Pixel Scroll 10/23/19 The Little Green Man Was Very Sad, One Pixel Was All He Had

(1) WEAR FOR ART THOU. The Geek’s Guide to Ugly Christmas Sweaters promises their Star Wars Christmas sweaters “will keep you warmer than the inside of a tauntaun (and smell better, too!)” They also offer designs from Marvel, DC, and Disney film franchises, as well as Game of Thrones and Harry Potter.

(2) #FLYINGWHILEDISABLED. Mari Ness has battled Aer Lingus for repairs to her broken wheelchair. Thread starts here.

(3) SFF AT NATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL. [Item by Rob Thornton.] The Library of Congress taped the presentations made at this year’s National Book Festival and they are available at the Library’s website. Here are four of the presentations that were related to SF/F:

(4) THE BEST IN ADVERTISING. The marketing campaign for Captain Marvel got nominated. Yes, the marketing campaign. “‘Captain Marvel,’ ‘Lion King,’ ‘Irishman’ Marketing Campaigns Nominated for Clio Entertainment Awards”The Hollywood Reporter has the highlights. The complete Clio shortlist is here.

Marketing campaigns for Captain Marvel, The Lion King and The Irishman are among the theatrical nominees for the 2019 Clio Entertainment Awards.

On the television side, Killing Eve, The Twilight Zone, Leaving Neverland, When They See Us and Fosse/Verdon made the shortlist for the awards, which will be handed out Nov. 21 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

Craig Robinson is set to host the show, where the bronze, silver, gold and grand award winners also will be revealed.

Other theatrical nominees include campaigns for the upcoming Top Gun sequel, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum.

Nominees also were announced in several other categories, including games and home entertainment.

(5) YOU’RE DARN TOOTIN’ IT’S CINEMA. Is anyone surprised to read that Disney CEO Bob Iger has leaped into the fray? Yahoo! Entertainment reports “Bob Iger Compares ‘Black Panther’ to Scorsese and Coppola Films in Defense of Marvel Movies”.

“When Francis [Ford Coppola] uses the words ‘those films are despicable,’ to whom is he talking? Is he talking to Kevin Feige who runs Marvel, or Taika Waititi who directs or Ryan Coogler who directs for us or Scarlett Johansson,” Iger said. “I don’t get what they’re criticizing us for when we’re making films that people are obviously enjoying going to because they’re doing so by the millions.”

(6) SUPERHERO MOVIES AS A RORSCHACH TEST. [Item by Olav Rokne.] Perhaps you can see what you want to see in your average superhero origin story. Writing in the Guardian, Steve Rose wades into the feud between auteur directors like Martin Scorsese and fans of superhero movies. Without taking a side in the debate, Rose offers a nuanced exploration of superhero stories, superhero fatigue, and fandom. “Auteurs assemble! What caused the superhero backlash?”  

“People who wear masks are driven by trauma,” says Smart’s FBI agent in the new Watchmen. “They’re obsessed with justice because of some injustice they’ve suffered.” Maybe that’s been happening on a global level. Maybe still we need more of it. There are always arguments for and against processing reality through genre escapism and there are always “healthy” and “unhealthy” examples of it.

(7) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • October 23, 1959. “The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine” featured Ida Lupino (1918 – 1995) who was the only person to have worked as both actress and though uncredited at the time as a director in the same episode of The Twilight Zone.  She will be credited with directing “The Masks”. She was also the only woman to direct an episode of The Twilight Zone
  • October 23, 1998 T-Rex: Back To The Cretaceous premiered. It was shot for the IMAX 3D format. It starred Liz Stauber, Peter Horton and Kari Coleman. It did very well at the box office and it had a stellar 70% rating at Rotten Tomatoe

