Monday, March 25, 2024

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Friday, March 22, 2024

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Ramona Fradon 1926-2024

Back in January, Ramona Fradon announced her retirement, after a long career of drawing comics. A few weeks later, on February 24 this year, she passed away at the age of 97. Here are Mark Evanier announcing her death, her obituary in The New York Times (not many comic book artists get one of those!), and two stories about Ramona from Evanier. Perhaps her greatest contribution to comics was co-creating Metamorpho, but here she will always be known for her stellar work on Aquaman. And thanks to my being a fan of The Wizard of Oz, we have an original Ramona Fradon drawing of Aquaman in our house. Back when the annual Oz-Story anthology was a thing, I noticed one of the comic stories one year was illustrated by Fradon. Since I know the people behind Oz-Story, I wrote to them and asked for her contact information. I was able to reach her and commissioned an original Aquaman for Laura, and presented it to her at Christmas. I don't think she has ever been more surprised or delighted at anything I have ever given her. It was completely unexpected, and it still holds a place of honor in our bedroom. If I remember correctly, Laura then got to meet Ramona in person at San Diego in 2001, and got another little free sketch from her, and got to gush in person.

Lessons From Mass Media - Humor

Screen capture of a post from Mastodon with the date of Feb 13, 2024. The image is a screencap from Quantum Leap 2022 of Ian and Ben in the cockpit of an airliner (Ian is the hologram) and Ian making a face saying, 'It's a little bit funny.' The post has the words 'Sometimes you need to find the humor in a situation.' with the hashtag #LessonsFromMassMedia and was posted by

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Newbery Medal Winners: Waterless Mountain and Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze

I have been remiss in blogging about the Newbery Medal winners as I've read them. I read Waterless Mountain, the 1932 winner, some time ago, but life got in the way of writing about it until after I recently finished Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze, the 1933 winner. So now I get to write about them at the same time. But this is not so bad, as both books have similar stories and themes, about young men growing up in what would be a much different culture from their own for many readers in 1930s America. Younger Brother, the main viewpoint character of Waterless Mountain, is a Navajo youth in contemporary Arizona who wants to be a medicine man. Young Fu is a Chinese youth who becomes an apprentice to a coppersmith in 1920s China. We see both of them grow up, learn about their trades, have encounters with many characters, deal with events and changes in their lives, and come into their own as young men. This says a lot about what librarians in the 1930s considered to be good literature for children, but at least they saw merit in diversity. Both books do suffer from being filtered through white eyes (both authors were European-descended American women who spent some time in the areas the books take place in). They do stand up well today, at least, even if some of the attitudes feel old-fashioned.

One interesting motif in both books is the protagonists' encounters with white people. Younger Brother has several encounters with the man who runs the local trading post, and later befriends a young man who gives him a ride in his car. Young Fu comes to the aid of a nurse from the local Christian hospital, and they end up helping each other out several times over the years. There are mentions or allusions to other less-than-friendly white people, but they don't take part in the action.

Okay, I'm not sure what else I can say about these two books without extensive research and rereading. I think you've got the gist, though. Since the next book is a biography of Louisa May Alcott, I suspect it's not going to be so similar to these!

Lessons From Mass Media - Mushrooms

Screen capture of a post from Mastodon with the date of Feb 12, 2024. The image is a screencap from Star Trek: Discovery of Stamets saying, 'I always wanted to converse with my mushrooms.' The post has the words 'Some people have very different desires.' with the hashtag #LessonsFromMassMedia and was posted by

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Monday, March 18, 2024

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Friday, March 15, 2024

Thursday, March 14, 2024

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