[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Wednesday, 2014-12-17

Dr. Phibes’ Abominable Christmas Special

Filed under: Movies,Music,Television — bblackmoor @ 16:46

How many of you remember with fondness the 1973 “Dr. Phibes’ Abominable Christmas Special”?

Dr Phibes Abominable Christmas Special (1973)

“Twelve signs of the zodiac. Twelve apostles. Twelve times, twelve! The human body has twelve cranial nerves, Doctor. … I will now play the Twelve Days Of Christmas. Ho. Ho. Ho.”
(from “Dr. Phibes’ Abominable Christmas Special”, 1973)

Dr. Phibes’ Abominable Christmas Special was a Christmas-themed television special starring Vincent Price broadcast December 23, 1973 on ABC. It featured guest star Joseph Cotten in a reprisal of his role as Dr. Vesalius from The Abominable Dr. Phibes. Also guest starring were Virginia North as Vulnavia, Billie Hayes as Witchiepoo from “H.R. Pufnstuf”, Tim Conway, Roz Kelly, Florence Henderson, rock band Pink Floyd, Billy Barty, Betty White and, in an unbilled surprise appearance, Sonny and Cher (whose own Christmas episode of the hit show “The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour” had been broadcast on CBS four days earlier, on December 19, 1973).

The 1983 Japanese LaserDisc release is the only issue of this special on disc due to the rights issues involved with the various characters and musical performances. The special was announced for DVD release in 2002 but then cancelled when rights could not be obtained, and Disney now claims rights clearances are impossible.

Friday, 2014-12-12

The three kinds of “Christmas”

Filed under: Family,Fine Living,Friends,Society — bblackmoor @ 08:58

There are really three different holidays, all known as “Christmas”. One is a religious celebration. I don’t practice that religion, so I have nothing to say about that. The second is a business event marked by pleas for conspicuous consumption and frivolous spending. My participation in that event is marginal, although I sympathize with small business owners whose livelihood is dependent upon a good “Christmas season”.

The third “Christmas” is the one I celebrate: a joyous occasion when people of all creeds set aside their petty disagreements and share a sense of good will. Numerous different religions and cultures have contributed traditions to my Christmas — it’s a holiday much richer than any particular religion or culture. It is a time when strangers are treated as friends, friends are treated like family, and family is given the appreciation we really should be giving them every day of the year. It is a time of generosity, kindness, and gratitude. It’s a holiday that belongs to everyone — to anyone who wishes to celebrate the best of what it means to be a part of the human family. By whatever name you wish to call it, that’s the Christmas I celebrate.

Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer.
Cheer to all Whos far and near.
Christmas Day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to clasp.
Christmas Day will always be
Just as long as we have we.
Welcome, Christmas, while we stand
Heart to heart, and hand in hand.

Wednesday, 2014-12-03

GamerGate meme

Filed under: Gaming,Society — bblackmoor @ 18:29

I was feeling wacky, so I made this.

GamerGate meme

Saturday, 2014-11-29

Ten Secular Commandments

Filed under: Philosophy — bblackmoor @ 09:48
ReThink Prize

The ReThink Prize is offering $1,000 each for the ten best secular commandments, as determined by a panel of judges. The prize is promoting a new book, Atheist Mind Humanist Heart, which promotes a vision of atheism as positive and ethical rather than negative and reactive. Here are ten “commandments” I thought of, although I did not bother submitting them for the contest. It’s just a thought experiment.

  1. Be kind to everyone, even when your kindness is not reciprocated.
  2. Seek the company of people who appreciate and inspire you.
  3. Avoid confrontation, and those who seek it, when possible.
  4. Defend yourself and others with violence, when necessary, but take no joy in it.
  5. Be generous, even when there is no possibility of your generosity being reciprocated.
  6. Do not take what is not freely offered.
  7. Be useful, to the best of your ability.
  8. Create something beautiful, to the best of your ability.
  9. Be worthy of the trust of others.
  10. Be true to yourself.

I think that’s a pretty good list, but I don’t think it’s terribly innovative. Desiderata is better.

If I could have gone to eleven, I would have added something about being a good steward for nature, but I ran out of commandments.

Friday, 2014-10-10

Lifeforce (1985)

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 20:58
Lifeforce (1985)

Tonight’s film fun was Lifeforce, starring Steve Railsback, Mathilda May, Peter Firth, and a host of others. This is one of my all-time favourite movies, and unlike some movies from the 1980s, this is every bit as great now as it was the first time I saw it. Maybe even more so, since this is the Shout! Factory director’s cut on Blu-ray.

I just can’t express how awesome I think this movie is. Everyone is so perfectly cast. Steve Railback as the shell-shocked astronaut fighting his involuntary obsession with the Space Girl is perfect. Mathilda May as the Space Girl communicates through body language and expressions a range I am not sure any living actor could match. Peter Firth as the SAS colonel is as cool as James Bond and just a little bit pervy. Frank Finlay as the death-obsessed biologist is amusingly quirky and detached as only an English actor can be.

How could this movie have failed at the box office? Dan O’Bannon and Don Jakob on the script, John Dykstra on special effects, Henry Mancini on the soundtrack, Tobe Hooper at the helm… this is undoubtedly one of the best science fiction movies of the 1980s, and absolutely the best movie Golan-Globus ever produced. I have not yet watched the extensive special features, but I am looking forward to it.

THANK YOU, Shout Factory, for bringing this long-awaited director’s cut to Blu-ray!

What is “gamergate”?

Filed under: Gaming,Journalism,Society,The Internet — bblackmoor @ 16:36

Generally speaking, I avoid posting anything controversial here on my blog; despite the title, I prefer to focus on the positive. However, I have decided to make an exception, regarding the hate campaign terrorist group known as “gamergate”. Have you seen the term “gamergate” (or “‪#‎gamergate‬”), and wondered what it is? Here it is, in a nutshell:

A handful of unrepentant assholes who get a kick out of stirring up controversy (they may not even believe what they say — that’s not important to them, they just like “stirring the pot”) organized a harassment campaign against a number of women journalists. A larger number of socially maladjusted idiots have joined the campaign, because they are miserable, gullible creatures. The name of this harassment campaign is “gamergate” (although “gamerhate” would be a more accurate name). “Gamergate” comes from the same cretins who brought you “bikini bridge“, “ebola-chan“, and any number of other manufactured controversies that I hope you have been too smart to pay attention to.

Pretty much every argument you hear in favor of “gamergate” is either a red herring or a bald-faced lie. It’s not a real controversy: it’s simply a hate campaign a terrorist group created by malicious idiots, and anyone who sincerely thinks “gamergate” has any value is a pathetic loser who deserves to be pitied and then ignored.

If you make death or rape threats against someone for expressing an opinion that’s different from yours, or if you concoct ludicrous conspiracy theories about in an attempt to discredit them (instead of saying, you know, “I don’t agree with you. Here’s why…”, or — and here’s a novel idea — simply ignoring them), there is something seriously wrong with you. Seek help.

2014-10-19:: Personally, I think it’s gotten to the point where we need to start treating “gamergate” like any other terrorist group: don’t engage them (it only encourages them), deny them a soapbox for their toxic views, and report their crimes to the police.

2014-10-21: Chris Kluwe doesn’t mince words.

Monday, 2014-10-06

Clue (1985)

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 16:37
Clue (1985)

Colonel Mustard: “Just checking.”
Mrs. Peacock: “Everything all right?”
Colonel Mustard: “Yep. Two corpses: everything’s fine.”

I love “Clue” (the movie). This and “Dark and Stormy Night” are my favourite homages to the “old dark house”/”ten little Indians” genre. “Murder By Death” is a close third.

It occurs to me that Clue is unusual, for the era, in the way it handles the homosexual character. Which is to say, he is not mocked or portrayed as repugnant: the fact that his sexual preferences are politically incorrect is noted as the cause for blackmail, but other than that, he’s treated with the same amount of ridicule as any other character (perhaps less).

Professor Plum: “What are you afraid of: A fate worse than death?”
Mrs. Peacock: “No. Just death.”

Random Thoughts:

  • I think it’s funny that Yvette’s shoes change from heels to flats whenever she has to run up or down the stairs.
  • I love the exterior shots of the house.
  • Poor Jane Wiedlin.
  • I miss seeing Yvette run up and down stairs.
  • Tim Curry’s impression of Michael McKean is really funny.
  • I am fascinated by Miss Scarlet’s dress, which is apparently held up by friction.

Wadsworth: “Three murders.”
Mr. Green: “Six, all together.”
Wadsworth: “This is getting serious.”

Mrs. White: “Yes. I did it. I killed Yvette. I hated her … so… much. It-it-it… flames… flames, on the side of my face…”

Saturday, 2014-09-27

Where are all the female superheroes?

Filed under: Comics,Gaming,Movies — bblackmoor @ 10:26

A friend who has daughters shared with me this article about a guy who bought a Justice League board game to play with his daughter, only to find out there that there wasn’t a single female superhero in the game. Seriously?

I find it baffling that there are so few female characters in superhero movies, and that those few seem to get left out of the merchandising so often. I assume that women who like superheroes like female superheroes, and I know that guys like female superheroes (Black Widow was the best thing about the second Iron Man movie). So who is it at these marketing companies that keeps making the bone-head decision to drop Wasp from the Avengers but keep Hawkeye (a character so lame that he’s become the poster-child for ostensibly sexist comicbook art, overlooking the fact that any art with Hawkeye in it looks ridiculous), or to leave Gamorra out of the Guardians Of The Galaxy merchandise? We, the people who buy this stuff, totally dig the female characters (for different reasons maybe, but that’s okay). So who are the idiots in board rooms saying, “No, no, no! We can’t have Supergirl or Batgirl or Power Girl or Wonder Woman or Black Canary or Batwoman or Jade in this movie/game/poster/action figure set, that’s just crazy talk!”, and why are people still listening to them?

The board game story has a more or less upbeat (if not entirely happy) ending. Even so, the whole thing mystifies me, it truly does.

Tuesday, 2014-07-29

The Host (2013)

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 21:40
The Host (2013)

We just finished watching The Host (2013). I liked this movie much more than I expected. What if the Puppet Masters’ invasion had been successful, and years later, one of them had second thoughts about it?

I was expecting some kind of action-adventure chase movie, with lots of action scenes. In all fairness, there are a number of action scenes, but most of the movie is a character study, as the alien “Wanderer” and a number of humans get to know each other. What if the Puppet Masters were … people? What if they started to see us as people?

Give this movie a shot. You might be surprised.

Saturday, 2014-07-26

Fatherland/Split Second

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 15:23
Fatherland (1994)

The third Friday of August is Cult Movie Night at Castle Blackmoor. This month, we celebrate the career of Rutger Hauer with two of his most difficult-to-find films. First, we will view Fatherland (1994). Twenty years after Nazi Germany won World War 2, a German investigator and an American journalist uncover a conspiracy of terrible crimes committed during the war.

People who want to stay late will see the action-horror film Split Second (1992). This is a film about eating chocolate, drinking coffee, and getting “BIGGER GUNS!” Set in a near-future world where global warming has put the city of London under eight inches of water, Hauer plays a police detective hunting down a serial killer with a very familiar modus operandi.

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