Disney's Chilling Thrlling Sounds of the Haunted House

"Call of Cthulhu"

"The Music of Eric Zahn"

"The Raven"

As read by Basil Rathbone.

More audio Poe here.


Tell Tale Heart



"No beer, no tv ..."

Mmmm yes.


Some Latin Prayers

Going old school Jesuit here:

Sign of the Cross:

In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen

The Lord's Prayer:

PATER NOSTER, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen.

The Hail Mary:

AVE MARIA, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

Glory Be:

GLORIA PATRI, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

The Silent City

Cool little sci-fi short, found originally through Warren Ellis:


Pardon Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash - Starkville City Jail

Well, I left my motel room, down at the Starkville Motel,
The town had gone to sleep and I was feelin' fairly well.
I strolled along the sidewalk 'neath the sweet magnolia trees;

I was whistlin', pickin' flowers, swayin' in the southern breeze.
I found myself surrounded; one policeman said: "That's him.
Come along, wild flower child. Don't you know that it's two a.m."

They're bound to get you.
'Cause they got a curfew.
And you go to the Starkville City jail.

Well, they threw me in the car and started driving into town;
I said: "What the hell did I do?" He said: "Shut up and sit down."

Well, they emptied out my pockets, took my pills and guitar picks.
I said: "Wait, my name is..." "Awe shut up." Well, I sure was in a fix.

The sergeant put me in a cell, then he went home for the night;
I said: "Come back here, you so and so; I ain't bein' treated right."

Well, they're bound to get you, cause they got a curfew,
And you go to the Starkville City Jail.

I started pacin' back and forth, and now and then I'd yell,
And kick my forty dollar shoes against the steel floor of my cell.
I'd walk awhile and kick awhile, and all night nobody came.

Then I sadly remembered that they didn't even take my name.
At 8 a.m. they let me out. I said: "Gimme them things of mine!"
They gave me a sneer and a guitar pick, and a yellow dandelion.

They're bound to get you, 'cause they got a curfew,
And you go to the Starkville City Jail.


Indigo Girls - Starkville Lyrics

If you were here in Starkville, the townie boys would love the way you stare.
If you were here in Starkville, the local girls , they wouldn't have a prayer.
I spent a reckless night inside the wonder of your everlasting charm,
now I'm haunted by geography, and the flora and the fauna of your heart.

At the dawning of some road worn day,
I called you on a whim just to say-
"The morning birds are singing",
but I could not do them justice, so I hung up and fell back to sleep.

I'm in love with my mobility, but sometimes this life can be a drag;
like when I noticed your nobility and how my leaving only held you back.
I remember one occasion- you were drinking,-when you asked me to the coast,
but I was hell bent on agony back then, so I missed the boat.

At the dawning of a road worn day,
I called you a whim just to say,
"My regrets become distractions when I can not do them justice",
then I hung up and fell back to sleep.

When I was down in Starkville, I was hiding out inside some Comfort Inn
from a local gang of troubadors, when the homecoming queen -she come riding in.
I slipped out of my room into the rain and I went running for my health.
The headlights turned to moonlight, and finally I was running by myself.

At the dawning of this road worn day,
I call you a whim just to say,
"The morning birds are singing".



Halo: Landfall

Probably the best piece of sci-fi action I have seen in awhile. This is what a Halo movie would have looked like.


Rotting Pumpkin

One Minute Scary Stories

The 4am:5


This is all I could think of though while looking at the Thunderbirds (I kept saying in my head: Thunderbirds are go!):

N'Awlins Air Show 2007, Part 2

We took Sippy to this this weekend. Great time. Saw the F-22 doing some cool flying. The Thunderbirds were great and having one go supersonic over your head is one of the greatest and most thrilling things in the world.

Only thing I could have wished for were some more planes on the ground for the kids to be able to crawl around in.

Makes no sense to me they are not continuing the show. Really, in a time when recruitment is down and the image of the military is not always the greatest, why would you cancel a surefire recruitment and great PR tool? The people there want to be there, and the kids there probably want to be around airplanes. There are your future mechanics and pilots and god knows what else.

Also, it is a chance for the troops to see they are truly appreciated by people from all walks. It is has got to be a nice morale booster to have kids in awe of you and adults telling you thank you for all you do.

Random fact, whose veracity I am not sure of, I read this weekend that more people attended air shows in 2006 than attended NASCAR and NFL events combined. I know this weekend the one here had almost 89,000 people and nearly 100,000 people attended the 2007 Wirefly X Prize Cup which is almost in the middle of nowhere New Mexico. The Red Bull Air Races attract crowds of over a million people in some locations over the days of the races.

So why not keep this going? People want to go. They want to be there. It is a true positive event.

N'Awlins Air Show 2007

From the Times-Picayune (keep all your archives online and then I don't have to archive the story myself):

N'Awlins Air Show attendance flies high
Posted by Paul Purpura, West Bank bureau October 28, 2007 7:57PM

STAFF PHOTO BY ELIOT KAMENITZ A pilot opens the weapons doors of his F-22 Raptor as it passes over the crowd.

Maybe it was the fact that this year's N'Awlins Air Show will be the last one in the near future that drove up attendance, officials said.

Or perhaps it was the high-profile slate of performers that included the Air Force's Thunderbirds and the first-ever appearance of an Air Force F-22A Raptor in the weekend's crystal-clear Louisiana skies.

A U.S. Navy F/A 18 Hornet flies wing to wing with a World War II era Hawker Sea Fury during a Heritage Flight.

But despite competition from three music festivals in the New Orleans area this weekend, and a televised Saints game on Sunday, 88,890 people flocked to the Naval Air Station-Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chasse over three days, nearly half of them turning out Sunday, air station officials said.

Sunday alone topped last year's total three-day attendance of about 30,000 people, a low number attributed to rainy weather and the lack of a big-name headline act.

"A crowd like this shows that air shows are still something people want to see," said Capt. Jay Adelmann, the air station's commanding officer. "Frankly, I was worried over last year's low turnout. If the folks around here want an air show, we want to give it to them."

