 03226
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Issue #24

The View From Entropy Hall #24 for APA-Q 423, 25 July 1998, from Ed Meskys, RR #2 Box 63, 322 Whittier Hwy, Center Harbor NH 03226-9708, [email protected], 603-253-6207. Text online at:


I missed the June disty and am sending thish off for July. On July 3 I am off to Dallas for the NFB convention, then on the 10th I am going direct to Readercon where I will meet Sandy. Then on Aug 2 am off to Baltimore for two weeks vacation surrounding Worldcon. As a result I have my doubts about makeing the August disty. See you when I can....

>A LIVING URBAN LEGEND The letter below forwarded by Tamar Lindsay refers to an apartment shared by Sandy and Elliot "El" Shorter in the Bronx some 20 years ago, though some details have morphed with time. The theives broke through the wall in several different places and found each blocked by an unmoveable bookcase. What croggled Sandy is that this story came back to her from England.

~05-03-98 23:34:43
From: [email protected]

Hi. Tamar here. I saw this on the alt.books.pratchett newsgroup. I think the Bronx apartment is becoming an urban legend. It has already lost the specific name and the city. =Tamar

From: Terry Pratchett & Newsgroups: alt.books.pratchett Subject: Re: [I] bookspace, was Picking Houses... Date: Sun, 3 May 1998 11:21:13 +0100 [email protected] writes [email protected] writes Also burrowing down to form a labyrinth of book filled caves and corridors below your house is a useful technique used by many places, but be careful not to destroy your foundations completely or many precious books may become buried if your house collapses. Be careful also to limit the topological connectivity, or you may inadvertently become part of §L§-space.

I recall a story I heard at a US con about someone's attempt to rob the apartment next door by cutting a hole in the flimsy partition wall. They came across a row of books, which they quietly took find another row of books behind them. They took this out, and found another row of books. And quit. There was still a row to go. The apartment belonged to a long-time sf fan. -- Terry Pratchett


wE SUCCEEDED IN HAVING OUR FIrst Meshkon in almost 30 years over Decoration Day weekend. Bruce & Flo Neurock and John & Perdita came up, and several people dropped by Sunday afternoon for a party.

Both couples arrived Friday evening, tired from the trips, so we didn't stay up too late. Next morning Sandy & I had obligations for our Lions Club from 9 to 12, so they took off in the Neurock's car to see "Castle in the Clouds" some 15 miles from here. Flo suffers from drastic clustrophobia and could not handle the required tram up to the site, so they went on to a crafts fair in Wolfeboro some 10 miles further on. Afterwards they went to the Annalee doll factory in Meredith and then a quilting supply shop in Center Harbor, and were home in time for dinner.

All the Lions Clubs in NH support a "NH Sight & Hearing Foundation" and our club does its share by soliciting donations from the public one day a year in front of three local stores. Sandy and I had the first shift, 9 to noon, in front of Fuller's Convenience Store a few hundred yards from our house. The local Cub and Boy scout troops, which our Club sponsor, help. While the adults sit behind tables near the doors the kids run up to people as they enter the store and ask for a donation. The adults took 3 hour shifts, the second from noon to 3, while the scouts did two hour shifts. Our relief failed to show at noon so Sandy and I stayed until the last scouts showed up at 1, sent them to help at the other sites, and closed down. We bought some groceries and a take-out lunch, and went home to wait for our guests. The three sites together collected a total of $750 for the Foundation.

Sunday was a nice day so Sandy set up a small gas grill and hibachi for dogs and burgers, put out chips, coleslaw, potato salad, soda and hard cider on a NIEKAS collating table I had dragged out of the basement, and set up card tables and lawn chairs. Perdita had a table in her camper van which she also put out, and we waited for arrivals. Fred Lerner drove over from Vermont, Lis Carey up from Concord, and Rafe Folch-Pi dropped by. He was visiting from NY his mother who lives one town over in Center Sandwich. Finally, friends from the NFB, Dave and Marge Mohr drove up from New Durham, some 40 miles away. Dave was a career Navy pilot when he developed diabetes and was forced to retire. He lost a little vision but can still drive. He then graduated in computer Science from UNH and has been a great help to me when I first got my XT in '84, and still helps me from time to time. Marge is a HS librarian.

