Wednesday, May 25, 2005

After a long week off, we've returned. Pardon me is some of these headlines are less than fresh...

Pat Tillman's parents say that the military cover up into their son's death has made it more difficult to deal with their loss. But, you know...he's a hero and all, so the Bush Administration will doubtless find a way to blame the 'liberal media' for all this instead of accepting the responsibiltiy for their actions like adults. (MSNBC)

Proposed expansions to the FBI's power worry Senate Democrats. Perhaps the Republicans don't remember a little autocrat named J Edgar Hoover... (CNN)

Have our efforts to secure overseas ports made the US more vulnerable to attack? Yes, they have! (New York Times)

Rick Santorum on gay marriage: "It threatens my marriage. It threatens all marriages." Um, only threatens your marriage if you'd rather be with a man than your wife. Is there something you wanted to tell us? (Wonkette)

A college student is barred from attending a speech by President Bush simply because he's wearing a Young Democrats t-shirt. Totalitarianism is so classy. (Tuscon Citizen)

Oh, fun. The Supreme Court is hearing another case about abortion law. This, and supposedly William Rehnquist wants to retire. It's gonna be a fun summer in Washington. (CNN)

The Voyager I space probe is now at the edge of our solar system.

Apple adds podcasting capability to GarageBand...but doesn't bother adding RSS functionality to iTunes so you can listen to podcasts on that...(CNET)

Brainwashing our youth about Intellectual Property at an early age... (CNET)

Thurl Ravenscroft, voice of Tony the Tiger and singer on How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is dead at 91 (CNN)

Movie Trailers
The Descent (flash trailer...not downloadable)
Revolver UK teaser
Sky High trailer 1

Thursday, May 19, 2005

RIP Mr Pugsley

Just read an email from one of my brother's friends that his pup, Mr Pugsley was attacked by another dog and killed on the 16th.
Mr Pugsley was a great dog, totally nuts...but he loved my brother like only a demented pooch of his ilk could.
Look at that face, and tell me he wasn't awesome.
What a thing to sour my damn night.

Monday, May 16, 2005

'Intelligent design' proponents want to change the definition of science to "a systematic method of continuing investigation" instead of the accepted definition of empirical study of observed evidence. What this means is, they want to open science up to supernatural causes for natural actions. OK. Fine. I'm all for that. Except...Lightning is caused by Thor, fuckers. Jesus has nothing do to with lightning. Nowhere in the Bible does it say anything about Jesus calling down lightning, so I say it's Thor. Don't like it? You started it. It's Thor's intelligence that designed thunder and lightning. And Dionysis? He created grapes and taught men how to make wine out of it. So when you Catholic doofs have're celebrating a Greek god. SHUT THE HELL UP AND ACCEPT SCIENTIFIC FACT, YOU IDIOTS! (CNN)

The OTHER move to reform Social Security: keeping your SSN for government use only...makes sense in theory, but then credit agencies will just end up making a NEW number for you...and leaving you similarly vulnerable. (CNET)

The East Waynesville Baptist Church deals with the departure of their pastor after he expelled members for not supporting the Republicans. (New York Times)

The future of fuel cells: carbon nanostructures (Wired)

NASA bets that solar sails could power the next generation of probes for our solar system. (CNN)

Also on the solar-powered space exploration front: NASA plans on using a solar powered airplane to explore Venus (CNN)

The Supreme Court rules that laws that ban out-of-state wine sales are unconstitutional. That means states HAVE to let you buy wine from out of state...but it doesn't mean that they can't tax the daylights out of you or limit how much you can purchase (Like Ohio does). Still, a step in the right direction. (CNN)

Alcohol is more damaging to female brains. Drink up, guys! (BBC)

Oculus Innovative Sciences has developed an oxygenated water that's as effective at sterilizing surfaces as chlorine....and yet doesn't harm humans at all. (Wired)

IBM doesn't discourage employees from blogging. Unlike, say...the State of Ohio does... (CNET)

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith is almost here!

London celebrates the premeire of Revenge of the Sith with a Star Wars marathon today. Lucky bastard brits... (CNN)

A reporter's diary of the Star Wars marathon in London (BBC)

George Lucas sees parallels between Revenge of the Sith and Vietnam...and Iraq (CNN)
Test your knowledge of Star Wars with this quickie quiz. I got a perfect score. Of course. (BBC).

