Happy birthday also to the fantastic seemag. Visit her website, Unbound, here. Best wishes and many, many happy returns of the day!
In other news, I have been going through the iTunes U offerings in the iTunes Store, and I found a number of free lectures that might be of interest:
iTunes U on iTunes
from Arizona State University:
Nano-Ethics Through the Writing of Science Fiction by Rosalyn Berne
The Craft of Science Fiction by Joe Haldeman
from Seattle Pacific University:
The Lord of the Rings as a Defense of Western Civilization by John G. West
Literary Background of The Lord of the Rings by Janet Blumberg
Tolkien, Man and Myth by Joseph Pearce
Wartime Wisdom: Ten Uncommon Insights from The Lord of the Rings About Evil by Peter Kreeft
Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and the British Literary Tradition by Janet Knedlik
C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien: Scholars and Friends by Christopher Mitchell
Lewis, Tolkien, and Chesterton on Myth by Richard Purtill
"We Gotta Get Outta Here" - How Tolkien, Lewis, and L'Engle Help Us Hope by Jeff Overstreet
from SUNY Cortland:
Reflections on H.P. Lovecraft by S.T. Joshi
Additionally, there is a "Science Fiction and Politics Class" by Professor Courtney Brown of Emory University (a total of 33 lectures) available on iTunes as a podcast (search "Courtney Brown" in iTunes). It is also available here.
January 13 was the birthday of H.P. Lovecraft's friend and fellow fantasist Clark Ashton Smith (1893-1961), so I will use one of my favorite passages by him (which I've posted before, but I never mind repeating) for the quote of the day:
"The nostalgia of things unknown, of lands forgotten or unfound, is upon me at times. Often I long for the gleam of yellow suns upon terraces of translucent azure marble, mocking the windless waters of lakes unfathomably calm; for lost, legendary palaces of serpentine, silver and ebony, whose columns are green stalactites; for the pillars of fallen temples, standing in the vast purpureal sunset of a land of lost and marvellous romance. I sigh for the dark-green depths of cedar forests, through whose fantastically woven boughs, one sees at intervals an unknown tropic ocean, like gleams of blue diamond; for isles of palm and coral, that fret an amber morning, somewhere beyond Cathay or Taprobane; for the strange and hidden cities of the desert, with burning brazen domes and slender pinnacles of gold and copper, that pierce a heaven of heated lazuli."
- from Clark Ashton Smith, "Nostalgia of the Unknown"