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 #35

THE VIEW FROM ENTROPY HALL #35, 22 January, 2005, for APA-Q #498, from Ed Meskys, RR #2 Box 63, 322 Whittier Hwy, Center Harbor NH 03226-9708, [email protected] Back issues at and website. Corrections made after APA distribution in braces. I guess this could also be called NIEKAS #46.7. To help you move around in the email edition, I mark new subjects with ">," authors of letters with "," fanzines commented on with "~." My thanks to Sandy for cleaning up and formatting the last few ish.

>INTERESTING QUOTE In the Trufen listserv Michael J. "Orange Mike" Lowrey signed off with the following quote, which I find excellent. "Geology shows that fossils are of different ages. Paleontology shows a fossil sequence, the list of species represented changes through time. Taxonomy shows biological relationships among species. Evolution is the explanation that threads it all together. Creationism is the practice of squeezing one's eyes shut and wailing 'does not!'" -- author unknown

>MORE ON SILVERLOCK Last issue I mentioned that NESFA Press ( or P O Box 809, Framingham MA 01701) has reissued {Silverlock} in a new hardcover edition, including excerpts from SILVERLOCK COMPANION. I have now received my copy and it runs 510 pages and costs $26. Here is its actual table of contents:

A Book Like No Other by Karen Anderson

A Word of Praise by Poul Anderson
An Appreciation of the Commonwealth by Jerry Pournelle
Silverlock's Progress? By Larry Niven
Silverlock by John Myers Myers (including A Map of the Commonwealth)
Three Draughts from Hippocreme by Darrell Schweitzer
A Reader's Guide to the Commonwealth by Fred Lerner & Anne Braude
Readers Guide Sources by Fred Lerner & Anne Braude
A Silverlock Library by Fred Lerner
A John Myers Myers Checklist by Fred Lerner
The Inside Scoop on John Myers Myers by Himself
John Myers Myers, the Last Goliard by Celia Myers
John Myers Myers, the Man Behind Silverlock by Fred Lerner
The Maker's Muse by John Myers Myers

The Songs of Silverlock by Karen Anderson Notes on the Text Acknowledgements

The original edition was published by Dutton in 1949. Enthusiasts' ravings and intros by Anderson, Pournelle, and Niven got it reissued by Ace on two occasions many years later. Standards of acceptable language had changed in the meantime and obsolete slang words were replaced in the Ace edition. Most of the original words were restored in this edition, but the editors listed the variant words and their reasons for making their choices.

>BLIND PILOTS One of the speakers at the 2004 National Federation of the Blind convention explained how he piloted across the English Channel and how he set an altitude record for ultralight aircraft. He had a sighted co-pilot for emergencies, but did all the flying from take-off thru navigation to landing himself. He is planning to fly from England to Sydney, Australia It is 12,500 miles and will take at least 35 days. The ultralight has a range of 300 miles and he will hop across Europe near the Mediterranean, across southern Asia, and from island to island in SE Asia and Indonesia. Unfortunately there is no stopping place between East Timor and Darwin, a distance of 450 miles. He will carry extra fuel containers, but he will also carry a lawyer's briefcase. That way, if he crashes the sharks will leave him alone out of professional courtesy. He cracked many other jokes.

Rumors of this talk among those who did not make the convention drew questions and incredulous remarks on the NFB listserv. This is one response: No, it is not a joke. he recently set a new altitude record for ultra light aircraft and flew across the English Channel in one. He plans to fly from England to Australia later this year. He demonstrated his talking instrumentation, that he uses, that helps him fly. His micro wave altimeter is accurate to four inches and he uses GPS and radio for communications and navigation. You do not need a pilot's license to fly an ultra light aircraft. There are lots of blind people who like flying and do it with the aid of other pilots. I have been legally blind since age 16 and have about 280 hours logged at the controls of various light aircraft. I have done both take offs and landings too. There is not much that is beyond our capacity given the right conditions, equipment, and opportunity. David Evans, NFBF Nuclear/Aerospace Materials Engineer Builder of the Lunar Rovers

Note: the text of the very humorous talk can be found in the December, 2004, BRAILLE MONITOR, available at


Back in 1976, when est was just becoming popular, there was a book entitled *est: Playing the Game the New Way*, by Carl Frederick. He was sued by the organization for using their name, and I believe the book was taken off the market, but I bought and read it before that. It was a book about manipulative behavior in the good sense. (That may be where I first encountered the idea that when reason fails, the only approaches are manipulation and force.)

>ANOTHER QUOTE FROM NICE DISTINCTIONS: Lincoln fought to maintain central control, but his spiritual descendants insist he was opposing slavery. The Confederacy fought to maintain slavery, but their spiritual descendants insist they were opposing central control.

>END TIME FICTION "LeHaye and Jenkins marketed and sold well because they were first to do this genre . . ."

Not so! As Carl E. Olson observes:

Secondly, LaHaye's bio states that he "conceived the idea of fictionalizing an account of the Rapture and the Tribulation," and in an interview with Pentecostal Evangel magazine he claimed that "Left Behind is the first fictional portrayal of events that are true to the literal interpretation of Bible prophecy." If by that he means novels that are based on dispensationalist beliefs, he is incorrect. End-time novels in the dispensationalist mold actually date back to the 1920s and 30s to books such as In the Twinkling of an Eye and The Mark of the Beast by Sydney Watson; others followed in subsequent decades.

More to the point is Salem Kirban's "Rapture novel" 666, published in 1970. The plot and characters are remarkably similar to those found in LaHaye's "original" "Left Behind" novel. Kirban's novel opens as a non-believing reporter experiences the Rapture (as an observer, not participant) while on an airplane flight. Upon returning home he finds that his Christian wife is (of course) missing; he reads her Bible, stumbles upon 1 Corinthians 15:52-53, and comes to believe in Jesus Christ. Soon he discovers that the Antichrist is a rogue Catholic leader. After managing to infiltrate the Antichrist's inner circle, he witnesses the forces of Russia and China descending upon Israel, only to see them destroyed by the returning Christ at the Battle of Armageddon. The publisher of Kirban's novel was Tyndale House, LaHaye and Jenkins's publishing house.

