Miscellany

Checking in with my chain smoking monkey research staff, here are a few interesting links they've dug up:
  • Baghdad Journal, Part 13: You knew this was coming - yet another in the long series of articles by artist Steve Mumford about Iraq on the ground. This one focuses a little on the law enforcement situation, including the training of Iraqi police and National Guard, and prisons. Interesting stuff, as always. If you are not familiar with Mumford's work, I suggest you take a look at all of his previous columns. Highly recommended.
  • Alien vs. Predator: Something about this list where Aliens and Predators compete in unlikely events like breakdancing (which logically goes to Alien) and Macram� (wich is totally a Predator dominated event) just feels right. Perhaps it's because of the Olympics.
  • Cinematic Supervillain Showdown: Along the same lines, inspired by AvP, Matthew Baldwin made up a list pitting other cinematic villains against one another, March Madness style. Funniest matchups: Sauron vs. Ferris Bueller's Principal and Hannibal Lecter vs. Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Kottke has a few interesting matchup ideas as well. As with any such list, there are notable absences, and I won't stoop to the level of feigning shocked disappointment that one of my favorites isn't included... Allright, I lied, where the hell is Boba Fett?!
  • Grand List of Overused Science Fiction Clich�s: This list of overused plot-points has a two pronged effect: Makes it that much more difficult to write a story, and it makes you genuinely appreciate when a story such as, perhaps, this one, whose concept is certainly overused, but studiously avoids any clich�s. [via The Ministry of Minor Perfidy]
  • 2004 Olympics: Speaking of those perfidious folks, Johno has a great post about the Olympics:
    Olympic badminton is scary. That wussy little shuttlecock and flimsy little racquet in the hands of experts become weapons of fearsome power. Last night in a doubles match I watched a short little American guy with a 35-inch (!) vertical leap whip off a kill that must have been going 85 MPH when the shuttlecock hit the court. Unbelievable. More unbelievable is that they got taken apart by a Norwegian team who played like implacable machines.
    Very true. And yes, those lady gymnasts do "need to eat some cake." I'd also like to mention how astounding their routines are. I never really paid much attention to it before, but I now realize that I'm not sure I can even walk across the balance beam and that these people are truly amazing individuals.
That's all for now. More later.