At a press conference yesterday, researchers announced the completely unexpected: a Siberian cave has yielded evidence of an entirely unknown human relative that appears to have shared Asia with both modern humans and Neanderthals less than 50,000 years ago. The find comes courtesy of a single bone from individual’s hand. Lest you think that paleontologists are overinterpreting a tiny fragment, it wasn’t the shape of the bone that indicates the presence of a new species—it was the DNA that it contained.
Religious conservatives argue the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Judeo-Christian country. But President Obama is right when he says it isn’t.
I am no great fan of President Obama (nor was I of President Bush). But when someone is right, they are right.
I was reading this article about the Hungarian Prime Minister who was ultimately instrumental in the fall of the Berlin Wall, and I was struck by the contrast between the fall of the Iron Curtain, and what has been happening to the USA for the past ten years (and a new President has made absolutely no difference in this trend).
It makes me sad.
I spent some time today piecing together the cinematic history of Godzilla. I have about a dozen Godzilla movies on DVD. Most are available in English. A few are not. Some were brutally mangled for US release, but I think many of those have since been re-released by distributors that actually care about the film (most notably Gojira and Godzilla Raids Again).
With that in mind, I have compiled a list of the Godzilla films and what I consider to be the important Godzilla-related films (I included Rodan, for example, but I did not include movies like War of the Gargantuas, which are ostensibly set in the same universe but which never cross over with Godzilla), and linked them to what I consider the best versions of those films on DVD (at the time I made this list, anyway — Classic Media is doing a great job resurrecting these). Unfortunately, some are not yet available on DVD in the USA.
I hope that other people find this list useful.
- Godzilla (1954)
- Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
- Rodan (1956)
- Mothra (1961)
- King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
- Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
- Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
- Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)
- Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (1966)
- King Kong Escapes (1967)
- Son of Godzilla (1967)
- Destroy All Monsters (1968)
- All Monsters Attack (1969) aka “Godzilla’s Revenge”.
- Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971) I suggest that you watch this in Japanese with English subtitles.
- Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)
- Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973) Unfortunately, there is no English version of this film on DVD. You may be able to find a region-free copy of the Japanese film on Ebay, though.
- Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)
- Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)
- The Return of Godzilla (1984) Unfortunately, there is no English version of this film on DVD. That may be a blessing: the Americanized version of this film (“Godzilla 1985″) was an abomination. You may be able to find a region-free copy of the Japanese film on Ebay, though.
- Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989) Unfortunately, there is no English version of this film on DVD. You may be able to find a region-free copy of the Japanese film on Ebay, though.
- Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991) Unfortunately, the only version of this film on DVD is so-called “fullscreen”, meaning that the image is chopped on the right and left. But I suppose it is better than nothing.
- Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992) Unfortunately, the only version of this film on DVD is so-called “fullscreen”, meaning that the image is chopped on the right and left. But I suppose it is better than nothing.
- Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993)
- Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994)
- Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995)
- Rebirth of Mothra (1996)
- Rebirth of Mothra II (1997)
- Rebirth of Mothra III (1998) Unfortunately, there is no English version of this film on DVD. You may be able to find a region-free copy of the Japanese film on ebay, though.
The American knock-off
A runway fashion show in Viking times would have spotlighted women cloaked in imported colored-silk gowns adorned with metallic breast coverings and long trains.
This surprising claim is the result of a new analysis of remnants from a woman’s wardrobe discovered in a grave dating back to the 10th century in Russia, painting a picture of Viking panache before Christianity was established that runs counter to previous ideas about buttoned-up, prudish looking Norsewomen.
“Now we can say the pre-Christian dress code was very rich,” textiles researcher Annika Larsson of Uppsala University in Sweden told LiveScience. “When Christianity came, the dress was more like that of nuns. There was a big difference.”
Sounds to me like the costumes from Viking Women And The Sea Serpent were not so far off, after all.
The National Library of France (BnF) has an amazing collection of prints from 1910 which depict life in the year 2000. They are credited to Villemard.
Did you know that the automatic dishwasher was invented by a woman named Josephine Garis Cochrane? She received an award for her invention at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. The company she founded to market the dishwasher to hotels, restaurants and other commercial groups was purchased in the 1920′s by the Hobart Corporation. They introduced the “KitchenAid” brand name that is known today. Dishwashers under this name were introduced in 1949.
Susan and I just got back from Sandusky, Ohio, home of the Cedar Point amusement park. Cedar Point is reputed to have the best collection of roller coasters in the USA, which is why we went. We did have a good time, but you know, I think Busch Gardens Europe (formerly known as Busch Gardens: The Old Country) is on par with it, and Busch Gardens is a nicer amusement park to spend the day in.
We also visited Harpers Ferry, WV, during what just happened to be the centennial celebration of the first meeting of the Niagra Movement on US soil. Pretty cool. We also got to see (from the outside) the only English Norman castle in the USA, Berkeley Castle. Too bad it isn’t open for tours anymore.
I noticed some strange things on our trip. Some of them were obvious, and easy to talk about. For example, in Pennsylvania you can’t buy wine at the grocery store. You can only buy it at state-run stores. When I asked a fellow in PA where I could find the wine in the grocery store, he made a disparaging comment on his “backward” state. Meanwhile, in West Virginia, you can buy liquor at the corner 7-11. I kind of wish I had, just so that I could say that I did.
It was also hard to miss the demographic differences, but those are more difficult to talk about. People react strangely when you notice their differences. For example, there seemed to be an unnatural number of lean, reasonably attractive women in Sandusky, Ohio. Literally half of the people on the shuttle bus going to Cedar Point on our first day were young women. I do not know why. It was also hard to miss that Ohio is a very “white” state. Here in central and south-eastern Virginia, I am used to there being a roughly 50/50 mix of light-skinned and dark-skinned people. I think of this as normal. It was very odd to see a few dark faces in an otherwise oatmeal-colored crowd. I have to wonder how it would feel to be the X in a crowd of Os. I would have liked to ask a few people how they felt being a literal as well as figurative minority, but as I said, people react strangely when you draw attention to such things, so I didn’t.
I took a bunch of photos during our trip, using our nifty new Nikon digital camera. I’ll put them online soon, probably tomorrow.