Friday, December 16, 2016

This Month's Book: January

"Lost Light" by Michael Connelly

This post is largely just an excuse for the Hieronymous Bosch joke above.  Our meeting will be on Wednesday, January 11 at 8PM.  Location TBD.  

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A bad omen

The odds that "Rogue One" sucks just rose substantially.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Because real life is kind of sucky these days, I instead offer up a truly stupendous Bad Lip Reading for your enjoyment. Apparently, there's a number of Star Wars-themed BLRs, so there's more where that came from. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Happy Life Day!

Pic from Wookieepedia. I kind of love this paragraph (from the same article):

Life Day robes were a set of robes used in the celebration of the Wookiee holiday Life Day. They were red in color, and were made to cover the entire body, except for the head. During one particular Life Day celebration, it was sold along with the Czerka LD-1 Celebrator, the Life Day Holo-Tree, the Life Day orb and the Life Day Tinsel Bomb.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Why the Galactic Senate sucks and how Lando is like Robert the Bruce

Sorry I couldn't make book club last week. But here's my recent interview with Beltway Banthas, a podcast devoted to politics and Star Wars, recorded back in October. It's amazing to realize just how deep nerdity can go. These guys make me look like the captain of a high school football team.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Monday, November 7, 2016

Thor's Slow Day

I've been meaning to post this for awhile. Thor was not in the last Captain America Movie (i.e. Avengers III), and Marvel made this short clip detailing what he was up to.  I was reminded of it while watching post-credit sequences after Doctor Strange (good, BTW).  Enjoy.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Official End of my Childhood

I'm not sure how to feel about this.  Actually, yes, I am:  Very, very uncomfortable....

Sunday, September 25, 2016

podcast recommendation: Imaginary Worlds

After you finish listening to podcasts featuring members of our book club, you should check out Imaginary Worlds. Thoughtful, entertaining, and concise, and they cover a ton of the things we often find ourselves talking about. Here are some of my favorites:

#15 – Politics of Thrones has poli sci profs Seth probably knows, applying their skills to Westeros.

#22 – Fixing the Hobo Suit covers the design and philosophy of superhero costumes.

#30 – Han Shot Solo is about what you think it is, AND is part 4 of a 5-part series on the cultural legacy of Star Wars

#35 – Imagining Wonder Woman tells the most interesting parts of the story in the Jill Lepore book, in much less time and more clearly.

#36 – Why They Fight talks about the surprisingly broad relevance of D&D character alignments.

Listen. You owe it to yourself.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Suggested holiday gift

Non-expert on non-topic

My brother Harris, who's a physician in California, has started a podcast in which he interviews people he knows about random things having to do with medicine. In this episode, he interviews me about medical procedures used in movies that don't actually work in real life. For example, using heat or fire to cauterize an open wound (see "Rambo III," "Star Trek: Beyond," "The Revenant," any light saber film, etc.), which is usually presented as stopping bleeding and infection, but would most likely just lead to more pain and death.

As I'm neither a doctor nor a filmmaker, I have no expertise here at all, but we had a good time with it, and I do reference Station Eleven.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Why You May Love Marvel Movies, but Not Remember the Music

A really interesting article and video here, which details why Marvel movies have almost no distinctive music, and gets into some fascinating stuff about the use of "Temp Tracks."  That said, I like the theme to the Avengers.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Unrealistic Expectations

They manifest themselves in many different ways, no doubt, but this may be a triumph of the genre. Though this runs a close second and, perhaps importantly, has all the indicia of being a serious offer (i.e., there's contact info).

Sunday, August 21, 2016

End of the world news

I finished Station Eleven yesterday, and will go ahead and reveal that I thought it was great. Some interesting echoes from our past reading list. I may not be able to make the next book club, though, because I'll have a hard time exiting my fortified basement and making my way past the water jugs and bags of rice to get to the front door, and then I won't want to tear through the caulk, duct tape, and plastic wrap to go outside.

Just to freak myself out further (and maybe to get a better grip on some of the related science issues) I've started David Quammen's Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic. It's about as frightening as you probably imagine. But Quammen's a fantastic writer, and I'm looking forward to finishing it. In case I haven't mentioned it eight or nine times already, he wrote one of my favorite books ever: The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinction. The history and future of evolution, extinction, islands, and more. Read it if you haven't. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

I Can't Stand it, I Know you Planned it

Well, this is everything.

Nightmare on Ulm Street

I checked my spammy email account (a holdover from 1997 when Yahoo actually meant something), and saw the email in the screenshot below. I caught a whiff of our last book in there. I mean, I didn't even know I had a "home page" beyond the Google search box that appears when I open Chrome.  Perhaps I'll start getting emails from myself. 

Friday, August 12, 2016


I did a little further reading in Wikipedia, and it turns out I got a few things wrong in my hasty summary of this fantastic story. So go, watch the video, read the article, and then you'll understand my new Risk war cry. (And maybe why Andrew likes to get chicken.)

(Image from this story, which is also fun.)

And if you want to dive deep, there's this 2007 Westword piece.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

On mental health

Per last night's conversation concerning Donald Trump's mental health, and more distant conversations concerning the decline of Harper's as a readable magazine, here is an article in Harper's about The Donald (and his mental health):

Don the Realtor

It's written by none other than Martin Amis who, while some may dislike him, I kind of enjoy in his ascerbititude. (I made that up.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Ferris Lines

I haven't gotten too far into this week's book, and I can't necessarily say whether I like it or not (and why), but Mr. Ferris can certainly turn a phrase at times. Recording these here for my own future reference:

"If you hate the Yankees so much," Connie asked me, "why did you move to New York?"
"To find out what kind of city could make a monster like a Yankees fan."

"Every time I read an email with a live emoticon, I'd feel the astringent sexual frustration ever threatening my workaday equipoise, and the temptation to yank off in the Thunderbox while staring down at the Ipad was broken only by the hygienic demands of a mouth professional."

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A couple of links

I was idly surfing the intertubes while eating my lunch, and stumbled across the New Republic's site (it's been a while since I've read the magazine). Turns out they had two articles on the front page concerning potential books and movies of interest to BBC. Thus, one decent review and one utter panning below:

China MiĆ©ville’s Surrealist World War II

Suicide Squad: Unleash Hell, Don’t Ask Questions

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Save the blog!

Read, comment, post. Or else it will come to this:

“And to think that we started as a book group.”

[From The New Yorker]

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Nerds from The Atlantic like Captain America too

Including Ta-Nahesi Coates, winner of the National Book Award and writer of the current Black Panther comic. There's nothing earth-shaking in the Atlantic's Picking Sides in Captain America: Civil War, but it's a fun panel discussion, and it makes me happy to know that a real-deal intellectual like TNC also thinks "it was a really, really good movie."

Worlds collide

What if Wes Anderson Directed X-Men? Not perfect, but it has moments of greatness. Well worth your time.

Monday, May 9, 2016

The dark side of men's book clubs

The New York Times profiled men's book clubs last week, and it sounds like they interviewed some real creepers.
Perhaps because participation in reading groups is perceived as a female activity, some all-male book clubs have an outsize need to proclaim the endeavor’s masculinity. In addition to going by the name the Man Book Club, for instance, Mr. McCullough’s group expresses its notion of manliness through the works it chooses to read. “We do not read so-called chick lit,” he said. “The main character cannot be a woman.”

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Osmond Star Wars Episode

Here's a way better, and way shorter, late-70s "Star Wars" spin-off, courtesy of Donny and Marie Osmond. Featuring Paul Lynde as Tarkin, Redd Foxx as Obi-Wan, and Kris Kristofferson as Han Solo, because why the hell not.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

D&D is for winners.

An NYT Retro Report on the early-80s shit-show around the Devil and D&D. It neglects* to mention that William Dear (P.I.!) is a grifter and a con-man, but whatever.

And then there's this, two year-old article from io9, "How We Won the War on Dungeons and Dragons". I liked it more, especially the picture of the dungeon module.

* It's possible the video goes into that; but I didn't watch the whole thing.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Well, that's more like it.

This is much more what I had in mind when I heard Star Wars was escaping Lucas's clutches.  Come for the cool trailer, stay for the beginnings of an interview with Mark Hamill, where he looks ready to kill.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Important news item

I can see why the folks at 9News had to post this NY police blotter item:

Worth kick-starting the blog after a month of silence, no?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Film Crit Hulk

Some caveats:
- this is a 2011 article
- in all caps, in the Drunk Hulk style of mock Hulk-talk
- that's pretty long
- and has some typos.

But if you can get past that, "HULK READ ANOTHER BOOK! WHY A DANCE WITH DRAGONS BOTH A VAST IMPROVEMENT AND YET UTTER PROOF THE BOOKS WILL NEVER BE GOOD AGAIN" is a really perceptive, and really really funny, take on the Song of Ice and Fire books.

(Also, he mentions The Wire at one point, so there you go, Andrew.)

"Flash Boys" gets off to a good start....

BBC catnip, that is.

Thursday, February 11, 2016


For the comic lovers among us, one of the bloggers at Lawyers, Guns & Money is doing a series he's titled "A People's History of the Marvel Universe." I have zero knowledge on this stuff, but I've enjoyed the three posts he's done so far:

Week 1 - Captain America lurvs FDR
Week 2 - Wolverine is a Canuck
Week 3 - Actually, Captain America lurvs Bernie Sanders

Also, he mentions a website called Graphic Policy. I've been exploring it a bit, and there's some very interesting stuff on there, including for example, some fairly heavy discussions of the Alias comic book series, which is the basis for the Jessica Jones series on Netflix.

The Vulgarian Genius

Oh man, Nathan Lane nailed it. Thanks to Andrew for directing me again to this brutal review of the third Star Wars prequel. Break me a fucking give, indeed.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Iz funny.

This is a most entertaining bit of Tolkien arcana* dressed up as a snark article.

*To me, at least.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Remember the 1980s?

The Simpsons can still bring it, at least for the couch gag.

Am I posting too much? Sorry. Much goodness on the internet today. And I plan to put a few comics-related links up, if my other pressing duties like watching Simpsons clips don't interfere too much.

Force Awakens rebuttal

You may have seen the original post that this epically angry rant is about. Even if you didn't, some of the same questions probably occurred to you. I think some of them survive the rejoinder, but on balance the force is stronger with the second guy.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Based on this recommendation, I would NOT recommend hiring these people

The Brilliance of Kylo Ren

The presentation of Kylo Ren as a whiny, insecure little shit is brilliant because, frankly, whiny insecure little shits are usually the people who actually do become evil in real life. 
Nerds want a Star Wars bad guy to be a stone-cold badass like Darth Vader because this lets them off the hook for self-examination, as nerds are absolutely nothing like Darth Vader.  Kylo Ren, however, is a nerd: he acts like one, he has the backstory of one, and when he takes his helmet off, he even looks like one.  Far from ruining the film, this actually makes it the most mature entry to date in the Star Wars canon, because it forces the greatest amount of self-examination on the part of its core audience.