Tzimtzum, or: Here There Be Tygers.

Grrrrrr.

I saw the Life Of Pi today. Just a few quick thoughts…

1. It was good. I have never read the book, and usually avoid even transcendentally good and well hyped books if reviewers promise that they’ll make me believe in God. It’s not that I’m worried about being brainwashed or that I can’t see the quality in the writing or story even if I don’t buy into the message or belief system, but it’s usually that I have eviler, and usually more stupider things to read. Ha ha!

2. I can gather, in a similar vein, that the film is very close in its adaptation of the novel, but leaves the novel’s ending less ambiguous. No spoilers here, not til the last thought.

Bioluminescent.

3. The film is really quite good, and I say that having had no expectations of it going into it. I mostly went into this film, curious to see what was going on since you’re already hearing a lot of potential Oscar buzz to it. The Oscar buzz isn’t off the mark.

4. This definitely will be (or at least should be) a Best Picture nominee. I wouldn’t be upset if it was a Best Picture winner, either. Also, best cinematography, which is possibly a no brainer since so many of the visuals are just gorgeous. I want to see Lincoln nominated for Best Picture, but I think that Life Of Pi is certainly a better film, which is saying a lot. Also, Irrfan Khan deserves a Best Supporting Male Actor nomination, and possibly a win.

5. As for the ending, and here there possibly will be SPOILERS: I took something slightly different away from this movie – which is one that you’ll walk away from needing to do some thinking on – than others, I believe. When the narrator of the tale, the older Pi, gives the Writer a choice between which of the two stories he prefers: the one that is mostly like the real story, the grim tale of human beings under extreme duress, or the tale full of magical realism and refugee animals sailing across the ocean, the Writer of course chooses the story of the boy and the tiger. That is, of course, the story that anyone would choose or prefer. The inference there seems to be that therein lies God’s existence. We create God. We bring our lives to him, the details, and we weave a powerful watcher of our existence, and find the meaning there, in the fiction, not so much in the way our lives were lived, but in the way our lives are retold.

The life of Calvin.

The batmobile lost a wheel and the Joker got away…

I’m sure I said something similar to this as a kid:

You know?

In fact, as a kid, Christmas left me with more questions than anything else. Looking back on it now, I adore it’s innocent, silly magic, the inherent wonder that comes with the whole season, and the basic premise of Santa Claus, the North Pole, elves building toys for probably slave-like wages, and reindeer and shit, but I remember as a kid… not so much thinking that it was bullshit, but being confused by the holes in the story, the things that just blatantly didn’t make sense or jive with, you know, reality and what have you.

from here.

Sometimes it was just semantics and logistical things that perplexed me, but sometimes it tended more towards the philosophical…

But I guess somewhere in there the ideals and notions I have about the season now – be them naive, hopeful, confused, tattered, reaching, labored, dreamy, and all ultimately cynical – were born:

from here.

Oh well. Hope you had a great one!

The weapons of science.

via XKCD.

The patient labyrinth.

Mad linkage:

Are “masters of the universe” born or bred?

Weezer offered $10 million to split up.

Natalie Portman to offer “gratuitous nudity” in what is not but certainly sounds like it would be a sequel to Pineapple Express.

(But that still doesn’t tell us who she’s fucking these days, does it?)

The musical farewell to Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse.

from here.

Angelina Jolie’s Bosnian rape romance.

The 17 differences between the East Coast and West Coast versions of the live 30 Rock episode.

Making sense of The Shallows.

Aaron Sorkin responds to a blog commenter about The Social Network‘s misogyny.

Best Coast and Deerhoof to guest on the new Go! Team album.

Who is the biggest drunk on Mad Men?

Look at this fucking article about hipsters.

“A man sets out to draw the world. As the years go by, he peoples a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, instruments, stars, horses, and individuals. A short time before he dies, he discovers that the patient labyrinth of lines traces the lineaments of his own face.”

-Jorge Luis Borges, from Dreamtigers.

The Soviets’ secret, failed moon program.

Those lovable scamps in ICP are actually hardcore Christians. Whatever.

Brett Ratner and Eddie Murphy.

Remember the Singularity? Shocking news: It may not be coming after all.

You have the right to go topless.

Don’t forget that Mad Men‘s season finale is tomorrow night!

from here.

