1. I finally finished watching Ken Burns' Dust Bowl documentary a few days ago. What most interested me was the geography. Centering on the exact area in the US where five states come most closely together (could that have contributed to any lack of regional coordination?), events of the Dust Bowl were given some precise individual locations in the film. And I realized that, apart from passing by the edges on a couple of childhood trips, I've never been there.
2. At a New Year's party I was quietly informed of a home truth that certain people in the SF community consider me an old fuddy-duddy in Tolkien matters. Well, of course they do. I have refused to bow to our new fan-fiction masters. Even a mere personal preference for the original author's unsullied creation is more rebellion than they can tolerate. Well, in Tolkien even ultimate defeat does not turn right into wrong, and I stand with those authors who do not wish graffiti drawn on their creations in public (what you do in private is your own business), such old fuddies as Ursula K. Le Guin.
3. Enough has been said in public elsewhere that I can explain my cryptic post of Saturday. The DeHoard Crew of which I was a part was sorting through the accumulated clutter of the life of our friend Vanessa. V. kept stuff, lots of stuff, in boxes and storage bins, each of them entirely miscellaneous, and they had long since taken over her house. In and among these bins we found papers, fabric, art supplies and sewing equipment, cameras and software, numerous old Altoids tins (not all of them empty), uncashed ten-year-old membership checks for a society of which she was secretary, and a 15-year-overdue library book, which I volunteered to return to its owner because I sometimes pass that way. In the course of two days' work, a pathway was actually cleared between the doors at opposite ends of the largest room in the house ... at which point we found that mice had been living underneath. The most poignant moment for me came when a clearer from the country-dancing side of V's life held up an old apa mailing and asked, "What's this?" Fortunate that I was in the room to answer the question.