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Above email address currently deprecated! Use gary underscore farber at yahoodotcom, pliz! Sanely free of McCarthyite calling anyone a traitor since 2001!
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I've a long record in editorial work in book and magazine publishing, starting 1974, a variety of other work experience, but have been, since 2001, recurringly housebound with insanely painful sporadic and unpredictably variable gout and edema, and in the past, other ailments; the future? The Great Unknown: isn't it for all of us?
I'm currently house/cat-sitting, not on any government aid yet (or mostly ever), often in major chronic pain from gout and edema, which variably can leave me unable to walk, including just standing, but sometimes is better, and is freaking unpredictable at present; I also have major chronic depression and anxiety disorders; I'm currently supported mostly by your blog donations/subscriptions; you can help me. I prefer to spread out the load, and lessen it from the few who have been doing more than their fair share for too long.
Thanks for any understanding and support. I know it's difficult to understand. And things will change. They always change.
I'm sometimes available to some degree as a paid writer, editor, researcher, or proofreader. I'm sometimes available as a fill-in Guest Blogger at mid-to-high-traffic blogs that fit my knowledge set.
If you like my blog, and would like to help me continue to afford food and prescriptions, or simply enjoy my blogging and writing, and would like to support it --
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"The brain is wider than the sky, For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include With ease, and you beside"
-- Emily Dickinson
"We will pursue peace as if there is no terrorism and fight terrorism as if there is no peace."
-- Yitzhak Rabin
"I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be."
-- Alexander Hamilton
"The stakes are too high for government to be a spectator sport."
-- Barbara Jordan
"Under democracy, one party always devotes its chief energies to
trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule --
and both commonly succeed, and are right."
-- H. L. Mencken
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
-- William Pitt
"The only completely consistent people are the dead."
-- Aldous Huxley
"I have had my solutions for a long time; but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them."
-- Karl F. Gauss
"Whatever evils either reason or declamation have imputed to extensive empire,
the power of Rome was attended with some beneficial consequences to mankind;
and the same freedom of intercourse which extended the vices, diffused likewise
the improvements of social life."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his
expectation, that the senate and people would submit to slavery, provided they were
respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedom."
-- Edward Gibbon
"There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and to magnify
the evils, of the present times."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Our youth now loves luxuries. They have bad manners, contempt for authority.
They show disrespect for elders and they
love to chatter instead of exercise.
Children are now tyrants, not the servants, of their households. They
no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents,
chatter before company, gobble up their food, and tyrannize
"Before impugning an opponent's motives, even when they legitimately may be impugned, answer his arguments."
-- Sidney Hook
"Idealism, alas, does not protect one from ignorance, dogmatism, and foolishness."
-- Sidney Hook
"Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization.
We must exercise our power. But we ought neither to believe that a nation is capable of perfect
disinterestedness in its exercise, nor become complacent about particular degrees of interest
and passion which corrupt the justice by which the exercise of power is legitimized."
-- Reinhold Niebuhr
"Faced with the choice of all the land without a Jewish state or a Jewish state without all the
land, we chose a Jewish state without all the land."
-- David Ben-Gurion
"...the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him
an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this
or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages
to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right; that it tends also
to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing,
with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments, those who will externally profess
and conform to it;[...] that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion
and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty....
-- Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, Thomas Jefferson
"We don't live just by ideas. Ideas are part of the mixture of customs and practices,
intuitions and instincts that make human life a conscious activity susceptible to
improvement or debasement. A radical idea may be healthy as a provocation;
a temperate idea may be stultifying. It depends on the circumstances. One of the most
tiresome arguments against ideas is that their 'tendency' is to some dire condition --
to totalitarianism, or to moral relativism, or to a war of all against all."
-- Louis Menand
"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis."
-- Dante Alighieri
"He too serves a certain purpose who only stands and cheers."
-- Henry B. Adams
"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the
poor to beg in the streets, steal bread, or sleep under a bridge."
