Archive for April, 2010

Following up on this post, news came today that Southland has been renewed for a third season.

Gee, maybe there’s hope for something besides reality series, after all. 🙂

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Stephen Hawking is a certified genius and, when he says we shouldn’t want to talk to the space aliens, maybe we should listen:

One scene in his documentary for the Discovery Channel shows herds of two-legged herbivores browsing on an alien cliff-face where they are picked off by flying, yellow lizard-like predators. Another shows glowing fluorescent aquatic animals forming vast shoals in the oceans thought to underlie the thick ice coating Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter.

Such scenes are speculative, but Hawking uses them to lead on to a serious point: that a few life forms could be intelligent and pose a threat. Hawking believes that contact with such a species could be devastating for humanity.

He suggests that aliens might simply raid Earth for its resources and then move on: “We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach.”

He concludes that trying to make contact with alien races is “a little too risky”. He said: “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”

Stephen’s a bit older than I, so he was probably raised on movies such as The Thing From Another World and Earth vs. The Flying Saucers, just as I was. Or maybe a viewing of To Serve Man was all it took. Regardless, I’m glad to see he’s absorbed the subtle lessons contained in these documentaries disguised as science fiction….

Keep watching the skies! (Just be quiet while you’re doing it….) 😉

LINKS: Fausta is wary of aliens, too.

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The Wizard of Dogs

This is cute. 🙂

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Pointy, I am

I am an eight-sided die:

I am a d8

From the description:

You are a d8: You are the true adventurer! Dragons rescued, princesses slayed, and all that business while O Fortuna plays in the background. Your social calender is crammed with heroic deeds, and you’ve personally saved the world from ultimate destruction at least twice. You are reliable, perhaps a bit predictable, but overall a shining example of what happens when courage meets determination.

So true, so true. 🙂

Take the quiz at dicepool.com

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I’m not a great fan of baseball, though I do like the Minor Leagues, but I have to admit that this is one of the most entertaining sports moments I’ve seen in a long time:

Sign that man up for the gymnastics team, too!

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If you’re into roleplaying games, that is. Following a review at James Maliszewski’s Grognardia blog, I took a chance on the latest issue of Knockspell, a print and PDF quarterly journal from Black Blade Publishing for the “old school revival” or “retro-Dungeons and Dragons” segment of the hobby. From what I gather, BBP specifically focuses on supporting clones of first edition AD&D and the original three booklet D&D, such as OSRIC and Swords and Wizardry, respectively.

Anyway, I’ve so far read only the adventures in the issue, but I’m very impressed. I was particularly taken with Jeffrey Talanian’s Rats in the Walls, an homage to one of my favorite H.P. Lovecraft stories. Dark fantasy at its best, it succeeded in capturing the feel of Lovecrafts’ Dreamlands or Clark Ashton Smith’s Zul-Bha-Sair, or the more modern works of Tanith Lee and Michael Moorcock. In fact, the setting screams out to be part of Moorcock’s Million Spheres setting. If I were to run this, I’d most likely use Stormbringer or WFRP 1E rules, rather than a D&D retro-clone. That’s not a knock on those systems, just a reflection of my own tastes.

Knockspell is available as a $5 PDF or a $10 perfect-bound magazine. If you’re into retro-D&D games or looking for ideas for almost any fantasy system, give it a try. I bet you’ll like it.

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Once again, something weird, yet wonderful from Japanese television: a cosplay rendition of “We are the world:”

Though that Michael Jackson impersonator is a bit scary…. which makes it a successful impersonation, I guess. 😉

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I’ve heard of Animal Farm, but Animal Brothel?

A Whatcom County, Wash., man’s friendship and aggressive support for a man convicted in the infamous Enumclaw horse-sex case led to his arrest this week for allegedly operating a bestiality farm just south of the Canadian border, federal prosecutors said Friday.

Douglas Spink, 39, a one-time dot-com millionaire, convicted drug smuggler and horse trainer, was quietly living on a rural property just south of Sumas when he connected with James Tait, who was in a Tennessee jail on a bestiality charge. Tait had earlier been convicted of trespassing in 2005 in the Enumclaw case, in which a Gig Harbor man died after having sex with a horse.

The two men’s communications set in motion an investigation that resulted in Spink’s arrest Wednesday at the Sumas farm for suspicion of violating his federal probation for drug smuggling. Federal prosecutors and Whatcom County sheriff’s officials say Spink also allowed people to come to the farm and have sex with animals.

“They were promoting tourism of this nature for bestiality,” Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo said Friday.

That’s strange enough, I’ll grant, but I don’t even want to think of the implications of this paragraph:

On Wednesday, authorities took several animals, including horses and large-breed dogs, found on Spink’s property into protective custody, Elfo said. Several mice were euthanized, Elfo added.

Mice?? Never mind. Don’t tell me.


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Hire an evil clown to stalk them for their birthday.

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Goth kittens?

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I’ve never been a big TV watcher (being a hopeless biblioholic takes up a lot of time), but, since deciding it would be nice to be a TV writer when I finally grow up, I’ve been watching quite a bit in order to see what works, what doesn’t, and what would be good shows to do spec scripts for. Two I particularly recommend:

USA Network’s In Plain Sight follows the adventures of Marshall Mary Shannon (played by Mary McCormack), who works in the Witness Security Program (“WitSec”) in Albuquerque with her partner, Marshall Mann. In addition dealing with people she’s protecting from those who want them dead, she has to contend with her dysfunctional mother and sister, and a very patient boyfriend, none of whom know what she really does in the Marshall’s service. The show is a dramedy, with emphasis on the drama.

The show was “on the bubble” for renewal after its first season, but it’s now in its third and seems to have found a steady audience. This is good, because the writing, stories, and acting are all top notch. Highly recommended. The next is…

…Southland. This is a very gritty drama about the detectives and officers of the Los Angeles Police Department. Each episodes has multiple stories, usually 2-3, which sometimes, but not always, intersect. The writing and acting are both superb, and episodes sugarcoat little of what cops go through each day. Originally on NBC, it was canceled for weak ratings, which I can understand; I don’t think this is a show for a general network audience.  TNT picked it up for its second season. I hope it is renewed, for it’s a truly good, even compelling show. So far, however, word is that it’s on the bubble at TNT, too. Fingers crossed that it survives. Great TV like this should.

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No matter how many times I see this video, it never fails to make me laugh:


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Brave Halfling is a small, independent publisher of some very nice products geared toward the Retro-D&D or “old-school gaming” movement.

But, for some reason, I keep thinking of them as “Bad Halfling.”

I don’t know why. Their private lives are their business, not mine….

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