Citing a tighter base operating budget that is tapped to pay for military acts, Adelmann said the air station will not host a N'Awlins Air Show in 2008, and it is unclear when another one will be held.

Regionally, the Navy is looking at holding four air shows annually in the southeastern United States, rotating them among the 10 Naval air stations in an area from Texas to Georgia.

But that's not to say the air station here won't be opening its doors to the public next year, when air station officials hope to have a community celebration to mark the base's 50th year in Belle Chasse. The Navy moved its air station to what then was Alvin Calendar Field in 1958, from where the University of New Orleans' lakefront campus now sits.

"It's gaining momentum," Adelmann said of the anniversary event, still in its planning stages. "We're trying to come up with something that will appeal to the entire community."

On Sunday, the Thunderbirds launched their six F-16 Falcons about the same time the Saints opened their game against the San Francisco 49ers. A cheer rose up just after the squadron's performance ended, when air show emcee Rob Ryder announced the Saints were ahead, 7-0.

Indeed, it was a Saints crowd, where people dressed in black and gold were as prevalent as those wearing military garb.

Some, like Sergio Araya and a group of his family and friends, planned their day around both the air show and the game.

"Came early, watch as much as we can, run home, grill some meat and watch as much as we can," said Araya, 32, of Algiers. "We came to support this, and then we will go to support the Saints."

This year's show had a mix of military and civilian aerial performers, although it offered fewer aircraft on display, compared with past events.

"I didn't want it to end," Adelmann said. "The crowd was engaged. Base personnel were excited. I thought every act was fantastic."

But missing were the Marine Corps Reserve UH-1 Huey and AH-1 Cobra helicopters, both usually displayed on the ground and involved in a simulated combat rescue performances, as Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 773, Detachment A, which provides the aircraft, is deployed to Iraq through next year.

Navy Reserve Cmdr. Chris Soler of Helicopter Mine Countermeasure Squadron 14 traveled from Norfolk, Va., to display one of his unit's MH-53 Sea Dragons.

Through much of Sunday, a line of 50 or more people snaked out from behind the mammoth helicopter, waiting to get a look inside at the cargo hold and flight deck.

The Marines, Army National Guard and Coast Guard have helicopters based in the area, but none like the Sea Dragon.

"We love it," Soler said of the public interest, between answering questions from people who wanted to know what kind of copter it is and what it's used for. "People don't get to see these."

Paul Purpura can be reached at ppurpura@timespicayune.com or (504) 826-3791.

L.A. CityBeat Article on Ricky Jay

Yes, some more info on the man, the myth, the legend:

Collector of Illusions

Ricky Jay is a master of cards and a historian of chicanery. His exhibition of ancient ‘broadsides’ is a window into the deceptions of another time


“Paul Cinquevalli was unquestionably the most famous juggler of his day. And on the first Royal Command Variety Show in 1912, he appeared before King George and Queen Mary on a bill with the most famous vaudeville artists in the world.

“This is an unusual broadside because of the distinctive type being placed on the diagonal instead of a more traditional format. It calls Paul Cinquevalli ‘The King of the Cannonball,’ and he did a number of stunts in which he caught cannonballs with his neck and balanced them in various poses.

“But perhaps he was more famous still for being called ‘The Human Billiard Table.’ In a tight-fitting costume, he had a number of pockets placed in specific pouches and he was able to roll balls across his neck and shoulders making them land in the pockets of his choice.

“He was so famous at this time that it was said that his name and fame as a juggler is a household world throughout the universe …”

Permitting himself a crooked smile, the barrel-chested, bearded gentleman standing on my right snaps his cell phone shut and, speaking in the same parched, professorial tone heard on the taped audio tour, says, “That’s pretty cool. That wasn’t working when I was here before.”

The two of us are standing in the Hammer Museum in Westwood, looking at the initial trio of more than 100 items that make up Extraordinary Exhibitions: Broadsides from the Collection of Ricky Jay, which runs through November 25.

Jarred from his momentary reverie, the gentleman extends a friendly paw. “Hi, I’m Ricky Jay.”

“Pleasure to meet you, sir,” I respond with a reciprocal hand. “I know you don’t do a lot of interviews, so thanks for taking the time to conduct a personal tour. It’s a great honor.”

His nose wrinkles slightly, eyes narrowing. “Aw, c’mon, man. It’s just a gig.”

“No! Well, yeah … But it’s always nice to combine business with pleasure.”

“Oh, well, I always try to do that myself.” He brightens. “So where do you want to start?”

How ’bout with some background? Born in Brooklyn in 1948, Ricky Jay is one of the world’s foremost sleight-of-hand artists, a child prodigy of sorts, who made his television debut at age five. He came to prominence in the ’70s, when he almost single-handedly revived the practice of card “scaling” (throwing ordinary playing cards at speeds of up to 90 mph over great distances, such as over the roof of Hollywood magicians’ club at the Magic Castle, or repeatedly firing them into the rind of a watermelon from 20 paces), which is when I first encountered him, performing the latter routine on some forgotten late-night talk show.

He divulged the “secret” methods behind this and other stunts in a “how-to” manual, entitled Cards As Weapons, first published by Darien Books in 1977. Long out-of-print, the book continues to be in such demand among aspiring prestidigitators that copies routinely sell on eBay for upwards of $225, which begs the question, how does he feel about this particular turn of events?

“I’m asked to reprint it fairly often, and I’ve turned it down.” Jay shrugs. “To me, it’s the work from another period. It’s the first book I wrote. It’s literally 30 years ago. I’m pleased that there’s so much interest in it. I’m actually going to see someone about it next week.”

Aside from his live performances – notably the 1996 OBIE Award-winning one-man show, Ricky Jay & His 52 Assistants, directed by his longtime friend and collaborator David Mamet – Jay has been a prolific writer, including defining the terms of the conjurer’s art for The Cambridge Guide to the American Theatre and the Encyclopedia Britannica.

