Archive Dec. 28 2002 - Jan. 13 2003
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Monday, January 13
Coming off an uneventful weekend. We were supposed to go out to Boston to attend the Fetish Fleamaket and visit the Mapparium, but the folks who were going to accompany us had to cancel, then I got called into work for most of Saturday due to the flu taking out half my crew. Ah well, I got a little shopping done, finally found the Future is Wild book, caught up on some reading, and continued working a bit on the oft-promised new content. Hope to have it up before next week's Arisia con.

Rand Richards Cooper writes in this week's Northeast that he recently attended a movie only to have a group of black youths talk all the way through it. An interesting article on the differece between racism and expecting some garden-variety manners from people.

I read this article that a lawyer has brought suit against Clonaid to reveal the location of the supposed clone baby. Can someone explain this to me? I thought the kid was born offshore somewhere. Is this going to be the technological equivillent of the Elian Gonzalez case? 
In a related story Michael Shermer has written an article spelling out a reasonable proposal for the Three Laws of Cloning. He also has a current piece up about the inherent value of skepticism.

Sunday, January 12
This week's stack of magazines wrought a wealth of gems: James Patrick Kelly's new On The Net column in the latest print issue of Asimov's directs us to a number of funny sites. Rinkworks, the folks who brought us the Dialectizer have a great science fiction/fantasy Book-a-Minute site, with ultra-condensed synopses of books like Children of Dune. They also have an extensive classics and Children's section. There are sites to convert your name to that of a viking or a blues musician. Best of all is Lee's Useless Superhero Generator.
The new issue of Outre has a great article on 60's icon Mary Ann Mobley and her work with Elvis. There's also an article by Harlan Ellison about the making of A Boy and His Dog. 
Progression magazine reports that Rick Wakeman will be bringing his current European tour to the states this year. They also confirm the news that David Gilmour has an album coming out soon.

I grin like a blithering idiot ever time Christopher Hitchens starts bashing Mother Teresa.

And James Randi tells us what happens when universities, in their infinite wisdom, put credence in the teaching of dowsing.

Saturday, January 11
McFarlane Toys has released new images of the Aliens Vs. Predator figures due later this year. In a well-timed related story, Palisades released info on its beautiful Space Jockey and Alien Egg statues to accompany their upcoming Chest Burster. Look at the detail on this. Now how about a Harry Dean Stanton figure?
McFarlane is apparently not bitter over the recently lost battle with Gaiman. Why else would he be making a Miracleman statue?

Friday, January 10
Lot's o' genre goodies on the web for your perusal:
Quantum Muse has a small gallery of the Fabian-esque SF/fantasy art of Randall Ensley. It also links to his homepage.
Slush Factory has a preview of the upcoming Victorian comic Parliment of Justice with an interview with creator Mike Avon Oeming.
Brian Aldiss is Interviewed at Crow's Nest.
Lauren Martin of Nerd Bait snagged an interview with Joe Casey.
Sequential Tart has a preview of Mythstalkers with creator Douglass Barre.
And finally Strange Words has a great overview of Visionary Science Fiction, looking at the history of grand space operas. Very cool stuff.  

Apparently there is an age limit when it comes to understanding sarcasm. I guess that means that little ones won't understand when I say how happy I am that the pope has once again explained to us sinners that the church's historical co-opting of pagan and judaic ritualism is the only way to heaven. However I am quite sad that Tommy Mottola, the nice Sony exec who showed the recording industry how smart it is to bury their vast back-catalogs without relinquishing the rights (as well as bashing the aftermarket and P2P sharing) has been let go. I hope those pesky artists who want their material released fell a deep shame.

Thursday, January 9
Found a link to the Skeptic's Annotated Bible. Also found a link to the Biblical Sexual Dictionary.

A big rock has been found to share an orbit with the Earth. I am waiting for astrologers to explain how the second-closest object in space has gone undetected all this time.

Henry Rollins, currently on a spoken-word tour, recently had some choice words about Bono.

The SFWA has rightfully bestowed its coveted Grand Master honors upon Ursula K. Le Guin. This must certainly put those annointed intellects who steadfastly insist that she is not a lowly science fiction author ill at ease. Le Guin (who recently led a moderately publicized anti-war protest) has one of the most inventive and rabid fan bases on the web. The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas is taught in ethics classes. The Dispossessed should be manditory reading for anyone going into politics. Left Hand of Darkness just plain rocks. Neither will ever become movies as they would upset the tender psyches of the narrow minded. However SciFi is developing an Earthsea project. Le Guin also had an award named after her some time ago. She has built worlds, shone light on the irrelevancies of culture, and told a great number of thrilling stories. 
Can you tell I'm a fan?
By the way, the nozzleheads who repeatedly claim that she "defies genre" are the same joyless folks who said the boring, pointless, unfocused, gawdawful film adaptation of Carl Sagan's Contact was "thinking person's science fiction." Yeah, if yer thinkin' of plunging rusty steakknives into your forebrain and need one last motivation.

Wednesday, January 8
Why is it I never get invited to the really good parties
All the ones I go to are full of people getting stoned and watching movies about other people getting stoned, or talking about stupid subjects like "dude, how fast does gravity travel?"

Someone named Rita the Gourmet has posted a funny gallery of useful computer functions.

Y'know, I need to spend more time working on my left hand rhythm.

On Your Knees: Retrocrush has posted a pictorial tribute to Traci Lords.

The Hugo Nominations have been announced (a PDF file).

And speaking of Nominations, Ghostland reports that Tony Levin has gotten a nomination for Apollo from Pieces of the Sun. Gabriel, Bowie, and The Flaming Lips also got cursory nods, but so what? This is the stuff that (in a perfect, Jeff-centric world) would make up the bulk of the awards. I actually made the mistake of wading through the endless pages of nauseating, trite, mediocre, soulless, derivative chum that constitute what the recording industy considers the "best and brightest" of what they sell. The Grammys are a three hour extravaganza where the recording industry strokes itself vigorously while people squeal with delight.

I've gotten several emails about the death of Monty Python director Ian MacNaughton. What strikes me odd here is that all the obits are dated January 3rd but I did not hear about it until Tuesday evening. He died close to a month ago. Hell, I heard about the guitarist from The Cutting Crew before this.

Disturbing has some seriously fucked-up scary dolls posted, such as this little dude who looks like a golem, and this lady who is, as anyone can plainly seepossessed by Satan and will kill you as soon as you fall asleep. I cannot understand people's irrational fears about snakes and spiders when there are things like this on the planet. Don't think so? Put one of these monstrosities near a kid's bed and see what happens. I'll be up all night on the lookout for these guys, and I bet you'll be too. 
Fortunately they make dolls for people who can't sleep.

Someone known only as "John" invites us to pull up a chair and spend some time in the The Grand List of Overused Science Fiction Clichés.

Mark Vadnais sends along a link to the Foreign Grocery Museum.

Tuesday, January 7
The first really noticable effect of our current postmodern smart-mob zeitgeist is the appalling lack of decent urban legends. I guess sufficiently advanced technology is not only indistinguishable from magic, it drains the cultural ability to give birth to exciting mythologies. Sad, but it could be much worse. Soon we may start running out of news stories

I admit I used to dress up in Star Trek uniforms and make 8mm movies, but I never mustered up a sliver of the unbridled ambition posessed by the creators of the film Starship Exeter: The Savage Empire. I am happy that they are getting a lot of press. It's nice when fandom uses its power for good.

In a golden age of great and wonderous technological progress, I applaud when visionary, forward-thinking engineers focus on the things that are really important, like motorcycles.

Bill McKibben has an editorial in the Washington Post (free registration required) where he refers to cloning research as "A Threat to our Coherent Human Future." I want all of you to think about that sentence reeeeal hard. I find it ironic that the an ideological throw-down about a "human future" is published on the day the Philip K. Dick Award nominations are announced.

Christopher Reeve is going to guest star on Smallville. Gee, do you think in will air during a sweeps period? In other comics news, a man named Joe Bates has a Comics Cover Gallery that's...Oh, just go look at it.

I whole-heartedly agree with The Cloth Monkey's opinions on Jan Smithers.

Oh look, someone else is trying to dilute the "primacy" of christianity by claiming the historical Jesus was a pot head. I thought these stunts ended in the 70s. I want to know how exactly these studies get funded. What uptight liberal arts professor thought that the messiah's smoking habits would make for a valid research project. University telescopes fall into disrepair and their computers are 25 year old Amigas, but dammit we gotta spend millions to comb Galilee for roaches.

Monday, January 6
Oh my. Over four hours of filmed interviews with science fiction authors, all shot back in the late 60s and 70's. I'll have to buy it for the clothes alone.

This week's best cheap laugh came in the form of Weapon Brown, a post-apocalyptic re-imagining of the Peanuts mythos from the madmen at Deep Fried Publishing, with Charlie Brown as a killing machine, Lucy as an insane cybernetics doctor, and Patty and Marcy performing a sex show. See the three-page preview here.

The website for the Iron Horse Cafe in Northampton MA. has a listing for an acoustic show by The Strawbs! I love them, they're sort of a folksier Genesis. Apparently they've been doing an acoustic tour and are coming to the U.S. No official info yet.

The American Transhumanist Society has finally chimed in on the Raelians. That and a host of other clone-related items are on the first page of the latest Better Humans.

I'm not into Warcraft, but these things look cool.

The second issue of Eddie Campbell's EgoMania comes out this week with an Alan Moore interview.

And China safely landed an unmanned spaceship back on Earth. Oh goodie. These murderous fucks (the Chinese government, just to be clear here) are gonna go into space to spread their vast uneducated population among the heavens, to search for more beings to oppress, to hunt and secretly harvest healthy organs for their decrepid elite. Personally I think the U.S. should treat their excursions into space the same way they'd treat another invasion of Korea and prevent their launches by force. Sorry boys, you can't play in space until you stop pretending it's the 13th century. Go back to indoctrinating your populace and telling them to reproduce so you'll have even more cattle for your vulgar, arrogant corruption machineFuck China
Now I'm hankerin' for a scorpion bowl.

Sunday, January 5
How many songs open with the line "woke up this morning?"
There's the Frampton song, the Sopranos theme, and roughly one third of all blues songs.
Anyway, I woke up this morning and realized the holidays were over. I didn't have to schedule get togethers, wrap anything, run errands before stores closed, or adhere to any arcane timetables. It was a liberating feeling.
In hindsight, it was a good Christmas. I am fortunate to have a good number of strange and eclectic friends for whom I can buy strange and eclectic gifts. I also got a lot of enjoyable feedback on this year's card. Just the same, it's nice to realize that I can get back to a sense of what passes for normalcy. January is full-to-bursting with concerts, conventions, and other happenings to consume my time.

Bruce Sterling had a link to the Steve Ditko Cover Gallery, an impressive repository of the man's work. I wish more artists had a superior web presence like this. A meander through Ditko's site led me to The Grand Comics Database, where I spent over an hour looking up old books. It was quite addictive.

The yummy Dita Von Teese nabs another magazine cover, this time it's the latest issue of Bizarre

And the inevitable linkage of sex to stem cells has apparently resulted in some promising developments in the field of preventing strokes. This news will probably lead to a few strokes with the religious right.

Friday, January 3
It is still snowing, and will continue to do so for approximately the next epoch. I am too spent from the effort of getting around to pontificate today. Instead here's more goodies from the web that made me smile.

Cinescape has posted the fourth nugget of their interview with Gerry Anderson.
Roger Dean has a series of video clips available for streaming on his site. These are mostly him discussing some of his more notable work.
I am very excited to see that the homepage for Wolfland Pictures has returned, complete with little teaser pictures for Moebius' Arzak Rhapsody as well as Druillet's Nosferatu. Unfortunately the "Preview" links appear to be dead, as do all the other links.
I don't know what comic book science story frightens me more: The fact that the universe is dominated by dark energy, or the fact that there is life deep beneath the earth's crust.
Cruel Site of the Day turns us on to Modern Drunkard Magazine.
Harry Knowles reports that a new Cheech & Chong movie is in the works.
The preliminary Nebula Award Ballot has been announced. There are a lot of great stories on this year's list, but Galaxy Press is determined to ruin it for everyone by reminding us that Battlefield Earth has been one of the best selling science fiction novels over the last twenty years.
And this week's Photoshop Phriday brings us war photographs.

Thursday, January 2
Assorted Items of Interest to mark the new year.
Comics Continuum has gotten a much-needed facelift.
It does my heart good to see Chuck Barris back in the news.
I was happy to see that the West Virginia surgeons going on strike to protest the insane malpractice insurance rates managed to scare the living shit out of the state government. I am hoping this snowballs into a bigger story.
Junk announces this year's Junk Science Oscars.
Robert W. Tracinski says goodbye to the hideous planned New York museum designed by Frank Gehry
Check out Tommy of Escondido's Alien Fonts.
And Ridley Scott's been knighted.

The Future is Wild on Animal Planet was great! It is airing several times this week. I am hunting the companion book as we speak. It was obvious that the budget was tight. Some of the animation was shaky and a lot of shots were repeated, but that was irrelevant. Sharkopaths! Tree-swinging squids! Sailbacked Jellyfish! I want MORE! I want a SEQUEL! I want a SERIES! I want to see other subjects get the same treatment, like Wayne Barlowe's Expedition or Inferno, or Ricardo Delgado's Hieroglyph. Someone needs to do a CGI documentary on the Cthulhu mythos. And might I humbly recommend my own Visions of Xenolympus?

Wednesday, January 1
Happy New Year. 
Not to appear morbid right out of the gate, but so far I've only found one decent list of famous deaths for 2002. The link to Who's Alive & Who's Dead appears to be, well, dead. If anyone finds a list, please pass it on.

Gabe Chouinard has posted an essay at Locus about the future of literary Science Fiction and Fantasy. He blames the slow death on the lack of taste of the fans still hung up on TV shows. I agree with him for the most part, but he commits a sin of omission by ignoring the impact of current genre comics, some which sell more copies than some Hugo nominees (albeit not by much). Books like TransmetropolitanThe Red StarY: The Last ManThe ResistanceHalo & SprocketThe Wasted Lands, and Global Frequency, all fall squarely within the science fiction canon and should be reviewed and promoted by the genre press. The variety of these books and others, I dare say, surpasses the variety of the current genre best sellers. Locus always has reviews of movies and TV shows, but seldom a word about the burdgeoning, kinetic field of science fiction and fantasy comics.

Film Threat claims that someone "anonymous" emailed them a synopsis of the story for Star Wars: Episode III. Have a grain of salt ready. Whoever wrote it has at least caught the sort of lumbering broad-stroke storytelling that Lucas has used for the last three films. It's sad when you wish the movies were more like the comics.

There's a great interview with one of my favorite writers Jonathan Carroll over at Rain TaxiI'd like to see him write a Star Wars film.

Tuesday, December 31
New Years Freakin' Eve. As Warren Ellis says, I'll be glad to see the back side of this one. 2002 was fucked. It produced some wonderful music and comics, but it just felt like the year itself had bad karma. The new year brings with it a bevy of new laws for us cattle to obey. Joy. The good news is it also promises to bring us robotic martial artists. Here's hoping Baby New Year doesn't have Down's or thalydymide flippers.

This month marks the twentieth anniversary of Chuck Ross' semi-famous Casablanca script stunt. If you love or hate Hollywood, read the original article

This holiday season brought a lot of debate about atheism, with detractors claiming that godless folks (especially activists) were immoral and a threat to society. Well, Rodney Stark, a University of Washington professor of sociology and comparative religion, has put forth a theory that atheism and criminal activity among men are linked. He bluntly states "both male irreligiousness and male lawlessness are rooted in the fact that far more males than females have an underdeveloped ability to inhibit their impulses, especially those involving immediate gratification and thrills." Wow. That's amazing. And all this time I thought it was about principles, integrity and discipline. Nope, just a lack of willpower. As penance I will resist the sweet urge to apply this theory to the clergy and how developed one's inhibitions need to be in order to carry out sexual predation.

Philip Shropshire's new article quite accurately points out the similarities between the current glut of bioethicists and Ted Kaczynski.

