Sunday, 30 November 2008

St. Andrew's Day

Happy St. Andrew's Day from Ephemeral Isle

Orbit One Zero

A complete BBC sci fi adventure.

Maybe SETI isn't such a good idea after all.

Files courtesy of

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Thursday, 27 November 2008


It's Thanksgiving here at Chez Szondy, so I'm off for a couple of days of family time.

Back Saturday.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Space Turkey

It's good to see that NASA is keeping up with its hallowed traditions.

No shrimp cocktail, though.

Treading the Boards

Don't knock it. At least it got him into the RSC.

Probably isn't even in Equity.

Talking Turkey

Impenetrable quote of the day regarding modern breeds of turkeys courtesy of the USDA:
Commercial broiler breeder strains, selected for rapid growth and high meat yields, do not adequately regulate voluntary feed intake commensurate with their energy needs. Consequently, these birds must be given a limited amount of feed to avoid overconsumption that can lead to excessive accumulation of energy stores.
Translation: Turkeys are gluttons who don't know when to stop and they get too fat if you let them eat too much.

Waterworld: The Musical

On the plus side, it has to be better than the film.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Monday, 24 November 2008

Mushroom Monsters

Mushrooms have been found growing on the International Space Station.

Between them and the spiders I expect some major kaiju action soon.

Quantum of Solace

Finally saw Quantum of Solace the other day and I have never come across a greater collection of snobbery, male chauvinism, material excess, unhealthy eating and drinking, and gratuitous sex and violence in my life.

God, I loved it.


"Are you going to build one for fat people?"

Jumping the Gun

A school in New York State has changed its name to Barack Obama Elementary School.

You'd think they'd at least wait until he actually did something.


Not even sushi bars will be safe for Sarah Connor.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

The Thousand-Headed Man

Another complete Doc Savage adventure.

Files courtesy of

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Friday, 21 November 2008

Deep Thought, Call Your Service

BBC headline:
Four philosophical questions to make your brain hurt
The brain hurting doubtless comes from trying to figure out how Mr. Bain got a lectureship at the University of Glasgow when he cranks out such facile material loaded with buried assumptions and calls it philosophy.

Cryotranz Pet Carrier

Great, now we can look forward to freezer-burned pussycats.

Animo OptiFresh coffee

According to the report,
To meet personal tastes, it is possible to adjust the strength of the coffee and quantity of milk or sugar. The machine features a user-friendly interface with integrated maintenance programs and clear key symbols. The messages in the text display clearly guide the user through the required procedures. The machine will be ready to be used again in a second.
Still no word on why it invariably then dispenses a cup of something that tastes almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Ha Harr!

Somali pirates have struck again, seizing a ninth vessel in twelve days and the Royal Navy is leading an international task force to sweep the freebooters from the seas. This return to the sort of barbarism that was thought to have died with the Barbary states has so unnerved the major powers that even Russia is recommending attacks on the pirates' bases along the East African coast.

It's a nice show of reality finally sinking in, but unless the rules of engagement are as serious as the threat of these latter day corsairs and a commitment is shown to not only capture them, but to string them up at Wapping, then this will likely end up as a very expensive exercise in nautical handbagging.

Space Spiders

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have not only lost a tool kit, but the spiders have gone missing as well.

Not to worry, though. What could possibly go wrong?

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Treehouse Restaurant

I'll have the acorns, followed by acorns with a side of acorns, and acorns for after.

HMS Dragon Launched

Gads, she's beautiful. We need 18 more like her and her sisters at a minimum.


A robot designed to clear roofs of snow and ice–and dump it on Sarah Connor.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Chicken Cops

Not exactly the Sweeney, but they do keep the peace.

What's Yours is Mine

Having been told by his own review panel that it's wrong and even though it's pointless and would solve nothing, Gordon Brown is still determined to make every freeborn Englishman's organs state property.

Why let little things like facts or morality get in the way of something as vital as trampling on the most personal of freedoms?


