« Moving Targets and Other Tales of Valdemar | Main | Bye, Forry »

December 04, 2008


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Susan, my guess was going to be that you were looking on a bookshelf for Saberhagen and Star Trek, and discovered Sherlock Holmes halfway between; but that was before we established that the two halves of the riddle are separate.

Serge, I think I see what Susan's getting at; if so, it's not a direct connection, there's something in between, and while you clearly know that the something is connected to Holmes at one end, I suspect that you're not aware it's connected to Star Trek at the other.

All, if you're intrigued by the idea of Watson as a twenty-six year old combat hard-ass with mujhadeen shrapnel buried in his anatomy, you might like Jon Courtenay Grimwood's short story "The Spy's Retirement", which can be read for free on the BBC's web site.

I suspect you've seen it. As I said, outside the box. I thought that bracketing the time frame (me as a teenager) and establishing that it is not Next Gen would help. :)

That's a pretty good story, though my experience from nosebleeds and such is that blood is actually pretty watery stuff.

That's it? A bookshelf's alphabetical order? That never occurred to me because I'd have listed Sherlock Holmes under 'Doyle', or maybe under 'Holmes'. After all, I wouldn't have have listed Saberhagen under 'Fred'. That's what I get from all those years as a computer programmer.

As for blood... My own experience has been that it pours out very easily, especially if you cut a wrist's vein after falling forward and stopping your fall by catching on something jagged.

That Sherlock Holmes movie I mentionned earlier, with Downey Jr as you-know-who? It stars Jude Law as Watson.

Polyamory... I almost got involved in something like that even though I could see I'd have been the second banana. But I was young and lonely, and being second was better than no banana. Except that I wound up not being allowed to become part of the bunch.

Serge, I seem to have confused you; sorry.

My comment was in two unconnected halves, the first describing a theory I considered and then discarded, and the second hinting at my subsequent (and still current) theory.

In other words, a bookshelf's alphabetical order is not the answer; as you point out, that explanation has a serious flaw in that Holmes is more likely to be found under D than under S.

My current theory is that Susan came to the canonical adventures of Holmes (those that are usually to be found under D) after encountering him in two adventures by other writers: one of these writers was Fred Saberhagen, and the other has written for Star Trek. If I'm right, the missing link is to be found under M.

Paul, you've got it.

I don't shelve any of my books in alphabetical order.

I've been poly all my life. It's not something you see represented much in fiction, though more in F&SF than any other sort. Marion Zimmer Bradley, David Weber, and David Brin all jump to mind quickly as having written poly characters.

Paul A...

Why should you apologize? For one thing, you figured out Susan's riddle.


My basic bookshelf unit's books are sorted alphabetically. Those are books I read years ago, and that unit has no room left. As I read more books, I just stack them wherever there's free space on the already-read unit. The photo I linked you to, not long ago, contains books still awaiting my reading them - the only concession to order is that I try to keep an author's books together.

As for polyamory... Vonda McIntyre brought it up too, at least in her first Star Trek novel, The Entropy Effect. That being said, no, there isn't much polyamory in SF fiction, which is strange, considering that there is a bit of it in fandom.

Susan... I can't recall anyone suggesting anything for me to read past the age of nine or so.

Serge... I don't think anyone ever suggested to me anything to read. In fact, I ws more likely to be told I was spending too much time reading.

So conversations like this didn't occur?:

Relative or Family Friend: Well Young Neil, I hear you're a bit of a reader!
Young Neil, not looking up from his book: Mmm?
Relative or Family Friend: Have you tried this chap Len Deighton? I think you'll find him jolly interesting.
Young Neil mutters to the book: What kind of a name is Tarl Cabot anyway?

Serge ...there isn't much polyamory in SF fiction...

Does Heinlein count?

Neil... Young Serge never had a conversation like young Neil did. Parental conversations would go:

"You're reading again?"
"Yes," says young Serge defensively.
""How much did this cost?"

Meanwhile, the high school's librarians loved me.

The conversations at our house always started "Have you been out to play today?"

Yes, Heinlein counts.

