He played only one more season, then did a book of his poems & paintings and went to Hollywood, where he had a number of successful films including playing the Black frat leader in Revenge of the Nerds. He was also in my favorite granfalloon, Star Trek, playing the Maquis leader Cal Hudson in Deep Space Nine.
Simple pleasures, for the win!
It's always illuminating on Open House weekend to visit one of London's town halls. One year I deliberately visited six. These bastions of democracy regulate our local lives, but most of us would never dream of venturing inside, let alone scrutinising their role. Several were participating this year, but I only made it to Hackney Town Hall, picked pretty much at random because it was near somewhere else I wanted to go. And I hit the jackpot, not only because the interior's an Art Deco gem, but because a decade of major renovation has (just) finished and one of the architects was available to guide us round. [restoration pdf]
Hackney's first town hall is now a Coral betting shop on Mare Street, abandoned for a larger site in 1866, then rebuilt in 1934. It's this Neo-classical rebuild which still stands, facing the palm trees in the main square between the library and the Hackney Empire. The architects were Lanchester and Lodge, their brief to design something grand but cheap, hence a surfeit of plasterwork behind the Portland stone facade. Here's a photo of the frontage in which I have carefully cropped out the worldly goods of two homeless men arguing loudly about which of them detests the other more.
I wish I'd been inside previously to be able to compare the scruffy octogenarian look to this latest spruce up. The marble across the floor of the entrance passageway has been given a painstaking polish, and the space opened up by knocking through a couple of unnecessary walls. Chiselled letters on the lintel declare HACKNEY TOWN HALL with élan, and beyond is the REGISTRAR OF BIRTHS, MARRIAGES AND DEATHS, a function long since displaced to the glass warren across Reading Lane. I would have taken a photo of this handiwork to share, but a row of Hackney personnel were lined up underneath and that would have felt wrong, so I made do with grabbing a bit of elegant staircase as the tour began.
The main public spaces are a bit wow, thanks mainly to the light fittings. These are original - geometric confections of glass and shiny brass - perched atop finials, ribbed round pillars or glowing from the ceiling. The finest of all holds sway above the Council Chamber, an extruded octagon of superphallic dimensions illuminating proceedings. The wood panelling round the walls was in an appalling condition but has been French-polished back to life, while the restored bank of upholstered seating now conceals gubbins to allow council voting to progress electronically. As for the long narrow room hidden at the back under the public gallery, this would once have reeked of cigar smoke, but is now a lush snug where elected members can network and/or relax.
We got to poke inside the Mayor's office, and to see his personal collection of Hackney community paraphernalia stashed inside a cupboard rescued from the cellar. We got to walk the corridors and see the portraits of all Hackney's former Mayors, their dress and demeanour either evocatively or scarily out of date. We also got to go outdoors indoors by entering what used to be a central courtyard, now covered over for use as an accessible events and circulation space. If all the renovation work looked expensive we were reassured that it had greatly improved energy efficiency, and had allowed over 50% more council staff to work within the building, so had also brought economies to bear.
For larger events the Assembly Hall has one of the only remaining sprung dance floors in London, and large square lamps looming overhead. The Bridgetown Bar nextdoor is a more intimate darkwood space with illuminated marble bar, and old photos round the wall from the town hall's heyday. Two of the last rooms to be finished off are the marriage suites, shortly available for booking, one of which was so tastefully blue it made tour members coo with appreciation. I think the architect leading us round was suitably impressed by our reaction, as indeed had we been with her knowledgeable input to the tour. It was great to see a building so beautifully restored - Historic England are well chuffed - and revived to function at the very heart of its community. [7 photos]
Open House: Bruno Court, The German Hospital
This next building dates from the same year, 1935, and can be found half a mile up the road to Dalston overlooking Fassett Square. It was an extension to Hackney's German Hospital, that a redbrick cluster, this a five storey annexe with general medicine and maternity care in mind. Teutonic thinking led to a Modernist design, with a massive concrete canopy above the main entrance and practically elegant terrazzo stairwells. Patients would have appreciated the bright and airy interior, and the current residents do too, because of course the hospital was closed in 1987 and was swiftly turned into flats. However a surprisingly high proportion of the current residents are architects, which is always a good sign, and they turned out at the weekend to show us round.