The Hammer show reflects three of Jay’s more recent authorial efforts: Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women (Villard Books, 1986), a compendium of eccentric entertainers that stretches from stone eaters and armless dulcimer players to sapient animal acts and master wind-breaker Le Pétomane; Jay’s Journal of Anomalies (Farrar Strauss Giroux, 2001), a similar collection of essays on equally bizarre acts that was first published in 16 volumes of a fine-press journal between 1994 and 2000; and Extraordinary Exhibitions: The Wonderful Remains of an Enormous Head, the Whimsiphusicon & Death to the Savage Unitarians (Quantuck Lane Press, 2005). The last of which was published in conjunction with the initial exhibition of Jay’s broadsides at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts that same year.

“I started gathering vintage materials relating to not just magicians, but unusual entertainers of all types, when I was touring around America and Europe more than 30 years ago,” Jay explains. “Because when you’re on the road, working at night, there’s not a lot to do during the day. So I spent my time going to bookstores, antiquarian shops, printsellers, and libraries, researching these people and collecting these artifacts.”

For several years, Jay served as curator for the Mulholland Library of Conjuring and the Allied Arts, until the owner’s reversal of business fortunes resulted in the library being sold at auction for $2.2 million in 1990 to … David Copperfield, who deposited the contents behind his collection of lingerie in a Las Vegas warehouse.

Partially as a reaction to this loss – and presumably to feed his own collector’s habit – Jay now devotes a fair amount of his time to acting in, or serving as a technical consultant for, a variety of films and TV shows: Mamet’s House of Games, State and Main, Heist, Things Change, Homicide, and The Spanish Prisoner, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights and Magnolia, Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige, the James Bond flick Tomorrow Never Dies, and the first season of Deadwood, for openers. And it’s these character roles that’ve made his rather saturnine visage most recognizable to the general public.

Now, on with the show …

“One of the best things about doing a museum show such as this is that we’re able to expand on the book itself,” says Jay. “For example, let’s go over to the section on Mathew Buchinger. Here we have the broadside from 1726 that’s reproduced in the book, which calls him ‘the greatest living German’ and in the form of a poem details his act, which included magic, swordplay, doing trick shots in bowling, playing several musical instruments, and calligraphy. All the more remarkable when you consider, as you can see by the woodcut illustration, that he was born without legs or hands and was only 29 inches tall.

“And here we have a pair of his actual drawings. In the self-portrait on the right you’ll find seven psalms and the Lord’s Prayer inscribed within the curls of his hair, but you need a magnifying glass to read them.

“I’m a great admirer of ‘the Little Man of Nuremburg,’” Jay continues. “I know from another illustration that I have in my collection that he did the cups-and-balls routine. Now, when you do that, you generally use one hand for misdirection and the other to move the cups. But because Buchinger needed both of his appendages to move the cups, you have to wonder how he did it. So I studied it for three or four months, and I think I know. But we really can’t be sure ’cause there’s no photographic evidence …”

Measuring 10x13 inches, the lavishly illustrated Extraordinary Exhibitions book is devoted exclusively to broadsides printed between 1618 and 1898, which were created to promote specific performances – as opposed to posters, which touted the entertainers themselves – and were intended to be as disposable as the punk-rock flyers or Thai take-out menus of today. But there’s nothing like seeing the actual artifacts. Not just in terms of scale, but in the quality of the printing and their various states of preservation.

Plus, as Jay alluded earlier, the Hammer exhibition spotlights literally twice as much material as the book, adding everything from a children’s board game based upon a famous educated horse, to magician Alex Herrmann’s personal stationery (complete with a logo composed of cavorting red devils), to a doorway-sized lithograph heralding a celebrated female ceiling-walker that sports colors so rich you could eat them with a parfait spoon.

“It’s not just the art, it’s the language,” Jay enthuses. “Because most of these broadsides are almost exclusively text. I love the vocabulary they use. Like this warning not to approach the elephant with ‘papers of consequence’ as he has been known to destroy them. What are ‘papers of consequence’?

“And the hyperbole,” Jay continues. “As has been said, when it comes to show business publicity, there’s neither virtue nor advantage to be gained from being truthful.

“Here we have the name Miss Jenny Lund – one of the most famous singers of her time – in huge type, but underneath that in fine print we see ‘she will not appear but will be represented by Miss Woolford.’” Jay smirks.

“And then there are all these neologisms, such as ‘the Whimsiphusicon.’ What was that? Who knows? Probably just something the performer made up to convince people they’d be seeing something original.

“I suppose one of the benefits of being a professional versus an academic is that I’m more likely to be able to decipher from these fanciful descriptions just what that trick is and how original it was. Who stole and who didn’t and why they were able to get away with it. Of course, the skill is the selling. Like how people are invited to bring their own stones to the stone-eater. Not much different than me allowing people to bring their own deck of cards to my shows.”

So, metaphorically speaking, what’s more important in magic, the singer or the song?

“It’s both,” Jay retorts. “Absolutely. The material and the performance. I don’t think you get anybody who’s great, who divorces one from the other.”

One of Jay’s greatest strengths as an entertainer is how he brings the depth of his historical knowledge to the stage. Witnessing his performance of Ricky Jay & His 52 Assistants at the Geffen Playhouse last winter, I had no idea that the patter he used during his rendition of the classic four-aces trick – he did it as four queens – was quoted verbatim from The Expert at the Card Table, written by a professional card cheat under the pseudonym S.W. Erdnase in 1902 (and which has never gone out-of-print). To wit: “Ladies and gentlemen, I shall endeavor to illustrate, with the aid of this ordinary deck of cards, how futile are the efforts of plebeians to break into that select circle of society known as the Beau-monde, and especially how such entrée is prevented by the polite but frigid exclusiveness of its gentler members …”

Now that I know this, I think it’s even cooler that he did.

