Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Living up to their name

WDUN | Chapter 11 files for Chapter 11
The bookstore company that once used the slogan "prices so low, you'd think we were going bankrupt" has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will be closing its Gainesville store, among others.

Chapter 11 Bookstores says on its Web site that the filing is "an effort to better serve its customers and strengthen its overall business operations."
I bet they wish they'd called it "Insanely Profitable Bookstore" now.

Friday, October 07, 2005

That was the Jihad that was

BBC | David Frost joins al-Jazeera TV
Veteran UK broadcaster Sir David Frost is to join Arabic-language TV station al-Jazeera, the network has confirmed.

Sir David is to appear on al-Jazeera International, the pan-Arab news network's new English-language channel, due to be launched next spring.

The Qatar-based channel said Sir David, who broadcast his final Breakfast with Frost programme for the BBC in May, would be among the "key on-air talent".

Sir David was quoted as saying he felt "excitement" about his new role.

"Most of the television I have done over the years has been aimed at British and American audiences," he said.

"This time, while our target is still Britain and America, the excitement is that it is also the six billion other inhabitants of the globe."
Every now and then, a news story comes along that makes one say, "Did I hear that correctly?"

Of course, it's a brilliant move by al-Jazeera, and gives its new English-language channel a huge boost in credibility and prestige.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

A war just ended

Guardian | Breaking America's grip on the net
Old allies in world politics, representatives from the UK and US sat just feet away from each other, but all looked straight ahead as Hendon [David Herndon, director of business relations for the UK Department for Trade and Industry] explained the EU had decided to end the US government's unilateral control of the internet and put in place a new body that would now run this revolutionary communications medium.
That is to say, we lost.

End of an era

Stately Wayne Manor burned to the ground Wednesday night.

On the other hand, the dolphins will be singing his name long after humans are gone.

Later: False alarm, so to speak. The fire was down the street: Stately Wayne Manor is saved!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

"I only came to Dragon*Con as a favor to my boyfriend"

Nashville Scene | Geek Love
Last weekend, I went to Dragon*Con in Atlanta, the largest sci-fi and fantasy convention in the country.

I don’t like sci-fi and I really don’t like fantasy, but I went to the convention because I’m a nice person and my boyfriend is a dork. I’ve known this for a long time—my first suspicion came three years ago, when I discovered that he knew the lyrics to almost every Weird Al song, but not the originals—but I don’t think I fully realized the extent of his affliction until I went to this convention.

I can't remember the short story this reminds me of. It's about a valley girl who finds herself thrown into a sword-and-sorcery world, but never loses the I'd-rather-be-on-Rodeo-Drive attitude. Taken in that light, it's hilarious.

If you take Dragon*Con seriously, I suppose you might be offended by this (plenty of people appear to be), but you'd have to buy the central conceit that this woman attended Dragon*Con "as a favor to my boyfriend", then published this newspaper article savaging his hobbies for the sake of a good laugh.

And now, our feature presentation

The War of the Worlds (1953), in 30 seconds. Re-enacted by bunnies.

Monday, October 03, 2005

"You can't take the sky from me"

After dozens of advance screenings, all of which sold out before I ever heard about them, Serenity is finally in the theaters. This is the movie written and directed by Joss (Buffy, Angel) Whedon, based on his series Firefly.

There were actually 14 episodes filmed, but Fox only ran eleven of them, and those out of order. The two-hour pilot they ran last, for reasons that must have made sense at the time. The whole series can be seen, in order, in the DVD set.

Watching Serenity is like fast-forwarding through the eight episodes that would have completed the first full 22-episode season. That's asking a lot of a hundred and nineteen minutes. Fortunately, it is one hell of a hundred and nineteen minutes. You'll laugh. "At last, we can retire and give up this life of crime." You'll cry. "I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar." And, yes, you'll kiss eight-to-ten bucks goodbye, but it'll be worth it.

(See also this comic strip and interview with Joss Whedon by M. E. Russell, and this review from Locus.)