Angry Robot

school = jail

The failure of zero tolerance:

They cite instances where throwing snowballs and kicking in the playground have become “assault with a deadly weapon,” where flicking rubber bands during school assembly has been elevated to a “public disturbance,” and where betting on baseball games has become “extortion.” This situation has led many to observe that a parallel tracking system is in effect in our nation’s schools: one feeding mostly white, affluent and middle class students to college, the other feeding poor, minority kids to prison.

don't look at me like that, Destro

I guess I never realized how gay GI Joe really is. (via 3bruces)

death star

This is what it looks like when stars die.

blindma on trailervision

Also, trailervision is featuring skitfaced‘s Blindma 96 as their trailer of the week.

new poll

Allow me to draw your attention toward the new poll, located to the left and down from where you are staring now. Yeah, that’s it! Please help me accrue vital market data. I’ve become aware that – contrary to what Mr. Bacharach would have you believe – what the world needs now is new, exciting products, and you can help me figure out what they are.

The last poll was a runaway success: 60% of you thought that there should, in fact, be a poll on this site. Unfortunately, 26% of you called me an idiot, but rightly so, as I presented that as an option. Simultaneously, that same 26% observed that there was already a poll on this site! You clever people, of course there is.

There is also a darker issue that I need to bring up: low voter turnout. If democracy is to work, my friends, you need to vote. 23 brave souls voted this time around on the issue of poll presence – their voice has been heard, and now there (still) is a poll! I know for a fact that the majority are not voting; my server logs tell me this much. So speak up, “silent majority” – but please don’t elect Nixon again.

Iron Monkey

Miramax is giving Iron Monkey a North American release next month. For those of you who have never seen it, please go. It’s directed by Yuen Woo-Ping, who is now well known for having choreographed the fights in The Matrix. For what it’s worth, I would also lend my personal seal of approval to Wing Chun, another film he directed that has mad styles and a great performance by Michelle Yeoh. I wish he would get back in the fancy chair and “helm another picture”, as they say in Variety, as Iron Monkey is really a fantastic piece of action. I first saw it during the Fantasia Asian film fest in Montreal, and you could hear the minds being blown as the screening unfolded. Anyway, go watch the trailer.

By way of segue, the producer of Iron Monkey is Tsui Hark, a Hong Kong legend whose recent film <″>Time and Tide was watched, by me, last night, for the second time in as many months. The plot is almost unintelligible, yet the film somehow makes this seem a strength rather than a weakness. There’s a lot of hand-held camera, but not in the usual “hey, we’re shooting handheld, aren’t we realistic?” way – he gets very close to approximating the movement of the human eye. Constant glancing, very rarely resting on anything for long. And it contains a scene in which it’s clear the cameraman jumped out of a window while filming. Quite a picture.

bug cam

In All Tomorrow’s Parties, one of William Gibson’s characters has a remote-controlled hover-camera rig. I thought it would be cool to imagine a version of this in miniature, the size of a bug. Celebrities would then attract swarms of them; the journo-bugs would buzz around them, jockeying for a good angle, their microphones barking out questions. The Sean Penn thing to do would be to swat them away. Or possibly spray them with something.


disinfo gets busy on the dancing, chanting Ballmer clips that have been circulating lately. The part I like best about the article is the claim that Ballmer is using “hypno-words”, and gives “come on” and “get up” as examples. Come on. This would mean that James Brown owns half my brain. Surely there are more effective hypno-words out there. Any suggestions? I’d like to master some for personal gain.

clown pirate fashion

Oh good Lord. Expect it, or maybe this, to hit the runways soon.


Stuff on dogwelder’s site: the happy bear song. (It’s like prozac, except stronger.) Tom Waits sings Britney Spears. The world’s best Chris Walken picture. Samples from a Star Wars Read-Along book. There’s plenty more.

cam girls and rap identity

In Camgirls protest. In this article, a “legitimate pop culture critic” slums it in the top-ten crowd. Let’s not hold our breath for Eminem’s response.



  • if you’re a web journalist, try not to piss off the people you plan to link to. Otherwise, your links are transformed from supporting evidence into destructive criticism.
  • Mieszkowski is guilty of exaggeration (and, oh, a little fabrication, it seems). Hornby fails to understand his subject. At first, it seems like he’s headed in the right direction, referring to P. Diddy or whatever he’s called:

    …who these people are, and where they have been, remains a moot point, particularly since we know enough not to confuse the artist with his narrators.

    But then he goes right ahead and confuses Marshall Mathers with Slim Shady. It’s a shame, because rappers are into some amazing stuff with the identity game. Obviously, Eminem does everything he can to confuse us about who he really is. The figure of the ‘artist’ is rapidly disappearing behind a series of increasingly fictional curtains. Each of the Wu-Tang members has at least five levels of nicknaming going on. What’s the point in saying that ‘RZA’ is Bobby Digital’s real name? But there’s even less point in saying the real character behind the music is Robert Diggs.

