That will be the day.
The full horror at the link.
Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt expresses alarm at the "drift to the humanities" in the UK and a culture where "engineering and science aren’t championed."
I will have to make do with my imagination.
Detailed description and images at the link.
Only one Member of Congress voted against U.S. participation in both World War I and World War II.
Jeannette Rankin was also the first woman member of Congress, a progressive as you will have inferred.
She talks in time.
At the end, performing with a technology that did not then exist.
"Kokoku" from Home Of The Brave: A Film By Laurie Anderson (1986).
Watching this, thinking about my own gigs, I realize it's true: Keep doing what you are doing and sooner or later it won't be cool anymore. But keep doing it and twenty years later nobody recognizes your dance moves and they take you for an original. Give it another five years and it comes back in style. They will call you a genius.
This, at least, is the plan.
The video is nsfw due to topless protest. Four mowers and two journalists were arrested.
I do feel for the gardeners. That said, Ukraine has a superior class of protest movement. Photojournalism at the link.
Classic advice for fantasy writers: Poul Anderson argues on behalf of elementary knowledge, and plain common sense, in sword and sorcery.
“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.”
- Philip K. Dick
From the set of Revenge of the Jedi.
Lux Interior: Gone but not forgotten. Most likely nsfw on a Monday.
"Koschei cannot be killed by conventional means targeting his body. His soul is hidden separate from his body inside a needle, which is in an egg, which is in a duck, which is in a hare, which is in an iron chest (sometimes the chest is crystal and/or gold), which is buried under a green oak tree, which is on the island of Buyan, in the ocean. As long as his soul is safe, he cannot die."
"An early Soviet movie from 1944 directed by Alexander Rou and starring Georgiy Millyar as the undead skeletal rapist ogre of ancient Slavonic mythology."
Here is what actually matters about the working life of Steve Jobs.
(Via Five Feet of Fury, featuring Steve Jobs videos)
It turns out Qaddafi and I have something in common.*
* Ignore CNN's analysis. They are so preoccupied with her politics (and their own), they somehow overlook the fact Condoleezza Rice is gorgeous.
The geography of our solar system. I wish I were responsible for the soundtrack.
Handy: Solar System Builder.
Gnarly: "Known as 'relativistic jets', they can reach hundreds of thousands of light years in length."
Spooky: "The U.S. Air Force Space Surveillance Radar in Texas recorded echoes of the Perseid Meteors as they passed over the monitoring facility."
Specifically, a passport belonging to the Libyan leader's eldest son, Mohammed. Now we know how to spell his name.
Hopefully this knowledge arrives just as we no longer need it.
Trefor Moss argues the significance of the Shi Lang, formerly the Varyag, is less as a tool of hard power projection than as an asymmetric weapon of diplomatic warfare.
Symbolic and purposive: Taiwan announces the Hsiung Feng 3, its handy new anti aircraft carrier missile.
The mural in question at the link.
The Epoch Times claims to have uncovered evidence a Chinese military university is carrying out cyberwar against the United States.
On the plus side: My Vault-Tec stock is up.
Considering this trenchcoat.
"European fit" means "choose a size up", btw.
Le prequel: C'est edgy.
Hey, Grant Morrison, Sigmund Freud called. He says you mean "oppressed".
You know what? Stick with repressed. Your slip is showing.
Also: This word "meme". I don't think it memes what you think it memes.
This ad keeps telling me something is going to happen to me at Old Woman Bay. So freaked out right now.
Pity I missed the listing for Castle Carbonana; I like the sound of Count of Carbonana. I gather the castle was built in bits and pieces over time, the site first used as a signalling tower in the latter days of the Roman Empire when messages needed to pass quickly between Rome and Ravenna.
It is a fixer upper but it is impressive all the same.
The asking price would not get you much on the Bridal Path and it wouldn't come with a pedigree - or Italian sunshine - either.
I found a signed and dedicated first edition of King of Egypt, King of Dreams by Gwendolyn MacEwen. Sadly, at some point a previous owner tried to blot out her dedication.
Thanks to the miracle of digital scanning and some judicious Photoshop I can now make out the name but, sadly, not MacEwen's handwriting. I hope someone can identify the recipient. Arthur... Winter?
It's a great idea but you know some douchebag is going to show up with a guitar.
And... there he is.
"The Anglo-Saxons - they divided our land and heralded the arrival of the Dark Ages. But were they really just barbarians?"
I am not certain what "our" the blurb is referring to. Not to mention the BBC's barbarophobia. Much more helpful are the notes appended to the clip itself.
All this and a remarkable community project in a shopping centre in Sittingbourne besides. The spirit of Alfred is pleased.
Related: Fenris Badwulf has more.
It isn't fashionable to talk in terms of national character these days. But reading a Wikipedia entry on Cross-Channel guns in the Second World War, I am forced to turn to the old stories to make sense of the facts. Let them speak for themselves.
Say you are going to build these big bastard guns in Kent and the Pas-de-Calais with an aim to smashing enemy shipping in the Channel and causing generalized mayhem and distress on the land opposite. What to call them?
If you are German, your 38 cm opening move is the Siegfried Battery, this followed by a variety of evocative maniacs in uniform along the lines of Friedrich August, Prinz Heinrich and, naturally, Adolf. These topped by the four 38 cm guns of the Battery Todt.
Now say you are in charge of the British response. Naming your first gun is easy, it's Winnie, an affectionate nod to the Prime Minister. Your second 14 inch monster is easier still; it's Pooh. Obviously.
Verdict: We weren't the baddies. But we were badass.
If anyone should happen to recognize the music, I would be grateful if you might let me know what it is.
"Cabiria is a 1914 silent movie from the early years of Italy's movie industry, directed by Giovanni Pastrone."
Special interest: Looking for something "more" than Set, the Snake God? Have you heard the news about Moloch? The Temple of Moloch and the invocation to Moloch for your consideration starting at 23:13.
I guess I should put a spoiler warning on this (read the book).
NixonSixx wonders if Game of Thrones is working its way into this winter’s fashion choices.
This appears to be the Naxos release by the Razumovsky Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Mogrelia conducting.
My copy is Karel Šejna's 1961 interpretation with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. It is gorgeous, spirited and sadly in need of remastering due to the technological limitations of the day. If anyone at Supraphon Records should happen to come across this post, I will do the job as a labour of love.
Le first trailer. New plan: Enter cryopod until January; I have no need of further good news until then.
College students in favour of sharing the wealth prove to be strangely reluctant to share their grades.
It's a tough sell. Video at the link.
In which Vin Diesel represents for bald, middle-aged D&D fans. Like a boss.
"Napoléon (1927) is an epic silent French film directed by Abel Gance that tells the story of the rise of Napoleon I of France."
That's the first couple hours or so, enough to get you started. I confess I have only watched the first two parts so far.
Still, worth it if only for the opening snowball scene cited above. Even my childhood snowball fights of the 1970s were cut short by the fear somebody, somewhere might get a boohoo. In Napoleon's day, teachers awarded students for innovative tactics. One pedagogy produces men, the other produces Canada.
Ridley Scott has committed to direct and produce a prequel or sequel or something for Blade Runner.
Thanks to my Dad, I am the only person I know who can say I saw the film at the cinema in its first run (now expecting a deluge of mail from other equally blessed people). I could not tell you how many times I have seen it since. It is one of the two or three most influential films for me in terms of teachings and influence. It is difficult to express the reverence I hold for Ridley Scott; even Kingdom of Heaven had Eva Green.
But I've got a bad feeling about this.
Andrew Ryan Peter Thiel, and I'm here to ask you a question. Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow? 'No!' says the man in Washington, 'It belongs to the poor.' 'No!' says the man in the Vatican, 'It belongs to God.' 'No!' says the man in Moscow, 'It belongs to everyone.' I rejected those answers; instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose...Rapture, a city where the artist would not fear the censor, where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality, where the great would not be constrained by the small! And with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city, as well."
The New Greta Garbo Party: Comment at The Five.
Warning, has swears.
The pyramid analogy is apt.
In 1945 Soviets presented America a gift of the Great Seal of the US at the end of WWII, in 1952 the US finally realized it contained a listening bug.
Tate Britain: 14 June – 4 September 2011 (video at the link).
Snide remarks about the Tate's copy editing aside - and the fact the intro to their blurb appears to have been lifted word for word uncredited from The Bullfinch Guide to Art History via the Vorticism Wikipedia entry, spare a snide remark to the effect of Vorticism being a derivative, rather less interesting spin on Futurism.
The Tate seems to share this opinion. Vorticism does not have much of a conceptual pedigree to cite; consequently, the subtitle to the exhibition is a clear reference to Marinetti's Futurist Manifesto, a template for all would be rebel artists and aesthetic empire builders ever since. Though it could be the Tate curatorial team was embarrassed to cite Wyndham Lewis (and who could blame them*).
That said, I am annoyed to once again be missing something interesting in London. A blessing of my childhood was to grow up in the same city as Jacob Epstein's Rock Drill, housed in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada.** It was fascinating and terrifying, an "armed, sinister figure of today and tomorrow."
