It's Turtles All The Way Down. And Kitties.
Time for another break from the daily horrorshow, a chance to depressurize with some stuff that isn't awful. We all could use some mental R & R. We know there are important fights going on right now -- but if we can't also watch cat videos, it's not our revolution.
First off, our silly platform crops all feature photos to a 3X2 aspect ratio, and this week, that's a bit of a shame because it deprives readers of the full delight and wonder of Molly's big ol' Airedale hands. Don't fret, here's the pic in all its uncropped glory:
Molly goes to eleven.
Yr Dok Zoom once had a dream about a very friendly Airedale that nuzzled my hand and wanted to be petted. It had a name tag reading "Walter." I didn't realize until after I woke up that yes, I pun in dreams. I still think I need to get me a big terrier just so I can name it "Walter Airedale."
Wonkette Book Club Starts Next Week!
As we announced last week, our next read for the Wonkette Book Club will be Ursula K. Le Guin's groundbreaking science-fiction novel The Left Hand of Darkness, which, like the Apollo 11 moon landing and Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, is marking its 50th anniversary this year. We reread it earlier this summer, and now we're re-rereading it. What a book! (Rather than reprint our capsule description, we'll just link it, because lazy Sunday, rember?)
We're pushing the Amazon kickback link to the brand-new 50th-anniversary edition, which sports a new intro by David Mitchell and a perfectly brilliant afterword essay by Charlie Jane Anders. Or you could take the approach of the Wonker above, who dug out her old copy with that arresting cover -- the one I remember from my first year of college, too! We appreciate the revenue if you can buy a new edition for ten bucks, but if you're on a budget, get thee to a used bookstore or library! A version of Anders's essay was published in the Paris Review, so even if you use an older edition, consider that assigned reading, too. (If this is your first time reading Left Hand, save it for after you finish.) We haven't found Mitchell's intro online, but he did write a lovely memorial piece in the Guardian after she died last year.
Here's our Book Club schedule for this read:
July 21: Intro & Author's Note through Chapter 11.
July 28: Chapter 12 through Afterword.
Want some supplementary reading? Go check out this lovely 2015 interview with Le Guin, and how about this extensive 2013 Paris Review interview, too? (Here's my own in memoriam for Le Guin last year, but honestly, that's just some dopey fanboying of little value.)
Wait, you want more, you insatiable text-oriented maniacs? Fine, then! Check out this lyrical 2016 New Yorker profile by Julie Phillips, who is working on a Le Guin biography. (Phillips previously wrote a bio of Alice B. Shelton, the SF writer who published as "James Tiptree Jr.," and you betcha that's on our gotta-read list.)
OK, one last bit: Ursula K. Le Guin's 2014 speech after receiving a Lifetime Achievement award at the National Book Awards. She decried the current state of publishing, and castigated Amazon as a "profiteer" over its dispute with Hachette over e-book pricing.
Ursula Le Guin www.youtube.com
Yet I see sales departments given control over editorial. I see my own publishers, in a silly panic of ignorance and greed, charging public libraries for an e-book six or seven times more than they charge customers. We just saw a profiteer try to punish a publisher for disobedience, and writers threatened by corporate fatwa. And I see a lot of us, the producers, who write the books and make the books, accepting this – letting commodity profiteers sell us like deodorant, and tell us what to publish, what to write.
Books aren't just commodities; the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.
And yes, Yr Wonkette gets our book kickbacks through Amazon, but at least we feel TERRIBLE about it. Once we get that anarchist printing syndicate set up...
Sigh. Let's get to reading! If you have terrific supplemental reading suggestions for Le Guin and Left Hand, share 'em in the comments! (Feel free to talk about The Dispossessed and her other works, too, but keep in mind that an entire novel isn't really "supplementary" reading for next Sunday, smiley emoji. )
A Guy And His Turtles: So Happy Together
A few weeks back, somebody on Twitter pointed at this goofy video by a guy who strapped a GoPro camera on a turtle. Turns out he has a whole channel of videos following a very simple formula: Guy goes out to his private pond, stocked with bass and catfish and turtles, and records himself feeding the critters. They make for remarkably relaxing viewing, not unlike the dude with the Chicago accent who makes videos about desert flora and geology.
Here's GoPro Turtlecam:
I Strapped a GoPro On a Turtle www.youtube.com
Turtles eating watermelon, because what could be more summery than watermelon?
Turtles Love Watermelon! www.youtube.com
Some Fourth of July popsicles (frozen fish n fruit and stuff) for the turtles:
Turtles Love Popsicles! www.youtube.com
Turtle race? Why not!
Turtle Racing! www.youtube.com
These are not high-drama videos. Sometimes it's just a dude throwing shad to his turtles and his bigger fish. And that's oddly fun to watch:
Odie Loves Shad! www.youtube.com
Can you go fishing with a drone? Sure you can! (This one's a playlist). This is catch-and-release fishing, so Rachel Maddow would approve. He catches little tiny fish with a little tiny drone, and a bass with a much bigger drone. No, he does not let any big fish eat a little tiny drone because he is not a monster.
Dji Phantom Drone Fishing www.youtube.com
In other turtle news, here is some science and turtles:
Let's say it together with the zombie kid, shall we?
Zombie Kid Likes Turtles www.youtube.com
So yeah, Cats. What did you expect?
Friend Of Wonkette Lisa Wines twote this silly piece about a guy, professional VFX dude Thibault (Tibo) Charroppin, who edits his cat OwlKitty into Hollywood movies and other stuff, and we are here for it.
And so on. It's mental popcorn, and kind of wonderful.
1) The BBC has this amazing look at how Norwegian prisons have turned from punishment to rehabilitation, and it's freaking amazing. Yes, this is with human beings on planet Earth, and these people have committed terrible crimes. They're learning to be human and to take real responsibility. It's almost like a report from an alien culture, really.
2) Go read this absolutely charming New Yorker piece by Emma Hunsinger on why drawing horses is hard, and why drawing horses became absolutely necessary in seventh grade. Yes, it involved trying to impress a girl, and also adolescent awkwardness and crushes and, oh yes, some basics of art and why people make art.
God damn it's sweet and terrifying.
3) How about this NPR piece, from the "Hidden Brain" series, about why we laugh and what the hell is even going on when we laugh? Oh, just EVERYTHING. (Caution: Not all of it is happiness, because laughter IS complex.)
4) Look! A bunny!
It's ANOTHER bunny!
5) Equal time for dogs.
What we are saying here is that it's time for brunch and reading, and also I wish I had room in this tiny apartment for a cat or dog. Now have a good Sunday!
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.