Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mummy Black and Caput Mortuum

I've told a bit before about the history of artist pigments, and today wish to discuss the history of a particularly interesting pigment known as Mummy Black.

Egyptian mummies have a dark color to them when unwrapped (leading some folks to incorrectly believe the Egyptians were black as in negroid race, which is not quite correct -- though the discussion of that would be at least another post if not an entire book's worth of info.) It was believed in ancient times, by foreigners and maybe even by uneducated Egyptians, that this black color, and much of the whole preservation, were achieved by using large amounts of mineral pitch in the mummification process. In fact the hue is merely a side effect of the drying (think on how a piece of beef jerky winds up looking once the moisture is gone.) Nevertheless, this led to some odd beliefs and practices in both folk and formal medicines.

Mineral pitch was used for an assortment of traditional folk remedies, and the belief came to be that mineral pitch taken from a mummy would be even more powerful. Typical mummification really seems to have used very little if any mineral pitch, but that didn't stop anyone; they would steal and grind up whole mummies and sell the powder for all kinds of uses. It was used in love potions and curse removal, and was said to cure just about everything from bruises to epilepsy. Eventually the demand for mummia was greater than the supply, and recipes for mummia falsa, constructed from other types of dead bodies, survive.

The apothecary's shop was once not just the place for the quack physician, but also for the artist, who generally needed to prepare his own paints (or sometimes have them prepared by the apothecary.) Mummia was valued here as well -- it offered a nice black/brown shade that looked well in paintings, and some reportedly believed that the preservation process the mummy had undergone would also help to preserve the painting and the brightness of the pigment. So there goes Cleopatra, furnishing her own portrait. And if you think mummy black went out with the Renaissance, think again; I've heard reports of the stuff being used as late as the 1915, and some art stores still sell paint under the name (though no more made from real corpses.)

Another related paint called Caput Mortuum was also available. It was sometimes synonymous with Mummy Black, but other reports suggest it was made from the wrappings instead of the actual corpses.

Next time you're visiting an art museum, look out for any paintings featuring brown/black areas that seem to be cracking more than the surrounding paint -- this is said to be characteristic of Mummy Black.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Poem: Death Eternal

The loneliness is deep in my soul
only the knife offers solace
singing in the dark church
they will miss me so when i am gone
i cry even as i write
the clock is made of blood
my soul is dead and nothing is left
blood is my life
endless hopelessness

(from the Goth Poem Generator)

Friday, August 26, 2011

"The Worst Movie Ever Made" II

After last month's article on the movie Goth, featuring reviews that said it was the worst film ever made, I decided that with so many other film that have been accused of that unhappy honor, I'd made a feature of it.

Today's installment: Howard the Duck.

I recently saw Howard the Duck at a friend's weekly 80s Movie Night. I've never read the comics on which it was based, but my understanding is that they were a bit more cerebral than the movie incarnation. I'm told Howard in the comics is more of a tough guy type, whereas in the movie I kept noticing elements that seemed like leftovers of that -- his "Quack-Fu" and short temper, his porn magazines, his job as a construction worker -- but they weren't delivered in the right tone or something; like it was perpetually obvious what the joke was supposed to be (that he's a mean, tough guy, but it's ridiculous because he's a giant DUCK) but because they didn't want to make him quite mean and tough enough, the payoff did not succeed. It is a rule of comedy that one can never exaggerate too much, and it was here an example of failure for the writers to try so hard to humanize this giant duck.

The story is that Howard lives on a faraway planet where humanoid ducks are the dominant species. He is very suddenly, and for much of the film inexplicably, sucked out of his livingroom and across the galaxy in a matter of minutes, ultimately landing in an alleyway Cleveland, Ohio. He is horrified by the sight of humans but, for some reason, seems to realize that one nearby human woman is in trouble and takes it upon himself to rescue her from some unwanted sexual advances. She naturally thanks the duck by inviting him back home to her apartment. The woman is named Beverly, and she's a punk singer of some fashion that only sings terrible 80s pop/metal. Howard mentions that he used to be a songwriter and construction worker but recently gave up both jobs to work for an ad agency. Howard soon falls asleep, while Beverly goes through his wallet -- apparently in an effort to confirm his strange story -- and finds dollar bills with ducks on them, photos of Howard and his duck friends, and a condom that does not at all look like it would fit on a duck penis but whatever (these ducks also have been established earlier as having mammalian breasts.) Beverly tries her best to help Howard figure out how he got on Earth and how he can get back home by introducing him to Tim Robbins and that guy who played Joseph II in Amadeus. Howard and Beverly meanwhile go through various ordeals that lead to a greater and greater bonding between them, and thankfully just when it appears like they might try to have sex some random subplot about space demons appears out of nowhere. Of course Howard sacrifices his only chance at getting home in order to save Earth from these space demons, and he goes on to live happily ever after as Beverly's manager (her band now having become a roaring success through performing his wonderous compositions like the Howard the Duck Song.)

