Sunday, February 25, 2007

Pulp Fiction Stuff

This has been floating around for a little while, but I just saw it...

Update, 5:35 PM, 2-25-07. We are now watching Pulp Fiction instead of the Oscars. This is because a) I shoveled the driveway (Note: Not that it did much good) and was tired and wanted to watch something while I ate my spaghetti, b) It's a great fucking movie, and c) Its loss at the 1994 Academy Awards to "Life is like a box of chocolates..." was the first time that I actively was disappointed that a Best-Picture nominee did not win, which was the genesis for my current policy of not caring about who wins Best Picture despite my love of the cinema. (The 1996 snubs of L.A. Confidential and Boogie Nights in favor of that retarded ship movie solidified this policy.)

So, here are some more fun PF-inspired web videos:

This one was on Boing Boing...

This one is kind of like that one:

Brick Fiction:

Royale With Cheese:

In Chinese:

Labels: , ,

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Crappy Weather; Staying Inside to Blog and Do Laundry

Chicago weather is shitty tonight. We knew it was coming, so The ♥G♥ and I did all our errands this morning and early afternoon while the pavement was still dry as a bone. We went to the credit union, the gas station, and TGI Friday's, and then I did some clothes shopping (an atypical activity for me) and she got me a Fantastic Four T-shirt, illustrated comme ça:


  • Timothy Noah of Slate discusses the potential removal of the Wikipedia entry on himself. Excerpt: Talk about humiliating! Wikipedia does not, it assures readers, measure notability "by Wikipedia editors' own subjective judgments." In other words, it was nothing personal. But to be told one has been found objectively unworthy hardly softens the blow. "Think of all your friends and colleagues who've never been listed," a pal consoled. Cold comfort. If you've never been listed in Wikipedia, you can always argue that your omission is an oversight. Not me. I've been placed under a microscope and, on the basis of careful and dispassionate analysis, excluded from the most comprehensive encyclopedia ever devised. Ouch!
  • Here's Susie Bright on the Great Scrotum Debate of '07, a debate with which those of you in the world of publishing or libraries are likely already familiar. For those not in the know, the current recipient of The Newbery Medal, the Oscar of children's books, features the word "Nutsack" "Scrotum" on the first page. This accomodates those who enjoy objecting to books without reading them (as opposed to those like me who defend books without reading them) in that they only have a few paragraphs to sift through. Excerpt: Squeamish school librarians, screaming at a single word they deemed "offensive," have put the screws to a scrumptious award-winning children's book called, of all things, The Higher Power of Lucky. Have our public-knowledge custodians lost their scruples? ...This story has pushed the Flying Spaghetti Monster envelope. Ever since Kansas ruled against evolution, and our current President encouraged a world-view that was created in seven days, there is a sense among scientific and empirically-minded Americans that our educational system has lost its marbles. These people, including myself, are the majority, not the Sunday School of the Week Club. We're easily alarmed by any evidence that we've have been swallowed into a Jonah's Whale of a fairy tale that never stops spouting off.
  • TBSATIOAAE has three thought-provoking posts on The Wisdom of Clouds -- Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. Excerpts from Part 3 -- The thesis: The world is cloudier. Proposition 1: There are more people, objects and ideas. Subproposition 1.3: There are more ideas. There are more ideas? What a ludicrous proposition. For one thing, it’s impossible to test. Actually, it’s impossible to think. What is an idea? What’s an idea part, what’s an idea whole? How many “ideas” exist in Pirates of the Caribbean? How many ideas are there in the average email or telephone conversation? How would we count them even if we could identity them. It’s a completely jello-y problem, fraught with difficulty, and several times on the train back from Cambridge, I found myself thinking, "it's a very bad idea to say that there are more ideas. How would we know? ...The internet is a new urbanization. It changes what we think and multiplies the ideas with which we think. Come to that the internet actually makes for a globalization. Ready access to sites like Wikipedia and allow us to deepen our understanding of any one of idea and to cast the net in search of new ideas. Even as we become ever more urban, I can be more global, traversing intellectual continents, sailing opinion seas that would otherwise have taken more substantial investments of time and energy. The internet makes me a citizen of worlds outside my own, and this too must multiply the ideas at my disposal. At the very least, it will renew the urbanization effect by which I am exposed to more difference and obliged to offer more explicitness. Access to people and difference of opinion forces me to be more explicit. Access to more intellectual resources empowers my internal hedgehog to cultivate what I do know and it empowers my internal fox to find out things I don't know, in both cases multiplying the ideas I call my own.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, February 23, 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy

Lots and lots of important and time-consuming stuff going on at work lately. Two weeks worth of travel coming up w/probably limited Internet access. Items:
  • Spike Lee's documentary on the flooding of New Orleans, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, was excellent.
  • Lots of cool stuff to buy at Simple Memory Art. I just bought two periodic table shower curtains -- One for my friend's soon-to-be-married daughter, and one for ourselves!
  • Freaky Muppet videos! Excerpt: The Muppets exploded into worldwide popularity in the 1970s as regular performers on Sesame Street. But as pop culture changed, Jim Henson and his company found even stranger creatures to parody by mingling with real-world celebrities. The five-year run of The Muppet Show set the weird tone for a tradition they’ve continued to this day. These 5 online videos show what a long strange trip it’s been.
  • John Battelle interview with Web 2.0 YouTuber Michael Wesch (blogged about here). Excerpt: For me, cultural anthropology is a continuous exercise in expanding my mind and my empathy, building primarily from one simple principle: everything is connected. This is true on many levels. First, everything including the environment, technology, economy, social structure, politics, religion, art and more are all interconnected. As I tried to illustrate in the video, this means that a change in one area (such as the way we communicate) can have a profound effect on everything else, including family, love, and our sense of being itself. Second, everything is connected throughout all time, and so as anthropologists we take a very broad view of human history, looking thousands or even millions of years into the past and into the future as well. And finally, all people on the planet are connected. This has always been true environmentally because we share the same planet. Today it is even more true with increasing economic and media globalization.
  • Vocabulary associated with the philosophy of knowledge. Example: Rationalism (a priori knowledge) and Empiricism (a posteriori knowledge). When someone burns their hand, they learn not to do it again. Has experience taught them, or by analysing the experience?

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Enterprise vs. Death Star

Ever wonder what would happen if Capt. Picard was flying along in the Enterprise and ran into Darth Vader? Wonder no more:

Terrific mashup! Except... They spelled most of the characters' names wrong in the end credits! (Riker, Vader, Sidious) Still, an excellent contribution to the Blogosphere from Kocevski.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Mid-week Items

Winter storm warning today. Wussed out and took the day off work. Items:
  • Via A&LD, a review of a book that tells you how to drop references to books you have not read into conversation. I have not read this book.
  • Excellent essay on digital rights management, an open letter to Edgar Bronfman. Excerpt: The thing "without logic or merit," Mr. Bronfman, is the idea that everything produced has a value that can only be equated with a dollar sign. You elude to the fact that because LPs, Cassettes, and CDs, (or as you call it the "legacy product") have no piracy protection technology on them, that doesn't mean that their counterpart…the digital file…shouldn't have them. I would like to point out to you that in the past 30 years, with all the Chicken Little antics from your industry over people being able to copy the music they purchased, and share that music with others…your industry did not fail or falter as you predicted. In fact, you've thrived. In 30 years, despite real piracy issues, you've made money hand over fist…and you've been wrong about every single prediction you've ever made. You have no credibility on this subject. And you simply can't blame every slump in music sales on piracy. We don't believe you anymore. While you continue to fight your own customers, your customers continue to create the innovation that keeps you in business.
  • I've been watching the PBS series Art: 21 -- Art in the 21st Century lately. The series is very good. Some of the artists I'm like "meh" but some I think are real cool -- For instance, Andrea Zittel, among whose specialties is making the most of confined living spaces, Michael Ray Charles, who was a consultant on the Spike Lee joint Bamboozled, and Maya Lin, best known as creator of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
  • This has been up for a couple of weeks, but make sure to browse through the Facets top-movie list for 2006, full of staff favorites. Facets Multi-Media is a Chicago institution -- Arthouse theater, Super-mega video rental store, and releaser of obscure or foreign gems.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, February 12, 2007

