Through mansions of glory in suicide machines

My own tastes, politically, run toward the kamikaze model, though Andrew J. Patrick argues that this isn’t such a good idea, owing to the presence of what he calls the “mushy middle”:

The Kamikazes were a powerful weapon in the hands of the Japanese. They were scary. They sunk lots of ships. They affected the outcome of the war not one iota, because destroying the enemy does nothing unless you can force him back. If we were to somehow elect Ron Paul, Ron Paul would busily construct himself to demolishing every last addition to the federal bureaucracy since the Jackson Administration. And unless he had the American people on his side every step of the way, he’d be gone in a quatrain of years, and his Democratic successor would put everything back, and more, even faster.

Proposed (and mushily ambiguous) compromise: demolish everything back to the Johnson administration.

Comments (5)

Iffy culty

So there’s a book coming out called 100 Cult Films, and while some of the selections are at least somewhat arguable, hey, it’s an easy way to gin up a meme, right? I have boldfaced those I’ve actually seen:

    2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick, 1968
    Akira, Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988
    Angel of Vengeance, Abel Ferrara, 1981
    Bad Taste, Peter Jackson, 1987
    Baise-moi, Virginie Despentes, Coralie Trinh Thi, 2000
    Begotten, E. Elias Merhige, 1991
    Behind the Green Door, Artie Mitchell, Jim Mitchell, 1972
    La belle et la bête, Jean Cocteau, 1946
    Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Russ Meyer, 1970
    The Big Lebowski, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, 1998
    Blade Runner, Ridley Scott, 1982
    Blue Sunshine, Jeff Lieberman, 1978
    Brazil, Terry Gilliam, 1985
    Bride of Frankenstein, James Whale, 1935
    The Brood, David Cronenberg, 1979
    Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, Robert Wiene, 1920
    Café Flesh, Stephen Sayadian, 1982
    Cannibal Holocaust, Ruggero Deodato, 1979
    Casablanca, Michael Curtiz, 1942
    Un chien andalou, Luis Buñuel, Salvador Dalí, 1928
    Coffy, Jack Hill, 1973
    Daughters of Darkness, Harry Kümel, 1971
    Dawn of the Dead, George A. Romero, 1978
    Deadly Weapons, Doris Wishman, 1974
    Debbie Does Dallas, Jim Clark, 1978
    Deep Red, Dario Argento, 1975
    Dirty Dancing, Emile Ardolino, 1987
    Django, Sergio Corbucci, 1966
    Donnie Darko, Richard Kelly, 2001
    Don’t Torture a Duckling, Lucio Fulci, 1972
    Edward Scissorhands, Tim Burton, 1990
    Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals, Aristide Massaccesi, 1977
    Emmanuelle, Just Jaeckin, 1974
    Enter the Dragon, Robert Clouse, 1973
    Eraserhead, David Lynch, 1977
    The Evil Dead, Sam Raimi, 1981
    Fight Club, David Fincher, 1999
    Flaming Creatures, Jack Smith, 1963
    Freak Orlando, Ulrike Ottinger, 1981
    Freaks, Tod Browning, 1932
    Ginger Snaps, John Fawcett, 2000
    The Gods Must Be Crazy, Jamie Uys, 1981
    Godzilla, Ishirô Honda, 1954
    The Harder They Come, Perry Henzell, 1972
    Harold and Maude, Hal Ashby, 1971
    Häxan, Benjamin Christensen, 1922
    Hellraiser, Clive Barker, 1987
    The Holy Mountain, Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1973
    The House with the Laughing Windows, Pupi Avati, 1976
    I Walked with a Zombie, Jacques Tourneur, 1943
    Ichi the Killer, Takashi Miike, 2001
    In Bruges, Martin McDonagh, 2008
    Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Don Siegel, 1956
    Invocation of My Demon Brother, Kenneth Anger, 1969
    It’s a Wonderful Life, Frank Capra, 1946
    The Killer, John Woo, 1989
    Lady Terminator, H. Tjut Djalil, 1988
    The Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson, 2001-3 (2 of 3)
    Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, George Miller, 1981
    Man Bites Dog, Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel, Benoît Poelvoorde, 1992
    Manos, the Hands of Fate, Harold P. Warren, 1966
    The Masque of the Red Death, Roger Corman, 1964
    Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, 1975
    Near Dark, Kathryn Bigelow, 1987
    Nekromantik, Jörg Buttgereit, 1987
    Night of the Living Dead, George A. Romero, 1968
    Pink Flamingos, John Waters, 1972
    Piranha, Joe Dante, 1978
    Plan 9 from Outer Space, Edward D. Wood Jr, 1959
    Re-Animator, Stuart Gordon, 1985
    Reefer Madness, Louis Gasnier, 1936
    Repo Man, Alex Cox, 1984
    Ringu, Hideo Nakata, 1998
    The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Jim Sharman, 1975
    Rome Armed to the Teeth, Umberto Lenzi, 1976
    The Room, Tommy Wiseau, 2003
    Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1975
    She Killed in Ecstasy, Jesús Franco, 1971
    Showgirls, Paul Verhoeven, 1995
    Soul Vengeance, Jamaa Fanaka, 1975
    The Sound of Music, Robert Wise, 1965
    Star Wars, George Lucas, 1977-2005 (3 of 6)
    Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, Todd Haynes, 1988
    Suspiria, Dario Argento, 1977
    Tank Girl, Rachel Talalay, 1995
    Tetsuo, Shinya Tsukamoto, 1989
    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Tobe Hooper, 1974
    This Is Spinal Tap, Rob Reiner, 1984
    Thriller: A Cruel Picture, Bo Arne Vibenius, 1974
    Thundercrack!, Curt McDowell, 1975
    El Topo, Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1970
    The Toxic Avenger, Michael Herz, Lloyd Kaufman, 1984
    Two-Lane Blacktop, Monte Hellman, 1971
    Two Thousand Maniacs!, Herschell Gordon Lewis, 1964
    The Vanishing, George Sluizer, 1988
    Videodrome, David Cronenberg, 1983
    The Warriors, Walter Hill, 1979
    Witchfinder General, Michael Reeves, 1968
    Withnail & I, Bruce Robinson, 1987
    The Wizard of Oz, Victor Fleming, 1939

