Archive for February, 2010

Pictures from the 2009 Readercon

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

I put these up on my Facebook account back before I had the blog, but I suspect many non-Facebook people would like a look at them as well.

RCon2009 Gene Wolfe Rosemary Liz

Gene Wolfe, Liz Hand, Rosemary Wolfe

RCon2009 Chris Gordon

Chris Nakashima-Brown, Gordon Van Gelder

RCon2009 Chip Liz

Chip Delany, Liz Hand

RCon2009 Paul Howard

Paul Di Filippo, Howard Waldrop, Jeri Bishop.

RCon2009 Straub Crowley

Peter Straub, John Crowley

RCon2009 Clute GaryWolfe

Gary K. Wolfe, John Clute

Mark Finn on Howard and I on The Wolfman

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

And here’s Mark Finn’s take on Howard and I’s review of The Wolfman. (I’m not sure if non-Facebookers can see that page, though.)

And here’s your receipt for my receipt.

P.S.: As for the commenter that suggested that people who didn’t like the movie “don’t know what an old fashioned monster movie was or they just don’t want to see one”: Well, I’m not untutored in the genre, but you could certainly find more knowledgeable classic horror movie buffs than I. But if you actually want to suggest that Howard Waldrop doesn’t know/and or like old horror movies, then BEEEEP! I’m sorry, you lose, you get nothing. Good day, sir!

Great Moments in American Forgery

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

From the “Old News is So Exciting” front, from half a century ago, here’s the story of Joseph Cosey, one of the greatest forgers in American History.

Cosey received an even greater tribute from the New York Public Library when, in 1934, with the dual purpose of educating the innocent and removing from circulation as many specimens of his work as possible, it set up, under Bergquist’s supervision, a special file known as the Cosey Collection, to which it has been adding ever since. Consisting principally of items the library has been able to prevail upon Cosey’s dopes to donate, the Collection now comprises seventy-eight documents—thirty-one Lincolns, eight Poes, five Franklins, five David Rittenhouses, four Mary Baker Eddys, four George Washingtons, two Edwin M. Stantons, two Thomas Jeffersons, two John Marshalls, two James Madisons, one John Adams, one Samuel Adams, one Button Gwinnett, one Lyman Hall, one Benjamin Rush, one Richard Henry Lee, one Patrick Henry, one Alexander Hamilton, one Walt Whitman, one Mark Twain, one Sir Francis Bacon, one Earl of Essex, and one Rudyard Kipling, the last three being rather unusual examples, since Cosey made few excursions into the foreign field. Bergquist started the Cosey Collection with two specimens he had more or less confiscated from the forger himself —a Lincoln legal petition and a draft of some notes Poe wrote in connection with “Tamerlane.” The latest additions—two Franklin pay warrants, probably copied from the one Cosey stole—were contributed in 1954 by Arthur Swann, a vice-president of Parke-Bernet, who weeded them out, with the owner’s approval, from a group of autographs the galleries were about to auction off. Although speculation is almost meaningless in such matters, one well-informed collector has ventured to guess that if its contents were genuine, the Cosey Collection would be worth about a hundred thousand dollars.

The issue is of particular interest to me because the anonymous nature of the Internet and venues like eBay have given rise to a boom in modern forgery. Though concentrated in sports memorabilia, there have been some notable recent cases in the book trade as well. This is why I won’t buy a Robert A. Heinlein or Philip K. Dick signature without provenance. (I currently have no signed Philip K. Dick and only a single signed Heinlein (an inscribed book club edition I bought from David Hartwell). There is a also certain online seller (whom we shall refer to as F_________) that my friends and colleagues are reasonably sure makes his living selling forged signatures (though mixed in with real ones, just to keep people guessing).

As always, caveat emptor.

Kirsten Dunst is Turning Japanese

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Something for Dwight’s “Art, Dammit, Art!” watch. Here’s Kirtsen Dunst dressed up as an anime character and signing The Vapor’s “Turning Japanese” in the middle of the Akihabara.

So, you think it’s a publicity stunt or she’s doing an album. But not, even though Dunst is singing and the video is directed by McG, this is actually a performance art piece called “Akihabara Majokko Princess” by Japanese pop artist Takashi Murakami.


Anyway, though I think she looks better as a red-(rather than blue-)head, she is quite fetching in that outfit…

{Note: Video includes real shots from the Akihabara, some of which fall into the NSFW category.)

For comparison, here’s the original (embedding disabled, alas).

Updated: The YouTube video was pulled, so I’ve switched to one from eBaum’s World.

How to Fix the NBA

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

An interesting essay from Bill Simmons of ESPN about what’s wrong with the NBA and how it should be fixed. His point is that for the season ticket holders of essentially 2/3rds of the NBA are screwed (the Houston Rockets are listed as one of the non-heinous franchises), and offers up some suggestions on how to ease their pain, including graduated mandatory slashing of season ticket prices every year if the team continues to miss the playoffs. They’re interesting proposals, but should be taken with the caveat that the person who wrote them has actually been a Clippers season ticket holder for the last six years, which suggests of level of stupidity and/or masochism that might well be considered prima fascia evidence of insanity in a court of law.

Snow! In Austin!

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Or, as the media would put it:


It’s been coming down for a couple of hours. I’ll put up some pics this evening.

Updated: Some pics.

Hitler Finds Out About Epic Beard Man’s Fight (NSFW)

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

The subject of Epic Beard Man came up at the Saturday Dining Conspiracy. So, if you haven’t seen it already, here’s the original (NSFW) Epic Beard Man fight:

(And here’s the full sound version and transcript (again, NSFW).)

And here is, almost inevitably, Hitler’s reaction to Epic Beard Man’s fight. (Linked because the aspect ratio is too large for the WordPress theme.)

Wait, did I just link a video that combined a new viral Internet meme with yet another viral Internet meme?

Yes. Yes I did.

I think you’ll just have to come to grips with the possibility that I am, in fact, just plain evil.

Amber Lamps.

Happy Ash Wednesday

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

For those of you who observe same.

In celebration, here’s a link to T. S. Eliot’s poem of the same name. There’s a great stillness in that poem,

I actually like it better than “The Waste Land” (which requires a level of polyglot competence in ancient Latin and Greek (which I doubt I shall ever attain) to fully enjoy), though perhaps not as much as “The Hollow Men” or “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”.

The Wolfman: A Review (and Alternatives)

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Howard Waldrop and I’s review of The Wolfman has finally been published over at Locus Online. As you can tell from the review, we were, ahem, not enthusiastic.

That brings up the question: if you have a hankering for some hairy, gut-ripping werewolf goodness, what should you watch?

  • Dog Soldiers: Director Neil Marshall’s first film, which shows British soldiers running into a pack of werewolves while on maneuvers in the Scottish highlands.
  • An American Werewolf in London: The first really good werewolf movie of the modern era. Also the first (as far as I know) to use the now-cliched “character wakes up from a nightmare only to find out they’re still in the nightmare” move, which worked brilliantly the first time, and less and less every time since…
  • Kibakichi: This was one of the themed previews they showed before the feature at the Alamo Drafthouse. It features samurai, werewolves, demons, and Gatling guns. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’d like to, as it looks completely insane (in a good way).
  • Ginger Snaps: Smart-ass teenage girls get the werewolf treatment. Another film I haven’t seen, but which I’ve heard good things about.
  • Don’t forget the original version of The Wolf Man.
  • Finally, for a film much (and gloriously) worse than The Wolfman, here’s the full MST3K version of Werewolf, online for your grainy viewing pleasure. (Alternately available as part of Mystery Science Theater 3000: 20th Anniversary Edition, along with First Spaceship on Venus, Laserblast, and Future War.)
  • Director of Independence Day to film Isaac Asimov’s Foundation as a “3D epic”

    Saturday, February 13th, 2010

    Slashdot tells us that Roland Emmerich, the towering cinematic genius* who brought us such classic films* as Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, and 2012, is going to be filming Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series as a “3D Epic.”

    My thoughts:

    • Man, those 3D scenes where Hari Seldon writes the complex equations of Psychohistory on a blackboard are going to be awesome.
    • It’s been a long time since I’ve read them, but I seem to remember exactly one space battle in the first three Foundation book…and I don’t think any shots were actually fired, since the Foundation guys had pre-“hacked” the software they sold the bad guys. (Though that scene probably predates the first computer-related use of the term “hacking.”) This would not seem to play to Mr. Emmerich’s strengths in Big Things That Explode Real Good.
    • If we’re really lucky, they’ll get Patrick Stewart to play Hari Seldon. More likely: Will Smith.

    * Warning: Content may be 95% sarcasm by weight.