“What can I tell you about Brooklyn Arts Studio? You’ve already eschewed the joys of rinsing…”

“What can I tell you about Brooklyn Arts Studio? You’ve already eschewed the joys of rinsing your hair with hand lotion and making off with tiny bars of soap, with staring into empty minibars and the travesty of CNN International. You’re an airbnb user, a wanderer of the electric world, a swimmer in the liquid modern! Well let me tell you, best beloved: you aren’t ready for the Blue Annex—not unless you were raised among the golden lions of Shangri-la, wrestling the gimlet-eyed inferno birds till dawn. You aren’t ready for the tintype wreckage and the clouds of American Spirit, or the red-lidded stare of postrock refugees rolling back from shows. Maybe first you should try kickstarting yourself a Bates Motel, or youtubing a haunted inn in the snows of Colorado, or tweeting yourself a cozy wicker man of a Summerisle. But you can’t sleep in youtube; kickstarter isn’t about to hand you a sloppy plate of curry and a snifter of hand-made gin. Twitter ain’t gonna light your cigarillo. Only wait—you say you miss the golden lions and their wishy-swishy tails? Perhaps even the inferno birds and their wobbly songs raise fond memory-welts on the back of your head? You pine for the pale mosquitos of morning whining their siren songs to inflame your gentling dreams? O best beloved, there’s a can of Off waiting for you in a trailer in Brooklyn.”

- My review for this place on AirBnB.
Uncategorized

Introducing AISight: The slightly scary CCTV network completely…



Introducing AISight: The slightly scary CCTV network completely run by AI | ITProPortal.com

Imagine a major city completely covered by a video surveillance system designed to monitor the every move of its citizens. Now imagine that the system is run by a fast-learning machine intelligence, that’s designed to spot crimes before they even happen. No, this isn’t the dystopian dream of a cyber-punk science fiction author. This is Boston, on the US East Coast, and it could soon be many more cities around the world. […] BRS is currently working with the organisers of the world cup to try to prevent crimes before they even take place. “We can recognise a precursor pattern that could be associated with a crime before it happens,” Cobb told reporters. “In a lot of cases, you can see someone casing the joint, poking around the back of buildings, going where they shouldn’t be.”

Video: BRSLabs’ AISight - The World’s Only Behavioral Recognition System for Video Surveillance (by BRSlabs AISight) BRS Labs | Behavioral Recognition Systems:

BRS Labs is the Leading Provider of Behavior Recognition Software for Video Surveillance Operations. AISightTM, created by BRS Labs, is the most powerful video surveillance software on the market. Out of the box it quickly becomes your security team’s most formidable weapon; autonomously building an ever-changing knowledgebase of activity seen through every camera on your video network. The result: AISight delivers accurate, real-time alerts on any suspicious behavior important enough for your team to respond!
Uncategorized

Booklist and Kirkus on How Not To Be Wrong

Some good pre-publication reviews are coming in!  From Kirkus:

Witty and expansive, Ellenberg’s math will leave readers informed, intrigued and armed with plenty of impressive conversation starters.

And Booklist (not available online, unfortunately:)

Relying on remarkably few technical formulas, Ellenberg writes with humor and verve as he repeatedly demonstrates that mathematics simply extends common sense. He manages to translate even the work of theoretical pioneers such as Cantor and Gödel into the language of intelligent amateurs. The surprises that await readers include not only a discovery of the astonishing versatility of mathematical thinking but also a realization of its very real limits. Mathematics, as it turns out, simply cannot resolve the real-world ambiguities surrounding the Bush-Gore cliff-hanger of 2000, nor can it resolve the much larger question of God’s existence. A bracing encounter with mathematics that matters.

 

 

 

 


Uncategorized

Booklist and Kirkus on How Not To Be Wrong

Some good pre-publication reviews are coming in!  From Kirkus:

Witty and expansive, Ellenberg’s math will leave readers informed, intrigued and armed with plenty of impressive conversation starters.

And Booklist (not available online, unfortunately:)

Relying on remarkably few technical formulas, Ellenberg writes with humor and verve as he repeatedly demonstrates that mathematics simply extends common sense. He manages to translate even the work of theoretical pioneers such as Cantor and Gödel into the language of intelligent amateurs. The surprises that await readers include not only a discovery of the astonishing versatility of mathematical thinking but also a realization of its very real limits. Mathematics, as it turns out, simply cannot resolve the real-world ambiguities surrounding the Bush-Gore cliff-hanger of 2000, nor can it resolve the much larger question of God’s existence. A bracing encounter with mathematics that matters.

 

 

 

 


Uncategorized

an IRL animated gif! itscolossal: New Bird & Butterfly Flip…



an IRL animated gif!

itscolossal:

New Bird & Butterfly Flip Book Machines by Juan Fontanive

Uncategorized

In Human Years

My very good friend Matt Glaser and myself run a small concern called Squonk Studios, where we put all the stuff that he codes and I design–  In Human Years is one of our most recent efforts. In a conversation about the Internet of Things concept, we hit upon the funny (to us) idea of every item having an expected life cycle that may not always be obvious. We thought a quick and dirty web app that can do the conversion for you might be just the thing.

Uncategorized

April 17, 2014



April 17, 2014

I can never fully understand why Bob Dylan is always regarded as the greatest songwriter alive, when there is someone like Pete Shelley who is obviously a much better melody maker as well as a lyricist.  I first heard the Buzzcocks when I was close to 20, which was at the height of the punk era.  I purchased the 7” EP “Sprial Scratch” at the day of its release. I think at Bomp records in the San Fernando Valley.   The combination of Howard Devoto’s lyrics and Shelley’s music hit me hard.  After Devoto quit the band, I thought that was it for the Buzzcocks, but alas, I was totally wrong.  “Another Music in a Different Kitchen” their first full album was an amazing piece of work that made my head spin and my heartbeat go faster.   Over the years, including his incredible solo albums, I noticed that Shelley writes at least two types of songs - one is the pretty melody done fast and hard, and the second, which is my favorite by the way, is the song that if you did a painting of it, the shape would be a circle.  They are zen captured as a pop song.   Songs like “Autonomy,” “Why Can’t I Touch It?,” “I Don’t Know What To Do With My Life,” “Noise Annoys,” “ESP,”  and the incredible “I Believe” convey not an answer, but if you ask the question over and over again you may get some sort of peace.  Shelley is screaming out over and over “There’s no love in this world anymore, ” has such an effect on my life.



That sense of anger in his songs liberated me on a huge level.  The only other time I felt that way was when I first saw Lindsay Anderson’s “If…”, a film that ignited my soul, that I finally realized I wasn’t alone in the world.   That film opened at the height of my time at Parkman Junior High School, which to me was just like being condemned in a concentration camp.  It is one thing to get bullied by a fellow student, but to be bullied by your teachers I think is a total sin, if such a thing exists.  The fact that I was taken to the main office of the gym teachers, and called a ‘fag’ over and over again, strikes me as not a nice thing to do with a 14 years old boy.  I wasn’t aware of the “what” or “why” when they march me to the shower and then made me to take off all my clothes and take a shower, and then afterwards they told me to do it again, and this time get my hair wet.  I didn’t do it the first time, due that I had long hair, and it took forever to dry.   I was, and still am, very vain with respect to my appearance.  It seemed to me that Anderson captured the whole school experience for me, and I couldn’t believe someone captured that and I can see it on the big screen.  The final scene where the students go up on the roof and shoot down the teachers and fellow students made my heart warm.  It was at that moment where I decided I will not be impacted by these people anymore.



Of course, this set me down the path to find the artist that I feel is not respected by the masses, which ironically enough, are the reason why I would like an artist.  Billy Fury, like Shelley and Anderson, represent a harsh world upon a sensitive soul, and therefore I become a huge fan of that person.  When I first heard Billy Fury’s “Don’t Jump, Billy, ” it also was like a moment that lasted forever, even though the song was only a few minutes long.   The beautiful image of the song for me is imagining Fury on the edge of a mountain cliff, and down below are the rocks and sea.   Splattered on the rocks, yet the sea will carry his remains to another world.   Yet the chorus in the song behind him pleads “Billy don’t jump.” That and the songs by Pete Shelley are probably the most moving works of art for me. “If…, suggested a better world within a horror show, and it was at that moment that I realized I didn’t need a gun or a weapon.  My pen on paper is the perfect weapon for me.

Uncategorized

bullit1987: Shit, the boss is here …





















bullit1987:

Shit, the boss is here …

Uncategorized

prostheticknowledge: AgencyGlass Bizarre proof-of-concept tech…









prostheticknowledge:

AgencyGlass

Bizarre proof-of-concept tech by Dr. Hirotaka Osawa are glasses with small displays that give attention to others around you.

The idea here is that we have technology to help us work in areas such as physical labour and brainwork, but not “emotional labour”, the social face-to-face aspects of job roles. Video embedded below:

From IEEE:

Have you ever had trouble concentrating in the office as people walk by and glance at you? Do you come off as unfriendly or aloof, when you’re really just focusing on your work?

Dr. Hirotaka Osawa from Tsukuba University, in Japan, has developed a new wearable device to help us with something called “emotional labor.” His idea is that people could adopt cyborg technology to increase the emotional comfort of those around us. In this case, the device is a crazy pair of glasses that display eyeballs on their lenses.

The device’s virtual eyes naturally follow people and movement, making it appear as though you’re friendly and approachable, even if you’re too busy doing something else or too tired to actually look friendly and approachable.

"This emotional support reduces a user’s cognitive load for social manners," Osawa says.

More Here

Uncategorized

Robert Tressell

tressell

If you needed some brick-laying or sign-painting done in the final decade of the 19th century, the Irish-born workman ROBERT TRESSELL (Robert Croker, 1870–1911) might have been your man. However, in his off hours, he beavered away at The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, a novel — published posthumously in 1914 — which offers a bustling portrait of British working-class life. Frank Owen, the book’s protagonist, blames capitalism and his society’s upper class for his own class’s impoverishment and hunger, though he’s made angriest by his own co-workers’ reluctance to discuss socialist theory or any aspirations for a better life. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, a Dickensian romp filled with monikers like Rushton, Sweater and Didlum (Owen’s employers), charts Owen’s increasing frustration with the self-perpetuating, forelock-tugging caste in which he’s trapped. Like Dickens, though, Tressell — whose pen name is a pun on the trestle table used by wallpaper hangers — gives his savagely critical novel a warm heart and a sense of humor.

***

On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Katia Krafft, Artur Schnabel, Posh Spice, Don Kirshner.

READ MORE about members of the Anarcho-Symbolist Generation (1864–73).

Uncategorized

Chilling App Reveals Security Cameras All Around You |…



Chilling App Reveals Security Cameras All Around You | Co.Design

Watch Your Privacy renders bulls eye-like hot spots on the ground where cameras could be filming, and it extends field-of-view cones from cameras themselves. This user interface does not blend in with subtlety. Cameras flood your view with red, yellow, and green iconography, and the relatively covert world of public surveillance is made wonderfully overt. If it feels ironic that Google Glass—another camera aimed at the world around you—is the platform for Watch Your Privacy, know that the irony isn’t completely lost on Veenhof. When using the app, Glass users automatically upload their own GPS coordinates. This tags every other Watch Your Privacy user in your field of view, but tags you, as a fellow Google Glass/camera wearer, in the process.
Uncategorized

“When striving to re-form the pattern of our own way of life, we often invoke Nature as our great…”

When striving to re-form the pattern of our own way of life, we often invoke Nature as our great teacher, seeking to justify man’s actions by arguments based on what happens in nature. We strive after ‘organic creation’, ‘form production from within’, ‘functional forms’, all of them aims which man believes he can find realized in works of nature. Using such slogans, our spirit protests against the artificiality of outward show; it demands ‘essentials’ instead of ‘façades’, and thinks that the very observation of nature should make us proof against false appearances and superficiality.

But what do we see in natural objects which are said to be examples for us? The functional form pure and simple, so much extolled by some as befitting Nature, is a rare and special case. How much more often do we find in animal forms just what is not comprised in these concepts? And what about ‘form production from within’, which is supposed to be Nature’s way of salvation, which should be the aim of Art? The inside of an animal does remind us of really ingenious man-made apparatus, and a machine-like interpretation does explain some of its functions. But against this, the covering of such ‘apparatus’ always stimulates us to compare it with those kinds of human artistic creations which are farthest removed from any purposive conception. How often does it seem to us as if roving fancy had been at work; sportiveness, the capricious free play of creative force, comes to mind rather than a technical necessity.



-

Adolf Portmann, Animal Forms and Patterns: a Study of the Appearance of Animals (Faber, 1952).

The Oblique Strategies card I turned over today tells me to “discard an axiom,” and of the day’s reading this comes the closest to meeting the obligation.

Uncategorized

ART ASSIGNMENT: The Quietest Place


The Art Assignment is a new PBS webseries created by curator Sarah Urist Green and hosted by her and author/YouTube superstar John Green, in which they ask artists around the country to devise an ‘art assignment’ related to their work that viewers can carry out, sharing the results online. Here’s the video for mine. It involves walking to find the quietest place near where you live. Fascinating responses to my #theartassignment have come in already — songs, videos, a delightful array of photos, even diary-style written logs of soundwalks, from all over the globe. It’s been wonderful to see the enthusiasm with which people are searching for their ‘Quietest Place’. (As a bonus, we get to experience the complications of recording quiet — wind in the smartphone mic… handling vibration rumble… it all ends up sounding rather noisy.)
t desert
t book

[some of the participants' photos]

You can check out a growing assortment of the responses over at the Art Assignment blog; some of the best will be folded back into a future episode of the program.

Uncategorized

April 16, 2014



April 16, 2014

When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I put on my turntable is “The Versatile Henry Mancini, ” specifically the opening track “Poinciana.” The lines you hear in this mostly instrumental song is “Speak to me my love.” In fact, I believe that it is the only lyrics in the song.  Nevertheless it serves as a meditation for me, before I have my first cup of coffee, as I get ready to go to the downtown library on Fifth street and flower.  I’m off today to research a writer by the name of Samy Rosenstock, a Romanian poet of some note, who to this day, has a strong influence on my writing.  It is very hard to locate his books in English, but I first discovered him as a teenager, when I was desperately looking for a mentor or an influence for my own attempts at writing poetry.



He was the first one to actually do the cut-up writing, where one takes a newspaper and cut out words, and then throw them into a hat, shake it up, and then toss them on a table or floor.  You then see what sentences come out, and bingo, you have almost an instant poem.  William S. Burroughs is famous for this process and many think he was the first to present it, but alas, it was Rosenstock that came up with it first, sometime after World War 1.  Everyone from the great lettrist writer Gil. J. Wolman to David Bowie has used this process of putting together a poem. My technique is similar, but I do this in my head.  I sort of have a pictorial memory of an article, and it seems as though it is right in front of me.  I choose the words or even half-a-sentence, and I go from there.



Chance is a big part of the process.  I am without a doubt attracted to artists and writers who use ‘chance’ as a tool of sorts.  Merce Cunningham strikes me as an artist, who can work with others, but there is a deep collaboration between the music, his dance steps, and how that is processed to a live audience.  Writing to me is a performance as well.  As you all know by now, I have committed myself to writing a piece for everyday this year (2014).  To do so, is very much an act of meditation, chance, and using Rosentock’s method of writing poetry.  Spike Milligan is a comic writer and performer who I admire greatly, and he too, uses improvisation in his art where one is not sure where it will go.  The act of heading towards failure is almost drugged like paradise, and I feel the need to rush to its entrance and work my way out towards the exit.



Charlie Chaplin’s best work for me is not his final films, but the clips I see of him working out his gags, and often failing, and then you see him getting frustrated and losing his temper.  That to me, is an inspirational moment for me, to see such a control freak in the moments of utter despair!  Also the fact he filmed everything as he worked on the skits, or trying out new things.  “City Lights” and “The Great Dictator” are wonderful films, but his outtakes are even much better.  To see the artist work behind the curtain, is truly wonderful.  The magic is exposed, and people like Chaplin and Milligan are seen working without a net underneath them is thrilling to me.   I feel the same way regarding Rosentock’s methods of writing poetry.



So it is odd that when I try to relax, it is with someone like Mancini, Ray Ventura, or Dusty Springfield: artists who only show perfection.  Like the yin and yang, I bounce back between the two forces, and here I find myself in the library, in a cubicle, a prisoner of sorts to my private demons.

Uncategorized

Is Mike Judge’s ‘Silicon Valley’ the End of Startup Mania?

This post originally appeared in RushkoffMail. Subscribe here.  

I've always credited 'Beavis & Butt-head' creator Mike Judge for bringing down MTV.

The simple cartoon, originally a short segment on late-night Liquid Television, consisted mostly of two teenage boys watching rock videos, making commentary about them, and then rejecting them: "this sucks, change it.” For me, the show was armchair media criticism - a lesson in deconstructing television. Where a rock video used to be able to lure a teenage boy with sexual imagery, it was a whole lot harder to fall into the spell with Beavis shouting “nice set!” No, it may not have been the sophisticated analysis of McLuhan, but it was at least as alienating an effect as Bertolt Brecht.

And MTV’s ratings went down, along with the ability of the network to pass off advertising as programming.

After watching Judge’s latest effort, a live-action tech industry satire on HBO called 'Silicon Valley,' I began to wonder if he might deflate another value-challenged culture as effectively as he took down MTV. It’s a buddy show along the lines of Entourage, except the lead is a geeky, horny developer instead of a handsome, horny movie star. But the potential brilliance of the series lies in Judge’s only slight exaggerations of the hypocrisy underlying the digital startup landscape: these are people claiming to be saving the world, when they’re really just the latest generation of desperate yuppies chasing capital and, in turn, reinforcing Wall Street’s monopoly over our society. Digital business is revolutionary only in the way it camouflages business as usual.

And while I’m pondering all this, the NASDAQ stock exchange has its worst decline since 2011 or maybe before, led down by the poster children of Silicon Valley excess: Facebook, Twitter, Tesla. Coincidence? Not really. For while there may be no direct cause and effect between the airing of a TV show and the immediate slide of the valuation of the companies satires, there is a sea change occurring.

It was significant enough for Silicon Valley hero billionaire Elon Musk, founder of Paypal and Tesla, to immediately criticize the program: “I really feel like Mike Judge has never been to Burning Man, which is Silicon Valley. If you haven’t been, you just don’t get it.” That Musk would credit Silicon Valley for Burning Man is kind of like crediting the Conquistadors for Quetzalcoatl - but that’s besides the point. What’s interesting is that he doth protest too much, which just underscores for me how important public perception is to an economic model based on hype.

Anyway, I’ll be glad to see the hype fade, as it has before, leaving those who truly love the possibilities of digital technology to keep on developing it - without the pressures of venture capital firms and their requirement to achieve spectacular results instead of good, sustainable ones.

Uncategorized

Serpentine Ramp (Temple Grandin)

Serpentine Ramp (Temple Grandin):

issheever:

From the curators: Animal rights activist and scientist Temple Grandin created the serpentine ramp to ensure the humane treatment of cattle. The first ramps that Grandin designed, in 1974, were used during vaccinations of the herd and then, within the same year, for slaughter plants. Grandin designed the ramp so that it prevents cattle from being spooked by the workers or the abattoir up ahead. Semicircular turns take advantage of the movement cattle naturally make in groups. Walking nose to tail, the cows march their way through to the kill floor without the use of prods or noise, and without panicking and injuring themselves. Grandin observed cattle in pasture, in her vaccinating chutes, and in her designs for slaughter houses. By taking blood samples from cattle she was able to show that using her design meant that cortisol levels (a stress hormone) were comparable in all three locations. She believes that design is never a substitute for livestock managers who support low-stress handling, and she advocates for video auditing to prevent employees from abusing animals. In her own words, “People forget that nature is very harsh, especially when predators attack. The big cats kill their prey first, but the canids (wolves and hyena) may rip the guts out of a live animal. We owe the animals we use for food a life worth living and a painless death.”

Be sure to check out all of the remarkable pieces on the Design and Violence site.

Uncategorized

OLA and WonderCon

If you’re in Salem tomorrow or Anaheim Friday-Sunday, come see me!

