Wednesday, February 28, 2007

WaPo's new online feature: onBeing

onBeing -

onBeing is a project based on the simple notion that we should get to know one another a little better. What you’ll find here is a series of videos that takes you into the musings, passions, histories and quirks of all sorts of people. The essence of who they are, who we are.

Record amount paid for rare baseball card

Record amount paid for rare baseball card - Yahoo! News: "The 'Mona Lisa' of baseball cards has sold for a record $2.35 million."

If Ol' Honus only knew how popular he is these days.

Variety: 'Star Trek' film to launch Dec. '08 - 'Star Trek' film to launch Dec. '08: "Trekkers can look forward to a very merry Christmas in 2008.

Paramount announced Tuesday it will release J.J. Abrams' 'Star Trek XI' on Christmas Day next year, resurrecting the cult franchise after a six-year hiatus.

Newest installment, a prequel focusing on a young Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, is the first to be slotted for release on the holiday."

An atheist goes to church

New Book Reviews - Publishers Weekly:

I Sold My Soul on eBay: Viewing Faith through an Atheist's Eyes
Hemant Mehta.WaterBrook, $13.99 paper (224p)

"Mehta, an atheist, once held an unusual auction on eBay: the highest bidder could send Mehta to a church of his or her choice. The winner, who paid $504, asked Mehta to attend numerous churches, and this book comprises Mehta's responses to 15 worshipping communities, including such prominent megachurches as Houston's Second Baptist, Ted Haggard's New Life Church in Colorado Springs, and Willow Creek in suburban Chicago.(Mehta ranks Willow Creek as the church most likely to draw him back.) Mehta, who grew up Jain, offers some autobiographical context, then discusses nonreligious people's approach to topics such as death and suffering. But all that is just a preamble to Mehta's sketches of the churches he attended. He doesn't find much community in churches; families sit far apart from other families, and people race 'out the front doors to their cars' as soon as the service ends. Churches earn high marks for Mehta when they offer great speakers and focus on community outreach, but they also do many things wrong, including singing repetitive songs and alienating non-Christians by ubiquitously proclaiming them to be 'lost.' Mehta's musings will interest Christians who seek to proselytize others and who want to identify their evangelistic mistakes. (Apr. 17)"

Interesting that a solidly evangelical Christian publisher, WaterBrook, is publishing this book by an atheist.

NYT Op-Ed: Saving Radio in the Satellite Era

Saving Radio in the Satellite Era - OpEd by Eric Klinenberg in the New York Times: "RADIO is our most intimate medium — it wakes us in the morning, follows us into the shower, accompanies us during commutes and becomes a lifeline in emergencies. But radio is struggling to attract and retain an audience.

Today in Congress, the executives from XM and Sirius who propose merging into a $13 billion satellite monopoly will argue that consolidation offers the best hope for reviving radio. Traditional broadcasters also favor consolidation. In October, the National Association of Broadcasters asked the Federal Communications Commission to relax ownership limits in local markets, so companies could control yet more stations per town.

But does anyone believe that consolidation has been good for radio? During the past five years, I’ve traveled the country asking people to describe what has happened to their local stations, and not one has told me that radio is better than it was a decade ago. Listeners complained that their favorite local D.J.’s, talk show hosts and reporters have disappeared, replaced by syndicated shows, automated programs, predictable song cycles and endless commercials."

Calling the help desk!

This is a hoot... for anyone who has trouble keeping up with new technology

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

PW: Stan Lee Charms New York

Stan Lee Charms New York - 2/27/2007 - Publishers Weekly: "When Marvel editor in chief Joe Quesada introduced guest of honor Stan Lee at the New York Comic-Con on Friday, fans armed with flash cameras surged toward the stage. Who there wouldn't want a picture of Marvel's editor and principal writer in the 1960s, who cocreated Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, among many others? But the show organizers obviously hadn't anticipated the need for crowd control.

'They've left us alone! No security! With all these hostile people!' exclaimed Lee in mock panic. 'I'm scared!' The audience burst into laughter."

Evanier: Marx Bros. Mystery Footage

news from me:

Mark Evanier explains:
Here's a mysterious sixteen seconds of antique film. It's silent color footage shot on the set of the Marx Brothers movie, Animal Crackers, which as we all know was made in glorious black-and-white. Groucho, Chico, Harpo and Margaret Dumont are in it. I don't see Zeppo but then who ever noticed Zeppo? Harpo for some reason is out of costume — in a robe and without his wig. I have no idea why this was shot. I'm guessing it's home movie footage from a rehearsal, which is why Harpo didn't care how he was dressed in it. In any case, I can't recall seeing any other color film of the have a look. And look fast because it's short.

Hersh: U.S. Funds Being Secretly Funneled To Violent Al Qaeda-Linked Groups

Think Progress - New Yorker's Sy Hersh: U.S. Funds Being Secretly Funneled To Violent Al Qaeda-Linked Groups: "New Yorker columnist Sy Hersh says the “single most explosive” element of his latest article involves an effort by the Bush administration to stem the growth of Shiite influence in the Middle East (specifically the Iranian government and Hezbollah in Lebanon) by funding violent Sunni groups.

Hersh says the U.S. has been “pumping money, a great deal of money, without congressional authority, without any congressional oversight” for covert operations in the Middle East where it wants to “stop the Shiite spread or the Shiite influence.” Hersh says these funds have ended up in the hands of “three Sunni jihadist groups” who are “connected to al Qaeda” but “want to take on Hezbollah.”

Hersh summed up his scoop in stark terms: “We are simply in a situation where this president is really taking his notion of executive privilege to the absolute limit here, running covert operations, using money that was not authorized by Congress, supporting groups indirectly that are involved with the same people that did 9/11.”"

TP has the links and the video of Hersh on CNN. Will this be Bush's Iran/Contra? (h/t Americablog)

Monday, February 26, 2007

Behind the scenes at "Heroes" - Stan Lee and Hiro!

Book Announcement: Completely MAD Don Martin

Running Press to publish debut title of their MAD's GREATEST ARTISTS series, in conjunction with MAD Magazine: "Running Press Book Publishers, an imprint of the Perseus Books Group, has joined MAD Magazine in announcing the October 2007 publication of The Completely MAD Don Martin, the first title in Running Press's MAD's Greatest Artists series. Weighing in at seventeen pounds with more than 1,000 pages and a foreword by Gary Larson, this oversized tribute to one of MAD Magazine's most recognized and best-loved artists will be beautifully formatted as a deluxe two-volume slip-cased special edition and will include every single work Martin created for the magazine over the course of his 30-year affiliation." Creepy crawling to bigscreen - Creepy crawling to bigscreen: "The popular '70s comic properties Creepy and Eerie will be developed for television and film by Gotham-based Submarine Entertainment and Grand Canal Film Works.

Dan Braun, co-topper of Submarine with brother Josh, sees theatricals as a likely platform but wouldn't rule out a TV series or digital media. 'We're basically looking at this as a re-launching of the brand,' he said."

Gay rights debate deepens schism in Episcopal Church

The Raw Story | Video: Gay rights debate deepens schism in Episcopal Church: "Margaret Warner of PBS Newshour interviewed two leader of the Episcopal church with different viewpoints on support for gay rights in the Episcopal Church."

Raw has the video report.

Goodmagazine: Ira Glass adds TV to his repertoire

GOOD Magazine | Goodmagazine - Mr. Personality: "After March 22, when the TV version of This American Life premieres on Showtime, there may be one more. Glass insists that the new show will not be a corruption of the original. He will still host (he will continue the radio show, too), and he and his producers will keep telling the same sorts of stories they always have, just with images."

This American Life is one of my favorite radio programs (by podcast).

Goodmagazine: The 51 Best* Magazines Ever

GOOD Magazine - The 51 Best* Magazines Ever:
The 51 Best* Magazines Ever

*Smartest, Prettiest, Coolest, Funniest, Most Influential, Most Necessary, Most Important, Most Essential, etc.

Interesting list presented by Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter.

Meacham on Presidents and Faith

Meacham on Presidents and Faith - Newsweek Jon Meacham - "History can help us keep faith in the public square in perspective."

Jim Wallis in TIME: Is the religious right's era over?

The Religious Right's Era Is Over -- TIME: "As I have traveled around the country, one line in my speeches always draws cheers: 'The monologue of the Religious Right is over, and a new dialogue has now begun.' We have now entered the post-Religious Right era. Though religion has had a negative image in the last few decades, the years ahead may be shaped by a dynamic and more progressive faith that will make needed social change more possible."

AP Oscars Wrap-Up

My Way News - 'The Departed' Wins Best Picture: "In an evening when no one film dominated as the Oscars shared the love among a wide range of movies from around the world, three of the four acting front-runners won: best actress Helen Mirren as British monarch Elizabeth II in 'The Queen'; best actor Forest Whitaker as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in 'The Last King of Scotland'; and supporting actress Jennifer Hudson as a soul singer in 'Dreamgirls.'"

Marvel comic hero tops box office again

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Cage comic hero tops box office: "Comic book movie Ghost Rider has held on to top spot in the North American box office chart for a second week."

This is rather surprising. I may just have to go see it!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Jesus Family Tomb Found?

Discovery Channel News: Jesus Family Tomb Believed Found

If there is any basis of fact in the wild claims, we could be in for some interesting news:

New scientific evidence, including DNA analysis conducted at one of the world's foremost molecular genetics laboratories, as well as studies by leading scholars, suggests a 2,000-year-old Jerusalem tomb could have once held the remains of Jesus of Nazareth and his family.

The findings also suggest that Jesus and Mary Magdalene might have produced a son named Judah.

The DNA findings, alongside statistical conclusions made about the artifacts — originally excavated in 1980 — open a potentially significant chapter in Biblical archaeological history.

A documentary presenting the evidence, "The Lost Tomb of Jesus," will premiere on the Discovery Channel on March 4 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The documentary comes from executive producer James Cameron and director Simcha Jacobovici.

A taste of the Times this morning...

The Christian right is having a hard time getting satisfied with any of the GOP Presidential candidates...

The long, arduous road to recovery for injured veterans...

Justice Department's dismissals of prosecutors is starting to look really politically fishy...

What Senator Sam Nunn has been up to... and what he thinks about the war...

Editorial on the administration's failure to reign in Al Qaeda...

Saturday, February 24, 2007

AJC: Ed Hall on Marvel's King Dark Tower Comc

Graffiti: Games, gadgets and graphics: WORDS AND PICTURES | "As a teenager, I enjoyed 'Carrie' and 'The Stand,' among many other Stephen King novels. I came to find his short fiction flat, repetitive and less interesting than his longer work, however. My greatest disappointment came in the lone encounter I had with his character the Gunslinger in the story of that title.

Although I won't comment on 'The Gunslinger' with respect to Marvel's new 'Dark Tower' series (my memories of the story are decades old), I will say that the first issue of the comics adaptation made me want to read the next issue exactly as much as the original tale made me want to read its prose sequels: not at all.

My hope had been that reliable scribe Peter David and graceful illustrator Jae Lee —- whose pictures here are as lush as any he has done —- might give me something to admire in their version of King's pet project. To my dismay, the comic struck me as detrimentally similar to 'The Gunslinger': portentous, stiff and humorless. Fans of the 'Dark Tower' novels can find the original story's ramshackle mix of cowboys, wizards and archaic language ('Mayhap') in the comic, too, even though it's a prequel.

If that combination works for you, yippee ki-verily-yay."

Interesting, I had precisely the same reaction that Ed Hall here did. As beautiful as the book was, and as much care was clearly put into it, it left me feeling totally flat. And I never could get through the first King novel either. So I guess I'm not alone.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Charles Addams: A Cartoonist’s Life by Linda H. Davis - PopMatters Book Review

Charles Addams: A Cartoonist’s Life by Linda H. Davis - PopMatters Book Review: "Charles Addams’ cartoons are simultaneously macabre and funny, even in description. With his creation of the mysterious, spooky and altogether ooky family that came to bear his name, he found fame as one of the New Yorker’s most distinctive artists (and later as the imagination behind the 1960s sitcom that named the family as Morticia, Gomez, et al.).

It’s only natural we would be curious about someone who could make us laugh at what should be disturbing. His colleagues were regularly asked what he was really like, and there were stories that he was deranged. And Addams did do his best to appear as spooky and ooky as he could, collecting crossbows and mortuary equipment, painting his bathroom walls black, posing for a picture in a suit and a medieval knight’s helmet.

Now, for those who wish to know what he was really, really like, there is Linda H. Davis’ biography Charles Addams: A Cartoonist’s Life."

This is on my to-read pile.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Politics Short on Questions of Faith

Short on questions of faith - Paul Waldman in The Boston Globe: "Today, candidates for the White House feel compelled to do the opposite of what Kennedy did: convince voters not that their religion will be irrelevant, but that their faith will guide them each and every day.

Yet paradoxically, we've moved further and further from any substantive discussion of what it means to be led in office by religious faith.

Listen to candidates talk about religion and they seem to be following two rules:

1) Profess that nothing is more important to you than your religion.

2) Be as vague as possible about your religion."

World Press Photo of the Year 2006

World Press Photo of the Year 2006 - World Press Photo... and here's the comment of VeryShortList:

the recently announced winner of the World Press Photo of the Year award (from thousands of photographs submitted by photojournalists all over the planet) perfectly captures something precise about our times.

The picture, by American photographer Spencer Platt, is captioned “Young Lebanese drive through devastated neighborhood of South Beirut, 15 August.” The “Young Lebanese” happen to be a sports car full of women who have clearly devoted a lot of energy to trying to look sexy in a global-celebutard sort of way. It’s like they were hoping to be hounded by paparazzi, but ended up instead in a war photographer’s viewfinder.

There you have it: a single image that depicts the Age of Britney and the Age of Terror.

Erin Schulte: Dear Bible-Thumping, Fundamentalist Hypocrite

Dear Bible-Thumping, Fundamentalist Hypocrite - Erin Schulte on "So I'm sitting in the bar on Saturday night with friends drinking pints, and I get up to head home early--I've got something to do in the morning. 'Where are you off to? Hot date?' someone asks. 'I have to get up early for church.' And just like that, a nervous and confused silence spreads across the table."

AJC Radio Blog: Talkers Mag Top 100 Radio Talk Shows

Radio Talk Blog by Rodney Ho: "Talkers magazine, a trade publication, ranked the 100 “most important radio talk show hosts in America.”

The editor Michael Harrison has been compiling the list for several years and it’s fairly subjective. He writes that the goal is “to create a list reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor as well as giving credit where credit is due.” Factors include courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, ratings, recognition, revenue, service, talent and uniqueness. Most of those on the top of the list are syndicated and I am only referencing their local affiliate here in Atlanta below.

The top host is not surprisingly Rush Limbaugh, who has 20 million-plus listeners a week and has wielded more influence than virtually any other talk-show host this side of Howard Stern."

Read and weep.

AJC: Odds on Oscar's best pic are even

79TH ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS: No front-runner for best picture | "The Oscars are usually about the clear favorite, the classic showdown ('Saving Private Ryan' vs. 'Shakespeare in Love') or the expected third-place best picture nominee that leaps to the front ('Chariots of Fire').

Not this year.

The feeling among many, including some Oscar voters, is that this year's top award is a close, five-picture race....."

IPod’s Groovy Factor - NYT

IPod’s Groovy Factor - New York Times: "WHAT do flying plastic pigs, dancing daisies and robotic Barbie dolls have in common? An iPod.

With more than 90 million players sold worldwide since its introduction in 2001, the iPod has spawned a lucrative accessories industry. At least 3,000 types of iPod extras have received Apple’s blessing — mostly no-nonsense options like cases, earbuds and amplified speaker systems, including the $300 SoundDock line made by Bose.

But another trend is developing, one more playful and not always with Apple’s approval or knowledge."

Settlement Lets Apple Use ‘iPhone’

Settlement Lets Apple Use ‘iPhone’ - New York Times: "Apple and Cisco Systems have decided that a name is not worth fighting over.

On Wednesday, the companies settled their dispute over the iPhone trademark. Six weeks ago, Cisco filed a lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco over Apple’s planned use of the name for its much anticipated multimedia device, which combines the features of a mobile phone, an iPod and a BlackBerry.

Cisco claimed that it had owned the trademark since 2000 and was using it for a line of Internet-connected phones.

Wednesday night, in a short, ambiguously worded statement, the companies said they would dismiss all legal action against each other regarding the trademark and that Apple could use the name for its device, which it plans to start selling in June."

I want one!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Conan: Meet the Press for Idiots

davidthompson: Steve Ditko: the Paranormal Man

davidthompson: Steve Ditko: the Paranormal Man: "Steve Ditko is, along with Jack ‘King’ Kirby, one of the most important visual stylists in comic book art."

Interesting essay, illustrated.

TV Week: Bush's PBS cuts likely to hurt

TV Week: "A new Government Accountability Office study is lending some weight to warnings about the Bush administration's proposal to cut federal funding of public TV.

Unless Congress wants to allow stations to air program underwriting messages far closer to traditional ads-a step many public TV stations oppose-other revenue sources aren't likely to make up for government cuts, the report says."

Shales: Letterman and Shaffer feuding?

TVWeek Blog by Tom Shales - Calling Doc Severinsen: "Could it be that at long last, late-night king David Letterman is getting fed up with the zany inanities, forced cackled laughter and imbecilic interruptions of his long-time bandleader Paul Shaffer?"

Many Episcopalians Wary, Some Defiant After Ultimatum by Anglicans - New York Times

Many Episcopalians Wary, Some Defiant After Ultimatum by Anglicans - New York Times: "Now the conservatives who numerically dominate the global Anglican Communion have handed their Episcopal branch in the United States an ultimatum that requires the church to reel in the rainbow if it wants to remain a part of the Communion.

With a communique issued in Tanzania on Monday after a five-day meeting, the leaders of Anglican provinces around the world (known as primates) asked the United States branch to bar gay men and lesbians from becoming bishops, and to stop official blessings of same-sex unions. The communiqu�even specified a deadline: Sept. 30.

There is no certainty that Episcopal leaders will now comply. "

AJC's Alan Smithee on Oscar Hosts

79TH ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS: It's DeGeneres' turn to keep us awake | "Fortunately for us, some Oscar hosts are good enough to make the proceedings tolerable. And sometimes quite entertaining.

I have high hopes for Ellen DeGeneres. She's very amicable on her talk show and seems to make her audience comfortable and happy. And she's known to make people laugh even in the touchiest of times. She hosted the Emmys right after 9/11. The show was delayed twice over two months, but when it finally aired she stood her ground and said, 'What would bug the Taliban more than seeing a gay woman in a suit surrounded by Jews?'

Here's my own countdown of Oscar hosts past, starting with the bad and ending with the very best..."

Blair to Announce Iraq Withdrawal Plan

Blair to Announce Iraq Withdrawal Plan - AP via "Prime Minister Tony Blair will announce on Wednesday a new timetable for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq, with 1,500 to return home in several weeks, British media reported.