The reason LaHaye and Jenkins did well, I think, is because LaHaye cashed in on a post-Peretti trend whereby nearly every evangelical leader wrote a novel of some sort (IIRC, Chuck Colson, Pat Robertson, Larry Burkett and Bob Larson all "wrote" novels in the early- to mid-'90s), and where those other authors wrote mere political thrillers and murder mysteries etc., LaHaye went explicitly supernatural and wrote a fantasy that encompassed elements of the thriller and the mystery, etc.

BTW, for more on the end-times novels of the 1910s etc., see here:

--- Peter T. Chattaway


\Magic Carpet Books, a YA division of Harcourt, re-issued the three volumes of Jane Yolen's Young Merlin Trilogy under that title. The original books were {Passager} 1996), {Hobby} (1996), and {Merlin} (1997), and they are combined as {Young Merlin Trilogy}, trade paperback, 259pp., $6.95

They have also issued a special 50th anniversary edition of Edward Eager's {Half Magic} and a 20th anniversary edition of Diane Duane's {So You Want to Be a Wizard}, which includes a short story about Kit and Nita. I have read these but am out of time. I will review them in the next ENTROPY. But these are wonderful books, so go read them now.

>ARTIFICIAL VISION PIONEER DIES Here are excerpts from an obit which was circulated on the NFB-Talk listserv. I do not know where it was first published.

Dr. William Dobelle, Artificial Vision Pioneer, Dies at 62 By DAVID TULLER

Dr. William Dobelle, who developed an experimental system of artificial vision for the blind that involved the transmission of electrical signals to electrodes implanted in the brain, died on Oct. 5 at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center in Manhattan. He was 62. The cause was diabetes-related complications, according to a spokeswoman for Avery Laboratories, the company based in Commack, N.Y., that Dr. Dobelle acquired in 1983. Dr. Dobelle led one of several teams of scientists around the world seeking to develop technology for artificial vision. He received widespread publicity four years ago after his system restored limited navigational abilities to a volunteer who was blind. The system, which remains experimental, uses a tiny camera mounted in glasses worn by the blind person. The camera images are relayed to a portable computer and transmitted to surgically implanted electrodes attached to the brain's visual cortex. Dr. Eli Friedman, a nephrologist and professor at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn and a longtime friend of Dr. Dobelle, said in an e-mail message, "He tenaciously held on to the concept that an external sensor creating a digital image could convey a signal to the brain that would be interpreted as usable sight."

Dr. Dobelle was born in Pittsfield, Mass., and showed an early talent for invention. He applied for his first patent at 13 for artificial hip improvements that he developed with his father, Martin, an orthopedic surgeon. He entered Vanderbilt University at 14 and, in 1956, he built an X-ray machine. In an interview with Wired magazine two years ago, Dr. Dobelle recalled his early attraction to the field that became his life's work. "I've always done artificial organs," he said. "I've spent my whole life in the spare-parts business. I just inherited it from my father. By age 8, I was doing real research." He completed his undergraduate education at Johns Hopkins University, where he also earned a master's in biophysics. Later, he received his Ph.D. in physiology from the University of Utah and was director of the division of artificial organs at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. Dr. Dobelle conducted much of the work on his artificial vision system in Europe at the Dobelle Institute, a center he founded in the 1980's that is now based in Lisbon.

Many years ago John Boardman taped for me a talk Dr. Dobelle had given at Brooklyn College, and soon after that John and I attended a talk he gave at the NY Lighthouse For the Blind. John sent me an obituary different from the one above.

The system would only be tested on persons who had grown up sighted, so they could relate stimulation of the visual cortex with visual memory. A ten by ten array of electrodes was placed against each side of the visual cortex for a total raster of 200 dots. The electrodes were stimulated one at a time and the user pointed at the apparent direction of the light spot. A computer program assigned pixels in a TV camera to the appropriate electrode.

I read in print an article about this doctor (an obit?) and was quite annoyed when he was quoted as being amazed at how a totally blind person with his prostheses could get around, despite the limited resolution. The implication was that the doctor believed that a totally blind person was incapable of independent travel and totally hopeless without at least this tiny bit of artificial vision. .

I have read several pieces in various magazines over the last 30 years. The total raster of light spots is only 200 dots. In an early quote a researcher said this was not enough resolution to read regular print one letter at a time. The researcher (not necessarily the same one) as he who just died) thought that perhaps blind persons with this system could sight-read Braille faster than touch read it. Grump~!'

>LITHUANIAN BREAD When I visit New York I like to go to the White Eagle Polish market on 5 Ave. near 18 St. in Brooklyn and stock up on three breads from the Lithuanian Bakery in Elizabeth, NJ, a straight rye, a rye with a touch of molasses called "Boston Bread", and cheese babka. I just got the following letter, so it looks like I will no longer do so. There is another Lithuanian bakery, Silver Bell, in Brooklyn and their Lithuanian rye bread is as good as that of Lithuanian Bakery, but they do not have "Boston Bread" or cheese Babka.

Marvin Korman had an article in JBOI BOICE, a tape magazine, in which he offered to email anyone interested a recipe for a hearty multi-grain "health bread" which he had modified from a recipe used in his father's bakery. I baked this bread but substituted fennel seed for the "coarse groats" which I did not have in the house. Here is his reply:

Dear Ed:

I am glad that the Health Bread worked out for you. The fennel seeds seems like a bit of a stretch but why not?