There was no peering inside the accommodation, but we did see the lobby, and stand in the car park where the tennis courts used to be, and climb the (lovely) stairwell to the roof. The hospital's designers provided a roof garden for the benefit of convalescent patients, as well as a long balcony one floor lower down to push trolleys out onto. The roof garden is more an open space with planters than a verdant horticultural feast, and boasts a splendid swooshing shelter up one end which resembles an elongated mushroom. For those who like this kind of thing, this is the kind of thing they really like.
Particularly splendid are the views, there not being too many tower blocks in this part of Hackney to break sightlines. Immediately adjacent is the original hospital, again now residential, swiftly taken out of German hands at the outset of the Second World War. But I was more interested in the terraces on the other side, because Fassett Square E8 has nationwide fame as the set designers' inspiration for Albert Square E20. It was great to be able to look down on an oddly familiar style of housing, and its central garden square, and to learn that EastEnders still send a research team to Fassett Square every year to make notes on how real life fashions in fixtures and fittings have subtly changed. There may be no pub or shopping parade, nor cursing Cockneys casting aspersions in the street, but (Overground) trains do rumble past noisily up one end. The BBC originally considered filming all their exterior shots here, but the looming Modernism of the German Hospital would have made camera angles too difficult so they built a set in Elstree instead, and the rest is history. Residents of sleepy Fassett Square much prefer it that way. [8 photos]
My Open House 2017 gallery
Go to 30 meetings - Went to a dance practice tonight
Post 100 situations prompts to AO3 - Another one is posted.
Fill a second 100 situations with a different fandom - Wrote 2 more prompts
Learn 30 new things through wikipedia - I learned about Brezhnev's legacy.
Take golf lessons - one more week in the books.
Listen to 90 other podcasts - I listened to an episode of Backstory on myths and legends in American history.
Read the entire Bible - Still in 2 Kings
by Dialecticdreamer/Sarah Williams
part 5 of 6 (working)
word count (story only): 1189
:: Part of the Polychrome Heroics universe, this is a Finn family story which includes Shiv, Boss White and the Ebonies and Ivories. ::
back to part four
to the Finn Family index
on to part six
Watching the older blond, Shiv asked. “Why are you doing it that way? Isn't that babyish?”
“Am I babyish?” Heron deliberately cocked an eyebrow at his host. “One of my housemates in my freshman year was a fantastic cook, but another one could burn salad. Making a recipe this way was easier on her brain, so she could actually concentrate on the cooking part of things instead of just spending all her energy to read the print, which was one reason why she kept confusing steps.” He ticked his thumb against his fingers, then sighed. “Okay, we'll need some baking soda out of the fridge, but you don't have flour, baking powder, or cream of tartar. They're likely to be downstairs in the main kitchen.”
( Read more... )
Also, I really want to know what the receptionist's job is there though because when I asked him to check me in he's like "check in at the automatic kiosk" and when I asked him to check me out he's like "check out is around the corner" So what the fuck is your job dude? You're working awfully hard at not working there.
If I had had brains, I would have brought my laptop and went to a coffee shop, but I don't have brains so I came all the way home, and sat online for an hour then talked to Kevin for an hour, then went back to Decatur to go to the SCA meeting. There was a business meeting at the beginning of the meeting, where we talked about upcoming events, most of which I am not going to. I don't think I'm going to any more events this year, actually. I may change my mind and go to Red Tower in 2 weeks, but they aren't having any classes, and I don't think I can shoot long enough to make that a whole day activity. So, I don't really know what I'd do with myself.
After the meeting we had some dancing. I danced with Ximon, and Justina danced with the dance Mistress, but I don't remember her name. Also this cute little 3 year old girl danced with Justina and they were adorable. The list of dances for 4 people is small, and I think we did most of them.
Then we went out to dinner at Imperial, where I had a burger and Mac and Cheese. Never again with that mac and cheese. The top was burned, and I made the mistake of stirring it so the burned pieces mixed in with the good pieces, and it was just disgusting. I picked at Deborah's french fries, which were better. We talked about travel, and the military, and I'm not really a fan of discussing the military. It's a thing that happened, and I'm glad it did, but I'd rather not talk about it. They were talking about family members who refused to talk about military service though, and I was like "sounds about right!" For what it's worth, my grandfather, who was a mine sweeper in north Africa never spoke about it either. Until he got Alzheimer's and thought he was living it.
L'Shanah Tova, y'all.
