Wednesday, April 30, 2014

His Girl Friday (1940) is one of the best comedies ever made. I'm gonna watch it tonight!!

Hildy Johnson: Now, get this, you double-crossing chimpanzee: There ain't going to be any interview and there ain't going to be any story! And that certified check of yours is leaving with me in 20 minutes. I wouldn't cover the burning of Rome for you if they were just lighting it up! If I ever lay my two eyes on you again, I'm gonna walk right up to you and hammer on that monkeyed skull of yours 'til it rings like a Chinese gong!


Hildy Johnson: Guess who gave him the gun? Sheriff Peter B. Hartwell... B for Brains!
What a day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Some shitwad just dumped more than 500 images from a Flickr account into WikiCommons.  The images were taken from the 2007, 2011, and 2013 Smithsonian Folklife Festivals.  The photographer was a freelance reporter who took lots of crappy shots.  But like all freelancers, he uploaded all of them so clients could choose the ones they liked best.  (As all freelancers know: There is no accounting for taste.)

So what did this turd of a human being do?  Uploaded all of those images to the category "National Mall".  Even though almost none of them depicted the National Mall.  Even though all of them shoudl have been categorized into one of the correct Folklife Festival categories.

Jesus fucking Christ.  Use some judgment people!!  This is not an upload contest!!!!!!!!!!!!

It took me five hours to clean up that fucking mess.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Darren: Isn't this... This is 25 Shelldrake Avenue?

Sally: No this is *23* Shelldrake Avenue.

Darren: Oh, how appallingly embarrassing of me! I'm an S&M-o-gram, I must've gotten the wrong address!!

Sally: Wait... don't I know you?

Darren: God, I hope not...

Bedrooms & Hallways (1998)
It's nice that someone created a category on WikiCommons named "Tim Evanson Flickr stream". It collects, in one place, all the images uploaded to WikiCommons from my Flickr site. Wow, there are 2,125 so far! I'm sure the 'bot will find more.

In looking at the category, though, I realize that someone has decided to upload almost every single gay pride photo I've taken since 2009. Most of those photos are shots of faces -- not of the pride parade or street festival. I'd say 90 percent of them shouldn't be on WikiCommons, because they had little or no value to the site. Furthermore, the uploader kept my file titles -- most of which are wildly inappropriate for WikiCommons or use on other Wiki sites. And some images just aren't very good.

There are movements afoot on WikiCommons to rein in this sort of thing. I hope they get enacted...just because an image is CC-BY-SA 2.0 or higher, doesn't mean it should get uploaded. People should use some common sense and judgment!

Fimmvorduhal is a volcano in Iceland. It opened a second fissure in April 2010....

For six months now, the Koch Brothers-funded neo-nazi group Americans for Prosperity has spent $20 million on TV ads targeting House and Senate Democrats for supporting the Affordable Care Act.

The highly aggressive campaign has gone unanswered by Democrats, who have no funds to run counter-ads. Observers now say that every single Democrat targeted by the group is likely to lose re-election in November 2014.

Boogie Nights is a film about the straight adult film industry in the 1970s. The characters are thinly-veiled fictions based on real-life people and events:

  • Mark Wahlberg's Dirk Diggler is based on John Holmes.
  • The drug-deal-gone-wrong scene is based on Holmes' involvement in the Wonderland murders.
  • Robert Ridgely's The Colonel James is an amalgam of Jim and Artie Mitchell, the highly influential porn theater and strip tease parlor owners and porn producers of the 1970s.
  • Heather Graham's Rollergirl is loosely based on underage porn starlet Traci Lord.
  • Amber Waves' attempt regain custody of her child is based on the life of adult film starlet Veronica Hart.
  • William H. Macy's Little Bill is based on porn actor Cal Jammer, who committed suicide on his porn starlet girlfriend's front lawn (an episode famously later chronicled in a New Yorker article in 1993)
  • Melora Walters's Jessie St. Vincent is an amalgam of porn performer Jessie St. James and porn producer Julia St. Vincent.

Mrs. Genaro: Look at him, he's such a beautiful boy! He's got my eyes...
Mr. Genaro: And he's got my nose...
Monty: Yeah, and my sympathy!!

EASY MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Ms. Ballbrikker from Porky's -- the film that made Dan Monaghan famous for 15 minutes. I have it on DVD and am watching it now.

