Protective Coloration, Doo Dah

by Mel Gilden

I seem to have missed a week of commentary.  Though I was ready and willing to type out my usual screed, I was not able to do so because my computer was down.  Not VERY down, I'm glad to say, and my own personal Mr. Spock was able to fix it after researching the problem for a day or two.  However, I am now using a new internet browser.  It will take some getting used to.

In other news, in a few days two of my novels will be available at the Kindle Store of  I finally got tired of waiting for an agent to accept me (though I suppose I could be accepted yet.  My crystal ball is kinda murky.)  One is a kid's book called The Jabberwock Came Whiffling, and the other is an adult (not dirty, just grown-up) fantasy mystery called Dangerous Hardboiled Magicians.  And not needing paper and ink to produce them, they can be had cheap — for around the price of a cup of coffee at Starbucks.  Take a look if you've a mind to.

Jabberwock Cover            Dangerous Hardboiled Magicians Cover

Adventures with cats also continue, and they are surprisingly educational.  A week ago the sweetie and I went to a place where very good cat food could be had for very cheap.  The man at the desk looked like somebody you would not care to meet in an alley, even a light alley.  He was a big guy with a shaved head, wearing a sleeveless shirt that showed off a menagerie of tattoos.

Most of the cat food we were picking up was for a man we knew who feeds strays and is an important gear in the cat rescue machine.  He was also kind of scary-looking: a tall thin man with a bald head and a beard like either a Russian commissar or one of the furry Freak Brothers.  I don't recall any tattoos.

Two very nice guys doing the good work, both of whom you might edge away from on a bus if you didn't know them.  This is another demonstration of the danger of telling books by their covers.  My friend with the beard explained that he carefully dressed and otherwise organized himself to look a little sinister because he sometimes needed to visit places that were not very nice and such an appearance helped keep him safe.

(Some years ago I heard a similar story from great writer Theodore Sturgeon.  He was going home very late from a friend's house and was in need of public transportation.  He approached a bus stop where a gentleman dressed in chains and dark glasses was also waiting.  "Cross town busses run all night?" Sturgeon asked.  To which the stranger replied, "Doo dah!  Doo dah!"  Just like my bearded friend, he was wearing protective coloration to keep himself safe.)

I had a similar experience at a science fiction convention.  As you may know, the people who attend science fiction conventions are prone to wearing wild and obscure t-shirts, costumes, uniforms, and other clothing they might not be able to get away with on the street.  Late one afternoon I saw wandering through the halls of the hotel a couple that did not seem to fit in: Ward and June Cleaver dressed as if they were going out for the evening at some normal place. 

I said to my sweetie, "Those guys are probably really confused."

Well, it turned out that I was the one who was confused.  The couple was Gil Kane and his lovely wife.  Mr. Kane was a famous comic book artist, and he knew exactly where he was and exactly what was going on.  Later in the hotel restaurant I saw him and his wife having dinner with some of the convention upper crust.

As Rod Serling used to say, "Lesson to be learned."

There.  I believe that gets us all caught up.  As usual, more next week.  Good Lord willing and the computer don't rise.