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Dammit, why don't people TELL me these kinds of things!
"Douglas Adams, creator of THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, has died unexpectedly at the age of 49 following a massive heart attack early Friday morning."
From a report on Aint It Cool News, http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=8989 back in MAY!
Even just the subject lines on the message board for that report say it all:
And so on. In all the celebrity deaths that have occurred during my lifetime this is the second biggest personal loss, topped only by the late Jim Henson. Adams was unfairly labeled a sci-fi writer, when he was really more of a surrealist humor writer. Space ships and time travel were merely the vehicles, and unimportant ones at that, to take the story to the next absurd and hilarious level. His books have made me laugh until I nearly puked on more occasions than I can remember. Hell, I've ripped off Adams for various Degenerate Press concepts, invites and other efforts more often than any other author. And now he's dead. Or a month ago, he's dead. Something humorous and optimistic should be said here, something to match his style, but I can't hope to match him in talent on my best day, so I suppose it's best to quote him directly. This is one my personal favorite passages because it reminds me of certain parties we throw every year:
The longest and most destructive party ever held is now into its fourth generation, and still no one shows any signs of leaving. Somebody did once look at his watch, but that was eleven years ago, and there has been no follow-up. The mess is extraordinary, and has to be seen to be believed, but if you don't have any particular need to believe it, then don't go and look, because you won't enjoy it. There have recently been some bangs and flashes up in the clouds, and there is one theory that this is a battle being fought between the fleets of several rival carpet-cleaning companies who are hovering over the thing like vultures, but you shouldn't believe anything you hear at parties, and particularly not anything you hear at this one. One of the problems, and it's one which is obviously going to get worse, is that all the people at the party are either the children or the grandchildren or the great-grandchildren of the people who wouldn't leave in the first place, and because of all the business about selective breeding and regressive genes and so on, it means that all the people now at the party are either absolutely fanatical partygoers, or gibbering idiots, or, more and more frequently, both. Either way, it means that, genetically speaking, each succeeding generation is now less likely to leave than the preceding one. So other factors come into operation, like when the drink is going to run out. Now, because of certain things which have happened which seemed like a good idea at the time (and one of the problems with a party which never stops is that all the things which only seem like a good idea at parties continue to seem like good ideas), that point seems still to be a long way off. One of the things which seemed like a good idea at the time was that the party should fly - not in the normal sense that parties are meant to fly, but literally. One night, long ago, a band of drunken astro-engineers of the first generation clambered round the building digging this, fixing that, banging very hard on the other and when the sun rose the following morning, it was startled to find itself shining on a building full of happy drunken people which was now floating like a young and uncertain bird over the treetops. Not only that, but the flying party had also managed to arm itself rather heavily. If they were going to get involved in any petty arguments with wine merchants, they wanted to make sure they had might on their side. The transition from full-time cocktail party to part-time raiding party came with ease, and did much to add that extra bit of zest and swing to the whole affair which was badly needed at this point because of the enormous number of times that the band had already played all the numbers it knew over the years. They looted, they raided, they held whole cities for ransom for fresh supplies of cheese crackers, avocado dip, spare ribs and wine and spirits, which would now get piped aboard from floating tankers. The problem of when the drink is going to run out is, however, going to have to be faced one day. The planet over which they are floating is no longer the planet it was when they first started floating over it. It is in bad shape. The party had attacked and raided an awful lot of it, and no one has ever succeeded in hitting it back because of the erratic and unpredictable way in which it lurches round the sky. It is one hell of a party.
Before Douglas Adams died, he was working on an online version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, basically an interactive guide to earth written by the readers themselves. If you're interested, the BBC now hosts it at http://www.bbc.co.uk/h2g2/guide/FrontPage
The art work leaves a bit to be desired, but the writing is excellent.
In other news, your editor may have found another job. I'll confirm or deny next episode!
We hit Starlight Drive In last night for the weekly invasion. This week's winner was Moulin Rouge, the latest film from the same guy that did the updated Romeo and Juliet a while back. It's gotten mixed reviews and I honestly expected it to suck wind, but I came away pleasantly surprised. If you don't take it seriously it's a lot of fun, a post-modern musical with a souffle of comparatively recent hits, everything from Queen to David Bowie to Elton John to Madonna. Mixed in with this is the movie's original music, offering the weakest moments in the film, but otherwise the numbers offer plenty of humor. I was also impressed with Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman's singing abilities (yes, the actually sang their own parts, and well!) Baz Luhrmann directed, co-wrote and directed the film, resulting in a very strong, singular vision. The last act drags a bit and the opening act has no character development whatsoever. But the busy cinematography and lush scenery offer enough eye candy to distract from the overused, paper thin plot. About halfway through it I called it "Disney does porn" - pretty, expensive, simple, and almost entirely devoid of sex. Ironic, since the lead female is a prostitute working in a burlesque house. I thought it was obvious they were bending over backwards to limbo under that PG-13 rating and get the kids in the theater. But even with all its drawbacks, it's worth seeing, and even better at the drive in with a couple of beers.
In other movie news, we mentioned the summer film fest at the Fox a couple episodes ago. We've posted the specifics in the Prophesy section this time. Films start at 8 but to get a ticket and a seat you should probably arrive about 7. Personally, I don't mind an hour in the Fox with nothing to do, and they start the organ sing-along and cartoons a bit before 8.
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