Inhuman Swill : July 2004

CD mix of the month reunion

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Hey, could any of you German speakers out there give me a hand rendering this in German?

Dear Dad: I looked all over for this. I hope you enjoy it.
Babelfish gives me the following, but I doubt it's a perfect translation:
Lieber Vati: Ich schaute ganz rüber nach diesem. Ich hoffe, daß Sie ihn genießen.
Thanks for any assistance!
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I had a glimpse into an alternate universe today while waiting to cross Park Avenue. I looked over and saw a man who was the spitting image of Dick Cheney—sixtyish, balding, white-haired, very stout.


This guy was wearing tan loafers, blue jeans, and a short-sleeved linen shirt. He had pierced ears and was wearing thick steel hoops, and had an abstract turquoise tattoo on the back of his right hand. A nylon backpack was slung over his shoulder. He was walking with a male companion.

God. If only. If only Dick Cheney had gone the aging gay hippie route.

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At 10:15 pm tonight, over the protestations of my dog, I left the apartment and took a twenty-minute walk over to the Arabic stretch of Steinway Street where, thanks to Bloomberg's smoking ban, the men congregate with their hookahs on the sidewalk before the storefronts. I joined my friend Ali, the Egyptian chef, in front of his restaurant, where I met Manny the Indian-American computer programmer and Declan the Irish chef, and where we all enjoyed a glass of white wine. (Not the same glass.) Then Ali and I repaired to the Czechoslovakian social club where the delightful owner Daniela ("I'm not Czech, I'm not Slovak, I'm Czechoslovakian") served us after-hours pilsners and a sweet liqueur the name of which I couldn't tell you if you put a gun to my head. As we were discussing religion and politics and gender relations and smoking Cohibas, the Bangladeshi kid who manages the Kaufman-Astoria movie theater wandered in for a while. The African-American garbage man stuck his head in because the garbage wasn't out at the curb for his midnight pickup, so we all rushed to gather it up and carry it outside. And now I'm home again with the dog, and all is right with the world except for the fact that my French-American wife is in Texas with our Greek-Italian-American friend Stephanie.

Fucking Queens, baby. All the world should be like this.

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Robots out of control

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I hope this will be my last post in this tangled I, Robot thread, a skein that's getting more meta by the minute. SF writer John Scalzi posts a blog entry in response to my boycott here:

So you don't have to hunt through the comments to his post if you don't want to, I'll reproduce my response here:

There's never a shortage of loud, frantic summer action pictures to choose from, and I enjoy one that's reasonably well done as much as the next guy. A loud, frantic summer action picture, though, that's had the title of a book of subtle cerebral pleasure grafted onto it but none of the essence—that's a level of commercial cynicism and disrespect I can't support with my wallet.
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Robots and cinema

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At, you can listen to a story that ran yesterday on Weekend Edition Sunday about the controversy in SF circles over the film version of I, Robot:

It's actually an interesting story that gets most of the nuances right. I was startled early on to hear a familiar voice, which moments later was identified as Geoff Landis, award-winning SF writer, NASA Mars scientist, and Clarion pal of me and [info]bobhowe and [info]holyoutlaw. Also interviewed at length is Harlan Ellison, who in typical entertaining, exaggerated, and self-serving fashion helps report why his screenplay never made it to the screen.

Alex Proyas is interviewed as well, and proves one and for all that, for all that he made an intensely personal, atmospheric, and idiosyncratic SF film in Dark City, he's abandoned his artistry and is now a corporate tool.

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Expanding on my earlier post, and on comments I made in [info]pixelfish's journal, here's a meme for you:

Rather than seeing I, Robot: The Summer Lackluster Blockbuster, take the cost of the two movie tickets you might otherwise have purchased and get a copy of I, Robot: The Illustrated Screenplay by Harlan Ellison instead. Or, if you've never read it, go straight to the source. I guarantee you your time will be better spent.

Pass it on.

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Hawking changes his mind

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From AP, via Salon:

Stephen Hawking changes mind on black holes

He now says they do eventually release information about what fell in. Me, I don't have an opinion on the matter.

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I, video game target

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Some fun excerpts from former SF fanboy Roger Ebert's Sun-Times review of I, Robot:

Asimov's robot stories were often based on robots that got themselves hopelessly entangled in logical contradictions involving the laws. According to the invaluable Wikipedia encyclopedia on the Web, Harlan Ellison and Asimov collaborated in the 1970s on an "I, Robot" screenplay*, which, the good doctor said, would produce "the first really adult, complex, worthwhile science fiction movie ever made."

While that does not speak highly for "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968), it is certain that the screenplay for this film, by Jeff Vintar and Akiva Goldsman, is not adult, complex or worthwhile, although it is indeed science fiction. The director is Alex Proyas, whose great "Dark City" (1998) was also about a hero trying to make sense of the deceptive natures of the beings around him....

The plot I will not detail, except to note that you already know from the ads that the robots are up to no good, and [Will Smith] could write a lot of tickets for Three Laws violations....

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William Shunn

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

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