Along with all the magic and mystery and the improbable entertainers, the Hammer exhibition showcases a dazzling array of potential amusements under the rubrics of physical anomalies (conjoined twins, for example), the animal kingdom (trained, caged or dead), and museums and marvels (everything from a collection of criminals’ tools to fine-clockwork automatons and chicken incubators).

A careful examination of these broadsides provides a wealth of sociological insights. Some things never change: seats closer to the stage command higher prices (those who wish to “sit in the belly of a whale where 24 musicians performed a concert” pay double), many acts flaunt their aristocratic admirers, and many more offer private performances for a negotiated fee.

Several of these entertainers became so well-known that they could be used as reference points for then-contemporary satire. A 1787 exhibition of “The Monstrous Craws” (three individuals afflicted with large goiters) inspired a political cartoon by James Gillray that depicts the trio as King George III, Queen Charlotte, and the Prince of Wales, filling their enlarged throats with the gold of the royal treasury from a bowl marked “John Bull’s blood.”

These entertainments also were fairly affordable. Many of the 18th-century broadsides include the price of admission, often only one or two shillings. According to the contemporary writings of Samuel Johnson, that same single shilling could be used to purchase either a dinner of beefsteak, bread, and beer (plus tip) or a pound of soap. In 1760, a journeyman tailor would’ve earned two shillings, two pence per day; and two shillings would’ve been the weekly rent for a furnished room.

Considering the Hammer exhibition contains broadsides from such far-flung locations as Persia (now Iran) and Mexico City, it speaks volumes as to humans’ infinite capacity for wonder – and our desire to be deceived.

Seeing how such deception lies at the very heart of magic – and Jay’s personal interests extend into such related areas as confidence games, frauds, swindles, and all manner of cheating associated with games of chance – it’s worth noting that seven examples from his voluminous collection of vintage dice are on permanent display at the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City.

On the audiotape that accompanies this exhibit, Jay explains that dice, which have their origins in animal bones, began to be manufactured from cellulose nitrate (the first commercially successful synthetic plastic) in the late 1800s. While the substance remains stable for decades, it will suddenly and dramatically begin to decompose, as evidenced by the dice on display here and – thanks to Rosamond Purcell’s sumptuous color photographs – in Jay’s book Dice: Deception, Fate & Rotten Luck (Norton, 2003).

Perhaps far more noteworthy – especially for those who don’t mind an occasional wager – is that for all Ricky Jay’s formidable talents, he refuses to indulge in gambling.

“A lot of people assume that if you’re talented at sleight-of-hand, you’d be a good gambler or a good cheat,” Jay explains. “And that’s certainly not necessarily the case.”

’Cause you might end up like Fast Eddie Felson (Paul Newman’s character) in The Hustler?

Jay laughs dryly. “That is the best movie. I just love that. But the skill of playing well and the skill of hustling are very, very different. I am really intrigued by methods used to cheat. On Ricky Jay Plays Poker, I demonstrate various methods of cheating at poker.”

This combination CD/DVD package, issued by Octone/Legacy just last year, features 30 poker-related songs – all selections from Jay’s collection – from artists that span the sonic spectrum: Broadway, blues, country, jazz, soul, and techno.

He also wrote the liner notes and provided the accompanying 68-page booklet’s eye-popping artwork, such as the trio of images depicting groups of Chinese, then African-Americans, then dogs passing cards under the table to confederates with their feet (or paws). The custom deck of playing cards included shows a top-hatted Ricky Jay sitting at a tableful of swells, duplicating this feat.

The 30-minute DVD showcases some oJay’s most devilish handiwork – including how to cheat an honest man – as well as his genuine love of chicanery. It’s not enough to be able to deal yourself a winning hand; you have to convince the other player(s) there’s almost no chance of losing, too. And the sequence on proposition betting involving an egg, three cards, a rubber band, and a beer glass, is simply eye-popping, even in slow-motion.

The promotional video for Bob Dylan’s 2001 Love And Theft album, with Jay playin’ the rockin’ role of a crooked card dealer, rounds out the package.

In keeping with his cryptic nature – Jay never entirely explains how any of his tricks, or those of any other performer, are done – when asked if he’s currently carrying a deck of cards, he replies, “There’s a chance.”

As for future plans, he mentions “doing some research on knife throwing,” and acting in a pair of forthcoming films (David Mamet’s Redbelt and The Great Buck Howard with John Malkovich and Tom Hanks). In fact, he’s got to get to a post-production meeting now.

OK, so what’s his favorite magicians’ joke?

“I must say nobody’s ever asked me that before. And I don’t … I don’t really have an answer. It’s weird. I can’t … off the top of my head, think of one. I’m just glad you didn’t ask me, ‘Can you make my wife disappear?’”


X-Prize Cup 2007

From Wired Magazine:

"The whole NASA structure has become a jobs program, not a space exploration program," says Breed, 45, who runs a computer company and partnered with his 20-year-old son on his lander project.

For the past 50 years, space has been the sole purview of government-funded space programs like NASA and the mega-corporations it awards contracts to. But thanks in part to X Prize, a St. Louis-based nonprofit, the concept of entrepreneurial space exploration is exploding.

Many would-be space entrepreneurs will be present at the X Prize Cup, which runs Oct. 26 to 28 at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Organizers expect more than 60,000 attendees, up from last year's 25,000. The Lunar Lander competition will be the center of attention, but the show will also include robotics displays, hands-on spacecraft exhibits and fly-bys courtesy of the U.S. Air Force.

"It's a coming-out party" for indie space mavericks, says George Whitesides, director of the National Space Society, a space-advocacy group which isn't involved in the X Prize Cup.


Sharkwater Trailer

Heat - The Diner Scene - Michael Mann


The Insider - Michael Mann



The 4am:4


CHUD Interview with Ridley Scott (American Gangster)

Jeremy Smith interviews Ridley Scott. Damn I love their interviews. No fluff, just let's get to the marrow.



