Paul's collaborative writing on the web

The Inferior 4+1 is a Livejournal community maintained by Paul, lizhand, Paul Witcover, lucius-t and ljgoldstein.

Recent posts:

  • New Review at LOCUS ONLINE April 22, 2015
    An oldie but goodie:http://www.locusmag.com/Reviews/2015/04/paul-di-filippo-reviews-algernon-blackwood/
  • New Review at the B&NR April 20, 2015
    Lift your spirits by reading a utopia!http://www.barnesandnoble.com/review/ten-essential-utopias
  • Ad for FANTASTIC from 1952 April 18, 2015
    From STRANGE CONFESSIONS comic No 2.
  • Wolf Hall, and a Limerick April 17, 2015
    I love Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, so I was delighted (and apprehensive) when I heard that BBC was going to do a dramatization.  So far I'm liking their version, except for one thing -- it's rushing by waaay too fast.  This shouldn't have come as a surprise -- they're squeezing two full novels into six episodes, after all -- but somehow each episode ends with me trying to catch my breath.The problem is that they've pared the novels down to just one plot, Thomas Cromwell's revenge on the people who brought down his master, Cardinal Wolsey.  The books were much more leisurely, with room for a lot more aspects of Cromwell's life.  In fact, Mantel is so tricky that the theme of Cromwell's revenge is revealed only gradually, in bits and pieces, so that she's already convinced you he's a wonderful person before she pulls the ground out from under you and shows you what he's really capable of.Despite the show's faults, Mark Rylance is terrific.  You never really know what he's thinking.  Is he nodding in agreement?  Is he scheming?  Is he just keeping his own counsel?  He's friendly and engaging, but he's hiding something, and you can't figure out what it is.  In the books people keep telling him he looks like a murderer, and yet they still like him -- and Rylance manages to capture this balance perfectly.Also great is Damian Lewis as Henry VIII, who managed to make me completely forget he was in Homeland.  In fact, a lot of the scenes pit good actor against good actor, to great effect.The books and TV show also explained something I'd wondered about, which is, how the hell do you pronounce "Wriothesley"?  (Admittedly, I didn't spend a lot of time on it.)  The Wriothesley in Wolf Hall isn't Shakespeare's patron but, according to Wikipedia anyway, his grandfather.  And so, in honor of my discovering the answer to a question I'd had since college, here's a limerick:There once was a fair youth named Wriothesley,Who set off on a night dark and driothesley.But he stepped out the door,Heard a terrible roar,Exit, pursued by a griothesley.
  • New Review at LOCUS ONLINE April 17, 2015
    I look at the latest from Tom Purdom:http://www.locusmag.com/Reviews/2015/04/paul-di-filippo-reviews-tom-purdom/
  • Quote of the Month April 13, 2015
    "The dictionary is a wonderful thing, but you can't let it push you around," Mary Norris, Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen.  I almost want to type this up and hang it over my desk.Between You and Me is (so far, haven't finished it yet) a lot of fun, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who isn't a copy editor or proofreader or in some way connected with publishing.  Having been all those things, though, I'm finding it funny and interesting and instructive.  Among other things, Norris makes a valiant effort at explaining the difference between "that" and "which."  I still don't get it, but she at least she tried.

The Weird Universe explores a human and natural cosmos that is not only stranger than we imagine, but stranger than we can imagine. The usual suspects are Paul Di Filippo; Alex Boese, curator of the Museum of Hoaxes; and Chuck Shepherd, purveyor of News of the Weird.

Recent posts:

