Dec 31, 2009

Best of 00's...Books

Let's get literary up in here.
  1. The Hank Thompson Trilogy: Caught Stealing, Six Bad Things, A Dangerous Man; Charlie Huston 
  2. The Joe Pitt Casebooks: Already Dead, No Dominion, Half the Blood of Brooklyn, Every Last Drop, My Dead Body; Charlie Huston
  3. The Lost, Jack Ketchum
  4. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon
  5. The Road, Cormac McCarthy
  6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire/Order of the Phoenix/Half-Blood Prince/Deathly Hallows,  J.K. Rowling
  7. This Is Where I Leave You, Jonathan Tropper
  8. The Ruins, Scott Smith
  9. The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen
  10. The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova

Posted via web from moviegoer's posterous

Protocast 3: Sherlock Holmes Review



Happy New Year's Eve. I have been working extensively on finishing some fiction, so the podcasts have been few and far between. I have done a few videos in the meantime - I posted the review of 'And All Through the House' last week for Christmas - but this is the first chance I've had to do a podcast in a couple of weeks. I just added a pic over the audio so I could post it as a video, but otherwise it's just a podcast. Enjoy.

Dec 30, 2009

You want lists. I've got lists.

Here's the first of my Best of...the Decade lists. I'll post the rest over the next couple of days. Read, discuss, and enjoy!

Best of...Music

  1. Andrew W.K., I Get Wet
  2. The Darkness, Permission to Land 
  3. The Streets, Original Pirate Material
  4. Coheed and Cambria, In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
  5. LCD Soundsystem, LCD Soundsystem
  6. U2, All That You Can’t Leave Behind
  7. The Drive-By Truckers, Decoration Day 
  8. ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, Source Tags & Codes
  9. System of a Down, Toxicity
  10. The Killers, Hot Fuss

Obviously, these albums are personal choices. I'm sure I'm still missing some great ones. I thought about doing a songs list. However, I'm an album guy, and with a few exceptions, most of the songs would have come from the ten albums listed above.

Tomorrow's list: Books!

Posted via web from moviegoer's posterous

The Videogamer on...2009.

The Videogamer’s Top Games of the Year

 

  1. Batman: Arkham Asylum. Rocksteady’s first entry into the Dark Knight’s universe was spectacular. It looked great and played greater. This near-perfect game is like The Dark Knight of the comic book videogame world.
  2. Fallout 3 DLC. What better game to play in 2009 than my newly crowned Game of 2008 (sorry, MGS 4), and Bethesda made that a reality by releasing some stellar DLC  for Fallout 3. Broken Steel was easily the best; it took the 20 level cap off the game and rewrote the ending a bit more openly. The most atmospheric entry, Point Lookout, is next. The Pitt and Operation Anchorage follow a more distant 3 and 4, while the final episode, Mothership Zeta, is also the least satisfying. Still, none of them are bad. I recommend anyone that hasn’t played the game pick up the Game of the Year Edition, containing the full game and all 5 DLC add-ons, now!
  3. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Uncharted 2 finished third almost by default; 2009 was not a great year for games, not when compared to last year and the slate of games expected in 2010 (Bioshock 2, Mass Effect 2, God of War III). It’s truly a superb game. Naughty Dog really outdid themselves. I’m a big fan of Nolan North’s voice work as well; he’s like a disembodied Nathan Fillion. Still, it has all the staying power of the matinee serials it idolizes. The further I get from playing treasure hunter Nathan Drake’s second adventure, the less I remember about it.
  4. Assassin’s Creed II. My most recent conquest, ACII rights the wrongs of its predecessor (repetitive missions, extra-twitchy guards, boring open world travel) and adds a huge, healthy dose of history. The setting, Renaissance Italy, is also a far cry from the typical sci-fi, combat zones to which gamers are usually transported. The settings are fantastic, but some of the early in-game movies are not the prettiest.
  5. God of War Collection. Be it 2005, 2007, or 2008, nobody beats Kratos. The vengeful Spartan’s PS2 adventures look great when experienced on the hi-def PS3, and both games boast trophies. What a great way to whet appetites for what might be the game of 2010, God of War III.

 

Honorable mentions:  Resident Evil 5, Guitar Hero: Metallica, Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time, MadWorld, Killzone 2, New Super Mario Bros. Wii

 

Downloadable Games

  1. Shadow Complex. Awesome Metroid-vania excitement on the Xbox Live Arcade.
  2. Flower
  3. Shatter

 

I have played Halo 3: ODST and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, all of which could conceivable make the list if their single player experience were longer or I cared one bit about multiplayer, which I don’t, so they didn’t make the list. I would have liked to play Borderlands before finalizing the list, but you can’t have everything.

Posted via web from moviegoer's posterous

Gallagher on...Everything?

Comedian Gallagher in an interview with the Onion, talking about everything from politics to comedy to behavior in public...and with enough hatred of 'the youth' to fill a retirement community.

Gallagher on mediocrity:

Well, I don’t think Katie Couric should have been the anchorperson for the news. She was originally a kicky young woman that did the on-the-street interviews, and she was known for her cuteness, and that’s why she was hired. The lady on the desk with all the stature that doesn’t speak good, Barbara Walters, was more of the kind of person you would have as an anchorperson, but in America, they are afraid to take a chance on people who aren’t known. This is how Conan [O’Brien] ended up with The Tonight Show: Rather than take a chance on somebody, they decide to advance from within. We promote people until they reach a point at which they’re incompetent.


Before you think up a retort to Gallagher on the topic of mediocrity, you should go take a look at the interview. It's blunt, angry, bitter, even impassioned, and it's not something I would have expected from the 63-year-old comedian. I'm not saying he's right about what he's saying (or that I even think he's right), but it's an interview that deserves a read-through, because this is the kind of stuff I would imagine George Carlin to be saying rather than Gallagher, and, well, it's intriguing. The Onion AV Club seemed ironically interested in the comic, and I am almost positive the interviewer had no idea that this was going to happen:

Then of course President Clinton ruined oral sex. [It’s] now an acceptable activity for a virgin, and doesn’t qualify as sex. So somewhere in there is a loss of morality—a mediocrity. You know, I think when Clinton ruined the presidency, it certainly made my point of mediocrity. We never pick a president who is above, we pick somebody we identify with: the lowest level, the most common. We didn’t pick the best politician in the Bush family, which of course was the governor of Florida. We picked the beer-drinking good ol’ boy. Ask them to lead us in areas that maybe didn’t require a good ol’ boy. You know, this is what I notice. Of course, I’ve been excluded from a lot of show business in America. So I’ve got a point of view that I don’t mind expressing, because I’m really not ruining a career that’s not really happening.


