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steampunk laptop [Oct. 13th, 2006|09:51 pm]

obscenely cool steampunk laptop that actually works.

Now I know what I want for xmas! (and a trolley to be able to move it)

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Daleks prepare invasion of Google Earth [Sep. 19th, 2006|09:15 pm]

Our Dutch readers, and particularly those living in Hilversum, are hereby warned that they should immediately arm themselves with pulse plasma rifles and prepare to defend their homeland from interdimensional attack:

Interdimensional portal opens on Google Earth

Yup, it looks like the Daleks are poised to exploit this rift in the space/time continuum. Or possibly, some local Blofeld has developed a ground-based, satellite-busting solar terror weapon. Either way, the future of humanity is at stake. Stay vigilant. ®

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One step beyond - Psychic Derek Acorah hits Belfast [Sep. 13th, 2006|11:38 am]
just what we need here,  another charlatan


One step beyond
Psychic Derek Acorah, whose show starts a two-night run at Belfast's Waterfront tomorrow, has already hit local headlines with his alleged plan to chat to George Best on stage. Here Derek, who himself played football with the legendary Bill Shankly's Liverpool, and now stars in TV shows Most Haunted and Ghost Towns, talks to Marie Foy about George, his gift, and his belief in an afterlife. Derek, who lives in Southport in England with his wife Gwen, has a son, a step-daughter and three grandchildren

12 September 2006

Derek, you have been distressed by a recent newspaper report claiming you were going to attempt to 'make contact' with the spirit of George Best during your Belfast show. What happened?

My agent was phoned by this particular journalist for a particular paper, if you want to call it a paper, and said they would like to do an interview. They approached me, I didn't approach them - I was on holiday. The interviewer was an amiable man and I answered his questions with clarity.

Knowing I had a football background, he asked what I thought of the great player George Best - and would it be likely that I would connect with him. I said, 'No, no, no'. Why would George Best want to contact me as a medium, unless of course there were people who belonged to George there?

more at url


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If Stan Lee had written Watchmen [Sep. 5th, 2006|11:56 am]
some folks are too clever by half

Stan Lee watchmen cover

check out the url for more of these

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The Livejournal of Zachary Marsh [Jul. 25th, 2006|03:36 pm]
One for Lovecraft fans, this is exquisite

The Livejournal of Zachary Marsh

"the door is breaking there coming inside.. i have to hit post, no time to spellcheck. if anyone is reding this send help to 1465 babson street, innsmouth

also, chekc out subservient chicken its hilarious lol"
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Doctor Who: Doomsday - Alternate Ending [Jul. 11th, 2006|08:12 pm]

well it made me smile :)
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Just what do the Russians know that we don't? [Jul. 9th, 2006|08:53 pm]

Putin quizzed on robots, octopus and that kiss

By Oliver Bullough Tue Jul 4, 10:48 AM ET

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Organizers of an online conference with PresidentVladimir Putin have invited Internet users to quiz him on Russia's democracy, its newly assertive role in the world and his personal qualities.

With two days to go to the web cast, Russians are more interested in why he kissed a boy on the stomach, whether he will dispatch humanoid robots to defend Russia and what he thinks of the return of giant mythical octopus Cthulhu.

Putin, who has a yearly televised phone-in with citizens and occasional multi-hour news conferences, seems to relish lengthy discussions of his views on almost any topic.

But he rarely has to tussle with some of the more off-beat questions posted on Russian Web site www.yandex.ru and the BBC's www.bbc.co.uk -- which are jointly running the web cast.

"What did you achieve by kissing the little boy Nikita on the stomach?" was the runaway favorite question. Almost 11,500 people had asked for it to be forwarded to the president.

Just six days ago, Putin stunned Russia by stopping a young boy walking through the Kremlin, asking his name, lifting up his T-shirt and kissing him on the stomach.

It was not clear what had prompted 8,600 Russians to ask Putin if he planned to employ "giant, humanoid war robots" or why 7,300 people were interested in the Cthulhu, a cosmic cephalopod invented by novelist H. P. Lovecraft which is said to be sleeping beneath the Pacific Ocean.

Other, if less popular, themes raised in the 87,000 questions sent to Yandex focused on the more serious issues of Russians' lives -- the size of pensions, military conscription, rising xenophobia and corrupt officials.

For many foreigners writing questions in English to the BBC Web site, Putin's personal life and Russia's separatist war inChechnya were the main topics of interest, as well as the obstacles to getting a visa to visit Russia.

But a fair number of foreigners found their own unusual questions to ask.

"I think that the character Dobby in the Harry Potter movie 'The Chamber of Secrets' looks a lot like you. Do you know if this is on purpose and do you agree with me that you look alike?" asked A.M. Venema from the Netherlands.

The Web sites will stop accepting questions from 1300 GMT on Thursday, when Putin will get a chance to answer some of them in a live web cast.

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Police Seek Klingon For Questioning [May. 25th, 2006|11:43 pm]

Police Seek Klingon For Questioning
Star Trek prop seized by local cops
A police knife amnesty appears to have got off to a flying start with even alien criminals giving up their arms in the face of stern looks from the local bobby. The national initiative, which began yesterday and continues until 30 June, is predicted to see 30,000 illegal blades turned over to authorities with no questions asked. Most surprising, though, was the unexpected surrender of a Klingon bat'leth.

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The Third Policeman - A review in several digressions [Apr. 6th, 2006|07:56 pm]
serendipity waves her wand in many strange ways

I was just thinking the other week (as I am sometimes known to do) about a
review I'd written a couple of years back of Flann O' Brien's The Third
Policeman. It was written for a small Robert Rankin fanzine, but as it was
late in didn't get used. With the current interest in the book due to
mention of it in a recent episode of Lost, I thought I might slip it into the
list here. then I find that last Sat, April 1st is the anniversary of Flann's
death, so what better timing? Except of course me being me, I can't find my
copy of it! Fortunately the editor who rejected it is better organised and
he was able to send me a copy.

See what you think



The Third Policeman

A review in several digressions by Eugene Doherty

“It is a great thing to do what is necessary before it becomes essential and unavoidable” Sgt Pluck

Ok so here's the thing. I am what you might call a bibliomaniac, a bit like a bibliophile but without the discrimination. Rather as Pratchett defined a gourmand as a gourmet who eats more, so I tend to buy lots of books often by one author, just because I know I should read him or her. Of course then I sometimes never get started with them, especially when I feel that I "should" be reading them

I knew that O’Brien was one such author, richly lauded for his satirical humour especially in relation to the moods and mores of Ireland in the mid 20th century as it began its slow passage from a rural to an urban mindset. Although I'd seen and enjoyed An Béal Bocht (The Poor Mouth) as a stage play with puppets, I’d always felt that his books might require too great a knowledge of Irish cultural and political history to get the full nuances and subtleties, this of course was just an excuse for my procrastination. I've read the odd short piece from Best of Myles, the one that spoke to me most of course is the “Book Reading Service" for the busy man who doesn't have time to read his library. For a small fee they will dog-ear and mark books for you and as part of their deluxe service they will annotate them with Greek epigrams and sagacious marginalia, all to save you the tedium of actually reading the things yourself.

Thus when James Bacon asked for a review for his Robert Rankine fanzine, The Third Policeman seemed an ideal choice to get me broken in. This book was often said to be one of his best, the one most quoted or referenced particularly with regard to the man-bicycle hybrid theory (of which more anon) and also most compelling to me, it was one of the shortest he had done! (Which is also the reason, of all the Pynchon books I have the only one read so far is "The Crying of Lot 49"’ his smallest.)

So you read the book then, tell us about it already!

Well it certainly wasn't what I was expecting. Although firmly rooted in the comfortable Irish milieu of the middle of the last century, I thought this book had been written in the 1960s. In fact it was only published then, having been written some twenty years previously (1939 to be precise). There is a wildness about the ideas in it, a flowing of eccentricity and surrealism that almost borders on the psychedelic and indeed it put me strongly in mind of the works of Rudy Rucker - the mathematical SF humorist (or humorous SF mathematician?)