More Mashups

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Speaking of Quentin Tarantino...

...I am totally stoked about his upcoming co-production with his pal Robert Rodriguez, Grindhouse! Here's an interview they did, along with an International Herald Tribune article on the topic. Excerpt: By the filmmakers' lights "Grindhouse" is a gift to moviegoers who miss, or missed, the experience of watching B-grade genre pictures of the sort that in the '50s, '60s and '70s sold what the big studios wouldn't: usually sex and gore. The films, often shown back to back, were plugged with garish posters that promised more than their pathetically low budgets could deliver. (In that spirit "Planet Terror" isn't about another planet at all, but our own, at a particularly bad moment.)

Here's the trailer:

And here are some trailers from some of the films that inspired this one -- These are great!

Labels: , , , , ,

Jules Winnfield's Ezekiel Reference Explained

There's a guy named David Plotz over at Slate who has been blogging through the Bible -- an act of Internet-fueled obsessiveness of the sort that I admire greatly. (SF Chronicle profile on the project here.) This week, he got to the book of Ezekiel. Ezekiel 25:17 happens to be the verse cited by Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson's Pulp Fiction character) right before he and Vincent Vega killed the college boys who thought Marsellus Wallace looked like a bitch. (Well, they claimed they didn't think that, but then really -- why were they trying to fuck him like a bitch?) T-shirt available here.

Plotz's Slate excerpts: The Lord vows revenge against the Edomites, Moabites, Philistines, and Ammonites. Why is this chapter important in American pop-cultural history? I didn't know, either, but several readers gave me a heads-up. It's a key source for Pulp Fiction. Jules Winnfield, the hit man played by Samuel L. Jackson, quotes it as his motto... ...Not to be pedantic here, but I feel obliged to point out that most of quote is spurious. Only parts of the last two sentences actually come from Ezekiel.

Now here's the thing: That dialogue didn't directly come from the Bible, at least not in its entirety. And as for not being pedantic, don't give it a thought! Pedantry is what makes the Blogosphere go 'round.

Here's what Jules says: The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who in the name of charity and good will shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.

Here's the real Ezekiel 25:17, in multiple translations. For instance, in the King James Version: And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them.

The reason for the seeming discrepancy is that the Pulp monologue is directly adapted from the prologue to the American verison of the Sonny Chiba film Chiba the Bodyguard, which reads as follows: The path of the righteous man and defender is beset on all sides by the iniquity of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper, and the father of lost children. And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious anger, who poison and destroy my brothers; and they shall know that I am Chiba the Bodyguard when I lay my vengeance upon them! (Ezekiel 25:17). (See for yourself below.) Chiba is a Tarantino favorite, and it makes perfect sense that this is the sort of homage he would throw in to one of his most important movies as a nice touch. He just doesn't like to make things like that too obvious; QT wants his viewers to do their homework before being allowed to share in the enjoyment of the references.

Update, 2/15/07: Here's Mr. Plotz's response: First, some leftover business. Several Quentin Tarantino-loving readers defended him from the charge of biblical ignorance. They point out that although his Ezekiel passage from Pulp Fiction is biblically inaccurate, it is a faithful quotation from a '70s Japanese karate film (released in the United States as Chiba the Bodyguard). Tarantino mangled Ezekiel, but only because Chiba mangled it first.

I'm not sure I'd call it "mangled" -- I prefer "adapted."

