Harry Harrison, RIP. And Hollywood crumbles.

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View 737 Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.

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Harry Harrison, RIP. There will be many obituaries, and he will be missed. We were once fairly close friends, which is odd given our political differences were vast and probably irreconcilable, but I haven’t seen him for years. When I was in NYC promoting Lucifer’s Hammer, Harry was in town staying at the Player’s Club on Grammercy Park, and invited me to lunch with him there. Those were the only times I’ve ever been in there, an elegant place. Of course Harry then invited me to play pool with him. For money. At which he was far better than I would ever be. Which meant that I actually paid for the lunch. But it was worth it.

I liked Harry. Haven’t seen him in years but I will miss him. Harry and Joan used to get to Los Angeles more often in the old days after they made Soylent Green out of Make Room! Make Room!

Way back when not long after I was President of Science Fiction Writers of America Cal Tech had a three day festival on science fiction and literature. Harry and I were on a panel with Sir Fred Hoyle, and, I think Richard Feynman although I may be mistaken in that memory. It was in a big well shaped lecture hall with a slate top table for speakers and high motorized blackboards behind us. Just after the introductions were done one of the blackboards began to rise, revealing the blackboard behind it, where someone had chalked in bold letters GET SCIENCE FICTION OUT OF THE CLASSROOM AND BACK IN THE GUTTER WHERE IT BELONGS. Of course Harry had arranged that.

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I had thought to write some observations about the election, and perhaps I will later, but mostly it’s still the Silly Season.

Thanks to Roberta we got out for a walk this morning before it became too hot. Sable was happy to get home and find a cool place to lie down. This is no weather for a snow dog, but we’re all well, if a bit under this weather.

And I note in today’s LA Times that of 29 new TV Series opening this Fall, precisely 2 of them will be filmed in Los Angeles. It used to be that 90% of television one-hour shows were filmed here, but Los Angeles city, Los Angeles County, and the State of California decided to raise taxes and raise taxes, and, oh, by the way, we’re raising taxes, so that even New York City – New York City! – is a more attractive environment for filming big name TV series than Hollywood. Which means that the huge set crews, makeup people, caterers, retired policemen, gaffers and grips, and of course writers won’t be working here any longer. All I can tell my neighbors, many of whom are in what we used to call The Industry, is cheer up, things can be worse. I don’t add that they probably will be. It’s grim out there, and I live in Studio City which was less affected by the crash than a lot of the city.

And meanwhile , the radio tells me that a hearse driver was found dead at the wheel not far from the Beverly Hills Hotel. Inside there was a casket complete with body. No other details released. We still live in Los Angeles.

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Fish and wildlife bullets

Dr. Pournelle:

I have little experience with firearms, but the webpage referred to jacketed hollow point bullets. Isn’t that more bullet than necessary even for self defense?

jomath

I haven’t thought about such matters in years. When I was involved in such matters I recommended wad cutters as being effective while less danger to neighbors, for the same reasons I recommended #4 birdshot as the default for a home defense shotgun. But that was long ago. I can understand that game wardens – I’d presume that’s why Fish and Wildlife needs ammunition – may need to be armed in these times, but I would think only for self defense: I am still in favor of having most federal arrests being made in concert with the local sheriff as they should have been in Waco. If game wardens need a SWAT team they should call on the Marshals or preferabl9y the local authorities. 

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