Archive for the ‘Books, Movies, Music’ Category
Great deal on a great film today only at Amazon. The Criterion Collection Blu-Ray of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic Seven Samurai is only $24.49.
This arrived in the mail today, though there appears to have been a mix-up with the mailing and Murdoc’s not sure if it was intended for him or not.
Publication Date: July 31, 2012
David Wessel, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning reporter, columnist, and bestselling author of In Fed We Trust, dissects a topic–the federal budget–that is fiercely debated today in the halls of Congress and the media, and yet is misunderstood by the American public.
In a sweeping narrative about the people and the politics behind the budget, Wessel looks at the 2011 fiscal year (which ended September 30) to see where all the money was actually spent, and why the budget process has grown wildly out of control. Through the eyes of key people–Jacob Lew, White House director of the Office of Management and Budget; Douglas Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office; Blackstone founder and former Commerce Secretary Pete Peterson; and more–Wessel gives readers an inside look at the making of our unsustainable budget.
Not sure about the political angle it’s coming from, but ‘Red Ink’ looks like a good read.
Okay, okay, I know I promised that the last post on Prussian Blue was going to be the final one, but that was 7 years ago so cut old Murdoc some slack.
For those who don’t remember, Prussian Blue are “white nationalist” twin teenage singers spreading their gospel via catchy pop tunes while wearing t-shirt with cute Hitler smiley faces. See Lynx and Lamb – sort of the Mary-Kate and Ashley of Doom. Or, at least, they WERE teenagers. They were 13 at the time, so they must be about 20 now.
And things have changed a bit.
They appear to have turned from fascist, anti-immigration hate-mongers into laid-back liberals celebrating the joys of ethnic diversity and spreading a message of peace and love.
After escaping the all-controlling clutches of their mother, April, and battling serious health problems, Lynx and Lamb, now 20, say they have swapped their Hitler youth for a happy hippy lifestyle.
And, like so many other pop star transformations, the Gaede twins appear to have been helped along their journey of “enlightenment” by smoking a lot of marijuana.
“My sister and I are pretty liberal now,” Lamb revealed in a recent US TV interview.
“Yeah,” chipped in Lynx, languidly flicking her long blonde hair.
At 15 Lynx was diagnosed with cancer and had a large tumour removed from her shoulder.
She also developed a rare condition called cyclic vomiting syndrome.
Lamb suffered from scoliosis of the spine and chronic back pain, which led to emotional problems.
After various drugs failed to help either of them they were both prescribed medical marijuana – and say it changed their lives.
It’s very clear that they were the cute little Nazi twins due to their upbringing and that, thankfully, they seem to have outgrown that a bit. But their mom says they’re just “going through a phase” and will return to their true beliefs at some point.
They plan to campaign for legalized pot in the US.
IN THE MAIL: X-Events: The Collapse of Everything by John Casti:
An acclaimed theorist offers a provocative and chilling warning: today’s advanced societies have grown overcomplex and highly vulnerable to extreme events that could topple civilization
The modern industrialized world is a complex system on a scale never before witnessed in the history of humankind. Technologically dependent, globally interconnected, it offers seemingly limitless conveniences, choices, and opportunities. Yet this same modern civilization may be as unstable as a house of cards, fear complexity scientists like John Casti. All it would take to “downsize” our way of life—to send us crashing back to the nineteenth century—is a nudge from what Casti calls an “X-event,” an unpredictable occurrence with extreme, even dire, consequences. When an X-event strikes—and scientists believe it will—finance, communication, defense, and travel will stop dead in their tracks. The flow of food, electricity, medicine, and clean water will be disrupted for months, if not years. What will you do?
A renowned systems theorist, Casti shows how our world has become impossibly complicated, relying on ever more advanced technology that is developing at an exponential rate. Yet it is a fact of mathematical life that higher and higher levels of complexity lead to systems that are increasingly fragile and susceptible to sudden, spectacular collapse. Fascinating and chilling, X-Events provides a provocative tour of the catastrophic outlier scenarios that could quickly send us crashing back to the preindustrial age: global financial “black swans”; a worldwide crash of the Internet that would halt all communication; the end of oil; nuclear winter; “nanoplagues”; robot uprisings; electromagnetic pulses; pandemic viruses; and more. You won’t ever look at the world the same way again.
This looks pretty good and I’m hoping to give it a read ASAP.
Meh. Very meh.
4 out of 10. And only gets 4 because it’s visually a 10.
Astoundingly shallow story-wise and character-wise. But seems about on par with other blockbuster-type action movies…which is why Murdoc only goes to a couple movies a year in the theater. The next five movies I’m on the fence about I’ll skip because of this disappointment.
And it’s not because I’m unhappy with it as a part of the ALIEN franchise. This is only tangentially connected, and someone who knows nothing about the ALIEN movies will not be missing anything at all. It borrows a couple of names and designs from the ALIEN films, and every bit it borrows could be changed to something completely different and it would not affect PROMETHEUS in the slightest.
As I said, it’s certainly something to see. But now that CGI has progressed so far, I am rarely impressed with anything on screen. And because they can do so much, they do SO MUCH. Great effects should not replace a competent story…great effects should allow good stories to be told to their fullest.
It all starts with the story. PROMETHEUS ain’t got it.
I haven’t seen BATTLESHIP or the latest TRANSFORMERS movie, but I expect that both of them are the dumbest action crap imaginable. I was expecting more from PROMETHEUS but was wrong. This was almost as bad as I imagine BATTLESHIP to be.
Waste of $10 and two hours. Will not go again. Will not see the sequel. Will not buy the Blu-Ray.
More on that Clint Eastwood Chrysler commercial last night which was so good that Murdoc refused to watch any more Super Bowl commercials.
At first Murdoc was “Wow! That’s Clint Eastwood!”
Then Murdoc was “Oh, my God…I think this is one of those Detroit Chrysler commercials.”
Looking online after the fact, Murdoc sees that there was a lot of talk about this beforehand. He wishes that he would have seen some of this so he would have been prepared.
But seeing Eastwood up there being a huckster for that crap was sure disheartening.
Murdoc doesn’t know why these “Detroit rocks” commercials drive him so nuts. But they do. I see firsthand a lot of what these celebrity spokesmen like Eastwood and Eminem are talking about, and the reality ain’t pretty.
(Aside: Who would would have ever thought we’d see “Eastwood and Eminem” in print?)
So, bringing in the city of Detroit as some city on the ‘comeback’ after being knocked down, and blah blah blah, was a bit disingenuous as it fails to mention they knocked themselves out. Detroit and the American car industry would not have made it to ‘half-time’ if it wasn’t for the Bail-Out ™. They were carried by the taxpayer to half-time, beaten and bruised by building inferior products, bloated management and union mismanagement and over-the-rainbow promises to it’s retiring workforce.
Exactly. Especially the “blah blah blah” part. (via Instapundit)
I know that Eastwood has long been a solid Conservative in an environment where being open about being such a thing is usually fatal. And I know that this is just a commercial. And, for what it’s worth, I DO hope Detroit and the American automakers get their crap together. But this commercial is a crock, and it’s disappointing to see Clint Eastwood starring in it.
Actually, it’s more “disheartening” to me than “disappointing.” A little of the shine just disappeared from so many of those movies and characters that I like so much and, to be honest, have been influential on me in many ways.
I hope I’m just over-reacting and feel better about it tomorrow.
Just saw it. It’s the first time I’ve paid any attention to it.
Oh dear Lord.
UPDATE: Speaking of commercials, Murdoc is sure disappointed in Eastwood for that Chrysler or Detroit or whatever commercial. No more commercials for Murdoc tonight.
Murdoc has been remiss in not mentioning this sooner:
The Veil War by Stephen Gustav
The Veil is a door between worlds, long closed. One day, it opens. Through the door come creatures half-forgotten, creatures of legend and myth. We feared them once – for a reason. They want blood, dominion, and power. And they have the power to take it.
One company of Marines is trapped in Iraq, pursued and hunted by the invaders. This is their story.
Murdoc’s not very far in, but it’s a good read so far. Nine chapters online already. And it looks like there are plans to keep it churning. This is a great example of web fiction. Free installments, Marines, and goblins. What’s not to love?
I know we’ve got a number of military SF readers here and this could be right up their alley.
There are also a number of options to subscribe or follow The Veil War on the About page.
Murdoc’s toyed with something like this in the past but never followed through. This has got him thinking again.
For those of you who have had some of your faith in humanity restored on this blessed day, I direct your attention to the STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL:
This appears to be the whole thing. Watch it if you dare.