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born October 23, 1880 Una O’Connor. Jenny Hall in the classic Invisible Man. She’d be Minnie in The Bride of Frankenstein, and Mrs. Umney in the Cantervillie Ghost. (Died 1959.)
  • Born October 23, 1918 James Daly. He was Mr. Flint in Trek‘s “Requiem for Methuselah” episode. He also showed up on The Twilight Zone, Mission:Impossible and The Invaders. He was Honorious in The Planet of The Apes, and Dr. Redding in The Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler. (Died 1978.)
  • Born October 23, 1953 Ira Steven Behr, 66. Producer and screenwriter responsible for the best of the TreksDeep Space Nine.  He went on to work on Dark Angel, The Twilight Zone, The 4400, Alphas, and Outlander. An impressive tally indeed.
  • Born October 23, 1955 Graeme Revell, 64. New Zealand composer responsible for such genre soundtracks as The Crow, From Dusk Till DawnThe Saint (1997), Titan A.E., Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Daredevil and Sin City.
  • Born October 23, 1959 Sam Raimi, 60. Responsible for, and this is not a complete listing, the Darkman franchise , M.A.N.T.I.S., the Jack of All Trades series that Kage loved, the Cleopatra 2525 series, the Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess series and the Spider-Man trilogy.
  • Born October 23, 1976 Ryan Reynolds, 43. Lead in that Green Lantern film. He was Hannibal King in Blade: Trinity, and Seth in Sabrina the Teenage Witch. He portrayed Wade Wilson / Weapon XI in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. And he’s Deadpool. 
  • Born October 23, 1986 Emilia Clarke, 33. She’ll be most remembered as Daenerys Targaryen on the Game of Thrones. Her genre film roles include Sarah Connor in Terminator Genisys and Kira in Solo: A Star Wars Story. She was also Verena in Voice from the Stone, a horror film. Not to mention Savannah Roundtree in Triassic Attack, a network film clearly ripping off Jurrasic Park.

(9) COMICS SECTION.

(10) A REAL CREDENTIAL. Andrew Porter tells me that in Iceland all hotel personnel get Photo IDs —

(11) SUPE’S AN IMMIGRANT, TOO. Polygon’s Susana Polo alerts readers that “The Superman story that set the Ku Klux Klan back years is now a comic” in an interview with artist Gene Luen Yang.

Superman Smashes the Klan is a three-part graphic novel about a young Superman battling racists, helping an immigrant family, and wrestling with his own status as an alien outsider. It’s extremely charming.

The book comes from the award-winning cartooning team of Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru, who were inspired by the 1946 Superman story “Clan of the Fiery Cross.” That story wasn’t a comic, but rather an arc of the immensely popular Adventures of Superman radio serial. In the audio adventure, Superman battled the racist machinations of the Ku Klux Klan. Excoriated and embarrassed by one of the country’s most popular radio shows, the white supremacist group actually saw a drop in membership.

Superman Smashes the Klan is the first time “Clan of the Fiery Cross” has been adapted to comics…

(12) BICYCLE BUILT FOR BOO. UPI is there when “11,000 zombies go for bike ride in Florida”.

About 11,000 people donned costumes and got on their bicycles for the Zombie Bike Ride, organizers of the annual Fantasy Fest event in Key West, Fla., said.

(13) NO EXCUSE. [Item by Todd Mason.] An excerpt from Peter Orner’s  “A Refusal to Defend or Even Stick Up for the Art of the Short Story” in The Paris Review. Slight, but perhaps useful…and brief, and with some “strong” language…an excerpt:

…I refuse to grovel, to attempt to put into words what will always be unsayable, which is to say that what makes certain stories reach into your chest cavity and rip out what is left of your heart needs not be discussed. It is itself all the justification a story will ever need. The best offense being no defense at all. And so: none offered. And you, my friend, recently said to me, “You’re lucky you write stories. I mean the form is an ideal forum for today’s uber-distracted society. Don’t you think?” And because I love and respect you, in spite of the pain in my soul the question inflicted, here I am answering by not answering which has been my MO for much of life. No I do not think. Ah, screw it: the short story is, with the glorious exception of poetry, absolutely the least ideal mode of expression for our distracted society because it takes a certain kind of intense concentration. Compassionate concentration? To appreciate. To grasp. To love. I’m talking about a reading a story, a good story. What’s a good story? How am I defining—

You tell me. Because you know. This is personal. To you and to me.

(14) EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM. “Haunted house requires 40-page waiver, physical exam” — UPI interviews the host.

A Tennessee haunted house billed as the scariest in the world requires visits to sign a 40-page waiver, pass a physical and undergo a background check — and no one has ever finished the attraction.

Russ McKamey, owner of McKamey Manor in Summertown, said the price of admission is only a bag of food for his five dogs, and the prize for finishing is $20,000, but no one has ever collected the prize money.

… The visitors must then watch a 2-hour video called And Then There Were None, which features footage of every visitor from July 2017 and August 2019 quitting before the end of the experience. Visitors leave by uttering the code phrase, “You really don’t want to do this.”

(15) INSURANCE CLAIM. The house in this commercial is a little creepy, nothing that would make you forget what they’re selling, however.

The gecko helps a new homeowner search through the attic of his home, and makes some creepy discoveries.

(16) CUBESATS PREVAIL. “Itty-Bitty Satellites Take On Big-Time Science Missions”.

Tiny satellites are taking on a big-time role in space exploration.

CubeSats are small, only about twice the size of a Rubik’s Cube. As the name suggests, they’re cube-shaped, 4 inches on each side, and weigh in at about 3 pounds. But with the miniaturization of electronics, it’s become possible to pack a sophisticated mission into a tiny package.

…”I saw a flyer on a bus stop that said, ‘Want to build a satellite?’ ” says Hannah Goldberg. At the time, in 1999, she was an undergraduate engineering major at the University of Michigan. The flyer caught her attention, and she decided that building satellites was exactly what she wanted to do.

Today, Goldberg works at GomSpace, a Danish satellite company making CubeSats for the European Space Agency.

“In the beginning, in the early days of CubeSats, they kind of had a bad reputation,” Goldberg says. “People didn’t think you could do much science or much engineering benefit with them.”

…But with the advent of smartphones, Goldberg says, engineers started getting really good at packing a bunch of electronics into a small space. CubeSats started getting more sophisticated, and the cost of electronics that could be used in space came down. Scientists started to take notice.

(17) QUANTUM LEAP? “Google claims ‘quantum supremacy’ for computer”.

Google says an advanced computer has achieved “quantum supremacy” for the first time, surpassing the performance of conventional devices.

The technology giant’s Sycamore quantum processor was able to perform a specific task in 200 seconds that would take the world’s best supercomputers 10,000 years to complete.

Scientists have been working on quantum computers for decades because they promise much faster speeds.

In their Nature paper, John Martinis of Google, in Mountain View, and colleagues set the processor a random sampling problem – where it checks a set of numbers that has a truly random distribution.

Sycamore was able to complete the task in three minutes and 20 seconds. By contrast, the researchers claim in their paper that Summit, the world’s best supercomputer, would take 10,000 years to complete the task.

(18) THE DAY OF THEIR RETURN. The BBC pleads “Terminator Dark Fate: Please terminate this franchise”

Original stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton are reunited in this latest instalment of the cyborg franchise – but otherwise it’s pointless, writes Nicholas Barber.

Well, he did say he’d be back. Arnold Schwarzenegger made that promise in The Terminator in 1984, little realising that “I’ll be back” would become his most famous line of dialogue, or that the homicidal cyborg he was playing would become his defining role. True to his word, he was back for Terminator 2: Judgment Day in 1991, along with the original film’s writer-director, James Cameron, and its co-star, Linda Hamilton. After that, Schwarzenegger was back for Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines in 2003, Terminator Salvation in 2009, and Terminator Genisys in 2015, but they wandered further and further from the lean, mean high-concept thrills of the 1984 classic. And now he is back again in Terminator Dark Fate.

…[Most] viewers will be waiting for Arnie and Linda to show up – and when they eventually do, it’s worth the wait. Much like Jamie Lee Curtis’s Laurie Strode in last year’s Halloween – another exercise in course-correcting a franchise by pretending several of the sequels didn’t happen – Hamilton’s Sarah Connor is now silver-haired, surly, armed to the teeth, and with a voice so low and harsh that it sounds as if her cigarette intake will kill her before any robots manage to. She is an icon from the moment she strides out of her car carrying a gun the size of a fully grown Christmas tree. Schwarzenegger’s arrival is even more welcome. That stillness… that deadpan line-delivery… that physical resemblance to one of Stonehenge’s standing stones… even at the age of 72, he is better than anyone at playing an unstoppable cyborg (Luna just doesn’t have the requisite menace). And he is quite touching, too, as a killing machine who has reformed and settled down as a grey-bearded family man.

(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Robot Chicken’s “O Great Pumpkin” parody.

[Thanks John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Todd Mason, Mike Kennedy, Olav Rokne, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Russell Letson.]

