The telephone is 140 years old today, and nobody alive today can remember a world without one. We’ve always been able to reach out and touch someone. Something so remarkable, being able to push a few buttons and talk to another person around the corner or around the world, is something we take for granted.
It is Leap Day, and if you don’t believe that time is a man-made construct that we overlay onto our eternity just to keep work appointments and make sure we don’t get to the movies late, then today should be a real challenge for you, buddy. How is it that we can just arbitrarily decide to add an entire day to our calendar once every four years? If time were real, wouldn’t it prevent us from breaking its own laws with something crazy like Leap Year?
What is this madness?
We’ve always wondered how the government would react when the invasion came. Would they tell us, so we could have a chance to hide or fight back? Would they simply allow it to happen, letting natural selection take its course? It’s a good question, one conspiracy theorists have pondered for years.
Here’s the funny thing.
It’s already happened.
This could be one of the most important days in pop culture history. Maybe, you should sit down and get something to drink. It is that monumental.
On this date in 1878, Thomas Edison, long may his name spoken before the gods, patented the phonograph. The world was never the same. That’s not hyberbole. That is a fact.
Sometimes you ask someone to do something and they scoff and say, “I’ll do that when cows fly!” And then you say, “Cows? I thought that was pigs. You’ll do that when pigs fly.” And the person says, “Pigs fly, cows come home. And I’m still not going to do that thing you want me to do, because of your poorly worded adynaton.” Then they take some of the Atomic Fireballs out of the shallow glass dish on your desk, and that’s not cool. You brought that candy from home.
A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
Some readers may recognize the above conditions as Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics. They were first published in 1942 and they formed the basis for all of his stories about robots (and there were a lot).
There have been many alleged snuff films over the years. The term, defined as movies during which an actor is either murdered or commits suicide, was coined by Ed Sanders in The Family, his 1969 book about Charles Manson. However, there has never been any verifiable evidence of a snuff film existing. When you expand the scope outside of human mammals, things change drastically.
The year is 1895. At the Grand Cafe in Paris, France, two brothers are showing off their latest invention. It’s a strange-looking contraption–boxes and a crank all precariously perched atop a wooden tripod. The brothers, Lumière by name, call their odd machine a cinematograph. It is a combination camera, printer, and film projector. And at the Grand Cafe, the crowds have come with money in hand to see moving pictures of the city they live in, the City of Lights.
It is December 28 and, on this day in pop culture history, the ritual of going to the movies was born.
Please Note: This review was written after seeing an unfinished version of the film during SXSW on March 13, 2015.
It seems that computer screen horror is catching on rather quickly and I’m not sure how I feel about it. In the past couple years we’ve had The Den and Open Windows; in both films the actions is presented through a computer screen. The Den worked to an extent and was creative for the most part, but Open Windows didn’t work out because it was so silly. . . well, to me anyway.
Unfriended has the same presentation but it works. Like Open Windows, it runs in real time and that’s one of the main things that works. Our story is told through a Skype chat between five friends who hold a secret. During one of their chats they are introduced to another visitor. They are unsure who this person is and try to get rid of this unknown entity, but remain unsuccessful despite multiple attempts. Soon they realize this person may be someone that they know from their past who is dead set on terrorizing them.
In a break from my normal oeuvre, a couple of weeks ago I went with my other half to see the “supergroup” (a term I am perhaps exaggerating here) McBusted, formed of McFly and Busted, both of whom enjoyed success in the UK a decade ago. Whilst I knew what I would expect as to the venue (faceless stadium) and the clientele (a mix of tweens and 30-somethings reliving their student days), what really stood out to me was the way in which this concert exemplified the current mass-music scene in the UK.