Mod R here. Ilona is hard at work on the Secret Project™ so you get me today.
I got discretionary use of the Media Library for the post mwahaha, so you are getting Artha. Because we can all do with more Artha in our lives 😀 .
In keeping (see what I did there) with things that make us happy, here are a few links suggested by fellow BDH members in the comments to previous posts:
Mammoth Donkey story – he could really do with some…cuddles. (Don’t judge me, I can finally get all my IA puns out. This is a safe space!)
People in Glass Houses to privacy or not to privacy? They can never have any vampires over, that’s for sure.
The Amazing Vaccine Race this got me thinking about whether I would like to have the experience of the past year and a half made into…well, not entertainment as such. But TV shows, movies, fiction books on the topic. What’s your vote?
Letters Live this last one is from me, it’s a favourite watch at Casa R. You can explore the Letters Live channel for many gems, but this particular clip of Olivia Colman giggling her way through an impassioned plea about Elvis’ hair written to President Eisenhower is impossible to resist.
Greta Weinstein says
One time I saw a donkey and it wasn’t mammoth, but close to it. Then I thought about all the fond memories I have about visiting my grandparent’s donkey farm. They didn’t have indoor plumbing so we had to use the outhouse. There was a pond close by and it was the perfect way to cool off in the summer. My grandmother made the best lemonade and fruit salad.
How have I never seen Letters Live?! I am crying laughing!! ???? Thanks ModR!!
Ellen D says
Thanks so much for the giggles. ????
Olivia Colman is adorable, thank you for that!
No pandemic fiction for me, once was enough.
Right. I have books that I read pre-covid that I absolutely loved (Justin Cronin’s the Passage trilogy for example) that I absolutely won’t read now. Enough pandemic hell.
ARTHA!!!!!! We can always do with more Artha. What a fantastic way to perk up a Monday.
Judith C Stanton says
I soo agree! German shepherds are so adorable
That glass house is something alright, it will cost as much as the price of the house itself to replace those windows. A little after we bought our house, which had passed all home inspections, we found the wood rot in the window frames in our sun room, they all needed to be replaced, 10 windows of varying sizes, long story short, it cost us 10k. ????
The Elvis letter takes the cake, if you cut his sideburns, we’d just die. ????????
Moderator R says
Gaëlle from France says
OMG mammoth donkey is a real thing !! I thought it was made up for the story !! I pictured Cuddles as a cross between a donkey and a mammouth… I feel kind of stupid right now… that’ll teach me to not look at the English-French dictionary more often… Jesus… ????
Moderator R says
OK, but that would be one cute creature 😀
Dreamboat Annie says
Well, I always thought Cuddles was one of those big Poitou donkeys – the cross between donkey and Mammoth is not so far off and the looks suit magic Atlanta much more than the polished animal in the advert. ????
So, OK, the donkey was cool. Big price for a stud, but then they can sell his sperm for big prices to other people, so probably will get their money back. If the sign on his quarantine space is being read correctly by me, he was born in 2009. He’s probably got some years left to earn his keep.
The house boggles the mind. Who the hell can live with that? It would take an army to keep those windows clean!
But Artha is so cute!
Michelle M says
I love that the phrase Secret Project has the trademark icon beside it, as if that is the name of what is being done so it has to be “protected”. I am secretly hoping for an Innkeeper installment but I will read anything Ilona Andrews so it does not matter what it is.
Thank you to the person that found the house! I knew someone would come through even though I was very off on the state.
There are places like that in every state. Monkton is in perpetual competition with Potomac for the title of snobbiest town in Maryland. I attended a wedding and home reception there over thirty years ago. It was an education. Think lobster tails in the buffet. Luckily I was pregnant at the time, so I could eat as much as I wanted and blame it on eating for two. 😀
Hey Letter Live reading the reply to the sheik who demands their surrender is even better than the Elvis Letter.
AHHHH!!!! “In keeping”? Is that hint what I think it means?! That’s my favorite Andrews world!! ><
Yay Artha!! I had two dr. appointments today. Seeing Artha is good medicine!! ????????
Dawn Page says
If it’s not going to be a snippet, it should be Aretha.
Dawn Page says
Artha( stupid spell check!)
Ms. Kim says
I love GSDs. I really liked pic with Tuna. GSDs are the Ferrari of dogs, no question. But they have a little ‘Condo Nazi’ in their makeup when it comes to ensuring other animals in the household toe the line.
Montana accents are interesting. We are kind of in the central northern zone where people go to learn basic unaccented English. There are some drawly chain-smoking ranch hand tones and some just walked out the woods and still antisocial tones that you may hear if you head out into the eastern half of the state which has very few people and a lot of cattle.
“Basic unaccented English” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!
There are what we think of as neutral, broadcast type accents, but they are still accents.
Michele G says
Thank you, thank you, thank you. ROFL.
Maria R. says
What a fun triple name for a big, really big donkey.
That glass house would, I’m my mind be a better public facility. Why? Because everyone could see where everybody might be ambling.
Ha! Yes, I’m part of the Amazing ???????? Vaccine Race, not happy about the giant mess up by powers that be. And no I didn’t vote for either group federally or provincially.
Olivia Coleman has a grand Southern accent. Thanks for reminding me about that series.
Maria R. says
In* my mind (holy moly) dang AutoC
Artha* Yah cute, cute.
Thank you @ ModR
I’m glad he has a decent name that makes sense. The alphabet soup names that thorough bred horses are given are truly mystifying: “Winged Blue Armchair”, whose a/k/a around the barn is “Big Red” or “Toby”….
And yes, racing greyhounds have odd names, too. My retired guy’s name on his birth certificate was “Just Fast”, but his personal name was Dillon.
Yes, more Aretha please.
And Artha! Can’t have too much of either!
I hope MD has a very mild climate or the heating/cooling costs of that place will be rather scary!
We can be in the 20s for weeks in the winter or stay in the 50s the whole winter. The summers however are evilly hot. There have been summers where it seemed like we got in the upper 90s with 100% humidity in May and stayed that way until late September/early October. We have had decent summers with a few nasty days and then a break in the heat and humidity, but the really hateful summers are what comes to mind. It’s the end of April and we are supposed to be 86 today and in the lower 80s tomorrow. But we get back to the 60s by Friday. I would not want to pay the A/C on a glass house durning a Maryland summer.
Suzi Hill says
Tom Hiddleston does a Letters Live that I put on endless repeat when I am feeling lonely and sad. Then I feel less lonely but still sad. Because it is now that he’s my boyfriend but away on business. LOL.
Jeanne K says
Aww Artha. Big pass on anything “entertainment” about the last year. It can go take a long walk off a short pier for all I care (ok…so no more commute to work except walking down the hall, but the rest….pfft)
Patricia Schlorke says
Artha! Tuna! Thank you for posting the pics.
I can’t think a lot right now. I did a lot of conditional formatting in Excel today. Lots of logic. ????
That house is beautiful, but it would have a solid stripe of nose-prints at dog height all the way around on every floor because I simply can’t be bothered to wash windows 24/7.
Shortly before the whole pandemic thing got rolling, I listened to an audiobook that covered various topics and one of the things it touched on was deadly pandemics and basically how even the bubonic plague had a fairly low fatality rate compared to how European diseases obliterated the native population of North America. It pointed out that while a disease that wipes out, say, 20% of the population (absurdly high, way higher than the vast majority of deadly diseases) is a huge tragedy… but a disease that wipes out 80 or 90% of the population, kills culture, too. And I thought this would be an interesting concept to explore in fiction. What if a disease were to run through the world and wipe out 90% of the world population, right now? The mechanics are slightly different than in other apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic fiction I’ve read. Then shortly thereafter, I got a look at what global pandemic response looks like in real time, and it both made me more interested in the concept (because the internet right now is a treasure trove of government-and-cultural-pandemic-response-fiction research! and some of the things that have actually happened would make fascinating literary devices!) and less interested in the concept (because it hits a little close to home at the moment).
Susan D says
S.M. Stirling wrote a novel in 2004 “Dies the Fire” in which technology suddenly vanishes. In the wake of this disaster approximately 90 % of the population dies off. It is not a pandemic disaster but deals with how the remaining people get on with the business of living.
My favorite part of that one is where they’re either planting or harvesting, I forget which, and a guy who grew up on a modern farm says something along the lines of, “I thought I was farming before, but what I was really doing was operating machinery.” If you have enough space and sun, you can grow your own veggies. Grains are a whole other thing. That’s one reason the power structure in Europe changed so dramatically after the Black Death. When you lose a bunch of laborers, labor is no longer cheap.
Kim StanleyRobinson already wrote one along those lines, The Years Of Rice And Salt. Instead of plague killing a third of Europe’s population, it kills 99%. It follows centuries of an alternate history where Europeans are sidelined as other powers fill in the void. It’s very well thought out, though not exactly comfort reading.
I’ll definitely have to look into this one, and Dies the Fire, too.
One of the things that I thought it would be important/interesting to explore in a fictional book about a plague killing off 90% of the population, especially set in the modern world, is that there’s likely to be secondary deaths resulting from the collapse of infrastructure. Without infrastructure to raise crops, anyone who doesn’t know how to raise a garden could starve unless they can find someone else to help them (I HAVE a garden but I’ve never needed to plant enough to feed myself all winter. I’ve never even needed to know how much I need to keep myself alive all winter. Plus then you have to know how to safely store it all winter, and guess what, the electricity is probably out because there’s not enough people to maintain that infrastructure either, so no fridge…). And where do you get your seeds if the current seed-distribution companies collapse? There’s plenty of sources, some of which would suffer from the same issue of infrastructure collapse, others which have other unique issues… And there’s dozens of other things in the modern world that we generally (at least in developed areas) take pretty much for granted, all of which become a house of cards if you remove 90% of the population.
Another one that explores that to some extent is not pandemic related, but more climate change/social collapse effects. It’s Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower. She basically took current climate and social trends and fast forwarded them. She wrote it in the 90s, if memory serves, and it’s a little scary how much closer we’ve gotten to what she predicted in the intervening time.
Stephen King’s The Stand explores a slightly different side of this. Right after the plague kills most of the world, there is a chunk of deaths caused by infrastructure collapse. People dying from a burst appendix since there are no longer doctors. Someone died from falling down a well because of no rescue teams. It was an interesting thing that I had never thought about until reading the novel.
Sarah M. says
Artha is a cutie.
The glass house is gorgeous, but could be annoying in summer and winter if the windows weren’t insulated well enough.
As for the Amazing Vaccine Race, I found it amusing. I suppose I’m a weird one, in that I have no issues with… quarantine-related media, shall we call it? to include anything from novels to tv programs and beyond.
I know, odd perspective. However, here’s why.
When the pandemic first started making the news, I looked back for stories from the 1918 flu. What response came out of that, how did artists, musicians, and authors react, that sort of thing.
Other than news articles, there wasn’t much.
There are WWI stories, and Great Depression stories, but when it comes to the 1918 flu, it’s almost a void. Add that to the government stranglehold on actual flu news from the time, and looking back to the 1918 flu for perspective became a difficult task.
My husband and I are big fans of history, so it was annoying, to say the least.
I want our descendants to be able to look back and go, “Oh, THIS is how our ancestors handled themselves at this time.” Am I likely to personally consume any other pandemic-related media? I don’t know. It may end up depending on my mood at the moment. I think it needs to be made, though, if not for us, for those who come after, to give them perspective if they have to face the same sort of situation.
That house is disturbingly beautiful. The details are great but I’d have random moments of over exposure (who’s watching me!). I’d need those sci-fi windows that change tints with the push of a button.
Does this prove the USA has some of the biggest asses ever???
Bill from nj says
I won’t want to read pandemic fiction, even Douglas Adams couldn’t make it funny or possible to read. It is kind of like this giant trainwreck where you had a natural disaster that combined with the absolutely worst in political leadership in most places ,including the US for most of that period. I am grateful to the scientists who created the vaccine,I consider myself blessed that I was just able to get my 2nd shot,saddened so many others don’t have the ability to get it yet.
A glass house like that better have radiant resistant glass, or even better glass that in winter lets in hear while reflecting it in summer ( it exists,but is incredibly expensive.
So I may have missed it, but is there a story behind Artha’s name? Because every time I read it I hear ARRRR-tha in my head. Like a cross between a bark and a growl. Similar to Auul.
Omigosh, Arthaaaa!!!!! With a side of Tunaaaa!!!! Yes, yes, that is exactly what I needed today. 🙂
Can’t say I’m looking for pandemic-themed fiction anytime soon. Never was one for dystopian fiction to begin with and that would be the route the mass market would most naturally take on the topic (I would think). But go ahead creatives of the world, surprise me! Write a cozy mystery or a Regency romance set during a pandemic. That combo of comfort food with just a dash of reality would be about my limit right now.
Now, off I go to hear a letter about Elvis to Eisenhower (for real? truth stranger than fiction.).
Sarah D Richardson says
That donkey scene from the book had me giggling for at least 5 minutes. My kids had to come ask me what was so funny. I just couldn’t stop laughing at the thought of that giant donkey doing a little dance while Kate tried to look tough. Thanks for the links.
Bill G says
More Artha is always an excellent idea. And I’m always up for more puns or wordplay. One of my recent such was glancing at a bag of rice and suddenly wondering why there is never any Above Par Boiled rice.
Pandemic fiction – yes if it was protopian rather than dystopian – like Star Trek rising from the ashes of a Third World War – not everything after a disaster has to be terrible and it would be lovely to read about some optimism – how people carried on caring for their neighbours as they did in the pandemic; how the drive for one coronavirus vaccine helped to develop other vaccines; how it inspired young people to move into STEM and to recognise the value of education; how even in the darkest of times there is a essence of good, of hope, of optimism if you but turn on the light.
Not every disaster has to end in death and distraction and dystopia for ever more!
Letters live – the Alan Carr letter to an insurance company about a man who caught his trouser furniture in a loo roll dispenser is brilliant; as is the one where Miriam Margoyles responds silently as Josephine to a number of letters from Napoleon as they’re read out!
Bill from nj says
You can hope,right now it looks like there was a third world war and instead of the Federation and Star Trek, the people just started fighting again. Right now you can flip a coin each day and that would tell you if I am optimistic or pessimistic..and these days the coin seems to favor the dark view.
Artha. Love her. How can anyone resist her precious face?
You made my day. I would buy that house if I were rich, though. I love it.
SO LOVE Letters Live.
There is nothing like Loki reading a love letter though. Check this out–he could read the phone book!
Carrie C says
???? Does “In keeping” mean what I think it does?!?!?! Maybe … the next in Maud’s series?! In the words of my 6 yo, “Please, oh please!!!”
Really, though, I’ll take whatever IA feels like writing. I’m sooo not picky when it comes to them. ????
The Mammoth Donkey is *sooo* cute! Look at those amazing ears!
The Glass House would work for Twilight/sparkly in the sun type vampires (which are utterly ridiculous) so your point stands. ????
Letters Live is new to me! Olivia Colman’s southern accent wasn’t half bad ????. (????♀️Born & raised in Alabama ????). So interesting. I’ll have to check out some more.
Thanks for sharing!
Moderator R says
No, it was just a pun ????
Other Barbara says
For. Great riding experience, you can find baited mules. They do not test, instead have smooth gliding movement to go quickly. In particular, Peruvian also fino mule crosses!
Angela Knight says
It’s too soon right now, but I think there will be fiction written about it. What we did to our doctors and nurses and sick was criminal.
The death toll would have be a fourth of what it was had it not been for certain people denying it was happening and encouraging folks not to wear masks as a way to minimize the pandemic. I suspect the death toll is actually greater than the 560,000 currently stated because of a deliberate undercount in some places.
My sister is a CT tech doing CAT scans on people with Covid. She said the lung damage looks like nothing else— not TB, not pneumonia. They can lie and deny all they want, but it’s there and it’s destroying people’s lungs. We won’t get rid of it until everyone gets vaccinated either.
Bill from nj says
I agree totally,was just reading that on that sewage source that rhymes with ‘knocks’, one of their stars is encouraging ppl to go up to people wearing masks and tell them to take it off because it ‘makes them uncomfortable’ or ppl are refusing to get vaccinated bc they think it will ‘help their side’
I don’t what fiction will be written about the pandemic, but I know what history will write about it and it won’t be sunshine and roses, that is for sure. HL Mencken must be laughing wherever he is,that is for sure.
Yea, Artha! I did not know that mammoth donkeys were a thing. Most interesting. Ugh to the glass house, even tho no one is near enough to be a voyeur. I like blinds in my bedroom! No thank you to entertainment based on our year plus in purgatory or hell, depending on if you lost family, friends or your job. Please everyone get a vaccine so we can go back to normal life!
I don’t want to hear or see anything about this entire period of quarantine and Covid. Glass house? reminds me of a kid’s dollhouse where the interior is open to view. Might be a tad bit drafty. Interesting, but no. On the other hand, neat Mammoth donkey. He’s a bit sleeker than I picture Cuddles, but thanks for the article. And a great big YES for Artha and Tuna. Artha does have such a sweet face.
Here is a link to an interesting interview with a couple who have lived in a glass house for several years. I have to admit that I’ve been fascinated by the idea!
Judith C Stanton says
And for anyone interested in Russian architects, here’s an article about Alex Nerovnya’s designs for glass houses:
Or just about glass houses in general:
I’ve been missing Artha. We had GSDs for over 40 years and they are my favorite pups! Thanks for the picture and all the smiles
Maggie Huffman says
Awwwww! I had a mammoth donkey that I fell in love with when i worked at a local attraction as a teen. I fed him apples and just generally fell in love with his huge ears. He was as big as a clydesdale. His name was Norman
Rachel-Anne Sambell says
The Moonwatcher Mammoth Cuddles link is to my very favourite Australian news site!! I live in outback Oz so love a funny (and very cute) story about what Cuddles would have looked like. And how many cuddles he needs to keep him happy. On another note, though, how unbelievable is his insemination price? Thanks for a giggle, Rosanna!
Donna A says
Artha’s adorable as ever, I love German Shepherds, we always had them when I was growing up so I have a super fondness for the breed.
I like donkeys generally and have no idea if being mammoth sized would affect their nature but gosh, that’s an expensive donkey!
The glass house. . . well, uhm, it’s “interesting” I guess?
Hell no to pandemic fiction. Just. No.
Olivia Colman will always be Sophie to me. And as an Elvis fan (we share a birthday) I have to disagree, he looked great with his military cut 😉
Lynn Thompson says
Thank you, Mod R, for the hilarious post.
Mammoth Donkeys are real. My neighbor has a regular donkey as coyote bait in his herd of pure bred Black Angus. Unfortunately he also has European gates so whenever coyotes come around the donkey just walks out of pasture, down the long driveway, across road and to my place. I give him sweet feed to catch and walk him home. ????. But I have met some mammoth donkeys as a veterinarian technician.
I loved Letters Live. I ROFLOL.
Thanks mod R.
Quasi Modo. says
One can never have enough Artha.
A German Shepherd smiling makes everyone smile
I love that glass house with a fiery passion. I want them to give it to me with all the furniture – gorgeous design.
Is the secret project something brand new or something from your secret vault of untold stories?
Never mind lol!
Yay innkeeper!!! I have missed your serial every Friday stories!!!
Will it be a Dina story?
I hope so!!! Excited either way!!
Moderator R says
Hi Joss, “in keeping” was just random IA wordplay, not a hint of anything ????
That’s just mean, a mean teaser. Bahahaha
Ooooo, a Klaus story?
Dame Maggie Smith says…
That’s far enough, that’s far enough
Going with the adorable dog theme, I vote for Facebook’s Max in the Lake which has a lovely British man giving commentary as he walks his three English Springer Spaniels in the Lake District of England. There’s something so relaxing about listening to him talk about the weather, the landscape and the tail wagging and stick carrying of Max, Paddy and Harry as they romp.
Letters Live is awesome. I had not encountered it before. Here is something for the architecture fans: https://www.embassygardens.com/galleries/sky-pool/ I wonder how expensive it’s going to be to heat that pool in winter. Thanks for the pet news – Artha always cheers me.
Zaena B says
We had a ranch a few miles away from us in Los Olivos, CA, where Mr. Chamberlain, the owner ,had a Mammoth Jack donkey which he bred to Thoroughbred and Running Quarterhorse (racing Quarterhorses ) mares to make absolutely HUGE mules. Chamberlain Mules were pretty well known for awhile, intelligent and used for everything. Around here, they were used for roping and riding, packing and hunting.
Nia Zimmer says
Why in the name of all that is delicious, does Orro not have a fainting couch?
Kimberly Koehler says
Thank you for introduction to Letters Live. They are outrageously funny.
On the topic of IA puns: