While Tailed Mongoose

Feb. 15th, 2019 03:53 pm
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While Tailed Mongoose_1

No big deal. Just eatin’ the rich.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.


Feb. 14th, 2019 04:04 pm
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This serval refuses to share articles from well-known satire sites like the New York Times, Washington Post, and Fox News.

Life is a farce.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Black Oystercatcher

Feb. 14th, 2019 12:09 am
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Black Oystercatcher_5

I suspect the name “black oystereater” might be slightly more accurate.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.


Feb. 13th, 2019 03:10 pm
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Now we know where the fissures in logs come from.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Our Time In England

Feb. 13th, 2019 06:49 am
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The Trip Out

Our day started with an email that said;
Cancellation - BA0294 ORD to LHR on 24 Jan 2019

I didn’t say a word to Lizzie until I could get the email open. Panic was about to set in. The phone was fumbled with. It was ok, we were booked on a later flight. Maybe they should lead with “Your flight has been re-booked” rather than CANCELLATION !!!

We got to DSM, the flight left on time. We had plenty of time to change terminals, get food … and wait … and wait. And then panic set in again. I didn’t have my wallet. Oh, that worked out as well, I had left it at the security checkpoint, and they gave it back to me.

The flight over was pleasant, mostly. I don’t fit into airplane seats well, so I would get up and stand occasionally, which led to a couple of the Flight Attendants getting me into story mode. Yeah, cute young Brummie women going all “that’s so romantic” over the story of Lizzie and I. So I had a good flight.

We landed at Heathrow, getting through customs was simple (theme of the trip) and we took the Tube in.

Through London and the hotel, eventually …

I have to admit to getting a bit teary the first time we pulled into an underground station, and I saw the Tube graphics going by. I have missed London for more than 4 decades.

There were a couple of transfers, something we got better at through the weekend, and a detour to the wrong Travelodge. We relaxed, had a nice dinner at Nando’s, and were in bed around 8. Now for the real adventure!


Hobgoblin, and no purchases … really …

We got up and had a proper British Breakfast at the restaurant next door. Something we did several times through the weekend. And then it was off to part one of our day. Hobgoblin Music!
I have been mocked mercilessly about this. By cruel people. Cruel I tell you. Accurate, but cruel.

I went in with every intention of not buying a thing. I may have failed at this. To be fair, they did put a really expensive instrument in my hands, a Nordic Mandola. I will own one of those someday. So, realistically, I saved quite a bit of money by not buying that one. And I ended up with a lovely Cittern. So it’s a win.

We wandered into Forbidden Planet … on a Saturday. We wandered right back out, WAY too crowded for my ability to cope at that moment. But, that led to one of my list of things to do. We went down the block a bit and I had sausage and chips! For the first time in decades, proper sausage and chips. It happened twice while I was there, so I am a happy camper. You can’t get proper British sausage in the US.

Taking A Tour

We got back, had some food, and collapsed for a bit. I got ambitious and said we should hop back on the Tube and take a bus tour. Lizzie was against it at first, until she saw where it would go … so off we went. Basically, all the big sights of London in an hour and a half. We weren’t going to have time for all of that otherwise.

But the next day was the really important day for me. Time to revisit some very important things from my past.


The Speakers Corner

Our first day in London in 1974, we went to the Speakers Corner. I was hooked. All sorts of people getting up and talking about all sorts of things. Communists, poets, philosophers, street people, hecklers. I went there every Sunday I was in London. Even the cold and rainy days, I would go see if there was anything going on.

I was this shy, stuttering boy. But, for the first time I was away from the folks who had known me for so long. My reshaping of who I was began in London, and especially at the Speakers Corner. I followed the hecklers around, learned their rhythms, many of which still are part of my delivery. I stole their best jokes, at least one of which I have used in the last few years. The beginning of Eric the performer started there.

There wasn’t much going on, just a couple of speakers, and a few people arguing with them. It was lovely.


And then I got to go home for a few moments. Just glimpses of places that meant so much to me, but it was home. The block of flats I lived in had barely changed. The school I went to had changed a lot. My girlfriends flat had new paint, but looked the same. Lizzie took some video that I will post soon, in which I talk more. We took a bus back south to catch the Tube at Kings Cross, and went back to the hotel. I had walked more than I had in years. And it was wonderful.


The British Museum

We wandered for an hour or so, then I lost Lizzie for an hour or so. I kinda gave out and sat in one of the Egyptian rooms and looked at statues and people watched and she went off on her own adventure. She came back vibrating, the museum is a trifle overwhelming.

Meeting A Poodle

Back when I had my own website, I ran a fan site in it for one of my favorite 70s bands, Fabulous Poodles. I ended up getting pictures and write ups from everyone in the band, and when Facebook came around, I ended up friends with them there. And now I have had the pleasure of buying a beer and having a chat with one of my favorite songwriters, Tony De Meur. They say that you should never meet your heroes, but sometimes it’s pretty darn good.


The Train North

We made our way to Kings Cross Station for the trip north. Lizzie went in search of a certain platform, but there was an hour and a half wait for a photo op, so she opted out. I spent the entire train ride looking out the window, a theme for the week for me. Gorgeous landscapes with the occasional train station. And one major sun farm!

The Whitakers

And so we found ourselves locked in a house for several days with crazy people. Crazy people with wonderful cats and an awful lot of instruments. It was glorious. They took us to a Kathy Mattea concert Tuesday evening, and I found that she and I were born in the same hospital, kinda cool.

CDs A-Wandering

I had sent a bunch of CDs a few weeks before. They ended up finally arriving at the Whitakers the Wednesday after the con, after much gnashing of teeth. So if you are in England, and you want our CDs, they will quite happily sell you one … or more. And whatever is left will be at the next con.


And we worked on songs. Their songs. Our songs. Everyone in the family can play! I want James and Jared to be in the same place, so they can get out instruments and see what happens. The rehearsals were wonderful. We found really interesting things in each others music.


Travel To The Con

Mike, James and gear traveled in one car, Anne, Lizzie and myself in the other. This meant I was able to spend a couple of hours just chatting with Anne, as Lizzie spent much of the drive dozing. It’s great making new friends.

Con And Mockery

I hadn’t met most of these people, but it was like they knew me. I talked about going to Hobgoblin with no intention of buying anything, and the entire room mocked me for it. All of them. Yeah … these are my people. I am always a bit nervous at any gathering of people, even cons. I felt right at home here.

New Voices, New Songs

There was so much, I can’t possibly comment on everything, so I will just say that I heard amazing music all weekend. So many great voices, so many great songs, such a strong feeling of community. I will say that Chantelle Smith is really one of our best. US Filk Con organizers … BRING HER OVER! She was breathtaking … very nice and funny too.

The Shows

We played two shows, one just the two of us, the other with the Whitakers. The Cheshire Moon show went so well. The audience was there for us, giving back as much as we gave out. I’m a firm believer that our shows are best when they are a conversation, between us and the audience. This was like hanging with old friends. The show with the Whitakers was chaotic, silly, powerful and a lot of fun. Being behind the PA, I had no real idea of how good it sounded until I got the video. Yeah, we sounded pretty darn good.

The Circles

We were in the Friday circle for an hour or two, only listened Saturday night and were only up to one song Sunday night. The problem with jet lag and multiple shows. Blind Lemming Chiffon got to be the first person to play my new cittern in front of an audience. As we were packing up our gear and giving hugs Piers Cawley led the room in Dave Webber’s The Parting Song. It left us both in tears, we so did not want to go. Did not want to get to bed, and up at 5:30 and off to our flight. We have to get back to England. I have missed it so much for so long, and this little bit of it has made me miss it even more.

Up Early, And A Day Is Indeed 24 Hours

The trip home was tricky. Jackie was lovely and took us to the coach. The coach trip ended up taking way over an hour more than it should have. The driver dumped us at the wrong terminal. We still made it to our flight, since it left almost three hours late. Food was had, chocolate was bought. I still have one Galaxy bar in my desk.

We came late into Chicago, and still made it to our flight with time to spare. We got to the DSM airport right on time. We got home about 24 hours after we had gotten up in England that morning. Time zones are an interesting thing.

Kitties were snuggled. Luggage was dumped in the living room. Sleep was had. The next day was spent at home.

It’s a week later now, and it almost doesn’t feel real. Like it was a story told, or a dream had. We’re both still recovering. We pushed ourselves so hard, and we managed it.

Thank you to all the Whitakers for being so much fun. It’s always good making new friends. We will be there again, and skritch your kitties, and play your instruments, and swap terrible jokes, and all the rest. Thank you everyone at the con for being so much fun and being so welcoming.

And especially thank you to the Concom for making this amazing trip possible. We will get there again.


Feb. 13th, 2019 12:39 am
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This young flamingo wishes the publishers would leave classic books alone.

He was just trying to read “Wikipedia Brown”, and it was the story was changing as it went along.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.


Feb. 12th, 2019 03:01 pm
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I think he missed a spot.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

African Crowned Crane

Feb. 11th, 2019 03:22 pm
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African Crowned Crane_1

Ever notice how you never look at a bird and think “Wow, that critter sure is heveled.”

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Concert Window!

Feb. 10th, 2019 07:03 pm
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[personal profile] ericcoleman
We are not going to be traveling much this year. England took a lot of our travel budget, and we're moving this summer. Now if only there was some way to play for people without spending hours in the van. OH WAIT!

Yeah, there is this thing that we haven't done in over a year!


Sokoke Cat

Feb. 10th, 2019 03:54 pm
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Sokoke Cat_9

You come to this cat, on the day his daughter is to be married, and you ask for a favor. Someday, he may call upon you to do a service in return. On that day, you will have a choice – to say “yes” or “no.”

Either answer is acceptable, for this cat understands the difference between friendship and debt.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Brittle Star

Feb. 9th, 2019 03:21 pm
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Sea Pen and Brittle Star_1

Brittle stars reenacting the classic fight scene from West Side Story.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Sea Star

Feb. 8th, 2019 03:47 pm
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I’m pretty sure this is actually a shrimp cosplaying as a sea star.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker

Feb. 7th, 2019 03:14 pm
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Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker

Lumpsucker realizing, to his shock, that Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer” could be about a horde of young Sidhe predators who invade in the summertime, abducting all the pretty humans to be slaves in the underworld, leaving small towns desolate and longing for what they have lost, just as the glamour fades and, with it, all specific memory.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.


Feb. 7th, 2019 07:54 am
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[personal profile] bibliofile
Gratuitous cat post.

Face of Home cat, who is mostly grey and somewhat floofy, dozing in the sun on the sill of an open window. From a day with less ice in it.

click to see the kitty )

Our British Con Bio

Feb. 6th, 2019 04:05 pm
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[personal profile] ericcoleman
Written by the marvelous Shawna Jacques.

It is winter, and the sun has long since set. It’s a clear, chilly night. A silver, sliver crescent of a moon, luminescent in the inky sky, grins mischievously down on the forest clearing. It’s an infectious grin, and even while it makes you shiver, you can’t help but smile back.

You hear cawing in the distance, and you feel something twining around your ankles. Startled, because birds that speak that particular language are usually at roost and sleeping this time of night, (and where even did this fat grey cat come from?!), you look around. There are crows mysteriously EVERYWHERE. On the road, in the grass, in the trees. The fat grey cat looks at you, chirps, licks her paw, and looks up at the sky.

You follow the fat grey cat’s gaze, taking note of the fact that you’ve seen a cat without a smile, but a smile without a cat is a most curious sight. You watch another cat, an enormous, very fluffy tabby cat appear around that lunar dentation. His fur shifts between hues of all possible colors, and his grin widens even further as he espies you. The cat jumps down to the ground amidst a flurry of black feathered beings as they make room for the enormous Cheshire cat (for who else could this cat be?). Social protocol for dealing with Very Large Felines being not well-established, you bow to the grinning beast. He seems to bow in turn, his eyes luminous and unnervingly yellow-green, until you realize that there is a man climbing off the cat’s head.

He is dressed in vivid swirling colors, shifting much like the cat’s coat, and there is a guitar strapped to his back. Before you can respond, one particularly animated crow swoops down, lands, and shifts into a brown, curvy, curly haired human form, dressed in deep jewel tones and black, a bow and blue fiddle in her hand. She winks at you, and turns to the man, her gaze sharp and fond.
“It’s a Cheshire Moon tonight, my love.”

“It is, indeed. But perhaps we should bring this person along?”

“Ah, yes. Hello. I am Lizzie Crowe, and this is my husband and magician Eric Coleman. We’ve come here to sing. Are you here to listen?”

You nod, somehow at a loss for words, and sit down on a nearby boulder. Several crows settle on and around you.

Lizzie raises her voice. “Come one, come all! If you’re here to listen, we will play!”

You look all around you as people and creatures of many sizes, species, and types appear, some out of the forest, some out of thin air. A girl with a fluffy russet tail with white fur at the tip sits down next to you, her large, soft, pointed ears twitching at the sounds around her. She tilts her head at you, a curious expression on her round face.

“Do you know them?” she asks.

Your eyes wide, you reply, “No, but I feel like I should!”

“You’re going to love them!”

Lizzie tunes her fiddle as Eric tunes his guitar. Then Eric grins and inclines his head toward his trickster wife. “Shall we?”

As the enormous cat meows agreement, the man settles his guitar solidly in front of him, and strikes a chord. The crow-woman plays a haunting introduction on the blue fiddle, and then she begins to sing, weaving voice, guitar, and fiddle into otherworldly panoramas and eery epic tales of heroines, legends, warnings, and wings. She sings of goddesses and gods, good queens and wicked princesses, wicked queens and goodprincesses, good witches, bad witches. She sings of crows, the flock joining in raucously on the chorus, and before tonight, you’ve never seen an enormous cat dance.

You don’t want them to stop, but all creatures must rest, and the wonderful pair finishes the last song for this fantastically strange night. The crow-woman, her fiddle and bow safely stowed, nods at you, winks again, and dons her cloak of feathers once more, settling next to the large cat’s left ear. The man climbs back aboard, and with one powerful leap, the cat launches himself back into the sky, and suddenly you are alone in the forest clearing again. You wonder if you’ll see them again.

The full moon rises, and the Cheshire Moon does not reappear.

Some days pass, and it is now the first day of the second month.

You hear a cawing in the distance…

Moon Jelly

Feb. 6th, 2019 03:24 pm
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Moon Jelly_1

They told me that feeding kids was easy. They told me that everyone loved peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Turns out they were wrong.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Spotted Lagoon Jelly

Feb. 5th, 2019 03:56 pm
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SpottedLagoon Jelly

This jelly believes that everything that happens, for good or ill, for pain or for joy, absolutely everything … happens for a reason: ocean currents.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Dwarf Cuttlefish

Feb. 4th, 2019 03:56 pm
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Dwarf Cuttlefish

This cuttlefish thinks that all things being equal would make his math homework a whole lot easier.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

CarolinA Parakeet

Feb. 3rd, 2019 02:59 pm
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Caroline Parakeet

The Carolina parakeet was once prevalent in the eastern United States. Due to hunting, and the fact that their behavior included flocking around injured birds, it has been extinct since 1920 and can only be seen via specimens like this, in museums.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.


Feb. 2nd, 2019 03:19 pm
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This butterfly knows whether there will be six more weeks of winter, but as it won’t be alive six weeks from now, isn’t telling anyone.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.