Friday, May 13, 2005


Tom DeLay says Democrats have no class. Of course, corrupt political opportunists who oppose a woman's right to die with dignity for wholly political purposes...they're REALLY CLASSY. Asshole. (CNN)

Michael Bruce Ross, rapist and murder, is put to death in Connecticut. It was the first execution in CT in 45 years. Have we grown so little as a society that we still need petty vengeance? Did killing him bring any of the victims back? Or ease the loss for their families? No? Then why did we do it? (New York Times)

The Air Force chaplain who confirmed the rampant evangelism at the Air Force Academy? They just removed her from her post. Doesn't look suspicious at all...does it? (Washington Post)

That FCC broadcast flag that got struck down by the federal appeals court last week? It's back...this time as a congressional bill... (CNET)

Retiring the space shuttle might mean that the International Space Station doesn't get completed. (CNN)

Closed military bases are among the worst Superfund sites. No wonder we're shutting them down to "save money". They're already contanimated enough! (CNN)

Kickstand EP review
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It sucks. That's what I have to say. Kickstand sucks. They blow donkey dong. But you knew this.
So, Kickstand has a new EP available for download (free gratis, to quote Al Swearengen). And guess what? It sucks. Kickstand sucks. Like that's a surprise.
It starts off with Rebel No. 9, a stinging indictment of suburban kids who take up new school punk and emo. And then kicks it up a notch with Bitch Tits, a song about Michael Higgins' tremendous and perky man boobs. They still suck, so it's the Kickstand you know and love.
Then they do something unexpected. They get good. Their cover of Get Low just whups ass. Seriously. Who knew Little John wrote a song specifically for Kickstand? It sure feels like they were meant to do it. You have to remind yourself that it's Kickstand and you'd rather suck a wet fart out of your grampa's ass than listen to kickstand. It's difficult.
People looking for their usual offensive shittiness will be happy with the fourth track, Taste the Satan, which should offend just about everyone. And if you're not offended by it, you'll still think the song sucks.
Next up, another cover, this time of DMX's Party Up (Up in Here). They tear it a new asshole, but don't rip the roof off the motherfucker like they did Get Low. We Play Lacrosse is short, sweet and manages to rock hard while carrying their signature stink.
And their ballad, Love Song, well, it sucks hard. Exactly the way they wanted it to, I'm sure.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


"It is my opinion that John Bolton is the poster child of what someone in the diplomatic corps should not be." -- Senator George Voinovich (R, OH). Bless you for having a spine, George. (New York Times/CNN)

The Real ID Act contains language that could damage the balance of our government. Great news for proto-fascists who oppose judicial review. (Ars Technica)

Tom Ridge says the Bush administration would raise terror threat alert levels over his objections. Well, duh. It's a political tool to keep the middle class afraid. (USA Today)

An Air Force Academy chaplain says that religious proselytizing...and a Major General in charge of all the chaplains for the Air Force just doesn't get it. Typical. (New York Times)

All military recruiting will stop for one day on May 20...and after that, they won't be able to get any recruits since they won't be able to lie any more...

A woman barred from reading the Bible at her son's school is suing the school district. Um, bitch, you don't have the right to push your religion on other peoples' children. Which is what you were trying to do. Sit down. Shut up. (NY Newsday)

Hate crimes against Muslims jumped FIFTY-TWO percent last year. But...Christianity is a religion of peace and tolerance. (UPI)

Bill gates believes cell phones will kill the iPod. Um...right. (CNNMoney)

Dell is planning a 19 inch notebook computer. At what point does it cease to become portable??? (CNET)

The Senate Commerce Committee is pushing for anti-spyware legislation this session. Chances are, though...they won't be able to get rid of spyware...or it'll just morph into something else. (CNET)

Chappelle found! ...In a psychiatric hospital in South Africa??? Season Three ain't comin' any time soon...

