Tron: Legacy’ — Electrifies the Boys and Girls : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

Released in 1982, the original Tron movie has — until geek became chic and, more importantly, profitable — been the sort of quasi-obscure cult item dismissed as video game juvenilia with the same wave of the hand now reserved for comic book movies not directed by Christopher Nolan. Although championed as an overlooked gem by Roger Ebert, one of a few critics collected by Rotten Tomatoes who praised the film, and the recipient of Oscar nominations for costumes and sound, Tron remains a film whose singular achievement is rarely, if ever, explicitly stated amidst scriptural complaints. When you distill film, as a medium, to its essential method and purpose, that achievement is: Presenting audiences with a singularly unique vision of something never before seen. Given the number of films released year after year for almost a century, this surely is a feat worthy of more than a critical yawn or a footnote in the history of cinematic accomplishments.

Read the rest of...Tron: Legacy’ — Electrifies the Boys and Girls : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE


‘Being Gay Is Disgusting’: A Clever, Irreverent Retelling of the Bible’s First 5 Books : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

Whether new to the Bible or looking to refresh the ol’ memory, Edward Falzon’s book provides readers with a fun and accessible pathway to reading and understanding one of the world’ most influential texts. Much like Ben Akerley’s X-Rated Guide to the Bible shows us the Bible’s sexual side, Being Gay Is Disgusting serves as a guide to the Bible’s violence.

Read the rest of...‘Being Gay Is Disgusting’: A Clever, Irreverent Retelling of the Bible’s First 5 Books : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE


‘The King’s Speech’: Music to Our Ears : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

Note: With this review I am officially up to date, as of 12.07.10.

Label a movie “feel-good” and “triumphant,” and you’re liable to conjure visions of a hard-luck sports team elevated by tough-love ministrations or cute animals in danger who win the day through sheer pluck. Fortunately, for those of us who don’t make a habit of carrying handkerchiefs to cry into at the slightest drop of a sappy scene, we have The King’s Speech. Here is an absolute treasure of a “feel-good” movie that earns its credentials not through trite premises or sentimental maneuvers but by rolling up its sleeves and working at it. That, and an astonishingly well-chosen cast of actors we already know to have the chops but are given an opportunity to soar in a film defined by literate writing and direction.

Read the rest of...‘The King’s Speech’: Music to Our Ears : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

An Enchanting Dance Recital by India’s Rama Vaidyanathan : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

(Rama Vaidyanathan. Photo credit: Avinash Pasricha)

After the evening’s performance at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Center, Shakti Dance Company founder and Bharata Natyam guru Viji Prakash took to the stage and articulated what I had been thinking all along. While the music and dance are richly rewarding for people well-versed in the compositional intricacies of classical Indian music and the kinetic language of Bharata Natyam, the novice aficionado can just as easily and fully be elevated, inspired and moved. The vernacular gives way to the universal, the senses become engaged in the music and costumes, and cultures comes together in a shared experience of beauty.

Read the rest of...An Enchanting Dance Recital by India’s Rama Vaidyanathan: THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

Monsters: When Giants Walk Among Us : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

To the list of up-and-coming directors with a keen understanding of what makes science fiction such a scintillating canvas for thoughtful speculation — a list that includes Duncan Jones (Moon) and Neill Blomkamp (District 9) — one can now add, with some reservation, the name of Gareth Edwards. His low-budget effort is a solid example of scrappy independent, DIY filmmaking with gorgeous results — where non-actors made up a large part of the extras, scenes were partially ad-libbed, and post-production special effects were completed in the bedroom on a home computer. All this in the service of a high-concept plot usually reserved for Hollywood to dumb down in an action blockbuster.

Read the rest of....Monsters: When Giants Walk Among Us : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

If You Value Freedom, Make Pot Legal : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

Note: This was a quick editorial written in anticipation of the November 2 elections in which Proposition 19 aimed to legalize pot. Alas, the measure did not pass.

You don’t have to smoke pot or approve of smoking to make it legal because the issue isn’t really about that controversial little plant. The issue is freedom. That sounds melodramatic, I know, but bear with me. If the government said you can’t play sports, would you agree? I’m guessing you wouldn’t. If the government decided to ban all cars, wouldn’t that be tyrannical? I think so, and I’ll bet you do, too. So why should we let pot be illegal?

Read the rest of...If You Value Freedom, Make Pot Legal : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

Hereafter: Deathly Dull : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

What Shakespeare described as the undiscovered country from whose borne no traveler returns is also something less poetic: the subject of a turf war among theologians, charlatans, New Age fabulists and other opportunistic metaphysicians. Like the true believer, Clint Eastwood's latest – with the unsubtle title “Hereafter” – aims to prove itself of a modern, post-Enlightenment mindset by exposing various con-artists out to exploit the grieving through the pretense of communicating with the dead.

Read the rest of...Hereafter: Deathly Dull : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

Protest Against Animal Cruelty: Jennifer Peterson vs. Barkworks: THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

Two-part interview with Jennifer Peterson about her efforts to shut down Barkworks, a Westside Pavilion pet stores that supports puppy mills, sells sick dogs, and is otherwise symptomatic of cruelty for profit.

Break the Whip Whips it Good : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

The Actor's Gang, one of L.A.’s most consistently magical troupes, can always be relied upon to deliver theatre that channels our era's nebulous zeitgeist. While it will take historians from twenty minutes into the future to look back and somehow encapsulate the bizarro spirit of this first decade in the new millenium, The Actor's Gang is firmly focused on using theatre to pull the curtains back on issues of social impact we can relate to today. With Break the Whip, the Gang also reaffirms another signature trait: irrepressible optimism.

Read the rest of...Break the Whip: Whips it Good : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

ICT’s ‘The Clean House’ Is a Funny Place to Live : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

Matilde, a Brazilian live-in maid with an inconvenient disdain for housecleaning, would have been right at home in World War II efforts to weaponize humour. That is, if she occupied a vintage Monty Python sketch instead of Sarah Ruhl’s new play “The Clean House.” Although the humour of using humour for military purposes wouldn’t gel with her, the kinship between the two scenarios isn’t so much of a stretch. Early in the play, she tells how her own ill mother died laughing at one of her father’s jokes. T, which is as good a way to go as a mid-coital shedding of mortal coils. Her own search for the perfect joke is laced with this particular memory, the death of her mother followed by her father a short time later, and manifested in the fear that discovering the perfect joke will kill her. Naturally, she spends her time trying to discover that holy grail of guffaws, although it would be wrong to make a case for suicidal tendencies. Rather, Matilde lives as if comedy is the highest form of human aspiration, a sublime art.

Read the rest of...ICT’s ‘The Clean House’ Is a Funny Place to Live : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE


What ever happened to the humble vial of truth serum? A few drops of the stuff and suspects were chirpier than a colony of birds on a telephone wire. It was the epitome of spy movie interrogation technology. The real drama, of course, came from the pitting of mind vs. mind, spy vs. counterspy, in tense, unaided confrontations across a table. Now we get neural imaging devices that scan a suspect’s brain in real-time to root out deception, which is convenient as it illustrates how much technology — both real and speculative — has infiltrated our spy movies. Like the dilemma facing the intelligence services, people have given way to machines.

‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’: Welcome Back, Magic : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

Dismissed by many among the film cognoscenti as shallow spectacle and proclaimed a flop by the media for raking in a mere $24 million on its five-day opening weekend — Disney’s second misfire after “Prince of Persia” — “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” seems positioned for box office oblivion. The wound, beyond competition from “Inception” and the circulation of films like “Despicable Me” and the powerhouse “Toy Story 3,” is arguably self-inflicted. Why did no one who read the script throughout the byzantine process of movie development suggest a more ambitious project? Even on paper, the plot of a boy’s apprenticeship to a sorcerer, loaded with the backstory of a struggle between Merlin’s and Morgana Le Fay’s followers, is exhausted formula.

Inception: Into the Maze We Go : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

Handling dreams like Russian nested dolls is perhaps not, in itself, the most innovative concept given movies like “The Matrix,” “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” But rarely has the concept been so intelligently and breathlessly executed as in Chris Nolan’s long-gestating project called, with just as much mystery as the film’s marketing build-up, “Inception.” What has been a dormant (pardon the pun) idea used infrequently has, in Nolan’s hands, been revived as a high-concept effort that exposes the Wachowskis’ first (and only worthwhile) Matrix film as entertaining but self-important pulp fiction, and dream-horror movies as cheap manipulation.


The Butcher’s Thumb: Both Up and Down : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

Here’s the foremost question underlying Greg Haas’ “The Butcher’s Thumb”: Does it work to excavate or exploit a wound still receptive to salt?

The answer in...
The Butcher’s Thumb: Both Up and Down : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

The Treasure Hunt Is on : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

Mike Bruce, director of The Legend of God’s Gun, returns with Treasure of the Black Jaguar. He took a few moments to talk to me about his second feature film.

The Treasure Hunt Is on : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE


Obama, You Socialist Tyrant, Please Lead Us! : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

Although my column, The Recreational Nihilist, has ended, I can't resist the occasional urge to share an opinion.

Here’s a puzzler. On one side: The Tea Party, Republicans, and what David Frum cleverly labeled the conservative entertainment industry. On the other: A nation experiencing systemic shock from the British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. What happens when the two meet?

Go to The Front Page Online to read the rest of...

Review: The Young Conservative's Field Guide

Greetings - After taking an unannounced break from updating this blog, I've decided to wake things up again. Over the next few days, I'll post links to all my work starting from where I left off, beginning with a book review, links to which are provided below. Then I'll launch into a new program to complement updates about my work. Thanks for reading! : f :

As a non-narrative book, The Young Conservative’s Field Guide: Facts, Charts and Figures, by Brenton Stransky and Andrew Foy, M.D., defies the usual short review and asks instead for a more comprehensive discussion. That discussion is offered to you in several parts:


theatre review: the three musketeers

Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga Canyon, that is.


'Iron Man 2': Heart of Lead : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

Iron Meh.

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

Review at The Front Page Online:
'Iron Man 2': Heart of Lead : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE


How the Other Half Loves: A Game of Wit, Space, and Time : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

Apologies for the delay in linking to this; the review of How the Other Half Loves, on stage at Long Beach's International City Theatre, actually posted at the beginning of May.

How the Other Half Loves: A Game of Wit, Space, and Time : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE


Sci-Fi Short Film Roundup: The District 9 Trend : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

For your viewing pleasure, a series of short science fiction films in the style of Neil Blomkamp's District 9.

Sci-Fi Short Film Roundup: The District 9 Trend : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE


The Recreational Nihilist Comes to an End : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

This is my last column under The Recreational Nihilist banner:

In other news, The Ladder is still on hiatus while I work on other projects, but it will return sometime soon. And as soon as I can find the motivation and time, I will offer content beyond what I write elsewhere - in addition to The Ladder. In the meantime, this blog will continue to serve as a means of keeping you updated on my various writing endeavours. Thanks for reading.


film review: the losers

The Losers are Winners. Yes, they are.

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


‘The Wake’: Turbulence and Self-Reflection in a Stellar Kirk Douglas Production : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

The Wake is on stage at the Kirk Douglas Theatre until Sunday, April 18. See www.centertheatregroup.org to purchase tickets. It's long - it clocks in at 2 hours and 45 minutes - but never dull.



That Oh-So-Gray 2nd Amendment (Part 2) : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

What if the Second Amendment didn’t actually say what it says? Here it is: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Arms is the key word. And it creates an explicit gray area. Interpreted literally, it means we all have the right to weapons. But what those weapons consist of is a matter of opinion.

Read the rest at...


That Oh-So-Gray 2nd Amendment (Part 1) : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a Washington D.C. gun ban was unconstitutional, that was surprising. Less surprising is a Chicago man challenging the court to take the ruling (D.C. vs. Heller), which applies to federal territories, and expand it to cover all states and cities. On the surface, the issue is about the Second Amendment right to own a gun. The discussion has been fierce by both gun-rights and gun-control advocates. But there’s a suspicious equivocation going on, one that clouds the philosophical heart of the matter, between defense and gun ownership....

Read the rest:


‘A Serious Man’: Serious About Questions, But Not About Answers : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

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

...and Compassion for All : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

Apologies, again, for the delay in updating the blog. Usual reason: stuff hitting fans and all that. Here's last week's musings on the Cove, compassion, and the human ability to feel - or not to feel - empathy for other living creatures.

Backwards in High Heels: A Bronze Start to a Silver Jubilee Year : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

On stage at the ICT in Long Beach:

Backwards in High Heels. Conceived & Developed By Lynnette Barkley & Christopher McGovern
Book/Original Songs/Arrangements by Christopher McGovern. Starring: Matt Bauer, Christopher Carothers, Robin De Lano, Heather Lee, Jeff Payton, Anna Aimee White. On stage at the International City Theatre in Long Beach until Sunday, March 21. Visit http://www.ictlongbeach.org/ for more information.

"Sure he [Fred Astaire] was great, but don't forget Ginger Rogers did everything he did backwards . . . and in high heels!"
-- Bob Thaves 1982 © NEA Inc.


Praise for a Conservative Manifesto : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

Are pigs flying? Has the sky fallen? Is this a sign of the apocalypse? It must be, because this week's column is all about...


film review: inglourious basterds

I'm sorry, but Quentin Tarantino isn't wearing any clothes.

Entertainment: * (out of two, and mostly for Christoph Waltz' performance)
Craft: * (out of two)

Note: In anticipation of the Oscars, the following is a review of a best picture nominee missed during its original theatrical run.


secret hospital - part 7

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


Eyes only. Handle via CATA-9 channels only.

Wonderland – Red Cell 1
Dr. Harriman Seldon Poole
Patient code-named Red Queen
07/17/09 9:33 am

Dr. P: Tell me about school.

RQ: School?

Dr. P: Yes, when you were, say, a teen. I understand you went to a high school in New York?

RQ: Yes...( 3 second delay)

Dr. P: Something wrong?

RQ: Dr. Forrester never asked me about school.

Dr. P: Didn't he? What did he ask about?

RQ: He wanted to know about my childhood.

Dr. P: Do you want to talk about that?

RQ: No!

Dr. P: Then why don't you tell me about school?

RQ: I don't know.

Dr. P: Did you get along with the other children?

RQ: (4 second delay) I guess.

Dr. P:I think you had a hard time adjusting. A Palestinian girl. (2 second delay) The Jewish kids didn't like you, did they?

RQ: You went to school to get insight like that?

Dr. P: You're not giving me much to work with. But you're right, I'm not exerting myself. But I think there's more to it. Your teachers were kind to you, yes? Students, well, children can be the cruelest of all. One reason why my wife and I have a dog instead of children. In any case, I would be surprised if nothing happened.

RQ: Nothing happened.

Dr. P: No?

RQ: No.

Dr. P: When I was in school, I always buried my head in a book. Naturally, I got picked on. Then I found a place to hide during recess, which didn't help me get out of my shell. My parents, of course, were worried that I'd become some stunted fellow with no social skills. But by the end of my first year in college, I'd gotten over it. There was nothing really, to my childhood. But you see, I wasn't...

RQ: Special? That's a word Dr. Forrester used. He used it a lot. I hate that word. Special.

Dr. P: I was going to say I wasn't looking to stand out. But it's interesting you brought up the word special. You don't think you're special? Do you remember what I told earlier?

RQ: I...( 5 second delay)

Dr. P: There was an incident at school.

RQ: Don't want to talk about it.

Dr. P: According to the reports

RQ: Don't want to talk about it!

Dr. P :A young boy by the name of Timothy Palin called you a...

RQ: Shut up! Shut up!

Dr. P: A filthy arab.

RQ: No...

Dr. P: A filthy arab, it said in the report.

RQ: Shut up...

Dr. P: And you pushed him.

RQ: Please, I don't want to...

Dr. P: You do know why you're in here, right?

RQ: What?

Dr. P: Why you're in here? These walls, I'm told, are the only things capable of keeping you in.

RQ: I...(2 second delay) What?

Dr. P: I don't think that's true. But back to Timothy. You pushed him. A small tap, really.

RQ: No, please.

Dr. P: You broke his collarbone.

RQ: No. Yes.

Dr. P: It was just a tap.

RQ: Just a tap. I didn't mean to.

Dr. P: They believe these walls can keep you in. In fact, that's what they want you to believe.

RQ: Want me to...believe?

Dr. P: That's right. What can I do to earn your trust? Are you ready to fall into my arms? That little trust-building exercise?

RQ: I...I'm confused.

Dr. P: I know. I'm sorry. But sometimes one has to cut the skin to reach the heart. You broke Timothy's collarbone, and then the kids really hated you. The hate that comes from fear.

RQ: I don't want to talk anymore. Go away. Go away!

Dr. P: All right. We'll take a break. Can I bring you anything when I return? Sweets, perhaps?

RQ: No.

Dr. P: As you like.

RQ: Wait...

Dr. P: Yes?

RQ: Gummi bears.

Dr. P: Gummi bears?

