1 January 2002
[9/11] Is bin Laden the Lord of the Rings?‘All that stands between us and this implacable darkness is a small band of ordinary guys doing extraordinary deeds in their unconventional hit-and-run style. Always vastly outnumbered, they never lose a battle and hardly ever a single life. Are they really that good? Or is it just because they embody the cosmic principle of goodness? Their devotion to honor, decency, and each other is exemplary. And they invite us to come back to the theater next Christmas to see them defend the oh-so-white city, where we all hope to live peacefully ever after. If you have seen the movie and followed the war news, you can no doubt extend the list of parallels.’ [via Wood s Lot]
[comics] Cat Yronwode’s website continues to fascinate… The Mojo Car‘As this 2001 picture of the Ford Escort shows, we have progressed greatly in our willingness to abandon functionality for aesthetics. Godzilla is still top and center, but he no longer dismounts — and he is surrounded by other tall items — a Menorah, a Black Pocahontas-like Guardian Angel, the Virgin of Los Lagos, the Statue of Liberty, a head-nodding El Diablo, Merlin with his raven, two large Santas — and a host of smaller figures, including the Devil and his Grandmother, Glinda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West, large crowns, pyx and chalice, altar boy and altar girl, Buddy Christ, Visnu, Chango Macho, Santissima Muerte, Pikachu, and about a dozen Buddhas’ [Related: Yronwode Bio]
2 January 2002
[distraction] Fantastic 20th anniversary version of a classic arcade game — Pitfall‘Guide Pitfall Harry through a treacherous jungle maze. He must leap over obstacles and dodge deadly dangers while grabbing all the treasure he can reach!’ [via Fark]
[comics] Super Hitler Vs. Super Stalin… [via Grammarporn]

Stalin: How are you gentlemen!! All your base are belong to us. You are on the way to destruction. Hitler: What you say!!

3 January 2002
[9/11] What Did They Know and When Did They Know It? … excellent resource for conspiracy theorists… a long list of 9-11 related stories.
[distraction] I Know Where Bruce Lee Lives! … Fantastic Flash “Kung-Fu Remixer”. [via Grammarporn]
4 January 2002
[books] Choke On This — an interview with Chuck Palahniuk … On his new book Lullaby: ‘It’s about a very burnt-out, jaded newspaper reporter who is assigned to do a five-part series about crib death, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. So, he wants to profile five different crib deaths. So, paramedics take him to, first, one crib-death scene, and he notices a library book that’s there, and it’s a cheap anthology of public domain folk stories and poems and anything that could be slapped together and published, and it’s opened to page 27. And the next crib-death sight is not exactly crib death, it’s a three-year-old, but it’s the same library book. And, it’s not open, but when he sets it on its spine, it falls open to page 27. Then the third, the fourth, the fifth crib-death sight, these people have all checked out this library book, and it looks like the night before these children died, it was read, what turns out to be an ancient African culling song, which was used to decrease population during famine or drought, and to humanely euthanize elderly or diseased or injured people in a painless, almost instant way. And he realizes that this is a spell for killing people.’ [via Feeling Listless]
5 January 2002
[comics] The Rational Shaman — great interview with Alan Moore concentrating on magic and comics … ‘After Watchmen, I felt that I was perhaps coming to a limit as to what I could further understand about writing rationally. If I was going to go any further into writing, I had to take a step beyond the rational. Magic was the only area that offered floorboards after that step. And it also seemed to offer a new way of looking at things, a new set of tools to continue.’ [via I Love Everything]
[spam] SIMPLE PILL CAN INCREASE YOUR EJACULATION By 581%!!! … really silly spam. ‘Shoot up to 13 feet!’ [via Everlasting Blort]
6 January 2002
[film] Scott’s Corner — interview / profile of director Ridley Scott‘His mother died at the beginning of this year, aged 96, just before he started filming Black Hawk Down. He says, of course, it affected him, but not like his brother’s death, ‘Because – at 96 – you get into the preparation for the inevitability of the event – even though I was convinced she was going to last till she was 105, actually – she was really tough. I can’t even remember the last time she had a cold. And it was a very simple minor operation – and the operation was successful, but her heart gave up.’ There is just the slightest catch in his voice when he says this, which I imagine is the closest he ever comes to showing emotion. He once said, ‘As an Englishman, I’m aghast at emotional intensity’, and, despite all his years in California, he still hasn’t learnt the first elements of letting it all hang out.’ [Related: Black Hawk Down Trailer]
[comics] Who Watches Dave Gibbons? — interview from Sequential Tart … On Working with Alan Moore on an ABC project:‘I can’t tell you much right now, although we have had extensive creative discussions about it. It’s not Watchmen 2, but I think we’ve identified what we do best together and I think those who enjoyed Watchmen will enjoy it.’
[wisdom] Fearlessness in Difficult Times‘We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and make us kinder and more open to what scares us. We always have this choice.’ [via Wood s Lot]
7 January 2002
[books] Excellent interview / bio of Philip Pullman. During the interview Pullman is asked if we are missing out on magic in a world dominated by science … ‘Perhaps. I’m pretty skeptical, though. I think we’re far too superstitious on the whole. As for disgraceful betrayals of wisdom such as the pretense that there is something called “creation science” and we ought to give it equal time in schools with proper science — I’m ashamed to belong to a human race that is so sunk in abject ignorance and willful stupidity.’ [Related: Officicial Pullman Website]
8 January 2002
[blogs] Logo Envy…

