24 May 2010

A word about the Lost finale

I was reminded of Roger Ebert's review of The Village:

To call it an anticlimax would be an insult not only to climaxes but to prefixes. It's a crummy secret, about one step up the ladder of narrative originality from It Was All a Dream. It's so witless, in fact, that when we do discover the secret, we want to rewind the film so we don't know the secret anymore.

And then keep on rewinding, and rewinding, until we're back at the beginning, and can get up from our seats and walk backward out of the theater and go down the up escalator and watch the money spring from the cash register into our pockets.

Jimmy Kimmel's gag alternate endings were better than what we got.

19 May 2010

Movie landscapes

Paramount Studio map of California's geographical facsimiles, fron The Motion Picture Industry as a Basis for Bond Financing, 1927

Via Warren Ellis, originally uploaded by Ambrosia Voyeur

You know, it's amazing how the English countryside looks in no way like Southern California.

—Austin Powers

12 May 2010

The horror continues

Via Digby, I learn that the International Committe of the Red Cross confirms that the US is operating the torture prison at Bagram which the US military has been denying. Jeff Kaye has horrifying details.

Prisoners held at Tor, according to investigations by BBC, are tossed into cold concrete cells, where the light is kept on 24 hours. Noise machines fill their cells with constant sound, and prisoners are sleep deprived as a matter of policy, with each cell monitored by a camera, so the authorities will know when someone is falling asleep and come to wake them.

Prisoners are beaten and abused. According to BBC’s article last month, one prisoner was “made to dance to music by American soldiers every time he wanted to use the toilet.”

As Auschwitz was a murder factory, that's an insanity factory. Even the US military admits that most of the people held there are not terrorists. And do I even need to tell you that no one there has stood trial?

We need to let those people free, make apologies and recompense to them and their loved ones, raze the prison to the ground, salt the earth where it once stood, and send everyone involved to the Hague to stand trial for crimes against humanity, up to and including the President of the United States if he knew this was happening.

President Obama, I'm looking at you. I voted for you, and reason #1 was that I trusted you to do the right thing about this. I've been trying to believe that you've been slow to correct Guantánamo because institutional inertia has been stopping you. Fool me twice, and I won't get fooled again.

06 May 2010

Elves vs Fairies

Patrick McGee, republished on Roger Ebert's blog, warns against losing a tooth on the wrong day.
Santa had a son who fell in love with the Tooth Fairy's daughter. Because Santa could not abide such a mixing of the species, he had the Fairy's daughter killed. The Tooth Fairy responded by killing Santa's son. So began the blood-feud. Elves and Fairies have fought and died by the thousands over the ages. But, most critical, is what happens on Xmas Eve. Should a child be unable to prevent the loss of a tooth on Xmas Eve, it's possible that the Tooth Fairy and Santa end up at that very house at the same time. When this happens, the resulting battle destroys several city blocks.
I should have known.

05 May 2010

Cinco de Mayo

In the unlikely event that you saw Grindhouse, you undoubtedly recall the witty trailers for faux exploitation movies that didn't really exist. Perhaps you have heard that Robert Rodriguez was so pleased with his trailer for Machete, with the inimitable Danny Trejo in the title rôle, that he actually fleshed it out into a real movie, coming soon to a theater near you.

Well, Mr Rodriguez and Mr Trejo have a special message, just for today.

Ain't It Cool News helpfully informs us:

Rodriguez is calling this his “Illegal” trailer. You see, Robert talked Fox into letting him put together a Cinco De Mayo message for ARIZONA — given. Well, the way things are in Arizona at this moment — it is kinda insane that there is a movie that was shot over a year ago waiting to be released that is about — THIS EXACT ISSUE... but if, Danny Trejo and buddies went Revolution Wacko as a result.

So I felt I needed to share.

04 May 2010


Randall Munroe, who draws xkcd, “a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language,” did a survey of people's use of colour names.
First, a few basic discoveries:
  • If you ask people to name colors long enough, they go totally crazy.
  • “Puke” and “vomit” are totally real colors.
  • Colorblind people are more likely than non-colorblind people to type “fuck this” (or some variant) and quit in frustration.
  • Indigo was totally just added to the rainbow so it would have 7 colors and make that “ROY G. BIV” acronym work, just like you always suspected. It should really be ROY GBP, with maybe a C or T thrown in there between G and B depending on how the spectrum was converted to RGB.
  • A couple dozen people embedded SQL ‘drop table’ statements in the color names. Nice try, kids.
  • Nobody can spell “fuchsia”.

What's that about SQL? It seems that a lot of his readers remembered the comic “Exploits of a Mom.”

Lots more under the link. His discussion of his methodology is pretty interesting.