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Originally published at Route 96. You can comment here or there.

“Did you know that 34 million American adults are obese? Putting together that excess blubber would fill the Grand Canyon two fifths of the way up.  That may not sound impressive, but keep in mind, it is a very big canyon.”
–Kent Brockman, “I’m OK, You’re Too Fat”

Fortified with another obscenely big truck stop breakfast, we made it to the south rim of the Grand Canyon around noon.

Wow, the Grand Canyon. It’s so… grand. And so… canyony. Judge for yourself, but I think that somehow a [2006 Edit: 150 dpi PDF of] a blotchy black and white photocopy of a lo-res .JPEG of a duplicate copy of a cheap color snapshot doesn’t quite do the Canyon justice. To tell the truth, the Canyon didn’t even look real to us when we were actually standing there. It was just so big and deep and gorgeous that I kept thinking I was looking at a matte painting from Star Wars.

(That’s pretty sorry, isn’t it? I travel thousands of miles to experience one of the All Time No Foolin’ Big League Natural Wonders of the World and all my stunted imagination can think to compare it to is a cheesy special effect from a movie I saw when I was six. How depressing. Besides, the matte paintings in Return of the Jedi were much more impressive.)

Two hours hiking down into it, and then hiking back up in shadeless 110/45 degree heat, made the Canyon pretty damn real, though. The path, steep and narrow, snakes back and forth down the canyon walls and of course we didn’t even get close to reaching the bottom. You could spend weeks there camping and hiking and not come close to seeing all of it. It’s much like Value Village that way.

On the way out, we shared a laugh at the expense of those canyons, no doubt impressive in their own right, which had the misfortune to end up right next to El Canyon Grande. I mean, really. What are they going to say? “Visit Walnut Canyon, the cleaner canyon,” or “We’re Marble Canyon, we try harder!” Sure, yeah, thanks for coming out.

robotnik2004: (Default)
OR, "I understand you have a lot of unusual names on your baseball team."



'Prisoner' Remake Ready to Roll

British satellite channel Sky One is embarking on a remake of the cult-classic show "The Prisoner." The new series, slated to run for six episodes, would likely premiere sometime next year, 40 years after the original debuted on ITV. Rumors of a new series have been percolating for some time, but Sky One didn't greenlight the project until this week. Several reports in the British press say Christopher Eccleston -- who starred in a revival of another cult favorite, "Doctor Who" -- is in line to play Number 6.

1999

Jun. 18th, 2005 11:53 am
robotnik2004: (Default)
Hey, kids: do you remember 1999?



Do you remember when there was a New Economy and we called the internet "cyberspace" and websites "new media" and the stock market was going up and up and up and "nobody can be told what the Matrix is" and every week another kid was a software billionaire? In 1999, half my students were cutting classes to sweet-talk venture capitalists and launch IPOs, and I thought about when I was 12 and split my time between playing D&D and programming Apple BASIC, but then I only kept one of those geeky hobbies going over the years, and in 1999 I asked myself, is it possible I backed the wrong horse?

Well, do ya? )

1996

Jun. 14th, 2005 11:23 pm
robotnik2004: (Default)


This is supposed to be a memory from 1996, but it needs a memory from 1994 for context. Or maybe I just want to brag/confess. Read more... )

...

Now here's a random 2005 moment for you, no extra charge. In fact, this took place just today, though it does have a bit of an early 90s feel to it. I got an ice cream this afternoon at J.P. Licks. When I got to the counter, a middle-aged woman was shouting at the cashier that one of their flavor names was offensive. "We are a multi-racial family, and we find that completely inappropriate!" But I didn't catch which flavor it was, and I'm dying to know. They all seem so innocuous. Lumpy Primate? Black and White Malted? Cow Tracks? Rum and Raisin?

Another mysterious but very J.P. moment, come to think of it: I walked by a cop today giving a driver a ticket. The woman getting the ticket was screaming at the (male) cop, "I'M A LESBIAN! A LESBIAN! A DYKE!"

