Baron Dave Romm
By Baron Dave Romm
Shockwave Radio Theater podcasts
To be honest, I don't have a lot to say about District 9. It's icky and violent, with huge plot holes and action that sometimes doesn't make a lot of sense. On the other hand, it's tight with interesting characters and the action never lets up. For the most part, District 9 works splendidly.
The basic premise is that a huge alien ship arrives above Johannesburg, South Africa. And then does nothing. After a few months, the humans break in to find a lot of poor starving aliens. We take them out of the ship, and put them in a slum called District 9. And then nothing happens for 28 years.
Why anyone lives under the ship is beyond me. The similar situations in Independence Day at least have the excuse that it all happened so quickly. ("Sir, there's a two-mile long space-ship hovering over Los Angeles." "Shoot it down!") Why the aliens can exist in our atmosphere and live on dry land is beyond me. The visitors (!) are called "prawns" and clearly aquatic creatures, but seem germ free. Why the military doesn't fully explore the ship and establish a permanent scientific station there is beyond me. Why a big corporation exploits the misery of aliens and humane for their own profit and lies to the rest of the world about their motives and findings... okay, that I understand.
So don't think too hard. Just get caught up in the maelstrom. Avert your eyes when necessary and steel yourself for death and grisly destruction. Oh, the ichor runs freely.
But wait, there's more.
The D-9 web site is more than your run of the mill press release dump. You can enter as a human or non-human. I haven't explored much, but someone spent an amazing amount of effort. Perhaps producer Peter Jackson was taken by the fans of The Lord of the Rings who just love the minutiae of Tolkien's world and wanted to recreate that here.
Controversy! Nigerian officials: "District 9" not welcome here:
Of course, everyone in the movie looks bad. I don't know why "Nigerians" were singled out as the human gang running crime in the lawless Capetown suburb, but someone has to. The plot of the movie wouldn't work without street thugs and the Sopranos were busy and Blackwater is laying low.
While I can understand why Nigeria doesn't like Nigerians portrayed as bad guys, the setting of the film adds to the alienness of the movie. In the same way that Harry Potter is that much more removed from US audiences by being set in the UK school system, the humans in District 9 seem a step farther removed from the US just by being African. The Nigerian thugs come off better than the one-dimensional white South African corporate thugs. That's not saying much. I was just happy to see so many unfamiliar names in the credits. Hey, they're getting work.
District 9 is just on my tolerance of gore and blood; perhaps just over my usual limit, but the movie was so predictable that I knew when to look away. Given the set-up, the violence and muddy action flow naturally. I can't honestly recommend it unless you like cheesy sf movies or are a fan of well-done shoot-em-ups, but I was in a bad mood and really needed to see things explode. On the Shockwave scale of 9 to 23, with 23 being top, I'll give District 9 about a 17 or 18. At least one point being the web site, which looks interesting, and the Nigerian controversy, which makes me laugh.
Shockwave Radio Theater's 30th Anniversary
In addition to being Yom Kippur, Eid al-Fitr and Talk Like A Pirate Day, Sept. 19th was the 30th Anniversary of Shockwave Radio Theater. I usually let the celebration percolate into the following weeks and months, and will do so this time. Still, 30 doesn't seem like the Event that 25 was. Oh well. We live for our Odometer Years.
The Shockwave Radio Theater fan page on Facebook is up and running. Become a Fan! So far, I've been adding pictures and linking to their broadcast archives and/or podcasts, plus announcing when I've added sound files. Over the years, Shockwave Radio files have been in formats from .au to .ra to .m4a with only the occasional foray into mp3. Podcasts will still be in .aac/.m4a, since I can add pictures and links and anyone with an iPod/iPhone/iTunes can take advantage of the higher formatting. But I'll slum it, and make .mp3 files for you pc types.
