Sunday, January 27, 2019

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day

When I was a sophomore in college, in 1977, some of us students were gathered just outside a TV lounge in John Jay Hall (at Columbia University).

That evening's presentation of the mini-series "Roots" had just finished. One of the students was black, and as we chatted he mentioned how reading Alex Haley's book had turned him on to genealogy.

He was very enthusiastic, and he started to ask each of us in turn, "Have you ever looked into genealogy?"

When he asked me, I told him I wasn't interested. He turned to the next boy and asked, "Have you ever looked up your family tree."

The kid was Jewish. He looked him in the eye and said

"Hitler burned down my family tree."

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Maybe some other day

Some of my friends out there know I am a member of the SFWA. I decided this year to maybe try for a spot on the Board of Directors, and with the retirement of Cat Rambo I thought I'd run for President.

No dice. Not only am I not eligible to run for President, I can't be a member of the board at all, because there's a gap in my membership. Oh, well.

It's the responsibility of the group's executive director to certify eligibility of a candidate for the elections committee. I'll just cut and paste the response here:

"Dear Mr. Antonelli,

"Thank you for being willing to run for office. Unfortunately, your membership lapsed in the last two years which makes you ineligible to run for the board. Additionally, you would need to have previously served on the board in some capacity to engage a run for President.


"Kate Baker
"Executive Director"

Monday, January 14, 2019

Better late than never?

Here's an anecdote about growing up with foreign-born parents some of you may find interesting, especially the science fiction fans among you.

When I was in 7th grade, I had an English teacher who saw "2001" on its initial release. She was so amazed and impressed by the film, she offered to take all her English students to see it, and pay for it herself!

Being a school field trip, we all needed to get parental permission. When I explained it, my mother refused. Being such an old world cynic, she couldn't believe anyone would do such a selfless deed.

"I don't know what it is," she said. "But she's up to something."

So I had to stay behind while everyone else went to see the film. My teacher was a bit startled that I couldn't come, but she accepted it and the subject never came up again.

Years later I bought a DVD and watched "2001".

In 2004. At that point I'd already sold a story to Asimov's Science Fiction. I thought it was silly for a science fiction writer to have never seen the movie.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The look-alike

A number of years ago - sometime between 2005 and 2007 - I was working at my newspaper job one day, and I covered an event at a local Rotary Club. It featured a recap of a trip club members made on an exchange with a club in South America.

It was to Uruguay or Paraguay - I don't remember which - and in the course of the report, the club leader mentioned - by way of "It's a small world" - that one of their host club members was William Shatner's brother, Louis Shatner. He had the photo to prove it - the fellow looked just like Bill.

I later checked up on the story, and found that Bill Shatner doesn't have a brother, but he had an uncle named Louis. This fellow in South America is probably his first cousin. I assume the Rotarian either misspoke or didn't understand the translation.

Like I said, the family resemblance was striking.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

The Long March

The death of a high school classmate has led to some ruminations from fellow members of The Class of 1975. What I have seen over the years is that there is a certain pattern in the way people exit this world, as explicated in class notes and newspaper obituaries.

First to leave are the kids so careless or reckless they don't make it out of high school, or who die soon thereafter. It is amazing how many high school yearbooks will have a dedication to the boy who died his sophomore year. It's almost a trope.

Then there's a decade or two gap and we see people pass away who had chronic or congenital health problems. The strain of just living in these cases takes it toll. My best friend from college, a person who had a tremendous influence in my life and is the reason I live in Texas today, was born with a neurological disorder and died at 49.

Now that we're past the big 6-0 we will finally see people start to die from simple old age. This is the most chilling sequence because it will not end until everyone in the class has passed away.

I celebrate my 62nd birthday on Sunday, so I am smack dab there. You just have to accept aging with some fatalism and perhaps a sense of humor.

As a "friend" of mine once commented, "If the good die young, you're practically immortal!"

Whatever happened to that old Sunbelt?

By LOU ANTONELLI Managing Editor It’s rained almost daily for the past four months. The ground is saturated; walking across grass is lik...