Saturday, April 29, 2006

Movie List

Here's Roger Ebert's list of movies you have to see to be able to talk about movies (thanks Katie)

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Stanley Kubrick
The 400 Blows (1959) Francois Truffaut
8 1/2 (1963) Federico Fellini
Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) Werner Herzog
Alien (1979) Ridley Scott
All About Eve (1950) Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Annie Hall (1977) Woody Allen
Apocalypse Now (1979) Francis Ford Coppola*
Bambi (1942) Disney

The Battleship Potemkin (1925) Sergei Eisenstein
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) William Wyler
The Big Red One (1980) Samuel Fuller
The Bicycle Thief (1949) Vittorio De Sica
The Big Sleep (1946) Howard Hawks
Blade Runner (1982) Ridley Scott

Blowup (1966) Michelangelo Antonioni
Blue Velvet (1986) David Lynch (Funny, Ebert gave this a bad review when it came out)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967) Arthur Penn
Breathless (1959 Jean-Luc Godard
Bringing Up Baby (1938) Howard Hawks
Carrie (1975) Brian DePalma
Casablanca (1942) Michael Curtiz
Un Chien Andalou (1928) Luis Bunuel & Salvador Dali

Children of Paradise" / "Les Enfants du Paradis" (1945) Marcel Carne
Chinatown (1974) Roman Polanski
Citizen Kane (1941) Orson Welles
A Clockwork Orange (1971) Stanley Kubrick
The Crying Game (1992) Neil Jordan
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) Robert Wise

Days of Heaven (1978) Terence Malick
Dirty Harry (1971) Don Siegel
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) Luis Bunuel
Do the Right Thing (1989 Spike Lee
La Dolce Vita (1960) Federico Fellini
Double Indemnity (1944) Billy Wilder
Dr. Strangelove (1964) Stanley Kubrick
Duck Soup (1933) Leo McCarey
E.T. -- The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) Steven Spielberg
Easy Rider (1969) Dennis Hopper
The Empire Strikes Back (1980) Irvin Kershner
The Exorcist (1973) William Friedkin
Fargo (1995) Joel & Ethan Coen

Fight Club (1999) David Fincher
Frankenstein (1931) James Whale
The General (1927) Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman
The Godfather & The Godfather, Part II (1972, 1974) Francis Ford Coppola
Gone With the Wind (1939) Victor Fleming
GoodFellas (1990) Martin Scorsese
The Graduate (1967) Mike Nichols
Halloween (1978) John Carpenter

A Hard Day's Night (1964) Richard Lester
Intolerance (1916) D.W. Griffith
It's a Gift (1934) Norman Z. McLeod
It's a Wonderful Life (1946) Frank Capra
Jaws (1975) Steven Spielberg
The Lady Eve (1941) Preston Sturges
Lawrence of Arabia (1962) David Lean
M (1931) Fritz Lang
(best serial killer ever)
Mad Max 2 / "The Road Warrior" (1981) George Miller
The Maltese Falcon (1941) John Huston

The Manchurian Candidate" (1962) John Frankenheimer
Metropolis" (1926) Fritz Lang
Modern Times (1936) Charles Chaplin

Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (1975) Terry Jones & Terry Gilliam

Nashville (1975) Robert Altman
The Night of the Hunter (1955) Charles Laughton
Night of the Living Dead (1968) George Romero
North by Northwest (1959) Alfred Hitchcock
Nosferatu" (1922) F.W. Murnau
On the Waterfront (1954) Elia Kazan
Once Upon a Time in the West" (1968) Sergio Leone

Out of the Past (1947) Jacques Tournier
Persona (1966) Ingmar Bergman
Pink Flamingos (1972) John Waters
Psycho (1960) Alfred Hitchcock
Pulp Fiction (1994) Quentin Tarantino

Rashomon (1950) Akira Kurosawa
Rear Window (1954) Alfred Hitchcock
Rebel Without a Cause (1955) Nicholas Ray
Red River (1948) Howard Hawks
Repulsion (1965) Roman Polanski
The Rules of the Game(1939) Jean Renoir
Scarface (1932) Howard Hawks
The Scarlet Empress (1934) Josef von Sternberg
Schindler's List (1993) Steven Spielberg
The Searchers (1956) John Ford

The Seven Samurai (1954) Akira Kurosawa
Singin' in the Rain (1952) Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly
Some Like It Hot (1959) Billy Wilder

A Star Is Born (1954) George Cukor
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) Elia Kazan
Sunset Boulevard (1950) Billy Wilder
Taxi Driver (1976) Martin Scorsese
The Third Man (1949) Carol Reed

Tokyo Story (1953) Yasujiro Ozu
Touch of Evil (1958) Orson Welles
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) John Huston

Trouble in Paradise (1932) Ernst Lubitsch
Vertigo (1958) Alfred Hitchcock
West Side Story (1961) Jerome Robbins/Robert Wise
The Wild Bunch (1969) Sam Peckinpah
The Wizard of Oz (1939) Victor Fleming
Waiting, Waiting

I'm supposed to have 16 students in my class at NKU (starting with 24). Of them, only about ten have been attending regularly. I'm waiting for final papers and only have eight. Devilgirl whined about going to school today so I let her come along and she's tearing up the office as I write.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

More Info Than You Ever Wanted to Know

I got this from Ron and spent a large chunk of my life filling it out:

MEME: 157 QUESTIONS (was supposed to be 200, but the people at Myspace apparently can't count)

1. My middle name is: Gregory
2. I was born on: March 27, 1968 when dinosaurs roamed the earth
3. I am: filling out a meme
4. My cell phone company is: cell phone-less
5. My eye color is: hazel/brown
6. My shoe size is: 14/15 (16 with skis)
7. My ring size is: back in high school when my mom insisted on getting me a class ring, I think it was 9. I think I wore it two times to make her happy but have never worn a ring since (except for skull, bat, or spider rings around Halloween)
8. My height is: it used to be six three, but as the disks in my back crumble, I’m getting progressively shorter
9. I am allergic to: cats and ash tree pollen
10. My bedtime: whenever all my work is done and Devilboy is asleep (2:30 last night)

11. One thing I know for sure about the opposite sex is: they spend lots of money
12. I am glad I'm me because: that matches the name on my drivers license
13. It sucks that I'm me because: I have no sleep or money
14. If I could be anyone else for one day: a narcoleptic millionaire
15. My celebrity dream date is: the basis of a future episode of Divorce Court
16. My favorite day of the week is: Monday (my one day off)
17. My favorite color is: tangerine/puce
18. My favorite fairy tale is: The Children who Played Butcher
19. My favorite holiday is: Leif Erikson Day (no real favorite)
20. The perfect kiss is: the sole property and trademark of the Hershey’s Chocolate Company

21. The last CD's I bought: Dire Straits Brothers in Arms (Death, where is thy sting?)
22. Last song that made me cry was: “I Will Wait for You” (or whatever the name of the song on the Jurassic Bark episode of Futurama)
23. My most treasured possession(s) are: my stories and I’m obligated to say my kids
24. What did you do last night: got home from work, cleaned up the mess, read Midsummer Night’s Dream (for class), and took the dog out.
25. My skin's reaction to the sun is (tan/burn): burn then tan
26. Last time you were at the beach: June 2000.
27. What kind of car do you drive: A Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV

28. Do you believe in Santa: If my kids are listening
29. Do you believe in love at first sight: If you mean physical attraction that blossoms into something more
30. Do you believe in luck: If you mean being on the plus side of a statistical event
31. Do you believe in fate: no
32. Do you believe in aliens: I believe in the possibility of aliens (which is pretty much how I believe in anything)
33. Do you believe in heaven: see above
34. Do you believe in hell: Did I mention I was married?
35. Do you believe in ghosts: Not in the traditional sense but I’m open to the possibility of some sort of psychic energy or force not yet detectable
36. Do you believe in horoscopes: at last, an unequivocal no
37. Do you believe in soulmates: you’d have to define soulmate
38. Do you believe in dinosaurs: How can you include dinosaurs in this crop of questions? It’s theoretically possible that dinosaurs are all an elaborate hoax but you could say that about WWII.
39. Do you believe in miracles: It depends what you mean by miracle
40. Do you believe in the death penalty: I’m pretty sure it exists (do I believe it’s morally acceptable? in limited circumstances

41. Hugs or kisses: I’m going to fall back to the chocolate joke and say both
42. Drunk or High: drunk in the past tense
43. Phone or Online: online
44. Red Hair or Black Hair: for me, black; for wife, red
45. Mohawk or Mullet: uh, male pattern baldness
46. Hot or Cold: cold
47. Summer or Winter: winter
48. Coffee or Tea: me
49. Chocolate or Vanilla: vanilla
50. Night or Day: night

