Romancing the Stone.

The other day I went to see that totally forgettable Total Recall remake and this was waiting for me out in the theater lobby afterward…

A historical “action drama” movie featuring cops and gangsters and Sean Penn and Josh Brolin and fucking Nick Nolte. Ugh. All pretty high on my list of least favorite things at the cinema, and yet… Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone? That’s chemistry goldmine right there. (As opposed to featuring Bryan Gosling, that loser.)

I’m not saying that the presence of those two together will get to go see this movie, but it will seriously make me wish that they were in a different movie together.

They were the best thing about Crazy Stupid Love, right?

Why can’t they do a movie where they fight vampires or something. Or a Shakespearean adaptation. Only… set in the future. But maybe it’s really the past? And taking place on a holodeck? And Mercutio is a robot! And a ghost. And a traitor! And it’s all really a dream. Of course.

Anyway. Anything other than gangsters next time, please?

It’s just sad because I want to say that Emma Stone clearly has more onscreen chemistry and just works better in a movie with Gosling than her actual boyfriend, offscreen and on (in Spider-Man), Andrew Garfield. But, you know, whatever.

Meanwhile… have you been checking out our podcast?

If not, you should be. Obviously. Check out the Time Travel Murder Mystery site, or find us in itunes. The last two episodes, “Bad Nudity Batman” and “The Jon Snow Show” were fun, I thought. And a new episode should be up in a few days.

A planet called America, part two.

This morning I walked into work and said something to one of my co-workers along the lines of, “So, is your life any better now that Osama is dead?” She looked at me said, “OMG, the President is dead?” And I said, “Huh? What? No. NO. Osama. Bin Laden!” And then she squinted, looked at me curiously, and said, “What the fuck are you talking about?” Just then another co-worker held up the front page of the newspaper which had a huge picture of the deceased terrorist mastermind on it and a massive headline that said “BIN LADEN DEAD.” Or maybe it said “BIN LADEN KILLED.” Honestly, I can’t remember anymore. But the headline was huge.

from here.

A week ago I said to a friend: “Dealing with your enemies is simple and easy. The best way to combat them is to simply make friends with them. Make friends with them so hard that it hurts.”

It’s so weird to me still that one of the time I felt most unified with this crazy, amazing, fucked up country was on 9/11. The wost metaphor I could use here would be: It’s like that girlfriend, the one who’s really fucking amazing, if a little weird, and way too good for you, and you just treat her like shit. She should really quit you and your bullshit. You just don’t appreciate her and for some reason she just won’t leave you. And you don’t realize how important she really is to you until someone else threatens here. Some clarity only comes to us on the precipice of great and terrible disaster. Life is funny like that.

Part of me is glad that Bin Laden wasn’t captured and forced to answer for his crimes to us and to the world in person, though I would have wanted that, of course. Part of me was glad to hear that this was finally over, that everyone who had been wounded by the tragedies that seemed to be dialed up at this man’s fingertips can now crawl just one more inch ever so slowly and painfully into the past. I wouldn’t really call this “justice “though because, well, there is no such thing as justice. Scales aren’t balanced because Bin Laden is dead. His life will never ever begin to be equal in worth to those lost on 9/11 or those who have put on an military uniform and defended a certain set of ideals and beliefs that we all take for granted every single minute. America is a brilliant, beautiful idea, but not a perfect one, and it can be hurt and it can be dented, but it’ll always be stronger than some cheap thug, no matter where he lives, no matter what he looks like, no matter what he worships. It can only be killed by those who give up on the idea, or who sell it out bit by bit in the name of “freedom.”

from here.

The death of what we consider to be an evil man on the other side of the world doesn’t bring back all those special people that we lost but hopefully it helps some people to breathe easier. Hopefully it reminds us why those people were special to us and hopefully we never forget what they meant to us. I’d like to say that hopefully it makes us appreciate each moment we have on this planet all that much more, but we should’ve been doing that long before now, and of course should continue doing that to the moment we draw our last breath. Hopefully someone like Bin Laden will never ever come close to challenging that idea every again.