  • 2015 North American Manure Expo
    Not just a manure expo, but the 13th annual manure expo. Also, they held a slogan contest. I have no doubt that our community here on WU can come up with some interesting slogans. Slogans better than the ones at the link I bet. How about it guys?
  • News of the Weird (April 26, 2015)
    News of the Weird Weirdnuz.M420, April 26, 2015 Copyright 2015 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved. Lead Story World’s Worst Sculptor: It seemed like a good idea when the town of Celoron, N.Y., agreed in 2009 to pay for a bronze statue honoring the village’s only celebrity. Lucille Ball had spent her childhood years there, and even today, everyone “Love[s] Lucy.” The result was apparently a monstrosity, described today in news reports as “frightening” and unrecognizable by anyone who has ever watched Lucy’s TV shows or movies. http://bit.ly/1OmMjl4). The original sculptor first suggested a fee of $8,000-$10,000 to make a better one, but after Mayor Scott Schrencengost started a fundraising compaign, the sculptor offered to make another one for free. [CNN, 4-7-2015] [Google Images] Wait, What? Tough Love: A Catholic priest (unnamed in news reports) in Taranto, Italy, was removed recently after reports that, attempting to minister to an unemployed laborer, he arranged for online role-playing in which the man was Judas and the priest had dispatched him to gay orgies to be punished (for betraying Jesus) by members of the Vatican security force. [Daily Mail (London), 4-8-2015] Paulo Silva, 51, facing bestiality charges in April in Framingham (Mass.) District Court, insisted that the charges be reduced only to attempted larceny. Yes, he was caught fondling the male purebred pitbull, but he had no sexual motivation, his lawyer explained. Actually, he said a friend of Silva’s owned a female pitbull and had asked the male’s owner if the two dogs could mate, but when the friend declined, Silva said he was simply trying to collect the sperm, himself. Judge Jennifer Stark was unmoved and set the case for trial. [Metrowest Daily News (Framingham), 4-10-2015] Leading Economic Indicators In additional fallout from the budget cuts and personnel reductions at the IRS, the supervisory revenue official for the Dallas region disclosed in April that his office had so few collectors that it would only pursue scofflaws who owe the government at least $1 million. “I have to say,” the supervisor told a reporter, “nobody’s ever going to knock on [the] door” of anyone who owes from $100,000 to $999,999. [Washington Post, 4-8-2015] Unclear on the Concept At Australia’s sixth annual National Disability Summit in Melbourne in March, all of the speakers except one were able-bodied. That person, in a wheelchair, had to be lifted up to the stage because there was no ramp. Furthermore, disabled activists in attendance told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that the “disabled” section’s table was at the back of the room, the food tables were elevated to accommodate standers, and one accessible toilet was being used as storage space. [Australian Broadcasting Corp. News, 3-26-2015] Bright Ideas German high school student Simon Schrader, 17, preparing for the all-important “Abitur” advanced-level tests to identify top-performing students, filed a formal request in April, under North Rhine-Westphalia state’s generous freedom-of-information law, for an advance copy of the test. “I just wanted to see what they would say,” he said. (He filed a little late, in that the state’s deadline for responding came after most of the testing.) [The Guardian (London), 4-9-2015] Raising Our Most Delicate Generation: In preparation for the March National Union of Students Women’s Conference in Solihull, England, some attendees requested that clapping for any of the speakers be discouraged but that approval from the audience be expressed by “jazz hands”--open hands, palm directed to the stage, and the fingers extended wildly. Using “jazz hands” would show compassion for however many attendees have anxiety and other disorders, and for speakers who might be distracted by the din of approval. [BBC News, 3-24-2015] People Different From Us Venezuelan women’s well-known obsession over bodily beauty usually focuses on face, breasts, and buttocks (and model Aleira Avendano has certainly had those surgeries). However, Avendano’s signature feature is her 20-inch waist, which she says has been maintained by wearing an absurdly tight corset for 23 hours a day for the past six years. “I wash myself and rest for an hour, and then I put it on again. At first, it was terrible, then I got used to it, and [it] became a necessity.” [Medical Daily, 3-30-2015] Compelling Explanations California Law: A jury in Tascadero, Calif., having already convicted Mark Andrews, 51, of murder, concluded in March that he was legally sane at the time he shot his neighbor to death even though he claimed she was a vampire and that he himself had been, for 20 years, a werewolf. (A month later, a judge in San Francisco acquitted Santino Aviles, 41, of robbery and other felony charges after he claimed that the apartment he broke into was a spaceship that would take him to safety before the imminent explosion of the earth. His lawyer called his condition a “meth-fueled psychosis,” and he was convicted only of misdemeanors.) [KEYT-TV (Santa Barbara), 3-10-2015] [KPIX-TV (San Francisco, 4-9-2015] Readers’ Choice (1) No charges were filed in the April incident in Lee County, Ga., even though a 74-year-old woman was shot by her son-in-law. Deputies accepted the explanation that Larry McElroy shot at an armadillo with his 9mm handgun, killing it, but that the bullet richocheted, traveled about 100 yards, first off of a fence and then through the woman’s mobile home, hitting her in the back. She was not seriously hurt. (2) Robert Abercrombie became the most recent practitioner of DIY tooth-extraction when he yanked out a front tooth of his 8-year-old son Jason by tying the tooth to his Camaro and driving away. Jason was perfectly cool with the stunt, which was captured on video and Internet-posted. “It came out!” Jason is seen shouting joyously (and bloodily) into the camera. [WALB-TV (Albany, Ga.), 3-14-2015] [WTVT (Tampa), 4-1-2015] Recurring Themes Too Much Information: The most recent fatwa, announced in April by the Directorate of Religious Affairs in Turkey, declared that “toilet paper” is now acceptable for pious Muslims. The Directorate had previously decreed that only water could be used for such cleaning (or, if none was available, the left hand). (Toilet etiquette, called “Qadaa al-Haajah,” which obviously predates the invention of the actual “toilet,” requires entrance by the left foot, exit by the right, a post-ablution prayer, and, most challengingly, “no reading.”) [Jerusalem Post, 4-9-2015] No Longer Weird Adding to the list of stories that once were captivatingly weird but have since occurred with such frequency that they must be retired from circulation: (1) Desperate thieves steal what’s handy, and after a botched attempt on April 8th to steal a truck, the perp grabbed the only item he could take with him as he fled. The owner told the Des Moines, Iowa, police it was a bag of to-be-discarded dog feces. (2) The first joyous “fertility” festival you heard about, where giant penis-float parades and candy souvenir phalluses are treasured by giddy children, was perhaps in Japan. Actually, several Asian nations have had their own, as News of the Weird has tried to keep up with, such as Jeju park in South Korea. Now, Taiwan is capitalizing, with the more subdued, under-construction “Romantic Boulevard” park with gardens featuring statues of copulation (animal and human) and a giant stone phallus that children seem tickled to be photographed riding on. [Des Moines Register, 4-9-2015] [Metro (London), 1-26-2015] A News of the Weird Classic (November 2010) In June [2010], the roller coaster at the Funtown Splashdown in Saco, Maine, unexpectedly came to a halt, stranding riders for all of 15 minutes. A reportedly "furious" Eric and Tiffany Dillingham said later that their 8-year-old daughter was so frightened that she had to be taken to a hospital and had nightmares constantly since then, and a lawsuit was a possibility. (Since the purpose of a roller coaster ride is to induce fright, it was not known whether “hospital visit” and “fury” would also have ensued if the ride had been working perfectly.) [WGME-TV (Portland), 6-24-2010] Thanks This Week to Steve Bellovin, Jim Weber, Bruce Alter, and John McGaw, and to the News of the Weird Senior Advisors (Jenny T. Beatty, Paul Di Filippo, Ginger Katz, Joe Littrell, Matt Mirapaul, Paul Music, Karl Olson, and Jim Sweeney) and Board of Editorial Advisors (Tom Barker, Paul Blumstein, Harry Farkas, Sam Gaines, Herb Jue, Emory Kimbrough, Scott Langill, Bob McCabe, Steve Miller, Christopher Nalty, Mark Neunder, Sandy Pearlman, Bob Pert, Larry Ellis Reed, Peter Smagorinsky, Rob Snyder, Stephen Taylor, Bruce Townley, and Jerry Whittle)
  • Miss Kangaroo
    Loretta North of Australia probably thought it was quite an honor when she was picked to serve as "Miss Kangaroo" and tour the United States with two kangaroos. It was part of a publicity stunt to promote the 1952 movie Kangaroo. But it doesn't sound like the tour went very well. One of the kangaroos promptly died. Loretta herself had to be hospitalized for strep throat. And while the other kangaroo survived, it was impossible to toilet train him.
  • The Coleopter
    Original article here. Why are the skies of 2015 not filled with coleopters?
  • A-Bomb Detergent
    Wash that radiation away! Source: Life - Nov 20, 1950
  • The Rotor at Kennywood
    While Kennywood Amusement Park is still operating, they no longer feature the Rotor. Given its 3Gs of force, in this day and age of tender litigious patrons, I'm surprised any park still does.