From Germany we see a machine capable of dispensing ten pints of beer in ten seconds.

That should be just about fast enough to keep up with Big Wilf.

The Proof of the Pudding

From The Telegraph, Barack "He whose middle name may not be uttered" Obama's policy re Osama bin Laden:

In his first televised interview since his historic election, Mr Obama made good on his rhetoric from the campaign trail that the hunt for bin Laden would remain top priority for the US.

He told CBS that "it is a top priority for us to stamp out Al-Qaeda once and for all" and that killing or capturing the group’s mastermind Osama bin Laden was "critical" to the US.

The goal is reassuring, but the sticking point will be methods. Will this be a military campaign aimed not only at Al Qaeda but also its sponsors and ideological brethren? Or will it be Clintonesque farce of tough words backed by nothing stronger than subpoenas and token air strikes?

We shall see.

Monday, 17 November 2008

The Pionen

A Swedish Cold War nuclear bunker converted into an ultra-modern data centre.

Now if it just had a nuclear reactor, a pool of piranhas, an obvious self-destruct button, and a dress code that required black turtle necks, it would be perfect.

A Port in a Storm

I have a six-year old, two dogs, and a wife who voluntarily watches Made of Honor on the office telly.

I need this.

Mind you, are alternatives.

Taste Test

This is an example of the sort of writing assignment that I am thankful I never get.

Don't Mention the War

"My arm's come off!"


Northrop Grumman unveils its new solid-state laser that is powerful enough for military applications–and by that we mean FWWWEEEEEEEWWWHH BOOOM! applications.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Castro Speaks

The Maximum Leader comments on the election of Barack "He whose middle name may not be uttered" Obama:

Fear Cay

A complete Doc Savage adventure in stereo.

File courtesy of

Friday, 14 November 2008

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time... from Capucha on Vimeo.
I want her to pitch my next screenplay.

The Natural

Forget Obama, Cameron or whoever; get this kid on the ballot.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Royal Navy Captures Pirates

What happens when you let the RN do its job.

Democracy is Overrated

Normally, I don't comment on this sort of thing, but it isn't often that one comes across a political poster of such thundering stupidity devoid of any concept of history or even artistic sensibility.

From the context, I presume that the, for want of a better word, "author" of the piece is referring to the United States. Perhaps someone would be good enough to take this person aside and point out that it was men who gave women the vote and passed virtually all the pro-feminist legislation; it was whites who emancipated blacks at the cost of a bloody civil war, gave them the vote, and passed every civil rights act; and it was Christians who established freedom of worship and all the other protections every creed, including atheism, enjoys.

I particularly like the conclusion: Some things are too important to vote on, so take to the streets in the best brown shirts' tradition.

Yes, to Hell with democracy; legislation by the mob is the only way.

Blow into this Bag, Please.

Scientists from Zoological Society of London are trying to work out how to breathalyse a sperm whale.

I wasn't aware that cetacean drunk driving was that big a problem.

Did I Say "Rule"? I meant "Govern".

Not the best choice of words in a republic.

Expect the media and late night comedians to jump all over this gaff about the same time that Satan buys snow shoes.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Cat Culture

And now, your moment of culture: A cat playing a Theremin.


What to do if you have bad posture? How about hook one of those things that shock dogs to your string vest?

How about not?

Compaq Portable 2 vs a Dead Fish

Who can argue with logic like that?

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Armistice Day

It's Armistice Day (or Veteran's Day, as it's called in the United States).

Remember the fallen and those who serve.


Something you don't see everyday: A guy burning from the guy's point of view.

Interview with...

A piece about a rare interview with Anne Rice, who gave up writing soft-core pr0n about homosexual vampires in favour of books about Christmas and some of her fans think she's the one who's gone crazy.

A bottle of perspective for table 2, please.