  • In both articles, the authors could have gone deeper into some interesting issues. What they did instead says more about the goals of their respective publications than it does about the issues they attempt to cover. Salon poses as the web know-it-all for the offline crowd, the New Yorker – well, they seem to think that using ‘ontological’ and ‘Destiny’s Child’ in the same sentence counts as oh-so-witty cultural criticism. I’m sure four out of five Ivy-Leaguers agree.

  • The Michael Moriarty Project stage one

    The Michael Moriarty Project: Island of the Michael Moriarty
    stage one: deep background

    Well, I intended to start by renting Q: The Winged Serpent, but Queen Video didn’t have it. (Shock! No sweat; I think they’ll bring it up from the other location.) I would have rented It’s Alive 3: Island of the Alive, but I was concerned that if I hadn’t watched It’s Alive! and It’s Alive 2, I might have trouble following it. So, I decided on the first of the series, which doesn’t even have Moriarty in it. But I was not disappointed.

    One-line summary: a baby is born, and goes on a killing spree until it is shot.

    This is a horribly made film. The continuity was fucked, a good colour timing was sorely missed, and I swear at one point you can hear an unexplained cough – either a baffling mistake by a flu-ridden sound editor, or a subversive commentary by someone involved with the production. This is also an intermittently hilarious film. Like many B movies, there are long stretches of monotony, then sudden onslaughts of (inadvertent) comedy genius. In this case, there are laughs any time the baby shows up. That’s not often; Larry Cohen was wise enough to show very little of the little guy, possibly because a) unseen monsters are scarier, and b) the doll they used was a real piece of work. Fangs, googly eyes, the whole deal. It even leaps on people! Word to the wise: if you are ever forced to deal with a killer baby, or plan to enter a killer baby-infested area, wear adequate neck protection.

    But semi-finally, this is a somewhat thought-provoking movie. I imagine that Cohen lined up deals for some shlock horror pictures, but felt superior to the task, so he made all of them subversive in some way. A scene in which dozens of cops descend, guns drawn, on an innocent baby – bad tip-off, I suppose – made me laugh, then wonder if this was not some inspired criticism of our tough-on-crime treatment of juvenile offenders. Other themes are explored, such as nature vs. nurture, fear of medicine, the environment, parental responsibility and self-blame. It’s not going to win a Nobel prize or anything, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

    From a Moriarty angle there was one cool aspect. Protagonist John Ryan has a scene at the beginning where he’s in a hospital waiting room chatting with other fathers-to-be. I guess he’s supposed to be “acting happy”, but he renders it with such a strange swagger that it seems like he’s about to punch someone. He sways, glances about intimidatingly, chews gum like a maniac, and speaks in a sing-song voice. All in all, there was a bit of a Walken/Moriarty thing going on. Maybe Cohen’s directing style helped form the Moriarty persona that we all know and love today. It’s too soon to tell.

    I’ll close with some great Michael Moriarty facts:

    1. Unlike most actors, who are shrimpy people, Michael Moriarty is 6’ 4”.
    2. In 2000, Michael Moriarty wrote a film called Hitler meets Christ, and played the part of Hitler.

    collage problems

    Site news: my recent design tweaks have thrown the photo collage pages out of whack. This is doubly unfortunate, as a) I don’t have time to fix them just yet and b) they seem to be more of an attraction than I originally thought. But don’t look at them now, for God’s sake! – give me a couple days.

    Soon… the Moriarty project gets underway.

    speed writing

    (Via this, via that) – I’m all for anything that starts off, “Dear Professional.”

    Strategies that allow you to write an entire chapter in just 75 minutes! An entire non-fiction book in just 25 hours! How to create three-dimensional characters in just seconds. Even how to buy a certified best-selling plot for just 75 cents without ever worrying about copyright infringement. These techniques will turn you into a book-writing machine!

    Dude, why not just make a book-writing machine?

    hello, poll

    Well, I spent a freakload of time trying to sort out the poll that you should be seeing to the left side of the page. When I first got it going, I was pleased with myself and voted “yes.” Soon after, when it broke down again, I wanted to press “no” repeatedly, but of course it wasn’t working, so I couldn’t.

    I hope to use the poll to let you, the reader, speak out on a variety of pressing issues. Also, I want to democratize my life a little more. My life is a dictatorship right now! The people should be deciding what movies I rent, what clothes I wear, whether to go with the a) bowl cut, b) mullet, c) shaved receding hairline look, d) “monk”, e) rat tail. But first off, let me know whether you even give a fuck, and whether it’s working or not. Thanks, yo.

    Gran Turismo as documentary

    I have a new article/review/thing up at joystick101. Rationalization for a recent Gran Turismo binge.

    the insidious Blogdex

    The insidious Blogdex culls links from blogs to see who’s linking to what, and thus is community blogging without the community, and personal expression without personality. Most bloggers are too wowed by the technology to care what direction this is headed – but it doesn’t really matter what we think:

    blogdex is a system built to harness the power of personal news, amalgamating and organizing personal news content into one navigable source, moving democratic media to the masses.

    Bloggers are being harnessed, their content is being amalgamated into one source, for the benefit of the masses. All hail OmniBlog, our One True Blog!

    Anyway, this is damn funny.

