Category Archives: What Nots

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Miles Morales figure

So I went hunting on the internet for a good Miles Morales Spider-Man figure. I liked that particular Spider-Man after seeing Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse during a hospital stay. I was looking for something entertaining to watch and I heard very good … Continue reading

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Folkmanis Puppets: Blue Dragon; Green Dragon; Three Headed Dragon; Phoenix

Ooooo, shiny! I have a box of dragons here! Folkmanis makes the best puppets ever, and their dragons are some of the finest of their puppets. The first to slither out of the box is the Blue Dragon . At 13″ … Continue reading

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Folkmanis’ Winged Dragon Puppet

Yes, I’m still tetchy about the final season of Game of Thrones. But I still love dragons, especially poor Viserion, Dany’s green dragon she’d named after her brother. (Shoulda spotted that foreshadowing a mile away, but noooooo.) I’ve always had … Continue reading

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Doctor Who Magazine: Costume Design: Dressing the Doctor from William Hartnell to Jodie Whittaker

Who’s your favorite Doctor? What do your remember best about him? I’m betting his costume is high on that list. And you can extend that to the entire series, as just about everything there from the cybermen to, oh, pick … Continue reading

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Funko Rock Candy Spider-Gwen figure

Once in a while, I get a deep craving for a specific character. The latest I’ve gotten interested in is Spider-Gwen, the spider-being in an alternate universe where Peter Parker didn’t get bitten by that radioactive spider and she did. Spider-Gwen … Continue reading

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Twist my arm: screening spy movies for research, part 1

So here I am working on a new series idea about spies, with lots of unresolved sexual tension and wit and unleashing a bit more of my giant vocabulary than I customarily use. I’m taking the opportunity to read masses … Continue reading

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TITANS’ 6.5” ‘Twice Upon A Time’ 13th Doctor Kawaii

The 13th Doctor was just made for all sorts of merch. She’s the first female Doctor, she’s got outfits easily achievable for cosplay, and her regeneration is delivers a whole lot of quotable lines – “The universe will surprise you. … Continue reading

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SCD Probiotics K101 All Seasons Indoor Composter Kit

Subgroups exist among gardeners, and one particularly fervent branch is made up of those who follow the Way of Compost. An earthy lot, we spend our time lovingly tending our compost heaps and admiring the worms and other insect inhabitants … Continue reading

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seven20’s Thirteenth Doctor Sonic Screwdriver

I fell in love with the Thirteenth Doctor’s sonic screwdriver the moment I saw it. It’s a groovy bit of steampunk and crystal, and I wanted one immediately. My editor was obviously attuned to my craven covetousness, and sent me … Continue reading

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Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History: Restoring Earth

We tend to think of museums as places that display artifacts, sometimes on the walls, sometimes in cases, with descriptions of varying degrees of completeness on labels next to the objects. That is also true to a large extent of … Continue reading

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seven20’s SuperBitz Doctor Who Thirteenth Doctor Plush

I really dug the eleventh season of Doctor Who, and I love the new Doctor. And this SuperBitz plushie tribute to her is absolutely adorable. I’ve seen SuperBitz items here and there, but this is the first time I’ve ever … Continue reading

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Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History: Sue

Sue, the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found, has been a big draw at the Field Museum for seventeen years. Last year, she was taken off display and her place taken by Maximo, a replica of the skeleton of … Continue reading

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Liv With Roz Lemongrass Soap

Ahh, the smell of lemongrass! It’s so lovely. Calms my senses and soothes my soul. From slurping it down in soup to burning it in incense, I love the citrusy, woodsy scent. So when I receive a bar of Liv … Continue reading

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Funko’s Rock Candy Thirteenth Doctor Vinyl Collectible

She’s here! And she’s fantastic. I was one of those people who was stoked at the idea of a female Doctor. Why not? The show has done all different ages and attitudes with the Doctor’s regenerations, why not shift a … Continue reading

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Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History: The Labs

As you wander around the upper level gallery at the Field Museum, you will run across several large glass-fronted rooms in which people are doing mysterious things. These are several of the laboratories where technicians are working, and you can … Continue reading

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Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History: Nature Walk

About halfway down the west side of the Field Museum’s Stanley Field Hall, the three-story central atrium of the Museum, there is the beginning of a boardwalk with a sign announcing the “Nature Walk” (not to be confused with Lincoln … Continue reading

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Chicago’s Brewseum/Field Museum of Natural History: Brewing Up Chicago

If you happen to be in Chicago before January 5, 2020, be sure to catch a small gem of an exhibition at the Field Museum: the Chicago Brewseum’s Brewing Up Chicago, their first exhibition, hosted by the Field Museum. It’s … Continue reading

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Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History: The Elizabeth Hubert Malott Hall of Jades

When one thinks of jade, one almost automatically thinks of China. Well, there’s some justification for that, given the Chinese fondness for jade going back thousands of years, but the Chinese weren’t alone, as we discover in this small but … Continue reading

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Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History: What Is An Animal?

When I was a small child (as in, about five years old), my father would take me to the Field Museum; I always wanted to look at the “stuffed animals.” (And I should note that the “stuffed animals” on display … Continue reading

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Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History: The Alsdorf Hall of Northwest Coast and Arctic Peoples

I’ve come to think of the Field Museum as the “everything museum” — from evolution to paleoanthropology to conservation to meteors: it’s all here. Granted, some exhibitions are more rewarding than others, but the Museum seems to be committed to … Continue reading

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Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History: The Ancient Americas

When I offered to take my cousin to the Field Museum, showing off my new membership, and suggested that we see the permanent exhibition “The Ancient Americas,” she said, “What’s that?” “Indians,” I said, “from Day One.” She said later … Continue reading

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Folkmanis’ Raccoon in a Garbage Can puppet

The latest Folkmanis hand puppet to come my way is the Raccoon in a Garbage Can, which seems appropriate — garbage cans are one of raccoons’ favorite places. (Trust me — I know this from personal experience. I also know … Continue reading

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Folkmanis’ Sea Serpent Stage Puppet

We’re not sure who wrote this review as that seems to gone walkabout. Folkmanis has gained an excellent reputation in recent decades for its overwhelming array of puppets. The plushies range from eerily lifelike to utterly fantastical. Right now I’m … Continue reading

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Folkmanis’ Jabberwock puppet

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!” I remember hearing about the Jabberwock in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There.  He sounded spooky and dangerous.  Something I would never … Continue reading

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Folkmanis’ Narwhal puppet

Sea creatures are wonderful.  I absolutely love anything having to do with the sea, except for cleaning fish.  But that’s a tale for another time; right now I’ve got a puppet with an actual tail; the Narwhal puppet from Folkmanis. … Continue reading

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Folkmanis’ American Kestrel puppet

I love raptors.  No, not the ones you seen in Jurassic Park.  Those are terrifying, even though I know they’re nothing but CGI.  I’m talking about the types of birds that are also called Birds of Prey.  From Owls to … Continue reading

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Folkmanis Puppets’ Rat In a Tin Can

I seem to have another Folkmanis puppet lurking around, this one the Rat In a Tin Can. The Folkmanis website describes him as being ready for a playful picnic (note the napkin in one paw). However, it seemed to me … Continue reading

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Groot and Rocket Raccoon statue

Accurate representations of Rocket Raccoon, best known from the two Guardians of the Galaxy films are difficult to find without spending  a lot of cash on the accurate one-sixth scale models costing in the hundreds of dollars. I wanted one … Continue reading

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Quantum Mechanix’s Pinky & The Brain Q-Fig Toons Figures

Pinky and The Brain are two laboratory mice that were enhanced to be smart but only one ended up being a genius and one ended up, well, not insane as the intro to the show puts it, but definitely odd and hyperkinetic to … Continue reading

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Pilot’s Varsity Disposable Fountain-Pens

I do a good bit of writing by hand, usually in a large hardbound sketchbook, although I sometimes like the feel of a nice narrow yellow-lined pad or the sprawl of an enormous expanse of drawing paper. And to write … Continue reading

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Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History: Evolving Planet

The Field Museum of Natural History was founded in 1893 as the Columbian Museum of Chicago; the building was part of the 1893 Columbian Exposition (read “World’s Fair”). It is devoted to just about everything that has to do with … Continue reading

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Complaints Choirs

Let me pour you a shot of a Finnish vodka on me so I can tell you the tale of these Chiors… The story as it’s told now is that on a winter’s day walk, Finnish artists Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver … Continue reading

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Folkmanis’ Mini Brown Mouse Finger Puppet

The entry for the Mini Brown Mouse Finger Puppet at Folkmanis’ website reads: “The Folkmanis Mini Brown Mouse finger puppet is a pocket pet perfect to surprise your unsuspecting friends.” I can see it. This little guy (barely four inches … Continue reading

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Folkmanis’ Dove Puppet

I’m sitting here looking at the latest critter from Folkmanis to hit my desk, and to tell the truth, I’m a little unnerved. It’s their Dove Puppet. The tag is quite definite that it’s a white dove, a color variant … Continue reading

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NECA’s Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Body Knocker Groot

Unlike the mainstream media, the Marvel fans and, well, nearly everyone else who thinks every Marvel Comics Universe (MCU) is fantastic and the DC Comics Universe films sucked, my opinions are more mixed. Hey I like Suicide Squad, which is … Continue reading

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A Travels Abroad story: A Visit to St. Petersburg (A Letter to Ekaterina)

G’Evening Ekaterina, It’s after four in the morning and I’m wide awake as my leg injury’s keeping me from sleeping long, long after your sister Catherine has turned in for the night. So I’m doing needed correspondence as I’ll get … Continue reading

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Pierpont Morgan Library’s Visconti-Sforza Tarocchi

The history of the Tarot is more than a little murky. According to some scholars the cards as a system for divination had originated in India and came to Europe with the Romany by way of Eastern and Central Europe. … Continue reading

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Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in the United States, is brand-new – again. Over the past ten or fifteen years, the Zoo has undergone a major update, with new exhibits, better quarters for the collections, and a … Continue reading

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Lincoln Park Zoo’s South Pond Nature Boardwalk

If you’re visiting Chicago and need a break from the museums, architecture tours, shopping, and theater, check out South Pond in Lincoln Park, just south of Lincoln Park Zoo, for a nice relaxing hour or two. It’s another restoration project … Continue reading

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Figures of Speech Theatre’s Anerca

Figures of Speech Theatre (FST) is, first and foremost, a puppet theater. For most of us that designation creates an immediate impression far removed from the incredibly complex theatrical artistry of this world-renowned group. In the Western World puppets are … Continue reading

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Chicago, Lincoln Park: North Pond Nature Sanctuary

Chicago, perhaps surprisingly to most people, has a number of nature sanctuaries in Lincoln Park, which stretches along the lakefront from North Avenue in the south up to Hollywood Beach in the north. I say “perhaps surprisingly” because Chicago’s lakefront … Continue reading

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Unabridged Bookstore

Chicago has a rich trove of bookstores, all the way from the legendary Kroch’s and Brentano’s on Wabash Avenue, once a magnet for book lovers visiting the Loop (or in the case of some of us, visiting the Loop to … Continue reading

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North Pond

Chicago, perhaps surprisingly to most people, has a number of nature sanctuaries in Lincoln Park, which stretches along the lakefront from North Avenue in the South up to Hollywood Beach in the north. I say “perhaps surprisingly” because Chicago happens … Continue reading

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A Travels Abroad story: Goblin’s Balls

Goblins and faeries everywhere, dancing, laughing, playing wild music and pranks . . . witches and wizards, casting spells and illusions . . . music and magic everywhere. Against the flickering low light, masks and books for your admiration or purchase; masks, in fact, everywhere you look, along … Continue reading

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Circa 1894 B&B

Pretend you’ve had a Very Rough Year. Pretend you’ve faced some challenges like never before. Pretend your health and wits have decided to take a sharp veer toward a figurative cliff, your plans (dreams, hopes, aspirations) all continuing in one … Continue reading

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An Interview with Robin Williamson

Tim Hoke conducted this interview  in 2008. You’ve been described as a Scottish multi-instrumentalist musician, singer, songwriter, and storyteller, who first made his name as a founder member of The Incredible String Band and The Merry Band. That was over thirty … Continue reading

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Cirque du Soleil’s O at The Bellagio

Anyone who has seen the Cirque du Soleil seems to struggle with the same “superlative glut” when they try to describe the experience afterward. “It’s amazing, superb, out of this world, fantastic…” Their voices trail off, and finally they say … Continue reading

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Chicago’s Lincoln Park Conservatory

Lincoln Park Conservatory is another one of those nineteenth-century treasures still to be found in Chicago. It’s a glass house built between 1890 and ’95, located just east of Stockton Drive about a block south of Fullerton Parkway, off the … Continue reading

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Brian Froud and Ari Berk’s The Runes of Elfland 

I’m a librarian, so by training and habit (and just because I’m made that way), I always read all pre- and post- material in a book — and I usually read it first. Jacket flaps, colophon, acknowledgements, introduction…. I even glance through … Continue reading

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Eugenie Bird’s Fairie-ality: The Fashion Collection from the House of Ellwand

This book is a trifle, a whimsy, a delightful confection. I was going to call it a “delightful bit of fluff,” but as a ten by twelve inch hardbound volume, it’s a wee bit too substantial to be called fluff. … Continue reading

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