I admit to having once rented Café Flesh and then not actually watching it.

(Seen at Jennifer’s, though she says Peter started it, which is in fact true.)

Comments (10)

Gianni on the spot

They do things differently in Italy. Here, we’re having to repave roads to take care of the potholes that appear after snow, rain, sometimes even fog. Rome, however, has different priorities:

Mayor Gianni Alemanno has announced plans to begin a makeover on Via del Corso, one of Rome’s central streets. The plan is to smooth the sidewalks and roads to make walking along them less dangerous “especially for women in heels.”

While much of the street will be filled with new cobblestones, some of the high traffic areas used by public transportation will be covered in asphalt.

Mayor Alemanno stressed the importance of maintaining Rome’s history and personality by preserving the cobblestone streets. He explained that the new modern cobblestones would be set and sealed in a base of concrete to prevent irregular depressions.

Travel writer Annemarie Dooling (she runs Frill Seeker Diary) comments on Facebook: “I am very clearly missing the Italian gene that thinks this is okay.”

Comments off

Someone to see

Or maybe someone not to see: Felicity Jones has signed to play Nelly Ternan, secret mistress to Charles Dickens, in Ralph Fiennes’ adaptation of Claire Tomalin’s Ternan biography, The Invisible Woman, due out in 2013.

Jones, twenty-eight, isn’t exactly known for period pieces, but here she is doing Shakespeare:

Felicity Jones in The Tempest

Specifically, she’s playing Miranda in Julie Taymor’s slightly revisionist take on The Tempest (2010). (How slightly? Well, Miranda’s book-drowning magician parent is played by Helen Mirren.)

Claire Tomalin, incidentally, has a new biography of Charles Dickens on the shelves.

Comments off

Even in his youth

The cover of Mad #513, on sale Real Soon Now:

Cover of Mad 513

Bonus points if you can explain the title.

(The is the Mad blog.)

Comments (6)

Spent watt?

Em contemplates the cost of electricity:

There’s an interesting poll on Slashdot that asks what people are paying for their electricity per kWh (kilowatt hour). There seems to be a wide latitude of energy prices across North America and that contrasts starkly with the sort of cartel-a-like prices we seem to pay in the UK though it’s not an entirely accurate picture as many in North America are charged generation, transmission and distribution prices in addition to the given per kWh price (I assume that’s similar to the standing charge that many UK energy providers employ).

I was interested to see how common lower priced first tier pricing for the first x number of kWhs is rather than the insane reverse situation that occurs in the UK where the first x number of kWhs are often charged at a higher rate thus low consumption is penalised because that majority of a low energy use bill would be charged at the first tier higher rate. In the UK some are literally charged a premium for their frugality or energy efficiency.

No doubt she’d be perplexed by the rates I pay, which are lowish by North American standards, more so by British, but which change three times a year.

(Following is from the 2009 OG&E tariffs, which are current as of this writing.)

  • Customer charge: $13.00 (£8.30) per month.
  • Summer (June through September): $0.084 (£0.054) per kWh up to 1400 kWh; $0.0968 (£0.0622) thereafter.
  • Winter (November through April): $0.084 (£0.054) per kWh up to 600 kWh; $0.0471 (£0.030) thereafter.
  • May and October: $0.084 (£0.054) per kWh.

A chart I checked from the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change — quit laughing, dammit — says that in 2010, the average customer paid £366 ($569) for 3300 kWh, which is about 17 cents per kWh. From December ’10 through November ’11 I used a startling 9194 kWh, though half of that was rolled up in just three months, and it’s probably obvious which three months. Incidentally, almost all of this was at the 8.4-cent rate, plus taxes, franchise fee, and my bird-shredder subscription.

Comments (4)

May be used as a bloatation device

An anguished tweet that came down the line yesterday:

Why is it that every time there’s a new version of a software package, they add all kinds of extra crap that sludges up the functionality that people originally bought it for? If cars were like software, 2012 models would do laundry, cook bbq, and play the zither — badly.

Okay, technically that was two tweets, as you probably guessed from the length of it, but I’ll worry about that later. Right now I have to go ask the man at Nissan — the third man, probably — if there’s an OEM zither attachment for my car.

(Normally I credit these, but this is what you call a Protected Tweet, and I am disinclined to break the tweeter’s privacy, especially on some other platform.)

Comments (2)

There’s such a thing as too much planning

Or perhaps too much procrastinating. Can’t really tell with this one:

The regional court in the western city of Osnabrück said the defendant, identified only as 57-year-old Siegfried K., arrived at the bank branch … with a toy gun in May. He seized a female “hostage” in the lobby of the building to demand a €10,000 ($13,483) ransom from bank employees.

Under the general heading of “Well, there’s your problem”:

“This plan failed however due to the fact that the building has not held a bank for more than a decade but rather a physiotherapy practice,” the court said in a statement.

Bild [newspaper] said the bank had moved out 17 years ago.

And it’s probably just as well that Sieggy brought only the toy gun; had he a sword, he’d have broken it for sure.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

Comments (1)

It’s your nickel

If you own a share of Ford Motor Company stock, anyway:

Ford shareholders will receive a dividend of 5 cents a share next March 1, the first dividend the automaker has made in more than five years, the company said [Thursday].

It is the first dividend paid by any Detroit automaker on common stock since July 2008 when General Motors suspended its 25 cents dividend. The new GM did resume paying a 64.7-cents a share dividend last March on its Series B convertible preferred shares.

With about 4 billion shares outstanding, the dividend will cost Ford about $200 million per quarter.

Both S&P and Moody’s recently raised Ford’s credit rating: it’s still below “investment-grade,” but only a little. And Ford’s massive $26 billion mountain of debt at the end of 2008 has shrunk by half.

(Via Autoblog.)

Comments off

Hey kids, what day is it?