Interview: Gallagher

Dec 27, 2009

Cinema Collection of 2009



Lasting seven minutes and consisting of clips of 143 movies, here is a montage of the best of cinema from 2009. It's a well-edited piece and deserving a watch. It even sort of makes you want to watch the movies that didn't do so well this year.

Audio Surf: Ride Your Music



Audiosurf is a music-adapting puzzle racer where you use your own music to create your own experience. The shape, the speed, and the mood of each ride is determined by the song you choose.

You earn points for clustering together blocks of the same color on the highway, and compete with others on the internet for the high score on your favorite songs.


Go to the site: Audio-Surf.com

Dec 26, 2009

The Moviegoer on...Sherlock Holmes

  
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Posted via email from moviegoer's posterous

Dec 22, 2009

Dec 21, 2009

Dec 20, 2009

The Moviegoer on...The Road


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As great as the book was, could The Road be adapted into a movie of equal, or superior, quality? Hear what the Moviegoer says.

The Moviegoer on...Avatar


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Could James Cameron's return after a decade-plus absence be the best movie of the decade? Hear what the Moviegoer has to see about Cameron's latest epic.

Dec 18, 2009

The Videogamer on...Why the Wii Sucks


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Here's the first of what I hope is a new feature of Jinx Protocol. In under two minutes, I'm going to take apart or put together a topic of my choosing. Some mini-pods will be by the Videogamer and others by the Moviegoer. Enjoy!

Dec 15, 2009

Appaloosa: A Review

Starring: Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Renee Zellweger, Jeremy Irons, Peter Pettigrew, The Coach from 'Major League'.

Directed by: Ed Harris

Overall: ***1/2

Most crime movies are westerns disguised as crime movies. Elmore Leonard wrote crime novels that were more or less westerns dressed up with snarky dialogue and showdowns set in Detroit instead of Dodge City. Robert B. Parker, as it were, writes westerns disguised as crime novels. Well, that's not necessarily true, as 'Appaloosa' is about as bare-bones a movie can be (based on Parker's novel). But the relationship between Harris's and Zellweger's characters is more reminiscent of Humphrey Bogart movies than John Wayne ones. In fact, all of the relationships between characters are reminiscent of crime flicks than of their dirtier, horse-filled counterparts. The "sheriff", Virgil Cole (played excellently by Harris), has a buddy-cop banter with his "deputy", Everett Hitch (Mortensen). Virgil, like a husband stumped by the weekly crossword at the breakfast table, can always count on his erstwhile partner Hitch to deliver a word that's just out of reach for him. Similarly, Hitch is unfaltering in his admiration for the other half of the gun-wielding duo, supplying the other on-screen characters with a steady stream of compliments about the man's better qualities. In that respect, the movie tries to balance the (crime)western and the love story between Virgil and Hitch, but it is often disrupted by the appearance of Ally (Zellweger's character and Virgil's ostensible love interest).

Westerns are typically movies in which men are men and women wash the dishes. 'Unforgiven', Clint Eastwood's superb revisionist tale, ushered in a sort-of new era in the Western, leading up to the 00s. What we have seen recently is a spate of films influenced by books influenced by movies. It's a post-revisionist, post-western world we live in, in which the dynamic in the films is slowly trying to be placed gently in the pre-revisionist cradle, for people who yearn for John Wayne.

However, 'Appaloosa' is just proof that there has been too much intermingling between genres for us to return to simple, unironic storytelling. While the sexual charge between lonely men in westerns pre-1966 was only implied, now it is either overt or too blunt to miss. It's as though we cannot tell a western with a straight face anymore (no pun intended). If you don't believe me, please - pretty please - watch 'Appaloosa'. At one point, Everett, in chiding Ally, basically says, "You and Virgil are together, and so are Virgil and I. We are all together." If there had been no guns and halfway through the film it were revealed that Everett was a woman, no one paying attention would have been surprised.

And it's not as though I've tried to lay the sexual framework onto the movie. It's either deliberately there, the director (Harris) honestly does not see it, or else he is baiting the audience. I'd like to think it is a mixture of all three, since it's too there for anyone to miss it. Coming in, I had expected a straightforward, old school western, but I got so much more. Even though it is full of violence - often actually representative of the "misunderstood" silent type routine - and of action and brooding, the chemistry between the three main characters outweighs it all. It's not always intriguing - in fact, sometimes it's downright tedious - but it seems as though that was what Ed Harris was going for in the direction, so he gets extra points for effort there. It wasn't a straight-faced telling of the typical western, but it does maintain plenty of the genre's staples: kidnapping, damsels in distress, trains, "Injuns", gunfights, love triangles, long silences, horses, and, of course, funny mustaches.

Dec 14, 2009

Comic Book Heroes Transposed Into Old War Photos



From The House of Milk:

There is a collection of photos from WWII showcasing superheroes in the thick of battle, palavering with generals and such, and just being awesomely Photoshopped into the action. I posted something similar, except it had to do with Star Wars instead of Comic Books.

Dec 12, 2009

Australian Astrologer Gets Ostracized on Aussie Show



I am almost embarrassed for astrologers who come on television and then get shown for the hacks that they are...almost. See, the problem comes in when people live their lives by delusions created by charlatans who give them a false sense of hope...based on what? It doesn't take a Mensa member to know that twins do not suffer the same fate. Astrology offered humanity a quaint, basic form of "predicting" that is no longer necessary or viable in the slightest sense, and the more that we come to know about the world, the less astrology can offer it.

Roger Ebert: On James Cameron's Avatar

Watching "Avatar," I felt sort of the same as when I saw "Star Wars" in 1977. That was another movie I walked into with uncertain expectations. James Cameron's film has been the subject of relentlessly dubious advance buzz, just as his "Titanic" was. Once again, he has silenced the doubters by simply delivering an extraordinary film.

~Roger Ebert, Avatar

I've been thinking about James Cameron quite more than usual lately. Thinking about him at all is quite more than usual, but anyway. I've wondered just what got into his mind that he would think that sinking 250 million bucks into Avatar would be a good idea. I've heard comparisons to a live-action 'Ferngully', which doesn't make me think it would draw in enough people to cover half of the budget put into it, let alone make the movie worth seeing.

However, and I can take it with a grain of salt, there is a near-unanimous consent on 'Avatar' from the critics. Roger Ebert could not have gushed more expansively if he tried. Of all the 33 critics on Rotten Tomatoes, only three have slapped it with a rotten rating (and I wonder how much ire was directed at the hype, rather than that movie). It's still got a week before release, and whether or not the hype worked will be evident after next weekend - or perhaps the next, depending on word of mouth - so we'll see.