Blair will also tell the House of Commons during his regular weekly appearance before it that a total of about 3,000 British soldiers will have left southern Iraq by the end of 2007, if the security there is sufficient, the British Broadcasting Corp. and The Sun newspaper said, quoting government officials who weren't further identified."

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

datajunkie: Man From U.N.C.L.E. paperbacks

datajunkie: Man From U. N. C. L. E. paperbacks: Oh man, I had most of these!

Evanier on the new Fox News "Daily Show" rip-off

news from me - ARCHIVES: "The new 'Conservative version of The Daily Show,' The Half-Hour News Hour, debuted last night on Fox News to killer reviews and not just from Liberals, either. There are enough articles online telling you how lousy it was so I thought I'd focus on (a) why it was destined to stink, at least at first, and (b) why it might still be a big hit for Fox."

From this morning's NYT...

The New York Times on...

The XM-Sirius Satellite merger proposition--the regulations to overcome, the impact on consumers.

The Anglican Primates' rebuke of the Episcopal Church--and what could happen next.

An interesting behind-the-scenes picture of Cheney's tactics revealed at the Libby trial.

Editorial on the lowered moral standards for soldiers in Iraq.

'American Idol' as TV's schoolyard bully.

BBC: Gay ultimatum for Anglicans in US

BBC NEWS | Africa | Gay ultimatum for Anglicans in US: "Anglican leaders have issued an ultimatum to the US Church by demanding an end to the appointment of gay clergy and the blessing of same-sex couples.

US bishops have until 30 September to respond to the communique, issued after archbishops met in Tanzania.

The leaders also announced that the US Episcopal Church must allow members who oppose gay clergy to worship under a newly formed pastoral council."

BBC: New footage of JFK's last moments

BBC NEWS | Americas | New footage of JFK's last moments: "A previously unreleased film of President John F Kennedy's motorcade has revealed new details of the final moments before his assassination.

The silent film shows the president and his wife Jackie shortly before the fatal shot was fired.

Amateur photographer George Jefferies held onto the film for more than 40 years believing it was unimportant.

But Dallas museum curator Gary Mack says it is bound to provide new fuel to the conspiracy theorists."

Monday, February 19, 2007

Archbishop of Canterbury Appears to Chide Faction of Anglicans - New York Times

Archbishop of Canterbury Appears to Chide Faction of Anglicans - New York Times: "Facing a possible church fracture over the issue of homosexuality, the spiritual head of the Anglican Communion reminded bishops of the need for humility as church leaders gathered Sunday for services on the island of Zanzibar."

Mr. Fantastic plays William Wilberforce

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES - Cindy Pearlman - Whether a fan of comic books or British films, Gruffudd will abide: "Ioan Gruffudd. It's not exactly the name that comes to mind when you think of names to watch in 2007. Then again, the handsome Welsh actor is having a fantastic year by reprising his role as Mr. Fantastic -- Reed Richards -- in the upcoming summer flick 'Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.' (Plot secrets to follow.) First up, he plays crusader William Wilberforce in Michael Apted's 'Amazing Grace,' which opens Friday. In case you don't know that name, either, Wilberforce was a man in 18th century England who fought Parliament to end slavery."

I saw a preview of "Amazing Grace" before Christmas and it is well worth seeing. Fascinating story.

Ralph Winter Interview

Ralph Winter Interview - Infuze Magazine: "How can you not be a fan of Ralph Winter? He gets to make all the cool movies! Here he chats us up about the Fantastic Four, the Silver Surfer, the future of the X-Men, and gives us The Screwtape Letters scoop! And did somebody say 'Galactus'?"

Bob Oksner, RIP

news from Mark Evanier has the obit and some gorgeous samples.

Satellite radio's XM, Sirius to merge - Yahoo! News

Satellite radio's XM, Sirius to merge - Yahoo! News: "XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. and Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. have agreed to merge, the two companies said Monday.

The deal would consolidate the only two companies in the emerging business of subscription-only satellite radio, and is sure to face tough scrutiny from federal regulators. Investors and analysts have been speculating about a deal for months."

It's interesting, the FCC chair Kevin Martin not long ago said under current regulations, such a merger could not happen, but hinted that regs could change. We'll see. I have never subscribed to satellite radio, but I wonder if this will help it grow now... or stagnate?

Snow Patrol Video

Check it out... hat tip to Very Short List, which explains:

We like the Coldplay-ish Irish-Scottish band Snow Patrol well enough, and so do a lot of other people (their latest CD, Eyes Open, was the best-selling record in the U.K. last year, and it went platinum in the U.S.). But we love the music video for their latest single, “Open Your Eyes.”

It’s actually one half of the cult 1976 short film C’était un rendez-vous, in which the viewer’s P.O.V. is that of a driver racing through Paris at dawn, recklessly running red lights and generally cruising through the streets (sometimes the wrong way down one-ways) without ever once stopping — except at the very end. Legend has it that director Claude Lelouch (A Man and a Woman), who licensed the film to Snow Patrol, shot it in one take without getting a permit, and was arrested after its first screening.

Set to Snow Patrol’s pensive, anthemic music, it’s exhilarating, eerie, dreamlike.

XM, Sirius Merger Announced Today?

On ABC's Good Morning America's newscast this morning at 8:30, this story was reported as fact, saying the announcement is coming today. We'll see if they got that right. I Googled it just now and found the following story at Gizmodo (and also at Orbitcast)...dated January 11!

Rumormill: XM, Sirius Merger Announced Today? - Gizmodo: "Supposedly yes, according to the sources at theflyonthewall. An announcement of a merger between the two largest satellite radio companies, XM and Sirius, is expected to be announced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit later today."

UPDATE: Here's Orbitcast's version. Original source in NY Post.

Churches back plan to unite under Pope

Churches back plan to unite under Pope - UK Times Online: "Radical proposals to reunite Anglicans with the Roman Catholic Church under the leadership of the Pope are to be published this year, The Times has learnt.

The proposals have been agreed by senior bishops of both churches.

In a 42-page statement prepared by an international commission of both churches, Anglicans and Roman Catholics are urged to explore how they might reunite under the Pope."

This morning's maddening headlines

Al Quaeda's back and Osama's still in charge (NYT)

Military vet uninvited from Bush event because the press would see he has no legs (WaPo via AmericaBlog)

Bush plans to cut veterans' benefits (again) (AP via Kansas City Star)

Soldiers face neglect and frustration at Army's top medical facility (WaPo)

Fox News' Brit Hume attacks Murtha's sanity (Crooks & Liars)

Sci-fi 'Fly' morphs into opera

Sci-fi 'Fly' morphs into opera | "Academy Award-winning composer Howard Shore, Placido Domingo and director David Cronenberg are forming an unlikely trio to create an unlikely opera —- 'The Fly.'"

