Too Many Recent Deaths…

We all gotta go. I know that. I edit Dead People Server, partially to track “people’s status,” but also as a reminder – we all gotta go some day.



The last few weeks, a number of people connected to the science fiction field have died. Weirdly, each death has gotten a little “closer.” First Lafferty and Knight, older men whom I knew slightly. Sad, but not all that unexpected. Then, George Alec Effinger, younger and more of a friend. Then, very suddenly last night, Bruce Pelz.

Non-fans reading this blog might have heard of R. A. Lafferty, Damon Knight or George Alec Effinger, but might be scratching their heads over Bruce Pelz. Bruce was “just” a fan, but what a fan. He was one of the first people to take collecting and recording fan history seriously. He was a librarian for many years, and had arranged to donate material he’d collected to UC Irvine. He and his wife Elayne had spent much of the last few years taking fabulous cruises. They’d been to Africa and Greece and Alaska in recent years; I know because he would bring his photo albums to cons and share them with us. He’d helped to run cons for many years, and was a founder of Smofcon (to help run cons) and FanHistoriCon (to celebrate fan history).

Patrick Nielsen Hayden keeps saying that we should stop dying. He knows there are some things out of our control. I’m sure Bruce didn’t choose last night to die; he was 66 and still had things in his date book beyond doctor visits. But, if you have a choice about it, go fast without the weeks or months of wasting away and loosing your love of life. While I regret I won’t be running into him at the next few Midwestcons and Worldcons, I’m happy to have known him, and to know that he had a great impact on fandom and will be well-remembered.

My sympathies to Elayne, his wife and Cecy his daughter. And to the rest of us who knew him.

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics.

Today, I’m Ashamed to Be an American…

I find the unilateral actions of our government, particularly under the Bush administration, to be an embarassment. But today’s decision to renounce obligations to the World court goes beyond the embarassment I’ve felt over the last 18 months. I’m genuinely ashamed.

How can we encourage renegade nations to listen to world sanctions when we won’t? This could lead to isolationism during a time in world history when isolationism is particularly dangerous.

I wish President Bush and his team would come to their collective senses, but I do not see it happening any time soon.

Oh, and I’ve just found out that this president does not have a public E-mail address. E-mail to bounces, and when you visit the Web site, the contact page does not include an E-mail address. This is particularly interesting when you consider that, over the fall, many people were praising what a vital link to the public E-mail was when everyone was afraid of traditional snail in the wake of the anthrax panic.

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics.

Yesterday Was a Generally Depressing, Weird Day

I was very saddened to hear about George Alec Effinger’s death. While I hadn’t been in touch in a while, we’d hung out some at conventions over the years. George had a hard life, was often ill, and I wasn’t all that shocked to hear he’d died relatively young (at 55). Still…you couldn’t help but hope it was just one of those bizarre net-rumors, like the people who post, almost daily, that Reagan or Hope had died.

We also had very strange weather. It was sunny, humid and in the ’70s in the morning and early afternoon. It turned very windy and we spent the afternoon having tornado watches. Despite that, in our part of Pittsburgh, there was little lightning or rain, and the wind probably only gusted to about 50 mph.

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics.

We Spent an Enjoyable Three Days Up in Boston

Jim and I help to run science fiction conventions. Last year, we managed the Program division for the Millennium Philcon. So now that we’re starting to emerge from the burn-out from last year’s Worldcon, we’re starting to work on the 2004 Worldcon. We really don’t know what we’ll be doing for the next Noreascon. Jim has been somewhat more definite than I’ve been; I have some ideas of what I’d like to do, but I’m mostly trying to be very flexible and open-minded.

While we lived in Massachusetts from 1982-1993, we only spend about a week a year up there now as we’re settled in Pittsburgh. Boston is really bustling, despite the high tech bust. I saw at least eight different limos in the Back Bay last Saturday night. We visited friends and family and had some terrific meals. We highly recommend Tapeo, a suburb Spanish Tapas restaurant about three blocks away from the Sheraton (home of next year’s Boskone and N4 in 2004).

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics.

My First “Official” Weblog

I went to a political event tonight, “in honor” of tax day. It was supposed to be something of an environmentalist’s nightmare on how our taxes, especially our state taxes, are being spent.

That was fine, but some of the “entertainment” was on the clueless side. One group decided that doing a three minute rant on Palestinians as victims was an appropriate way to educate us about environmental affairs. At least two people walked out. Instead of applauding or booing at the end, I said, “That was really poor judgment on your parts.”

There’s plenty of blame to go around in the Middle East. I’m not a Sharon fan, and I think he and Israel have behaved badly, particularly of late. But to portray the Palestinians as the only victims means you can ignore the hundreds of people murdered in terrorist attacks recently.

Ironically, I heard a brief ray of hope for Israeli-Palestinian relations just this morning. There’s a hospital in Israel (in Jerusalem, I think – it may be called Hadassah) that treats all people injured by acts of terrorism or war. Jewish, Moslem and Christian employees work side by side. At least there’s one place where people seem to be able to talk and work together.

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics.

Why Blog?

I’m still not sure “why blog” when I’ve been writing Web pages since 1994. But, I thought I’d give it a shot. So, here’s the continuation of the World’s Slowest Blog (AKA: Laurie Mann’s Home Page), begun in the fall of 1994, when the Web (and I) were both younger.

I actually had other tasks for today (today being a “non-work” day – due to the “tech recession” the best job I could find was a part time Web contract job), but I was somewhat taken aback by the news that Damon Knight had died. Yes, I know he was 79, so I shouldn’t have been taken aback by much. Still, there are always those people whom you’ve only met occasionally that you hope to see more of in the future, despite their age. I felt that way very strongly about Damon.

Tax returns are done for another year. Actually, they were mostly done in February — I like to send in returns for refunds early and hold the returns that need payment in mid-April. I do wish that that Post Office wouldn’t be open extra hours on April 15. It just encourages the procrastinators.

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics.