Science fiction writer Ellen Klages is a wonderful storyteller; as Toastmaster for the Nebula Awards, she held an audience spellbound with the delightful, terrifying story of her late father's prized Scary Ham.
I must add here that my father bought the house in 1951, and died in 2008, so there was 57 years worth of household stuff from basement to attic. And no one in my family throws things away, so I spent that summer clearing out my childhood, and my parents’ entire lives, and a fair amount of several ancestors’ worldly goods. It took months.
Dad had died in April, and finally, at the end of August, I’d gone through every closet, cupboard, cabinet, drawer, and box that I could find. I’d shipped home the few pieces of furniture I wanted, innumerable cartons of photos and memorabilia, filled two large dumpsters. It was time for an estate sale and then getting a crew to clean out the house and put it on the market.
The ham was still hanging in the basement.
Every month or so I’d call Mary and ask about whether she wanted me to set aside various things, what she wanted to do with Mom’s wedding dress and Dad’s army uniform, questions that I couldn’t answer by myself. And near the end of each call. I’d say, “What about the ham?”
“A Viking funeral!” she’d say. And I’d sigh and say no.
(I should clarify. I have two sisters, both younger. One has Down Syndrome, one is an English professor. I tell many stories about my family, and it’s not always easy to figure out which sister I’m talking about. In this case, it’s the professor.)
Finally, at the end of August, Mary flew to Ohio for a week to sort through the last of the stuff, say goodbye to the house we grew up in, and load Dad’s minivan with furniture and boxes and drive back to Colorado.
On the second-to-last-day of her trip, I said, “The ham. We have to deal with the ham and we have to do it today or tomorrow.” I gave her the big-sister stare. “Do not mention Vikings. We are not lighting it on fire.”
The Scary Ham [Ellen Klages/Tor.com]
Seth Godin sends us this trailer for Coded, a new documentary series on hackers: “There’s an invisible war being waged. And we’re all part of it. Foreign governments are hacking major corporations. Major corporations are collecting massive amounts of consumer data. And the NSA is listening…to everything. But a new generation of programmers armed with […]
Vince Weaver is reimplementing Portal — “the cake acquisition simulator released in 2007” — to the Apple II series of computers, bit by bit — inspired by the fact that the Apple II hires mode has “the perfect Aperture Science orange and blue colors.” He’s released a disc image of the game in Apple Basic, […]
In November, Bruce Sterling published “Pirate Utopia,” a dieselpunk novella set in the real, historical, bizarre moment in which the city of Fiume became an autonomous region run by artists and revolutionaries, whose philosophies ran the gamut from fascism to anarcho-syndicalism to socialism.
One of the best ways to progress a career in project management is through earning recognized certifications. These certifications carry significant clout and don’t require expensive tuition or student loans. This Ultimate Project Management Certification Bundle is a great example of an affordable way to get ahead. It includes training for 9 certifications including PMP, […]
There’s nothing quite like the rush of playing against a real human opponent. But from a developer standpoint, creating fun multiplayer experiences is incredibly complex. Fortunately, the Unity3D game engine has made all aspects of game creation, including multiplayer functionality, as accessible as ever.This Unity Course Bundle introduces all of the necessary elements of creating […]
The 2016 World Series game 7 will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the greatest baseball games of all time. With endless suspense, a nefariously-timed rain delay, and extra innings, it reminded over 40 million viewers why they love America’s pastime – and why all bets were truly off in 2016. Savor the […]