-- Anatole France
"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
-- Edmund Burke
"Education does not mean that we have become certified experts in business or mining or botany or journalism or epistemology;
it means that through the absorption of the moral, intellectual, and esthetic inheritance of the race we have come to
understand and control ourselves as well as the external world; that we have chosen the best as our associates both in spirit
and the flesh; that we have learned to add courtesy to culture, wisdom to knowledge, and forgiveness to understanding."
-- Will Durant
"Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is
but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest
winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?"
-- Herman Melville
"The most important political office is that of the private citizen."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"It is an error to suppose that books have no influence; it is a slow influence, like flowing water carving out a canyon,
but it tells more and more with every year; and no one can pass an hour a day in the society of sages and heroes without
being lifted up a notch or two by the company he has kept."
-- Will Durant
"When you write, you’re trying to transpose what you’re thinking into something that is less like an annoying drone and more like a piece of music."
-- Louis Menand
"Sex is a continuum."
-- Gore Vidal
"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should
make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802.
"The sum of our religion is peace and unanimity, but these can scarcely stand unless we define as little as possible,
and in many things leave one free to follow his own judgment, because there is great obscurity in many matters, and
man suffers from this almost congenital disease that he will not give in when once a controversy is started, and
after he is heated he regards as absolutely true that which he began to sponsor quite casually...."
-- Desiderius Erasmus
"Are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched? Is a priest to be our inquisitor, or shall a layman, simple as ourselves, set up his reason as the rule of what we are to read, and what we must disbelieve?"
-- Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to N. G. Dufief, Philadelphia bookseller, 1814
"We are told that it is only people's objective actions that matter, and their subjective feelings are of no importance. Thus pacifists, by obstructing the war effort,
are 'objectively' aiding the Nazis; and therefore the fact that they may be personally hostile to Fascism is irrelevant. I have been guilty of saying this myself more than once. The same argument is applied to Trotskyism. Trotskyists are often credited, at any rate by Communists, with being active and conscious agents of Hitler; but when you point out the many and obvious reasons why this is unlikely to be true,
the 'objectively' line of talk is brought forward again. To criticize the Soviet Union helps Hitler: therefore 'Trotskyism is Fascism'. And when this has been established, the accusation of conscious treachery is usually repeated.
This is not only dishonest; it also carries a severe penalty with it. If you disregard people's motives, it becomes much harder to foresee their actions."
-- George Orwell, "As I Please," Tribune, 8 December 1944
"Wouldn't this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive? If 'needy' were a turn-on?"
-- "Aaron Altman," Broadcast News
"The great thing about human language is that it prevents us from sticking to the matter at hand."
-- Lewis Thomas
"To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child. For what is man's lifetime unless the memory of past events is woven with those of earlier times?"
"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it."
-- Samuel Johnson, Life Of Johnson
"Very well, what did my critics say in attacking my character? I must read out their affidavit, so to speak, as though they were my legal accusers: Socrates is guilty of criminal meddling, in that he inquires into things below the earth and in the sky, and makes the weaker argument defeat the stronger, and teaches others to follow his example."
-- Socrates, via Plato, The Republic
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, represents, in the final analysis, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower
"The term, then, is obviously a relative one; my pedantry is your scholarship, his reasonable accuracy, her irreducible minimum of education, & someone else's ignorance."
-- H. W. Fowler
"Rules exist for good reasons, and in any art form the beginner must learn them and understand what they are for, then follow them for quite a while. A visual artist, pianist, dancer, fiction writer, all beginning artists are in the same boat here: learn the rules, understand them, follow them. It's called an apprenticeship. A mediocre artist never stops following the rules, slavishly follows guidelines, and seldom rises above mediocrity. An accomplished artist internalizes the rules to the point where they don't have to be consciously considered. After you've put in the time it takes to learn to swim, you never stop to think: now I move my arm, kick, raise my head, breathe. You just do it. The accomplished artist knows what the rules mean, how to use them, dodge them, ignore them altogether, or break them. This may be a wholly unconscious process of assimilation, one never articulated, but it has taken place."
