TFPO column: what the fort hood shooting reveals about right-wing commentary...and us (part 2)

The ramble that began last week comes to a conclusion of sorts. Christopher Hitchens guest stars. (Thanks Nick!)

What the Fort Hood Shooting Reveals About Right-Wing Commentary...and Us (Part 2)

Please note there will no episode of The Ladder this week on account of Thanksgiving.

Have a great holiday!


film review: planet 51

Don't forget to sign up for the eMail subscription...a convenient way to keep track of film reviews...

And now, Planet 51:

Entertainment: * (out of two)
Craft: * (out of two)

Full review at The Front Page Online:

Planet 51: We Have Seen the Alien, and It Is Us


Morbid Outlook music reviews - November '09

New reviews of Lady Haidee, Nox Arcana, Delica-M, Veil & Subdue, and The Big Pink:

Morbid Outlook - In Rotation November '09


updates! a new feature!

Greetings: please take note that the RSS feed has been changed from "the recreational nihilist" to "ink and ashes." If you've been subscribing to the blog with whatever blog roll gizmo you've been using, I'm afraid you'll have to resubsribe.

Some good news to make your lives a bit simpler: I've added an eMail subscription feature so you can get posts fresh off the press and into your inbox.

Finally, I just thought I'd mention my other blog, The Fashionoclast, because...well, just because I think there's something there for everyone.

the ladder - synapse city (part 3)

The Ladder – An experimental web-only fiction series that spans multiple story lines and characters…Tune in every Wednesday for a new installment.

Headquarters; in a derelict industrial park of broken-down verses, rhymes of questionable character, and few residents save for sour-faced workers and visiting truckers. Parked on the street, The Slicer would stand out like a polished gem in gravel. But a quick turn into a small warehouse - off an alleyway and wedged between a shoe polish factory and a shoe - and navigation through carefully arranged shipping containers makes standing out a moot issue. The Engine drives inside a container deep in the maze; hydraulics lower the floor, car and all, to a basement wonderland of technology.

Parking the Slicer in a cradle of battery chargers and computer diagnostics, the Trio emerges from the vehicle grateful to stretch their legs. Through the biometric security door in a heavy steel and glass wall, into the main space divided into key functions: research and library, command and control, armory and equipment, living quarters. It’s retro sci-fi wood, cold steel and glass, but everything is precisely designed and engineered, functional and comfortable. The Engine heads for the armory for the post-mission ritual of checking, recharging, reloading, storing and, if necessary, repairing equipment. The Effect heads for C&C’s rows of monitors, radios, and computers orderly laid out in a semi-circle. The Equation walks to a semi-translucent blue cube standing on its corner atop a sleek steel cabinet of blinking lights and controls that straddles C&C and the research section. This is DELPHI: quantum hypercomputer and non-sentient artificial intelligence.

“Decryption is complete, Doctor,” Delphi says, synthetic voice rich and androgynous.

The Equation smiles, a fish in the water of book stacks, computer terminals, and a pedestal on top of which is a translucent dome surrounded by an array of touch-screen controls. “Best display for the results.”

A three-dimensional image forms in the dome; lines of different thickness and colours, dots both fat and tiny. The display coalesces into a web of connections. Manipulating the controls, the Equation discovers the data set associated with the dots: six digits grouped in threes.

“Nothing on the police scanner,” the Effect says. Gone is the sexy red number; in its place is a comfortable pair of faded black jeans and a white t-shirt strategically emblazoned with the Superman S. “A few muggings, some domestic disturbances, nothing major. Looks like Boss Marcone isn’t making a fuss for his pal.”

“It’s a bit of an embarrassment,” the Equation says with divided attention. “The Police Commissioner doesn’t appreciate trifles.” He frowns.

“What is it?

Still frowning, the Equation makes adjustments, moving dots and lines around the display. “Delphi: confirm origin point.”

“Origin confirmed. Synapse City marked at coordinates zero, zero, zero, zero, zero, zero. Recenter display?”


The dots and lines move in a wild frenzy until settling with a large glowing red dot marked “Synapse City (0,0,0,0,0,0)” at the center of the holographic display. Leaning over for a closer look, the Effect studies the beautiful construct.

“Hey, what is that thing?” booms the Engine, joining the Equation and Effect in the research section.

“An information map,” says the Effect. “Right?”

“Yes.” The Equation manipulates the display one more time, zooming in on the Synapse City dot. “Delphi: any other information encoded on the disc?”


“Can you cross-reference map data with last known locations of Dr. Lumen?”

“Negative. Insufficient information.”

The Engine with an exasperated look on his face: “So, Doc. The trail’s cold?”

“No,” the Equation says. “I think I know what Dr. Lumen was up to, more or less. And that, I believe, can lead us to him.”


TFPO column: what the fort hood shooting reveals about right-wing commentary...and us (part 1)

Beyond the fact that it is seemingly necessary to preface any mention of the Fort Hood shooting with the word "tragic" or some other similar adjectice - isn't it obvious that it's horrific and tragic? - what is often referred to as Islamaphobia seems to be seeping into the national dialogue. I'm not going to offer much by way of introduction to my dissection of media coverage of the shooting, however. I'll leave the conclusions and bigger-picture discussion for next week's column.

What the Fort Hood Shooting Reveals About Right-Wing Commentary…and Us (Part 1)


film review: the men who stare at goats

Enjoyable overall eve if it doesn't ultimately amount to much in the end.

Entertainment: ** (out of two)
Craft: * (out of two)

Review at TFPO: ‘Goats’ Will Be Funny, if You Don’t Stare Too Deeply


the ladder - blueprint (part 5)

The Ladder – An experimental web-only fiction series that spans multiple story lines and characters…Tune in every Wednesday for a new installment.

The news was delivered by a tight-lipped doctor whose grim expression conveyed the need for condolences long before he spoke. Mrs. Robertson, already in tears from the agonizing wait, collapsed on the chair as the doctor explained that, for all their efforts, Aaron could not be saved from his overdose. Holding on to his mother, Eriq cried too, feeling an acid mixture of grief and anger churning within. This, then, was his brother’s end, and life was no comic book. Superman was not to be resurrected after dying at the hands of Doomsday. Captain America would not be revealed to have been displaced in time and space after his assassination. There was no Lazarus Pit to bring Aaron back.

Guilt at feeling relief that, at last, it was over was too much to bear. The full impact of realizing that Aaron, good and bad, would not even have the chance of returning to the family became equally suffocating. All Eriq could do was hang on to his mother.

Vlad stifled tears of his own, wiping his eyes with the back of his hand, and he wondered: where do the Robersons go from here?


attention all subscribers! mark your calendars for november 16th!

If you're subscribing to TRN via RSS or some such thing, please note that I will be renaming the subscription stream from "the recreational nihilist" to "ink and ashes" on Monday, November 16th. This will allow me to properly set up an e-mail subscription. Unfortunately, the changeover means it will be necessary for you to resubscribe so you can continue receiving the feed through the RSS/blogroll system of your choice...the upside is that you can choose to receive posts in your inbox.

As always, thanks for reading.


TFPO column: a second look at the man from plains

Who is Jimmy Carter? A failed president? An Israeli hater? A statesman? The documentary film Jimmy Carter: the Man from Plains prompted a second look at an easily dismissed, and still relevant, figure in American - global - politics. And so, at TFPO...

A Second Look at the Man From Plains


TFPO column: suffer the little children

Apologies for being off-schedule with everything. Life, alas.

This week's column at TFPO delves a bit further into Where The Wild Things Are, taking up where my review left off.

Suffer the Little Children