21 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/23/19 The Little Green Man Was Very Sad, One Pixel Was All He Had

  1. (8) (elaborating, just for fun): He was Mr. Flint – and Brahms. And DaVinci. And Merlin, and Alexander.

    Requiem for MethusaScroll

  2. 17) QUANTUM LEAP? “Google claims ‘quantum supremacy’ for computer”.

    Which in large part was blamed for Bitcoin dropping over five hundred dollars today on fears that maybe their crypto-key wasn’t unbreakable after-all.

  3. 19) At any mixing of Charlie Brown’s Halloween special and the Cthulhu Mythos, all I can think of is John Aegard’s amazing The Great Old Pumpkin from Strange Horizons. It’s perfection, in my opinion. Non-Euclidian, mind-breaking perfection.

    I post the link every year so others can enjoy it.

  4. That Peanuts parody was pretty funny.

    16) Sorry, BBC, but Ahnuld wasn’t in TERMINATOR SALVATION. He was working at his day job at the time…

  5. @2: Doesn’t Ireland have laws about providing/supporting access? It shouldn’t even be controversial (unlike (e.g.) the recent to-do over abortion). Or are they hiding behind whatever international treaty on air travel there is now?

    @14: haunted houses are another thing I just don’t get — but making this one a macho challenge probably brings out teh stupid in a lot of people. I wonder how many centuries’ worth of dog food this guy has, if he has a two-hour tape of people tapping out.

    In other news:
    * one of the more interesting ideas for buffering power: raising and lowering weights. Works where you don’t have water to be shoved around (as a location in SE Australia is building), and a lot cheaper than storage batteries (which IIRC Musk put in a location in southern Australia). One of those ideas that makes you wonder why it hasn’t already been done.
    * The BBC also glosses 9 moments in the Star Wars trailer — may be interesting to anyone else who shares my position of interested-but-not-fanatic.

  6. (3) If bureaucracy has a failure mode, it’s the tendency to double down on wrongdoings.

    (5), (6) The sad thing about this is that there is a very real discussion to be had about the values and the cinematic expectations in the Marvel movies, but now it’s all devolved into a facile and angry debate about categoriasation. (“It’s Not Art!” “It is Art!” et c.) Though I have to give credit to Steve Rose for trying.

  7. Maybe I’m just proving I’m not a haunted house fan, but: it would take a lot to convince me that any recreational/entertainment event was worth taking a physical (with the resulting data stored who knows where), reading a 40-page waiver, and then sitting through a two-hour repetitive film designed to get me into the right frame of mind. I also wonder what percentage of people who sign that waiver read the whole thing first, but would guess it’s pretty small.

    Some years ago, my doctor suggested a new medication to me, for which I was required to read and then sign a several-page consent form. I read it, told him I had a couple of questions first, and then asked them. It turned out that no previous patient (of several dozen) had asked any questions, and he didn’t know the answers, perhaps because he hadn’t read the form either. (I knew people tend not to read what they sign–insisting on doing so is a good way of annoying clerks in all sorts of offices–but this felt like an extreme example.)

  8. Vicki Rosenzweig says Some years ago, my doctor suggested a new medication to me, for which I was required to read and then sign a several-page consent form. I read it, told him I had a couple of questions first, and then asked them. It turned out that no previous patient (of several dozen) had asked any questions, and he didn’t know the answers, perhaps because he hadn’t read the form either. (I knew people tend not to read what they sign–insisting on doing so is a good way of annoying clerks in all sorts of offices–but this felt like an extreme example.)

    I think I’ve had one med of the several dozen I’ve taken post-dying and coming back from serious head trauma that my excellent NP had me sign anything for and that was a listed med. Otherwise she perscribes, I trust her and I take them. Currently she juggles the sixteen meds I take when I see her weekly as I will in a half hour or so.

    The latest is a THC based med in an effort to increase my sense of hunger. Hasn’t done that but it’s done wonders for decreasing my now twenty six month long headache.

  9. @Cat Eldridge: The latest is a THC based med in an effort to increase my sense of hunger. Hasn’t done that but it’s done wonders for decreasing my now twenty six month long headache. Sometimes side effects actually help — glad to hear this is doing something for you.

  10. Chip Hitchcock wisely says. Sometimes side effects actually help — glad to hear this is doing something for you.

    Yeah and it might’ve slowed the weight loss as well. It isn’t as effective she says as medical marijuana would be lacking everything that has in it but she can’t legally prescribe that and that’s too risky anyways with my brain injury.

    She got a dragon head puppet for her children (a local shop had it, salvage from a children’s theatre I was told) and dark chocolate.

  11. 5) I want to start by saying I’m not that big on superheroes. The premise doesn’t translate well to my brain, and my suspension of disbelief fails as a result. That said:

    How utterly pretentious to say superhero movies “aren’t cinema!” That somehow, aiming stories at the unenlightened masses is damaging to – what? Shakespeare pandered to the masses. Bach wrote for money. The Mona Lisa was a commissioned portrait.

    When I was trying to get my oldest son reading, I bought him some fine children’s books, which he was uninterested in. Then he developed a taste for Goosebumps. I didn’t say, “Oh no, you mustn’t read those, they’re not High Art!” Instead, I bought him every Goosebumps book I could afford. The same thing a couple of years later when he got into Animorphs – I was just glad he was finding joy in reading.

    My youngest son is currently into fanfiction. Again, rather than feeling like he’s reading “lowbrow” material, I’m glad he’s finding joy in reading (and a bit of writing), something I can share with him.

    My parents went to see The Godfather in the theater. They were not impressed; they felt it was unnecessarily violent, and looked down on it as a exceptionally violent, lowbrow, appealing-to-the-masses gangster movie. They never went to see anything else even remotely like it. Tastes vary.

    If people feel excited, happy, engaged, thrilled, by superhero movies, let them! Exercising one’s imagination is never a waste.

  12. The trailer for the Star Wars movie looks good, but after reading the Entertainment Weekly (now published monthly!) cover story on Timothee Chalamet and Saoirse Ronan, the movie I’m most looking forward to is Little Women.

    Next topic: as one of the gazillions of people who always spelled “dilemma” as “dilemna,” even though the mn way isn’t even an obsolete or acceptable variation, I am torn between spelling it correctly, or continuing to use the mn spelling until the dictionaries accept it as a variant.

  13. “Dilemna”? That’s a new one on me. A search indicates there is a faction that actually wants to use the alternate universe/Mandela Effect explanation (like “Berenstain” vs “Bereinstein”) for this spelling.

  14. (5) (6) – I’d argue that a few Marvel movies fail as cinema, but most are OK. And that shouldn’t provoke a blanket condemnation of the entire genre or of the MCU.

    Movies like Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok and Civil War tell stories effectively and offer human-centred character development. Anyone dissing the MCU probably hasn’t been willing to give those movies a chance.

    On the other hand, Infinity War is three hours of visual noise, an abdication of coherent storytelling, an ugly morass of meaningless cameos, a confused muddle of cheap and manipulative cliches. It’s a tertiary byproduct caused by a combination of fan expectations and corporate greed. It might be cinema, but it is the toxic effluent of the form.

    To lump in the bloated excess of Infinity War with the stylish elegance of Ant-Man shows the ignorance of those auteur directors.

  15. “They Scroll him here, they Scroll him there
    Those fans they Scroll him everywhere
    Is he at Dublin or is he in Well-
    (ington), that Fifth and Filed Pixelnel”

  16. (6) Superhero movies (and comics) have never appealed to me. I really don’t care if other people like different art from me. I have weathered plenty of gatekeeping regarding my personal tastes, none of which stops me from spending money encouraging art that is more to my liking.

    Most of this gatekeeping issues from a certain aesthetic that is concerned with authoritarianism and hierarchial ranking of art and endless repetitive stories about men clashing with other men in pursuit of power and/or resolution of their daddy issues. I don’t share it, and secretly think it’s kind of hilarious that the mafia-shootemup dudes and the superhero-fight dudes are having a conflict regarding who’s on top.

  17. (10) Pal has an instagram account. (pal_the_mousekeeper_cat) Mainly just her wandering around outdoors. Despite her job title, I don’t think there have been any photos of mousework.

    Before the end of Game of Thrones there was a photoshop of her on the Iron Throne.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BxXRg3EgOau/

    We grue, we happy, grue, we band of Vancers;
    For he to-day that scrolls his pixel with me
    Shall be my sibling; he he ne’er so file,
    This day shall gentle his comments;

    (Posted and then deleted this once because I typed my email address wrong. Amazing how you can forget something you use daily.)

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