I’ll admit to being conflicted or just confused about this news and how I should be feeling, but I’m lucky. Lucky to be here, lucky to be typing this in the land of the free, home of the brave. I’m lucky that I didn’t lose anyone ten years ago on that strange September day or in the fights and wars that followed. Who Osama Bin Laden is and what all of this means is something for you to decide. I can tell you that I don’t view this man’s death as closure, but honestly, I won’t look down on anyone who gets it from this news.

Thank you, mom. Thank you, God. Thank you, Barack Obama. Thank you, Donald Trump (with your stupid ass hair and head full of shit). Thank you, Pakistan. Thank you, India! Thank you, everyone who’s ever stood up for what they believed in and put that belief above themselves. Thank you, Bill Murray. Thank you, internet jokesters and “expert thinkers.” Thank you, Doctor Who. Thank you to the moon and to The Onion, both. Thank you, mainstream media. Thank you, “Mission Accomplished.” Thank you, those who agree with me, and thank you to those who would never agree with me in a million years. Thank you, Jack Donaghy, and thank you, Condoleezza Rice and thank you, Margaret Cho (for guest starring on 30 Rock). Thank you, strange new/old world that has such people in it. Thank you, post-Now. Thank you to everyone who thinks this matters and everyone who knows that it really doesn’t. Thank you to all those who never forget and especially thank you to those who are doomed to remember.

I saw this picture posted on the internet a little while ago…

…and I had a might good chuckle.

The terrorists are always winning. And the terrorists are always losing. And the battle will keep raging and hopefully we’ll never forget what we’re fighting for or who we should actually be fighting.

It’s doesn’t even matter that Superman’s no longer an American citizen or that The Rock had the #1 movie at the box office this weekend AND knew that Osama was dead before you did because…

Well, because the story’s not over and the dream is never ending.

And like PKD said, Maybe the Empire never ended?

Like fake MLK said, “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.”

It’s been over 24 hours now and tonight when I go to bed I’ll be thinking the same thing I was thinking last night, “Okay, so Osama’s dead. And what will tomorrow look like?”

The Goddamn Batman.

from here.

From the internet:

RIP Leslie Nielsen.

RIP Irvin Kershner.

Your 2010 holiday gift shopping sorted.

Here’s something you clearly (don’t) need: pocket chainsaw.

The top 5 most shocking things about WikiLeaks.

Vladimir Putin is Batman and Dmitry Medvedev is Robin.”

Celebrities quitting twitter for charity.

from here.

This Spider-Man musical sounds like just the kind of crazy train wreck that you want it to be.

Here’s what Christopher Nolan thinks of your Inception fan theories.

Natalie Portman, Halle Berry, and Tom Hanks to star in the Wachowskis’ version of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas?

Actor decapitates own mother in Masonic attack inspired by The Matrix.

The bad sex in fiction awards!

Fox Nation reprints anti-Obama article from The Onion, doesn’t mention (or possibly realize) that it’s a joke.

Music by David Lynch.

Previously on Counterforce.

An interview with Jorge Luis Borges.

from here.

This is just weird: Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal.

From 1993: The future of the internet!

David Foster, from 1998: “I’m not a journalist and I don’t pretend to be one.”

from here.

Klaxons “Twin Flames.”

The little white lies of online dating revealed.

Is this the year that we make contact? Maybe.

Doctor Doom vs. Doctor Who.

Are we about to be inundated with a wave of movie versions of the works of Haruki Murakami?

Batman and Robin investigate “The Carbon Copy Crimes.”

from here.

D. J. Caruso on why he quit the Y The Last Man movie. Wants to make it a TV show instead, huh? Someone owes me a check. You fuckers.

Suck on this: Animated Southland Tales prequel.

How does Commissioner Gordon really feel about Batman?

Do women avoid talking to their fathers because of evolution?

Edgar Allan Bro.

Hercule Poirot kitties. LOL.

from here.

Shocking link between people who like Batman and people who like pornography.

How to survive a mass extinction.

A Spanish woman claims that she owns the Sun and you can bet your ass she wants you to pay her for its usage.

from here.

What makes ’em act that way?

Mad Linkage:

Thank the heavens, they may actually cancel Heroes!

…just like they (finally) canceled Law & Order.

(Sidebar: If I was doing porn [again], I think that “Dick Wolf” would be a strong contender for my porn name.)

Yeah, sure, they should replace Dermot Mulroney with Josh Holloway in The Rockford Files‘ remake.

from here.

How airport security changes your mood when traveling.

Why is the sky blue?

Spew” by Neal Stephenson.

Powerful images of the unfolding disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

from here.

Arizona bans ethnic studies in public schools.

Also, Los Angeles boycotts Arizona.

Emma Stone deserves better movies to star in, right?

Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse talk about “Across The Sea.”

Joanna Newsom, Lady Gaga, Madonna. Whatever.

Tracy Grandstaff, the voice of Daria, is a Vice President at Comedy Central.

Taylor Momsen carries a knife!

Latest details of Lawrence Taylor’s sex scandal.

The infidelity of Matt Lauer.

by Sally Mann, from here.

RIP Frank Frazetta.

An invisible structure and a great view.

The performance art of James Franco and Marina Abramović.

The trailer for The Adjustment Bureau, the Phillip K. Dick adaptation starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt.

You can buy a shitload of Lost props, if you’re so inclined.

Here is a nice collection of hipster babes to keep you occupied.

Largest scientific instrument ever built to prove Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

The condition of music.

“I hope you have not been leading a double life, pretending to be wicked and being really good all the time. That would be hypocrisy.”

-Oscar Wilde

“Reasons are whores.”

Leonard Michaels

This is my new favorite music video:

It’s “Swim” by Danish band Oh No Ono, directed by Adam Hashemi, and it’s perfect, musical and visually. I’d give this best foreign picture Oscar right now if I wasn’t too lazy to get out of this chair.

“Bear in mind that those who are finer and nobler are always alone — and necessarily so — and that because of this they can enjoy the purity of their own atmosphere.”

-Albert Einstein, in response to a letter he received from an unemployed professional musician.

from here.

“All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music.”

-Walter Parter

Can diseases time travel? Victorian man diagnosed with swine flu dies. Ha ha.

101 amazing facts about the Earth.

What is relativity?

The girl who doesn’t age.

The whole theory of beautiful language.

There’s a link between light touch and Merkel cells that makes sweet, sweet music.

from here.

“The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.”

-Phillip K . Dick


Klaatu Barada Nikto!

I honestly can’t believe they’re remaking The Day The Earth Stood Still. I really can’t.

Well, let me rephrase that: I can’t believe they’re remaking it so poorly. Oh. Wait. Yes, I can. I totally can. Ugh.

And Don Draper’s in it, ha ha! Awesome. According to the wikipedia article on the remake, Keanu only did it (he considers it to be a re-imagining, not a remake) because he was such a fan of the original as a kid and glad that they removed Klaatu’s “big stick” speech from the end. Color me surprised that Keanu is against the big stick.

I’m not going to talk about the film that much, because… well, if you haven’t seen the original, then I don’t know who you are and you’re probably not interested in this post anyways. Sucks to be you! But I will say that I’m sad to see that the remake, er, “re-imagining” didn’t bring over the original film’s anti-war (also, anti-nuclear) message, instead going for a much more “Hollywood PC-friendly” environmental preservation message.

The updates to Gort and the ship, which is now biological, are interesting (apropos of nothing, is it me or are Jennifer Connelly and Naomi Watts basically the same person now, just with different colored hair?) and as far as Klaatu is concerned, well, Keanu was probably born to play this part, big stick or not.

