Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Lafferty Update

Well, he's still a great writer -- and certainly his chances of Heaven are still high -- but apparently R.A. Lafferty's chances of canonization are the classic Slim, Fat, and No. Sandra Miesel commented in email:

I knew Lafferty and wrote some critical articles about him which he liked. In fact he wrote a limerick about me and once sat on my lap. He was indeed a VERY Catholic writer, to the degree that it made his work less accessible to his non-Catholic readers. His most religious books being PAST MASTER, FOURTH MANSIONS, and THE FLAME IS GREEN. But unfortunately, the old gentleman was a long-time heavy drinker who died senile. Not a good candidate... I can vouch for his drinking by personal observation. Over at least 11 years of conventions I never saw him remotely sober nor did anyone I know.

Poor guy. But that is pretty indicative. Miesel further commented, on the saint topic:

Check out my article on Tolkien's Universe in the current issue of CRISIS.

Some years ago I was going to write an article for Catholic FAITH & FAMILY on possible future saints but the Legionaries scrubbed it lest they be appearing to tell the Congregation of Saints what to do. Some of my chouices were: Rose Hawthorne, Cornelia Connelly, Caritas Pirkheimer, Anne Dacre, Mary Ward, Mother McCauley, and St. Elizabeth of Hungary's husband Louis.

Yes, you may put the above comments on your blog.

I didn't know Tony Boucher but he was much loved in the SF world.

Some of Lafferty's papers are at the University of Iowa, but there's not much of them. One linear foot is one banker box, folks. The balance of his papers must be the ones at the University of Tulsa.

A Lafferty bibliography, a short summary of his novels and another of his works. A biography in French and German, and a page biographical information. An obituary by Michael Cassutt and the guy at Snarkout, twice. Interesting musings by Past Master by Bill McClain and The Devil Is Dead by Steve Hooley.

As Snarkout noted, Lafferty's books are in print, from the invaluable Wildside Press. Go forth and buy them.

Who the Heck Is Mother McCauley?

A thorough Googling didn't reveal who the heck Mother McCauley is, except that there's a big old girl's school named that in Chicago. Googling for Bishop Ford of Bishop Ford Hall (used as the old cafeteria at my school) produced a couple pages, including these memories of the man and this sermon inspired by the article. There's also the splendid tribute of a cheat essay one must pay to download, and this other cheat essay, which is at least free. Amusingly, that free cheat essay can also be purchased from the aptly named Cheathouse. No honor among thieves. And yes, I'm sure Bishop Ford was martyred so some lazybones can Google herself a good grade. Fortunately, teachers can Google too.

Another Story about Virginia Kettering

How Virginia Kettering once got robbed of her groceries, and she advised the robber on how to make the food last longer.

Deepest Sleeper in My Family

Still not me. My brothers have both fallen asleep standing up in the shower. My younger brother, though, once answered the phone while asleep, told me he was awake and dressed and was on his way out to the airport, and that I should get off the phone so he could go. Needless to say, he missed that flight.

Worst Apartment Disaster in My Family

Also not me. My older brother's apartment in Alexandria got flooded with snowmelt this week. Lo, I am a piker.

SWAT Team in My Apartment Building Update

Look! It's my building! Somewhat inaccurate story, though. And isn't it creepy how so many news stories prove inaccurate, whenever you know something about the story? That looks like the ambulance there, but it came later in the day. The one outside my window this morning was an orange truck, and shaped very differently.

It was the nutty guy downstairs. He was about to get evicted this week, and that process has just gotten a lot easier. He's always been prone to run around banging doors and yelling (which is why my poor body ignored all that pounding on doors this morning by the police), and he started doing it this morning at 3:30 or so, continuing till 4 or 4:30. I, like most people in the building, turned over and went to sleep as much as his noise allowed. Then the police came and he retreated to his apartment (as he always does). He got relatively quiet; I got to get some real sleep. However, this time when the police stood outside talking to him, he added a new line to his usual ones of "You don't have a warrant!", various obscenities, threats to call a senator, and "I'm not coming out!"). He announced that he had a gun on his hip. He later elaborated this to say that it was a .357 Magnum, that he also had a rifle, that anyone who came through the door was going to the morgue, and that he would then kill himself.

Understandably, the police took the guy's threats seriously; they couldn't afford not to, with him as loopy as he is and on drugs, too. So the SWAT team arrived around 6:30 AM (I'm not sure when he made the gun threat, but it wasn't long after that) and pounded on everybody's doors, including mine. However, I was dead to the world, as you'd expect if you went to bed after midnight and was awakened again at 4 in the morning. I wasn't the only one who slept through it all, either -- one woman who lived on his floor managed it, too. The awakened people were shooed off to the office side of the building, out of danger, or allowed to leave and go to work early. Then the SWAT team took over the apartment across the hall from me as a command post, and used the apartment next to mine to practice entries. I remained dead to the world.

I woke up at 7:15, got ready for work as normal, and then dragged myself out, only to see a whole SWAT team entering my next door neighbor's apartment, with him looking on and his dog barking away inside. What's a bit scary is that I managed to stand there gaping for a couple minutes before the SWAT guys even noticed I was there! But then, they knew the place was locked down. We looked at each other with some startlement, one of the officers quietly explained to me what was going on, and I was sent on my way to work down the stair. The guy guarding the stairwell looked out for me to see it was safe for me to pass the nutty guy's floor, and then I went on my way.

The guy finally surrendered about 10 AM. He had no gun, luckily. The building people were afraid he might have gotten himself shot by having a toy gun or something, but he wasn't that nutty. He's being charged with inducing panic. Hopefully he will get some help.

SWAT Team in My Apartment Building Update

They're gone and everything's over, according to the local school. What happened I don't know yet; I'm going to have to go home for lunch and find out. Presumably nothing too serious, since you'd think that if anybody got hurt it'd be a crime scene or have lots of people there doing paperwork.

Maybe I'll take a half day to go home and sleep. I am so tired I can't even get scared-in-retrospect.

Best Excuse for Not Blogging This Morning

There's a SWAT team in my apartment building and some poor guy threatening to kill himself or somebody else. Please pray for all of them. You might also pray that none of the trouble strays away from my building, as we're a block away from an elementary school.

Poorest Excuse for Observational Skills

You might also pray for me, since my "Don't Notice Me" field kept them from knocking on my door and warning me the way they did everybody else at four this morning, and my sleepiness just had me thinking we had an unusually belligerent group of drunks roaming around at that hour, especially for a weeknight. And my eyesight's bad enough that when I finally got up, looked out and saw an orange SWAT van, I couldn't read what it said and assumed it was repairmen who actually came to work at seven....