I see that the BBC is reviving the 1970's sci fi series Survivors. From the trailer, I'm not getting my hopes up. It looks all very, very PC with lots of pretty people and strumming guitars, so I'm not getting my hopes up. In fact, since the cast includes the ghastly lead from Bonekickers and one-note actress Freema Agyeman, I shall regard my hopes lightly squashed.

If you want some idea of the standard the remake faces, have a look at the original credits, which I suspect contains more drama than we can expect from the entire first series of the new version.

Light For Life

Ultracapacitors have been in the news lately and now we have a torch that recharges in 90 seconds. That's seconds.

Now if they can get cordless drills to do that there'd be less effing and blinding around Chez Szopndy on a weekend.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Swimming with Crocodiles

This would be impressive, except a) they're sober and b) they're behind Plexiglas.

Australia, how far have you fallen?


Poland's Jacek Ryn and Paulina Krauza demonstrate why having an idea is not sufficient reason to put it into motion.

Monky Business

There's been a punch-up at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem–by a load of monks.

This is refreshing. Normally, you have to go to Mexico to see monk fights.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Remembrance Sunday

God of our fathers, known of old--
Lord of our far-flung battle line
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine--
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The captains and the kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe--
Such boasting as the Gentiles use
Or lesser breeds without the law--
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard--
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard--
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy mercy on Thy people, Lord!

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Brave New World

When the American election results came in my wife told our six-year that "it's a brave new world".

Let's take a closer look.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Forrest J. Ackerman (1916-2008)

Forrest J. Ackerman, the world's greatest sci-fi fan, has died at age 91.

Sleep well, 4E.

Update: Apparently not dead yet.

The Race Race

I've been following the political news for the past couple of days and after an American election that lasted 94,286 years I have encountered something that I didn't think possible: I was surprised.

It wasn't the sycophancy of the news media basking in its sucess in putting Barrack "he whose middle name may not be uttered" Obama into the White House at the cost of their own credibility. That was to be expected. What I didn't anticipate was that after so much finger wagging and scolding about how the "race card" was aboslutely forbidden and the campaign had not a jot to do with Obama's melinin content, I now see miles of news sheet and hogsheads of ink being disgorged on how the single most important thing in this election is that Obama is America's first black president.

Some of it I understand, though deplore. The news media has always had a taste for the sensational and superficial and I should have half-expected all the oil poured over the "historic" elevation of Obama. Not being American, I can't see the novelty of a black head of state myself, but reporters are a parochial breed. What really surprised me was story after story, interview after interview with supposedly intelligent people who were not only over the moon about a black US persident, but had voted for him for that very reason.

During Obama's acceptance speech he used the rhetorical device of punctuating his remarks with his campaign slogan "Yes, we can". That's a perfectly good bit of public speaking and very effective. But then, about the second or third time, the audience started chanting along as if they were a congreagation reading the responses out of the book of prayer. That, to me, was unnerving as a man whose seen his share of personality cults and their unwholesome fruits, but it was as nothing to finding out that huge blocs of voters, apparently millions of people, chose Obama to become the most powerful man on Earth on the grounds of him being relatively more difficult to pick out in a dark room.

If this is true, then it speaks very poorly for democracy.

I understand that America has a legacy of very nasty and violent race relations that have resulted in everything up to and including one of the bloodiest wars in history, but after months, if not years of being assured time and again that this was about choosing the most competent person for office, I am now, with a perfectly straight face, being told that it is about "fulfilling Martin Luther King's dream" or "healing the divide" or giving black Americans a massive ego boost. In other words, it was a great symbolic gesture of racial reconcilation that everyone can wallow in.

Fine. Good. Wonderful. I'm all atingle. Thing is, the office of President of the United States is not a figurehead position. It is not that of a head of state with no real powers. The President is a man who can rain radioactive death upon half the planet with a single order and governs a country whose every economic stumble can put the rest of the world flat on its back. That's a bit much to waste on a bit of race relations theatre.