Dec 10, 2009

Protocast 2: The Music Industry, My Undying Love for Nickelback, Etc.



Is it already time for another podcast? Indeed, it is. This week's Protocast deals with my thoughts on the music industry. Specifically, I talk about how the structure of the industry allows bands like Nickelback (and bands that sound like Nickelback) to command the airwaves with such authority.

Dec 9, 2009

The Day the Earth Stood Still Review



In addition to podcasting, I've decided to throw my hat into the ring of scores of nobodies posting videos to YouTube, so they may be ignored by millions upon millions of people.

Your first question - other than 'Why would you do this in the first place?' - might be, 'Why are you reviewing 'The Day the Earth Stood Still'? Well, I just saw it a couple days ago, and that's the major reason. I figured, Why not start with a movie you just saw, even if it came out last year. I'm going to try and be on the ball a little better in the future and review upcoming or recently released movies, but this is a test run, so bear with me.

If you just want to listen to just the audio (for some reason), you can go over to Clickcaster and check it out, or you can just listen below.

Dec 7, 2009

Kazookeylele - 'The Final Countdown'



And now for a cover version of the song that was NOT in Rocky IV, here's 'The Final Countdown' on a hybrid Kazoo/Ukulele, the Kazookulele.

AS an added bonus, here's the total rock upgrade version of the song, complete with echo, drums, and distorted guitar. You're welcome.

41-Hour Elevator Ride



This is a time-elapse video showcasing a man named Nicholas White trapped in an elevator for just over 40 hours, after he had gone out for a cigarette break. There is an accompanying New Yorker article. Read the article.

Dec 6, 2009

A Short, Surreal MindBomb



I don't know that I have words to describe this video. Watch it and tell me what you think.

Dec 4, 2009

Giving for the Holidays Through "First Giving"



Though I'm not overly sentimental about the holiday season, I do recognize and support efforts to be more universally generous. It has a great impact, even if but for a short amount of time. It is a shame that we tend to only recognize how little others have in a time when we end up spending the most money on gifts that end up in the backs of closets and in storage.

Either way, I've been thinking about having people donate money to charity rather than give me presents for Christmas for years, but it's one of those "next year" tasks that didn't seem like it would ever get done.

Well, this year it's going to happen, in large part to my friend, Maria, who posted a link to a site that allows you to set up a personal web page where people can donate sort of directly to you, and the money raised ends up going to the charity. Thank you, Maria.

Gifts are fine, in my book, but I've reached a point in my life where I have just about everything I could ever need or want and would rather see that money go to a cause that might save someone's life.

The site is First Giving, and it has a fairly simple user interface, so I was able to be up and running in a matter of minutes. Now all I have to do is get the word out to people, which is what I'm trying to do now! You can visit my personal page, which has been set up to donate to the American Cancer Society.

Like I say on the page itself, very few people go through life without being affected in some way by cancer, so I thought it would be a sort of universal cause to pick for a charity. I have lost family members to cancer, and recently, but so have millions of other people, so it behooved me to choose the ACS. I didn't set a goal, and I don't want to be presumptuous and self-important, but donate if you can. If you can't, try to do something else to give back.

Even if you don't feel comfortable giving to the ACS, think about picking up a toy to donate to 'Toys for Tots' or participate in a holiday food drive. That's all. I just wanted to get the message out there. Thanks so much.

Dec 3, 2009

Bill Bryson - Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

I just finished reading 'The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid', which is by far one of the most entertaining and yet informative memoirs I have ever read. It was written by Bill Bryson, and its greatest accomplishment IMHO is recreating the world of the 1950s in the Midwest of America so that I felt as thought I was there, or at least could have been there.

I am generally enamored of all of Bryson's works, and, though this work ranks up there, it is hardly my favorite. I am extremely partial to A Walk in the Woods, for example. It has lit a fire under me, has made me think that someday even I could hop on the Appalachian Trail and experience its singular wonder.

If you get a chance, check out, rent, borrow, buy, or steal(just kidding) one of Bryson's works. If you're too lazy to do it yourself, here is Amazon's Bill Bryson page. Take a gander at it.

Dec 1, 2009

Protocast 1: Netflix/PS3, MoH, Horror Movies, Lost, Fringe, and Dollhouse.



Here is the first 'Protocast'. I discuss a lot of stuff, but mostly I stick to horror/scifi, so beware. 25 min.

My Podcast Alley feed! {pca-8cb5dfbd206bb8a064595abcc5e3f622}

Nov 30, 2009

The History of Data Storage

Geekologie has posted a wonderful "history" of data storage, from floppy disks to flash drives. It's really amazing to see just how quickly we've come in such a short amount of time. Even as I type this, I feel like it's already out of date.

Nov 29, 2009

Animatronic Head



I really, honestly have to admit that this is by far one of the creepiest videos I've posted on the blog in a while. Technology is truly getting out of hand when the animatronic heads we produce look real, and not real in that "banana" flavor we get in candy, but real in a real way, like in the video above. It's only :20 long, but it's quite haunting to see that we've reached the point that we can duplicate humanity with such ease. Blech.

Half-Life 2 Casting



I have been oddly obsessed with the world of 'Half-Life' for the last couple of weeks. It's not as though I have a reason to. I haven't been playing the games, not any one of them. I haven't so much as thought about the games, really, but I keep running across creative depictions of the game(s), so I feel obliged to blog about them. Hmmm.

Nov 24, 2009

Bill Bryson's Notes From a Large Hadron Collider

I have been obsessed with Bill Bryson's books for the last several months, so occasionally I'll enter his name into the Google News search engine and see what's happening with the country's favorite travelogue writer from across the pond-slash-Iowa. Today I found the following morsel of writing.

From The Times Online:

In the event that it fell to you to identify the most exciting place on the planet, the likelihood is small, I imagine, that you would pack a bag and travel at once to Switzerland. Still less, I dare say, would you turn your back on Geneva and head out past its western suburbs and into the pleasant but uneventful countryside beyond. There, in a broad valley shared with France, stands a collection of buildings that look like the leftovers from a 1960s Festival of Bad Design.

This is it. You have found it. This is CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. Over the next few days the people who run the place will cautiously restart the immensely large machine (almost 27 kilometres around) known as the Large Hadron Collider and begin swooshing particles around it in a way that will, when it is fully humming, recreate conditions as they were in the Universe one millionth of a millionth of a second after the beginning of the big bang.


Read the entire article here.

