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I Would Like to Acknowledge…

Part 1 of a new series on Australian culture

The entrance to the Stringybark Creek Bushwalk is not far from my apartment a couple miles north of the Opera House in Sydney, Australia. If you planned a hike in this government-funded nature reserve smack dab in the middle of one of the largest cities in the world – Sydney is home to 5.7 million people – you could be forgiven for thinking you might not see much bush on your Bushwalk, but you’d be wrong.  Soon after you set off, the sights and sounds of the city are swallowed by the densely packed canopy above. Forty minutes and a few random turns later you start to wonder – especially if you’ve decided to go without your phone for the afternoon – whether you’ll be able to find your way back home. A half hour later, emerging from the Bushwalk a few steps away from a pub with a Sunday schnitzel and beer special, you wonder why you were ever worried in the first place.

New Fiction: Constance Dryden’s Oil

We bought the house we’re currently living in from an elderly woman–Constance Dryden–who had lost her husband ten years before. My wife Teri and I figured Constance to be in her late seventies, perhaps early eighties. On our first walk-through, and all through the sales process, she seemed vaguely ambivalent, even unwilling to part with the bungalow on Portland’s Southwest Devonshire Street. According to our agent, Sally Showwalter, her family had insisted Grandma Dryden give up the homestead when it became clear she could no longer keep it up. Her three children were worried about her living alone with the stairs to the basement, the old clawfoot tub, the considerable amount of work needed in the large yard. The oldest daughter was taking her in.

Our offer was countered, we accepted, and that was that, but returning from a run to Home Depot several days after closing we found Constance raking October leaves on the front lawn.  “You have to stay ahead of the leaves this time of year,” she said. “How do you like the place so far?”

Teri and I were friendly, but a shadow of wariness crossed our shared glance.

 

William Shatner: To Boldy Goof

Deconstructing Canadian Culture, Part 25: Faking It Until He Made It

For some, the word “goof” is associated with a dim-witted but lovable Disney character. For Canadians, “goof” is the ultimate insult, on par with being called a child molester. Walk into a bar in Canada and call someone a goof and you will get your ass kicked.

A “goof” may be completely harmless and well-meaning. The goof wants to be liked. But something is… off about him. His behaviour isn’t quite normal. It’s persistently annoying. He’s the opposite of the level-headed Canadian exemplar.

People notice and target the goof. Women won’t touch the goof. If you see him, cross the street. His actions can’t go unpunished. And he’s got to reassert his place in the social order by fighting.

Sometimes, however, the goof gets the last laugh. They want to call me a goof? I’ll show them just how goofy I can be

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you get William Shatner.

PreTeena: April 15 – April 21, 2019

Sunday Comics!

You won’t want to miss these hilarious cartoons depicting the ups and downs of adolescence. Now each week’s strips will debut on Sundays as the lead strip of Liberty Island’s Sunday Comics feature. If you draw a comic and would like to have your work featured on Sundays, please contact us: [email protected]

Check out Allison Barrows’ new PreTeena blog here.

Cute Animal Photo: Same Smile – Different Dental Plans

*Submit your photographs of nature and the outdoor life to [email protected] to participate in this weekly feature exploring the natural world.*

A Look at Predestination in Science Fiction

A cursory analysis of predestination versus free will in science fiction finds that most of the plotlines exploring this depend on time travel. For example, Doctor Who struggles to change timelines and often cannot beyond a bare minimum. The movie “12 Monkeys” is a classic case of someone trying to change history guaranteeing it will happen, as are the books “Consider Her Ways” and “The Time Traveler’s Wife”.

The movie “Predestination” and short story “All You Zombies” on which it is based shows that certain things are predestined no matter what, condemning even a time travelling agent to their foretold fates. Anne McCaffrey’s “Dragonriders of Pern” novels allow for time travel, but you can’t change the timeline. So, too, does “Harry Potter” until you get the abominable “The Cursed Child”. However, J. K. Rowling had already abandoned canon by that point, so what is a total retcon at this point?

Thoughts about Memory, Myths, and Memoirs

It seems as if memory — both when it works and when it doesn’t — is in the news a lot today. In the world of science, we’re being told that, if we moisturize our bodies, we may have a better chance of preventing Alzheizmer’s, as well as a host of other illnesses.

Elsewhere we read that, if you apply electrical stimulation to elderly people’s brains, you can revitalize their memory so it’s as if they’re in their 20s again. A lower tech suggestion is just to eat lots of garlic.

The Bizarre Journey of the Mansion Which Inspired the Opening of The Big Sleep

Raymond Chandler’s debut masterpiece drew on his knowledge of Southern California

One of the opening revelations in the new annotated version of The Big Sleep is a head-twister.

There’s No “Silver Bullet” for the Flu

If anyone offers you the current version of the flu that’s going around, just say, “no”. Opt instead for a soft drink, a burger, two chicken wings. Whatever.

The recent outbreak, into which both my wife and I were swept, along with several others we know, is nasty stuff. It comes with fever, chills, headaches, muscle aches, a persistent and irritating cough, and loss of appetite. It messes with your sleep cycle and with your digestive track.

We’re recovering, but it’s a slow process. The doctor warned us it would be, even while the nurse practionier was telling us we’d waited past the point where TamiFlu would really do us any good. I also caught a lovely secondary infection that required a regimen of anti-biotics.

Madison Magazine Writes About Mike Baron and Bad Road Rising

Madison Magazine writes: Madison native Mike Baron, best known for writing the “Badger”and “Nexus” comic books starting in the 1980s, has more recently been churning out novels. And like “Badger” before it, the “Bad Road Rising” series — starring Josh Pratt, a born-again, ex-con/private investigator — is largely set in Madison.

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