Dave is extremely conservative, to the right of the NH Republican Party, so he was an interesting contrast to John Boardman's extremeness in the other direction. What was really croggling was to see Fred Lerner and John Boardman on the same side in an argument with Dave about Clinton. Dave was upset with his "immorality" and was arguing that he should be impeached, while both John and Fred argued that the voters did not care and elected and re- elected him. They obviously wanted him to finish out his term.

The Neurocks left Monday morning to meet a net-friend for lunch in Concord, and John, Perdita, Sandy, and I spent Monday afternoon watching videos. I had gotten from the talking book library a copy of Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST with DVS (Descriptive Video Service, a voice-over explanation of the action), and Perdita had brought several videos from home. We watched Henson's DARK CRYSTAL while John & Perdita explained some of the action for me. I had not finished the last ENTROPY but John took a disk of what I had completed for the next APA, out in a few days. We crashed early again, and next morning Sandy went to work and John and Perdita left for a side trip to Niagra Falls.

We agreed to have another Meshkon Columbus Day weekend. John enjoys the Sandwich Fair that weekend and Bruce & Flo agreed that the fall foilage would be a good time to visit again. John & Perdita stay in their camper van, and we have sleeping space for 7 or 8 guests, so maybe we will have more next time. We will again have a party, probably Sunday afternoon, and hope to have more local people drop by.


~05-02-98 00:43:30
From: [email protected]

Hi, Ed -

I just happened on the issue of "The View from Entropy Hall" from last year (though apparently just put up on the web a few weeks ago) in which you discuss Tolkien fandom. Boy that brought back memories--I had forgotten totally about Fly Hall! Yes, I was there -- I think that's where I delivered a paper on how Tolkien had borrowed the linguistic processes of lenition and nasalization from Old Irish for one of the Elvish languages. But what I remember best about it is Marion Zimmer Bradley singing "Troll Sat Alone" to the tune of "The fox went out on the town one night," and how well it worked.

Are you in touch with Dick Plotz? He emailed me last year, after he saw a posting of mine in soc.genealogy.jewish. We haven't corresponded at length, but it was good to hear from him. His daughter started at Smith College last fall, just as my older son, Adam, was starting at Hampshire College, right across the river. As it says somewhere in The Lord of the Rings, the story does keep going do. Best, Cory Panshin

~05-09-98 05:20:35
From: [email protected]
Subj: RE: EL AGAIN start of forwarded message -------
From: [email protected]
Date: Mon, 4 May 1998 14:12:11 EDT
To: [email protected], [email protected]
Subject: EK: Master El - Up date I heard from Master El himself today about noontime. He is currently at the VA Medical Center in Providence RI room 569 Phone # 401-273-7100 X- 2818 He will be there for another several weeks. He would certainly appreciate cards, notes, etc..I would use the phone# sparingly as he is in a ward with several other guys. He is being treated for an infection to the incision from his by-pass surgery. He seemed a little exasperated at the logistics of administration, which I took as a GOOD sign, and other wise sounded fairly well if a bit lonely. Countess Elspeth, Baroness Bridge...etc ~05-14-98 11:30:53 From: [email protected] Subj: LOST STORY? Just received the most recent APA-Q and in your qontribution saw Dick Plotz's inquiry about a lost story. I bet the one he is thinking of is Phil Dick's "Time Out of Joint". In it a 1950s town (contemporaneous to the writing of the novel) turns out to be a 1990s (oh, so far in the future!) refuge for a genius whose talent for predicting missile strikes are crucial to a war effort. He has cracked under the pressure, developed amnesia and the government constructs a comforting "alternate reality" for him where he earns a living solving a daily newspaper contest for prize money. The contest is, of course, actually the pattern of incoming missiles. As the story progresses the illusion breaks down and he comes to realize the true situation. This is one of my favorite PKD novels and explores yet another variation on his theme of "what is reality". The famous scene is the one where the protagonist visits a field where a carnival had been the previous day and, upon arriving at a drink stand, watches it fade away, leaving a piece of paper lying on the ground. The paper reads "drink stand". The sudden realization that all is not what it seems is classic PKD.

Dick Plotz may be thinking of something totally different, but this novel certainly sounds right.

