Beowulf and Tolkien

Cover for J.R.R. Tolkien book 'The Monsters and the Critics'

Last year someone on the Endor Mailing List suggested we discuss the poem “Beowulf”. Feeling at a loss for more interesting topics (I have actually enjoyed the poem since I was in the 4th grade), I agreed it might spur some lengthy debates and discussion.

After many months of being too ill, too busy, too distracted, too whatever to start the project, I finally launched it late last Summer.…

Where Tolkien is Taught in Higher Education

Bust of J.R.R. Tolkien

Bust of J.R.R. TolkienI have begun compiling a list of university/college-level classes that cover J.R.R. Tolkien at Tolkien Studies on the Web. There are many classes out there, and it will take me a long time to build a substantial resource. It will probably undergo several redesigns as the number of listings grow.

If anyone has information on a college-level course, please feel free to contact me through Xenite.Org’s…

Being a Fan in a Whirling World of Words

The Inklings Roundtable of Houston, August 2005

The Inklings Roundtable of Houston held its monthly meeting at the Black Labrador tonight and our guests were members of the Houston Costuming group. The discussion and presentation were both lively and interesting. One hears all sorts of interesting anecdotes at costuming presentations. At one point, Kim Kofmel — who gave the presentation — held up a copy of a LoTR book with a picture of Gandalf and the Fellowship of the Ring standing outside the West-gate of Moria.…

When Fandom Speaks, Do Trees Fall in the Forest?

A fallen tree in a forest

A fallen tree in a forestI was contacted by a major media organization last week for information on upcoming science fiction conventions. I used to stay on top of convention listings and news because as a convention operator I needed to be sensitive to trends in the industry. But since I stopped working with conventions (and, who knows? I may do it again), I have really fallen out of the loop.…

How We Teach Our Kids to Behave Badly

Angry Peple

Angry PepleI don’t write about everything that happens either online or offline. In fact, I don’t say much about most things that happen in my life. But it has occurred to me that were I to attempt to document every little detail, things would gradually stop happening because I’d spend all my time at the computer typing about increasingly meaningless moments in an otherwise wasted existence.…

When Mary Sings

Mary Frometa

Well, I let my friend Maggie invite me out for an evening of dancing this past weekend. I’m not the most dazzling dancer when I’m sick, but I noticed a couple of guys on the floor who made me feel energetic and graceful by comparison. Which is not to say I would single them out and make fun of them in front of other people.…

Oh God, the Chicken is Sick!

Chicken soup

Chicken soupI only eat chicken soup when I’m sick. Normally, I cannot stand the stuff.

But my mother always made me eat it when I was sick. When I grew up and moved out on my own, she’d stay say, “If you’re feeling sick, eat some chicken soup.” Mom was a nurse and a lab technician and a medical office assistant throughout most of her career.…

Face It – Our Expressions Move

Legolas gives Gimli 'the look'

Legolas gives Gimli 'the look'Well, here it is almost 4:00 AM and I’m supposed to get up and get ready for work in 3 hours.

Still, while sleeplessly passing the night, I came across this Leaf and Flower: Legolas and Eowyn post by Ningloreth on (her?) blog at LiveJournal.

If you skim the page, you’ll find my name, which is not nearly so interesting as an image of Orlando Bloom as Legolas making faces at Gimli.…

How to Steal the Planet Venus and Make It Your Own

The planet Venus, by NASA

The planet Venus, by NASAI came across an interesting proposal published by NASA in 2003 for colonizing Venus. While Venus is not exactly my idea of paradise, the proposal makes a reasonable case for moving there over moving to Luna or Mars. In fact, if the proposal’s ideas are borne out by research and development, we could — theoretically — colonize planets like Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus (all of which are gas giants with huge gravitional fields).…

Dancing with Stars … In Your Eyes

Cha Cha Dancers

Cha Cha DancersMy dance teacher asked me to stop by the studio tonight and help with an Introduction to Ballroom Dancing class. Not that I’m the greatest ballroom dancer since Fred Astaire, mind you, but I’ve got the basic footwork down for Waltz, Fox Trot, Rumba, Tango, and Jitterbug. And, oh yeah, I can dance a passable Cha Cha.

When I first took up social dancing in Houston I harbored dreams of rivaling the great dancers of the 20th century: Barishnikov, Astaire, Kelly, Ebsen.…

Body Language by Michael

Body language example

Body language exampleI’ve been researching body language for a couple of years. Depending on the book or tutorial, the topic can be very boring or very interesting. The boring stuff tends to be a repetitive rehash of FAQs, tips, and tutorials or cheap knockoff books trying to capitalize on the dating craze. I’ve passed up many a book in the bookstore that promises to win me the girl of my dreams for a night in favor of a book on sales and marketing that only mentions body language.…