Friday, October 31, 2008

The Joys and Jolts of EBay

A few days ago I was surfing EBay looking for works of WIlly Ley and saw a copy of Galaxy Science Fiction that had on the cover, "Wanted-Dead or Alive," by Willy Ley. I knew that Ley wrote a science column, but I didn't expect such a column to rate a mention at the very top of the magazine's cover, as this was, so I wondered if it was a short story.

Turns out it wasn't, it was an entry in his For Your Information column. (Which was 13 pages long! Nice to see!) Anyway, "Wanted - Dead of Alive" dealt with the discovery in the 1860s of the Ceratodus, and in the 1930s of the Coelacanth.

I find the Coelacanth story fascinating, and had read up on it previously, so I thought it was pretty interesting that Ley had discussed it.

The book review column is interesting...I'd love to see some of the books reviewed:

-Your Sins and Mine, by Taylor Calswell. A fantasy, with a Christian religious theme
-Report on the Status Quo, by Terence Roberts
-The Edge of the Sea, by Rachel Carson (non-fic)
-Guide to the Stars, by Hector MacPherson(non-fic)
-Frontiers of Astronomy by Fred Hoyle(non-fic)
-Revolt on Alpha C, by Robert Silverberg (teen)
-Martin and His Friend From Outer Space, by Ivo Duka and Helena Kolda (teen/kids)

The annoying thing, though, is that this digest-sized magazine comes from England, where it was published "by special arrangement with Galaxy Publishing Corporation" is that there is no date on this thing! I don't know when it was published. It's Nuumber 40, and it cost 35 cents. Price in England 2/- whatever that means. Two shillings? Two pounds?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Asimov Project

Two new items have been added to the Asimov Project.

A 121-page PDF index of all of Asimov's Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine essays. (F&SF). It's free, download it from here:

And we're running a contest. Asimov had a habit of using the phrase "To be sure." If you have one or more of Asimov's essay collections - or can check 'em out of the library, read 'em to find that phrase, send in the titles of the essays where they appear, and you can win prizes. For more details, go here:

If you're a fan of Isaac Asimov, you'll love this material,so check it out.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Rave Notice starring Vincent Price

The Thunder Child is a science fiction webzine, but I'm adding a new section to it, featuring mysteries, which is called The Delicious Death Society. And to inaugerate this new section, I've uploaded Rave Notice - starring Milton Berle from 1950, and Vincent Price, from 1958.

Suspense was a mystery/crime drama/occasionally SF anthology radio series which ran for 20 years. In its heyday, it attracted many top Hollywood stars, like Humphry Bogart, James Mason, Judy Garland, and so on. Vincent Price appeared on the program ten times... Milton Berle once.... but they both played the same role.

In Rave Notice, an actor in a play is fired by the director, and kills him. In order to escape the death penalty, he decides he must play the greatest role of his life, that of a homicidal lunatic.

Milton Berle played the role first, in 1950, and Vincent Price reprised it in 1958 (although 95% of the dialog is the same, there are some slight changes due to the fact that in 1950 the show had commercials, and in 1958, there were shorter, public service announcements.

I've uploaded 4 parts, which has about 5 minutes of Berle's version, then switches to the same scenes for Vincent Price. The 5th part is all Milton Berle at the end of episode, the 6th is the same scene with Vincent Price.

Listen to the show...and decide for yourself who does "insanity" better.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A is for Abbey

I haven't had time to read a lot of fiction lately, and while I've got dozens of books here in the office that I need to review for The Thunder Child, I was in the library and decided I'd do something that I'd been thinking of doing for decades, namely reading the books in the library from A to Z.

So I picked up an "A" book in the fiction section (which has mystery, SF, fantasy, and literature all intermixed), an "A" book from the biography section, and an "A" book from the Children's section.

So the fiction book I'm starting with is Out of Time, by Lynn Abbey, copyright 2000, Ace Books, and I'm actually enjoying it a great deal.

It's a "contemporary" or "real world" or "urban" fantasy. Heroine Emma Merrigan, librarian at a prestigious university, was abandoned by her mother shortly after she was born, and knows nothing about her. When she reaches her 50s (or however old she is, we're not really told) circumstances cause her to search her attic and find a box full of some things her mother left her... in particular a book that tells how to lift curses.

This comes in handy because Emma befriends a girl in the library stacks one day, who is haunted by invisible things trying to attack her.

Turns out Emma has the power to lift curses from an alternate universe, and she's going to have to start using that power.

Although written for a female audience, it's not a romance novel. More of a mystery-fantasy novel as Emma tries to figure out what's going on.

I'm only half-way through the book, actually, but I highly recommend it.

Turns out there are 4 books in the series:
Out of Time (2000)
Behind Time (2001)
Taking Time (2004)
Down Time (2005)

In looking at the covers for these books (viewable at I've got to say I'm not too impressed with them. Center figure of a woman, smiling vapidly... might turn off any guy looking for a contemporary fantasy novel who thinks it will be a romance fantasy instead...)

Lynn Abbey, of course, has written several novels, in the Thieves World series, and at one point was married to Robert Asprin.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Isaac Asimov wrote an essay called The Sacred Poet in which he lists a lot of poems that have caused public opinion to rise for the subjects of those poems (or songs).

This is the poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade, set to music and sung by The Three D's.

I don't actually think much of the animation - it doesn't fit... but the song, especially toward the end, is quite emotional.

Apparently, acording to Isaac Asimov anyway, the stanzas are written in such a way as to mimic the sound of horses hooves as they charge forward.

Bqackground: During the Crimean War, a British general ordered the Light Brigade (horsemen wearing light armor, as opposed to heavy armor) to charge into a heavily fortified French post. Everyone knew it was a mistake... they had no chance to achieve their aim... nevertheless, they made the charge, and most of them died.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Denny Crane on Gun Control

I don't actually watch Boston Legal, but I came across this clip and thought it was amusing. William Shatner as Denny Crain.

Of course, in real life, the crook would have shot first, without saying a word, and taken what he wanted off their dead bodies, but still...

Cooling off

Well, after a few hours to cool off...I'm starting to regret quitting..

Not for the reasons you think...but for the reasons I had continued to work for the jerk as long as I did.

Which was simply... he wanted me to quit. That had been obvious for a long time, and as equally obvious, I wasn't going to quit because I knew that's what he wanted.

But there were more forces at work last night than just my frustration over his dishonest Elance antics, and his persistence in communicating with me through a third party...

So although I regret falling into his trap and actually quitting, what I'm really starting to regret is not sending him, and his secretary, a detailed list of the crap he's been pulling about that Elance stuff for the last two months (before quitting, I'd downloaded all the emails for the last two months between me and him, and me and his two secretaries, about trying to get that Elance matter solved... a matter that should have taken no more than 24 hours...) just so that he'd know that I knew how dishonest he was, and she'd know immediately what a jerk he was (well, she'll doubtless find out about that soon enough, as several ex-employees have done...) I'm still relieved that I quit.

(Because the emails prove that he'd been jerking my chain, and this blogger's chain, and his secretary's chains, all along.)

Well, although I'm fortunate enough not to need the services of a loss mitigator, or run in the circles of people who do, if I can ever shine a little light on his company and prevent suckers from falling into the Loss Mitigation snare, I will certainly do my best to do so...

Lost Opportunity...

I have blogged in the past about some freelance work I've been doing for a company in Idaho. Well, I finally quit yesterday, and today I regret the way I did it because a much more "poetic justice" way of doing it occurred to me.

So I'm annoyed with myself.

Anyway, I'd been working for a loss mitigation company in Idaho for several months. (And here's a clue for anybody thinking of using a "loss mitigation" company. Don't. They charge you two mortgage payments-worth of a fee, up front (which I don't think they're allowed to do, by state law, actually) which is money you could be using to pay your mortgage to begin with! And then, for every "go-getter" on their staff who actually knows someone at a mortgage lender's office, they've got a dozen bodies hired off the street who don't know anything.

If you're going to work with a loss mitigation company - it should be one that only charges for results. IF they don't save your house, you don't pay!

Anyway, I'd initially started working with the CEO of this company about 5 months or so ago, when he was first starting it. And we got along fine. I don't like to talk on the phone, but we IM-ed each other via YahooMessenger, and I was given a company email, and things were just dandy.

Because we got along so well, I thought it would be okay to send him some advice on how he ran his business (after he'd cc-ed me on an email he sent to an angry client). Yes...I'm a $1,000 a month copyrighter and he's a $1,000 a day CEO, but I'd worked for people in his position before and I knew (and know) what is professional behavior and what is not. And sending angry emails to clients who are angry at you - albeit for mistaken reasons - is not a professional thing to do, in particular when the angry client is in the position of losing his home and may just decide to go postal on the next person who upsets him...

Anyway, my boss did not take kindly to this advice, and all of a sudden, that was it as far as our good relationship was concerned. Instead of IM-ing me each day and keeping me abreast of what was going on, nothing. Anytime I IM-ed him with a question, or emailed him with a link to a news article I thought he should know about, I met with a curt response or no response at all, so much so that I finally said to myself, fine. I will no longer exert myself to go over and above my duties...if there's something this guy needs to know about (such as someone at a Scam Website dissing the company) he won't find out about it through me.

Then there was the issue with my paychecks. Initially he'd paid me through Paypal, then it was supposed to be Direct Deposit (except his company still doesn't have Direct Deposit in place, he's as efficient in getting that done as he's efficient in everything else he does...)

So the first paycheck took two weeks to get here, the next eight days (even though sent via Priority)..and simultaneously with these delays were the issues I had paying one of the guy's workers, who worked through Elance - one of the things I'd been tasked to do back when we got along well.

His old credit card no longer worked all of a sudden, so he needed to input a new credit card into the system so I could pay the guy. I emailed him and told him so, and he promised his secretary would get right on it. And she emailed me and told me she would.

Then, nothing. And nothing. And nothing. For two months, nothing. For the first couple of times I emailed the secreatary, she would respond, "Oh, I'll get righton it." The next several times I emailed her... no response at all.

I initially thought it was the incompetence of the secretary, afraid to talk to her boss and get the necessary info, but now I'm beginning to think that she was just stonewalling me, as she'd been told, because now she's gone and a new secretary is in her place... who is asking me the same things initially that the first secretary had done, because their boss is pretending to have no knowledge of Elance!

So after two months of trying to get this guy's credit card validated so I could get his blogger paid - I finally IM-ed the guy last night and asked straight out about it. (I'd done this before - three times, but this time I was going to quit then and there if he gave a snarky reply.)

But, he doesnt' respond to the IM, but rather tells his secretary to email me with a response - and so I decided it was more than time since I quit. But then I had to decide how to do it. Should I show him the professionalism of an official resignation email - professionalism which he wouldn't appreciate and a courtesy which he didn't deserve - or should I just.... stop sending in my nightly newsletter to the company and stop doing my own blogging.

The email from his new secretary says that rather than paying the blogger via Elance, they'll just cut him a check, and asked for the blogger's contact details. So I shoot her back the guy's email, and I email the guy concerned and give him the woman's phone number. (Ironically, I'm more upset about the gross negligence of the situation then the blogger is. He still trusts the guy in charge and thinks things have been stalled for two months just because the guy is "so busy." Well, I threw up my hands after reading that. If the guy never gets paid, and works for a third month for free, he's only got himself to blame.)

So, I would have preferred to have quit by simply no longer sending in my newsletter, and no longer blogging, and letting the guy figure out for himself that I'd quit, (because, as I said, he deserved no other courtesy) but a week ago I'd been contacted by one of the company's VPs who was going to be in charge of upgrading the newsletter, and since I didn't want him to think I was so unprofessional as to not tell someone I was resigning and letting them figure it out after they hadn't heard from me for a few days, I decided I'd better make an official announcement.

So I emailed the head-honcho and CC-ed his secretary on it, telling him I was resigning. I CC-ed the new secretary because I didn't want her to think that I'd been fired by the creep, but was rather giving up my $1,000 a month job because I couldn't stand working for the jerk any longer, as I'm sure she'll find out for herself soon enough.

Of course I didn't say that in the email, just that our communication had deteriorated so much in the past three months that there seemed little point in continuing the relationship. (I IM him, he responds to me through his secretary, too bogus.)

But this morning, right as I woke up, it occurred to me what I should have done. I shouldn't have emailed him at all. I simply should have sent the email to his secretary - and asked her to give it to him!

That would have been poetic justice!

Anyway, I feel better after this rant. And if you are one of the poor unfortunates who is struggling to save your home from foreclosure - there are a lot of programs out there to help you. Go to your local neighborhood center to find out about Hope 4 Homeowners, the various HUD programs, and so on, ad don't deal with a "loss mitigation specialist" at all - unless you get references from people you actually know who can prove that it worked for them. And remember that the law says you don't have to pay them up front for their services!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Jack Webb on Johnny Carson

A classic from Jack Webb (of Dragnet fame)

The Case of the Copper Clappers

"I think Claude Cooper copped my copper clappers, kept in the closet."

The Last Wish

Over the past several months I've gotten several books for review, and have fallen behind on reviewing them.

I'm going to try to remedy that, and start with The Last Wish, by Andrezej Sapkowski, which introduces "The Witcher."

In other words its a horror novel, which I dont' really care for, but they sent it to me so I'll review it.

Here's the back flap:

Geralt de Rivia is a witcher. A cunning sorcerer. A merciless assassin.

And a cold-blooded killer.

His sole purpose: to destroy the monsters that plague the world.

But not everything monstrous looking is evil, and not everything fair is good...and in every fairy talethere is a grain of truth.

The Last Wish is "the international hit that inspired the videp game The Witcher."

The author, Andrzej Sapkowski is one of Polnd's most popular writers, outselling Stephen King and Michael Crichton. His books have been translated into Czech, French, German, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Russian, Slovak and Spanish.

The video game:

and the book

and I'll be reviewing the book shortly.

An Hour With Jon Pertwee

Listen to Jon Pertwee discuss his various roles - Doctor Who, Worzel Gummidge, Pertwee of The Navy Lark, from Oct 18-23 using this link for BBC Radio 7.

You can also listen to Part 9 of the Brightonomicon here:

A new Paul McGann radio series begins tomorrow (Sunday) and the first episode is Dead London. Complete in 50 minutes. I"ll share the link when it's available.

The Doctor and Lucie get trapped with a killer in a labyrinth of London's history. Starring Paul McGann and Sheridan Smith.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Monster Model Reviews

I was browsing through YouTube's science fiction authors when I came across the offerings from Monster Model Reviews.

There are more at:

Here are a few of their reviews:

Monster Model Review #24 Moebius Models

Monster Model Review #1 Mummy's Curse by Diceman Creations

Monster Model Review #7 Aurora Monsters part 3

Monster Model Review #55 KreatureKid and Far East Monsters

Arthur C. Clarke at YouTube

Arthur C. Clarke: 90th Birthday Reflections

Arthur C. Clarke in 2001

Arthur C. Clarke and Hal's Birthday

Arthur C. Clarke and Leonardo Di Caprio discuss the endangered Gorillas

Arthur C. Clarke on Fractals - the colors of Infinity

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Jack Benny was a Martian

In 3 parts, because of You Tube's insistence that only 10 minute videos can be uploaded.

Also, there's about a minute of overlap at the beginnings of Part 2 and Part 3, just to get you "back in the swing."

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Monday, October 13, 2008

Recommended site: Technovelgy

Not sure how long this site has been in operation - there's no copyright note at the very bottom of it that IDs howlong its been in existence. - where science meets fiction

is its motto.

"Explore the inventions and ideas of science fiction writers at Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) - over 1,680 are available. Use the Timeline of Science Fiction Invention or the alphabetic Glossary of Science Fiction Technology to see them all, look for the category that interests you, or browse by favorite author / book. Browse more than 1,900 Science Fiction in the News and Beyond Technovelgy articles."

The only problem with the site is that the links to all the good links are shunted to narrow columns on the left and right of the page, while a bunch of google ads run down the middle of it.

However, those are easily ignored - although if you find the site useful it would be nice to click on a few google ads, should you find them of interest, to support the site - and once you actually get to the information contained on the site, it's well worth it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Michael Goorjian - behind the scenes of Newsies

Just created a new video, featuring a 21-year old Michael Goorjian learning dance and fight choreography for his role in Newsies... It was on the set of Newsies that Goorjian and a few fellow Newsies, lots of time on their hands, decided to create a 20-minute movie, Blood Drips Heavily on Newsies Square.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

That damn fine print

I went to Best Buy yesterday, and picked up the $50 Iron Man gift pack. I got the 2-disc Iron Man DVD, and a small bust of Iron Man, and a gift card for $50 to Sideshow Collectibles.

I figured this was a good deal, I'd be getting $50 worth of free stuff. Not so.

There is verrrrrry little you can buy on the Sideshow Collectibles site for less than $50.

Oh, they used to have stuff. Little Big Heads, of various characters such as Universal Horror - Frankenstein, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and so on, all sold out, and various other things...also all sold out.

They do have a $49 Indiana Jones framed character key... but you can't buy that with a Gift Card! It's not "Gift card eligible."

They have these little Pirates of the Caribbean "Cosbaby" figurines, 6 of 'em, but only 2 of them are eligible to be purchased via Gift Card.

So it's totally bogus.

Most of their stuff... and I don't deny that they have good stuff, costs between $150 and $400... and it's only on that stuff that you can use this Gift Card.

Had I done enough research two days ago on the Sideshow Collectibles site, before I went out and bought that "Gift pack", I wouldn't have bought it at all, because what I've got sure isn't worth $50.

They've got a cool Creature From The Black Lagoon figurine that I'd really like, but it's over $300, so even with this delightful gift card it would cost me $250, and since I just lost one of my best long-term writing gigs, I can't really afford it... even if I wasn't so upset with this little "bait-and-switch" tactic on Sideshow's behalf.

Because that's clearly what it is. Take those little Cosbaby figurines. They're all the same, made by the same manufacturer, but only 2 of them are "gift card eligible." Give me one logical reason why that should be. A gift card is a gift card, what does it matter what you spend it on? Sideshow it obviously matters because they drive you to their site to spend the big bucks, and they can't get you to do that if they let you buy just anything with their "gift cards."

So, while at one point in time, prior to a few minutes ago, I was going to give Sideshow Collectibles a free plug, now I say they're a bunch of crooks with overpriced merchandise, and don't deal with them!

And anyone want an Iron Man bust? Cheap!

Review: Ghost Town

I went to see Ghost Town yesterday, the 2 pm showing at my local theater, and quite enjoyed it. It came out on September 19, and so has been playing for about 3 weeks, and I'm disappointed to see that it's never even cracked the "Top 5" movie makers that the IMDB reports on its site.

However, Ghost Town is infinitely better than Beverly Hills Chihuahaua or NIck and Nora's Infinite Playlist - garbage. (You will ask, "if you haven't seen them, how can yo call them garbage?" Easy, all you have to do is look at the that's all you have to do for such garbage as Knocked Up and Steve and Mary Make A Porno - or whatever the title of that piece of garbage is.

And yet they will undoubtedly each made more money then Ghost Town, and that's sad. Scary, as well, when I think of the lowest common denominator of movie goer and what they like...

Well, perhaps Ghost Town is hurt by the title, as it doesn't really give an idea of what the movie is about.. who knows?

Here's the plot: Bertram Pincus, a dentist with absolutely no social skills, indeed, even a bit anti-social, goes in for a colonoscopy and ends up clinically dead for 7 minutes. When he wakes up, he can see dead people. (And they annoy him.... love that line on one of the posters!) Once the dead realize he can see them, they all want his help - they have loved ones who need help. However, Pincus, a jerk, refuses to help them. Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear) a ghost who had philandered on his wife while he was alive, says he will get rid of all the ghosts if Pincus will just help him, by driving his wife's new boyfriend out of her life.

Pincus agrees. And, since this is a romantic comedy, you can guess what happens.

All the actors are excellent. Ricky Gervais plays Pincus. I've never seen the American version of The Office, let alone the British version in which he stars, but I have seen him in Night at the Museum and liked his "schtick" of getting lost in convoluted sentences and just stopping and walking away. He does a bit of that here, but also shows that he can underplay and overplay with equal facility. [I don't know that I'd like him in real life, however, as apparently he has a big ego, and indeed in the few publicity shots I've seen of him standing with other actors, he's always got a big grin on his face as if he's trying to "steal the shot" as well as the scene....] And I've never seen a pic of him and Tea Leoni together off-screen!

Tea Leoni plays anthropologist Gwen, an expert in mummies and the widow of Frank Herlihy. (So much nicer to have a female character who is an anthropologist and not some check-out clerk or bartender with no ambition to be anything more in life except a sex object to a boyfriend).

Greg Kinnear as Frank Herlihy also does a good job. Bill Campbell plays Richard, Gwen's new love interest. His must have been a difficult role to play, as we're not sure (and I'm not sure if we're supposed to be sure) if he's a jerk or a nice guy...)

Oh, it's a bit derivative of other ghost films such as Topper, maybe even Quantum Leap (in which the character had to solve a situation regarding the character he'd jumped into, and would not "leap" until he'd solved that problem)... but then, name me one film since movies have been made that isn't derivative!!! Everything's combined here to make it fresh and delightful.

Not sure where this poster comes from, but it certainly does the movie a disserve. Makes one think the guy's a gynecologist, not a dentist! Stupid.

Much better is this one:

and here's one of Tea Leoni with her mummy.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Irish Washerwoman

I am continuing to work on my index to all of Isaac Asimov's essays, and in so doing I came across his introduction to You, Too, Can Speak Gaelic, in which he says:

"He sang it to the tune of The Irish WAsherwoman.

If you don't know the tune of The Irish Washerwoman, all I can say is that it is an Irish jig; in fact, it is the Irish jig, if you heard it, you would know it. I venture to say that if you know only one Irish jig, or if you try to make up an Irish jig, that's the one.

So I went to YouTube and sought it out, found it, listened to it, and indeed recognized that I'd heard it before.

Where I've heard it before I couldn't say. Perhaps only as early as a few months, when I went to Busch Gardens with my sister, her hubby and their son, and sat in the Irish section listening to some fiddlers while they went through a ride which I didn't want to go on...

But I'd probably heard it before that... I've been to England a few times, albeit many years ago, and may have heard it then, or on any one of innumerable TV shows.

Anyway, it was a hoot that I recognized the tune, and thought I'd share it here.

Iron Man


This will be a two-part post. Today, I'll talk about the exclusive Walmart doublepack...tomorrow I'll talk about the exclusive Best Buy bust, and maybe even a bit about the movie itself... although I will say I enjoyed it more than the first Spiderman, for a simple reason. I am so tired of angst movies, and Spiderman was nothing but angst, but at the end, Iron Man is just a hero. More on that tomorrow.

Anyway, exclusive to Walmart is the double pack. The front of it is an across the DVDs cover that features the three main characters. Flip it over and you see the backs of the two DVDs which of course give the contents of each.

For the Disc 2, it features:

A complete episode of the upcoming Iron Man Armored Adventures

Join young Tony Stark and his friends in these all-new adventures, back when our young hero was in high school...cramming for exams...testing his inventions...thrill seeking and battling evil. Tony has to put his typical teenage desires on hold when he invents a high-tech armored flight suit and becomes armored man.

Image Gallery from the feature film Iron man

Iron Man original motion picture soundtrack

Digital comics that reveal the story behind the special ending to Iron Man, featuring Nick Fury.

I'm not too pleased with the fact that Iron Man Armored Adventures is going to rewrite history.... Tony Stark didn't create Iron Man until he was in his 30s... yet this cartoon is going to have him do it as a teenager? Presumably with no heart problem that necessitates him wearing the pacemaker doohicky all the time...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Good Knowledge Obtained Still Knowledge

A few weeks ago, I saw a few minutes of a Star Trek: Voyager episode in which the half-Klingon character Belanna has some kind of illness, which can only be cured by activating a Cardassian hologram doctor, who achieved the knowledge of how to cure her by experimenting on captured Bajorans, during the Cardassian/Bajoran road.

(I never watched any of the Star Trek spinoffs, after the first couple of episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, because they were just too full of gravitas for me. The original Star Trek, to me, seemed to celebrate man's conquest of space, the later Star Trek's just went to show that man brings problems with him everywhere he goes... or at least, there's always wars, death and destruction everywhere.)

Anyway, the driver of the plot is that Belanna does not want this Cardassian doctor to operate on her. She would rather die than have the doctor make use of technology discovered through torture.

And of course this is reminiscent of the Nazi doctors during World War II, who experimented on Jews, on anyone they termed subhuman. There is a lot of medical knowledge there, but it is buried away and not allowed to be used because of how it was acquired.

And I'm thinking... that's stupid. Why should those people, whom the Nazis experimented on, have died in vain? Surely by making use of the knowledge gained, their deaths will have much more meaning that if they are just allowed to remain nameless victims of such barbarism.

And of course, it wasn't just the Nazis. The Tuskeegee syphilis experiment was pretty vicious, in the 50s apparently the government released various nerve gases in the subways... and is it too much to think that Russia and China would be doing the same thing, given that they care less about humans than democratic countries do?

Here's a review of a book that talks about "Nazi Medicine".

God Prefers Atheists

Okay, there is no God, but a rational God (and most people's God doesn't behave rationally) would react just like this...

(Click on the comic to enlarge it.)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Iron Man DVD

I made a late night run to Walmart tonight...I was in the mood for some chocolate...

I also decided to pick up the Iron Man DVD, and I'll be blogging about the movie tomorrow...

But thought I'd just comment on the various versions out there...

At Walmart, I picked upa 2-pack, the movie, and bundled with ("only at Walmart"), an episode of the new Iron Man tv series, a digital comic book, soundtrack sampler from the movie, and cool movie stills.

As I went through the checkout counter, the guy there told me there was a DVD with the hologram on it, and Best Buy had one for $39.99 with a case featuring Iron Man's head. So I'm not opening what I've got right now, will check out Best Buy tomorrow and see what's what.

I checked Amazon and they just have the Blue Ray DVD and the regular DVD ... and if you want, you can pick it up:

The more things change...

I used to report to you the science fiction that was being aired on BBC Radio 7.

Well, yesterday the delightful people at Radio 7 decided to revamp their website, and now it looks like crap, and its impossible to find anything. On the same "Schedule" page, they'd got shows that are airing, and shows that aren't airing - what in the world is the point of that?

What really bugs me about this is what bugs me everytime somebody does an upgrade of some website or something, they never ask anyone who uses the site, how it should be upgraded. The techheads just decide what *they* want, and do it, and leave the real users to figure it out and get used to not having features that worked fine, and having to do three steps when one used to do.

Same thing with software, with operating's just ridiculous!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Double Standard for Spike Lee

Just saw a news report about Italians upset with Spike Lee over the depiction of the massacre of Santa Anna. In the movie (which I wont' see, I don't really care for war movies much, unless they're about the Air Force!) Lee has Partisans flee the village, leaving the citizens behind to be massacred by the Germans.

Santa Anna villagers say that's not how it happened.

Spike Lee's response:

In Florence yesterday Lee defended his film. "It's not a historical text, it's a fiction," he said. "There are different versions of what happened at Sant'Anna di Stazzema, so we don't have anything to apologise for," and the whole row "has been enormously blown up by the media". The controversy, he added, "demonstrates that in Italy there is still an open wound". That is one claim that no one will argue with.

Let's repeat that: "It's not a historical text, it's a fiction,"

So Lee has really no right to get upset because Clint Eastwood didn't have a couple of black extras wandering around behind the scenes during the flag raising at Iwo Jima. (Blacks were indeed there, as they were in most theaters, but were rarely armed or took part in fighting.)

Frankly, why do this Santa Anna movie at all? What should have been told is the real story of the Red Ball Express. A movie made in the 60s with John Wayne had no blacks in it, either, but it was mostly blacks who were the drivers for the Red Ball Express.

Better still, a movie version of the Red Tails - the Tuskegee Airmen, or of Bessie Coleman, first black aviator ever!

(And as a side note... apparently able bodied men in the village saw a flare and fled into the woods, leaving women and children to die in the massacre. What I want to know is, why didn't those able bodied men take the women and kids with?)