In 1999, I digitized a bunch of tapes and cut them into small pieces, making four Shockwave Radio Theater Samplers. I included these and other files such as my interview with Gov. Jesse Ventura, in a Distribution CD called The 20-Year Free-Fall. The Samplers are now available as mp3 for the first time. I've added the links to the Shockwave Radio audio page. The direct links are:
Shockwave Sampler 1: an intro to ShockwaveShockwave Sampler 2: more obscure references
Shockwave Sampler 3: The Time Traveler Cycle
Shockwave Sampler 4: movie parodies and more
Annotations for The 20-Year Free-Fall, listing all the bits in the Samplers and where they came from.
Full interview with Gov. Jesse Ventura, conducted 9/9/99 (Real Media, 17:37). Real Audio circa 1999; you might need to download the .ram and open that.
The somber beauty of air crash memorials
The somber beauty of air crash memorials by Patrick Smith on salon.com (click through the ads) is worth reading. 9/11 was shocking for it's scope and barbarity. Other plane crashes, natural or terrorist, also killed hundreds and affected thousands of lives.
I'll pull just a couple of links from the
Crash memorial marking Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, the worst air disaster ever, from Google Earth; and
Memorial to UTA Flight 772 Visible from Space
Vikings 27, Lions 13
And lastly: The Vikings won! Against a team that is setting the modern record for futility, the Vikings needed to winthe battle of turnovers. For the second week in a row, the Vikes have been less than impressive in beating weak opponents. Brett Favre looked no better than okay. Adrian Peterson was pretty good and Percy Harvin is learning fast. The defense was dominant but porous. The front line needs work. Still, a win is a win.
Baron Dave Romm is a conceptual artist and a noble of Ladonia who produces Shockwave Radio Theater, writes in a Live Journal demi-blog maintains a Facebook Page, plays with a very weird CD collection and an ever growing list of political links. Dave Romm reviews things at random for obscure web sites. You can read all his music recommendations from Bartcop-E. Podcasts of Shockwave Radio Theater. Permanent archive. More radio programs, interviews and science fiction humor plays can be accessed on the Shockwave Radio audio page.
Thanks to everyone who has sent me music to play on the air.
A Political Ad That Should Be Recycled Every Four Years (politicalirony.com)
Would Jesus Discriminate? Why would we?
"Would Jesus discriminate?"
If your answer is no, then ask yourself "why would we?" The Would Jesus Discriminate? campaign, sponsored in the DFW area by five local Metropolitan Community Churches, seeks to engage people in friendly discussion about Jesus' message of inclusion.
Susan Estrich: Enough Is Enough (creators.com)
Conservative loudmouths are crowing that they are driving Barack Obama's popularity ratings below 50 percent. They are very proud of themselves. They shouldn't be. Destroying what is best about our country is not something to brag to your children about. And the other shoe is dropping.
Froma Harrop: What Americans Really Want Is Health Care Reform (creators.com)
"Obama's Speech Doesn't Turn the Tide," reads an ABC News headline about new poll results on public reaction to the president's address on health care reform. An interesting take, given that the tide doesn't need turning.
Twiggy at 60: 'It's amazing I didn't go stark raving bonkers' (guardian.co.uk/)
The face of the 60s is herself turning 60. She talks to Jess Cartner-Morley about fame, fate, fun Š and middle-age spread.
PAUL CONSTANT: Because You Have To (thestranger.com)
How to Become a Writer (Hint: It Involves Writing).
George Varga: The Remaking of the Band (creators.com)
Humility doesn't come easily, or often, for many rock stars, especially when they're soaring high in one of the biggest bands in the world. But for the three members of blink-182, who split up under bitter circumstances in 2005 and reunited early this year, turning away from their collective stardom turned out to be a very good thing indeed.
The passion and pain of Jennifer Connelly (guardian.co.uk)
Jennifer Connelly talks to Matt Mueller about the long road to recognition, how to do sex scenes - and playing Darwin's wife alongside her real-life husband, Paul Bettany, in Creation.
Will Harris: A Chat with the Cast of 'Community' (bullz-eye.com)
When I watched the pilot for NBC's new sitcom, "Community," premiering on Thursday, Sept. 17th, I was convinced that I was watching the funniest sitcom of the new seasonŠand I was not wrong.
Nosy questions with ... 'Community' star Joel McHale (latimes.com)
You know him as host of E!'s "The Soup," but get ready to know Joel McHale even better. In the new NBC comedy "Community," he plays Jeff, a hot-shot attorney enrolled at community college after his degree is revealed as phony and his law license is suspended. (In the show's world, he attends the rare community college where you can earn a BA.)
John Horn: 'Capitalism: A Love Story' won't be a 'Sicko' (latimes.com)
Michael Moore's film on the economy is getting a big push and should fare better than his previous healthcare documentary.
Hubert's Poetry Corner
Secrets of the Lady Suzanne
Truth - REALLY is sometimes stranger than fiction!
The Weekly Poll
The 'Helping out The Man' Edition
I think I can safely say that we all support President Obama's efforts to enact an effective, comprehensive Health Care Reform Bill... Right? Right!
Well then, have you contacted your congressional representatives and senators and asked them to support his plan?
If not, here's your opportunity to do just that! Then you can answer yes and become a member of my Badtothebone for Barack club. How cool is that, eh?
Details of the plan are included in the link for your perusal...
Do the right thing, I'm sayin'! Walk the walk!
Send your response to
From The Creator of 'Avery Ant'
Link from RJ
Hi there -
Hope you are happy and healthy! This might interest you (fingers crossed)
Link From Some Guy
from that Mad Cat, JD
In The Chaos Household
Definitely on the toasty side.
"Peace Without Borders" Concert
Hundreds of thousands of people jammed Havana's Revolution Square on Sunday for a concert by Colombian rocker Juanes and other international pop stars who hope music can do what politics has not -- bring together Cubans here and in the United States.
"Kids, we came to Cuba out of love ... it's important to swap hate for love," Juanes told the crowd of hundreds of thousands. Organizers had expected at least half a million, but concert organizer Juanes said it topped one million people.
Playing before a swaying, dancing audience dressed in white -- Cuban authorities asked people to come dressed in white as a symbol of peace -- the 37-year-old singer responded to critics by saying music was above politics or ideological enmity.
Puerto Rican Olga Tanon, on the bill with 14 other musicians from six countries including Miguel Bose of Spain and Jovanotti of Italy, kicked off the show by shouting its central message: "It's time to change."
Kuala Lumpur Concert
Beyoncé Knowles says she will perform in Malaysia in October, two years after canceling a show in this Muslim-majority country after protesters threatened to disrupt the concert because of her sexy image and clothing.
The R&B superstar's upcoming show is already drawing the ire of conservatives in this country, where female performers are required to cover up from the shoulders to knees with no cleavage showing.
Knowles said on her Web site that she will take the stage at a stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's biggest city, on Oct. 25. "Beyonce for the first time ever has decided to make Malaysia part of her 'I am.' World Tour," her Web site said.
Knowles canceled a planned concert two years ago following protest threats by Malaysia's opposition Islamic party. At the time her talent agency said the show was called off due to a scheduling conflict.
51st International Competition for Young Conductors
Japan's Kazuki Yamada took the top prize at the 51st International Competition for Young Conductors held as part of France's Besancon Music Festival.
"I am very happy to win this prize as have my mentors Seiji Ozawa and Yoko Matsuo," said Yamada, 30, who was competing in Besancon for the second time.
He was on Saturday chosen over fellow countryman Tomohiro Seyama and Bulgaria's Rossen Gergov to pick up the 12,000-euro (17,650-dollar) prize at one of the top conducting competitions in the world.
Yamata, who was one of 20 competitors from 14 nations, also picked up the prize voted on by the public.
Gets Reprieve On Subway Map
The River Thames is to be reinstated on London's iconic tube map after a new design which left it out was greeted by a wave of outrage.
Designers had airbrushed out the blue ribbon representing the river in an attempt to de-clutter the map, first produced by draftsman Harry Beck in 1933.