Movie Trailers
Batman Begins trailer 2 (international cut)
Rize trailer
Damn Apple for inserting coding into most of their trailers to prevent direct links. They hate people actually DOWNLOADING the trailers. God's sakes! We might WATCH them.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

A federal judge is ordering a new probe into the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing...not to explore those fictional links to Iraq that the Right brings up now and again...but to a group of (right-wing) White Supremacists... Let me say it one more time for the folks in the cheap seats...RIGHT WINGERS SUPPORT TERRORISTS BECAUSE THE REFUSE TO BRING TERROR GROUPS FROM THEIR CONSITUENCY TO JUSTICE!!! (Washington Post)

The religious right is now putting a NEW magnet on their cars (besides the yellow ribbons that show they support the troops [even though a yellow ribbon means you want someone to COME HOME]; the red, white and blue ones that say "God Bless America", the fucking Ten Commandments [that about 99.99% of Christians conveniently ignore while demanding they be displayed publically]; etc...). Yes. You read that picture right. BUSH: One Nation...Under God. It's for the best, folks. It's no longer the USA. We live in Bush. Fucking assclowns. (Wonkette)

Tom Ridge defends the wholly unnecessary color-coded terror alert know, the one they keep using to say that we're going to be attacked by terrorists ANY MINUTE NOW. Of course, they always seem to save us at the last minute. Is the Bush Administration full of writers from the Weekly World News??? (Washington Post)

OK, OK...I admit it. Women ARE smarter than men... (Washington Post)

It's against the law to live together out of wedlock in North Carolina. The South ain't backwards! Nope! Nosiree! (Washington Post) men respond to scent triggers differently than straight men? Homosexuality is BIOLOGICAL??? But...but...what about all those Christian therapy programs that turn gay men straight? Are you telling me they're utter BULLSHIT??? (New York Times)

Garrison Keillor on why right wingers dominate talk radio: "Republicans are in need of affirmation, they don't feel comfortable in America and they crave listening to people who think like them." (The Nation)

Congress returns to imposing arbitrary mandatory minimum sentences for crimes (New York Times)

Speaking of alternative energy sources...someone put a turbine in front of Bill Maher's mouth. He spews enough hot air on occasion... (Huffington Post)

Gary Hart on leaving Iraq: Exit or Empire? (Huffington Post)

Real ID Act watch:
The Senate has passed the Real ID Act. It now goes to the president. Whee. (CNET)
An excellent analysis of the recently passed Real ID Act (Bruce Schneier)
States are already talking about challenging the Real ID Act (AP)
A website has also opened up to organize pressure against the measure

...and, in related news...Jesus Christ can't get a driver's license in WV... (CNN)

Toshiba announces the next generation of HD DVD...before their first generation HD DVD even catches on

Those wonderful widgets in OSX Tiger...well, they could open the door for attacks on your Macintosh. Whee. (CNet)

Next up from Apple -- a tablet Mac? (The Mac Observer)

Details are leaking about the XBox 360 (someone buy me one now!!!) (CNet/

What's the matter with Dave Chappelle? Now, more than ever, we need his fearless brand of comedy. (Newsweek)

King Tut had buck teeth. One the plus side, he was still better looking than Prince Charles. (New York Times)

Muslim groups praise Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven for its accurate and noble portrayal of 12 century Islam (Al Jazeera)

Good-bye Hunter S by John Cusack (Huffington Post)

The Evans Book of Rules: The Celebration of the Individual by Robert Evans (Huffington Post)

After how many umpteen years (and I really don't remember it being anything but the old Glaser it's been a WHILE), DC Comics changes their logo -- though honestly...I kinda like it. (Oliver Willis)

Yet another celebrity couple gets an e-thrashing
Gotta love the folks at Liquid Generation. I know I sure do.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Becuase I lost the Headlines post...
...and we're not gonna talk about it, OK? It was a lot of work and I'm not gonna attempt to backtrack all of it. Bleh.
Anyway...this is funnier. WAY funnier.

Pat O'Brien vs Rosie the Retard

Utterly hilarious. And...

Kelsey Grammer falling. Because, well, falling is funny.

Sunday, May 08, 2005


Rick Scarborough and his "Patriot Pastors" want to change Senate rules so that Democrats can't block Republican judicial nominees with the filibuster...Ummm...Separation of Church and State, anyone???

Speaking of the Separation of Church and State...a pastor in North Carolina is kicking people out of his congregation for not supporting President Bush. Really!!! And all this time, I thought your politics, like your religion, was supposed to be a private matter...

In possibly the most statemanlike address of his political career, Dubya calls Russia to task for not acknowledging the subjugation of Eastern Europe after WWII and admits that the US was partially at fault for dividing Europe into "armed camps". Where's this guy been for the last four years?

A study by the AP shows that the death penalty in Ohio is applied inconsistently and motivated in part by race. Which, of course, flies in the face of everything death penalty proponents will tell you. Isn't it time we just got rid of it?

