Walking with Dinosaurs show

We travelled to Ottawa to see the Walking with Dinosaurs show. The costumes and mechanical dinosaurs were very impressive. I was hoping to see them up close but that was reserved for a lucky winner who tweeted the best picture of the show in a limited time.

There were man-sized dinosaur costumes. It was easy to ignore the extra legs.

A man in an elaborate dinosaur costume steps into a spotlight

Man-sized dinosaur

And there were mechanical dinosaurs on low-slung electric cars.

A realistic-looking Tyrannosaurus rex  is propelled by a low, flat, grey car

Large mechanical dinosaur

Finally, there were pterosaurs flying on wires.

A pterosaur flies over the arena under bluish light

Model pterosaur, life-sized

The pictures are blurry because of the low light levels and moving targets.


Who made that hat?

Taking a new interest in knitting, I noticed the home-made hat worn by Mick Aston on Time Team, a British archaeology show.

An elderly man with a white beard wears a knitted blue & striped hat while gesturing vigorously

Mick Aston of the Time Team in knitted hat

Sadly, Mick Aston is no longer with us.

“Time Team” is history

The British archaeological show, Time Team, is being cancelled.

Mick Aston left the show a few years ago, stating that it had been dumbed down with less archaeological content. Tony Robinson remained as the main archaeologist.

At least there are almost 20 years to re-run.

“The Avengers” online

Now you can watch the original Avengers on your computer. Mr. Steed and Emma Peel ride again on Duck TV.

Octopus mittens

I just think these octopus mitten are pretty.


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Recent books

The Complete Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper

I recently polished off Ian M. BanksConsider Phlebas, about a changer named Horza; his Matter, a Culture novel about a shell world with multiple surfaces 1400 km apart; and his Transitions, which is not a book about the Culture but about hopping from one reality to another. I find his books a little hard to get into because it’s hard to care about what happens to the characters. I’ve read a couple of others and they seem very intellectual: Banks is a big-picture guy.

I read The Complete Fuzzy compendium of H. Beam Piper novels. The first is Little Fuzzy. The second is Fuzzy Sapiens. And the third is Fuzzies and Other People, which was discovered in manuscript many years after Piper’s unfortunate suicide.  They are old-fashioned space opera. Everyone smokes and drinks; women are called “girls” and work as secretaries. No one worries about alien diseases or incompatible biochemistry; but on the other hand, biochemistry and evolution are elements in the story. The stories also deal with greed and land grabs.  They were OK light reading and rather charming. They would also be suitable for young readers.

For fillers, I reread John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, an homage to Robert Heinlein but well done and not as obvious as Spider Robinson’s attempts, and Time Traps, a collection of time travel stories edited by Robert Silverberg, whose asides are full of himself as usual.

Finally, I read a couple of good science fiction cat stories from a big book of cat stories. The novella was Novice by James H. Schmitz, in which Telzey Amberdon first appears and makes telepathic contact with an alien species. The shorter story was “The Game of Rat and Dragon” by Cordwainer Smith (Paul Linebarger) from Galaxy Science Fiction, October 1955.

There’s a wrenching difference between the convoluted and rarefied worlds of Iain M. Banks and the straightforward stories by the other authors.

Cartoonless cat cartoons

Here’s a novel concept: the Cat Cartoon without the Cartoon.

Dec. 26:

Santa appears to be at the North Pole, sleigh piled with gifts, elves standing in the background looking on. The jolly old elf is holding the reins, looking on at his team of coursers who, this time, are cats.

The cats are in all manner of poses: sleeping, sitting, fighting, and just ignoring their own situation.

The title to the cartoon is: Christmas was a little late this year.