Consensus after 80s Night was that this movie should be remade with a motion capture Bruce Willis as Howard, and Lady Gaga playing Beverly (since she seems like someone you could actually believe would want to have a romantic relationship with a giant duck.) Here are what some of the reviews had to say about it:

1.0 out of 5 stars Stuck with one star -- it deserves none!, December 6, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Howard the Duck [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Howard the Dreck is unbearable! Someone below actually said she is hoping and praying for a sequel (fat chance). That's like hoping and praying for a root canal! Among the worst pieces of (garbage) ever to escape from Hollywood. DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY OR TIME!

So if that didn't make you long to see it, what possibly could?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Cereal Killers

Breakfast of the Gods has been around for a few years, and just this January it was, at last, completed!

For those unfamiliar: Breakfast of the Gods is actually a grim tale of war, massacre and betrayal, but made ridiculous because it's all being acted out by famous cereal mascots. The sample image at right portrays Cap'n Crunch with his sword bloodied after battle, while Tony the Tiger with bare teeth mauls the Crunchberry Beast, until Dig'Em resorts to doing away with him by shooting him in the face. The official summary reads:

The tale is set in Cerealia, a land eternally bathed in morning sunlight. But troubled days have come to fair Cerealia in the wake of the mysterious disappearance of the king and his wizard adviser. For the first time a shadow has fallen over the land, a shadow named Chocula. Noble and wise, the old sea captain Horatio M. Crunch has stepped up to lead the fight against Count Chocula’s forces of darkness. What follows is the most important battle of their lives as well as the most important meal of the day.

Apparently the author did run into some legal problems early on, but seems to have overcome the issues and now has published his complete collection at Indy Planet.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Diary of a Lost Girl

In Diary of a Lost Girl, the one and only Louise Brooks plays Thymian Henning, the innocent and naive daughter of pharmacist Robert Henning. Thymian is seduced by her father's assistant Meinert (played by the same fellow who was The Thin Man in Metropolis) and gives birth to an illegitimate child. Meinert is revealed to be the father by an entry in Thymian's diary, and when she refuses to marry him she is forced to leave the baby with a midwife and sent to a strict reform school for wayward girls. Meanwhile, Thymian's father marries his housekeeper Meta, who becomes head of the household.

Rebelling against the school's rigid discipline, Thymian and her friend Erika escape with the help of her father's old friend, Count Osdorff, but they separate. Thymian's relief is short-lived—she discovers that her baby is dead—and after despondently wandering the streets, she re-unites with Erika, who is working in a brothel. Thymian also becomes a prostitute, but profits from her misfortune by gaining control of her own life. When her father dies, she inherits a large amount of money, after gaining "respectability" by marrying Osdorff, but gives it all to her young half-sister who has been disinherited.

Osdorff, who had been counting on the money because he himself had been disinherited by his uncle, kills himself. The uncle, grief-stricken, makes Thymian his heir. In a strange twist of fate, she becomes a director of the reform school where she herself was once held. When her old friend is brought in as an "especially difficult case" who "constantly turns away from the blessings of our home", Thymian denounces the school and its "blessings". Uncle Osdorff has the last word: "A little more love and no-one would be lost in this world."

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Bittersweet and tragic, February 12, 2003
By Emiliano Moreno (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Diary of a Lost Girl (DVD)
"Diary of a Lost Girl" (1929) shows us Louise Brooks at her best. It is the bittersweet tale of a young girl's loss of innocence. The new score by Joseph Turrin truly matches this sentimental film by G.W. Pabst , his second best known silent feature after "Pandora's Box" (1928). There are various close ups of Brooks which demonstrate that she was not only a talented actress, but a true vision of beauty. Her face is absolutely flawless. Buy this movie today on DVD, you will not regret it. The DVD also contains the eighteen minute movie short, " Windy Riley Goes to Hollywood", where one can hear Louise Brooks talk! This was directed by Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle under an assumed name. Arbuckle's life and career were devasted by a scandal in the early 1920's, he died not long after making this film short.
Also highly recommended is of course, "Pandora's Box" also starring the lovely Louise Brooks.

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh boy!!!!, October 28, 2001
By Ed N "Ed" (Kensington, Maryland USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Diary of a Lost Girl (DVD)
WOW!!! I never in my wildest dreams thought this silent film classic starring Louise Brooks was coming to DVD! I thought for sure Pandora's Box (Ms. Brooks' most famous film) would come first. And furthermore, I thought Criterion would be the company to release the film, but it looks like Kino's will have the honor. That's not bad, either - Kino's has a LOT of good foreign/silent/independent films, and I've always liked their VCR tapes, so I'm looking forward eagerly to Diary of a Lost Girl.
For those not in the know, Louise Brooks was the ultimate flapper girl of the 1920s. She was probably more famous for her haircut, beauty, and lifestyle than her films. But her film legacy is firmly established by two German films she made after leaving Hollywood briefly - Pandora's Box and Diary of a Lost Girl, both by G.W. Pabst (one of the legendary silent film directors). Both films, if you can find them, are absolute classics. The German expressionist style has rarely been more beautifully captured than in Pandora's Box (Hitchcock used this style too in a lot of his early black/white films). And I was lucky enough to find a beat-up VHS copy of Diary. If you like silent films, you can't go wrong with this film either! The imagery is stunning, Louise Brooks looks gorgeous and gives a moving performance a young lady who, having lost her virtue, is consequently shunned by society and has to learn to care for herself. I don't like to give away plots, so that's all I'll say, but I am looking forward to owning this film on DVD! Highly recommended!

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars LOUISE BROOKS IGNITES THE SCREEN, December 9, 2001
By Robin Simmons (Palm Springs area, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Diary of a Lost Girl (DVD)
In the era of the silent cinema, no one ignited the screen like Louise Brooks. In the still shocking "Pandora's Box," and in the lurid, 1929 melodrama "DIARY OF A LOST GIRL,", the mysterious charisma and stunning beauty of Brooks are on sensational display. Brooks, the ultimate 20s flapper, plays idealistic and innocent Thymian, who's raped by her unscrupulous pharmacist father's scabrous assistant. She leaves a child behind, escapes a horrible reform school and ends up working in a brothel. The great G.W. Pabst, who directed Brooks in "Pandora" directs again with an invisible hand. This masterpiece of German Expressionism is about 10 minutes longer and has over 80 slightly different cuts than the 1990 English version released on video (Kino). "Diary of a Lost Girl" is an absolutely exquisite film of great emotional power. Close ups of Brooks defy description. She will take your breath away.

Additionally, if you have some time to spare, you can read the entire book on which the movie was based (originally written in German, translated under the title Diary of a Lost One) online for free.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Materials for Steampunk Inspired Jewelry


Charlie Mclean

The term ‘steampunk' was coined in 1987 by K.W. Jeter author of Morlock night, and was used to describe a genre of fantasy and exploratory fiction. This style is also heavily influenced by Victorian and Edwardian eras, a time of increased prosperity and creativity, as well as elaborate fashions. Long coats, top hats, bustles and frilly umbrellas were the fashion of the day coupled with ornate pocket watches, pendants and cameo brooches. Steampunk style has grown to incorporate such influences alongside the harder ‘mad max' style futuristic industrial elements to create a unique look.

Designing and making steampunk style jewellery need not involve a lot of metal smiting expertise, but some basic jewellery making techniques are helpful to master to achieve the right look. Among these is getting to grips with wire work, specifically coiling, creating spirals and wrapping as these can be key looks involved in the style. Look out for coiling and spiralling gizmos as these can make these tasks much easier and quicker if you are looking to produce a number of items.

There are a number of different materials appropriate for making steampunk jewellery, and many are rooted in the ethos and background of the style. Chain is one of the key elements that you will find time and time again. During the Industrial Revolution the middle classes were able to afford pinchbeck (a golden copper/zinc alloy) and steel that was stamped, pressed and rolled into chains, hence the use of such items in steampunk jewellery.

Charms are also quite heavily used and were popularised by Queen Victoria. However much of the charms on offer today consist of watch parts, and found object, the latter of which can be cheap to obtain. However watch parts can more difficult to source, but take a look on Etsy for sellers with vintage watch movements and cogs. These items tend to be largely from US sellers, but look out for bulk buys as these can mean you get a better deal.