51. Oranges or Apples: I don’t look this way from eating healthy
52. Curly or Straight Hair: straight for me; curly for wife53. Gloves or Mittens: gloves
54. Abortion: If I ran the circus, I’d spend as much on birth control R&D as the current crew spend on Iraq. If I could put it in the drinking water like Brave New World, I would. My goal would be no abortions or unplanned pregnacies in general. But I wouldn’t make abortion illegal or restricted.
55. Backstabbers: uh, are bad (is anyone pro-backstabbery?)
56. Parents: I guess I’m pro-parents
57. Children: very noisy, destructive, and expensive
58. Animals: the sensible alternative to children. They’re also good to eat
59. Leashes for kids: I have one for Devilboy but have never used it yet
60. School: I wish I were back

61. Life: if it’s so great, how do you explain the stunning success of the virus?
62. Bangs: I’m honestly not sure what exactly bangs are in hair style.
63. The name Bernard: good for a large breed of dogs
64. Beer Pong: at UC, I got to the semi-finals in intermural Ping Pong and consistently placed well in Chug Offs but I never saw the need to combine the two
65. Alcohol: God, I miss it
66. PDAs: I’m too old to know what this means
67. Last time I kissed someone: Earlier today
68. Last time I hugged someone: Earlier today
69. Seen someone I haven't seen in awhile: No one comes to mind. I did just see an old picture of my wife’s dead cat today.
70. Missed someone: I’m going to have to make an obligatory snow ball fight joke

71. Grew: ear, nose, and facial hair
72. Drew a smiley face: I can’t remember
73. Ate something: about half an hour ago when Devilboy and I had chicken tenders
74. Took a Shower: this morning
75. Tripped Over Something: last night at the deli
76. Saw a play or movie: (#82 makes me think that this includes anything on DVD) within the last couple days
76. Read a book: last night
77. Traveled: in 2001 when I went to Context in Columbus
78. Filled out a survey: since this is defined as a survey in question 178, now
79. Who's the ditziest person I know: probably my stepdaughter
80. Who makes you laugh the most: all in all, Devilboy

81. One thing I'm mad about now is: Devilboy is spitting popsicle juice after I steam cleaned the carpet today
82. The last movie I saw in the theater was: Fellowship of the Ring, five years ago or so
83. The thing I don't understand is: there are many, many things
84. The most unsatisfactory answer I've ever recieved (sic) was: on a poetry test
85. The one thing I love about the opposite sex is: it’s been too long to remember
86. This summer: I will probably work nights at the deli
87. Something I really miss when I leave home: this question was not written with me in mind
88. The thing I'm looking forward to the most: sleep
89. Tomorrow: I’ll show Midsummer Night’s Dream in class
90. Today: I didn’t have to work but watched Devilboy
91. Next Summer: I have no idea
92. Next Week: NKU will be over
93. This Weekend: I’ll pick up final papers at NKU
94. Next Weekend: I’ll finish grading

95. People Call me: on the phone
96. The Last Thing I Bought: Chicken tenders, a case of diet Pepsi, a box of Cascade, a half-price off bag of Easter candy, an Eye-Spy book (for Devilboy), and a toy car (for Devilboy)
97. My favorite place to shop is: I don’t like shopping
98. In my wallet I carry: so many cards and crap that I’m not going to bother listing them all
99. The person who knows about the most about me: I’m an enigma
100. The person that can read me the best is: no one stands out
101. The most difficult thing to do is: that which is physically impossible
102. I have gotten a speeding ticket: when I was 19
103. I have the following siblings: Jane and Chrissy
104. Something about my siblings: Jane lives in Tennessee; Chrissy is expecting a baby

105. My Zodiac Sign: the ram
106. Brand of Computer: Hewlett Packard
107. The one person who can't hide things from me: I draw a complete blank...the Penguin?
108. Cook or Eat Out: eat out
109. Right now I am talking to: Devilboy
110. I wish I were talking to: the guy who hands out lottery winnings
111. Favorite Vacation Spot: same as question 85
112. I have a job at: UC Clermont, NKU, and the Kroger deli
113. I have these pets: a dog, seven hamsters, and a fish
114. I hope: I make enough to quit the deli
115. The worst sound in the world: would be inaudible in space
116. The person that makes me cry the most is: Devilboy
117. The last time you cried: when watching the “Jurassic Bark”
118. Why did you cry: because I was half-mad with sleep deprivation

119. Favorite Food: chocolate covered cashews
120. Favorite Breakfast Food: chocolate covered cashews
121. Favorite Lunch Food: chocolate covered cashews
122. Favorite Dinner Food: chocolate covered cashews
123. Favorite Dessert: chocolate covered cashews
124. Favorite Drink: real Cherry Coke
125. Florida or Hawaii: Florida
126. North or South Pole: South
127. My favorite piece of clothing: anything that’s clean
128. My favorite sport to play is: Minesweeper
129. My favorite sport to watch is: pole-dancing
130. My favorite sports figure: that guy from the April’s fools issue of Sports Illustrated who was supposed to be able to throw a 130-mph fastball

131. The school I went to: Walnut Hills then UC
132. Last person I got mad at was: Devilboy (see #81)
133. Worst Drinking Experience: getting tossed out of a bar/arrested/taking my shorts off, throwing up in them, and carrying it home (although now it seems strangely appealing)
134. All Time Best Song: “Timothy” by the Buoys (“Joe said that he would sell his soul for just. . . a piece . . . of meat.”)
135. All Time Best Band: I can’t decide and I’m losing interest in this
136. All Time Best Painting: Salador Dali’s Corpus Hypercubus
137. All Time Best Movie: Satyricon (you have to wait for the ending)
138. All Time Best Thing In The World: zinc
139. What tattoo would you like and where: I like tattoos on other people

140. Most annoying person I know is: too many to pick
141. I lose all respect for people: all the time
142. The movies I have cried at: usually involve dogs (My Dog Skip for instances)
143. I have a scar: my most prominent scars are from my dog biting me on the shoulder and when he yanked his leash and caused me to jam my fingers in the opening mechanism of a gate (they would have to ask those questions back to back)
144. The last time I skinned my knees was: I was cleaning the carpets and tried to scrub out a stain. The chemicals ate through the skin of my kneecaps and disolved the leg hair in a larger circle around the wounds.
145. My hidden talent: is well hidden
146. I have a craving for: sleep
147. The worst pain I was ever in was: physically, probably having my wisdom teeth out
148. My favorite quote: “Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless, peacocks and lilies for instance.” John Ruskins (not really my favorite but the best I could come up with.
149. My room is: nonexistent--I’m married.

150. I love: all that is good
151. I hate: the Care Bears
152. My life: is more than statistically half over
153. My weakness: multi-tasking
154. What I look for in a mate: I might not be the best person to ask
155. Who broke your heart: My dog Snoozer when he died
156. I filled out this survey: on a computer
157. Name the one person you trust the most: Devilboy. . .I trust him to destroy in mindless rampages.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Shark Petting

If this is true, he puts Timothy Treadwell to shame.

In the book Devil's Teeth, a great white shark researcher strokes a shark as it swims by, but this doesn't look particularly scientific.

Here's something more sane--whale saving.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Why I Hate California

I guess two words say it best: Orange County.

Nothing but good feelings towards the rest of the state. San Francisco and L.A. have deeply troubled municipal codes but I'm overall positive about them, the general people of California, and the state as a whole.

Californian city officials and politicians do stink. Sure, they stink all over but California gave Nixon, Bob Dornan, and Reagan. I'm sure some of the city officials are perfectly nice people but the ones I dealt with were complete idiots (which is fairly common) but they were proud of being idiots. Here's a few examples of what I had to deal with:

9.12.545. Amerige Park Carnivals prohibited.

No person shall use Amerige Park for any carnival, circus, tent show, fair, rodeo, horse show, elephant race or similar activity, or for any ferris wheel, merry go round, or other mechanical device for amusement rides. (Ord. 1440, § 1, 1965).

(Fullerton, CA--included in the Index as "elephant races")

Ordinance 2001-05, § 4, 3-27-2001

D. Location of Drive-Thru Window. The drive-thru window shall be located on the same side as the driver's side of the car.

(Monrovia, California)

There's more. Lots and lots more. I don't think you have to be considered an economic conservative to think that maybe Adam Smith's invisible hand would clear up any problems with elephant races and passenger side drive-thru windows. In most states, including North Carolina (but not Indiana), a municipality upon reviewing obviously outdated provisions would agree to rescind them or at least not include them in a basic municipal code, saving taxpayers a bundle.

Californian city officials wanted everything. Yes, Massachusetts does the same thing but in Massachusetts, most of the outdated stuff has a real history. California keeps spewing this out nonstop.

In California's defense, it's home to over a tenth of the U.S. population, is geographically a huge state, is diverse in population and industry, has a constant influx of out-of-towners moving in, and has changed national governments a number of times. This is true of Florida and Texas but the cities I dealt with were quick to point out, "Dang, we're stupid." Just admitting the problems eased things with me. And for the record, the Bush boys are not Texans or Floridians--they're Connecticut millionaires who set up shop in states without an income tax.

Carmel, Indiana, was worse than all California and the rest of the country combined (with the exception of Monroe, North Carolina, the home town of Jesse Helms). These were the two worst municipalities in the nation and, right or wrong, prejudiced me towards their states. Actually Rising Sun and Lawrenceburg (both with casinos) were good to work with but my limited experience with the rest of Indiana and North Carolina wasn't good. No state, not even Texas, willfully ignores the Constitution like Indiana.

Unlike Nathan, I will defend Ohio on one level--they paid really well. Bowling Green, Ohio, still has Section 139.02

(A) No person, without privilege to do so, shall purposely deface, damage, pollute, or otherwise physically mistreat any of the following:

(1) The flag of the United States or of this state;

(2) Any public monument;

(3) Any historical or commemorative marker, or any structure, Indian mound or earthwork, cemetery, thing, or site of great historical or archaeological interest;

(4) A place of worship, its furnishings, or religious artifacts or sacred texts within the place of worship or within the grounds upon which the place of worship is located;

(5) A work of art or museum piece;

(6) Any other object of reverence or sacred devotion.

Notice, it's illegal to mistreat the flag of Ohio. Ask the next ten people from Ohio what shape the state flag is and see how many get it right (hint: it's not rectangular).

Kentucky and Illinois were my two favorite states. Kentucky didn't pay very well but they realized that despite being near to larger states, there's no reason to over-regulate themselves at tax-payers expense. (This is on paper--in real life, the state government is incredibly corrupt.)

Same is true of Illinois but once I screwed over the people of a small town in Illinois and have felt bad about it ever since.

I noticed that two ordinances from the town--a utility rate increase and something else--had the same number and passage date so I called the town clerk to see what was the matter. Unlike a clerk in Indiana, she didn't blame me for the problem but was incredibly apologetic and shortly found out what had happened. During a meeting, the council passed the rate increase but somehow forgot about it and passed another unrelated ordinance and used the same number, effectively erasing the rate increase from their records. When I pointed out the problem, they put the increase in action and possibly, I never found out, made the citizens pay for the months it should have been issued.

Somewhere in Illinois, some poor bastard has a huge utility bill and I'm to blame. Sorry, sorry, sorry. I wish it had happened to Carmel.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Bubonic Plague is Not Contagious?

But the bad news, it hit L.A.
Worst States

Moved from an insanely long comment, my list of worst states (and Florida doesn't even make the cut):

1. North Carolina--idiots, racists, very screwy state laws. In the 1990s, one municipality still had a curfew exclusively for black males on the books (to their credit, they didn't seem aware of it and immediately repealed it when notified).

2. Indiana--no offense to Wes but Indiana is surrounded by much larger states and state legislators somehow think that Hoosiers need as many state regulations as Illinois, Ohio, or Michigan. This makes their legal system unnecessarily bulky and complicated. Plus, they're all idiots, especially everyone in Carmel.

3. Idaho--I've only had minimal dealing with Idaho but it's been all bad.

4. Wyoming--same as above.

5. California--big states with big populations, multiple climates and landscapes, a wide range of industries, and several national governments have loony state laws. Texas, under Spain, France, Mexico, itself, the CSA, and the USA, has law books that read the junior jumble. But Texans practically fall over themselves apologizing for the problems. To a lesser extent (but less of an initial problem) so do Floridians.

Californian politicians and governmental employees take a perverse pride in the terrible way they run the state. Half of the L.A. charter is devoted to police and firefighter pensions (important, but why in the charter? And why half the provisions of the charter?) San Francisco once paid to change every instance of "he" to "he or she" in its 17 volume set of municipal law even though "he" was already legally defined to include masculine and feminine uses. (On the brighter side, it was the easiest and most profitable legal publishing job in history.)

6. Georgia and Tennessee (tie)--no professional experience with them but just driving through is enough.

7. Mississippi--I wouldn't mind it so much if it didn't suck down tax money the rate it does.

8. Arkansas--Once was enough. Bill Clinton really was the best person ever to come out of this state and I hate him.

9. Oklahoma--all the nitwits of Texas without any reasons to rationalize them.

10. Oregon--sure, they love trees but dealing with their officials is almost as bad as the Hoosiers (but, in fairness, not as bad as the Tarheels). Plus, they don't let you pump your own gas.

Yeah, technically that's 11 but I really wanted to include Oregon. Where's New York? I've never had to deal with New York so I couldn't conscientiously include it.
My Municipal Codes

This is a partial list (I lost part of my files) of the municipal codes I worked on over the years. Some (like Pompano Beach, Florida), I worked on repeatedly). Others only once. I know I edited one Alaskan code but I have no record of it. From my memory of it, the code was easy-going, straightforward, nothing blatantly unconstitutional--in other words, the anti-Indiana.

These experiences heavily influenced my worst states list.

Arkansas (1)

Arizona (1)

California (11)
Baldwin Park
Culver City
Santa Paula

Florida (8)
Boynton Beach
Lake Mary
Pembroke Pines
Pompano Beach

Illinois (37)
Carol Stream
Coal City
Crest Hill
Du Quoin
Henry Co
Orland Hills
Palos Hts
Sauk Village
South Elgin
Will Co
Winthrop Harbor

Indiana (29)
Beech Grove
Cass Co
Crown Point
Fort Wayne
Lake Co.
Mt. Vernon

Kansas (1)

Kentucky (17)
Beaver Dam
Boone Co.
Bullit Co.
Forest Hills
Fort Thomas
Grant Co.
Jefferson Co.
Taylor Mill

Louisana (1)

Michigan (7)
Mt. Pleasant
White Cloud
White Hall

Minnesota (1)

Missouri (1)
St. Charles

North Carolina (16)
Caswell Beach
Davie Co.
Holden Beach
Southern Pines

North Dakota (1)

New Mexico (1)

Ohio (10)
Beach City
Bowling Green

Oklahoma (1)

Oregon (3)

Pennslyvania (1)

South Carolina (2)
Mt. Pleasant

Texas (20)
Gun Barrel City
Harker Heights
Runaway Bay

West Virginia (1)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Down South

Here's some news from where my parents live:

Naked girls moon motorists; mother arrested; alcohol believed a factor
Cat target

Brass buckles

This is actually miles south but ughh

This is a little south too
Witches to Disrupt American Policy

On May 5, a global-conspiracy of witches (or this) is planning to thwart American destiny.

Actually I just wanted to write "thwart."

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Top Fantasy

According to David Pringle's 100 Best Modern Fantasy:

Titus Groan, Mervyn Peake
World of Ptath, A.E. van Vogt
The Well of the Unicorn, Fletcher Pratt
Darker Than You Think, Jack Williamson
Seven Days in New Crete, Robert Graves
Silverlock, John Myers Myers
The Castle of Iron, L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt
Conan the Conqueror, Robert E. Howard
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis
Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
The Dying Earth, Jack Vance
The Sound of His Horn, Sarban
Conjure Wife, Fritz Leiber
The Sinful Ones, Fritz Leiber
The Broken Sword, Poul Anderson
The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
Pincher Martin, William Golding
The Shrinking Man, Richard Matheson
Dandelion Wine, Ray Bradbury (I can remember reading it but can't remember what it was about)
The Once and Future King, T.E. White
The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathon Hoag, Robert Heinlein
The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson

Titus Alone, Merlyn Peake
A Fine and Private Place, Peter S. Beagle
Three Hearts and Three Lions, Poul Anderson
The Girl, the Gold Watch, and Everything, John D. MacDonald
Glory Road, Robert A. Heinlein
Witch World, Andre Norton
Same as Bradbury. I can remember the cover but not the story.
The Magus, John Fowles
Stormbringer, Micheal Moorecock
The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon

Day of the Minotaur, Thomas Burnett Swann
The Eyes of the Overworld, Jack Vance
The Owl Service, Alan Garner
Rosemary’s Baby, Ira Levin
The Third Policeman, Flann O’Brien
Gog, Andrew Sinclair
The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle
A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. LeGuin
The Swords of Lankhmar, Fritz Leiber
Black Easter and The Day After Judgement, James Blish
The Green Man, Kingsley Amis
The Phoenix and the Mirror, Avram Davidson
A Feast Unknown, Phillip Jose Farmer
Fourth Mansion, R.A. Lafferty Same.
Red Moon and Black Mountain, Joy Chant
Time and Again, Jack Finney
Grendel, John Gardner

Briefing for a Descent into Hell, Doris Lessing
Jack of Shadows, Roger Zelazny
Watership Down, Richard Adams
The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr Hoffman, Angela Carter
Sweet Dreams, Michale Frayn
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, Patricia A. McKillip
’Salem’s Lot, Stephen King
The Great Victorian Collection, Brian Moore
Grimus, Salman Rushdie
Peace, Gene Wolfe
The Malacia Tapestry, Brian Aldiss
The Dragon and the George, Gordon R. Dickson

Hotel de Dream, Emma Tennant
The Passion of New Eve, Angela Carter
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Stephen R. Donaldson (started buy never finished)
The Shining, Stephen King
Fata Morgana, William Kotzwinkle
Our Lady of Darkness, Fritz Leiber
Gloriana, Michael Moorcock
The Unlimited Dream Company, J.G. Ballard
Sorceror’s Son, Phyllis Eisenstein
The Land of Laughs, Jonathon Carroll
The Vampire Tapestry, Suzy McKee Carnas
A Storm of Wings, M. John Harrison
White Light, Rudy Rucker
Ariosto, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Cities of the Red Night, William S. Burroughs
Little, Big, John Crowley
Lanark, Alasdair Gray
The War Hound and the World’s Pain, Michael Moorcock
Nifft the Lean, Michael Shea
Winter’s Tale, Mark Helprin
Soul Eater, K.W. Jeter
Tea with the Black Dragon, R.A. MacAvoy
Cold Heaven, Brian Moore
Anubis Gate, Tim Powers
Who Made Stevie Crye? Michael Bishop
The Digging Leviathon, James P. Blaylock
Nights at the Circus, Angela Carter
The Businessman, Thomas M. Disch
Mythago Wood, Robert Holdstock
The Glamour, Christopher Priest
The Witches of Eastwich, John Updike
Hawksmoor, Peter Ackroyd
The Dream Years, Lisa Goldstein
The Fionavar Tapestry, Guy Gavriel Kay
The Bridge, Iain Banks
The Hungry Moon, Ramsey Cambell
Replay, Ken Grimwood
The Unconquered Territory: A Life History, Geoff Ryman
The Day of Creation, J.G. Ballard
Aegypt, John Crowley
Two Extremes

James Joyce used 29,899 different words in Ulysses. That's not the total word count but 29,899 separate words, many used multiple times, many of which were created by Joyce.

Dr. Seuss wrote Green Eggs and Ham with fifty words, of which “Not” is used the most often (82 times) and “I” the second most (81). All words except “anywhere” (used eight times) are monosyllabic.
Bad Devilboy Night

Devilboy was buzzing to the point of spasms last night. He finally fell asleep at 4:23 (my alarm was set for 8:22 but I hit snooze twice). The soonest Children's Hospital has for him is June 27.
Millipede Invasion

I'm going out on a limb and guessing that this news story about a 72-year-old woman's being invaded by millipedes is a joke.

"Mrs. Foot(e)"?
Them's Some Big Rabbits

Thumper on steroids.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Literary Mythologies

Just read Jason Colavito's The Cult of Alien Gods: H.P. Lovecraft and Extraterrestrial Pop Culture which claims that H.P. started the whole ancient astronaut/gods from outer space craze.

I was surprised by this quote: "To be a member of a pure-blooded race ought to be the greatest achievement in life."

First of all, that's not really an achievement, now is it? But I'd always thought Lovecraft was more open-minded. Apparently he began life as a right-wing extremist but a few years after making that quote, he married Sonia Greene, a Russian Jew (big shock, they divorced a couple years later) Eventually after financial crisis after crisis, he wound up supporting Roosevelt and became a border-line socialist.

What interested me the most were his gods. I've been trying to find different groups of gods made up entirely by SF and fantasy writers but haven't been able to come up with a good source. The book listed:

Clark Ashton Smith - Tsathoggua the toad god
Robert Ervin Howard - Krom, Kathulos (independently created god very similar to Cthulhu)
Howard Phillips Lovecraft - Cthulhu and the boys

I know a few more. Fritz Leiber had an extensive pantheon of gods in the Gray Mouser series. The rabbits had a god and holy messenger in Richard Adams' Watership Down. Alan Dean Foster had many gods in his shared world universe. Robert Asprin had the gods of Thieves' World and Micheal Moorcock had them in Elric's universe.

There has got to be more. I've googled for them but I can't think of a good way to phrase it without getting all sorts of goofy crap (some of which is interesting but not what I was looking for).
General Oba Shot

For years now, a local activist and/or nutcase General Kabaka Oba of the Black Fist has been media whoring the Cincinnati airwaves. Although he made incredibly stupid statements on a regular basis ("I am the most racist man in Cincinnati"), he usually came off as just loony on WAIF's the Bottom Line , not evil or dangerous. Apparently the matter behind the shooting started from a minor matter and both sides kept it snowballing out of control. Just last week, on the Bottom Line, the host repeatedly asked Kabaka for a "sit-down" to end the fighting. He just shrugged it off.

I keep thinking of Timothy Treadwell--keep pushing the edge and eventually you're going to fall off.

For more on the situation, click on This and this.
"So was it good for you to?"

Is this guy a pervert or just really, really stupid?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

First Comics

What might be a meme in the making is a nerdy challenge to write about your first comic books. Want to read about another geeky first comic's experience? No? You have some semblance of a life? You must tell me about that sometime.

Anyway, I remember plenty of old horror comics that my dad bought me (Gold Key Boris Karloff presents or something) and funny animal comics which were apparently written by guys with just enough pride not to sell themselves for medical experiments or at the closest greyhound depot.

The first comics I bought myself were The Incredible Hulk #259 and Man-Thing #10. Even though this doesn't match up with the dates given on the other web pages, this must have been in February of 1981, about halfway through my seventh grade year. Neither comic made much of an impact with me but the next issue of the Hulk marked the death of Major Talbot, a military idiot who lived only to bomb the Hulk. (In the Marvel Universe, approximately 15% of the budget goes to fund anti-Hulk weaponry which typically works well for about a page and a half before blowing up or becoming sentient and deciding to blow up the universe.)

Major Talbot had been wasting tax-payer money on the Hulk since the early sixties. He stole Bruce Banner's girlfriend, abused and divorced her. He tried to incinerate whole states just to get a crack at the jade giant. Some comic fans had waited twenty years to see him die. I got it in about three weeks. Like Poochie, he was one of the rare comic characters who actually stayed dead (probably more out of a desire not to demonize the U.S. military in Reagan and post-Reagan America than anything else).

Today comic books try to be more "real." The latest story-line is that Congress passed a Patriot Act for superheroes, requiring them to register with the government, and allowing for witty, political observations ("Anyway, like I was saying, it's a very subtle allegory. There's this President Jorge W. Evilbush--"). Still in the 80s, the Hulk fought to the death against Major Talbot's ultimate weapon--the War Wagon--on the set of a Japanese Godzilla movie. Now, that's entertainment.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Chameleon Clothes

If this is real
, what good would it be other than a novelty item a la the mood ring?

Maybe if you're witnessed committing a crime, it would be good to have a quick way to change the color of your shirt but otherwise would it just be for show?
Top Fears

BBC list of top 20 phobias. It has to be fake.

My sister has a fear of clowns and makes my mom take down a clown doll from the toy shelves before she visits. After watching Grizzly Man, I guess I'm afraid of standing next to a dangerous animal but I can see pictures of them and I just went to the zoo yesterday. I have to hope that the guy with a phobia about pen tops was just joking.
Grizzly Man Again

I just watched Grizzly Man for another class, and as goofy as Timothy Treadwell might have been, was he worse than a guy who kills himself and a friend while driving drunk? Gives himself and a loved one lung cancer? Eats himself into a heart attack and wrecks while driving his family? There's all sorts of things Treadwell could have done to kill himself and his girlfriend, granted few as painful and gruesome as being eaten by a bear.

Not that Treadwell was a hero--getting alligators used to people makes them more dangerous and, according to the experts, the same holds true for bears--but he doesn't deserve the hatred that some students have for him.

I think mocking God made more of a difference for some of them than anything else.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Smart Ass Shuts Down School

For the second time in a week, a smart ass kid caused a panic at my stepdaughter's school. I couldn't find any news on the second and the principal didn't send an e-mail like the first. The second one was timed so that the police would "lock down" the school, blocking kids from their lockers thereby canceling all homework for Monday.

It's like one of my old prayers 25 years too late.