I enjoy your qontributions to "Q", and hope they continue. John Malay

~06-03-98 21:02:03
From: [email protected]

I thought I should let you know that I found the story I asked you about. Someone suggested that I post it to one of the newsgroups. I picked the wrong one, but I got three responses anyway and one of them suggested "The Other Side," by Walter Kubilius, which turns out to be the right story. I found four anthologies in the Contento index that contain it, and the most recent, _Those Amazing Electronic Thinking Machines_, was available within the local library network. It's still just as good as I remembered. Funny, though, I can't recall ever seeing the name Kubilius before, though of course I must have. Wonder where I saw it first. It certainly was long before this anthology came out. Regards, Dick

~DAVID PALTER (who will be moveing in Aug),

Dear Ed, There are many subjects in your APAzine which could easily inspire me to comment but I will only comment on a few.

It is not entirely true as you claim in the last page of issue #22 that L. Ron Hubbard, after devoting many years to Dianetics and Scientology, returned to his roots and wrote more genre fiction. That certainly appears to be the case, at first glance, but when you know L. Ron Hubbard and his work as well as I do, a different picture emerges. When LRH wrote more SF in the '80s he was not returning to his roots, nor was he ceasing to devote himself to scientology. Quite the contrary. His later works of fiction, not only his entire output in the '80s, but even MASTERS OF SLEEP from '51, is in fact not an effort to further his literary career as a writer of fiction, but rather an effort to present some of his Scientological opinions in the form of SF. The attack on psychiatry which you comment on in your discussion of MASTERS OF SLEEP is pure Scientology. Scientology has accurately been described as a therapy cult and one of its main concerns is to discredit psychiatry and replace it as the accepted therapy or treatment for mental illness or mental problems of whatever kind. To make an easily understandable comparison, the SF of LRH of the years 1951 and later is no more intended to be an extension of his fictional career of the 1940s than the parables of Jesus Christ as recorded in the New Testiment are intended to establish a reputation for Jesus as a gifted writer of short stories. The purpose is religious, not literary. I also want to comment on MR MAGOO. The only review I have seen of this movie was on the Cisco & Ebert Show in which it was given an extremely bad review by both Cisco and Ebert on the grounds that it simply is not funny. I have not seen it except for some small excerpts, but I can easily believe that it is not funny. I do not, however, believe that it constitutes an attempt to ridicule or degrade blind or visually impaired persons in general. It is about one specific person, Mr. Magoo, who is nearly blind and who behaves rediculously and thus is an object of humor. As you have commented to me and as is undoubtedly the case, blind people are like sighted people except for being blind. The full range of human attributes, whether good or bad, are to be found among the blind just as they are found among the sighted. Thus sighted people can behave in a humourously foolish fashion, and so can the blind. Of course, any blind person who behaved as recklesly as Mr. Magoo would suffer a fatal mishap within a single day without fail. But comedies are not intended to be realistic or believable. Exaggeration and improbability are legitimate tools of comedy. Now if we were to imagine a movie in which there are many blind characters and all of them are foolish and rediculous, I would then have no difficulty concluding that the movie is attempting to foster misunderstanding and hostility towards the blind in general. Just as in a movie in which all male characters are evil and loathsome and all female characters are virtueous, the intent would be to denegrate the male gender, which incidentally I have often seen in feminist SF novels, but in a movie in which some male characters behave badly and others behave well, no such conclusion is drawn. I personally am very concerned about homophobia and the treatment of gay characters in movies or other media, but I still accept that some gay characters can be villains, some can be foolish, etc., as long as I can see that these are the attributes of certain characters only and not intended to be a statement about the entire gay population. On the whole I would rather see sympathetic treatment of gay characters, blind characters, jewish characters, and any character belonging to an identifyable minority group which has public image problems. However that is not the only valid or politically acceptable type of characterization, as long as one avoids actual hate mongering.

Some questions arise in your fanzine about a comic book character named DAREDEVIL. I recall reading one of these comic books some time in the sixties. Daredevil is a blind vigilante crime fighter much in the tradition of Batman. He is apparently able to dispense with the sense of sight because his other senses are so acute, and oweing to his tremendous athletic abilities is able to voercome sighted criminals. Although this is, in a sense, a very positive statement about the blind, in effect a statement that blindness is is no limit on what a person can do. Daredevil is no more realistic than Mr. Magoo, and like Mr. Magoo Daredevil would be dead in very short order were to exist in the real world. Of course one does not expect realism in comic books and Daredevil is a lot more believable than Superman. The whole comic book genre is virtually an extended exercise in implausibility. [We did not think Disney Inc. was malicious but merely unthinking. Perhaps the Magoo concept would not have been so damageing if there were other blind characters who WERE normal. Blind and nearsighted children were taunted as "magoos" by other kids, and the cartoons left a subconscious feeling in the general population that all blind people were incompetant fools, unsafe in the workplace or home. ERM]


John was here, among others, over Decoration Day weekend shortly before the APA deadline. I only had written a small part of my comments on #420 and told John I can either miss #421 or give him the disk as far as it was done for him to run off. He chose to take the disk so now I finish my comments on #420.

~BLAnCmANGE (Mark Blackman). Thank you for clarifying names and dates I cited from the radio broadcast on alternate history. I will enter these corrections in the on-line version of ENTROPY #22 at the same time as Brian posts thish. In 421 I was interested to learn that various comic superheroes and associates had faces based on real people, entertainers and politicians (is there a difference?).

~COMMENTS ON APA-Q (Robert E. Sacks). Back in Q420 you corrected me about the use of "the umptieth year of the Independence of the United States." I have had to sit through the readings of a number of proclamations honoring the NFB during NFB conventions and noted that virtually all had something to that effect in addition to the conventional date, but I paid little attention and probably forgot the wording. I had been bothered by the expression "in the umpteenth year"and wondered just how they figured it. I never was given an explanation by a knowledgeable person and finally decided they were working from July to July. I only heard this at NFB national conventions, usually a day or two after the Fourth, at NH state conventions in late Sept to late October, and in connection with our fiftieth anniversary in November, 1990, so all happened in the second half of the year and I heard nothing to disabuse me of my interpretation. So you say that ALL of 1998, from January to December, is considered to be the 223rd year of The Independence of the United States." Still, I vaguely remember some of these proclamations saying "Republic"--a variant usage or bad memory?