Or rather, it was until I read the Rock Drill vs Battle Droid. Which tends to ruin things a bit.
Still, if you are in London, it is worth a visit to see the copy they have on display.
* "You think at once of a whirlpool. At the heart of the whirlpool is a great silent place where all the energy is concentrated. And there, at the point of concentration, is the Vorticist," he said, wanking.
** Or rather, what is left of it. Following the First World War, Epstein cut the figure in half, perhaps a reflection of an optimism for the machine age cut short in the trenches.
Or perhaps Epstein's reinvention of the piece as an armed, sinister figure was rather less convincing when it was obviously engaged in road works (minus a tea break). Ken Cook and Ann Christopher have made a reconstruction.
Chêne Chappelle is a large tree holding a small church in the French village of Allouville-Bellefosse.
If people could get over their preconceptions - including, perhaps, a legion of Gaga fans - it could be No. 1 on the country charts (hat tip to Monster Jeff).
"An hour-long special produced by Banksy charting the history of behaving badly in public, from anarchists and activists to attention seeking eccentrics."
Culturally significant if tooth grindingly irritating. Which is, of course, the point.
"That’s how much I hate Morrissey."
Topical: Armstrong & Miller - WWII RAF (Sketch 6). Difficult to say if it qualifies as parody given most people living in England could not recognize the England being parodied.
But wait, there's more Ice and Fire-related casting news!
The Margaery Tyrell casting is inspired.
Gratuitously: Natalie Dormer having sexy times in The Tudors (nsfw, unless you work for Henry Tudor). I include the link in part because something has to pay the bills around here but mainly to illustrate a point: Anyone who thinks a fantasy past has to be PG-rated has not been paying attention to fantasy, or to the past.
Raising the tone: Henry VIII - Dressed to kill.
A French pop single somehow, magically, written in English. I wouldn't have thought it was possible.
The six deadliest animals too adorable to run away from.*
* Unsettling penguin imagery.
Related: Battle at Kruger. At the risk of spoilers, you should understand the baby water buffalo survives.
Where biology and analogy are made to rhyme.
Weirdly turned on by this and not ashamed to say so.
Also, in case you are thinking what I am thinking, yeah, pretty much. Hey, you try and invent some new chord progressions.
"Who are you looking for? I'm right here."
Lady Gaga: Today's paradigm case of an artist underestimated because of her commercial success. "Telephone" stands next to anything Kurt Weill ever wrote.
Related thought: I was particularly pleased, though in no way surprised, by Gaga's comment on the success Rebecca Black. Black, driven from her school by jealous trolls, was 13 years old when her first entirely inoffensive pop single struck a chord with other young girls. Yet somehow a good half the adults of my (distant) acquaintance felt obligated to make a show of themselves, in print no less, expressing their aesthetic horror at a song that wasn't written for them in the first place. These were, to a man, non-contributing zeroes when it comes to the culture. Call it the Rebecca Black Acid Test.
This month in Harper's Bazaar: Georgia May Jagger pays tribute to style icon, Margaret Thatcher.
Evangelicals, tired of being excluded from softcore horror films, fight back. Take that Catholic Church!
A bit of a damp squib but notable for the introduction. Stay tuned as the BBC turns its fire from Israel to India while civilization makes its way merrily toward the Abyss.
The Slut Walk wasn't an unqualified success either.
Related somehow: "At the end of the day you cannot tax beauty nor subsidize ugly."
Frankly demented: "I blame Christina Aguilera, who with her bleating hymn to self-deception, Beautiful, convinced a generation of broads that they were ‘Beautiful, in every single way’."
Via Five Feet of Fury.
Elena Fisher is the first video game character I have ever fallen - just a little bit - in love with.
Interview with: Emily Rose and Claudia Black, aka Elena Fisher and Chloe Frazier, co-stars of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.
Image wall: Fuckyeauncharted.
Anticipation: November 1, 2011 - Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. The first iteration was the closest thing to a proper Indiana Jones video game I have ever played, the second a masterpiece of adventure fiction that stands up to anything ever written. It is worth buying a PS3 for this franchise alone (think of the BluRay player as the excuse should you happen to need one).
George Takei makes an appearance.
And another classic by Richard Cheese and The Lounge Against The Machine.
Featuring Kathy Bates and Tom Hanks. Filmed just before a fateful run in with a pickup truck.
This is a Hollywood themed summary of the man's career to the end of the '90s. For a how to, see Stephen King's On Writing.