I had more conversations like the ones at Marilee's house. They would result in me going outside with a book, climbing a tree, and settling in to read there. It's possible there were conversations like the ones you had, but I might not have noticed them because I was too busy reading. Or they might have ended with "I've already read it!"

Unlike Serge's, my family was (and is) very supportive of reading in general. They just thought perhaps I was overdoing it a little. (Christmas evening at my mother's house ended in the typical way for evenings at mom's: both of us sitting on opposite sides of the living room reading entire novels in one sitting.)

I did pend time outside, but my social skills weren't that great and I found myself prefering reading (or wtaching TV). I don't think I ever did what Susan and her mom did, but it came close.

Neil... Len Deighton wrote the Gor novels? Now, there's an interesting concept, with Michael Caine as Cabot in the movie version. (Speaking of Deighton, ever seen the episode of Jason King where King, writer and former spy, gets quite upset when he finds that one of MI5's operations was inspired not from one of his own novels but from one of Deighton's?)

I've got a riddle, or rather a devinette, a guessing game.

What do L. Frank Baum and John Steinbeck have in common, besides their being male American writers?

The League of S.T.E.A.M. is a great idea!

Susan... It is, isn't it? Does it make you want to embark into another masquerade madness? By the way, their devices are really cool too.

Nope! I do have ideas percolating, but I'm not passionately interested in competing this year. I think I'd rather wear fabulous hall costumes.

Susan... I'd rather wear fabulous hall costumes.

Note to myself: bring camera to worldcon.

Both Steinbeck and Baum had films made from their works in 1939 (Of Mice and Men and The Wizard of Oz, respectively).

Susan... You're getting close.

You still haven't figured mine out!

Susan... I thought Paul A had figured it out. Or are you referring to the one about sheep and vibrations?

Paul has figured it out but I think he was being deliberately vague so as to allow you the chance to do so as well.

I'm almost certain this is unrelated, but on a hunch I checked the Wikipedia list of actors who have played Sherlock Holmes and discovered Leonard Nimoy there.

(5 minutes more research convinces me that this is not the answer)

The riddle? The books were in alphabetical order on the bookshelf: Saberhagen, Sherlock Holmes, Star Trek...

Meanwhile, what about my devinette? There's no trick in it, although there is sorcery.

Oh wow, I'm falling way behind in my responding to this thread! Let's see...

Regarding Margaret Killjoy, s/he could certainly be transgender-in-progress. Perhaps it's insensitive of me, but I get really frustrated with people who won't stick with one gender. I don't care if it's the gender they were born with, though. I just want to know whether I should call someone he or she. I had a friend on-line who went around telling various people that s/he was a man, a woman, or a lesbian woman pretending to be a man so she'd be more accepted. Our friendship ended when s/he would not stop saying that s/he loved me (me being married and all).

It is possible that s/he chose the name Killjoy before deciding to write erotica, though.

I was blessed with parents who are avid readers and who wanted my brother and I to share their love of books. I was also homeschooled. I had to read at least half an hour a day for my schooling, but I got to choose what I read (within definite limits, my parents are also very conservative). As such, I read a LOT, but I didn't read most of the classics that kids are assigned to read in school. I also don't recall my parents offering a lot of book recommendations.

The nice thing was that as long as I had my other schoolwork and chores done, I could read as much as I wanted to. I don't remember ever being told to go outside and get some fresh air, but maybe that's because I'd do so by choice for a little bit.

And the line marriages in Heinlein's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" were my first exposure to polyamory of any sort (if you don't count the Bible...). Come to think of it, I'm a bit surprised that my parents let me read that as a teenager. We were just talking about it two nights ago for some reason. On a slightly related notes, the trolls in the pen and paper RPG Earthdawn also have line marriages.

No, it's not. When did Nimoy play Sherlock Holmes? I never knew that.

No, it's not alphabetization of books. A library would hardly put SH under "S," as other folks have remarked, and if my parents had a system for their library shelving I never figured it out.

I've been having a weird urge to reread my Oz books, though I'm not sure I have the complete Baum set. I didn't as a child (ten out of twelve, if I recall correctly), but I think I bought a "complete Baum Oz" set at some point, so maybe I do now. I did a General Jinjur costume once for a CostumeCon.

Susan... Then I am at a loss about your riddle. Will you have mercy on my poor tired brain? (Yeah, it's been a long day at the office, after waking up early from a dream where toxic chemicals were leaking out of their container, and I have this feeling that my day isn't over yet, or that it may resume later tonight just as I finally go to sleep. Such is the glory of being a computer programmer, and there is a reason why my blog's default icon is Mister Scott in the Jefferies Tube.)


I don't care much for people who pretend to be something they're not - at least if it's for dishonest purposes, as opposed to protect their own identity.

This reminds me of when Susan and I met for the first time in 2006: I think she wasn't sure she should be on the lookout for a man or for a woman. Yes, my nom-de-blog has always been 'Serge', but, not long before that year's worldcon, I had posted something that was so badly written that it sounded like I was saying "Look for a woman." At least I think that's what happened. Susan?

Serge, given the clue about sorcery, is it that what Baum and Steinbeck have in common is Frank Morgan?

I compared these two pages* on wikipeda: List of Star Trek novels and List of authors of new Sherlock Holmes stories and came up with the answer (rot13ed for anyone playing along at home) Ibaqn A. ZpVagler. It's a bruteforce method, but if it worked...

(Methodological note: due to Paul's comments above V purpxrq gur "Z"f svefg.)

* resisting the urge to dump them into a database and doing a search for matches

Serge, perhaps it would help if we gave you all the clues again in one place:

The question is "How did Susan get from Star Trek to Sherlock Holmes?"

This occurred when Susan was a teenager.

The Star Trek in question was not the Original Series. Susan had largely stopped watching television by the time the Next Generation appeared.

To solve the conundrum, you have to think outside the box.

There wasn't a direct link from Trek to canonical Holmes: Susan went from Trek to X, and thence to Doyle's Holmes stories.

Shortly after Susan posed the question, while making a general comment on Holmes, you named X (without realising that it was X).

A little while later, you did it again.

Actually, you're wrong, though you're on the right track conceptually.

I had no idea this would be so challenging.


I knew I should have done the database search. Even though the formating is wrong :)

If we believe wikipedia Nimoy appears to have played Holmes on stage for the Royal Shakespeare Company probably in the late 70s. (it's not clear)

I haven't read any short fiction by Jon Courtney Grimwood, and I'm pleasantly almost-surprised by this story - I like his novels but they always seem to have been crammed full of every idea he had and everything related to that idea all at once, and then some of the explanation has been cut out. The most successful (I think) is his Arabesk trilogy whch has three books of room to let things develop rather than pile on top of each other (it is mostly set in an alternate future Century Ottoman Empire with corruption, politics, drugs, biotechnology and AIs doing various wierd stuff). In this story he seems to have remained much more tightly focused.

On the other hand he used to write the monthly SF/F book review column for the Guardian and did a pretty good job of summing up lots of books in the very few words he had available.

(I anyone feels deprived of having enough books suggested to them let me point you to www.j-cg.co.uk. I can ask if you've been outside to play on request.)

Neil, that answer is a new front-runner in the history of "close, but no cigar".

(Serge, if you're still completely stuck, try reading Ibaqn A. ZpVagler's Wikipedia entry, and see if any part of it rings a bell.)

Following Paul's suggestion, Frank Morgan appeared in the films The Wizard of Oz and Tortilla Flat, the latter being adapted from a Steinbeck novel.

I would never have guessed this without Paul naming the actor.

(And it's kind of a thin connection - Baum had been dead for 20 years when they adapted his book for the 1939 film.)

I had no idea this would be so challenging.

I'm beginning to regret mentioning my bookshelf idea. Even though I thought I specifically said it wasn't the answer, it seems to have thrown everybody off.

Neil, that answer is a new front-runner in the history of "close, but no cigar".

Excellent summation. And Paul definitely has it!

(I'm waiting either for someone else to figure it out or for Paul to take pity on all of you and explain.)

...incidentally, does anybody else think Ibaqn A. ZipVagler would be a great name for a pulp sci-fi protagonist?

I will add to my list of "commenter-generated blog post ideas" a thread for cultural riddles like these...


Also I lost a comment in which I blathered on at length about Jon Courtney Grimwood and "The Spy's Retirement".

Um... I think I said that I like his novels, but they always seem to have every possible idea he's had crammed into them. OTOH he used to write the monthly SF/F column for the Guardian and did a pretty good job of summing up lots of books in the few words he had available.

If anyone is still deprived from not having books suggested to them, I suggest his Arabesk trilogy (aka the Ashraf Bey mysteries) as with three books the rate of events and ideas is less crazy fast.

And Nimoy seems to have played Holmes on stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

I'm sure this was more interestig the first time I typed it.

Can't concentrate and I have to study some high school maths tomorrow so I'm going to bed. Hopefully all the mysteries will be resolced by than, or at least I'll come up with my own puzzle.

It isn't lost; it's a few comments back. Definitely time for sleep!

What do L.Frank Baum and John Steinbeck have in common? Both had movies based on their stories in which appeared the same actor/actress. C'mon... Sorcery, sorcery, sorcery?

Susan, I used to hide books outside because if I was seen taking one with me, it'd be taken away.

Having used ROT-13, it turns out I knew the first half of Susan's riddle, but wouldn't have guessed the second.

I read Ibaqn's wikipedia entry and I still don't get it. Hell.

Sorcery, but not Morgan although that one is valid. It's not the answer I have in mind though.

So, the missing link in Susan's riddle (really a puzzle) was the first established and respectable F/SF writer to openly write media-related novels.



I have to agree with you re: identities. Unfortunately, you get a lot of that on-line, as it's very easy for people to pretend to be something they're not. I knew one guy who had a very good sense of humor and was fun to talk to, but he ruined our friendship by constantly spinning lies about *everything* to the point where he was dating a model and she was pregnant and they wanted to fly my parents (who he was also friends with) out to Portugal after the birth to meet the baby, because they wanted my parents to be the godparents.


I don't believe so. In fact, I don't recall that he's ever written a novel based on a film or television series; he didn't even write the novelisations of his own films. (This is why Neil's trick with the list of Star Trek novels didn't work, and instead caught the person who did.)

He did, once, do the trick backward, and write a novel on which a film was based. This is relevant.

Got it.

It's the brilliantly rot13ed Avpubynf Zrlre.

(It's brilliant as the first name looks marginaly pronounceable, and leads you on to try the second name)

I could have sworn that I hit refresh three times and my comment wasn't there.


The full connection:
Avpubynf Zrlre, qverpgbe naq haperqvgrq jevgre bs Fgne Gerx VV: Gur Jengu bs Xuna, naq nyfb gur nhgube bs gur jbaqreshy FU abiry Gur Frira-Cre-Prag Fbyhgvba.

Gur Jengu bs Xuna
Gur Frira-Cre-Prag Fbyhgvba

Two rival kings on the planet Fgne Gerx VV*. Fbyhgvba, only child of the triple queens Frira, Crea and Prag is noble, upright and patient with people misprouncing his name. Xuna of the house of Jengu usurped his mother's throne and is devious, cruel and often horizontal. Who will rule the planet and will their exposure to the galactic cultures render the question moot?

(I seem to be turning everything into film/TV/novel/comics pitches today. Just ignore me until I recover from it)

* Discovered by a galactic scout whose grasp of roman numerals was somewhat incomplete.


AJ... he ruined our friendship by constantly spinning lies about *everything*

He reminds me of one Evpuneq Uvyy I dealt with when one Toronto costumer used us as bodies. This is how I got to be Famine in her presentation at 1984's worldcon. What inspired casting that was. Anyway, back to Mister Uvyy... Eventually I wised up to him and decided not to have anything to do with him anymore because I just don't like feeling like a bigger fool than I am.

Anybody guessed what my devinette's answer is?

Let's not be naming names, please, even in rot13. Not that I don't share your sentiments, I just don't wish to go there.

Do I correctly understand that all of that (model, baby, Portugal) was fictional?

Susan... About Frira-Cre-Prag Fbyhgvba, the Star Trek connection thickens. In the movie version, which I heartily recommend, the villainous Hun was played by Jeremy Kemp, who was Picard's older brother in what probably was the best scene in all of ST-TNG.

As usual, I haven't seen the show or the movie or ever heard of Jeremy Kemp.

On the devinette, you should probably know that I don't even like reading Steinbeck particularly (though the King Arthur book was okay) and haven't ever seen any film based on his books, or any Oz film except the 1939 one, so if it pertains to movies the odds of my figuring it out are pretty low.

Okay, here's one more guess:

Margaret Hamilton played a teacher in the Steinbeck adaptation film The Red Pony.

Yes, Susan, Margaret was the answer. As for Frira-Cre-Prag Fbyhgvba, did you ever red the followup Holmes that he wrote? It was nowhere near as good.

Unfair clue - she was a witch, not a sorcerer!

I can't remember if I read his other SH stuff or not, at this point; it's been nearly 30 years!

Sorry, Susan. I didn't mean to. I used the words interchangeably because 'witch' would have made it way too easy.

Susan... About Jeremy Kemp, here he is, in the coming attraction for ST-TNG episode "Family", set after Picard goes off to recover from Borg captivity.

"You don't know, Robert - you don't know. They took everything I was. They used me to kill and to destroy. I couldn't stop them... I should have been able to stop them. I tried... I tried so hard. But I wasn't strong enough! I wasn't good enough! I should have been able to stop them, I should have... I should...!"

"So - my brother is a human being after all. This is going to be with you a long time, Jean-Luc. A long time. You'll have to learn to live with it. You have a simple choice now. Live with it below the sea with Louis, or above the clouds with the Enterprise."


I'm pretty sure that the Portugal was true, because he was pretty consistent about living in Lisbon, and his speech mannerisms would fit someone who was a pretty good ESL speaker. The girlfriend and pregnancy were almost definitely lies, and we probably wouldn't have thought that if not for a long string of apparent lies before then.

At a guess, he had a fictional wife, two fictional children (one of which was born during the time we knew him), a fictional divorce complete with fictional custody battle which he supposedly won because of his wife's supposed drug use, a possibly real mother with fictional health problems that put her in a fictional hospital with wi-fi (because according to him, all hospitals in Portugal had free wi-fi in 2006ish), two fictional careers (he was both a lawyer and something involving programming and/or had owned a computer store? I can't remember), numerous fictional jobs that he would fictionally lose, a fictional old friend who was rich and married and flying to Portugal to carry on a fictional affair with him, a fictional rare sports car that he told my mother and I two different stories about how he got it (and that was when we realized he was lying), a fictional job offer from huge game company Blizzard (that is when I stopped having anything to do with him), and then the fictional model girlfriend with her fictional pregnancy. Mom and I were betting that it was going to either be a fictional false alarm or they'd have a fictional miscarriage. I guess they could have also had a fictional break-up when he discovered that she was having a fictional affair and the baby wasn't his.

(do I win some sort of award for the most instances of the word fictional in a single run-on paragraph?)


At least he never said he was Howarde Hugues's love child.

Did he?

A man looks at a portrait and says: "Sons and brothers, I have none, but this person's father is my father's son." At whose portrait is he looking?


He never made any such bold claims about his parentage, at least not to me or my mother. Who knows what stories he was spinning to other people in our circle, however?

I think the answer to your riddle is that he's looking at his daughter's portrait.

Also, Susan, thank you so much for the handy shortcut to the most recent comments :D

(do I win some sort of award for the most instances of the word fictional in a single run-on paragraph?)

Yes! It's made of a gold-titanium alloy with some panels in racecar red and has a pearl the size of your fist on top. I first won the prize in a 1987, in a back street fictionalizing contest in Bangkok. I was winning when the police raided the place, but fortunately my houseboat was parked outside, and my sister the mechanic had supercharged the engine so I grabbed the trophy and we were able to escape up river into the jungles. Of course, we took a wrong branch and ended up in a lost Khmer city.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, the award is hidden somewhere on my Highland estate. If you come out with your corgis (to herd away the feral sheep that infest the area) I'm sure we can find it in only a few weeks!

What? Why are you looking at me like that?

Serge: I agree with AJ that it's his daughter, but I think I recall that riddle in different form having an answer of it being his own portrait.

AJ: No problem; having to flip through comment pages is just as annoying for me as it is for y'all, and this is now the record-holder for longest-running comment thread on Rixo. Obviously I need to distract people by getting some posts up...

Neil: Sheep!

AJ and Susan... Yes, that is indeed the correct answer.

The last man on Earth was reading a book when someone knocked at the door.

What? Why are you looking at me like that?

Oh, I was just wondering how you knew that my delightful corgis are directly related to a few of the Queen's, and as such, she's invited us all (that is to say, myself, my husband, and our corgis) to come visit this Summer, so I imagine that we'll have time to take a little sidetrip to your Highland estate.

Assuming, of course, that we have time. We'll be quite busy getting prepared for the ceremony. You DID hear that my husband is being knighted for suggesting to the Queen that she have a YouTube channel?

AJ... A YouTube across the Channel? Meanwhhile, I've heard that the Pope is planning to use YouTube to spread the Faith. I kid you not. Gives a whole new meaning to the Holy See.

Well, what do you know? Girl Genius just introduced two new female characters here and neither of them is endowed with twin beachballs.

Actually, it's surprising how many second and third degree links to the Royals I have; my Dad's cousin met the Queen when she was awarded an MBE, my Dad met the Duke of Edinburgh and later had to introduce a line of people to the Queen, and I was at school with Alexis Roberts who later was Prince William's mentor at Sandhurst. As Lex was in the year above I lost touch with him and didn't hear about it until he died in Afghanistan and he was in all the papers, which was a weird experience.

It's probably a little above average, but when you compare notes most of the people in the UK know someone who's met the royals.

Dad says the Queen is a very nice old lady.

Everything in this post is true; everything in the last one is false, except the bit about the corgis. I've seen corgis herd sheep a couple of times (apparently they'll herd cattle too, which is mind boggling) - they look far too small, but the sheep don't seem to mind, so it works just fine. They might not have quite the top speed of a Border Collie, but they've got plenty of acceleration.

Speaking of sheep, I followed a link from Michael Swanwick's blog and found myself looking at a cartoon that I think mentions Susan. It's bottom left here.

Neil... I very much agree with Gilliland about our Rixosous Hostess.

Yep, that's me, albeit with my name spelled wrong. I'm always nominating Alexis for a Hugo for Fan Artist 'cause I love his one-panel jokes, but he doesn't make the ballot often.

(Note to Serge: "Rixosous" and "Hostess" don't actually rhyme, you know...)

I think my father and his family have met Prince Charles or something. Closest I've come to anyone well-known in England is sitting a few rows behind Margaret Thatcher at the theatre in London back in 1987.

Oh, I wasn't trying to commit a rhyme, Susan. I have often referred to you as our Rixosous Hostess because, well, you are our Rixosous Hostess.

Famous people not in SF or in movies that I have encountered... I once sat behind Harrisson Schmitt during a conference. He was the last human to walk on the Moon. He's a short guy - like most pre-Shuttle astronauts, come to think of it.

As for Gilliland... I guess he doesn't get nominated because he's taken for granted, and maybe not as visible as other artists. Also, maybe his humor is too weird, like that of the late Bill Rotsler.

Well, I'll keep nominating him. I have several of his cartoons.

I think I don't like having a title, rhyming or not, descriptive or not. Can't I just be Susan?

If you don't like it, then I won't use it. 'Susan' it is. As for Gilliland... What's the deadline for the preliminary Hugoes again?

Besides, because of his wife, Al is on the wrong side of WSFA. Well, technically, I suppose they're on the right side, and all the people who left are on the wrong side. Hmm.

Marilee... because of his wife, Al is on the wrong side of WSFA

Tipper Gore is to blame?

Who is Gilliland's wife, again?

I've only heard scattered bits and pieces of the WSFA feud, which did not incline me to think I could figure out the rights and wrongs of it. Alexis & Lee have always been very pleasant to me, and the feud has nothing to do with his talent as an artist.

You know how I said everything in that post is true? Well, it is, but incomplete; Rosemary, my Dad's cousin, later had her MBE upgraded to a CBE, and in between got in the papers when the Queen visited a training court for magistrates she was running, and got her to take the bench for a mock trial*.

Susan... I think I don't like having a title...

Well as the Dame Grand Cross of Rixosous this is your place, I will just bow my head and say "Yes miss Susan."

* The Queen doesn't visit actual courts, because judges etc. are sitting in judgement for her, so they'd have to yield the bench to her

Neil... A mock trial?

"They laughed at me at the University, but I will show them! Hahahahah!"

Neil, from what I've read, corgis were bred/trained to herd sheep, cattle, and even horses. Crazy, huh? My little gals have a lot of energy, but it's still hard to think of them keeping up with a herd of horses. I've also read (but only in one source) that they were bred to herd poultry, which would seem a lot more appropriate for their size -- however, their behavior definitely suggests that they have an instinct to nip at the heels of cattle (and apparently, I look like a cow to them).

Nothing that I said was true, except that the Queen DOES have a YouTube channel and apparently had one before Obama had one, or before Pope Benedict decided that he should have one. This led to me joking that the Queen's channel was probably just videos of her corgis and dorgis being cute ;)

So, Marilee, Susan... Without going into the gory details, what was that feud about? (Fandom and feud? I have never heard of those two words being used in conjunction. Never? Well, hardly ever.)

AJ... I've also read (but only in one source) that they were bred to herd poultry

Free-range chicken?

Neil... I will just bow my head

Beware, Neil. She means it.

Corgis herding poultry on youtube.

There's quite a few videos of corgis herding sheep; as I said, the sheep seem to be okay with being herded by corgis, which is all you need. As a corgi is smaller than most herding dogs, maybe in poor hill farms a smaller dog would be more economical. Border collies will herd anything (including people) if you let them, so at the end of the day if cattle or horses are willing to be herded by them, corgis can do it. I can't help thinking that they'll be terribily tired running about after horses on their little legs.

Susan, about that riddle: The canonical version is "Brothers and sisters have I none, but this man's father is my father's son." (In which form, of course, the answer is not the same as the version Serge gave.) I don't recall having encountered a version in which the answer is "Himself", but that doesn't mean there isn't one.

Mention of corgis always reminds me of the long-running and much-loved Antipodean comic strip Footrot Flats. It's set on a farm, and the main character is the border collie sheepdog, known only as "Dog"; one of the supporting characters is a corgi named Prince Charles, who is the pet of the farmer's aunt. When Prince Charles was introduced, Dog was astonished to discover that he's supposed to be a Welsh cattle dog, and wondered what Welsh cattle must be like. An imagine-spot shows two cows so rotund that their feet don't touch the ground; one of them has a corgi biting her rear end (dangling far above the ground), and the other is saying "Don't look now, dear, but you have the largest tick I've ever seen!"

When is a door not a door?

Serge, Gilliland's wife is named Lee. WSFA used to alternate meetings between their house and someone's house in Maryland and at one meeting, Lee refused to let Ted White into the house. Ted can be a little brusque and single-minded, but he's a member of WSFA (I'm not sure, but I think a founding member) and Lee just didn't like him.

Lee had done a lot of other things earlier, trying to prove her superiority because of her marriage to Al (his second wife, probably 25-30 years between them), and this was the last straw for about half the membership, who quit. The other half moved the alternate meetings from the Gilliland's to another NoVA home.

And a door is not a door when it's ajar.

Marilee... Ah, the world of fandom... As for the door, yup. Me. I first came across it in an episode of Are You Being Served?

So is that an argument for not nominating him? I still like his art. His last time on the ballot (and his fourth time as winner) was in 1985, so whatever factors caused him to drop off well predate this particular problem. I don't think it's a WSFA conspiracy, just that his fannish fame, or possibly his production, peaked many years ago. He's always been willing to do a cartoon for me when I asked. He did get a Rotsler Award (lifetime achievement) a couple of years ago.

(FWIW, I knew Dolly too, though only superficially, and whatever insecurities or problems or personality flaws Lee has, she does make him happy.)

...and wondered what Welsh cattle must be like.

From memory, Australian cattle tend to be monstrous creatures the size of a ute*. The traditional Welsh breed is the welsh black cattle, which is pretty small for a cow, with short legs. A border collie can happily herd cattle that it barely comes up to the knees of.

What has four wheels and flies?

* That's a pickup to non-Australian speakers. I exaggerate slightly.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)