MiddleMoot Announced for October 2018


Signum University, the Mythgard Institute, and the Tolkien Society of Kansas City are proud to announce the inaugural MiddleMoot 2018, a one-day symposium addressing the role of Nature, Man, and Industrialization in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien on Saturday, October 6, 2018, at Park University in Parkville, Missouri. A mixture of paper presentations, panels, and discussions will be offered along with a keynote address by guest of honor Dr. Corey Olsen, “The Tolkien Professor.”

Dr. Corey OlsenOn his teaching website, The Tolkien Professor, Dr. Olsen brings his scholarship on Tolkien to the public, seeking to engage a wide and diverse audience in serious intellectual and literary conversation. His website features a series of detailed lectures on The Hobbit and recordings of the weekly meetings of the Silmarillion Seminar, which worked its way through the Silmarillion chapter by chapter, as well as more informal Q&A sessions with listeners. His book Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, was published by Houghton Mifflin in September 2012.

Cost is $40 per person, and will include a light breakfast (coffee and pastries), and gourmet boxed lunch. You can select your preferences on the registration page. Registration and information table opens at 8:30am with opening address to start at 9am.

If you wish to be considered for a paper, panel, or presentation at MiddleMoot, please send an abstract of less than 250 words to tolkiensocietykc@gmail.com on any of the above topics related to Nature, Man, or Industrialization (more information to follow on Signum website).


Please help the Tolkien Society of KC as we endeavor to make this moot waste-free!

Every tree has its enemy, few have an advocate.’

– J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 241

Official Signum page: https://signumuniversity.org/event/middlemoot-2018/

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Postcards from the Edge of Islandia

The second third of Islandia suffered middle book syndrome even though it’s not actually a middle book.  Yet it is the middle of this book.  The first third had elements of a travelogue, a natural history explorer, a diplomat and unrequited love.  The second half included the climax of the diplomatic crisis but replaced unrequited love with a rebound romance and the consequences of isolationism.  The protagonist’s predicament becomes more interesting and intriguing as he begins the return journey back from the brink of near total Islandiaic immersion or immolation.

 

 

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Dorna, I had a marvelous visit with Natanna and the Hyths on my way back to The City. Yet I pine for the beauty of Dorn Island.  You have encouraged me to avail myself of all my opportunities.  Warmest regards, John (Ch. 16, The Hyths and The City)

 

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Lessons from History? — L.E. Modesitt, Jr. – The Official Website

Once upon a time, I was the staff director of a Congressman’s office. He was a Republican. At that time, the Democrats held an overwhelming majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. 354 more words

via Lessons from History? — L.E. Modesitt, Jr. – The Official Website

I woke up to the longest day of the year (summer solstice). I read through Modesitt’s latest blog post, which turned my longest day into perhaps my most frustrating one? Are we truly doomed to repeat history because we choose to ignore it?

I’m old enough to have seen the swing of politics from one abusive majority to another abusive majority of a different party, but most Americans either haven’t lived long enough to see it, don’t care so long as “their” party prevails, or have no idea what I’m talking about.

History would suggest that this kind of situation, unless defused, will only get worse. The only question may be whether we’re looking at a repeat of 1968 or 1861.

Do we really want another bloody brutal Civil War?

I don’t.

But I am not a Republican nor a Democrat and I voluntarily pursue lessons from history because I don’t wish to ‘rinse and repeat’ the mistakes of more predecessors.

I can only hope I’m not alone.

 

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Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep or History Podcasts I Nod Off To

Several weeks ago I decided to stop falling asleep to whatever audiobook I was currently listening to because I spent too much time the following morning figuring out where I drifted off to dreamland.  In other words, what’s the last thing I remembered coherently before losing consciousness?  So I switched to podcasts of a different nature that didn’t require as much of my brain engaged to follow along.

