Friday finds

If you thought the chariot race in Ben-Hur was exciting, check out the flea chariot race in the clip posted above. Be sure to watch the credits so you’ll know what became of flea-Messalla. Then, if you’re itching to learn more, hop over to Flea Circus Research and get up to scratch on how to buy and supply a flea circus, the history of flea circuses, the P.T. Barnum of flea circuses and how to have more fun with your fleas.

You know how I’m always saying that writers need literary agents? Well, here’s another reason to get one.

Walden Pond sure has changed a bit since Henry David Thoreau wrote about it. A rather less well-known pond conjures up some memories for Reuel Wilson, son of Edmund Wilson and Mary McCarthy.

He’s recorded some of the quirkiest, most interesting pop music of the 1980s. He’s produced award-winning albums for Bonnie Raitt and Bob Dylan. But the really big news is that Don Was now has his own damn channel on the Internets.

Geoff spent his last day at the Book telling his kids a ghost story. A real-life ghost story. You know it’s got to be good when one of those corner boys says “I can’t listen to this.”

Here’s how to add lie-correcting subtitles to the creationist propaganda film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

Several years ago, a cache of hundreds of cylinder recordings made on an Edison phonograph turned up in a Russian archive. The recordings, which date back as far as 1890, include the earliest known recordings of works by Bach, Verdi, Chopin and Schumann, and even include Tolstoy reading passages from his own works. A sampling of the recordings is being issued by Marston Records.

Here’s a charming anecdote about the late mystery writer Tony Hillerman.

John Norman is hustling a new novel in his S&M SF series about Gor, the planet where Edgar Rice Burroughs meets the Marquis de Sade. If you want to take your gag reflex out for a spin, here’s his sales pitch for the book.

Jeff has resumed his project to review all of Lloyd Alexander’s books — that is, the ones not involved in Alexander’s popular Prydain series. He takes a run at The Eldorado Adventure and The Iron Ring.

If you are a Geek of a Certain Age, the name Forrest J. Ackerman carries all sorts of associations: Famous Monsters of Filmland, gruesomely bad puns, the Ackermansion and other reminders of life before coverage of B-movies and genre flicks became mainstream.  A geek’s geek talks about Ackerman’s rapidly failing health and gives an address where people can send their best wishes.

It’s a rare thing to find genuinely sophisticated financial reporting about the film industry, so I was fascinated by this post on how the folding-up of New Line Cinema left a gaping hole in the independent international film market. It’s deep-dish stuff, but in a few weeks I’ll be doing the traditional Christmas Lord of the Rings semi-marathon with Dances With Mermaids, so I was caught up in the details of how over two dozen independent overseas distributors financed a large portion of the Rings budget through presales, how the success of the series brought overseas distributors out of a financial slump, and how the same financing method unexpectedly killed off any hopes for follow-ups to The Golden Compass. It’s the kind of information that makes you realize how deeply misleading those Monday box-office rundowns can be.

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3 thoughts on “Friday finds

  1. Thanks for the interest, what drew you to the charriot race? Were you looking for fleas or for Ben Hur?

  2. Steven Hart says:

    I’m not sure. I guess I was just, you know, scratching around for interesting topics and this one kind of jumped out at me.

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