Nov 23, 2009

Half-Contra



This is a mod - of sorts - that approximates Contra re-made in Half-Life, with pretty awesome level design and all of the sound effects you know and love from Contra.

Nov 22, 2009

Google Banning Scammy Advertisements

From Consumerist:

At last, someone has taken a stand against the tooth whitener ad menace. It's no tiny or obscure ad network: it's Google. The company has decided to live up to its "don't be evil" motto and ban advertisers who place ads that lead to sites peddling products like scammy free trials, get-rich-quick schemes, and malware. Previously, they would ban individual ads, but not advertisers.

Nov 17, 2009

Harlan Ellison Discussing the Inception of Scientology

Scooby Doo Zombie Tee



Over at Threadless, you can find this awesome take on Scooby Doo (in the time of the zombie apocalypse). Dibs.

Nov 16, 2009

Lou Dobbs's $8 Million Buyout

From Think Progress:

Although Lou Dobbs has been saying that his departure from CNN was an “amicable parting on the best of terms,” the New York Post reports that CNN wanted him gone so badly that it gave him an $8 million severance package. Dobbs “had a year and a half to go on his $12 million contract.” He’ll be appearing on Fox News tonight to talk with Bill O’Reilly, who has called the former CNN host a “stand-up guy.”

Just the Deaths, Ma'am. Total Recall in Retrospect



A part of me thinks that I should be horrified by the idea of reducing the entirety of 'Total Recall' down to the deaths. It takes the legs out from under the argument that the violence is a mere adornment to the 'art' that is a film like 'Total Recall'. The early 90s was an awesome time for action films and a murky period for those in favor of free expression. The violence run amok in 'Total Recall' is nearing upon ridiculous. Meh. It's a pretty cool video, and nearly as entertaining as the movie itself, so enjoy.

Mortal Kombat 3 - The Supreme Demonstration



I really miss loving Mortal Kombat 3. Sometimes I wish I could still muster the same kind of enthusiasm for it that I could a decade ago. Good times.

28 Songs. 7 Min 48 Secs. Mario Paint.



I know I've been a little too enamored of showcasing these videos on the blog, but I swear that most of them are worth the watch, including this one. It's a simple trick, and not necessarily deserving of ultimate praise, but I have mucho respect for anyone willing to spend this much time on such outmoded technology to make something so impressive.

And, because I'm on a quest to find the most awesome / weirdest 'Ghostbusters' stuff on the internet, here is the theme on Mario Paint. It's entirely flawed, but I couldn't find a superior version, so here you go.

Nov 8, 2009

Alex the Genius Parrot



From NPR:

Alex the famous African gray parrot, renowned for the landmark cognition research conducted by owner Dr. Irene Pepperberg, Ph.D., has died at the age of 31 [2007]. By learning elements of the English language to identify shapes, colors and sizes, Alex shattered the notion that parrots are only capable of mimicking words.

According to Pepperberg who is a faculty member at Brandeis University, Alex was able to identify 50 different objects, seven colors and shapes, and quantities of up to six. Alex also understood the concept of bigger and smaller and same and different. Pepperberg says they were in the midst of learning basic mathematics skills.


Alex the Parrot, An Apt Student, Passes Away

Nov 7, 2009

'Daybreakers' Trailer

Lightning May Contain Anti-Matter




From Science News:

Designed to scan the heavens thousands to billions of light-years beyond the solar system for gamma rays, the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has also picked up a shocking vibe from Earth. During its first 14 months of operation, the flying observatory has detected 17 gamma-ray flashes associated with terrestrial storms — and some of those flashes have contained a surprising signature of antimatter.


What is Antimatter? I'm not really sure. But according to Wikipedia,

In particle physics, antimatter is the extension of the concept of the antiparticle to matter, where antimatter is composed of antiparticles in the same way that normal matter is composed of particles. For example, an antielectron (a positron, an electron with a positive charge) and an antiproton (a proton with a negative charge) could form an antihydrogen atom in the same way that an electron and a proton form a normal matter hydrogen atom.


It reminds me of the music scale, where an A# (A-sharp) is also a Bb (B-flat), except antimatter is much more complicated.

[SIGNATURE OF ANTIMATTER DETECTED IN LIGHTNING]
[Antimatter]

An Unexpected Scratch

Running Twice a Day is Beneficial




I had always heard that running twice a day, like lifting weights twice a day, is ultimately bad for you, since the muscles you use need time to rest and rebuild, but apparently that is not true.

According to Runner's World:

By running more often, you reap the same fitness benefits you get when you boost the duration and intensity of any one run: reduced body fat, increased VO2 max, and improved muscle tone. You just get those benefits sooner.


The article stresses that you work in the second daily workout slowly, doing it only twice a week and backing off the length of the original, longer workout so that your body can effectively catch up.

[DOUBLE DUTY: Run twice a day to get stronger and faster—sooner.]

A Letter on Evolution: The 'Religion' of Evolution



My growing fascination with the way we use language, and indeed how it changes, is the impetus behind posting this video...and also its message, I admit.

Language is indeed very powerful and yet something which changes frequently. In microscopic steps, it seems sometimes. An entire debate can hinge - as often the evolution debate does - on semantics, on whether people "believe" in evolution.

And yet, this is how scientists are "losing" this "debate". It's really a non-debate, and scientists aren't losing the debate. They're losing the PR battle. Every year - I won't say every day, though this distinction may be accurate - new evidence solidifying the relative truth of evolution is revealed (as much as anything can be "true").

This is the place where the rub happens. Scientists believe - there's that word again - that nothing can be known in an absolute way. It is not belief, as the video suggests, in a blind sort of way. So that's why there is a "debate".

I could, if I had the time and patience and desire, begin to dispute any number of scientific realities and end up turning the tide on them. That may sound arrogant, but it's not. It's a disparity between the way the two camps discuss the issue. I am no more capable than anyone (who is not a scientist) of disproving scientific data, but since I realize that disputing something in today's world creates a "debate", then I am already halfway to the point of converting people to my side.

Creationists/IDers are just the same as the PR folks who work for cigarette companies. They hire (Read: pay) scientists to say that "there is no known link between cigarettes and cancer". And there are people who say that trans fats actually clear arteries, rather than clog them. That Elvis is still alive. That George Bush was responsible for 9/11.

Nov 6, 2009

Babies and Accents

The BBC is reporting on a study conducted on children, to see whether or not they develop accents before they begin speaking.

German researchers say babies begin to pick up the nuances of their parents' accents while still in the womb.

Writing in the journal Current Biology, they say the babies are probably trying to form a bond with their mothers by imitating them.


