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I heard about William Burroughs in my teenage years. I was at an age where I'd be interested in anything by a homosexual druggie who'd written a book full of dirty words. And there was even more to it than that: He was the kind of mysterious figure that fortunately no longer exists in my part of the world: the victim of censorship, telling capital-T Truths capital-T They wouldn't allow us to hear.

When They finally let me read Naked Lunch, I agreed that it was a masterpiece—a magnificent collage of widely varied but almost always brilliant imagery held together by striking wit and a morbidly fascinating sensibility. I think it also was his One Book. Later works didn't add to it, and made it more obvious that he did not like women. At his worst, he called the whole sex a "mistake" and wrote books like The Wild Boys fantasizing about slaughtering them all and all the men who'd been contaminated by them (not unlike a Halloween movie). At best, he tolerated them.

Call Me Burroughs, by Barry Miles, is an excellent and thorough bio. It reinforces my view of the three Beat Generation superstars: Ginsberg was a saint, Kerouac was a turd, and Burroughs was a sicko. We read much about his mental adventures in Scientology and worse.

And it leaves us with a familiar problem: What do we do about great work by horrible people? I can't even decide whether the craziness is mitigating or exacerbating. At least Ezra Pound never said that the Jews were specially created by evil insects from space.
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Samizdata had a great bit of found humor, from the London Times. In a story about a (replica) Viking ship sailing up the Thames, they wrote,

Famously uncivilized, destructive and rapacious, with an almost insatiable appetite for rough sex and heavy drinking, the MPs nonetheless looked up for a bit to admire the vessel.
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Boy, do I regret the fractional credit approach.

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We chose to skip breakfast Saturday. This gave us a couple more hours to sleep in, at the cost of requiring we find somewhere to go to lunch soon enough. But we were better off sleeping.

The con's fursuit parade started to organize about 12:30, so bunny_hugger went off to dress up while I looked for a good photographing vantage point, and then decided to take a movie instead. (I'm still getting used to the idea that my new camera takes movies with sound.) There was a nice spot near a corner, with the sunlight behind my back, so it was a great spot. At the corner someone claimed to be pointing ``the Disney style'', making a swooping motion with both arms to point with both hands. I don't know that Disney parks have an official pointing style but I wouldn't be surprised, and this was theatrical enough for me to buy it. At closing ceremonies the official count for the parade was revealed to be something like 250 fursuiters (of an attendance of about 970 people).

The group photograph was outside, and on a great day for it: the temperatures were in the mid-to-high 60s and sunny, the kind of weather we might have never figured to see again. bunny_hugger suffered the same problem as usual in vanishing in the crowd, because she's not tall, and somehow instructions for ``taller people to move to the back'' never results in taller people moving in back. She's noted that what mass photograph organizers need to do, and never do, is specify ``people shorter than 5'6 move forward, people 5'6 to 6 feet even in the middle, people above 6 feet move back'', because people have no idea whether they're ``taller'' or ``shorter'' particularly. (And yeah, fursuits can be much taller than the person wearing, but nobody knows how tall their suits are and this would at least be roughly fair at letting shorter people not be hidden.)

In the milling about afterwards we saw a guy in Chinese dragon costume clowning around for photos for Uncle Kage, who'd set his camera on the ground with, I assume, the timer set so he could get pictures of a giant stomping on the lens. This was done in the parking lot, so that people driving into the hotel had to maneuver around people in vision- and motion-limiting costumes wandering into traffic, and people leaving their cameras on the pavement. I didn't hear of any catastrophes resulting from all this but the photo sessions kind of drifted back to the sidewalks.

After this, we were starving, so we debated a bit where to eat and went back to Big Boy, which is just down the block, and where we'd had dinner the night before. This time we got the soup-and-salad buffet (the buffet had been closing down the night before). This gave us an awkward moment where we both stepped away for dessert, I believe, and someone came and cleaned away our plates and drinks and cleared the table off. This suggests a disconnection between the table-clearing and the bill-printing responsibilities at Big Boy, which surely will help someone extremely petty scam the system at some point.

Back at the con, bunny_hugger found the people she wanted to commission from for her sketchbooks, and we drifted into the Look Left concert. We weren't quite sure what to expect from this, but, we'd guessed some of the talented amateurs that you get doing stuff that's enthusiastic and a bit funny but also kind of unpracticed. We were wholly wrong. Look Left, or at least one guy from it --- Pepper Coyote --- who explained he'd had a band, but now he was here with a repeater, was a perfectly professional, pretty skillful player who sang, played instruments, fiddled with the repeater, and for some reason opened with a Bee Gees song, and a pre-Disco era Bee Gees at that. It took about one and a half songs before we were sold on him, and about three before I was confident bunny_hugger was going to buy one of his albums, and by the middle of the show, she did.

Trivia: Indiana's northern border is ten miles north of the southernmost point of Lake Michigan. Illinois' is about sixty miles north. Source: How The States Got Their Shapes, Mark Stein.

Currently Reading: The U.S. Economy In World War II, Harold G Vatter.

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Happy belated birthday to all of the following: chibimono, [personal profile] cosmic_llin, denorios, dpolicar, [personal profile] evildrem, [personal profile] fallingtowers, joran, kashmir1, kimberlyfdr, [personal profile] mollyamory, odditycollector, pentapus, poisonivory, sabaceanbabe, [personal profile] tabaqui, [personal profile] therienne, [personal profile] thesecondbatgirl, and wishfulaces!

And happy birthday, [personal profile] hopeofdawn, ipomoea, and [personal profile] jennalynn!


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Meet Garrus and Tali! A handful of pics under the cut.Collapse )

For more pictures, go look at their Tumblr! Because, you know, all cats need their own Tumblr. It's a rule. Or something.

Ahem. Anyway, go visit them at [tumblr.com profile] kitties-in-crime!


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Talking with 5-year-olds about marriage law; talking with two-year-olds about anything.Collapse )


In other news, today I made really delicious apple-cinnamon-raisin muffins. I've been experimenting with variations on these two single basic muffin recipes (one less sweet, one more sweet) in our Mark Bittman book, but they often turn out a bit tough and dry; today I actually paid attention to the part of the recipe that says "fold wet ingredients into dry using a spatula or wooden spoon" instead of a fork, which means you do actually handle the flour a lot less in the process of blending the ingredients, and you get a lighter crumb because the flour doesn't form as many gluten strands. Thank you, Great British Bake-Off! The other thing I've been doing when I put raisins in things lately is to soak them in tea first, which is a tip someone told me recently, I can't remember who. Anyway, it's tasty. And you can do it with different kinds of tea, of course, although I don't know how much they retain the taste.

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Finishing up the things I should have already posted about, we visited the McNay and the San Antonio Museum of Art last weekend.

Robert Indiana, Thomas Sully, and more.Collapse )

All in all a good day, in which we saw a lot of interesting art.

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