A Mexican mob attempts to lynch six accused witches. Meanwhile, Ann Coulter still breathes. And makes the beast with two backs with Satan.

Gee. All that tech that Homeland Security spent untold billions on doesn't work. Why am I not surprised in the slightest???

Republicans try to take the fight against the Filibuster to the streets. Of course, when they wanted to use it when they weren't in the majority...that was PERFECTLY FINE...

Movie Trailers

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe teaser

Friday, May 06, 2005

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Movie Club #2: Weird Horror-A-Go-Go
The second rule of Movie Club ARE allowed to talk about movie club. Think of it as a book club without Oprah or all that annoying reading. Or think of it as a chance to dissect your favorite films and see why the hell you like 'em anyway.
Mankind's always been fascinated with death and destruction. It's why you slow down when you go by an accident. It's why slapstick humor is so funny. It's why horror movies have endured as a genre for decades.
Occasionally, though a few deaths isn't enough to truly grip your horror jones. Sometimes, you just gotta see everyone buy it -- or go totally insane. So, inspired by the writings of a few early icons like H P Lovecraft, weird horror was born.
We're talking end of the world stuff here...powers that were not meant to be freed...bad juju where death is a damn sight better alternative than getting caught by the creepy things just beyond the gate. Where Lovecraft succeeds as a writer is that he makes the unmentionable, indescribable things in the dark just that - unmentionable and indescribable.
Numerous films have attempted to translate Lovecraft to the screen, either directly or indirectly. Films like Die, Monster, Die!, The Creeping Flesh, The Haunted Palace, Quatermass and the Pit, The Dunwich Horror, Re-Animator, From Beyond, Necronomicon, Dagon, Hellboy, etc. Hell, even Ghostbusters borrows a little from Lovecraft's mythos, inventing fictional spirit guides and tomes on the spirits that walk the earth.
None of the movies I've selected this week are based on Lovecraft stories, but all carry his influence, some more than others.
John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness doesn't get a lot of attention, even from his fans. There's no a-list talent. Instead, you get Jameson Parker from Simon and Simon as Brian Marsh, the intrepid academic guy hero who joins a weekend expedition to study something found in the cellar of a Los Angeles church.
The scientists; an interdisciplinary lot of physicists, chemists, engineers, translators, philosophers and Biblical scholars; set up shop and find an ancient container in the basement. Ancient in that it predates humanity. In it, a substance swirls malevolently.
What's in the container? Oh, you didn't get the title the first time, did ya? Inside the jar is the essence of Satan...the Prince of Darkness. An ancient, unnameable thing that's been guarded by a group of priests for a millenia. Big problem...the container, while built to cracking open.
The script, credited to Martin Quatermass (John Carpenter being cheeky with a pseudonymn), is essentially yet another revisit of Rio Bravo, except with demonic possession, the undead and prophetic visions. There are hints of The Thing, in that anyone can become One of Them, but it's much more overt. You know when someone's possessed. Mainly because they do nothing but try and kill and/or possess you.
The cast are mostly seasoned Carpenter veterans (Carpenter, like many directors, likes to cast familiar faces since he's familiar with their work and he can count on them), including Victor Wong from Big Trouble in Little China and Donald Pleasence from Halloween and Escape from New York. Parker does an adequate job with his character, though he's not given the opportunity to become an iconic Carpenter hero like Snake Plissken or Jack Burton or R J MacReady. But that's OK, since Kurt Russell he ain't.
The movie depends a lot on atmosphere, and if you don't buy the atmosphere, you certainly aren't going to buy an ageless interdimensional demon entity in liquid form. When things start happening and the inevitable doom starts coming to pass there's little the researchers can do to stop it. They're surrounded. They're outnumbered. They're trapped.
In the Mouth of Madness is Carpenter revisiting Lovecraftian horror in a much more direct manner, and it's probably the best instance of the genre ever made. Working on a script from Michael DeLuca (known principly as a film producer -- also the ex-president of New Line Features and current president of Dreamworks Pictures), Carpenter borrows liberally from Lovecraftian canon to create something akin to the worst case scenario in horror literature.
Sam Neill's character John Trent is an insurance investigator -- the best. He has fantastic instincts and he's smart. In your typical horror movie, he'd be the guy who saves the day.
