quick hit: Popular Science

The main thing I seem to learn from pop-science tv shows is that physicists spend 15-20% of their time shooting pool.

Published in: on July 22, 2011 at 10:00 am  Leave a Comment  

“A change in direction, but an old gambit”

I suppose now is as good a time as any to opine on the connection between a certain Neil Gaiman comic book and certain book and movie about a boy wizard.  I, of course, refer to Gaiman’s Sandman and the T.H. White’s The Sword in the Stone.

In Sandman, Dream engages in a sort of wizard’s duel with the demon Choronzon.  It is one of the great moments in comics, so let’s take a look at it for a moment.

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To me, there are three really “wow” moments in there: “I shall be an anthrax,”  Dream’s relinquishing the offensive, and of course the final line.  I was reminded of two of these when nerd-stuff news-aggregator io9 posted their list of favorite wizard duels from movies.  In Disney’s Sword in the Stone movie Merlin uses Choronzon’s germ gambit.  He also more or less sticks to a defensive strategy.

And in the awesomely hammy final battle from Roger Corman’s The Raven (how do you make a movie of Poe’s most famous poem? simple, make it about dueling wizards) Vincent Price more or less only acts to render harmless Boris Karloff’s evil magic.

Actually, this all reminds me of Crowley’s theory of white magic from Moonchild, which of course takes some inspiration from Taoism.  An old gambit indeed.  Am I driving at a point here?  Well, I think its only natural to adopt ideas from one’s predecessors, its the little tweaks that are important.  “I am hope” seems to be all Gaiman, and it really is the lynchpin of the whole sequence.

If you were looking for a post about Harry Potter and Tim Hunter, there are plenty on other sites that a quick search will turn up, but Gaiman himself thinks the similarities come mostly from their mutual inspiration by T.H. White.

Also:  Look!  I figured out how to embed things!  Oooooh.

Published in: on July 15, 2011 at 1:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

quick hit: Don’t Stop Believing

It turns out I’ve just been listening to “Don’t Stop Believing” over and over again my entire life.  Which probably explains why I’m so sick of it.

Published in: on July 15, 2011 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Quick Hit: the State Department

I was recently in a post office, which brought me back to when I applied for my passport.  I wanted to pay the application fee on a credit card, but I was told that the U.S. State Department doesn’t take credit.  Which I think is rather ironic.

Published in: on July 3, 2011 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Great American Beer

Budweiser is running an ad campaign saying that this Fourth of July you should drink the Great American Beer (meaning Bud).  Budweiser is now owned by a Belgian company.  Coors is owned by Molson (in Canada), and Miller is owned by a South African company.  So if you want to drink some great American beer this weekend, show a little real patriotism and pick up something local.  It’ll taste better anyway.

Published in: on July 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm  Comments (1)  

How House of Leaves is Like Drugs

So I finished House of Leaves this past Sunday after reading it obsessively for about three days .  Since then I’ve been carrying a copy of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay with me wherever I go and I’m only about 150 pages in.  I really enjoy the book so far, but I just don’t seem to want to read that much since I finished House of Leaves.

Sometimes people who do potent drugs experience depression after coming down because they’ve used up too much of their body’s capacity to produce serotonin (at least I think that’s how it works).  I feel like House of Leaves used all the capacities I bring to bear to read a book to their full extent and the unfortunate result is that I’m kind of burned out on reading (and maybe writing).

I have a lot more to say about House of Leaves, but I think that will come in a later post, after I’ve recharged a bit.

Published in: on July 1, 2011 at 3:26 pm  Leave a Comment