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Tirbune Article on Schools Using Video Games

Here's an interesting (though somewhat misleadingly headlined) article in today's Chicago Tribune: Skip the Schoolbook, Play the Video Game (Reg. req., get it while it lasts). The gist of it is very Steven Johnson-ish, and I am prompted to chide anyone who has not yet read Everything Bad Is Good for You to get with the program!

Excerpt: Hard data is scant so far--most of the MacArthur-funded research projects are just getting under way--but there's no shortage of anecdotes testifying to the educational benefits of video and computer games and new multimedia tools. Simulation games in particular have already been embraced by some educators, as well as many businesses and the U.S. military, as effective ways to introduce people to environments and situations that would otherwise be too expensive, dangerous or impossible to access. Kurt Squire, another University of Wisconsin researcher, has been observing students as they play Civilization, a simulation game in which players build historically realistic civilizations and interact with them as they evolve. "We've got middle-schoolers now who are going to their teachers and saying, `I've built this historical model of the American Revolution, which took about 40-50 hours--can I submit this with a paper about it?'" Squire said. "If you look at the crisis in American schools with low-achieving kids, many teachers would jump if there's a way to keep these kids engaged."

Of course, this is just an invitation for the spoilsports to get all upset: Other experts believe that the benefits of digital games are overhyped and could actually harm students' creativity and emotional development. "The only thing we know for sure is that video games are effective at desensitizing people to extreme violence," said Edward Miller, a senior researcher at the Alliance for Childhood, a non-profit child advocacy group. [They sound like a ton of fun.] "There is no evidence that video games are good at teaching problem-solving or collaboration or the other higher-order skills that these proponents are claiming." AfC report on computers here.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Finally Read V for Vendetta

Here's an article that Alan Moore wrote in 1983 about his groundbeaking series V for Vendetta, entitled "Behind the Painted Smile." Believe it or not, I've never read VfV until now. It's really excellent, and all the more interesting considering all the security cameras installed around London in the years subsequent to VfV's original publication (even though they don't work as well in the real world as in the V-World).

Excerpt: That said, all we really had was a lot of unusable ideas flying back and forth through the aether and nothing very tangible as a result of it, One night, in desperation, I made a long list of concepts that I wanted to reflect in V, moving from one to another with a rapid free-association that would make any good psychiatrist reach for the emergency cord. The list was something as follows; Orwell. Huxley. Thomas Disch. Judge Dredd. Harlan Ellison's "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman." "Catman" and "Prowler in the City at the Edge of the World" by the same author. Vincent Price's Dr. Phibes and Theatre Of Blood. David Bowie. The Shadow. Nightraven. Batman. Fahrenheit 451. The writings of the New Worlds school of science -fiction. Max Ernst's painting "Europe After The Rains," Thomas Pynchon, The atmosphere of British Second World War films. The Prisoner. Robin Hood. Dick Turpin... There was some element in all of these that I could use, but try as I might I couldn't come up with a coherent whole from such disjointed parts. I'm sure that it's a feeling that all artists and writers are familiar with... the sensation of there being something incredibly good just beyond your fingertips. It's frustrating and infuriating and you either fold up in despair or just carry on. Against my usual inclinations, I decided to just carry on.

Lots of analysis all over the Web, especially here. Numerous essays, etc. analyzing the themes, characters, allegory, morality, philosophy, etc. found in the story. Excerpt: How can you reconcile V's terrorism? The only possible reasoning that makes sense is that the ends justify the means. That though V's actions are extreme, they are necessary. V, Finch, and Evey all arrive at their epiphany's [sic] after psychological torture. This indicates that such enlightenment cannot come without pain. This idea is repeated with the entire society: before V's better world can come to fruition, Norsefire must be destroyed, and that can only happen after society descends into violence, loss and hardship. If change is necessary, then so is the pain that comes with it. Of course, this explanation only fits if you believe that the ends really do justify the means. Change may be painful, but V does more than let anarchy loose upon the world; he directs it, channels it, for his specific goal. Fate is literally subverted, which means the change and pain all the characters in Vendetta experience can be traced back to V and the terrorism he uses. Again, this may be justified if you believe V's goals warrant it, but the terrorism V employs is very much a part of our world. The fanaticism V displays is echoed in the fanaticism of terrorist groups around the globe. Does V's beliefs truly justify such terror, or do we believe that only because we agree his beliefs? To put it another way: would you accept V's actions if you removed his mask and found the face of Osama bin Laden underneath?

