Archive for January 27, 2008

Your Chance To Own Thunderbird 3!

January 27, 2008

Oh no. This is no joke!


The Blackpool exhibit is clearing out stock. Thunderbird 3 has got to go.

The PDF catalogue.

I wonder who will nab it?

You Go, Ringo!

January 27, 2008

Thanks to the Yahoo homepage (which is sometimes the entrance for my email), I just learned about this:

Ringo walks off `Regis’ over song flap

Ringo Starr is known for being the amiable Beatle, but the rock star showed his tough side Tuesday when he walked off the set of “Live With Regis and Kelly” rather than cut short one of his songs.

Starr, who is promoting his new album, “Liverpool 8,” planned to perform the title song with fellow rocker Dave Stewart. However, due to miscommunication between his publicist, Elizabeth Freund, and the musical director, Starr didn’t realize the performance had to be 2 1/2 minutes or less, Freund told The Associated Press.

When told Tuesday morning that the performance had to be shortened, Freund said Starr tried to cut about a minute of the song’s 4 minute, 15 second length, down to 3 minutes and 30 seconds. However, according to Freund, producer Michael Gelman said it had to be less than 3 minutes.

“We offered to cut back our chat time and asked them to fade or go to commercial. They were not willing to do that and Ringo was not willing to cut it further, so without a compromise we were not able to stay,” Freund said in a statement to The Associated Press. “Ringo left saying, ‘God bless and goodbye. We still love Regis.'”

Here’s that song, performed live and complete:

The official music video is on YouTube but the record company displays the usual shortsightedness of that industry by forbidding embedding! Have they heard of what the Internet can do?

Regis should have let the song go out complete. And the record company should allow embedding!

Harlan Ellison

January 27, 2008

Apropos of that Martin Luther King, Jr. quote:

In a 1980 interview segment, Harlan Ellison discusses his intense dislike of being called a “science fiction” writer, and recalls an incident where he walked out of a TV interview.

Also relevant to a discussion here.

Quote Of The Day: Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 27, 2008

From his speech opposing the war in Vietnam comes this stunner:

Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world.

Here is the speech via YouTube:

— thanks to Nathan Singer

What is courage?

If you were to ask most people, I think they would state that it’s acting under extreme circumstances, such as rushing into a burning building to rescue trapped people. In other words, a big act that, as the saying goes, “separates the men from the boys.”

That is absolutely and totally wrong.

What is cowardice?

If you were to ask most people, I think they would give little things as examples. They wouldn’t call someone who didn’t rush into a burning building a coward. They’d sympathize with that person’s feeling of helplessness and frustration. What would constitute a little act? Perhaps a man being afraid to express his love to a woman.

Why is courage usually expressed as something large and cowardice as something small?

I go off into this little excursion because of that King quote. It reminded me of a segment I saw years ago on one of those TV newsmagazines — Dateline NBC, 20/20, Primetime Live, whichever — that really got under my skin. Today I tried to find a video clip of that report but have failed.

However, I did find out that what I saw was actually a re-creation of a very famous test administered in the 1950s. It’s colloquially called The Stooges Experiment. The BBC claims to have a short video, but I haven’t been able to get it to play. The BBC used young children.

The American segment I saw was using people in their 20s. And the experiment included a variety of Q&As, not only judging the length of a line.

My jaw dropped as I watched the study subjects first give the correct answer despite the group, then act puzzled as the group continued to give the wrong answer, and then finally surrender their own judgment and give the same wrong answer as the group!

That’s why that King quote hit me hard today. Not only did he stand up against the majority opinion, he also recognized that he had to stand in opposition to his inner self — that part of us that wants to belong, to have things run smoothly around us; that desire for harmony.

One of my readers hates it when I do this, but King was a believer and the verse is apt:

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Matthew 26:41


Why you need to be the one to speak up
Asch’s Visual judgement experiment (1951)
Conformity and Obedience

John Straley Has A New Book Coming!

January 27, 2008


Shame on him for not telling me! I had to find out by hitting his website like any commoner. And I’m certain he got — despite his wishes — a few BCCs of emails from me recently. So he knew I was alive (if not alive and still annoying!).

Straley is unfortunately someone I neglected to put in my fast list of 21st-Century writers that Suits such as Michael Eisner ignore in favor of writers who are like detergents.

I wrote about Straley in my old blog. His Cecil Younger series is terrific. Let me douse all of you with another excerpt from that series so you can see how deprived your reading has been by missing out on this:

The door to the interview room opened a crack and the dispatcher’s small red nose appeared. She was timidly trying to keep someone else from hearing. “Mr. Younger’s attorney is here,” she said in an agitated whisper.

