The Phantom City

Notes from our travels across a mysterious world.

Category: Arts & Literature (page 2 of 16)

This game is illogical

I think we can all see that Beyonce let Kanye win at Connect Four. Check out the winning row. 🙂

Connect Four

Link courtesy of Best Week Ever.

Dane Cook breaks comedy endurance record

Only accurate for extremely inclusive definitions of comedy. I prefer to think of it as his complete failure at attempting the longest filibuster. (“Let’s see…first, it wasn’t close to the record, and second, it wasn’t in a legislative body…”)

Copyright and Restrictions on Use

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an interesting article about the difficulties faced when negotiating rights fees for essays an editor wants to include in a volume about New Criticism. It makes an interesting point: Doesn’t the rights holder, often a publisher, have an obligation to promote the work and make it available for scholarship?

Here’s an idea that I’m sure has been said before: Copyright law should require the rights owner make the information available to the public in some fashion. If not available for more than, say, ten years, the copyright term would be severely shortened. In the case of printed material, it would mean that the rights holder would need to make the information available for some fee to the public either in a digital or printed form. That wouldn’t take care of the problem faced in putting together the New Criticism book, since the rights holder could still charge an exorbitant fee for the material, but it would give the publisher an incentive to not charge as much, because any use of the material in a book would count as being publicly available.

What that would affect is my greatest worry about long copyright terms. The lack of financial incentive to publish some material, combined with the fact that it can’t fall into the public domain for an extremely long time, causes works to fall into a limbo where they exist, but they aren’t truly available. We shouldn’t have to rely on the used-book market to find a majority of books published in the Twentieth Century. There are vast video archives locked away by rights holders who have little incentive to make them available even through lower-cost digital publishing systems.

However, put that information in the hands of thousands of individuals who have personal interest in the material and low-cost publishing systems…well, you can see it happening all over the place today, often illegally. But why should the public good of rescuing information be illegal?

Of course, DRM also has a hand in this question. Does it do us any good for a work to fall into the public domain if the only copies of it are encrypted? Particularly when it’s illegal to attempt to break that encryption? I have a lot of faith in the ability of the masses to break or otherwise circumvent encryption, but it should be explicitly legal to break encryption on public-domain works.

Anyway, enough pontificating for today. 🙂

Text Adventure Pac-man

That’s really all there is to be said. Play the game, and don’t forget your grid paper.

Link courtesy of Rock, Paper, Shotgun.

Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Animal Head

Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever! has seen some changes down through the years, as seen in this Flickr gallery. The best part is that they added more girls, but did so by adding bows to heads and flowers to clothes. And let’s not forget nearsighted cats. 🙂

Did they really have to change the caption “He comes promptly when he is called to breakfast” to “He goes to the kitchen to eat his breakfast”? Perhaps children in 1963 could count on being called for breakfast, while children in 1991 were counted on to make their own.

Link courtesy of Amazon Bookstore Blog and Boing Boing.

Magical Raccoon Testicles

No, those three words are not from a spam promoting the way to greater girth…no, that would make too much sense. They are, however, the main plot device from movie #1 on the Cracked.com list The 10 Best Animated Movies for (Traumatizing) Kids.

And here I was thinking Watership Down, which still bothers me, would be the freakiest movie on the list.

(A commenter on the article points out the characters are not Raccoons, but Tanuki, otherwise known as Raccoon Dogs. I’m thinking adding the word Dog does not improve the idea.)

Link courtesy of Too Many Topics, Too Little Time, which points out that the words are not magic. Probably just the actual testicles. 🙂

Finally, a Crisis…

The DC Universe will be experiencing a Final Crisis next year, with a crossover series that appears to be the end of the Crisis on Infinite Earths > Identity Crisis > Infinite Crisis chain. Now, given the fact I was kind of disappointed with the results of Infinite Crisis (aside from 52), what could make me interested in this one?

It’s going to be written by Grant Morrison. Well-played, DC…well-played indeed.

Final Crisis

Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but the characters pictured above — from left, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Superman, Hawkman, and Batman — are all close to the original Silver Age Justice League of America. Everyone except Hawkman was in the original lineup, and he was one of the first ones to join. So where’s the Atom, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter? (Okay, so right now Ray Palmer’s Atom and the original Aquaman are indisposed, but I don’t think it’s a good sign for J’onn J’onzz.) Just as long as we don’t get Snapper Carr (“Snap, snap!”). 🙂

Jonah Hex, Movie Star

Looks like Warner Bros. wants another $8.50 from me. Jonah Hex — hard to explain if you don’t already know — may get his own movie soon. I wonder if it will end with him running across his own stuffed body?

While growing up, I was always a big costumed hero fan, reading a lot of Superman, Batman, and the Legion of Super-Heroes. However, I also really liked the “real-world” comics DC was putting out at the time, usually dealing with various modern wars or the American West. Jonah Hex was one of my favorite characters, along with Hans von Hammer (Enemy Ace), largely due to the moral complexity of the stories.

Of course, then he got pushed into the post-apocalyptic future in Hex. Not quite as good, but he did get to see himself dead. 🙂

Jonah Hex 34

Link courtesy of Bureau 42. Image courtesy of the Grand Comic Books Database.

Review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

It was a very good ending to the series, and the next-to-last page sucker-punched me. 😥

AND NOW, A SPOILER:

They’re all hobbits. 😉

Video Game Addiction and Child Abuse in Reno

Hmmmm…while I’m a firm believer that people can become addicted to pretty much anything, I’m having a hard time believing this story, where a couple in Reno, NV, are saying their Internet and online gaming addiction caused them to starve and otherwise horribly neglect — c’mon, let’s call it what it is: abuse — their very young children.

Viloria said the Reno couple were too distracted by online video games, mainly the fantasy role-playing “Dungeons & Dragons” series, to give their children proper care. “They had food; they just chose not to give it to their kids because they were too busy playing video games,” Viloria told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Are we really going to say that kind of neglect stems from their video game use? They couldn’t tear themselves away long enough to feed or wash two babies? Or is it more likely that they wouldn’t have been feeding or washing them anyway? Either way, perhaps they’ll be put somewhere where the food won’t be delivered because the kitchen staff is playing Tetris. Oh, and where there are a lot of cats on the floor above. (Trust me.)

As an aside, what the heck is the prosecutor talking about when she refers to the online “Dungeons & Dragons” series? Is talking about the D&D Stormreach MMO? If so, I’m amazed there are enough players for there to be addicts. 😐

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