Kage Baker was not really very fond of nonsense. She enjoyed all manner of japery and wit, and could – as she said, quoting the Bard – “gleek upon occasion” herself. She loved weirdnesses and oddities. She just didn’t care for silliness. Nincompoopery. The Marx Brothers, yes; the Three Stooges, no. As for Jerry Lewis – well, as WWII also proved, a whole lot of Frenchmen can be wrong.
She didn’t even like Lewis Carol, I’m afraid. She adored the John Tenniel illustrations, though, and never forgave Disney for changing them – but she couldn’t abide the books. Not though I loved them and pressed them on her repeatedly; not even though John Lennon admired Through the Looking Glass.
Except for the Walrus and the Carpenter. She saw them as a really scary science fiction horror story, and loved the poem. Edward Alton Bell-Fairfax frightens baby Alec and Nicholas with that poem, because someone once scared the hell out of Kage with it. We used to sing it on long dark drives along I-5, giggling and swearing at the unnatural shadows beside the road …
Today, the sea is boiling. It looks like it is, anyway – I looked through all my palantitri along the California coast this morning, and the whole border with the Pacific was a mass of hot fog. Low, curling banks of it shimmering head-high at Pismo Beach; creeping up the narrow valleys below Big Sur to lap the redwoods with burning silver. Out on the sea at Pismo, a pair of dolphins was arching along in long leaps at the surface, leaping right out of the warm mist at the apex of every jump … the entire Pacific is seething like a pot of soup out there.
Here, inland, I peer at the blue water and sigh longingly. Not going out to find it, though – it’s freaking hot out there, and for all I know, the sea is boiling. The world is weird enough lately to allow it. Earthquakes and hurricanes in Virginia – tidal surges in New York. August rain in California, which I was pretty sure was forbidden by statute lest it cut into DWP profits.
And, of course, the usual crop of weird news cropping up out in the world. A giant frog was found in Malaysia – reputedly as big as a 7-year old child. It was photographed, someone informed the newspapers, and then it was – eaten. Like the living fossils, bushy-tailed tree rats and coelocanths: hey, we’re humans! When in doubt, eat it.
Dolphins are beginning to use tools – conch shells, sponges. Polar bears turn out to have originated in Ireland, while black bears are taking to spas and pools in the San Gabriel mountains, apparently preparing for a new aquatic life. All cats are evidently natural chimeras – not too surprising, that what is un-natural for everything else is natural for cats …
Parrots, it appears, name their babies – and the names are learned by the nestlings and retained for life. My Harry apparently thinks his name is the melody of Rule, Britannia. Or maybe he thinks it’s my name; maybe his name is that special, lilting”Hi!” he uses. Or a meow. Whatever, it’s pretty obvious that when Velociraptors began their long evolution into birds, these got the brains:
On the other hand, these got Gramma’s feet:
Man, it’s a strange world. Sillier than Kage liked, but every bit as fabulous. And that’s why the sea is boiling hot.