Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Time waits for no man. Unless that man is Chuck Norris.

In case you hadn't seen this already:
Outer space exists because it's afraid to be on the same planet with Chuck Norris.

Much more here.

Monday, July 16, 2007


I am of more than one opinion regarding Serbian writer Milorad Pavic; his masterwork, Dictionary of the Khazars: A Lexicon Novel, was a chic bit of literary weirdness that came to the U.S. in the late Eighties to puzzled acclaim. It was a kind of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure with grander ambitions, a supposed cross-referenced dictonary of the Khazar people and their examination of the Three Monotheistic Religions, starting in the Middle Ages and running up to the present day, written in entries identified as Jewish, Christian, and Muslim. The book deserves praise, not just for its original format, but for its striking language. But it is so clever and original that it comes across as partly obnoxious, and the interviews with the man don't help.
Pavic obviously doesn't see the world as the rest of us do, and this could be a God-given blessing or a tiresome pose. His comes across as one of those European intellectuals lurking through a 1950s American film. You almost expect Gene Kelly or Rock Hudson to show up and put a stop to such yammerings as "The closer we get to something that we are afraid of, the closer we approach the best. Fear leads us to excess, real excess. This is where one can find the truth," which sounds like something you'd say to a liberal-arts co-ed to get into her capris.
But if it is a pose, Pavic has played the part with brio and consistency, refusing to drop the act even when his home nation descended into war. He also illustrates a point about poetry and myth: An author can get away with books written in fantastic language, containing otherworldly events, as long as he grounds it in the history of a little-understood ethnic group. Anyway, as odd as his prose gets, it's never uncomfortable or unreadable. Take a look at some stories he's put on the Web, and his latest book (I think that's what it is).

Monday, July 09, 2007


Another thing I hadn't heard of until just now: In the mid-80s, a group of kids in Mississippi filmed a shot-for-shot recreation of Raiders of the Lost Ark on video, and the result won the approval of Spielberg himself. The account of how these enterprising youngsters did it yields several alarming stories like the following:
[Director Eric] Zala nearly incinerated himself in a "very ill-advised stunt" as a Nepalese barroom brawler who catches on fire. "We naïvely doused my back with gasoline that day," he says. "I was wearing a fire-retardant raincoat under the costume, so I thought, 'Hey, we're playing it safe.' And so we roll the shot, I stand, they light me on fire, I scream, hit my mark, and then I yell, 'Cut! OK, blanket!' Two kids rush by with the smothering blankets prepared, put them on, pull them off—I'm still on fire, and now they're fanning the flames higher and my hair starts to get singed. The smell of burnt hair fills the room." Eventually, a fire extinguisher stopped any serious damage, but "our moms caught wind of what happened and for some reason had a problem with this. So they shut us down for the summer."

Trailer here. The BBC also did a piece on the movie when it played at a Brooklyn film festival in 2005.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


I missed this when it ran on the SciFi Channel last year--Garth Marenghi's Darkplace was horror master Marenghi's attempt to save television in the mid-80s with an exciting, insightful, and groundbreaking show. It proved too controversial, and the networks went with re-runs of Who's the Boss instead. Now the first six episodes are available on the Internet, and they are one of the most powerful programs I've seen in years. Episode 2 is my favorite so far, but the others are comparably astounding. Watch it if you dare, and consider yourself warned.

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