( Modulation )
Notes talk below the speakers, pun alert:
*Carlos is speaking and thinking in Brazilian Portuguese, as well as speaking Dutch. Caryn is at least trying to speak Dutch. Translations:
We komen uit Canada. Wij kunnen u helpen.: We're from Canada. We can help you.
Um, dois, três: one, two, three
Jij bent--: You are--
E agora: and now
*Coyote is a term for people smugglers of the far less scrupulous kind.
What is the Paradox of Tolerance?
Guess what, Resistance: you don’t have to be tolerant of intolerance. Intolerance of intolerance has a proud history. The paradox of tolerance, first stated by Karl Popper in 1945,... https://www.amnottheonlyone.com/
A video of a Nazi in Seattle getting punched and knocked out has been making the rounds. Responses range from satisfaction and celebration to the predictable cries of “So much for the tolerant left” and the related “Violence makes us as bad as them and plays right into their hands.”
A few things to consider…
1. According to one witness, the punch happened after the Nazi called a man an “ape” and threw a banana at him. With the disclaimer that I’m not a lawyer, that sounds like assault to me. I’m guessing Assault in the Fourth Degree. In other words, the punching was a response to an assault by the Nazi.
The witness who talks about the banana-throwing also says he was high on THC. I haven’t seen anyone disputing his account, but I haven’t seen corroboration, either.
2.Remember when George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin, and people like Geraldo Rivera said it was because Martin was wearing a hoodie, and that made Martin a potentially dangerous “suspicious character”? Utter bullshit, I know. But if our legal system let Zimmerman plead self-defense, saying he was afraid because Martin was wearing a hoodie, doesn’t that same argument apply against someone wearing a fucking swastika?
We’re talking about a symbol that announces, “I support genocide of those who aren’t white, aren’t straight, aren’t able-bodied…”
3. Buzzfeed presents this as anti-fascists tracking a Neo-Nazi to beat him up. While antifa Twitter appears to have been talking about this guy, there’s no evidence that the punch was thrown by someone who’s part of that movement. And even if he was, the guy didn’t throw a punch until after the Nazi committed assault (see point #1).
Those Tweets quoted on Buzzfeed also suggest the Nazi was armed, which could add to the self-defense argument in point #2.
Is Nazi-punching right? Is it legal? As any role-player will tell you, there’s a difference between whether something is lawful and whether it’s good.
The “victim” has every right to press charges. But for some reason, he didn’t want to talk to police about the incident.
Was punching this guy a good thing? I mean, there’s a difference between comic books and real life. The Nazi was standing in front of some sort of tile wall. He could have struck his head on the corner after being punched, or when he fell to the ground. In other words, there’s a chance–albeit probably a slim one–that this could have killed him.
My country and culture glorify violence. I’d much rather avoid violence when possible. I think most rational people would. But there are times it’s necessary to fight, to choose to defend yourself and others. I think it’s important to understand the potential consequences of that choice.
Multiple accounts agree this man was harassing people on the bus, and later on the street. He was a self-proclaimed Nazi. Police say they received calls that he was instigating fights, and it sounds like he escalated from verbal harassment to physical assault … at which point another man put him down, halting any further escalation.
I don’t know exactly what I would have done in that situation, but I see nothing to make me condemn or second-guess this man’s choice in the face of a dangerous Nazi.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
Gompertz' law says that the human death rate increases exponentially with age. That is, if your chance of dying during this year is , then your chance of dying during next year is for some constant . The death rate doubles every 8 years, so the constant is empirically around . This is of course mathematically incoherent, since it predicts that sufficiently old people will have a mortality rate greater than 100%. But a number of things are both true and mathematically incoherent, and this is one of them. (Zipf's law is another.)
The Gravity and Levity blog has a superb article about this from 2009 that reasons backwards from Gompertz' law to rule out certain theories of mortality, such as the theory that death is due to the random whims of a fickle god. (If death were entirely random, and if you had a 50% chance of making it to age 70, then you would have a 25% chance of living to 140, and a 12.5% chance of living to 210, which we know is not the case.)
Gravity and Levity says:
Surprisingly enough, the Gompertz law holds across a large number of countries, time periods, and even different species.
To this list I will add wooden utility poles.
A couple of weeks ago Toph asked me why there were so many old rusty staples embedded in the utility poles near our house, and this is easy to explain: people staple up their yard sale posters and lost-cat flyers, and then the posters and flyers go away and leave behind the staples. (I once went out with a pliers and extracted a few dozen staples from one pole; it was very satisfying but ultimately ineffective.) If new flyer is stapled up each week, that is 52 staples per year, and 1040 in twenty years. If we agree that 20 years is the absolute minimum plausible lifetime of a pole, we should not be surprised if typical poles have hundreds or thousands of staples each.