U.N. urged to take action on asteroid threat

U.N. urged to take action on asteroid threat - Reuters on Yahoo! News: "An asteroid may come uncomfortably close to Earth in 2036 and the United Nations should assume responsibility for a space mission to deflect it, a group of astronauts, engineers and scientists said on Saturday.

Astronomers are monitoring an asteroid named Apophis, which has a 1 in 45,000 chance of striking Earth on April 13, 2036."

Sounds like a movie pitch.

For New Line, an Identity Crisis - New York Times

For New Line, an Identity Crisis - New York Times: "In Hollywood and on Wall Street, some question the focus at New Line. After the success of “Lord of the Rings,” some had expected the studio to pursue a more ambitious agenda than the urban comedies and horror films of its past. That might have included pressing ahead with “The Hobbit,” from the “Rings” author J. R. R. Tolkien, to which New Line shares the rights.

Instead, Mr. Shaye has been trading insults with the “Rings” director Peter Jackson, while the studio has struggled to find a new breakout hit."

Sunday, February 18, 2007

NYT Mag: Narrowing the religion gap?

The Way We Live Now - Narrowing the Religion Gap? - Gary Rosen - New York Times: "ry a quick political thought experiment. First, form a mental picture of the Democratic front-runners for president — Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Now do the same for the leading Republican contenders — John McCain and Rudy Giuliani. Next (and this is the key step), imagine each of them in church, sitting in a pew, head bowed, or better still, at the pulpit, delivering a homily or leading the congregation in worship.

Strange, no? It’s not hard to envision Clinton and Obama among the faithful. She is a lifelong Methodist and self-described “praying person,” and he belongs to a church where some years ago he found himself (in his own words) “kneeling beneath that cross” in submission “to His will.” Both slip easily into the earnest, humble-of-the-earth mode of liberal God talk.

But McCain and Giuliani? You somehow imagine them fidgeting during the hymns and checking their watches. The senator is an Episcopalian, the former mayor a Catholic, but neither man, you have to think, would be caught dead in a Bible-study group or could possibly declare, �la George W. Bush, that his favorite philosopher is “Christ, because he changed my heart.” In the piety primary, the Democrats win hands down. "

Big opening for "Ghost Rider"

: "Ghost Rider gunned the Marvel / Sony marketing engine for No. 1 as the biggest Presidents Day Weekend opening ever by a big margin. It sped to a whopping $44.5 million for Fri-Sat-Sun and an expected $51 mil for the four-day holiday. (That beat previous record holder 50 First Dates, $45.1 mil for the four-day holiday). Ghost Rider is the biggest film opening so far in 2007."

Friday, February 16, 2007

Film to reunite Weaver, Cameron - Film to reunite Weaver, Cameron: "Sigourney Weaver is reuniting with helmer James Cameron for his upcoming epic pic 'Avatar,' being shot entirely in 3-D.

Lensing begins in April for a 2009 release from 20th Century Fox.

Weaver and Cameron last teamed on the cult classic 'Aliens.'"

A 'classic' love of literature |

A 'classic' love of literature | "My years as a very young reader fell squarely within the heyday of Classics Illustrated, a 160-plus-volume comic-book series that condensed and simplified great works of literature into 40 or 50 pages of cartoon frames. They might have horrified the original authors, but the little comics utterly absorbed me."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Fantagraphics to publish Pogo volumes

THE BEAT: "Fantagraphics Books is pleased to announce that it has acquired the rights to publish a comprehensive series comprising Walt Kelly’s classic POGO comic strip. The first volume of Fantagraphics’ POGO will appear in October, 2007, and the series will run approximately 12 volumes.

Each Pogo volume will be designed by Jeff Smith, the award-winning cartoonist and creator of the Bone graphic novel, and a lifelong admirer of Walt Kelly."

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Savage Critic on Spider-Man Reign--Didn't see THAT coming!

The Savage Critic(s): Well, I didn't see THAT death of Mary Jane coming. No pun intended: Graeme's review of the 2/7 books.: "And now it's time for this week's 'I seriously can't believe that Marvel did that' moment. I'm very surprised that I've not seen more online outrage about the reveal, this issue, of what killed Mary Jane... "

I'm not sorry I haven't bothered to pick up the very controversial Spider-Man: Reign miniseries...

datajunkie: Kirby's OMAC: An Overview

datajunkie: I have seen the future, and it doesn't work....: "OMAC! One Man Army Corps!

While many feel that The Fourth World saga was Jack Kirby's best work at DC (and in some ways it was), the 8 issues of OMAC crammed more topical future speculation between their covers than any other point in Jack's voluminous output. Don't get me wrong - I loved Kamandi, even the later issues, but these handful of books, especially the earlier ones, address issues and concepts that speak to us today, in a prophetic manner....(fade in creepy Bernard Herrman nusic)."

Check out his whole extensive post.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

World exclusive skydiver video... watch the incredible footage here! | the Mail on Sunday

World exclusive skydiver video... watch the incredible footage here! | the Mail on Sunday: "Shown here - and ONLY here - for the first time online is the amazing video from the helmet camera of British skydiver Michael Holmes.

It shows him plummeting 12,000ft to earth after both his parachutes failed, saying goodbye to the world... and hitting the ground with a sickening thud at 80mph.

Michael's friend, who jumped from the same plane, also filmed the whole event. He found his pal bleeding and unconscious - but alive."

Wallopin' Websnappers!

Wallopin' Websnappers A site celebrating the voice actors of the original 1967-70 Spider-Man cartoon series!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Loeb on Lee on Heroes

Comics Continuum by Rob Allstetter: Friday, February 9, 2007: "Jeph Loeb, co-executive producer on NBC's Heroes, told The Continuum that having Stan Lee appear on the show was 'one of the, nah, let's just say it was THE greatest experience I've had making movies and television.'

Loeb wrote the episode, 'Unexpected,' in which Lee appears. It is scheduled to air on Feb. 19."

Beatles Ready for Legal Downloading Soon - Beatles Ready for Legal Downloading Soon - Celebrity Gossip | Entertainment News | Arts And Entertainment: "The Beatles songs — all of them — will be offered for downloading soon. That’s what Neil Aspinall, the head of Apple Corps Ltd. and the man who’s protected the Beatles legacy for the last 40 years — told me over the weekend.

