The Whitney Houston hologram?

I’m going to come out and say that this is in poor taste. This isn’t the end of the world. It’s not even “an outrage”. But it is in poor taste. 

A hologram of a long-dead historical figure—Abraham Lincoln or Alexander Hamilton—might be interesting. Whitney Houston, however, passed away less than a decade ago. She’s still very much within living memory.

And while yes, there is a case to be made that a celebrity belongs to the public domain, there is also something to be said for respecting the dead.

Just because technology can do something, doesn’t mean that it should

Old-school virtual reality

I had a View-Master in the 1970s, along with a small collection of reels. A Christmas gift in 1976, I believe.

The Frankenstein reels (screenshot below) made a special impression on me.

These were cool toys, especially given the immersive effect they provided with minimal technology. No electronics, no silicon chips required.

I was glad to see that the View-Master is still available on Amazon. 

TikTok: Here come the parents

TikTok, every teenager’s favorite app, just rolled out new parental controls

Don’t think for a moment that the present generation of helicopter parents are going to allow their teens an unsupervised space of their own on social media. Parents nowadays track their progeny’s movements with smartphone apps, after all.

It will be only a matter of time before the parents overrun TikTok, just like they overran Facebook. The barriers to entry aren’t that high.

In the 1980s, we avoided parents the easy way: We went outside, sans electronic gadgetry.

Better, simpler times to be a kid.

The Grudge (2004)

I rewatched this one tonight. (I saw it for the first time circa 2005, shortly after the movie was released.)

The Grudge brings together two of my longtime interests: Japan and horror films.

This is a fun movie. Not anything that is going to leave you pondering the world in a new way for days, or awake for many nights with the lights on. The Grudge relies on atmospherics, jump scares, and classic Japanese ghost story tropes. The characters are the  stock  types you expect in a movie of this kind.

That said, there are a few genuinely creepy moments. If you wake up at night and suspect that there is something under the covers with you in your bed, you’re officially advised not to look. What you see may be more than you can handle.

View The Grudge on Amazon

‘Tartuffe’ by Molière (Richard Wilbur translation)

If you are in the mood for some 17th-century French drama (and why wouldn’t you be?), then you can’t go wrong with Tartuffe, by Molière.

And you don’t even have to read French. This translation by the American poet Richard Wilbur (1921-2017) is excellent, and quite probably an improvement on the original French version.

I’ve written about Richard Wilbur before on this site. His poems are probably the best examples of American poetry written during the twentieth century. Wilbur brings all of his skill to bear in his translation of Tartuffe.

‘Color Out of Space’- the movie

First Color Out of Space Photo from Nic Cage’s H.P. Lovecraft Film

I’ve read this H.P. Lovecraft story several times over the past 30 years.

It isn’t a bad story…but some of the dialogue sure is:

“It come from that stone . . . it growed down thar . . . it got everything livin’ . . . it fed itself on ’em, mind and body . . . Thad an’ Mernie, Zenas an’ Nabby . . . Nahum was the last . . . they all drunk the water . . . it got strong on ’em . . . it come from beyond, whar things ain’t like they be here . . . now it’s goin’ home. . . .”

Lovecraft excelled at story concept and description. His principal weaknesses were characterization and dialogue.

Hobbits beat Jedi

Lord of the Rings Trumps Star Wars in New Online Poll

I am not surprised. The Star Wars franchise has grown stale in recent years (as in–the last 20 years). 

As I’ve written before, I remember watching the first Star Wars ever, at the cinema with my dad in the summer of ’77.

I was nine. My dad was twenty years younger than I am today.

The first three movies–Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi–were true originals. Absolutely amazing, in that time and place.

But they should have stopped in 1983, with the last of those three original films. Everything they’ve done since then has detracted from the power of what was done in the 1970s and 1980s.

Return of the Jedi, 1983