Every Friday, or thereabout, on the Counterforce tumblr, I share a few classic and sometimes not so classic sci fi stories that I’ve enjoyed over the years or am curious about or interested in. Stuff you should know about (if you don’t already)! And I figured that today that would do the same thing, but for realsies here at Counterforce, starting with:

Contact, released in 1997, directed by Robert, and based on the novel by Carl Sagan. I’ve always wanted to read the book, but sadly, never have.  The movie, which I watched last week for the first time in years, still holds up (even with the cgi’d in Bill Clinton scenes) as both fun and smart, and nicely scratches by sci fi itch, and manages to deal with (in a not totally condescending way) matters of belief and faith in a higher power, whether that be the Christian Sky Bully or high advanced extraterrestial alien beings sending us messages from across the stars. Jodie Foster is excellent as always in her special Jodie Foster way (by now it’s no secret that I have a crush on Jodie Foster, right?)(Yes, I know, she probably doesn’t like me back) and even McConaughey’s decent in this film, but this is years before he perfected his bohemian hobo swerve. Also, I learned from Wikipedia that Sagan was paid a $2 million advance for the novel, the highest at the time for a then unwritten work.

The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester.

Consider Her Ways by John Wyndham.

Freakangels, by Warren Ellis, free to read every week, and based on the notion of what Wyndham’s Midwich Cuckoos would be like when they grew up.

Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Stugatsky (download it here), which was the basis for Tarkovsky’s excellent Stalker, a film that is profoundly uneasy, beautiful, and luminous with sorrow.

The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson.

Singularity Sky by Charles Stross.

The Illuminatus! Trilogy and Grant Morrison talking about pop magic at DisinfoCon.

Alcubierre drive.

Bussard ramjet.

Space tourism.

Farewell To The Master,” the 1940 short story by Harry Bates that both iterations of The Day The Earth Stood Still are based on.

Robots show that brain activity is linked to time as well as space.


Prey by Michael Crichton.

K. Eric Drexler.

The 23rd Psalm” in which Mr. Eko meets the monster for the first time.

A similar scene from Via Domus. And this is just one of the many reasons why I love Juliet on Lost.

Did magnetic field failure trigger mass extinction?

Fullerenes in popular culture.

Ecophagy. Grey goo!

There’s plenty of room at the bottom.

The Post-Modern Prometheus Of Politics!

Q: Is the new Star Trek movie a reimagining, remake, or a reboot? A: Time travel!

Unknown “structures” are tugging at the universe, scientists say. Dark Flow!

Cthulhu, black holes, and robots.

How time travel will work. Time travel for beginners. Time travel paradoxes.

The Clock That Went Backward” by Edward Page Mitchell.

Time After Time by Nicholas Meyer.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

The grandfather paradox. The predestination paradox. The ontological paradox.

-All You Zombies-” by Robert Heinlein. (Mack, if you’re reading, that one’s for you, you big weird bastard)

But you can’t travel back in time, or so scientists say.

As She Climbed Across The Table and Amnesia Moon by Jonathan Lethem.

Dr. Bloodmoney, or How We All Got Along After The Bomb by Phillip K. Dick.

Your Name Here, the pseudo-biopic of Dick just doesn’t look interesting to me. Not at all.

The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch by Dick, and of course, VALIS!

Scientists extract images directly from the brain.

The Invisibles, fiction suits, singularities, the supercontext, and the masturbatory sigil.

Raymond Kurzweil and Spiritual Machines. And Barack Obama.

Bruce Sterling and the buckyjunk, blobjects, spime, and slipstream.

Daniel Pinchbeck and Reality Sandwich.

Magic party!

The World Future Society.

Marco Sparks loves British sci fi.

Make these books into a movie right now!

Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke.

Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany.

A Sound Of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury.

Friday and Stranger In A Strange Land by Robert Heinlein.

International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day!

Sex and sexuality in science fiction.

Deep Blue and Deep Fritz.

I’d like to think that Skynet could totally kick Deus Ex Machina‘s sorry ass.

Sex with robots? But can you wait a bit before robohusbandry really becomes a thing?

How To Survive A Robot Uprising by Daniel Wilson.

Tonight is the year’s biggest full moon!