Glass can also be an affordable embellishment to add to your piece. The machine age saw a marked increase in the manufacture of glass and today you can easily pick up glass cabochons, beads or mirrors to adorn your jewellery. You can even make your own with the help of a glass fusing kit.

Cameos are another popular element, especially if you want to do something a little more along the lines of Victorian gothic jewellery. These were very popular during the Victorian era and the wealthy collected shell or lava cameos while on vacation in Italy.

If you would like to incorporate gemstones and want to stay true to the era choose from; amethyst, opal, turquoise, agate, onyx, carnelian, amber, jade, garnet, ruby, jet, sapphire, peridot, and jasper as these were becoming increasingly available in the mid 19th Century as ships began to bring back gem stones to England as a result of the trade boost with Asia during this period.

The colours used in steampunk style jewellery are also important, and are kept muted and somewhat drab. This is due to the fact that there were no synthetic dyes around in the first half of the 19th Century. You many also want to consider this if you wish to make more Victorian gothic /mourning style inspired pieces as a lady in mourning would only be allowed to wear black, gray shades or purple and occasionally burgundy or ruby. Combining lace chokers with chain detail can also add to the this look and create a very gothic feel.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/crafts-articles/materials-for-steampunk-inspired-jewellery-4461221.html

About the Author

Charlie Mclean owns and runs an online gothic boutique selling a range of gothic jewellery and accessories from leading brands such as Alchemy Gothic alongside Inflikted, Charlie's own brand of handmade jewellery, encompassing both gothic Victorian and steampunk style themes.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Poem: Kyndeli (aka Kinderly)

Kyndeli is now mi coming
Into this werld wiht teres and cry.
Litel and pouere is myn having,
Britel and sone ifalle from hi;
Scharp and strong is mi deying,
I ne wot whider schal I.
Fowl and stinkande is mi roting --
On me, Jesu, yow have mercy!

(If these lyrics seem familiar, we've heard them before courtesy of the Mediaeval Baebes, from their CD Worldes Blisse.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Painting with the Colors of a Corpse

I have a fascination with the dead, in case you couldn't tell. I like to look at dead bodies -- I've been to Egyptian museums to see mummies, the Body Worlds exhibit to see plastinated people, and I even own a few (legally acquired) human bones. Why should this be? It's hard to say. I think to some extent there's a sense of excitement from it -- the dead are a sort of 'safe danger' in that their state of no longer being alive means they're really almost the safest kind of person you ever could be around, yet there's kind of a built-in fear around the dead in most humans, probably to help warn you out of danger (since, in the wild -- or even in some modern cities -- finding a dead person means that whatever made them dead might still be around and ready to get you next.)

But beyond all this, I think the dead are just extremely interesting and even pretty in their way. Now, some people think that looking at the dead and gaining any sort of pleasure from it is disrespectful, or at least disgusting.

If such a person is you, I advise you to turn away now, because you're not going to be happy with the rest of this post.

Now, for those who are at all intrigued by where this is going, I found a perfect act of morbid beauty in which to pass an evening by indulging. We must begin our little project with some photographs of corpses -- the more colorful the better (which pretty much means you want photos of the rotting ones.) I snagged a couple from Rotten.com

One you have your photos, upload them to a palette generator such as this one. This will break down the photo and determine the major colors in it, and allow you to know what their basic colors are.

You now have a palette. Now, match these hues up with the colors of house paint, and start decorating. If you register, Behr.com even has a thing that lets you try them out on sample rooms (or pictures of your own home if you want to get fancy and download some software from them.) The results of this experiment are strewn about this post -- the painted room pictures are all done with colors derived from the palettes of the corpse photos above. The African corpse's colors look good in almost anything, I found. The morgue photo, meanwhile, is a bit harder to use -- you have to have the right kind of room for those colors, which are much cooler and duller, to really be able to have them stand out.

As I'm not in a position at present to actually repaint my house at all, this project is but mere speculation; nevertheless, it sure sounds like a suitable Gothic Martha Stewart plan to me; it's Cemetery Goth but with a little more subtlety, and with hues like "Victorian Gold" and "Grape Leaves" constantly cropping up, it can merge well into just about any style as a subtle memento mori that won't freak out your house guests.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Vampires, Goths and Ghouls Love Weddings in Las Vegas


Daniel Manson

It seems only appropriate as “New Moon,” the latest installment in the Twilight movie series continues to bring fans into the theaters that I talk about my wife and our perfect Las Vegas wedding.

We’re both huge fans of the whole vampire genre. I’ve been immersed in it since first reading Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” way back in public school. I considered having prosthetic fangs glued onto my teeth when I went through my rebellious teen phase, but quickly realized that was a path that could only end in schoolyard beatings, so I opted to remain undercover. I met my (future) wife at a goth-themed dance party in college. Bauhaus was playing “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” when I first asked her out. She was more a true Goth than a vampire fan back then, but she’s switched sides so to speak, after getting hooked on Stephenie Meyers’ “Twilight” book series. When I proposed to her, one of the first things we talked about was having a wedding that reflected our interests and how weddings in Las Vegas always seemed to be the way to go when looking for a ceremony that’s off the beaten track.

When we looked into the possibility of a Los Vegas wedding, we were a little worried that our particular theme might not be something they could deal with. I mean, we’ve all seen the Elvis-themed wedding in Las Vegas, but I wasn’t sure that the undead would be something any of the chapels would be comfortable in handling. Turns out that I was wrong. When we checked out vivalosvegasweddings.com, we found that they offered packages designed around everything from the Blues Brothers to the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and they had exactly the one we were hoping for: When Vampires Fly.

Most of our friends and family had never been to Nevada before and they were thrilled to be going to Vegas. It’s hard to beat the weather they get there and no one needs to be told about the entertainment that’s available if you’re going to weddings in Los Vegas. The ceremony itself was perfect. The chapel supplied a minister in costume as a vampire, the music was suitably creepy and the package included a pair of female vampires who rose from the grave during the ceremony and flew into the air together! Of course the place was full of tombstones, eerie lighting and loads of fog, so a suitably chilling atmosphere was created. After what we experienced and the comments we received from our guests, I have to say that Los Vegas weddings are the way to go.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/home-and-family-articles/vampires-goths-and-ghouls-love-weddings-in-las-vegas-1501954.html

About the Author

Kyle Ward (aka Lord Ward) is a vampire enthusiast who married in a Las Vegas wedding ceremony specially designed to appeal to fans of the macabre. Kyle blogged about his experience, including the flying vampires who rose from the grave during their vows, pointing out that no-one else does spectacle and effects like Las Vegas wedding packages can offer.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Reconstructed from Reviews: The Green Lantern

There's a fun game I learned which consists of trying to reconstruct the plot of a movie (preferably one that you haven't seen and don't ever plan to see) as thoroughly as possible by using only bad reviews. Spoilers ahead, in this, the reconstructed plot of -- THE GREEN LANTERN.

Like Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, Martin Campbell's Green Lantern (Warner Bros.) begins at the very beginning: the origins of the universe.* And like The Tree of Life, Green Lantern relies on extensive voice-over as it links those cataclysmic intergalactic events to the life of one mortal, vulnerable man.

Green Lantern opening voice-over informs us, in a massive data dump of exposition, that the Guardians, ancient keepers of the universal order who resemble the large-skulled aliens from the pilot episode of Star Trek, have created a "galactic community of peacekeepers." This corps of 3,600 green-clad recruits is taught to harness "the emerald energy of willpower" in order to defend justice across the cosmos.

We’re whisked off to the glamorous planet of Ryut where some Green Lanterns are doing Lantern stuff in space suits.

What, one might ask, is a Green Lantern? They would be a sort of galactic police force, ruled by ... shrunken heads in long robes. Most of the characters look like refugees from the worst George Lucas film never made.

At one point we’re told that fear is the enemy, and that Lanterns don’t fear, and then the bad guy comes … and he’s not scary, but the Lanterns are terrified and getting obliterated, and wait, I thought they didn’t fear?

They’re under attack! Yeeps, there’s something terrible out there, an awful yellow something of fear, and this guy is almost certainly the bad guy! The angry yellow fellow is named Parallax, though he looks a bit like the “Yellow Bastard” from Sin City. Parallax mocks the doomed Lanterns as they perish, just so you know the type of hombre you’re dealing with, and then we get defeated scriptwriter technique number two.

Six months later…

One can only imagine what Parallax has been up to for the past six months, though I could definitely see a fear-monster of his ilk starting fake wedding registries and buying illegal fireworks across state lines. Such is the level of his nastiness. A new Lantern heads out to challenge him, but it all goes terribly awry

One of the most powerful Green Lanterns is Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison), but after he’s fatally wounded in an encounter with an evil alien called Parallax, he heads for the nearest planet so that the ring may find a successor.

Hal Jordan is complicated and troubled.

... Hal Jordan, an ace test pilot with Daddy issues, Daddy having been a test pilot who young Hal watched burn up in a plane.

