December 17, 2007

Comments policy

Filed under: General — crcb @ 6:49 am
Tags: , ,

Mood: vestigial

I moderate comments on this blog, and considering the amount of spam I see, it’s a good thing.  My formal policy is that I will approve or delete posts at my whim. In general, though, I will OK reasonable complaints and critiques. I’ll tolerate adulation and groveling. I double-check the spam filter to make sure it hasn’t flagged anything it shouldn’t. Hate speech and obscene tirades are out.

But then there are postings that fall in the gray zone. One recent comment to an old article said — and I quote in its entirety — “Very interesting, but I don’t agree with you.”

I debated with myself a long time before deleting that post.  It didn’t shock or offend me — I often don’t agree with myself. What finally decided me was that there was nothing indicate that the comment was from a human who had read the article. I couldn’t be sure it hadn’t been mistakenly posted to the wrong article, or even the wrong blog. There were no specifics. The author just found me generally disagreeable (in which he has plenty of company).

If the author of that comment is reading this, I invite you to post again. Shred my original article point by point, if you like.  Just please, this time, address the article rather than your state of disagreement.


December 11, 2007

Movie Review: Beowulf

Filed under: Movies,Poetry,Reviews — crcb @ 1:56 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Mood: vulpine

I was probably twelve when I first read Beowulf. I most recently read it when Seamus Heaney’s translation came out. There was no way I was going to miss this movie.

Of course, I saw it in 3D. Every movie should be in 3D. It’s really the only way to view a movie. If the technology becomes widespread, however, let’s hope moviemakers get tired of the let’s-make-them-duck gimmicks.

The movie version turns the epic poem into a comic book. I don’t mean that pejoratively. There are some good comic book movies out there, and I don’t care what their original inspiration was. This one, however, is only decent.

First of all, I’m not a fan of the technology used. It’s an uneasy blend of live action and animation. I suppose the studio didn’t want to spend the special effects budget needed for live action, but in trying to make it photorealistic, they shut off many artistic options. (With live action, we could have had real naked shots of Angelina Jolie–but then, we would have seen the spot between Anthony Hopkins’s groin and thigh, too.)

Second, the gimmicks. I’ve mentioned one above, the “It’s coming at you!” trick. Even more annoying was the coy hide-and-seek with Beowulf’s genitals (he fought Grendel naked), which went on far too long.

Third, the story. I don’t want to spoil the plot for those who haven’t seen it. Let me just say, the book will not ruin the story for you. You can safely read it. Grendel’s mother’s motivations are inscrutable, even for a demon. But then, no one in the movie acts with any kind of psychological consistency. The characters are 3D in appearance only. The battle scenes could have been more enjoyable if the laws of physics had been given at least a bit part.

If you like science fiction/fantasy movies, you won’t waste your time or money with Beowulf. If you miss it, though, you should feel little regret.

December 5, 2007

Near Christmas

Filed under: Christmas,Fiction,Humor — crcb @ 10:49 pm
Tags: , ,

Mood: paginated

Now Ronald Butterworth was a deacon of the Second Salvation Church, and a police officer. And one night an angel spoke unto him and said, “Take off thy Kevlar, and put thy trust in the Lord.”

And Ronald answered him and said, “Thy?”

Then the angel sighed and said, “People believe better when they have a little trouble understanding the message.”

“Oh,” said Ronald. But he heeded the angel and went to the bust unarmored, and he was gunned down, and died in the street.

Now when Ronald came before the throne of the Lord’s glory, he said, “I thought you had my back. What happened?”

“Yeah,” said the Lord, “sorry about that. The dealer promised to give his soul to Jesus if I’d do this for him. My son’s a collector, and his birthday is coming up.”

And Ronald said, “All my adult life I’ve served you and guarded my neighbors, and you favored a criminal over me?”

Then the Lord’s wrath grew, and he said unto Ronald, “Three nights ago, did I not help you fill an inside straight? Fair’s fair. Do you want me to answer prayers, or not?”

“Oh, when you put it that way,” said Ronald. “But who will take care of my wife?”

“I’m on it,” said the Lord. “She’s been asking me that for years.”

Create a free website or blog at