"I like to think of you reading my verses (though it took you five years to find them out). When I wrote them I was a strange lonely boy, walking about by myself at night and thinking that some day a girl would love me. But I never could speak to the girls I used to meet at houses. Their false manners checked me at once. Then you came to me. You were not in a sense the girl for whom I had dreamed and written the verses you find now so enchanting. She was perhaps (as I saw her in my imagination) a girl fashioned into a curious grave [...]
In honor of today's 3D release of The Phantom Menace, Wired has re-released their 1999 review of that film, also in GLORIOUS, EPIC 3-D. Were we ever this young How could George Lucas possibly botch the most anticipated film in history? Three words: annoying alien sidekick.
Say what you will about extremely rich man George Lucas… because he is extremely rich and will ignore what you say anyway.
Ben Zimmer, who writes a language column for the Boston Globe, has edited a series of clips featuring all of Downton Abbey's various verbal anachronisms. (SPOILER ALERT FOR AMERICANS: This video contains some non-plot relevant bits from episodes 7 and 8, both of which will air in the U.S. on PBS this Sunday, February 12th. Of course, it's possible that you are some kind of scofflaw and have already watched all of season two with some illegal Internet trickery. Shame on you, but yes, you can watch this video without fear.)
Roberta Flack, singer and songwriter, is 75 today. She is wonderful.
To start: let's not get it twisted, I love fantasy author and Time book critic Lev Grossman. Love. (When "we" (I) write on the Internet, cool detachment and a superior attitude are practically policy, but let's not do that today. Okay?) Grossman is a smart man who consistently says smart things. Overwhelmed by the glut of flatly declarative "this sucks I hated it" reviews that populate Amazon and Goodreads, he argued yesterday for a clearer, better articulated standard of determining literary merit. This is definitely not a terrible idea. And Grossman is also diplomatic about how your love of terrible books is real and valid and you're [...]
Google is rumored to be working on a pair of heads-up display glasses, which would allow information and text to appear in your immediate visual field. Futuristic! But before you get too excited:
According to the source, the HUD side attachment is not transparent and doesn’t have any 3D capabilities, thus it appears Google has simply affixed a Smartphone screen to the side of a pair of glasses….This new HUD device, if it ever does hit the market, doesn’t appear to fulfill the likely expectations of sci-fi and gadget enthusiasts who have for years been dreaming of having their own Terminator or more recently Iron Man type glasses [...]
John Williams, composer of the scores for Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jaws and Raiders of the Lost Ark (among many, many others), turns 80 today. To celebrate, NPR's Fresh Air tumblr has posted an audio piece from the NPR archives on Williams and the music of Star Wars.
Rick Santorum, eager to show that he will stand up for Catholic values, has been saying things about the recent Health and Human Services regulation that now requires Catholic universities and hospitals to provide access to contraception and the morning-after pill. Santorum has accused the Obama administration of being "hostile to people of faith, particularly Christians and specifically Catholics.” He's even gone so far as to vow that he "will make it an issue every day of this campaign," until the Obama administration reinstates conscience protections. Santorum has also spoken up forcefully against same-sex marriage, which the Pope has—yes, again—recently condemned (in some really extreme terms, too).
Because independent journalists are not allowed to move about freely in Syria, news outlets are depending on reports from people such as [Omar] Shakir and on information collected by international human rights groups to offer a picture of what's happening inside Syria—where, according to the United Nations, government forces have killed more than 5,000 people in the nearly 12 months since protests against the regime began.
—As the U.S. closes its embassy and Russia blocks a U.N. resolution condemning the Syrian president, Syrian blogger Shakir spoke to Morning Edition's Renee Montagne today about the assault on Homs: "'I just want [Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov] to [...]
Film newsy site Twitchfilm reports that Harrison Ford is "in early talks" for Ridley Scott's Blade Runner sequel. You might remember Blade Runner as the stunning poetic meditation on the ultimate impermanence of existence. It is a film that says "we cannot possibly know how things will turn out." Except now we will.
A reboot or prequel might have felt ill-advised, but a sequel with Ford ostensibly reprising his role as Rick Deckard is a move that feels almost inevitably disappointing and terrible. Like there are maybe a few ways that can be done right, and so very many that will inflict pain on us all. OR [...]
At the end of her New Yorker piece on the Jersey Shore phenomenon, Nancy Franklin (basically) concludes: "this reality television show is kind of trashy!" Yes, Nancy Franklin, it is trashy. It is the latest in a long line of reality series designed to showcase some of the worst-and most entertaining-aspects of human nature. And Franklin is the latest in a long line of critics and viewers to notice that these Jersey Shore people are kind of weird with their questionable aesthetic choices and their odd vernacular and also, they drink and go out dancing and occasionally mack on each other!
Unfortunately, Franklin's piece, though it epitomizes [...]