Mamet - The Spanish Prisoner

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Mamet - House of Games

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Some Mamet Today - Glengarry Glen Ross


David Simon in The New Yorker

David Simon is the creator of The Wire and also worked on Homicide. K-Ville should be trying to be The Wire combined with The Shield. That is the sad thing, the city of New Orleans should be a character in K-Ville instead of just a location.

Of course we were discussing this this morning, those that work on The Wire and The Shield clearly love the places the shows are set. But that love does not prevent them from hiding the truth about a city. That love also allows them to give an authentic view of their cities so people actually want to go there and see them despite watching horrific crime on the shows (I think it was John Waters who said in a conversation with the mayor of Baltimore that he knew more people coming to the city because of The Wire than wanting to stay away).

I really want K-Ville to be successful. But the show is just not headed that way despite the talent in front of the camera. This show should be bringing in writers who grew up here and know the genre. And there are plenty of those. They should also be looking to playwrites as well for help.

There are so many weird layers to this city. Unlike other cities where things can easily be divided among race, ethnicity, or income, here it is also about family, school, history, and class. Where else do you hear people ask, "Where did you go to school?" and what they want to know is what high school you went to not what college. How many cities have a pecking order at local restaurants based on who your family is regardless of income or stature?

Really, if I was doing K-Ville I would combine The Wire with The Shield and of course add in some Homicide. Those are what the template for a modern cop show/police procedural should be.

I want to see a show about the NOPD as well that confronts all the issues they must be going through. Having to interact with the National Guard. Heroic cops who did great things for the city in a horrible time who still are trying to overcome decades of corruption. Cops who have to deal with a DA that can't get it's shit together. Cops who have to deal with murders with no rhyme or reason.

I don't need running gun battles or idiot comments about hot sauce and Tabasco. Give me a show which can celebrate a city at the same time it shows an accurate reflection.



John Rogers Prod Days 4-5

Another update from Rogers. Makes me miss getting to set. I just realized this is the first show where I am trapped in the office. Another reminder that I need to make my own movie just for the thrill of being on set.



Ordeal by Golf by PG Wodehouse

Cards as Weapons by Ricky Jay

Architecture: Modernist Moscow


Warren Ellis' Short Story From Forbes


Piece on 3:10 to Yuma

Joe Carnahan on the WGA Strike

As stated above, Joe Carnahan's thoughts on what might happen with the looming strikes:

BARDEM/STRIKE/ETC. 10/15/2007 at 08:52 AM


Met with Javier yesterday to hammer out details and we both agreed
to a summer '08 start on KILLING PABLO. I'm preparing the film for
a June start while post for WJ is wrapping up. We have a fairly short
schedule on WJ (50 days) so I think it's possibe, providing the actors
don't strike...

...and I don't think that's going to happen. I think the WGA is going to go
out in another two weeks and it's gonna be so ugly and potentially
protracted that it's gong to scare off SAG and the DGA and they're going
to come to an agreement before the June 30th drop dead date. I really
think this is where it's headed.

I've talked to friends of mine, writers and directors and agents and everybody
has this bunker mentality...this strike is happening and people are going to be
destroyed overnight. Careers are going to be crushed and an industry torpedoed.
The respective parties as so far apart right now, the notion that in two weeks, there
will be this miraculous stick save and all will be resolved, is insane...

...and yet:

I really hope everybody gets their sh*t together and learns from their history.
The 1988 strike, which lasted six months and was a total loss for both sides, cost the
industry somewhere in the neighborhood of half a billion dollars and irrevocably
ruined people's personal and professional lives. Let's hope we can avoid something
that catastrophic. Let's hope the guilds and studios are listening and take heed before
embarking on something that can only end in disaster.



New Scott Pilgrim Site

Plumtree - Scott Pilgrim

The 4am:3


Saturday Morning Cartoons: Green

Inspired by both being bored at work and Ectomo, I made my own Saturday morning cartoon lineup. This week's theme is green. Enjoy:


Warren Ellis on the WGA Strike

Some interesting info on the possible WGA strike coming up (From Warren Ellis' Bad Signal 10.11.07):


bad signal

Something interesting to me turned
up in Variety this morning. The
Writers Guild of America West, the
union for film and tv writers, has
released its strike rules. They're
in the process of negotiating their
working conditions for the next few
years with the studios. Usually,
what happens is that the WGA relies
on the Screen Actors Guild or the
Directors Guild to make headway,
and then the SAG and/or DGA sells
them out. This time around, WGA
are playing what the Yanqui call

The strike rules declare that writers
may not write animation or "new
media" content. This is interesting
because WGA has no jurisdiction over
animation or new media. Further,
they state that any non-union
person found writing animation or
new media during the course of a
strike will be barred from ever
joining the Guild.

For me, this is a little like a guild of
chefs not only banning me from
cooking at home, but also barring
me from ever entering a restaurant
should I be found out.

Therefore, if the WGA struck
tomorrow, and the notes on the
last CASTLEVANIA polish came next
week, in no time at all I will have gone
from the guy who delivered food to
striking firemen to a scab. Funny
old world.

I understand the WGA's need to go
in hard, and there are serious issues
to be tackled. But criminalising me
for going about my business, that
the WGA has no say over...hell, I've
written two animated films
(MINDBRIDGE, unproduced, and
CASTLEVANIA, pre-production) and a
cable tv pilot and I don't even
qualify for membership in WGA.

Bad enough some git associated
with the SF Writers of America called
me and my friends scabs for
releasing work for free on the net.
Now I'm being called out as a scab
by a union who doesn't even cover
the work that I do.


-- W
from mobile device

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John Rogers on Production

John Rogers has been detailing the making of a pilot he is writing and producing. This has been pretty good stuff, and always fun to see from another angle:

Production Day 3
Pre Production Day 1
Pre Production Day 2

Pre Production Days 3-5

Pre Production Day 6-8

Pre Production Day 9-13

Prep Day 14-30

Production Days 1 & 2

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Teaching + Technology

Welcome to the new world. Hope you enjoy it and know how to take advantage of it.