Why I Like "The Venture Bros.", Part 397:

Every episode is chock-a-block with sci fi and fantasy pop culture referrences. Like this one, in which Dean Venture fantasizes about lightsabering Cylons while his Princess Leia-like girlfriend clings to his leg.

Dean also enjoys having the dying Cylon cop a feel...

Dr. Venture: Not bad for 45, if I do say so myself! Oh, who am I kidding? My looks are doing down the toilet faster than an unwanted pregnancy on prom night.

Brock Samson's love is the former Soviet agent-turned-mercenary, Molotov Cocktease. She won't let him get to third base, which is why he is endlessly frustrated.

A neat comparison between the "old" and "new" versions of "Space Seed" -- the first season episode of Star Trek

I miss the "pure white" Enterprise. It visually popped against the background and was more aesthetically pleasing even if it wasn't scientifically accurate.

There are 163 novelizations of Doctor Who adventures, which includes unproduced scripts.

There are 90 New Adventure books published by BBC Books, and another 21 audiobook-only New Adventure books.

There are 61 New Adventure books published by Virgin Media.

There are 28 anthologies, containing a myriad of short stories.

There are three novels featuring companions Turlough, Harry Sullivan, and Sarah Jane Smith.

There are two volumes of novellas, each containing seven stories.

AND............. There are 194 Big Finish Audio short plays, 109 Big Finish Audio long plays, 80 Big Finish Audio companion-only long and short adventures, four Big Finish Audio Early Adventures long plays, 11 Big Finish Audio "Destiny of the Doctor" audio plays (featuring new series Doctors), four Big Finish Audio "Short Trips" anthologies of seven short audio plays each, 40 miscellaneous audio plays, and eight Big Finish Audio "Doctor Who Unbound" audio plays (which feature out-of-continuity stories, stories about different Doctors not yet seen on the show, etc.)

This is not counting the out-of-continuity novels about fictional companions like Bernice Summerfield, Jago & Lightfoot, Honoré Lechaussuer and Emily, etc.
I refuse to post these to the front page of Wikipedia any more. But I will post them here. The article I wrote or assisted with is in bold.
Did You Know ... that Guy Otto Farmer, chairman of the United States National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from July 1953 to August 1955, advocated wholesale re-examination of the major decision of NLRB, and believed that communists had infiltrated not only labor unions but the staff of the NLRB itself?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Dunno why I like it. I just do! (quoting...)

Otis B. Driftwood: I am sure the familiar strains of Verdi's music will come back to you tonight, and Mrs. Claypool's cheques will probably come back to her in the morning.


Mrs. Claypool: I've been sitting right here since seven o'clock.
Otis B. Driftwood: Yes, with your back to me. When I invite a woman to dinner I expect her to look at my face. That's the price she has to pay.

- A Night at the Opera (1935)

What do you think about Falcon's new strategy to compete with the ever-popular bareback studios?

Well, to be frank, Falcon didn't begin using condoms until 1993 -- SIX YEARS after most gay porn studios did. Hell, you can watch an HIV-positive Lon Flexx barebacking an HIV-positive Joey Stefano in In Deep Water in 1992.

Falcon's hypocrisy knows no boundaries.

Besides, I don't think it's gay porn's duty to teach people about safe sex.

Speaking of Peter Hyams, Outland is a pretty much now-forgotten 1981 sci fi conspiracy/adventure flick starring Sean Connery.

Out on the Jovian moon Io, workers are engaged in mining precious gases and minerals for use back on Earth. Some of the workers begin attacking their buddies, committing suicide, causing accidents, and generally exhibiting mental instability. Connery plays a Space Marshal sent to investigate, and quickly discovers that the mining company has been using drugs to control the workers and boost productivity. The drugs are causing the workers to freak out.

The company knows full well that their drug operation can't be covered up, so they decide to hire five guys to kill the marshal while he's investigating (as if, somehow, the death of a law enforcement officer will draw less attention). The last half of the film is basically the western High Noon, as the marshal seeks help from various workers and company officials and is turned down. He then steels himself to confront the killers on his own in a showdown...

With the "mysterious triangular UFO crash on the Moon" all the rage in the past two months (it turned out to be part of the edge of the photograph that the computer didn't clip off), I thought it appropriate to talk about Capricorn One -- a 1977 movie by Peter Hyams that starred Elliott Gould, James Brolin, Sam Waterston, Hal Holbrook, and O. J. Simpson.

