Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Toad Mating Balls. Who knew?

I got an enforced day off from blogging yesterday, while little gnomey men with long whiskery beards and hammers and crowbars and serious swiss army knives clambered about behind the scenes here at hammering and banging and taking blogger archive URLs apart and inspecting them with pursed lips and shaken heads and the occasional muttered "'oo put this together then, eh? some cowboy? cor struth. It's a wonder it's lasted this long," before putting them back together again with all their grommets refitted and their wicket-hasps rebored.

But now it's all working again, without having dumped another fifty thousand words of me-burble into people's friends lists and RSS feeds, and I should thank Sunil and Julia, gnomewranglers, for making it all happen. (And I just checked, and now the old-style long numbery archive entries still work, as do the new Blogger format ones. So all's well. I hope.)

I'll just post stuff for now so I can close some windows, and tomorrow I'll try and answer some questions, and put up several things I've been waiting to post until I had a quiet few minutes. is the front page of BWI books, who have a long interview done with me at the ALA convention in Atlanta in 2002, mostly about Coraline. (link via the Dreaming.)

I wonder whether this news story about a couple's failure to conceive is an urban legend or not, and suspect not -- I think Professor Jack Cohen once told me the same thing. But then, he also told me that the foreman of a cotton mill in the early eighteenth century was expected to have sex with the senior female millworkers, and would be demoted when he could no longer perform. And that lizards have two penises. And the thing about seagulls being able to mate with the breed to the east (or the west, I forget).

While I wasn't looking, Jill Karla Schwarz added another three adventures of Attention Deficit Girl over at -- they're on the interface of comics and cartoons, with Jill playing ADDgirl herself.

As far as Sandman fanfiction tributes that are also excellent kids' comics go, this is the bees knees.

Now that Spring is here, parents among you should keep in mind the numerous Spring Dangers that abound -- otherwise you too may be bereaved of your little bundle of joy. (Indirectly from Shanmonster I expect.)

Waiting for me when I got home were my copies of the Literary Life collection and of Gemma Bovery both by Posy Simmonds (interviewed here), and London Orbital by Iain Sinclair (profiled here). Faintly (pleasantly) surprised to find a lovely sequence in London Orbital about my Sweeney Todd prologue with Michael Zulli, of Mike Lake and I finding Wren's Temple Bar in the woods in Cheshunt. Beware Falling Masonry indeed.

If you can't be bothered to register at news sites that want you to, then is the website for you -- and probably already has an ID and password for the newspaper you want.

There may be people who haven't read the Lileks article on BIG LITTLE BOOKS. It made me laugh out loud, partly because several of the books in question were dreadfully familiar. Or familiarly dreadful. Well, one: as a small boy I owned the Fantastic Four book. I have no idea how I got it -- did they sell Big Little Books in the UK?

You know that thing you do where people tell you not to click on things and you do anyway and then you have an image that you can't get out of your head, not even if you scrub it with wire wool until it bleeds? Well, this will be, for some people anyway, one of those images: it's a toad mating ball. If you think you might want not to have seen it, then just don't click on it. Instead read all about frog amplexus and why those two- and three-headed frogs they find always seem to turn out to be two or three frogs getting friendly.

I bet Jack Cohen knows all about toad mating balls...

I don't remember if I ever posted a link to these photos (I meant to, months ago) by Loretta Lux. They're of children, posed in a studio then digitally given backgrounds and worked into. Creepy, beautiful images. They might also help if the toad mating ball got to you.

Currently listening to three CDs by Hera, who sent them to me (thank you Hera). She's good -- the Icelandic one is getting an awful lot of play around here.