Blake Lively is Jordan’s fellow F-35 pilot (naturally), and they are tasked with dogfighting the newest in robot fighter plane technology, as part of a presentation. They’re employed by a defense contractor, you see. Blake Lively is Carol Ferris (in the movie), the daughter of someone named Mr. Ferris who heads up (or used to head up) Ferris Aero-planes.

The totally unneeded love interest is played by Blake Lively, a childhood friend of Hal's who now runs the big corporation he worked for

That established, Reynolds and Lively don their flight suits to duel the robot fighter planes, so they can sell them to the government, so that everyone lives happily ever after off the tax dollar fat of the land. Unfortunately, frickin’ Hal Jordan pulls one of his typical jerk moves, and instead of allowing the robo-planes (patent pending) to shine, he goes out and instead wins the dogfight.

Ugh, men are the worst — amiright, ladies?

This puts the government contract in peril, because who in sam hell would want to buy robot fighter planes that can’t even shoot down a mavericky loose cannon sort of guy? Chances are, should these robot planes ever come up against someone who took their job seriously, they’d be in a whole heap of robot trouble. This whole “winning” thing makes Carol Ferris furious, because it’s just like Hal Jordan to blow a billion dollar defense contract.

Flashcut to a doomed alien Lantern crashing on Earth and telling the ring to go choose someone worthy. ... the ring finds Jordan, and he’s whisked off to Abin Sur’s side (the Lantern who crashed). Sur and Jordan chat for a bit, and then Sur hands over the ring, telling Jordan to grab the lantern out of his spacecraft. And say the oath!

Hal is selected by a dying Green Lantern as his replacement, and given a power ring that lets him produce anything that his imagination can conjure up — giant hammers, machine guns, race cars, anything.

Only drawback is that the ring has to be regularly recharged with that special lantern.

After many failed attempts and feeling downright silly having called on both the power of Greyskull and Buzz Lightyear, the ring suddenly activates

Hal figures out how to charge the ring with energy from a lantern the dying alien also gave him (a process not dissimilar from syncing your iPhone), and in no time he's traveling to the planet of Oa, a sort of Camp Pendleton for Lantern recruits, where he's given a crash course in the use of his new powers.

Hal meets Sinestro (Mark Strong), the head of the Lanterns, who is skeptical a human weakling like Hal was chosen. But then again he knows the ring never makes a wrong choice.

he learns that he is now a member of the Green Lantern Corps: a band of intergalactic warriors who use the power of Will to fight against the forces of evil and Fear. In addition to getting a quick crash course on how to use his Will and receiving a dressing-down from Sinestro (Mark Strong), the leader of the Green Lanterns, Hal learns that an ancient enemy, the Parallax, has been released from its prison and is rampaging through the galaxy, heading (of course) for Earth.

Also, the villain of the piece is a cloud.

An evil cloud, to be sure, composed as it is of nothing less than the Yellow Power of Fear. It has a face like Monty Burns, and it's given to slurping up its victims' souls like so many bluepoint oysters, but even so: a cloud.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government recovers the body of Abin Sur and brings in scientist Dr. Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) to conduct the autopsy.

Angela Bassett is wasted in a tiny role as a fellow scientist

The planet's survival is also threatened by a more human enemy, Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard), a biologist who, while dissecting the body of the alien, was infected with an organism from its blood that's slowly taken over his body and deformed him horribly.

(his senator dad, smarmily played by Tim Robbins, prefers the jockish pilot Hal Jordan over him)

(He is also secretly in love with Carol. This we know because he keeps newspaper articles of her all over his office.)

Wearing a cool new costume, Hal returns to his home planet to confront the Parallax's agent, Dr. Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard), prove his worth to his ex-girlfriend, Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), and defeat the bad guy.

But after a disastrous training montage, [Hal] figures he doesn't really want the responsibility that goes with all that power. The only problem is that his would-be girlfriend back home isn't really into quitters. That, and the nerdy kid from high school who has always been jealous of Jordan is about to help bring about the end of the world. (That would be Peter Sarsgaard, made up to look so much like a pedophile, one wonders how he'd even get an interview to become a teacher.)

Our hero, you see, has been chosen for super-ness because he's supposedly fearless. But he spends most of the film whining about how scared he is.

Green Lantern’s foe feeds on fear like a CGI-enhanced Judge Judy. It’s the yellow energy of fear against the green energy of will.

