Kage Baker loved the cartoon work of Walt Kelly. She loved the way he drew things, and she loved his peculiar sense of humour, and she loved his particular fierce and loving philosophy.
One of the things she loved was the way his character Churchy La Femme (a natural-born turtle, BTW) would exclaim whenever he noticed that the date had reached the 13th of any given month: “Oh, Friday the 13th come on a Monday this month!” Or a Sunday, or whatever. And this month, of course, it comes on a Saturday. Whenever Kage noticed, she would join Churchy in his plangent cry, and proclaim the day a loss. Until she got bored with it, of course, and went back to writing.*
As today is the13th of a month, and my leg hurts like hell, I have written today off. As I cannot walk well due to the cyst – lest it burst, as my doctor kindly told me – I’ve been wandering from space to space looking for somewhere comfortable to rest my burdensome limb while I wait for the referral to the orthopedic surgeon who will eventually drain off the bad humours in my knee. In the meantime, I’ve been exploring the aether aimlessly, another thing Kage used to do when she was obsessed with horological rituals. And I think it might be nice to share some of the gems I’ve gathered with you, Dear Readers.
A new fossil species of thylacine (inaccurately called a marsupial lion) has been discovered. This kind has enormous fangs. The surviving species, of course, is being bred in hiding by the Company in the Australia Base, though sightings have increased so much in modern times that they may be re-discovered very soon. I have hopes; they are the school mascot of the Australia Base soccer team – Go, Thylacines! https://theconversation.com/a-new-species-of-marsupial-lion-tells-us-about-australias-past-88633.
Have you heard of the maned wolf? It is a lovely and peculiar canid from South America. It’s not exactly a wolf; even less is it what it most resembles, which is a red fox on stilts. To make it even more interesting, the first melanistic specimen has been found on a night-time game cam: i.e., a completely black maned wolf! The black pelt and the looong legs give it a goblin charm that is entrancing:
The article won’t let me copy the photos, though, so make sure you follow the link and scroll down to see the pictures. They are worth it.
In news near and dear to my heart, it has been proven that good beer will be just about inevitable on Mars: hops grow beautifully in simulated Martian soil. I already knew that barley will grow in it (barley will grown damned well anywhere) and now we know hops will do well also. Thus, there will be beer! And yet another bit of science in Empress of Mars turns out to be a correct prophecy. Read and rejoice:
For the visually-oriented, I also include a lovely artist’s conception of a tour through the Orion Nebula. The Orion Nebula is, like all nebulae, thick with cosmic dust, and is an active stellar nursery – stars are born there, amid the glowing clouds and misty mountains of creation. They are here for no other reason but that they are beautiful, and we need beauty right now. It will enthrall the heart:
And now, I am off to rest my stupid leg on a pillow. It is not gout, so I don’t have to refrain from beef – and I think it’s hamburger night. One cannot indulge too much when Friday the 13th falls on a Saturday.
*For those of you unfamiliar with Pogo, the main work of the immortal Walt Kelly, here is a link to the cogent strips: http://www.batesline.com/archives/2012/01/churchy-lafemmes-friday-the-13th.html