Not dead, only in Australia*

Jul. 21st, 2017 11:29 am
oursin: Illustration from medieval manuscript of the female physician Trotula of Salerno holding up a urine flask (trotula)
[personal profile] oursin

Re the current hoohah about Boots the chemist charging well over the odds for the morning after pill, I was going to comment - when posting the link on various bits of social media, to go 'and Edwin Brooks must be spinning in his grave!'

Brooks was the MP who put through the sometimes overlooked but significant 1966 Family Planning Act: as discussed in that post I did some while back on 'why birth control is free under the NHS'.

However, I discovered from googling that - as far as one can tell from The Usual Sources - Brooks is still alive, but moved to Australia. I am profoundly shocked that the Wikipedia entry, under his political achievements, doesn't include that act. We wonder if, in the long history of reproductive rights, it got overshadowed by the more controversial 1967 Abortion Act, or, by the final incorporation of contraception into the NHS in 1974. If I had time on my hands (which at this moment I don't) I would go and try and edit that entry.

*I think this is a quotation from someone? but I can't find a source.

(no subject)

Jul. 21st, 2017 09:12 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] kerkevik_2014 and [personal profile] coughingbear!
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Posted by Mike Glyer

(1) CORE DYSTOPIAS. James Davis Nicoll tempts fate every two weeks with a list of core sf. Today’s entry is “Twenty Core Dystopias Every True SF Fan Should Have On Their Shelves”. The first four items are: The Handmaid’s Tale by … Continue reading
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ah such finesse to ask dear anon, lucky for us a thing called wikipedia exists where we can read Jeremy’s biography and find the answer to your question:

In the latter part of 1986, Brett exhibited wild mood swings that alarmed his family and friends, who persuaded him to seek diagnosis and treatment for manic depression, also known as bipolar disorder. Brett was prescribed lithium tablets to fight his manic depression. He suspected that he would never be cured, and would have to live with his condition, look for the signs of his disorder, and then deal with it.

The first episode to be produced after his discharge was a two-hour adaptation of The Sign of Four in 1987. From then on the changes in Brett’s appearance and behaviour slowly became more noticeable as the series developed. One of the side effects of the lithium tablets was fluid retention; he was putting on weight and retaining water. The drugs were also slowing him down… He also had heart troubles. His heart was twice the normal size; he would have difficulties breathing and would need an oxygen mask on the set. “But, darlings, the show must go on”, was his only comment…

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For the first six episodes of this saga, Jeremy Brett was carrying this show. Of course he had a very talented accomplice in David Burke. But over and over in those early episode reviews I’d find myself telling the same story: this is riveting when Brett is on screen and boring, not to say ridiculous, when he’s not.

For the last six, the show is carrying him. And maybe that’s fair. Very sad. But fair enough.

Up to this point, of course, the show has dropped that ball many times. During the making of Hound of the Baskervilles, clearly, the team was scrambling to cope with a desperate situation. Unskillful attempts to accommodate Brett’s illness or else just write around him are partly responsible for how bad The Last Vampyre and The Eligible Bachelor are. But with the return to the hour-long format, things seem to have settled down a bit. For “Three Gables,” and now “Dying Detective,” there seems to have been more effort put into making the parts of the episode that don’t have Holmes in them strong enough to stand on their own. Hardwicke is now clearly taking on work that would otherwise have been given to Brett. Mrs. Hudson is taking up more space. The Baker Street Irregulars are back. The guest stars are top-drawer. In fact, many of them starred in other beloved things; so if you have ever wanted, say, to see Jane Bingley really tear the villain a new one, or if you want to see the Earl of Grantham get high on opium, or if you want to see that asshole toff who crashed the Titanic get his comeuppance, “Dying Detective” can do that for you.

I’m not going to linger over these last ones. But behind the cut tag, a couple things about Brett’s performance in this one that kind of break your heart.

So first, the elephant in the room: It’s very, very, very strange to watch “Dying Detective” knowing that Brett was, while they were making it, dying.

I noted that in “Three Gables” the makeup team tried to give him some extra color, but it became too obvious. There’s no attempt to do that in “Dying Detective;” and it’s just pitiful how pale he is. Outdoor light seems especially cruel. The scene in which he publicly curses Culverton Smith is perhaps the most painful.  

But the scene that’s really at the heart of “Dying Detective” is Watson’s first visit to Holmes’s bedside after his supposed infection. And quite unexpectedly, I thought it was the strongest scene he and Hardwicke had done together since “Illustrious Client.” And then I realized. In the sickbed scenes, because Holmes is pretending to be sick, Brett didn’t have to pretend to be well.

It must have been a huge relief to him. That, and the fact that since Holmes is faking it, it wasn’t going to matter if he got it right. The more exaggerated and over the top things got, the better it would be. 

At any rate, for a few minutes there in the red-lit sitting room, it seemed like a little life came back into it. I always seem to be looking for more reaction from Hardwicke than I ever get; but all the same, they play well off each other, and Holmes’s delirious ravings about oysters are very pathetic and yet also so very characteristically Theatrical. Despite all the ghastly makeup, in the red lighting and with his hair everywhere Brett actually kind of looks better on the Deathbed than he does before and afterward. It’s a very through-the-looking-glass moment. It might be unique in the annals of Holmes adaptations: the actor and the character on their different trajectories, meeting and merging at this intersection even though they’re still bound in opposite directions. 

As for the rest of it, well, I don’t think we really needed TWO opium den episodes, and I was really annoyed at the way neither Holmes nor Watson did anything about Victor Savage’s obvious fever during the dinner party until he collapsed in slow-motion. Still, it’s sort of satisfying in a weird way to watch Susannah Harker, who played Jane Bingley in the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice, caught up in yet another entailment plot, dispossessed by yet another asshole cousin, and this time NOT go gently into that genteel poverty. Holmes low-key ragging Watson about his attraction to her is sort of endearing– “You’ve already had your head turned, I’d better make sure you don’t break your neck”–and of course this is a great story for Mrs. Hudson, finally just straight up says to him, “You are the worst tenant in the whole of London.” If this were the first episode of this show that you watched, you wouldn’t tune in for a second. But as it is…in this episode, the show does more or less succeed in carrying him. Thank heavens for small mercies. I don’t expect it will last.

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In the I Can’t Fucking Believe He Found A Way To Go Lower Department, from the Washington Post:

Trump Team Seeks to Control, Block Mueller Investigation

“Some of President Trump’s lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president’s authority to grant pardons, according to people familiar with the effort.

Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people. A second person said Trump’s lawyers have been discussing the president’s pardoning powers among themselves.”

All right.

You should read the article, it’s informative even though it’s NUTS. Things seem to be deteriorating over there at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue a lot faster than I would have imagined. What I want to say is this:

Buttercup is afraid his children are going to jail.

That’s the only reason he would be doing this. He is literally worried that they are going to lock Donny Boy and Ivanka and Jared and maybe himself up.

There is more fire there than we know about. And, still from the article:

“Some Republicans in frequent touch with the White House said they viewed the president’s decision to publicly air his disappointment with Sessions as a warning sign that the attorney general’s days were numbered. Several senior aides were described as “stunned” when Sessions announced Thursday morning he would stay on at the Justice Department.

Another Republican in touch with the administration described the public steps as part of a broader effort aimed at “laying the groundwork to fire” Mueller.

“Who attacks their entire Justice Department?” this person said. “It’s insane.”


Courtesy of Facebook's On This Day

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:30 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
I just got to a series of posts from 2014 Wiscon harassment meltdown. Ah, memory lane.

Jordin Kare Passes Away

Jul. 21st, 2017 02:41 am
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Posted by Mike Glyer

Jordin Kare (1956-2017), respected science panelist and filksinger, died July 19, having never recovered from surgery to replace his failing aortic valve. An astrophysicist who worked on the Clementine lunar mapping mission and developed the Sailbeam propulsion concept, Kare received … Continue reading
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Posted by Mike Glyer

This trailer reminds me so much of Starship Troopers — very different from the first Pacific Rim. A new generation of Jaeger Pilots will stand tall for all humanity. What is a Jaeger? It’s you, times a thousand. Witness the … Continue reading
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20 year old Jeremy Brett in his bit-part single scene in Svengali [1954] eclipsing everyone else with his swooniness and beauty and cheekbones and hair and omfg everything

*SCREAMS* OP, I don’t know you but I love you!

Wow, he is YOUNG. Look at him!

I just finished watching “Dying Detective,” so this is really a sight for sore eyes. Thank you, OP!

james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Previous models set first occupation significantly later. Much earlier and the first humans on the path to Australia would have left footprints in the still-cooling ashes of the Toba eruption.
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things sherlock holmes has canonically done:

  • scrapbooked the hell out of his newspapers
  • put on a hat that was too big for him 
  • giggled
  • cried because lestrade was nice to him
  • got all sappy and romantic by smelling a rose
  • let a puppy lead him on adventures
  • “impish mood”
  • lit his pipe with an ember from the fireplace because he thought it looked cool

feel free to add to this

  • built a pillow fort in a client’s house
  • told a guy he was giving him secret government documents and then gave him a book about bees instead
  • told watson stories about his past solely to avoid cleaning his room

oh i almost forgot

  • decorated his room with pictures of famous criminals
  • Ordered a picnic for a pair of newlyweds
  • Was offended that Watson doesn’t praise his skills as a housekeeper
  • Waived his fee if his clients are too poor to pay him
  • Made hot chocolate to wake Watson up on a cold morning
  • Danced around and bowed to imaginary friends
  • ‘Flushed up with pleasure’ when being praised
  • Wouldn’t explain how he comes to conclusions because he was worried Watson would think he is ordinary
  • Grabs Watson’s hand when he’s frightened
  • Let another puppy lead him on adventures.


Leaped over furniture like a gazelle.

•Shook hands with a baby :,}

  • noticed watson looking sad and touching his old war wound and tried to cheer him up with some deductions about his sparkling eyes
  • deliberately knocked over a table, shattering a glass fruit bowl which sent fruit rolling everywhere, then blamed it on watson and ran away
  • was not surprised when a dog died after its owner died, due to the “beautiful, faithful nature of dogs”
  • sent watson a telegram telling him to come over at once so he could tell him his most recent thoughts about dogs and the importance of their emotions to detective work
  • told Watson anecdotes about his favorite violinist for an hour while they had lunch together
  • made a little diagram out of breadcrumbs while explaining something to Watson
  • Shared a room with watson in a house that had 11 bedrooms
  • Makes his client wait while he changes into slippers
  • Has a realistic dummy made of himself and uses it to fool a client
    • twice
    • in the same story

Let a jewel thief off one time because: 

a, the thief cried 

b, the case had been really easy & if the Yard couldn’t solve it then frankly fuck em

c, it was Christmas

And People ™ still think he was an unfeeling, cold man of reason. Honey that man probably slept with a fluffy stuffed bee.

Made a BIG drama about killing a jellyfish with a rock

Paging @plaidadder, your people need you

I can’t believe nobody has yet added:

* decided that the best way to determine whether an unidentified white powder was or was not a deadly poison was to burn it and inhale it

* apologized to Watson, after Watson saved his ass, for having thought that was a good idea

* loved breaking into other people’s houses, especially if Watson came along

* also loved very long stakeouts in the dark, especially if he and Watson had to be super-quiet and communicate only by touch

* would let any murderer go free as long as he did it to protect his beloved

* ripped a Duke a new one for loving one of his sons more than the other

* told a king he was worth less than the woman he’d just dumped

* just had to show Watson he was just as strong as the asshole who’d bent their fireplace poker

* punched a guy’s lights out basically just for being an asshole

* saved a lady’s bacon by convincing her husband that the document she stole had been in his damn despatch box the whole fucking time

* arrested a horse for murder

* responded to one client’s tale of woe by bursting into laughter

* dragged Watson about his writing style 

* spent an entire vacation geeking out about the Cornish language

* told Watson to become an expert on Chinese pottery in 24 hours and the dude did it

* told Watson to hide behind the head of his bed “if you love me” and the dude did it

* bitched about Watson “deserting him for a wife”–for the SECOND time

* told Watson to “write me down an ass” when it turned out not to be the guy he thought it was

* asked Watson if he would mind sleeping in the same room with a lunatic who was losing his mind, then got into bed beside him when Watson said no

oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

Except some of it doesn't seem to be, o hai, I am now making an effort, it is more that various academic things (seminars, conferences, etc) that I had flagged up in my diary ages ago finally came up and were all within the space of a few weeks, I don't know, it's the 'like buses' phenomenon. And some of them I did do some social interaction at and others I just slipped in and out, more or less.

Have booked up, what I was havering about, the annual conference in one of my spheres of interest that I was usually wont to go to but have missed the (I think) last two because I was not inspired by the overall theme that year. And it's not so much that I'm not inspired by this year's theme, it's more 'didn't they do something very similar a few years ago and I did a paper then, and don't really have anything new to say on the subject', so I didn't do that, but I think that it would be a useful one to go to to try and get me back into the groove for that thing that the editor at esteemed academic press was suggesting I might write and talk to people (if I can remember how to do that thing) and hear what's going on, and so on.

Also had a get-together with former line manager, which between the two of us and our commitments involves a lot of forward planning, but it was very nice to do it.

Have also done some (long) and (a bit less) outstanding life admin stuff, which I both feel pleased about and also as if I haven't actually done anything, which is weird.

Did I mention, getting revised article off last week, just before deadline? and then got out of office email from the editor saying away until end of month. WHUT. The peeves were in uproar.

And generally, I am still working out what I do with the day when it does not begin with posting an episode of Clorinda's memoirs and go on with compiling the next one. Okay, there are still snippets to come, but they come slowly.

Filers at Worldcon 75

Jul. 20th, 2017 05:20 pm
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Posted by Mike Glyer

By Hampus Eckerman: Less than one month to Worldcon 75. In a couple of days, Worldcon 75 is going to publish a restaurant guide to help those who want to plan a pub meet. The area around the convention center … Continue reading
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Posted by Mike Glyer

By Mark L. Blackman: On the evening of Wednesday, July 19, the monthly Fantastic Fiction Readings Series hosted authors Genevieve Valentine and Karen Heuler at its venue, the Red Room at the 2nd floor KGB Bar in Manhattan’s East Village … Continue reading
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I mean I don’t know if you will be able to get past the paywall if you’re not subscribed, but although the headline is startling enough…

Citing Recusal, Trump Says He Wouldn’t have Hired Sessions

…it really doesn’t convey how batshit this whole conversation is. It gives the strong impression that Buttercup believes that the only purpose of an Attorney General is to stop people from investigating him personally. He says Session’s recusal was “unfair–and that’s a mild word–to the president.” He claims Comey was trying to blackmail him by telling him about the Steele dossier at that Trump Tower meeting. He claims Mueller has a conflict of interest because he was considered for the FBI position. He objects to the deputy AG, Rod Rosenstein, because he’s from Baltimore, a city where everyone knows there are no REAL Republicans. He objects to the acting head of the FBI because his wife once got a large campaign donation from a Democratic PAC associated with Terry McAuliffe, who is friends with Hillary Clinton. And so on.

And that isn’t even the craziest thing about this. Buttercup also revealed that he doesn’t know the difference between life insurance and health insurance, talks about how much Macron loves holding his hand, says his speech in Poland was reviewed as the greatest speech ever given on foreign soil, and…I mean I don’t have time to go through all the stuff he said that’s either lies, delusion, or just nto making sense.

And he also says that the only thing apart from “pleasantries” that he talked to Putin about at that dinner was adoption. Which is a coincidence, because that’s exactly what Don Jr talked to Verenitskaya about!

[For anyone who doesn’t already know this: “adoption” is not an innocent or noncontroversial topic in this context. US adoptions from Russia were banned in retaliation after Congress passed the Magnitsky Act, which is named after a whistleblower who exposed a massive fraud scheme in which Putin was implicated. Putin had Magnitsky arrested, jailed, and killed. If they’re talking about “adoption,” they’re talking about getting rid of the Magnistky Act, which imposed economic sanctions against Russians who commit human rights abuses. “Talking about adoption” means “talking about what it would take to get the US to give Russian oligarchs a free pass for corruption, crime, and murder.”]

Alas, if Buttercup was trying to get Sessions to quit, it doesn’t appear to have worked. But we still have some hope Buttercup might decide to fire him. It couldn’t happen to a worse Attorney General; and an actual Saturday Night Massacre is just what Russiagate needs. 

May 2017

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