* I am quite flattered and surprised to see that my and Isaac Moylan’s The Side Effects of the Cocaine: David Bowie April 1975-February 1976 made the illustrious NeilAlien’s Favorites of MoCCA 02010!
* Lots of good news on Robot 6: Graeme McMillan is back, Graeme and Kevin Melrose are also working on our new Hollywood/nerd-culture-centric sister blog Spinoff Online, and we’ve revised our comment guidelines. I know there are people reading the blog who wouldn’t touch the comments with a ten-meter cattle prod; we’re going to change that. The “MARVEL/DC/BENDIS/JOHNS SUXXXX” days are over.
* Case in point: Inspired by Tom Spurgeon and Tim O’Neil, I asked Robot 6’s readers what makes them say “okay, that’s enough” when it comes to a comic, creator, or character. The responses have been smart, civil, and in some cases provocative. Check ’em out.
* Holy cow, is this fascinating: Scientific America’s Joshua Harthshorne whips up a linguist’s wishlist for heretofore largely theoretical features of language he’d like to see the creators of the Dothraki tongue for HBO’s adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones pick up, just for the experiment of seeing how the fans who’ll make it a point to learn the language work with them. For example:
Action verbs. For action verbs in English and possibly all languages, the subject is the doer and the object the do-ee (“Mary broke/kicked/threw the vase”). Though again there are a few more complicated languages, prominent theorists posit this pattern is an innate part of our linguistic minds. However, others argue the dominance of this pattern is an historical accident and verbs where the doer is the object and the do-ee is the subject should be perfectly learnable. Numerous studies have shown that both adults and preschoolers find it very difficult to learn subject-do-ee verbs (“The vase shbroke Mary” = “Mary broke the vase”), but again these studies are short, so perhaps the participants simply didn’t spend enough time learning and using the new verbs. Use this pattern for Dothraki — or, even better, have some verbs follow one pattern (“break”) and other verbs the other (shbroke) — and we’ll see how well students can do given more time.
You’ll want to click the link to read the whole thing and catch all the linkage and annotations that my rudimentary copypasta won’t convey. (Via Westeros.)
* Eric Heisserer, who will always be known around these parts as the creator of maybe my favorite web-horror project Dionaea House, tells io9 that the Thing prequel he’s now working on (revising a screenplay by Ronald Moore) will be as direct a prequel to John Carpenter’s version as he can possibly manage. So that’s nice. (Via Dread Central.)
* Grab yourself a cold one and treat yourself to a Matt Maxwell con report, this one on Stumptown.
* Zom from the Mindless Ones talks about Batman & Robin colorist Alex Sinclair and glo-fi. With Brendan McCarthy referring to his current style as such not just in interviews but within the printed pages of his “Doktor America” strip with Matt Fraction in Marvel’s Who Won’t Wield the Shield? one-shot, I wonder if this concept is gaining some actual currency in comics circles…?
* David Bordwell on (among other things) the decline of the DVD and Apocalypse Now Redux (they’re unrelated).
* Heidi MacDonald catches that that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle head from yesterday isn’t part of the upcoming movie, it’s from a class taught by Tom Savini. On the other hand, this Jon Vermilyea zine cover she found is totally real.
* Scott Pilgrim vs. Star Wars? Sure, I’ll eat it.
* I wish our shitty fantasy movies were as weird and pretty as Red Sonja apparently is, at least when you take five frames from the movie and divorce them completely from, you know, Brigitte Nielsen and the whole rest of the movie.
* The new M.I.A. video could be improved if it ended with a title card reading “GET IT????” in giant block letters, but as it stands you’ll just have to supply that message yourself. Trust me, it won’t be difficult.
* You ever wanna shatter your innocence? Visit Loch Ness, where the big walk-through museum exhibit thing ends by telling you all the most famous pieces of evidence are either misidentified or outright hoaxes and that the Monster is most likely a series of landlocked sturgeons. Anyway, the locals used to believe a lot more than they do now, I guess. (Poor form on the part of that article for labeling the deathbed-revelation hoax Surgeon’s Photograph as “an undated file photo of a shadowy shape that some people say is a photo of the Loch Ness monster in Scotland.”) (Via Loren Coleman, who in addition to cryptozoology appears to be investigating the outer limits of the fair use doctrine.)