Going Electronic

I’ve decided I really want to go electronic for my pleasure reading. There are a number of reasons why I think eBooks are the way to go for me. Firstly I like the idea of less clutter and few physical objects to keep track of. I also know it will make magazine subscription much better for me. I like having magazines to read but I dislike throwing them out when they start to pile up as much as I dislike having them pile up to begin with. The obvious answer is to get these magazine as eBooks and keep them stored on a disc where I can access them if I like but where they won’t start taking over the condo. Continue reading Going Electronic


A surprise in the mail

So I had just finished climbing the hill from the trolley stop and getting inside when I notice my wife has dropped the mail on the table.
Fine and dandy, it’s got the usual assortment of bills and other doo-dads you expect on a normal mail day. It also had my current issue of Scientific American but there was one other magazine and that was a surprise.
fantasyThe current issue of Realms of Fantasy. This is surprising because I have not subscribed to this magazine. I read the odd bit of fantasy here and there, primarily Terry Pratchett’s stuff, but not enough to warrant a magazine subscription.
I wonder why those chose me out of the blue to try and tempt into a subscription.
No matter, it’s something new to read.


San Diego Vintage SF : The Abominable Snowman

The Abominable Snowman Yeti handForgive the late posting on this but life does have a habit of getting in the way.
The past Saturday, July 11th, was this month’s meeting of San Diego Vintage SF. This month I brought a film to share, a DVD that my wife got for me as a birthday present, The Abominable Snowman (1957).
I first saw this film by way of Netflix when I was working my way through the Hammer Horror catalog and generally the ones with Peter Cushing. When I rented this film I did not have high expectations for it but I was pleasantly surprised. It is written by Nigel Kneale who had written a number of films that I throughly enjoyed including Quatermass and the Pit. (Known in the US generally as Five Million Years to Earth.) One of the best SF films out of Britain or anywhere for that matter. The Abominable Snowman was directed by Val Guest a number of films for hammer studios.
The story is about Dr Rollason a botanist and mountain climber who is on an expedition into the Himalayas to gather rare and unusual plants. He has his wife and a friend and associate Peter Fox along on his botanical expedition. Dr. Rollason has also contracted to lead another expedition high into the mountains to search for the mythical Yeti.
The Yeti expedition is lead by Thomas Friend (Forrest Tucker of F-Troop fame.) Tucker is quite credible as the mercenary and ruthless leader whose only concern is profit and clearing his name from a fraud that went badly.
The film can be dinged for being a bit talky, but I think the characters and the resolution of the story more than make up for this small flaw.
If you get a chance to see this film do so.


The race to the bottom

No, this is not another political posting, this is a movie posting. It seems to me that there is a race going on. A race to who makes the least intelligent movies from Hollywood. We should ignore the low-budget direct to video stuff being made. That’s not what I am talking about. I’m talking about the A-list directors with tons and tons of money making films that would embarrass a comatose squirrel.
The two leading contenders for this prize are, Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich.
Michael Bay certainly has consistency on his side. In 2007 people referred to Transformers as the ‘Least Stupid’ Michael bay film. For consistently insulting his viewer’s intelligence Michael Bay is unequaled.
However, what Roland Emmerich lacks in consistency he makes up for in truly stupid scripts, ideas, and execution. Wether it is the archeology in 10,000 BC or the climate and weather science in The Day After Tomorrow his films set new standards for ignoring and destroying scientific thought.
In an effort to win the race and settle the question once and for all time, Roland Emmerich has apparently topped himself in stupidity. This summer we get the film 2012. Go watch the preview, I did at this past weekend’s San Diego Vintage SF meeting. (I’ll post about that soon.) We hooted and jeered at the spectacularly awful filme being hawked at us. Then Gerry, the host had a treat for us and one I am going to share with you.
The trailer for 2012 as it should have been cut.


Sunday Night Movie: Goldfinger

goldfinger_l You need three films to establish a franchise and for James Bond the frnachise was established with a bang with the release of Goldfinger.

Based on the novel of the same name by Ian Flemming Goldfinger saw James Bond, agent 007, matching wits against international criminals Auric Goldfinger, Odd Job, and Pussy Galore and her all girl team of flying thieves. Suprisingly some of the more outraheous aspects of the book were deleted from the film version. (Quite the opposite of the Hollywood normally practice.)
This is the film that established many of the cliches that became a part of the Bond Franchise. The walk through Q-Section with gadgets and death all around, the realtionship between Bond and Q, the verbal sparing match with the lead villain were all established in this film.
Yes I am aware that Bond traded quips with Dr No in the film of the same name, but that occured in the final act of the film. In Goldfinger Bond encounters Godlfinger in Miami, againt on teh Glaf Course and of course in Switzerland in that most famous scene with the laser all before teh big climax in teh final act. The became a template and fianlly a formula for later Bond movies. As with all franchises, books or movies, when it devloves to formula it’s get tired old and bad.
I’m glad that the film-makers removed from the plot that Pussy galore was gay and turned straight simply because Bond was THAT good.
This is a film well worth watching and particularlly on Blu-Ray as I did.


Not Only Liberals

It’s not only godless liberals who want Sarah Palin to depart from the political stage.

In television interviews she was out of her depth in a shallow pool. She was limited in her ability to explain and defend her positions, and sometimes in knowing them. She couldn’t say what she read because she didn’t read anything. She was utterly unconcerned by all this and seemed in fact rather proud of it: It was evidence of her authenticity. She experienced criticism as both partisan and cruel because she could see no truth in any of it. She wasn’t thoughtful enough to know she wasn’t thoughtful enough.

peg-noonanThat was Peggy Noonan. For those of you who don’t know her Peggy Noonan is currently a conservative columnist for the Wall Street Journal, a solid supporter of the Republican Party, and a former speech writer for Ronald Reagan. While Peggy Noonan and myself go our separate ways when it come to the Right-To-Life issues, there are many areas of agreement.

People who do not know me may assume from my frequent and sharp criticism of the GOP, Repiublicans, and the Conservative movement that my political leanings are to the left. This is not so. I personally favor small and less intrusive government. I think that many solutions can be found better in the private sector. I have a real repulsion to identity politics. For many years and several election cycles I voiced support and often voted for Republicans. (I have never voted a straight ticket for any party and I am very unlikely too.) My criticism of the right side of aisle develops from a greater expectation of that side. I am hurt and angry that the right has wandered off into a crazy land where image matters more than substance and that they have so casually abandoned their principles.

Peggy’s closing sentiments on why it is good that Palin should leave the political scene are dead on in my opinion.

It’s not a time to be frivolous, or to feel the temptation of resentment, or the temptation of thinking next year will be more or less like last year, and the assumptions of our childhoods will more or less reign in our future. It won’t be that way.

We are going to need the best.


Best review Yet for Transformers: The Revenge Of The Fallen

megan I saw the first film, Transformers on Blu-ray just a few weeks ago and I had to agree with an assessment I had heard about it. “The least stupid Michael Bay film.”
Given that I have zero interest in seeing the new movie, but I have stumbled upon a rather delightful review of the film. This guy cracks up and I urge everyone to pay him a visit.

Could you sum up the film in one line of its dialogue?
I am standing directly beneath the enemy’s scrotum.


Literary Saboteur

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