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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, January 23, 2005 - 11:29 am:   

if anyone's looking for a signed Viator or American Prayer, I left some copies at Octavia Books in New Orleans. They have an online presence and do mail order.
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Monday, January 24, 2005 - 07:27 am:   

Tom and Judith at Octavia Books are wonderful folks and had a great time hosting Lucius on Saturday night. They've been very supportive of the SF/fantasy writing community during their four years in business. Visit their site at www.octaviabooks.com , or, if you'd rather order one of Lucius's signed books over the phone, give them a call at (504) 899-7323. They've got at least half a dozen apiece of Viator and A Handbook of American Prayer, plus smaller quantities of some of Lucius's other books.

After the reading, Tom, Judith, and my family and I took Lucius out to a local spot called Ye Olde College Inn for dinner. Didn't realize they were having live music, too. So Lucius and company were serenaded by the songs of Bennie Grunch and the Bunch, including "The Twelve Yats of Christmas" and "Ain't No Place to Pee on Mardi Gras Day." A gen-u-ine N'Awlins experience all around.

Lucius, thanks for helping herd escaped cats and for changing Levi's "Wiggles" videos early in the morning (didn't make you change his diapers, just the videos). Hope you have a very successful time down in Honduras and back out west in San Francisco.
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Monday, January 24, 2005 - 08:49 am:   

The Wiggles!? Good God, man, no! Nooooooooo!
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Monday, January 24, 2005 - 09:56 am:   

Better them than "Boo-Bah" or "Teletubbies". . . both those shows seriously creep me out. Especially that baby-faced sun that floats around on "Boo-Bah." L.S.D. trips for toddlers; what'll they think of next???
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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - 03:03 pm:   

Boo-bah. Are those the strangely shaped creatures with grotesquely small heads who utter musical gibberish when you punch them in the belly? They're like Teletubbies, only vastly more unsettling. I saw these in a shop two days ago. If I had been a small child, I think I might have wept. Then again, I'm frightened of large flowering plants, so what do I know?

Oh, and by the way, Lucius, thanks very much for giving us the reading. I've just begun Two Trains Running, and I'm loving it. I've put off A Handbook of American Prayer until I've met a few deadlines, but Trains is so short... well, I suppose its like giving in and eating just one small chocolate.
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 07:20 am:   

Neal, you'll love Handbook. It was my favorite book of 2004.

And yes, "Boo-Bah" features creatures such as Ding-Ding-Ding-Ding-Bah, which are sort of like mutated Teletubbies that emerge from sweet potato-shaped pods reminiscent of the pods from Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Their appeal is utterly inexplicable, but the show's creators must've been onto something, because my kid watches the show like he's been hypnotized. And each show is basically a repeat of the same clips, morning after morning.

Just wait until Lucius returns from Honduras to discover that his message board has been invaded by a thread about "Boo-Bah" and "Teletubbies". . . Invasion of the Board Snatchers, hmm?
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 08:39 am:   

Whatever happened to calming, friendly, avuncular chaps like Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Greenjeans and Mister Rogers? All of a sudden, the minds of our children have been invaded by weird, ugly, blobby mutants and peabrained little outer space kewpie dolls.

Is it any wonder the human race is circling the drain at such an alarming rate?
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 06:29 am:   

Dave, there's hope. I haven't yet experienced it, because my kid's still too young, but I have it from unimpeachable sources that as soon as kids turn four (five at the latest), they do a 180 and suddenly revile shows such as "Barnie," "Boo-Bah," and "Teletubbies," making contemptuous fun of smaller kids that still watch them.

However, at that point they're getting hooked on smart-assed shows like "Sponge Bob" et. al., so I'm not too sure this represents an improvement.
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 06:34 am:   

Swapping an infantilized purple dinosaur for an infantilized sea sponge in knee pants?

This is hope, Andrew? :-) Somewhere Bob Keeshan is turning over in his grave.
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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 07:26 am:   

Dave, I don't know about you, but I always found Mr. Rogers and Captain Kangaroo excrutiatingly dull. I respect both men for giving a damn about the education and entertainment of kids, but I was really more into the violence and perversity of Bugs Bunny. Of course, nothing in the world was worse than "Davey and Goliath," the proselytizing claymation that always knelled the end of morning cartoons as surely as the ringing of a church bell.
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 09:05 am:   

Well, of course, after a certain age Bugs became The Man (or The Bunny, as it were). But for kids, say 3-6 or 7, boredom didn't enter into it yet. (I mean, Neal, have you SEEN a Teletubbies episode? It is literally endless turtle's-pace repetition!) Before I was smart enough for Bugs, the Cap'n was my pal.

Y'know, it's funny. I'm 43 years old and I'm still figuring out references in those cartoons that I didn't pick up as a younger man! Did you know there really was a Steve Brody who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge????
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Deborah
Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 09:15 am:   

But, you know, Dave, toddlers really like that repetition stuff...my kid loved that about Teletubbies (when they all shout "again, again" and then the show repeats the same clip). That's what he did with his own videos. There was a Muppets video, for example, that he loved, but he'd get on one song and want me to rewind and play it over and over...stuff like that.

And, really, little kids don't know it's weirder than anything else...think about it...everything is new and a little weird when you're two.

One more story about my kid. One of the first movies he ever watched was Toy Story. He called it the Potato Head movie because to him, clearly, Mr. Potato Head was the star. He hadn't internalized all the rules about narrative yet.

And, I'm just a wee bit older than you and up until I went to college most of my knowledge of opera came from Bugs. :-)

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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 10:19 am:   

Well, I have always really loved opera, especially the "Spear and Magic Hewmet" opera. :-)
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Deborah
Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 10:42 am:   

"Kill the Wabbit
Kill the Wabbit
Kill the Wabbit!"

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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 11:23 am:   

Forget "The Annotated Dennis Miller," I think somebody should create "The Annotated Bugs Bunny."
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 12:46 pm:   

Now, Neal, let's not rag on Mister Rogers. I found him a very comforting, reassuring presence as a child. Sincerely.

Deborah, I know what you mean about toddlers and repetition. Levi can watch "Space Dancing," his favorite Wiggles video, endlessly.

Speaking of repetition. . . we're back to the Wiggles, aren't we? This discussion has come full circle (well, almost; at the very beginning it was about Lucius's signed books or something).
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 12:50 pm:   

Lucius, oh yeah, him...:-)
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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 08:22 am:   

Andrew, I agree. Mister Rogers was soooothing. Just watching him change out of his street clothes and into his avuncular cardigan and loafers was like hooking up a morphine drip. I usually started to nod off about the time he began feeding his fish.

But what kid wants anaesthesia when he can have the shotgun wedding of a speech-impeded sport hunter and a transvestite rabbit? Violence, bestiality, gender transgression... and an occasional cameo by Humphrey Bogart. Bugs did more than any cartoon, before or since, to prepare young minds for the twenty-first century.
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 09:52 am:   

Neal, I don't see why it has to be an either-or thing. I got my reassurance from Mister Rogers, and I got my funny bone thwacked by Bugs (amazing how those cartoons hold up, the ones from the forties and fifties. . . there's no end to the number of times I can watch them and enjoy them).

While we're on the subject of kids' shows, does anyone remember a mid-seventies live-action Saturday morning show, about the same vintage as The Land of the Lost and The Shazam/Isis Power Hour, set in a post-holocaust future that featured a gang of attractive young 'uns bounding around the desert in a huge RV type of thing? There was an Asian-American actress in that show who I thought was totally, utterly HOT when I was 11 or 12 years old, even hotter than the actress who played Isis (who my dad got off on). Can anyone jog my memory as to the names of the show and actress?
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 12:05 pm:   

Andrew---

You can probably find the show here: http://www.inthe70s.com/saturdays.shtml.

Personally, I remember LOST SAUCER (with Jim Nabors) and MONSTER SQUAD (with Fred Grandy, later of THE LOVE BOAT and even later of The US Congress) but I can't recall the show you're describing.
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 12:42 pm:   

Hi, Gordon!

Thanks so much for the link. I found the show I was looking for in no time at all -- Ark II, which debuted in 1976 in the timeslot right after The Shazam/Isis Power Hour. The name of the actress my preteen self was so taken with is Jean Marie Hon. A visit to another site reminded me that the Ark II world had been wiped out by pollution, and that one of the Ark II's four crew members was a talking chimp (I'd totally forgotten that -- even as a kid, I'd found the chimp to be a complete embarassment; must have wiped him from the ol' memory banks).

By the way, I finally got around late last week to sending you off another story (first time since 1997, I think). Hooray for me!
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 11:44 am:   

I must admit that while at Andy's, I developed an affection for the Wiggles. Of course I was coming down with the flu and dead tired, but
they had a certain hypnotic quality.
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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Friday, February 04, 2005 - 06:47 am:   

Welcome back, Lucius. That hypnotic effect you're describing is real, I think, and perhaps not unintentional. I've noticed it with Teletubbies when I've gone to visit my niece. It helps, I find, if you drape a one-foot-square sheet of aluminum foil over your head while watching. At the very least, the aluminum foil does no harm to you and amuses the daylights out of the child.

Andy -- I wasn't terribly taken with Ark II. Sort of a cut-rate Damnation Alley, I seem to recall, with the obligatory "important life lesson" packaged into every ep. Even as a kid, I felt a bit insulted at that sort of thing. The Planet of the Apes series was worse, though; I wanted fierce battles between man and ape, intense hatreds bred of a lifetime of slavery, and hard-headed validation of the human will to power. I was given instead a forty-minute lesson on the virtues of moral conformity and feckless benignity. Pfah! The real "Bright-Eyes" would have strangled those two imposters for pansies.

Gordon -- I remember Monster Squad pretty well. Too little monster, too much squad. Most of those live-action shows were a disappointment, I recall. Of course, the Sid and Marty Kroft shows still hold a cultish appeal: the Bugaloos, Lidsville, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, H. R. Puffenstuff, and the rest. And of course, Land of the Lost gave us the gift of Sleestaks, for which we must return thanks.
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Friday, February 04, 2005 - 08:54 am:   

Neal, I never meant to suggest that Ark II was a good show. The only thing I was really saying was that Jean Marie Hon was fantastic eye candy for my beadie little twelve-year-old eyes. The show itself, especially that talking chimp, was cheesy.

Something always creeped me out about the Sid and Marty Kroft live-action shows, even as a kid. With the exception of Land of the Lost, I couldn't watch any of their other shows without feeling an acute, mysterious discomfort, a kind of spiritual violation, similar to how I felt around the same age as when, while being baby-sat on Yom Kippur, my hosts fed me a lunch of pigs' feet stew.
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Monday, February 07, 2005 - 11:45 am:   

And another little "Wiggles"-watching, "Boo-Bah"-worshipping being joins our household: Asher Levi Fox, born at 10:07 P.M. on February 5 during the Endymion parade. Nineteen inches long (same as his older brother and sister were) and 6 lbs 3 oz. Four weeks early to the day, fifteen months younger than Levi almost to the minute. Dara and baby are both doing well. I'll be taking Levi over to the hospital to see his mommy and meet his younger brother this afternoon.

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