"Admiral (Russian: Адмиралъ) is a 2008 biopic about Alexander Kolchak, a Vice-Admiral in the Imperial Russian Navy and leader of the anti-communist White Movement during the Russian Civil War. The film also depicts the love triangle between the Admiral, his wife, and the poetess Anna Timireva.
"According to director Andrei Kravchuk,"
Polytechnic of Milan professor Giulio Magli offers a belated, and I would have thought blindingly obvious, conjecture as to the function of the oculus of the Pantheon. But I don't have tenure so what do I know.
Spencer Kansa interviews David Sylvian.
David Sylvian, Sleepwalkers.
For example: David Sylvian - Sugarfuel.
Recorded in the spring of 1998.
Robert Anton Wilson discusses Jack Parsons.
And Aleister Crowley.
Kenneth Anger: Inauguration Of The Pleasure Dome in full.
* The Flea: Come for the pop music, stay for the diacritical marks.
"Frederick the Great shaped Prussia, and in doing so shaped western culture as a whole. Der alte Fritz is influential even today. He is surprisngly 'modern'. His bad luck was to be born a Prince because that carried obligations."
Presented by Christopher Clark.
Embonpoint: Nun danket alle Gott.
Much more at the link (including a review of the new Das Boot Two-Disc Collector's Set, a much better investment).
The key figures here are Emily Blunt and Barack Obama. By the end of act one we are (re)introduced to Matt Damon's ego, posing dramatically in the men's washroom of a posh hotel, rehearsing a noble concession speech for a failed Senate bid. This mawkish, self-congratulatory wank is underlined again and again throughout the film. Damon portrays a politician not like other politicians, a solar-panel guy who puts true love before success in politics, the closest Damon's identity politics will allow him to playing the role of a certain heroic senator from Illinois.
It is a grotesque wobbling mess of a film. Yet a redeemer appears, this being Emily Blunt. While I would have been happier to watch her read the phone book (or its networked equivalent) for a couple hours, I was nonetheless happy to endure the audacity of Damon to get to the good bits. Think of it as porn and you are good to go.
Groundwork: Thanks to the miracle of the interweb, and lapsed copyright, Philip K. Dick's Adjustment Team, first published in Orbit Science Fiction, Sept-Oct 1954, No.4 with illustration by Faragasso, is available online.
Posh totty: Emily Blunt cover shoot for Vogue.
NASA announces the discovery of liquid water on Mars.
Personally, I enjoy being pandered to.
If I have to parse any of this, you should be reading something else.
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss on thirteen Emmy nominations including Casting, Costume, Directing and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for Peter Dinklage - who should win - and the second season of Game of Thrones.
And: Season two will stick to ten episodes.
Also: George R.R. Martin talks to Canada's state broadcaster.
Somehow this observation, blindingly obvious as it is, had never occurred to me. Such is ideology.
The Shield and the Sword (Shchit i mech) (1968).
In four parts. Click the CC button for English subtitles.
"My grandfather donated that light bulb!"*
* Ba dum, tssh.
Philosopher Roger Scruton makes a case for the importance of beauty.
Hat tip to the Sister of the Flea.
"Ommadawn represented a departure from his previous solo, multi-tracked recording technique. Other musicians were involved, not just in the recording but in the composition and arrangement too. Influences from the folk music of Ireland, Africa and Eastern Europe can be clearly heard. Paddy Moloney of the Irish band the Chieftains contributed the distinctive uillean pipes. It was way ahead of its time, and for me, it confirms the 22-year-old Oldfield as not just one of the great classical guitarists in rock, but as one of its greatest composers."
"Black Girl is a 1966 film by the Senegalese writer and director Ousmane Sembène, starring Mbissine Thérèse Diop. Its original French title is La noire de…, which means 'The black girl of...', as in 'someone's black girl'" (spoiler at the first link).
The film's reversal of then conventional ideas about the narrative position of "subaltern" groups is today not only to be expected but cliché (not only in film but in all media including and especially advertising). Le noire de... is nonetheless fascinating to watch, perhaps more so now than when it was made, less for its polemic than its aesthetic. I had never seen a film with a nouvelle vague sensibility via Senegal.
That said, for all his purported - and apparently genuine - concerns about subject position and representation one cannot help but notice Sembène's choice of Mbissine Thérèse Diop for the lead rôle is as entirely conventional today as it was in the mid-1960s; she is luminously beautiful.
The first photos from the second season of Downton Abbey offer another glimpse into a life to which I am not acquainted but to which I could nonetheless rapidly become accustomed.