The power of the babe.

A reminder that those World Of Warcraft nerds are still fucking perverts.

One-way mirrors and social media “stalking.”

Of course one of the 33 Chilean miners was having an affair!

A Mars Supreme!

Hollywood needs to turn towards Warren Ellis and Grant Morrison.

The ballad of Mick and Keith.

Chaos reigns.

Antichrist, 2009, directed by Lars Von Trier, and starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe.

Here’s a few selected comments left on the page for the film’s trailer at  YouTube…

“I really want to see this, it looks interesting……….”

“I’m looking forward to see it :)”

“Pessimo gusto artistico..pessima interpretazione… mi aspettavo molto di piu’… troppo satico trama banale fatta la risposta a tutto cio’ è la semplicità e quindi…in fondo non c’è niente da capire oltre alla storia stessa che è riuscita a mala pena a spiegarsi attraverso quel povero e scarso linguaggio cinematografico… si vede il cinema danese come qualcosa di futuristico di innovativo…io vedo tutto cio’ solo come un obbiettivo non del tutto raggiunto.”

“Look’s crap” and “Look’s boring.”

“Um. Gross. Willem dafoe should never fornicate.”

“What is this movie about? Is the woman the anitchrist or the guy?”

“I think that antichrist is something being deep inside our nature that makes all of us to live in pain, grief, despair, fear, – to hate one another and to hate ourself…”

“LOL that’s deep. Agreed.”

“Theory: You’re an idiot.”

“Theory: your theory is correct.”

“Looks retarded. And are they doing it in the woods at the end?”

“I was fortunate enough to see this movie, it’s pretty good.”

“Yes, you people go watch your nice love films with the happy ending and then cry cause your life is pathetic… Art is not for everybody… Thanks, Satan!”

“Terrible movie. Why cant anyone produce a real movie with a real story? As for sex scenes in movies, that is so 1980’s. Nobody puts sex scenes in movies anymore, or even tits. Its retarted. If I want to see a sex scene ill just watch a porno.”

Editor’s note: You’d be amazed at how many typos or simple grammatical errors I’ve corrected so far, especially since I have too hard of a time just copying and pasting it that way. However, some of these things I will leave as the original comment’s author intended though. To do otherwise might prove to be, ahem, retarted.

“McAmerica is no longer a true Western Nation, since most of it is now produced in China. McAmerica, made in China. Now available at Walmart.”

“What a pithy and educated depiction, you must have escaped the pervasive westernizer gew gaw that transmits from the peak of the Washington monument and tranquilizes the sheepish populace into a Dorito-stained stupor. or at the very least, you’re certainly smarter having never been around it. in Mohamed’s name we praise peace, love, and understanding.”

Editor’s note: In the previous comment, that commenter was replying to another commenter whose screen name was a play on Mohamed, but I changed it.

“American movie goers are so dumb, all studios have to produce these days is REMAKES. ‘Duuuurgh dis a good movie. better dis time coz they dun took out most of da talkin and put in more cgi duuuurgh nukes.'”

“Hey man… hey… fuck you, okay!?”

“…in places like France, Spain, Italy the culture is to enjoy life. To spend forever at lunch, to sit in the sun discussing politics or history, to go to markets and street fairs. They go to Bistros, Cafes, Pubs. In America they go to Walmart. They go to Macdonald’s. They go to CVS to pick up medication to relieve the McBlockage their diet has produced in their colon.

Contemporary Americans don’t value life, or art, or culture. They value money. Contemporary American cinema reflects this.

It’s a sweeping generalization sure, but the fact remains American cinema has taking a creative nose dive over the past ten years.

Something you brits may not know, but Americans are utterly obsessed with making money. They value their bank accounts more than anything else. This is why America’s economy is so large, but quality of life is so utterly appalling. They work hard, then sit. They buy cheap, and dispose of it. Big is better. The word ‘quality’ doesn’t exist in American dictionaries.”

“I’m American and I have to agree with you 100%. This doesn’t mean I hate Americans or am an asshole but I fully believe that most Americans are slaves to the money and the wrong idea of enjoying life’s riches. Work, then sit and overeat and watch stupid reality television that glorifies violence and idiocy. Creativity and the love of the world is missing from most Americans nowadays so why would American cinema even try to make these creative artistic movies when they raise us on violent pure shit.”

“Wow… How pretentious of you to make such a wide generalization of American culture. Art is meant to make you feel something… Whether thats fear, love, disgust… All acceptable and sought for reactions. This film isn’t targeted towards mainstream audiences, so some people can’t connect with the style of film… Just the reality of the world we live in.”

“You’re calling ME pretentious? What about Hollywood? The primary source of American film culture? American film studios pump out movies so dumbed down that a mentally handicapped chimpanzee would be disappointed by lack of mental stimulation.

They’re well aware of how closed minded American movie goers are, and tailor films accordingly. Here’s what the average American says about ‘Art’.

‘Art’s fer fags n Euroqueers, freedom.'”

“Admittedly American films are often without intellectual content. But in my opinion European films head to the other direction, they try to hard to appear sophisticated that the storyline and character development of their movies suffer.”

“European films don’t have the same budgets, so they have to rely on (real or imaged) intellect. They very often seek to explore human nature, which from a cynical Europeans pov is a very disturbing subject.

Like you said, stories and character development are often lacking.

But we can say the same about Hollywood. Brits make some good films. Depressing as they are.”

“You are fully (aw)are I assume that Lars Von Trier isn’t British and that the entire cannon of British cinema is not ‘depressing?'”

“CHAOS 4EVA!”

“It’s surely a bit ridiculous to say America is incapable of making good or, perhaps more importantly, worthwhile films. Just as it is equally ridiculous to say that all European/British films are ‘depressing.'”

Editor’s note: We’ll leave it up to you whether or not you think that British films are depressing.

“this movie sucks big time!!! i saw this movie in the theathre, and in the end everybody looked at each other with a look “WTF?!” this movie is a waste of your time!! I could’ve done it so much better, but noooooooo lars von trier is soooooooooooo special….i hate that stupid c*nt for making me spend my money on that movie!!”

“Bet over half the people talking shit about this film have simply read up the synopsis on wikipedia and made a decision on that basis. I saw it last week and quite enjoyed it, sure its nothing spectacular, but worth a watch in my opinion, intro is awesome heartwrenching watching the little boy fall to his death.”

“Lars Von Trier is a garbage director but this movie looks interesting……. Yes, America is getting there asses handed to them in the horror genre nowadays but still have more great horror films then any country. As of right now, the best horror movies are coming out of Europe, especially France with Inside and Martyrs which is the ultimate feel bad movie and in my top 10. The Nightmare On Elm Street remake is another example of America kicking itself in the face. why fix something that isnt broke?”

“‘still have more great horror films then any country As of right now.’

Um… Japan? You know, the country where at least 50% of American horror movies are ripped from. The Ring, The Grudge, Pulse, Dark Water… etc.”

“I don’t know. When I think horror movies, I think Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Freddy Kruger, It, Pet Cemetary, Psycho, Evil Dead, The Shining, Leppricon, Friday The 13th, Night Of The Living Dead, Dawn Of The Dead, Amytivill Horror, The Exorcist, and The Omen.

Editor’s note: I do believe that he of course meant Pet Semetary, Leprechaun, and The Amityville Horror.

“Every single one of those films was made during or before the 1980s. Save ‘IT’, I think that was made in 91, still 18 years ago. Thanks for proving my point. American horror is truly a thing of the past.”

“Great movie. Choice labia snippage. LOL!”

“This film was disturbing but fantastic at the same time.”

“What The Fuck Is Wrong With This Movie.””Is that William Defoe talking?”

“Yep, it’s him.”

“Why don’t they just get the fuck out of the woods?”

“LMFAO, I could make a WAY better antichrist movie then this piece of shit.”

“Isnt that the green goblin? hahahaha.”

“kk There is a scene where she snips her clit off lol. And she also like if i remember hits his nuts with a board and then like jerks him off, and he cums blood. LOL.”

“Thumbs up if you found Willem Defoe’s pendulous ballsack hypnotic…”

“I didn’t get what this film was about. The acting was still great though.”

“I can see judging from the comments that this trailer has just created a majority of douchbags.”

“Stop fucking spamming the comments with your boring shit. JUST SHUTUP.

