Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"Let's play Chicken," said the Congressman

I really hardly have time to blog today, but jeez, this is incredible.
These people (in the national government) are playing with this country's life.
I am not at all shocked, just ultra dismayed.

I remember hearing stolid people over and over assert that "America is the greatest country on Earth" and moreoever that same faith in democracy.

Such gridlock as we are experiencing now should be a wake up call for that kind of thinking, that what we've got is great and wonderful and flawless.

I'm not anacrchist here, not a hater of the tea party or of liberals or of any group, really, except, well, people my ideals of tolerance fail with. It happens. Generally, hateful people are hard to get along with.

On a happier note, I started the post-Iraqi-Freedom book by John LeCarre, Absolute Friends, and I am appaled at how good it is.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mee-Shee movie zeuglodon



Basically, a zeuglodon is an ancestor of the whale, a pre-whale, and can be thought of in the same sense as a mammoth or sabre-toothed tiger.

Unlike Water Horse and other similar movies, this one made a strong effort to present the "lake monster" as a mammal. I would *love* to read about the thought processes of the movie-makers in the design of the Mee-Shee creature effect, but I have yet to find that information.

I would have said "zeuglodonoid" but I thought adding yet another uncommon word to this mix would only confuse the issue horribly. Case in point, the fossil creature is formally named basilosaurus, a reptile/saurian name, and although the term zeuglodon is more appropriatly mammalian, it failed to be accepted into official taxonomic use. I, however, prefer the mammalian name, and so did Herman Melville.

The Mee-Shee movie creature is most certainly NOT an accurate rendering of the fossil record, and thus my interest in the "-oid" form of the word zeuglodon. From my cursory research thus far, and according to this website, the moviemakers patterned the Mee-Shee story on the Ogopogo, a "lake monster" said to live in Okanagan Lake in British Columbia, Canada. Due to the protestation of some American Indian leaders to whom the Ogopogo represents a spiritual and cultural icon, the creature's name was changed from the original title. Nowhere in the movie is either zeuglodon or basilosaurus mentioned, or even hinted at, but I found it difficult not to draw some fun "romantic zoology" conclusions.

Well, anyway, I saw a movie in the cheapo bin rack at a Rose's, and it caught my eye hugely. Mostly because of the startling zeuglodonoid on the cover, but also Jim Henson muppetry (rather than computer graphics) and Bruce Greenwood, an actor I am familiar with from Thirteen Days. It was a straight to DVD release in the U.S, and thus a surprise to me.

As far as the movie goes, I didn't think it was very well-done, personnally. It comes off remarkably overwrought and slow, the villians are killed vindictively, and the Mee-Shee creature effect is pretty un-loveable at its best. As a kids' movie, it falls flat, and as an adult movie it is too kiddish. Perhaps if Whoopi Goldbreg had been involved, as once planned, things might've been different, haha.


Games: Expedition ***must see***


This game plays for FREE online, and it really suprisingly fun!

It's a dice game, basically, but played on the computer with fun graphics. There is quite a story element to this, which is an improvement over most dice games I know.

The story is set in colonial Africa. Another way in which this game excels is the fun "flavor text" included along the way. "I am plagued with worry" "I can't find my sewing needle."

This would actually make quite a good "stone-and-mortar" dice game (aside from the fact some of the apparently 6-sided dice have 7 faces! haha!)

It reminds me a lot of my Catan Dice Game, but like I said the "immersion" and story factor are greatly improved upon.

I HIGHLY recommend you try it. No downloading involved. I don't know how long this game will be on the website, but I hope it lasts awhile! Beware: addiction.