About Nightsky

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So far Nightsky has created 68 entries.

Sol Invictus!

 Happy midwinter celebration!  The days start getting longer now. To celebrate, here’s a couple of prezzies for all you lovely people. First is this gallery of Soviet Christmas cards, replete with Santas on rocket ships.   Yes, I thought you might approve.           Second is a Christmas tradition I never get tired of: the Lay of Rudolf Tundra-Wanderer, […]

By |December 22nd, 2010|MyBlog|1 Comment|


 Conventional wisdom has it that Christmas 2010 is going to be the Christmas of the E-Reader.  It’s certainly the case in my own family: Mom has requested a Kindle, and Dad has hinted that there may be other Kindles under the tree.  With Amazon’s* new offering at the tantalizing price point of $139 for […]

By |December 18th, 2010|MyBlog|5 Comments|

The BLF knocks one out of the park

 I’ve been a fan of the Billboard Liberation Front for years, but their latest is a whole ‘nother level of awesomeness.    Sez BLF Education Officer R.O. Thornhill: It’s quite clear from the image in this Stella Artois billboard ad what the message [of the ad campaign] IS. The BLF merely wishes to assist […]

By |December 7th, 2010|MyBlog|0 Comments|

$15 gets you $25 at Kiva

 Breaking news for those of you who want to moonlight as international financiers–and, really, who doesn’t?  I speak, of course, of microfinance, one of my pet issues.  Microfinance, for those of you who don’t know, is the lending of small sums of money directly to the people who need it. I have spent time in South America and have seen firsthand the problem that microfinance addresses.  My host family, to bring in a few extra clams, did embroidery for a woman who lived in the nearest big town.  The woman would drop off the fabric and floss and pick up the finished work, for which she would pay a pittance, considering that this was gorgeous hand embroidery.  Then she would sell the work at a considerable markup.  Everybody knew this.  The women of the family went along with it because a pittance was better than nothing.  Why, I asked, did they not cut her out and go into business for themselves?  Easy: no startup capital. Now, how much would it have cost them to get themselves kitted out and ready to go?  Some blank tablecloths, some floss?  I don’t know, either, but I’ll bet it’d be less than $25.  $25, people!  YOU have $25.  $25 is a HUGE SUM in most of the world.  You may think “Bah, what can they do with $25?”  You have no idea, my fellow rich Americans.  $25 can mean that someone can start a business that can feed their family and send their kids to school, and that, my friends, is how you build wealth: from the ground up, from parents making their kids’ lives just a little better.  Foreign aid is all well and good, but it’s prone to getting skimmed by corrupt officials.  This goes straight to people who need it.  It also provides something else that can be in short supply in regions where $25 is a tidy sum: a measure of fucking dignity.  This isn’t largess, it’s an investment.  $25 makes you a partner, not a patron.  $25 can change someone’s life, I solemnly swear to you.   And from now until the end of the month, $25 costs only $15.  This Groupon ™ is for a site called, a great example of microfinance in action.  They’ve been around for some five years now. (Full disclosure: I’m a member. You can check out my lender page here.)  Over 98% of loans are paid back in full, which just goes to prove John Steinbeck’s thesis that if you want a loan paid back, lend money to the working poor   During the holiday season, partying on goes without saying–but this holiday season, be excellent to somebody.  (Caveat for atheists behind the cut.) […]

By |November 22nd, 2010|MyBlog|0 Comments|

Taoism and the Eleventh Doctor

 Some of you may recall my post on how Taoist the Doctor was being last year. (Hint: not very.)  Now that I have the new DVD set of Matt Smith’s first year as the Doctor, it’s time to issue a progress report.  Spoilers for all of Doctor Who season 31 / series 5, including the extended scenes on the DVD. […]

By |November 11th, 2010|MyBlog|2 Comments|

A Pan-Geekdom Hobbit

 Hot on the heels of my last post (which, by the way, Sylvester McCoy has now confirmed), the Powers that Be have released some casting news, and BOY is it good news for those of you who want to play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon: Geek Edition.  Some highlights, by which I mean “people […]

By |October 26th, 2010|MyBlog|0 Comments|

“The Hobbit” / “Doctor Who” update of the day

 Apparently, the number of ex-Doctors linked to Peter Jackson’s upcoming “Hobbit” films has just gone up to two.   Back in August, there was news that Sylvester McCoy was in talks to play an unspecified role, possibly Radagast the Brown*; today, rumors emerge that David Tennant is also being considered for an unspecified role. All I have to say is that, if they do not get Tom Baker to play the King of the Mirkwood Elves, then… well, it will be a colossally wasted opportunity, is what.    Would it be irresponsible to use the comments to speculate on which other ex-Doctors would be suited for roles in “The Hobbit”?  My friends, it would be irresponsible not to. * Don’t look at me; I know he isn’t in it. […]

By |October 19th, 2010|MyBlog|1 Comment|

In honor of October…

 … and straight from the OH HELL YES department: Bryan Fuller (of several series including Pushing Daisies, which yr. humble contributor adored helplessly and completely) is helming a remake of The Munsters. Not enough awesome for you?  Guillermo del Toro is rumored to be involved.  

By |October 4th, 2010|MyBlog|1 Comment|

Sally Ride Science

 So a few weeks ago, I attended a talk by Dr. Sally Ride, who really did grow up to become an astronaut.  It was pretty cool.  She brought pictures. Oh, who am I kidding?  It was freaking awesome.  I got to shake her hand and everything!  Anyway, it turns out that she’s trying to get […]

By |September 29th, 2010|MyBlog|0 Comments|

Professor Bernice Summerfield: now in glorious CGI

 She’s a little bit River Song, a little bit Lara Croft, but predates either.  She’s worshiped on some planets as a minor goddess of inebriation.  She’s interstellar archaeologist Bernice Summerfield, one of the Whoniverse’s most successful spinoffs, and she’s just hit YouTube in her first animated adventure, a prequel for season 11 (yes–eleven) of […]

By |September 2nd, 2010|MyBlog|8 Comments|