From Know Your Meme’s year-end roundup:

The Californian teenage girl Rebecca Black’s rise to national fame with her autotuned pop single “Friday” was a moment of realization for many aspiring singers and producers: you don’t necessarily have to be the best at what you do to be famous. Originally uploaded in early February, the video began receiving massive exposure on hubsites like YouTube, Twitter and Tumblr after coverage by The Daily What on March 11th, 2011. Within a week, the video gained over 10 million views and the digital single entered the top 100 on iTunes. Following a round of Black’s news media appearances, “Friday” was endorsed by several celebrities, including Nick Jonas, Justin Bieber, Stephen Colbert and Snoop Dogg.

Rebecca herself tends to credit Tosh.0 for the breakout, though TDW certainly was a factor, and the fact that TDW is under common ownership with Know Your Meme is purely a coincidence, right? (Nope. Chuck Testa.)

This, however, perplexes me:

Screen shot of tweet from a Miley Cyrus fan

Yeah. You remember J. Robert “Robby” Montana, don’t you?

RB responds:

I see tweets like this, and it makes me so frustrated. I really like Miley, so it’s frustrating that people would make up things like this to make someone look bad. Please don’t believe all of the rumors about anyone. 99.9% of the time it’s gossip, and is created to eliminate boredom and give people something to talk about.

If you hear a rumor about me, and you don’t see it come out of my mouth, see it written by me here on tumblr or on my twitter (@MsRebeccaBlack) it most likely isn’t true.

Incidentally, there was a story earlier in the year about how Miley had dissed Rebecca — but apparently that didn’t happen either.

Comments off

Venn in the course of human events

The busiest day this site has ever seen came from a swiped Venn diagram, so you should not be surprised that I am not at all averse to poaching another, this one from the estimable Steven Wildish:

Venn diagram by Steven Wildish

A significant fraction thereof can be legitimately considered Unexpected.

(Fished out of the Cheese Aisle and sent my way by Gradual Dazzle.)

Comments (5)

Quote of the week

In response to this incident, Tam goes for Bhumibol’s Out or Die:

Is this what we shot all those damned redcoats for? So some foreign king can charge an American citizen with lèse majesté?

Teddy Roosevelt would have landed marines already. That fascist Wilson would have sent Black Jack Pershing at the head of a column of cavalry. (Er, metaphorically, at least, since Thailand’s rather a swim, even for a cavalry horse.) Heck, even that yuppie farmer Tommy J would have had the U.S.S. Constitution delivering broadsides in the mouth of the Chao Praya by now.

I expect the present-day White House to issue an apology any minute now.

Comments off

Label corrections

Just a few of the Hairpin’s “More-Accurate Bath & Body Works Fragrance Names,” just in time for the holidays:

  • Pop Tarts for Dinner, Again
  • I’ve Been Listening to the Same Taylor Swift Song on Repeat Since Yesterday
  • All I’ve Eaten Today Are Six Almonds and Some Cheetos Dust
  • I Ran Out of Deodorant

What’s the antithesis of “tantalizing,” anyway?

(Swiped from Michele Catalano’s Facebook page.)

Comments (3)

More people who should die

I’m making a list, excerpting it twice.

Comments (7)

You gonna tell him he can’t?

Hello Kitty Visa card issued to a Chuck Norris

I didn’t think so.

(Via FAILBlog’s WIN!)

Comments (1)

Though not a majority

These days, the most popular car color is white; in North America, 20 percent of 2011 cars were painted white. Which probably explains this:

I remember my car, in general. That is, I know it is white, four-door, has a sun roof and a spoiler and a rubber antenna. I just don’t know what it looks like. So the other day I walked up to a car that looked pretty much like mine, clicked the unlock button, and it didn’t light up. I got in anyway and noted with pleasure that it was cleaner than I had remembered. Then I looked at the dashboard and discovered that it was a Toyota. I had gotten into the wrong car! I quickly exited. Why does everyone have white cars anyway? What’s up with that?

I have no idea. Then again, I have a white car — Aspen White Pearl, says Nissan — with a sun roof and a spoiler, but no rubber antenna.

Comments (10)