But his girlfriend Carol (Blake Lively) tells him he can do it as does his best friend Thomas (Taika Waititi).

There's an inevitable scene where Hal discovers his powers after getting jumped by some toughs outside a bar. As soon as the scene shifted to the bar, I knew some thugs would appear shortly to serve as Lantern tenderizer. It's practically encoded in the DNA of movies like this.

The Lantern’s ring makes Hal Jordan’s thoughts a reality; he can’t just ask it to blow up an alien ship or knock someone across a room. Jordan must actually think of a giant fist that then materialises out of green light from the ring and punches his opponent.

there are far too many scenes staged for the express purpose of reminding us that this seeming daredevil harbors guilt and anxiety over the long-ago death of his missile-jockey father

The Green Lantern first gets the chance to show off his powers and save the day during a celebratory ceremony in which a helicopter is about to crash into a crowd of people. With little time to spare, our masked and spandex-wearing hero prevents the impending disaster by transforming the chopper into a Batmobile look-alike and having it speed down race tracks that resemble something made by Hot Wheels.

[Hector Hammond] is promptly killed. Wait, what? His daddy issues and fury over being an abused nerd gets him thrown into a computer and then swallowed? That just plain stinks.

... while Geoffrey Rush looks on, dressed as a fish.

Sound convoluted? Boy is it; as are the Gatling guns, catapults and other weapons that Hal must manually operate against his foes instead of the ring simply being able to dispatch the bad guys.

(watch out for Hal's nerdy best friend suddenly disappearing, never to be seen again, in time for the third act).

One rare clever moment involved Hal appearing before Carol in his Green Lantern regalia for the first time, including a teensy, utterly pointless plastic domino mask. “You think I wouldn’t recognise you because I can’t see your cheekbones?”

There’s a scene with Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively conversing at dusk that might as well be a radio play.

Don't even get me started on the awful self-help mumbo-jumbo Blake Lively's Carol Ferris uses to inspire Jordan when he's doing the usual "I'm not worthy" routine.

The final showdown in outer space is brilliantly realised.

We get a glimmer of the Hal Jordan comic fans have come to love toward the very end of the piece as the Lantern fights Parallax, a fully-CGI creature that looks like the love child of a dreadlock wig and a giant dust bunny, but it’s far too late for anyone to care.

Ryan Reynolds sells Hal's transformation from self-absorbed hotshot to self-sacrificing champion.

perhaps the post-credits promise of a Sinestro vs. Green Lantern smackdown will go unfulfilled.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Quack Remedies: To Cure Anal Pain

To cure a pain in the anus if it's caused by a demon:

Wormwood 1/8
Juniper berries 1/16
Honey 1/32
Sweet beer 10 ro.

Strain [after soaking together?] and drink for four days.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Solar System Builder

What you see below is an image from my own solar system:

Clearly I didn't do a great job, since that planet orbits so close to the sun I don't know how it persists, but that is better than what happens most of the time which seems to be planets wrecking straight into the sun itself, as in this image from a universe less well made:

Where is this all being done, you ask? In this surprisingly addictive game from National Geographic. I suppose when you think of it, what's more Goth than watching worlds be destroyed?

Construct the perfect solar system in the Known Universe Solar System Builder. Choose your star, then create a wide variety of planets and send them spinning into orbit.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Poem: And Feel I, Death, No Joy

And feel I, Death! no joy from thought of thee?
Death, the great counsellor, who man inspires
With every nobler thought and fairer deed!
Death, the deliverer, who rescues man,
Death, the rewarder, who the rescued crowns!
Death, that absolves my birth, a curse without it!
Rich Death, that realises all my cares,
Toils, virtues, hopes; without it a chimera!
Death, of all pain the period, not of joy;
Joy's source and subject still subsist unhurt,
One in my soul and one in her great Sire,
Though the four winds were warring for my dust.
Yes, and from winds and waves and central night,
Though prisoned there, my dust I too reclaim,
To dust when drop proud Nature's proudest spheres,
And live entire. Death is the crown of life;
Were Death denied, poor man would live in vain:
Were Death denied, to live would not be life;
Were Death denied, e'en fools would wish to die.
Death wounds to cure: we fall: we rise: we reign!
Spring from our fetters; fasten in the skies:
When blooming Eden withers in our sight:
Death gives us more than was in Eden lost.
This king of terrors is the prince of peace.
When shall I die to vanity, pain, death?
When shall I die? When shall I live for ever?
-- Edward Young

Friday, August 5, 2011

Elizabeth Báthory

The case of Elizabeth Báthory inspired numerous stories during the 18th and 19th centuries. The most common motif of these works was that of the countess bathing in her victims' blood in order to retain beauty or youth. However, this legend only appeared in print for the first time in 1729 -- more than a hundred years after Báthory's death. At the beginning of the 19th century, this certainty was questioned, and sadistic pleasure was considered a far more plausible motive for Elizabeth Báthory's crimes. In 1817, the witness accounts (which had surfaced in 1765) were published for the first time, suggesting that the bloodbaths were legend. It seems that through history many women's deeds have been falsely attributed to vanity, and Countess Elizabeth was one of them.

