BlogTalk Oddities

End of March Link Roundup

  • WordPress 2.5 is out, and it is very pretty on the inside. Some plugins break, in particular the livejournal crossposter, but I read there is a fix, so I’m posting to try it (PS: works for me). To make this more than a test, test post, I stick in some links what I have already tagged in my shared items or scuttle, but which I haven’t put in this feed.
  • Here’s a picture essay about the Oz books and subsequent derivative works and how, they kept getting darker until perhaps due to the success of Wicked, the dark adult deconstruction of Oz became practically its own genre. Sort of like Postmodern superheroes, except with ruby slippers.
  • Here’s a slew (that’s like a flotilla, except of stuff) of proposed and rejected ideas for Star Wars merchandise. Bantha slippers, anyone? Jabba the Hutt beanbag? Death Star Grill?
  • The Wikihistory link has been making the rounds everywhere, but, yeah.
  • Literary Divination, A Parlour Game is about creating Tarot readings for fictional or real characters using books instead of cards.
  • Yossi Gurvitz on Prof. Shlomo Zand’s book on the manufactured nature of Jewish history and the Zionist narrative (Hebrew). Though-provoking and some further exploration (or culture archeology axe-grinding) of the history of early Judaism, which Yossi has been ranting about recently.
  • Anders Sandberg is discussing the usefulness of love-potions, or as he calls it the neuropharmacological enhancement of love and why it is likely a good idea.
  • Kenneth Hite complains that theater isn’t bloody enough anymore, mentioning Titus Andronicus and the plays of Seneca, which I just recently read him mentioning in White Wolf’s Requiem for Rome book.
  • Finally, apropos “Earth Hour” (was that the blackening of Google you were on about?), here is Peter Watts all full of bleak and brilliant fury:

    Why, I’ll bet the reduced environmental impact from turning off those lights might even recoup a small fraction of the resources consumed to drive the massive multimedia extravaganza advertising Earth Hour.

    Oh, wait. There isn’t going to be any reduction in environmental impact. Not unless the world’s power-generating utilities decide to scale back the fossil fuels they’re burning to reflect a one-time, one-hour tick in the time series.

    Yes, I know. It’s only supposed to make “a statement”. It’s supposed to be a symbol. And what does it symbolize, exactly? It symbolizes “hope” — which is to say, our infinite capacity for denial

Oddities Resources

The Lame Link Digest

Compressed Air Knife (for blowing up hostile marine life!) via Rob Donoghue and
Thought-controlled microphone
(cyber telepathy!), via Warren Ellis.
Penny Psychology:
From a commentary on an unworthy news story “revealing” that people play characters of the opposite gender:

The standard male response is: “if I’m going to look at an avatar’s butt the whole time I play, I’d rather it was one I found attractive”. This turns any covert slights against their sexuality on their heads: hey, look, I’m so masculine I play female characters! The standard female response, in contrast, is that they get hit on so often when playing as a female that they have to play as a male to escape it: hey, look, I’m so feminine I play male characters!
Neither of these excuses stands up to scrutiny, of course.

[also via Rob Donoghue, ibid].

Speed Racer trailer via Chad Underkoffler, and new Hulk trailer (Beware – streaming piece-of-shit) via Yair Raveh.
Chris Sims gives us Archie Andrews covering Jarvis Cocker.

DungeonMaster in the Hereafter

Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons (with Dave Arenson) has passed away, aged 69. Gary’s loquacious and baroque exhibition of grognard erudition was a big part of the charm and appeal of 1st Edition AD&D (Advanced Dungeons and Dragons), and puzzling through his Dungeon Master’s Guide, in particular, was a source of much solitary enjoyment for me (not that kind of solitary enjoyment – this isn’t the Monster’s Manual I’m talking about here). But more than that, of course, the game he made provided me with many hours of fun with my best friends. Without D&D, I think I would have missed out on many of the best friendships in my life.

There are two DMs in heaven, now.

Feeble wit about God drawing up his first character sheet now that Gary is there to run a game is redacted but, yeah.