Ok, one more. This was a few weeks ago, and it actually took place in Allston rather than J.P. But it stuck in my head, and the theme of angry women continues. Woman on cell phone, yelling well above the din of a coffee shop: "LET ME TALK TO HER! LET ME TALK TO HER! CHRIST, WILL YOU LET ME TALK TO HER?" She then hangs up the phone and says calmly to the woman behind her in line, "I wish I'd never made contact with my biological family."

Edit: I got it! The new wasabi-flavored ice cream, Turning Japanese. Seems pretty harmless to me, but that's gotta be it. You can take J.P. Licks out of Jamaica Plain, but you can't take the Jamaica Plain out of J.P. Licks.
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Speaking of making social plans (and if you've clicked the poll, thank you—while of course there's no day that will please everyone, looks like the situation is not as dire as I feared) it looks like tonight is L's School's Teachers Girls Night Out. My invitation to that event seems to have been lost in the mail, so if anyone wanted to get together for something geeky or not tonight I'd be around.

Heading out and away from LJ for an hour or two right now, but I will of course be back on later today.
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"See all that stuff inside, Homer? That's why your robot never worked!"

A quiet Sunday reading the paper, and books, and other nonelectronic things, and copying Season 2 of MI-5 from TiVo to VHS for [livejournal.com profile] jeregenest, who was in a scary and freakish and random accident. It sounds like he's going to be OK, mercifully, but he will, I assume, be convalescing for a while. (On reflection, odds are good that Jere's already seen the MI-5s, but it's nice to have a project.)

I was amused by this quote in the Sunday Book Review:

Here's the problem with 'Write what you know': What too many aspiring writers know, it turns out, is that a suburban American adolescence causes vague feelings of sadness—especially when one's formative years include a dying grandparent or housepet.

Yes, indeed. Substitute "Canadian" for "American" in that sentence and I know that problem all too well. (See, Homer? That's why my novel never worked...) The review in question goes on to say "It's the lucky writer whose story is familiar to himself and exotic to his readers," which then made me think of The Russian Debutante's Handbook, a bit of a trendy must-read novel a few years ago that I had somehow missed. L gave it to me over the holidays, and it was great. Highly recommended. One of the funniest books I've read in a long time. The feckless Gen-X hipsters therein reminded me an awful lot of me and my own friends in the PC 1990s, at least until the Russian mob shows up and starts breaking their kneecaps. That didn't happen to me and my friends as far as I can recall. (See how my uneventful Canadian adolescence has prevented me from being a literary prodigy? Oh the pain.)

I posted another rambling essay today about Ben Franklin and the Turk and 18th-century robotica over at my big boy website. Halfway through that post I mention that I have "another cool anecdote about the Imperial Academy of Science in St. Petersburg in the 1700s that I want to tell you." I know, I know, most people would be content with just one such anecdote in their life, but you are blessed with me as a friend, so you might as well enjoy it. Check this shit out: Peter the Great, Tsar from 1682 to 1725, was a passionate collector of monsters. In the 1690s, he began assembling a collection of anatomical and zoological monstrosities and abnormalities, living and dead. In 1704, he ordered that midwives throughout Russia were strictly forbidden to kill or hide newborn children with deformations. All "monstrous" births were to be turned over to the clergy, who would deliver them to his Cabinet of Monsters in St. Petersberg. After Peter's death in 1725, the Cabinet came under control of the Imperial Academy of Sciences.

"Cabinet of Monsters." Nice ring to that. Well, I doubt I have to tell you what I'm thinking: If those "monsters" were not giants and hermaphrodites and hydrocephalic kids but actually, you know, monsters... you could have a crazy 1700s Russian League of Extraordinary Gentlemen adventure, or some very cool backstory for the Russian version of the BPRD in a certain long-threatened Soviet Hellboy Delta Green game.

What else? Oh yes. [livejournal.com profile] bryant's Best Movies of 2004 post is up, which is great, and relieves me of having to write one. I spent a lot of 2004 passing off a combination of Bryant and Anthony Lane's opinions about movies as my own, so it seems appropriate to just link to his Best Of list now. My only gripes with his list? I'd drop Sky Captain. I found it dull and disappointing, and I can't help thinking that caffeine and a sense that "I should like this" is deluding Bryant and my other geek chums who still champion the film. And where is the love for Napoleon Dynamite? But other than that, yeah, yeah, yeah.
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So, as I might possibly have mentioned in this journal already, I graduated! (See icon for robe and funny hat.) Thanks to everybody who traveled from far and wide to mark the occasion (my parents, L's parents, Kofi Annan, [livejournal.com profile] princeofcairo, Ali G...) and to everybody who came to my party last week, which raged from about eight pm to midnight and then instantly turned into a pumpkin. Which is actually pretty much how I like it. It was so great to have Mom & Dad here—their only visit to Boston this millenium (they did make it to Amherst for the wedding). My Mom apologized for getting weepy. We're such WASPs. Weepiness is good! It reminds me that this graduation thing might actually have been kind of a big deal. Thanks for everything, everyone.

Another great success was [livejournal.com profile] djwilhelm's salon, where a random sample of our generation's greatest minds gathered to discuss the weighty issues of the day. It was a lot of fun, and some of those present may have said something intelligent at one point or another, though alas, nobody was writing anything down, so our genius will be lost to history. The one moment I will remember is when [livejournal.com profile] narcissime suggested I do an LJ post about five alternate Harvards, and I said something like, "Five goofball variations on some ridiculous premise seems to have become my thing." And Ken Hite said, quite rightly, "Your thing? [Krusty the Klown voice:] If this is anybody but Avram Davidson, you're stealing my bit!"

Which I shall treasure for a couple of reasons:

1. Because it's actually validating to have someone as cool as Ken Hite acknowledge that I am blatantly ripping him off, occasionally artfully.

2. Because while the geek conversational habit of just tossing out obscure references without stopping to explain them can be deeply irritating if you don't know, for example, who Avram Davidson is (he's a science-fiction author and fabulist whose influence can definitely be seen in Ken's magnificent Suppressed Transmissions), or you don't immediately recognize a line from The Simpsons (Krusty the Klown gets a prank phone call from rival TV host Gabbo. After realizing he's been punk'd, he says, "If this is anybody but Steve Allen, you're stealing my bit!"), it is both pleasing and flattering when you do.

3. Because Ken had no way of knowing that that line from The Simpsons is an old favorite of mine. See, in my Golden Words days (GW = the weekly humor publication at Queen's University), I became keenly aware of the long chain of homage, inspiration, and outright plagiarism that lay beneath each attempt at "original" "humor." I started out a somewhat slavish imitator of the senior writers and cartoonists on the paper, but stayed long enough to be imitated myself. By the time I reached the lofty heights of editor-in-chief, I often responded to cartoon and article submissions with some variation of Krusty's klassic line. "If this is anybody but Joey DeVilla, you're stealing my bit!"

Literature is full of such coincidences, which some love to believe plagiarisms. There are thoughts always abroad in the air, which it takes more wit to avoid than to hit upon.
—Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

We're all part of the great circle of rip-offs, remixes, and pastiches. It's like that Elton John song with the dancing warthogs. Hakuna Matata, baby. You're stealing my bit.
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Today is the first day of Passover, which seems like a good opportunity to say something about Douglas Rushkoff's book Nothing Sacred: The Truth About Judaism. I read it a few months ago. I think it comes out in paperback this week.

Moses
"I desire macaroni pictures! And those little shaker things where you put beans inside of paper plates that are glued together! And let us put patterns of glue on the outside of those paper plates so we can then pour glitter on them so they look nice and sparkly!"

A couple of years ago, I read a book called The Talmud and The Internet, which seemed like a painless way for a guy like me to learn a little more about his (then future) wife's religion. There were some nifty stories in there about the Talmud and its recursive hypertextual nature. For instance, there's a tract where the Talmudic Rabbis discuss how God spends His days. They decide that, among other things, God spends three hours each day studying the Talmud. In other words, the Talmud is so vast and complicated that even God Himself must study it daily. And—how's this for freaky movie-within-a-movie action—this discussion of the Talmud is contained within the Talmud itself. Whoa. But I don't really recommend that book to you if you have any more knowledge of computers than, say, my grandmother. I had the distinct impression the author got most of his information about the internet from Parade Magazine or something similar. A lot of the book was just "Computers! Are they good for the Jews?" if you know what I mean.

Douglas Rushkoff, on the other hand, knows from cyberculture and Judaism both. And Nothing Sacred, originally subtitled "The Case for Open-Source Judaism," is a pretty cool combination of the two:

An open source religion would work the same way as open source software development: it is not kept secret or mysterious at all. Everyone contributes to the codes we use to comprehend our place in the universe. ... An open source Judaism is not Judaism-lite, but a commitment to know the religion as deeply and profoundly as its original programmers.

Let me clarify that my own understanding of life, the universe, and everything is and remains entirely atheistic, secular, and non-religious. Indeed this has sparked minor arguments between L & I. She's really not religious either, but is more likely than I am to admit that organized religion might occasionally have some small redeeming qualities. What I realized when we had those arguments, though, was that when she said "religion" and thought of Judaism and I said religion and thought of, you know, whatchamacallit, that building with the lower case 't' on it, we were starting in two rather different places.

I'm not converting any time soon, but I gotta give big Sammy Davis Jr. props to the Jews. I've gone to High Holiday services with Lisa and I think it's fantastic that they have a question and answer session where people debate the Rabbi's sermon. I think the rule that you can't even read the Torah without ten people present to discuss it is wild—it's like a built-in inoculation against fanaticism. Think of how much less impact some idiotic TV ad has when you watch it in a group of ten or more people. Imagine a world in which it was forbidden to watch TV without at least nine friends there to discuss it.

Bart: "Rabbi, did not a great man say, and I quote, 'The Jews are a strange bunch of people. I mean, I’ve heard of persecution but what they went through is ridiculous! But the great thing is, after thousand of years of waiting and holding on and fighting, they finally made it,'."
Rabbi Krustofsky: "Oy, I never heard the plight of my people phrased so eloquently! Who said that, Rabbi Hillel?"
Bart: "Nope."
Rabbi Krustofsky: "It was Judah the Pious."
Bart: "Nope."
Rabbi Krustofsky: "The Dead Sea Scrolls?"
Bart: "I’m afraid not, Rabbi. It’s from 'Yes I Can' by Sammy Davis Jr. An entertainer, like your son."
Rabbi Krustofsky: "The Candy Man? If a performer can think that way maybe I’m completely upside down on this whole problem."

Rushkoff basically argues that Judaism is not a religion, but rather the historical process by which humanity is evolving out of its need for religion. Which is the kind of religion I can get behind. So for him, the Exodus commemorated by Passover was not a historical event, but an allegory for the liberation of Jewish thought from the idolatrous death cults of Egypt. Each of the plagues of Egypt is a symbolic desecration of one of the old gods or religious practices of the Jews themselves. That's the Jewish gift to the world, Rushkoff says: their millenia-long exodus away from superstition. And the point of the book is to urge Jews to keep pushing along that path: to hold on to their traditions of debate and iconoclasm (Rushkoff has described Judaism as media literacy in the guise of a religion) while abandoning their tribal or possessive instincts, indeed abandoning the whole idea of being a chosen people, to create an open-source religion available to all.

Elaine: "David, I'm going to Hell! The worst place in the world! With fires and devils! Don't you have anything to say about that?"
Putty: "It's gonna be rough."

Now, the reaction to Nothing Sacred showed that my man Dougie might have underestimated the continuing appeal of tribalism. Everywhere he went to promote the book, he got called a God-killer or a Holocaust-denier or an anti-Semite. You can almost track the deflation of his optimism by reading the blog entries from his book tour last year. Even L didn't quite accept the whole argument of the book, though she thought parts of it were pretty cool. "God loves you best," is a pretty durable meme, I guess. At least as powerful as "You are forgiven," "There's a big payoff in this for you at the end," or "You kick ass."

But whatever your religion or lack thereof, Nothing Sacred is worth a look. Rushkoff is just such a cool and optimistic thinker. I don't always agree with him, but I always want what he's saying to be correct. In Rushkoff's cyberpunk Judaism, God is not a supernatural entity, but an emergent property of the religion itself. God is not to be feared or obeyed or even worshipped, but continually questioned, challenged, and revised. In fact, this very process is all that "God" is. Nothing more or less than people thinking for themselves about their duties to one another:

In a world where God is an emergent phenomenon, the entire premise of good and evil is a meaningless duality. Abstract monotheism insists that there is only one thing going on here: God. He has no antithesis, no evil twin. There is only good and the absence of good—the places where good has not yet spread. It is akin to the way a physicist understands the concept of cold. There is no such thing as cold. It is not a force of its own. Cold is not an energy. It does not exist. There is only heat. What we think of as "cold" is merely the absence of heat. Likewise, what we think of as "evil" may better be understood as the absence of good. ... Just because a candle can be blown out does not mean that darkness is an energy of its own.

(Head-bending stuff. Makes me wish it was the late 1990s and I was tweaking to trance music at [livejournal.com profile] gammafodder's, clenching my jaw and gabbling to [livejournal.com profile] sneech515 at a mile a minute.)

Masel Tov!

P.S.: I made a nice big pork roast for tonight.
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Lots of anniversaries today. Eighty-five years ago, the Great Powers signed an Armistice ending the First World War.



Tangent #1: I was walking around Harvard today wondering why nobody was wearing poppies. Do people not wear poppies on Armistice/Veterans/Remembrance Day anymore? Or, is it just a British Empire thing and it's taken me EIGHT YEARS HERE to notice they don't do it in the U.S.? Jeez, absent-minded professor much?

Tangent #2: The difference between the phrase "War to End All Wars" and the phrase "War on Terror" (sorry, "Terruh") is that one war had been over for several years before its nickname started sounding hollow and pathetic.

But enough prattling on about all that... let's talk about me!

Four years ago today, I asked Lisa out for our very first date. (Four years ago yesterday was the party at which we met, so in calling her the next day I was moving much more quickly than my romantic MO prior to that point would indicate. I do in fact know a good thing when I see it.)

And one year ago today, I posted the first throat-clearing little entries in this LiveJournal. Which is actually the point of today's post. Let's see. In one year, I appear to have made 71 journal entries. That strikes me as a fairly anemic rate of posting. 71 entries is about what [livejournal.com profile] bryant or [livejournal.com profile] mizalaina will generate in a fortnight.

Of course, I'm a busy, busy lad—and handsome, and well-dressed, too—but aren't we all? I'd like to think that I can come up with clever things to say, at least when I've gotten a good night's sleep. But I don't think I've fully embraced the Zen of weblogging, the proper "throw it at the Internet and see what sticks" abandon, the "if you write it, somebody will care." I'm always nixing entries before I write them, thinking "aw, nobody wants to read about that."

So what have those seventy-one posts been about? To quote an obscure but humorous television program featuring a family of jaundiced wisecracking urchins:

Bart: "Grandpa, why don't you tell us a story? You've led an interesting life."
Abe: "That's a lie and you know it!! But I have seen a LOT of movies..."

Or, in my case, "I have read a LOT of books..."

What can I say. My life does not generate a lot of thrilling LJ-able drama. Note: That is not a complaint. I'm an even-tempered guy. I don't have many rants in me. I'm far too happily married to generate dating drama a la (for example) the Accordion Guy's entertaining if often highly protracted serializations of his romantic misadventures. (He's an old college crony of mine, I kid because I love.) And I don't party enough or in hip enough area codes to do my man Gamma Fodder's atomic raver about town thang. L&I do go out fairly often for young marrieds—he said, defensively—we just don't stay out very long when we get there. I could write about my work, of course, but is the world really craving a weblog about the competitive era in early telephony? I don't have coworkers or even a commute to bitch about. I'm not writing a novel this month. I usually avoid comment on current events until I've had a century or so to gain perspective. And I firmly believe what my mother told me as a child: "Robbie, nobody cares about your dreams."

Thing is, I quite like reading all that stuff in everybody else's little cyberdiaries. Just can't bring myself to do it yet.

So this week, I'm going to take requests. What would you like to see in this space? More books? More gossip? More gaming? More chimps? Alternate history? Actual history? Personal history? Nothing at all, thanks? Should I dish about the people on my Friends list? Shall I remember/concoct embarrassing stories out of my past? Interested in what I had for lunch? Would you like to see my Which Carol Burnett Show Cast Member Am I? quiz results? Want to know how I would improve The Rockford Files if it were up to me? Should I regale you with tales of my job search? Maybe keep a running FOAD count in one corner? Want to hear about my hat for D02? Would you like to hear about the competitive era in early telephony? Or the social construction of technological systems? Want me to tell you just what the fuck your problem is? Now's your chance.

Anyway, thanks for reading. We know you have choices when you surf around reading stupid shit on the web and we value your support.
robotnik2004: (Default)


"Remember Renton, Sick Boy, Begbie, and Spud? Well, they're back, and in POG form!"

Porno, by Irvine Welsh
Well, OK, they're not actually in POG form, but it was fun to catch up with everybody's favorite Scottish junkies and marvel at the fact that any of them were still breathing. This is the sequel to Trainspotting, ten years down the road (and yes, it really has been that long). As the title suggests, there is a little less heroin and a lot more sex this time around. Strangely, this made the events in this book seem far more sordid for me than in Trainspotting. Maybe it hit closer to home because I rarely shoot heroin, but I do have sex from time to time. Trainspotting made the former seem fun and hip; Porno makes the latter seem squalid and dirty. Or maybe it's just because our heroes are not getting any younger. Are any of us? Reading this book was a little like going to one's own ten-year reunion. Who are all these old gummers pretending to be the people I used to know? (I liked the quote [livejournal.com profile] wordwolf had (possibly quoting someone else?) about his ten-year reunion: "It was just as if everyone had swelled.") Anyway, good wholesome reading for you and the kiddies. Lots of sick laughs, lots of squirmy situations, lots of thick Scottish dialect ("It's goat her shitein hersel...") you have to read aloud to make heads or tails of.

p.s. In contrast to the slick content portal and community nexus at Palahniuk.net, check out Irvine Welsh's utterly slapdash and largely content-free web site. Hee. You get the distinct impression Welsh had Spud throw half of it together before fuckin oaf to the pub fir a bevvy.

Edit: Comments disallowed on this entry as the book title has attracted LJ spammers. Maybe I should have called it Pr0n0. (Weird: I didn't know they could comment without me getting an email notice. Clever spammers.)
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You're right, Marge. It's just like the time I could have met Mr. T at the mall. The entire day, I kept saying, "I'll go a little later, I'll go a little later..." And when I got there, they told me he just left. And when I asked the mall guy if he'd ever come back again, he said... he didn't know.