The plot is that the Capricorn One manned mission to Mars is on the launch pad when a NASA administrator (Holbrook) realizes a corrupt NASA contractor has installed a faulty life-support system. The astronauts (Brolin, Waterston, Simpson) are whisked off the launch pad and taken to a NASA facility in the Arizona desert. The launch occurs, although the public doesn't realize the spacecraft is empty. The astronauts are asked to counterfeit TV footage during the flight to and from and on Mars to save NASA from public embarrassment. When they balk, their families are threatened with death. A NASA technician realizes something is up, and is killed. His journalist friend (Gould) begins investigating. Capricorn One "burns up" on reentry, and the astronauts realize they will be killed to maintain the cover-up, so they escape...

The movie builds on the endless debunked conspiracy theories that all lunar landings were faked.
[Gib's pick-up line] Consider outer space. You know, from the time of the first NASA mission, it was clear that outer space has a clear effect on the human psyche. Why, during the first Gemini mission, thought was actually given to sending up a man and a woman... together. A cosmic 'Adam and Eve,' if you will. Bound together by fate, situated on the most powerful rocket yet known to man. It's giant thrusters blasting them into the dark void, as they hurtle towards their final destination: the gushing wellspring of life itself. How would you like to have a sexual encounter so intense it could conceivably change your political views?
The Sure Thing is a 1985 Embassy Pictures film written by Steven L. Bloom and Jonathan Roberts, and directed by Rob Reiner. It starred John Cusack and Daphne Zuniga. The film follows a college kid named Gib (Cusack) who can't get laid. Gib tires his line on Alison (Zuniga), a smart, arrogant, up-tight college girl. She kicks him in the balls for it. Gib's best friend from high school is in college in California, where it's warm all the time and there are constant parties and constant sex. He induces Gib to leave snowy, cold New England and travel cross-country to California during spring break -- where he's lined up a very, very hot girl who is a "sure thing" (slut). Unfortunately, Gib hitches a ride with someone who is also giving Alison a ride to California. The two spit fire and nails at each other, and are eventually kicked out of the car somewhere in the Midwest. (This leads to one of the funniest lines in the film: "Driving without a load properly tied down?")

The film is pretty standard in many ways. It's a typical romantic comedy in which happy-go-lucky guy meets uptight girl, and both of them realize that the other is probably right. That they end up together by the end of the film is never in doubt. It's a typical road trip film in which a series of vignettes creates comedy and drama for the two principal cast members and a series of wacky, surreal guest-stars create memorable incidents.

Yet, the film is superbly well-written. It's not really the story that is important, it's how you get there. And the writing in The Sure Thing is excellent.

This film is one of three motion pictures Cusack made in the 1980s which are considered the "Cusack '80s Trilogy". The other two are Better Off Dead (Warner Bros., 1985) and One Crazy Summer (Warner Bros., 1986). All three are zany romantic comedies full of great lines of dialogue, toilet humor, and terrific, often surreal, characters.
What the hell's wrong with being stupid once in awhile? Does everything you do always have to be sensible? Haven't you ever thrown waterballoons off a roof? When you were a little kid didn't you ever sprinkle Ivory flakes on the living room floor 'cause you wanted to make it snow in July? Didn't you ever get really shitfaced and maybe make a complete fool of yourself and still have an excellent time?

HA HA HA HA!!! Game of Thrones fans, your dragon-love is here!

The Doctor Who Annual is a hardback book published each year full of fiction, comics, puzzles, and feature stories based on Doctor Who.

From 1965 to 1986, the Annuals were published by World Distributors. They were intended as a cheap children's book intended to be given at Christmas. The stories and comics were often surreal, and bore little resemblance to the Doctor or his Companions seen on the show. From 1965 to 1979, the Annuals were published in September, but moved to August in 1980. (Note that the Annual bearing the date 1966 is published in 1965. This is true for all Annuals.)

World Distributors did not release an Annual in 1972, and their last published Annual was for 1985. No Annual was published in 1986 or 1987, so none ever featured the Seventh Doctor or his companion, Ace.

Marvel Comics resurrected the Annuals in 1992. These were more sophisticated, designed for an older audience of teens and young adults. Marvel ceased publishing the Annual in 1997 (the last edition was for 1996).