Anyway, can someone tell me what the underlying themes or messages this film is meant to have? I’ve been reading up alot about it lately and I’m not sure whether I want to pay to watch a lady cut her clitoris off if none of the film has any relevance or point…”

“What’s with the hands coming out beneath the tree? Can someone explain?”

“BORING” and also “Creepy.”

“NO FUCKING WAY!!! WHY DID I WATCH THIS… EW EW EW EW EW EW.”

“It’s not porn until you touch yourself.”

“‘Nature is Satan’s church.” An interesting statement…”

“I wouldn’t agree with that. Nature is the most beautiful thing.”

“I know, i never said I agreed with it. In fact I disagree, but interesting.”

“The idea of ‘nature being the devil’s church’ is taken from the greek god Pan. He was a satyr, half man, half goat and lascivious, who had horns on his head (i.e. the image of the Christian devil). The trailer doesn’t explain much about the movie’s plot though.”

“What happens in the woods, stays in da woods.”

“THIS COMMENT PAGE IS FULL OF PEOPLE WHO ACT LIKE THEY ARE SMART AND KNOW WHAT THE FUCK THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT WHEN IN REALITY THEY ARE FUCKING STUPID.”

“hell yea i agree with u”

“Does this statement apply to you too, then?”

“No I’m not trying to act like a genius. Just someone who’s pissed off.”

“And now your one of them…plus you went and made it all caps to show just how pissed off you really are, but no one cares.”

“And I’m being told this by an idiot who doesn’t know the difference between ‘your’ and ‘your’e.'”

“Kickass movie.”

“It’s amazing the stories girls make up for a shag in the woods.”

“From the trailer, it looks like candy for aged degenerates. It could have a story but I’m sure that it is lost somewhere between the stressed visual effects and skin slapping. Yeah, just like any typical Hollywood plots.”

“This move scared the hell out of me, but it’s also one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I can see where some people wouldn’t like it, but it’s raw and it’s honest.”

“Poor Jesus…….. I bet his asking WTF i sthis shit?”

“A hyper-intellectual making horror movies for intellectuals – not quite the widest target audience. The only reason why people hate this movie is – they don’t understand it. I don’t get how this thing got into mainstream.”

“Lars Von Trier is not an intellectual. He’s Danish. Don’t let the foreign accent intimidate you, small fry.”

“I’m worried about the way it’s filmed. Looks documentary, and documentary related filming techic… IS NOT ENTERTAINING!”

“BUT WHAY THE HELL IS THE MOVIE CALLED “ANTICHRIST” IF IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THAT. I DON’T GET IT!!!!!!!”

“Does the movie have to do anything with the title? If yes let me know. Or else I don’t want to watch.”

“Does it not portray the metaphor for witch craft? And therefore the title refers to the woman?

There is a painfully obvious bible metaphor in the forest of ‘eden’ and her book is called gynocide, which is a term coined by Mary Daly to make reference to the abnormally high amount of women murdered in early modern Europe for being witches.

That’s my take on the film.”

“What the fuck this is a fucked up movie?”

“I DO LOVE INDEPENDENT AND ODD MOVIES, BUT PLEASE SOMEBODY EXPLAIN TO ME WHAT THE HELL IS THIS ONE ABOUT!!!!! IT’S BEEN A WEEK SINCE I SAW IT AND I CAN’T UNDERSTAND IT NO MATTER HOW HARD I TRY!!!!!! PLEASE ANYONE EXPLAIN TO ME, PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

“There can’t be an antichrist because there was no christ, nor a god.”

“You’re an idiot.”

“You’re the idiot if you believe all of that bullshit.”

“Liberal troll.”

“fuck u bitch.”

“i aint no bitch troll. whateva, i do wat i want!”

“No way in the world Jesus will arrive on August 14, 2014. You would know that if you are a true Christian.

‘No man will know the date or hour of the end times.’

-Revelation… I forgot what verse exactly… I will have to look it up.”

“…LOL. Define a true Christian. But you are right.”

“The only True possible antiChrist is the Christ himself…. just not his Good side. Instead of Mercy he will be Revenge to those who dont Know he is Mercy.”

“Yeah, could be, but it could also be that a book written by nomadic desert goat herders who thought the earth was flat… just isn’t true.”

