Archive for November, 2011


Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Even though it’s been on Fark, I feel I would be remiss in not mentioning that a man has found the workprint for Manos: the Hands of Fate. He intends to restore the film to all it’s, um, glory, and sell Blu-Rays of the newly remastered version.

May his work be blessed by Torgo the White.

Notes from the World of Philip K. Dick

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

The first volume of The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick has finally been published. (Note: That Amazon link has it at half cover price, something I (and most probably other booksellers) can’t hope to match.) Paul Di Filippo offers a review: “It’s like the greatest Spalding Gray staged monologue ever conceived.”

Also of interest to the devoted Dickhead: The Philip K. Dick estate is suing the people who made The Adjustment Bureau, saying they’re owed additional money for the film rights. Media Rights Capital, in turn, is saying that the copyright was never properly renewed. Previous coverage of the dubious status of SF works that might (or might not) be out of copyright can be found here.

Finally, there’s another book of PKD interest coming out, not about Dick himself, but about his missing android head.

Hugo and Georges Méliès

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Howard Waldrop and I reviewed Hugo over at Locus Online, which we liked an awful lot.

The film involves (slight spoiler) the work of French film pioneer Georges Méliès, who produced, directed, wrote, and starred in over 500 silent short films, many of which no longer exists. But several of the ones that do are up on YouTube, and I thought I would gather them here. Méliès, a former stage magician, was the first to create a number of optical effects.

His most famous film, A Trip to the Moon, with the classic image of the shell embedded in the man-in-the-moon’s eye.

Interestingly, this was not his first film featuring the moon, as shown by The Astronomer’s Dream:

Another interplanetary voyage, this time by train, to the sun (in hand-tinted color, no less):

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea:

The Haunted Castle:

Mélies himself is front and center as each of The Four Troublesome Heads:

Likewise as the Man With the Rubber Head:

William Shatner Would Like You To Avoid Setting Yourself on Fire

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

William Shatner gets some corporate money to tell yourself not to set yourself on fire while frying a turkey:

Warning: Just as the fryer is filled with too much oil, the video is filled with too much Shatner. Way, way, way too much.

For those with low Shatner thresholds, the advice is:

  • Don’t overfill the pot with oil.
  • Turn off the flame when lowering the turkey into the oil.
  • Always fry your turkey away from your house.
  • Properly thaw the turkey before cooking.
  • Use a grease-approved fire extinguisher.
  • If you’re going to fry a turkey, this is pretty sound advice. And if you live in central Texas, you probably shouldn’t be frying a turkey at all this year with the drought restrictions.

    In Which Your Host is Vaguely Irritated By Generic Sportswriter Pablum

    Monday, November 21st, 2011

    I was reading this John McClain piece in the Houston Chronicle on Matt Leinart starting at quarterback for the Texans when I ran into this line:

    “Leinart believes he’s ready for the challenge and doesn’t plan to let down his teammates and coaches.”

    The first half of the sentence is fine, but the second half is entirely content-free. Is there any story in the history of sports journalism where a professional athlete said he planned to let his teammates down?

    “John, I plan to throw three interceptions against the Jaguars, then blame everyone around me in a deliberate attempt to let my teammates and coaches down. After that, I plan on spiraling down in a shame-fueled orgy of drunk driving, excessive cocaine use, and sex with high-priced hookers until I’m found lying dead face-down in Charlie Sheen’s hottub.”

    McClain could have just stopped at “Leinart believes he’s ready for the challenge.” without having to dip into the Whole Foods Bulk Cliche Bin.

    Neil Gaiman to be on The Simpsons this Sunday

    Thursday, November 17th, 2011

    Neil Gaiman will be appearing on The Simpsons this Sunday. Neil has been mentioning it for a while, but this week is when it actually airs.

    And here he is on Craig Ferguson talking about the episode:

    Spinal Tap: Unwigged and Unplugged

    Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

    The men behind Tap decided they’d like to go out and perform without the having to get into character. Here’s the result:

    Strangely enough, now seems to be some sort of language learning site.

    On why they did it:

    And just for the hell of it, here’s “Stonehenge” live from Wembley in 2009:

    Nigel Tufnel on Stonehenge

    Monday, November 14th, 2011

    Nigel Tufnel Day may have passed, but the Spinal Tap madness continues!

    National Geographic did an interview with him regarding the origins of Stonehenge. He turns out to have many fascinating insights as to how it was actually built, some involving dinosaur spit.

    Recent Acquisitions: Orson Scott Card’s Doorways

    Sunday, November 13th, 2011

    I’m not a huge Orson Scott Card fan. I thought Ender’s Game was an effective Heinlein juvenile homage, but little more. (I also thought Speaker for the Dead was actually a better, more ambitious novel.) I also thought that Seventh Son and Red Prophet were good alternate history fantasies, and “Hatrack River” (which forms the beginning of Seventh Son) was probably the best thing Card ever wrote. However, after reading Xenocide (awful) and Prentice Alvin (disappointing), I decided to stop picking up Card’s new books (the occasional Subterranean novella excepted), and haven’t regretted the decision. (Someday I may read Hart’s Hope, which some people have told me is his best.)

    But after I stumbled across this at the nearest Half Price Books, I thought it was odd enough to be worth picking up, especially at 50% off $35 (marked down from $60) during the usual coupon sale.

    Card, Orson Scott. Doorways. No publisher listed (though I’m assuming this is Card’s own Hatrack River imprint), 2002. (Presumed) First Edition trade paperback original, perfect bound on white cardstock covers, a Fine copy, inscribed by Card: “to Sam—/Merrily…/Orson Scott Card”.

    Not in the Locus database. Not in the ISFDB. Not even in Card’s own online bibliography. (Oddly enough, it’s referred to in a bibliographic PDF on his site, but there’s not a listing for the book itself.)

    This is 98 pages long and contains two previously published novelettes along with several unpublished poems. If I had to guess, this looks like it might have been given away as some sort of promotional freebie on Card’s website.

    Given how obscure this particular Card book is, here’s the complete list of contents:

  • “Oh Hurried Guest” (Dedication) (poem): Page 5
  • “Short-Lived Creatures” (poem): Page 6
  • “On Another Road” (poem): Page 8
  • “Doorways” (foreword): Page 9
  • “Fires” (poem): Page 12
  • “Angels” (novelette): Page 13
  • “Echo” (poem): Page 44
  • “Walking on Water” (poem): Page 45
  • “This Is the Poem I Made Then” (poem): Page 46
  • “Dust” (novelette): Page 47
  • “Public Father” (poem): Page 95
  • “Don’t You Remember the End of the World?” (poem): Page 96
  • “A Poem For Erin’s First Christmas” (poem): Page 98
  • “My Forehead Feels Like D-Day”

    Sunday, November 13th, 2011

    If you watched last week’s Texans game against the Cleveland Browns, you might have wondered why he was bleeding so copiously. Well, that happens when an opposing player headbutts you when you’re not wearing your helmet.

    Go to the linked video for the title quote and a ref asking Cushing “Are you having a pleasant day?”

    (And the Texans won their game today against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 37-9.)