Mama, they took my Kodochrome away

Kodak announced today that it will stop selling the film after 74 years on the market:
Sales of KODACHROME Film, which became the world’s first commercially successful color film in 1935, have declined dramatically in recent years as photographers turned to newer KODAK Films or to the digital imaging technologies that Kodak pioneered. Today, KODACHROME Film represents just a fraction of one percent of Kodak’s total sales of still-picture films…
As part of a tribute to KODACHROME Film, Kodak will donate the last rolls of the film to George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, which houses the world’s largest collection of cameras and related artifacts.
Paul Simon is wrong about one thing though. Everything does NOT always look worse in black and white. I like some of my monochromatic shots, thank you.

Kenneth Hite’s Ragnarok

I’m a big fan of Kenneth Hite’s work (back to when a good friend introduced me to Suppressed Transmission). So the announcement that his latest effort, The Day after Ragnarok, is soon to be released ,fills me with glee.
The setting’s premise: In 1945, the Germans turn to their SS occultists to turn the tide of war to their favor by starting the end of the world! They magically summon Jörmungandr, the world-spanning Midgard Serpent of the Norse sagas, to attack the Allies. In response, Truman sends a lone atom-bomb-armed B-29 on a suicide mission against the titanic, 300 mile wide, snake. The blast kills the creature, but its immense carcass falls across Europe and Africa crushing millions and sending a mega-tsunami to drown the Eastern United States while the Serpent’s poisonous (and now radioactive) venom enters the environment, creating all manner of bizarre and malevolent life.
Other arcane things have been kicked up too, including the appearance of some Norse Giants awoken by Stalin in his attempt to seize power in this suddenly savage world.
Take a look at the map of the post Serpentfall world!
While I don’t play Savage Worlds, I probably will buy this for the entertainment value alone, as well as the opportunity to mine ideas from more Ken Hite stuff…

Shared Worlds

Spreading across a couple of blogs and sites, and definitely worth checking out is Shared Worlds.
What real life places inspire fantasy and science fiction. Between the main Shared Worlds site which asks this of 5 authors (Elizabeth Hand, Nalo Hopkinson, Ursula Le Guin, China Miéville, and Michael Moorcock) and the SF Signal version which asks a bunch more writers ranging from Alan Dean Foster to James Enge, this is a nice knot of interesting stuff to look at.
So what about me? What do I think?
Well, not to choose any of the answers that the real published authors have already picked, the city I think of when I think of the genre is New York City.
Not just because its my hometown, of course, but, well, Television Tropes puts it best in their entry Big Applesauce.
Are aliens landing in UFOs? They’ll land in Queens.
Is there a neighborhood full of world-class martial artists with superhuman powers? It’s in New York’s Chinatown.
Is there a magical gateway between worlds? It’s in the Queens Midtown Tunnel. (Or in Central Park, or maybe in the subway tunnels, depending on the cuteness-darkness factor of the story being told).
Is a giant alien monster attacking? It’s attacking Manhattan.
Is there a mysterious gigantic cavern hidden just beneath the earth’s surface, wherein aliens once upon a time created all life on earth? It’s underneath the Battery.
Is there only one person with the special gifts needed to save a distant planet or alternate dimension? He lives in Tribeca; not the SUV, but the place that surely everyone has heard of, ’cause New York is just that famous.
Is a prominent figure from religion or myth manifest once more and living in the world of humans? He’s in Central Park.
An Ultimate Showdown Of Ultimate Destiny? Madison Square Garden’s got front row seats.
Is your maternal grandmother visiting your home in Phoenix, Arizona? She’s fluent only in Bronx-accented Yinglish.
Want to do a Reality Show focusing into the culinary field, or art, or dance or theatre? New York is the place to be, since people don’t eat, paint, dance or act anywhere else.
What Tokyo Is The Center Of The Universe is to Anime and Japanese TV, Big Applesauce seems to be to American TV: the clichéd idea that anything that occurs in, or references, New York is automatically more interesting to the average American viewer than anything elsewhere. At the very least, like Tokyo, New York is where more than half of television’s writers are, which makes it more interesting to the writers than anything elsewhere.
The rule seems to be that if a series or movie proposal does not require another setting (Kirks Rock, for instance), it should be set in New York. If an original, successful series is set in Las Vegas, its Spin Off will be more successful if set in New York. If you can’t possibly get the show to happen in New York, have at least one main character and as many minor ones as possible be from New York, and continually harp on about how much better New York is.
The bias is especially obvious when characters speak about specific parts of New York casually, while the entirety of Middle America usually consists of about ten distinct places.
Everything is better served with Big Applesauce. And that especially includes Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Vatican declares Cathedral of St. Paul a national shrine

St Paul Cathedral
Via MPR.
The Vatican has designated the Cathedral of Saint Paul as a national shrine, the first in Minnesota. The cathedral also becomes the the only national shrine in North America dedicated to honor the Apostle Paul.
It really is a beautiful Cathedral, as you can see by my photo. Personally, if you will permit me to be immodest for a moment, I like *my* photo more than the one on the full MPR story.