~DAGON (John Boardman). In Q420 after criticizing Cardinal O'Connor over his silly pissyfit over the Good Friday ball game you went on to blast his criticism of President Clinton for takeing communion at a Catholic mass in South Africa. Catholics, like Church of England, the Orthodox, Lutherins, and some small scismatic churches like the Old Catholics and Polish Catholics, believe in the "real presence" of Yeshua in the elements of communion, while virtually all other protestant faiths, including Clinton's Baptist church, believe it is a purely symbolic act intended to commemorate, but not re-enact, the Last Supper. It is because of this divergence that inter-communion is generally discouraged. Before ecumenism it was totally forbidden with ALL non- Catholic churches though now it is often permitted in ecunical services and on special occassions, like a mixed faith wedding. With pressing reason it is even rarely permitted with non-believers like most Protestants though then it is hard to justify considering the divergence in belief as to what is happening. It was obviously done with permission in Clinton's case so the Cardinal was out of turn to come down on it, but not to question the appropriateness of the practice in general. [] I was one of those taken in by the hoax 99 Lunacon flyer. I have a bad memory for names and while I vaguely recognized the name "Stu Hellinger" listed as fan GoH I had forgotten that he is held in low regard by many. What ARE the real dates and GoH's for Lunacon 99? [] Loved your comment to the effect that the new women's hocky league should draft Tanya Harding because she skates and hits people with sticks. [] I am croggled that Disney is adding a "wine country" area to Anaheim Disneyland. I remember reading when Disneyland first opened in the 1950s that if he were to let in a beer franchise the fees would have covered all the construction costs, but he nixed the idea because "alcahol and kids don't mix." I think he was afraid of the drunks who get nasty when they had a few too many and the bad scenes which would spoil it for others. Now that "Uncle Walt" himself is gone I guess the corporate types running the place don't care. [] In your comments to me in Q421 you speculated that the Culver elevated line in Brooklyn once had part of its route on a since-renamed "Culver Street." No, it was originally a surface trolly line which started around 20 St. and went to Coney Island along the street since renamed McDonald Ave. However the street was NOT Culver Street. The trolly line got its name from the founder of the line. The elevated line was built many years later and connected to the 5th Ave. Elevated in Brooklyn and eventually crossed the Brooklyn Bridge. Recently Moshe Feder emailed me a detailed history of the line which I read with great interest but did not save. The trolly line was later used by the South Brooklyn Railroad as a freight line and was finally abandoned in 1980. [] Enjoyed the Hyborian pastiche. I know a number of professional writers and somehow never marvel at their talent. But when someone like you, not a professional author, writes a good story like this it amazes me. I know I could never write a story of any kind, good or bad. I only know the Conan saga by general reputation and have only read a few short pastiches by other authors. From fan and critical writings I do know the general outline of the Conan story. Is Zea, Conan's daughter, a creation of Howard, one of the many other tellers of Conan tales, or your friend who never completed the novel. If this tale were to continue in traditional fashion she would be pregnant after this one-night stand and eventually bear Gerlac's heir leaving his line unbroken. I am not familiar with the word Paganel, but from context of the nurse asking about a possible "heir t' Paganel" I gather Zea could not have become pregnant. My reader had a lot of trouble with the names and dialogue in the last few paragraphs so that has added to my confusion about the end of the story. [] In describing your trip to NH you speculated that we lived here because of Sandy's family connections. I originally came here in January 1966 to take a teaching job at Belknap College and bought this house in July 1967. After the college closed in June 1974 I looked for work all over the country and would have moved if I found a job at that time . A few years later the mortgage on the house was completely paid off and in my village real estate taxes are very low, so after I gave up hunting for a job I was pretty well locked in here. (Even today I pay $700/year in real estate taxes which I gather is low compared to most other parts of the country, even other towns in NH. My house has seven rooms plus garage and is on almost 2 acres of land. As I said before, while my mail and phone come through Center Harbor I pay my taxes in Moultonboro. This town has LOTS of lake shore property which is taxed VERY heavily, so while we have very little industry (I do know of two small factories, one making steel medical instruments and one making quilting supplies, and one publisher of teachers' record books, my taxes are quite low.) I paid 15K for the house, added 3 rooms to it, and probably could get 100K for it today. If I were to move, I probably could not get a replacement house for anywhere near that price and would have to get back into a mortgage situation. That is what kept me here before Sandy and I were married nine years ago. In the fall of 93 the clinical lab in which she worked went belly up and the nearest work she could find was 50 miles away, too far for a comfortable commute and she was agitating for a move. I was reluctant for the above reasons plus the thought of sorting and packing all the stuff I have accumulated, but suggested that if we HAD to move perhaps it could be to the San Francisco Bay Area where I had been most happy. She was reluctant to go that far away from her relatives, especially her 80+ year old father who was in failing health. (He did pass away Fall of '97.) Also she reminded me that the California fandom of the '60s which I so enjoyed no longer existed, as I had seen when I visited during Confrancisco. She wanted to move to Concord where work was available and I would have access to a local bus system, and better access to intercity busses to Boston and beyond (here in Moultonboro there is one bus a day). We were dithering when the state drug lab where she worked moved from the mental hospital campus in Concord to the state prison annex in Laconia, only 15 miles away, and we are now pretty much settled. Now she is talking about looking for a warm-climate winter home for after she retires. Maybe Arizona where I would be close to friends Anne Braude and Hilde (M.R.) Hildebrand & her husband Bruce D. Arthurs). But that decision is several years off. [] Some of the agitation against bilingual education is due to its failures, children leaving after 12 years who STILL cannot communicate in English. The fanatics ignore the fact that much education, especially in poor neighborhoods which get poorer schools and teachers, also fails in its mission. In the lettercolumn of Morning Edition on N.P.R. an extremely articulate graduate of bilingual education pleaded for its continuation. Next week another letterwriter did not get the point at all and said that someone who used English as well as she did certainly did not need bilingual education. How, pray tell, did she BECOME articulate in English if not through bilingual ed?

~QUANT SUFF (John mALAY). In Q 421 you praised the HBO Apollo mini-series. Does HBO later sell original movies to other channels? Or perhaps someone has videotaped the series? Would love to hear cassettes of the sound track would be enough.

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