“This film might as well be a violent porno.”

“I just finished watching this movie….and it is the most GRAPHIC, BIZARRE, CRINGE-WORTHY film I’ve ever seen in my life. There is so much sex in this film and it’s not the least bit pleasurable to watch. Be cautious when watching this movie…”

“It fucking made me gag when she smashed the guys balls with a wooden block and made him ejaculate blood.”

“Eat shit and die and include spoilers next time.”

“I find this Ironic considering Defoe played Jesus. (an Ax wielding Jesus.)”

“Where did you get the axe from?”

“I feel a bit of William Blake like art in the tree-copulation scene.”

“Epic!”

“Nature may inspire ideas, but it is logic and reason that shape and critique our perceptions of nature. Having an idea is not the same as logic. Logic & reason are not measurable by natural means. Just because our minds exist in a physical body doesn’t make the things we think of physically real. Logic could exist without nature. But nature is constructed and depends on logical laws. It cannot exist without them, and therefore it cannot itself have created it. Logic must preexist nature.”

“Sorry, but you’re so wrong it’s funny. If one is constrained by logic, then one is surely not omnipotent. If god created all things, surely he created the laws of logic, and therefore he can bend those laws at will.

Of course being that you’re a mentally ill religious lunatic, you’ll just attempt to twist my ‘logic’ to fit your own deluded view of existence. Sometimes I pity you religious nuts…but most of the time I just laugh at you.”

“DAMN NATURE YOU SCARY!”

“If God exists – he would either:

A. Tell us he exists – by appearing in person when we reach age of reason and tell us what the FUCK is up. Or in some other shape or form influence all of the humanity and inform us – BIBLE, QURAN and SHIT don’t count.

B. Make sure we never suspect shit and would deny our mind to understand such things as god.

There is no shit in middle of – Some believe and some don’t. Since it is not A or B, he simply does not exist.”

“Oh look ANOTHER religion fight on youtube. WHAT ARE THE ODDS?”

“I know, right. I was expecting comments about the movie.”

My favorite:

“FUCK THE ILLUMINATI!”

“God forgive your sins & open your eyes to the truth. =)”

“What ‘sins?’ Because we have ‘penises’ and ‘vaginas’ is thinking about sex ‘satanic?’ Because we think that there ‘is no such thing as good religion’ is satanic too ? What do you think; were you ‘created by god’ or ‘born from mother and father?'”

“Don’t you have any respect for a person’s beliefs?”

“No, I don’t.”

“Where can I download this online for free?”

Editor’s note: There are a lot of arguments on this comments thread trying to rehash a lot of the same logical exercises to either prove or disprove the existence of a God or a creator or whatever. The term “four sided triangle” gets thrown around a lot, it seems.

“I thought this movie was absolutely great until the gore porn started. It makes me feel like a lost a friend. It was THIS close to being a psychological horror masterpiece, and then BAM. Bleeding penis.”

“ha ha ha…. Stupid stuff. People having sex among dead bodies! Big deal…. Trying so hard to look evil. Evil is within each and every individual already…. Can’t go looking for it among scary stuff. Seen how it comes out when you start getting jealous of someone’s promotion? Or somethin like that…. There’s evil right there! Control your own…”

“It’s just a film, dude.”

And last but certainly not least:

“This movie is just a plain awesome peace of Art!

Lars did great on that one, the most epic art piece I have seen in many months!

Very twisted and nerf wrecking tho.”

The cure for the common television show.

Mad linkage:

John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe (and hopefully teaming up with young Abe Lincoln to hunt vampires).

Obama urges Americans to “turn the page” on Iraq.

Bill Compton as Doctor Doom and either Jack Bauer or John McClane as the Thing.

Jon Hamm: “If Rob Lowe had been cast in the part, it would have been different. There was no backstory with me.”

An interesting write up on Phonogram: The Singles Club.

Behind the “Frazenfreude.”

Stephen Hawking changes his views on God.

Just imagine this: An 80 hour Lost marathon.

5 mind blowing ways that your memory plays tricks on you.

5 UFO sightings that even non-crazy people find creepy.

5 stupidest ways that movies deal with foreign languages.

6 famous unsolved mysteries (that have totally been solved).