Still, now that the point has been made and everyone has had a heartfelt Kumbaya moment, can Mr. Obama please resign so the Americans can get on with actually picking a president (skin colour irrelevant) instead of a prop for a historic tableau?

I thought not.

Update: Now the media is going stark, raving bonkers with articles clamoring for a black prime minister, a black Doctor Who, a black James Bond, and a black Pope.

Next up: When will the Queen be black?

With Bated Breath

The Home Secretary Jaqui Smith says that Britons "Can't wait for ID cards".

No doubt they are also crying "Telescreens! Give us telescreens!"

Thursday, 6 November 2008


Mazda's KAAN concept car: So swift, so sleek, so electric, so "Where's the #^$&ing door!"

Slow Down

Now that the American election is over, let's get back to what's really important: Slow versus fast zombies.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Happy Guy Fawkes Day

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

Guy Fawkes, guy, t'was his intent
To blow up king and parliament.
Three score barrels were laid below
To prove old England's overthrow.

By God's mercy he was catch'd
With a darkened lantern and burning match.
So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring.
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king.

And what shall we do with him?
Burn him!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Obama Wins

Barrack "He whose middle name may not be uttered" Obama has been elected the 44th president of the United States. Congratulations to the Democrats and have fun at the victory party.

So what happens next? That's a good question and I wish I had an answer, but the fact of the matter is that it depends entirely who President Obama is and for the first time in thirty years I am faced with an international figure of whom I haven't the slightest inkling. From what I have seen, Obama may be one of several unpleasant alternatives:
  • A paper messiah who can't possibly make good on his promises.
  • An empty suit; a political Zelig thrown by circumstances far out of his depth.
  • A Socialist Trojan horse who will shock those who didn't understand what "change" meant.
  • An unprincipled cynic who is for no one but himself.
Or maybe none of these. The most honest thing that I hope and pray for is that I am completely wrong about him otherwise we face a mixture of Tony Blair and Jimmy Carter who will inevitably back the world into a major war not seen since the Korean conflict, wrecking his own nation in the process, and then blaming his countrymen for his failings.

Fingers crossed.

Election Day

It's election day in the United States and we here at EI urge our American readers to carry out there duties as citizens and go to the polls.

I haven't talked much about the American elections here. That's mainly because without the staggering pomposity of John Kerry it just isn't as fun this time around. Also, tensions have run so high in 2008 that any attempt to breach the topic would have required long discussions about everything from spin doctors to media bias to God knows what and I haven't the time, patience or interest to go so in-depth when there are dozens of political bloggers who can do a much better job of it.

Also, the Time Lords get annoyed if I get involved too much in local affairs.

But I will say this, if you are voting today, bear in mind that the United States, like is or not, is the key player in world affairs and you don't have the option of leaving the game. We are still engaged in a deadly war with the Jihadists–one that only our grandchildren may see the end of. Added to that, there is an economic crisis that could go from merely unnerving to global hardship that could last a decade if it isn't met squarely and without illusion about what needs to be done. If you don't think your choice will help win against these foes, (and I mean win, not walk away from or come to an accommodation with), then I would suggest that second thoughts are in order.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Forbidden Planet Revisited

Warner Bros. has engaged Babyon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski to write the script for the on again, off again remake of the 1956 classic Forbidden Planet.

There's also been talk of bringing back Robby the Robot for the film, but it had better be a decent part and not just a cameo as usually happens in these sort of productions. It's not like he's a one-hit wonder like Gort or Kronos, you know. Bob is Old Hollywood and has a lot of pull in town, so fobbing him off with a bit part could backfire pretty badly.

He used to hang out with Sinatra.


Ryanair has announced that in the near future it will be offering flights to the US for £8.

For an additional £500 you get to sit inside the plane.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

The Kraken Wakes

Another deadline looms, so here's another sci fi classic by John Wyndham to fill the void.

Part 1

Part 2

When sushi strikes back.

Files courtesy

Saturday, 1 November 2008