Wednesday, April 28, 2010

M.O. Powell's Midweek Round-Up

These sorts of things usually happen on Friday, but seeing as Wednesdays are not usually the funnest days in the week, I thought I would provide it now. Here's the round up in things that have struck me this week. Hope you enjoy.

John Locke's Rap Video:

A friend sent me this video. It is so positively bizarre. If it weren't for the Sky News logo, I wouldn't even think it was real. A Christian friend said it was like he was possessed by the devil.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote the best commentary on the South Park controversy with her Wall Street Journal article. I look forward to what Christopher Hitchens has to say. If he has already written an article, let me know.

Andrew Napolitano has been awesome on the Arizona immigration law. He also has said that it is effectively pushing Hispanics away from the GOP in an earlier video.

From Wikipedia: From 1929 to 1931, the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer motion picture studio produced a series of short comedy films called All Barkie Dogville Comedies, sometimes known as the “barkies” (in a parody of “talkies”).[1] The actors in these films were trained dogs, dressed up to parody the performers in contemporary films. The dogs’ dialogue in these early sound films was dubbed by actors and voice artists including Pete Smith.

The films were directed by Zion Myers and conceived and co-directed by Jules White. Both Myers and White later worked on The Three Stooges comedies.

The series is somewhat controversial due to methods alleged to have been used to get the dogs to pose and to appear to “talk”.

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Boba Fett is Back

Wow, great to see he looks almost exactly the same as when we last saw him in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. I'm excited!

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Everybody's Leaving Leno

Conan O'Brien is going head to head with him on another channel, his trusted sidekick for nearly two decades, Kevin Eubanks, is leaving him and David Letterman has been making skits like "Leno Victims Unit" wherein Letterman makes it sound as if Jay Leno is in league with Adolf Hitler and Charles Manson.

At least the Chinned One can laugh about it:

Of course, there was nothing racially tinged about that "booty" joke. Nothing at all. Oh, and it gets worse for Jay:

Geez, these guys really hate each other.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Losing a Guru of Hip-Hop

Today, hip-hop lost a legend:

Gang Starr's Guru has died of cancer aged 43.

Guru, real name Keith Elam, passed away yesterday (April 19) after a year-long battle with the disease. The rapper, who formed Gang Starr in 1985, had suffered a heart attack on February 28 then slipped into a coma.

There's only a few other rappers whose departure from this world would be as or more significant a loss than that of Guru: Nas, Jay-Z (who, while I'm not a huge fan, is enormously important), Kool Keith, Guru's partner DJ Premier, anyone in De La Soul, Grandmaster Flash.

I listened to alot of old school and, for the time, new school rap in high school and Gang Starr, Guru's group with DJ Premier, was a regular staple in my music repetoire during those formative years. No matter what heartbreak it's given me and the world, hip-hop, with Guru's work a substantial part of it, will be integral to my life. Rest in peace.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Conan Leaves For More Humble Shores

Conan O'Brien's move to TBS appears to have with it only one tangible benefit:

Money and promises? No doubt. In the deal he made to move his late-night show to TBS, Mr. O’Brien reportedly secured a personal salary in line with what he had at NBC for his abbreviated “Tonight” show run, and a show budget, which, while lower, will still enable him to put on a similar show. He will also gain ownership of the show.

Creative ownership is a really big thing, and something that mean the very happiness of a creator. Alan Moore, creator of the graphic novels Watchmen, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell, didn't have creative control when he wrote his characters for DC Comics. His work has subsequently been made into films that he vehemently disapproves of.

The creator ownership could have been offered to O'Brien elsewhere, however. It's not hard to imagine HBO, Showtime or another high profile channel giving him the same rights. They probably would have been able to pay beyond his NBC pay as well.

I think I know why he chose TBS, however. It's the same reason why I'm attracted to smaller state and private schools, instead of the huge universities with more name credibility.

The "elite" establishments in the United States are chock full of some of those meglomeniacal and non-self-aware people in the world. The success has gotten to their head, and they seem to have swallowed the notion that they must become vapid to become successful. A childhood friend of mine became like this when he went to Georgetown, becoming a different person entirely as he joined the Ivy League.

I'm pretty sure this was the experience O'Brien got with the bigshots over at NBC. Leno certainly must have an ego even bigger than his chin. George Lopez certainly seems like a more loveable soul than Leno, and has been more than accomodating for O'Brien.

They say the top is better than the bottom. That's not necessarily true.

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Introducing Mutant Biology

I love to read about evolutionary biology, and find investigation of the history on life simply fascinating. Given that, biology is often presented in a dry and catastrophically boring manner. Public school did an incredible job of making science appear as interesting as watching a slug race across a field.

How do you solve that problem? Make the biological history of homo sapiens relateable! Ryan Haupt does a fantastic job of this by relating the topic with the Marvel Comics character Beast AKA Dr. Hank McCoy:

Nine months pass after the aforementioned conception and tiny Hank is born. Even at an early age he looks weird, long arms, big hands and big feet. There actually is a word for this in evolutionary and developmental biology: peramorphosis. This is a condition where species “mature past adulthood.” Hank isn’t a perfect example of this and it’s a hard concept to grip mostly because it’s a rare thing to have happen, but it is possible. The opposite of this is called pedomorphosis, and it’s a bit easier to explain. Pedomorphosis, also called neotony, is when an animal fails to develop a full complement of adult traits. For example: an adult dog is more like a baby wolf than an adult wolf. Some people argue neotony is what happened to Hank but I disagree because at birth he’s more like an adult gorilla than a baby human. He’s a sort of evolutionary throwback with a jumpstart on his own maturation allowing him to become a much bigger stronger and yes, even smarter, adult, if only by virtue of having more initial muscle mass and brain matter to work with than your average human.

Fantastic! When I was growing up, my teachers would send me to the principals office for bringing comic books to science class. If any current or future science teachers are reading this, try making the topic relateable as Haupt so successfully has!

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Saturday, April 10, 2010