January Jones: “I need not to think about my character. Betty is so blissfully ignorant in certain ways, so I feel like I should be too.”

Speaking of Arcade Fire: Their new collab with Google folks, The Wilderness Downtown.

A cannibal restaurant in Berlin. Figures.

Laura Marling’s award-nominated love triangle.

Self-described CIA assassin dies in ([accidental] self-imposed) gun accident.

Some of these pictures are, of course, from Rolling Stone, which will be featuring Mad Men on the cover of their new issue. Great idea. Bad photoshopping on that cover though.

And, I tell ya, August and I have really missed doing our Mad Men write ups the past few episodes, especially since, as far as I’m concerned, this has been the show’s strongest season yet, but on the plus side, it’s probably spared you an incredible amount of Nora Zehetner photos that I would’ve just bombarded you with…

Seriously.

Creepy artificial arm from the 1800s.

Peter Travers talks with Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Weezer’s just trying to sell some clothes and Cee-Lo says “Fuck You.”

Is Barnes & Noble really going bye bye?

Blah blah blah bedbugs.

The Bloom Box: A power plant the size of a coffee mug.

Why do hurricanes often curve out to sea?

There’s some NSFW happening in the new Conan movie.

One year after Disney bought Marvel: Not much has really changed.

The perilous profession of underground mining.

Wormholes in NYC.

I honestly can’t believe that they renewed Human Target.

Booty calls are their own special type of relationship.

Oh, and hey, the next post will be the 750th!

From maternity to modernity.

“A liberated woman is one who has sex before marriage and a job after.”

-Gloria Steinem

The Birth of the Pill, from here.

“Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.”

-William Makepeace Thackeray in Vanity Fair.

from here and here.

“They sat us all down, girls and boys, in this horrible school hall. This tweed skirted, dykey sort of woman with short, cropped hair comes on, and tells us about the miracle of childbirth. Then this film comes on, which is a midwives educational film. There is a close-up of a woman having a baby, a close up straight up her vagina, and that’s all you see, and these are thirteen year old boys and girls, and its bloody and disgusting. Within thirty seconds two boys had fainted and the lights went on and they were carried out. I put my hands over my face because I realized I couldn’t watch this. I swear it traumatized me, I haven’t had children and I can’t look at anything to do with childbirth, it absolutely disgusts me.”

-Helen Mirren on a sex education film she saw as a teenager that changed her life forever. Though, she also adds that having a bad relationship with her own mother also influenced her desire to not have kids.

“Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.”

-Robert Browning

Here at Counterforce we’d like to both celebrate and say thanks to all the mothers out there, and we’d also like to salute who knew that path wasn’t the one for them.

from here.

In fact, we’d especially like to thank those who chose not to become bad mothers or were responsible enough to know they just weren’t or aren’t ready for something so huge. It’s a choice that belongs to you and no shame should come with either decision. What you should feel is pride. After the fact, there are no accidents and kudos to you if you realized that a certain path wasn’t yours before you got to that particular fork in the road. To be a mother takes a kind of courage and strength and grace that is incredibly enviable. And we should all call or visit and spend time and maybe do something nice for our own mothers or someone you know who’s a mother and make them feel special if, for nothing else, this one day out of the year.

Sonzai-kan.

Three quotes from “The Man Who Made A Copy Of Himself,” an article about Hiroshi Ishiguro, a Japanese roboticist who’s made a robot double of himself. The article starts like this:

Hiroshi Ishiguro, a roboticist at Osaka University, in Japan, has, as you might expect, built many robots. But his latest aren’t run-of-the-mill automatons. Ishiguro’s recent creations look like normal people. One is an android version of a middle-aged family man—himself.

And then:

By building humanlike robots Ishiguro hopes to decipher what the Japanese call sonzaikan—the feeling of being in the presence of a human being. Where does the sense of humanness come from? And can you convey those qualities with a robot?

from here.

And then:

Hiroshi Ishiguro stomps on the accelerator. The black Mazda RX-8 roars onto the highway, the heavy-metal Scorpions blasting from the speakers. We’re driving to Osaka University’s Toyonaka Campus. Ishiguro is wearing aviator sunglasses, black polyester pants, a black vest on top of a black shirt, along with a black belt, socks, and shoes.

