Archive for July, 2011

This Week in Criminal Stupidity

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Protip: If you’re trying to sell meat door to door out of a truck, don’t try to sell to a game warden.

Especially if you don’t have retail truck dealer’s license.

And you’re wanted in California for burglary.

And the truck you’re driving is stolen. (Scroll down to July 18 on the link.)

Norts Spews

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Which is sadder:

  1. The fact that the Mariners have lost 16 games in a row, or
  2. The fact that they’re still ten games better than the Astros?

The Honorable Kind of Dishonorable

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Once again I have won a coveted Dishonorable Mention in the Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest. As in one previous entry, my contribution deals with the joys of the writer’s style…

Obscure Movie Thread

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

That is to say, there’s an obscure movie thread over on Ace of Spades (a political blog, but this is a non-political thread).

Post your own favorite obscure films below.

Worst Cartoon Character of All Time?

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Here’s a list of the 21 Worst Cartoon Characters Of All Time. They got number one right. The rest of the list is more mixed, but I haven’t seen all the cartoons on it.

In the interests of gathering a more complete sample, here’s a poll for the worse cartoon character of all time. Some are from that list, and some I came up with on my own. Add any additional nominees in the comments.

What is the most annoying cartoon character of all time?
Scrappy Doo
Davey (from Davey and Goliath)
Lisa Simpson
Grape Ape
The Great Gazoo
Mort from Family Guy
Shinji (from Neon Genesis Evangelion)
Peggy Hill
Zapp Brannigan
Someone else I’ll list in the comments free polls

Recent Library Acquisitions: Traycased Edition of Jack Vance’s Dangerous Ways

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Vance, Jack. Dangerous Ways. Subterranean Press, 2011. Ultralimited PC traycased edition, one of an indeterminate number of signed, leatherbound copies beyond the 26 lettered copies.

I don’t often buy traycased editions (I have some for Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Joe R. Lansdale, and some Cheap Street authors, since they regularly did traycase editions for their “Publisher’s States” of books), but a book dealer offered up this Vance traycase as part of a number of Subterrranean Press PC editions for less than the original (long-sold-out) published price, and I snapped it up. It’s a rather imposing traycase (I’m not sure if you can see it in the picture, but the title lettering has a somewhat metallic sheen, like burnished copper), though there are two small oddities about it: 1.) The rounded spine edge of the case looks nice, but it prevents the case from laying flat while it’s open, and 2.) The left-side folds into, rather than outside, the right hand part of the traycase holding the book.

Still a very attractive production. Click to embiggen.

Three Trailers for Movies Howard and I Will Be Reviewing

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Since trailers for two of the films Howard Waldrop and I will be reviewing for Locus Online have recently dropped, I thought a trailer roundup was in order:

Cowboys & Aliens, directed by Iron Man‘s Jon Favreau, is up next on the guitar:

In November we’ll be reviewing Hugo (AKA Hugo Cabaret, based on Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret), a steampunk children’s fantasy from Martin Scorsese:

Which begs the question: Will Hugo be up for a Hugo?

Next year comes John Carter, AKA John Carter of Mars, AKA A Princess of Mars) directed by Pixar’s Andrew Stanton from a script written by Michael Chabon:

Hotel Torgo

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Don Webb alerted me to the existence of Hotel Torgo, a documentary on Manos: The Hands of Fate. It features commentary by El Paso SF fan Richard Brandt (a regular Nova Express reader, back in the day), and memories by cast member Bernie Rosenblum.

Warning: You do have to put up with annoying, intrusive Microsoft ads.

Attack of the Lizard Men!

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

If you’ve read “Gabe’s Globster” or “Bob’s Yeti Problem,” you know that I have an ongoing interest in Cryptozoology. Oddly enough, I’m not really interested in the same boring cryptids that get all the media attention, i.e. Bigfoot and Nessie. I’m into more obscure fauna, like the Mongolian Death Worm or De Loys’ Ape. I guess that makes me a sort of cryptozoological hipster (“It’s a pretty obscure cryptid; you’ve probably never heard of it”), without the appalling fashion sense.

So I’m happy to report that one of America’s more obscure cryptids, The Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp, of Lee County, South Carolina, is back in the news.

The first sighting of the Lizard Men was back in 1988, when a 17-year old said he was chased by what he described as a green, scaly, 7-foot figure with glowing red eyes and three-fingered hands. You and I might say “Dude, you are so high.” But the wise people in Lee County immediately thought “Local legend! Ka-ching!” And thus the Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp was born.

And now there’s been a new sighting! Well, not a sighting in the sense of “somebody actually saw something.” There’s a been a sighting in the sense of “Dang, somethin’ dun fucked up my car!” Unfortunately, the actual news article is pretty poorly written, burying the lede four paragraphs down and neglecting to provide pictures of “tooth marks [that] went completely through the fender” or metal “just bent it up [like] it was a piece of tissue paper.” Or any reason this might be the work of a lizard man rather than bear or alligator. (There might be a video there, but since I’ve got Brightcove (a really crappy and annoying ad platform) blocked, I guess I’ll never watch it.)

This piece, from 2008, is much better written, and a lot more likely to make you go “hmmmm.” Here’s another piece on that 2008 incident, with much bigger pictures. That’s awful high up on the fender for a gator to go up and gnaw on a car, and those holes look too deep and far apart to have been made by a bear (which gets mentioned as a possibility in the article). Doesn’t rule out the owners faking them, but those holes do look…odd.

Of course, the “Lizard Man’s Car” license plate in this video does nothing to enhance the witness’ credibility:

The video also includes plenty of local Lizard Man Merch. “Moichindising, moichindising! Where the real money from a cryptid is made!”

Another video from CNN:

And the South Carolina Lottery produced a series of painful Lizard Man-themed promo spots:

As for the location, well, it is near some swamp, but it’s not so far out that you would think a lizard man could escape detection for years on end, especially in an era where everyone has camera phones.

And what ever happened to the original victim? The lizard men killed him! That is, assuming the lizard men have guns. “Investigators say Davis was targeted in a drug-related incident.” (See also: The third paragraph of this post.)

Cryptozoology is one of the more interesting disciplines on the fringes of science, mainly because new animal species are being discovered all the time, and every now and then a cryptid turns out to be real. Alas, the idea of lizard men roaming the swamps of South Carolina may be pretty freaking unlikely, though not (quite) physically impossible.

Of course, South Carolina swamp dwellers are pretty far from David Icke’s shape-shifting ruling class. (I gather from the headline that Obama is now counted among the reptoids, but no way am I wading through two hours of Icke to confirm this.) The chances of Icke’s theory being true range from “Dude, listening to Alex Jones is for entertainment purposes only” to “Nurse, more Thorazine.”

A few more Lizard Men links:

  • Ye Olde Wikipedia Entry: vaguely accurate facts about the dubiously real.
  • The cream of the Lunatic America crop is on the case at Above Top Secret.
  • The inevitable Facebook page.
  • The Reptoid Research Center’s page on the Lizard Man. (What, you didn’t know there was a Reptoid Research Center?)
  • Skeptoid is being Mr. Unfun by debunking reptoids. Or maybe he’s just part of the conspiracy…
  • Today’s Fark-Ready Headline: “Did mother’s urge to play Yahtzee cause son to strangle her?”

    Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

    The family involved seems a wee tad dysfunctional. Mama Mason’s boys (yes, there are three involved) don’t seem like the sharpest points in the punch-kit:

    The charges said Jacob Cobb strangled his mother on the living room floor. Then he or his brother Andrew put a plastic bag over her head and tightened a belt around her neck. Clemens allegedly drove her body west to South Dakota, then east to Glenwood, Minn., before storing the corpse in a garbage can in a shed for months until the ground thawed enough for the two elder brothers to bury it.

    Sounds like the makings of a good Coen Brothers movie. Or a bad Joe Pesci movie…

    Bonus One: The climatic battle scene from the South Park episode “You Have Zero Friends”.

    Bonus Two: Body Count’s “Momma’s Gotta Die Tonight”:

    (Both of those are a little NSFW…)

    (Hat tip: Bill Crider.)