It opens with a heinous crime, when the narrator and his chillingly manipulative friend kill a neighbour for his mysterious black box, which they think contains a fortune. The killing itself is not pleasant, hitting the old man with a shovel, "I don’t know how often I struck him…but I didn’t stop until my arm was tired". In mitigation, the narrator (whom we only know as Noman) only commits the crime to finance publication of his index on De Selby, a deranged and almost mythical scientist philosopher with whom Noman is obsessed and quotes extensively in many rambling, digressive and stunning footnotes. De Selby is an off-screen (off-page?) character who also features in the Dalkey Archives, another book by O’Brien. For myself this bore comparison with HP Lovecraft and his Necronomicon and other damned tomes that drove so many of the narratives and narrators in his stories of the Cthulhu Mythos.

Having killed the neighbour, the companion hides the box and Noman being suspicious of him has to keep him in sight day and night for the next three years, as he is fearful he will do a runner with the loot. When eventually he goes to retrieve the box, something happens. What that something is forms the basis of the rest of the book. In order to retrieve the box, he goes to the local police station, which he hasn’t ever noticed before, where he meets two policemen and hears tell of the eponymous third policeman, Sgt Fox, often talked of but never seen. It soon becomes clear through his interactions with the first two policeman that they are not your average village Bobbies. One of the two, Sgt Pluck, has an obsession with bicycles and indeed when we first meet him, his opening question is, "is it about a bicycle?" This obsession proves to be one of the recurring motifs of the book as we learn that through long association and mingling of “mollycules”, men and bicycles can gradually merge into each other. Policeman MacCruiskeen dabbles in amateur hobbies that warp the fabric of the universe such as boxes within boxes that recede into infinity and paint of a colour so different that not only could it not be named but it cannot even be looked at with sending the viewer insane, as it did to the reclusive third policeman.

And therein part lies the irritant that stalled this review and diverted my attention for weeks. In all his talk of mollycules and iterative boxes within boxes, other worldly paint and chimerical man-bicycles, was the notion of O’Brien playing with the then freshly minted theories of quantum mechanics. Our man Flann had had a bit of a run in with Erwin Schroedinger of cat torturing fame in the former’s weekly newspaper column in the Irish Times. With the rise of the Nazis in Germany, Schroedinger had fled to Ireland where the DAIS Dublin Institute for Advanced Study had been set up to give him a place to work. O’Brien had taken some of his lectures on the existence of God and those of others on the historical St Patrick to comment that only in Dublin could they prove that “there was no God and two St Patrick’s”. This whimsy had cost him and the paper a libel suit and a public apology.

I wondered if he had taken these talks and others further to work a pastiche of quantum mechanics into his story of crime and punishment. Certainly Noman finds later in the book that not only are the policemen dabbling with the nature of space and time but are also responsible for regulating the infinite and keeping the universe on an even keel. But let’s not give too much away for those who have not had the pleasure of reading and experiencing this book. And despite weeks of research in critiques and studies of O’Brien’s life and works, I never did find an answer to my query.

One thing is certain though, this is science fiction, make no bones about it. Despite the fancy labels such as menippean satire that literary critics hang on it, this is a crazy tale of inexplicable science barely comprehended by the narrator or the reader, a mind-bending story worthy of the finest hallucinogenic trip. Great ideas, characters and quotes litter every page in an insouciant almost offhand fashion. Unfortunately the literary establishment has laid claim to him first so now it’s time to take back Flann back into the skiffy ghetto where he belongs.

Perhaps if I end with another quote from the book that best sums it up, when our narrator says, “Anything can be said in this place and it will be true and have to be believed”, there is no better way to précis the novel.

So now you know what a great book this is, what a great author he is and I'll be reading more myself. Hmmm, At Swim-Two-Birds is another wee book, let’s try that next.
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I have seen the future - and it's goth [Mar. 22nd, 2006|09:03 pm]
I have seen the future - and it's goth

We mocked their make-up and giggled over their gloom. But the goths are taking over the country. Dave Simpson reports

Tuesday March 21, 2006
The Guardian

It's every parent's nightmare. Their apparently well-adjusted child suddenly comes home with hair the colour of a coalface, a face whiter than anything made by Dulux, and announces, "Mummy, I'm a goth." However, according to a new study, parents of goths will probably end up boasting about their son/daughter the doctor, lawyer or bank manager.

more at url
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