Monday, December 30
Just in case you were worried that there might be a limit as to how British someone might be, be aware that one of the top songs on the British charts right now is by The Cheeky Girls. It's called Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum). The ladies themselves are cute, and obviously have a butt fixation due to their tragic lack of other attributes. Other songs probably include "Knick Me a Kipper" and "The Vicar's Here, Where Are My Trousers?"

Recommended Readin': Michael Shermer has penned an essay for Scientific American on how to deal with the concept of infinity. Mark Millar has posted his 'Best of 2002" column at Comic Book Resources. Objectivist writer Andrew Bernstein has an excellent essay called Villainy: An Analysis of the Nature of Evil. Don't worry, all troublesome villains will be swiftly thwarted by WhoopAss: The Society of Objectivist Martial Artists.

Goat's milk, anyone?

I just read the news story about the Barney book with porn inside. Before that there was porn on the Senate in-house cable system, and a few years back a porn clip aired during a Flintstones cartoon in New Jersey, and more appeared on the Namibia Broadcasting Network. A girls hockey team site linked to pornography, and libraries seem to constantly run into to porn. Why is it always porn? Does the Golf Channel ever pop up uninvited? Has anyone ever opened a catalog and found a chinese menu inside? This stuff probably happens all the time, but the news has no reason to report it. "Chinese menu found in catalog" would be a pretty boring news story. But god forbid one of the world's estimated ten billion pieces of pornography end up in the wrong place. Man, I hate the news.

I was also pleasantly surprised to discover that Midnight Graffiti still exists, albeit in web form. This was one of the better splatterpunk magazines of the late 80's/early 90's. It featured a lot of short stuff by Clive Barker and John Shirley. The site doesn't look like it is updated often, but it warms my heart to see that creepy logo staring back at me. 

Sunday, December 29
Addendum to the last post: Attorney Robert Gelinas chastises me for failing to mention that "Rael" is the protagonist and "Imperial Aerosol Kid" of the Genesis opus The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and also a song by The Who (including the ominous lyric "And chaos then will reign in our Rael"). I did recall these facts but they slipped my mind in the passionate heat of writing. However, considering the cult-leader Rael's choice of clothes, this photo of him looking for all the world like he's a part of the ELO stage show, and the fact that two of his religion's major principles are masturbation and getting laid, I think it is safe to assume that he's a prog fan.

The "controversy" over the Raelian cloning claim is utterly proposterous, yet so indicitive of our culture. First off, everyone seems to have forgotten that these space cadets got their clocks cleaned in Montreal earlier this year in their sad attempt to abolish catholicism. Then, suddenly, only a few weeks after an Italian doctor claims that the first cloned human will be born in January, they leap up and scream "No, we'll have a clone before that!" Do the pundits and editorials bring this up? No. Fucking ponderous. We're witnessing the spontaneous generation of a news story without there being an actual story.
And no one has pointed out that this smells like the hype surrounding David Rorvik when he published his book In His Image.
The followers of Rael, profiled in an excellent Village Voice article, must be pissing their pants over the fact that the epic ethical shrieking over their moral "irresponsibility" has drowned out the copious reminders that they have yet to produce even rudimentary evidence to their claim. They are aware that there is no such thing as bad publicity, something the media has been trying to give them by the bucketload. The scientific community is effectively ignoring this non-story until they see some facts. Apparently our moral guardians cannot afford that luxury.
In the meantime our friends over at Better Humans remind us that some people are in favor of cloning research on ethical grounds. Among them are the Clone Rights United Front (who have an simple and elegantly clear Mission Statement), the forward-looking World Transhumanist Association, and a little group called the Libertaian Party. There are also some great news sites with oft-updated scientific information such as and the useful Reproductive Cloning News Feed.
And would it be too much to ask that the current "debate" include just a few mentions of the tangible, immediate benefits that clone research has recently produced? Hmmm?
It is the official opinion of Bad Day Studio that idiots, nozzleheads and other anti-intellectual freaks bearing twisted philosophies need to be reminded that they are "part of the problem." As I've said before: they are monsters. They should be mocked, belittled, and otherwise castigated often and loudly for holding up the advancement and evolution of humanity. 

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