And, as of today, Dead People Server has had its 3,000,000th visitor in just over five years. Not bad for a site without any advertising and that doesn’t play any stupid browser tricks

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics.

An Unexpected Response to The Passion of the Christ

I’ve read many reviews of The Passion of the Christ. I decided I just couldn’t see it due to its violence and historical revisionism. Many reviewers have been apologetic about the violence and completely ignored its intellectual dishonesty. The movie threw out both history and the Bible, and used the writings of a 19th century German mystic as its screenplay, presenting this one view as “fact.” As a result, the fact that hundreds of thousands of Jews, slaves and political prisoners were crucified by the Romans was completely ignored. Jesus was one man in a large and non-exclusive club.

I was stunned to find a fairly negative commentary on the movie in, of all places, the National Catholic Reporter. Tom Beaudoin’s “The anti-Christian Passion of the Christ is a very eloquent look the anti-Semitism of this movie. I highly recommend it. Beaudoin is a writer and lecturer at Boston College.

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics.


Oh well…

The Lord of the Rings movies made me a huge fan of Viggo Mortensen. I was never much of a fan of his until late in the movie Fellowship of the Ring (when he tells Frodo he would have followed him to the depths of Mordor), when I realized that, with the right director and right material, the man is a magnificent actor. I even enjoyed him throughout The Two Towers, despite the focus on the battle of Helm’s Deep (in the book The Two Towers, the battle of Helm’s Deep lasts about 12 pages). And he’s just great in Return of the King – it is his movie, after all.

So I’ve been debating for months – will I bother to go to Hidalgo (which is about horses, something I really don’t care about) or will I not bother (though I’m now a Viggo fan)?

Ultimately, I love history. I was pissed off by the movie Elizabeth, despite the great performance by Cate Blanchett, because the history was just so wrong. At an amazing number of points in the movie, the historical facts do not correspond to the movie. So Elizabeth should never have been marketed as “a true story.”

So I’ve decided to bypass Hidalgo. Movie studios should never promote a movie as “based on a true story” when it simply is fiction. I’d probably have gone to see the movie Hidalgo if it wasn’t being promoted as “based on a true story.” Oh, and the sand storm special effect looks so damned lame. Maybe I’ll catch it on cable.

As a coda to this – my friend Laura may have seen the actors/production crew at the Hidalgo premiere:

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics.

A Short, Paranoid Fantasy

Is Ralph Nader getting paid off by the Republicans to run? [[3/29/2004 – it turns out the answer was sort of, so I guess my fantasy wasn’t quite so paranoid…]]

If he really gave a damn about progressive politics in this country, he wouldn’t be running for president yet again…

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics.

On Volunteering and Not…

As I’ve mentioned in here once or twice, I’ve been having a longtime battle with insomnia. Like lifelong. In the past, the insomnia goes away after a few weeks or month, and I sleep fairly normally for a while. But this time, I’ve been averaging about 5 hours of sleep for about 18 months. This is further complicated by the fact that I’m in that lovely grey area called “perimenopause” and I’ve been experiencing ridiculous mood swings for 1-2 weeks every month.

After having a lot of problems for a few months, things got worse and I started getting various types of medical help. Sadly, I discovered that while some of these things worked some of the time, nothing worked consistently.

So I was told to do what I could do to reduce stress.

After much soul-searching, I decided the one fairly stressful area I could give up was being the Exhibits division director for Noreascon. This was a very hard decision, but I’m not being as effective in this area as I want to be. Further, when I get home from work, I’m usually too exhausted to do much more than do the dishes.

So, I have resigned my DHship. Deb was able to get an excellent replacement for me, Jim Hudson. I’ll stay on as a member of Jim’s staff. I’m still editing the Tenn essay GoH book.

I don’t know what kind of Worldcon volunteering I’ll be doing in the future. I’ve asked to be a press staff person for Scotland, but haven’t heard anything. Over the next few years, I won’t be as involved in Worldcon planning as I’ve been over the last eight years or so.

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics.

Overreaction to the Super Bowl Costume Failure

Only a boob would show her boob on broadcast television. And only a boob would rip the shirt in the first place.