RQ: I like gummi bears.


film review: valentine’s day

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


the ladder - episode index

The Ladder – An experimental web-only fiction series that spans multiple story lines and characters. New episodes post every Wednesday, time permitting. The following is an episode index

Secret Hospital
In a secret psychiatric hospital beneath a legendary military facility, the patient code-named Red Queen lies haunted and broken. But why is she locked up in the nation's most heavily secured cell? What

Vlad and Eriq have set themselves an impossible task - create a Superman better than Superman. The reward - a deal with a major comics publisher - could make their reputation. If they can pull it off, and that's far from certain as family tragedy hits and time runs out...

Synapse City
A heroic trio search a corrupted city for a missing scientist...what was Dr. Lumen working on and why are people willing to kill for it?

TFPO column: When Money Isn’t Honey: Lessons From Vegas : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

Apologies (again) for not being consistent with updates. With everything going on, this blog tends to get de-prioritized. But I'm working on being more timely with regular updates on Monday (TFPO column) and Friday (film reviews) as well as regular installments of The Ladder on Wednesdays.

On to this week's column:


TFPO column: the fur may now be faux, but so is johnny weir’s conscience

This week's column at TFPO is all about figure skater Johnny Weir's outrageous love of real fur and a kerfuffle you may have read about.

Also, more commentary on the topic over at The Fashionoclast.


film review: the imaginarium of doctor parnassus

Terry Gilliam's latest has a lot going for it, notably a Pythonesque sense of humour. There is certainly more than the unfortunate Heath Ledger's death. Unfortunately, it doesn't quit gel as a story in which we can become fully invested in the characters' lives.

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

And the review at TFPO:

A Mirror Wonderland


review: avatar

For further proof that Avatar is an exercise in audience manipulation - viewers are fiddles, you see - consider how the Na'vi's appearance had to pass the "would ya?" test.

* (out of two)
* (out of two)

Avatar: Nobody Home in These Beautiful Bodies


the ladder - synapse city (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!

A squawk on the radio, cryptic nonsense words lost in static.

“I think that means we’ve been spotted,” the Equation says.

“I’ve got it covered,” the Engine says, stopping the Slicer nose-to-nose with a beat-up dumpster that looks like it hasn’t been emptied for months. One look at the Effect and she nods her understanding. She unbuckles her seatbelt, grabs a small black knap-sack, and exits the car into the lightless gloom of the alleys. The Equation’s face bends into a tight smile, but he keeps fiddling with the console.

“Delphi analyzed radio and sensor data. There are 37 cops deployed on foot, roadblocks on every street around Lumen’s lab, and 1 helicopter.”

“My kind of odds.”

The Engine, with a flashy white grin, pushes a small black button on the dashboard. The Slicer’s black exteriors gradually turns to rust and peeled silver paint; a classic jaunt turned wrecked jalopy. While the Slicer undergoes its urban camouflage, the scientist studies data readouts on the screen, schematics, plans. He thinks of the strategy behind the show of force. Police Commissioner Evelyn Grant Warren must have deliberately started the chess game. The prize: answer to the disappearance of Synapse City’s foremost metafictional physicist. And power. Always power. Because Dr. Artemus Lumen, whom the Equation studied with at the Synapse City University, studies phenomena that can alter the very fabric of reality. The Equation is, perhaps, the only to truly understand Dr. Lumen’s work. But to people like Commissioner Warren and her pet mobsters, like Boss Marcone, what counts are the results. So: a massive show of force to draw out the Equilibrium Trio. Possible scenario 1: create enough holes in the net to let the Trio into Dr. Lumen’s lab, find what everyone is looking for, then close the holes and set the trap. Possible scenario 2: blockade the lab and hold it hostage to force the Trio into some kind of action.

Or maybe the Equation doesn’t have enough to properly theorize. The only solution is to wait for the Effect to do what she does best: discover information that people don’t want discovered. Thus: scientist and commando wait in the camouflaged car, eyes open for movement against them, eager to move into action.


film review: leap year

The title of this week's review of Leap Year says it all.

Entertainment: no stars
Craft: * (out of two)

At TFPO - Leap Year: Skip It.


the ladder - synapse city (part 4)

The Ladder – An experimental web-only fiction series that spans multiple story lines and characters…Tune in every Wednesday for a new installment. Better yet, subscribe by eMail to ink [and] ashes and get The Ladder delivered fresh to your inbox!

Note: I will post an organized list of links to all episodes of The Ladder to date next week so you can revisit episodes you may have missed or catch up if you're new to the series. As always, I appreciate your feedback and comments.