-- Kate Wilhelm
"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed."
-- Albert Einstein
"The decisive moment in human evolution is perpetual."
-- Franz Kafka, Aphorisms
"All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
-- Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho
"First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you."
-- Nicholas Klein, May, 1919, to the Third Biennial Convention of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (misattributed to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1914 & variants).
"Our credulity is a part of the imperfection of our natures. It is inherent in us to desire to generalize, when we ought, on the contrary, to guard ourselves very carefully from this tendency."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The truth is, men are very hard to know, and yet, not to be deceived, we must judge them by their present actions, but for the present only."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile. The poor wretches say anything that comes into their mind and what they think the interrogator wishes to know."
-- On the subject of torture, in a letter to Louis Alexandre Berthier (11 November 1798), published in Correspondance Napoleon edited by Henri Plon (1861), Vol. V, No. 3606, p. 128
"All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible."
-- George Santayana, Dialogues in Limbo (1926)
"If you should put even a little on a little, and should do this often, soon this too would become big."
-- Hesiod, Work And Days
"Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
-- Eugene V. Debs
"Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself."
-- Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign
"All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written "al-Qaida," in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies."
-- Osama bin Laden
"Remember, Robin: evil is a pretty bad thing."
Gary Farber is now a licensed Quintuple Super-Sekrit Multi-dimensional Master Pundit.
He does not always refer to himself in the third person.
He is presently single.
The gefilte fish is dead. Donate via the donation button on the top left or I'll shoot this cutepanda. Don't you lovepandas?
Current Total # of Donations Since 2002: 1181
Subscribers to date at $5/month: 100 sign-ups; 91 cancellations; Total= 9
Supporter subscribers to date at $25/month: 16 sign-ups; 10 cancellation; Total= 6
Patron subscribers to date at $50/month: 20 sign-ups; 13 cancellations; Total= 7
...writer[s] I find myself checking out repeatedly when I'm in the mood to play follow-the-links. They're not all people I agree with all the time, or even most of the time, but I've found them all to be thoughtful writers, and that's the important thing, or should be.
-- Tom Tomorrow
I bow before the shrillitudinousness of Gary Farber, who has been blogging like a fiend.
-- Ted Barlow, Crooked Timber
Favorite.... [...] ...all great stuff. [...] Gary Farber should never be without readers.
I usually read you and Patrick several times a day, and I always get something from them. You've got great links, intellectually honest commentary, and a sense of humor. What's not to like?
-- Ted Barlow
One of my issues with many poli-blogs is the dickhead tone so many bloggers affect to express their sense of righteous indignation. Gary Farber's thoughtful leftie takes on the world stand in sharp contrast with the usual rhetorical bullying. Plus, he likes "Pogo," which clearly attests to his unassaultable good taste.
Jaysus. I saw him do something like this before, on a thread about Israel. It was pretty brutal. It's like watching one of those old WWF wrestlers grab an opponent's
face and grind away until the guy starts crying. I mean that in a nice & admiring way, you know.
-- Fontana Labs, Unfogged
We read you Gary Farber! We read you all the time! Its just that we are lazy with our blogroll. We are so very very lazy. We are always the last ones to the party but we always have snazzy bow ties.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber you are a genius of mad scientist proportions. I will bet there are like huge brains growin in jars all over your house.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber is the hardest working man in show blog business. He's like a young Gene Hackman blogging with his hair on fire, or something.
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Gary Farber only has two blogging modes: not at all, and 20 billion interesting posts a day [...] someone on the interweb whose opinions I can trust....
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Isn't Gary a cracking blogger, apropos of nothing in particular?
-- Alison Scott
Gary Farber takes me to task, in a way befitting the gentleman he is.
-- Stephen Green, Vodkapundit
My friend Gary Farber at Amygdala is the sort of liberal for whom I happily give three cheers. [...] Damned incisive blogging....
-- Midwest Conservative Journal
If I ever start a paper, Clueless writes the foreign affairs column, Layne handles the city beat, Welch has the roving-reporter job, Tom Tomorrow runs the comic section (which carries Treacher, of course). MediaMinded runs the slots - that's the type of editor I want as the last line of defense. InstantMan runs the edit page - and you can forget about your Ivins and Wills and Friedmans and Teepens on the edit page - it's all Blair, VodkaP, C. Johnson, Aspara, Farber, Galt, and a dozen other worthies, with Justin 'I am smoking in such a provocative fashion' Raimondo tossed in for balance and comic relief.
Who wouldn't buy that paper? Who wouldn't want to read it? Who wouldn't climb over their mother to be in it?
-- James Lileks
I do appreciate your role and the role of Amygdala as a pioneering effort in the integration of fanwriters with social conscience into the larger blogosphere of social conscience.
-- Lenny Bailes
Every single post in that part of Amygdala visible on my screen is either funny or bracing or important. Is it always like this? -- Natalie Solent
People I've known and still miss include Isaac Asimov, rich brown, Charles Burbee, F. M. "Buzz" Busby, Terry Carr, A. Vincent Clarke, Bob Doyle, George Alec Effinger, Abi Frost,
Bill & Sherry Fesselmeyer, George Flynn, John Milo "Mike" Ford. John Foyster, Mike Glicksohn, Jay Haldeman, Neith Hammond (Asenath Katrina Hammond)/DominEditrix , Chuch Harris, Mike Hinge, Lee Hoffman, Terry Hughes, Damon Knight, Ross Pavlac, Bruce Pelz, Elmer Perdue, Tom Perry,
Larry Propp, Bill Rotsler, Art Saha, Bob Shaw, Martin Smith, Harry Stubbs, Bob Tucker, Harry Warner, Jr., Jack Williamson, Walter A. Willis, Susan Wood, Kate Worley, and Roger Zelazny.
It's just a start, it only gets longer, many are unintentionally left out.
And She of whom I must write someday.
YOU ARE A TRAITOR AND A MEMBER OF THE REBEL ALLIANCE. I almost fell off my chair laughing when the co-anchor leaned forward into the camera and announced the second lead story in the tease for the end-of-evening tv news on the local NBC affilliate, (after the lead story, the weather: a week of rain, prolonged, repeated-over-days hail, and now a couple of days of reasonably heavy snow, which lies not-thinly on the ground, while it's 25 degrees Fahrenheit just now, after a period of weeks of shirt-sleeve, 60's-and-70's weather; typical spring in Boulder, in other words), was "Colorado's junior Senator expresses regrets for calling 'Focus On The Family' 'the 'Anti-Christ.'"
I'm just sorry he feels it necessary to step back at all (I'm still fairly cranky with Senator Salazar for his embrace of now-Attorney-General/torture-apologist Gonzalez, and his Wrong Vote on cloture on the bankruptcy bill, among other elements of the mixed bag that is his as-yet-short record in the Senate).
"From my point of view, they are the anti-Christ of the world," Salazar told the station.
Salazar, a first-term Democrat, said he was intending to call the Colorado Springs group "un-Christian," a term he began applying last week after Focus attacked his stance on judicial nominations in the Senate.
"I spoke about Jim Dobson and his efforts and used the term 'the anti-Christ,"' Salazar said in a written statement from his office. "I regret having used that term. I meant to say this approach was un-Christian, meaning self-serving and selfish."
STILL ONGOING. SORRY. Past experience suggests that this will happen less in 2006. Meanwhile, I apologize for the ongoing breaks, and suggest I'll probably be posting quite a bit again by Monday. May your weekend be fun-filled and fulfilling.
ADDENDUM: Wednesday or Thursday? Sorry. Computer problems, alien attacks, emotional sorrows, distractions left and right, and, yet, lots of backed up links. Most of which will probably be deleted for lack of timeliness, but, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes, I'm working on my taxes, and see you all soon. Wait, it was the blizzard yesterday that stopped me, and then today the need to be in shirtsleeves.