I’m not that much of a prude – I adore Sex in the City, and, of course, was watching that instead of the Super Bowl on Sunday night. But the overreaction to Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake’s stunt is ridiculous. Obscene behavior on broadcast TV has been going on for a while. Despite what Michael Powell says, it doesn’t need an FCC investigation. This is yet another example of the Bush-led government being completely clueless about priorities.

The FCC ought to send Janet, Justin and most of the rap singers a bill for public obscene behavior and let that be that. I find the badly dressed “singers” scratching themselves in pubic to the sound of gun/drug-drenched lyrics to be much more offensive than a brief glimpse of Janet’s breast.

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics.

Weapons of Mass Destruction Found in Texas!

Cyanide Found in Texas… (“60 pipe bombs, machine guns, silencers and remote-controlled bombs disguised as briefcases, plus pamphlets on how to make chemical weapons, and anti-Semitic, anti-black and anti-government books.

The findings have led to one of the most extensive domestic-terrorism investigations since the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

What would the UN inspectors say about this?

What about those “good Americans” chasing after random men of Middle East extraction?

While I would love to take credit for these amusing responses, Jim came up with them (after watching Aliens…)

I’m curious that the people behind this store of stuff were arrested back in April of 2003, yet we’re only hearing about this in January of 2004…

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics.

Finally, Return of the King

We went to see Trilogy Tuesday last week, seeing two extended edition LOTR movies followed by the premiere of ROTK.

Line for Trilogy Tuesday in Pittsburgh, About 10:15 am

Line for Trilogy Tuesday in Pittsburgh

There were already about 200 people in line before we got there, so we wound up on the floor but in the center. While, at first we hated the seats, they turned out to be fortuitous. Before the movie started, we realized the folks sitting in front of us were people we’d known back in college, from the old Western Pennsylvania Science Fiction Association (WPSFA)

Lori and Tom Lane

Lori and Tom Lane

It was neat to catch up with them after all this time.

Back to the movies, the extended editions both looked phenomenal on the big screen.

The Audience Just Before The Return of the King

The Audience Just Before The Return of the King (remember, just about everyone in there had been in the theater for over 10 hours…)

But, after a long day of movie watching, my brain was completely fried by the time ROTK finally started at just after 10. While the movie looked absolutely phenomenal, I was having a terrible time related to the characters. And the movie seemed structurally very off. So I got a little snarky in my online comments on the movie.


I did go see the movie again at a time when I’d had a little more sleep and hadn’t been watching movies all day. That made an enormous difference. Instead of focusing on the problems (which exist but are fairly small by comparison), I got even more caught up by the sheer audaciousness of the undertaking. Minis Tirith is one of the most remarkable combinations of set/bigature/special effect that I have ever seen. The Nazgul attacking Minis Tirith have a huge “gosh wow” factor, reminiscent of the asteroid sequence from The Empire Strikes Back or the scene of the Mother Ship flying over Devil’s Tower in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. We have been watching a classic unfold over the last two years.

Despite the spectacle, the human story is rarely overshadowed. The whole cast (except for John Noble as Denethor, but the problems with Denethor weren’t all his fault) give one of the finest ensemble performances ever. Ian McKellan, Billy Boyd, Viggo Mortenson, Sean Astin and Elijah Wood deserve special commendation as “first among equals,” but no one really steals the show. The movies would not have worked had the casting not been as perfect as the special effects.
It’s instructive to go back into the casting archives in TheOneRing.Net and the casting discussions in AintItCoolNews to read some of the jaw-dropping rumors that went around. Keanu Reeves as Aragorn? Uma Thurman as Eowyn? The mind boggles.

There are a few continuity and editing problems in the movie. The whole Pyre of Denethor sequence is just badly handled, and the cuts between Eowyn and the Witch King confrontation and the arrival of Aragorn and company are very distracting. And the endings could have been shortened slightly. Still, the movies are just a phenomenal achievement, and I’m delighted that Peter Jackson et. al. have pulled it off.

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics.

Political Compass

This is all Neil Gaiman’s fault. He said he found the politics self-test at the Political Compass site fascinating. I must say, he was right. Here are the results of my test:

Laurie Mann's Political Compas Ranking

It’s fairly close; while I do distrust government (particularly my own these days), I distrust business and other institutions more. I do seem to lean more to the left every time I take one of these tests..

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics.