[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Thursday, 2010-09-23

Anne vs. Anthony

Filed under: Civil Rights,History — bblackmoor @ 10:01

I get Anne Frank and Susan B. Anthony confused. Which one fought the Nazis, again?

Saturday, 2010-09-11

Reflections on September 11, 2001

Filed under: Civil Rights,History,Privacy,Travel — bblackmoor @ 12:27

I recall where I was when the World Trade Center buildings were destroyed. Someone in a cubicle next to mine received an email that a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center Buildings. I thought it was yet another ridiculous email chain-letter forwarded by the same sort of gullible people who pass on dire warnings of syringes in telephone booths and rat urine on soda cans, and I told them so with a sneer (I am sometimes not as kind as I would like to be: I was even less so back then).

But more and more people heard this news, and then someone said that it was on the television in the break room. Still skeptical, I went and watched with everyone else.

I was flabbergasted when it was on the news in the break room, live — and then a second plane slammed into the other World Trade Center building, right in front of me. Even then, I thought it had to be a hoax or publicity stunt of some kind. I mean, how could two planes possibly hit skyscrapers in the same city on the same day? It’s inconceivable.

But it was true, of course, as we all learned over the following days and weeks.

The worst was yet to come, of course: the massive, brutal insult to American travelers known as the TSA, and the various violations of our basic human rights in the name of keeping us “safe”. Buildings can be rebuilt, and while the death toll from the airplane crashes was tragic, that many people die on our highways every month. The plane crashes may have been the work of psychotic foreigners, but the real damage to the USA happened afterward, and was perpetrated by Americans. I will probably not live long enough to see that damage undone.

Saturday, 2010-04-24

Art inspired by Confederate History Month

Filed under: Art,History — bblackmoor @ 10:28

Confederate History Month, by J. Andrew World

Two weekends ago, at RavenCon, one of my artist friends had a piece of artwork on his table in the dealer’s room, in which a skull was overlaid with a Confederate flag graphic. Beneath, it said, “Treason in the defense of slavery should not be celebrated.”

You might think that I would object to this artwork. You might be surprised.

Art, at its best, should provoke a reaction. Whether it’s lust, or nostalgia, or awe, or some other emotion, the best art affects us. This particular piece of art affects me in two different ways. On the one hand, yes, I absolutely agree with the sentiment behind it. Treason in the defense of slavery should not be celebrated. On the other hand, I strongly disagree that secession was treason, that the Confederates who actually fought in the Civil War were fighting to defend slavery, or that most of the people who would commemorate that conflict are celebrating “treason in the defense of slavery”.

I do not pretend to be an art critic. I can’t even remember the name of my favorite painting, or the artist who painted it (it’s a girl standing on a rock under an open sky, with her dress billowing in the wind — if that rings a bell to you, please drop me a line). But I think this is an effective piece of artwork, on par with (and in my opinion superior to) Shepard Fairey’s “Hope” poster. This challenges us, and does so with a clean and immediately understandable design.

Well done, Andy.

Saturday, 2010-03-27

New human relative identified

Filed under: History,Science — bblackmoor @ 14:37

skull fossil

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.

(from Neither Neanderthal nor sapiens: new human relative IDed, Ars Technica)

Friday, 2010-02-12

America is not a Christian nation

Filed under: History,Society — bblackmoor @ 17:52

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.

(From America is not a Christian nation, Salon)

I am no great fan of President Obama (nor was I of President Bush). But when someone is right, they are right.

Thursday, 2009-11-26

Happy Thanksgiving!

Filed under: History — bblackmoor @ 12:00

(I heard about this from The Breda Revolution.)

Wednesday, 2009-10-28

Iron curtains, old and new

Filed under: History,Society — bblackmoor @ 13:49

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.

Wednesday, 2009-06-24

Godzilla movie timeline

Filed under: History,Movies — bblackmoor @ 18:58

GojiraI spent some time today piecing together the cinematic history of Godzilla. I have about a dozen Godzilla movies on DVD and Blu-Ray. 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 or Blu-Ray. Unfortunately, some are very difficult to find at a sane price (or unavailable entirely, in the case of Return of Godzilla).

I hope that other people find this list useful.

Showa era

Heisei era

The American knock-off

  • Godzilla (1998) No, it isn’t really a Godzilla movie, but Zilla does show up in Final Wars.

Millennium era

“Fat Godzilla” era

Tuesday, 2008-02-26

Viking Women Dressed Provocatively

Filed under: History — bblackmoor @ 21:54

authentic Viking footwearAs if we needed more reasons to be annoyed at Christianity.

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.”

(from Viking Women Dressed Provocatively, Yahoo! News)

Sounds to me like the costumes from Viking Women And The Sea Serpent were not so far off, after all.

Saturday, 2007-09-15

Postcards from the year two thousand

Filed under: Art,History — bblackmoor @ 22:56

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.

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