Monthly Archives: October 2005

Lost Prologue To 2001: A Space Odyssey

MonolithWell here’s an interesting tidbit: Stanley Kubrick’s assistant Anthony Frewin is set to publish a series of 21 interviews with astronomers, anthropologists, computer scientists and biologists that was intended for a prologue to Kubrick’s 1968 classic; 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The interviews were filmed as a prologue for the mind bending movie, and follow the musings of almost two dozen scientific minds when asked to predict the future, humanity’s destiny in space, and the possibility of intelligent life in the universe. Among those queried by Kubrick were Isaac Asimov, Margaret Mead, Fred Whipple, Freeman Dyson and Sir Bernard Lovell.

Unfortunately during editing, it became apparent the movie was too long and the entire prologue was cut from the final film. The footage itself is lost, but Kubrick kept typed transcripts of the interviews, which form the basis of Are We Alone? The Stanley Kubrick Extraterrestrial Intelligence Interviews, being published in the United Kingdom on November 8th. Sounds very intriguing, I’d love to give that book a read when I get a chance.

Oh, in case anybody’s wondering just what the hell 2001 is all about, here’s a pretty good analysis of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001, which goes a long way towards interpreting the film for those that are confused.

New York Changing, by Douglas Levere

Here’s a very interesting photo essay showing the changes in New York between the 1930’s and the late 1990’s. Sixteen photos of New York taken in the mid 1930’s are recreated with the exact same location and angle in the late 1990’s. Some photos look unchanged in over 60 years, some are radically different.

Spam, The Gift Of Kings

SPAM©, the king of tinned meats
I meant to mention this a couple days ago, when the story ran in the PDN. Seems Guam is not alone in its adoration of the gelatinous, pink, canned meat. Spam is a popular item in South Korea, in fact 40% of the canned meat is given as gifts. Can’t say I’m really surprised, especially after reading that they use it like we do here on Guam, tossed in with fried rice or in soups. Most Spam gets consumed that way here on Guam too, I reckon. But what gets me is the cachet associated with the giggly meat.

“Spam really is a luxury item,” said Han Geun Rae, 43, a fashion buyer, as she loaded gift boxes of Spam into her cart at a department store before the recent Chusok holiday.

An estimated 8 million cans of Spam change hands on Chusok, the Korean equivalent of Thanksgiving.

Han was buying Spam for her employees, and expected to get some herself during the Chusok season, the country’s biggest gift-giving occasion of the year.

Now this has me thinking about paying a visit to Seoul with about 20 cases of Spam tucked into my luggage. If it sells as a luxury item, I suspect I could make a killing, especially pushing that Tabasco Spam we sell here on the island. I know that goes good with kim chee, I eat that myself sometimes.

Perhaps it is best to remember:

SPAM is not a gift.
When you eat, just remember:
It’s only a loan.
–Martin Booda, from the SPAM-ku Archive

Serenity

Just got back from watching Serenity for the second time. Just as good the second time around, maybe better. Hell it’s a damn good movie, much better than any of those Star Wars movies Lucas has been churning out lately. I’ve taken to watching Firefly on Friday nights now, seems like the SciFi Channel is promoting the series and the movie heavily. I must admit, it is a particularly fetching bit of entertainment. I never watched any of Joss Whedon’s other shows, like Buffy or Angel, but Firefly has definitely grown on me. And the movie certainly makes a great deal more sense after catching a few week’s worth of episodes from the ill fated show. I’m able to figure out who’s who and what’s going on now that I have a bit more of their backstory filled in.

I’m watching the series now with a bit of poignancy, since so few episodes were actually made. It is amazing that this discarded television idea was transformed into a big budget motion picture, mostly because of fan worship and word of mouth. Based on the movie’s performance however, I doubt there will be a sequel. While it is a rousing adventure, I am certain this is the show’s swan song. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Lost Monk Recording

John Coltrane plays with Thelonious Monk at the Five Spot Café in 1957Here’s a nice little flash player featuring three tracks from Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane, that great album I bought last month. Listen to a few tracks, then buy the album!

It is a great album with an incredible backstory. Early this year, an archivist at the Library of Congress was sorting through some old Voice of America audiotapes when he came across a box of tapes labeled “Carnegie Hall Jazz 1957” and a handwritten note “T. Monk” along with some song titles. The jazz specialist had stumbled upon a lost recording of Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane from a Thanksgiving 1957 concert at Carnegie Hall, recorded by the Voice of America but never broadcast.

Maps Upon Maps – A Sense of Place

I love looking at maps. Especially interesting maps that breakdown interesting political/social trends. Remember last years red state/blue state maps? I’m talking about stuff like that.

And here’s a few more that I really like:

  • The Common Census Project is putting together a map of the United States showing the areas of influence for major cities.
  • The Common Census Sports Map Project – Same idea as above, only for major sports teams instead of cities. This is a little more interesting, especially the broad appeal of the Chicago Cubs across the nation, and what can only be described as the Favre Factor; the Green Bay Packers strong showing in Mississippi and Alabama.
  • Pop Vs. Soda – I went to college in Wisconsin, and one thing I noticed right away was how people drank pop instead of soda. This map breaks out pop vs. soda usage by county across the US.