Archive | July, 2019

Middelboe Chronicles, Part 21: The Loch Ness Kelpie

Many miles away
there’s a shadow on the door
of a cottage on the shore
of a dark Scottish lake ….

Continuing the theme of troublesome subterranean Celtic serpents, we pass from Merlin’s dragons to The Loch Ness Kelpie (“Animated Tales of the World,” 2004):

SciFi SongFest, Songs 62-63

62. David Bowie, “Bombers” (1971):

The lyrics of this one seem to prefigure the ending of The Last Jedi

… so it only makes sense to follow it up with a song about Jedi knights:

63. Technical Difficulties (T. J. Burnside, Linda Melnick, and Sheila Willis), “Come All You Knights” (1986):

Middelboe Chronicles, Part 20: Merlin and the Dragons

Continuing the theme of Celtic sorcery, and children of unknown and/or magical parentage, from Y Mabinogi and Ewenn Congar, we have Merlin and the Dragons (“Animated Tales of the World,” 2004).

This version oddly leaves out (apart from a cryptic closing reference to the modern Welsh flag) the whole point of the story, which is what the red dragon’s triumph over the white symbolises: namely, Merlin/Myrddin’s prophecy of the triumph of the Britons over the Saxons. (It also has Merlin engage in a bit more dragon-riding than I recall from the original, but I suppose that’s excusable poetic license. Leaving out the prophetic meaning is not so excusable, especially since that prophecy eventually gets linked up with the Arthur legend.)

I remember my mother reading a version of this story aloud to me (actually onto our then newly acquired cassette player, though I’m sure the cassette is long lost, and would likely be unplayable even if it weren’t) out of Helen Miller’s book The Realms of Arthur (not to be confused with more recent books of the same title) when we were living in San Diego, thus when I was between 8 and 10; I even seem to remember the section of the library where we picked it up – on the right-hand side upon entering, where I believe recent acquisitions were displayed (though whether it was the Ocean Beach library or the Point Loma library I can’t say, as we used both regularly; I’m not sure why I haven’t revisited either library on my various trips back in recent years).

SciFi SongFest, Songs 60-61

Two songs about trying to survive nuclear fallout. (Bowie’s “When the Wind Blows” is from the soundtrack of the film of the same name.)

60. David Bowie, “When the Wind Blows” (1986):

61. The Postal Service, “We Will Become Silhouettes” (2005):

The ending of this video looks to me like it might have been filmed in Joshua Tree National Park. And the final scene reminds me of the final scene of Revenge of the Sith (partly because of the clothing):

In other news, the Bowie/sci-fi connection continues with this latest development.

This Gallant Will Command the Sun

— Let’s see; I think ’tis now some seven o’clock,
And well we may come there by dinner-time.
— I dare assure you, sir, ’tis almost two,
And ’twill be supper-time ere you come there.
— It shall be seven ere I go to horse. …
It shall be what o’clock I say it is. …
Good Lord, how bright and goodly shines the moon!
— The moon? The sun! It is not moonlight now.
— I say it is the moon that shines so bright.
— I know it is the sun that shines so bright.
— Now by my mother’s son, and that’s myself,
It shall be moon, or star, or what I list,
Or ere I journey to your father’s house. …
— Forward, I pray, since we have come so far,
And be it moon, or sun, or what you please;
And if you please to call it a rush-candle,
Henceforth I vow it shall be so for me.
— I say it is the moon.
— I know it is the moon.
— Nay, then you lie; it is the blessed sun.
— Then, God be bless’d, it is the blessed sun;
But sun it is not, when you say it is not;
And the moon changes even as your mind.
What you will have it nam’d, even that it is,
And so it shall be so for Katherine.
(Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew)


— How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?
— Four.
— And if the party says that it is not four but five – then how many?
— Four. …
— How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?
— I don’t know. I don’t know. You will kill me if you do that again. Four, five, six – in all honesty I don’t know.
— Better.
(George Orwell, Nineteen-Eighty-Four)


— How many lights do you see there?
— I see four lights.
— No, there are five. Are you quite sure?
— There are four lights. …
— I can produce pain in any part of your body at various levels of severity. Forgive me; I don’t enjoy this, but I must demonstrate. It will make everything clearer. …
— There … are … four … lights!
(“Chain of Command,” Star Trek: The Next Generation)


— Would you like some? I know they haven’t fed you since you got here. That’s at least two days. Besides, it’s lunchtime. Isn’t it? Isn’t it lunchtime?
— You just said it was morning.
— Well, you can’t have a corned-beef sandwich for breakfast. It would upset your stomach. Corned-beef sandwiches are for lunch. If it’s morning, you can’t have it. If it’s lunchtime you can. Is it lunchtime?
— I’m sure it’s lunchtime somewhere.
— Excellent answer. … It does prove, though, how everything is a matter of perspective. You think you see daylight, and you assume it’s morning. Take it away, you think it’s night. Offer you a sandwich: if it’s convenient, you’ll think it’s midday. The truth is fluid. The truth is subjective. Out there, it doesn’t matter what time it is. In here, it’s lunchtime if you and I decide that it is. The truth is sometimes what you believe it to be and other times what you decide it to be. My task is to make you decide to believe differently. And when that happens, the world will remake itself before your very eyes.
(“Intersections in Real Time,” Babylon 5)

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