Lions and tigers and blogs, oh my!

Ah, March. The Madness of Mars! Oh… the madness of it. Well, you know what they say about this month: In like a lamb and out like a…

Ha ha.

Yes. Like a lion.

Did the V countdown clock during last night’s episode of Lost hurt your enjoyment of the episode?

The most influential brands of 2090.

LL Cool J and Sarah Palin and Toby Keith and CONTROVERSY.

Something terrifying for you today, in visuals: the “Teabonics” photo set.

from here.

Reputation is dead. Time to overlook our indiscretions?

“Mind boggling” artwork that will tower over London.

Someone finally apologized for Battlefield Earth.

from here.

Though they’re not Roman, lions are kind of the gods of war in the jungle, right?

Do you honestly think that you could kill a zombie if you had the opportunity?

Terrifying sea creature hauled up from the ocean’s dark depths!

“Say hello to my little friends…” or, Scarface as a school play.

Tiger Woods blames it all on Michael Jordan. Gotta be the shoes!

Someday I’d like to see LOLcats evolve into LOL LIONS!

When I googled “LOL LIONS” just now I found this picture…

…from here. JESUS FUCKING CHRIST! Ha ha. Eeesh, that’s disturbing. Of course there’s someone out there who thinks that Jesus and bestiality go hand in hand.

Samuel R. Delany’s Dhalgren is being adapted as a stage play.

Jay Leno: “Conan got screwed. I got screwed.”

Robin Williams likes comic books like DMZ and Tekkonkinkreet.

A comic you should read: Brian K. Vaughan’s Pride Of Baghdad.

Useless factoid: March starts the same day of the week as November every year.

Also, the mars bar, which was previously discontinued in America, makes it’s return in 2010. It’s the year we make contact… with chocolate, almond, and nougat apparently. Honestly, I don’t know WTF nougat is.

The MGM logo and Nostradamus.

George Lopez and Lindsay Lohan arguing on twitter!

Fuck bullshit like “mansplaining,” now it’s all “retrosexuals” and “The Menaissance.”

Is robbing a bank on your bucket list? It should be, right?

I’m not the messiah,” says food activist.

Puberty makes you stupid.

The second half of the current season of The Venture Bros. returns in August.

15 fingers and 16 toes!

Things you may not have known about (that you missed) in March: The third week of the month is National Brain Awareness week in USA, which is not shocking that you didn’t know about it, right? March is also National Peanut Month (for us too, of course) and National Umbrella Month. This is also the month that Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone in (on March 7, 1876) as well as the month in which Hinckley tried to assassinate Reagan (on March 30, 1981). We know all about “the ides of March,” but did you know that March was originally the first month of the Roman Calendar until Caesar changed it to the third (for shits and giggles)? Also, violets are the official flowers of March. Hope yours was a good one.

A reader til the end…

He read at wine, he read in bed, He read aloud, had he the breath, His every thought was with the dead, And so he read himself to death.

-from “Tarquin Of Cheapside,” from the collection, Tales Of The Jazz Age, by the one and only F. Scott Fitzgerald. The picture above is Liber Novice by the equally inimitable James Jean.

“The heart wants what it wants.”

I literally spent a whole day trying to think of just a truly amazing pun for you sexy people revolving around the skeletal structure of: “And then Charles Widmore shows Jin his package.” But beyond what it is, I came up with nothing. Sigh. Such is the dilemma after last night’s interesting and solid episode of Lost, entitled “The Package.”

It was a Sun and Jin episode, and… you know what? It’s about time it was a Sun and Jin episode, right?

I mean, all of last season we were watching, eagerly anticipating the reunion between them, which we didn’t get. That’s cool, that’s cool, but here we are… still waiting, still hoping, only the hope is turning into something else now. A kind of dread as the end of the season/show looms larger on the horizon.

Here’s a couple that are certainly lost on Lost, but will they ever be “…and found” again?

You’d think so with the increasing number of white people who are promising either Sun or Jin that they’re going to help them be reunited. But, then again, white people promise all kinds of shit, don’t they?

Also: GRATUITOUS CLOSE UP OF SUN’S BOOBS.

I kind of liked the story of Sideways Sun and Jin. The rich girl, the princess of a powerful and ruthless man, “the glass ballerina,” beautiful and hard and cruel in her own right at times, and her clueless, lovelorn bodyguard. One last task to be carried out for her father and then they’re going to run off together into their own happy ending. After all, wasn’t that Jin’s father’s advice to his son once upon a time in another timeline? Only, her father has other plans: like having Jin killed by Keamy. So sad, but so good. Being from Korea, it’s only natural that Sun and Jin would not know that no one actually finds a happy ending in LA. Well, except for that kind of happy ending, of course.