Though the Equation knows something about Dr. Lumen’s work he doesn’t elaborate, citing instead the need to gather confirming evidence. His partners, frustrated but accustomed to the Equation’s caution, leave him poring over the holographic display with a notepad in hand. Yawning, The Effect takes to the kitchen, raiding the fridge for a bottle of Chardonnay, and heads off to her sleeping quarters to read a science-fiction novel before going to bed. The Engine works out for an hour, lifting weights that would make most men squirm, then settles on the red leather sofa in front of the large flat-screen television. He doesn’t tune in, however, choosing instead to slip on earphones connected to a portable CD player. French lessons.

Shortly after midnight, however, an announcement on the police scanner catches Delphi’s attention. The hypercomputer promptly notifies the Equation, who sits at a console analyzing data from Dr. Lumen’s information map.

The radio, with a scratchy woman’s voice: “All units converge to 221B Cooke Street. Possible break-in in progress. Over.”

Various police patrol cars check in. The Equation, thunderstruck, hits the alarm button and the Equilibrium Trio’s headquarters fills with the two tones – one bass, one high – of the emergency call to action.

“What’s going on, doc?” says the Engine, who wakes up from his improvised nap on the couch like a panther ready to pounce.

“I’d like to know too,” says the Effect, who has traded her dress for black jeans and a turtleneck. “And thank goodness that chard tasted terrible.”

“Gear up and I’ll explain on the way,” says the Equation, already headed to the equipment lockers.

The Slicer cuts through the city night, a black phantom automobile that people only seem to register in their peripheral vision. Synapse City is asleep, but with one eye open. Characters lurk in the shadows.

“Cooke Street…that’s Dr. Lumen’s lab.”

The Equation looks at the Effect and nods his head. “Without the disc, they’re getting desperate. Dr. Lumen didn’t leave any hint of his whereabouts…we know that much. Either they learned something new, or”

“It’s a trap,” the Engine says, gritting his teeth as he takes the Slicer around a tight turn.

“Probability favours that scenario, yes.”

“So what’s the plan?”

The Engine offers another question: “What was Dr. Lumen working on?”

“That map,” says the Equation, “contains all known metafictions. He was sorting them, looking for something…but what…I don’t have enough information yet.”

A sudden deceleration sends them into their seats. The Engine reverses gear, backs up, then puts the gear in forward as he drives the Slicer down an alleyway. The radio scanner goes crazy with traffic; roadblocks, helicopters, the thin blue line gotten a whole lot thicker.

“There are more cops here than cavities on children’s teeth after Halloween,” the Engine says.

“Quite,” says the scientist. “But we may have to risk it. If we’ve missed something, if there is some clue as to where Dr. Lumen has gone, we have to take it. The consequences otherwise…”

“Speculate?” says the Effect.

“Dr. Lumen was, of course, known for his work on teleportation,” the Equation says. “A breakthrough, combined with the metafictional map…”

“You mean…”

The Equation nods his head again before turning his attention to the computer console. “A breakdown of barriers.”


TFPO column: climate change denial - it's all about politics

At last, the end of my series of commentaries on climate change denial. It seems like it was a long route to an obvious conclusion, but sometimes it's worth revisiting issues previously thought settled - if only because a vocal group continues to sow doubt when we need to be talking plans of action. So here, from newest to oldest, are the three pieces examining some of the reasoning and politics of climate change deniers.

Climate Change Denial: It’s All Politics

Why Won’t Climate Change Deniers Accept the Science?

Climate Change Denial, Science, and the Burden of Proof


film review: sherlock holmes

Ah yes, Sherlock Holmes. I have a few things to say about this notion of "bromance" that a few critics, like A.O. Scott, bandied about in their reviews. But it is late, so that discussion will have to wait for another time.

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

Review at TFPO: Sherlock Holmes: Deduce and Destroy


film review: up in the air

While the boxoffice buzzes with Avatar and Sherlock Holmes, it's worth making time for the wonderful and very human Up in the Air.

Entertainment: ** (out of two)
Craft: ** (out of two)
Gold star recommended!

Review at TFPO:

Up in the Air: A Flight Worth Taking


happy new year!

Happy New Year, dear readers. I apologize for the relative silence over the holiday period, but I do tend to update only when I have something worth updating about. However, just to shows signs of life I thought I'd mention a few things in the works, notably reviews of Up In The Air and The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus as well as others. Starting next week, things around here should be getting back to normal.

I wish you the best for 2010 and, as always, thank you for reading!

: f :