Screenshot_20180605-140351For example, I use Podcast Addict exclusively now for my podcast listening.  I set the sleep timer to thirty minutes and then I review my playlist.  I rearrange it, usually putting the shorter episodes at the top.  Sometimes I just select on of Dr. Corey Olsen‘s Mythgard Academy Tolkien podcasts because they are always nearly two hours long and I can hop in and out of those without too much loss.

One podcast that I really like to fall asleep to, and re-listen to if I nod off too quickly, has been The History of Rome by Mike Duncan. Duncan started the podcast in 2007 so some of the first episode show their age (auditorially  speaking).  This week, I reached episodes 20 (a & b) related to the First Punic War.  The oddest thing I heard last night was the Romans building walls around a city they were besieging because another army had arrived upon the field and now threatened and surrounded them.  The Romans besieged while besieging. This is not going to end well (and unsurprisingly it did not).

Aside from the Stuff You Missed In History Class podcast, I hadn’t been listening to any other history podcasts.  But I enjoyed both of these quite a bit, which got me looking for more history related listening.  This week, I’m testing out three new podcasts, one of them the current endeavor of Mike Duncan, called Revolutions.

I found a short fifteen minute history podcast produced by the University of Texas at Austin.  I’m on the third episode but not sure I’ll continue.  I’ll give it a couple more before unsubscribing.

I have high hopes for Ben Franklin’s World, I just hope they are not all interviews.  The first three episodes are inaugural introductory interviews.

All of these history podcasts have hundreds of episodes under their collective belts so I have a dearth of listening available and won’t need to resort to counting sheep or backwards from one hundred to transition to dream land successfully.

 

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Zo ExZited

Third Zucchini Closeup

Click on any photo to see entire album.

Last night, after walking and feeding the dogs, I let them out into the back yard as the sun was setting. Since the wind had died completely and the light was that perfect golden twilight time, I took a few photos of our summer container garden.  It has been a few days since I’d checked the interior of the zucchini plant (pictured above) and I quickly noticed the large yellowish-green bloom.

This morning, as I was watering the plants, it was hard to miss this bright beautiful yellow zucchini blossom among the green leaves of the rest of the plant:

Zucchini Bloom

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Book Review: Raven Stratagem (3.5 Stars)

Raven Stratagem
by Yoon Ha Lee

Published: June 13, 2017 by Solaris Books

Read: May/June 2018

2017 GoodReads Choice Nominee for Science Fiction
2018 Best Novel Hugo Finalist

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This time last year I was reading the first installment in the Machineries of Empire series called Ninefox Gambit, as part of my annual Hugo Award finalist binge reading.  I remember liking the book quite a bit, but in the intervening months I’ve nearly completely forgotten everything I read.  So, when I started reading Raven Stratagem in late May this year, again because Yoon Ha Lee’s work was nominated and became a finalist for the Best Novel Hugo Award, I almost wish I’d re-read the first book.  Continue reading

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Field Notes from My Retro Utopian Adventure

I’m in the final phase of my Hugo finalist reading, concentrating on the Best Novel category.  In the right-hand panel of my blog, you’ll find my “Currently Reading” widget which is just the RSS feed for my GoodReads status updates.  Three of the four books I’m currently actively reading are finalists.  I’m listening, or attempting to listen despite major shortcomings of the Axis 360 app, to Ann Leckie’s Provenance.  When I get too frustrated with listening, I switch to the ebook edition.  Last night and this morning, I’ve been powering through the middle of Raven Stratagem.  Earlier this week and most of last weekend, I immersed myself in the 1943 Best Novel finalist Islandia by Austin Tappan Wright.

I wish there existed a well researched biography of Mr. Wright, aside from the few paragraphs found in his Wikipedia entry.  His immediate family alone would make for an interesting read as well: “He was the son of classical scholar John Henry Wright and novelist Mary Tappan Wright, the brother of geographer John Kirtland Wright, and the grandfather of editor Tappan Wright King.” (Wikipedia).  Continue reading

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