Yesterday I took a long train ride to the South to visit relatives.

On my way back I walked through the village of Baarlo. One of its four (!) castles is Castle d’Erp which was for sale in 1972 for 1 guilder. I know this because at the time, my parents were considering buying it. While the (obviously symbolic) price was low, the snag was that necessary roof repairs were estimated to cost over a million guilders (somewhere between 250,000 and 500,000 US dollar at the time, I guess). Since my parents did not have that kind of cash lying around, they tried to move other families to buy it with them, a scheme that ultimately failed. The castle was then bought by the municipality.


The dentist’s chair was occupied by a fairy. “You don’t see that often,” the dentist said. “Any special kind of fairy?” He rather suspected something.

“Mmmmm,” the fairy said. She found it hard to articulate with a metal hook and a blood vacuum in her mouth.

“Spit,” the dentist said.

The fairy spat the neatest stream you ever saw into the small basin.

“Excellent set of teeth,” the dentist said after she had got up, “but I refuse to believe in tooth fairies.”

The fairy said nothing, but in reply stuck a hand in her apron. A fist came out, and, held in the air, started to release a steady trickle of teeth. The trickle became a stream, the stream a torrent.

“My my,” the dentist said.

“Oh boy.”

The teeth kept coming. At first they were just many, then you could hardly see the linoleum any more, and before you knew it you were standing ankle deep in them. There must have been millions of teeth! The dentist started to get nervous.

“That is quite enough,” he said.

And then: “Whoa, stop!”

But the fairy did not respond, and suddenly the teeth reached his waist. The dentist tried to wade to the door but slipped on something and fell into the sea of teeth, and almost drowned.

This is what his assistant saw when she entered the room, an old man lying in the dust, gasping for air.

Iceland’s revenge

It appears Iceland have gone full circle now that the ash cloud has penetrated the banking system. That is to say I have already heard reports about how people claim not to be able to pay their bills because of Eyjafjallajökull.

From what I understand in days of yore North Americans would blame El Niño for everything, as attested by Plume Latraverse:

Little Fuzzy to get ‘reboot’

H. Piper Beam’s science fiction novel Little Fuzzy has been ‘rebooted’ by John Scalzi (see here and here). Scalzi is still shopping for a publisher for Fuzzy Nation, as his novel is called. It is not entirely clear what the difference is between a reboot and a re-imagination.

I read Little Fuzzy a couple of years ago and wasn’t much impressed. The novel does seem to be a favourite for a lot of science fiction fans. Its story revolves largely about an arcane legal point, namely “When does a species qualify as sapient enough to not have its planet colonized?”

For me this news is interesting because it shows the sort of creativity that we could see a lot more of if current copyright laws weren’t so insanely long lasting and far reaching. Piper Beam committed suicide in 1964, and never got around to renewing copyrights on a number of his works, including the original Little Fuzzy novel.

Although Scalzi did not have to do so, he still asked permission to publish his book from ‘the Piper estate’ (presumable publisher Ace). Tim Wu once discussed reasons one might have for such a strategy. Scalzi himself says: “Being able to say «no, there are no possible legal land mines around this novel» is worth being able to say to an interested publisher.”

See also at Teleread: