Category Archives: What Nots

Folkmanis Baby Dutch Rabbit Puppet

Unlike Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Anya, I absolutely adore bunnies. Tiny widdle noses, adorable fluffy tails. The look they always seem to have, as though they’ve judged you and found you wanting…but they’re cool with you anyway. Bunnies are fantastic. … Continue reading

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Roddy Doyle’s Two Pints: In the Time of Corona

And don’t I feel the fool now for not knowing about Two Pints, the latest successful play by Irish author and playwright Roddy Doyle? It’s a two-man show that consists of two Irish fellows in their 60s, talking in their … Continue reading

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The Marriage Box Rule, cabin fever, and staying home

Authors are solitary animals. I know a few who feel the need to mingle with other humanoids – I think here of Mary Strand, who plays bass in a rock band, plays basketball, and engages in dunnamany other social endeavors, … Continue reading

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Bose’s Companion 2 Multimedia Speaker System

I spend a lot of time at the computer, surfing, writing, editing, and I like to listen to music from my rather extensive library, all of which is also stored on the computer. I had a set of speakers, Harmon … Continue reading

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Kicking it up a notch with mezcal: la bruja te prende fuego

I’m a two-margarita girl. When I lunch with my pals, I can pour them down between layers of food and I’m fine. Never met a margarita that intimidated me. This was before I met mezcal. This recipe is adapted from … Continue reading

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Otherworld Theatre Company’s Generation Red

Early in February I went to see the first full production of Generation Red, a science fiction play by Alexander Utz, at Chicago’s Otherworld Theatre Company on Clark Street near Irving Park Road, across the street from the gloriously spooky … Continue reading

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Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History: Traveling the Pacific

The Pacific Ocean is the largest body of water on the planet, at its widest stretching about 11,000 miles across — almost half the diameter of the earth. This is just one of the fun facts that lead into the … Continue reading

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Chicago’s Field Museum of Natura History: Inside Ancient Egypt

As we traverse Stanley Field Hall, the central main-floor atrium of the Field Museum of Natural History, we notice off in the southwest corner, behind a row of arches, what looks to be an ancient Egyptian mastaba. Well, close — … Continue reading

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Folkmanis Puppets’ Barn Swallow Puppet

Another finger puppet from Folkmanis, this one the Barn Swallow Puppet. Swallows seem to be everywhere in the summer, at least in this city. I see them on summer evenings soaring through the air over our parks hunting insects. (There’s … Continue reading

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Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History: Mostly Mammals

When I was a small boy, my father would periodically take me up to the Field Museum. I was always eager to see the “stuffed animals”, which formed a large part of the Museum’s public displays. Well, they’re still there, … Continue reading

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Folkmanis’ Chipmunk in Watermelon puppet

Ready for the holiday gift giving season? Me neither. But I do have something to consider; Folkmanis’ adorable Chipmunk in Watermelon. This company makes the most adorable puppets, and this one’s no different. There’s wonderful attention to detail, and the … Continue reading

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Of nature and magic

When I wrote Trash Sex Magic I was trying to do about a dozen things, which maybe accounts for why it took eighteen years to sell. I had a lot to say about nature. Oh hell, I just wanted to … Continue reading

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Folkmanis Puppets’ Little Brown Bat Puppet

By now you should all be familiar with Folkmanis Puppets and their line of well-made and entertaining hand and finger puppets. But, being Folkmanis, they always seem to come up with something new. What flew onto my desk this time … Continue reading

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Folkmanis’ Mouse in Pumpkin Puppet

All hail the spice!  Pumpkin everything is the rule of the day this time of year, and I’m all for it. Give me my pumpkin donuts, pumpkin pies,spicy roasted pumpkin, and pumpkin crumble. And okay, a PSL or two while … Continue reading

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Folkmanis’ Snow Leopard Cub Hand Puppet

I LOVE THIS FLOOF. Yes, I love cats of all sizes, but this little fella? He’s simply adorable. Okay, so maybe little is incorrect; this guy is about the size of an average housecat. My kitty got jealous immediately. I … Continue reading

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Folkmanis’ Worm in Apple Puppet

One of the more unusual items to cross my desk from Folkmanis is their Worm in Apple Puppet. It’s a nice, big apple — not shiny, since it’s made of plush, but it is very appealing — unless you count … Continue reading

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Funko’s Rock Candy Spider-Gwen figure

There are many figures in the Rocky Candy line of Marvel characters. I decided to take a look at Spider-Gwen. She was more than a bit difficult to find, as she was a Hot Topic exclusive but she had long … Continue reading

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Even Robots Need Love: Folkmanis’ Robot Puppet

This robot puppet is about a foot and a half tall, and has a cute premise, with an attached story about its fictional creator, a boy named Jasper, that explains the little heart on its chest. Its construction is sturdy, … Continue reading

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Funko’s Rock Candy Lady Thor Figure

No, I don’t collect that many of these figures, despite it seeming that I might. Right now I’ve less than a handful of them, largely because I don’t find most of them all that interesting and some that I do … Continue reading

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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 present building was opened in 1921. It is devoted to just about everything that has to do with our world and our place … Continue reading

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