Unca Harlan's Art Deco Dining Pavilion

Discussion of the man and his work.

Welcome to the Art Deco Dining Pavilion! Here's the deal. This is Harlan's little breakfast nook at Webderland. When he's not here, we chat about him and his work. When he is, we act like we're guests in his home. That's about all there is to it. (link to More specific rules) Oh, and since the nook doesn't exactly hold a crowd (and to prevent the less frequent voices from being drowned out), please limit yourself to one post a day unless Harlan asks you a direct question. The Pavilion Annex is available if you're the logorrheic type. Also, we have archives of old posts. RSS Feed

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Displaying board posts 26 through 50 - showing messages at a time.

Jeff R.
Philly, - Friday, January 11 2019 13:4:40

Just My Two Cents, But...
Harlan could NOT have been pro Bush II. He just couldn't have been.

- Friday, January 11 2019 12:17:52

Kenneth and Michael...
The lack of Bush remarks from Harlan could also mean that he had his attentions elsewhere. Although generally "silence means consent," we don't know everything that was going on in Harlan's life during that administration.

There was his overall health to consider. Because he had his quadruple bypass in '96, and "ten-year-survivors have an increased mortality of between 60 and 80 per cent when compared with the general population," it's possible that he ran into additional heart-related issues around that time. We also know that he had depression issues. I can tell you that after my depressive uncle came dangerously close to using his handgun for murderous purposes in the workplace, his doctor ordered him to stop watching the news. And you can't rant against a President if you're having to avoid his everyday declarations.

Speaking of which, I know of an actor (best known from an '80s primetime action series, and a '90s sci-fi series) who suffered from a form of PTSD after watching the 9/ll events go down and the Twin Towers fall on television. Since then, he's only put his face on camera once for an acting role--and then it was just a cameo, less than a minute of air time. Everything else he's done has been voiceover and motion-capture-related. Perhaps Harlan felt the same lament and paralyzing feeling when it came to criticizing a President. Harlan wasn't religions per se, but Romans 13 from the Bible was something that his generation had drilled into their heads, so in a time as troubling as 9/11, perhaps he felt cowed by that. The frightened "we have to put our trust in our President at a time like this" mentality seems beyond Harlan, but at the time, that was a terrifying scenario to live with.

Career-wise, this was his "Children of the Streets"/"Troublemakers" era. He was at a sort of career impasse, one similar to that which prompted L.Ron Hubbard to create Scientology. Should he republish old works and see if something sparks modern interests? Should he keep writing and writing, waiting for the magic to happen again? A little bit of both and the changing of technology eventually helped him find his way out of that, but there was rehashing going on. And that had to evoke some self-hatred to an extent. In light of one's personal creative struggles, why should he care what Bumbling Bush was up to? He was busy fighting to keep his home just like the rest of America.

Then there are the deaths of friends, relatives, etc. which no doubt weighed on him heavily. And how can one simply snap out of that and write a snappy story when confronted with the loss of colleagues, one after the other?

In the end, even if Harlan was pro-Bush II, at least he kept it to himself and didn't shout it from the rooftops, or make a "freewheeling appearance" at the Oval Office in a red hat.

Michael Rubin <mrpros818@sbcglobal.net>
Cleveland, Ohio - Friday, January 11 2019 11:15:41

I was initially drawn to your post because of the heading Bix. I am a musician who plays the trumpet and HE (my wife's uncle) always called me Bix (as in Bix Beiderbecke). I can absolutely tell you that Harlan vehemently opposed Trump, as I sat with him when he was bedridden during the lead up to the election. The name Trump was always preceded as well as followed up with numerous invectives, none being "love". I can't explain his less vocal remarks about Bush or anything in the 90's and early 2000's other than he was occupied in other ways.

- Friday, January 11 2019 6:38:54

That's "Cesar," not "Caesar." How quickly we forget.

Kenneth Stevens <stevens.kenneth@gmail.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee - Friday, January 11 2019 6:24:29


Do you remember how, back in the early Oughts, when Harlan was indeed younger and healthier, he used his still-considerable prominence to go on TV and to write opinion pieces in order to speak out against Bush II's disastrous invasion of Iraq, the way he did the Vietnam War?

Neither do I.

Instead, Harlan kept silent about the whole sorry afair. And silence implies consent.