[Do Babies Have Accents?]

Nov 5, 2009

Evil Dead Re-Release

From Geek Tyrant:

Grindhouse Releasing is bringing Sam Raimi’s original horror classic THE EVIL DEAD back to the big screen as a midnight movie.

Raimi and producers Robert Tapert and Bruce Campbell gave the go-ahead for a series of EVIL DEAD revival screenings to Grindhouse Releasing partner Bob Murawski, the film editor of Raimi’s SPIDER MAN 1, 2 & 3, DRAG ME TO HELL and the EVIL DEAD sequel ARMY OF DARKNESS.


I don't think my excitement at this moment can be quantified.

Nov 3, 2009

Character Alignment Grid

List of Zombie/Undead-Related Video Games




Thank you Wikipedia:

This is a selected list of video games with an undead theme, containing games featuring undead as the central theme or a major theme. Subjects for an undead theme may include zombies, vampires or ghosts. It also covers werewolves which can be portrayed as allies of the undead.

Ever Heard of the 'Badwater Ultramarathon'?




From the site for the Badwater Ultramarathon:

AdventureCORPS, Inc., an event production firm specializing in ultra-endurance and extreme sports events, hosts the Badwater Ultramarathon in July of each year. Recognized globally as "the world's toughest foot race," this legendary event pits up to 90 of the world's toughest athletes—runners, triathletes, adventure racers, and mountaineers—against one another and the elements. Covering 135 miles (217km) non-stop from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA in temperatures up to 130F (55c), it is the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet.


If you think that's hardcore in and of itself, you should check out the rules and time requirements - YES, THERE ARE TIME REQUIREMENTS FOR THIS RACE - so you don't mistake yourself for being badass. The Rules. It's not enough that you finish this bastard of a run, but you must get your happy ass off the course by hour 60, or they'll do it for you.

Not only that, but you're not allowed to merely sign up for the race and show up on the start date. You have to apply for the race and hope you get in. You have to reveal your running resume, so to speak, and there's no guarantee you'll get in. In fact, they only allow 90 competitors per year. Wow.

Many Muslims Adopting Old-Earth Creationism

Also from The New York Times:

Creationism is growing in the Muslim world, from Turkey to Pakistan to Indonesia, international academics said last month as they gathered here to discuss the topic. But, they said, young-Earth creationists, who believe God created the universe, Earth and life just a few thousand years ago, are rare, if not nonexistent.


This article is a veritable font of knowledge on the subject of Old Earth Creationism and Muslims, but I wonder how many people are shocked that in this modern era of religiosity that such a form of dogma could arise. I'm no more shocked than when seeing mountain people dig rattlesnakes out of pine boxes and kiss them, or people honestly attest to Jesus coming to America to be a prophet to the American Indians.

The article goes on to say more about this phenomenon in the context of Islam:

For many Muslims, even evolution and the notion that life flourished without the intervening hand of Allah is largely compatible with their religion. What many find unacceptable is human evolution, the idea that humans evolved from primitive primates. The Koran states that Allah created Adam, the first man, separately out of clay.

Pervez A. Hoodbhoy, a prominent atomic physicist at Quaid-e-Azam University in Pakistan, said that when he gave lectures covering the sweep of cosmological history from the Big Bang to the evolution of life on Earth, the audience listened without objection to most of it. “Everything is O.K. until the apes stand up,” Dr. Hoodbhoy said.


What we're seeing is not necessarily a dogged denouncement of science as a whole, but only in how science seems to explain the rise of humans out of the ranks of certain other primates.

Freecreditreport.com vs. The FCC

From The New York Times:

It [The FCC] has long believed that the company that owns freecreditreport.com is deliberately diverting people from a government-mandated site where consumers can get free credit reports by law, and using the reports as a lure for a $14.95 monthly service that alerts subscribers to important changes in their credit status.


A Free Credit Score Followed by a Monthly Bill

Nov 2, 2009

Scamville: The Social Gaming Ecosystem of Hell

Want to know why and how those tacky little games - Farmville and Mob Wars - have taken over Facebook? Head over to TechCruch and you can find out why and how they continue to thrive.

From TechCrunch:

In short, these games try to get people to pay cash for in game currency so they can level up faster and have a better overall experience. Which is fine. But for users who won’t pay cash, a wide variety of “offers” are available where they can get in-game currency in exchange for lead gen-type offers. Most of these offers are bad for consumers because it confusingly gets them to pay far more for in-game currency than if they just paid cash (there are notable exceptions, but the scammy stuff tends to crowd out the legitimate offers). And it’s also bad for legitimate advertisers.


[Scamville: The Social Ecosystem of Hell]

Jon Krakauer on The Daily Show

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Jon Krakauer
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
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This video is a couple of weeks old, but the controversy surrounding Jon Krakauer's book and the untimely death of Pat Tillman still rages on, as is evident in Krakauer's recent criticism of military officials over the circumstances of the soldier's death.

I just finished 'Into the Wild' (last night, actually) and just started 'Into Thin Air'. I'm beginning to think Jon Krakauer is sort of a big deal, so I'll probably be posting a lot of interviews and such from him over the coming weeks, so consider youself lucky. Krakauer is a monster of a journalist, and I can't wait to get to 'Where Men Win Gloy'.

Nov 1, 2009

Top 10 Tales From the Crypt Episodes



Some of Cinemassacre's episodes are just fine (especially 'And All Through the House', but I think some of the better ones are missing. Most of my faves come from the first two seasons, and go as follows:

'Dig That Cat...He's Real Gone' - This one's about a guy (Joey "Pants" Pantoliano) who gets nine lives because he gets a cat's gland, and uses them to make tons of cash cheating death as a carnival performer. You can only guess how it ends up.

'Dead Right' - Demi Moore and Jeffrey Tambor are dead-on in this episode, in which a foxy Moore is told by a fortune teller that she will inherit a ton of money after her disgusting (and disgustingly obese) beau (Tambor) dies. The only problem is that she doesn't know if she can stay with him that long. The episode has a great payoff. Totally worth watching.

'Korman's Kalamity' - Harry Anderson (of Night Court fame) plays a comic book artists whose drawings come to life and destroy his. It's a wacky episode, full of a kind of humor singular to 'Tales from the Crypt', and it doesn't take itself too seriously, which makes it easy to watch more than once.

And my personal favorite: 'Television Terror'

'Television Terror' sort of paved the way for movies like 'The Blair Witch Project' and (sadly) 'Halloween: Resurrection'. In it, Morton Downey, Jr. (who is effing awesome in the role) plays a slimy and desperate television journalist (i.e. 90s era Geraldo Rivera) brings a camera crew into a haunted house live on air, and the results are, well, disturbing.

