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Archive for the 'cultcha' Category

Frank Frazetta (1928 – 2010)

Monday, May 10th, 2010

If you came into science fiction or fantasy in the mid-70s, there was no escaping Frank Frazetta’s art (esp. the Death Dealer… how many vans was that painted on?). To say that he had an influence on my youth would probably be an understatement. A number of my grade- and junior-high classmates were semi-talented Frazetta wanna-bes, and I envied their drawing skills mightily.

I can look at his work now and cringe at the sexist and racist tropes he employed – but to a pre-teen boy, his work seemed like my internal visions brought to light.

We’ve got a name for that…

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Sayeth Tbogg:

There is much to be said for White Zombie played very loud as the soundtrack for a long drive.

Yes. Including “Hello, officer.”

(When we moved from DC to St Louis, a good friend gave us a mix tape for the drive – we called it “The ‘Hello, officer’ Mix” since it started with Ministry’s Jesus Built My Hotrod, segued into the 1000 Homo DJs cover of Sabbath’s “Supernaut”, and pretty much continued at that pace. Ah, good times.)

Gimme some tongue, baby!

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Beef tongue, to be precise… With even greater degrees of precision, a beef tongue sandwich, a torta de lengue, if my non-existent Spanish skills are correct-ish. I’ve been working up the courage to order one of these puppies for a while; today, at the local taco truck, I finally did.

It was very tasty – I’ll definitely do it again. The roll wasn’t as crusty as I like, but the tongue was delicious: meltingly soft, braised with onions and a hint of what I think was cinnamon, cut into delicate beefy chunks. It reminded me of the best parts of a great pot roast, only softer…

Also, it seems only appropriate that an occasion as momentous as losing one’s tongue cherry be marked by adding a long-overdue ‘food’ category. YMMV.

[edited upon realizing that WP ate my food category. FYWP.]

Nevermore

Monday, January 19th, 2009

200 years ago today, Edgar Allan Poe was born.

1848 daguerreotype of Poe

(h/t to Evil Mommy for reminding me…)

Who is Number One?

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

You are Number Six.

Patrick McGoohan died Tuesday at the age of 80.

No word on whether or not a bouncing latex ball was seen leaving the scene.

Death by beach ball

Thank you, Pacific Science Center…

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

Because this made this do-able… Minimal driving required!

(And a most excellent show it was…)

[updated @27-Jul-2008 1503PM PDT because evidently, I can't close tags...]

The Clarke Event

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

I wondered about the timing of Arthur C. Clarke’s death and the gamma-ray burst; now I know:

Larry Sessions, a columnist for Earth & Sky, has suggested in his blog that the gamma-ray event whose radiation reached us a few hours before Arthur C. Clarke died, and which occurred 7.5 billion years ago, be named the Clarke Event. The outburst, which produced enough visible light to render it a naked-eye object across half the universe, is officially designated GRB 080319B. What more fitting tribute to Clarke than to associate his name with the greatest bang since the big one?

The Clarke Event. I like it.

Arthur C. Clarke – 1917-2008

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

Sir Arthur C. Clarke has died at age 90. Clarke, probably more than any other ‘Golden Age’ writer, fired my imagination as a futurist. While not without controversy, he will be missed.

So there was only one thing that i could do…

Friday, July 20th, 2007

…was ding a ding dang my dang a long ling long.

As it were.

(Interesting… I’ve always heard the version “Jerry Lee Lewis was the Devil”, not “Jesus was the Devil”…)

“Woe and sadness!” the creature wailed…

Friday, May 18th, 2007

Lloyd Alexander, creator of The Chronicles of Prydain, died yesterday at 83. Ironically, in this so-called age of Internet time, as of this hour, ‘his’ site doesn’t reflect this.

I discovered Alexander’s books when I was just past the upper bound of his intended audience’s age. Still, they were a great read, and a wonderful, if indirect, introduction to Welsh mythology. They’re on the list of Things We Intend To Read To The Boy – provided he can wait that long (he’s starting to request time to read by himself in bed instead of bedtime stories).

If you’re a fan of fantasy fiction and all you know of Alexander is Disney’s abominable adaptation of The Black Cauldron, do yourself a favor and try to purge whatever memories you have of that atrocity and give the Chronicles a whirl… It’s definitely written with a lighter touch than any of Tolkien’s work, and more explicitly intended for a ‘young adult’ audience – but it’s really well written and (IMO) still worth a go.

(And yes, the title of this piece quotes Gurgi (who else?) from The Black Cauldron…)

Ah, the ironies abound…

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

Let’s see: we have a professional asshole, writing about those dirty bloggers, calling them assholes for being, well, assholes. He’s also pissed off because some of these assholes have the temerity to call themselves ‘journalists’. Oh yeah, and mostly he’s pissed off that they won’t use their real names while being assholes:

If you’re going to fire a rocket at someone in a blog post, or anywhere else, at least have the class to use your real name and stand behind your vitriol. Anything less makes you a coward and invalidates whatever bile you’ve spewed.

My name is on this, and I’m calling you gutless if you don’t sign yours. What are you going to do about it, blogger boy?

Why, I think you know exactly what I’m going to do about it: blog about it. And I’m going to call you an asshole.

Asshole.

So, to Tony Long, who feels that having his name on something makes it more important: Fuck you. First, there’s a difference between anonymous and pseudonymous – look it up, or ask your editor to explain it to you in very small words.

Oh, wait – you’re listed as ‘copy chief’, so that means you should already know the difference. Hmmm… What an interestingly deliberate misunderstanding.

Second, not all bloggers have pretensions of being journalists – very few, in fact. I certainly don’t pretend to be a journalist, I’m just some pseudonymous guy with a blog, and the bloggers who do aspire to taking more of a journalist-style role do, in fact, largely hold themselves to many of the same standards as dead tree journalists. Certainly the ones worth reading on a regular basis do. Not all of them use their real names, but so what? Dead tree columns are still written under pseudonyms, too.

What gets under your skin isn’t the fact that some bad (and slapdash) writers happen to hide behind the label of journalist and happen to use rude words; no, what you don’t like is that you no longer have a monopoly on, well, being an asshole. I mean, what else are we going to call a tech columnist who calls themselves “The Luddite”? Really, if that isn’t a textbook case of asshole, I don’t know what is. (It might even cross the line into pretentious asshole.)

See, Tony (and here’s your dirty little secret) – you aren’t a journalist either. You’re an opinion columnist. Oh, you want to be a journalist, but this gives it away: “The Luddite: Commentary by Tony Long.”

Commentary. Not reporting.

Commentary.

Contra your title, the blogosphere isn’t “Where a Tawdry Culture Goes To Die”. Rather, it’s where anyone who wants to take the time to do so can express an opinion, in whatever manner they choose. You’re just another voice, Tony. You’re a voice that has the luxury of being paid to exist. But you aren’t anything special. You’re one voice clamoring for attention among thousands – LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME.

And that having to compete really frosts your ‘nads, doesn’t it? You aren’t special. You’re just another asshole with a computer, being an asshole. Just like me. An asshole with a computer, commenting on the things that catch my interest.

So there. I’ve looked at you, and, well, found you wanting. Welcome to the blogosphere, Tony.

Asshole.

“So it goes.”

Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut, 1922-2007

Kurt Vonnegut, 1922-2007

Pop culture confessional

Monday, February 12th, 2007

I have been harboring a dark secret: for some weeks now, I have been a regular viewer of VH1′s The (White) Rapper Show.

Betcha didn’t see that coming, didja?

Hey, I have an excuse – I have an in-law competing on the show…

Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.

Friday, February 9th, 2007

It’s all about the dead trees here at chez static this morning. First, I want to point some of y’all to a great book I picked up yesterday: Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software. Written by one of the founders of Salon, it chronicles the attempts of a software legend to create something new, all the while trying to answer the question, “Why is making software so hard?”

As a programmer, I’ve certainly experienced ‘dreaming in code’ – being submerged so thoroughly in a project that I’ve literally dreamed about the actual, physical source code, character after character appearing as though being typed into an editor. I also have the pleasure of being involved in a project about which I am passionate, and over which I have a large degree of creative control – an opportunity to make a ‘dream’ tangible, ‘word made flesh’ as it were. It’s quite a high, and like most intoxicants, potentially addictive; I don’t think I could return to the grey, soul-sucking world of business development. As you can probably imagine, I’m not having much difficulty relating to this book.

It’s a pretty easy read, particularly if you’re already conversant in software; I bought it yesterday, and I’m about half-way through it already. An interview with the author, Scott Rosenberg, may be found (on Salon, of course) here; yeah, yeah, yeah; just watch the damn ad. I don’t think it will provide any definitive answers to the ‘why is it hard?’ question, but it will certainly provide a lot of food for thought for programmers, technical managers, and anyone else interested in some of the meta questions surrounding software.

On a semi-related note, I read a review on Wired this morning about China Miéville’s latest book, Un Lun Dun:

[Un Lun Dun] follows a young girl’s quest to save a creepy parallel-universe London. And for Miéville, best known for a steampunk trilogy full of superhot, beetle-headed women and nightmare-eating monsters, it’s a new direction. He’s written something that kids, especially young girls, will devour.

[...]

Un Lun Dun isn’t perfect; it often mistakes wordplay for imagery and feels a little pat. But give it to a kid (and borrow it when they’re done). It just might help them grow up into the kind of nerd we need a lot more of — one who thinks they can save the world with sheer ingenuity.

We haven’t had a whole lot of trouble introducing The Boy to fantasy – but I’ve been hard-pressed to think of appropriate ‘gateway drug’ books for science fiction. As the review linked above mentions, most science fiction that’s out there is a ‘lousy gateway drug’ – most of it is written for those who already have a taste for it. In my own experience, fantasy and horror came first, with science fiction filtering in later. I may have to leaf through this one and see if it’s something that would be appropriate for The Boy.

(For those of you who aren’t familiar with the source of the title, it’s Groucho Marx: “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend; inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” But I’m pretty sure most of y’all already knew that ;-))

The ordinary will ignore

Friday, January 26th, 2007

Whatever they cannot explain
As if – nothing ever happens
And everything remains the same