"My typical protagonist has always been a conflicted youth, or developmentally arrested adult, and these three 'heroes,' if you will, offer me infinite opportunities to re-tread the same literary ground."
And, as the special science fiction term goes, more!
StarTrek.com posted a whole series of April Fool's articles, including one that claimed Paramount had agreed to a fifth season for Star Trek: Enterprise, but only at a much-reduced budget - leading the studio to bring in South Park and Team America creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone to run the show. Parker and Stone would rename the series Team Enterprise, and only use the current stars of the show to voice the puppets that would from now on be portraying their characters. "We're also gonna re-do the opening title sequence," the site quoted Stone as saying. "Record a new theme -- something bombastic, action-oriented. Y'know, something that isn't, like, totally gay."
Other April Fool's articles on the official site included a new ad banner promoting the services of legal expert Samuel T. Cogley ("If you clicked here from a banner ad and want Mr. Cogley to fight for your latinum, then please call (415) 555-GOLD"), an article on several Trek pilots that had recently been rejected (including Desperate Yeomans, Ferengi Apprentice and Klingon Eye for the Starfleet Eye), and a "non-production report" on episode 99, "The Rest is Silence." Sadly, all of the official site's April Fool's features have since been deleted.
In a cost-cutting move prompted by President Bush's moon-Mars initiative, NASA could summarily put an end to Voyager, the legendary 28-year mission that has sent a spacecraft farther from Earth than any object ever made by humans.
The probable October shutdown of a program that currently costs $4.2 million a year has caused consternation among scientists who have shepherded the twin Voyager probes on flybys of four planets and an epic journey to the frontier of interstellar space.
"There are no other plans to reach the edge of the solar system," said Stamatios Krimigis, a lead investigator for the project since before its launch in 1977. "Now we're getting all this new information, and here comes NASA saying, 'We want to pull the plug.' "
NASA officials said the possibility of cutting Voyager and several other long-running missions in the Earth-Sun Exploration Division arose in February, when the Bush administration proposed slashing the division's 2006 budget by nearly one-third -- from $75 million to $53 million.
"Voyager is the same [as Hubble] -- one of the classic American contributions to space," said research physicist Louis J. Lanzerotti, who last year led a Hubble study for the National Academies of Science. "Voyager's photographs are all over astronomy textbooks."
Dick Fisher, NASA's deputy director for the Earth-sun division, acknowledged that Voyager's looming demise is a direct result of the new budget. He said the agency based its proposed cuts on a "senior review" by outside experts who in 2003 gave Voyager a low priority among the division's 13 "extended" missions.
"If we use that set of goals, we would be looking at certain missions that would have to be terminated," Fisher said in a telephone interview. "We have to [decide] whether to sweat the rest of the budget to pay for this."
An extended mission begins when a spacecraft has finished its original task but is still able to contribute new science. The best known one underway is that of the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity, which are exploring the Martian desert a year after the end of their 90-day "design" mission.
Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, destined originally for a five-year journey to Jupiter and Saturn, have been extended repeatedly ever since. Most systems are functioning well, and both spacecraft are expected to provide usable data until their plutonium power sources are used up -- probably in 2020.
Fisher said NASA has made no final decision on the cuts but has notified project scientists of its intentions and asked for cost-trimming proposals. He said the agency will make final decisions this month, perhaps by April 15.
The other programs on the block are Ulysses, launched in 1990 to study the sun; Geotail (1992), Wind (1994) and Polar (1996), to trace the interaction between solar events and their effects on Earth; FAST (1996), to study Earth's aurora; and TRACE (1998), to investigate the solar atmosphere and magnetic fields.
The Voyager mission today has a full-time staff of 10 people, down from 300 at the height of the Grand Tour. The probes' software has no storage capability, so they must transmit their instruments' readings in real time.
These programs are not only unique and historic, but they would cost a fortune -- a true federal-budget-sized fortune, not some pissant $20 or $40 million dollars, which is less noticable from the US budget than a speck in a sneeze -- to reproduce today, and there's no possible way to put instruments where they currently are for decades. They're literally -- and using the term correctly -- invaluable in terms of what serendipitous knowledge might come to us from their continued use.
There are few more valuable uses for our tax dollars, and to cease to pay for listening to them for the sake of some fraction of a penny per year of what each of us pays is little different from stabbing out an eye to avoid the expense of wiping your sunglasses.
Write Congress. Call. Write your newspaper. Make noise until this is washed away with no chance of it happening again. (Yeah, I know, not likely, but I have a quota of exhortion to fulfill.)
If film noir was not a genre, but a hard man on mean streets with a lost lovely in his heart and a gat in his gut, his nightmares would look like "Sin City." The new movie by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller plays like a convention at the movie museum in Quentin Tarantino's subconscious. A-list action stars rub shoulders with snaky villains and sexy wenches, in a city where the streets are always wet, the cars are ragtops and everybody smokes. It's a black-and-white world, except for blood, which is red, eyes which are green, hair which is blond, and the Yellow Bastard.
This isn't an adaptation of a comic book, it's like a comic book brought to life and pumped with steroids. It contains characters who occupy stories, but to describe the characters and summarize the stories would be like replacing the weather with a weather map.
The movie is not about narrative but about style. It internalizes the harsh world of the Frank Miller "Sin City" comic books and processes it through computer effects, grotesque makeup, lurid costumes and dialogue that chops at the language of noir. The actors are mined for the archetypes they contain; Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Benicio Del Toro, Clive Owen and the others are rotated into a hyperdimension. We get not so much their presence as their essence; the movie is not about what the characters say or what they do, but about who they are in our wildest dreams.
I don't think "Sin City" really has a period, because it doesn't really tell a story set in time and space. It's a visualization of the pulp noir imagination, uncompromising and extreme. Yes, and brilliant.
He liked it, Mikey. It's nice to see him enthused.
Rodriguez wanted to share directing credit with Frank Miller, author of the "Sin City" comic books, and with Quentin Tarantino, who directed one scene in the film. Told by the DGA he couldn't do that, he indeed asked about other teams, such as the Farrellys, the Hugheses and the Wachowskis, and was told they always worked as a team and joined as a team. Exceptions could not be made for individual films. At that point, he resigned from the DGA.
Some other unusual aspects of the film noted here.
I'm terribly behind in my watching movies-made-from-comics, I'm afraid; still haven't gotten to Hellboy, let alone Constantine, or a couple of others of late. So many movies, but so little time left over from the internet.
WHAT CABLE TV, WHERE? We won't let lack of cable tv get in the way of Battlestar Galactica blogging, since all the cool kids are doing it. No, we'll go straight to the "blog". (Who are we kidding by calling this sort of thing a "blog," though? Not only does it [and its widespread companions] not even have any links to anything, it's not even a frequently updated journal, neither personal, nor of any other kind whatever; it's just an occasionally updated web page with writing on a particular topic; if that's a "blog," then a transistor is an electric light bulb; there's nothing, of course, wrong with either, but using the word "blog" to describe nonlinking nonjournals is to destroy any useful meaning of the term.)
But, hey, I was particularly amused by this block of text of Ron Moore's:
"Hello, Ron. I have a question about Baltar you ought to answer. One of the things I liked about the original series was the way Baltar did all his chair-swiveling. Boy, he sure looked evil way the frak up there on that big pedestal. And then Lucifer or some other Cylon would come in, and there would be those big, dramatic polytonal chords, and then Baltar would slowly swivel around in his chair to face whatever had come into his room because before they came into his room, he was facing a wall, or something off screen-- who knows what was there. I'm sure there's been a lot of speculation about it. But you see, when you made the new Baltar the way he is-- that is, a non-- chair-swiveller, I didn't think the show could work at all. You've got to have a chair-swiveller in it, and there hasn't been one-- until now. Just as I'm getting used to Callis NOT being a chair-swiveller, there he is at the end of "Tigh Me Up" SWIVELING IN HIS CHAIR! Well, I must say I was very pleased with that, and so now I must ask: Was James Callis's chair-swiveling scene a tribute to John Colicos's chair-swiveling?"