Bioshock 2 - Creepy New Images

If you've been feening for a Bioshock 2 fix, head over to Playstation Lifestyle to check out some creepy new pics from the upcoming game. They're certainly not going to disappoint.

[Bioshock 2 Gets Creepy with New Images]

Oct 31, 2009

Top Five Unnecessary Horror Sequels

I'm trying to steer clear of the straight-to-video fare that would probably populate this list - I'm looking at you, 'American Psycho 2' - and sticking rather with sequels, preferably earlier ones, that just don't justify existence. I won't delve into 'Leprechaun in Space' or 'Freddy vs. Jason' due to their tongue-in-cheek nature. These franchises know they have drained the well, and so to place them on the list would be redundant. Most of the list is populated by movies whose first incarnations had such surprise success at the box office that the studios rushed a lame sequel to the theaters to make a few extra bucks, so most of them deserve my ridicule.

1. The Blair Witch Project 2: Book of Shadows

In a shameless cash grab, Artisan capitalized on the astoundingly unexpected fame of the first Blair Witch Project with 'Book of Shadows'. 'The Blair Witch Project' was so original, and more an execution of a brilliant idea than an actual film, that a sequel would have been (and proved to be) not only ill-conceived but unnecessary as well. How could they have expected to even come close to the phenomenon that was 'The Blair Witch Project'? Not since 'Halloween' had a low-budget flick commanded so much attention, and for good reason. It created a buzz by using the internet against cynics, going so far as to create web sites swearing up and down as to the events' authenticity, and so scores of people bought into the myth created by the movie, which made it even scarier than its stomach-turning camera work.

'Book of Shadows' is a bastard child of 'Scream' and any number of wink-wink-nudge-nudge postmodern horror flicks that dominated the late 90s, and its 'hipness' only takes it so far, which is not very far at all. Each character is a walking stereotype, the plotting is incoherent and transforms the film into a crappy suspense story by the end, and, well, basically everything about it is half-hearted and half-assed.

However, looking backward from 'Burn Notice', I will admit that Jeffrey Donovan's presence almost makes it worth a watch.



2. Jaws 2

Though it didn't entirely wreck the first Jaws movie - the third and fourth ones accomplished that - 'Jaws 2' is on the list for one simple reason: THEY KILLED THE SHARK IN THE FIRST MOVIE. Not only that, they killed off the most charismatic of the characters from the first movie, Robert Shaw's Quint, and Richard Dreyfuss is nowhere to be found. Granted, they were going for something different in the second movie, but the whole draw of the first movie (arguably) was the three main characters and not necessarily the shark. Once the trio of characters are broken up - from the chickenshit Sheriff Brody to the irascible Quint - the movie loses something ineffable.

Plus, the possibility of two such rampaging Great Whites is so miniscule as to defy logic, even for movie audiences, and even forgiving that possibility to a certain degree, certain parts of the second movie are so blatantly ripped from the first flick that they truly make this movie a no-brainer for the list. The ending, especially, makes it hard to believe that they had enough material to make a second movie. He electrocutes the shark. By himself. Out at sea. I'm being overly obtuse, though, since they couldn't very well have ended the movie in a theme park or a football stadium or anything, but watching the movie as an adult makes you wonder how much juice was left in the *shark* tank. Sorry.



3. I Still Know What You Did Last Summer

'Still' suffers from some of what plagues 'Jaws 2'. A majority of the cast members did not show for the sequel...because they died in the first movie. Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillipe, the dude from 'Big Bang Theory', they're all gone and have been replaced by Jack Black in white-dreads. Terrifying, but in a different way.

Since the movie was obviously too white and WASP-ish the first time around, they went and paired Jennifer Love Hewitt with a black best friend and set them off on a tropical getaway, giving this movie the same sort of Agatha Christie sort of feel as the first one without any modicum of creepiness that helped the first become a success. What we end up getting is a toothless carbon copy of the first film, sporting fewer scares than a car ride with Brandy.



4. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

I'm including the fourth Halloween film at the behest of The Moviegoer, and for good reason: Halloween 4 (and all of the following sequels) steers the franchise back toward Michael Myers, and while plenty of people may say the third film is the most gratuitous (due in part to its incomprehensible and Myers-less storyline), 'Return' just turns the series into a cliched horror romp featuring an unkillable killer. At least 'Halloween 3' tried to do something different with the franchise, and 'Halloween 2' is safe because it ostensibly picks up just after the first movie's cliffhanger ending.

[Let me also take this opportunity to say that I briefly considered the second Rob Zombie 'Halloween' in its place, due in large part to the fact that Zombie originally intended his first movie to render sequels impossible. Only through a few pirouettes of plotting can a second movie take place, but H2 did not hold a candle to the redundancy of 'Return of Michael Myers.]



5. Carrie 2: The Rage

What should have been ostensibly a remake was instead a horrible, half-assed, ham-handed 'sequel' to the wonderful original film by Brian DePalma. 'Carrie 2' isn't necessarily legendary in being inessential, but it is a symbol for every bad (and usually straight-to-video) sequel to a Stephen King-based flick. All of the 'Children of the Corn' sequels, or the 'Mangler' sequels, or whatever, all can be contained in the decision to include 'The Rage' on this list.

This one just stands out because, rather than being a hastily thrown-together cash-raker of a movie - an offense which plagues the other movies on the list and is almost forgivable - 'Carrie 2' is embarrassingly, ridiculously, gut-wrenchingly late and irrelevant. Released an astounding twenty-three years after the original, 'Carrie 2' is a trying-too-hard clunker of a movie, just so filled with cliche that you could just pick the plot points from a list. Absolutely atrocious.

Oct 30, 2009

My Top Five Scream Queens

My Top Five Scream Queens, in no particular order
1. Heather Langenkamp (Nancy) - A Nightmare on Elm Street, Wes Craven's New Nightmare

To me, Heather Langenkamp is unrivaled in the realm of scream queens. I used to frequent a local video store with an extensive collection of horror flicks, and the one I looked at the most was Nightmare. Something about her wholesomeness - or the way she looked on the VHS box at Donna's Video - drew me in. I spent way too much of my mom's money renting that flick, and it's partly about Heather Langenkamp. Freddy might have had something to do with it, too, but without Ms. Langenkamp, it might have been just another mediocre horror flick.



