Also, big Star Wars news today.

We’re talking about it in the latest Time Travel Murder Mystery episode. In short: We’re excited.

This image is a funny internet joke, but as Benjie Light just pointed out to me, it’s nothing compared to this…

Updated to add: The latest report (as of the day after this big announcement) is that the story will “all original,” whatever the hell that means.

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Either/Or.

Mad linkage:

The important new dynamic in modern human communication.

The first image (fucking finally) from Joss Whedon/Drew Goddard’s Cabin In The Woods.

Are wide male faces a predictor for unethical behavior?

James Spader is joining The Office, but not as the boss, not for long.

Zadie Smith turning to speculative fiction and sci fi.

Infidelity might just keep us together.

Spike Lee to direct the American remake of Oldboy?

Above: Katie West summer print sale.

An oral history of Explosions In The Sky.

Antonia Fraser and Harold Pinter.

The paradox that was G. K. Chesteron.

Don’t let them cut off your balls, boys.

At least Glenn Beck is gone from the airwaves.

An oral history of Michael Fucking Bay.

9 steps to foolproof outdoor sex.

“In addition to my other numerous acquaintances, I have one more intimate confidant…. My depression is the most faithful mistress I have known—no wonder, then, that I return the love. ”

-Søren Kierkegaard

Harry Potter’s favorite magic potion is booze.

Speaking of which, some of your favorite fast food chains are now serving alcohol.

Also, the “experts” are now saying that some “light drinking” may be “safe” while you’re pregnant.

And: An oral history of the Harry Potter film series.

The evils of “like” culture.

“All I want is to have incredibly violent sex.”

from here.

Massive amounts of cheating discovered in Atlanta public schools.

Topless sunbathing in the bit city.

How Charlotte’s Web was conceived.

The perfect penis.

Alfred Hitchcock recalls working with Salvador Dali.

“You are a computer salesman – I am fucking JAMES BOND.”

Ours might not be a holographic universe after all 😦

The year in film.

This is a fun little montage:

from here and here.

Go write your novel, part two.

So NaNoWriMo is now over… Did you finish your novel? No? Ah, well, there’s always next year, right? In the meantime, watch this absolutely brilliant video…

…which I found here. Enjoy!

Nobody told me there’d be days like these.

As mentioned yesterday, today is/would’ve been John Lennon’s 70th birthday.

via YouTube.

I keep seeing little shrines to and admirations of the man all over the internet too. That’s amazing to me. Amazing that we stop and think about that still, this musical and pop artist from decades and decades ago, that he’s still affecting us with his music and ideas and persona even now. I mean, I can understand why people like my mother are still thinking about Lennon but it shocks me whenever I notice people younger than me talking about or listening to the Beatles or the various members’ solo material.

It shocks me but it pleases me as well. It’s natural to dislike the music of the younger generations because most of it is, at best, loud raw bullshit. My generation had the 90s and the glorious music of that time (that’s what our memories keeping assuring us) but the kids these days have… what? Paramore? Justin Bieber. It’s a shame.

But it’s also natural, I think to dislike when the younger generation starts coming up on you, encroaching on your scene, professing admiration of the music you hold so dear, that has become a part of your genetic make up, and yet they don’t know the singer’s name or don’t know the title of track 3 on that band or artist’s second album or don’t know all the lyrics like you. It’s like when you would hear Avril Lavigne tell you that Nirvana was the greatest band in the world. She didn’t know what she was talking about and it made the things you like feel cheaper because of it, because she hadn’t earned it.

And yet we forget about the act of discovery that comes with music, both with hearing an artist for the first time on the radio, if that kind of thing still happens, or playing over that sad scene with lots of crying in your favorite network drama. Or discovering an older artist, someone before your time, quite by accident. It’s amazing to you. It shows you that this great big world that you finally felt like you had a handle on perhaps has a little more depth, a little more beauty and gorgeous weirdness in it than you could’ve guessed. And it’s time to explore all of that.

And yet, Lennon’s music should come with a history lesson attached. He wasn’t just an artist with a discography, his story was a fucking saga. There’s so many facets to his tale and his life that you feel like a fucking Star Trek nerd just for taking all those details in and holding onto them. Or, at least, I do.

Growing up I was that weird little kid who adored his parent’s Beatles records and would spend long afternoons and late nights just sitting by the turntables, which that thing spin around and being mesmerized by their music. I read all the books I could on the Beatles, delved into all the ridiculous anecdotes and bizarre peripheral characters in their tale.

