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Which is an improvement. Today, it's Chapter One ("Emmie"). Tomorrow, we may try to do two chapters, as the earlier chapters are shorter than the later ones, and it would be nice to have the safety net of an extra day. Today, I also need to do the last little bit of tweaking on "Highway 97" and its chapbook. But, mostly, the day will go to proofing Daughter of Hounds. This evening, we may see a movie with Byron.
When we got home from Birmingham on Wednesday, the new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology was waiting for me (somewhat mutilated somewhere between the Sheridan Press in Hanover, Pennsylvania and my mailbox, but still...). I've been eagerly awaiting this issue, as it includes a description of a juvenile Triceratops skull from the Hell Creek Formation of Montana. However, I was distracted almost at once by an article on plesiosaur remains from freshwater deposits in Australia. The deposits in question are not only non-marine, they're high latitude, 60-80 degrees S., dating back to a time when Australia and Antarctica were beginning to drift apart. Indeed, the fossils were found in rocks deposited in the old rift valley. I love the idea of plesiosaurs swimming about in icy sub-polar waters. There's an echo of Lock Ness here, which got me to thinking about "paleo-cryptids," how it's often not so much that the beasts the cryptozoologists and monster hunters seek so fervently have never existed, just that they no longer exist. Gigantopithecus blacki, for example, makes a marvelous yeti/sasquatch, but all the evidence points to its having become extinct at least 100,000 years ago. Anyway, I should also note that the cold-loving, freshwater plesiosaurs all appear to have been short-necked pliosaurs, not the long-necked sort of plesiosaurs popularly fancied to persist in lakes like Loch Ness. Still, it's a marvelous image.
I wanted to link to Cliff Bostock's column in this week's Creative Loafing, sensibly titled "To Ruth Malhotra: Kiss my ass, I'm a fag." So follow the link. Ruth Malhotra, a student at Georgia Tech, has filed a lawsuit seeking to revoke GT's "'tolerance policy', which forbids harassment of gays, including the use of intolerant speech." Ms. Lahorta is a repeat offender. She's played the hate card before. Anyway, read the article. How do you convince someone whose religion fosters and encourages prejudicial attitudes that the consitutional protection of religious liberties does not also protect her "right" to treat fellow students like shit? The child has a website, of sorts, including her e-mail addy, though looking at it will only give her the attention she craves. Velour. That figures.
Meanwhile, the bad news is that NASA has officially declared that Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann-3 won't be raining fiery death upon the Earth anytime soon, and therefore isn't the one the IOFS is waiting for. The good news is, a) they've been wrong lots of times, and b) the sky is filled to bursting with earth-crossing comets and asteroids. Personally, I think NASA's just spreading around a little anti-IOFS propaganda, hoping to avoid a panic. Oh, and I found this bit yesterday from The Book of the Damned:
That there was never a moment when there is not some comet in the sky. Virtually there is no year in which several new comets are not discovered, so plentiful are they. Luminous fleas on a vast black dog—in popular impressions, there is no realization of the extent to which this solar system is flea-bitten.
So buck up, kiddos. Hope springs more or less eternal.
Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann-3 and all her forty fragments.