The stuff with Jack and Sun and her lost voice was interesting, nicely echoing Jack’s previous attempt at a pep talk with Sun, but I have to admit that as Jack was walking up to her there on the beach, eager to talk her into going with them to stop the Man in Black, I kept thinking, “How on earth is Jack going to attempt to kill himself this time?”

And speaking of the Man In Black/The Locke-ness Monster… I liked that he inherited a little of Locke’s tragic, hopeless pathetic lot in life of sorts. Things just don’t want to be simple for him.

And back to Jack, Richard Alpert, Ilana, and the gang… I think if I have one major complaint about this final season, it’s that we’re in a kind of lull now. The first few episodes were a huge rush to get somewhere and then… sit around and wait. Then things sped up and went crazy and characters frantically hurried up to… sit around and wait some more. I suspect that things are about to change on that front, and I’m thankful.

It’s interesting how the two camps on the show are split up literally between the good and the bad. Well, mostly. Locke’s gang includes the torturer, the killers and the criminals, and the corporate goons, the insane and the spineless. Jack’s group… well, there’s an immortal man, a millionaire who talks with the dead, a Korean billionaire who lost her ability to speak English, and also Frank Lapidus and Miles. And Ilana. Ben’s the wild card there, the stand out to that logic. But he’s reformed and docile now, right?

Also, DESMOND IS BACK.

And the text message I got late last night…

Benjamin Light: “That’s right, bitches: Sayid just held his breath underwater for like five hours!”

Myself: “Fuck Yeah Sayid doesn’t need air anymore.” Chuck Norris better watch out.

Also, Richard Alpert in no way, shape, nor form supports Flash Forward and sure as hell doesn’t recommend that you watch it. He’d rather see the Man In Black escape the Island and unleash hell on Earth than see Flash Forward get a second season pick up.

And closer and closer we get…

“God told me to do it.”

Some of the best news out of yesterday was that Philip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, has a new book coming out…

It is: The Good Man Jesus And The Scoundrel Christ. What a gorgeous title. Apparently the plot is a bit of what if (folks, your entire religion is based on wizards and magic and questions of “what if,” as you know) Mary had given birth to two sons, Jesus and Christ. The one who is Jesus is the good son, the one told about in the gospels. And the one called Christ? What if he was Jesus’ evil twin?

Ah, glorious. You know we love EVIL TWINS here at Counterforce.

Also, we love Philip Pullman. The His Dark Materials trilogy, if you’ve yet to read it, is brilliant and fun. Yes, it’s a bit (well, maybe more than a bit) of an attack on the catholic church, but it’s hardly just that. It’s some of the finest literature for children (and adults) in years, imaginative in it’s scope and smart in the design of it’s characters, and a beautiful reminder that the box you’re thrust into by those who claim to know better than you isn’t necessarily the world you have to accept, and the world you want is the one you have to create all around you…

They adapted the first novel in the series, The Golden Compass (as it was titled here in the US, but it’s called Northern Lights in Pullman’s native UK), was adapted as a movie a few years ago, and it’s not terrible, but it’s also not terribly fantastic either, despite strong casting. Really, it just suffers from poor execution and from what I would classify as a serious lack of balls on those who sought to bring it to life.

Sorry, I could really go on forever about that but I was too busy fantasizing about all the wacky shenanigans I could get into with my evil twin…

If time travel were availabe to me, I’d be chilling in Saturday right now…

from here.

NERD ALERT: I’m excited about the start of series 5 of Doctor Who this weekend.

I could post nothing but geeky teaser photos/youtube clips for the rest of the week, I really could. But then again, if you haven’t noticed, this is me being honest and open and not so guilty about my “guilty pleasure” television show.

Back in the day, Buffy The Vampire Slayer was my “guilty pleasure” show that I didn’t tell anyone I watched. Well, for the first season. It started, I’ll admit, with a borderline insane crush on Sarah Michelle Gellar (which actually included Swan’s Crossing and her on All My Children), and was nurtured by the fact that Buffy had some of the best, smartest, and most fun writing on television at the time. It was the show where, come that time at that night, I’d unplug the phone and make myself unavailable. No one really had cell phones or a rampant internet presence back then, so it was just a little bit easier.