Trent is hired by Jackson Harglow (Charlton Heston), the head of a publishing company, to find their #1 author, Sutter Cane (Jürgen Prochnow), who's gone missing just before delivering his latest book. Cane's a recluse who writes weird horror stories about unmentionable and unnameable beings lurking behind the shadows of our world (thankfully, unlike Lovecraft, Sutter Cane is not an obsessive momma's boy).
Sutter Cane has a lot of fans. A lot of very ardent fans. And they tend to go crazy and kill people and themselves.
Trent traces Cane to Hobb's End, a supposedly fictional town in New England that's not on any map. Checking clues on the covers of Cane's books, Trent manages to locate the town. And with Cane's editor Linda Styles (Julie Carmen) in tow, he sets off to find the author and deliver the final manuscript.
Hobb's End really doesn't exist. And yet they find it. Just like Cane described.
There's a small problem.
Sutter Cane DID contact the nameless things from beyond. And they, through him, are entering our world. The more he writes about them, the more they can come through. His books are becoming real. Cane has just finished his masterpiece and the gate is opening.
From there, things just get nuts.
At times an extremely atmospheric creepfest, at times a full-on mind fuck, In the Mouth of Madness is one of those movies that has a cult following just because it's John Carpenter, but it deserves more than that.
Kaïro (Pulse) is yet another J-horror movie that's going to get a Hollywood remake. It; like The Ring/Ringu, Dark Water, The Grudge/Ju-On or One Missed Call/Phone; is a ghost story. The ghosts tend to be children and women with long, dark hair. The ghosts are contacting the living world, and people are dying.
This time it's through a website (shades of fear dot com). The website tantalizes visitors with an invitation: Would you like to meet a ghost? Well, if you've seen one Japanese horror movie, you know that's a bad idea. A really bad idea.
Writer/director Kiyoshi Kurosawa keeps things stark and murky. And it only gets darker as the movie goes along. This is a ghost story by way of Marshall MacLuhan. Information, including the digital information of the internet, is a virus. And it's spreading. If not for the global reach of the information superhighway, this would be yet another rote Japanese ghost story. Because of it, it becomes a meloncholy apocalyptic vision of how the world might end -- not with a bang, but with a whimper.
I first found out about our final film from a neighbor when I was a kid. The guy was a Vietnam vet, and since he'd pretty much seen it all, nothing scared him. Until Phantasm.
Is Phantasm the scariest movie ever made? Eh, I doubt it. But it hasn't lost one iota of creep factor since its release in 1979. For starters, the Tall Man (Anghus Scrimm) is the creepiest dude in movie history. Seriously. One scowl from that guy and I wouldn't need my Metamucil.
Also, Phantasm is just weird. Gloriously weird. One of the trio of heroes is a goddamn ice cream man, fer cryin' out loud. There's killer dwarves, shape-changing, reanimated corpses spitting yellow goo, interdimensional gates and of course, the Tall Man. If it doesn't seem like thest things will destroy humanity -- well, they wait until we're dead to enslave us (and help a few of us along). With an infinite demand for interdimensional slave's only a matter of time (which gets touched upon in the sequels).
Don Coscarelli could have jumped into the studio system, I'm sure. But the dude's too weird. In addition to the ubiquitous Phantasm sequels (Phantasm II, Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead and Phantasm: OblIVion so far, with one probably on the the possibility of a remake), Coscarelli also directed The Beastmaster and the fantabulous Bubba Ho-Tep.
Phantasm is original and different and new, yes, but the film also plays on oodles of old horror staples. There's a gypsy fortune teller, the Tall Man works in a mausoleum and drives a hearse, there's a quest to save a brother...all tried and true conventions. So, things feel familiar, and yet...not. Therein lies its greatest strength, to make you fear the ordinary, since you never know what's behind it.
Horror doesn't necessarily have to follow the norm. And oddly enough, when things get a little bit skewed is when it gets to truly shine. The problem is, Hollywood beats that fresh new idea to death. Any more, no one remembers how fresh and fun Scream was before every other horror movie out there got self-referential and snarky. Soon, the J-Horror fad will pass. Hopefully before they destroy the integrity of the original movies and filmmakers.
Technology is finally catching up with the bizarre creatures called forth from the imagination of Lovecraft and his peers. This means, of course, that the more ambitious stories of this milieu could be coming to the silver screen. Which is pretty durn cool, if I must say.