But this morning I got to wondering what is the expected lifetime of a wooden utility pole? I guessed it was probably in the range of 40 to 70 years. And happily, because of the Wonders of the Internet, I could look it up right then and there, on the way to the trolley stop, and spend my commute time reading about it.
It was not hard to find an authoritative sounding and widely-cited 2012 study by electric utility consultants Quanta Technology.
Summary: Most poles die because of fungal rot, so pole lifetime varies widely depending on the local climate. An unmaintained pole will last 50–60 years in a cold or dry climate and 30-40 years in a hot wet climate. Well-maintained poles will last around twice as long.
Anyway, Gompertz' law holds for wooden utility poles also. According to the study:
Failure and breakdown rates for wood poles are thought to increase exponentially with deterioration and advancing time in service.
The Quanta study presents this chart, taken from the (then forthcoming) 2012 book Aging Power Delivery Infrastructures:
The solid line is the pole failure rate for a particular unnamed utility company in a median climate. The failure rate with increasing age clearly increases exponentially, as Gompertz' law dictates, doubling every 12½ years or so: Around 1 in 200 poles fails at age 50, around 1 in 100 of the remaining poles fails at age 62.5, and around 1 in 50 of the remaining poles fails at age 75.
(The dashed and dotted lines represent poles that are removed from service for other reasons.)
From Gompertz' law itself and a minimum of data, we can extrapolate the maximum human lifespan. The death rate for 65-year-old women is around 1%, and since it doubles every 8 years or so, we find that 50% of women are dead by age 88, and all but the most outlying outliers are dead by age 120. And indeed, the human longevity record is currently attributed to Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at the age of 122½.
Similarly we can extrapolate the maximum service time for a wooden utility pole. Half of them make it to 90 years, but if you have a large installed base of 110-year-old poles you will be replacing about one-seventh of them every year and it might make more sense to rip them all out at once and start over. At a rate of one yard sale per week, a 110-year-old pole will have accumulated 5,720 staples.
The Quanta study does not address deterioration of utility poles due to the accumulation of rusty staples.
My box of author's copies arrived. Front looks like this, more or less -- Baen's shiny foil does not scan well.
The back looks like this:
They somehow got the first draft of the cover copy onto this one, and not the final one as it appears on the hardcover jacket flap. That last line was not supposed to be, misleadingly, All About Miles, but rather to put the focus on the book's actual protagonists and plot, and read, "...the impact of galactic technology on the range of the possible changes all the old rules, and Oliver and Cordelia must work together to reconcile the past, the present, and the future."
Ah, well. Most readers (who bother to read the back at all) will figure it out, I expect. Those that don't will be no more confused than usual.
posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on September, 20
What I read
Finished Boys will be Boys, which was still very familiar although it is many years since I last read it. Wonder if Turner would really have liked to be writing something a bit more serious about matters of popular culture; and would have liked to be nerdish in the archives of the publishing companies, because there are sometimes wistful asides about the mysteries that might be solved thereby. Pretty sure this is where the very youthful oursin first acquired that apprehension that each generation disses upon what the young of next are consuming (whether print or radio or more latterly other media) as A Road to Ruin (I wish I could locate my copy of his Roads to Ruin).
Also finished The Witch of Syracuse: worked well, did not have that sense one so oft has when scattered short stories on a character/s are brought together of 'fix-up', but that it worked as a narrative arc. Also thought it worked well on the historical contingencies, nature of the deities, etc. (Very unfluffy Hellenic/Punic goddesses.)
Being somewhat smitten with travel angst, read various short things, comfort re-reads, etc.
Did read the novella Suradanna and the Sea by Rebecca Fraimow (2016): very good, even though I couldn't remember why or when I'd downloaded it.
On the go
Finally began Victoria Bates, Sexual Forensics in Victorian and Edwardian England: Age, Crime and Consent in the Courts (2015) - very good so far.
Also currently in medias res, Patricia McKillip, Kingfisher (2017) - very good, but my bar for riffing on/mashing up Arthuriana is set very high with Naomi Mitchison's To the Chapel Perilous.
*Among other sights seen today, Rynek Underground.