I’ve always been an oddity at the party (though the attendees at most parties are all oddities, or should be, I know). While everyone else knows everything about what’s going on with some bullshit famous NYC hipster or what’s happening on the latest episode of Real Housewives Of Wherever, I was always the guy who had far too many factoids about the heroes of classic rock. Amongst many others, that was always just one of my things.

To their fans, either those who grew up as the band was growing up or those who discovered the much later, they felt like your favorite characters in a story that was happening in and around you. There were ups and downs and turmoil and laughs and joy and you escape into one of their albums and it’d become a part of your life. John Lennon died months before I was even born and I still took their break up hard almost 30 years after it happened.

But as for the band themselves, I always took the question “who’s your favorite Beatle?” to be a kind of basic personality test. It wasn’t just a matter of “the one with the pointy nose” or “the shy one” or “the cute one” or “Jesus, Ringo is fucking weird looking,” it was about who you identified. Who personified all your weirdness and abstract traits. Who managed to be as much like you, but better.

I guess for us John fans, it was the romantic idea of the intellectual rebel. That’s why we liked him. It felt like he was against something, but nobly. Through him our character flaws and quirks and all the ways we didn’t fit with others, all of that became just a part of our affectation.

Of course now I imagine, in a way, that John Lennon is more like Che Guevara…

He’s more of a symbol, an artistic flourish, than a real person who once existed. Or… is he?

from here.

John came off as an asshole perfectionist, not too different from Paul in that regard, but there was something more off putting about John. It felt like he’d rather offend you than make you laugh along with him. He wasn’t a chameleon like Bob Dylan, constantly discovering himself by changing identities and styles, but John seemed more interested in dealing with his issues by shaving away all the human parts of himself and becoming sharper, crueler. He found his issues and rather than making peace with them, he just become them, he inserted himself deeper into them. He could be charming, he could be disarming, he could be cruel, but it felt like he would never surrender to the working class sadness the world had seemed to be laying out for him. His personality was the perfect prototype for someone like Kanye West (or, to a lesser extent, someone like Billy Corgan maybe). His past was not a particularly great one, nor was he always satisfied with the present it seemed, so he kept pushing forward, never resting, never giving up the rhythm. He was a poet and a genius, and seemed to take the world about as half as seriously as it had ever taken him, and in that regard, I think he saw the world more clearer than most insulated, influenced musicians ever do. That’s why I think his songs can seem absurd sometimes, or like the work of a bored artist, but at times they cut deep, slicing into a vein that feels all too familiar.

But I think John was, in the classic style of British musicians, pretty good at selling you a lot of bullshit when he felt like it. And while I don’t think you could question or belittle his impact or his talent, I think I just gave you about 900 words of bullshit as well. Enjoy.

Three last things about this man from Liverpool…

Do you think you’re a genius?

Yes, if there is such a thing as one, I am one. When did you realize that what you were doing transcended — People like me are aware of their so-called genius at ten, eight, nine. . . . I always wondered, “Why has nobody discovered me?” In school, didn’t they see that I’m cleverer than anybody in this school? That the teachers are stupid, too? That all they had was information that I didn’t need? I got fuckin’ lost in being at high school. I used to say to me auntie, “You throw my fuckin’ poetry out, and you’ll regret it when I’m famous, ” and she threw the bastard stuff out. I never forgave her for not treating me like a fuckin’ genius or whatever I was, when I was a child. It was obvious to me. Why didn’t they put me in art school? Why didn’t they train me? Why would they keep forcing me to be a fuckin’ cowboy like the rest of them? I was different, I was always different. Why didn’t anybody notice me? A couple of teachers would notice me, encourage me to be something or other, to draw or to paint – express myself. But most of the time they were trying to beat me into being a fuckin’ dentist or a teacher. And then the fuckin’ fans tried to beat me into being a fuckin’ Beatle or an Engelbert Humperdinck, and the critics tried to beat me into being Paul McCartney.

That’s from Lennon’s 1971 interview with Rolling Stone.

This is me talking about May Pang and Lennon’s brief “lost weekend” phase. This is me talking about Lennon entering the world of comics as godhead/musical deity. This is me talking about mind games, of course.

And lastly one of my absolute favorite of John Lennon’s songs…

…the sadly underrated “Look At Me.” I point these kinds of songs out whenever I see them but if ever there was a song about bloggers, that’s definitely one of them.