Rachel from Friends... Feeling Listless

Check out Feeling Listless for a new logo…
[comics] Q & A with Grant Morrison from the Spinner Rack … ‘Q: What would you like to see happen in comics in the next 12 months? A: I’d like to see Alan Moore get his kit off for the front cover of the ‘Ain Soph’ issue of Promethea. Him and J.H. Williams could symbolise the journey of consciousness into the realm of naked apprehension and do a knowing homage to John and Yoko’s Two Virgins album cover at the same time. It would look really good. And who here hasn’t lain awake wondering what the award-winning creator of Watchmen’s tadger looks like?’
[quotables] ‘We NEVER clean the toilet, Neil! That’s what being a student is all about! No way, Harpic! No way, Dot! All that Blue Loo scene is for squares. One thing’s for sure, Neil, when Cliff Richard wrote “Wired for Sound”, no way was he sitting on a clean lavatory! He was living on the limit, just like me. Where the only place to put bleach is in your hair!’ – Rik, The Young Ones.
9 January 2002
[books] The Digested Read covers The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking‘Apparently, a large number of the many millions who bought A Brief History of Time got stuck on page one. Oh dear. I expected more of my readers.’
[cams] Webcam World — a Google Image Search for webcam32.jpg… [via Kottke]
[interview] You Ask the Questions… With Nigel Planer. ‘Q: What was your most memorable Young Ones moment? A: The final episode, when we were on the bus just before it goes over the cliff. Rick says, “We are wide-bottomed anarchists”, and Neil is playing an electric guitar at last and wearing cool shades. It was that moment of elation, just before disaster.’
10 January 2002
[comics] Marvel’s ‘Nuff Said … and the script for Grant Morrison’s New X-Men #121. ‘Frame 4. Jean has been swept into the ultimate original memory – Xavier’s DNA recall. Surprised, she’s diving down towards us through a 3-D explosion of swimming seed as it heads for destiny. The sperm in foreground have intricate delicate glass heads filled with coils of information. Jean looks like she’s diving with some exotic species of incredible luminous deep-sea jellyfish.’

Blogsticker -- Veni Vedi Blog

[via kookymojo]
[blogs] Premium Blogger … as reported on Ukbloggers by Neil McIntosh‘Evan plans to start building up a premium service: in the next few hours, he’ll launch a $30-a-year membership scheme, which will offer faster and more reliable service. The free Blogger will remain, but other – quite compelling – premium services will be rolled out quick-fire after that.’
[blogs] Digitaltrickery is back‘So, what’s pissing me off today?’
11 January 2002
[royalty] Will he, won’t he? … Does Prince William want to be King? ‘It’s a good question: why won’t we let him be a normal person? We certainly could: constitutionally, the throne could pass, after his father, to his younger brother, Harry, who seems much happier in the limelight. Yet William’s pre-emptive abdication would deliver a clear blow to the monarchy. If he accompanied his resignation with a damning public statement making it clear that raising another child in the uniquely cruel goldfish bowl of the British monarchy would be intolerable, he could bankrupt the entire “Royal Firm” for ever.’ [via Wherever You Are]
[reviews] There were a few interesting articles in today’s Guardian…

  • You can’t diddle with the truth — another interview with Ridley Scott on his film Black Hawk Down. ‘The teams on the ground get lost under fire in Mogadishu’s narrow streets, as directions are relayed to them by the helicopters. “The Black Hawks are orbiting in a pattern, clockwise or anti-clockwise, and they can’t diverge from this or they will fly into each other.” This, in his view, “was the real juice of the film”, the place where plot enacted theme – theme being the complexities of intervention in a country like Somalia. “It was like a three-layer chess game.”‘
  • So lonely I could cry — Cameron Crowe writes about his film Vanilla Sky‘Within weeks of finishing this screenplay, there we were on Times Square, an early Sunday morning in November. Tom Cruise as David Aames was racing through the most famous geography on the globe. Utterly alone. Watching the shot as it happened on a video monitor, the whole world of Vanilla Sky was still ahead of us. Lonely. Scary. Promising. Inevitable.’
  • Interview with Adam Ant‘Anyone over 30 belongs to me. Bisexual, male, female, gay, whatever.’
  • Ageless, peerless, Douglas — update on Kirk Douglas‘I see Kirk Douglas still isn’t dead. Remarkably, he’s preparing his next movie, Smack in the Puss, a family affair starring his son Michael, with whom his relationship has always been fiercely competitive, and the next sprig on the dynastic tree, grandson Cameron. The man will never stop, it seems. These days, at 86, bowed and speech-impaired by strokes, and having collapsed again recently on the golf course, he still radiates that fanatical, spartacist determination to live life right into the last ditch, or at least the last water hazard.’

[thanks to whoever left their entire copy of the Guardian on the tube for me today]
12 January 2002
[test] Which Male Kevin Smith Character are you? … [via]

You have a genius intellect and an awesome sense of humor. You can sarcastically put someone in their place without batting an eye. Your only problems seem to be that you have trouble acknowledging your true feelings and you may use your humor as a defense to hide what you are really feeling. But, your godliness overpowers any insignificant flaws you may have. Even if you tend to pass gas during very inconvenient moments.