When the new series was launched in 2005, BBC Books partnered with Penguin Books UK to begin publication of the Annuals again. Fiction was moved out of the Annual and into its own publication, the Doctor Who Storybook. The Annual was redesigned for younger viewers again, and remains hardback and cheap. The Annual has been released every year of the new series, and still contains comics, puzzles, games, and other fun stuff.

I love documentary film. When I first saw the 2003 documentary Touching the Void, it aired on PBS. I sat there with my soda and popcorn and watched the film. It was so harowing, that when the critical moment came, I had my legs up against my chest and I screamed.

It never got nominated for an Oscar. It is one of 10 "best documentaries never nominated by Oscar" (according to Indiewire, which oughta know).

I was excited to get behind the wheel of the latest Ford, GM, and Chrysler models at the Detroit Auto Show on Monday. But I was even more excited to see first-hand proof of the bright future of manufacturing in the U.S. Both Ford and GM reported double-digit gains in 2013, and Chrysler sales rose 9 percent. This year, Ford plans to hire 5,000 new U.S. employees and increase production at 7 plants in North America.

- U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez

* * * * * * *

There is an article in the April 24 New York Times in which housing lenders, bankers, and construction companies bemoan the fact that most people aged 18 to 28 are not buying homes. They are, instead, living with their parents or sharing the rent in group homes. those slackers! Those un-ambitious, un-American layabouts! How dare they!

Listen: If the economy were generating jobs, then perhaps these individuals would be making enough money to buy their own homes. But the Repugnicans have worked for the past 50 years to destroy labor unions, gut worker pay, send high-paying manufacturing jobs overseas, eliminate funding for education that would have enabled workers to obtain high-paying jobs, zeroed out government funding for daycare and welfare that would have allowed single parents to get jobs and get an education, and more. They did this, all in the name of "putting more money in your pocket, and giving less to the tax man".

So just how well has that turned out? Where's the money?

The Republinazis and the Democrats also gutted banking law, allowing banks, savings and loans, and credit unions to engage in investment banking. Today, banks earn their money from trading stocks and bonds, from "bundling" high-risk mortgages and then claiming the risk is gone, from hedge funds (designed to lower risk, but actually worsening it), and even from investment in things like fine art, wine, real estate, and antiques. Banks used to make their money by loaning funds. They got the money to loan funds by offering high-interest savings accounts. Once, American banks offered savings customers interest rates of 3 or 4 percent... sometimes as much as 6 percent. Today, your interest-bearing savings account earns an average of 0.3 percent a year.

Does anyone wonder why there is a credit crunch? Why should banks offer credit (loans) when they can make money investing in the stock market? In fact, if any bank tried that, its shareholders would accuse the managers of being stupid. And rightly so.

But if you wonder why there is no credit, look to banking law. Congress has created a system of incentives that got banks out of banking. Congress created a set of incentives that discouraged saving. All in the misguided, mistaken, foolish belief that "less regulation" would be better for the country.

So just how well has that turned out?

The business of America is not business.

The business of America is putting money in the hands of consumers.

I'll repeat it:
Walter Reuther once was touring a Ford Motor Co. factory with a young executive. The executive proudly showed off the numerous robots that had replaced many unionized auto workers. The mechanization, he claimed, saved lots of money and sped up production.

"And not a one of them pays union dues," the auto executive sneered. "What do you think of that?"

Reuther paused a moment, and said, "It sounds great. How do you get them to buy Fords?"

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Is Near Southeast being overbuilt? That's the question being raised by a new report, which argues so much retail space is being built in the Capitol Riverfront area (that's the northern bank of the Washington Channel and the Anacostia River from S. Capitol Street to the Navy Yard) that developers are creating an upscale slum.

That's the new marketing term: "Upscale slum". With so little housing in the area, high-end retailers won't be willing to move into all this empty space. Developers will lower rents, which means that you get McDonald's instead of McCormick & Schmick's. You get wig shops, not art galleries. Enough of this, and developers sell out to landlords with less interest in maintainance and more interest in letting the building get run-down, taking the profits, and running.

An alternative explanation is that developers along Capitol Riverfront are making the same mistake they once made in downtown. In the early 1990s, developers in downtown D.C. built a few highly expensive condos and apartment buildings, which could not generate enough foot traffic to make ground-level retail viable. The city intervened, forcing developers to create smaller units (build 10 apartments instead of a single mega-condo for a husband and wife), build more family units, and build more middle-income units. Instead of a concrete mausoleum that emptied at night and on weekends, downtown suddenly became vibrant and alive.