“Give me question,” he says, his eyes fixed on the road.

I ask whether he always dresses in black.

“Why do you change your clothes?” he says. “Do you change your name? So why do you change your clothes? Name is identity. Face is identity. But the majority of your [appearance] comes from your clothes. You should not change your clothes. Do you agree?”

I meekly suggest that all-black attire might get a bit hot in the summer.

“We have air conditioners,” he says. “Next question.”

Photo by Makota Ishida.

Mad linkage:

Who killed more people in the bible, God or Satan?

The 5 creepiest unsolved mysteries that nobody can explain.

Social robots and Mechanical Love.

RIP Malcolm McLaren.

If Peanut links to it, it must be true: Smart women are bigger drinkers.

Conan O’Brien on the internet.

Ray Kurzweil, Caprica, and the upcoming Singularity.

First animals to live without oxygen discovered.

The grand unified theory of artificial intelligence.

Megan Fox protests school budget cuts with comedy.

“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…

The Ides.

Today is the day you were warned about.

Honestly, I just like saying: “Beware!” And telling people to beware various things. Like, “Beware those calories!” Or, “Beware Justin Bieber!”

Recently on Counterforce:

We’ve been comparing things, things like the manic pixie dream girl vs. the amazing girl, Heroes vs. Battlestar Galactica, and Kirsten Dunst vs. Kate Hudson.

We’ve got plenty of our favorite news items and lots of mad linkage to share with you.

And we celebrated the birthday of Dr. Seuss.

We’ve been watching – what else is new? – this brand new and final season of Lost: “Dr. Linus,” “Sundown,” The Lighthouse,” “The Substitute,” and “What Kate Does.”

And, in doing so, we’ve been trying to get inside the minds of characters like Jack and Sayid. But perhaps they’ve been getting into our brains instead?

Speaking of television: Nip/Tuck finally ended, but the singularity still looms on the horizon (and perhaps on cable TV as well).

Oh, and the Oscars came and went again. We talked about afterward and talked about it quite a bit during the ceremony.

I read Tao Lin’s first collection of stories and then talked a little about short stories in general for your amusement.

The lovely Karen Gillan as a soothsayer of sorts in Doctor Who.

People tend to believe that God believes what they believe, we learned, and then we watched a bit of Chris Marker’s documentary about Andrei Tarkovsky.

Conrad talks about two of his favorite things: Prince and Kevin Smith (but more so Prince than Kevin Smith, he assures me).

from here.

Oh, and my iphone is apparently waiting to me, amidst the sea of pornography, sex pills, and mortgage help that the internet is just dying to offer me.

And our very own Maria Diaz, who’s been rocking it at SXSW this past weekend, got herself wifed up for the purposes of partying and let me DJ the party, and you were cordially invited to the event.

Fun fact about The Ides: It’s the 15th day of the month, but only in March, May, July, and October. In every other month, it’s the 13th of the month. The Roman calendar is really so weird.

All this talk of soothsaying and foretelling has me thinking… Here at Counterforce, when we’re not complaining about shit, we’re typically just slicing up bits of our subconscious, things that we like from all over the place, and sharing them with you. Sometimes it’s planned, and sometimes it happens on a deadly whim, but I wonder… Perhaps we should be planning and sharing what we’re planning more beforehand, teasing you a bit… Hmm. Maybe, right?

Or, more dangerously, just throwing out random things at the start of a month, or any time period, and then talking about them at some point, in some way. Maybe the topics are user generated, or just things the author knows nothing about but have always been abstractly interested in, I don’t know. And then they go off and learn something about that topic, or maybe they don’t. But they find an angle and attack it. Maybe it’s predictive blogging, maybe it’s something else.

OR! And this, this right here, is insane, but let me start earlier… at work, sometimes, when we’re bored, my co-workers and I will play a game, a silly, stupid game that we call “The Wikipedia game.” We generate a large group of topics and subjects, then you pick two randomly. You go to one of those topic/subject’s wikipedia pages, and utilizing only links on that page, you have to, in five clicks or seven clicks (or whatever) or less, you have to arrive at the second topic you picked. Think “Six degrees of Kevin Bacon,” but more infotastic and time wasting. Mind you, I”m just talking out loud here, so maybe this is lame, but what if blogging was like that?