But Transport for London (TfL), which operates the capital's transport networks, had reckoned without Londoners' deep affection for their local waterway.
As news of the revamp leaked out, it was inundated with complaints, both from the general public and from Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
NASA says it successfully launched a rocket in Virginia as part of an experiment, and the blast may have caused dozens of people to report seeing strange lights in the sky.
The space agency said it launched the Black Brant XII on Saturday evening to gather data on the highest clouds in the Earth's atmosphere. About the time of the launch, dozens of people in the Northeast started calling local television stations to report seeing strange lights.
The calls came from as far away as Boston, which is about 380 miles northeast of the launch site.
The rocket is designed to create an artificial cloud. NASA hopes the experiment will provide information on the formation and properties of noctilucent clouds, which occur at high altitudes.
Studio Chief Steps Down
A new era has begun for the Walt Disney Co. following the abrupt resignation of longtime studio chief Dick Cook.
After nearly four decades with the company, Cook announced Friday that he was stepping down immediately.
In a statement, Cook said, "I have been contemplating this for some time now and feel it's the right time for me to move on to new adventures and in the words of one of my baseball heroes, Yogi Berra, 'If you come to a fork in the road, take it.'"
Cook, 59, joined Disney in 1971 and moved up the ranks, becoming president of Buena Vista Pictures distribution in 1988. He became chairman of the studio in 2002.
Wisconsin Hideout For Sale
The buyer of a scenic property in northern Wisconsin will get more than just its bar and restaurant: They'll have a former hideout of Chicago mobster Al Capone.
The 407-acre wooded site, complete with guard towers and a stone house with 18-inch-thick walls, will soon go on the auction block at a starting bid of $2.6 million.
The bank that foreclosed on the land near Couderay, about 140 miles northeast of Minneapolis, said Capone owned it in the late 1920s and early 1930s during Prohibition. Local legend claims that shipments of bootlegged alcohol were flown in on planes that landed on the property's 37-acre lake, then loaded onto trucks bound for Chicago.
The property was more recently used as a tourist attraction. It includes Capone's two-story stone home with a massive fireplace, two guard towers - reportedly manned with machine guns whenever Capone visited - a caretakers residence and other outbuildings.
Memorials Or Litter?
A man who said he hurled thousands of golf balls into Joshua Tree National Park for more than a year to honor deceased golfers will be explaining his tribute to a federal magistrate.
Park rangers cited 57-year-old Douglas Jones for abandoning property, littering and feeding wildlife. Park spokesman Joe Zarki said Wednesday that Jones tossed some 3,000 golf balls from his vehicle.
Jones also scattered a few tennis balls and park literature and left fruit and vegetables along park roads. Jones says rangers spent 370 hours cleaning up, at a cost of $9,000.
Finally spotted in action last month, Jones allegedly told rangers he threw the golf balls to leave his mark and honor deceased golfers. The food was for stranded hikers.
Weekend Box Office
`Chance of Meatballs'
The forecast was bright at the box-office for "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," which earned $30.1 million to lead this weekend's films.
Sony's 3-D animated family comedy was adapted from the popular 1978 children's book by Judi and Ron Barrett. Despite schools being back in session, the film still was able to draw kids and their parents to the multiplexes.
Steven Soderbergh's "The Informant!" came in second with $10.5 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. That was slightly better than expected for the Warner Bros. comedy, which stars Matt Damon as a bipolar whistle blower.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Final figures will be released Tuesday.
1. "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," $30.1 million.
2. "The Informant!" $10.5 million.
3. "I Can Do Bad All By Myself," $10 million.
4. "Love Happens," $8.5 million.
5. "Jennifer's Body," $6.8 million.
6. "9," $5.5 million.
7. "Inglourious Basterds," $3.6 million.
8. "All About Steve," $3.4 million.
9. "Sorority Row," $2.5 million.
10. "The Final Destination," $2.4 million.
`Chance of Meatballs'