At the Oregon Library Association conference:

Thursday, April 17th

2 – 3:30 PM Graphic Rave & Graphic Reads!  In my part of the session I’ll talk about collaborating with Carla Speed McNeil on Bad Houses & show some penciled and inked pages from the book. I’ll especially highlight Carla’s fabulous lettering — she was just nominated for an Eisner Award for Best Letterer!

4 – 5:30 PM Making vs. CraftingDespite the title this will probably not be a fight between Team Making and Team Crafting. But who knows what might happen? 

Directly after those sessions, I’ll drive at breakneck speed from Salem to the Portland Airport so I can make my flight to Anaheim!

I’ll be a special guest at WonderCon, tabling at AA155 and appearing on the following panels:

Friday, April 18
1:30 PM Spotlight on Steve Lieber and Sara Ryan 
Room 203WonderCon Anaheim special guests Steve Lieber (Superior Foes of Spider-Man) and Sara Ryan (Bad Houses) discuss creating comics, finding the core of a story, comics versus prose, collaborating while married, and more.

4 PM The New Wave Graphic Novel Room 210A: Jim Di Bartolo (In the Shadows), Steve Lieber (Whiteout), Sara Ryan (Bad Houses), and Gene Luen Yang (The Shadow Hero), all eminent graphic novelists, discuss their own works within the graphic novel form, as well as how today’s increased acceptance of the graphic novel has led to new books, new authors, and new readers. Moderated by WonderCon Anaheim special guest and author Jim Pascoe.

Saturday, April 19
11 AM: Signing at Dark Horse booth 519
Uncategorized

GARY OLDMAN













GARY OLDMAN

Uncategorized

4cp: SUPERHERO CONCEPT From page 1 of “Action Comics” #1,…









4cp:

SUPERHERO CONCEPT

From page 1 of “Action Comics” #1, scanned from a 1970s reprint.

questionable class consciousness revealed in Superman’s sartorial shifts

Uncategorized

emergentfutures: U.S. Air Force is testing Google Glass &…



emergentfutures:

U.S. Air Force is testing Google Glass & building apps for battlefield use

The positive attributes “are its low power, its low footprint, it sits totally above the eyes, and doesn’t block images or hinder vision,” said 2nd Lt. Anthony Eastin, a behavioral scientist on the BATMAN team testing the glasses.

The BATMAN evaluation group is part of the U.S. Air Force’s 711th Human Performance Wing and is one of the military’s most distinguished research and development groups. It comprises both military and civilian behavioral and technology scientists. The BATMAN acronym stands for Battlefield Air Targeting Man-Aided (K)nowledge.

Full Story: Venture Beat

Uncategorized

colepierce: Money at the wheel and Jesus riding shotgun



colepierce:

Money at the wheel and Jesus riding shotgun

Uncategorized

fairy-wren: (via 500px / Booted Rackettail (Ecuador) by Juan…



fairy-wren:

(via 500px / Booted Rackettail (Ecuador) by Juan Carlos Vindas)

Uncategorized

Placemeter | Making your city better Imagine never having to…



Placemeter | Making your city better

Imagine never having to guess how busy your favorite restaurant is or waiting in line at the grocery store. Placemeter is making it possible, one sensor at a time. Be smarter about your time—and help your neighbors do the same—by becoming a Meter.

Startup wants to use your old phone taped to your window to track how busy locations are.

Previously posted, without knowing the source of the imagery: video of Placemeter’s algorithmic output.

Video of Placemeter’s pitch at Websummit: “Many of you look at this video and see Times Square. But I have 20 years of computer vision experience, and I see a data mine here.”

Uncategorized

Merce Cunningham

Merce-Cunningham

Facing all fronts and occupying serial centers, MERCE CUNNINGHAM (1919–2009) stands at the pivot point of 20th-century performance; along with partner and collaborator John Cage, he initiated the critical freedoms taken up in postmodern dance. A visitor to Black Mountain’s mythological convening, his influence spreads into art, poetry, and music. Unlike the personality- and camp-orientation of the modern dance he came from (as a soloist with Martha Graham from 1939-45), Merce never claimed any students as his own, though his generous and inclusive spirit, taking all comers and all possible actions into dancing, surely inflected Bob Dunn’s composition workshop out of which the Judson Dance Theater emerged. Movement is protagonist; dance’s meaning is action. He makes a non-representative choreography freed of compulsory relation to music. Dance, music, and set occupy the stage space as co-presences, making room for mutual surprise. His movement technique goes after the strength and lightness needed to articulate the body in the fullest possible range of actions, premised on the idea that we don’t yet know how we might choose to move.

Cunningham built dances using chance operations to determine numbers (of people, facings, timings), always looking to bypass habit’s judgments. He was the first to abandon the necessity of facing the audience. Anti-individualist, this forward-thinking naturalist can be credited as a hero of the anatomical and somatic explorers of the later 20th century’s non-expressivist movement research. He wasn’t interested in drama, unless we were “willing to grant that every breath is a crisis,” which takes all the crisis away because it’s happening everywhere all the time. There is a center, a life, an event, in anything we will give attention to. In his later years the benevolent genie performed solos within his dances, slip-hobbling out on the outsides of his feet (bunions) and waving his arms around for while, then hobbling off. It’s all dance.

***

On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Kool DJ Herc, Tristan Tzara, Kingsley Amis, George “The Animal” Steele.

READ MORE about members of the New Gods Generation (1914-23).

Uncategorized

George Steele

george steele

High school science teacher and coach by trade, George “The Animal” Steele (William James Myers, born 1937) took up wrestling in the late 1960s to make some extra cash. He developed his green-tongued, hairy-backed wild heel character for years but only really came into his own in the early 1980s after he ditched his elocutionary skills in favor of his now famous “Duhhh, dahhhh”s and started working the turnbuckle over like it was a piece of jerky. In a time when wrestling seemed to want to double down on predictable plot arcs, George was a much needed angry ball of face-eating uncertainty. In a suddenly tall and shiny world of wrestling, a world of body oil, sit-ups and carefully shaved pecs, George was fat, stooped and furry. Amid the grand proclamations and verbose hubris of faces and heels alike, George was a grunting, sub-verbal, loose-limbed gesticulator. He was the very embodiment of a long lost age of wrestling that never really existed: when men wrestled bears and crocodiles for food, their fight-flight responses so conflated and hair-triggered that victory, survival, and humiliation were all smashed up against each other. Watching him fight Hulk Hogan during their famous 1984 title match is like watching a pack of hungry lemurs assemble a roomful of Ikea furniture. “The Animal could just as easily dismember him… he may not be here to try and win the title,” said Mean Gene Okerlund, leaving unstated what we were all thinking: The Animal may be there for dinner.

***

WRESTLERS as HILO HEROES: Hulk Hogan | Giant Haystacks | The Iron Sheik | The Rock | George “The Animal” Steele | King Kong Bundy | Junkyard Dog

On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Kool DJ Herc, Tristan Tzara, Kingsley Amis, Merce Cunningham.

READ MORE about members of the Anti-Anti-Utopian Generation (1934-43).

Uncategorized

Trailer: Munchies Guide to Oaxaca

Check out the official trailer for the Guide to Oaxaca I am hosting for MUNCHIES, the newly launched food channel at VICE. It's a quick taste of the five-part, hour-long series I recorded in November with colleagues Santiago F. and Guillermo A. from VICE México. Yes, I tried the turtle eggs. * Previously, "BBC: Mexico's youth culture explosion," "Video report: Tacos de guisado in Polanco."
Uncategorized

Trailer: Munchies Guide to Oaxaca

Check out the official trailer for the Guide to Oaxaca I am hosting for MUNCHIES, the newly launched food channel at VICE. It's a quick taste of the five-part, hour-long series I recorded in November with colleagues Santiago F. and Guillermo A. from VICE México. Yes, I tried the turtle eggs. * Previously, "BBC: Mexico's youth culture explosion," "Video report: Tacos de guisado in Polanco."
Uncategorized

Trailer: Munchies Guide to Oaxaca

Check out the official trailer for the Guide to Oaxaca I am hosting for MUNCHIES, the newly launched food channel at VICE. It's a quick taste of the five-part, hour-long series I recorded in November with colleagues Santiago F. and Guillermo A. from VICE México. Yes, I tried the turtle eggs. * Previously, "BBC: Mexico's youth culture explosion," "Video report: Tacos de guisado in Polanco."
Uncategorized

Catch-up

Really I have two committee reports to write by tomorrow morning, but the ritual throat-clearing at the computer before I start to type something more than minimally complicated often includes a catch-up light reading post....

Some YA paperbacks I picked up last time I was at the Bank Street Bookstore: Merrie Haskell, The Princess Curse; William Alexander, Goblin Secrets; Jasper Fforde, The Last Dragonslayer (very appealing series) and then on Kindle the next installment, The Song of the Quarkbeast.

An unmemorable novel by Alexander McCall Smith that I read only because it was set in Cayman, The Forever Girl; one new novel by Victoria Clayton, Stormy Weather, and then two I'd read before (they are delightful, their only flaw is that they are very much all the same as each other), Dance With Me and Out of Love; Ian McDonald, Out on Blue Six; and Jane Gardam, Old Filth. Not sure quite why I haven't read this and sequels already - am now halfway through the second installment.

OK, better get down to business here with report #1....
Uncategorized

Catch-up

Really I have two committee reports to write by tomorrow morning, but the ritual throat-clearing at the computer before I start to type something more than minimally complicated often includes a catch-up light reading post....

Some YA paperbacks I picked up last time I was at the Bank Street Bookstore: Merrie Haskell, The Princess Curse; William Alexander, Goblin Secrets; Jasper Fforde, The Last Dragonslayer (very appealing series) and then on Kindle the next installment, The Song of the Quarkbeast.

An unmemorable novel by Alexander McCall Smith that I read only because it was set in Cayman, The Forever Girl; one new novel by Victoria Clayton, Stormy Weather, and then two I'd read before (they are delightful, their only flaw is that they are very much all the same as each other), Dance With Me and Out of Love; Ian McDonald, Out on Blue Six; and Jane Gardam, Old Filth. Not sure quite why I haven't read this and sequels already - am now halfway through the second installment.