My sense is that developers are building for the rich. Real estate in the city is so ultra-expensive, only higher-end retailers can afford to lease here. But high-end retailers need high-income residents. But a handful of rich people don't want to walk around at night, or go out to eat every night. A handful of wealthy people who get home at 10 PM can't support restaurant that seats 150. So yes, I think we're in trouble here...

One of the saddest moments in film. And one of the best pieces of cinema ever made.

The LGBTQ leather community isn't just just about leather. Any fetish (or nudity) will do...

Especially if he's cute, hot, and wonderful like this guy!

The most likely shape of our universe, according to NASA.

I first read Bram Stoker's Dracula in junior high. It didn't leave an impression on me, mostly because I read it just to read it and didnt' really "read" it. After college, I read it again, and had the maturity to see what a blow-you-away novel it is. I ended up buying an edition about 15 years ago. It's illustrated by the great horror artist Charles Keeping.

Here are some of Keeping's great works for my edition: Lucy, newly risen from the grave, confronting Arthur Holmwood, Jack Seward, Quincey Morris, and Van Helsing in her mausoleum. Dracula as a great giant bat.

Dr. Orpheus: We must draw him out! Draw him from hell, with hell! Quickly! [points at Jefferson] What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?

Jefferson Twilight: Umm! I saw my mom raped by blackulas. I was ten. She called my name.... I -- I just stood there...

Dr. Orpheus: Uhh, wow. [pauses] Wait! I can hear him! More ugliness!!

Billy Quizboy: Oh! Once I saw two homeless guys giving each other oral sex.

Dr. Orpheus: Yes! He's closer! More like that!

The Alchemist: Okay, this is really gross. Once, I was out of toilet paper, so I used cotton balls. So, you know, I'm wiping, and I think my finger kinda poked through the cotton, so I, and -- and, do not ask me why -- I smell my finger to check...

Jefferson Twilight: Gross! I see where this is going.

Dr. Orpheus: Quickly, Al! He's so close!

The Alchemist: Okay! I bring it up to smell it, right? But somehow the cotton got stuck to my fingers... So when I smell my fingers, the cotton's getting stuck to my razor stubble! So then I have this shit cotton all over my face!

- "The Better Man", Season 4, THE VENTURE BROS.

Who knew there was something called "caviar cream cheese" and that it was just $5 a pound????

Another big change on Dark Shadows (the soap opera): The collapse of Willie Loomis. Played by the handsome John Karlen, Willie was a menacing, nasty, cruel, rapist who was Collinsport's resident bad-boy. He fought, he stole, he assaulted, he drank too much, he raped.

He heard that, in the colonial era, the Collins family buried their dead with lots of jewels, rings, gold chains, and silver coins. Intent on grave-robbing, he opens the tomb of Barnbas Collins -- whom he assumes must have been buried with loads and loads of gems, because his coffin is bound with iron chains and is padlocked.

He gets the shock of his life... The emergence of the vampire, Barabas Collins, completely destroys Loomis. From then on, he's a sniveling, weak, cowardly, terrified little mouse of a man who is routinely beaten (and brutally so) by Barnabas.

Spirited Away is a 2001 animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

It's about an immature, somewhat spoiled and ill-mannered 10-year-old girl named Chihiro whose parents get trapped in the spirit-world. She's able to stay in the spirit-world and not get trapped herself but only by losing her name (she gets a new one, Sen) and by working as a bath-house attendant -- tending to the many animist spirits (spirit of the river, spirit of the lake, spirit of the rocks, spirit of the forest, etc.) that use it.

Miyzaki wrote the script after noticing that his granddaughters couldn't do the most basic functions (sew on a button, say "please" and "thank you", cook rice) -- when girls of his generation were considered nearly adults. So he wrote a coming-of-age story that documented how a spoiled, incompetent little girl has to step up.

His grandkids hated the movie.

In Miyazaki's world, witches are evil and terrifying. They kill people. Yet, Sen must ask the witch Yubab for a job.

Sen meets a number of odd creatures, some of whom want to help her and some of whom do not. Some don't care. Learning that the world isn't fair and isn't going to help you is part of growing up.

Sen's most difficult moment is facing the demonic No-Face...

Sen makes a symbolic journey aboard the "ghost train"...

I think my favorite parts are when Sen is cleaning the stinky river-spirit, and when she is going along the road to Zeniba's house -- following the jumping lamp.