Sunday, February 24, 2008

You don’t know what you’re talking about, do you?

Here’s a quick note wishing No Country For Old Men good luck at the Oscars tonight, if only because it is, to my knowledge, the only Best Picture nominee ever to mention my hometown. I don’t remember seeing the fellow behind the counter around while I was growing up but he seems a man of his word so I’ll assume we just missed each other.

A longer post would extrapolate on the funhouse mirror parallels between the character of Anton Chigurh and Leonard Smalls, a.k.a. the Lone Biker of the Apocalypse, from an earlier Coen Brothers favorite, Raising Arizona. But that’s for later. I’m on deadline now.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

More Moon

How about that eclipse last night, eh? When the Moon was fully in Earth’s shadow and had that pale red glow, it looked to me somehow lit from within, and eggshell thin—a strange and wonderful effect.

More breaking news on the Moon in this short NASA article about exploration being conducted now (right now) by both Japanese and Chinese satellites. While interesting in its own right, the piece also has the benefit of using the words "China" and "Moon" in the same sentence, which always brings to mind one of the my favorite exchanges from the Apollo 11 transcripts. The following is from a few days into the mission, between Mission Control in Houston and Buzz Aldrin on his way to the Moon:

Mission Control:
“Roger. Among the large headlines concerning Apollo this morning, there's one asking that you watch for a lovely girl with a big rabbit. An ancient legend says a beautiful Chinese girl called Chang-o has been living there for 4000 years. It seems she was banished to the Moon because she stole the pill of immortality from her husband. You might also look for her companion, a large Chinese rabbit, who is easy to spot since he is always standing on his hind feet in the shade of a cinnamon tree. The name of the rabbit is not reported.”

Buzz Aldrin:
“Okay. We'll keep a close eye out for the bunny girl.”

The bunny girl! If they ever met up with her, they never mentioned it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Red moon rising

An increased awareness of all things lunar being one of the byproducts of the Moonshot, here, then, for your reading pleasure, is information about tonight (Wednesday) night’s lunar eclipse. Last one till December, 2010! Crack out the binoculars, especially if you've never looked at the Moon magnified. Even a modest pair of binoculars will reveal plains, mountains, and shadows dipping into craters. That's a real place, that Moon up there.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

It's never too early

If you haven’t already read it, and if you enjoy slow, sinking feelings about the state of the culture, click your way on over to this story in the Gray Lady about product placement in books for eight-year olds. This at HarperCollins, home of the Poppy Stories, among, of course, many others. There’s one (1) book yet to go in that series, by the by—but no word yet on whether the mouse prefers Nike or Converse. (I’m pushing for Dr. Martens.)

For those who want deep background or are just morbidly curious about this sort of thing, this blog submits Alyssa Quart’s Branded as well worth reading. (This even if the sexed-up cover makes you feel like you're reading just the sort of thing the book is critiquing. Those of you interested in jacket design will notice that some editions of Branded flash navel, and some don't. I guess you order from Amazon or Powell's depending on how sexy you feel at the moment. Eh—I digress. Read the book.)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Blogger’s Valentine

It’s a pleasure to note here that Lightship was today announced as the winner of a Cybil for Best Nonfiction Picture Book of 2007! (A Cybil, or a Cybils? I have trouble with my singulars and plurals where the Cybils are concerned.) Regardless, it’s the Children’s & YA Bloggers’ Literary Awards. It was an honor to find Lightship among a great pack of nominees a few weeks back, and an honor to receive today's news. Thank you to the Cybils Team, the panelists and judges, and a high tip of the hat to Susan Thomsen for the original nomination!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Rand McNally it ain't

Here I am on the last (maybe next to last) leg of my Moonshot journey and I'm still for the first time coming across things like the online Consolidated Lunar Atlas. Just start clicking around. You will say "Whoa," even if you're not normally that type of person.