I've heard the film was not nearly as good, though I'll probably check it out anyway. However, here's an extensive analysis of the print series as compared to the film, in which it is argued that the film does not come out looking bad at all. Excerpt: As a film project, the idea of taking a textually dense graphic novel like V for Vendetta onto the big screen is an interesting idea, given the original version contained a stark but impressive visual style which reflects well the period of its creation (both “Thatcher's Britain”, that clichéd period of neo-liberal ascendency, but also the low water mark of the post-War economic “recovery” of the UK, something marked in the graphic novel through references to shortages and rationing that modern audiences, and particularly non-European viewers, are unlikely to sympathise with or understand) and some of the key literary and “low” culture references (including the use of children’s literature strongly throughout the narrative, via explicit references to the Magic Faraway Tree). Political anarchism is not a popular subject for literature (as opposed to other forms of political organisation commonly found in science fiction literature, such as Heinlein’s individualist liberalism, for example), and so the representation of this highly misunderstood political philosophy on the screen is a worthy project.

Labels: , , , , ,

The Week in Review

Various items from around the Web:

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Deserved High School Diploma

You paid attention during 91% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

Via Bookworm.

Labels: , , ,

Stranger Than Fiction

Imagine that. And it happened right after football season ended...
(Not the first time for Onionesque headlines in the MSM.)

Labels: , ,

Web 2.0 Video

This video from Prof. Michael Wesch of Kansas State University is fantastic! Digital Ethnography blog here, Wesch guest blogging here.

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, February 05, 2007

Good Movies and TV I've Been Watching Over the Last Couple of Weeks

Some videos I've enjoyed in the past couple of weeks, all of which I strongly recommend:

  • Hill Street Blues: Season One -- This may be my favorite TV show of all time. If not, it's certainly in the top five. HSB is discussed at length in Steven Johnson's book Everything Bad Is Good for You, specifically regarding the revolutionary way in which it demanded that viewers keep up with an ensemble cast and multiple plotlines strung out along many episodes, without the "benefit" of exposition every ten minutes. Here's my exposition: I LOVE THIS SHOW. There are varied opinions as to when it jumped the shark, and it definitely did jump at some point in the mid-to-late 80s ("Let's do it to them before they do it to us..."), but the first season really stands the test of time and then some. And Howard Hunter is awesome! He gets into an argument with Henry Goldblume in which Goldblume accuses him of wanting to use napalm on criminals. Hunter's response: "You don't know the first thing about Napalm!" Goldblume: "I know enough to know that..." Hunter (interrupting, seeing this as an argument-ender): "What are the three principles of napalm?" (For juxtaposition, I watched a couple of episodes from the first season of Adam-12. Good show for what it is, and it also started out with a roll call, but at this roll call the sergeant spent most of his time cautioning the men about keeping their uniforms creased and their badges shined. The vignettes were basically self-contained and wrapped up in seven minutes or less. Quaint.)

  • This Film Is Not Yet Rated -- I mentioned this the other day. If you are at all interested in independent, non-formulaic films, see this movie! I have previously commented on my distaste for MPAA godfather Jack Valenti. This film only cemented my views. There were three different things going on in this documentary: 1) Filmmakers and actors (Kevin Smith, Maria Bello, Kimberly Peirce, John Waters, et al.) philosophizing about why certain things (mostly having to do with sex) are verboten and certain things are allowed (mostly having to do with violence) and how mass-market blockbusters usually have potentially offensive material custom-tweaked so as to juuuuuust slip through the inconsistent standards of the ratings board; 2) A pair of middle-aged lesbian P.I.s tracking down the identities, phone extensions, and lunch preferences of the super-secretive MPAA Ratings Board; and 3) A self-referential meta segment in which director Kirby Dick submits the very film we are watching to the MPAA for a rating. The three parts all worked in different ways, and didn't always mesh perfectly, but that's only a minor criticism, and there's nothing else like this movie out there. One other criticism, though: The film "reveals" that there are two representatives of the clergy who are involved with (Members of? Advisors to?) the MPAA Appeals Board. It didn't come right out and say that they were members of the religious right, but it kinda sorta implied it. One of the two was a guy named James Wall, who has authored some articles that I have read. Mr. Wall seems to me like he would fit in just fine at any Upper-West-Side intellectual salon that you would see in any Woody Allen movie. (Note: This is meant as a compliment.) Not only that, but as for the whole secrecy thing, here's a short profile of him from a seminar he gave in 2001 that clearly states he is a member of the Appeals Board.

  • Aguirre, The Wrath of God -- This is a Werner Herzog film that I first saw 12 years ago or so, and I'm pretty sure it was my first Herzog. It's a similar theme to that of Fitzcarraldo, and also was kind of Apocalypse Now-ish (or else Apocalypse was Aguirre-ish). It's a fictionalized account of an ambitious middle-management type from Pizarro's conquistadorization of Peru named Lope de Aguirre. Pizarro comes to a difficult river and sends a small party on ahead to scout for the legendary El Dorado, which is a great idea except for the fact that he has the lapse in judgment to make Aguirre second in command of this party. As soon as they get far enough out in the middle of nowhere, Aguirre rebels against the officer in charge of the scouting party, and Pizarro, and the King of Spain. He shoots the only guy dumb loyal enough to stand up for the senior officer, and acts batshit crazy enough to keep everyone else in line. Kind of like if Col. Kurtz had been the one on the boat looking for a place to call home, rather than having Willard on the boat looking for him. At one point Aguirre installs a dumb fat guy as emperor, though there is no illusion as to who is running the show. In the course of the installation, he writes a document laying out his rebellion against the Spanish Crown. Here's a translation of a similar document written by the real Aguirre. Excerpt: I demand of you, King, that you do justice and right by the good vassals you have in this land, even though I and my companions (whose names I will give later), unable to suffer further the cruelties of your judges, viceroy, and governors, have resolved to obey you no longer. Denaturalizing ourselves from our land, Spain, we make the most cruel war against you that our power can sustain and endure. Believe, King and lord, we have done this because we can no longer tolerate the great oppression and unjust punishments of your ministers who, to make places for their sons and dependents have usurped and robbed our fame, life, and honor. It is a pity, King, the bad treatment you have given us. I am lame in the right leg from the arquebus wounds I received in the battle of Chuquinga, fighting with marshal Alonzo de Alvarado, answering your call against Francisco Hernandez Giron, rebel from your service as I and my companions are presently and will be until death, because we in this land now know how cruel you are, how you break your faith and your word, and thus we in this land give your promises less credence than to the books of Martin Luther. How did things turn out? Let's put it this way. Lots of tourists visit Spain. None visit Aguirresylvannia.
  • The Thin Blue Line -- This is another film I saw 10 or 12 years ago. It's directed by documentarian Errol Morris, and looks into the unfortunate case of a man named Randall Adams who was convicted of killing a Dallas police officer. All sorts of holes emerged in the prosecution's case, not the least of which was that there was this punk 16-year-old kid with a stolen car and a bunch of stolen guns named David Harris who went back home (to the hometown of the Texas KKK) and bragged about getting away with the killing. Long story short, Adams is now an anti-death penalty activist, and Harris ended up as a punk 25-year old who, by virtue of inclusion on this list is no longer on this list. Now with just that brief synopsis, I might be making it sound like a very special episode of CSI: Dallas, but this is a film that unfolds like a Rashomonic philosophical inquiry. (Maybe because Morris had a background as a P.I. and a degree in philosophy.)

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Football Is Gay. The Super Bowl Is Super Gay.

OK, let me just make this perfectly clear. I'm pretty libertarian about most things and I have absolutely no problem with two (or more) consenting adults engaging in any sort of sexual activity they care to. Nor do I look askance at anyone, male or female, who engages in consensual homosexual activity (one time or a thousand times), alternates between heterosexual and homosexual activity, can't decide, decides they want both, or whatever. So, when I use the phrase "gay" in this post, I am not using that term as a pejorative. (For previous and subsequent posts I make no such guarantee.)

But let me just as clear on this point as well: Football is nothing but a mass manifestation of latent male homosexual urges. Don't believe me? Here's Time Magazine from 1978: Is football some kind of mass men's room solicitation of the national psyche? Not at all, says [U.C.-Berkley Prof. Alan] Dundes. It is merely a sanctioned form of theater where players and fans can safely discharge their homoerotic impulses. Coaches who ask players to refrain from sex before a game intuitively understand that football is a temporary substitute for heterosexuality, just as "football widows" understand that their husbands are "dead to them sexually" while football is on TV. "Football is a healthy outlet for male-to-male affections," says Dundes, "just as spin the bottle and post office are healthy outlets for adolescent heterosexual needs."

Male bonding? Emotions running high? Hearts racing? Building and building excitement capped by a moment of exhiliration? Mmmmhmm.

(Props to Last Kiss Comics for the illustration.)

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Additional Items

A few more things from around the Internet:

  • I might want to check out this book by Constantine Verevis, Film Remakes. Senses of Cinema review excerpt: His approach is nothing if not ecumenical, drawing on an almost bewildering range of views on the matter as he pursues the central question, “What is film remaking?” which he properly asks in his opening paragraph... ...He canvasses the kinds of taxonomies that have been proposed: these include Michael B. Druxman’s categories of the disguised remake (sometimes involving generic shift), the direct remake (which makes clear its source) and the non-remake (same title, new plot); and Harvey Roy Greenberg’s acknowledged, close remake (near-replication), acknowledged, transformed remake (substantial variations) and the unacknowledged, disguised remake (e.g. studio-era remakes).
  • Ann Althouse on how some words are funnier than others. Excerpt of Wikipedia excerpt of 1948 New Yorker article: H. L. Mencken argues that "k words" are funny: "K, for some occult reason, has always appealed to the oafish risibles of the American plain people, and its presence in the names of many ... places has helped to make them joke towns ... for example, Kankakee, Kalamazoo, Hoboken, Hohokus, Yonkers, Squeedunk, and Brooklyn."...
  • Communicatrix on the visual communication ideas of Edward Tufte. This is a guy I've been meaning to learn more about for a while. For instance, here are some of Prof. Tufte's comments on mapped pictures/image annotation.
  • I would have thought I would have scored a little bit higher... Via Random Abstract:

You are 34% white and nerdy.
How White and Nerdy Are You?

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Mashups: Queen + AC/DC; Golddigger + Fifth of Beethoven; Yes + Black-Eyed

Queen / ACDC Dirty Deeds Will Rock You
Uploaded by flaytan

Also: Kanye + Beethoven:

LBNL, I mentioned a while ago that I liked this Yes adaptation about two enterprising young men. Here it is mashed w/Black-Eyed. Awesome!

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

A Few Things

  • Reason Magazine interview with South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Excerpt: As most of you know, South Park, now finishing its first decade at Comedy Central, follows the misadventures of four grade-school boys in the mythical town of South Park, Colorado, a Brigadoon of small-town depravity, degradation, and good old American values. I suspect that South Park will prove every bit as long-lived in the American subconscious as Mark Twain’s Hannibal, Missouri, or Laura Ingalls Wilder’s prairie.
  • Interesting theory on ATHF scare -- Excerpts: The devices were installed in public places where people should be on the alert for suspicious activities including the subway, bus stations, and under bridges. I found myself wondering whether any of those who sounded the alarm were veterans of the Iraq war. I just don't see why the average person would be alarmed by these gadgets, but it wouldn't surprise me if someone who had spent months dodging IEDs of all shapes and sizes might be a hyper-sensitive to anything that looked as if it might explode. One of the symptoms of PTSD is overreaction to harmless stimuli that trigger memories of traumatic events... ...On the other hand, maybe the Boston authorities just screwed up.
  • Interview with LibraryThing's Tim Spalding. Excerpt: Tags, one of the hallmarks of today’s social software, play a particularly large role in LibraryThing’s makeup. Tagging and folksonomy, the emergent, organic language that develops from multiuser tagging, face criticism from the library and taxonomy communities for the lack of standardization, authority control, and even correct grammar. LibraryThing, which also uses LC subject headings (LCSH) to enhance records, shows that folksonomy and taxonomy can exist side by side to the benefit of its users.
  • I can't wait to see the upcoming Julien Temple documentary on Joe Strummer. Excerpt: “Right at the beginning, in 1976, I was trying to do this film about the Clash, then jumped ship to the Sex Pistols and cut off all communications for something like 20 years, even though I had a deep love for the band and what they stood for,” says Temple. “Back then I couldn’t get too close to Joe. So it was quite a surprise, ten years ago, when he turned up at my garden gate. He was looking for somewhere to live in Somerset and I was genuinely shocked to meet him again - we had a great night lighting fires and trying to raise this hot air balloon I was building. From that moment on there was a closeness that lasted until his death.”

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Boston: Self-Titled

Thursday, February 01, 2007

You're Doin' a Heckuva Job, Browne-ie

Here are some follow-ups to Anderson Cooper's piece on Sylvia Browne. Browne's business manager or whatever debates The Amazing Randi. (Note to self: Do not hire this woman as business manager.)

And wouldn't ya' know it -- Just when I get a nice big Googlebomb campaign ready, Google decides to revamp their algorithms to do away with Googlebombing. Washington Post excerpt: Because of the changes Google made to its formula, searching for "miserable failure" on Google now pulls up a news story by the BBC about Google bombing as the first result, followed by a Wikipedia entry on the topic and another article in an industry publication. The White House page no longer appears in the top 100 results.

Well, how was I supposed to know? It's not like I'm psychic or anything.

Labels: , , , ,

Great Children's Book

I just saw an excellent children's book today: Terrible Storm by Carol Otis Hurst, illustrated by S.D. Schindler. It was about this woman's two grandfathers, who grew up together in a small town in Massachussetts and were friends ever since they were boys. One was very much a gregarious, outgoing extrovert, and one was an ISTJ (like myself). During the Great Blizzard of 1888, both young men got stranded in the places least suited for them... Grandpa Backslapper in a barn by himself, and Grandpa Introvert in a house full of people-persons. It's a great book!

The author based it on stories told her by her own two grandfathers. I had not been familiar with her, so I was surprised and saddened to see that she just passed away a few days ago. From her website: Carol Otis Hurst died at home January 21st at age 73. Carol was a life long resident of Westfield and taught many years there and in West Springfield. For the past 30 years she worked as a storyteller and educational consultant. She wrote many books for both teachers and children. Her recent success as a childrens' author brought her great joy and satisfaction. (Local paper's obit here.)

Carol, I have to thank you for capturing the plight of the introvert stuck in a house full of people so perfectly! (I'm sure the extroverts will thank you for capturing their plight too, as soon as the Super Bowl is over.)

Labels: , , , ,