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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.

I’m Hearing Voices In My Head… and That’s a Good Thing

6 of my Favorite Online “Dialogue Coaches”

Even though I’ve read thousands of novels over the years (yes, thousands), my first-time status as a novel writer has been showing itself when it comes to writing dialogue. Dialogue seems so easy when you read skilled writers such as Georgette Heyer or Dorothy Sayers. Both of them managed to create entirely distinct characters whose conversation is natural, charming, insightful and, in Georgette Heyer’s case, often laugh-out-loud funny.

Both these authors perfectly illustrate a core principle of novel writing, which is to show it, not tell it. For example, as I noted above, Georgette Heyer can write dialog that is both charming and funny. She doesn’t have to tell you that her characters are witty. They (literally) speak for themselves.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the author who, incapable of writing either charming or witty dialog, fills her characters’ mouths with leaden commonplaces. Then, having left you feeling as if you’re at the world’s most boring office party, she tells you that “Count So-and-So was one of the cleverest people in court” or that “Our hero couldn’t get over how brilliant the object of his desire showed herself to be.” No, the Count was not clever and that desirable object was dull, not brilliant. With dialogue, you just can’t fake it ’til you make it.

Howard Butcher at National Review: Homer Meets Generation Z

The author of Jonah: A Novel of Men and the Sea reveals his literary insights from his teaching experience

Is technology killing students’ ability to read classical literature?

Leslie Nielsen: Accidentally Absurd

Deconstructing Canadian Culture, Part 24: The Funniest Thing in a Movie Where Jokes are Delivered Almost Every Minute

Surely, Leslie Nielsen was never supposed to be a serious actor? Well, I am serious – and don’t call me “Shirley.”

Nielsen – who has always been a sort of Canadian Adam West to me, utterly and earnestly oblivious to how ridiculous he comes off – is an important dividing line between the serious actors I’ve discussed in previous weeks who would often find themselves caught up in the campiest of schlockfests, and the Canadian actors who began as clowns and later craved respect, such as Mike Myers and Jim Carrey.

Plummer and Sutherland brought gravitas to ridiculous roles, and, as we’ll see, Carrey and Myers tried to inject some levity into serious drama. Nielsen is different because – at least initially – he wasn’t going for over the top humour or deadpan seriousness. There’s a Chaplinesque passivity and calm on display as he boldly soldiers through silliness like the Star Trek forerunner Forbidden Planet.

Why I Still Hate Game of Thrones But Love Rick And Morty

So tonight is finally the beginning of the end for one of the most overrated TV shows of all time.

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