Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Blind Leading The Blind

The Blind Leading the Blind by Peter Bruegel the Elder

I had a stimulating conversation with a friend, which left me feeling energized and contemplative.

We talked about the world economy, war, the rise and fall of empires, the cyclical nature of civilization, climate change and corporate globalization. We also discussed how our leaders seem to be spending a lot of time arguing and running in circles, apparently waiting for problems to fix themselves.  "The world has gone mad," I exclaimed at one point.

My friend remembered a book he had read some time ago. He could not recall the author, who had proposed the following theory. That the evolution of consciousness, self-awareness and so-called sentience of our ancient ancestors had driven the human species into insanity. As evidence, my friend explained, the author had included several sections on human sacrifice committed by a number of civilizations in the past.

The Aztecs, in particular, believed that in order to appease the gods, such horrific and delusional acts could improve their circumstances and control their future.  Looking at current world events we seem less barbaric than those civilizations, but only because we have a veneer of perceived civility, long-range weapons and a history of justified wars (for the victorious) to cover it up.

Pause. Think.

Me: Basically, this author claims that the entire human species is and has always been rip-roaring mad?

Friend: Yes.

Me: I think, therefore I am...crazy?!?

Friend: Yep.

Me: You and I. Every human being. Is completely nuts?

Friend: You got it.

Somehow, I feel better already.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Favorite Movie Comedies

Tim over at Life of Riles posted his favorite comedies.

Thought I would share some of mine. They are somewhat eclectic, but thought that I would share some recommendations of movies that some may not have seen. Listed in no particular order:

Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, (Amelie), very dark humored, great cinematography and some of the most memorable scenes I have ever seen. If you decide to watch it, avoid the reviews, they reveal too much. Original, surreal, but did I mention it is a very dark comedy? You have been warned.

The Party
Peter Sellers classic

Rat Race (2001)
A slapstick romp with a great cast including Whoopie Goldberg, John Cleese, Rowan Atkinson, Seth Green, among others.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox
A gem of stop motion animation. Clever and delightful.

Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Comedy of errors with twists and turns and some phenomenally stupid criminals. Great script and dialogue.

There are obviously more, but these are among my favorites.
Which are yours?

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Week In Famous Movie Quotes

I love the smell of napalm in the morning.
I see dead people.

Houston, we have a problem.
You can't handle the truth.
Elementary, my dear Watson.

Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the War room.
Go ahead, make my day.
Are you talking to me?
Here's Johnny.

Make me an offer I can't refuse.
Do or do not, there is no trying.
I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.
The only winning strategy is not to play the game.

There's no place like home.
Open the pod bay doors, HAL.

I'll be back.

Birdie Num Num.

Just when I thought I was out...they pull me back in.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Victims Of The Consumption

"The Consumption Consumeth Us All"
(From the logs of Antares Cryptos ca. 2111)

I am a product of my time. A time when the consumption of goods promises an improved quality of life, happiness and the success that can only be achieved through the purchase of things, stuff, objects and gadgets.

Obviously, I am above all of this. I know that I am being marketed to at all times, that while some experience brand loyalty, my loyalty only relates to the quality of and need for a product. I have very high expectations of my electronic toys and gadgets, I want them to perform exactly as advertised. If I buy a piece of craplastic, I do not want to be dealing with software issues, incompatibility or replace it just because R&D has decided that technology is disposable and should not have a life-expectancy of more than 3 months.

I also need to be able to drop things. Repeatedly. They must still function, not break apart into components that even I cannot put back together. Where is the transformer technology that Michael Bay has promised?

My impenetrable anti-marketing castle was not built overnight. Forcefields of eastern philosophy were erected while living in a cave with a Buddhist monk. "Desire is the root of all evil," he taught me, right after I refused to share my last Goji berry with him.

I am onto the technological fruit corporations that spend more on marketing than putting quality on our shelves. Sleek design and imitation metal will not fool my discerning eye and neither do limited editions that evoke an air of fabricated exclusivity. Pretty on the outside, unimpressive within.

What is this? What am I being shown now? Targeted marketing?


Torpedo shaped dials inspired by the movement of orbiting satellites. Automatic winding powered by twin turbines. Materials made of titanium in Switzerland with Swiss precision. Slick and beautiful digital rendering. Who cares what time it is, when this watch comes with powerful sound effects and a soundtrack that reminds me of a movie about dreams.

The perfect watch for an artistic sci-fi geek. In RL this is not just a piece of metal that hugs your wrist, goes "tick tick" and keeps track of time. This watch will kick-start the lagging economy, enable me to fly and give me superpowers so that I can save the world. The titaniuminator of all watches. I must have it.

Inception complete.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Just Breathe

I remember the survivors of loss and tragedy.
I remember the courageous and the heroic.
I remember that hate breeds hate.
I remember that the actions of a few do not represent the thoughts of many.
I remember that we are one species, that humanity's childhood must come to an end if we are to survive on our pale blue dot.
I remember to just breathe.

Friday, September 9, 2011

So You Know You Can Dance: Bird Edition

Good evening, welcome to our first broadcast of "So You Know You Can Dance". The real life bird edition. Branches have been cleaned, feathers oiled and shined to iridescent perfection and the canopy has been cleared of monkey hecklers.

Our first dance contestants make their home in Papua New Guinea. Audience, please give a warm welcome to the dance crew: "The Rainforest Kilts".

Next up is the Wire-Tailed Manakin, tail shaker of the Amazon. Watch him spin 180 degrees at a time, without missing a beat. Give it up for "Little Man":

Last, but certainly not least is the Red-Capped Manakin bird (Pipra Mentalis) from Costa Rica. He is an expert in the difficult to master typewriter move. A round of applause for "MC Mental".

Millions of years of evolution have restricted voting to females only. In an unprecedented move we are opening the phone lines to any gender, including fish and other animals that are in-between or undecided.