According to all the trial testimony, her initial victims were the adolescent daughters of local peasants, many of whom were lured to Csejte by offers of well-paid work as maidservants in the castle. Later, she is said to have begun to kill daughters of the lesser gentry, who were sent to her gynaeceum by their parents to learn courtly etiquette. Abductions were said to have occurred as well.

In December of 1610, György Thurzó, then the second highest ranking dignitary after the King, went to Báthory's home of Csejte Castle. There he reportedly found one girl dead and one dying. They reported that another woman was found wounded, and still others locked up. He arrested Báthory, and four of her servants who were accused of being her accomplices. While Countess Elizabeth was put under house arrest (and remained so from that point on), King Matthias requested that she be sentenced to death. However, Thurzó successfully convinced the King that such an act would negatively affect the nobility. Hence, a trial was postponed indefinitely.

The descriptions of torture that emerged during the trials were often based on hearsay. The atrocities described most consistently included:

severe beatings over extended periods of time, often leading to death
burning or mutilation of hands, sometimes also of faces and genitalia
biting the flesh off the faces, arms and other bodily parts
freezing to death
surgery on victims, often fatal
starving of victims
sexual abuse

The use of needles was also mentioned by the collaborators in court.

Given the types of cruelty committed, and the fact that serial killers usually only kill whatever gender of person they're attracted to, one can assume Countess Elizabeth was a lesbian; what fueled her need to kill, however, is more of a mystery. There are many interesting sources for information on her life, including the following:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Poem: Stay, Cupid

Stay, Cupid, whither art thou flying?
Pity the pale lovers dying:
They that honour'd thee before,
Will no more
At thy altar pay their vows.
Oh let the weeping virgins strow,
Instead of rose and myrtle boughs,
Sad yew, and funeral cypress now!
Unkind Cupid, leave thy killing;
These are all thy mother's doves;
Oh do not wound such noble loves,
And make them bleed, that should be billing!

-- James Shirley

Monday, August 1, 2011

Why Is Industrial Music So Addictive?



Underrated, hidden, diverse, unique, dark, and international, industrial music has a deep and interesting history. From the drum machines of Germany it hit the world silently but effectively. Industrial bands may be found practically anywhere these days. As the music culture appears, industrial music continues to stay underground. Since its rooting among punk and other electronic music genres, industrial music has chosen to stay out of the major media scene. Industrial bands pride themselves in their music and expression rather than in fame and fortune.

Because of a birth among techno, punk, and rock, industrial music has developed a rather unique but yet attractive style. The music tends to be hard in general but shows many contrasts with numerous string melodies as well. Industrial music can be somewhat harsh at times while overlapping to low bass dance beats that are excellent for the night club environment.

Lyrics of industrial songs can range from the usual love situations to existential questions of life. Like punk though, politcs are a common theme among industrial bands as well as the dark side of life as in their more recent relative, Gothic music. These contrasting lyrical usages combined with just as varied a beat, make industrial music truly rich in style and quality.

So why is industrial music exactly so addictive? Well as mentioned, it has variety, pleasing beats, and topics that most of us can relate to or ponder. Unlike often in rock music, the amateur bands in industrial are not so irritating. Sounds created by synthesizers tend to be much more pleasing to the common ear.

Check out some industrial music for yourself today and see if it is really as addicting as many claim it to be. Industrialmusics.com is an excellent source for all of your industrial needs. Information is clearly presented at the website as well as tons of song bits that you can freely browse through and listen to.

Among history, a good analysis, and great images, industrialmusics.com also features a list of purchasable industrial albums. These albums are the top of the world industrial bands and each carry something significant that cannot be replicated.


Free yourself today and let your ears tryout something new and refreshing for a change.



Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/music-articles/why-is-industrial-music-so-addictive-4453660.html

About the Author

Writer, artist, designer, and teacher. http://industrialmusics.com

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