Newhouse News Story on Sputnik

From this morning's Times-Picayune:

Beeping ball lights fire that launches U.S. to moon

Sputnik's ascent pushed Americans 50 years ago

Wednesday, October 03, 2007
By Kent Faulk

HUNTSVILLE, ALA. -- A simple radio broadcast from space 50 years ago this week changed the world and launched the United States on a path to the moon.

Beep . . . Beep . . . Beep.

The signal came from Sputnik, the world's first satellite. The 184-pound sphere, a little larger than a basketball with whiskerlike antennae, was launched into orbit Oct. 4, 1957, by what was then the Soviet Union.

As it circled the globe, ham radio operators listened. Americans living in a world of atomic fallout shelters searched the autumn sky for a glimpse of the communist-made "moon." Generals, politicians and scientists tried to figure out how to get the sputtering U.S. satellite program launched as newspapers reported on the Russian success.

Sputnik's launch did not come as a surprise to many of the scientists and engineers working at the Army's Ballistic Missile Agency at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala.

"I was very much impressed. However, my first reaction was, 'I told you so,' " Ernst Stuhlinger said.

Stuhlinger, 93, was among a core group of 118 German rocket scientists led by rocket pioneer Wernher von Braun. After World War II, the team came to the United States to use its expertise to build missiles for the Army, moving to Huntsville in 1950.

Stuhlinger said he had been telling the Army missile agency's general that the Soviets were about to launch, and he and others had been trying to convince those higher up in the agency that the United States could launch a satellite atop a modified Redstone missile.

Instead, the Army engineers were ordered to stay away from satellite launch development, and that work was assigned to the Navy and its Vanguard program.

Several reasons were given for the Army not getting the job. One was that President Eisenhower didn't want the same Army missiles that delivered warheads to be used in the space race.

"There's some speculation that, probably because there were Germans in charge of that project, they preferred to have a more American team building it," said University of Alabama in Huntsville history professor Andrew Dunar, who co-wrote "Power to Explore: A History of Marshall Space Flight Center 1960-1990."

Spurred into action

The day Sputnik was launched, incoming Secretary of Defense Neil McElroy was visiting Redstone Arsenal. During a dinner, the public affairs officer rushed into the room with the news. Von Braun told McElroy that, if given permission, the Army in Huntsville could get a rocket ready to launch a satellite in 60 days. Gen. John Medaris, head of the missile agency at the time, chimed in that they had better make that 90 days.

Five weeks after Sputnik's launch, the Army in Huntsville was given the go-ahead to prepare for a launch. Explorer I was launched atop a modified Redstone rocket -- called a Jupiter C missile -- on Jan. 31, 1958.

It was 89 days after the Army was given the go-ahead.

The satellite launched that day discovered the radiation belts around the Earth, called the Van Allen radiation belts after the satellite's inventor, James Van Allen, who worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

The night the American satellite was launched, residents flooded the streets of Huntsville to celebrate, including burning in effigy former U.S. Secretary of Defense Charlie Wilson, whom they blamed for not letting the Huntsville group launch the satellite sooner.

Vanguard, which had a number of failures on the launch pad, successfully flew a couple of months later.

After the Explorer I launch, Stuhlinger got a congratulations gift from Leonid Sednov, the chief scientist of the Soviet space program at the time. It was a small model of Sputnik with the October launch date on it.

During the next two years, Congress created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the German rocket team transferred to the new space agency's Marshall Space Flight Center to develop large rockets. The Saturn V developed by that center eventually sent 12 men to walk on the moon.

Earthly influences

In the space race created by that beeping hunk of metal, the lives of people such as Homer Hickam were transformed.

"Without the inspiration of Sputnik and the space race, I would have probably become an English teacher," said Hickam.

After seeing Sputnik cross the night sky when he was teenager, Hickam decided he wanted to be a rocket engineer and began launching model rockets with friends in his hometown of Coalwood, W.Va. The book he wrote on that experience, "Rocket Boys," was a New York Times best-seller and turned into the movie "October Sky." Eventually, he became an engineer with NASA in Huntsville.

Ralph Petroff said he might still be living in Canada if it hadn't been for Sputnik. Instead, he's a Huntsville entrepreneur and member of the local 50th Anniversary of America in Space Committee.

Petroff's father, Peter Petroff, tried to emigrate from Bulgaria to the United States after World War II, but he got only as far as Canada. Petroff said his father was told by U.S. immigration authorities that, with the waiting list at the time, it would be 2007 before he and his family could get into the country.

That changed after Sputnik. His father was an engineer, and the United States was scrambling to find technically trained people. His father got his green card about 18 months after Sputnik launched, Petroff said.

Peter Petroff worked for NASA at Cape Canaveral and later Huntsville during the 1960s. He left NASA but stayed in Huntsville, where he invented the first digital watch and first wireless heart monitor. Peter Petroff died in 2003.

Hunstville and beyond

Sputnik transformed Huntsville. It was a thriving town of about 46,000, driven mostly by Army missile work. But by 1970, the city had 136,000 people. Today it has more than 168,000 people and is home to the world's second-largest research park.

World history, not just Alabama's future, would have been different if the United States had been first to launch a satellite with its Vanguard program, said several who lived through the space race.

"I think there would have been no NASA and no landing on the moon," said Konrad Dannenberg, 94, a member of the German rocket team.

The Soviets' beating Americans in space embarrassed national leaders, who wanted to reclaim supremacy. The space race was on, and it didn't slow until Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon.

Otherwise, Petroff said, the United States might not have been pushed into a race to the moon until 2019, when China says it plans to send men to the moon.

The space program led to major technological advancements. Better computers and satellite radio are two examples.

The race to catch up with the Soviets in the several years after the first Sputnik launch also could have changed the course of politics, Petroff said. During the 1960 presidential campaign, Democrat John Kennedy used the gap between American and Soviet space technology as a major issue on his way to narrowly defeating Republican Richard Nixon. "If Vanguard had been launched (first), that wedge issue disappears," he said.

The Russians probably wouldn't have gone to the moon either, Petroff said. The Russian space program had disastrous launches of its large lift N-1 rockets that could have taken men to the moon during the 1960s, he said.

Hickam said he thinks von Braun would have spent the rest of his life building relatively small rockets for the Army.

"Redstone Arsenal would have remained a small Army post, and Huntsville would have had sluggish growth over the decades," he said.

. . . . . . .

Kent Faulk is a staff writer for the Birmingham (Ala.) News. He can be reached at kfaulk@bhamnews.com


End of A River Runs Through It



Best Book About Newspapering


Scott Pilrim 4 is finished

WOOHOO! Bring it on!

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The 4am: 1

Music from Warren Ellis. Even when I am not into it that much I enjoy it. This one I like. Nice for the end of a Monday.

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Good Editorial on Biblical Archeology

I just liked this piece:

The Boston Globe

Raiders of the faux ark

Biblical archeology is too important to leave to crackpots and ideologues. It's time to fight back.
By Eric H. Cline | September 30, 2007

NOAH'S ARK. The Ark of the Covenant. The Garden of Eden. Sodom and Gomorrah. The Exodus. The Lost Tomb of Jesus. All have been "found" in the last 10 years, including one within the past six months. The discoverers: a former SWAT team member; an investigator of ghosts, telepathy, and parapsychology; a filmmaker who calls himself "The Naked Archeologist"; and others, none of whom has any professional training in archeology.

We are living in a time of exciting discoveries in biblical archeology. We are also living in a time of widespread biblical fraud, dubious science, and crackpot theorizing. Some of the highest-profile discoveries of the past several years are shadowed by accusations of forgery, such as the James Ossuary, which may or may not be the burial box of Jesus' brother, as well as other supposed Bible-era findings such as the Jehoash Tablet and a small ivory pomegranate said to be from the time of Solomon. Every year "scientific" expeditions embark to look for Noah's Ark, raising untold amounts of money from gullible believers who eagerly listen to tales spun by sincere amateurs or rapacious con men; it is not always easy to tell the two apart.

The tools of modern archeology, from magnetometers to precise excavation methods, offer a growing opportunity to illuminate some of the intriguing mysteries surrounding the Bible, one of the foundations of western civilization. Yet the amateurs are taking in the public's money to support ventures that offer little chance of furthering the cause of knowledge. With their grand claims, and all the ensuing attention, they divert the public's attention from the scientific study of the Holy Land - and bring confusion, and even discredit, to biblical archeology.

Unfortunately, when fantastic claims are made, they largely go unchallenged by academics. There have been some obvious exceptions, such as the recent film "The Lost Tomb of Jesus," which inspired an outcry from scholars by claiming that archeologists had found, but not recognized, the tomb of Jesus more than 20 years ago. But much more common is a vast and echoing silence reminiscent of the early days of the debate over "intelligent design," when biologists were reluctant to respond to the neocreationist challenge. Archeologists, too, are often reluctant to be seen as challenging deeply held religious beliefs. And so the professionals are allowing a PR disaster to slowly unfold: yielding a field of tremendous importance to pseudoscientists, amateur enthusiasts, and irresponsible documentary filmmakers.

At a time when the world is increasingly divided by religion, both domestically and internationally, and when many people are biblically illiterate, legitimate inquiries into the common origins of religions have never been more important. I believe that the public deserves - and wants - better. We have an obligation to challenge the lies and the hype, to share the real data, so that the public discussion can be an informed one.

It is time we take back our field.

. . .

The first archeological endeavors in the Holy Land were conducted not by archeologists, but rather by theologians primarily interested in locating places mentioned in the Bible. Pride of place goes to the American minister Edward Robinson, who toured the Holy Land in 1838, accompanied by an American missionary named Eli Smith who was fluent in Arabic, in order to identify as many sites mentioned in the Bible as possible - in other words, to create a historical (and biblical) geography of Palestine. Others soon followed, including Sir Charles Warren, a British general who explored and recorded the features of Jerusalem in the 1860s. None of these men were archeologists, but they made important contributions to the field.

Throughout much of the 19th century, the field of biblical archeology was dominated by men said to have been working with a Bible in one hand and a trowel in the other. The field soon became more scientific, thanks to the efforts of men like Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, who introduced into archeology the dual concepts of stratigraphy (when two succeeding cities are built one on top of the other, the lower one will always be earlier in time) and pottery seriation (pottery types go in and out of style, just like today's clothes, and can be used to help date the stratigraphic levels observable at ancient sites).

By the time Dame Kathleen Kenyon was excavating in Jericho and Jerusalem during the mid-20th century, archeology was in the hands of professionals trained not just in proper excavation techniques, but in the scientific method, and with years of schooling in ancient languages, cultures, and history. They also mastered bodies of literature and theory and spent years practicing their craft and being subjected to peer review. Theological motivation became less important.

Today there are strict standards concerning excavations in every country in the Middle East. Permission to excavate must be obtained from the proper authorities, with presentation of a detailed research plan, good reasons given for the questions being examined, evidence of sufficient funding, and often a strategy for conservation of the site upon completion of the excavation. Peer review of any large funding proposals is obligatory. In short, it is a serious and highly competitive field.

As a result, however, we have seen a rise of two cultures - the scientists and the amateur enthusiasts. Lacking the proper training and credentials, the amateurs are sustained by vanity presses, television, and now the Internet.

For example, in 2006, Bob Cornuke, a former SWAT team member turned biblical investigator - and now president of the Bible Archaeology Search and Exploration (BASE) Institute in Colorado - led an expedition searching for Noah's Ark. Media reports breathlessly announced that Cornuke's team had discovered boat-shaped rocks at an altitude of 13,000 feet on Mount Suleiman in Iran's Elburz mountain range. Cornuke said the rocks look "uncannily like wood. . . .We have had [cut] thin sections of the rock made, and we can see [wood] cell structures."

But peer review would have quickly debunked these findings. Kevin Pickering, a geologist at University College London who specializes in sedimentary rocks, said, "The photos appear to show iron-stained sedimentary rocks, probably thin beds of silicified sandstones and shales, which were most likely laid down in a marine environment a long time ago."

Then there is Michael Sanders, who has made a habit of using NASA satellite photographs to search for biblical locations and objects. From 1998 to 2001, Sanders announced that he had not only located the lost cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, but also the Garden of Eden, the Ark of the Covenant, and the Tower of Babel.

Sanders describes himself on his website as a "Biblical Scholar of Archaeology, Egyptology and Assyriology," but according to the Los Angeles Times, he "concedes that he has no formal archeological training." Other newspaper accounts describe him as a "self-made scholar" who did research in parapsychology at Duke University.

And we must not forget documentary filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici. He bills himself as "The Naked Archeologist" in a television series on the History Channel, but has repeatedly stated during media interviews that he is an investigative journalist rather than an archeologist. Jacobovici is perhaps best known for "The Lost Tomb of Jesus," which first aired in March 2007 and which has been described by professor Jodi Magness of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as making "a sensationalistic claim without any scientific basis or support."

In short, the amateur arena is full of deeply flawed junk science. Important issues are cloaked in legitimate-sounding terminology, little attention is paid to the investigative process, and contrary evidence is ignored.

Biblical archeologists are suddenly finding themselves in a position similar to the evolutionary biologists fighting intelligent design - an entire parallel version of their field is being driven by religious belief, not research principles. The biologists' situation makes the risk clear - they did not deign to mount a public refutation of the "science" of intelligent design for years, until it was almost too late, and thus anti-evolutionary science began making its way into the public schools.

Why are we sitting the battle out?

Partly, this is a matter of a strain of snobbery that runs through many academic fields: a suspicion of colleagues who venture too far from "serious" topics or appear in the popular media too often.

Partly it is a matter of the uncertainty of the stories themselves: many biblical questions are so shrouded in uncertainty as to be inherently unsolvable. For example, even if the Garden of Eden once were a real place, and even if we knew the general location where it might have been, how would we know when we had found it? When most archeologists and biblical scholars hear that someone has (yet again) discovered Noah's Ark, they roll their eyes and get on with their business. This can leave the impression that the report might be true.

And partly it is because scientific findings may challenge religious dogma. Biblical scholarship is highly charged because the Bible is a religious book and any research carries the prospect of "proving" or "disproving" treasured beliefs. What if the Exodus might not have taken place as described in the Bible? Similarly, what will people do when told that there are identical stories to Noah and the Ark, but they were recorded between 500 and 1,000 years earlier sans Noah? And that the flood was sent because the people were too noisy and the Gods couldn't sleep, not because people were evil and sinning? Or when you tell them that "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" was a concept expressed in Hammurabi's Law Code nearly 1,000 years before the Bible?

This is where it can get daunting for academics, for it is at this point that the ideologues frequently weigh in. And these pundits are often sophisticated and convincing debaters, which can make them intimidating opponents for a scholar.

But we don't need to go looking for Noah's Ark to find confirmation of details found in the Bible. During the past century or so, archeologists have found the first mention of Israel outside the Bible, in an Egyptian inscription carved by the Pharaoh Merneptah in the year 1207 BC. They have found mentions of Israelite kings, including Omri, Ahab, and Jehu, in neo-Assyrian inscriptions from the early first millennium BC. And they have found, most recently, a mention of the House of David in an inscription from northern Israel dating to the ninth century BC. These are conclusive pieces of evidence that these people and places once existed and that at least parts of the Bible are historically accurate. Perhaps none of these is as attention-getting as finding Noah's Ark, but they serve to deepen our understanding of, and appreciation for, the Bible.

Religious archeologists and secular archeologists frequently work side by side in the Holy Land. Among the top ranks of researchers, there are evangelical Christians, orthodox Jews, and people of many denominations. It is not religious views that are the issue here; it is whether good science is being done. Biblical archeology is a field in which people of good will, and all religions, can join under the banner of the scientific process.

Most archeological organizations, including the American Schools of Oriental Research, the Archaeological Institute of America, and the Society for American Archaeology, state that it is one of the obligations of professional archeologists to make their findings and discoveries generally available. But we need to do more than simply publish research if we are to successfully counter junk science. We need to take our information to the public not only via writing but also via radio, television, film, and any other available media.

Remember that biblical mysteries are not just ancient history. For example, did Joshua really fight the Battle of Jericho and drive the Canaanites out of the land, as stated in the biblical account of the Israelite conquest of Canaan? If so, who was there first and to whom does the land really belong today? Does it matter? It does to many Palestinians, who exert a (dubious) claim as descendants of the Canaanites and Jebusites, and to many Israelis, who exert a similar claim based on their own understanding of their ancestors' history.

Remember, too, that archeologists who speak out can make a difference. "Disclaimer statements" have recently been posted on Bob Cornuke's Web pages concerning the Ark of the Covenant, Noah's Ark, and the location of Mount Sinai. Now, for instance, we find the statement that the BASE Institute "does not make the claim that we have found Noah's Ark. We'll let you draw your own conclusions. In our opinion, it's a candidate. The research continues."

Even when our own investigations come up empty - we can't solve all the mysteries in the Bible - we can present the current state of our evidence. And we can promote a shared methodology, and a shared body of facts, that can be used by everyone. The data and opinions that we provide may not end any debates, but they will introduce genuine archeological and historical data and considerations into the mix. We owe it to the ancient world, and to the people who inhabited it, to do no less.

Eric H. Cline is the author of "From Eden to Exile: Unraveling Mysteries of the Bible." He is chair of the department of classical and Semitic languages and literature at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He is also associate director (USA) of the ongoing excavations at Megiddo (biblical Armageddon) in Israel. He can be reached at ehcline@gwu.edu.
© Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.

Dune Lake, Walton County, Fl

There are three places in the world where you can find dune lakes: Western Africa, New Zealand, and Walton County, Florida. Here is a satellite view from Blue Sky Kayaks: