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Last update: 15 Dec 2009 -- 0:29am
 Monday
30 Nov 2009
The Mystic Chords of Memory

Tim Biskup's is returning to Iguapop Gallery in Barcelona for a second American themed exhibit: "The Mystic Chords of Memory." So if you find yourself in Barcelona between June 4th and July 4th (how fitting), stop by and take a look!

American Cyclops - First Iquapop exhibit

Super Emo Friends

Awww. Wittle emo super fwiends.

 Sunday
29 Nov 2009
VW Bus Illustrations

A bunch of illustrations of VW buses used for businesses. Great colors.

 Saturday
28 Nov 2009
Great Illustrations from Poe Stories
Great Illustrations from Poe Stories

 

Pulp Figures

Pulp Figures Catalog

via Pulp Figures

 Friday
27 Nov 2009
 Thursday
26 Nov 2009
 Wednesday
25 Nov 2009
 Tuesday
24 Nov 2009
 Monday
23 Nov 2009
 Sunday
22 Nov 2009
Sadly, I watched the remake of The Prisoner. I tried to keep my preconceptions minimal, but was still quite disappointed. I expected the story would change but that the basic thematic content would stay the same. Although it was in the same vein, it lacked the intelligence and conviction that the original had.

I'm pretty sure there's nothing in the original series that doesn't add to its basic message. OK, I take that back. Who knows what that western episode was all about? But on the whole, everything hangs and works together. (I can cite examples, if necessary.) The original Prisoner is a paean to being your own person, having the courage to keep your beliefs, and never being forced to give up your soul. It shows that the real battle is in our minds and hearts, and that even if you are forced to conform outwardly no one can control your thoughts. Unless you let them.

At first, the new mini-series seemed to be about the same thing. But as the flashbacks/flashforwards/flashsideways started happening more often, I became worried. They wanted to be Clever. Save me, O Lord, from Cleverness! They somehow felt the need to explain it all. Where is the Village? Who controls it? Who is Number 2? What's the Number 6's real name?

The original Prisoner gave no direct explanation for these things, nor did it need to. Doing so would have made the show mundane. Even so, you can explain the plot of the original Prisoner easily. It makes perfect sense and isn't confusing at all, as opposed to the new one.

You're probably thinking that I'm crazy. Did I not see the almost entirely baffling final two episodes of the first series? Were they not incomprehensible? Yes I saw them, and they aren't really explicable except in broad and arguable strokes. But leaving the heavily allegorical last two episodes aside, the basic premise of the show couldn't be simpler. Heck, it's summarized at the beginning of every episode. A good portion of it without the use of dialogue, even.

Man resigns for reasons of his own. Man gets kidnapped and awakes in the Village. Man is plied with a variety of methods to figure out exactly why he resigned. Man is brave in the face of unrelenting pressure, tricks, and torture and never surrenders the information sought. (If one adds the final episodes: Man triumphs and escapes the Village. But is the real world any less of a prison?)

I'm not sure the new series (Danger, spoilers) makes nearly as much sense. Man resigns from a company for reasons of his own. Man wakes up near Village. Man is plied with a variety of methods to simply accept the Village as his home and stay. Man learns that the Village is actually a dream being dreamed by someone else to help the mentally ill. They are better in the Village because they have been brainwashed. It is unclear where they are in the real world. The dreamer dies and another takes her place. Man decides to stay and take care of the new dreamer. And also Man promoted and is in the real world too. Or something.

That's just crap.

Judging it on its own merits, with no regard for the original series, it's not entirely awful. It starts out quite well, I think. Ian McKellen (No 2) is excellent. Jim Caviezel (No 6) does well enough. The production design is good. I liked the occasional nod to the original series (e.g. 53's room was essentially a duplicate of original 6's room).

The show was enjoyable until the last episode or so. The terrible secret of the Village was just nonsense.

Coraline (IMDB 7.9|Rot 88%|Netflix 3.8)
This is an amazing stop-motion adaptation of a Neil Gaiman novel. Coraline is a young girl in a new home with very distracted and dismissive parents. Shunned and bored, she find her way into an alternate reality that's much like her own. The alternate world is brighter and more magical, and her Other Parents more attentive. So attentive that they don't want her to leave... ever.

Definitely recommended. The story is excellent, the characters are interesting, and the visuals are amazing (and just when you thought they hit their limit they go even further). The climax is a little intense for young kids but is probably fine for around 9 years old and up.

 Saturday
21 Nov 2009
 Friday
20 Nov 2009
 Thursday
19 Nov 2009
 Wednesday
18 Nov 2009
 Tuesday
17 Nov 2009
 Sunday
15 Nov 2009
 Thursday
12 Nov 2009
 Wednesday
11 Nov 2009
 Tuesday
10 Nov 2009
 Monday
9 Nov 2009
The idea that "if it's too big to fail, it's too big to exist", has finally made it to Congress. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is introducing a bill which requires a resolution to this issue. It's so short, I'll include it in its entirety:

A BILL
To address the concept of "Too Big To Fail" with respect
to certain financial entities.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the "Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Exist Act".

SEC. 2. REPORT TO CONGRESS ON INSTITUTIONS THAT ARE TOO BIG TO FAIL.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Treasury shall submit to Congress a list of all commercial banks, investment banks, hedge funds, and insurance companies that the Secretary believes are too big to fail (in this Act referred to as the "Too Big to Fail List").

SEC. 3. BREAKING-UP TOO BIG TO FAIL INSTITUTIONS.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, beginning 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Treasury shall break up entities included on the Too Big To Fail List, so that their failure would no longer cause a catastrophic effect on the United States or global economy without a taxpayer bailout.

SEC. 4. DEFINITION.

For purposes of this Act, the term "Too Big to Fail" means any entity that has grown so large that its failure would have a catastrophic effect on the stability of either the financial system or the United States economy without substantial Government assistance.
It's refreshing to see a bill that's less than 200 pages that simply states what is supposed to be done. (The financial bill the Senate banking committee is proposing is 253 pages. The health care bill was over a thousand.)

Personally, I'm excited and heartened that this bill even exists. Since the meltdown happened I've heard about how we needed to bail these firms out; if we did not, there would be a global collapse. I believe all that. It's clearly a wake-up call and proof positive that the regulation of these financial entities is insufficient. How can we possibly continue with the status quo after such an event?

None of these firms are actually insured by the Federal government, and yet they must be bailed out or we have a catastrophe. They don't pay for this insurance and they have no reason to ever do so. As long as they can get assurances for free, they will. It's unconscionable that we should continue to allow it. And yet, we can't just let them fail.

Logic dictates, therefore, that something must be done such that these entities cannot create another meltdown.

Institutions which cannot guarantee the safety of the economy as a whole in the face of their failure must be modified until they can. An obvious method is to break them up.

In addition, interconnectedness between financial firms must be regulated to avoid a chain reaction if there are failures. The debt trade is largely in the dark now, which keeps anyone from knowing what the ramifications of a failure would be. This likely needs to be brought out into the open.

The basic need to actually take action (like the above or equivalent) is so obvious to me that I am baffled when I hear that there's a debate involved at all.

And then, out of nowhere, this bill appears. And I allow myself the thought, if only for a minute, that we aren't stuck on the road of the Long Decline.

 Saturday
7 Nov 2009
 Friday
6 Nov 2009
 Tuesday
3 Nov 2009
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Pictures of Max - popplers - Snuffy's photos