Friday, January 29, 2010

Inventions, bullet trains, Villains, WoW populations and space exploration

- Apple announced the iPad a few days ago.  The best description I have read so far is that it's a giant iPhone Touch.  I think it's the ultimate ebook reader, but not much more.  It's certainly not a game-changer like the iPhone or iPod.  In the spirit of technology innovation, here are 15 devices that were WAY ahead of their time:

- Population reports for World of Warcraft.  Absolutely fascinating stuff if you happen to play WoW:

- Are bullet-trains coming to America?  If we can find ways to privately fund their construction, then I hope so.  Lengthy article about the potential of high-speed railways in the U.S.

- Speaking of funding, I loathe taxes.  To me, taxes = freedom.  The more money you have, the more freedom you have.  There aren't many things I am willing to spend taxes on.  I am more than willing to throw my hard-earned money into space exploration.  Lord knows I am no greenie, conservationist or progressive, but some day in the future we are going to run out of resources or real-estate.  It may happen 300 years from now or 10,000 years from now, but it will happen.  The sooner we start working towards permanently getting off this crazy blue rock, the better.  Unfortunately, Obama is planning to kill the latest manned moon missions.

- My top five movie villains.  The first three were easy to pick and should draw a fair amount of agreement.  The last two were very difficult to pick.  I could fill the last two spots with fifty different villains.  Oh, and unlike my previous lists, they are in order, with the greatest movie villain in the first spot:

1. Vader
2. Wicked Witch of the West
3. Hannibal Lecter
4. Amon Goeth (Schindler's List)
5. Hal 9000

There are many ways to define a movie villain, here is how I define mine...while watching the movie if I was rooting against the character, they are a villain.  Using this rule, characters like Michael Corleone, Tyler Durden, etc. cannot be on my favorite movie villains list.  In other words, anti-heroes are not villains.  Who are your top five villains?  Post your top five in the comments section.


Randal said...

I find your list interesting. And yes, it's hard to disagree with choices 1-3 (Margaret Hamilton gave me nightmares, but Freddy and Jason never did. Weird.) Thing is, can a redeemed villain be truly classified as a villain? Vader ended up on the Light Side. Tarkin, I felt was just as villainous as Vader; perhaps more so from just the first movie, when Vader was really just a glorified bodyguard.

I find sociopathy more frightening than regular villainy, but I suppose there is something more evil in someone who flat out chooses to be villainous. With that in mind, Patrick Bateman is certainly evil, but without a conscious, his actions aren't as morally horrifying. Gordon Gekko is pretty villainous, partly because his choices are conscious (have you seen the trailer for Wall Street 2, incidentally? "I once said greed was good. Now it's legal."). Lecter is villainous, but I won't forgive the final scene of Hannibal where he chooses between his hand and Clarice. A true villain wouldn't think twice. Although, I suppose his sense of courtesy is partly what makes him so terrifying. Of course, the original novel has Clarice becoming his partner in crime, so that was stupid.

I notice you skipped over Norman Bates and Nurse Ratched. Louise Fletcher did make Ratched pretty damn terrifying, but I thought that Bates was more pathetic than villainous. Hmm.

Oh, Angela Lansbury in Manchurian Candidate. That's some cold hearted shit right there.

Anonymous said...

I am not a fan of One Flew Over the Cookoos Nest, so nurse Ratched never had a chance of making my list.

The past several months I have been thinking about Lecter and how evil he is truly portrayed on film. I think I could make a compelling argument that the movie version of Lecter isn't really a villain. We hear about all the horrible crimes he committed, but on-screen the only people he murders are people who "had it coming." He almost killed Will, and as far as I can remember, that was his only horrible crime committed against someone who didn't deserve it. Hmmm. I may write about that in a future post.

Oh Randy, the wicked Witch of the West still scares the heck out of me, and still gives me nightmares. I usually turn the channel when I see her on my TV. It's so ironic, because in real-life Margaret Hamilton was a saint.

- Greymarch

Randal said...

After a day or two of pondering, I think Hans Gruber belongs on any list of top villains.

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