And we all shine on.

Gone to the movies…

In the men’s room of the cinema beforehand, for a pre-movie evacuation when two kids, probably around 10 or 11ish, and the bemused dad who accompanied them walk in and take up all the urinals directly around them.

Kid #1: OH MAN, that was so awesome. The way he killed The Fallen. RIGHT?!

Kid #2: YES! OMG YES!

Kid #1: Yes. But I wonder if he’s really dead.

Kid #2: The Fallen? Yeah, the way he killed him? Awesome. Totally dead.

Kid #1: Unless there’s a third one. Do you think there’ll be a third one?

Kid #2: OF COURSE there’ll be a third one. That was SO GOOD. Better than the first!

Kid #1: So you think he’s not dead then?

Kid #2: Who?

Bemused dad: I don’t think there’s enough explosives left in the world to make another one of those movies, guys.

The kids ignore him, go to wash their hands.

Bemused dad (continuing, presumably to me, since he started staring at me): That might be the cure to all the troubles of the world, right? Take all our explosives and destructive weapons and give them to Hollywood to fight computer alien robots, right?

I just shrug, then go over to wash my hands. I use soap, the kids at the sinks next to me, however, do not.

Kid #1: Man, I want to get high later.

Kid #2: Yeah, me too. You think this guy (gestures to me) could sell us drugs?

I leave in a hurry.

And then: I decide, Fuck it, I’ll get some popcorn, and I go and get in line. Me and this group of two girls are both angling for the same slot and get there at the exact time. I decide that, even though my movie starts in less than 3 minutes, I’ll be a nice guy and let them go first. I start to drift back when…

Girl: Fuck this guy. He needs to move.

I hear that and decide, Okay, chivalry’s out the door. I’m gonna get some popcorn. These girls can wait.

Girl: Hey ASSHOLE!

I hear that and just smile.

Girl: Don’t smile. I’m talking to you!

Me: Oh, I’m sorry, are you talking to me?

Girl: Yes!

Me: Okay.

And I turn back to the dude behind the counter and order what I want.

Girl: HEY!

Me: Yes?

Girl: You should’ve let me in front of you.

Me: And why is that?

Girl: Because I’m hotter than you!

Me: What?

Girl: I am! I’m hotter than you. You should’ve given up your spot in line for me.

Me: What?

The girl continues on but I decide to save everyone a little trouble and cut her off, then…

Me: Okay, listen up. You’re like 13. You’re not hotter than anyone. Fuck off.

The girl is shocked, but eventually goes and gets into another spot in the line to get popcorn/sodas/milk duds/whatever.

Guy behind the counter: Dude, she was hot.

Me: Dude, she was 13. Actually, you know what? I’m not even going to debate this with you. What do my popcorn and soda cost?

Guy behind the counter: 15 bucks.

Me: What?!

So, after a time, I get into the theater and the movie starts. The movie, by the way is the new Harry Potter movie. Don’t judge me. I went with my mama, who loves them, and we’ve seen them all together. I don’t know anything about the books other than what I can ween off the wikipedia, but you could tell that much was sacrificed to continue the ongoing story in this film, which just feels daunting knowing that there’s at least two more films to go in this series.

Also, poor Emma Watson, who is usually one of the most delightful part of these movies, is barely in this one. And that red headed kid who got the swine flu? He looks like swine flu.

Earlier in the day, I had been in line to buy the tickets for the showing we were going to see and the line at the box office was long. In front of me was a couple that were on a first date.

Girl: So, when did you first realize you wanted to ask me out?

Guy: It was a synergy thing, actually.

Girl: What’s that mean?

Guy: Synergy is when two things-

Girl: No, I know what synergy is. What was the synergy thing?

Guy: Oh, oh, sorry. What I meant was, I knew we had to go out at the time I realized, “Hey, I haven’t seen the new Transformers movie yet,” you know?

Girl: Right.

Guy: The movie just looks so good, right? Just soooo good.

On the inside I’m thinking to myself, “Come on, man. Tell her that she looks good too!” Alas, he does not.

Girl: Yeah, sure. I barely remember the first one.

Guy: So where do you want to eat after this?

This is the question I pose to you, ladies and gentlemen: Do you really want to fuck somebody who actually really wants to go see Transformers 2? And because they think it looks good too?

Then again, you’ll notice that I’m careful not to ask if you’d want to fuck a guy who went to see the Harry Potter movie.