    3D camera

    One thing I’d like to have some time in the future is a 3D video camera. It would basically be a camera with a memory and a sense of its own position relative to its environment. If you panned around a room, for example, it would remember the position and appearance of all the objects therein, so later you could change its virtual position and movement to whatever you like. You could shoot a scene, and when you were done, it would alert you to any spots it had missed: “you need to film the back of so-and-so’s head,” or “I never saw the table from the other side.”

    My little chatbot project is ongoing, although it’s much harder than I previously thought. I may need a CGI-based rather than a Java-based one. The Michael Moriarty Project: Island of the Michael Moriarty will resume next week, possibly with a screening of Q: The Winged Serpent.

    Until then, I retire to the north, unavoidably offline.


    Yesterday I hopped into the Colt to run some errands. I threw in an unmarked tape. Bam – surprise bliss. The tape had the theme song from Parappa the Rapper — or maybe not the theme song; I think it’s the last song you hear when you beat the game. “We can do it.” It’s a masterpiece of enlightened cheese, and I felt like a blessed maniac driving around to it, as loud as my little speakers would go. We recorded it to use as part of a sketch show we did at Second City a couple years back, Satan sang it to Jesus, or maybe Jesus to Satan, when one or the other of them was feeling a little down.

    So take a listen, and picture in the music video of your mind’s eye either a) cruising around a sweltering city with nothing but trouble on your agenda; b) Satan comforting a depressed Jesus; or c) Vladimir Putin singing it to George W. Bush, thereby convincing him to drop the whole missile defence thing and get down to some class-A lovin.’

    hot enough for ya?

    Yesterday, Toronto declared its first-ever <a href=” title=”3,000 bottles of water were handed out.”>“heat emergency,” as the high of 35.9 degrees Celsius – 44 with humidity – was the highest ever recorded in our city. To celebrate, my father and I hauled bricks all day long.

    The celebrations continue through tomorrow. As does the weather. At least the plague has stopped.

    Okay, that was the weblog equivalent of “hot enough for ya?”


    New material at skitfaced, finally.

    Have been playing Gran Turismo 3 to excess. Am transforming into degenerate gearhead. Thinking of swapping carbon fiber drive shaft, V8 engine, sports suspension into my ’86 Dodge Colt, becoming legendary street racing champion, but then dying young, tragically – although ironically, not in a car accident, but while attempting to turbocharge a barbecue. Unable to “leave a beautiful corpse,” as was always main goal in life.

    Black Caesar confusion, Moriarty

    I’m getting confused over at the IMDB. The fantastically titled Hell Up in Harlem, a Larry Cohen picture from 1973, sports the tagline “Black Godfather is back…and there’s gonna be Hell up in Harlem.” However, the film Black Godfather was apparently released in 1974 – so is the Godfather back, before he even came the first time? Making the tag line to Black Godfather an improbable “Black Godfather is re-back… for the first time.” Which is wrong, of course. The database does not tell us the tagline for Black Godfather (although at first I thought a user comment was the tagline: “Nice try but no cigar!”) What’s more likely is that Hell Up in Harlem is the sequel to Black Caesar, which is also directed by Larry Cohen and features Fred Williamson as the Caesar character. In fact, the Black Caesar tagline-extravaganza suggests as much: “Hail Caesar, Godfather of Harlem…The Cat with the .45-Caliber Claws!” Still, wouldn’t you want to say “Caesar’s Back” rather than “Godfather’s back”? You might as well say “Gun-claw cat is back” for all the clarity it will provide about who’s back, and why.

    I originally set out to post something about Michael Moriarty – the poor man’s Chris Walken – but I think the whole Michael Moriarty thing is a lot more complicated than I first thought. (Here we see that Larry Cohen, who directed Michael Moriarty in The Stuff, Q: The Winged Serpent and It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive, is an intriguing figure in his own right.) Therefore, I have decided to devote 20% of my time to what I am calling The Michael Moriarty Project: Island of the Michael Moriarty, an investigative work of b-cinema blogging.

    BTW, it’s good luck to say Michael Moriarty over and over again.

    dictionaraoke followup

    Two things about Tuesday’s dictionaraoke post:

    1. As pointed out by jima, Negativland was not ‘in the house.’ Site was put together by members of Snuggles, the Negativland fan mailing list (member sites include freaks like the Church of the Subgenius). Also, we must all get behind legnog, which appears to be jima’s site and is absolutely fantastic. Have a look at the Japanese product generator, the Sony-style automatic movie critic generator, the great songs. Plenty more, too.
    2. I should not have used the phrase “in the house.” I really regret this now. Even “in tha house” would’ve been better, technically speaking.

    reader admonishment #1 Alright,

    Alright, you pack of filthy degenerates, thanks to your deafening silence on the pressing issue of imminent chatbot installation, I am now no steps closer to taking action on the matter. In fact, since I’m going to try to do it alone, I’m only a few short steps away from bringing the entire server crashing down. I know there are some geeks among you. What, do you think you have something better to do, you self-important fucks?

    sigh Aww… how could I stay mad at you adorable readers… You cheeky rascals. Let’s never fight again.


    Via LYD: dictionaraoke. Enjoy the word-building musical treats, and then take a second look at the page. All the ads are fake. (Negativland in the house.)