A friend of mine grew up in Chicago. One of the things he liked about living there, he says, was very occasionally running into Mr. T. You'd be walking downtown, and there he'd be, Clubber Lang himself, crossing the street or eating a hot dog. Haircut, gold chains and all. (This would have been in the late 1980s and early 1990s—well after Mr. T's first fifteen minutes of fame, well before his 1-800-COLLECT and inane WWW renaissance.) You'd see him and say, "Hey! That's Mr. T!" and he'd always wave and say, "Hi, kids! Stay in school!" or something similar. And that would be that. You might go home and tell your Mom, "I saw Mr. T today!" "That's nice," your Mom would say.

What delights me about this story (and I should probably spell it out, since I'm sure it's not coming across in the telling), is both the good-naturedness of it and the mundanity. It was a good thing to run into Mr. T, but really not that big a deal. No bigger than seeing, say, a fire truck, or some ducks, or a lady walking a funny-looking dog. "I saw a funny-looking dog, today, Mom!" "That's nice, dear." I wonder if this is how citizens of Metropolis react when they see Aquaman.

Anyway, besides being an excuse to link to lots of Mr. T pages, all this jibber-jabber is just prelude to a story I had to share (with the small number of you reading this who aren't also reading [livejournal.com profile] bryant). It's MUCH funnier than the one I just told you about Mr. T: Darth Vader Made Me Cry. I'll link to it again, so it doesn't get lost in the forest of Mr. T pages: Darth Vader Made Me Cry. Go read it. Hee hee hee. It has a nice symmetry with the classic Alec Guinness story, too.
robotnik2004: (Default)
Aha! I can link to the excellent James Bond retrospective I mentioned the other day:

All right, 007, listen carefully: I want you to go and meet a gentleman named Lee. Ang Lee. Born in Taiwan but now, as far as we can gather, working for the Americans. Take him a copy of this novel, Casino Royale. It may look like an ordinary paperback, but concealed within is an array of clever tricks, some of them, I don't mind telling you, on the dodgy side, and—here's the thing—nobody seems to have put it to proper use. There was once a joke version, but that doesn't count. Be a good chap and tell our Mr. Lee to turn the book into a period drama, would you? You know the form: convertible Bentley for you, conical bras for the ladies. Got that?

And while I'm sharing excellent New Yorker articles, here is the best article I've read to date on the master mind behind The Simpsons (no, it's not Matt Groening). I love his take on the decline of the modern sitcom:

When you and I were kids, the average TV comedy was about a witch, or a Martian, or a goofy frontier fort, or a comical Nazi prisoner-of-war camp. That was the mainstream. Now the average comedy is about a bunch of people who hang around in some generic urban setting having conversations and sniping at each other. I remember watching, in the sixties, an episode of Get Smart in which some angry Indians were aiming a sixty-foot arrow at Washington, and Max said something like "That's the second-biggest arrow I've ever seen!" and I thought, Oh, great, shows are just going to keep getting nuttier and nuttier. I never dreamed that television comedy would turn in such a dreary direction, so that all you would see is people in living rooms putting each other down.
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After talking about it for ages, I'm finally trying to get an Unknown Armies game started. Everyone who reads this journal has, I expect, already gotten the e-mail about the game (except, I guess for [livejournal.com profile] mgrasso—feel like commuting to Boston for the game?), but I'll post it here anyway so I can point people to it online.

Unknown Americana Teaser )

I've got a handful of interested players, all of whom I know would be great. The X factor for everyone, including me, is scheduling. If we can't make it biweekly, I might end up running this as linked, monthly one shots, with a recurring cast of characters but a more episodic structure than your standard campaign. Like the annual Cthulhu games I ran in college—there were connectors between stories, but because the gap between games was so long, each one had to be a satisfying chunk of story on its own.

I'll post some character ideas and campaign frames I've cooked up soon. This game has been in my head for a while and I've generated a fair amount of stuff.

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