The title of my book that I will be recording for JBI is {In My Father's Bakery: a Bronx Memoir}. Incidentally, your mention of the "Lithuanian Bakery" in Elizabeth NJ rang a bell. Last month I was invited to speak at the Atlantic Bakery Expo 2004 in Atlantic City. Among the people I met there was the owner of the "Lithuanian Bakery." He told me that the bakery which was founded by his father, no longer sold breads in Greenwich Village (where I live) or in Brooklyn where they used to deliver breads to many stores and restaurants. Now he concentrates on various NJ outlets. So, if you ever get out to Elizabeth, you can find him still there. Anyway, good luck in your quest for good Lithuanian bread. It's the best. Marvin Korman

>GREG SHAW from Ansible: _Greg Shaw_ (1949-2004), US fanzine fan and con-goer who achieved fame as a rock music entrepreneur, died on 19 October; he was 55. His extensive experience in fan publishing, including the early-60s Tolkien fanzine _ENTMOOT_, spawned music zines like his long-running _Who Put the Bomp_.

I remember Greg from Barea fandom in 1964. He started ENTMOOT about the same time as I decided to give NIEKAS a Tolkien emphasis, starting with #9. I am sorry that I had lost touch with him.

>FANZINE LISTING At one time FACT SHEET FIVE listed every small press item they could find, whether it be a SF fanzine, a political diatribe, or for collectors of left handed widgets. Now Photon Press is listing publications with a literary interest, which would include sercon fanzines like NIEKAS, but I doubt it would include faanish ones like ENTROPY. Anyhow, here is a communication I just received from them. Write them if you are interested.

Dear Editor,

Please excuse this form letter.

Printed below is the entry I have for your magazine for Light's List 2005.

There is of course no charge.

I hope I have the details right and would be grateful if you would let me know of any mistake.

The numbers in parentheses in your entry are: (year checked - so 2004 is 4, price of a single or sample issue in your own country's currency, number of issues per year - "i" means irregular, number of pages in recent or typical issue). If there are blanks and you are willing to include missing information I should be pleased. I have included either an e-mail address or web site but not both - if you wish to change one to the other please let me know.

In case you have not seen Light's List a brief description of it is also given below.

Yours truly, John Light

Your entry:-

Niekas Science Fiction And Fantasy (3,$4.95,i,64) SF, F articles, poems, reviews RR 2, Box 63, 322 Whittier Highway, Center Harbour, NH 03226-9708, USA <[email protected]>

Light's List 2005 is due end of January 2005. If you are able to mention it that would be much appreciated. The details are as follows:-

Light's List of Literary Magazines 2005

Contains the names, addresses, price, frequency, page count and a brief note of interests (e.g. "Traditional: poems to 30 lines, fiction to 2500 words, reviews, artwork") of over 1400 UK, US, Canadian, Australasian, European, African and Asian small press magazines publishing creative writing and artwork in English.

(70 plus pages, perfect bound). 20th annual edition ISBN 1 897968 32 9

UK: £4 including 2nd class post; Overseas airmail: £5 / US$10 / equivalent in other currencies

Photon Press, 37 The Meadows, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, TD15 1NY, British Isles.

e-mail: [email protected] website:

[Does the British word "twee" meaning terminally cute somehow come from the name of this river?-ERM]

>ENTROPY LOX Addresses and Eddresses will be published only with specific authorization.

|MARK L. BLACKMAN [excerpted from BLANCMANGE 404] Re Haldeman's "How many children died of starvation on Sept. 11?", it's to be expected that the US is more concerned with a terror attack at home than about people elsewhere. What's more notable is its selective obsessions abroad - Kosovo but not Rwanda, the Middle East but not war between India & Pakistan, etc. []re David Palter comment> On Sept. 11th, as on Dec. 7th, war was declared on the US; however, only in the former case was it by a sovereign nation; it has been shown to be impossible to retaliate against nomadic terrorists. []re George C. Willick comment> Btw, the US Army did just that--bury Muslim rebels' ashes with pigs--during the Philippine Insurrection. []Re colonial powers deliberately setting borders in Africa to create ethnic strife, interesting. Yet Britain twice partitioned Palestine to separate Jews & Arabs, and Pakistan was split off India to divide Muslims & Hindus. [I had the impression that Pakistan split away from India in a civil war, and not by British mandate. ERM] []But for the "Palestinians", "suicide" (genocide) bombers are not a last, desperate ploy, but merely one more weapon along with rockets and insincere peace negotiations. This is not 1945 - there's global media to play to. Arab media calls them heroic "martyrs" and some in the West-ERM press excuse, even glorify them. (60 Minutes II actually equated one & the Israeli whom she murdered - "both girls died". That's melodrama, not news.) I suspect that Dr. Johnson wasn't reporting Arabs' belief in false history, but advocating it as correct. Jews have been in Eretz Israel for 3,000 years (despite genocide & exile); Arabs invaded ca. 700 CE; Transjordanians poured in in the '20s (my great-grandfather was already there) because the Mandate had a higher standard of living; and the nationality "Palestinian" was fabricated in 1964 (and referred only to Arabs in pre-'67 Israel and not to those in [Egyptian-occupied] Gaza or the [Jordanian-occupied] West Bank). To call Israel a Western colony is absurd - whose? Britain's? They opposed immigration & independence; they're whom the Haganah was fighting! The US's? The State Dept. opposed recognizing Israel. (The Arabs had oil, the Zionists were socialists.) It's true that most Arabs totally oppose Israel's existence--Israel's obliteration is still in the PLO Charter and even with Egypt & Jordan it's "cold peace"; compromise is not in their mindset. Did Johnson mention that Osaka is Wahhabi and that nearly all of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi? (The Lang article was noted in The Jerusalem Report.) []

I've never been to the National Parks out West, but my sister had. Would you be able to appreciate them? [Not fully, but I appreciate the descriptions I get and I keep Sandy company. Also I get into good conversations with the guides and re-creators/role-players.-ERM]

There was an article in the NY Times Science Section last month on dragons. A "dragon" skull in Austria was really a woolly rhino. Pterodactyls certainly look like winged dragons - part snake, part bird & part bat. An anthropologist suggests that dragons are a prehistoric composite of carnivores, pythons, big cats & raptors. Belief persisted in the West because both Pliny & the Bible said that dragons existed (unless they were wiped out in the Flood); but they were also in China, and the Aztecs had a plumed serpent.

