Dagon, The Lathe of Heaven

One of the nice things about Netflix is that you can get some stuff that will never, ever, appear at your local Blockbusters, because they’re either out of date, or else hopelessly obscure… for instance, this past week we actually got a hold of:

Dagon: B-
Now, don’t get me wrong. Dagon is a Lovecraft movie. There’s a reason that Lovecraft, creepy as he is, doesn’t get put to the screen (it’s no surprise, for example, that At the Mountains of Madness, which makes Alien look like a romantic comedy, has vapored). For starters, your typical Lovecraft story has no “resolution” in terms that Hollywood understands. It’s simply a case of “what is, is.” And “what is,” is horrific in the true sense of the word. Lovecraft depends heavily on a creepy sense of helpless foreboding… in other words, 95% of what makes it work is mood, and directly dependent on having a really kick-ass director. A “B-” is a very good grade for what is essentially a B-movie with an author who really, really doesn’t translate well to the big screen. Bump it up to an outright “A” if judged purely on the basis of “big dumb fun.”

Pros –most tasteful “nekkid lady sacrifice scene” I’ve ever seen.
–lots of little visual in jokes for Lovecraft fans
–gore and visual effects used precisely when and how needed, w/o overdoing it

Cons –significant liberties taken with the original storyline (Lovecraft purists will be unhappy)
–necessary explication extends further than truly necessary

The Lathe of Heaven: B+
Well, here’s another author who doesn’t really translate to the big screen, as the recent debacle surrounding A Wizard of Earthsea demonstrates. Ursula K. LeGuin is one of the Holy Trinity of serious 20th-century fantasy writers, along with Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. The Lathe of Heaven is one of her forays into science fiction, and like all really good work of either genre, the basic premise (a guy’s dreams shape reality, including the past) is a vehicle by which two starkly opposing worldviews and philosophical systems are put in opposition. Lathe in this sense is an explicit attack upon the shortcomings of Logical Positivism.

Pros –Really well done non-anthropomorphic aliens
–Believable characters, with a tragic figure who escapes being cast as a cardboard villain.

Cons –Effects are muted but dated (well done, but very 70s)
–DFW residents will chortle at the architectural sleight-of-hand

Unmitigated Geekery, Destructive, p2

I now have:

a. a promise on design plans for a dart-drop setup that will allow for direct penetration tests with various varieties of arrowhead/spearhead.

b. cooperation on pricing/building a machine that will allow for shear/slice/shearing slice tests.

All told, it will take a bit to build the stuff getting trashed up, and to get the various cutting and piercing heads made, but by mid of next year, I should be in a position to make some fairly definitive statements. Definitely publishable material.

What is Ahmedinejad playing at?

Okay, the word’s out: Iran can have a nuke within months, which means for certain by next Christmas… to what purpose?

Step One: Get Nukes.
Step Two: ????
Step Three: Profit.

  • If Iran tries to glass Israel, it will get pasted, and pasted HARD, in return, because the US interests dictate that it absolutely cannot allow a nuclear first strike to go unanswered (if it does, China gets carte blanche to wipe Taiwan off the map and then simply resettle it as the ultimate unsinkable aircraft carrier). Same thing goes for a container bomb nuke in Haifa… we all know who the suppliers are.
  • If Iran has the bomb, then it’s unlikely to be invaded by the US because of its unfortunate habit of flinging legates and janissaries across the globe. But the chance that the US would invade, rather than simply wait for demographics to inevitably crush the regime under the weight of its own self-inflicted resentment, is miniscule at most.
  • Ahmedinejad and the Iranian security forces are known to be big fans of Huntington and his “Clash” thesis.. and what’s more, they think they can win. But against whom? They have no close enemies, Iraq forms a serious buffer between Iran and Israel, and the opponent for whom they’d love to dig a grave is half the globe away and could bomb them into the stone age inside of two weeks, with or without Russia’s new SAM sales. (And if the Pentagon serious about creating the “rods of God,” which would explain its push for a launch capacity within a two-hour window, even faster.)

Either Ahmedinejad is so far gone with his millenarian “hidden Imam” thing that he should be regarded as a loon, or else he’s got something long-range up his sleeve. Or does he? Given his known self-inflicted domestic political problems, is it arguable that he’s simply not competent, and has fetishized “Step One: Get Nukes” without having them predicated upon “Step Two?”

Iraq and Germany, a comparison

(Hat tip: Gateway Pundit.)

Driftwood USA has a nice little set of graphs showing post-war Iraq and post-war Germany side by side.

The striking thing about them, imho, is this: why do we have so many troops in Germany? It’s expensive, and it’s not doing us any favors. The Germans don’t like us, they don’t want us there, and their newspapers, magazines, and political speech all read like something from the December 9, 1971 issue of Pravda. The country is a festering swamp of smug leftism. All you have to do to be unpopular in Germany is to be even vaguely pro-capitalism or pro-US (and no, Merkel doesn’t count as a “friendly,” except insofar as she won’t pick every opportunity to blast the US. She’s pro-US the way that Hillary’s pro-military: it’s just that, compared to the rest of Germany, she may as well be serving apple pie at an Independence Day Parade.)

Our troop presence doesn’t even seem to be in Germany’s political interests, either, as it falls breathlessly to its knees to blow Russia for its oil supplies.

I guess the short answer to the question is, “because the bases in Romania and Bulgaria aren’t ready.” … Is there a longer answer that makes any sense whatsoever?

Felt!

Felt has arrived chez moi. Therefore, since the roads were beat to all hell last night with black ice, I started stitching up gloves for playing double cane, where the hands are explicitly targeted (and are more vulnerable, since you can parry while getting a really GOOD angle on them with the other weapon)…

I have GOT to get better with a sewing awl. For some reason, last night I just couldn’t seem to keep track of all the stringy bits, even though my test run worked like a charm. And I’m definitely investing in a felt wheel setup for sharpening these suckers. Sheesh. It took me most of one evening to stitch a QUARTER of a glove, not counting internal furniture for the grip…

UPDATE: I think I have the sewing awl finally figured out. Pictures help. I definitely still have to play with how to loop the material, though, and it’s not even vaguely as tight a stitch as a true double-needle job…

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