Chair-swiveling is an old and honorable avocation for any accomplished and self-respecting villainous personage. How could its inclusion be anything but a loving tribute?
Yes, well, the original BG was pretty much a program for idiots (or children, if you want to insult children by assuming they're not very bright), but it did do a fair shake in over-the-top cacklingly awful melodrama, and John Colicos looms large in that field of accomplishment. Truly, he is one of the champion chair-swivelers of all time, and it's fine to see that properly, proportionately, honored.
I'll digress to make a point about the query below, which in inquiring what Moore thinks of fanfiction, says "...or do you encourage people to express themselves (with in limits) like Gene did with with the fan fiction for Star Trek?"
Which is a fairly kooky, anachronistic, thing to say. Apparently a lot of people have forgotten some trivial facts, such as that, okay, I don't claim metaphysical certitude on this, but I'm pretty sure that while Star Trek: The Original Series was on the air, Gene Roddenbery didn't lift a microscopic hair on his body to encourage fanfiction (letters to renew the show are another matter). He was entirely devoted to his show and other pilots; moreover, relatively little fanfiction existed at the time, and only a handful of dedicated Star Trek fanzines did as well.
The major phenomena, beyond regular science fiction fandom, happened after the show was dead. Off the air. Kaput. Cancelled. Non-existent. Deceased. Not just sleeping. Over. Not to be seen again. Gone.
But not forgotten. But, still, past the brief flicker of the Animated Series, and the Bantam books, no one remotely expected Star Trek to return other than at the hands of fans. Yes, there were a handful of original Trek fanzines begun not long after the show went on the air (hi, Devra!, hi, Ruth!), but it was in the Seventies, after the first significant ST convention in 1972, and after the growth of dedicated ST fanzines, mostly devoted to fan fiction, that fan fiction started to significantly flow in snowballing numbers, years after the program was gone. And I'm not even sure it's fair to say that Roddenberry ever did anything to "encourage" fan fiction whatever, other than, I suppose, not to shake his fist at anyone for it, and to not speak against it -- though why he would, I can't imagine. So to make such a comparison with any latter day tv series simply makes little sense, as such a comparison posits a parallel that doesn't exist. (Although it's certainly fascinating to see Star Trek now returning to the closest parallel situation to its state in 1970 that has existed since then, albeit still entirely different due to the extant state of Trek fandom on the internet, the still ongoing, if cut-back, publishing program at Pocket Books, and all the other ancillary outlets, such as the computer games.)
Turning back to Moore's page for a moment before I go, there's also an apparently entirely heart-felt, and rather touching, tribute to Harlan Ellison and what he's meant to Moore, below those other entries, on how Moore dealt with a crucial decision about the about-to-film pilot for the Pern tv series, using Harlan's advice, “Don’t be a whore!”
THAT WORD DOESN'T MEAN WHAT YOU THINK IT MEANS. From the listings at TV Guide (the link will only work if you register a location, etc., so don't count on seeing what I see) from an upcoming PBS American Experience documentary on Mary Pickford:
Mary Pickford wasn't quite born in a trunk, but she did make her stage debut at age 7. A star at 19, she literally blazed the trail to Hollywood.
Italics mine. So I guess the way that worked is that, at some point between the age of 7 and 19, she found herself in the mysterious and unexplored woods near a legendary place named Hollywood. No living human had ever actually been known to venture to this "Hollywood," and return, but brave little Mary had a trusty Bowie knife, almost as big as she was, and setting forth one day, she simply doggedly marched forward through the forest in the direction that myth said "Hollywood" must be in.
Slicing great chunks of bark from passing trees as she carved a path out of the wilderness, her mighty young limbs never tiring as she marked the trail, soon enough she arrived at the fabled village! Her uniquely carved path forever marked in the hitherto untouched wood, little Mary Pickford, not yet out of her teens, achieved world fame! She had literally blazed the trail to Hollywood, and all who have come since are grateful for that service immortalized in wood.
Yes, that's the way it must have been. They wouldn't write it in TV Guide if it weren't so, would they?
I'M SORRY FOR ELEANOR CLIFT'S LOSS, and I'm angered by people who choose to intrude into such private everyday tragedies, and I'm angered by those who spread the vicious lie that such end-of-life experiences are murder and that they inflict unnecessary pain and suffering on the patient, when the reverse is the case and the point and the lesson.
Federal spending (aka "big government"): It has gone up an average of about $50 billion a year under presidents of both parties. But that breaks down as $35 billion a year under Democratic presidents and $60 billion under Republicans. If you assume that it takes a year for a president's policies to take effect, Democrats have raised spending by $40 billion a year and Republicans by $55 billion.
Leaning over backward even farther, let's start our measurement in 1981, the date when many Republicans believe that life as we know it began. The result: Democrats still have a better record at smaller government. Republican presidents added more government spending for each year they served, whether you credit them with the actual years they served or with the year that followed.
Under Republican presidents since 1960, the federal deficit has averaged $131 billion a year. Under Democrats, that figure is $30 billion. In an average Republican year, the deficit has grown by $36 billion. In the average Democratic year it has shrunk by $25 billion. The national debt has gone up more than $200 billion a year under Republican presidents and less than $100 billion a year under Democrats.
And how about this one? The average annual rise in real per capita income -- that's the statistic that puts money in your pocket. Democrats score about 30 percent higher.
If you're going to vote for spending money, you might as well at least let it be spent on the needs of the poor, the low-income, and the middle-class, and on public infrastructure, rather than on public debt, credit card companies, and the profit margins of the wealthiest.
DIDN'T ACTUALLY PLAY LT. SAAVIK. The ongoing life of Dutch politican Hirsi Ali. She's been endlessly written about, especially ever since the assassination of her colloborator on Submission, Theo van Gogh, but this is an interesting profile, nonetheless. It's verstandig, sensible.
Unlike many, I have no deep arguments to make here about the Future Of Islam In The West or somesuch; really, all the important ones seem either rather obvious, or -- could we know? -- still mysteriously obscure -- but watching the story go slowly by, slowly by, as we contend and wend our way down these new bends in the river, seems a good idea.
Terrorist attacks by radical wine producers on government offices in the south of France yesterday served notice that the country's wine crisis may be spinning out of control.
Sticks of dynamite were thrown at agriculture ministry offices in Montpellier and Carcassonne in the early hours, causing serious damage but no injuries. A car was also burned outside ministry offices in Nîmes.
The attacks, which were condemned by mainstream wine producers' associations, were claimed by a group called comité régional d'action viticole (Crav).
The same group was responsible for incendiary attacks on supermarkets and explosions outside the offices of wine traders in the Languedoc-Roussillon area last month.
The letters "CRAV" - a group unknown until recent weeks - were daubed on the walls of the offices attacked yesterday. There was also a telephone call claiming responsibility to the French news agency, AFP.
Violent demonstrations by the small wine producers of Languedoc - the largest vineyards in the world - have been a feature of recurrent wine crises in France since the 1950s. Fears are growing that a mass demonstration by wine growers in Narbonne on 20 April could degenerate into serious violence.
The wine growers in Languedoc - both the mainstream organisations and the unidentified radicals calling themselves Crav - are demanding that the €70m (£48m) in subsidies and special assistance for exports already promised by the French government be increased.
Apart from an increase in the €70m in special aid and €3m in export subsidies already promised, the wine growers are demanding more government cash and permission from the European Commission for the subsidised distillation of 2,500,000 hectolitres of red wine to reduce the French "wine lake", which is depressing wholesale wine prices. This is equivalent to removing 333 million bottles of wine from the market by turning them into industrial alcohol.
Within France, wine consumption has fallen to 50 litres per adult per year, compared to 100 litres in the 1960s.
For the stake of restoring solidarity with the French, we must all do our duty, and each drink 75 litres of wine as soon as possible. I shall start tomorrow!