Monday, July 31, 2006

A Scanner Darkly

Tiff and I got around to seeing A Scanner Darkly. I remember reading this book and thinking this would make a great movie, if only it was done right. Well, no movie ever matches the movie created in your mind when you read a book, but this movie does a damn fine job of bringing this cult classic to the big screen.

Also, there was a preview of a remake of The Wicker Man. Hmm, could be more interesting than the original, which is rare.

Let's see, what story of PKD's should be made next? My vote goes for The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Small World Podcast

I've been catching up on older episodes of the Small World podcast as I just discovered this podcast about a month ago. The host talks to lots of very interesting people and covers topics I've never heard about before.

Freeganism was one. I found it very interesting that so many stores apparently throw things away while still wrapped up and even on the palettes they came in. I guess I should be suprised given the rather child-like American mentality of the throw-away culture and the even more child-like idea that if you don't pay for something, it isn't worth anything. I can't say I agree with some of the ideas though - to me it sounds like stealing would just add to the problem.

While I can't really see myself embracing that sort of drop-out culture to the fullest, I will say I'm a big fan of Freecycle which seems to have a similar concept, but more approachable for the suburbanites like me - in fact, Tiffany and I were able to unload lots of stuff that way this weekend, and we have in the past. Her sister needs to be out of her apartment shortly and had lots of stuff she no longer needs. Instead of that stuff ending up in landfill (damn near a crime if it's still working, by my estimation).

Another thing the host did was to talk to the author of Work To Live, a book that was already on my reading list, and which I'll probably bump up a few notches to read it sooner. The author discusses the Protestant work ethic, and attacks the idea that work is the makeup of an individual's worth - idle hands are the devil's work and all that nonsense.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Crazy Christian Talk on CNN

I actually saw this subtitle on CNN: "Apocalypse Now?" - I knew they were talking crazy Christian superstitious gibberish, but I had the sound down since I was at work. Turns out Media Matters noticed it, too. In CNN or CBN?, they have transcripts from this nut talk. How is CNN "liberal" again? Or even objective?

The comments are fantastic, of course. I really liked this one:

Can someone explain...

...why it is that most news people -- whether during interviews or simply reporting on something -- seem always to imply that god exists by merely talking about "him" as if "he" does? Is that objective journalism?

Great point. I've always wondered that myself.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

SPIN - The Movie

As you could probably tell, I'm incredibly cynical about "news", especially that which is on television. The movie SPIN will make a cynic out of anyone when it comes to news.

The idea of seeing footage we (the masses) were never meant to see is enticing, and I bet this idea is ripe for a more up-to-date version of this documentary.

Also, attention-grabbing is just what a hateful piece of garbage Pat Robertson comes across as...that comes across already, but it comes across even more forcefully when the show goes to a break, and Pat murmurs..."that guy is a homo". When Pat thinks that someone who points out (as this caller did) that he's being hateful towards homosexuals is gay, I think Pat is protesting too much.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bush Gropes German Chancellor

Boing Boing is the greatest. They had a story about Bush groping the German Chancellor at the G8 summit, which I was able to find over here on

Good times.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Plan Colombia

Happened to see this one by accident in the library in the documentary section. I've been cynical about the "Drug War" for as long as I can remember. Maybe it's my demeanor, but it always seemed more about projecting power against our citizens and against other countries and less about any sort of "solution" to the "drug problem". What other country can so blatantly announce a war against its own citizens and have those citizens go along with it? After all, it's not drugs you are locking up and/or murdering (in other countries), it's people.

I've actually read and heard most of the arguments here, especially Chomsky's argument for how no one would abide China invading America to spray defoliate over our tobacco fields, for example. Since tobacco actually kills more than all drug use combined, that would actually have a bit more "logic" than our actions in Colombia.

Another great soundbite that you'll hear is that Congress can revoke all sorts of laws, but they cannot revoke the law of supply and demand, and that these actions are really useless (besides being criminal). Chomsky will of course point out (maybe in the extras) the usual argument he brings up about the various cost effectiveness evaluated by one of our departments, I forget which. The action they chose to take was the least effective, and the most costly, which seems to indicate that it's really about subsidizing the military-industrial-prison complex and less about any solution. Of course, treatment was the most cost effective, but that's generally ignored. Can't be too "soft on crime".

Another interesting bit was how the money for the drug runners works. Even if they can defoliate nearly all the fields, and drive the cost up, the drug runner still made ridiculous amounts of money.

Also, the discussion of how Congress didn't spend any time arguing over whether what they were doing was morally right or even effective, instead they argued over what state would get to produce the helicopters for interdiction. Sickening.

It was more powerful seeing the video, and much more accessible to folks who aren't into reading that much. As one of the Amazon reviewers remarks, every single American needs to know.

An Inconvenient Truth

Since we seem to be having another scorcher of a week here in Denver, finishing up this book isn't making the heat any easier. :)

Not to confuse weather with climate, but it does drive the issue home when you're sweating bullets at the same time.

Haven't seen the movie yet, but based on the pictures, graphs and text in here, I can understand why Gore's slideshow is a popular one, and why it was made into a movie.

I understand a little better why companies such as BP have come on board the whole AGW issue. Not that I would condone this, but if things really do get as bad as some of the worst predictions, executives from Big Oil and Big Coal will be the first up against a wall (metaphorically most likely if the damage is minimal, maybe much worse if the damage is on the far worse edge of the predictions), especially if they are paying for a disinformation campaign much like Big Tobacco did for decades. If companies like BP show that they abandoned that campaign, they may not get hit so hard.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Remembering Hypatia

A few years ago, I bought the series Cosmos and in there, Sagan talks about Hypatia - so I knew how this book would end. :) If you are familiar with the story, you'll also know how this ends, but it still was engaging, and I think the author did a good job trying to humanize the story.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I finally got around to seeing this movie. Glad I did, although I should have seen it years ago. I knew the speech that contains the quote "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it any more!" came from this movie - just about every talk show ever seems to have used this sample, but I still dragged my feet. I checked out a VHS copy from one of the local libs and watched it. I see one of them has a DVD version, I may have to see what that's like, as the VHS version was pan-and-scan.

Anyway, it's amazing just how much this movie predicts. It predicts the demise of real news reporting as it plunges into cartoony showbusiness, ala Fox News. It predicts reality television. It predicts the mergers. It even seems to be poking fun of shows like the O'Reilly Factor, since the show on there purports to be for the little guy, but serves the corporate masters. It also comments on globalization, and how there are no more nations anymore, etc. Some of the "predictions" may have been tongue-in-cheek and not really meant as predictions at all, but when you really reflect on television in the 70's vs. the current state, it's amazing how this message in this movie would be received differently if it was remade vs. how it was probably received in the 70's.

The extramarital affair plot seemed to be rather unnecessary, if only to have a character tell another (the younger one, of the TV generation) how desensitized she (and by association, all of her generation) is, and at times, it feels this movie meanders, but given how longs it's been, this movie stands up amazingly well.

A film I was reminded of by this one was Videodrome, which is equally cynical and comments on many of the same things: desensitization, corruption, etc., when it comes to media. It also predicts reality television, although Videodrome's vision of that is much more on the dark side, and not so much dark comedy like this is - Network has "communist" rebels quibbling over their contracts.

Paul Laffoley

I've been looking for this for over three years now...Laffoley's work as a poster ( preferably ALL of it). It wasn't available before, but now, over here on his Myspace page, they are conducting votes on what to make a poster, and they will do limited runs for the top choices!

Monday, July 03, 2006


Catching up on old episodes, I found Zefrank saying this on 4-6-06's show:

The New York Times reports that scientists have found the fossils of a fish that appears to be mid-way in the transition between being a sea animal and a land animal. Evolutionary Theory would predict that one would find such intermediary fossils and just to teach the controversy, Intelligent Design would predict... nothing.

Funny in it itself, but the delivery makes it even funnier.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


This book started off rather not-so-funny to me, at least. But then things definitely got a hell of a lot funnier - I don't know, maybe I was tired when I began to read it. The book features a lot of talk about Republicans' raging homophobia and ponders why that might be. They quote "Dr." Paul Cameron giving his thoughts on the gayness:

"Untrammeled homosexuality can take over and destroy a social system," says Cameron. "If you isolate sexuality as something solely for one's own personal amusement, and all you want is the most satisfying orgasm you can get- and that is what homosexuality seems to be-then homosexuality seems too powerful to resist. The evidence is that men do a better job on men and women on women, if all you are looking for is orgasm." So powerful is the allure of gays, Cameron believes, that if society approves that gay people, more and more heterosexuals will be inexorably drawn into homosexuality. "I'm convinced that lesbians are particularly good seducers," says Cameron. "People in homosexuality are incredibly evangelical," he adds, sounding evangelical himself. "It's pure sexuality. It's almost like pure heroin. It's such a rush. They are committed in almost a religious way. And they'll take enormous risks, do anything." He says that for married men and women, gay sex would be irresistible. "Marital sex tends toward the boring end," he points out. "Generally, it doesn't deliver the kind of sheer sexual pleasure that homosexual sex does" So, Cameron believes, within a few generations homosexuality would be come the dominant form of sexual behavior.

Um, yeah...this guy is saying sooo much about himself. If he hasn't come out himself or been outed already, it's only a matter of time. It really does seem that the most homophobic and vitriolic of these Republicans do turn out to be gay. I remember Jon Stewart rhetorically asking the same question when some news about a gay-hating Republican turning out to be, uh, gay!

Anyway, this book forced me to move away from cubicle-land while reading over lunch because some passages had me lauging so hard and I didn't want to upset the neighboring cubicle-dwellers.

Of course, the book also brought up some stuff I never knew - I didn't know that some Bible-bangers would really stand in the way of a vaccine to cure something like HPV - even I didn't think they were that hateful and evil. And they hide behind a rather innocous sounding name: Family Research Council. Check this out:

In the US, for instance, religious groups are gearing up to oppose vaccination, despite a survey showing 80 per cent of parents favour vaccinating their daughters. "Abstinence is the best way to prevent HPV," says Bridget Maher of the Family Research Council, a leading Christian lobby group that has made much of the fact that, because it can spread by skin contact, condoms are not as effective against HPV as they are against other viruses such as HIV.

"Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful, because they may see it as a licence to engage in premarital sex," Maher claims, though it is arguable how many young women have even heard of the virus.

Ah, Christianity, the religion of peace. These people aren't just stupid, they are evil. They'd rather people get cancer than have premarital sex.

Come And See

Come And See is another recommendation from someone over on the Viking Youth forums.

All I can say I haven't been this mesmerized by a movie in some time. This movie is filled with scenes and imagery that I will never forget. I only saw Saving Private Ryan once, and didn't pay attention to the whole movie, but it's obvious that Spielberg is a fan of Come And See. I cannot believe I never heard of this movie before, and I wish I had seen it long ago. For some reason, even though it's rated 8.6 out of 10 on, it's not on the top 250 list, even though movies on there in the 8.6 range from position 15 to 25.

One of the commenters on seems to think this movie is propaganda - they complain that the Germans are made out to always be evil, etc., while the Russians are made to look always good. I don't think that's the case at all - the whole point of the movie seems to be just how anyone involved in war becomes dehumanized.

Marooned In Iraq

Someone over on the Viking Youth forums recommended a few movies, so I decided to check them out. Marooned in Iraq is one of them, and I'm glad I watched it. Some of the reviews I've read brought up references to the Three Stooges, and I definitely thought the same thing during certain sequences in this movie. For folks in the Denver area, the Denver lib has this movie.

Republicans Get Crazier

I was writing earlier how Republicans were casting around for bullshitty "issues" to waste taxpayer money arguing over. Well, they seem to have found one of the bullshittiest "issues" to waste time and money in an election year. Movie ratings for Face the Giants. Yup. Better ignore all the minor issues like jobs, foreign policy, etc, - let's focus on the really important stuff like this. I don't know how they are going to top themselves in 2008 for discussing bullshitty "issues".

A Christian-themed movie about a football coach's faith in God is finding an audience in Congress -- not so much for its inspirational message, but for the PG rating it received.
House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, Missouri Republican, and other lawmakers are demanding explanations after hearing complaints that the movie "Facing the Giants" was rated PG instead of G because of its religious content.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) claims the controversy arose from a miscommunication with the filmmakers. It says religion was not the reason for the rating.
"This incident raises the disquieting possibility that the MPAA considers exposure to Christian themes more dangerous for children than exposure to gratuitous sex and violence," Mr. Blunt said in a letter to MPAA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dan Glickman.

I'd like to see a back-of-the-envelope calculation for how much even talking about this is costing the taxpayer. Again, you really can tell that this is an election year.

For the record, yes, most parents would want to know if their children are being exposed to a belief system, one of which happens to be Christianity. What if the movie advocated for Islam? Hinduism? Marxism? How would these dolts feel then? Just because Christianity is your ideology doesn't mean the whole population finds it healthy to have their children exposed to it.

BTW, The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe had a PG rating on it, too. Where were our legislators then? It's an outrage.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?