Would you have "bet your sweet bippy" (that marks you as an early Boomer) that Harlan was going to act as he did? Or were you as shocked and troubled as I was?

I'm guessing the latter. And yet here you are, pretending to know what Harlan's views on the burning issues of 2019 would have been.

Harlan mattered not because he was right on the issues, but because he was a very talented writer. His reputation will not stand or fall on, say, his outspoken support for Caesar Chavez---who employed goon squads to beat up illegals, placing him well to the right of the current occupant of the White House with regard to border policy, come to think of it.

- Friday, January 11 2019 0:13:0

Wimps and whiners, short-sighted and selfish...
By that sentence, of course, I could be referring to the complainers in this little cafe. I mean, look at this! Such kvetching! It's stunning; I didn't realize their grasp of the diverse depth and breadth of the internet was so limited, and their focus so narrow and vindictive, that they absolutely HAD to come to the website of a dead man in order to kick up the graveyard dust and register their petty complaints at the podium. You'd think such angry souls would find greater joy wallowing with like-minded folk in their rich mud-pits down on the troll farms rather than come to a memorial page and state their case (rather poorly, at that) about how their political views are correct and the REST of the world is wrong.

Or I could be talking about the con artist that is our President, and his enablers... speaking of which, did you see the photos where Border Patrol, using only hand tools, cut through those lovely steel slats and proved how useless and wasteful that such a wall would be? Check it out and eyeball the damage at 1:30 into the video: blob:https://www.nbcnews.com/ddc3d473-d052-4e01-9170-6c6531cb823e).

That's not "fake news," folks. That's reality, and reality has just been dealt a tremendous blow by government employees--the ones who were told this wall would protect them and make their jobs easier. Ain't it a bitch, proving that Trump's wonderful world of taxpayer-funded metal slats could be so easily dismantled, using nothing more than a brand-new shiny hand saw from Home Depot? But there's a bright side to every story. Imagine the number of Trump cronies in the construction business who would be able to earn regular paychecks in fixing those chinks in the armor! That's job creation, right?

If the man had been healthier and younger, you can bet yer sweet bippy that Harlan Jay Ellison would have reveled in tearing apart the lies of this con man, line by line. There would have been some mighty unabashed, unafraid and ever-present resistance going on. HE would have had daily YouTube rants against the hypocrisy and regular columns in newspapers and magazines across the country. His mornings would have been busy writing against the new "Red Menace," and his afternoons occupied by slew of interviews with men such as John Oliver, Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah; I think HE and Marc Maron would've gotten on splendidly for a podcast. You name it as a media outlet, and HE would have jumped up to ride the wave, in a noble effort to try and grab this country by its scrawny, China-dependent neck and throttle some goddamned sense back into it. I picture him reveling daily in attacking Trump's *multiple* "Mexico will pay for it" allegations--statements which have now been denounced and are being dismissed with, "I never said Mexico would pay directly" (and yes, he did--to the tune of demanding a check for $5-10B, right on his website!).

But I also picture him attacking those Trumped-up Americans who have forgotten what it is to be compassionate and caring... the ones attacking free school lunches, welfare and SNAP/food assistance as Socialism and Communism (not knowing the difference between one or the other--only that their t-shirts alleging "I'd rather be a Russian than a Democrat" are quite snazzy-looking). They complain, of course, until THEY get in a life-changing car accident or find an unwanted lump, and then they absolutely need and demand those funds be available. Or maybe once their aging and disabled loved ones depend on the government for Medicaid and Medicaid and Social Security, they wise up and change their tune.

In a country that used to show 100% support for its military, I'm even seeing open resentment of military retirees, disabled veterans and even active- and reserve-duty personnel who have to rely on food stamps to feed their families (as of 2013, that's 23,000 active-duty).

Yes, compassion is dying. "I've got mine, you get yours, you're not my responsibility." Never mind that history has shown there are always those are not capable of getting theirs by the conventional methods. The reasons are numerous--a handicapped child, a chronic or terminal illness, multiple tragedies in a short span of time, or simply the boss looking at you one day and going, "It's been nice workin' with ya!"

Harlan said it best: "Once one becomes strong or rich or potent or powerful, it is the responsibility of the strong to help the weak become strong." And it is high time that this nation wakes up and faces the fact that our little social ecosystem here is in need of some seroius recovering and restoration.

