The Cultural Gutter

unashamed geekery

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

HELLO DOCTOR NAME CONTINUE YESTERDAY TOMORROW

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I had really hoped that my list of the top 10 films of the decade would be more surprising. Or perhaps I just assumed that I was less predictable. I thought about a lot of other films, some of which you’ll see in my runners-up rundown at the foot of this article, but these are […]

SYNECHDOCHE, ARIZONA

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In the final episode of St. Elsewhere, something strange happens. Snow begins to fall around St. Eligius Hospital, and we cut to an image of Dr. Donald Westphall’s autistic son Tommy, a minor character in the series up to this point. He sits, staring at a snow globe, inside of which we see a replica […]

Stella Performance

Human-Robot artistic collaboration deemed successful.

Leiji Matsumoto’s Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5y5tem is a near-feature-length animated silent film with a musical score that almost exactly corresponds to Discovery, an album by French band Daft Punk. This is obviously by intention; Daft Punk have a history of great, weird videos, from the Spike Jonze-directed “Da Funk,” which […]

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    A 1,300-year-old Egyptian book of spells has been translated. “Among other things, the ‘Handbook of Ritual Power,’ as researchers call the book, tells readers how to cast love spells, exorcise evil spirits and treat “black jaundice,” a bacterial infection that is still around today and can be fatal.”

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    Zack and Steve go through and review Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Module S-1: The Tomb Of Horrors at WTF, D&D?!…so you don’t have to.

    “Steve: Most of the opening paragraph is a warning about difficulty. ‘You’ll never find the demi-lich’s secret chamber’ and the tomb is fraught with “terrible traps, poison gases, and magical protections.” It’s telling you not to play the adventure.

    Zack: Not just in that part. In the DM’s notes section at the start, Gygax explicitly warns Dungeon Masters that if your players enjoy killing monsters they will be unhappy with the adventure.

    Steve: ‘This module is only for parties that enjoy dying immediately and repeatedly.’ Oh, man, we’re not going to play though this thing are we?”

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    Dr. Nerdlove takes a brief break from helping the nerd get the girl to address something that’s been bugging him. “Pardon me while I go off on a bit of a media criticism/ rant here. So I’ve been enjoying the *hell* out of The Flash lately except for one thing: Iris Allen. Her character is screen death; every time she’s around, everything comes to a screeching halt.

    The problem is: it’s not her fault, it’s the writers. Rather like Laurel Lance in the first two seasons of Arrow, she has Lois Lane syndrome. Her (like Laurel and Lois) entire character arc is based around being ignorant of events that literally everyone else in her life is aware of.”

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    Get your own copy of the Satanic Temple’s The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities!

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    At The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes about Dr. Doom: “Comics are so often seen as the province of white geeky nerds. But, more broadly, comics are  the literature of outcasts, of pariahs, of Jews, of gays, of blacks. It’s really no mistake that we saw ourselves in Doom, Magneto or Rogue.”

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    Actor Ken Takakura has died. Takakura starred in films such as Brutal Tales of Chivalry (1965); Red Peony Gambler (1968); Miyamoto Musashi: Duel at Ichijoji (1955) and Miyamoto Musashi: Duel at Ganryu Island (1956); as well as in co-productions like The Yakuza (1974); The Bullet Train (1975); Black Rain (1989) and Riding Alone For Thousands Of Miles (2005).  The Japan Times, The South China Morning Post and The AV Club have obituaries. Japan Subculture has an interview with Takakura. Here Takakura sings the theme to Abhashiri Prison (1965)

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