June 30th, 2011


Delicious LiveJournal Links for 6-30-2011

  • When it first came up in 2005, only Sweden voted against; when the renewal process began in February this year, five states refused to support it; that number has now risen to seven. And it still has to clear the European Parliament.
  • At one point, driving through a toll plaza, I figured I’d ask the toll-taker whether I was going the right way. I pulled out the iPad and said, “Is this the right road for Valladolid?” Jibbigo transcribed, “Is this the right road for liability?” and Sultry Voice said, “Es este el camino correcto para el obligatorio?” The toll-taker looked at me like I was nuts. So instead, I did what many Americans do in a foreign country — I pointed wildly ahead and said, loudly, “Valladolid!?”
    (tags: languages)
  • Conservative commentator David Frum: "...the case against same-sex marriage has been tested against reality. The case has not passed its test."
doctor who

Whoniversaries 30 June

i) births and deaths

30 June 1978: death of David Ellis, who co-wrote The Faceless Ones (1967).

ii) broadcast anniversaries

30 June 2007: broadcast of Last of the Time Lords, the 200th story and 750th episode (depending how you count) of Doctor Who.

And so I reach the end of this project, after 350-odd daily posts.

My inspiration for doing this was partly a genuine curiosity to get a sense of when in the cycle of the year Doctor Who and its spinoffs had been show, and partly also admiration for shsilver, who as long ago as 2004-2005 posted a series of daily notes on historical anniversaries for that particular date. (See for instance his post of six years ago today). My method was to use the Doctor Who Wiki and generally plan out the Whoniversaries a few days in advance, usually setting up the coming week's posts at the weekend. It usually worked, and I am really grateful for the generally positive feedback and comments I have had from fellow fans over the last twelve months of this slightly mad project. Still considering how to turn it into a more permanent RSS feed.

Apart from the reflections on shared broadcast dates I posted earlier n the week, I found a few more neat coincidences. There are some nice cases of regulars sharing birthdays which should inspire some interesting fanfic - Fraser Hines and Billie Piper (22 September 1944 and 1982), Colin Baker and Carole Ann Ford (8 June 1943 and 1940), Matt Smith and Ian Marter (28 October 1982 and 1944), and rather nicely Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred and Anthony Ainley (20 August 1943, 1962 and 1932). Sophie Aldred was born on the same day as James Marsters; has anyone ever seen them in the same place at the same time?

I missed a few dates as well. My policy on inclusion of individuals was not always consistent and perhaps missed a few who should have been noted. I could not keep up with the new K9 TV series and failed to note any of its broadcasts after the first couple. And of course, those who we lost in the last twelve months were noted, if at all, after the event. Farewell, then, to Pennant Roberts, director of six Old Who stories; Derek Pollitt and Frank Jarvis, players of small but noticeable roles; Louis Marks, writer of four Old Whos; music composer Geoffrey Burgon; co-creator of the Yeti Mervyn Haisman; scream queen Ingrid Pitt, who appeared twice in the show; Margaret John, who appeared in both Old Who and New Who; Celestial Toymaker and Time Lord Michael Gough; Dalek voice (and Zippy!) Roy Skelton; and in particular Nicholas Courtney and Elisabeth Sladen. They provided me (and probably you too) with much enjoyment and delight over the years, and it seems right to close this series of posts by commemorating them all.

June Books 29) Demontage, by Justin Richards

I have finally managed to get my new phone set up to post to LJ, so can catch up on a few books I have finished this week.

Demontage is one of the many Who novels of Justin Richards, who has written more of them than anyone except Terrance Dicks. It is one of the better ones as well, takin the Eighth Doctor, Sam and Fitz to a space station which thrives on gambling with an underpinning of organised crime, but also features an art exhibition where the pictures are more than they seem; ideas which have been done elsewhere, including elsewhere in Who, but are done well here with the formula successfully assembled. One of the better EDAs, and it made an interesting paired read with Alastair Rerynolds' Chasm City.

Whitney Ellsworth, 1926-2011

My US-based colleagues are attending the funeral today of the Chair of our Board this morning; he dies two weeks ago, aged 75, after a life of doing good both on the literary scene and in the humanitarian world. He created the New York Review of Books, helped found the London Review of Books, and also revolutionised Amnesty International USA's fundraising as well as helpign to set up Human Rights First and my own employer.

He also was a near-namesake of a major figure in comics history. The last time I saw him, I asked if in fact he was related to the other Whitney Ellsworth, who was twenty years older and died thirty years ago. The younger Whitney (who was A. Whitney Ellsworth, the Batman and Superman guy being F. Whitney Ellsworth) told me that as far as they had been able to work out, it was pure coincidence - he had met with his namesake many years ago in order to establish precisely that.

I did not realise at the time that I would not see him again, and part of my mind is in Connecticut today.

June Books 30) Chasm City, by Alastair Reynolds

A long time ago I read Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds, and rather bounced off it; perhaps, in retrospect, it was because I read it towards the end of a long work trip and simply wasn't in the mood. Since then, the recommendations of friends and also amicable encounters with Reynolds himself at a couple of sf cons persuaded me to give him another try, and I was not disappointed.

Chasm City starts as a space operatic story of the central character pursuing a grudge against an old enemy in the eponymous city, while also suffering flashbacks to the memory of a notorious early colonist. But it develops into a gritty examination of memory, identity and shared pain in a future society. (Fortuitously I was also reading Justin Richards' Doctor Who novel Demontage, which features a differently disturbed and disturbing future urban environment, at the same time.) It kept me reading, and has converted me to Reynolds, whose style is reminiscent of Banks but calmer.

I may even give Revelation Space another try.