“All 13 core albums, the ones originally released on CD in 1987, have been remastered,' Aspinall told me. 'At some point they will all be released, probably at the same time.”

But the film “Let It Be” remains in DVD purgatory, Aspinall says. The reason? “The film was so controversial when it first came out. When we got halfway through restoring it, we looked at the outtakes and realized: this stuff is still controversial. It raised a lot of old issues.”"

Grammy Awards: Lots of 'em

THE 2007 GRAMMY AWARDS: COMMENTARY: The winner is --- well, there are 108 | Patrick Goldstein, LATimes, via "If you have kids of a certain age who play sports, then you know that no matter what the game, or how well they perform, everybody goes home with a trophy. We want our children to believe they're all winners.

Sort of like the Grammys.

In 1969, when the Rolling Stones released 'Let It Bleed,' there were 45 Grammy Awards (none, of course, for the Stones). In 1988, when Public Enemy put out 'It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back,' there were 76 Grammy Awards (none for Public Enemy). Today there are —- God help us —- 108 Grammy Awards, which were handed out last night in Los Angeles.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

AICN: Updates on the Iron Man movie

Quint visits the IRON MAN production offices -- Ain't It Cool News: "- The biggest and best news is that this film is one of three. That's right. [Jon] Favreau is building a three-film arc, with all the actors signed for all three of them. The impression I got was that he's going to make this first one fairly stand-alone, but containing threads that will be continued in future films, throwing in little hints at what's to come, some set-ups that will pay off later in the story. I don't know if screenwriters Hawk Ostby, Mark Fergus(CHILDREN OF MEN), Matt Hollowway and Arthur Marcum are scripting all three or just have a detailed outline for the next couple of movies, but I like that they're already thinking ahead.

-This three picture plan has been planned since the beginning and played a large role in casting... I don't know if it'll be in the first film (I'm guessing not), but Jim Rhodes as played by Terrence Howard WILL be War Machine and that was a key factor in casting Howard. In fact, Favreau said he loved hearing the speculation when Howard was first rumored, people already accepting him as Tony Stark. He's a great actor and a commanding one. He'll be able play through the armor."

There's more at the link.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Hollywood Reporter: Kav&Clay in turnaround?

The Hollywood Reporter: Risky Biz Blog: Paramount May Scrap Kavalier & Clay: "Word is, one of my favorite books, Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which Stephen Daldry was supposed to direct for Scott Rudin and Gail Berman, when she was still at Paramount, may be put into turnaround. Jeez. What are they thinking?"

Post from the Past

From, the website of Timothy McSweeney's Journal:

From: Peter M. Wallace, a.k.a. Walt Candela
Re: Blown cover
November 18, 1999

Dear friends at McSweeneys,

I apologize profusely for confusing you and your many faithful readers. The other day you ran my letter regarding your mention in US NEWS along with various comments about David Gergen, their editor at large. (How tall is he anyway?)

My email was marked "From: Walt Candela", whereas I signed it with my true name, Peter M. Wallace. This may have perplexed some folks, which was not my intent.

Allow me to explain.

Earlier this year, in email conversations with Michael Chabon (the novelist, author of MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH, WONDER BOYS, soon to be a major motion picture, and a couple of damn fine short story collections, as well as a new novel coming next year that is going to be incredibly good), he revealed his predilection for anagrammatic versions of his name. In fact, he uses a couple of names, created from letters M I C H A E L C H A B O and N, for various purposes--genre writing, Kaleidoscope schemes, and so forth. What else he does with these names, I honestly don't know.

What an interesting concept! I thought So I found an anagram site on the world wide web and typed in my own name, PETER MARSDEN WALLACE. Out of hundreds of word strings I spied a name: WALTER SEMPER CANDELA. Hmmm... Walt Candela. That has a real-life ring to it, I mused. So now what do I do with it?

I have been a member of an ongoing email list called The Off-Topic List. This list started when a bunch of us on another list, one dedicated to the life and work of the brilliant comic book artist and writer Jack Kirby, got into various discussions about religion. These were clearly "off-topic," which made us all feel guilty (several of us were lapsed Catholics). So one of our number started a separate mail list, called "Off-Topic," on which everything is, um, On Topic, and invited all who so wished to join in the fun. Naturally, we discuss everything amongst ourselves (nearly four dozen of us at last count), including philosophy, religion, comic books, music, politics, funny stories, bowel movements, psychotic episodes, oh and I almost forgot, sex. Not in that order.

Well, I thought it would be great fun to inflict my new secret identity, Walter S. Candela, on this fun-loving group. So, ol' Walt opened a Hotmail account and joined the list, and I made him up as I went along. Turns out he was a retired porn star with a prodigious member who had pulled himself out of the industry. Perhaps I should rephrase that but I won't. Walt got in numerous discussions about what it's like to star in porn films (of course I made it all up), what it's like to be independently wealthy as a result (he didn't blow it all on blow), his philosophy of life, and so forth.

Walt was roundly welcomed to the group discussion. As Peter Wallace, I often responded to Walt's emails and would ask him new questions. At least one member, however, smelled a rat from the get go, and never gave poor Walt a chance. He was merciless with his doubt. Walt felt badly that this member didn't believe in his existence.

After a couple of weeks of interaction (and this list is extremely active), I, Peter Wallace I mean, had to leave for a brief vacation. But what would Walt do? Clearly, he had to be absent as well, so I manufactured some lame excuse for Walt of having to work an extra job. But when I came back from my relaxing vacation, I realized I simply couldn't keep up the ruse. I try to be an authentic person, and I didn't like fooling my internet friends. So I came clean with them. Several of them expressed shock and dismay. The doubter had been right all along. Various issues regarding one's internet identity and trust were discussed at some length. And then we moved on to other issues regarding philosophy, religion, life, and sex.

So, while Walt left that mail list group, I still adopt the Walt Candela identity at times to post to various usenet groups in order to protect myself. But now, having forgotten to reset my "identity" in my browser, I have blown my cover for the whole world to see.

This whole experience has taught me several important life lessons, which I have subsequently forgotten.

Peter M. Wallace

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Evanier announces TWO Kirby books

news from me: "As many of you know, I've been working on a biography of Jack that might be described as 'authorized' and/or 'official.' I don't think of it either way. I'm thinking of it as Mark setting down every possible thing I've learned from or about Jack. Anyway, this book in its present state is huge. It makes the Encyclopedia Americana look like one of those take-out menus they hang on your doorknob...and it's still growing. I recently came across a trove of info about employees in the Simon and Kirby studio and I haven't even been able to begin sorting through that material and incorporating it into the book.

