Friday, November 30, 2007

The. Most. Awesome. Thing. You. Will. EVER. Read. Ever.

Scientists create zombie cockroaches. That's very cool. But even cooler:

Wasps have been doing it for eons.

I'll let teh awesomes speak for itself:

Zombie insects might sound like the B-movie plot device from heaven (or hell, depending on your cinematic preferences). But to the emerald cockroach wasp (Ampulex compressa ), they're a tried and tested way to provide food for their hungry larvae.

The wasp, which lives in tropical regions of Africa, India and the Pacific Islands, relies on cockroaches for its grisly life cycle. But unlike many venomous predators, which paralyse their victims before eating them or dragging them back to their lair, the wasp's sting leaves the cockroach able to walk, but unable to initiate its own movement.

The wasp then grabs the cockroach's antenna and leads it back to the nest. The cockroach walks "like a dog on a leash", says Frederic Libersat of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.

HOW FREAKIN' COOL IS THAT?! That's just further proof to me that God exists, and He is awesome. These wasps sting these roaches not once, but TWICE, with pinpoint accuracy. And hits it right in the brain. And the GRABS IT BY THE ANTENNAE, AND RIDES THAT PUPPY HOME! I cannot get over how awesome that it is.

I for one, welcome out Zombie Cockroach Riding Overlords

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

On The The Golden Compass "Controversy"

From time to time, The GreatMoose can be roused from his posting inane dorkiness and useless trivia to post something of life-changing value.

This is not one of those times.

However, it IS a time to provide the The GreatMoose's wisdom to his faithful readers (both of them). If you are unaware, there is a boycott being brought by the Catholic League (NOTE: NOT the Catholic Church, big difference*) against the upcoming movie The Golden Compass. The thing is, they are not really boycotting the MOVIE so much as the are boycotting the author of the books the film is based on, Philip Pullman. The books are known as the His Dark Materials trilogy, which follow the story of "Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry, as they wander through a multiverse of parallel universes and a backdrop of epic events. The story begins in Northern Lights with fantasy elements such as witches and armoured bears. As the trilogy progresses, it acquires allegorical layers of meaning, introducing a broad range of ideas from fields such as physics (quantum physics), philosophy (metaphysics, philosophy of religion and, arguably, a degree of hylopathism), and theology (biblical symbolism)." (from the almighty wikipedia)

The first book (Northern Lights in the UK) is called The Golden Compass in the US, and is the basis for the movie. Now, I haven't seen the movie yet, but I HAVE read the books (or tried too, we'll get to that later), so my comments here will be constrained to them. I got interested in them initially for two reasons:

1) the setting is an alternate universe based on steampunk technology. My faithful readers should know of my deep love for steampunk.

2) Giant frikkin' armored talking polar bears.

So, I dove into the first book. And you know what, it was REALLY good. Not the best I've ever read, but very engaging and had some really inventive ideas. Oh, and it's DARK. It's definitely not the kids' book (and one would assume, movie) that it's being marketed as. I wouldn't let anyone under 13 read it. And it ends in such a way that you almost HAVE to immediately start the next book, The Subtle Knife. Which is not as good, but still readable.

And then there's book 3, The Amber Spyglass. Which could be one of the worst books I have ever read, and I have read some stinkers. Pullman lets his obvious disdain for the the Church overpower his ability to tell a story. Which brings me to the point of all of this: The Catholic League (and one would assume the AFA) are painting the movie (and the stories) as an anti-Christian/anti-God diatribe. Which (until book 3, at least) they are not.

We as Christians tend to make waaaay too big a deal about stuff (I'm looking at YOU, American "Family" Association). I talked with Jodie about this a little bit this past week. Boycotting this we don't necessarily agree with is not the best way to make an argument. Is our faith is SO shaky and fragile, that even the slightest opinion to the contrary sends us into hysterics? (Although in all fairness, we do NOT call for the beheading of people we don't agree with, or strap bombs to our kids and send them to the mall to make a point.) But I digress.

It is my humble belief that the stories are really more anti-organized religion, than anti-God. And the Archbishop of Canterbury agress with me: From wikipedia--"Pullman [the author] has found support from other Christians, most notably Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who argues that Pullman's attacks are focused on the constraints and dangers of dogmatism and the use of religion to oppress, not on Christianity itself."

Now, having said that, the last book really is almost over-the-top in its church-bashing. He got carried away, and irreparably soured the first two books, which are great reads. To all those who say "Butbutbut, in the third book he kills God!" No, he doesn't. Try reading it again (or at all). What he kills is the angel "The Authority", who is NOT God, but has CLAIMED to be God, and the Church bought it. That's really the whole problem. In the HDM universe, the "Church" believed the lie that "The Authority" was God, and based the whole church on that. Which is actually a quite imaginative scenario. Anyway, I've gone way long on this, just wanted to share an opinion.

In short, if your idea of God includes witches, souls in the form of animals, polar bears who make armor, alternate dimensions, quantum physics, and God himself being carried around in a glass box, then you should avoid the movie (and the books). Otherwise, enjoy it for what it is, science fiction.

Oh, and giant frikkin' armored talking polar bears.

ONE GIANT POINT OF CLARIFICATION: I AM NOT TRYING TO ENCOURAGE ANYONE TO GO SEE THE MOVIE OR READ THE BOOKS. MERELY MAKE A DECISION FOR YOURSELF. I just meant all this to say I enjoyed the books, and they mean something different to me than what the author apparently intended.

ANOTHER EDIT: An article from ChristianityToday saying everything I did but better and clearer. (Thanks, JTapp!)

EDIT IN: An absolutely brilliant article by a Catholic theologian on who the "real" God in the HDM series is. I don't necessarily agree with her on everything (especially the "feminist God" parts), but she makes a good point. Definitely worth the time to read, if this topic even remotely interests you.

EDIT 2: I'm aware that Pullman has said in an interview that his purpose with the books was to "kill God", and while it pains me to see someone so jaded against religion, it still doesn't detract from my enjoyment of the books. Johnny Depp is a pretty vile America-hating scumbag, but dang it, he makes a movie more enjoyable, you know? Oh, and BTW, if that really was his intention, he failed miserably, beause IN THE FRIGGIN BOOK he does NOT kill God! The IMPOSTER God is killed. Eh, whatever.

Ultimately, this whole post is just a rant, and worth exactly what you paid for it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

REPOST: Under Pressure, Ice Ice Baby

Due to popular request, I am reposting the FLCL/Evangelion "Ice Ice Baby/Under Pressure" video. Enjoy!

This was just too cool not to share.

Most of you know that Vanilla Ice ripped off Queen's Under Pressure for the bass-line of Ice Ice Baby. If you didn't know that, well, you do now. Anyway, this guy on youtube mixed the two together. Not only that, he put the music to scenes from FLCL and Neon Genesis Evangelion, the two shows I previously posted about. It's pretty dang fun.

Note that depending on which "song" is in the "foreground", that'll determine which video is playing in the background. For example: if the subtitles are for Under Pressure (which are white), then FLCL will be the video showing. If the subs are for Ice Ice Baby (yellow), then you've got Evangelion showing. It's a pretty cool effect. As always, I'm probably the only one who cares (maybe, just maybe Jodie does too), but this blog is MINE, so there! Hope you'll give it a listen, and let me know what you think. Cheers!

EDIT: Content warning: After the song is over, there's a pretty funny outtake from the Vanilla Ice cd, but it's got some bad language. Pretty funny, though.

One More Edit: For some reason, the "Check out the hook when my DJ revolves it"/Shinji frantically spinning the wheel segment just tickles my funny bone. Root Beer came out my nose. Fair warning.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dave Letterman Is Cool

As you all know, The Late Show hasn't had new episodes for a week or so now due to the writers strike. And thus, CBS stopped paying The Late Show's employees. Well, Dave has stepped up and is paying them out of his own pocket. Here's the story:

...Late Show staff that they will be paid through the end of the year even though the show isn't on the air during the writers strike. "Dave's not doing this to get good press, which is why it hasn't been reported for almost two days," a source tells me. "This is really significant because, as opposed to all of the other shows, this money comes out of Dave's own pocket."

That's just super cool. Good on ya, Dave-o!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Morris Is Out!

The Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, and others are quoting a source saying Guy Morris is out at Baylor. He'll coach two more games, and then he'll be gone. Hear that? Listen closely...That's the sound of no one giving a crap. The man did absolutely nothing while he was here. Rumor is, Mike Singletary is being tapped to be the new coach. Whatever.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

England Is Broken

Recently, UKTV ran a poll on the most asinine laws in the UK. Here's the results, with the top 10 dumbest international laws added at the end.

The UK's top 10 most ridiculous British laws were listed as:

1. It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament (27%)--One wonders how you would enforce this.

2. It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British king or queen's image upside-down (7%)--We are not amused.

3. It is illegal for a woman to be topless in Liverpool except as a clerk in a tropical fish store (6%)--This makes perfect sense to the GreatMoose, as who else would NEED to be topless in Liverpool?

4. Eating mince pies on Christmas Day is banned(5%)--Shouldn't that be banned, well, every day?

5. If someone knocks on your door in Scotland and requires the use of your toilet, you are required to let them enter (4%)--Not unreasonable, sometimes you GOT to go.

6. In the UK a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants, including in a policeman's helmet (4%)--The GreatMoose finds this one particularly amusing, as clearly there's a reason for the constable's headware to be mentioned.

7. The head of any dead whale found on the British coast automatically becomes the property of the King, and the tail of the Queen (3.5%)Ah, the Queen's sporting a "whale tail". I think I'm sad now.

8. It is illegal not to tell the tax man anything you do not want him to know, but legal not to tell him information you do not mind him knowing (3%)Crayon's are good food.

9. It is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament wearing a suit of armour--Pbbbbtt! I'll wear my armour anywhere I feel like it!

10. It is legal to murder a Scotsman within the ancient city walls of York, but only if he is carrying a bow and arrow (2%)--WHAT?! It's not legal to murder a Scotsman no matter what? Excuse me, I have to go run an errand...

The top 10 bizarre foreign laws as voted by those polled:

1. In Ohio, it is illegal to get a fish drunk (9%)As it should be. No means no.
2. In Indonesia, the penalty for masturbation is decapitation (8%)That's

3. A male doctor in Bahrain can only examine the genitals of a woman in the reflection of a mirror (7%)--Why does that not suprise me?

4. In Switzerland, a man may not relieve himself standing up after 10pm (6%)Now THAT'S a good law. Friggin' Swiss...

5. It is illegal to be blindfolded while driving a vehicle in Alabama (6%)Do they have cars in Alabama?

6. In Florida, unmarried women who parachute on a Sunday could be jailed (6%)I can see how that would be a problem.

7. Women in Vermont must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth (6%)Barefoot and pregnant, baby...

8. In Milan, it is a legal requirement to smile at all times, except during funerals or hospital visits (5%)I LOL'd

9. There is no age of consent in Japan (5%)Ummm, so all sex is rape, or am I reading that wrong?

10. In France, it is illegal to name a pig Napoleon (4%)Le couchon, le couchon!