Sunday, September 27, 2009

Entry: Tiger kidnapping

When I clicked on the link to tiger kidnapping, I was expecting something awesome, like stories of people chloroforming tigers and throwing them into the trunks of Buicks and driving off to abandoned warehouses with them. Instead, tiger kidnapping is just "is a crime in which an abduction forms part of a robbery." BORING. I'm disappointed in you, Wiki. You too, reality.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Entry: The Suckling

Take a few deep breaths.

Okay, good. Now, before I start this entry, be forewarned that it will discuss a specific controversial issue that usually starts a debate because everyone has a strong opinion about it, your humble blogger included. A debate that repeats other, similar debates before it, and a debate that never gets very far. In fact, I will recreate that debate here in the post for your convenience:

Commenter 1: I believe X!
Commenter 2: I believe ~X!
C1: ~X is wrong! Here is some rhetoric that supports my opinion!
C2: X is wrong! Here is some rhetoric that supports my opinion!
C1: There are logical fallacies in your reasoning.
C2: No, there are logical fallacies in YOUR reasoning.
Loop until the argument crumbles into personal attacks, and/or Godwin's Law comes into effect. Exuent COMMENTER 1 and COMMENTER 2, neither having changed their mind and both feeling that they have won.

There, the argument has been taken care of. No need for inflammatory comments. Moving on.

The Suckling is a 1989 horror film about a couple who seek an illegal abortion at a brothel (I guess it's a full-service establishment?). The fetus is exposed to toxic waste, and mutates into a murderous beast "complete with prehensile umbilical cord and hooked talons for hands", who "envelops the house in an enormous placenta and slaughters the inhabitants one by one."

Now, I know what you're thinking-- probably something along the lines of "Oh sweet Jesus, what kind of deranged mind would think such a film would be entertaining?"-- but I have to concede to the Wiki article itself for commentary:

As stated in the copy of one release of this film, "THE SUCKLING has been compared to Alien for its claustrophobic intensity and Die Hard for its non-stop action." Given the film's low budget and technical flaws, discerning filmgoers may disagree.

I have never read a more tactful criticism on a website.

What was bugging me, besides the subject matter, was the title. A suckling is, according to Wiktionary, "a young mammal which isn't weaned yet." So I guess it's technically correct, seeing as something that hasn't been born hasn't been weaned yet, but that can't be the correct usage of the term. And yes, I realize that I'm splitting hairs considering it's a movie in which a whorehouse is covered by a giant placenta, but they should have stuck with the alternate title: Sewer Baby.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Entry: Lynda Barry

I like to think that TILfW is generally a merry little blog, hewn from the sturdy wood of open-source encyclopedia articles and varnished with my weak attempts at humor. Its very concept is propelled by the sense of nerdish glee felt upon learning something interesting, and the resulting questions that crop up from wondering about said interesting fact.

Sometimes, however; sometimes learning can be a painful experience.

I had recently been rereading Lynda Barry's autobiographical graphic novel One! Hundred! Demons!, which I highly recommend if you're into that sort of thing, and went on the Wik' to find out more about her.

Apparently she and Ira Glass were a couple at one time. Initially kinda interesting, but then I found this in one of the footnotes, a quote from an article from some journal that doesn't change what it says according to the whims of random yahoos with a wifi signal (ie. a "reliable" source):

Barry does not remember the relationship fondly. The louse in her excellent One! Hundred! Demons! story "Head Lice and My Worst Boyfriend" has been identified as Ira Glass. She is quoted in a 1998 Chicago Reader article as saying of Glass, "I went out with him. It was the worst thing I ever did. When we broke up he gave me a watch and said I was boring and shallow, and I wasn't enough in the moment for him, and it was over." Glass confirms, "Anything bad she says about me I can confirm."

My reality was shattered. Okay, not shattered, but the world seemed a little sadder and duller upon this discovery.

See, I'm sort of in love with him. Googling "crush on Ira Glass" yields 2,170 hits, which makes me feel less alone. He does appeal to the nerdy girl's sensibilities: smart, articulate, quirky, good listener, works for a nonprofit, wears funny glasses. I listen to the This American Life podcast every week, of course. I imagine Ira and I drinking chai lattes and browsing through flea markets, while he regales me with interesting stories unified around a theme; sometimes our friends David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell would be there too, and coincidentally have their own anecdotes to contribute. But this is apparently never going to happen (besides the fact that he's significantly older than me and lives halfway across the country and is married and probably not into girls who live with their parents) because he is a jerk. Or at least he was a jerk in the Eighties.

I'm too heartbroken to pick on the article author for his or her awkward use of "confirm."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Entry: No Name Key

There is a small island that is part of the Florida Keys known as No Name Key, and its existence is driving me up a wall. The island is named for the fact that it doesn't have a name! What kind of postmodern geography bullshit is that? The kind that angries up the blood, I'll tell you that much.

To No Name Key's credit, however, it does provide a home to an adorable subspecies of white-tailed deer, known as Key Deer. Not No Name Deer, and thank the gods for that, because I would have thrown my laptop across the room in a fit of semiotic rage.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Entry: Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116

It seems I'm not as good as getting this blog back to its former prolific state as I had hoped; not through lack of material. I'm getting really interesting links from people, which is awesome! Thanks, link senders!

Case in point: the awesome See ASea sent me today's article, about young Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116, a lad who has turned into a bit of an urban legend. I've heard this story brought up as an anecdote before-- "Did you know there was some lady who named her kid a string of random numbers and letters that's pronounced 'Steve'?"-- but this is the real deal.

It happened in Sweden in 1991. Elisabeth Hallin and Lasse Diding initially intended to not name their son anything, in protest of a law that disallowed names that would be considered offensive, unsuitable, or "can be supposed to cause discomfort for the one using it." However, since they had not given their son a name by his fifth birthday and faced a fine from the court, they attempted to name him Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 (pronounced "Albin"), "claiming that it was 'a pregnant, expressionistic development that we see as an artistic creation.' The parents suggested the name be understood in the spirit of 'pataphysics. The court rejected the name and upheld the fine." I have to say, though, that rejecting that name on the last term given in the law is pretty reasonable; asking a first grader to write Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 on the top of his worksheet is pretty cruel. Hell, I can't even be bothered to type it out, I've been copypasting this whole time.

They then attempted to name their child A, also pronounced "Albin," but apparently in Sweden there is a law against one-letter names. That's kinda lame. So they gave up and named their kid Albin.

To be honest, I find naming your kid Brfxx... to be more palatable than some of the ridiculous spellings that American parents come up with for common names in a halfhearted stab at originality. But then again I'm not a parent, so What Do I Know. And besides, using a kid's name to make a statement about a law that sucks in theory but relative to other laws probably doesn't matter that much? Swedes, you are awesome. You only trail Iceland in terms of awesomeness.