As everyone who has checked the comics this morning knows, Charles M. Schulz was born a hundred years ago today. My nephew has been researching family history, and he recently sent me the photo above. Schulz is second from the left in the front row, and my father is third from the right in the second. They were friends and kept in touch after the war, though I don’t recall either visiting the other. Every ten years or so Schulz would call my father, and they would spend the evening talking loudly on the phone. Schulz occasionally sent us one of his books. One was a collection of his strips, on the flyleaf of which he wrote a greeting and drew a large picture of Snoopy. My brother, then a toddler, promptly scribbled over it.
A long, long time ago I came across a humorous/satirical website called The Lemon. It’s long gone now; as far as I can tell all that remains is the panel reproduced here. It was the work of Shamus Young, one of the crew who hung around Steven Den Beste’s place. He was perceptive and insightful on gaming, anime and whatever else caught his attention. Over the years he focused increasingly on gaming, but even so he was still worth reading. He wrote well, and his detailed analyses and critiques of games were interesting even to non-gamers like me.
And he was funny. The Lemon may be gone, but DM of the Rings, the one good result of the Peter Jackson catastrophe, is there to read on his website, as is Chainmail Bikini. It is not necessary to have played D&D to enjoy them.
Shamus’s autobiography worth reading, too. His account of his ordeals in grade school is sufficient reason utterly reform or just flat eliminate the education establishment. It starts here.
Shamus Young died Wednesday. Please keep him and his family in your prayers.
Versified and rhythmic non-prose verbal arrangements are fashioned by people of alternative intelligence such as myself, but only the divine entity, should he or she actually exist, can create a solar-shielding park structure from low-rise indigenous vegetative material.
John Leo, a very funny, very serious writer whose columns were among the few things worth reading in the newspaper1 before the turn of the century, died earlier this month. His collection Two Steps Ahead of the Thought Police2 is fun to browse through.
(Via Kim Du Toit.)
There is extensive coverage of Fr. Emil J. Kapaun’s return to Kansas here. His tomb is in the Wichita cathedral, which for many years was my parish church.
There’s quite a bit more about Fr. Kapaun here.
Incidentally, the first high school I did time in1 was named for Chaplain Kapaun, but don’t hold that against him.
This was the first version of the song I heard, back a thousand years ago, and it’s still the best. David Bromberg was all the band Jerry Jeff Walker needed. Requiescat in pace.
Charles G. Hill, perspicacious observer, superior wit, and brony, passed away last September. Although his death was not unexpected, it was a bitter loss. However, we did have over twenty years’ worth of commentary at his website to peruse at our leisure. Or so I thought, until just now when I clicked on the link to Dustbury and saw the above.
Update: Greely found that at least part of Dustbury is available from the WayBack Machine.
The Maximum Leader proposes a game. “Assume the former/late Presidents of the United States were alive and in their retirement after leaving office, but living in 2020. What vehicle do you think they would drive?” For instance, Andrew Jackson:
If your Maximum Leader was choosing the “non-farm” vehicle for Jackson it would be a 1968 Chevy Camaro SS. Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure why, but he can imagine Jackson in a blue ‘68 Camaro wearing a leather jacket, mirrored shades, and cruising the streets of Nashville looking to beat the crap out of someone.
I’d play along, but I don’t know cars very well.
For years, one of my first stops every morning after cranking up the computer was Dustbury. There would always be something new and worth reading. The proprietor, Charles G. Hill, a self-described “generalist and occasional wiseguy,” was intelligent and insightful. He was witty and clever, too, very good with bad puns, and an unabashed brony. He was always a pleasure to read. One of the few things I looked forward to on Mondays was his weekly survey of search terms leading to his site, with a wisecrack for each item. His familiarity with obscure popular music rivaled that of the Professor, and he had a healthy appreciation of fine stemware.
It wasn’t all wisecracks at Dustbury, though. Hill struggled with depression all his life. During the past few years he faced worsening problems with health and mobility. His “Vents” were often painful to read, and other posts could be disturbing. Although our interaction was limited to occasionally leaving a comment at each other’s site, I worried about him.
Charles Hill passed away yesterday from injuries received in an accident.
If there is such a thing as a “national treasure” on the internet, it’s Charles G. Hill’s site. The text deserves to be printed on acid-free paper and available in libraries for ages to come. I hope someone capable steps up to preserve Dustbury, as Pixy Misa and J Greely did for Steven Den Beste’s sites.
When perusing Dustbury, be sure to check the tabs at the top of the page, as well as the main blog. There you will find much else of interest, such as his profile with Norm Geras:
What would you do with the UN?
I’m not quite sure, but I expect it involves dynamite….
Do you have any prejudices you’re willing to acknowledge?
I shun anyone who can speak the word ‘multicultural’ with a straight face.
How about The Lightning Fingers of Roy Clark? Clark may have had the persona of a hayseed clown, but he could play guitar. Here’s a sample:
It’s not as easy as it looks. If you have any interest in guitar music, you need Roy Clark in your library.
Today it’s Tom Magliozzi, half of the last radio show worth listening to. I don’t have a car, but it didn’t matter.