But then somewhere in the middle of season two of that lovely show, a bizarre thing happened: Sitting in front of me in class one day I overheard one of the geeky girls, your band/art nerd stereotype talking with one of the big dumb jock guys about Buffy and Angel having sex. Do you remember that cliffhanger? The girl, who would later in life discover livejournal and live happily ever after, and the guy, who probably slipped himself GHB one day and now works at Geico, had a lot to discuss about it (the girl was spot on, of course, that Angel had experienced a moment of “perfect happiness” and now had to pay the price for it, and the dude assumed that Buffy had the clap or something).

The reflective TARDIS sculpture, by Mark Wallinger.

But sitting there, watching and listening to them, I figured… Fuck it. Guilt is useless about these things. Unless you like drivel like Flash Forward. I mean, hell, you know that show Human Target on FOX currently? I watch that show (on Hulu), and it’s fucking horrible. Real, palpable bullshit, I tell you. So, so many flaws. A ludicrous amount of flaws! But, in small bits here and there, it’s not horrible. Every once in a while a fog clears on that show and there’s something old school and enjoyable shimmering through the curtain of mediocrity. But that’s a whole other post (to come!), I think. So, yeah, I like this smart, well produced and well written science fiction TV show from across the pond called Doctor Who. It comes back this weekend, debuting the new Doctor and his companion, and the new creative team, and I’m excited. In fact, I couldn’t be more excited.

You’ve already seen the 3D theatrical teaser here, but…

Here’s the latest UK trailer for the new season:

Here’s the American (or, rather, BBC America) trailer:

If you click here, you can see a scene from episode 6 of the new season, “Vampires In Venice,” which gives you a real first look at the portrayal of the Matt Smith iteration of the Doctor. It originally aired on Jonathan Ross last week. If you click here, you can see a bevy of behind the scenes clips from the new season, particularly the opening sequence of the first episode of the new season, in which the TARDIS flies wildly and out of control over London with the Doctor hanging over the side, clinging on for dear life. And here is a nice little blog about related things if you’re a dork like myself. Oh, and here’s a look at the new TARDIS interior, which just looks ridiculous and insane and way, way too colorful…

I’m fascinated by the differences in the marketing between one country and the next. The UK trailer certainly seems more… honest, I think is the word I’m looking for. Here’s a bumbling, insane protagonist, one who’s amazingly and painfully self assure, as seen through the normal human woman (with what I’m assuming now will be a gift for almost Lucille Ball-esque comedic facial expressions/reactions) who travels with him. The American trailer seems more built up, in an attempt to showcase certain heroic aspects rather… inaccurately? Does that make sense?

Whatever. I’m too excited to make sense now. Gonna go update my livejournal and make fanboy youtube clips with nothing but SQUEE-like dolphin noises of hysteric elation.

Noir harmonies.

Look at this:

…which is a clip from Béla Tarr’s The Man From London, 2007, based on the novel, L’homme de Londres, by Maigret‘s creator, Georges Simenon. The film, which stars Tilda Swinton along with a mostly Hungarian cast, seems to be Tarr dabbling in simple crime noir stories after his much acclaimed film, Werckmeister Harmonies, but based on that clip alone, I’m interested.

It’s near-film school-esque too, but in a fascinating way. There’s a palpable dread there, and the movement of the camera timed with the dialogue, well, it’s a gimmick that works.

The film, which almost didn’t happen after the suicide of it’s producer and concerns about sources of funding, appears to have let down quite a few people out there, seemingly mostly because it doesn’t live up to the greatness promised by Tarr’s previous work, but I’m still intrigued (and have been for a while, if you remember me mentioning Tarr while talking about Tarkovsky a few weeks ago). Not every modern and remodernist work has to be a masterpiece. Some can just be solid and intriguing as hell, as dark and inviting as the fall of the night following the day.

Perpendicular expressions.

“Everything in the universe has rhythm. Everything dances.”

-Maya Angelou.

If I can’t dance to it, it’s not my revolution.”

-Emma Goldman.

The Dancing Couple, Jan Steen, 1663.

“Dancing is a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire.”

-George Bernard Shaw.

The Babel Fish.

“I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God, “for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.”

“But,” says Man, “the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves that you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don’t. Q.E.D..”

“Oh dear,” says God, “I hadn’t thought of that,” and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

“Oh, that was easy,” says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.

The text above is from The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams, a lovely excerpt that I was reminded of here.

The words of your enemies.

President Barack Obama at the Prairie Lights bookstore in Iowa City, from here.