The door banged open and Dickie Stein stood behind her in the doorway with his surfer shorts pulled up high on his waist and his red high-top sneakers unlaced.

“Hi, Carl. I’ve seen the warrant. It’s shit. Let’s get out of here, Cecil.” Dickie lives for moments like this. There are so few opportunities for drama in the law, he jumps at every one he can get.

The chief looked crestfallen, not at the news about the warrant but at the fact that Dickie was on the scene at all. Everything about Dickie depressed and irritated the chief. It was the basis of their professional relationship.

“Dickie, you know you will get your chance at the warrant. But we’re still going to hold him.”

“Chance at the warrant? Chance at the warrant? Some chance. It’s based on the affidavit of one Lucinda Music a.k.a. Lolly.” Dickie was rolling and he spit out the a.k.a. like mouse turds in the soup. “She said there was a pack in a certain room. No description, nothing. Then she said it was gone. What the fuck is that? Chief, you know the informants used in a warrant have to be reliable. Re . . . li . . . able. Now. Lolly has many fine attributes. She may be charming, witty, gay, and even . . . exotic.”

The chief was sitting down and now was cleaning the mashed potatoes off the rim of his shoe. He was rocking slightly with the cadence of Dickie’s rant.

“But she is not, by any stretch of the imagination, reliable. In fact, I talked to her on the phone already once this evening and will tell you that her affidavit was not filled out by her but by the police, and she was under some type of duress when she signed.”

The chief looked up, and waited a full five seconds in silence. “You done?”

“No. How much is bail?”

“We’re getting the magistrate, which. by the way, I don’t have to do. He should be here in a few. We’re going to ask for ten thousand in cash.”

“Get the fuck out of here! You can chop your wife into crab bait in this town and get out for five.”

“Mr. Stein. you can talk to George Doggy. It’s his case, he’s the one that is upset. We’ll have the hearing and call it a day. I don’t need this.”

Dickie slapped down the brick of money that Altman had given me. The chief stared at it and then groaned.

Dickie was still wearing his U.S. OUT OF NORTH AMERICA T-shirt with a wool halibut jacket on top of it. He slipped his wire-rimmed glasses out of the front pocket and stared at the chief. “This will cover it. You start on the paperwork, Carl. and Cecil, you shut the fuck up.”

I was not all that sure I wanted out of jail, but I was in the system and I had asked for my lawyer. That was the last anyone would hear from me.

–The Curious Eat Themselves by John Straley; pgs. 67-69

This is going to be a great year for reading! Christopher Fowler, Victor Gischler, and now John Straley!

Run That By Me Again

January 27, 2008

Random Thought No. 3

I read recently two articles about church “consultants.” One article talked about how expensive they were, “…but worth it.”

Matthew 24:5

The $20,000 Zig

January 27, 2008


Flash animation.

But this one — Tales for the L33T — an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet will OMFG hav u ROTFLMYAO!!!!111

Really, watch that second one closely. You will laugh.

Reference: Ladonia

January 27, 2008

Good God. Wikipedia says it exists.


It has a website.

And it has a newsblog!

I wish my country had a leader like this: Governor visiting stones in England. You can’t contemplate starting unnecessary wars while doing that!

And it has a flying embassy!

This country is amazing:

The National symbols and currency
The flag of Ladonia is green with a green cross. There are two national anthems. One is composed by Greve Jan Lothe von Eriksen and is executed when a stone is thrown into the water. The other is composed by the Minister of Health and can be described as a tone poem on the development of Ladonian freedom.

There is even a stone race!

Important Things Happen Behind My Back

January 27, 2008


Swamped by Things, I’ve had to forgo my usual trawling of sites I hit daily.

So it’s only today that I finally get to uncov.

And I’m hit by this smack-in-the-face sentence that was published five days ago:

Oh, right. One more thing. This is the last Uncov. Ever. I have been getting tired of it, and this has been manifesting itself in my writing. After seeing the spectacle at the Crunchies, I think it’s finally time to quit.

And even worse: he turned off Comments! In fact, it looks like he’s even deleted all past Comments!

With uncov, I knew there was at least one website I could hit that had actual writing in it. That it also covered tech was almost beside the point. Now I’ll never again see gems such as this:

I’m Paul Boutin. I Wear Sunglasses At Night And I Can’t See Shit.

If I had ever been a drug addict, I’d be looking for a pusher right now…