Archive for: November, 2007

Movie Review: The Mist (updated)

Nov 29 2007 Published by under Entertainment, Horror

Frank Darabont should be slapped. He's the writer/director of The Mist, the film adaptation of Steven King's classic novella. I just got back from seeing it with my friend Mike a few minutes ago. We'll come back to Darabont in a moment.

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Bad news for my girlfriend

Nov 29 2007 Published by under ... the Hell?, Religion

Sorry, sweetie: a concerned viewer asked Pat Robertson whether yoga has its origins in evil.  Well, bad news: by repeating yoga mantras you're praying to pantheistic gods and are apparently engaging in 'spooky' activities, though Robertson doesn't go so far as to admit that it's evil.

I guess we can file this one amongst all the other, um, 'interesting' things that Robertson has said.

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Graham Masterton's The Manitou

Nov 29 2007 Published by under Horror

I was digging through my collection of horror novels and came across an excellent but mostly forgotten classic: Graham Masterton's The Manitou.  The 1975 book was Masterton's first novel, and launched a prolific and ongoing career in horror writing.  Nowadays, you will almost certainly find his works on the shelves of your local bookstore, but The Manitou itself is not usually among them.  This is a shame, because it is a lovely, creepy novel and a great example of the often-mentioned but rarely-done-well 'science vs. sorcery' subgenre.

The story, told from the point of view of a second-rate mystic who get involved in the mess, centers upon a woman who finds a large growth on her neck, which moves.   It is gradually discovered that the growth is actually an ancient Native American shaman who is reincarnating himself by growing himself a new body on the poor woman.  Furthermore, this shaman is really pissed off at the white man for invading his homeland.  Our second-rate mystic seeks the help of a genuine Native American mystic to save the poor woman and fend off the angry shaman, and a battle of science (and a little sorcery) vs. pure sorcery is launched.

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The Futurama is today! (updated)

Nov 28 2007 Published by under Entertainment

There's a nice article in Wired (h/t Pharyngula) about the return of Futurama to the entertainment world.

Futurama was always given a bum rap by the networks, because it was unusual and more clever by far than the Simpsons episodes coming out at the same time. FOX more or less intentionally killed it with a scheduling pillow-over-the-face: I recall hanging out at my friend Personal Demon's house every Sunday night, only to find Futurama yet again preempted by Sunday Night Football.

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Starship Troopers coming to a battlefield near you

Nov 28 2007 Published by under Science news

I thought this was pretty cool.  Remember when the powered armor in Heinlein's Starship Troopers seemed so futuristic?  Well, a company is developing exoskeleton suits for the military, and though I wouldn't want to be running around on a combat field in one right now, they can do some pretty amazing things, and are surprisingly mobile.

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I pwned NaNoWriMo!

Nov 28 2007 Published by under Fiction

Well, I made the deadline!  I officially made 50268 words at 1:20 am on November 28.  My winner's image:

Which I display with pride.  This takes care of the paperwork, but the irony is that the novel isn't finished!  I've got a few more nights of work to wrap up the storyline.  Just like the last time I did a novel-in-a-month, the plot took on a life of its own and I've spent the past 10K words trying to put on the brakes!

I'm gunning to completely finish the story by the last day in November.  Wish me luck!

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Last-minute Monday catblogging: The Terror!

Nov 26 2007 Published by under Animals

I'm up late, writing my NaNoWriMo for the evening, but thought I'd take a break with a few pictures of Zoe! She's still an incredibly sweet cat, as evidenced by this picture of her taking a break:

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Cyrus Teed and the inside-out Earth

Nov 26 2007 Published by under ... the Hell?

There's some skepticism in the blogosphere, over the recent discussion of geocentrists and now, apparently, flat-earthers, that these web sites and trolls must be joking.  Nobody could possibly believe such simple-minded tripe in our modern, rational world, could they?

All this talk reminded me of the story of Cyrus Teed, a man who believed that we were living on the inside of a hollow Earth, not the outside, and that the sun and stars all resided in the central cavity.  Teed ended up with a cult worshipping under his new religion, Koreshanity, which at its peak had 250 followers.

When did all this happen?   Teed died in 1908.  About three dozen members of the cult remained, however, and there were still 35 members in the 1940s.  Finally, in 1960, the remaining four members deeded the Koreshan lands to the state of Florida.

My favorite part of the story?  Teed was confident that he would be resurrected after his death.  His followers awaited his rising until the body had decomposed enough for the county health officer to order it interred.

The lesson here is that there's always somebody out there willing to believe just about any crazy thing, if you give them a good enough story.

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Yes, Virginia, the universe really does revolve around the Earth (not)

Nov 25 2007 Published by under ... the Hell?, Physics, Religion

After you've read some of the science blogs for long enough, you start to think that there isn't any amount of crackpottery that can surprise you. For instance, reading Good Math, Bad Math will expose you to an endless amount of mathematics abuse, from bible code crazies to horrible mathematical 'proofs' of God. If you read Pharyngula, you will encounter so many creationists and Biblical literalists to make you want to become a Pharisee.

But I was really stunned when I discovered (h/t Pharyngula) another science blog where trolls are actually arguing in favor of geocentrism, the long-debunked view that the Earth is the fixed center of the universe and everything else revolves around it.

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A sign of the decline of western civilization

Nov 18 2007 Published by under ... the Hell?, [Politics]

It's a common observation amongst the liberal blogosphere that the media in the U.S. doesn't do a terribly good job, and dumbs down things excessively.

So I'm watching 60 Minutes tonight, and they have a segment about New York City's fight to require chain restaurants (particularly fast food) to put the calories of each item explicitly on the menu, so diners know exactly how much they're getting.  Personally, I find that very reasonable.  After some discussion about how many fast food chains are fighting this requirement, they turn to Subway, which is voluntarily adding the calories to the menu.  BUT, the reporter says, the numbers only reflect the calories of a six-inch sub.  If I want to know the calories intake for a foot-long sub, and I quote, "I'd have to double the number -- in my head!"

The reporter was apparently speaking seriously and sincerely.  I laughed for a good minute, until I started to cough.

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