OK, better get down to business here with report #1....
Uncategorized

Catch-up

Really I have two committee reports to write by tomorrow morning, but the ritual throat-clearing at the computer before I start to type something more than minimally complicated often includes a catch-up light reading post....

Some YA paperbacks I picked up last time I was at the Bank Street Bookstore: Merrie Haskell, The Princess Curse; William Alexander, Goblin Secrets; Jasper Fforde, The Last Dragonslayer (very appealing series) and then on Kindle the next installment, The Song of the Quarkbeast.

An unmemorable novel by Alexander McCall Smith that I read only because it was set in Cayman, The Forever Girl; one new novel by Victoria Clayton, Stormy Weather, and then two I'd read before (they are delightful, their only flaw is that they are very much all the same as each other), Dance With Me and Out of Love; Ian McDonald, Out on Blue Six; and Jane Gardam, Old Filth. Not sure quite why I haven't read this and sequels already - am now halfway through the second installment.

OK, better get down to business here with report #1....
Uncategorized

April 15, 2014



April 15, 2014

Basically it has been all downhill since Abraham Lincoln died. Some declare that it was the John F. Kennedy assassination, but for me, it’s Lincoln’s death that has caused me a great deal of depression and regret.  Which is strange, because surely I wasn’t even alive when Lincoln died, but still, sentiment is sentiment and it’s hard to lose that feeling of disappointment.  Friends (the few I have) have commented that I’m such a sad boy, but in actuality I do find enjoyment in the little things in life, for instance I think back to my first real love, Lita.



We were briefly married, but it didn’t last long.  Mostly due that we didn’t share any interests, besides the sex.  When I married her, I was 35, and she was 16.  It caused a scandal at the time within our social world, but in my point of view, love is love, and it is really no one else’s business besides ours.  But alas, in our world, we don’t maintain on love alone.  When I first met her she was employed in the May Company make-up counter, and at the time, I was very much into the new romantic look, so I would shop for my make-up there.  The look I was going for was the Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Tramp’ look.  I didn’t have the mustache, but I did purchase this old suit and I carried a walking stick with me at all times.  When I walked around the make-up section, I felt like Alex from “A Clockwork Orange, ” with my cane resting on my shoulders as I peacefully paced around the area.



Lita showed me eye make-up, and when she got around the counter to my side of the world, I felt a charge when she applied the eye liner around my eyes.   I grabbed her hand and then asked her if she would go on a date with me.  She said yes, and I swear to God, I didn’t know her age at the time.  Her ability to wear make-up totally made her look older than her actual age, but still, my history shows that this is not the case.

I have not previously been comfortable with women within my age bracket.  I’m not sure why?  I think it may have to do with the way young people look at the world.  Some are sad, and most naively so. But for me the depression at my age is quite crippling, and this is one of the reasons why I was attracted to the presence of men wearing make-up.  I wanted to disguise my aging, or at the very least, have the ability to laugh at the cruelty of the aging process.  In my twenties, I never even thought about it, but once I reached thirty, it became a huge concern of mine.  Younger girls always were attracted to me, and it may be due to my interest in their culture.   But who knows?  I never seriously considered ‘why’ they would be interested in me.  I was only grateful that I got the attention that I desperately needed.



When we got married in Mexico I was concerned what her parents would think, but it seemed at the time that my new bride could care less what they thought, and that made me happy at that specific time.  Nevertheless, time caught up with us, and we realize that perhaps the marriage was a mistake.   I remember taking her to the Egptian theater to see Chaplin’s “Gold Rush, ” which by the way, has always been a favorite of mine. Since childhood, when I saw this film on a morning TV show, I developed a crush on his leading lady at the time.  It never left me that feeling, and it was after the screening that I told Lita that it is perhaps best for us to obtain a divorce.

As I sit down trying to work on a book about Lincoln, I am thinking back about our marriage, which surprises me that I don’t even have a photograph of Lita or any of the possessions that we or I owned at the time.  I gave her everything, and once the papers were signed I never saw her again.   As with the make-up, I still add a little rouge here and there, and in the night, once in bed, I do think of my health, or lack of it, as time marches on.
Uncategorized

Huntingtower (15)

buchan

Huntingtower was a departure for John Buchan. Published between the third and fourth of his tremendous Richard Hannay novels, the book’s protagonist is not a soldier-turned-spy, but instead a retired Scottish grocer who joins a quixotic effort to rescue a Russian noblewoman from Bolsheviks. Adventure literature exegetes agree that with this novel, Buchan was attempting to take the curse of irony off the word “adventure” — that is, to bring adventure into everyday life.

HiLobrow is pleased to serialize John Buchan’s Huntingtower, which was first published in 1922. A new installment will appear each week for sixteen weeks.

ALL INSTALLMENTS SO FAR

***

Chapter 15: The Gorbals Die-Hards Go into Action

We left Mr. McCunn, full of aches but desperately resolute in spirit, hobbling by the Auchenlochan road into the village of Dalquharter. His goal was Mrs. Morran’s hen-house, which was Thomas Yownie’s poste de commandement. The rain had come on again, and, though in other weather there would have been a slow twilight, already the shadow of night had the world in its grip. The sea even from the high ground was invisible, and all to westward and windward was a ragged screen of dark cloud. It was foul weather for foul deeds.

Thomas Yownie was not in the hen-house, but in Mrs. Morran’s kitchen, and with him were the pug-faced boy known as Old Bill, and the sturdy figure of Peter Paterson. But the floor was held by the hostess. She still wore her big boots, her petticoats were still kilted, and round her venerable head in lieu of a bonnet was drawn a tartan shawl.

“Eh, Dickson, but I’m blithe to see ye. And, puir man, ye’ve been sair mishandled. This is the awfu’est Sabbath day that ever you and me pit in. I hope it’ll be forgiven us…. Whaur’s the young leddy?”

“Dougal was saying she was in the House with Sir Archibald and the men from the Mains.”

“Wae’s me!” Mrs. Morran keened. “And what kind o’ place is yon for her? Thae laddies tell me there’s boatfu’s o’ scoondrels landit at the Garplefit. They’ll try the auld Tower, but they’ll no’ wait there when they find it toom, and they’ll be inside the Hoose in a jiffy and awa’ wi’ the puir lassie. Sirs, it maunna be. Ye’re lippenin’ to the polis, but in a’ my days I never kenned the polis in time. We maun be up and daein’ oorsels. Oh, if I could get a haud o’ that red-heided Dougal….”

As she spoke, there came on the wind the dull reverberation of an explosion.

“Keep us, what’s that?” she cried.

“It’s dinnymite,” said Peter Paterson.

“That’s the end o’ the auld Tower,” observed Thomas Yownie in his quiet even voice. “And it’s likely the end o’ the man Heritage.”

“Lord peety us!” the old woman wailed. “And us standin’ here like stookies and no’ liftin’ a hand. Awa’ wi’ ye, laddies, and dae something. Awa’ you too, Dickson, or I’ll tak’ the road mysel’.”

“I’ve got orders,” said the Chief of Staff, “no’ to move till the sityation’s clear. Napoleon’s up at the Tower and Jaikie in the policies. I maun wait on their reports.”

For a moment Mrs. Morran’s attention was distracted by Dickson, who suddenly felt very faint and sat down heavily on a kitchen chair. “Man, ye’re as white as a dish-clout,” she exclaimed with compunction. “Ye’re fair wore out, and ye’ll have had nae meat sin’ your breakfast. See, and I’ll get ye a cup o’ tea.”

She proved to be in the right, for as soon as Dickson had swallowed some mouthfuls of her strong scalding brew the colour came back to his cheeks, and he announced that he felt better. “Ye’ll fortify it wi’ a dram,” she told him, and produced a black bottle from her cupboard. “My father aye said that guid whiskey and het tea keepit the doctor’s gig oot o’ the close.”

The back door opened and Napoleon entered, his thin shanks blue with cold. He saluted and made his report in a voice shrill with excitement.

“The Tower has fallen. They’ve blown in the big door, and the feck o’ them’s inside.”

“And Mr. Heritage?” was Dickson’s anxious inquiry.

“When I last saw him he was up at a windy, shootin’. I think he’s gotten on to the roof. I wouldna wonder but the place is on fire.”

“Here, this is awful,” Dickson groaned. “We can’t let Mr. Heritage be killed that way. What strength is the enemy?”

“I counted twenty-seven, and there’s stragglers comin’ up from the boats.”

“And there’s me and you five laddies here, and Dougal and the others shut up in the House.” He stopped in sheer despair. It was a fix from which the most enlightened business mind showed no escape. Prudence, inventiveness were no longer in question; only some desperate course of violence.

“We must create a diversion,” he said. “I’m for the Tower, and you laddies must come with me. We’ll maybe see a chance. Oh, but I wish I had my wee pistol.”

“If ye’re gaun there, Dickson, I’m comin’ wi’ ye,” Mrs. Morran announced.

Her words revealed to Dickson the preposterousness of the whole situation, and for all his anxiety he laughed. “Five laddies, a middle-aged man and an auld wife,” he cried. “Dod, it’s pretty hopeless. It’s like the thing in the Bible about the weak things of the world trying to confound the strong.”

“The Bible’s whiles richt,” Mrs. Morran answered drily. “Come on, for there’s no time to lose.”

The door opened again to admit the figure of Wee Jaikie. There were no tears in his eyes, and his face was very white.

“They’re a’ round the Hoose,” he croaked. “I was up a tree forenent the verandy and seen them. The lassie ran oot and cried on them from the top o’ the brae, and they a’ turned and hunted her back. Gosh, but it was a near thing. I seen the Captain sklimmin’ the wall, and a muckle man took the lassie and flung her up the ladder. They got inside just in time and steekit the door, and now the whole pack is roarin’ round the Hoose seekin’ a road in. They’ll no’ be long over the job, neither.”

“What about Mr. Heritage?”

“They’re no’ heedin’ about him any more. The auld Tower’s bleezin’.”

“Worse and worse,” said Dickson. “If the police don’t come in the next ten minutes, they’ll be away with the Princess. They’ve beaten all Dougal’s plans, and it’s a straight fight with odds of six to one. It’s not possible.”

Mrs. Morran for the first time seemed to lose hope. “Eh, the puir lassie!” she wailed, and sinking on a chair covered her face with her shawl.

“Laddies, can you no’ think of a plan?” asked Dickson, his voice flat with despair.

Then Thomas Yownie spoke. So far he had been silent, but under his tangled thatch of hair, his mind had been busy. Jaikie’s report seemed to bring him to a decision.

“It’s gey dark,” he said, “and it’s gettin’ darker.”

There was that in his voice which promised something, and Dickson listened.

“The enemy’s mostly foreigners, but Dobson’s there and I think he’s a kind of guide to them. Dobson’s feared of the polis, and if we can terrify Dobson he’ll terrify the rest.”

“Ay, but where are the police?”

“They’re no’ here yet, but they’re comin’. The fear o’ them is aye in Dobson’s mind. If he thinks the polis has arrived, he’ll put the wind up the lot…. We maun be the polis.”

Dickson could only stare while the Chief of Staff unfolded his scheme. I do not know to whom the Muse of History will give the credit of the tactics of “infiltration” — whether to Ludendorff or von Hutier or some other proud captain of Germany, or to Foch, who revised and perfected them. But I know that the same notion was at this moment of crisis conceived by Thomas Yownie, whom no parents acknowledged, who slept usually in a coal cellar, and who had picked up his education among Gorbals closes and along the wharves of Clyde.

“It’s gettin’ dark,” he said, “and the enemy are that busy tryin’ to break into the Hoose that they’ll no’ be thinkin’ o’ their rear. The five o’ us Die-Hards is grand at dodgin’ and keepin’ out of sight, and what hinders us to get in among them, so that they’ll hear us but never see us? We’re used to the ways o’ the polis, and can imitate them fine. Forbye we’ve all got our whistles, which are the same as a bobbie’s birl, and Old Bill and Peter are grand at copyin’ a man’s voice. Since the Captain is shut up in the Hoose, the command falls to me, and that’s my plan.”

With a piece of chalk he drew on the kitchen floor a rough sketch of the environs of Huntingtower. Peter Paterson was to move from the shrubberies beyond the verandah, Napoleon from the stables, Old Bill from the Tower, while Wee Jaikie and Thomas himself were to advance as if from the Garplefoot, so that the enemy might fear for his communications. “As soon as one o’ ye gets into position he’s to gie the patrol cry, and when each o’ ye has heard five cries, he’s to advance. Begin birlin’ and roarin’ afore ye get among them, and keep it up till ye’re at the Hoose wall. If they’ve gotten inside, in ye go after them. I trust each Die-Hard to use his judgment, and above all to keep out o’ sight and no let himsel’ be grippit.”

The plan, like all great tactics, was simple, and no sooner was it expounded than it was put into action. The Die-Hards faded out of the kitchen like fog-wreaths, and Dickson and Mrs. Morran were left looking at each other. They did not look long. The bare feet of Wee Jaikie had not crossed the threshold fifty seconds, before they were followed by Mrs. Morran’s out-of-doors boots and Dickson’s tackets. Arm in arm the two hobbled down the back path behind the village which led to the South Lodge. The gate was unlocked, for the warder was busy elsewhere, and they hastened up the avenue. Far off Dickson thought he saw shapes fleeting across the park, which he took to be the shock-troops of his own side, and he seemed to hear snatches of song. Jaikie was giving tongue, and this was what he sang:

“Proley Tarians, arise!
Wave the Red Flag to the skies,
Heed nae mair the Fat Man’s lees,
Stap them doun his throat!
Nocht to loss except our chains,
We maun drain oor dearest veins —
A’ the worrld shall be our gains ——”

But he tripped over a rabbit wire and thereafter conserved his breath.

The wind was so loud that no sound reached them from the House, which blank and immense now loomed before them. Dickson’s ears were alert for the noise of shots or the dull crash of bombs; hearing nothing, he feared the worst, and hurried Mrs. Morran at a pace which endangered her life. He had no fear for himself, arguing that his foes were seeking higher game, and judging, too, that the main battle must be round the verandah at the other end. The two passed the shrubbery where the road forked, one path running to the back door and one to the stables. They took the latter and presently came out on the downs, with the ravine of the Garple on their left, the stables in front, and on the right the hollow of a formal garden running along the west side of the House.

The gale was so fierce, now that they had no wind-break between them and the ocean, that Mrs. Morran could wrestle with it no longer, and found shelter in the lee of a clump of rhododendrons. Darkness had all but fallen, and the house was a black shadow against the dusky sky, while a confused greyness marked the sea. The old Tower showed a tooth of masonry; there was no glow from it, so the fire, which Jaikie had reported, must have died down. A whaup cried loudly, and very eerily: then another.

The birds stirred up Mrs. Morran. “That’s the laddies’ patrol,” she gasped. “Count the cries, Dickson.”

Another bird wailed, this time very near. Then there was perhaps three minutes’ silence, till a fainter wheeple came from the direction of the Tower. “Four,” said Dickson, but he waited in vain on the fifth. He had not the acute hearing of the boys, and could not catch the faint echo of Peter Paterson’s signal beyond the verandah. The next he heard was a shrill whistle cutting into the wind, and then others in rapid succession from different quarters, and something which might have been the hoarse shouting of angry men.

The Gorbals Die-Hards had gone into action.

Dull prose is no medium to tell of that wild adventure. The sober sequence of the military historian is out of place in recording deeds that knew not sequence or sobriety. Were I a bard, I would cast this tale in excited verse, with a lilt which would catch the speed of the reality. I would sing of Napoleon, not unworthy of his great namesake, who penetrated to the very window of the ladies’ bedroom, where the framework had been driven in and men were pouring through; of how there he made such pandemonium with his whistle that men tumbled back and ran about blindly seeking for guidance; of how in the long run his pugnacity mastered him, so that he engaged in combat with an unknown figure and the two rolled into what had once been a fountain. I would hymn Peter Paterson, who across tracts of darkness engaged Old Bill in a conversation which would have done no discredit to a Gallogate policeman. He pretended to be making reports and seeking orders. “We’ve gotten three o’ the deevils, sir. What’ll we dae wi’ them?” he shouted; and back would come the reply in a slightly more genteel voice: “Fall them to the rear. Tamson has charge of the prisoners.” Or it would be: “They’ve gotten pistols, sir. What’s the orders?” and the answer would be: “Stick to your batons. The guns are posted on the knowe, so we needn’t hurry.” And over all the din there would be a perpetual whistling and a yelling of “Hands up!”

I would sing, too, of Wee Jaikie, who was having the red-letter hour of his life. His fragile form moved like a lizard in places where no mortal could be expected, and he varied his duties with impish assaults upon the persons of such as came in his way. His whistle blew in a man’s ear one second and the next yards away. Sometimes he was moved to song, and unearthly fragments of “Class-conscious we are” or “Proley Tarians, arise!” mingled with the din, like the cry of seagulls in a storm. He saw a bright light flare up within the house which warned him not to enter, but he got as far as the garden-room, in whose dark corners he made havoc. Indeed he was almost too successful, for he created panic where he went, and one or two fired blindly at the quarter where he had last been heard. These shots were followed by frenzied prohibitions from Spidel and were not repeated. Presently he felt that aimless surge of men that is the prelude to flight, and heard Dobson’s great voice roaring in the hall. Convinced that the crisis had come, he made his way outside, prepared to harass the rear of any retirement. Tears now flowed down his face, and he could not have spoken for sobs, but he had never been so happy.

But chiefly would I celebrate Thomas Yownie, for it was he who brought fear into the heart of Dobson. He had a voice of singular compass, and from the verandah he made it echo round the House. The efforts of Old Bill and Peter Paterson had been skilful indeed, but those of Thomas Yownie were deadly. To some leader beyond he shouted news: “Robison’s just about finished wi’ his lot, and then he’ll get the boats.” A furious charge upset him, and for a moment he thought he had been discovered. But it was only Dobson rushing to Léon, who was leading the men in the doorway. Thomas fled to the far end of the verandah, and again lifted up his voice. “All foreigners,” he shouted, “except the man Dobson. Ay. Ay. Ye’ve got Loudon? Well done!”

It must have been this last performance which broke Dobson’s nerve and convinced him that the one hope lay in a rapid retreat to the Garplefoot. There was a tumbling of men in the doorway, a muttering of strange tongues, and the vision of the innkeeper shouting to Léon and Spidel. For a second he was seen in the faint reflection that the light in the hall cast as far as the verandah, a wild figure urging the retreat with a pistol clapped to the head of those who were too confused by the hurricane of events to grasp the situation. Some of them dropped over the wall, but most huddled like sheep through the door on the west side, a jumble of struggling, panic-stricken mortality. Thomas Yownie, staggered at the success of his tactics, yet kept his head and did his utmost to confuse the retreat, and the triumphant shouts and whistles of the other Die-Hards showed that they were not unmindful of this final duty….

The verandah was empty, and he was just about to enter the House, when through the west door came a figure, breathing hard and bent apparently on the same errand. Thomas prepared for battle, determined that no straggler of the enemy should now wrest from him victory, but, as the figure came into the faint glow at the doorway, he recognised it as Heritage. And at the same moment he heard something which made his tense nerves relax. Away on the right came sounds, a thud of galloping horses on grass and the jingle of bridle reins and the voices of men. It was the real thing at last. It is a sad commentary on his career, but now for the first time in his brief existence Thomas Yownie felt charitably disposed towards the police.

The Poet, since we left him blaspheming on the roof of the Tower, had been having a crowded hour of most inglorious life. He had started to descend at a furious pace, and his first misadventure was that he stumbled and dropped Dickson’s pistol over the parapet. He tried to mark where it might have fallen in the gloom below, and this lost him precious minutes. When he slithered through the trap into the attic room, where he had tried to hold up the attack, he discovered that it was full of smoke which sought in vain to escape by the narrow window. Volumes of it were pouring up the stairs, and when he attempted to descend he found himself choked and blinded. He rushed gasping to the window, filled his lungs with fresh air, and tried again, but he got no further than the first turn, from which he could see through the cloud red tongues of flame in the ground room. This was solemn indeed, so he sought another way out. He got on the roof, for he remembered a chimney-stack, cloaked with ivy, which was built straight from the ground, and he thought he might climb down it.

He found the chimney and began the descent, confidently, for he had once borne a good reputation at the Montanvert and Cortina. At first all went well, for stones stuck out at decent intervals like the rungs of a ladder, and roots of ivy supplemented their deficiencies. But presently he came to a place where the masonry had crumbled into a cave, and left a gap some twenty feet high. Below it he could dimly see a thick mass of ivy which would enable him to cover the further forty feet to the ground, but at that cave he stuck most finally. All round the lime and stone had lapsed into debris, and he could find no safe foothold. Worse still, the block on which he relied proved loose, and only by a dangerous traverse did he avert disaster.

There he hung for a minute or two, with a cold void in his stomach. He had always distrusted the handiwork of man as a place to scramble on, and now he was planted in the dark on a decomposing wall, with an excellent chance of breaking his neck, and with the most urgent need for haste. He could see the windows of the House and, since he was sheltered from the gale, he could hear the faint sound of blows on woodwork. There was clearly the devil to pay there, and yet here he was helplessly stuck…. Setting his teeth, he started to ascend again. Better the fire than this cold breakneck emptiness.

It took him the better part of half an hour to get back, and he passed through many moments of acute fear. Footholds which had seemed secure enough in the descent now proved impossible, and more than once he had his heart in his mouth when a rotten ivy stump or a wedge of stone gave in his hands, and dropped dully into the pit of night, leaving him crazily spread-eagled. When at last he reached the top he rolled on his back and felt very sick. Then, as he realised his safety, his impatience revived. At all costs he would force his way out though he should be grilled like a herring.

The smoke was less thick in the attic, and with his handkerchief wet with the rain and bound across his mouth he made a dash for the ground room. It was as hot as a furnace, for everything inflammable in it seemed to have caught fire, and the lumber glowed in piles of hot ashes. But the floor and walls were stone, and only the blazing jambs of the door stood between him and the outer air. He had burned himself considerably as he stumbled downwards, and the pain drove him to a wild leap through the broken arch, where he miscalculated the distance, charred his shins, and brought down a red-hot fragment of the lintel on his head. But the thing was done, and a minute later he was rolling like a dog in the wet bracken to cool his burns and put out various smouldering patches on his raiment.

Then he started running for the House, but, confused by the darkness, he bore too much to the north, and came out in the side avenue from which he and Dickson had reconnoitred on the first evening. He saw on the right a glow in the verandah which, as we know, was the reflection of the flare in the hall, and he heard a babble of voices. But he heard something more, for away on his left was the sound which Thomas Yownie was soon to hear — the trampling of horses. It was the police at last, and his task was to guide them at once to the critical point of action…. Three minutes later a figure like a scarecrow was admonishing a bewildered sergeant, while his hands plucked feverishly at a horse’s bridle.

It is time to return to Dickson in his clump of rhododendrons. Tragically aware of his impotence he listened to the tumult of the Die-Hards, hopeful when it was loud, despairing when there came a moment’s lull, while Mrs. Morran like a Greek chorus drew loudly upon her store of proverbial philosophy and her memory of Scripture texts. Twice he tried to reconnoitre towards the scene of battle, but only blundered into sunken plots and pits in the Dutch garden. Finally he squatted beside Mrs. Morran, lit his pipe, and took a firm hold on his patience.

It was not tested for long. Presently he was aware that a change had come over the scene — that the Die-Hards’ whistles and shouts were being drowned in another sound, the cries of panicky men. Dobson’s bellow was wafted to him. “Auntie Phemie,” he shouted, “the innkeeper’s getting rattled. Dod, I believe they’re running.” For at that moment twenty paces on his left the van of the retreat crashed through the creepers on the garden’s edge and leaped the wall that separated it from the cliffs of the Garplefoot.

The old woman was on her feet.

“God be thankit, is’t the polis?”

“Maybe. Maybe no’. But they’re running.”

Another bunch of men raced past, and he heard Dobson’s voice.

“I tell you, they’re broke. Listen, it’s horses. Ay, it’s the police, but it was the Die-Hards that did the job…. Here! They mustn’t escape. Have the police had the sense to send men to the Garplefoot?”

Mrs. Morran, a figure like an ancient prophetess, with her tartan shawl lashing in the gale, clutched him by the shoulder.

“Doun to the waterside and stop them. Ye’ll no’ be beat by wee laddies! On wi’ ye and I’ll follow! There’s gaun to be a juidgment on evil-doers this nicht.”

Dickson needed no urging. His heart was hot within him, and the weariness and stiffness had gone from his limbs. He, too, tumbled over the wall, and made for what he thought was the route by which he had originally ascended from the stream. As he ran he made ridiculous efforts to cry like a whaup in the hope of summoning the Die-Hards. One, indeed, he found — Napoleon, who had suffered a grievous pounding in the fountain and had only escaped by an eel-like agility which had aforetime served him in good stead with the law of his native city. Lucky for Dickson was the meeting, for he had forgotten the road and would certainly have broken his neck. Led by the Die-Hard he slid forty feet over screes and boiler-plates, with the gale plucking at him, found a path, lost it, and then tumbled down a raw bank of earth to the flat ground beside the harbour. During all this performance, he has told me, he had no thought of fear, nor any clear notion what he meant to do. He just wanted to be in at the finish of the job.

Through the narrow entrance the gale blew as through a funnel, and the usually placid waters of the harbour were a mass of angry waves. Two boats had been launched and were plunging furiously, and on one of them a lantern dipped and fell. By its light he could see men holding a further boat by the shore. There was no sign of the police; he reflected that probably they had become tangled in the Garple Dean. The third boat was waiting for some one.

Dickson — a new Ajax by the ships — divined who this some one must be and realised his duty. It was the leader, the arch-enemy, the man whose escape must at all costs be stopped. Perhaps he had the Princess with him, thus snatching victory from apparent defeat. In any case he must be tackled, and a fierce anxiety gripped his heart. “Aye finish a job,” he told himself, and peered up into the darkness of the cliffs, wondering just how he should set about it, for except in the last few days he had never engaged in combat with a fellow-creature.

“When he comes, you grip his legs,” he told Napoleon, “and get him down. He’ll have a pistol, and we’re done if he’s on his feet.”

There was a cry from the boats, a shout of guidance, and the light on the water was waved madly. “They must have good eyesight,” thought Dickson, for he could see nothing. And then suddenly he was aware of steps in front of him, and a shape like a man rising out of the void at his left hand.

In the darkness Napoleon missed his tackle, and the full shock came on Dickson. He aimed at what he thought was the enemy’s throat, found only an arm and was shaken off as a mastiff might shake off a toy terrier. He made another clutch, fell, and in falling caught his opponent’s leg so that he brought him down. The man was immensely agile, for he was up in a second and something hot and bright blew into Dickson’s face. The pistol bullet had passed through the collar of his faithful waterproof, slightly singeing his neck. But it served its purpose, for Dickson paused, gasping, to consider where he had been hit, and before he could resume the chase the last boat had pushed off into deep water.

To be shot at from close quarters is always irritating, and the novelty of the experience increased Dickson’s natural wrath. He fumed on the shore like a deerhound when the stag has taken to the sea. So hot was his blood that he would have cheerfully assaulted the whole crew had they been within his reach. Napoleon, who had been incapacitated for speed by having his stomach and bare shanks savagely trampled upon, joined him, and together they watched the bobbing black specks as they crawled out of the estuary into the grey spindrift which marked the harbour mouth.

But as he looked the wrath died out of Dickson’s soul. For he saw that the boats had indeed sailed on a desperate venture, and that a pursuer was on their track more potent than his breathless middle-age. The tide was on the ebb, and the gale was driving the Atlantic breakers shoreward, and in the jaws of the entrance the two waters met in an unearthly turmoil. Above the noise of the wind came the roar of the flooded Garple and the fret of the harbour, and far beyond all the crashing thunder of the conflict at the harbour mouth. Even in the darkness, against the still faintly grey western sky, the spume could be seen rising like waterspouts. But it was the ear rather than the eye which made certain presage of disaster. No boat could face the challenge of that loud portal.

As Dickson struggled against the wind and stared, his heart melted and a great awe fell upon him. He may have wept; it is certain that he prayed. “Poor souls, poor souls!” he repeated. “I doubt the last hour or two has been a poor preparation for eternity.”

The tide next day brought the dead ashore. Among them was a young man, different in dress and appearance from the rest — a young man with a noble head and a finely-cut classic face, which was not marred like the others from pounding among the Garple rocks. His dark hair was washed back from his brow, and the mouth, which had been hard in life, was now relaxed in the strange innocence of death.

Dickson gazed at the body and observed that there was a slight deformation between the shoulders.

“Poor fellow,” he said. “That explains a lot…. As my father used to say, cripples have a right to be cankered.”

NEXT INSTALLMENT | ALL INSTALLMENTS SO FAR

***

READ GORGEOUS PAPERBACKS: HiLoBooks has reissued the following 10 obscure but amazing Radium Age science fiction novels in beautiful print editions: Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague, Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail (and “As Easy as A.B.C.”), Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Poison Belt, H. Rider Haggard’s When the World Shook, Edward Shanks’ The People of the Ruins, William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land, J.D. Beresford’s Goslings, E.V. Odle’s The Clockwork Man, Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage, and Muriel Jaeger’s The Man with Six Senses. For more information, visit the HiLoBooks homepage.

REDISCOVERED BY HILOBOOKS: Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague | Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail (and “As Easy as A.B.C.”) | Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Poison Belt | H. Rider Haggard’s When the World Shook | Edward Shanks’ The People of the Ruins | William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land | J.D. Beresford’s Goslings | E.V. Odle’s The Clockwork Man | Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage | Muriel Jaeger’s The Man With Six Senses | Jack London’s “The Red One” | Philip Francis Nowlan’s Armageddon 2419 A.D. | Homer Eon Flint’s The Devolutionist | W.E.B. DuBois’s “The Comet” | Edgar Rice Burroughs’s The Moon Men | Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland | Sax Rohmer’s “The Zayat Kiss” | Eimar O’Duffy’s King Goshawk and the Birds | Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Lost Prince | John Buchan’s Huntingtower

ORIGINAL FICTION: HiLobrow has serialized three novels: James Parker’s The Ballad of Cocky The Fox (“a proof-of-concept that serialization can work on the Internet” — The Atlantic); Karinne Keithley Syers’s Linda Linda Linda (which includes original music); and Robert Waldron’s roman à clef The School on the Fens. We also publish original stories and comics. These include: Matthew Battles’s stories “Gita Nova“, “Makes the Man,” “Imago,” “Camera Lucida,” “A Simple Message”, “Children of the Volcano”, “The Gnomon”, “Billable Memories”, “For Provisional Description of Superficial Features”, “The Dogs in the Trees”, “The Sovereignties of Invention”, and “Survivor: The Island of Dr. Moreau”; several of these later appeared in the collection The Sovereignties of Invention | Peggy Nelson’s “Mood Indigo“, “Top Kill Fail“, and “Mercerism” | Annalee Newitz’s “The Great Oxygen Race” | Charlie Mitchell’s “A Fantasy Land” | Joshua Glenn’s “The Lawless One”, and the mashup story “Zarathustra vs. Swamp Thing” | Adam McGovern and Paolo Leandri’s Idoru Jones comics | John Holbo’s “Sugarplum Squeampunk” | “Another Corporate Death” (1) and “Another Corporate Death” (2) by Mike Fleisch | Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer and Frank Fiorentino’s graphic novel “The Song of Otto” (excerpt) | “Manoj” and “Josh” by Vijay Balakrishnan | “Verge” by Chris Rossi, and his audio novel Low Priority Hero | EPIC WINS: THE ILIAD (1.408-415) by Flourish Klink | EPIC WINS: THE KALEVALA (3.1-278) by James Parker | EPIC WINS: THE ARGONAUTICA (2.815-834) by Joshua Glenn | EPIC WINS: THE MYTH OF THE ELK by Matthew Battles | TROUBLED SUPERHUMAN CONTEST: Charles Pappas, “The Law” | CATASTROPHE CONTEST: Timothy Raymond, “Hem and the Flood” | TELEPATHY CONTEST: Rachel Ellis Adams, “Fatima, Can You Hear Me?” | OIL SPILL CONTEST: A.E. Smith, “Sound Thinking | LITTLE NEMO CAPTION CONTEST: Joe Lyons, “Necronomicon” | SPOOKY-KOOKY CONTEST: Tucker Cummings, “Well Marbled” | INVENT-A-HERO CONTEST: TG Gibbon, “The Firefly” | FANFICTION CONTEST: Lyette Mercier’s “Sex and the Single Superhero”

Uncategorized

messytimetravel: The Sentinel



messytimetravel:

The Sentinel

Uncategorized

Self-promotional

This Kirkus review of the style book gives a slightly inaccurate impression that I basically just go through saying whether things are good or bad!
Uncategorized

See If You Can Spot Your Local News Anchor In Conan’s Latest…



See If You Can Spot Your Local News Anchor In Conan’s Latest Recycled Joke Supercut: Holiday Edition «, via Marko T.

Uncategorized

Cocktail Recipe: White Star

What better way to commemorate the sinking of the Titanic (102 years ago today) than with a celebratory cocktail? Fear not, we at HiLobrow are here to serve. Both the Hi and Lo versions of the White Star are unsinkable, party-wise.

champagne

Ingredients:

Sugar cube
Edible gold leaf flakes
2-3 dashes bitters
1/2 oz. cognac
Several ozs. fine champagne

Instructions (first class ticket):

Dust glass with edible gold flakes. Place sugar cube in glass. Drop bitters on cube, and add the cognac. Finally, fill the glass with your finest vintage champagne. Toast to YOLO while the band plays on.

Best served over a single jagged block of ice.

Instructions (third class ticket):

Champagne taste on a steerage budget? Substitute malt liquor in a red solo cup. Bottoms up!

***

Other HiLobrow cocktail recipes.

More posts by Peggy Nelson.

Uncategorized

stunningpicture: This is the first picture I was given of my…



stunningpicture:

This is the first picture I was given of my unborn son

Uncategorized

looks a little like a distressed daguerreotype



looks a little like a distressed daguerreotype

Uncategorized

Discards

How not to make a graphic novel.
Uncategorized

Discards

How not to make a graphic novel.
Uncategorized

“Horror’s my default setting”

Carolyn Kellogg interviews Stephen Graham Jones for the LA Times.
Uncategorized

IIB

Funny gene names. (Via BoingBoing.)
Uncategorized

April 14, 2014



April 14, 2014

I haven’t mentioned this to anyone, but it seems I’m a sleepwalker.   For the past two years, and this happens maybe twice a year, so we’re talking about at least four times, I found myself getting out of bed sometime in the dead of night, and walking down my hill to Astro diner on Fletcher where it meets Glendale boulevard.   I have no memory of this, but I did talk to people who had witnessed me in this state.



It seems I do the same thing all the time.  I either go into the counter and sit, with a daze look over my eyes, or even worst, I tend to sit down at a booth when it is either full of people, or just two people in the area.  I have been made aware that I always go to the same seat.  One time at the counter, I was trying to sit on a seat that is already occupied by a customer.  It seemed that I was trying to sit on his lap.  Or if it is in a booth, I basically sat down and pushed the other person aside.  Either way one looks at this, I tend to go into a booth that is full of police officers from the K9 unit. Not once have they woke me up, and they just usually contact the management there.  The odd thing is I never woke up.   The waitress who works at Astro, knows me slightly and she also knows where I live.   The only saving grace is that my wife notices when I’m gone, and comes after me to take me home.  She then directs me back to bed, and then I sleep normally.  By morning, when I woke up, I have no memory of the previous night walk.



Freud once commented that sleepwalking is fulfilling sexual wishes or at the very least, a desire to go to sleep in the same area as the individual slept in childhood.  As far as I know, I never slept at Astro’s diner as a child, and my first visit there was as a teenager.  But alas, that’s not true!  My mom told me yesterday that we as a family used to go to Astro’s a lot, and mostly in the late evening.   As a child, I would always fall asleep there after eating an apple pie and then laid my head on my mom’s lap.  My mom indicated to me that it was a real pain to wake me up from my nap at Astro’s, that they finally decided that maybe it isn’t a great idea to take me there in the late evening.  Nevertheless, I have no memory of any of this.  What my memory tells me is that I went there as a teenager, and I had for sure had a strong crush on one of the waitresses there.  She was much older than me, and there wasn’t a chance in hell, that I could get anywhere near her, except to order another cup of coffee.   But going there as a teen for the purpose of seeing her, did cause me a sense of dread, anxiety, and excitement all in one package.


Of course she doesn’t work there anymore, and I (in my waking hours) go there maybe once a month for a Sunday breakfast, but still, that sense of disappointment has stayed with me for many years.  In fact, it is so disturbing to me that I try not to think about it.
Uncategorized

Photo



Uncategorized

Collectible plush toys sold separately. myjetpack: My book of…



Collectible plush toys sold separately.

myjetpack:

My book of cartoons ‘You’re All Just Jealous of my Jetpack’ is available now:
US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1770461043
UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1770461043
Other stockists and info at www.tomgauld.com

Uncategorized

grapnel: Christina Raines in The Sentinel – 1977.



grapnel:

Christina Raines in The Sentinel - 1977.

Uncategorized

marswiggles: Right Mastcam, Sol 540 “Stereoscopic wiggle GIFs…



marswiggles:

Right Mastcam, Sol 540

"Stereoscopic wiggle GIFs of Mars from Curiosity Rover, animated from MSL raw imagery by brownpau"

Uncategorized

File X (24)

Here’s another vintage paperback whose title includes a free-standing “X.”

Click here to view my entire collection; and click here to peruse the Collector’s Guide.

planet x

Planet X (1951), by Gill Hunt.

According to L.W. Currey: “The Galactic Spacial Police Patrol pursues a space pirate to a distant planet where unpleasant, hostile alien life forms are encountered. Space opera in the worst boys’ fiction tradition.”

*

MORE LIT LISTS FROM THIS AUTHOR: Index to All Adventure Lists | Best 19th Century Adventure (1805–1903) | Best Nineteen-Oughts Adventure (1904–13) | Best Nineteen-Teens Adventure (1914–23) | Best Twenties Adventure (1924–33) | Best Thirties Adventure (1934–43) | Best Forties Adventure (1944–53) | Best Fifties Adventure (1954–63) | Best Sixties Adventure (1964–73) | Best Seventies Adventure (1974–83) | 101 Science Fiction | 70 Crime | 65 Fantasy | 60 Espionage | 40 Atavistic & Historical | 25 Frontier & Western | 20 Avenger & Artful Dodger | 20 Apophenic & Treasure Hunt | 20 War & Ruritanian | 18 Picaresque | 11 Robinsonade & Survival. ALSO: Best YA Fiction of 1963 | Best Older Kids’ Lit 1964 | 10 Best 1964 Adventures | Best Scottish Fabulists | Radium-Age Telepath Lit | Radium Age Superman Lit | Radium Age Robot Lit | Radium Age Apocalypse Lit | Radium Age Eco-Catastrophe Lit | Radium Age Cover Art (1) | SF’s Best Year Ever: 1912 | Cold War “X” Fic | Best YA Sci-Fi | Hooker Lit | No-Fault Eco-Catastrophe Lit | Scrabble Lit |

Uncategorized

The Lost Prince (15)

lost-prince

Frances Hodgson Burnett is best known for her sentimental children’s novels Little Lord Fauntleroy (1885-6), A Little Princess (1905), and The Secret Garden (1911). But HiLoBooks prefers a later Burnett novel: The Lost Prince, a 1915 Ruritanian-style thriller in which two adolescent boys, one of whom is a disabled street urchin called “The Rat,” play a proto-Alternate Reality Game about a revolution in far-off Samavia… which turns into the real thing.

HiLobrow is pleased to serialize The Lost Prince, our first departure from Radium Age science fiction — into adventure fiction. A new installment will appear each week for thirty-one weeks.

ALL INSTALLMENTS SO FAR

***

Chapter 15: A Sound in a Dream

Marco slept peacefully for several hours. There was nothing to awaken him during that time. But at the end of it, his sleep was penetrated by a definite sound. He had dreamed of hearing a voice at a distance, and, as he tried in his dream to hear what it said, a brief metallic ringing sound awakened him outright. It was over by the time he was fully conscious, and at once he realized that the voice of his dream had been a real one, and was speaking still. It was the Lovely Person’s voice, and she was speaking rapidly, as if she were in the greatest haste. She was speaking through the door.

“You will have to search for it,” was all he heard. “I have not a moment!” And, as he listened to her hurriedly departing feet, there came to him with their hastening echoes the words, “You are too good for the cellar. I like you!”

He sprang to the door and tried it, but it was still locked. The feet ran up the cellar steps and through the upper hall, and the front door closed with a bang. The two people had gone away, as they had threatened. The voice had been excited as well as hurried. Something had happened to frighten them, and they had left the house in great haste.

Marco turned and stood with his back against the door. The cat had awakened and she was gazing at him with her green eyes. She began to purr encouragingly. She really helped Marco to think. He was thinking with all his might and trying to remember.

“What did she come for? She came for something,” he said to himself. “What did she say? I only heard part of it, because I was asleep. The voice in the dream was part of it. The part I heard was, ‘You will have to search for it. I have not a moment.’ And as she ran down the passage, she called back, ‘You are too good for the cellar. I like you.’” He said the words over and over again and tried to recall exactly how they had sounded, and also to recall the voice which had seemed to be part of a dream but had been a real thing. Then he began to try his favorite experiment. As he often tried the experiment of commanding his mind to go to sleep, so he frequently experimented on commanding it to work for him — to help him to remember, to understand, and to argue about things clearly.

“Reason this out for me,” he said to it now, quite naturally and calmly. “Show me what it means.”

What did she come for? It was certain that she was in too great a hurry to be able, without a reason, to spare the time to come. What was the reason? She had said she liked him. Then she came because she liked him. If she liked him, she came to do something which was not unfriendly. The only good thing she could do for him was something which would help him to get out of the cellar. She had said twice that he was too good for the cellar. If he had been awake, he would have heard all she said and have understood what she wanted him to do or meant to do for him. He must not stop even to think of that. The first words he had heard — what had they been? They had been less clear to him than her last because he had heard them only as he was awakening. But he thought he was sure that they had been, “You will have to search for it.” Search for it. For what? He thought and thought. What must he search for?

He sat down on the floor of the cellar and held his head in his hands, pressing his eyes so hard that curious lights floated before them.

“Tell me! Tell me!” he said to that part of his being which the Buddhist anchorite had said held all knowledge and could tell a man everything if he called upon it in the right spirit.

And in a few minutes, he recalled something which seemed so much a part of his sleep that he had not been sure that he had not dreamed it. The ringing sound! He sprang up on his feet with a little gasping shout. The ringing sound! It had been the ring of metal, striking as it fell. Anything made of metal might have sounded like that. She had thrown something made of metal into the cellar. She had thrown it through the slit in the bricks near the door. She liked him, and said he was too good for his prison. She had thrown to him the only thing which could set him free. She had thrown him the key of the cellar!

For a few minutes the feelings which surged through him were so full of strong excitement that they set his brain in a whirl. He knew what his father would say — that would not do. If he was to think, he must hold himself still and not let even joy overcome him. The key was in the black little cellar, and he must find it in the dark. Even the woman who liked him enough to give him a chance of freedom knew that she must not open the door and let him out. There must be a delay. He would have to find the key himself, and it would be sure to take time. The chances were that they would be at a safe enough distance before he could get out.

“I will kneel down and crawl on my hands and knees,” he said.

“I will crawl back and forth and go over every inch of the floor with my hands until I find it. If I go over every inch, I shall find it.”

So he kneeled down and began to crawl, and the cat watched him and purred.

“We shall get out, Puss-cat,” he said to her. “I told you we should.”

He crawled from the door to the wall at the side of the shelves, and then he crawled back again. The key might be quite a small one, and it was necessary that he should pass his hands over every inch, as he had said. The difficulty was to be sure, in the darkness, that he did not miss an inch. Sometimes he was not sure enough, and then he went over the ground again. He crawled backward and forward, and he crawled forward and backward. He crawled crosswise and lengthwise, he crawled diagonally, and he crawled round and round. But he did not find the key. If he had had only a little light, but he had none. He was so absorbed in his search that he did not know he had been engaged in it for several hours, and that it was the middle of the night. But at last he realized that he must stop for a rest, because his knees were beginning to feel bruised, and the skin of his hands was sore as a result of the rubbing on the flags. The cat and her kittens had gone to sleep and awakened again two or three times.

“But it is somewhere!” he said obstinately. “It is inside the cellar. I heard something fall which was made of metal. That was the ringing sound which awakened me.”

When he stood up, he found his body ached and he was very tired. He stretched himself and exercised his arms and legs.

“I wonder how long I have been crawling about,” he thought. “But the key is in the cellar. It is in the cellar.”

He sat down near the cat and her family, and, laying his arm on the shelf above her, rested his head on it. He began to think of another experiment.

“I am so tired, I believe I shall go to sleep again. ‘Thought which Knows All’” — he was quoting something the hermit had said to Loristan in their midnight talk — “Thought which Knows All! Show me this little thing. Lead me to it when I awake.”

And he did fall asleep, sound and fast.

He did not know that he slept all the rest of the night. But he did. When he awakened, it was daylight in the streets, and the milk-carts were beginning to jingle about, and the early postmen were knocking big double-knocks at front doors. The cat may have heard the milk-carts, but the actual fact was that she herself was hungry and wanted to go in search of food. Just as Marco lifted his head from his arm and sat up, she jumped down from her shelf and went to the door. She had expected to find it ajar as it had been before. When she found it shut, she scratched at it and was disturbed to find this of no use. Because she knew Marco was in the cellar, she felt she had a friend who would assist her, and she miauled appealingly.

This reminded Marco of the key.

“I will when I have found it,” he said. “It is inside the cellar.”

The cat miauled again, this time very anxiously indeed. The kittens heard her and began to squirm and squeak piteously.

“Lead me to this little thing,” said Marco, as if speaking to Something in the darkness about him, and he got up.

He put his hand out toward the kittens, and it touched something lying not far from them. It must have been lying near his elbow all night while he slept.

It was the key! It had fallen upon the shelf, and not on the floor at all.

Marco picked it up and then stood still a moment. He made the sign of the cross.

Then he found his way to the door and fumbled until he found the keyhole and got the key into it. Then he turned it and pushed the door open — and the cat ran out into the passage before him.

NEXT INSTALLMENT | ALL INSTALLMENTS SO FAR

***

READ GORGEOUS PAPERBACKS: HiLoBooks has reissued the following 10 obscure but amazing Radium Age science fiction novels in beautiful print editions: Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague, Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail (and “As Easy as A.B.C.”), Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Poison Belt, H. Rider Haggard’s When the World Shook, Edward Shanks’ The People of the Ruins, William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land, J.D. Beresford’s Goslings, E.V. Odle’s The Clockwork Man, Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage, and Muriel Jaeger’s The Man with Six Senses. For more information, visit the HiLoBooks homepage.

REDISCOVERED BY HILOBOOKS: Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague | Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail (and “As Easy as A.B.C.”) | Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Poison Belt | H. Rider Haggard’s When the World Shook | Edward Shanks’ The People of the Ruins | William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land | J.D. Beresford’s Goslings | E.V. Odle’s The Clockwork Man | Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage | Muriel Jaeger’s The Man With Six Senses | Jack London’s “The Red One” | Philip Francis Nowlan’s Armageddon 2419 A.D. | Homer Eon Flint’s The Devolutionist | W.E.B. DuBois’s “The Comet” | Edgar Rice Burroughs’s The Moon Men | Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland | Sax Rohmer’s “The Zayat Kiss” | Eimar O’Duffy’s King Goshawk and the Birds | Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Lost Prince | John Buchan’s Huntingtower

ORIGINAL FICTION: HiLobrow has serialized three novels: James Parker’s The Ballad of Cocky The Fox (“a proof-of-concept that serialization can work on the Internet” — The Atlantic); Karinne Keithley Syers’s Linda Linda Linda (which includes original music); and Robert Waldron’s roman à clef The School on the Fens. We also publish original stories and comics. These include: Matthew Battles’s stories “Gita Nova“, “Makes the Man,” “Imago,” “Camera Lucida,” “A Simple Message”, “Children of the Volcano”, “The Gnomon”, “Billable Memories”, “For Provisional Description of Superficial Features”, “The Dogs in the Trees”, “The Sovereignties of Invention”, and “Survivor: The Island of Dr. Moreau”; several of these later appeared in the collection The Sovereignties of Invention | Peggy Nelson’s “Mood Indigo“, “Top Kill Fail“, and “Mercerism” | Annalee Newitz’s “The Great Oxygen Race” | Charlie Mitchell’s “A Fantasy Land” | Joshua Glenn’s “The Lawless One”, and the mashup story “Zarathustra vs. Swamp Thing” | Adam McGovern and Paolo Leandri’s Idoru Jones comics | John Holbo’s “Sugarplum Squeampunk” | “Another Corporate Death” (1) and “Another Corporate Death” (2) by Mike Fleisch | Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer and Frank Fiorentino’s graphic novel “The Song of Otto” (excerpt) | “Manoj” and “Josh” by Vijay Balakrishnan | “Verge” by Chris Rossi, and his audio novel Low Priority Hero | EPIC WINS: THE ILIAD (1.408-415) by Flourish Klink | EPIC WINS: THE KALEVALA (3.1-278) by James Parker | EPIC WINS: THE ARGONAUTICA (2.815-834) by Joshua Glenn | EPIC WINS: THE MYTH OF THE ELK by Matthew Battles | TROUBLED SUPERHUMAN CONTEST: Charles Pappas, “The Law” | CATASTROPHE CONTEST: Timothy Raymond, “Hem and the Flood” | TELEPATHY CONTEST: Rachel Ellis Adams, “Fatima, Can You Hear Me?” | OIL SPILL CONTEST: A.E. Smith, “Sound Thinking | LITTLE NEMO CAPTION CONTEST: Joe Lyons, “Necronomicon” | SPOOKY-KOOKY CONTEST: Tucker Cummings, “Well Marbled” | INVENT-A-HERO CONTEST: TG Gibbon, “The Firefly” | FANFICTION CONTEST: Lyette Mercier’s “Sex and the Single Superhero”

Uncategorized

« Previous PageNext Page »