Thursday, December 30, 2010

January Conventions

The Thunder Child has updated its science fiction convention pages for 2011. We've got two pages, one that lists conventions by date, and the other that lists conventions by location.

Below are the conventiosn for January. (That we know about. If you're holding a convention and its not listed below (or at our pages), email us and give us all the details.

http://thethunderchild.com/Conventions/USCalendarByDate.html

Remember that all the info provided below is for information only. Check the convention's website to verify dates, times and costs. (The Thunder Child isn't responsible for any info in error! Verify!)


January 14-16
RustyCon 30
"A science fiction & fantasy convention"
Seattle Airport Marriott
3201 South 176th Street
Seattle, WA
www.rustycon.com/

January 14-16
MarsCon (Williamsburg, VA)
"Southeastern Virginia's Premiere Relaxi-con"
Holiday Inn Patriot
3032 Richmond Road, Route 60
Williamsburg, VA
www.marscon.net/


January 14-17
Arisia '19
"New England's largest and most diverse science fiction and fantasy convention"
Westin Waterfront Hotel
425 Summer Street
Boston, 02210, MA
2011.arisia.org/


January 21-23
Confusion
"Brought to you by the Stilyagi Air Corps"
Detroit Marriott Troy
200 West Big Beaver Road, Troy, MI
www.stilyagi.org/

Saturday, December 25, 2010

George Reeves Adventures of Superman

Over 10 years ago, TVLand aired an Adventures of Superman marathon, starting with the Phyllis Coates episodes. To my rage, the Haunted Lighthouse episode wasn't among them, and indeed, they'd skip every two or three episodes, so they weren't showing the full set.

Annoyed, I never did watch the tapes I'd made .... so it's not until today, some ten years later, that I'm finally watching all these episodes, one after the other, as I transfer them from VHS to DVD-R.

And what fun they are. I must say that yes, the first season is the best, and it's too bad Phyllis Coates has been succeeded in everyone's minds by Noel Neill...indeed, I don't think Coates was ever invited to any of the Superman reunions...at least not if Noel Neill was going to be there.

Anyway, much as I do like Neill, the Coates episodes were simply superior TV, for the most part.

Now, this is a great website you must visit if you're a fan of George Reeves' Superman shows.

http://www.jimnolt.com/

It has everything. The website owner is the author of a Superman companion book, that I've reviewed at The Thunder Child website. I can't give you the title now as, since I've moved, all my books are packed away, but as soon as I find it, I'll give it another blurb.

Merry Christmas

A video, which my Kindle readers can't view, unfortunately.

The New Seekers singing "I'd like to teach the world to sing"

(Go to Youtube and do a serch on the song if you'd like to hear it.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming


Just watched this while recording it from VHS to DVD-R. I do enjoy it, although it would be a lot betterif a few minutes were cut, for example the guy spending 5 minutesto catch his horse, and the two women in the motorcycle...but for most of its length its a great movie and I admit the penultimate ending has me teary-eyed.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's always something

My mom has "free" antivirus protection on her Dell...and it's done her no good at all. She's now infected with something that prevents IE and Firefox from being able to get online, even though she's connected to the internet.

I thought I had put Panda Cloud Virus on there, but apparently not. Not that I know if Panda works, either. It was a suggestion of my brother's. On my computer, I pay for Norton, which seems to work just fine.


My mom is in her 70s, and doesn't know enough to not download stuff sent by strangers, or not open emails from people you dont' know. When I looked at her computer today, she had something called Magnetic...something... as her default IE homepage. I got rid of that and put it back to Yahoo mail..and that's when the probem started.

All malware and virus devisers should be shot on sight!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ah, memories

For the last 3 or 4 days I've been transferring my VHS tapes to DVD-R. I've got over 200 VHS tapes, so this will probably take me a couple of months at least.

But it's fun, I'm watching a lot of shows I hadn't watched since I taped them, 20 - 1- years ago... Perry Mason, Combat!, Doctor Who (Tom Baker, and Jon Pertwee) the Avengers with Cathy Gale (Honor Blackman) and so on.

Fun fun.

Of ocurse what I'm going to do with 200 expendable VHS tapes I do not know. I've tried to give them away on CHeyenne Freecycle, but no one's expressed an interest.

Friday, December 17, 2010

1950s Horror Theatre from Comedy Break

Uploaded at YouTube. 3 episodes of 1950s Horror Theatre, and then an Easter Egg at the end. Do not touch that dial.

1950s Science Fiction Theater from Comedy Break

comedy Break was a syndicated comedy skit series from 1985-1986, which starred the Comedy duo of Mack and Jamie (Mack Dryden and Jamie Alcroft). Kevin Pollak was on board for the whole series, the female supporting actor changed, I think it was Marla Frumkin first and then Jan Hooks, with Maggie Roswell subbing for Hooks on one occasion.

One or more of the writers for this showw must have been a fan of science fiction, because there were a few of these 1950s Science Fiction Theater (with Kevin Pollak doing a great William Shatner/Captain Kirk impression), and a few 1950s Horror Movie Theater (which were really science fiction spoofs, filmed in color) and one hilarious sendup of Plan 9 From Outer Space.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Press Release: GET A MOUTHFUL OF MURLOCS FOR THE HOLIDAYS!


New Stein Showcases Legendary Denizens of the Deep From Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft®

SAN DIEGO, CA (December 13, 2010) – Taverncraft, a subsidiary of 3 Point Entertainment LLC, today announced they have begun shipping the latest addition to their Epic Collection stein series based on Blizzard Entertainment's massively multiplayer online role-playing game, World of Warcraft®. The new stein, entitled RAWGRLRLRLRRLGLRL!!!, features Azeroth’s wildly popular denizens of the deep, the murlocs, illustrated by premier fantasy artist Matt Cavotto. The stoneware stein features numerous murlocs throughout, including Winterfin Oracle, Bluefin Murloc and Murloc Tidehunter, and is topped with an exclusive murloc-themed solid pewter lid.

“Murlocs are among the most popular monsters within World of Warcraft, and we always knew a murloc stein would be a great addition to our line-up,” said 3 Point Entertainment President Jerry Bennington. “They're wily creatures with a fun reputation, and this collectible stein, which is perfect for holiday gift-giving, is a great way to express your love for these unforgettable characters."

RAWGRLRLRLRRLGLRL!!! is the fifth release in the Epic Collection series of World of Warcraft steins. Previous steins in the series include Blood of the Horde, Alliance United, Rise of the Lich King, and Charge of the Great Dragonflights.

Each Epic Collection stein stands over 10” tall, is handcrafted from authentic fine-grain stoneware, and features panoramic bas-relief sculpting and a solid pewter lid. The new RAWGRLRLRLRRLGLRL!!! stein can be purchased at www.taverncraft.com for $99.99 / 81.99 EUR each, with the other World of Warcraft Epic Collection steins currently available for the same price.



Press Release: TAVERNCRAFT LAUNCHES NEW LINE OF PREMIUM MARVEL ETCHED GLASSES


Glasses Feature Deep-Etched Iconic Images of Legendary Marvel Super-Heroes

SAN DIEGO, CA (December 14, 2010) – You've read about their exploits in your favorite comic books. You've watched them on the silver screen. Now you can also share a drink with the world's greatest super-heroes! Taverncraft, a subsidiary of 3 Point Entertainment LLC, today announced they have entered into an agreement with Marvel Entertainment Group to create steins, tankards and mugs, plus a unique line of deep-etched glassware, all featuring iconic Marvel Comics super-heroes. The initial wave of 16 oz. pint glasses and 25 oz. glass steins are available now from www.taverncraft.com and feature Spider-Man, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk and Captain America.

"Fans who are used to standard silk-screened steins and glasses are going to be in for a pleasant surprise," said 3 Point Entertainment President Jerry Bennington. "The deep etching really brings out the detail in the characters, and offers a dimensionality that you just can't get from simply applying an image onto the surface. Whether buying a set for yourself or as a holiday gift, fans will be able to see and appreciate the high quality and unsurpassed durability of our Marvel deep-etched glasses and steins."

Pint glasses are packaged in two-glass sets and retail for $29.99 plus shipping and handling. Each 25 oz. glass stein is packaged individually and retails for $29.99 plus shipping and handling. Additional information, images and ordering details are available at http://www.taverncraft.com.






Monday, December 13, 2010

TOAST THE HOLIDAYS WITH NEW THE HOBBIT™ STEIN


Smaug Legend 1

Smaug Legend 2

PR: Taverncraft Introduces Two Versions of the Smaug™ the Magnificent Stein

SAN DIEGO, CA (November 17, 2010) – Taverncraft, a subsidiary of 3 Point Entertainment LLC, today announced that they have begun shipping the first stoneware stein in their ongoing collectible drinkware series based on the literary masterpieces The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Smaug the Magnificent, illustrated by world-famous fantasy artist Matthew Stawicki, is available in both Epic and Legendary editions. Ordering information and detailed photos are available at www.taverncraft.com , with holiday delivery in the contiguous United States guaranteed if ordered prior to December 15, 2010.

"The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy are among the most influential books in literary history, and we're thrilled to be part of that legacy," said 3 Point Entertainment President Jerry Bennington. "From the incredibly detailed, panoramic bas-relief imagery to the pewter lid with its 'One Ring' motif, fans will cherish this hefty stoneware stein. Whether buying one for yourself or as a holiday gift, it's perfect for any Lord of the Rings devotee."

Each Smaug the Magnificent stein stands over 10” (25.4 cm) tall and is handcrafted from authentic fine-grain stoneware. The steins showcase panoramic bas-relief sculpting and a sculpted pewter lid featuring the legendary "One Ring to rule them all." The Smaug the Magnificent Epic Collection Stein is available for $99.99, while the Smaug the Magnificent Legendary Collection Stein is priced at $169.99. The Smaug the Magnificent Legendary Collection Stein is limited to 500 worldwide, features an 18K gold-plated "One Ring" lid and hand-painted gold trimming throughout the image and handle.

The stoneware Smaug the Magnificent stein joins Taverncraft's popular line of deep-etched pint glasses and glass steins featuring iconic artwork of the most popular taverns in Middle-earth. Information about the entire The Hobbit product line-up, including the Smaug the Magnificent stein, is available at http://www.taverncraft.com .



Inn of the Prancing Pony Mug



Hobbit Legend

Sunday, December 05, 2010

View The Lady and the Tiger...Moth graphic novelette

I've put it up at YouTube. Remember to see the whole thing (the rest of the story is told in prose form) you can purchase it for the Kindle from Amazon.com for the extremely low price of $1.99!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

I hate snow!

Currently visiting relatives in Rapid City South Dakota. Had 6 inches of snow last night.Not that much actually, considering what I was used to in Minneapolis, MN.... but that was 10 years ago. After 10 years in Yorktown VA where there was no snow and temps rarely got below 30 this is a shock.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Lady and the TIger..Moth

Some months ago I blogged here about my comic strip, The Lady and the Tiger...Moth. I'd produced 30 strips that introduce Shannon Scott, freelance journalist, and airplane pilot, who is given the opportunity to fly around the midwest USA for three months, attending airshows in a Tiger Moth.

I've converted this comic strip into an ebook (one panel per Kindle page), supplemented it with a prose story called A Tiger Among Eagles, and offer it for sale on the Kindle, for $4.99.

Amazon purchase page for The Lady and the Tiger...Moth

If you don't have a Kindle, never fear. You can download a Kindle emulator for FREE, for the PC, Mac, and various fancy phones.

So if you're interested in aviation fiction, please check it out.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

No paddle, no creek, no canoe

Once again I've been shafted by the powers that be.

Amazon.com has a program where people can offer their blogs for subscription to the Kindle. I've got quite a few there, most have only a handful of subscriptions. They cost $1.99 a month to subscribe.

Until today, I had two very successful blogs, one with 70 subs, one with 150. Today, with no warning at all, their prices have been reduced to 99 cents from $1.99.

So my income has been halved.

Just like that.

Blogs with 5 subs continue to be priced at $1.99 a month, blogs with 70 and 150 subscriptions are reduced in price by half. Can someone explain the logic of that to me?????????????

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Well, we have arrived at our new home in Cheyenne, WY. We've been here for 3 or 4 days, unpacking and putting together beds, etc.

The major part of our move was books and, for me, VHS tapes. Unpacking those is problematical because all of our bookcases have been left in storage in Virginia. There's a story behind that but I wont go into it.

Anyway, it'll be a while before there's internet at the house, so I'll have to travel to the local library each day to do my blog work. What fun!

But, we're here, it's a nice house, so it's all good.

Friday, October 08, 2010

3 more days

We will be leaving Burleston, TX tomorrow, Saturday, and expect to fetch up in Cheyenne, WY on Monday.

Will be nice to have a permanent place to stay...not sure how long it will take to get internet service out there, though...

Friday, October 01, 2010

We have arrived

in Burleson, Texas.

I enjoyed the drive,for the most part. Had to deal with a traffic jam on the highway through Nashville a couple of days ago, and today in trying to skirt Dallas, got involved in a traffic jam too.

Normally these don't bother me, but the traffic jam through Dallas had be worried. The Nashville one didn't bother me, because I was staying on the same highway all the way through. For the one in Dallas, I had to make a *left* hand exit onto another highway.

So we're inching along, and I'm in the left hand lane, and I see up in front of me a "Must exit" sign for some other highway. So I have to get into the middle lane. Fortunately someone in the right lane let me in, for which I will be grateful because I'd gotten the impression that Texan drivers were just as rude as Tennesseean drivers were. (I'll rant about that at a different time.)

Anyway, I was on 30W which normally is a 5 lane highway in both directions but had the left lane cordoned off - with permanent looking cement blocks - and then it finally opened up on the right so I suddenly found myself three lanes over from the left hand lane and the exit I needed to get to.

Fortunately, just as the highway lanes opened up into 5 again, so did the traffic, so I was able to zoom across lanes with no problem.

But it had been a tense time.

Now I've got three days of blog work to catch up on, since I had bad luck with internet connections in two successive Best Westerns.

So, that's the update for today.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The journey has begun...

Well, the drive from Yorktown to Cheyenne has begun.

We'd been yearning for rain in Yorktown for at least a month...no rain.

Today, it was raining.

And I'd put this Sherpak vinyl thing on top of my car, with three straps holding it down, by going inside the car. And the rain came in on those straps and dripped and dripped.

I had rain dripping down my neck - literally dripping down my neck - for an hour, and my poor mom in the back seat had towels everywhere to try to keep the rain from getting into bags and suitcases.

So here's tip #1 - if you live anywhere where it rains - don't use a Sherpak. You'll regret it!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

27 Sep, 2010, Monday, SF on BBC Radio 7

You can listen to these episodes for 7 days from today.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio7/programmes/schedules/2010/09/27

Earthsearch
Series 1, Across the Abyss
6/10. Searching for Earth, the starship Challenger heads towards star cluster Tersus 9.

Charles Chilton - Journey into Space
The Red Planet, Episode 6
6/20. Captain Jet Morgan and his crew receive warnings to turn back - but who from?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

26 Sep, 2010, Sunday, SF on BBC Radio 7

You can listen to these programs for 7 days from now.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio7/programmes/schedules/2010/09/26

The Book of the City of Ladies [Omnibus edition]
10/06/2007
Christine de Pizan's tale of building a fortress for women of valour, virtue and wisdom.
[All 5 episodes one after the other]


Comedy Catch-Up
Married
Robin Lightfoot wakes up to discover he's in a parallel universe, with a wife and kids. [Same episode as earlier this week]

Fear on Four
St Austin Friars
The Man in Black reveals how a new vicar takes on more than he bargained for.

Friday, September 24, 2010

25 Sep, 2010, Saturday, SF on BBC Radio 7

You can listen to these programs for days from today.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio7/programmes/schedules/2010/09/25

Nathaniel Hawthorne - Rappaccini's Daughter
A man gets obsessed with the mysterious girl next door. Stars Joseph Cohen-Cole.

Franza Kafka - Metamorphosis
Episode 4
4/4. Living with his monstrous insect form, Gregor faces the ultimate rejection by his family.

Movie Review: Legend of the Guardians


It used to be that animated movies (except that done by X-rated animators like Ralph Bakshi) were for kids, or, at best, for kids and adults. With Legend of the Guardians, we've arrived at an animated film that really isn't suitable for young kids. (Well, Jim Carrey's A Christmas Carol might fall into that category as well.)

Of course these days, kids are being exposed at a younger and younger age to "the real world," nevertheless I think kids younger than 5 or so won't be able to sit through this movie, and younger than 10 might find it quite scary at times. [Young American kids might have trouble following the English/Australian accents, too.]

The story opens in a paradise (except for mice!), where owls live in a tree. Two young brothers, Soren and Kludd, are just learning to fly. Kludd is impatient of his brother's love of stories - which Soren shares with their cute-as-a-button younger sister, Eglantine, and jealous of his abilities. They have a fight and fall out of the tree and can't climb back up into it. They are then kidnapped by a pair of large, helmeted owls who bring them to a dark place, where other kidnapped owls are separated into "peckers" and "soldiers." The "peckers" work on the ground, finding something called "Flecks", and are subdued by becoming "Moonblind" - with a very unpleasant after-effect that little kids won't like.

Soren manages to escape, with the help of a young barn owl, and determines to fly to Ga'Hoole to tell the Owl Guardians what is going on. Along the way, he gains three friends to help.

I suppose the story is derivative...but then really, what story isn't? Terry Brooks' Shannara empire, for example, what is that but a take off of the Lord of the Rings?

So, this story has all the "tropes" that you find in this genre. But it's well presented, the animation is fantastic, the actors do an excellent job (truth to tell I didn't recognize the voices of Helen Mirren, Sam Neill, or Georggrey Rush, as their voices are probably "sweetened" a bit, but the emoting is all that you could hope for.

Recommended - for kids over 10 and adults of all ages.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

24 Sep, 2010, Friday, SF on BBC Radio 7

You can listen to these programs for 7 days from today

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio7/programmes/schedules/2010/09/24

The Book of the City of Ladies
Episode 5
5/5. At the Chapel of Women, there's jubilant singing. With Kathryn Hunt.


Redesigning the Human Body
The Skin We're In
5/5. Len Fisher dreams about what he could do to make his skin more appealing.

Earthsearch
Series 1, The Pools of Time
5/10. The starship closes in on Zelda 5, where Darv and Astra face death as captives.

Charles Chilton - Journey into Space
The Red Planet, Episode 5
5/20. With communications to Earth lost, Jet Morgan's courage is tested during a meteor swarm.

Old Harry's Game
Series 4, Episode 4
4/6. Satan is cross with Yeats over a poem. Scumspawn and Thomas write their own verse.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

23 Sep, 2010, Thursday, SF on BBC Radio 7

You can listen to these programs for 7 days from today

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio7/programmes/schedules/2010/09/23

The Book of the City of Ladies
Episode 4
4/5. The female virtues of loyalty and faithfulness. Christine de Pizan's allegorical fantasy.

The Howling Terror Mystery
The strange story of a huge megaphone hurling a human voice over the South Downs in 1900.

Earthsearch
Series 1, The Solaric Empire
4/10. The crew's Astra and Darv are taken to a neighbouring moon for cross-examination.

Charles Chilton - Journey into Space
The Red Planet, Episode 4
4/20. The mystery over Whitaker deepens, as tragedy strikes on board one of the Mars freighters.

The Museum of Everything
Series 3, The Expo
5/6. Marvel at the meerkats, visit a new theme park - and one man meets 'The Curator'.

Earthsearch
Series 1, The Solaric Empire
4/10. The crew's Astra and Darv are taken to a neighbouring moon for cross-examination.

Charles Chilton - Journey into Space
The Red Planet, Episode 4
4/20. The mystery over Whitaker deepens, as tragedy strikes on board one of the Mars freighters.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

22 Sep, 2010, Wednesday, SF on BBC Radio 7

You can listen to these programs for 7 days

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio7/programmes/schedules/2010/09/22

he Book of the City of Ladies
Episode 3
3/5. The brilliance of women's minds and a Temple of Female Learning. With Kathryn Hunt.

Redesigning the Human Body
Having the Guts
3/5. Len Fisher discovers whether science can solve the problems of the human digestive system.

Earthsearch
Series 1, Sands of Kyros
3/10. After their devastating news, the starship's crew face peril from a once benign force.

Charles Chilton - Journey into Space
The Red Planet, Episode 3
3/20. Whitaker is behaving strangely, as bad dreams plague the crew on their mission to Mars.

The Party, Party
Episode 4
4/6. No one in Microcosm notices that the quiz show Narrator has gone missing.

Monday, September 20, 2010

21 Sep, 2010, Tuesday, SF on BBC Radio 7

You can listen to these programs for 7 days from today.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio7/programmes/schedules/2010/09/21

Married
Series 1, Episode 1
1/6. Robin Lightfoot wakes up to discover he's in a parallel universe, with a wife and kids.

The Book of the City of Ladies
Episode 2
2/5. Building the walls and visions of valour. Christine de Pizan's allegorical fantasy.

Redesigning the Human Body
Moving Along
2/5. A physicist and a toy maker help Len Fisher try rolling and hopping.

Earthsearch
Series 1, First Footprint City
2/10. Heading for a home they've never known, the crew must come to terms with shock news.

Charles Chilton - Journey into Space
The Red Planet, Episode 2
2/20. Captain Jet Morgan is bound for Mars, but one of his crew has been cast adrift in space.

20 Sep, 2010: Births and Deaths in SF History

Born

Kristen Johnston
20 September 1967, Washington, District of Columbia, USA
--co-starred as Sally Solomon in Third Rock From The Sun from 1996 - 2001



Died

Glenn Strange
Born August 1899, Weed, New Mexico,
Date of Death 20 September 1973, Los Angeles, California, USA

Had a long career in movies and TV in bit parts. In the genre:
Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) .... The Frankenstein Monster
House of Dracula (1945) .... The Frankenstein Monster
House of Frankenstein (1944) .... Frankenstein Monster
The Monster Maker (1944) .... Steve

Olin Howland
Born 10 February 1886, Denver, Colorado, USA
Date of Death:20 September 1959, Hollywood, California, USA

Had cameo roles in two iconic films, as an old man devoured by The Blob in The Blob (1958), and as the drunk who saw gigantic ants in the Los Angeles River in Them! (1954)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

20 Sep, 2010, Monday, SF on BBC Radio 7

You can listen to these programs for 7 days from today
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio7/programmes/schedules/2010/09/20

The Book of the City of Ladies
Episode 1
1/5. Christine de Pizan's tale of building a fortress for women from valour, virtue and wisdom.

Redesigning the Human Body
A Spare Pair of Arms and Eyes in the Back of My Head
1/5. Len Fisher picks up some tips for redesigning humans from the animal kingdom.

Earthsearch
Series 1, Planetfall
1/10. The crew of starship Challenger follow two 'Angels' in search of new home planets.

Charles Chilton - Journey into Space
The Red Planet, Episode 1
1/20. Captain Jet Morgan and his crew blast off for Mars - but there's a problem.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

19 Sep, 2010, Sunday: SF on BBC Radio 7

BBC Radio 7 airs classic radio dramas for 7 days. (Despite the time that is listed on the schedule page, you can listen to a program any time you want for 7 days.

Here's what's happening on Saturday in SF:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio7/programmes/schedules/2010/09/19

Never the Bride
Our Frank
3/3. Brenda's monstrous old fiance has tracked her down to Whitby.

Fear on Four
The Dispossessed Daughter
The Man in Black tells what happens when a grieving mother makes a pact with the devil.

Space Hacks
Space Hacks, Back to the Present
8/8. It's Mother to the rescue when an evil planet tries to rule the universe. From March 2008.

18 Sep, 2010, Saturday: Science fiction on BBC Radio 7

BBC Radio 7 airs classic radio dramas for 7 days. (Despite the time that is listed on the schedule page, you can listen to a program any time you want for 7 days.

Here's what's happening on Saturday in SF:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio7/programmes/schedules/2010/09/18

The Routemasters
Wolfie and Beetie
7 days left to listen
4/4. Hildegard wants to make music, while Bernie finds out who - or what - is driving the bus.

Franza Kafka - Metamorphosis
Episode 3
7 days left to listen
3/4. Now a monstrous insect, Gregor strives to stay close to his family.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

OT: If you don't have your health, you have NOTHING

Well, a bit off-topic in this post, but I'm spurred to write.

I'm moving my mother across country. She was diagnosed with high blood pressure 20 years ago, and given pills, but she didn't like the way they made her feel so she stopped taking them.

So she's lived with untreated high blood pressure for 20 years.

A couple of years ago she got congestive heart failure, and now needs to take $1,000 worth of pills a month - 4 different kinds of pills a day. (Of course, she's got insurance so it's only like $45 a month, but still).

Anyway, she's overweight. My dad says that's what's causing her current problems - I say that it's hard to give a damn what you weigh when you don't feel very well every day, and why begrudge her her comfort food. She's 70 years old, after all.

But now, we're faced with the problem of getting her into the car, and today, she couldn't do it. We've got two cars, one with a seat that's 24 inches high, and one, mine, that is larger and more spacious, but which has a seat that is only 23 inches high. But she couldn't get into either one. Leg problems. (She has to go to a chriopractor once a month with back problems)

Well, we'll get it sorted out, even if we have to rent some kind of handicapped van to get her moved.

But her troubles this morning have spurred me to write this post. If you haven't had your blood pressure checked in a while, get it checked now. If its high and you're prescribed medication - take it!!!!!!

And in general, take care of your health. I hate the fact that the government is trying to force everyone to eat healthy, and I reject it just on that principle, but really, think about it. You may be young and healthy now and feel you will never get old. (That's the way I used to feel, 30 years ago). But you will. And if you haven't got your health, it isn't any fun. And being able to remember way back when you were healthy and did have fun just makes it all the harder to see what you've come to.

So visit a doctor today.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Rage, rage, rage against the dying of the light

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Phil Does Not Deserve to be #1 - and He Isn't!

For the last several months, I've tuned in to a total of 11 golf tournaments. In each one, Phil Mickelson could have taken over the #1 spot in the world from Tiger Woods...by just finishing 4th.

4th!

And he hasn't been able to do it.

Today, he was poised to do so. Had 3 great rounds to set himself up for it. Today? Triple bogey, and 2 other bogies, to finish at +5.

Sheesh.

Sorry, Phil, you've destroyed my interest in golf!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

SF & Fantasy events Aug 29

Born:

Dante Basco: 29 August 1975, Pittsburg, California
Of Filipino descent, Basco had a supporting role as Rufio in the 1990 film Hook, and has done voices for The Last Airbender animated TV series.

Richard Attenborough (1923, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, UK)
British actor who has done very little science fiction. He played John Hammond in Jurassic Park (1993).

Joel Schumacher (1939, New York City, New York, USA)
Schumacher is the director of two Batman movies, Batman Forever (1995) starring Val Kilmer as Batman, and Batman & Robin (1997) with George Clooney as Batman, and Chris O'Donnell as Robin. Alicia Silverstone played Batgirl.


Died
Simon Oakland (, born 28 August 1915, died Aug 29m 1983, Cathedral City, California, USA)
Played Tony Vincenzo in Darren McGavin's Night Stalker series.


Michael Dunn (born 20 October 1934, Shattuck, Oklahoma, USA, died Aug 29, 1973, London, England, UK)
The 3' 11" Dunn, born Gary Neil Miller, was a concert pianist until a condition called chondrodystrophy destroyed his career, when he turned to acting. Had a supporting role in the "Plato's Stepchildren" episode of Star Trek, and had a recurring role as Miguelito Loveless in Wild, Wild West.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

SD & Fantasy Events, Aug 28

Born

Jack Black was born on this day in Hermosa Beach, California in 1969.
His SF work consists of playing Carl Denham in Peter Allen's King Kong (2005), and Billy Glenn Norris in Mars Attacks! (1996) He was also the voice of Po in Kung Fu Panda.

Friday, August 27, 2010

August 27 events in SF and Fantasy


Born on this day:

Paul Reubens (1952, Peekskill, New York, USA)
PeeWee Herman, had a cameo role as the Penguin's father in Batman Returns (1992), the sequel with Michael Keaton reprising his role as Bruce Wayne, and a supporting role in Mystery Men (1999), among others.

Peter Stormare (1953, Arbrå, Gävleborgs län, Sweden)
Perhaps most famous as the "Punk your auto" German engineer in the VW commercials, and as the silent killer in Fargo, he played Satan in Constantine, the President in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, and Lev Andropov in Armageddon (1998).

Died on this day:
Greg Morris: born Sept 27, 1933, died Aug 27, 1996 of lung cancer. Most famous as the electronics wizard Barney Collier in the original Mission: Impossible.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Snoop Sisters Coming on DVD!!!!


The Snoop Sisters - The Complete Series, with Helen Hayes and Mildred Natwick,on DVD Next Year!

Helen Hayes and Mildred Natwick starred as The Snoop Sisters, the 1973 program which was part of the rotating NBC Mystery Movie series. Now Visual Entertainment, Inc. (VEI) of Canada has announced plans to bring The Complete Series to DVD as part of a 3-disc set. That will be the original TV movie pilot, plus the four 90 minute episodes that included regular Bert Convy and guest stars Jill Clayburgh, Art Carney, Charlie Callas, Edward Platt, Victor Buono, music star Alice Cooper, Walter Pidgeon , Joan Blondell, Greg Morris, Tammy Grimes, Katherine Helmond, William Devane, Roddy McDowall and Vincent Price. This release is tentatively scheduled for First Quarter 2011, but could be subject to change. Here's the package art for now...stay tuned for updates


I hate having to wait to 2011 for this, but I'm glad its coming out. I've long wanted to have this.

Monday, August 23, 2010

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (James Mason)

Wandered through my local Walmart today,and saw that they'd moved some Disney DVDs to the front of the store and were only charging $6 for them, so I picked up James Mason's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Hayley Mills' In Search of the Castaways.

I'll be sharing screencaps in due course.

20,000 Leagues has always had a bittersweet place in my heart. I saw it when I was about 13 or 14 years old or so, decades afer it was made. It was in a real theater - back then films were re-released to movie theaters, rather than on to TV..and I thought it was a first run movie and I got such a crush on James Mason.

So, a year later, 11 Harrowhouse comes out, and I see by the poster that it has James Mason in it...so I went to see it and got the shock of my life. He was so old! How could he have aged 20 years in 1 year...old and balding and plump...I was just stunned.

Of course he still had that magnificent voice.

But it does make me think every now and then...thank heavens for movies and TV. If all the world had to remember actors by was the theatre... well, they wouldn't be remembered.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Little League World Series is a joke

Earlier today I saw that Mexico was due to play Germany at noon. So I tune in, expecting to see Mexican boys and German boys playing baseball.

Not so. The Mexican team is full of Mexicans, but the Germans? They are all Americans from Ramstein AFB. Don't call them Germans, call them Ramsteins.

Yesterday, the Saudia Arabians also turned out to be American kids. So again, they aren't "Saudi Arabia", they should be called "American kids from Saudi."

I don't begrudge American kids overseas the opportunity to play baseball and get into the World Series, but I'd rather see the actual kids of the country playing baseball.

To call American kids by the term "Germany" or "Saudi Arabia" is misleading and ridiculous.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Found treasures

I'm packing up to move halfway across the country, out to Cheyenne Wyoming.

I've just emptied out my closet and come across a box of my short stories and other writings, that I haven't seen for 10 years.

I'd always remembered that I'd written one novel, which I called The Delicious Death Society. What I hadn't remembered is that I'd written another novel, called Death Desired - though it all came back to me when I found the manuscript box.

I also found about half of a book I'd written called The Rock, The Vulture and the Chain. Another one that I'd forgotten about.

So, once I get to Cheyenne and get settled in, I've got a lot of typing to do so that I can self-publish these books on Kindle!

At least...I hope so. I won't re-read them until I get to Cheyenne...hopefully they'll be, if not good, at least salvageable.

Since I'll be coming to them after a period of 10 years, I'll be like a reader coming to a new story for the first time. I should be able to judge it fairly - is it any good, or does it stink?

But I was quite pleased to find these. I want to get into the self-publishing arena, and having two books already written is going to speed up that process no end!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Despicable Me...Alright Until The End...



Went to see Despicable Me today, and enjoyed it for the most part. Not as good as Toy Story 3...or any of the Toy Story's actually, but amusing...

Steve Carrell plays Gru, a would-be master criminal who is being supplanted by younger, more ingenious crooks. An item he needs to pull off the crime of the century is in another crook's house...which is impregnable...except the crook likes cookies...

So Gru "adopts" 3 little kids in order to get into the house. He'll abandon them once his plan is done.



But the kids are super cute, and at the end of the movie he decided to adopt them for real.

All very good, very nice. But the ending really spoiled it for me, on one level.

The three girls are putting on a recital of Swan Lake for him. One of his minions arbitrarily decides that Swan Lake is too slow and dull, and puts on Dance Fever. So Gru gets up onto the stage and starts dancing to Dance Fever, surrounded by these three pre-pubescent girls, and he's doing pelvic thrusts and that's totally inappropriate.

THen we've got the sight of a villain on the moon dancing as well, and he's slapping his butt as he dances.

What is it with this slapping your butt fetish that movies have these days? Some kind of sexual play, of course, but there's a commercial...I believe it's one of those car insurance commercials, where a guy does it...just ridiculous how filmmakers follow each other when it comes to types of humor...

Having said that, I enjoyed the animation. Had a definite Steampunk feel to it. I really loved Gru's decor...I'm thinking how I can get some of that for my house!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday SF on BBC7 Digital Radio

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio7/programmes/schedules


15:30–15:45 Dava Sobel - Galileo's Daughter
Episode 3
7 days left to listen
3/5. Blessed by the Pope, Galileo can continue his work, but convent life is hard for Virginia. 15:45–16:00

(OK, not SF, but interesting nevertheless.)

18:30–19:00 Daphne Du Maurier's The House on the Strand
Episode 3
3/12. On his next trip back to the 14th century, Dick witnesses Sir Henry Champernoune's death.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Sorcerer's Apprentice rocks



I went to see The Sorcerer's Apprentice today, and liked it quite a bit. Yes, there are a couple of plot holes, a couple of flaws..but hey, suspend your disbelief and enjoy the ride.

I actually missed the first five minutes of it or so that explain how evil wizard Morgana is locked into the "grimhold" along with Nicolas Cage's love Veronica, but i got the gist quickly enough.

Loved Nicolas Cage - finally had a decent wig, though apparently his character never bothered to comb his hair. And Alfred Molina as Horvath also rocked.

I was less impressed by Jay Baruchel as Dave. Oh, he did a good job, but his nasal voice got on my nerves. And the love story, so annoying. He's seen Horvath try to kill him and yet he still tries to go out on a date with Becky? I think not.

The female characters had little to do, but were okay in what they did do. Becky has to overcome her fear of heights (mentioned in a previous scene) to perform an essential task, and she is not allowed to show just how brave she has to be to do this (bravery is feeling the fear and doing it anyway). For her to have done what she did would have required a great deal of "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus" as she climbs up every step of the ladder, perhaps a few seconds of "Jeez I can't do this" then a "You can do it, you've got to, jesus, jesus, jesus." That's the way someone who suffers from a fear of heights would have been acting, but Becky just climbs up the ladder with no problem.

Lots of pyrotechnics at the end.

Special effects, great. A few homages. Dave tries to get his mops to clean up his laboratory while he goes to take a shower, to the accompaniment of Disney's Sorcerer's Apprentice music from Fantasia they go wild, and Cage's character Baltasar has to come in and save the day.

In another scene Horvath and "his" apprentice go to the university to find out where Dave lives. The clerk says, "I need to see your faculty ID." Horvath waves his staff and says, "You don't need to see my ID." The clerk says, "I don't need to see your ID." Then the apprentice mimicks the character from Star Wars, where Obi Wan says that to a low-level clerk. Everyone in the theater got the joke and laughed.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Yahoo Messenger Invades Your Privacy

If you have Yahoo Messenger, with lots of contacts on it, and you post messages on various message boards, did you know that your messages show up on your Contacts list - so that anyone who has you as a contact can see what you're writing?

It can't be an opt in feature, either, because I never opted into it, and it happened to me, so it must be a new feature that is automatically turned on, and which you must turn off yourself... which of course you can't do until you realize it's happening.

(Perhaps its just for Google message boards, as I believe Google now owns Yahoo or vice versa.... )

To be on the safe side, go to Mail Options and at the top where it says Social Updates, make sure you've got that unclicked!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Your child can be born on Vulcan



Or rather...in Vulcan.

Wouldn't that be totally cool?

If you're 9 months pregnant and have the wherewithal, why not travel to Vulcan, Alberta, Canada so your child can be born there? Then they'll always be able to say, "I'm from Vulcan."

http://www.vulcantourism.com/

Tourism
Vulcan's Starship FX6-1995-A, replica of the Starship Enterprise, named after Vulcan Airport's designation FX6. The town's name has brought some attention that has helped it become a tourist attraction. In the Star Trek television and feature film series it is the name of the homeworld of the Vulcans.

Capitalizing on this coincidence, the town has built a Star Trek-themed tourist station (the Tourism and Trek Station), which provides tourist information, displays Star Trek memorabilia, provides unique photo opportunities, and allows visitors to participate in The Vulcan Space Adventure virtual reality game. Nearby, a replica of the starship Enterprise from Star Trek V has been mounted on a pedestal which includes writing from Trek alien languages like Klingon. The town has also created space-themed murals and signs, and hosts an annual community-wide Star Trek convention known as VulCON: Spock Days/Galaxyfest. This convention attracts hundreds of Star Trek fans from around the world.

Vulcan is a town located midway between the cities of Calgary and Lethbridge, in the prairies of southern Alberta, Canada. The population of the town was 1,940 in 2006, and the population of the county, which is also named Vulcan, was 3,718. The town's economy is mainly agriculture-based. Wheat, canola and barley are the main crops grown in the Vulcan area.



History
The town was named by a surveyor for the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1915 after the Roman God of Fire - Vulcan. Originally all the streets of the new town of Vulcan were named after gods and goddesses of the classical world. In July 1927 a major tornado destroyed many homes and the new curling rink of the town. That tornado was made famous when a photograph of it approaching Vulcan was used for the "tornado" article in Encyclopædia Britannica. At one time the town could also boast of having more grain elevators than any location west of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Due to the changing economics of the agricultural industry, one by one the original elevators were taken down. Today Vulcan has only one of the original "prairie skyscrapers" left that once could be seen miles away.

A British Commonwealth Air Training Plan air force base, RCAF Station Vulcan, was located a few kilometers southwest of the town during the Second World War. Many of the old hangars still exist and the runways can still be seen.

Since 1990, Vulcan has hosted the annual Vulcan Tinman Triathlon, which takes place at the beginning of June. This sprint-distance triathlon attracts nearly 1,000 participants. There are classes for adults of all ages and skill levels as well as for teams and children.

Demographics
In 2006, Vulcan had a population of 1,940 living in 814 dwellings, a 10.1% increase from 2001. The town has a land area of 6.58 km2 (2.5 sq mi) and a population density of 294.8 /km2 (763.5/sq mi).

Thursday, July 08, 2010

In the year 2525

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Press Release: Hobbit steins by Tavern Craft




Glasses Feature Deep-Etched Artwork of The Prancing Pony™ & The Green Dragon™

SAN DIEGO, CA (July 7, 2010) – Taverncraft, a subsidiary of 3 Point Entertainment LLC, today announced the debut of a new series of premium-etched glassware based on the literary masterpieces The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Available both as a 16 oz. pint glass and a large 25 oz. glass stein, each high-quality drinking glass is deep-etched with iconic artwork featuring two of the most popular Middle-earth taverns, The Prancing Pony and The Green Dragon. Perfect for everyday use or gift giving, these dishwasher and freezer-safe glasses are available now at hobbitsteins.com for August shipment.

"Through our popular line of stoneware steins, Taverncraft has built a reputation for both product quality and artistic integrity," said 3 Point Entertainment President Jerry Bennington. "Our steins featuring The Hobbit are wonderful collectibles and perfect for special occasions, but we also wanted to add some items for everyday use. These premium-etched glasses maintain that same level of quality but are also ideal for use just hanging out with friends, sipping cold drinks on hot summer nights."

Pint glasses are packaged in 2-glass sets and retail for $29.99 plus shipping and handling. Each 25 oz. glass stein is packaged individually and retails for $29.99 plus shipping and handling. Additional information, images and ordering details are available at hobbitsteins.com http://hobbitsteins.com .



Is Your Credit Card Coded Into Your Hotel Key Card?

No.

This is the email making the rounds today, that I received.

Always take a small magnet on your holiday, they come in handy at the end of it.
Thought you all needed to know this


This is pretty good info. Never even thought about key cards containing anything other than an access code for the room!

HOTEL KEY CARDS
Ever wonder what is on your magnetic key card?

Answer:
a. Customer's name
B. Customer's partial home address
c. Hotel room number
d. Check-in date and out dates
e. Customer's credit card number and expiration date!

When you turn them in to the front desk your personal information is there for any employee to access by simply scanning the card in the hotel scanner.. An employee can take a hand full of cards home and using a scanning device, access the information onto a laptop computer and go shopping at your expense.

Simply put, hotels do not erase the information on these cards until an employee reissues the card to the next hotel guest. At that time, the new guest's information is electronically 'overwritten' on the card and the previous guest's information is erased in the overwriting process.

But until the card is rewritten for the next guest, it usually is kept in a drawer at the front desk with YOUR INFORMATION ON IT!

The bottom line is: Keep the cards, take them home with you, or destroy them. NEVER leave them behind in the room or room wastebasket, and NEVER turn them into the front desk when you check out of a room. They will not charge you for the card (it's illegal) and you'll be sure you are not leaving a lot of valuable personal information on it that could be easily lifted off with any simple scanning device card reader.

For the same reason, if you arrive at the airport and discover you still have the card key in your pocket, do not toss it in an airport trash basket. Take it home and destroy it by cutting it up, especially through the electronic information strip!

If you have a small magnet, pass it across the magnetic strip several times. Then try it in the door, it will not work. It erases everything on the card.

Information courtesy of: Metropolitan Police Service.

In actual fact, this is an urban legend.

Here's what Snopes says:
http://www.snopes.com/crime/warnings/hotelkey.asp

Nevertheless, if it makes you feel better, use that magnet! ; )

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Toy Story 3 - It's a must see



I was initially reluctant to go see Toy Story 3. Toy Story 1 and 2 are two of my favorite films (and Buzz one of my favorite characters). In Toy Story 2 it is established that Woody is "an old family toy" so there's no way in Toy Story 3 that Andy's mom would let Andy get rid of him, even if Andy so desired.

But, as is made clear in the first 5 minutes, Andy doesn't desire. Woody is going with him to college (even though he hasn't played with him in years), and the other toys are going to go into the attic until Andy's return. (Molly can't be more than 10, but apparently she isn't interested in playing with the toys, either

In any event, Andy puts all the toys but Woody into a garbage bag, which he intends to take up to the attic. But he's distracted, his mom finds the bag, and thinking it's garbage, gives all the toys within to a local daycare.

Woody, who has seen all, tries to persuade the toys that it was an accident, but the toys think Andy has abandoned them, and decide to remain at the daycare. The problem is...everything at the daycare is not as it should be...

This is a heart-warming movie, with some real chills. The ending (prior to the anti-climactic ending which will perhaps have you in tears) is extremely chilling - my heart was in my mouth! The messages of Toy Story I and II are present here as well - friends and "family" (family in the widest sense of that world - friends are family) must stay together. All for one and one for all.

Despite the poster, Bo Peep is not in this film. One wonders if the actress didn't want to reprise the role, or the writers realized there was no room for her. Woody's anxiety is between leaving Andy, or leaving his friends "as a group," with no siren call of Bo Peep's love to get in the way of the message.

The shots of Buzz in Spanish mode, so annoying in the trailer, actually make perfect sense in the movie.

Barbie meets her Ken in the movie and is swepot away...but turns out to be a true blue friend in the end as well.

Blake Clarke takes over from the late Jim Varney as Slinky Dog and does a good job, Wallace Shawn returns as Rex, Don Rickles as Potato Head, Estelle Harris as Mrs. Potato Head, John Ratzenberger as Hamm.

Again, highly recommended!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Greatest American Hero Marathon on SciFi right now


Or SyFi as they seem to prefer to call themselves. It's probably a more appropriate name for the channel, since they seem to focus more on horror than science fiction and have done for many years.

I can remember watching - and being disappointed by - The Greatest American Hero when it first came out. I was a fan of Robert Culp, and so watched the pilot episode with expectation, but William Katt's Ralph Hinkley character was sooooo inept...and I don't think he ever became ept throughout the three seasons. (Granted he lost the instruction manual...well, if you're a hero you go out and practice flying for a couple of weeks til you get the hang of it, you don't spend three years flying crooked or upside down because you don't know what you're doing!)

As a matter of fact, I didn't even realize it had run for 3 seasons. I thought at most it could have lasted for 1.

I also hadn't realized the series has been available on DVD since 2006.

In any event, it's a bit of nostalgia for the early 1980s (1980-1983) and I'm glad the SciFi channel is showing it and introducing it to a new audience. Just wish they'd show some other classic SF series, like Roddy McDowall's The Fantastic Journey (which unfortunately only lasted for 8 episodes), or some classic Irwin Allen like Land of the Giants or The Time Tunnel. (I've got The Time Tunnel on DVD, but Land of the Giants is not available and that annoys me!)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

SciFi Air Show

scifiairshow.com/ is the url of this must visit site.

From their website:
The SCI-FI AIR SHOW’s purpose is to preserve and promote the rich and varied history of Sci-Fi/fantasy vehicles. Through display and education we seek to celebrate the classic design and beauty of these ships and the rich imaginations that created them. When the cameras stopped rolling, many of these proud old ships were lost and forgotten. Please join us in working to keep these rare and beautiful birds soaring!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Watch Darth Vader's Younger Brother Chad in Action in Hit Web Series

Received this Press Release today
www.babelgum.com/chadvader.

BABELGUM ACQUIRES ENTIRE LIBRARY PLUS ORIGINAL EXCLUSIVE EPISODES OF HIT COMEDY SERIES “CHAD VADER”

Content Live from Today on the Digital Broadcast Network’s Comedy channel
www.babelgum.com/chadvader.

LONDON / NEW YORK (June 24, 2010) -Independent web and mobile video content platform Babelgum announced that it has acquired the complete library of Blame Society Productions’ original, hit comedy series’ “Chad Vader.” Producers and directors Aaron Yonda and Matt Sloan will also be creating exclusive original episodes to air monthly on Babelgum’s Comedy channel starting today.

“We are very excited to add ’Chad Vader’ to our Comedy library. The series itself has been an internet phenomenon, receiving more than 80 million views. Now it can continue to grow through our vast global network of rabid comedy and sci-fi fans," said Amber J. Lawson, Publisher of Babelgum’s Comedy channel. “We look forward to supporting Blame Society Productions as they continue to create hysterical new content that will evolve the show’s brand.”

“The fan response to ‘Chad Vader’ has been amazing and we're happy to be working with Babelgum to be able to reach an even wider audience,” said Aaron Yonda. Matt Sloan added, “This partnership is giving us a great opportunity to expand the world of Chad Vader and create some exclusive new content that you can't find anywhere else.”

“Chad Vader” features the adventures of Darth Vader's younger brother and his comedic struggles as the Day Shift manager at the Empire Market grocery store. He clashes with customers, tries to earn the respect of his employees, and occasionally incorporates dialogue and concepts from the historic franchise.

Since it was first created in 2006, “Chad Vader” has become a viral sensation, quickly becoming one of the most viewed series on YouTube. In addition it has won more than a dozen film festival awards, including the "George Lucas Selects" award from the 2007 Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge. It has gained huge popularity from a global audience and was translated into 6 languages, including Portuguese, Spanish, French, Chinese, Hebrew and Lingua Franca Nova.

Both Yonda and Sloan also appear in the series as the lead characters. Sloan provides the voice of Chad Vader, which led to other voiceover roles, including providing the voice of Darth Vader in the LucasArts’ videogame “The Force Unleashed.”

In addition to “Chad Vader,” Blame Society Productions will also be rolling out episodes of the show “Celebrity Bric-A Brac” on Babelgum.

Starting June 24, viewers can begin watching “Chad Vader” on www.babelgum.com/chadvader. “Chad Vader” will release an exclusive episode each month on Babelgum.

X Men Blah

I had never seen the first X-Men movie until today. (The only one I ever saw was, I think, the 3rd one.)

And, I appreciate that it's a 10 year old move and was a success at the time of its release, but I thought it was terrible. For one thing - the costumes were lousy. Why make them all wear black leather instead of blue and yellow, to brighten up the screen?

WHy was the screen so damn dark all the time. Now - that might be my TV, but I susspect it was intentional by the fimmakers. Trying to give a "dark cast" to the film by using actual darkness instead of in other ways.

And the characters. Blah blah blah.

The problem with this film was the problem with most super hero films - instead of putting the teen age students in actual situations, they are plunged into a plot where they have to save the world. Too overbearing. (Frankly, considering how many films pander to the teenage audience - for example the live action Thunderbirds film, I'm surprised that the X-men weren't portrayed as teenagers, but rather as adults in sexy black leather uniforms.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Psycho celebrated its 50th anniversary release date...

Roger Hall allowed The Thunder Child to reprint his article on the 50th anniversary of the release of Psycho: June 16, 1960

http://thethunderchild.com/Music/PsychoAnniversary.html

Roger Hall is the editor of the Film Music Review, and wrote this article. It appears here:

http://www.americanmusicpreservation.com/Psychofilmscore.htm

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Drunk, speeding and texting

I live in what I've always thought of as a sedate town home housing area in York County, VA. This morning at 9.30 while I was making my first bike ride of the day, I found this scene of carnage.







As far as I could make out, it had happened only a half hour or so earlier. A young woman (from North Dakota!) had been drunk, and was speeding on this residential road, and was texting, when she rammed at what looks like full speed and did the following damage. (She herself was unhurt, and there was no passenger in the car.)

You can't see the people in the background, but apparently two of the three destroyed cars belonged to them. That'll teach you to park both your cars side by side!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Mr. Limpet on at 10 pm?



In honor of the 100th birthday of Jacques Cousteau, every Friday TMC is showing ocean-themed movies - starting at 6 bloody pm. Big whoop.

Tonight at 8 pm is Around the World Under the Sea, starring Lloyd Bridges, and at 10 pm - 10 pm! - is The Incredible Mr. Limpet starring Don Knotts.

Now, it seems to me that The Incredible Mr. Limpet, with its animated sequences, is pretty much a children's film and should be shown at 8 pm, with the other one 10. Seems silly to me...


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pipped at the post...again! The Big Bang Theory T-shirts

For a couple of days now I'd been planning on creating a web page featuring the T-shirts worn by Jim Parson's character, Sheldon Cooper, in The Big Bang Theory.

Well, before I could get started, I found this site, which has already done it:
http://www.sheldonshirts.com

And they've done me one better - or, hell, many orders of magnitude better - they provide links where you can actually buy the shirts featured - probably the same places where the warddrobe folks at TBBT get the shirts.

They also have photos and links of where to get Leonard's shirts, which rather than superheros are focused more on molecular design.

There are also quotes from Dr. Sheldon Cooper.

A very fun site - check it out.

Big Bang Theory Ringtones

Only one at the moment...

Someone on YouTUbe posted that they wanted a ringtone of Sheldon saying "No one calls me Moonpie but Meemaw."

I recorded the file, but now can't upload the link there.

So, I'll put it here, even though it wont' do any good for the poor schmuck at Youtube who wants it.

Also, it's a WMA file instead of a MP3 file - anyone who wants it will have to convert it using one of the many applications that allow you to do this conversion.

http://volcanoseven.com/Moonpie.WMA

Monday, June 14, 2010

What I Could Have Been, sung by Lynn Thigpen

A very powerful song, and relevant to minorities and women in the States up until the late 1970s...

Now, the only thing holding them back is themselves...

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Peter Wyngarde narrates Sea Borne Treasure

It's a 6 minute doc, filmed in 1967, about the collapse of the Sea Gem oil rig in the north sea.

http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=82016

Interesting to listen to.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Friday, June 04, 2010

Gigantic footsteps found in sand at Santa Monica Pier

Surfers, tourists, and local Los Angelenos alike were stunned yesterday morning by a rather HUGE mystery: the discovery of 15 foot long footprints in the sand at Santa Monica Pier!

A local fisherman was perhaps the only person who caught a glimpse of the creature responsible. “Everything started shaking,” he said. “Then I saw this thing. Bigger than any whale…eyes dark and menacing, teeth as big as the poles under the pier here.” Police are cautioning people not to panic, and to be careful not to fall into the deep footprints on the beach. Residents and tourists are wondering what kind of monster could be responsible for footprints so massive.




Some people are suggesting that the footprints belong to none other than King Kong, who has been making his way through Los Angeles en route to his new home at Universal Studios Hollywood. Last week, Kong wreaked havoc at Dodgers Stadium by marking up the baseball field with his gigantic footprints, similar to the ones found at Santa Monica Pier. King Kong will be headlining King Kong 360 3-D, the brand new, revolutionarily interactive attraction designed by esteemed director Peter Jackson, and it’s possible that Santa Monica Pier was just his latest stop on his journey to Universal Studios Hollywood.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Random Thoughts

I see Rue McClanahan died today.

I always liked her. It's hard to say that I liked her on the Golden Girls - I liked her acting in that but I didn't really care for the character...

So Betty White is the only golden girl left....

On another note, just read an article today about the fact that BP is hiring owners of luxury yachts to help clean up the oil spill on the surface, rather than professional fishermen whose livlihoods have been destroyed by the spill. This makes no sense to me, in particular because I would have thought that EVERY bloody boat in the adjacent area would be at work, regardless of whether it was a pleasure yacht or a fisherman's boat or what have you.

But perhaps BP thinks that because they're going to have to pay these fishermen gazillions of dollars in lawsuits, why pay them more now?

I think this accident is going to put paid to offshore drilling on the US coasts, which is a pity, because obviously if the drill had been in closer waters, where it could be gotten to more easily, this leak probably could have been capped long ago. As it is, the result is the same, oil arriving on the beaches - not to mention killing or causing to suffer millions of animals and birds.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

What Would [Your Hero] Do?

A few years ago, I bought a Captain America comic that featured a new Captain America in training. I'm hazy on the details now...either he was Havoc training to be Captain America, or he was one of several aspiring men, one of whom was going to be chosen as the new Captain America.

In any event, some crooks get away with a crime, so this guy steals an exo-skeleton, goes to the crooks hideout, and beats them up and turns them over to the police. Something of that nature.

The next day, the entire recruiting class is summoned, and a government official says, "Okay, which one of you stole the exo-skeleton?" Our hero thinks for several minutes. He knows no one can prove he took the exo-skeleton. He also knows that if he confesses, he'll be kicked out of the program...goodbye to his dreams of being a superhero. He thinks... "What would the real Captain America do?" And then he stands up and confesses to having stolen the Exo-skeleton.

Contrast that to what we've got today. Politicians caught dead to rights with money in their freezer, or taking drugs, and they deny that they've done it, and when it's proven that they've done it they deny that it was illegal. (Worse, for some of 'em, despite their felony record, they are relected by the people!)

Then we've got athletes. Floyd Landis, yesterday, who for four years has sworn up down and sideways that he never cheated, yesterday admitted that he cheated and not only that, but accused Lance Armstrong of cheating also.

Jose Canseco cheated, but apparently he confessed without prompting, and of course wrote that book in which he accused quite a few people of also taking steroids. All of whom denied it, all of whom were later proven to have taken it. [Such as the idiot Rafael Palmeiro, who so stridently denied taking steroids and condemning those who did. The next day, practically, it was proven that he'd taken steroids.]

Then there's the case of Marion Jones, denied taking steroids for years, even though her dirtbag of a husband "outed" her - finally, yes she did take steroids.

Such people do not deserve our sympathy, our admiration for finally telling the truth. Invariably, they only tell the truth when they are forced to, not because it's part of their inner morality to own up immediately to what they've done.

Then there's the case of the two Minnesota football players fighting their suspension for violating the league's drug policy. Oh, they took the drugs all right, but they don't think the NFL has the right to punish them! I say, anyone who violates the league policty - first time - banned for life.

Sad days, when kids look to athletes as "role models" and see nothing but preening prima donnas who are absolutely the worst role models a kid could have. But they sure can't look to politicians as our role models... not even Barack "yes, President Caldron, critizize our country all you like, and how did you like the Ipod Igave you full of my speeches?" Obama!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Smaug the Magnificent Tankard - Pre-Order Now! (Press Release)




FIRST STEIN IN NEW THE HOBBIT™ DRINKWARE LINE NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER

Taverncraft Introduces Two Versions of the Smaug™ the Magnificent Stein


SAN DIEGO, CA (May 20, 2010) – Taverncraft, a subsidiary of 3 Point Entertainment LLC, today announced that they have begun accepting pre-orders for the first stein in their ongoing collectible drinkware series based on the literary masterpieces The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Smaug the Magnificent, illustrated by premier fantasy artist Matthew Stawicki, is presently available in both Epic and Legendary editions, both with special pre-order pricing. Additional details are available at www.hobbitsteins.com http://www.hobbitsteins.com.

"As lifelong J.R.R. Tolkien fans, everyone at Taverncraft worked hard to ensure the stein truly honored the characters," said 3 Point Entertainment President Jerry Bennington. "The artwork on Smaug the Magnificent, which shows the dragon Smaug in his lair with Bilbo, beautifully captures both the danger and excitement of the scene. It's a great stein to kick off the line-up, and one we're sure fans of Middle-earth will be incredibly excited to add to their collections."

Each Smaug the Magnificent stein stands over 10” (25.4 cm) tall and is handcrafted from authentic fine-grain stoneware. The steins feature panoramic bas-relief sculpting and a sculpted pewter lid featuring the legendary "One Ring to rule them all." The Smaug the Magnificent Epic Collection Stein is available through June 30, 2010, at a special pre-order price of $99.99, while the Smaug the Magnificent Legendary Collection Stein is available through June 30, 2010, at a pre-order price of $149.99. The Smaug the Magnificent Legendary Collection Stein is limited to 999 worldwide, features an 18K gold-plated "One Ring" lid and hand-painted gold trimming throughout the image and handle. Also included is a certificate of authenticity hand-signed and numbered by the artist.

The Smaug the Magnificent stein is expected to ship in September, 2010. Additional images and information, along with ordering details, are available at www.hobbitsteins.com http://www.hobbitsteins.com.



Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Dragnet 1967: The LSD Story

Hulu is a site that hosts lots of classic TV shows, which you can view for free.

I thought they'd have the original Dragnet (black and white eps,) but these are from 1967 with Frank Gannon.

http://www.hulu.com/watch/501/dragnet-the-lsd-story#x-0,vepisode,1,0

1967, and concerned with LSD. 43 years later... there's much worse things to worry about... would that more people back then took these shows to heart!

Friday, April 30, 2010

From Forry Ackerman to Orson Welles: The Views and Reviews of Steve Vertlieb

The Thunder Child is proud to announce our new pubishing venture, Sacred Poet Press, which is an ebook-only press at the present time.

http://volcanoseven.com/SacredPoetPress

The first offering in our pantheon is a collection of the works of Steve Vertlieb, entitled From Forry Ackerman to Orson Welles: The Views and Reviews of Steve Vertlieb.



All of the work below either first appeared at The Thunder Child science fiction and fantasy webzine, or was reprinted there with Steve's permission.

If you don't have a Kindle (currently the only format where the book is available), you can download a FREE Kindle emulator:

Kindle emulator for the PC
http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=kcp_pc_mkt_lnd?docId=1000426311

Kindle emulator for IPod and Iphone
http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&ref=kcp_pc_ddp_dtl&docId=1000301301

Kindle for Blackberry
https://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=klm_lnd_dtl?docId=1000468551


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Acknowledgements
Introducing Steve Vertlieb
Reminiscences
1. The Most “Famous Monster” of Them All: A Personal Remembrance of Forrest J. Ackerman
2. A Chip off the Old Bloch
3. How I Met the Blob
4. The “Milk” of Human Kindness
Tributes
1. The Gentle Monster – The Life of Boris Karloff
2. Vampire in the Shadows – The Life of Bela Lugosi
3. Xanadu: A Castle in the Clouds – The Life of Orson Welles
4. Time After Time – The Life of Miklos Rozsa
6. Between This World and the Next – The Twilight Zone
Documentaries
1. Under The Stars of Egypt: The Making of Kreating Karloff
Reviews
1. Movie: The Dark Knight
2. Movie: Peter Jackson’s King Kong
3. DVD Release: Peter Jackson’s King Kong Revisited
4. Soundtrack CDs: Tribute Film Classics: Mysterious Island, Fahrenheit 451 and “Walking Distance”, Varese Sarabande’s North By Northwest
5. Documentary: Music for the Movies: Bernard Herrmann
6. Soundtrack CDs: Monstrous Music: The Blob and The Intruder
7. Soundtrack CD: Howard Shore’s Return of the King
8. Rock Musical CD: Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds
Interviews
1. The Thunder Child Interviews Steve Vertlieb
2. The Return of Steve Vertlieb: The Thunder Child Interviews Steve Vertlieb Again

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What we need to learn from history: 400 years ago

I just saw an editorial cartoon in which two Native Americans confront a male and a female Pilgrim and say, "No passport? No Green card? You can't enter our country."

And that refrain is a typical one, I'm afraid. "We stole this land from the Indians, so what right do we have to try to keep people from Mexico, Central America, and any other country, out of our country? (And, of course, what right do we have to expect them all to speak English?)

Here's the thing. 400 years ago, the Native Americans consisted of thousands of tribes, most of them - not all, but most of them - hating each other and warring against each other. They could not - and did not - secure their borders. Result - all the Native Americans have left of their land is reservations, where they dwell in poverty and drunkenness.

What is the lesson we need to learn here? That after 400 years of owning this land, we Americans - people born here in those 400 years, and those who immigrated legally, are in danger of losing that land to new invaders.

These new invaders don't have the guns or technological superiority (except the drug cartels, of course) what they have instead is the "R" word. Try to keep them out and it's "Oh, you're racist."

No, we're not racist. We just can't afford to let people in here overwhelming our welfare system. We're already bankrupt!

Everytime you read about the problem with illegal immigration, the "mainstream" or "lamestream" or "driveby" media always, always, calls it "immigration." They never mention that what Arizona and other states are trying to fix is "illegal" immigration.

Frankly, it is because there are so many illegals in this country that actual citizens, of Latino and Hispanic heritage, get such a bum rap. The illegals are a slap in the face to those indviduals who came to this country legally and did everything they were required to do to gain citizenship. Then we've got these illegals who just waltz in, and expect, and are, put on the welfare rolls immediately. Oh, yes, there are pockets of resistance - but those people who try to fight back are labeled racist, and their efforts are doomed to failure.

The US is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. We need educated, productive immigrants coming here - people who won't immediately go on welfare and never get off. People who will learn our language - that'd be English - to make it easier for them to succeed. We don't need people who have no education, no desire to learn English, to come here and get on our welfare system.

Don't get me wrong. Who wants to live in Mexico? Or Central America? Nothing but grinding poverty and dishonest politicans - worse than our own politicians. I don't begrudge people who want a better life.

But I don't want my country dragged down to Mexico's level of poverty because we didn't secure our borders. Let's help them *in their country* and keep them out of ours until they have the education and knowledge to be worthy to come here.

In the early 1900s the US was wide-open. Anyone who was willing to work with their hands was as valued as those who could work with their brains. That's no longer the case. Now, we need brain work.

We need to stop the invaders. If we can't, we probably won't end up like the Native Americans, living in our own little reservations. What we will end up like (and by we I mean the middle class, the people who do all the work in this country) is slaves who do the work while the poor live comfortably in their houses with their perks.

(How do I know this? You should keep up with what's happening in Haiti. Everyone who was hurt in the earthquake is getting free healthcare and free food. So, other Haitians, who weren't hurt by the earthquake, are now moving into the "tent cities" in order to get all this free stuff. Human nature.

Meantime, the UN, with funds given to them mostly by the US, are spending $400 million a year in Haiti. Of that, $39 mil goes to the Haitians, the remainng $371 mil goes to the salaries and perks of the people there.

There's something wrong with this picture.

The US is bankrupt. It's time we stopped throwing money away on other, poor countries with crooked politicians, and kept the money in our country. Yes, our politicians are crooked also, but not as egregiously as everyone elses.