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{ Monthly Archives } April 2010

Asimov’s rules, where are you when we need you?

R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) by Karel Capek (translated and recorded for BBC radio) RUR stands out for that third R, the first place robot was used to describe mechanical golems. In Capek’s play, the robots are more like the modern cylons in BSG, indistinguishable from humans. The play tells the tale of the island factory […]

Sherlock Holmes

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who think Sherlock Holmes must never battle dinosaurs, and those who acknowledge that sometimes a dinosaur will pop up in London and need battling.  I’m firmly in the latter camp. Sherlock Holmes, a “mockbuster” film made at the same time (and usually with VERY similar […]

Music Roundup: December, January, February, March

I’ve been listening to a lot of stuff in the last few months and not documenting any of it.  Rather than writing long posts about each of the things, I’ll note what albums and mixes I’ve been rocking, and then make a few comments. December: Michael Jackson, The Essential Michael Jackson, disc 1. Mojo Nixon, […]

Logout for Civility?

I was recently invited to join a Facebook event called “Logout for Civility.”  Here’s the event description: Express your desire for a peaceful and civil facebook community! Join us in a 12-hour facebook logout to express our displeasure with facebook groups that broadcast hate speech and promote violence. I inadvertently participated in this event by […]

The Manual of Detection

by Jedediah Berry, narrated by Pete Larkin What happens if Terry Gilliam (Brazil) and Marc Caro/Jean Paul Jeunet (City of Lost Children, Delicatessen) got together to make a book about detectives?  Jedediah Berry seems to draw inspiration from these films in The Manual of Detection, a book both surreal and fantastic with a heavy dose […]

A reason to love life for life itself

[Youtube:] A lovely song from The Streets.

The prisoner’s dilemma

In both my Game Culture class and my New Millennium Studies class this week, the students played a game of iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma.  First, here’s how it worked: Each person got a card with the scores on it that said DEFECT on one side and COOPERATE on the other.  The point matrix was as follows: […]

The Martian Chronicles

By Ray Bradbury I hadn’t read this book yet — I know, that’s sad — so I thought I’d give it a whirl.  Bradbury tells a series of stories that document the rise and fall of humankind on Mars.  It’s a compelling collection, with good lessons about the dark side of humankind and our tendencies […]


Up is a beautiful movie.  My family watched it this week and we enjoyed it immensely.  Pixar hits another homerun.  I’ll hold off on slathering too much adulation, as you’ve heard it all before.  Some small thoughts: As always, the characterization is excellent, with a few short scenes defining who our characters are and shaping […]

Adventures in silly signage

The CTA has these handy-dandy “elevator status” signs used by the station attendants to alert riders about broken elevators and whatnot.  In fact, I think they’re just to alert riders when there are elevators out of order. Oddly enough, at the LaSalle Blue line stop, they have one of those signs on the main landing, […]

Why Am I Writing This?

Andrew Kozma, poet and playwright extraordinare, recently wrote a post about getting food from a co-op.  Toward the end of the post, he writes: Why is this important to me? [Yes, why? –ed.] Why am I writing about this? [I already asked. –ed.] Here I could ladle out a metaphor stringing cooking and writing together, […]

The Postman Always Rings Twice

by James M. Cain The quintessential noir crime novel, The Postman Always Rings Twice follows the crisp, dark tale of a drifter who wanders into a diner, falls for the sultry wife of the owner, and conspires with her to off her husband, a nice guy who’s a bit boorish.  Some thoughts: The only likeable […]

Things that make everything better

Randy Newman: [youtube:] Believe it or not, their album has additional themes for Seabiscuit, Scarface, Return of the King, Cowbell: [youtube:]


Snark: It’s Mean, It’s Personal, and It’s Ruining Our Conversation (A Polemic in Seven Fits), by David Denby, narrated by William Dufris Denby’s “Polemic in Seven Fits” seeks to categorize and understand the modern tendency toward snarky writing and commentary.  Denby makes the argument that snark works in a similar mode as satire and irony, […]

St. Louis, in pictures

While I was in St. Louis, I got away for an hour and a half to walk around the downtown area and take pictures.  I borrowed my friend Paul’s camera and took 110 pics.  Here they are: All are CC licenced, so enjoy and use!