Bok Choy
- Thursday, January 10 2019 21:36:3

the nadir of language
The recent liberal peppering of man-made methane here might contribute to global warming, resulting in disastrous outcomes.

- Thursday, January 10 2019 18:8:32

Yeah, that does seem like too much effort just to kvetch in a chat room (sic). So why did you bother?

- Thursday, January 10 2019 11:18:57


Great author. Sadly gone.

Shitty chat room. Assbait galore.

I googled Harlan’s wife’s name for this?

Kenneth Stevens <stevens.kenneth@gmail.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee - Thursday, January 10 2019 10:47:28

Smarter, smartest
If a woman asks you if you notice anything new, then answer with, "Say, have you lost weight?"

Smarter Than Most Jazz Artists <cleo’shere@toweroffuckingpower.com>
Masapasstenburgh, AK - Thursday, January 10 2019 8:42:4

Get it Right, Finally

If a woman asks if you “Notice anything new,” tell her, “I do, your beauty surprises me every day.”

Then continue thinking about velociraptors.

- Wednesday, January 9 2019 18:15:56


You're "projectionating", and I want no part of that.

But it is amusing to see you keep misidentifying people aka baseless accusations.

(sorry, sfo...)

Bazooka Joe
- Wednesday, January 9 2019 18:15:33

The piggieback ride is ending.

- Wednesday, January 9 2019 15:26:13

You know that when even Frank Church rarely posts here anymore...

- Wednesday, January 9 2019 9:44:39

wow AKA Bok Choy &c.
Not a specific answer nor a serious answer.

You are indeed a spiteful sort.

- Wednesday, January 9 2019 8:59:7

Serious answer: I don't want to bore whatever remains of the audience with an itemized list, but in general prognosticating of any kind is silly.

And (Linus Van Pelt impression) *gasp!* You said "if"! (/Linus) OTOH, "if" other predictions come true and the coasts get flooded out (which won't be this year), your vaunted "flyover country" is in for an entirely different kind of invasion.

Bok Choy
- Tuesday, January 8 2019 0:20:17

Tom Barker Video Archives
Just caught these two segments of our esteemed host in Philadelphia:

Part 1: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ji5j_8f5BE

Part 2: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IqsMIRSI8tE

largo, fl. - Sunday, January 6 2019 1:52:27

I remember HE once said Buckminster Fuller sat in his living room
If he'd written about the encounter we would have learned so much about HE's process of thinking;there's an interview from '74 that I've watched probably 10 times of BF that every time returning I take a little more away. I truly believe BF and Asimov are HE main influence of thought. An early notion of Cybernetics before the term was created or realized.

- Saturday, January 5 2019 21:20:15


Serious question:

What did you think was so nonsensical about my prediction post?

For instance, do you think that Barnes and Noble, whose Nook e-reader has been a disaster and which is slashing the hours of its remaining workers in its remaining stores, is really likely to survive? Do you think that there will be no serious resulting social tensions if the coastal regions of the United States continue to grow in wealth even as the interior sees not only its standard of living but its life expectancy decline? Do you think that the collapse of Moore's Law has had no effect on technological progress? Und so Weiter.

Be specific. After all, we wouldn't want people to think you were making a baseless attack motivated by nothing more than ill-concealed spite.

- Friday, January 4 2019 15:5:12

"Beam us up, Mr. Scott..."

Speaking for others ....
- Friday, January 4 2019 12:57:13

All right you two:
ONE post per day!!

Speaking for others ....
- Friday, January 4 2019 12:57:10

All right you two:
ONE post per day!!

- Friday, January 4 2019 11:52:11


"Comprenshun" wasn't the issue with the previous post, but now we know what YOUR hangup was. But you know "sometimes words have (more than) two meanings...."

And yes, we did catch the Spinrad reference, even if it wasn't intentional.

- Friday, January 4 2019 11:5:15

Incomprehension, not insomprehension.

This is all so tiresome, Bok Choy or whoever you are. Have you ever considered posting comments that are something besides anonymous attacks on others? I know that you think that such behavior makes you appear to be quite intelligent, but you could not be more mistaken. As long as you draw breath, it's never too late to change.

- Friday, January 4 2019 10:49:50

You didn't have any trouble understanding the meaning of my post this time. Either my writing style suddenly got a great deal clearer or else you were provoked into forgetting your imposture of insomprehension.

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