P is finding the print source via Facebook

My wife is not on Facebook. That is, by NO means, a criticism. There are plenty of reasons to avoid the social media vehicle. But it does make things interesting.

I joined Facebook to keep track of my sisters and their daughters. Niece Rebecca Jade traveled to Greece and Italy in May 2017 on a music Cruise, and I probably wouldn’t have known about that otherwise.

I’m FB friends with some of her work colleagues and relatives. One of my wife’s first cousins had an accident involving farm equipment in 2016. I would take his wife’s Facebook notices and email them to my wife and my mother-in-law.

So I appreciate the 17-year-old who deleted all her social media and felt much better.

On the other hand, my friend, writer/artist Steve Bissette, extols it as a source of research. He had seen MULTIPLE web texts claim that A.E. Van Vogt filed legal suit against people behind the movie ALIEN for plagiarism. Reportedly, van Vogt’s 1939 short stories “The Black Destroyer” and especially “Discord in Scarlet,” (both included in the revised novel-format THE VOYAGE OF THE SPACE BEAGLE, 1950) were ripped off.

The supposed lawsuit, against Warner Brothers pictures and others, was filed sometime in 1979 or 1980, but settled out of court. But Steve could not find ANY hard evidence for this claim, “not a single print source from 1979-1981 supporting this oft-repeated anecdote. NOTHING in the motion picture trade publications such as VARIETY or BOX OFFICE, or science-fiction magazines of the period.”

As it turns out, one of Steve’s friends found “what may be the one-and-only print source for this long-circulated rumor. From ‘Van Vogt Wins ALIEN Settlement,’ Locus #237 (Sept. 1980, Vol. 13, No. 9), page 3” with extra special thanks to Rob Imes for locating this singular print source article:

“A. E. van Vogt has settled out of court with 20th Century Fox for $50,000 after pointing out similarities between the movie ALIEN and his story ‘Discord in Scarlet’…Van Vogt and his agent, Forrest J. Ackerman, acting without attorneys, met a total of nine times during 1979 and 1980 with Fox attorneys and executives and reviewed excerpts from the various screenplays evolved for the movie. No question of direct plagiarism was involved; rather, van Vogt and Ackerman felt that since the story line was similar to the movie, Fox should buy the story or the entire novel [The Voyage of the Space Beagle]. Fox initially offered $30,000 for settlement of all claims; van Vogt suggested $130,000 for the story or $250,000 for movie rights to the book.

“Van Vogt feels that Fox should have hired someone with expertise in science fiction to act as ‘idea monitor’ before buying scripts in a field which has such a large backlog of copyrighted stories. While no one could keep up with the current output, most of the major ‘spectacle’ stories were published some time ago.

“The decision to accept the out-of-court offer was based in part on van Vogt’s age. Although he is in good health, a lengthy court battle might lead to a useless settlement after van Vogt’s death. Van Vogt, who married late last year, is 68.”

Now THAT is using Facebook for good.

ABC Wednesday, Round 21

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That Facebook “answer so many questions” meme

There’s one of those Facebook things whereby people are supposed to give you a number – is it randomly generated or does it have a deeper meaning? I have no idea – and you are to answer with that many previously unknown facts about you. Except that no one asked me. You might think this would be upseting me greatly, but you would be wrong.

So the number is 10, since my birthday is 3/7, or 7/3 in the civilised part of the world.

1. In third and fourth grade Continue reading

Soccer, a.k.a. football; and lies on the Internet

The first time I ever even had a passing interest in soccer was watching some eight-year olds play in the early 1980s. Now my daughter has participated the last couple years, so I’ve become vaguely informed about the nuances. The Daughter wants one of those new soccer balls, called a brazuca, but I hear it costs $160; not happening.

Not that I would dis anyone who didn’t like the sport because they thought it was boring; I used to think so myself. But I figuratively rolled my eyes at certain Americans with their observations. Continue reading

#latepass

On Christmas Eve, I’m reading the Facebook feed of someone I sorta know – she interviewed me by phone and e-mail for an article about education – and I come to this story You Don’t Have the Right to Remain Silent, a story about the Supreme Court’s “terrible—and dangerous—ruling” on the Fifth Amendment, a decision I hate. The presumption is that a “person of interest” need be versed in the nuances of law. Here’s the ruling in Salinas v. Texas in which “you remain silent at your peril,” as the SCOTUS blog recaps this.

But it couldn’t have been decided on THAT Monday Continue reading

My first Facebook unfriend

thumbs-down1I expected that the first time I would bother to unfriend someone on Facebook would be because of some great, substantial, important issue. And it wasn’t. It was Because Facebook.

I wrote, on Facebook:

FACEBOOK wrote to me:
Why am I not seeing a movie?

If you aren’t seeing A Look Back movie when you visit facebook.com/lookback, it may be because you have not shared very many things on Facebook. Depending on how long you’ve been on Facebook and how much you’ve shared, you’ll see a movie, a collection of photos or a thank you card.
Continue reading

Note to self: do not talk about religion on Facebook

Twice late last month – once on Christmas eve – I had “conversations” about religion on Facebook. It’s often unsatisfying, because I am a believer in spite of uncertainty, and these folks are usually convinced of their rightness.

Oddly, both ended up involving the Biblical phrase “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, render unto God what is God’s.” Without getting into the whole back-and-forth, one guy insisted that the verses, appearing in all three of the synoptic Gospels (all, except John), meant that we are directed to obey earthly authority, pay taxes, and the like.

My view is more in line that Continue reading

M is for Monsanto, modified foods and mischief

Monsanto, a large agricultural entity in the US, apparently needs protection, for the US Congress has passed, back in the spring of 2013, what has been dubbed the Monsanto Protection Act, which, critics claim, “effectively bars federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of controversial genetically modified (aka GMO) or genetically engineered (GE) seeds, no matter what health issues may arise concerning GMOs in the future”. The bill has been recently reauthorized in the House, but not the Senate. (Meanwhile, while supporting corporate welfare, the House GOP axes food assistance for millions of Americans.)

So what’s the issue with GMOs? It is believed that GMOs are not safe. “They have been linked to thousands of toxic and allergenic reactions, thousands of sick, sterile, and dead livestock, and damage to virtually every organ and system studied in lab animals.” Continue reading

False welfare reform; and other phony info

I saw this message about drug testing welfare recipients on Facebook. It irritated me, and I wrote: “This is an amazing waste of money. 1) Most jobs DON’T require it. 2) In places, such as Florida, it’s cost more to do the testing than the savings gained by denying benefits.

The only reason I’m even bothering to bring this up here Continue reading

ARA: Getting serious about blogging

I get this IM after I went to bed a few nights ago from a friend of mine: As I’m thinking of it… at some time I would like to get your thoughts about becoming serious with my blogging. I haven’t put much out there in terms of attracting a following and now it’s something I want to consider at the very least.

My stock answer is, “How the heck do *I* know?”

That said, the way to become serious about blogging is to actually do it. I don’t mean you have to write something every day – only a crazy person, or someone with far more time on his hands than you do, would consider THAT Continue reading

Not wanting to know the criminals’ names?

I’ve noticed, particularly on Facebook, that after some particularly grievous, horrific crime – the Boston Marathon bombing, the Sandy Hook, CT elementary school shootings, the Aurora, CO movie theater shootings – there is this contingent of folks who argue that we ought not mention the names of the accused, but should instead focus solely on the victims. It’s as though by not saying the names of the perpetrators, or alleged ones, it would deny them the fame they presumably wanted; this phenomenon exists even when the presumed criminal is already dead Continue reading