Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Transformers

Monday Night: Scooby-Doo, Stalin’s Daughter, and More

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* “You can’t regret your fate,” Ms. Peters once said, “although I do regret my mother didn’t marry a carpenter.” Josef Stalin’s daughter has died. More at MeFi.

* Occupy the Mystery Machine: The very first rule of Scooby-Doo, the single premise that sits at the heart of their adventures, is that the world is full of grown-ups who lie to kids, and that it’s up to those kids to figure out what those lies are and call them on it, even if there are other adults who believe those lies with every fiber of their being. (via)

* Behind the scenes of Planet of the Apes.

* No second acts in America: The life and times of Chris Hardwick. (also via)

* Terry Gilliam, the heir of Fellini and the enemy of God. (you know what I’m gonna say)

On his flight to Los Angeles, Gilliam tried to watch the $1-billion hit “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” and he felt battered and sullen by the time the landing gear came down. The old wizard says it’s the stage magicians who rule Hollywood now.

“You just sit there and watch the explosions,” Gilliam said. “I couldn’t tell you what the movie was about. The movie hammers the audience into submission. They are influenced by video games, but in video games at least you are immersed; in these movies you’re left out. In films, there’s so much overt fantasy now that I don’t watch a lot because everything is possible now. There’s no tension there. People can slide down the side of a building that’s falling and they don’t get ripped to shreds? The shots are amazing, but if there is no consequence, no gravity, what’s the point? I can’t watch Hollywood movies anymore. There’s no room for me.”

* Safe, reliable, and too cheap to meter: Japan’s science ministry says 8 per cent of the country’s surface area has been contaminated by radiation from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

* “For our brewery, growth depends on abundant clean water and quality barley and hops—and climate change puts those ingredients at risk. Our supply chain—including barley, hops and water—is especially vulnerable to weather in the short-term and to climate change in the long-term,” Orgolini told Forbes.

* Medicine and “never events.”

* Of islands and invaders.

* Against Gremlins.


* Nearly half (48%) of all Americans say that the U.S. is the greatest country in the world, and another 42% say that it is one of the greatest countries in the world. Fewer than one-in-ten (8%) Americans say that the U.S. is not one of the greatest countries in the world.

There are sharp generational differences on this question. Millennials are the least likely to say that the U.S. is the greatest country in the world, with just 32% holding this view. This number rises with each successive generation, culminating in nearly two-thirds of Silents (64%) expressing the view that the U.S. stands above all other nations. Within the Silent generation, it is the oldest members who feel most strongly about America’s greatness – fully 72% of those ages 76 to 83 say the U.S. is the greatest country in the world. About half of members of Generation X (ages 31 to 46) and the Baby Boomer generation (47 to 65) believe that the U.S. is the greatest country in the world.

* “Berkeley Police Defend Actions by Sensationistically Claiming Protestors Could’ve Used Lethal Violence.” That’s good enough for me!

* The engineers behind Russia’s failed Mars attempt could face criminal charges.

“Recent failures are a strong blow to our competitiveness,” explained Medvedev. “It does not mean that something fatal has happened, it means that we need to carry out a detailed review and punish those guilty.”

* Speaking of punishing the guilty: The Walker recall is already almost halfway there. @wi_defender: One signature every 3.456 seconds for 12 days. #WIRecall #RecallWalker #damn

* Corporate synergy watch: Staples is launching Dunder Mifflin brand paper.

* And in terrible local news:

The North Carolina Senate voted (27-17) Monday to repeal the Racial Justice Act, sending SB 9 off to Governor Bev Perdue. The Senate’s approval came just hours after the Judiciary Committee heard emotional testimony on both sides of the legislation.

Johnston County District Attorney Susan Doyle told legislators that DAs were “fearful” that the two-year-old law had the potential to parole death row inmates.

One shudders to think!

‘Because, Through His Condensed, Translucent Images, He Gives Us Fresh Access to Reality’

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After a Death

Once there was a shock
that left behind a long, shimmering comet tail.
It keeps us inside. It makes the TV pictures snowy.
It settles in cold drops on the telephone wires.
One can still go slowly on skis in the winter sun
through brush where a few leaves hang on.
They resemble pages torn from old telephone directories.
Names swallowed by the cold.
It is still beautiful to hear the heart beat
but often the shadow seems more real than the body.
The samurai looks insignificant
beside his armor of black dragon scales.

The 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to Takara-Tomy, creator of the Transformers. I think I have that right.

Announcement. Washington Post announcement.
Eight poems by Tomas Tranströmer.
Much, much more at MetaFilter.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 6, 2011 at 9:08 am

Military-Industrial-Entertainment Complex

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The Army’s cross-promotional deal with X-Men: First Class lays bare the military’s increasing reliance on the science fiction genre as the prime narrative medium through which to sell itself.  The new recruitment films are not the critically acclaimed Restrepo or even The Hurt Locker(whose DoD support was revoked at the last minute), but rather Battle: Los Angeles (a conventional combat film—with aliens!) andTransformers 2, promoted as the “largest joint-military movie ever made.”  Unlike recent films about Iraq and Afghanistan, contemporary science fiction films show our armed forces heroically fighting the good fight against intergalactic enemies, killer cars, or nuclear-toting mutants.  More importantly, perhaps, science fiction reintroduces wonder and spectacle to typical recruitment strategies that media-savvy young audiences distrust, tune out, or scoff at.

Via Twitter: How X-Men markets the military.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 16, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Wednesday Catchup

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Wednesday catchup.

* Rest in peace, Rosie the Riveter.

* Dollhouse tease: Joss will write and direct the premiere.

* Transformers FAQ. Spoiler alert:

I am already incredibly sick of this movie, and I’m just typing questions about it. Sam resurrects Optimus, Optimus kills the Fallen, end of story, right?
Pretty close. Sam dies, though.

Really?
Yeah, for a little while. But then the Transformers in heaven send him back because he still has work to do.

Fuck you.
I’m serious.

Fuck you. There’s no way.
It’s true. The 6-7 Primes are there in the clouds like Mufasa’s head in The Lion King, and tell Sam he’s awesome and he needs to live again so he can bring Optimus back to life.

* MMORGS and sociology: City of Heroes character ‘Twixt’ becomes game’s most hated outcast courtesy of Loyola professor.” Via MeFi.

* “Judgment Day,” famous anti-racist EC comic from 1953, controversial in its day, at Comics Should Be Good:

Written by gerrycanavan

July 8, 2009 at 11:42 pm

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Monday Procastination Sensations

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Monday procrastination sensations.

* The Burnt-out Adjunct has some advice at Inside Higher Ed about the difference between adjuncts, add-junks, and instructors.

* 3 Quarks Daily has some thoughts from Timothy Fongon on building a viable American left:

Only about 25 percent of US citizens hold a passport. (See 2007 population data here and number of Americans with passports here.) A majority of Americans have never travelled overseas. Thus, any movement which makes appeals primarily on the basis of universalist/internationalist rhetoric is likely to have an audience significantly smaller than the majority of the US population.

The whole essay strongly echoes a proclamation from the C.L.R. James I was reading just last night: “To Bolshevize America it is necessary to Americanize Bolshevism.”

* A Feministe guestblogger describes the difficulties in filling out forms when one is transgender. The thread also introduces me to a term I’ve missed up to now, cisgender, denoting someone whose gender identity is aligned with their biological sex—which means I can now describe the forms Queen Emily discusses as cisnormative (which they are—no need for little boxes with prescribed answers when you could just have a blank line).

* Nate Silver gets a little more pragmatic with a close look at how a climate bill can get 60 votes in the Senate. He’s also got a post on Sarah Palin’s appeal that, for my money, misses what’s so terrifying about Palin: (1) the clear sense that the right is building itself a second George W. Bush out of identitarian resestment, sloganeering, faux folksy charm, and hero worship, and (2) that it already worked once.

* Steve Benen has your bogus Obama scandal roundup.

Walpin was all the rage in conservative circles, right up until the “controversy” appeared baseless, and White House detractors were forced to move on.

But notice how this has happened quite a bit in the very young Obama administration. Remember when conservatives were convinced that the White House was closing car dealerships based on owners’ political contributions? Or how about the not-so-scandalous Department of Homeland Security report about potentially violent extremists, which prompted some conservatives to call for Napolitano’s resignation? Or about the EPA economist whose bizarre memo on global cooling was “suppressed”?

All of these caused widespread apoplexy among rabid anti-Obama activists. And all of these quickly fell apart after minimal scrutiny.

* Transformers II and racism. More from Ezra Klein.

* And Michael Chabon has a nice essay in The New York Review of Books about the wilderness of childhood set against both adult nostalgia for the freedom of youth and contemporary overparenting and child endangerment hysteria. But the headline (“Manhood for Amateurs”) is wrong under the article’s own terms:

This is a mistaken notion, in my view. People read stories of adventure—and write them—because they have themselves been adventurers. Childhood is, or has been, or ought to be, the great original adventure, a tale of privation, courage, constant vigilance, danger, and sometimes calamity. For the most part the young adventurer sets forth equipped only with the fragmentary map—marked here there be tygers and mean kid with air rifle—that he or she has been able to construct out of a patchwork of personal misfortune, bedtime reading, and the accumulated local lore of the neighborhood children.

Sloppy work from the editor there.

Wednesday 2

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Wednesday 2.

* My North Carolinian readers should consider sending a letter expressing their displeasure to the offices of our senator, Kay Hagan, who as Facing South reports is currently one of the major stumbling blocks for health care reform.

Sen. Kay Hagan
521 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-6342
Fax: 202-228-2563

You can contact her via email at her web site, but a snail mail letter is still best.

* Climate Progress analyzes the concessions made to Collin Peterson to get Waxman-Markey to the floor this week. Kevin Drum and Yglesias has more, as well as a teaser for how much worse the Senate version will be.

* Also from Yglesias: (1) a post on Asimov’s novel The Gods Themselves that intrigued me enough to drop everything and read the book and (2) a report that the Iranian soccer players who wore green in solidarity with the protesters have been banned from the sport for life. The Gods Themselves, I can report, is a great read: in addition to the environmental allegory Yglesias highlights there’s also some really intriguing queer sexuality stuff in the “how aliens have sex” section—very rare for Asimov—and a nice Star Maker-style cosmology regarding the origin of the universe and the fates of planets that don’t solve their energy crises. I think Asimov’s probably right that it’s his best book.

* Squaring off on the suckiness of Transformers II. In this corner, Roger Ebert:

“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” is a horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments. One of these involves a dog-like robot humping the leg of the heroine. Such are the meager joys. If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.

And in this corner, Walter Chaw:

The worst summer in recent memory continues as Michael Bay brings his slow push-ins and Lazy Susan dolly shots back to the cineplex with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (hereafter Transformers 2), the ugliest, most hateful, most simple-minded and incomprehensible assault on art and decency since the last Michael Bay movie.

* And your webcomic of the day: Warbot in Accounting.

Friday Night Links of Variable Goofiness

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Friday night links of variable goofiness.

* Ze Frank has your optical illusion of the night.

* Lateral thinking interview questions from Microsoft.

You have two jars, 50 red marbles and 50 blue marbles. A jar will be picked at random, and then a marble will be picked from the jar. Placing all of the marbles in the jars, how can you maximize the chances of a red marble being picked? What are the exact odds of getting a red marble using your scheme?

* My friend Jay explains the story behind his possession of the world’s most badass scar.

* Who ate all the Neanderthals? Oops.

* Which of our own closely held beliefs will our own children and grandchildren by appalled by?

* Also: classic sci-fi box office adjusted for inflation.

* Jacob directs our attention to the growing threat of Transforminators.

* Bo Obama, Dog Superhero.

* Wes Anderson, the YouTube Channel.

Sunday Dose of Sci-Fi Statuary

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io9 has your Sunday dose of sci-fi statuary.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 5, 2008 at 2:45 pm

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Not If He Were the Last Man on Earth

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Transformers, Indiana Jones, now Y: The Last Man: All your franchises belong to Shia Labeouf.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 23, 2008 at 10:02 pm

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