All Saints Day painting

All Saints Day

In most western Christianity, today is All Saints’ Day, also called All Hallows’ Day… which explains why yesterday was All Hallows’ Eve, or “e’en.” Some historians believe that the British and Celtic societies took November 1 as this holy day, which commemorates those who have died and are in heaven, is because it coincided with Samhain (“Som-Vahn”) which was their ending of the old year and also a day when the spirits of the dead were believed to be closest to the living. Other historians refute this and point to Germanic tribal traditions of the source of the November 1 date, so pick your pleasure.

The Day of the Dead, which was originally celebrated in Mexico and has been coopted by North Americans, seems to have drifted around a bit. The day, originally meant to remember the souls of the dead, used to be November 2. Now, according to Wikipedia, it actually starts at midnight on October 31 (or November 1 in other words) and continues through November 2, which is All Soul’s Day. Originally, a mass was held for all souls, and people went to local graveyards to clean the graves and honor ancestors, often by bringing them feasts. The holiday was firmly resisted in northern Mexico until the 20th century, when it became a government-sanctioned holiday.

Some historians tie El Dia de los Muertos to an earlier, Aztec-based festival day honoring Mictecacahuatl, the goddess of the dead.

Calveras, sugar skulls and skeletal figures, and ofrendas, personal altars designed to commemoriate the lives of loved ones, are two aspects of El Dia de los Muertos that have inspired artists. This link has a simple walk-through of the ofrenda process. Even though we in the north have turned the holiday into another excuse for dressing up and going on a fancy bar-crawl, the origin the holiday is one of reverence and remembrance.

Books and Writing:

Cavan Scott talks about writing Doctor Who radio plays, and how he does research.

Lithub shares the ten books with the most positive reviews from last week. The Belle Sauvage is on there.


This image, captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows what happens when two galaxies become one. The twisted cosmic knot seen here is NGC 2623 — or Arp 243 — and is located about 250 million light-years away in the constellation of Cancer (The Crab). NGC 2623 gained its unusual and distinctive shape as the result of a major collision and subsequent merger between two separate galaxies.

This image, captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows what happens when two galaxies become one.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has lifted the gag order on the lawsuit between San Diego ComiCon and Salt Lake City ComiCon, which has been going on since 2014. I thought the fact it was lifted was interesting, but honestly, I don’t know how interesting the case itself is.

Odyssey Writers Workshop announces its online winter workshop program. The subject matter is writing compelling scenes and the deadline is December 7, 2017. (H/T to Kat.)

Here is an amusing skit about Sean, the World’s Worst Editor.

These are… well, these misleading book covers are exceptional. The Lolita cover is so wrong it’s almost a statement, but for truly baffling, check out The Turn of the Screw cover. Enjoy.


In addition to being the more likely night for Halloween parties, Saturday, October 28 was Observe the Moon night. NASA’s Tumblr ladled out some tasty treats about our natural satellite. (And, who knew NASA had a Tumblr?)



Phenomena across the Universe emit radiation spanning the entire electromagnetic spectrum — from high-energy gamma rays, which stream out from the most energetic events in the cosmos, to lower-energy microwaves and radio waves.

Phenomena across the Universe emit radiation spanning the entire electromagnetic spectrum.

A secret bookstore?

Jezebel shares this underwater Norwegian restaurant.

Wouldn’t you like to see Shakespeare in a re-creation of the Globe built mostly of shipping containers? Of course you would. Who wouldn’t?

Would it be cool to travel from the Midwest to San Jose via train next year, for WorldCon? It looks like you can. Traincon offers this as an event. Routes include the California Zephyr. It looks like there’s a switch to the Coast Starlight in Los Angeles.

What do you think of Adweek’s Pink Kitten article? Watch the ad all the way to the end, because there IS a message.


It’s hard to believe a human voice can do this! I had head of polyphonic singing, but I think this is the first time I’ve heard it. It almost sounds like a whistle!