I finally decided that the endeavor was getting too large and taking too I'm turning it into two books. Jack is just too big a topic for one book."

Check out the details...

NYT on Lost and Heroes

Lost - Heroes - TV Watch - Column - New York Times: "“Lost,” on ABC tonight, is the most intriguing of all the series that traffic in the supernatural, mostly because it defies its own illogical reasoning. As the third season resumes after a three-month hiatus, nothing about the fate of the plane wreck survivors marooned on a paranormal island (or is it an archipelago?) makes much sense. But the real mystery of “Lost” is not the Dharma Initiative, the Others or why some characters are named after British philosophers (John Locke, Edmund Burke). It’s whether the writers actually have a cohesive story line that ties together all the unexplained subplots.

“Lost” is at heart a science-fiction thriller, while “Heroes” is more of a comic book, but both genres have a similar appeal: they provide an alternative society for those who don’t fit comfortably into their own. (That is to say, smart, socially awkward adults and all 12-year-old boys.)"

Hey, who's socially awkward?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Blake Bell links to Krazy Kat on YouTube.

Blake Bell's weblog about resetting the Mainstream in visual entertainment: Check out the links to some early Krazy Kat cartoons.

TIPC: Lost is back...

This is Pop Culture: "'Lost' is back on the air tomorrow night, finally, for a 16-episode run that takes the show to the end of its third season.

But do you remember what was going on before the show went its seemingly interminable hiatus? Neither do we! That's why you've gotta read through the This is Pop Culture! 'Lost' Season 3 Episode Guide to refresh yourself on all the happenings and clues."

Kovacs' closing credits video

news from Mark Evanier: "These are the end credits to one of the many TV programs of Ernie Kovacs. Only Ernie Kovacs could have end credits that ran three and a half minutes and were more entertaining than most shows.

When I was a kid, I loved that tune that Mr. Kovacs often used on his programs and wondered what who wrote it and what it was called. Turns out it's 'Rialto Ripples' by George Gershwin and Will Donaldson. If you'd like to hear it as it sounded in a player piano in 1916, allegedly played by Mr. Gershwin himself, you can do so over on this page."

Well, go to Mark's site and you'll see!

Jack Kirby died 13 years ago today...

Jack Kirby - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia has a nice overview of his life and career.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Comics Continuum: Stan Lee on Heroes!

Comics Continuum by Rob Allstetter: "Stan Lee will appear in an upcoming episode of NBC's Heroes.

According to two publicity photos released by NBC, Lee will play a bus driver in the 'Unexpected' episode scheduled to air on Monday, Feb. 19.

Lee appears with Masi Oka's Hiro Nakamura.

Lee has appeared in many of the Marvel films and has also had parts in such films as Kevin Smith's Mallrats.

Lee will appear in two Marvel movies this year: Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Spider-Man 3. In Fantastic Four, he plays himself in a humorous scene involving Reed and Sue's wedding. Lee has said his role in Spider-Man 3 will have him talking with Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker."

Wizard: Marvel's Captain Marvel to return?

Wizard Entertainment: "Not seen—at least not in corporeal form—since the 1982 graphic novel The Death of Captain Marvel, the original (well, sort of) Kree Captain Mar-Vell is back in the recently published Civil War: The Return, written by fan-favorite Paul Jenkins."

Wizard has a whole backgrounder on this character.

Roy Thomas' Marvel Vault - Preview

Roy Thomas' Marvel Vault - Preview From a poster on the Marvel Masterworks Bulletin Board: "I received my copy of Marvel Vault, as a contributor, and before posting some pictures and initial thoughts I checked with Roy Thomas that it would be okay to preview the book. He said ok so here you go, a few photos of what is a really lovely and in-depth 'museum in a book'.

There are chapters for each decade, a lot of illustrations showing people, covers, inside art, promotional material and in each section there is a plastic holder containing a facsimile of all sorts of goodies - from MMMS membership items to some sketch art from the forties. All the facsimiles can be taken out of the plastic sheet and opened up.

It's a fantastic book, which Roy and Peter Sanderson have put together. It's out later in the year."

This looks WAY cool. (Hat tip to "This Is Pop Culture" blog).

By the way, I picked up that cool Stan Lee/Roy Thomas Marvel book, which includes an audio feature with Stan telling stories, at Barnes & Noble this weekend for only $14.99! It's regularly $50, and I just saw it last week at Borders for the retail price.

Apple and Beatles settle trademark squabble

Apple and Beatles settle trademark squabble - Yahoo! News: "Apple Inc. has settled its long-running trademark dispute with The Beatles' company Apple Corps Ltd., in a deal which could pave the way for the band's songs to be played on Apple's iTunes music store."

Evanier: The Mystery of "Coronet Blue"

news from me Mark Evanier: "Back in 1967, there was a TV show on CBS called Coronet Blue. It starred Frank Converse as a man named Michael Alden. And who was Michael Alden? Well, Michael Alden was...uh...

Well, nobody knew. Not even Michael Alden knew."

I remember this series (I was 13 I guess). Mark has some interesting info and a You Tube snippet.

LITG: Marvel's Golden Age

Comic Book Resources- Rich Johnston's column has two great pieces of news in one short sentence! To wit: "From the Amazon solicitation of 'Essential Golden Age Marvel Comics,' 'Watch for one of the stars of J. Michael Straczynski's upcoming Golden Age project!'"

That's one Essentials I'll be picking up, and sounds like an interesting new project for JMS coming up as well.

Blake Bell on some great Letterman moments

Blake Bell's weblog about resetting the Maintsream in visual entertainment: "More reasons of why Dave defined his generation as a 180 degrees from the previous..." He's got the links.

Directors Guild win means good Oscar mojo for Scorsese |

Directors Guild win means good Oscar mojo for Scorsese | "Martin Scorsese won the top honor Saturday from the Directors Guild of America for his mob saga 'The Departed,' moving him a step closer to finally receiving Hollywood's biggest filmmaking prize at the Academy Awards."

The SILLY Season: After Super Sunday and before March Madness, there's February Sweeps |

The SILLY Season: After Super Sunday and before March Madness, there's February Sweeps | "this is the month on TV when guest stars show up in the unlikeliest places; the word 'special' takes on a whole new meaning (critically injured ABC anchorman Bob Woodruff finally returns to the airwaves), and weird story lines break out all over —- like hip-hop queen Mary J. Blige as a high school cheerleading coach on the saccharine-sweet 'Ghost Whisperer.'

The experts call it February Sweeps, the four-week period when the networks pull out all the stops to try to boost their ratings (and ad dollars). We call it the 'What the Heck Are Three 6 Mafia Doing on a Game Show?' silly season."

NYT: Cartoonish violence marks Super Bowl ads

Super Bowl Ads of Cartoonish Violence - Stuart Elliott in New York Times (I noticed this trend too): "More than a dozen spots celebrated violence in an exaggerated, cartoonlike vein that was intended to be humorous, but often came across as cruel or callous.

For instance, in a commercial for Bud Light beer, sold by Anheuser-Busch, one man beat the other at a game of rock, paper, scissors by throwing a rock at his opponent’s head.

In another Bud Light spot, face-slapping replaced fist-bumping as the cool way for people to show affection for one another. In a FedEx commercial, set on the moon, an astronaut was wiped out by a meteor. In a spot for Snickers candy, sold by Mars, two co-workers sought to prove their masculinity by tearing off patches of chest hair."

There's a lot of multimedia regarding the Super Bowl ads at the site.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Movies: Pan's Labyrinth and Children of Men

Today I saw "Pan's Labyrinth" because it had gotten such good reviews and the images I'd seen from it were so intriguing. I had read a little about it, but found that I wasn't prepared for it.

I assumed the "magical" parts of it were more uplifting or something, I don't know. The bulk of the movie is pretty brutal. I can't remember a movie that had me wincing more than this one. Some amazing images and effects, but it's pretty dark. I don't want to give anything away, but I think if I had known how it was ahead of time I might have appreciated it more. One guy down the row from me said, as the closing credits came up, "I need a stiff drink after that movie."

The other night I saw "Children of Men," which also was quite gritty and violent, but much more redeeming and affecting in an odd way. The futuristic spin of the film was quite interesting (man, will cars really get ugly in a few years or what!), but while the setting was a downer, it's a fascinating and hopeful film... sort of.

Marvel's JoeQ: Stark Tower in 3D Blogs - Cup of Blog by Joe Quesada: "The Tower was built by an amazing 3-D artist named Jason Christiansen, who managed to build in a few hours what would have taken me several days to do. The following is a little flyby of the building to give you guys a sense of what a fairly new landmark within the Marvel U. would look like in the round."

Cool! I just hope a hurricane doesn't hit the city and knock that top off... that could do some serious damage to somebody!

LATimes: On King's Comic

COMICS KING - Los Angeles Times: "STEPHEN KING's 'The Dark Tower,' a magnum opus about a haunted gunslinger on a quest for a mysterious spire, stretched out over 22 years, seven novels and a staggering 4,272 pages of eerie adventure.

But here's the really spooky thing: King fans want more.

Now they're about to get it, although this time around King is taking his readership to a new place that might scare some of them off. 'The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born,' the Marvel Comics series, launches next week, and more than 100 retailers nationwide are opening their stores for midnight release parties. Despite that intense interest, King knows he will have to persuade many of his longtime readers that comics are now more than juvenilia."

Friday, February 02, 2007

Coke's Super Bowl Ad has it, and it's great!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Wizard: The Stan & Jack Show

Wizard Entertainment - Jim McLauchlin on Kirby & Lee: "The two most important characters in the Marvel Universe are not creations of pen and paper, but rather of flesh and blood. Their names are Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Stan, the writer, poured the steel, while Jack, the artist, pounded the rivets that built the framework of the Marvel U over the course of their 10-year partnership. And their greatest architecture was a gleaming skyscraper of 108 stories—102 consecutive issues and six Annuals—called Fantastic Four. It was Lee and Kirby’s FF #1 that launched the Marvel Universe in 1961. Everything that Marvel Comics has become today has poured out of that structure; can be seen from that vantage point."

Blake Bell: Children of Men

Blake Bell's weblog about resetting the Mainstream in visual entertainment: "January saw the wide release of director Alfonso Cuaron's new movie, Children of Men. Clive Owen stars as a former activist who had given up the fight (after the death of his son) against an increasingly-state controlled, exclusionary government in Britain. The country has (by default) returned to imperial greatness following the collapse of the globe's other super powers. The collapse was brought on by a world-wide plague of infertility, the youngest human on Earth now eighteen years-old.

What struck me about the movie was its brilliant cinematography and production design. It's won countless awards for cinematography, and is nominated for 3 Oscars.

This is the movie that V for Vendetta could have been (should have) been. It's a shame that Alan Moore and David Lloyd's artistic vision for 'V' couldn't have been placed in the hands of Children of Men's Director of Photography Emmanuel Lubezki and Production Designer Jim Clay and Geoffrey Kirkland. Lloyd's vision of a dystopic Britain was that of a society literally crumbling at the seams. The environment was gray, cloudy, and dirty, as if the Earth was ready to swallow Britain whole."

I post this for two reasons: First, Blake has been in fan circles for years, notably with his work on Ditko and other comics greats, so I'm glad he's launched his own blog. Second, I saw Children of Men last night and thought it was quite affecting and effective. I thought Blake's take was interesting.

Takei is new "Hero" PULSE: Jennifer Contino reports:

Today, NBC hosted a press conference to discuss George Takei's new role on Heroes as the father of the time-bending Hiro Nakamura, Kaito Nakamura.

Takei, who most people know for his role as Mr. Sulu on the original Star Trek is no stranger to the Sci-Fi genre. His appearance on Heroes has been touted by many places online and offline for a few months. Masi Oka talked about his guest appearance in January, so it might not have come as a shock, when, in this past Monday's episode, the black van's doors opened, and, instead of the traditional "bad guy" Hiro and Ando were expecting, Takei's menacing father figure was there instead. It was easy to see with the disapproving look and way Mr. Nakamura tried to get Hiro and Ando return to Japan through intimidation, that he's not supportive of his son's superheroic ideals.

NYT: Cartoon Network marketing stunt blows up in their faces

Suspicious Devices in Boston Turn Out to Be Ad Campaign for Cartoon - New York Times: "oston temporarily closed parts of bridges, subway stations, an Interstate highway and even part of the Charles River on Wednesday after the authorities found what the police described as suspicious devices at nine places.

But the devices, which included circuit boards, turned out to be part of a marketing campaign by Turner Broadcasting to advertise a cartoon television show, “Aqua Teen Hunger Force.”"