Yes, ancient "historians" were paraphrasers, not stenographers. [] Tax to the Temple was half a shekel; it was therefore necessary for pilgrims to convert from other currencies (particularly offensive, idolatrous coins). Money-changers charged 8% or less. (Jesus should go after my credit card company, which charges 18%.)

re Mark Mandel comment> Hey, I made no claim, I merely repeated what Bujold said to George Laskowski in an interview in Lan's Lantern; even in her revisionist history, she concedes that it's "a vaguely ST-universe". The militaristic Barrayarans & the civilized Betans certainly resemble, respectively, the Klingons & Vulcans. (I'm reminded of how easily, working in the other direction, Niven was able to adapt "The Soft Weapon" to Trek, with Spock in the puppeteer's role![Is this in the animated Trek story, "The Slaver Weapon"?]) I applaud her for going beyond the Trek universe to create her own, original one. (Always remember please to call it homage or inspiration.)

The "continental con" is technically NASFiC, but as a regular thing and apart from WSFS, the notion was Robert Sacks'. [] The Floating Worldcon Committee certainly saved Nolacon. Dragon*Con is competition to Worldcon, drawing away not only attendees, but writers, artists & editors. Some similarly complain that Lunacon isn't more like media cons (and is more expensive).

John Boardman wrote: "Wooden shoes [are] not exclusively Dutch. For centuries they were worn by peasants in all regions of Europe that produced enough wood, and in the public mind were symbols of extreme poverty caused by brutal oppression." He never said how they came to be thought of solely (get it?) as Dutch. "Mary-Jane slippers"? Well, Sherlock Holmes kept tobacco in his.

Wag the Dog was made before the Lewinsky scandal broke and just lucked out. . [] Re "Meskys:"' origin, noted, thank you; Russian for "bear" is "medved". ("Maske" would be an interesting name.) [Until I had it legally changed in 1958 my last name was "Maske" which my parents pronounced "mask-key." Since I entered fandom in 1955 I was on some lists and fanzines under the old name. As I have said elsewhere, a Russian speaking member of my Lions Club born in Iran said that "mishka" is the Russian equivalent of "teddybear." Also Alexai Kondratiev had said it is a children's word for bear. My father' s Tsarist Russian passport gave his name as the Kyrillic equivalent of "meshko," which immigration changed to "Maske." A few years ago I learned that he had a cousin in Brooklyn who shared the name Maske, but I do not remember his first name or anything else about him.--ERM] Jewish names similarly underwent informal changes, particularly when the Tsar's press gangs arrived. [] I thought that pooh is what bears do in the woods. I read Winnie the Pooh as a kid, but it didn't grab me. In college I read The Pooh Perplex, a parody of lit-crit.

Christmas was primarily a holy day, only gradually a festive celebration. "The Night Before Christmas" was published and Christmas cards were being exchanged (in England & the US) before Dickens' story. [] No, Clam Chowder began as 2 friends playing at Maryland Renaissance Festivals; they don't explain the name. [Sandy always believed that they accidentally met in a Boston bar and found that they sang well together. ERM]

The question of where the energy (matter) to create new universes comes from was mine. Leaving String Theory aside, I've posited (for the purposes of fiction) that branched-off universes occasionally rejoin, particularly universes that differed only in the most insignificant details (eg, whether you had soup or kielbasa for lunch), thus we have co-existing alternate versions of histories & legends (this "explains" the 2 creations in Genesis, the 4 contradictory Gospels, multiple versions of the Arthurian lore, and other "some say..."s). And maybe improbable histories fizzle out because they can't be sustained (eg, if Coolidge could leap tall buildings in a single bound, if Arafat were a pacifist).

"Slash" exists for Chakotay/Paris & Janeway/7 of 9 of Trek: Voyager, for Starsky/Hutch, for West/Gordon of The Wild Wild West, for the 2 guys on The Sentinel; there's even Harry Potter "slash" (well, it is an English boarding school)!

|NED BROOKS Hi Ed - Thanks for the zine. I get about 200 e-mails a day and half of it is spam. I have virus and firewall protection, but I don't trust filters. I mark and purge most of the spam from the title/sender list. Sounds like your ISP is filtering your e-mail - the question is, are they filtering out stuff you would want to get?

Not surprising the haptic interface can't actually present a sharp edge - that would require resolution of a thousandth of an inch!

I don't remember any Little People in fiction before Swift's 1726 {GULLIVERS TRAVELS} - I haven't read a lot of fiction older than that! Cruickshank's "Brownies" were very popular in the mid-1800s. But I suspect the idea of Little People is very old - there are prehistoric figurines after all. Best, Ned

|JIM CAUGHRAN Sounds like you started using a spam filter. Does someone help you set up the computer? [Both my wife, Sandy, and a friend, Brian Thurston, help me with computer settings, but neither has set up a spam filter. I am beginning to think it is a service of my ISP.-ERM]

Too bad Clark was too late to stop Kerry. Kerry, whatever else, is DULL. I think that enough people are upset at Bush to get him out, but he will use the full resources of the Presidency to hang on. Last poll I saw continued the division as you said.

The Shepard subway [in Toronto] is pretty conventional, really. Trains are probably 4 cars instead of the 6 on the other subways. I was stuck without a token when I took it; there are no humans involved at the stations, so my ticket was useless. I think the main reason the Shepard subway hasn't been extended is cost; subways are expensive. (In my opinion, the Shepard subway should have been a light rail line about 2-3 kilometers north, on a swath cleared for electricity lines. It would have been vastly cheaper, but the merchants of Shepard would not have benefited.)

Sorry to hear of your series of financial hits. At least electronic fanac isn't terribly expensive.

The Rapture people [like the Jehovah's Witless] likewise ignore the Revelation of St John. It says, in fact, that 12,000 will be saved from each of the tribes of Israel. Therefore, goyim will not be taken.

Thanks for Entropy. I'd prefer it more frequent and shorter; it's too much to comment on fully. [Starting with the next ish I will try to do that.-ERM] Jim Caughran

|DELPHYNE JOAN HANKE-WOODS hello Ed... thanks for entropy 34... it is always fascinating, even if I do not respond... okay... a friend living in the St. Louis area, Carolyn whet, is deeply involved in excellent authentic recreations of past American culture of St. Louis and the plains... most recently she was part of the bicentennial Lewis and Clark exposition earlier this year... I shall inform her of your interest... she is quite busy so it may take some time for her to respond to your inquiry, but is a fascinating individual...

<[email protected]>

yes... i share your distaste for those Calvinist Puritanical hypocrites seeking freedom for themselves alone... it is only too characteristic of the wretchedly commonplace human religious expression seeking exclusive advantageous association with whichever supreme power is in vogue... practicing tolerance or seeking to understand truth or honor are apparently beyond comprehension... delphyne joan hanke-woods

|DAVE LANGFORD Dear Ed, Thanks for another =Entropy=.

Ruth Berman writes: "One of the chapters of Milne's {Winnie the Pooh} mentions that Pooh for a while "lived under the name of Winston P. Sanders" (Milne helpfully explains that living under the name of someone means that that is the name written up on a signboard over the door -- if I'm recalling correctly, a wind blew the signboard to Pooh, and it wasn't a name that Pooh chose deliberately as an expanded version of his own name.) Poul Anderson published a few stories under the name of Winston P. Sanders--I think for occasions when he was going to have two stories in single issues of "Analog."

OK about Poul Anderson -- "Winston P. Sanders" is very nearly an anagram of "P. Anderson's twin"! But Pooh merely lived under the name of Sanders; there's no "Winston P." in either Milne's text or E.H. Shepard's illustration. I don't recall any explanation of how the board got there. best: Dave

|FRED LERNER For rail transit information, try <>

|Eric Lindsay Hi Ed. Many thanks for Entropy 34.

SPAM. Many service providers now filter spam on your behalf.

TORCON. I thought the Toronto subway system was great several decades ago.

FEELIES. Force feedback mice and joysticks have been tried in computer games. I'm traveling and no longer have references. I note Apple Computer claim to be building support for alternate methods of access into their next operating system release.

DISASTERS. Sorry to hear of the various domestic money crisis with the bathroom, furnace and others. I hope your life is smoother now.

We are on the road at the moment, driving around Australia. Don't very often have internet access, because we are mostly in towns (hamlets?) that are so remote that there are no phones in the rooms. All the best to you and Sandy. Eric Lindsay fijagh at ericlindsay dot com

|MICHAEL J. LOWREY [To add to Ruth Berman's comments on the origins of modern Christmas celebrations,] Pick up the recent (1997) book {The Battle for Christmas: A Cultural History of America's Most Cherished Holiday} by Stephen Nissenbaum. What we think of as the "traditional" American Christmas, the jolly old Santa Claus, etc. was mostly invented! This was done in the early 19th Century by a coterie of respectable Protestant English-descended New Yorkers to replace the actual traditional Christmas customs derived from the Roman Saturnalia. In New York, these included lots of drunken wassailing, near-or full riots and "lord of misrule"-style customs which turned into institutionalized extortional "begging" from the upper classes, supposedly all in fun. (New York City's first professional police force was organized in 1828, apparently in response to the Christmas celebration riots.) Leaders in this bogus movement to domesticate Christmas included John Pintard and other worthies of the New-York Historical Society, including Washington Irving and the Rev. Clement Moore whose name has falsely been attached to "A Visit From St. Nicholas" for so many years now.

The Christmas tree was imported much later from Albert et al.; the cards likewise came later. Dickens was of little or no influence.

Here are a couple of URLs: Michael J. Lowrey, Editor-in-Chief Sunrise Book & Software Reviews

|LLOYD PENNEY 1706-24 Eva Rd. Etobicoke, ON CANADA M9C 2B2 June 23, 2004 Dear Ed: A downloaded copy of the View From Entropy Hall 33 is on my desktop, and with the help of Word 2000, here's a loc.

Diane Duane has been busy with her writing, and we don't get to see her and Peter Morwood nearly as much as we'd like to. We saw them last at the very end of Torcon 3. They've been hard to the writing grindstone, producing more novels and short stories.

I think I told you about a spoken word project some time ago, a horror CD called Fears For Ears. I've just gotten connected with a company in Toronto called, and they produce similar CDs. In about a week, we start rehearsals for a 12-part radio-style drama to be called Sectarian Wave. The project will go onto CDs, and with luck, may be sold to the CBC or possibly BBC. Check out the website, and you may find some things you like.

Yes, Canada has an annual national convention, called the CanVention. This year, it will be in Montreal at Boreal, the annual francophone convention in Quebec. There, the annual Aurora awards will be given out.

The Bujold controversy continues. It may have started with Lois McMaster and Lillian Stewart writing a Trek fanzine many years ago, and some of the themes in the zine being transferred to the Barrayans and Betans of the Vorkosigan books.

I have decided that when I reach 30 years in fandom, and I shall in 2007, I will ship my membership monies to the First Fandom group, and become a member. I think even with my partial withdrawal from the fannish circus, I' ll be here for the duration.

I hope that with people being at Torcon 3, they were able to see some of the city's streetcars. The big modern ones are called CLRV's (Clean Light Rail Vehicle, I think), but the TTC still runs some of the PCCs. They are often used for special occasions, and the TTC still has a few Peter Witts for rentals.

Kevin Standlee is quite right about Worldcons versus Dragoncons. One local fan went to Torcon only because it was in town. She's been to Dragoncons in the past, and will resume going to them this year. I like Worldcons because they are interactive. (We have decided, however, that Worldcons are just too expensive, so we won't be going to any more of them. We have our memberships for Boston.perhaps we'll consider selling them shortly.)

Winnie-the-Pooh.Winnie is short for Winnipeg, where the bear cub was bought.

Time to go.I've got to get myself ready for some training coming up. I will be a poll clerk this coming Monday, which is election day here. Should be quite interesting. Take care, and see you next issue.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

[and from a later letter]

July 26, 2004 Dear Ed: I have finally gotten around to getting to The View From Entropy Hall 34, and I hope I won't be repeating myself from my last letter to you. Let's see what I can type in phosphor.

If Canadians could vote for John Kerry or George W. Bush, Kerry would win in a landslide, American politics being far to the right of just about any other country. Kerry seems friendly to Canada, and he is bilingual French to the best of my knowledge, but a Kerry administration might become protectionist. No matter, the world seems to breathe a sigh of relief when a Democratic president is elected. I believe that the war in Iraq was a fictional event; Bush meant to avenge the humiliation of his father, and Dubya at least knew that the American economy would improve if it was on a war footing.

I'm glad you liked the streetcars in Toronto. They are one of the symbols of this city. Many of the tracks you might have found on the street are service routes to reroute streetcars or connect various routes in case of accidents. The short east-west line is the Sheppard Ave. subway. It's the newest line, and the most expensive; it cost close to a billion dollars to build, and its critics call it the subway to nowhere. Black Creek Pioneer Village is quite a distance away at Jane and Steeles Aves., Yvonne works on the other side of the nearby university.

I may have told you last time about a science fiction drama I am involved with. It is produced by a company in Toronto called, and the project is called Sectarian Wave. The intended product is a series of CDs, 12 25-minute episodes, with possible sales to radio or any service that provides audio programming. I went to the rehearsals, and got myself two roles, and final rehearsals and tapings start on August 3. The CDs should be ready in October.

Worldcon.employment has been a continuing problem for me (laid off again), so Yvonne and I have been forced to sell our Noreascon memberships, and to basically decide to not go to any more Worldcons. They are simply too expensive.

My loc as published here.I did see Diane and Peter at Torcon, but not until the last day of the convention. We did have a good time, but the horrible way the Torcon committee treated us forced us to retire from a 20-year career of running conventions in the Toronto area. We just don't have the desire any more.

Time to go, it's getting late. I will wind up and say my thanks.sometimes, it gets tough to sit down and write, and more and more, my letters are described as mediocre and dull. I wouldn't want to bore anyone here.and, I get far fewer fanzines in the mail than I used to, so I must wonder if I am falling off mailing lists at an accelerating rate. Oh, well, plug along I will, and keep writing, to satisfy myself if no one else. Take care, and see you next issue.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

|MARK PLUMMER You said: 'I could not send my latest ezine, Entropy 34, to you because it had "unsuitable language." I do not understand what was unsuitable, but you can read the latest [The View From] Entropy Hall on the eFanzines website or send me another eddress where it will not be blocked.'

Thanks for letting me know, and sorry for the trouble. This email address is the only one I have. It's a work account -- the hmce bit stands for her Majesty's Customs and Excise -- and I'm afraid that in common with all Departmental accounts it is subjected to 'inappropriate language filters' which spare the sensitive eyes of Customs officers from rude words.

Looking at the eFanzines version of Entropy Hall, I'd guess that the offending passage may be that which quotes Joe Haldeman as saying: 'You won't read that in your [word beginning with F] newspaper'. Obviously I can't repeat the word here, not because I'm prudish or think you are, but because if I do then *this* email will also fall foul of the filter nannies.

Still, for future reference I'm happy to read Entropy Hall via eFanzines, which I check most days anyway. And you are in good company, as Ansible is often swallowed by the self-same filters.

Regards, Mark

This e-mail represents the personal views of the sender and is not sent on behalf of HM Customs & Excise.

This email has been scanned by the MessageLabs Email Security System. For more information please visit

|LORRAINE ROVIG Hi, Ed, and surprise--On page 611, the page for "griot to gross" in "The American Heritage College Dictionary" 4th edition, Houghton Mifflin Company, (c) 2002, you may find the following: "grok (grok) tr.v. grok*ked, grok*king, groks. Slang. To understand profoundly through intuition or empathy. [Coined by Robert A. Heinlein (1907-88) in his Stranger in a Strange Land.]

Ed, the pronunciation guide shows the symbol for a short vowel sign over the o. Everything above is just as it is given in the dictionary, except that I cannot put into italics what the book did. Lorraine

|KEVIN STANDLEE One [recreation village]that I enjoyed, but that you are unlikely to be able to visit, I'm afraid, is in Calgary, Alberta. Calgary is hosting the 2005 Westercon (July 1-4, 2005) and I'm on the committee. I went up there for a committee meeting, and had time on the Sunday of the meeting weekend to go out to the Heritage Park <>, " Canada's Largest Living Historical Village." This was a lot of fun, and I think well worth adding a day before or after a trip to Calgary for Westercon in order to attend. Indeed, I was sorry I had to cut my stay short in order to get to the airport to fly back to California.

ALEX VON THORN wrote [that he had] "acquired tickets or transfers from five different modes of rail transportation that day: the local San Jose light-rail, the intercity train to San Francisco, the subway that got us closer to the city centre, the streetcar we took along the harbor, and of course the historic trolley car that went up and down the hills."

Grr! <transit geek mode on> The "historic trolley car" to which he refers was of course not a trolley, but a cable car. The "streetcar along the harbor" (the F-Market streetcar line running between Market & Castro Streets and Fisherman's Wharf via Market Street and the Embarcadero) was a trolley--it uses a trolley pole electrical pickup. Alex didn't actually have to collect all of those tickets or transfers in San Francisco (other than as souvenirs), as the "subway that got us closer to the city centre" (the N-Judah streetcar line from 4th & King Streets to downtown via King Street, Embarcadero, and the Market Street Subway), the surface streetcar to Fisherman's Wharf, and the Cable Cars are all part of the same transit agency (San Francisco Municipal Railway), and they do sell all-day passes good on all of the streetcars, cable cars, and buses.

You asked whether Chicago is bidding for '08 or 09? 2008. They just do not know where their election will be. There is a pending constitutional amendment that, if ratified at Noreascon 4, will shorten the Worldcon lead time from the current three years to two years. The 2008 Worldcon would then be selected in 2006, instead of 2005 as currently scheduled. (Members of the 2005 Worldcon would be given "grandfather" rights to vote in the 2008 Worldcon, although people who were members of both 2005 and 2006 could still vote only once in the 2008 election.) The proposal to shorten the lead time has the backing of nearly every person who has chaired a Worldcon with a three-year lead time, including me. We originally extended the lead time trying to compete with mundane groups for facilities. That did not work--the mundane groups are now running five or ore years ahead. While shortening the lead time may lose us a few more facilities, it means that those facilities still available will be very hungry for our business and thus more likely to give us a good deal. Three years is actually one year too many to organize a Worldcon. Experience has shown us that the extra year can't be used effectively, and it just wastes resources, burns out people, and drives up the cost of organizing the conventions. Shortening the lead time back to two years is about the right amount of time to actually do the job effectively.

You asked "Have any other bids surfaced for that year or against Aussie?" Well, there is the just announced "Civilized Worldcon Bid for 2008," The Geneva Convention <>. It's organizer, T R Smith, was "Bouchered" into doing this bid. I don't think she plans it to be a real bid, but stranger things have happened. None [against Aussie] of which I'm aware. Also, there are no bids for 2009 yet that I know about.

You said "I have never been to a NASFiC and do not like the idea but if Charlotte had taken '05 and Seattle went again for '07 Sandy [and I] might have considered going to that one." I will be at the Seattle NASFiC, of course, because I'm CascadiaCon's Fan Guest of Honor. While I understand the philosophical objection to a NASFiC, I've concluded that it's better that such an event be held under the nominal control of WSFS than not. If WSFS did not sanction a NASFiC, it seems almost certain that such an event would spring up all by itself, and it is likely that such an event would become much more of a rival for the Worldcon than the current event is. Personally, I would like to see an American National Science Fiction Convention (AmeriCon) that attached itself to some other US-based SF convention annually. When Worldcon is within the USA, it would also host the AmeriCon; when Worldcon is elsewhere, some other convention would host AmeriCon. (This is similar to how Torcon 3 was also the 2003 Canvention, and Interaction will also be the 2005 Eurocon.)

I have a very busy summer next year: Westercon 58 in Calgary on July 1-4, then Worldcon in Glasgow a month after that, then NASFiC in Seattle a month after that.

Best, Kevin Standlee

|TARAL WAYNE Spammers don't actually read mail, the way Dave suggests. They have little programs that infiltrate your system through the internet, that find your address book and send it back to the spammer. Another way they get it is by using software that searches the net for addresses with target words in them - like "fan" or "sf". So if you had an address like "Ed_sfan" they might get you just by that. And when you register software with some companies (that make games, or reference CD's) the company may sell their customer list to a spammer. Spammers also cruise Yahoo groups looking for suckers. But I don't think they often open mail and personally read addresses. The main danger of openly displaying addresses in your e-mail is that it will get stored on someone else's system, and becomes vulnerable to spammers who have access to it.

[Speaking of Lithuanians,] There's also a cartoon show made in Toronto called The Kids From Room 402, with a character named Polly who's Lithuanian. She's also pushy, maniacal, and obsessed to the point of insanity with the importance of her Lithuanian cultural identity. That and she collects spoons.

You said "Miniature people hiding from us big lunks have a long tradition in literature." I know of some you haven't heard of. They're called House Gamins, and maybe they're a little more like upright, talking mice. At any rate, they aren't quite human and more than animal. The reason you haven't heard of them is because I haven't written the novel "Wendy & the House Gamins" yet. Someday...

Anyway, I'm going to have to cut this short and read the rest of your 100,000 word e-mail later. Meanwhile, enjoy the pictures. Some are clever little models. Others real. The older photos are actually from my neighborhood, though I found them on the net. Then again, I'm not actually sure how much use these files are to you... sorry.

|WAHF: Laurraine Tutihasi

>COMMENTS ~BLANCMANGE 404 (APAQ 484) Mark L. Blackman. Interested to learn that Microsoft & Cisco built their only R&D facilities out-side the US in Israel, where Windows NT was developed. [] Sandy very much appreciated your procuring the haman-taschen for her and delivering it thru me at Lunacon. She acquired a taste for it while she "visited New York for ten years" and cannot get it here. [] According to both {A Path Through Genesis} by Rev. Vawter and Asimov's guide to the old testament the world view at the time the bible achieved its final form after the Babylonian exile was that the earth was flat with a dome ("the firmament") over it, and above the dome was water. Hence in Genesis the separation of the waters above the firmament from those under it, and in Noah's flood the floodgates in this dome were opened. In one of the psalms Yahveh's abode is pictured as a city sitting on top of this dome. [] In discussing Christopher Marlow's plays, I liked your comment "Someone who is a bigot against all religions is a bigot nonetheless. (Does Hitler killing non-German Gypsies mitigate his murder of Jews? Do we overlook the Klan hating blacks because they also hate Catholics & Jews?)" ~BLANCMANGE #405 (APAQ 485). You said "Re RFB, acto Ed, each disk contains 60 hours of readings, which sounds like a special CD. Why would they video (the "V" in "DVD" is for "video") the reader?" I just got all of the fifth Harry Potter book on one disk which looks exactly like a standard CD. It is recorded in "DAISY" format, which is currently used for new talking books in Canada and other countries. I have heard them loosely referred to as DVDs. I just heard that DVD now stands for "Digital Versatile Disk" instead of Video. Page numbers are encoded on the disk, and the user can place bookmarks. (S)he can jump to a bookmark or typed in page number. The next generation talking book will also contain a text file of the book so you can search for a specific word or phrase in the book. In the US, this format is used only by RFB&D, which specializes in recording text and reference works for students and teachers. I ordered the Harry Potter book in this format because I was recently gifted with the special player for them, which starts at about $175. The machine arrived anonymously and RFB&D can't tell me who ordered it for me. Meanwhile, the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Handicapped is working on what will be the next generation and is sticking to cassettes until it is ready, probably in 2008. This will involve putting books on "memory sticks," described as about the size of a stick of chewing gum. The player and memory stick will have no moving parts, leading to a much longer useful life. Eventually they hope to simply download the digital file to your machine thru a broadband connection, eliminating storing and mailing the memory sticks. [] I liked your "Commentator Dave Ross noted that the pro-NRA/anti-gun control Administration is seizing guns in Iraq. And Doonesbury had the head of the NRA (La Pierre) protesting to Congress that "freedom means the right to bear automatic weapons" in Iraq as in the US."

~BLANCMANGE 406 (APAQ 486). I note that this was your 29th anniversary issue. Since it was published August, 2003, you have now passed your 30th anniversary.

I commented on BLANCMANGE 407 last time.

~BLANCMANGE 408 (APAQ 488). Enjoyed your quote: as Doonesbury's Duke puts it, it's [the Confederate battle flag] "a symbol of losing. I mean, they lost the war! And who displays Confederate flags to this day? Redneck losers! The state's lousy with 'em!" ~BLANCMANGE #409 (APAQ 489). Your brief review of Diana Wynne Jones' The {Tough Guide to Fantasyland} makes me think of a book I read while still sighted, {The Glass Harmonica}. I do not remember the author's name, and it was later paperbacked under another title. The book gave cliché articles about the tropes of fantasy, and while its wisecracking was amusing I was disappointed in its lack of detail. For instance, the entry under dragon did not go into the differences between the Chinese, Welsh, and Nordic ("Worm") dragons. Everything was only clichés, albeit clever clichés. Makes me think of the cliché props in the Harry Potter books.

~DAGON 580 (APAQ 486) John Boardman. Thank you for taping this for me when the text file failed to arrive. [] In your comments to Don del Grande I was struck by your realization that a space wayfarer traveling at close to "c" experiences the same sort of lapse on return as a man who inadvertently entered a fairie hill. [] In your comments to Mark Blackman, I was surprised to learn that in its first year the Clinton administration had the Dept. of Justice drop all its persecutions of Scientologists. Wonder why. ~DAGON 583 (APAQ #489) Your retrospective of the Colin Ferguson Award was interesting, but I am afraid I have no comments this time. ~DAGON #584 (APAQ #490). Interested to read that the British magazine PUNCH supported liberty and self-determination for all peoples except those in Ireland and India. [] I have never read any of Twain's short stories dealing with heaven but was interested to see that he had, in addition to various varieties of Christians present, Jews and pre-Columbian Amerinds. That was remarkably liberal for his time. I also read somewhere that in one story an American arriving in heaven finds it so large that he cannot find the section for his people among all the other peoples, including from other worlds. The Library of Congress talking book library has issued a complete collection of his short stories which I have to order. [] Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the World, Vol 3, sounds very interesting. Unfortunately I do not see how I could ever get it in accessible form. I do wonder whether one of the volunteer agencies like Volunteers of Vacaville would be interested in handling it. You say Vol 3 covers the time from Mohammed's birth to Columbus leaving on his first journey, with extensive coverage of non-Western history. I would be especially interested in seeing what he says about various non-Western cultures. Unfortunately if you reviewed this later on I would not get much from your review since large portions would be clippings from the book and not a text computer file which my screen reader could handle. [] You listed the comic strips in the NY DAILY NEWS for Nov 23, 1963 (in a special facsimile reprint of the Kennedy assassination issue), and I am croggled at the list. I last read the DAILY NEWS in 1962 just before moving to California, and a year and a half earlier it was quite different. Actually I read the NY TIMES but my parents bought the NEWS and I saw it. I associated Li'l Abner with the DAILY MIRROR and JOE PALOKA with.JOURNAL AMERICAN? I do not think Mickey Finn was in the NEWS but do not remember where it was. The following I do not recognize at all.either they started after June 1962 or were published in a paper I did not see (or ,my stainless steel sieve of a memory struck again): All in Sport, Apartment 3-G, Brother Juniper, Dan Flagg, On Stage, Rex Morgan, Still Life, Joe and Asbestos, and Kerry Drake. [] I had often read that one emperor of China banned ocean-going ships and ordered all destroyed, after extensive commerce to as far as Africa and perhaps even to America, but did not remember just when that was. It is interesting that Chinese world commerce reached its zenith and collapsed just as Columbus was setting out on his first voyage.

When John Boardman visited me in October he brought a disk with several more issues of DAGON but it was done in a format which WORD will not open. Perhaps he can get them fixed in time for the next ENTROPY.

I will try to publish more frequently and do smaller issues. Please keep the LoCs and e-fanzines coming.

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