Friday, July 15, 2011 John Carter Movie Trailer

I am a huge fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom series, so I was dreading the upcoming feature film. However, the first trailer is out and it looks surprisingly faithful to the source material:

I am actually enthused about seeing the movie now. The trailer indicates that the opening in the wild west and the prologue/epilogue with ERB and John Carter's tomb have been kept. Those are elements I would have expected to see jettisoned in any Hollywood adaptation of the property, and the fact that they weren't suggests that the filmmakers' have some love for the original books.

Now, faithfulness to the source is never an indication if a movie is any good or not. But it looks like I'll be able to judge the film on its own merits and not just sit there and nerdrage about jive-talkin' Tharks or something.

Thursday, July 14, 2011 Highlander vs. Responsible Parenting

From WCCO (Minneapolis, MN):
Man Charged In Drunken Sword Fight That Injured Child

July 13, 2011 7:47 PM

BELTRAMI COUNTY, Minn. - A 28-year-old Bemidji man has been charged after police say he started a sword fight while drinking with another man.

Lucas Wayne French faces two felony counts of malicious punishment of a child and fourth-degree assault of a police officer. He has also been charged with two misdemeanor counts of dangerous weapons and reckless handling.

On early Tuesday morning, the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office received a call of a person being assaulted with a sword in his rural Beltrami County home.

According to the criminal complaint, when deputies arrived, they found an intoxicated person, now identified as French, trying to leave the home on a bicycle. They stopped French and learned he had been drinking with the homeowner when he suddenly attacked the man with a sword.

In order to defend himself, the homeowner grabbed another sword and the two engaged in a sword fight.

During the fight, a 10-year-old boy was injured when his elbow was struck by French's sword. The boy was treated and released for his injuries.

French's bail is set at $50,000 with conditions. He remains in the Beltrami County Jail.

Monday, July 11, 2011 Werewolves Need Loving, Too

From some UK paper I've never heard of:
Werewolf hunt on Cannock Chase interrupted by dogging couples and angry youths

Jun 24 2011

Paranormal investigators who descended on Cannock Chase for a documentary on the fabled werewolf that’s said to prowl the area had to flee after stumbling across stunned ‘dogging’ couples.

And if that wasn’t enough, the crew were surrounded by angry youths - who believed they were swingers themselves - when they got to their car.

It was more X rated than X Files when filmaker Damon Simms and his team came across couples seeking cheap thrills in the undergrowth at the German War Cemetery.

The group were certainly confronted by the naked truth while hunting for clues during a late-night foray.

Cannock Chase has long been a hotspot for sightings of strange phenomena, with reports of a strange wolf-like beast and big cats among the 26 mile woodland. But the mythical beasts aren’t the only secretive nocturnal inhabitants. It’s a favoured haunt for doggers and swinging couples from all over the country.

“We went up the Chase with a team of researchers to try to get some evidence about these sightings,” Damon, 37, said.

“But, unfortunately, we also had a bit of a problem with doggers while we were there. They were all in the bushes and it was obvious what they were doing. We moved on to other areas. It was wise to give them a wide berth. Unfortunately, we were then completely surrounded by gangs of youths in about six cars. They were hurling abuse at us and it got a bit nasty.

“I think they thought we were a gang of doggers ourselves and started to shout abuse at us. Unfortunately, we had to move on again,.”

Damon has been researching paranormal sightings over the Chase for a number of months. He is particularly interested in a glut of alleged werewolf sightings.

He was interviewed last week by satellite paranormal show Mindscape TV about the phenomena. He is currently awaiting permission form Cannock Chase Council to investigate closed-off areas of the Chase.

“We are looking at getting permission to investigate certain areas of the Chase. There are certain areas that might pose a health and safety risk, so we need to liaise with the council before we go there,” he said.There has been a lot of interest in the film and a number of cable TV stations have shown interest in it and can’t wait for us to completed the project.”
A quick Googling will explain what "dogging" is (and probably install a virus on your computer).

If the conflux of canine concerns sounds too good to be true, it probably is. A similar incident was portrayed on the British TV series, Being Human, earlier this year - the werewolf protagonist was arrested while traipsing through a popular dogging site. This may be a"life imitating art" Fortean synchronicity, but it can also be a case of an enterprising fellow publicizing his documentary in a unique way. Given that there's only one source for the info and no police quote, well...

Cannock Chase has a bit of a rep when it comes to the paranormal. The blog of Fortean Times contributor Nick Redfern has plenty of info on the topic, including a nice summation of a wave of werewolf sightings in 2008.

This picture is far creepier than anything you could encounter on the moors.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011 Beware the Triffids!

Triffids are real and invading NYC! From the New York Observer:
Skin Sizzling Weed Creeps Closer to New York City

By Olivia Fialkow 11:01am

Something monstrous has set down roots in the Empire State. Threatening to blind, burn and blister unwitting victims from Lake Erie down to Long Island, it is creeping ever closer to New York City.

Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) has arrived in the state for the fourth summer in a row. The plant, which has been federally deemed a “noxious weed,” can to be up to twelve feet tall, with enormous leaves and umbrella-sized flowers. The plant’s corrosive sap, in combination with moisture (think: a hot summer day’s sweat) and sunlight, has the ability to burn skin with even the slightest touch, and has been noted to cause scarring, severe skin damage, and even blindness.

The weed is native to the Caucasus Mountain region between the Black and Caspian Seas (near Turkey) was first introduced as to North America during the early twentieth century as an ornamental garden plant.

A recent New York State Department of Environmental Conservation map shows that major populations of the flesh-eating plant are concentrated in the North Eastern regions of the state, but that crops of the weed are moving southward and have been found as close by as Nassau County.

The DEC has posted a fairly explicit warning on their website, stating that “If you think you have giant hogweed on your property, do NOT touch it.” The Department recommends that all plant discoveries should be reported to them directly, and has set-up a (wait for it…) Giant Hogweed Hotline (1-800-554-4501 Ext. 58760).

When The Observer called the hotline during normal business hours (8:30am-4:45pm) to see what exactly a report entailed, we reached an automated voice message that suggested that they “may be experiencing a large number of calls” and were “unable to receive the call at this time.”

Perhaps the DEC was swamped with calls reporting populations of the massive toxic plant, which may or may not be coming to a backyard near you.

It's freaking Triffids, people! Okay, so no one has reported seeing them walk yet. But no one has reported not seeing them not walk yet, either! Or something. Look, they are obviously just cooling their fibrous heels until a convenient meteor shower blinds us all.

Hit the DEC webpage on this menace and keep an eye out for this foreboding flora in your own backyard!

Oh, yes it is!
Oh, yes it is!

Friday, July 1, 2011 Random Image: Among Giants