2. Neve Campbell (Sydney) - Scream, Scream 2, Scream 3

It might be controversial to go with another Wes Craven queen so early in the list, but believe me when I say that Neve Campbell deserves the credit. As Sydney Prescott, she is as tough as they come, even for a suburban girl, punching, kicking, and taunting other characters like she was plucked from an action movie. 'Scream' deftly deconstructs the horror genre like no other film, with a killer script from Kevin Williamson and adroit direction from Wes Craven, and Neve Campbell is at the trilogy's center, so its reputation as a pop horror outing is ill-deserved and hardly accurate. It's no teen flick. It's R Rated and witty, something that most horror movies can't pull off without pandering.

And Neve never disrobes, not once. You'll have to go to 'Wild Things' for that kind of (un)coverage.



3. Jamie Lee Curtis - Halloween, Prom Night, Terror Train, The Fog

Even though her mother, Janet Leigh, sort of started the whole "Scream Queen" scene, Jamie Lee Curtis really embodied the idea at the height of its popularity, starring in several of the genre's most long-lasting movies. Even though 'Prom Night' and 'Terror Train' don't hold up as well today, 'Halloween' might just hold up better than it did over thirty years ago.

Beyond having plenty of skin, great music, wonderful cinematography, a great villain, and an unparalleled performance by Donald Pleasance as Dr. Sam Loomis (a reference to 'Psycho' itself), 'Halloween' stars a charismatic Curtis as Laurie Strode, a bookish homebody whose Halloween goes horribly wrong. However, though 'Halloween' proved to be the performance that jump-started her career, getting cast in 'The Fog' as hiker Elizabeth Solley sent her into the scream queen stratosphere.



4. Adrienne Barbeau - The Fog, Swamp Thing, Creepshow, Escape from NY

Adrienne Barbeau had two big things going for her: her brief romance with John Carpenter, who cast her in 'The Fog'...and her breasts. Because of 'The Fog's marginal success, she was cast in other genre flicks, including a turn as Hal Holbrook's drunken wife in 'Creepshow' (I have never enjoyed seeing someone get eaten alive as much as I did during 'The Crate' segment). It is because of her brief run of cultish horror classics in the late 70s and early 80s that earned her a spot on this list.



5. Marilyn Burns - The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Though her role as Sally Hardesty did not lead to any real, lasting fame, Marilyn Burns could not be excluded from this list of notable horror ingenues. Her performance does not stand out as superb, but man alive can she scream. The second half of the movie, in fact, is rife with her strained voice, almost as prevalent as the soundtrack itself. Burns must also be given credit for the sheer amount of torture she must have gone through in making the movie, considering that she's literally covered in blood by the end of it. Hats off.



Honorable Mentions:
Danielle Harris - Halloween 4, Halloween 5, Urban Legend, H2
Sarah Michelle Gellar - I Know What You Did Last Summer, Scream 2
Janet Leigh - Psycho, The Fog
Sissy Spacek - Carrie
Linda Blair - The Exorcist
Drew Barrymore - Scream, Cat's Eye, Firestarter,

Oct 29, 2009

An Age When Facts Are Irrelevant



Have we reached an age in which facts are of no consequence? Nature.com has posted an article which has sparked my interest on the subject, and one of its premises is this: The assumption is that if they [scientists] explain things very, very clearly, everyone will understand. Unfortunately, this is an uphill battle.

The painfully unenlightened dialogue on the relative truth of scientific claims - we can never really "know" something - has digressed even farther, to the point that people, when confronted with evidence of an overwhelming variety, are able to appeal to belief in order to circumvent what has been said.

A consequence of being so surrounded by technology and knowledge is that we are free to disregard or contradict or subvert any claim with which we do not agree. Even the most uneducated person in America, with a desktop and an internet connection, can find corroborating evidence to support their beliefs, and this notion is specious and, in the end, unscientific. It is a gross misunderstanding of skepticism and thus deserves contemplation.

See, for example, I may believe that the Holocaust never happened. I may also believe that the events of the 'Iliad' never happened, either. Both are historical events, and I can only trust that both happened based on historical accounts, or available evidence. One glance at a photograph from Auschwitz will certainly convince any number of credulous people. Reading an account of an Auschwitz survivor depicted in one of the aforementioned photographs may convince slightly more skeptical people.

At this point, people may be able to still hold a certain amount of skepticism. If a picture and a few firsthand accounts were all we had, then we may feasibly doubt the existence of the Holocaust. It is certainly for that reason that people are unsure of the veracity of the war that is at the center of the 'Iliad'. The accounts are centuries behind the supposed events, so we are confident that we can discredit its actual happening.

The same is not true with the Holocaust. We do not have scant evidence for Hitler's persecution of the Jews, nor do we have very much wiggle room with regard to its truth, and yet people still do insist that the Holocaust either did not exist or was greatly exaggerated, despite the mounds upon mounds of evidence we have to prove otherwise.

I've taken a long detour here, but I'm getting back to my point. Let me, then, ask a question: Are Holocaust deniers mere skeptics? Are they even skeptics at all? How free am I to believe what I wish? Being on the other side, am I a member of the intellectual Gestapo if I insist that beliefs of an unfounded nature are simply unacceptable to hold in today's world? At what point do we stop accepting this kind of half-assed thinking? Is truth, as we experience it, really that malleable?

I do not mean to make a Straw Man out of the Holocaust deniers (though I think that few people would object to me ridiculing them), so let me move onto another subject: ghosts. Spirits. Poltergeists. Whatever you call them, there is a significant amount of observational evidence for their existence, and yet very little empirical, scientific evidence supports that the door that will not stay open in your grandmother's home has anything to do with the four people who were butchered there fifty years ago.

Most rational people reject the existence of ghosts, though, sight unseen. The white dots and inexplicable shadows on photographs do not point immediately to the idea that Uncle Bernie has come back in that form to...well, haunt a photograph. It's because the burden of proof is on the ghost hunters to make it so, and electromagnetic fields and dotted pictures do not pass snuff, just as random alignments of data do not point to the world ending in December of 2012.

The problem is that armchair skepticism has become the normal mode of expression of doubt in this country, and people are able to comfort themselves in constantly moving back the uprights on matters of evidence. Skeptics of evolution say that there are no "transitional" fossils in the record, using science's own language against it, and no matter how many actual, true transitional fossils scientists are able to haul out, people claim to have never seen them.

Perhaps it is because the science has outraced the common intellect. Scientists of two hundred years ago could be scientific hobbyists, and most people could identify with the claims being made and accept the facts because the facts were more or less the result of a thought experiment backed up with science and common sense. It's how we came to understand gravity, the lunar cycle, etc. Science now is so far beyond a common person's understanding that, by comparison, ghosts seem quite easy to believe in.

This, I'm afraid, is a problem. The burden of proof is always on the one who posits a truth - this IS so - rather than those who reject it. You do not, for example, have to prove that there are no fairies in my garden if I say so, or that there is not a pink elephant in my trunk, even if I stomp up and down and shout furiously. It is up to me, at that point, to bring about the compelling evidence. I can find millions of people to agree that there are, indeed, fairies in the garden, or that the squeaking noise in my attic is the spirit of a Civil War soldier come to find his bayonet, or that the Holocaust was a primitive and very successful Photoshop campaign, but if I cannot provide substantive scientific evidence to support my claims, then I really have no claim to proof.

[img source=Paul Gaugin - Don't Listen to the Liar]

Oct 28, 2009

Goodwill's eBay - Shopgoodwill.com

At Shopgoodwill.com, you can bid on items - usually going very cheaply - just like on eBay. The sight isn't as aesthetically pleasing or as easily managed as eBay, but you can find good deals and very odd items on the site. For example, I found a set of 16 Mark Twain novels from 1906 that are going for fifty bucks, and I'm extremely tempted to get them. It's very much like Goodwill itself in that you still have to sift through everything to find something good, but you may just find something worth the look

Oct 27, 2009

Kasabian Football/Soccer Hero

Microsoft Dropping Advertising from Seth Macfarlane Live Comedy Special

From Variety:

"Almost Live Comedy Show" was announced earlier this month as part of a major marketing partnership Microsoft had sealed with a wide range of News Corp. properties to promote the launch of the computer giant's Windows 7 operating system. As part of the deal, "Almost Live Comedy Show" was set to run commercial-free, with Microsoft marketing messages built into the special instead (Daily Variety, Oct. 14).

But that was before Microsoft execs attended the special's taping Oct. 16. The program included MacFarlane and Alex Borstein -- the voice of "Family Guy" matriarch Lois -- pitching Windows 7. For most of the special, however, MacFarlane and Borstein made typical "Family Guy"-style jokes, including riffs on deaf people, the Holocaust, feminine hygiene and incest.


How were they shocked at this? Macfarlane and the others of the Family Guy crew have a solidly-developed shtick by this point, and it seems weird that they would pull out this close to airtime. Man, this is worse than the time that...[insert joke about pulling out].

[MacFarlane special loses Microsoft]

Scholastic Censors Book Depicting Gay Parents




From School Library Journal:

Luv Ya Bunches, about four elementary school girls who have little in common, but bond over the fact that they’re all named after flowers, is the first installment of a four-book series. But Scholastic says the book, released on October 1, failed to meet its vetting process because it contains offensive language and same-sex parents of one of the main characters, Milla.

The company sent a letter to Myracle's editor asking the author to omit certain words such as "geez," "crap," "sucks," and "God" (as in, "oh my God") and to alter its plotline to include a heterosexual couple. Myracle agreed to get rid of the offensive language "with the goal—as always—of making the book as available to as many readers as possible," but the deal breaker was changing Milla's two moms.


It's not upsetting to know that acts of censorship of this kind still happen in 2009. Any look at the newspapers will give you a clear idea of where many people stand on the issue. It's still depressing, however, as I know that, in about 20 years, this kind of occurrence will be considered shameful and backwards.

Scholastic Censors Myracle’s ‘Luv Ya Bunches’ from Book Fairs
[img credit=Flickr user KLHint]

Obama Admin. Refuses to Back Religion Anti-Defamation Bill




From MSN:

The Obama administration on Monday came out strongly against efforts by Islamic nations to bar the defamation of religions, saying the moves would restrict free speech.

"Some claim that the best way to protect the freedom of religion is to implement so-called anti-defamation policies that would restrict freedom of expression and the freedom of religion," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters. "I strongly disagree."


This is a bill that is probably very divisive among religious people, but it is decidedly anti-American, if you are a proponent of certain kinds of speech. No one, incidentally, backs attacking people because of their religious beliefs, but the beliefs themselves are an entirely different story. It seems as though certain Islamic sects are presenting an effort to curb one's ability to be critical of actions based on belief, trying to paint those who are critical as "persecuting" Islam itself.

U.S. Opposes Bid to Bar Religious Defamation

Oct 26, 2009

Death Troopers



From io9.com:

The storyline for Death Troopers is pretty simple, really — an Imperial prison barge, during the years right before the original Star Wars movie, runs into some engine trouble. Good thing they find a Star Destroyer in the middle of nowhere, which they can cannibalize for parts. Unfortunately, the Star Destroyer has some kind of weird virus on board, which kills everyone it comes into contact with... and the people who die don't stay dead. And that's about it.


I've never really gotten into reading Star Wars fanfic (which is basically what this is), but I might actually end up checking this book out (from the library), because I am, as we know, all about the zombies.

PS: Does anybody think it's bad-ass that a lot more books are coming with their own commercials these days (though I think this one in particular is fan-made)? I certainly do!

[Turns Out There's Something Darker Than The Dark Side]

Ghostbusters III - Bill Murray Speaks



I got this video from over Bam Kapow! It's Bill Murray talking (briefly) about Ghostbusters III. It seems as though the video takes forever to load, so be patient with it. Basically, though, there's no script, so we don't have much to go on but internet rumors, and we know that those don't always come to fruition.

Catching Elevators

This is, without a doubt, one of the eeriest and most disturbing news stories I've read this year. It deserves to be read. Go check it out at the Houston Press News. Makes you want to think twice about using the elevator.

She wasn't able to find the Door Open button before the elevator started moving upward. "When you get on an elevator, if it closes on you, it's supposed to open back up," she told officers. "There wasn't any of that. There was no hesitation. The doors shut and it went."

Nikaidoh struggled, trying to shrug out of the elevator, or possibly pull himself inside, she said, but the elevator kept moving upward. The ceiling sliced off most of his head. His left ear, lower lip, teeth and jaw were still attached to his body, which fell to the bottom of the elevator shaft, as the elevator continued moving upward.

Oct 25, 2009

Shutter Island Graphic Novel



It appears as though, to coincide with the release of the film, a graphic adaptation of Shutter Island will be released.

I'm currently a dozen or so pages into the novel, so a graphic version would be a nice little treat post-Christmas. That is indeed a lot of pressure for the film version. Thank God it's Scorsese behind the camera. It's the third movie adaptation of one of author Dennis Lehane's works (unless I'm missing one), and I hope it's as good as 'Mystic River' or 'Gone, Baby, Gone'.

Shutter Island: The Graphic Novel will be released on January 5, 2010.