The big tease

I refuse to believe anything new will come of this. I suspect it’s going to be nothing but a remarketing of old strips.

Besides, if Gary Larson were to come out of retirement, or even reveal a cached archive of 25 years of secret strips, I’m pretty sure that would be so momentous it would have to be a prelude to the end of the world.

Might be worth it, though.

I wonder about this all the time!

Well, not specifically Buckingham Palace, though…

Original by Hannah Hillam

I go into some ramshackle old garage on some rental property that was probably built in the 1940s, and I wonder when the spiders first colonized it, and how much turnover there is in spider populations, and if there is a pattern of expansion and contraction in some families of spiders in a neighborhood. So yeah, exactly the same.

Probably true, might be an underestimate

I’m still crunching numbers (heck, I’m still entering numbers and trying to sort out the analysis) of our summer spider survey, but this is actually a pretty low estimate of the numbers we’ve seen in garages.

<NdGT>But this doesn’t take into account the degree of variation, and that numbers in a clean home with few bugs will be significantly lower.</NdGT>

IRIS IS BACK! And cancer sucks.

It’s been a rough couple of years for two of our bloggers at FtB. They had colon cancer. Caine at Affinity was open about her experience, and had a public cancer journal. Iris at Death to Squirrels kept it quiet, and only a few of us knew about it — she also maintained a private account of her travails, sent by email to a few friends. The experiences of both were harrowing, both approaches were valid, although I’ve got to say even getting second-hand accounts of their treatment was terrifying, and I can’t imagine what it was like to go through it personally.

The good news is that Iris’s cancer is gone, although as you’ll discover, the second-hand effects are going to be with her for years. She’s dealing with it by explaining everything in a webcomic. It’s very good. It will make you uncomfortable. It’s art. You really should read it.

As for Caine, she gets a significant mention. I miss her, and I’ve missed Iris.

Meanwhile, here at Skepticon, the first talk of the morning is going to be from Miri Mogilevsky, who is also a cancer survivor.

Yesterday is a good movie!

I saw Yesterday yesterday. You will be shocked to learn that I really liked it.

I have some nitpicks. Lily James is lovely and charming, but she’s playing the same sweet innocent she was in Baby Driver. I hope she gets a chance to extend her range a bit. The premise of the movie is that everyone in the world except for a scattered few completely forget the existence of the Beatles — those few have basically found themselves in a timeline where the band The Beatles never existed. The protagonist, Jack Malik, is a musician who becomes famous for simply recalling and replaying Beatles songs as if he were creating them fresh. This had me wondering…would Beatles songs be as popular and appreciated if they were removed from their social and historical context? Could just any old random person have achieved the heights of fame if they’d composed “Hey, Jude” out of thin air, with no foundation or build-up to the populace?

OK, a more pressing concern: is Ed Sheeran really that popular a starmaker? He’s played up as a fabulous rock star in the movie, and I can’t think of a single song he’s done.

Kate McKinnon was a cartoonish, over-the-top villain, and I cringed every time she was in a scene. She may be a good comedian, but she’s an awful actor, and it didn’t help that she was given a role that demanded she practically twirl an imaginary mustache and cackle.

Those are minor nits. What appealed to me most is that this is an original movie that doesn’t depend on anyone putting on Spandex and punching bad guys — nothing is resolved with violence. It was so refreshing. There was a constant build-up of tension, and how could there not be? It’s about an artist who is aware that he’s using other people’s creativity (even if those other people don’t exist in this timeline), and he’s wracked with doubts. He discovers there are others like him who remember the Beatles, and there is a confrontation…and it doesn’t turn out like I expected at all. All of these situations are dealt with in a very human way.

Also, slight spoiler ahead…

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