Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Zeus, where were you when we needed you!

Charles H. Schneer, Sci-Fi Film Producer, Dies at 88

My favorite film director, Charles H. Schneer, has passed to SummerIsle:

...Charles H. Schneer, a noted film producer who for a quarter-century helped the Oscar-winning special-effects wizard Ray Harryhausen lay waste to Washington, San Francisco, Rome and many other places, died on Wednesday in Boca Raton, Fla. He was 88...

With Schneer directing the live action, in close consultaion with Harryhausen animation work, we have some of the best Cult/Psychtronic/Mythic classics of all time, such as:

...“Earth vs. the Flying Saucers” (1956); the Sinbad trilogy, comprising “The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad” (1958), “The Golden Voyage of Sinbad” (1974) and “Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger” (1977); and “The Three Worlds of Gulliver” (1960). Their last film together was “Clash of the Titans” (1981), which, despite a cast of titans including Laurence Olivier, Claire Bloom, Maggie Smith and Ursula Andress, had a lukewarm reception...

Yes, perhaps 'lukewarm' reception, but to this day people come up to me relating their warm fuzzy feelings for "Clash of the Titans". Yet, for me the best film was "Jason and the Argonauts":

...Their most famous collaboration was “Jason and the Argonauts” (1963), a retelling of the Greek myth that featured an army of walking, swashbuckling skeletons, memorably animated by Mr. Harryhausen...

This part from the obit was pretty funny and interesting:

...A hands-on producer, Mr. Schneer contributed enthusiastically to the story lines of his films, Mr. Harryhausen said on Monday. He scoured the papers for accounts of the paranormal, of which there was no shortage in the 1950s. He accompanied his crews on location, and at least once helped stave off an embarrassing anachronism...The film was “Jason and the Argonauts,” shot on the Italian coast. In one scene, the script called for Jason’s ship, the Argo, to sail around a bluff and into view. But as the cameras rolled, to everyone’s astonishment, Sir Francis Drake’s galleon the Golden Hind sailed by instead. It had been launched by a British film crew also shooting in the area. As Mr. Harryhausen recalled in an article he wrote for The Guardian in 2003, Mr. Schneer rose to the occasion at once. “Get that ship out of here!” he cried. “You’re in the wrong century.”

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Scientists weep with joy

Scientists Welcome Obama’s Words

President Obama's statement that he will “restore science to its rightful place" brought joy to scientists thought the US government. Although many scientists (and science policy experts) realize it will take years to repair the damage of Bush's antediluvian rules and regulations, many are optimistic:

...Still, many scientists were exuberant. Staff members throughout the government’s scientific agencies held inaugural parties on Tuesday, and many reported being teary-eyed with joy. “If you look at the science world, you see a lot of happy faces,” said Frank Press, a former president of the National Academy of Sciences and former science adviser to President Jimmy Carter. “It’s not just getting money. It’s his recognition of what science can do to bring this country back in an innovative way.”

Monday, January 19, 2009

This does not compute!

Damn, the fellow who played the Robot in Lost in Space has crossed over to SummerIsle.

LOS ANGELES — Bob May, who donned The Robot's suit in the hit 1960s television show "Lost in Space," has died. He was 69....May's robot was the Robinson family's loyal sidekick, warning them of approaching disaster at every turn. His line to one of the children, "Danger, Will Robinson," became a national catch phrase.

Keep a friendly eye on Dr. Smith, loyal Robot.
(Thanx, Green Ghost, for telling me about this.)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A very bright Goddess

Go out and enjoy the planet Venus. She is amazingly bright right now. From the Jan 14th edition from spaceweather.com:

...HOURS OF VENUS: Today and for the rest of the week, Venus is at maximum elongation (greatest apparent distance) from the sun. This means the silvery planet is "up" for more than three hours after sunset. Go outside after dark, face south, and take a long look. Venus is so bright it outshines city lights and even pierces thin clouds. The view through a backyard telescope may surprise you. Check http://spaceweather.com for images and more information.

Yewtree sent me an interesting link about the "ashen" light of Venus. Keen observers have noted this phenomena from time to time.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Suspected Witch Burned Alive

Woman suspected of witchcraft burned alive


...(CNN) -- A woman in rural Papua New Guinea was bound and gagged, tied to a log and set ablaze on a pile of tires this week, possibly because villagers suspected her of being a witch, police said Thursday...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Tree Lobsters make great pets

Tree Lobsters!!
BugGirl has an amazing item about the rediscovery of "Tree Lobsters", a previously thought-to-be-extinct species of Phasmid (that's 'walking sticks' to all you non-bug geeks people out there). The original article is in German.

BugGirl humorously suggest maybe people should develop a taste for these critters, therefore insuring their survival via farming. Yum! But captive breeding has worked for certain invertebrates, such as tarantulas and tree snails. Thankfully, there is group now formed, TheFriendsOfThePhasmid, that's focusing on the survival of these fascinating insects.