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Aug. 14th, 2016

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Thirteen Years Ago Today - Great Northeast Blackout

Thirteen years ago today was the Great Blackout of 2003, which hit much of the northeast United States and parts of Canada.

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Jul. 13th, 2016

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What It Means to Be Superman

Last week, DC Comics published Superman #2. (I think this may be the fourth time they've published a Superman #2, but that's irrelevant for what I want to discuss.) In the current storyline, Superman and Lois Lane are married and have been in hiding in a new version of the universe for many years. The Superman intrinsic to that universe just died, so the Superman we've known about since the mid-1980s has decided to reveal himself to the world.

One issue he and Lois are dealing with, though, is that they have a son, Jonathan, who is starting to develop his powers. He wants to help his dad, but he's unsure of himself, and his parents want to keep him safe.
Anyway, in the panels presented, Superman explains to his son what it means to be Superman. I'll quote:



"I'm afraid someday soon -- too soon -- you will have to pick it up and embrace the 'S' for yourself. It's not about our powers, or strength, or heat vision. It's about character. It means doing the right thing when no one else will, even when you're scared…even when you think no one is looking."

I loved this. For me, it encapsulates exactly what being Superman is all about, and why I've loved the character since childhood and still buy Superman comics today.

(Thanks to Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, and Mick Gray, who created this issue.)

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Jul. 5th, 2016

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Star Trek The Official Guide to Our Universe: The True Science Behind the Starship Voyages

I'm delighted to announce that in the July 2016 issue of Apex Magazine, released today, I have an interview with Andrew Fazekas, The Night Sky Guy, about his new book "Star Trek The Official Guide to Our Universe: The True Science Behind the Starship Voyages." If you follow the first link above you can find out the rest of the contents and buy the issue for the incredibly low price of only $2.99.

(And you want this issue. I've already read some of the stories in here and they're most excellent.)

Jul. 4th, 2016

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George Washington's Letter to Touro Synagogue

Happy Independence Day to my fellow citizens of the United States of America! On this day, among other things, I think of the story of George Washington's letter to the Jews of Newport, Rhode Island, in 1790. This letter is one of the great American documents, in which the first president of the United States made it clear that this was to be a country with religious freedom for all:

"It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support."

If you'd like to learn more, here are some links:

Letter to the Hebrew Congregation at Newport (from Teaching American History)

Jun. 25th, 2016

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DC Challenge

DC Challenge is my favorite comic-book series of all time. The premise of the story was that 12 writer/artist teams did a round robin, where a new team took over for each issue and had to resolve the cliffhanger from the previous issue. Thanks to the editorial hand of Robert Greenberger, the story managed to end up with an almost perfectly satisfying resolution after a year's worth of incredibly bizarre story lines. This series was my first introduction to some of the more obscure characters of the DC universe, such as Dr. Thirteen and Space Cabby.

Somewhere in storage I have my original set, and over the years I bought two more sets, just in case.

They are also in storage.

But recently, I found myself wanting to re-read the series yet again.

Fortunately, full sets are not hard to find these days, thanks to the Internet and eBay...

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Jun. 24th, 2016

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Today's New York Times Banner Headlines - Three In All!

I've mentioned before my interest in banner headlines, specifically the ones from The New York Times. Today is a very interesting day for such headlines, as by one count, there are THREE different versions.


When I picked up my print paper this morning, I found the first of the headlines presented below. It appeared to me that for the national edition, they hadn't had time to update the front page with news of the Brexit vote.



Checking the website, however, I see that the New York edition did have time, but also included the news of the Supreme Court decision. See the second picture.

However, on the website this morning (and when I should start counting website banner headlines is still something I haven't determined, I found the third version, which is only about Brexit.



Interesting Times. :-)

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Jun. 8th, 2016

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History, My Mom, and My Daughters




This picture is for you, Mom. I wish you were still alive to see it.

You died in 2007, before the historic elections of 2008, 2012, and now (I hope) 2016. You had no way of knowing what was going to come next.

I remember how you told me once what it was like for you as a little girl, growing up thinking Roosevelt was king, and what a shock it was for you and your friends when he died and you suddenly had to adjust to a new president for this country.

Your granddaughters were born in the first year of the first black president. All their lives, that is the president they have known. If all goes as I expect and hope it to, for the next eight years they will know a woman president. For almost their whole childhood they will not have known a white man as president. Given the 43 presidents this country had beforehand, I think that is a remarkable achievement.

Things are still not perfect or equal for women. But...

Your granddaughters are growing up in a world where they will be able to envision themselves realistically in so many more roles than you were allowed to. I remember your stories about fighting to go to Columbia Law School and about graduating in 1964 to find that law firms did not want to hire a woman.

Today, much of this country is posed to hire a woman as president.

And perhaps, one day, that might even include one of your granddaughters.

May. 20th, 2016

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Reunion #harvard91

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"Andrew Eliot's Diary

"May 12, 1983

"My Harvard Twenty-fifth Reunion is next month and I am scared to death.

"Scared to face all my successful classmates, walking back on paths of glory, while I have nothing to show for my life except a few gray hairs.

"Today a heavy, red-bound book arrived that chronicles all the achievements of The Class of ’58. It really brought home my own sense of failure.

"I stayed up half the night just staring at the faces of the guys who once were undergraduates with me, and now are senators and governors, world-famous scientists and pioneering doctors. Who knows which of them will end up on a podium in Stockholm? Or the White House lawn?

"And what’s amazing is that some are still married to their first wives...."

-- Erich Segal, *The Class* (1985)

May. 13th, 2016

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Deal of the Day: I Remember the Future

See that link below? That's a link to the ebook of "I Remember the Future" at drivethrufriction.com. Right now (Friday, May 13) the ebook is $4.99, but tomorrow starting around 11 am EDT the ebook will be their Deal of the Day at $2.50!

So...mark that link now, and grab it within 24 hours of the deal going live, in case you don't have it yet.

May. 5th, 2016

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In Honor of Yom HaShoah - Kaddish for the Last Survivor

In observance of Yom HaShoah, I link to my short story "Kaddish for the Last Survivor." (Continued thanks to Apex Publications for continuing to keep it available for anyone to read on their site.)

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