Sunday, March 30, 2008



And lo! the Owner was Sick and Tired of looking at the Old Toys and wanted He room for the New Toys. Therefore put He His hand to a box of Zip-Loc­® bags and did part-out the Bionicle® thereto. Only the 2001, the MOC and the 2008 were exempted and also the cooler models like the Exo-Toa® and Roodaka® and the Bahrag® and Lesovik® and Lhikan® but not the sled or steed thereof for they please not the Owner so much and maybe the Boxor® but most certainly not the Matoran® of Metru Nui® which are the most Utter Crap. And that the baggies of Bionicle® might not tempt His eyes with their unassembledness to a spasm of MOCing they were cast deep within the tote that is of Rubbermaid® and no other and thence to a shelf in the darkest garage beyond the Ford Focus® and the Nordic Track®. And their Set Numbers were entered into an inventory and thence to an Index Card even unto a Rolo-dex® that they be not forgotten entirely. Be not sore of heart for all the toys will be gathered together at the last day when the Owner builds He an addition or shed or daylight basement or other such Man-Cave as should please Him with sufficient display space thereunto. And there will be such a display of Bionicle® as the world will never have yet seen!
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Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Spiral Staircase

Robert Siodmak delivers the noir-ish thriller goods with no nonsense and no frills. A few nice angles, solid performances (although Elsa Lanchester needed some reigning in) but nothing too elaborate. Demure Dorothy Maguire plays mute.

Anna Karenina

Cliffs Notes version of novel hits all the major points. Fredric March much more natural than in Mary, Queen of Scots. Basil Rathbone steals all his scenes and manages to make Karenin almost human. Garbo is perfectly cast but lacks vim. Production is outrageously opulent; Fredric March alone must have twenty changes of costume.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ride the High Country

Signal entry in the "dying west" sub-genre (see No Country For Old Men for recent state of the type) pairs Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea. Simultaneously forward-looking and slavish to convention in style, this may be the most meta of the type.

Joel or Randolph?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

No Country for Old Men

There is a stretch of time between the the appearance of Grendel (Javier Bardem), to winnow singing men from the sheaf of life, and Hrothgar's (Tommy Lee Jones) welcome to the champion of the Geats to his hall. Terror flows around the king but he has no power to stop it or even touch it. No Country for Old Men is a story of that unendurable period.

3rd panel: wha?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Lynndie England tells der Stern "I was just following orders"

You can't make this stuff up.

Amusing typo in the intro:

"She ist one of the faces symbolizing the Iraq ..."

I submit that there will not be an Iraq War version of Hogan's Heroes in my lifetime.

RIP Arthur C. Clarke

Thanks for the stories.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Conquest of Space

Muddled follow up to Destination Moon does not do justice to source material by Chesley Bonestell, Willy Ley and Werner von Braun. Journeyman effort from everyone smooths over some of the weak elements. Benson Fong pulls off a truly bizarre speech about how WWII was caused by an insufficiency of cutlery. William Hopper appears as a prototype version of Haywood Floyd. One detail I haven't seen mentioned in reviews is that one of the characters is rendered into a fine pink mist inside his suit. Eww.

Pie IS Easy

I used Krusteaz mix for the crust and sort of a recipe from the internet but they all boiled down (heh) to 'cut up apples, add sugar and spice, put in crust, bake.' Some of them got into delicate, filigreed crust edges requiring pressure sensors and micrometers while others were deeply concerned that the correct sub-sub-type of the apple variety be peeled with the utmost rigor according to those ancient laws set here within ... others discussed acid and base baths to macerate ... preheat the stone... screw that, no way, shut up! Slice, mix, bake, slice, mix, bake, you chumps!
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Die, Dandelions, Die!

Sadly, there is not an army of gardeners available to stem (heh) the onslaught. Fall back to inside the DEZ (Dandelion Exclusion Zone)!

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Key Largo

Succeeds in spite of itself. Water-logged conflicts, talky-talk moral parade, slow middle, loose ends tied up with no finesse and generally over-ripe fruity performances. Yet it all hangs together. My favorite bit is when Edward G. Robinson triple-slaps Bogart.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Man Who Could Not Be Hanged

Overwrought but half-baked B movie. Mad scientist is ultimately undone by society. Twice!

The Black Room

Two Karloffs for the price of one! Boris plays twin brothers living under a curse. Even though there is no Frankenstein's monster in evidence, the peasants are up in arms anyway.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sherlock Holmes and the Pearl of Death

A stand-in for Moriarity takes advantage of Holmes' grandstanding and makes off with a pearl the size of a jaw-breaker. The resulting mayhem results in several incidental deaths as well as the completely unnecessary but pretty thrilling presence of The Creeper, aka Rondo Hatton.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bender's Big Score

A Futurama feature! Woo hoo! The writing does not stand up to the best of the series. My guess is that there is some important element in the writing stage that is not present or has been diminished. Perhaps there simply was not enough time allowed to write. The extras are good if you can ignore the heartbreak that Al Gore is not the President.

File cabinet found at Goodwill

It's solid wood, painted a not-too ugly office-putty color. A few cracks here and there but sound enough. It is not hanging file capable which is good because I do not like hanging files. Each drawer has a functioning file-follower. It smells pleasantly of Johnson-era paperwork. Mimeograph?


File follower:

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Spring cleaning

I went through a pile of old floppies and found this evocative pic.I created this image using a fractal generator of some kind and ... PS Paint? I don't remember. It is dated April 30, 1995.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Israel denies negotiating truce in Gaza - International Herald Tribune

Israel denies negotiating truce in Gaza

... because that would be the first step to peace or some other unacceptale situation. Wouldn't want to look like one of those peace-loving, non-warring types who don't prefer destruction and hatred over understanding and goodwill. It's a slippery slope! Once you start inhaling truce, pretty soon you are on the hard stuff like envoys and cultural missions and decreased military spending.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


I slept in this morning thanks to DST (bah!) and was awakened by the very loud buzzing of this correspondingly large bumblebee. I escorted him outside. Big dang bee.

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The Private Life of Henry VIII

Lively, earthy telling of diabetic, syphillitic psychopath and polymath king. Charles Laughton's performance is head and shoulders over the rest of excellent cast. King and Cleves meet cute. First rate production is not well-served by surviving darkish print.

Friday, March 07, 2008


Very slick production is not too burdened by Barrymore's bottomless hamminess. Supporting cast (including Donald Crisp in a Caledonian mode) are all fine. Costume and sets (striking Expressionist gestures) are excellent. Special effects and miniatures support horror milieu. If this had been a Universal production we could have looked forward to Svengali Versus the Phantom of the Opera.

iBook stand made of ZNAP

Picasa Web Albums - Carbunicle - 20080306_ZNAP...

The problem: I wanted my iBook to be at the same height as the monitor. I have a small supply of ZNAP taking up space. The solution: iBook stand made of ZNAP. ZNAP was a short-lived product from LEGO to compete directly with K'NEX. The lack of an apostrophe may have been all the difference. Since then, K'NEX has integrated LEGO studs into their toy.

Cool gift from Malyn

An especially unexpected and welcome gift.

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Mr. Deprecated cracks me up

Of course, I am 'deprecated.'

Just because your parsimonious universe lards itself with greedy owners doesn't mean that my universe is not built entirely out of manna and coupons.

Oh, Red Robot, you card.

I am trying to get things done using Getting Things Done,too. I even bought a labeler.

"Mr. Bush, do you know why I stopped you today?"

from Reuters:
Vermont towns vote to arrest Bush and Cheney

Sadly, the resolution is non-binding. Using the current administration's own reasoning, the towns are within their rights to invade his country and depose him by force. "Maple Squad, go go go!"

I ♥ (Battle,Marl)boro"," VT

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Bionicle meets Belville

Thanks to hue-cycling in my iSight software we now know what Prince Mutran would look like on his way to Snowflake Palace.

Creepy webcam picture

This happened more or less by accident.

Children of Men

It's part Omega Man, part Brazil, part six o'clock news, part 28 Days Later, part Casablanca, part City of Lost Children and not implausible enough. Much seems to have been made of the long takes and I certainly agree that the direction is artful and clever but I think the editing has been given short shrift. As cool as the long takes are, their effect is given relevance by the editing's implacable pace. There is one scene which was about as tired as any in cinema. The hero overhears a critical conversation by listening at a window. This is how plots are advanced in the Sherlock Holmes movies. SPOILER: When Clive first sees the goon in the courtyard, he didn't need to know anything else. He would have skedaddled out of there lickety-split.

Leonard Rosenman, RIP

Thanks for the cool music. "Ro-oh-bo-cop! Ro-oh-bo-cop!"

Sherlock Holmes Faces Death

Especially gothic tale with hidden passages, man-size chess game and ghosts. Dr. Watson is not reduced to mere buffoonery as he is actually shown in his professional capacity. He treats a neck wound even as the victim explains how he got it, he's in charge of a ward of injured vets with his own staff and he has the foresight to go about armed.
The patriotic epilogue (these are war-time movies, after all) is more humanistic than usual. I think Holmes has been getting into the snuff.

There's a new spirit abroad in the land. The old days of grab and greed are on their way out. We're beginning to think what we owe the other fellow, not just what we are compelled to give him. The time's coming, Watson, when we shan't be able to fill our bellies in comfort while other folk go hungry or sleep in warm beds while others shiver in the cold. When we shan't be able to kneel and thank God for blessings before our shining altars while men anywhere are kneeling in either physical or spiritual subjection.

Mm, mm, you may be right. I hope you are.

And God willing, we'll live to see that day, Watson.

RIP Gary Gygax

Thanks for the games.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Water dish for a cat; water pitcher for me


I was at Goodwill looking for a cheap file cabinet (letter files, not hanging, with file followers and in reasonably good shape. No soap.) and I found these two items in new condition. The Brita pitcher came with three new filters! Woo hoo!
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Saturday, March 01, 2008


Complicated political struggle not exactly explicated but judging by the number of razed towns, regime changes and suicides, it was a doozy.

Will Penny

Charlton Heston portrays last man on earth cowboy in a planet city west dominated by apes zombies dudes accountants. Forges familial ties with ape scientists plague carriers sodbusters as love surmounts craggy orneriness.

Shaun of the Dead

Political documentary on the state of culture in the UK.

Netflix Rental History restored

For a while, only the last 90 days of returns were displayed. The entire history is again restored.

In the interim, I managed to not make notes on Shinsengumi, Shaun of the Dead and Will Penny.

Apple(b)logue archive

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