Archive Feb. 1 - Feb. 16 2003
Gravity Lens Main Page
Sunday, February 16
Michael Bronski has written an excellent article for the Boston Phoenix about the Professor Michael L. Dini "religious discrimination" case. However I would remind him that anti-intellectual hinderences to scientific discourse have been plentiful from the academic left as well as the right.
Speaking of politics, seems we all lean to the right when it comes to kissing.

The uber-sultry Ute Lemper is touring her cabaret show this spring.

The Edge webzine has compiled a number of of essays by scientists and science fiction writers concerning the Columbia accident and what we do after.

Mark Vadnais sends along this stirring and very scientific piece on the "a-listing" and wholesale elite-ification of the weblog universe. Oh, and to make up for all the times I have neglected to link to his site: Mark Vadnais, Mark Vadnais, Mark Vadnais, Mark Vadnais, Mark Vadnais, Mark Vadnais, Mark Vadnais, Mark Vadnais, Mark Vadnais, Mark Vadnais, Mark Vadnais, Mark Vadnais.    

Friday, February 14
Gone Fishin': I am off to Boskone for another promotional carpet-bombing and a mindless stroll through the dealers room. Will be back soon. 

Area Music News: The New England Art Rock Society website says that the Flower Kings are scheduled to play The Brewery in Lowell MA, as part of their summer prog series. No confirmation from any other source yet.

Friend Lee Stranahan has posted me on his blog. Lee takes naughty pictures and teaches Lightwave animation, and has copious pages of each on his site. 
I also got a lot of hits from the forums over at Iron Magazine. This caused great confusion in my tiny brain until I discovered that one of the moderators there goes by the handle "Dr. Pain," a high-impact name shared by one of my more tasteless creations. has lots of coverage of the New York Toy Fair. My favorite images so far are the Art Asylum Star Trek figures, especially the Mirror, Mirror Kirk and Spock.

The first notes of John Cage's As Slow As Possible will be played for the first time next week. The piece was composed to last well over 600 years, far short of Jem Finer's Longplayer.

Thursday, February 13
Slush Factory covers the editorial shake up at DC Comics.

If you have some time to kill, light up a gas lamp and read the recently "discovered" and decoded Secret Journals of Phineas J. Magnetron.

Are you plagued by horrible thoughts? In that case you may want to avert your eyes from Memepool and its link to the upcoming H.P. Lovecraft Musical planned for later this year. It will be performed at Chicago's Defiant Theatre, whose site sports a great poster for the current production of Titus Andronicus

The Telegraph has posted a list of the top ten most romantic albums. Almost all the albums on the list are tasteless crap. Where's Chris Isaak's Heart Shaped World? Or The Dreaming by Kate Bush? Hell, there's not even any Barry White on the list!.

Wednesday, February 12
Happy Darwin Day!

Jane Galt's Asymetrical Information posted a link to a tale about a cat who got a bad haircut. It's a disturbing image that will haunt you...

Krimson News has announced that Michael Giles is departing the drumstool of the 21st Century Schizoid Band. His replacement will be session drummer Ian Wallace. Ian's site says that the band are planning a U.S. tour in the future.
In other prog news, an online music company called Red Trumpet has a Rush contest posted. One of the things you can win is a set of Rush bobble-heads. Look closely and you'll see the little Alex has a double-neck. Update: In looking for more I this I stumbled across a list of Rush references in TV and movies.

For those who care I have redone the home page yet again. Let me know if you experience any problems calling it up.

NASA has begun releasing baby pictures of the universe.

Simulated "swarms" are being used to allow computers to improvise music. I guess this means that instead of Garry Kasparov and Deep Junior having a chess match, we'll have a lap top facing off against (insert a bad guitarist's name here) in a jamming duel.

Comicbook Resources has a story about "Mighty Love," Howard Chaykin's big new project for DC Comics. He will write and draw this book, something he hasn't done since the seventies.

Tuesday, February 11
As if I needed a wee scientific study to know that the bonnie lasses love a Scottish accent.

The final Nebula nominations are out.

Comic News: Counting has an interview with Mike Mignola, while the giveaway line up for Free Comic Book Day 2003 continues to grow.

Monday, February 10
Big thanks to Paul at GeekPress for linking to me. Check his site out.

In the new edition of Better Humans, writers James HughesSimon Smith, and Stephen Mason all take on the very important subject of sex, it's future, and what it means to the species.'s Webguide posted a neat little site called Exploring Dystopia. It's an overview of the "bad society" sub genre in literature and film, and sports a handsome design.

Do you like the new red dates? Thank my friend Dave Hibsher for the idea. 

Sunday, February 9
Ah, the future. It will bring wireless connectivity everywhere. There will be widespread pervasive computingdistributed systemssmart personal objects, custom computerized clothing, even tooth phones. Everyone will have near-instant access to all the wisdom and information of the ages.
Oh, by the way, these are the current most downloaded songs.

If you want to get a message to a dead friend or relative, you can enlist the services of Afterlife Telegrams. They will (get this) have a terminally ill person memorize your message and attempt to deliver it after their own demise. Ah, yes, eternal judgment and the cosmic mysteries of the universe have to wait until you finish wandering around the ectoplasm hunting down someone named "Aunt Edna." Or perhaps the first thing you see in the afterlife is a bunch of anxious folks asking if you brought any mail.

Garry Kasparov's match against Deep Junior has ended in a draw. It took me a while to find any substantative coverage of this, but eventually unearthed news stories herehere, and here.

Saturday, February 8
One week later: The SFWA has issued a statement supporting a continued human presence in space. The statement is endorsed by most if not all of its members. To my knowledge this is the only organization that has put forth such a statement on principle. If you find others, please let me know. 
Robert Garmong at ARI praises the public reaction to last week's events as a testament to the best within us, while Save The Human's Jason Roth condemns it as media-fueled hypocrisy. It is without a hint of irony that I agree with them both.

Over at LocusChris M. Barkley explains how the "Best Dramatic Presentation" Hugo Award was (after a long battle) split into "long-form" and "short- form" catagories, and reminds us that in the distant days before the advent of big-budget science fiction films the nominees included albums by Jefferson Airplane and Firesign Theater.

All of my goth friends will be happy, or at least slightly less sullen and morose, to learn that science has created a darker shade of black. They will also enjoy the story of how a British museum's attempt to keep pesky goths away backfired horribly.

Friday, February 7
With Valentine's Day coming up Cap'n Wacky has posted his hysterical yet disturbing Gallery of Unfortunate Cards for the occassion.

Mark Vadnais (who, by the way, is the only one in the aforementioned CGT concert photo who appears even remotely good-looking) sends a story from Above Top claiming that there are 600 empty-but-ready concentration camps on U.S. soil (no doubt to be occupied by me and my other less photogenic friends in the near future).

Would anyone care to guess how many groupies gave blowjobs at this event?

For arcane reasons unknowable by modern science, a Philippine musical Batman movie has been produced. To quote Film Threat: "It is hard to recall another film where so many uninteresting people find themselves together in a single production..." 

Here's a photo of your humble narrator and his esteemed comrades at last week's California Guitar Trio concert in Bridgeport. We're the surly lot in the second and third rows. The scent of blue cheese and coffee was quite thick.

Thursday February 6
One of my favorite singers Happy Rhodes has stated on her website that she wants to do a couple concerts in the Northeast as is looking for venues. I've seen her perform at Brass City Records and at Valentines in Albany, but she mentions the possibilty of doing living room shows. It is imperative to western culture that this happen. Spread the word.

VOTE FOR ME: I am officially throwing my hat into the ring for the 2003 Wooden Rocket Awards for best online science fiction sites. The contest is run by SF Crowsnest. I'm putting the Link Page in the running for "best science fiction directory." I haven't tilted at a windmill in a while. Voting requires signing up for an online newsletter, and I know that will turn some people off, but I'll take whatever help I can to at least show up on the radar. Read the rules & regs. You have to vote in at least 5 catagories.The page URL is 

Dell has announced plans to phase out floppy disk drives in their computers by year's end. I've still got a drawer full of those big floppies from 20 years ago. Also from the fickle world of usable media comes word that the first telltale cases of "DVD rot" are popping up. If someone was to invent a recordable medium that could actually improve its performance with advancing technology (thus staving off obsolesence) Sony and Panasonic would have them killed.

Medical scientists are developing a skin test to detect Alzheimer's disease

Wednesday, February 5
Attorney Robert Gelinas enters into evidence the highly entertaining Rich's Micro Heroes & Villains Page, full of little animation applets for a slew of well-
known and obscure comic book characters. Much fun.

Like a Jonny Quest episode brought to life, scientists have found live mammoth cells and plan to clone it. Mammoths play a big part of early man's struggle in TLC's Before We Ruled the Earth, airing this Sunday.

Oh, by the way, someone's built a cloak of invisibilty!

The Animatrix site is up and streaming.

Those who enjoyed the last Bad Day Holiday Card will be happy to know that every day it becomes more and more of a reality.

Fans of "the old stuff" will be thrilled that both Link Wray and Dick Dale have posted tour dates for the near future.

I didn't see the last Star Trek film, but the sobbing and vomiting of my friends as they stumbled from the theater told me all I needed to know. I just read that Rick Berman is having a degree of difficulty in figuring out why the film tanked at the box office. Maybe reading the reactions of some long time Trek fans like Harry Knowles and John Shirley might give him a clue. In this interview Berman seems genuinely perplexed as to why rehashing old plot lines and ignoring continuity (that he helped establish, no less) doesn't fly with fans. Trek has managed to slow the progress of science fiction TV and movies for too fucking long. End this. Now.

Tuesday, February 4
Joshua Elder (there's a biblical name) has an opinion piece on comics and copyrights over at Slush Factory.


Over the years I have read myriad stories of student activists protesting their little hearts out about CIA recruitment drives on campuses. I now wonder if those same groups will protest college cinemas showing The Recruit.

UPN has green-lit the pilot for Kamelot, a futuristic take on the Arthurian legend. Hmmm, where'd they get that idea? In other mythological news they have found remains that may explain where the legend of the Cyclops came from. If reality is more to your liking, here's some fun facts about life 100 years ago.

From Gary Westfahl's new article in Locus about the space program:
"Space travel is by far the most technologically difficult and inherently dangerous task that the human race has ever attempted. If you refuse to accept that, I don't care how many degrees you have, you've lost touch with reality"
(Responses to his essay are here)
And from a Brian Doherty piece in Reason:
"In 2001,15 commercial space launches happened. None of this really makes the news, and that very fact should be encouraging, not discouraging, to space buffs." Amen Brian.

Monday, February 3
If you've ever wanted to look like this or like this, you'll be happy to know that doctors have performed the first-ever full jaw transplant.

Henry Jenkins (currently one of my favorite science writers) at Technology Review has an article about the cutting edge science and efficient story telling of Warren Ellis' Global Frequency (currently one of my favorite comics).

A link to space elevator designers High Lift Systems appeared on Fark today, no doubt in reaction to people looking for alternatives to the shuttle. I love the very idea of the space elevator, and was pleased to see that How Stuff Works has a page on the basic principle. These towering structures were central to Arthur C. Clarke's The Fountains of Paradise and 3001: Final Odyssey as well as many other science fiction has done a couple stories over the past year about current plans and talks to develop one. (Looks like I've got another Link Page catagory)

Sunday, February 2
Purging some stray thoughts on Columbia:
1: Fewer people have died-in-action over the 30-plus years on the U.S. space program than in any given month during the exploration and colonization of America. While we're at it let's hold NASA's record up against NASCAR racing and boxing.
2: China says it intends on continuing its space program. Oh fucking joy.
3: Before the accident nobody knew the names of Columbia's crew. There are entire industries to help people keep track of bucketloads of celebrity gossip and who is getting drafted by sports teams. Children around the country can name each and every Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh character, but these seven spacefarers were anonymous until death. The sadness of that truth is immeasurable.
4: You realize how much worse it could have been when you think about some of the cold war hardware they wanted to put into orbit.

The Science Fiction Research Association has given Gary Westfahl an award for his writings in Interzone as well as his SF Film Encyclopdia.

Someone at Fark posted a link to this great site that parodies Jack Chick Tracts. Something else to add to my "why didn't I think of this?" list.

Saturday February 1
I keep hearing NASA officials refer to today as a "Bad Day." They've been saying it a lot. It's an icky feeling.
When I heard the Columbia news I was prepping a joke about NASA's future plans to convert the shuttle to Linux, Then I thought about Warren Ellis' upcoming book Orbiter, and remembered that he pulled an Authority storyline after the WTC attacks (he's been doing a lot of posts today). I also recalled that Columbia was the shuttle whose telemetry was used as the background sounds on Rush's "Countdown" from Signals.
The ancillary stories surrounding this are the rough part: Someone posted Columbia wreckage on eBay, reports of bodies being found in gardens, and the sense of dread that must be going through the crew of the International Space Station. We who have followed the space program closely always knew there would be another event like this, the law of averages dictated it as an almost-certainty. It doesn't make it sting any less.
I'm going to see the California Guitar Trio tonight, and am recalling the fact that one of their tunes was used to wake the Columbia crew up one morning years ago.
Mach 18. 39 miles up. Damn.

Happy Chinese New Year!
And since it is the Year of the Ram, I guess I'll put on McCartney's Ram to celebrate.

The Vatican has begun a search for a Patron Saint of the Internet. This is interesting because, aside from being a thouroghly foolish idea, this is the first time in recent memory that the catholic church has admitted that they are not in the mid-thirteenth century.

The U.S. wants to ban the import of Glenfiddich Havana Reserve scotch because, even though it is a product of Scotland, it is stored in cuban barrels.

Soon after the release of their creepy looking Zanti Misfits figures, Sideshow Toys will pull out a full sized replica of the little pudgy space-suited dudes that terrorize Agnes Moorhead in the Twilight Zone episode The Invaders.

E-Mail Bad Day
Link Page

Back to Bad Day
Gravity Lens Archives
Back to Bad Day