“What kind of man are you anyways? I’m talking comics and you bring up chicks and romance.” — Brodie
13 January 2002
[quotables] ‘There’ll be plenty of chicks for these tigers on the road to the promised land! Who cares about Thatcher and unemployment? We can do just exactly whatever we want to do! And do you know why? Because we’re Young Ones! Bachelor Boys! Wild eyed big bottomed anarchists! LOOK OUT!! CLLLLLIIIIIFFFF!!’ – Rik, The Young Ones.
14 January 2002
[comics] Love That Hate — interview with Peter Bagge. ‘The odd thing is this: Buddy is always a reflection of where I was ten years ago. And for some reason that went over really well when `Buddy’ was in his early 20’s, but as `he’ gets older comic readers become more resistant to him or bored of him, which poses a lot of questions, such as: 1 Do my readers-or comix readers in general-simply move away from comix as they get older? and 2 Do people simply not want to read about the adventures and concerns of an older and more mature character?’ [Related: Girl Talk with Lisa and Valerie]
[distractions] Cutie Quake‘The Rules Are Simple: 1) Shoot Anything That Moves. 2) Don’t Get Shot.’ [via Grammarporn]
[blogs] Dutchbint is back‘And now this site is pretty much finished. It’s probably still riddled with little teething problems, but I feel it’s ready enough to open the doors and let the world in. I’ll just curse and sweat quietly while fixing things in the background.’
[quotables] ‘C’mon, let’s do it! White Riot. Stand Down Margaret. I’m a child of recession, I’ve got hate in my eyes. Ask for me tomorrow and I’ll be gone cause I’ve got a one-way ticket to oblivion and I’m going to raise hell getting there!’ – Rik, The Young Ones.
15 January 2002
[comics] Warren Ellis’ Artbomb Launches… From the FAQ: ‘ARTBOMB is about broadening the appeal of diverse comic books and graphic novels. We hope to demonstrate that comics can offer an entertainment value that many people currently enjoy in film or television or prose. This a storytelling medium that has a lot of dynamic voices with mainstream and adult appeal. It’s our mission to help promote their works to new audiences.’ [Related: WEF, Ellis Website]
[blogs] Nick Jordan or Nick Jordan? Would the real Nick Jordan please stand up? [via Nick Jordan]
16 January 2002
[911] A Blind Spot Called Iraq — review of a book which analyses if Saddam Hussein is behind the attacks on America … ‘Mylroie’s conclusion, reached by relentless forensic analysis of a huge array of human and documentary sources, is that the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing did not, as the Clinton administration claimed at the time, signal the emergence of a ‘new kind of terrorism’ by ‘loose networks’ of Muslim extremists.Instead, it was the first skirmish in ‘a new kind of war’ – sponsored, like old-style wars, by a hostile state, Iraq. Planned as the world’s worst terrorist attack, in which one of the towers would have collapsed into the other amid a cloud of cyanide, the plot’s Iraqi directors simply made use of a little Islamist muscle, stooges who were meant to be caught, in order to conceal its real origin.’
[distractions] Big Money — yet another incredibly addictive webgame … ‘Your Current Rank: PAUPER’ [via Charlie Chu]
[comics] DC Comics have put Batman: The 10-Cent Adventure online‘The 10-CENT ADVENTURE follows a night in the life of Batman, a night that ends with terrible finality. When Batman responds to a series of crimes, little does he know that a crime is occurring in the one place in the world he considers safe.’
17 January 2002
[anti-porn] The Marmot Anti Porno Page — the internet needs more pages like this … ‘I took great care to ensure that this particular marmot wasn’t being chain cocked by the Village People.’ [via Blogjam]
[comics] Vertigo PR on Morrison’s ‘The Filth’‘[The Filth is a] twisted super-thriller in which Morrison takes the reader on a psychedelic roller coaster ride through a maelstrom of extra-dimensional espionage, disease pathology, sex and violence, prosthetically-equipped dolphins, indolent nano-technology, co-opted reality and the notion of identity itself. Loaded with febrile imagery and Byzantine plot twists, The Filth is a mind-wrenching journey where nothing is exactly what it seems.’ [via Newsarama]
[blogs] Pumpkin Publog returns‘A rolling review of pubs in and around the London area, punctuated by thoughts, musings and crap about pub-life.’
18 January 2002
[quotables] Ali’s words speak for themselves … Muhammad Ali — the quotes. On Life: ‘I wish people would love everybody else the way they love me. It would be a better world.’
[distractions] Destiny’s Alf‘…coz I depend on meat…’
[movies] Are you having a good war, Ewen? … profile of Ewen Bremner. ‘In moments of panic, of which Black Hawk Down has plenty, Ewen Bremner’s brow folds into a deep and spectacular crease, which raises his eyebrows into his hairline, lifts his chin into his mouth, and seems to hollow out his already emaciated face. No, since you asked, he doesn’t look like a movie star. He is the first to admit it. Of his role in Pearl Harbor, in which he played a goofball with a speech impediment, he has remarked: “I’m just making Ben Affleck look good.”‘
19 January 2002
[comics] John Buscema Obit from The Independent … ‘His professional career was launched in April 1948 at Timely Comics, later better known as Marvel Comics, home of Spider-Man. Hired as an artist at a salary of $75 a week by the editor Stan Lee, he joined a small army of artists and writers churning out a stream of five-to-eight-page stories. In 1950 disaster struck: a forgotten storage cupboard disgorged a mountain of unpublished stories and artwork in the Timely offices, whereupon the entire artistic staff was sacked. Over the next eight years, as a freelance comic artist, Buscema was to turn his drawing hand to stories in every genre (except, ironically, superheroes) for a legion of comics publishers.’
20 January 2002
[politics] Hey, I’m Doing My Best — Christopher Hitchens on George Bush’s first year … ‘The moral and political universe turns on the axis of 11 September. And that date is a day that Bush would no doubt like to have back again. Unlike any of his predecessors in a time of disaster, he was actually live on camera when the news hit. We saw him squatting on a small chair in a Florida schoolroom, smirking condescendingly at a junior class, when his chief of staff came hurrying in. And then we saw him no more, as the stupid doomsday routines of ‘national security’ hid him. The official excuse for this – that he had been overruled by his guards – was more panicky and pathetic than the reality. So the Mayor of New York became leader of the free world for a whole week.’
21 January 2002
[books] First Chapter of The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen‘She was looking for a letter that had come by Registered mail some days ago. Alfred had heard the mailman knock on the door and had shouted, “Enid! Enid!” so loudly that he couldn’t hear her shouting back, “Al, I’m getting it!” He’d continued to shout her name, coming closer and closer, and because the sender of the letter was the Axon Corporation, 24 East Industrial Serpentine, Schwenksville, PA, and because there were aspects of the Axon situation that Enid knew about and hoped that Alfred didn’t, she’d quickly stashed the letter somewhere within fifteen feet of the front door. Alfred had emerged from the basement bellowing like a piece of earth-moving equipment, “There’s somebody at the door!” and she’d fairly screamed, “The mailman! The mailman!” and he’d shaken his head at the complexity of it all.’
[tv] Go on, Take a Pop — interview with Pop Idol’s Simon Cowell … ‘He seems much more vulnerable than when we first met. I tell him that he surprised me when he said not much in life has made him happy. “I am quite miserable because I’m never satisfied with what I’ve got. You’re always looking for that next high, and that is what I would define as happiness. I go through mood swings and the highs don’t last very long.” He says he gets bored and dissatisfied easily – with women, with work, with life.’
[film] The Greatest Movie Stanley Kubrick Never Made — Salon on Kubrick’s unmade Napoleon biopic … ‘In the midst of preparing his adaptation of Stephen King’s novel “The Shining,” and noting the success of the large-scale miniseries “Roots,” Kubrick began investigating the possibility of turning his Napoleon project into a 20-hour television production, with Al Pacino in the lead role. He revealed his plans in an interview with French writer Michel Ciment. But Kubrick’s friend Senior believes the suggestion was probably nothing more than a joke. “My God,” Senior exclaimed in a recent interview, “can you imagine Stanley Kubrick actually doing a miniseries?”‘ [via Bitstream]
22 January 2002
[distraction] This is Me by Georg Bush‘i have the most guns and planes in the world’ [via]
[comics] Larry Young looks at how many comic book publishers feel about internet users‘Many comic book publishers hold you in disdain. It’s true. Secretly (because, really, how would it look if this got out?), many of the folks who toil daily to bring you your comic books really could not care less about what you think. And by “you” I don’t mean the “audience,” because entertainers need an audience to entertain. Almost by definition. If you’re producing something for public consumption, chances are you wouldn’t mind hearing some applause now and then. No, by “you,” I mean “Internet users.”‘ [via Neilalien]
[911] A Dream in Ruins — interview with Leslie Robertson – one of the designers of the World Trade Center‘He had agreed 18 months earlier to speak at a meeting of the National Council of Structural Engineers in New Hampshire in early October and went ahead with the engagement. He was astonished later to see a report of the meeting in the Wall Street Journal. Robertson was asked: “Is there anything you wish you had done differently in the design of the building?” Instead of answering, he wept. “I guess I thought I was a sturdier person than I am,” he says now. “The thing that keeps you awake at night is the people in the building. Pretty much every night.”‘
23 January 2002
[books] Epic children’s book takes Whitbread — Philip Pullman wins the Book of the Year Award … ‘He admitted that the judges fretted about giving the £25,000 top award to a children’s book. “If I am honest, the wind was against Pullman at the very beginning. We did worry about giving such a literary prize to a children’s book, but then we thought of CS Lewis and that was that.” The comparison with Lewis and his Narnia books has been often made of Pullman, who has never shied from tackling the big issues of love, belief and death.’ [Related: Extact from The Amber Spyglass]
[comics] Yet another long interview with Alan Moore covering pretty much all aspects of his career …. On writing From Hell: ‘Ten years wading through the material, the literature, not just Jack the Ripper but all of these fuckers. All these miserable little apologies for human beings. They’re not supermen. They’re not supermen at all. They’re not Hannibal Lecter. You know, they’re Peter Sutcliffe, they’re a bloke with a dodgy perm. And some horrible screw-up in his relationship with his mother or something. They’re little blokes.’ [via Ink Stains]
24 January 2002
[comics] I’ve only just discovered Get Your War On

Panel from Get You War On
[comics] Lego Spider Jerusalem‘Being a Lego bastard WORKS’ [via WEF]
[war] Back to hell — Mark Bowden – author of Black Hawk Down – on a possible US return to Somalia … ‘Because it is so wild, and because most of its residents are Muslims, Somalia seems a logical destination for al-Qaida and Taliban leaders fleeing the rout in Afghanistan. With the longest shoreline of any African nation, with its lack of government, navy, army or police, there is nothing to stop international outlaws from coming, provided they can run the international patrols in the Persian Gulf and Indian ocean. But once in Somalia, there is nothing to stop the US and its allies from coming after them. “We’ll go wherever we need to go in Somalia,” said one American general who asked not to be named. “It’s not likely that we’ll be asking permission.”‘
25 January 2002
[books] An honest American Psycho — Fay Weldon reviews American Pyscho in 1991 … ‘Our yuppie hero kills an abandoned dog, slices it with a knife, walks on. No one cares. Women get their kicks from bondage. Yuppie goes too far, the women get to bleed a bit, but they get paid. That’s enough for them. The whole world’s into bondage. Altzheimers or Armani, spermicidal lubricant or Ralph Lauren, everything on the same level. So he goes further. What’s the odds? Not a nice book, no, not at all, this portrait of psychotic America, psychotic us. Just enough to touch a dulled nerve or two, get an article or so written.’ [Related: Bio of Bret Easton Ellis, Geocities Fan Page]
[blogs] Credo Of The Web Log Writer — the rise and fall of a weblogger… ‘I will write poetry and buy a webcam. I will only link to other ‘A-List’ Web Log Writers and ignore wannabe’s who link to me. Other Web Log Writers will do what I do, only worse. I will ignore or quit my real job since my loyal readership will support me via PayPal and my Amazon Wish List.’ [via 2002 Bloggies]
[comics] Interview with Dan Clowes … On Young Dan Pussey the “nerdish cartoonist superstar”: ‘I was telling my publisher that I wanted to take that book out of print because it?s so mild compared to the reality of the situation. At the time I did it was supposed to be a caricature of the business. Now there are so many more stories that are so much worse that I hear on a daily basis about the comic book business. It just seems pointless to have that book in print.’ [Related: Clowes Bio, link via the WEF]
26 January 2002
[comics] Newsarama talks to Alan Moore about Marvel Comics, ABC and Watchmen 2. On Watchmen 2: ‘That wouldn’t be interesting at all. It would be really fucking boring. I’ve got no interest in re-creating the 1980s. […] With all respect to the fan audience, I’m sure that Charles Dickens never got people writing, asking when he was going to do A Tale of Three Cities. That’s not how I work. It may be how the industry works, but I’m not really interested in revisiting things that are fifteen years old.’
[young ones] The Complete Guide to Rick’s Poetry … Rick’s Teen Anguish Poem:

oh god,
am I so much more sensitive than everybody else?
do I feel things so much more acutely than them,
and understand so much more.
I bet I’m the first person who’s ever felt as rotten as this.
could it be
that I’m going to grow up
to be a great poet and thinker, and all those other wankers in my
class are going to have to work in factories or go on the dole?
yes, I think it could.

27 January 2002
[obit] He was a Crook — Hunter S. Thompson’s obituary for Richard Nixon from 1994 … ‘If the right people had been in charge of Nixon’s funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles. He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning. Even his funeral was illegal. He was queer in the deepest way. His body should have been burned in a trash bin.’ [via Metafilter]
[books] A couple more Philip Pullman articles …

  • A wizard with Worlds — Interview with Pullman … ‘Earlier this year, he gave a remarkable speech called ‘The Republic of Heaven’ in which he succeeded in converting the words ‘God is dead’ into something positive. He refreshingly recruited Jane Eyre to his cause while giving Tolkien and C.S. Lewis the thumbs down for failing to salute the real world. He is not short of faith but it believes in humanity and in goodness, not in God. He believes we need this ‘thing which I’ve called joy’. His is an engaging moral optimism.’
  • Not for children — Robert McCrumb on Pullman … ‘…you can enumerate any number of qualities that separate Pullman from the herd, but at the end of the day, it’s because he grounds his fantasy in well-observed reality and is not afraid to acknowledge the importance of plot in his work. ‘When you are writing for children,’ he told the Bookseller in 1996, ‘the story is more important than you are. You can’t be self-conscious, you just have to get out of the way.’ Because it is easier to write description and dialogue than tell a good story, very many contemporary novelists write bad plots – bad plots that are full of inexplicable lacunae and wonky motivation. Pullman seems to know this. His writing has the hallmark of work that has been held up to the light and minutely inspected from every angle. Look at it where you like – it is seamless.’

[blogs] Anti Bloggies 2002‘Like the Bloggies, but bribes are accepted – nay, encouraged.’
28 January 2002
[film] Jack the Rip-Off — Iain Sinclair looks at the From Hell movie … ‘What Moore proposes, and what the film necessarily refutes, is the belief that the past is unknowable. ‘In all our efforts to describe the past, to list the simple facts of history,’ he wrote in his introduction to the From Hell scripts, ‘we are involved in fiction.’ There can be no anachronisms when time is a plural concept. Nobody knows, or will ever know, or should know, who Jack the Ripper was. Jack is. Sustained and incubated by tour guides, crocodiles of sombre or giggling pilgrims processing around the locations where the bodies were found, the Ripper lives on. An invisible earner. A waxwork vampire.’
[funny] Peace Activist Has To Admit Barrett .50 Caliber Sniper Rifle Is Pretty Cool‘"Look, I realize that the use of this instrument of destruction, even in wartime, is morally reprehensible, and I don’t see how anyone with a conscience could justify owning one," said Robinson, 31, a University of Vermont graduate student in sociology and president of the campus chapter of Amnesty International. "But you have to admit, it’s pretty wild to think that it’s capable of throwing a half-inch bullet into a man-sized target 1,500 meters away."’
[books] Dæmon Geezer — Robert McCrum profiles Philip Pullman … ‘Pullman himself makes an unlikely demon. In person, he is thoughtful, good-natured and passionately interested in what the world has to tell him. Like his admired predecessors, he is only giving back to his audience the stories it has already vouchsafed in a thousand unguarded moments. First and foremost a teller of tales, he acknowledges “the absolute preciousness” of reality in all its chaos and discomfort. “Here is where we are,” he told The Observer, “and now is where we live.”‘
29 January 2002
[wtf?!] The Heroes in Spandex Gallery!‘Everybody likes to dress up in costume, especially if there’s lots of spandex and superheroes involved! This is the place to show the world your new outfit! ‘ [via Metafilter]

Man dressed as Daredevil

[people] A couple of interesting articles from The Independent:

  • Don’t mess with the man in the leather skirt — profile of Russell Crowe … ‘I’d move to Los Angeles if Australia and New Zealand were swallowed up in a huge tidal wave. If there were a bubonic plague in England, and if the continent of Africa disappeared from some Martian attack. In Australia, they treat you like a piece of furniture. Your mates are your mates and the folks who hate your dark and bloody guts, they don’t change their minds. That’s why I love it, I suppose.”‘
  • Interview with Tony Benn‘Today, he is wearing House of Commons braces and an old shirt with little burn holes in it. “I burn holes in all my shirts and cardigans all the time. This is the trouble with being a pipe-smoker.” Overall, he has the look of a homely, crumpled, go-ahead vicar. I ask him if the Labour Party ever tried to tart him up, encouraged him to seek advice from a Colour Me Beautiful consultant. “No. And I think that they wouldn’t have succeeded. I’ve still got the coat I was given when I was demobilised in 1946.”‘

30 January 2002
[uk blogs] Meanwhile in UKBloggerland… (in the style of Graybo and Cal) …

  • Dan is wondering about Human Cocks.
  • Dave is pondering the future.
  • Matt is filing things for the future.
  • Meg is burning CD’s for her sister.
  • Mo has got water in his bathroom.
  • Tom thinks he isn’t Arch, Illicit or Warped.

While we are on the subject of UK Blogs… the GBloggies. ‘Most likely to fantasize about Thatcher’ [via Graybo]
[uk blogs] The GBloggies have a website‘What’s it all about!? UK Bloggers like to complain! So we’re giving them an opportunity. As Five should have said, “Let’s Bitch!” NOW WHAT?’
[uk blogs] One last link about UK Blogs … Watch a nation of 419 blogs update with the Recently Updated List.
31 January 2002
[911] The Perfect Soldier — profile of Mohamed Atta. [via Douze Lunes]

‘In November, on a blustery cold day in northern Germany, a young woman in Hamburg, the former girlfriend and now wife of one of Atta’s old roommates, talked about an image she couldn’t get out of her head. She said when the bombs started falling in Afghanistan, she would sit in front of her television, staring in disbelief, unable to comprehend that the bombs were in a very real sense put in motion by her husband’s old roommate. Watching the explosions, she would try to match them, the war, everything that has gone on in the world since Sept. 11, to her memory of the slight young man padding around his student apartment in his shower shoes. It didn’t fit. She would ask herself: All of this because of Mohamed? It’s impossible, she said. Not little Mohamed in his blue flip-flops.’

[blogs] Psychology of Weblogs by Dr. John Grohol … ‘Most weblogs are drivel, banal shit written by angst-ridden teenagers and adults sharing feelings, thoughts, and mind-numbing details about their daily lives that provide little insight into anything or anyone.’ [Related: Follow Me Here on Grohol]
[911] David Icke on 911 …
  • Alice in Wonderland and the WTC Disaster‘The predictability of the ritualistic, emotionless, reptilian mind can be seen in the news management that has followed this U.S. disaster. Look at what always happens in these circumstances and you will see that the blueprint is the same in almost every case. Before the event happens the fall-guy or “patsy” is already set up to take the blame, thus steering the public mind away from dangerous speculation and onto a pre-ordained target. After the Kennedy assassination it was Lee Harvey Oswald; after Oklahoma it was Timothy McVeigh; now it is Osama Bin Laden. Bin Laden, deeply misguided as he may be, is no more responsible for what happened this week than I am.’
  • How it is possible to orchestrate and mastermind a terrorist attack without the terrorists themselves even knowing who is really behind it?‘The Illuminati do not represent a “side” or a “faction”. They CREATE the “sides” and the “factions” and they use them to manipulate the game of divide and rule and centralisation of global power. They operate within the Islamic world as they operate within the “western world”. So as the bigger pyramids envelope the smaller pyramids you reach a point in the structure where the same force is manipulating and organising the horrors in America while also manipulating and organising the RESPONSE to those horrors through their puppets such as Bush, Cheney, Powell, and Blair.’